Latest Sightings May 2019

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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 ).

For what you can expect to see on the Emm this month, click here May

All sightings unless stated are from personal observations by Eddie Napper

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What is this life if full of care , we have no time to stand and stare. W. H. Davies.


28/05/19 Another juvenille Blackbird appeared at my garden feeders this morning. Obviously been a successful breeding season again this year. In Area 10 an Oystercatcher flew over the Emm by the Dinton Activity Centre calling and a Ring necked Parakeet was also heard. A Mistle Thrush was seen on the wires over thecar park field by Richard Marsh.

24/05/19 A quick look over Heathlake in Area 1 today. Unfortunately not a lot to be seen, highlights were 2 Mute Swan with 6 cygnets ,numerous Mallard , several Coot and a Grey Heron .

22/05/19 It was the turn of a Juvenille Blackbird to appear at my garden feeders this morning.

21/05/19 A recently fledged Blue Tit appeared at my garden bird feeders this morning, wing shivering and calling, effectively begging food from its parents. It was dutifully fed and flew away happy. Looks like another sucessful breeding season down by the Emm Brook.In Area 10, 6 Pied Wagtail 2 adults and 4 fledglings were seen by Joseph Taylor on the beach by the DAC.

20/05/19  Jackdaw A strange start to the day in Area 5 with a Cuckoo calling from by the river at 04:15. A Jackdaw was then paying repeated visits to feed from my garden bird tables, something that I have not seen before.Jackdaws are the smallest member of the crow family (collectively known as corvids), which also includes ravens, crows, rooks, jays and magpies. An easy way to identify jackdaws is by their light grey nape and pale white iris, which stand out against the black plumage. A Green Woodpecker was also heard calling . In all a total of 17 species seen or heard from my garden before 06:30. Makes work bearable. In Area 1 a Lapwing was displaying around the Easthampstead Road Balancing Pond.

19/05/19 Paul O'Neill was out and about in Area 8 and Old Forest Road Meadows this afternoon. Seen were 2 Lesser Whitethroat , 2 singing Whitethroat ,a singing Chiffchaff and a male Linnet .

18/05/19  Canada Goose At 07:30 in Area 1 a solitary Swallow was feeding over the Horse and Cow fields. Underneath a Chestnut tree a Little Owl was perched on a fence post. I moved forward to take a photo and the bird flew off. In the fields towards the Camping Exhibition 12 Canada Goose were grazing.

17/05/19 In Area 4 by Kingfisher Bridge at lunchtime, a Grey Wagtail was feeding on the edges of the Emm.

16/05/19 During the work party around the pond in Area 5 this morning a Little Egret and Sparrowhawk were seen to fly over. A Hobby was seen near the activity centre by Joseph Taylor in Area 10.

15/05/19 Around the Carpark field and Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10, this morning , migrant warblers were all in full song. Heard were Whitethroat , Blackcap , Garden Warbler and Chiffchaff . Over the Carpark field were 2 feeding Sand Martin and seen in trees by the stile at the bottom end of the Carpark field by Tim James was a Little Owl .

14/05/19  Blue Tit In Area 1 around Ludgrove a pair of Blue Tit were busily feeding young in their oak tree nest. One or more Cuckoo were heard calling in Area 10 around Dinton Pastures on the old golf course, Car Park field and on the island at Lavells Lake by Steve Hughes.

12/05/19 2 Swift were seen feeding over Area 5 this evening. More than likely some of the ones seen around the town centre yesterday. A Mistle Thrush and 5 + Ring necked Parakeet were seen in the Area 10 Car Park field on the Monthly LWT Bird Walk around Dinton Pastures.

11/05/19  Juv Starling The very noisy fledgeling Starling and their parents are starting to appear en masse in my Area 5 garden, with devastating consequences for the feeders. This morning they were well into double figures.

09/05/19 At 08:00 a Little Egret was seen in the Emm at Embrook Walk (Area 7) by Paul O'Neill.

07/05/19  Whitethroat For the 2nd day running a male Great spotted Woodpecker has been visiting my garden fat feeders .At 06:27 a Little Egret flew over my garden. A Jay was also seen. The juvenille Starling are now on my feeders leaning the ropes from their parents.In Area 8 at Old Forest Meadows a male Whitethroat was singing for all its worth in the riverside bushes. Kestrel Meanwhile a Kestrel was keeping an eye on the field from its vantage point, looking for its next meal.

06/05/19  Starling In Area 4 near Kingfisher Bridge a pair of Grey Wagtail were seen on the waters edge. My first juvenille Starling of the year was seen in the grass by the Balancing pond. One of its parents popped down every now and then to give it some food, whilst it looked around aimlessly, trying to think what to do.  Garden Warbler Meanwhile in Area 10 a Garden Warbler was seen singing in the car park field by Suren Akkaraju along with a Common Whitethroat . A Sedge Warbler was heard singing near the stile at bottom of the car park field and 2 Swift were seen over the landfill by Fraser Cottington. A little later 25+ Swift were feeding over the old golf course again seen by Fraser Cottington.

05/05/19 A Lesser Whitethroat was still singing from the West side of the Area 10 Car Park Field seen by Michael Hubbard and a Nutchatch has appeared again at my Garden feeders.A Great spotted Woodpecker also popped in briefly. 2 Blue Tit were on the feeders. One was crouched down, wings out and shaking, much like you would expect a hungry fledgling to do apparently it's courtship feeding, common in many birds that form lasting pair bonds. It does have the function of the male practising and demonstrating his provider skills.

04/05/19 On the feeders this morning was a male House Sparrow who I believe are raising young nearby.

03/05/19 A Jay popped in briefly to my garden Bird tables this morning at 05:50.Judging by the regularity with which they are returning to the feeders several Starling parents must be feeding very voracious young nearby.

02/05/19 At my Area 5 feeders, 3 Greenfinch were visiting with all the regulars. These have not been seen for a while. A Cuckoo was calling this morning from Riverside trees in Area 10.

01/05/19  Wood Warbler In Area 10 a Wood Warbler was seen and heard singing in the trees to the rear of the Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington. Another first for the FOTEB Bird List.Photo courtesy of Fraser Cottington. Later in the day my first returning Swift of the year was seen flying over the Emm to Black Swan Lake.


30/05/19   Hairy Shieldbug The Hairy theme continued in Area 10 today. On the Nettle patch by the Dinton Activity Centre during my regular lunchtime visits a Hairy Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum (formally called the Sloe Shieldbug) was seen.

28/05/19   Hairy Dragonfly (Female) A quick visit to Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre at lunchtime really paid divends with a first. A female Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense was seen resting on riverside vegetation. The Hairy Dragonfly was, until recently, a very rare species in the UK, found only on the most pristine grazing marshes and wetlands. It has however recently expanded its range.

27/05/19   Scorched Wing The moth trap was out again in my Area 5 garden overnight. Trapped were 26 moths of 12 species. Seen, recorded and then released were 2 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana ,2 Shuttle shaped Dart Agrotis puta , Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa ,a solitary male Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria ,  Cinnabar 10 Treble Lines Mimas tiliae , a Light Emerald Campaea margaritata and Riband Wave Idaea aversata a male Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria , Buff Tip Phalera bucephala,Green Pug Pasiphila rectangulata and Common Rustic Mesapamea secalis . Found in the greenhouse was a Cinnabar Moth Tyria jacobaeae . A May Bug Lobophora halterata and the Caddisfly Mystacides longicornis were also attracted to the light.This caddisfly is easy to identify due to its patterned wings. It has very long antennae and red eyes. The typical form has a striking pattern of brown and yellow shaded bars.

26/05/19  Four-spotted Chaser Sitting on the Barbed wire in the Area 10 car park field was a Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata seen by Alan Rymer. The Four-spotted Chaser is easily recognised by the two dark spots on the leading edge of each wing - giving this species its name.

25/05/19  Swollen-thighed Beetle (Male) During the work party around the pond this morning, both Male and Female Swollen-thighed Beetle Oedemera nobilis were seen. Swollen-thighed Beetle (Female) The green elytra (wing covers) are pointed and gape apart. The male and female of this beetle can easily be told apart, as the male has large green bulges on its femora or thighs, while the female does not. Brown Argus In Area 10 at the car park field Alan Rymer saw and photographed a tatty looking, but still first for the year Brown Argus Aricia agestis Butterfly, enjoying the Buttercups. Brown Argus This is strangley one of the "Blue Butterflies" . However unlike most other "blues", the Brown Argus has no blue scales on its upperside, both sexes being primarily brown in colour as its common name suggests, although the butterfly does exhibit a blue sheen when at certain angles to the light. Both sexes have beautiful orange spots on the upperside of both forewings and hindwings.

24/05/19 At 21:30 a male Stag Beetle Lucanus cervus was seen flying around my Area 5 front Garden. Stag beetles are one of the most spectacular looking insects in Britain, named because the male’s large jaws look just like the antlers of a stag. They use their massive jaws to wrestle with other males when looking for a mate. As well as being one of the largest , they are sadly now one of our rarer beetles.

23/05/19  Mother Shipton At the car park field in Area 10 the day flying moth Mother Shipton Callistege mi was seen and photgraphed by Alan Rymer. Each forewing having creamy-coloured markings, the outlines of which resemble a witch’s face.The moth is named after Old Mother Shipton, a 16th century Yorkshire witch.

22/05/19  Broad Bodied Chaser (Female) In the Area 10 sunshine this morning a Female Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa was seen resting, a Male was also seen nearby this is my first of the year. Meanwhile in Area 9 at Blackberry Gardens a Red and Black Froghopper Cercopis vulnerata was seen in the low vegetation. This is a truly unmistakable red and black species and one of our largest sap sucking Insects. A European Hornet Vespa crabro was also seen.

20/05/19  Mayfly In Area 10 Mayfly Ephemera danica were dancing over the Emm this afternoon. The adults hatch out, usually in the summer, and have very short lives (just hours in some cases) during which they display and breed; hatchings of hundreds of adult mayflies in the same spot at the same time often occur. Many species do not feed as adults as their sole purpose is to reproduce and once they have mated, they die. The common name is misleading as many mayflies can be seen all year-round, although one species does emerge in synchrony with the blooming of Hawthorn (or 'Mayflower').Also seen on the Docks were Black Bean Aphid Aphis fabae

18/05/19  Mint Moth During weeding at my Area 3 Allotment a Silver Y Autographa gamma moth was seen. Meanwhile back in my Area 5 garden the day flying Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata was around the Mint.

16/05/19  Azure Damselfly Before the work party on the pond in Area 5 this morning , I walked along the Emm and saw an Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella sunning itself on the vegetation. Also seen was the Maidens Blush Cyclophora punctaria moth. Maidens Blush Also seen was a Maidens Blush Cyclophora punctaria moth fluttering through the grass.

15/05/19  Banded Demoiselle (Male) There appears to have been a bit of a Damselfly explosion this week around the Carpark field and Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10. Seen were Blue tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans , Male Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens , Male and Female Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo , Male and Female Red-Eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas and Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum all firsts for the year.  Red-Eyed Damselfly (Male) . Also seen were Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula . Red-Eyed Damselfly (Female ) A day flying moth Small Yellow Underwing Panemeria tenebrata was seen in and around the grass in the car park field.A first for the FOTEB Moth list.

11/05/19   Lime Hawk Moth Once again the moth trap was deployed in my Area 5 garden overnight. Trapped were only 5 moths of 4 species probably due to the fairly low overnight temperature. These were a solitary Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana ,2 Shuttle shaped Dart Agrotis puta , a Pale Mottled Willow Paradrina clavipalpis   May Bug and for me the best was a Lime Hawk Moth Mimas tiliae also lured in was a May Bug Lobophora halterata . The Common Cockchafer or May Bug is the UK's largest scarab beetle (scarabs include dung beetles and chafers). With its rusty-brown wing cases, pointed 'tail' and fan-like antennae it is unmistakeable. It is a clumsy flier and makes a buzzing sound. Seen later in the day flying through my garden were Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni , Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus and a male Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines Butterflies.

05/05/19   Seraphim The Moth trap was on again in my Area 5 garden. Trapped were 9 moths of 6 species. These were a solitary Brimstone Opisthograptis luteolata a Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica , 3 Shuttle shaped Dart Agrotis puta , 2 Heart and Dart Agrotis exclamationis , the Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla and a Seraphim Lobophora halterata .

04/05/19   Small Copper It was a day of very mixed weather today,with sun, rain and hail. So I was suprised when I saw my first Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas , of the year in the Area 10 Car Park field.This now brings the FOTEB Butterfly list to 10 species for the year.  Orange Tip Other Butterflies seen Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni , and male and female Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines.  Empis tessellata Also seen was the large, drab green-brown bristly fly Empis tessellata with brown-tinged wings is distinguished from the very similar Empis opaca by its black thighs. Interestingly though, it feeds on nectar but it is also a predator and catches other insects using its long pointed proboscis to pierce their bodies. Males of Empis tessellata present a 'gift' to the female, in the form of a dead insect, before mating takes place. Females will not mate with males who do not present a gift.

02/05/19   Large Red Damselfly Back to Area 10 again and the Car Park field. Butterflies seen were Green Veined White Pieris napi , Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria , Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus , and a male Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines. The hedge was bathed in sunlight and my first Damselflies of the year were seen. These were Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula and Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo . Helophilus pendulus Also seen basking in the sunlight were Dock Bug Coreus marginatus, a Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major, Drone Fly Eristalis tenax ,Figwort Sawfly Tenthredo scrophulariae,  Scalloped Hazel Caterpillar and mating Helophilus pendulus Hoverflies. A Scalloped Hazel Odontopera bidentata. moth caterpillar, was munching its way through Hazel leaves. Also seen were a Oak Apple Gall , the Gall is caused by the Oak Apple Gall Wasp Biorhiza pallida and a Marbled Oak Tortrix Hedya nubiferana Moth.

01/05/19  Green Veined White I visited Area 10 this morning, in the sunshine. My first Green Veined White Pieris napi of the year was seen.It alighted on a Cuckoo Flower, one of its larval food plants before moving onto the grass.Also seen was an unidentified Dragonfly.The Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula, was seen on the leaves of the Docks.


26/05/19   Dandelion Clock In the grass around the Area 5 pond, the Dandelion Taraxacum officinale have got their seed heads or "Clocks". According to H.W. Gibson in "Camping For Boys" "The dandelion is an excellent barometer, one of the commonest and most reliable. It is when the blooms have seeded and are in the fluffy, feathery condition that its weather prophet facilities come to the fore. In fine weather the ball extends to the full, but when rain approaches, it shuts like an umbrella. If the weather is inclined to be showery it keeps shut all the time, only opening when the danger from the wet is past." As every child knows you must never touch a Dandelion or else you will end up wetting the bed.

25/05/19   Ragged Robin Another work party around the Area 5 pond today and Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi was seen.Possibly due to the removal of Hemlock Water Dropwort at the last work party 9 days ago.

16/05/19   Yellow Flag Iris  Around the pond in Area 5 the first Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus is starting to emerge.

07/05/19   Creeping Buttercup  In the "Wildflower Meadow" adjacent to Ripplestream Bridge Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens is in full flower.Creeping Buttercup is pollinated by short-tongued bees attracted by the nectar and pollen. They are able to reach the food with their tongue because the flower is open with a flat shape. Long-tongued bees can feed from long, deep flowers like Foxgloves.  Red Campion  Not to be outdone at Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8 Red Campion Silene dioica . The peak of flowering starts as bluebells fade. In Area 10 Crosswort Cruciata laevipes can be seen by the footpath at the DAC.

06/05/19   Ramsons  By Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 on the river banks this morning are Ramsons Allium ursinum . Ramsons are also known as wild garlic,it is looking very fine and in full, starry flower. Half close your eyes and it looks like a firework display worthy of any New Year. Cowslip Cowslip Allium ursinum are still hanging on in the "Wildflower Meadow" in Area 5.

04/05/19   Germander Speedwell In the Area 10 Car Park field, off Sandford Lane. Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys is showing its delicate Blue flowers.It is considered a good luck charm for travellers, the bright blue flowers of Germander Speedwell are meant to 'speed' you on your way. This reputation may well have come about because of its habit of forming large clumps in hedgerows, roadside verges and grassy lanes. It has upright spikes of bright blue flowers with four petals and a white middle (giving it other common names such as 'Bird's Eye' and 'Cat's Eye').

02/05/19 Along the Emm at the moment Horse Chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum is currently in flower and we are all enjoying the candelabra display of delicate pink and white flowers. The horse chestnut tree was first introduced to the UK from Turkey in the late 16th century. It is native to the Balkan peninsula.

Other Wildlife

Amphibians and Reptiles


20/05/19 In Area 1 a Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen around the Easthampstead Road Balancing pond.

14/05/19 A male Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen this afternoon in Area 1 at Ludgrove. It walked across the field before finding the shadiest spot beneath an Oak Tree and lying in the grass.

07/05/19  Roe Deer Just about the only reliable place to see a Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus along the Emm now is in Area 9 and Blackberry Gardens.Old Forest Meadows a previous hotspot is surrounded with Heras fencing for the North Wokingham Distributor Road. This male was seen mid morning.

02/05/19  Hedgehog  Not its most flattering side but the European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus is still roaming around my garden.