Good News After 300 Years!

Although there are no trips running at the moment to Havergate due to the ongoing pandemic fun & games, I had the opportunity to get across to the island a few weeks ago for a very specific reason involving the big lens - more on that in a bit.  However, you can't visit Havergate with a camera and not click the button occasionally, so I thought you might like a thread.

As always in late July, there were plenty of large gulls hanging around, like the Lesser Black Backed

and Herring

It was raining on and off that day, typical after all the glorious weather this summer to get one of the few dodgy days when I really wanted exceptional photography conditions, but never mind!

Plenty of young gulls around too - though I'm going to let Clare try and work out which species (I always reckon life's too short!)

Sandwich Terns were fishing the river

Whilst Black Tailed Godwits poked around in the muddy margins

Bright legged Redshanks were plentiful

and the Hares seemed to have had a good summer too, quite a number were pottering around and looked nice & healthy

Those who know the Island's history (if you don't, I have a whole presentation I can give you on the subject!) will know it is linked to the Avocet, so it's always nice to see them chilling out here

It was the discovery of nesting Avocets in 1947 that prompted the RSPB to take Havergate on, so they form a wonderful link to the reason my camera had received the invite in the first place.  We often see Spoonbills on the Island (especially later in the year) and there has been an effort to encourage them to breed over the last decade or so by building artificial nests, erecting dummy birds etc.  This year (after a failed attempt last year), we finally saw young Spoonbills (fondly called Teaspoons!) fledge from the Island.  This is believed to be the first successfully breeding Spoonbills in Suffolk for over 300 years, so a real cause for celebration of all the hard work undertaken by the wardens & volunteer work parties.  So here you are, long distance and grotty day notwithstanding, the first Suffolk Spoonies in 300 years :-)

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  • That's great news WJ I've just seen their tweet/video, it mentioned they had tried various ways to get them to nest, is there one thing that worked or a combination of things?.
    A set of stunning photos.

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  • It was a bit of a combination - the right habitat to start with of course, artificial nests (though they actually nested on the ground underneath the structures!), a few plastic models stood around to attract birds (that have been confusing visitors for years!) and finally a ditch to protect them from any roaming predators. The guys have been plugging away and hoping for over 10 years, so needless to say, everyone's extremely happy :-)

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  • I bet they are well chuffed I've seen the footage showing what looks like the nest on the floor, just show how unpredictable wildlife is, but I think one thing stands out, give anything the right habitat and something will take advantage if it.

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  • Whistling Joe said:

    Plenty of young gulls around too - though I'm going to let Clare try and work out which species (I always reckon life's too short!)

    I'm going to guess it's a young herring gull, hatched this year.  It doesn't look dark enough for a lesser black-backed, and I don't think the beak is brutal enough for a great black-backed.  I love seeing these young gulls around, they are so adorable!

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • Yep, the view from above was taken by a member of the warden team who runs a drone for survey work. As you can see from the footage, at a high level to avoid disturbance. As should be obvious, it is not permitted to fly drones over reserves at any time without special permission. Even the pics above were all taken from the hides to avoid even the possibility of any disturbance

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  • In reply to Clare:

    Clare Bailey said:
    I'm going to guess it's a young herring gull, hatched this year.

    See?  I knew you'd know :-)

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  • Oh, you agree with me? Yay!!

    Why the hell am I coming up as Clare Bailey????? I've never been Bailey.

    By the way, fantastic news on the spoonbills - let's hope they'll be the first of many young to come.

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • In reply to Clare:

    Confused me as well, I thought perhaps you had an obsession with a certain whisky & cream beverage!

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  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    Whistling Joe said:
    Confused me as well, I thought perhaps you had an obsession with a certain whisky & cream beverage!

    Er....... no.  That stuff's disgusting.  Anyway, I don't need alcohol to behave oddly.

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • WJ! Lovely set of photos and a wonderful sucess story after all these long years.

    Clare, when anyone quotes a post of mine, it comes up as Lynn L said!! Not my name not even initials!!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.