This Month on the Emmbrook
What to look for if you are out and about in

MAY

General

The month of May is a wonderful time to see wildlife on and around the Emm brook. As spring slips into May, many of our resident birds are on eggs or feeding young, most summer migrants are singing to defend territories and attract mates but a few are still to make their entrance.

Birds

Cuckoo

Our summer migrants are here and their songs are mixed in with the residents. Summer specialities such as Cuckoo, Swifts and Swallows bring a special edge to wildlife watching. Cuckoos can sometimes be heard calling at Riverside Walk but are more reliable adjacent to the Emm brook at Lavells Lake LNR. Warblers fill the woodlands and hedgerows . In the open spaces alongside the Emm Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins, Blackbirds and Song thrushes lead a frantic life seeking food for the insatiable appetite of their young. Another summer migrant the Hobby can be seen feeding on damsel and dragonflie over the Emm particularly adjacent to the golf course at Dinton Pastures.

Insects

If you hear a thump against the outside of a window on a May night it may well be a Cockchafer beetle. This is one of our largest beetles and the brown, slightly fury adult appears in May, and heads towards street lights and lit windows in search of a mate. The pupae live for two years as plump 'c' shaped larva in the soil and form an important food source for rooks and crows.

By mid May dragon and damselflies have started to emerge and quickly go about breeding.

Mayflies also emerge on sunny days in May

Butterflies

Common Blue

Amongst the insects that have already emerged are some of the blue butterflies such as Holly Blue and the Common Blue. Common Blues feed on the flowers of the pea species, but the adults only have a short three week life span. However as there are up to three generations in one year you get a number of chances to see this beautiful butterfly.

Other Wildlife

As the light fades, many birds become less active, but another set of predators, the bats, take over to exploit night-flying insects. Most widespread is the diminutive Pipistrelle which catches thousands of small insects each night to maintain its body weight of just 5 grams. Bats use their sonic location equipment to hunt them out. In gardens strange noises emerging in the night may well be mating Hedgehogs.

Plants & Trees

Many of the trees and hedgerow shrubs were breaking into leaf by the middle of April and are now festooned with bright, fresh almost iridescent young leaves. The Blackthorn flowers are over and have turned brown, but the Hawthorn flowers (or 'may') provides breathtaking white ribbons crisscrossing the countryside and lining even the most uninspiring roads. Towards to end of the month the Elder also flowers with big saucers of tiny flowers. The Ash is one of the last to break into leaf. Its mat black hard casings eventually split to reveal the new expanding growth below. The Ash will be one of the first to lose its leaves too,.

Cow Parsley is now profuse in the hedgerows and river bankwith its white umbellifer flowers . Red Campion and Greater Stitchwort replace the early spring flowers.

For more information click the linkMay on the Emm Brook


Emmbrook Weather

Bernard Burton has been recording the weather alongside the Emm Brook since 1976. His weather station originally situated at Emmbrook Secondary School till 1996 and now at Emmbrook Junior School daily monitors the weather. For a more detailed anaylsis of the previous month's weather visit this link. Emmbrook Weather

For todays Emm Brook weather Click here


Newsletters

At their meeting in November 2010 the FOTEB management committee took the decision to discontinue the printed newsletters for members. This decision was not taken lightly since there is of course a tradition of keeping members informed of events and sightings by way of regular printed newsletters. However, knowing that the majority of members have internet access and are regular visitors to our website - and having received an increasing number of representations from members expressing a wish to receive literature in an electronic format - your committee felt that the time had come to cease the time-consuming and costly production of regular printed newsletters and replace them with an online noticeboard on our website.

Click on Archive page at the top of the screen to view one of the previous News letters.

Emm Brook River levels now on line

The Environment Agency Website now has a daily update on river levels of the Emm near Tesco's in Area 2

2017 FOTEB EVENTS

FOTEB AGM

The 2017 AGM will be held on Monday 15th May at 19:30 at Woosehill Community Hal, Emmview Close, Wokingham RG41 3DA. Park in Morrisons car park.

BASH THE BALSAM 2017

Balsam Bash The Annual Balsam Bashing programme will be announced later in the year.

Himalayan balsam can take over large areas of river bank or damp habitat. As well as causing problems for native species, Himalayan balsam substantially increases the risk of riverbank erosion. It does this by stopping native bankside vegetation growing. The roots of these natives would bind the banks. With just balsam in the autumn, when it dies it leaves only bare soil that is easily eroded and washed away by rain or flood events. It is possible to eradicate Himalayan balsam (not an option with most invasive plant species) from infested river catchments because its morphology and life cycle display a number of weaknesses that are uncharacteristic of such high profile invasive species. These include:

the plant has an annual life cycle, meaning it germinates, grows, flowers, seeds and dies in the one year;

the tall plant has a shallow root ball so easily removed by pulling;

the plant has no natural defence mechanisms, such as thorns or bristles, to make pulling difficult or hazardous;

2017 NEWS

Telephone: 01344 861964

EMMBROOK LITTER PICK

1st April 2017 Litter Pick

As part of Wokingham Borough Council's Annual Spring Clean there was a litter pick on Saturday 1st April 2017. Approx 16 people attended. Pickers visited the open space around Emmbrook walk and the surrounding streets. In approx 2hrs ,10 full bin bags were filled with rubbish.

MONTHLY BIRD WALKS AROUND DINTON PASTURES 2017

A Date With Nature - Monthly Saturday morning walk 1st Saturday of each month Location: Meet in the Dinton Pastures main car park in Wokingham RG10 0TH. As the parking fee in the Dinton Pastures car park is 6 for 4 hours, the Local RSPB Group have arranged for participants to park for free in the car park of the Wheelwright Arms, which is close to the entrance to Dinton pastures but on the opposite side of the road. (Obviously, it would be appreciated if we give our custom to the pub RG10 0TR.) A three and a half hour walk around Dinton Pastures and Lavell's Lake (Area 10 of the Emm Brook) , suitable for everyone of all ages and we usually see/hear between 40 and 50 species of birds. Good cafe and toilets by the car park. Time: 9 am Price: 2 donation to the RSPB.