Havergate Island 09.08.2014
Leader: John Grant
A bright, breezy day greeted the members congregated at Orford Quay or the annual trip to Havergate Island. Boarding the boat, warden Dave Fairhurst piloted us to the island or the day. With the tide high and still coming in we didn’t see the usual waders seen from the boat en route but a shout did alert us all to seven Spoonbills flying in. This was our first visit their since the tidal storm surge that caused damage to the hides, so Dave suggested we head to the hide to the north. It was sad to see the demise off the old visitor centre although the attached hide was still standing if somewhat uneven! As has been the usual practice in recent years, our leader John suggested we each pick species to count, thereby at the end able to hand over a full species count to the wardens, an interesting as well as useful contribution.
What was prevalent were the number of gulls present and we were told that there had been a good breeding season for Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Common Terns had also bred there and we found at least two families with young, one of which had quite small, downy chicks. Also present in good numbers were Avocet and further waders including three Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit and a good count of 22 Greenshank that then flew off to the south.
Visiting the other hides we picked up more species with some nice Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, lots of Little Egrets and at least 16 Spoonbill. A couple of Kestrel hunting over along with a Marsh Harrier and in the distant up to three Common Buzzards. One of the highlights of the day was during lunch a Chinese Water Deer was heading along towards the front of the hide so those outside were called in to have superb views of this deer, more often seen across the channel on Orfordness but occasionally occurs on Havergate. Another five Greenshank flew in and Sandwich Tern was noted.
Some headed up to the cottage to see if any Hares were present, fortunately some had survived the storm surge, but we were unlucky this time, a Whimbrel was heard and there were again numerous gulls toward Dovey. Before long it was time to head back to the jetty to be picked up by Dave to take us back to the quay, where we handed over our list of species with count totals and gave our thanks both to Dave and our leader for the day, John.