Latest Sightings October 2020

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 October

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.


31/10/20  Long tailed Tit With the remnants of ex-Hurricane Zeta and then Storm Aiden sweeping the country at lunchtime, the morning was the best time to be out . There were marauding Tit flocks feeding through the trees and bushes in Area 10 were 10 Long tailed Tit , with Great Tit and Blue Tit . A male and female Egyptian Goose and an Adult and 2 juvenile Grey Heron were on the flooded fields at Ludgrove School in Area 1 seen by Sean Stevenson.

30/10/20 A female Gooseander was seen at Heathlake in Area 1 by Rick Dawson.Paul O'Neill was at Ashridge Meadows and saw a flyover Green Sandpiper and a male Stonechat sat on the Reed Mace at the pond.

28/10/20  Male & Female Tufted Duck A walk around Heathlake in Area 1 was much as expected with 40 Black headed Gull , 20 male and female Tufted Duck , numerous Mallard , Moorhen , Coot ,Cormorrant and Canada Goose on the water.In Area 10 seen were 3 Raven flew at tree top height along the east side of car park field, a Blackcap was by the stile and 3 Fieldfare flew over heading west all seen by Fraser Cottington.

27/10/20  Male Great spotted Woodpecker In Area 6 at lunchtime a Male Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard flying over calling, announcing its presence with a sharp call, like a ‘tchik’, before landing at the top of a spindly Leylandii tree.The male has a red patch at the nape of its neck.

26/10/20 In Area 4 a Skylark and Linnet were seen in Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas, also a Hawfinch was seen flying low SW over Kingfisher Bridge calling.

25/10/20 A Grey Wagtail was seen in Area 2 at Chapel Green by Shaun Stevenson and 3 Mistle Thrush were seen in Area 7A.

24/10/20 Fraser Cottington was watching Area 10 and saw 4 Little Egret heading South, a Peregrine over towards Lavell’s Lake then hunting just west, 17 Fieldfare in 2 groups of 8 and 9 moving South West, Lesser Redpoll were heard calling flying over, Redwing and 30+ Chaffinch heading south west in small groups.

22/10/20  Female Stonechat Paul O'Neill was again watching Area 7A and saw 2 female Stonechat in Ashridge Meadows. In Area 10 Siskin were heading west with 5 Fieldfare , 30+ Chaffinch were heading south west, 2 Mistle Thrush were heading south and 5 Meadow Pipit all seen over the Landfill from the Car Park field by Fraser Cottington.

20/10/20 Paul O'Neill was watching Area 7A and saw a female Kestrel over the Sewage works a Buzzard being chased by a Carrion Crow . Sitting on the Reed Mace at Ashridge Meadows was a female Stonechat and 4 Meadow Pipit were around the Ashridge Stream.

19/10/20 A female Tawny Owl was calling in Area 7A at 06:00 and later in the day a Kestrel was hovering over the fields looking for prey.

18/10/20  Common Buzzard A Peregrine was seen at the Car park field in Area 10 along with a solitary Fieldfare , 15 Redwing and a Mistle Thrush by Fraser Cottington .In Area 7A a Common Buzzard was perched in a tree at the side of the road and a Grey Wagtail was seen. A Grey Wagtail was also seen upstream of Ripplestream Bridge in Area 4.

17/10/20 In Area 10 this morning a Tawny Owl was heard calling near the Green Bridge where the Emm Brook meets the Loddon by Fraser Cottington at 07:00. A female Stonechat was seen on the telephone wires over the Ashridge Stream near the entrance to Ashridge Meadows in Area 7A by Paul O'Neill and 2 Brambling were heard in Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas.

16/10/20 At 04:20 a female Tawny Owl was calling in Area 7A.The female’s usual call is ‘keewik’, which is used as a contact call.In the carpark field in Area 10 a male and female Blackcap were in the hedges, and a female Sparrowhawk was seen coming out of the centre copse.Earlier in Area 10, 4 Little Egret were seen flying west along the Emm Brook by Fraser Cottington. In Area 1 a couple of Grey Heron seem to have taken up there winter daytime position in the flooded fields.

14/10/20 Keeping an eye on whats flying over his Area 4 garden, Paul Bright Thomas saw 5 Fieldfare , 2 Skylark , 1 Lesser Redpoll and 197 Redwing .

13/10/20 Paul O'Neill had a Little Egret in the Emm at Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8 and a female Kestrel hunting over Ashridge Meadows, Eldridge Country Park in Area 7A. A Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were both seen in a Tit flock by Paul Bright Thomas in Area 4. A total of 60+ Chaffinch ,100+ Redwing and 7 Fieldfare were seen all heading West in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington.

12/10/20  Redwing Autumn migration of Thrushes, really got under way today with approx 900 Redwing seen in 2 hours from 06:45 moving West,7 Song Thrush and 6 Fieldfare also seen were 20 Siskin , 1 Linnet and a Lesser Redpoll all seen by by Paul Bright Thomas in Area 4. In Area 10 at the old Golf course were 25+ Redwing a Ring-necked Parakeet and a Grey Wagtail seen by Jonny Cox.

11/10/20 Seen by Paul Bright Thomas in Area 4 was a Little Egret flying towards the Emm and 5 flyover Redwing and a Lesser Redpoll . 2 Mistle Thrush were seen near the Activity centre in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington

10/10/20 Sean Stevenson was out and about in Area 1 with good results. Seen were a male Sparrowhawk, 2 Ring necked Parakeet, 2 Grey Heron on a flooded field and a Buzzard that was feeding in a field with 6 nearby Wood Pigeon that wern't bothered by its presence. Once again Swallow were seen flying South over Area 10 by Fraser Cottington and a Little Egret was in the top of an Oak Tree in Area 4.

08/10/20 4 Swallow were seen flying South over Area 10 by Fraser Cottington.

07/10/20 3 Skylark were seen over the fields in Area 1 at Ludgrove and on an area of water at a recently flooded field, 26 Mallard were enjoying a new feeding opportunity.

05/10/20 After the weekend ,I was half expecting to see a Dove with an Olive branch, but instead a Common Buzzard was over Area 7A with a Kestrel . Paul Bright Thomas was in Area 4 and saw another Common Buzzard flying low along the Emm being pursued by Carrion Crow a Goldcrest,Lesser Redpoll,Common Crossbill flying North West, 5 Meadow Pipit, 2 Song Thrush, 2 male and 2 female Blackbird and 16 Siskin low North West. 50 House Martin were seen moving South in Area 10.

04/10/20  Emmbrook Road With a weekend of heavy, continious rain it was no suprise that the Emm Brook would burst its banks. Sandfod Lane is closed,  Kingfisher Bridge Emmbrook Road is flooded by Emmbrook Secondary School and by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 5 the park is flooded.

03/10/20  House Martin In Area 10 at a flooded Dinton Pastures, 10 House Martin were feeding over the Emm and the Dinton Activity Centre. A Magpie was busy devouring an Earthworm and a Song Thrush was feeding on the soft ground. A Kingfisher was seen flying over gardens in Area 4 near the river.

02/10/20 A Sparrowhawk was seen flying across the fields at Ludgrove in Area 1 being harrased by 2 Carrion Crow .

01/10/20  Treecreeper In Area 10 a Blackcap , 4 Song Thrush were seen at the rear of the Car Park field and 6 House Martin were seen flying west with 6 Swallow by Fraser Cottington. A Treecreeper was also seen by David.


31/10/20  Mottled Umber With the prospect of a dryish,overcast and mild night probably the best of the weekend, the moth trap was out again in Area 7A. Star of the show in the morning for me were 2 Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria. One was very well marked, whilst the other showed the variation in markings in this species. Mottled Umber There was a supporting cast of 4 Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria , 3 Figure of Eight Diloba caeruleocephala ,1 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata ,3 November Moth agg Epirrita dilutata agg The Epirrita genus trio are very difficult to separate on markings alone and are best identified by reference to the genitalia.As I do not have the skills to do this I decided to record this as aggregate and 2 Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum . A total of 21 moths of 11 species. Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released.

24/10/20  Blairs Shoulder-knot The cool autumn nights see rather few moths flying but nevertheless overnight moth trapping went ahead in Area 7A. Results were 20 moths of 10 species Blairs Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri 1 Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria , 10 Merveille du Jour Griposia aprilina ,2 Figure of Eight Diloba caeruleocephala , Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra , Red-green Carpet Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae , Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis , Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata and the Caddisfly Limnephilus lunatus . Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released.

19/10/20  Harlequin Ladybird In Area 4 today at lunchtime at least 6 Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis were flying around an Oak tree by Kingfisher Bridge before alighting on a nearby garden fence.

18/10/20  Feathered Thorn Overnight moth trapping in Area 7A caught 14 moths of 10 species. Highlights were Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria a rich reddish-brown moth, only the males have the feathery antennae which give rise to its English name. It is the only "Thorn " to rest with its wings flat. Feathered Thorn 4 Merveille du Jour Griposia aprilina , 1 Figure of Eight Diloba caeruleocephala Also caught were 2 Yellow line Quaker Agrochola macilenta ,2 Barred Sallow Tiliacea aurago ,2 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra and singles of Winter Moth Operophtera brumata . A common species, this moth occurs, as its English name suggests, from late autumn through to January or February. Green-brindled Crescent Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae , Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis and Chestnut Conistra vaccinii . Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released.

15/10/20  Merveille du Jour Following a few days away in Norfolk, the moth trap was returned to duty in Area 7A . Caught overnight were 12 moths of 8 species. This was expected as the temperature was in single figures.Highlights were the October flying Merveille du Jour Griposia aprilina one of our most beautiful moths, especially when freshly emerged, and a male Figure of Eight Diloba caeruleocephala  Figure of Eight.The English name comes from the creamy markings on the forewing, one or both of which can resemble the figure 8. Also caught were Yellow line Quaker Agrochola macilenta , Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra and Grey Shoulder Knot Lithophane ornitopus . Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released.

07/10/20  Holly Leaf Miner In Area 1 at Heathlake is evidence of the Holly Leaf Miner Phytomyza ilicis . The Holly Leaf Miner is a fly that lays its eggs in holly leaves. It is one of the few insects that is able to make use of holly leaves as a food source and somewhere to live (when a larva). The female fly lays eggs in the holly leaf (near the main veins or midrib – on the underside) using a thin tube or ovipositor. In a brief bit of sunshine in Area 1 at lunchtime a Small White Pieris rapae Butterfly was seen on the wing.

06/10/20  Common Carder Bumblebee Seen in Area 10 at lunchtime a Common Carder Bumblebee Bombus pascuorum was feeding on the flowers of White dead Nettle.

02/10/20  Common Wasp Despite the rain a Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris was feeding at the flowers of a sheltered Ivy in Area 5 .

Plants/ Trees

As the leaves on the trees and hedgerows start to change colour to a yellowey gold find out why at Why do leaves change colour .

28/10/20  Foxglove Still in flower in Area 1 at Gorrick Woods was a solitary Foxglove Digitalis purpurea .The charismatic, pink flower spikes of the Foxglove were not really on display with only 3 flowers left on the stalk.

25/10/20   Red Clover In Area 7A at Ashridge Meadows there is still some colour with Red clover Trifolium pratense and Ox-eye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare still in flower and hanging on.

11/10/20   Holly Berries I was asked the other day, why someones Holly Ilex aquifolium tree did not have berries. All holly bushes do not have berries. Hollies are dioecious, meaning that they need male and female plants in order to produce seeds, which are what berries are. So only female holly bushes will have the red berries.


28/10/20  Candlesnuff Fungus A day off so I decided to go on a Fungi foray in Area 1 and Gorrick Woods, seen were Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon The Candlesnuff fungus is very common. It has an erect, stick-like or forked fruiting body with a black base and white, powdery tip. It grows on dead and rotting wood.Small Stagshorn 
, Small Stagshorn Calocera viscosa This is an unbranching (or only very rarely branching) jelly fungus, with tiny fruitbodies usually shorter than the thickness of a finger.. Fly Agaric A day in the woods looking for fungi,wouldn't be the same without Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria .This toadstool has turned up in many fairy tale stories and features in the story of Alice in Wonderland when she is given some fly agaric to eat. Common PuffballHowever I wouldn't recommend it as its poisonious.Also seen was what I believe is the Common Puffball Lycoperdon perlatum. Calocera cornea

07/10/20  Birch Polypore At Heathlake in Area 1 ,on a dead Silver Birch was the Birch Polypore Piptoporus betulinus fungus.This large polypore develops from a small white spherical swelling on the side of dead or living birch trees. Barbers used to 'strop' or sharpen their cut-throat razors on tough, leathery strips cut from the surfaces of these polypores, and so they also became known as the Razor Strop Fungus.

03/10/20  Fly Agaric At Gorrick Woods in Area 1 Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria are appearing under the Silver Birch trees.

Amphibians and Reptiles

03/10/20 A Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus was seen going into its bank burrow in Area 4.During the winter they can burrow up to two metres deep in to river banks, causing erosion.


18/10/20 In the Balancing pond in Area 4 a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was seen at 11.20.

09/10/20 A pair of Red Fox Vulpes vulpes have become regular night time visitors to an Area 4 garden.

07/10/20 In Area 4 a female and juvenile Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus were see in the early hours of the morning feeding in a front garden.

03/10/20  Roe Deer Ignoring the flooding in Area 4 a male Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen and even contemplated jumping the Emm Brook at one point.

Fish/ Crustaceans