We're hosting a special celebration event on Saturday to thank our funders, contractors and consultants for their fantastic support during the recent redevelopment work at Minsmere. This event, which will be in the Discovery Centre, is for invited guests and their families. They will all be arriving in the visitor centre first, so please be prepared for it to be busier than usual around late morning/lunchtime. (Don't worry, we're laying food on for them in Discovery Centre, so it won't impact on numbers using the cafe.)
As part of this special event, we've also invited the Waveney Bird Club back fro another ringing demonstration. This event, which is free, will be open to all visitors, so why not come up to the Wild Zone to meet them. They'll be in a small marquee near the entrance to the Wild Zone. Please note that due to this ringing demo, we will have to close the North Bushes trail for the day on Saturday as they'll have ringing nets set up in that area. The trail will re-open on Saturday evening.
This is the second large thank you celebration event at Misnmere this week, as yesterday we welcomed more than 50 of the RSPB's volunteers from around Eastern England for the seventh of eight regional volunteer thank you events. These events, referred to as Aren't Volunteers Brilliant, allow volunteers from many different parts of the region, who do a wide vcariety of work for us, to meet each other, chat to RSPB staff, and learn about some of the RSPB's major projects int he region. It was great to see a few familiar faces among the crowd too.
I was lucky enough to spend an hour or so in Island Mere Hide to show the volunteers some of our new facilities. The wind and rain kept some birds down, but we enjoyed a good passage of sand martins and house martins, and regular sightings of kestrels and marsh harriers. A lovely male sparrowhawk sat on a post in the mere for a few minutes, and a great crested grebe hid among the flock of sheltering coots and gadwalls. Not surprisingly, given the wind, we didn't see any bearded tits or kingfishers yesterday, though both have been seen today.
Elsewhere, the pectoral continues to pop up in various locations: West Scrape and the Konik Field yesterday; East Scrape today. Two little stints were on West Scrape yesterday and a curlew sandpiper on East Scrape today. Other waders on the Scrape, Konik Field or North Levels Wader Trail include greenshanks, spotted redshanks, ruffs, dunlins, snipe, an avocet and black-tailed godwits. There was a good passage of brent geese and wigeon offshore, with the odd Arctic skua seen in recent days too. A garganey was on the Konik Field yesterday, and a redstart was in North Bushes this morning. The best bird of the week, though is a yellow-browed warbler, all the way from Siberia, that was found in the Sluice Bushes yesterday and seen again this morning.