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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: The birds and the bees (and butterflies and machines and...)

    Despite the weekend storms and frequent heavy showers, our insects are continuing to attract a lot of attention. Butterflies such as gatekeepers and meadow browns are attracted to brambles, small coppers and common blues on the North Wall and dunes, and red admirals and small tortoiseshells still on...
  • Blog Post: Springwatch may be over but the wildlife remains

    Wow, what an amazing three weeks. It's been a whirlwind of emotions with fledgings and predation, new discoveries and surprise observations. There were moments to make to you laugh, and others to make you cry. Footage to make some hide behind the sofa and events that will never be forgotten. Who...
  • Blog Post: Expecting the unexpected

    Spring is a fantastic time at Minsmere, with so much to see that you never really know what to expect. OK, so you can reliably see black-headed gulls, avocets and lapwings nesting on the Scrape, or perhaps a marsh harrier sky-dancing above the reeds, but will you be lucky enough to spot a bittern...
  • Blog Post: Back from Africa

    They seem to be a bit late this year, but we've finally had what can be described as a flock of sand martins around the pond today, with up to twelve birds present all day. We've also had further sightings of a swallow and the first house martin over the Scrape today. Another new arrival is...
  • Blog Post: New arrivals trickling in

    Hot on the heels of our recent pair of garganeys, the last week has seen the arrival of the advance guard of some of our earlier spring migrants. Last week I asked whether the first sand martins or wheatears would arrive soon and they finally did so over the weekend, with singles of both species seen...
  • Blog Post: On the move or stay at home

    As June drifted seemlessly into July, Minsmere's wildlife responded accordingly. In many ways the birdlife has a more autumnal feel now, with few signs of the recent spring. Meanwhile, for our plants and insects summer is definitely well and truly in full flow. Among our breeding birds, midsummer...
  • 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: A hobby to remember?

    Birdwatching is one of those past times that you can do anywhere, any time. In the last week, for example, I've a marsh harrier flying over my garden whilst I was washing up, and a green woodpecker flew over at eye height as we watered the garden last night. But if you want to see something more...
  • Blog Post: Cuckoos and swifts arrive to celebrate spring

    It's Spring Celebration tomorrow, and the birds certainly seem to know that we're here to celebrate spring. The first cuckoo of the year was reported calling near Island Mere - a great way to celebrate St George's Day. let's hope we get a few more than for the last few years, but I'm...
  • Blog Post: Island Mere still has it's magic

    As many long standing visitors to Minsmere will know, the old Island Mere Hide was one of the best places to watch willdife in the UK, especially rare reedbed species such as bitterns , marsh harriers and bearded tits . I've often described it as my favourite place to sit and relax in England. ...
  • Blog Post: A repeat performance

    Following my last blog about Ernie Dale's amazing account of two bitterns at Island Mere, I decided to stroll down there at lunchtime. I wasn't expecting to see any bitterns as i was only planning to spend five minutes in the hide. No, my real target was to add a few newly arrived migrants...
  • 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: The king still reigns

    Our first winter king eider has clearly taken a liking to his chosen stretch of coastline, as he remains offshore today. He seems to start the day off Dunwich, slowly drift south towards the sluice, then head out to sea before reappearing off Dunwich later in the day. he even took a rest on Dunwich beach...
  • Blog Post: Pretty in pink

    As the spring migration gathers pace, new birds are being added to the reserve year list ever day. The following species have already arrived: Sandwich and common terns, little gulls, sand martins, swallows, house martins, sedge warblers, reed warblers (including the earliest ever Suffolk record), blackcaps...
  • Blog Post: Spring in the air

    What an absolutely fabulous day today! Sunny, mild, virtually no wind. Defintiely feels like spring has arrived. Plenty of good indicators in the natural world too. Small tortoiseshell butterflies now flitting about in a few places, and I saw a couple of bumblebees out and about. Strong coconut scent...
  • Blog Post: When the lazy wind doth blow

    I had a quick stroll round the Scrape at lunchtime and was glad I put on an extra layer, for the lazy wind was blowing today. There was a brisk north-easterly, casting a chill feel to the air. They call it a lazy wind in these parts, because it goes straight through you, rather than round. I'm sure...
  • Blog Post: An untimely wake up call

    Another stunning day on the Suffolk coast. Adam Rowlands, our site manager, was up at the unearthly hour of 4 am to meet a BBC film crew on the hunt for bitterns. The cameraman had been lucky enough to film one booming in front of Island Mere hide yesterday teatime, and this morning they heard and...
  • Blog Post: Three's a crowd

    Do you remember watching Sir David Attenborough's fascinating programme about dunnocks a few years ago? One of the memories I have from that programme was about the unusual courtship and mating rituals of these dapper little garden birds. About how each female usually has two males in tow - an alpha...
  • Blog Post: Life And Death At Minsmere

    Spring at Minsmere is well and truly in full swing and as we draw to the end of May we have had many natural events and coming and goings to celebrate. Now that the weather is heating up so too is the number of species found in our moth trap. There is something of a changing of the guard in this sense...
  • Blog Post: Fudge anyone?

    Keeping up the insect theme (well, July is the month that many birdwatchers switch their allegiance to insects) I saw my first cinnabar moth caterpillars today. These are the yellow and black striped caterpillars that feed on ragwort plants. If you were like me as a child, you might remember "playing"...
  • Blog Post: hello, goodbye and au revoir, for now

    It's a week of change at Minsmere, and I don't just mean one the wildlife front. First, welcome to Ricky who has joined the team of blog writers at Minsmere. I'm sure he'll enjoy regaling you with news from the wardening team. Ricky's been with us for a few weeks and will now be...
  • Blog Post: A great weekend

    We had another great weekend at Minsmere. Our staff and volunteers spoke to many visitors, helping them to spot our special species and make the visit more enjoyable. It was great to see so many families, especially on Saturday when the weather was superb. Sunday remained dull and dreary, with the forecast...
  • Blog Post: Busy, busy, busy. Too much to see and not enough time

    Wow, there's just so much happening at Minsmere - and we haven't even got to May yet! After yesterday's stone-curlew was spotted from the approach road, another was located on the Konik Field, where it showed well all afternoon. Although they are waders, stone-curlews are rarely seen near...
  • Blog Post: Is spring finally around the corner?

    After one of the slowest starts to spring migration on record, we finally heard our first chiffchaff of the spring yesterday. This is almost three weeks later than the usual first arrival date. Given the cold weather that's probably not a surprise, and providing they start to flood in over the next...
  • Blog Post: Managing Minsmere

    Keeping Minsmere in tip top condition for wildlife and people is a careful balancing act. We could make the reserve brilliant for one species, but it might be detrimental for others, or mean visitors can't see anything else. We could make it a brilliant place to see wildlife in one seasn, but there's...