• Black and white en masse

    The weather for the last few weeks has somewhat unpredictable, with bright sunshine one minute followed by heavy rain the next, so I took advantage of one of the drier days today and enjoyed a stroll around the Scrape in the gorgeous autumn sunshine. 

    There's something special about this time of year. On calm sunny days, like today, the light is just perfect, casting long shadows and highlighting the golden colours…

    • 13 Nov 2019
  • Reedmace flying everywhere

    After another wet, dull morning I had decided against a lunchtime walk before starting my shift in the visitor centre this afternoon. Not long after my shift started a call went out on the radio that a penduline tit had been found at Wildlife Lookout. Needless to say, I wasn't in the visitor centre much longer as i quickly made my way to the hide.

    On arrival in the hide I was greeted with the news that the bird was…

    • 7 Nov 2019
  • One swallow doesn't make a summer, but one swan certainly makes a winter

    It's official. Winter is here! At least, it is as far as I'm concerned, because on Friday I saw my first wild swan of the winter. By wild swans, we mean the two long-distant migrant species, whooper and Bewick's, rather than the resident mute swans. The latter are thought to largely descend from captive stock, and those on the Thames are still, officially, claimed by The Queen.

    Our wild swans, in contrast…

    • 4 Nov 2019
  • Owls, otters, fungi and awesome autumn wildlife

    It's been an exciting couple of weeks since my last post, with a definite shift towards winter wildlife dominating the news. As last week was the half term holiday here in Suffolk, I missed many of the notable sightings, making do with ring-necked parakeets and a red kite over Hampstead Heath, an annual pilgrimage to the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition, some soggy peacocks at Powis…

    • 31 Oct 2019
  • Nocturnal Wildlife

    It was touch-and-go whether we would go out with an unsettled weather forecast, but just 15 minutes before our start time the rainclouds cleared, and a beautiful double rainbow appeared over the scrape.

    We started through the woodland looking for signs of badgers, some lovely lilac bonnet fungi and a little herd of red deer – which our sharp-eyed youngsters picked out from the bushes. It’s always surprising just how…

    • 26 Oct 2019
  • Unearthing a surprise

    As is typical in October, you never quite know what to expect on a countryside walk. That has certainly been true this year, where it has alternated from heavy rain to bright sunshine, sometimes in the space of just a few minutes, making the choice of clothing a tricky one. I do, however, recommend that you wear waterproof footwear if you are planning a visit as some of the trails are quite wet in places.

    The changeable…

    • 15 Oct 2019
  • Warblers surprise

    In my last blog I suggested that the weekend's weather forecast looked ideal for bringing in a few tired migrants from the continent. In particular, I raised the prospect that we might find a yellow-browed warbler or two. Although I was proved to be right in my predication, I'm not going to claim to be a soothsayer as this species is becoming an increasingly regular visitor every autumn.

    Yellow-browed warblers…

    • 8 Oct 2019
  • Another exciting wildlife weekend ahead

    The current spell of stormy weather has brought a bit of unpredictability to a day out. With conditions changing from full sun to torrential rain in the space of few minutes, it's definitely a case of timing your walk well. My drive home last night was interesting, to say the least, but at least we haven't suffered from the flooding affecting many people this week

    As a birdwatcher, autumn gales also bring the…

    • 2 Oct 2019
  • Little and large...and everything in between

    Sometimes it's nice to walk around the reserve without paying too much attention to the birdlife. It makes you pay more attention to some of the smaller creatures at Minsmere. Being autumn, there's the added bonus of some great colours. Although most of the trees are yet to change, and the reedbed remains predominantly green, the bracken and brambles are already turning a fabulous mix of golds and reds.

    Despite…

    • 30 Sep 2019
  • Summer turns rapidly to autumn

    After the glorious late summer weather over the weekend, it was a bit of a shock to the system to wake up to dull, wet and windy weather this morning as autumn arrived with a vengeance.

    In fact, it has been looking more and more autumnal over recent days even before the change in the weather. As I sit in the office I can see beech trees with golden leaves standing out among the dark green oaks, while bramble bushes are…

    • 24 Sep 2019
  • A week to remember

    It’s been a good week for birdwatchers, although some of our more unusual visitors have proved to be a bit elusive at times.

    Up to three cattle egrets have been seen occasionally, but distantly, on the South Levels. Another, still bearing some orangy breeding plumes, has been seen on the Scrape on several occasions, where its presence has not been welcomed by the resident little egrets. Sightings of cattle egrets…

    • 17 Sep 2019
  • There's always one that gets away

    It's that time of year when birds are on the move, and you never quite know what to expect. That has certainly been the case over the last few days, with sightings of a very late swift and a juvenile cuckoo yesterday despite a sudden drop in temperature and a late autumn feel to the weather. 

    Yesterday's cuckoo, by Clare Carter

    A shift in the wind to a northeasterly on Sunday saw the arrival of a beautiful juvenile…

    • 10 Sep 2019
  • New faces and fond farewells

    Autumn is a time of change in the natural world, but it's also one of change among the management team here at Minsmere.

    Last week we bid farewell to our Visitor Operations Manager, Louise Gregory, who many of our visitors will know well. Louise has moved just up the coast to work for the Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Carlton Marshes, where she will be managing their new visitor centre when it opens next spring. This…

    • 4 Sep 2019
  • A life among the cows

    Regular visitors to Minsmere, or readers of these blogs, will know that our wardens are helped in their management of our important habitats by various four-legged creatures. The most popular of these are our konik Polski (AKA Polish ponies), which can currently be seen grazing on the Konik Field. Where the ponies are, you can often find several wagtails and pipits feeding around their hooves, searching for flies that…

    • 3 Sep 2019
  • Birds and bees and dragonflies and...

    The late August bank holiday heatwave was a mixed blessing. As the holiday hordes headed to the coast, anyone choosing to walk around our nature trails needed to be prepared, with suncream slapped on, a wide-brimmed hat, and, most importantly, a drink in their bag. There were, of course, opportunities to cool down by dipping your toes into the sea, seeking out shady patches for a rest, or making the most of the cooler…

    • 27 Aug 2019
  • Love Minsmere Festival

    On 15 September we'll be hosting the first-ever Love Minsmere Festival, to celebrate the reserve, its rare wildlife and to send a powerful message to EDF that we all Love Minsmere and want to see it protected from the impacts of Sizewell C.

    Earlier this year, over 20,000 people like you emailed EDF Energy telling them why they must protect RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in their plans to build a new twin-nuclear reactor…

    • 22 Aug 2019
  • All change

    It's amazing what a difference two weeks makes. After a relaxing couple of weeks with the family, I returned to find the reserve looking decidedly different too. That said, many of the changes are subtle, and there's still an amazing variety of wildlife to spot.

    Vegetation grows quickly in warm, wet weather, so our wardens have been busy clearing small patches of pathside vegetation to improve the views onto the…

    • 19 Aug 2019
  • Recent sightings 16th August 2019

    Recent sightings from this week:

    16 Aug – Little gull – 10 on East & South Scrapes

    16 Aug – Wood sandpiper – one on East Scrape

    16 Aug – Spotted redshank – six across Scrape

    16 Aug – Dunlin – 20+ on the East Scrape

    16 Aug – Black-tailed godwit – 12+ on East Scrape

    16 Aug – Ringed plover – two on East Scrape

    16 Aug – Avocet – 100+ on the…

    • 16 Aug 2019
  • Minsmere sightings 9th August

    A quick round up for this week: 

    9 Aug – Wasp spider – four in the dunes between Public hide and North Wall – please watch where you walk
    9 Aug – Spotted redshank – 19 on East & South Scrapes 
    9 Aug – Avocet – 420+ on East Scrape
    9 Aug – Little ringed plover – two on East Scrape 
    9 Aug – Dunlin – 40+ on the Scrape
    9 Aug – Black-tailed godwit – 230+ on East…

    • 10 Aug 2019
  • Minsmere service station

    With the school holidays in full swing the visitor team have been busy running our usual popular family activities. If you are planning a visit with your children or grandchildren, then there's plenty for them to do, apart from the amazing wildlife watching. Old favourites like den building and the sand martin tunnels have been joined by a nature library in the woods and our Discovery Trail, complete with brass rubbings…

    • 1 Aug 2019
  • Important visitor information

    On Monday 12 August, RSPB Minsmere’s café will be closed all day as staff and volunteers will be attending the funeral of our colleague, Chris Offin. The visitor centre and shop will be open for light snacks, and family events will run as normal.

    Chris was a Catering Assistant at Minsmere for more than 21 years and was one of the longest serving members of the team. He was a dedicated member of the team,…

    • 29 Jul 2019
  • Time for a wash & brush up....and sleep!

    I'm just back from a long week away at a major music festival. When I say away, I mean in a tent less than 10 miles from home, surrounded by thousands of other families, with long queues for the showers, loud music until the early hours, and an amazing array of entertainment for all interests - rock, pop, gospel, soul, dance and folk music from upcoming bands and chart-toppers alike, comedy, theatre, dance, lectures,…

    • 22 Jul 2019
  • The colour is purple

    Last week's marsh sandpiper headed off elsewhere after just a couple of days, but there has been no let-up in the wonderful wildlife sightings since its departure. Waders have continued to pass through in good numbers, often lingering close to East Hide, in particular.

    One of the joys of watching passage waders in midsummer is that they are still sporting their breeding finery. The spotted redshanks look particularly…

    • 17 Jul 2019
  • A rare find caps an interesting day

    Yesterday was an interesting day to say the least. It didn't start well but certainly finished on a high. In fact, by 9.30 am I felt like I should perhaps go home, following a series of incidents that meant the day didn't really start as planned. Thankfully that was as bad as it got, though the tills continued to misbehave throughout the morning. These things are clearly sent to test us.

    I was, however, buoyed…

    • 11 Jul 2019
  • Bees, butterflies and beetles

    Insects were very definitely the theme of my lunchtime walk today, but not quite in the way that I had hoped. 

    Buoyed by the reports from our guides over the weekend, I set myself the task of tracking down some of our more interesting butterflies. Here, for starters, are the full butterfly and dragonfly lists from last week's butterfly transect, with thnks to our guides Phil and Derek for sharing the lists.

    Butterfl…

    • 3 Jul 2019