• 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
  • Blue is the colour

    There’s something really special about walking through the woods at this time of year. Not only are they filled with birdsong, but there’s a wonderful scent drifting through the air – especially on a gorgeous sunny day like today. Sadly, I can’t record smell via photos or videos, so you’ll just have to take my word for it – or come along and experience it for yourself.

    The scent I’m…

    • 11 May 2021
  • Adders causing trouble

    It's not everyday that you come face to face with a venomous snake inside the shop, but that's exactly what happened on Wednesday!

    It was a chilly late April day when two of our regular visitors came in hoping to spot one of the adders, knowing that they had been showing well at times over the last couple of weeks. Given how cold it was, they knew their chances were low, and a quick radio call to our volunteer…

    • 1 May 2021
  • Tigers on the loose

    I've talked before in these blogs about Minsmere's lions (antlions), wolves (beewolves) and dragons (dragonflies), but did you know that we also have a thriving tiger colony on the reserve. Don't worry, these aren’t the large stripy cats that stalk the jungles of India or Southeast Asia. However, to Minsmere's ants, bees and flies, they are at least as fearsome.

    Our tigers are small, green insects…

    • 23 Apr 2021
  • Beeflies and more (and an update on facilities)

    Following the second stage of the lifting of Covid 19 restrictions, it's been great to welcome back many familiar faces - some for the first time in more than a year - as well as lots of new visitors.

    Let me start this week with a reminder of what's open, or not.

    Car park, toilets and nature trails - open dawn to dusk

    Reception - open 9 am to 5 pm

    Shop - open 10 am to 4 pm. Binocular hire is now available again…

    • 15 Apr 2021
  • Eagles!

    Having complained about not seeing the mythical white tailed eagles it seems someone was listening, and kindly sent three our way over the last couple of weeks (more importantly there were all on days when I was working so I could get a nice photo!). A great deal of interest is in the birds reintroduced from the Isle of Wight project, but it appears the birds over the reserve were from the continent and making the most…

    • 10 Apr 2021
  • Latest sightings and facilities update

    What a strange week we've had for the first week since the lifting of the stay at home guidance. What started out as a couple of days that felt more like midsummer than early spring, has ended with a return to winter as northerly winds grip the east coast. What's more, it looks like we're in for some even colder weather early next week, with the chance of some wintry showers. That's not good news for the butterflies and…

    • 2 Apr 2021
  • Next phase of re-opening

    It's certainly been a strange winter and early spring, but with the clocks going forward this Sunday to welcome in the start of British Summer Time, and the next phase of the government's Covid-19 restrictions being lifted on Monday, there is light on the horizon.

    As the "stay at home" message is replaced by "stay local" there will, at last, be an opportunity for a few more of our regular visitors to finally make…

    • 26 Mar 2021
  • The year of the big white bird

    Guest blog by Mark Solomons, Minsmere volunteer and local resident.

    There's an unwritten rule among newspaper sub editors that any story about egrets must have one of two headlines. Either 'no egrets' if they become endangered or 'egrets, we've had a few' if they are booming.

    At the moment it's the latter.

    Britain is becoming home to a greater variety of what can best be described as big…

    • 18 Mar 2021
  • Looking forward to welcoming you back

    Hi everyone.

    It's been a long time since I've had a chance to update you all about what's going on at Minsmere. I hope that some of you have been able to keep to updated via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

    I finally returned from furlough again at the start of last week, allowing me to come to Minsmere again for the first time since New Year. It was very exciting to walk around the Scrape last Wednesday…

    • 16 Mar 2021
  • New Covid 19 update, 7 January

    This information is different to our previous post saying we would remain closed, so apologies for any confusion caused. We had to work quickly to adhere to the Government guidance we received yesterday, and after discussion with relevant Government departments, the situation (as we and others across the sector understood it) was that sites where visitors usually pay for entry would have to close. However, today we have…
    • 7 Jan 2021
  • Tier 4 - what's open & what's not

    As seems to be the norm this year, no sooner do I write a blog outlining our opening arrangements then they change as government advice is updated. That was the case again this week, but due to the Christmas break I have not be able to update the news since the announcement that Suffolk, like many parts of the southeast of England, entered Tier 4 on Boxing Day.

    So, what does Tier 4 mean for opening arrangements here at…

    • 29 Dec 2020
  • Christmas cheer

    As I write, it's a dull, dreary, wet day, which I'm sure chimes with the feelings of many people as this unusual Christmas season approaches. With plans changed, and many families unable to meet with their loved ones, I hope this blog will bring some much needed cheer to our readers, especially the photos at the end.

    As a rule, little changes in terms of daily sightings during mid winter, with most of our winter…

    • 21 Dec 2020
  • Winter wildlife highlights

    It's been a glorious winter day today: clear blue skies and an absence of wind, making for the perfect conditions to enjoy a relaxing winter walk. The wildlife certainly obliged when I headed out at lunchtime, too.

    But first, some excellent news. We've already had an incredible 55000 people sign our Love Minsmere e-action, helping us to fight the potentially devastating development of Sizewell C. If you haven't yet…

    • 15 Dec 2020
  • Living at Minsmere through the autumn

    Guest blog by Matt Livesey, Minsmere Intern

    All photos by Matt Livesey

    My first autumn spent in Suffolk has been a special one. I began my role as residential conservation intern at Minsmere at the beginning of October, and living at the heart of a nature reserve really is a magical experience.

    Within my first week I saw stone-curlew and Dartford warbler, as well as the first whooper swans of the autumn briefly stopping…

    • 10 Dec 2020
  • Welcome back

    It's great to have been welcome visitors back into the shop, cafe and hides since Wednesday. We've made the visitor centre feel a bit more Christmassy, with trees in reception and the cafe. This year we've also treated the birds to their own Christmas tree: we've cut down a Corsican pine from the dunes and strung a variety of fruits, nuts and fat cakes to the branches. This tree, and the adjacent feeders, continue to…

    • 7 Dec 2020
  • Post-lockdown opening

    We’re excited to be able to re-open some of our facilities for you on  Wednesday 2 December!  

    We are in Tier 2, so here's a quick summary of what’s available at Minsmere 

    Car park open (dawn to dusk)

    Outdoor, Covid-secure, staffed Welcome Point (10 am to 4 pm) 

    Reserve trails open (dawn to dusk) 

    Hides open (dawn to dusk). Face coverings required. Maximum of six people per hide. 

    Toilets open (10 am to 4…

    • 27 Nov 2020
  • Why I love Minsmere

    Minsmere has been a huge part of my life, but I'm concerned that the Minsmere that I love so much is under threat from the current proposals by EDF to build a massive new nuclear power station on its southern boundary.

    As a child I often read about the amazing birds seen here, dreaming that one day I'd have the chance to see a bittern, marsh harrier or avocet. I never thought that I'd get to work there one day. I…

    • 24 Nov 2020
  • If you go down to the woods today...

    OK, you might not be in for a surprise, but you'll certainly be rewarded with something special. Woodland walks in autumn are always special, and are guaranteed to bring the child out in all but a few people. After all, is there anything more enjoyable than walking through a deep litter of golden leaves, taking the chance to swing your boot, and giggling as the leaves tumble back down around you?

    If you're really…

    • 20 Nov 2020
  • Of Moths and Men

    Guest blog by Mark Solomons, Minsmere volunteer and resident

    Under the darkness of night a group of men set out their traps. They range from the smart and sophisticated to bizarre looking, almost Heath Robinson-like. And that's just the men. You should see the traps!

    Hours later, as dawn breaks over what tourism chiefs like to call The Sunrise Coast, the men return to see what denizens of the night have been lured…

    • 14 Nov 2020