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.

Why do leaves change colour

For more information click the link March 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


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


Big Clean up The FOTEB 2019 Litter Pick is on Saturday 23rd March at 13:00 .Meet in Morrisons car park. Please come along and lend a hand but remember to wear gloves, strong footwear and suitable clothing. Safety vests and litter pickers will be provided.Click on the link for more information.

FOTEB Litter Pick


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.


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:


Visiting Area 7 On Wednesday 13th February five students from Reading University joined FOTEB on a field trip. They were taken to three locations in order to gather information for their research project. Visiting Area 8 FOTEB are hoping that this will help them to find out if any sections of the Emm might be eligible for designation as a Local Wildlife Site.



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.


Join Wokingham & Bracknell Local Group for the annual early morning walk to listen to the glorious dawn chorus songs around Dinton Pastures Country Park. Try and catch sight of the elusive nightingales that visit the lakes each year. Location: Meet in the Dinton Pastures main car park in Wokingham at 05:00 on 28th April . We 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 0TH .) The walk will last for 3 to 3.5 hours. Price: £2 donation to the RSPB. Children go free


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.


Location: Meet at Lavell's Lake car park on Sandford Lane at 05:15 on 27th April . Yes, it does say a 5.15 am start. Make the effort to get up early and you’ll have an experience that will stay with you for a long time. Stand in the silent darkness and be rewarded with hearing the dawn chorus rise to its wonderful crescendo. We will walk for two to three hours and if our luck holds we will not only hear the beautiful song of the nightingale but also be rewarded by a sighting. We advise people wear stout shoes or walking boots, bring their own drink and bear in mind it can still be quite cool at dawn, so wear appropriate layers based on the weather forecast. We hope to hear Nightingale, Cuckoo, 6 species of warbler, see Sand & House Martins, Swallows, Swifts, waders such as Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, others if we are lucky. Please be aware DPCS charges for parking, but free lay-by spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis. Note this event is on a Saturday. Adults £2 Children Free

2019 NEWS


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 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