Wednesday 22 November 2023

Lowestoft Life - 22nd November 2023

The pre-sunrise was spectacular and actually visible from the garden. In fact I wondered what the orange glow was illuminating the kitchen as I came down the stairs just before seven.

With calm conditions and that pesky sun now hiding behind the low cloud, I chose to head down to Kessingland Beach in hope of seeing the beach dwellers that have now been around for a couple of weeks. 

Blackbirds clucked from the hedge as I followed the path down to the beach steps and five adult Med Gulls were on the grass with some Black-heads but a truck soon spooked them.

The view down the steps to the beach

I ambled north with small groups of Meadow Pipits  heading over and a few noisy Pied Wagtails.  I spied the Snow Buntings as they lifted up off the beach and it felt like about 40 birds in my brief view.  I tacked across to where I thought they were but no amount of scanning revealed them. The had obviously snuck off low behind the ridge for they suddenly reappeared behind me in sweeping flock of brown and white with much musical chatting going on.

Snow Buntings 

They lifted up again and I counted 37 this time and with them something odd. The brain whirred for a moment before I realised that it was a Sand Martin!  It followed them for a while before drifting north back towards Pakefield.  My first November record and not quite what I was expecting this morning.

Suddenly the twittering of Shorelarks could be heard and seven whizzed past my head before landing and instantly disappearing.  I soon re-found them some way off but two galloping Spaniels soon put pay to that and they came back towards me before flying straight out to see where they were lost to view!  Seemingly they did come back later on.

Shorelarks - Antony Wren from a sunny Monday

Two Sanderling and three Ringed Plovers were around the pool margin and there were four more Med Gulls but the Mute Swans that I spied from Pakefield yesterday had moved on but given the disturbance down here it was not surprising. 

Sanderling - Antony Wren

Looking back at Pakefield Beach - there are 19 dogs in this picture. The chance of Snow Buntings on my patch are somewhat slim

I followed the track up towards the coastguards and discovered that you could access the path (unofficial or otherwise) along the top of the cliff.  I spent twenty minutes watching the sea.  It was quite similar to yesterday with at least 70 Red-throated Divers heading north.  Several groups totalling 70 Scoter were seen and a pair of Eider headed north while Shoveler were amongst the dabblers noted along with at least six Razorbill and some more distant auks.

Gannets were patrolling and there was some good diving action and while watching them a huge dark back surfaced and quickly sunk.  I saw no blow and could not quite believe that I had seen a Whale.  I talked myself out of it but it kept niggling.  Less than two hours later a Humpback was seen feeding off Winterton.  Well I never.  I also saw both Grey and Harbour Seals and several great squadrons of Cormorants.

Two juvenile Brents were now below me on the pools before more dog disturbance moved them on.  I wonder if they are the same duo from the Jolly Sailors the other day which had been seen subsequently. A couple of Song Thrushes came out of the Blackthorn and a female Sparrowhawk was hunting Blackbirds along the undercliff.  Back home for a coffee after a successful morning amble.

Some lunchtime shopping was required and the route took me past the Melrose Close Waxwings in Oulton.  I was delighted to find 40 perched on top of their tree all facing left into the breeze so as not to upset their punky crests.  I thought 41 but one turned out to be an equally dapper Starling.


Lunch at a flooded Lathams and then back to Filby Broad where the temperature was rapidly dropping but I still managed to see an immature male Scaup on one side and a female Ferruginous Duck on the other.  As usual most of the duck were along the back edge.  Four male and two female Goldeneye were cavorting closer to the platform and engaging in some display despite the gloomy conditions while a Firecrest, two Goldcrests and some Long-tailed Tits moved through the Alders.  I was frozen and soon scurried back to the car.  A look for the Purple Sandpipers at Ness Point was once again a failure with not even a Turnstone this time! 


I am looking forward to the northerly wind heading down the North Sea over the next few days.  It has been far too long since I saw a Little Auk.

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