• Owl-tastic day on Havergate

    I finally managed to get out to the island yesterday after being unable to due to the wind last week. It was a very chilly start but the water was dead calm with not a breath of wind – perfect. Heading past the island on the boat we could see a short eared owl hunting over the sea wall, a Marsh Harrier in the distance and a kestrel sitting atop a post. As soon as we were off the boat and started walking another Short…

    • 30 Nov 2016
  • Winter Wonderland

    Winter is certainly a great time of the year to visit Havergate Island. I returned on Friday to the Island after 2 weeks away due to October Storm being out of the water for her annual inspection and tidy up. It was alive with birds on the lagoons. We managed a count of 508 wigeon, 571 teal, 12 pintail, 143 shoveler, 44 Avocet, 105 Golden Plover, 168 redshank, 275 lapwing, 44 knot, 128 black tailed godwit and ringed plover…

    • 22 Nov 2016
  • President's Award

    Now the secret is out I would like to say a huge congratulations to our very own Peter Merchant. Peter collected his president award over the weekend for the time (29 years!) he has given to the RSPB. The prestigious RSPB presidents award recognises significant volunteer contribution to nature conservation and to the work of the RSPB.
    Collecting his award 
    Peter started volunteering on Havergate Island in 1989…
    • 10 Oct 2016
  • Havergate Adventure 13 - 15 August

    We still have spaces available on our Sunday and Monday trips for the Havergate Adventure this week. All details on how to book can be found below.

    This is the perfect time of year to explore our wild isle, and our special Havergate Adventure, taking place this weekend, will help you get the most out of a visit, whatever your age or interests.  Whether you want to learn more about the island’s wildlife, or just enjoy…

    • 8 Aug 2016
  • Summer on Havergate

    I am fortunate enough to look after the wildlife on Suffolk’s only island, found on the beautiful River Ore. Havergate Island is a peaceful haven made up of saltmarsh, shingle and saline lagoons which support a wealth of wildlife. For those of us that think variety is the spice of life, the wonderful thing about Havergate is that it changes throughout the seasons, offering a different wildlife spectacle as spring warms…

    • 22 Jul 2016
  • Cast away on Havergate

    Although we no longer run in the residential volunteering scheme we are still happy to have a couple of long term volunteers who know the Island well stay out there. Mike was on the island for 3 weeks and below you can read up on what he got up to. 

    Havergate Island blog – July 2016

    This year on the island was my eleventh since first arriving in July 2006 following my first ever residential volunteering trip on Ramsey…

    • 20 Jul 2016
  • Unusual beasts

    One of the great things about being a warden is the diversity of the work involved in managing a nature reserve. We never stop learning new skills and learning about the unique species that live on our sites. Havergate is special in that it is made up with shingle (a unique habitat in itself) and saline lagoons. The saline lagoons are full of invertebrates that support the vast range of bird life found on them. I have…

    • 11 Jul 2016
  • Island Spiders

    Havergate Island is not only an important place for birds, hares and flora, there are a lot of smaller things you don’t always think about! Myself and Steve a local volunteer recently spent a couple of days with Ian Dawson a spider expert out on Havergate Island looking at spiders.

    Coastal Suffolk is an area of outstanding importance for spiders. The combination of shingle, saltmarsh, reedbed, and coastal grassland…

    • 18 May 2016
  • Winter Months

    Winter is my favorite time of year when it comes to Havergate Island. It is cold, windy, isolated and absolutely stunning! Winter is the time I see the short eared owls hunting over the saltmarsh and the marsh harriers gliding along the seawall. Barn owls, kestrels, Hen harrier and peregrines have also been regularly seen.

    The volunteer work party are still working hard, we are preparing to extend our hide at the North…

    • 3 Feb 2016
  • October Storm

    It is that time of year again when we take October Storm out of the water to antifoul her and have her annual inspection (which she passed with flying colours!) We had an exciting trip up the River away from Havergate towards Aldeburgh where she was hauled out on a trailer. Whilst she is on the trailer we get the opportunity to antifoul the hull and really check it over and make sure everything is in good condition.

    • 30 Nov 2015
  • A week in the life.....

    Over the summer we have the help of volunteers who stay in our hut on the island. These volunteers have been coming to Havergate for a number of years so they know what to expect and how remote and basic it is. They are invaluable and really make a difference in helping to keep the island and its infrastructure in good shape. Here is a blog from Becky who spent a week on Havergate at the end of August.

     A week in the…

    • 27 Oct 2015
  • Havergate Adventure

    The Havergate Adventure is nearly upon us! If you haven’t yet had the chance to visit the island then this is a great chance for you to come and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

    This year will be its 27th year of running and it is still as popular now as it was back then. Book onto one of our guided tours and you will have the chance to enjoy a 20 minutes boat ride to the island where you will then…

    • 4 Aug 2015
  • Road to recovery

    More than a year-and-a-half after the winter tidal surge that wreaked havoc on the Suffolk Coast, we can report that some of the hardest hit wildlife is showing signs of recovery. Surveys carried out after the tidal surge in 2013 failed to find certain plant species including yellow  fetch, which is a saltmarsh specialist and not very common on the South Suffolk Coast. It was feared this species had been lost from Havergate…

    • 8 Jul 2015
  • Alde-Ore Estuary Project recognised in Natura 2000 awards 2015

    The project was one of the most ambitious habitat enhancement projects ever undertaken on the Suffolk coast. The partnership project undertaken by the National Trust at its Orford Ness site and the RSPB at its nearby Havergate Island nature reserve was shortlisted as a finalist in this year’s highly coveted Natura 2000 Award.

    David Mason (National Trust), Aaron Howe (RSPB), Grant Lohoar (National Trust) attended…

    • 29 May 2015
  • Gulls, gulls, gulls

    Over the last 2 months on Havergate we have been cracking on with the new hide (being built to replace main hide and Gullery hide which were both destroyed during the tidal surge)  As you can see from the photo we have had to get a lot of equipment and material out to the island but with the help of volunteers and the ferry we are just about there. At the other end of the island we have also been making progress on the…

    • 8 May 2015
  • Happy Hares

    At the end of March we hosted our annual hare weekend. However unfortunately due to bad weather we had to cancel the Sunday trip. On the Saturday visitors enjoyed watching and photographing the hares, 2 of which very obligingly sat pretty much all day out in the open moving only an inch or so to make themselves comfortable.

    The hares on Havergate island were introduced in the 1930s probably as a food source for the farming…

    • 9 Apr 2015
  • Spring is in the air

    We are nearly at the end of winter and Havergate is already starting to show signs of Spring. The Gulls have started appearing in ever increasing numbers sitting on territory, the gorse is budding and the Hares appear to be getting livelier. Reed buntings have been singing from their perches and skylarks can be heard across the island on a peaceful day.

    We have been preparing the island for the oncoming breeding…

    • 27 Feb 2015
  • Looking ahead on Havergate

    Firstly I would like to wish everyone a happy new year from all the team here at Havergate.

    The year has started very blustery and we have also had few very high tides. We managed to fit in the first visitor trip of the year on the 3rdJan on one of the recent calmer days. Despite being extremely wet everyone had a good day with plenty of birds out on the lagoons. We still have 4 Spoonbills braving our winter here, great…

    • 12 Jan 2015
  • November Highlights

    I have now been the South Suffolk Coast warden for 5 months, and what a 5 months it has been!

    I have learnt the ropes on October Storm, our visitor boat without too much drama and got to know Havergate Island pretty well now. I have met many visitors who have spent time on the island all of whom have really enjoyed themselves and had a very special day seeing the birds, hares and other wildlife.

    I had heard and seen…

    • 27 Nov 2014
  • Full steam ahead

    We had an early start last week to meet Guinevere on the quay. Guinevere is the vehicle ferry over to Orfordness, however she is always happy to assist us getting supplies across and onto Havergate. Occasionally, when we have bigger jobs that need completing on the island the ferry allows us to take heavy materials over all at once- including tractors and diggers. 



    The main job at the moment is rebuilding the warden…

    • 24 Oct 2014
  • Come rain or shine

    I think autumn has definitely settled in now. I was told Havergate could be a very cold and harsh place, especially in the winter and I can quite believe it! Even now in mid October a warm coat and a hat is recommended. You shouldn’t be put off by this though. Havergate is a spectacular place this time of year and autumn/ winter is the best time to see high numbers of waders and wildfowl feeding on our lagoons.

    • 14 Oct 2014
  • An island in the sun

    Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit Havergate Island for the first time this year to help Dave and Aaron to lead walks for some of the RSPB's Sea Life Guardians

    Havergate is always a magical place, but it was even more special yesterday with warm sunshine, unbroken blue sky for most of the day and barely a breath of wind - plus of course some amazing wildlife and friendly visitors.

    Any trip to Havergate starts…

    • 9 Sep 2014
  • Spoonbill Event

    The team here at Havergate had a great weekend running the Spoonbill event on the 2nd and 3rd August. The sun continued to shine both days and the boat was full on all trips with first timers to the island and a few returning visitors.

    Thankfully, the iconic Spoonbills were in attendance doing what they do best on Havergate - sleeping! However, that was fine, we managed to set the scope up on them and let visitors have…

    • 15 Aug 2014
  • Island Life

    I have now completed my first month as the newly appointed South Suffolk Coast warden and what a great month it has been! So, this is my first posting of what I hope will be a regular update of the goings on on Havergate Island, Boyton and Hollesley Marshes.

    Firstly I will mention our successful breeding season (for gulls that is) on the Island. It was a record breaking season with 2070 pairs of Lesser Black Backs and…

    • 23 Jul 2014