Minsmere

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: Spring is round the corner

    Next Sunday, 1 February, we switch to summer opening at Minsmere. This means that the visitor centre remains open until 5 pm, and the cafe hours switch to 9.30 am to 4.45 pm. To help us to get ready for spring, the cafe will be closing early on Monday, at 2.30 pm, for a deep clean, so if you're planning...
  • Blog Post: A busy week

    While I've been enjoying some extremely memorable birdwatching in Portugal (this isn't the place to relate the stories unfortunately), it's been a really busy week at Minsmere. Work has progressed well on building the new fence around the Scrape. The bank on which the fence will sit has...
  • Blog Post: Beautiful beards

    Or perhaps that should say "magnificent moustaches?" Either way, I'm talking about the same species. One of our most sought after birds. One of our most beautiful birds. And one that seems to be putting on a really good show this week. I am, of course, talking about bearded tits. Tiny...
  • Blog Post: No ducking the issue

    As ever at this time of year it's ducks that dominate the reserve's birdlife at the moment, at least numerically. Large flocks of wigeons, gadwalls, teals, mallards and shovelers are feeding or loafing on the Scrape, Konik Field and Levels, with a several shelducks and a few pintails and tufted...
  • Blog Post: A New Year bonus

    News broke via our Twitter page of a potentially very rare visitor to Minsmere on New Year's Eve - though no-one had yet seen it! Scientists in Sweden, monitoring the movements of a lesser white-fronted goose fitted with a GPS tracker, had noted it's departure from the Norwegian coast the...
  • Blog Post: Happy Christmas and farewell to a great year

    Wow, what an amazing year. Minsmere's fame spread in the spring when the Springwatch cameras arrived - and what superb footage they got of bitterns, reed warblers, goldfinches, adders, badger and, of course Grub the tawny owl. With increased awareness of what a brilliant place Minsmere is,...
  • Blog Post: Counting down

    It's an exciting time in our household, as in many around the country, as we count down the days until Christmas. Advent calendars are opened to reveal festive pictures, chocolates, or in our case little Lego toys that will make a lovely Christmas scene when finished. With only seven more sleeps...
  • 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: Springwatch revisited

    After all the wet weather recently, it was great to have a couple of dry days on Monday and Tuesday. We even managed to see the sun again. (Sadly it's wet again today, though the forecast is better for the rest of the week). The better weather couldn't have better timed either, as I welcomed...
  • 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: No need for a long walk

    Don't let the short days, with the nights rapidly closing in and the continuing dull weather, put you off visiting Minsmere this winter. There's lots to see without the need for a long walk around the full circular walks. You may simply want to visit the shop or cafe for some pre-Christmas...
  • Blog Post: A big fencing project

    Works is due to start later this week on a major project to replace the aging fence around the Scrape. The fence is intended to prevent ground-nesting predators, such as foxes or badgers, from gaining access to the Scrape, thus protecting breeding gulls, waders, ducks and terns. The existing fence...
  • 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: Small is beautiful

    The very popular, if rather elusive, little crake is still in residence in the reedbed pool in front of Bittern Hide. Having completed nearly two weeks here, it's stayed much longer than expected, giving most twitchers, and many casual birdwatchers, the chance to see it - though some have had to...
  • Blog Post: Elusive crake

    The little crake is still being seen every day at Minsmere, but it's not been easy to see. It has probably been most reliable just after dawn, with sightings between 6.50 am and 8 am most days - though often for only a few minutes. On Monday there were many disappointed birdwatchers when it wasn't...
  • Blog Post: Little and large show

    The weekend just gone saw the main focus at Minsmere turn to red deer, with our annual weekend of guides and activities at the viewpoint on Westleton Heath. The red deer rut is one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles in the UK. After all, the stags are our largest land mammals, and the sight of...
  • Blog Post: The colour is purple

    There's still a good selection of wading birds on the Scrape, but one has been stealing the show for birdwatchers this week: a beautiful purple sandpiper. These are usually birds of rocky shores, which means there are few reliable places to see them in Suffolk - the north and west coast of the UK...
  • Blog Post: Great white alert

    A great white was found at Minsmere this afternoon. There's nothing to worry about though as it wasn't a shark. No, our great white is an egret. A beautiful bird it is too. Great white egrets remain rare visitors in the UK, though their numbers are increasing and they have been breeding in...
  • Blog Post: Osprey!

    The radio crackled into life. "There's an osprey fishing over Island Mere." I grabbed my binoculars and camera, clicked lock screen on the computer and headed out to the Whin Hill watchpoint to try to get a look. I called out to two passing visitors that there was an osprey at Island...
  • Blog Post: Time for a chat about cricket

    The fabulous Indian summer weather has proved particularly attractive to some of our insects, as well as providing perfect conditions for migratory birds to drop in. Our amazing autumn for wryneck records continues. At their final ringing demo of the year last Thursday the Waveney Bird Club trapped...
  • Blog Post: An avian Watford Gap

    There's a real feeling of autumn arriving at Minsmere now, despite weather forecasts for another warm spell arriving. It was cool and breezy for my lunchtime walk today, with a hint of drizzle in the air, but all around were signs that migration is in full swing. As I strolled through the North...
  • Blog Post: Wrynecks, waders, wheatears and more

    The exciting summer of family activities and superb wildlife watching has continued, despite occasional periods of heavy rain (most notably on Bank Holiday Monday!). Pond dipping, owl pellet dissection and minibeast hunts continued to be popular with families, giving many children (and their parents...
  • Blog Post: An opportunistic otter

    It was a bit of a heron fest at Minsmere today. A great white egret spent a bit of time at Island Mere this morning, with bitterns seen in flight there later. Seven spoonbills moved from the Scrape to Lucky Pool this morning. Plus of course there were little egrets and grey herons to be seen. The...
  • 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...