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