Tuesday 15 August 2023

Lowestoft Life - The first month in Suffolk...

On Monday 17th July I locked the door of Darnley Road for the last time and drove north to Lowestoft to my new home. I had not made a big deal about us moving from Kent to Suffolk as I could not think of one of my friends who had not had trouble and strife with the process of upping sticks.  Surely I could not be the lucky one?  The house went on the market in late February and was sold just two weeks later and by late April we had had an offer accepted on a slightly more spacious house in Lowestoft. It all went disturbingly smoothly.

A month has now past and my summer feels like it has been filled with the packing and unpacking and shifting of multitudinous boxes but for the most part it is now done; the storage container in town is empty and even my 52 boxes of books are all up on their new shiny shelves.

The new catio was constructed in the first two days prior to having to go back down for the triumvirate of furriness. They have settled in surprisingly quickly and seem more chilled in the quieter world that they now live in.

Catio MKI - it now has a full room and guttering!

My house is just over a mile from the sea at Pakefield and about the same from Carlton Marshes (although I am yet to get out with my bins properly…). 

Leaving behind my 120 foot garden with over 20 years of love and attention was probably the hardest part about leaving Strood and finding a house with any garden was one of the logistical problems we faced in Lowestoft but I now have a about 50 feet of south facing canvas to play with and the neglected ‘lawn’ will remain as a mini meadow and rich nectar source in the coming years.  There is a pollarded Sallow and a Buddleja and that is about that but with countless pots of plants from Kent still residing with the Wrens round the corner and Enid in Wymondham, it will not take long to generate a new wildlife oasis.

I also have a front garden for the first time with a large walled off area of pointless shingle but it still gets the sun for the part of the day and I shall endeavour to create a dry garden with a pond and some of my many Ferns around the margins.

In the first couple of weeks the Swifts were just fledging, and screaming parties of over 50 careened around of an evening as signs of a good breeding season.  I can’t say that I have ever noticed the different chittery calls of the juveniles as they dash after their parents.  There were still a few around yesterday but with autumn underway it was a good start to already add Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin to the fledgling garden list along with both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.  The access alley around the back as some elms and ivy and hopefully this will funnel birds through my air space.

House Sparrows abound and boxes will be going up for them and the Swifts although getting birds down into the actual garden (that are not Wood Pigeons, Herring or Lesser Black Backs) may take a bit longer. I added Med Gulls, Kittiwake, Buzzard, Hobby and Peregrines before I heard a singing Wren or Robin.

The weather has been generally grim with rain every day up until the start of August but I still managed some insect time both I my new garden and in Antony’s very well established plot under a mile away. Red Admirals, Peacock, Commas and Large Whites have been I attendance with Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Holly Blues.  One of the Blues was even seen attempting to mate repeatedly with a Yellowtail moth who seemed particularly non-plussed.


Holly Blue and a Yellowtail moth

Comma cat

Red Admiral cat

I have not trapped yet in my garden but I have been taking the opportunity to have a look at some the fine species of Moth caught around the corner along with a morning soiree to help go through the traps from the Blythford Estate. We identified over 100 species on Saturday morning alone.

Poplar Hawk-moth - rufous form 

August Thorn - variant

August Thorn 

August Thorn - variant

Black Arches

Bordered Beauty

Brown Chinamark

Canary Shouldered Thorn

Canary Shouldered Thorn

Chinese Character

Cream Bordered Green Pea

Dark Crimson Underwing

Dewick's Plusia

Evergestis pallidadta

Garden Tiger

Lesser Spotted Pinion

Pale Prominant

Poplar Kitten

Scalloped Hook Tip

Scalloped Oak

Silky Wainscot

Silky Wainscot


Square Spot Clay

Tawny Wave - yes, it is lilac and pink

Thrift Clearwing - the first east coast record - Antony Wren

Tree Lichen Beauty

Tree Lichen Beauty

White-mantled Wainscot

Hoverflies have been present in good numbers and variety and I was pleased to find both Volucella inanis and zonaria on the Buddleja. Bee-wolves have been visiting Antony’s garden but not mine but I have many Dasypoda hirtipes on the Ragwort and there are several extensive colonies in the mown verges of almost every road around here.  I transferred some of my active Bee homes to Lowestoft as I was not quite sure what the new owners would make of 60 boxes on the wall of the house and as such there is now a thriving colony of Heriades truncorum along with some Megachile willughbiella to augment the local populations.  The idea that these colonies may have been destroyed did not sit well but they travelled well in sealed clear sacks!

Volucella inanis

Volucella zonaria

Dasypoda hirtipes

Homes translocated

Heriades truncorum

Heriades truncorum

Large Megachile sp - not sure which one

The rain has brought out the molluscs too with some fine Garden Snails along with a tiny narrow one that I do not recognise (like Girdled but without the girdle) and there are some monster Arion Slugs although I suspect that the Yellow Slugs may have come up with some of my pots pf plants, a bit like the big female Segestria florentina that popped out of one of my garden boxes.  I rehomed her on the granite wall where hopefully she will settle down.  I will look for her funnel web during the week.  Field and Meadow Grasshoppers are chirping from my ‘lawn’.

Yellow Slug

Garden Snail and buddy

Migrant Hawkers are on daily patrol and Ruddy Darter and surprisingly, Willow Emerald are already on the list.  A whole wealth of other invert life has been seen.


Lucilia have been very common

Enoplognatha sp

Dor Beetle

Probably a Muscid on moth wine rope

A tiny Adonis Ladybird

Nicrophorus investigator - I think

A rarely observed Wasp Nest Beetle - Metoecus paradoxus

Segestria florentina

Segestria florentina

Dock Bug - immature

Speckled Bush-cricket

Eriothrix rufomaculata

Urophora quadrifasciata

Steatoda nobilis

Great Diving Beetle break dancing before I rescued it and took it to the pond

Great Diving Beetle

I have not ventured far from home other than to shop and collect ‘stuff’ but have discovered Pakefield Beach with its vegetated cliff, Sloe scrub, scattered Elders and Sycamores and big back gardens and of course the North Sea lapping its shore.  My two brief visits produced over 70 Med Gulls and Common Scoter off shore on the first and a host of Colletes succinctus and Seven Spot Ladybirds on the Tansy and a couple of Whitethroats on the second.

Colletes succinctus

Colletes succinctus

Colletes succinctus

The town centre is now quiet but it was still full of the cacophony of breeding Kittiwakes just a couple of weeks ago and doing your shopping while they wheeled overhead and shouted from the window ledges was a wonderful welcome.

Cultured Kittiwakes

Hopefully I will make some garden time in the coming weeks and start to make it my own space for the local wildlife whilst also trying to kick start my Blue Eyed Birder day trips once again.


  1. Wow a good start, love the photos and descriptions. Glad you are settling in. Best wishes to you both. Xx

  2. Nice bioblitz

  3. A wealth of wildlife in your new home, wonderfully observed. It omens well. All the best in your new habitat..

  4. Howard, glad it all seems to have gone well and already you are turning up a wealth of the various life forms. Your Blog is so interesting with the wide variety you show us all, thank you. I'm sure with you working on the garden in between your guiding will end up with the garden you want and soon be turning up new species for the area. Great you have such good numbers of Swifts. With being almost housebound these last 19 months have watched ours closely, last year c,10 (down over the years), sadly this year no more than 4. I've no doubt that 2024 or 5 will see none sadly. Cheers and good luck, Phil

  5. Howard, wishing you every happiness in your new home and county. Just think of the whole new county full of leaf miner opportunities that is awaiting you! best wishes the Bradshaws.

    1. Thank you chaps! Funny you should say that...

  6. Wondered why it was so quiet, enjoy your new surroundings and the bliss of a new garden list!!

    1. Will do my best! garden list on 37... Chaffinch over yesterday!

  7. Howard, we hope it all goes very well for you both ... wishing you all good fortune in your new home.

  8. thank you everyone above for the kind comments