This I believe is meant to be springtime? However it doesn’t feel much like springtime, in fact if it wasn’t for the presence of the breeding birds I would say that the weather has felt more like October.
What has this meant on the ground for the birds on Havergate?
Well, the terns have been virtually none existent as a presence on the island, activity has picked up in the last few days, notably in the morning. So, fingers will remained firmly crossed.
Even the large gulls (herring gull and lesser black backed) that normally most resilient of breeders as been set back by the rain. Perhaps even as many as 60% of all gulls present on the island have yet to build a nest let alone lay an egg.
Better news comes from Havergate’s rarest breeding species (common gull) which are laying eggs and initial indications are that the numbers will be comparable with the last couple of years, a systematic count of this species will be conducted in two weeks time (weather dependent).
Other marginal breeders on the island including oystercatchers and the various duck species are settling down and laying eggs
It’s been a slow start for butterflies and dragonflies with a solitary record of a red admiral the only butterfly of any note seen on the island
This week also saw the traditional curtain raiser of the survey season, with the Hare transact. The Hares on Havergate are becoming ever more popular with visitors to the island, probably due to their confiding nature and almost guaranteed views.
However, there where some concerns over what has or had happened to the population over the autumn and winter period, there was the unexpected die off of several seemingly healthy individuals in the autumn and the island normally a place of quiet and peacefulness resembled a building site over the winter months.
Last spring the site came in with a healthy total of 27 individuals but this plummeted to 18 in the autumn count. This spring the count is 22 individuals, so whilst not in the same league as last spring or even my first count of 2010 this is a pleasing bounce back. What is even more pleasing as that other “spring migrant” the residential volunteers who made a triumphant return to the island last Saturday have seen leverets from the hut windows, none of which where seen on the official island count. Therefore the population seems set fair for another year.
A word of warning to anyone thinking of visiting the island to see the Hares, whilst it is possible to view Hares at anytime of the year on Havergate from now until the 1st week of August there is no visitor access to the best area to see them, this is due to the nesting common gulls. Please respect this rare English breeding bird and allow them to nest in peace.
I'm afraid not this year, avocets have been extremely scarce on the island. Better news can be found at nearby Boyton marshes reserve though, where up to 13 pairs are currently nesting on the flash.
Have you any Avocets nesting their this year, as last year you said that it could be the last year Avocets might breed their as the population was so low now on Havergate Ireland.