Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Minsmere nostalgia

I was in my native Suffolk last weekend for a family funeral on Monday but Sunday gave me a chance to have a walk at Minsmere.  Visiting this famous reserve is like meeting an old friend.  My involvement there goes back to the early 1960's when I was volunteer on the reserve.


I would visit the reserve mainly at weekends and after early morning birding would spend the rest of the time helping with building the scrape.  Endless hours of pushing heavy barrows full of shingle or maybe planting trees.  I mused as I walked down the central path at being part of a group that planted the sallows and alders that now screen that route over 40 years ago.  I wondered how many of the modern day visitors realise that many of the Marsh Sow-thistle plants in the reeds were transplanted by us volunteers from marshes nearby.  Indeed I wondered how many visitors realised that the reserve was created as the vision of one man - Herbert Axell.

Herbert Axell MBE - by Eric Hosking

Birds were a bit scarce on Sunday - I failed to see the Ferruginous Duck which had been present for some time.  I did note how successful feral Barnacle Geese had been in raising a good number of goslings and wondered whether that was a good thing.  A Hobby rested on a mud bank and a Spotted Redshank flew over calling.  Reaching the sluice I looked out to sea and discovered 35 Common Scoter moving south.  These were followed by 7 Greenshank and 9 Whimbrel.  Most noticeable were the swarms of Ladybirds many of which landed on me and my telescope.

Barnacle Geese & young

Back at the Reserve Centre dozens of Red Admiral butterflies were feeding on the many buddliea plants at the rear of the toilet block.

Sizewell outfall

Red Admiral

 Time to leave my old friend again and quickly check out Sizewell outfall.  I was pleased to see that the sizeable Kittiwake colony continues to thrive there and subsequently watch a large flock of "Commic Terns" and a few Little Gulls feeding by the outflow.

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