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Monday, 11 March 2013

Arctic Blast brings in Snow Bunting & Waxwings still there!

A tweet from First thing in the morning, a male Sparrowhawk landed flew in from the west and landed on the pagoda, causing a mass exit from the varierty of garden passerines using the feeders. He'd gone by the time I got back with the camera! Rene (thanks Rene & a great find!) had me hot footing it down to the North Beach. Parking in Links Road car park, a brief perusal of the Gulls revealed just 3 Common Gull and around 60 BH Gulls. I walked onto the seawall (the strong icy North- east wind making it very uncomfortable with a wind chill of around -8C) initially with just my bins and located the fine Snow Bunting, my first of the year, sat motionless on the sand between the marram grass and the sea wall posing beautifully. I dashed back to the car to retrieve my camera and retraced my steps, unfortunately some dog walker passers-by had accidently flushed it (despite considerately putting their dog on the lead and walking away from the edge of the sea wall, thanks for your consideration). I walked carefully around the southern flank of the Marram grass from the beach end and located the excellent Snow Bunting feeding by the edge of the Marram grass on the beach. After a while it flew to the northern end of the Marram grass clump feeding on the landward side not far from sea wall and the lifeboat belt post. Sneaking round carefully, I crawled up to the wall and enjoyed, observing it for the next 20 minutes feeding reasonably close to. For the first time this year in Lowestoft, I was able to get some reasonable photo's (see header and accompanying photo). It then ran back east along the seaward edge of the grass and I left it to look at the Gulls again in the car park, photographing one of the Common's. A quick look at Ness Point and it was abundantly clear that conditions were too dangerous for seawatching or indeed looking for Purple Sands as huge waves were breaking over the top of the sea wall/ defence rocks and reaching the inner wall. At Hamilton Dock, parking space was yet again at a premium and a quick look revealed very few birds around to observe. I then drove to Raglan Street outside Hoseasons, initially the Waxwings couldn't be seen but next time I looked, a large flock had suddenly appeared on the wires and I'd counted to 50 with a few more to go when the whole flock took off and flew west, I'd estimate 58 Waxwings seen here. Driving back north along Katwjck Way by the roundabout, I saw a few 8 Waxwings on an aerial here and parking the car nearby I walked to the extreme east end of St Peter's Street, opposite Stewart's Pharmacy (which incidently occupies the same building that my grandfather Frederick Curtis ran as a Chemist's shop many years ago! His ornithological links stretch back to the 1930's when he photographed Bitterns (he wasn't a birder but being a Chemist was the only professional photographer on hand at the time??) nesting at Leathes Ham in Normanston Park accompanieed by that great Lowestoft ornithologist Fred Cook- I am very proud to be the owner of his excellent set of photo's of the Bitterns, once displayed in the Castle Museum at Norwich, but I digress!) and counted exactly 60 Waxwing seen sitting both on aerials and feeding from a small berry bush on the other side of the road. Small groups of Waxwings would periodically fly down and feed from the berries, oblivious to the fast moving traffic passing just metres away. A sudden snow flurry had me retracing my steps to the car and back home to the warm!


Danny Porter said...

How times change. bitterns @ Leathes Ham. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they came back one day?

Peter Ransome said...

Hi Danny, yes it would be great somehow I think it will happen as a breeding bird although a wintering bird maybe a possibility in the reedy areas. We only have to look at Lound over the last few of weeks, your stunning pic of Bittern captures one of them really well on digi film, well done!