Latest Sightings August 2019

Click on the link to send in your sightings info@foteb.org.uk to help us monitor Emm Brook wildlife.

For previous months sightings see Archive

The "Area Seen" refers to the 10 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 August

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. W. H. Davies.

Birds

24/08/19 A maximum of 20 Goldfinch Adults and Juveniles were in and around my garden and on my garden feeders this morning. In Area 10 , 2 Grey Wagtail were on the old golf course and 23 Black Tern were on Black Swan Lake before flying off over the Emm and the Dinton Activity Centre. Both sightings by Fraser Cottington. A Yellow Wagtail was flushed by Trevor Guyatt before flying towards the Dinton Activity Centre.

23/08/19 A Little Egret was seen flying over along the Emm Brook near the Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington.

22/08/19   Mute Swan  I visited Heathlake in Area 1 at lunchtime, seen were Great crested Grebe , plenty of Black headed Gull , numerous Mallard , Coot and 2 Adult Mute Swan with 7 cygnets.

21/08/19 10 Swift were seen flying over Black Swan Lake in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington.

20/08/19 In Area 4 a Hobby was seen flying low N over his garden by Paul Bright Thomas.5 Swallow were feeding in amongst the Cows in the Ludgrove School fields in Area 2, a Ring necked Parakeet was heard calling and 2 Whitethroat were in amongst the bushes at the field edge.

19/08/19 Richard Marsh saw a Sparrowhawk perched in a bush on the far side ofthe Lavells Lake wet meadow in Area 10.

18/08/19 A Grey Wagtail was seen feeding on the river edges whilst Balsam pulling along the river this morning in Areas 5 & 6.

17/08/19 Area 10 again and 2 Swift were seen over Lavells Lake and the Emm Brook. At the bottom of the car park field in a Hawthorn bush was a Lesser Whitethroat . Seen massing over Black Swan Lake were a minimum of 3 Swift , Swallow , Sand Martin and 70 + House Martin all sightings by Fraser Cottington.

16/08/19 In Area 10 a Peregrine was seen heading south east along the Emm Brook by Fraser Cottington. A Green Sandpiper flew into the water meadow area and a Kingfisher was seen flying near the Green bridge, both sightings by Richard Marsh.

15/08/19 In Area 7 an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen on top of the cement silo in the Bovis site at Emmbrook Place by Paul O'Neill.

12/08/19 At 04:30 and then again at 05:00 Herring Gull flew over my house heading S calling this morning. Also at 05:00 a calling Grey Heron flew over.

08/08/19 It was a colourful bird name day at the Car Park Field in Area 10. On my arrival a Green Woodpecker was calling, this was followed by a calling, flyover Grey Wagtail . A male Blackcap was alarm calling from the bushes and Goldfinch were feeding on seeds heads. A small flock of Blue Tits were moving through the bushes around the field. The only non-colourful bird was a calling Chiffchaff .

07/08/19/   Rook  I visited Area 2 around Ludgrove School. In the horse and cow fields were numerous Corvids mainly Jackdaw with a supporting cast of Rook and Carrion Crow . Red Kite were wheeling and circling in the air overhead.

03/08/19/ In Area 10 a Barn Owl was seen at the entrance to the box by Les Blundell in the Lavells Lake Wet Meadow. Click on the link for more information Berkshire Barn Owls

02/08/19/ In Area 2 at lunchtime near Ludgrove School, 2 House Martin were feeding over the rooftops. A Green Woodpecker was calling and a party of Ring necked Parakeets flew through.

01/08/19/   Blackbird  This was the welcome sight outside my Area 5 kitchen window today, a Blackbird giving a slug a good pasting. The bird was holding the slug in its beak and moving its head from side to side, smashing its prize into the path, presumably to tenderise it before eating.or maybe just to remove the slime off the Slug.   Blackbird  I've seen thrushes use a stone as an anvil on slugs, but not this. It's a perfect illustration of why introducing birds into the garden is a must for the organic gardener.

Insects

23/08/19   Knopper Gall  In Area 10 at the Car Park field, evidence that the Knopper gall wasp Andricus quercuscalicis has been about its business.The Knopper gall wasp, is a tiny wasp that produces ridged outgrowths, or 'galls', on the acorns of our native Pedunculate Oak; forming in August they are sticky and red, later becoming woody and brown. Inside the gall, the larvae of the wasp feed on the host tissues, but cause little damage.  Syrphus ribesii  The hoverfly Syrphus ribesiiSyrphus ribesii was enjoying the nectar from the flowers at the Car Park field.

21/08/19   Acorn Weevil  In Area 10 a Female Acorn Weevil Curculio glandium was sitting on Buddleia leaves. The most striking feature of the acorn weevil is its elongated snout, known as a 'rostrum', which is longer in females than males. The female uses the long rostrum (snout) to bore into the centre of an acorn to lay her egg.   Acorn Weevil  The larva feeds within the acorn and eventually bores its way out. The larvae are short, and cylindrical in shape, and move by means of ridges on the underside of the body.

19/08/19   Common Darter (Female)  Resting on Himalayan Balsam by the Emm in the Area 10 Car Park field was a Female Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum Dragonfly. As their name suggests, Common Darters dart forward suddenly from a hovering position to catch their insect-prey. They then take their catch to a favoured perch to eat it.   Volucella zonaria  Seen on Buddleia flowers, where the Emm emerges into Dinton Pastures after crossing under the A329M was the Hoverfly Volucella zonaria .This is a hornet mimic and is one of our largest and most spectacular hoverflies which can be recognised by its yellow and black banded abdomen.

18/08/19   Amblyptilia acanthadactyla  On the kitchen wall this morning was a Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla moth obviously attracted to the kitchen light.  Orange Swift  A Orange Swift Triodia sylvina also flew through an open window whilst I was updating the website. During Balsam pulling along the river this morning in Areas 5 & 6 numerous Mother of Pearl Patania ruralis moths were sheltering from the rain under the leaves of the riverside vegetation.

16/08/19   Leiobunum rotundum  With the current wet and changeable weather, Insects are a bit thin on the ground. In Area 10 at the Car Park field, not strictly an Insect, and not even a Spider.( Harvestmen have one body section (spiders have two), two eyes on a little bump (most spiders have eight), a segmented abdomen (unsegmented in spiders), no silk, no venom, a totally different respiratory system, and many other differences). But you can't be choosy. Seen was a female Leiobunum rotundum . The female of this Harvestmen species has a dark saddle that is largely parallel-sided.

11/08/19 In Area 7, basking in the sunshine on a Bramble bush were Large White Pieris brassicae , Comma Polygonia c-album and Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria Butterflies.

08/08/19   Painted Lady  Hardly the promised invasion and 'once in a decade' wildlife phenomenon, but finally 2 Painted Lady Vanessa cardui were added to the FOTEB Butterfly List. This brings the total to 20 species this year. Also seen on the Thistles at the Old Golf Course in Area 10 were , Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas , Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina , Large White Pieris brassicae and Green veined White Pieris napi . In the grass, lots of stridulating Meadow Grasshoppers Chorthippus parallelus were seen and heard. As I walked through the grass I disturbed a lot of Grass moths, mostly Agriphila straminella By day they rest head-down on grass stalks and are easily disturbed.. At the Car Park field 20 Male Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens were on the riverside vegetation.

04/08/19   Small Copper  In Area 9 at Blackberry Garden, several Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas butterflies were seen, along with a Large White Pieris brassicae . At Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8 we undertook a "Bug Hunt " with the sweep net.Swept from the grass alongside the path were Common Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina , Hairy Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum , Bishops Mitre Shieldbug Aelia acuminata and Tortoise Bug Eurygaster (cf) testudinaria .  Meadow Grasshopper A Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus and Miridius quadrivirgatus were also seen . This Plant bug is a large and long-legged species with a long 1st antennal segment and diagnostic markings; unbroken red and cream stripes run the full length of the head, pronotum and scutellum.   Miridius quadrivirgatus Once historically mainly coastal, it has recently become more common inland.

01/08/19   Gatekeeper  On a very brief lunchtime visit to the car park field in Area 10, several Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus were resting on the shrubs. Also resting on the vegetation was a Long Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta and a Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus .

Plants/ Trees

18/08/19   Guelder Rose  In the hedgerow around the Car Park field in Area 10 is Guelder Rose Viburnum opulus , in the Autumn the leaves turn to red and round, translucent, bright red berries appear in hanging bunches.

13/08/19   Water Mint  Blackberry Gardens in Area 9 is the perfect place to see Water Mint Mentha aquatica with its damp areas.

10/08/19   Common Toadflax  A quick wander before the Balsam pulling alongside the river in Area 8 at Old Forest Road Meadows, and I found Common Toadflax Linaria vulgaris . The pale yellow flowers, resembling small snapdragons.

09/08/19   Sloe  Sloe berries the fruit of Blackthorn Prunus spinosa are starting to ripen in Area 10 by the Junior Rangers Garden. In the Garden itself Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria is putting on a good display.  Purple Loosestrife  Purple-loosestrife can be found in wet habitats, such as reedbeds, fens, marshes and riverbanks, where its impressive spikes of magenta flowers rise up among the grasses. It flowers between June and August, when its nectar becomes a valuable food source for long-tongued insects.

05/08/19   Greater Burdock  Down by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 this morning on my walk to work Greater Burdock Arctium lappa were seen poking through the Hops Humulus lupulus that were climbing up an adjacent tree.

Fungi

05/08/19    Southern Bracket  In Area 4, near Kingfisher Bridge is the magnificent Southern Bracket Ganoderma australe . This is a large bracket fungus varying in colour from ochre, through reddish to dark brown. The underside is white.

04/08/19    Sulpher Tuft  On the path by the Bridge in Area 8 at Old Forest Meadows what I believe to be Sulpher Tuft Pacifastacus leniusculus is on display.

Other Wildlife

Amphibians and Reptiles

Mammals

18/08/19 Early this morning a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was seen running up the middle of Brookside. The first for quite a while.

13/08/19    Hedgehog   Coming to the dry cat food put out in my Area 5 garden overnight , apart from the neighbourhood cats were    Wood Mouse  2 European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus and a solitary Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus it had obviously decided to leave the comfort of the Garage.

02/08/19 At 04:00 this morning a European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus was munching on the cat food in my Area 5 garden.

01/08/19 In myArea 5 garage when getting bird seed this morning a Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus was seen running for cover

Fish/ Crustaceans

18/08/19 Whilst Balsam pulling along the river this morning in Areas 5 & 6 a Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus was disturbed from a length of pipe in the river, seen by Chas Stickler.

09/08/19 Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus numbers had swelled to 21 this morning by the Bridge works on Emmbrook Road in Area 7.In Area 10, 6 Chub Squalius cephalus were seen in the Emm from the Bridge by the Junior Rangers Garden.

03/08/19    Signal Crayfish Following the tip off from William Day I visited the Emm by the Bridge works on Emmbrook Road in Area 7 and was amazed to see 12 Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus in the River.   Signal Crayfish Introduced from the USA, these crayfish are up to 15 cm, encased in a tough shell and armed with two large smooth claws. They are bluish-brown to reddish-brown in colour. They have a white to pale blue-green patch near the claw hinge.    Signal Crayfish The claws are orange/red on the underside.A voracious predator it will eat almost anything it finds including plants, invertebrates, snails, small fish and fish eggs. It is also a cannibal that makes a meal of its own young.

02/08/19   Crayfish In the Emm by the Bridge works on Emmbrook Road in Area 7, 3 Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus were caught on camera by William Day. This is I believe the largest number seen together on the Emm .