The phrase “Mad as a March Hare” is an idiom derived from the antics of hares in the March breeding season.
According to Countryfile magazine, RSPB Havergate Island is one of the 5 best places in the UK to chance witnessing the fascinating wildlife spectacle of “boxing” hares this Spring; with golden brown fur, a white belly and long ears with black tips. At full pelt, they can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour!
They're usually solitary creatures but during March and April you can see females fighting off the mating urges of the males, standing on their hind legs and literally 'boxing' with their front paws.
At only 2 miles long and 0.5 miles wide, Suffolk’s only island is also an important breeding, roosting and feeding site for many migratory and resident bird species. The lagoons and marshes make it an important roosting and feeding site - the UK's largest breeding population of pied avocets and Suffolk's only breeding Sandwich terns can be found there.
Other birds found on the island include oystercatchers, redshanks, ringed plovers, golden plover, dunlin, greenshank and turnstones as well as wigeon, pintail and wheatears.
If you're a keen wildlife photographer, then join Wild Adventures under Suffolk's Skies on a Photography Day on Havergate Island. Further details of the photography days on offer can be found on their website www.wasuffolk.com
Opening times and admission:
The island is owned by the RSPB who charge a fee to enter the nature reserve (reduced for members) but access is via boat which leaves Orford Quay on the first Saturday of the month (except May, June and July). Pre-booking is essential, contact the RSPB Minsmere nature reserve on 01728 648281.
Facilities on the island include a number of bird hides, toilets and a picnic area.
Guided tours are also available. The site is unsuitable for wheelchair or pushchair users due to the unimproved nature of its paths and boat access.