Latest Sightings March 2016

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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

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Chiffchaffl In Area 5 a Chiffchaff was calling from a tree adjacent to the Emm. The male Blackcap was back again on my garden bird table and Great spotted and Green Woodpecker were by the river.


Following the previous nights rain, it was nice to be greeted with a sunny Bank Holiday morning. In my garden at 06:30 was a singing male Blackcap in the Holly bush, possibly a freshly arrived migrant . In the distance was a singing male Chiffchaff and if any further signs were needed that Spring is in the air a pair of Magpie were seen busily nest building (mostly moss and twigs) in the Yew tree in my Area 5 garden. A Starling was also seen carrying of nesting material from the garden.


A Sparrowhawk was seen flying over high over Area 5 this morning at 06:15. There also seemed o be a bit of Wood Pigeon movement with at least 150 seen heading N in approxiamately 1 hour. Similar reports from Fraser Cottington wathching Area 10 at around the same time who had many groups of 15-50 passing NE, certainly no less than 250 went through in 50 minutes.


To the rear of Tesco's carpark in Area 2 at 10:30 the first male Chiffchaff of the year was heard calling from nearby trees. Meanwhile in Area 5 to the rear of Morrisons, near Dragonfly Bridge another male Chiffchaff was calling at 11:30 from the wooded area adjacent to the Emm.


Pied Wagtail In Area 8 by Old Forest Road at 08:30 a Little Egret flew over the Emm. 2 Pied Wagtail were feeding in the Bean field. In Area 7 Skylark were singing high in the sky over the site of the North Wokingham Distributor Road .


Seen during the Litter pick in Area 4 at 11:30 a Little Egret flew from the Emm to the trees. It was later seen flying N over my Area 5 house at 13:30. A male Bullfich was near Kingfisher Bridge and at least 50 Redwing were feeding on the newly mowed parkland near Meadow Road. A Buzzard was also seen flying over Area 5. On my garden feeders were 5 Siskin .


Song Thrush On my walk to work this morning a Song Thrush was singing its beautifuly melodious song from a tree along side the Emm. Paul Bright Thomas was in his Area 4 garden this morning and heard/saw a Lesser Redpoll singing, a Siskin flying over, 3 singing Redwing and a Canada Goose flying along the Emm Brook.


4, what I believe to be Greylag Goose flew over my Area 5 garden this morning calling at 06:15.


A Sparrowhawk swooped low over Brookside in Area 5, before landing on a garden fence.


Buzzard At 13:00 today over my Area 5 house, 4 Buzzard and a Red Kite were drifting South on whatever thermals there were today. In Area 10 at car park field Fraser Cottington saw numerous Red Kite a Sparrowhawk and 10-20 Redwing a Skylark was also seen across the landfill area.


Little Egret Red Kite Red Kite A good hour and a half spent this morning in Areas 1 & 2. A single Lapwing flew over calling. 2 Little Egret were seen in a distant tree. Black headed Gull and Herring Gull were in the nearby fields along with a flock of 15 (Parliament)of 15 Magpie. I was alerted to a very noisy pair of Red Kite that were calling from a dead tree. They were soon joined by what I assume was another male that was quickly chased off. The pair then flew to another tree where copulation took place. The 2nd male reappeared and was quicly chased off again. A Buzzard was seen over the woods being harrased by a Carrion Crow . Little Owl Walking back a Little Owl was seen on the branches of an Oak tree and then in a hole in the branch.


Dunnock Further evidence that Spring is on its way today with a Blue Tit checking out nestbox 42 in Area 5,more birds are singing for territorys and mates. A male Dunnock was near Dragonfly Bridge singing for all it was worth. Unfortunately not in this picture.


Canada Geese Great spotted Woodpecker Area 8 was the chosen area first thing this morning, 15 Canada Geese flew over in formation heading N. A Kingfisher was seen on the Emm near the culvert under the Motorway, before flying upstream . It was also seen another 2 times, always flying upstream towards Old Forest Road In Area 5 around the feeders at the pond a Great spotted Woodpecker was on the fat square. Buzzard A Buzzard was sitting in the riverside trees. Both Greenfinch & Chaffinch were on the feeders. A Kingfisher was seen flying upstream over Dragonfly Bridge. Whether it was the same bird seen earlier or a new one I dont know but the two sightings are approx 1.5km apart.


Blackbird Fieldfare In Area 10, Richard Marsh saw a Mistle Thrush and a male and female Bullfinch in the car park field off Sandford Lane. In Area 4 & 5 this morning it was a fairly average walk. Around the pond a pair of Mallard were on the pond, at the feeders were Siskin , Great Tit and Robin . The flock of Redwing were at 50+ and very mobile.A Blackbird was seen showing some leucistic features.The condition is typically referred to as ‘leucism’.It is not yet clear why Blackbirds appear to be particularly affected. It could be that they are unusually susceptible to the condition. However, being black or, in the case of female Blackbirds dark brown, any light-coloured feathers show up particularly clearly.


Flying over Area 5 this evening were 3 Canada Goose calling.


Mallard In Area 5 at the pond a pair of Mallard have taken up residence. Who knows what the spring will bring



Emmelina monodactyla In my Area 5 garden the neighbours have had a new fence installed,which involved the removal of Ivy. This probably caused me finding this Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla One of the commonest of the 'Plume' moths all over Britain, and one of the few to be found in the early part of the year, as the adults occur in all months. Like most of the Pterophoridae, the wings are cleft or divided, but this can be difficult to see, as the moth often rests with the wings rolled up tightly. The wing colour is usually pale brownish, but can be darker. Each pair of spurs on the hind legs has one spur longer than the other. The abdomen has a pale buff dorsal longitudinal band with brown streaks along the midline. It occurs in any suitable habitat where the larval foodplants, Bindweeds (Convolvulus and Calystegia spp.), occur. May to September.


7 Spot Ladybird Dock Bug With the Spring sun out for a few days it was no suprise to see in Area 5 the Dock Bug Coreus marginatus and a 7 Spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata .The very common Seven Spot Ladybird is usually red, occasionally yellow. Its seven black spots are arranged three on each wing case or elytron and one at the back sitting across the two elytra.


Buff Tailed Bumblebee During a bit of gardening in my Area 5 garden a Bumblebee was seen in the afternoon sunshine, believed to be Buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris .


Zebra Spider With the sun shining late morning it was no suprise to see a male Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus (males are brown and white, females black and white) sunning itself in my Area 5 garden.


Endothenia gentianaeana in Teasel head I got around to having a look at some teasels today which are growing in Area 8 off Old Forest Road I cut off a seed head, which was found to be tenanted with a single caterpillar of Endothenia gentianaeana This is the most likely species to be found in teasels feeding on the central pith Its presence will be obvious because most of the central pith will have been eaten and there will be lots of frass.


Case-bearing Clothes Moth In Area 5 the first moth of the year was seen in my house. Unfortunately it was a Case-bearing Clothes Moth Tinea pellionella . I probably need to check the wardrobe.

Other Wildlife



In Area 5 at dusk this evening between Dragonfly Bridge and the new pond a Pipistrelle Bat Pipistrellus pipistrellus was seen by Holly Swift. Pipistrelle's usually emerge around 20 minutes after sunset.


In Area 5 this evening at 18:40 at Ripplestream Bridge the first Pipistrelle Bat Pipistrellus pipistrellus of the year were seen feeding over the Emm. The last few warmer days have obviously lured them out.


Driving home through Area 4 at 23:00 a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was senn running through ther front gardens of houses on Meadow Road.


Roe Deer In Area 8 off Old Forest Road, this morning the distinctive white rump of a Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen disappearing through a hedge after I had unfortunately spooked it. In Area 10 numerous Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus were feeding in the car park field.



Fish/ Crustacean



Wood Anemone Wood Anemone In Area 5 nicely hidden away is this clump of Wood anemone Anemone nemorosa On warm spring days large clumps of wood anemones can give off a strong, musky perfume. Wood anemones are also known as windflowers, the Ancient Greeks believed the Wood anemone was a gift from the wind god Anemos (or Eurus), sent to herald his coming in spring. Smell foxes is another name given to the wood anemone due to the musky scent of the flower. In Britain the seeds of wood anemones are mostly infertile and so it spreads slowly through the growth of its roots.


Gorse In Area 8 Gorse Ulex europaeus is well in bloom. Gorse, or furze as it is locally known, is a perennial evergreen. A plant of well-drained soils, gorse has been found to be a good indicator of ground that has been disturbed in the relatively recent past by, for example, sand or gravel workings, or First or Second World War military activity. Gorse's richly scented, bright-yellow flowers are most prominent in late winter and early spring as the heaths throw off their dull, dark, winter mantle and take-on a glorious, golden glow.


Loddon Lilly Loddon Lilly flowers In Area 10 by the bridge over the Emm on Sandford Lane are Loddon Lily Leucojum aestivum . They are reminiscent of snowdrop with the green spot on their petals, most spikes had 2 or 3 bell-shaped flowers which hang their heads demurely. The close up shows the striking orange anthers inside the flower which normally remain unseen.


Pussy Willow In Area 8 the Catkins of Goat Willow Salix caprea are appearing. This is also known as Pussy Willow after the silky grey male flowers, which resemble a cat's paws. Goat Willow is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers grow on separate trees, in early spring. Male catkins are grey, stout and oval, which become yellow when ripe with pollen. Female catkins are longer and green.


Blackthorn Teasel In Area 8 the flowers of Blackthorn Prunus spinosa are just starting to emerge. Blackthorn is a hermaphrodite, meaning both male and female reproductive parts are found in one flower. White flowers appear on short stalks before the leaves in March and April, either singularly or in pairs.Could be confused with: hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), without leaves. The flowers of blackthorn appear before the leaves and the spines have buds along their length, on the hawthorn flowers emerge from the same point as the buds. Also in Area 8 are Teasel Dipsacus fullonum. Teasel are probably most commonly known for their brown, prickly stems and conical seed heads which persist long after the plants themselves have died back for the winter. Teasels are tall plants, often reaching the height of a person. They have thorns all the way up their stems and a cone-like flower head which gives the plant the impression of an oversized cotton bud. Between July and August, when Teasels are in flower, the spikey flower heads are mostly green with rings of purple flowers. the seed heads turn brown in winter.

Why do leaves change colour in the Autumn click here Autumn leaves

For a review of the sightings along the Emm for the first 8 months of 2014 click here May - August 2014 Sightings

January - April 2014 Sightings