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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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: "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: Nature Minute: Otters

    Welcome to the first Nature Minute, a special series of video blogs we'll be sharing over the next three weeks while BBC Springwatch is with us here at Minsmere. While the Springwatch cameras allow us a fascinating glimpse into the intimate details of the lives of breeding British wildlife for...
  • 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: Insects emerging

    The beautiful warm weather over the last couple of days has encouraged a wider variety of insects to emerge as adults and take their first flights - though sadly it looks as if the temperatures may be set to fall again later in the week. Two of our volunteers were out completing their weekly butterfly...
  • Blog Post: A touch of colour

    I hope you all had a great bank holiday weekend, despite Sunday's rather wet weather - and this morning's! It looks like the April showers have arrived a little late this year - along with autumn gales in May, as once again the British weather bowls us a googly. I've just enjoyed a few...
  • 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: #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: Eagle alert

    Wow! I'm still trying to get my breath back after running to the Whin Hill watchpoint to see one of the most impressive of British birds, a juvenile white-tailed eagle, circling low over Island Mere. With a two metre wingspan and broad wings, these truly are impressive birds, and it totally dwarfed...
  • 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: Celebrating World Wildlife Day

    Today, 3 March is the UN World Wildlife Day. In celebration, I thought I'd share a pictorial overview of some of Minsmere's amazing wildlife. Let's start with otters . Late winter and early spring is always the best time to see these popular mammals, and they put on a particularly impressive...
  • Blog Post: More Minsmere murmuration magic

    Yes folks - after a couple of months away from Minsmere, our starlings have returned! Since the middle of last week we've had about 10000 starlings roosting in the North Marsh reedbed at dusk. The flock, which usually forms at about 5 pm, is best watched from the North Wall, or even from outside...