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  • Blog Post: A Roof Over Our Heads!

    Finally – the roof goes on! (Ed Grace) The new office building is really taking shape now, and we’re starting to feel that we actually will be in there one day soon-ish! The roof panels going on, and the interior walls being set out give us a good impression of how it’s going to...
  • Blog Post: We've been waiting to see smew

    They've been a long time in coming, but on Sunday we finally welcomed two smews to Minsmere for the winter. Smews are scarce winter visitors to the UK, with only a few hundred present in most winters, but the mild weather this year has made them even rarer than usual, with very few present at...
  • Blog Post: The most elusive bird of all

    Butterbump, Bogblutter, toasted Heron... there are many names for a Bittern. But before you all get excited, we haven't seen one this weekend! However I thought you might appreciate an update on the movements we've observed of them so far this winter. Despite the lack of really cold weather...
  • Blog Post: A warming winter fire(crest)

    The two firecrests that have taken up winter residence around Scotts Hall and the Rhododendron Tunnel continue to attract a lot of interest - for those lucky enough to actually see them. Frustratingly, they seem to avoid the attentions of most of our volunteers, despite many visitors having had good...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings Strumpshaw Fen 5 February 2016

    This week has been mostly dry, mild and earlier in the week very windy. The star bird this week was the Siberian chiffchaff , which returned briefly on Saturday and Sunday along the riverbank. The bird stayed long enough for a few people to see it and then it was gone, until I heard it again in...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 05.02.2016

    I wouldn't say spring is in the air but there are certainly a few signs of change on the reserve this week. Snowdrops are out along the rail path, although not yet on the car park boardwalk at the Shapwick end where there are large clumps each year. Birdsong seemed quite significant this morning...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings: A kingfisher down on his luck

    It has been a fantastic week for birds of prey again with the marsh harrier out at about almost every day, visible from both Lin Dike and Pick-up. Also from Lin Dike there have been buzzard, peregrine and sparrowhawk seen. A sparrowhawk and buzzard down near Charlie’s, a couple of red kite over...
  • Blog Post: Celebrating our wonderful wetlands

    Today, 2 February, is World Wetlands Day. This is an important event, at it marks the signing of an international treaty on wetland conservation, the RAMSAR Treaty, signed in the Iranian town of Ramsar on 2 February 1971. Many of the world's most important wetlands, including RSPB Minsmere, are...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 29.01.2016

    The best news of the week was being able to get the Avalon Hide back open again. As you may know the access had become extremely muddy and too difficult access. It's taken a lot of work in a short space of time but we've done it. Rubber matting has been laid throughout the woodland and beyond...
  • Blog Post: Smitten with the Bittern and colourful waders

    Smitten with the Bittern and colourful waders This week I am asking for your help on a few topics. The first is related to wildlife sightings at Newport Wetlands. Lately we have received some sightings of bittern on the reserve which is great news. However, what would really help us is a photo of...
  • Blog Post: It's your turn to start counting

    I often write in these blogs about counting Minsmere's wildlife, whether for breeding bird surveys, roost counts or simply counts based on observations from our volunteer guides. For example, our guides have been diligently counting lapwings this week, with more than 500 present on the Scrape. Now...
  • Blog Post: Bittern undisturbed

    We were concerned that clearing the reeds in the ditches at the weekend might have upset 'our' bittern, but we needn't have worried. As the boats chugged around the reedbed we thought it might be flushed out, but there was no sign of it. Indeed, I thought it might have gone elsewhere during...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 22.01.2016

    It was a bit of a shock on Wednesday with temperatures of -6 degrees on the reserve during the day. This however did not stop me from hearing my first booming Bittern of the year. I sounded like it was over at Waltons and boomed in sets of 3 on several occasions. One closer to me tried to reply but let...
  • Blog Post: Weekend reedbed work

    We have to cut the reeds in our ditches periodically to stop them getting clogged up, and several species of water birds benefit as a consequence. The number of pairs of little grebes always increases after the cutting has been done, and there are often more coots. I think tufted ducks would also benefit...
  • Blog Post: Getting the oxygen pumping

    After another beautiful sunny morning, I decided to wander down to Island Mere at lunchtime. I hoped that I may manage to find an otter, kingfisher, bearded tit or water rail to add to my year list, but sadly I was unlucky with all four species. I was, however, able to watch a group of six whooper...
  • Blog Post: Recent sightings Strumpshaw Fen 17 January 2016

    Winter has finally arrived! As I write this sightings blog the sky is blue, the air is crisp and Reception Broad is covered in ice apart from a 15m hole containing over 50 ducks of varying species. A cold snap has come as quite a shock to the system, but a welcome and quite needed shock. The avian...
  • Blog Post: Winter arrives at last

    What a difference over the last couple of days. It's finally starting to feel like winter. Like most of the country, we had a bit of snow yesterday - just enough to turn everything white for a few hours. And the sharp frost this morning left some of the smaller reedbed pools frozen for the first...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 15.01.2016

    A much colder feel this week and it finally felt like winter on the reserve - there were even a couple of icy patches. As with last week there seems to be an upturn in the numbers of wildfowl on the reserve - I have particularly noticed good numbers of Teal this week. The Dusky Warbler was seen again...
  • Blog Post: Bitterns and barn owls

    The water level is finally beginning to drop! Hoorah! And all the paths are now open on the reserve. You will still need waterproof boots to get around some parts and wellies to get down to Lower hide, but most of the paths are thankfully now clear of water! There’s loads to see out on the reserve...
  • Blog Post: Some sun at last!

    We've seen some sun this week! The water levels on the paths have dropped quite a lot, so you can now get to the Causeway hide with walking boots. You still need your wellies to get to Lower hide, Tim Jackson and Grisedale hides, but the path to Lilian's hide and the Skytower is all clear of...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 08.01.2016

    Happy New Year to you all and welcome to the first sightings blog of 2016. Having been away over Christmas, it's always nice to get back to work in such a wonderful place. I've tried to keep my eye on things from afar by watching Twitter updates and looking at the Somerset Ornithological Society...
  • Blog Post: The surprises continue

    Hot on the heels on my two butterfly sightings on Monday, there have been further notable sightings this week. Perhaps the most surprising was the three spoonbills that dropped onto East Scrape on Wednesday. Although common visitors in spring, winter records of spoonbill are rare. We assume these were...
  • Blog Post: More goodies

    We have had some more good sightings since the fun of New Year's Day. On the 2nd a raven flew over the car park; this is a species we wouldn't expect to see. A bittern flew past Reedbed Hide at 16.34 on the 5th, presumably the same bird that was present earlier in the winter. Also a woodcock...
  • Blog Post: Off to a good start

    The New Year started with a beautiful blue sky yesterday morning, before the cloud rolled in on the biting easterly wind. The sun brought out the crowds too, helping us to compile a respectable New Year's Day list of 86 species of birds plus at least five mammals. Although the weather has been a...
  • Blog Post: Another year ends - roll on 2016

    It's been a wild and wet end to 2015 - though rather less wild here in Suffolk than in many other parts of the UK. We hope not too many of you have been affected by the flooding over Christmas. Ironically, given how much rain we've had, Minsmere's paths are actually relatively dry - though...