Theale Area Bird Conservation Group.

Click here to edit subtitle

BIRD RACE: Given the poor response last year we need to know if people want a race to take place this year. A minimum of 7 teams are required to make a buffet at the finish financially viable. Please let Roger Stansfield know on [email protected]  by 30th April if you wish to participate and if you would still participate if there was no buffet at the end.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS DURING NESTING SEASON: Please remember all birds are protected during the nesting season and it is a Criminal Offence to disturb any Schedule 1 species either intentionally or recklessly. Specific restrictions are detailed below:

PADWORTH LANE AND WOOLHAMPTON GRAVEL PITS: The Landowners have placed restrictions on access for the duration of the nesting season which are displayed on notices at the entrances. THESE RESTRICTIONS APPLY TO GROUP MEMBERS AS WELL AS THE PUBLIC. A lot of hard work by TABCG and BOC members has been done to get the landowners to do this. Please do not undermine it by ignoring the restrictions. We cannot criticise others if we don't obey the rules ourselves! 

Chalara – Ash tree die back disease - An urgent call to all wildlife watchers


An updated map has been published on the Forestry Commission website shows an increasing number of sites across England and Scotland where ash trees are affected by Chalara dieback. As of the 8th of November the number had risen to 135 Sites


We can all play our part by getting out and checking the local ash trees and reporting any suspected cases to



For more information and a video with practical advice on how to spot the symptoms of Chalara fraxinea please visit the Forestry Commission website.


A pictorial guide can be found here$FILE/Symptoms_guide_Chalara_dieback_of_ash_2012.pdf

To help prevent the further spread of the fungus, make sure that you clean any leaves off footwear and car tyres before moving to another area of trees.


Help identify ash trees with dieback disease

Help stop the spread of the Ash tree 'die back' fungus in the UK.

Smartphone users can submit photos of suspected ash dieback, which has affected millions of trees on the continent.


The AshTag app for IOS and Android devices allows users to submit photos and locations of sightings to a team who will refer them on to the Forestry Commission, which is leading efforts to stop the disease's spread with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)



The harsh winter took its toll not only on the local Barn Owl population but also on boxes provided by the Pang Valley Barn Owl Project. Terry HEMMETT of the project approached the Theale Area Bird Conservation Group for help to replace boxes. TABCG secretary Cathy McEwan says “The group has a Conservation Fund for such projects but we quickly realised that we could purchase material to make 6 boxes for the cost of one commercially made box. We are fortunate to have group member Walter Pope who can make nest boxes of all shapes and sizes. They are usually made from recycled wood, which would otherwise end up in landfill, but for Barn Owl boxes we knew we needed sheets of marine plywood. When member Maryanne THOMAS approached Laffords at Theale and we were delighted when manager Paul Barton said they would donate some boards. This generous gesture has enabled us to not only provide 6 Barn Owl Boxes but, as Walter was able to use the off cuts, also 4 Little Owl Boxes for the price of some wood glue and screws. The last box was recently completed, and will replace a life expired box in the autum. The others have already gone up in time for this years nesting season. ” Both Groups would like to publicly thank Paul and Lafford Buildbase for supporting this project.

Black-headed Gulls Ringed

In an effort to understand more about the survival and movements of local Black-headed Gulls we colour ringed 100 chicks at Hosehill in June - these birds have white rings engraved with a 4 character code on the left leg and a metal BTO ring on the right leg. A further 54 chicks this year were ringed with just a BTO ring.

These birds are already fledging and beginning to disperse - the first bird has already been seen away from Hosehill - one reached Midgham within about 5 days of fledging!

If you see any of colour ringed birds can you please report your sighting - even local sightings are useful as we would like to build up a picture of when birds leave the area and return again each year. Whilst we have only started ringing the gulls this year this is actually part of an ongoing project across much of the Severn and Thames Basins which is already starting to build up fairly detailed life histories for a significant number of birds. Sightings can be reported to me at [email protected] or the scheme coordinator, John Wells, [email protected]


Tim Ball

Meadow Pipit Ringing Project.

The Meadow Pipit roost at Padworth Common is being ringed with the support of West Berkshire Countryside Service. The data gathered will be used in the management plan of the site. Each bird is being marked with a unique combination of rings so each there will be a metal ring over a colour ring on the right leg and two colour rings on the left leg. If you see any Meadow Pipits can you please check to see if they are colour ringed and if they are can you pass details of when and where you saw them and the exact combination of rings to Tim BALL [email protected] or 0118 9543580. He will reply promptly with ringing and sightings details of the birds concerned

Butterflies & Dragonflies

Please send all sightings to Derek McEwan at [email protected]