Thursday 21 February 2013

Havergate Island, Suffolk

Havergate Hare

Looking for peace and quiet?
Wanting to be at one with nature, birds and hares?

Then Havergate Island in Suffolk is the perfect destination, and that is exactly where I was headed last Saturday morning.

Passing through West Suffolk on my way to the coast, via the A14, I was quite relieved to see that the chimney at the Bury sugar factory was chuffing straight up into the early morning air. This meant one thing.

Calm was exactly what I wanted for my next encounter with the Suffolk seas. My previous visit had been altogether more, well, shall we say 'bouncy' when I had been out on a shoot with the RNLI back last November. Saturday was looking a promising 'my-kind-of-sea' day.

Along with three other photographers, we had been specially invited by Suffolk Coast Events Officer, Monika Koch to visit Havergate Island, owned and managed by the RSPB.

Located in the River Ore, right on the Suffolk coast and sandwiched between Orford Ness and the land, meant technically I wasn't actually going out to sea. However, anything which involves a boat on tidal waters is 'sea' enough for me. We climbed aboard the the RSPB boat, the October Storm to make the twenty minute trip from Orford Quay to the only true island in Suffolk. An 'exclusive' bird and nature reserve.

Noted for being home to a breeding colony of avocets, it is also home to wide selection of resident and migratory gulls and wading birds, including, in season, the spoon bill. With a resident pair of barn owls and a famous colony of 'Havergate hares' I was going to be like a kid in the proverbial sweet shop. So what to a piddly little boat ride!

Being a tidal estuary, sea levels were working against us to land neatly at the island jetty and so it became a boat clamber and a jump onto the shingle shore with all of our gear. (We shouldn't complain, this is the way everything comes and goes to the island, and when I say everything, I mean everything)

Thankfully it was so calm on Saturday morning, that even the oar splashes lingered on the water long after the rowing boat had moved through.

As a group, we were there on a specific mission as well as acquainting ourselves with the facilities. The island has no mains services but boasts a small visitor centre, with picnic area, an all important warden hut, and a number of roomy hides set alongside the series of carefully managed lagoons.

 However, I wasn't there to specifically photograph the bird life...

...more shall we say, to take rather a closer look at things.

As for the hares. Well, they just presented themselves in such a way that I couldn't avoid a photograph or two.

Truly captivating!

All too soon, it was time to bid adieu to this wonderful little haven in the estuary, and as we all headed back, our minds were buzzing with the possibilities, and plans for another visit.

The plans?

Very soon, all will be revealed.


  1. What a wonderful island. Aren't the hares stunning, and the lichen (if it is lichen?) is truly beautiful. I look forward to hearing more about the plans in the future :-)

  2. The hares are a photographers dream and yes, I believe it is lichen, although which exact one I haven't yet worked out.
    Looking forward to going back there.

  3. Thank you Celia,

    for this fantastic blog post and these photos: brilliant!
    I'm so much looking forward to more results of...

    No, I'm not going to reveal more here; that's up to you.

    See you soon,



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