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: Mud, machines, fences and avocets - an update from the Scrape

    It's been a while since I posted an update on the ongoing work to replace the predator-proof fence around the Scrape. When I let you know about our plans before work started, in a blog back in November , we were expecting to finish the work this week. While work has progressed well, we're...
  • Blog Post: More Minsmere murmuration magic

    Yes folks - after a couple of months away from Minsmere, our starlings have returned! Since the middle of last week we've had about 10000 starlings roosting in the North Marsh reedbed at dusk. The flock, which usually forms at about 5 pm, is best watched from the North Wall, or even from outside...
  • Blog Post: Love is in the air

    Couples across the world may be celebrating Valentine's Day today, but did you know that 14 February is an important day in the natural world. Today is traditionally the day that ducks pair up for the year, and certainly there's been a lot of amorous behaviour on the Scrape for the last few...
  • Blog Post: Biting off more than it can chew?

    One of our volunteer guides spent some time seawatching this morning and was rewarded with a dramatic encounter between two large scavengers. Pomarine skuas are usually passage migrants in the UK, but one or two often spend the winter off the Suffolk coast, and one has been seen occasionally all winter...
  • Blog Post: A bird's nest in February?

    There was great excitement this week following the discovery of these nests close to the visitor centre! Nests with eggs in February. Surely not? When I posted the pictures on the RSPB Suffolk Facebook page on Saturday, more than one person thought they were chocolate cups filled with white chocolate...
  • Blog Post: One avocet doesn't make a summer

    No sooner had the first avocet returned to the Scrape, signalling the imminent arrival of spring, then the temperature dropped and the snow showers arrived. It's still bitterly cold today, with both the Scrape and Island Mere largely frozen this morning, but at least the sun is shining and the days...
  • Blog Post: Minsmere is number one

    That's what you tell us anyway. We're now rated as the number one visitor attraction in Suffolk according to Trip Advisor , with 97% of reviews rating Minsmere at least four out of five. We really enjoy reading reviews on Trip Advisor. Many reviews thank our amazing volunteer guides and reception...
  • 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...