So now I can happily say the breeding season is well and truly over on Havergate (it has been for a while but I just haven’t gotten around to writing this until now) and we start looking forward to all the passage waders which have started to turn up in fantastic numbers.
I will quickly give you a roundup of the breeding successes and failures on the island. The gulls which were on eggs from mid March with the first chicks hatching mid/ end of April. Numbers were very similar to last year with 1714 Lesser black backs and 529 Herring gull pairs. Between them they successfully fledged approx 800 chicks.
These gulls pretty much take over the whole island but encouragingly 35 Avocets started nesting – mainly on Cottage flood but some in front of North hide as well. Unfortunately all the nests failed but on a more encouraging note we also had 24 Common terns nest on Cottage Flood and successfully fledge 39 chicks. Alongside the Terns good numbers of Black headed gulls nested and managed to fledge up to 6 young and 2 pairs of Barn owls fledged 5 young between them. In the background the Oystercatchers, one pair of Skylark, wood pigeons, linnets and meadow pipits all got on with their own business of nesting and raising young.
Nesting Common terns
Now, with most of the chicks fledged and moved on, the lagoons have begun to fill with migrant waders. Our top Spoonbill count is 29 (on the Havergate Adventure weekend) over 400 Avocets, up to 150 Black tailed godwits, hoards of Redshank and Dunlin, one Curlew sandpiper. Odd counts of Grey plover, Ringed plover, 4 Knot, Curlew, Whimbrel and still plenty of Common and Sandwich tern.
All of this created a great 3 days for the Havergate Adventure which was held on the 12 – 14 August. Visitors were treated to all of these birds, sleepy Hares and some of the lucky Saturday Visitors were also treated to the White winged black Tern who spent a good half hour over Cottage Flood/ Belpers.
This event is organised by the local RSPB Woodbridge group and is held every year. This year all boats were fully booked and the event was again – a great success so thank you to the Woodbridge group and all who helped.
Here is a link to a short video of the White winged black tern by David Fairhurst for those you that are interested https://vimeo.com/229399715
We still have spaces left for our Autumn on the island trip on Saturday 2nd. Havergate has been full of birds recently so a trip this time of the year is ideal. Last week we had 12 Spoonbill, over 400 Avocet, Sandwich and Common Terns, 40 Black tailed godwits, 350 Dunlin, hoards of Redshank, Ringed plover, Curlew and Whimbrel.
Bygone Years on Havergate is also fast approaching on the 21 October. This is a unique guided walk to discover the short but rich history of Havergate Island - I shall explain more about this later.
Call me a bit strange but I'm delighted that the herring and lesser black-backed gulls had a good season. I'm impressed that the terns were also successful amid so many gulls!