• A flock of seagulls

    For the latest in our focus on collective names of wildlife, I take a look at some of our commonest and most familiar birds: gulls. Before I get any comments about the title of this blog, it has been deliberately chosen to pay homage to the 80s pop band of the same name! 

    As many birdwatchers will point out, there is no such thing as a seagull. By which we mean that no gull is called a seagull, and most gulls are just…

    • 13 May 2022
  • A touch of gloss among the gloom

    After some lovely sunny weather recently, we've finally had some welcome rain this week. Perhaps not so welcome for those who have been visiting the reserve, but certainly welcome for our wetland wardens (though even more rain would be welcome), and for gardeners, because April was an incredibly dry month on the Suffolk coast. It looks like we have a few more dry days in store for now, though.

    Despite the gloomy weather…

    • 12 May 2022
  • Like London Buses

    Wow, what an exciting week!

    With a bird list of around 350 species, it's not often that we add a new species to the reserve list, yet this week we have potentially added two!

    First, news broke, via a tweeted photo early on Tuesday morning, of a drake ring-necked duck seen on Island Mere on Monday evening. This is a North American duck, closely related to our familiar tufted ducks, and this winter has probably been…

    • 7 May 2022
  • Boom boom

    Continuing our series of collective nouns blogs, I'm taking a look at another bird that is synonymous with Minsmere, and which owes its continued existence in the UK to the amazing work of RSPB wardens and researchers.

    This isn't the place to tell for story of the bittern's recovery, but suffice to say that without the research work undertaken here in the late 1980s, and subsequent pioneering reedbed management work…

    • 4 May 2022
  • An exciting hobby

    Sightings change almost by the hour in spring, so it's hardly surprising that there have been a lot of changes in the two weeks since my last sightings blog, with spring migrants flooding in and most of the wintering birds having now departed. Apologies for the lack of updates while I was enjoying an Easter break in mid and North Wales, including walking up Snowdon and enjoying excellent views of the black-browed albatross…

    • 29 Apr 2022
  • A brilliant day at Minsmere

    After celebrating our 75th birthday on Monday, it was heart-warming to receive an email from two lovely ladies reflecting on their brilliant visit to Minsmere. So much so that, with their permission, I thought I'd share their feedback with you. I know that their thoughts will strike a chord with many other visitors too. So, here in full, and unedited, are Helen and Emily's thoughts about Minsmere. Thank you ladies!…

    • 27 Apr 2022
  • 75 and counting! Time to celebrate

    Today is an important day for us here at Minsmere as we're celebrating the 75th anniversary of Minsmere becoming an RSPB nature reserve.

    The reserve looked very different when the RSPB signed a management agreement with the landowners on 25 April 1947. Much of the low-lying farmland had been flooded by the closure of the Minsmere Sluice as part of wartime measures to prevent a German invasion. The freshwater reedbed…

    • 25 Apr 2022
  • Going for a song

    Spring migrants have begun to arrive en masse this week, with a notable increase in the variety and volume of birdsong. The most exciting returnee so far is the nightingale that was in full song close to the car park entrance yesterday. This used to be a favoured spot, but we haven't heard them from that location for several years. Let's hope it stays and finds a mate so that many of our visitors can hear their beautiful…

    • 13 Apr 2022
  • Get the bunting out

    It's time for the next instalment in our regular series exploring the many and varied collective nouns used for different types of wildlife, and with our 75th anniversary rapidly approaching [it's on Monday 25 April], it's time to get the bunting out!

    There are three types of bunting that regularly visit Minsmere, and several others that have occurred here. The one that you are most likely to spot is the reed…

    • 12 Apr 2022
  • Come rain or shine

    It's been another week of typical April weather: bright sunshine one minute followed by heavy squally showers, accompanied by a brisk and, at times, quite strong wind. Consequently, our summer migrants continue to only trickle in, while a number of winter visitors are lingering.

    Two of the latter species have proved to the most popular birds with many of our visitors - or frustrating if you failed to find them! A…

    • 7 Apr 2022
  • Watching the watchers

    Guest blog by Mark Solomons, Minsmere volunteer and resident

    A recent study led by the University of Essex found birdwatching accountants to be the most boring people in Britain!

    This is a bit unfair on both accountants and birdwatchers. Well, maybe not accountants.

    Of course anyone who has little or no interest in either will be bored stiff by someone banging on about tax exemption or the difference between a Common…

    • 5 Apr 2022
  • From hats to conservation

    Today marks a very important date in the RSPB's long history, because 100 years ago today, on 1 April 1922, the Importation of Plumage (Prohibition) Act finally came into force. This marked the culmination of a long, and ultimately successful, campaign by a small group of ladies to end the senseless use of feathers in the fashion industry, especially in millinery (hat-making). It was the start of this campaign that led…

    • 1 Apr 2022
  • Is it really spring?

    After last week's sightings blog in which I celebrated the arrival of spring, this week has seen the weather take a step backwards towards winter. Thick fog made birdwatching very challenging on Monday, and today has brought regular snow, sleet and hail showers and gusty north-easterly wind that made it feel particularly cold outside.

    Given this wintry weather, it should, perhaps, not come as a surprise to hear that…

    • 31 Mar 2022
  • Spring forward

    There is no doubt that spring has arrived this week, with some beautiful warm sunny weather and clear skies bringing out many different insects and the first noticeable arrival of summer migrants. Ironically, with the clocks spring forward an hour on Sunday for the start of British Summer Time, it looks like temperatures are set to drop again.

    I was very excited to discover a sizeable clump of frog spawn in my tiny garden…

    • 25 Mar 2022
  • Weird and wonderful

    For this week's feature on collective nouns, I'm doing something a bit different and taking a look at two species, not just one. Why? Because both species only have one recognised collective noun, which in both cases is unique to that species. Early spring also happens to be a good time of year to see both.

    First up is the bullfinch. This dumpy finches can be difficult to see at any time of year, but it's worth…

    • 24 Mar 2022
  • Confused dot com

    It's time for my latest look at collective nouns, and to quote a famous Monty Python line, "now for something completely different" as this week's selection only has one recognised collective noun. Perhaps this isn't wholly surprising, as the species concerned is not really known for occurring in flocks.

    Chiffchaffs are small olive-green warblers. They are generally summer migrants to the UK, although…

    • 18 Mar 2022
  • Little and large

    We've had a couple of gorgeous days to start the week, and the wildlife has certainly taken advantage. There has been a noticeable increase in gulls and avocets on the Scrape, an arrival of new migrants and the first obvious emergence of a few insects to keep everyone happy - plus the continuing presence of a lesser yellowlegs, glossy ibis and pair of smew for a bit more variety.

    My week started well when I spotted…

    • 15 Mar 2022
  • A golden charm

    As I considered which species to focus on for this week's collective nouns feature, one obvious candidate stepped forward when a small flock of tiny yellow-green finches posed at eye level close to the path between Wildlife Lookout and South Hide. I regularly see flocks of siskins feeding in the tops of alders, prizing seeds from the trees' tiny cones, but it's rare to get a good close view, which offered perfect photographic…

    • 12 Mar 2022
  • A partridge in a reedbed, not a pear tree

    One of the most rapidly declining birds in the UK put in an unexpected appearance at Minsmere on Monday. Grey partridges were once a familiar sight throughout the UK, so much so that they are often referred to as English partridges to differentiate them from the introduced red-legged, or French, partridge. 

    Sadly, like may other species of farmland wildlife, from corn buntings to turtle doves, brown hares to fumitory and…

    • 9 Mar 2022
  • Summing up

    For our latest collective nouns blog, I'm taking a first look at something other than birds, by turning the focus on a species that is most easily seen during March and April: the adder.

    Male adders began emerging from hibernation during February, with up to five males seen basking in the sun at the base of the sand martin bank. They will spend the next few weeks preparing for the emergence of the females in early…

    • 2 Mar 2022
  • All change, but no change

    Having been away for half term last week, it seems that there's been little major change in terms of the wildlife, but some major changes for visitors.

    First, let's start with the changes, which are the first phase of some significant upgrades in accessibility. Our wardens and volunteers have been busy working with our contractors, Gilliards, to enlarge the capacity of East Hide and make the hide much more accessible…

    • 1 Mar 2022
  • Important visitor information 20/21 February 2022

    Due to present conditions and forecast we have decided to close the reserve today (from 2pm) to ensure visitors and staff can leave safely.
    Tomorrow morning looks to be very windy, so we will aim to be open from midday at the earliest, to allow checks to be carried out.
    If there are any further developments we will update as soon as we can, our phone lines are still down so please follow RSPB Minsmere on Facebook…
    • 20 Feb 2022
  • Causing a commotion

    Storm Eunice is battering the UK, disrupting plans and wrecking havoc and devastation to large parts of the country. In such conditions, people often ask what happens to the wildlife. That's a good question, and it varies to between species. 

    If they can, many will seek shelter in holes or underground, but small woodland birds much continue to feed even in these harsh conditions and will often be found among the leaf…

    • 18 Feb 2022
  • Storm Eunice - Minsmere closed

    Minsmere will be closed on Friday 18 February due to Storm Eunice. This includes all facilities: nature trails, hides and the visitor centre. All hides will be locked from this evening until Saturday morning.

    We expect to open again on Saturday although some woodland trails may remain closed due to fallen trees. 

    Please note that our telephones are also down, so to check the latest information, please see our Facebook and…

    • 17 Feb 2022
  • Bobbing jacks and white nuns

    It's been another exciting week on the reserve, despite the windy and, at times, wet weather, with scarce birds visiting us from both east and west.

    From the west, the lesser yellowlegs remains on the Levels. Often difficult to locate due to the distance and huge flocks of lapwings, it is easier to see when it moves onto Lucky Pool. This morning it decided on a change of scenery and moved to the back of the Konik…

    • 16 Feb 2022