Thursday 23 November 2023

Lowestoft Life - 23rd November 2023

Another day closer to the icy northern blast but today was still a light south westerly when I headed down to Pakefield Beach before 8am.  The sun was actually visible and I had to work around it but it did mean that the visibility either way was superb.  I conjured with the thought yesterday that I should be able to see the Kessingland Snow Bunting flock from my patch if they got up and flew around.  I harboured no such thoughts about the Shore Larks just in case you were wondering.

The same two mad Spaniels as yesterday were on the beach again and up went the little cloud of flickering dark and white Buntings in front of them thank you very much.

From Pakefield Beach, Kessingland looks like it goes out to a point and just beyond that I could see an immature Swan on the sea.  I had seen Mutes on the beach pool a few days ago but they had moved on and after a while of looking quite hump backed it flattened out and I was curious enough to put the news out of a Swan and was anyone at Kessingland who could check.

Chris Derby was there but although I could see him and the Swan in the same view, he could not see it.  As it turned out it was far further away that I though being almost opposite the Waterfront café in the village itself (about three miles) but at least Chris was able to confirm that it was a juvenile Whooper.  It later got up for a short flight and I could see the gleaming white wings.

Red-throated Divers were once again a feature and I logged 63 along with 32 Scoter and a couple of Razorbills.  A snaky line of over 100 Cormorants went north and I was pleased to find my first Bonxies with two powering south and completely ignoring the Gannets. With three new PB species under the belt I headed for home but not before a curious local asked if I was looking for immigrants.  I delighted in telling him about my hope of seeing Little Auks from the high Arctic over the next few days but he simply looked confused at my blatant misunderstanding of his inference.

Lunchtime saw me heading down to Kessingland itself to pick up Antony who had walked there from home before trundling further south to Southwold to discover the Town Marshes where a Lesser Yellowlegs has been seen sporadically.  We may have drawn a blank but it is a lovely series of flooded fields mirroring those on the Walberswick side of the river.

A single Redshank, five Dunlin, two Blackwits and 60 Curlews were noted along with about 100 Lapwings and a boiling mass of Teal and Wigeon all of home seem determined to engage in a spot of dive bathing!

Suddenly I heard the distinctive call twice of a raspy Yellow Wagtail! There was no mistaking it and thankfully Antony heard it too but it was now so windy that frustratingly we never set eyes on it.  I put the news out and fingers crossed that one of the locals picks it up in the coming days.  Two Swallows zipped through as we were searching for it!

Barnacle Geese were everywhere; their constant chattering filling the soundscape.  I looked through them, aware that I might find one of those cute Cackling Goose lookalike hybrids but found nothing except a couple of ringed birds and interestingly two small Greylag Geese that were barely bigger than the Barnies.

Barnacle Geese

Spooked by this

We saw no others and the feel was akin to that I get when I see them on Shetland where they also feel sleeker and my lightly built than our traditional southern birds of introduced stock.  the bills also appeared a little small and almost less triangular - not as deep.

I had not quite got the front to put them on the local WhatsApp group as potentially wild birds but I would be interested in what anyone else thinks if they catch up with them.

Greylag and Barnacle Goose yellow L35

Greylag and Barnacle Goose yellow L35

Barnacle Goose yellow L35

Rooks and a few Jackdaws probed the grassy mounds and a Grey Heron was looking very disconsolate along the reed fringe.  Down at the harbour mouth there were a few loafing Gulls on the breakwater and some Turnstones were having a freshwater bath in the only puddle in the car park.


Herring Gulls - wished the bird at the front had stood up


Herring Gull

Black-headed Gull

We came back along the beach where a group of large Gulls were scavenging in the breaking waves and amongst them was a pristine 1w Caspian Gull.  It was magnificent (if you like gulls) and easily picked out with the naked eye as it patrolled with the Herrings and Great Black-backs.  I am very convinced that the same two Spaniels were on the beach here too...

1w Caspian Gull - just an underwing in the scrum

1w Caspian Gull - what a beauty - last two by Antony Wren

Herring Gull - Antony Wren

Meadow Pipits were going to roost in the Marram grass as we walked back and a Grey Wagtail was poking around the last car park while a Cetti's Warbler gave one last blast.  There was just enough light to find quite a few of the usual moth leaf mine suspects before a fiery sunset over Walberswick sent us homewards.

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