Latest Sightings June 2020

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 June

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.


What is the Dawn Chorus

29/06/20  Green Woodpecker  In Area 7A a Buzzard was hunting over Eldridge Park a Lesser Whitethroat was heard singing in Area 8 by Paul O'Neill. In the Car Park field in Area 10 a Green Woodpecker was hunting for Insects in the grass.

28/06/20 Barn Owl In Area 3 on Molly Millars Lane a Kingfisher was seen flying along the river.A Barn Owl was seen from the footpath to the car park in Area 10 by Richard Marsh.

27/06/20 Kestrel Area 1 around Ludgrove School produced the usual farmland birds. Jackdaw , Carrion Crow , Magpie and Wood Pigeon . A Kestrel was seen flying in Area 7A before resting on a telegraph pole in the afternoon gloom a male Yellowhammer was also heard and 2 Kingfisher were seen in Area 4 at Kingfisher Bridge by Pauk Bright-Thomas.

26/06/20 EMM BROOK POLLUTION INCIDENT UPDATE The Environment Agency has confirmed that the chemical spill has been contained on site (where the spill occurred) & has not affected the Emm Brook. As a precaution, an Environment Officer attended the Emm Brook & Dinton Pastures & found no signs of negative impact.The Emm Brook has therfore been declared safe.

25/06/20 Heading North West over Area 7 were 3 Ring-necked Parakeet seen at 07:30 by Paul O'Neill

24/06/20 EMM BROOK POLLUTION INCIDENT It was announced this afternoon by the Environment Agency that 8,000 litres of Nutriox had been discharged to the ground approx 1.5 miles upstream of the Emm Brook. The chemical has not entered the adjacent stream and it has not entered the underlying groundwater table . Nutriox is classed as a hazardous substance.The chemical is dangerous to eyes and harmful if swallowed.Advise is to rinse well with fresh water. Nutriox is used in a process which eliminates septicity , which produces dangerous and odorous hydrogen sulphide gas in sewer networks/ sewage treatment works. Whilst this is being investigated please do not enter the Emm Brook or allow your dog to swim in it.

23/06/20 A Lesser Whitethroat was heard singing from a Bramble Bush at Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8 by Paul O'Neil. In Area 10 a Great White Egret was seen flying low over the Wet Meadow adjacent to the Emm heading South by Chris Gent.

22/06/20 Over Area 7A a Common Buzzard was riding on the thermals and a Kestrel was patrolling the hedgerows along the field edges.

21/06/20 Juvenile and Adult Grey Wagtail Feeding over Black Swan Lake and the Emm in Area 10 this morning were about 20+ Swift .Sitting on the pontoon by the Beach in Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre was a Juvenile and Adult Grey Wagtail . Jay Hiding in the shadows a slightly beaten up Jay was taking cover. Perhaps the victim of a Sparrowhawk attack as it looks as if chunks have been taken from its breast area. Reed Warbler Singing from the reedbed was a Reed Warbler .A Hobby was seen flying over Brookside in Area 5 at 20.30. It was at tree top height heading North.

20/06/20 Wood Pigeon It was all fairly standard stuff at Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8, first thing this morning. Sitting on the Bridge were 2 adult and a juvenile Wood Pigeon ,  Magpie a small group of Magpie were feeding adjacent to the path, and one on the bridge gabions, showing off its iridescent plumage in the sunlight. A Chiffchaff was singing, a Red Kite along with a Common Buzzard were patrolling the skies Blackbird a Blackbird was keeping an eye on proceedings and a Wren was belting out its song from a dead riverside tree.

19/06/20 In Area 7A at least 2 male Yellowhammer were heard singing along with a Skylark . 5 Raven were seen by Paul O'Neill in Area 7 circling over before drifting off to the South.

17/06/20 A Mute Swan was seen by Paul O'Neill in Area 7 from his garden just below house height heading North East.

16/06/20 Juvenile Grey Wagtail On the Beach in Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre was a juvenile Grey Wagtail . The Barn Owl was seen flying from its nest box by Alan Rymer at 10:00 across the Wet meadow. Little Egret In the Emm Brook by Dragonfly Bridge in Area 5 a Little Egret was seen by Diane Humphrey-Evans.

15/06/20 In Area 10, 3 Grey Wagtail including a juvenile were on the beach at the Dinton Activity Centre seen by Geoff Emmett. In Area 7A the male Yellowhammer was seen and heard singing by Paul O'Neill.

14/06/20 In Area 1 a Little Owl was seen sitting on a fencepost by Sean Stevenson near Ludgrove School , 2 Swift were feeding over Brookside in Area 5 and a female Kestrel was seen by Paul O'Neill in Area 7 chasing, and making contact with, an unfortunate Red Kite .

13/06/20 Red Kite In Area 10 a Coal Tit was heard near the Green Bridge by Brian Bennett. In Area 5 by the river a Red Kite was soaring in a clear blue sky. Also seen were 2 Jays , singing Song Thrush and a calling Chiffchaff .

12/06/20 Grey Heron Seen in Area 4 was a sundathing Grey Heron . I checked out the newly added Area 7A today and visited Eldridge Park off Bell Foundry Lane.Male Yellowhammer The first bird seen was a singing male Yellowhammer a bit later a Whitethroat was heard singing. More information on the new Area 7A can be foun on the Whats On page.

10/06/20 In Area 10 on the Wet Meadow 6+ juvenile Pheasant were seen by Alan Rymer.

09/06/20 Blackbird In Area 7 at midday, seen and heard where male Blackcap , Wren, Blackbird and Dunnock .

07/06/20 Over Area 5 (Brookside) at midday 9 Red Kite were spiralling on the thermals.

06/06/20 Flying over the Emm and Black Swan Lake this morning in Area 10 were 80 + Swift , 2-3 House Martin , 5+ Sand Martin and a juvenile Grey Wagtail was on the beach by the Dinton Activity Centre seen by Fraser Cottington.Heard singing in Area 8 by Will Day above the wind noise were Greenfinch and Blackcap .

05/06/20 Whitethroat Another singing male Whitethroat this time adjacent to the Emm in Area 8 (Old Forest Road Meadows). 2 Grey Wagtail were seen in Area 10 at the Dinton Activity Centre beach by Alan Rymer and a bit later a Little Ringed Plover was seen at the same location by Tim James. 20 + Swift were also seen.

03/06/20 Whitethroat A male Whitethroat was singing from trees and bushes by the Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10.

02/06/20 Little Egret 3 Grey Wagtail were seen in Area 10 at the Dinton Activity Centre beach by Fraser Cottington. In Area 4 a Little Egret was seen flying over the river.

01/06/20 In Area 4 a Hobby was circling over Paul Bright Thomas's garden. Meanwhile in Area 7 an Oystercatcher was heard flying over by Paul O'Neill.


29/06/20  Yellow-legged Mining Bee   In a sheltered spot out of the wind in the Area 10 Car Park field was a Yellow-legged Mining Bee Andrena flavipes .  Silk Button Gall  On the underside of an Oak leaf was the gall of the Silk Button Gall Wasp Neuroterus numismalis . Butterflies on the wing included Small White Pieris rapae , Meadow Brown Cameraria ohridella and Comma Polygonia c-album .

25/06/20  Cinnabar    Seen munching its way through the Ragwort in Area 10 was a Cinnarbar Tyria jacobaeae caterpillar.

24/06/20 This week is National Insect Week . Organised by the Royal Entomological Society, it encourages everyone to appreciate and learn more about the ‘little things that run the world’. Insects are by far the most diverse and ecologically important group of animals on land and there are over 24,000 known species in the United Kingdom alone, with hundreds of species to be found in almost every garden and green space. With so many to study they are grouped into orders, for example the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Hymenoptera (bees, ants and wasps), Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets) and Coleoptera (beetles) to name a few. Insects have a huge role to play and without them our lives would be very different: they pollinate fruit, flowers and vegetables; they are food for amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals; and they feed on lots of living and dead things themselves, breaking down waste and helping to keep the balance of nature. You can find out more about National Insect Week on their website. National Insect Week

23/06/20  Female Spotted Cranefly Sitting on Ivy in Area 5 was a female Spotted Cranefly Nephrotoma appendiculata.It is by far the commonest tiger cranefly.

21/06/20  Deraeocoris flavilinea In Area 10 was the bug Deraeocoris flavilinea.It is a large and fairly distinctive bug. A species which has rapidly colonised the UK following its arrival in 1996 and is now widely established and common across southern and central Britain at least. Blue tailed Damselfly Also seen was Blue tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans resting between the showers.  Harlequin Ladybird With a ready food supply of Aphids handy, its no wonder that a Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis mind turns to other things.

20/06/20  Meadow Grasshopper I was out with my Sweep net on a Bug hunt across Eldridge Park in Area 7A, this morning. Found were Meadow Grasshopper Pseudochorthippus parallelus a nymph of Short winged Cone head Conocephalus dorsalis One of our two coneheads these are slim bush-crickets with the top of the head projecting well beyond the mouth.  Red-tailed Bumblebee  A Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius Red-tailed Bumblebee is probably the most easily recognised bumblebee species, with its black body and bright orange tail. The workers have the same colouring as the queen but are much smaller. The males also have similar colouring but with more yellow hair. Striped Slender Robberfly  Striped Slender Robberfly Leptogaster cylindrica Most Robber flies are bristly and have a 'moustache' of bristles on their face to protect them when attacking prey. They have a short, strong proboscis, used to stab and inject victims with saliva containing neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes which paralyze and digest the insides. The fly then sucks the liquefied meal through the proboscis. Vapourer Moth Caterpillar Seen on Will Day's Area 6 Garden Buddleia bush was the caterpillar of the Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua also seen by Will were Marbled White Cameraria ohridella in Area 8.

19/06/20  Meadow Brown  Despite the wind blowing across Eldridge Park in Area 7A, Butterflies were still on the wing, Seen were Marbled White Cameraria ohridella , Meadow Brown Cameraria ohridella and a Small Skipper Cameraria ohridella .  Female Swollen Thighed Beetle  On the flower of a Daisy a female Swollen thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis was seen. The female does not have the enlarged thighs of the male. Peacock Catterpillar  Seen crossing the path was a caterpillar of the Peacock Aglais io butterfly.The eggs are placed under a communal web on Nettles , where they hatch. Once fully grown the catterpillars disperse and become solitary. I guess that this one is on its wanderings.

17/06/20  Labyrinth Spider  Having got lucky yesterday, it was back to the Car Park Field in Area 10 to see what else I could find. Positioned low in a Bramble bush was the funnel web of the Labyrinth Spider Agelena labyrinthica The base of the funnel at the centre of the web is where the eggs are laid in an egg sac suspended by silken threads. The spider stands guard at the entrance where their are lots of single strands, a bit like trip wires, that stop entering insects from an easy escape and gradually bringing them nearer to the central funnel from where it can strike! I have heard people refer to these as funnel web spiders which, of course, they are not. Funnel web spiders are an Australian species and are renowned for being very poisonous where as this spider is quite harmless (to humans). They are extremely nervous creatures and quickly retreat down into their funnels at the first sign of trouble which makes photographing them very difficult. Orange-tailed Clearwing  Whilst there I had a chance encounter with Jon Cole and Ian Sims who were using a pheremone lure to attract Clearwing moths This had worked as a Orange-tailed Clearwing Synanthedon andrenaeformis had come to it.Despite an out of focus shot a first for the FOTEB list.

16/06/20  Speckled Bush-cricket   I popped into the Car Park Field in Area 10 at lunch time and concentrated on the field edge hedgerows. Seen on the leaves of a Bramble bush was a Speckled Bush-cricket Leptophyes punctatissima nymph. As the name suggests, the green body is covered in tiny black spots it is also flightless.  Dark Bush-cricket  Also seen was the nymph of the Dark Bush-cricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera The forewings are very small and like all crickets it has very long antennae.  Cinnabar    Stopping briefly on the vegetation was a Cinnarbar Tyria jacobaeae. This is a day flying moth that lays its eggs on Ragwort.

15/06/20  Beautiful Plume   Seen in Area 7A was the moth Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla and the Cranefly Amblyptilia acanthadactyla Tipula fascipennis   This orange-bodied cranefly has a white band on the wing extending right to the leading edge.

13/06/20  Marbled  White   In what turned out to be an unexpected sunny day Butterlies were on the wing. In Area 5 near the pond Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta were seen. Meanwhile in Area 7A my first Marbled White Cameraria ohridella of the year was seen, along with numerous Meadow Brown Cameraria ohridella and a Small Skipper Cameraria ohridella . Silver Y  Also seen was the day flying moth Silver Y Cameraria ohridella and the Grass moth Crambus perlella .

11/06/20  Horse Chestnut Leaf miner   On the Horse Chesnut trees by the river in Area 5 is evidence of the Horse Chestnut Leaf miner Cameraria ohridella a leaf mining moth.Adults appear from April onwards, emerging after overwintering as pupae in leaf litter, and will subsequently mate during the early mornings. Between May and August, females will lay between 20-40 eggs near or along the lateral veins of horse chestnut leaves. From here, these eggs will take 2-3 weeks to hatch. The larvae tunnel or ‘mine’ into the leaves, living between the two epidermis layers (outermost layers of the leaf), eating the contents between, producing the symptomatic brown patches on the host leaves.

10/06/20  Little Snipe Fly   On riverside vegetation in Area 5 by Dragonfly Bridge was a Little Snipe Fly Chrysopilus asiliformis A relatively small and delicate, grey-dusted snipe fly with rather striking green eyes.

09/06/20  Male Stag Beetle  Seen on an Area 5 garden fence was a fine male Stagbeetle Lucanus cervus seen by Fran Stickler.

08/06/20  Chrysopilus cristatus In Area 10 the Snipe fly Chrysopilus cristatus was on riverside Umbellifers. This is a snipe fly with a dark 'shade' on the outside of each wing.

07/06/20  Meadow Brown  In the Car Park field in Area 10 Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina butterflies are now on the wing. In Area 9 at Blackberry Gardens more Meadow Brown Nemophora degeerella were seen along with a Large Skipper Ochlodes sylvanus and a Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae . This now brings this years FOTEB Butterfly list to 10 species. Peacock Caterpillars  Also seen in Area 10 on Nettles were the caterpillars of Peacock Aglais io butterfly.

05/06/20/ Common Blue  Flying around Area 8 at Old Forest Road Meadows was a tatty looking Common Blue Nemophora degeerella butterfly.

04/06/20/ Yellow-barred Long-horn  On Nettles in Area 4 near to Kingfisher Bridge was a female day flying micro moth Yellow-barred Long-horn Nemophora degeerella .The males of this longhorn moth have extremely long antennae up to three and a half to four times the length of the forewing and are the longest in the British Lepidoptera, the females are much shorter.

03/06/20/ 7 spot Lady Bird  In Area 10 on the riverside vegetation numerous 7 spot Lady Bird Coccinella septempunctata were seen along with some larvae.

01/06/20/  Common Drone Fly   Alongside the river in Area 5 Common Drone Fly Eristalis tenax were enjoying the Cow Parsley.

Plants/ Trees

27/06/20  Ladys Bedstraw  As it was a bit gloomy and drizzly. I decided to look at the flowers in Area 7A. The grassed areas had obviously had a wild flower mix added to them as they contained Ladys Bedstraw Galium verum, Hedge Bedstraw Galium mollugo , Self-heal Prunella vulgaris , Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa , Common Vetch Vicia sativa , Lesser Knapweed Centaurea nigra and in the Ashridge Stream what I believe to be Watercress Nasturtium officinale ,

21/06/20  Hazel Nuts  In Area 10 the nuts of the Hazel Corylus avellana are starting to ripen. Meadowsweet  One of the great smells of summer for me is the fragrance of Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria . It is a member of the Rose family. Look for frothy clusters of cream flowers on tall stems.Its sweet smell encouraged people to display it in their houses in past times; but if crushed, it can smell more like antiseptic!

20/06/20  Purple Loosestrife  All along the Emm Brook Purple Loosestrife Coccinella septempunctata  Rosebay Willowherb  and Rosebay Willowherb Coccinella septempunctata are just starting to emerge.  Wild Flower Meadow  Meanwhile the Wild Flower Meadow at Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8 is going from strength to strength. It mainly consists of Corn Marigold Glebionis segetum , Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas and Ox-eye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare .

19/06/20  Reed Mace  In one of the ponds at Eldridge Park in Area 7A Reed Mace Typha latifolia seems to be taking over, also seen and obviously planted was  American Water Plantain  American Water Plantain Pentaglottis sempervirens American water plantain is a very unusual looking marginal plant with dark green spoon-shaped leaves and an airy flower head with multiple small pinkish-white flowers.

16/06/20  Green Alkanet  In the Car Park Field car park in Area 10 was a solitary Green Alkanet Pentaglottis sempervirens. This can sometimes be a confusing plant to identify. It has piercing blue flowers not dissimilar to forget-me-nots and borage and hair leaves that look a bit like both these plants and also comfrey.All are part of the Boraginaceae plant family.

09/06/20  Hemlock  In Area 7 was a magnificent 8 ft Hemlock Conium maculatum. Hemlock can be distinguished by the distinctive and unpleasant, mousy smell of its foliage and its purple-spotted stems.  Hemlock Stem Hemlock is a notoriously poisonous plant however it has a repellent smell when its leaves are crushed, helping to ensure that accidental poisonings don't occur very often.

07/06/20  Water Dropwort  Between the Emm Brook and Black Swan Lake in Area 10 by the beach Water Dropwort sp Oenanthe can be seen in good quantities.

05/06/20  Corn Marigold  A wander through Area 8 at Old Forest Road Meadows today and seen were Corn Marigold Glebionis segetum , Red Clover Trifolium pratense ,  Common Poppy  Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas and Field Bindweed Convolvulus arvensis .

01/06/20  Dog rose  In Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre car park Dog rose Rosa canina are still in bloom.

Amphibians and Reptiles

21/06/20 Froglet  Crossing the path by the Emm at the Car Park field in Area 10, were several tiny froglets Common Frog Rana temporaria


21/06/20 Male Roe Deer  Seen again in Area 4 was a young male Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus . With all the birds alarm calling at the Bridge over the Emm adjacent to the Car Park field in Area 10, I soon found out the reason a Stoat Mustela erminea was seen running across the bridge with prey in its mouth. It dived into the vegetation when it saw me.A great moment.

10/06/20 Male Roe Deer  Seen in Area 4 was a young male Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus

Fish/ Crustaceans

18/06/20 Seen by Will Day in the Emm up and downstream of Toutley Bridge on Old Forest Road in Areas 7 & 8 were a large shoal of approxiamately 40 Roach Rutilus rutilus with a couple of Perch Perca fluviatilis in amongst them.

05/06/20 Roach  Seen from the first bridge over the Emm in Area 8 (Old Forest Road Meadows) were 2 Roach Rutilus rutilus a member of the Carp family.