All of the events below are at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve, Westleton, Suffolk, IP17 3BY unless otherwise stated
Guided walks at Minsmere
Costs : Adults £5, children £2.50, plus usual reserve entry fees.
Places limited. Unless stated, booking is essential. Call 01728 648281 or email bookings.Minsmere@rspb.org.uk
Reserve entry fees are adults £7.50, concessions £5, children £3, families £15. RSPB members and RSPB Wildlife Explorers free.
Weekend wildlife walk
July: Sun 14, Sat 27
Start at 9.30 am (3 hours)
Join us for a seasonal weekend walk to look for breeding birds, flowers, insects, migrants, wintering ducks and a host of other wildlife highlights that may be present at the time.
Birds for beginners
July: Wed 10, Wed 31
Start at 1.30 pm. (2.5 – 3 hours)
Many people have started birdwatching at Minsmere. Join us on this beginners’ walk where you will learn how to use binoculars properly and which field guides are best for you. You can then use this information to enjoy watching birds as we show you some of Minsmere’s wildlife.
July: Tues 23
Start: 11.00am – 12.30pm
A walk with a difference, as fresh air, meeting new friends and beautiful landscapes are the main focus. We will, of course, spot some wildlife too. Arrive on day. No charge.
Moth and bat night
July: Saturday 13
Start at 9 pm (2-4 hours)
More than 1000 species of moth have been found at Minsmere since 1947. Join us as we look for a selection of these amazing insects as they are attracted to our special lights, and learn more about the creatures of the night. This is a joint event with the Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group
July: Sat 6, Sun 21
Start at 9.30 am (3-4 hours)
Minsmere’s heaths are some of the less well-known parts of the reserve but have everything from adders and silver-studded blue butterflies to tiger beetles and Dartford warblers, red deer and many interesting plants. These walks will look for the characteristic species found off the beaten track.
July: Wed 3 at 10 am
As well as its wonderful birds, Minsmere has many interesting plants. These walks will look at some of the fascinating species on the dunes and fen areas around the Scrape. The plant life varies through the year, so why not join us on several of these walks.
Plants, birds & insects
July: Tues 2, Tues 16, Tues 23
Start at 11 am (2-2.5 hours)
Summer is a great time to visit Minsmere. These walks will introduce you to a selection of the wildlife found, from butterflies to orchids to avocets and much more besides.
July: Thurs 4, Fri 12, Thurs 18, Fri 26
Start at 10 am (1.5 – 2 hours)
Join us for an introduction to Minsmere’s varied summer wildlife: from birds to plants to insects. They start later and are shorter to suit the holiday period.
Dragons, damsels, admirals and ladies
July: Tues 9, Sat 27
Start at 10 am and 1.30 pm each day (2.5 – 3 hours)
Minsmere is home to many hundreds of different insect species. We’ll search for just a handful of these flitting, buzzing and crawling creatures, from bright, obvious species such as butterflies and dragonflies, to more elusive bush-crickets, beetles and other mini beasts hiding in Minsmere’s varied habitats.
Special events at Minsmere
Places limited. Booking essential. See details for costs.
Binocular and telescope demonstration
July: Sat 20 & Sun 21
10am to 4pm
Expert advice on choosing the right binoculars, telescopes and accessories. Run in conjunction with Viking Optical of Halesworth, there will be a wide range of optics available to test and buy, so whether you’re choosing you first binoculars or looking to upgrade, we’ll have the right optics for you.
Bird ringing demonstration
July: Thursday 25
10 am to 4 pm
Get up close and personal with some of our commoner birds and discover how and why we catch birds to put tiny rings on their legs. Specially trained ringers from the Waveney Bird Club (www.waveneybirdclub.com) will explain what information we learn about birds’ lifestyles through ringing. Free event, but normal reserve entry fees apply.
Special events for families
Wildlife Explorers Group
July: Sat 6
Start at 10.30 am, except where stated (2 hours)
Join our local junior members for a varied programme of activities. Please check www.rspb.org.uk/groups/minsmerewex for full details. Suitable for children aged 7 – 12. Under 8s must be accompanied at all times. Cost: £3 per child, RSPB Wildlife Explorers members £1.50, accompanying adults free.
Pond dipping: give pondlife a home
July: Mon 22, Mon 29
10 am – 4 pm
Dip your net and see what creatures you can find in the pond. Note: this event will be cancelled if the pond is frozen. Free event. Normal reserve entry fees apply
Giving butterflies and dragonflies a home
July: Sat 20, Sun 21
Join us for a family day of discovery as we show you some of Minsmere amazing insects with help from Butterfly Conservation. Free. Usual entry fees apply.
July: Tue 23, Tue 30
Start at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm, 2.30 pm (30-40 minutes)
Join us for a fun introduction to Minsmere’s fascinating flowers, beautiful butterflies and dashing dragonflies. Places are limited, so please book on arrival. Cost: £1.50 per person, plus usual reserve entry fees
Owl pellet dissection
July: Wed 24, Wed 31
10 am – 4 pm
What did the owl have for his dinner? Dissect a pellet to find out. Free. No need to book.
Events at RSPB Snape
There are no events at RSPB Snape this year
Guided walks at RSPB North Warren
Coastal flowers at North Warren
July: Wed 18 at 1.30 pm
Get away from the crowds in Thorpeness and look at some of the special wildlife found at North Warren in spring. We’ll look at the rare plants on the shingle beach and grassland between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, plus find a few interesting insects too. The plant life varies through the summer, so why not join us on both walks. Meet in pay and display car parks at the Scallop, Thorpe Road, Aldeburgh on 24 May and at the Meare, Thorpeness on 18 July. RSPB members £5, non members £7, children half price
Events at RSPB Havergate Island
Look out for regular boat trips on the first Saturday of each month, except where these clash with event weekends (advance booking required via Minsmere on 01728 648281). Boats depart 10 am. Costs as per events.
Love passage waders
July: Sat 20, Sun 21
Boats depart at 9 am, 10 am 12 pm and 1 pm (3 hours each)
Midsummer is a great time to visit Havergate. The lagoons are a vital migration stop for hundreds of wading birds, terns and gulls may still have chicks, and the saltmarsh is ablaze with flowering sea lavender. There should be a few spoonbills present too. Members £12, non members £19 (no child discount). Boats depart Orford Quay. Booking essential, via Minsmere visitor centre on 01728 648281.