Sunday 9 November 2014

The Beautiful and The Damned

It had been a text book weekend up to this point. Fresh from seeing the The Damned in concert in Norwich on Friday night (a long awaited 'tick' in itself) and Ireland giving the Springboks a good going over in Dublin on Saturday evening, it was going to be hard to follow all of that.

Punk legends The Damned at The Waterfront, Norwich - 7th November 2014

But two obliging Desert Wheatears in both Lowestoft, Suffolk and Gorleston, Norfolk put the proverbial tin hat on it all. Almost three years to the day since I first saw that species (on the east coast of Ireland (see Desert Wheatear - Wicklow, Ireland)). Perhaps there is a pattern to their movements? This time there had been a small influx of birds late last week with singles in Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk. It had rained hard all Saturday night and that deluge continued this morning but with a clearance around 10.30am, I headed down to Lowestoft. As I walked along the sea wall from the Links Road carpark in the Ness Point direction, I could see a gathering of birders off in the distance. It was going to take me ten minutes or more to get that far but as I walked, a small bird flew along the sea wall towards me and alighted within about twenty feet. The Desert Wheatear himself. Its not often that easy, they don't normally fly towards you like that. It fed busily and made its way along the low concrete wall until it was less than twenty feet away. The background is not great but this is full frame at 700mm.

Male Desert Wheatear, Lowestoft, Suffolk
It continued to feed along the same stretch, impervious to passers-by and birders. When the sun came out I extended my tripod legs to get a better background and almost filled an 8GB memory card with files. I've still lots more to go through but so far this one is the pick of the bunch.

Male Desert Wheatear, Lowestoft, Suffolk
Having 'filled my boots' and still with time to spare I decided to head north towards Gorleston and see if the female Desert Wheatear was on show. I stopped off briefly at Ness Point where a first winter Red-backed Shrike was present in the pipe compound. I presume the same bird that I had seen last month behind the Birds-eye factory (see The Birds-Eye Shrike).
At Gorleston I was not to be disappointed. I walked along the sea wall to the third shelter south of the amusements and joined a small group of photographers / birders waiting patiently for the bird to show on the beach. In due course the bird appeared and fed quite confidently within twenty feet. At one stage it was so close I was unable to focus on it. I have never seen a female Desert Wheatear so this was interesting, obviously not so well marked as the Lowestoft male but a very attractive bird nonetheless.

Female Desert Wheatear, Gorleston-on-sea, Norfolk

1 comment:

  1. Great shots Graham, particularly the Lowestoft bird with the green background - stunning.