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Full text of "Reading Naturalist."

The Reading Naturalist 



No. 23 




Published by the Reading and District 

Natural History Society 

1971 



Price to Non-Members 
Three Shillings and Sixpence 



- 1 - 



THE READING NATURALIST 



No. 23 foi the year 1969-70 




The. Journal of 
The Reading and District Natural History 

Society 



President: 
Miss L. E. Cobb, B.A. 



Hon. General Secretary: 

Mrs. K. F. Rhodes 
65 Tilehurst Road 
Reading 
RG3 2JC 



Hon. Editor: 

Miss E. M. Nelmes 
27 Westbourne Avenue 
Acton, W.3« 
6JL 



Botany: 



Editorial Sub-Committee: 

The Editor, B. R. Baker, Miss L. E. Cobb, 
A. Price, Miss J. M. V. Housden, 
Miss S. Y. Townend 



Honorary Recorders: 

Mrs. B. M. Newman, Earley Cottage, 25 Beech Lane, 

Earley, Reading 



Entomology: Mr. B. R, Baker, 5 Dovedale Close, The Mount, 

Caversham, Reading 

Vertebrates: Mr. H. H. Carter, 82 Kennylands Road, 

Sonning Common, Reading 



Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire 
Naturalists' Trust: 

Hon. County Secretary (Berks.): Mr. B. R. Baker 
The Museum, Reading 



- 2 - 
CONTENTS 



Meetings and Excursions, 1969-70 



Page 
3 



Presidential Address: 

Our fish ancestors 



C. J. Leeke 



The successful mating of two 
full albino frogs 
( Rana temporaria L.) 



A. Price 



9 



A study of some beetles 
(Coleopcera-Polyphaga) found 
in cow dung (Abstract) 



D. J. Weston 



12 



A letter from Canada 



D. Leatherdale 



18 



The natives in my garden 



K. F. Rhodes 



22 



Cothill and Dry Sandford Pits 



M. R. W. Sell 



25 



An account of the Society's 
excursion on June 13th 1970. 
Grasses 



M. V. Fletcher 



28 



Report on Aston Upthorpe 
Reserve - 1970 



M. R. W. Sell 



30 



Honorary Recorders' Reports 
Botany 
Entomology 
Vertebrates 



E. M. Newman 
B. R. Baker 
H. H. Carter 



32 

37 



List of Members 



52 



- 3 - 

Meetings and Excursions 1969-70 

Mr. C. J. Leeke delivered his Presidential Address entitled 
"Our Fish Ancestors" at the Annual General Meeting (attendance Mf). 
Two evenings were devoted to members' exhibits, talks and slides (29 
and 31) • The lectures delivered at the remaining indoor meetings 
were "A Look at Flowers of the South African Cape Region", by Mr. 
R. T. Pearl (38); "Trees in Towns", by Mr. W. J. Dulborough (33); 
"The Work of the Nature Conservancy", by Mr. H. J. Williams (49); 
"Bees", by Mr. G. R. Hawthorne (44); "Micro-organisms and the Leaf 
Surface", by Dr. H. Owen (32); "Bird Art and Illustration" by Mr. R. 
Gillmor (31); 'Geology and Landscape in Britain with particular 
reference to Berkshire", by Mr. R. Jessup (49) and "Jungle on the 
Doorstep, or Wildlife in Trinidad", by Mr. M. Hardy (42). 

Winter walks were held on 1st November, Aston Upthorpe Down 
(attendance 9)* 6th Decembex*, Dunsden Chalk Pit (3); 3rd January, 
Emmer Green (8); 7th February, Theale and Burghfield for birds (11); 
7th March, Englefield for lichens (4). 

The summer field meetings were: l8th April, Mongewell Wood area 
(12); 2nd May, Clayfield Copse, Emmer Green (18); l4th May, Readxng 
Corporation Narseries; l6th May, Sulham Woods (13); 30th May, 
Chiltern Escarpment near Chinnor(c. 12); 7th June, coach excursion 
to Middlebere Heath and the Isle of Purbeck (28); 13th June, Sonning, 
Peppard and Gatehampton to study grasses (25); 24th June, Thames-side 
from Reading to Sonning (4); 27th June, Whitehorse Hill (l6); 8th 
July, Horticultural Research Laboratory Gardens and Historical Rose 
Garden at Shinfield Grange; 11th July, Stanford Dingley, Blue Poo], 
and River Pang; 25th July, Pamber Forest, afternoon walk (15) and 
entomological evening (6); 29th July, ditch near Pangbourne (4); 
8th August, Thames-side from Margrave to Reading (15); 22nd August, 
Heath Pool, Finchampstead (fresh-water biology) (15); 5th September, 
Ashley Hill (14); 19th September, Theale, Kingsclere, Inkpen Beacon 
(Geology and land forms) (c. 2^)] and 3rd Octobei , fungus foray at 
Kingwood (26) . 

The 12th Young Naturalists' Evening was held in the Large Town 
Hall on Wednesday, 11th February 1970. The Panel, consisting of Dr. 
Ho J. M. Bowen, Dr. J. R. L. Allen, Mr. W. D. Campbell and Mr. C. J. 
Leeke, faced an audience of about 500 Reading schoolchildren. Mr. J. 
F. Newman was Questionmaster and about 30 of the 662 questions sub- 
mitted were answered. Prizes for the 8 best questions were presented 
by the Riuht Worshipful the' Mayor of Reading, Alderman Mrs. E. E. 
Lovett, who then joined the children to watch the Lincolnshire Natur- 
alists' Trust film "Nature in Trust". Prizewinners were:- Elizabeth 
Brown, Abbey Junior School (10 yrs . ) , Geoffrey Crosson, Cintra 
Secondary School (14 yrs.), Teresa Flowers, Redlands Primary School 
(7 yrs.), Joanne Horwood , Norcot Primary School (10 yrs.), Paul Keep, 
E. P. Collier Primary School (11 yrs.), J. Matthews, Reading School 
(12 yrs.), Roger Thorne, Grovelands Primary School (10 yrs.) and 
Jane Woolford, Alfred Sutton Secondary Girls' School (12 yrs.). 



- if - 

OUR FISH ANCESTORS 

The Presidential Address 
to the Reading and District Natural History Society 

16th Oct obei- 19&9 

I suppose my interest in fish began soon after my intro- 
duction to their natural habitat, when, as a small boy, I fell into 
the paddling pond at Christchurch meadows; since then I have been 
fascinated by water and the organisms that live in it. If you have 
not lain down to gaze into the clear water of a flowing ditch, with 
its clumps of brilliant green starwort and its iridescent stickle- 
backs, then you have not lived. 

Fishes were the ancestral vertebrates, having their origins 
more than 500,000,000 years ago. They have experienced several 
great adaptive radiations following the appearance of structural 
novelties. Since 1920 it has been thought necessary by eminent 
systematists to classify the group into several distinct classes. 
Jordan suggested six classes, Romer suggested four and Berg 
suggested tv/elve. That there has been such disagreement is 
indicative of the diversity of the group. 

However, for the purpose of this address I have chosen to 
discuss some of the more important of the structural novelties 
which have been instrumental in producing the nigher vertebrate 
classes. The following scheme shows the relationships of the 
classes of vertebrates to each other, after Romer. 



CHONDRICHTHYES 
AGNATHA ^ACTINOPTERYGII MAMMALIA 



CHOANICHTHYES— *~ AMPHIBIA »-«-, REPTILIAN ~ AVES 

Garstang's theory has been generally accepted that pre- 
vertebrates developed from echinoderm larvae probably in the 
Cambrian period. These larvae, like the pre-vertebrates , must have 
been very small and delicate and left no known fossils. The 
Ordovician fish fossils however were several inches long, with bony 
dermal plates and skeletons. The development of bone has been of 
fundamental importance to vertebrates, particularly in the attain- 
ment of large size and in conquering the land. Bone is a mixture 
of calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate, forty parts to sixty, 
it is consistent and peculiar to the vertebrates. 

Since all the echinoderms have been and are marine it follows 
that the pre-vertebrates originated in the seas probably in some 
shallow coastal regions such as the long narrow seas which geol- 
ogists tell us divided the N. American continent running from North 
to South and fed by rivers slowly flowing from East or West. The 



- 5 - 

gentle flow would enable the less dense freshwater to float over 
the more dense seawater for some time before mixing. The new 
little pre-vertebrates were not good swimmers and could be carried 
into estuaries by tides where they would find a rich manna falling 
as from heaven, from the freshwater above. As they increased their 
size and swimming power they would be able to penetrate further 
into the estuaries but they would then encounter an osmotic press- 
ure which would cause them to absorb water and they would have to 
retreat or die. 

Many of those who went too far probably did die, but it has 
been shown in a marine worm, Gunda, thrt the membranes become less 
permeable in the presence of divalent ions such as calcium and it 
is likely that such ions were available in and around the estuaries 
In small creatures with a high surface-to-bulk ratio and isotonic 
with an aquatic medium, there is no need for sophisticated organs 
of excretion or of osmoregulation, therefore if some of them could 
absorb divalent ions they would tend to retain them and slowly 
build up a concentration which would decrease the permeability of 
their membranes. Such creatures could venture into increasingly 
fresh water for longer periods of "cime. 

So far this is fine, our pre-vertebrates can now swim into 
rivers where there would be none of their marine predators and a 
plentiful supply of food, they being detritus feeders filtering 
small particles from the water by ciliated tracts. Their inability 
to excrete calcium ions would eventually however become an embarr- 
assment, but calcium carbonate and phosphate can be precipitated 
and the thesis is that this happened in many of the body membranes 
or epithelia, particularly in the ectoderm in the less mobile head 
region and internally in membranes, where growing musculature 
exerted stresses. This would account for the bony skeletons and 
armour of the early fish fossils. 

Further advantages would accrue from these structures. The 
surface would become much less permeable to water and increased 
skeletal strength would allow an increase in size and therefore 
better swimming power, which would buy time for the developing 
kidneys to cope with osmoregulation and to take over the increasing 
excretion of nitrogenous compounds and excesses of otherwise useful 
substances. Modifications in the nature of the nitrogenous com- 
pounds and in the structure of the kidney tubules is a story in 
itself. 

It may be worth saying that pre-adaptation is probably the 
rule in all important structural innovations; they have to be 
available when the need arises, they cannot develop in time to be 
of use in response to a situation which creates a need. Thus the 
early pre-vertebrates could not live in freshwater nor even move 
into it for long without some protection from the osmotic pressure. 
Similarly it will be obvious that the subsequent developments 



- 6 - 

described here, occurred without prompting and stayed because they 
proved useful. 

In a wide range of Ordovician fossils there was a mouth with 
no jaws or teeth and ten pairs of gill slits supported by bony 
gill arches. These animals were filter feeders as their forbears 
had been and the larvae of their descendants, the lampreys, still 
are. They belong to the class Agnatha and have several primitive 
features that distinguish them from all other fish. 

The more advanced fish have jaws but none have more than seven 
pairs of gill arches. In the Gnathostomes , as all jawed verte- 
brates are called, the first two gill slits have disappeared 
completely, the mouth has moved back to occupy the position of 
gill slit number three and its pre- and post-trematic arches have 
become the upper and lower jaws respectively. There is good 
palaeontological and embryological evidence for this. 

The attainment of jaws and teeth immediately allowed their 
possessors to turn their attention to different sources of food. 
Tney could now eat large pieces of plant or animal matter not 
available to filter feeders and they could obtain nourishment mere 
quickly. Therefore this development was important in increasing 
their size. 

An increase in size has far reaching results. It improves 
the individual's survival chances whether in interspecific or 
intraspecific competition and obviously improves the survival 
chances of the species as a whole. Further, the larger an animal 
is, the more cells it will have, not only for muscular power, but 
for more complex mental processes and the substitution of reason 
for instinct, thus allowing more varied responses to given stimuli. 

So successful was the acquisition of jaws that there was a 
great radiation of types and the waters became crowded. Several 
groups of fish moved back into the seas where they gave rise to 
the sharks, rays and chimaeras of today. The remainder spread 
further into the lakes and rivers where another novelty arose. 

With a further loss of the two posterior pairs of gill slits, 
one of these became a pair of closed pouches retaining its 
connection with the pharynx and its blood vascular system. Immed- 
iately, a new organ had arisen called a lung, which could be 
filled with air gulped from the surface and which enabled its 
possessors to survive in the Silurian and Devonian waters when 
generally warm climates reduced the oxygen content and evaporated 
the water to dangerously low levels. Once an organ is initiated 
and it confers a benefit under existing conditions, there is 
selection pressure which brings about improvement of efficiency 
in its function. 

Again a successful novelty produced a great radiation of 
types, some returning to the sea while others like the Dipnoi 



- 7 - 

(lung fishes) and the Crossopterygii (coelacanths and an important 
extinct group called Rhipidistia) stayed in freshwater. Event- 
ually, by the end of the Cretaceous period, the coelacanths too 
had moved to the sea and simply enlarged from about a foot to 
upwards of five feet in length. 

To go back to the other groups, those that moved to the sea 
had no real use for lungs in a medium so vast and with so much 
wave action that there was never a shortage of oxygen. Further 
changes occurred and the lungs became sealed air chambers which 
could be inflated or deflated, within limits, to adjust the density 
of the fish and therefore, acting as a hydrostatic organ, enabling 
the animal to remain suspended effortlessly at any reasonable 
depth. Some of their descendants again entered the rivers and 
lakes to become the ancestors of such modern fish as pike, eels, 
minnows and sticklebacks. 

The lungf ishes - once widespread and numerous and now rep- 
resented by only three species, one each from South America, 
Africa and Australia, are suffering a severe decline in face of 
competition from the more active hydrostatic teleosts and possib?.y 
changes in the habitat. 

In the Dipnoi and Coelacanthini are found peculiar fins 
supported on short limbs which have, unlike any other living fish 
groups, a bony skeleton. Here now is an interesting situation. 
Certainly by the Devonian, and possibly in the Siluriggffe, were 
creatures with bony skeletons, with jaws and teeth, with lungs and 
the rudiments of limbs, poised for the step onto land. However, it 
was neither the Dipnoi nor the coelacanths who took that step but 
some unknown member of the Rhipidistia. 

Comparison of modern tetrapod, limb skeletons show them to 
have a common form, whether they be amphibian, reptilian, avian or 
mammalian. In all of these there is a single bone joined to two 
bones which then connect to a group of small bones and finally 
thereon depends no more than five digits. This wonderfully adapt- 
able pentadactyl limb can be shown to be basically like the skeleton 
found in the proximal region of the rhipidistian fin. 

This group of fishes became extinct over 250,000,000 years 
ago, but what earth-shattering descendants they left. The mighty 
dinosaurs who ruled the earth for over 100,000,000 years and man, 
who has only just arrived on the scene but has already made changes 
more far-reaching chan were made by the whole of the dinosaur 
dynasty, are examples as also are the giant whales who rule the 
seas c 

For 300,000,000 years our fish ancestors, moving between 
seas and rivers several times, diversified and innovated and 
collected together more important structural novelties than any 



- 8 - 

other vertebrate group has done. Perhaps the only novelty 
comparable to those discussed here is the development of the 
cerebral hemispheres in the primates, culminating in Homo sapiens 
who is able to consider his history as we have, but we must 
remember that these structures had their origin in the neopallium 
of an ancestral fish brain. 

C.J. Leeke 



Members will be sorry to learn that Mr. Moon, who for many 
years now has provided and commented on our meteorological data, 
is this year unable to do so because of illness. We hope that 
he will soon be quite recovered and will produce our weather 
reports for many years to come. 



- 9 - 

T he Successful Mating of two Full Albino Frogs (Rana temporaria L.). 

by Arthur Price 

The two 1967 double recessive frogs were taken out of hiber- 
nation on 22nd February 1970. The male was 62 mm. in length and 
26. k g. in weight, the female 66 mm. and 39g« Both were in good 
condition; the male's nuptial pads were black. In spite of the 
failure of the 1969 mating of these two frogs, it was decided to 
give them another chance. 

On 1st March 1970 they were placed in the south enclosure of 
the froghouse and nine hours later they were in amplexus, remaining 
in this position for thirty-seven days. On 6th April 1970, 220 ml. 
cf white spawn was laid. Later that day 90% of the eggs were seen 
to be dividing and by 11th April the neural ridges could be seen. 
About 700 DR tadpoles hatched on 8th April but they were not very 
vigorous and swam with difficulty. By 5th May all these tadpoles 
were dead. Again it seems that the sib relationship carried with 
it a lethal element. 

Following oviposition by the 1967 DR female, the 1967 DR male 
was placed in the north enclosure of the froghouse with one of the 
1968 DR females. Individual identification of the 1968 DR's was 
not possible. The two frogs went into amplexus the same day and 
ten days later 125 ml. of white spawn was laid containing approx- 
imately 7^0 eggs. After oviposition the female was ^k mm. long 
and weighed 11. 65 g. Immediately after disengaging, the I967 DR 
male went into amplexus with another 1968 DR female but no spawn 
was laid. This adds up to fifty-four days of continuous amplexus 
for the male. Who can say that all albinos are weakly creatures? 
Of the 750 eggs, 90% were fertile and by 17th April 1970 the 
neural ridges were visible. The tadpoles which hatched were all 
double recessives and quite vigorous. Only 1% showed the kinked 
tail. To lessen the chance of total loss of this valuable stock 
the tadpoles were widely dispersed. Some were given to the local 
schools and some to interested naturalists. 

Twenty-four of these ^adpoles were given to Pat Smallcombe 
who, in November 1970, still had five living DR frogs in an 
enclosure in her garden. Mr. B. Butcher, who took over his son's 
stock, also has four living DR frogs. 

The majority of the tadpoles were kept in tanks on my study 
desk but later some were transferred to the froghouse where they 
made good progress. By 17th May 1970, I had ^00 living tadpoles 
of this stock. This figure included the tadpoles which had been 
distributed. Nearly all of these DR tadpoles showed a progressive 
pigmentation of the gall bladder, ranging through pink, red, pale 
green, green, dark green to black. These were the stages in the 
development of the 'Black spot' reported earlier. In this case 



- 10 - 

the black spot did not persist and no tadpoles or frogs were lost 
as a result of it. During June/July some 200 DR frogs metamorphosed 
and again they were dispersed as a precaution against loss. The 
frogs were fed on aphids , spiders and insects and made very good 
progress. In November 1970 I still had twenty-nine living DR frogs 
of this brood ranging in length from 25 to 37 mm. 

Three other 1968 DR females were successfully mated in the 
spring of 1970 and laid fertile, white spawn. One was mated with 
a normal male and all the tadpoles pigmented as expected: 

CC male X cc female Cc + Cc + Cc + Cc 

The other two 1968 DR females were mated with Jim, Z SR male, 
and 1968/10, ? SR male. Both these pigmented males developed from 
white spawn which had been laid by a pigmented female and one could 
have expected 

cc female X Cc male cC + cC + cc + cc 

That is to say, 50% DR tadpoles. This, however, was not the case, 
as Doth matings resulted in all the tadpoles pigmenting as they 
developed, suggesting that neither male was a simple single recess- 
ive. More than one gene could possibly be involved. 

The.re are now in the froghouse twenty-four 1970 pigmented 
frogs which had a DR mother and 1968/10 ? SR for a father. When 
these frogs breed in 1972 a few questions could be answered. 

Eight of the nine 1968 ? SR pigmented female frogs, which 
hatched from white spawn samples, laid black spawn. One clump was 
infertile whilst the other seven produced 100% pigmented tadpoles. 
This is not as expected if pigmented, white-spawn progeny are 
single recessives. We should have had 

Cc male X Cc female CC + Cc + cC + cc 

These results suggest that frogs which develop from white spawn 
which was not laid by pink females are not all single recessives. 

The ninth f emale , 1968/4, laid a mixed batch of spawn; one- 
third of the eggs were dark grey, one-third speckled grey and one- 
third were white. The male was a presumed single recessive and 
all the tadpoles pigmented. Pressure of work prevented detailed 
work on this mixed batch of eggs. 

The two pigmented males, 1968/10 and Jim, together with the 
female 1968/4 who laid the mixed clump of spawn, have been retained 
for further breeding. All the other pigmented female frogs and 
their tadpoles have been released in the lake in Whiteknights Park. 

A further attempt was made to mate Mickie, the DR male, with 
the Matriarch, who lays white spawn, but this was unsuccessful as 
they did not go into amplexus. The Matriarch was. later mated with 
Jim, a ? SR male, and on 31st March 1970 laid 520 ml. of white spawn 
containing two black eggs. Only three eggs were fertile, two 



- 11 - 



hatched, none metamorphosed. 



An earlier mating of Mickie and the Matriarch produced 'Arfer' 
who for obvious reasons was later renamed 'Marfer' . She is now 
70 mm. long and weighs 37.5 g« and an attempt will be made in 1971 
to cross her with the 1967 DR male. The result should be 

cc male X Cc female cC + cC + cc + cc 

Only time will tell. 

Frogs of the 1965 pigmented stock have now all been released 
with their tadpoles or have died. 

A further series of visits was made to the pond in Highmoor 
Road in the spring of 1970. Owing to the prolonged cold weather in 
the spring no frogs were seen in the pond until 22nd March when 
seventeen single frogs and six pairs in amplexus were seen. They 
again resembled the recessive stock with the black patterns; no 
albino or partial albinos were seen in the pond. Even in the early 
days of the season there was a preponderance of males. A total of 
fifteen clumps of white spawn and twenty-six ©lumps of black were 
seen. Samples of the white spawn were taken just oefore a severe 
frost damaged the remaining white spawn in the pond. After this 
frost not one white tadpole was found in the pond. A total of 150 
DR tadpoles were found in the 10,000 tadpoles which hatched from 
the samples. These tadpoles were typical textbook albinos, asym- 
metrical and swimming in circles. Not one metamorphosed. Half the 
samples were returned to the pond while the others were placed in 
the lake in Whiteknights Park. Ten mature and twenty-nine immature 
DR frogs were still alive in November 1970. 

Thanks are due to many people who have assisted me in this 
work and to none more than my sister, Mrs. G. Beeching, whose 
interest and help is never failing. 

Summary . 

1. Five female DR frogs laid fertile white spawn. 

2. The tadpoles which hatched from spawn resulting from the mating 
of I967 female and male DR's again failed to metamorphose. 

3. The mating of 19&7 DR male with 1968 DR female was successful. 
Twenty-nine 1970 DR frogs survived in November 1970. 

k. The frogs which develop from white spawn laid by pigmented 
females are not all simple single recessives. 



References » 

Price, A. Reading Naturalist Nos . 19 (1967), 20 (I968), 
21 (1969), 22 (1970). 



- 12 - 

A STUDY OF SOME BEETLES (COLEOPTERA - POLYPHAGA) 
FOUND IN COW DUNG . (ABSTRACT) 

by D. J. Weston 

Reading School, 196? 

The objectives of this study were to try to find the optimum 
conditions for some of the species of beetle found in the dung of 
a herd of beef cattle, which was kept outside throughout the year 
near Sonning Common, Oxon., and to investigate the life history of 
one of them. 

The species recorded, following Joy's nomenclature, were:- 

Family Aphodiinae - Aphodius fossor (L.), A. fimetarius 

(L. ) , A. luridus (F. ) , A. depressus 
(Kug. ) and A. rufipes (L.) . 

Family Aleochariinae - AJeochara villosa Mana. , 

A. lanuginosa Gr. 

Family Sphaeridiinae- Sphaeridium scarabaeoides (L.), 

Cercyon haemorrhoidalis (F.) and 
C. melanocephalus (L.). 

The study was centred on the Aphodiinae and it would seem 
that little is known about these beetles. Authoritative works, 
such as Fowler "Coleoptera of the British Isles", describe the 
adults but give little information about the larvae and none about 
the pupae. The life history of Aphodius fossor, one of the larg- 
est of the beetles, was investigated. 

The habitat 

Dung pats are microhabitats , but their ecology is closely 
connected with the more general habitat in ihich they occur. The 
area of the study consisted of three fields grazed in rotation by 
a herd of about 20 beef cattle, so that either fields 1 and 2 or 
fields 2 and 3 were in use at any one time. 

The fields were on soil overlying chalk, which in the drier 
places came to within 3 ft. of the surface. Because of a gentle 
slope towards the centre of the area from both the north and the 
south the central region tended to be damper and it was here that 
most pats were found, possibly because of lusher grass in this 
part . 

The cattle tended to walk along some boundaries that were 
either near where they were given supplementary foods or that kept 
them from adjacent fields. They also used a telephone pole as a 
rubbing post and sometimes sought the shelter of a large hedge 
along the east boundary. In these parts also the occurrence of 
dung pats was above average. 



- 13 - 

Beetle populations were highest in the damper regions, 
perhaps because the desiccation of the pats was slower here. It 
was noticed that where larvae of the Tabanidae (Diptera) were 
found in dung, on the drier ground, the only beetles present were 
Staphylinids. So the different conditions may be important in 
reducing the competition between these various larvae for food. 

Finally, the composition of dung of a given age is fairly 
constant from animal to animal over short periods of time, but 
differs slightly over longer periods due to the seasonal changes 
in the composition of the herbage. 

Methods 

Dung pats were collected, weighed and dissected to remove the 
beetles, larvae and other animals which were then identified, 
counted and recorded with their position in the pat. The zones 
recognised were the outer crust, the centre and the bottom. The 
age of all pats taken for analysis was recorded. At first this 
was found by marking the fresh pat with a stick in the ground 
beside it and recording the date. This proved to be accurate when 
the stick was not trampled by the cattle, but very time consuming. 
However, it was found possible to construct a colour scale, which, 
in conjunction with texture, enabled the pats to be dated with 
reasonable accuracy at first sight . In general dung pats lasted 
30 days before beginning to disintegrate, by which time they were 
straw-coloured and dry. 

A suspension of lg. dung in 2 cc . of freshly distilled water 
was tested for its pH value, which was recorded. A 5>0g. sample of 
tne dung was then analysed for water, organic and mineral contents 
The sample was weighed, then carefully heated to evaporate all the 
water, and the new weight was recorded. The sample was then 
ignited by fierce heating in a crucible to remove all organic 
matter. The residue is the ash or mineral content, which was 
weighed and recorded. The weights of water and organic matter 
were found by subtraction, and by doubling all these results the 
percentages were obtained. 

In all, 2257 beetles and larvae were counted from 85 pats. 

In order to try to discover the events in the life cycle of 
A. fossor a pat was selected in wnich this beetle predominated and 
a diary was compiled from observations taken over 7 weeks. 



- 14- 

Results 

Chart 1 Distributi on of beetles and larvae in time and space . 

L-a j 

Aphodius fossor r" " 7 

A. fimetarius £ — — — — — —J 

A. luridus I ) ) 1 

A. depressus ( ■ f 

A. rufipes ! I 

Aleochara villosa | J 

A. lanuginosa j J 

C . haemorrhoidalis | I 

C. melariocephalus ) ■ | 

S. scarabaeoides j ■■ 3 

months JFMAMJJASOND 
position in pats |— — 1 centre \~ — - — ~\ bottom | — — — <— louter crust 



Chart 2. Variat - icn of % Water and % Organic during first l*f days 



Organic 
matter 
% 

26 
22 
18 
Ik 
10 




Age of pat in days 



-15"- 



Chart 5 • Preferences of beetles for different humidity levels 



Aphodius fossor 
A. fimetarius u 
A. luridus 
A. depressus 
A. rufipes 
Aleochara villosa 
A. lanuginosa 
C • haemorrhoidalis 
C. melanocephalus 
S. scarabaeoidea. 









- ~ ' h 



— i -t 






% water in pats 



M l I I 1 I 1 1 » 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 «■*" f 

68 70 75 . 8o 85 



optimum range !- 



-j total range 



Diary of observations on Aphodius fossor 



26 viii 66 
29 
1 ix 

5 
11 
Ik 

18 
21 

25 

28 
5 x 

12 
15 



5 adults in pat 
li ti ii u 

1 dead beetle 

No apparent activity 

tt tt I! 

2 small larvae lying curled and close together, 
length 8mm. 

k larvae, length 11mm., in centre of pat, 
Larvae 13mci. lomg. Basal segments rather swollen 
in appearance. Blue-grey colour, head brown. 
Larvae at the bottom of the pat. Some larvae 1 or 
2 ins. deep in the soil. The dung had dried and 
could be lifted, exposing some larvae in cells on 
the soil surface. 

2 larvae found k ins. deep in the soil, others 
probably present at this depth. 

6 larvae found 9 ins. deep in soil. ' Smaller in 
size than those seen on 28 ix. 

3 larvae found 1 ft. deep. No pupae. 
Careful digging to a depth of 3 ft. and 1 ft. 
radius from the pat, no pupae. 



- 16 - 

Conclusions 

The two factors which seem to have most effect on the occur- 
rence of beetles are humidity and temperature. pH appeared to 
have little effect, its range being narrow and varying only from 
6.7 for water contents above 72,3% to 6. k for lower ones. 

Humidity 

There are interesting interacting factors here. Different 
species have preferences for particular positions in the pat and 
the humidity varies in these different zones (see Chart 1). All 
estimations were made on material from the central zone which was 
wetter than the other two zones. The humidity decreased with age 
due to drainage and evaporation. No beetles were found in dung 
with water contents above 86% : that is in 1-day pats where this 
condition would have obtained, nor below 68%, which was reached 
after l4 days. 

Temperature 

Presumably December and January are too cold for any beetles 
to occur. The four species occurring in February are among the 
earliest insects to emerge and are probably aided by being under- 
ground for pupation ana also by the temperature of the dung, 
which is 1 - 3 C. above the air temperature. It may be signif- 
icant that A, luridus occurs in the spring and autumn but not in 
summer and that A. rufipes , the only beetle taken on the wing, 
is the last to emerge. The average air temperature in spring 
and autumn was 10.5 ©• while the average for May to September 
inclusive was 12.5 C. 

Organic Matter 

Obviously as the percentage of water drops, the percentage 
of organic matter increases (see Chart 2). The shape of the 
graph is so symmetrical as to suggest that the percentage of 
organic matter remains almost constant. It is certain that some 
will be converted by the various larvae present as well as by the 
bacteria and fungi that occur in the dung, as demonstrated in 
sterile cultures. Since the weights of the 85 pats were within 
the range 62A- - l886g. and 10% of this was organic matter, there 
seems to be a rich source of food here. It seems therefore very 
unlikely that the percentage of organic matter has any effect at 
all on the occurrence of the beetles. 

General 

Through the year different species occurred at different 
times (see Chart 1). It can also be seen that, of the ten species 
discussed, no more than six can occur at any one time in the same 
zone of a pat and then only from June to August. In February only 
two species occur together and in November only three species 



- 17 - 

occur together. However, as many as 108 individuals were found 
in one pat on May 24th. 

There appeared to be no correlation between the numbers of 
larvae and beetles and the weight of the pat. It was found how- 
ever, that beetles of the genus Aphodius represented 30% of the 
total numerically, but 80% by weight. 

Eggs and pupae were not found although searched for. The 
former must be in the pats and have been overlooked because of 
their small size. The pupae pose a problem. Where are they to 
be found and how do the larvae travel there? 

Discussion 

During the early part of the year, it was noticed that 
thrushes, blackbirds, starlings, rooks and jackdaws were feeding 
on the pats. This had two effects. It reduced the numbers of 
beetles and larvae and it perforated or even scattered the pats, 
thus affecting the drainage. The beetles themselves made holes 
through the pats as they moved to their preferred positions, thus 
also aiding drainage and the leaching of soluble matter. 

Beetles occurred in dung pats from the second to the four- 
teenth day but were not common after the tenth day. The larvae 
occurred in dung pats from the fourteenth to about the twenty- 
eighth day. By the thirtieth day, the pats had become very dry 
and were beginning to break up. 

The larvae spent about fourteen days in the pat and then moved 
into the soil. Three weeks to a month after hatching they could be 
found 31ft. down and were noticeably darker in colour and smaller 
in size. Since the larvae in the pat seemed to spend their time 
slightly coiled and lying on their sides in cells not much larger 
than themselves, it is remarkable that they are able to burrow into 
the ground. The suggestion is that they may follow earthworm 
burrows, these animals often being found just below the pats. 

No pupae are recorded in the available literature and none was 
found despite extensive and careful digging and sifting both straight 
down from an old pat for 2 - 3 ft. and also sideways. One trench 
was 1 ft. wide, 2 ft. deep and 6 ft. long. 

There are obviously many loose ends which might make reward- 
ing work for an energetic and curious entomologist. 

Acknowledgements 

Mr. Arthur Price and Mr. Hugh Carter gave valued assistance 
and advice in the identification of the beetles and their larvae. 

References 

Dibb, J. R. Field Book of Beetles. Warne & Co. Ltd., 1948. 
Fream, W. Elements of Agriculture. ( l4th edn. D. H. Robinson) 

Murray, 1962 . 
Fowler, W. W. Coleoptera of the British Isles,, L. Reeve & Co. 

1887/91. 
Joy, N. H. Practical Handbook of British Beetles. H. F. & G. 

Witherley, 1932. 



- 18 7 

A LETTER FROM CANADA 
From Donald Leatherdale 

Manotick, Ontario 

20 November 1970 

One of the risks of writing about the natural history of a 
region after scarcely a year's acquaintance is that of producing 
little more than a list of species. This I hope to avoid; yet so 
much is new that the danger has to be resisted intentionally. 
Another problem is that of appearing to be a "know-all", but I 
feel that first impressions have a particular interest, even if 
later on one sees things in truer perspective. 

We are living in southeastern Ontario, some sixteen miles 
south of Ottawa and forty miles north of the border with New York 
State at the St. Lawrence. Our house is on the banks of the 
Rideau, a tributary of the Ottawa river about the size of the 
Thames at Reading. (By comparison, the Ottawa is often more than 
two miles wide.) The landscape is rolling by local standards but 
flat by ours, and is predominantly agricultural in use. The 
mixed forest that covered this area in the days of the pioneers 
has vanished, floated downstream on its way to Europe and New 
England in the mid~l800s. That was our first disappointment. A 
second was in the widespread use of wire fences. One can arive 
for mile after mile without finding an opening into woodland or 
other inviting spot. 

Fortunately for us, the landscape and its cover undergo an 
abrupt change on the northern shore of the Ottawa, in the province 
of Quebec. The edge of the Canadian Shield rises from the valley 
as the Laurentian Hills, 1500 ft. high, forested, sparsely inhab- 
ited, and the object of many of our weekend jaunts. Sizeable 
rivers cut through these hills, floating a harvest of cut timber 
down to the sawmills and paper mills of the Ottawa valley from 
distances of as much as 600 miles. 

Our first acquaintance with the wild life of Canada was on 
our very first day, when we were surprised and delighted to see 
squirrels and chipmunks playing around our temporary motel on a 
busy street in Ottawa. They are ubiquitous creatures. Both red 
and grey squirrels occur here, the latter most commonly in an 
attractive black phase. The chipmunks are closely related to the 
true squirrels; the eastern species is the one we see most com- 
monly. They play all day in the tall maples at the edge of the 
garden, scolding our cats and defying the dog. Like most animals 
here, they have developed no fear of man, which makes, the ener- 
getic, striped little bundles of fur appear to be tame when in 
fact they are utterly wild. 

Our favourite mammal, which also happens to belong to the 



- 19 - 

squirrel family, is the groundhog, woodchjck, or wombat. So 
often one of them rears up inquisitively into a begging position 
as you walk past its hide-out. The ground-hog hibernates, as do 
nearly all mammals here, but is reputed to come out of its burrow 
on Groundhog Day (2nd February) to see how the winter is progress- 
ing: if it sees its shadow, it will go back for another month. 
(Judging by our first winter - which, ironically for us, tended 
to break some coldness records - the groundhog is an optimist.) 
The groundhog is much larger than the squirrels, being about 
2 ft. long. 

Next to the chipmunks, the most attractive animal in these 
parts is the striped skunk. We have seen many of them, and once 
the car was surrounded by a family of Mum, Dad and five small off- 
spring. Needless to say, we didn't move v/hile they were in the 
vicinity I But the erectly held tail and the broad white body- 
stripe against glossy black make a beautiful picture. Their smell 
when attacked or irightened is another thing, and something that 
(touch wood!) we have only encountered at a distance. Joan had 
the presence of mind to call the dog and cats indoors on one 
occasion when a full-grown skunk sauntered around the garden. 
Bigger animals are the racoon and porcupine, and unfortunately 
one sees fewer of them alive than dead by the roadside. I don't 
see how a driver can accidentally hit creatures 2}£ to 3 ft. long. 
The porcupine, poor thing, probably imagines that his built-in 
protection of quills will defend him from vehicles, for he never 
seems to harry across the road. Racoons ate a good part of our 
maize crop this year. The black bear, brush wolf or coyote, and 
timber wolf all occur in the Laurentian Hills, but so far we have 
seen only the first and that was one that had been captured by 
Indians about 80 miles to the north. 

When the snow has really come and the temperature drops below 
F., there is little activity outdoors except for the birds. 
Virtually all the birds here are migrants, and in the winter we 
have the company of the raucous but glorious blue jay and the 
evening grosbeak with black and white stripes upon startling 
yellow, both sojourners from much further north. I must tell you 
of a gathering of Canada geese that we saw a short while ago: 
there were several' thousands of them on the banks of the St. 
Lawrence, where they had broken their southerly flight to Maryland, 
A few o± them were honking, but the general sound from the 
assembly was of a lot of people all talking at once. Another 
winter visitor is the red-winged blackbird, a little larger than 
ours and without the yellow bill, but remedying the lack with 
prominent scarlet shoulders. Indeed, most of the many birds here 
have brighter colours than those in Britain. Not so, however, the 
American robin: he has a very watered-down breast, and we still 
can't get used to people saying "Oh, look at that robin" and 
pointing to a bird that looks like a blushing thrush. 



- 20 - 

A completely different bird population arrives from the south 
for the summer, and I will mention only one species: the ruby- 
throated hummingbird. In our garden, they were especially attrac- 
ted to petunias, and sometimes we would surprise one at window 
boxes as we opened the front door. The body colour is an irid- 
escent dark green, the flash of red on the throat only being 
apparent when the light catches it from certain angles. I never 
cease to wonder at the summer presence of hummingbirds in a land 
with such stark winters. 

The great blue heron is a frequent visitor at the edge of our 
river (and just downstream is a colony of beavers, who are very 
active in their tree-felling operations this week) ; this river is 
a source of all sorts of interesting things. The boys catch 
monster fish, notably the muskel-lunge , a larger relative of the 
pike, and revel in the antics of many sorts of turtles. We all go 
swimming in the summer evenings, and in winter the river looks 
like a flat snow-covered meadow until the thaw comes. Then we 
have the thudding of oce-floes over the mill dam for two weeks, 
until the croaking of frogs announces the fact that spring is 
arriving with a rush as though in a hurry to make up for lost time. 

Spring is with us in the week that the snow finally goes, for 
on 4th April we had one of the heaviest falls of the season. The 
familiar spring flora of home is but a nostalgic memory, yet there 
are plenty of flowers here too. They appear in carpets in wood- 
land, and I wonder at the appearance of such fragile beauty in So 
inhospitable an environment. The majority of them are old garden- 
ing friends - Trillium grandiflorum (the wake-robin, emblem of 
Ontario, perhaps the most attractive of all with its three, large, 
pure white petals), bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis , that I 
nurtured so carefully at Whitchurch), and dogtooth violets 
( Erythronium ) , followed by the delicate foam-flower ( Tiarella 
cordif olia ) , true violets of many species, strawberries, and the 
red-and-yellow columbine Aquilegia canadensis . Later still is a 
purple-flowered raspberry with blooms V/z ins. wide (Rubus odoratus ) , 
acres of golden-rod (mainly Solidago canadensis ) , and Michaelmas 
daisies of various species. (I see that I am beginning to run 
into that problem of making a list.) 

Old enemies of the vegetable garden appear in the guise of 
fellow exiles - Galinsoga , Cirsium arvense , Plantago major (tell- 
ingly referred to by the Indian as 'White-man* s Footprint'), 
S planu m nigrum , Glechoma hederacea (known here as Creeping Charlie), 
and so on. It is an ecological quirk that these European plants 
are even more successful in North America. The orange hawkweed 
( Hieracium aurantiacum ) colours roadsides for miles, presumably 
earning its trans-Atlantic name of Devil's Paintbrush. 

There is so much I could write to you about, but I think our 
Editor will be getting a little impatient if I spread myself too 



- 21 - 

widely. So I will wait awhile before letting myself go on the 
abundance of insect life here - and believe me, there are many 
more things than blackflies and mosquitoes. Can you imagine a 
land where the Camberwell Beauty ( Vanessa antiopa ) , under its 
pseudonym of Mourning Cloak, can sometimes be considered a pest? 



Scientific names of vertebrates mentioned in the text 



Red squirrel 

Grey squirrel 

Eastern chipmunk 

Groundhog 

Striped skunk 

Racoon 

Porcupine 

Black bear 

Brush wolf 

Timber wolf 

Blue jay 

Evening grosbeak 

Canada goose 

Red-winged blackbird 

American robin 



Tamiasciurus hudsonicus 

Sciurus carolinensis 

Tamias striatus 

Marmota monax 

Mephitis mephitis (How apt I) 

Procyon lotor 

Erethizon dorsatum 

Ursus americanus 

Canis latrans 

" lupus 
Cyanocitta cristata 
Hesperiphona vespertina 
Branta canadensis 
Agelaius phoeniceus 
Turdus migratorius 



Ruby-throated hummingbir^rchilochus colubris 
Great blue heron Ardea herodias 
Beaver Castor canadensis 

Muskellunge 



Esox mosquinongy (The specific name ie 
Ojibway Indian in origin ) 



- 22 - 
THE NATIVES IN MY GARDEN 
by K. F. Rhodes 

The garden, about one-third of an acre, lies in inner West 
Reading where there has been a garden since before Tilehurst Road 
became the name of Pig's Green Lane. This was some time Ln the 
first half of the nineteenth century. The Deodars, which over- 
look on the West side, were the subject of a covenant in i860 and 
it is almost certain that the garden was an established orchard 
at that date. It is a fact that there was a very old specimen of 
Blenheim Orange apple gracing the garden fruitfully into the 
1960s. This apple first appeared in the nurseryman's catalogue 
about l8l8, having been discovered at Woodstock at an unknown 
date before that. The present house was built in 190^ and the 
garden has been cared for consistently ever since. The soil is a 
light sandy valley gravel in which, as in most gardens, crop 
plants and natives vie for success and the natives still put up a 
good show in spite of all repressive measures, which of recent 
years include in turn all the modern herbicides. They are a 
successful crew, the weeds that grow in our gardens. 

A success story is always wortn telling and so here are some 
of the more persistent characters among my friends the weeds. 
There is no trace of Ivy-leaved Speedwell ( Veronica hederif olia) 
from mid-June till its vigorous dark cotyledons appear all over 
the paths and cultivated ground in early March. The plant is 
economical of stem and of floral parts but it succeeds handsomely 
in leaving enough seed each year to furnish the garden afresh. 
The dead plants form an untidy straggle until they disappear 
without trace sometime in July. The Red Dead Nettle ( Lamium 
purpureum ) is on the other hand always with us and figures in the 
list of flowers in bloom on Christmas Day year after year. It 
turns up in various areas wherever it has been able to establish 
itself. It is a well-mannered and welcome native. The white- 
flowered species Lamium album is a handsome plant, a perennial 
and gently persistent, but amenable to stern measures. It would 
be sad to see it go and it has served in more than one flower 
piece though its strongly expressed reaction to gravity is a 
hazard the flower arranger had better allow for. The true net- 
tles ( Urtica dioica ) are too aggressive to be tolerated for long 
but the plant turns up from time to time from the stray seeds. 
Taken in time it does not become noxious and the plant has a 
stylish beauty when young and in isolation. The annual relative 
is a persistent and unrepentantly invasive neighbour. For many 
years the plant provided the source of chlorophyll for botany 
students, but it is a trial among the vegetables and leaves its 
sting for hours after the crop has been gathered. 

The Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) shares with the 



- 23 - 

Speedwell the annual disappearing trick but never fails to 
intrigue when the perennating clusters of root-tubers, each with 
its single bud, turn up during summer weeding; so dormant and 
yet so vital. They are said to form from buds at the lower nodes 
but they have not been caught at it yet, It is a brave, gay 
friend and often the first to bloom in the spring. Talking about 
brave, gay friends, what about the Dandelion? Taraxacum 
officinale was much encouraged during rabbit-keeping days and 
tended then to multiply. It is a fine plant with its glorious 
rosette of leaves and brilliant inflorescences and who can resist 
a perfect block 1 ? In the age of herbicides, selective and other- 
wise, this plant need never present problems. This is not true 
of the Willow-herbs: these are very regrettable neighbours and 
probably in this garden Epilobium parviflorum is the worst off- 
ender. Of their springing to life there is no end, and though 
individuals are not difficult to eradicate, the seeds are every- 
where and come up like mustard and cress. Enough mature and 
escape destruction to resow the crop and they do not give in 
either to cultivation or weed-killer. Their tufted air-borne 
seeds are bad for local relations, too. 

The ephemerals, Groundsel ( Senecio vulgaris ), Shepherd's 
Purse ( Capsella bursa-pastoris ) , Chickweed ( Stellaria media ) and 
Thale Cress (Ar abidopsis thaliana ) are wonderful plants and in 
such a hurry; six weeks from germination to death is the rule in 
high summer. That productivity, and how handsome a batch is as 
it comes up to bloom and what a nuisance - real street arabs. 
Fumitory ( Fumaria purpurea ) together with Scarlet Pimpernel 
( Anagallis arvensis) make one wonder why we trouble with seeds- 
man's catalogues. Woad is another happy native with a respectable 
history counted in centuries. This plant, Isatis tinctoria , is 
very handsome in youth and glorious in bloom but regrettably 
untidy later, though its elegant siliquas go a spectacular black 
at maturity. In this same group of large architectural natives 
can be included Mullein (V erbascum ) , Belladonna ( Atropa belladonna ) 
and Foxglove ( Digitalis purpurea) among the herbaceous plants 
and Juniper ( Juniperus communis ) , Mountain Ash ( Sorbus aucuparia )and 
Hazel ( Corylus avellana ) among the trees, all naturally occurring 
as seedlings. The fruits are brought in and sometimes carefully 
buried by the squirrels or dropped by the birds. Their enthusiasm 
has to be curbed, but a fine young seedling Holm Oak ( ^uercus 
ilex ) is a cherished intruder. 

So far the story is one of success against all that the 
cultivator can do, for, though these plants rouse interest and 
even affection, if there is to be a garden and crops then they 
must be constantly kept in check. There would soon be no garden 
and the site would be poorer if it were not so. It does seem 
however as if near success can be achieved in some cases and the 
common Daisy (Bellis perennis) , that belligerent invader of 



- 2k - 

lawns, and the Ground Elder ( Aegopodum podagraria ) , a wicked 
weed, are really suppressed. As the reservoir of these species 
seems inexhaustible, perhaps we may be permitted' to do our worst 
in gardens. If the conservators will warn when they seem to be 
hard pressed we could let up, but they are both so aggressive as 
to stifle both native and cultivated species. 



The author acknowledges with thanks help received from 
Dr. P, G. Erith, who read and commented on the manuscript. 



COTHILL AND DRY SANDFORD PITS - B.B.O.N.T. RESERVES 

by M. R« W. Sell 

For those who do not know it, Cothill and the surrounding 
area is a naturalist's paradise, and includes some of the original 
marsh and fenland, so little of which is now left in this part of 
the country. In fact, on approaching the locality from anj side, 
there certainly does not appear to be a marsh of any sort, sur- 
rounded as the area is by trees of some considerable age and size, 
mainly elms, but also a mixture of willows, ashes, pockets of 
beech, and some beautiful oaks, whose trunks are of enormous girth. 

Walking down the footpath from Cothill village, the only clue 
that one has to the proximity of marshland, is the low-lying land 
just behind the village v with deep ditches bordered by pollarded 
willows, and the rich, black spongy soil on the verges of the path. 
About a quarter of a mile down this path, the vista opens out 
somewhat, a water-meadow is visible on the right, and just beyond 
this there is a sudden glimpse of tall reeds blowing in the 
breeze, and a generally exciting look about the place. This is 
Cothill Reserve, or Parsonage Moor, to be more exact, and one 
starts making interesting discoveries almost at once. 

Just inside the Reserve, there are several large clumps of 
Comfrey ( Symphytum officinale ) the food-plant of the Scarlet Tiger 
Moth, which can be seen flyxng around in July. Meadowsweet, 
( Filipendula ulmaria ) , Wild Raspberries (Rubus idaeus), and Common 
Spotted Orchids ( Dactylorchis fuchsii ) are to be found on this 
driar part of the Reserve. Further in, the reeds grow well above 
head height, and, in a small depression, the ground becomes very 
spongy and is carpeted with Marsh Helleborines ( L'pipactis 
palustris ) , Red Rattle ( Pedicularis palustris ) and frequent plants 
of Tubular Water Dropwort ( Oenanthe fistulosa ) . Still further 
into the Reserve, the ground rises again slightly, and gives way 
to coarse tussocks of grass, with a little stream flowing down the 
middle. Here there are large numbers of the Larger Scented Orchid 
( Jympadenia densiflora ) , with its distinctive smell of cloves, and 
more Common Spotted Orchids. Earlier in the year, there are large 
colonies of Marsh Orchids, both (D actylorchis incarnata ) and 
Southern ( D. praetermissa ) with hybrids between the two, as well 
as Spotted Orchid hybrids. Later on, occasional plants of Round- 
leaved Sundew ( Drosera rotundif olia ) , Grass of Parnassus ( Parnassia 
palustris ) and Bog Pimpernel ( Anagallis tenella ) are to be found 
here. Devil's Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis ) , the food plant of 
the Marsh Fritillary, also abounds in this part of the Reserve. 

It was this area which suffered from a disastrous fire last 
June, and when I went there on my first visit this year, it was a 
very sorry sight indeed - the whole of the rear part of the Reserve 
had been completely blackened and considerable damage had been done 



- 26 - 

to the bushes of Silver Birch ( Betul a pendula ) dotted at intervals 
throughout this part of the Reserve. On a later visit, in August, 
the situation had improved, and young growth was just beginning 
to re-emerge, but it is probable that the plant life has been 
badly affected for a season or two, at least, and the variety of 
moths and butterflies breeding on the Reserve has certainly been 
reduced, temporarily, if not permanently. 

Further down the path beyond Parsonage Moor is the Ruskin 
Reserve, under National Trust and Nature Conservancy auspices, in 
the middle of which is an extremely deep bog, hidden by a fringe 
of trees. The depth of this bog is not known, but I did hear 
that on one occasion a forty-foot pole disappeared without trace, 
nearly taking its owner with it I There is a small island in the 
middle of the bog, with a few shrubs on it, but it is round the 
edges that the most interesting flora grows. Early in the summer 
Marsh Valerian ( Valeriana dioica ) abounds among the clumps of 
rushes, and a large variety of Marsh Orchids, Early, Southern, 
and hybrids between these and the rare Pugsley's Marsh Orchid 
(D. traunsteineri ) , whose spotted leaves, hollow stems and fewer 
flowers distinguish it from the other varieties to be found nere. 
Red Rattle, Heath Spotted Orchids (D^ macula ta ) and Common Spot- 
ted Orchids are also in evidence. 

At the other side of the village is another fascinating 
habitat - Dry Sandford pits, a disused quarry, with a stream 
flowing through the middle of it. Here, there is a strange mix- 
ture of liraestone plants growing right down to the water's edge, 
promptly succeeded by a rich variety of water plants on the 
quarry floor. Among the ground flora is Blue Fleabane ( Erigeron 
acer ) , Canadian Fleabane ( Conyza canadensis ) , Ploughman's 
Spikenard, (Mula conyza ) , Wormwood ( Artemisia absinthium ) , 
Pyrenaean Cranesbill ( Geranium pyrenaicum ) , Purple Toadflax 
( Linaria purpurea ) (probably an escape) and, in the wetter ground, 
an abundance of Marsh Helleborines , Bulrushes ( Scirpus locustris ) , 
a small colony of Tall Mint ( Mentha smithiana ) , with character- 
istic red-veined leaves and purple stems, Water Plantain (Alisma 
plantago-aquatica ) , Common Spotted 1 Orchids , and other typical 
flora. 

On the top of the original quarry cliffs there is a stretch 
of rough grass, among which there are a number of thorn bushes, 
and one very beautiful wild Berberis ( Berberis vulgaris ) , partic- 
ularly attractive in the Autumn with its brilliant scarlet 
berries. 

On the quarry cliffs themselves, there is a colony of Sand 
Martins, and other bird life includes Reed Buntings, Sedge 
Warblers and a variety of other small birds, particularly Warblers 
in the summer months, Whitethroats, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps 



- 27 - 



being much in evidence 



Together, Cothill and Dry Sandford Pits provide an extremely- 
wide variety of species, and habitats ranging from woodland to 
open marshland, scrub and grassland within the space of one square 
mile. Visits at any time of the year to either Reserve can 
produce many discoveries, and in the summer, as described above, 
the varied flora is of particular interest. Permits are required 
for access to both Reserves, and can be obtained from the 
Oxfordshire County Secretary of the Berks., Bucks, and Oxon. 
Naturalists' Trust. 



The plant names in this account are taken from Collins 
Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers by D. McClintock and R. S. R. Fitter. 



- 28 - 

AN ACCOUNT OF THE SOCIETY'S EXCURSION ON JUNE 13TH 19 70- 

GRASSES 
by M. V. Fletcher 

Three areas were visited during the day, all in South 
Oxfordshire. Since relatively few naturalists are confident in 
identifying grasses, it was pleasing that over twenty members 
attended the excursion, held in magnificent weather, enthusiastic- 
ally and expertly led by Dr. C. E. Hubbard, of Kew. 

Time did not allow a visit to any acid habitats in the South 
Chilterns, and the Thames-side areas visited proved rather poor 
in waterside grasses. Nevertheless, forty-three species were 
recorded, and several records of interest were made. In this 
account, all the grass species seen are mentioned, though usually 
only at their first appearance. The nomenclature used is that in 
the 195^ edition of Dr. Hubbard's "Grasses", published by Penguin 
books . 

The party met at the French Horn, Sonning, and walked over 
the footbridge and about half a mile eastwards aion g the north 
bank of the Thames. It was not expected that any rarities would 
be found here. The followljig species were noted: Agrostis 
stolonif era L. var stolonifera; A. gigantea Roth.; A. tenuis 
Sibth.; Alopecurus pratensis L.; Arrhenatherum elatius (L.) J. & 
C. Presl., with the young seed heads often infected with a smut ; 
Agrcpyron repens (L.) Beauv.; Cynosurus cristatus L.; Dactylis 
glome rat a L. ; Festuca gigantea (L.) Vill.; F . rubra L. subsp. 
rubra ; Eolcus lanatus L. ; Hordeum murinum L. and Bromus sterilis 
L., both on disturbed ground by the footbridge H> secalinum Schreb., 
of which only a few plants were seen, though it is generally 
common in suitable meadows near the Thames; Lolium perenne L.; 
Phalaris arundinacea L.; Phragmites communis Trin., in small 
amounts among nettles ; Poa annua 1. ; P. angustifolia L., on hard 
trampled ground by the footbridge; and P. subcaerulea Sm. Two 
plants, superficially different, from damp wall bases near the 
bridge, ooth appeared to be this last species. 

The next visit was to Peppard Common, and to a banked lane 
and old chalk quarry nearby (O.S. reference 707817)* On the 
common, species added to the list were Festuca pratensis Huds. 
and K oeleria cristata (L.) Pers . Sheltered chalk banks at the 
sides of the lane yielded Anthoxanthum odoratum L., Bromus erectus 
Huds., B. ramosus Huds., Brachypodium sylvaticum (Huds.) Beauv. 
and Melica uniflora Retz. Chalk turf in the quarry contained 
Helictotrichon pratense (L.) Pilger, Trisetum flavescens (L.) 
Beauv. and Briza media L. Poa Compressa L., on disturbed ground at 
a lare junction, was perhaps the best find so far. This species 
has not often been recorded in the Reading area. 



- 29 - 

After a picnic lunch on the common, the party drove to Goring* 
While waiting for the bus party to arrive, some members explored 
the station car park, and found Vulpia bromoides (L.) S. F. Gray; 
and V . myuros (L.) C. C. Gmel. These two annual grasses, char- 
acteristic of waste ground in towns, railway tracks and similar 
places, were not seen elsewhere on the excursion. 

The party then drove and walked along ai lane south-eastwards 
past Gatehampton Farm (O.S. reference 615797). A steep chalk 
slope overlooking the river was of interest, and had been largely 
seeded in the past. Four additional species were seen in abun- 
dance. These were Helictotrichon pubescens (Huds.) Pilger, 
Phleum nodosum L. , Bromus mollis L., and Festuca arundinacea 
Schreb.. The relatively small area of natural turf near: the top 
of the hill contained all the distinctive chalkland grasses seen 
at Peppard, and members also saw a small colony of bee orchid, 
Ophrys apifera Huds. 

The path by the river Thames and the escarpment woods above 
were the last objective. Wet ground by the river was examined 
first. Common at the water's edge was Festulolium loliaceum 
(H uds,) P. Fourn. , the sterile intergen.eric hybrid between 
Festuca pratensis and Lolium perenne . Phalaris arundinacea was 
seen again, but no other waterside grasses of interest. One odd 
new record was P. canarieneis L., normally a birdseed alien. One 
large solitary plant was seen on a bonfire site. 

The party then moved up the chalk scarp and explored the 
clearings, pathsides and dry ; deeply shaded ground in the hanging 
woods of beech and yew. Though vegetation was generally sparse, 
Melica unifiora and Brachypodium sylvaticum were seen again. 
However, two more species were found, both characteristic plants 
and of considerable interest. These were Hordelymus europaeus 
(L.) Harz, and Bromus benekenii (Lange.) Lindm. The last is a 
rare grass that may not have been seen in Oxfordshire before. It 
is, however, known in Berkshire, and may be under-recorded. One 
plant was seen here, in open woodland on shallow soil over chalk, 
near the summit of the hill. 

We offer our grateful thanks to Dr. Hubbard for leading this 
excursion. It is hoped that this account of the grasses of three 
areas, readily accessible from Reading, will assist people to 
become better acquainted with this rather neglected family of 
plants . 



- 30 - 

REPORT ON ASTON UPTHORPE RESERVE - 1970 
by M. R. W. Sell 

A late season again in 1970, and grass-cutting was again done 
with "Flymo's", this year two being in use simultaneously for most 
of the time. In fact, we had to wait until the beginning cf March 
for the snow to clear before mowing could start. During the early 
part of the year, the Short-eared Owls were much in evidence, and 
our President, Mr. C. J. Leeke, took some fine shots with cine 
film. 

During March, six complete days were spent grass-cutting on 
the Reserve, and my thanks are due to the small band of stalwarts 
who gave so much of their time and energy to clear the grass. 
This year about two-thirds of the Reserve was cut, and later in 
the season it was noticeable how much thinner Bromus erectus 
(Erect Brome) had become where the area had been mown. In general 
the flora appeared to do much better, with a few exceptions, and 
tne net result was to bring this partioular area back much closer 
to its original grazed state than for several years. 

Pulsatilla vulgaris (Pasque Flower) had a very poor year, 
however, probably due to the lateness of the season; the first 
signs of foliage being noticed only on April 23rd. On this date 
also, two very large colonies of Primula veris (Cowslip) weie in 
bloom on the Reserve, far moi e being seen than in previous years-, 
again probably due to grass catting. 

A very warm May brought everything on very rapidly, and by 
iA-th there were fifteen flowering heads of Pulsatilla vulgaris in 
the small enclosure (some already spent) and four outside. No 
increase on this number was noticed on later occasions, but an 
encouraging sign was the large number of non-flowering plants, 
many in places where they had not been previously observed. A 
few plants of Fragaria vesca (Wild Strawberry) were also seen. By 
May 20th Polygala calcarea (Chalk Milkwort) was in bloom all over 
the Reserve, having apparently increased considerably over last 
year. 

Senecio campestris (Field Fleawort) also did fairly well, 
though it was not so r>rolific as last year, but the fact that only 
seven spikes of Orchis ustulata (Burnt-tip Orchid) were seen this 
year was a disappointment. Filipendula vulgaris (Dropwort) made 
an even better show than last year, and one of the phenomena this 
year was the appearance of clumps of Iberis amara (Candytuft) on 
bare ground where the "Flymo's" had taken the top off defunct 
anthills. Here also the occasional colony of Thymus (Wild Thyme) 
was to be found. One considerably diminished species, which it is 
hoped to re-establish in its former quantity by mowing, is 
Hippocrepis comosa (Horseshoe Vetch), the food-plant of one of the 



- 31 - 

Blue butterflies (the Chalkhill), whose numbers have been sadly 
reduced in recent years. 

The season was also exceptional in that, after a very late 
spring indeed, things then rushed along at such a pace that by 
July the flora was in advance of normal flowering time. This 
could well account for varied performance between species, some 
doing far better than others. An exceptional performer this year 
was Campanula glomerata (Clustered Bellflower), and I . a mar a 
also did magnificently on the approaches to the Reserve. Also 
in evidence on the edges of cornfields nearby was a small colony 
of Valerianella dentata (Lamb's Lettuce), Legousia hybrida 
(Venus' Looking-Glass) , still flowering well in early September, 
and Linaria repens (Pale Roadflax). 

Coeloglossum viride (Frog Orchid) on the Reserve produced 
eight flowering spikes this year, but far more flowers of 
Anacamptis pyramidali s (Pyramidal Orchid) were seen than in the 
last three years, probably again due to cutting. 

Other notes of interest - our local Kestrels raised a 
family of three, and these were to be seen in August and 
September practising their hovering techniques! Early in the 
season, a Badger's sett was noticed in the middle of the 
Reserve, with 'bedding' strewn about-, but later in the year it 
appeared that it had been abandoned. Rabbits in the area also 
appear to be on the increase, despite shooting to preserve the 
game on the Estate - this includes numerous Hares, although it 
is hard to see how they or Rabbits could interfere with young 
Pheasants. 



The nomenclature for the plant names in this Report is 
that followed in Collins' Pocket Guide to Flowering Plants by 
D. McClintock & R. S. R. Fitter. 



- 32 - 

THE RECORDER'S REPORT FOR BOTANY 
1969-70 
by B. M. Newman 

Records sent in by the following members, all regular con- 
tributors to this list, are gratefully acknowledged:- Mr. B. R. 
Baker (BRB); Dr. H. J. M. Bowen (HJMB); Mr. H. Carter (HC); 
Miss L. E. Cobb (LEC); Miss J. Housden (JH); Mrs. E. M. Trembath 
(EMT); Dr. J. Toothill (JT); Mr. M. R. W. Sell (MRWS); Miss J. M. 
Watson (JMW). 

The nomenclature and order are, as in last year's report, 
according to the "Flora of the British Isles" by Clapham, Tutin and 
Warburg, 2nd edition 1962. An alien taxon is indicated by an 
asterisk. English names in common use have been given where poss- 
ible, and more recently invented names are put in quotation marks. 

Mrs. A. M. Sandels has very Kindly written to correct a record 
of I963. A Cudweed from the Old Chalk Pit, Henley Road, was 
identified by several botanists as Filago spathulata C. Presl. 
Owing to the revision of the Oxfordshire Flora the plants have been 
compared with material in the Oxford Herbarium, collected by Druce 
from the same site. His identification, Filago apiculata G. E. Sm. 
has now been accepted as correct. 



List of Members' Records 

Helleborus foetidus L. 'Stinking Hellebore' 

Hurdleshaw, near Streatley, old colony re-establishing itself 
well; many young plants appearing. (MRWS) 

Helleborus viridis L. 'Green Hellebore' 

Gidley's Wood, Peasemoor (Sir G. Nicholson); (HJMB) 
Mongewell Woods, very large colony. (MRWS) 

Ranunculus fluitans Lam . 

Well established for the first time in eight years off the 
Berkshire bank in the Thames at Pangbourne. (EMT) 

Aquilegia vulgaris L. Columbine 
Farley Hill. (HJMB) 

*Papaver somniferum L. Opium Poppy 

Ashridge Wood, a fair-sized colony on edge of cornfields. (MRWS) 

*Papaver lateritium C . Koch 
Whiteknights Park. (HJMB) 

Cardamine amara L. 'Large Bitter-cress 1 

Sulham, three separate locations in the Pang-Sul valley. N.H.S. 
walk. (MRWS) 



z 33 - 

*Hesperis matronalis L. Dame's Violet 

Between Sul stream and woods, Sulham. (EMT) 

Viola odorata L. Sweet Violet 

Uncommon in S. Oxfordshire, but found in woods at Purley (just 
on the Berks, side) by Mrs. Young. (HC) 

PolygaJ a serpyllif olia Hose 'Common Milkwort' 
High Wood, Bulmershe. (HJMB) 

Hypericum androsaemum L. Tutsan 

Oliver's Copse, Little Heath, Tilehurst. (JMW) 

Hypericum humifusum L. 'Trailing St. John's Wort' 
High Wood, Bulmershe. (HJMB) 

Malva neglecta Wallr. 'Dwarf Mallow' 

Rocky Lane Farm, Rotherfield Greys. 30.6.70. (HC) 

*Impatiens capensis Meerb. Orange Balsam 



South Stoke, oy the river. (MRWS) 

Euonymus europaeus L. Spindle-tree 

Whiteknights Park, probably self-sown. (HJMB) 

Rhamnus catharticus L. Buckthorn 

Scours Lane, 12.9.70, R. Bell. (HC) 

Frangula alnus Mill. Alder Buckthorn, Black Dogwood 
Aldermaston. (HJMB) 

*Tetragc nolobus maritimus (L.) Roth. 
Near Henley. (JT) 

Potentilla anglica Laichard. 'Trailing Tormentil' 
Ashley Hill. N.H.S. walk. (LEC) 

Geum rivale L. Water Avens 

Sulham. Frequent in new B.B.O.N.T. reserve, (Moor Copse). 
Also a cross between G. rivale and G . urba.rmm L. (MRWS) 

Prunus cerasifera Fhrh. Cherry-Plum 

Hedges at Purley, Berks. 10.6.70, Mrs. Young. (HC) 

*Cotoneaster simonsi i Baker 

One bush at High Wood, Bulmershe . • (HJMB) 

Saxifraga granulata L. 'Meadow Saxifrage' 
Lowbury Hill. (EMT) 

Drosera intermedia Hayne 'Long-leaved Sundew' 
Englemere pond, near Ascot - plentiful. (HJMB) 

Daphne laureola L. Spurge Laurel 

Whiteknights Park, probably self-sown. (HJMB) 

*Ammi visnaga Lam. 

A bird-seed alien. Cholsey. W D. Campbell. (HJMB) 



Z 3k - 

Oenanthe fluviatilis (Bab.) Coleman 

Reappeared after a long interval in the Pang at Pangbourne. 

(EMT) 

Foeniculum vulgare Mill. Fennel 

In the garden of 5 Thames Avenue, Pangbourne - from 'Swoop', 
perhaps? (EMT) 

*Euphorbia cyparissias L. 'Cypress Spurge' 

Sulham Woods - large colony. N.H.S. walk. (MRWS) 

""Cannabis sativa L. Hemp 

F-*om bird-seed of Spanish origin, Binfield. 8. 9*70. (HC) 

*Quercus phellos L. 

A scarce American alien. One tree at Snelsmore. (HJMB) 

*Gaultheria shallon Pursh 

Englemere pond, near Ascot. (HJMB) 

Hottonia palustris L. Water Violet 

Great Lea Common, near Grazeley. An enormous increase in the 
colony this year, the whole pond covered with flowering spikes. 

(MRWS) 

Gentianella amarella (L.) H. Sm. Felwort 
Near Woodcote 11.9.70, Mrs. Matthews (HC) 
Ashley Hill. N.H.S. walk. (LEC) 

*Symphytum orientale L. 

Frequent in lane near Earley church. (HJMB) 

*Bora go o fficinalis L. Borage 

On dumped soil, Binfield Lane, Sonning Common. Sept., 1970. 

(HC) 

Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br. Bellbine, 'Larger Bindweed' 
Pink form, Gipsy Lane, Tilehurst. (JMW) 

Cuscuta epithymum (L.) L. 'Common Dodder' 

On Origanum near Home Farm, Pangbourne. (HJMB) 

Atropa belladonna L. Dwale , Deadly Nightshade 

Blount's Court Farm, Peppard Common 30.9.70. Mr. Taylor (HC) 
Garden in Redlands Road. (HJMB) 

*Datura stramonium L. Thorn-apple 

Waste ground, centre of Tilehurst. (JMW) 

Farley Hill. (HJMB) 

Beside temporary road near the Black Boy, Shinfield Road. 

This ground previously carried a cereal crop. (JT) 

Antirrhinum orontium L. Weasel's Snout 
Waste ground, centre of Tilehurst. (JMW) 

Kickxia spuria (L.) Dum. Round-leaved Fluellen 
Fields near Hurley chalk-pit. (HJMB) 



- 35 - 

Kickxia elatine (L.) Dum. Pointed-leaved Fluellen 
Fields near Hurley chalk-pit. (HJMB) 

*Mimulus guttatus DC . Monkey-flower 

A good clump on the Kennet bank close to Burghfield Bridge. 

■; (brb) 

On banrcs of the Pang, Bradfield. (EMT) 

Odontites verna (Bell.) Dum. 'Red Bartsia' 
Caversham Park, September. (HC) 

i 

*Odcntites lutea (L.) Reichb. 

Survives in good quantity at Aldermaston. (HJMB) 

Utricularia vulgaris L. 'Greater Bladderwort' 

In profusion in ditch through Thames meadow, Childe Beale 
Trust, Basildon. (EMT) 

Campanula glomerata L. 'Clustered Bellf lower' 

Goring. Two white-flowered specimens with foliage much paler 
than normal. (MRWS) 

Legousia hybrida (L.) Delarb. Venus '5 Looking-glass 
Fields near Hurley chalk-pit. (HJMB) 

*Xanthium spinosum L. Spiny Cocklebur 

From bird-seed. St. Anne's School, Caversham. 21.9.69 (HC) 

Senecio vulgaris var. radiatus Koch. Groundsel 

Building site in Castle Hill - fine specimens completely 
fringed with ray florets. (JMW) 

achillea ptarmic a L. Sneezewort 
Ashley Hill. N.H.S. walk. (LEC) 

Chrysanthemum segetum L. Corn Marigold 

Marshy ground by river Loddon near Arborfield Hall Farm. (JT) 

Carlina vulgaris L. Carline Thistle 
Ashley Hill. N.H.S. walk. (LEC) 

Centaurea scabiosa L. 'Greater Knapweed' 
Goring - one white-flowered plant. (MRWS) 

Lactuca serriola L. 'Prickly Lettuce' 
Waste ground, Shinfield. (JT) 

Sagittaria sagitti.folia L. Arrow-head 

Well established for the first time in eight years, off the 
Berkshire bank in the Thames at Pangbourne. (EMT) 

Butomus umbellatus L. Flowering Rush 

Two separate clumps with several flowering heads in Thames 
between Pangbourne and Purley. (EMT) 

Potamogeton perfoliatus L. 'Perfoliate Pondweed' 

Well established for the first time in eight years, off the 
Berkshire bank in the Thames at Pangbourne. (EMT) 



- 36 - 

Convallaria raajalis L. Lily-of-the-Valley 

Still survives at Englemere pond, near Ascot. (HJMB) 

Polygonatum odoratum (Mill.) Druce 'Angular Solomon's Seal 
A sterile clump in Whiteknights Park. (HJMB) 

Ruscus aculeatus L. Butcher's Broom 

Whiteknights Park; probably self-sown. (HJMB) 

Ornithogalum pyrenaicum L. Spiked Star of Bethlehem, Lath 

Asparagus 
Ashridge Wood. Considerable increase in size and spread of 
colony this year. (MEWS) 

*Juncus tenuis Willd. 
Aldermaston. (HJMB) 

Leucojum aestivum L. Loddon Lily, 'Summer Snowf lake ' 

Loddon Bridge. Colony of about eight plants flowering and 
several more non-flowering specimens. (MRWS; 

Galanthus nivalis L. Snowdrop 

Hurdleshaw,-near Streatley - well away from human habitation. 

(MRWS) 

Epipac tig purpurata Sm. 'Violet Helleborine' 
Hazel copse, Mapleash Wood, Snelsmore . (HJMB) 

Epipac tis phyllanthes var. vectensis (T. & T. A. Steph.) 
D. P. Young 

Three rclants found by Miss Hartes Jackson near Brimpton. 

(det. Dr. D. P. Young) (HJMB) 

Spiranthes spiralis (L.) Chevall. 'Autumn Lady's Tresses 
Ashley Hill, near Maidenhead. N.H.S. walk. (JH) 

Platanthera chlorantha (Cust.)Rchb. Greater Butterfly Orchid 
Homefield Wood, Marlow (MRWS) 

Ophrys apifer a Huds. Bee Orchid 
Goring. Four plants. (MRWS) 

Ophrys insectifera L. Fly Orchid 
Homefield Wood, Marlow. (MRWS) 

Orchis mascula (L.) L. Early Purple Orchid 

Sulham. Several plants in new B.B.O.N.T. reserve (Moor 
Copse) (LEG, MRWS) 

Dactylorchis fuchsii x praetermissa 
Snelsmore. (HJMB) 

Carex vesicaria L. 'Bladder Sedge' 
Whiteknights Park. (HJMB) 

C arex acutiformis Ehrh. 'Lesser Pond-sedge 
"Padworth, May 1970. (M. J. Hitchcock) (HC) 



- 37 - 

Carex pallescens L. 'Pale Sedge' 

Hazel copse, Mapleash Wood, Snelsmore. (HJMB) 

Vulpia bromoides (L.) S. F. Gray 'Barren Fescue' 
Goring Station car park. N.H.S. walk. 

Vulpia nyuros (L.) C. C. Grnel. 'Rat's-tail Fescue' 
Goring Station car park. N.H.S. walk. 

Zerna benekenii (Lange) Lindm. 

Edge of Hartslock Woods. N.H.S. walk. (MRWS) 

*Zerna inermis (Leyss.) Lindm. 

Near Henley bathing place, on the Berkshire side of the 
river. (HJMB) 

Nardus stricta L. Mat-grass 
High Wood, Bulmershe. (HJMB) 



THE RECORDER'S REPORT FOR ENTOMOLOGY 
1969-70 
by B. R. Baker 

Order Odonata (Dragon-flies) 

Agrion splendens (Harris), Banded Agrion 

This splendid insect, instantly recognisable in the male 
by the presence of a large, elliptical dark opaque patch across 
each wing, is a common denizen of Kennet and Thames banks from 
mid-summer onwards. In 1970, however, the species appeared in 
the greatest profusion ever witnessed by the Recorder on the 
Kennet at Woolhampton, where, on the evening of 1st June, clouds 
of resting splendens would rise from the almost impenetrable 
vegetation bordering a half mile or so of river bank. 

Cordulegaster boltoni (Donovan), Golden-Ringed Dragon-fly 

An occurrence of this species at the Mill Pond, Bracknell, 
was reported to the Museum by Mr. S. 0. Danek, a resident of 
Bracknell. Previously recorded in the Reading Naturalist 
mainly from streams in S. Berkshire and N. Hampshire. 

Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Bush Crickets, etc.) 

Tetrix subulata (L.) Slender Ground-hopper 

The continuance of the colony of this unobtrusive little 
ground-hopper was indicated by the finding of a single specimen 



- 38 - 

amongst dead leaf-litter bordering the stream below Beggar 1 s 
Bridge Green, Pamber Forest, on 30th April. 

Order Hemiptera (Plant Bugs, etc.) 

Cyphostethus tristriatus (F.) Juniper Shieldbug 

This prettily marked shieldbug overwinters as an adult 
and may therefore be found in its favoured localities early in 
the year. By tapping juniper bushes at Aston Upthorpe on 12th 
April (a bitterly cold spring day when few other insects were 
seen) a number of tristriatus were dislodged into the beating 
tray. This insect appears to feed only on ripe juniper 
berries. 

Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths) 

1970 has proved a poor season for immigrant species and 
we have only had notice of the following records: 

Colias croceus (Geoffr.) Clouded Yellow Butterfly 

A single specimen, seen by the Recorder on l8th September 
as it was flying across some waste ground close to Reading 
Station. 

Vanessa atalanta (L.) Red Admiral 

Few noted during the year, an early arrival being seen at 
Caversham on 21st June and an end-of-season example in the same 
locality on 11th October. 

Vanessa cardui (L.) Painted Lady 

Mr. Roy Leeke has supplied the record of two specimens of 
cardui at Chapel Hill, Tilehurst, on 27th June. 

Herse convolvuli (L.) Convolvulus Hawk-moth 

A single specimen of this large hawk-moth was found at 
Tilehurst in early autumn and submitted to Mr. Cyril Leeke for 
identification. A 'wild pairing' was attempted but no male was 
forthcoming! 

Resident Species 

Celastrina argiolus (L.) Holly Blue 

1970 has been a good year for this butterfly, which was 
reported on several occasions in early spring from local gar- 
dens and shrubberies. There are normally two broods per year, 
caterpillars of the first brood feeding upon the young buds of 
holly and those of the second upon ivy. The following records 
were made:- 

21st June Nine larvae from a thick holly hedge near Crays 
Pond, Oxon. 



- 39 - 

23rd June A further three larvae from the same locality. 
(Parasitisation of larvae was high and only 
four butterflies resulted in early July - see 
note under Hymenoptera ) . 

7th August Several eggs noted on ivy buds on plants near 
St. Lawrence's Church. (The resultant pupae 
should have overwintered to produce butterflies 
in spring 1971*) • 

8th - 11th Six of the above pupae hatched from a batch of 
September seven to produce an abnormal third brood of the 

Holly Blue - none of the eggs had been 

parasitised . 

Apatura iris (L.) Purple Emperor 

Several males of this splendid insect were observed soar- 
ing round the oaks in Pamber Forest on l8th July and a female 
was seen settled high up on a sallow in the same locality. 

Limenitis Camilla (L.) White Admiral 

Seen frequently from the end of June and throughout July 
both at Pamber Forest and in woodland near Tidmarsh. Members 
attending the Forest excursion on 25th July have Christopher 
Dyczek to thank for poincing out eggs of the White Admiral 
freshly laid upon trailers of honeysuckle. 

Strymonidia w-album (Knoch) White-letter Hairstreak 

Although records of this little hairstreak have frequently 
been received for the Chiltern woodlands a few miles north of 
Reading, the record of a single specimen taken, and released, 
in a Caversham garden (Dovedale Close) on 17th July seems to 
indicate that colonies of the butterfly are existing, unnoticed 
on urban wych elms much closer to the Town than previously 
supposed. 

Ptilophora plumiger o (Schiff.) Plumed Prominent Moth 

This Chiltern speciality was recorded for the first time 
from The Warburg Reserve at Bix on 21st November 19&9 » when 
two males were attracted to mercury-vapour light. 

Leucoma salicis (L.) White Satin Moth 

This species is decidedly uncommon in the Reading area, 
our few local records concerning occasional specimens from 
Woolhampton in the Kennet Valley. On l8th June 1970 a single 
moth was attracted to light in a remnant of old Thames' marsh- 
land one mile east of Mapledurham. 

Sphecia bembeciformis (Hubn.) Osier Hornet Clearwing Moth 

The continuance of the Beenham colony initially reported 
in Reading Naturalist No. 22, was observed, and a further 



- ko - 

colony was discovered among sallows bordering the river Kennet 
close in to Reading. Adults were observed on 12th, 15th and 
l6th July. One female was discovered in Pamber Forest on 
18th July. 

Aegeria andrenaef ormis (Lasp.) Orange-tailed Clearwing 

Evidence of larval borings in wayfaring trees below 
Christmas Common, Oxon., was found in early May, and from a 
cutting taken on 9th May an adult emerged on l6th June. 

Gypsitea leucographa (Schiff.) The White-marked Moth 

Several specimens on sallow bloom in woodland near Crays 
Pond, Oxon., on 29th April - previously only known to us from 
the Chilterns above Medmenham, Bucks. 

Leucania obsoleta (Hubn.) Obscure Wainscot 

This species still continues to flourish in the Kennet 
marshes at Wooihampton and was well in evidence on 12th June 
when some thirty examples were counted at light. 

Oria musculosa (Hubn.) Brighton Wainscot 

This species is now well established over the cereal- 
growing areas of the Berkshire Downs, particularly so on the 
higher ground above Cholsey in the direction of Kingstanair.g 
Hill. During the past twenty years there has been a steady 
spread northwards from the great stronghold of the species upon 
Salisbury Plain. Several specimens were noted by Mr. T. J. 
Homer and the Recorder at the Berkshire Downs locality on 
1^-th August. 

Apatele alni (L.) Alder Moth 

Before the advent of mercury -vapour light this species 
was but rarely taken in any locality - to-day alni is known to 
be much commoner than formerly supposed. It is still consid- 
ered a 'good species' and had a bumper year in 1970, twenty-one 
examples being counted at light near Crays Pond, Oxon., on the 
night of 8th June. 

Hapaiotis venustula (Hubn.) The Rosy Marbled 

This species continues to flourish at Pamber where spec- 
imens were seen flying at dusk on 25th and 27th June. An 
extensive fire on Silchester Common threatened its habitat, 
but more ground was saved than had at first seemed possible. 

Polychrisia moneta (F.) The Golden Plisia 

Mrs. Rhodes reports the successful breeding of three 
specimens of this beautiful species from caterpillars found by 
Mrs. Hawkins in her garden in Tilehurst Road. These larvae 
had been found feeding on Delphinium . The Golden Plusia was 
first recorded as a British insect in 1890 and the Reading 



- kl - 

collector, William Holland, took the third British example on 
July 2nd of that year, the moth being attracted to a gas lamp 
near Reading. Since that time moneta spread rapidly over 
southern England and is to-day recorded from as far north as 
Cheshire and Durham. 

Colostygia multistrigaria Haw. Mottled Grey 

A decidedly uncommon species in our district to judge by 
local records prior to 1970. The species, however, exists in 
some strength across Heckfield Heath, Hants., from which local- 
ity it was first reported to us by Commander W. Gilchrist, and 
specimens were first seen there by the Recorder on 11th and 
13th April. 

Selenia lunaria (Schiff.) Lunar Thorn 

Two examples of this local species were noted in woodland 
at Crays Pond, Oxon. T on 8th June. 

Order Hymenoptera (Bees, Ants, Wasps, Ichneumon-flies, etc.) 

Ichneumonidae 

Listrodromus nycthemerus ( Grav . ) 

This Ichneumon-fly is parasitic upon larvae of the Holly 
Blue butterfly and must constitute an ever present check 
against populations of the 'blue' ever continuing high. Eight 
emerged between 11th and l6th July from a breeding stock 
of twelve Holly Blue larvae. 

Hepiopelmus variegatorius (Panzer) A male on 17th August 19&8, 
Goring Heath. This is a rare species. 

Apidae 

Apis mellifera L. Honey Bee. Noted nesting in a hollow Scots 
Pine, Heckfield Heath, 26th May, 1970. 

Order Diptera (True Flies) 

The following records all relate to collecting undertaken 
by Dr. E. Burtt on behalf of Reading Museum, except where 
otherwise indicated. The bulk of the material was taken during 
1969 but not determined until the winter of 1969/70. Several 
apparently common species have been included! because they are 
new to the Reading Museum collection although the groups in 
which they occur have been well worked; hen:e it is to be 
supposed that they are less common locally than one would have 
expected. 

Tipulidae 

Tipula yerburyi Edwards Males lA-th - 26th July 1969j females 

15th June - 5th July 1969, all at 
Wokefield Common, Berks. - probably a 
new County record. 



- k2 - 



T. staegeri Nielsen 



T. unca Wiedemann 



T. livida Van der Wulp, 



Syrphidae 

Platychirus discimanus Loew 

Syrphus vittiger Zett. 

S. quadrimaculatus Verrall 



Cheilosia antiqua Meig, 



C . grossa (Fallen) 

Trypetidae 

Xyphosia miliaria (Schrank) 

Psilidae 

Psila fimetaria (L.) 

Tachinidae 

Compsilura concinnata Meig. 



Calliphoridae 

Lucilia sericata (Meig.) 



A single male at Wokefield Common 
on 6th October 1969. 

Males 2nd July 1969, females 26th 
June - 20th July 1969, all at 
Wokefield Common. 

A single female taken by the stream 
opposite the site of the Three Firs 
Inn, Wokefield Common, on 2nd 
August 1969 • This is the highlight 
of the 1969 year as far as Diptera 
are concerned and the record has 
been eagerly awaited since J. Cole 
recorded the species from Coney- 
berry Hill, Goring, Oxon., (Reading 
Naturalist Vol. 17) • A new 
Berkshire record. 



A single male, 19th April 1969 at 
Goring Heath, Oxon. 

A single male, 3rd June I969 at 
Wokefield Common. 

Females 12th - l6th April 1969 at 
Goring Heath. In the same area, 
at Nuney Green, males were taken 
on 26th March 1970 and females from 
22nd - 26th March 1970. 

A single male on 29th May 1970, 
Wokefield Common. 

Males on l6th and 28th April 3 969, 
Goring Heath. 



A single male, 22nd July 1969, 
Wokefield Common. 



A single female, 13th July 1969, 
Wokefield Common. 



A single male, 10th July 1970, 
Bishopsland Farm, near Sonning 
Common, Oxon., coll. H. H, C. 



A female, 8th July 1970, St. Peter's 



- 43 - 



L. richardsi Collin 



Sarcophaga albiceps Meig, 



Muscidae 

Phaonia incana (Wied.) 



P. erronea (Schnabl) 



Myospila meditabunda (Fabr.) 



Mydaea electa (Zett.) 



Helina impuncta (Fallen) 



H. depuncta (Fallen) 



Avenue, Caversham, coll. B.R.B., 
and a female, 9th August, 1970 at 
Kenny lands Road, Sonning Common, 
coll. H.H.C. Always considered a 
very common species, but all older 
records of Lucilia in this area 
are L. caesar (L.) or L. illustris 
(Meig.). 

Several males and one female, 
24th - 31st July 1970 at Caversham 
Park, coll. H.H.C. Also considered 
to be very common, but see remarks 
above. 

One female, 30th July 1970, 
Caversham Park, coll. H.H.C. 



Females on 3rd July 1970, Bishops- 
land Farm near Sonning Common, 
Oxon, 



H ydrotaea tuberculata Rondani 



H. cyrtoneurina (Zett.) 



Gymnodia humilis (Zett.) 



Pogonomyia decolo r (Fallen) 



coll. H.H.C. 

Female, 25th June 1969 at Woke- 
field Common. New to Berks. 

Males 19th May and 3rd July 1970, 
Bishopsland Farm, coll. H.H.C. A 
common species but new to the 
Reading Museum collection. 

Female, 5th October 1969, Woke- 
field Common. New Berks, record. 

Female, 7th October 1969. A 
common species but new to the 
Reading Museum collection. 

Female, 5th October 19&9, Woke- 
field Common. Male, l6th July 
1970, Chalkhouse Green, Oxon. , 
coll. H.H.C. 

Male, 5th September 1969, 
Woke field Common. 

Female, 4th October 19&9, 
Wokefield Common. 

A hibernating swarm of pregnant 
females reported from a house at 
Finchampstead Ridges, 28th October 
1970., coll. Wokingham R.D.C. 
Public Health Dept. 

Female, 6th October 1969, 
Wokefield Common . 



- Mf - 

The Society's Entomological Evening 25th/26th July, 1970 

Six members braved a somewhat chilly night at Pamber 
Forest where it was decided to run the mercury vapour lamp well 
into the Forest (a) to sample a new area and (b) to be out of 
gusty winds. The Recorder would like to thank Michael Fletcher 
and Christopher Dyczek for manfully helping with voluminous 
items of equipment to the site of operations and the always 
harder struggle back in the small hours. Species of Lepidoptera 
attracted were far fewer than last year (37 species as against 
86y but this was to be expected in view of weather conditions. 
A good run of Lymantria monacha L. Black Arches cheered the 
night watches. 

The several members who have sent in records are mentioned 
in the text and to them the Recorder expresses his best thanks. 
We again acknowledge our indebtedness to the Director of 
Reading Museum for allowing us every facility tc incorporate 
such Museum records as we wished. 



THE RECORDER'S REPORT FOR VERTEBRATES 
1969-70 
by H. H. Carter 

PISCES 

The coarse fish in Hambridge Lake (a disused gravel pit 
near Newbury) were poisoned and the lake re-stocked with Rainbow 
Trout ( Salmo irideus Gibbons) and possibly a few brown trout 
(S. trutta L.) in September 19&9* 



¥1B1\ 



Rana. tcinporaria L.- ■ Co.nr.cn Fro™. 

Ten freshly killed on New Lane Hill, Tilehurst, 
21. 3. 70; twenty-five there and one on Chapel Hill, 
23«3«70 (ZK). These are road casualties during the 
annual migration to the breeding grounds. (Compare 
Reading Naturalist No. l8 1966). Five killed near 
St. Michael's Churchy Tilehurst, 9.10.70 (ZK). 

Bufo bufo L. Toad 

A pair seen on various dates in mid-April 1970 and in 



- 45 - 

previous years at Netherleigh, River View Rd., Pang- 
bourne. (CF) Dozens of very small toads crossing a 
road in the direction of Cranemoor Lake, Englefield, 
early on a fine evening, 28.7.70, after emerging from 
a cornfield (PG). 

Triturus vulgaris (L.) Smooth Newt. 

CF sees about twelve annually at Netherleigh (see 
above) . 

REPTILIA 

Unguis fragilis L. Slow-worm. 

Breeds regularly in long grass at Netherleigh (see 
above) where nests are uncovered by Rotoscythe in 
August and September. (This species, like the Common 
Lizard and Adder, is ovo-viviparous, laying eggs 
which hatch at once or within a day or two at most.) 

MAMMALIA 

INSECTIVCR A 

Erinaceus europaeus L. Fedgehog. 

ffive killed along St. Michael's 'Rd. , Tilehurst, in 
the latter part of 19&9 (ZK). One seen alive in 
October I969 at Chapel Hill (ZK,ZJK) and one dead 
there, 25.7.70 and 4.10.70 (ZK). 

One dead, Cockney Hill, Tilehurst, 12.6.70 (ZK). 
Dead ones seen in Emmer Green, 4.5*70 and 18.8.70, 
and in Caversham, 7*70. One dead on Burghfield Rd., 
4.10.70 (ZX). 

Road deaths are clearly many fewer than in pre- 
vious years, as observers in other areas have also 
noted, although the numbers of hedgehogs present have 
increased if anything. Evidently the selection pres- 
sure against curling up as a response to approaching 
vehicles has been strong enough to bring about a sub- 
stantial change in habits. 

Talpa europaea L. Mole 

A mole or moles remained active in my garden (Sonning 
Common) during the early part of 1970, since when I 
have seen no trace of them. They are not usual in 
that area, One seen trying in vain to bury itself in 
hard soil near Sulham Woods ,. 7.6.70 (PG), also in an 
area generally devoid of moles*. EMT found moles active 
along the Thames (at Pangbourne?) 11. 69. Many mole- 
hills on the Downs from Streatley to Lowbury, 25 -3 -70. 



- k6 - 

Much work remains to be done on the distribution of 
moles in this area before the key factors can be iso- 
lated. Most of my own observations are on hill tops 
or in the Thames and other valleys. 

Sorex araneus L. Shrew. 

One dead at Cockney Hill, 18.3.70 and two at Chapel 
Hill, 22.10.70 (ZK, PG), three alive at Lowbury, 
25.3»70. One or two in Kennylands Rd . , Sonning Common, 
23.^.70 and 7.7.70, two at Bishopsland Farm (Dunsden), 
17.6.70. 

Gorex minutus L. Pygmy Shrew. 

One at Manor Farm Sewage Works, 30.3*70 (ZK), one or 
two seen on several days at the end of 4.70 near 
Theale gravel pits (PG). 

Unidentified dead-shrews at Sulhcui 'Vo ICE, 7 . 6 . 70 and iincent 1 s Lane, 
9.10.70, and two at Chapel Kill, 10.70 (Hi). 

CHIROPTERA 

The bat caves at Park Place near Henley are reported 
to be derelict and gradually collapsing - the usual 
fate of artificial excavations in chalk if not 
actively maintained. 

Plecotus auritus (L.) Long-eared Bat. 

A female with a dependent infant found at Lower 
Basildon, 20.7-70. 

Pipistrellus pjpistrellus (Schreber) Pipistrelle. 

CF sees single Pipistrelles each year at Netherleigh 
(see under Amphibia) and two were present 5*70. One 
flying repeatedly along a stretch of road at Clay 
Copse, Tilehurst (a habit of this species), 6.6.70 and 
two there on 12.6.70; one at Mud House, Tilehurst, 
7. 6. 70; one at Hi-1 Copse, 1^.6.70; one at Chapel 
Hill through most of the summer (ZK). 

CARNIVORA 

Meles meies (L.) Badger 

One found dead near a sett in the garden of Mr. 
Beavers, 8 Grass Hill, Caversham, 1.11. 69 (an off- 
shoot of Kelmscott Close sett). 

Present on West End Farm, Mattingley, Hants., 30.1.70 
(Mr. Denton). 

Sett in use on Mr. Hollick's land at Park Place near 
Henley, close to the Thames on the Berkshire side, 
13.3.70 (Mr. Angus). 



- ^7 - 

One-hole sett in use at Gravel Hill, Caversham 
Heights, 17.1.70. 

Probable sett at Nuney Green chalkpit, 26.3.70. 
Old sett at South Lake, Earley, in use 5.70 (Mr. A. 
Price ) . 

New setts discovered at Mosshall Wood, Purley ; three 
adults seen here early 11. 69, two adults, 3.^.70 
(ZK, ZJK, PD). 

Adults and young at the Sulham Lane sett: one cub at 
the entrance 6. 6. 70, one adult 7.6.70, one scratch- 
ing vigorously, 12.6.70; two visitors from a nearby 
sett, 12.7.70 (ZK, ZJK) . 

Rectory Lodge; no sett could be found here (ZK, PD). 
I have a similar report from another observer, and 
either this record was erroneous from the start, or 
the sett has long been abandoned. 

Barefoot Barn, Sulham; this sett is now abandoned (ZK) 
Sulham Wood; the two groups of setts here are 
partially occupied (ZK). 

Seal's Plantation; this sett has been greatly 
enlarged to cover a large area of the hillside. 
People claim to have hand-fed badgers here with 
cheese, etc. (ZK, PD). 

Mount Skyvers Wood; this sett is also being extended 
and now has about twelve holes (ZK). 
Green Dean Wood; a. dead female found here by 
police, 20.9.70. 



Mustela erminea L. Stoat. 



One opposite Hardwick, 2k. 10^69 (EMT). 

One adult at Barefoot 's Barn, Sulham, 22.2.70 

( ZK , ZJK ) . 

One seen to capture a young rabbit in Park Wood, 

Marlow, 25.3„70 (ZJK). 



Mustela nivalis L. Weasel. 



One in Firs Rd., Tilehurst, 1.11 69 (CJL) . 

One dead on the Meadway, Tilehurst, 7.6,70 (BRB). 

One dead in Denmark Rd . , 16.9.70, 

One hunting around the sludge pits at Manor Farm 

(where rats may be the attraction) on 26.3.70 and on 

other dates in spring and autumn (PG) and one in the 

same locality, 27.9*70 (ZK). 

One dead on the road by Caversham Laundry, 22.6.70. 

One crossing Bird Lane, Sonning Common, 17.5.70. 

One adult followed by a young one on Ipsden Common, 

12.7.70 (ZJK). 

One at Purley Hall park on 17.10.70 emerged from a 

hole in the base of a stump, retreated, but 

reappeared after some thirty seconds to make a 



- 48 - 

thorough inspection of the observer before again 
withdrawing into the hole (ZK). 



Vulpes vulpes (L.) Fox. 

The earth in Deal's Plantation (see Reading Naturalist 
no. 21) was re-used in 19&9, an( ^ foxes were seen 
there on 15.1.70 and 11.4.70 (ZK, ZJK) and in Box- 
grove Wood, 5.1.70 (ZK). A fox, recognisable by its 
grey shoulders and the large amount of white in its 
tail, was seen near Deal's Plantation on 7.9*70 and 
again, at 7.45 a.m. carrying a blackbird along Chapel 
Hill, Tilehurst (about a kilometre away) on 
11.9.70. (ZK) 

PG found a recently dead fox impaled on bram- 
bles in Sulham Woods, 21.3.70. The cause of death 
was not evident, and the carcase was still there in 
June (ZK). A pair reared five cubs in the same local- 
ity, seen on 29.7.70 by PG, who thought them to be a 
month old. A family, presumably the same, was seen 
there during the next few days up to 4.8.70 when 
there were only four cubs (ZK). This is unusually 
late for breeding in Britain, though comparable 
records exist for France. 

An adult in poor condition was seen walking 
along a path in Sulham Wood on 12.6.70, and one was 
sitting at the edge of the wood on 8.8.70, ignoring 
the presence of a group of people in full view 
(ZK, ZJK). 

An adult was carrying food in Clay Copse, 
Tilehurst on 22.4.70, and another was seen there on 
25.7.70 (ZK). 

A very dirty fox was walking along Chapel Hill, 
on the morning of 24.8.70 (ZK), 

MJH saw a cub at Padworth Common in April 1970 
and a dead adult on the M4 near its junction with the 
A4 at Maidenhead Thicket, reported 29.6.70. 

ARTIODACTYLA 

Cervus dama L. Fallow Deer. 

Tracks at Nuney Green, 26,3.70. 

Two feeding at the edge of a field near Dolesden, 

Turvrille and four near Fingest (both in Bucks.) 

7.7.70 (ZJK). 

Two undated records for Crowsley Park. 

Muntiacus reevesi (Ogilby) Muntjac. 

Skeleton of female found at Lower Hook End Farm 
received 10.2.70 per JSHM. Young male found dead at 
Dunsden, 30.3.70, by Mr. Morgan. 



- 49 - 

LAGOMORPEA. 

Lepus capensis Pallas Brown Hare . 

One in fields east of Marley Tile gravel pit, 

Beenham, 25. 5. 70 and 27.10.70 (PG). 

Two on fields at Manor Farm, 18.7.70; three, 23. 7. 70; 

one, 26.9.70 (PG, ZK) . 

Tracks after snowfall at Chalkhouse Green in February 

1970 and two seen there 27.4.70. 

Many records from Bishopsland Farm, Dunsden, 2.3*70 

to 9»9»70 tfith a maximum of seven animals on 5* 3 .70 

(all records but the last were for March or April). 

Several records from the adjacent Bryant's Farm in 

March and October, with a maximum of four animals 

on 14. 10. 70 and 19.10.70. 

Two on Lowbury Hill, 25. 3. 70. 

Oryctolagus cuniculus (L.) Rabbit. 

Common on Englefield estate and around Burghfield 
gravel pits (PG). Still tolerably common in the 
Suiham Woods area but definitely fewer than in ±968 
(PG). Further details for these areas are given by 
ZK as follows: 
Two at Englefield, 5.8.70. 

Several records for Burghfield gravel pits July- 
Sept., maximum four or more on 2.8.70. 
One dead on Burghfield Road, 8.8.70. 

Seen at Cornwell Copse in March - April and September 
- October, maximum five on 23.3*70 and 25.9»70. Two 
on 18.4.70 showed symptoms of myxomatosis. 
Scattered records at Beal's Plantation from March to 
Septer.iber, maximum, on 15... 5*70, when several young were 
seen. 

One at Sulhsm Riding Stables , 30 and 31.3.70. 
One young one at Purley Park, 8.8.70. One there 
17.10.70. 

Four or more adults at Suiham Wood, 15.5.70, singles 
June and July (ZK). 
• • One by Thames at Westwick Farm, 26.4.70 (ZK). 
One Streatley Warren, 25»3«70. 

One in Juniper Valley, Aston Upthorpe, 24.1.70 
affected by myxomatosis (ZK). 
Fourteen, possibly more, on Heckfield Heath, 
26.5.70 (ZK). 

Tracks after snowfall at Chalkhouse Green, February 
1970. 

One at Toker's Green, 17«1»70. Droppings at Nuney 
Green, 26. 3. 70. 

One Bur Wood, Sonning Common, 2.3*70. Three Sonning 
Common, 23.4.70. 



- 50 - 

Two Bishopsland Farm, Dunsden, 19. 3*70. 
Several records in March and October from Bryant's 
Farm adjoining the above, maximum six on 20.10.70. 
Four Sonning Eye, 20.3.70. 
RODENT I A 

Sciurus carolinensis Gmelin Grey Squirrel. 

This species is present in nearly all the woods in 
the Sulham area (PG). 

Five or more seen together in winter (January) at 
Cornwell Copse (PG). 

Four or more early in January 1970 in Boxgrove Wood, 
Sulham (ZK). 

One early in January 1970 and one 27.3 '70, at Beal's 
Plantation (ZK). 

One in Clay Copse, Tilehurst, 8.3.70; two, 12.4.70; 
one 5.8.70 (ZK). 

One in Sulham Lane, 30.3.70 (ZK). 

One in Barefoots Copse, 30.3.70 and 12. 4.70 (ZK). 
One in Sulham Wood, 27.7.70 (ZK). 
One in same area on arable land far from nearest 
wood, August 19^0 (PG). 
One on Hardwick Farm, 26.4.70 (ZK). 
Five in Purley Hall park, 17.10.70 (ZK). 
One at Stoneham School, Tilehurst, 23.3.70; one, 
1.10.70; two, 9 and 17.10-70 (ZK). 

Seen through the year at Reading School, one or more 
pairs present (PG). 

One in Kennylands Road, Sonning Common, March - June 
1970 and 18. 10. 70. 

Two in Bur Wood, Sonning Common, 23.4.70. 
Three or four in woods east of Kingwood Common, 
23.6.70. 

One in strip of wood bordering Peppard Road, Chalk- 
house- Green, 8.9.70. 

One at Emmer Green, 10.3*70; one dead there, 17.6.70 
and 21.10.70. 

Six Clayfieid Copse, Emmer Green, mostly young, 
30.4=. 70. 
One dead on Peppard Road, Caversham in July 1970. 

Rattus norvegicus Berkenhout Brown Rat.. 

One at a' rubbish tip in Sulham Woods, 2.5.70 (PG). 

One dead on Burghfield Road, 10 inches (250 mm.) 

long, 19.10.70 (ZK). 

Two at Theale gravel pit, 7.3.70 (ZK). 

One dead on Peppard Road, Chalkhouse Green, 

16.4.7C and 19.6.70. 



- 51 - 

Mus musculus (L.) House Mouse 

One dead at Chapel Hill, Tilehurst, 8.6.70 (ZK, ZJK). 
The same observers found an albino mouse in a chicken 
run at this locality, but this is likely to have 
been an escaped domesticated mouse. 

One found running (or rather attempting to run) in a 
much weakened condition across a floor in the Town 
Hall in September 1970 was caught by hand, and lib- 
erated later near Sonning Common, by which time it 
was fully recovered. 

Arvicola amphibius L. Water Vole. 

Common on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Theale, and 

one seen there on 30.4„70, swimming in a gravel pit 

where they probably breed (PG). 

One on Kennet and Avon Canal at Thatcham Marsh, 

22.3.70 (ZK, ZJK). 

One at Manor Farm, " 28.3.70 (ZK). • 

Common along the Thames between Pangbourne and Purley, 

probably scarcer on the Pang around Tidmarsh. (PG) . 

Microtus agrestis (L.) Short-tailed Vole. 

One at edge of sludge pits, Manor Farm, 11.10.70 
and 18.10.70 (ZK, PG). 

Muscardinus avellanarius (L.) Dormouse. 

One hibernating at Padworth Common, December 19&9 

(MJH)) 

One female caught at Aldermaston Court, May 1970 

(Mrs. Gash). 



Contributors to this Report 

B. R. Baker (BRB), Peter Dunn (PD), Mrs. C. M. Frank 
(C \ , Peter Gipson (PG), M. J. Hitchcock (MJH) , Zbigniew 
Karpowicz (ZK) , Zdzislaw J. Karpowicz (ZJK), C. J. Leeke 
(CJL), Mrs. E. M. Trembath (EMT)., J. S. H.'larrish (JHSk) . 



r 5* " 
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Goldring, Mrs. A. B.,B.A'.' " " H 
Goold, Mrs. E. M., 15 St. Bartholomew's Road, Reading 
Greenup, Miss R. E., Ashton, Heatherdene Avenue, Crowthorne, 

Berks . 
Gwatkin, T. L., M.A., Ik Courtenay Drive, Emmer Green, Reading 
Hall, Mrs. M. E., B.Sc, Garth House, St. John's Road, 

Mortimer, Reading 
Harding, J., Bellapais, 31 Folder's Lane, Bracknell, Berks. 
Harding, Mrs. J. C, Ph.D., " " M " 
Hardy, M. G., M.A., Dept. Zoology, The University, Reading ■ 
Harper, R. E., 6 Fernbrook Road, Caversham, Reading 
Harris, Prof. T. M., M.A., F.R.S., F.L.S., Dept. of Ge'ology, 

The University, Reading 
Harrison, Mrs. J. D., h-2. Lea Road, Sonning Common, Oxon. 
Hawkins, Mrs. S., .63 Tilehurst Road, Reading 

Heather, F. L. , 6 Pembroke Place, Caversham, Reading RG^f OHU ■ 
Heather, Mrs. , " " " » " " 
Hemken, E., Audley House, Station Road, Earley, Berks. 
Hill, Miss M-. N, J., 159 Kentwood Hill, Tilehurst, Reading 
Homer, T. J. G., M.A., St. Timothee, Pinkneys Green, Oxon. 
Horwood, Colin, 21 Glenrosa Road, Tilehurst, Reading 
Housden, Mrs. H. V., 9 Knowle Close, Upper Woodcote Road, 

Caversham, Reading RG4 7LH 



- 54 - 

Housden, Miss J. M. V., E.Sc, 9 Knowle Close, Upper Woodcote 

Road, Caversham, Reading RG4 ?LH 
Irving, D., 28 Grosvenor Road, Caversham, Reading 
Irving, Mrs., " " " " 

Johnson, Toby, 54 Albert Road, Caversham, Reading 
Jones, Stephen, 162 Kentwood Hill, Reading 
Kay, Mrs. B. , 2 Christchurch Gardens, Reading 
Kemp, B. R. f B.A., Ph.D., St. Patrick's Hall, Northcourt Avenue, 

Reading 
Knowles, John, 17 Broomfield Road , Tilehurst, Reading 
Lambden, Mrs. H. D., B.Sc, 74 Beech Lane, Earley, Reading 
Lappin, G., 45 Gloucester Road, Reading 
Lawton, F«, 20 Fawcett Crescent, Woodley, Reading 
Lawton, David, " ■ " " 
Leatherdale, D., F.L.S., F.R.E.S., P.O. Box 352, Manotick, 

Ontario, Canada 
Leeke, C. J., B.Sc, A. M.I. Biol., 1 Heathway, Chapel Hill, 

Tilehurst , Reading 
Leeke Mrs., " " " 

Levy, B. G., B.A,, Ph.D., Southridge House, Streatley, Berks 
Lewis, B. E. C, 13 Buxton Avenue, Caversham, Reading 
Lewis, Mrs., " " " " " 
Loam, Miss I., 72 Recreation Road, Tilehurst, Reading 
Lockwood, J., 20 Drayton Road, Reading 
Lockwcod. Mrs. D., " n " 

Lush, Miss G. M. , 32 Matthews Green Road, Wokingham, Berks. 
Lush, R., » " " ? " 

Lynton, Miss Linda, 22 Talbot Close, Caversham, Reading 
McKenzie, Mrs. I. J., B.Sc, Penard, 9& Elvendon Road, 

Goiing-on-Thames, Reading RG8 ODR 
Major, Mrs. J., 2 Eldon Road, Reading RG1 4DH 
Mallett, Miss Sara, 42 Kidwells Close, Maidenhead, Berks. 
Mason, Miss D., 4 Selva Court, Kendrick Road, Reading RG1 5DT 
Meek, Mrs. P. A., 42 Alexandra Road, Reading 
Meek, Miss C, " " " » 
Merrifield- Miss E. N. , 2 Morton Court, Christchurch Road, 

Reading 
Moon, A. E. , F.R.Met.S., Flat 22, Leighton Court, Pepper Lane, 

Earley, Reading, RG6 2SG 
Moore, Mrs. M. L., 26 Shepherds Lane, Mapledurham, Reading 
Needs, Miss B., 6 Prospect Street, Reading 
Nelmes, Miss E. M., M.A., 27 Westbourne Avenue, Acton, 

London W.3« 6JL 
Newman, J. F., B.Sc, F.R.E.S., Earley Cottage, 25 Beech Lane, 

Earley, Reading RG6 2PT 
Newman, Mrs. B. M. , B.Sc, » » " " " 
Newman, John, " » M '» " 

Owen, Dr. H., Dept. of Agric Botany, The University, Reading 
Padley, F. C, 2 Eldon Place, Reading 



-55 - 



Street, Mrs. H. A 



Parkinson, Miss I. N. , P. A., 10 Fern Close, Goring-on-Thames , 

Reading RG8 OAR 
Parry, Miss R., Bunkum Cottage, Highclere, Newbury, Berks. 
Paterson, Mrs. K., 53 Alexandra Road, Reading 
Paul, Mrs. V. N., B.Sc., Overdale, Peppard Common, Oxpn. 
Pearce, E., 9 Amity Road, Reading 
Pearce, Mrs. , " " M 

Phillips, Mrs. V. A., 3 Longleaze, Wootton Bassett, Wilts. 
Point on, E. F., 29 Lockstile Way, Goring-on-Thames, Oxon. 
Pointon, Mrs. , " " " " " " " 
Potts, T. A., Bockhampton Manor, Lambourne , Berks. 
Price, A., 6 Mansfield Road, Reading 

Rand, Miss Beryl, 2 St. James Close, Pangbourne RG8 7AP 
Reiss, Mrs. M. C., Ridgeways, Wantage Road, Streatley, Reading 

RG8 9LA 
Reynolds, Miss D., 2.6 Shepherd's Lane, Mapledurham, Reading 
Rhodes, Mrs. K. R. , B.Sc, 65 Tilehurst Road, Reading RG3 2JC 
Sell, M. R. W., B.A., 12. Westwood Glen, Tilehurst, Reading 
Sell, Mrs. J. R., . '» . }} » " " 

Sheringham, J. G. T., lk Shooters Hill, Pangbourne, Berks. 
Stapleton, Peter, lh Bramber Mews, Caversham park Village, 

Caversham, Reading 
Vienna, New Road, Holyport, Maidenhead, 

Berks. 
Surplice, Kenneth, 3 Savernake Close, Tilehurst, Reading 
Tarrant, Paul, 109 Norfolk Road, Reading RG3 2EQ 

Taylor, Mrs. W. A. Norman, 1^3 London Road, Reading 
Thiel, Mrs. H. M. , Torbreck, Oatlands Road, Shinfield, 

Reading RG2 9DN 

Timmins, J. E., 65 Fairway Avenue, Tilehurst, Reading 

Timmins, Mrs , M., " " " " 

Timmins, Miss Judith, " " " " 

Timpson, F. E. , 53 Kidmore End Road, Emmer Green, Reading 

Timpson, Miss Ruth, 

Timpson, Miss Sarah, 

Tobias, Miss J. M., 17 Rams bury Drive, Earley, Reading RG6 2RT 

Tofield, Mrs. 0., Ingaro, Stuart Road, Wash Common, Newbury, 

Berks . 
Toothill, Dr. Joyce, 15 Birdhill Avenue, Reading 
Towers, Mark S., 2k De Beauvoir Road, Reading 

Townend, Miss S. f., B.Sc, 6/7A- Wensley Road, Reading RG1 6DN 
Trembath, Mrs., 5 Thames Avenue, Pangbourne, Berks. 
Trickett, Miss S., kk Inglewood Court, Liebenrood Road, Reading 
Vincent, W. R., Cray House, Harpsden Woods, Henley-on-Thames, 

Oxon. 
Vincent, Mrs. V. , " 
Vincent, Charles P., 
Vincent, Louise, 
Vincent, Clare, 




1971 









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Vincent, S. A., Woodlands, k6 Cockney Hill, Reading 

Vincent, Mrs., »' mm fl n 

Waight, Miss F. M. 0., F.L.S., 139 St. Peter's Road, Reading 

Ward, D. J., 31 Elsley Road, Tilehurst, Reading 

Ward , Mrs . K . , " M " " 

Ward, Penelope, " " ♦' " 

Ward, Richard, " '♦ " " 

Watson, E. V., B.Sc, Ph.D., F.L.S., Little Court, Clee\e, 

Goring-on-Thames, Oxon. 
Watson, Miss J. M., 30 Westwood Road, Tilehurst, Reading 
White, Mrs. D., 66 Berkeley Avenue, Reading' 
White, Jeremy, " " M " 
White, J. H., 13 Honey End Lane, Reading 
White, Mrs., » " " " » 
Whittaker, Mrs. P. M., 67 Inglewood Court, Liebenrood Road, 

Reading 
Whittall, Dr. G. W. , M.B., B.Ch., 10 Westcote Road, Reading 
Whittall, Mrs., " " •' " 

Wilkins , Miss J., B.Sc, 19^+ Reading Road, Wokingham, Berks. 
Wilkinson, We, 6 Cedar Close, Wokingham, Perks. RG11 1EA 
Williams, L. F., B.Sc, Ph.D., 164 Lower Higham Road, Chalk, 

Gravesend, Kent 
Williams, Mrs. R. D.-, 22 New Road, Reading 
Winter, R. L., B.Sc. (Econ.), A.C.A., 19 Courtenay Drive, 

Emmer Green, Reading 



Schools 

Abbey School, Kendrick Road, Reading 

Bulmershe School, Chequers Way, Woodley, Berks. 

Carmel College Natural History Society, Carmel College, 

Mongewell Park, Wallingford, Berks. 
Highdown Comprehensive School, Emmer Green, Reading 
Forest School (The Biology Society), Robinhood Lane, . 

Winnersh, Berks. 
Kendrick School, London Road, Reading 
Leighton Park School, Shinfield Road, Reading 
Reading School, Erleigh Road, Reading RG1 5LW 
Redlands Primary School, Lydford Road, Reading 
The Science Department (Dr. A. M. B. Whitaker), Reading College 

of Technology, Kings Road, Reading 
Soutnlands Girls' School, Northumberland Avenue, Reading 

(The Head Mistress)