Minsmere

Minsmere
Explore, discover and enjoy nature at Minsmere. There's always something exciting to inspire a return visit to Suffolk's natural treasure.
Results for waxwing
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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 galore

    After the excitement of New Year, the pace of the birding has slowed a little at Minsmere recently, but there's still loads to be seen. Ducks are everywhere, especially wigeons and teals , but the smews continue to steal the show. Up to nine birds have been present over the last week, including...
  • 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: masked visitor

    A rare masked visitor arrived at Minsmere over the weekend. No need to worry, though, as this particular masked visitor was not only harmless but highly prized by many of Minsmere's birdwatchers. The visitor in question was a grey phalarope - a tiny wading bird that hasn't been seen at Minsmere...
  • 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: good news and bad

    First the good news. Waxwings continue to be seen most days at Minsmere. I had 20 over the wardens' office on Wednesday, there were 50 present on Tuesday, and 50 (possibly the same flock?) were seen at Eastbridge yesterday. Let's hope some of them actually hang around for a few weeks, giving...
  • Blog Post: First impressions

    It's been a long ten weeks since I last visited the old Island Mere Hide, so it was with much anticipation that I headed down to the new hide for a quick look yesterday. And I was not disappointed. The hide looks absolutely superb as you approach up the ramp. This will be a great place to watch...
  • 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: Let the magic begin

    I had another stroll down to the new Island Mere Hide this afternoon to look at the newly installed interpretation, and in the hope of seeing a few good birds. I wasn’t disappointed. As I’ve said previously, I loved the old hide, despite it’s shortcomings, and while I knew its replacement...
  • 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: Northern invaders

    With winter's arrival, some of our more exciting winter migrants are beginning to put in an appearance. Waxwings , in particular, are always popular, and there have been many reports from throughout the UK over the last few days. As usual. most are arriving on the east coast before moving inland...
  • Blog Post: A Suffolk first

    Hot on the heals of Suffolk's first Hornemann's arctic redpoll at Aldeburgh this week (see Tuesday's North Warren blog) , one lucky birdwatcher was treated to views of another Suffolk first at Minsmere this afternoon. The bird in question was a surf scoter - a North American duck that is...
  • Blog Post: Happy Christmas

    As another year slowly draws to a close, it's time for my final sightings update of the year. The main news is not much change over the last few weeks. That;s not to say that it's quiet. Far from it. Just that as is usual in mid winter, most of the birds are staying put. An exception was...
  • 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: White winter wonderland

    It's beena while arriving, but we finally had the first significant snowfall of the winter yesterday. Not much compared to many places (Norwich, much of Norfolk, West Suffolk for example almost ground to a halt yesterday), but enough to turn everything white. It was glorious day here providing you...
  • 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: Happy New Year

    So another year ends. It's been an exciting one. Here's just a few of the highlights (I'm bound to have missed a few): funding received from Heritage Lottery Fund to allow us to start work on the Minsmere Discover Nature Project. For details of the other funders for this excting project...
  • 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: 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: trumpets, whistles and bells

    With the dark winter nights now upon, I thought it was perhaps time for a musical interlude to while away the hours of darkness. Don't worry, I'm not about to post a link to me singing - you'd all soon leave the Minsmere group if i did. No, instead, the musical theme is inspiried by our...
  • Blog Post: waxwing lyrical

    Minsmere's joined in with the waxwing fest today. For some reason these punk-crested, berry-eating Viking invaders never seem to hang around for long at Minsmere despite the hordes of berries on the hawthorn bushes. They seem to drop in for a few minutes before heading onwards in search of the nearest...
  • Blog Post: A different type of feather?

    I was walking through the office this morning when something bright caught my eye. A moth, on the carpet, near the door. I just managed to stop a colleague standing on it before it flew to the window and allowed me to take this photo . Now, I'm no moth expert, and our number one moth man is on annual...
  • 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...