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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: Back to reality - whatever that is!

    Wow, what a week! Last week was rather busy here at Minsmere, with the combination of (mostly) good weather, lots of families enjoying our various holiday activities, and the bizarre sighting of a blue chicken (aka purple swamphen) that drew in the crowds. The swamphen remained all week, and was...
  • Blog Post: A Mediterranean summer

    OK, so it may be not be Mediterranean weather, but with Glastonbury just finished and Wimbledon underway, what more do you expect? But there is certainly a Mediterranean feel to Minsmere right now as large flocks of Mediterranean gulls are gathering on the Scrape. Numbers fluctuate during the day, and...
  • Blog Post: Insects emerge

    The sudden and welcome increase in temperatures has seen the emergence of a good variety of insects over the last few days - as well as the annual emergence of human lower legs as the shorts get their first seasonal airings. At least six species of dragonflies and damselflies have been seen so far...
  • Blog Post: What a great hobby we have

    Working at Minsmere has to be one of the best jobs ever - even if I do spend much of the day in front of a computer rather out enjoying the wildlife. Afterall, as highlighted in the latest (Summer 2016) issue of Nature's Home magazine, Minsmere is the Number One RSPB nature reserve when it comes...
  • Blog Post: One cuckoo may not make a summer, but one swift certainly does!

    Yes folks, it's official. It may be quite cold outside, with a chill breeze and only intermittent sunshine, but summer is here. One of our guides reported the first swift over the Scrape this afternoon. With several swallows and house martins over Island Mere this morning, and well over 100 sand...
  • Blog Post: It's spring!

    Today is the spring equinox - officially the first day of spring, and the wildlife at Minsmere has clearly responded accordingly, with spring migrants, flowers, birdsong and reptiles all reflecting the changing season. Chiffchaffs are invariably the first spring migrants to arrive, having only traveled...
  • Blog Post: Flopwings, blackwits and awl birds

    For the first time in several weeks I completed the full circuit of the coast trail today. The north-easterly wind made it feel quite cool, especially on the North Wall and the top of the dunes. Out of the wind, though, the sun still had a bit of warmth, and the blue skies gave a lovely springlike feel...
  • Blog Post: Mr Blue Sky

    I don't think you could possibly have two more contrasting days that yesterday and today. Yesterday was dull, damp, dreary and downright miserable. So much so that less than 30 visitors actually ventured out onto the reserve. Our volunteer guides did brave the weather though, and found some interesting...
  • Blog Post: It's a ten from Len

    It was a bit of a surprise to wake up to a snowy scene in North Suffolk today, though there was no sign of the white stuff on the ground once I arrived in Suffolk. It has been a cold day with regular showers and some bits of sleet mixed in. Not enough to put me off a lunchtime stroll to look for otters...
  • Blog Post: Otter Madness!

    With it being Mother’s Day tomorrow I thought I would blog about the only known mothers on the reserve at the moment, the otter family. It has been otter madness all morning with the radio buzzing with reports of sightings of the otters. Four were radioed through as spotted at Bittern Hide this...
  • Blog Post: February fire

    After the mildest winter on record, it really felt very springlike as I wandered down to Island Mere hide at lunchtime today. With the sun streaming through the open window I could easily have dozed off, but might have woken with a painful sunburn. On my walk down Whin Hill I could hear a good variety...
  • Blog Post: Time for reflection

    After a week or so away from the reserve, there's always plenty to reflect upon once I return - though the mountains of emails need to be dealt with first! Although my week was spent mostly sightseeing and visiting family, I was lucky enough to spot a some interesting wildlife on my travels: ring...
  • Blog Post: February Flirtation!

    Half term week at Minsmere has had many highlights. The sunny days have brought with them many visitors to the reserve and many great sightings. I have spent the week in the Discovery Centre helping families create nest boxes for National Nest Box Week so have missed my walks around the reserve but I...
  • 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...