Havergate Island

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Orford Castle from Havergate Island

It was a very foggy morning inland, but the air was clearer and brighter at Orford.  A short boat trip along the River Ore to the RSPB reserve on Havergate Island, which is mostly lagoons and fragile salt marsh surrounded by protective banks. Once every few years it is inundated by the sea and the mammals (hares, voles, rats) are wiped out, but the birds don’t care and the island recovers.

It’s noticeable that many the estuaries of some Suffolk rivers have been blocked up in some way. So the River Ore does a long detour along the spit to reach the sea, and others culminate in enclosed meres.

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Avocets in the River Ore

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On view were lots of avocets, dunlins (very small and easily confused by me with grey plovers, also seen, with black armpits in flight), the usual ducks, curlews, redshanks, shelducks, godwits and a turnstone and a reed bunting (which was a larger bird than I expected). There was also a barn owl hunting by daylight, two short-eared owls spoiling for a fight, marsh harriers and a hare. I also saw some vole runs amongst the long grass – short-eared owls eat voles – and rat burrows in the banking. In the sunlight the lichen (xanthoria) on the elder trees was quite golden. And I caught the merest glimpse of a couple of spoonbills.

So, all in all a great morning in beautiful, still weather.

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