Latest Sightings January 2023

Click on the link to send in your sightings to help us monitor Emm Brook wildlife.This type of ‘citizen science’ allows us to get a clearer picture of what is happening along the Emm.

For previous months sightings see Archive

The "Area Seen" refers to the 11 sections that the Brook has been split into for monitoring purposes (see Wildlife page under Monitoring ).

For what you can expect to see on the Emm this month, click here January

All sightings unless stated are from personal observations by Eddie Napper.

Click on any picture to see a larger image


What is this life if full of care , we have no time to stand and stare.

Leisure - W. H. Davies.


31/01/23 At 12:45 a Tawny Owl was heard calling in Area 4. In Area 7 a Little Egret was see sitting on the bridge over the Ashridge Stream at Toutley Road. In Area 5 a Great spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and in trees by Morrissons car park a Song Thrush was belting out its beautiful but repetitive song. Song thrushes have one of the easier songs to identify. Although they have a varied repertoire, they repeat each of their short phrases up to three times before moving on to a completely different one, which no other common birds do.

30/01/23 The Cattle Egret was still present in Area 1 at Ludgrove also 35 Lapwing .

28/01/23 In Area 7 a Goldcrest was seen in garden Conifers by Carol Woodman. Ralph Watts was in Area 1 and saw the Cattle Egret , 3 Robin ,a Dunnock , 8 Redwing, 2 Long tailed Tit , 2 Red Kite , a Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker , 4 Siskin and heard Ring necked Parakeets . In Area 10 a Barn Owl appeared in its box in the Wet Meadow at 1657 before leaving at 1709 seen by David Rimes.

27/01/23  Little Egret Seen flying over Toutley Road in Area 8 by the Balancing ponds was a Little Egret .The Cattle Egret was still being seen in Area 1.

26/01/23  Cattle Egret A First for the FOTEB list in Area 1 at Ludgrove was a Cattle Egret. Seen by Rebecca Rees. I had to pop down and take a photo. In Gorrick Plantation a Woodcock was seen by Brian Bennett.

21/01/23 Seen in Area 10 today were 2 Bullfinch by the Green Bridge seen by Brian Bennett and a Barn Owl was in its box then in the trees at the back of the Wet Meadow seen by Marek Walford.

18/01/23 Brian Bennett was out and about on the old Golf Course in Area 10 and saw a Mistle Thrush , 50+ Redwing , 6 Fieldfare and a calling Chiffchaff a Grey Wagtail was also seen on the Activity Centre beach . A Kingfisher was seen in Area 7A feeding in the Ashridge Stream at Toutley Road bridge by Paul O'Neill

15/01/23 A Sparrowhawk was seen hunting near the Activity Centre in Area 10 by Steve Clarke.

13/01/23  Green Sandpiper Finally managed to get out for a quick lunchtime look at Area 7A. Feeding in the puddles in a field adjacent to the A321, Twyford Road was a Green Sandpiper with a Buzzard and Red Kite sharing the skies above.In Area 10 a Grey Wagtail was seen on the beach by the DAC by Michael Hubbard.

09/01/23 Robert Godden was in Area 1 this morning and saw a Goldcrest , Buzzard , 3 Stock Dove , 24 Lapwing , 42 Redwing ,6 Linnet, 67 Common Gull , 14 Rook and a Treecreeper .

07/01/23 Near the Green Bridge in Area 10 whhere the Emm Brook meets The Loddon, 20 + Siskin were seen in the trees by Tim James.

06/01/23 The Green Sandpiper was again seen feeding in the puddles in a field adjacent to the A321, Twyford Road .

03/01/23  Kestrel Back to Area 7A again in the rain at lunchtime. A Buzzard was circling and a Kestrel was viewing the world from a tree top.

02/01/23  Grey Heron For todays wanderings I started in Area 1 and Ludgrove where 8 Grey Heron were enjoying a bit of sunshine on the flooded fields with 7 Mallard , not a lot else of note was seen.  Green Sandpiper My second port of call was Area 7A around Ashridge Stream. Feeding in the puddles in a field adjacent to the A321, Twyford Road was a Green Sandpiper an unexpected find for this time of year.

01/01/23 Another year and the sightings merry go round starts all over again I along with a lot of others visited Dinton Pastures in Area 10 , to start the year. It was a busy day. Seen in and around the Emm Brook on the "Beach" by the Dinton Activity Centre were Grey Wagtail , Lapwing and Little Egret by John Mac along with Redwing and Fieldfare on the Old Golf Gourse and a Kestrel on the wires in the Carpark field.At least 3 Raven were seen over the Area by numerous observers.Also seen on the old golf course but this time by Fraser Cottingham was a Mistle Thrush and 3 Collared Dove . Where the Emm Brook joins the Loddon by the Green Bridge a Chiffchaff and Bullfinch were seen by Marek Walford. Meanwhile Paul O'Neill was in Area 7A and registered a female Kestrel in a large Oak tree, off Queens road a male Stonechat between Queens road and the Ashridge stream, another or maybe the same female Kestrel in Ashridge Meadows and a pair of Stonechat around the East pool in Ashridge Meadows.


As you may have noticed its that time of year when Insects seem to disappear. Where do they go?, What do they do? Find the answers Where have the Insects gone? .

29/01/23 The Satellite With a slightly warmer spell of weather predicted I put the moth trap out between 17:00-22.30 . On inspection there was only one occupant of the trap The Satellite Eupsilia transversa It flies from September through to April in one generation. Its named after the small 'satellites' either side of the stigma. The first moth of the year was added to the FOTEB Moth list , bringing the total for 2023 to 1.Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.

Plants/ Trees

As the leaves on the trees and hedgerows start to change colour to a yellowey gold, find out why at Why do leaves change colour .

18/01/23 Gorse In Area 1 in Gorrick Woods Gorse Ulex europaeus is in flower. Its a distinctive evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves and distinctive, coconut-perfumed, yellow flowers .

17/01/23 Snowdrop A sure sign of Spring is Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis pushing their way up through the soil in Area 7 , however I think that these are more than likely garden escapees.

06/01/23 Cuckoopint The mild weather continues and in Area 5 you can see the green leaves of Cuckoopint Arum maculatum also known as Lords and Ladies, breaking through the ground. Lords-and-ladies have an interesting flower structure and are pollinated by flies. The orange-red berries are eaten by birds, providing a good source of food in late summer and autumn. Having eaten the berries, birds will then disperse the seed, with new plants often emerging under hedges or in ground under areas where birds perch.

04/01/23 Alder Catkins By the pond in Area 5 the catkins of Alder Alnus glutinosa are starting to appear. Alder is monoecious, which means that both male and female flowers are found on the same tree. Male catkins are pendulous, measuring 2–6cm, and turn yellow. Female catkins are green and oval-shaped and are grouped in numbers of three to eight on each stalk. Loddon Lily In Area 10 by the Emm Brook the first Loddon Lily Corylus avellana are just coming into flower, you might initially mistake it for a Snowdrop with its white flowers, each petal kissed with green. But a closer look shows that the structure of the flower is quite different. The petals of the Loddon Lily are all of equal length whereas the petals of the Snowdrop feature three long petals, and three short ones.

03/01/23 Hazel Catkins The catkins of Hazel Corylus avellana have appeared early in the hedgerows around Morrisons in Area 5. The catkins are the male flowers and they produce copious amounts of powdery yellow pollen. Each catkin actually consists of 240 individual flowers arranged on a dangling stem, and when fully ripe it only takes the slightest touch to release a cloud of microscopic pollen grains.

Fungi Do not eat any fungi that have not been properly identified , some are DEADLY when ingested .

Amphibians and Reptiles

16/01/23 Discovered by a suprised Chas Stickler whilst digging over his Area 5 garden veg plot was a Common Frog Rana temporaria under the ground in a burrow. In Britain, common frogs largely hibernate on land. They usually find somewhere underground, or tucked inside a structure that sits on the ground surface. Hence, frogs might overwinter in a mammal burrow, or inside a compost heap. The important thing is that it’s a place where the frog will be buffered against extreme cold, and won’t lose too much water. Having permeable skins, frogs are at risk of drying out if they spend long in a place with no moisture.


17/01/23 During the nestbox clearance in Area 7 a dead Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was found in the hedgerow.

04/01/23 Late news from 29/12/22, a European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus was seen visiting an Area 7 garden by Carol Woodman. Is this worrying? Typically, hedgehogs hibernate from late December / early January until late March time. However, this is very dependent on the weather and the individual hedgehog, as some will hibernate earlier or later and some not at all!

04/01/23 Grey squirrel My Area 5 garden was visited this morning by a Grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis sitting on the garden fence waiting for its turn on the Bird feeders.