After the drama of the tidal surge last month I can report that the island has drained and is back to its former spectacular self. I headed out there on Saturday for a very chilly day with the first visitor trip of the year. The visitors who braved the freezing cold were rewarded with lagoons packed full of birds, marsh harriers (before we even got of the boat), barn owls and hares.
As soon as we landed on the Jetty we spent a few minutes watching a Marsh Harrier hunting a mouse or vole on the seawall. The small rodent kept the harrier entertained for a good few minutes keeping it hovering and diving at the bank. I don’t know if it was successful or not as I had already left everyone at the jetty watching it to head down river to moor the boat.
Some people headed straight down to the gorsy area on the island and the known ‘hare hot spot’. Spring is already in the air for them (if not for us) and we were lucky enough to catch 3 hares being quite lively and chasing each other. We witnessed a hint (not even a second) of boxing and then it was all over. However the hares stayed visible throughout the day allowing everybody so see them.
The below photos were captured by Trevor Clifford who was in the right spot at the right time.
Photo Credit: Trevor Clifford
2 barn owls also wanted to get in on the action and were seen on and off throughout the day hunting along the river wall. Out on the lagoons we had 2 spoonbill, good numbers of wigeon, teal, shoveler, gadwall and pintail. For the waders we mainly had godwit, redshank, dunlin, curlew, avocet and grey plover. One of the spoonbill pictured below is clearly ringed. This is the same bird that we have seen on the island for the past 5 years. It is a Dutch bird that was ringed in 2014. It was recorded in Suffolk over the winters of 14/15, 15/16 and 16/17 and spent last winter in Dorset. This is very much a British bird having only been recorded back in Holland once!
February is proving to be a good month to see wildlife on the island. If you would like to visit then we still have spaces on our guided trips ‘Havergate through the seasons’ that we have running on the 16th and 24th February. You can find these trips and all of the other events we have planned throughout the year and how to book onto them here https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/havergate-island/
A new year, lots of trips coming up - might even get an extra picture or two myself :-)
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