The 9th Annual FOTEB AGM was held on the 20th May at 7.30pm in the upstairs room of the Woosehill Community Centre. Sue Farrington gave the following Chairmans Review for 2012/13.
Welcome to you all, especially members and new members.
Looking back over the past year, wet as it was, the Emm Brook became at times a rushing torrent, spreading onto its floodplain in several places and reminding us of man’s folly in building there. Curiously in Mar/April it also turned an amazing reddish-brown, muddy consistency. I reported people’s concern to the EA but neither they nor I discovered what caused it. I suspect some ploughing at Grey’s Farm (where there are headwaters) or some construction work near the sources but it was definitely not Cala in Molly Millar’s Lane.
In the Spring in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Foteb planted 10 hazel saplings in Riverside. One group of 5 disappeared almost immediately but four of the others are growing well.
In the summer Charles and Fran Stickler organised and led splendid teams of Himalayan balsam ‘bashers’ and with the help of the Wokingham Explorer Scouts one evening, large areas were brought under control. Work was extended into some new Sections. Many thanks to everyone who took part.
At our September Open Meeting Jon Cole gave us a splendid Talk and Slide Show about the fascinating world of insects. We are delighted to have him join our Committee. Thank you to him and to all those who arranged the excellent displays for that evening.
In October Roland Ramsdale guided the Committee around the new area in Winnersh which is scheduled to become ‘Public Open Space’. It is a very varied area adjoining the Emm with interesting wildlife, including barn owls.
In November the Committee finally had our walk around the Cala building site . The Emm runs through the centre of their housing development and has been skilfully engineered to protect the Brook and enhance the development – fulfilling Foteb’s primary aim. Jon Channon, the Project Manager, had put up an excellent display of photos and maps which gave us a real insight into their care and effort. His Walkabout made it all very interesting. Their new footbridge awaits naming.
During the winter new bird boxes were erected and the old ones cleaned and their use recorded with 75% occupancy.
Special thanks to Malcolm, Mike Saynor and Eddie. Eddie’s comprehensive Round-up of 2012, sent to all members, provides a wonderful record of the great wildlife to be seen near the Emm. Very many thanks for that and the ever-interesting website.
In March we planted 3 Rowan saplings in Riverside Walk near the young hazels. We held a litter clear there, collecting seven sackfuls in two hours.
On 23rd April I was honoured as Foteb’s Chair to be asked to officiate at the Welcome ceremony for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Oak, no.22, which has been planted in Riverside Park near Brookside and Arthur Road. The weather was splendid, Rebecca Lancaster and the children of the Woodcraft Folk sang and helped, and a good turn-out made for a memorable evening. WBC, WDVTA and Heather Mills were all involved in setting up the planting of this one of the 60 English oaks in Wokingham Borough.
During the year we have been holding our Committee meetings in Sainsbury’s café, benefiting from their Community Support and saving us room hire costs. We gratefully acknowledge the £400 grant from WTC for 2013 which keeps us solvent.
To end I would like to thank most warmly all the Committee and our members who help and support us in any way. Our membership grows steadily so do please encourage your friends, family and neighbours to join us.
This years Open Meeting features a talk by Roland Ramsdale on the new area of marsh land adjacent to Blackberry Gardens in Winnersh. Titled:Winnersh Marsh:A year of wildlife exploration
It will be held at St Paul's Parish Rooms , Reading Road , Wokingham RG41 1EH on the 24th September from 19.:30 to 21:30 .
There will be displays, information and light refreshments
FOTEB FAMILY PICNIC
The FOTEB Family picnic organised by Kerry Lomax on Woosehill Meadows was an absolute success. The weather stayed good and everybody enjoyed a really good time. Apart from Crisps and Sandwiches a Bug hunt was undertaken on the Wildflower meadow and the riverside vegetation was given a through examination by approx 15 keen and eagle eyed kids. This resulted in the following being found : Butterflies Meadow BrownManiola jurtina , Common Blue
Polyommatus icarus , Large White Pieris brassicae , Green-veined White Pieris napi, Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria and Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola This brings the years total so far to 17 species. Moths: Silver Y Autographa gamma, several Straw Dot Rivula sericealis and lots of Grass Moths , mostly the Common Grass Veneer Agriphila tristella. Also seen and examined were Roesel's bush-cricket Metrioptera roeseli ,Common Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus , and a new species for me a Wasp Spider Argiope bruennichi .Several Southern Hawker Aeshna cyaneairgo dragonfly were seen hunting along the river banks. Not a bad haul for 3 hours.
BASH THE BALSAM
Good news for Balsam bashing fans.
The dates for 2013 are:
Sunday 14th July 2.30 meet at Forest Rd layby to bash the area from Old Forest Road to the motorway ( area not completed on the 30th June), this is mainly a wading job and then onwards to Area 7 from the bridge upstream to Emmbrook Road through Emm Walk.
Monday 8th July at 3.00 pm meet at Ashville Way off Molly Millars Lane at end of the road by Lidl car park . Balsam will be bashed around the Cala Homes Development.
On a very warm afternoon 7 Balsam Bashers gathered to take on what at first did not appear to be a big job, tackling the Balsam in the Emm off Ashville Way , to the rear of Emm Square. The channel proved to be deeper than expected so a lot of the work was completed from the bank. After 2 hours a large pile of pulled Balsam appeared.
Sunday 7th July 2.30 THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED meet at Forest Rd layby to bash the area from Old Forest Road to the motorway ( area not completed on the 30th June), this is mainly a wading job and then onwards to Area 7 from the bridge upstream to Emmbrook Road through Emm Walk.
Wednesday 3rd July 2.30 will be at the rear of Morrisons, meet at Dragonfly Bridge.
We will be bashing the area in the stream adjacent Embrook school this coming Sunday 2:30pm 16th June, meet at the car park behind the Dog and Duck Pub. This will be a wading only job.
The first bash of the year was undertaken by a select few, Malcolm Dunmore, Charles Stickler and Eddie Napper cleared Balsam from approx 450m of the Emm near Emmbrook School from Emmbrook Road bridge to the rear entranceto the school from Brook Close ,under the watchful eye of our Health and Safety Inspector Fran Stickler.
A pleasant 2hours was spent with a "green workout" . Initial impressions of a lack of Balsam were soon dispelled by several areas of heavy growth.
Sunday the 30th June 2.30 will be at Forest Rd layby to bash the area from Old Forest Road to the motorway, this is mainly a wading job as well some areas adjacent to the Brook
A gloriously sunny day seemed to draw the Balsam bashers away from their gardens with 8 attending this time. The area from Toultley Road bridge to the motorway was walked with many donning waders and taking to the river. The banks were also searched for this invasive species. Several large patches were encountered and removed. 2 hours later all the bashers exited the river, still smiling ,despite a couple suffering an overtopping of the waders.
19-12-13 Kingfisher Bridge
During the recent spell of wet weather a headwall by Kingfisher Bridge has fallen into the Emm. Wokingham Borough Councils Structures Team have said that this collapse is not a threat to the safety of the bridge but will require replacement in the near future. As can be seen from the 2nd photo the bridge support has now been repaired.
11-11-13 Fears for wildlife followed fire at Toutley Industrial Estate print works
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FOTEB signs up to Localgiving.com 20-05-13
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Fire burns hole in tree trunk 12-05-13
A crew from Wokingham fire station was sent to Arthur Road at around 6.30pm following reports of a tree fire. The recently pollarded tree by the Emm Brook
was alight and the fire had burned a hole in the foot of the tree when the firefighters arrived
Firefighters put out the flames with water and chopped away any dead wood.
Latest results from the BTO Garden BirdWatch survey Garden Birdwatch have revealed that British Hedgehogs are only just emerging from hibernation, very late this spring, roughly a month behind what was seen in 2011 and 2012. Suggesting that it is likely to have been a particularly difficult winter for this declining species. Have you seen any along the Brook or in your garden? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jubilee Oak 23-04-13
The Jubilee Oak planted to the rear of Brookside was officially 'welcomed' on
Tues 23rd April at 6.30pm.
The Woodcraft Folk attended and the plaque was unveiled with Sue Farrington of FOTEB. A poem written by the Woodcraft Folk was also recited.
With 3 Rowan saplings on her allotment Sue Farrington decided with the Foteb Committee that it woud be a good idea to plant these trees in Riverside Walk. The necessary approval was received from Wokingham Borough Council and on the 7th March 2013, Sue ,Fran and Charles Stickler planted them to the rear of the properties on Arthur Road.
These trees will hopefully provide a good source of berries for birds like Waxwings for years to come.
Nest Boxes (2012)
The 2012 nest box clearance was carried out in December. as usual. 16 of the small holed nest boxes had been used, mainly by Tits. Of the 4 "Tree Creeper" boxes only one showed signs of having being occupied.The"Open fronted" boxes usually favoured by Robins or Flycatchers again only had one out of 4 used. The "Owl box" had been used as had both"Wren"Boxes". The Kingfisher box was however not checked. With 21 out of the 28 boxes checked showing usage this equates to a 75% occupancy rate overall.
The 2012 breeding season despite the weather seemed to be quite succesfull.The following species have been confirmed as breeding along the Emm . Song Thrush, Moorhen, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon , Great-spotted Woodpecker Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Starling, Swift, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Swallow ,Nuthatch, Jay, Magpie, Mallard, Great Tit, , Long-tailed Tit and Blackcap, Chaffinch , Chiffchaff, Goldcrest & Green Woodpecker. These observations are based on sightings of parents with young birds or parents feeding young at nest sites.