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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Nature reserve to mark 60 years
Minsmere in the 1960s, picture Eric Hosking
Minsmere in the 1960s, picture by Eric Hosking
A nature reserve renowned as one of the best places to see birdlife in the UK is 60-years-old.

RSPB Minsmere nature reserve, near Dunwich on the Suffolk coast, attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year.

It was one of the first nature reserves leased to the RSPB in 1947 and its presence has helped rare birds like the marsh harrier to survive.

Visitors to the RSPB centre will be given free admission this weekend to mark the anniversary.

At the heart of Minsmere is the "Scrape" which is one the world's first artificial wetland literally scraped out of the marsh.

Several unusual beetles have been discovered at the site and the reserve boasts 1,000 different species of moths and butterflies.

What makes Minsmere so wonderful is not just its size but also the diversity of habitats that allow so many species to flourish
Adam Rowlands, site manager at Minsmere

Last year, a colony of rare silver-studded blue butterflies was found at the reserve.

Special events are taking place at the reserve to mark the 60th birthday.

These include free guided walks on 28 and 29 April with the chance to see bitterns, avocets, marsh harriers and nightingales.

Adam Rowlands, site manager at Minsmere said: "What makes Minsmere so wonderful is not just its size but also the diversity of habitats that allow so many species to flourish.

"It shows how important nature reserves are in preserving our wildlife when times are hard and in giving them a safe place from which to recover. With climate change starting to bite, such places can only become more important."

Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB's director of conservation, said: "Minsmere's record of preserving and saving the UK's wildlife has been nothing less than remarkable."


SEE ALSO
Bird reserve 'haven for insects'
15 Sep 06 |  Suffolk
European waders nest at reserve
17 Aug 06 |  Suffolk
Rare butterfly found at reserve
26 Jul 06 |  Suffolk

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