On Friday 27th April, our site manager is offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes guided walk around the reserve. You can find out about the work we've been carrying out, and if you have any questions about the history of the reserve, or the wildlife we get here, then ask away!
We do ask that people book in advance for this walk, as it is expected to be very popular - give us a call on 01977 628191 to reserve your space.
From 2pm on Friday 27th. This walk is FREE to RSPB members, and only £3 to non-members (please remember there is a car parking free of £2.50).
Spring is certainly here by the sounds of all the wildlife sightings our visitors have been reporting - Avocets have been reported on Hicksons Pool, to the west of Lin Dike, and our Ranger Alan had a fantastic experience this morning when he saw a Skylark (which was also singing), a Willow Warbler and a Yellowhammer all at once!
We had some great sightings yesterday, too - a Swallow was seen flying over Big Hole (the pool between the Kingfisher Screen and the start of the Riverbank Trail), and nearby, on the Lin Dike Link, another visitor saw a Grey Heron. On New Flash, a relative of the Grey Heron, a Little Egret, was seen - as you drive from Lin Dike towards the visitor centre, New Flash is on your right-hand side. A Blackcap was reported as being seen around Village Bay, a fairly sure sign that Spring is definitely here. Closer to the visitor centre, one lucky person saw a Green Woodpecker from the building itself; and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen on the feeders just outside. Two Yellowhammers were also spotted from the visitor centre. These beautiful birds are a Red Listed species in the UK after a recent population decline. The male has a bright yellow head and underparts (the female not needing to impress, of course - joke! - ), and these birds have an odd-sounding call - just click on the Yellowhammer link to have a listen, and I'm pretty sure you'll agree! Still, maybe it would make it easier to find one...?
Today the symbol of the RSPB, the Avocet, has been seen on Hicksons Pool (the body of water to the west of the old railway line at Lin Dike) - well, 24 of them, actually! But how many people know why the Avocet is the emblem of the RSPB? Well, gather round, and I'll tell you a story...
Avocets used to breed along our coastline from Sussex to Yorkshire, but disappeared as a breeding bird from Britain in 1842. Adults, and eggs, were regularly taken for food, egg collecting, and taxidermy (the stuffing and mounting of animals).
However, in 1947, over a century later, Avocets returned to Suffolk after a tidal river flooded into Havergate, which created ideal conditions for these easily recognisable birds; and a year later they returned to Minsmere after shallow pools formed where grazing marshes had been flooded (to stop invading troops) and then drained. At Minsmere, a series of pools and islands was created between 1962 and 1974, with Avocets returning here a year after work began - a fantastic success story for the RSPB. There are now over 100 breeding pairs of Avocets at Minsmere and Havergate, and over 400 across Britain. What a great choice of bird for the RSPB - this is one of the most successful conservation projects in Britain and one that should be celebrated every time we see one of these guys.
These beautiful black and white birds have been seen regularly over the past week. If you're struggling for time to get down here, or aren't sure what an Avocet really looks like, here's a link to a lovely short video of an Avocet on the RSPB website.