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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 ode to starlings

    Last night I took advantage of a beautiful evening and cancelled meeting to head out onto the path between Wildlife Lookout and South Hide to watch the starling murmuration. It was such a beautiful evening that I've been inspired to write a rare poem. An icy wind blows from the north As...
  • Blog Post: Otterly bittern by the Minsmere bug

    Over the last few months we've been treated to some highly enjoyable guest blogs by a few of Minsmere's amazing volunteers. Today I'd like to share another blog by Ally Hoadley, who has recently posted her contribution to an advent calender on the A Focus on Nature website. AFON is a a...
  • Blog Post: Springwatch stars showing off

    We welcomed Etholle George from BBC Radio Suffolk back to Minsmere yesterday to present her breakfast show live from the Discovery Centre. Her story on BBC Look East, filmed last week, was also braodcast on bulletins throughout Tuesday. Etholle was here to celebrate the success of Springwatch six...
  • Blog Post: You never know what you'll see

    The saying couldn't be more true this week as a couple of surprise sightings have kept staff and visitors on their toes, and our regular species have competed for their share of the action. Perhaps the biggest surprise was a stunning drake eider that spent a few minutes among the hordes of commoner...
  • Blog Post: A guide in a hide

    Guest blog by Ally Hoadley, volunteer guide Not having been a guide since the summer migrants all wended their way back to warmer climes, a day’s guiding was a great way to reacquaint myself with the birds that call Minsmere home during the winter months - especially ahead of assisting with...
  • Blog Post: Northern waifs

    One of the birdwatching highlights this week, for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, has been the passage of several little auks offshore. These tiny seabirds breed on rocky scree slopes in the high Arctic and spend the winter close to the southern edge of the sea ice. Autumn...
  • Blog Post: Starling spectacular, rarities and the Brigadier

    What a week it has been. The continuing superb autumn weather, combined with roosting starlings, Minsmere's red deer appearing on Autumnwatch, and our exciting family activity programme all helped to make October half term one of the busiest weeks on record. As well as making some lovely insect...
  • Blog Post: Croaking, grunting and squealing

    You know spring is just around the corner when a visit to Minsmere requires you to use your ears as well as your eyes. Not forgetting your nose too as the scent of coconut from the gorse blossom will soon be wafting around the car park and beach - and of course the delicious smell of bacon or fresh-cooked...
  • Blog Post: Starling roosts

    At this time of year we start to get lots of enquiries about starling roosts, especially after seeing some of the amazing images on BBC Autumnwatch last week. While we're yet to get a roost here at Minsmere this autumn, we have managed to locate a sizable roost on the Suffolk coast - at Snape. It...
  • 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: What no starlings?

    If, like me, you watched Countryfile on Sunday night, you'll have seen the fantastic swirling clouds of starlings above the Somerset Levels. There really are fewer better spectacles in the UK. Sadly, the starlings do not seem to be playing ball here on the Suffolk coast this winter. After the...
  • Blog Post: Icy blast brings wader bonanza

    It's not often we say this in December, but the Scrape was heaving with waders today. No doubt the bitterly cold north-easterly gales were a factor, with many of these birds seeking the relative shelter of the Scrape, rather than braving it our on the beaches and estuaries, but it just shows that...
  • Blog Post: Just missed a good one!

    Great walk yesterday morning to celebrate National Farmhouse Breakfast Week. It was cold but clear with a red dawn sky over the sea when we started at 7 am. Gorgeous sunrise as we reached East Hide, and not too cold when sheltered from NE wind. We had some cracking views of wildlife too, before returning...
  • Blog Post: The Five W's

    You've all heard of the three R's of learning. As you're reading this, you'll be familiar with the three W's of the world wide web. Well, today's wildlife highlights centred on the five W's: waxwings, wildfowl, waders, water rails and wagtails. Waxwings continue to be seen...
  • Blog Post: It's nice to see smew

    Smews are definitely one of my favourite birds. They are scarce but annual visitors to Minsmere, with up to five usually seen between mid December and late February, maybe for slightly longer. They are diving ducks that feed on fish (they're actually the smallest member of the sawbill family, closely...
  • Blog Post: Happy New Year - and some great birding already!

    Wow! What a way to start the new year! Here's a few of the highlights from the first three days of the year: seawatching on 1st - slavonian grebe (very rare at Minsmere), velvet scoter , three eiders , 200+ red-throated divers , 50 great crested grebes geese on 1st included 12 tundra beans...
  • Blog Post: A touch of the exotic

    Despite the deep freeze conditions, there was a touch of exotica at Island Mere today. A Chinese feel to the birding. The reason? The unexpected appearance of a pair of mandarins, sharing the tiny ice-free pool with a few gadwalls, shovelers, mallards and teals, five female tufted ducks, a drake pintail...
  • Blog Post: Christmas is coming...the goose is getting fat

    Yes folks, Christmas is approaching, and I don't know what to buy. Lots of you obviously do though as Minsmere's visitor centre was a hive of activity over the weekend for our Christmas Fair. Staff and volunteers were on hand to offer advice on buying birdfood , gifts, RSPB chocolate (palm-oil...
  • Blog Post: Scavengers, one and all

    Sometimes it's the common species that spring the biggest surprises. So it was at lunchtime today when I strolled down to Island Mere. The scene was, as usual, one of calm serenity. The water was mirror-calm, reflecting the low midday sun such that it was impossible to see the island itself. The...
  • Blog Post: 6000 minus two equals dinner

    Our starling roost was particularly impressive again tonight. Numbers remain at about 6000 birds, but however good we are estimating such big flocks, they were reduced by two tonight thanks to the successful attacks of an opportunistic peregrine ! One theory behind why starlings gather in such numbers...
  • Blog Post: STOP Press: the starlings are back!

    Great news! There were about 4000 starlings roosting in North Marsh this evening. Why not come along this weekend and watch them? You can visit the Christmas Fair too. The starlings are best viewed from North Wall. We hope they are here to stay and that the flock will increase because it's about...
  • Blog Post: Wonderful World Wetlands Day Walk

    Every year I lead a winter wildfowl guided walk on 2 February to celebrate World Wetlands Day - marking the signing of an international treaty to protect the world's most important wetlands for wildlfie and people. Minsmere is one of many RAMSAR sites, designated under this treaty, so it seems only...
  • Blog Post: Unexpected surprises

    One of the joys of wildlife watching is its unpredictability. Take our starlings for a start. After several years without a decent starling roost at Minsmere, we'd almost given up on them returning, and began focusing on the roost at RSPB Snape . Imagine our surprise and pleasure when the roost began...