Latest Sightings September 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 September

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.


29/09/20 In Area 7A, 2 Yellow Wagtail were seen in a horse field adjacent to Ashridge Farmhouse by Paul O'Neill. By the Balancing pond at Copse Wood a male Phesant and 2 Coot were seen.In Area 7 a Grey Wagtail was seen on a neighbours roof by Paul O'Neill.A Little Egret was seen by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 before flying off and was seen flying downstream with a second one.

28/09/20 In Area 7A a Snipe was seen flying out of the Balancing pond at Copse Wood by Paul O'Neill.

27/09/20 In Area 4 a Kingfisher was seen to fly upstream and a Grey Wagtail was feeding on flies on the edge of the river. Swallow and House Martin were seen again in Area 10.

26/09/20  Carrion Crow Green Woodpecker , Jackdaw , Carrion Crow , Pied Wagtail,Great Spotted Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker and 3 Canada Goose were all seen in Area 7A this morning and a male and female Stonechat were seen in Eldridge Country Park alongside the A321 Twyford Road by Paul O'Neill. Once again House Martin were circling over Lavells Lake and the Emm in Area 10, before heading South back to Africa and 2 Swallow were seen over the fields in Area 1 by Ralph Watts.

25/09/20  Grey Heron Seen near the Green Bridge in Area 10 by Richard Marsh amongst a large and mobile Tit flock were Chiffchaff and a Tree Creeper later 30 House Martin were circling over Lavells Lake and the Emm.In Area 4 a Grey Heron was seen near river Emm Brook.

24/09/20 3 House Martin were seen near the Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10 by Anne Cronin and 10 Swallow were seen heading South by Renton Righeleto.

21/09/20  Little Egret A Little Egret was caught in flight in Area 4.

20/09/20 At 05.50 a Tawny Owl was heard calling in Area 7A. In Area 10, 50 House Martin were feeding over the Emm Brook between Lavells Lake and Sandford Lake and 2 Mistle Thrush were seen flying nearby by Fraser Cottigton.

19/09/20 Seen near the Green bridge in Area 10 were 2 Kingfisher heading downstream by Fraser Cottington also seen by Fraser was a Raven flying low South East over the Car Park field and later 5 Swallow were seen flying SE. At lunchtime a Ring necked Parakeet flew over calling. In Area 4 Paul Bright Thomas saw a Meadow Pipit flying South over his garden and 11 Siskin also flying South a Chiffchaff was in song near Kingfisher Bridge.

18/09/20  Grey Heron At Gorrick Woods in Area 1 Goldcrest and Coal Tit were calling from the top of the Pine trees, a Chiffchaff was calling from the Silver Birch. At Ludgrove a Grey Heron was in the pond before flying to a nearby branch to dry off in the sun.

17/09/20 Around the Car Park field in Area 10 Blackcap were calling from the hedges,a Cettis Warbler was heard calling in the nearby reeds, Jay were noisily calling and a Green Woodpecker was seen.

16/09/20  Starling Picking worms out of the lawn in an Area 4 garden were Starling . Also visiting were Nuthatch  Nuthatch and Song Thrush .2 Kingfisher were also seen heading upstream near Kingfisher Bridge.

14/09/20  Jay Wandering around Area 5 Jay are becoming more noticeable.Although they are here all year, jays spend most of the year hidden away in woodland so you might not spot them. But in the autumn you can see them gathering and storing acorns to eat during the winter, they will cache up to 3,000 a month. Listen out as they make a loud screeching call, which is generally heard more often than jays are seen. Did you know their scientific name, Garrulus glandarius, translates roughly as ‘chattering acorn gatherer’.

13/09/20 In Area 10 at the Car Park field were Chiffchaff and Blackcap calling and moving through the hedges.

12/09/20  Kingfisher In Area 10 a Kingfisher was seen perched and eating its lunch at Bittern Hide. Seen and photographed By David Tipping. In Area 7A a Green Woodpecker was on its favourite perch.

11/09/20 9 Siskin were seen flying over Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas.

10/09/20 Over Area 10, signs of migration with 65+ Meadow Pipit in groups of 3 to 9 and 40+ Swallow probably more heading south east seen by Fraser Cottington.

09/09/20 In Paul Bright Thomas's garden in Area 4 were, Coal Tit , Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap .

07/09/20 In Area 7A, 3 female/immature Yellowhammer along Ashridge stream behind Queen's Road and a Meadow Pipit was on the groundworks at Queen's Road. First of the autumn in this area.Both seen by Paul O'Neill.

06/09/20  Female Blackcap In Area 7A Ring necked Parakeet flew over when I was emptying the moth trap. In Area 10 in the Car Park Field several Male and Female Blackcap were seen with Chiffchaff and a Green Woodpecker . On the Black Swan Lake beach near the Dinton Activity Centre were Pied Wagtail , Grey Wagtail and Egyptian Goose . 30 + House Martin and Sand Martin were feeding high over the lake.Seen by Fraser Cottington in Area 10 were 7 Yellow Wagtail flying over Lavells Lake and the Emm Brook and on the old Golf Course a probable 2 Tree Pipit were seen and heard.

05/09/20  Goldfinch At the car park field in Area 10 a male Redstart flew from the middle copse and 12+ Blackcap ,2 Whitethroat and 5 Chiffchaff were seen by Fraser Cottington.In Area 7A were 20 + Goldfinch , Blue Tit , Great Tit , Robin , Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeon .

04/09/20 In Area 7A, a Green Sandpiper flew in from direction of Eldridge Country Park and dropped in between Queen's Road and Ashridge Stream, probably into the small pond there. At Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8 a male Linnet ,male and female Blackcap and a singing Chiffchaff were all seen by Paul O'Neill.

03/09/20 In Area 8, Paul O'Neill saw a male Kestrel at Old Forest Road Meadows. In Area 5 a Buzzard was seen at midday and several Chiffchaff were calling from the hedges around the Car Park field in Area 10.


29/09/20  Comma In Area 7A a Hornet Vespa crabro and a Small White Pieris rapae were seen in Copse Wood. In the sunshine a Comma Polygonia c-album was enjoying an Area 4 garden.

27/09/20  Pine Carpet With the overnight temperature just in double figures the Moth trap was out overnight in Area 7A and emptied this morning .30 moths of 12 species were in the trap. Highlights included Pine Carpet Pennithera firmata , 10 Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa and 2 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released. A male Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum was seen in a brief bit of sunshine in Area 10.

26/09/20  Daddy longlegs Spider Seen in Area 7A was the Daddy longlegs Spider Pholcus phalangioides . It is relatively easy to identify due to the very long legs and cylindrical body. Pholcus phalangioides is an eight-eyed spider, which is a pale brown except for a gray patch in the center of the cephalothorax. The body and legs are almost translucent.

22/09/20  Lunar Underwing On a gloomy afternoon in Area 7 the only thing of interest was the Fly Nowickia ferox .

20/09/20  Lunar Underwing With another mild and dry night forecast the Moth trap was out overnight and emptied this morning in Area 7A. 45 moths of 20 species were in the trap . Highlights were Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa , Sallow Cirrhia icteritia  Sallow and Dusky Thorn Ennomos fuscantaria  Stauropoctonus bombycivorus Also caught was the striking, large ichneumon wasp Stauropoctonus bombycivorus and 2 Red legged Shieldbug Eurygaster testudinaria . Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released.In Area 10 this afternoon in the Car Park field   Male Speckled Bush Cricket was a Male Speckled Bush Cricket Omphaloscelis lunosa . As the name suggests, the green body is covered in tiny black spots, it also has a pale brown stripe down its back.

19/09/20  Tortoise Shieldbug Whilst waiting for the Grandkids to turn up at Dinton Pastures for a play in the park I went out with the sweep net on the Old Golf Course in Area 10. Caught was a Tortoise Shieldbug Eurygaster testudinaria  Xysticus cristatus and a Spider that is believed to be Xysticus cristatus , however confirmation requires microscopic examination of the genitalia of adult specimens.  Long Winged Cone-head In the long grass was a Long Winged Cone-head Conocephalus fuscus This is a small Bush-cricket, named for the angled shape of its head.

18/09/20  Southern Wood Ant In amongst the Pine trees of Gorrick Wood in Area 1 were the ant hills of the Southern Wood Ant Formica rufa The Southern Wood Ant is an aggressive predator, equipped with large, biting jaws and the ability to spray formic acid in defence. It feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates, which the workers collect from the area surrounding their colony. Southern Wood Ants build large nests out of soil, twigs, leaves and pine needles. They can be found in open, sunny spots in both coniferous and broadleaved woodland, as well as on heathland and moorland. Colonies can sometimes number up to half a million individuals comprising non-reproducing female workers, a queen (or queens) that produces eggs, and males that mate with the queen.  Southern Wood Ant(Ant Hill) also along the rides in the sunshine were Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum flying out from low perches.

17/09/20  Small White Lunchtime was spent in Area 10. Flying were Small White Pieris rapae and Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria.

14/09/20  Ivy Bee A brief lunchtime visit to Area 7 and feeding on the flowering Ivy at the roadside on Toutley Road were several Ivy Bee Vanessa atalanta . The ivy bee was first recorded in the UK in 2001. As suggested by its common name, Ivy is the main plant used by this bee for pollen.They time their emergence to fit in with the flowering period of this common plant, early September to November. Also frantically feeding were Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris and Honey bee Apis mellifera .  Small Copper On the wing in Area 5 were Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas , Small White Pieris rapae and Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta . Flying around the pond was a male Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta Dragonfly.

13/09/20  Red Admiral and Comma The morning was spent in Area 10 in and around the Car Park field off Sandford Lane. The sun was shining and I spent time watching a sunlit Bramble bush with good results. Feeding on the overripe Blackberries were Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta , Comma Polygonia c-album , Speckled Wood Small White Pieris rapae , Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria and nearby was a Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas on a Thistle, a total of 5 species of Butterfly . Also seen on the nearby vegetation was male and female Common Darter Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum This restless little species is the most widespread dragonfly in the lowlands. It flies late in the year, even into December. Female Migrant Hawker and male and female Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta Dragonflies. Migrant Hawker is a relatively small "mosiac hawker" that flies well into autumn. Male Migrant Hawker and a Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum

12/09/20  Frosted Orange The Moth trap was out overnight and emptied this morning in Area 7A. 85 moths of 30 species were collected. Highlights were Frosted Orange Gortyna flavago , Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades and Brindled Green Dryobotodes eremita . Also caught were the Cranefly Tipula paludosa and Caddisflies Glyphotaelius pellucidus and Limnephilus lunatus . Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released. Scarlet Lily BeetleFound on the river bank in Area 5 was a Scarlet Lily Beetle Lilioceris lilii photographed by Paul Hopcraft.This species first reached Britain in the early 1900s.  Scarlet Lily Beetle It first became established in the south of England but has now spread across the whole of the country.

11/09/20  Wasp Beetle A Wasp Beetle Clytus arietis was found on the curtains of an Area 5 house.The wasp beetle is a small, narrow-bodied longhorn beetle. The larvae live in warm, dry, dead wood, such as fence posts and dead branches, and particularly favour willow and birch. The wasp beetle lives up to its name by mimicking the common wasp in both colouration and in its behaviour, moving in a jerky fashion similar to a wasp's flight. This mimicry keeps it safe from predators, even though it is actually harmless.

10/09/20  Common Wasp On a sunlit patch of Ivy in Area 1 at Ludgrove frequent visitors were Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris feeding on the flowers. Ivy is a late source of nectar at this time of year. Honey Bee Also enjoying the feast were Honey bee Apis mellifera .

09/09/20  Poplar Spiral Gall Another common Plant Gall is Poplar Spiral Gall caused by the Poplar Spiral Gall Aphid Pemphigus spyrothecae inducing this spiral gall on Lombardy Poplar.The spiral gall contains up to 30 wingless females.  Red Bean Gall The Red Bean Gall is caused by the Sawfly Pontania proxima inducing its gall on Willow.The gall may be green, red or yellow, it is bean-shaped, smooth and emerges equally on both sides of the leaf. In mid summer the larva leaves the gall to drop to the ground where it pupates. A second brood emerges in late summer. Both were by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4.

08/09/20  Robins Pin Cushion At this time of year with Insect numbers declining a young mans fancy turns to Plant Galls. These are abnormal growths that are induced by the presence of another organism. A well known one is Robins Pin Cushion caused by the Gall Wasp Diplolepis rosae laying its eggs in the bud of a Dog Rose in Spring. This one was in Area 5.

07/09/20  Dock Bug early instar nymph Captured by Paul Hopcraft on Brambles in Area 4 was an early instar nymph of a Dock Bug Coreus marginatus . An instar is a developmental stage of arthropods, such as insects, between each moult (ecdysis), until sexual maturity is reached. Arthropods must shed the exoskeleton in order to grow or assume a new form.

06/09/20  Hornet With a bit more time at the weekend the Moth trap was out overnight in Area 7A. When the catch was inspected this morning apart from 40 moths of 22 species there was a Hornet Vespa crabro . Moth highlights were Chinese Character Cilix glaucata  Chinese Character and Bright-line Brown eye Lacanobia oleracea .Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released.

05/09/20  Tipula paludosa Now is the time to see adult crane flies or daddy longlegs they emerge during late summer to mate and lay their eggs into lawns and flower beds. There are over 300 crane fly or daddy long-legs species in the UK. Several Tipula paludosa were seen in Area 7A.

04/09/20  Male Common Darter A flying trip to Area 10 this morning on the Old Golf Course produced a Small Copper Pararge aegeria butterfly on the wing. Lunchtime was spent in Area 5 watching a sunlit Blackberry bush. Among its many visitors was a male Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum dragonfly resting on leaves,  Dock Buga Dock Bug Coreus marginatus a Common Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina , 2 Small White Pararge aegeria butterfly. Flies are fairly abundant at this time of the year, among the more easily identifiable are Flesh Fly Amobia signata , Bluebottle Protophormia Terraenovae. and Greenbottle Neomyia cornicina all of which like to bask in the sun.

03/09/20  Speckled Wood Enjoying over ripe Blackberries in the Area 10 Car Park Field was a battered and worn Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria .

Plants/ Trees

22/09/20  Tar spot At this time of the year its very common to find Tar spot Centaurium erythraea . Yellow blotches form on the leaves in late spring and by mid-summer these have developed into large (up to 15mm across), slightly raised, shiny, black spots with a narrow yellow margin. Tar spot is a very conspicuous fungal leaf spot disease of sycamore and some other maples. Whilst the large leaf spots sometimes cause gardeners concern, they actually do very little damage to the tree. These were in Area 7.

19/09/20  Common Centuary In flower on the Old Golf Course in Area 10 was Common Centuary Centaurium erythraea and Common Mallow Malva neglecta

14/09/20  Catsear In Area 5 is what I believe to be Catsear Hypochaeris radicata . Its gets its name from the hairs on its leaves said to resemble those in a Cats ear.

13/09/20  Greater plantain Seen in Area 10 was Greater plantain Plantago major . This is plant commonly known as 'Rat's Tail' because of the scaly, tail-like appearance of its flowers, Greater plantain blooms between June and October. Also seen was Ribwort Plantain Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata It flowers between April and October; in contrast to the long flower spikes of Greater plantain, the short, oval flower heads of Ribwort plantain appear as if balanced on the top of their thin, wiry stems. Its seed heads remain for most of the winter providing food for Goldfinches and other seed-eating birds.

04/09/20  Water Mint Around the pond in Area 5 is the aromatic Water Mint Mentha aquatica . Its smell is released when the leaves are crushed.


18/09/20 Grey Spotted Amanita In Area 1 at Gorrick Woods was the Grey Spotted Amanita Amanita spissa . The caps are domed at first and eventually flatten out. They favour coniferous forests.

17/09/20 Pixie Cups On the gate at the Car Park field in Area 10 was the Pixie Cup Lichen Cladonia pyxidata .

04/09/20 Pleated Inkcap In the Balancing pond in Area 4 was the Pleated Inkcap Parasola plicatilis . This delicate species lasts less than a day.It is also known as the Japenese Parasol Mushroom.

01/09/20 Not identified Seen in Area 4, at the end of August by Fran Stickler and still not identified is this Unidentified Fungi . Any help gratefully received.

Amphibians and Reptiles

28/09/20 Grass Snake In Area 10 by the bridge over the Emm at the Car Park field a Grass Snake Natrix natrix was seen slithering through the grass by Mary. Photo taken from a video. The Grass snake is also sometimes known as the Ringed Snake and you can see why.

03/09/20 Common Toad Whilst out with the Sweep net looking for Bugs in Area 10 on the Old Golf Course near the visitors centre a young Common Toad Bufo bufo was hopping through the grass.My first seen for a long while.


29/09/20 Female Roe Deer  A female Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen in Area 5 by John Walsh.

28/09/20 Male Roe Deer  In Area 4 the male Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus with the odd sized antlers was seen agin.

16/09/20 Male Roe Deer  In Area 4 a male Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was being watched by a neighbourhood cat.

15/09/20 Common Shrew  In Area 10 a dead Common Shrew Sorex araneus was found on the path from the Car Park Field by Paul Bright Thomas.

13/09/20 At 07:30 a Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi was seen running towards the Emm Brook in Area 10 across the landfill.

05/09/20 Roe Deer  In Area 7A at least 4 Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus were walking around a field adjacent to Ashridge Stream this morning.

04/09/20 At 06:50 a Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi was seen in Area 7A.It is the smallest British deer, barely the size of an Alsatian dog, with a rounded and arched back. Coat is reddish brown and, at a glance, it is sometimes mistaken for a Fox.

02/09/20 Roe Deer family Caroline Moore was up early in Area 10 and saw this family party of Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus walking around Lavells Lake at dawn.

Fish/ Crustaceans