Latest Sightings October 2019

Click on the link to send in your sightings to help us monitor Emm Brook wildlife.

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 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. W. H. Davies.


29/10/19  Ring necked parakeet It was a good morning for visible migration over Berkshire today with Paul Bright Thomas out again in his Area 4 garden. 300 Redwing were seen heading W in 20 mins and 7 Fieldfare also heading West. Elsewhere in the county 2328 Redwing were seen heading West in 1.5hrs over Swinley Forest by Derek Barker. A Ring necked Parakeet was seen and photographed in Area 10 by Geoff Emmett. Photo courtesy of Geoff Emmett.

28/10/19 A female Tawny Owl was heard calling at 04:30 in Area 5 this morning to the rear of Morrisons. Paul Bright Thomas was watching the skies from his Area 4 garden this morning and saw 125 Wood Pigeon over in groups of 30-40 birds, 1 Meadow Pipit heading S and 4 Ring Necked Parakeet moving East.

27/10/19  Grey Heron A Kestrel and a Common Buzzard were seen flying over Area 7 by Paul O'Neill.In Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre a Chiffchaff was seen by Fraser Cottington in a Tit flock and near Lavells Lake a Green Woodpecker was seen by Geoff Emmett. A Grey Heron was back on its usual log in Area 1.

24/10/19 Bob Bennett saw 2 Snipe in the Wet Meadow at Lavells Lake in Area 10 and a Raven was seen flying over Area 7 by Paul O'Neill.

22/10/19 Walking home this afternoon through Area 5 a Buzzard , flew from an Oak tree near the pond.

21/10/19  Magpie In Area 1 at lunchtime it was business as usual, seen were Great Tit ,Magpie, Rook , Carrion Crow , Jackdaw , 3Pied Wagtail , Mistle Thrush 6 Mistle Thrush,Ring necked Parakeet and Jay.

20/10/19 In Area 10, 2 Great White Egret were seen flying South over Lavells Lake by Fraser Cottington. What I assume were the same 2, were seen later along the Emm Brook in Area 5 by Paul Bright Thomas.

17/10/19 In Area 4 upstream of Kingfisher Bridge a Kingfisher was on the same perch, same time as yesterday, before once again flying further upstream towards Meadow Road.In Area 10 3 Snipe were on the Wet Meadow pool. 3 Swallow and 2 House Martin were feeding over Lavells Lake and a Song Thrush was seen in the bushes bordering the Wet Meadow. All seen by Bob Bennett.

16/10/19  Kingfisher In Area 4 upstream of Kingfisher Bridge at 15:30 a Kingfisher was perched up, watching the river before flying further upstream towards Meadow Road. Between Ripplestream Bridge and Dragonfly Bridge 2 Jay a flyover Red Kite and out of the wooded area 2 Common Buzzard flew off the floor before heading off towards Morrisons.  Female Stonechat In Area 10 a Female Stonechat was on a fence in the Wet Meadow. Seen and photographed by Paul Wright.

15/10/19 A Mistle Thrush with its rattling call flew over Area 5 near Ripplestream Bridge this afternoon.

14/10/19 On my walk home from work 2 House Martin were seen feeding round the treetops by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4. Earlier in the day in Area 10, 10+ Swallow and 30 + House Martin were both feeding over Black Swan Lake to east of Goat Island seen by Tim James.

13/10/19 In Area 10, 11 Swallow and 3 House Martin were seen, along with 30 Redwing by Fraser Cottinton. A further 20 House Martin were seen over the old Golf Course by Ian Paine and a Willow Warbler was alongside the Emm between the Dinton Activity Centre and the Picnic area seen by Neill Alan.

12/10/19 A Coal Tit was visiting my Area 5 feeders this morning along with 10 Goldfinch , Starling , Magpie , Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove .

09/10/19 In Area 10, 3 Swallow flew low south over the landfill seen by Richard Marsh and 5 House Martin were seen by Alan Rymer over the car park at Sandford Lane heading south

07/10/19 A Grey Wagtail was seen by Richard Marsh on the beach near the Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10.

06/10/19 40 Linnet were seen by Paul O'Neill on the building site in Area 7. A Coal Tit was visiting my Area 5 feeders and 3 Raven were heard calling and seen East of the car park field in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington. Approx 350 Redwing were seen in small groups flying near the Car Park field in Area 10 over a 2 hour period.

05/10/19 A Tawny Owl was heard calling East of the car park field at 06:20 this morning by Fraser Cottington.

03/10/19 In Area 10, 20+ House Martin and 5+ Swallow were seen moving south and a Coal Tit went over car park field all seen by Fraser Cottington

02/10/19 For those who donít know, Visible Migration (Vis Mig) is the morning movement (dawn to about 11am) of day-flying birds such as finches, pipits and larks making short hops (e.g. of 50km) on their autumn journeys. It takes place on most autumn days Sept-late Nov, but the quality varies enormously. Usually you see flocks of birds flying over you, fairly high up and single-mindedly. They are often mixed, and the fun is separating out the travelling species, usually by call.

01/10/19 Paul Bright Thomas was out in his Area 4 garden this morning looking for signs of visible migration and saw 9 Swallow over heading SE and 10 Meadow Pipits also seen were 3 Snipe going SW. At 17:30 the skies were starting to darken before a storm .I received a report of 1500+ House Martin with a few Swallow over high at the Old Golf Course in Dinton Pastures in Area 10 very definitely heading S. They were finally heading back to Africa ahead of the storm.I was then able to watch them fly over my Area 5 house in waves before the arrival of the thunder,rain and hail. A magnificent natural phenomenon.


27/10/19  Orb Web Not just for Halloween, Spiders build webs all year round, but autumn is the best time to spot them outdoors. Morning dew and mist droplets suddenly reveal a multitude of hidden webs that were previously virtually invisible thanks to the transparent nature of silk.Autumn is often thought of as spider season for this reason, and because spiders tend to be fully grown at this time of year and searching for a mate, making it more likely we'll see them.Frosty spider webs also make a stunning sight.

British spider webs can be categorised into seven broad types: orb, sheet, tangle, funnel, lace, radial and purse. Orb webs are the classic, two-dimensional webs that look like bicycle wheels or dart boards. These can be built in approx 2hrs. Orb webs are constructed with radial threads that function as a scaffold. The spider then lays down sticky threads in a spiral.Four UK spider families make this kind of web. Three coat the silk with sticky glue to hold captured prey in place: Araneidae, Tetragnathidae and Theridosomatidae. The fourth, Uloboridae, instead spins its web out of cribellate silk.

18/10/19 On my kitchen wall in Area 5 this morning was the plume moth Amblyptilia acanthadactyla .

16/10/19  Yellow Dung Fly On Riverside Walk in Area 5 a Yellow Dung Fly Scathophaga stercoraria was basking in the sun as only it can.Who needs a sun lounger.

09/10/19  Phytomyza ilicis With Insects harder to find at this time of year I visited Area 1, on the road to Ludgrove School. Several unidetifiable flies were sitting out on leaves, but the only positive sighting was the leaf mine on Holly of the fly Phytomyza ilicis . Phytomyza ilicis lays its eggs in May or June, at the base of the petiole of a young leaf (on the underside). Larva initially feeds in mid-rib, later producing characteristic irregular upper surface linear-blotch. Pupation is internal.

06/10/19  Red Admiral Feeding on the flowering Ivy in Area 1, on the road to Ludgrove School, were 2 Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta Butterflies. Red Admiral One was in slightly better condition than the other. A Hornet Vespa crabro was also seen.

02/10/19  Tachina fera On a day of sunshine in Area 7, the flowering Ivy was very popular. Feeding on the nectar were Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris , Honey Bee Apis mellifera , the Hoverfly Myathropa florea and the Fly Tachina fera . On a nearby patch of Nettles was several of the Dock Bug Coreus marginatus .

Plants/ Trees

27/10/19  Mistletoe In Area 5 as the leaves drop Mistletoe Viscum albums is becoming more prominent.Mistletoe is a hemi (partial) parasite which attaches to a tree via suckers roots and absorbs some water and nutrients from its host plant. However, it also produces some of its own food via photosynthesis in its green leaves.

23/10/19  Comfrey What appears to be a very late flowering Common Comfrey agg Symphytum officinale agg was on the banks of the Emm in Area 5 near Dragonfly Bridge.

16/10/19  Ragwort The only splash of colour along the river in Area 5 was a still flowering Ragwort Senecio jacobaea .

Why do leaves change colour


29/10/19  Fly Agaric This time in Area 5 a solitary Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria was seen beneath the Siver Birch, obviously managed to escape the Councils mowers.

27/10/19  Fly Agaric Not a lot of use for most things, but the recent spell of wet weather seems to have benefitted the Fungi in Area 1. Seen beneath the Siver Birch were numerous Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria .Famous, enchanting and highly toxic. Fly agaric is the home of fairies and magical creatures and a lover of birch woodland, where it helps trees by transferring nutrients into their roots.  Turkeytail Also seen was Turkeytail Trametes versicolor . The turkeytail is a very colourful bracket fungus that grows throughout the year, but is at its best in the autumn. Its circular caps can be seen growing in tiers on trees and dead wood. Candlesnuff Fungus Also seen were Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare on a tree stump and the slightly ghostly looking Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon .

Other Wildlife

Amphibians and Reptiles


31/10/19  Rabbit Keeping low in the grass in Area 1 numerous Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus were feeding on the field edges. Ready to run back to the safety of the hedgerows if necessary.

28/10/19 Despite the temperature dropping to -0.5 overnight a European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus still put in an appearance around my garden.

18/10/19  Hedgehog At 04:00, 2 Red Fox Vulpes vulpes were seen wandering around Brookside in Area 5. A very out of focus shot of European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus shows that they are still plodding around my garden.

10/10/19 Anne Armitage took a walk along Emmbrook Walk at dusk in Area 7 and saw 2 Pipistrelle sp bats, a further 4 were seen in Area 8 at Old Forest Meadows in the "Stag Bench " field.

01/10/19 Despite the wet weather it is still mild, so no suprise that the European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus is still putting in an appearance around my Area 5 garden.

Fish/ Crustaceans