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Minsmere

Minsmere
Explore, discover and enjoy nature at Minsmere. There's always something exciting to inspire a return visit to Suffolk's natural treasure.
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  • Blog Post: Counting down

    It's an exciting time in our household, as in many around the country, as we count down the days until Christmas. Advent calendars are opened to reveal festive pictures, chocolates, or in our case little Lego toys that will make a lovely Christmas scene when finished. With only seven more sleeps...
  • Blog Post: A ode to starlings

    Last night I took advantage of a beautiful evening and cancelled meeting to head out onto the path between Wildlife Lookout and South Hide to watch the starling murmuration. It was such a beautiful evening that I've been inspired to write a rare poem. An icy wind blows from the north As...
  • Blog Post: Otterly bittern by the Minsmere bug

    Over the last few months we've been treated to some highly enjoyable guest blogs by a few of Minsmere's amazing volunteers. Today I'd like to share another blog by Ally Hoadley, who has recently posted her contribution to an advent calender on the A Focus on Nature website. AFON is a a...
  • Blog Post: Springwatch stars showing off

    We welcomed Etholle George from BBC Radio Suffolk back to Minsmere yesterday to present her breakfast show live from the Discovery Centre. Her story on BBC Look East, filmed last week, was also braodcast on bulletins throughout Tuesday. Etholle was here to celebrate the success of Springwatch six...
  • Blog Post: Springwatch revisited

    After all the wet weather recently, it was great to have a couple of dry days on Monday and Tuesday. We even managed to see the sun again. (Sadly it's wet again today, though the forecast is better for the rest of the week). The better weather couldn't have better timed either, as I welcomed...
  • Blog Post: You never know what you'll see

    The saying couldn't be more true this week as a couple of surprise sightings have kept staff and visitors on their toes, and our regular species have competed for their share of the action. Perhaps the biggest surprise was a stunning drake eider that spent a few minutes among the hordes of commoner...
  • Blog Post: No need for a long walk

    Don't let the short days, with the nights rapidly closing in and the continuing dull weather, put you off visiting Minsmere this winter. There's lots to see without the need for a long walk around the full circular walks. You may simply want to visit the shop or cafe for some pre-Christmas...
  • Blog Post: A big fencing project

    Works is due to start later this week on a major project to replace the aging fence around the Scrape. The fence is intended to prevent ground-nesting predators, such as foxes or badgers, from gaining access to the Scrape, thus protecting breeding gulls, waders, ducks and terns. The existing fence...
  • Blog Post: Wot no acorns!

    Guest blog by Jamie Everett, Minsmere volunteer guide This autumn the one thing I have noticed more than any other is the lack of acorns. Trees that should be laden with ripe nuts are devoid of acorns this year. Why does this matter? Oak trees begin flowering in late spring, with the fruits...
  • Blog Post: Northern waifs

    One of the birdwatching highlights this week, for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, has been the passage of several little auks offshore. These tiny seabirds breed on rocky scree slopes in the high Arctic and spend the winter close to the southern edge of the sea ice. Autumn...
  • Blog Post: Starling spectacular, rarities and the Brigadier

    What a week it has been. The continuing superb autumn weather, combined with roosting starlings, Minsmere's red deer appearing on Autumnwatch, and our exciting family activity programme all helped to make October half term one of the busiest weeks on record. As well as making some lovely insect...
  • Blog Post: It's a numbers game

    There have been some impressive counts of birds at Minsmere over the last week or so, including a few unexpected species. Perhaps the most unexpected counts were of one our most familiar birds and its close cousin. On Monday, Minsmere volunteer John Grant spent the morning recording visible migration...
  • Blog Post: Small is beautiful

    The very popular, if rather elusive, little crake is still in residence in the reedbed pool in front of Bittern Hide. Having completed nearly two weeks here, it's stayed much longer than expected, giving most twitchers, and many casual birdwatchers, the chance to see it - though some have had to...
  • Blog Post: Mooo-vable managers

    Habitat management is a complex balancing act. Our wardens work hard to create the optimum conditions for a wide variety of wildlife - and for the people who come to see it. There are several different tools at wardens' disposal, including staff and volunteers, tractors, chainsaws, brushcutters...
  • Blog Post: Elusive crake

    The little crake is still being seen every day at Minsmere, but it's not been easy to see. It has probably been most reliable just after dawn, with sightings between 6.50 am and 8 am most days - though often for only a few minutes. On Monday there were many disappointed birdwatchers when it wasn't...
  • Blog Post: Little and large show

    The weekend just gone saw the main focus at Minsmere turn to red deer, with our annual weekend of guides and activities at the viewpoint on Westleton Heath. The red deer rut is one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles in the UK. After all, the stags are our largest land mammals, and the sight of...
  • Blog Post: The colour is purple

    There's still a good selection of wading birds on the Scrape, but one has been stealing the show for birdwatchers this week: a beautiful purple sandpiper. These are usually birds of rocky shores, which means there are few reliable places to see them in Suffolk - the north and west coast of the UK...
  • Blog Post: Great white alert

    A great white was found at Minsmere this afternoon. There's nothing to worry about though as it wasn't a shark. No, our great white is an egret. A beautiful bird it is too. Great white egrets remain rare visitors in the UK, though their numbers are increasing and they have been breeding in...
  • Blog Post: Osprey!

    The radio crackled into life. "There's an osprey fishing over Island Mere." I grabbed my binoculars and camera, clicked lock screen on the computer and headed out to the Whin Hill watchpoint to try to get a look. I called out to two passing visitors that there was an osprey at Island...
  • Blog Post: Time for a chat about cricket

    The fabulous Indian summer weather has proved particularly attractive to some of our insects, as well as providing perfect conditions for migratory birds to drop in. Our amazing autumn for wryneck records continues. At their final ringing demo of the year last Thursday the Waveney Bird Club trapped...
  • Blog Post: An avian Watford Gap

    There's a real feeling of autumn arriving at Minsmere now, despite weather forecasts for another warm spell arriving. It was cool and breezy for my lunchtime walk today, with a hint of drizzle in the air, but all around were signs that migration is in full swing. As I strolled through the North...
  • Blog Post: Wrynecks, waders, wheatears and more

    The exciting summer of family activities and superb wildlife watching has continued, despite occasional periods of heavy rain (most notably on Bank Holiday Monday!). Pond dipping, owl pellet dissection and minibeast hunts continued to be popular with families, giving many children (and their parents...
  • Blog Post: An opportunistic otter

    It was a bit of a heron fest at Minsmere today. A great white egret spent a bit of time at Island Mere this morning, with bitterns seen in flight there later. Seven spoonbills moved from the Scrape to Lucky Pool this morning. Plus of course there were little egrets and grey herons to be seen. The...
  • Blog Post: The birds and the bees (and butterflies and machines and...)

    Despite the weekend storms and frequent heavy showers, our insects are continuing to attract a lot of attention. Butterflies such as gatekeepers and meadow browns are attracted to brambles, small coppers and common blues on the North Wall and dunes, and red admirals and small tortoiseshells still on...
  • Blog Post: These aren’t Little Tern fledglings. They’re just really small Black-headed Gulls.

    Guest blog by Lana Austin, Little Tern Warden “I’m sorry Lana, there has been a mistake. These aren’t little tern fledglings. They’re just really small black-headed gulls.” Any day now someone is going to turn up wearing a suit and dark shades, pull me aside, and discreetly...