• Natural spectacles

    It's been a strange autumn. After the unusually mild September, we've had variable weather to start October, though falling overnight temperatures are finally giving the suggestion that winter isn't too far away. Autumn is typically a time to admire nature's colours in all their glory: crimson hawthorn berries and rosehips adorning bushes, juicy purple sloes hanging in the hedgerows, leaves turning from green to every…

    • 15 Oct 2021
  • The red deer rut is on

    Yes folks, it October, so that means it's time for the rut. The season when testosterone fuelled red deer stags battle for supremacy and the right to mate with as many hinds as possible.

    There are two ways to watch the rut at Minsmere: from a distance on foot, or from the comfort of a 4x4 vehicle, with an expert RSPB guide on hand.

    To watch them on foot, please view from the footpath that runs along the southern edge…

    • 9 Oct 2021
  • Life on the edge

    Life is hard, and for our coastal and migratory birds it's getting harder with climate change, habitat loss and increasing disturbance all having major impacts on the availability of safe places for them to nest, roost and feed.

    That's why the RSPB has got together with the National Trust as lead partners in a four year LIFE Nature-funded project called Life on the Edge with the aim of improving the condition…

    • 1 Oct 2021
  • Insects beware!

    Warm September days can be great for spotting insects at Minsmere - or in your garden - but they'd better beware as there are plenty of predators about - even though Digger Alley is now closed for the winter.

    During a quick lunchtime walk through the North Bushes earlier in the week I was treated to close views of three different species of butterflies within just a hundred metres or so. This fresh comma looked particularly…

    • 23 Sep 2021
  • Lingering summer

    After a year of strange and varied weather - something we'll have to get used to in our changing climate - it's been lovely to enjoy some warm sunny weather this week. Even on Tuesday, when the rest of eastern England was soaked in torrential rain, the weather maps showed a tiny gap in the rain centred on Minsmere and Southwold, and we escaped with just a few light showers mid afternoon.

    There's a definite hint…

    • 17 Sep 2021
  • Busy wildlife, busy wardens

    The Scrape continues to attract an excellent variety of migrant waders, although numbers of many species are declining as the autumn progresses. Good numbers of avocets remain (they've often all gone by September), and up to 200 black-tailed godwits are present, but for most other species the counts are now in single or low double figures. Even so, it should be possible to spot most, if not all, of the following species…

    • 10 Sep 2021
  • Wildlife galore

    Earlier in the week I focussed on waders in my last blog. Today is a chance to look at some of the other amazing wildlife that is on show at the moment. Pride of place probably goes to this stunning female adder that has been seen along the North Wall on several days this week. She favours the area the North Wall sluice, and likes to use the stony path as a basking spot because it's warmer than in the surrounding vegetation…

    • 4 Sep 2021
  • Wader-ful Scrape

    After an excellent summer for wader migration, it's great to see that there's still a wonderful selection of waders feeding on the Scrape. Most are refuelling on the long journey south, from the Arctic to West Africa, though the lapwings and snipe will spend the winter here, and the avocets are slowly departing after a successful breeding season.

    The most numerous of the waders are the black-tailed godwits, with…

    • 31 Aug 2021
  • Carnivorous plants and visitors from afar

    Firstly an apology that there haven't been any sightings updates for three weeks, while I was enjoying a much needed family break and catching up on some admin on my return.

    Of course, there have been plenty of sightings in that time, including a superb variety of birds, insects and plants.

    I'll start with the rare visitors, although they have since all moved on. We were treated to not one, but two different species…

    • 20 Aug 2021
  • Emily Williamson Statue tour comes to Minsmere

    The campaign to create a statue of RSPB founder and eco pioneer Emily Williamson (1855-1936) is touring RSPB reserves around the country.  This will include a visit to our very own RSPB Minsmere, on Tuesday 24 August 2021. Four sculptors have each created a beautiful design of a statue for Emily and the maquettes (miniature statues) will be on display at the visitor centre where you will be able to find out more about…

    • 17 Aug 2021
  • A tern up for the books

    There have been some pretty impressive counts of terns on the Scrape this week, including an incredible 350+ common terns and about 50 little terns. Many of these will be birds that have finished breeding (or failed) elsewhere and have moved here to roost on the Scrape and feed offshore before starting their migration south into the South Atlantic for our winter months.

    Alongside these two species, several Sandwich terns…

    • 30 Jul 2021
  • So much variety

    Wow, what a difference. The hot sunny weather over the last few - though thankfully slightly cooler on the coast - has brought out an incredible variety of insects, while the Scrape is busier with birds than I've seen if for several years. 

    You don't have to go far to enjoy the best of our insect life, either. Right outside the visitor centre you can watch various butterflies feeding on the buddleia, search for purple…

    • 20 Jul 2021
  • Long legs abound

    After my walk around the Scrape today, I think it's safe to say that autumn wader migration is well underway. There are waders galore scattered across the Scrape, dominated by some impressive counts of avocets. Earlier this week our site manager counted more than 400 avocets, and, even more excitingly, there are quite a few fledged young among them. It's been a few years since these graceful birds have fledged more than…

    • 10 Jul 2021
  • You spin me round

    As June draws to a close, wader migration is gathering pace, with flocks of up to 15 spotted redshanks and more than 150 black-tailed godwits feeding on the Scrape, along with a handful of green sandpipers, ruffs and dunlins. As we move into July, thoughts turn to the possibility of rare waders from Siberia or North America, which regularly turn up among commoner species. 

    This morning, one such scarcer visitor was located…

    • 30 Jun 2021
  • To bee or not to bee, that is the question

    The return of milder weather has brought out many of our star insects, but things aren't ways quite what they seem. Any patch of flowers is a great place to look for bees, wasps, butterflies and flies, with the carpets of bright yellow biting stonecrop around the car park almost buzzing with insects. Many of these are mining bees, including green-eyed flower-bees and sandpit mining bees, and bumblebees, such as red-tailed…

    • 25 Jun 2021
  • Guest Blog - Henry

    This week we have a guest blog by new volunteer Henry who has been getting a bit of experience working with the visitor experience and communication team. Henry has been visiting the reserve for a few years now and gets some fantastic wildlife photos - so he has written about his experiences of being an ethical wildlife photographer:

    Henry

    I first went to Minsmere in 2013 aged 7 with my great-grandfather (who grew up…

    • 25 Jun 2021
  • Time to celebrate

    Today is a big day, for lots of reasons - even if the lifting of restrictions has been delayed for a further four weeks.

    Firstly, today is the summer solstice. The longest day of the year, when the sun is directly overhead in the northern hemisphere. This is one of most important days in the pre-Christian calendar, and many ancient civilisations built impressive temples around the location of the sun on the solstice.…

    • 21 Jun 2021
  • Summer...what summer?

    As usual, I'm sitting down to write a blog and the weather is a central theme. But then, I suppose, that's a core part of many conversations amongst us Brits. Weather, football and food could just about sum the core themes of many conversations. Thankfully, as more and more people have been able to reconnect with nature over the past 15 months, nature is creeping into more of those conversations too.

    I'd better…

    • 18 Jun 2021
  • Orchid you not: in praise of plants

    As I mentioned in my earlier blog, there's a profusion of flowers in bloom at the moment. For many people, the chance to see orchids in the UK is a highlight of their day, and a visit to Minsmere in June is a good place to tick this off the bucket list as dozens of southern marsh orchids line the path between South Belt Crossroads and the Wildlife Lookout, as well as the entrance path to Island Mere.

    These same areas…

    • 10 Jun 2021
  • Migration crossroads

    After ten days away from the reserve, it's amazing to see how quickly things have changed. When I left it still felt like mid spring, with very few dragonflies or butterflies on the wing and a chill breeze in the air. By the time I returned on Monday it felt like summer had arrived in a burst of excitement. Insects buzzed and flitted from flower to flower, and young birds could be seen scattered around the Scrape. It…

    • 10 Jun 2021
  • Riding the boom train

    Guest blog by Mark Solomons, Minsmere resident and volunteer

    The boom train has arrived on time again this year - no, not another political euphemism but a Minsmere event that just three decades ago would have seemed unimaginable.

    Bitterns. The iconic, noisy, reclusive reedbed residents that are rightly considered to be one of this reserve's signature species.

    They are booming, both literally and metaphorically…

    • 8 Jun 2021
  • O is for...

    There have been several interesting sightings this week, most with the common theme of starting with the letter O. O for owl, osprey, oriole and oooo.

    First, on Monday afternoon one of our volunteer guides reported a tawny owl showing well in the woods between Bittern Hide and Island Mere. We all rushed down for a look and were soon rewarded with superb views of this nocturnal hunter that is rarely seen by day.

    The…

    • 27 May 2021
  • Varied weather & varied wildlife

    As I type this sightings update, it’s hard to believe that it’s mid May, as it feels and sounds much more like November outside. The wind is whistling through the tree canopy and rattling the windows in the hides and there’s a dampness to the air that feels very unspring-like. Quite a contrast to the start of the week!

    Despite this unseasonal weather, our guides have some amazing views of bearded tits…

    • 21 May 2021
  • Hide etiquette

    It’s been wonderful to welcome so many people back to the reserve, and we’ve certainly seen an influx now the hides are open. However, today something didn’t feel right with the way that people were using hides and we want to make sure people do feel safe when they visit.

    We found that some people weren’t following our instructions of wearing masks, there were moments when there were people standing…

    • 20 May 2021
  • World Mental Health Week

    This week is World Mental Health Week, with this year’s them being nature and the power it holds to help improve people’s wellbeing. Now we know how vital nature and wellbeing are every week of the year, but it’s also a good opportunity to share some ways to get more involved, to help others and to point out some key resources.

    There’s an awful lot of research into people’s health being improved by immersion…

    • 14 May 2021