In early December on a cold icy morning and wearing many layers of clothing I was fortunate to be able to visit Havergate island, it coincided almost to a year ago when the island was devastated by the Winter surge of 2013 and I wanted to see how the island had moved on from my last visit in February (see previous blog post). One change that had taken place is the island has a new warden and it was a pleasure to meet Lyndsey and introduce myself. We had arrange to meet at Orford Quay at 08:30 but seeing the weather forecast the night before had a clear morning I decided to arrive early to see the sunrise.
As you can see it was stunning and on many of my visits to the island I have arrived early to photograph the Quay in the morning light. The Orfordness lighthouse is also worth pointing the lens at.
Anytime of the year the Quay is home to a number of bird species and I had a small flock of Black tailed godwits fly by.
So as we set off to the island on the ‘October Storm’ the sun slowly was rising in the sky.
As always it was nice to arrive at familiar place.
As Lyndsey moored the boat the light was just magical.
Like many of you reading this I really wanted to see how the hare’s on the island were doing and on my previous visit had found them more elusive since The Surge but was pleasantly surprised to almost immediately find this individual at the gorse by the huts. Although she did not seem so pleased to see me!!
Although she allowed me to approach close enough for this image (full frame image with a 500mm lens).
You may be wondering how I knew she was female……well I was not the only male trying to get near to her, the other one had a fur coat and long ears and in fact it was the male hare that disturb my female friend and chased her away from the gorse.
Once disturb these pair proved difficult to get close to so I decided to head South down to Dovey’s hide. A number of different bird species were feeding on the lagoon such as Pintail, Wigeon, Dunlin, Lapwings, Gulls and a good size group of Avocets.
A couple of Redshank were feeding close to the hide and with hardly any wind the reflections of them in the water made for good images.
And in my opinion you don’t have to have them full frame for a good image either.
On my way back from the hide I came across a very confiding hare sat by a gorse bush.
With careful field craft I was able to approach very close indeed…..
….and move around to new positions.
The above image was taken from this position.
Would you like to be in a similar position? Well why not join me on a day in cooperation with the RSPB and organised by my good friend Monika through her company Wild Adventures under Suffolk skies. I shall be the wildlife photographic tutor and joining us will be Landscape photographer Jeremy Hennell James. For more information on these days please follow this link.
There are dates throughout the year except during the bird breeding season so to avoid disturbance. All of the images above were taken during a few hours on one day so you can see the varied opportunities available. As I said previously many of you reading this blog will be mostly interested in photographing the hares. Havergate is one of the best places to get close to Brown hares but it is not a zoo or wildlife park and the hares if disturb will hide away or be difficult to approach BUT with Patience and Perseverance and my guidance on field craft all on the day should come away with excellent hare images. I have guided a number of groups on the island before who’s participants have come away with hare images of the quality I have posted here as this image shows.
Also please check out my Havergate Island gallery here of images taken on my many trips to this wonderful place.