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December 2003

species updated
on December 31st
Xmas 2003 © Andrew Easton


- 1st (33 N, 24 S, 3 on sea), 2nd (124 N, 20 S, 11 o.s.), 5th (1153 N, 171 S, 74 o.s, the vast majority of the birds flying north, about 1050, passed in a 15 minute period between 10:30 and 10:45), 6th (11 N, 48 S, 1 o.s.), 7th (3 N, 52 S, 2 o.s.), 8th (9 N, 12 S), 9th (3 N, 22 S, 4o/s), 10th (FOG ALL DAY!), 11th (9 S, 1 o/s), 12th (51 N, 12 S, 8 o/s), 13th (3 N, 7 S), 14th (12 N, 5 S), 15th (24 N, 10 S, 5 o/s), 16th (3 N, 31 S, 2 o/s), 17th (17 N, 9 S, 2 o/s), 18th (12 N, 8 S, 2 o/s), 19th (10 N, 2 o/s), 20th (1 N), 21st (3 S), 22 (43 N, 3 S), 23rd (10 N, 2 S), 24th (11 N, 1 S), 25th (24 N, 1 o.s.), 26th (1 S), 28th (2 S).
Ness Point
- 6th (2 N, 15 S), 16th (24 N, 3 S).

An excellent run of records from Kessingland. Three flying south together close to the beach on the 9th are particularly noteworthy.
- 5th (1 N), 6th (1 N), 9th (3 S), 12th (1 N), 22nd (1 N).

On the 31st one flew south past Ness Point, and then Kessingland where it then appeared to settle on the sea.

LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis
One as in Hamilton Dock on the 6th, with two along Lake Lothing on the 14th, and five at Leathes Ham on the 16th.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE Podiceps cristatus

- 5th (1 N, 1 o.s.), 7th (1 o.s.), 8th (1 S), 19th (2 S), 22nd (1 N), 23rd (1 N, 1 o.s.).
Hamilton Dock - 4th - 14th (1), 29th (2).
Oulton Broad
- 15th (4), 22nd (1), 24th (3), 29th (2 displaying).

SLAVONIAN GREBE Podiceps auritus

A probable flew south past Kessingland on the 9th.

GANNET Morus bassanus

- 1st (5 N), 3rd (1 N), 6th (1 N), 7th (4 N), 8th (1 N), 12th (1 S), 16th (1 N), 20th (2 N), 21st (1 N, 2 S), 22nd (3 N), 23rd (1 N), 25th (73 N), 26th (33 N, 1 S), 28th (2 N, 10 S).

CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo

Kessingland - 1st (1 N, 1 S), 2nd (2 N, 2 S), 3rd (3 S), 4th (1 N, 1 S), 5th (4 N, 3 S), 6th (2 N), 7th (1 N, 2 S), 8th (2 S), 9th (2 N), 12th (4 N), 15th (5 N, 1 S), 16th (2 S, 1 o/s), 18th (1 N, 1 o/s), 19th (8 N, 2 S, 14 o.s.), 20th (2 N, 1 S), 21st (4 N), 22nd (4 N, 4 S), 23rd (1 N, 3 S), 25th (2 S), 26th (1 S), 27th (1 N), 28th (4 N, 3 S, 1 o.s.).
Pakefield - 14th (2 N).
Ness Point - 14th (11 N, 1 S), 20th (3 S).
Leathes Ham - 22nd (14). Several of them resplendent in their breeding plumage as shown in the photograph below.

Cormorant  ©Robert Wilton
Cormorant - Leathes Ham - December 22, 2003 - ©Robert Wilton

EUROPEAN SHAG Phalacrocorax aristotelis ****
One was close inshore off Kessingland on the 22nd. Two immatures, a first and second winter, were feeding along Lake Lothing on the 24th to 27th. Three were present from the 28th. One was in Hamilton Dock on the 31st.

They generally favour the stretch between the railway footbridge and the yacht club. At dusk on the 24th they both headed along Lake Lothing toward the harbour, but they could not be located in the harbour itself in failing light later. The second winter bird at least was roosting at Leathes Ham on the evening of the 26th.

BITTERN Botaurus stellaris

One flew north-west over Ash Farm, Mutford on the 12th.

LITTLE EGRET Egretta garzetta
Four flew south together over Ness Point on the 10th.

BEWICK'S SWAN Cygnus (columbianus) bewickii
Four flew in off the sea at Kessingland on the 23rd. Ten flew north-west over Mutford on the 30th.

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus
A flock of 38 flew south-east over Oulton Broad on the 2nd.
c80 flew south over Lowestoft North Denes on the 10th.

BRENT GOOSE Branta bernicla bernicla
- 1st (2 S), 2nd (8 N 119 S), 3rd (2 N), 4th (1 N, 3 S), 5th (2 N, 9 S), 6th (4 N, 7 S), 7th (11 S), 8th (3 S), 12th (2 S), 14th (1S), 26th (4 S).
Ness Point
- 3rd (21 S), 7th (3 S).

EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiacus

Oulton Broad
- 26th (4).
Leathes Ham
- 29th (2).

SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna

- 1st (6 S), 2nd (2 o.s.), 3rd (2 N), 5th (2 N), 6th (1 S, 4 o.s.), 8th (6 S), 9th (1 S), 23rd (4 N), 24th (1 N).
Pakefield - 6th (3 N, 1 o.s.).

GADWALL Anas strepera

Leathes Ham
- 14th (c20), 15th (18), 18th (12+), 20th (10), 22nd (24), 24th (15+), 25th (20).
Lound Waterworks
- 15th (75), 26th (11).

SHOVELER Anas clypeata
Leathes Ham
- 14th (10), 15th (6), 22nd (4), 24th (5), 26th (7), 31st (7).
Lound Waterworks
- 26th (6).

WIGEON Anas penelope

- 1st (3 S), 3rd (12 N), 4th (2 N, 4 S), 5th (16 S), 6th (16 N, 43 S), 7th (2 N), 13th (30 S), 18th (6 S), 19th (14 S), 24th (15 o.s.), 25th (3 N), 26th (8 N), 27th (10 N), 28th (20 N).
- 6th (13 on sea and later flew south).
Leathes Ham
- 14th (20+), 15th (20), 18th (15+), 20th (10), 22nd (19), 24th (16), 25th (17).
Oulton Broad
- 110 flew over high heading south-east on the 31st.

TEAL Anas crecca
- 6th (9 N, 15 S), 7th (2 N), 9th (6 S).
- 6th (3 N, 12 o.s.).

MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos
- 6th (5 o.s.).
- 12th (2 S), 13th (3 S).

PINTAIL Anas acuta

- 6th (1 N, 2 S), 8th (3 S), 28th (5 N).

This superb drake Red-crested Pochard has been present at Leathes Ham on the 14th - 31st. This great Lizard rarity is a local tick for almost everybody. The last documented record concerns a 1st-year male shot at Fritton Lake in the first week of November 1970. Its arrival coincides with recent sightings at Minsmere, Suffolk (drake) and Martham Broad, Norfolk (5) so it would seem highly plausible that its of wild origin. Viewing can be difficult and the bird is best looked for from either the railway bridge at the western end of the Ham or from the main car park at Normanston Park. It tends to keep to the far side opposite the car park with the Wigeon and Gadwall. With a bit of luck it will linger for the coming months, it'll certainly add a bit of sparkle to the cold days that lie ahead!!!

Good numbers of wildfowl are present on Leathes Ham at the moment. With limited public access due to flooding, and screening provided by the surrounding dead wood there's lots of shelter and hardly any disturbance. Both Gadwall and Wigeon numbers are well above average, both numbering 20+. When checked on the 12th these didn't appear to be present.

Red-crested Pochard ©Tim Brown
Red-crested Pochard - Leathes Ham - December 26, 2003 - ©Tim Brown

POCHARD Aythya ferina

Leathes Ham
- 14th-15th (5), 22nd (2), 24th (2), 25th (2).

TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula
- 1st (1 S), 7th (2 o.s.).
Leathes Ham
- 14th (15), 18th (20), 25th (15).
Lound Waterworks
- 15th (20).

SCAUP Aythya marila
A female was on Oulton Broad on the 18th and again on the 24th to 31st, though it has probably been present throughout. On all occasions it was along the north shore in the vicinity of the converted Maltings buildings.

COMMON EIDER Somateria mollissima

Kessingland - 1st (3 S), 2nd (10 N), 5th (82 N), 6th (5 N), 7th (25 N, 30 S), 12th (1 S), 15th (2 N), 23rd (2 N), 25th (5 S).
Lowestoft -
An immaculate drake was remained in Hamilton Dock from the 2nd - 14th.

Common Eider © Tim Brown
Common Eider - Hamilton Dock - December 14, 2003 - ©Tim Brown

COMMON SCOTER Melanitta nigra

Kessingland - 1st (17 N, 3 S), 2nd (7 N), 5th (92 N, 160 S, 52 o/s), 6th (16 S, 14 o/s), 7th (8 S), 8th (3 N), 12th (7 N), 14th (2 N, 14 o/s), 15th (7 N, 6 o/s), 16th (1 N), 17th (15 N), 19th (12 N), 20th (3 o/s), 21st (9 S, 3 o/s), 23rd (1 N), 24th (27 S), 25th (15 N), 26th (1 N), 28th (7 N, 7 o/s).

VELVET SCOTER Melanitta fusca

Kessingland - 5th (2 N), 6th (4 N).

GOLDENEYE Bucephala clangula
One flew north past Kessingland on the 23rd.


Kessingland - 2nd (3 S), 4th 1 S).

GOOSANDER Mergus merganser

A flock of six males flew north past Kessingland on the 6th, they then turned and headed inland over the village.
On the 7th one female flew south past the North Beach at Lowestoft, and shortly after settled briefly in Hamilton Dock. It then continued south along the coast.

A female on Oulton Broad on the 15th was almost certainly the merganser sp. seen in flight there the day before. Reports suggest that it has been present since the 7th. On the 15th it was showing very well, though not coming to bread (see escapes page!), at the eastern end of the broad.

A drake flew west along Lake Lothing on the 26th.


On the 14th a merganser sp. flew east over Oulton Broad and continued along Lake Lothing past the railway footbridge.

Goosander © Tom Brown
Goosander - Hamilton Dock - December 7, 2003 - ©Tim Brown

HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus
A first winter female was hunting over Whitecast Marshes, Carlton Marshes on the 31st.

WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus
One was seen in Fen Park, Kirkley on the 22nd. At least five were heard calling at Carlton Marshes on the 31st.

MOORHEN Gallinula chloropus
At least 20 were at Leathes Ham on the 26th.

COMMON COOT Fulica atra

At least 55 were at Leathes Ham on the 24th.

OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus

Lake Lothing - One was present on the 7th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 24th, 25th and 26th.
- 11th (1 N), 14th (1 S).
North Denes - 16th (1), 19th (1).
Ness Point
- 20th (1 on jetty), 29th (1).

RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula
Three were in Hamilton Dock on the 6th, and two were along Lake Lothing on the 18th and 24th.

GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria
A flock of 34 flew over Gisleham on the 24th.

GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola

One flew north past Kessingland on the 22nd.

LAPWING Vanellus vanellus

395 were in fields at Burnt Hill Lane, Carlton Colville on the 7th.

KNOT Calidris canutus

Kessingland - 2nd (1 N), 4th (1 N), 6th (8 N).

SANDERLING Calidris alba

Hamilton Dock
- 4th (3), 6th (5 including one ringed bird),28th (1), 29th (1).
- 6th (3 N), 14th (5).
- 5th (3 N), 8th (2), 21st (1), 22nd (1).
Ness Point - 29th (1).

Sanderling © Tim Brown
Sanderling - Hamilton Dock - 7th December 2003 - ©Tim Brown

PURPLE SANDPIPERCalidris maritima

One was at Ness Point on the 16th , with two there on the 25th and 29th.

WOODCOCK Scolopax rusticola
Two were seen at Lound Waterworks on the 26th.

JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus
Three were feeding with Common Snipe in a stubble field at Mutford on the 17th. There were still two present on the 30th, and one on the 31st.

Two were in fields at Mutford on the 30th, with at least five there on the 31st.

REDSHANK Tringa totanus
Lake Lothing
- 14th (12), 15th (14), 22nd (6).
- 8th (1 N).

COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos

One was along the shoreline of Lake Lothing on the 18th.

TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres ****
Ness Point
- 3rd (6), 20th (2), 25th (8), 29th (3).
Hamilton Dock - 4th (21), 6th (25).
Lake Lothing
- 7th (24), 15th (16), 18th (24).
North Denes - 20th (8).
- 6th (3 N), 11th (1 N), 15th (7 N), 16th (1 N), 19th (2), 20th (1 S), 22nd (1 N), 23rd (6 o/b).
Pakefield Beach - 14th (10).
Oulton Broad
- 15th (2), 25th (4).
Lowestoft harbour
- 51 were present at dusk on the 24th.

ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus

One dark phase bird flew north past Kessingland on the 1st.

POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus
At 09:40 on the 13th two pale phase birds flew north together past Kessingland, attacking Common and Herring Gulls as they moved slowly past.

MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus
Pakefield Beach is the place to see Med Gulls at the moment. At least eleven birds are frequenting the beach just south of the Jolly Sailor pub where they spend their time around temporary shoreline pools picking around discarded scraps left by fisherman. This is the first time we've had a double figure wintering party in Lizard Land. And who knows maybe one day we'll have a flock like Yarmouth which currently stands between 20-30. There may be a small degree of interchange between the two groups as a Czech Republic ringed bird
(2nd winter) regularly seen in Great Yarmouth was seen at Corton in October.

- 6th (6, 2 adults, 2 2nd winters, 2 first winters), 14th (9, 2 adult, 6 2nd winter, 1 1st winter), 22nd (2, 2nd-winter), 29th (2, 1adult, 1 1st winter). This group includes the Dutch ringed (21N) adult that has been wintering in Lowestoft since 1997.

North Denes - 9th (1st winter), 22nd (ad. N).
Normanston Park - 20th (ad. 21N). As far as we know this is the first time 21N has been recorded away from the immediate coast.

Kessingland - 22nd (adult off shore), 24th (1 adult north).

LITTLE GULL Larus minutus
Kessingland - 21st (6 N)

BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus

Two metal ringed birds were at Oulton Broad on the 21st, they proved to be from Norway and Germany.

KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla
- 1st (70 N, 18 S), 2nd (3 N), 5th (3 N), 7th (1 N, 2 S), 8th (1 N, 3 S), 9th (1 N), 13th (8 N, 2 S), 14th (4 S), 15th (6 N, 2 S), 19th (1 N, 8 S), 20th (9 S), 21st (20 S), 24th (1 N), 26th (14 N, 20 S), 28th (3 S).

PUFFIN Fratercula arctica
One flew north past Kessingland on the 6th.

AUK sp. Alcidae
- 1st (3 N), 2nd (1 N), 3rd (7 N), 4th (17N), 5th (121 N), 6th (24 N), 7th (1 N), 8th (4 N, 1 S), 11th (7 S), 12th (3 S), 13th (1o/s), 14th (18 N, 1 S), 15th (9 N), 16th (2 N, 9 S), 18th (12 N, 3 S), 19th (1 o/s), 21st (9 N, 9 S, 1 o/s), 22nd (14 N, 1 S), 25th (12 N), 26th (1 N, 1 S), 27th (1 N), 28th (1 N).
Ness Point - 6th (2 N).

BARN OWL Tyto alba
One was at Carlton Marshes on the 7th, with two there on the 31st.

TAWNY OWL Strix aluco
Heard at Oulton Broad on the 21st, and two were seen at Bonds Meadow, Oulton Broad on the 31st.

KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis

Lake Lothing - Singles were seen on the 7th, 14th, 24th and 29th, with three there on the 25th.
Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad - Singles on the 7th and 22nd.
Carlton Colville/Pakefield - feeding in the stream running through the old golf course at on the 14th, with three there on the 22nd. Slap bang in the middle of suburbia!!!
Lound waterworks
- 15th (1).


A male was seen on a bird feeder in Oulton Broad on the 14th before flying towards Bond's Meadow, it was seen again on the 25th.

SKY LARK Alauda arvensis
- 31st (100+).
Carlton Marshes
- 31st (50).

ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus
Singles were at Ness Point on the 16th and 31st.

GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea
St. Margaret's Road, Lowestoft - 2nd (1).
Lake Lothing - 14th (2).
Oulton Broad
- 26th (1), 31st (1).

BOHEMIAN WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus
One flew over Oulton Broad on the 3rd, and four were in a garden in Sharon Drive, Lowestoft for a short while on the morning of the 12th. Just beyond our boundary two were in Hawthorn bushes at the eastern end of Haddiscoe Bridge on the 24th, with three there on the 27th.

One was perched on television aerials along Burnt Hill Way, Carlton Colville on the 25th.

CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti
One was heard calling at Carlton Marshes on the 31st.

BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla
A female was in a garden at St. Olaves on the 22nd.

CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita
Nominate race birds noted at Gunton Woods on the 7th and Leathes Ham on the 15th, 18th, 25th and 31st.

BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus ****
At least one was heard at Carlton Marshes on the 31st.

Two were seen at Bonds Meadow, Oulton Broad on the 31st.

HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus
Lound Waterworks
- 26th (3).
Ipswich Road, Lowestoft
- 27th (8).
Town Centre, Lowestoft
- 27th (10).
Holly Road, Oulton Broad
- 25th (23).

TWITE Carduelis flavirostris
One was on the North Denes camp site, Lowestoft on the 7th.

BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Noted at Corton disused railtrack on the 14th.

SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis
Definitely the best winter for this wonderful species for a long, long time. Once again the expansive beach at Kessingland hosting the areas largest flock which recently numbered 85+.

Kessingland Beach - 1st (60+), 2nd (30), 3rd (25), 5th (60), 6th (50), 7th (3), 8th (85+), 9th (50+), 10th (50+), 11th (30), 12th (30), 13th (30), 14th (30), 15th (35), 16th (35), 17th (35), 19th (60+), 22nd (c70), 23rd (60+), 24th (10), 25th (60+), 26th (60+), 27th (60+).
Pakefield Beach - 14th (6 S).
Lowestoft North Beach - 6th (10), 7th (15), 9th (16).

Snow Bunting - ©Tim Brown
Snow Buntings - Kessingland - November 2003 - ©Tim Brown

BIRDS RECORDED IN LIZARD LAND DURING 2003: Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Fulmar, Cory's Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Storm Petrel, Leach's Storm-petrel, Gannet, Cormorant, Shag, Eurasian Bittern, Night Heron, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Spoonbill, White Stork, Mute Swan, Bewick's Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Pink-footed Goose, White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Egyptian Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Shelduck, Mandarin Duck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Scaup, Eider, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Black Kite, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Hobby, Peregrine, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Common Crane, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Dotterel, American Golden Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Long-tailed Skua, Great Skua, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Sabine's Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Little Auk, Feral Dove, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Sky Lark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Richard's Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, (White Wagtail), Bohemian Waxwing, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Stonechat, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Greenish Warbler, Pallas's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Radde's Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Chiffchaff, (Siberian Chiffchaff), Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Common (Mealy) Redpoll, Crossbill, Bullfinch, Hawfinch, Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.

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