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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: We've been waiting to see smew

    They've been a long time in coming, but on Sunday we finally welcomed two smews to Minsmere for the winter. Smews are scarce winter visitors to the UK, with only a few hundred present in most winters, but the mild weather this year has made them even rarer than usual, with very few present at...
  • Blog Post: A warming winter fire(crest)

    The two firecrests that have taken up winter residence around Scotts Hall and the Rhododendron Tunnel continue to attract a lot of interest - for those lucky enough to actually see them. Frustratingly, they seem to avoid the attentions of most of our volunteers, despite many visitors having had good...
  • Blog Post: Celebrating our wonderful wetlands

    Today, 2 February, is World Wetlands Day. This is an important event, at it marks the signing of an international treaty on wetland conservation, the RAMSAR Treaty, signed in the Iranian town of Ramsar on 2 February 1971. Many of the world's most important wetlands, including RSPB Minsmere, are...
  • Blog Post: It's your turn to start counting

    I often write in these blogs about counting Minsmere's wildlife, whether for breeding bird surveys, roost counts or simply counts based on observations from our volunteer guides. For example, our guides have been diligently counting lapwings this week, with more than 500 present on the Scrape. Now...
  • Blog Post: Getting the oxygen pumping

    After another beautiful sunny morning, I decided to wander down to Island Mere at lunchtime. I hoped that I may manage to find an otter, kingfisher, bearded tit or water rail to add to my year list, but sadly I was unlucky with all four species. I was, however, able to watch a group of six whooper...
  • Blog Post: The surprises continue

    Hot on the heels on my two butterfly sightings on Monday, there have been further notable sightings this week. Perhaps the most surprising was the three spoonbills that dropped onto East Scrape on Wednesday. Although common visitors in spring, winter records of spoonbill are rare. We assume these were...
  • Blog Post: Off to a good start

    The New Year started with a beautiful blue sky yesterday morning, before the cloud rolled in on the biting easterly wind. The sun brought out the crowds too, helping us to compile a respectable New Year's Day list of 86 species of birds plus at least five mammals. Although the weather has been a...
  • Blog Post: Another year ends - roll on 2016

    It's been a wild and wet end to 2015 - though rather less wild here in Suffolk than in many other parts of the UK. We hope not too many of you have been affected by the flooding over Christmas. Ironically, given how much rain we've had, Minsmere's paths are actually relatively dry - though...
  • Blog Post: Mute, but not silent

    As I stood on Whin Hill this morning scanning across Island Mere and the reedbed beneath murky skies, numerous white specks in the fields beyond were immediately obvious: swans. Checking carefully through the flock, they all appeared to be large mute swans. Although their smaller cousins, Bewick's...
  • Blog Post: Wetland wildlife delights

    It's been a bit of a wild and windy day today as Storm Desmond has made its presence felt - albeit without causing the disruption experienced farther north - but for those brave enough to venture out onto the reserve, there has been a wealth of wetland wildlife to enjoy. The day started with a...
  • Blog Post: Musings on climate and weather

    If you've been reading the newspapers, watching TV or simply checking your social media accounts, you can't fail to have noticed that world leaders are meeting in Paris this week to discuss ways to prevent climate change from getting any worse. This is probably the most important international...
  • Blog Post: A little auk(ward) wind

    What a difference a few days makes. this time last week temperatures were still in double figures, but the strong northerly wind on Saturday saw a marked drop in temperatures, accompanied by a scattering of snow in Suffolk on Sunday morning and the first proper frost of the year yesterday. It's a...
  • Blog Post: A partridge in a pear tree?

    It's our Christmas shopping weekend, and the reception is filled with the wonderful aroma of hot spiced apple juice, sparkling Christmas tree lights, and staff wearing funny hats. There's a complimentary glass of the apple juice for all visitors. In the shop we have RSPB Love Nature chocolate...
  • Blog Post: You don't see that every day

    While it's not exactly easy to see a bittern at Minsmere, there are at least several sightings every day, and Minsmere is certainly one of the best places to look for these elusive herons. Most of these sightings will be from Bittern Hide or Island Mere, or other locations with a view across the...
  • Blog Post: Something for the weekend

    We have a couple of exciting weekends planned this month, starting this coming Saturday, 14 November, when families are invited to join two local artists for the first of four workshops titled Tidal Margins. Funded by Touching the Tide, a Heritage Lottery Fund landscape project on Suffolk's Heritage...
  • Blog Post: A burning issue

    Continuing the bonfire theme from my last blog, there's a smoky smell emanating from the office this afternoon. The reason? With no power this morning due to a planned power cut to allow tree felling around the powerlines on our entrance road, several of the visitor team joined the wardens to help...
  • Blog Post: Remember remember, 10 November

    Rember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpoweder, treason and plot. We probably all remember the rhyme from our school days, but when out celebrating fireworks night, how many people actually remember why we bother at all - commemorating Guy Fawkes's attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament...
  • Blog Post: Winter's arrived

    I'm back from a superb week watching eagles, otters, dolphins and much more on the beautiful island of Mull, and it sounds like I've missed quite an exciting ten days here at Minsmere too. I always consider that winter arrives with the first sighting of a "wild" swan. For me, that...
  • Blog Post: Not ducking the issue

    Every summer, once the breeding season is over, Minsmere's wardens, volunteers and contractors turn their attention to the task of habitat management, helping to create the perfect home for an incredible variety of nature. Work continues throughout the autumn and winter, and it's not an easy...
  • Blog Post: Arriving tired and hungry

    We've all been there, and got the T-shirt. A long journey with kids is almost guaranteed to include the words "Are we there yet?" In many cases these might be repeated many times, and perhaps by the adults as well as the children. At least we are usually able to provide an answer, as...
  • Blog Post: Subbuteo anyone?

    Who remembers playing Subbuteo as a child, or with their children? We've recently acquired the table football game for our son, and it's great fun reliving my own childhood and flicking little plastic players around the pitch trying to score a goal. But did you know that the game Subbuteo was...
  • 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...