STAFF at the wetland reserve in Upton Warren are celebrating after a pair of rare ducks successfully managed to breed in the pools.
The pair of shoveler ducks made a home on the Moors Pools at the Christopher Cadbury Wetland Reserve in Upton Warren, which is owned by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.
The breed of duck rarely manages to breed in Worcestershire, so when they had a family of their own, staff were delighted.
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.”
Shoveler ducks have a distinctive large flattened bill and eat their food off the surface of the water, making their nests on dry ground and then almost immediately leaving them when their ducklings are hatched.
Mr Belsey, added: “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. Shelduck have also bred here this year, although their chicks were predated, and our avocets have 14 chicks with another five birds still incubating eggs.
“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.”
The nature reserve at Upton Warren is open seven days a week, and all visitors must either carry their membership card for admission or purchase a day permit for £3 from the Trust, volunteers on site or the Upton Warren Outdoor Education Centre.
For more information on volunteering opportunities at Upton Warren or with the Wildlife Trust, visit worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/volunteer or call 01905 754919.