Latest Sightings March 2021

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 March

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

30/03/21  Common Buzzard Another sunny day but with a cold and foggy start to the day.In Area 10,it was more singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap along with a solitary Willow Warbler at the bottom of the Car Park field. Later in the day in Area 5 Red Kite and Common Buzzard were sharing the thermals, a Kestrel was also seen in Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas .

29/03/21 It was a busy morning for arriving migrants in Area 10, seen were numerous singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap along with the years first Willow Warbler . Sand Martin were seen in good numbers in a feeding flock also containing 1 Swallow .

28/03/21 2 Grey Wagtail were flying downstream on the Emm Brook at Emmbrook Road bridge in Area 7 and a Chiffchaff was seen singing in the same area. Both sightings by Paul O'Neill.

26/03/21  Egyptian Goose The first Swallow was seen flying by the Green Bridge in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington. In Area 7A a very obliging Egyptian Goose was posing for photos.

25/03/21 A Commom Buzzard and 2 Red Kite were enjoying the thermals over Area 7A this morning and a Chiffchaff was heard calling in Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas.

23/03/21  Green Woodpecker A Green Woodpecker was seen feeding in the Car Park field in Area 10 with 2 Magpie . A Tawny Owl was heard calling at 04:30 in Area 7A.

22/03/21 A pair of Long tailed Tit were seen gathering nest material in Area 8.A male Blackcap was heard singing in Area 10 at 06:15 by Fraser Cottington. At 18:45 a Barn Owl was seen at the entrance to the Box in Area 10.

21/03/21  Ring necked Parakeet It was a noisy morning in Area 10 at least 5 Ring necked Parakeet were calling from the trees, 2 Oystercatcher were flying back and forth over Sandford Lane calling, Chiffchaff were singing from the treetops Pheasant a male Pheasant was calling before luring in his lady love a Nuthatch was calling loudly from the top of a tree and 5 Jay were in a tree squabbling. Area 1 wasn't a lot quieter, a rattling Mistle Thrush flew from the field to the trees. In Area 5 a Moorhen and 3 Mallard were on the pond by Fran Stickler.

20/03/21 Ralph Watts was out in Area 1 around the Luckley School area. Seen were a Grey Heron , Chiffchaff , Raven , Pied Wagtail , Wren , Long-tailed Tit , Moorhen , Jackdaw , Nuthatch ,Ring-necked Parakeet , Red Kite and Robin .In Area 10 flying low over the water were 3 Sand Martin seen by Fraser Cottington and a Barn Owl was seen in the box at 17.00 by Brian Bennet.

19/03/21 At 20:30 a Tawny Owl was heard calling in Area 7A.

18/03/21  Red Kite A Red Kite looked as if it could have been pondering the true meaning of life as it sat in a tree in Area 7A as a Male Phesant called wistfully in the distance. In Area 4 a Lesser Redpoll was heard calling as it flew overheard by Paul Bright- Thomas. Another Sand Martin was seen heading North through Area 10 by Fraser Cottington.

17/03/21  Great Tit A wander around Area 5 this afternoon. In the spells of sunshine a male Great Tit was singing it repetetive "Teacher Teacher" song. Rummaging through the grass were Song Thrush , a Leucistic Blackbird  Blackbird Leucism in birds is caused by a lack of melanin, a pigment responsible for black, grey and some browns. A leucistic bird will have white feathers unless its normal plumage also contains carotenoids which are responsible for yellows, and which are unaffected by the condition, whilst a Mistle Thrush flew over with its rattling call.Also seen and heard were Great-spotted Woodpecker , Nuthatch and Wren . In Area 7A Skylark were heard singing all day.

16/03/21 At 00:06 Area 4 there were 2 Tawny Owl , heard calling along the Emm Brook by Paul Bright-Thomas.Later in the day he also saw a Little Egret by KIngfisher Bridge.

15/03/21 Over the Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10, Fraser Cottington saw 3 flyover Grey Wagtail , nearby 5 Common Gull were on the lake.

14/03/21 A visit to Heathlake in Area 1 was fairly predictable with Grey Heron , Cormorrant and Black headed Gull on the Island and Mallard , Mute Swan , Tufted Duck , Moorhen and Coot on the water. In Area 4 a Little Egret was on the Emm Brook, a Skylark flew low West and a Chaffinch were all seen by Paul Bright Thomas.

13/03/21 This the time when the Winter and Spring Migrants overlap, 60 Redwing were seen in bushes and foraging in West side of the carpark field in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington. 3 male Lapwing were displaying over the fields in Area 1, and a Kestrel was hovering over the roadside verges in Area 7A. .

12/03/21 The weather for the last few days have not been the best for getting out and about with squally showers and strong winds. This however does not seem to have deterred the returning Spring migrants as the first Sand Martin was seen in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington. Chiffchaff were also seen with individuals heard singing near the Green Bridge and at the Car Park Field.

09/03/21  Grey Heron In Area 10 at lunchtime a Grey Heron was rapidly snacking on a Frog.In the Pond in Area 5 a Moorhen was seen.It spends more of its time out of the water than its relative, the Coot, and even climbs trees. Moorhen Moorhens are omnivores, eating everything from snails and insects to small fish and berries.

08/03/21  Linnet Paul O'Neill was out in Area 7A and saw a Little Egret flying downstream along the Ashridge Stream, Common Buzzard over the Twyford Road and a Kestrel around Cantley Park.Also seen by Rebecca Rees were a small flock of Common Linnet on Toutley Road.

07/03/21  Little Egret At 06:30 male and female Tawny Owl were heard calling as I emptied the moth trap in Area 7A.In Area 10 a Little Egret flew to perch on a branch above the Emm, whilst a  Grey Heron Grey Heron was fishing nearby. Great spotted Woodpecker , Nuthatch , Jay , a pair of Mallard on the pond  Male House Sparrow Redwing and male and female House Sparrow were all seen in Area 5.

06/03/21  Cormorrant Cettis Warblers were heard singing eitherside of the Green Bridge in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington and a flyover Cormorrant was in Area 7A.

05/03/21  Lapwing During a quick visit to Area 1 a displaying Lapwing was seen over the fields at Greys Farm.The Lapwing has a spectacular songflight. The male wobbles, zigzags, rolls and dives while calling to advertise his presence to rival males and potential mates. Its this call that gives this bird the alternative name of "peewit". All this was accompanied by singing Skylark from on high.

04/03/21 2 Green Woodpecker were seen in Area 7A along with a flyover Grey Heron . Whilst clearing out the nestboxes in Area 7 at least 20 chattering Redwing were heard in the treetops.

03/03/21 A Goldcrest was seen in Paul Bright-Thomas's Area 4 garden.

02/03 /21  Little Owl I finally managed to catch up with the Area 1 Little Owl at Ludgrove. It decided to turn its back on me when a photo was taken, also seen was a Sparrowhawk .

01/03/21 Starting the Dawn Chorus early a Song Thrush has started singing in Area 7A at 05:00 in the morning. A lovely song.A Little Owl has finally been seen in Area 1 near Ludgrove School and a Raven was seen flying towards Greys Farm both Area 1 sightings by Paul Bright-Thomas.


30/03/21   Diurnea fagella Following a sunny day yesterday the moth trap was out overnight in Area 7A again and emptied this morning. However with the temperature plummeting overnight the results were dissapointing but expected with 14 moths of 4 species. They were 3 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi,6 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda , 2 Oak Beauty Biston strataria and 3 of the Micro Moth Diurnea fagella   Dark-edged bee-fly .Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.With another warm day in prospect I went on the search for Dark-edged bee-fly Bombylius major and found them in Area 5 and 10. My first  Peacock Peacock Inachis io Butterfly of the year was seen resting on Blackthorn in Area 10.

29/03/21 In Area 10 in glorious sunshine, 2 Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni Butterflies were on the wing. Also seen were unidentified Hoverflies.

26/03/21   Agonopterix arenella Another mild night so the moth trap was out in Area 7A again and emptied this morning. The results were dissapointing with 9 moths of 4 species. They were 1 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi,6 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda , 1 Twin spot Quaker Anorthoa munda and the Micro Moth Agonopterix arenella .Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.

22/03/21 In Area 10 a Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni Butterfly was on the wing.

21/03/21   Hebrew Charecter With a mild overnight temperature nearly in double figures the moth trap was deployed in Area 7A again and emptied this morning. The results were 55 moths of 10 species. They were 1 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi,  Early Grey 46 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda , 1 Early Grey Xylocampa areola , 1 March Moth Alsophila aescularia , 1 Twin spot Quaker Anorthoa munda ,1 Tawny Pinion Lithophane semibrunnea ,1 Hebrew Charecter Orthosia gothica and 1 each of the Micro Moths Agonopterix arenella and Tortricodes alternella .Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.

19/03/21 In the afternoon sunshine in Area 5 a Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni Butterfly was on the wing and visiting flowers.

14/03/21   Oak Beauty Hoping for a bit more success the moth trap was out in Area 7A overnight and emptied this morning.Thankfully no rain but still quite windy. The results were 12 moths of 3 species. They were 1 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi,  Small Quaker 10 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda and a solitary Oak Beauty Biston strataria .Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.

09/03/21 In Area 7 a Buff tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris was out in the sunshine.

07/03/21   Common Quaker The moth trap was out in Area 7A overnight and emptied this morning. The results were very poor with only 1 moth. This was however my first Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi of the Year.Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.


04/03/21  Giant House Spider Whilst clearing out the nest boxes in Area 7 a Giant house spider Eratigena atrica was found with its web on top of an old nest.A large spider with a brown cephalothorax and tan-coloured abdomen often with characteristic ‘herring bone’ pattern.

Plants/ Trees

22/03/19  Wood Anemone  Near Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa are just starting to appear.

21/03/21 Loddon Lily In Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre Loddon Lily Salix caprea is now fully out.

13/03/21 Goat Willow Also known as the pussy willow, the male catkins of the Goat Willow Salix caprea are now on display. The Catkins look like a cat’s paws. It supports lots of wildlife.It is currently flowering in Area 10.

03/03/21 Blackthorn Another harbinger of Spring Blackthorn Prunus spinosa is flowering in Area 10 and Area 7 near the junction of Toutley Road and Emmbrook Road. People ofen ask how to tell the difference between Blackthorn and Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Both tree's have white flowers, however the flowers of the Blackthorn appear before the leaves whilst Hawthorn is the other way around.Blackthorn flowers appear in March where as Hawthorn is out in May.


Amphibians and Reptiles

14/03/21  Common Frog In a side ditch at Heathlake in Area 1 frog spawn from the Common Frog Rana temporaria was seen.

09/03/21  Common Frog Still very active in the Area 5 pond are the Common Frog Rana temporaria it may appear that there is a large amount of frog spawn, however Amphibians have evolved a strategy of laying huge numbers of eggs. This is because just about every animal in a pond eats tadpoles. By producing such a lot of spawn, frogs ensure that at least some will grow into froglets.

02/03/21  Common Frog The Common Frog Rana temporaria are still putting on a great display in the Area 5 pond. Works on the Emm Brook Restoration will not take place at this pond till the Autumn.


26/03/21 Male  Roe Deer In the fields in Area 7A were 4 grazing Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus , 3 female and 1 male.

22/03/21 Whilst waiting for a Barn Owl to appear my first Common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus , bat of the year was seen flying at 18:30 in Area 10.

20/03/21 Male  Roe Deer At 06:20 this morning 3 Male Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus , with Antlers were in the fields in Area 7A.

16/03/21 Male  Roe Deer In the fields in Area 7A were 3 Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus , 2 female and 1 male with velvet covered antlers. The males have relatively short antlers, typically with three points. They begin to grow their antlers in November, shedding the velvet from them in the spring. By summer, they are ready for the rutting season. After mating, they shed their antlers in October and begin to grow a new set.

07/03/21 In Area 10 on the landfill 2 Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus were seen distantly grazing.

03/03/21  Fox It's a busy time of year for Foxes Vulpes vulpes In the next few weeks the females will be giving birth and in spring and early summer they are perhaps most visible while trying to feed the cubs and after the cubs leave the den. One of the surprises of the last 50 years was the ability to foxes to adapt to urban environments, but cities still form a relatively small proportion of land-use – most of the UK is still agricultural land and woodland. it's not clear how foxes are faring in the in the countryside, so the Mammal Society is asking the public to help them monitor foxes. Now is a great time of year to do it because there is still a lot of night - many are still commuting to and from work in the dark. It doesn’t matter whether you live in the countryside or the city, remarkably, we still have very little idea of total numbers of urban or rural foxes. To help, the Mammal Society with sightings Click on the link Mammal Survey

Fish/ Crustaceans

11/03/21  9lb Pike Heathlake in Area 1 ,unfortunately, like a lot of other areas of open water suffers visits from poachers. In an effort to reduce this Wokingham Borough Council's, Countryside Services team undertook an "Electro fishing" exercise at the lake in an attempt to reduce the temptation and as the Carp and Tench are bottom feeding fish they would be causing issues regarding the SSSI status of the lake by stirring up the lake bed looking for food. Removed from the lake were 23 Pike Esox lucius from 1lb to 9lbs in weight,2 Tench Tinca tinca (3lb and 4lb in weight)and 15 Carp Cyprinus carpio from 9lb to 27lbs.About 30 4”- 8” Tench Tinca tinca ,27lb Mirror Carp ,Roach Rutilus rutilus and Perch Perca fluviatilis were returned to the water. All of the fish that were removed have gone back to the contractors site. Thanks to Simom Bartlam of WBC's Countryside Services for info and photos.