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Upton Warren (3 Viewers)

Adrian k

Well-known member
I expect the Trust to now close the hides at the Moors Pools on Wednesday night with a lock-down in effect from Thursday.
I have been informed from 4 reserves they are closing all hides from Wednesday night until early in the new year so I expect many more will do the same.
Stay safe all and see you soon at other reserves.

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Unsurprisingly the Trust has suspended the limited opening of the Moors Pool from Thursday and will review at the end of the next lockdown.

John Sirrett

Well-known member
Having dipped on the Crossbills at Lickey and the Hawfinch at Tardibigge I moved onto Upton to view the flashes from the John Corbet way. My first visit to the reserve since a brief visit in July. Birders at the Hawfinch site had told me there was a Brent Goose there. I quickly located the distant Brent with Greylags. It was my 205th species for the reserve. That makes three additions to my list this year with the two white wingers: not bad that for the year of 'Lockout'. A couple of Raven flew over and two Stonechat worked the reed bed whilst a Chiffchaff moved along the hedge. I also heard a Cettis Warbler - remember those. And if you think my record shot of the Brent is bad you should see my shots of the Stonechats!


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Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Message from the Trust:

"We had hoped to re-open Upton Warren once the second lockdown ended but with a need to have a presence on many of our nature reserves and with a key member of staff injured, we do not have the capacity to do this. However, Government guidelines allowing, we will be re-opening in January and sessions will be available to book on the events page of our website shortly. Thank you for your understanding and please stay safe."


Mostly in the Midlands :)
United Kingdom
I hope the member of staff gets well soon. For people like me in Birmingham - I couldn’t travel anyway!

I have not been to UW since early March and really miss it !!!!!

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it

Unsurprisingly, with the reserve closed from late March until the year's end (save for a few organised sessions at the Moors Pool in late autumn), the annual total of total of 136 species was the poorest since 2001 when access was limited due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak. Regular species not encountered included Goldeneye, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Woodcock, Sandwich Tern, Sanderling and Grasshopper Warbler.

Special thanks goes to John Belsey and Paul Moseley for keeping an eye on the reserve during this difficult period and all those who submitted sightings from the public footpaths (Gert C, Jared T, Mike W and in particular Phil W and Andy P for regular reports).

Mute Swan - bred for the first time since 2016, albeit unsuccessfully
Whooper Swan - recorded for the fifth consecutive year, one was briefly at the Flashes on 29th November
Greylag Goose - a record equalling four pairs bred on the reserve, fledging 14 young.
Brent Goose - in only the fifth record for the reserve, a juvenile lingered at the Flashes from 7th to 18th November
Egyptian Goose - a flock of six was at the Moors Pool on 3rd February with one at the Flashes on 8th March
Shelduck - a pair bred at the Flashes, hatching seven and fledging six young
Pintail - a productive year included a long staying eclipse male at the Moors Pool, present from 22nd September to 10th November
Garganey - a summer plumaged drake was at the Moors Pool on the 3rd June with an eclipse drake found at the Moors Pool on 5th September believed to be responsible for further sightings from the Moors Pool on the up to 3rd October.
Shoveler - just the one pair bred, hatching nine but fledging only a single young
Tufted Duck - a markedly reduced breeding performance with just eight broods noted
Common Scoter - three females were at Sailing Pool on 28th November and were probably the same party present at Chelmarsh the following day
Great Crested Grebe - just a single pair successfully nested, raising one young at the Sailing Pool
Great White Egret - One was on the North Moors Pool early on 19th September with presumably the same bird over the Flashes four days later
Cattle Egret - in a long anticipated first record for the reserve, three (two breeding plumaged adults and a non breeding plumaged adult) dropped into the Moors Pool on 24th July. Two birds were noted at the Moors Pool two days later with all three visiting the reserve on 28th July and a single bird at the Flashes the following day. The flock spent most of their time feeding in a cattle field near Stoke Prior and were reported by locals to have been present since the middle of the month. A second record wasn't long in arriving with one at the Moors Pool and in adjacent fields late afternoon on 29th September before roosting at the Flashes. It was noted the following morning in fields adjacent to the Moors Pool before flying towards Stoke Prior but not subsequently
Water Rail - just one juvenile was noted, at the Moors Pool on 19th June
Moorhen - at least eight pairs bred across the reserve
Coot - at least 12 pairs bred across the reserve
Avocet - a party of four at the Flashes on 2nd February were the earliest ever returning birds. Numbers peaked at 54 at the Flashes on 16th May with 24 pairs nesting, laying 35 clutches which produced 22 broods; a minimum of 52 young were hatched of which only 25 fledged
Oystercatcher - four pairs nested, two on either side of the reserve, but no young were fledged
Little Ringed Plover - the second earliest ever arrival on 8th March heralded another summer of failed breeding with two pairs nesting at the Flashes hatching two young that were quickly lost plus an abandoned attempt at the Moors Pool
Grey Plover - one flew over the Flashes on 6th October
Lapwing - eight pairs nested producing five broods with 18 young, all of which were lost within 12 days of hatching
Knot - in the first sighting since 2012, a one dropped into the Flashes on 16th June
Curlew Sandpiper - a productive year with three records involving five birds. Two juveniles which dropped into the Flashes on 19th August and remained the following day. A juvenile was at the Flashes on 25th August whilst two juveniles were at the Flashes on 30th August with one lingering until 8th September.
Jack Snipe - a count of 34 on Amy's Marsh at the Moors Pool on 25th February was the second highest occurrence for the reserve
Snipe - a reserve record equalling 200 birds were at the Moors Pool on 10th January
Whimbrel - three were at the Flashes on 4th April whilst one flew over the Moors Pool on 4th May
Wood Sandpiper - two were at the Flashes early morning on 2nd June
Mediterranean Gull - a pair of second summer birds bred at the Flashes with two young emerging at the Flashes on 5th June both of which progressed to fledge by 14th July
Little Gull - a first summer at the Moors Pool on 14th April with an adult summer plumaged bird at the Moors Pool on 17th April and the Flashes the following day. Two summer plumage adults were at the Moors Pool on 20th and 21st April
Black-headed Gull - a record breaking 900 pairs nested at the Flashes, raising around 1,500 young. Conversely the Moors Pool was virtually abandoned as a breeding location with just a single pair nesting.
Kittiwake - a winter plumaged adult bird was at the Flashes on 15th March
Glaucous Gull - in only the second reserve for the reserve, a first winter was discovered in the Flashes roost on 23rd February. It was then present in the gull roost early mornings and in the evenings up until 4th March. After an absence of several days it reappeared on 8th March and was again noted daily at dawn and dusk up until the morning of 20th March. The daytime location of the bird remained a mystery until it was found feeding on earthworms in fields at Upton Snodsbury on 29th February where it returned to each day, being last noted also on 20th March.
Iceland Gull - a first winter bird was a surprise find before flying south for the early morning watchers of the Flashes gull roost on 25th February, the eighth record for the reserve.
Common Tern - five pairs bred on the reserve, three of them successfully, raising six young
Black Tern - two juveniles were at the Flashes, then the Sailing Pool, early evening on 13th August
Barn Owl - one or two birds showed virtually daily at the Flashes for the first three months of the year but not thereafter
Redstart - a strong passage at the Flashes between 12th August and 3rd September peaked at three birds
Stonechat - a sustained presence at the start and end of the year culminated a reserve record of seven birds present on 14th December
Whinchat - one was at the Flashes on 29th August with another in the same location between 2nd and 4th September
Wheatear - one was at the Flashes on 15th August with another near the dung heap adjacent to the transmitter field the same day. Further singles were at the Flashes on 29th August and 5th and 10th September with another around the transmitter station buildings on 7th and 9th September.
Cetti's Warbler - just one brood with three juveniles was noted at the Moors Pool on 31st May
Common Whitethroat - one at the North Moors on 11th April was the second earliest on record
Chiffchaff - the reserve's earliest ever singing male was at the Flashes on 2nd February
Willow Warbler - three singing males lingered well into the spring at the Moors Pool and is considered to have bred
Spotted Flycatcher - a sustained presence of multiple birds in the hedgerows south of the Flashes between the 3rd August and 5th September, with a peak of four birds on 26th and 28th August
Brambling - one was on the feeders next to the concrete hide at the Moors Pool on 11th January with a male by Lifestyles on the east side of the Moors Pool on 2nd February

In a disturbing development, the Flashes was subject to an outbreak of botulism from late August and into early September. The true scale of the losses were hard to judge but deaths were believed to include 1 Canada Goose, around 25 Mallard, approaching 30 Teal, 6 Gadwall, 3 Coot, at least 5 Avocet, 6 Lapwing, potentially a Ruff, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and approximately 15 Black-headed Gulls. Thankfully the rate of deaths eased as the autumn progressed but its a situation that needs to be closely monitored in future years.
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Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Three notable sightings from the last few days:
  • The largest ever occurrence of Black-headed Gulls with 4,000 present in the Flashes roost on the evening of Monday 22nd.
  • The earliest ever Sand Martin (possibly for the whole of Worcestershire) present at the Moors Pool yesterday. This is the third time in five years that the earliest date record has been broken.
  • 38 Avocet at the Flashes today, by far the largest count for the second half of February (prior to this year the highest count for this period had been 20)
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Mostly in the Midlands :)
United Kingdom
Thanks for keeping us posted Phil - I am hoping the lighter afternoons will coincide with some easing of restrictions and I can start popping down after work like I used too. Seems such a long time now!

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