The last couple of months have been super busy ones on Havergate Island. It is all go on the Breeding bird surveys with full island gull counts going on, as well as keeping an eye on the smaller breeding birds. The gull numbers are steady – probably even slightly up on previous years. We counted 1665 Lesser Black backs sitting and 521 Herring Gulls.  Early on in the season gull numbers were fairly low, and it didn’t look like it was going to be a good year, but then towards mid-April numbers picked up dramatically.  Now we have plenty of chunky chicks running around which is fantastic. Common terns have started sitting in amongst the Black headed gulls. At least 20 pairs of Oyster catcher across the island as well as ducks and small birds.

I have been taking advantage of no visitor trips to start cleaning and painting October Storm, the RSPB boat to be ready for August. This takes a while as we just work on it as and when we get a chance and it’s a nice day. These days are few and far between at the moment!

Back in 2013 Arctosa fulvolineata the Yellow-Striped Bear-Spider was re-discovered on Havergate (follow this link if you want to read the blog https://bit.ly/2wOAd4T). Well, it was about time we had another look for the spiders, especially as we had the storm surge towards the end of 2013. Specialists Alan Thornhill and Helen Smith spent some time out there looking at the end of May and we are happy to say they found 5 males and 1 female. Another spider of note was the Philodromus histrio which isn’t particularly common.

Photo Credit: Alan Thornhill   Arctosa fulvolineata

End of May/ beginning of June is normally the time we take a walk along the saltmarsh and count the clusters of ground lackey caterpillars. It was a good year this year with nest numbers up. 103 were counted in the survey area.

Spring and summer is the time that we have a few residential volunteers staying on the island. These guys have kept on top of the vegetation growing by mowing the paths and cutting it back away from the edges. They maintain the boardwalk and keep the jetty in good condition. Keep an eye on the birds and monitor them for us. They are also a presence on the island as the river gets increasingly busy with leisure boats. Its really important the island is left as undisturbed as possible during the breeding season and the volunteers are always on the look out for anybody attempting to land.

We have a variety of trips organised from August onwards. These trips include:

Explore Havergate Island - a non guided trip. We have just added extra boats on for the August and September trips because it is so popular.

Havergate Through the Seasons which are guided trips and perfect if you have never visited Havergate and would like to learn more about the island itself, its rich history and the wildlife you are looking at.

Havergate Adventure – This is perfect for families and has the added bonus of having tea and cake available to purchase.

Capturing first light on Havergate- This trip is for the photographers out there. We get you out to the island as soon as it is light, so you can get the best hours of the day. Also limited numbers for this trip to make it that little bit more special.

For more information about all of our trips including dates and prices take a look at our events page here or for any enquires please email Havergate.island@rspb.org.uk.

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