Wayward warblers cause a flap in Lowestoft

A TRIO of rare visitors caused a real flap in Lowestoft by attracting about 100 birdwatchers to the town.

The three Hume's Leaf Warblers have created a stir over the last two weeks after they were spotted at Dip Farm Golf Course, near Corton, in an alley in London Road North and by the Royal Falcon Hotel in High Street.

Their arrival has drawn birdwatchers from across the region and beyond, many of them trying to take photographs of the rare birds. They included Lowestoft birdwatcher Robert Wincup who took this eye-catching picture of the one near Corton Woods.

The sightings of the warblers – Latin name is Phylloscopus humei – have created huge interest because only two had previously been spotted in Suffolk, both in the Sizewell area.

It is thought the young birds flew into Lowestoft after being blown off course as they were migrating from their breeding grounds in mountain ranges stretching from Mongolia to north eastern Afghanistan to their winter home in India and the foothills of the Himalayas.

The first one was spotted at the golf club on November 13 – sparking intense interest among local birdwatchers. Two days later a further one was seen in the town centre alleyway, where it flitted between gardens to find food.

On Saturday the birdwatching community almost went into meltdown as a third warbler was seen in the Royal Falcon Hotel area.

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As of Wednesday it was believed there was only one warbler still in the the town, in the Mariners Score area.

Mr Wincup, of the Lowestoft Bird Club, was one of the 100 or so birdwatchers who gathered in the hope of getting a glimpse of the rare warblers.

He joked: 'Hume's Leaf Warblers are like London buses. After years of patiently waiting, three come along at once. We are all hoping we do not have to wait long for the next time.'

The Journal's nature columnist and birdwatcher Colin Jacobs also spotted Lowestoft's rare feathered arrivals.

He said: 'They are very, very rare over here. There have been about a hundred birdwatchers from Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge and further away in Lowestoft trying to spot them. Seeing one is like getting a life ticket for a birdwatcher.'

Hume's Leaf Warblers normally live in open forest, woodland and scrub.

They eat insects and herbs and have a wingpsan of up to 18cm.

For information on the Lowestoft Bird Club, visit http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/

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