• To bee, or not to bee

    Have you been watching BBC Springwatch from the wonderful RSPB Arne nature reserve in Dorset? If you have, then you will hopefully been enthralled at the superb feature on Minsmere's Digger Alley, featuring two of our wonderful volunteers, Steve and Davene, and their simply stunning footage of the bees and wasps that call Digger Alley home. If you missed it, then you catch up on BBC i-Player.

    Digger Alley itself is…

    • 9 Jun 2023
  • A perfect day?

    I only had time for a quick walk at lunchtime today, but it was enough to see Minsmere at its best, in gorgeous sunshine.

    My first destination was the Wildlife Lookout, where I hoped to finally catch up with the Glossy Ibis that has been proving elusive for the past week. I was in luck today - as were most other visitors - as it was preening on the bank, looking absolutely stunning in the sun. It certainly lived up to…

    • 27 May 2023
  • Minsmere Mayhem

    We were sent an email this week by a visitor who was inspired to write a poem about his recent trip to Minsmere, which you can read below. We'd love to see any poems, paintings or other projects where Minsmere has been the inspiration.

    Minsmere Mayhem

    Dragon flies ringing the picnic benches;
    Buzzards flying, hug the endless sky;
    Bitterns calling to some far off places,
    Buzzing crowds around the shop do lie.


    • 23 May 2023
  • Sky dancer surprise

    After several scarce waders earlier in the month, May had at least one more surprise in store yesterday when our Bittern survey volunteers spotted a superb male Hen Harrier over the reeds.

    Known as Skydancers in the uplands due to their buoyant switchback display flight, Hen Harriers used to be widespread winter visitors in eastern England, with several birds spending the winter months in the Minsmere area. However, following…

    • 19 May 2023
  • Into the blue

    It's that time of year when woodlands around the UK are filled with the wonderful scent of hyacinth, as carpets of Bluebells burst into bloom, covering the woodland floor in a haze of blue. 

    Minsmere is no exception, and one of the best places to experience this spectacle is just outside the visitor centre as you enter South Belt.

    Bluebell is just one of many species of flower blooming across the reserve, with Yellow…

    • 12 May 2023
  • The Garden of England?

    Kent. The Garden of England. Famous for its orchard, oast houses, castles and white cliffs. But did you know that it is also the only English county to have three different birds whose names relate to the county, or places within it (and at least one moth, for that matter).

    Despite this claim to fame, there was a time not so long ago when none of those three birds bred in Kent, and one is still a very rare visitor to…

    • 6 May 2023
  • Spreading Our Wings: Connecting with nature through craft

    Guest blog by Arabella Marshall, Suffolk Craft Society

    Connecting with nature through craft

    Minsmere is a magnet for people who love birds and wildlife. It also carries a rich and complex human narrative stretching back over centuries. This compelling combination has inspired a group of eight makers from the Suffolk Craft Society to find new approaches to their own work resulting in sculpture, prints, hangings and a…

    • 2 May 2023
  • Time for tea

    This week's blog comes with a warning. There's lots of mention of food, so if you're hungry, please look away now and come back later!

    Firstly, we have very important news for lovers of Minsmere's famous cheese scones, cakes, pasties and other delicious goodies from the cafe. Our cafe opening hours are changing from 1 May. In response to feedback from our visitors, we're opening half an hour earlier, at…

    • 29 Apr 2023
  • Namesake sounds

    It's that time of year when some birds very kindly tell you what they're called, without you having to look them up in your field guide. Some of these are, admittedly, easy to hear and recognise from their call than others.

    The first of these that you'll probably hear as you walk around is the Chiffchaff, whose repeated disyllabic song can be heard throughout the woods and scrubby parts of the reserve. Better…

    • 21 Apr 2023
  • Signs of spring everywhere

    After two weeks away from the reserve, it's amazing how much things have changed. The hedgerows are greening as hawthorn leaves burst open, or shining with the bright white blackthorn blossom, while bird songs and calls fill the air.

    Blackthorn blossom near Whin Hill

    The dominant sound of Minsmere in spring is the cacophony on the Scrape, with the raucous calls of black-headed gulls interspersed with higher pitched…

    • 15 Apr 2023
  • Cricket teal

    Have you heard of a cricket teal? It's one of the traditional names used for the only duck that is typically a summer visitor to the UK - hence the "cricket" part of its name. It's also small duck - hence teal. You may know it better as a garganey.

    Garganeys are scarce visitors, never common, but occurring in many shallow wetlands across the UK. They are best seen in late March and April, when newly…

    • 1 Apr 2023
  • It all adders up

    As March draws towards an end, adders continue to prove the biggest draw for many of our visitors. In particular, two adders nicknamed Rylan and Goatee, are regularly showing very well just behind an electric fence below the sand martin colony. Their location means that it's easy for lots of visitors to spot them without disturbing them or putting themselves in danger, which is why we encourage visitors to watch these…

    • 25 Mar 2023
  • Spring celebrations

    It may only be mid March, but there have been some early spring migrants to raise anticipation for the coming season. 

    As is usually the case, the first spring migrants were chiffchaffs, which have been singing from the North Bushes, Sluice Bushes and South Belt woods already. It's always hard to know how many of these are actually arriving spring migrants or lingering winter visitors - we know we had at least wintering…

    • 17 Mar 2023
  • Wild Isles

    Did you see Sir David Attenborough’s newest documentary celebrating the incredible UK Wildlife?

    The RSPB along with WWF are co-producers of the documentary series and some of it was filmed on our beautiful nature reserve.

    We are now stocking a new range of Wild Isles products in our shop inspired by nature found within the UK.  The beautiful design has been created by the artist Cherith Harrison.

    We also have copies…

    • 15 Mar 2023
  • Wild Minsmere

    It's certainly been an interesting week for weather, though we've escaped the deep snow drifts and freezing weather that have caused chaos through much of the country. That's not to say that it's been mild here. Far from it. The north-easterly wind has been bitter, made all the worse if you were caught out in one of the many snow, sleet or rain showers that have passed through. Then today we have wall to wall sunshine…

    • 11 Mar 2023
  • Celebration of wildlife

    Today is World Wildlife Day, which seems like the perfect opportunity to celebrate some of Minsmere's most amazing wildlife, so here's a quick summary of what's been seen this week.

    Let's start with adders which are continuing to prove popular with many visitors. There are two males regularly basking under the brambles beneath the sand martin bank, including a gorgeous black adder. They can be tricky to see…

    • 3 Mar 2023
  • Spring, or not spring?

    It's a couple of weeks since my last update, and there have been some notable changes in that time - but lots also remains very similar.

    Let's start with the status quo: ducks, ducks and more ducks on the Scrape; flocks of tits and finches on the feeders, siskins in the woods, marsh harriers displaying over the reedbed, and snipe feeding close to Bittern Hide.

    What about the changes? Well I could also start with…

    • 23 Feb 2023
  • Colour galore

    Calm sunny winter days always ensure a wonderful day will be enjoyed on the reserve, whatever wildlife you happen to see. That's certainly been the case so far this week, as you can see from these photos taken over the last two days, showing the contrast between clear blue skies and golden winter reeds.

    North Marsh, looking towards Dunwich Heath

    The new East Hide boardwalk

    East Scrape

    South Scrape from the Public…

    • 7 Feb 2023
  • Wonderful wetlands

    Minsmere is an incredibly rich and varied nature reserve, with the widest variety of wildlife found on any RSPB nature reserve in the country. As one of the biggest RSPB reserves in England, with a complex mix of habitats, located on the migration highway of the East coast and with 75 years of continuous careful conservation management, it is perhaps not a surprise that almost 350 different species of birds have been recorded…

    • 2 Feb 2023
  • Machines and birds

    It's that time of year when our wardens and volunteers and volunteers are busy with habitat management work in preparation for the coming breeding season. You may spot them around the reserve clearing birch or gorse from the heath, building brash fences around sensitive areas, or adjusting sluices to control water levels.

    Sometimes, however, we need to bring in machinery to help with some of the bigger tasks. While…

    • 28 Jan 2023
  • Cold, cold, cold

    After a week of windy, and at times very wet, weather, it's been lovely to enjoy a couple of proper winter days: cold, clear and icy with crisp blue skies and very little wind. 

    Of course, there is a downside to such lovely weather: you really do need to wear lots of layers and keep moving. In fact, you may wish to wear wellington boots too, as some of the paths are bit wet, with Sluice completely impassable on foot…

    • 18 Jan 2023
  • Minsmere guided tours for 2023

    Apologies for the delay since my blog. I've been busy for the last couple of weeks ensuring that all our guided walks and safaris are on the website and ready to book. So, if you would like a guided tour of Minsmere, accompanied by our excellent volunteer guides, then please reserve your place now at www.events.rspb.org.uk/minsmere

    Many of the old favourites are back, including Birds for Beginners, Winter Wildfowl…

    • 18 Jan 2023
  • New year, new hopes

    Happy New Year everyone.

    A new year always brings new hopes and expectations. For birdwatchers it invariably means time to start yet another list, or two. How many bird species will you see in 2023? Or in Suffolk in 2023? Or even just at Minsmere in 2023? Perhaps even a green birding list (birds seen without using a car). 

    Of course, not everyone keeps lists, but most birdwatchers will at least have a few birds that they…

    • 4 Jan 2023
  • Happy Christmas from all at Minsmere

    Happy Christmas everyone

    A reminder that all facilities, including the hides and nature trails, will be CLOSED from 3.30 pm on Christmas Eve until 9 am on Tuesday 27 December, when everything will be open as usual.

    It will be well worth a visit after Christmas, too, as there are lots of birds to look for. As well as hundreds of ducks and gulls on the Scrape, there are one or two Avocets, Dunlins, Turnstones and Redshanks…

    • 23 Dec 2022
  • Healing in nature

    Guest blog by Minsmere visitor experience volunteer, Eve

    Goodbye to 2022!

    As we begin a new year, our thoughts will sometimes turn toward the things we want to improve about ourselves. The idea of a fresh start can be very appealing but can often become a long list of impossible resolutions and the inevitable failure when real life and a lack of motivation in the winter months get in the way of the planned gym visits…

    • 22 Dec 2022