Summer on Havergate

The forecast was a bit iffy, but who cares, it’s Summer on Havergate!  The weekend saw a number of trips to the island from Orford quay and in the end we managed to avoid the rain (and even got a bit pink in the unexpected sunshine!).  We started the tour at the top end of the island in North hide, where there were a considerable number of Spoonbills snoozing away  on a distant island (great views through the scope, though too far for the camera unfortunately).  There were plenty of other species to spot however, with some summer plumage Dunlin, Avocets, Shelduck, Greenshank, Redshank, Black and Bar Tailed Godwit, Cormorant and Golden Plover keeping us all busy with our identification skills in North and Main hides.  Concentrating on the water, we almost missed a Marsh Harrier drifting over the island, heading for Orford Ness where it argued with a second bird before moving south.

It wasn’t the only raptor seen, four Kestrel chicks fledged recently and are still around on the island, leading to regular sightings all over the place.  Unfortunately, every single one of them hunted with their backs to me, so all I ended up with were tail shots.  Ah well, you can’t win them all!

Lots of flowers are out at the moment and that of course means butterflies.  Skippers and Gatekeeper were everywhere

And close examination of the undergrowth revealed some smaller critters – this Soldier Beetle appears to have a hitch-hiker!

Along with all the rest of the flowers, the Sea Lavender is on bloom and that gave the opportunity for a picture of a Havergate Hare in a colourful setting as we walked down the island.

Reaching the Cottage Flood area, we were berated by Oystercatchers and Terns flying overhead.  They were having a go at anything that moved to be honest!

Though careful checking of the islands through the viewing screen explained why – there are still some small chicks out there, presumably a second brood.

The Hares in the area weren’t quite as chilled out as usual, there was quite a bit of chasing around going on, so I suspect there may be some more Leverets on their way in the very near future.  However, I still managed to count five in the gorse in addition to a few elsewhere on the island, so I was happy with that.

Back on the boat for the trip back to Orford and distracted by the Little Egret and Curlews along the banks,  I almost fell foul of the cardinal photographer’s sin – putting the camera away too early.  Luckily I managed to grab it in time for a shot of a resting Sandwich Tern on the shingle – and then, even better, a couple of juveniles nearby

The day was rounded off nicely by a big licky ice-cream from the van in the carpark.  With a flake of course!  No picture of that, it didn’t last long enough :-)


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