Guest blog by Anna John, Learning Intern at Minsmere

Two weeks ago, I finally took up the chance to visit Havergate Island on the Havergate Adventure.  I went there on a birthday trip, with a couple of friends.  It was great to go somewhere on a boat and see a different selection of birds.  Before starting as the Learning Intern at Minsmere, I was not particularly great at identifying birds.  Now having lived and worked at Minsmere for five and a half months, I am a lot better at bird ID, but not the greatest, so it was nice to head to another RSPB reserve.

To begin with, the weather was absolutely glorious: sunny and warm.  I know, surprising for August!  We set off from Orford Quay and Dave Fairhurst pointed out a couple of black-tailed godwits on the way to the Island.  We were met at the quay on Havergate Island, by our guide for the day; a member of the RSPB Woodbridge local group. He immediately explained that we could use a set of RSPB binoculars for the day, just in case we had not brought our own.

The plan for the afternoon was to visit three of the Island’s hides to have a view of their lagoons. 

From each hide, we had a slightly different view of the lagoons, and here is my list of what we saw:

-            Avocet

-            Black-tailed godwit

-            Little egret

-            Curlew

-            Spoonbill (although they were all asleep)

-            Grey plover in breeding and juvenile plumages

-            Lesser black-backed gull

-            Ringed plover

-            Dunlin

-            Common tern

-            Sandwich tern

-            Kestrel

-            Herring gull

-            Shelduck

-            Black-headed gull

-            Oystercatcher

-            Redshank

-            Greenshank

-            Turnstone

-            Starling

-            Pied wagtail

-            Cormorant

The species I really wanted to see were the brown hares, but unfortunately we did not see any on the Island.  However, on my drive from Minsmere to Orford, I saw four brown hares in the fields next to the road.

After visiting the three hides, we then bought a cup of tea and shared a piece of cake, before returning to Orford Quay.  It was a great birthday trip: the staff and volunteers were very knowledgeable, the weather was lovely, the birds were great, Havergate Island was very picturesque, the toilet building was amazing AND the cake was delicious! 

PS: there's another chance to visit Havergate for the Autumn on Havergate event on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September. Boats depart Orford four times a day. For full details and to reserve a place, please call Minsmere's booking line on 01728 648301

  • Glad you had a good time, Anna.  I made my first visit last year and I'll agree it's a great place!

    I don't know if you've seen any photos showing what happened to the previous toilet building in the 2013 flooding - I have and I must confess I nearly died laughing, despite the awful situation.