• Confused dot com

    It's time for my latest look at collective nouns, and to quote a famous Monty Python line, "now for something completely different" as this week's selection only has one recognised collective noun. Perhaps this isn't wholly surprising, as the species concerned is not really known for occurring in flocks.

    Chiffchaffs are small olive-green warblers. They are generally summer migrants to the UK, although…

    • 18 Mar 2022
  • Little and large

    We've had a couple of gorgeous days to start the week, and the wildlife has certainly taken advantage. There has been a noticeable increase in gulls and avocets on the Scrape, an arrival of new migrants and the first obvious emergence of a few insects to keep everyone happy - plus the continuing presence of a lesser yellowlegs, glossy ibis and pair of smew for a bit more variety.

    My week started well when I spotted…

    • 15 Mar 2022
  • A golden charm

    As I considered which species to focus on for this week's collective nouns feature, one obvious candidate stepped forward when a small flock of tiny yellow-green finches posed at eye level close to the path between Wildlife Lookout and South Hide. I regularly see flocks of siskins feeding in the tops of alders, prizing seeds from the trees' tiny cones, but it's rare to get a good close view, which offered perfect photographic…

    • 12 Mar 2022
  • A partridge in a reedbed, not a pear tree

    One of the most rapidly declining birds in the UK put in an unexpected appearance at Minsmere on Monday. Grey partridges were once a familiar sight throughout the UK, so much so that they are often referred to as English partridges to differentiate them from the introduced red-legged, or French, partridge. 

    Sadly, like may other species of farmland wildlife, from corn buntings to turtle doves, brown hares to fumitory and…

    • 9 Mar 2022
  • Summing up

    For our latest collective nouns blog, I'm taking a first look at something other than birds, by turning the focus on a species that is most easily seen during March and April: the adder.

    Male adders began emerging from hibernation during February, with up to five males seen basking in the sun at the base of the sand martin bank. They will spend the next few weeks preparing for the emergence of the females in early…

    • 2 Mar 2022
  • All change, but no change

    Having been away for half term last week, it seems that there's been little major change in terms of the wildlife, but some major changes for visitors.

    First, let's start with the changes, which are the first phase of some significant upgrades in accessibility. Our wardens and volunteers have been busy working with our contractors, Gilliards, to enlarge the capacity of East Hide and make the hide much more accessible…

    • 1 Mar 2022
  • Important visitor information 20/21 February 2022

    Due to present conditions and forecast we have decided to close the reserve today (from 2pm) to ensure visitors and staff can leave safely.
    Tomorrow morning looks to be very windy, so we will aim to be open from midday at the earliest, to allow checks to be carried out.
    If there are any further developments we will update as soon as we can, our phone lines are still down so please follow RSPB Minsmere on Facebook…
    • 20 Feb 2022
  • Causing a commotion

    Storm Eunice is battering the UK, disrupting plans and wrecking havoc and devastation to large parts of the country. In such conditions, people often ask what happens to the wildlife. That's a good question, and it varies to between species. 

    If they can, many will seek shelter in holes or underground, but small woodland birds much continue to feed even in these harsh conditions and will often be found among the leaf…

    • 18 Feb 2022
  • Storm Eunice - Minsmere closed

    Minsmere will be closed on Friday 18 February due to Storm Eunice. This includes all facilities: nature trails, hides and the visitor centre. All hides will be locked from this evening until Saturday morning.

    We expect to open again on Saturday although some woodland trails may remain closed due to fallen trees. 

    Please note that our telephones are also down, so to check the latest information, please see our Facebook and…

    • 17 Feb 2022
  • Bobbing jacks and white nuns

    It's been another exciting week on the reserve, despite the windy and, at times, wet weather, with scarce birds visiting us from both east and west.

    From the west, the lesser yellowlegs remains on the Levels. Often difficult to locate due to the distance and huge flocks of lapwings, it is easier to see when it moves onto Lucky Pool. This morning it decided on a change of scenery and moved to the back of the Konik…

    • 16 Feb 2022
  • Deception or desertion?

    As I mentioned in this week's sightings blog, there are impressive numbers of lapwings on the Levels at the moment. My estimate on Monday was 1000 birds, but other people have estimated at double that number. Either way, it's quite a sight when they are disturbed by a peregrine or marsh harrier.

    Of course, this got me thinking about what the collective noun for a flock of lapwings is. Surprisingly for a bird that…

    • 11 Feb 2022
  • Spectacular wildlife

    One of the things I love most about wildlife watching is the unpredictability. Even here at Minsmere, I'm often surprised by what or see, or frustrated by what I can't find. This week has been a perfect example of this.

    On Monday, having strolled around the Scrape, enjoying superb views of ducks in the sunshine, I wandered south along the dunes to look for the lesser yellowlegs on Lucky Pool. Once again I failed…

    • 9 Feb 2022
  • Plan your guided walk

    I'm sure many of you are starting to plan your birdwatching trips for this year. To help you to get even more enjoyment from your visit to Minsmere, why not book onto one of our many guided walks. Bookings for all events are made on-line. Full details of all events can be found at https://events.rspb.org.uk/minsmere.

    Every month we run several birds for beginners walks, for which you can find details at https://events…

    • 4 Feb 2022
  • Globe trotters

    Yesterday, 2 February, was World Wetlands Day. This is one of the most dates in the conservation calendar as it celebrates the signing of the RAMSAR Convention on the protection of wetlands of international importance. This international agreement was first signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar on 2 February 1971, and there are now more than 2400 sites across the world that have been declared as RAMSAR sites, of which…

    • 3 Feb 2022
  • A ubiquitous host

    It's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch weekend, so for this week's collective nouns blog I'm featuring one of our most familiar garden birds. Since the Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979, RSPB scientists have been able to identify some obvious trends in the populations of our garden birds. Some species have been much more frequent visitors to our gardens, such as long-tailed tits, goldfinches, great spotted woodpeckers and…

    • 29 Jan 2022
  • A lesser yellow what?

    Mid winter tends to be a time of predictability in terms of sightings, so it was a bit of a surprise when a rare visitor from North America was discovered on Sunday. The bird in question is a lesser yellowlegs, and it's the first one seen at Minsmere since 2008. It hasn't been easy to see as it spends most of its time feeding amongst hundreds of ducks, gulls and lapwings on the South Levels, so is usually quite distant…

    • 21 Jan 2022
  • A gatling of...

    It's time for our third look at collective nouns, and this week I've chosen a group of birds that have far fewer different collective nouns associated with them then either of the first two. Perhaps this is because you rarely see more than a pair of them together!

    We may still be in the depths of winter, having to scrape frost from frozen windscreens every morning, but in the bird world there are signs of spring…

    • 21 Jan 2022
  • The golden hour

    Yesterday I was fortunate to be able to enjoy the golden hour (or two): that magical time on a sunny winter afternoon when the sun sinks low in the sky, turning everything it touches to gold. I usually miss this, as I take my walk over lunchtime, but I timed yesterday's health and safety checks to perfection.

    While many parts of the UK have been swathed in fog, we've had a few glorious days here in Suffolk: morning…

    • 14 Jan 2022
  • A lamentation or a whiteness

    With all three species of swans currently visiting Minsmere, it seems only right that for part two of our series looking at collective nouns we feature one of our most familiar groups of birds. Mute swans will be familiar to everyone who has ever fed birds on a park lake, but if you want to see our two "wild" swan species, Bewick's and whoopers, then you need to look for them in their favoured haunts during the winter…

    • 13 Jan 2022
  • A reliant or a rouge?

    This year we celebrate Minsmere's 75 anniversary as an RSPB nature reserve, and we're planning an exciting programme of events throughout the year. Most of the spring walks are already on our website - https://events.rspb.org.uk/minsmere - and more will be added over the next few weeks, so keep checking and book your places as soon as possible.

    As part of our celebrations, we're also starting a new weekly series…

    • 7 Jan 2022
  • New Year brings new birds

    Happy New Year everyone.

    I hope that you have all had a happy, healthy and relaxing break over the Christmas and New Year period. I'm sure that many of you will, like birdwatchers across the globe, have totted up your final totals for your 2021 list, and eagerly started off a new list for 2022.

    My personal list for 2021 ended on 207 species of bird, four of which I saw in the UK for the first time, and 2022 started…

    • 6 Jan 2022
  • Minsmere’s Young Wardens volunteer group - relaunch

    We’re super excited to be relaunching our Young Wardens group on Saturday 15 January, and every 3rd Saturday of the month. Minsmere’s Young Wardens is for young people with an enthusiasm for wildlife and the environment. The sessions consist of lots of practical, hands-on activities, opportunities for young people to increase their skills in conservation management and wildlife knowledge and make new like-minded…

    • 29 Dec 2021
  • A perfect winter morning

    After the recent run of unsettled weather, followed by several dreary winter days with no hint of the sun breaking through, it was quite a relief to wake up this morning to a fabulous pink sky and thick frost coating the car windows. It finally felt like winter had arrived properly, at last.

    It wasn't just me who appreciated the improvement in the weather - I don't mind the cold, providing I have enough layers on, but…

    • 22 Dec 2021
  • Storm Barra

    With Storm Barra already lashing many parts of the country, and our guides reporting that the wind was rapidly picking up, I timed my stroll around the Scrape at lunchtime today to perfection. Yes, it was a little breezy along the dunes, but as I was walking north I had the worst of the wind behind me as I watched the waves rushing in and rolling up the shingle onto the dunes. Better still, the rain held off until I was…

    • 7 Dec 2021
  • New arrivals

    It's an exciting time to visit Minsmere as we have some unusual visitors that will be with us for the next six weeks.  Their names are Robin Robin, Flin & Flynn, Dink, Pip, Dad Mouse, Magpie and Cat, and they're the stars of the the brilliant new Aardman/Netflix film, Robin Robin. 

    As well as watching the film, you can join in with Robin Robin's adventures here at Minsmere (and at many other RSPB reserves),…

    • 26 Nov 2021