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 their first visit of the year to Minsmere. If you are visiting, please adhere to the government's regulations, stay local, maintain social distancing and remember the rule of six. We hope that those of you who live further away will eventually be able to return later in the year as restrictions begin to lift further.

We are very excited to announce that from Monday morning we will, at last, be able to offer our visitors some of our delicious refreshments from the cafe, from 10 am to 4 pm. There will be no seating available, either indoors or outdoors, but the limited grab and go menu will offer variety of homemade scones, sandwiches, sausage rolls and cakes, plus hot and cold drinks - more than enough to refuel you before your walk around the reserve. Please bring your mask as you won't be able to access the cafe till without it - you'll also need a mask to use the toilets.

From Monday we'll be welcoming visitors outside the reception area, helping to point you in the best direction to spot our amazing wildlife or to direct you to the toilets or cafe. We are currently charging half price entry for non members until the hides can reopen. We'll also have our volunteer guides at a couple of key location, helping you spot things like adders, marsh harriers or bearded tits.

You'll have to wait a few more weeks until the shop can re-open. This is currently planned for Monday 12 April, in line with government guidance. 

The hides remain closed too. We expect to re-open these on, or soon after, 12 April, with limited capacity, social distancing and mask wearing being essential. Until then, there are great views of the Scrape from the dunes and Public Viewpoint and of the reedbed from Whin Hill and the North Wall.

We've seen some fantastic wildlife in the last few weeks, and with spring now upon us there's sure to be more arriving in the coming weeks. Highlights this week have included the first sand martins and Sandwich tern today, a wheatear yesterday, a couple of sightings of garganey, several red kites, and an impressive trio of rarities yesterday: common crane, raven and white-tailed eagle. The latter was seen for the third time this week!

White-tailed eagle on Monday. Photo by Ian Barthorpe

Please note that as the shop is closed and there is no cafe seating, you cannot bring your dog into the visitor centre. Dogs are not allowed on our nature trails or to be left in the car, so if you want to walk your dog, please do so elsewhere - we can provide a leaflet showing local rights of way that are suitable for dog walking.