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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: Count the legs & divide by two

    Today is apparantly the day that all zoos in the UK carry out their annual stock check. They have to count (and account for) every animal in their collections, from mighty elephants to the tiniest insects. I'm sure it can't be too hard to count the mammals, birds and repiles, but the fish and...
  • 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: Winter meets spring

    Two species of duck are stealing the show at present: two species that are rarely seen on the same day in the UK. Smews have featured heavily in our sightings blogs for the last three months. We'd usually expect the last ones to be leaving Minsmere in mid March, but the continued cold weather...
  • 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: It's all happening right now

    Migration. Don't you just love it? The unpredictability. The stories of incredible journeys and survival against the odds. Best of all, is the knowledge that the season's are changing and the natural world is still alive and waiting to spring its next surprise upon us. OK, so maybe not everything...
  • Blog Post: Minsmere or the Med?

    There's been a decidedly southern European feel to Minsmere this week - and I don't just mean the lovely warm weather. The breeding stone-curlews continue to prove very obliging and popular, with good if distant views from the western end of the North Wall. We often have volunteer guides on...
  • Blog Post: A different perspective of Minsmere

    It's always great to try something different, and today that something different was certainly a success. The something different in question was a guided walk as part of the Woodwose Festival . What is Woodwose, I hear you ask. It's a brand new festival - more a celebration of the great outdoors...
  • Blog Post: Beans and Bewick's

    Winter wildfowl have been vying with the almost resident waxwings and regular otters for top honours this week. Bewick's swans are always a popular species at Minsmere, even though we only ever see small flocks compared to those in the Fens. Up to 17 have been present for the last month or so...
  • Blog Post: Popular visitors

    Since my last sightings update, the picture has been much the same. Waxwings have been seen in small numbers on most dates, but rarely lingering for more than a few minutes. Bewick's swan numbers have fluctuated between four and eight, and they're commuting between Island Mere and the Scrape...
  • Blog Post: The early bird(watcher) earns their rewards

    Mid April means the start of our popular dawn chorus guided walks at Minsmere. Now, you may wander why anyone would want to get up before the lark in time to arrive at a nature reserve while it's still dark, but that's probably the best time to visit Minsmere. Just ask the 16 eager souls who...
  • Blog Post: Up with lark - or even before!

    Yes folks, it's dawn chorus time again. These walks remain incredibly popular - despite the 4 am start. Five of the six are fully booked: there are still 13 places left for the final walk on Saturday 21 May - if you are quick! This week it was my turn to lead, and Robin Harvey and I duly met 28...
  • Blog Post: "Cuckoo, cuckoo"

    Hope you all had a good Easter folks. I spent the break in Shropshire, enjoying a good list of garden butterflies and a thriving colony of house sparrows - something I don't see many of where I live. Also had a great trip to Anglesey to see a selection of birds that are absent here in Suffolk...
  • Blog Post: A rarity fest

    Firstly, apologies for the lack of an update for the last week - not enough time in the office between meetings and a weekend off are to blame. It's been an excellent few days on the reserve - typically as I've not been out looking for anything. Two groups of birds have stolen the show - raptors...
  • 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: Winter madness

    You know how sometimes when one thing goes wrong, so do several others. Well, yesterday was one of those days. there was definitely an air of midwinter madness about proceedings - and it wasn't just from the people concerned! I should have known it was going to be one of those days from the start...
  • 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...
  • Blog Post: Otterly amazing

    There can be no doubt from talking to visitors this week that there are two target species for most visitors to Minsmere this week: otter and waxwing. Many people are surprised that otters can be seen during the day, but that is indeed the case, and we have sightings at any of day. They have been...
  • 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: Celebrating spring

    The Spring Celebration weekend once again proved to be highly successful. The format is simple. Our wardens and volunteer guides are stationed around the reserve at key locations to help visitors to learn about Minsmere's special wildlife. The tricky part is the unpredictability of the wildlife that...
  • Blog Post: Exploring foreign parts

    Just occasionally, it's nice to have the chance to visit new reserves, even if it does mean spending a few days away from Minsmere's glorious wildlife. On Monday, I took a gorgeous train journey across the Broads and Fens, on route to Peterborough, and on north to Middlesbrough. This train...
  • Blog Post: From Russia with love...

    Autumn has arrived with a bang over the last couple of weeks. Stormforce north-easterly winds in early October brought extensive erosion to the Suffolk coast, including Minsmere’s dunes, but we escaped any of the overtopping that has happened on storm surges in recent years. An accompanying thunderstorm...
  • 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...
  • Blog Post: Winter has arrived

    Temperatures have dropped considerably this week, with the first frosts and some icy rain this morning. There was even a brief spell of sleet early this morning, but I don't think we're going to get any snow on the Suffolk coast yet. With the colder weather our bird feeders have become even...