WBC Sightings

9 to 22 August 2020

Seabirds began to appear in birders reports with a Balearic Shearwater north off Minsmere on the 14th, also at Minsmere two Arctic Skuas flew north with four Arctic Skuas and a Pomarine Skua north off Lowestoft on the same day. On the 15th two Balearic Shearwaters flew north off Southwold and a single Balearic Shearwater flew north off Corton, a Roseate Tern and a Great Skua were seen flying south off Lowestoft. Another Balearic Shearwater and two Black Terns flew south off Ness Point, Lowestoft on the 19th and thirteen Fulmars flew south off Minsmere on the 21st.

Great White Egrets were noted regularly at Minsmere during the period with two together at Island Mere on the 13th, five Spoonbills flew south over Lowestoft on the 18th with two south over Carlton Marshes on the 20th. Records of Red Kites and Hobbies were noted during the period, Osprey south over Beccles on 11th and single Honey Buzzards over Lowestoft on 18th and Benacre on the 20th.

Waders started to return in numbers with Wood Sandpipers being reported at both Carlton Marshes and Minsmere, peak count for this species was six on the 13th at the rapidly developing Carlton Marshes. The afore mentioned site also hosted twenty-five plus Green Sandpipers on the 11th along with thirteen Common Sandpipers and five Wood Sandpipers, firmly putting this exciting reserve on the wader map. At Minsmere thirteen Whimbrel flew south on the 12th whilst on the afternoon of the 20th the scrapes played host to ten Greenshank, twenty-six Redshank, forty-seven Ringed Plover, four Knot, ten Ruff, four Sanderling, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit. Three Green Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper were seen at Redgrave Fen on 16th. There were a few reports of Little Gulls but notable were juvenile Caspian Gulls observed in Southwold harbour on 12th (2) and the 21st (1).


Passerine migrants were observed in small numbers with the occasional Pied Flycatcher, WhinchatYellow Wagtail and Crossbills being noted. However, it all kicked off on the 15th during a period of north-easterlies when a total of 150+ Pied Flycatchers were found in Suffolk as a whole, peak counts in the north-east of the county were thirty around the Southwold area and twelve around the Minsmere area. A juvenile Red-backed Shrike was discovered by the water tower at Southwold the same day and remained on site up to and including the 20th when another juvenile was found at Minsmere. Excitement continued on the 16th when a Wood Warbler was found at Gunton, observers on site then heard and saw briefly a very elusive Greenish Warbler which quickly disappeared, another Wood Warbler was discovered in Maltsters Score, Lowestoft the same day. Exotica was provided by two Ring-necked Parakeets around Corton and Gunton on the 14th and 15th, two parakeets which flew north over the sluice at Minsmere on the 16th were presumably this species.

Exciting as it is to see all these arrivals it must also be noted that several species have now departed, Swifts made their usual mass exodus and have now mostly departed from our towns and villages. The numbers of juvenile Cuckoos arriving at the coast preparing to follow the adults south has now decreased, whilst two late Nightingales were seen on Westleton Common on the 19th. Some species however are still in the throes of breeding with Stone Curlews with chicks and possibly even eggs being reported.

On a sad note a juvenile Sowerby’s Beaked Whale washed up dead on Lowestoft north beach on the morning of the 22nd, the previous day this unfortunate creature had live stranded on the beach at Caister-on-sea from where it had been refloated.