Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Merry Christmas

We'll only be having a short rest over Christmas as there's lots happening in the New Year and our wildlife tends not to celebrate Christmas. From log sales at Tiddesley to New Year walks with the Wyre Forest local group as well as indoor talks with Bromsgrove and Worcester local groups during the first week of the New Year, there's plenty to do and get involved with.

Some of us will also be trying our hand at sorting out and taking photos for the calendar competition that's just been launched - this frost is making for some lovely shots! There's information on our main website if you're interested in entering.

So, until 2010, we hope you have a wonderfully Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

We hope some of you will join is in the New Year!

WWT volunteers

Monday, 21 December 2009

Bittern at the Moors

I popped in to the Moors on Saturday afternoon hoping to see the Bittern again and I wasn't disappointed!

When I scanned the Bittern's usual resting place on the North Moors the bird was sitting out in the open as per the photo.

After about 20 minutes the Bittern wandered off into the reed bed.

I hope you all have a good Christmas and a happy New Year.

Stuart, Upton Warren

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Log sale fun

Our Tiddesley Wood log sales went well at the weekend. Hopefully lots of you can now cosy up in front of a real fire for the festive season.

Don't forget to come and support us again at our next log sales in January. And we've got an extra special Valentines Volunteers log sale in February!

Merry Christmas!

Harry, SE Worcs group

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Work party fun

As a rookie volunteer, Claire suggested I blog about the recent taster days I’ve attended, so here goes...

For my first practical experience of conservation work I learnt all about coppicing on a near perfect, sunny day at Trench Wood. Loppers and band-saws in hand, we made the most of the glorious autumnal sunshine; cutting down scrub so that it will grow back denser and create a better habitat for the wildlife. Having greatly enjoyed the day, I then went for a second helping at Devils Spittleful where we cleared more scrub from an area of heathland, this time with the focus on uprooting many of the unwanted saplings. Not only did I discover the difference between Aspen (long, thin, pointed buds) and Silver Birch (short, fat, rounded buds), but I had a very satisfying time learning how to swing a mattock!

It’s hard work – I’ve discovered muscles I didn’t realise existed – but knowing you are making a practical contribution to the preservation of these important habitats more than makes up for a bit of pain!

I’m happy to say I’m hooked and looking forward to getting involved in more work parties for the Trust.

Alison, rookie volunteer

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Lots of Logs!

Need some logs to keep warm this winter? Then don't forget our TIDDESLEY WOOD LOG SALE this coming weekend, 12th & 13th December, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 1pm.

We've plenty of excellent seasoned hardwood logs for sale either in bags (£4.50) or loose at base price of £85 per cubic metre. We will happily fill car boots, trailers etc! All profits help towards
wildlife conservation.

Sales at the old barn near Tiddesley Wood, Pershore, on the road towards Besford from the Worcester to Pershore road. Take the turn at the top of Allesborough Hill signed to Croome Park.

Harry, SE Worcs local group

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Goosander at Upton Warren

This female goosander was on the Moors yesterday. She flew off mid morning & then returned a little later.

Stuart, Upton Warren

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Roving Volunteers

The first time the Tuesday Roving Workparty visited Lower Smite Farm this autumn we joined forces with the Smite farming volunteers. Some 400 new blackthorn and other shrubs and trees were used to plant a new hedge between the gate and the field edge at the top of the hill. The field will host a new project including lavender and wild bird seed production units. The second visit had us taking out old gateposts that had been very deeply entrenched, with the added bonus of being bell ended and encased in water.

(The team discovering the depths that a gatepost goes to)

We marked out the new footpath ready for the Smite team to lay another new hedge and helped with the new fencing alongside the road at the back of the house and garden.

Last Tuesday the team visited Long Meadow to undertake coppicing and clearance. The ground was wet and having navigated with map and compass we all gathered and took instruction from Claire.
Ramsay Reaney, Tuesday Roving Volunteers

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Bittern at the Moors

Here's a couple of bittern snaps taken on Monday at the north moors at Upton Warren. The bitterns are showing well at the moment and before the work party started on Tuesday morning a bittern was showing well in front of the west hide and could be seen later in the morning in the same area.

Stuart, Upton Warren

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

From the garden shed

The weather has been particularly gloomy lately. However, in the garden we've accomplished a lot. The strawberries have been moved into an adjacent bed to keep the crop in prime condition and grass seed has been sown on the top paths to create a lawn effect (reducing the need for weeding the paths next year)! The lavender and buddleia have been trimmed back, the bottom bed dug over and the scarecrow dismantled (don't worry, he'll be back in spring). And thanks to the hard work of the volunteer workgroup the pond has been been redug and filled - a new resident toad was even spotted (hiding snugly under a piece of turf).

Mary, Lower Smite garden

Friday, 20 November 2009

700 million years of Earth's history

The last indoor meeting of the SE Worcestershire local group at Wulstan Hall, Pershore hosted a speaker from the Earth Heritage Trust, Eve Miles, who gave a very interesting and enthusiastic talk on Linking Geodiversity and Biodiversity.

It was fascinating to find out how special the geology of Worcestershire is, how old the Malvern hills are, and how the geology of a region can influence the plants that grow. Eve brought with her an excellent presentation, fossil bearing rocks, landscape and geology trail leaflets and newsletters from the Earth Heritage Trust.

By far the most amazing revelation was the Geopark Way, a 109 mile walking trail through the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark that I didn't know existed, it looks fantastic - and now I can't wait until the spring so that I can start exploring 700 million years of the Earth's history!

Our next indoor meeting is on Thursday 15th December at Wulstan Hall, Pershore when we will be welcoming Roger Umpelby to talk to us about Friends and Foes in the Garden - and its our Christmas meeting so festive refreshments will be available - come along and join us!

Jayne, SE Worcs local group

Monday, 16 November 2009

Barnacle goose

This rare visitor to the Moors at Upton Warren was around last weekend.
Stuart, Upton Warren

Friday, 6 November 2009

Knapp looking beautiful

Have just been to the Knapp and Papermill, the sun was out and the leaf colours on the trees and scattered around the woodland floor are beautiful. Heard ravens overhead and flocks of longtailed tits sip- sip calling as they moved through the orchard trees. There is fruit on the ground in the orchard attracting red admiral butterflies and winter thrushes. I also saw comma butterflies out on Papermill Meadow and speckled woods in the woodland glades.

Helen, Smite

(photo of long-tailed tit by Karen Summers)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Bittern at the Moors

Here's a couple of snaps of the bittern from the Moors at Upton Warren yesterday.

There's one as the bittern was flying to the north Moors where the other two photos were taken.

In one shot the bittern was trying to catch an insect that was bugging it - if you'll excuse the pun!

Stuart, Upton Warren

Committee members needed

I joined the committee of Worcester local group a couple of years ago. I was a bit nervous about joining but there really was no need to be. Our committee meetings are held about 4 times a year and always provoke interesting ideas and debates! We’ve organised (and enjoyed!) bird-watching walks, cream tea cruises, interesting talks and much more.

With a couple of our committee members due to step down we’re now on the look out for others to join our team. However much or little time you have to spare is always gratefully received and no particular skills are required as there’s such a wide variety of ways you can get involved. I generally give a few hours of my time each month and these are easily fitted around my full-time work and other commitments.

In the relatively short time I’ve been involved with the group I’ve made lots of friends, discovered new places, learnt many new things and, perhaps most importantly, has the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing my bit to help support the Trust’s invaluable work.

If you’re interested in helping out on the Worcester committee (I believe Bromsgrove and South Birmingham are also recruiting new committee members) please get in touch with Zoe Stevens on 01905 754919 or

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Owls in Stourbridge

The October indoor meeting of the Stourbridge Local Group was a little different from our usual illustrated talks. We were visited by 6 owls, rescued and reared by the speaker, Gillian Hales. They were very well behaved, as we learnt about the threats and conservation of these magnificent birds in the U.K.

A fascinating evening.

Carol, Stourbridge Local Group

Wildfowl on the move

2 shoveler dropped in to Feckenham Wylde Moor reserve at the weekend. This isn't a common bird for FWM but is an indication that wildfowl are starting to move around for winter.

I've also got a video of our water shrews feeding near the main pool hide. We're hoping to get it loaded onto the main website at some point in the near future so keep checking the FWM page.

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Working on the Spittleful

I've just got back to Smite from a really smashing day working at the Devil's Spittleful reserve - a great mix of hardwork and spotting trains!

There were 9 of us clearing silver birches and broom from in amongst the heather. We worked hard to clear masses of both - it makes a real difference to the future success of the heathland. I remember the first time I volunteered at Devil's Spittleful - it was more woodland than heathland.

Claire was running the work party today and managed to take us as far as she possibly could from the railway line. Which meant every time we heard a train I had to make a real effort to get to the track to see it. I managed it a couple of times and caught sight of Tornado & N2 - both visiting the Severn Valley Railway for the week. Tornado is a brand new build steam locomotive that's only been finished this year so I was really pleased to see it.

Excellent day with brilliant weather!

Mike, roving volunteer

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Scouts at Smite

We were joined by a group of scouts (Worcester North Explorer Scouts) at Smite at the weekend who were working towards their conservation badges. They were fantastic volunteers and we did some hedgerow planting as well as clearing autumn debris.

I've heard that another group is willing to come out and help in the spring - we're looking forward to seeing them!
Caroline, Grasslands & Agriculture Officer

Monday, 26 October 2009

Pink-foot at Upton Warren

This rare (for Upton Warren) pink-footed goose was at the Moors again on Sunday. It has been visiting for the last few days with the Canada geese. Lovely to see it.

Stuart, Upton Warren

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Bar-headed goose

Another successful day at the Moors yesterday. This bar-headed goose made a really pleasant change from the usual Canada geese we see everywhere!

Stuart, Upton Warren


I spotted an otter at about half nine yesterday morning in the Leigh Brook.

I had my dog with me on a lead. I saw the otter swimming towards me in the middle of the stream about 20 m away. It moved to its left and settled near the steep bank, still in the water, for about 20 seconds (possibly watching me) before crossing to the opposite bank where it went out of sight because of trees in my foreground. I moved in order to try to view round the obstructing foliage but it had obviously retreated up stream. At all times it was swimming rather slowly and didn't appear to be showing signs of stress or panic because of my presence.

I would say it was at least 3 feet long and all features that I saw fitted those of an otter. Unfortunately I didn't have camera or binoculars with me but I think any additional movement in using them might have scared it off prematurely. Weather was bright and sunny.

Derek, Malvern group

Friday, 9 October 2009

Barn owls

Yesterday brought even more good news at Feckenham!

We found another 6 brown hairstreak eggs - which is great news.

And then ... we were going to take down an old barn owl box. It was so dilapidated we didn't think there was any chance of anything being there. Imagine our surprise when 2 barn owls flew out (imagine their surprise too)! We'd known there were barn owls on the reserve but had no idea they were breeding - we've got no records so weren't expecting it!

Paul, Feckenham

Monday, 5 October 2009

Jack Snipe

I was really privileged on Saturday afternoon - this jack snipe was out and about at the Moors at Upton Warren for about 3 hours or so. I've only caught brief glances before now so to see one for this long was great.

Stuart, Upton Warren

Friday, 2 October 2009

A rather large frog....

Thought you might like to see the frog I found in the garden last night - it was enormous!

I think I may go out looking for it again tonight instead of watching myself on Autumnwatch.....

Harry, SE Worcs group

Water shrew spotting

Even more exciting news from Feckenham ... I spotted 2 water shrews this week. This is the first time in 2 years they've been recorded here. We're in the process of organising training for next spring to help monitor them - so we'll hopefully see lots more!

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Thursday, 1 October 2009

On the Humble chase of the Noble Chafer?

I had the great pleasure on Monday of meeting up with Kate Humble and a BBC film crew at Tiddesley Wood. We were filming a piece about noble chafer beetles and old orchards for an Autumnwatch piece this coming Friday night. The BBC's popular programme is encouraging people to get out there and do something.

Our noble chafer is to feature as part of a piece about the importance of old orchards and what can be found in them. Although you won't see a noble chafer flying at this time of year, I introduced Kate to methods of finding evidence of their existence.

In order to find out what happened, you'll have to watch it yourself! It's on tomorrow night (Fri 2nd Oct) at 9pm on BBC2.

Harry, SE Worcs group

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Fish & chips?

I was out at the Moors at Upton Warren on Monday when Gordon caught sight of this heron. I managed to catch it on camera with a rather large perch. You should've seen the size of the chips!

Stuart, Upton Warren

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

My favourite places...

I've been volunteering with the Trust for a good 30 years or so and over that time I've taken lots of photos of our reserves. Here's what I'm getting round to...I've got a new book out at the end of October and would like to invite you all to come and buy a copy. The book launch of "Favourite Places Near and Far" will be at the Swan pub in Chaddesley Corbett on the evening of 24th October. Copies will be available to Trust supporters for £12 on the evening.

Hope to see you there
Gordon, Chaddesley Wood

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Fun at the Salt Day

Thankfully, 12th September turned out to be a fine, sunny day, which was a good job since the Droitwich Spa Local Group had booked a stand at the annual Salt Day event. This has become a major event with a farmers market, craft stalls, bands and other musicians, stands and displays by various charities and even displays by the Roman Re-enactment Group. It is slightly disconcerting to have a phalanx of Roman soldiers bearing down on one!

Our stall and display was well attended and we had the opportunity to introduce the Trust’s work to many visitors who were either unaware of our existence or knew only vaguely about what we do. I must say we got very positive responses and I am hopeful that at least some of those who took away membership leaflets will actually return them completed. We also managed some sales of Christmas cards and FSC identification charts.

Interest in the stand was in no small measure due to two young ladies from the Amateur Entomologists Society Bug Club (the junior wing). Evie Privitera brought some of her Giant African Land Snails and Rachel McLeod brought Madagascan Giant Hissing Cockroaches. Both were experts on in their field and, through explaining about their displays, generated great interest in entomology and in other invertebrates. They even managed to persuade over 150 visitors to handle the specimens! Whilst they were entertaining children we had the opportunity to talk to parents and again many showed interest in our work with young people and took away forms for WATCH and the Bug Club which, hopefully, will result in some new members.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Evie and Rachel and their parents for their support for the event.

Geoff, Droitwich Local Group

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Trench Wood Delights

Trench Wood is looking rather beautiful at the moment! Heading up the main ride and turning to the right you'll spot loads of devil's-bit scabious. This pretty purple flower is attracting late butterflies such as commas and speckled woods.

And I must comment about the great mowing courtesy of our reserves officer James. We've recently had a new mower and it's great! The mower collects the cuttings which saves us the laborious and gigantic task of having to rake and pitchfork it all by hand. And, of course, the piles of cuttings make great habitats for grass snakes, slow-worms and the like.

Neil, Trench Wood

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

WWT Volunteers Conference

The weather couldn’t have been better for Volunteer’s Day. After boarding the mini-bus at Smite Farm with a handful of other volunteers we arrived at Longdon Village Hall. After a quick welcome by the Chairman Linda Butler the morning was spent listening to entertaining and varied presentations. These ranged from updates by WWT staff on technology and the progress being made on the reserves to historical talks on the Malvern Hills and an innovative approach to reserve management known as ‘re-wilding’.

A generous buffet lunch was then served before we set off for an afternoon at Hill Court Farm. During a guided walk we learnt of future plans for the farm, its intricate water system and visited a row of ancient trees.
We then trekked across a grassy field to begin the earthworm survey. Dividing into groups we dug shallow square holes in the ground to see if we could find and identify any and after much digging by all teams a grand total of three earthworms were found. Overall an excellent and interesting day out!

Mary, Lower Smite gardener

Friday, 18 September 2009

Raking & Aching

Technically I'm a member of staff and not a volunteer so I shouldn't really be writing on the volunteer's blog. But I spent yesterday away from the computer & out on reserve with a volunteer work party. Despite this morning's aches I had a great time and thought I'd share some of the moments....

Although I've volunteered with other conservation groups, this was my first time out with Wildlife Trust volunteers. We've got lots of volunteer groups working on our reserves all over the county - yesterday the midweek 'roving' group were mowing and raking a meadow near Pershore. Mill Meadow is privately owned but managed by the Trust - there is minimal access to the reserve which makes it a haven for wildlife. It's not been ploughed for at least three generations, is sheltered and remains undrained. There is a rich flora in the meadow including spotted orchid, fleabane and devil's-bit scabious as well as moths, insects, slow-worms, frogs and toads - and much much more!

As the meadow is relatively small yesterday's work was done largely by hand. John mowed - we raked. Hardwork! We pitchforked the mown grass into three or four piles around the site. This gradually composts down and makes a fabulous habitat for slow-worms, grass snakes, frogs and toads. John was great at spotting wildlife that was wandering around in front of mower - we lost count of how many frogs and toads of all sizes we moved out of the way! From my point of view seeing so many toads was brilliant - I've got a registered toad crossing quite close to the meadow and it was great to see that so many made it after seeing so many squashed as they travelled to their breeding pond/s earlier this year.

One of the volunteers suggested that they start to make a log of break-time and lunchtime conversations as they're so varied. Yesterday we chatted about the school that wanted to slaughter a sheep - which led to an interesting discussion about animal husbandry - as well as the culinary delights of noodles and pasta. It's not all hardwork!

I'm not going to tell a fib. If you're thinking of volunteering on one of our reserves, expect to ache a little after the first day's hardwork. I used muscles yesterday that I'd forgotten I had - and I'm aching a little today to remind me. I may write a press release or update our website today to spread the word about we we do - but yesterday I was involved in the 'real' on the ground work of actively managing habitats to help our wildlife survive.

Fancy joining in? Contact our volunteer co-ordinator, Claire Dovey on 01905 754919 or

Wendy, Communications Manager, Lower Smite Farm

Friday, 4 September 2009

Birds of Upton Warren book

The Birds of Upton Warren was a great success but has now sold out. If you haven't got your copy and are still interested in getting hold of one, they're now available on CD for £10. Check out for details.

Phil, Upton Warren

Brown Hairstreak Success!

What great news! I've recently found brown hairstreak butterfly eggs on three blackthorn bushes at Feckenham. This is the first time they've been found here in ten years and goes to show that the work we've been doing ro encourage new blackthorn sucker growth as well as the work we've been doing with Butterfly Conservation is working.

Brown hairstreaks are quite elusive because they spend most of their time in the treetops. The females start to descend at this time of year to find suitable places to lay their eggs. They need two-four year old growth and a fork of the blackthorn bush to lay their eggs in - blackthorn is the foodplant of the caterpillars.

What's been important this time is that, along with Butterfly Conservation, we've been working on our reserves to help the butterfly as well as with other landowners to help provide a network of hedgerows, trees and shrubs to allow the insects to move between, and find new, suitable sites.

Let's hope the success continues!

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Log & Woodchip sales

On a similar note we're now gearing up for our annual log and woodchip sales at Tiddesley Wood. The first ones don't take place until October but there's lots of work that goes into them.

The sales generate a lot of much needed money for the Trust and the wood all comes from the work we do across our reserves.

If you'd like to help out with the sales - bagging logs, selling etc - please contact Harry Green via the main Trust office on 01905 754919.

If you're interested in buying, come and see us at Tiddesley on 24th-25th Oct, 12th-13th Dec, 9th-10th Jan, 13th-14th Feb and 20th-21st Mar between 10am and 1pm. (It's £85 per cubic metre loose - please bring trailers; if it's pre-bagged we charge £4.50 per bag).

Hope to see you there!
Harry, SE Worcs group

Stourport Show

We're working hard to prepare for our attendance at the Stourport show this weekend. It's a 2 day event so we're expecting to be quite tired by Sunday evening!

We'd love to see you there. We'll be selling all sorts of things, from bird seed and feeders to Christmas cards (yes, it's that time of year already)! There'll be activities for children too as well as free pocket guides to take away.

We're looking forward to this weekend - we hope you'll come and join in the fun with us!

Pat, Wyre Forest group

Friday, 7 August 2009

Bumper Butterflies at Grafton

A weekly butterfly count has been done at Grafton Wood for 11 years (Butterfly Transect). Our peak month is July and our average count up to 2009 was around 1100 for the 4 weeks.

In 2009, however, the count was 2100. This is a remarkable increase - our previous highest year was 2006 when we counted 1500 for the same 4 weeks.

Looking at individual species the biggest increases are for Painted Lady's due to the massive migration. Now these have produced off-spring and we counted 100 in one week. All the resident species are showing an increase on the average too. The spectacular Silver-washed Fritillary showing a large increase. Even the common species - Large and Green-veined Whites - Gatekeeper and Ringlets.

The question is why? I don't expect we will know until all the analysis is done at the end of the season. I have emailed other Transect walkers and asked what sort of year they are having but they say good but nothing spectacular. I keep weather records for Grafton and these show very little difference to last year - Warm and still quite wet.

Let's enjoy this butterfly year while it lasts.

John, Grafton Wood

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Pull it up! Mash it up! Hang it up!

Droitwich Community Woods reserve volunteers stop at nothing to get to that last remaining Himalayan balsam from their section of the River Salwarpe.

Up stream WWT volunteers at the Upton Warren Reserve have virtually cleared it. Webbs of Wychbold have pledged their support but we need more land owners between the two reserves to do the same.
Each plant missed can produce thousands of seeds and disperse them over a 7m diameter area. Dense infestations of Himalayan balsam (an annual) destroy native bankside plant life leaving the banks bare to be washed away by the winter floods - the resulting silts cover gravel beds thus destroying fish breeding grounds. SO DON'T JUST SIT THERE FISHERMEN - BALSAM BASH.

Code of practice: Pull it up, mash it up and hang it up. Otherwise it will live to see another day!
Roger, Droitwich Community Woods

From Droitwich to Hampton Court Palace via Cardiff!

As a group of volunteers looking after Droitwich Community woods, we undertake many tasks from maintaining footpaths to coppicing, pollarding, tree planting and the dreaded removal of Himalayan balsam.

I was asked by my daughter-in-law who is a horticulturalist, if I could make a rustic log store with a living roof to be part of a show garden that she was helping to design and build for the Cardiff RHS garden show. The garden was called ‘Eating shoots and leaves, a permaculture garden’.

At the time we were felling semi-mature sweet chestnut trees to create a coppicing area. The large wood was allocated for fencing posts at County Hall, Worcester and the brash was being chipped for paths. I rescued some of the lesser sections that would have been chipped and used these to make the log store.

This was such a success (winning a silver medal) that I was asked if I could make a rustic fence for the ‘Anne Boleyn garden’ at the Hampton Court RHS show – the theme this year being Henry VIII’s wives. We re-coppiced some hazel stools that had not been touched for twenty years. I selected some straight lengths - ideal for the fencing that was to surround a scaffold where Anne Boleyn was beheaded. This garden attained a bronze medal.

Thanks go to Wychavon District Council, the woodland owners, and Roger Claxton the volunteer’s leader.

Peter and Roger, Droitwich Community Woods

Thursday, 30 July 2009


I enjoyed a really interesting morning at Upton Warren on Tuesday, along with many other wardens from our reserves. We got talking about the UW volunteers removing ragwort as the Wildlife Trust is hoping to graze parts of the reserve with cattle.

It reminded me that I'm constantly amazed by how many people are not aware that impervious gloves must be worn when pulling up any quantity of ragwort. We all think it's dangerous for horses and nothing, or no-one, else. A small amount of it's toxins absorbed into the skin over many years can be as fatal as a large dose in a short period - irreversible liver damage is the result in both cases. It can produce up to 150,000 seeds a plant, each of which can stay dormant for up to 20 years!

So next time you decide to pull up som ragwort, please wear some protection.

Roger, Droitwich Woods

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Invited to No 10

When you receive an invite to No 10 Downing St, you don't turn down the opportunity! I was lucky enough to be one of 40 Wildlife Trust volunteers who attended a reception in the garden of No 10 last week. Gordon Brown was holding the event to say thank you to volunteers in the environmental sector - there were probably around 150 volunteers from different organisations across the country.

The Prime Minister himself gave a speech and chatted to a few volunteers. I wasn't lucky enough to meet him but I did get the chance to talk to David Kidney MP, Under Secretary of State for the DECC (Dept of Energy and Climate Change). Hilary Benn was also there - he even chatted to some of us as we were waiting in the queue!

It was a really great opportunity to talk to decision makers - these are the people that can make a difference to polices and our lives. I'd have really appreciated more time to talk to them but the event couldn't go on forever. Maybe next time.....

John, Beaconwood and midweek volunteer

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A Bittern Early?

We've had a bittern at the Moors at Upton Warren for a few days now. It was last seen this morning darting into the reeds. It's the earliest we've seen bitterns at Upton Warren and a are a bit surprised to see it!

On a sadder note, I've heard that a dead otter has been seen one on of the slip roads to the M5 near Upton Warren. We don't know any more than this but are hoping it's not one of the three otters we've been seeing regularly at the reserve. If you know any more about the dead otter, or you catch sight of otters at Upton Warren please could you let us know?!

Many thanks
Arthur, Upton Warren

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Glow-worms at St Wulstans

28 of us met last night (15 Jul) for a glow-worm walk at St Wulstan's Nature Reserve. We didn't meet until 22.30! We split into 2 groups and ours was lucky enough to see about 25 glow-worms - which was quite magical!! We had a fabulous 90 minutes and learnt a great deal - our 2 leaders gave us background information prior to and during the walk.

We all felt it was really worth making the effort to stay up and meet so late. The sky was so clear that we could have done some astronomy too.

What an end to our summer programme! I can't wait for our talk about badgers on 3rd Sept - although now we've got into an out and about late at night habit, it's a pity we won't be badger watching as well!

Margaret, Malvern Local Group

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Orchids at Upton Warren?

It's true! We've seen new orchids at Upton Warren for the first time. We've had common spotted orchids for a while but the first new one we found was a pyramidal orchid at the Moors in early summer. And then, not too long after and quite close by, we found a bee orchid. Finding one orchid was a surprise - finding two was just spooky!

It's not just the orchids that are doing well this year either. We've also seen a couple of butterflies that we're quite proud of.

Essex skippers were first spotted at Upton Warren in 2006 and we think they've been present ever since. The individual in the photos was seen near the sailing pool. It's distinguished from the small skipper by the inky black antenna tips and the short, thin, scent mark on the wing, parallel to the wing edge.

We've also seen white-letter hairstreak butterflies. These have had a tenuous hold at Upton (and much decreased in the UK), with only a couple of specimens seen over the last few years. The photo is one seen in July this year. Compared with the early '90's when butterflies were seen on brambles and thistles, it is now only seen on its food plant, Wych Elm - which involves a lot of neck craning on our part!

If you're wandering around Upton Warren and come across anything else we should know about, why not comment below or tell a volunteer or member of staff.

Des, Upton Warren

Monday, 13 July 2009

Well the good news is that our 3 young avocets at Upton Warren have fledged successfully this year. The downside is that we didn't have more than one brood. We've also lost the 5 little ringed plover chicks and 3 lapwing chicks whilst redshank abandoned the nest just a day or two before hatching.

On the flip side, we've had record numbers of black headed gull and common tern, greylag geese have successfully bred for the first time and we've also got 3 oystercatcher chicks.

By the way, if any of you spot mink on your visits to Upton Warren please can you report them and their location to staff or volunteers from the Wildlife Trust.

Phil, Upton Warren

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Quest for Birds & Butterflies in Droitwich!

Members of Droitwich Local Group have been collecting records of birds and butterflies within the WR9 postcode for several years. We collect records half-yearly, collate them by postcode and publish them on the Trust's website at

A very big thank you to everyone who submitted records for the last period Oct 2008 - Mar 2009.

This is our plea to spread the word about the current survey! Look at the website, see what we have done to date and talk about it with your friends and colleagues. Encourage anyone in the WR9 area to start recording – the form is on the website.

Many thanks!

David Pickles, Droitwich Local Group