Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Havergate hares

Blog readers may have noticed that I've been on the hunt for hares (both species) lately. And that it's not gone all that well in general. Two Saturdays ago there was quite the reversal in fortune when Lisa and I made a trip to Havergate Island, Suffolk.

This island lies in the Alde-Ore estuary and is very small and very low-lying. Indeed, it was pretty much totally inundated in the 2013 storm surges, and lost nearly all of its Brown Hares as a result. But the hares that survived have since been breeding like... lagomorphs, and numbers have recovered to close to what they were pre-flood (still fewer than 30 but that's a lot for a 1km2 island that's mostly lagoon).

We took the RSPB boat from Orford and landed at about 9.30am. We then had 4.5 hours to explore. The lagoons are looked over by hides, and from the first of these we saw a couple of Spoonbills along with a scattering of common wildfowl and waders. Keen to get on with hare-searching, we left the rest of the boat party and headed off towards the drier end of the island. Very soon we found our first hare, then second, then third. We'd been told that the hares were pretty confiding and it soon transpired that some of them are ridiculously confiding. One leveret in particular let us get within two metres and actually fell asleep as we watched - what an amazing experience. Here are some of my many, many hare pics.

As you can see, we had great weather as well as wonderfully well-behaved models.

There were plenty of birds to see too, especially Goldcrests (the east coast in general has had a hell of a lot of Goldcrests dumped on it lately).

Birdy pics. From the top, Goldcrest, Curlew, Kestrel, Little Egret, Meadow Pipit, Whimbrel, Reed Bunting.

The sun brought out some late insects, including this Common Darter and Small Copper. Also quite a lot of mosquitoes, which bit me.

Finally, a few from the boat back. Black-headed Gull, a VERY streaky Herring Gull, and some Avocets.

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