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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: 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: 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: 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: Miraculous migration!

    Animal migration is one of nature’s great events. These seasonal movements from one part of the world to another in search of food, to escape the harsh winter weather of northerly or southerly regions, or to find a mate, occur throughout the animal kingdom. Wildebeest in Africa migrate because...
  • Blog Post: Beautiful in blue

    There was great excitement at Minsmere yesterday with the discovery of a beautiful male bluethroat feeding along the edge of a reedbed pool close to the North Wall. Despite breeding in good numbers just across the North Sea in The Netherlands, bluethroats remain rare visitors in the UK. The last record...
  • Blog Post: Swiftly does it

    On Tuesday morning a message came over the radio that there were good numbers of swifts over the reedbed. I looked at the date on my watch and remarked "28th April. Right on cue." Over the years I have come to expect the mass arrival of swifts to occur within a day or two on 27 April. Yes,...
  • Blog Post: An unexpected bonus

    Yesterday was a red letter day for me in many ways. I had a rare full day birdwatching, saw my earliest ever swift, and found the rarest bird I've actually found for myself at Minsmere - and that's on my day off! I usually only manage to have a quick lunchtime walk, or visit one or two hides...
  • Blog Post: Southerly airflow brings migrants pouring in

    Is it really mid April? With the thermometer hitting the mid 20s Centigrade yesterday and today it feels more like mid July than mid April - and with the unseasonably warm weather have come scores of migrant birds, flooding onto our shores. Such has been the variety of migrants arriving this week...
  • Blog Post: Let's all build a nest

    The breeding season is really getting underway now, with nests and displaying wildlife appearing throughout the reserve. One of the most popular species at this time of year is always our great crested grebes. If you are lucky you may spot their famous famous weed dance - though usually only snippets...
  • Blog Post: Snakes and lizards alive, but migrants only trickling in

    The cool temperatures and persistent easterly and northerly winds over the past week have delayed the arrival of some our expected early migrants, but with southerlies forecast for a few days, and a rise in temperature, hopefully a few more will arrive this week. Sand martins and swallows have slowly...
  • Blog Post: #signsofspring

    Firstly, apologies for the delay since my last sightings blog. I’ve spent much of the last week in conferences or meetings (more of that later), and then the Community pages had to be closed for maintenance. At last they are back on line, so here's an overdue update. The last time I updated...
  • Blog Post: Eyes to the skies

    There are many good reasons to be looking at the sky this week. On Friday and Saturday evenings we are working with two local astronomy groups to bring you star gazing at Minsmere. These events, which are free, take place in the Discovery Centre from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm, and there is no need to book...
  • Blog Post: A New Year bonus

    News broke via our Twitter page of a potentially very rare visitor to Minsmere on New Year's Eve - though no-one had yet seen it! Scientists in Sweden, monitoring the movements of a lesser white-fronted goose fitted with a GPS tracker, had noted it's departure from the Norwegian coast the...
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: The excitement continues

    Wow. What a month! July seems to keep getting better and better. After all of the excitement over a new butterfly for the reserve list, we've since added both a new moth and a new beetle. Our wardens and volunteers regularly operate a moth trap at Minsmere, and over the years they have recorded...
  • Blog Post: A collared what?

    After the excitement of last week's run of rarities, attention has focused on two main parts of the reserve this - and for once it's not the reedbed. The buddleias have continued to attract a good range of butterflies. Red admirals, peacocks and graylings dominate numerically, but it's...
  • Blog Post: Surprise visitors from afar

    With migration in full swing, July often brings an unexpected visitor or two to the Suffolk coast, but nothing could really prepare us for the events that have unfolded this week. The excitement began on Monday morning when our Senior Site Manager, Adam Rowlands, called on the reserve radios to say...