• Magical Minsmere Moths

    A guest blog by Education, Families and Youth Officer Emily Figgins 

    Moths, for a keen nature lover and enthusiast, they are an exciting and eye-opening world of the natural world. However, they have gathered a reputation for being clothes-eating, dull and boring, pests. I am here to de-bunk those myths and convert people to the magical world of Minsmere’s moths.

     

    My fascination, admittedly obsession, with moths…

    • 12 Aug 2022
  • Looking up and down

    As my last blog shows, even if our birds are not paying ball, there is still a good chance to spot something a bit more unusual on a walk around Minsmere, and the last two days have proved this, once again.

    It certainly pays to look carefully in the long grass on the inland edge of the dunes, where several gorgeous wasp spiders (photo below) have emerged to hunt crickets. These large black, white and yellow striped spiders…

    • 5 Aug 2022
  • Scarlet surprise

    It was a red-letter day on Thursday for one of our regular visitors, although he didn't realise quite how eignificant his sighting was until he posted his photos late on Friday evening. I'll let Les take up the story himself.

    "I had decided to spend on Thursday a day looking around Minsmere for the dragon- and damselflies, as I do this every year while the bird population is quiet. I started the day at the pond…

    • 3 Aug 2022
  • Ups and downs

    Apologies for the delay since my last sightings blog. It’s been a busy few weeks, with staff illness, holidays, and running workshops at the Latitude Festival meaning that I’ve struggled to find the time to complete some of our routine admin tasks, never mind write a blog.

    It’s also been hard to know exactly what to write as our wildlife has come under more stress than I can remember during my 20 years at…

    • 27 Jul 2022
  • Breaking News: Sizewell C given the go-ahead

    The Government has approved plans for Sizewell C, the proposed new nuclear power station that will affect our nature reserve at Minsmere.
    Beccy Speight, Chief Executive Officer RSPB, said “It is extremely disappointing to learn that the Government has approved plans for the proposed Sizewell C power station.
    “We are dismayed that the decision by this interim Government goes against the advice of the Examiners…
    • 20 Jul 2022
  • Diggers, dragons and more

    It’s all action on Digger Alley now, with all of the usual suspects on show: bee-wolves, ornate-tailed wasps, red-banded sand wasps, ruby-tailed (jewel) wasps, pantaloon bees, green-eyed flower-bees, pointy-bum bees, dunes chafers and much more besides. Steve and Davene, our Digger Alley experts, even think they may have discovered another new species of pointy-bum bee this week!

    Ruby-tailed wasp by Steve Ever…

    • 9 Jul 2022
  • Globetrotters

    In the week or so since my last blog, we've been visited by several notable globetrotters of both the avian and human varieties. The latter have included representatives of conservation organisation in Denmark and Indonesia visiting Minsmere to learn more about how we manage the reserve for wildlife and people. I've also had some lovely conversations with birdwatchers from the USA, Canada and South Africa this week.…

    • 2 Jul 2022
  • Insects on cue

    This week is National Insect Week, and it's certainly been a great week for insect sightings at Minsmere, from butterflies to moths, bees to wasps, dragonflies to beetles.

    First, the really exciting news is that Digger Alley is open for business. When I walked through on Tuesday I must have seen (and heard) at least 50 green-eyed flower-bees, their distinctive buzz filling the airwaves. As always, they were very mobile…

    • 23 Jun 2022
  • Bird flu confirmed

    Visitors to Minsmere over the last few weeks may have noticed more dead birds on the Scrape than usual. We can confirm that dead birds tested by Defra for avian influenza at RSPB Minsmere last week, have tested positive for the disease. We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or…

    • 21 Jun 2022
  • Summer heat opens Digger Alley

    Summer is always an exciting time for insect lovers, with a great variety of butterflies, dragonflies, bees, wasps and other species on the wing. I saw my first silver-washed fritillaries of the year along the Woodland Trail yesterday and expect the white admirals and purple hairstreaks to be active very soon. Silver-washed fritillary is a relatively recent arrival at Minsmere, and one of the UK's largest and most spectacular…

    • 18 Jun 2022
  • Ascending in song

    Our regular series of blogs exploring collective nouns returns after a short break with a look at one of our most familiar birds. I say familiar, but most people probably haven't had good close views of skylarks. You will, however, almost certainly be familiar with the beautiful, lyrical song filling the skies with music as they sing from high above.

    Visually, skylarks are perfect examples of LBJs, or little brown…

    • 14 Jun 2022
  • Things in unexpected places

    One of the joys of being able to regularly spend time walking around the reserve is that I get to know where certain species are most likely to be seen. For example, I almost expect to hear a Cetti's warbler about halfway along the North Wall or close to the S bend between Wildlife Lookout and South Hide. I also know which islands on the Scrape are best to look for Mediterranean gulls or little terns, or where to look…

    • 10 Jun 2022
  • Memories of The Old Days.

    Guest blog by Minsmere volunteer, Pete Etheridge

    I first came to volunteer at Minsmere in April 1983. This was to change my life for ever. Working in beautiful places, experiencing nature close to, and making lifelong friends.

    Jeremy Sorensen was Warden at that time, and lived in the bungalow, having taken over from Bert Axell, the previous warden.  Jeremy was full of life, very energetic and always happy and smiling. 

    • 29 May 2022
  • More than just birds

    I love this time of year. Every walk around the reserve produces a new sighting for the year. While bird migration may be winding down for the spring (though southbound wader migration will start in just a few weeks), there are more and more new insects emerging and flowers blooming, so it certainly pays to walk slowly and look all around you.

    For the botanists among our visitors, the summer months bring a host of of…

    • 26 May 2022
  • Casting for a show

    It's time, once again, to take a look at some of the collective nouns associated with wildlife, and this week I'm turning the focus on falcons, and more specifically hobbies.

    There are four species of falcon that breed in the UK: peregrine, kestrel, hobby and merlin. A fifth, the red-footed falcon, is a regular but scarce summer migrant, while gyr falcon and Eleonora's falcon are very rare visitors.

    Kestrel…

    • 24 May 2022
  • Long distance travellers

    With migration season continuing, we've had a variety of long-distance travellers passing through over the past week, but not all have arrived by air. One arrived by bike. Gary Prescott, AKA The Biking Birder, visited us for the weekend as part of his challenge to break the European record for the most species of bird seen in a calendar year without using any form of combustion engine. 

    Gary Prescott, AKA The Biking…

    • 20 May 2022
  • 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