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

JANUARY

General

January is just as harsh for wildlife as December so make sure you continue feeding the birds and providing water.

Birds

Blackbird

At this time of year, birds become bolder, venturing into gardens in search of scattered scraps and well-stocked feeders and bird tables. Fallen apples can still be a good food source, which you can supplement with sliced fruit from the kitchen. You may be lucky enough to see more unusual visitors, such as fieldfares and redwings looking for berries and fruit in cold winter weather. If you walk through woodland at this time of year you might hear a woodpecker hammering on dead wood, hunting out insect larvae in the bark. If you see a flash of red it's likely to be a great spotted woodpecker. These attractive birds may venture into larger urban gardens, especially if you leave dead wood or provide a peanut feeder. Winter thrushes can be seen rummaging through the leaf litter and flocks of Siskins and Goldfinches can be found feeding in the Alder trees alongside the brook on Riverside Walk to the rear of Morrisons.

 

Insects

Insects are few and far between in January. But a few active species can be seen on winter days, of which the most conspicuous are the gently dancing swarms of harmless Winter Gnats. In the winter sunshine swarms of male gnats make an appearance. If you see a dull brown gnat in winter, it will almost certainly be one of these. Cold doesn’t worry them – two of our common species fly at 0°C and can still walk about in sub-zero temperatures. Females even get on with laying eggs under snow, although males do need it a little warmer for swarming.

Butterflies

Red Admiral

On a warm sunny afternoon in late January Red Admirals may come out of hibernation.

 

Other Wildlife

As the tree canopy is gradually lost Grey Squirrels can be seen moving through the branches looking for acorns.

Plants & Trees

All except the evergreen trees have lost their leaves

January is really a low point in terms of plant hunting. However there are some signs of things to come as Cuckoo Pint leaves are starting to emerge in a curled funnel formation, Lesser Celandine can also be found in flower.

The first of the Hazel catkins are starting to appear.

Why do leaves change colour

For more information click the link January 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 Todays Weather

For todays Emm Brook sunrise and sunset times 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

2019 NEWS

FOTEB AGM 2019

The FOTEB 2019 AGM will be held on Monday 13th May at 19.15 - 21.15 at Woosehill Community Hall, Emmview Close, Wokingham RG41 3DA.

BASH THE BALSAM 2019

Balsam Bash

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam is an invasive non-native plant that is found along many rivers and waterways in the UK. It was introduced in the 19th century before spreading rapidly into the wild and is now the dominant species along the river bank in many areas of the country. It has a very effective seed dispersal mechanism as it has “exploding” seed pods allowing each plant to spread 600 seeds up to 5 metres from the plant. These seeds can then be transported downstream and colonise new areas quickly. These plants are are a problem as they grow in very dense stands and suppress the growth of native vegetation. In winter this becomes an issue as the plant dies back and leaves the banks vulnerable to erosion, with increased silt inputs potentially degrading spawning habitats for fish. It is therefore important to manage Himalayan balsam to prevent it getting out of control along our rivers.

Dates for the 2019 Balsam Bashing season will be announced later:

RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 2019

This years Big Garden Birdwatch will take place on the weekend of 26-28th Jan Please get involved. More information can be seen here Big Garden Birdwatch

MONTHLY BIRD WALKS AROUND DINTON PASTURES 2019

RSPB

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 at 09:00. 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.

FRIENDS OF LAVELLS LAKE

On the second Sunday of every month Friends of Lavell Lake (FOLL) run a guided bird walk around the park covering Area 10 of the Emm Brook. Routes will vary depending on the time of year and last up to three hours. Wear suitable clothing as at times paths can be very muddy. We meet at 9am in the car park on Sandford Lane (opposite the Dinton Activity Centre entrance) and ask for a donation of £1 with no charge for children. For more information visit the FOLL website . Click here

Car park charges apply.

2019 NEWS

EMMBROOK BIRD BOX USAGE 2017

The annual clearance of the nest boxes along the Emm took place this year on in January 2018. This was undertaken by Malcolm Dunmore, Charles Stickler, Eddie Napper and Mike Saynor.

checked the nest boxes along the Emm in January 2018. A high proportion of the nest boxes were used again. A full report can be found here. 2017 Bird Box Usage along the Emm

WOKINGHAM DISTRICT VETERAN TREE ASSOCIATION

Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association was formed ten years ago in 2007 and have just launched the WDTVA’s 10th Anniversary Report. This report summarising WDVTA activities and achievements across the Borough is now available on the WDVTA website at Click here