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River Thames below Caversham – 12th December 2009

Members met at Reading Bridge on Saturday 12th December for a walk along the Thames, led by Chris Bucke. It was a cold but sunny morning. The first stop was at the small nature reserve at View Island. In the meadow area, Goldfinches were feeding on the seeds of Chicory and there were still a few blue flowers on the plants. The Thames was very full and the stripy shells of Zebra Mussels could be seen on the fully-raised sluice gates at Caversham Lock. A little way down river, the big Black Poplar in Kings Meadow was inspected. There were numerous exit holes of the nationally scarce Hornet Moth around the base of the trunk. The buds were very pointed and there was a single clump of Mistletoe high in the tree. Two Black Swans were swimming close to the bank of the Thames. Other birds seen included a Kingfisher, a Chiffchaff and several Grey Herons. Ash from the steam trains used to be dumped near the Tesco site and plants on the ash beds included Mignonette, Evening Primrose, Teasel and Mullein.








Hart’s-tongue Fern  Phyllitis scolopendrium
Hornbeam  Carpinus betulus
Black-poplar  Populus nigra
Hybrid Black-poplar  Populus showing exit holes of Hornet Moth larvae
Wild Mignonette  Reseda lutea
Evening-primrose  Oenothera sp
Mistletoe  Viscum album
Great Mullein  Verbascum Thapsus
Wild Teasel  Dipascus fullonum
Chicory  Cichorium intybus




Zebra Mussels




Grey Herons
Black Swans