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Suffolk Birds 1984 Published by the Suffolk Naturalisti Society


Contents Editorial Review of the Year Systematic List Earliest/Latest Dates Table Landguard Bird Observatory Report Selected Ringing Recoveries for Suffolk in 1984 A History of the Kittiwakรง in Suffolk Descriptions of Species New to Suffolk River Warbler in Suffolk Great White Egret at Walberswick/Minsmere Thrush Nightingale at Landguard Short Note Notices List of Contributors

Cover illustration: Pair of Firecrests.

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By Craig Robson

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3 4 7 57 58 62 66

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72 73 74 74 75 77


SUFFOLK BIRDS 1984

Tree Sparrow

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 and R. B. WARREN


Published by The Suffolk Naturalists' Society

April 1986 Printed by Creasey Flood Limited, Tower Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk


Editorial Records. Please assist the speedy preparation of this report by sending in records on a monthly basis to the County Recorder, R. B. Warren, 37 Dellwood Avenue, Felixstowe, Suffolk 1P11 9HW. 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 Yellowbrowed Warblers; Red-breasted Flycatcher, Golden Oriole, Raven, Serin, Scarlet Rosefinch, Ortolan, Ciri and Lapland Buntings plus any species of less than regular appearance, outside their normal season or habitat, and unusually large numbers of common birds. Changes to the County Records Committee. Despite efforts to the contrary the current editor has found it impossible to concentrate on his duties because of his commitment as Director of the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation. Accordingly Derek Moore has decided to stand down and has left the editing of Suffolk Birds in the very capable hands of Philip Murphy who has produced the bulk of this edition. Acknowledgements. Thanks are due to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Suffolk Ornithologists' Group and Landguard Bird Observatory who have provided records from their logs. The Editor would like to thank Philip Murphy who has laboured so diligently to produce this report. We are indebted to John Grant Waders and Brian Brown - Skuas to Woodpeckers for writing those sections of the Systematic List. Thanks are also due to Ron Hoblyn for comments on the Breck, to Craig Robson for the cover illustration and for vignettes, to David Bakewell, Nicholas Pike, Mike Parker, Clive Naunton and Brian Brown for additional illustrations and Brian Brown and Roger Beecroft for photographs. Finally sincere thanks to all contributors who have made this report possible. National Rarities. It would greatly assist the editorial team if descriptions of rarities considered by the British Birds Rarities Committee could be submitted as soon as possible after the observation and not left for several months; a potential addition to the County list this autumn has not been published for this reason.

3


Review of the Year General Comment. With a view towards the future, the most important aspect of 1984 was the contribution by the Landguard Bird Observatory towards our knowledge of passerine migration on the Suffolk coastline. Concentrated coverage of the site by ringers and observers produced a wealth of ornithological information as well as several rarities. Hopefully, Landguard will continue to increase in ornithological stature despite considerable pressure on the area from outside interests. Winter Birds.

The maximum count of 200 Red-throated Divers off Minsmere in March was well below the 1983 total. Only eleven Black-throated Divers were located although they did include three on Alton Water, and two Great Northern Divers. The three rarer grebes failed to move themselves out of that category. Seventeen Shags could be found at Lowestoft in January and a minor 'wreck' of this species in February resulted in two being found in West Suffolk. A short spell of colder weather in late January induced a movement of geese, including 450 White-fronted Geese into the Benacre area. The first winter was excellent for raptors with overall totals of 50 Hen Harriers, 40 Sparrowhawks, ten Buzzards and sixteen Merlins. Rarer species were three Roughlegged Buzzards, two Goshawks and two Peregrines. During October-December there were reports of 30 Sparrowhawks, six Buzzards, thirteen Merlins and three Rough-legged Buzzards. Noteworthy wader totals included 179 Avocets on Havergate in November, up to 27 Purple Sandpipers at Lowestoft in January and December and 957 Black-tailed Godwits on the River Stour in February. Single Greenshanks and up to four Common Sandpipers were present in both winters and equally noteworthy were the 22 Green Sandpipers found in the second winter. A Grey Phalarope was an unexpected visitor to Lowestoft in mid-January as were single Great Skuas at Benacre in January and Lowestoft in February. Mediterranean Gulls were well in evidence with up to ten during the first winter and eleven in the second; equally impressive was the total of ten Iceland Gulls. At least 50 Little Auks were counted moving north off the coast in early November, but only one Puffin, a Suffolk rarity, was reported. Shore Larks and Great Grey Shrikes continued their recent status change to that of very scarce visitors and it was only in the Benacre area that Hooded Crows could regularly be found. The only Waxwing was at Minsmere in December and a Snow Bunting was found inland at Brandon in January. Other wintering passerines included three Black Redstarts, nine Blackcaps, twelve Chiffchaffs, four Firecrests and, quite remarkably, a Willow Warbler.

Breeding Species. The misfortunes of some of our supposedly common nesting species attracted the ornithological headlines as readily as those of the rarer species. The most noticeable reduction was in the number of Sand Martins but decreases were also apparent in the populations of Yellow Wagtails, Nightingales, Wheatears, Chiffchaffs and Spotted Flycatchers. The reasons for these reductions are generally attributed to drought conditions in wintering areas, poor weather on migration routes and loss of breeding habitat. Of the rarer species, a pair of Fulmars again bred successfully and Ruddy Ducks consolidated their foothold in the county with at least two pairs. Other waterfowl fared less well; Garganey apparently failed to breed and there were only 36 successful 4


pairs of Great Crested Grebes. The Bittern population at only nine pairs was almost halved compared with 1983. Marsh Harriers had another excellent year, rearing at least 25 juveniles and at least one pair of Hobbys bred successfully. Fifteen pairs of Little Ringed Plovers was more than double the 1983 total but other breeding waders fared poorly. Only 47 juvenile Avocets fledged at Havergate and none at Minsmere owing to predation by foxes and crows. There were no Stone Curlews on the coast and only thirteen pairs reported in the Brecks. Neither Ruff nor Black-tailed Godwit were proved to breed and only thirteen 'drumming' Snipe were located. The Lesser Black-backed/Herring Gull colony on Orfordness was est imated at up to 8000 pairs, and 81 pairs of Kittiwakes reared 82 juveniles at Lowestoft. Terns had a disastrous year; Sandwich and Common Terns attempted to nest only at Minsmere and all failed. All 31 pairs of Little Terns at Minsmere failed and there was only limited success elsewhere. At least 60 churring male Nightjars were located in the coastal region. Mention has been made of some dramatic failures amongst the passerines but there were some equally notable successes; these included Woodlark (28 pairs in the coastal region), Tree Pipit (110 pairs), Redstart (40 pairs) and Whinchat (encouraging increase to thirteen pairs). Successes amongst the rarer species were Black Redstart (eight pairs), Cetti's Warbler (record total of 31 singing males), Wood Warbler (ten singing males) and Firecrest (eleven singing males). Only one pair of Savi's Warblers was present on the coast and Golden Orioles decreased to seven or eight pairs at the established site although the species was found at two additional localities giving hope for the future. The fate of the Red-backed Shrike as a Suffolk breeding species seems virtually sealed; only three successful pairs were located. The only potential addition to the list of county breeding species was the Parrot Crossbill. The presence of three juveniles and four adults, the first in Suffolk since 1850 at an undisclosed site, indicates that breeding presumably, although not definitely, took place within the county boundary.

Spring - Vagrants and Passage Migrants,

A predominance of winds from the east and south during late April and most of May resulted in a memorable spring passage. National rarities were White-tailed Eagle, Red-footed Falcon, two Cranes and the county's first Thrush Nightingale; equally unexpected was the county's first spring record of Leach's Petrel. At least ten Ospreys were located and scarce waders included four Dotterels, three Kentish Plovers and two Temminck's Stints. Other noteworthy species included Spotted Crake, Hoopoe (six), Wryneck (fourteen), Tawny Pipit, Grey-headed Wagtail, Bluethroat (three), Ring Ouzel (75), Icterine Warbler (two), Firecrest (40), Pied Flycatcher (seventeen), Golden Oriole (seven) and Ortolan Bunting (two). Vagrancy continued into the summer with a Bee-eater in late June and then two additions to the county list in mid-July. The first, in the form of a singing River Warbler, was totally unexpected but its presence had to remain unpublicised because of the physical restraints of the site it had chosen. There were no such problems with the second addition; a Great White Egret, initially at Walberswick, and then at Minsmere from late July to late September delighted hundreds of observers.

Autumn — Vagrants and Passage Migrants,

A memorable spring was followed by an equally memorable autumn. Weather systems in early October induced by the remnants of Hurricane Hortense induced the most spectacular passerine immigration since the 'Great Fall' of September 1965, especially at Landguard and 5


Lowestoft. There were impressive movements of sea birds in September and wildfowl in early November. National rarities were Ring-necked Duck, two White-rumped Sandpipers, Beeeater, two 'Siberian' Stonechats and a Pallas's Warbler. It was a good autumn for scarce raptors with Honey Buzzard, Red Kite, Montagu's Harrier and six Ospreys and for waders with two Kentish Plovers, three Temminck's Stints, two Grey Phalaropes, two Red-necked Phalaropes and at least seven Pectoral Sandpipers. 27 Wrynecks were located but only one Hoopoe. Scarce passerines were Tawny Pipit (two), Bluethroat, Aquatic Warbler, Icterine Warbler (five), Barred Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler (three), Firecrest (25), Redbreasted Flycatcher (two), Red-backed Shrike (eight) and Great Grey Shrike (one-four). Up to and including 1984, the County List stands at 343 species.

Redpoll

6


Systematic List

The order used is that of the 'British Birds' list of 'The Birds of the Western Palearctic'. Blank entries in tabulated sets of monthly counts indicate that either no counting was carried out or that no information has been received. Red-throated Diver: The majority of coastal reports at the beginning of the year were from the Sizewell-Benacre area. Although counts were lower than in winter 1982/83 they did include 130 Benacre 5th Feb., 114 Dunwich 16th Feb. and 200 Minsmere 29th Feb. Very few were noted in March apart from 35 off Benacre 11th. The last spring sightings were of singles off Landguard 21st Apr. and 2nd June - this is the first June record for the county (MM). There were four September reports commencing with one at Benacre on 8th although an unidentified diver at the same locality on 7th was probably of this species. Few were noted until 15th Dec. when c. 500 flew south off Minsmere. This heralded a general increase in totals which included 140 feeding off Benacre 18th, 70 Thorpeness 16th and 60 Easton Bavents 16th. Estuarine reports of single birds were from the Orwell in the Ipswich Docks area 19th - 22nd Jan. and at Woolverstone 29th Dec. and on the Deben at Waldringfield 19th Mar. Singles at Alton Water 9th - 22nd Jan. (joined by a second bird on the latter date) and 31st Dec. were the only sightings away from the coast or estuaries. Black-throated Diver: There were several opportunities to observe this species at relatively close range during both winter periods. Three were at Alton Water 7th-9th Jan., two of which remained there until 15th Jan. and one to 12th Feb.; one found dead there on 19th Feb. was presumably this latter individual. Reports of these birds at Alton Water included accounts of them being quite undeterred by sail-boarders. Other first winter sightings were of singles off Minsmere 4th Jan and 10th Mar. and at least two oiled birds at Benacre 25th Jan.-11th Feb. The first autumn reports were of a bird flying north off Minsmere and off Benacre 16th Sept. - this, presumably the same bird at both sites, is the county's earliest 7


autumn record (PJR, RSPB). Subsequent reports were of single birds on the River Orwell 24th Nov.-23rd Dec., off Minsmere 10th Dec. and in the Lowestoft Harbour area 15th-26th Dec. Great Northern Diver: One in partial summer plumage which flew north off Felixstowe Ferry 9th Sept. is the county's earliest autumn record (CPSR). The only other report was of one at Oulton Broad 29th Nov. (AB). Little Grebe: About 35 potential breeding pairs were reported from twenty sites. The largest concentration was of c. twelve pairs in the Brandon area. The highest winter counts were of eighteen Lake Lothing 6th Mar., eighteen Martlesham Creek area (R. Deben) 31st Dec. and thirteen Ipswich Docks 23rd Dec. One was on the sea off Benacre 20th Nov. Great Crested Grebe: There was a marked decrease in the breeding population with only 36 pairs reported from nineteen sites, compared with at least 120 pairs in 1983. The Waveney Valley gravel pits held the highest number of pairs with thirteen in the Weybread-Homersfield area. The only breeding season report from Alton Water (where up to 65 pairs were located in 1982 and 1983) was of 90 inactive birds 13th May. Counts at the principal wintering sites were:

Alton Water Orwell Stour

F

M

J 90

16

2

17

S — — 27

O 150 15 21

N 100 43 70

D 75 39 21

The trend towards more coastal sightings, first noted in 1982, continued with many reports, especially from Dunwich and Benacre. Up to 30 were off Dunwich in J a n - F e b . and twenty in Dec. while the corresponding totals for Benacre were thirteen and 23 - these latter birds associated with Red-throated Divers. Red-necked Grebe: A better year for this species than 1983, although during the first winter period the only reports were of singles at Wherstead (R. Orwell) 7th Feb. and off Dunwich 11th Feb. A much observed imm. was on Benacre Pits 16th-29th Sept. Reports in November were of an adult at Covehithe Broad 17th-20th and one at Alton Water which was first noted on 7th and remained there into 1985. One was off Minsmere 11th Dec. and another at Oulton Broad 15th-24th Dec. Slavonian Grebe: The bird first noted at Alton Water on 11th Dec. 1983 remained there until at least 1st Mar. when it was joined by a second bird - one remained there until 21st Mar. when it was in partial breeding plumage. Other sightings during the first winter were of singles at Lound Waterworks 15th— 19th Jan., Minsmere Scrape 11th— 17th Feb. and, possibly the same bird, at Easton Bavents 18th Feb. In the autumn reports were of singles offshore at Minsmere 13th Oct. and 11 th Dec., Shingle Street 17th Oct. and Landguard 14th Nov.; one or two were on Alton Water from 10th Nov. onwards into 1985. Black-necked Grebe: This remains the rarest of the grebes in the county. The only reports were of singles at Alton Water 4th—11th Mar., Havergate 12th Apr. and 5th May and offshore at Minsmere 18th Nov. Fulmar: The first birds were noted back at the site where successful breeding occurred in 1983, on 7th Mar. Up to 10 birds were regularly noted at this site but only one pair bred successfully, rearing one juvenile. Two other potential breeding sites on the coast were prospected. Offshore birds were noted between 4th Mar. and 13th Sept., apart from isolated reports from Dunwich 14th Jan., Landguard 5th Nov. (two) and Minsmere 21st Nov. 8


The highest count was of 30 flying north off Benacre 22nd May - all other totals were in single figures. Nine heavily oiled dead birds were found on the tideline between Minsmere and Thorpeness 25th Mar. One was found long dead at Shotley 4th Mar. Sooty Shearwater: With an increasing interest in seawatching this species is proving to be a regular autumn migrant off the coast albeit in very small numbers compared with those seen off Norfolk. Two were seen off Southwold 5th Sept. and singles off Minsmere 4th Aug. 29th Aug. and 12th Sept. and Benacre 2nd Sept. and 5th Sept. Manx Shearwater: The dates of sightings and numbers of birds involved formed an unusual distribution with more in spring and summer than in autumn. The monthly distribution, commencing in May, was as follows: M 14

J 1

J

A

7

2

S 10

O 2

The county's largest recorded spring total occurred on 12th May when twelve were off Minsmere - two more were seen there next day. The June bird was about six miles off Felixstowe on 22nd. Reports were received from six sites in September and included four north off Covehithe 6th. Shearwater sp: Single unidentified Shearwaters were noted off Covehithe 1st and 7th Sept. Minsmere 15th Sept. (probably Sooty), Benacre 6th Sept., Minsmere 15th Sept. and Easton Bavents 15th Sept. and 24th Nov. Leach's Petrel: One off Dunwich 8th May is the county's first spring record (LHC, TDC). A more typically dated bird was about five miles off Orfordness 9th Nov. (AW). Gannet: Monthly totals were: J 0

F 1

M 7

A 3

M 24

J 1

J 34

A 48

S O 146 41

N 0

D 1

There were fewer first winter reports than 1983, but there was a more extensive autumn passage. The majority of sightings were off the Benacre area; peak movements at this site occurred on 6th Sept. (22), 8th Sept. (25), 9th Sept. (30) and 22nd Oct. (sixteen). Cormorant: The major counts were at the Melton roost and on the Rivers Stour and Orwell as follows:

Melton Stour Orwell

J 43 42

F 40 52

M —

83

A 13

M 10

J 5

J 41

A 76

S 110 177

O 111 105 144

N 114 137 177

D 79 110 225

The only notable figures at the Sizewell roost were 98 in Sept. and 50 in Dec. In Oct. up to 110 gathered on the Island Mere at Minsmere in the evenings before moving off towards the coast; their intended destination is not known but presumably most, if not all, roosted at Sizewell. Many reports were received away from the coast and estuaries. The majority were from the Stour, Lark, Little Ouse and Waveney valleys; the highest count was fourteen at Sudbury 25th Oct. A roost at Lackford G.P. was occupied from mid-Oct. onwards and peaked at nine on 15th Dec. Investigations revealed that a hitherto unreported 9


roost site in a willow tree at Long Melford has probably been in use for over 100 years; the max. count there was ten on 29th Feb. Shag: The best year for this species since 1979 from the birdwatcher's point of view if not from that of all the birds involved. A small 'wreck' of this species occurred in early Feb. after which dead birds were found at Southwold (three; see Ringing Report), Landguard and Sizewell. At the same time live imms. were found well inland at Gt. Whelnetham 3rd-4th Feb. and at Gedding 5th Feb.; this latter individual was found in a garage and released on Lackford G.P. where it remained until 22nd Feb. A third inland report was of one at Long Melford 16th Apr. These are the first reports from within the old West Suffolk boundaries since 1976. Four on a gravel pit at Waldringfield 11th Feb. were presumably also involved in the 'wreck'. More typical reports were from Lowestoft; the max. count there was seventeen in Jan. gradually decreasing to five by mid-May. Three oversummered there and then apparently remained in the area into 1985. An adult with a full crest was noted there on 26th Feb. Elsewhere reports from the Ipswich Docks area were of two on 20th Jan. and one during 2nd-29th Dec. Single birds were noted at Minsmere l s t - 2 n d Apr., Slaughden 26th Sept., Benacre 2nd Nov. and River Stour 9th Dec. Dead or dying birds were found at Wrentham 30th Mar., Southwold 2nd Apr. and Orford 25th Apr. Bittern: Two sites held a total of up to nine breeding pairs and a single bird was noted at a third site on 28th June. This is a sharp decrease when compared with the 1983 total of sixteen pairs; it is hoped that this does not accurately reflect the true breeding situation in the county. Outside the breeding season singles were noted at Sudbury 18th Jan., Long Melford 26th Mar., Benacre 25th Oct., Blythburgh 28th Jan. and two were at Barnby Broad in early Jan.

Great White Egret Great White Egret: With the recent commencement of breeding in The Netherlands and an upsurge in British records since 1974, it was only a matter of time before this cosmopolitan species would occur in Suffolk. That time duly arrived on 15th July when an adult was seen at Walberswick and Blythburgh (GWM, CSW). There were 10


further sightings in the Walberswick area in July on 22nd (JHF, ERJH) and 30th (AM). On 31st July it moved down the coast to Minsmere where it remained for most of the time up to 27th Sept., much to the delight of many hundreds of birdwatchers (SC, TDC et at). The only reports of this bird away from Minsmere during this period were on 22nd Sept. at Covehithe (CRN) and Walberswick (CSW). Grey Heron: Numbers of breeding pairs were reported as follows: Minsmere - three. North Cove - five. Euston - ten. Brandon - sixteen. None could be found at Lackford G.P. or in the Kings Forest or West Stow. No information was received from the Aide and Deben estuaries or Barnby, Benacre, Easton Bavents, Elveden, Henham, Somerleyton, Stoke-by-Nayland and Stutton. It is to be hoped that the 1985 B.T.O. Heron census will achieve coverage of all known heronries in the county. Coastal migrants were noted at Landguard in May (four), July (two), Sept. (four), Oct. (two) and Nov. (one). This latter report referred to one flying south 3rd Nov. on which date seven flew in very high from the east at Carlton Marshes. Up to ten were noted apparently roosting in the Thorpeness reedbed in mid-Feb. White Stork: One at Reydon 18th Feb-3rd Mar. was assumed to have been the individual that had remained on the coast since mid-1982. What could well have been a different bird was seen in flight over Kessingland Levels on 17th May (JMi). Spoonbill: A typical sequence of reports as follows: Minsmere - 1mm. 22nd Apr.; five, 28th Apr.; adult and imm. 15th—27th May.; adult 16th July. Beccles - One, 16th July - possibly the bird seen at Minsmere on same date. Sizewell — One, 31st May. Havergate - Singles 'late Apr.' and 17th—21st May. Benacre - Two, 1st Sept. - one remained there to 5th Sept.; imm. 5th-12th Oct. The immature birds at Minsmere 22nd Apr. and Benacre 5 t h - 12th Oct. were colourringed (see Ringing Report). Mute Swan: There was an increase in the number of observers who reported this species; this was presumably in response to widespread publicity concerning the dramatic decline in numbers in recent years. Principal counts were: J Stour 225 — Orwell 41 Falkenham Woodbridge — Lakenheath — Orford

F 97

M 206

A —

54

56

M

J

J

A

S 109

83 32

79

41

61 53

11

O 127 67 40 65

N 95 62 47 35

D 165 50 64 35 75

The Stour totals increased dramatically throughout the 1950s to reach a peak count of 950 in Oct. 1959 but have been steadily declining since then. Undoubtedly part of the reason for this decrease has been the running down of the makings and this presumably also applies to the Orwell where the majority of swans are to be found in Ipswich Docks. At this latter site the rate of percentage decline has been greater than on the Stour, after reaching a peak count of 400 in 1971. No information was received from the Aide or Lake Lothing but there were several 11


coastal records of interest; these included eighteen on the sea at Southwold 1 lth Mar. and birds flying south at Landguard on 1 lth June (ten), 17th June (sixteen) and 8th July (37). The county breeding population was estimated at 125 pairs in 1977 but only 17 pairs were reported in 1984. We would be grateful for any information relating to the breeding population in 1985. Bewick's Swaii: During J a n . - F e b . there were reports from only six coastal or estuarine sites with a max. total of 46 at Gedgrave 21st Feb. In the Waveney Valley, sightings were of 21 Flixton Marshes 5th Feb., seven Weybread 19th Jan. and seven Homersfield 14th Feb. The only reports from West Suffolk were of two Lackford 28th Jan. and six Lakenheath 31st Jan. Despite these low wintering totals there was a notable passage during 4th-21st Mar. The largest flocks were 38 Sudbourne 14th, 40 flying east North Cove 1 lth, 60 Benacre 1 lth and 98 Boyton 21st; in addition, 50 unidentified swans flying south-east high over Hessett 8th are likely to have been of this species. The only Oct. reports were from Minsmere on 13th-14th (two) and 23rd (one) and Benacre on 29th (nineteen) - this latter group included seven juvs. It was not until midNov. that a more widespread arrivai was recorded; the more notable reports were of twenty Minsmere 13th, fourteen Lackford 12th, ten Benacre 12th and seven flying west there on 18th, ten in from sea Covehithe 13th and eight flying west over Livermere 18th. Most of these Nov. reports evidently referred to passage birds because relatively few were noted in Dee. The only localities where a steady increase occurred were the two main coastal wintering areas at Sudbourne and the Boyton area; at this latter site sixteen had arrived by 15th Nov. increasing to 24 by 24th Nov. and up to 40 in Dee., while at Sudbourne up to 30 were present in Dee. Elsewhere in Dee. there were only singles at two Breckland sites and up to ten at three coastal localities apart from 40 over Beccles 27th. Immigration continued well into Dee. with westward movement noted on the coast at Minsmere on 2nd (five) and at Benacre on 14th (eight) and 18th (eleven). One on a farm reservoir at Playford 17th Nov. was chased off by a pair of Mute Swans. Whooper Swan: A reasonable showing in the first winter period as follows: Knettishall Heath area - One 29th Jan.-17th Feb. Shotley - Four on arable fields, 25th Jan. Flixton Marshes - Four juvs. with Bewick's Swans, 5th Feb. Carlton Marshes - Up to six in Mar. Kessingland Levels - Eight, 26th Mar. Havergate - One, 8th-14th Apr. In contrast, one flying south-east over Iken, 2nd Dee. was the only second winter period report. Bean Goose: Apart from one isolated flock, there was a sharp decline in wintering numbers after a steady increase that was first noted in winter 1978/79. Ali reports were as follows: Benacre/Covehithe - Two-three remained from Dee. 1983 into Jan; 32, 25th-28th Jan and two, 29th Feb.; three-four from 14th Dee. onwards into 1985. Carlton Marshes - Five in Jan. Falkenham Marshes - One 23rd Nov. onwards into 1985. Sudbourne - Two from 24th Dee. onwards into 1985. The flock of 32 at Benacre occurred after a hard speli of weather and were considered by some observers to be of the Western tundra race 'rossicus'. 12


Pink-footed Goose: As with the previous species, this was a poor year for this goose. The only first winter reports were from Minsmere with seven, 27th Jan. and nineteen, 28th Jan. and Walton Marshes where ten were noted 26th Feb. One was found in with a group of Canada Geese at Aldeburgh 24th Oct. and another frequented the West Stow/Livermere/Ixworth area from 4th Dec. onwards into 1985. White-fronted Goose: Hard weather conditions in late Jan. were presumably responsible for a notable influx into the coastal région from Minsmere northwards. On 2Ist Jan. c. 250 flew south over Oulton Broad and probably alighted at Benacre where 250 were found on 25th Jan. - also on this latter date c. 150 flew inland over Gunton. There were many reports of the Benacre flock up to 28th Jan. by which time up to 450 were present. Numbers declined from that date and on 29th Jan. c. 50 were seen departing out to sea. The only other site to report increased totals was Minsmere where after only fifteen on 21st Jan., 62 were noted on 27th Jan. and 42 next day. Numbers during the rest of the first winter period were unexceptional. Only Minsmere consistently recorded reasonable totals with up to 70 in Feb. and 60 in Mar. to 19th. The only other double figure groups were of 40 flying south over Walberswick (no date), fifteen Sudbourne 27th Jan. and 25 there 12th Feb. and eighteen Boyton 12th Feb. The last coastal report was of 35 flying north over Landguard 22nd Mar. Two adults and an imm. bird at Livermere 29th Mar.-7th Apr. were considered to have been of the Greenland race ' flavirostris' - this subspecies has now been recorded at Livermere in each of the last three years. Midsummer reports were of singles at Livermere 7th June and Benacre 16th June. The first returning birds were noted on 13th Dee. By the year's end the largest gatherings were at Benacre (30), Sudbourne (fourteen) and Minsmere (ten). Greylag Goose: The county's rapidly expanding ferai population is centred in the coastal belt. Alton Water, Benacre and Minsmere are the main sites where peak monthly counts were:

Alton Water Benacre Minsmere

J 25 30 56

F 30 — 170

S — 102 —

O — 52 240

N — 4 —

D 50 — 80

The flock at Minsmere in Oct. is the largest ever to be recorded in Suffolk. Despite this dramatic increase in totals the only successful breeding was reported from Alton Water (three pairs raised a total of fifteen juvs.) and Livermere (one pair reared three juvs.). There were no reports specifically relating to non-feral birds. 51 flying south over Southwold and Walberswick 15th Nov. are more likely to relate to movements between Benacre and Minsmere rather than coastal passage of immigrants. Snow Goose: Blue-phase birds of assumed ferai origins were reported during the year from Alton Water, Baylham, Benacre (four), Boyton, Homersfield (three), Ixworth, Lackford, Livermere, Minsmere (three) and Woodbridge. The only report that could possibly relate to a bird with genuine wild origins was of a white-phase bird on Benacre beach, 12th Feb.; the only other white bird was at Livermere 7th-9th June and was presumably a ferai bird. Canada Goose: Without an organised count, any estimate of the county wintering population must depend entirely on how the available data is analysed. However, based upon the parameters used in Suffolk Birds 1983, the Jan. and Dec. totals in 1984 were c. 2025 and c. 2530 respectively. Generally higher coastal counts, especially in the Benacre area are the main reason for this appréciable increase in the overall total. 13


The Livermere/Lackford and Benacre/Covehithe areas consistently held the largest flocks with monthly totals as follows:

Livermere/ Lackford Benacre/ Covehithe

J

F

A

S

O

N

D

715

300

900

900

1450

1000

1000

600

150

500

500

200

280

360

The flock of 1450 at Livermere on 15th Oct. is a county record total. Ample supplies of discarded sugar beet and relatively safe roosting sites would appear to the the main reasons for such high numbers in the Livermere/Lackford area. The total of c. 600 at Benacre occurred on 28th Jan. at which time there was a general influx of geese into that area. Barnacle Goose: This species also featured in the influx of geese at Benacre in late Jan. with up to 37 during 25th-29th; only five remained by 16th Feb. Other reports at this time that also probably related to wild birds were of thirteen Minsmere 14th Jan., eleven flying south Weybread 19th Jan., ten flying south Walberswick 25th Jan. and eight Sudbourne 12th Feb. Up to nine at Minsmere 13th-15th Oct. could have been early returning birds; sixteen at Benacre 30th-31st Dec. were presumably wild birds. The feral population continues to increase, especially at Benacre, Minsmere and the Livermere/Lackford area; monthly counts of feral birds at these sites were:

Benacre Minsmere Livermere/ Lackford

J — 4

F — 6 4

M 4 5 2

A — 2 3

M — — 4

J 1 — 4

J 1 — 4

A 6 — 2

2

S 14 — 8

O 2 —

N — —

D 1 1

5

2

6

Up to four were also reported at infrequent intervals at Aldeburgh, Alton Water, Barham, Boyton, Bradfield Combust, Felixstowe Ferry, Kirton, Long Melford, Reydon and Weybread. In Sept. at least four of the fourteen at Benacre and five of the eight in the Livermere/Lackford area were considered to be Barnacle x Canada Goose hybrids. The only reported pure breeding pair was at Cavenham where three juvs. were raised. Brent Goose: The total population in the Stour/Orwell/Deben estuaries complex was estimated at 2000 during Jan./Feb. Maximum individual site totals on the three estuaries were 700 Holbrook 26th Feb., 1500 Trimley Marshes 8th Jan. and 1500 Falkenham Marshes 13th-19th Feb. Movement between the Stour/Orwell and Deben was regularly noted off Landguard during Jan.-early Mar. 250 at Benacre 25th Jan. were probably part of the general influx of geese into that area in late Jan. The only other notable flock was of c. 200 in the Boyton area Jan./Feb. The majority had departed by mid-Apr. Reports of late migrants in May relate to singles at Minsmere 6th/7th and 12th/13th and 21 flying north off Landguard 16th. Single oversummering birds were at Landguard 23rd June, Benacre 22nd July and Shingle Street 12th Aug. Autumn passage commenced earlier than usual. The first returning birds occurred on 3rd Sept. at Minsmere (two) and Havergate. The main coastal movements in Sept. were 240 north off Lowestoft 16th and 978 south off Landguard 29th. 14


The main phase of the autumn passage occurred during 28th Oct.-9th Nov.; during this period the peak days were: 28th Oct. - 2160 Landguard. 3rd Nov. - 3525 Landguard, 500 Easton Bavents. 7th Nov. - 1000 Sizewell, 420 Minsmere, 250 Benacre. 8th Nov. - 5455 Minsmere, 2000 Landguard, 2000 Sizewell, 1000 Lowestoft. 9th Nov. - 2780 Minsmere, 1750 Landguard, 500 Benacre, 125 Lowestoft. Additionally 1000 were off Landguard 14th Nov.; during Nov. the total counted off Landguard was 10100. Movements continued into Dec. e.g. 167 Benacre 1st, 931 Landguard 2nd, 750 Landguard 13th, 213 Benacre 14th. Counts on the three main estuaries during the autumn were: S 30

Stour Orwell Deben

O 470 75

— —

N 205 920 30

D 300 589 1200

Five were found well inland at Livermere during the last week of Nov. The only palebellied birds of the race 'hrota* to be located this year were 2 at Falkenham Marshes 4th Mar. Red-breasted Goose: First discovered at Falkenham on 11th Dec. 1983, this goose remained in the Orwell/Deben area into 1984. It was seen at Levington 6th Jan., Trimley Marshes 7th-8th Jan. and then in the Falkenham area until 19th Feb. Egyptian Goose: Confirmed breeding was reported from Livermere (pair raised 7 juvs.) Lound and Somerleyton. Livermere is the principal site for this species with max. monthly counts as follows: J —

F 4

M 4

A

M 9

J 14

J 9

10

A 13

S —

O 10

N 10

D 9

Up to three were noted at Aldeburgh/Thorpeness, Friston, Ixworth, Lackford, Minsmere and Wherstead. Ruddy Shelduck: What is assumed to have been the same female was at South Cove throughout most of May, Easton Broad 30th May and Benacre 2nd June-6th Oct. This bird is almost certainly an escape from a collection. Shelduck: Widely reported away from the coast and estuaries particularly in the northwest and the Gipping Valley, but the only confirmed breeding in these areas occurred at Bury St. Edmunds, Lackford (three pairs) and Livermere. At this latter site 96 adults were present 12th June and c. 60 juvs. 19th June. Principal counts on the coast and estuaries were:

Minsmere Orwell Stour Aide Havergate

J 66 800 1247 —

172

F 64 275 1727 60 206

M 29 300 1801

S — —

428

0

N

198 473

1031 741 150 —

D —

1318 989 — —

Coastal and estuarine breeding season reports included twenty pairs on Shotley Marshes, c. 50 juvs. Havergate 29th July and c. 60 juvs. Melton 25th July. Southerly coastal autumn passage was on a very small scale until 3rd Nov. when 15


there were counts of 484 off Landguard and 177 off Kessingland. There was a secondary peak on 2nd Dec. at Landguard (163) and Southwold (57). Wigeon: Max. monthly counts were:

Havergate Minsmere Orwell Stour Deben Aide Benacre

J 630 454 200 2022 200 70

F 315 538 200 1541

M 290 —

722 50 —

S 100 200 —

867

O 954 100 532 569

N 296 321 699 1570

468 770 1200

114

36

1000 200

_ 325

D

There were still 150 at Minsmere 11 th Apr. decreasing to twenty by 29th Apr. A maie was at Holbrook Bay 27th May and at Benacre reports were of four in May, two in June and one in July. One pair possibly bred at Minsmere. One was on Havergate in mid-July and by late Aug. at least 50 had returned there. The peak autumn coastal movements coincided almost exactly with the main Brent Goose passage. On 17th Sept, there were counts of 200 Benacre and 102 Landguard but the max. figures were recorded on 3rd Nov. with 736 Landguard and 150 Benacre. The only notable movement in Dec. occurred on 2nd when 165 flew past Benacre. Gadwall: Breeding season pairs were at Alton Water, Benacre (three), Boyton (three), Bramford, Brandon ('several'), Culford (four), Fornham, Icklingham, Lackford (five), Lakenheath, Livermere (eight), Minsmere, Ramsholt (two) and Weybread (two). Monthly counts at the principal sites were: Benacre Minsmere Alton Havergate Lackford Livermere

J 2 30 40 55 8 9

F 2 61 5

M —

50 4

64 20

13 1

F 288 — 500

M 115 — 80

S 10 60

— —

N 12 79

3 35 —

O

33 2

12 29 3

D 74 91 6 —

18 —

Teal: Havergate Benacre Minsmere Southwold Aldeburgh Alton Water Stour Nacton Decoy Lakenheath Lackford

J 273 — 356 —

100 40 41 — —

30

S 400 70 480

O 976 1000 —

N 518 275 832

52

35 198 —

120 46

74

34 7 176

D — — 600 70 65 —

38 93

25

40

39

70

9

343

203 —

The only reported successful breeding occurred at Livermere where a brood was found in early Aug. ; other breeding season reports were from Benacre (three pairs 11 th May), Henham (two pairs), Lackford, Minsmere, Oulton Broad, Ramsholt, Walberswick and Weybread. 16


• H H i Landguard Bird Observatory produced some exciting highlights in 1984 - Suffolk's first Thrush Night ingale 13th-14th May. Photo Roger Beecroft


A Red-breasted Flycatcher, scarce in Suffolk 5th-7th

October.

Photo Roger Beecroft


Southerly coastal passage peaked in Minsmere 9th and 55 Lowestoft 17th. Mallard: J F Stour 1824 1157 — — Orwell — — Alton Water Minsmere 328 248 — Benacre 180 Havergate 409 561 Lackford 230 200 — Livermere 230

Nov. with 150 Felixstowe 7 th and 8 th, 64

M 720

S 729

O 672 299

— —

48 170

250 200 —

— —

890

N 1380 482 216 270 200 450 78 300

D 1683 653 —

187 — —

170 450

Other notable totals were 500 Redgrave 24th Jan., 400 Walsham-le-Willows 21st Jan. and 160 Nacton Decoy 18th Nov. Up to 2000 captive bred birds released on Livermere in late summer rapidly departed after the first autumn shooting session. 48 fleW south off Landguard 3rd Nov. A brood of twelve newly hatched juvs. was reported from Halesworth 10th Nov. Pintail: F M O N D J — — 12 37 Deben 110 30 —• — — 217 188 296 Orwell 47 77 95 95 110 Stour 158 37 21 18 Havergate 16 — — A pair remained at Minsmere until 17th May, but there was no evidence of breeding. Summer reports from Benacre were of a male 2nd-23rd June and a female 1st July-2nd Aug. The first returning birds were noted in late Aug. with five on Havergate 20th and eight flying south off Landguard 28th. Further counts of southerly movements off Landguard included fifteen on 21st Oct. and 22 on 3rd Nov. Inland reports were of six Lakenheath 14th Feb., two Lackford 28th Jan. and one Livermere mid-Aug. and three there late Oct. Garganey: A pair oversummered at a coastàl site but there was no evidence of breeding. Spring passage commenced on 26th Mar. Reports in Apr. were of two Walberswick 28th and one Beccles 29th. Passage continued into May with three Lakenheath 2nd, three males Minsmere 14th and single males at Havergate 6th and Alton Water 12th. The only autumn reports were one on Havergate 1st—5th Sept. and two Benacre 6th Oct. Two males were released on Livermere during the spring and one reported there on the late date of 28th Oct. is considered to have been one of these rather than a late migrant. Shoveler: M S O F N D J — 10 52 — 38 Havergate 77 61 — 20 70 161 Minsmere 55 115 98 — — — — 100 Benacre 60 75 — — — — — — 61 Lakenheath 13 — 26 31 Livermere 60 33 33 9 10 30 35 36 Lackford 30 36 17


No reports were received of confirmed breeding but breeding season sightings were from Alton Water, Boyton (three pairs, 28th May), Havergate, Lackford, Lakenheath (four pairs, mid-June), Livermere, Minsmere, Ramsholt and Woodbridge. Nine flew south off Landguard 5th Aug. and the first autumn birds were on Havergate 6th Aug. Red-crested Pochard: Another good year for this species, assuming that the reports are of genuine migrants rather than escapees. At Minsmere a female and two males were present 20th-25th Apr. and one male remained there until 29th Apr.; an immature was seen on the reserve 30th June. An eclipse male and a female/immature were at Benacre Broad 27th July and a male at Alton Water 13th- 14th Oct. It is of interest to note that in 1983 an eclipse male was at Benacre 3Ist July and a female on Alton Water lOth—16th Oct. Pochard: Successful breeding pairs were noted at Benacre, Lackford, Livermere (two) and Minsmere (three). Significant totals were recorded at five sites with monthly counts as follows: Alton Water Benacre Orwell Thorington St. Lackford

F 154 30

J 120 65 —

91

O 80

S

70 82

63 118

M 90 12

35

N 170 64 93 40 105

73

D 200 200 129 36 59

Most of the Orwell birds were on Trimley Lake rather than on the estuary. Ten flew south off Landguard 3rd Nov. Ring-necked~Duck: A male at Benacre 25th-26th Oct. (RCS et al) Seventh county record and the first since 1978. Ferruginous Duck: A male at Alton Water l s t - 2 n d Dee. and presumably the same bird at Trimley Lake 23rd Dee. Tufted Duck: Breeding was reported from Boyton, Brandon, Cavenham, Culford, Homersfield, Lakenheath, Layham, Long Melford, Martlesham, Shotley, Trimley and West Stow. The species was described as being the commonest duck on the Little Ouse at Brandon with several broods being noted. Eight pairs bred on Shotley Marshes and on 1 Ith July, 6 broods totalling 57 juvs were counted on Trimley Lake. With no exceptional weather conditions there were no unusually large counts. Monthly totals at the main sites were: Benacre Alton Water Weybread Lackford

J 124 125 101 241

F 30 66 65 200

M 38

150

184

O

350

N 60 106 —

166

D 600 90 —

250

The only three-figure count elsewhere was of 100 on the Gipping Valley Pits, 22nd Apr. Alton Water continues to decline as a major wintering site for this species presumably because of water based sporting activities that now prevail on much of the reservoir. Scaup: Benacre, Minsmere and Alton Water were the only sites to record this species in at least 3 months with counts as follows: A S 0 N D J F M A M J J — — — — — 4 4 Benacre — 1 1 1 3 Alton Water 7 2 3 7 1 3 6 — — — — 1 Minsmere 1 — 3 1 1 1 — 18


The three at Benacre in July were all males. The only estuarine sightings during the period Jan. - M a y were six Kirton Creek (Deben) 22nd Feb. and one on the Orwell 13th Feb. Inland, reports were from Needham Market 7th Jan., Thorington St. Reservoir 28th Feb. (three), Sudbury 10th Apr. and West Stow 5th May. Autumn arrivals were generally from late Oct. onwards. Away from the tabulated sites, coastal and estuarine reports were from the Orwell 30th Oct., Nacton Decoy 4th Nov. (two), Covehithe 6th Nov. and Southwold 6th Dec. onwards (two). Inland, two males were at Needham Market 15th Dec. Eider: Numbers were low in the generally mild conditions during J a n . - M a r . ; the largest gatherings were of eight at Lowestoft in Feb. and four at Minsmere in J a n . - F e b . One was on the Orwell at Trimley 28th-29th Mar. Movement was noted off Landguard on six dates between 12th—28th Apr. with a max. of seven north on 13th. During May-Aug., one or two were noted off Benacre, Covehithe, Easton Broad, Felixstowe/Landguard, Kessingland and Shingle Street. The majority of reports during Sept.-Dec. were of coastal movements; max. daily counts of these movements during the four months were:

Lowestoft Benacre Southwold Walberswick Minsmere Sizewell Landguard

S 40 2

O —

N 30 30

30 20

10

18 26

45

31

5

D —

5 25 — —

16 14

The main movements occurred on 16th Sept. (see Brent Goose) and during 13th—16th Oct. and 7th—11th Nov. One flew from inland towards the coast over Gunton 17th Nov. Feeding groups included thirteen off Landguard 2nd Dec. up to nine at Lowestoft during Dec. and five on the Orwell in Oct. Long-tailed Duck: New Year's Day birdwatchers found two off Minsmere and two on the Orwell off Shotley Marshes. The individual found on Alton Water on 27th Dec. 1983, remained there until 18th Mar. and another stayed in the Ipswich Docks area 9th Feb.-24th Mar. As with other wildfowl, southerly coastal passage was noted in the autumn; two were off Minsmere 17th Nov. and singles off Southwold 2nd Dec., Minsmere 24th Oct. and Landguard 3rd Nov. and 13th Dec. Two were on Minsmere reserve 23rd Oct. and one remained there until 4th Nov. Singles were on the Orwell between Pinmill and Ipswich 20th Nov.-9th Dec. and on the Aide at Sudbourne 2nd-30th Dec. One on Lake Lothing (Lowestoft) from 5th Nov. was joined by a second bird 21st Dec. onwards. No adult males were reported this year. Common Scoter: The only sites to record three-figure flocks during J a n . - M a r . were Dunwich/Walberswick (max. 250, 14th Jan.) and Pakefield (133, 29th Feb.). An immature male on Alton Water 28th Mar. was presumably an early spring migrant. Evidence of overland spring migration was recorded in May at Lackford on 22nd (four) and Cavenham on 8th (two), 10th (four) and 14th (three). The largest summer flock of non-breeders was 500 off Dunwich/Walberswick throughout June. Other notable mid-summer reports were 120 north off Sizewell 16th July, 100 Minsmere mid-July and 67 south off Landguard 1st July. 19


The autumn and early winter were dominated by passage movements off Landguard where monthly totals were Aug-260, Sept.-88, Oct.-60, Nov.-179 and Dec.-227; peak daily counts were 190 south 1st Aug., 110 south 18th Nov. and 106 south and 76 north 2nd Dec. Up to 100 during Sept.-Oct. off Minsmere and 120 in Nov. and 105 in Dec. off Benacre were the largest feeding flocks during the second winter period. On the Orwell five were at Trimley 8th Oct and three at Pinmill 23rd Oct. Velvet Scoter: A relatively poor year for this species. The only sightings during J a n . - M a r . were three Dunwich 14th Jan., two Walberswick 12th February and five north off Benacre 10th Mar. One Minsmere 18th Apr. and five Kessingland 5th May were presumably spring passage migrants. There were no further reports until 27th-28th Sept. when one was off Minsmere. In Oct. two flew north Benacre 6th and one south Landguard 21st. Southerly passage continued into Nov. off Landguard on 4th (one), 10th (four), 22nd (one), Lowestoft on 10th (two) and Benacre on 18th (one) and in Dec. off Dunwich on 2nd (six) and Landguard on 3rd (one) and 14th (one). Report of feeding groups were four off Benacre/Kessingland 4th Nov. and 12th Dec. and up to four off Minsmere/ Walberswick from 9th Nov. onwards. Goldeneye: Numbers were generally much lower than in 1983. The largest gatherings were counted on the south-eastern estuaries:

Stour Orwell Deben

J 11 20 —

F 22 40 35

M 74 3 5

0 6 1

N 13 33

D 25 56 20

There were reports from several coastal sites during J a n . - A p r . but the largest reported group was only fifteen at Benacre 10th Mar. The max. count at Alton Water during this period was only ten (42 in Mar. 1983). Lackford GP was the only inland site to regularly attract this species with max. of seven on 28th Mar. May reports were of two Alton Water 13th, two to four regularly at Benacre to 19th and two Minsmere until 27th. A female was at Lound 5th—8th June and a male Lackford GP 2nd July. The first autumn bird was on Alton Water 6th Oct. but the general scene was the same as during the first winter with relatively few away from the estuaries. Up to four were were on Lackford GP in Nov. from 3rd and five in Dec.; three were on Cavenham GP 22nd Dec. A very light coastal passage occurred during 25th Oct.-2nd Dec.; max. site totals, all in Nov. were six Benacre 17th, five Landguard 3rd and four Dunwich 8th. Smew: As in 1983 the only records were from Benacre, two 'red-heads' from 1983 until 17th Mar. and four 'red-heads' from 2nd Dec. onwards into 1985. Red-breasted Merganser: During the first winter period the Orwell was the only site to record double-figure totals with eighteen in J a n . - F e b . Elsewhere, nine were at Havergate 18th Jan. and one or two were noted at seven other coastal or estuarine sites; two males were inland at Lackford GP 18th Mar. Coastal reports in May were from Landguard (three), Minsmere (two), Benacre (two) and the Blyth estuary; two were inland on Lackford GP 4th May (see Common Scoter). In June singles were at Boyton 1st and Benacre 30th and in July an eclipse male at Benacre 1 lth-20th was joined by two others on the latter date. 20


Coastal autumn passage was well documented; monthly passage totals at the three principal sites were: O 20

Landguard Minsmere Benacre

—

1

N 89 34 20

D 8 1 8

Max. day totals were 37 Landguard 3rd Nov. and twenty Minsmere 8th Nov. 25 flew from the sea inland over South wold 16th Dec. The only significant feeding flock during the second winter period was seventeen on the Orwell 13th Dec. Goosander: Max. monthly counts at Lackford GP, the county's principal site for this species were: J 18

F 22

M 13

N 2

D 14

Reports from other inland sites during the first winter period were of two Sudbury 22nd Jan., two Bradfield Combust 24th Jan. and four Homersfield 14th Feb. The 'red-head' first noted at Alton Water 7th Dec. 1983 remained there until 4th Mar. and was joined by two others 3rd Mar. On the coast two flew south Lowestoft 23rd Jan. and one was at Benacre 26th Jan. The last spring report was of one at Minsmere 15th Apr. Very few were reported away from Lackford during the second winter; singles were at Livermere 26th and 30th Dec. and Minsmere 18th and 28th Nov. Three were at Benacre 27th Nov. Ruddy Duck: This small duck consolidated its status as a Suffolk breeding species; at Livermere, where the county's first record of successful breeding occurred in 1983, a pair reared four juvs and at Walberswick a pair raised five juvs. A pair were at Minsmere during the summer and another pair at Lackford GP in May but at neither site was there evidence of breeding. Apart from the breeding birds, reports were as follows: Lackford GP: Female from 1983 during J a n . - A p r . ; one or two in Oct. and female/immature during Nov.-Dec. Livermere: No wintering records at this site; first male noted back on 31st Mar.; three additional males present during the summer; female/immature present to 18th Oct.; none in Nov.-Dec. Minsmere: First noted back on 23rd Mar.; additional male present in June; female 4th-10th Nov. Alton Water: Pair 27th Aug., female/immature 3rd-4th Nov. Oulton Broad: Female 16th Dec. Lakenheath Washes: Male 12th Apr. In addition, what is presumed to have been the same female was on the sea off Felixstowe 10th Sep. and off Minsmere next day. Red Kite: One at Holbrook 16th Sep. (NH). White-tailed Eagle: After almost twenty years of absence this gigantic bird now seems to be almost annual in East Anglia. What was presumably the same individual was noted at Walberswick, Oulton Broad, Easton Broad and Covehithe on 14th April. It appeared at Walberswick again on 15th April and finally at Halesworth on 17th April (PG, CRN, RCS). Honey Buzzard: One at Walberswick 16th Sep. (CSW). Marsh Harrier: A total of nine successful nests produced 25 young. A further three nests apparently failed. About 900 nests are located annually in the Netherlands so it is 21


not surprising that there is a upward trend in Eastern England. As in recent years a few birds wintered at coastal sites. Hen Harrier: A count in Jan. revealed at least 50 birds wintering in the county but numbers had reduced by Mar. Autumn migrants appeared from Oct. and observers reported more than usual by the end of the year. However a survey of roosts revealed c. 40 from ten sites. Montagu's Harrier: A female in the Brecks 13th June (SS), a male Minsmere 15th June (RSPB) and a male Easton Broad 8th Sep. (CSW) were the only records. Goshawk: Two breeding pairs located but success not known. This species still suffers disgraceful persecution from unscrupulous falconers as well as egg collectors. It is known that Suffolk pairs have often suffered from illegal practices and observers are urged to be very discreet if they know of Goshawks. Sparrowhawk: A total of 23 pairs were reported from nineteen widespread sites, but from the total sightings received this would probably represent less than the true population. As is usual this species was seen in increased numbers in the winter months especially in the coastal belt. One at Landguard 7th Sep. was an obvious immigrant. Buzzard: This species has possibly been overlooked in the past. Recent observations reveal that there is a regular passage north in Mar./April and eleven were reported from eight sites. In the autumn six were reported from the same number of locations and ten birds were noted wintering in the county. One bird was reported from the Brecks on 27th June. What may have been the same individual wearing falconers jesses was reported from the Benacre/Covehithe area 28th-29th Jan. and Ipswich 9th Sep. Rough-legged Buzzard: In the first part of the year there was one Sutton Heath 3rd Jan., Brecks 12th and 28th Mar., and Minsmere area 17th—18th April. The first bird of the autumn was at Brandon 7th Oct. followed later by one Benacre 25th-29th Nov. and finally another Kirton 23rd Dec. Osprey: It is not surprising that with increased breeding success in Scotland and Scandinavia that Suffolk should receive more observations of this exciting raptor. All records as follows: Lound - Immature 2nd-4th Oct. Kessingland - 7th June. Benacre - 28th Apr. Walberswick - 6th May.. Minsmere - One 30th Apr., another 21st May. which was probably the same that stayed in the area until 4th July. Additionally one 23rd Sept.-5th Oct. Havergate Island - 27th May. Landguard - One south then up the Orwell 21st May. One amazingly sitting on a buoy six miles offshore 24th Aug., also singles south 18th and 30th Sept. Alton Water - Singles 11th June and 4th Oct. Thorington Street - One 31st Aug. Culford - 6th-8th May. Gt. Ash field - 22nd-24th May. Kestrel: One at Sizewell on 24th July had an orange wing tag on the right wing. More sinister and still being investigated was one trapped at Landguard with a racing pigeon ring on its leg. Red-footed Falcon: Adult male at Rendlesham Forest 6th-9th May. On one occasion it joined a female Kestrel in chasing a female Sparrowhawk which was in turn carrying a Cuckoo. (BKA, SA, AWGS, RJW et at) Merlin: Early in the year sixteen were reported from eleven sites. From late Oct. thirteen were observed at nine locations. Of the spring records one going north at Benacre 9th May was rather late for this species in Suffolk. 22


Hobby: One pair definitely bred rearing at least two young. Elsewhere another two pairs probably bred. Many records of migrants listed as follows: Carlton Marshes - Single 25th Sept. and 2nd Oct. Benacre - A juvenile from 23rd Sept. until 6th Oct. Walberswick - One 21st Apr. Alderton - One 9th Aug. Tuddenham St. Mary - One 18th May. Landguard - One 24th May, and a pair going north 16th June. Stratford St. Mary - One 17th Sept. Brantham - One 27th Aug. West Stow - One 7th May. Peregrine: Singles at Minsmere 14th Feb. (PR), 19th-27th Sept. (RSPB) and 16th Dec. (TDC), and at Aldeburgh 19th Mar. (PW) Grey Partridge: A decreasing species in Suffolk especially in intensively farmed area, but even so still widespread. Quail: One calling at Shotley in July (MP, IP) and another hit a window at Framlingham, but survived 19th Oct. (MS) Golden Pheasant: The Breck population is something of a mystery as far as numbers are concerned, although a slight reduction has been noted over the last decade. Brandon Country Park and the Kings Forest remain the most favoured areas. A male at Mutford (no date given) and a male by the A140 at Stoke Ash 26th June were possibly 'escapes'. Water Rail: Widespread in suitable reedbed habitat but exact numbers are unknown. Our birds are supplemented by winter visitors from Eastern Europe and these probably explain birds seen away from their normal haunts. Spotted Crake: One heard calling Walberswick 31st May (AW, CSW), singles at Minsmere 20th-21st Apr., 9th Sept. and finally 2 Easton Broad 27th Oct. (CRN) Coot: Max. winter counts by site were:

Lackford Livermere Orwell Alton Water

J 285 46 106 —

F 200 148 70 —

O 119 —

388 —

N 132 —

1003 —

D 58 —

700 668

An increase in breeding pairs was reported from Shotley. Crane: Singles at Kessingland 2nd May (JRR) and another 16th May (SA, AWGS). Oystercatcher: Breeding records were again dominated by Orford Ness where the total of 85 pairs overshadowed the rest of the county and represented an increase over the c. 75 pairs counted there in the previous year. The remaining breeding records were rather scant, with possibly eight pairs at five sites, and probably reflects observers' recording standards rather than the true population. A welcome feature of these records however was the first breeding report in recent years from Landguard. On the Orwell estuary 700+ were noted at Trimley in Jan. and 400+ at the Felixstowe Dock-threatened Fagbury in Feb. Stour estuary counts gave rising totals of 185 in Jan., 399 in Feb. and 413 in Mar. Late summer assemblies at Havergate have been a feature in recent years and continued with 55 and 57 in July and Aug. respectively. In the second winter period Orwell estuary counts gave impressive monthly maxima of 1174 in Oct., 1590 in Nov. and 1488 in Dec., although 1050 were gathered at Fagbury alone on 23rd Dec. The corresponding monthly figures for the Stour were 23


Oystercatchers 311, 401 and 41 respectively. Inland, singles were at Lakenheath 26th Apr., 30th May and 14th June. Avocet: Predators wrought havoc among the chicks at both the county's major breeding sites. At Minsmere, foxes and crows were the culprits and not a single chick survived - a stark contrast to the record 117 young reared there in 1983. At Havergate the damage was done by Kestrels and Black-headed Gulls but 47 survived to fledging. One pair possibly nested at a third site. An indication of the species' longevity was provided at Minsmere where a bird which had been ringed there in 1973 was seen on 29th Sept. Wintering in the Havergate, Aide and Ore area now appears to be firmly established and is a trend which warms many a winter's day for several observers. The extent to which the birds circulate within this area remains somewhat unclear but impressive winter counts were as follows: Havergate - 151 in Jan., 161 in Feb, 179 late Nov. River Aide - c. 25 1st Jan., 90 19th Nov., 136 7th Dec. Up to 53 were counted in Butley Creek during Jan. Occasional ones and twos were noted at Minsmere during the winter months. Counts on the River Ore in the second half of the year were as follows: J 164

A 194

S 174

O 245

N 154

D 94

Stone Curlew: In the species' Breckland stronghold the earliest reported arrival date of 27th Mar. was considerably later than in many preceding years. On these, thankfully, still wild heaths and brecks a minimum of thirteen pairs were reported from six sites. Elsewhere only the most tenuous foothold is retained. There were sadly no reports from the once well-populated coastal strip and only at one further traditional site was there so much as a glimmer of hope - a pair was found on 30th Mar. but could not be relocated on a later date and the birds might have been simply passage migrants. There was an intriguing record of a juvenile found dead early in Aug. at another location away from Breckland, raising the question whether or not it was reared nearby. Whatever the answer, the corpse was sent to Ipswich Museum. 24


Gatherings in the late summer and early autumn are a well-documented feature of this fascinating species' lifestyle and a group of ten was seen on a Breckland site on 13th Aug. At the same site, 25 were located on 12th Sept. and five the following day. The last birds of the year to be reported were seen on 26th Sept. when four frequented another Breckland area. Little Ringed Plover: Arrivals back at breeding sites commenced on 1st Apr. and heralded an apparently satisfactory situation, although the species' notorious changes in fortune from year to year should be borne in mind. At least fifteen pairs occupied eleven sites, a welcome improvement on 1983's showing of seven pairs at five sites, 1982's total of thirteen pairs at seven sites and 1981's eight pairs at five sites, but not quite matching 1980 when 21 sites were occupied. These twists and turns in fortune may well be linked to the extraction programmes at the county's gravel pits - the habitat which produces the bulk of the breeding records. Autumn migration on the coast was noted from 7th July and centred mainly on Minsmere and Benacre. At the former locality a peak of c. twelve was reported on 28th July and at the latter at least six on 3rd Aug. was the largest group. Ringed Plover: A minimum of c. 70 pairs were reported, largely due to the perseverance of observers taking part in the B.T.O. national breeding survey of this species. These records included 37 pairs at Orford Ness, where numbers were said to be down, twelve pairs at Minsmere, all of which were said to have failed and a pair once again showed good taste by using an asparagus field at Friston in which to rear two young. The roof of a Lowestoft woodshed was again used as a roost site, it being sporadically occupied in Mar. and from late July with a maximum of 26 birds on 18th Nov. Also at Lowestoft a bird showing characteristics of the smaller, darker Lapland and USSR race tundrae, which is said to winter in eastern and southern Africa, was noted on 12th Nov. (BJB) In the first winter period the major estuary counts reported were from the Stour where there were 67 in Jan., 109 in Feb. and 55 in Mar. The Stour produced autumn and second winter period counts of 193 in Sept., 26 in Oct., 67 in Nov. and 273 in Dec. Extra wader counting efforts were made on the Orwell estuary following the threat of Felixstowe Docks' proposed extension and the major counts which emerged were 508 in Oct., 620 in Nov. and 520 in Dec. Elsewhere, noteworthy counts of 103 at Havergate on 1st Oct. and c. 80 at Thorpeness on 15th Oct. were also received. Kentish Plover: At Walberswick a single was seen on 5th-6th May (SB, PJR). At Minsmere a female was seen on 30th—31st May (RSPB) and another singleton was noted on 27th June (RSPB). Also at Minsmere there was a juvenile on 27th July which was joined by another on the following day (RSPB, GJJ). Dotterel: A splendidly confiding duo, thought to have been a summer plumaged female and a male in moult, entertained many observers during their stay at Landguard from 20th-23rd May. On the latter date they were seen to fly off to the north and later in the day what were assumed to have been the same birds were seen at Sizewell. Two were also reported on an unspecified date in May near Lowestoft. Golden Plover: These delightful waders are welcome visitors to many a parish which would otherwise be somewhat bereft of especially noteworthy birds, and records from a total of more than 70 areas were received. The biggest counts in the first winter period were c. 500 at Long Melford 4th Jan., c. 400 at Stonham Aspal 8th Jan., c. 250 at Kenton 2nd Jan., 174 at Gazeley 2nd Jan., 160 Cotton 7th Feb. and 150+ Kingsfleet 5th Feb. A number of impressive assemblies took place from Mar. into Apr. The highest count obtained in this period, and indeed in the whole year, was 1250 on 1st Apr. at 25


Long Melford, a favoured parish in which 700-800 were gathered in late Mar. Other big flocks at this time included 600+ at Metfield 27th Mar., c. 500 Newton Green 9th Apr., 300 Ixworth 9th Apr, 270 Old Newton 4th Mar. and c. 250 at Mutford on 15th Mar. Mid to late Aug. saw the first arrivals of parties of return migrants, for example Havergate recorded its year's maximum of 51 on 11th Aug. The largest flocks in the second winter period were c. 1000 at Felixstowe Ferry on 18th Nov., c. 300at Gedgrave throughout Dec., 300Ellough Oct.-Dec., and 200 + at Mutford in Nov./Dec. Grey Plover: The very few records relating to spring passage indicate a generally light movement. However there were several interesting inland records in May, with singles at Lakenheath Washes on 1st, Livermere on 16th, and Sproughton B.F. on 19th. Early autumn passage was more marked, but was still hardly impressive. Commencing in late July the passage included a total of 36 south off Landguard during September. Of note was the September Stour estuary count total of 628 and evidence that these were mainly passage birds was given by the following month's total of only 213. A stronger southerly movement was noted along the coast during October and November. This included c. 120 passing Landguard on 3rd Nov. and at least 47 passed Minsmere on 8th Nov. Stour estuary counts, in the winter periods were: 405 on 22nd Jan., 798 on 19th Feb., 782 on 18th Mar., 732 on 11th Nov., 581 on 9th Dec. Further up the Stour Valley, one was found inland at Sudbury 26th Feb. The main Orwell counts were 153 on 14th Oct., 178 on 11th Nov. and 183 on 23rd Dec. Lapwing: Despite the high Stour estuary count of 1,667 on 22nd Jan., some observers remarked on the disappearance of the species from usually favoured haunts during the late January cold spell. The birds were probably displaced to the south and west, for example c. 500 headed south at Landguard on 24th Jan. and 61 did the same on the following day. Some relatively high counts in Feb. and Mar. could refer to return passage birds heading back north and east, for example 50 headed eastwards out to sea at Minsmere on 24th Mar. Incomplete breeding records received included c. 30 pairs at Minsmere and 30 + pairs at Shotley although at the latter site few chicks were said to have survived the cold May. The annual mid-summer immigration from the north and east was said by some observers to have been rather thin but it began as usual in late May. A dramatic change in the situation occurred in November and December when many observers noted their highest totals for years. Probably triggered off by harsh conditions on the Continent the species became unusually numerous in many parts of the county. The major counts during this period were 3,094 on the Orwell estuary count 11th Nov. and 1,500 at Carlton Marshes 10th Nov. Higher than usual counts continued in December with 3,083 on the Orwell and 1,026 on the Stour estuaries and 1000 in the Gunton area. Knot: The county's highest numbers for the species have come to be expected from the Stour but the sudden rise from 220 on 22nd Jan. to 1,653 on 19th Feb. is impressive even for this estuary. Other counts obtained in the co-ordinated B.T.O. estuary work on the same river were relatively unexceptional but included 435 on 18th Mar, and 667 on 9th Dec. On the Orwell the only notable counts received were 250 + on 22nd Jan., 191 on 12th Nov. and 717 on 13th Dec. Light spring passage was noted on the coast from 18th April and included parties of 14 at Snape on 6th May and 11 at Walberswjck on 16th May. Autumn passage was prolonged and commenced around mid-July. The many records which referred to continuing passage during August and September included the peak for this period of 25 at Benacre on 6th Sept. Sea-watching efforts at 26


Landguard led to impressive offshore movements being detected later in the year; these included a total of 119 south in Oct., and c. 205 south on 3rd Nov. Sanderling: Greatly fluctuating numbers during J a n . - M a r . at the species' favoured areas in Lowestoft peaked at 30 on 3rd Mar. Evidence of spring migration was scant but included a single at Alton Water on 18th May. Return passage was similarly weak and none of the reports of this movement even reached double figures. In the second winter period Lowestoft's usual domination as the county's top-spot for the species was broken. Counts on the Orwell estuary peaked at 26, including one partially summer-plumaged bird, on 23rd Dec. but only one or two were reported from Lowestoft. Rather unusually, one roosted with the Ringed Plovers on a wood shed roof at Lowestoft during December. Little Stint: A single at Minsmere on 8th Apr. heralded a spring passage which was more marked than in recent years. This included one flying north at Landguard 13th May, one with Ringed Plovers and Dunlin at Livermere on 17th May and a single at Fagbury on 18th May. By mid-July return passage was under way, gathering momentum in late August, and in September the year's most significant numbers appeared. These included ten at Havergate on 1st and 3rd and fourteen at Minsmere on 30th. At the latter site October produced a scattering of records and a single even stayed there as late as 26th Dec. Temminck's Stint: This was another year in which this diminutive wader was a rather scarce visitor. One on the beach at Landguard on 17th May was the first in the county for the year and was also the first record for the site (GB). At Minsmere a single on 9th June was probably a late spring migrant. Further reports from Minsmere referring to a single bird were submitted by several observers between 26th July and 8th Aug.; it was joined by a second individual on 5th Aug. The final report was of one at Walberswick on 15th Sept. (CSW). White-rumped Sandpiper: After an absence from the county since 1979, two individuals of this Nearctic species were seen at Minsmere. The first stayed from 28th July to 8th Aug. (SC et al) and the second stayed from 12th to 18th Sept. (GJC et al). Both were accepted as being adults by the British Birds Rarities Committee. These are the 10th and 11th county records. Pectoral Sandpiper: The national pattern of increased occurrences of this Eastern Palearctic/Nearctic wader is being reflected in Suffolk. Once something of a rarity, the species has been an annual visitor in increasing numbers of late. At Benacre a series of records referring to singles from 3rd Aug. to 22nd Sept. makes it difficult to assess the precise number involved but two were seen there together on 8th Sept. At Minsmere apparently different juveniles were noted from 30th Aug. to 3rd Sept., 15th to 24th Sept., and 3rd to 4th Oct. A single was at Walberswick from 9th to 15th Sept. and a late individual at Alton Water on 2nd Nov. Curlew Sandpiper: Apart from a notable party of five at Havergate on 17th May spring records were few. The first was at Minsmere on the rather early date of 15th April, two were there on 21st May and another was reported on 1st June. The only other spring record was of one at Blythburgh on 17th April. The traditional pattern of adults undertaking return passage before the later influx of juveniles was once again maintained, with the highest number being eleven at Minsmere on 28th and 29th July. Inland, one was at Lackford Pits on 22nd July. The juvenile influx peaked at thirteen at Minsmere on 27th Aug. and fifteen, the biggest Suffolk gathering of the year, at Havergate on 1st Sept. The trend towards later departures continued. Two were at Minsmere on 10th and 11th Oct., and Benacre recorded its last individual on 20th Oct. 27


Purple Sandpiper: Lowestoft maintained its position as the species' winter stronghold in Suffolk and up to 26 frequented the Ness Point area in January and February. Elsewhere occasional singles were noted at Landguard in the first winter period. Here the weed covered jetty which is Suffolk's southernmost point was the attraction. Three spring migrants were at this latter site on 22nd and 27th May. Rather more unusually a juvenile was at Lowestoft on 5th and 6th July; this is only the county's second record for the month (BJB). Autumn migration was noted at Minsmere with a single on 13th Sept., two on 16th Sept., and another single on 30th Sept. The pattern for the second winter period was similar to that of the first winter period with up to 27 at Lowestoft and occasional singles at Landguard. Dunlin: The monthly maxima available from the two main estuaries were as follows: Orwell, Oct. 4,882, Nov., 6,526 and Dec. 12,947, Stour, Jan. 8347, Feb., 13,030, Mar., 10,093, Oct., 3,427, Nov., 12,034, Dec., 16,355. The build-up in numbers on both estuaries during the second winter period was partially reflected by the results of intensive sea-watching at Landguard where strong southerly passage offshore in October and November peaked at 4,526 on 3rd Nov. A notable record from the west of the county was of up to 24 on Lakenheath Washes in January and February. Again in the west there were also several records of spring and autumn passage birds at Lakenheath Washes, Cavenham Pits, Lackford Pits, Livermere and Sudbury. The intriguing habit of waders roosting on a woodshed roof at Lowestoft seems to be catching on; a single Dunlin joined the lofty Ringed Plovers in both winter periods. A female ringed in Poland on 31st July 1979 was recovered at Nacton on 16th Mar. Ruff: Although up to 4 males were together in suitable breeding habitat at a coastal site in May, 'lekking' was not reported and so for another year a question mark remains over the species' breeding status. Surprisingly few were recorded on spring passage, the maximum being thirteen at Minsmere on 21st Mar. Return passage was underway in July and its peak came at Minsmere on 3rd Aug. when at least 30 were counted. Small numbers were noted in the Minsmere area in both winter periods. One at Wherstead Strand on 21st Dec. was an unusual record for the locality. Jack Snipe: In January and February up to six were at a traditional wintering site in Ipswich and records of one or two were received from eight other localities. Singles at Minsmere on 11th and 21st Apr. and Southwold on 28th Apr. were probably spring migrants. Autumn migrants were at Walberswick on 17th and 27th Sept. and one came in off the sea at Minsmere on 28th Sept. A notable concentration of thirteen at Minsmere on 8th Oct. was probably also made up of new arrivals. The second winter period saw a wider distribution. The Ipswich site held up to five, one was ringed at Fagbury on 18th Nov. and one or two were reported from twelve other sites. Snipe: If the records received give an accurate overall picture there is cause for concern for only thirteen birds were 'drumming' at eleven sites. However unspecified numbers were recorded from a twelfth site where the population level was said to be good. We are left to fear the worst and surmise that the breeding decline must be linked to the drastic loss of our wet meadows. On a lighter note the 1983 record of one feeding in an observer's garden at Aldeburgh was repeated on 13th and 18th Mar. The largest winter gatherings were 365 at Minsmere 11 th Feb., c. 200 at Benacre 10th Nov., 250 at Minsmere 28th Nov., 158 on the Orwell estuary 9th Dec. and 120 at Lakenheath 26th Mar. 28


Woodcock: Only a concerted counting effort is likely to establish the true breeding status of this species in Suffolk - the reported total of 22 birds roding from 14 localities is probably well below the actual number we have. The same could also be said for the winter population. Twenty + were disturbed in a twelve acre wood near Wickham Market during a shoot on 13th Jan. Such numbers are probably unexceptional but rarely come to light as submitted records. An assumed spring migrant was at Gunton on 22nd Mar. and definite spring migrants were recorded at Landguard on 5th and 14th May. The bird present on the latter date was apparently exhausted and was watched at ranges down to six feet by many observers.. Late autumn immigration is a more usual feature of the species' migratory pattern in Suffolk and was represented by one at Havergate, where the species is something of a rarity, on 12th Nov., 10 at Landguard between 3rd and 18th Nov. and later still one came in off the sea at Benacre 30th Dec. Black-tailed Godwit: Sadly there were no reports of confirmed breeding, but a pair was presumed to be breeding at one site and a pair in display flight at another locality at least offered hope. First winter period counts of note were almost entirely restricted to the Stour estuary where monthly maxima of 546 in Jan., 957 in Feb. and 419 in Mar. were obtained. The latter number might have involved at least some spring passage birds as this movement was underway by this time and included counts of 90 at Methersgate on 9th Mar., 60 at Martlesham Creek on 18th Mar., and 40 at Minsmere on 24th Mar. The passage strengthened in April with a peak of 127 at Minsmere on 17th and there were 97 at Walberswick on 21st and 48 on the Blyth estuary on 14th. In the return passage numbers built up at Minsmere in June to 47 on 29th and on 24th July 92 gathered there. A record of three at Long Melford on 2nd Sept. was unusual for the locality. Havergate recorded autumn maxima of 153 on 6th Aug. and 126 on 5th Sept. A lack of reports means that only an incomplete picture of the second winter period is available. The largest flocks for which details were received were 89 flying west at Shotley Gate on 4th Dec. and 40 at Martlesham Creek on 23rd Dec. Bar-tailed Godwit: An exceptionally heavy spring passage took place in late April and early May, giving apparently unprecedented numbers at several sites. The movement was most marked on the coast but one observer remarked on the strong passage through the Brecks. The highest numbers were 351 at Havergate on 29th Apr. and 330 there on 2nd May. At Minsmere the peak was 170 on 29th Apr.,50 were noted at Benacre Pits on 27th Apr. and 48 were at Covehithe on 28th Apr. followed by c. 75 at Benacre the next day. About 60 flew south between Sizewell and Minsmere on 29th Apr. and 90 were at Walberswick on 28th Apr. Such impressive numbers were not repeated in the return passage which commenced with a sprinkling of June records. The autumn's biggest single flock was of 26 noted on 22nd July at Havergate and a total of 90 flew south off Landguard during Sept. In both winter periods small numbers were present at several coastal locations. Whimbrel: The first report was of a single at Minsmere on 8th Apr. and the subsequent spring passage was generally light. Minsmere's April maximum was seventeen on 21st and in May the corresponding figure was 23 on 10th. Elsewhere generally small numbers were reported although on 28th Apr. 54 flew north off Landguard and 28 were at Southwold. Autumn migration, noted from 23rd June to 14th Oct., was similarly thin, the largest parties being sixteen at Benacre on 22nd July and fourteen north at Minsmere on 23rd Aug. Curlew: In the Brecks, where the first report was on 16th Feb., a minimum of twelve pairs were discovered at seven suitable breeding sites. These areas were vacated during July and the last of the year was reported on 23rd. 29


Coastal passage was also noted during July with 200 at Shotley Marshes on 20th, 178 flying south at Landguard on 22nd and 131 at Havergate on 25th. The major first winter period counts came exclusively from the Stour estuary where the monthly maxima for this period were 352 Jan., 585 Feb., and 718 Mar. In the second winter period the major counts were: Orwell - 477 Oct., 434 Nov., 450 Dec. Stour - 322 Oct., 592 Nov., 320 Dec. Butley - 193 Dec. Deben - 150 Nov. Spotted Redshank: Small numbers were again present on the coast in both winter periods. During Jan./Feb. a total of eight were reported from four sites and during Nov./Dec. a total of five were reported from three sites. Minsmere remained the most frequently visited site and its monthly maxima were as follows: J 4

F 2

M 4

A 3

M 1

J 38

60

J A S c. 30 40

O 14

N —

D 2

The species also showed a liking for Walberswick, where the highest counts were 53 in Sept. and 54 in Oct., and Benacre where 30 were present on 3rd Sept. A spring migrant at Lakenheath Washes was an unusual find for a locality so far inland and one paid a rare visit to a site in Ipswich on 7th Dec. Redshank: The Stour and Orwell estuaries' international importance as wintering areas for the species is widely acknowledged. In the latter's case it forms one of the major points against the controversial Felixstowe Dock expansion plans which threaten Fagbury mudflats, a much-favoured feeding area for this and many other waders. The species gave its name to Operation Redshank, the data-gathering exercise carried out by the stalwart ringers of Landguard and a diligent band of observers, which amassed much information in its first winter for the Parliamentary work on the issue. The operation got underway in the second winter period and impressive monthly maxima of 2,581 in Oct., 2,972 in Nov., and 2,078 in Dec. were recorded. These figures match well with earlier Orwell data in which the highest average monthly counts from 1969 to 1975, for example, were assessed as 2,100, representing 1.7 per cent of the western European population. Monthly maxima on the Stour were: Jan. 1,764, Feb. 1,642, Mar. 1,461, Sept. 3,343, Oct. 2,330, Nov. 1,980 and Dec. 3,221. A minimum of 42 pairs were reported in the breeding season but an increase in submitted records may account for this apparent rise over 1983 rather than a genuine increase in the population. With the loss of so many of our wet meadows such an increase would appear unlikely. Greenshank: The Levington and Trimley area was again the Jan.-Mar. haunt of a single, so its consecutive run of wintering individuals since 1976/77 was continued. There were no reports from the Orwell during December but a single was located nearby on the Stour at Shotley Gate 4th. Very few spring migrants were reported. The largest group was a rather meagre five - they flew north at Minsmere on 29th Apr. There was however a sprinkling of records away from the coast referring to spring singles at Edwardstone, West Stow, Baylham, Alton Water, Livermere, Lakenheath and Needham Market. Up to three at Minsmere on 11 days in June were the forerunners of an unexceptional return passage in which the maximum numbers were rather less than 30


might be expected. The top three counts were thirteen flying south at Landguard on Aug. 11th, eleven at Minsmere on 15th July and fifteen at Havergate on 25th Aug. Non-coastal records were again evident during the autumn movement and came from West Stow, Alton Water, Livermere, Thorington Street, Ipswich, Sproughton, Lackford, Lakenheath, Cavenham, Wangford and Bradfield Combust. Green Sandpiper: Both winter periods produced the expected records referring to small numbers - in Jan./Feb. there were about eleven birds at ten sites and in Nov./Dec. the corresponding figures were 22 birds at nineteen sites. Mid-Mar. often sees the start of the spring migration but the few records for this month signified a generally later than usual passage. The bulk of the records were of one/two birds at widely scattered localities and the only party was four at Bramford Pits on 24th Apr. Similarly the return passage was later than in many recent years. The first migrants were three at Sproughton 23rd June and by 12th July there were eight at Alton Water. The largest additional numbers reported were eight at Minsmere on 7th Aug., c. ten at Benacre on 27th Aug., and twelve at Benacre on 4th Sept. Wood Sandpiper: Although Apr. arrival dates have been scarce since the 1960s the spring's first report came in that month for the second consecutive year with a single at Walberswick on 28th. Two more were at the same locality on 5th May and singles followed at Benacre on 6th May and at Minsmere on 10th May. Autumn passage was more protracted than in recent years. The first return bird was at Minsmere on 11th July and up to three were seen in September at Minsmere and Benacre, and three flew in off the sea at Gunton on 4th Sept. October records are not common but came from Minsmere on 1st and, unusually, from Long Melford on 26th. Common Sandpiper: Jan./Feb. records of single birds at Martlesham and Woodbridge could conceivably have referred to the same individual. Singles at Lackford 3rd-29th Mar. and Wantisden 4th Mar. are more likely to have been wandering winter birds rather than early summer visitors. Spring passage was rather light and sporadic through Apr. and May. Surprisingly it involved only ones and twos, apart from three at Alton Water on 13th May and three at Benacre on 19th May. July and Aug. saw the peak numbers on return passage. The 25 at Minsmere in July included a party of thirteen which arrived there after a storm on 15th. On that day four roosted on the roof of the reserve's Island Mere Hide. Also at Minsmere 30+ were counted 7th to 8th Aug. About 26 were at Benacre on 16th Aug. and 20 were at Havergate on the same day. A consistent run of autumn passage records at Lackford/West Stow peaked with seven on 8th Sept. Nov./Dec. singles were noted at Martlesham, Fagbury, Ipswich Docks and Felixstowe Ferry. Turnstone: Uncommon overland migration was evidenced with the two spring arrivals at Lackford Pits on 6th May, a record which added to the diversity of wader occurrences in the west of the county. The monthly maxima on the Stour were: Jan. 165, Feb. 180, Mar. 159, Sept. 249, Oct. 48, Nov. 286 and Dec. 225. On the Orwell the major counts reported were: Jan. 200 + , Oct. 675, Nov. 243, Dec. 207. It is interesting to note that the low numbers in Oct. on the Stour coincided with the highest numbers of the year on the Orwell and it is tempting to think that the two were probably correlated. Grey Phalarope: Lowestoft held a monopoly on the species. One was noted there on 12th Jan., one was off the South Pier on 26th Oct. and a third lingered for six days, from 7th to 12th Nov. 31


Red-necked Phalarope: One in partial summer plumage was on Havergate from 18th to 21st Aug. and a juvenile remained at Minsmere from 24th Sept. to 6th Oct. Pomarine Skua: A relatively good showing. Single birds during Sept. at Covehithe on 2nd, Benacre and Sizewell on 16th, Minsmere on 7th and 10th, Benacre on 22nd and two moving north there on 22nd Oct. Arctic Skua: This species is scarce on spring passage off Suffolk and this year's total of six is the highest since 1968. Coastal spring reports were of singles off Sizewell 24th Mar, Landguard 15th Apr., Benacre 5th May, Havergate 17th May and Minsmere 9th June. One over Lakenheath Warren 29th May is the first record for West Suffolk this century. (MA) A few were reported during the last week of July but the main movements began in Aug. and peaked during 25th Aug. to 22nd Sept., max. counts being nine Benacre 25th Aug., 22 Minsmere 4th Sept., ten Benacie 6th Sept., ten Benacre 8th Sept., twelve Minsmere 13th Sept. and fifteen Benacre 22nd Sept. The largest Oct. total was sixteen Benacre 22nd and in Nov. two were off Felixstowe 1st and singles off Landguard 7th and Minsmere 18th and 26th. In Dec. two were off Landguard 1st and one on 2nd. In addition, an imm. first noted on the beach at Landguard on 8th Nov. remained in that area until 13th Dec.; it was trapped and ringed on 18th Nov. and was joined by an adult on 27th Nov. which remained until 23rd Dec. Great Skua: There were two early winter records - singles off Benacre 25th Jan. and Lowestoft 17th Feb. One at Benacre 22nd May is only the fourth spring record since 1950 and the first in May. In Sept. reports were from Felixstowe 4th, Benacre 16th, 17th (two) and 18th, Minsmere 16th (two) and 24th and Lowestoft 16th (two). In Oct. six were off Benacre 22nd. Mediterranean.Gull: A host of records covering every month: Lowestoft - A total of at least five individuals identified during the first winter period. Adult 1st Jan. to end Feb., and this or another in full summer plumage 20th Mar.; two 2nd winter birds irregularly end Jan. to 28th Feb., and one 30th Mar. 1st winter 31 st Jan. ; 2nd year (with abnormal primaries - see separate note) ringed with a black plastic and metal rings, 15th Feb. In latter winter period, adult sporadically 29th Aug. to end Dec.; 2nd winter 23rd Aug. and 17th Nov. A 2nd year (with abnormal primaries - see separate note) 13th Sept. Kessingland - 1st summer 5th May. Benacre - Adult in full summer plumage (same as Lowestoft bird?) 25th Mar.; 1st summer 13th July; adult winter 11th Aug. to end Dec.; juv./lst winter 8th Aug. to 12th Oct.; 2nd winter mid Sept. and 8th Dec. Minsmere - Up to c. three 1st winters 14th Apr. to end May and one to 9th June (1st summer?); adult 1st Aug., 27th Sept., 31st Dec.; 2nd winter 16th Sept. Sizewell - Adults 1st Jan. to 26th Feb., and again 27th and 30th Dec. Landguard - 2nd year south then up the Orwell 30th June; 2nd winter 13th to 16th Oct. Alton Water - adult 31st Dec. Lakenheath - 1st winter 29th Mar. (first West Suffolk record). Most records covering extended periods refer to birds seen only sporadically during these periods so some interaction with other sites and therefore duplication must have taken place. Little Gull: A small number appeared towards the end of Jan. - a 1st winter Benacre29th and an adult on 29th for seven days; thee Lowestoft 24th; one Minsmere on 29th. Spring passage was rather light, the only coastal reports being three Sizewell 24th Mar. ; on Trimley Lake 29th and 30th Mar.; four Minsmere 12th May and one 1st June. Birds 32


also found in the west of the county - two full summer plumage Lackford Pits 1 st May and an imm. 1st June; a 1st summer Lakenheath 2nd May; two Livermere 17th May. The autumn passage was more marked with birds at coastal localities from 1st July onwards. The latter half of Sept. produced the largest numbers e.g. five Minsmere and three Sizewell on 16th; three Landguard on 17th; three Lowestoft on 19th; five Benacre on 29th. A fair number occurred through Oct. and Nov. and a few during the first week of Dec. A total of eight moved south at Landguard on 3rd Dec. One or two individuals were still being seen at various localities up to the end of the month. Common Gull: The Orford Ness colony increased to 30 pairs. Lesser Black-backed Gull/Herring Gull: The Orford Ness colony has increased to between six and eight thousand pairs at a ratio of about one Herring to three Lesser Black-backed. Lesser Black-backed Gull: Up to 200 Benacre Broad end of July and Aug.; maximum 131 Havergate 14th Aug.; at Landguard c. 650 moved south between 4th and 12th Aug., and southerly movements there during Oct. and early Nov. produced counts of c. 1000 on Oct. 5th, 30 on 21st, c. 300 on 27th, and c. 45 4th Nov. Herring Gull: The county's second record of a bird of one of the yellow-legged races was at Benacre 22nd Sept. An albino was reported from Felixstowe Docks 1st Dec. A small dark individual with very little black on the primary tips was at Lowestoft during both winter periods. This was thought to be a hybrid Herring x Glaucous by some observers, but others, including R. A. Hume, consider birds with these characters to be one of the Scandinavian races with reduced black wing-tips. Iceland Gull: An unprecedented number of reports this year. Lowestoft - Two adults and a 1st winter sporadically throughout Jan. and Feb., (all three seen on 2nd Feb.). An adult again 27th Dec. Minsmere - One (not aged) 28th Mar., and 9th Apr.; adult 11th Dec. Felixstowe - Two (not aged) 1st Apr. Landguard - One (possibly two), variously described as imm. or 2nd winter, 18th Jan. to 6th May (identified as 2nd summer on latter date), and 7th May (imm.). Glaucous Gull: A poor showing this year. Lowestoft - Adult throughout Jan. to 15th Feb., 2nd winter 12th Feb., 1st winter 8th Nov. and 8th Dec., adult 30th Nov. to end of year. Benacre - Adult throughout Jan. and again 24th Nov. to end of year. (Probably same birds as at Lowestoft as they were only reported at either site sporadically, and there were no records for both sites on the same day). Minsmere - 2nd winter 11th Jan., one (not aged) 31st Mar. and 8th Apr. Slaughden - Adult 26th Sept. Shingle Street - Adult about 6th Oct. Felixstowe - 2nd winter 3rd Mar. Landguard - Adult 15th Jan. Great Black-backed Gull: c. 1350 moved south off Landguard between 21st and 28th Oct., and c. 200 3rd and 4th Nov. Kittiwake: At Lowestoft 81 pairs produced 82 young. South South South South Yacht Total

Pier East Ledge Pier Windows Pier North Ledge Pier Roof Basin Mooring Post

27 nests 19 nests 21 nests 12 nests 2 nests 81 nests

21 successful 11 successful 13 successful 12 successful 2 successful 59 successful

29 16 17 16 4 82

young young young young young young

c. 2500 moved north off Covehithe 22nd Oct. An adult was at Alton Water 15th Jan. 33


Sandwich Tern: The only breeding pair in the county (at Minsmere) failed. Present at Havergate daily from 15th July to 15th Sept. with maxima of 125, 25th July and 170, 9th Aug. Roseate Tern: The only reports were of single birds at Benacre on 6th and 14th July and 24th Aug. Common Tern: Fifteen pairs nested at Minsmere but all failed and no other breeding reports were received. Inland sightings included ten Lackford 5th May, six Barton Mills 4th May and singles over Eriswell 7th and 22nd May. Arctic Tern: A good number of reports between mid-Apr. and the end of Sept., maxima being six Minsmere 22nd Apr.; four Havergate during July and seven on 9th Aug.; four Benacre 9th Sept.; four Sizewell 24th Sept. A late individual was at Sizewell 21st Oct.

Juvenile Arctic Tern Little Tern: Breeding information rather sketchy. 31 pairs at Minsmere failed; ten pairs at Covehithe; two pairs at Benacre; two pairs at Felixstowe Ferry were flooded out; none bred at Landguard but breeding was suspected on the Felixstowe Docks extension area. Inland, two were at Lackford G.P. 22nd July. Black Tern: A good spring passage with small numbers passing along the coast from 19th Apr. to 6th June. Inland, Livermere produced three, 22nd Apr. and five, 15th May.; Lackford eight, 26th April and twelve on 30th, and eight 17th May; Cavenham three, 30th Apr.; Lakenheath one 4th May; Needham Market one 27th Apr. One at Benacre 6th July was early. The rather light autumn movement lasted from the first week of Aug. to the end of Sept. A late movement was evidenced by singles at Harkstead 28th Oct., Landguard 30th Oct., and Minsmere 9th and 12th Nov., the latter being the latest ever in Suffolk. (One was at East Tilbury in Essex on 13th Nov.) Guillemot: There were very few coastal reports of live birds during the winter periods but up to 40 were found dead and oiled during Beached Bird Survey work in Jan.-Mar. Mid-summer sightings were of two Minsmere 16th July and an apparent juv. off Benacre 29th July. The highest coastal autumn count was four off Lowestoft 6th Oct. T\vo were in Ipswich Docks 1st Jan. and one remained there until 4th Apr. One was on the Orwell 3rd Oct. and by 4th Dec. up to four were on the river between Ipswich Docks and Pinmill. 34


Razorbill: Only fourteen live birds were reported but 'many' were found dead and oiled at Lowestoft in late Mar. Late spring and summer reports were of singles off Landguard 22nd May, Felixstowe 22nd June, Havergate 20th July and a juv. off Benacre 29th-30th July. Little Auk: One Covehithe 4th Mar. One at Landguard on 28th Oct. preceded a northerly movement on 6th Nov. when 51 were counted off Benacre and 24 at Walberswick, after which a few were noted in the following few days. One was found under a wood pile at Swefling on 21st Nov. Puffin: One Felixstowe Docks 18th Dec. Auk sp: 51 flew north off Covehithe 22nd Oct. Stock Dove: The largest reported flock was of c. 100 at Ingham 15th Mar. Collared Dove: Up to c. 150 Ipswich Docks in winter periods. 307 at grain silo, Commercial Road, Lowestoft 9th Feb. Turtle Dove: Up to c. 150 in a field at Lakenheath during May, c. 100 feeding on rough ground at Glemsford in early Aug. and 48 on telegraph wires at Wickham Market 21st June were the largest reported flocks. Ring-necked Parakeet: One Walberswick 19th and 25th Feb. Present at Aldham Feb., Apr. and Dec. Cuckoo: Judging from observers' comments numbers appear to have been well above the average for recent years. Barn Owl: A veritable deluge of reports from many observers covering 106 different sites, indicating an increasingly healthy population. A bird showing the characteristics of the dark breasted race 'guttata' was seen at Shotley in Sept. One was seen about two miles off Shingle Street flying towards the coastline, 15th Oct. Little Owl: Reported from 62 sites with a bias to the southerly parts of the county, and rather scarce in the north-east. Tawny Owl: Only reported from 54 sites which, if a true indication of the county population, would suggest that this is the scarcest of the three 'common' owls! One at Landguard 22nd Apr. is only the second site record in recent years. Long-eared Owl: At least four successful pairs were located in the Brecks where it is described as being widespread and there were also reports from at least six sites in the coastal belt during the breeding season. Migrants were noted at Landguard on 6th Apr., 7th Apr. (two), 31 st Oct., 17th Nov. and J st Dec. No winter roosts were reported. Short-eared Owl: Widely reported in the coastal belt during both winters but numbers were low and the largest gathering was only six at Flatford 7th Jan. There was only one Breckland report but four were present at a site in the south-west 18th Mar. There were no breeding reports but birds were noted at two-three sites in June-July. The lower wintering numbers were also reflected in coastal passage totals, e.g. at Landguard only one was seen in the spring and five in the autumn. Swift: There were several April records from 27th including 50 at Alton Water 30th but the main arrival was not until mid-May. Cool wet weather in May resulted in some large gatherings, notably 1000 Alton Water 23rd. Up to 1000 were over Lakenheath 27th June and southerly movements at Landguard in June included 600 on 8th and 750 on 22nd; these movements continued into July notably on 2nd (300) and 30th (500), but 205 on 5th Aug. was the last threefigure total of the year at this site. One at Southwold 7th Oct. was the only record for that month but there was an unprecedented series of Nov. sightings. Two were in the Ellough/Beccles area 9th and next day, reports were from Benacre (two), Lowestoft (two) and Tunstall (one); finally, five flew south-west over Ipswich Docks on 13th. (AB) 35


Nightjar: Another excellent year with possibly as many as 60 churring males located in the coastal belt but very little information was received from the Brecks. A pair were mobbed by two large bats (probably noctules) at a coastal site 25th June. Kingfisher: Reported from 78 sites which is slightly down on 1983 but the species is probably overlooked in some areas; there was evidence of up to twenty breeding pairs. One, initially found on 7th Dec. 1983, was attracted to the small fish that had been placed in the moat around the main building at the Suffolk Police HQ at Martlesham Heath. The police evidently decided to turn a blind eye to its poaching activities and when it was found dead during harsh weather on 26th Jan., had the body stuffed and mounted; it is now on display in the HQ reception area. (LB) Hoopoe: A good spring passage with singles at Brent Eleigh 19th Apr., Carlton Colville 21st Apr., Walberswick 17th May, Leiston/Sizewell 18th May, Thorpeness 24th May and Elveden early May. In contrast the only autumn record was of one at Lowestoft 6th Oct.

Bee-eater Bee-eater: Singles at Havergate Island 30th June (RJ J et at) and Minsmere 12th Aug. (PK, BAR, LAW et al). The 21st and 22nd county records and the first since 1979. Wryneck: During the period 25th Apr.-16th May at least fourteen were noted. This is the highest spring total since 1956; reports included three Landguard 3rd-8th May, two Gunton 29th Apr.-9th May and singles inland at Hadleigh 2nd May, Sudbury 29th-30th Apr. and Holton St. Peter 10th May. One was at Benacre in mid-July. This species also arrived in good numbers during the autumn; during 15th Aug.-12th Sept. at least 27 were reported. Notable coastal reports were of four Landguard 22nd A u g . - 3 r d Sept., three Minsmere 25th-27th Aug. and three Walberswick 3rd Sept. Inland reports of single birds were from Walpole 31st Aug., Hacheston 1st—4th Sept., Thorndon 6th-7th Sept., Alton Water 29th-30th Aug., Thurston 6th-7th Sept. and Ellough 22nd-23rd Aug. A good illustration of how unhurried autumn passage can be was provided by one which remained at Minsmere 15th Aug.-4th Sept. Green Woodpecker: Reported from 92 sites. Six pairs bred at Minsmere and c. twenty birds were found at nine sites in the Bury St. Edmunds area. 36


Great Spotted Woodpecker: Reported from 105 sites of which at least twelve were in the Bury St. Edmunds area. TWelve pairs were located at Minsmere. Drumming was noted at Walpole 30th Dec., and in the same parish a female was watched feeding a juv. on a bird table in mid-summer. One at Landguard 18th Apr. was the first site record since 1972 and there were further reports of singles there on 10th and 30th Aug. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Reported from 85 sites. Seven pairs bred at Minsmere and three pairs at Long Melford. Five birds were in Abbey Gardens, Bury St. Edmunds 26th Mar. Singles at Landguard 14th Feb. and 8th Sept. were the second and third site records. One was taken by a Kestrel at Minsmere 4th Mar. Woodlark: It is encouraging to report a further increase in breeding records in the coastal belt where the total of 28 pairs is more than double the 1983 figure. A further 22 singing males were reported from the Breck. It is to be hoped that the 1986 BTO Survey of this species will result in a further increase in breeding records from both sides of the county. Coastal migrants were noted at Sizewell 26th Mar. and Landguard 26th Oct. (three). The coastal wintering flock that had been present since Nov. 1983 held up to 24 birds in Jan. and 26 from Dec. onwards into 1985. Other winter records were of one with Skylarks at Covehithe 29th Jan. and two at Iken 12th Nov. Skylark: The largest wintering flocks were 2000 Gt. Whelnetham in Jan and 250 Bury St. Edmunds in Feb. Autumn movement was noted during 6th Oct.-7th Nov. at several coastal sites. The principal counts occurred at Landguard on 28th Oct. (57), 29th Oct (97) and 3rd Nov. (167) and at Dunwich on 29th Oct. (39). One at Corton 6th Mar. was completely white apart from brown on the head and throat. Shore Lark: This species' recent scarcity continued. The only first winter report was of six at Aldeburgh 26th Jan. In Nov. singles were at Minsmere 14th—19th Coined by a second bird on 17th), Felixstowe Ferry 13th and Benacre 11th-13th. The only Dec. sighting was of one at Walberswick 18th-19th. Sand Martin: The natural forces that have combined to cause so much human misery and suffering in Africa have also undoubtedly badly affected several of our summer migrants, including the Sand Martin, in their wintering areas. Many observers reported a general delay in arrival here and a substantial reduction in the breeding population. There were no Mar. records, the earliest date being 1st Apr. at Alton Water. At Layham G.P., where 200 pairs eventually nested, some were still feeding juvs. in early Sept. Four pairs nested in holes in the soft brick abutments of Temple Bridge at Cavenham Heath. The largest coastal autumn movements were recorded at Landguard in Sept. on 9th (150) and 27th (160). It would be very useful if observers could undertake to count their local breeding colonies and report the progress of this species during the next few years. Swallow: Although not as badly affected as the preceding species many observers reported breeding season totals as being below average. Counts at Alton Water during first week of May included 400 on 3rd and 1000 on 7th. There were no reports of any post-breeding reedbed roosts. Southerly movements at Landguard totalled 20,700 in Sept. with 9000 on 30th and 9000 in Oct including 6500 on 10th. 37


At least 45 were noted in Nov. up to 25th and a very late bird at Covehithe 3rd Dec. An albino was reported from Landguard 29th Sept. House Martin: As in 1983, breeding season reports were varied. Numbers increased at Shotley but were considered to be only 50% of the normal total at Walpole. Reductions were also reported from Southwold, Hadleigh and Bures. Adverse weather conditions were presumably responsible for the presence of at least 1000 at Alton Water 7th May. Substantial southerly movements were noted at several coastal sites in Sept., especially at Landguard where the month's total of 12,400 included 9000 on 30th. 90 were reported in Nov. (seven in Nov. 1983) but the last sighting was in Dec. at Covehithe on 9th. Tawny Pipit: The best year for this species since 1965 with singles at Walberswick 17th Apr. (CMH), Dunwich 22nd Aug. (MC) and Gunton 24th Sept. (NCB, BJB et al) 19th—21st county records. The Walberswick bird on 17th Apr. is only the second county spring record, the first having occurred, coincidentally, at Walberswick on 16th Apr. 1983. Tree Pipit: The reservations concerning the 1983 population of only 40 pairs proved to be well founded; much improved coverage both on the coast and in the Brecks boosted this year's population up to 110 pairs. At a Breck site up to 40 singing males were located and on the coast the figures for Dunwich Forest and Minsmere were c. 30 and 11 respectively. The real figure for the county probably exceeds 150 pairs. Only six were recorded at Landguard during 12th Apr.-18th May but autumn movements at this site involved at least 52 between 12th Aug. and 7 th Oct. of which 30 occurred on 25th Aug. Meadow Pipit: There were few wintering or breeding reports and the only notable spring passage totals were 55 Lackford G.P. 4th Apr. and 25 Landguard 25th Mar. The main phase of autumn passage took place during the second half of Sept.; counts included 250 Benacre Pits 17th and 200 Gunton 22nd-23rd while at Landguard c. 1700 were recorded moving south from 16th with max. 850 on 19th and an additional 100-250 regularly feeding on the Common during the same period. Reports of coastal movements in Oct. were exclusively from Landguard where 400 flew south up to 15th, 300 were feeding on 14th and 200 flew in from over the sea on 5th. Rock Pipit: Although widely reported from the coast and estuaries during both winter periods, the largest totals were only ten Slaughden 19th Dec., nine on the Orwell estuary 11th Nov. and six Iken 28th Oct. The last spring sighting was at Landguard 11th Apr. and the first returning bird at Kessingland 11th Sept. A total of eight flew south at Landguard during Oct. One showing characteristics of the Scandinavian race 'littoralis' was at Lowestoft 25th-26th Feb. Water Pipit: An excellent year for this nominate race. During the first winter up to three were inland at Lakenheath from Jan. until 12th Apr. while in the coastal region singles were found at Alton Water 25th Mar., Benacre 2nd Jan., Reydon 28th Mar. and Minsmere 16th Feb. and 31st M a r . - 8 t h Apr. The sightings in late Mar.-early Apr. presumably refer to passage birds. Autumn reports were restricted to the coast. One or two were regularly noted at Minsmere and Benacre from 24th Oct. and 4th Nov. onwards respectively. Elsewhere, singles were at Trimley Marshes 12th Nov. and Easton Broad 10th Dec. Yellow Wagtail: The small amount of information that has been received relating to the breeding population gives cause for concern. Reports were received from only thirteen sites and the overall impression is of reduced numbers. Decreases were noted 38


at Shotley, Glemsford/Long Melford and Southwold; 10 pairs were located at Alton Water 12th May but only one pair on 9th June. The only encouraging report was of 26 birds at Boyton 1st June which presumably indicates a sizeable population in the Butley River area. Spring passage from 11th Apr. was later and on a smaller scale than usual. The largest groups were only 23 Boyton 4th May and 20 Minsmere 22nd Apr. 26 passed through the Landguard area during 18th A p r . - 3 r d June with max. ten on 22nd Apr. The first autumn bird was at Landguard 22nd July but the main period of movement commenced on 12th Aug. at Landguard and 13th Aug. at Havergate. Totals were noticeably lower than in 1983 (reflecting poor breeding season?) with max. 24 Alton Water 20th Aug., sixteen Sudbury 22nd Sept. and fifteen Havergate 26th Aug. The Sept. total of 37 at Landguard included 24 during the first week and thirteen on 2nd. Four were recorded in Oct. at Landguard up to 21st. Blue-headed Wagtail: The only spring migrants were singles at Alton Water 14th- 16th Apr. and 12th-15th May and at Ellough on an unspecified date. There were mid-summer reports of one at Mutford 7th July and of a pair accompanied by a fledged juv. 'flava' wagtail at Long Melford 26th-27th July; although there is the possibility that the juv. might not have been Blue-headed and that the adults might have bred elsewhere it would appear that successful breeding probably took place at Long Melford (BAP et al). Grey-headed Wagtail: An adult male was at Minsmere 28th-30th May. Grey Wagtail: There were reports from ten localities during late spring and summer but at only two or three sites, all in West Suffolk, was successful breeding confirmed. The wintering population showed an encouraging increase; during J a n . - M a r . , seventeen sites held a total of 22 birds while the corresponding figures for Sept.-Dec. were 24 and 29. There were reports from all the main river valleys, especially in the region of mills and weirs. Sewage farms are also an attraction to this species with reports from the establishments at Belstead, Holbrook, Lackford, Long Melford, Melton, Sutton and Gt. Waldingfield. At Ipswich there were reports from Chantry, Holywells and Bourne Parks and regular sightings in the Docks area. The only obvious spring passage migrants were at Minsmere on 21st Mar., 25th Apr. and 29th Apr. (two). The first returning bird was also at Minsmere, on 26th Aug. but there were no further reports from this site until 14th Oct. (two). At Landguard the only migrants were noted on 22nd Sept., 2nd Oct. (two) and 7th Oct. Pied Wagtail: The only reported roost during the early months was of 125 at Martlesham Creek reedbed 19th Apr. - by this date such a total is likely to include passage migrants. A post-breeding roost at Cavenham totalled 140 on 13th Aug., but the only reported second winter roost was of 60 in reeds at Melton 18th Nov. Feeding groups during late autumn and early winter included 50 Thetford Heath 20th Oct., 42 Sutton Heath S.F. 25th Dec. and 32 Barton Mills 23rd Dec. There was only a trickle of spring passage migrants at Landguard totalling fifteen between 8th Apr. and 25th May, but at Benacre 30 flew north 11th Apr. Autumn migrants at Landguard totalled 23 in Sept., 67 in Oct. and seven in Nov. White Wagtail: Only twelve spring migrants of this nominate race were reported, all in the coastal region between 31st Mar. (Minsmere) and 30th May (Benacre). Unusually for Suffolk, there were almost as many on autumn passage as occurred during the spring. At least nine were reported, all in the Benacre and Minsmere areas during 5th-26th Sept. including four at Minsmere 18th. Waxwing: The only report was of one at Minsmere 6th Dec. (RSPB). 39 •


THE

COUNTY

OF

(Vice-Counties and

26.

West

Coastal

SUFFOLK 25,

Eost

Suffolk

Heath

or

Suffolk

)

Breck I a n d


Wren: The lights at Sproughton sugar beet factory stimulated two males into song between 0030 hours and 0330 hours on several dates in late Dec. Dunnock: The only evidence of spring passage came from Landguard during 26th-28th Mar. with a max. total of 40 on the latter date. Autumn passage took place on the coast between mid Sept. and early Nov. ; totals at Landguard included 45 on 27th Sept., 100 on 1st Oct., 50 on 27th and 28th Oct. and 35 on 1st Nov. Robin: 60 were seen to fly in from over the sea and alight on the common at Landguard during the major ' fall' of passerines at this site on 5th Oct. ; this was the highlight of the autumn passage at Landguard which took place between mid Sept. and mid Nov., and also included 40 on 16th Sept. Thrush Nightingale: Suffolk's first recorded example of this close relative of the Nightingale occurred at Landguard 13th—14th May. It provided many observers with their first opportunity to see and hear this elusive Eurasian species (MM, BR, MW et al) Nightingale: The recorded total of 122 singing males is only 56% of the 1983 figure (218). Although it is unlikely that there was a genuine 44% decrease throughout the county, the reports from well watched areas were of lower breeding totals e.g. 47 pairs at Minsmere as compared with 59 in 1983. The spring passage total of thirteen at Landguard 19th Apr.-5th May included six on 22nd Apr. Autumn passage was on a much smaller scale than in 1983, probably reflecting the mediocre breeding season; the only reports were of one at Sizewell 25th Aug. and a total of three at Landguard between 23rd Aug. and 2nd Sept.

Bluethroat: The best year for this species since 1977. During spring migration single males of the red-spotted race were at Landguard 13th-15th May (LBO) and Minsmere 13th May and a different bird still showing signs of immaturity 22nd May (RSPB). The only autumn record was one at Landguard 6th Oct. (LBO) Black Redstart: There were no reports until the commencement of spring passage on 24th Mar. Migrants were restricted to the coastal region during the last week of Mar. (up to four at eight sites) but during the first half of Apr. there were singles inland at Sudbury 3rd, Hadleigh 5th and 9th, Boxford 5th, Beccles 8th, Long Melford 10th and Wolves Wood 15th and three at Alton Water 1st. On the coast, passage continued until 1 st June; the largest totals were at Landguard with seven on 9th and 15th Apr. and nine on 8th May although this latter figure probably includes local breeding birds as well as passage migrants. 40


Breeding season reports were of four or five pairs in the Lowestoft area, two pairs at Ipswich and a pair at Sizewell Power Station. Although birds were noted in the Felixstowe Docks area during the summer there is insufficient data to determine the number of pairs. During late spring, birds were noted in suitable breeding habitat at Bury St. Edmunds, Sproughton and Stradishall but there is no evidence of any nesting attempts; however, a fledged juv. at Hadleigh 31st July-8th Aug. presumably indicates that breeding took place somewhere in that area. Few autumn migrants were noted until a distinct arrival on the coast from 16th Oct.; during the latter half of Oct. there were reports of one or two at ten sites but Landguard recorded eight on 21st and seven on 28th. In Nov. there were sightings at nine coastal sites up to 25th including two Lowestoft 15th, three Trimley 1st and four Landguard 4th. In Dec. one was in the Landguard-Trimley Marshes area 6th—31st; singles at Ipswich from 8th and Lowestoft from 17th remained into 1985. Redstart: More information was forthcoming concerning the breeding population than in 1983; the combined reports from seven coastal and two Breckland sites were of c. 40 pairs of which nineteen were at Minsmere. Coastal spring passage from mid-Apr. to 8th June was restricted to Landguard where there were sightings on sixteen dates in May with max. three on 5th. Autumn passage from 19th Aug. was on a very small scale away from Landguard where the largest totals, all in Sept., occurred on 16th (fifteen), 17th (ten) and 29th (thirteen). The only non-coastal migrants were singles at Playford 17th Aug. and Ipswich 10th Sept. In the second half of Oct. reports were from Minsmere 17th, Covehithe 26th (two) and Havergate 31st. Whinchat: One of the highlights of this ornithological year was the discovery of twelve breeding pairs at the Breckland site where only three pairs had been located in 1983 whether this is due to a genuine increase or improved observer coverage is not known. The only breeding pair on the coast was on the same heath as in 1983. The first spring arrival was at Iken on the early date of 25th Mar. (MJS) - this is only the fourth county March record, the others having occurred in 1964 (20th), 1979 (21st) and 1980 (22nd). There were no further reports until one at Southwold 17th Apr. but the main phase of passage commenced on 22nd Apr. when three were inland at Sudbury. The first peak occurred during 4th-9th May when max. site totals were four Havergate 4th, four Landguard 5th and three Benacre 9th; on 7th May there were reports from at least eight sites. Few new arrivals were reported until the period 18th—30th May when site totals included three Walberswick 19th and four Benacre 28th. Singles at Thorington Street 17th July and Havergate 23rd July were the forerunners of an excellent autumn passage that was not, unlike that of most passerines, restricted mainly to Landguard. The peak period occurred during the last week of Aug. and first week of Sept. with the best single day being 27th Aug. when there were counts of seventeen Landguard, fifteen Benacre, twelve Gunton and eight Southwold; other totals during this period included twenty Minsmere 6th Sept., nineteen Landguard 28th Aug. and fifteen Benacre 3rd Sept. Further notable groups in Sept. were twenty Minsmere 22nd, twelve Gunton 16th, twelve Kessingland 14th and eight inland at Sudbury 22nd. There were reports from eight coastal sites in Oct. up to 16th with max. five Minsmere 10th. Two exceptionally late birds were reported; the first was at Landguard 21st Nov. which is considered to have been a belated passage bird (MJ). The second was found on 9th Dec. at Alton Water where it remained until 24th Dec when it probably succcumbed during a severe frost. It was an immature bird, with a damaged tail, which 41


was presumably unable to migrate; it appeared to be feeding from an abundant supply of seeds and there can be little doubt that given milder weather conditions it would have overwintered at this site (WJP et at). Stonechat: Up to four pairs bred at the Breckland site where only one pair had been present in 1983 while in the coastal region at least seventeen pairs were located at nine sites between Benacre and Rendlesham. Evidence of a successful breeding season was provided by counts of twenty between Minsmere and Sizewell 22nd Sept. and seven at Benacre 22nd Aug. At least twenty were present on the coast during Jan-early Mar. at thirteen sites. There was evidence of a small spring passage in early May with three Havergate 7th and two Felixstowe Ferry 9th. Birds started to arrive back at coastal wintering sites from mid-Oct. and during Dec. at least 24 were found at twelve sites; max. site totals were four Sizewell-Minsmere, three Benacre and three Thorpeness. 'Siberian' Stonechat: Singles showing the characteristic plumage features of one or other of the eastern races colloquially known as 'Siberian' Stonechats were at Minsmere 7th Oct. (CG, RAH, ML et at) and Landguard 7th-10th Oct. (JRA, SP et at). These are the third and fourth county records. Wheatear: About 30 pairs were reported from both the Brecks and the coastal region; on Orfordness, where up to four pairs have been present in recent years, only one pair could be found. Spring passage started later than in 1983 and, presumably because of adverse weather conditions, peaked later than usual. There were reports from only four localities in Mar. from 22nd and at many sites birds were not reported before late Apr. or early May. The first peak movement was restricted to Landguard; ten were present during 30th Apr.-3rd May and thirteen on 5th May increasing to 21 on 8th but these totals are well below those that have been recorded at this site in early May in previous years. The main coastal peak occurred on 28th May, with 40 Benacre and twenty Minsmere (but only two at Landguard), and 29th May with twenty Benacre and fourteen Landguard. Passage continued well into June with eleven at Landguard up to 14th and one at Brantham 18th. Two Greenland Wheatears were at Falkenham 22nd Apr. and during the period 22nd M a y - 1 st June up to fourteen of this race were identified at Landguard including three on 22nd and four on 27th. The first returning birds were at Landguard 29th July and Lowestoft 2nd Aug. but relatively few were noted until a widespread movement during the 3rd week of Aug. when counts included 27 Landguard 19th, ten Aldeburgh 19th, ten Benacre 17th and six Long Melford 18th. There was a brief respite until a larger movement in the last week of Aug. produced totals of 51 Landguard 25th, fifteen Sizewell-Minsmere 27th, twelve Benacre 27th and ten Gunton 30th. Totals decreased steadily throughout Sept. and there were no further widespread falls of migrants. At Landguard max. counts were 21 on 1st and 25 on 16th and in the Benacre area sixteen on 6th and twelve during 9th-15th. There were reports from ten coastal sites in Oct. with max. ten at Landguard 6th and during the first week of Nov. singles at Trimley 2nd, Alton Water 3rd, Slaughden 4th, Harkstead 5th and Felixstowe 6th. There were no further sightings until an exhausted bird was found at Covehithe 17th Nov. and the last of the year at Lowestoft 22nd Nov. Ring Ouzel: At least 75 were recorded during an exceptional spring passage between 30th Mar. and 1st June. There were singles in Mar. at Landguard 30th and inland at Newton Green 31st. Eighteen were reported in Apr. up to 24th including three Gunton 16th-20th and singles in West Suffolk at Sudbury 9th-12th, Icklingham 19th and 42


Thetford Heath 20th. The main passage took place during 28th Apr.-17th May; there were reports from eighteen localities and counts of seven Lound 6th May and again 12th-13th May, five Benacre 2nd May, three Walberswick 28th Apr., three inland at Eriswell 7th-8th May and three Westleton 13th May. Additional sightings away from the coast were at Sudbury 28th Apr.-3rd May, Henley 11th—13th May and Akenham 12th—13th May (two). Five were still at Minsmere 27th May and a belated female at Landguard 1st June. Autumn passage between 24th Sept. and 28th Oct. was on a much smaller scale, with an overall total of 22 birds reported from Landguard, Minsmere, Dunwich and Benacre. The main feature occurred on 6th Oct. when, during weather conditions dominated by the remnants of Hurricane 'Hortense', there were reports of nine Landguard, five Minsmere and one Dunwich. Blackbird: The majority of reports were from Landguard where the first signs of spring passage were during the first week of Mar. with 66 on 6th. Further spring influxes at this site were of 40,12th Mar.; 70, 23rd Mar.; 25, 5th Apr. and 32,9th Apr. The first autumn birds were at Landguard on 22nd Sept (eighteen) but the main arrivals took place during Oct, principally on 6th (500) and 28th (75). Fieldfare: Very few were noted until harsh weather conditions during the 4th week of Jan.; on 24th, 1000 flew south at Landguard and 100 flew in from over the sea at Minsmere. Flocks elsewhere in late Jan. included 350 Melton 22nd, 200 in a Felixstowe churchyard 26th and 165 Ickworth 30th. These birds moved on as rapidly as the cold weather and the only notable counts in Feb. were of 240 Livermere 12th and 100 Falkenham 19th. The Livermere flock had increased to 390 on 6th Mar. and nocturnal migration was heard over Southwold 22nd Mar. Pre-emigration gatherings in Apr. included 100 Livermere 2nd, 100 Stowmarket 7th and 200 Rendlesham 8th. A total of c. 70 was reported from eleven sites in May as cold weather delayed emigration. Most were found during the first two weeks of the month with the largest groups being 24 Lound 13th (see Ring Ouzel) and twenty Eastbridge 6th; although nine were still at Minsmere 31st May, there were no June or July reports. There was an unusual series of Aug. records with singles at Minsmere 1st, 20th and 22nd, Gt. Whelnetham 10th, Landguard 24th and Walberswick 26th but there were no further reports until 23rd Sept. when eighteen were at Minsmere. Further Sept. records included 30 Walberswick 28th and 41 Landguard 30th. Unlike other thrush species there were no massive influxes in Oct., the largest site total being 150 Levington 29th. Three figure totals in early Nov. were 220 Cavenham 3rd, 110 West Stow 4th, 150 Sudbourne 10th and 180 Barnham 11th. There was an influx in late Nov. with 500 Moulton 24th and 'large' numbers in the Stour Valley 25th. In several areas the species was scarce until mid-Dec.; the largest reported flocks were 200 Minsmere 6th and 150 Cavenham 10th. Song Thrush: Spring passage birds were well in evidence at Landguard in early Mar. with max. counts of 38 on 1st and 65 on 6th. The spring figures fade into relative insignificance when compared with the estimated total of 10,000 that flew south at Landguard 6th Oct. in the largest ever recorded movement of this species in the county. Large numbers were also present at Lowestoft on 6th Oct. with an overall total well into four figures - those that were watched at close range showed characteristics of the Continental race 'philomelos'. Redwing: As with the Fieldfare, relatively few were noted until the brief period of cold weather during the fourth week of Jan. when c. 1000 flew south at Landguard on 24th; the species was subsequently reported as being plentiful in the coastal region in Feb. Spring movements commenced in early Mar. with nocturnal passage over Ipswich 43


6th, 300 in Normanston Park, Lowestoft 7th and 350 Herringswell 10th. The main phase of spring passage occurred during 22nd-31st Mar.; most reports were of large scale nocturnal movements but there were 450 Lowestoft 26th and 400 Foxhall 31st. In Apr., 300 were still at Foxhall 9th and 100 flew north-west over Minsmere 10th. At least fifteen were located in May during adverse weather conditions - the latest were singles at Walberswick 25th and Lowestoft 29th. The first returning autumn birds were on 25th Sept. at Walberswick (ten), Gunton (four), Barton Mills (two) and Dunwich. The largest ever recorded movement of this species in Suffolk took place on 6th Oct. ; max. coastal totals were 5000 Landguard and 'thousands' at Lowestoft, while inland, exceptional passage was recorded at Fakenham (2000) and Newton Green. Heavy nocturnal passage was heard over Landguard 27th-28th Oct., 30th-31st Oct. and 2nd-3rd Nov. Feeding groups started to increase from late Nov. e.g. 200 Barnham 25th Nov. and 260 West Stow 3rd Dec., but in many areas birds were scarce until mid-Dec. Mistle Thrush: An exceptionally good year for this large thrush. Double figure gatherings included twenty Livermere 15th July, twenty Walberswick 25th Sept., 38 Old Newton 15th Oct., 40 Sutton Heath 27th Sept. and 42 Elveden 13th Oct. A new county record total is the flock of up to 300 at Bradfield Combust 25th-26th Aug. At least 40 were reported from Landguard during the year; max. day totals were eight on 29th Sept., five flying south 4th Jan. and four on 28th Oct. Cetti's Warbler: Following a relatively mild winter the county population increased to a new record total of 31 singing males at seven sites in the coastal belt. However, the number of males at Minsmere decreased to seven (twelve in 1983) although fifteen females were located in May. Walberswick took over from Minsmere as the principal site with eleven singing males and seven males were at Carlton Marshes. The only confirmed successful breeding was at Minsmere where an adult was watched feeding a juv. on 26th Aug. It is interesting to speculate as to whether a singing bird at Benacre Pits 14th Oct. was from a local breeding site or was a newly arrived Continental immigrant. Grasshopper Warbler: A total of up to 25 reeling males was reported from only nine sites although, again, no information was received from the fens in the Little Ouse valley. Up to nine pairs were at Minsmere. No passage migrants were recorded. River Warbler: This species was not an obvious candidate for addition to the county list but a singing male at an undisclosed site 13th July-2nd Aug. duly achieved that honour (observers' names withheld). The site closely resembled that at Roydon in Norfolk where a singing male had attracted hundreds of observers in M a y - J u n e 1981. In view of the somewhat acrimonious although almost entirely unjustified criticism that was directed at the birdwatchers at the Norfolk site, it was decided not to publicize the Suffolk bird's presence at the time of occurrence; we hope that all birdwatchers will appreciate the predicament that faced the bird's observers and respect their decision. Because of the possibility, however remote, that the bird might return to the same site, its exact locality has to remain undisclosed. Savi's Warbler: One pair possibly bred at Minsmere but there were no reports from Walberswick. One was located in the coastal bushes between Minsmere and Sizewell 20th Apr. Aquatic Warbler: One at Easton Bavents 7th Sept. is only the fifth county record and the first since 1976 (CRN). Sedge Warbler: The first arrivals were in Apr. at Minsmere 5th and East Bergholt 7th but there were no more reports until a widespread arrival from 15th Apr. About 44


fourteen passage birds were recorded at Landguard during 22nd Apr.-31st May and a belated individual was noted there on 21st June. The breeding population was considered to be at an average level in most areas but at Bures and Shotley a decline was reported. An interesting report was of a male singing from vegetation on the central reservation of the A12 trunk road at East Bergholt 19th June. Autumn passage was unrecorded away from Landguard where the first returning birds were two on 28th-29th July; up to three were present on eight dates in Aug. and only three in Sept. to 22nd. Reed Warbler: The main feature of coastal spring passage was the number recorded at Landguard well into June - one to three were noted on thirteen dates up to 26th (only one in June 1983); possibly the cool spring delayed the arrival of this traditionally late migrant. Conflicting breeding season reports were received. Up to 40 pairs were located in the dykes on Shotley Marshes (twenty in 1983) and there were considered to have been more than usual at Bures. However, only sixteen pairs could be found in the Glemsford/Long Melford area (30 in 1983) and some observers remarked that numbers seemed generally to be lower than usual. Singles at Landguard on 6th and 18th July were probably wandering non-breeders but one there on 29th July seems likely to have been the first autumn migrant. Autumn passage peaked in late Aug. at Landguard with max. of seven on 26th. Movements continued on a much lower scale through to Oct. when the only reports were from Landguard on 2nd (two), 6th (three) and 7th. and Benacre on 2nd, 6th and 12th (two). Icterine Warbler: Singles at Landguard in May on 22nd-23rd and 28th-30th are the county's first spring records (LBO). Five autumn migrants were reported, all in Aug.: Landguard 14th, 17th—18th and 25th (LBO), Sizewell 12th (GJJ) and Lowestoft 15th (BJB). Barred Warbler: One at Sizewell 23rd Sept. (CAEK). Lesser Whitethroat: Eight pairs bred at Minsmere (same total as in 1982) and six were singing in the Hoist Covert area of Walberswick 18th May. Breeding numbers were considered normal in the Brecks but above average at Foxhall. Based upon the relative lack of reports that we have received, it seems likely that this species is under-recorded especially away from the coast and Brecks. Spring passage was noted at Landguard during 19th Apr.-1st June and peaked at four on 5th May. The first autumn bird was at Landguard on 11th Aug. Passage peaked in late Aug.-early Sept.; max. totals were fifteen on 31st Aug. and ten on 2nd Sept. at Minsmere and five Landguard 26th Aug. There were scattered coastal reports of one-three throughout Sept. but the only Oct. record was of one at Landguard 7th. Whitethroat: There is almost unanimous agreement that breeding numbers were lower than in 1982 and 1983; the only figures to support this opinion were from Glemsford/Long Melford with twelve pairs (fifteen in 1983) and Minsmere with seven pairs (21 in 1982). Numbers were considered well below average at Akenham, Foxhall, Grundisburgh, Hadleigh, Holbrook and Newbourn while in the well watched areas of Livermere and Lackford none could be found up to the end of June. However, one observer concluded that there were more than for several years in the Henham/ Walberswick area. Up to three per day were recorded on spring passage at Landguard during 22nd Apr.-3rd June. Autumn passage from 12th Aug. went almost unnoticed away from Landguard and Benacre: One-three were at Landguard in late Aug and on twelve dates in Sept. The only Oct. reports were of singles at Landguard on 7th and 10th. 45


Garden Warbler: There were seven Apr. reports (eleven in 1983) from 22nd but in most areas the first sightings occurred during the first half of May. Passage at Landguard from 3rd May-3rd June peaked at nine on 31st May. All breeding season reports were of an increase compared with 1983. It was considered to have been an excellent year in the north-east of the county and at Walberswick to have outnumbered the Blackcap. 26 pairs bred at Minsmere (22 in 1982). The first autumn migrants were noted on 7th Aug., but it was only at Landguard that regular counts were made; the main movements at this site occurred in late Aug.-early Sept. and included twelve on 28th Aug., eight on 30th Aug. and seven on 2nd Sept. Further counts in Sept. at Landguard included seven on 17th and ten on 26th. This species was involved in the spectacular passage at Landguard on 5th Oct. when c. 25 were present and the final sighting of the year was also at this site on 30th Oct. Blackcap: During the first winter period single birds were at Felixstowe from 23rd Jan., Ipswich 1st Feb., Brantham 10th Feb. and Freckenham 3rd-22nd Mar. A male at Landguard 24th-25th Mar. was probably an early spring bird but there were no further reports until 12th Apr. and most breeding areas were first occupied during the second half of April and early May. The main passage at Landguard was later than in 1983 and continued to 31st May peaking in early May with eleven on 4th and twelve on 5th. The few breeding season reports that were received indicated that numbers were about average. 23 pairs bred at Minsmere and ten at Long Melford. The first autumn bird was at Landguard 4th Sept., but it was not until early Oct .that movements really got under way. The largest 'fall' of this species ever recorded in Suffolk occurred at Landguard during the exceptional weather conditions of 5th Oct. when it was estimated that c. 500 were present - only seven could be found there on 6th. O n e - f o u r were noted at several other coastal sites in early Oct. but in the second half of the month the only reports were from Benacre with singles on 17th and 26th and Landguard. At this latter site the species was noted almost daily and counts included twenty on 16th and four on 27th. In Nov., passage continued at Landguard up to 15th including five on 6th and one was at Gunton 3rd-4th. One at Minsmere 22nd Nov. seems likely to have been a wintering bird with further reports from this site on 7th and 19th Dec. Further typical wintering reports were of singles in Dec. at Brandon 7th, Benhall 10th and Felixstowe 13th but slightly less usual was the report of one which came aboard a fishing boat off Orfordness 11th Dec. Pallas's Warbler: Landguard duly completed its hat-trick of this species when one was trapped there 28th and 29th Oct. (LBO). The seventh county record, the others having occurred in 1963, 1966, 1977 and 1981 (three).

Pallas's Warbler 46


Yellow-browed Warbler: The comparative rarity of this species in Suffolk compared with Norfolk is an intriguing ornithological mystery. However, this was the best year on record for Suffolk with three being found; the first two were at Minsmere 27th Sept. (RSPB) and the third was located over a month later at Martlesham Creek 29th Oct. (MM). These take the county total up to eight. Wood Warbler: There were no definite breeding records but a total of up to ten singing males were located at five coastal, one central and two Breckland sites. Autumn passage was restricted to the second half of Aug. with reports from Benacre 22nd, Christchurch Park, Ipswich 25th, Easton Bavents 26th, Thorpeness 26th and Landguard where five were recorded during 16th-29th. Chiffchaff : In spite of the relative mildness of the first winter period the only wintering reports were of singles at Minsmere 4th-6th Jan, Lakenheath 18th Jan. and Little Bealings 24th Feb. Six sites reported March birds after the first at Wortham 22nd and by mid-Apr. the species was well established in the breeding areas e.g. six Culford 14th, twelve Melton 15th. Coastal spring passage at Landguard from 5th Apr. was generally light and peaked at only four on 22nd Apr.; as with several other summer migrants in this cool spring, passage continued into June at Landguard with sightings on 6th, 8th (three), 9th (two) and 10th-15th. Few comments were received concerning the breeding population but the general impression was of reduced numbers at Bures, Grundisburgh and Hadleigh. However, an increase to ten pairs was noted in the Long Melford/Glemsford area (seven in 1983) and eighteen pairs bred at Minsmere. Singles on Havergate Island on three dates during 26th July-6th Aug. were probably failed or non-breeders rather than autumn migrants. A rather uneventful autumn passage commenced at Landguard on 27th Aug.; max. counts at this site occurred on 27th Sept. (five), 7th Oct. (four) and 8th Oct. (five). Elsewhere, six were at Sudbury 28th-30th Sept. and singles were heard singing in Oct. at Martlesham 12th and Benacre 14th. Passage in Nov. was restricted to three during the period 2nd-11th at Landguard and two at Gunton 10th-11th. One at Brandon 24th Nov. is considered to have been a potential overwintering bird and it has been assumed that one trapped at Landguard 2nd Dec. also intended to spend the winter somewhere in Britain. Other Dec. records were of at least three at Minsmere during 7th-19th and singles at Long Melford 10th, Tuddenham (West) 18th, Dunwich 25th and Henham 30th. Willow Warbler: There were a few scattered sightings from 5th Apr. but the first reports from many areas were on 15th Apr. when there was a widespread influx including eighteen at Landguard. Coastal spring passage peaked at Landguard in early May with twenty on 3rd and fourteen on 5th and there were four June reports there up to 13th. One showing characteristics of the northern race 'acredula' was at Landguard 22nd May. Breeding season reports were of an average population. 29 singing birds were counted at Belstead 14th May and, as in 1983, 30 pairs were located in the Long Melford/Glemsford area. The total of 143 pairs which bred at Minsmere is almost eight times higher than the Chiffchaff population at the same site. A pair were still feeding fledged juvs. at Thorpeness 10th Sept. Very few autumn migrants were reported away from Landguard where, after the first passage birds on 28th July, totals gradually increased to the expected peak in the second half of Aug.; the highest counts occurred on 18th (50), 26th (72) and 30th (27). The largest count in Sept. was twenty on 2nd and in a normal year relatively few would have been noted from then on; however, during the backlash of Hurricane 'Hortense' 47


on 5 th Oct. up to 100 were counted at Landguard which is an astonishing total for such a late date - only two could be found there next day. The last migrants were singles at Landguard 27th Oct. and Benacre 7th Nov. but on 31st Dec. one was located at Oulton Marshes and remained thereinto 1985 - this is the second county wintering record, the first being one found freshly dead at Reydon 25th Jan. 1978 (STNC). Goldcrest: The species was widely reported, particularly in the coastal belt in both winters but there was insufficient information to make any comments concerning the breeding population. 50 at Minsmere 28th Mar. was the highlight of spring passage; this small influx was apparently restricted to the Minsmere/Dunwich area and was not recorded at Landguard where there was a low scale but protracted spring passage from 23rd Mar. to 15th June - the highest count was five on 13th Apr. The scale of autumn passage was nowhere near that of 1983. Landguard's first passage bird was on 23rd Sept. (14th Aug. in 1983); birds were noted there on sixteen dates in Oct. with max. six on 29th. The only noteworthy counts elsewhere were of six Benacre 27th Oct. and twenty Gunton 31st Oct. Firecrest: It is encouraging to report a total of at least eleven singing males at six sites during the breeding season; at least two were paired and one pair made three nests. Additionally, a pair were at a seventh site 31st May-1st June. There were no reports until the first spring migrant at Sizewell 24th Mar. At least 40 were reported on spring passage up to 31st May; c. 25 of these were at Landguard where the max. day total was four on 15th May. Elsewhere, Minsmere reported migrants on fourteen dates in May including three on 15th-16th and singles were found away from the coast at Sudbury 27th Mar., Bradfield Woods 26th Apr. and Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 23rd May. At least 25 were noted on autumn passage from 18th Sept.-30th Oct. at six coastal sites; c. twenty occurred at Landguard including seven on 28th Oct. The only report away from the coast was one in Holywells Park, Ipswich, 10th Oct. A male was trapped at Landguard 7th Dec. and wintering birds were also located from late Nov. onwards at Gunton (two) and Minsmere. Spotted Flycatcher: There were four Apr. reports including an early bird at Lowestoft 17th; despite these early records the first sightings in many areas were in late May and early June. Coastal spring passage at Landguard from 4th May-15th June was very light with no more than three per day. This poor spring passage was reflected in breeding season reports. Some observers considered that the decrease in this species was more noticeable than in any other summer migrant and in no areas were any increases reported. Autumn passage was reported from 14th Aug. but totals were well below those of 1983; the max. total at Landguard was only six on 22nd and 25th Aug. and 27th Sept. compared with 23 in 1983. Seven were reported in Oct. up to 17th. Red-breasted Flycatcher: Singles were at Landguard 5th-7th Oct. and Minsmere 6th Oct.; this is the third successive year that this species has occurred in the county in the first week of Oct. Pied Flycatcher: Seventeen spring migrants were noted during the period 16th Apr.-24th May and a male was at Minsmere 10th June. The majority of sightings occurred during the last week of Apr. and first week of May; singles were found in West Suffolk at Livermere 16th Apr., Sudbury 30th Apr. and Wolves Wood (Aldham) 2nd May. The concentrated efforts of ringing and observation at Landguard really proved their worth with regard to this species; the county autumn total for 1983 was estimated 48


at 85 but this was the Landguard total for Aug. 1984 alone! The first migrants were noted on 8th Aug. and were present daily to the month end; totals included 25 on 15th and fifteen on 25th. Elsewhere in Aug., six were in Christchurch Park, Ipswich 25th, seven Benacre 22nd, seven Lowestoft 25th, eight Minsmere 24th and ten Gunton 22nd-23rd. Landguard's total for Sept. was 29 but there were no more than six per day and at other coastal sites there were few reports in Sept.; the only autumn sighting in West Suffolk was two at Gt Waldingfield, 12th Sept. In Oct., seven were at Landguard 5th (see Blackcap, Willow Warbler etc.) and one at Pakefield 6th. Bearded Tit: 40 were counted at Minsmere 5th Aug. and the species was described as numerous at Walberswick in late June. Breeding was also recorded at Benacre and Carlton Marshes. During the first winter period reports away from the vicinity of the breeding sites included twenty Flatford 7th Jan., two Cornard Mere 22nd Jan. and one Market Weston 13th-19th Jan. There were reports of migratory activity in Oct.; two were in cliff top bracken at Easton Bavents 6th, five Bourne Park, Ipswich 14th, two circling and calling over Martlesham Creek 15th, one on the sea wall at Trimley 15th and at Benacre c. 25 flew off high to south 14th and four came in from the north 17th. There were no exceptional second winter counts on the coast and the only inland reports were from West Stow with one on 3rd Nov. and two on 16th Dec. Long-tailed Tit: The only reports from Landguard, where 150 were recorded in late autumn 1983, were of singles 17th Mar. and 24th-27th May and two flying north 28th July. Interesting observations were of two feeding on fat on a bird table in Ipswich midFeb. and five feeding on peanuts in a Hadleigh garden 22nd Jan. The largest reported flock was twenty Glemsford 27th Aug. although several groups of ten-fifteen were noted elsewhere especially in late summer and autumn. Marsh Tit: Only reported from 21 sites (35 in 1983). Two were in a Felixstowe garden 6th Oct. when there was a massive influx of thrushes etc. into the Felixstowe area. Willow Tit: Only reported from fifteen sites (eighteen in 1983) of which ten were in West Suffolk. One pair bred at Minsmere. All reports of Marsh and Willow Tits and their relative abundance are welcomed. Coal Tit: There were no reports from Landguard or any other coastal site that suggested coastal autumn passage or immigration. 34 pairs bred at Minsmere. Blue Tit: There was no influx at Landguard such as occurred in 1983, but southerly passage was recorded there on 11th Mar. (ten), 2nd Sept. (twenty) and 25th Sept. (30). A flock of this species in the Walberswick reedbed 8th Jan held at least 100 birds. Great Tit: At least 54 passage birds were noted at Landguard during 1 lth-29th Mar. and 42 during 2nd Sept.-11th Oct.; the largest day totals for these two periods were twenty, 11th Mar. and twelve, 19th Sept. Nuthatch: Reported from 71 sites of which nine were in Bury St. Edmunds and eight in Ipswich. Treecreeper: Reported from 48 sites (34 in 1983) of which six were in Ipswich. Golden Oriole: At the established site in N.W. Suffolk, seven-eight pairs held territory and probably nested. This represents a further decline compared with last year. One nest was located but its success is unknown; at least two family parties were reported. At the coastal site where birds had been present in June 1983 two males were present 6th June and a pair were at a second coastal locality 15th July. There was a good spring passage in May with singles at Dunwich 6th-9th, Sutton Heath 8th, Westleton 12th, Minsmere 12th—15th and 28th and Landguard 20th and 31st. 49


Golden Oriole Red-backed Shrike: Six pairs were located in the county of which three pairs were successful rearing nine young. On coastal spring passage males were at Landguard 28th May and Minsmere 6th May and 4th June. There was a good autumn passage as follows: Landguard: Immature 12th—15th Aug. Havergate: Ad. female 21st-23rd Aug. Benacre: Immature 8th—18th Sept. Lowestoft: Immature 16th—21st Sept. Easton Bavents: One, 7th—15th Sept. Alderton: Immature 19th Aug. Gunton: One, 25th-28th Aug. was joined by a second on 29th, both remaining until 6th Sept. Great Grey Shrike: The total of only three-six is another sharp decline in the visitations of this species which in the late 1970s was described as a 'familiar winter visitor in small numbers to suitable localities.' During the first winter period singles were at Melton 15th Jan. and Barnham 4th Mar. There were no reports during Nov.-Dec. but during 5th-7th Oct. at least one and possibly four were in the Landguard area. Jay: There was no repeat of the 1983 influx. The only reports from Landguard were of singles 17th Apr. and 10th June. The population at Akenham in late summer was the highest for six years. Magpie: This species continues to increase. Double figure counts were of 30 Thorpeness 21st Dec., twenty roosting at Carlton Marshes during the winter months, seventeen Mutford 12th Feb. and twelve Minsmere 24th Mar. Jackdaw: Direct emmigration was noted at Easton Bavents 25th Mar. when 38 flew high eastwards out to sea. Immigration was recorded at Gunton 22nd Sept. and at Landguard on 21st Oct. (two) and 3rd Nov. (two). Rook: 141 pairs at East Bergholt was the lowest population figure there for nine years but at Long Melford there was an increase from 45 pairs in 1983 up to 61 pairs. Reports of immigration during late Sept.-late Oct. included twenty coming in from 50


over the sea at Landguard 11th Oct. and at Havergate, 63 on 1st Oct. and 24 on 15th Oct. Carrion Crow: Counts of the Wherstead Strand roost included 30 26th June, 144 24th Aug and c. 200 9th Oct. About 30 migrants were recorded at Landguard 14th Oct.-7th Nov. (118 in 1983) with a max. count of seventeen flying south 21st Oct. Hooded Crow: There were several reports from the Benacre-Kessingland area during the first winter up to 28th Mar. - max. monthly counts were nine in Jan., seven in Feb. and three in Mar. Elsewhere in the coastal belt four were at Pakefield 23rd Feb. and singles at Herringfleet 9th Jan, Lowestoft Harbour 2nd Feb.-4th Apr. and Covehithe 31st Jan. - this latter bird flew in from over the sea. Inland one was at Brandon 21st Jan. What was assumed to have been the Lowestoft bird reported above was located at Oulton Broad 18th May apparently paired with a Carrion Crow and in the Gunton-Corton area a Hooded x Carrion hybrid was also paired with a Carrion Crow. The only reports during the second winter period were of one at Brantham 18th Nov. and in Dec., two Covehithe 14th—31st and one Benacre 3rd. Starling: An immature flew in from over the sea at Landguard on the very early date of 24th June but it was not until 10th Sept. that the main autumn immigration commenced; these movements continued into early Dec. but the numbers involved were much lower than in 1983, e.g. at Landguard the Oct total was only 1275 (5625 in Oct. 1983). The population in the Akenham area in Nov.-Dec. was the lowest for six years. Up to 15,000 roosted in the Minsmere reedbed July-Oct. and 10,000 in Nov.; 4000 were present in a reedbed roost at Martlesham Creek 15th Jan. Evening movements over Holbrook to an Essex roost commenced on 19th June. House Sparrow: Most reports referred to variations in plumage; albinos were noted at Walpole (two), Trimley and Shotley and a melanistic male at Sudbourne 30th Dec. One was collecting nest material at Walpole 29th Nov. Autumn passage totals at Landguard were much lower than in 1983 - southerly movements were only recorded on 21st Oct. (100), 1st Nov. (50) and 13th Nov. (four). Tree Sparrow: Autumn totals at Landguard were well below those in 1983; only c. 475 were recorded during 7th Oct.-25th Nov. with a max. count of 132 on 26th Oct. Winter flocks included 100 Aldeburgh in Jan., 175 Alton Water 18th Feb., 100 Sudbourne 30th Dec. and 80 Long Melford in Feb. Chaffinch: There was evidence of a small spring passage at Landguard with counts of twelve 25th Mar. and 24 29th Mar. The first autumn migrants were at Landguard 13th Sept. ; the main phase of passage occurred there in Oct. with a total of 328 flying south during the month including 99 on 27th. These totals were well below these of 1983 but above those of 1982. Notable winter flocks were 200 Barnham 11th Nov., 130 Woolverstone 3rd Dec., 100 Chillesford 2nd Jan. and 100 Aldeburgh in Jan. The breeding population at Newbourn Springs decreased compared with 1983. Brambling: There were reports from 30 sites during Jan. - Apr. ; most of these localities were in the Brecks or coastal belt. The largest counts were 50 Barton Mills 2nd Apr. and 100 Lakenheath 4th Apr. Reports in May were of singles at Rendlesham 6th, Butley 7th and Dunwich 23rd. There were no further reports until 23rd Sept. when one was at Landguard; a total of 32 were reported at this site up to 11th Nov. including thirteen on 28th Oct. During the second winter period reports were received from eleven sites, all in the coastal belt;


totals were generally low with max. counts of 50 Bourne Park, Ipswich 29th Dec., twenty Martlesham 30th Oct. and twenty Iken 31st Dec. Greenfinch: 100 Aldeburgh in Jan. and 200 Lackford 26th Feb. were the largest reported first winter flocks. There was evidence of spring passage at Landguard during late Mar.-mid Apr.; totals included 35 29th Mar., 75 11th Apr. and 50 12th Apr. The only breeding season report was of an increased population at Newbourn Springs reserve. Southerly movements commenced at Landguard on 13th Sept. (300) and continued up to 10th Nov.; movements peaked in early Oct. with c. 1000 on both 1st and 2nd; the autumn total at this site of c. 7250 is c. 50% of the 1983 total. There were only two large flocks reported in the second winter period - 200 Elmsett 24th Nov. and 400 Hessett in Dec. Goldfinch: During Jan. the only reported flocks were 38 Havergate, 45 Boyton and 40 Livermere. Rather surprisingly, there was almost no passage movement at Landguard in May but elsewhere during that month reports were of 50 Sudbury 3rd and 100 Christchurch Park, Ipswich 8th. The population in the Akenham area during June-July was the highest for six years; the largest post-breeding gathering was 100 Alton Water 5th Aug. As with the Chaffinch and Greenfinch, southerly movements commenced at Landguard on 13th Sept.; up to 25th Nov. c. 7800 were counted at this site (24,275 in 1983) of which 6790 were in Oct.; the max. day total was 1300 on 1st Oct. Siskin: There was an encouraging start to the year with reports from at least 60 sites during J a n - A p r . (sixteen during the same period in 1983); most of these sites were either in the Brecks or coastal belt. The largest reported flocks were 200 Brandon 27th Jan., 50 Minsmere J a n . - F e b . , 30 Icklingham 11th Feb., 30 Friston 20th Feb. and 30 Lakenheath 10th Apr. Birds were seen feeding on peanuts at Felixstowe, Gt. Waldingfield, Martlesham, Ipswich (three sites) and Lowestoft (two sites), during Jan.-early Apr. Nine were noted on spring passage at Landguard during 22nd Mar.-27th Apr. The only reports that suggest breeding at coastal sites were of one-two birds at two locations in early June. This species was described as plentiful as a nesting bird in the Brecks. An excellent autumn passage at Landguard commenced on 16th Sept., which is earlier than usual, and finished on 2nd Nov. by which time 170 had been recorded (35 in 1983); movements peaked in late Sept. with 32 on 29th and 27 on 30th. Despite this above average coastal movement, second winter totals were low; reports were received from only eleven sites but did include 50 Fakenham Magna 28th Dec. Linnet: 150 flew south at Landguard 24th-25th Jan. presumably in response to harsh weather conditions; the largest reported feeding flocks during the first winter were of c. 100 at Aldeburgh, Sudbourne, Havergate Island and Ipswich. There was a strong spring passage at Landguard in Apr. where a feeding flock increased from 60 on 1st up to 600 on 26th; southerly passage was also recorded at Landguard in Apr. on 12th (200), 14th (100) and 15th (75). Other spring passage groups in Apr. were 200 Foxhall 19th and 80 Lowestoft 24th. As with other finch species, southerly autumn passage at Landguard commenced on 13th Sept. (500) and finished on 25th Nov.; the autumn total of c. 5875 is c. 50% of the 1983 total; 4650 were counted in Oct. with a max. day-total of 1250 on 7th. Twite: There were reports from six coastal or estuarine sites up to 8th Apr. The large numbers reported from Walberswick in late 1983 remained into 1984 with up to 200 in early Jan. and 100 in Feb.; other reports included 50 Levington 1st Jan and 30 Ramsholt 11th Mar. 52


The first autumn migrants were seventeen at Sizewell 23rd Sept. About 175 were recorded on autumn passage at Landguard 4th Oct.-11th Nov.; this is double the 1983 total and included 50 on 6th Oct. and 60 on 21 st Oct. 50 Felixstowe Ferry 27th Oct. and 35 Walberswick 27th Oct. could have been passage birds. Overall during the second winter there were reports from thirteen sites; Walberswick was again the principal site with a max. count of 100 on 19th Dec. The only other counts of 50 or more were 60 Orfordness 16th Dec. and 50 Trimley Marshes 19th Dec. Redpoll: Reports were received from 51 sites throughout the county apart from the south-west; at 31 of these there were indications of breeding. All reports of breeding in 1985 are welcomed. Wintering flocks were smaller than in 1983; the largest were 80 West Stow 7th Dec., 50 Thorpeness 20th Apr., 50 Holywells Park, Ipswich 29th Jan., 45 Weybread 10th Apr. and 45 Long Melford 20th Mar. Seventeen were recorded on spring passage at Landguard 14th-23rd Apr. and only 26 in the autumn during 14th Oct.-6th Nov. Mealy Redpoll: Birds showing characteristics of the nominate continental race were noted at Alton Water 18th Feb. (two), Livermere Jan.-Mar. (three) and Benacre 11th Apr. (two). Crossbill: There were reports from six Breck and seven coastal sites but there was insufficient information to assess the breeding population. A Breckland report suggested that it was widespread and locally common. The largest coastal groups were at Tunstall on 28th May (30) and 17th June (37) and in the Breck, eleven Lakenheath 10th Apr. Away from the breeding areas two were seen near Christchurch Park, Ipswich 24th Sept. Parrot Crossbill: While a breeding pair were achieving film-star status at Wells in north Norfolk in the early months of 1984 it seems likely that at least one pair was achieving equal breeding success at a Suffolk site. Although, in the strictest terms, breeding was not proven within the county boundary, the presence of an adult male 20th Feb., and three juvs., two adult males and two adult females from 29th Apr. onwards into late summer indicates that breeding probably took place within the site's immediate vicinity. Whether the adult birds arrived during the previous autumn or were remnants of the 1982 nationwide influx is open to speculation. These are the first county records since 1850 (JMC, RVAM et al).

Parrot Crossbill 53


Bullfinch: Reports of groups included 29 Weybread 19th Jan. and twenty Alton Water 4th Jan. At Minsmere, where eleven pairs bred, a fledgling only just out of its nest was found as late as 19th Oct. The only Landguard reports were singles on 20th Apr. and 1st Nov. Hawfinch: During the year there were reports from ten coastal, four central and six western sites. The dates of observations appear to indicate that this elusive finch bred at seven coastal, two central and four western sites. One at Gunton 20th Apr. was suspected of being a migrant. Lapland Bunting: The county's first May record is of a male seen and heard singing at Minsmere 26th-27th; it was in almost full summer plumage and presumably delayed by adverse weather conditions. Typically dated reports were of singles at Minsmere 21st Nov. and 8th Dec. and Trimley Marshes 11th Nov.

Lapland

Bunting

Snow Bunting: The only sites from where this species was regularly reported during J a n . - F e b . were Aldeburgh (max. 40, 6th Jan) and Lowestoft (max. fourteen, 26th Feb.). There were reports of up to ten at six other coastal sites up to 6th Mar. In addition, a male was at Brandon 27th Jan.; this is the first West Suffolk record since 1973. As in 1983 the species was more widespread during the second winter period with reports from twenty coastal sites commencing with one at Landguard 10th Oct. The first reports from most areas were in early Nov.; max. counts were 60 Easton Bavents 20th-23rd Nov., 50 Orfordness 16th Dec. and 40 Kessingland 24th Nov.; equally notable was the flock of c. twenty on the Trimley Marshes from 13th Nov. - l a t e Dec. Yellowhammer: 50 Bradfield Combust 27th Jan., 34 Trimley Lake 29th Mar. and 30 Iken 28th Oct. were the largest reported flocks. Sixteen were recorded at Landguard on spring passage 1st Mar.-21st Apr. but only four in the autumn during 21st Oct.-11th Nov. Ortolan Bunting: The county's earliest record and the first in Apr. is a male at Minsmere 22nd (SC et al). The second report of the year was of one at Benacre identified on the basis of its distinctive call note by a member of the Dutch team in the international birdwatching contest on 9th May. 54


Reed Bunting: There were several reports of flocks including 100 Haverhill 31st Mar, 60 Stradishall Airfield 25th Nov., 51 Havergate 27th Jan. and 50 Trimley Marshes 23rd Dec. During Feb.-Mar., o n e - t w o were noted in two suburban Ipswich gardens. At Landguard, eight were noted on spring passage 11th Mar.-20th Apr. and 38 in the autumn 19th Sept.-25th Nov.; this latter total included sixteen on 7th Oct. Corn Bunting: The most noticeable increase in the reported breeding population occurred in the Sudbury area where only one pair had been located in 1983; this year there were reports of pairs or singing males at Acton (four), Nayland (two), Gt. Waldingfield, Glemsford and Long Melford. Although there were no winter reports from this area there was a post-breeding group of twelve at Bures in mid-Aug. Most of the county's breeding population was, as in previous years, in the south-east with pairs at Alton Water (two), Bucklesham, Chelmondiston (two), Harkstead (two), Levington, Martlesham, Newbourn (two), Shotley (three), Sutton (four), Trimley Lake (two) and Wherstead. Two pairs at Carlton Colville and one pair at Mutford were the only Lowestoft area reports. The only Breck breeding report was of a singing male at Livermere May-June. During the spring there were isolated reports from Havergate 11th Apr. (four) and 19th May and Minsmere 21st May (three). Winter flocks included 80 Lakenheath 31st Jan., 33 Trimley Marshes 9th Dec. and twelve Aldeburgh 12th Dec. The only Landguard reports were singles on 28th Mar. and 27th Aug. APPENDIX I - CATEGORY D SPECIES Wood Duck: Pair at Kersey 1st Dec.; two at Ixworth 22nd Mar. were presumably escapees from a local wildfowl collection. APPENDIX II - ESCAPED ZOOLOGICAL SPECIMENS Chilean Flamingo: One at Trimley Marshes 12th Dec. was seen later on same date flying north-east out of the Orwell estuary. Flamingo sp: One flew south Minsmere 14th Apr.; one in the Ramsholt-Bawdsey area of River Deben 7th July. Black Swan: One at Martlesham Creek 1st Jan. was presumably the same bird as noted in the Ipswich Wet Dock 30th Jan. and back at Martlesham 4th Feb. - there were no further reports until 8th July at Woodbridge; it remained in the Melton-Woodbridge area until 30th Aug. and was presumably the same bird as noted on Havergate Island 2nd Sept. Lesser White-fronted Goose: Singles at Redgrave Lake 18th Jan. and 3rd Apr. and Barham G.P. 2nd Dec. were both considered to be escapees. Emperor Goose: Singles at Havergate Island 13th and 30th Aug. and Long Melford during Nov. Bar-headed Goose: One with Canada Geese, Long Melford during Nov. Cape Shelduck: Two at Benacre 12th Sept.-6th Oct. Chiloe Wigeon: Three at Livermere 12th Jan. and one there 2nd Dec.; one Bury St. Edmunds during Sept. Grey Teal?: A small teal sp. at Minsmere 5th—13th May was probably of this species. Bahama Pintail: One at Benacre Broad 27th Oct. and 17th Nov. Sarus Crane: One at Kessingland 7th May-16th June: according to the owners of Kessingland Wildlife Park, it is the free-flying offspring of a wing-clipped pair at the park. 55


Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo: At least five in the Gt. Finborough-Combs area A p r . - J u n . - two regularly roosted in a Black Polar at Gt. Finborough. These birds are said to have bred in the wild here. Cockatiel: One at Benacre 25th Aug. Budgerigar: Singles at Landguard 21st-23rd June, 25th Aug. and 12th Sept. and Trimley Marshes 7th Sept. Mannakin Finch: One with House Sparrows, Gunton 2nd Sept. Red Cardinal: One at Bury St. Edmunds 16th Feb. Waxbill sp: One at Benacre 5th Aug. Sightings of wildfowl at Ixworth during the year included male Mandarin, male Falcated Teal and two pairs of American Wigeon - these all originated from a local wildfowl collection. APPENDIX III - CORRECTION TO 1972 REPORT Broad-billed Sandpiper: On the basis of a review by British Birds Rarities Committee, the record of one at Minsmere 7th May and again during 10th-20th May has been rejected. APPPENDIX IV - CORRECTION TO 1980 REPORT Woodchat Shrike: The bird initially found at Sizewell 15th June remained there to 21 st June not 18th as originally stated. APPENDIX V - ADDITION AND CORRECTION TO 1981 REPORT Herring Gull: The yellow-legged bird at Lowestoft 16th July and 8th Aug. is the first county record of one of the yellow-legged subspecies and was reported by J. R. Read and not as originally stated. APPENDIX VI - ADDITIONS TO 1983 REPORT Slavonian Grebe: One at Alton Water 11th Dec. onwards into 1984. Brent Goose: 1mm. bird, Livermere, 11th Jan. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: One at Landguard 13th Aug. is the first site record. Jay: Small groups totalling 120 birds were counted coming in from over the sea between Southwold and Kessingland from 0900-1100 hrs on 18th Oct. (Brit. Birds 78: 168).

White-tailed Eagle mobbed by a pair of male Harrier 56


EARLIEST AND LATEST DATES OF SUMMER MIGRANTS SPECIES Garganey Hobby Stone Curlew Little Ringed Plover Curlew Sandpiper Whimbrel * Greenshank Wood Sandpiper * Common Sandpiper Sandwich Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern 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 Whitethroat Garden Warbler * Blackcap Wood Warbler * Chiffchaff •Willow Warbler Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Red-backed Shrike

Date 26th Mar. 21st Apr. 27th Mar. 1st Apr. 15 th Apr. 8th Apr. 8th Apr. 28th Apr. 14th Apr. 24th Mar. 13 th Apr. 13 th Apr. 15 th Apr. 19th Apr. 13th Apr. 13th Apr. 2nd May 24th Apr. 1st Apr. 1st Apr. 11th Apr. 10th Apr. 11th Apr. 14th Apr. 14th Apr. 24th Mar. 13th Apr. 25th Mar. 22nd Mar. 30th Mar. 15 th Apr. 20th Apr. 5th Apr. 16th Apr. 19th Apr. 16th Apr. 22nd Apr. 24th Mar. 26th Apr. 22nd Mar. 5th Apr. 17th Apr. 16th Apr. 6th May

ARRIVALS Locality Lakenheath Walberswick 'Breck' Lackford Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Walberswick Minsmere Sizewell Minsmere Havergate Minsmere Lackford Landguard Staverton; Shotley Cavenham Brantham Alton Water NeedhamMkt. Lackford Sutton; Lakenheath Minsmere; Alton Water Alton Water Minsmere Trimley; Landguard Minsmere Iken Landguard Landguard Minsmere Sizewell Minsmere Minsmere Landguard; Sproughton Minsmere Melton Landguard Aldham; Sutton Wortham Long Melford Lowestoft Livermere Minsmere

Date 6th Oct 6th Oct 26th Sept. 21st Oct. 20th Oct. 14th Oct. 14th Nov. 26th Oct. 21st Oct. 28th Oct. 3rd Nov. 21st Oct. 17th Sept. 12th Nov. 4th Oct. 7th Oct. 13th Sept. 13th Nov. 2nd Nov. 3rd Dec. 9th Dec. 7th Oct. 21st Oct. —

2nd Sept. 25th Nov. 31st Oct. 21st Nov. 22nd Nov. 28th Oct.

DEPARTURES Locality Benacre Benacre 'Breck' Minsmere Benacre Trimley Trimley Long Melford Lackford; Southwold Landguard Minsmere Sizewell Landguard Minsmere X Landguard Landguard Dunwich Ipswich Minsmere Covehithe Covehithe Landguard Landguard —

Landguard Landguard; Trimley* Havergate Landguard* Lowestoft Landguard

22nd Sept. 12th Oct. 7th Oct. 10th Oct. 30th Oct. 15th Nov. 29th Aug. 11th Nov. 7th Nov. 17th Oct. 6th Oct. 21st Sept.

Landguard Benacre Landguard Landguard Landguard Landguard Landguard Gunton; Landguard Benacre Lowestoft Pakefield Lowestoft

* See Systematic List for details of overwintering birds. X Latest ever recorded in Suffolk.

57


Landguard Bird Observatory 1984

by A. R. J. Paine Landguard's enormous potential for attracting migrating birds went a long way to being realised in 1984 as the monthly summaries in this second annual report cleariy ÂĄIlĂşstrate. JANUARY. A notable southerly passage on 24th in response to harsh weather conditions further north in Europe, included c. 500 Lapwings, two Snipe and c. 100 Linnets. Other birds of interest were an immature Iceland Gull 18th (first site record), adult Glaucous Gull 15th and five Mistle Thrushes on 4th. Additionally, seventeen wild swans flew south-west high in from o ver the sea on 19th. FEBRUARY. The most interesting reports were of one-three Sanderlings on three dates, one Purple Sandpiper on four dates, Iceland Gull 14th, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 14th, three Fieldfares south-east straight out to sea 15th and a House Sparrow collecting nest material 14th. MARCH. Departing winter visitors were 35 White-fronted Geese flying north 22nd, Brent Geese movements from lOth, Woodcock 2nd, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes in the first week and Redwings during heavy nocturnal passage 27th/28th and 30th/3 lst. Additional sightings included an immature Iceland Gull on four dates and a Corn Bunting flying south on 28th. Four species of summer migrants arrived late in the month - Wheatear from 22nd, Black Redstart from 24th, Blackcap 24th-25th and a male Ring Ouzel 30th. APRIL. Despite mainly northerly winds, the majority of the commoner summer species were first noted on dates comparable with those of previous years, although in numbers below average. Wheatears only reached double figures (ten) on 30th but an exception to this trend was the site record total of six Nightingales on 22nd. Amongst the arriving species were Little Ringed Plover 25th, Arctic Skua 15th and o n e - f o u r Ring Ouzels on four dates. Departing winter species included Woodcock 5th, one or two immature Iceland 58


Gulls on several dates and Long-eared Owl on 6th and 7th (two). Landguard 'rarities' were: Tawny Owl 22nd, Great Spotted Woodpecker 18th (second site record) and Jay 17th. MAY. Easterly winds during most of the month ensured an almost Constant procession of rare or irregular species. The highlights were Thrush Nightingale 13th-14th (first county record), Icterine Warbiers 22nd-23rd and 28th-30th (first county spring records), male Golden Orioles 20th and 31st, two Dotterei 20th-23rd, Temminck's Stint 17th, male Bluethroat 13th-14th, Red-backed Shrike 28th-29th, three Wrynecks 3 r d - 8 t h , Osprey 21 st, Hobby 24th and immature Iceland Gull on five dates. The total of thirteen Cuckoos during April and May was the most interesting feature amongst the passage of common summer visitors. The first returning Lapwings (two) were noted on 22nd. J U N E . More summer passerines were recorded than usual, presumably because of the generally cool spring causing delay in north ward movement. The species involved were Yellow Wagtail, Redstart, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Sedge, Reed, Garden and Willow Warbiers, Goldcrest and Spotted Flycatcher. Equally unexpected were Red-throated Diver 2nd (county's first June record), Hobby 16th, Mediterranean Gull 30th and Jay lOth. An immature Starling flew in from over the sea 24th after having first been sighted when it was just a speck on the horizon. JULY. A generally quiet ornithological month. Most of t h t interest was provided by seabirds with one or two Gannets on four dates from 15th and Arctic Skua 25th. Up to three Cuckoos were present on twelve dates from 8th and by the month's end, returning Sedge, Reed, Garden and Willow Warbiers had been recorded. AUGUST. The maximum autumn passage totals of the majority of common summer visitors were recorded during the fourth week e.g. 30 Tree Pipits 23rd, 51 Wheatears 25th and 72 Willow Warbiers 26th. The unprecedented monthly total of 85 Pied Flycatchers included 25 on 15th; other highlights of a busy month were Osprey 26th, juvenile Red-backed Shrike 12th-15th, three Icterine Warbiers and five Wood Warbiers. Sea watching resulted in reports of seventeen species of wader and eight species of wildfowl. SEPTEMBER. An interesting month without any major highlights although 110 species were recorded. The visible migration of hirundines and finches commenced earlier than usual tflis year with several days of §o««l passage from mid-month. Out at sea, 117 Brent Geese flew south 17th and a further 978 on 29th. Unusual sightings were of Manx Shearwater 5th, Sparrowhawk 7th, single Ospreys 18th and 30th, two Avocets 7th, four Ruff 17th, Barn Owl 27th, Little Owl 30th, two Short-eared Owls lOth, Kingfisher 8th (fourth site record) and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 8th (second site record). A total of 29 Pied Flycatchers was recorded during the month and 1165 Lapwings on 16th. OCTOBER. A memorable month commenced with a claimed Booted Warbier l s t - 2 n d which, if accepted by British Birds Rarities Committee, will be the first county record. Despite this major rarity, the month will be mainly remembered for the most spectacular ornithological sights since the Sept. 1965 'fall'. As the remnants of Hurricane 'Hortense' hit the area with torrential rain and gale force easterly winds on 59


the 5th Landguard was swamped with passerines; totals included c. 500 Blackcaps, c. 100 Willow Warblers, c. 80 Robins and c. 200 Meadow Pipits. About 4000 waders flew south - the weather conditions meant that most remained unidentifĂŹed but they certainly included several hundred Grey Piover. A very heavy thrush passage on 6th included c. 10,000 Song Thrushes, c. 5000 Redwings and c. 500 Blackbirds. Other species of interest during the period 5th-7th were Merlin 7th, two Short-eared Owls 6th, Siberian Stonechat 7th (remained to lOth; second site record), nine Ring Ouzels 6th, Bluethroat 6th, Red-breasted Flycatcher 5th-7th and Great Grey Shrike 5th-7th. Further highlights of this eventful month were Hen Harrier 21st, 3 Avocets 27th, a late Black Tern 30th, Little Auk 28th, Mediterranean Gull 13th-16th, Little Owl 13th15th, Long-eared Owl 31st, Kingfisher lst, 3 Woodlarks 26th and the site's third record of Pallas's Warbler 28th-29th. Southerly finch passage continued through most of the month. Offshore, thirteen species of wildfowl and eighteen wader species were recorded. NOVEMBER. Offshore wildfowl passage usually peaks at Landguard during the first week of this month and 1984 was no exception. The peak day was the 3rd when the major totals were 3526 Brent Geese, 484 Shelduck, 736 Wigeon, 22 Pintail, ten Pochard, Long-tailed Duck, five Goldeneye and 37 Red-breasted Mergansers. Irregular species were Slavonian Grebe 14th, Little Auk l l t h , Little Owl 2nd and 18th, Long-eared Owl 17th and the site's latest recorded Whinchat 21st. An immature dark-phase Arctic Skua arrived on 8th and remained in the area until 13th December - it was joined by a dark-phase adult Arctic Skua on 27th which remained until 23rd December. The immature skua was trapped and ringed on 18th November. DECEMBER. Three overwintering summer species were Black Redstart 9th, Chiffchaff 2nd and Firecrest 7th. Seawatching produced Long-tailed Duck 13th, Avocet 2nd, Chilean Flamingo 12th, up to eight Little Gulls on four dates and immature Iceland Gull 9th. Over 2000 Brent Geese flew south early in the month. Other interesting non-passerines were Little Owl and Long-eared Owl both on lst. Southerly passage of 450 Lapwings 27th and 94 Starlings 28th were the only diurnal ornithological movements in response to colder weather at the end of the month.

Stonechat 60


TABLE OF RINGING TOTALS AT LANDGUARD Species Manx Shearwater Kestrel Red-legged Partridge Ringed Piover Golden Piover Woodcock Arctic Skua Black-headed Gull Little Tern Little Auk Woodpigeon Collared Dove Turtle Dove Cuckoo Little Owl Long-eared Owl Nightjar Swift Kingfisher Wryneck Green Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Skylark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Pied Wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Thrush Nightingale Nightingale Bluethroat Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Wheatear Ring Ousel Blackbird

Total 1984 —

1 8 5 2 2 1 4 — —

5 2 4 5 2 — —

1 1 2 1 1 2 2 243 77 9 24 —

38 163 166 1 8 —

32 38 7 —

17 4 534

Grand Total 1978-1984 1 3 16 40 2 2 1 5 26 1 7 3 7 6 2 3 1 1 4 3 1 1 12 4 439 198 13 60 2 95 494 287 1 18 1 80 63 13 1 27 5 902

Species Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Melodious Warbler Icterine Warbler Barred Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Pallas's Warbler Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Long-tailed Tit Coal Tit Willow Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Red-backed Shrike Great Grey Shrike Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Redpoll Bullfinch Yellowhammer Reed Bunting

Total 1984 7 245 52 3 15 51

Grand Total 1978-1984

70 54 1 1 203 6 12 90 5 540 209 3 612 3 4 1 4

10 434 74 3 37 102 1 4 2 68 85 170 292 1 3 117 463 324 37 77 1 120 113 7 1 455 174 1 1 306 57 29 165 8 933 428 3 1171 13 12 2 10

4546

9165

_

4 —

46 34 113 184 1 2 64 288 45 21 50 1 89 1 —

61


Selected Ringing Recoveries for Suffolk in 1984 by I. Peters Codes - 1 Pullus (nesting 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 = maie, F = female. 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. vv Sight record of identifiable colour ring(s).

Shag 1 31.05.82 x 00.02.84

Isle of May. Southwold.

Spoonbill 1 19.06.84 vv 06.10.84

Boschplaat, Terschelling, Netherlands. Benacre.

Marsh Harrier 1 21.06.84 x 16.12.84 1 02.07.84 xL 17.09.84

Minsmere. Ifrane, Morocco. Walberswick. Pinchbeck, Lincoln.

Note-only the second British Marsh Harrier to be reported from Morocco. Moorhen 3 17.09.83 + 17.01.84 Lapwing 1 14.05.83

Ternaard, Netherlands. Parham.

x

St. Jouin Bruneval, Seine-Maritime, France.

29.01.84

Redshank 4 08.09.73 x 25.07.84 62

Shotley.

Butley. Ambleteuse, Pas-de-Calais, France.


Kittiwakes and young on east ledge of South Pier Pavillion,

Lowestoft.


Kittiwake nests on window frames, South Pier Pavillion,

Lowestoft.


Young Kittiwake food begging, South Pier,

Lowestoft.


Dunlin 3 16.12.72 v 06.04.84 4 16.08.73 v 19.01.84 3 17.08.80 v 23.10.84 5 29.08.83 v 27.01.84 4M 06.09.83 v 19.11.84 3 03.11.83 v 23.07.84 v 10.11.84 3 03.12.83 0 20.07.84 6 31.01.84 v 21.09.84 3 21.09.84 v 23.10.84 3 10.08.84 v 04.11.84 3 26.08.84 v 06.10.84 3F 31.07.79 x 16.03.84

Butley. Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands. Nr. Siikajoki, Oulu, Finland. Brantham. Saevika, Farsund, Vest-Agder, Norway. Ramsholt. Reda Mouth, Gdansk, Poland. Boyton. Tulliniemi, Hanko, Uusimaa, Finland. Brantham. Brantham. Ottenby, Oland, Sweden. Brantham. Ramsholt. Baie de Canche, Pas-de-Calais, France. Brantham. Kammerslusen, Ribe, Jylland, Denmark. Langenwerder, Wismar, Rostock, E. Germany. Brantham. Gt. Ainov Island, Murmansk, U.S.S.R. Brantham Jastarnia, Gdansk, Poland Brantham Mikoszewo, Elblag, Poland Nacton

Black-headed Gull 4 23.08.72 Boyton x 03.07.84 Furemo, Solvesborg, Blekinge, Sweden 6 07.02.76 Ipswich x 22.01.84 Carpenders Park, Hertfordshire 6 27.01.79 Ipswich v 10.06.84 Gravdal, Vestvagoy, Lofoten Isles, Norway 6 10.01.82 Ipswich w

07.04.84

Sortedamssoen, Sjaelland, Denmark

Great Black-backed Gull ? 10.02.79 Zandvoorde, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium x 13.05.84 Landguard Long-eared Owl 2 13.11.83 Landguard x 02.04.84 Whitcombe, Dorset Sand 3 v 4M v 3J v

Martin 25.08.83 12.08.84 08.07.84 12.08.84 29.07.84 15.08.84

St. Seurin D'uzet, Charente Maritime, France Nacton Drumbeg, Drymen, Central Scotland Shotley Earls Barton, Northampton Shotley


Rock Pipit 09.08.82 3 vv 21.01.84

Nidingen, Sweden Southwold

Blackbird 6M 09.01.82 24.03.84 x 5M 16.01.82 18.01.84 x 3M 24.09.83 V 27.10.84 30.09.80 2 xF 23.03.84 07.03.84 5F X 02.06.84

Shotley Anna-Poulowna, The Netherlands Shotley Loftahammar, Kalmar, Sweden Wachtebeke, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium Hollesley P Yevo, USSR Sizewell Landguard Voorthuizen, Gelderland, Holland

Song Thrush 3 17.09.83 03.01.84 X 27.09.84 3 06.11.84 X 16.10.84 3 X 25.01.85 ? 17.10.84 V 28.10.84 21.09.84 3 V 14.02.85

Hollesley Richmond, Greater London Landguard St. Martin de Seignanx, Landes, France Landguard Fermanville, Manche, France Mokkebank, Laaxum, Friesland, Holland Landguard Landguard Plenee-Jugen, Cotes-du-Nord, France

Redwine 1 31.05.81 X 01.01.82

Karkkila, Uusimaa, Finland Woodbridge

Sedge Warbier 3 30.08.83

Shotley

v

La Albufera, Alcudia, Mallorca

18.04.84

Reed Warbier 4 04.08.81 v 19.05.84 3 20.08.84 v 31.08.84 Pied Flycatcher 3 24.08.84 x 20.10.84

Landguard Villamanan, Leon, Spain

Bearded Tit 3 30.07.83 v 24.04.84

Walberswick Westbere, Kent

Great Tit 5 24.01.81 v 12.02.84

Tyiers Green, Buckingham Benhall

64

Walberswick Hollesley Rye Meads, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire Hollesley


3 v

23.07.83 29.03.84

Queen Mary Reservoir, Surrey Landguard

Starling 6F 05.04.84 x 16.05.85 3JF 15.09.84 x 12.04.85 5F 24.03.79 x 31.03.84 5M 31.01.81 x 23.01.84 5M 15.01.83 x 16.09.84 5M 22.01.83 x 30.03.84 4M 06.11.83 v 04.02.84 2M 16.12.83 v 19.02.84 3M 04.11.84 x 24.11.84

Landguard Hedehusum, Insel Fohr, Nordfriesische Inseln, W. Germany Landguard Rijperkerk, Friesland, Arnhem, Holland Ipswich Fernhill Heath, Worcester Ipswich Kaberneene, Estoniya, USSR Ipswich Nr. Elblag, Poland Ipswich Taurage, Lithuania, USSR Vestapelle, Belgium Ipswich Ede, Gelderland, The Netherlands Shotley Shotley Bideford, Devon

Greenfinch 5M 10.03.79 v 05.04.84 6F 22.02.83 v 26.03.84 4F 24.02.83 v 10.04.84 6F 25.03.83 v 09.04.84 5F 13.04.83 v 04.04.84 5M 15.04.83 v 18.03.84 6M 21.04.83 v 09.04.84 6M 27.03.84 v 01.04.84 4M 04.04.84 v 30.04.84

Rowhedge, Colchester Ipswich Ipswich High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire Cobham, Gravesend, Kent Ipswich Ipswich Potters Bar, Hertfordshire Ipswich Potters Bar, Hertfordshire Ipswich Alton, Hampshire Ipswich Dorking, Surrry Handforth, Wilmslow, Cheshire Shotley Potters Bar, Hertfordshire Ipswich

Goldfinch 3 25.08.84 v 27.10.84 3 14.08.83

Hollesley Colne Point, St. Osyth, Essex Hollesley

v

De Haan, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

30.10.84

Siskin 2F 30.12.83 v 07.02.84

Kesgrave La Motte au Bois, Nord, France


A History of The Kittiwake in Suffolk by B. J. Brown During the present century the status of the Kittiwake has undergone a dramatic change both nationally and locally. This paper outlines these changes and gives a detailed account of the history of the breeding colony at Lowestoft. National Status (Based mainly on Coulson 1962, Cramp et.al. 1974, and Cramp and Simmons 1983) During the 19th century the numbers of Kittiwakes breeding in Britain decreased due to human exploitation. Birds were shot by 'sportsmen' at the breeding colonies, and eggs and young were collected. With the advent of bird protection regulations these activities were gradually brought to an end, and the species began to increase at the turn of the century. This increase obviously gathered momentum but it was not until a national census in 1959 that it was fully realised that a population explosion was in progress. This had gone on unnoticed by ornithologists as it mainly involved increases at existing colonies which had been controlled by the gun etc. The 1959 census and subsequent colonisation of new areas drew the attention of naturalists to the huge increases, and expansion, which had taken place. Between 1959 and 1969 it has been shown that colonies surveyed had increased by an average of 4% per annum, and a further survey in 1979-80 indicated that this continues at a rate of 2°7o per annum in Scotland and 3% in England and Wales. The total breeding population of Gt. Britain increased from 173,000 pairs in 1959 to 470,000 in 1969-70. When the Kittiwake had saturated the prime nesting areas it began its expansion into new and sometimes less desirable sites. In 1931 birds were found nesting on buildings at Granton near Edinburgh, but these deserted the area after three years. Other colonies were subsequently found on buildings at Dunbar, North Shields, Newcastle, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Lowestoft and on a harbour wall at Scrabster. Buildings have also been used in Norway. The structures used usually overlook water and although those in Newcastle and Gateshead are eleven miles from the sea they are within the tidal reaches of the river. In Denmark a colony which nests with terns on sand dunes has thrived, with protection, for many years. Attempts to nest in a similar situation in North Norfolk have, so far, met with failure, as have those on the tops of fence-posts around a Little Tern colony in Suffolk. Obviously the increase has not been hampered by the availability of the Kittiwakes staple diet of sand eels and sprats which are described as super-abundant. In recent years there has been a tendency to supplement, or change, the diet to include offals from fishing boats. In the Newcastle area Kittiwakes have adapted to feeding on bread, sewerage and freshwater fish. Due to its preference for precipitous cliffs as nesting places the Kittiwake has virtually no natural enemies, in Shetland however Great Skuas are said to be a problem in some colonies, even to the point of causing desertion of the site. 66


Suffolk The Pagets (1834) described the Kittiwake as rather rare in the Gt. Yarmouth area, and Hele (1870) said it was 'not generally very common around Aldeburgh.' Babbington (1844-86) found it 'not very common on the coast' and went on to record it as 'not occurring in any but winter months, although a common spring and autumn visitor on the east coast of Norfolk.' Ticehurst (1932) stated that it was very common off our coast in autumn and winter following herring shoals, and he thought that in-shoring sprats may bring them near land. Otherwise in his experience they only occurred near land as storm driven individuals. The majority arrived in September and October and departed again in March. There were very few summer records. By the time Payn (1962 & 1978) wrote his account the situation had changed somewhat in line with the national trend outlined above. Nowadays, he indicated, Kittiwakes are most plentiful during southward movements offshore in June and September, with single birds and small parties seen in all months of the year. Lowestoft The Lowestoft Field Club annual report shows that inshore numbers of Kittiwakes began to increase there from about 1946 onwards. Birds were mainly present from May to October or November. In 1951 the species was reported in 'larger numbers than usual,' and in 1952 an even bigger increase was indicated. Rather fewer were recorded up to 1957, but in the following year the first breeding attempt (on the South Pier) took place. Both nests however came to grief. In 1959 five pairs nested at the same site, and although three young, one nest and at least one egg fell off the ledge, three young birds were raised. Table 1 shows the annual success of the colony. To date well over a thousand young have been raised there. Table 1

Annual totals of nests and young raised at the Lowestoft Kittiwake cc

Year 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971

Number of nests 2 5 8 11 13 17 20 26 30 38 30 37 36 35

Successful nests Nil 7 4? 7

Young raised Nil 3 5 3 3 4 c. 30 c. 30 c. 29 c. 41 7 14 7 7

Year 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985

Number Successful of nests nests No data No data 40 30 (20 nests destroyed) 57 70 39 68 47 86 74 53 82 46 77 56 87 63 59 81 76 59

Young raised

c. 40 52 78 74 55 70 62-71 72 92 84 82 90

Up to 1970 all nesting took place on the South Pier Pavillion. In 1971 six pairs nested around the coat of arms on top of the Royal Hotel. (Dare one say by royal appointment?) They continued to nest there until the building was pulled down in 1973. 1974 saw a continued spread with St Johns Church (one pair) and the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club (4 pairs) being utilised. The church was used until it was demolished in 1977/78 by which time ten pairs were breeding there. Two to four pairs were still to be found on the Yacht Club up to 1978 after which they were put off by the owners having the ledges cemented at an angle making it impossible even for Kittiwakes to glue their nest on. Four pairs began to use ledges on houses adjoining the 67


south side of the Palace Cinema in 1976. In the following year further sites were provided when the cinema was pulled down leaving ledges on the sides of the remaining houses. Up to fifteen pairs moved in. The houses to the south were demolished in 1978 and the ledges on the north side were cemented over. The demolition company were thoughtful enough to leave a very unsafe looking piece of wall standing until the birds there had raised their young. Ten pairs formed a new colony on window ledges etc. above the shops immediately north of the bridge in 1978, and the following year they had increased to 40. Unfortunately they caused such a mess on the shop fronts and pavement below that it was stopped after the 1979 season when nets were placed over the windows and ledges. The nets were of a much too large mesh and the birds, being determined to nest there, got themselves entangled and had to be rescued on several occasions by the local fire service. This was soon rectified by substituting small mesh nets. In 1980 an advertising hoarding on the south end of the shops was used by sixteen pairs. This was made unsuitable the following year, and it was probably the birds from there that nested on the windowsills at the rear of the shops in 1981 and 82. This was soon discouraged by the owners. In fact eight nests which had held eggs and young were destroyed in 1982.1 was unable to discover who had done this. In 1983 and 84 two pairs bred on a mooring post in the Yacht Basin but did not do so in 1985.1 was told of, and shown photographs of, one or two pairs which nested on the sides of the 'dump head' in the mid 1970s. The dump head was at the end of the quay which formed the south-eastern side of the trawl dock in Lowestoft Harbour. It was eventually demolished to increase the width of the dock entrance. The nesting there had taken place entirely unnoticed by local naturalists so we have no ideal of numbers of pairs or young raised. To date the Kittiwakes' ramifications to sites away from the South Pier have ended. This however is probably only a temporary situation as there are many potential sites which could well be utilised in the future. On the South Pier all the nests up to the early 1970s had been on the original ledge at the eastern end of the pavillion, apart from one or two pairs which ventured onto the roof from time to time. In 1975 twenty nests were washed down with a hose by the proprietors as the birds' droppings were making the fire escape route from the theatre dangerous. This situation was rectified by local naturalists who volunteered to wash the walkway down each week. The birds have been unmolested ever since. Coinciding with the demise of nest sites listed above a number of pairs began to nest on the window frames on the north side of the pavillion in 1975. Up to twenty or so pairs now use this site. Further overspill or loss of sites led to birds nesting on a broad ledge low down on the north side of the original east ledge where nesting first began. This is also the best and easiest place to watch the nesting process as one can see into the nests. Up to twelve pairs have nested permanently on the roof since 1983. As prevously stated the colony is now limited to the South Pier, (for the time being at least.) In 1985 the number of nests was 25 on the east ledge, 13 on the window frames, 26 on the north ledge and 12 on the roof. Table 2

Average number of young per nesting attempt for selected sites. Period Young Average Nests East Ledge 1976-85 1.02 323 331 Window Frames 1976-85 127 114 .89 North Ledge 117 134 1980-85 1.15 Roof 1983-85 1.23 35 43 Shops 1978-79 60 1.20 50 Total colony 1.004 1974-75 848 851 •This is the total for the whole colony and not just the selected sites listed above. 68


I " li

1 le^l 2 <t

I i A I I ólo o| S <• 1

x

I olocAocJ In I t 1 « II IX. 13

l

WINDOW F R A M E S

NORTH LtDGK Fig. 1 Chart of Kittiwake nest sites in 1985. The numbers beneath the nests are the nest number for that site. The numbers above the nests are the number of young for that nest.

Table 2 shows that the average number of young per nesting attempts is a shade over one per nest. 1t can also be seen that the averages for the newer sites are higher than for the original east ledge site. This is possibly because the birds at the original site are older and coming to the end of their most fertile period. One would have thought, however, thdt this would have been offset by the fact that some of the birds at the newer sites are younger and more inept breeders. This is only hypotheses and could be entirely wrong. The low average for the window frame site is possibly due to it being the least desirable site and therefore attracts more of the younger birds which are just beginning their breeding life. Certainly a greater percentage of nests there never produce young or lose them over the edge (a rare occurrence). Several nesting attempts are started but the nests are not completed, which points to younger inexperienced birds being involved. These nests have never been counted in my figures. I have only included nests which are complete and capable of holding eggs whether they do or not. The periods used in Table 2 are those for which reliably accurate figures exist. A glance at Table one shows that earlier numbers of young are either based on estimâtes, or for some years are not known. Düring the first six years breeding success was so low that its inclusion would have had an unrealistic effect on the Overall averages. Accurate figures for nests and young are produced by drawing an annual chart of each nest site and marking in each nest. Numbers of young are then indicated for each nest, with plus or minus corrections being made at subsequent Visits. Fig. 1 shows the chart for 1985. Breeding Season Nest building begins during March and April. A search below the nest sites reveals a diverse variety of materials which the birds drop. Seaweeds, including hydroids, and grass make up the bulk of the debris, and lengths of plastic string are commonly found. The most outlandish thing I have ever seen actually in a Kittiwake's nest is the brass ferrule, with part of the glass attached, of a broken electric light bulb. I have occasionally watched Kittiwakes pulling up grass near Ness Point. This involved a 69


great deal of effort, with some individuals almost falling over backwards when the roots gave way. Standing below a row of nests on the window frames of the South Pier one can only marvel, with two thirds of the nest clinging to thin air, at the birds' ability to anchor the remaining third in such a way that it can take the weight of up to three young and the parents without falling off. Some pairs are sitting tight by early May, and the first young hatch a month later, with the majority appearing about mid-June. The breeding season then extends to the end of July when it is quite common to find newly hatched young in some nests, and fully fledged birds in others at the same time. Free flying young come back to the nest for several days after they have fledged. It is impossible to tell how many eggs do not hatch as most of the nests can only be observed from below. I have seen very few unhatched eggs in nests which can be observed from above, and have rarely found any which have fallen out of nests. The only food items which I have found in the debris beneath the nests have been sand-eels, and fish brought in to the older young appear to be of that group. In 1980 nine almost fledged young mysteriously disappeared from their nests on the windows. Two of these were on the walkway below the nests, they were unable to fly and were being fed by adults (parents?) who clung to the edge of the walkway and passed the food through the large mesh wire safety netting to the young. Coulson (1962) states that parents are not able to recognise their young and do not feed them away from the nest. Human Factors Taking into account the fact that (a) the Lowestoft Kittiwakes nest on man-made structures, and (b) they are undeniably noisy, messy and smelly creatures, it is not surprising that man has played a key role in controlling the spread of the colony. As indicated previously in this paper the control has indirectly come about by (1) demolition of buildings, e.g. the Royal Hotel and St Johns Church; and directly by (2) cementing up ledges making them unsuitable for nesting, e.g. Yacht Club; (3) putting up nets to stop birds getting onto ledges and window sills, e.g. shops north of the bridge; (4) destruction of nests which has happened only twice to my knowledge- on the South Pier in 1975, and windows to the rear of the shops in 1982. So far as I know no nests have ever fallen foul of egg collectors. The human connection has not been of a wholly controlling effect. The Kittiwakes were, and still are looked upon as something of an attraction for holiday makers and locals alike. I remember E. W. C. Jenner telling me that, when the council owned the South Pier and made a charge to enter, the Kittiwakes brought in extra revenue as the only was to see them was to pay to go in. The council has an information board in Station Square. One section of this gives an account of the Kittiwakes on the Pier. Although some of the information is highly inaccurate it keeps the colony in the public eye. This awareness came in useful in 1975 when the management were hosing down nests on the pier. Had it not been for the prompt action of a young lad, who informed local naturalists, the whole colony might have been lost. Present Status One can now count up to 400 or more Kittiwakes in Lowestoft during the winter. Often many of the groynes are completely commandeered by resting birds. In the breeding season the 160 or so nesting birds are augmented by around 100 immatures and non70


breeders, with a further increase in late summer as the young of the year fledge. This is a far cry from the scarcity recorded by previous generations of observers, and reflects the national trend of increased numbers and range expansion. References BABBINGTON, C. 1884-86. Catalogue of the Birds of Suffolk. London. COULSON, J. 1962. in BANNERMAN, D. A. The Birds of the British Isles, vol. XI. Edinburgh and London. CRAMP, S â&#x20AC;&#x17E; BOURNE, W. R. P. & SAUNDERS, D. 1974. The Seabirds of Britain and Ireland. London. CRAMP, S. & SIMMONS, K. E. L. 1983. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, vol. III. Oxford. HELE, N. F. 1870. Notes or Jottings About Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Ipswich. PAGET, C. J. & J. 1834. Sketch of the Natural History of Yarmouth and its Neighbourhood. PAYN, W. H. 1962(1978). The Birds of Suffolk. Ipswich. TICEHURST, C. B. 1932. A History of the Birds of Suffolk. London & Edinburgh.

71


Descriptions of Species New to Suffolk River Warbler in Suffolk approx. 13th July to 2nd August 1984

River Warbler Düring the second week of July 1984 a friend was out Walking and heard a very distant bird calling which he could only think was the song of a River Warbler (Locustella fluviatilis). Having notified me of his suspicions, I checked the site a few evenings later and indeed heard a bird singing that sounded just like a River Warbler. However, because of the range of about half a mile, I was still a little cautious, subject to hearing it sing much nearer or even seeing the songster. I attempted to close the distance but this was not easy as I had to skirt round enormous cornfields only to find my way barred by ditches. As darkness feil the songster stopped and I was left to thread my way back in the dark. The next morning I returned to the site to find the bird already in song. I was able to walk along the side of one cornfield and look along an intersecting dyke full of aquatic plants (similar to the breeding habitat on the continent). I was now only some 20 yards from the songster and as I scanned the tops of the plants in the dyke, there to my amazement was the singing River Warbler in full view. I couldn't believe that this was in Suffolk in mid summer. Through my telescope I was able to confirm ali the main plumage détails. These were briefly: a locustella warbler with unstreaked upper parts and short wings. On the breast there was a sériés of heavily marked black streaks, almost ending in a pectoral band. There were smudge marks on the undertail coverts and the large brown fan shaped tail was noted. When singing I could see the dull orange gape and legs were pale and slightly orange in colour. The distinctive song was a repetitive 'chee chee chee chee' like the beginning of a 72


Yellowhammer's (Emberiza citrinella) song and was uttered in both short and long bursts. A reasonable reproduction of it could be made by shaking a box of matches vigorously and rhythmically. It was last seen on 2nd August and during its stay there was no sign of a second bird. The record fits in well with the recent population and range expansion in Western Europe. This is the first county record for Suffolk and only the tenth record for the British Isles.

Great White Egret at Walberswick/Minsmere 15th July to 27th September 1984 by T. D. Charlton

c. Va bill black tipped

flint both mandibles noted at close range

ochrc f r o m knees upwards

Brownish black legs

Bill yellowish orange fading to pale lemon yellow at base

feet darker

no 'hackle'

BILL C O L O U R BY M I D - S E P T E M B E R

Very small amount of black to bill tip. Other bare parts unchanged.

BARE P A R T S A S J U L Y 30th Leg colour did not change during birds stay.

inner primaries looked brokenended on 18th August

U N D E R W I N G 18.7.84

An adult in non-breeding plumage. Like tali slender Grey HĂŠron - perhaps sometimes looking larger due to 'whiteness'. Shaggy appearance to lower breast formed by few plumes - these were soon lost. Aigrettes on back feil as low as wingtips - these too were soon lost. Whole plumage white, except for a grey leading edge to underside of wing. Inner two or three primaries looked 'tatty' on 18th August onwards. Fed primarily in shallow meres (water depths range 20 cm to 35 cm), taking very small prey items - stickleback type fish mainly. Feeding action similar to that of other hĂŠrons, egrets and bitterns. N.B. Several hundreds of birders came to see the Egret at Minsmere - we opened the reserve from dawn tili dusk for them. They were all extremely well behaved. We would do the same again if the opportunity occurs. 73


Thrush Nightingale at Landguard 13th to 14th May 1984 by M. T. Wright A song reminiscent of a Nightingale first brought the attention of Mike Marsh and Brian Ranner to a bird singing in a Heligoland trap. Due to very skulking behaviour in the brambles no observation was made. Later however a bird was caught in the Heligoland trap and on processing was found to be a Thrush Nightingale. The bird was brought to the ringing room as a Nightingale. On handling the bird the first comments were that it was rather a drab Nightingale with no conspicuous rufous tail, instead a rather dull browny tail was evident. The description made at the time of capture is as follows: Breast, ground colour brown grey wash streaked/flecked grey brown, flanks streaked (Long undertail covert one light brown bar). Mantle uniform olive brown, crown same colour with slightly darker flecking. Throat pale unstreaked bounded by a faint malar stripe. Ear coverts pale. Eye - Iris dark grey brown, pale eyering, upper mandible horn, lower mandible flesh, inside bill upper/lower bright yellow. The greater coverts were lightly tipped. The tail was browner and much less rufous than 'megarhynchos'. Ringing Details: C092953 4- 88 wing 25.1 wght. 1000 hrs emarg 3, 2nd p = 4, wp3, Ist p = 10 mm<p.c. Length of bill to feathering 10.5, tarsus 29 mm.

Short Note Mediterranean Gulls with Unusual Wing-tip Patterns by B. J. Brown The two reports in the Systematic List of birds with abnormal primaries refer to birds showing white-tipped black primary tips when settled with the wings closed. The whole of the visible part of the primaries were black with prominent white tips reminiscent of Franklins Gull. In fact the birds looked like large pale individuate of that species. P. J. Grant has commented to me, in conversation, that these are second year birds with rather more black than usuai, and not hybrids. He says that he has had several reports of similar birds from other areas. The two observations refer to two diffĂŠrent birds as the first was ringed and the other was not. The ringed one had a black plastic ring, and PJG suggests that they come from Russia, but has no confirmation of this to date. B. J. Brown

74


Notices

Landguard Bird Observatory The Landguard Ringing group began operations in February 1983 running the site on an observatory basis* and this was officially opened in September. This venture fills an important gap in the migration studies of birds on the East Coast. Before operations began at Landguard there was no major ringing effort between Holme in north-west Norfolk and Sandwich Bay in Kent. 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. 75


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 Ornithologists' 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.

Nightjar 76


List of Contributors ABBOTT S. ARCHER D. ASKINS J. R. AUSTIN M. BABBS S. BAKEWELL D. N. BAMBER T. B. BANKS S. BEESON P. BIDDLE R. BIELBY C. BIELBY G. N. BISHOP S. L. BLACKER N. C. BLOOMFIELD L. BOON P. BOTWRIGHT A. BOYLE W. J. BOXALL P. G. BRIGGS R. S. BROOKINGS C. H. BROWN B. J. BROWN G. BUCKTON S. BULL A. L. BUMELL S. J. BUTCHER A. A. CALLAGHAN S. CAREY G. J. CARMICHAEL H. CARR P. CATCHPOLE P. CAWSTON J. M. CHARLTON L. H. CHARLTON T. D. COATH M. COBB A. E. COBB F. K. CORNISH C. CORNISH W. CROXSON D. DIBBLE C. F. DIX S. DOUGLAS O. G. DUVAL G. R.

EASTON A. C. ELLIS J. P. ELLIS M. FAIRCHILD A. J. FA1RCHILD R. FIRMIN J. FITZGERALD J. H. FRENCH F. J. FRENCH V. R. GEDDES A. J. GEE B. D. GOMERSALL C. GOODEY A. GOODEY B. GOODFELLOW P. GRANT J. H. GREEN N. HALL L. P. HARRIS P. HEWSON C. M. HILL J. E. HINDE E. R. HOBLYN R. HULSE D. J. HUME R. A. HUNT N. JAMES M. JEANES M. J. F. JOBSON G. J. JOHNSON D. P. JOHNSTONE R. F. JONES R. J. KAY J. A. KEEBLE E. F. KESSLER V. KIRTLAND C. A. E. KITCHENER P. KNIGHTS R. J. LANDGUARD BIRD OBSERVATORY LANGMAN M. LAST A. J.

LAWSON B. LE VENE J. LEYSHON O. LILEY D. LING S. LONGHURST J. LYON A. W. MACLAUGHLIN Z. MALONE A. MARSH M. MARSHALL R. V. A. MARTIN J. R. MAYBURY G. W. McGEEVER T. P. MEGSON G. MESQUITA A. MILLER D. J. MINIHANE J. MOORE, D. R. MOORE J. L. MORRIS A. MURPHY P. W. NAUNTON C. R. OCKLETON D. W. ORAM G. O'SULLIVAN J.

SIMMONDS M. J. SMITH J. R. SMITH M. SMITH R. C. SMITH T. SORENSEN J. STARLING S. STEGGALL P. STONES D. STONES R. STOUR ESTUARY BIRD GROUP SUFFOLK ORNITHOLOGISTS' GROUP SUFFOLK TRUST FOR NATURE CONSERVATION SWASH A. W. G. SWINDON R.

TAYLOR M. THOMPSON B. G. THOMSON W. E. TOZER D. C. TOZER R. B.

VINE A. E. PACKARD M. PALMER T. W. PARTRIDGE J. PATRICK E. W. PEARSON B. A. PETERS I. PIKE N. PIOTROWSKI S. H. PIPER M. L. PLUMB W. J. RAINCOCK J. L. RANNER B. RANSOME P. J. READ J. R. ROBINSON P. R.S.P.B. RUFFLES C. P. S. RYAN B. A.

WALL N. E. WALLER C. S. WARNER H. M. W ARNES J. WARREN R. B. WASHINGTON D. WASHINGTON M. W. WATERS R. J. WATTS C. WEBB A. WHEATLAND L. A. WHEELDON A. WHITE J. A. WHITE P. D. WILKINSON P. H. WOOD W. G. W R I G H T M.

77


Notices

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Suffolk Birds 1984  

Volume 34

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