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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: Count the legs & divide by two

    Today is apparantly the day that all zoos in the UK carry out their annual stock check. They have to count (and account for) every animal in their collections, from mighty elephants to the tiniest insects. I'm sure it can't be too hard to count the mammals, birds and repiles, but the fish and...
  • Blog Post: Ducks and raptors and reedbed birds

    Water levels are finally beginning to return to normal on most parts of the reserve, with all paths now fully accessible - if a little muddy near the sluice. The Levels are a still looking superb, with shallow floodwater covering the marshes. Huge flocks of ducks are gathering out there, including...
  • Blog Post: Minsmere's Springwatch

    Have you been watching Springwatch on the BBC? It was heartbreaking to see those dead lapwing and osprey chicks yesterday after Friday's massive storm, but I was so pleased to see the goldcrest nest has survived - and as for those treecreepers ! After April's flooding at Minsmere, we know how...
  • Blog Post: What's a little rain to a few birds?

    It's another damp, dreary day here in Suffolk. What the Irish would call a "soft" day. Or the Scots might call "dreach." I hate having to sit in the office with the lights on during the day, but without them I'd struggle to see my desk. It's that gloomy. At least the rain...
  • Blog Post: Migration steps up

    After a relatively quiet week for birds during the spell of westerly winds, there's definitely been evidence of autumn migration beginning to hit full swing in the last few days. Perhaps the most obvious movements were at sea on Monday, when counts included minima of 575+ gannets , seven great...
  • Blog Post: Celebrating spring

    The Spring Celebration weekend once again proved to be highly successful. The format is simple. Our wardens and volunteer guides are stationed around the reserve at key locations to help visitors to learn about Minsmere's special wildlife. The tricky part is the unpredictability of the wildlife that...
  • Blog Post: Expect the unexpected

    Yesterday was one of those strange days where I had several interesting sightings, despite not actually heading out onto the reserve. The excitement began when driving out of the reserve on route to a meeting at our Orford office. As I drove past Scotts Hall Cottage , my eyes were drawn to a stunning...
  • Blog Post: a new day dawns

    And what a glorious one it was too. It's always a joy to arrive at Minsmere before first light and watch as the reserve rapidly wakens - notwithstanding the lack of sleep that accompanies such an early start. In fact, my wildlife watching began within five minutes of leaving home this morning...
  • Blog Post: Record breakers

    It seems hard to believe that as recently as the early 1990s any sighting of a little egret was a red letter day. Then, in 1996 a few pairs bred in Dorset and Devon and they haven't looked back. They began nesting in Suffolk a few years later, and we can now almost expect to see a little egret anywhere...
  • Blog Post: Winter meets spring

    Two species of duck are stealing the show at present: two species that are rarely seen on the same day in the UK. Smews have featured heavily in our sightings blogs for the last three months. We'd usually expect the last ones to be leaving Minsmere in mid March, but the continued cold weather...
  • Blog Post: rough legs and short ears

    I'm reminded this morning of one of Thomas's favourite books - The Gruffalo . You may be familiar with it. The mouse escapes being eaten by describing making up a monstor that likes to eat mouse's main predators - fox, owl and snake, only to bump into the creature with "knobbly knees...
  • Blog Post: Wonderful winter wildlife

    After the closure due to snow, it's been great to be back at Minsmere and enjoying some of the wonderful winter wildlife on show over the last couple of days. The ice and snow can be a hardship for some species. We try to give some of our reedbed species a helping hand in these conditions by putting...
  • Blog Post: Dreaming of a white Christmas?

    With Christmas just around the corner, it's looking increasingly unlikely that we'll be experience a white Christmas this year. At least, not in the sense of the falling snow on Christmas Day. It looks like the best chance of white Christmas will be watching white wildlife. In Suffolk in winter...
  • Blog Post: One of those special days

    Just occasionally, events conspire to make a good day into a special one. Today was such a day. I'd been offsite during the morning for a meeting on the National Trust's Orfordness nature reserve. Although the meeting was in the office, I did get to see a small part of this unique place on...
  • Blog Post: It's all happening right now

    Migration. Don't you just love it? The unpredictability. The stories of incredible journeys and survival against the odds. Best of all, is the knowledge that the season's are changing and the natural world is still alive and waiting to spring its next surprise upon us. OK, so maybe not everything...
  • Blog Post: Minsmere or the Med?

    There's been a decidedly southern European feel to Minsmere this week - and I don't just mean the lovely warm weather. The breeding stone-curlews continue to prove very obliging and popular, with good if distant views from the western end of the North Wall. We often have volunteer guides on...
  • Blog Post: A different perspective of Minsmere

    It's always great to try something different, and today that something different was certainly a success. The something different in question was a guided walk as part of the Woodwose Festival . What is Woodwose, I hear you ask. It's a brand new festival - more a celebration of the great outdoors...
  • Blog Post: One day wonders

    Minsmere has had a bit of purple patch in the last week or so, although you had to be quick to catcha glimpse of all our unusual visitors. Typically, I missed them all. The first week of May saw sightings of two rare herons in the reedbed: purple heron and two great white egrets. Typically, they were...
  • Blog Post: Beans and Bewick's

    Winter wildfowl have been vying with the almost resident waxwings and regular otters for top honours this week. Bewick's swans are always a popular species at Minsmere, even though we only ever see small flocks compared to those in the Fens. Up to 17 have been present for the last month or so...
  • Blog Post: Deer caught in the headlights

    We have opened the viewpoint for two weekends now starting on the 25 th September, the first weekend threw up huge amounts of problems, due to broken exhibition trailer and torrential rain. However it was a relative success with up close views of a 12 point stag and many hinds. The weather on Sunday...
  • Blog Post: It's raining birds

    We wouldn't be British if weather was a key topic of conversation. Birdwatchers are no different, except that we often want a different type of weather. The last two days have had almost the perfect combination of weather conditions to entice keen birdwatchers to the east coast in search of migrants...
  • Blog Post: Popular visitors

    Since my last sightings update, the picture has been much the same. Waxwings have been seen in small numbers on most dates, but rarely lingering for more than a few minutes. Bewick's swan numbers have fluctuated between four and eight, and they're commuting between Island Mere and the Scrape...
  • Blog Post: The early bird(watcher) earns their rewards

    Mid April means the start of our popular dawn chorus guided walks at Minsmere. Now, you may wander why anyone would want to get up before the lark in time to arrive at a nature reserve while it's still dark, but that's probably the best time to visit Minsmere. Just ask the 16 eager souls who...
  • Blog Post: White herons & yellow eyes

    White herons continue to dominate the sightings this week. Although not quite reaching last week's record numbers, there are still more than 25 little egrets scattered around the reserve. They particularly favour West Scrape and the Konik Field, but many are also hiding out on the Levels. The shallow...
  • Blog Post: Up with lark - or even before!

    Yes folks, it's dawn chorus time again. These walks remain incredibly popular - despite the 4 am start. Five of the six are fully booked: there are still 13 places left for the final walk on Saturday 21 May - if you are quick! This week it was my turn to lead, and Robin Harvey and I duly met 28...