An afternoon at RSPB Minsmere (11/05/15)

Just a quick post, I’ve been really lazy with my blogging lately so here’s a quick one. Yesterday afternoon mum and I headed down to RSPB Minsmere for an afternoon of birdwatching, Minsmere is one of my favourite places to go since its almost entirely wheelchair accessible. Good paths, accessible bird hides, friendly staff, beautiful views and a massive range of birds and wildlife. What more could I ask for?

I started out at the Wildlife Lookout Hide. I parked my wheels and sat upstairs in the hide. To my surprise just outside the window was a Magpie nest, its brilliantly camouflaged and covered with sticks so it looks like part of the brambles but inside are 3 or 4 baby birds! I managed to get a few photos but nothing very clear, it was still a lovely scene to watch though!

I love the wildlife hide because its totally surrounded by birds and wildlife, the windows at the sides and back of the hide have just as many visual treats as the front window but very few people actually look away from the wading birds. If you ever get the chance to go folks then please look around you, the hides have side and back windows for a reason!

There was a good choice of birds hanging around outside. Avocet’s, Gulls, Herons, Little egrets, Ducks, Moorhens, Snipe, Godwits and more. These are a few of my favourite photos…

Wildlife Lookout Hide

After spending some time at this hide we headed down to the next hide, South Hide. This area is well visited by wading birds and during nesting season it’s particularly popular with birders. While I was there is was pretty quiet and from a photography point of view not much was going on until a huge flock of Black Tailed Godwits made a lap of the scrape. The flock all banked together giving a great view of the distinctive plumage as they flew…

After leaving the South Hide me and mum split up, she headed to walk the loop along the beach and I headed back, the sea wall is not particularly accessible due to large stretches of soft sand but you can always head back to the visitors centre then head down to the North Wall instead..That is exactly what I did but with a brief stop to watch a family of Greylag Geese dabbling just off the path…

I headed back the way we came and chatted with people and generally had a lovely time wandering through the woods and along the paths, after a quick stop at the visitors centre I headed off to meet up with mum. We headed along with North Wall to see the Bearded Tits but they didn’t co-operate with my wish to take photos so we headed back. The path was blocked with another family of Greylag Geese so I snapped a quick photo before wheeling past.

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We spotted some rabbits and squirrels on the way back and listened to the birds. Back near the visitors centre we stopped to watch the Sand Martins on their cliff. There were loads of them flying above the cliffs and perched on little rock shelves. They are amazingly speedy little birds and they don’t sit still for long at all but I did manage a few photos!

The final stop for us was the Island Mere Hide. There is a path through the main reserve to get to this hide but its hard going on wheels so I recommend asking for directions to the accessible parking specifically for Island Mere. If you park near Island Mere there is a short walk (I did walk it carrying my camera) on pretty good paths to get to the Island Mere hide. The hide itself is up on stilts in the reeds and is accessed via a long ramp. The ramp / walkway is decking with grippy stuff added and has a couple of built in passing places too! Once you get to the top the hide is fantastic. It’s an enclosed circular room with panoramic windows that all have a winch system to open them, there are lots of little padded stools and some swivel chairs and benches to sit on. The Island Mere hide is the sort of place you could take a picnic to and spend the day, its beautiful and surrounded by golden reeds and salt marsh with intermittent patches of open water. I saw lots of little birds darting around and we were visited by a swimming grass snake and a couple of Marsh Harriers but for me the best visitor was the Bittern. She was an absolute beauty and spend about 20 minutes (maybe longer) fishing in the short reeds at the front of the hide, she worked her way from left to right and posed often for photos. I never thought I’d get to view a Bittern this well of for this long and to get photos was just the perfect end to a perfect day..

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I have to say I’m pretty darn pleased with the results. If you’d like to see more of my photos from yesterday there is an album on my flickr page HERE I’d love to know what you think!

Ciao for now!

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