Suffolk Birds 1983 Published by the Suffolk Naturalists' Society
Contents Editorial Review of the Year Systematic List Earliest/Latest Dates Table Ringing Report Landguard Bird Observatory Report Newbourn Springs Ringing Report Short Notes Descriptions of Unusual Species Red-breasted Goose at Falkenham by J. Levene Red-footed Falcon at Lakenheath by L. G. R. Evans Wilson's Phalarope at Minsmere by D. N. Bakewell Notices List of Contributors
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SUFFOLK BIRDS 1983
Editor D. R. MOORE assisted by The County Records Committee R. HOBLYN, M. J. F. JEANES, G. J. JOBSON, P. W. MURPHY, S. H. PIOTROWSKI, J. SORENSEN, C. S. WALLER, R. WALTON and R. B. WARREN
Published by The Suffolk Naturalists' Society April 1985 Printed by Creasey Flood Limited, Tower Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk
Editorial Change Of Recorder. The County Recorder from 1st January 1985 will be R. B. Warren, whose address is 103 Larchcroft Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 6PQ. As previously requested, will observers please send in records, preferably on a monthly basis, to Bob at the above address. 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, Rough-legged 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 Yellow-browed Warblers; Redbreasted 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, and 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. As already indicated, Bob Warren assumes the role of County Recorder but Derek Moore will continue as Editor of Suffolk Birds and Chairman of the Records Committee. Acknowledgements. Thanks are due again to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Suffolk Ornithologists' Group and The Dingle Bird Club, who have provided notes from their logs. Once again the Editor would like to personally thank Philip Murphy, who - despite a period of prolonged illness - has been largely responsible for producing the bulk of this report. Special thanks also to the contributors who assisted with the Systematic List: Wildfowl - Steve Piotrowski, Waders - John Grant, Skuas to Auks - Brian Brown, Pigeons to Woodpeckers - David Walsh, and Passerines - Philip Murphy. Thanks are also due to Mike Parker, Nicholas Pike, Dave Bakewell and Craig Robson for the vignettes, John Kerr (EADT) and David Tomlinson for the photographs and to Eddie Keeble for the cover illustration. Finally, the usual thanks to all contributors who have made this report possible. Personal note from the Editor. The Editor wishes to apologise to everyone for the delay in publishing this edition of Suffolk Birds. The only excuses he can offer are the increases in personal commitment elsewhere, e.g. Landguard Bird Observatory, Felixstowe Dock Extension Protest and, more recently, his full-time appointment as Director of the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation. The change in recorder already mentioned should ensure publication of the 1984 Report before the end of this year. 3
Review of the Year Winter Birds. The rapid increase.in the number of Red-throated Divers off the Suffolk coast that commenced in late 1982 continued into 1983, peaking at a new county record total of 977 off Sizewell in early January. Rather surprisingly, only seven Black-throated Divers were reported and, for the first time since 1970, no Great Northern Divers. The sprat shoals that are considered to have attracted the divers were presumably also responsible for the presence of up to 100 Great Crested Grebes off the Minsmere-Dunwich area in late January. About 40 Hen Harriers were present in both winters. Three Rough-legged Buzzards were located during January-March but none were present during the second winter period. The winter population of Avocets in the Havergate area increased still further to about 200 in December. Equally notable were 1200 Black-tailed Godwits on the River Stour in Jan. Up to five Common Sandpipers were present in January-March and two in November-December, but the only Greenshank was, as in previous winters, on the lower Orwell estuary. Unusually for Suffolk, single Great and Pomarine Skuas were noted in January and the year's total of Iceland Gulls was four. In February, Suffolk's share of the largest recorded seabird 'wreck' in Britain was c. 2250 tide line corpses, the majority of which were auks. The estimated total of at least 300 Little Auks moving north on 29th October is another County record. Seventeen Blackcaps, eleven Chiffchaffs and six Firecrests were noted in the winter months. Hooded Crows, Great Grey Shrikes and Shore Larks were again conspicuous, solely by their scarcity. For the first time in Suffolk a wintering flock of Woodlarks was discovered. Breeding Species. It is encouraging to report that 1983 was generally favourable for Suffolk's scarcer breeding species. After much hesitation by the birds and anticipation by their observers, both Fulmar and Ruddy Duck bred successfully for the first time. Displaying pairs of Black-necked Grebes and Hen Harriers, a singing Serin and an oversummering Osprey offer hope for the future. Great Crested Grebes maintained their recent high numbers with 120 pairs but only 23 pairs of Little Grebes were reported. Bitterns increased to sixteen pairs but only two pairs of Garganey were found. If all the reports of raptors actually represented breeding pairs, then there were two pairs of Goshawks, 20 pairs of Sparrowhawks and five pairs of Hobbys. Fourteen juvenile Marsh Harriers were reared from four nests. Three singing Quails offer hope of successful breeding. Wader fortunes varied considerably; on the negative side only nine pairs of Snipe and seven pairs of Little Ringed Plovers were reported. Of the fifteen pairs of Stone Curlews, only two were in the coastal region. Fifteen pairs of Curlews were located in the Brecks, a pair of Blacktailed Godwits bred successfully and Ruff were present at two potential breeding sites. The Lowestoft Kittiwake colony increased still further to 89 pairs but all our breeding tern species declined compared with 1982. Nightjars continue to flourish on our heathlands - c. 100 pairs were reported without a complete census. The populations of both Barn and Little Owls would appear to be steady at present. Woodlarks increased dramatically to 59 pairs and other passerines that fared well 4
included Black Redstart, Cetti's Warbler, Firecrest and Bearded Tit. Whinchats and Red-backed Shrikes failed to improve on their disastrously low 1982 populations and only one pair of Savi's Warblers inhabited our coastal reedbeds. Golden Orioles decreased slightly at their main site but, as in 1982, they were present at another potential breeding locality.
Vagrants and scarce Passage Migrants. The only addition to the county list in 1983, an adult Red-breasted Goose, quite literally led many would-be observers. on a wild goose chase between the Deben and Stour estuaries from llth December onwards into 1984. Although 1983 WĂŽIS generally an excellent year for scarce species in Suffolk, the only other national rarities were Little Egret (1 or 2), Green-winged Teal, Red-footed Falcon and Wilson's Phalarope. During the much-publicised Jay immigration in the autumn at least 150 were noted on the coast. Equally unusual was the Swift at Beccles during 16th-18th March.. Scarce migrants included Sooty Shearwater (8), Manx Shearwater (12), Storm Petrel (2), Purple HĂŠron (4), White Stork (2), Spoonbill (c. 18), Red Kite (3), Montagu's Harrier (2), Osprey (14), Peregrine (3), Spotted Crake (1 or 2), Red-crested Pochard (4), Ferruginous Duck (2), Kentish Piover (4), Dotterei, Pectoral Sandpiper (c. 6), Red-necked Phalarope (2), Sabine's Gull, Roseate Tern (3), Black Guillemot, Hoopoe (3), Wryneck (11), Richard's Pipit (2), Tawny Pipit, Bluethroat (3), Icterine Warbler (3), Melodious Warbler, Barred Warbler (3), Firecrest (75), Red-breasted Flycatcher, Golden Oriole (4), and Ortolan Bunting. The County List.
Up to and including 1983, the County List stands at 339 species. This total now includes White-crowned Black Wheatear (Kessingland, June 1982) which has been accorded Category A status by the B.O.U. Records Committee.
Great Crested Grebe 5
Red-necked Grebe The order used is that of the 'British Birds' list of 'The Birds of the Western Palearctic*. Red-throated Diver: In recent years numbers of this species have greatly increased off the Suffolk coast particularly between Dec. and Feb. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at Lowestoft have confirmed that large concentrations of sprats are found off the East Anglian coast at this time and this is a recent trend. Formerly the sprat shoals assembled off the coast of North-East England. It is therefore perhaps not so surprising that observations revealed 977 moving south off Sizewell 9th Jan. in 1 Vi hours (CAEK); this is a record count for Suffolk. Other large groups noted were c. 100 Felixstowe Ferry 2nd Jan., 160 Covehithe 9th Jan. and 420 Dunwich/Sizewell 8th Jan. and 673 in three hours at the same site, 10th Jan. There were numerous other sightings of smaller groups at coastal sites with the last bird of the winter noted off Dunwich 14th May. Return passage was noted from late Oct. and observers reported an increase by late Dec. Away from the coast up to two were in the Orwell/Ipswich Docks area from 12th Feb-13th Mar. Black-throated Diver: All records received were: up to two off Dunwich/Minsmere 1st J a n . - 19th Feb., two on the sea, Aldeburgh 3rd Mar., one off Dunwich 7th Nov., one in Lowestoft harbour 26th Nov., and one Minsmere 3rd Dec. Little Grebe: Only 23 breeding pairs were reported. Notable wintering counts were: Lake Lothing - 20 25th Feb. Methersgate - 23 28th Nov. Ipswich Docks/Orwell - 17 13th Feb., 16 9th Nov. Alton Water - 17 5th Jan., 15 18th Dec. 6
Great Crested Grebe: Breeding season counts were not complete but at least 120 pairs attempted to nest. Significant non-breeding flocks were: Dunwich/Minsmere - c. 100 30th Jan. Alton Water - 142 26th Mar. and, coincidental^, 142 18th Dec. Holbrook Bay - 130 7th Jan. Red-necked Grebe: All records received were: Minsmere - One 16th Jan. and one in full summer plumage 19th April. Holbrook Bay - One 12th Dec. Landguard - One 16th Feb. Slavonian Grebe: A good showing as follows: Benacre - One 14th-23rd Feb. Minsmere - One 4th-5th Feb. Alton Water - Two 4th Jan.-16th Mar., then 4 until 26th Mar. when 2 were in summer plumage and stayed until 3rd April. One remained until 7th April. Black-necked Grebe: One present at one site 3rd April and a pair displaying there on 7th April. Fulmar:It is pleasing to report that, at last, this species nested for the first time in Suffolk in 1983; one pair reared at least one young. Also a pair showed interest at another site. Offshore birds were reported as usual between early spring and late autumn, but no significant numbers were noted. A blue-phase bird was found dead at Minsmere 14th Feb. Records of Fulmars inland from the immediate coast or offshore are becoming more regular and one was seen at Blythburgh on 30th June. Manx Shearwater: An above average year as follows: Gunton/Lowestoft - One 4th Sep., another or the same 5th Sep. Dunwich - One 23rd Sep. Minsmere - 2 flying north 12th Mar., one on the unusual date of 6th June, 2 8th Sep. and one 23rd Sep. Ipswich - One picked up 'wrecked' in Shamrock Avenue on 19th Sep. and later ringed and released at Landguard. Benacre - One 8th Sep. Aldringham - One picked up on the road 6th Sep. Sooty Shearwater: Also an above average year as follows: Ness Point - 3 flying south 5th Sep. (BJB). Landguard - 4 flying north 4th Sep. and a single 8th Sep. (LBO).
Storm Petrel: One storm driven individual picked up at Alstons Factory on the eastern outskirts of Ipswich 8th Feb. (REG) and another seen off Ness Point, Lowestoft, 3rd Sep. (JRR). Gannet: With more observers now using telescopes it is evident that this species can be seen off the Suffolk coast in most months. In fact birds were recorded in every month except December in 1983. The largest group was 40 off Thorpeness 11th Sep. J F M A M J J A S O N D 26 52 9 10 1 1 3 30 128 6 3 0 Cormorant: Three distinct winter roosts at Bures, Melton and the Sizewell offshore rigs are now well established. Counts were received from the last two sites as follows: Melton - 95 8th Jan., 65 6th Mar., 6 30th May and 42 20th Sep. Sizewell - 51 lst-9th Jan., 22 11th Aug. and 50 3rd Nov. Birds feeding on the River Orwell roost on derelict hulks in Bathside Bay between Parkeston and Harwich in Essex. Shag: All records received were: Benacre - One 1st June. Lowestoft - Two 9th Jan., adult 11th Sep. then 2 27th Sep., 4 3rd Oct., immature 24th-28th Oct. and again 3rd Dec. Landguard - One on the sea 14th Aug. Bittern: The County total of 16 pairs reported from 4 coastal sites is an increase of 5 or 6 pairs compared with the 1982 population. One at Flatford 12th Mar. was the only report away from the breeding sites.
Little Egret 8
Little Egret: What may have been the same bird was reported as follows: Minsmere - 8th May (JMC, SMD et al) and again 28th July (RSPB). Havergate Island - 4th-26th Aug. (RSPB). Orfordness - 3rd-9th Aug. (JP, AP et al). River Deben - 31st July and 30th Aug. (many obs.). Martlesham Creek - 2nd Sep. until at least 17th Sep. (many obs.). Grey Heron: Breeding colonies counted were: Brandon Fen - 17 nests. Euston - 11 nests. Minsmere - 7 nests. West Stow - 5 nests. Stoke-by-Nayland - 6 nests. North Cove - 16 nests. Please would observers volunteer to count heronries so that yearly comparisons can be made. Purple Heron: Singles at Walberswick 16th April, Minsmere 4th-11th June, Glemsford 2nd-7th Sep. (BAP), and a single at another site 13th June (DVB, PT). White Stork: The much watched bird from 1982 remained in an area centered on Frostenden/Reydon/South Cove until Dec. From the comparison of dates it is probable that a second individual was present, as follows: Sizewell - 1stâ€”8th Jan. Sudbourne - 16th Jan. Aldeburgh - 9th Jan., 12thâ€”19th Feb. - during this time it raided a garden pond for goldfish. Thorpeness - 25th to 26th Feb. Spoonbill: All records received were: Benacre - Two adults 30th May-2nd June. Walberswick - One 23rd April. Minsmere - Adult 22nd-28th April, one 4th May, 2 22nd-31st May, one 8th June-20th July, 4 15th-16th July, 3 2nd Sep. River Ore - One in flight 2nd Feb. (see Havergate). Havergate - One 11th Jan. and then wintered through to late Feb., 3 adults 4th Sep., 2 11th-12th Sep. Butley Creek - One 6th Sep. Rushmere Heath - One noted at this unusual locality on 7th Nov. Mute Swan: The B.T.O. national census carried out in 1983 will almost certainly confirm that this species is still decreasing at an alarming rate. Reflections of the decline can be seen in the wintering herds at Ipswich Docks and on the Stour estuary, where maximum counts reached 59 and 195 respectively. This compares with 215 at the Docks and 812 on the Stour estuary in 1960, a reduction of 75% at both sites. However, there has been no significant decrease in the Stour herd for the last five years: maxima recorded as follows: 1979-80(241); 1980-81 (292); 1981-82(195); 1982-83 (314). We have received no counts from the Aide herd which formerly numbered some 250 to 300 birds, nor from Lake Lothing which held 450 in January 1979. There was no total count for the Deben estuary as a whole, but a winter count of 42 at Falkenham Marshes and a moulting concentration of 75 at Martlesham Creek shows that this river is still a favoured locality. Bewick's Swan: The last from the first winter period were 60 flying high to the east over Oulton Broad, 28th Feb. Excluding these, reports were from 15 coastal and 1 inland localities with a maximum of up to 73 at Shipmeadow on 27th Feb. Autumn immigra9
tion was first noted at Minsmere when 22 arrived on Island Mere 30th Oct. From then numbers were lower than usual, with a maximum of 23 from 9 coastal sites by the end of the year. However, the regular inland flock at West Stow reached 30 and dispersal from there probably resulted in occurrences at Livermere and Icklingham Mill. Whooper Swan: The recent increase in records was maintained, with a single bird at Minsmere 6th Jan., 2 on the River Stour 16th Jan, 1 with Bewick's Swans at West Stow 19thâ€”21st Nov., 3 Boyton 31st Dec., 2 Blythburgh 3rd Dec., and 4 flying west over Easton Broad 12th Dec. Bean Goose: Formerly an irregular visitor to our county, but its current status is of an annual winter immigrant. In 1983 it was more numerous during the first winter period. All reports received are listed below: Benacre/Covehithe - 5 or 6 2nd-29th Jan, 2 11th Dec. to 1984. Falkenham/Felixstowe Ferry - 10 lst-24th Jan., one 11thâ€”13th Dec. Alton Water - 8 9th Jan. Sudboume - 10 1st-16th Jan. Boyton - 15 1st Jan, 2 18th Dec. Livermere - One 14th Feb. Blythburgh - 2 3rd Dec. Minsmere - 9 9th Dec and 4 28th Dec. Only one bird was sub-specifically identified i.e. the December Falkenham bird was considered to be a Western Bean Anser fabalis fabalis having a more orange bill (JHG). No Russian Beans Anser fabalis rossicus were identified this year. The Bean Geese which winter in Britain are normally fabalis, originating from Scandinavian breeding grounds, while rossicus predominate in the Netherlands. Would observers attempt to sub-specifically identify this species, when conditions allow, to assist in determining the origin of our birds. Pink-footed Goose: At the beginning of the year a group of up to 4 birds regularly commuted to and from a number of sites between Minsmere and Havergate and remained until 3rd April. Singles seen at Walberswick 14th April and Minsmere 14th May were probably from this flock, although the latter date suggests that the bird was either 'pricked' or an escape from a wildfowl collection. Similarly the origins of singles at Ixworth 27th Mar. and Livermere 1st Sep. must be considered with suspicion. Up to 2 birds were present in the Falkenham/Ramsholt area from mid-Dec. onwards and 5 were observed flying south off Felixstowe 29th Dec. White-fronted Goose: With both winter periods being mild, numbers were lower than normal, although during Jan. up to 80 were present at Falkenham, and 25 at Sudbourne. A skein of 30 flew north at Walberswick on the 2nd Jan. and at Livermere 3 of the Greenland race were present from the 4th Jan. to 20th Feb. The last from the first winter period was a single at Thorington Street Reservoir on 6th Mar. Single birds at Minsmere during May and 3 on 15th were probably escaped birds. So too was a single at Alton Water from 23rd Sep. This was later to be joined by another on 18th Dec. of equally dubious origin; both remained through to 1984. An interesting set of observations monitored the progress of a northward bound skein involving 24 on 30th Dec.; they were noted at Minsmere, over Benacre Broad and Oulton Broad. Grey-Lag Goose: Confirmed breeding records were obtained from Alton Water, a pair with 4 goslings, and Livermere, 2 pairs raising 9 young. Largest flocks reported were from Benacre and Covehithe Broads, 35; Minsmere, 99; and Alton Water, 25. Canada Goose: Recent reports of this species in Suffolk Birds may have given the impression that the population has increased dramatically over the last decade. Although there is no doubt that the flock sizes are much bigger, there is no evidence of a significant increase in the wintering population, and it is doubtful if we have more 10
breeding birds. This statement is based on the results of the census conducted in 1972 which revealed a wintering population of 1800 birds. In 1983 there were 1850; this total was derived by grouping together the sites between which the geese most obviously commute, producing seven main feeding areas. 1. North Suffolk coast - includes records from Kessingland, Benacre, Covehithe, Easton Broad, Cove Bottom, Reydon Marshes and Southwold. 2. South Suffolk coast - includes records from Minsmere, Eastbridge, Sizewell, Thorpeness, Aldeburgh, Sudbourne, Orfordness, Havergate Island and Boyton. 3. Deben/Stour estuaries - includes records from Felixstowe Ferry, Falkenham, Trimley Marshes and Lake, Shotley, Alton Water and Brantham.' 4. Gipping Valley - includes records from Needham Market, Great Blakenham, Bramford and Barham. 5. South Suffolk - includes records from Bradfield Combust, Long Melford, Sudbury, and Thorington Street Res. 6. Waveney Valley - includes records from Homersfield and Weybread Pits (no counts received from Redgrave). 7. Breckland - includes records from Livermere, Lackford Pits, West Stow and Cavenham. Site 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
J F M 350 60 36 155 250 241 108 64 — 105 132 160 185 90 — 27 900 800 57
M J J A S O N D 36 340 230 350 400 — 226 75 — — 250 200 200 200 175 180 140 — — — 40 — 179 300 170 123 106 — — — — 120 — 17 — 168 300 30 — 100 200 510 — 1053 600 970
Av. 244 192 157 114 171 164 806 1848
There is also some evidence of interchange between the grouped areas, i.e. Alton Water to the Gipping Valley, Brantham to Thorington Street Res. and Oulton Broad to Kessingland. The trend may well be towards large, highly mobile flocks, travelling the length and breadth of the county to feed and avoid disturbance. Is this possibly due to the loss of so many of our wet meadows? Barnacle Goose: The county's feral birds continue to flourish, most preferring the company of Canada Geese. Reports of up to six birds were received from the following localities: Aldeburgh, Thorpeness, Benacre, Minsmere, Barham, Livermere, West Stow, Kessingland, Lound, Bradfield Combust, Lower Holbrook, Weybread Pits, Alton Water, Lavenham, Bramford Pits, Sudbury, Havergate Island, Blythburgh and Southwold. Genuine wild birds were noted at Benacre from 12th Nov., when a flock of 33 birds was seen feeding in a carrot field. The numbers in this flock dwindled to 11 by the end of the month and to a single by the end of the year. The origins of 3 flying north off Lowestoft 29th Oct. remain a mystery, but, in view of the Benacre flock, may well have been wild. Brent Goose: The regular wintering flocks on the Deben, Orwell and Stour estuaries reached a peak of 2000 by the end of Feb. Movements between these estuaries were noted at Landguard throughout the winter months. The arrival of the Red-breasted Goose at Falkenham caused much excitement and frustration, but it did act as a colour marked bird enabling the movements of the flocks to be monitored more easily. During spring late departures were one flying north off Benacre 5th May, another north off Kessingland 31 st May, and another on the sea at Landguard 9th July. Return passage was noted off Landguard from 23rd Sep., and the highest day count, again at Landguard, was 16,000 11th Nov. A count of juveniles during the second winter 11
period confirmed the national picture of a very poor breeding season, with only 4% young in the wintering flocks. The only pale-bellied bird reported was in the Falkenham/Ramsholt area from 12th Dec. onwards. Red-breasted Goose: This small colourful Goose, the first for Suffolk, was remarkably difficult to locate amongst the Brent Goose flocks with which it associated. The bird was originally observed at Falkenham Marshes on 11th Dec. (CBA, JL et al), where, except for some brief excursions to Ramsholt, to the annoyance of those who stalked the geese that remained, it stayed until the 21st. It then followed the Brent flock south to the Orwell/Stour estuary complex and was seen in Holbrook Bay on the 28th and 29th, and at Levington on the last day of the year. It stayed into 1984, visiting more sites, and the last date recorded was 19th Feb. This was one of four located in Southern Britain at this time (see page 58). Egyptian Goose: Confirmed breeding records from Gunton, Somerleyton and Livermere and over-summering pairs at Aldeburgh/Thorpeness, Oulton Marshes, Kessingland, Lound and Lowestoft. Single birds were noted at Sizewell in May and Ixworth in July. Shelduck: An extremely good breeding season reported, the biggest creche being at Livermere where 97 ducklings were noted. Other confirmed breeding sites were West Stow, Cavenham Pits, Minsmere, Alton Water, Culford, Bury St. Edmunds, Sproughton Pits, Thorington Street Res., Bramford and Bourne Park. Highest coastal movement was 572 off Benacre, 12th Nov. Counts received were: Minsmere Stour Blyth Orwell Aide
J 91 2011 407 2065
F 26 1850 604 2610
M 130 1634 607 1684
O 45 560
N 150 1965
D 111 1450 —
Wigeon: With no hard weather influxes from the continent wintering numbers were lower than normal. Autumn passage was good with the highest totals recorded on 12th Nov.; 260 Easton Broad; 487 Landguard; and 200 Benacre - all birds moving south. 3 males over-summered at Minsmere. J Boyton/Havergate Minsmere Orwell Stour Blyth Alton Water Deben
500 1209 1477 420 —
F 1057 550 720 2531 978 —
500 128 1086 —
S 732 —
160 — —
O 1498 250 —
1059 70 80
N 501 250 —
D 514 426 1205 2055
Gadwall: Breeding reported from Eriswell, Brandon Fen (two prs.), Ixworth (ten prs.), Sudbury, Minsmere, Orfordness, Lakenheath, Framlingham Mere, Cavenham, West Stow, Benacre and Livermere. Minsmere Alton Water Benacre Havergate 12
J 100 40 24 —
F 86 24 6 —
M 82 12 11 47
S 25 — — —
O 40 8 10 16
N 29 10 8 18
D 51 23 50 —
Teal: No breeding pairs reported. Good southerly passage recorded 12th Nov. off Easton Broad (125) and Landguard (176). Orwell Minsmere Benacre Stour Alton Water Havergate
J 40 435 8 391
F 162 287 70 151
M 35 190 —
69 8 —
S 48 318 21
448 300 622
N 100 420 —
323 30 345
D 4 —
1000 401 62 750
The high Dec. totals for Benacre and Havergate were in keeping with reports nationally for that month. Green-winged Teal: An adult male of the Nearctic sub-species Carolinensisv/as present at Minsmere from 18th Mar.-16th April. This constitutes the seventh record for the county (DNB et al). Mallard: M N J F S O D — 354 Minsmere 355 220 218 126 193 — Orwell 501 356 239 250 108 361 — — Livermere 200 200 200 630 250 — — — — — Benacre 200 450 — — — — Havergate 410 343 372 — — — — — — Alton Water 189 — 40? 2485 Stour 2070 1006 1097 1425 A large number of captive bred Mallard are released every year for shooting purposes, particularly in the Ampton/Livermere area. Pintail: A pair over-summered at Minsmere which suggests probable breeding but this was not confirmed. Deben Minsmere Stour Orwell Alton Water Havergate Benacre
J 20 1 232 236
1 162 307
4 21 79 2
5 228 — —
73 30 —
1 113 24 —
Garganey: With the recent succession of wet springs the success of this species continued. Breeding was confirmed at two coastal sites, and an over-summering maie was at a third. Spring passage was recorded at Minsmere from 16th April and at Walberswick from the 17th. A poor autumn passage; the only records were from Minsmere, Havergate and Alton Water. Shoveler: Breeding was noted at Minsmere, Livermere, Walberswick, Sizewell, Orfordness and Havergate. Minsmere Alton Water Orwell Livermere Stour
J 100 17 24 10 6
F 52 46 27 —
M 69 —
O 84 25
N 70 68 7 88 7
D 60 113 10 55 13 13
Red-crested Pochard: A female visited Minsmere 3rd-6th Feb. A male was seen at Livermere 16th Mar. An eclipse male visited Benacre on 31st July and a female was noted at Alton Water from 10th- 16th Oct. Pochard: Breeding was confirmed at Minsmere, Framlingham Mere, Walberswick and Livermere. The two sites where significant numbers of passage or wintering ducks gathered are shown in the table below. In addition, 130 were recorded on the Blyth 16th Jan. and 40 Homersfield Pits 14th Jan. Alton Water West Stow
J 270 168
F 100 —
M 72 —
S 120 —
O — 190
N — 75
D 138 59
Ferruginous Duck: A female 27th Feb. and a male 5th-7th Mar. at Minsmere. A male at Framlingham Mere 12th-26th Mar. was joined by a female on 21st Mar. (SA, PM et al). It seems likely that these reports refer to only 2 birds. Tlifted Duck: Breeding was reported from Cavenham, Livermere, Holbrook Gardens, West Stow, Glemsford, Rodbridge, Worlington, Framlingham Mere, Orfordness, Needham Market, Icklingham, Depden, Barton Mills, Oulton Broad, Beccles Marshes, Sudbourne and Eriswell. Alton Water Benacre West Stow
J 250 109 30
F 220 300 282
D 141 40 —
The numbers of Tüfted Duck and Pochard at Alton Water continue to decrease, possibly due to disturbance by those pursuing sporting activities. Aythya Hybrid: One showing characteristics of both T\ifted Duck and Pochard at Livermere 3rd and 24th April, and another - species involved not specified - Thorington Street Reservoir, 16th Oct. Scaup: A female Benacre Broad 1st—16th Jan. 3, including a male in Ipswich Docks, were noted on the River Orwell 16th Jan. At Minsmere a pair were present 4th-16th Feb. Exceptional numbers at Alton Water with a total of 16 birds being recorded in Jan; 8 throughout Feb. and until 8th April, and 5 remained until 26th April. Early return birds were seen at Benacre; 2 males 20th July and 2 females 12th Aug. In Ipswich Docks 8 immatures were recorded lst-2nd Sep. and at Landguard a female was noted flying south on 11th Sep. At Alton Water at least 2 were present from 27th Aug. increasing to 6 by 26th Nov. The latter and a female at Benacre remained until the end of the year. Eider: The largest feeding flock during the first winter period was 37 off Dunwich cliffs, 8th Feb. Up to 18 were recorded from the Lowestoft/Benacre area throughout Jan. and until 29th April. 1 - 5 were reported from the Orwell Jan.-Feb. Other records of up to 3 birds were received from Aldeburgh, Minsmere and Walberswick. A flock of 18 on the sea off Landguard and singles at Havergate and Lowestoft all 8th May were probably part of a spring movement. However, an over-summering flock of up to 8 birds were noted off Lowestoft from 27th May, increasing to 13 by 13th July and 17 by 11th Sep. (Records of 3 at Walberswick 24th June and a single off Minsmere 21st June were probably part of this flock.) Coastal movements were noted from 20th Sep. to 1st Dec. with an exceptional passage in the period of 12th-14th Nov. Highest totals received were 120 south off Benacre 12th (during a 3-hour spell); 50 north off Gunton 13th and 15 and 20 north off Landguard 13th and 14th respectively. Otherwise second 14
winter period numbers were low, only 1 - 8 reported from 4 coastal localities. 1 Wilford Bridge, River Deben 3rd Dec., is an unusual record.
Long-tailed Duck Long-tailed Duck: An extremely good year. 1 - 3 Benacre throughout Jan. increasing to 6 in Feb. and 8 in Mar.; 7 of these remained until 7th May. At Minsmere a long staying individual was present from 1st Jan. to the late date of 18th May, but was joined by another on the former date. Two were noted in the Trimley Lake/Levington area from 2nd Jan.-2nd April and further up river another stayed in the Ipswich Docks/Woolverstone area from 1st Jan.-23rd Feb. Yet another was at Alton Water from 1st Jan.-8th Mar. During the second winter period one was recorded at Walberswick 6th Nov, 2 were seen on the River Orwell at Shotley during Nov. and another arrived at Alton Water 27th Dec. and stayed through to 1984. Common Scoter: The usual flock in Sole Bay topped 500 in early Jan., and 400 were still present in June. By Sep. the numbers had decreased to 105. A flock of 328 off Kessingland in Mar. as well as smaller groups off Benacre were almost certainly part of the main gathering. Spring and early autumn passage was light, but 126 passed north off Sizewell on 29th Oct. Numbers were well down in the second winter period, with 300 off Benacre 21st Nov. being the only three-figure flock. Velvet Scoter: Up to 2 among the Common Scoter flock in Sole Bay in early Jan. and 1 off Kessingland 15th Mar., were the only records for the first winter period. Spring passage was light with records only from Dunwich and Havergate both on 8th May. However, autumn passage was better and, as with other species, there was a good movement during the period of 12th-19th Nov. Records received were 7 south off Benacre and one south off Landguard, both 12th Nov. ; 2 north off Walberswick, 13th Nov.; and 3 south off Benacre, 19th Nov. Outside these dates a male was noted off Sizewell 10th Oct. and 6 moved north and another south off Pakefield 15th Dec. Goldeneye: The largest gatherings were in the south-east of the county with maximum counts of 60+ from Ipswich Docks to Woolverstone 6th Jan., 141 River Stour 13th Feb., 42 Alton Water 26th Mar. and 16 Waldringfield 9th Jan. In the Breck up to 6 birds were present at 4 sites Jan.-Mar. At Minsmere a displaying pair was noted 27th April and remained until 3rd May. A female remained at Alton Water until 8th May, but two males at Minsmere and a female at Havergate were present throughout the month. A female/immature in Ipswich docks, 9th July could have been an early return bird, but the main arrivals did not reach us until 27th Oct. A small coastal movement was noted 22nd Oct.-12th Nov. Smew: The only records were from Benacre: 2 'red-heads' 16th-27th Feb. and up to 3 'red-heads' from 15th Dec. to the end of the year. 15
Red-breasted Merganser: Up to 14 on River Orwell between Ipswich Docks and Trimley Jan. to Mar, 4 Havergate early Jan. to April, 6 Shingle Street 23rd Feb. and 2 Felixstowe Ferry Jan. to Mar. A male Minsmere 11th May and 20th June and 2 - 3 'redheads' to 2nd May. A small coastal movement was noted throughout Oct. to 20th Nov. ; the highest totals were on 12th Nov. when 78 passed south off Benacre and 18 off Landguard. Otherwise, a single River Ore 3rd Oct., 1 - 2 Minsmere lst-29th Oct., 1 - 5 Havergate 30th Nov.-28th Dec. and 12 Levington/Shotley early Dec. were the only records. Goosander: The relatively new waters of West Stow are fast becoming this species' most favoured locality; up to 11 were regularly seen there in Jan./Feb. and 15 in Nov./ Dec. Elsewhere single males were noted at Alton Water 7th Jan.-4th Feb. and at Barham Pits 23rd Jan. Single 'red-heads' were observed at Falkenham 9th Jan. and at Minsmere 12th—17th Feb. 5 females were present on the late date of 11th May at Minsmere. Unusually there was a small southerly passage in the autumn: 1 Landguard 18th Sep., 1 Minsmere 5th Oct. and 5 Benacre 12th Nov. A 'red-head' stayed at Alton Water from 7th Dec. to 1984 and 6 at Livermere, 13th—19th Nov. were probably part of the West Stow flock. Ruddy Duck: The County's first record of successful breeding took place at a Breckland site, where 9 ducklings were reared. A pair over-summered on the coast and almost certainly bred; the male was seen displaying on several occasions. Singles at Lackford Pits on several dates from 10th Sep. were probably from the Breckland breeding site. The only other report was of one at Minsmere 15th Nov. Red Kite: Reports were received as listed; they may refer to at least three birds: Benacre - One 12th Aug., 25th Aug., 29th Aug., 5th Sep., 7th Sep., 25th Sep. and 12th Oct. South Cove - One 18th Sep. and 26th Sep. Easton Broad - 30th Aug. and 15th Oct. Covehithe - One 17th Sep. Cove Bottom - One 23rd-25th Sep. Walberswick - One 1 lth-13th Sep., and 2 23rd Oct. Minsmere - One 1st Mar, 26th Nov., 4th Dec. and 10th Dec. Sizewell - One 26th Nov., 3rd Dec., 5th Dec. and 10th Dec. (see Minsmere). Marsh Harrier: This species continues to thrive in East Anglia. In Suffolk, 4 nests produced fourteen young and birds were noted at a further 3 potential sites. Up to 3 wintered in coastal areas whilst away from normal sites, singles were reported from Felixstowe Ferry 3rd Mar., Comard Mere 10th May., Holton 4th Sep. and Thetford Heath 27th April. Hen Harrier: Many records were received, mainly from Breckland and coastal localities, in both winters. Early in the year a max. of 38 were located at 4 roosts whereas in the second winter period 42 were found at 7 roosts. At Sudbourne a female with one white feather in the left wing was observed on 29th Dec. A pair displayed at one site in April and at another site a male was seen carrying nest material in Mar. This species is still spreading its breeding range both in the British Isles and on the Continent, and it may be that we could expect the Hen Harrier to nest in Suffolk in the near future. Montagu's Harrier: A male at Dunwich 16th—21st May and a female at Minsmere 15th June were the only reports. Goshawk: At least 2 pairs may have attempted to nest but apparently with no success. Elsewhere at least 4 were reported at the same number of sites. Sparrowhawk: The county breeding population continues to slowly increase, and at least 20 territories were reported. This species is much more numerous in winter, especially on the coastal belt. 16
Buzzard: A wide scattering of records with the emphasis on spring and autumn passage. In Mar./April reports of 20 birds were received from 6 sites and in late Sep. 9 were observed at 4 sites. At least 3 wintered on the coast in the early part of the year, and also one in the Breck. Rough-legged Buzzard: Many records were received from Jan. to April all referring to 2 birds on the coast; one between Walberswick and Sutton and another further north at Lound. Another bird spent the same period on the Elveden estate in Breckland. Osprey: As the nesting range of this species increases in Scotland and Scandinavia so passage records increase in Suffolk. All such reports were: Lound/Fritton Lake - At least one, possibly 2, 9th Sep.-4th Oct. Benacre - One 14th-29th May. Westleton/Minsmere - Singles 3rd-14th May, 2 together 9th May. One of the latter paid great attention to a pond of Koi Carp in Westleton. Singles again on 3rd Sep. and 15th Oct. Martlesham Creek - One 16th Sep. Nacton - One 14th Sep. Redgrave Fen - One 29th May. Lakenheath - One 30th May. King's Forest - One 8th Sep. Livermere - 2 29th Aug.-3rd Sep. then one until 6th Sep. Lackford/West Stow - One 27th-30th Aug. At least one frequented one area for most of the summer! Red-footed Falcon: A first summer male at Lakenheath 9 t h - l l t h July (LGRE, SW, SGW) is the 16th county record (see page 59). Merlin: In the first winter period 11 were reported from 8 coastal locations and up to 4 in the Brecks. From autumn until the end of the year 6 were noted at 4 coastal sites and 3 in the Elveden area. Hobby: Behaviour suggesting breeding was reported from five widespread sites, but apart from a full grown juvenile in late July no proof was forthcoming. Passage records were: Pakefield - Adult 10th Sep. Minsmere â€”One 4th Oct. Blaxhall - One 23rd Aug. Wherstead - One found dead 6th Sep. Market Weston - One 27th Aug. Knettishall Heath - One 20th Nov. This constitutes the latest ever in Suffolk (DNB). Peregrine: This species is now rarely recorded in Suffolk. A male Havergate 13th April, a juvenile female along the beach at Minsmere 25th July and another bird near the cliffs there on 30th Sep. are a good showing on recent years. Grey Partridge: In response to requests for reports of this fast diminishing species observations were received from 60 locations. Partridge Sp: Lowestoft/Gunton/Ellough - Many birds were observed from late April showing characteristics of Chukor or Chukor x Red-legged Partridge hybrids. These are increasingly being 'put down' for shooting purposes. Quail: A good year: Mutford - Male calling 28th July. Westleton - Male calling 4th-11th July. Felixstowe - One found dead on flat roof 15th June. The specimen is now in the Ipswich Museum. Shotley - Male calling 27th June - 4th July. 17
Golden Pheasant: Breck population described as widely but thinly distributed, favouring thicket-stage coniferous plantations in particular, but also occurs in broad-leaved and mixed woodland. Numbers fluctuate annually and in general seem to have decreased over the last decade. Pheasant: Albinos were reported from Walberswick, Sizewell, Foxhall, Stutton and Kirton. Water Rail: Very few reports of breeding birds, but one or two corpses found in unusual locations in winter suggested migrants. Many Water Rails found in the British Isles in winter come from Easern Europe. Spotted Crake: One, possibly 2, at Minsmere 20th Aug.-5th Oct (RSPB). Moorhen: Significant counts were 100 Alton Water 27th Feb., 118 Bury Golf Course 3rd Mar. and 130 Livermere 5th Nov. Coot: An increasing breeding species and winter visitor, occasionally in large numbers. Major counts were: River Orwell - 136 16th Jan., 139 13th Feb. Alton Water - 260 27th Feb., 772 18th Dec., 147 23rd Dec. Lackford/West Stow - 615 2nd Jan., 274 10th Feb., 355 23rd Feb. and 282 6th Nov. Oystercatcher: An impressive total of c. 75 pairs was reported from Orford Ness, but otherwise there were very few breeding records and the 6 pairs at 5 additional sites is surely not a complete picture. Of interest was a pair with two juveniles on Woodbridge Airfield in June. Orwell estuary counts gave rising totals of 346 in Jan., 444 in Feb. and 590 in Mar. Counts on the River Deben included 152 at Waldringfield in Jan. and 50+ at Falkenham in Feb., while on the River Stour the highest counts reported in the first winter period were 142 in Jan. and 177 in Feb. 144 were at Blythburgh in April, when there were 60 at Shingle Street. In June, 80 assembled at Havergate and in Sep. 150 were at Harkstead on the River Stour. In the second winter period an Orwell peak for the year came in December with 788 at Trimley Lake and Felixstowe Docks after numbers in the Trimley area had built up from 300 in Oct. and 373 in Nov. Avocet: At Minsmere 64 pairs produced a record 117 young whilst at Havergate 110 reared 57 young. A handful of pairs also nested at two other sites. Large numbers continued the recent practice of wintering as follows: Havergate Aide/Ore
J 105 75
F 152 â€”
M 143 â€”
N 149 50
D 204 50
Stone Curlew: A total of about 15 pairs were located at 9 Breckland sites and one coastal site. A bird calling at another coastal site could indicate an additional pair. The first record for the year was of one in Breckland on 13th Mar. and the last date reported was 26th Oct. when one was on the coast. There were no reports of late summer gatherings. This species, the symbol of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group and of the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation, is certainly among Suffolk's special birds. It is to be hoped that the RSPB's 1984 conservation campaign succeeds in halting the Stone Curlew's national decline. In Suffolk the fall in numbers has been most marked on the coastal belt where as recently as 1979, for example, there were 7 pairs. Little Ringed Plover: A single at Bury Beet Factory on 12th Mar. is Suffolk's earliest record for this species. A trend towards earlier arrival dates has been noted since the species first bred in Suffolk in 1972, but the previous earliest was 26th Mar. 1977. 18
The breeding success of the species in Suffolk has fluctuated since the first record of nesting. Only 7 pairs from 5 traditional breeding sites were reported which is considerably down on the 13 pairs from 7 sites in 1982. A pair was present at a coastal site in June but no reports of breeding there were received. Passage in spring was light and was mainly confined to the west of the county where about 10 birds were noted. No doubt some of these were birds prospecting potential breeding sites. Predictably, autumn passage was more marked with more coastal records, including a maximum of 9 at Minsmere on 30th July. Ringed Piover The coast and Breckland held the majority of the breeding pairs located, although 3 young were hatched in an asparagus field at Friston. A minimum of 32 pairs were reported but the true number was probably much higher and a BTO survey in 1984 will hopefully bring to light this species' true breeding status in the county. At Lowestoft in Aug./Sep. up to 17 roosted on top of wood storage sheds. Estuary counts were: J F M O N D — Orwell 230 213 204 93 513 Stour 122 80 52 38 169 114 Blyth 19 6 34 — — — Kentish Piover One at Havergate on the very early date of 15th Mar. and again on 23rd April. What was possibly the same bird was noted at Shingle Street 25th-26th April (Rog. B.). A female was observed at Benacre 12th—13th May and a male at Havergate 24th Aug. (RSPB). Dotterel: Only one was reported, but it was a particularly fine female at Dunwich 16th May. Its occurrence was no doubt associated with a brief period of strong winds from the east.
Golden Plover: During Jan./Feb. the largest flocks were c. 500 Trimley Marshes, 350 Gazeley, c. 300 Falkenham and Stratford St. Mary and 200 Sudbury and Long Melford. Spring passage peaked at Sudbury with 750 on 13th April. 370 were at Old Newton late Mar./early April and other large Mar. flocks were 250 Metfield, c. 200 Little Waldingfield, 150 Mellis, 130 Livermere, and 170 Assington. Aug. saw the start of the return passage and 27 of the Northern race were at Livermere 29th. The largest flocks in the second winter period were c. 1000 Risby 1st Nov. and 920 Ixworth mid-late Dec. The Falkenham flock built up in Dec. to 400, a figure equalled at Cowlinge. At Whepstead/Rede 325 were counted in Nov. when a flock of 283 was at Fressingfield. Flocks numbering 200 were reported from Acton, Mutford and Moulton. ' Grey Plover: A generally light spring passage peaked soon after mid-April, with Havergate's highest spring total of 25 recorded on 15th April and Minsmere's equivalent figure being 18, two days later. The passage continued into early June and 15 were noted at Minsmere on the 8th. Mid-summer individuals in their handsome breeding plumage were seen at several sites and autumn passage commenced in late July. An inland record of one at Bradfield Combust on 28th July was probably a straggler from this movement. A marked southerly passage off Landguard in September included 53 on 4th. Estuary Counts: J F M O N D — Orwell 199 177 120 53 378 Stour 1039 596 196 153 943 672 Blyth 4 — — — — 15 Lapwing: A strong exodus of birds which had wintered in Suffolk and further to the south was recorded in Feb. and Mar. More than 1000 flew NW over Alton Water in 4 hours on 26th Feb. Associated with this movement was a February build-up on our main estuaries with 782 on the Orwell and 576 on the Stour. 650 were counted on Shotley Marshes on 20th Feb. The first immigration of autumn was noted at Gunton on 14th June and some observers remarked on the species' abundance from Oct. to Dee. At Long Melford, 800 were counted on 4th Oct. and a similar number was at Foxhall on 12th Nov. A cold weather movement of 500 flying south was noted at Landguard on 1 Ith Dee. and the largest wintering flock was 1200 at Minsmere in Dee. Knot: In contrast to the large numbers on the Stour in Jan. and Feb. spring passage was light. The highest totals were 9 at Blythburgh on 14th April and up to 5 at Minsmere in May. Rather unusually one was at Bramford Pits 22nd and 23rd April. Autumn passage was stronger with maxima of 17 at Havergate 28th July, 16 Minsmere 26th July and an impressi ve 50 at Havergate lOth Sept. Estuary Counts: Orwell Stour
J 42 1429
F 181 1438
M 70 2
N 171 4
D 179 540
Sanderling: Lowestoft was again the favoured locality and a maximum of 28 were there on 30th Jan. Much smaller groups frequented other sites in the first winter period, including 7 on the Orwell on 13th Mar. and 5 at Walton Ferry on 1st Jan. Spring produced a sprinkling of migrant parties including nine at Minsmere on 29th 20
May. By mid-July return passage was under way. Up to 11 were at Minsmere 31st July and 9 there 3rd Aug. In the second winter period Lowestoft's numbers built up slowly with 11 at North Denes 26th Dec. The Orwell was more favoured than in the first winter period with 14 at Fagbury on 25th Dec. Little Stint: A single at Minsmere on 6th May was surprisingly the only spring record. Predictably, the autumn passage, which commenced with 1 or 2 at Minsmere on eight days in July, was more marked with immatures accounting for many of the records. The year's maximum of 25 was at Minsmere 17th Sep. and passage continued there, with a minor peak of 11 in October, until 23rd October. In addition to four other coastal sites where small numbers were located, Livermere played host to 2 25th-27th Aug., and one was at West Stow 16th Oct. Temminck's Stint: A return to this species' usual scarcity followed the excellent year reported in 1982. One was at Minsmere 16th-17th May and another was there 20th-24th July (RSPB). The third and final record for the year came from Livermere where one was seen 26th July (TB). Pectoral Sandpiper: A good showing for this Eastern Palearctic/Nearctic wader, although the precise number of birds involved is difficult to assess. The first sighting was one at Minsmere 11th Sep. (RSPB). Possibly the same bird was at Walberswick 14th Sep. (RGHC) and two were there 15th Sep. (CSW). A single was again at Walberswick 17th Sep. (GJJ). One spent 15 days at Minsmere from 3rd Oct. and two were there 8th-9th Oct. Two seen at Minsmere 1st Nov.-3rd Nov. (RSPB) are the latest ever recorded in Suffolk. Dunlin: A hardy band of diligent observers carry out co-ordinated wader counts for the BTO during the winter months and it is with this species that their task is most demanding. Their totals on the River Stour included 14,089 on 16th Jan. and 16,478 on 13th Feb. Counts on the same dates on the River Orwell, another important wintering area for the species, produced c. 4000 and 6070 respectively. The Blyth Estuary weighed in with 1152 on 16th Jan. In the second winter period River Orwell counts of note were 1200 at Fagbury - a prolific wader site threatened by the Felixstowe Docks expansion plan - on 20th Nov., c. 2000 at Nacton/Levington 7th Dec. and c. 4000 at Wherstead Strand on 21st Dec. Inland reports involved singles at Bury Street Factory, 12th Mar., Lackford Pits 8th May and Livermere 15th Aug. Curlew Sandpiper: Arrivals in spring were earlier than usual with singles at Minsmere 22nd April and 29th April, and the Blyth Estuary 2nd May. For the return passage, which was noted from early July, Minsmere was the favoured locality and numbers peaked there on 31st July when nine were recorded. A late individual was seen at Minsmere on 31st Oct. Purple Sandpiper: A winter day's birdwatching in Lowestoft would hardly be complete without respects being paid to this popular and confiding wader. It was at Lowestoft that 39 (a County record) were gathered on 8th Nov. Suffolk's first returning bird of the autumn was also noted there on 16th Aug. Away from the favoured weed covered concrete of the Lowestoft Ness Point area, to which these waders are so faithful, the species was reported from four sites, including a party of 11 at Pakefield on 28th Feb. and 6 at Minsmere on 14th Sep. Ruff: Eight spectacular males seen together in suitable breeding habitat at a coastal site on 5th May raised suspicions and hopes of at least attempted breeding. But alas, there was no proof, as is often the case with this species due to the female's secrecy, and we are left to hope for the best. The same could be said of another site where a single male was seen on 1st June. 21
Spring passage commenced in late March and included a single at Ixworth on 27th. Numbers built up during April when parties of 12 were at Blythburgh on 17th and 14 at Minsmere on 27th. Up to 11 were seen at the latter locality up to 14th May. Spring passage also included a single at Lakenheath on 7th April. The highest number recorded during the return passage was c. 20 at Minsmere in the first week of Sep. Inland autumn passage records were of two flying west at Lakenheath 3rd Aug. and a single at Old Newton 14thâ€”15th Sep. Jack Snipe: The most unusual record of this species involved a bird which frequented a garden lawn in Lowestoft during most of Dec. At a traditional Ipswich wintering site at least 2 were present in the first winter period but up to 9 were there in Dec. Other winter records, of 1 or 2, came from Alton Water, Butley, Gt. Saxham, Framlingham, Lackford Pits, Oulton Broad, Shingle Street, Snape, Sudbourne and Walton Ferry. In spring up to 2 were on Minsmere Scrape in April. Snipe: As with the previous species a garden proved to be a winter attraction - 2 visited flower beds in Aldeburgh during Dec. Only 9 potential breeding records were received. Is this simply under-recording or has the loss of our wet meadows reduced the Snipe population to this apparent sad level? The largest winter gatherings were unexceptional. Up to 150 were counted in both winters at Shotley Marshes, up to 140 were at Minsmere in Dec. and 50 were on the River Stour estuary when waders were being counted there for the B.T.O. Woodcock: A total of about 32 roding birds were reported from 15 localities but this is probably an incomplete picture. In common with previous years November immigration was noted and included a single in off the sea at Lowestoft on 11th and 5 arriving from the east at Landguard on 12th. Black-tailed Godwit: A pair of these splendid and spectacular waders raised 2 young on a coastal meadow. . . and that is good news indeed for this is certainly one species which has suffered in recent years at the hands of egg-collectors. On the River Stour, the principal Suffolk wintering area, an impressive gathering of 1200 on 16th Jan. was followed by 800 on 13th Feb. and c. 95 in Seafield Bay on 19th Mar. A marked April passage included 72 at Minsmere on 2nd, 101 River Aide 14th, 50 Havergate 19th and 25 flying north-east over Lowestoft on 22nd. Return passage commenced in July when numbers at Minsmere reached 76 during the month and 43 were at Havergate on 28th. The only count of any note received for the second winter period was 75 in Holbrook Bay on 6th Nov. Bar-tailed Godwit: Groups of 16 at Blythburgh on 16th Jan. and up to 15 at the end of Dec. at Havergate were notable winter gatherings, but otherwise it was an undistinguished year for the species. Spring passage was generally light with the highest counts being 20 at Minsmere on 24th April, 34 there on 1st May and 15 at Benacre Broad on 6th May. Autumn passage was only slightly more marked and the major counts were from Havergate where there were 20 on 26th July, 17 on 7th Aug. and 37 on 8th Sep. At Landguard 14 flew south on 18th Sep. In addition a sprinkling of singles in the second winter period were recorded at Woodbridge, Melton and Lowestoft. Whimbrel: The first report was of a single at Ramsholt on 29th Mar. It heralded an April passage which was exclusively coastal, save for 4 over Lackford Pits on 18th. The last 10 days of the month saw the main spring movement and counts included 30 at Havergate on 22nd, a day on which at least 20 flew north over Minsmere. In July the return passage was under way with up to 18 at Havergate during the month and 2 flew south over Sudbury on 19th when the high total of 60 was counted at 22
Shingle Street. Subsequent numbers were for the most part small, the highest reported counts being 30 Shingle Street 2nd and 3rd Aug., 27 at Minsmere on 17th Aug. and 20 flying south at Shingle Street the next day. Scattered records continued into Sep.; 7 were at Aldeburgh on 15th and the last report was of 2 flying south at Landguard on 18th. Curlew: A minimum of 15 pairs were located in the Brecks where the first birds were noted on 5th Mar. Elsewhere the main counts were as follows: River Stour - 452 16th Jan., 367 13th Feb., 356 18th Sep. River Orwell - 880 16th Jan, 593 13th Feb., 392 13th Mar., 210 5th Oct. Counts of passage birds were generally rather low, although at Havergate numbers included up to 125 in late July. 250 were there on 11th Oct. Spotted Redshank: During Jan./Feb. up to 9 were seen at 5 coastal sites and in Nov./ Dec. there were up to 7 at 3 such sites. At Minsmere, from where the bulk of the year's records were received, monthly maxima were as follows: J 1
Only at Blythburgh did additional double figure counts occur. 12 were there on 24th April, 24 on 30th April and at least 12 on 2nd May. Redshank: Unfortunately very little information on successful or even attempted breeding was received and therefore no constructive general comment can be made of the species' true breeding status. Perhaps observers are mistakenly assuming that Redshanks are just not worth reporting - or, more seriously, perhaps the species is absent from much of the county in the breeding period. However, 7 pairs were displaying at one site where none were reported in 1982. Orwell Stour
J 1776 1835
F 2475 2039
M 1319 1136
O c. 300 1323
N c. 1200 1982
D 979 2062
The Blyth Estuary is also used as a wintering ground and counts included 262 16th Jan., 239 13th Feb., 440 13th Mar. and 381 17th April. More unusually, 2 were seen in Landseer Park, Ipswich, on 2nd Jan. Greenshfenk: The regular winter record of a single at Levington in Jan. and yet again in Dec. continued the consecutive run of wintering individuals seen at this site since 1976/77. April and May passage mainly involved small numbers at Minsmere, where up to 5 were seen together, and Benacre Broad, where there were up to 4. One was inland at Long Melford on 8th April. Early July saw the start of the return movement through the county with up to 15 at Havergate in the first two weeks of the month. Inland at this time 1 was at Livermere. In late July records became more widespread as passage increased; 8 were at Cattawade on 24th, but once again Havergate was the favoured site with 20 on 28th. Migration continued strongly into Aug. Inland singles were at Rickinghall Inferior, Redgrave Lake, Cavenham Pits and Livermere again, but as would be expected it was on the coast where passage was most pronounced. Havergate was host to the county's largest gathering of the year - 28 on 12th Aug. - and at least 10 were in Holbrook Bay on 23rd Aug. Havergate continued to produce the highest Sep. and Oct. counts with groups of at least 20 and 18 in the respective months. The last presumed migrant was noted at Dunwich on 28th Oct. 23
Green Sandpiper: The usual sprinkling of Jan./Feb. records involved a total of 14 birds from 11 sites with a maximum of 3 at Oulton Broad. No spring parties were noted, the passage consisting solely of 1/2 birds at widely scattered locations from mid-March to mid-May. Autumn groups were also few and far between in a passage which commenced on 18th June. The largest groups of the year were of 8 birds at Minsmere 30th July and 8 again there on 5th-6th Aug. The only other notable numbers came from inland sites; 5 were on a farm pond at Redgrave on 5th Aug., 5 were at Long Melford on 10th. Aug and 6 were at Botesdale on 28th Aug. The light passage subsided still further in Sep. but stretched on with small numbers until the end of Oct. Nov./Dec. records came from 9 sites and concerned singles, apart from up to 3 at Alton Water. Wood Sandpiper: As with the Curlew Sandpiper this attractive species made earlierthan-usual spring appearances, although these were restricted to Minsmere. The first of the year was a single on 16th April, only one day later than the County's earliest ever record of a single there in 1968, and two more called in on 14th May. A single at Benacre Broad on 25th June was the first of the return movement and was followed by another there on 26th July. Minsmere again figured prominently in this passage; singles were seen on 14th and 18th July, 1 - 3 from 22nd-30th July and 1 - 3 to 16th Aug. The other records received were: 1 Havergate 2nd Aug., 1 Cavenham Pits 5th Aug., 1 Dunwich Levels 7th Aug., 1 Long Melford 18th Aug. and presumably the same bird 23rd Aug. and 1 Benacre Broad 26th Aug. A single at the latter site on 6th Oct. was the last report of the year. Common Sandpiper: Jan./Feb. singles were noted in Ipswich Docks and at Bury Beet Factory, and one, possibly two, were in the Woodbridge/Martlesham area. One at Cattawade on 14th Mar. might also have wintered. Spring passage involved a total of 22 birds in April, from 14th and 55 in May included 11 at South wold Boating Lake on 5 th. There were only 2 June records. Numbers increased again in July with the month's highest numbers being up to 16 at Minsmere and 10 at Sproughton on 17th. Peak numbers in Aug. were 17 at Benacre Broad on 2nd, 11 there on 29th and up to 15 were at Minsmere. Numbers were smaller in Sep. and the only Oct. records received related to singles at West Stow on 2nd and 9th and Livermere on 2nd. Wintering birds were back in Ipswich Docks from 10th Nov. and in the Martlesham Creek/Kyson Point area of the River Deben from 18th Nov. Turnstone: Four in Minsmere car park on 6th Sep. was a most unusual occurrence and an almost completely black individual on the Scrape there on 5th Aug., which was reported as oiled or more probably melanistic, was an equally unusual sight. More conventional records came from our two main estuaries of the rivers Stour and Orwell. On the Stour the major counts were 215 on 16th Jan., 152 on 13th Feb and 200 in Holbrook Bay 23rd Aug. One was feeding in an arable field beside the Stour Estuary on 29th Dec. The main Orwell counts were 336 16th Jan., 143 13th Feb., 107 13th Mar., 303 Trimley Marshes 20th Nov. and 206 Trimley Lake/Felixstowe Docks 18th Dec. Red-necked Phalarope: A female at Havergate on 25th Sep. (RSPB) and another or the same at Walberswick on the same day (CSW) were the only specific reports but a phalarope sp. at Livermere on 5th Sep. was most likely to have been of this species. Wilson's Phalarope: Adult female Minsmere 6th-8th June (DNB, PG et al). 5th county record (see page 61). Pomarine Skua: The bird reported at Southwold on 31st Dec. 1982 was subsequently seen at Benacre, Dunwich and Minsmere up to 12th Jan. Singles were seen at Benacre 24
7th Sep. and 7th Nov, Felixstowe/Landguard 3rd to 15th Oct. and, possibly same bird, flying out to sea from River Orwell 26th Oct. Arctic Skua: The only spring records were of one (probably of this species) 5 or 6 miles off Felixstowe on 4th Mar. and 2 off there on 1st April. Two off Benacre on 12th July heralded a good passage during the autumn with birds moving offshore almost daily from 7th Aug. to the end of Oct., and a few stragglers to mid Nov. The highest count came from Lowestoft with 13 south and 2 north on 12th Sep. An interesting record was of 2 up the Butley River, 14th Aug. Great Skua: An unusual report was of one at Easton Bavents on New Year's Day, (CRN). Small numbers were moving between 8th Aug. and 12th Nov., the maximum count being 4 south at Lowestoft 12th Sept. Mediterranean Gull: Records received almost doubled those of any previous year, probably due to a genuine increase in occurrence combined with improved observer ability and diligence. Birds of all ages from first winter to adult in winter and full breeding plumages were seen at virtually all coastal localities, and sightings covered all months of the year. It is estimated that as many as 24 individuals may have occurred during the year, but how much duplication was caused by birds moving between sites is impossible to judge. A bird still in juvenile rather than first-winter plumage was seen at Benacre on 26th Aug., and an adult in full breeding plumage at Lowestoft on 29th July. An individual considered to have been a Mediterranean x Black-headed was present at Sizewell during Jan. Little Gull: Reports of single birds, probably involving 6 individuals, were received from various coastal sites during Jan. and Feb. The spring passage was moderate with birds being reported in ones and twos at Benacre, Minsmere and Havergate. Several summer records were received, the most notable being of up to 6 in full breeding plumage at Benacre. Birds were noted almost daily during the autumn with one or two up to the end of the year. A small movement on 11th Nov. produced a total of 9 south at Lowestoft. Sabine's Gull: An immature was seen at Minsmere on 1st June (AB). Black-headed Gull: A 'runt' individual in first winter plumage, described as being between Black-headed and Little Gull in size, was reported at Stowmarket on 16th Feb. An albinistic bird was at Minsmere at the end of Mar. Common Gull: Ten pairs were on breeding territory on Orford Ness in May. Southerly movements at Landguard produced counts of c. 100 on 8th Oct. and 350 on 30th. Lesser Black-backed Gull: Mainly small numbers thinly distributed during winter, spring and autumn, with the exception of 46 at Bawdsey 13th Feb., 29 Livermere 29th April and c. 100 Knettishall 22nd Oct. 70 plus were present at Havergate in Aug. and Sep. Southerly movements were noted at Benacre and Walberswick on 16th April, and at Landguard in Sep. and Oct., with highest count there being c. 2500 on 8th Oct. Very few individuals of the dark backed Scandinavian race were mentioned and one wonders if they are under-recorded. No information was received concerning the Orford Ness breeding colony. Iceland Gull: One, variously described as fourth-winter or adult, stayed at Lowestoft from 8th Jan. to mid Feb., and was probably the same individual (fourth-winter) reported at Minsmere on 7th Mar. These two localities also produced records of first/second-winter birds on 1st Mar. (Lowestoft), and 13th (Minsmere). Again it is likely that only one bird was involved. A gull seen at Landguard on 19th Dec. was considered to have been of this species. An adult at Lowestoft on 30th Dec. was the forerunner of a remarkable winter for this species in Suffolk, and in Britain as a whole. Glacous Gull: At Lowestoft an adult was present from 1st Jan. to 11th Feb., and a first-winter from Jan. to 1st Mar., being joined by another for a few days in early Feb. 25
A report of 2 second-winter birds on 2nd Feb. probably referred to these. (It is becoming increasingly obvious that great caution is required when ageing this, and the preceding species on plumage characters alone, and the only reliable factor seems to be eye colour.) A first-winter stayed at Minsmere from early Jan. to mid April, and a firstwinter south there on 25th April could have been the same bird. An adult at Benacre on and off during Jan. was probably the Lowestoft individual, as it was often missing from there. Sightings of birds at Southwold 1st Jan., Dunwich 27th Feb., Corton 5th Feb., and Slaughden 1st April were also undoubtedly referable to one or other of the above mentioned. In the second winter period one or more adults were seen between Lowestoft and Dunwich from 22nd Oct. onwards. It seems likely that only one bird was involved as there was no date on which birds were reported in more than one place. A first-winter at Covehithe 4th Dec. was the only other bird recorded in the north-east of the county at this time. Landguard produced an adult from 11th to 28th Nov. and a second-winter on 30th. Great Black-backed Gull: Southerly movements were noted at Landguard between mid Sep. and mid Nov. The peak count was c. 1000 on 8th Oct. Kittiwake: A passage covering eight days in Jan. reached a peak on 19th when c. 800 an hour were passing Minsmere (no direction given), c. 500 moved north in two and a quarter hours at Covehithe 29th Oct. At Lowestoft a total of 89 pairs raised 86 young. This includes 2 pairs which nested on a wooden mooring bollard in the yacht basin for the first time. A couple of unusual records involved an adult with Black-headed Gulls on farmland at Aldeburgh on 3rd Jan., and an imm. inland at Cavenham Pits on 5th Aug. Sandwich Tern: The only breeding reported was at Havergate where 29 pairs nested. One flying north over Brandon 11th April was somewhat unusual. Roseate Tern: Single birds were identified at Havergate 17th, 18th and 26th June; Minsmere 20th to 23rd June; and at Sizewell 12th Sep. Common Tern: 20 pairs bred at Minsmere, 50 at Havergate and c. 10 at Benacre. Birds were present at Woodbridge throughout the summer but breeding was not proven. Arctic Tern: The only spring records were of singletons at Minsmere on 22nd April and for four days in June, and 2 pairs at Havergate 8th May. No breeding records were received. 2 were at Benacre 29th June, one Walberswick 16th July and 2 Havergate 18th July, but it was not until 7th Aug. onwards that the usual small but steady passage began. The latest date was one at Sizewell 29th Sep. Little Tern: A total of at least 115 pairs bred at eight sites, but success is not known. This figure compares very favourably with the 70 pairs quoted for 1969-70 in The Seabirds of Britain and Ireland by Cramp, Bourne and Saunders (1974), and serves to emphasise our beaches as a site of national importance. If only it were feasible to fence off more areas during the summer! Black Tern: Small numbers on passage in spring, with 8 at Alton Water on 19th April and 4 at Livermere 1 st May being the most noteworthy records. Rather more reports of ones and twos in the autumn, the only exception being 6 at Bradfield Combust on 28th Sep. Auk sp: An alarming number of dead birds were washed up along the coast during Feb. Totals amassed by the Beached Bird Survey were Guillemot 428 (14.25%), Razorbill 706 (10.75%), Puffin 36 (13.90%) and Little Auk 19 (nil%), figures in brackets being percentage oiled. The low numbers of oiled birds and the emaciated state of the corpses indicated that most had died from a combination of cold and, especially, an inability to find food due to turbulence of the sea caused by bad weather. It is interesting to record that on 29th Oct. Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot 26
Sixteen pairs ofBitterns were locateci in 1983.
Photo David Tomlinson
Red Kite - one or two occur in Suffolk annually.
Photo David Tomiinson
The Osprey is very much on the increase as a passage migrant in Suffolk.
Photo David Tomlinson
and Little Auk were all seen alive in Suffolk. This is probably a unique occurrence, but, strangely, no Puffins were seen at all during this period. Black Guillemot: One flying north off Easton Bavents on 29th Oct. is only the fifth county record (CRN).
Little Auks Little Auk: A remarkable year for this species in Suffolk. What, by normal standards, was a good movement in Feb. was eclipsed many times over by the figures for late Oct. In Feb. the first report was 2 at Minsmere on 8th, then up to 4 at Lowestoft, Corton and Minsmere on 9th. Rather more were counted on 12th, but the peak came on 13 th when 12 were noted off Lowestoft and 15 at Benacre, with small numbers elsewhere. During the following week one or two were seen almost daily. On 19th one was caught in a garden at Aldeburgh and later released. The 29th Oct. produced one of the most marked movements ever recorded off our coast. Many reports were received from all sea-watch points, and it is impossible to say how much duplication took place. However a total of 210 was counted by one observer at Benacre and he estimated that at least 300 must have passed there during the day. The count by another observer of 204 at Easton Bavents was undoubtedly an overlap with the above. Other significant figures were c. 50 Minsmere, 92 Covehithe, 27 Dunwich, 46 Southwold, c. 30 Walberswick and 10 Lowestoft with smaller numbers elsewhere. One flew in with a flock of Starlings at Felixstowe - not the first example of an association between these species. The greatest surprise however must have been experienced by the motorist who had one fly within four feet of his windscreen whilst travelling on the Newmarket bypass. Observers who expected a repeat performance on the following day were disappointed, the only reports being 8 moving south(!) Walberswick, 1 Lowestoft, and another which, having been caught in a garden at Kirton, was taken to Landguard where it was ringed and released. Subsequently, 2 flew south at Lowestoft 3rd Nov. and singles were seen in the mouth of the Orwell 10th Nov. and at Easton Bavents on the 12th. Thankfully, although surprisingly, no dead birds were reported during this period. Puffin: The sight of a live Puffin is all too rare in Suffolk and this year was no exception. Observers who saw the single birds at Benacre and Pakefield on 13th Feb. can count themselves lucky as 36 dead birds were found by Beached Bird Survey workers at this time. One found dead at Lowestoft on 10th Feb. had been ringed at Sule Skerry on 24th July 1982 (see Ringing Report). Stock Dove: The largest recorded flock was 120 Covehithe, 19th Nov. but this species is seldom reported. Wood Pigeon: 4000 at Higham, 2nd March was the highest winter count received. At Akenham a farmer found a number dead below power lines following a gale on 15th 27
Oct. There was a marked southerly movement off Landguard in late Oct. with a maximum of c. 13,500 on 20th. Collared Dove: Passage included 162 south off Landguard during Oct. One observer noted a decline in numbers in Ipswich, but the highest count of 167, Ipswich Docks 30th Nov., was an increase on 1982. Tlirtle Dove: Two seen at Saxtead on 12th April were the earliest spring arrivals but most birds appeared during the last week of the month. No large post-breeding flocks were reported. There was a light passage through Landguard in late Sep. and the last record was a single at Great Saxham, 21st Oct. Ring-necked Parakeet: This species is a recent addition to Category C. A pair was present at Aldham throughout the year. Other reports were from Sudbury 20th Mar., Trimley Lake 25th Sep., Reydon 23rd Oct., Benacre 23rd-30th Oct., and Walberswick during Nov. (all were singles). Cuckoo: The first report was from Ipswich, 13th April. There were at least 30 in a wood at Lakenheath in June, where one was heard calling continuously on the late date of 18th July. Two were recorded in Oct. - singles at Walberswick on 2nd and Landguard on 3rd. Barn Owl: A further increase in the number of sites to c. 95 (from 82 in 1982). Little Owl: Reports were received from 63 parishes which is a significantly higher total than for 1981 (49) and 1982 (52). Breeding records included a pair at Minsmere where the young fledged in mid-July. Tawny Owl: This species was widely reported especially from the Ipswich area. 2 birds calling at Landguard on 5th Aug. may be the first record for this site. One individual at Holbrook was seen to knock down 2 House Martin nests from the eaves of a house; it then proceeded to devour the contents. (This behaviour was noted in 1981 at the same site). Long-eared Owl: Only two breeding records were received from the Breckland area but this almost certainly underestimates the true situation. On the coast at least 6 pairs bred at 3 sites. A roost of 6 birds was found at Groton Wood in Dec. Migrants were noted in spring at Lowestoft and in the autumn at Landguard, Sizewell and Benacre. One bird was photographed on rafters in a Felixstowe Dock warehouse in Nov. (see plate no. 7). Short-eared Owl: Birds were reported in all months. Up to 50 were estimated in the period up to mid Mar., though this may involve some duplication of records. The largest gathering was 7 on the Kessingland levels. Most of the 20 April and c. 15 May reports probably refer to spring migrants and included 6 records from Landguard. June reports of possible breeding birds were received from two sites. The largest gathering in the autumn/early winter period was of 6 at a south-west Suffolk site. Over 20 sightings were reported, the majority of these in Nov. Nightjar: An estimated county population of at least 100 pairs. First seen on 2nd May at Minsmere, where c. 15 pairs were on the reserve - 'an excellent year'. The maximum count in the coastal belt was 34 churring males, as in 1981 but fewer than in 1982 (40). One was still churring at Minsmere on the late date of 29th Aug. In the Brecks 51 pairs were reported, more than in 1982 though decreases were noted in a few areas. An estimated average of 2.28 young were reared per nest. (BP). A migrant at Landguard on 20th Aug. is only the 3rd record for the site. Swift: One seen at Beccles from 16th-18th March clung to the side of a house in inclement weather and is the earliest ever recorded in Suffolk. Large southerly movements were observed off Felixstowe in June and July, max. 750 on 14th June. Only one was seen in October - at Minsmere on 10th. Kingfisher: Reports were received from 87 sites, apparently a great improvement on 28
1982. In the breeding season pairs were reported at 15 locations - at least 5 pairs bred successfully. One was ringed at Landguard on 21st Aug. - the 2nd record for the site. Hoopoe: Only three records, all in the spring: 1 Alton Water 4th-5th May, 1 Southwold 5 th May and 1 on the fence by the Wickham Market bypass 10th May. Wryneck: On spring passage singles were at North Cove 18th Apr. (killed by a cat), Oulton Broad 2nd May and Ixworth 4th May (a roadside casualty). All the autumn records relate to the period from 26th Aug. to 7th Sep. and include singles on four dates at Landguard, up to two at Corton, and singles at Capei St. Mary, Brockley and Shotley (where the bird was trapped). Green Woodpecker: Reports were received from c. 85 sites which represents an increase on 1982 (61). Interesting records include one pursuing a Kestrel over Trimley Lake on 25th Sep. and up to 15 on the Great Saxham Hall estate in the autumn. Great Spotted Woodpecker: The total number of sites where this species was recorded in 1983 was over 100, well above the 1981/2 totals. The majority of reports were for the spring, reflecting the fact that this species is most evident in that period. One was heard drumming in Walpole in early Jan. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: The recent increase in reports continued - c. 65 sites (1981), c. 72 (1982), c. 85 (1983). A pair was seen excavating a six inch tunnel in an apple tree at Hales worth, 28 th Oct. Woodlark: The reported total of at least 47 singing males in the Brecks and 12 in the coastal belt almost trebled the 1982 total. It is to be hoped that this increase will continue as more forestry areas are cleared. Single autumn passage birds were at Westleton 10th Oct. and Landguard 23rd Oct. and 3rd Nov. The whereabouts of Suffolk's Woodlarks in mid-winter has always been an intriguing problem; a possible answer was the unprecedented discovery of a flock of 20 on coastal stubble fields in mid Jan. and 26 at the same site from late Nov. onwards (JELP et al). Singles were also seen at a coastal breeding site, 11th Dec. and Minsmere 10th Feb. Skylark: A notable immigration was recorded during the Little Auk movements on 29th Oct.; totals included 160 at Easton Broad and 82 at Landguard. Wintering flocks included 150 Kedington, 14th Feb. and 200 Metfield, 14th Nov. Shore Lark: 6 were at Minsmere, 23rd Jan. and 1 there 5th-7th Oct.; the only other report was of 4 on Orford Ness, 21st Dec. This overall annual total of 11 constitutes only a marginal improvement compared with 1982. Reports from Lincolnshire and Norfolk were of greatly reduced totals in 1983. Sand Martin: Drainage holes in a riverside wall at Stratford St. Mary were adopted as artificial nesting sites (see 1982 SBR). Although at least 700 were counted at the Covehithe Cliffs colony in late June, reports from Minsmere were of very low breeding season numbers. This reduction is possibly reflected in the autumn passage totals at Landguard where the August total was only 17 compared with 300 in 1982; the maximum day-total at this site was 500 on 17th Sep. An albino was noted at Minsmere in 17th July; by a remarkable coincidence, an albino was at Trimley on 17th July 1977. Swallow: Breeding season numbers were reported as being lower than normal at several localities. The most striking example of this reduction was at Bradfield Combust where 30 pairs nested in farm buildings in 1982 but only 19 in 1983. Despite these reported decreases in the breeding population, c. 10,000 were counted going to roost in the Minsmere reedbed on 28th Aug. and c. 5000 at Easton Broad on 20th Sep. 29
The Sep. total of c. 12,900 at Landguard included c. 10,000 on 17th. At least 17 were noted in November, 9 of which were at Landguard including 1 on 30th. House Martin: Varying reports concerning the breeding population were received. At Shotley, numbers were estimated to be down 75% compared with 1982; however, 69 new nests were constructed on a farmhouse at Friston and 43 nests were counted on a factory at Long Melford. A pair were still feeding 2 juveniles in a nest at Framlingham on 15th Oct. The September total of c. 22,900 at Landguard included c. 14,500 on 17th (see Swallow) and c. 6,000 on 24th. Only 7 were noted in Nov. (compared with 90 in 1982) up to 14th. Tawny Pipit: One at Walberswick, 16th April (PL). 18th county record and, rather surprisingly, the first in spring. TYee Pipit: Breeding season reports were received from at least 10 Breckland and 9 coastal sites. The minimum total of 40 pairs should not be compared with the 60 in 1982 because of a lack of information concerning the number of pairs present at several sites. Spring passage migrants were at Trimley 15th April and Landguard 1st May. An excellent autumn passage was recorded at Landguard where at least 40 were noted between 20th Aug. and 13th Sep., including 17 on the latter date. Elsewhere, singles were at Walpole 14th Aug., Blythburgh 25th Sep. and Sizewell 26th Sep. Meadow Pipit: Apart from 80 at Alton Water 27th Feb. and 50 there 28th Mar., very few were reported until the main phase of autumn passage commenced in mid Sep. and continued until early Nov. At Landguard, counts in late Sep. were of c. 550 on 29th and c. 700 on 30th; the October total of c. 3500 at this site included c. 200 on 1st and 550 on 20th. The only significant total elsewhere was of 150 at Lowestoft Denes Oval, 1st Oct. Rock Pipit: Many reports were received from the coast and estuaries in both winter periods. The largest totals were 32 between Brantham and Shotley on the north bank of the River Stour, 16th Jan. and 16 at Southwold, 30th Dec. In Sep., the first autumn migrant was at Benacre on 27th and on 30th reports were from Landguard (7), Dunwich (3) and Alton Water. An exceptional record was of 1 at Minsmere 27th July; the only other July record for Suffolk was also at Minsmere on 15th in 1950. Two, showing characteristics of the Scandinavian race, were at Lowestoft during 14th-15th April. Water Pipit: 2 were at Walberswick 27th Feb. Spring passage birds were at Lowestoft 14th April and inland at Lakenheath 7th April, while at Minsmere up to 2 were recorded on 8 dates during 18th Mar.â€”25th April. The only autumn birds were 3 at Walberswick, 18th Nov. and 2 at Minsmere, 20th Nov. Yellow Wagtail: Notable spring passage totals were of c. 85 Alton Water 19th April and c. 100 Minsmere 27th April. Birds were present during the breeding season at a minimum of 19 sites. 8 pairs were located at Shotley, while in the Stour Valley there were 6 successful pairs in the Bures/Long Melford area. Autumn passage occurred between early Aug. and 7th Oct., peaking during late Aug./early Sep. The largest gatherings were c. 40 Alton Water 22nd Aug., 38 Landguard 1st Sep. and c. 40 Stratford St. Mary 4th Sep. Blue-headed Wagtail: A male at Alton Water 28th-29th Mar. is the county's earliest ever record of this race (RJW et al). More typically dated reports were received of at least 13 between 11th April and late May at Oulton Broad, Boyton, Sutton, Lowestoft (3, 16th April) and Minsmere (5, 27th April). There were no mid-summer records. Grey Wagtail: The breeding population remained at a very low level; only 2 successful 30
pairs were reported but there were mid-summer sightings at 5 other sites. Reports from regular wintering sites were remarkably consistent; 15 in Jan.-Mar. and 16 in Oct.-Dec. There was evidence of a very small spring passage during April/May which included singles in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 13th April, and at Lowestoft Denes, 22nd-25th May. Early autumn migrants were at Landguard 21st-22nd Aug. and Southwold 29th Aug (2). 1 was at Minsmere 23rd Oct. and 7 flew south at Landguard between 30th Sep. and 5 th Nov. Pied Wagtail: The largest reported roosts were all inland and included 65 Brandon 11th Oct., 50 Cavenham mid-July, 50 Long Melford 23rd Nov. and 40 Lackford mid-Oct. Southerly passage movements totalled 97 at Landguard in Oct. White Wagtail: Apart from a very early individual at Minsmere 12th Feb. (RSPB), at least 20 were noted on spring passage between 10th Mar. and 11th May. Up to 6 were at Minsmere in April and 3 at Lowestoft Denes 14th April. The only report away from the coastal belt was of 1 at Livermere 24th April. One at Alton Water 19th Aug. was the only reported autumn migrant. Wren: 60 + pairs were located in Wolves Wood, Hadleigh; it is interesting to note that after the very cold winter of 1978/79 only 35 pairs were present at this site. At Walpole, a pair used an old Swallow's nest as the base for their own nest. Dunnock: Regular observations over the last few years have established this species as a regular autumn migrant at Landguard; the number of birds present at this site started to increase in mid-Sep. and at least 50 were present by 27th Sep. Direct southerly movement was recorded at Landguard on 5 dates during 17th-26th Oct. totalling 25 birds and on 29th Oct. 1 was observed to fly in from over the sea. Robin: Autumn passage was recorded at Landguard between mid-Sep. and early Nov.; the peak count of 38 on 1st Oct. coincided with the main autumn arrivals on the Lincolnshire coast. Nightingale: It is very encouraging to note a further increase in the number of reported singing males from 187 in 1982 to 218 in 1983 - at some sites birds were present after being absent for several years. The total of 59 pairs at Minsmere is the highest ever recorded on the reserve. The first autumn migrant was at Landguard on 31st July and at the same site in August singles were recorded on at least 11 dates and 2 on 26th. Coastal reports in Sep. were from Havergate 15th, Minsmere 4th and 15th and Landguard 1 st, 20th-22nd and 26th-27th; this latter individual showed some plumage features characteristic of an eastern race of the species. Finally, one trapped and ringed at Landguard on 1st Oct. is the 4th latest record for Suffolk and the latest since 1958. Bluethroat: The only spring record was of a male at Minsmere on the early date of 6th April (RSPB). In Sep., one was found at Thorpeness on 11th (AB) and an elusive juvenile at Landguard on 25th remained there until 9th Oct (LBO). These are the first autumn records in Suffolk since 1975. Black Redstart: The only first winter period record was of 1 at Lowestoft 16th Jan. Coastal spring passage commenced on 13th Mar., but was on a much smaller scale than in 1982, with no distinct peaks. The largest total was 7 at Landguard 3rd April, and the only sightings away from the immediate vicinity of the coast were of singles at Needham Market 3rd April, Santon Downham 20th April and Alton Water and Long Melford, both on 21st April. A pair bred successfully at Ipswich Docks. At least 4 pairs were present in the Landguard/Felixstowe Docks area and the first juveniles were noted there on 3rd July. Reports from Lowestoft were of at least 4 pairs, although only 1 was known to be 31
successful. No reports were received from Sizewell Power Station but at another massive concrete structure, the Orwell Bridge, a singing male was present in May and the report of up to 3 immatures at this site in early autumn could indicate successful breeding there. The only autumn migrants reported away from the breeding sites were singles on Havergate Island 30th Aug. and 2nd-3rd Sep. At Landguard, 7 were present in late Aug. increasing to 13 by 20th Sep. and then gradually decreasing until the last sighting on 2nd Nov. Up to 4 were in the Ness Point area at Lowestoft in Oct. and 1 on 16th Nov. There were no December sightings. Redstart: Very little information was received concerning the breeding population. The only reports were of the species being present at 2 Breckland and 4 coastal sites in mid-summer. In an attempt to assess the status of the Redstart as a breeding species in Suffolk we strongly urge observers to ensure that all breeding season records for 1984 are submitted to the Recorder. Spring passage from 15th April until 24th May was on a very small scale; 4 at Landguard 23rd April was the largest total. Autumn passage from 11th Aug. was also very light. There was a minor peak during 29th Sep.-4th Oct. when reports included 9 Landguard 4th Oct., 6 Landguard 29th Sep. and 5 Lowestoft 2nd Oct. (the largest numbers of the autumn on the Lincolnshire coast were also between these 2 dates). The only autumn sightings away from the coast were of singles at Grundisburgh 15th Sep., Glemsford 17th Sep. and Sudbury 7th Oct. Whinchat: The reported breeding population was exactly as in 1982, i.e. 3 pairs at a traditional Breckland site and 1 pair on a coastal heath. With only one pair in Norfolk in 1983, the Whinchat is now one of East Anglia's rarest breeding species. About 20 spring migrants were reported during a very short passage which commenced with an early bird at Wangford, West Suffolk, 2nd April and finished on 7th May. Inland sightings were at Stowmarket 21st April, Sudbury 21st April and Gt. Waldingfield 4th May. Autumn migrants were widely reported from 8th Aug. until early Oct. As expected, the largest totals were on the coast and included 14 Kessingland 6th Sep., 13 Gunton 25th Aug. and 12 Landguard 18th Sep; also on 18th Sep. 6 were inland at Sudbury. Few were noted after the first week of October, the last report being of 2 at Westleton on 27th Oct. Stonechat: At least 12 pairs were reported from 8 sites in the coastal belt and 1 successful pair in the Brecks. Eleven were noted on the coast during Jan./Feb. and in Nov./Dec. 25 were located; this latter total included 10 in early Dec. at Alton Water. Wheatear: 11 breeding pairs were located in the coastal belt, 9 in the Brecks and 1 at a site near Haverhill. It seems likely that the reported Breck total is well below the actual figure. An excellent spring passage occurred throughout the county between 9th Mar. and 6th June. There were more March records than usual including 14 at Landguard 30th. The 3rd week of April witnessed the largest spring totals; during that time up to 35 were at Landguard while elsewhere on the coast 21 were in the Pakefield/Benacre area 16th and 20 at Lowestoft 17th. Inland, 23 were counted on wet grazing meadows at Long Melford 20th. The expected peak in early May failed to materialize - 22 at Landguard 11th was the largest reported site total. Autumn passage from 4th Aug. was on a smaller scale than recent years. During the 4th week of August, 21 were at Landguard 23rd, 12 Gunton 26th and 11 Benacre 26th. Reports from Landguard in early Sep. were of 18 on 3rd and 22 on 5th but there were few elsewhere until the latter half of the month when Benacre recorded 12 on 22nd and 32
19 on 30th. November reports were from Dunwich 3rd, Minsmere 4th (2), Sizewell 9th and Benacre 20th-21st. Ring Ouzel: A rather poor year for this species. 13 were recorded on spring passage between 17 th April and 22nd May. 17th April was also the peak day when there were 3 at Gunton, 3 Lowestoft and the only inland spring record at Wetherden. The 13 autumn records from 16th Sep. were all in the coastal belt between Felixstowe and Gunton. 7 of the sightings were at Landguard where the final bird of the year on 2nd Nov. was recorded. Blackbird: 30 at Landguard 12th Mar. was the largest spring passage total. Autumn movements between 29th Aug. and 19th Nov. were most prominent during late Oct./early Nov.; the largest recorded totals were at Landguard with 76 22nd Oct. and 100 3rd Nov. Fieldfare: This species was generally scarce during Jan./Feb. apart from 400 Sudbourne 30th Jan., 250 Stonham Aspal 2nd Feb. and 140 Stanningfield 8th Jan. Pre-emigration flocks included 220 Sudbourne 1 st Mar., 200 Minsmere 18th Mar., and 100 Tattingstone 29th Mar. In April, 40 Alton Water 3rd was the largest total and there were 6 records in May up to 7th. There were no further records until August with 4 coastal records after 1 at Minsmere on 10th. Very few were noted in Sep./Oct. and it was not until 12th Nov. that a widespread immigration occurred; on this date there were 430 Landguard, 220 Covehithe, 200 Benacre, 200 Walberswick and 100 Lowestoft. These birds apparently failed to remain in the county and it was not until late Dec. that any further notable flocks were recorded including 250 Livermere 23rd and 150 Sudbourne 29th. Song Thrush: Autumn movements were first noted on 29th Aug., but it was not until late Sep. that any notable totals occurred; amongst these were 80 Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 23rd and at Landguard 25 29th, 61 30th and 53 1st Oct. Further immigration was recorded in late Oct./early Nov. when 90 flew north-west over Holbrook 29th Oct. and 28 at Landguard 3rd Nov. An interesting breeding season report was of adults flying across the River Deben from Bawdsey to forage on Felixstowe Ferry Golf Course and then flying back across the river with the food. Redwing: Generally scarce throughout the county in Jan./Feb. Flocks of 150 Minsmere 18th Mar. and 100 Sudbury 28th Feb. were presumably pre-emigration gatherings. Coastal spring passage was very light and there were 4 May records up to 9th. The first 6 autumn birds were over Landguard 11th Sep., but it was not until late Oct./early Nov. that extensive immigration was recorded. 1000 over Minsmere 20th Oct. was the largest diurnal movement, but very heavy nocturnal passage over Landguard between 22nd-23rd Oct. and 12th-13th Nov. was considered to have involved 'many thousands'. The only site to record substantial numbers in December was the Brandon area where up to 600 were present throughout the month. Mistle Thrush: Autumn migrants were noted at Landguard in Sep. (2), Oct. (11), Nov. (9) and Dec. (1). The Oct. total includes 2 coming in from over the sea on 29th. Cetti's Warbler: The reported total of 22 singing males is considered to be below the actual total on the basis that no reports were received from the Waveney Valley. Minsmere remains the principal site with up to 12 singing males; 2 family groups were seen in June. One trapped and ringed at Thorington Street on 17th July; this is a new area for this species. Grasshopper Warbler: An apparent further decline with only 18 singing males reported throughout the county, but no reports were received from the fens of northwest Suffolk where the species was considered to be common as recently as 1981. No passage migrants were recorded. ,,
Savi' $ Warbler: While the Cetti' s Warbler with its less demanding habitat requirements goes from strength to strength, the Savi's Warbler shows no sign of expanding its range and in 1983 apparently declined with no reports from Minsmere. At Walberswick a 'reeling' male was present from 29th April and an adult was seen carrying food there on 27th June. Sedge Warbler: 20 pairs at Long Melford was the only notable breeding season report. Six spring passage birds were recorded at Landguard between 16th April and 3rd June. The migratory status of 1 at Landguard on 3rd July is uncertain, but during the main autumn passage at this site about 20 were noted between 30th July and 1 st Oct. A bedraggled individual at Redgrave 10th Nov. is the latest ever recorded in Suffolk (MO'B). Reed Warbler: Breeding season reports included 12 singing at Blythburgh in mid-July, 20 pairs at Shotley Marshes and 30 pairs at Long Melford where 10 pairs had been present in 1982. Atypical reports were of single singing birds in rape fields at Old Newton in May/June and Snape 26th May and in a conifer plantation at Syleham 28th July. A belated spring migrant was at Landguard on 11th June and the first autumn bird was recorded there on 30th July. 10 at Benacre 21st Aug. was the largest site total of an otherwise very small scale autumn passage. None were reported after 1 at Benacre on 24th Oct. (also see Ringing Report). Icterine Warbler: Single birds were at Landguard 21st-23rd Sep. and 3rd Oct. (LBO) and Easton Bavents 20th Aug. (CRN). Melodious Warbler: One at Landguard 7th-13th May is only the fourth Suffolk record and the first in spring. It was trapped and ringed, and heard singing (MM et al). Barred Warbler: Unhurried immatures that remained at Landguard 27th Aug.-18th Sep. (LBO) and Minsmere 31st Aug.-7th Sep. (RSPB) were typical autumn records; distinctly unusual was Suffolk's first inland record at Brandon, 18th Aug. (ALB). Lesser Whitethroat: Reports from coastal sites were of an increased breeding population compared with 1982, but there are no figures to support this statement. The coastal maximum in spring was 5 at Landguard 8th May and the first autumn migrant was recorded there on 12th Aug. 1 - 3 were regularly noted at Landguard until 18th Sep. when the autumn peak of 15 was recorded. Elsewhere, 10 were at Benacre 21st Aug. and 8 Minsmere 4th Sep. The last reports were of singles at Grundisburgh 10th Oct. and Landguard 18th Oct. Whitethroat: Some encouraging breeding season reports were received; at Long Melford 15 pairs were located where 6 pairs had been present in 1982 and at Lakenheath the species was considered more plentiful than in recent years. Autumn coastal passage from 5th Aug. was only moderate. A minor peak occurred in late Aug./early Sep. with 10 at Benacre 26th Aug. and 10 Minsmere 4th Sept. None were reported after singles at Minsmere 17th Oct. and Landguard 18th Oct. Garden Warbler: There were more April reports than usual after the first at Great Barton 18th; the 1983 total of reports from 11 sites in April can be compared with 1982 (2), 1981 (4) and 1980 (2). Very few breeding season reports were received. At Wolves Wood, Aldham, 16 pairs were located (22 in 1982) and in the Glemsford area at least 7 pairs were found (6 in 1982). Coastal autumn passage between 5th Aug. and 9th Oct. was mainly reported from Landguard where the maximum site totals were in late August with 8 25th and 10 27th. Blackcap: The mildness of the first winter is reflected in the number noted in Jan./ Mar.; reports were received from Ipswich (male and 2 females at one site), Brantham, Bury St. Edmunds, Chelmondiston, Gunton, Hadleigh, Melton and Wickham Market. 34
The Melton bird mentioned above was present in the latter half of March and, as such, could possibly have been an early migrant, but it seems more likely that 1 at Holbrook 3rd April was the first spring migrant. Coastal passage was recorded at Landguard between 9th April and 13th May, including 5 on 17th April. Conflicting breeding season reports were received. A decrease was noted at Wolves Wood, Aldham, from 24 pairs in 1982 down to 18 in 1983, and at Worlingworth the species was considered scarce. However, 10 pairs at Long Melford was an increase and at Bures it was reported as being an exceptionally good year for the species. Autumn passage commenced at Landguard almost a month earlier than in 1982, on 7th Aug., and peaked there on 18th Sep. (16) and 1st Oct (13). None were recorded at Minsmere after 26th Oct. or at Benacre after 28th Oct., but passage continued at Landguard into Nov. with reports on 8 dates up to 13th including 5 on 3rd. At the Ipswich site where a male and 2 females had been present in January, a male was noted on 30th Oct. and 15th Dec. and a female on 29th Nov. Single males were present at 2 other Ipswich localities in late Dec. and at Lowestoft 1 or 2 males and a female were recorded from 29th Nov. onwards. Wood Warbler: Single pairs bred successfully at Walberswick and Benacre, but singing males at Sutton Heath 10th-30th May and Gt. Barton 8thâ€”21st May apparently failed to attract females. Other spring reports were from Alton Water 21st April, Minsmere 27th April, 1st May (3) and 11th May, Old Newton 7th May and Gunton 3rd June. Five autumn migrants were noted in August at Minsmere 12th, Landguard 12th, Southwold 19th, Chelmondiston 24th and Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 24th. Chiffchaff: Wintering birds at Sudbury increased from 1 in Dec. 1982 to 3 during 12thâ€”21st Jan. Further up the Stour Valley, 2 in the Long Melford/Glemsford area 11th Feb. were considered to have been amongst the sightings at Glemsford in Dec. 1982. Singles were also recorded at Thorpeness lst-2nd Jan. (possibly same bird as noted there on 27th Nov. 1982) and Stowmarket S.F. 13th Feb. Singles in early Mar. at Sudbury 9th and Minsmere 11th were considered to have overwintered although the Sudbury individual was singing and the first spring migrants were at the Holme observatory in north-west Norfolk on 7th Mar. No such doubts as to migratory status surround singing birds at Benacre and Holbrook on 17th Mar. At Long Melford 7 pairs were located compared with 3 in 1982. In common with other passerine migrants it was a relatively poor autumn on the coast, with the majority of reports coming from Landguard where passage commenced on 12th Aug. The autumn peak of 19 at Landguard occurred on 30th Sep., which was also the date of the autumn peak ( 10) in 1982; the last reports at this site were of 2, 6th-7th Nov. and elsewhere in Nov. singles were at Gunton 6th and Minsmere 18th. In Dec. singles were at Minsmere 11th, Stowmarket 11th and Felixstowe Ferry 12th. Willow Warbler: The main arrival throughout the county was from mid-April. Coastal spring passage was on a comparatively low scale; the maximum count at Landguard in early May, during which period up to 100 have been present in recent years, was only 10. Notable counts of breeding populations were 60 pairs in Wolves Wood, Aldham (65 in 1982), and 30 pairs at Long Melford (8 in 1982). The migratory status of 1 at Landguard on 1st July is uncertain, but 7 there on 30th July were certainly autumn migrants. Very few coastal migrants were reported away from Landguard where the peak counts were 30 12th Aug., 15 6th Sep. and 17 17th Sep. The last Landguard sighting was on 23rd Oct. but 3 were reported from Lowestoft on 26th Oct. Goldcrest: Very few were reported in the first winter period and coastal spring passage was almost non-existent. 35
The totals recorded on autumn passage, principally in late Sep./early Oct. and again in late Oct./early Nov. were the largest since at least 1975. The first autumn bird was at Landguard on 14th Aug. and the total there gradually increased to 10 on 29th Sep., followed by a sharp increase to 41 next day and a record site total of 85 on 1st Oct. Apart from reports of a 'big influx' at Lowestoft 27th Sep.-1st Oct. this movement was not noticed elsewhere on the coast. However, a widespread fall occurred 4 weeks later on 29th Oct. when reports included c. 300 in the Benacre Pits area, 75 at Landguard and several found exhausted on Walberswick beach. It was estimated that up to 400 occurred in Oct. at Landguard where passage continued until 22nd Nov. including 23 on 3rd. Despite these large autumn numbers, very few were reported from late Nov. onwards. An interesting observation was of 2 feeding in a reed bed at Blythburgh 14th Feb. Flrecrest: Wintering birds were reported from West Stow 8th Jan., Thorpeness 14th-20th Feb. (2), Minsmere 16th Feb.-6th Mar. and again on 28th Nov. and Gt. Saxham in Dec. An excellent spring passage totalling about 55 birds occurred throughout the county between 18th Mar. and 17th May apart from an unusual record of 1 on Havergate Island 8th June. The majority of sightings were during the first half of April; individual site totals during this period included up to 5 at Minsmere, c. 8 in the Lowestoft area 5th- 14th and 7 at Landguard 5th where there were also 4 on 9th and 5 on 15th. Spring sightings away from the immediate vicinity of the coast included singles at Old Newton 9th April, Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 30th April and Lt. Cornard 16th-17th May. Three singing males were present during the summer months at the site where successful breeding occurred in 1982. In a mainly 'westerly' autumn it is perhaps not surprising that only c. 20 were reported between 6th Sep. and 5th Nov. The majority of the reports were from Landguard where there were up to 4 lst-10th Oct. and 5 22nd-23rd Oct. Only 1 occurred on the coast, at Minsmere, during the massive Goldcrest immigration on 29th Oct; the reason for this probably lies in the fact that ringing controls elsewhere on the British east coast showed that the Goldcrests originated from Scandinavia where the Firecrest is rare. The only non-coastal autumn records were at Beccles 20th Oct. and in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 23rd Sep. and 10th Oct. Spotted Flycatcher: An exceptionally early bird was at Nacton 9th April (WAL); this is the earliest recorded date for Suffolk. The only other April sightings were at Aldeburgh and Henham, both on 30th, and there was a general arrival during the first 2 weeks of May. The only breeding season report was of 10 pairs at Long Melford which was considered an increase compared with 1982. Autumn passage from 11th Aug. was mainly reported from Landguard and Lowestoft. There were no general peaks; the largest site totals were 23 Landguard 17th Sep., 16 Lowestoft 12th Aug. and 15 Gunton 24th Sep. The only October records were of singles at Lowestoft 2nd and Landguard 3rd and 10th. Red-breasted Flycatcher: One at Lowestoft 2nd Oct coincided with several sightings on the Norfolk and Lincolnshire coasts (BJB, RCS). Pied Flycatcher: At least 10 spring migrants were recorded during 21st April-13th May; non-coastal reports included males at Livermere 24th April (2) and Kentford 21st-23rd April and a female at Purdis 24th April. There were no reports between 13th May and 7th Aug. During August it was estimated that at least 40 passed through Landguard of which 22 were ringed; the maximum day-totals at this site occurred on 11th (10), 12th (5), 24th (5) and 30th (6). 36
.4 Pied Flycatcher Very few were noted elsewhere in August and the only inland report was of 1 at Boxted 11th. Numbers gradually declined during September; the maximum site total was only 4 at Lowestoft 4th and there were no reports from anywhere in the county 6th-13th. The only October reports were of singles at Landguard 2nd and 9th and 3 Lowestoft 2nd. The overall autumn total for the county was at least 85. Bearded Tit: The breeding season was very successful at Minsmere, where flocks of at least 50 were reported during late summer. At least one pair bred successfully at Oulton Broad. Up to 10 were present in January at Butley, Martlesham and Thorpeness, but the species was widespread during Oct./Dec. Reports were received from at least 16 sites and included 20 Benacre 30th Nov., 10 Easton Broad 6th Nov. and 10 Flatford 17th Dec. Inland, 5 were at Lackford 20th Nov. Long-tailed Tit: An unprecedented coastal autumn passage was recorded during late Oct./early Nov. The majority of reports were from Landguard 20th Oct.-1st Nov., when 150 were recorded, of which 107 were trapped and ringed. Maximum day-totals at Landguard during this period occurred on 20th (21), 27th (42) and 28th (44). Although 26 flew south at Landguard on 27th Oct., proof that not all were moving in that direction is provided by the 7 that were trapped and ringed together there on 23rd Oct. and controlled together 7 days later 95 km to the north at Happisburgh, Norfolk. Elsewhere on the coast, 9 were on Havergate Island 3rd Nov. and 25 at Westleton Heath 27th Oct. It seems likely that some of these autumn birds remained in the county; notable flocks in late Nov./early Dec. included 45 Knettishall 4th Dec., 36 Purdis 21st Nov. and 25 Pinmill 5th Dec. One trapped at Rendlesham 13th Mar. showed plumage features characteristic of the northern subspecies caudatus (MC). This appears to be the first county record of this race. Marsh Tit: Reported from 35 sites throughout the county in 1983. Willow Tit: Reported from 18 sites throughout the county in 1983. One at Landguard 25th Sep. showed plumage features characteristic of the northern race borealis (LBO); this is the second site record of Willow Tit, the first having occurred on 19th Sep. 1980. All reports of Marsh and Willow Tits and their relative abundance are welcomed. Coal Tit: The main event of the year was an unprecedented autumn passage at Landguard. The site had only its third ever record on 25th Sep. (see Willow Tit) and then during 12th Oct.-12th Nov. at least 30 were noted. The maximum day-total occurred on 29th Oct., when 11 flew south and 4 came in from over the sea. (Birds trapped at 37
Dungeness in Kent during the same period were of the grey-mantled continental race.) Blue Tit: This species was also very noticeable on autumn passage at Landguard. In September up to 35 were present from 20th apart from an influx of 100 on 24th. 54 on 20th and 40 on 2nd were the maximum site totals during October; in addition, at least 95 were observed on direct southerly passage on 8 dates during 20th-31st Oct. Above average numbers were also reported during 20th-30th Oct. from Gt. Glemham and Snape. Great Tit: The conditions that induced a considerable autumn passage of Long-tailed, Coal and Blue Tits on the Suffolk coast failed to move many Great Tits. In October at Landguard the maximum site total was only 15 on 2nd; in addition, 11 were noted on direct southerly passage during the month and 2 came in from over the sea on 29th. Great/Blue Tit: A pair of Blue Tits constructed a nest and laid 4 eggs in a nest box at Gt. Glemham only to be ousted by a pair of Great Tits. The Great Tits added 6 of their own eggs to the clutch and all 10 juveniles fledged successfully on 13th June. Nuthatch: This species is widespread throughout the county in suitable habitat. Reports were received from at least 74 sites (35 in 1982), 8 of which were in Ipswich. One was watched foraging amongst moss on the roof of Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, 8th April. TYeecreeper: Reported from 34 sites. Golden Oriole: At the main breeding site, where birds were first reported on 8th May, 8-10 pairs held territory and probably nested. This represents a decline compared with recent years and only one family party was located in late summer. A male was present at one other site in the county in midsummer. A pair were at Minsmere for 5 days in May and single males were at Gunton 28th May and another coastal site 9th June. Red-backed Shrike: Only 6 pairs were reported but all were successful, rearing a total of 18 juveniles. The only summer report away from the breeding sites was of a male at Minsmere 26th June. Only 3 autumn migrants were noted - Benacre 27th Aug., Walberswick 28th Aug. and Gunton 31st Aug.-5th Sep. Great Grey Shrike: There can be little doubt that this species has declined sharply in the 1980s compared with the 1970s. The only reports during the first winter period up to 7th April were of singles at Melton, Sutton, Hollesley and Rushmere St. Andrew. The fourth week of October saw the first birds of the autumn at Covehithe 22nd-24th, Minsmere 27th and Walberswick 27th. One at Walberswick 13th was the only November record and in December singles were at Lakenheath 11th, Blythburgh 25th and Gt. Saxham 27th. Jay: Suffolk's reported share of the massive invasion of this species into Britain in autumn 1983 was much smaller than that of other east coast counties but equally noteworthy. The first signs of the forthcoming influx were on 24th Sep., when 8 flew over Havergate Island and 'several' over Hollesley, including one group of 18, but the main coastal movements were in October as follows: 8th - 40 Benacre, including flock of 16; 11 in off sea, Gunton. 9th - 20 flying south, Hollesley. 1 3 t h - 6 in off sea, Felixstowe Ferry. 15th - 24 Gunton, including 12 in off sea. 18th - 14 Lowestoft. 1 9 t h - 9 Gunton. 20th - 13 Gunton; 9 Landguard. 28th - 1 Landguard. 38
Away from the immediate vicinity of the coast in October, 11 were at Exning 2nd, 'extraordinary numbers' at Sotterley 30th, while the Lound/Somerleyton/Fritton area was described as 'saturated with Jays'. These birds apparently moved on very quickly; the only notable report in November was of 18 at Shotley Marshes in the first half of the month and in December 10 at Barnham on 11th. Magpie: Double-figure reports were of 14 going to roost Walberswick 3rd Jan., 12 Long Melford 3rd Mar., 12 Alton Water 22nd Aug. and 10 Aldeburgh 6th Feb. Birds flew south in October at Landguard on 23rd (4) and 28th. Jackdaw: 300 flew in from over the sea at Thorpeness 27th Jan., presumably in response to weather conditions. The only coastal autumn immigrants were noted at Southwold 22nd Oct. (39) and Sizewell 29th Oct. (1). Notable gatherings were of 450 Icklingham late Mar./early Apr., 170 Knettishall 22nd Oct. and 120 on Minsmere Scrape in April. Rook: Nest building behaviour was noted at Ipswich 5th Nov. and Capei St. Mary 25th Dec. Carrion Crow: 118 migrants were recorded at Landguard 14th Oct.-9th Nov. The preroost gathering at Wherstead Strand numbered 250 4th Oct. and 50 were at Benacre 4th Dec. Hooded Crow: One at Minsmere 24th Mar. was the only first-winter period report but there was one at Shotley on the late date of 2nd May. There were more autumn birds than in 1982, especially in the Benacre/Kessingland area. At this latter site, the first was noted on 19th Nov., increasing to 9 by 3rd Dec., and at least 3 remained to the year end. Elsewhere, singles were at Lowestoft Harbour 5th Oct., 28th Oct. and 3rd Dec., and 1 or 2 at Sizewell 10th-18th Dec. Starling: Autumn passage and immigration was recorded between 10th Sep. and midNov. with the peak numbers occurring in October. The October totals of birds counted moving south and coming in off the sea at Landguard were 2675 and 2950 respectively. On 29th Oct. birds were counted coming in off the sea at Landguard (1165), Covehithe/Easton (300) and Minsmere (150). Roost counts at coastal reed beds were of c. 20,000 Minsmere mid-August and c. 90,000 Easton Broad 4th Dec., increasing to c. 120,000 26th Dec. Apart from partial albinos, 3 unusually plumaged individuals were reported; one with pale buff primaries, secondaries and tail Lowestoft 3rd Jan., a leucistic juvenile Leiston June and one with white head and upper parts and pale brown wings and under parts Cavenham 20th Nov. An enterprising pair nested in the top of a crane jib at Bacton. House Sparrow: It is intriguing to speculate as to the origins and intended destinations of the 1710 that were counted on southerly passage at Landguard in October, including a maximum day-total of 350 on 6th. A pair nested in the tractor shed on Havergate Island. TVee Sparrow: 4675 were recorded on southerly passage at Landguard 6th Oct.-13th Nov., peaking impressively in October on 17th (2000) and 20th (2000). The only notable flocks recorded elsewhere were c. 150 Easton Bavents 12th Feb., c. 150 Covehithe/Benacre late Nov./early Dec. and c. 100 Sutton Heath 1st April. Chaffinch: Notable gatherings in Jan./Feb. included c. 750 Sutton Heath 6th Feb., c. 450 Freston 20th Feb. and c. 100 Aldringham early Jan. Autumn passage at Landguard was considered to be on a larger scale than usual; the largest movements were in October, when c. 850 were recorded with the highest counts on 25th (200) and 29th (210). Brambling: In the early part of the year reports were received from 17 sites throughout the county (apart from the south-west) up to 26th Apr. Some impressive flocks included 39
200 Chantry Park, Ipswich; 4th Jan.; 100 Shrublands Park, Coddenham, 23rd Jan.; 50 Bourne Park, Ipswich, 13th Mar.; and 25 Ashby, 17th Feb. The only May records were of a female Landguard 1st and a male Minsmere 24th. A singing male was present at a site in the county from 21st June-9th July. The first autumn migrant was at Landguard on 29th Sep., and on the next day reports were from Gunton (5), Minsmere (2) and Landguard. At this latter site passage continued until 6th Nov. but the autumn total was only 30. Very few passage birds were noted elsewhere and, not surprisingly, wintering groups were scarce with no more than 10 being noted at 15 sites. Serin: A singing male at Bedingfield, near Eye, 30th May (BW) is only the seventh County record. Greenfinch: An excellent autumn passage was meticulously recorded at Landguard between 17th Sep. and 20th Nov. The October total of c. 14,625 is the highest ever monthly figure for the site and included c. 4750 on 20th (see Tree Sparrow). The only other autumn passage report was of c. 250 Lowestoft, 28th Oct. Only 3 large winter flocks were reported: 250 Long Melford 8th Nov., 200 Elveden 19th Mar. and 150 Aldringham early Jan. Goldfinch: A small southerly passage occurred at Landguard in May with c. 90 on 14th and c. 20 on 18th. 20 pairs were located in the breeding season at Long Melford (12 in 1982). This was the most numerous finch species recorded at Landguard between 17th Sep. and 29th Nov. with the remarkable total of c. 24,275, of which c. 23,900 were in October; as with the other finch species, the peak occurred on 20th Oct. when c. 4250 flew south. The largest winter flock was of 50 Holbrook 27th Nov. Siskin: A poor year for this species compared with 1982. Birds were reported from only 16 localities up to early April. The largest groups were of 60 Minsmere Feb., 60 Rendlesham 12th Mar., 50 Walberswick 14th Jan. and 35 Brandon 6th Mar. Birds were noted in midsummer at one coastal and two Breck sites; there was no confirmed breeding, although the species was described as 'quite numerous' at one of the Breck sites in July. The only recorded coastal autumn migrants were at Landguard, where 35 flew south between 1st Oct. and 9th Nov. As with the same period in 1982, wintering numbers were low, apart from 80 Cavenham Heath 23rd Dec., 60 Staverton 27th Nov. and up to 25 Minsmere throughout Nov. 1-12 were reported from 15 other sites throughout the county, mainly from mid-Nov. onwards. Linnet: The largest winter flocks were 600 Chantry Estate, Ipswich, 2nd Jan., and 350 Aldringham lst-3rd Jan. Spring passage was noticeable on the coast from late April to mid-May. Notable flocks were at Denes Oval, Lowestoft, on 20th-21st Apr. (400) and 3rd May (250), and at Minsmere Sluice 4th May (200). At Landguard 315 flew south 11th-18th May. The only site to report coastal passage in the autumn was Landguard, where the October total of c. 11,530 was more than three times the Oct. 1982 total. Overall, c. 11,650 were recorded at Landguard between 17th Sep. and 15th Nov. with the maximum day-total of c. 2750 occurring, as with other finch species, on 20th Oct. Twite: This species was reported from only five coastal sites in Jan./Feb.; apart from 200 Felixstowe Ferry 13th Jan., no site total exceeded 30. Away from the immediate vicinity of the coast, 50 were at Alton Water 13th Feb. None were reported between 1st Apr. (8 at Walberswick) and early October. Direct southerly passage at Landguard in October totalled only 53 (530 in Oct. 1982) and 35 on 7th Nov. Elsewhere, reports were from 11 coastal sites; encouraging totals were noted at Walberswick - 155 29th Oct., increasing to 200 20th Nov., and 120 still 40
Wood Sandpipers were noted earlier in spring than usual; the first was at Minsmere on 16th April.
Photo David Tomiinson
present 3rd Dec. The only other reports of more than 50 were 200 Falkenham 6th Nov. and 60 Levington 31st Dec. Redpoll: The request for 1983 breeding season records produced an encouraging response. At Ipswich 11 sites held at least 18 pairs, and elsewhere a minimum of 42 pairs were reported from 25 sites throughout the county. On a more general level, the species was described as being widespread in West Suffolk in late summer. Six of the Ipswich sites were suburban gardens. Notable wintering flocks included 140 Livermere 23rd Dec., 110 West Stow 17th Jan., 75 Icklingham 11th Dec. and 70 Wherstead 24th Oct. The total of only 55 recorded on autumn passage at Landguard 2nd Oct.-15th Nov. possibly reflects a poor breeding season elsewhere. Mealy Redpoll: The only report was of one at Rendlesham on 12th Mar. Crossbill: Insufficient information was received to assess the breeding population but during the year birds were noted at nine Breck and seven coastal sites. The largest groups were 24 Dunwich Feb., 15 Brandon 22nd Feb. and 15 Rendlesham 13th Mar. A trap for the unwary was provided by a male at Brandon on 17th Sep. This particular individual had white wing bars and tertials, i.e. identification features of a Twobarred Crossbill, but was considered to be a Crossbill based upon coloration, call note, bill size and structure. Bullfinch: Up to 17 were recorded at Landguard 11th Oct.-5th Nov., including 6 on 22nd Oct. - at the same time the species was reported as being more plentiful than usual on the Shotley Peninsula. Hawfinch: A total of 10 breeding pairs was reported from three coastal sites. During the year reports were received from one central, five Breck and nine coastal sites. The largest gathering was 8 at Staverton, 10th Apr. Lapland Bunting: The only sighting was of one at Minsmere on 2nd Nov. Snow Bunting: Only regularly reported during Jan./Feb. at Benacre/Covehithe (max. 16 22nd Jan.) and Lowestoft (max. 27 mid-Feb.). Elsewhere, the only sightings were of 12 Easton Bavents 29th Jan., 10 Corton 28th Feb. and 1 Shingle Street 27th Feb. None were noted after 28th Feb. The species was more widespread in the autumn, commencing with 4 at Landguard, 22nd Oct. Overall, reports came from 12 coastal sites with the highlight being the d ; > covery of 170 on Orfordness 21st Dec. (SA); this is the largest flock to be recorded in Suffolk since 1973. Elsewhere, the maximum counts were of 22 Benacre 11 th Nov. and 18 Lowestoft 28th Nov. Yellowhammer: Reports of flocks included 500 Livermere 13th Feb., 125 Aldringham early Jan. and 100 Sutton Heath 1st Apr. Twelve were noted on southerly passage at Landguard 24th Sep.-5th Nov. Ortolan Bunting: One at Landguard 1st May (MTW) is the fourth site record and the third to have occurred in May. Reed Bunting: The largest flocks were of 50 at Alton Water 3rd April and Reydon 6th Nov. Singles visited bird-tables at Debenham 9th Feb. and Ipswich 18thâ€”19th Feb. Only 12 occurred on autumn passage at Landguard 18th Sep.-7th Nov. Corn Bunting: A good year for this species. In the south-east of the county pairs or singing males were noted at Alton Water (4), Erwarton, Felixstowe Ferry, Foxhall, Holbrook, Levington, Martlesham, Nacton, Shotley (4), Shottisham, Sutton, Trimley (1+), Waldringfield and Wherstead (3). In the central region of the coastal belt, 2 singing males were at Wickham Market, and at Minsmere single birds were noted on four dates, June-Aug. 41
North of the River Blyth in the coastal belt reports were from Benacre, Carlton Colville (2), Easton Bavents (4) and Rushmere (2). The only inland breeding season reports were from Fornham St. Genevieve (new locality), Livermere (2) and Sudbury. The largest gatherings were of 25 Sudbourne 17th Feb. and 23 there Nov./Dec., and 12 Levington 25th Sep. Singles flew south at Landguard in October on 6th and 17th. APPENDIX I - CATEGORY D SPECIES Wood Duck: One Hadleigh 10th-31st Mar., pair Kersey 28th Nov., male Barton Mills 26th Dec. and male Sudbury until 23rd Apr. was assumed to be same bird that was first noted there on 7 th Nov. 1981. APPENDIX II - ESCAPED ZOOLOGICAL SPECIMENS Flamingo sp: Four River Orwell 21st June. Black Swan: Minsmere 18th May and 12th June, Benacre Broad 23rd July, Holbrook Bay 1st Oct., Ipswich Docks 19th Oct.-18th Nov. and Alton Water 27th-28th Dec. It seems likely that only one individual was involved in these sightings. Bar-headed Goose: Singles noted at Minsmere 1st Jan., Bradfield Combust 7th Mar., Benacre 20th Mar. and 25th June-7th Sep., Barham G.P. 28th May, Livermere July-Aug. and Lackford G.P. 8th Dec. Blue-phase Snow Goose: Four Benacre 28th Aug. Upland Goose: One Ixworth 27th Mar. Cape Shelduck: One Livermere 19th Nov. Chiloe Wigeon: Two Barton Mills 26th Dec. Singles at Minsmere 12th-20th Aug. and 30th Dec., and two there 28th Aug. Alexandrine Parakeet: One Lowestoft 29th April. Cockatiel: One Stowmarket late Aug. Budgerigar: Singles at Gunton 3rd May, Minsmere 14th-30th June and Landguard 28th Aug. Canary: Singles at Landguard 11th May and Akenham 21st July. Red-billed Quelea: One Landguard 12th Aug. Village Weaver: One Landguard 17th-18th Nov. The occurrence of four escaped cage birds at Landguard brings to mind the observations of Dr. L. Batten at Brent Reservoir in London (Batten et al, 1973, Birdwatchers' Year), where cage birds are noted in most years at autumn passage time. APPENDIX III - ADDITIONS TO 1979 REPORT Red-breasted Merganser: Five Alton Water 13th Jan. Despite the relatively close proximity of the sea and estuaries, this is the first record for the reservoir. Bluethroat: Male of the red-spotted race Minsmere 8th April (JMWM). APPENDIX IV - ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS TO 1982 REPORT Bean Goose: 11 Benacre 28th Dec. Goosander: The maximum total of 'redheads' at Benacre in January was 4 not 14. Peregrine: One at Freckenham on the unusual date of 20th May (PMa). Quail: An injured bird was hand caught at Worlingham on the very late date of 30th Nov. (RPa). Stone Curlew: Four at an additional coastal site 21st June. 42
EARLIEST AND LATEST DATES OF SUMMER MIGRANTS SPECIES Garganey Stone Curlew §Little Ringed Plover Curlew Sandpiper Whimbrel •Greenshank Wood Sandpiper •Common Sandpiper Sandwich Tern Common Tem Little Tern Black Tern Turtle Dove Cuckoo Nightjar §Swift Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail §Blue-headed Wagtail Nightingale •Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Grasshopper Warbler Savi's Warbler Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat
ARRIVALS Date Locality —
13 th Mar. 12th Mar. 22nd April 29th Mar. 8th April 16th April 14th April 14th Mar. 10th April 16th April 19th April
'Breck' Bury St. Edmunds Minsmere Ramsholt Long Melford Minsmere Walberswick Havergate Minsmere Benacre/Minsmere Alton Water
12th April Saxtead 13th April Ipswich 2nd May Minsmere 16th Mar. Beccles 26th Mar. Barham/Holbrook/ Lackford 10th April Minsmere/Stowmarket 1st April Aldeburgh 10th April West Stow 30th Mar. Minsmere 28th Mar. Alton Water 14th April Minsmere 13th Mar. Felixstowe 15 th April Minsmere 2nd April Wangford (West) 9th Mar. Landguard 17th April Gunton/Lowestoft/ Wetherden 17th April Minsmere 29th April Walberswick 7th April Minsmere 21st April Bures/Long Melford 21st April Ipswich
Whitethroat Garden Warbler •Blackcap Wood Warbler
16th 18th 3rd 21st
April April April April
•Chiffchaff Willow Warbler SSpotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Red-backed Shrike
17th Mar. 2nd April 9th April 21st April 18th May
Landguard Great Barton Holbrook Alton Water Benacre/Holbrook Minsmere Nacton Kentford 'Coast'
Date 13 th Aug. 26th Oct. 27th Oct. 31st Oct. 18th Sep. 28th Oct. 6th Oct. 9th Oct. 22nd Oct. 2nd Nov. 29th Sep. 16th Oct.
DEPARTURES Locality Havergate 'Coast' Alton Water X Minsmere Landguard Dunwich Benacre West Stow Landguard Landguard Dunwich
Alton Water 21st Oct. Great Saxham 3rd Oct. Landguard 29th Aug. Minsmere 10th Oct. Minsmere 18th Oct. 30th Nov. 14th Nov. 26th Sep. 7th Oct. —
1st Oct. 16th Nov. 30th Oct. 27th Oct. 21st Nov.
Alton Water Landguard Honington Sizewell Landguard —
Landguard Lowestoft Benacre Westleton Benacre
2nd Nov. Landguard —
10th Nov. Redgrave X 24th Oct. Benacre 18th Oct. Landguard 18th Oct. Landguard 9th Oct. Landguard 13th Nov. Landguard 24th Aug. Ipswich/Chelmondiston 18th Nov. Minsmere 26th Oct. Lowestoft 10th Oct. Landguard 9th Oct. Landguard 5th Sep. Gunton
* See Systematic List for details of overwintering birds § Earliest ever recorded in Suffolk X Latest ever recorded in Suffolk
Suffolk Ringing Report 1983 by I. Peters 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 = male, F = iemale. Manner of recovery - v Caught or trapped - released with ring. + Shot or killed by man. x Found dead or dying. 0 Caught or trapped alive - not released, or released without ring. xL Found long dead. xB Breeding where recaptured. Grey 1 0 1 x
Heron 15.05.82 30.12.83 26.05.80 28.02.83
Boyton. 52°04'N 1°29'E. Chippenham, Wiltshire. 51°30' N 2 ° 3 ' W. Ramsholt. 52°02'N 1°21'E. Pollare, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium. 50°49'N 4°00'E.
Wigeon 3M 10.10.72 + 16.01.83 3F 20.09.74 + 14.11.83
Nacton. 52°01'N 1°15'E. Manfredonia, Foggia, Italy. 41°38'N 15°55'E. Nacton. Rivoltella, Brescia, Italy. 45°28'N 10°35'E.
Teal 4F 30.09.82 + 11.10.82
Butley. 52°06'N 1°30'E. Seine Maritime, France. 49°29'N 0°28'E.
Tufted Duck 1 04.07.82 + 17.11.82
Hollesley. 52°03'N 1°26'E. Haute Garonne, France. 43°18'N 1°14'E.
Rough-Iegged Buzzard 2 11.10.79 Rodby, Lolland, Denmark. 54°37'N 11°27'E. xL 00.11.83 Nr. Elveden. 52°21'N0°38'E. Oystercatcher 1 19.06.66 Shingle Street. 52°01'N 1°28'E. x 20.05.83 Orford Lighthouse. 52°05'N 1°35'E. Perhaps not one of our furthest movements but an indication of a bird being faithful to its natal area. 44
Lapwing 1 04.06.78 + 18.12.83
Shotley. 51°58'N 1°15'E. Hagetmau, Landes, France. 43°40'N 0°35'W.
Dunlin 2 29.10.67 v 04.08.83
Butley Creek. 52°5'N 1°30'E. Ottenby, Oland, Sweden. 56° 12' N 16°24' E. Note that this established a new British longevity record for this species. 4 01.08.74 Skanor, Sweden. 55°25'N 12°50'E. V 26.02.83 Ramsholt. 52°05'N 1°23'E. 6 21.07.78 Ottenby, Oland, Sweden. 56°12'N 16°24'E. V 18.11.83 Ramsholt. 22.07.78 Ottenby, Oland, Sweden. 6 V 18.11.83 Ramsholt. It is worthy of note that these two birds were ringed within a day of each other and controlled at Ramsholt on the same day five years later. 3 20.08.78 Saevika, Farsund, Vest-Agder, Norway. 58°5'N 6°36'E. V 17.12.83 Ramsholt. 6 27.05.80 Insel Nordstrand, W. Germany. 54°30'N 8°53'E. V 03.12.83 Brantham. 51°58'N 1°3'E. 6 01.08.81 Ottenby, Oland, Sweden. 56°12'N 16°24'E. V 03.11.83 Brantham. 4 25.10.81 Schiemonnikoog, Holland. 53°29'N 6°12'E. V 05.11.83 Brantham. 4 08.09.83 Wrangle, Boston, Lines. 53°2'N 0°10'E. V 18.11.83 Brantham. 3 23.09.83 Jonfruland, Kragero, Telemark, Norway. 58°53'N 9°37'E. V 04.11.83 Ramsholt. 3 29.08.76 Wismar, Rostock, E. Germany. 54°02'N 11°30'E. V 23.01.82 Ramsholt. Lesser Black-backed Gull 1 09.07.83 Orford. 52°07'N 1°33'E. X 25.11.83 Marek, Pas-de-Calais, France. 50°57'N 1°57'E. Black-headed Gull 3 12.12.81 Ipswich. 52°04' N 1°10'E. X 16.06.82 Kalinngrad, U.S.S.R. 54°51'N 20°27'E. 1 06.06.72 Blikplaat, Friesland, Holland. 53°21'N 6°13'E. X 28.09.83 Felixstowe Ferry. 51°58'N 1°25'E. 4 26.12.81 Ipswich. X 10.10.83 Texel, Holland. 53°5'N 4°50' E. 5 10.01.82 Ipswich. V 07.06.83 Puise, Estoniya, U.S.S.R. 58°47'N 23°27'E. 1 05.06.83 Bekkeskjaeret, Sande, Vestfold, Norway. 59°33'N 10°17'E. X 16.08.83 Ipswich. Puffin 4 24.07.82 X 10.02.83
Sule Skerry, Orkney. 59°4'N 4°24' W. Lowestoft. 52°29'N 1°45'E. 45
Sand 3 v 3 v
Martin 03.07.83 28.08.83 07.07.83 26.08.83
Boyton. 52°4'N 1°29'E. Dampierre en Burly, Loiret, France. 47°46'N 2°31'E. Shotley. 51°58'N 1°15'E. Saint Seurin D'ozet, France. 45°30' N 0°50' W.
Swallow 3 19.09.83 x 24.10.83
Shotley. 51°58'N 1°15'W. Vayenglay, Liberia. 7°22'N 8°35' W.
Blackbird 3M 17.11.74 x 04.09.83 3M 06.11.82 x 22.02.83
Kesgrave. 52°5'N 1°13'E. Tangstedt, Pinneberg, W. Germany. 53°44'N 10°5'E. Castricum Dunes, Noord-Holland, Holland. 52°33'N 4°37'E. Monk Soham, Framlingham. 52°15'N 1°14'E.
Cetti's Warbier 3F 11.08.82 x 24.06.83 3M 17.08.82 v 07.05.83
Fordwich, Kent. 51°17'N 1°09'E. Somerleyton. 52°31'N 1°39'E. Wicken Fen, Cambridge. 52°18'N0°17'E. Newbourn. 52°02'N 1°18'E.
Sedge Warbier 3 06.08.83 v 20.08.83
Strathclyde, Scotland. 55°24'N 4°11'W. Hollesley. 52°03'N 1°26'E.
Reed Warbier 3 27.08.83 x 11.10.83
Hollesley. 52°03'N 1°26'E. Lissac, Lärche, Correze, France. 45°6'N 1°28'E.
Blackcap 3F 09.08.81 xB 02.07.83
Rye Meads, Hoddesdon, Herts. 51°47'N 0°0'E. Kesgrave. 52°05'N 1°13'E.
Blue Tit 3 02.09.80 v 27.02.83
Walberswick. 52°18'N 1°38'E. Shotley. 51°58'N 1°15'E.
Jay 2 26.09.82 + 26.11.83
Starling 6M 04.02.78 + 16.02.83 3M 14.12.81 46
Hollesley. 52°3'N 1°26'E. Boxted, Bury St. Edmunds. 52°8'N 0°40'E. This was part of an unprecedented eruption of Jays which took place in October 1983.
Ipswich. 52°04'N 1°10'E. Nord, France. 50°58'N 2°19'E. Ipswich.
x 5F x 6M x 6F x 5M
14.03.83 10.01.82 05.04.83 19.02.77 13.04.83 02.01.83 08.05.83 30.01.83
Motala, Ostergotland, Sweden. 58°33'N 15°3'E. Ipswich. Zuid, Holland. 51°55'N4°25'E. Ipswich. Linkmenys, Ignalina, Lithuania, U.S.S.R. 55°19'N 25°58'E. Ipswich. Spang Vade, Sonderborg, Jylland, Denmark. 54°55'N 9°47'E. Ipswich.
Rostock, E. Germany. 53°52'N 13°59'E.
Greenfinch 5M 16.02.78 v 07.04.83 6M 04.03.81 v 20.04.83 Goldfinch 3 13.09.81 x 08.03.83
Fleet, Hants. 51°17'N 0°43'W. Gt. Glemham. 52°12'N 1°25'E. Dorking, Surrey. 51°14'N0°20'W. Gt. Glemham. Hollesley. 52°3'N 1°26'E. San Sebastian, Guipuzcoa, Spain. 43°19'N 1°59'W.
N.B. - Landguard records are omitted as they appear in the separate report on page 51.
Landguard Bird Observatory 1983
by M. T. Wright Landguard Bird Observatory was officially opened in September 1983 and the following is the first annual report MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS JANUARY. This was a mild and rather quiet month. The opportunity was taken to do the necessary work of securing our observatory headquarters in part of the Second World War fortifications against vandals. Brent Geese were observed daily flying between the Orwell and Deben, the largest skein being c. 300 on 31st. FEBRUARY. This month will be remembered for the biggest sea-bird wreck ever to be recorded in Britain. Oiled birds beached here included 11 Guillemots, 6 Razorbills, one Little Auk on the sea on 12th and another found dead on 18th, which is now in the Ipswich Museum. On the 16th a Red-necked Grebe was seen on the sea close to shore. A Purple Sandpiper was present on three dates and 4 pairs of Ringed Plovers were on the reserve. MARCH. The first Wheatears of the year returned on the 9th and were recorded on 12 dates from that day; 9 on 26th increased to 14 on 30th, but only 7 were present on 31st. A male Black Redstart, the Observatory Emblem Bird, arrived on the 15th followed by a female on the 19th, Stonechat on the llth, 3 Firecrests on 18th and 2 on 19th. Small skeins of Brent Geese (maximum 25) were noted throughout the month, 60 Shelduck flew south on 5th and 35 north on 25th and a Gannet north 18th. Very few waders observed; Woodcock on 18th and Ringed Plovers, which increased to 6 pairs on the reserve. APRIL. Birds observed at sea included 2 Arctic Skuas on Ist, 8 Fulmars south on 16th and 2 north on 20th, 8 adult Gannets north on lOth and 1 north on 20th, 6 Common 48
Scoters north on 11th, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers north on 11th and 3 south on 30th. Waders included Grey Plover, Curlew, a Whimbrel south on 16th and 10 south 19th and 2 Common Sandpipers on 5th. The first Little Tern arrived on 22nd, increasing to 7 on 30th. Short-eared Owls were seen on 4 dates, totalling 5 birds. Black Redstarts were recorded on 15 dates with a maximum 7 on 3rd and 13th, Whinchat on 22nd and 3 on 23rd, Wheater recorded on 19 dates throughout the month with maxima of 35 on 18th and 20+ on 30th and 3 Redwings on 12th. It was a quiet month for early spring migrants; Blackcaps on 7 dates, 10 Chiffchaffs and Willow Warbler on 10 dates, totalling 40 birds. Pied Flycatcher on 25th and Firecrest on 9 dates with a maximum of 7 on 5th. MAY. The month got off to a good start with an Ortolan Bunting on 1st, followed a week later by a Melodious Warbler, the first spring record for Suffolk which stayed until the 13th. A first summer Mediterranean Gull on 5th, 18 Eiders on the sea on 8th, 3 Greenshanks north on 7th and the first Ringed Plover chick hatched on 7th, Shorteared Owl on 8th. Hirundines were recorded infrequently in small numbers throughout the month. Tree Pipit on 1st, Yellow Wagtail on 8 dates totalling 21 birds, White Wagtail on 11th. Black Redstart maximum of 5 on 5th and up to 2 males in song. Wheatears a maximum of 22 on 1st and again on 11th. Fieldfare on 1st and 2nd, 2 on 7th. A splattering of all the regular Warblers were recorded during the month, Lesser Whitethroat on 8 dates with 5 on 8th, Garden Warbler on 5 dates, Willow Warbler maximum of 10 on 5th; a female Brambling was observed on the 1st. JUNE. Generally a quiet month for migrants. Swifts put in an appearance with a maximum of c. 750 south on the 14th. The first Little Tern chicks were hatched on 28th. The month however will be remembered for the vandals who smashed up the observatory. Using wire cutters to gain entry into the fenced-off area, they forced the shuttered windows, broke down a door and damaged the ringing room, which meant that three months work had been in vain. JULY. Another uneventful month, 3 Fulmars south and Mute Swan north on 2nd. 8 Stock Doves on 22nd, Cuckoo juveniles on 3rd and 9th, the first Black Redstart juveniles were observed on 3rd and a Wheatear juvenile on 3rd. AUGUST. A lean month for sea watching, a Shag was observed on the sea on 14th, a sprinkling of waders south included Whimbrel, Curlew and Greenshank. Common Sandpiper, migrating by night, were noted throughout the month by their calls. Arctic Skuas offshore on 8th, 20th and 30th, and single Little Gulls on 13th and 29th. Two Tawny Owls were heard calling during the early hours of the 5th, single Cuckoos were present on two dates and a Nightjar on the 20th was the third record for the site. A Kingfisher was caught and ringed on 21st, single Wrynecks appeared on the 26th and 31st, and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on the 13th was the first record for the site. Hirundines were down compared with the same period last year. Pied Wagtails were noted on 9 dates involving single birds, and Whinchats occurred throughout the month with a maximum of 6 on 20th. A Fieldfare flew in off the sea on 28th and stayed for most of the day before flying off southwards. Sylvia Warblers put in a good appearance during the month including a Barred Warbler on 27th which stayed through into September. Wood Warbler on 12th. Willow Warblers were recorded on every day except 1st and 3rd with a maximum of 30 on 12th. Observations in conjunction with ringing showed that this month was very good for Pied Flycatchers, 40 individuals being involved. SEPTEMBER. The return migration gathered momentum during the month with a good passage of Common Tern, an enormous hirundine movement on 17th was the 49
best this autumn, a fall of c. 100 Blue Tits on the 24th was exceptional and towards the end of the month there was an influx of Thrushes and Goldcrests. Sea watching proved more productive, 4 Sooty Shearwaters north 4th and 1 north 8th were the first records for the site. A Manx Shearwater that was found in Ipswich was brought to Landguard where it was ringed and released. Five Gannets on 18th, the first Brent Goose was noted on 23rd, then 6 on 29th and 58 on 30th. Wildfowl including Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail and Mallard were observed regularly throughout the month in small numbers. Two Goosanders flew south on 18th. Waders of nineteen species were recorded including 18 Golden Plover on 10th, 6 on 11th and one on the ground 13th - 16th, Grey Plover occurred on 8 dates with a maximum of 53 on 4th, 2 Purple Sandpipers on 18th, Ruff on 17th, Black-tailed Godwit on 18th, 14 Bar-tailed Godwits on 18th, single Whimbrel on 3 dates, 2 on 18th, Spotted Redshank on 23rd and single Greenshank on 3 dates. Arctic Skua, dark-phase south 4th, 7 south 11th, 1 south 27th, light-phase north 11th, Great Skua south on 5th mobbed by a Sandwich Tern. Common Terns recorded on 21 dates totalling 1029 birds with a maximum of 615 on 18th, Arctic Terns totalled 37 birds for the same period. A Short-eared Owl in off the sea on 16th, Kingfisher on 4th and Wrynecks were observed on 1st and 6th. The considerable hirundine passage included c. 816 Sand Martins, c. 12,925 Swallows with a maximum of c. 10,000 on 17th and c. 22,950 House Martins with a maximum of c. 14,500 on 17th. A very good month for Tree Pipits with 33 birds recorded with a maximum of 17 on 13th, Yellow Wagtails were seen on 12 dates moving south totalling 96 birds, and a Grey Wagtail on 20th. A Bluethroat on 25th remained into October, Black Redstarts reached two distinct maxima of 10 on 13th and 13 on 20th, Redstarts were recorded more frequently during the second half of the month with a maximum of 6 on 29th, Whinchats on most days with a maximum of 12 on 18th and a male Stonechat on 20th. An influx of Song Thrushes at the end of the month peaked with 61 present on 30th, 6 Redwings north on 11th. An Icterine Warbler was present between 21st and 23rd and the Barred Warbler was last seen on 18th, Lesser Whitethroats were recorded on 20 dates with a maximum of 15 on 18th, ten species of Warblers were recorded during the month. Goldcrests increased to 41 on 30th and single Firecrests on 6th, 10th and 22nd. A Willow Tit showing characteristics of the northern race borealis on 25th. The total number of species recorded during the month was 115. OCTOBER. This was another very good month with 121 species being recorded. Single Red-throated Divers on 22nd and 30th. Southerly movements of Brent Geese were noted on 20 dates throughout the month totalling c. 6180, maxima of c. 3000 on 21st, 1830 on 22nd and 545 on 25th. A Sparrow Hawk in off sea on 1st, 1 in area 3rd 4th, 3 Kestrels over the beach early on the 4th. Waders this month included Knot, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Snipe, Woodcock singles on 22nd, 29th and 30th and a Grey Phalarope on the sea on 23rd. An immature Pomarine Skua remained in the area for much of the month and single Great Skuas south on 16th and 26th. A Little Gull was seen on 22nd, Lesser Black-backed Gulls peaked at c. 2500 south on 8th, 37 Kittiwakes south on 30th. A Little Auk flew in off the sea on 29th with a flock of Starlings and one found in a garden at Kirton the same day was brought to the Observatory where it was ringed and released. A late Cuckoo was observed on 3rd. Southerly passage of Meadow Pipits was recorded on 17 dates with a maximum of c. 550 on 20th making a total for the month of c. 2150, Rock Pipit maximum 4 on 1st, Pied Wagtails south totalled 97 birds for the month. A Nightingale on 1st is the latest record for the site and the Bluethroat was last observed on 6th. Ring Ouzel singles on 1st, 10th, 13th and 25th, 2 on 7th. Overnight Redwing passage on 22nd/23rd, 29th/ 30th involved many thousands of birds. Several influxes of Goldcrests occurred during 50 M
the month, at least 400 individuals were involved, maxima of 85 on 1st was a site record. Between 1 and 4 Firecrests daily up to 10th, then 5 on 22nd-23rd and singles 24th-27th. An unprecedented passage was noted from the 20th of Long-tailed Tits involving 144 birds, there was also numerous influxes of Blue Tits giving some good daily totals, maxima of 54 on 20th, 40 on 2nd. Tree Sparrow passage was noted on 14 dates from the 6th totalling c. 4600 birds. Finch passage was very evident during the month, with Chaffinches recorded on 19 dates totalling c. 590 birds, Greenfinches on 21 dates totalling c. 14,500 birds with a maximum of c. 4750 on 20th, Goldfinches on 22 dates totalling c. 23,900 with a maximum of c. 4250 birds on 20th. Linnets on 17 dates totalling c. 11,530 birds with a maximum of c. 2750 on 20th. Brambling, Siskin, Redpoll and Twite were also recorded. Four Snow Buntings on 22nd. NOVEMBER. A very good wildfowl passage occurred during the three days from the 11th, Brent Geese being the main species with c. 16,000 on 11th and c. 3500 on 12th. Ten species of duck was recorded, maxima of 402 Shelduck on 12th, 487 Wigeon on 12th, 176 Teal on 12th, 67 Mallard on 12th, 71 Common Scoter south and 21 north on 12th and 20 Eider north on 14th, Velvet Scoter, 10 Goldeneye, 78 Red-breasted Mergansers on 12th. Waders included single Woodcocks on 3 dates and 5 in off the sea on 12th, 2 Greenshanks south on 5th. Little Gull on 11th and 12th, adult Glaucous Gull on 20th and 28th and a Little Auk was seen flying into the Orwell estuary on 10th. Owls included Barn on 1st, 2 Long-eareds on 4th, 2 on 12th and 13th and single Shorteared on 3rd and 5th. A Woodlark circled the reserve, calling, on 3rd, male Ring Ouzel on 2nd, Blackbird influxes and passage occurred up to the 19th, maxima 8 3 + 1 7 south on 3rd, 40 on 8th. On several occasions active overnight passage of Redwings and Fieldfares was witnessed, probably the most significant immigration recorded here. Blackcaps were observed on 8 dates with a maximum of 5 on 3rd, 2 Chiffchaffs on 6th and 7th and 2 Snow Buntings on 5th, singles on 6th and 15th. DECEMBER. Thirty-nine species were recorded during the month which included an adult Glaucous Gull on 11th, Guillemot on 6th, c. 50 Wood Pigeons on 19th feeding on our Holme Oak acorn crop and a Little Owl was observed on the 6th Acknowledgements This report is produced thanks to the efforts of all Landguard Bird Observatory Staff but in particular to Alan Paine who kept the records most meticulously.
Landguard Ringing Report 1983 The Landguard Ringing Group, in its first year, ringed a total of 3549 birds of 67 species. Twenty-six species, which included Manx Shearwater, Woodcock, Little Auk, Long-eared Owl, Nightjar, Bluethroat, Ring Ouzel, Wood Warbler and Melodious Warbler, were new to the ringing list. The total number of species ringed now stands at 70 and brings the overall ringing total from 1978-1983 to 4622 birds. The monthly ringing totals were: J F M A M J 0 3 11 122 105 42 The top ten species were: Linnet 361 Blue Tit 308 Blackbird 308 Greenfinch 307 Goldcrest 275
Dunnock Goldfinch Song Thrush Willow Warbler House Martin
187 166 161 144 117 51
Notable controls included a party of 7 Long-tailed Tits ringed at Landguard on 23rd Oct. which were subsequently all controlled at Happisburgh, Norfolk, on 30th Oct. A Blackbird ringed on 15th Oct. was controlled at Heligoland, W. Germany, on 19th Oct. A Chiffchaff ringed on 15th May was controlled at La Fougeraie, Sark, Channel Islands, on 5th Aug. A Swallow controlled at Landguard on 24th Sep. was originally ringed at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire, on 3rd Sep. 1980. Another Swallow controlled on 2nd Oct. was originally ringed at Seaside Dyke, Errol, Tayside, Scotland, on 24th Sep. A Reed Warbler controlled on 29th Aug. was ringed at Hornsea Mere, Humberside, on 10th Aug. Recoveries included a Starling ringed at Landguard on 6th Sep., which was found dead at Nevlliac, Pontivy, Morbihan, France, on 25th Nov. One of the Long-eared Owls ringed on 13th Nov. was found dead at Whitcombe, Dorchester, Dorset, on 2nd April 1984. M. Wright
TABLE OF RINGING TOTALS AT LANDGUARD Species Manx Shearwater Kestrel Red-legged Partridge Ringed Plover Woodcock Black-headed Gull Little Tern Little Auk Wood Pigeon Collared Dove TUrtle Dove Cuckoo Long-eared Owl Nightjar Kingfish ' Wryneck Skylark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tïee Pipit Meadow Pipit Pied Wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Bluethroat Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird
1983 Pulii —
2 — — — —
1 — — — — — — — —
— — — — — —
— — — — — — —
— — — —
1983 Grand Total Adult 1978-1983 1 1 2 2 8 8 — 35 3 3 1 1 — 26 1 1 1 2 1 1 3 3 1 1 3 3 1 1 2 3 — 1 1 10 2 2 129 1% 117 121 3 4 36 31 2 1 32 57 187 331 102 121 7 10 1 1 20 48 14 25 6 6 — 1 10 10 1 1 304 368
Species Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Melodious Warbler Barred Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Long-tailed Tit Coal Tit Willow Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Linnet Redpoll Bullfinch Yellowhammer Reed Bunting
1983 Pulii — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
8 — —
7 — — — —
1983 Grant 1 Adult 1978-1 3 3 161 189 22 22 20 22 42 51 1 1 1 2 20 22 40 51 57 47 102 108 1 1 36 53 144 175 275 279 15 16 25 27 26 31 112 112 6 7 1 1 308 385 83 120 90 103 29 51 9 17 66 75 3 3 307 393 166 219 354 559 6 10 8 8 1 1 1 6
Totals: Species 70; Pulii 22, Adult 3527 (3549); Grand Total (1978-1983) 4622 52
Newbourn Springs Ringing Report 1983 by Brian Thompson and J. O. Brinkley Due to pressures of work and other factors, ringing activity at the reserve was somewhat curtailed in 1983. The number of occasions on which mist nets were erected was 18. Nevertheless 417 birds plus 3 pulli were ringed. In addition 162 retraps and 1 control were handled, making an average catch of 32.2 birds per netting session. This is an increase in the average catch over the past few years, which can only lead to the supposition that the numbers of some bird species using the reserve has increased. This hypothesis is borne out by the CBC returns for the reserve in 1983. Whether the increase is due to the management policies on the reserve or whether it is a national trend has yet to be established, but it could well be a combination of both.
Year 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983
TABLE 1 Comparison of mean numbers of birds caught and ringed over the 5-year period 1979-1983 Mean No. No. Mean No. of Visits (New Birds) (All Birds) 29 15.4 16.4 20 22.6 18.5 23.2 33 17.5 17.1 31 23.8 18 23.2 32.2
No new species were ringed on the reserve in 1983, but a new species was handled. An adult male Cetti's Warbler was controlled on 7th May. Information subsequently received from the ringing office at the B.T.O. showed that the bird had been ringed as a juvenile at Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire on 17th Aug. 1982. This bird obviously found Newbourn Springs to its liking, because it was retrapped on 17th Sep. The hope is now that a female will arrive and a new breeding species will be established on the reserve. A female Blackbird ringed at Newbourn on 28th Aug. 1982 was controlled 8 km away at Bridge Wood, near Ipswich Airport, on 30th March 1983. A second adult female Blackbird, ringed on 8th Jan. 1983, was found dead at Matlock in Derbyshire on 30th Nov. 1983. All other recoveries were local.
Species Goldcrest Dunnock Dunnock Robin Marsh Tit Chaffinch Chaffinch
TABLE 2 Some resident birds retrapped in 1983 Age/Sex Date when ringed Ringed 3M 29.10.82 4M 28.04.79 4F 01.06.79 5F 05.04.79 01.09.77 3 3M 19.08.78 4F 29.06.80
Date Retrapped 23.10.83 08.01.83 27.08.83 08.01.83 23.10.83 30.07.83 08.10.83 53
Species Willow Warbler Willow Warbler Nightingale Garden Warbler
TABLE 3 Some summer migrants retrapped in 1983 Age/Sex Date Ringed when ringed 08.08.81 3 11.04.81 4 25.04.82 4M 01.06.79 4M
Date Retrapped 07.05.83 07.05.83 14.05.83 07.05.83
Since the Garden Warbler, mentioned in the above table, was ringed in June 1979 it has been retrapped on four occasions, twice in 1981, and once in 1982 and 1983. The migration routes taken by Garden Warblers to Central and West Africa bend round from south-west in Europe to due south in Africa, making the closest wintering areas of Garden Warblers approximately 5000 km distant from Newboum. Therefore at a conservative estimate, just on migration flights alone, this particular bird has travelled at least 55,000 km. Reference: MEAD, C. J. Bird Migration Country Life Books (1983).
Newbourn Springs Ringing Total List 1983 Species Green Sandpiper Woodcock Woodpigeon Cuckoo Kingfisher Green Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Sand Martin House Martin Swallow Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Blackbird Song Thrush Redwing Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest 54
36 48 26 7 40 10 1 8 3 23 3 9 4 13 5
— — — —
3 — — — — — — — — — —
Grand Total 1976-1983 2 2 3 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 3 219 313 220 27 386 111 28 16 9 88 23 96 36 34 55
Species Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit GreatTit Nuthatch Treecreeper Jay Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Linnet Siskin Redpoll Bullfinch Yellowhammer Totals
Fully Grown — 4 5 — — — 41 25 — 8 — 12 — 17 — 9 3 3 — 3 32 16
Pulii — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Grand Total 1976-1983 3 12 69 22 9 9 354 255 10 70 1 4 3 23 16 173 8 72 26 12 8 17 218 34 3119
Short Notes IDENTIFICATION PROBLEMS OF RING-NECKED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri) by A. C. East on Both records of Parakeets seen at liberty by me in 1983 (Lowestoft 29th April and Kessingland 6th May) refer to Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) which I first saw on 26th Feb. 1982. When visiting Great Witchingham Wild-life Park, Norfolk, I observed the first Ring-necked Parakeets I had ever seen at very close quarters, and noticed the difference in size and build between this species and eupatria. The individual of the latter species showed maroon 'shoulder patches' in flight. The amount of maroon coloration was much smaller than illustrated in any of the identification guides that were consulted; it was not apparent when the wings were closed. All books show the maroon patch when perched. Forshaw and Cooper in Parrots of the World list five races of eupatria none of which are noted as having reduced wing patches as a distinguishing feature. However there are a few field characters which are relevant to enable positive identification to be made at close quarters when the bird is perched. 1) Width of the black and pink neck ring. This feature is much narrower in krameri. 2) The lower mandible is ail red. In krameri it is black with a small area of red at the base. Beware, some field guides show this as all red. 3) The contrast between body and wings in eupatria is noticeable. The wings are a darker shade of green than the rest of the body. Both body and wings are uniform yellowish-green in krameri. As I was not aware of these facts in 1982,1 initially identified the bird seen as a male Ring-necked Parakeet, and it was not until ten days later that I had a good view of the upperwing in flight. I was then able to correct my identification to a male Alexandrine Parakeet. A female of the latter species could be more problematical if it showed similar wing patches. The Parakeet in question could have been in the Lowestoft area since at least 1980 as my record of a Ring-necked Parakeet on 10th May 1980 at Gunton was based on an underside flight view. Observers should therefore be aware that Alexandrine Parakeet is at liberty at least in north-east Suffolk, and this should be considered when identifying Parakeets with 'ringed' necks especially when only flight views are obtained. 'Alexandrine Parakeets seen more recently in London Zoo did show maroon wing patches when perched. I now wonder if the example at liberty in the Lowestoft area is typical or not. Could it be a hybrid or a race not properly described? FIRST FOR BRITAIN? by T. D. Charlton Many birdwatchers will undoubtedly recall the occurrence of a controversial Emberizid bunting present at Sizewell from 21st to 23rd April 1982. Though the bird was present for three days and observed by scores of birdwatchers, it was not specifically identified. Opinions as to its identity were varied, and possibilities included a first-year male Pine Bunting (Emberiza leucocephala), an aberrant 56
Yellowhammer (E. citrinella) or a hybrid Pine Bunting x Yellowhammer - these two species freely inter-breed in Western Russia where their breeding ranges overlap. As the bird shared the characteristics of both species, the possibilities of a hybrid were considered and investigated. Despite a thorough search of available literature, no information regarding the plumage characteristics of such a hybrid could be found. Contact with Russian ornithologists was made through the valuable co-operation of Mike Wilson from the Edward Grey Institute, Oxford. Colour photographs and a plumage description were submitted to Dr. Irene Neufeldt at the Zoological Institute, Leningrad, and Professor V. E. Flint at the Zoological Museum, Moscow. Professor Flint replied that the photographs and description had been received and identification had not posed any Problems; the bird was a hybrid E. citrinella x E. leucocephala and the Zoological Museum in Moscow has a whole series of such birds from the Altay Mountains. Professor Flint further stated that the diagnosis was rather unexpected and it is a mystery to him how the bird reached England! Apparently Pine Buntings are not imported into the U.K. (T. P. Inskipp, pers. comm.), therefore the possibility of a hybrid originating from captive stock is remote. A complete account, including full description, will appear in a future issue of British Birds. My thanks to Mike Wilson, Professor V. E. Flint and Dr. Irene Neufeldt; also to Roger Tidman for his splendid colour photographs.
Hybrid Yellowhammer x Pine Bunting 57
Descriptions of Unusual Species Red-breasted Goose at Falkenham 11th December 1983 until year end by J. Levene On 1 Ith Dec. 1983 myself, C. B. Allen and L. Broome-Lynne were watching a flock of c. 500 Dark-bellied Brent Geese (Branla bermela bermela) feeding on winter wheat fields at Falkenham, Suffolk. Whilst scanning through the flock with my telescope I noticed a bird showing distinct white flanks, a brick red breast and red cheek patches; having seen a Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) at Wells, Norfolk, on the 12th Nov. 1983 I immediately realised that the bird I was watching was of that species. I informed my two companions who immediately confirmed the identification. On further study of the bird it became apparent that the upper parts of the body were darker than I remembered from the Norfolk specimen and that the bird showed only two white wing bars on one side with a very faint third on the other (in flight only two wing bars showed); this contrasted with the Norfolk bird which showed several white wing bars. The red face patch appeared brighter and larger than I remembered on the Norfolk bird. The above characteristics led myself and my companions to consider that the bird we had discovered was not the Norfolk bird and that it was an adult. At about 12.30 the Brent flock flew off to the other side of the River Deben and the Red-breasted Goose went with them. Myself and my colleagues left and informed S. Piotrowski, at the Landguard Bird Observatory, of the find. Phone calls to Norfolk
Red-breasted Goose 58
confirmed that the Norfolk individual was still present and that, therefore, the bird we had found was a different specimen. We returned to Falkenham at 14.30 to find the Brent flock, now increased to c. 1000, had returned and that the Red-breasted Goose had returned with them. We watched the bird until 15.30 and then departed. Detailed Description Head and Neck: Bill small and dark, face and chin black with a largish white face spot, chin separated from red foreneck by a thin white line, crown black, cheeks brick red surrounded completely with a white line. Neck thick giving head a very small look, hindneck black, foreneck brick red separated from hindneck with a white line. Body: Back black, rump white, upper tail black. Breast brick red separated from belly by a white line which completely circled from the nape to the belly. Upper belly black, lower belly white with three black stripes extending just into flanks. Flanks white. Vent and under-tail coverts white. Legs dark. Wings: Black with two distinct white wing bars, faint third wing bar on one side did not show whilst bird was in flight.
Red-footed Falcon at Lakenheath 9th to 11th July 1983 by L. G. R. Evans Whilst birdwatching at Lakenheath, Stuart Warren casually notified me that there was a Cuckoo sitting on the perimeter fence of the RAF base at Lakenheath. I glanced at the bird and immediately noticed that it was not a Cuckoo but a species of Falcon. We quickly set up our telescopes and I found to my surprise that it was a first-summer male Red-footed Falcon. Over the next four hours we were able to get excellent views at distances between 30 and 200 yards. For most of the time it would just sit on the fence posts, resting and looking around. It was disturbed on a number of occasions by passing military vehicles but normally quickly returned to the fence. It also fed on the ground on a number of occasions taking black beetles and other hard-cased insects. It would eat these insects and then after a few seconds regurgitate their hard casings. At other times it would hunt over the airfield. It continually hovered for food in the same manner as Kestrel when on the wing and when food was pin-pointed it would drop from the air straight to the ground. It was an obvious species with its wholly dark, sooty-grey underparts. The following description was made in excellent light conditions over the four hours of observation at 50 yards range: Very similar in size and shape to Kestrel with crown, forehead and nape charcoal grey/bluish grey. Lores and ear-coverts blackish forming a dark 'mask' effect. Thin line down centre of nape with pale orange buff feathering on either side. Mantle, back and part of upper-tail dark bluish-grey. The upper-tail pattern was very distinctive - a dark ridge of greyish-blue feathers running down the centre with heavily barred creamish-buff outer-tail feathers. Upper wings: Wing coverts mainly bluish-grey, pale brown secondaries and very dark primaries. Underwing paler, and heavily barred. 59
Chin, throat, breast, belly, vent and under-tail coverts sooty-blue with barely any markings although the upper breast was tinged rufous. The thigh rĂŠgion appeared reddish in flight. Eye dark. Cere bright yellow with black tip. Legs bright yelloworange but not red. When in flight it was very similar to Kestrel, hovering with its tail fully spread. The flight was slow with gentle flaps. The wings were rather rounded and the tail qui te long. It was very tarne, allowing approach to within 50 yards when perched on fence posts. When sitting it appeared very 'hunched up'. The plumage dĂŠtails suggest to me that the Falcon was in its first summer. Previous to this I had seen ten diffĂŠrent Red-footed Falcons in Britain none of which have ever been identical in plumage presumably because of an incredible variation in the species. The bird remained in this area for another two days and finally disappeared over the airfield at about mid-day on 1 Ith July. This report is also on behalf of the other two finders, S. G. Williams and S. Warren.
Wilson's Phalarope at Minsmere 6th to8th June 1983 by D. N. Bakewell
At about 0915 on Monday 6th June I was summoned by CB radio from car parking duty at Minsmere to the East Hide to 'have a look at an odd wader' that Peggy Grundy and Mike Ttubridge had just found. Upon my rather breathless arrivai I was told that the bird had been identified as a Wilson's Phalarope, and was quickly able to confirm this opinion. The following description is copied from notes made on the 6th: Head and neck: Front forehead white. Rear forehead, crown, nape and back of neck pale grey. Feathering around base of bill white. Lores and ear coverts black. Supercilium white, extending to just behind eye. Chin and throat white. Sides of neck - a stripe - narrower at rear edge of ear coverts, broader at neck base, deep vineous red. Pale feather edgings indicated still fresh plumage. Fore neck pale yellowish buff. Smudge at base of neck brighter orangey-buff. Upper parts: Base of nape and mantle rather patchy; grey, grey-brown and brown feathers, some edged paler. Overall grey-brown! Scapulars similarly varied. One pale grey feather on lower row. Upper row had many vine red feathers, others earth brown. Back earth brown. Rump white. Upper tail, centrais pale grey-brown. Feathers either side pale grey-brown, edged white. Outers white. Wings: Marginal coverts mostly dark vineous red. Lesser and median coverts earth brown, thinly fringed buff. Greater coverts darker and more prominently tipped buffwhite, producing thin but visible bar in flight. Primary coverts, primaries and secondaries dark brown. Outer 6 or 7 primary feather shafts white. Outer 2 or 3 primaries darker than rest, and tips of these marginally darker again. Underwing: Greater coverts grey-white. Greater or median under primary coverts also pale greyish-white. Base of primaries greyish-white, forming contrast between these, the white greater primary coverts and the grey median primary coverts. Rest of underwing white, though in flight dark tertials in gap between wing and body, giving an impression of dark axillaries. Tertials earth brown, one tipped off-white. 60
Under parts: Breast and flanks buffish-yellow. Vent and undertail coverts white. Bare parts: Legs, relatively short, black. Eye black. Bill, though thick at base, very fine and straight, black. Lobed toes visible at times. Cali: An unremarkable 'kip-kip', uttered when chasing Gadwall in the evening! Jizz and feeding behaviour: About the size of a Ringed Piover, though a totally différent shape. From a distance silhouette unique, looking 'turned up' at both ends, like an Indian canoe! In flight shallow wingbeats reminiscent of Common Sandpiper, though not as jerky. Neck looked surprisingly short in flight, which, together with short legs and rather pot belly, made it look very stocky. Very long winged. On the ground the bird looked slender and elegant. Though initially found swimming, the Wilson* s Phalarope spent most of its time on mud, and occasionally in short, sparse végétation. Later on in its stay it would crouch down on an island in lush grass for long periods and preen, sitting so that only the head was visible. During the first day of its stay feeding was extremely rapid. It would indulge in twinkling, Sanderling-like runs, and stooping, furtive darts and lunges at airborne or grounded insect prey. It pecked mostly off the surface of the mud but, when wading, would plunge its bill in down to its base. When swimming, however, prey was taken mostly from the water surface. It did not spin in typical phalarope style on water, but on mud would dart its head from side to side, through as much as 90 degrees. It would also turn its body, frequently through 180 degrees, as other phalarope species do on water. When alert or alarmed, it would extend its neck vertically, and looked very longnecked on these occasions. As is often the case with unusual waders on the Scrape, the phalarope was harassed continually during the first few hours of its stay. Avocets, Ringed Plovers and Redshanks were its principal tormentors, but even Sand Martins were observed mobbing it. By the evening of the 6th it had started to assert itself, showing aggression towards a male Gadwall and even giving the Avocets a taste of their own medicine! It continued to be harassed on the 7th and 8th, however, though much more infrequently. The Minsmere Wilson's Phalarope was not, in my opinion, conclusively sexed. It was certainly not in the full summer plumage of a iemale, nor was it dull enough to conform to the most commonly described male dress. A pied morph of the male is described in Birds of the Western Palearctic (Vol. III), and the Minsmere individuali plumage was certainly similar to this description. The British Birds Rarities Committee wisely left the question open when the record was published. A Wilson's Phalarope at Cley, Norfolk, later in the summer may well have been the same bird. In any event, it was last seen at Minsmere on 8th June. It was Suffolk's fifth record of Wilson's Phalarope.
Wilson's Phalarope 61
Redwing 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. To support this worthwhile work, members of the public are invited to become 'Friends of Landguard'. In return for a minimum annual subscription of ÂŁ5 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: Rex Beecroft Alcedo Hall Lane Witnesham Ipswich Suffolk '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. 62
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 Naturalists' Society/Suffolk Ornithologiste' Group Membership Joint membership is available of the Suffolk Naturalists' Society and the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group. The cost is £8.50, a saving of £1. 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 Naturalists' 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. Secretary Suffolk Naturalists' Society c/o The Museum Ipswich Suffolk Tel: 213761
A. M. Gregory Esq. Hon. Secretary 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.
List of Contributors ABBOTTS. ALDRICH R. M. ALLEN C. B. ALLEN F. ASHD. ASKINS J. AUSTIN M. BABBSS. BAKER R. BAKE WELL D. N. BALDWIN T. M. BAMBER T. BAN HAM N. BANKS S. BEAMISH D. G. BEECROFT H. R. BEECROFT R. BELL M. J. BENSON A. BIDDLE R. BLACKBURNE H. BLACKER N. BLOOMFIELD L. T. BOTWRIGHT A. BO WEN O. S. BRIGGS R. S. BRINKLEY J. O. BROOME-LYNNE L. BROWN B. J. BULL A. BURNELL S. J. BURNS D. W. BUTCHER A. A. BUTCHER H. M.
CANT R. G. H. CARMICHAEL H. CARRP. CATCHPOLE P. CAVANAGH M. CAWSTON J. M. CHARLTON L. CHARLTON T. D. CHIPPERFIELD The Late H. E. CLARKE R. E. CLARICES. C. COBB A. E. COBB F. K. COEE. CROXSON D. CUBITT M. CURTIS C. G. D.
DARE P. J. DAVIDSON C. DEAN S. M. DIBBLE C. F. DINGLE BIRD CLUB DOBBS A. DOBBS H. E. DORLING D. A. DOUGLAS O. O. EASTON A. C. ETHERIDGE P. EVANS L. G. R. FAIRCHILD R. J. FAIRCLOUGH K. FAIRHEAD R. FRENCH F. J. GARNETT R. GILCHR1ST K. S. C. GLADDEN R. J. GOODEY A. GRANT J. H. GREEN K. J. GREENWOOD J. GREGORY A. M. GRUNDY P. HARRIS M. A. HAYNESM. HIPKIN A. HIPKIN R. HOBLYN R. HOCCOM R. J. HOWELL R. HYDEE. JEANES M. J. F. JOBSON G. J. JOHNSON G. KEEBLE D. KEEBLE E. F. KIRTLAND C. A. E. LANDGUARD BIRD OBSERVATORY LANSDOWNE P. LASTA. J. LAST W A. LAWSON B. LESLIE R. LEVENEJ.
LINGS. LONGHURST J. B. MARSH M. MARSHALL R. V. A. MARTIN J. MARTIN K. Y. MASON P. MAYBURY G. W. MERRINP. MOORE D. J. MOORE D. R. MOORE J. L. MORRIS A. MURPHY J. M. W. MURPHY P. W. MURTON P. G. NAUNTON C. R. NEWTON P. OCKLETON D. W. ODDIE W. E. ODELL D. J. ORWELL SPORTING and CONSERVATION CLUB O'BRIEN M. O'SULLIVAN J. PACKARD M. PAINE A. R. J. PALMER D. PALMER T. W. PARISH H. B. PARKER M. PARKER R. PARTRIDGE J. PATRICK E. W. PEARSON B. A. PETERS I. PIKE N. PIOTROWSKI S. H. PLEASANCE B. L. POWELL A. POWELL J. QUINN P. RADFORD D. J. RAINCOCK J. L. RANSOME P. J. READJ. R. RENYARD B. W.
RISEBOROUGH A. R.S.P.B. RUFFLES C. P. S. SHACKLES J. SIMMONDS M. J. SMITH R. C. SMITH T. D. SMITHERSA. SNOXELL M. SORENSON J. STEGGALL P. STIRLING, LADY STOUR ESTUARY BIRD GROUP SUFFOLK ORNITHOLOGISTS' GROUP SUFFOLK TRUST FOR NATURE CONSERVATION TAYLOR M. THOMAS S. THOMPSON B. TIPLERP. TOMLINSON D. TOZER R. B. TRUBRIDGE M. TURNER J. UNDERHILL A. URWIN W. VINE A. E. WALLER C. S. WALSH D. F. WARREN R. B. WARREN R. O. WARREN S. WATERS R. J. WEBB E. H. WESTCOTTA. WHALEYM. WHEELDON ADRIAN WHEELDON ALAN WHITE J. A. WHITEHEAD K. WIKINSON P. H. WILLIAMS S. G. WILSON B. WILSON J. WOOLNOUGH R. J. WRIGHT M.