Latest Sightings March 2018

Click on the link to send in your sightings foteb 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

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31/03/18 On arrival at the Area 5 pond this morning a Grey Heron flew of to the nearby trees. A Mistle Thrush was being chased by a Blackbird keen to get it off its patch and a Wren was singing for all its worth. A male Chiffchaff was singing by the river near the play area at Area 10 (Dinton Pastures)this lunchtime.

30/03/18 Fraser Cottington had 3 Little Egret heading S over the Area 10 car park field and who can blame them in this current appaling weather.A Coal Tit was munching its way around my Area 5 garden this afternoon.

29/03/18 A Hawfinch was seen in the Area 10 car park field by Richard Marsh.

26/03/18  Greylag Goose Back to Area 1 and Heathlake this lunchtime in the sunshine.On the lake were 4 Mute Swan ,4 Canada Goose , 4 Greylag Goose and 2 Egyptian Goose . Ducks were there with a male Pochard , male and female Tufted Duck a male Shoveller and plenty of Mallard . Also seen were Coot and Moorhen. In Area 5 Long tailed Tit were seen flying around with beakfulls of nesting material. In the Area 10 car park field , Paul Bright Thomas had a singing male Chiffchaff .

25/03/18 This morning it was decided to take a walk through Area 5,4 and 3,2 then into 1 and back, possibly inspired by the return of the female Blackcap at the garden feeders or maybe they thought of a pub lunch at the Two Poplars half way round.I'll leave you to decide . Not a lot in 5 & 4, but 3 Herring Gull across the rooftops in Molly Millars Lane, where I'm fairly sure that they breed each year.In Area 1 were Great spotted Woodpecker, calling Green Woodpecker, onl 1 pair of Mallard, the usual Grey Heron and numerous Jackdaw.

23/03/18 The dawn chorus is now starting to get into full swing in Area 5. This morning at about 05:30 , Song Thrush, Blackbird and Robin were all singing.

22/03/18 Fraser Cottington had a Red legged Partridge fly up out of the Area 10 car park field, before heading across the landfill. Richard Marsh saw 8 + Redwingat the bottom of the car park field.

21/03/18 Paul O'Neill was out in Area 8 and Old Forest Meadows and saw the following, a Ring necked Parakeet,a solitary Redwing, 2 Buzzard and at least 75 Linnet that were feeding in the ploughed field.

19/03/18  Female Blackcap At 06:15, finally in my Area 5 garden a female Blackcap appeared.I am not sure if this is a new arrival or an over wintering bird. Either way its the first I've seen this year. Little Owl In Area 1 at lunchtime a Little Owl was sitting out despite the bitter winds that were blowing.

18/03/18 The "Beast from the East" dropped back in again this weekend and gave a coating of snow over the ground and a bitter easterly wind. Todays litter pick was cancelled as any litter would be under a snowy blanket. However there were still birds to be seen.2 Mute Swan were seen flying over Area 5 and the Red Kite was busy searching from early morning.A Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare were also seen.On my feeders Goldfinch were constant visitors, with at least 2 Robin.

16/03/18 Sparrowhawk Sitting on Charles Stickler's fence for 15 mins in Area 5 was a male Sparrowhawk. Alan Rymer saw a Kingfisher flying from the Emm Brook by the footbridge in Area 10 , before flying over the copse in the Lavells Lake car park field at 11:00.

14/03/18 Little Grebe In Area 8, Old Forest Road Meadows a Kestrel was seen hunting in the morning by Paul O'Neill and later in the day a flock of 40+ Linnet were seen flying from the ploughed field to roadside trees.At lunchtime in Area 1 and Heath Lake approx 40 Black headed Gull were on the water with a pair of Gadwall , Tufted Duck , Little Grebe , Great Crested Grebe Grey Heron and at least 2 pairs of Grey Heron were nesting on the Island. A pair of Mute Swan and about 10 Coot made up the rest.

13/03/18 The Area 10 spotters were out today, with the following. 2 Mandarin Duck were seen to fly out of the Barn Owl Nest box by Anne Cronin. A Green Sandpiper was on Balancing Pool, A pair of Bullfinch were in the car park field, seen by Richard Marsh and a male Hawfinch was in the tree's on right side of the car park field seen by Christopher Forsey.

11/03/18 Little Owl In the morning sunshine in Area 1 a Little Owl was sunning itself in the shed,in the field opposite the pond at Ludgrove School. Skylark were singing high in the sky at Greys Farm, and in the flooded field, 2 pairs Teal and 10 Mallard were feeding with a Grey Heron . With the sun out 3 Buzzard and 2 Red Kite were circling in the thermals.Lapwing 3 Lapwing were displaying in the nearby fields. Several Ring necked Parakeets were heard but not seen.

10/03/18 Mistle Thrush I gave Area 5 a good look over this morning, and was not dissapointed. It was hard to tell how many Redwing there were, but judging by the noise from the trees and bushes there must have been at least 75. Also seen were Song Thrush , a singing Mistle Thrush and numerous Blackbird . A Buzzard was enjoying the thermals at lunchtime. A Great spotted Woodpecker has been drumming for the last 3 days and today was no exception. A Green Woodpecker was also calling. 6, vey noisy Herring Gull flew over calling. In Area 10 in the car park field Brian Bennett had 3 Brambling . 1 male and 2 female in trees on the west side of the field.

09/03/18 Hawfinch At 03:20 a Tawny Owl was heard calling on Old Forest Road and at 08:15 a Goosander was seen flying N over Area 8 and Old Forest Meadows.Also seen were a male Bullfinch and 25 Redwing that flew out of a Oak tree. All sightings by Paul O'Neill.Barn Owl In the Area 10 car park field Geoff Emmett saw a Hawfinch . Photo courtesy of Geoff Emmett, meanwhile Fraser Cottington managed to grab a photo of the Barn Owl as it sat in the meadow in Lavells Lake.

07/03/18 In the NE corner of the Area 10 car park field, 7 Hawfinch were seen by Brian Bennett, These birds have now been in the area for 16 weeks.

03/03/18 Fieldfare The thaw was starting, so not so many birds in the garden. Fieldfare were again feeding on the old apples on the floor and a Goldcrest was picking its way through the Yew tree before starting on the garden. Goldcrest A Buzzard was seen over Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas and a Kestrel was seen on the power cables in the Area 10 car park field by Gavin Turner.

02/03/18 Paul Bright Thomas was watching his garden again this morning and saw a fly over Common Gull , a Song Thrush , a Goldcrest was seen on his neighbours bird feeder.2 Redwing and a flock of 75 Fieldfare . A male Coal Tit was singing by Kingfisher Bridge. Further upstream a pair of Teal were in the Emm Brook near Ripple stream Bridge, probably lured in from nearby frozen lakes.

01/03/18 Fieldfare A blanket of snow, a temperature of -3.5 and a wind chill making it feel like -6.0, it was a good day to be looking out the windows at the feeders.The snow shower's throughout the day produced constant Birds to the feeders. 2 Robin , tolerated each other most of the day with some territorial behaviour. 2 Dunnock were also seen.A Redwing paid a brief visit and a Green Woodpecker was heard calling nearby.Fieldfare were seen visiting the nearby Cotonester bushes in Caroline Drive . Of the more usual fare Blue Tit, Great Tit , Goldfinch ,Greenfinch , Blackbird , Collared Dove and a Nuthatch all dropped in. Meanwhile in Area 4, Paul Bright Thomas, heard a Moorhen calling along the Emm. 6 Lesser Redpoll in the Ash trees and a Greenfinch displaying in the snow. 20 Fieldfare were over his garden with 2 dropping in. A total of 155 Lapwing were seen heading SW in groups of 50+.


26/03/18 Buff tailed Bumblebee On the Pussy Willow catkins in Area 5 a Buff tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris was enjoying the pollen.Harlequin Ladybird Also in Area 5 was a Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis , probably just out of hibernation.

14/03/18 In Area 1 at Heathlake in a bit of lunchtime sunshine a queen Buff tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris was seen.


25/03/18 Dog Violet In Area 1 Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana were seen. If you see a violet in the wild, it is most likely to be the Common Dog-violet; this common and widespread plant lives happily in many different habitats including woodland, grassland, heaths, hedgerows and old pasture. It's flowers are not scented, unlike those of its cousin, the Sweet Violet.

14/03/18 Blackthorn In Area 7 by Emmbrook School Blackthorn Prunus spinosa is starting to bloom.The white flowers appear on short stalks before the leaves. Also by the river at this location is Pussy Willow Pussy Willow Salix caprea .The male catkins are grey, stout and oval, which become yellow when ripe with pollen. They are a good early source of nectar for insects.

11/03/18 Lesser Celandine Along the river Lesser Celandine Ranunculus ficaria , is appearing, a true harbinger of Spring.

10/03/18 Marsh Marigold Down at the pond in Area 5 Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris , is just starting to emerge and should be in flower in the next couple of weeks. Daffodill Obviously garden escapee's but Daffodill Narcissus psuedonarcissus bring a bit of colour to the river.

04/03/18 Loddon Lily Despite the recent weather Loddon Lily Leucojum aestivum,can still be seen in Area 10, alongside the Emm near the recently pollarded Willows, by the Activity Centre.

Other Wildlife


26/03/18 Frog Spawn In the ponds in Area 5 is a large amount of Spawn of the Common Frog Rana temporaria . Frogspawn is a remarkable material. It is 99.7% water and dissipates heat very slowly, which means that the egg mass is maintained at a higher temperature than the surrounding water. In addition, the egg mass is permeable to water currents ensuring that all eggs within the mass receive adequate supplies of oxygen. The temperature at which the eggs and emergent tadpoles develop influences the speed of development but by the beginning of August, most of the resulting froglets will have left the breeding pond.

12/03/18 Toad In Area 1 near the Ludgrove School pond a pair of Common Toad Bufo bufo were found on the road, unfortunately dead ,with 2 other males nearby.Adult toads emerge from their overwintering sites in late spring and start migrating towards the pond on mild, damp evenings; toads tend to return to ancestral breeding ponds along the same routes each year. Males wait near to the pond and ‘piggy back’ on females as they make their way . In the photo the male is the smaller of the two.


11/03/18 Hedgehog With the recent run of mild weather in the evenings,I put out the trail cam in my Area 5 garden and managed to catch my first Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus of the year on camera at 03:58 .



20/03/18 I have just received the results of a fish survey on the Emm Brook that was carried out by Reading University students and Martin Moore in January 2018. The first survey was below the Woosehill Weir in Area 5 near Woosehill roundabout. The survey was upstream from the culvert for just over 100 metres. The survey produced 18 Chub Squalius cephalus , 7 Roach Rutilus rutilus , 36 Dace Leuciscus leusciscus , 5 Perch Perca fluviatilis , 1 Gudgeon Gobio gobio ,1 Bream Abramis brama plus a few Bullhead Cottus gobio and Minnow Phoxinus phoxinus . The second survey was undertaken in Area 4 in the Meadow Road area of the Emm Brook.This produced a lot of Minnow Phoxinus phoxinus and Bullhead Cottus gobio , 2 Roach Rutilus rutilus plus some Stone Loach Barbatula barbatula and Stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus . These surveys demonstrate the difference that the weir seems to making between the 2 sites for fish passage upstream along the Emm at this location. More detail should be available when the surveys have been properly written up.