• Bunking off

    Guest blog by Chris Ford, Minsmere Learning Officer

    Children skipping school is nothing new. I was a fairly well behaved student (honestly) but even I might have not attended every single lesson I was supposed to. There are many reasons why bunking off school happens and in some cases this can be really damaging to that child’s performance at school and therefore their grades, life chances, future. I don’t wish to belittle…

    • 21 Mar 2019
  • It's officially spring

    Today is the spring equinox, when day length equals night length and the sun is above the equator. Why is this important? Well, it officially marks the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, so we can look forward to longer days, warmer weather, more birdsong, and, more importantly, more time spent outdoors, enjoying nature.

    While I can't promise that there won't be a few more frosts to come, or even some late…

    • 20 Mar 2019
  • After the storms recede

    Apologies for the delay in posting sightings updates. There are two main reasons. Firstly, I was working on my sabbatical project last week so didn't get the chance to update any of our social media myself (I'll tell you more about this project in due course). Secondly, the last couple of weeks have seen one weather front after another passing through, bringing wind, rain, and even hailstones yesterday, which has not…

    • 18 Mar 2019
  • Nature reading

    Like many children, my son headed off to school this morning dressed as a character from his favourite book to celebrate World Book Day. He character of choice this morning was Alex Rider, a teenage spy created by Anthony Horowitz, but int he past he's dressed as Willy Wonka, Harry Potter, and various other characters.

    This got me thinking. Who would I have dressed up as if we'd celebrated World Book Day when I was…

    • 7 Mar 2019
  • Confused seasons

    The changeover between seasons often leads to some unpredictable sightings, but when warm spring-like in late February is followed blustery, showery autumnal weather in early March, it's hardly a surprise that the wildlife can get a bit muddled up.

    That is certainly the case this week, with reports from our guides reflecting many early signs of spring, mixed in with plenty of lingering winter records. In particular…

    • 4 Mar 2019
  • Spring is definitely springing

    First, let me start with an apology for the lengthy delay since my last sightings blog. I was away last week, enjoying the half term holidays with my family, while those left manning the ship here were so busy welcoming visitors and making nest boxes that they didn't have time to write a blog in my absence.

    I was lucky enough to experience some incredible wildlife sightings during my week off, beginning with the awe…

    • 27 Feb 2019
  • Volunteer Voices: Brian & Diane

    Minsmere volunteers Brian and Diane Sivyer have always enjoyed engaging families & children with nature. Now a key part of our Welcome Team, they reflect on some of their favourite tasks over the years...

    40 Years with the RSPB

    Our volunteer journey with the RSPB started back in 1976 with the formation of the Lowestoft Members Group when we assisted in the running of the Group. Why do we did we do it? Well, we wanted…

    • 23 Feb 2019
  • Wildlife Explorers Love Minsmere!

    The Minsmere Wildlife Explorers meet every month and learn about all things wild throughout the seasons at Minsmere. 

    Last month at our January meeting we discussed the new plans for Sizewell C nuclear power station, and what impact these developments may have. 

    Sizewell by David Tipling

    Thinking about how closely the power station will be built to the precious reedbed habitat, we were worried that this could really put…

    • 21 Feb 2019
  • Spring has sprung (if only briefly)

    The last few days have seen a very welcome early arrival of spring, with beautiful blue skies, bright sunshine and unseasonally mild temperatures. It looks like the mild weather is set to continue for a few more days at least - we're just hoping that the bitterly cold weather we experienced at the end of February last year doesn't return.

    With such mild weather, it will not be a surprise to hear reports of the…

    • 15 Feb 2019
  • Book Review: Mrs Pankhurst's purple feather

    I've just finished reading a fascinating book that profiles the contrasting lives of two Victorian women in their parallel quests for change. One is the eponymous Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst - one of the leaders of the suffragette movement. The other is Mrs Etta Lemon, co-founder of the RSPB.

    Both ladies were campaigning for change, and both fights were long and fraught with turmoil. Ultimately, both were successful,…

    • 12 Feb 2019
  • Red heads and tufties

    The recent cold snap was, thankfully, nothing like as bad as last year's Beast from the East - at least not here in Suffolk. It was, however, cold enough to attract a scarce visitor from the continent in the form of a smew. Apart from a two day bird in December, this was our first smew of the winter, continuing a trend from the last few years of very late arrivals: this is the third year in a row that a smew has arrived…

    • 6 Feb 2019
  • Generating our own electricity

    Anyone who has visited Minsmere over last week will have noticed a new addition to landscape: solar panels.

    We're demonstrating the RSPB's commitment to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions, and are installing a series of solar panels across several RSPB reserves: Minsmere, Arne, Leighton Moss, Bempton Cliffs, Old Moor, Saltholme and our HQ at The Lodge.

    On most of these reserves the solar PV panels will…

    • 5 Feb 2019
  • Time for a guided walk

    Are you an early bird? Then perhaps you'd like to book a space on our very popular dawn chorus guided walk, which is followed by a delicious full English breakfast. 

    Would you like help with birdsong? Then the Sounds of Spring guided walks could be just for you. You'll get a light breakfast after these popular walks.

    Are you new to birdwatching? Then why not book on a Birdwatching for beginners walk this spring…

    • 1 Feb 2019
  • Wintry wetlands

    There's definitely a wintry feel to the weather this week. In fact, it was snowing on my drive to work yesterday. We have more snow forecast tonight, and again for Thursday, so if you're planning to visit us this please take care and check our Twitter feed for the latest updates about whether we're open, or the state of local roads. 

    If, like many people, you are longing for the return of warmer weather this…

    • 29 Jan 2019
  • Volunteer Voices: George

    January's Volunteer Voice is our hardworking conservation intern George Hannan

    I became an intern with the RSPB because I’ve always had a love for nature. Since an early age I’ve always been interested in the wildlife around me and what happens outside of a classroom. 

    After school, I went to college to study and learn about the countryside and wildlife. After two years of study, I then did a degree in the…

    • 27 Jan 2019
  • Reedbed management in action

    It feels a bit wintry again this week. In fact, following heavy frosts over the weekend, most of the of the Scrape and reedbed were frozen throughout Sunday and Monday, with birds congregating around patches of open water on South Scrape and in the middle of Island Mere. Although it's been milder today, parts of West Scrape and Island Mere remained frozen, and with more cold weather forecast we expect ice cover to increase…

    • 22 Jan 2019
  • Ducking and diving and bobbing

    Ducks always dominate the wildlife sightings at Minsmere in January, and this week has been no exception. In terms of numbers, the most numerous species, as always, is teal, followed by wigeon, mallard, shoveler and gadwall, with smaller numbers of shelducks among them.

    Drakes are at their best in midwinter. Their colours are incredibly striking, and many are already displaying to attract the drabber females. This makes…

    • 18 Jan 2019
  • Fire and rain (and wind)

    It's been an interesting week so far, with some exciting sightings, dramatic weather and near misses, and today has been no exception.

    As reported in my last blog, the week started with the discovery of a rough-legged buzzard that spent most of Monday afternoon resting in a tree alongside the South Levels, where it was viewable distantly from Bittern Hide. Unfortunately for anyone hoping that it would linger at Minsmere…

    • 10 Jan 2019
  • Travellers from the East

    Yesterday was Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas, when Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi, or three wise men, at the stable in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The Magi travelled many miles from the East to reach the stable. Whatever your religious beliefs, this story seems rather apt based on some of the sightings over the last few days as birds have been arriving from the east.

    First, came the small flock…

    • 7 Jan 2019
  • Act now to protect Minsmere

    Do you love Minsmere? Silly question, really, as you wouldn't be reading these blogs if you didn't!

    If you do love Minsmere, then we need your help. Here's why.

    This morning EDF opened the third phase of their consultation into proposals to build Sizewell C power station close to the southern border of Minsmere. We have concerns about the impact that this development could have on Minsmere, especially with…

    • 4 Jan 2019
  • A great start to 2019

    Happy New Year.

    I hope that everyone managed to find some time to relax over the Christmas and New Year period, and also to spot some wildlife.

    Here at Minsmere we were only closed for two days (Christmas Day and Boxing Day) so there was still plenty of opportunity to end the year with some relaxing birdwatching. As well as the species that we expect to see at this time of year - marsh harrier, bittern, various ducks…

    • 3 Jan 2019
  • Christmas greetings and opening arrangements

    I hope everyone is ready for Christmas now. Presents bought and wrapped. Turkey, beef or nut roast ready for the oven. Sprouts peeled. Mince pies cooked. Family gathered together.

    Here at Minsmere we're almost ready for our short Christmas closure. Once we close the doors at 4 pm tonight, Minsmere is completely closed until 9 am on Thursday morning. That means that the hides, nature trails, car park and toilets will all…

    • 24 Dec 2018
  • Sunset starlings

    The radios crackled into life late on Thursday afternoon to say that starlings were gathering on the Scrape. The excitement levels rose in the office as word spread that several thousands had started displaying behind South Hide. I didn't get a chance to go out then, and wasn't at Minsmere over the weekend, so tonight was the first chance that I had to head out and watch the spectacle for myself.

    And what a spectacle…

    • 17 Dec 2018
  • Spinning around

    Despite the title of this blog, we're not expecting a visit from pop princess Kylie, but we have been treated to visit from a creature that habitually spins around. The species in question is a tiny wading bird that breeds in the high Arctic of Canada and Siberia and migrates south to spend the winter at sea off the coasts of West Africa and South America: a grey phalarope.

    In the UK we know it as a grey phalarope…

    • 13 Dec 2018
  • Species of the week: hawthorn

    There was a noticeable drop in the temperature this morning, resulting in ice on my birdbath for the first time this winter. After scraping the frost off the car windows, I was tempted to stop several times on my drive to work, such was the incredible light across the Suffolk countryside.

    As i reached Minsmere, the temperature was still falling, so it was little surprise to hear that part of East Scrape were frozen this…

    • 11 Dec 2018