• 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
  • A parrot at Minsmere!

    Tuesday was a bit of a red letter day for me. First news broke, via our wonderful volunteer guides, that a  couple of shore larks had been discovered on East Scrape, alongside six snow buntings. While the latter are relatively regular on the beach, they are very unusual on the Scrape, and the former are relative rarities at Minsmere, full stop. 

    As I was working in the visitor centre for the morning, I had to wait until…

    • 19 Nov 2021
  • Wildlife and management update

    If you've been visiting Minsmere over the past couple of weeks, you'll probably have noticed a lot of work happening on the Scrape. In particular, you may have encountered a dumper truck loaded with shingle on the Sluice track, or a digger moving that shingle around on South Scrape. You may have wondered what's been going on.

    We've been preparing the islands on the Scrape ready for next spring. By spreading…

    • 12 Nov 2021
  • Celebrate your inner Robin on our adventure trail this Christmas

    We’re delighted to be partnering with Netflix and Aardman on Robin Robin, a half-hour, stop-motion, festive story for the whole family, about a young robin trying to fit in. It’s debuting on Netflix on 24 November – get the date in your diary! 

    To celebrate, we’re inviting you to join exclusive Robin Robin-themed adventure trails right here at Minsmere nature reserve this Christmas season. 

    Over 30 RSPB nature reserves…

    • 11 Nov 2021
  • Fabulous fungi

    As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, this is a great time of year to spot fungi. The dry weather in September delayed the season a bit, but it's definitely worth keeping your eyes peeled as you walk around the reserve.

    Some fungi are spectacular, and easy to spot, due to their bright colour and relatively large size. One such species is the familiar fly agaric, so beloved in children's stories and nursey rhymes,…

    • 4 Nov 2021
  • Good to be back

    Let me start this blog with an apology for the long gap since our last blog. Unfortunately, three weeks ago I tested positive for Covid, leading to ten days of isolation. This was followed by further time spent at home as my family also completed their own self isolation. Thankfully none of us suffered too badly, and we're all now back to full fitness, so I'm finally back on the reserve for the first time in three weeks…

    • 3 Nov 2021
  • Natural spectacles

    It's been a strange autumn. After the unusually mild September, we've had variable weather to start October, though falling overnight temperatures are finally giving the suggestion that winter isn't too far away. Autumn is typically a time to admire nature's colours in all their glory: crimson hawthorn berries and rosehips adorning bushes, juicy purple sloes hanging in the hedgerows, leaves turning from green to every…

    • 15 Oct 2021
  • The red deer rut is on

    Yes folks, it October, so that means it's time for the rut. The season when testosterone fuelled red deer stags battle for supremacy and the right to mate with as many hinds as possible.

    There are two ways to watch the rut at Minsmere: from a distance on foot, or from the comfort of a 4x4 vehicle, with an expert RSPB guide on hand.

    To watch them on foot, please view from the footpath that runs along the southern edge…

    • 9 Oct 2021
  • Life on the edge

    Life is hard, and for our coastal and migratory birds it's getting harder with climate change, habitat loss and increasing disturbance all having major impacts on the availability of safe places for them to nest, roost and feed.

    That's why the RSPB has got together with the National Trust as lead partners in a four year LIFE Nature-funded project called Life on the Edge with the aim of improving the condition…

    • 1 Oct 2021
  • Insects beware!

    Warm September days can be great for spotting insects at Minsmere - or in your garden - but they'd better beware as there are plenty of predators about - even though Digger Alley is now closed for the winter.

    During a quick lunchtime walk through the North Bushes earlier in the week I was treated to close views of three different species of butterflies within just a hundred metres or so. This fresh comma looked particularly…

    • 23 Sep 2021
  • Lingering summer

    After a year of strange and varied weather - something we'll have to get used to in our changing climate - it's been lovely to enjoy some warm sunny weather this week. Even on Tuesday, when the rest of eastern England was soaked in torrential rain, the weather maps showed a tiny gap in the rain centred on Minsmere and Southwold, and we escaped with just a few light showers mid afternoon.

    There's a definite hint…

    • 17 Sep 2021
  • Busy wildlife, busy wardens

    The Scrape continues to attract an excellent variety of migrant waders, although numbers of many species are declining as the autumn progresses. Good numbers of avocets remain (they've often all gone by September), and up to 200 black-tailed godwits are present, but for most other species the counts are now in single or low double figures. Even so, it should be possible to spot most, if not all, of the following species…

    • 10 Sep 2021
  • Wildlife galore

    Earlier in the week I focussed on waders in my last blog. Today is a chance to look at some of the other amazing wildlife that is on show at the moment. Pride of place probably goes to this stunning female adder that has been seen along the North Wall on several days this week. She favours the area the North Wall sluice, and likes to use the stony path as a basking spot because it's warmer than in the surrounding vegetation…

    • 4 Sep 2021
  • Wader-ful Scrape

    After an excellent summer for wader migration, it's great to see that there's still a wonderful selection of waders feeding on the Scrape. Most are refuelling on the long journey south, from the Arctic to West Africa, though the lapwings and snipe will spend the winter here, and the avocets are slowly departing after a successful breeding season.

    The most numerous of the waders are the black-tailed godwits, with…

    • 31 Aug 2021
  • Carnivorous plants and visitors from afar

    Firstly an apology that there haven't been any sightings updates for three weeks, while I was enjoying a much needed family break and catching up on some admin on my return.

    Of course, there have been plenty of sightings in that time, including a superb variety of birds, insects and plants.

    I'll start with the rare visitors, although they have since all moved on. We were treated to not one, but two different species…

    • 20 Aug 2021
  • Emily Williamson Statue tour comes to Minsmere

    The campaign to create a statue of RSPB founder and eco pioneer Emily Williamson (1855-1936) is touring RSPB reserves around the country.  This will include a visit to our very own RSPB Minsmere, on Tuesday 24 August 2021. Four sculptors have each created a beautiful design of a statue for Emily and the maquettes (miniature statues) will be on display at the visitor centre where you will be able to find out more about…

    • 17 Aug 2021
  • A tern up for the books

    There have been some pretty impressive counts of terns on the Scrape this week, including an incredible 350+ common terns and about 50 little terns. Many of these will be birds that have finished breeding (or failed) elsewhere and have moved here to roost on the Scrape and feed offshore before starting their migration south into the South Atlantic for our winter months.

    Alongside these two species, several Sandwich terns…

    • 30 Jul 2021
  • So much variety

    Wow, what a difference. The hot sunny weather over the last few - though thankfully slightly cooler on the coast - has brought out an incredible variety of insects, while the Scrape is busier with birds than I've seen if for several years. 

    You don't have to go far to enjoy the best of our insect life, either. Right outside the visitor centre you can watch various butterflies feeding on the buddleia, search for purple…

    • 20 Jul 2021
  • Long legs abound

    After my walk around the Scrape today, I think it's safe to say that autumn wader migration is well underway. There are waders galore scattered across the Scrape, dominated by some impressive counts of avocets. Earlier this week our site manager counted more than 400 avocets, and, even more excitingly, there are quite a few fledged young among them. It's been a few years since these graceful birds have fledged more than…

    • 10 Jul 2021
  • You spin me round

    As June draws to a close, wader migration is gathering pace, with flocks of up to 15 spotted redshanks and more than 150 black-tailed godwits feeding on the Scrape, along with a handful of green sandpipers, ruffs and dunlins. As we move into July, thoughts turn to the possibility of rare waders from Siberia or North America, which regularly turn up among commoner species. 

    This morning, one such scarcer visitor was located…

    • 30 Jun 2021
  • To bee or not to bee, that is the question

    The return of milder weather has brought out many of our star insects, but things aren't ways quite what they seem. Any patch of flowers is a great place to look for bees, wasps, butterflies and flies, with the carpets of bright yellow biting stonecrop around the car park almost buzzing with insects. Many of these are mining bees, including green-eyed flower-bees and sandpit mining bees, and bumblebees, such as red-tailed…

    • 25 Jun 2021