Lowestoft church provides home to rare Kittiwakes

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Lowestoft church provides home to rare Kittiwakes

A Lowestoft Catholic church has given a warm welcome to over 100 special visitors ' rare red-listed Kittiwake birds which are nesting on the church tower.

Kittiwakes are at the top of the conservation priority list, needing urgent action and globally threatened. So when they first found a new home, on the tower of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Lowestoft town centre, three years ago, they were warmly welcomed by both the church congregation and local bird-lovers.

Normally they nest on sea cliffs or even oil rigs above the sea but in Lowestoft they have found a safe place to nest above the streets of the busy town next to the bus station.

KittiwakesLowestoft500Deacon Stephen Pomeroy explained: "The colonies in northern Britain are failing to rear chicks and are in danger of extinction due to a reduction in their normal food source of sand eels, probably because of sea warming and climate change. Only in a few places are they now managing to rear youngsuch as Newcastle, Brighton, Bolougne and Lowestoft.

"Sadly they are not always welcomed and are seen as a nuisance, so are discouraged by spikes and netting but not on our church tower in Lowestoft. In fact this is now one of their most successful breeding sites in Europe with many young being reared last year. This could be a record year with over a 100 birds already in residence with possibly more to come as they get pushed off from other places.

"Members of the Catholic community in Lowestoft see it as their duty to give these rare creatures a home and although their poo and dropped seaweed nest bits needs regular washing down Marie Risebro and her cleaning team are happy to do so.

Every Saturday in May from 11am to 3pm a group local birders are running a Kittiwake watch from the church car park next to the bus station in Gordon Road for all to come and see and enjoy these iconic Lowestoft birds. The church will also be open with a small exhibition of these and other local birds with hot tea and Kitti-cakes!

Two bird talks have also been arranged in the church hall on Friday May 20 at 1.30 pm and on Saturday June 11 at 6.30pm

To find out more contact Deacon Stephen srpomeroy@yahoo.co.uk or visit the parish website www.ourladylowestoft.com

Pictured top, how the EDP reported on the Lowestoft Kittiwakes.