In earlier blogs you'll have read that the much loved old Island Mere Hide and boardwalk are no more. Consigned to the great recycled wood pile so that we can reuse any suitable planks. Gone, but not forgotten.

For those who recall treasured memories of incredible wildlife views from Island Mere Hide, there is good news. Progress on building the new Island Mere Hide is going really well. Ron Gilliard and his team have erected the walls and the frame of the roof this week and the new structure is clearly visible from the Whin Hill viewpoint and the sluice.

From the photos I've seen, I'm really excited about the new hide. The views across Island Mere and the reedbed will be even better, especially once we've opened up an old ditch to the right of the hide. This will once again become the best place in the UK to sit and watch reedbed wildlife: bitterns fishing silently in front of the hide or flapping lazily in search of new feeding areas; marsh harriers quartering on raised wings or swooping through the skies in their roller-coaster like display flight; Bewick's swans arriving at dusk to roost among flocks of coots and ducks; a water pipit, snipe or even jack snipe hiding in the cut reed; perhaps even the telltale wake behind an otter as it swims stealthily after prey, submerged bar its head, or arching its back pre dive. The extended boardwalk will be an excellent spot for watching bearded tits and Cetti's warblers flitting among the reeds, or glimpsing hobbies scything through the sky after dragonflies.

Work is going to schedule with the fine weather and the new hide should be opening in mid to late November. The path to Island Mere will remain closed while the works take place but the circular route from Bittern Hide and Scott’s Hall will be open at weekends.

Inside the frame of the new hide looking out to the mere

The new hide with the construction team from Gilliards (above)

The hide rises from the reedbed (all photos by Adam Rowlands)

  • the design is good i have heard rumors that the underneath is for cameras but if you go there your knee deep in water by that point and it would look better with a lower tier.

  • Ian Robinson - Thanks for the photo link to Titchwell's Island Hide. You're quite right that the hworks with two flaps and no central bar. However, we're also keen to avoid inward opening flaps that open downward as we've had feedback from many reserves that these obstruct access tot he shelf for field guides, notebooks, clamps - and flasks! We're also trying to reduce the risk of large heavy glass shutters not being secured properly. These new style windows have proved to be very successful where used.

    As I've siad before, please wait til you see and use the finished hide before passing judgement. It will work well for 99% of users - I promise. (We aim for 100% of users to be happy, but I am realistic that there's a few we won't please)

  • Excellent work on the new hide. On the one ocassion i visited Minsmere, back in 1979 i would say it's the best place in the UK for watching rare and special birds at being able to view them so very close. Well done RSPB.

  • "It's not possible to have deep windows suitable for all users in the traditional style."

    Island Hide at Titchwell seems to have solved it. Two flaps and no middle bar.

    Will wait with interest to see the outcome. I hope the hide will not have individual seats that are bolted to the floor though like Parrinder Hide.