Rare bird breeding success at nature reserve

Malvern Gazette: Shoveler family at Upton Warren, Picture by Vern Wright. Shoveler family at Upton Warren, Picture by Vern Wright.

A BIRD that rarely breeds in Worcestershire has successfully raised a family on a nature reserve for the first time since 1947.

A pair of shoveler ducks has successfully bred on The Moors Pools at the Christopher Cadbury Wetland Reserve, in Upton Warren, near Wychbold.

The site, consisting of both fresh and saline water pools, is owned by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.

John Belsey, a volunteer at Upton Warren, said: “These unmistakeable birds, with their large spatula-shaped bills, are regular visitors to the county but rarely breed here.

“Over the last few years we’ve been creating suitable breeding habitat for these smart looking ducks and other water birds. We’ve removed trees to improve flight lines onto the water and have encouraged more marsh-type habitat."

Shovelers are dabbling ducks but unlike mallards that are often seen ‘upended’ and they eat food off the surface of the water.

Nests are constructed by the female on dry ground – usually hidden in a grassy tussock – and are lined with down from her own breast.

“The work our volunteer group has been doing on a weekly basis on both The Moors and Flashes pools at Upton Warren has really paid dividends," added Mr Belsey.

“We have a fox-proof fence to help minimise predation and we control the non-native American mink on the site to help both the birds and our native mammals.”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities at Upton Warren or with the Wildlife Trust, visit worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/volunteer or call 01905 754919.

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