Friday 20 October 2023

Lowestoft Life 6th-19th October 2023

I came back from Lesvos into still unseasonably warm weather on the 6th October but a puff of easterly overnight on the 8th had me quickly adding Redwings and Skylarks to the Edgerton Road list not too long after dawn as birds still continued to arrive.  A visit to the Africa Alive boot fair revealed more Redwings, Song Thrushes and a few Blackbirds arriving and two Firecrests were peeping around the edges. It was so warm!

After lunch (during which time I added Rock Pipit and Common Gull to the list) I headed down to Pakefield Beach where wildfowl had been streaming through all day and spent two and half hours sitting on a bench in shorts and t-shirt while Dark-bellied Brents wove over the waves. Amongst them were a single sparkling Pale-bellied Brent along with two Pink-feet and three Greylags and a good number of dabblers. Nearly everything was going south but a Merganser went north and Red-throated Divers were milling around while two Great Northern Divers went south.

Among the waders 15 Avocet were not on my radar, nor was the juvenile Roseate Tern that headed out towards the sandbank.  Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were coming in and continuing south along with a surprising 17 Rock Pipits and a Grey Wagtail.

Two Buzzards coasted and four Short-eared Owls flopped by but none made landfall.  They always seem to move too slowly. Perhaps the biggest surprise were three Great White Egrets in off over my head while a fourth bird carried on down the coast.  It was a memorable session only curtailed but a sudden drop in temperature at 4pm that sent me home for a cuppa.

Great White Egrets

Mothing continued with the warm nights and I added quite a few new species to the garden tally which to date now stands at 110 which is not bad since the end of August.  Some of the highlights for me were the numerous Feathered Ranunculus blending in so well with my lichen wall along with Clancy’s and Black Rustic and a luminous Merville du Jour.

Beaded Chestnut and Lunar Underwing

from top clockwise: Black Rustic, Lunar Underwing, Clancy's Rustic, Vine's Rustic

Blair's Shoulder Knot

Clancy's Rustic

Dark Sword Grass

Feathered Ranunculus

Feathered Ranunculus

Green Brindled Crescent

Grey Pine carpet

Hypsopygia glaucinalis 

Large Wainscot

Merville du Jour


Lesser Redpoll and Jay were both new for Edgerton (now on 61) on the 16th and a look off Pakefield Beach gave me two Pinkfeet and two male and female Eider along with a few migrant Robins and quite a few new leaf mines for my loop.


Migrant Blackbird ignoring me

Calliphora vicina

Common Wasp

Cosmopterix pulchrimella on Pellitory on the Wall

Ivy Bee - a few late ones hanging on

Pink-footed Geese

I did some leafmine hunting in the local Britten Park on the way home and found a good colony of Stigmella splendidissimella on Raspberry amongst others.

Stigmella splendidissimella

The rest of the day was spent shifting gravel and planting up more of the front garden with my Darnley Road transfer plants.  Still got the pond to put in the middle yet!

The rest of this week has seen me doing my best to watch the sea in varyingly wild conditions.  The 17th was quite lively with 13 Arctic Terns in a bunch to get things started followed quickly by 26 Barnacle Geese going the same way along with a few Brent.

Most birds were going north with 46 Gannet, 6 Little Gulls and at least 150 Kittiwakes.  Most of the latter were way on the horizon and were sheering in huge arcs that doubled back on themselves but once you knew what they were you could eliminate getting sucked into them being actual Shearwaters.  I did see one Sooty Shear and three Pom Skuas – both of which sheered in similarly powerful arcs and a pale juvenile Long-tailed Skua circled over the bay before drifting off towards Kessingland.

I was back the following morning but despite the into your face easterly there was almost nowt to see and I did not linger long adding a short-lived Razorbill before having a walk around Kirkley Cemetery.  

It was quite birdy with six Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Redwing, four high Song Thrush, two Brambling and six mobile Crossbills.  The local Ring-necked Parakeet even did a couple of circuits.  Needless to say there were some leaf mines to be found.

Particularly pleased to find Calopitlia fidela on the Hop

The 19th was still blowy but more southerly and I was down at the Beach at 0745.  It felt quite slow to start with but it soon became apparent that wildfowl and waders were on the move once again and I somehow managed to add seven species to my patch list in my two hours watch!

Amongst the near 600 duck (which were mostly Wigeon) were four Gadwall, a male Tufted Duck, immature Scaup, two male and a female Pochard and an adult female Surf Scoter that almost snuck through.  I picked up and dark barrel of a duck following some Wigeon and alarm bells went off.  It was Scoter but it was the wrong shape with a big wedge shaped head and deep chest and in fact felt much more like a small Eider on shape.  The bird was wholly dark including the belly, indicating an adult female.  There was a hint of paleness across the middle of the cheek but I was not going to be discerning two face patches at the range but it certainly did not have the dark capped pale head of a Common Scoter.

I went with my gut and put the news straight out and amazingly it was picked up four times as it continued south before seemingly ditching off Slaughden.  This constitutes only the second record for Suffolk and I was very pleased that others connected with her. Hopefully it will reappear.

Dunlin were streaming through and with them were 14 Knot, Ringed Plover, Turnstone and my first patch Purple Sandpiper.  A Woodcock heading through the waves with a Dunlin flock confused me for a short while but was not the only one incoming in the area.  The list now stands at 106 since August.

I checked out Kirkley Cemetery again when the wind died down but it was quiet although I did have Brambling again and found several more moth leaf mines and some grave loving Bagworms

Choreutis nemorana -  Fig Leaf Skeletonizer

Choreutis pariana - Apple Leaf Skeletonizer

Caloptilia cuculipennella on Privet

Grey Squirrel

Luffia lapidella

Phyllocnistis unipunctella on Poplar


I was hoping to get out again this morning but one of the downsides to Pakefield Beach is no covered shelter for when the weather is truly foul.  Today is that day with lashing rain since yesterday evening and I have decided to lurk indoors instead.  Unsurprisingly, not seen a single Suffolk message yet today!

No comments:

Post a Comment