Sunday 20 August 2023

Lowestoft Life - 17th-20th August 2023

As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to make the sea front at Pakefield Beach my almost doorstep patch.  It is quite a small loop that takes in the sea, vegetated beach and slope, path along the escarpment and roads immediately inland, mixed hedges predominately of Elm and Hawthorn, about ten splendid Sycamores, allotments, a couple of Oaks, Blackthorn scrub and viewable gardens.  It feels like it has potential and being just over a mile from home means that I can pop in for a short walk.

The hard path route - intrigued by Mr Chips being a good match for me!

I have given it a go for the last five mornings on the bounce and although to the north and south of me other locals have had good numbers of Warblers, Pied Flycatchers, Chats and even a Red-backed Shrike, I have found little so far but I will keep going and see what I can find in the coming autumn months.

The new Orsted offshore Kittiwake towers

A Schooner tacking north - feel free to correct my ship id

My first visit on Thursday 17th was grey and blustery from the east but there were no passerines lurking although I did see a sub-adult Gannet going north and two Kittiwakes and two Sandwich Terns and 32 Teal south while 12 Sand Martins were still around the cliffs towards The Hollies to the south where they breed.

Patch views.

Friday 18th was even quieter and a little damp but a 2nd year Little Gull was dip feeding with three Black-heads off shore and three Redshank and Ringed Plover were spooked from the beach by the multitudinous dog walkers.

Little Gull

Saturday 19th was glorious (after the huge but brief storm overnight) and I was a little later so at least I know when the coffee hut opens! Four Oystercatchers headed south and four Ringed Plovers and four Turnstone went the other way together.  The sea was quiet although six Scoter, Great Black-backed and Common Scoter were all new.

Swallows pulsed through and 31 were counted along with four zipping Sand Martins and 11 Swifts. Nothing was hanging around.  There were still no Warblers of any sort but a Whinchat was seen coming up from the beach and flying up and over the houses inland.  I think that beach disturbance may be an issue here.

The Sparrows were in good voice and there are several spots where they congregate.  Unsurprisingly the female Sparrowhawk made a couple of passes especially as the Starlings were busy doing their ablutions.

And a timely excuse to republish a poem from nearly ten years ago!

With some sunshine there were a few insects at last with several Hoverflies on the Ragwort and Fennel and Field Grasshoppers were stridulating furiously.  There were Whites, Holly Blues, Red Admirals and a couple of late Gatekeepers.

Myathropa florea

Panzeria anthophila

Panzeria anthophila - a funky Tachind



Riband Wave

Lagria hirta

I had been tasked with checking Hop for interesting moth leaf mines and found two good ones near the allotments along with some other familiar species.  It is that time of year again.

Caloptilia fidella on Hop - blotch then fold

Cosmopterix zieglerella on Hop

Gracillaria syringella on Privet

Light Brown Apple Moth on Hop

Lyonetia clerkella on Cherry - also seen on Birch, Elm, Rowan, Apple and Hop

Stigmella aurella on Bramble

Duke of Argyll's Teaplant

Field Bindweed - thank Enid




This morning, the 20th, I at last found a Chiffchaff! Just the one mind you and all the more frustrating as the undercliff visible at Kessingland had all the common species.  An odd metallic call with the Sparrows by the playground drew my attention but I was not expecting a dinky bird with a big bill and a glowing red head.  It felt like a Quelea but not the Red-billed I had seen in Gambia and a quick bit of Googling gave me a male Red-headed Quelea from Central and Western Africa.  Odd to see an escape of something I had not even heard of before!  It seemed quite happy with its Weaver cousins and even dashed for cover when the Sparrowhawk alarm was given.

Red-headed Quelea

Red-headed Quelea

The last of the beach Lupins - not sure of the species

Large Flowered Evening Primrose

Red Valerian

Tree Mallow


A few Swallow and Sand Martin moved south but the sea was flat calm and only populated by the odd Cormorant, big Gull, paddle boarders and hardy swimmer.

Speckled Wood was new for the Butterfly list and Greenfinches seem to still be on territory which is encouraging.

One of these is a Greenfinch

Great Tit

Lesser Black-backed Chimney Gull

Speckled Wood

I am not disheartened by my lack of migrant action so far.  My patch is perfectly placed, easy to work and has plenty of good and varied habitats and I am sure that over time I will eek out a few goodies as well as painting and fuller picture of the biodiversity of this coastal strip.


  1. I've got a friend that lives very close to Kensington gardens, just along from your 'patch'. Small world

  2. The ship is a ketch, easy way to ID, a ketch has a tall main mast, shorter aft mast, other way round on a schooner