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26th May 2019

Suffolk’s only island opens to public this weekend


Have a Havergate Adventure this weekend!
The RSPB is inviting people to experience the nature and wildlife of this unique island as part of a special public event this weekend.

The annual ‘Havergate Adventure’, takes place from Saturday 15 to Monday 17 August, with the RSPB’s aptly named boat, ‘October Storm’, departing hourly from 9.30am to 1.30pm to take visitors to the island, where they will be able to explore and enjoy.

For more details about this event, please contact RSPB Minsmere nature reserve on 01728 648281.

Other events being run on the island can be found on the RSPB Havergate island website: www.rspb.org.uk/havergateisland

Wardens at the RSPB’s Havergate Island nature reserve have rediscovered several species they had feared had disappeared from the island when the North Sea overwhelmed the island’s sea wall during the tidal surge that hit the East Anglian coast in December 2013.

Surveys carried out in 2014 failed to find some specialist plants that had been established on the island, including the uncommon yellow vetch. It was feared that yellow vetch had been lost from the reserve’s community of saltmarsh plants, but surveys this year found it growing again in a restricted area on the south end of the island.

More than a year-and-a-half after the winter tidal surge that wreaked havoc on the Suffolk Coast, wardens at RSPB Havergate Island nature reserve have reported that some of the hardest hit wildlife is showing signs of recovery.

Havergate’s famous population of brown hares has made a remarkable recovery and their numbers are almost back to pre-storm surge levels. After the flooding, as few as six hares remained on the island, but a recent count recorded a healthy population of as many as 18, with this year’s leverets (young hares) seen lazing on the shingle in amongst the gorse bushes and adults chasing each other along the sea walls.

Avocet-walking-on-mud

While the reserve’s wildlife has managed to bounce back after the storm, the infrastructure that was damaged in the surge has needed a helping hand.

Lyndsey Record, warden at Havergate Island, Boyton and Hollesley Marshes said: “We worked hard over the winter to repair the damage done by the storm. Volunteers replaced the old hide, which was lifting it off its foundations and damaged beyond repair when the sea washed over the island. Now, with the new hide in place visitors can again get great views looking out onto our main lagoon and see waders, wildfowl, gulls and spoonbills.
“Spoonbills have been a regular sight on Havergate for the past 15 years using the lagoons to rest and feed. They can usually be spotted from March all the way through till October, however this year we had 4 overwinter, which was great to see.”

• Avocet picture Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)

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