It is a beautiful day of early summer and we have been sitting in a hide for twenty minutes when the boy next to us whispers: "There it is, on the left, close to the water". We point our binoculars in the indicated direction and we spot a beak popping out from the vegetation. It is followed by a very long neck and two cautious legs: it is a bittern, the ghost of the reed beds that we have come here to admire.
Mimetic, agile and shy, it is one of the most fascinating birds that populate this Suffolk reserve, which became famous for hosting the "Springwatch" BBC series. Extremely well structured and organized, the Minsmere Reserve offers three different routes:
1) The Coast Trail (2 miles), which runs along some islets full of terns, avocets, gulls and geese (it is the only noisy trail of the reserve, and it is not difficult to guess why). It leads to the beach and by the sea.
2) The Island Mere Trail (1.5 miles), which runs along the marshes and the reed beds. Here you can spot bitterns, otters, marsh harriers and hobbies. The hills behind the marshes are full of rabbits and some pheasants.
3) The Woodland Trail (1 mile), which crosses the forest and houses the enchanting Canopy Hide, which allows you to lurk among the treetops and enjoy a privileged view.
Next to the Visitor Center there is a sandy wall where the sand martins have dug up dozens of nests: here it is possible to watch the adults incessantly feeding the chicks waiting with their beaks wide open.
An amazing show for all the birdwatchers.
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RSBP Minsmere Nature Reserve
Saxmundham IP17 3BY