Latest Sightings May 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 May

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

31/05/21 Adult and Juvenile Grey Wagtail Down at the Weir Pool in Area 5 an Adult Grey Wagtail was feedihg its offspring with flies. In Area 10 in the Wet Meadow a Coot was sitting on its nest and a family group of 5 Oystercatcher Oystercatcher flew over the Emm Brook and landed on the Lavells Lake bund, 2 Adults and 3 Juveniles. In Area 7 a Kestrel and male and female Linnet were seen by Paul O'Neill.

30/05/21 A Green Woodpecker was feeding in the Car Park field in Area 10 before flying off.

29/05/21 Male and female House Sparrow It looks as if a 2nd brood of House Sparrow could be on the way. In Area 4 Blackcap and Chiffchaff were singinging in the Balancing pond . Swift numbers had increased to 3 and a Raven flew over making its distinctive cronking sound.

27/05/21 2 Swift were seen flying over Area 4. Over the Carpark field in Area 10 a Raven flew over being mobbed by Jackdaws a Cuckoo was heard calling distantly and a Ring necked Parakeet flew West.

26/05/21 There were 2 Barn Owl seen flying from the nest box in the Wet Meadow in Area 10 and then hunting over the meadow and above reeds by Lee Ellams.

24/05/21 Juvenile House Sparrow It looks like another succesful breeding season for the local House Sparrow with numerous juveniles visiting my garden feeders. Over Area 4 In between the showers 2 Buzzard were circling high on the thermals. Following a downpour of biblical proportions a Little Egret was seen flying over my house , strikingly white against the black clouds.

23/05/21 Grey Heron I visited Area 1 at Luckley late morning, a Grey Heron was perched above the pond and a Moorhen was swimming across it. Moorhen 2 Swallow were feeding low over the horse paddocks, 2 , Lapwing were dancing over Greys Farm. A Sparrowhawk was seen hunting along the hedgerows.

22/05/21 Mallard A walk around Area 4 & 5 this morning was quite productive. Several singing male Blackcap were heard along with a singing Chiffchaff Also seen were Nuthatch , Jay and Starling . A nest of Great spotted Woodpecker chicks could be heard noisely calling from a nest hole waiting for their parents to return.In Area 4 a female Mallard was sat on a nearby house roof.In Area 10 a Barn Owl was seen in the wet meadow near its box by Alan Rymer.

17/05/21 Starling No its not a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds , its the Juvenile Starling population eating me out of house and home. Obviously been a good breeding season.

16/05/21 Starling The local Starling population has been swelled in Area 4 by the recently fledged juvenles, who appear to be everywhereStarling They noisely invade and strip the bird feeders of any food.

14/05/21 2 Oystercatcher were seen flying over the Old Golf Course in Area 10 by Barbara Stephenson.

12/05/21 A Garden Warbler was singing in the copse in the Car Park field in Area 10 by Anne Cronin. In Area 3 to the rear of Pets at Home a male Blackcap was singing from the riverside trees.

11/05/21 Wren A female Wheatear sat on the rooftops briefly in Area 7A and seen by Paul O'Neill, has got to be todays strangest sighting. At dusk in Area 10 a Barn Owl was sitting in a tree next to the box seen by Michael Hubbard,earlier a Hobby was feeding over Lavell's Lake and the Emm. In Area 5 , Rebecca Rees saw Nuthach , Little Egret Great Spotted Woodpecker , Wren and a Little Egret feeding in the Brook. Photos courtesy of Rebecca Rees.

10/05/21 A Kestrel was seen again in Area 8 at Old Forest Road Meadows, this time by Paul o'Neill along with a singing male Whitethroat . Meanwhile a Raven was heard cronking as it flew over Paul Bright Thomas's Area 4 garden.

09/05/21 Nuthatch Over Area 4 today 2 Swift and a Swallow were seen by Paul Bright Thomas.Area 10 and all the usual birds from the last few days were all singing.Kestrel In Area 5 a Nuthatch was seen by Woosehill Roundabout and a Kestrel was hunting in Area 8 between the A329M and Old Forest Road Meadows.Kestrel resting before taking a break on a convenient sign. Photos courtesy of Rebecca Rees.

08/05/21 A dull,damp and dreary day. However Tim James was out around Area 10 and saw a Grey Wagtail By the Dinton Activity Centre, and 20 Swift , who fly whatever the weather.

06/05/21 The spring migrants are putting on a good show on most sections of the Emm with singing/calling Chiffchaff , Blackcap , Cuckoo and Whitethroat . Resident birds are also in full song with Robin , Blackbird and Song Thrush all doing their bit. In Area's 4 and 5 there have been increased sightings of Little Egret on the river

03/05/21 Grey Wagtail Down on the Emm near Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 a pair of Grey Wagtail were feeding in the mud.

02/05/21 Whitethroat Today was International Dawn Chorus Day so I was out and about early along the Emm. In Area 7A a Whitethroat was singing from a riverside bush.Swallow In Area 10 Swift , Swallow , Sand Martin and House Martin were all feeding over the river and lakes . This Swallow was taking a well earned rest on the wires.

01/05/21 Male Blackcap In Area 1 a Kestrel , Swallow and Egyptian Goose were all seen by Sean Stevenson. Great spotted Woodpecker In Area 10 a Cuckoo was still seen and calling and 2 Hobby were seen flying over the Emm Brook. Rebecca Rees was in Area 5 and saw a male Blackcap and a Great Spotted Woodpecker


31/05/21 Broad bodied Chaser . In the reed bed in Area 10 a Broad bodied Chaser Libellula depressa dragonfly had emerged as was resting on the reeds . Male and Female Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens Damselflies were also on the wing with Male Banded Demoiselle . Common Blue Damselfly Opisthograptis luteolata , Beautiful Demoiselle Notodonta ziczac and Blue tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans .

30/05/21 7 spot Ladybird . On the Nettles in Area 5 was a 7 Spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata, the most common Ladybird in Europe. The grass in the Area 4 Balancing pond was hiding a Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata moth. Common Carpet . Resting on the reeds by the Area 5 pond was a "Stretch Spider" Tetragnatha extensa Tetragnatha extensa . stThey adopt the habit of stretching their legs out in front and behind to produce a stick like effect and can be very difficult to detect on vegetation. Even when exposed on the web they can look just like vegetative litter.

29/05/21 Pyrochroa coccinea . On the pond side vegetation in Area 5 was a Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa coccinea so called due to its bright red colour. Nearby was the Soldier Beetle Cantharis rustica Cantharis rustica . Soldier Beetles get their name from the soft, clothlike wing covers, which when brightly colored are reminiscent of uniforms.

28/05/21 Male Beautiful Demoiselle  . A return visit to Area 10 on a slightly overcast but mild morning, this time on a Damselfly hunt. Seen in the car park field and the area around the Bridge over the Emm Brook were immature male Common Blue Damselfly Opisthograptis luteolata , Beautiful Demoiselle Notodonta ziczac ,Blue tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans , Male and female Large Red Damselfly  . Male and female Banded Demoiselle Ptilodon capucina . and a mating pair of Large Red Damselfly Opisthograptis luteolata . Red Twin-spot Carpet . In the hedgerow in the car park field was a Red Twin-spot Carpet Opisthograptis luteolata

27/05/21 Sandy Carpet . With a slightly warmer daytime temperature, hopefully indicating a better catch the moth trap was out overnight in my Area 4 garden and emptied this morning. Finally things have improved, the haul was 13 moths of 10 species. These were 3 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata and 1 each of Pebble prominent Notodonta ziczac , Coxcomb Prominent Ptilodon capucina . , May Highflyer . Sandy Carpet Perizoma flavofasciata a first for the FOTEB list, Twenty -plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla , Broken-barred Carpet Electrophaes corylata , Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana , May Highflyer Hydriomena impluviata and the micromoths Tachystola acroxantha and one as yet unidentified. Also in the trap was a False Widow Spider Steatoda nobilis and an Ichneumon wasp Ophion obscuratus agg . Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.

25/05/21 Large Longhorn . Wandering around Area 1 at Heathlake, a day flying moth the Large Longhorn Nematopogon swammerdamella was seen. As its name suggests it is the largest of this genus of four British 'Longhorn' moths. All have unmarked ochreous wings and very long antennae. (twice length of forewing in male, female a little shorter).

23/05/21 Shuttle shaped Dart . With the wind having died down and a prediction of no overnight rain the moth trap was out overnight in Area 4 and emptied this morning. The woeful number of moths caught continues, a grand total of 1 , it was a Shuttle shaped Dart Agrotis puta Limnephilus auricula . also in the trap was Limnephilus auricula a Caddis Fly. Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.

19/05/21 Acorn Weevil . Paul Hopcraft was out again with his camera in Area 4 taking superb photos of Acorn Weevil Curculio glandium Cahtharis decipiens  . and the Solider Beetle Cahtharis decipiens in the Balancing pond.

18/05/21 Common Malachite Beetle . Paul Hopcraft was out and about with his camera in Area 4 and saw Common Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus. on the Meadow Buttercup in the Balancing pond.

15/05/21 Brimstone Moth . I have moved the moth trap, as a consequence it was out overnight in Area 4 and emptied this morning before the rain.The total modest haul was 2 moths of 2 species. They were a Brimstone Moth Polyploca ridens. and a Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana , Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.

12/05/21 Earwig Paul Hopcraft was in Area 5 and photographed a male Common European Earwig Forficula auricularia An obvious feature of earwigs is the pair of 'pincers' or forceps at the tip of the flexible abdomen. Both sexes have these pincers; in males they are large and strongly curved, whereas in females they are straight. Earwig -

11/05/21 Male Orange tip Flying around one of the new ponds at Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8 was a female Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressaibio marci . My first Dragonfly of the year. Also seen were 2 Peacock Aglais io and a male Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni Butterfly. In Area 5 a male Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines was seen on Garlic Mustard , another one of its host plants by Rebecca Rees.

09/05/21 Green Dock Beetle I was checking out the Dock plants this morning in Area 10 looking for Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula and I wasn't disapointed.Winter Moth Caterpiller Whilst I parked up in Area 10 a Caterpillar of the Winter Moth Operophtera brumata blew in through the window whilst balloning, on a thread. They have several prolegs missing and walk by moving one end of their body at a time so forming a loop – hence they are often referred to as ‘loopers’.Winter Moth eggs are laid on twigs or in cracks in the bark, where they spend the rest of the winter. The pale green caterpillars hatch in the spring as the buds are opening and then feed on the foliage. They can also ‘balloon’ from tree to tree by spinning a silk thread and using the breeze to carry them along to the next food source.

07/05/21 Large Red Damselfly In Area 10 in the morning Sunshine a Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula was warming up on the riverside vegetation. The hedges around the Car Park field had 3 male Green Longhorn Adela reaumurella Green Longhorn These are day flying moths. The males of the species have large whiteish antennae.

06/05/21 Common Pondskater An after work stroll around Areaa 10, on a quiet backwater ,just off the Emm was a Common Pondskater Gerris lacustris. Pondskaters have very long legs and water-repellent feet which they use to skim across the surface tension 'film' of the water. They are quickly attracted to movement in the surface film, such as the struggles of a non-aquatic insect that has fallen into the water. The pondskater will then 'row' across the water at high speed to investigate and secure its prey, using its front legs to grasp the victim. Whirligig Beetle Also at the same location were Whirligig Beetle Gyrinus substriatus This whirligig beetle is active during the day, when disturbed they are able to dive to safety. They carry an air bubble around with them on the tip of the abdomen, which is periodically replenished, and enables them to stay submerged for long periods.

05/05/21 Lily Leaf Beetle With such low temperatures the rule in recent weeks butterfly emergence dates seem to be set back (...moth emergence dates certainly have been) but, perhaps tempted out by the frequent sunshine that's at least warmed up sheltered spots, several Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines and a Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni were seen on the wing in Area 10. A Lily Leaf Beetle Lilioceris lilii was seen in Area 4 by Paul Hopcraft.

03/05/21 St Marks Fly Area 4 and a solitary St Marks Fly Bibio marci was seen on the undergrowth. These flies are so-called because they emerge around St Mark's Day, April 25th.Also in the Balancing pond were male and female Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines Butterflies. Male Orange Tip  These Orange Tip photo's were taken recently at the same location by Paul Hopcroft. Orange Tip underwing Its feeding on its favourie Cuckoo Flower. This is also a favorite host plant for its catterpillars.

02/05/21 Alder Leaf Beetle In Area 10 several Alder leaf Beetle Agelastica alni were not suprisingly seen on Alder trees by the river.

Plants/ Trees

22/05/21 Crosswort Near Dragonfly Bridge on the banks of the river in Area 5 is a large patch of Crosswort Cruciata laevipes Crosswort gets its name from the position of its leaves - they surround the stem in groups of four, making a cross shape.

17/05/21 Meadow buttercup You cannot escape the swathes of Meadow buttercup Ranunculus acris that are appearing in the fields and open spaces at the moment.

11/05/21 Red Campion At Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8 Red campion Silene dioica is starting to appear in the fields. It usually follows the Bluebell flowering season, also seen was Greater stitchwort Stellaria holostea Greater Stichwort It has many other common names, including 'Star-of-Bethlehem', 'daddy's-shirt-buttons' and 'snapdragon' - the latter because its stems are brittle and easily break. It has pretty, star-shaped, white flowers.

09/05/21 Cow Parsley All along the Emm at this time of year , hedgerows and verges foam with the green and white of this familiar umbellifer Cow parsley Anthriscus sylvestris , always good to keep an eye on for insects .

02/05/21 Cowslip In the remenants of the Wild Flower Meadow in Area 4 at least 5 Cowslip Primula veris have managed to evade the Council mowers.


Amphibians and Reptiles

15/05/21 A Common Frog Bufo bufo was seen by Paul Hopcraft in the Area 4 Balancing pond.

05/05/21  Common Toad Paul Hopcraft was in Area 4 with his camera, around the Balancing pond and stumbled upon a Common Toad Bufo bufo which quickly moved on.


20/05/21 At 01:30 this morning a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was seen wandering through Area 4.

10/05/21 At dusk a Noctule Nyctalus noctula bat was seen flying around the Wet Meadow in Area 10 by Finley Hutchinson. It is the UK's largest bat.

02/05/21  Roe Deer In Area 7A a male Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was grazing in the fields.

01/05/21  Roe Deer Rebecca Rees was in Area 5 and a Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was spotted in amongst the trees near Woosehill Roundabout.

Fish/ Crustaceans


23/05/21  Yellow Slug Found in my Area 4 garden was a Yellow Slug Limacus flavus .

22/05/21  White lipped Snail The only things that seem to be enjoying this current spell of wet weather are the Slugs and Snails. In Area 4 on vegetation were White lipped Snail Capreolus capreolus and  Garden Snail Garden Snail Carnu aspersum .