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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: It was raining birds 50 years ago today

    What happened at Minsmere on 3 September 1965 has gone down in history as one of the most remarkable ornithological events ever in the UK. I wasn’t even alive then, and can hardly imagine the enormity of what actually happened, but I do know that, 50 years on, it is unlikely that such an event...
  • Blog Post: A (bee-)wolf's tale of life and death

    Guest blog by Steve Everett, regular Minsmere visitor Along the path from the pond to the North Wall, there is a stretch of path with sandy sides that has become a magnet for visitors over the past few weeks. This is the realm of the bee wolf, a digger wasp that specializes in catching honey bees...
  • Blog Post: A soggy end to summer

    It seems that as far as the weather was concerned I picked the right week to leave the country, as while I was enjoying (some) sun in central France, the UK was experiencing somewhat variable, and at times very wet weather. And in typical Bank Holiday fashion, today has seen a return of cool, wet weather...
  • Blog Post: Looking good isn't easy

    With the breeding season over, the annual habitat management season is now underway. As usual, we start with clearing vegetation on the Scrape, where the first work party was hard at work on Thursday. The Scrape management programme involves cutting the long vegetation from the banks and islands,...
  • Blog Post: Out with the old, in with the new

    Mid August is a time of change. Birds are on the move, with familiar species leaving our shores, to be replaced (sometimes only temporarily) by visitors from farther north or east. Berries are ripening, seeds setting, and leaves are already beginning to change colour. Insects that we've been enjoying...
  • Blog Post: Nature's colours

    We have a fabulous little activity sheet for children called Nature's colours. It's a simple piece of card with 20 different colours and shades. The idea is to walk around the reserve and see how many different colours you can match. For example, the marsh mallow flowers perfectly match one of...
  • Blog Post: Sun setting on Suffolk's little tern summer

    Guest blog by Rhiannon Baker, Suffolk Little Tern Warden Hello, my name is Rhiannon Baker. I am one of the Little Tern Wardens in Suffolk working as part of the EU Life funded project. On a daily basis I monitor the colonies around Suffolk which includes Benacre NNR, Walberswick NNR and Kessingland...
  • Blog Post: Hummingbird steals the show

    As is often the case in August, the buddleia bushes outside the visitor centre have been the centre of attention for much of the afternoon. There's been a great range of butterflies, including several painted ladies and commas as well as the more familiar red admirals, small tortoiseshells, peacocks...
  • Blog Post: Eyes to the sky

    It's certainly been a wet few days at Minsmere, as elsewhere in the country, and it pays to keep an eye on any approaching black clouds before deciding to move on to the next hide as showers continue ot rattle through on a regular basis. Some of them are pretty heavy too. Storm clouds over...
  • Blog Post: Summer wildlife highlights?

    When the radio crackled into life with news of the first sightings of the day, they announcement was almost (!) as much of a surprise as the recent records of bee-eaters and an albatross. Bearing in mind the date (23 July), the report of seven brent geese flying south was unexpected. We wouldn't...
  • Blog Post: More Minsmere moths

    Minsmere's wardens and volunteers carry out regular moth trapping throughout the year. The most commonly used technique for moth trapping is to set up a special trap with a powerful light. The light attracts moths which are then caught, alive, in the box beneath. Later at night, or early the following...
  • Blog Post: Reality returns

    After the buzz of excitement on Monday and Tuesday surrounding "the Minsmere albatross", reality has returned to Minsmere. That's not to say that there's nothing exciting to see. Far from it, as there's still an amazing variety of wildlife to spot. With the buddleias coming into...
  • Blog Post: Albatross ahoy!

    Even at Minsmere, with its superb variety of wildlife, every now and then something turns up that is so unexpected that it takes some believing. Take, for instance, the amazing record of a humpback whale offshore in November 2013 - repeated again for one lucky group of observers last autumn. Even...
  • Blog Post: Much more than birds

    Minsmere is widely known as one of the best birdwatching sites in the UK, but it is, of course, much more than that. It is, quite simply, one of the best nature reserves in the UK - whatever type of wildlife you are interested in. A quick look at some of the highlights from today's sightings board...
  • Blog Post: Sightings hotting up as heatwave hits

    Today has probably been the best day of the summer so far with unbroken clear blue skies and a gentle cooling breeze making a walk around Minsmere's nature trails very pleasant - and much less oppressive than further inland. It was less comfortable in some of the hides, as they quickly heat up like...
  • Blog Post: North Wall purple patch continues

    The North Wall has been the place to be at Minsmere recently. Following on from the red-spotted bluethroat, then some incredibly showy bearded tits, we've had regular bittern sightings from there and then last week's bee-eater. Today, in a case of deja vu, a small crowd of staff, volunteers and...
  • Blog Post: Up from the depths

    As regular readers of these blogs will know, Minsmere has an amazing variety of wildlife, from majestic red deer to minute fungi, but some species remain hidden from view, below ground of beneath the water. Just occasionally they may leave the safety of their burrows or pond, affording visitors a rare...
  • Blog Post: Records tumble

    The early indications are that we're set for one of the best breeding seasons at Minsmere for a long time. Indeed several records look like being broken. One record that has been broken this morning is for the biggest ever flock of bee-eaters to be seen in Suffolk. Adam Rowlands, our Senior Sites...
  • Blog Post: Insects galore - but they'd better beware

    With the return of warmer sunny weather today, the reserve has been alive with buzzing, flitting, chasing and feeding insects. A quick walk this afternoon revealed a superb variety of butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies, hoverflies and bumblebees. Possibly the best place to watch dragonflies and...
  • Blog Post: Reflections on Springwatch

    After another wonderful three weeks of Springwatch, I thought I'd look back at some of the wildlife stories from this year's series. Where else can I really start than with the biggest star of this year's series: Spineless Simon. At just 5 cm length he's certainly not the biggest species...
  • Blog Post: Hobby's steal the show

    Spineless Simon might be stealing the limelight for BBC Springwatch viewers, but although he continues to attract a crowd of admirers at Island Mere, the highlight for many visitors over the last couple of days has been the hobbies at Bittern Hide. These super-sleek highspeed falcons have been dashing...
  • Blog Post: Chicks galore

    Another week of Springwatch is over, with more amazing wildlife stories and footage to remind us all what an amazing place Minsmere is, and how much wildlife is out around the country, often unseen by even most observant wildlife enthusiasts. From the incredible journeys of tiny red-necked phalaropes...
  • Blog Post: Like London buses

    Just like waiting for a London bus, birdwatching often sees a cluster of exciting birds arriving in quick succession, after a long period of more routine species. So it has been at Minsmere this month. Following hot on the heals of the bluethroat and long-staying red-necked phalarope, we've had several...
  • Blog Post: "Loving Minsmere today. The wildlife is amazing"

    On a busy Bank Holiday Monday, the day the BBC Springwatch cameras went live, it was great to hear comments like that in the title of this blog, time and time again from our visitors. We had worked hard to ensure that we were ready for an influx of visitors, and despite records numbers coming to the...
  • Blog Post: Springwatch returns - we're open as usual

    This morning we welcomed the local media to the Discovery Centre to meet the BBC Springwatch presenters - Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games - in advance of the show going on air from Monday. It was lovely to see a couple of families playing in the wild zone when the presenters...