Latest Sightings May 2018

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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

Click on any picture to see a larger image


31/05/18 In Area 8 a flock of 15 Long tailed Tit were seen flying between the trees on Old Forest Road by Paul O'Neill. A Little Egret was seen walking along the bed of the Emm Brook in Area 5 near Dragonfly Bridge by Nicholas.

28/05/18 Another frequent visitor to the feeders has been a House Sparrow again I assume feeding young.

26/05/18 For the last few days Blue Tit and Great Tit have been visiting the feeders non stop. Trying to keep up with the demands of their offspring.

23/05/18 The Great spotted Woodpecker was on the fat feeder in my Area 5 garden this morning for the 3rd day running. It must now have a nest nearby.2 Swift were seen and heard over my house this evening.

21/05/18 Great spotted Woodpecker A male Great spotted Woodpecker was on my fat feeder in the garden this morning with a House Sparrow following shortly afterwards.

19/05/18 Out and about today in an attempt to avoid the Royal Wedding. In Area 1 around Ludgrove School were calling Ring necked Parakeet . In Area 9 at Blackberry Gardens were at least 2 singing Whitethroat and a Green Woodpecker .In Area 10 a Little Egret was feeding in the river. Area 5 held Blackcap , Chiffchaff, Nuthatch and Great spotted Woodpecker and a Moorhen on the Emm.

18/05/18 Dunnock At the top of my Area 5 garden Yew tree a Dunnock was belting out his song.

17/05/18 In my Area 5 garden today as the garage roof was being repaired. Seen were numerous Red Kite and Buzzard enjoying the thermals. Whilst watching a flyover Cormorrant I also saw a Kestrel hunting over the river.

16/05/18 Its all been a bit quiet on the Bird front recently. The usual summer migrants are still singing along the Emm Brook Blackcap , Chiffchaff etc. The usual gang of Wood Pigeon are still stripping my Area 5 garden feeders every morning. Perhaps they should be renamed Garden Pigeons. My Nuthatch still appears, with increasing numbers of Starling .

11/05/18 A Nuthatch was back at my Area 5 garden feeders again this morning and a Buzzard was seen enjoying the thermals.

09/05/18 Juvenile Robin At my Area 5 garden feeders at 06:00 this morning the first Juvenile Robin of the year was seen .A sign of successful breeding.

08/05/18 Paul O'Neill was out at Old Forest Road Meadows (Area 8) this morning and saw 3 Swift ,2 Ring necked Parakeets ,3 singing male Blackcap , 3 male Chiffchaff , 4 Song Thrush and 4 Whitethroat . 3 singing in 2017 territories in Old Forest Road Meadows and 1 at the confluence of Ashridge Stream and Emm Brook. In Area 10 a Hobby was seen over the Lavells Lake Car Park by Fraser Cottington.

07/05/18 Seen in Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas were , 2 Swift , and a singing male Willow Warbler at the Balancing Pond.

06/05/18 A visit to Area 1 this morning around Ludgrove School before it got too warm produced , 3 Ring necked Parakeets , calling Little Owl , both Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker , 5 Swallow over the Horse field and calling Chiffchaff and Blackcap . On the flooded field a female Mallard was with 9 ducklings, and a Moorhen and Canada Goose were also seen.

05/05/18 In Area 2 around Chapel Farm, 2 Ring necked Parakeets and 2 Little Owl were seen by Robert Godden. Meanwhile during my walk around Area 4 & 5 this morning were a flyover Grey Heron and a rattling Mistle Thrush .

04/05/18 Male Blackcap Not a lot at lunchtime at Old Forest Meadows, Area 8. Singing were male Whitethroats and Blackcaps . With the adjacent Motorway noise, I'm sure they have to sing louder to get heard.

03/05/18 Grey Heron & Little Egret Area 1 again, but this time the Ludgrove School area at lunchtime. In the flooded field with 12 Mallard were feeding Grey Heron and Little Egret .Male Whitethroat A Jay was seen and a calling Green Woodpecker was heard. 3 male Whitethroat were singing and Skylaks were heard.

02/05/18 Grey Heron A visit to Area 1 (Heathlake) in the rain this morning produced very little. The Grey Heron nesting on the Island appear to have successfully fledged 3 juvenille's. On the lake were Mute Swan , Mallard , Tufted Duck and Coot.In brief bits of sun amongst the showers at lunchtime in Area 4 by Kingfisher Bridge were singing Blackcap and Chiffchaff. The local Blackbird were making the most of the soft ground, with at least 4 foraging for worms. Hopefully feeding young.


28/05/18 Maybug The moth trap was out again last night in my Area 5 garden. Full list to follow. Inevitably at this time of year the Common Cockchafer Melolontha melolontha or May Bug is very prominent.Common cockchafer males can easily be distinguished from the females by counting the number of 'leaves' on their remarkable antler-like antennae, males sport seven ‘leaves’ while females have only six. These leafy antennae can detect pheromones, enabling males to find females even in the dark.

27/05/18 Pyrausta aurata On the Mint in my Area 5 garden was the day flying moth Pyrausta aurata .It often goes by the Common name of Mint Moth.Dark-bush Cricket Meanwhile in Area 10 the nymph of the Dark bush-cricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera was enjoying the sunshine on some Nettles.

22/05/18 Brimstone Moth My first Hawker Dragonfly of the year was seen flying along the Emm in Area 10 by the DAC today. As yet unidentified. The moth trap was put on last night,caught were Brimstone Philaenus spumarius , Straw Dot Rivula sericealis , Heart & Dart Agrotis exclamationis and the White spotted Pug Eupithecia tripunctaria .

20/05/18  Cuckoo Spit In Area 5 Cuckoo Spit Philaenus spumarius has just started to appear. Cuckoo spit is a white frothy liquid secreted by the nymphs of a sap-sucking insect known as a froghopper. The froghopper lives inside the froth.In Area 10 a MayFly Philaenus spumarius was saved from a Spiders Web.There are 51 species of mayfly in Britain. They are common around freshwater wetlands, from fast-flowing rivers to still lakes, where the larvae spend their lives underwater feeding on algae and plants. 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.  Narcissus Fly In my Area 5 garden this afternoon was the Bumblebee mimic Narcissus Fly Merodon equestris . The Narcissus Fly is also known as the 'Greater Bulb Fly'. Adults feed on nectar and pollen and can be seen around flowers like dandelions from March to August. Males can be spotted flying low over short grass in search of females. The females can be seen on the dying leaves of bulbous plants, such as Daffodils, Narcissi and Bluebells, where they lay their eggs. The larvae hatch and burrow into the bulb underground, feeding on it and even destroying it.Thanks to Jon Cole with ID help.

19/05/18  Azure Damselfly Down by the pond in Area 5 were Azure Damselfly Pyrochroa serraticornis , the first of the year. Also seen were what I am sure is a Blue-tailed Damselfly Pyrochroa serraticornis  Blue-tailed Damselfly another first for the year. Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula were also on the vegetation.Seen but no photos taken was a male Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo . I will find it again.

17/05/18 In my Area 5 garden a copulating Male and Female Red Eyed Damselfly Pyrochroa serraticornis landed on my kitchen windowsill.

15/05/18  Common Green Shieldbug Another good day in Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre and over the road in the Car Park field. Seen on the vegetation was a Common Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina .Damselflies are slowly emerging in the warm weather seen were the first male and female Banded Demoiselle Palomena prasina of the year and a Common Blue Damselfly Palomena prasina .  Common Blue Damselfly  Male  Banded Demoiselle  Butterflies were on the wing in the Car Park field . Seen were Small White Pieris rapae  Small Copper Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines and my first Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas of the year.

11/05/18 I was in Area 10 again by the Dinton Activity Centre and seen were recently emerged Male and Female Red Eyed Damselfly Pyrochroa serraticornis .  Red Eyed Damselfly(Male)   Red Eyed Damselfly(Female)  This species is quite a large and robust damselfly, with distinctive 'bug-eyed' look. Adult males have blood-red eyes and tend to rest on floating vegetation. They are very territorial and chase off any other encroaching male. When newly emerged they have nearly all black bodies and dark eyes, but their larger size helps to distinguish them from other species. Immature males and females are generally yellow and black. Yellow Dung Fly Also seen on the Nettles were Yellow Dung Fly Scathophaga stercoraria , the Snipe Fly Rhagio scolopaceus and not suprisingly Nettle Weevil Phyllobius pomaceus .

10/05/18  Nut Tree Tussock Coming to light at my Area 5 house was a male Nut Tree Tusock Colocasia coryli due to the feathered antennae.

09/05/18  Pyrochroa serraticornis  Seen today in Area 10 on Nettles by the Dinton Activity Centre was the Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa serraticornis . Pyrochroa serraticornis is one of just three European species, all of which are found in the UK. They are more commonly known as Cardinal Beetles, due to their bright red coloration and belong to the Pyrochroidae family.

08/05/18  Large Red Damselfly At lunchtime today in the sunshine at Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre were a pair of copulating Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula , these Damselflies are usually one of the first to emerge. Also seen was the first Hornet Vespa crabro of the year.

07/05/18  Esperia sulphurella Dancing in the sunlight in my Area 5 garden this morning were 10 of the day flying micro moth Esperia sulphurella .

05/05/18  Episyrphus balteatus On the Nettles by Ripplestream Bridge in Area 4, Hoverflies were warming up in the sunshine. Seen were Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus Its two 'moustache' black bands on tergites 3 and 4 of its abdomen are unique. Some specimens also show white bands on the abdomen,  Eupeodes luniger Eupeodes luniger. It is characterized by hook-shaped markings along the center of its abdomen. and Syrphus ribessi .

03/05/18  Dock Bug In Area 1 by Ludgrove School the first Dock Bog Coreus margentinus of the year was seen.

02/05/18  Small White As soon as the sun came out in Area 4 the Butterflies appeared. The first Small White Pieris rapae of the year was seen and a male Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines .A second Small White appeared and proceded to "fight" with the first presumably for territory. Pisaura mirablis Not an Insect but still seen was the Nursery Web Spider Pisaura mirabilis this was was holding a classic pose in the sun at lunchtime.


28/05/18  Dog Rose All along the Emm Dog rose Rosa canina is now in full bloom.

15/05/18  Meadow Buttercup A sight worth seeing at the moment, sparkling in the sunshine in Area 10 is a sea of Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris in the Car Park field.

14/05/18  Yellow Iris By the pond in Area 5 Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus are in flower. Its large, bright yellow flowers appear between May and August and are thought to be the inspiration for the fleur-de-lis symbol which is used in heraldry and also by the scouts. Ragged Robin Also seen were Ragged-Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi .This again favours wet areas.

04/05/18  Comfrey In Area 8 in Old Forest Road Meadows clumps of Comfrey Symphytum officinale are in flower. The flowers of Comfrey can be pink, whiteish or purple. Red Campion Also seen were Red Campion Silene dioica

Other Wildlife


27/05/18 A first for me in Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre was at least 1 but possibly 2 Grass snake Natrix natrix seen slithering into the riverside undergrowth.



27/05/18  Hedgehog A Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus was in my Area 5 garden , caught on the trailcam.

24/05/18  Muntjac A late report from Les Steele. Seen in his Area 5 garden on 30/04/18 at 21:20 was a Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi apparently it came in through a side gate. This picture is taken from a garden video.

19/05/18  Roe Deer Finally, I have seen a Roe Deer Capreoluscapreolus along the Emm. This is one of 2 males seen in Area 9, Blackberry Gardens. They didnt seem particularly bothered and went to lie back down agin in the grass. Roe Deer shed Antlers in Oct /Dec and they start to regrow by March.

17/05/18 I saw something today that I have not seen before a Roadwise Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinenis. In Area 5 by Woosehill Roundabout it was crossing Reading Road and waited for a gap in the traffic before making its way to the middle of the road and then sat there until there was a space and ran over the road. THankfully arriving on the other side safely.

06/05/18  Hedgehog As usual a Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus was in my Area 5 garden this morning, caught on the trailcam. I have also received a report from Gavin Hall of Lowther Road Emmbrook. In April a 19cm, 700g female Hedgehog was rescued from the middle of the road and placed in an adjacent garden.As numbers decline we need to keep an eye on them. Fox At 0845 in Area 1 a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was seen in the cow field. It was looking good in its summer coat.


22/05/18 What I am reliably informed by Simon Bartlam (DP Ranger) was a Chubb Leuciscus cephalus was feeding on Damselflies on the surface of the Emm Brook by the Activity Centre in Area 10 at lunchtime.Seen from the bridge.