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Suffolk Birds 1982 Published by the Suffolk Naturalists' Society


Contents Editorial page 3 Review of The Year page 4 Systematic List page 6 Corrections and Additions to Early and Late Dates for Summer and Passage Migrants in Suffolk 1950-80 — P. W. Murphy page 45 Ringing Report page 46 Report on Bird-Ringing at Landguard, Felixstowe — J. O. Brinkley page 48 Newbourn Springs Ringing Report — J. O. Brinkley and B. Thompson page 50 Seabird Movement — September 5th 1982 — S. H. Piotrowski page 53 Sea-Movement — November 4th-7th 1982 — S. H. Piotrowski page 54 Status Changes of Breeding Birds of the Walberswick Area — C. S. Waller...page 58 Descriptions of Unusual Species White-crowned Black Wheatear — B. J. Brown page 64 Broad-billed Sandpiper — J. H. Grant page 65 Notices page 67 List of Contributors page 69

£2.50


SUFFOLK BIRDS 1982

Editor: D. R. MOORE assisted by The County Records Committee: R. HOBLYN, P. J. HAYMAN, M. J. F. JEANES, G. J. JOBSON, P. W. MURPHY, S. H. PIOTROWSKI, J. SORENSON, C. S. WALLER, R. WALTON and R. B. WARREN


Published by The Suffolk Naturalists' Society

November 1983 Printed by The Ancient House Press, Ipswich, Suffolk, England


Editorial Submission of Records.

The Editor/Recorder requests that observers send in records on a monthly basis or at latest by 31st January of the following year. Records arriving later than this cannot be guaranteed inclusion in the current report. All records should be sent to D. R. Moore, Crosslands, Cage Lane, Boxted, Colchester, Essex, C 0 4 5RE.

Descriptions.

Observers are reminded that detailed descriptions are required for county rarities and the following is the current list of species in this category: Blackthroated and Great Northern Divers; Red-necked, Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes; All shearwaters; Storm and Leach's Petrels; Shag; Purple Heron; White Stork; Bean Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Ruddy Duck, Honey Buzzard, Red Kite, Montagu's Harrier, Goshawk, Roughlegged Buzzard, Hobby, Peregrine, Quail, Spotted Crake, Corncrake, Kentish Plover, Dotterel, Temminck's Stint, Pectoral Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Phalaropes, Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas, Mediterranean, Sabine's and Iceland Gulls; Roseate Tern, Black Guillemot, Little Auk, Puffin, Hoopoe, Richard's and Tawny Pipits, Dipper, Bluethroat, Savi's, Aquatic, Hippolais, Barred and Yellowbrowed Warblers; Red-breasted Flycatcher, Golden Oriole, Raven, Serin, Scarlet Rosefinch, Ortolan, Ciri and Lapland Buntings plus any species of less than regular appearance, outside their normal season or habitat, or unusually large numbers of common birds. It would be of considerable assistance if descriptions of all national rarities could be submitted via the County Recorder.

Changes to the County Records Committee.

To avoid unnecessary duplication the above body has been amalgamated with the Records Committee of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group. This was an obvious and sensible step as there were many common members of both committees. The result of this is that we welcome Bob Warren and Roger Walton to our ranks. Peter Hayman and Tony Vine have both stood down and we acknowledge their contributions. We wish to pay particular tribute to the latter who has served the committee for many years advising mostly on records from the Breck. To make up for this loss we welcome Ron Hoblyn to the committee. Ron who works for the Forestry Commission is well placed to advise on all aspects of Breckland ornithology.

Acknowledgements.

Once again the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, The Dingle Bird Club and The Lowestoft Field Club have provided detailed notes from their logs. Data was also received from the Stour Estuary Bird Group. The Editor would also like to personally thank Philip Murphy who once again has enthusiastically collated records and initially prepared most of the Systematic List. All of this was achieved during a most harrowing time for Philip. Special thanks are also due to John Brinkley, Brian Thompson, Steve Piotrowski, and Cliff Waller for their various contributions. I am also indebted to Ian Peters for assisting with the Ringing Report. Thanks are also due to David Bakewell, Mike Frost, John Grant, Mike Parker and Craig Robson for the vignettes and to David Tomlinson, Steve Piotrowski and Mike Frost for the photographs. I 3


am also grateful to Richard Millington for painting the cover of this edition and to Anna Polanczuk for typing the manuscript of this report. Finally my usual thanks to all the contributors who have made this publication possible.

Review of the Year Winter Birds.

For the last year or two it has become apparent that many divers flock off our coast, possibly to take advantage of sprat migrations. This year numbers were higher than usual with a maximum of 352 off Dunwich in late December. Perhaps not surprisingly, a total of at least 17 Black-throated and 8 Great Northern Divers were reported throughout the year. Whooper Swans and Bean Geese were more numerous than in recent years and a Black Brant was observed at Boyton in early January. In fact at this time it was possible to see all three races of the Brent Goose on the same meadow. Several Rough-legged Buzzards were located, including 4 in the Breck in January/February. Avocets continued their recent habit of wintering with at least 100 in the Butley/Orford area. Three Common Sandpipers and a Greenshank also spent the colder months in Suffolk rather than migrate to warmer climes and, surprisingly, an Arctic Tern was watched at Benacre in December. Other winter birds of note were Iceland Gulls (2), Little Auks (3), Puffins (2), Waxwings (5), Great Grey'Shrikes (7) but only 7 Shore Larks and 14 Hooded Crows. The last two species have become scarce in recent years. Fourteen Blackcaps and 10 Chiffchaffs were found in the winter months. This is now a regular occurrence. In early November there was an enormous movement of wildfowl, including at least 20,000 Brent Geese and 150 Little Gulls on the 5th.

Breeding Species.

There were mixed fortunes for our scarcer breeding birds. Most encouraging was the continued increase of Great Crested Grebes. At least 114 pairs were located, of which 65 pairs were at Alton Water. Tragically, Bittern numbers crashed by about one half and only 10 pairs are thought to have nested. Eight pairs of Garganey were found and 8 pairs of Pochard. Of the raptors, at least 10 nests of Marsh Harriers were reported, 3 pairs of Hobby and a pair or two of Goshawks continued to try to gain a foothold despite the attentions of egg-collectors and, sadly, over-zealous birdwatchers. Wading species were well represented and included 161 pairs of Avocets, 15 pairs of Stone Curlews, 13 pairs of Little Ringed Plovers, 4 pairs of Black-tailed Godwits, 10 pairs of Curlew and possibly a pair of Ruffs. The Lowestoft Kittiwakes continued to thrive and 77 pairs reared 92 young. Sandwich Terns sadly declined further but there were 168 pairs of Common Terns and an increase to 137 pairs of Little Terns; the latter include 66 pairs in the fenced off area at Minsmere. Without a full census it is difficult to assess Nightjar numbers but certainly they increased in the coastal belt. Woodlarks also continued their comeback but only 4 pairs of Whinchats were located. Only one pair of Savi's Warblers was reported but Cetti's Warblers increased to 23 territories. Firecrests were proved to have bred for 4


the first time, but Bearded Tit numbers were down almost certainly as a result of the severe freeze of late 1981. Golden Orioles nested again in apparent good numbers and it was good to hear of a pair at a new site. Alas, Red-backed Shrikes are now almost gone; only 4 pairs were proved to have nested. Of the introduced species of wildfowl, 3 pairs of Egyptian Geese bred and a pair of Ruddy Ducks were present at Minsmere all summer. An indication of the success of Canada Geese was a record post-breeding flock of cl400 at Livermere in late August.

Vagrants and Migrants.

As usual, Suffolk produced more than its fair share of rarities, including one or two surprises. The biggest of these was undoubtedly an immature male White-crowned Black Wheatear at Kessingland in early June. This is the first record for Britain and only the fifth for Europe. This species does not nest nearer than North Africa and we now await a statement on its status by the B.O.U. Records Committee. Another welcome visitor was a White-tailed Eagle which frequented an area from Minsmere to Snape in late January. A Red-throated Pipit at Trimley was a 'first' for Suffolk. Some controversy surrounded a Bunting found at Sizewell in April. It was first thought to be a Rock Bunting and later a Pine Bunting but has been accepted as neither since the possibility of it being an aberrant Yellowhammer cannot be ruled out. Another argument was the stint at Felixstowe Ferry from early November until the year end. The majority of opinion seems to opt for Western Sandpiper but there are still some who think that Semi-palmated Sandpiper is a possibility. We await the decision of the British Birds Rarities Committee. Other national rarities were: Little Egret, Purple Herons (3), White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Caspian Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Alpine Swift, Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit and Scarlet Rosefinch. Other scarce migrants were: Great Shearwater, Manx Shearwater (at least 13), Leach's Petrels (2), Spoonbills (4), Red-crested Pochards (8), Honey Buzzard, Red Kites (4), Montagu's Harriers (4), Ospreys (7), Corncrakes (2), Kentish Plovers (6), Temminck's Stints (9), Pectoral Sandpipers (2), Red-necked Phalarope, Grey Phalaropes (6), Pomarine Skuas (4), Long-tailed Skua, Roseate Terns (2), Hoopoe, Wrynecks (6), Red-spotted Bluethroats (2), Icterine Warblers (5), Melodious Warbler, Wood Warblers (8), and Firecrests (over 40).

The County List.

Up to and including 1982 the County List stands at 337

species.

Red necked, Slavonian and Black necked Grebes 5


Systematic List

Slavonian

Crebe

The order used is that of the 'British Birds' list of 'The Birds of the Western Palearctic'. Red-throated Diver: The recent trend of large numbers wintering off the coast continues. In Jan. the highest total recorded was 250 off Minsmere on the 23rd, and 120 were noted off Walberswick on the 24th Feb. Even larger numbers are thought to occur further out to sea, the most favoured areas being between Benacre and Sizewell. Larger groups stili were located from early Dec. These were: 190 Minsmere 10th, 260 Benacre-Easton 1 lth, 130 Minsmere 26th, 352 Dunwich 28th. This build-up was to continue with exciting results into the New Year. Other interesting reports were of one at Cattawade which had almost attained full summer plumage by 4th Aprii, another flying north off Shingle Street 8th May, one long dead at the same site 30th Aug., and the first live autumn bird at Benacre 29th Sep. Black-throated Diver: With the enormous numbers of the previous species present off our coast, it is perhaps not surprising that this bird featured amongst those flocks. Ail records received were: Benacre — One 9th Jan.-28th Feb., but 2 on 23rd Jan. Minsmere/Sizewell — Singles lst Jan. (dead), 3rd Jan., 26th Jan., 13th-14th Feb., 2nd Dec. Additionally 2 23rd-24th Jan., 4 7th Mar. and 7 lOth Dec. Aldeburgh — One found dead 3rd Jan. 6


Great Northern Diver: Singles as follows: flying east Dunwich 5th Jan. (PJH, SR), Ness Point 20th Jan. (EJ), in full summer plumage flying north-east at Landguard 5th May (ARJP), Minsmere 2nd-6th Dec. (RSPB), flying south Landguard 6th Nov. (SHP) and north at the same site 13th Nov. (ARJP). Finally 2 together were on the sea off Minsmere 10th Dec. (RSPB). Little Grebe: Only 19 pairs from 14 breeding sites were reported. The Editor would appreciate breeding records of this species so that a more accurate picture can be gained. The only notable winter assembly was 20 Ipswich Docks 13th Jan. Great Crested Grebe: The Alton Water breeding colony increased dramatically to 65 pairs. Elsewhere at least 49 pairs were located at 15 sites. The last County Survey in 1977 revealed 33/34 pairs from 19 sites. Thus an estimated population of 114 pairs shows an encouraging increase, with Alton Water numbers almost doubling in twelve months. Nesting success at the latter site is not known but is probably not good because of fluctuating water levels. The most significant non-breeding flocks located were: 75 River Orwell 16th Jan., 80 Alton Water 28th Aug., 137 River Stour 17th Sep., and 80 again at Alton Water 21st Nov. With the offshore feeding flocks of Red-throated Divers an increasing number of this species was noted. These included 17 at Dunwich 7th Mar. Red-necked Grebe: Records by site as follows: Alton Water — One 20th Feb.-21st Mar. Benacre — The Dec. 1981 bird remained until 9th Jan. Three were seen 14th Nov., one 24th Dec. and 2 25th Dec. Ipswich Docks/Freston — One 4th Jan.-8th Feb. Slaughden — One 28th Jan. Minsmere — One 11th Dec. and two 25th Dec. Thorpeness — One found dead 28th Feb. Sizewell — One found dead 12th Aug. Holbrook Bay — One 31st Oct. Slavonian Grebe: A much better year with one Lackford Pits 4th-8th Jan. then 2 on the 10th, single River Orwell 11th Jan.-lst Feb., 2 Minsmere23rd Jan., and one still there 24th Jan., one Sudbury 3rd April, one at Minsmere 27th-29th Oct., 2 Thorington Street 30th Oct., one Alton Water 29th Dec. until the end of the year and 2 Stutton Ness 31st Dec. Black-necked Grebe: As usual the scarcest of the grebes with only 3 records: singles at Minsmere 23rd Jan. and 13th Feb. (RSPB) and Thorington Street 30th Oct. (PH). Fulmar: The usual spate of reports of small numbers offshore between April and Sep. It is surprising how often this pelagic species is observed away from the immediate vicinity of the coast. Accordingly singles were seen at Alton Water 9th April, over Dunwich Forest 19th April and flying up the River Orwell 16th May. Once again birds prospected a likely breeding site and a record 17 were present on 29th May. No evidence of nesting was forthcoming. Great Shearwater: One off Minsmere 5th Sep. constitutes the first county record (JRR). Manx Shearwater: An impressive series of records for Suffolk mainly occuring in early Sep. as follows: Easton/Benacre — At least 4 flying north 5th Sep. (SA, WGDL, CRN), one flying north 11th Sep. (DGB). Landguard — 2 flying south 20th Sep. (CBA) and one south 4th Oct. (SHP). Minsmere — 4 offshore 5th Sep., one 12th Sep. and one 24th Sep. (RSPB). Ness Point — One flying south 27th Sep. (JRR) and 2 8th Oct. (JAW). Small Petrel sp.: Single at Minsmere 24th Sep. (RSPB). 7


Leach's Petrel: At least two at Benacre and Minsmere both on 5th Sep. could relate to the same birds (CRN, MTW).

Leach's Petrel

CR

.

Gannet: Apart from a single off Benacre 2nd Jan. few records of note were received until an astonishing total of at least 200 were reported in the seabird movement of 5th/6th Sep. This total included 50 flying north off Benacre, 88 south at Easton and 31 south at Minsmere. This is the largest number recorded, since the 131 observed off Lowestoft on 18th Sep. 1960. During the 6th Nov. passage 10 flew south off Felixstowe, 5 at Benacre and one off Walberswick. The last bird of the year was noted at Benacre on 16th Dec. Cormorant: Max. counts at major sites were: River Orwell 110 10th Jan., River Stour 180 14th Nov., Melton 100 9th Oct. and Minsmere 154 15th Dec. During the year notable numbers roosted on the Sizewell offshore towers and the max. here was 62 21st Feb. A most interesting record was of 45 roosting on electricity pylons in the Brandon area 16th Jan. Tree roosts are certainly on the increase notably at Melton and Bures and may Well lead to the formation of a breeding colony. Finally a leucistic bird was noted at Wherstead Strand 11th Mar. Shag: Eleven birds were reported which is below average for recent years. An interesting mid-summer sighting was an immature at Lowestoft 30th June, and another at Alton Water 28th Aug. More typical records were 1 Lake Lothing 16th Feb., and singles at Lowestoft 3rd19th Jan., Levington 11th Jan., Wherstead 7th Feb., Minsmere 1st Oct., Landguard 5th Oct., Benacre 27th Nov. and Minsmere 2nd Dec. Bittern: The number of booming males in the breeding season was very disheartening with only 10 reported which was a reduction of 50% on 1981. It has often been suggested that our breeding stock leaves us for warmer climes in winter and the casualties discovered in severe weather are of foreign origin. Maybe this is not entirely true and the fierce conditions of 1981 had a disastrous effect on our resident population. Wintering birds away from usual haunts were reported from 10 sites; of particular interest were singles at Leavenheath 29th-30th Jan. and Brampton 9th Mar. The latter bird patrolled a roadside and was eventually picked up and released in a suitable area at Holton. Finally one was found dead at Eastbridge 14th Feb. Little Egret: One at Benacre 19th-24th June (RVAM et at). 8


Grey Heron: Heronry counts received were: Euston — 11 nests plus 6 disused. Ramsholt — 6 nests. Stutton — 5 nests. Brandon Fen — 16 nests. Minsmere — 5 nests produced 15 young. Henham — 14 nests. West Stow — 6 nests. One was observed to catch and swallow a mole at Bures 21st Nov. Large assemblies noted were 37 on the Stour 17th Sep. and 24 feeding on dumped fish in the grounds of Sizewell Power Station 27th Jan. Possible migrants were noted flying south at Landguard 2nd Oct. (2), 16th Oct., and 24th Oct., and Lowestoft 3rd Oct. Purple Heron: One at Minsmere 27th May-6th June (FKC et at), and 2 juveniles at Eastbridge 23rd-26th Sep. (DC, GJJ). White Stork: One Walberswick/Blythburgh area 9th-11th May (WEN) and this or another bird frequented the coastal belt between Oulton Broad and Minsmere from 5th June until the end of the year. This individual spent a considerable amount of the time in the Frostenden area. Glossy Ibis: One Minsmere 12th Aug. (SA). Spoonbill: Records received by site were: Benacre — Single 19th-23rd June, 2 26th-28th June, 2 13th-26th Aug., four 31st Aug. Easton Broad — Single 19th May. Minsmere — Single 28th April, single 16th May, 2 26th May, single 7th July, 2 28th July-12th Aug., single 13th-14th Nov. Havergate — Single 16th-27th July, 2 3rd-10th Sep., single llth-30th Nov. and again 23rd Dec. until the year end. Bawdsey — One flying north 28th April. Felixstowe area — One 11th-14th Nov. Obviously some of these records are duplications. Mute Swan: Peak counts from the Stour were: Jan. 185, Feb. 189, Mar. 113, Sep. 134, Oct. 192, Nov. 314, Dec. 215. These figures and random counts elsewhere indicate a continued decrease in the county population. One seen in Ipswich Docks 17th Jan. was ringed as a pullus in Northants in Aug. 1977. Bewick's Swan: In the early part of the year several flocks of 40 plus were reported from 13 coastal sites. The most significant of these were 90 Boyton 3rd Jan. and the same number at Reydon 25th Feb. Inland up to 9 were located in the Lackford/West Stow area. The first birds of the autumn were 3 at Benacre 26th Oct. but the main influx was on 15th Nov. when birds heading west were noted as follows: 20 Lakenheath, 44 Ipswich, 40 Felixstowe Ferry and 30 Cattawade. No large flocks had assembled by the end of the year and 33 at Southwold 31st Dec. was the biggest recorded. Whooper Swan: An exceptional year with above average numbers recorded and all listed below: North Cove — 7 16th Jan. Benacre — 5 flying south 28th Dec. Henham — 2/3 lst-2nd Jan. Walberswick/Dunwich — 12 flew south 24th Jan. Minsmere — 2 9th Nov.-21st Dec. Eastbridge — 2 juveniles 2nd Jan. and one until 2nd Feb. when found dead, 3 there 19th Jan. 9


Melton — 4 10th Jan. Boyton — 2 23rd Jan. Shingle Street — 5 17th Jan. Felixstowe Ferry — 5 15th Jan., 2 3rd Mar. and one flying south 6th Nov. Levington Creek — One 17th Jan. Sudbury — One flying east 18th April. Bean Goose: The Aldeburgh/Thorpeness area proved to be the favourite site for this species which is becoming an annual winter visitor in small numbers. This locality had a max. of 46 between 27th Jan. and 21st Feb. Elsewhere 12 were at Minsmere/Eastbridge 4th Jan until the 16th when numbers increased to 24. At Havergate 14 were present between 7th-l 1th Jan. and 2 at Butley 16th Jan. It seems probable that all of these plus a few more must have gathered together on 31st Jan. when 120 were at Sudbourne/Bawdsey. Return birds were noted from 30th Oct. when 2 were at Benacre and there were 6 there by the end of the year. Counts at other sites in the latter part of the year were: Minsmere — Max. 13 14th Dec. Felixstowe area — 24 1st Dec. and 19 flying north 9th Dec. Aldeburgh — Max. 4 4th Dec. Boyton — 2 4th Dec. Bawdsey — 3 4th Dec. Alton Water — 8 3rd-18th Dec. Sudbourne — 8 30th Dec. Ness Point — 2 flying south 1st Dec. Pink-footed Goose: A slight increase on recent years with all records as below: Benacre — 6 30th Dec. Minsmere — Max. 17 lst-2nd Jan., 42 21st Nov., and 7 18th Dec. Aldeburgh/Thorpeness — 35 15th Feb. and 2 28th Oct. Boyton — 5 3rd Jan. and 15 14th Jan. Shingle Street — 12 17th Jan. Falkenham — 17 22nd Jan. Felixstowe — 5 flying south 29th Dec. Hemley — 8 flying north 3rd Feb. Bentley — 38 flying south-west 2nd Dec. Higham (Stour) — One 23rd Jan. Livermere — One 29th Nov. White-fronted Goose: Relatively high numbers at an increased number of sites as follows: Covehithe — 2 4th Dec. Reydon/Southwold — 110 5th Dec. and 14 11th Dec. Minsmere — A max. of 120 23rd Jan., and up to 95 in Feb., c70 in Dec. Thorpeness/Aldeburgh — c25 in Jan., 45 7th Feb. and 120 18th Dec. Sudbourne — Max. 310 in Jan. Havergate — 123 7th Jan., 34 1st Feb. and 8 29th Dec. Butley — 6 16th Jan. Felixstowe Ferry — clOO 27th Dec. River Stour — 5 10th Jan. Shotley marshes — 73 12th Dec. Additionally 2 adults and an immature at Livermere 7th-13th Dec. showed the characteristics of the Greenland race. Greylag Goose: Breeding reported from Easton Broad (1 pair = 5 young) and 10


Holbrook Gardens (1 pair = 5 young). Outside the breeding season recorded as follows in steadily increasing numbers: Benacre — 50 28th Aug., 20 7th Sep., 40 10th Oct. and 42 16th Oct. Minsmere — 57 20th Feb., 70 12th Aug., 78 28th Aug. and 40 31st Dec. Boyton — 10 1st Jan. Bawdsey — 12 21st Jan.-2nd Feb. Livermere — 10 19th Jan. These records probably reflect unreported breeding birds. One at Barham on 12th April was apparently paired with a feral Barnacle Goose. Snow Goose: The usual blue phase birds of assumed feral origin were reported from Livermere, Lackford and Minsmere. More interesting were white birds which could feasibly have wild origins. These were 3 adults and a juvenile at Southwold 18th-20th Mar. (ACE, RVAM et at). Single white birds at Bures in Feb. (DD) and Sizewell/Eastbridge 29th-30th Jan. and 18th April were probably of dubious origins if only by their behaviour. Canada Goose: Numbers of this introduced species have now reached their highest ever. Notable non-breeding flocks reported were: Benacre — 300 8th July, 700 13th Sep. Minsmere — 371 28th Aug. Sizewell — 313 28th Oct. Lackford — 440 26th Sep. Livermere — 578 3rd Jan., 219 31st July, a county record of cl400 23rd Aug., 950 27th Oct., 500 9th Nov. and 880 13th Dec. Barnacle Goose: The usual crop of obvious escaped birds were reported from Glemsford, Lackford, West Stow, Bramford, Benacre, Eastbridge and Lound. The following however were considered wild: Minsmere — 5 17th April, 7 21st April, 10 3rd-17th Dec., 11 18th Dec. but 12 on 15th Dec. Brent Goose: In the early part of the year counts received were: Benacre/Kessingland — 120 10th Jan. inc. one pale-bellied bird. Havergate — 800 11th Jan., 200 1st Feb. Sudbourne — 800 28th Jan. inc. 10 pale-bellied birds. Ramsholt — 450 2nd Jan. inc. 2 pale-bellied birds, 750 23rd Jan. River Stour — 461 Jan., 385 Feb., and 354 Mar. River Orwell — 650 Jan. River Ore — 250 10th Jan. inc. one pale-bellied bird. Bawdsey — 600 2nd-10th Feb. inc. 3 pale-bellied birds. The last birds of spring reported were 3 at Dunwich 20th April. Unusually, singles were noted at Walberswick 2nd June, Orfordness 11th July and Landguard 18th July. The last bird had a damaged wing and indeed it is probable that all three birds were sick or injured hence their unseasonal appearance. Return migrants began to appear from 27th Sep. and 450 had assembled at Lowestoft by 23rd Oct. In the first few days of Nov. from the 5th the largest numbers of this species ever recorded in Suffolk were noted moving south (Full details of this appear on page 54). In the aftermath of this movement 1,242 were on the Stour in Dec., 1,000 at Felixstowe Ferry 17th Dec. and 439 Havergate 29th Dec. The reason for the large numbers became clear when counts revealed that about 60% of flocks were young birds. Black Brant: A single showing the characteristics of this Pacific race was observed at Boyton 3rd Jan. (MM, SHP). It was possible on this day to see all three races of the Brent Goose in one field. 11


Egyptian Goose: Recorded from Gunton (2 pairs reared 4 young), Benacre, Easton, Minsmere, Aldeburgh/Thorpeness, Alton Water, West Stow and Livermere (one pair raised 5 young). Ruddy Shelduck: Singles of doubtful origin at Ixworth 4th April (RW) and Livermere l l t h July (TB).

5th June, 1983 — Minsmere, Female Shelduck protecting eight young in strong N.E. winds, with marauding Lesser Black-back Gull around.

Shelduck: Winter counts were: Stour Orwell Minsmere

J 1477 1270 35

F 1097

M 1866

S 619

O 1010

N 1102

83

110

54

176

99

D 993 675 50

Very little data was received on coastal breeding numbers but the following détails were supplied from inland sites: West Stow (lpr), Cavenham/Tuddenham (lpr), Bramford (lpr), Sproughton (2prs), Bury B.F. ponds (lpr), and Boxford (lpr). At Livermere no spécifié count of pairs was given but adults increased from 46 25th April to 88 22nd May and then down to 8 20th June. Notable southerly passage was observed in early Nov. (see page 54) Mandarin: A female at Livermere 16th May. Wigeon: Co-ordinated winter counts as follows: Stour Orwell Minsmere 12

J 2800 1040 1500

F 1164 —

363

M 936 —

267

S 1334 —

50

O 1449

N 2547

277

638

D 1245 707 474


Significant counts from other sites were: Kessingland — 500 9th Jan., 300 15th Jan. Blythburgh — c2000 10th Jan. Dunwich — cl500 on the sea 24th Jan. Butley River — 910 6th Feb. Gedgrave — c2000 10th Jan. Boyton — c2000 8th Jan. Ramsholt — 1000 16th Jan. Havergate — 1085 6th Oct., 966 26th Nov. and 920 29th Dec. Landguard — cl250 flying south 8th Jan. Additionally a noticeable southerly passage was recorded in early Nov. (see page 54). Summering birds were reported from Trimley, Benacre, Havergate and Minsmere. Breeding was suspected at the latter site. Gadwall: A total of 100 breeding pairs was reported from 13 sites. This data is certainly incomplete. Significant non-breeding flocks were reported as follows: Havergate — 45 16th Jan., 68 26th Nov. and 83 29th Dec. Minsmere — 98 13th Feb. Lackford — 84 31st Oct. Teal: 34 pairs were reported from 4 sites. Non-breeding assemblies were higher than usual particularly later in the year. Details were: Barnby — 150 16th Jan. Benacre Broad — 250 7th Sep., 1500 11th Sep., c2000 23rd Oct. Minsmere — 500 1st Feb., 609 25th Dec. Havergate — 330 5th Jan., 980 29th Sep. and 1285 11th Nov. Kirton — 456 30th Jan. Green-winged Teal: An adult drake of the North American race carolensis was at Minsmere 13th-17th Nov. (KF et al). Mallard: Co-ordinated winter counts were: Stour Orwell Minsmere

J 1576 585 822

F 3207

M 500

S 531

O 1600

N 2270

210

97

225

247

409

D 960 529 485

Other notable flocks were: 1005 Havergate 5th Jan., c500 Benacre 8th Jan., 650 Blythburgh 10th Jan., 1000 Iken 31st Jan., 1200 Havergate 1st Feb., c500 Benacre 6-16th Nov., 800 Livermere 13th Dec. and 641 Havergate 29th Dec. Pintail: Max. co-ordinated counts: Stour Orwell Havergate

J 126 300 —

F 231 —

M 30 —

S 9 —

O 85

N 286

90

88

D 128 154 173

At Minsmere there were 2 on 4th Sep. and 258 flew south on 5th Nov. A single male was located at Alton Water 8th Aug. and 220 were on the reservoir on 13th Nov. A pair remained at Bramford Pits until 18th May and another pair frequented Levington until 23rd May. Garganey: A max. of 8 pairs may have bred at 5 sites. On spring passage the first recorded was at Walberswick 28th Mar., and a further 6 birds were recorded from 4 non-breeding areas. In the autumn one was at Bramford Gravel Pit 24th Aug.-7th Sep. (SB et al) and another at Benacre 25th Sep.-23rd Oct. (DRM, SHP). This last date is the latest ever for this species in Suffolk. 13


Blue-winged Teal: A very tame drake considered to be of escaped origins at Alton Water 13th Jan. (CBA). Shoveler: Very few breeding records received; 47 pairs from 12 sites. The most significant non-breeding groups were: Benacre — 54 30th Oct. and 50 14th Nov. Minsmere — 96 29th Oct., and 92 13th Nov. Havergate — 59 5th Jan., 62 1st Nov., and 95 29th Dec. Alton Water — 60 5th Nov. Nacton — 59 16th Oct. West Stow — 40 18th Oct. and 85 14th Nov. Livermere — 66 10th Nov. Red-crested Pochard: An amazing record of 6 males and 2 females at Island Mere, Minsmere 14th Jan. (RSPB). This is the largest number noted together in Suffolk. Pochard: Breeding records were scarce but noted as follows: Benacre — one pair reared 4 young, Walberswick — one pair bred rearing 7 young. Minsmere — 3 pairs bred including one female seen with 6 young. Livermere — one pair and 2 pairs near Lakenheath. Significant non-breeding flocks counted were: Lackford/West Stow. — 150 3rd Jan., 222 14th Feb., 126 8th Oct., 270 10th Oct., 200 17th Oct., 120 11th Dec. and 153 12th Dec. Lowestoft — 200 3rd-19th Jan. Benacre — 104 24th Jan. Alton Water — 476 11th Jan., 115 22nd Aug. and 330 3rd Dec. Trimley Lake — 70 8th Feb. Thorington Street — 90 10th Jan. and 212 27th Nov. A male which showed characteristics of a Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid was present at Alton Water 4th-7th Aug. Tufted Duck: Still apparently increasing as a breeding bird in Suffolk, the largest number of ducklings reported was 120 from 15 broods at Trimley Lake 3rd July. Winter counts from major sites were: Lackford/West Stow. — 158 3rd Jan., 195 25th April and 295 12th Dec. Ipswich Docks — 525 15th Jan. Alton Water — 196 10th Jan. and 372 8th Dec. Scaup: All records received as follows: Lowestoft — Female 3rd Jan. and imm. male 9th Jan. Benacre — 4 10th Jan., 9 1st Feb., 3 27th Feb., and female 31st Dec. Walberswick — 3 7th Nov. Minsmere — A pair 26th Jan.-27th Feb., 3 19th-23rd Mar. and 3 5th Nov. Havergate — 4 18th-27th Feb., 2 in Nov. and 3 Dec. Bawdsey — 4 Jan./Feb. Felixstowe Ferry — 4 1st Feb. Landguard — 7 flying south 7th Nov. River Orwell — 19 16th Jan., 11 29th Jan., and 2 28th Dec. Trimley Lake — 11 latter part of Feb., 12 9th April and singles 9th Nov. and 12th Dec. Alton Water — 4 27th Feb., 4 16th April, 9 25th Oct. and up to 8 in Dec. All of these records follow the normal pattern but what was presumably the same male off Felixstowe 28th July and Shingle Street 30th July. Eider: The usual spate of offshore birds were reported in most months of the year as well above average flocks flying south in early Nov. (see page 54). These were all 14


overshadowed by the count of 110 off Dunwich on 2nd Dec. (JC). This raft contained 30 adult males and constitutes the largest flock recorded in Suffolk. Long-tailed Duck: The following is a summary of all records received: Benacre — One 2nd Jan., and another 29th Oct. until the end of the year. Easton Broad — One 30th Oct. (same as above?). Dunwich — Female 24th Jan. and 4th Mar. Minsmere — Female 23rd Oct. until the end of the year and 4 were noted 3rd Dec. Trimley Lake — 2 27th Feb.-llth Mar., one 28th Nov.-18th Dec. Felixstowe — One 6th Nov. River Orwell — Singles 6th Jan.-lst Feb., 20th Nov. until end of year. Alton Water — Female 3rd Jan.-19th April with 2 on 3rd April, female 30th-31st Dec. Common Scoter: Regular offshore in winter and summer at two main sites. Max. counts were: Benacre — 90 lst-2nd June, 1500 mid-Dec. Dunwich/Minsmere — 500 Jan., 200 Mar., 150 April, 370 May, 20 June, 250 July, 12 Aug., 50 Sep., 177 Oct., 1212 Nov. and 500 Dec. 84 flew south off Sizewell 25th Sep. and considerable numbers moved south offshore in early Nov. (see page 54). Away from the coast at Alton Water there were 3 21st June, and 3 females 5th Nov. Velvet Scoter: As one might expect, a scattering of sightings amongst the flocks of the previous species. These included the following: Dunwich—10 24th Jan., 14 14th Feb., 7 7th Mar., 3 7th May, 11 19th Nov., and 9 6th Dec. Benacre/Easton — Male 2nd-6th June, male flying north 6th Sep., one flying south 6th Nov. and 4 11th Dec. Walberswick — 4 15th Jan., 5 8th May and 13 28th Nov. Southwold — 3 23rd Jan. Sizewell — 2 14th Feb., 3 males flying south 25th Sep., and 6 south 6th Nov. Felixstowe — Flying south; one 16th Oct., one 4th Nov. and 12 6th Nov. Unusual observations away from the immediate vicinity of the coast were a female Trimley Lake 14th May, single Alton Water 13th Nov. and another on the Stour 12th Dec. Goldeneye: Reported from many coastal sites as usual the most significant records being: River Orwell — 110 16th Jan. and 65 12th Dec. River Stour — 102 Jan., 160 Feb., 81 Mar., 65 Dec. River Deben — 36 late Jan. lOlinsmere — 24 16th Jan., 39 29th Oct. and 42 south 5th Nov. Alton Water — 23 7th Feb., 28 27th Mar., 40 1st April, 43 5th Nov. Inland counts were encouraging with a max. of 10 at Lackford 24th Mar., 2 Livermere 3rd Jan., 2 Tuddenham/Icklingham 3rd-21st Jan. and 4 there 12th Dec. and finally 2 Sudbury lst-5th Jan. A female apparently over-summered at Trimley Lake. Smew: All records received are noted below: Benacre — A max. of 10 between 2nd Jan. and 4th Mar. Easton Broad — 5 23rd Jan. Minsmere — One 2nd Jan.-27th Feb. Butley River — One 3rd-5th Jan. Ipswich Docks — One 16th Jan.-20th Feb. River Stour — One 10th Jan. 15


West Stow — 2 16th Jan. All were redheads except for adult male Covehithe 23rd Jan. and Benacre 24th. Red-breasted Merganser: Reported from many coastal localities but not in exceptional numbers. Apart from a significant movement in early Nov. (see page 54) the largest groups reported were 42 River Orwell 16th Jan., 38 Minsmere 29th Oct. Inland a female was at Lackford 28th Mar. and a male flying south at Brandon 21st Dec. Goosander: A scattering of records from the usual coastal sites but Lackford Pits in the Breck has emerged in recent winters as the prime locality for this species in Suffolk. Counts from the latter area were: Jan. — max. of 13 redheads, Feb. — max. of 4 males & 10 redheads, Mar. — max. of 6 males & 17 redheads, Dec. — max. of 8 birds. Other interesting reports were a max. of 14 redheads and 10 males at Benacre in Jan., and a very early autumn arrival at Blythburgh 29th Aug. Additional inland records were 5 Weybread Pits 1st Jan. and at Thorington Street a pair 1st April and 2 redheads 8th April. Ruddy Duck: An increase in records in parallel with the spread in Essex. Details by site: Walberswick — Male & female 19th-24th Jan. Dunwich — 3 offshore 30th Jan. Lowestoft — Male offshore 5th Feb. Minsmere — 4 males & 3 females until the end of Mar. then a pair throughout the summer. No evidence of breeding was noted. Shingle Street — 2 15th Jan. Ipswich Docks/Woolverstone — One 15th-16th Jan. Alton Water — Male 3rd Aug., 2 5th Nov., 4 11th Nov., 5 llth-14th Dec., 3 18th Dec. and one 31st Dec. The unprecedented influx in mid-Jan. occurred during a period of severe cold and coincided with the disappearance of the resident birds from Abberton Reservoir, Essex. Honey Buzzard: This raptor retains its rarity status in Suffolk. Accordingly, the only record was a single over Havergate, 6th June (PHo). Red Kite: Singles at Eastbridge 21st Jan. (FKC) and Bucklesham 3rd Feb. (DH) were presumably overwintering in East Anglia. In late autumn, birds were noted at Minsmere 20th October (PG) and Sutton Heath 7th-13th November (ABo, SJB). White-tailed Eagle: Suffolk's first record for 20 years of this gargantuan raptor attracted hundreds of observers to the Dunwich/Thorpeness area, 21st-30th Jan. (MT, JS et al). It appeared to be a second year bird and was initially noted at Sizewell. Marsh Harrier: 10 females nested in suitable habitat, of which 7 nests were successful, producing 19 young. At least 8 passage birds were recorded in May away from the breeding areas. These included singles (all female) at Livermere, 15th and at both Landguard and Great Barton on 22nd. One was seen on a Breckland heath 22nd July. Juveniles from the breeding population made coastal autumn passage difficult to assess. Amongst the several reports we received were singles at Erwarton 2nd Sept., Trimley 9th Nov. and South wold where an immature bird flew out to sea, 30th Oct. 1-2 were reported from late Nov. onwards at Benacre, Minsmere, Trimley and Walberswick. Hen Harrier: The total of 33 in Suffolk in late 1981 was further increased in Jan./Feb. 1982 when roost counts indicated the presence of up to 45 in the county. Of these, at least 12 were adult males, which represents a slight decrease compared 16


with recent years. We received many reports of birds from the vicinity of the roost sites. The only sighting which could not be directly attributed to a known Suffolk roost was of a single at Glemsford, 27th Jan. Totals started to decrease by mid-March; there were reports in May up to 9th"from Benacre, Minsmere and Walberswick. A pair that started to display at Minsmere 25th Aprii gives hope that at some time in the future this species might breed again in our county. The first autumn bird was at Shingle Street 3rd Oct. It was estimated that by the year's end up to 30 had returned to the Coast and Brecks; only 6 adult males were located amongst them. There were no reports from the central rĂŠgion of Suffolk. Montagu's Harrier: The only report relating to possible breeding was of a ringtail carrying food near the coast on 12th July. No adult males were recorded this year. Females were noted in May at Havergate 15th, Minsmere 15th and 23rd and Walberswick 23rd. A iemale was at Blythburgh, 19th Aug. Reports of ringtail Harriers at Great Cornard 31st Aug. (2), Benacre 3rd Sept, and Sizewell 6th Sept, probably refer to this species. Goshawk: Ali that can be deduced from the information that has been received is that possibly 2 pairs bred. Up to 10 were noted during the first winter period and 3 in the second, which included one flying in from off the sea at Sizewell 6th Nov. (WU). Sparrowhawk: Based upon mid-summer sightings it seems likely that about 15 pairs were present at 13 sites, which is exactly the same situation as in 1981. We received reports of this little hawk from 32 sites up to mid-March. As well as the more expected coastal (24) and Breck (5) sites there were also reports from Boxford, Hadleigh and Hessett. There was evidence of coastal passage 23rd Mar.22nd Aprii during which time singles were noted at 14 coastal sites. Autumn passage on the coast occurred during 24th Oct.-17th Nov. During this time there were reports from Boyton, Hollesley, Landguard (3), Shingle Street, Walberswick and Westleton; one at Clopton lst Nov. was presumably part of the same movement. Wintering birds became noticeable from mid-Nov., but were reported from only 16 sites (c.f. 32 in Jan/Mar); this is probably a reflection of the mild weather at that time rather than an indication of a poor breeding season. One at Blythburgh 20th Mar. was apparently scavenging on a dead Mute Swan (EWP). Buzzard: Wintering birds were noted at Kentford, Minsmere, Thorpeness and Walberswick during Jan/Mar.; it is possible that only one wandering individuai was involved in the coastal area. The only spring passage birds were at Gunton 12th Aprii and Wolves Wood, 8th May. Apart from 1 at Sizewell, 29th Aug. it was not until mid-Oct. that autumn movements really became evident. One flew south at Landguard 16th Oct. and on 19th Oct. as many as 6 were over Minsmere (RSPB). Apart from one at Blythburgh 29th Oct. there were no more reports until the period llth-20th Nov. During that time singles were noted at Easton Broad, Erwarton, Minsmere, Nacton, Sproughton and Tunstall. The only remaining reports were from Butley 27th Nov. and Covehithe 4th Dee. Rough-legged Buzzard: Many reports were received up to mid-Mar. As many as 5 were on the Breckland heaths including 4 together at Lakenheath, 13th Feb. On the coast, a wide ranging individuai was in the Aldeburgh/Tunstall area while further north 1-2 were noted between Minsmere and Carlton Marshes. Sightings in the latter area included one flying in from the sea, at Walberswick, 5th Jan. The only Aprii record was one in the Brecks, on the 9th while almost a month later 17


one frequented the Benacre/Oulton area on 8th May. Oct. witnessed the arrival of the first autumn birds; reports were from Minsmere 8th, Covehithe 9th and Dunwich (2), 27th. From late Nov. onwards at least one was in the Minsmere/Walberswick area and another at Butley. Osprey: The first reported was from Walberswick 18th April after which singles were at Minsmere 26th April, 14th May and 5th June and Lakenheath 23rd May. One frequented Breckland July until early Aug. In Aug. reports were from Ixworth 19th and Blythburgh 29th; the latter bird was watched catching grey mullet. Local newspapers featured an unfortunate individual that was taken into care after being found injured at Theberton 1st Oct. Merlin: 15 were recorded on the coast and 3 in the Brecks up to 9th April. After the first autumn arrival at Shingle Street 3rd Oct, at least 12 were noted in the coastal belt, including 2 at Felixstowe Ferry 3rd Nov. and one at Landguard 7th Nov. 2-4 were in the Brecks from 6th Nov. onwards. Hobby: Although 3 pairs possibly bred in the county it was a poor year for this species with only 6 passage birds recorded; these were at Landguard 4th May, Trimley 16th May, Minsmere 16th-17th May, Kessingland 2nd June, Oulton Broad 25th Aug. and Walberswick 30th Aug. Grey Partridge: This species is now considered to be rare in the Lowestoft area; judging from the general paucity of reports, that description could also be applied to the rest of the county — all reports, positive or negative would be greatly appreciated. A covey of 58 was recorded at Shotley where the species is reared under artificial conditions. Golden Pheasant: It is encouraging to report sightings of this skulking pheasant well away from its traditional Breckland haunts. In 1982 a male was at Long Melford 9th Nov. and a pair were located at Gisleham. In the Brecks up to 7 were reported from 5 sites. All records of this species would be appreciated. Water Rail: At least one observer considered this species to be scarce in 1982; at Minsmere the breeding population decreased to 5 pairs (c30 in 1981). The largest winter gathering was of 7 at Thorpeness, in Nov/Dec. A bird disturbed at Ramsholt during harsh weather conditions in Jan. sought refuge in a coypu burrow. Corncrake: Singles were at Blythburgh 17th April (per PM) and at Covehithe on the late date of 30th Oct. (CRN). These are the first recorded in Suffolk since 1979. Moorhen: The arctic conditions in Jan. produced some notable gatherings of this under-recorded species; 190+ were counted in fields beside the Butley River 3rd and 122 at Minsmere, 16th. In December, 110 were at Livermere and 70+ on the Shotley Marshes. Coot: As with the previous species some notable gatherings were recorded in Jan.; these included 590, Alton Water, 25th, 500, Boyton 21st and 455 on the Orwell, 16th. In Dec. there were 450, West Stow, 330 Trimley Lake and 300, Alton Water. Moorhen x Coot: The hybrid first discovered at Alton Water in Feb. 1981 was present at the same site until at least Aug. 1982. The Sept. 1983 issue of 'British Birds' contains an article relating to this bird. Oystercatcher: Principal estuary counts were: Stour Orwell 18

J 300 —

F M J 107 168 — 230

y — 400

S 439 150

O N D 247 378 420 —

417 530


The only other notable count was of 280, Kirton, 30th Jan. 12 pairs attempted to nest on Havergate Island. Inland records were of 1, Bures 6th Jan. and 2, Lackford, 4th Nov. Avocet: There was a decrease in both the number of breeding pairs and young reared compared with 1981 at the main sites. At Minsmere 49 pairs raised 47 young while further down the coast at Havergate 110 pairs managed to raise only 41 young. 2 pairs bred with unknown success at a third site. The first spring birds were at Minsmere 20th Feb. and 28th (4). Up to 8 noted at Walberswick in June were presumably birds from Minsmere while there were many sightings from the Rivers Butley Ore and Aide in the Havergate area. Elsewhere, 3 flew south at Easton Broad 16th May and one north off Benacre 7th Aug. The wintering population increased still further in the Havergate area this year where the maximum totals were of 117 in Jan. and 132 in Dec. Ringing reports suggest that at least some of these birds are of continental origin. (Suffolk Birds 1981:51). One was at Minsmere 3rd Jan. and 1-4 at the same site Sept.-Dec. Stone Curlew: 14-15 pairs were reported from a total of 2 coastal and 6 Breckland sites between 24th Mar. and 15th Sept. The coastal population has decreased drastically in the last decade. Evidence to support the notion that the actual number of pairs is higher than the records received came in late June when an evening gathering of at least 20 birds was noted at one site. Little Ringed Plover: Approximately 13 pairs at 7 sites is a slight increase on the 1981 total; it is encouraging to report that birds were found at 3 new locations. Where this species and Ringed Plovers nested in close proximity there was much aggression between them. At least 12 spring passage birds were noted between 3rd April and 24th May. In the coastal region reports were from Felixstowe (3 on 16th May), Sproughton (2), Cattawade, Minsmere and Ramsholt. Away from the coast and estuaries, birds stopped off briefly at Livermere (3) and Long Melford. Autumn migrants were recorded between 11th July and 28th Sept. Bury BF ponds again produced the largest gathering — 18 on 18th July. On the coast up to 3 were noted at Alton Water, Benacre, Covehithe, Havergate, Holbrook and Minsmere. Ringed Plover: Estuary counts were: Stour Orwell

J 149

F 134

100

M 67 —

My 67 —

Jy — 240

S 250 225

O 147 110

N 63 —

D 74 482

At least 70 pairs bred in the county, of which 8 were at 4 inland sites. Kentish Plover: Records received were from Minsmere 7th April (JHG), 3rd May and 13th May (RSPB), Benacre 3rd May (2) (JCE, DR), Trimley 16th May (RC) and Havergate 23rd May (RSPB). A good year for this species; the Trimley bird was the first Orwell sighting since 1978 and probably owes its discovery to the presence of a Red-throated Pipit at the same site on the previous day. Golden Plover: There were no notable influxes into the county in Jan./Feb. However, in central Suffolk flocks were discovered at Crowfield (150), Gedding (260) and Preston (100). Spring passage peaked spectacularly at Walsham-le-Willows on 20th Mar. when it was estimated that c4000 were present; this is the largest flock to be recorded in the county for at least 75 years. Other spring passage flocks were of 400, Livermere 26th Mar. and 500, Metfield, 7th April. None were recorded between 13th May and 11th July. Although 150 were on Havergate as early as 5th Aug., it was not until the last 7 weeks of the year that 19


reasonably sized flocks became evident; these included 900+ Ixworth 17th Dec., 300 Trimley Marshes 27th Dec., 250 Falkenham 13th Nov.-18th Dec. and 250, Ilketshall St. Andrew 6th Dec.

Grey Piover Grey Piover: Principal estuary counts were: Stour Orwell

J 400 140

F 1084 —

M 445 —

S 708 —

O 390 —

N 599 —

D 1125 236

The Feb. and Dec. counts are the highest ever recorded in Suffolk. Additional first winter observations were of 150 Bawdsey, lOth Feb., 40 Havergate, 2nd Jan., and one away from the coast on Carlton Marshes 3rd Jan. Spring passage up to 5th June peaked on 13th-14th May when up to 17 were on the Blyth, 9 at Benacre and 8 at Walberswick. Autumn passage from 24th July was on a very small scale until 5th Sept, when during easterly gales 1018 were counted Aying south of Minsmere (RSPB). Another large coastal movement during 5th-6th Nov. resulted in up to 300 being counted as they flew south with wildfowl and other waders. Lapwing: Pre-migration flocks had assembled on the coast in mid-Feb.; these included 1100, Minsmere and 1350, Ramsholt. It was not until a speli of cold weather in late Nov. that large totals were recorded; the largest gathering was of 1400, Gt. Cornard, 24th Nov. Knot: Counts on the 2 major estuaries were: Stour Orwell

J — 900

F — —

M 31 —

S 400 —

O 1 —

N 119 —

D 697 164

Assuming constant counting conditions on the Stour it would seem that the main wintering population arrived on the estuary in late Oct./early Nov. The peak spring passage total was 20 Trimley 14th May. Minsmere hosted the last spring birds on 21st 20


June and first of the autumn on 17th July. 26 were at Benacre 6th Aug. and up to 45 on Havergate in early Sept. However the largest coastal passage numbers occurred during the extensive movements of 5th-6th Nov., when 175+ flew south. Sanderling: Several reports of up to 20 were received from Lowestoft in Jan./Feb. Spring passage birds were at 5 coastal sites up to 8th June. 12 off Landguard 1st May was the largest reported group. The first autumn bird was at Minsmere 15th July quickly increasing to 15 there on 24th July. 11 at Benacre 13th Aug. was the only other notable total. In Dec. no more that 5 were noted at Lowestoft but 12 were at Benacre, 16th. Little Stint: Apart from one on Havergate 22nd April, spring passage extended from 5th May up to 6th June. The majority of reports were from Minsmere where 5 were located on 15th May; one was at Shingle Street 20th May. The presence of up to 4 on Minsmere Scrape from 17th June onwards into early July made the commencement of autumn passage difficult to assess. Autumn records were scarce and ceased after 13th Oct. Probably no more than 20 were recorded in all at Minsmere, Havergate, Benacre and Easton. Up to 5 at Minsmere 31st July-2nd Aug. and 6 there in early Sept., were the only notable records. Away from the coast birds were at Bury BF ponds 29th Aug. and Livermere 3rd Oct. (2). A late bird was at Havergate 3rd Dec. Temminck's Stint: An excellent year for this diminutive wader, particularly in spring. The first was at Minsmere 6th May followed by 2 more there 16th-23rd May (RSPB). Further reports were of 2, Easton Broad, 16th May (CRN) and 2, Catta wade, 18th May (SC). In the autumn singles were at Minsmere 11th-16th July (RSPB) and Benacre 25th July (CRN). These 2 autumn sightings were unusually early. Pectoral Sandpiper: One was at Minsmere 30th Aug.-11th Sept. and presumably a different bird there 2nd-4th Oct. (RSPB). Curlew Sandpiper: The only spring passage birds were at Cattawade 16th May and Minsmere where up to 5 were present 14th-22nd May. By 14th July the first return bird was at Minsmere. The majority of autumn records were from Minsmere, Benacre and Havergate. There was a steady trickle of records from these 3 sites in Aug. (max. 8, Minsmere 5th) but it was not until early Sept. that the largest totals were recorded. During 3rd-8th Sept. there were up to 22 at Benacre, 11 at Minsmere and 8 on Havergate; 9 were still at Benacre 19th Sept. The only other coastal records were from Levington 26th Aug. and 19th Sept. while at Lowestoft one on 1st Oct. was followed over a month later by a belated individual 5th-7th Nov. Inland 2 were at Bury BF Ponds 10th Sept. Purple Sandpiper: An excellent year for this species at Lowestoft where up to 25 were regularly rioted in Jan./Mar.; 7 were present in mid-April of which 6 remained until 1st May. One frequented the jetty at Landguard in Jan./Feb.; up to 4 were noted there in Mar. and one remained until 12th May. Elsewhere, one was on Havergate lst-2nd Jan. and in Feb. singles were at Ipswich Docks 7th and Aldeburgh 13th-21st. One at Minsmere 19th July is the first county record for that month (RSPB). Despite this very early bird there were no more until Sept. when singles were at Landguard 6th and Lowestoft 14th. At the latter site there were up to 30 in Oct., increasing to 33 in Nov. but only 18 in Dec. 1-2 were at Minsmere in late Oct. and during the massive coastal movements of 5th-6th Nov. 2 were located flying south 21


with other waders. Dunlin: The main wader count figures were: J 11800 5000 — 1500

Stour Orwell Ore Deben

F 13400 — 850 —

M 1550 — — —

S 2500 — —

O 7600 — —

N 7800 — 1500

D 11050 6600 1100

The River Ore totals were ali from Havergate. Spring passage flocks in May included 200 on the Deben 6th and 300+ at Brantham, 16th — the latter birds were ali in summer plumage. 3 had returned to Minsmere by 20th June, but it was not until late July that a general increase was noted on the coast. During 18th-19th July singles were noted away from the coast at Bury BF ponds, Bramford and West Stow. 1150 flew south off Landguard in Oct. but that total was eclipsed during the coastal movements of 5th-7th Nov. when up to 4500 were counted. Broad-billed Sandpiper: One at Minsmere 3rd-6th July (JHG et al). Eleventh county record and the first in July since 1963. (See description on page 65). Ruff: The majority of records were from Minsmere where the maximum monthly counts were: J 2

F

M 6

A 27

M 35

J 10

J 3

40

A 61

S 25

O 12

N 1

D 0

Other wintering birds were located in the first week of January at Gisleham (5), Benacre/Kessingland (5) and Long Melford. Spring passage was recorded during 20th Mar.-23rd May. Away from Minsmere the only other notable group was of 14 at Shotley 5th Aprii (c.f. Suffolk Birds 1981:18); reports of 1-2 were received from Alton Water, Butley, Ixworth (2 on 4th Aprii), Ramsholt, Reydon and Thorpeness. 3 lekked at a coastal site in June although no evidence of breeding was forthcoming. The largest autumn totals occurred during the period 6th-9th Aug. when in addition to the 61 on Minsmere Scrape, at least 20 were at Benacre. The only other reports in Aug. were of singles at Alton Water, Bramford, Covehithe and Holbrook. Inland, 2 were at the settling beds at Bury BF ponds 1 lth Aug; further records at this site were of singles lOth Sept, and lOth Oct. One at Alton Water 26th Dee. was the only record for that month. Jack Snipe: 1-2 were located at 7 coastal sites in Jan./Feb. One at Easton Broad 17th Aprii and 3, Minsmere, 2nd May were the last spring records. The first autumn bird was one at Walberswick 30th Sept. By 31st Oct. up to 30 were on marshes near Oulton Broad (RSB); this was the largest recorded gathering in the county since 1978. Elsewhere, up to 8 were regularly noted at Wherstead in Dee. and 1-2 at 7 other sites. One at Stowmarket 13th Nov. was the only record away from the coastal belt. Snipe: Displaying males were recorded in the coastal belt at Aldeburgh, Blythburgh (2), Brantham, Butley, Foxhall, Minsmere and Shingle Street and in the north-west at Cavenham, Livermere and Market Weston. 65 Thorpeness 21 st March was the largest first winter total. 45 were foraging in the grounds of Pontins holiday camp, Pakefield, 2nd Jan. 70 were back at Minsmere in late Aug. The largest totals of the year were recorded during 29th-30th Oct. when 200 were at Minsmere and 100, at Benacre. 80 were on the Orwell marshes, 12th Dee. Woodcock: 10 roding birds were located at 8 coastal sites, and 13 in 10 Breckland 22


parishes; in the central region they were noted at Aldham and Darmsden. Records were received from 29 sites throughout the county Jan./Feb.; 8 were at Rendlesham 16th Jan. Spring passage birds were at Landguard, Newbourn and Trimley in Mar. and at Bawdsey and Oulton Broad in early April. Autumn passage was recorded from 9th Oct. and between 19th Oct. and 30th Nov. at least 6 were reported from Landguard. Reports were only received from 8 sites in Dec. Black-tailed Godwit: 3 pairs bred at 2 sites and a pair held territory in a third area. The main estuary counts were on the Stour as follows: J 213

F 91

M 88

A 250

S

O 750

151

N 750

D 161

Spring passage peaked in the third week of April; reports on 19th of 102 on the Deben and at Minsmere presumably refer to the same flock. Very few were noted elsewhere; at Blythburgh, which used to be a well known site for this species in spring the only report was of 9 on 17th April. In the autumn up to 50 were at Minsmere in July and 30 on Havergate in Sept. During easterly gales on 5th Sept. an impressive total of 110 flew south off Benacre. The only report from the Orwell was of one in Ipswich Docks 30th Dec. Bar-tailed Godwit: The usual scattering of winter records included up to 9 at Bawdsey, Benacre and Landguard in Jan. Spring passage birds were recorded from 24th Mar. As usual the largest totals were in mid-May with records from Minsmere (25), Boyton (13) and Shingle Street (11). 1-2 were at Benacre and Minsmere until 8th June, and the first autumn bird was at the latter site 27th-28th June. 27 were on Havergate 16th Aug. but all other sightings were eclipsed by a flock of at least 200 at Benacre, 5th Sept. The only other notable sightings were also at Benacre — 20 on 27th Sept. and 25 flying south 30th Oct. Whimbrel: Spring passage from 6th Apr. reached its peak during the period late Apr.-mid-May: reports at this time included 26, Felixstowe, 16th May, 16, Minsmere, 29th Apr. and 14, Shingle Street, 8th May. 2 at Minsmere, 8th June were the last spring birds. Early returning birds were at Minsmere 28th June and Felixstowe 29th June. The majority of autumn birds were in Aug. 20 on Havergate 5th were assumed to be part of the flock of 35 seen flying south over Minsmere on same date. 32 were at Minsmere 15th and 25 flew south off Benacre, 22nd. 10 were still at Minsmere 5th Sept; the only record in October was one at Trimley Marshes on 10th. Curlew: Results of the main estuary counts were: J F M S O N D Stour 618 707 347 932 725 854 391 Orwell — — — — — — 373 At least 10 breeding pairs were located in the Brecks. The first autumn birds were back on the coast by 22nd June. 115 flew south, mostly off Minsmere, during the massive coastal movements of 5th-6th Nov. Spotted Redshank: The Scrape at Minsmere continues to attract the majority of birds seen in Suffolk. Maximum monthly totals at this site were: J 4

F 5

M 4

A

M 7

J 5

J 15

80

A 50

S 47

O 7

N 6

D 0 23


The total of 80 occurred on 25th July (BJB) and is the largest total so far recorded in the county. One at Shingle Street 13th Jan. was the only other sighting during Jan./Feb. Spring passage groups were also noted at Walberswick 24th April (4) and on the Blyth 9th May (6). None were recorded between 16th May and 9th June. Counts at the other main coastal sites in the autumn were: Benacre — 26th June (5), 7th-28th Aug. (20). Walberswick — 9th Aug. (8), 21st Sept. (25). Havergate — 6th Oct. (12). 4 were in Martlesham Creek 27th July and 2 inland at Livermere 28th Aug. In Dec. singles were on the River Stour and at Reydon. Redshank: Results of estuary wader counts were: Stour Orwell

J 2125 1000

F 2750

M 1250 _

S 2000 _

_

O 1450 _

N 1975 _

D 1650 1625

On the Blyth 220 were counted 14th April and 150 4th Sept. 120 at Alton Water 25th April is the largest total so far recorded at the reservoir. Greenshank: An over wintering bird was at Levington on the Orwell up to 28th March; what was assumed to be the same individual was present there again from 27th Nov. onwards. There have been records from this site in each winter since 1976/77. Spring passage extended from 3rd April up to 8th June. Very few were reported; 5 at Flatford 1st May was the largest coastal group. Inland 2 were at West Stow 25th May and 1, Sudbury, 3rd May. Singles in late June at Thorpeness 20th and Benacre 24th were the first autumn sightings. An isolated record was of 25, Brantham, 24th July, but the first general autumn peak on the coast occurred 2nd-7th Aug; during this time the largest gatherings were at Minsmere (48), Havergate (25), Orfordness (17) and Covehithe (13). This coastal passage was mirrored inland with up to 7, Bramford and 4, Livermere during the same period. As in 1981 there was a smaller secondary peak in mid-Sept. During 16th-17th Sept. there were 19 on Havergate and 11 at Holbrook. Few were noted after 24th Sept; the largest group in Oct. was 7, Minsmere, 5th. Lesser Yellowlegs: One at Minsmere 8th-14th Oct. (PG, GJJ et at). Fourth county record; the other Suffolk sightings were in Aug. 1950, Sept. 1958 and May 1978.

Lesser Yellow legs

24


Green Sandpiper: Single wintering birds were at 8 sites, all on the coast, up to early Mar. 24 were recorded on spring passage between 24th Mar. and 18th May. Monthly totals were — Mar. (4), April (17), May (3). Reports were well dispersed throughout the period with no obvious peaks; 3 at Minsmere 20th April was the largest day-total at any site. The last spring sightings were at Minsmere 15th May and Flatford 18th May. Early autumn birds were at Minsmere 5th June and Aldeburgh 8th June, but it was not until mid-July that appreciable numbers were noted. The first peak occurred inland during 18th-19th July when 7, Bury BF ponds and 5, West Stow — this movement was not mirrored on the coast. During the first week of Aug. the main totals of the autumn were recorded at Benacre (10), Alton Water (7) and Minsmere (6). Totals decreased from then on at all sites except for the isolated occurrence of 7 at Alton Water on 16th Sept. There were reports from only 4 sites in Oct. but from mid-Nov. onwards single birds were recorded at one inland and 11 coastal areas. Wood Sandpiper: Spring reports were received only from Minsmere where single birds were present 6th-15th May and lst-13th June. The first autumn bird was not noted until 26th July (Alton Water). Apart from singles at Bramford 6th-14th Aug. and Landguard 9th Aug. all sightings were at Minsmere and Benacre. Several reports were received from the latter site as follows: Date Day total

July Aug. Sept. 30th 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 14th,22nd 4th, 7th, 13th 3 1 2 3 2 1 6 4 2 1 1 1 5

At Minsmere, 1-2 were noted 5th-15th Aug., 1 on 11th Sept. and a late bird 14th15th Oct. (RSPB). Common Sandpiper: The bird located in Ipswich Docks on 25th Nov. 1981 remained there well into February. Spring passage from 22nd April peaked in mid-May. At least 48 were reported during 12th-16th May including 12, Alton Water, 12th and 21 there next day: also on 13th there were sightings from the north-west at Cavenham (5), Lakenheath and Livermere. A pair were displaying at a site near Lowestoft in mid-May but did not stay in the area. There were no reports between 6th June and 3rd July. Up to 140 were recorded on autumn passage up to 26th Oct; the peak of this passage occurred during 6th-12th Aug. when there were 25, Benacre, 14, Minsmere, 13 Havergate and 12 Holbrook. At the year's end single wintering birds were at Melton, Flatford and Ipswich Docks. Turnstone: Roost counts on the 2 major estuaries were: Stour Orwell

J 318 —

F 128

M 141

S 174

O 169 240

N 426 135

D 469 267

38, Wherstead, Strand, 5th May was the only double-figure spring passage total; singles were at Alton Water 1st and 3rd May. Red-necked Phalarope: The only report was of one at Minsmere, 15th Sept. (RSPB). Grey Phalarope: The total of 6 in 1982 is the best showing since 1977. All occurred in Nov. at Corton 7th, Dunwich 12th, Kessingland 21st, Southwold 23rd-26th, Minsmere 27th and Benacre 29th. Pomarine Skua: Singles were noted off Benacre 22nd Aug. (JRR) and 19th Sept. (JHG) and Landguard 16th Oct. (ARJP). Finally, a late record was of one seen 25


around Southwold lighthouse, 31st Dec. (DW) Arctic Skua: An excellent year for this species; approximate monthly totals were: My 1

J 2

J 0

A 16

S 55

O 15

N 5

One off Sizewell 12th May is the earliest recorded spring sighting since 1969; the June sightings refer to singles off Minsmere 10th and Lowestoft 28th. None were reported in July, which is distinctly unusual. The first autumn birds were off Benacre 2nd Aug. (2). Reports were well dispersed throughout Aug., but the majority of Sept. sightings occurred on 5th; during easterly gales on that date at least 35 flew south off the Minsmere/Benacre area, although none were recorded elsewhere. A second peak occurred on 16th Oct. when 7 were off Landguard. During the extensive coastal movements of 5th-6th Nov. at least 4 were reported off Felixstowe and Minsmere. The final bird of the year was at Minsmere 21st Nov. A dark phase bird seen well inland at Herringswell,27th Sept.is the first recorded sighting in West Suffolk this century (MA). Probably, as with the Great Skua at Livermere in July 1980, this bird entered the county via the Wash rather than the Suffolk Coast. Long-tailed Skua: One off Easton Broad during easterly gales on 5th Sept. is the first county report since 1974 (CRN). Great Skua: Another good year for this species. The only Aug. sighting was at Benacre 22nd but in Sept. at least 3 were off Minsmere/Benacre on 5th, and singles were at Benacre 10th-18th, Lowestoft 21st and Minsmere 23rd. The only Oct. birds occurred on 16th off Minsmere and Landguard, but up to 10 were noted during the coastal movements 6th-7th Nov.; these sightings included one resting in a field near Benacre Broad accompanied by Brent Geese on 6th. Finally, one was off Minsmere 15th Dec., the first county record for that month since 1977. Mediterranean Gull: An outstanding year with many being recorded. The reports were received from the following sites: Lowestoft — first year birds 15th Jan. and 22nd May; adult 30th Oct. (presumably from Benacre). Benacre — single adults Jan.-Feb., 3rd July and 5th Sept.-30th Oct.; first year bird 18th Sept. Southwold — first year bird 21st Mar. Minsmere — adult 24th Jan. (presumably from Sizewell); 1-2 sub adults, 10th18th May. Sizewell — adult up to late Mar. and 11th Nov. onwards; second year bird 12th Oct. Havergate — adult, 4th June. Felixstowe area — single adult 19th Sept. and 30th Oct.; sub-adult 4th Sept., second year bird 30th Mar. and a distinctive first year individual 7th Mar.-8th May. The mid-summer records offer hope that this gull might soon be added to the list of Suffolk breeding species. Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull: One showing plumage characteristics that could be ascribed to a hybrid between these 2 species was at Sizewell 27th-30th Jan. and Lowestoft 28th Feb. Little Gull: A mediocre year until the events of early Nov. During early Jan. singles were at Bawdsey, Benacre, Minsmere and Sizewell; in addition, 4 oiled birds were found at Sizewell, 17th Jan. Spring passage commenced on 3rd Apr. and was on a very small scale. The peak 26


day was on 5th Apr. when recorded at Alton Water (7) and Minsmere (3). Up to 3 remained at Minsmere throughout the summer. Early autumn passage from Aug. up to mid-Sept, was mostly recorded at Benacre where up to 9 were noted. During Oct. up to 5 were at Sizewell, but it was not until early Nov. that the major movements were recorded. During 5th-9th Nov. cl50 were recorded as part of the massive coastal movements at that time; this was the largest total recorded in Suffolk since Oct. 1976. In Dec. singles were at Minsmere 12th, Sizewell 2nd and 7th and Felixstowe 27th and 29th. 5 adults flew south at Benacre 27th. Black-headed Gull: The 1223 pairs that attempted to breed at Havergate were only permitted to rear 20-30 young while at Minsmere 138 pairs produced 40 young. At Bury BF ponds 14 pairs attempted to breed but rising water levels destroyed all but 5 nests; there was no known breeding success — a rather unfortunate end to the 50th breeding season at this site. The maximum counts at roost sites were 3000, Lowestoft Harbour, 25th Jan. and 6000, Lackford Pits, 11th Dec. 2500 were counted on flooded meadows at Gt. Cornard, 24th Oct. A very pink flushed individual at Sizewell 2nd Jan. caused a few anxious moments before its identity was established. Lesser Black-backed Gull: No breeding season counts were received from Orfordness but 450 had returned there by 21st Feb. 200 were at Minsmere in midJune. Up to 15 wintering birds were recorded in Jan. and 6 in Dec; all were in the Ipswich/Felixstowe area. Herring Gull: No counts were received from the Orfordness colony but the total of c5000 there 21st Feb. indicates that a decrease in the breeding population is unlikely. Some interesting aberrant individuals were recorded. A leucistic bird was at Aldeburgh 30th Jan., and another with coffee-coloured primaries, Lowestoft, 4th Mar. An albino was also at Lowestoft, 9th May; several were noted throughout the year at Lowestoft with little or no black on the primaries. Iceland Gull: The only records were from Lowestoft. A first-winter bird was observed 15th-17th Jan. (BJB, JRR) and a second-winter individual 12th-18th Feb. and 5th-18th Mar. (BJB, ACE et at). Glaucous Gull: At least one adult was in the Benacre/Lowestoft area up to 5th Feb. and an immature at Benacre 6th-8th Jan. One was in the Felixstowe area 2nd-7th Mar. In spring singles were recorded at Lowestoft 16th-17th Apr., Havergate 19th Apr. and Minsmere on 5 dates during 24th Mar.-24th Apr. May records relate to a firstsummer bird at Minsmere 15th, and what was assumed to be the same adult at Blythburgh 7th and Benacre 13th. An adult had returned to Lowestoft by 23rd Oct. and this was possibly the same bird that frequented the Lowestoft/Benacre area from 27th Nov. onwards. Isolated records were of 2, Minsmere, 6th Nov. and again 12th Dec. Great Black-backed Gull: The only notable gatherings were in Dec. when 111 were at Havergate 15th and 240, Minsmere, 12th. Kittiwake: 1982 witnessed the 25th breeding season of this species at Lowestoft and resulted in more young being reared than in any other year at this site. Brian Brown has supplied the following details: South Pier, East Ledge 35 nests 29 successful 45 young 14 nests 9 successful 14 young South Pier, North Windows 17 successful 19 nests 31 young South Pier, North Edge 1 successful 1 nest 2 young Hoarding north of bridge 0 successful 8 nests 0 young Buildings north of bridge 92 young 77 nests 56 successful Total 27


It seems likely that the failure of birds to nest successfully on buildings north of the bascule bridge was due to human persecution. On 1st Jan., 45 were off Aldeburgh and 20 Sizewell. Away from the immediate vicinity of the coast, singles were at Foxhall waste disposal site 10th Jan. and Ipswich Docks 16th Jan. Caspian Tern: Remarkable record of 1 inland at Livermere 8th Aug. (TB). This is the 18th county record and the first away from the coast. This particular individual was likely to be the same as that reported in Cambridgeshire on lst-4th Aug. Sandwich Tern: The first bird of the year was at Havergate 19th Mar.; 340 had gathered there by 12th Apr. but only 53 pairs remained to breed rearing only 25 young. Although there were 152 at Minsmere in early May none remained to nest; the last breeding occurred there in 1978. Autumn movements peaked on 1st Sept. when 450 flew south off Southwold. The last 2 of the year were off Landguard 19th Oct. Roseate Tern: 1-2 were at Minsmere 24th May-30th June (RSPB). Common Tern: An encouraging increase was recorded at Havergate where 85 pairs reared 110 young. After complete failure at Minsmere in 1981, the results in 1982 were not much better — 40 pairs nested but only 1 juvenile was reared. Elsewhere, 40 pairs bred with unknown success at Benacre, 2 pairs, Butley and one pair reared 3 juveniles, Walberswick. In May, spring passage totals included 75, Shingle Street, 8th and 12, Alton Water, 2nd; during the same month reports from Breckland were of 4, Livermere, 13th and 2, Lackford, 25th. Inland sightings in July were of 3, Barham, 5th and 2, Homersfield, 20th. Coastal passage peaked in 19th Aug. when 442 flew south off Southwold and southerly movements off Landguard in early Sept. included 106, 2nd and 94, 5th. Coastal numbers decreased from then on, but 58 were off Landguard, 2nd Oct. The final bird of the year was at Minsmere 7th Nov. Arctic Tern: 2 pairs nested unsuccessfully at Havergate; the only other spring birds noted away from this site were at Minsmere 22nd April and Blythburgh 27th April. At least 30 were recorded on autumn passage between mid-July and 23rd Oct. at Lowestoft, Benacre, Minsmere, Sizewell and Landguard. The overall total included 7, Landguard, 15th Aug., 6, Minsmere 5th Sept. and up to 4 at Sizewell in Oct. Finally, a remarkably late bird was at Benacre/Covehithe, 16th Dec. (DNB, AMG). This is probably the latest ever recorded in Britain. 'Commie' Tern: Singles reported from Benacre 15th Dec. and Lowestoft 18th Dec. probably refer to the Arctic Tern identified at Benacre on 16th. Little Tern: We are grateful to the general public whose co-operation with beach protection schemes enabled 137 pairs to nest on the coast; this is a 43% increase on the 1981 total. Little information was received concerning breeding success, although the 66 pairs that nested at Minsmere reared at least 25 young, probably more. 151 were at Minsmere 5th May and 11, Alton Water, 7th Aug. The last recorded was at Landguard 19th Sept. Black Tern: Only 19 birds were recorded on spring passage between 2nd May and 21st June; the peak day was 13th May when recorded at Livermere (5), Alton Water (4), Minsmere (2) and Benacre. There were no July records. Autumn passage produced reports of at least 50 between 1st Aug. and 6th Oct. Records were well dispersed with no obvious peaks; largest totals were 8, Sizewell, 10th Sept. and 9, Minsmere, 6th Oct. As usual, there were no reports from inland sites during the autumn. An unusual sighting was of a full summer plumage individual at Sizewell, 5th Oct. (MB). 28


White-winged Black Tern: One at Benacre Broad, 24th June (AB). The 15th county record. Guillemot: A massive total of c325 oiled birds was found on the coast during JanFeb; all attempts to stop such oiling incidents over the years would appear to have failed. Early autumn sightings were at Minsmere 31st July and Thorpeness 7th Aug. The majority of autumn sightings involved healthy birds; there were several reports of up to 12 off Orfordness/Benacre area in Dec. Single healthy birds were found in the upper Orwell at Ipswich Docks 1 lth-17th Jan. and in the Freston area 16th-18th Dec. Razorbill: About 20 oiled birds were found along the coast during Jan.-Mar. The first autumn bird was off Minsmere 22nd Aug. but only 10 others were noted during Sept.-Dec.; one was on the Landguard jetty 30th Dec. Little Auk: Singles were found dead at Aldeburgh 9th Apr. (summer plumage bird) and at Theberton up to 2 miles from the coast, 1st Dec. One flew inland over Minsmere, 15th Nov. Puffin: Oiled birds were at Walberswick 31st Jan. and Minsmere 7th Mar. Strangely this species is the scarcest auk in Suffolk with the exception of Black Guillemot. Wood Pigeon: 2 pairs bred on Havergate Island. A leucistic bird was at Boyton 18th April and the largest winter count was of 3000, Nacton 20th Nov. Collared Dove: The largest recorded gatherings were of 220, Lowestoft Docks 20th Dec. and 112, Euston, 8th Dec. 92 on 24th Nov. was the highest count at Ipswich Docks which represents a considerable decrease at this site where 700 had been present in Nov. 1979. This obviously reflects the culling carried out by the local Council. There was some evidence of passage at Landguard where 20 flew south in October. Turtle Dove: A wintering bird was discovered at Felixstowe, 5th Jan. (SCT). Spring birds were reported from 22nd April but the most concentrated coastal passage occurred on 23rd May when 134 flew south-west at Benacre between 0645 and 0830 hours. The largest post breeding flocks were 150, Long Melford 6th Aug. and 120, Old Newton, 24th July. 7 were recorded in Oct. at Landguard including the final bird of the year on 15th. Cuckoo: Reports were received from 42 parishes throughout the county; 11 in a fenland wood 13th May was the only multiple sighting. Very few autumn passage birds were noted — poor breeding season? The only Sept. sightings were at Barham 1st and Benacre 5th. Barn Owl: A very encouraging increase in the number of sites from 58 in 1981 up to 82 in 1982. The remains of a Water Rail were found at a roost, Reydon, 8th Dec. Little Owl: 49 sites in 1981 and 52 in 1982 indicates a fairly stable population at present. At Landguard, where the species is not known to breed, reports were received of 1 on 4 dates between 7th Sept. and 10th Nov. Tawny Owl: One was found roosting in shipyard workshops at Oulton Broad, 14th Sept. Widespread reports indicate that this is the county's commonest owl. Long-eared Owl: Breeding reports were received from a minimum of 3 Breckland sites, while on the coast up to 11 pairs bred at 5 localities. 8 were found roosting in a central Suffolk wood in late Jan. The only spring migrants were recorded in April at Benacre 8th and nearby at Covehithe next day. A tired and approachable bird at Spexhall 1st Nov. was the only recorded autumn immigrant. Short-eared Owl: At least 40 were present on the coast up to mid-Mar.; the largest gatherings were 9, Shotley, 14th Jan. and 6, Bawdsey, 6th Jan. Spring migrants were 29


at Gunton 3rd April (2) and Landguard 25th Mar., 30th Mar. (2) and 7th April. Up to 3 were recorded at 5 coastal sites in May, and birds remained to breed at 2 localities. An unusual record was of a single at Landguard 9th June. An excellent autumn passage commenced on 3rd Oct. Up to 70 were recorded on the coast in Oct.; notable gatherings were of 10, Oulton Broad, 13th and 8, Kessingland, 27th. Reports from Landguard indicated that cl6 birds occurred there between 3rd and 30th including 6 on 23rd. Direct immigration was noted at Lowestoft 27th (4) and Landguard 3rd. One was at Lakenheath, 10th. Immigration continued into Nov. although the monthly total decreased to 50. 7 were in the Bawdsey area 1st, but the largest gatherings occurred on 13th when 8, Sudbourne and 12 Carlton/North Cove. In the Brecks singles were at Cavenham 13th and Lackford 22nd-24th. About 15 were on the coast throughout Dec., while inland 1 was in the Brecks and up to 6 at Stradishall. Analysis of pellets found at Bawdsey in Jan. revealed that the owls were preying upon larks, pipits, finches and buntings. Nightjar: Although only 26 'churring' males were reported from the Brecks (89 in 1981), it is encouraging to report that the recorded total in the coast increased to 40 (34 in 1981). A migrant was at Landguard 6th Sept. Swift: Spectacular 'weather-movements' were recorded at Felixstowe in midsummer. Southerly movements were recorded in June on 19th (2700) and 28th (8500), and in July during lst-5th (2200). At least 13 were noted in Oct. including 3, Sizewell, 9th and 1, Covehithe, 31st. In Nov. 2 were at Wangford (East) 3rd followed by singles Felixstowe 9th and Gunton 11th. Alpine Swift: One over Woodbridge Airfield 4th July (RQ. The 9th county record and the first since 1966. Kingfisher: Reports were received from 53 sites; this is a slight reduction compared with 1981 and was presumably caused by the harshness of winter 1981-82. It is encouraging to note that there were breeding season sightings at 16 sites and at least 6 pairs definitely bred. Hoopoe: There were no spring records and only 1 in the autumn, at Charsfield midOct. (per PM). Wryneck: A poor year for this species. On spring passage singles were at Minsmere 22nd April and Walberswick 10th May. Only 3 were reported from the coast in autumn — Minsmere 6th Sept. Benacre 7th Sept. and a rather late bird at Gunton 15th Oct. Inland, one was at Barton Mills, 30th Sept. Green Woodpecker: Birds were reported from only 61 sites, which is a sharp reduction compared with 1981 (90). Away from suitable breeding areas, 2 were on Orfordness 16th Dec. and singles Landguard 4th Sept. and Havergate 23rd Dec. One was observed foraging on a grass verge beside the main Ipswich ring-road 19th Feb. Great Spotted Woodpecker: The total of 65 sites for this species is a slight reduction compared with 1981 (75). On the RSPB reserves, 11 pairs bred at Minsmere and 4 in Wolves Wood. One ate the young in 7 nest boxes occupied by Blue Tits at Aldringham. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Suffolk Birds 1981 stated that this was the rarest Woodpecker in the county; this is probably the true situation but this species was reported from 72 sites which is more than the other 2 woodpeckers. The reasons for this apparent rapid increase over the last 2-3 years must include the abundance of dead timber in the county and the increasing number of observers who are aware of 30


this species' call-note. Short-toed Lark: One at Benacre, 11th Sept. (DRM, PM, SHP) showed characteristics of one of the reddish western races. Fifth county record. Woodlark: At least 18 singing males were recorded, of which 12 were in the coastal belt and 6 in the Breck. The fact that some of these sightings were from newly cleared forestry areas offers hope that this species might soon increase its range and numbers in the county. Non-breeding records were of singles at Minsmere on 2nd and 24th Mar. Skylark: A remarkable leucistic bird frequented Trimley Marshes 9th-l 1th October and provoked plenty of discussion before its identity was established. No notable hard weather movements were recorded. Shore Lark: All of the 7 birds noted in 1982 were in the Minsmere/Sizewell area. There was an unusually late spring bird on 23rd May, and more typical records of 4, 4th Jan. and 2, 7th Nov. These 7 birds constitute the worst year for this species in Suffolk since 1961 when only 6 were noted. Sand Martin: The most interesting breeding season record was the adoption of draining holes in a bridge at Brandon as nest sites. There was an unusual series of late records. In Nov. there were sightings on 6th at Felixstowe (2), Walberswick (2) and Eastbridge, while on 9th as many as 8 were still at Covehithe. Even more remarkable were 2 at Sizewell, 2nd Dec. (WEC). 2 at Pakefield on 9th Dec. 1951 are the only later birds to be recorded in Suffolk. Swallow: Unusually for Suffolk there were 4 Mar. records — Elveden, 27th, Benacre, 28th, Minsmere, 28th and Brantham, 29th. Autumn movements at Landguard commenced on 21st Aug. and peaked on 4th Oct. when 1000+ were counted. There were 13 Nov. records up to 28th (Bury St. Edmunds) and in Dec. singles at Sizewell on 2nd and Dunwich on 14th (M Ma). This latter bird was the latest recorded in Suffolk since 1971. House Martin: An aberrant individual with upper parts as brown as those of a Sand Martin, buff rump and complete buff collar was at Landguard, 9th Sept. (SHP). Up to 90 were recorded throughout the county in Nov. and then noted in Dec. as follows: Southwold — 2nd Sizewell — 2nd Minsmere — 2nd, 3rd, 8th Dunwich — 4th (2), 14th The individual at Dunwich on 14th Dec. was the latest to be recorded in Suffolk since 1971 (see Swallow). It must also be something of a record that at Sizewell on 2nd Dec. it was possible to see Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow. Tawny Pipit: One at Landguard, 16th Sept. (CPSR). The 17th county record.

Tawny Pipit 31


Tree Pipit: Spring passage migrants were recorded in April at Alton Water on 4th and 9th (3 + ) and in May at Landguard on 4th. Possibly as many as 60 pairs were present on the coastal and Breckland heaths during the summer. It is to be hoped that the clearing of forestry will provide an opportunity for this species to reverse its decline. Coastal migrants in Sept. were at Landguard on 14th (2) and 17th. Meadow Pipit: Autumn passage numbers were very low, particularly at Landguard. At this site, where up to 750 have been recorded in a single autumn day during previous years, no more than c400 were recorded between 16th Sept. and 16th October. Red-throated Pipit: A full summer plumage bird that delighted 4 fortunate observers at Trimley Lake on 15th May (CMA, JA, HL, MM) failed to put in an appearance before a much larger audience next day. The first record for Suffolk. Rock Pipit: Very few records were received of this species. The first autumn bird was noted at Landguard on 2nd Oct. but only 12 were recorded flying south there during that month which is well below average. Water Pipit: Singles were at Lowestoft, 23rd Jan. and Minsmere 7th-10th Feb. Spring passage was noted on a very small scale between 13th Mar. and 14th April. Apart from one at Thorpeness 21st Mar. all the sightings were at Minsmere where there were up to 3 during the second week of April. The only late autumn record was of one at Walberswick, 18th. Dec. Yellow Wagtail: A male at Minsmere, 19th Mar. was the earliest to be recorded in the county since 1942. Notable spring passage totals included 31, Boyton, 18th April and 27, Shotley, 10th April. Away from coast and estuaries, breeding was recorded at Brandon (3 pairs), Bury St. Edmunds, Glemsford (2 pairs), Leavenheath and Stowmarket. Autumn passage lasted until 17th Oct. and included up to 25 at Minsmere and 20 at Sudbury in early Sept. Blue-headed Wagtail: Records were received of 8 from 5 sites, 12th-23rd April and 6 + from 2 sites, 2nd-27th May. Amongst these sightings were 3, Alton Water, 14th April, 3 Minsmere, 11th May and 1, Sudbury, 23rd April. The only mid-summer male was at Minsmere, 15th July. Grey Wagtail: 2 pairs bred successfully and there were mid-summer sightings at 6 other sites. This represents a marked decrease compared with recent years, but could be partly explained by the fact that only 9 birds were reported during Jan.-Mar. There was a more encouraging situation in November/December when up to 20 were noted throughout the county. The only coastal autumn migrants were at Minsmere where there were 6 on 1st Sept. and a single on 1st Oct. Pied Wagtail: A reed bed roost at Thorpeness held about 250 birds, 13th Feb. and a similar number roosted in the Minsmere reed bed from mid-Oct. onwards. White Wagtail: Spring passage extended from 15th Mar. (Minsmere) through to 11th May (Alton Water and Thorpeness). Unlike 1981, there were no marked influxes: the largest reported groups were of 3 at Minsmere 3rd April and Alton Water, 14th April. Amongst the total of 20 birds reported were singles at Sudbury on 10th April and 2nd May. Waxwing: This species has been generally very scarce in the years since the minor influx in the winter 1978-79, and 1982 was no exception. Singles were at Minsmere 17th Jan. (RSPB), and Walberswick 8th April (IR), whilst on 6th Nov. 3 flew in from the sea at Benacre (DRM). Wren: This species would appear to have survived the 1981/82 winter very well. 32


At least one White Stork was present in Suffolk from midsummer the year.

until the end of

Photo David Tomlinson


A white-phase Snow Goose was frequently

seen with Canada Geese in the Minsmere area

Jan.-Aprii.

Photo David Tomlinson


The most spectacular movement of Brent Geese ever recorded occurred off the Suffolk coast in early November.

Photo David Tomiinson


Dunnock: Coastal migrants were much in evidence at Landguard 3rd April (60) and 11th-17th Oct. (30 + ). Robin: Reports would tend to suggest that this species suffered no serious setback as a result of the 1981/82 winter. Nightingale: The reported total of 187 singing males represents another good year for this species, and included 48 at Minsmere. Singles were trapped and ringed at Landguard on 11th and 15th Aug. and 3rd Sept. Bluethroat: The tendency towards spring records continued in 1982 with 2 records. Single adult males of the red-spotted race were at Landguard 21st May (JELP et at) and one found dead by a jogger at Kenton 31st May (RGWo). The last autumn record in Suffolk was in 1975. Black Redstart: The first spring bird was at Lowestoft on 16th Mar. There was a distinct influx on 3rd/4th April; during these 2 days at least 30 were noted on the coast, of which 8 were at Landguard and 4 at Bawdsey, Gunton and Walberswick. Singles, were recorded inland at Newmarket 6th, West Stow 12th April and Combs 13th May. The only other reports of migrants in May were from Walberswick 13th and Havergate 15th. Breeding pairs were found at Felixstowe (3 + ), Lowestoft (2 + ), Sizewell N.P.S. and Ipswich Docks. At the latter site an enterprising pair nested in a stack of pallets on the dockside and were thankfully tolerated until the young were fledged. In the autumn there were up to 7 at Landguard in Sept. but it was not until late Oct. that a more widespread coastal passage commenced. Between 23rd Oct. and 22nd Nov. at least 17 were noted between Benacre and Landguard. In early Nov. there were 4 on Havergate and at Landguard. One at Orfordness, 16th Dec. was presumably attempting to overwinter. Redstart: At least 37 pairs were reported from 9 coastal sites, of which 18 were at Minsmere. No Breckland breeding records were received. The total of 23 at Landguard, 18th Sept. was the highlight of an otherwise very small scale autumn passage which extended from 7th Aug. until 23rd Oct. Whinchat: This species continues to maintain its rather tenuous status as a Suffolk breeding species. 3 pairs bred at a traditional Breckland site and at least one pair on a coastal heath. There were only 7 coastal spring passage records, the first of which was at Gunton on the early date of 3rd April. Autumn passage, on a much larger scale, commenced on 15th Aug. and extended throughout the county. Unlike the previous year, the largest totals were all in Sept. as follows: Minsmere — 4th (13), 17th (11), 23rd (20). Walberswick — 11th (12). Sizewell — 6th (15 + ). Lowestoft — 18th (12). Sudbury — 15th (11). Whinchat Landguard — 18th (24) — see also Redstart.

None were noted after 23rd Oct. on which date there were singles at Minsmere and Landguard. 33


Stonechat: A total of 15 pairs were reported from 8 coastal sites including 7 at Minsmere. The only Breckland sighting was of a single bird at Santon Downham in the first winter period. Coastal migrants were at Landguard 19th Sept. and 15th Oct. Wheatear: Only 9 pairs were reported from the Breck and 2-4 on the coast. The artificial site at Stowmarket (see 1981 Report Page 26) was again prospected in early May but no breeding attempt was made. The first spring passage peak was on 3rd April when the main reports were from Landguard (40), Shingle Street (11) and Thorpeness (11). Another large movement occurred in early May and was mainly concentrated at Landguard; totals at this site were 45, 3rd/4th, 55, 5th/6th, 35, 7th and 30, 9th. The first autumn migrant was noted on 2nd Aug. Landguard again reported the largest totals — 50 28th/29th Aug. 23, 18th Sept. and 25, 30th Sept. 25 were at Lowestoft, 6th Sept. In Nov., 1 was at Minsmere, 12th, 1 at Lowestoft Denes until 10th and 1-2 at Landguard until 15th. White-crowned Black Wheatear: The most surprising ornithological event of 1982 in Suffolk was the discovery of an immature male of this supposedly resident North African species at Kessingland, 2nd-5th June (BJB, ACE et al). This is the first record of this species in Britain, although its status is yet to be determined by the B.O.U. Records Committee, (please see article on page 64) Ring Ouzel: 13 were noted on spring passage, including singles in Mar. on 19th (Oulton Broad) and 24th (East Bergholt). The main passage lasted until 19th May, but there was an unusual mid-summer sighting at Minsmere, 3rd July. 14 autumn migrants occurred, all on the coast, between 28th Sept. and 24th Oct. Blackbird: An influx of thrushes at Landguard, 28th Feb. included 42 of this species. The largest autumn count at the same site was of 60, 29th Oct. Fieldfare: A total of 16 birds were noted in May at 7 sites up to 15th. Apart from singles at Alton Water, 29th July (SB, SL), Old Newton 3rd Aug. (DMA) and Walberswick 10th Aug. (CSW), none were noted in the autumn until 3rd Oct. 130 flew in from the sea, Gunton, 7th Dec. and 200 were at Minsmere, 30th Dec. A remarkably plumaged bird was noted amongst a group of 65 at Oulton Broad, 27th April; the head, nape and rump were pure white and mantle speckled white (DGB). One bearing a Norwegian ring was found dead at Bury St. Edmunds 9th Feb. (PA). Song Thrush: The influx of thrushes at Landguard, 28th Feb. included 45 of this species; 42, 23rd Oct. was the highest autumn count at Landguard. Redwing: 21 were at Landguard, 28th Feb. and nocturnal passage was heard over Ipswich, 1st Mar. The last spring record was of a singing male at Minsmere, 24th May. 2, Landguard, 28th Sept. were the first autumn birds. 200, Minsmere, 21st Oct. was the largest autumn flock; very few were noted after mid-Nov. Mistle Thrush: 60 at Minsmere, 2nd Sept. and 8 flying south at Landguard, 11th Oct. were the only records of interest. Cetti's Warbler: The reported total of 23 singing males represents a further increase in the county population of this recent colonist. Most of this increase occurred at the main coastal sites e.g. 7 at Minsmere and 6 at Walberswick. There were 2 records from the Waveney valley and one near Ipswich in the Gipping valley. The only confirmed breeding was at Minsmere where a juvenile was seen with an adult, 20th June. Grasshopper Warbler: 24 'reeling' males were recorded throughout the county which indicates a further decline of this species. Away from normal breeding sites there was a single at Landguard 14th May. 34


Savi's Warbler: Single males were 'reeling' at Minsmere from 25th April (RSPB) and Walberswick from 15th May, (CSW). Sedge Warbler: 10 migrants were recorded at Landguard between 19th Aug. and 22nd Sept.; one there on 29th Aug. had a pure white crown. Reed Warbler: 20 pairs were located at a small Glemsford site in the breeding season. Autumn passage occurred at Landguard between 17th Aug. and 24th Oct; the highest daily count there was 6 on 30th Sept. 17 were at Benacre, 7th Aug.

Icterine Warbler Icterine Warbler: Landguard maintained its reputation as being the best Suffolk site for this species with 1 11th Aug., 2 on 6th Sept. and 1 on 11th Sept. (MM, SHP). One at Lowestoft 7th oct. (BJB) is the latest so far recorded in Suffolk. Melodious Warbler: Despite being a regular autumn visitor to Britain's south and west coasts, this south European warbler remains a real rarity on the east coast. The third county record was on Havergate Island on 29th Aug. (PHo). Icterine/Melodious Warbler: Singles Walberswick 5th Aug. (DGB) and Minsmere 9th Aug. (MRL). In the opinion of the Records Committee the descriptions received did not provide evidence for positive identification but these two birds were certainly one or other of these two species. Lesser Whitethroat: Several observers considered that the breeding population had declined; 8 pairs were at Minsmere. The first autumn passage birds were at Landguard on 3rd Aug., but is was not until Sept. that the largest numbers were recorded. These included 10 at Aldeburgh, 4th Sept. and 20, Minsmere, 15th Sept. Whitethroat: Minsmere reported a dramatic increase in its breeding population: after only 4 pairs in 1981, 21 were located in 1982. Coastal autumn migrants occurred between 12th Aug. and 14th Oct. The largest total was 20+ at Thorpeness, 10th Sept.; this was not reflected anywhere else on the coast. Garden Warbler: 22 pairs were located at Wolves Wood (21 in 1981) and Minsmere (13 in 1979); also 6 pairs were counted at Glemsford. Most of the reported coastal autumn migrants were at Landguard where the species was recorded from 11th Aug. Birds were noted regularly there up to 14th Oct. including 7 on 18th Sept. and finally 2 were present on 23rd Oct. Blackcap: Wintering birds were recorded up to mid-Mar. at Ipswich (3), Lowestoft (2), Bury St. Edmunds, Gunton and Woodbridge. Singles in late Mar. at Landguard, 23rd, Brandon, 24th and Polstead 27th probably refer to spring migrants. 35


The only significant breeding records received were 21 pairs at Minsmere and 29 pairs at Wolves Wood. Autumn passage commenced at Landguard on 6th Sept. and peaked there on 23rd Oct. when 18 were counted; 5 were still present there on 6th Nov. and a belated female on 22nd Nov. Elsewhere, singles were noted in Nov. at Lowestoft on 2nd and 13th and Sproughton on 20th. Birds were noted in Dec. at Ipswich (3), Hadleigh and East Bergholt. Wood Warbler: Single singing birds were noted in spring at the following sites: Christchurch Park, Ipswich 27th April. Chantry Park, Ipswich 3rd May. Benacre, 3rd May. Trimley Lake, 8th-9th May. Minsmere, 15th May. Covehithe, 27th May. Wolves Wood, Aldham, 4th-7th June. Despite these sightings, no breeding records were received. The only autumn migrant occurred at Landguard, 1st Sept. Chiffchaff: One at Minsmere, 14th Feb., was the only record in the first winter period. Singles at Landguard on 19th June and 18th July were presumably wandering nonbreeding birds; autumn passage there commenced on 7th Aug., but the peak total was only 10 on 30th Sept. Nov. records were from Easton Broad 8th, Minsmere 9th10th, Lowestoft 13th-19th, Thorpeness 27th and Landguard 7th (2) and 22nd-27th. Likewise, in Dec. there were birds at Newbourn 4th, Flatford 7th, Sudbury 28th, Minsmere 28th, Eye 30th and Glemsford 3rd (1) and 23rd (3). Willow Warbler: Singles were noted in Mar. at Snape, 28th and Minsmere, 29th. 25 were singing on Purdis Heath by 12th April. At Landguard, 30 were present on 22nd April decreasing to only 1 on 30th April; this was followed by a rapid increase to clOO on 3rd May. 65 breeding pairs were recorded at Wolves Wood, Aldham, where there had been 53 pairs in 1981. At Landguard, where this species does not breed, there were some unusual late June sightings on 19th (4), 20th and 27th (2). The first autumn passage birds were at Landguard by 28th July; totals at this site peaked at 35 on 27th Aug. followed by a steady decrease throughout Sept. A late bird was at Landguard, 29th Oct. and elsewhere in Felixstowe, in a town garden, one was noted on 16th Nov. (RGW): this is the latest recorded date for Suffolk. Goldcrest: 70 were counted in Rendlesham Forest, 13th Feb. 10 on 2nd April was the maximum spring count at Landguard where passage birds were continuously present between 27th Mar. and 22nd April. The only notable autumn passage numbers were at Landguard in Oct. where there were 30 on 29th and 9 on 31st. Firecrest: Overwintering birds were only recorded at Lackford where there were 2 on 1st Feb. and 1 in mid-Dec. At least 26 spring passage birds were reported from the coast between 19th Mar. and 18th May. There were no marked influxes, but up to 4 were at Landguard 1st5th April and Minsmere 11th April. Away from the coast, singles were noted in April at Ixworth, 4th, Cavenham 22nd and Wolves Wood 24th. Successful breeding was proved for the first time in Suffolk when a pair accompanied by fledged juveniles was discovered in late June. The only other midsummer record was from Minsmere on 16th July. No more than 10 were noted 38


on the coast in autumn between 17th Sept. and 26th Nov. Up to 3 were at Landguard 28th Oct.-13th Nov. Spotted Flycatcher: The only April record was at Sutton on 30th. 10 pairs bred at Wolves Wood. 20 on 20th Aug. and 15 on 25th Aug. were the maximum autumn totals at Landguard. Oct. records included 8 at Nacton, 2nd and 2 at Lowestoft, 16th. Red-breasted Flycatcher: One at Lowestoft, 5th Oct. (JAW) was the first county record since 1977. Pied Flycatcher: 8 spring migrants were noted as follows: Walberswick — 18th April; 8th May and 13th May. Landguard/Felixstowe — 22nd April; 30th May. Oulton Broad — 11th May. Minsmere — 15th-17th May. Market Weston — 19th May. There was an unusual mid-summer sighting at Minsmere on 7th July (see Ring Ouzel). At least 60 were recorded on autumn passage, commencing with singles at Lowestoft and Minsmere on 28th July. Most of the sightings were in the first 3 weeks of September and included 10, Landguard, 18th and 8, Benacre, 7th. 8 were recorded in Oct. up to 18th and then a remarkably late bird was at Landguard on 7th Nov. (RC, MM et at): this is the latest ever recorded in Suffolk. Bearded Tit: A decrease in the breeding population at Minsmere was probably attributable to the harshness of the 1981-82 winter. At least one pair bred at Benacre. Outside the breeding season up to 8 were noted at Blythburgh, Butley, Oulton Broad, Snape and Thorpeness. Long-tailed Tit: This species appears to have survived the 1981-82 winter very well; c35 were at Thorpeness on 1st Jan. Willow Tit: Noted in 1982 at Brandon, Brettenham, Culford, Felsham, Glemsford, Great Glemham, Great Whelnetham, Minsmere, North Cove, Oulton Broad, Stowmarket, Sudbury, Thorpe Morieux, Walberswick, West Stow and Wordwell. This list of localities indicates that the Willow Tit is widely distributed throughout Suffolk, but we still know relatively little about its true status particularly with reference to its relative abundance compared with the Marsh Tit. Coal/Blue Tit: A remarkable mixed brood of Coal and Blue Tits was discovered at Hollesley Heath in May (MC). Blue Tit: The largest winter flock was 50 on Sutton Heath, 23rd Jan. An unfortunate individual was observed at Freston with its upper mandible elongated to twice the normal length. Nuthatch: Reported from about 35 sites, 7 of which were in Ipswich. Treecreeper: At least 20 pairs were located at Minsmere. Golden Oriole: 10-13 pairs held territory at the main breeding site, where the first birds were noted on 8th May: 2-3 family parties were noted in late July. The level of disturbance from birdwatchers at this site remains unacceptable: we again ask all the observers who know of and visit this site to keep to the main tracks in the area. The breeding success of a pair located at another site in the county is unknown. Single migrants were at Walberswick 23rd May (BJB, ACE) and Benacre 26th May (CRN). Red-backed Shrike: There was an apparent further sharp decline in the already decimated breeding population, we received information relating to only 5 pairs, one of which bred successfully in the Brecks. 2 of the 4 pairs that were located in the coastal belt from 21st May bred successfully. The only coastal autumn migrants were noted on 8th-9th and 24th Aug. at Minsmere and 7th Sept. at Benacre. 39


Great Grey Shrike: Up to 24th Mar. birds were noted at Brandon, Lakenheath, Melton/Sutton and Minsmere. At least one was back in the Melton/Sutton area from 14th Nov. onwards and another at Barton Mills 13th-29th Dec. A tail-less bird at Covehithe 4th Dec. must have found its sentinel duties distinctly hazardous at such a windswept site. Jay: One Landguard, 23rd April was only the second record of the species at this site. Magpie: This species is increasing, particularly on the coast. 33 were counted going to roost at Oulton Broad, 30th Jan. (RSB). Other significant totals were noted at Gunton (20), Lackford (15) and Minsmere (15). Hooded Crow: A sharp decline in the wintering numbers of this species was first noted in autumn 1978 and there is still no sign of a recovery. 10 were at 8 coastal sites up to 11th April. 3 were in the Reydon/Southwold area, 21st Mar. Inland, 2 were at Eriswell, 6th Mar. The only late autumn sightings were at Benacre 31st Oct.-20th Nov. and Sudbourne 16th Nov.-28th Dec. Starling: The maximum Minsmere reedbed counts were in Aug. (10,000), Sept. (40,000) and Nov. (20,000). House Sparrow: A leucistic bird was noted at Boxford, 28th Feb. 560 flew south at Landguard in Oct. Tree Sparrow: A flock at Walberswick in Jan./Feb. was regularly counted — the maximum reported total was 1500, 15th Jan. The only other notable flocks were of 100 at Orfordness 21st Feb. and Glemsford 12th Mar. A complete albino was at Bures, 12th Aug. Only 660 were recorded on passage at Landguard in Oct. which is low compared with previous years. Chaffinch: Some notable flocks in Jan./Mar. were 400, Walberswick 15th Jan. 300, Iken, 31st Jan. 200, Ipswich, 26th Feb. and 150, Kirton 6th Mar. 108 pairs were located in the breeding season at Minsmere. The maximum autumn passage total reported was of 134 at Thorpeness, 23rd Oct. Only 36 were recorded at Landguard in Oct. Brambling: In Jan.-Mar. the only notable flocks were of 70, Bury St. Edmunds, 50, Gunton, 50, Walberswick and 40, Staverton. The only May records refer to single full summer plumage males at Bury St. Edmunds 4th May and Dunwich 5th May. A male that flew south at Minsmere, 14th Aug. is the county's first record for that month (RJH). The autumn passage commenced on 8th Oct. but totals were very low and did not exceed 10 at any site. Greenfinch: 2200 passage birds were recorded at Landguard in Oct. which is only just above 20% of the 1981 total; the maximum day-total was 750 on 11th Oct. Goldfinch: Wintering flocks are scarce in Suffolk; the largest reported gathering was of 70 on Sutton Heath, 21st Feb. Autumn passage was recorded on the coast between 15th Sep. and 20th Nov. The largest totals were at Landguard in Oct. when 5500 were recorded; the maximum day-total was 2000 flew through on 1st. The only other notable group recorded in the coast was 150, Havergate Island, 19th Oct. Siskin: In Jan. there were impressive counts of 200, North Cove, 22nd; 100, West Stow, 3rd, 85, Livermere 19th and 60, Thorpeness, 1st. Elsewhere during Jan./Feb. up to 50 were reported from at least 30 sites throughout the county. The only notable pre-migration gatherings were of 150 on 14th Mar. and 4th April in Rendlesham Forest where a juvenile was seen on 12th July. This was the only confirmed breeding success in the county, but at least 2 pairs were located in the Brecks in late May-early June, and 4 birds at Minsmere, 7th July. 40


Immature male White-crowned Black Wheatear at Kessingland.


4, Minsmere, 13th Sept. were the only recorded coastal autumn migrants. Totals recorded in Nov./Dec. were much lower than in Jan./Feb. The maximum counts were of 72, Santon Downham 3rd Dec., 48 Bromeswell 5th Dec. and 40, Friston, 25th Nov. Siskins were noted feeding on peanuts in gardens at Bury St. Edmunds Feb./Mar. and Gunton Mar./Apr. Linnet: Coastal migrants were very much in evidence in late April and in particular at Sizewell where 1000 flew north on 27th April (see Suffolk Birds 1981). Autumn movements between 19th Sept. and 20th Nov. were on a larger scale than in the spring. 3600 flew over Landguard and its keen-eyed team of observers in Oct.: the maximum day-total was 1500 on 1st (see Goldfinch). Twite: Records were received from 11 coastal sites in Jan./Feb.; the largest group was 100 on Orfordness, 21st Feb. The last spring birds were recorded on 3rd April at Walberswick (20) and away from the coast at Sproughton B.F. Pits (5). 70 at Minsmere, 24th Sept. were the first autumn birds; the only other Sept. record was of 42 at Benacre, 29th. The most impressive movements were at Landguard where 530 flew south between 10th and 24th Oct.; the maximum day totals were 250 on 11th and 150 on 15th. The only notable feeding flocks were at Felixstowe Ferry where 70 on 30th Oct. (decreasing to 20, 21st Dec.) and the River Stour saltings where 65 were counted on 12th Dec. Redpoll: Breeding numbers are notably decreasing and pairs were only noted at Aldringham, Barham, Corton, Ipswich (5 + ), Martlesham (5), Minsmere (7) and Wattisham. All 1983 breeding season records would be very welcome, especially from the western and central areas of the county. Some notable winter flocks were 120, Purdis Heath, 27th Oct., 75, Iken 31st Jan., 75, Santon Downham, 3rd Dec. and 65, Tuddenham (west), 3rd Jan. Only 20 were recorded at Landguard in the autumn (500 in autumn 1981). Arctic Redpoll: 2 birds showing characteristics of the race exlipes were at Landguard 18th Feb. into Mar. Because this species interbreeds with northern races of Redpoll and thus confusion ensues details have been sent to the British Birds Rarities Committee for their consideration and advice. Mealy Redpoll: The only bird recorded was at Lakenheath 8th Mar. Mar. Crossbill: A very good year for this species. In the Brecks reports were received from 12 sites indicating a total of at least 20 pairs. The largest flock was 30 at Brandon, 23rd Feb. Similarly, on the coast, a total of 10 sites supported at least 15 pairs. Flocks included 27, Dunwich, 3rd Jan. and 33, Rendlesham, 12th Mar. Scarlet Rosefinch: A first summer male in full song at Lakenheath 11th June (AHJH, JK). This is the 2nd county record. Hawfinch: The year's highlight was the discovery of 20 pairs at a new locality. Overall, reports of this elusive finch were received from 10 coastal, 1 central and 5 Breck localities. There must be several undiscovered sites for this species in Suffolk particularly in the central region of the county. Lapland Bunting: One flew over Felixstowe Ferry 28th Nov. and another was at Covehithe, 18th Dec. Snow Bunting: Birds were noted in the first winter period up to 25th Mar. at 9 sites. Sightings included 50, Covehithe, 9th Jan., 30, Landguard, 1st March, 22, Kessingland, 17th Jan. and 12 beside the Orwell at Levington, 22nd Feb. The first autumn birds were at Walberswick 15th Oct. and Oulton Broad, 18th Oct. 60 had gathered at Walberswick by 6th Nov.; elsewhere there were 30, Benacre, 11th Dec., 24, Kessingland, 2nd Nov., 22, Covehithe, 21st Dec. and 20, Felixstowe Ferry, 6th Nov. Away from the coast, one was at Alton Water, 4th Dec. 41


Yellowhammer

Yellowhammer: The largest winter flock was 200, Iken, 31st Jan. 45 breeding pairs were located at Minsmere. An aberrant individual was closely watched at Easton Bavents, 3rd Aug.; it had a clear yellow head and breast' which lacked any dark markings and there was a white patch on the nape. Reed Bunting: 16 flew south at Landguard in Oct. Corn Bunting: An interesting year for this curiously distributed species. In the favoured south-east corner of the county there were singing males at Brightwell, Chelmondiston, Felixstowe, Levington, Martlesham, Shotley (2), Sutton (2), Trimley and Wherstead. Reports in recent years from the Lowestoft area have only been from Carlton Colville; in 1982, as well as 2 pairs at this latter site, there were also singing males at Gisleham and Mutford. Away from the coast, up to 6 pairs were in the Sudbury/Bures/Assington area, and in the northwest reports were received from Lakenheath and Livermere. Interesting isolated breeding season sightings were at Risby (4 singing males, 3rd June) and Stowmarket. The largest winter gatherings were of 25, Trimley Marshes, Jan./Feb. and 20, Levington, 28th Mar. 6 were on Havergate Island, 22nd Sept. The following species not mentioned in the Systematic List were also recorded in 1982 (all are breeding species); Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Common Gull, Stock Dove, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Rook, and Carrion Crow. APPENDIX I — CATEGORY D SPECIES Wood Duck: The male first noted in the Sudbury area, 7th Nov.; 1981, remained there until at least mid 1982. Ring-necked Parakeet: 2, Aldham throughout year. Covehithe 4th Jan. Minsmere 6th Jan. and 9th Nov. Walberswick 19th Jan. Benacre 6th Sept. APPENDIX II — ESCAPED ZOOLOGICAL SPECIMENS Flamingo: One of the race chilensis at Minsmere 7th Mar. Black Swan: Two on the Deben 28th Feb. Black-necked Swan: One Seafield Bay, River Stour 21st Jan. Bar-headed Goose: Singles at Minsmere throughout the year, Benacre 7th-13th Sept., and Livermere 19th Jan. 42


Australian Shelduck: Pair Ixworth 31st Jan. Chiloe Wigeon: A male at Alton Water throughout the year and a pair at Trimley Lake 20th Sept. Marbled Teal: A bird shot at Reydon on 13th Nov. had been close ringed. Bahama Pintail: One at Landguard 30th Sept. Red-rumped Parrot: One Ipswich 9th Sept. Budgerigar: Singles at Ipswich Uth Feb., Melton 20th Feb., Gunton 19th July and 31st Dec. and Landguard 4th Sept. Peach-faced Lovebird: One Ipswich 9th Sept. Alexandrine Parakeet: One Gunton 26th Feb.-6th June and again 8th Nov. Canary: One Landguard 10th-16th Oct. Yellow-fronted Canary: One Gunton 12th-16th Sept. Rufous Treepie: One Tuddenham/Rushmere St. Andrew 30th June-8th July. APPENDIX III — ADDITION TO 1960 REPORT Waxwing: 3 Beccles 2nd-4th Jan. APPENDIX IV — ADDITION TO 1961 REPORT Green Sandpiper: 15 Beccles Sewage Farm 17th Mar. APPENDIX V — ADDITION TO 1966 REPORT Grey Phalarope: One off Ness Point on an unspecified date in Nov. APPENDIX VI — CORRECTION TO 1972 REPORT Purple Heron: The bird at Minsmere was in fact a first summer individual and was present from 24th July (AHD, KEV). APPENDIX VII — ADDITION TO 1973 REPORT Skua sp.: One probably Arctic in Ipswich Docks 8th Dec. (MM, PM). Redwing: One singing West Stow 21st-23rd May. APPENDIX VIII — ADDITION TO 1975 REPORT Redwing: One singing Dunwich 22nd May (FWD). APPENDIX IX — ADDITION TO 1978 REPORT Osprey: Singles at Oulton Broad 7th May and 10th July. APPENDIX X — ADDITIONS TO 1979 REPORT Great Crested Grebe: clOO River Orwell mid-Jan. Buzzard: 2 Oulton Broad 14th April. APPENDIX XI — ADDITIONS TO 1980 REPORT Little Bittern: A pair was present at Minsmere in June/July and constituted the first potential breeding pair in Suffolk this century (ZB, FKC, JS et al). Icterine Warbler: A 'hippolais' warbler in full song at Walberswick 14th May was almost certainly Icterine but the Records Committee feel that a slight element of doubt does exist and Melodious cannot definitely be excluded (SP et at). Firecrest: One Oulton Broad 8th Feb. APPENDIX XII — ADDITIONS/CORRECTIONS TO 1981 REPORT Slavonian Grebe: One in f.s.p. Oulton Broad 2nd May. This is the first record of this species in Suffolk in May although one was at Livermere on 1st June 1969. 43


Spoonbill: 3 adults and a juv. Benacre 26th Aug. Barnacle Goose: 4 Brantham 1st Mar. were presumably part of the large immigration at that time. Egyptian Goose: Two pairs bred at Gunton. Oriental Pratincole: One Dunwich 22nd June-8th July. This is the first record for the British Isles, although its status is still to be determined by the B.O.U. Records Committee. Caspian Tern: Amend to read '18th June and presumably the same bird 22nd Junen t h July'. Red-backed Shrike: Amend to read 'breeding was proved at 6 sites with about 17 juveniles being reared'. Hawfinch: A juv. Santon Downham 2nd July. EARLIEST AND LATEST DATES OF SUMMER MIGRANTS.

Date 28th Mar. 24th Mar. 3rd April 14th May 6th April 3rd April 6th May 22nd April 19th Mar. 30th Mar. 21st April 2nd May 22nd April 10th April

ARRIVALS Locality Walberswick 'Breck' Sproughton Minsmere Havergate Minsmere Minsmere Long Melford Havergate Minsmere Shingle Street Lowestoft Mildenhall Minsmere

1st May 27th Mar. 27th Mar. 4th April 4th April 19th Mar. 14th April 16th Mar. 12th April 3rd April 19th Mar. 19th Mar. l i t h April 25th April 5th April 18th April 23rd April 11th April 24th April 23rd Mar. 27th April 20th Mar. 28th Mar. 30th April 18th April 21st May

Brantham/Alton Water Minsmere Elveden Walberswick/Holbrook Alton Water Minsmere Minsmere Lowestoft Hollesley Gunton Lowestoft Oulton Broad Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere/Thorpeness Holbrook Landguard Gunton Wolves Wood Landguard Ipswich Wherstead Snape Sutton Walberswick 'The Coast'

SPECIES Garganey Stone Curlew Little Ringed Plover Curlew Sandpiper Whimbrel Greenshank Wood Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Sandwich Tern Common Tern Little Tern Black Tern Turtle Dove Cuckoo Nightjar Swift Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail Nightingale Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Grasshopper Warbler Savi's Warbler Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Red-backed Shrike

Date 23rd Oct. 15th Sept. 28th Sept. 7th Nov. 10th Oct. 23rd Oct. 15 th Oct. 26th Oct. 19th Oct. 7th Nov. 19th Sept. 6th Oct. 15th Oct. 5th Sept. 6th Sept. 11th Nov. 2nd Dec. 14th Dec. 14th Dec. 29th Sept. 17th Oct. 3rd Sept. 22nd Nov. 23rd Oct. 23rd Oct. 15th Nov. 24th Oct.

7th Oct. Minsmere 24th Oct. Landguard 30th Sept. Landguard 14th Oct. Landguard 23rd Oct. Landguard 22nd Nov. Landguard 1st Sept. Landguard 27th Nov. Landguard/Thorpeness 16th Nov. Felixstowe* 16th Oct. Lowestoft 7th Nov. Landguard* 7th Sept. Benacre

•Denotes the latest date recorded in Suffolk.

44

DEPARTURES Locality Benacre* 'Breck' Minsmere Lowestoft Trimley Minsmere/Walberswick Minsmere Reydon Landguard Minsmere Landguard Minsmere Landguard Benacre Landguard Gunton Sizewell Dunwich Dunwich Cavenham Falkenham Landguard Benacre Ipswich/Landguard Minsmere/Landguard Landguard Minsmere


Corrections and Additions to 'Early and Late dates for Summer and Passage Migrants in Suffolk 1950-1980' Suffolk Birds 1981: 35-47 by P. W . Murphy Swift: One at Lowestoft on 6th Jan. 1966 constituted at the time Britain's only record of this species in that month. It is intriguing to wonder how this bird had survived and where it had been before its discovery. Nightingale: The latest date is 20th Dec. 1958 at Long Melford and not 12th Dec. as previously stated. Ring Ouzel: One at Icklingham 14th Mar. 1976 is the earliest ever recorded in Suffolk. This reduces the average first arrival date between 1950-80 to 11th April and between 1970-80 to 3rd April. Another Mar. record included in the original calculations occurred in 1977 when one was at Walberswick on 27th.

Pied Wagtail

45


Ringing Report With the closure of Nacton Decoy as a ringing station and the fact that Don Revett has left the area no recoveries of birds ringed at that site are available for this item. I would once again ask everyone to submit détails of ringing recoveries. Older recoveries have been discovered by Consulting the most recent Annual Ringing Report of the British Trust for Ornithology. — Editor. Codes —1 Pullus (nestling or chick). 2 Full grown, year of hatching unknown. 3 Hatched during calendar year of ringing. 4 Hatched before calendar year of ringing — exact year unknown. 5 Hatched during previous calendar year. 6 Hatched before previous calendar year — exact year unknown. Sex — M is maie, F is female. Manner of recovery — V Caught or trapped, released with ring. + Shot or killed by man. X Found dead or dying. CR Wearing coloured ring. 0 Caught or trapped alive and not released, or released but with ring removed. Tufted Duck IM 29.7.79 + 15.4.81 IM 6.8.79 + 23.9.82 1 11.7.81 + 31.1.82 6F 18.7.81 + 26.1.82

Hollesley. 52°3'N 1°26'E. Skarbarna, Maszewo, Szcezecin, Poland. 53°29'N 14°27'E. Hollesley. Lough Neagh, Nr. Toome, Antrim, N. Ireland. 54°43'N 6°27'W. Hollesley. Feakle, Clare, Eire. 52°56'N 8°39'W. Hollesley. St. Sylvain D'Anjou, Maine-et-Loire, France. 47°31'N 0°28'W.

Avocet 3 25.9.81 X 22.10.81

Butley. 52°5'N 1°30'E. Curzon, Vendee, France. 46°27'N 1°18'W.

Ringed Plover 3 4.9.79 V 31.5.81

Butley. Tonsvik, (Troms), Norway. 69°45'N 19°10'E.

Dunlin 17.11.72 3 1.9.81 0 3 23.10.73 V 24.7.81 2 23.10.73 V 19.9.82 6F 7.1.78 V 15.5.82 4 46

2.11.79

Butley. 52°5'N 1°30'E. Terrington Marsh, Kings Lynn. 52°48'N 0°18'E. Butley. Ottenby, Oland, Sweden. 56°12'N 16°24'E. Butley. Terrington Marsh, Kings Lynn. Boyton. 52°4'N 1°29'E. Norderheverkoog, Vorland, Schleswig-Holstein, W. Germany. 54°25'N 8°48'E. Butley.


V 4F V

7.3.81 21.12.80 10.5.82

3 V

4.9.80 26.10.81

Heacham, Kings Lynn. 52°53'N 0°28'E. Boy ton. Nordstrand, Suederhafen, Nordfriesische Inseln, W. Germany. 54°30'N 8°53'E. Nesseby, Finmark, Norway. 70°9'N 28°52'E. Ramsholt. 52°2'N 1°23'E.

Black-headed Gull 3 26.4.76 Parhu, Estonia, U.S.S.R. 58°23'N 24°30'E. X 21.3.82 Alton Water, Holbrook. 51°59'N 1°9'E. 3 8.10.77 Westduinen, Den Haag, Zuid, Holland. 52°3'N 4°13'E. V 9.1.82 Ipswich. 52°4'N 1°10'E. 5 1.1.79 Ipswich. X 5.8.82 Vitikanpaa, Rovaniemi, Lappi, Finland. 66°32'N 25°44'E. 5 13.1.79 Ipswich. X 9.10.80 Nr. Pryazha, Karelia, U.S.S.R. 61°41'N 33°37'E. 1 9.6.81 Kleiner Binnensee, Schleswig-Holstein, W. Germany. 54°21'N 10°37'E. V 9.1.82 Ipswich. 4 20.12.81 Ipswich. V 28.3.82 'S-Graveland, Noord, Holland. 52°14'N 5°7'E. 3 28.12.81 Ipswich. X 11.5.82 Overklintern, Robertsfors, Vasterbotten, Sweden. 64°14'N 20°39'E. 6 10.1.82 Ipswich. ? 28.1.82 Leeuwarden, Friesland, Holland. 53°12'N 5°48'E. 5 10.1.82 Ipswich. V

30.10.82

Svaelland, Copenhagen, Denmark. 55°45'N 12°32'E.

Lesser Black-backed Gull 1 18.7.78 Porvoo, (Uusimaa), Finland. 60°12'N 25°59'E. ? 24.10.81 Orfordness. 52°05'N 1°35'E. This is the first British recovery of a Finnish-bred bird of this species. Kingfisher 3 26.7.81 Ditton, Kent. 51°18'N 0°27'E. X (21.8.81) Lakenheath. 5 2 ° 2 5 ' N 0 ° 3 1 ' E . Lesser Whitethroat 3 29.8.81 Rye Meads, Hoddosdon, Herts. 51°47'N 0°0'E. V 13.9.81 Hollesley. 52°3'N 1°26'E. Jackdaw 3 11.6.80 8.4.81 0

Yoxford. 52°16'N 1°30'E.

Rook 7 5.3.81 X 6.12.81 1 30.5.80 X 3.2.81

Rieselfelder, Braunschweig, W. Germany. 52°19'N 10°26'E. Wrentham. 52°23'N 1°40'E. Mindunai, Moletai, Lithuanian S.S.R. 55°13'N 25°37'E. Eriswell 52°23'N 0°32'E 47


sp

Report on Bird-Ringing at Landguard, Felixstowe, 1982 by J. 0 . Brinkley During 1982, only seven mist-netting sessions were held in the Landguard area. Six of these were on the bank at the northern end of the STNC Reserve, and one in the recently fenced off area of Landguard Fort. (Arrangements are now in hand for a more comprehensive collective ringing operation in this latter area.) A total of 117 birds were given British Trust for Ornithology rings. Some of these were recaptured on later occasions during the year, as were 20 other birds previously ringed in 1980 or 1981. One new species was added to the specific list in 1982; this was Spotted Flycatcher. 37 pulli (nestlings or precocial chicks) were ringed in the Reserve area or in the adjacent Harwich Harbour Conservancy Board area. This total includes 14 Little Tern chicks from a total of 13 or 14 nests in 1982; all but one of which nests were in the HHCB area this year. The grand total of birds ringed since 1978 now exceeds 1000 for pulli and fullgrown birds combined; over 100 of these being pulli. These make a substantial start for the embryo Landguard Ringing Group being formed by interested local ornithologists. No long distance recoveries have yet been reported for Landguardringed birds, but one of the numerous local Dunnocks was apparently sufficiently adventurous to transfer to the Essex side of the Stour estuary, and became a road casualty at Parkeston. Once again I must express my thanks to the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation for permission to operate on the Reserve. Also to John Rowlands at the HHCB Tide Observatory, and this year to fellow members of the Landguard Group.

48


Species:— Ringed Piover Little Tern Kingfisher Wryneck Skylark Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Pied Wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Black Redstart Redstart Stonechat Blackbird Song Thrush Sedge Warbier Reed Warbier Barred Warbier Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbier Blackcap Chiffchaff Willow Warbier Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Greenfinch Goldfinch Linnet Redpoll Reed Bunting

Bird-Ringing Totais at Landguard, 1982 1982 1982 Grand Total 1978-i Full-gro Full-grown Pulli Pulli — — 4 33 — — 14 26 — — — 1 — 1 — — — — — 9 — — 67 5 — — — 4 — — — 1 — — — 5 — — — 1 — — — 25 17 4 140 2 — — 19 3 — 2 — 3 — 22 3 6 — — — 11 — — — 1 54 4 14 6 — — 8 28 — — 2 1 — — 2 9 — — — 1 — — 2 1 — — 11 6 — — 2 10 — — — 6 — — 17 3 — — 31 10 — — — 4 — — — 1 — — 2 2 — — — 5 — — — 1 — — 77 2 — — 29 2 — 1 — 13 22 — — — — — — 8 — — 1 9 — — 7 86 — — — 53 25 185 13 13 — — — 4 5 — — —

Totais:—

117

37 154

971

102 1073


Newbourn Springs Ringing Report 1982 by J. 0 . Brinkley & B. Thompson 31 ringing sessions were held on the reserve during 1982, with at least one session in every month of the year. In total 552 new birds were ringed, including 23 pulii. A further 210 retraps were handled, and one control i.e. a bird ringed elsewhere. Two new species were ringed for the first time in 1982, Green Woodpecker and Sand Martin bringing the total number of species ringed on the reserve to 49. One late Chiffchaff was caught and ringed on the 4th of December. Although the total number of new birds ringed in 1982 was less than in 1981, the average number of birds caught per session increased slightly, also there were fewer netting sessions in 1982. This could point to an overall increase in the bird population on the reserve, but the figures are not statistically significant. TABLE 1. Comparison of birds caught and ringed in 1981 and 1982. No. No. of Mean no. Mean no. of birds of birds Total of birds sessions ringed ringed Retraps Controls caught et. 1981 33 579 17.5 189 0 768 23.2 1982 31 529 17.1 210 1 739 23.8 These figures exclude pulii. The effeets of the hard winter of 1981/1982 on the resident bird population are highlighted by the figures for the number of birds caught in the period beginnĂŹng of January to the end of March before any summer migrants had arrived on the reserve, being 33.6% less in 1982 than in the corresponding period of 1981. Also several locai recoveries (ringed birds found dead) were reported during the winter, ali of them presumed to have died from the cold. The one control handled in 1982 was a Bullfinch caught on the reserve in August, it had originally been ringed at Waldringfield earlier in the year. Some excellent retraps were handled in 1982, the following two tables show once again that some of our resident birds live quite long lives on the reserve, and that many summer migrants return each year with unerring accuracy to the reserve. The first Whitethroat and the iemale Garden warbler listed are of particular note; these two birds have been retrapped every summer since they were first ringed. TABLE 2. Resident birds retrapped in 1982. Species Treecreeper Treecreeper Long tailed tit Bullfinch 50

Age/Sex when ringed

Date Ringed

Date Retrapped

4 2 4 5M

5. 4.79 2.11.79 11. 4.79 5. 4.79

13. 3.82 29. 5.82 6. 3.82 6.11.82


Species

Age/Sex when ringed

Date Ringed

Date Relrapped

Robin 5F 5. 4.79 5. 6.82 Bluetit 5M 11.4.79 4.12.82 Song thrush 4M 12. 5.79 17. 4.82 Blackbird Pullus 22. 5.79 30.10.82 The last bird mentioned in this table is particularly pleasing; it is good to know that birds hatched on the reserve are surviving and thriving there.

TABLE 3. Summer migrants retrapped in 1982.

Species Whitethroat Whitethroat Whitethroat Blackcap Blackcap Blackcap Garden warbler Garden warbler Garden warbler Willow warbler Willow warbler

Age/Sex when ringed 4M 4M 5M 4M 5M 5M 4F 4M 4 4 3

Date Ringed 2. 14. 14. 12. 12. 6. 19. 1. 9. 11. 8.

6.79 8.80 6.81 7.80 7.80 6.81 5.79 6.79 5.81 4.81 8.81

Date Retrapped 8. 29. 5. 8. 1. 25. 5. 29. 29. 25. 25.

5.82 5.82 6.82 5.82 5.82 4.82 6.82 5.82 5.82 4.82 4.82

Ringing Total List 1982

Species Green sandpiper Woodcock Woodpigeon Cuckoo Kingfisher Green woodpecker Greater spotted woodpecker Lesser spotted woodpecker Sand martin House martin Swallow Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Blackbird Song thrush

Fully Grown

Pulii

Grand Total 1976-1982

1 1 — — — 1 1 1 1 — 1 44 58 32 6 88 26

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — 3 1

2 2 3 1 2 1 2 2 1 1 3 183 265 194 20 343 101 51


Species Redwing Reed warbler Lesser whitethroat Whitethroat Garden warbler Blackcap Chiffchaff Willow warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted flycatcher Long tailed tit Marsh tit Willow tit Coal tit Blue tit Great tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Jay Starling House sparrow Tree sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Linnet Siskin Redpoll Bullfinch Yellow hammer

Fully Grown 6 4 2 16 8 21 12 6 9 2 1 15 4

Pulli — — — — — — — — — — — — —

38 39 1 9 4 1 5 1 8

10 9

27 8 6 65 20 87 32 21 50 3 8 64 22 9 9 313 230 10 62 12 3 11 16 156 8 63 23 9 8 14 186 18

— — — — — — — —

9 6 1 —

1 36 3

— — — — — — —

Total

52

Grand Total 1976-1982

2699


Seabird Movement — September 5th, 1982 by S. H. Piotrowski Rarely d o Suffolk ornithologists get the opportunity to see large movements of sea-birds within their own county. We have no obvious points or promontories, and a relatively short length of coast-line, therefore we do not compare favourably with the more prolific sea-watching counties of Norfolk, Cornwall and Kent. Although our geographical position does little to enhance our situation, Ness Point, Lowestoft is the most easterly point in Britain and with favourable winds North-east Suffolk can be tremendously exciting. During the peak migration period the weather charts are studied and if the ideal conditions, of strong to gale-force, east to north-easterly winds are forecast, the pilgrimage to the coast is made. Alarm bells did not ring on 5th September as the forecast chart showed south-westerly winds predicted to be force 3-4. How wrong this prediction was to be. The cyclone had moved slightly northward to create a north-easterly air flow and had deepened considerably, and by mid-day gale warnings were issued stating that easterly gales of force 7-8 were imminent in sea-areas T h a m e s and Humber. By the time most local observers had noted this change it was rather late. However, the few stalwarts who were already stationed on the coast, were probably witnessing a record movement of sea-birds for the county. Reports were received f r o m Benacre to Minsmere and these include a significant passage of Gannets, with 86 in an hour off Covehithe being the major contribution to a day total of at least 200. Skuas were also plentiful with a minimum of 35 Arctic and three Great moving south off Minsmere, and a Long-tailed with lesser numbers of other species off Covehithe. Shearwaters are rare Cold front in Suffolk, so the 6 Manx and a single Great Shearwater were therefore very significant. Fig. 1 The latter being the first authentic record for the county. Reports indicate that the main passage occurred between 07.00 and 13.00 hrs. except for two Leach's Petrels which were not seen until mid-afternoon. Over 150 'sterna' terns passed south and these included six Arctic and six Little Terns. In the afternoon the visibility deteriorated as the sea-mist closed in to within 200 yards of the shore, and many observers have commented on how close the birds were passing. There was also a large movement of wildfowl and waders. Several groups of duck were seen but were too far out for positive identification. The waders however, were much closer, some passing directly overhead. One flock of at least 200 53


Bar-tailed Godwits were seen at Benacre, and 32 Knot flew south off Minsmere, but by far the most impressive count was a day total of 1,018 Grey Plover. Daylight ended with a terrifie thunderstorm accompanied by particularly vivid lightning. Although these storms were widespread the winds were extremely local; whilst North Suffolk and Norfolk had gale force winds, Landguard was reported as calm. Acknowledgements: I am grateful to the following observers for submitting their records for inclusion in this article: F. K. Cobb, G. J. Jobson, R. V. A. Marshall, D. W. Ockelton, A. R. J. Paine, J. R. Read, (RSPB (Minsmere)), M. T. Wright. Maps drawn and supplied by K. Blowers, weather correspondent for East Anglian Daily Times Co. Ltd.

Great Shearwater

Sea-Movement November 4th-7th, 1982 by S. H. Piotrowski From November 4th a large blocking anti-cyclone formed over Northern Europe which produced overcast conditions with fresh to strong south-easterly winds over England and the North Sea. This anti-cyclone remained stationary until November 7th when winds gusting to force 8 were recorded in the evening. Visibility was reported as poor on the 4th and 5th, and it was generally cold. 54


These conditions were ideal for observing migrating wildfowl and due to the strong winds, other sea-birds were forced to venture nearer to the coast. Very little recording was undertaken on the 4th, but from the 5th-7th a comprehensive study was conducted at several points along the Suffolk coastline from Lowestoft to Landguard Point. Thursday, November 4th. Except for a half-hour count of 600 Brent Geese, moving south off Felixstowe, no other figures have been submitted. However, fishermen at Kessingland reported a continual stream of 'black geese' flying close inshore all day, and it is most apparent that a significant passage of probably several thousand Brent Geese occurred. Friday, November 5th. Without doubt the C o u n t y ' s greatest recorded coastal movement of wildfowl occurred on this day, although this was highly exaggerated once these reports reached the media, which in turn is reflected in some observers notes. 'The sky was black with geese,' was how the event was reported on a local radio station. Throughout the daylight hours this movement was carefully monitored at Lowestoft Fish Laboratories by Dr. P. J. Dare and P. Walker. Their report stated that there was no sign of movement until about 09.45 when a skein of about 40 Brent Geese were seen close inshore, this being the initial m o v e m e n t which eventually produced a staggering day-total of 15,000. A similar total was achieved at Minsmere (14,000), but unfortunately no observations were carried out between the important times of 08.30-10.30 and 12.00-14.00. From the evidence received it seems very likely that many of these birds alighted for short periods to rest before continuing their journey. 700 were seen to land briefly at Boyton. This could well account for the high concentrations noted at Felixstowe, when 6,000 were counted in three-quarters of an hour at mid-day, although it could well be argued that as the birds progressed south they were forced closer towards the coast as they fought against the gale force winds. Some resting overnight would also account for higher totals in the south of the County. Other species of wildfowl recorded were 1788 Wigeon, 358 Pintail, 53 Shoveler, 99 Mallard, 292 Teal, 3 Scaup, 18 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard, 41 Goldeneye, 2 Longtailed Duck, 21 Velvet Scoter, 2212 Common Scoter, 50 Eider, 119 Red-breasted Merganser and 129 Shelduck, all flying south off Minsmere. There was also a significant movement of waders with 367 Lapwing, 243 Grey Plover, 89 Golden Plover, 11 Snipe, 89 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Redshank, 67 Knot, 1 Purple Sandpiper, and 4310 Dunlin again reported from Minsmere. There was some evidence of overland migration with 20 Pintail and 7 Golden Plover seen over Castle Hill housing estate, Ipswich. Single Arctic Skuas were seen off Felixstowe Ferry and Minsmere, and 7 Little Gulls passed offshore at the latter site.

55


Saturday, November 6th. Now with considerably more observers in the field, there was greater coverage, and therefore a more precise estimate could be obtained. Brent Geese were again the most prolific with at least 5,000 recorded. Again large resting flocks were seen, which moved on later in the day. These include a flock of 600 at Benacre amongst which a Great Skua was seen resting. The only inland movement noted involved 9 Brent Geese over Oulton Broad. The numbers of the other species of wildfowl were slightly less than the previous day, but included 320 Shelduck, 850 Wigeon, 41 Gadwall, 265 Teal, 40 Mallard, 2 Shoveler, 116 Pintail, 55 Pochard, 40 Tufted Duck, 30 Eider, 850 Common Scoter, 18 Velvet Scoter, 19 Goldeneye, 160 Red-breasted Merganser, 11 Goosander, a single male Long-tailed Duck, a Smew, a Whooper Swan, and 3 Grey Geese. Sea-birds included 10 Gannets, Fig. 3 1 Fulmar, 8 Kittiwakes, 95 Little Gulls, (plus 31 which remained at Sizewell all day), 2 Glaucous Gulls, 8GreatSkuas, 2 Arctic Skuas, 5 Red throated Divers, 1 Great Northern Diver and a Guillemot. Raptors moving south or seen to come in off the sea included 2 Short-eared Owls, 1 ring-tail Hen Harrier and a Goshawk. There was a small movement of waders comprising 34 Grey Plovers, 165 Lapwings, 110 Knot; 160 Dunlin, 24 Curlew, 4 Golden Plovers and single Purple Sandpiper, Redshank and Turnstone. Small numbers of passerines were observed including Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Greenfinch, but the most extraordinary record was of three Waxwings which were seen to fly in off the sea at Covehithe.

Sunday, November 7th. With the winds remaining in the south-east, but forecast as being stronger, dawn was greeted with a great deal of optimism and many observers were already in position hoping for a repeat of the previous days' totals. It turned out to be rather an anti-climax with much smaller numbers being recorded. Only 325 Brent Geese were noted but these included an almost complete albino, which later proved significant, as it was relocated in a flock of 40,000 Brent at Foulness, which may point to this locality being the gathering point for the birds seen migrating off our coast. Small numbers of Brent was also recorded well inland, with 40 seen over the Power Station and 20 over the Post House Hotel both at Ipswich. Wildfowl of other species were also well down with only 40 Mallard, 83 Teal, 103 Wigeon, 64 Shelduck, 3 Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 36 Common Scoter, 7 Scaup and 21 Eider, being reported. A small flock of 9 Bewick's Swans were seen to fly over Felixstowe Ferry. Waders had by now almost petered out with only 26 Dunlin, 3 Curlew, 4 Knot, and single Grey Plover, Turnstone and Oystercatcher being recorded. Little Gulls were still much in evidence with 28 being seen off Felixstowe. 2 Merlins were seen to fly south; one of these constituted Landguard Point's first record. Great Skuas were also present with singles being observed at Shingle Street, 56


Minsmere a n d L a n d g u a r d . A Grey Phalarope, another victim of the persistent gales was seen to fly south off Corton and a Razorbill was noted at Walberswick. Summary and Discussion. A southerly movement of wildfowl which consisted of at least 21,000 Brent Geese was observed from the Suffolk coast between November 4th-7th, 1982. Considerably higher totals have been submitted but most of them have been based on the ratio of birds per hour multiplied by the number of day-light hours in the day. Acknowledgements: I am grateful to the following for providing details for inclusion for this account: D. Archer, B. J. Brown, W. E. Cattermole, D. Croxson, R. E. Clarke, Dr. P. J. Dare, A . C. Easton, R. Hipkin, L. F. and R. J. Kellow, S. Ling, M. Windflôw C. Marsh, D. R. Moore, P. W. Murphy, D. W. Ockelton, J. Partridge, A. R. J. Paine, Cold front A A A Occlusion S. H . Piotrowski, J. Read, B. and S. SteeleFig. 4 Drew, RSPB (Minsmere), W. Urwin, P. Walker, C. S. Waller, R. B. Warren and M. T. Wright, Maps and weather details provided by K. Blowers, weather correspondent, East Anglian Daily Times Co. Ltd.

Graph showing the number of Brent Geese per hour passing south off Pakefield — Nov. 5th.

3,000 -

2,000 -

1,000

10

i 11

—i— 12

~i

1

r-

13

I 14

-i 15

r 16

G M T (Hours)

57


Red-backed

Shrike

Status Changes of Breeding Birds of the Walberswick Area 1973-1982 by C. S. Waller The Walberswick area is one of the best remaining examples of marshland and heathland to be found in Britain. These habitats combined with others, such as a variety of woodlands, coastal marsh, shore, tidal estuary and grazing marsh make it almost unique in its diversity and one of the main breeding areas for a number of species which are scarce or rare nationally. In 1973 David J. Pearson published in the transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists' Society, an excellent paper entitled 'Changes in the Status of Heath and Marshland Breeding Birds in the Walberswick area 1953-72'. This contribution is to update his paper with the available information for the following ten year period. The main factor of change has been the establishment of a National Nature Reserve over part of the area in 1972. This helped to improve protection, allowing species such as Marsh Harrier to recolonize and enabled a certain amount of money to be spent on management. Changes in Marshland A number of changes in the marshland area have been brought about by management. The rapid reed encroachment in Westwood Marsh, mentioned by Pearson, has not only been arrested but the open water area has been increased and shallow edges have been created and this has greatly improved the numbers of wading birds and dabbling ducks visiting and breeding in the area. Most of the existing dyke systems in the reed bed had not been cleaned out for many years and were silted to such a degree that they could be walked across. Many of these have now been dug out, which has helped a number of species such as Coot, Moorhen and CaĂąada Goose to increase and also allowed for the first time the establishment of diving ducks. This dyke-side habitat has also played an important part in the establishment of the Cetti's Warbler. 58


Scrub encroachment at the West end of the marsh was another major problem, particularly the invasion of sallow which helped dry out the area enabling other species such as Birch and Oak to establish. Fifty acres of this scrub was cut, cleared and burnt; a new bund with sluices was then built across the marsh to enable more water to be retained on this drying out area, creating more reed bed and reducing further scrub invasion. Sea-flooding in recent years has also been a serious and increasing problem, Westwood marsh reed bed being flooded on five occasions during the peri od. This has a devastating effect on the marsh flora and fauna, killing off many vertebrates such as frogs, toads, fresh water fish and small mammals such as Water Shrew, thus removing much of the food for Bitterns, Hérons and Harriers etc. Heathlands The heaths are the habitat which has been most affected during the period, a number of areas going under the plough to be lost forever, while the continuing decline in the rabbit population has allowed further encroachment of scrub, bracken and rough grassland. A great deal of work has been done to try and arrest and in some cases reverse this unfortunate succession. The main loss during the ten years has been that of the Red-backed Shrike, which could have been saved if something had been done sooner with the Suffolk heaths. During the early part of the period Shrikes actually increased, peaking to eleven pairs in 1977. This was due in part to sites which were especially cleared for Shrikes on the Walberswick Reserve, ail of which were occupied the following year. Sadly four or Five nest sites outside of our control were destroyed while others were allowed to grow up with coarse végétation and become unsuitable. The few remaining pairs mainly within the reserve area were unfortunately not enough to allow the population to thrive. A great deal has been written about the réduction in numbers of several species through climatic change. The evidence for this however is very difficult to find, especially with several continental and Southern species colonising Britain while nearly ali of the declining species are birds which feed on short grassland turf, such as Wheatear, Whinchat, Stone Curlew, Wryneck, Woodlark etc. Woodlands The main changes in the woodland have taken place in the Foresty Commission areas of Dunwich Forest, where the clearance of wind-blown trees and the start of a clear felling and re-planting programme has produced open areas suitable for birds such as Nightjars and Woodlarks, with the re-planting and scrub soon becoming suitable for various warblers and other species. Exceptionally strong storm-force winds on the night of 2nd January 1976 destroyed much woodland and forest in the area. A great deal of these losses have been replaced with small trees but it will obviously take many years for the hard woods to recover. Meadows and Sait Marshes Many of the meadow areas surrounding Walberswick have been affected by the lowering of the water table. This has been done by digging the dykes out to a greater depth. In January 1976 large areas of meadow were flooded by the sea, killing off the grassland for more than a year. This affected the numbers of waders such as Snipe, Redshank and Lapwing and also other species such as Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit. Changes have also taken place on the sait marsh area behind the sea wall, between Walberswick and Dunwich. Almost annual flooding in the early seventies 59


meant regular new shingle deposits. This provided nesting areas for many shore birds, particularly Little Terns. The bulldozing of the sea wall back into place provided new pools for wading birds. Notes on Breeding Birds 1973-82 The following account gives dĂŠtails of a number of breeding birds in the Walberswick area. Exact dĂŠtails are not available for ail species in every year, especially for the large tracts of land outside the reserves. Wigeon: Bred outside the reserve in 1973, which was the first county record. Two nested successfully on the Walberswick Reserve in 1976, and birds have been present with varying success each year since. Teal: Nests in variable numbers but about six to twelve broods are seen annually. Mallard: This species has increased to twenty or more pairs. Garganey: Birds have been present in the breeding season every year since 1973 in increasing numbers, but proof of breeding success has been difficult to obtain, although a pair were almost certainly successful in 1982. Pochard: Nesting was proved for the first time in 1982 when a pair successfully raised five young. Tufted Duck: Birds present in the breeding season since 1976, and now one or two pairs nest annually. Marsh Harrier: This species has made a remarkable recovery; after an absence of several years a pair nested in 1973, since which time they have bred successfully with up to three nests in the latter half of the period. Goshawk: A pair attempted to breed in the area in 1976 but failed and birds have not been present in the breeding season since. Sparrow Hawk: A recovery has been made by this species which was not noted in the breeding season until 1977; a pair nested in 1978 and one to three pairs have nested each year since. Kestrel: Exact figures are not available for this species but numbers appear to have been maintained. Moorhen: Numbers have increased to an estimated twenty to thirty pairs. Coot: The decrease reported by Pearson has been reversed with twelve to fifteen pairs now nesting. Oystercatcher: The status has been maintained with one or two pairs on the shore area and about eight pairs on the Blyth Estuary; these latter birds have had poor success in recent years due to high tide levels flooding their nests. Avocet: One or two pairs have nested on four occasions during the period but ail these attempts have failed. Stone Curlew: Has continued to decrease with one or two pairs attempting to nest annually during the period but by 1982 only a single bird was present. Ringed Piover: This species has decreased with less than ten pairs now nesting on the Walberswick to Dunwich shore area. This is almost certainly due to increased public pressure. Black-tailed Godwit: A pair nested in 1977 but sait flooding made the site unsuitable the following year. Although birds have been present and displayed on several occasions since no further nesting has taken place. Common Tern: A few pairs nest most years on the shore with up to a further ten pairs on the Blyth. Little Tern: Numbers have decreased on the shore area for reasons given in the introduction. Several pairs often nest successfully on the Blyth Estuary. Collared Dove: Has continued to increase. 60


Cuckoo: Evidence of annual fluctuation with fewer in the early years of the period, then increasing in the late seventies and early eighties. Barn Owl: About three pairs present throughout the period but nesting not proven annually. Little Owl: This former breeding bird has become very scarce with only three records of single birds, ali outside the nesting season. Long-eared Owl: Proven or attempted breeding in most years with one to three pairs. Short-eared Owl: One or two pairs present most years, but only one proven breeding attempt. Nightjar: Numbers have remained surprisingly stable during the period. (Table 1) Wryneck: Although this lost breeding species has little chance of making a comeback, birds have been heard singing in Aprii and May on two occasions during the period. Woodlark: This lost nesting species returned in 1979 and one or two pairs have nested each year since. Tree Pipit: Has continued to slowly decrease during the period. (Table 1) Yellow Wagtail: The regular heathland nesting pairs have completely disappeared, as have the birds which nested on the shore areas between Walberswick and Dunwich. A few pairs stili nest annually on the grazing marshes. Nightingale: During the first six years of the period the reduced numbers mentioned by Pearson remained stable and in the remaining four years numbers have encouragingly increased. Redstart: The decline reported by Pearson has levelled out and numbers have remained reasonably stable. (Table 1) Whinchat: This species now seems to be lost as a breeding bird. A pair have nested on three occasions during the period. (Table 1) Stonechat: This species has done well and the number of breeding pairs has increased. (Table 1) Wheatear: This lost species has returned to nest on several occasions in the latter part of the period with one to three pairs, although most of these attempts have failed for one reason or another. Cetti's Warbler: This invading species has made a remarkable colonisation of the area. A single pair in 1980 was followed by five birds holding territory in 1981 increasing to six in 1982. (Table 1) Grasshopper Warbler: Although exact figures are not available for this species it has certainly decreased drastically from the twenty five plus pairs mentioned by Pearson. Savi's Warbler: Sadly, although this species has maintained a foothold it has failed to increase its numbers. Whitethroat: Greatly reduced numbers in the early seventies, but a slow increase in breeding pairs towards the end of the period. Lesser Whitethroat: The usuai year to year fluctuations in numbers but also a steady overall decline. Wood Warbler: A pair bred in 1975 and males have been heard in the breeding season in 1974, 78 and 81, without any evidence of nesting. Firecrest: A male Firecrest bred with a female Goldcrest in 1974. See F. K. Cobb, British Birds, November 1976. A single bird was present in July 1977. Pied Flycatcher: A male held territory and sang for three weeks in May and June 1981. Bearded Tit: Annually fluctuâtes, especially after the effects of hard winters, probably varying between sixty to one hundred plus pairs. Willow Tit: Remains scarce with only one or two pairs nesting annually. 61


Golden Oriole: Individuate have been noted in the spring on five occasions 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1982; although these birds have sung for periods of one day to two weeks, they have always moved on with no evidence of attempted breeding. Red-backed Shrike: The total loss of this beautiful bird has been the saddest blow of the decade. Siskin: Occasionai birds seen in the breeding season, but no evidence of breeding. Redpoll: The dramatic increases reported by Pearson in the sixties, has been reversed with numbers declining again in the seventies. Crossbill: Almost certainly birds bred successfully in 1973 and 74 and are thought to have bred in other years, but there has been an obvious decline in numbers in the late seventies and early eighties. Hawfinch: Birds have been seen during the nesting season in 1974, 1979 and 1981, but there is no evidence of breeding. Corn Bunting: This former regular breeding bird has become very scarce, although a pair possibly bred in 1974 and birds had been noted in the breeding seasons in 1977 and 1978. The following list of species are those tabulated by Pearson, except for Grasshopper Warbler, for which complete and accurate figures were not available for the period. Cetti's Warbler, a new coloniser, has been added to replace it.

TABLE 1 Numbers of breeding pairs of selected species in the Walberswick area. 1973-82 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 Long-eared Owl Stone Curlew Nightjar Woodlark Whinchat Stonechat Redstart Cetti's Warbler Savi's Warbler Tree Pipit Red-backed Shrike

1 2 7

1 2 10

1 3-4 5

1 6 6

3 16 8

2 18 8

2 1 9 —

6 4 —

15 8

3 1 8

1 1 6-7

1 1 5

8 6

7 7

1 7 9

1 14 10

2 12 12

1 12 4

1 1 6 1 —

7 8 1 8 1

1 1 6 1 —

9 5 1 1 8 —

2 1 6 1 —

8 6 5 1 9 —

1 —

9 2 —

10 6 6 1 8 —

Conclusions The general avian picture has been a mixture of both losses and gains with the continued decline of the specialised heathland birds being the major loss, with the complete disappearance of Red-backed Shrike and Whinchat, along with the 62


heathland population of Yellow Wagtails, while Stone Curlew are also on the verge of being lost forever. The meagre heathland gains have been occasionai attempts by Wheatears to breed again, the establishment of a small nucleus of Woodlarks and an increase in the number of Stonechats. The scrubby woods and overgrown heathlands have had Tree Pipits and Redpolls decline in numbers. Bird gains in the marshland area have been Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Pochard, while Little Grebe and Marsh Harrier have made a welcome return, and several other duck species such as Gadwall and Shoveler have also increased their numbers. Of the specialised reedbed birds, Bittern and Bearded Tit numbers have remained reasonably stable, while the population of marshland nesting Grasshopper Warblers has decreased, but perhaps to some degree this has been balanced by the establishment of Cetti's Warbler, while odd pairs of Savi's Warbler stili give hope that some day they will firmly establish themselves. Other than a single attempt by Goshawk to nest and a more stable population of Sparrowhawks, the numbers of other species in the mature woodlands have changed very little. Changes in the meadow and shore areas have seen a single nesting record of Black-tailed Godwit and several breeding attempts by Avocets, while on the minus side Ringed Piover, Little Tern and Common Tern have decreased in numbers.

Little Egret

63


White-Crowned Black Wheatear

Descriptions of Unusual Species White-Crowned Black Wheatear at Kessingland — 2nd to 5th June 1983 by B. J. Brown Having just arrived at an R.S.P.B. local group meeting Andrew Easton and Ray Conner were told by Mr Bob Tarry, of Kessingland, that he had seen what he thought was a Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura) near a rubbish pit north of Benacre Sluice. They immediately phoned me and we rushed there to find the bird. This proved to be a simple exercise as it was in the exact spot Mr Tarry had indicated. To us the bird was obviously a Black Wheatear as it was black with white rump, under tail-coverts and white tail with a black centre. We noticed that it had one white feather slightly right of centre of the forehead, and white right to the tips of the outer tail feathers. Not knowing the significance of these markings at the time we were happy that we indeed had before us Britain's sixth record of Black Wheatear. It was not until we arrived home that the full import of the tail and head markings were revealed. A glance at Birds of Britain and Europe etc., by Heinzel et al., indicated that the bird was in fact a White-crowned (O. leucopyga) and not Black Wheatear which has a black terminal band to the tail similar to Common Wheatear (O. oenanthe), and would not be expected to show a white feather on the 64


head. This was all the more exciting as there are no previous records of the species in Britain. The only records north of its range, in fact, are of two in southern Spain on 28th May 1977, and singles in Cyprus on 17th March 1970, and Malta on April 18th 1972. I would imagine that individuals without white crowns could easily be overlooked as Black Wheatears in southern Europe etc. The bird was watched ali the following day but had disappeared on the 6th and was not seen again. The black parts of the plumage were tinged more or less brownish and the wings were noticeable brown with slightly paler edges to the feathers. This brownish tinge is believed to indicate immaturity. There is a great amount of spéculation as to what the presence or absence of the white crown indicates in this species. Some authorities state that birds with white crowns are adult maies, but it has been shown that breeding pairs are commonly seen where both sexes have ali black or all white crowns, or a mixture of both. The bird arrived during a period of extremely hot weather which originated in the Sahara. This would tend to support the likelihood of naturai vagrancy. The species ranges across North Africa from Algeria to Egypt and Ethiopia, and east to Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It is almost sedentary in arid desert areas and also around town and villages. We await a décision from the B.O.U. Records Committee as to its acceptance on to the British list.

Broad-billed Sandpiper at Minsmere by J. H. Grant On my arrivai at Minsmere's East Scrape hide at 13.40 hours on 3rd July Rob Hoccom enquired if I had seen Broad-billed Sandpiper before and whether I could confirm his suspicion that one was in a group of 6 Dunlin and a Little Stint feeding in shallow water about 100 yards out on the Scrape. I noted that the bird in question was slightly smaller than the accompanying Dunlin but obviously larger than the Little Stint. First impressions were of a 'dark above, white below' wader, completely lacking the chestnut tones of the Dunlins' upperparts and superficially recalling a Jack Snipe. It matched well with my recollections of the Portsmouth Broad-billed Sandpiper*, with its complex head pattern and long slightly down-curved bill. A most striking feature was its head pattern. A broad off-white supercilium reached well behind the eye and met in a thin point above the base of the bill. Above this was a very dark crown severed half way, from a point roughly above the eye to the back of the head — in effect making a double crown stripe. Through the eye was another dark line covering the lores and the upper part of the ear coverts. The rest of the face and nape was considerably lighter in tone, being a cold grey. This also extended down the neck and upper breast and down towards the mantle. On the mantle close dark streaking was noted. 65


The cold grey upper breast was noticeably streaked darker, the streaks and background colour ending abruptly in a pectoral division. The rest of the underparts were white with two irregular rows of dark streaks running along the flanks to a point well beyond the legs (this was a marked différence between this and the Portsmouth bird — the latter's flank streaks not appearing to extend so far along the bird). The scapulars and ali coverts appeared extremely dark but edged distinctly paler. Tertials, primaries and secondaries looked paler, and I suspected that they showed a washed-out brownish tinge. A very noticeable feature was two pairs of "braces" — whitish double lines running down the lower edge of the mantle and along the lower edge of the scapulars. At times the bird looked hunched-backed and pot-bellied, and the under-tail coverts were curiously angled, not tapering gradually as in many waders. The bill appeared long, as in Curlew Sandpiper, but with a noticeable drop ended look which was evident when the bird was head-on and in profile. Bill colour was dark horn and the legs were very dark grey, a shade paler than the Dunlins'. I personally only saw the bird in question for the three hours or so on which the above account is based. However I understand it was present until 6th July. I visited Minsmere again on 7th July but did not see the bird in question. I therefore think it is safe to say it stayed for four days. *This relates to a Broad-billed Sandpiper that John saw at Portsmouth

66

on 25th May 1980. — Editor.


Notices

Landguard Bird Observatory The Landguard Ringing Group began operations in February 1983 running the site on an observatory basis* and this was officially opened in September. This venture fills an important gap in the migration studies of birds on the East Coast. Before operations began at Landguard there was no major ringing effort between Holme in north-west Norfolk and Sandwich Bay in Kent. A full report of the events of the first year will appear in 'Suffolk Birds 1983'. To support this worthwhile work members of the public are invited to become 'Friends of Landguard'. In return for a minimum annual subscription of ÂŁ2.00 an open day will be held each year for 'Friends' and subscribers will be sent periodical bulletins containing details of all observations and cumulative ringing totals. To apply contact: Alan Paine, 22 Spriteshall Lane, Felixstowe, Suffolk, IP 11 9QY *Landguard is not yet officially recognized as an observatory by the Ringing Office of The British Trust for Ornithology.

Request for Specimens Ipswich Museum are currently building up a collection of study skins and urgently require dead birds of any species found in good condition. They should be no longer than two days dead (if they smell, decomposition has started and therefore cannot be skinned). Any birds found should be reported to Howard Mendel (Ipswich 213761) who will arrange for collection if required. Also anyone who has skins in their possession and wishes to donate these to the Museum's collection should contact the same number. Untreated carcases can be kept by sealing the fresh bird in a polythene bag and placing in a deep freeze. 67


Back Numbers Some back numbers of Suffolk Bird Report are available from: Howard Mendel at Ipswich Museum, High Street, Ipswich — Ipswich 213761.

How to get Suffolk Birds 'Suffolk Birds' is free to all members of 'The Suffolk Naturalists Society'. To join contact the Honorary Secretary c/o Ipswich Museum, High Street, Ipswich.

Joint Suffolk Naturalist's Society/Suffolk Ornithologist's Group Membership Joint membership is available of the Suffolk Naturalist's Society and the Suffolk Ornithologist's Group. The cost is £5.50, a saving of £1.00. Current members of both societies who are especially interested in ornithology will benefit by receiving the bulletins of the S.O.G., the Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalist's Society and the annual publication 'Suffolk Birds'. This also enables members of both groups to join each other at lectures, field meetings etc. To apply contact: Hon. Sec., Suffolk Nats. Soc., c / o The Museum, Ipswich, Suffolk. Tel: 213761

A. M. Gregory Esq., Hon. Sec., S.O.G., 1 Holly Road, Ipswich, Suffolk. Tel: 53816

Request for Articles etc. The Editor would be pleased to receive short notes, articles and black and white photographs relevant to Suffolk ornithology for future editions of 'Suffolk Birds'.

68


List of Contributors ABBOTT S. ALLEN C.B. ALLEN P. ALLPORT G. ANTRAM F. B. S. ARCHER D. M. ASKINS J. AUSTIN M. BABBS S. BAKEWELL D. N. BAMBER T. BANHAM N. BARKER T. R. BEAMISH D. G. BELL M. J. BIDDLE R. BLOOMFIELD L. T. BLOUNT T. BOTWRIGHT A. (ABo) BOWEN G. S. BOYLE W. J. A. BRIGGS R. S. BRINKLEY J. O. BROWN B. J. BUCKINGHAM D. BULL A. BURNELL S. J. BURNSIDE M. BUSHELL T. K. BUTCHER A. A. CANT R. G. H. CARR P. CATCHPOLE W. E. CATTERMOLE W. E. CAVANAGH M. CHADDER P. J. CHARLTON L. CHARLTON T. D. CLARKE R. E. CLEMENTS K. COBB A. E. COBB F. K. COOPER N. A. COX S. J. CROXSON D. CURTIS C. G. D. DARE P. J. DAVIES A. H. DA VIES M. DAWSON I. K. DEAN S. M. DINGLE BIRD CLUB DOUGHARTY F. W. DOUGLAS O. DRIVER B. C. DURELL D.

EATON J. C. EASTON A. C. ETHERIDGE P. EXLEY P. FAIRCH1LD A. J. FAIRCLOUGH K. FISHER C. FLAXMAN E. G. FRENCH F. J. GLADWIN T. W. GRANT J. H. GREEN A. A. GREGORY A. M. GRIMWOOD C. GRUNDY P. HAMBLING P. HARPER D. HARRIS J. C. HARROP A. H. J. HAWES L. W. HAYMAN P. V. HEATH P. J. HIPKIN R. HOCCOM R. J. HOLNESS P. (PHo) JEANES M. J. F. JOBSON G. J. JONES E. KEEBLE E. KELLOW L. F. KERRIGAN J. KIRTLAND C. A. E. LAST A. J. LAST W. A. LAWN M. R. LAWSON B. LEAVETT R. LEE H. LEGGE W. G. D. LING S. LONGHURST J. LOWE C. J. MACKLEY A. MALONE A. MARSH M. (MM) MARSHALL M. (MMa) MARSHALL R. V. A. MARTIN J. MAY M. MAYBURY G. W. MEO N.

MOORE D. J. MOORE D. R. MORLEY M. MURFITT R. C. MURPHY P. W. NAUNTON C. R. NEWTON P. NIXON M. L. NORNELL W. E. NORTH SUFFOLK WILDFOWLERS ASS. OCKLETON D. W. O'CONNELL F. G. ODELL D. J. ORWELL SPORTING & CONSERVATION CLl O'SULLIVAN J. M. PACKARD M. PAINE A. R. J. PALMER D. PARKER E. M. PARKER D. J. PARTRIDGE J. PATRICK E. W. PEARSON B. A. PEMBERTON J. E. L. PERC1VAL S. PETERS 1. PIOTROWSKI S. H. PITCHERS D. POWELL J. QUINN P. RAINCOCK J. L. RANNER B. READ J. R. RICHARDS G. RICHMOND W. K. RILEY D. A. RIVERS S. ROBERTSON J. J. ROBINSON T. ROLFE J. ROWLANDS I. RUFFLES C. P. S. R.S.P.B. SEAGO J. SMITH P. SMITH T. D. SNOXELL M. SORENSON J. STEELE-DREW B. STEELE-DREW S.


STEGGALL P. STILL R STOUR ESTUARY BIRD GROUP THE LATE EARL OF STRADBROKE SWINDIN R. SUFFOLK ORNITHOLOGISTS' GROUP SUFFOLK TRUST FOR NATURE CONSERVATION THOMPSON B. TINDALL S. C. TOMLINSON D. TRUBRIDGE M. TURNER J. TUTT D.

70

U.E.A. BIRD SOCIETY UNDERHILL A. URBANOWICZ T. URWIN W.

VINE A. E. VINICOMBE K.

WALKER P. WALLER C. S. WALSH D. F. WALTON R. WARREN R. B. WARREN R. G. WARREN R. V.

WATERS R. J. WEBB E. H. WESTCOTT A. WHALEY M. WHEELDON ADRIAN WHEELDON ALAN WHITE J. A. WHITEHEAD K. WILLIAMS M. A. WILLIS D. WILSON S. A. WOODARD R. G. (RGWo) WOOLNOUGH J. H. WOOLNOUGH R. J. WRIGHT M. T. YATES D. F.


__

_


SIMPSON S FLORA OF SUFFOLK Francis W. Simpson

S

I M P S O N ' S F L O R A OF S U F F O L K was verbally commissioned in 1968 by the late Earl of Cranbrook, past P r e s i d e n t of t h e S u f f o l k Naturalists' Society. The introduction includes chapters on climate, geology, main habitats and lists of rare and extinct species, as well as a comparison with the European F l o r a , a n d a h i s t o r y of Botanical Studies in Suffolk. Of special appeal is 'The Magic of the S u f f o l k F l o r a ' , which graphically and charmingly describes the botanical beauty of the Suffolk of yesteryear. This may leave young readers in

in a state of disbelief and the older generation yearning for bygone days. Conservation also features strongly and the author leaves his readers in no doubt as to who is responsible for the d i s a p p e a r a n c e of p r i m a r y habitats. There are colour photographs comprising some 280 species painstakingly taken by the author in Suffolk of both familiar and uncommon plants in their natural habitats.

Simpson's Flora of Suffolk is the culmination of years of intensive research and is an excellent reference book. Available from the Suffolk Naturalists' Society ÂŁ17.95 c /o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich, S u f f o l k

THE BIRDS OF SUFFOLK by W. H. Payn This 2nd Edition of the Birds of Suffolk has been entirely revised and rewritten to bring it up to date as the standard work for the county. The Systematic List covers in detail the past and present status of more than 330 species of which 126 breed regularly in the county. There are chapters on changes in the avifauna and on migration in Suffolk including an account of the "Great Fall" of 1965 which was largely centred on the Suffolk coast. A bird watcher's topographical guide and an analysis of the county list are also given. The illustrations include five colour plates and twenty-one in monochrome. 30% discount off the recommended price to ali purchasers of Suffolk Birds 1982 Ancient House Publishing Cobbold Street Ipswich Tel 57764

Price ÂŁ7.00


Suffolk Birds 1982  

Volume 32

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