Absent from the UK for 100 years, avocets returned to breed on the Suffolk coast and Minsmere in 1947. Expect squabbles and high drama out on the Scrape.
An abundant rabbit population on the reserve’s grasslands is kept in check by these consummate predators. Shy and skittish, they’re going to be a real challenge to film.
Minsmere has one of the largest herds of red deer outside of Scotland. In early June, mothers will be giving birth, and we’re hoping to catch a few glimpses of newborn calves.
A pair regularly nest just outside the reserve, and have favoured hunting grounds along the fens. The poor weather over the past two years has led to dramatic declines across the UK, so we’ll be investigating ways we can all help to conserve the species.
These insects look a bit like a lacewing as an adult, but as larva they are voracious predators straight out of science fiction, lurking at the bottom of funnel-shaped pits, ready to pierce unfortunate prey with huge mandibles.
In 1971, Minsmere was home to the last two marsh harriers in the UK. Thankfully, the species has bounced back, and the reserve remains a stronghold for the species, with as many as 16 breeding pairs.
We’re going to position a state-of-the-art, remote controlled, long lens camera in the heart of the reed beds, hoping to catch these elusive creatures as they fish and frolic.
These beautiful, red-beaked birds nest on the Scrape but hunt in the sea, hovering over the water before diving headlong for fish. They drink seawater, eschewing freshwater even if it’s nearby (their nasal glands excrete salt).
Infrared cameras will monitor the sett through the night, and an expert team of scientists and trackers will endeavour to learn their secrets by day.
One of our most threatened species, up to 10% of the UK’s breeding population are found at Minsmere. Officially Britain’s loudest bird, its distinctive ‘boom’ can be heard several kilometres away.
Read how to attract more wildlife to your garden here, and find out how to enter your photos to our spring wildlife photo contest.
Find out more about Springwatch in this month’s Countryfile magazine as series producer James Smith reveals what viewers can look forward to in the 10th anniversary series.