What to Watch out for at Minsmere this Spring
To coincide with our special spring offer, guest blogger, Ian Barthorpe, Visitor Experience Officer at RSPB Minsmere has kindly written about his recent sightings at the former home of BBC Springwatch. This gives you a great insight into what you might discover during your Suffolk cottage holiday.
Stonies, boomers & 'starts
Spring is a time of great change and RSPB Minsmere. The first, and most obvious, change is that the place looks much greener as many of the trees are now bursting into leaf. The second change is the much stronger scent of coconut wafting around the reserve from the gorgeous golden gorse.
Of course, there's also been some significant changes in the birdlife with migrants coming, going and passing through. Bitterns are much more vocal now, and have begun courtship flights over the reedbed. Marsh harriers are already nesting but continue to display. The reedbeds are becoming much noisier places too with little grebes whinnying, water rails squealing and the first reed and sedge warblers singing. A lovely adult black tern was at Island Mere yesterday, but hasn't been seen today.
On the Scrape, Mediterranean gulls have peaked at over 90, avocets continue to display, black-tailed godwits have increased to 40+ and a few yellow-legged and Caspian gulls are often present. The first greenshanks, spotted redshanks, little ringed plovers and grey plovers have been seen this week, with variable numbers of dunlins, oystercatchers, lapwings and redshanks also present. A drake mandarin has taken up residence on West Scrape, where he is busily displaying to a female mallard!
A pair of stone-curlews has returned to the field behind the visitor centre, and can be seen from the North Wall. Three wheatears were on the same field today, with a ring ouzel there earlier in the week, while a black redstart has been seen around the pond today. Wheatears were also seen on the Chapel Field and in the dunes today. Willow warblers have been seen in the sluice bushes this week, and the first whitethroat was in the North Bushes this morning.
Among the more unusual visitors over the last week or so have been a black kite, osprey, several red kites and a couple of spoonbills, though none of these hung around for long.
Stoats have been showing very well today, and four otters were at Island Mere this afternoon. Adders were seen well last week, but proved more elusive today. The variety of butterflies has increased too with the first holly blues, orange tips and speckled woods now on the wing.
What else will arrive this week? Why not come along and find out for yourself.
We are currently offering complimentary admission for two adults to RSPB Minsmere with a cottage holiday booked in April and taken during April or May 2017. You can find out more about this offer here.
Photo credit:Jon Evans