• 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
  • Red deer rut safaris - bookings open

    Yes folks, it's that time of year again. 

    Although the red deer rut doesn't start until late September, we've opened bookings for our very popular 4x4 deer safaris already. Demand is always high, and spaces are limited, so don't wait, reserve your place today.

    The tours will run for three weeks, from Saturday 28 September to Sunday 20 October only. On weekdays there is just one tour, starting at 2 pm. At…

    • 2 Jul 2019
  • Reasons to be vegan

    Guest blog by David White, Assistant Retail Manager 

    Veganism is on the rise and there are lots of different reasons why so many people are taking up the plant-based diet. A well-planned vegan diet can have some excellent health benefits. Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol. As well as lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

    The other ethological…

    • 28 Jun 2019
  • Beginning birdwatcher part 3 - taking notes

    One of the most important lessons that any beginner birdwatcher can learn is, "don't be afraid to ask." If you don't know what something is, then someone else probably does, but if you don't ask them, you'll never learn. The second part of this lesson is, "don't be scared to make mistakes." We can't be expected to know everything, and as with everything else in life, we can only learn from our mistakes.…

    • 27 Jun 2019
  • North Wall minibeasties

    As anyone who has visited Minsmere in summer will know, when you plan a "quick walk to East Hide" it usually turns something more akin to a "slow meander along the North Wall." That was certainly the case today.

    I skipped quickly past the pond, with little but a quick glance at the sand martins and a scan for dragonflies - there were four-spotted chasers, azure damselflies and blue-tailed damselflies…

    • 25 Jun 2019
  • Things that go "eek", "screetch" and "churr" in the dark

    We're often asked what time Minsmere is open, and when the best time to visit is. The simple answer to the first question is always - although we don't recommend that you try to walk around the nature trails in the dark, and the reserve is completely closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. However, for most people, visiting will be confined to the hours during which the visitor centre is open - 9 am to 5 pm.

    • 24 Jun 2019
  • To bee, or not to bee?

    An alternative title could be, when is a bee not a bee? When it's a flower, perhaps! This afternoon I have been to one of the less well visited parts of the reserve in search of another exciting discovery: bee orchids.

    I've regularly seen bee orchids just a few hundred metres south of the reserve boundary, on Sizewell Beach, but I don't recall hearing about any recent sightings on the reserve itself, so I took the…

    • 18 Jun 2019
  • Vagrant dragons, painted ladies & tented homes

    In my last last blog I promised to update on insect sightings, and since then we've spotted a few more goodies, despite the inclement weather. Tuesday, in particular, was a good day for insect watchers, with a notable influx of painted lady butterflies along the dunes. I didn't get a chance to get out myself so missed this influx, but I was pleased to find one of these large migratory butterflies this afternoon. I've…

    • 14 Jun 2019
  • High rise or ground floor?

    Last week we celebrated World Oceans Day. The world's oceans are vital, providing food, regulating our climate, and providing a home for countless different types of wildlife. But they are under threat from pollution - not least the rapidly rising tide of plastic that's finding its way there - overfishing, and climate change. 

    The RSPB works very closely with our Birdlife International partners to protect the world…

    • 10 Jun 2019
  • Volunteer Voices: Henry

    Our Conservation Intern Henry Page describes his incredible experience tracking down our latest rarity, a Cretzschmar’s bunting.

    What I thought would be a normal day at Minsmere RSPB turned into a mega cascade of events. I am currently living on site and involved in the RSPB’s internship program for practical conservation. Living on site has its perks and I am usually out on the reserve long after people have gone…

    • 7 Jun 2019
  • Exciting times

    Why is it that every time I go on holiday something exciting turns up at Minsmere? Not that I should complain as I was watching some amazing wildlife in Scotland. Staying just around the corner from the Springwatch base in Nethybridge, we were lucky enough to spot red and black grouse, ptarmigan, golden eagle, crested tit, pied and spotted flycatchers, redstart, slavonian grebe, three species of diver, osprey, short-eared…

    • 4 Jun 2019
  • Recent sightings 1st June 2019

    Apologies for the late sightings report, we’ve had a busy week! It’s been wonderful to see so many families getting stuck in to our Wild Challenges and discovering our spring wildlife this half-term.

    It looks like we’ve been saving the best until last, as over the last 24 hours we’ve had a broad-billed sandpiper and little stint on the South Levels, a wood sandpiper on the West Scrape, an Iberian chiffchaff…

    • 1 Jun 2019
  • Volunteer Voices: Alice

    We welcome our new Education Intern, Alice Milton

    Growing up in Suffolk and Norfolk I took nature for granted. Maybe not the rare things or the big charismatic stuff, but certainly the little things: watching the house martins return summer after summer; sucking the nectar from a white deadnettle flower; learning which trees could be climbed and which hedgerows hid a secret child-sized hollow inside them.

    That this (the…

    • 30 May 2019
  • More Minsmere bugs

    It's been a buggy-themed day again today, which for me started when my colleague, Stu, rescued this gorgeous cockchafer from the window of the gents' toilets. It was quite happy wandering around on my finger for a few minutes before flying into the safety of the oak canopy. 

    Photo by Stu Precious

    Cockchafers are one of largest and most familiar beetles. So familiar, in fact, that they have many different local…

    • 23 May 2019
  • Little 'uns

    I don't often write two blogs in a day, but following my earlier insect-themed entry I thought I should update you on some of the fantastic birds that have been seen over the past week.

    Perhaps the star birds this week have been our little terns. There used to be small breeding colony of these tiny seabirds on the beach, but as the profile has changed in recent years they've moved elsewhere, and they only visit Minsmere…

    • 21 May 2019
  • Mining nomads and more

    Yesterday was World Bee Day, and as anyone who regularly reads our blogs will know, we like our bees at Minsmere. Not just honeybees and bumblebees, either.

    I've personally always had an affinity with bees as my maternal grandad was a bee-keeper, so I was brought up on home-produced Worcestershire honey. I still insist on buying locally produced honey to spread on my bread for breakfast every day. Yet honeybees, like…

    • 20 May 2019
  • Red and green and pink and orange

    After last week's unsettled weather it's been great to see spring return again this week, with unbroken blue skies and almost no wind bring the insects out in force. My walk to East Hide this afternoon took a little longer than expected as I was regularly distracted by insects.

    First there was my first hairy dragonfly of the year hawking around the pond. When it did eventually settle, it did so in a position where…

    • 14 May 2019
  • A knot for all seasons

    I was never a boy scout and can’t tie many different types of knots, but I can certainly identify a knot of the flying variety when I see one, and yesterday proved to be a great day for spotting knots at Minsmere.

    While there are often one or two knots on the Scrape throughout the winter and spring, these are usually in their drab grey non-breeding plumage. By early May, however, many have moulted into their stunning…

    • 9 May 2019
  • ----> This way to save the planet ---->

    This week the UK government declared that we are in a climate emergency.

    Following the broadcast of BBC’s sobering ‘Climate change: the facts’ and increasing pressure from activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion, the topic of our planet’s future is now once again firmly back on the agenda (how it was allowed to fall off the agenda, we can only wonder).

    Back in 2013 the UN Intergovernmental…

    • 3 May 2019
  • Beginning birdwatching, volume 2: using your ears

    For the second instalment in my occasional series of beginning birdwatching blogs, I explore sound, and the joys of birdsong.

    Whilst learning birdsong is a key part of learning and improving your bird identification skills, I would not ordinarily focus on song before addressing subjects such as equipment and field craft, but as May is the peak month for birdsong, I thought I should strike while the iron is hot, so to…

    • 2 May 2019
  • Let Nature Sing

    Late April and early May always signals the peak arrival of our spring migrants, and maximum variety and volume of birdsong. But did you know that we've lost over 44 million songbirds from the UK over the past 50 years? As a result, many species are now much scarcer, and it has become a red-letter day to hear a cuckoo, turtle dove, nightingale or redstart, for example.

    In recognition of this frightening loss of native…

    • 30 Apr 2019
  • Stilts and reels

    Leave Minsmere for a week at your peril, especially in spring. Luckily it doesn't seem that I missed any real star birds last week, but I certainly returned to some goodies over the weekend. With so many exciting sightings already this week, I can confidently say that spring is here, and migration is hotting up - even if the glorious weather of the last fortnight looks set to end tomorrow!

    There can only be one place…

    • 24 Apr 2019
  • Recent sightings 21st April 2019

    A busy Easter week for visitors and wildlife, mostly down to the warm weather! Hundreds of children have been enjoying the activity trail through the woodland and some fantastic close views of bitterns, otters and adders.

    Star species this week include a cuckoo on Wednesday morning, hobbies over the reedbed, a great white egret at Island Mere and a little owl at the woodland crossroads. We've also heard and seen the return…

    • 21 Apr 2019