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