September 2015 Speaker
'THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION FOR BIRDS AT MINSMERE NATURE RESERVE IN SUFFOLK' BY ALEXANDER BASS
Alexander began his talk by giving a history of the area including Leiston Abbey and the smugglers in the 18th century. He explained that the area where Minsmere is now established was drained in 1880, and then was flooded in l941 and Minsmere was established in l947. The first avocets arrived in l949 and after l959 the reed beds started to grow. Lord Ogilvie sold land to the RSPB to fully establish Minsmere in l976.
Alexander’s talk was enhanced by many photographs of birds, either nesting at or visiting Minsmere during the year, including water rail, bittern, marsh harriers, European crossbill, waxwing, and ibis. Realism to the pictures was added to by excellent impressions of the bird’s song or call, similar to the way the late Percy Edwards used to render on radio years ago.
The whole presentation brought the atmosphere of the nature reserve to light. Alexander explained how the water bed and surrounding areas needed constant managing as some plants and vegetation would quickly grow over and destroy the balance between the various inhabitants. He said deer can be predatory so need checking. Members saw pictures of many birds they probably thought were extinct as they never saw them such as turnstones, red spotted blue throats, stone chat and nightjars. The talk included much information about the butterflies and flora to be seen at Minsmere.
Alexander told members how captivated he had been over the site since he first visited it. He said he organised and talked about many aspects of what went on at Minsmere and said he would be pleased to send details of further talks, walks and visits that available in 2016. Many members signed up for details.
After some questions the speaker was given a rousing ovation for a very interesting talk.