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The Reed Beds of Minsmere
Copyright Paul Gale


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Minsmere is situated on the Suffolk coast between Aldeburgh and Southwold. Minsmere was taken over by the RSPB as a bird reserve in 1947. It has a wide and diverse variety of habitats including oak woodlands, heath, scrapes, freshwater lakes and extensive reed beds which attract a large variety of birds. Indeed, its reed beds are a home to some of Britain's rarest breeding birds, including the Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit.

Bitterns and Bearded Tits in the reed bed at Minsmere. The centre picture shows a Bittern flying over the reeds of the North Marsh early one April morning. The picture was taken from Dunwich cliffs looking south across the reserve. The two Bittern inserts were taken from the Island Mere Hide in January 1995. The top right photo shows a male Bearded Tit in the reeds near the footpath leading to the beach. The bottom left insert shows a juvenile (front) and female Bearded Tit on the fence outside the Island Mere Hide.
Birds in the reed beds at Minsmere

A Bittern flies past the Island Mere Hide at Minsmere. Note the moulting primary feathers. Photos taken with Tamron 500 mm f8 lens in August 1994.
Bittern at Minsmere

Male Marsh Harrier flies past the Island Mere Hide at Minsmere.
Marsh Harrier at Minsmere

A female Marsh Harrier carrying nesting material over the North Marsh at Minsmere. This picture was taken from Dunwich cliffs early one April morning.
Marsh Harrier at Minsmere

Stilt Sandpiper on the scrape from the West Hide at Minsmere (Autumn 1997). Minsmere is famous for turning up rare vagrant waders from time to time. This Stilt Sandpiper spent about 10 days on the scrape in September 1997. Stilt Sandpipers breed in North-West Canada and migrate south to South America in July/August.
Stilt Sandpiper

Avocets on the scrape from the East Hide at Minsmere (May 2001).
Avocet

Avocets on the scrape from the East Hide at Minsmere (May 2001).
Avocet

Avocets on the scrape from the East Hide at Minsmere (May 2001).
Avocet

Avocets on the scrape from the East Hide at Minsmere (May 2001).
Avocet


A Sedge Warbler singing from outside the West Hide in May 2001.

Sedge Warbler

Red-spotted Bluethroat at Minsmere
Bitterns wintering at Lea Valley Country Park
More Bittern photographs
See also Caspian Tern at Minsmere
See also Grey Heron at Minsmere
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