The Flashes at Upton Warren
Introduction & access: The nature reserve at Upton Warren, managed by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, is situated between Droitwich and Bromsgrove. This popular reserve is divided by the River Salwarpe with the Moors Pool to the north and the Flashes to the south.
The Moors Pool, being deeper attracts most of the wildfowl, while the surrounding reedbeds are excellent for reed loving species, most notably Cetti's Warbler and during the winter, Bittern.
The Flashes is one the prime locations in the county for observing a wide variety of waders, particulary during the spring and autumn passage periods. Throughout the reserve there is a mixture of alders, willows and scrub which can be attractive to a variety of passerines throughout the year. In addition, the sailing lake located between the Flashes and the Moors Pool can be productive for passage terns and gulls or maybe a seaduck.
Upton Warren is easily accessible from the motorway network. From junction 5 of the M5 head north along the A38 to the first roundabout and take the third exit to the outdoor centre car park. Access to the reserve is free to members of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust while non-members can purchase a day permit for £3 from the cafe next to the sailing lake or from the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust headquarters at Lower Smite Farm, near Worcester; for location map click here and for membership details click here. Car parking for the Flashes is available at the sailing centre off the A38 opposite Webbs Garden Centre while further parking is available for the Moors Pool a little further north along the A38 just past The Swan Inn. There are numerous hides with three at the Flashes complex and four at the Moors Pool, although only one on the west side of the latter site has disabled access. For a location map of the Moors Pool: click here and for a location map of the Flashes: click here.
Birds: The Flashes is primarily managed for breeding waders comprising Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing and Redshank. Remarkably, in 2003 Avocets nested for the first time and have continued to do so ever since. The variety of wader species increases during spring and autumn with regular Green and Common Sandpipers, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit. Scarcer species can include Ruff, Sanderling, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel and maybe Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Little Stint or Curlew Sandpiper. There is also a greater chance of a rare wader occuring at these times with past records of Least Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Black-winged Stilt, Pectoral Sandpiper and Temminck's Stint. A Black-headed Gull roost increases in size from late summer and often hosts Mediterranean Gulls with the occasional Little Gull and has included both Sabine's and Laughing Gulls in the past. A feeding station attracts a wide variety of the commoner finches with the occasional Brambling while Peregrine is often present throughout the year perched on the adjacent radio masts.
The Moors Pools are home to a greater variety of species with breeding Common Tern, Black-headed Gull, Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, and Redshank along with Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers and Reed Bunting. Hobby is also present throughtout the summer months and spring and autumn passage often brings Marsh Harrier, Osprey and Black Tern. The winter months can be equally productive with one or two Bittern a regular feature, together with good numbers of Water Rail, Common Snipe and the occasional Jack Snipe.
The Moors Pool at Upton Warren
The North Moors Pool at Upton Warren