Havergate Island

Havergate Island
Welcome to the Havergate community group. Havergate is a magical place, Suffolk’s only island! The reserve is nestled within the Alde & Ore estuary and is well known for its year round bird spectacle.
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  • Blog Post: A rather good month!

    Forgive the lack of updates on the blog of recent times. This is mostly due to late July and August being amongst our busiest times of the year. With hundreds of visitors coming out to the island and continuing with the reserve work including the benthic sampling (seeing what insects live in the mud...
  • Blog Post: Video Collection

    Here as promised is a collection of videos from the island. Little Stint on Havergate, courtesy of David Fairhurst, Nov 2011 Definately an unsual record for Havergate in November but in a county contact they do overwinter. Having overwintered in other estuaries in the past 20 years or so. Little...
  • Blog Post: Recent happenings on Havergate island

    Its been something of a purple patch for birds on the Havergate reserves for birds over the last week or so. The highlights include a rough legged buzzard (twice), a short eared owl, a couple of hen harriers, a firecrest, two whooper swans and at least one spotted redshank. There has also been some...
  • Blog Post: The cold weather bites.......

    I doubt anyone will have failed to notice the cold temperatures in England over the last week. This has had a huge impact on wildlife locally, nationally and internationally. One of the most dramatic impacts of the weather around the estuary has been the total freezing of most of the other reserves...
  • Blog Post: A spectacular end to the season

    As the season’s roll around and the dreaded moment that the clocks go back approaches, it seems like the perfect time to recap on autumn on Havergate and what an autumn it’s been! In my three years working on Havergate the island has never looked better, attracted a greater diversity of...
  • Blog Post: A rare chance to visit

    It’s not often I get the chance to visit Havergate, so I jumped at the chance to help with this weekend’s event. In fact, it was my first visit for more than four years! Havergate is an amazing place. The saline lagoons are already heaving with wading birds, and the saltmarsh is ablaze...
  • Blog Post: Otters

    Otters once a near mythical sighting has become increasingly common in the last few years, in fact I heard someone recently describe them as “ubiquitous”. The island is a classic example of this before August 2010 the total number of sightings on Havergate sat at zero. Admittedly, there...
  • Blog Post: Whats a going on?

    I appreciate that for some not being able to visit Havergate is a source of tremendous frustration, so I will do my best to bring some kind of flavour of what's going on, on the island at the moment. Currently Havergate island is undergoing the biggest change of a generation with both lagoons...
  • Blog Post: A quick update

    The breeding season continues a pace on the island. However, firstly I must break some bad news. In my last blog piece I reported that the island was playing host to 23 Avocets the highest breeding number in some time, however between the dates 14 th to the 16 th of July all the nests where predated...
  • Blog Post: Summer becomes Autumn

    It’s been a little while since I “blogged” about events on the island. Last week was dominated by the Havergate adventure, the annual four day visitor event organised by the Woodbridge local group. Its a long four days for all involved but a big thanks must go to the volunteers who...
  • Blog Post: Invasion from the North

    Of late the blog seems to have been dominated by articles on “issues”. As a change I thought it would be nice to update people about what has been going on, on the island. Every day seems to bring a good species to the island and the island is jumping with birds. Most lagoons are full...
  • Blog Post: EU Life+

    As people who visit the website will be aware, the island closed its doors to the general public at the beginning of October this is to enable the contractors to access the island and carry out the vital works as part of the EU life+ project. It is my pleasure and excitement to be able to announce that...
  • Blog Post: The adventure of Havergate:

    As the year rolls on thoughts begin to turn from breeding birds to passage birds. However, If I was asked to use just one word to sum up the breeding season, I’d say long. The gulls were on eggs by Mid March with the first chicks hatching in mid April. Then we had the encouraging signs of 23...
  • Blog Post: Countryfiled

    It's been a couple of years since the BBC last visited the island therefore it was with some pleasure that we where lucky enough last Thursday to host the BBC's countryfile team. Despite the cold temperatures (almost -6 according to the thermometer on nearby Orfordness) a good day was had by...
  • Blog Post: Completion

    After 5 months, the earthwork and engineering work on Havergate is complete. Now after the changes, comes the hard part, namely using the new sluices and island layout to increase the ecological effectiveness of the reserve. It will be worth keeping an eye on both the RSPB website and the Alde –...
  • Blog Post: A big thankyou

    So after 5 months I said goodbye to the last of this years residential volunteers today. Can I just take this chance to say a big thank you to all who volunteered this summer. Your help has been invaluable and much appreciated. Without you the island would be a much poorer place and I sincerely hope...
  • Blog Post: Three days and Three nights on Havergate

    So, after waving good bye to the first residential volunteers last week, I decided to take myself out and spend three days and nights alone on Havergate Island. This is useful in terms of thinking about what needs to be done on the island not only by myself but also by the incredibly helpful volunteers...
  • Blog Post: Some sad news

    I’ll keep this brief but sad news..... The Flamingo has departed the islands. No more will anyone look across Main lagoon and be cheered by sight of a large pink bird, normally with his head in the water, feeding away, no more will he take off in flight and look like a long thin pink pencil with...
  • Blog Post: Volunteers, Spoonbills and just a few Hobbies.

    Saturday marked the end of last weeks residential volunteers stay on the island. Thanks must go to David and John two volunteers who have being coming out to Havergate and helping in the residential volunteers scheme for sixteen and five years respectively. There where a great help to the island, painting...
  • Blog Post: Quite the view

    Coming back to the island after my holiday I was met by one of the more spectacular sights I have witnessed. Wigeon numbers are now easily in the triple figures, as are teal. Brent geese, Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallards where all present. Numbers of Golden plover, Dunlin, Lapwing, Knot, Avocet,...
  • Blog Post: Spring may be in the air

    Late March has seen the island begin to don its breeding season cloak. Big numbers of gulls have arrived at the last Webs count 624 Lesser Black backs had returned to the lagoons and 518 Herring gulls. This count doesn’t include the salt marshes or the long shingle bank at an estimate...
  • Blog Post: Marine Life

    Lately the island has been visited by a Great Skua (Bonxie) these fearsome birds from the north have reminded me of a cause important to me and important to the nation’s biodiversity, that of the marine environment. Whilst Bonxies have largely been spared the ravages of Sandeel shortages...
  • Blog Post: Summer has arrived

    What an odd few days on Havergate but more of that later. Summer has definitely arrived on the island. With it though, something exciting has happened. Those who are familiar with Havergate will know that recently the population of Avocets have been going through what looked like a terminal decline...
  • Blog Post: A time to look back and look forward

    As summer rolls into autumn and the first wintering duck begin to return to the island it is time to look back at the breeding season on Havergate. Starting with the large gulls, Herring gulls clocked in at 503 AON’s up by 17 from 2012. The lesser black backs had a massive increase, the reasons...
  • Blog Post: 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...