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



Riverside Walk

Spring is usually said to start at the beginning of March and the 21st of March is the Spring Equinox; the date on which day and night are of equal length. This season is a time of days getting longer and the spring sunshine bringing growth and greenery everywhere with buds bursting and leaves unfolding. Birdsong reaches a peak and many flowers appear, in turn attracting insect-life, including bees and butterflies. Animals that hibernated over winter appear on the first warm days of spring so keep an eye out in early Spring for them. As the nights get longer, and at last the clocks change ("spring forward"), there is a renewed optimism for the new season ahead. The Vernal Equinox is on the 20th.



As more summer migrants arrive in late March, the woodland dawn chorus will swell. However the resident birds (Song thrushes, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Great Tit and Robin) are already in full song proclaiming their territories to all comers. One of the first migrants to arrive is the Chifchafff with its repetitive and distinctive song. These birds will have flown from West Africa to be here. The Chiffchaff is a small green warbler found in woodlands and scrubby areas.


Bumblebees especially the Buff-tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus terrestris) can be seen buzzing around on the warmer days. This is a widespread and common Bumble Bee. The large, conspicuous overwintered queens are often among the first bumble bees to appear in spring, often occurring in late February/early March. Nectar sources are scarce at this time. They are black with a dull yellow band just in front of the wings, and another across the middle of the body. The abdomen of the queen is buff coloured, but workers are very similar to white-tailed bumble bees. This species nests below ground.

Dormant throughout the winter, Ladybirds wake-up in March and April and begin looking for partners to mate with. Ladybirds are normally found wherever there is food for them. Any plant, shrub or tree with greenfly or scale insects may attract Ladybirds.


Brimstone Butterfly (Male)
The first butterfly of the year to emerge from hibernation is the beautiful lemon yellow male and greenish white female Brimstone. It is possible that the word butterfly is derived from the yellow butter colour of this species . The adult is an important pollinator of the yellow Primroses flowering at this time, whereas its caterpillars feed only on Buckthorn.

Other Wildlife

In March and April bats emerge from their winter hibernation, to hunt out flying insects on which they feed. In towns the small pipistrelle is the most common species. Bats are very particular in their hibernating sites requiring a stable temperature and humidity. Toads start to emerge from their wintering hiding places and move towards their chosen breeding ponds.<

Plants & Trees

Along the banks of the Emm towards the end of the month the Blackthorn (also known as sloe) flowers. Their bushes are covered in clouds of white blossom borne on its dark, thorn laden branches. This shrub is sometimes confused with Hawthorn, but the Hawthorn does not flower until May and comes into leaf before the blossom opens. A sure sign of spring is the apperance of the furry looking catkins of the 'pussy' willow, found in damp places.

Early Lesser Celandines have already shown their yellow petals to the sun, however when its dull the flowers remain closed.

For more information click the linkMarch on the Emm Brook


Wolf Moon A beautiful supermoon will light up the sky on New Years Day and shine as a beacon of hope for all the people who over-celebrated the night before. Its called the wolf moon, because at this time of year hungry wolf packs would howl outside Native American villages during the chilly peak of winter.
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

For todays Emm Brook sunrise and sunset times Click here


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

2018 NEWS



A litter pick will take place on 18th March 2018 @ 10.00. Meet at Morrisons, between the Community Centre and Morrisons entrance in Woosehill. Please wear suitable clothing including gloves. Litter pickers and bags will be provided.


The FOTEB 2018 AGM will be held on Monday 14th May at 19.15 - 21.15 at Woosehill Community Hall, Emmview Close, Wokingham RG41 3DA.


Balsam Bash

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam is classified as a Non Native Invasive Species and as such can take over large areas of river bank or damp habitat.It was introduced by the Victorians for use in ornamental gardens. 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 any subsequent 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;

the majority of the seeds germinate after one year and seeds are the only propagation method of this species. A full list of dates for the 2018 Balsam Bashinh season will be published nearer the date, but it is expected to start in June.



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.


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.

2017 NEWS


25th November 2017 Strimmed Pond

The wildflower area arond the Woosehill Meadow Pond in Area 5 has been strimmed .


2nd September 2017

Malcolm Dunmore, Charles Stickler and Mike Saynor checked the nest boxes along the Emm in January 2017. A high proportion of the nest boxes were used again in 2016, although many of the tit chicks in the boxes along Emmbrook Walk perished. A full report can be found here. 2016 Bird Box Usage


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


The earth orbits the Sun in an elliptical path, which means that there is 1 point of the path when the Sun is at its closest to the Earth(Perihelion) and 1 point when it is furthest away (Aphelion). The Aphelion in Wokingham was on Monday, 3 July 2017, 21:11 BST . The distance from the Sun's center to Earth's centre was 152,092,504 km (94,505,901 miles) The Earth is closest to the Sun, or at the perihelion, about 2 weeks after the December Solstice, when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Conversely, the Earth is farthest away from the Sun, at the aphelion point, 2 weeks after the June Solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying warm summer months.