Latest Sightings August 2018

Click on the link to send in your sightings foteb @hotmail.co.uk or cut and paste address.

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 ).

All sightings unless stated are from personal observations by Eddie Napper


Click on any picture to see a larger image

Birds

20/08/18 At 06:10 a Coal Tit was on the garden feeders and then calling from the Yew tree.

19/08/18  Goldfinch I can only assume that there has been a second brood of Goldfinch in Area 5 this year as 2 adults and a juvenile were on the feeders this morning. Whilst waiting for Lidl to open this morning, I quickly looked at the Emm by the bridge on Ashville Way in Area 3. In a serendipitous moment, first heard and then seen flying upstream, before leaving the river and flying over the flats was a Kingfisher .

18/08/18  Nuthatch Walking around the road to Ludgrove School this morning and seen were 20 Swallow feeding low in a cow field, a solitary House Martin around the school buildings, a calling Ring necked Parakeet and Green & Great spotted Woodpecker . On the Area 5 feeders a Nuthatch was on the feeders enjoying the Black Sunflower seeds.

17/08/18 It was a bit of a feeding fest, on my Area 5 garden feeders this morning with a peak count of 6 Magpie probably lured in by the introduction of Mealworms at the feeding station. A Kingfisher flew upstream on the Emm Brook from the Car Park field bridge in Area 10 at lunchtime.

13/08/18 A Green Woodpecker was seen on the Area 5 pond path by Fran Stickler.

12/08/18 During Balsam pulling this morning on the Emm in Area 7 a Kingfisher was seen flying up the river. In the Area 10 car park field off Sandford Lane a Ring necked Parakeet a male Bullfinch an alarm calling Blackcap and a Goldfinch were all seen. A party of 6 House Martin ,were feeding over the fields and treetops in Area 1 near Luckley School.

11/08/18 On the garden feeders today along with the usual aset strippers( Wood Pigeon , Magpie ) were a party of 6 Goldfinch . I'm not sure how many you need for a charm, is it just more than a pair.Paul O'Neill was at Old Forest Road Meadows and saw Buzzard , a calling Chiffchaff and 300 Wood Pigeon in a stubble field.

09/08/18  Herring Gull Balsam pulling on the Emm in Ashville Way off Molly Millars Lane this evening gave me a quick chance to look arond part of Area 3. On top of the flats were the resident, very noisy and dirty Herring Gull . I believe that they successfully bred here again this year.  Herring Gull . Earlier in the day 2 male Bullfinch were seen flying out of a riverside bush in Area 5.

08/08/18 A Ring necked Parakeet and a female Sparrowhawk were seen by Bob Bennett flying over the Area 10 car park field.

07/08/18  Mute Swan and cygnets A walk around Heath Lake in Area 1 this morning was quite productive, even with reduced water levels. One half of the Mute Swan parents was sitting in the shade with 4 cygnets. A pair of Coot were busy feeding their very demanding offspring.  Coot A Kingfisher flew across the lake before landing in lakeside bushes and a Willow Warbler was singing from the woods.Also seen were Cormorrant ,Grey Heron , Black headed Gull , Mallard , Great crested Grebe and Moorhen .

06/08/18 A male Bullfinch and a Green Woodpecker were seen by Richard Marsh in the Area 10 car park field.

04/08/18  Red Kite Area 5 and 8 both had Red Kite , Jay and a calling Green Woodpecker this morning. Area 8 also had a calling Chiffchaff moving up the riverside bushes and a pair of Stock Dove . This Red Kite in Area 5 was enjoying the thermals in a cloudless sky. Barn Owl 2 Barn Owl were seen sitting in bushes in the paddock adjacent to the Emm in Area 10 by Andy Dearing and Ida Groot. Photo courtesy of Ida Groot.

02/08/18 An adult Barn Owl was seen briefly in the Area 10 nesting box doorway by Richard Marsh.

01/08/18 This is unfortunately the time of year when the same birds visit my Area 5 garden feeders, most days. Wood Pigeon , Magpie , Collared Dove , Robin , Starling and Great Tit are the main 6 contenders. I can only hope for a cameo appearance for someting a bit more exotic maybe towards the end of the month when summer migrants are returning home to Africa.

Insects

20/08/18   Green Leaf-hopper(Female) A lunchtime visit to Blackberry Gardens in Area 8. In the grass was the distinctive Green Leaf-hopper Cicadella viridis . Length 6-8 mm. A large and eye-catching species. The bicoloured pronotum (yellow at the front and green at the rear) is distinctive. The forewings of the female are bright turquoise green, but those of the male are much darker blue-purple and may even be blackish.

19/08/18   Common Carder Bumblebee Following the recent hot weather, the Buddleia in my Area 5 garden seem to be the only reliable source of nectar for foraging Insects. Seen today on the Buddleia flowers were Common Carder Bumblebee Bombus pascuorum

18/08/18   Parent Bug A first for the FOTEB list, in the shape of a Parent Bug Elasmucha grisea by the bridge on Alders in Area 1.For a long time now, I've wanted to witness a Parent bug, doing it's namesake! It is one species of Shieldbug where the females guard the eggs, then the newly hatched young until they reach a certain size, by which time her job is done and she dies. I'm still trying to figure out if the parent is stii there.

17/08/18   Pemphigus sphaerotheca On the Lombardy Poplar Populus nigra Italica down by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4, the gall of the Poplar spiral gall aphid Pemphigus sphaerotheca can be seen.   Speckled Wood In Area 10 a Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria butterfly was enjoying the lunchtime sunshine. Speckled Wood are on the wing in two or three broods between the end of March and October. It tends to fly in the dappled sunlight, where the spots on its wings help it to camouflage its self.

14/08/18   Female Oak Bush Cricket After a fairly uneventful Bug hunt in Area 5 at lunch time, I returned to my car to find a Female Oak Bush Cricket Meconema thalassinum sitting on the car bonnet(missing a hind leg).This is a completely arboreal species. It is the only Bush-cricket which is largely carnivorous, eating a range of other insects. Eggs are laid in crevices in bark or under mosses or lichens.The female has a long, slightly upturned ovipositor; the male has long curved cerci. Both sexes are fully winged.

12/08/18  Green Dock Beetle At the carpark field in Area 10 a solitary Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula was found not suprisingly on a Dock plant.

09/08/18  Silk Button Spangle Gall Oaks, especially the native species Quercus robur and Quercus petraea are the host plants for more than 30 species of gall wasp. It is the larval stage of these insects that induce the plant to produce abnormal growths, known as galls, that enclose the developing larvae. Common Spangle Gall Along the Emm in Area 5 at least 4 can be seen Silk Button Spangle Gall Neuroterus numismalis , Marble Gall Andricus kollari , Marble Gall Gall , Knopper Gall Andricus quercuscalicis and Common Spangle Gall Neuroterus quercusbaccarum .

07/08/18  Pond Skater Sitting on the water at Heath Lake in Area 1 were a lot of Common Pond Skater Gerris lacustris .Pond skaters have thin, brownish-grey bodies and small heads with large eyes. They use their legs to move across the pond’s surface. Using a rowing action the middle pair of legs propel them forwards, often at great speed. The back legs act as rudders while the short front legs seize dead or dying insects that have dropped onto the water. They have sensitive hairs on their bodies and legs to detect vibrations and ripples on the pond surface.Common Pond Skaters have water-repellent hairs on the bottom of their feet, enabling them to walk on the surface film of the water. Also seen was male Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum Dragonflies and male Common Blue Enallagma cyathigerum damselflies.

05/08/18  Toadflax Brocade Catterpillar On a garden ornament in my Area 5 garden was a caterpillar of the Toadflax Brocade Calophasia lunula moth. A relative newcomer to the UK, it first appeared on the South Coast in the 1950's and has been moving slowly North.  Toadflax Brocade Caterpillar . Whilst taking photos of the caterpillar a female Common Blue Polyommatus icarus appeared on my Golden Rod.  Female Common Blue Living up to its name, this butterfly is the commonest blue found in the British Isles. While the male has bright blue uppersides, the female is primarily brown, with a highly variable amount of blue.This is the 15th Butterfly species for the FOTEB list this year.

04/08/18  Male Common Darter Despite a real effort in Area 5 and 8 this morning, Insects were hard to find. A male Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum was moving between riverside vegetation and the bridge in Old Forest Meadows (Area 8). Grass was checked for Grasshoppers and Crickets but virtually no stridulation was heard. The only positive ID was of a Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus . Holly Blue A Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus butterfly was resting on the bushes in Area 5.

03/08/18  Large White With the temperature in Area 5 reaching 31.2C, trips out were brief. Possibly liking the conditions more than me were Large White Pieris brassicae butterflies as a lot were seen on the wing, perhaps being white their colour reflects the heat better than the dark browns, which hide away in the shade during the hottest part of the day.

Plant/Trees

17/08/18  Elderberries As we move closer to Autumn, Elderberries the fruit of the Elder Sambucus nigra tree are starting to ripen along the Emm.

12/08/18  Burdock At this time of the year Burdock Arctium minus is visible along the river. These were seen in Area 10.But did you know that the Burdock plant is also the inspiration behind Velcro.In 1941 a Swiss engineer named George de Mestral was hunting in the Jura mountains in Switzerland when he noticed small burrs from what was later identified as the Burdock plant stuck to his trousers legs and covering his dog’s fur. He took them home and examined the tiny hooks at the ends of the burr’s projections under a microscope, and he observed an interlocking mechanism that inspired him to consider: could a series of small-scale, interlocking hooks have a practical application in clothing. In 1948, de Mestral patented his idea and, along with help from friends in the weaving business, finally duplicated the hook and loop fastener inspired by the Burdock plant. The result of his new invention was Velcro ® brand fasteners, a name that came from the French words for velvet (“velours”) and hook (“crochet”).

09/08/18  Maple Tar Spot Along the river on Sycamore Epilobium hirsutum trees. Maple Tar Spot Rhytisma acerinum can be seen. Tar spot is a very conspicuous fungal leaf spot disease of sycamore and some other maples. The large leaf spots actually do very little damage to the tree. Tar spot is a leaf spot disease caused by the fungus Rhytisma acerinum. It is seen most commonly on sycamore, but can also affect a number of other acer species. The spots are unsightly, and the disease can cause slightly premature leaf fall. It has no long-term effect on the vigour of affected trees.

05/08/18 The prolonged dry conditions have caused the grass to go brown almost everywhere you look at the moment along the Emm Brook. Grasses are a group of plants that are drought adapted and when it rains you can be confident that it will green up again quite rapidly. Other plants respond differently, most annuals are as crisp as the grass, often growing less than usual and seeding earlier before the lack of water kills them.

04/08/18  Sloe In Area 5 , Sloes the fruit of the Blackthorn Prunus spinosa are starting to appear.The sloes can be used for wine making and preserves, and, most commonly, flavouring gin.

01/08/18  Great Willowherb Down by the pond( that is currently dry ) in Area 5 Great Willowherb Epilobium hirsutum can be seen on the edges. Blackberry Meanwhile in Area 4 near Kingfisher Bridge, Blackberry Rubus fruticosus are enjoying the warm weather and nicely ripening.

Other Wildlife

Amphibians and Reptiles

Mammals

12/08/18 During the Balam pulling in Area 7 this morning a large Fox Vulpes vulpes was seen following the edge of the bushes of the river by Fran Stickler.

09/08/18 2 Hedgehog Erinaceus eoropaeus were feeding in my Area 5 garden at 04.40 this morning.

04/08/18 At 05.10 a Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus was seen flying around my Area 5 garden.

03/08/18  Hedgehog At 02:30 in my Area 5 garden a Hedgehog Erinaceus eoropaeus was caught running past the trail-cam.

Molluscs

12/08/18  Black Slug In Area 8 a Black Slug Arion ater agg was making, what must have been painfull progress across the stone path. With the return of the rain out come the Snails. Amber Snail This Amber Snail Succinea putris was on vegetation in Area 10.

04/08/18  Swan Mussel With the water level having dropped in Heath Lake in Area 1 the empty shells of the freshwater mollusc Swan Mussel Anodonta cygnea were seen lying on the edges, probably eaten by Cormorrants.

Fish

04/08/18  Chub Looking over the bridge in Old Forest Road Meadows, I spied 2 Chub Squalius cephalus heading downstream.

Fungi

09/08/18  Artist’s fungus In Area 5 by Dragonfly Bridge the fungi Artist’s fungus Ganoderma applanatum can be seen on the trees to the rear of the bridge. This fungus forms bracket-like fruit bodies that are reddish brown in colour . Spores are released from pores located on the underside of the fungus. The pores are initially white, but become brownish as they age . Artist’s fungus releases massive amounts of brown spores, which collect on other fruit bodies and on the trunk of the host tree. This often gives the impression that the area has been liberally sprinkled with cocoa .

07/08/18  Razor Strop Fungus At Heath Lake in Area 1 the fungi Birch Polypore or Razor Strop Fungus Piptoporus betulinus was seen on a fallen |Birch tree. This large polypore develops from a small white spherical swelling on the side of dead or living birch trees. Barbers used to 'strop' or sharpen their cut-throat razors on tough, leathery strips cut from the surfaces of these polypores, and so they became known as the Razor Strop Fungus.