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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: 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...
  • Blog Post: Fledgings, flowers and migrants

    We've some exciting news on some of the stars of Springwatch this week. First Grub. Those who follow us on Twitter (@RSPBMinsmere) or Facebook (RSPBSuffolk) will already have heard that Grub is alive and well. Adam, our Senior Site Manager, heard a young tawny owl calling from the area of Grub's...
  • Blog Post: A wonderful week for wildlife

    The weather may have been a bit unpredictable week, with bright sunshine giving way to heavy rain, but perhaps we should expect that with Wimbledon and Glastonbury vying with the World Cup for our attention on the TV. Did you know there's a link between Minsmere, Glastonbury and the World Cup this...
  • Blog Post: Spring migration hotting up

    With the exciting news that BBC Springwatch is coming to Minsmere, our resident and migrant wildlife is preparing to take centre stage. Our resident bitterns and marsh harriers continue to perform well, while bearded tits are very active at Island Mere and the family of water rails is still putting...
  • Blog Post: beauty in black and white

    After a superb few days of weather that brought in crowds of birdwatchers, walkers and families, a bit of drizzle this morning proved to be good for migrants, with several species of wader and passerine grounded on their long journeys. Pride of place definitely went to the gorgeous male pied flycatcher...
  • Blog Post: The next arrival at Terminal One is...

    It's mid April, so the arrivals and departures board at Minsmere International is constantly changing as new arrivals land and old friends depart. Although numbers of most new migrants are still quite low, the number of species seen is growing by the day. Here's a quick summary of migrant...
  • Blog Post: Back from Africa

    They seem to be a bit late this year, but we've finally had what can be described as a flock of sand martins around the pond today, with up to twelve birds present all day. We've also had further sightings of a swallow and the first house martin over the Scrape today. Another new arrival is...
  • Blog Post: There were ten in a bed...

    The latest results of our bittern monitoring are very promising with at least ten males now booming throughout the reedbed. Although they are most vocal early and late in the day, they can be heard at any time - and from anywhere on the reserve. I heard one from outside the visitor centre at lunchtime...
  • Blog Post: New arrivals trickling in

    Hot on the heels of our recent pair of garganeys, the last week has seen the arrival of the advance guard of some of our earlier spring migrants. Last week I asked whether the first sand martins or wheatears would arrive soon and they finally did so over the weekend, with singles of both species seen...
  • Blog Post: No more murmurations

    Sadly it looks like our very popular starling murmurations are over for another year. From a peak of 40k birds, the flock had declined to about 10k midway through last week. Last night I took the family to see them again and though the birds put on an impressive display the flock was barely 1000 strong...
  • Blog Post: Slithering, booming and dancing

    The mild, generally sunny start to spring continues - with the blip of a very foggy morning yesterday. Bitterns are certainly making the most of the weather, with two males now booming properly, and birds regularly spending time in full view from both Bittern and Island Mere Hides. One has even been...
  • Blog Post: New arrivals and long stayers

    As March progresses we begin to anticipate the arrival of the first spring migrants. Which will arrive first? A wheatear, sand martin or garganey perhaps? In reality, the first migrants, while not exactly slipping in un-noticed, are often forgotten when thinking about spring migrants. At Minsmere...
  • Blog Post: Croaking, grunting and squealing

    You know spring is just around the corner when a visit to Minsmere requires you to use your ears as well as your eyes. Not forgetting your nose too as the scent of coconut from the gorse blossom will soon be wafting around the car park and beach - and of course the delicious smell of bacon or fresh-cooked...
  • Blog Post: Otter-ly amazing

    One of the great things about working at Minsmere is that we're surrounded by fantastic nature. It's easy to spend hours watching the feeders at the visitor centre, being entertained by flocks of marsh, coal, blue and great tits, chaffinches, greenfinches and goldfinches vying for the prime spots...