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Worcestershire

Winking Owl
Little Owl Athene noctua ©Pete Walkden Website

Birding Worcestershire

Worcestershire (abbreviated to Worcs) is a county in the West Midlands of England. The county borders Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire. To the west, the county is bordered by the Malvern Hills. The south of the county is bordered by Gloucestershire and the northern edge of the Cotswolds; to the east is Warwickshire. Two major rivers flow through the county: the Severn and the Avon.

Despite being further from the coast than most counties in England, Worcestershire still possesses a wide range of habitats. The Severn valley runs from the north to the south of the county and is joined by the river Teme from the west, and the Salwarpe and Avon from the east. The county is surrounded by hills with the Suckley and Malvern Hills in the west, Bredon Hill and the start of the Cotswolds in the south and the Clent and Lickey Hills in the north. All of these hills have good access and are worth exploring at any time of the year.

The major woodland in the county is the Wyre Forest on the Shropshire border to the north west, but despite much of the county being good farmland there are quite a number of smaller woods holding good birdlife. Many of these are managed by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, such as Pipers Hill Common, Monkwood and Chaddesley Wood all of which contain populations of common woodland birds and summer warblers. There are even a few remnants of heathland on the sandstone deposits in the north west of the county, such as Hartlebury Common and The Devils Spittleful. The only remaining common of any size in the county is at Castlemorton in the southwest.

The only sizeable reservoirs in the county are at Bittell in the northeast but there are a great many smaller lakes and pools holding good numbers of wildfowl, such as those at Upton Warren and Bredon's Hardwick.

Top Sites

Avon Valley

Park at Eckington bridge and walk west along the riverbank. Kingfisher, Cormorant, Grey Wagtail, Reed Bunting. Summer: Sedge and Reed Warblers, Yellow Wagtail. Passage waders. Winter: Ducks, Lapwing, Golden Plover.

Bittell Reservoirs

Satellite View

Park on unclassified road off the B4120 south of Barnt Green. View reservoirs from surrounding lanes and footpaths. Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Sparrowhawk. Summer: Blackcap, Whitethroat. Passage waders including Greenshank and Common Sandpiper. Winter: Teal, Gadwall, Pochard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Siskin.

Bredon Hill

Satellite View

Car park at Elmley Castle. Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Grey and Red-legged Partridge, Tawny Owl, Little Owl, Stock Dove, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Nuthatch, Jay, Yellowhammer. Summer: Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Redsatart, Spotted Flycatcher. Possible Pied Flycatcher. Recent spring and autumn migrants have included Dotterel, Whinchat, Wheatear, Merlin and Red Kite. Winter: Fieldfare, Redwing, Redpoll, Siskin, Brambling.

Bredons Hardwick

Satellite View

Gravel pits and meadows between the village and the river Avon. View the main pit from the B4080. View water meadows by parking by the river Avon at the end of Fleet Lane. Little Grebe, Cormorant, Tufted Duck. Summer: Hobby, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Yellow Wagtail. Passage waders. Winter: Wigeon, Teal, Pintail. Golden Plover, Dunlin. Possible Scaup, Smew, Bewicks Swan, White-Fronted Goose, Peregrine.

Castlemorton Common

Satellite View

Rough pasture with gorse and bramble. Sparrowhawk, Stonechat, Linnet, Yellowhammer. Summer: Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler. Whinchat on passage. Winter: Snipe, Redwing, Fieldfare. Possible Jack Snipe, Water Rail and Great Grey Shrike.

Chaddesley Wood

Satellite View

Mixed woodland three miles west of Bromsgrove. Sparrowhawk, Woodcock, Willow Tit. Summer: Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Tree Pipit. Winter: Fieldfare, Redwing.

Christopher Cadbury Wetland Reserve

Webpage

Satellite View

Arguably the premier birding site in the county. Situated at Upton Warren on the A38 between Bromsgrove and Droitwich. It is owned by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and access is limited to members and permit holders. Permits are available from wardens on site. Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal, Lapwing, Grey Heron, Kingfisher, Reed Bunting, Water Rail. Summer: Cuckoo, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Cettis Warbler, Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Hobby. Passage waders, including Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff. Winter: Goldeneye, Snipe, Jack Snipe. Rarities possible at any time during the year.

Clent Hills

Satellite View

Grass covered hills with mixed woodland. Signposted for the A456 Halesowen to Hagley road. Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Jay, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Grey Wagtail, Yellowhammer. Summer: Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Meadow Pipit, Linnet. Ring Ouzel and Wheatear on passage. Winter: Fieldfare, Redwing, Redpoll, Siskin.

Devils Spittleful & Rifle Range and Blackstone Farm Fields

Webpage

Satellite View

Heathland. Worcs Wildlife Trust reserve west of Kidderminster. View from public footpath. Sparrowhawk, all three woodpeckers, Yellowhammer. Summer: Cuckoo, Redstart, Wood Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher. Winter: Siskin, Redpoll, Fieldfare.

Grimley and Holt

Satellite View

Gravel pits and marsh on the west bank of the Severn north of Worcester. View from roads and public footpath. Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Kingfisher, Reed Bunting. Summer: Hobby, Little Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Yellow Wagtail. Winter: Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Wigeon, Lapwing, Snipe.

Hartlebury Common

Website

Satellite View

Heathland. Local nature reserve south east of Stourport. Sparrowhawk, all three woodpeckers, Willow Tit, Stonechat, Redpoll. Summer: Cuckoo, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher. Winter: Redwing, Fieldfare, Siskin.

Lickey Hills Wood

Information

Satellite View

Mixed woodland. Visitors centre signposted from the B4096 Rednal to Bromsgrove road. Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jay. Summer: Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher. Possible Pied Flycatcher. Winter: Flocks of tits and finches including Siskin and Brambling. Possible Crossbill.

Malvern Hills

Website

Satellite View

The hills are managed by the Malvern Hills Conservators and access is excellent. Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Raven, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Yellowhammer. Summer: Wheatear, Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Wood Warbler. Ring Ouzel on passage. Winter: Fieldfare, Redwing, Redpoll, Siskin.

Monkwood

Webpage

Satellite View

Deciduous woodland north west of Worcester. Worcs Wildlife Trust reserve. Woodcock, all three woodpeckers, Stock Dove, Little and Tawny Owl, Nuthatch ,Treecreeper. Summer: Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Pipit. Winter: Siskin, Redpoll.

Piper's Hill & Dodderhill Commons

Webpage

Satellite View

Beech and oak woodland south east of Bromsgrove. Little and Tawny Owl, Stock Dove, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jay. Summer: Redstart, Wood Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher. Winter: Flocks of tits and finches including Siskin, Redpoll and possible Brambling and Crossbill.

Shrawley Wood

Webpage

Satellite View

Mixed woodland and stream west of the Severn between Worcester and Stourport. Partly Forestry Commission. Keep to public paths. Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, all three woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper. Summer: Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher. Winter: Thrushes, Brambling, Siskin, Redpoll.

Suckley Hills

Article

Satellite View

Wooded hills to the north of the Malverns. Park at the Worcs Wildlife Trusts Ravenshill Wood reserve. Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Tawny Owl, Raven, all three woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Willow Tit. Summer: Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Pipit, Pied Flycatcher. Winter: Redpoll, Siskin.

Wyre Forest

Information

Satellite View

One of the best remaining native woodlands in Britain. Park in Bewdley or at the visitors centre at Callow Hill on the A456. The best area for birding is around Dowles Brook. Sparrowhawk, Woodcock, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Kingfisher, all three woodpeckers, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Raven, Hawfinch. Summer: Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Wood Warbler, Spotted and Pied Flycatcher. Winter: Redwing, Siskin, Redpoll, Crossbill.

Contributor

Andy Thomas

West Midland Birding

andy@thomas1976.freeserve.co.uk

County Recorder

Steven Payne

6 Norbury Close, Redditch B98 8RP

01527 60169

worcs-recorder@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 300

Useful Reading

Fieldguides & Other Birding Books
For a full list of fieldguides and other books see the general UK page

The New Birds of the West Midlands

(covering Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and the former West Midlands County) | Graham Harrison & Janet Harrison | West Midlands Bird Club | 2005 | 496 pages, colour photos, line drawings, maps |

ISBN: 0950788120

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to watch birds in West Midlands

by F Gribble, G Harrison, H Griffiths, J Winsper & S Coney | Christopher Helm | 2007 | Paperback | 343 pages, 53 maps, 24 line drawings |

ISBN: 9780713664195

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

RSPB Worcester & Malvern Local Group

Webpage

We have regular monthly indoor meetings and guided walks locally throughout the year and have occasional day-trips to nature reserves, and longer trips of 4-6 days with odd ones abroad.

West Midland Bird Club

Website

Studying Birds in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands since 1929

WMBC Kidderminster Branch

Webpage

Indoor meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of every month - September through to April inclusive - at: St. Oswald's Church Centre, off Broadwaters Drive, Kidderminster DY10 2RY - O/S Grid ref: SO841779 All indoor meetings commence at 19.30. The venue is fully accessible to wheelchair users and there is a large car park near to the church centre.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

Website

Lower Smite Farm, Smite Hill, Hindlip, Worcester, WR3 8SZ 01905 754919 enquiries@worcestershirewildlifetrust.org - We care for more than 70 nature reserves which include many of the best wildlife habitats in Worcestershire. The Trust`s ownership guarantees they are protected for ever. They include: Pools and marshes - providing refuges for otters, dragonflies and birds such as kingfishers, wildfowl and wading birds. One of our highest priorities is to conserve, restore and recreate marsh, reedbed and open waters of which so little remains…

Reserves

Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)

RSPB Upton Warren

Webpage

Satellite View

Worcestershire's premier bird-watching reserve, Upton Warren attracts a range of birds but is particularly good for waterfowl and waders. The reserve consists of a series of freshwater and saline pools, created by land subsidence resulting from local brine extraction. Not only do these attract a wide variety of birds but the saline pools are an important inland site for saltmarsh plants.

WWT Chaddesley Wood National Nature Reserve

Webpage

Satellite View

Chaddesley Woods were probably mentioned in the Domesday Book as the ‘wood of two leagues’ and we think that parts of the site were wooded since the Ice Age 6-10,000 years ago. The presence of ancient woodland indicator species support this – flowers such as yellow archangel, herb Paris and dog’s mercury and trees like small-leaved lime and wild service trees.

WWT Grimley Brick Pits

Webpage

Satellite View

An important wetland site with many uncommon plants and animals - This important wetland area comprises of three old gravel extraction pits. The open water attracts wildfowl and Worcestershire’s largest heronry is found here. Deadwood in the surrounding carr woodland supports a rich variety of invertebrates and birds.

WWT Monkwood

Webpage

Satellite View

A semi-natural ancient woodland that is renowned for its ground flora & butterfly species. It’s likely that Monkwood, owned for centuries by Worcester Priory, has been in existence for over 1000 years. 'Monckewood' is first recorded in 1240, although woodland in the old manor of Grimley is mentioned as far back as 961. A plan from 1746 shows the boundaries of the wood almost exactly as they are today.

WWT Piper's Hill & Dodderhill Commons

Webpage

Satellite View

Also known as Hanbury Woods these two old commons are former ancient wood pasture where, historically, livestock grazed on grassland scattered with large trees. Woodlands have been grazed to create wood pasture since at least the Middle Ages. This was often associated with old commons where the owner granted rights to the commoners to graze their cattle, sheep and pigs. Trees were often planted and protected to grow large timber, giving rise to old, widely-spaced trees with a grassy woodland floor – something between woodland and parkland.

WWT The Devil's Spittleful & Rifle Range and Blackstone Farm Fields

Webpage

Satellite View

This impressive heathland is one of the largest areas of the habitat left in Worcestershire. It’s estimated that we’ve lost approximately 90% of heathland in the county over the last 200 years. Visitors to the 60 hectare reserve of Devil’s Spittleful and Rifle Range will walk through a mosaic of habitats that thrive on acid soil; open areas are dominated by bell heather and acid grassland is dominated by wavy hair grass.

Forums & Mailing Lists

WMBC-Worcs

Mailing Group

This mailing list is for discussion of birds and birding in the English county of Worcestershire, especially notable sightings and site reports, and the activities there, of the West Midland Bird Club.

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Forest View Retreat

Accommodation

Stay right on the edge of the Wyre Forest in one of our exclusive luxury self catering Log Cabins. Just bring yourselves and we will take care of everything else!!

Museums

Worcestershire Museum - Natural History

Museum Website

Worcester City’s Natural History Collections go back to the Museum of the Worcestershire Natural History Society in the 1830s. In the nineteenth century specimens of animals, birds and plants were collected from all around the world, but any current acquisitions are made in collaboration with local wildlife trusts and are restricted to Worcestershire. Today, the local material in the collection is valuable as a comparison for the biological records produced by the Worcestershire Biological Centre at the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.

Blogs

Craig Reed - Midland Birder

BLOG

Having been looking at birds since the age of 5, the infatuation that has followed has enveloped my life. Those that know me can testify that there is little time in which I am not looking at birds, even when I am nowhere near any likely birding areas. I live by the motto 'Birds appear anywhere, there just needs to be someone looking', and this has proved me some success over the years, discovering a few very out of place species.

Craig Round - Lutley Birder

BLOG

Last updated 2015 - Welcome to The Lutley Birder covering my local birding patch since 1995 'Lutley Wedge' on the border between the West Midlands & North Worcestershire. I also work as a professional birding and wildlife guide in Speyside, and the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Jason Kernohan - A Year on The Common (aka Shenstone Birder)

BLOG

Hartlebury Common and Hillditch Pool

Pete Walkden - Pete's Birding Blog

BLOG

As a wildlife photographer I try to get out and about as much as possible, and as such keep this blog as a record of what I saw, when, where and any mishaps along the way.

Other Links

Birding Today

Website

Birding Today is a news service run by The Birder’s Store and carries reviews, reports and news etc…

Birdwatching in the Malvern Hills area

Webpage

This spectacular range of hills dominates the south-western corner of the county and stretch for 8 miles peaking at the Worcestershire Beacon which rises to a height of 1,395 feet. Being such a dominant natural feature, many migrating birds use the hills as a navigational aid and during the spring and autumn migration periods unusual species can be encountered.

Gulls in the West Midlands Region

Website

This is a personal website which presents data and images relating to gulls in the West Midlands Region (the counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the metropolitan county of the West Midlands).

The Birders Store

Website

Europe's leading birding store serving birders worldwide since 2009 - 4a King Charles Place, St John's, Worcester WR2 5AJ | Tel: 01905 312877 | sales@birders-store.co.uk - Open Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 5pm

Worcester Birding

Website

The website dedicated to Birds and Birding in Worcestershire…

Worcestershire Biological Records Centre

Website

New Bird Recording Scheme The next newsletter will include the launch of a new Bird Recording Scheme for Birds of Conservation Concern - those on the Red and Amber lists…

Worcestershire Wildlife Consultancy

Website

The commercial arm of the Wildlife Trust… not to be confused with the WWT listed below, a new website for the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.

Photographers & Artists

Artist - Simon Mark Knott

Website

Simon Knott's artwork, Bird videos, birdcams, photos, information and links… Located in Wyre Forest near the River Severn ~ Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England, UK, The World ! This site includes links to photos and videos of Garden Birds & Wild Birds, my 3 bird webcams.

Photographer - Dave Barnes

Gallery

I am an amateur photographer who takes photos of birds through being a frustrated freehand artist. Having given up trying to draw I now get a lot of pleasure from trying to capture the beauty of birds with a camera as I see them. I can only assume that not everyone sees them as I do or whole world would be full of birders! I want to improve the pictures I take so any tips or advice greatfully received ;) For those who have already done that thank you…

Photographer - Mark Hancox

Gallery

I have a small woodland in Worcestershire and now run workshops to photograph various wildlife in the wood ,and also rent my various hides , please see the workshop heading for further details…

Photographer - Pete Walkden

Gallery

Pete is a professional photographer and photography guide, with a passion for all things wild. Based in the West Midlands, he travels the UK extensively and frequently to capture images of the diverse array of wildlife that inhabit or visit the British Isles.