RSPB Minsmere

239 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

January, 2017

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Adult family

Reasons for trip

Somewhere to walk after Christmas – or in our case New Year – is essential. With a visitor who loves birds only an ornithological walk will do. But Minsmere, 50 minutes from home, is much more than ornithological, as Springwatch has often shown.

For once we avoided the cafe before working off at least some of the festive calories. A steady walk, first to Bittern hide then to Island hide, offered no bittern – a rarity at the best of times – but an opposite-end-of-the-scale talisman, a kingfisher. It was perched on a reed stalk, as motionless as could be with a sharp breeze at work. A clouding day after some hope of brightness muted its vibrant colours so it seemed camouflaged almost to dun. This means a little searching in a photograph, to be repeated later with a rabbit, which was at least of a dun colour to start.

Island Mere had most of the bird life we were to see: geese, a pair of swans, gulls and overhead from time to time marsh harriers. There were also two unlikely water fowl, a pheasant and a pied wagtail, working the ice or edge of water for food. With a window of the hide open chill began its work and so we set off by a landward route past the Canopy hide – “You climb up there if you wish but there’ll be norhing to see,” my wife said. We took her hint. We did see, from the path, the aforementioned rabbit. Once across the path and into a patch of Uncle Remus brambles it was difficult to pick out: only its head and ears showed close to a tree trunk before it was away, and we too headed for the shop and cafe..

A good sale of clothes and binoculars was tempting but hot tomato and lentil soup was more so. The cafe has a good range of food and drinks with reasonable prices. Moreover, if a window seat is available there is an enviable cold-day view of a bird feeder. We saw 9 or 10 chaffinches, several blue tits and great tits, a greenfinch, a pair of robins and a pair of goldfinches as well as dunnock and blackbird feeding on the ground. On our way to the car park we were captivated by a feeding tower and saw, but were too slow to photograph, marsh tits as well as all the usual suspects plus a female pheasant and a wood pigeon.

Home again by soon after 2, we had at least started the New Year with an unstated but performed resolution. May more – and many of them – follow.


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