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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: A great white at Minsmere

    Anyone visiting the Suffolk coast these days can hardly fail to spot a small white heron paddling around in the shallows of an estuary or coastal pool. Little egrets were still rarities as recently as 20 years ago, before starting to breed in the UK in 1995. Colonisation was swift, and they are now widespread...
  • 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: Still wild and free

    More than one year after she escaped from Marwell Zoo, and almost ten months after her visit to Minsmere, Fiona the wandering greater flamingo returned to the Scrape for at least her fifth visit on Tuesday. After so long in the wild, without access to food supplements to enhance her colour, she's...
  • Blog Post: The west wind blows

    It was bound to happen. No sooner had I blogged about migrants finally flooding in then the wind swung back to the west, the showers set in, and migration slowed down again. Typical. The main consequence of this has been a relative status quo for the last week. The red-crested pochard remains on Island...
  • Blog Post: Winter wildfowl wonders

    Mid winter at Minsmere means wildfowl taking centre stage. And this year is no exception - although the otters are doing a great job of upstaging them at Island Mere. On Tuesday I led the first of the winter wildfowl guided walks at Minsmere, and enjoyed some great sightings. If you missed it, you...
  • 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: North Levels Wader Trail - Minsmere, but not as you know it!

    With the breeding season over, it's that time of year again when we open our seasonal trails to give visitors the chance to discover new areas of Minsmere and maybe spot some of our more elusive species. Over the next couple of weeks we'll once again be opening the North Bushes trail to look...
  • 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 good start to the year

    Last year finished with second highest bird list ever at Minsmere - an impressive 238 species. This year has started in a similar vien, with 101 species recorded on 1 January alone. Here's a few of the highlights from the first week or so of 2012. Several hundred red-throated divers and great...
  • Blog Post: Is spring finally around the corner?

    After one of the slowest starts to spring migration on record, we finally heard our first chiffchaff of the spring yesterday. This is almost three weeks later than the usual first arrival date. Given the cold weather that's probably not a surprise, and providing they start to flood in over the next...
  • Blog Post: Northern invaders

    With winter's arrival, some of our more exciting winter migrants are beginning to put in an appearance. Waxwings , in particular, are always popular, and there have been many reports from throughout the UK over the last few days. As usual. most are arriving on the east coast before moving inland...
  • Blog Post: Island Mere still has it's magic

    As many long standing visitors to Minsmere will know, the old Island Mere Hide was one of the best places to watch willdife in the UK, especially rare reedbed species such as bitterns , marsh harriers and bearded tits . I've often described it as my favourite place to sit and relax in England. ...
  • Blog Post: A Scottish Adventure

    Guest blog by Aris Litten, Minsmere Catering Manager Having worked at Minsmere for seven years, I’ve just completed a very enjoyable and rewarding sabbatical, during which I toured several RSPB reserves and projects in Scotland, carrying out a variety of different work and seeing some superb...
  • Blog Post: Pretty in pink

    As the spring migration gathers pace, new birds are being added to the reserve year list ever day. The following species have already arrived: Sandwich and common terns, little gulls, sand martins, swallows, house martins, sedge warblers, reed warblers (including the earliest ever Suffolk record), blackcaps...
  • 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: A taste of the Costas

    Firstly, an apology for the lack of recent updates. I've been away for a couple of weeks and with so much work going on at Minsmere I didn't ask anyone to write an update in my absence. Also a reminder that you can see more regular, brief updates on our Twitter and Facebook pages. With spring...
  • Blog Post: Autumn gales and winter frosts

    It's been a week of contrasts, though here in Suffolk we have certainly not experienced the full force of the UK's week of wild weather. The week began with the first real chill in the air, but no sign of the snow afflicting northern counties. By midweek, we caught the tail end of the damaging...
  • Blog Post: Happy Christmas

    As another year slowly draws to a close, it's time for my final sightings update of the year. The main news is not much change over the last few weeks. That;s not to say that it's quiet. Far from it. Just that as is usual in mid winter, most of the birds are staying put. An exception was...
  • Blog Post: A good end to the year

    Despite some flooding on parts of the trails, it's been quite a good end to the year at Minsmere. Here's a few of the highlights since Christmas. The first smews have finally arrived, with a redhead and a drake both seen on the Scrape for the last couple of days. If we finally get some cold...
  • Blog Post: What a difference a week makes

    Last Wednesday when I had a look on the Scrape at lunchtime there was still a very wintry theme with ducks dominating include a cracking drake smew with two females. The only waders in sight were a few lapwings and a couple of redshanks. Today the scene was very different. I could tell even before...
  • Blog Post: Waders galore

    Late summer means that migration is in full swing, and there's certainly been a constant stream of wading birds passing through over the last few days. Some stay for a few days, others for just a few minutes, so there's no guarantee that you'll catch up with all of them, but it will be fun...
  • Blog Post: Otterly fabulous

    One of Minsmere's most enigmatic mammals has been stealing the show from our birds for the last few weeks. Otters are usually thought to be shy, elusive creatures, but not at present. Mid winter is always the best time to see otters as water levels are lowered to allow reedbed management work...
  • Blog Post: After the snow comes the flood

    It seems hard to believe that little over a week ago we had several centimetres of snow and nightime tempertures plummeting below minus five. Daytime temperatures are now exceeding ten degrees - it was a positively balmy 13 degrees Centigrade yesterday, although the gale force wind made it feel cooler...