Page 1


T

THE COUNTY OF SUFFOLK

3

o

Watsonian vice-counties 25 (East Suffolk) and 26 (West Suffolk).

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4 ,—,Gt. Yarmouth

Breydon Water JÖ —R

,

T G 63 T M 62

Fritton Lake V I I I l\ I 7—4 Lowestoft

9 Beccles

•irr m Oulton Broad

Brandon Thetford

Benacre Southwold

Little Ouse Haiesworth f

" Blythburgh

Livermere Walberswick Lackford Pils Minsmere

Framlingham 'Newmarket

Edmunds

i

11 Stowmarket Aldeburgh Gipping Valley Wood bridge - J Orfordness

fer i

Haverhill Wolves Wood

R. Stour Sudbury

I

Ipswich

Havergate Island

Hadleigh Alton

Water n Felixstowe R. Stour

frLaLandguard

I

4


SUFFOLK BIRDS 1990 VOL. 39 incorporating the County Bird Report of 1989

Editor S. H. Piotrowski Assistant Editor P. W. Murphy Photographic Editor D. R. Moore

Published by SUFFOLK NATURALISTS' SOCIETY


Published by The Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH Š The Suffolk Naturalists' Society 1990 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced. stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the Copyright owners.

ISSB 0264-5793

Printed by Healeys, 55 Fore Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1JL

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CONTENTS Page Editorial. S. H. Piotrowski 5 Suffolk Heronries 1985-89 and the October '87 'Hurricane'. M. T. Wright 6 Census of breeding Woodlarks in Coastal Suffolk 1989. M. T. Wright 11 Nightjars in Suffolk. C. G. R. Bowden 14 The Hobby as a breeding bird in Suffolk. D. R. Moore 16 Breeding Cormorants in East Anglia. Steve Piotrowski 19 Further notes on the Kittiwake in Suffolk. Brian Brown 21 Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve. Roger Beecrofi 23 Dingle Hills, Walberswick Constant Effort Site Scheme, 1986-89. Tony Thompson...25 Weather Trends and their effect on the county's avifauna 1989. John H. Grant 27 The 1989 Suffolk Bird Report. The Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee 31 Earliest and latest dates of summer migrants. Steve Piotrowski 117 Suffolk Bird List. Steve Piotrowski 118 Rarities in Suffolk 1989. Steve Piotrowski 123 Penduline Tit. Rob Macklin 124 Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Jim Askins 125 Notes: 126 Tit's Ballet, W. H. Payn 126 House Martins perching on foliated branches. J. R. Martin 127 Obituary — David Smee (1932-1988). Philip Murphy 128 Landguard Bird Observatory 1989. Mike Crewe 129 Languard Outsites. Roger Beecroft 134 Suffolk Ringing Report. Reg Clarke 136

List of Colour Illustrations Plate No. 1. 2. 3. 4. S. 6. 7 8 9. 10 II. 12 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

Kittiwake Wall Brian Brown Juvenile Hobby Derek Moore Great Crested Grebe S u n Dumican Black-throated Diwr Jack Levene Great While Egret Jack Levene Great White Egret Jack Levenc Red-crested Pochard Stan Dumican Sparrowhawk S u n Dumican Stone Curlew S u n Dumican Lapwing Stan Dumican Little Ringed Plover S u n Dumican White-rumped Sandpiper Jack Levene Ruff Jack Levene Snipe Jack Levene Black-headed Gulls Jack Levene Mediterranean Gull Jack Levene Little Tem Jack Levenc

Facing Page

Plate No.

32 32 32 33 33 33 64 64 65 65 96 96 96 97 97 128 128

18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26 27. 28. 29 30. 31. 32. 33.

Facing Page Turtle Dove Jack Levene Kingfisher S u n Dumican Yellow-billed Cuckoo Steve Piotrowski Yellow-billed Cuckoo Jack Levene Great Spotted Woodpecker S u n Dumican DuruuKk Jack Levene Waxwings John Lowe Sedge Warbler Jack Levenc Penduline Tit Steve Piotrowski Red-breasted Flycatcher Jack Levene Lesser Grey Shrike Robin Chittenden Red-hacked Shrike Steve Piotrowski Red-backed Shrike Jack Lcvene Pallas's Warbler Steve Piotrowski Greenfinch Stan Dumican Trimley Nature Resene Derek Moore

The copyright remains that of the

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photographers.

128 129 129 129 132 132 132 133 133 133 140 140 140 141 141 141


Notice to Contributors Suffolk Birds is an annual publication of records, notes and papers on all aspects of Suffolk ornithology. Except for records and field descriptions, submitted through the County Recorder, all material should be original. It should not have been published elsewhere or offered complete or in part to any other journal. Authors should carefully study this issue and follow the style of presentation, especially in relation to references and tables. Nomenclature (English and scientific) and order should follow The British Birds' List of the Birds of the Western Palearctic (1984). Manuscripts must be typed, double spaced, with wide margins, on one side of the paper only. They must be in the final form for publication: proofs of longer papers are returned to authors, but alterations must be confined to corrections of printer's errors. The cost of any other alterations may be charged to the author. In certain circumstances the Editor may be able to accept papers on computer disc. Photographs and line drawings are required to complement each issue. Suitable photographs of birds, preferably taken in Suffolk, should ideally be in the form of 35mm transparencies. A sum of £10 can be claimed by the photographer for each photograph published. Every effort possible will be made to take care of the original photographs and artwork. However, photographers and artists are reminded that neither the Editor nor the SNS can be held responsible in the unlikely event of an accident resulting in loss or damage. Prints (6" x 4") of most photographs are available to readers, at a cost of £1.50 per print, by sending a stamped addressed envelope together with remittance to the Photographic Editor. The author may wish to illustrate his own article but this will be subject to the illustrations being of the standard required by the Editor, and the decision on such matters will rest with him. Material submitted for publication should be sent to the Editor no later than February 1st of each year. Authors of main papers may request up to five free copies of the journal.

Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee Cliff Waller (Chairman). Rex Beecroft. Chris Bowden, Brian Brown, John Cawston. John Grant. Gerald Jobson. Mike Marsh. Derek Moore, Philip Murphy (Secretary). Tony Prater. Steve Piotrowski (Editor). Bob Warren (County Recorder). Malcolm Wright.

Addresses Papers, notes and drawings: The Editor ISuffolk Birds). The Suffolk Naturalists" Society, c/o The Museum. High Street. Ipswich IP1 3QH. Photographs: The Photographic Editor (Suffolk Birds), The Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o The Museum. High Street. Ipswich IPI 3QH. Records: Bob Warren. The County Recorder. 37 Dellwood Avenue. Felixstowe IPI 1 9HW. Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee — information: Philip Murphy. 24 Henstead Gardens, Ipswich IP3 9LN.

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Editorial The 1980s was without doubt a period of enlightenment for the County's ornithologists. We were made to realise that species surveys, specialised projects and the collection of scientific data are of paramount importance in countering arguments forward by wouldbe developers of important wildlife sites. We were made to realise that we could not sit back on our haunches, but should constructively protest as and when such threats arise. The best way to preserve important wildlife habitats is to acquire the freehold and then manage the site sympathetically, for its natural inhabitants. In recent years, Suffolk has become the "boom-area" of Britain and, in consequence, some of our premier wildlife habitats have been destroyed and others have been damaged by uncontrolled use. Our Sandling heaths have suffered the most, with planners ear-marking vast tracts, of what they call "waste land", for development. In the late 1970s, Red-backed Shrikes and Wrynecks still summered on Warren Heath, near Ipswich, but by 1984 the bulldozers had moved in and Sainsbury's superstore became a new blot on the landscape. Nightjars desperately tried to hang on at Martlesham Heath as the new 'village' sprawled over some of Suffolk's richest heathland and, to cap it all, the Government gave the goahead for the construction of a second nuclear power station on Suffolk's Heritage Coast at Sizewell. Our greatest fight however, came with plans to extend the Port of Felixstowe, which was to swallow up the Orwell's most important expanse of mud-flats. Despite the area's grand designation as a "Site of Special Scientific Interest" and an "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" it was doomed. It was not all gloom however, as our conservation bodies have worked tirelessly to manage and create some Spectacular nature reserves. The County's principal conservation organisation, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust has acquired some marvellous pockets of countryside, and can now boast about either owning or having a controlling interest in no fewer than 70 reserves. It has been instrumental in the creation of the 'compensation reserve' at Trimley Marshes and all those concerned deserve a hearty pat-on-the-back for their prodigious efforts, but however wonderful the reserve may become it will never rival the food-rich mudflats that have been lost. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has made the most significant contribution to the preservation of the County's avifauna, by the acquisition and development of Minsmere. The area of coast from Sizewell north to the Blyth comes under a variety of conservation-minded landlords and it has long acted as an oasis for birds surrounded by an arable desert. We welcome the news that over the next five years the RSPB is extend this oasis to transform some of the desert back to heathland. The founding of Landguard Bird Observatory in 1982 represented one of the biggest achievements in the history of ornithology in Suffolk. Landguard is arguably the County's best migration watch-point. There is a daily presence at the site and everything is meticulously logged. But could other sites in Suffolk be just as good if the same degree of effort was put into them? It is true to say that most full-time and summer wardens employed on our nature reserves enthusiastically record the species that frequent their respective reserves and subsequently submit their observations to the relevant County Recorder or to the Suffolk Biological Records Centre. A minority however, seem to struggle to find time to record observations in their own note-books and rarely send in records. It is a pity that once people progress to the realms of "professional" their obligations often flounder. Do not assume that when you visit a nature reserve the wildlife around you has been recorded. Make a note of what you see and send your records in. It is better to have multiple records than none at all. As we move through the 1990s biological data will become more and more important and we must all strive to send in records on a regular 5


basis. so that our conservation bodies are suitably armed to fight the threats to our natural héritage as and when they arise. Acknowledgements This édition of Suffotk Birds would not have been possible had it not been for the staunch support and hard work of the Assistant Editor, Philip Murphy, to whom I owe my gratitude. I should also like to thank Nigel Odin, warden of Landguard Bird Observatory. for his help with proof-reading and Derek Moore for organising the submission of photographs.

Suffolk Heronries 1985-89 and the October ' 8 7 'Hurricane' by M. T. Wright This paper documents the effects of the October 1987 'hurricane' on Suffolk heronries and compares the trend from 1985 to 1989 in the breeding population of Grey Hérons Ardea cinerea in Suffolk. Following three cold winters in succession (1984/85, 85/86 and 86/87) there was a decrease in the Suffolk breeding population between 1985 (182 occupied nests) and 1988 (130 occupied nests) of almost 30%. It was not until 1989. after two mild winters, that a marked recovery was noticeable (see Table 2). The indications are that as a result of the 1987 'hurricane' the number of occupied nests in the following breeding season decreased only slightly. The mild winter of 1987/88 may have lessened the impact of the 'hurricane' in terms of recorded population size. It appears that the 'hurricane' had a greater overall effect on breeding distribution than on total numbers. However, the storm did affect individuai colonies. On Oct. 15th 1987 a depression. code-named 'Mike' moving north-eastwards from the Bay of Biscay, suddenly deepened with abnormal rapidity and intensified. The barometer pressure at the centre of the depression fell to 956 millibars. Winds increased from gale to full storm-force with frequent hurricane-force gusts. The mean wind speed retained a velocity of about 55 mph with gusts recorded up to 85 mph. It was during the early hours of Oct. 16th 1987 that these severe storm force gales caused widespread structural damage. The storm arrived at the time when the ground conditions were soft following a wet summer and when trees were full of foliage. Consequently, pine forests, mature deciduous woodlands and parks were severely damaged or devastated. It was probably the worst storm to hit Britain since 1703 (Blowers, 1987). This paper documents the conditions of the storm-tom woodlands and reviews the status of the heronries both before and after the 'hurricane'. The results are then compared with the national census of 1985. METHODS Since 1985 ali known Suffolk heronries have been visited annually. Fieldworkers were asked to count exactly or estimate the number of occupied nests (as per the BTO Heronries Census Methods). Observers were also asked to report on the extent of the 'hurricane' damage. This assessment was carried out during the weeks that followed the gales and also during the BTO Heronries Census of 1988. 6


ULTS In Suffolk, it was estimateci that 2.8 million trees were lost (Evening Star — Oct. 14th 1988).The damage caused by the full storm-force gales which swept through the county can be seen at Rendlesham Forest where it was estimated that a million trees (80% of the forest) were blown down (Hands in litt., Evening Star Oct. 14th, 1988)). Ail woodlands in the south and east of the County, by varying amounts, showed signs of wind damage from towering trunks with no canopy to trees with damaged crowns and cracked or severed branches. Generally, the younger plantations and stands of timber fared much better than mature woodland. Mature deciduous trees, heavy in foliage, offered too much wind résistance at a time when the ground was wet and as a conséquence were uprooted. The hurricane-damage that occurred to heronries in Suffolk can be categorised broadly into four main areas. Three heronries were totally destroyed, six more were extensively or severely damaged and three received only slight damage. Three other heronries were unaffected due to being at the centre of the 'hurricane's' north-north-easterly path across southern England.

STORM DAMAGE AT STUDY SITES The Black Heath heronry has traditionally been Suffolk's largest and in 1987 had the distinction of being the only one to survive from the last century. The hurricane destroyed the heronry and devastated the Black Heath woodland. More than two thirds of the trees were uprooted or left as shattered pôles. Ali that remained within the wind-blown area were a few spindly Sycamores and on the shoreline of the Aide, a line of Scots Pines of stunted growth. During the following breeding season the Hérons re-colonised the fragment of woodland bordering the Aide. On the Orwell estuary the Woolverstone heronry is built in a young evergreen plantation. The gales left much of the plantation intact although a wide swathe blown through a portion of the plantation destroyed approximately 90% of the heronry. Long Melford heronry was also totally destroyed when every tree that contained a nest was uprooted; this was the only site where Hérons did not return the following season. On the Deben estuary the Methersgate and Ramsholt heronries were both extensively damaged. At Methersgate most of the Scots Pine and almost ali the mature Oak and Ash had been uprooted. At Ramsholt a large Scots Pine, normally containing five nests, had its canopy completely blown off and resembled a telegraph pôle. The Henham heronry was also severely damaged with the majority of nests lost due to trees being uprooted; fortunately many mature trees survived the gales for the Hérons to re-colonise. At Benacre the small Oak woodland was severely damaged with uprooted trees and broken crowns as were the heronries at both Stoke-by-Nayland and North Cove (see Appendix I). Three heronries, West Stow, Euston and Brandon, situated in the north west of Suffolk were unaffected by the 'hurricane'.

CENSUS RESULTS The number of occupied nests for any one colony was arrived at by summing catégories A, B and C (on the BTO census recording card) or as the resuit of an estimate (by an observer). Table 1: Suffolk Heronries — census results for 1985-1989 Number of Heronries Occupied nests

1985 13 182 7

1986 15 162

1987 14 142

1988 13 130

1989 13 163


The National Census in 1985 found that 13 heronries held 182 occupied nests. The number of nests declined yearly to a low of 130 in 1988 before increasing to 163 occupied nests at 13 heronries in 1989. Although the number of heronries appears to be stable when comparing 1985 with 1989 (see Table 1) there were three new heronries in this total and at four traditional sites, Stoke-by-Nayland, Benacre, North Cove and Herringfleet breeding was not recorded. Table 2. Comparative totals of occupied Grey Heron nests at thirteen sites before and after the 'hurricane' of October 1987 along with the 1985 BTO national census and sample census results of 1986, 87, 88 and 89.

Black Heath, Snape Wool verstone Methersgate Stutton Wild Carr, Worlingham Stoke-by-Nayland Ramsholt Henham North Cove West Stow Brandon Euston Herringfleet TOTAL % Change

1985 Oc/n 34 16 20 21 6 15 II 14 3 8 20 9 5 182

1987 Oc/n 21 17 19 20 4 7 8 8 0 4 11 12 0 131 -15

1986 Oc/n 25 9 22 20 5 12 11 18 1 6 14 11 2 154 -15

1988 Oc/n 15 16 18 26 3 2 5 13 0 4 9 15 0 126 -4

1989 Oc/n 9 18 20 35 6 0 10 15 0 11 13 22 0 159 +26

Change 87/8 85/9 -25 -6 -1 +2 -1 0 + 14 +6 -1 0 -5 -15 1 -3 +1 +5 0 -3 0 +3 -2 -7 +3 + 13 0 -5 -5 -23 -13

Note: percentage calculai ions have been rounded to the nearest whole number. To look at the trend in the annual breeding population of Herons breeding in Suffolk. data from thirteen sites was used where counts were available for all survey years (1985/89 inclusively. see Table 2). After 1985, following three cold winters in succession (including 1984/85), the population trend was downwards by 15% and 15% respectively to 1987. There then followed two mild winters although the trend was still downwards after the first. It was not until after the second warm winter (1989) that a marked upward trend of 26% on the 1988 figures was evident (see Table 2). After two years of consecutive decline (1986 & 1987) in the absence of any storm effects it is interesting to note a much smaller decline of 4% in the year following the storm. This smaller decline in breeding numbers may be attributed to a mild winter having an ameliorating effect. Table 3: Comparison of colony changes between consecutive pairs of years. No. of colonies showing increase decrease no change

1985/86 1986/87 1987/88 2 3 3 9 7 10 1 1 3

1988/89 9 2 2

It is evident (from Table 3) that between 1987 and 1988, when compared with previous pairs of years, there was a lower incidence of colony dĂŠclinĂŠs and a greater incidence of colony stability. This suggests that on a county level the 'hurricane' had a greater overall effect on breeding distribution than on total numbers. 8


The census results of 1988 revealed that thirteen sites held 126 occupied nests, a decline of 4% on the census of 1987. Of those 126 nests approximately 77 had to be completely rebuilt in new trees and a further 21 were substantially refurbished. There was no disturbarne to any of the heronries by landowners clearing the storm-damage during or prior to the 1988 breeding season. However, during the winter of 1988/89 storm damage clearance in Black Heath wood did have an adverse effect on the number of pairs breeding there (see Table 2). The apparent decline in breeding numbers at individuai colonies after the 'hurricane' may be attributed to several factors. It is highly probable that some Herons have founded new sites, within the County, as yet to be located or moved further afield into neighbouring counties. It is also possible that many Herons, before the hurricane, would not have had the need to build a nest from start to finish or for that matter had to search for a new site or tree in which to build a nest. Coupled with the dévastation to the heronry and surrounding woodland some Herons, possibly young and inexperienced, may have been stressed to the point, of not reaching full breeding condition. The annual National Census of Heronries has established a link between population levels and winter temperatures. Populations may be up to 45% fewer or 32% more after very cold winters or a series of mild ones (Reynolds 1979). A decline in the Suffolk breeding population was evident due to the very cold winters of 1985/86 and 1986/87. The mild winter of 1987/88 should have had no adverse effect on the breeding population and in fact there ought to have been an increase — this was not the case. However, it appears that the mild winters lessened the impact of the 'hurricane' in terms of recorded population size.

Acknowledgements: I should like to thank the various landowners for their help and permission to enter their land. My thanks and appréciation go to the following fieldworkers who made a considérable effort to gather the necessary data for this paper: Mike Hall, Pat Hall, Rob Macklin, Alan Miller, John Minihane, Harold Jenner, Derek Moore, Paul Newport, Brian Pearson, A. Reeman, Alistair Riseborough, John Turner, Tony Vine and Cliff Waller. Many thanks also to Dr Steve Carter, Philip Murphy and Ray Waters for their constructive comments on the various drafts of this paper.

References: Blowers K. 1987. East Anglian Daily Times (Nov. 12th 1987). Reynolds, C. M. 1979. The heronries census: 1972-1977 population changes and a review. Bird Study 26: 7-12.

Appendix 1. Suffolk Heronries currently or recently used. Black Heath TM424579 Traditionally the largest Suffolk heronry: Hele estimated 100 nests in 1881. An extensive woodland of Silver Birch and Scots Pine in the région of 180 acres bordering the north shore of the Aide and forming part of the Black Heath Estate. Prior to the 'hurricane' the heronry covered an area of six acres, but now it is confined to the stunted pines that border the Aide. Woolverstone TM184392 Founded close to the Orwell estuary in Whinnyfield Wood during the late 1960s in a plantation primarily of Larch and Norway Spruce. All that remained of the heronry was two nests that were situated in outlying trees away from the path of the storm. Methersgate TM294457 Originally in Tyburn wood, but due to graduai felling moved in 1958 to its present location in Nettle Wood. The heronry is built in Oak and Scots Pine. The storm destroyed approximately two-thirds of the heronry. 9


Stutton TM145336 Past records show that this heronry has moved on two occasions to a site at Brantham. The present site, Kiln Spinney, has been in existence since 1958. The heronry is built in Beech, Sweet Chestnut, Scots Pine, Larch and Norway Spruce. Due to the storm four Scots Pine and five Beech trees were lost, the latter containing the majority of the nests. Out of twenty seven nests located during the 1987 census only seven were present after the gales. Wild Carr TM445909 Situated in Alder carr woodland, north of Worlingham Hall and adjacent to the Beccles to Lowestoft railway line. The first record of this heronry was for 1986. The storm caused only slight damage with very few trees being uprooted. There were no trees lost that contained nests despite only three out of the seven nests surviving the gales. Stoke-bv-Nayland TM002352 The first records for this heronry date back to the early 1950s. The area is well keepered and it is difficult at the appropriate times to acquire permission to carry out the fieldwork. A steady decline in breeding numbers has occurred at this site. The woodland housing the heronry was severely damaged as was the surrounding parkland. Ramsholt TM296425 Located close to the shores of the Deben estuary in Lodge Plantation. Probably founded in the early 1950s with the first record of three nests in 1955. Substantial damage occurred particularly along the southern edge of the woodland. Out of all the trees that contained nests during the previous breeding season only three, each with fragments of nests, survived. Henham TM4647668 The Henham heronry has a long history. Creed in 1848 recorded taking eggs and Harting in 1872 recorded a heronry there, but sometime during the 1890s it was said to have been destroyed by shooting the birds. There were no more records for this site until 1957. The heronry has remained reasonably stable up to the present time (1989). The area of mature woodland containing the heronry was severely damaged in the storm and the majority of nests was lost. Fortunately many mature trees survived the gales which allowed the Herons to build new nests the following year. Benacre TM520844 Herons have nested sporadically in this area since 1921. The present heronry in Church Covert was founded in about 1985 in Oaks. This small woodland was badly damaged with uprooted trees and broken crowns. North Cove TM471908 East Boathouse Carr TM468908 Wade Hall Carr. These two Alder carrs are separated by fifty metres of marsh. The heronry has been in existence since at least 1928 to the present time although no occupied nests have been recorded since 1987. The storm severely damaged both carrs: two old nests abandoned prior to 1986 were in ruins. Long Melford TL859484 This heronry is thought to have been in existence since 1983 although the first records were for the 1986 breeding season. Both the wood and the heronry were severely damaged in the storm. All seven trees containing nests in 1987 were uprooted. Sudbourne TM429513 Located in Prettyman's Whin, a small area of Alder carr. on the lower reaches of the Aide estuary. Euston TL890800

Situated in Warren Wood in Oak. close to the Little Ouse. 10


West Stow TL805711 Located in the King's Forest at West Stow Heath, close to the River Lark. Ali nests are in Scots Pine. Brandon TL732856 early 1960s.

The heronry is in a small area of Aider carr and dates back to the

Herringfleet TM465985 Since 1952 there has been a small but fluctuating heronry along a two kilométré Stretch of the River Waveney. No nesting has been attempted since 1986. Little Wratting TL697478 The heronry, in a small stand of Willow, overlooks the River Stour. The first records were for 1989 although the heronry is said to have been in existence since 1980. Great Thurlow TL683495 First discovered in 1989, this heronry is in White Willows in a small wood adjacent to the River Stour.

Appendix 2. Index of Scientific Names. Aider Alnus glutinosa, Ash Fraxinus excelsior, Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa, Larch Larix decidua, Oak Quercus robur, Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris, Norway Spruce Picea abies, Sycamore Acer pseudopiatanus, Silver Birch Betula pendula and Beech Fagus syivatica. M. T. Wright, 15 Avondale Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 9JT.

Census of breeding Woodlarks in Coastal Suffolk 1989 by M. T. Wright The breeding population of Woodlarks Lullula arborea in coastal Suffolk has undergone a dramatic increase since the 1986 census by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). A survey carried out in 1989 by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) located 47 sites involving 71 Woodlarks. In comparison with the 1986 BTO census the number of territories on Forestry Commission land had increased by 39% and on coastal heaths by 57%. Essential habitat requirements of bare ground, short grass, longer grass or heather, for the nest itself, and scattered trees, to act as song-posts, have been well documented. However, it does appear that the Woodlark has other, more subtle, requirements in terms of its breeding habitat. Hence, one of the aims of the 1986 national survey was to collect habitat data. Currently, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), funded by the Forestry Commission, is investigating the habitat requirements of the Woodlark in Breckland (East Anglia). The 1987 'hurricane', in coastal Suffolk, left large tracts of windblown timber. On Forestry Commission land alone this amounted to 1,400 hectares. The vast area involved is now at différent stages of clean up and planting which has in turn created, potentially, an enormous increase in habitat for the Woodlark. Furthermore, findings from fieldwork carried out in the Breckland area of East Anglia during the earlier part of 1989 found a substantial increase in Woodlark numbers (Bowden and Hoblyn pers. comm.). Such specific factors led to a survey of breeding Woodlark in coastal Suffolk, the results of 11


which should. in the long-term, be useful for the conservation of the species. The survey covered ail known areas of breeding habitat. The aim was to establish a good measure of the current population in light of the various conditions of the wind blown areas due to the 1987 'hurricane'. Method:

A team of experienced observers was employed to search the forestry plantations suitable for breeding Woodlarks at Rendlesham. Tunstall and Dunwich, as well as known favoured areas of heathland in coastal Suffolk. The resulting observations and a brief account of the habitats being used were recorded on a 1:10,000 scale Forestry Commission survey map. A single visit was made to ail sites between Apr. 24th and May Ist 1989. Results:

Woodlarks were found in two broad habitat types — forestry plantations and heathland. A total of 71 Woodlarks was located at 47 sites of suitable breeding habitat (Table 1). Observations included flushed pairs, single birds and singing maies. Birds carrying food were noted on four occasions and there was one observation of adults feeding young. Two field workers expressed uncertainty with regard to individuals in that they may have been counted twice. However, the census results indicate that there were at least 36 territories (a singing male or a pair in suitable breeding habitat was considered a territory), with 69% being in forestry plantations and the remainder on heathland. Two of the pairs were found breeding on an area of Forestry Commission land that has been especially managed for Woodlarks under the supervision of the RSPB.

Table 1: Summarv of sites and observations. Location

Other singing birds

Minimum territories

18 5 2

8* 3

3 4 2

41 + y n g 9 2

16

9

25

11

52+yng

3 2 1

4 3 2 1 1

1 1 1 1 1

2

7 5 3 1 3

sub-total

6

5

11

2

19

TOTALS

22

14

36

13

71+yng

Pairs

Other single birds

Total No. of birds

Forestry plantations Rendlesham Tunstall Dunwich sub-total

15 + yng 1

Heathland Site Site Site Site Site

A B C D E

— —

* includes group of three birds.

The locations where the Woodlarks were found have been categorised into six broad habitat types (Table 2). Apart from those birds breeding in heathland areas a clear preference is shown for forestry plantations where trees have been felled, cleared and planted within the last five years. 12


Table 2: Habitats where Woodlarks were found in coastal Suffolk in 1989. Habitat Pairs Coniferous plant 1984/6 Coniferous plant 1986/8 Wind blown Wind blown/cleared Forestry Com. Woodlark area Heath

9 4+yng 1 —

2 6

Singing male

Single birds

Minimum territories

Total birds

1 3 2 3

2 8 1

10 7 3 3

21 19 + yng 5 3

2 II

4 19

5

2

Discussion: The 1986 national survey of breeding Woodlarks found 25 pairs in "coastal Suffolk" (Waters 1987). The result of the most recent survey, although not carried out during the ideal period, shows a dramatic increase in the breeding population of Woodlarks. The number of territories where pairs or singing males were found was 36 and the number of locations totalled 47 which represent increases of 44% and 88% respectively since 1986. Between 1980 and 1986, Aldewood Forest (collective name for Forestry Commission forests in East Suffolk) had produced 400 hectares of clear feil which held 18 pairs of Woodlark in 1986 (Waters 1987). However, the 'hurricane' of October 1987 left a further 1,400 hectares of clear feil, and so has created even more potential breeding habitat. In 1989, a minimum of 25 territories was located and overall Woodlarks were found at 36 sites which represent increases of 39% and 100% respectively since 1986. In Breckland, a similar increase in territories of 31 % (in 1989 there were 63 territories compared with 48 in 1986) was found (Bowden and Hoblyn in press). When comparing the breeding territories found during the 1986 census with those of 1989 a further shifit towards new plantations, wind blown sites and cleared areas is evident. This is borne out by the 1989 results which show a clear trend by the Woodlarks to occupy newer plantations with 28% post 1984, 19% post 1986 and 17% on wind blown and cleared areas. In 1986, all occupied sites found in forestry plantations had been felled within a five year period to 1986 (Waters 1987). A particularly productive site in 1986, where the plantation was up to two years old, contained six pairs, but in 1989 the same area held only one pair. Woodlarks have also increased on the Sandling heaths in a manner similar to that found in forestry plantations. The 1986 survey located seven occupied areas whereas in 1989 11 territories or 13 locations were found which represent increases of 57% and 86% respectively. The reason for this increase in the breeding population on coastal heaths is unclear and is unlikely to be one of overspill from the afforested areas. Could it therefore be that Woodlarks are increasing for reasons other than the availability of more suitable habitat such as the recent succession of mild winters? Due to the dynamic nature of the habitat and the current trend in breeding Woodlarks in coastal Suffolk, it would be prudent to monitor events on an annual basis. Acknowledgements: The survey was instigated following a meeting between Fred Currie, the Forestry Commission's Conservation Officer and Derek Moore. Director of the SWT. I should like to thank the staff of the Forestry Commission for their help and co-operation throughout and following the census period and in particular Bob Hands and Steve Scott. I am grateful to Chris Bowden, Rob Hoblyn, Derek Moore and Ray Waters for their constructive comments on this paper, which is based on the combined observations of the following people: Dr Charles Beardall, Roger Beecroft, Rob Dryden, John Grant. Mike Harding, Tim Holzer, Howard Lacey, Jane Madgewick, Nick Mason, Derek Moore, Steve Piotrowski and Mike Wright.

13


References: Bowden, C. G. R. and Hoblyn, R. A. in press The increasing importance of restocked conifer plantations for breeding Woodlarks in Britain: implications and conséquences. RSPB Cons. rev. 1990 4. Waters. R. J. 1987. Survey of Woodlark Lullula arborea Coastal Suffolk 1986. Suffolk Ornithologists ' Group Bulletin 76: 11-22.

M. T. Wright, 15 Avondale Road, Ipswich 1P3 9JT.

Nightjars in Suffolk by C. G. R. Bowden Nightjars have been declining in Britain for most of this century (Norris 1960. Gribble 1983). This decline has been most pronounced in the north and west of the country, where many areas no longer support Nightjars at ail. The retraction in range from these areas is usually attributed to climatic changes. Suffolk has also lost birds with the destruction, fragmentation and reduced grazing of heathlands. although there are very few figures available from before the BTO census of 1981 to show just how sharp the decline has been. Although afforestation was one of the ways in which heathland was lost earlier this century, as mature trees have been felled and the areas replanted. Nightjars have been quick to colonise young plantations, to such an extent that the population has made a slight recovery. Nightjars have always occurred in two discrete areas of Suffolk: Breckland in the west and the Sandlings in the east. Records from other parts of the county are very few and normally prove to be passage birds. The Sandlings populations have been closely monitored since 1981 and have increased in both afforested régions and managed areas of heathland (Ravenscroft 1989). Breckland numbers have been less well monitored, so a long overdue census was carried out in 1988 by over 100 volunteers for the whole of Breckland, adapting methods from Cadbury (1981) (Table 1). Table 1: Census figures for 'churring' Nightjars in •Watsonian' Suffolk Breckland. Breckland Heaths Breckland Forest

1981 17 (8 sites) 86

1988 8 (3 sites) 111

%change —53 +29

More detailed analysis of the census data showed the âges of plantations over which each male spent most of its time and the results are summarised in Figure 1. They indicate the importance of plantations up to 10 years after planting and show much reduced densities occurring on areas with 11 to 15-year-old trees. The falling numbers of Nightjars on heathland sites that emerge from the census are a worrying trend, which is repeated in Norfolk Breckland. but is in contras! to the situation in East Suffolk. The precise reasons for the decline are unclear. but one probable factor is that reduced grazing by livestock and Rabbits is allowing végétation height to increase and this is reducing the number of suitable nest sites (Berry 1979). It is possible that forest plantations provide more suitable nesting habitat — radio-tracking results show that Nightjars often feed to a large extent over heathland areas. but nest in nearby plantations (Bowden in prep). 14


igure 1. Densities of 'churring' male Nightjars on different age-classes of pine lantations, using single-visit census data from June 1988 on Thetford Forest. DENSITY km2

> -

Years since

planting.

One major success has been the management of heathland at Minsmere, where glade clearance and the creation of small bare patches as potential nest-sites have effected an increase in the Nightjar population from seven 'churring' males to 40 within just nine years (Burgess et al 1989). Summary and Discussion: If climatic factors are responsible for the decline of Nightjars in other parts of their range, these do not appear to operate in Suffolk where changes in vegetation structure have induced substantial Nightjar population increases. Breckland Nightjars are becoming progressively more dependent on forest habitats and the high proportion using plantations during the first ten years after planting (within a rotation of approximately 50 years) underlines the importance of ensuring that there is a mixed age-structure of plantations within forest areas and thus that there are always plantations with young trees. This is increasingly the picture in Breckland despite the initial concentration of planting between the years 1925 and 1938. The Sandlings forests were also becoming mixed in agc-structure until the devastation caused by the October 1987 gale brought strong economic pressure to replant all the windblown areas within a short time-span. Every effort should be made to spread this replanting over a long period for the sake of the future of Nightjars and other scarce species, notably Woodlarks, that use these areas for just a limited part of the rotation (Bowden and Hoblyn in press). Acknowledgements: I am indebted to the many (over 100) observers who have willingly given their time to carry out census work and contribute to the project. I apologise for not mentioning them all, but several have been especially helpful in various ways including R. A. Hoblyn, R. E. Green, N. Chapman, F. Currie, B- Pleasance, E. M. Smith, R. Stone, T. J. Stone, G. A. Tyler, members of staff of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Cambridge Bird Club. The work has been supported by the RSPB and funded by the Forestry Commission.

15


References: Berry, R. 1979. Nightjar habitats and breeding in East Anglia. Brit. Birds 72: 207-218. Bowden, C. G. R. and Hoblyn, R. A. in press The increasĂ­ng importance of re-stocked conifeplantations for breeding Woodlarks in Britain: implications and consequences. RSPB Cons. Re\ 1990, 4. Burgess, N. D., Evans, C. E. and Sorensen, J. 1989. The management of heathland for Nightjar at Minsmere. Management case study. RSPB. Cadbury, C. J. 1981. Nightjar census methods. Bird Study 28: 1-4. Gribble, F. C. 1983. Nightjars in Britain and Ireland in 1981. Bird Study 30: 165-176. Norris, C. A. 1960. The breeding distribution of thirty bird species in 1952. Bird Study 7: 129-184 Ravenscroft, N. O. M. 1989. The distribution and status of the Nightjar on the Suffolk Sandlings. 1981 to 1988. Suffolk Birds. 1989 i8: 26-32.

C. G. R. Bowden, do RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Beds. SG19 2DL.

y as a in Suffolk by D. R. Moore Introduction The Hobby Falco subbuteo is widely distributed throughout the Palearctic regiĂłn and marginally into the Oriental zone. It breeds in most European countries, south to Asia Minor, thence across Asia east and south to China and Laos. It also nests in North-west Africa and winters in tropical Africa, northern India. Burma and South-east China. In Britain, its breeding population has been estimated at up to 100 pairs (Parslow 1973), but the most recent report of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel suggests that the population for 1988 was between 101 and 361 pairs spread across 32 counties (Spencer 1990). In Suffolk, records show that the population has been considered either low or possibly extinct for decades, but this paper will suggest that active fieldwork might reveal a small but regular population. Status in Suffolk pre-1900 A minimum of seven confirmed breeding records for the last Century has been published (Babington 1984-86, Ticehurst 1932) and it is worth noting how widespread these locations are: Stoke-by-Nayland, 1830; Burnt Fen, Mildenhall, 1852; Benacre. 1853; Worlingham near Beccles, 1866 or 1867; Gipping, 1867; Newmarket, 1869 and near Woodbridge, 1880. Status in Suffolk to date Since the turn of the Century Hobbies were confirmed as nesting in only eight years up to 1973, although there were many midsummer sightings (Payn 1978). The last fifteen years have seen the emergence of many more birdwatchers and there has been a parallel increase in Hobby records (1). Despite this increase in sightings, confirmed breeding has only been reported in at least seven years during the period, and in each year only one pair was involved. Additionally, in every year since 1978 reports have been received of birds in suitable habitat on isolated dates. In view of this, it is not surprising that in 1987 eight pairs were considered to be nesting in the County (1). Analysis of contemporary records encouraged this view and the author had already experienced the difficulty of locating breeding Hobbies in France even where they were known to be present. 16


In 1989, the author was fortunate in being able to spend many hours watching a pair of Hobbies nesting on the Suffolk Sandlings. The pair raised three fledglings. DĂźring the breeding cycle other observers were contacted and urged to watch diligently for signs of nesting in areas where Hobbies had been seen. The result was that eight pairs were confirmed as breeding which produced 18 flying young. Additionally, birds were seen at several other sites during June/July.

Notes on the lĂŻfe history of the Hobby (a) Choice of Breeding Site The classic British Hobby site is described as open heathland with scattered clumps of pines, or rolling chalk downland with small widespread woodland (Fiuczynski & Nethersole Thompson 1980). Indeed, the former is certainly the habitat favoured in Suffolk and the extensive windblow of October 1987 may have temporarily enhanced conditions on the Sandlings. In 1989, five nests were located on such heathland sites and the other three were in mixed or deciduous woodland (1). The use of non-heathland sites is most interesting and should encourage observers to search more areas of Suffolk. In other parts of Europe e.g. Holland and Poland, Hobbies nest in trees on the fringe of extensive grazing marshes. There are many parts of Suffolk in which Hobbies could be nesting. Sites close to large towns should not be ignored as Hobbies often nest within the cities of Amsterdam (G. Oreel pers. comm.) and Berlin (Fiuczynski & Nethersole-Thompson 1980). Hobbies normally lay their eggs in old nests of other bird species and in fact 90% of a sample of British nests used those of Carrion Crow Corvus corone (Cramp and Simmons 1979). The nest is usually sited in a small d u m p of trees or sometimes in an isolated hedgerow tree. In Britain, 227 out of a sample of 281 nests were in Scots Pines (Fiuczynski & Nethersole-Thompson 1980). Most of the 1989 Suffolk sites were near to areas of water where adults hunted for dragonflies and in at least one area a pair took advantage of a sizeable colony of Sand Martins RiparĂŹa riparia.

(b) The Nesting Calendar Hobbies normally arrive in early May and the appearance of a single bird at this time in Suffolk could be passed off as relating to a migrant. Breeding pairs indulge in spectacular courtship flights particularly in the evening. Egg laying and incubation normally begins by the end of May or early June. Incubation lasts 28-31 days and fledging a further 28-34 days. The normal clutch size is one to three eggs, rarely four, with the British average being 2.93 (Cramp and Simmons 1979). In 1989, Suffolk Hobbies achieved an average fledging success of 2.25 per nest, which is close to the national average of 2.3 given by Cramp and Simmons (1979).

Adults' behaviour during nesting After the initial display and pair bonding, nesting Hobbies become extremely secretive and only really active at dawn and dusk. Incubation is normally by the iemale, while the male keeps her supplied with food and sits on guard by the nest. At this time the author twice enjoyed the uncanny experience of the male flying in and sitting above him in the tree under which he was positioned watching the nest some 1,000 metres away. Activity during incubation is low and, apart from hunting forays, the birds rarely showed. After hatching hunting increases and both birds become noisy. The adults cali incessantly at any approach within half a mile of the nest site. A Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was chased vigorously from a 1989 Suffolk site. When the juveniles fledge the noise increases as adults and young move around the area, the latter constantly begging food. At this time breeding Hobbies should be relatively easy to find. 17


Conclusion The literature mentions a spread in the range of the Hobby particularly to the southwest and also north. but no mention is made of an increase in East Anglia: persécution by man is cited as the reason why this has not taken place (Sharrock 1976). It is possible that many of the June/July records of Hobbies in Suffolk relate to nesting birds. Because of the difficulty in locating this species early in the nesting cycle it is easily and often overlooked. A systematic search of suitable habitat in early August could lead to breeding being confirmed when family parties are on the wing. The neighbouring counties of Essex and Norfolk have recorded breeding Hobbies regularly in recent years with up to two pairs confirmed in both counties. Norfolk in particular receives at least 50 records per year and it is likely that more pairs may nest (2 & 3). Cambridgeshire also noted a sharp increase to seven pairs in 1987 (Spenser 1990). It is worth remarking that 1989 was an exceptionally warm and dry summer thus creating ideal conditions for Hobbies. The good supply of flying insects and small birds would favour high nesting success. It is perhaps significant that 1976 which enjoyed similar summer weather was also an excellent year for Hobbies in Suffolk (Payn 1978). Further observations are necessary to determine whether 1989 was an exceptional or typical year or normal in Suffolk. A Note of Caution The Hobby is a protected species under Schedule One of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and wilful disturbance of birds at their nest is an offence. Because of the open habitats normally frequented, birds can normally be observed at a 'safe' distance. Take care that you are not attracting the attentions of others during your observations and be discreet as to whom you tell. The eggs of Hobbies are much prized by collectors who stili operate each summer in Suffolk. Acknowledgements I am indebted to ali the 'Hobby watchers' of 1989 whose records stimulated this paper. Thanks are also due to the Forestry Commission for their considérable co-operation in protected sites.

References (1) Systematic List. Suffolk Birds 1978-90. (2) Classified Notes. Norfolk Bird and Mammtil Report 1987-89. (3) Systematic List. Essex Bird Report 1988. Babington. C. 1884-86. Catalogue of the Birds of Suffolk. London. Cramp. S & Simmons. K.E.L. (eds). 1979. The Birds of the Western Palearetic. Vol. 2. Oxford. Fiuczynski, D & Nethersole-Thompson, D. 1980. Hobbies in England and Germany. Brit. Birds. 73: 275-295. Parslow. J. 1973. Breeding Birds of Bntaîn and Ireland. Berkhamsted. Payn, W. H. 1978. The Birds of Suffolk. Ipswich. Sharrock, J. T. R. 1976. The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. Tring. Spencer, R. 1990. Report of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel for 1988. Brit. Birds. 83: 353-390. Ticehurst, C. B. 1932. A history of the Birds of Suffolk. London.

D. R. Moore, Crosslands,

Cage Lane, Boxted, Colchester, Essex, C04

18

5RE.


Breeding Cormorants in East Anglia by Steve Piotrowski Introduction The Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo is commonly seen in all East Anglian counties in every month of the year. Sharrock (1976) shows its British and Irish breeding distribution to be mainly confined to western'coasts with the estimated population at 8,134 pairs. As a breeding species the Cormorant is absent on the east coast between the Humber and the English Channel. However, since 1981, tree-nesting birds have established a sizeable colony at Abberton Reservoir, Essex (Cox 1984) and there have been a number of breeding attempts in Cambridgeshire (Bircham 1989). Successful breeding has also been noted in Norfolk (Seago 1990). There is every sign that the species will once again nest in Suffolk in the very near future. Cramp and Simmons (1977) vaguely detail the division of the two European races of Cormorant, stating that the nominate P. c. carbo is confined to the coasts of the North Atlantic and P. c. sinensis to central and south Europe and Asia east to Japan and south to Sri Lanka. Witherby (1940) is more specific, however, giving the European breeding range of the latter as northern Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, northern Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania to southern Russia. He also states that P. c. sinensis habitually breeds in trees, both in waterside copses and in woods away from water.

History There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the Cormorant once nested at a number of inland localities in East Anglia. Bones have been recovered from peat-diggings (Cramp etal, 1974) and 19th century authors provide accounts of known colonies. Stevenson (1866) provides evidence that Cormorants were breeding in Norfolk in the 16th century; "Turner, writing in ¡544 of this bird under the name 'mergus' says that he had seen it nesting on the Northumbrian rocks at the mouth of the Tyne, as well as among herons in tall trees, in Norfolk. " There seems little doubt that in those days, as on the Continent, trees were a favoured nesting site. Thomas Southwell in Lubbock's ' 'Fauna of Norfolk " (1879) states "bred occasionally at Herringfleet on the shores of the Fritton Lake, but not regularly • • • in 1825 there were many nests". Breeding again occurred in Norfolk in 1914 when a pair raised four young in an old Heron's nest in the heronry at Melton Park, Melton Constable (Turner 1924, Riviere 1930). The success of this nest is well documented and Turner (1924) provided some amazing photographs of the young being tended at the nest. The most recent instance of tree-nesting, prior to the discovery of the Abberton colony, was a pair in a Heron's nest at Feltwell, Norfolk in 1916 (Riviere 1930, Cox 1984). Breeding possibly took place on the Stour Estuary, on the Essex/Suffolk border, in the 1920s. Ticehurst (1932) wrote "puntsmen on the Stour averred that the Cormorant had bred in the marshes at Holbrook'' and that young had been seen ' 'being fed by putting their heads into their parents' throat and the young were noticeably smaller than the adults''. Ticehurst doubted whether nesting had ever taken place at Holbrook as he had searched the area well. However, he considered a second account to be "circumstantial confirmation". It was reported that "a boy named Clem Briggs with a friend saw a Cormorant's nest built on a flat-topped buoy in the Stour off Wrabness . . . and the eggs were seen". 19


In 1937, another claim of breeding concerned an adult and two half-grown young on a "floodgate hole" by Bures Mill, again on the River Stour, on the Essex/Suffolk border (Anon., 1937). The Stour accounts were repeated by both Payn (1962) and Cox (1984) in their respective avifaunas of Suffolk and Essex. Cox further describes a solitary nesting attempt on an old loading jetty at Lee-over-Sands (now Colne Point), in 1948. Recent Colonisation In 1981, a breeding colony established itself in willows at Abberton Reservoir, Essex. Originally numbering nine pairs, the colony has increased dramatically to reach 356 nests in 1990 (Ekins 1990). Cormorants retumed to Norfolk as a breeding species in 1988. when four nests. two of them occupied. were found in the heronry in Decoy Wood, Narford (Seago in litt.). This initial breeding attempt failed, but the following year three nests were built at the same locality and three young were reared (Seago 1990) and in 1990 the colony held 14 nests (Donner in litt.). Tree-nesting attempts have also been made in Cambridgeshire. In 1985, a pair started nest-building at Fen Drayton gravel pits in early April, but their attempts were abandoned. In 1988. a nest was built in the heronry at Little Paxton gravel pit, but disappeared. Elsewhere in Britain. tree-nesting has been attempted in Staffordshire (1981-82) (Ekins 1990) and in Nottinghamshire breeding was noted for the first time in 1990 when ten pairs raised 19 young (Hopper in litt.). In recent years there has been a significant increase in the numbers of over-summering Cormorants in East Anglia. DĂźring the springs of 1987 and 1988 some, in full breeding plumage, congregated in high trees adjacent to Alton Water Reservoir. Suffolk, where they showed signs of breeding behaviour such as holding territory and displaying and carrying twigs (SB).

Discussion Both the Wrabness buoy and the Colne Point accounts should be treated with suspicion since there are few references to Cormorants nesting on man-made structures and the ability of the observers (at least for the Wrabness account) to separate Cormorant from Shag P. aristotelis is questionable. However, the feeding behaviour described on the Stour is typical of Cormorants. Juveniles are fed by their parents, away from the nest and colony, until contact is lost (Cramp and Simmons. 1977). It is therefore feasible that breeding had taken place in the immediate area. The anonymous Bures account should be dismissed. It relies much on hearsay and Payn (1962) admitted that some of the records that appeared in the Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists ' Society, between 1930 and 1950. "were subject to inexpert editing and cannot now be relied upon. " In addition, the body-weights of young Cormorants, just before fledging, are within similar range to adults (Cramp and Simmons 1977). so the term "halfgrown ' ' is puzzling to say the least! Studies on Cormorants colour-ringed as nestlings have shown that birds from Holland and Denmark regularly visit East Anglia as part of post-juvenile dispersai. Since 1986. five such individuals have visited Suffolk. with one bird seen in successive years (SB), and two have been noted in Essex (Ekins 1990). Moore (1982) suggested that "it is possible that the Abberton birds orĂŹginated from Holland, where severa! tree-nesting colonies have been disbanded in recent years because the trees have died and fallen after being coated with excessive layers of guano. " The Dutch colonies consist entirely of the race P. c. sinensis and if the Abberton birds did originate from Holland it will be the first time that breeding by this race has been confirmed in Britain. This would then raise the question as to whether tree-nesting is a characteristic 20


unique to P. c. sinensis meaning that all of Britain's tree-nesting Cormorants are of that race. If, on the other hand, the recent East Anglian colonists are of the race P. c. carbo one wonders what possessed them to abandon their habitual cliff-nesting to take to nesting in trees? With the Continental link in mind it is interesting to speculate that they may be of the race P. c. sinensis, but future research is needed to confirm this. The Cormorant has traditionally been one of the most persecuted of species. It is detested by fishermen and fish-farmers because of its voracious appetite and the dramatic effect it can have on fish stocks at freshwater localities. Improved protection offered under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 may well have contributed to the breeding attempts at inland sites. Since 1981, it has been illegal to kill Cormorants without a licence from the Nature Conservancy Council. It is a remarkable coincidence that the first inland nesting in England for 65 years occurred at the same time as this Bill became law. Acknowledgements I am grateful for advice and comments from Brian Brown, Derek Moore, Philip Murphy and Howard Mendel. Thanks also to the respective Editors of the Norfolk and Essex Bird Reports, Michael Seago and Nick Green, for providing additional information on their breeding colonies and to Graham Ekins who has produced a companion paper for the 1989 Essex Bird Report. Additional information was supplied by Carl Donner (Norfolk) and John Hopper (Nottinghamshire).

References Anon., 1937, Cormorants bred. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc., 3: 304. Bircham, P. M. M . , 1989, The birds of Cambridgeshire. Cambridge. Cramp, S., Bourne, W. R. P. & Saunders, D., 1974, The seabirds of Britain and Ireland. London. Cramp, S. & Simmons, K. E. L. (Eds), 1977, The birds of the Western Palearctic. Vol. 1. Oxford. Cox, S., 1984, A new guide to the birds of Essex. Ipswich. Ekins, G. R., 1990, The wintering of Cormorants in Essex with some reference to the Abberton Colony. Essex Bird Report 1989. Moore, D. R., 1982, The nesting of Cormorants at Abberton Reservoir in 1981. Essex Bird Report 1981. Payn, W. H., 1962, The birds of Suffolk. London. Riviere, B. B., 1930, History of the birds of Norfolk. London. Seago, M. J., (Ed.), 1990, Classified notes. Norfolk Bird & Mammal Report 1989. Sharrock, J. T. R., 1976, The atlas of breeding birds of Britain and Ireland. Tring. Ticehurst, C. B., 1932, A history of the birds of Suffolk. London. Turner, E. L., 1924, Broadland birds. London. Witherby, H. F., 1940, The handbook of British birds. London. (SB) Suffolk Birds 1978-88.

S. H. Piotrowski,

18 Cobham Road, Ipswich 1P3 9JD.

Further notes on the Kittiwake in Suffolk by Brian Brown Introduction These notes provide an update on the changing fortunes of the Kittiwake colony at Lowestoft and should be read in conjuction with my previous paper (Brown, 1986). The last year for which data is given in the above paper is 1985, since when a major change has taken place in that the South Pier Pavilion has been demolished (1989) and a purposebuilt wall provided for the birds to nest on. 21


Records 1986-1989 Table 1: Annual totals of nests and young raised at the Lowestoft Kittiwake Colony, 1986-89. Year No. of nests Successful Young 1986 90 76 121 1987 91 83 142 1988* 107 91 153 1989ยง 88 28 36 * The final year of nesting on the South Pier Pavilion. ยง See following section for full explanation of figures.

Perusal of Table 1. together with Table 1 in my 1986 paper, shows that the numbers of nests and/or young increased significantly each year from 1986 to 88, with the latter producing (ironically!) the all-time record figures. This was against the national trend, especially in colonies adjacent to the northern North Sea where no. or greatly reduced numbers of. young were reared (Harris and Wanless. 1990) due, it seems, to food shortage. Although the Lowestoft figures for 1989 were low, the 36 young from 28 successful nests, giving a success rate of 1.28. compare well with previous years considering the changes in nesting conditions.

The New Wall The future of the Kittiwake breeding colony suffered a major set-back in early 1989 when Associated British Ports (ABP), the owners of the South Pier, decided that the Pavilion had to be demolished. Large cracks had appeared in the foundations and it was declared unsafe. Local naturalists accepted the news with a degree of despondency, there being no obvious place for the colony to move to, or at least no site acceptable to the unfortunate owner! However, the loss of the colony was also of concern to Mr R Gravestock. manager of ABP, and following a meeting with Derek Moore, Director of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT), and myself, it was decided that I would research and produce a plan for a purpose-built wall containing ledges to hold the Kittiwakes' nests. With no precedent to work on, this seemed rather precarious, but judging how Kittiwakes had exploited buildings of all shapes and sizes within sight of the harbour in the past, it seemed likely that anything with a ledge would be suitable. After much thought and modification, coupled with difficulty in finding a site acceptable to all affected parties, it was agreed that the wall would be built on the inside edge of the quay immediately north of the harbour mouth. The final design was for a wall in a shallow ' U ' shape, to fit the quay, 70.2m long by 3m high, with two rows of ledges. The lower ledge was to be 225mm wide, formed by a step in the wall and the upper 300mm wide, made of flat concrete slabs to give an overhang for obvious reasons. A tender of ยฃ10,000 for the construction was approved by ABP and after a slight delay in acquiring building materials, the wall was built and ready for occupation by the end of April 1989. leading authorities on Kittiwakes advised that the wall would not be adopted immediately as the species invariably prospects a new site, for at least a year, before using it. My own thoughts however, were that as we were dealing with a completely displaced and no doubt dejected colony, of around 250 birds, as opposed to natural expansion, the breeding urge might possibly persuade some into nesting on the wall straight away. This is precisely what did happen when ten pairs built on the lower ledge and produced three young between them. A small, but significant beginning, hailed as a success by all concerned. A further 78 pairs, not knowing what the wall was for, nested around the South Pier walls. Again this was a 'new' site made available by the banning of public access until repairs and 22


redevelopment are carried out. Unfortunately, vandals managed to get in and destroyed 40 nests. Despite this a total of 36 young was raised. In table 1 the figures for 1989 include the wall and all other nests, including those that were subsequently vandalised. In July 1990, there were 41 nests with at least 41 young on the new wall. So the success continues! Acknowledgements: In Suffolk, it would appear that the Kittiwake's future as a breeding species is now assured. This is due to the sympathetic attitude of ABP, who initiated and financed the project, and to the imagination of their staff, in particular Mr R Gravestock and Mr R. Arundale — they are to be applauded for their actions. I would like Derek Moore for inviting me to become involved with the project.

References: Brown, B. J. 1986. A history of the Kittiwake in Suffolk. Suffolk Birds 1984. Harris, M. P. & Wanless, S. 1990. Breeding success of British Kittiwakes Rissa Tridactyla in 1986-88: Evidence of changing conditions in the Northern North Sea. Journal of Applied Ecology 27: 172-187.

B. J. Brown, 24 Clifton Road,

Lowestoft.

Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve by Roger Beecroft In 1988, a Private Members Bill passed through Parliament giving Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company approval to expand onto the Fagbury mudflats at the mouth of the Orwell estuary. One of the conditions of this approval was that about 200 acres of Trimley Marshes were to be given over by the developer for a nature reserve, along with funds for its construction. This report gives details of the habitats on the reserve, how these have been created and some of the birds recorded on the site so far. The reserve consists of a mosaic of freshwater habitats. From a reservoir at its centre, water will flow onto wet meadows, lagoons and a reedbed. The 20 acre reservoir will hold some 18 million gallons of water which, once full, should ensure that sufficient water is always available to give the desired levels on the rest of the reserve. The reservoir, which will generally be less than two metres deep, will provide a large area of open water likely to be favoured by wildfowl, but reeds at the northern end and along its shores will give shelter and nesting sites for a variety of birds. The lagoon will also provide open water, but being shallower than the reservoir should also attract waders. Islands of clay and shingle have been built to give suitable conditions for nesting terns, waders and ducks, but they are also likely to be used by passage and wintering birds. Waders that leave the Orwell estuary to roost during high tide are expected to use this part of the reserve. On the summer flood we will maintain a large expanse of shallow water from the spring until autumn, to provide suitable habitat for breeding and passage waders. The winter flood will, as its name suggests, have standing water during the winter to attract wildfowl, but have relatively little water during the summer. The seasonal lagoons will each contain water for only part of the year because a vegetated area produces a good food supply when newly flooded, but this food supply decreases with time. Our aim is to provide a high, but sustained yield of food for the birds. This means a 'recovery' period is necessary between flooding to allow the vegetation to grow back. 23


Traditionally managed wet meadows lie on the areas to the east of the reservoir. Here we also hope to attract breeding waders and wintering wildfowl. To maintain the areas of grassland in suitable conditions, ali the meadows and seasonal lagoons will be grazed by cattle and sheep from the summer until late autumn. The final habitat on the reserve is reedbed which lies to the west of the reservoir. This will provide an area for those birds associated with reeds — Reed and Sedge Warblers, various ducks on the open water pools and possibly Marsh Harrier or even Bittern in later years when the reeds have become established. It will also provide a filter system for the water flowing from the reservoir to the lagoon. Reeds are very efficient at removing nutrients from water, and although the reservoir is spring fed the water has a high nutrient content. By allowing water to flow through reeds before entering the lagoon we hope to prevent the problems of algal blooms usually associated with high nutrient levels. To maintain control of water levels, clay banks have been constructed around many of the areas on the reservoir. Sluice controls allow water to flow from the reservoir to ali low-lying sections and we have the facility to let any excess water off into the new agricultural dyke. This control of the levels should enable us to previde the optimal amount of water, whatever the weather conditions. The reserve is positioned in an area formerly used for growing arable crops and. bisecting the marsh. there is a large dyke which carries agricultural drainage from neighbouring farmland. To separate our water system from the agricultural drainage we excavated a new dyke around the reserve's perimeter. allowing

in with bulldozers and excavators. Luckily the subsoil on Trimley Marshes is clay which was easily bulldozed and compacted to form the water retaining banks. In recent years the marshes have undergone an extensive programme of land drainage, so all these land drains had to be carefully cut and sealed to prevent our precious water seeping away. Clay 24


islands were made in the lagoon, and one of these was covered with a thin layer of shingle to attract breeding terns. Ali the major earthworks were completed over the winter and the contractors left in April 1990. Even while the construction work was progressing birds started to use the Reserve. Düring the winter Short-eared Owls were regularly seen hunting along the banks and ditches, occasionally joined by a Hen Harrier. On a few days a Merlin was seen darting low over the marsh taking birds from a flock of finches containing Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Linnets and Twite. Snow Buntings commuted between the reserve and the shingle bank on the edge of the latest phase of the dock extension. A small flock of Barnacle Geese joined the Brent Geese on the reserve and neighbouring wheat fields. Because the reservoir was completed too late to fili over the winter the first breeding season was met with a desperate water shortage. Although we only managed to get water onto parts of the reserve the first year proved to be very encouraging. The four species of wader we expected to attract (Redshank, Lapwing, Ringed Piover and Oystercatcher) all bred successfully. Our efforts on the shingle island were also rewarded with ten pairs of Little Terns. At the time of writing (August 1990) passage waders have been calling in to the reserve. Little Ringed Piover, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Green, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Little Stint, Spotted Redshank and Avocet have been regularly seen and rarities have included two Pectoral Sandpipers and a Stilt Sandpiper from North America; the latter is only the third record for Suffolk. Four hides have been erected on the reserve and are open at ali times for public use, with access from the footpath that runs along the sea wall. Parking spaces have been provided at the end of Cordy's Lane (Fig. 1) — from here the signs direct visitors to the reserve. The walk is about two miles, but hopefully will be worth the effort! Roger Beecroft, 2 Fen Cottages, Creeting St Mary, Stowmarket IP6 8QE.

Dingle Hills, Walberswick Constant Effort Site Scheme, 1986-89 by Tony Thompson The Constant Effort Site Scheme (CES) was initiated by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to monitor populations of breeding birds using a standard regime of mist-netting. Dingle Bird Club entered the scheme in 1986. The team of ringers was led by Anne Brenchley for the first two years and by myself in 1988 and 1989. Several ringers have assisted with the field work during the four years of the study, most notably Adrian Parr and Derek Eaton. Unfortunately, 1989 may be the last year in which the DBC participâtes in the scheme as the current organiser is leaving the area. Each year, a total of twelve visits was made between May and August inclusive to Dingle Great Hill to mist-net from first light for six hours. This was achieved in ali years, except 1986 when ten visits were made. The same nets were always sited in the same place to ensure constant effort. The CES site is situated in coastal scrub, mainly Gorse and Hawthorn with some Bramble and small Oaks, surrounded by a reedbed on three sides, and coppiced woodland on the other. 25


A summary of the total of birds caught each year is given in Table 1. Total numbers of adults and juveniles caught were very similar in ali years, with the lower values in 1986 being partially due to the omission of two visits in July and August when many young are normally caught. There is, however, a strong indication that numbers of breeding adult birds on the site have increased over the four years. This is seen when the visits 1-6 totals are examined, which cover May and June, and is the best method of monitoring breeding birds. These totals have increased by 50% over the four years, a trend that is also reflected in the catches of juveniles (mainly in July and August). With the small number of individuai of each species caught it is difficult to accurately comment on population changes at this level. Such analyses are undertaken by the BTO for the hundred or so CES sites throughout the country. Inspection of the table shows how constant catches of adults of some species have been. It is curious that no Nightingales or Grasshopper Warblers were caught in 1989, although both species were heard singing on the site. Table 1. Numbers of birds caught during the CES at Dingle from 1986 to 1989. Visits 1-12. 1986 Kestrel Swallow Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Blackbird Song Thrush Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Grasshopper Warbler Spotted Flycatcher Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Treecreeper Jay Chaffinch Greenfinch Goldfinch Linnet Redpoll Bullfinch Reed Bunting TOTALS visits 1-12 visits 1-6 No of visits

1987

1988

1989

Ads 0 0 7 12 0 2 10 0 7 16 8 15 6 8 11 14 0 2 0 3 0 0 7 4 0 0 4 0 0 1 2 5 4

juv 0 0 18 14 0 0 11 3 7 19 10 5 3 6 8 27 0 3 2 2 0 0 10 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 1

ads 1 0 8 12 3 0 9 0 12 22 8 8 6 4 2 8 0 4 0 6 0 0 13 1 0 0 7 2 0 2 0 14 3

juv 0 0 39 17 7 1 1 0 19 36 14 20 2 7 9 33 0 5 0 8 2 2 20 2 2 0 0 0 I 1 0 5 0

ads 0 2 12 10 1 4 11 2 10 24 8 7 7 4 8 18 0 6 0 4 0 0 6 3 0 0 6 3 0 12 0 6 3

juv 0 0 57 18 5 0 3 2 15 20 8 10 4 5 29 49 0 1 0 0 3 2 9 4 3 1 2 1 0 7 0 3 1

ads 0 0 20 12 1 0 11 4 18 21 10 6 3 10 7 16 2 0 1 1 0 0 6 6 0 0 11 0 3 5 0 12 0

juv 0 0 49 20 9 0 6 0 15 32 16 12 6 14 17 25 3 0 0 0 0 3 10 7 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 0

148 104

157 151

155 193

253 91

177 40

262 46

186 151

249 29

10

Tony Thompson, c/o "Hillcrest",

12

12

The Smere, Reydon, Southwold IP18 6SP. 26

12


Weather trends and their effect on the county's avifauna 1989 by John H. Grant (Based on the monthly reports by Ken Blowers, weather correspondent for (he East Anglian Daily Times Co Ltd.)

WINTER; January,

February,

March.

Brilliant sunshine, warm south-westerly airstreams from near the Azores, persistently high temperature and barometric pressure . . . it seemed more like summer than winter. The balmy nature of our current succession of mild winters continued, or should that be balminess? Large anticyclones settling over France and central Europe were the cause for they allowed us to be influenced by that upwelling of warmth from so far to the southwest. The January daytime maximum temperature at Ipswich reached or exceeded the longterm average of 6°C (43°F) on 27 days and there was measurable rainfall on only eight days in the town, compared with 20 days the previous July.

Charts A The winter of 1989-90 was one of the mildest in England since records began in 1659. The charts show the mild south-westerly airstreams which were typical of the weather charts from November to Februars-, as deep depressions tracked northeastwards between Scotland and Iceland. On Feb. 20th, the temperature rose to 62 °F — the normal for early May. Severe gales, with gusts to 84 mph, occurred on Jan. 25th and Feb. 26tli.

Winter also masqueraded as spring over much of Scandinavia where it was the mildest winter since records began in 1796. Feb. 6th's I6°C (6I°F) was a record-breaker for the dale in Ipswich. At Bclstead Hall. January and February's mean temperature of 5.9°C was (he mildest for 68 years and at Bury St Edmunds the mean maximum during February was the highest since I946. Feb. 25th offered a hint of more unsettled weather which was to follow in March when an abnormally deep depression tracked slowly along the English Channel, giving Suffolk's lowest barometric pressure of the century. Warm southerly winds blew in two spells in March on 5th and 6th and from 26th to 2Xth. They were responsible for late March temperatures which rose higher in East Anglia than in parts of the Mediterranean region. 27


The winter's mildness was a case of one man's meat being another's poison . . . fev winter visitors were forced to emigrate from a generally mild northern and eastern Europe save a notable influx of geese and Curlew and a few other weather-forced species during a brief Continental February cold spell. Resident species, however, enjoyed good respiti and early breeding attempts were recorded for at least 15 species, including a Blackbiri with two eggs on Jan. 27th. Magpies, Starlings and House Sparrows nest-building it February and an Egyptian Goose with seven goslings on Mar. 7th. The warmth of March induced an exceptional arrival of summer visitors. Eleven specie; were involved and included Suffolk's second earliest Cuckoo on 29th. A male Redstar on 30th was the first March record since 1973 and five Sedge Warblers at Minsmere or 28th missed their species' record by just two days.

SPRING: April, May,

June.

The onslaught of a cold, wet and windy April brought March's mass migrant arrival to an abrupt end. Weather observers at Higham recorded the coldest April for 11 yean and at Sudbury it was the wettest in the 29 years in which records have been kept. Ir general. April temperatures reached or exceeded the seasonal daytime maximum of 12째C (54째F) on only 13 days. Early April's weather was dominated by an anticyclone centred over northern Scandinavia which produced bitterly cold north-easterly winds and occasional sleet. As the month progressed there was little improvement with temperatures more typical of February. The chill conditions may well have been responsible for a notable influx of Ring Ouzels but. in general, immigration slowed markedly when the March mini-heatwave subsided May's arrival began a radical change. A ridge of high pressure built up from the Azores to France and temperatures gradually rose accordingly. We basked in welcome sunshine, with RAF Wattisham's total of 331 hours being the highest county figure for any month since records began and the airfield's 26.7째C (80.1 째F) reading for May 24th was the highesl May temperature recorded at the site since its records began in 1961. At Levington 335 hours were recorded, a hefty 127 hours above the long-term May average and one of the highest monthly totals ever recorded in East Anglia. Coupled with this was a singular lack of rainfall and most places experienced the beginnings of a lengthy dry spell. These exceptional conditions made migration a doddle for most species and passage through Suffolk appeared to be over in a flash. On the other hand, of course, such conditions encouraged a good deal of overshooting by southern vagrants and an exotic procession included Black Kite. Red-footed Falcon. Woodchat Shrike. Red-rumped Swallow, two Hoopoes, a Purple Heron and a Tawny Pipit. June took over where May left off in terms of sunshine and birds. High pressure extended from The Azores to Scandanavia for much of the month, although a brief unsettled spell early on included torrential rain in some areas, and produced unseasonal records such as Red-throated Diver. Long-tailed Duck and an inland Common Scoter. Nevertheless, it was sunshine almost all the way and a Subalpine Warbler at Dunwich. another Redfooted Falcon, a Melodious Warbler and a goodly sprinkling of Quail were among birds which made birders' temperatures rise accordingly.

SUMMER: July, August,

September.

July enabled us to notch a hot hat-trick, it being the third successive month with weather dominated by persistent high pressure extending from near The Azores, across Britain and into Scandinavia. There was precious little rainfall and some areas enjoyed an abnormally high 870 hour sunshine total for the period May Ist to July 31st but. although temperatures rose accordingly, July 1989 fell short of 1983's all-time top temperature record. 28


A notable early run of scarce seabirds, particularly around mid-month, coincided with a flurry of strong north or north-easterly winds. No less than three Cory's Shearwaters were noted and Manx and Sooty Shearwaters were well represented. In general, however, the month was less than dramatic ornithologically and few records of interest can be directly attributed to weather patterns, although the month's Purple Héron must have felt at home in the heat. August continued in the same, sunny vein and, in general, summer 1989 proved to be East Anglia's sunniest on record. At Broom's Barn, Higham, for example, the month's sunshine total of 245 hours was the highest on record, which was not surprising as the region's long-term August averagé is only 177 hours. The same locality's May lst to August 31st sunshine total reached 1,100 hours. The generally fine weather, broken only briefly by unsettled periods, was probably responsible for an uneventful start to autumn migration and it was not until a late run of northerly winds with squalls that the promise of what was to follow emerged with exciting seawatching spells.

Charts B The chart on the left is typical of those during the summer of 1989. Long spells of sunny and hot weather affected ail areas and there was a marked absence of rain in Suffolk and Essex. December 1989 saw an end to the hottest year since 1659. The right-hand chart shows the strong northeasterly airstream which affected East Anglia on Sept. 9th and lOth. A depression over France gave gusts of up to 35-40 mph.

September was, for many parts of Suffolk, the warmest and driest for 40 years. Anticyclones dominated on several September days and at the EADT's Ipswich weather station, for example, températures exceeded 21°C (71°F) on 13 days and the month's I8°C (64°F) norm was reached or exceeded on 21 days. With high pressure often sitting to the west of Britain the resulting north and northeasterly winds coming out of Scandinavia produced dream conditions for birdwatchers. An excellent selection of seabirds was forced inshore and a diverse selection of scarce passerine migrants was grounded along our coast. Not grounded, but nevertheless noted in best-ever county figures, were Honey Buzzards, and the pick of an exciting bunch of other highlights was surely the stunning Lesser Grey Shrike at Lound. 29


WINTER: October, December.

November,

The heat was on again in October and, although the month started with a cool and du I period, higher than average temperatures predominated for much of the time. Indeec dullness was cast aside at Ipswich and a number of other places on 5th when the month í máximum of 22°C (72°F) was recorded. At Broom's Barn. Higham, it was the warme t October for 20 years and the first frost-free October since 1978. It was not all plain sailing, however, and birdwatchers were thankful that it was no for the oíd staying "Good weather bad birds, bad weather good birds" was again prove 1 correct. A vigorous depression approached Britain on Oct. 19th, with a central pressur down to 951 millibars and strong south-westerly winds. This turbulent feature was probabl responsible for the appearance of Suffolk's bird-of-the-autumn in the form of a transatlanti Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Landguard on 25th. Sunshine was again the main talking-point of the following month, it being the sunnies November of the century in some parts of Suffolk. At the EADT's Ipswich weather statioi the long-term average máximum temperature of 9°C (48°F) was reached or exceeded oí 20 days. November's spring-like feel tricked some of our summer visitors and species such a Swallows and House Martins were induced to linger longer than usual and the bird-of-thi month was a Red-rumped Swallow which must have felt comfortable in such a clime Swings and roundabouts were in action, however, and we saw relatively few winte: visitors such as Brent Geese, Fieldfares and Bramblings. Several observers, on the othei hand, commented that the mildness of recent winters, coupled with a long, hot summei had given species such as Kingfisher, Stonechat, Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit the chance to consolídate or increase their populations. A winter-that-never-was commenced in December. It was to be largely uneventful in terms of birds. the classic conditions of a cold Continent never really taking hold. After a dry November, however, there was a return to a succession of active Atlantic depressions making their pressure felt in the form of rain, rain and more rain. From December 12th to 21st there was measurable rain every day in the Ipswich area. At the EADT's weather station in the town a 24 hour deluge on Dec. 13th gave 1.10 inches. the heaviest fall since the memorable hailstone storm of August 1987. At Broom's Barn. Higham, it was the wettest December for 55 years and the dullest for 20 years. All in all December proved a total contrast to the procession of preceding dry. warm and sunny months. December's breaking of the mould, however, did not stretch to the onset of an old-fashioned winter and there were lean pickings to be had for the rarity hunter. It was to continué in this vein throughout the winter . . . if it could be called a winter at all. J. H. Grant, c/o The East Anglian Daily Times, The Thoroughfare.

30

Woodbridge.


The 1989 Suffolk Bird Report introduction The systematic list of species has been edited by Steve Piotrowski, using data collated by Bob Warren, County Recorder, and written by the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee, with individuai members acting as authors for the species grouped below: Divers to Herons Geese Ducks Raptors to Game Birds Crakes to Plovers Sandpipers Skuas to Auks Near-passerines Larks to Dunnock Thrushes Warblers Tits to Sparrows Finches to Buntings

John Cawston Tony Prater Malcolm Wright Derek Moore Cliff Waller Philip Murphy Brian Brown John Grant Chris Bowden Mike Marsh Philip Murphy Gerald Jobson Rex Beecroft

For County rarities a table detailing the frequency of occurrences per decade, or half decade, has been added by the Editor, together with his comments on the analysis. The order and nomenclature follow the British Birds list of The Birds of the Western Palearctic. All records refer to a single bird unless otherwise stated. Subspecies are listed under the main species heading, which includes the scientific name, and with the scarcer species all records are listed under the Parish and then, if known, the exact location. The exception to this is at the river estuaries and larger, well-known sites which are crisscrossed by parish boundaries; e.g. Minsmere, Orfordness, and Alton Water. To minimise the threats to site security, some records of rare breeding birds are published anonymously and under a vague site heading. The tabulated sets of monthly counts are primarily based on the information derived from the Birds of Estuaries Enquiry (BoEE) with each figure representing the maximum count for that site in that particular month. A dashed entry indicates that no data was received. Counts from the R. Aide include the river complex of the Ore, Orford and Butley as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave Reservoir and Havergate Island, the Orwell includes Trimley Lake and Bourne Park Water Meadows and the Stour includes the Essex side of the estuary. Where low-water counts are given they are generally carried out on the spring tide two weeks after the high-water count. The following abbreviations are used in the systematic list: cr = male, 9 = iemale, ad. = adult; imm. = immature; juv. = juvenile; ecl. = duck/drake in ĂŠclipsĂŠ plumage; f.s.p. = bird in full summer plumage, nr = near; incl. = including; G.P. = gravel pit; R = river, Pt = point, res. = reservoir, pr(s) = pair(s) and N = bird(s) flying north, S = south, etc. Due to a clear lack of reporting, population fluctuations are difficult to assess and in some cases are hypothetical: e.g. the records received imply that there were twice as many sightings of Hobby than there were of Kestrel and are there really more Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers than Nuthatches? Common Bird Census (CBC) results from Coddenham 31


and Minsmere, Constant Effort Site (CES) data from Redgrave and Lopham Fens Walberswick and Bourne Park and transect studies from the Stour Valley (Glemsford te Long Melford) are used as a barometer to monitor local increases/decreases. Field workers involved with either CBC or CES work are urged to forward summaries to the Count) Recorder at the end of the breeding season. Contributors are requested to be specific especially when detailing observations on the more common breeding species. It is difficuli to make an accurate estimation on breeding trends when processing e.g. "Wheatear — Lakenheath Warren — several pairs". Your estimation on site is better than a wild swing by the Editor. Observers are reminded once again that field notes should accompany records of scarce birds to the County. For guidance on report writing please see the paper on pages 103-105 of Suffolk Birds. 1988. Field sketches, which accompany a description of the bird, are of immense value to the Committee and observers who lack artistic flair should not be deterred from submitting sketches. A written description should accompany reports of the following: Black-throated and Great Northern Divers; Red-necked, Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes; all shearwaters; Storm and Leach's Petrels: Purple Heron; White Stork: Bean and Pink-footed Geese: Red-crested Pochard; Ferruginous Duck: Honey Buzzard: Red Kite; Montagu's Harrier; Goshawk: Rough-legged Buzzard: Peregrine; Quail; Spotted Crake; Corncrake; Crane; Kentish Plover; Dotterel; Temminck's Stint; Pectoral Sandpiper; Buff-breasted Sandpiper: all phalaropes: Pomarine and Longtailed Skuas: Sabine's. Ring-billed and Iceland Gulls: Roseate Tern: Black Guillemot: Puffin; Hoopoe: Richard's, Tawny and Water Pipits; Dipper; Bluethroat; Savi's. Aquatic. Marsh. Hippolais. Dartford. Barred and Yellow-browed Warblers: Red-breasted Flycatcher; Raven; Serin; Scarlet Rosefinch; Ortolan, Ciri and Lapland Buntings and any other species that, in the opinion of the Committee, is out of context, in terms of season, habitat or numbers.

The full Suffolk bird list can be found elsewhere in this publication. A list of records which have not been accepted for publication can be found in the appendices and includes those which have been circulated to the respective Committees but considered unnacceptable due to either the identification not being fully established or, more rarely, a genuine mistake being made. It also includes records which have been previously published in the Bulletins of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group (SOG), Birdwatching Magazine. Birding World or British Birds for which further details were not forthcoming. It does not include records still under consideration. Observers are reminded that Suffolk works to Watsonian vice-county boundaries taking in areas that are now administered as Norfolk. Cambridgeshire or Essex. The most significant area affected is that of Lothingland, the northern limits of which follow the River Yare and include the south side of Breydon Water. A map of the County of Suffolk can be found on the inner cover. It should be noted that although Bob Warren no longer prepares a quarterly checklist for the SOG bulletin, records should still be submitted to him on a monthly basis. Records for the previous year, received after Jan. 31st. cannot be guaranteed inclusion in that year's report. Please forward all records to R.B.Warren. The County Recorder. 37 Dellwood Avenue, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 9HW. It is helpful if descriptions of National Rarities are channelled to the British Birds ' Rarities Committee (BBRC) via the County Recorder. Acknowledgements Once again Bob Warren, our County Recorder, has efficiently handled the thousands of records that have made Suffolk Birds, 1990 possible. Thanks are also due to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the SOG, Landguard Bird Observatory (LBO). and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) for providing records from their logs. Mick Wright has forwarded detailed information on Grey Heron. Little Tern and Woodlark. which has been used in this report, and has administered the BoEE counts. Finally, we thank all the individual observers whose work we now present.

32


SYSTEMATIC LIST RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata For a species, which sometimes visits our coast in many hundreds during the winter months, the numbers recorded were once again very low. It was difficult to muster a count exceeding 30 birds during the first winter period and the highest achieved was 50 off Minsmere, Jan. 1st. Two late spring birds were off Covehithe, May 29th and another flew north there, June 4th. More unexpected was a mid-summer record of a bird, in non-breeding plumage, in Lowestoft Harbour, July 16th (BJB, TMB). The first of the autumn was off Covehithe, Aug. 28th, but, thereafter, numbers were again unexceptional. Minsmere again provided the largest winter count with 105 Dec. 9th. BLACK-THROATED DIVER Gavia arctica Generally a poor year for this elegant diver. Seawatching produced just two records, and a maximum of only five birds wintering perhaps reflects the continued run of mild winters.

All records are listed: Corton: f.s.p. N Sept. 4th (Suffolk's earliest autumn record) (JHG). Lowestoft: offshore, Nov. 24th (NJS).

Dunwlch: Dec. 1st (PH). Minsmere: singles, Jan 9th and Feb. 10th (RSPB).

Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, S Oct. 19th (MM et al). Nacton/Levington: R. Orwell, Feb. 10th (probably Alton Water bird) (NR).

Alton Water: Jan. 25th to Feb. 9th (CGDC et al). 1987 Minsmere: Minsmere Cliffs, Dec. 17th (EWP).

The 1987 record, previously not accepted, is now considered acceptable in the light of further evidence. This brings the total for that year to 19 individuals. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Gavia immer Only f o u r r e c o r d s of this m u c h sought a f t e r species.

Corton: Oct. 3rd and 6th (JHG). Covehithe: S Oct. 28th (DC). Slaughden/Sudbourne: R. Aide, Dec. 19th (DL), 30th and 31st (MNT).

Wherstead: R. Orwell: Nov. 11th (MM). pre 1950 many

1950s 12

1960s 22

1970s 25

1980s 35

The apparent upsurge in records during the 1980s is probably due to increased vigilance by seawatchers rather than an actual genuine increase in occurrences. 33


LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis Records received for the spring and summer months revealed a total of 46 prs fron 33 sites (41 from 24 in 1988). Once again Lackford was an important breeding site fo this species, with six prs rearing a minimum of 12 young. Rather surprisingly, nest in: was not proven at Minsmere, where three birds summered, and only two prs bred at Benacre Five prs successfully bred at each site in 1988. Maximum counts at the principal wintering sites were noted as follows: Lake Lothing Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Lackford TOTALS

J 15 7 85 10 7 8

F 5 3 42 9 7 18

M 8 2 29 3 2 8

132

84

52

A

A

S —

1 8 4

4 14 4 1 3

N 1

D 5

-

17 1 3 13

29 4 8 18

20 20 4 15

13

36

35

60

64

26

O 1

1 14 7 2 12

On Jan. 29th, the R. Deben held Suffolk's second largest ever gathering of 85 birds (the largest ever group was 95, also on the Deben, in December 1975). Lackford again achieved the best inland count with maxima of 18, Feb. 18th and Nov. 18th. GREAT CRESTED GREBE Podiceps cristatus Reports were received for a total of 54 prs from 20 sites during the summer months. A total of 25 prs took up territory at Alton Water of which 14 built nests. However, due to rapidly receding water levels and disturbance close to the water's edge their success was limited; an early summer count of 102 birds, June 6th included only two juvs. depicting a very poor start to their breeding season. Three Mink Mustela lutreola, seen frequenting a stretch of the upper Stour, were thought to be responsible for the disappearance of a nearby clutch of eggs. A pr was still feeding young at Holbrook Gardens, Nov. 5th. Away from Alton Water, the Stour estuary held the largest concentrations, which included an impressive 322 in November — a new County record gathering. Investigations into the possibility of a double count has revealed that this high total corresponds well with counts in Essex (958 at all sites) at that time and therefore is considered correct. Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

J 10 39 132 45 9

F 16 36 58 88 2

M 12 26 30 84 5

A 6 7 53 78 17

A 3 6 92 98

TOTALS

235

200

157

161

-

S 3 11 82 140 11

O 5 12 161 60 12

N 4 20 322 86 10

D 8 27 24 46 12

199

247

250

442

117

Offshore flocks, during the first winter period, included 30 off Dunwich, Jan. 1st and 20 off Minsmere, Feb. 21st. RED-NECKED GREBE Podiceps grisegena An excellent year with at least 17 individuals recorded. LBO logged 11 of these, ten of which occurred in a twelve-day period during intensive late autumn seawatching in southerly gales. All records are listed: Covehithe: offshore, Jan. 1st and north, Aug. 28th (JHG). Minsmere: offshore, Feb. 14th (RSPB); Island Mere, f.s.p. July 13th (RM). Boyton: Butley River, Feb. 18th (GJJ). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, S Mar. 12th (MM), S Oct. 27th (IA), two S Oct. 29th, S Nov. 1st and 2nd, five S Nov. 7th (NO et al ). Freston: R. Orwell, Jan. 1st (JMC, SL, IRW) and Feb. 2nd (CPSR).

Alton Water: Jan. 8th to Feb. 5th and Mar. 3rd (ABo et al). 34


SLAVONIAN GREBE Podiceps auritus Six birds reported, but sadly two were badly oiled. ยกJenacre: Broad, Sept. 12th to 13th (TA, GJJ, PG). ilenham: R. Blyth. Wolsey Bridge, Feb. 5th to 7th (DRN, IRW). Walberswick: Shore Pools, oiled bird in dyke, Jan. 1st to 4th (CSW et al). Minsmere: offshore, Dec. 15th (MNT). Kelixstowe: Dock Basin, badly oiled, Dec. 29th (JZ). Stour Estuary: Jan. 9th (JNS).

The September record from Benacre is one of the County's earliest for autumn passage in recent years. BLACK-NECKED GREBE Podiceps

nigricollis

A very p o o r y e a r with j u s t t w o r e c o r d s , both in the s p r i n g , and one r e f e r r e d to a c o r p s e . Minsmere: f.s.p., May 25th (MD). Lackford: f.s.p., found dead, June 4th (TPK). pre 1950 many

1950s 34

1960s 11

1970s 39

1980s 39

The frequency of visits has always been subject to peaks and troughs, but the species has now been noted in every year since 1969. The decade's total for the 1980s coincidentally mirrors that of the 1970s, although the latter includes the peak years of 1977 (ten birds) and 1979 (12 birds), whereas the only double-figure total for the 1980s occurred in 1986 (12 birds). FULMAR Fulmarus glaciatis It was an excellent year for this species from a seawatcher's point of view, with record numbers recorded, but, sadly, no successful breeding took place in the County. Up to seven birds returned to their nesting ledges at the established Bawdsey Cliff colony, Jan. 23rd and their numbers increased to 28 by May 28th. Despite this promising start all had deserted by July, with vandalism or Foxes Vulpes vulpes being the most likely explanations for their sudden departure. Up to five birds were present at Dunwich Cliffs and two prs occupied apparent nesting ledges for several weeks, although egg-laying was not proven. Another individual was "apparently prospecting" Covehithe Cliffs, Apr. 24th. There were no significant movements during spring passage, but intensive autumn seawatching produced a single-day record count, which was prompted by force seven ENE gales. The figures for Covehithe overshadow all other sites with the principal movements noted as follows: Covehithe: 52 S, 10 N July 30th; 403 N (County record) Sept. 10th and 72 N (in two hrs) Sept. 11th.

There were no truly inland records, but one individual was seen about 1 Km from the coastline, at Felixstowe, heading due east towards the sea, Apr. 24th. CORY'S SHEARWATER Calonectris diomedea There have now been nine County records, in only three years, of this large, graceful shearwater. In 1990, there were two records involving three birds, all in July and all during, or after, strong northerly winds. Covehithe: N July 5th (JMC,SL) and two S (together) July 15th (DC).

SOOTY SHEARWATER Puffinus griseus A truly outstanding year for this transequatorial migrant. At least 106 were recorded during the year (a County record), between early July and late October. j

a

5

5

S 43

o 53

The County's earliest ever flew N off Covehithe, July 2nd (DRN), where peak autumn 35


counts were logged as follows: 22 N Sept. 10th (WJB, JMC, JBH et al ) and 24 N Oct 8th (WJB, JMC, EWP et al). Significant counts were also obtained from Corton, 12 1* Oct. 3rd, nine N Oct. 8th and five N Oct. 9th (JMC, JHG). Landguard provided Suffolk's latest ever flying S Oct. 27th (AMG, SHP). pre 1950 1

1950-54 NIL

1955-59 NIL

1960-64 4

1965-69 NIL

1970-74 5

1975-79 7

1980-84 18

1985-89 243

The massive increase in records in the past half-decade is undoubtedly the reward of persistent autumn seawatching and a better understanding of the conditions in which tht species is likely to occur. All credit to those pioneers: JMC, SL, DRN, IRW et al — Ed.

MANX SHEARWATER Puffinus puffinus As with the previous species, there were some impressive movements of this tubenose with at least 107 individuals being noted. There were four spring records involving eight birds, which were of four off Minsmere, Apr. 24th and two there May 26th and singles off Covehithe and Landguard, May 28th and Apr. 19th respectively. The first of the autumn were 11 N, in a 45 minute period off Covehithe, July 2nd and. thereafter, the species was frequently sighted up to early October. On Sept. 10th, during force seven ENE gales, 47 flew N off Covehithe Cliffs, which constitutes Suffolk's biggest ever movement. A 5

M

J

J

3

NIL

19

A 13

s

o

56

11

One flying up and down the Stour Estuary, Sept. 17th, is worthy of note.

STORM PETREL Hydrobates pelagicus Four birds make this Suffolk's best year since 1950, when there were also four birds. The 1989 records all occurred during the period September to November and included two which were storm-driven onto ships to be recovered in Ipswich Docks. One of these was taken into care, but unfortunately died in captivity (skin examined at taxidermist in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich). Covehithe: N Sept. 28th (JMC, JBH, EWP et al). Bawdsey: R Deben, Oct. 30th (JAD). Ipswich: Docks, on board ship, late September, caught and taken into care, but died in captivity (JGo per SHP); on board ship (M.V. Niels), Nov. 2nd, caught, ringed and released at Landguard (SHP). The October/November records occurred during severe SW gales. The Covehithe bird was seen during northerly winds. pre 1950 many

1950s 6

1960s 5

1970s 2

1980s 8

The above table shows the dearth of records in the past forty years, which is surprising bearin in mind the frequency of the visits last century. Ticehurst (1932) makes reference to "severe gales in November 1824" when "two to three hundred were shot". He gave credence to a comment by Arthur Patterson, a well known Yarmouth naturalist/author of the late Victorian/Edwardian era, who considered the species ' 'commoner prior to 1876, when the herring boats landed their catches on the beach and much refuse was thrown overboard" — no doubt attracting the birds inshore. 36

/

//


LEACH'S PETREL Oceanodroma leucorhoa An excellent showing of the species with seven birds noted offshore and two found wrecked'. Corton: N Sept. 8th (DC) and N Sept. 11th (JHG).

outhwold: S Nov. 8th (JMC, MF, EWP). linsmere: N Sept. 10th (RP). Sizewell: Power Station Outfall, Oct. 4th (ABo). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, two S Oct. 29th (JHG, MM, SHP et

al).

Additionally, one picked up in Felixstowe Docks, Oct. 27th, was fed on dog food floating on the water's surface (was it Chum?). It was released at Landguard, Oct. 29th, and flew >trongly out to sea (DF). Another was caught on board a ship, again in Felixstowe Docks, Dec. 4th, but died in captivity (WJB). pre 1950 c20

1950s 12

1960s 4

1970s 4

1980s 29

GANNET Su la bassana Another record year for this seabird, with at least 3,225 recorded between January and November. J 7

F 44

M 51

A 49

M 37

J 23

J 520

442

A 533

S

O 1383

N 136

D NIL

There was a marked spring passage, again peaking in March, although not as dramatic as that of 1988. The highest count was 41 N off Covehithe, Mar. 18th. The principal movements occurred between July and October with the best counts logged as follows: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, 128 N (07.15-10.15hrs) Aug. 28th, 151 N Sept. 10th. Covehithe: 137 N July 16th, 223 N Aug. 28th, 526 (446 N, 80 S) (County record) Oct. 8th.

An imm. was watched flying west up the Stour Estuary, Oct. 15th, and then seen to return 20 minutes later. CORMORANT Phalacrocorax

carbo

Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Est. Alton Water Long Melford Lackford

J 8 10 65 97 141 130 36 6 9

F 8 14 55 94 131 151 52 10 16

M 14 10 115 43 100 82 55 6 5

A 5 9 61 30 78 92 40 1 2

TOTALS

502

531

430

316

1

M

i

3

7

O 17 8 40 99 138 162 30 3 10

191

434

467

507

J

A

_

26

42

53

62

-

20 15 84 70

30 81 142 116

42

_

65 1

_

_

-

-

134

231

_ —

73 64

S 21 25 24 118 126 146 —

N 22 8 78 105 119 142 54 9 7

D 14 17 40 65 91 121 140 4 9

544

501

The peak counts for both winter periods came, as usual, from the Stour and Orwell estuaries. Large numbers again roosted in trees at Alton Water throughout the summer months, but although breeding in the County is considered likely in the near future (Piotrowski antea), this site does not appear suitable. Of 116 present at the roost, Aug. 15th, 90 were perched in a single dead Elm tree. Close by, five birds were found dead (apparently shot), two of which had been ringed as nestlings in Wales earlier in the year (see also Ringing Report). The total of 140 noted there in December is a record for the reservoir. Birds roosting on the Sizewell Rigs reached a maximum of 65 in September and October. In the Breck, Cormorants were regularly noted at Cavenham, Lakenheath, Lackford and Livermere and eight wintered on the Little Ouse at Santon Downham. 37


SHAG Phalacrocorax aristotelis With mild winter weather and no 'wrecks' from storms, numbers were unexceptional J 2

F 2

M

A 2

M 1

J 3

NIL

1

J A NIL

S 2

O 5

N 2

D 6

Probably no more than three birds were present during the first winter period; up tc two frequented the Lake Lothing/South Pier area in Lowestoft, from January to Apr. 10th and another was at Landguard, Jan. 28th. There was a hint of spring passage with a single N off Covehithe, May 18th and two N off Landguard, May 19th. One flying north off Covehithe, July 16th, following NE winds, was thought to have been an early returning bird and an imm. took up residence in Southwold Harbour from Sept. 16th to the New Year. The latter bird proved quite an attraction due to its extraordinary behaviour. It seemed unperturbed by human presence and was observed sitting on car roofs and being hand-fed battered fish-skin from the end of a fork (Piotrowski, 1990) (see also Ringing Report). Elsewhere, singles were recorded from Pakefield, Landguard and the R. Orwell and the maximum count for the second winter came from Lowestoft/Lake Lothing area where six were present, Dec. 26th. BITTERN Botaurus stellaris Approximately 12 'booming' males were located during the breeding season, the same number as in 1988. Minsmere was again the principal site with eight 'boomers' during April. The two reports away from the coastal reedbeds were of one which flew in from the sea at Southwold, Sept. 30th, and then fed amongst grazing cattle on Reydon Marshes, Oct. 1st, and a winter stray along the R. Stour at Long Melford, Dec. 6th. LITTLE EGRET Egretta

garzetta

A single bird spent most of the summer at the species' most favoured areas in Suffolk. Orfordness/Havergate: June 18th to Aug. 22nd (JRA, RCB et

al).

GREAT WHITE EGRET Egretta alba An example of this beautiful heron again visited Minsmere, and in doing so became the reserve's and the County's third record; the previous occurrences were in 1984 and 1985. Minsmere: juv. Sept. 25th to Oct. 12th (JMC, JBH et

al).

Presumably it was this bird that visited Titchwell, Norfolk, Oct. 13th. GREY HERON Ardea cinerea The 1989 BTO sample census recorded a total of 13 heronries which held between 152 and 172 occupied nests. These figures represent an increase on the 1988 census results 38


>8% and 30% (Wright antea). Site Wild Carr, Worlingham North Cove Benacre Henham Minsmere Sudbourne Blackheath Methersgate Ramsholt Woolverstone Stutton Stoke-by-Nayland Long Melford Little Wratting Thurlow West Stow Euston Brandon

No. of occupied nests 2-6 NIL NIL 12-15 NIL —

8-16 18-20 10 17-20 35 -

1 2 1 11 22 13 152-172

TOTALS

The mild weather during the 1988/89 winter was probably the major reason for the icrease. In fact, the population level has now recovered to its 1985 level after three uccessive breeding seasons when the population was declining. Outside the breeding season the estuaries proved a notable attraction with maxima at he principal sites as follows: Aide/Ore: 47 Sept. 17th, Deben: 47 Nov. 12th and Stour: 65 Sept. 17th. 'URPLE HERON Ardea

purpurea

An excellent y e a r f o r this o f t e n elusive h e r o n with fi v e r e c o r d s : Wrentham: May 29th (DRN). Minsmere: Apr. 15th (MF, DRN, TN), ad. May 14th (JMC, SL, EWP), first summer July 24th (JMC, EWP), juv. Aug. 3rd and 4th (SA, JMC).

SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodia A good year with an exciting report of two birds nest-building at a site in July. Other reports came from four sites: Oulton Broad: Fisher Row, Apr. 2nd. Benacre: single on six dates between Apr. 15th and May 21st, two, June 3rd, single, Oct. 4th.

Walberswick: two June 4th. Minsmere: Apr. 3rd, May 7th to 20th, two intermittently May 17th to June 24th, up to three intermittently July 13th to Aug. 17th, Oct. 16th and 17th.

Havergate: Apr. 3rd. Observers should make every effort to eliminate African Spoonbill Platalea alba, the adults of which show reddish facial skin and pink legs. A wide-ranging individuai of the latter species again visited a number of counties in eastem England (see Appendix II). MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor Blyth Minsmere Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

J 8 22 179 162 55 229 14 4

F 2 23 203 131 56 184 9 18

M NIL 29 154 133 49 221 19 8

TOTALS

673

626

613

A

M

J

J

A

34 163 99 71 211 16

33

36

22

11 14 12 4? 246 17

594

_ —

17

20

_

53

39

234 19 306

_

5 153

_

180

245

S NIL 21 93 83 91 225 11 22

15 85 90 91 298

N 5 43 85 66 99 178

43

29

16

546

622

505

522

O

_

_

D NIL 35 102 79 64 226

_


Nationally, numbers are thought to have increased following the ban on lead shot f< r angling weights: the 1990 national survey should reveal the facts. Against this backgrourd it is surprising to see that the numbers reported were generally lower than in recent year The only other herds of 20 or more noted in the first winter period were at: Shipmeado v 100 Feb. 18th and Lakenheath Washes 27 Feb. 26th. Later in the year, numbers at Lackfoi 1 reached a record peak of 43 on Oct. 20th, due to low water levels exposing plants thi t are usually submerged. Small herds of non-breeding birds were seen at Livermere, 12; Iken, 14; Peto's Marsl Oulton, 19 and Minsmere, 26. Larger concentrations were at: Southwold 30 Aug. 22nt Wherstead Strand 45 July 17th; Lakenheath Washes 62 Apr. 29th and at low water o i the Stour estuary 234 June 4th. Once again breeding records were sparse: 28 prs were noted from 22 sites. On Oulto Broad one of a brood of seven was of the 'Polish' morph (white rather than pale brown). although it did show a few typical juvenile feathers. BEWICK'S SWAN Cygnus columbianus bewickii The regular flocks and their maxima were: Aide/Ore Minsmere Shipmeadow TOTALS

J 82 10 79

F 81 20 178

M 20 6 -

N 21 26 16

D 15 23 70

171

279

26

63

108

On the Aide the main herd was on Sudbourne Marshes, peaking at 71 in January, with a smaller group peaking at 27, also in January, on Aldeburgh Town Marshes. In the fai west, at Sedge Fen, Mildenhall, 324 feeding, Jan. 29th, were presumably displaced by high water levels on the Ouse Washes, as was the County record herd of 1,360 at nearbj Kenny Hill, Dee. 29th. Late winter movements of note were 35 NE over Oulton Marshes, Feb. 5th; 80 NE over Santon Downham, Feb. 16th; 22 on the sea, off Lowestoft, Feb. 19th and three out from Benacre, Feb. 28th. The last of the winter were a single at King's Fleet, Mar. 25th and a late bird at Benacre, Apr. 26th. As in 1988, Lackford hosted the first autumn record, with one on Oct. 6th, followed by six at Minsmere on 19th. Between Oct. 27th and Nov. 22nd, 43 were seen arriving at Landguard. The only other major movement was 53 NW over Long Melford, Dee. 27th. Unlike other species that breed in the Tundra (see Brent Goose), Bewick's Swans appear to have enjoyed a reasonable breeding season. This was evidenced by the proportion of juveniles in the Kenny Hill flock, which amounted to 25%-30%. Otherwise, autumn numbers were only average. WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus Two ads and a juv. were in the King's Fleet area of the Deben until Mar. 24th and were joined by another ad. Feb. 18th. Two ads were at Benacre/Kessingland Jan. 21st to Mar. 12th. The only other records early in the year were two ads Jan. 2nd and a juv. Feb. 3rd at Lackford, an ad. over Stowmarket, Feb. 2nd and two ads at Sudbourne, Feb. 7th. The first returning birds were two at Benacre, Oct. 18th and 23rd, and at Minsmere on 30th. Subsequently, small numbers were recorded at six sites, the largest herd being of 11 at Eastbridge, Nov. 20th. Up to three ads were again at King's Fleet from Nov. 26th and an ad. was at the Suffolk Water Park at Bramford from Dee. 9th to the end of the year. BEAN GOOSE Anser fabalis Four on Sudbourne Marshes, Feb. 4th may have included the two subsequently seen on Southwold Marshes, Feb. l l t h to 14th. In Lothingland, 18 were at Belton, Feb. 2nd and 23 at Burgh Castle, Feb. lOth. 40


A migrant flew up the River Orwell past Landguard, Oct. 14th. Thereafter, up to five ¿re on Reydon/Southwold Marshes, Nov. 22nd to 30th and one was there Dec. 31st. :ie was at Minsmere, Dec. 1st and 2nd, with three there on 17th. An escaped bird appeared irregularly at Lackford Wildfowl Reserve. INK-FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus A good showing early in the year with up to 23 birds in five areas. The main flock as at Kessingland, roosting on Benacre Broad: between Jan. 25th and Mar. 10th up to S were present. These may well have included the 14 which flew W over Lowestoft, eb. 6th. At Gedgrave, four remained from 1988 to Jan. 28th and up to three were noted n single dates at Minsmere, R. Aide marshes and King's Fleet. The second winter period was disappointing with just one at Southwold, Nov. 27th to cc. 2nd, two at Reydon Marshes, Nov. 27th and two at Benacre, Dec. 29th to 31st. A wandering escapee was at Lackford, Livermere and Glemsford: it, or another, was t Alton Water, Oct. 15th. HITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser albifrons A good showing early in the year, e.g. Minsmere's best figures since 1963, with monthly axima as follows:

-

F 260 90 231 92 50

230 2 2

108

713

250

J Kessingland/Benacre Blyth/Walberswick Minsmere Levels Aide Marshes Deben Marshes

4 41 63

TOTALS

N

M 16

3 — —

3

D — —

28 5 —

33

The peak counts were in the period Feb. 5th to 12th although at Kessingland there were -till 200, Feb. 26th, and at Minsmere, 230, Mar. 12th. On the Aide the flock was noted on many marshes, but mostly at Sudbourne, while on the Deben they were mainly at • alkenham. The last spring bird was on the Deben, Apr. 9th, although two of unknown origin were at Lackford, June 16th to 18th — breeding is a possibility as they bred successfully at Cley, Norfolk, in 1988 and 1989. Very few appeared late in the year. Migrants were an adult S with Brents at Lowestoft, then Sizewell and Havergate, Oct. 28th; two S Minsmere, Nov. 12th; two off sea and then N, at Sudbourne, Dec. 8th; three N Benacre, Dec. 11th and 100 S at Walberswick, Dec. 16th. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser erythropus Three escapees: up to two at Alton Water and a single wandering ad. again at Lackford, Glemsford, Long Melford and Cavendish. With so many escapees in East Anglia joining with flocks of other geese it is now almost impossible to be certain that any record of this species refers to a wild bird. <JREYLAG GOOSE Anser

anser 1

Benacre Minsmere Alton Water Lackford

97 100 131

TOTALS

328

-

D

_

_

_

-

57 56 3

S 138 260 173 36

340 1«! 28

259 221 34

230 157 36

298

116

273

607

549

514

423

M

O

N

A 15 127 194 37

F 80 110 108

Numbers at most sites were slightly below previous year's records, although the count at Alton Water in November was the highest so far recorded at this locality. No counts were received from Livermere, where another small flock occurs. Breeding was noted at Alton Water (12 broods totalling 66 young), Minsmere (four prs), Lackford (one pr with five young) and Livermere (two prs). 41


Unprecedented numbers, mostly moving S, were seen at Landguard/Felixstowe, betwe in Mar. 25th and May 15th; a total of 25 passed on seven dates followed by three Sept. 3rd and 14 Nov. 7th. It is possible that among them there could have been some Continen al migrants. Canada x Greylag Geese hybrids were noted at Livermere, Lackford and Alton Watc r. As these are inter-generic it would be extremely interesting to see if they produce youi g in future years. Another hybrid, possibly x Lesser White-fronted Goose, was at Lackford. SNOW G O O S E Anser caerulescens The same three feral birds, two white and one blue-phase, which were seen in 198 i, were moving around Breckland throughout the year. Elsewhere, one accompanied tl e Greylags at Alton Water, Jan. 29th and a blue-phase was noted at Benacre. Sept. 16t!. CANADA G O O S E Branta canadensis Counts of this species are notoriously variable, but it is clear that numbers remain hig h and are probably increasing. Benacre Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Gipping Valley Long Melford Lackford/Livermere TOTALS

J 500 146 220 906 292 81 4 518 91 196 216

F 250 200 198 130 442 9 119 5 252 173 384

3170

2162

M

A

110

100 605

53 234 216 140 378 152 57 74 562

100 394 87 206 1 152 69 77 1062

400 139 225 425 315 110 234 1750

D 51« 2(0 2i2 4c6 2(0 NIL 4t5 29 200 227 1800

1494

2561

2516

2148

3598

434)

J 271

A 1020

! 172 122 173 39 317 5

100 145 110 68 304 3

40 40

42

919

772

112 290 58 28 625 —

S 650 —

207

_ —

113 481 35

O —

N —

— —

The December count for Lackford/Livermere involved a single flock at the forme' locality, constituting a record gathering for the County. Other counts of 2 0 0 + were 350 Mendham Marshes, Aug. 30th and up to 400, Micklemere, Ixworth. Thus, late in the year, the County's wintering population is likely to be in the region of 5,000 birds. The total of 85 breeding prs at 22 sites is well below the 1988 figure; at only Brantham Long Melford, Walberswick and Wickham Market were more than ten young counted During the moult period in June and early July birds are least mobile. In addition to those shown in the table, there were 150 at Barton Mere, 87 at Long Melford and 85 at Lound: a total of 1,961. In 1991, there will be a national census of the species at thistime of year, so all records should be submitted. BARNACLE G O O S E Branta leucopsis Speculation about the origin of individuals of this species is always rife as flocks often seem to be wary. Observers at Kessingland/ Benacre Broad, where up to 35 were seen in both winter periods and at Lackford where up to ten occurred in December, thought wild birds might have been involved. However, in view of many birds being present at 17 sites throughout the County at all times of the year, it is unwise to suggest that the flocks contained migrants. Barnacle x Canada Goose hybrids were noted at Kessingland and Minsmere Levels. Why, oh why, do owners of wildfowl collections allow escapees to pollute the avifauna? BRENT G O O S E Branta bermela BoEE counts show a County population of around 3,000 in both winter periods. Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 457 797 1351 224

F 103 1002 946 610

M 10 96 1196 684

A 1 6 355 4

S NIL NIL 1 18

0 46 3 348 69

N 530 58 903 461

D 56 2000 1387 61

TOTALS

2829

2661

1986

366

19

466

1952

3504

42


After a very good breeding season, juvs comprised up to 50% of flocks in the early ¡nter period, although total numbers were not particularly high. In contrast, the 1989 oeding season was virtually a complete failure and numbers did not build up to usual nter populations until very late. Very few were seen feeding away from the four tabulated eas, although up to 38 were at Benacre and 11 at Minsmere early in the year. Few were seen leaving in spring; the main movements at Landguard were of 148 Mar. >th, 86 Apr. 22nd and 40 Apr. 30th. Two summered on each of the Stour and Aide tuaries. Four flew N at Minsmere, July 14th. The first returning bird flew past Corton, Sept. 11th; small numbers were seen elsewhere •om Sept. 22nd. During late autumn large numbers moved past many locations going both directions along the coast. The first big movement was 1,280 N at Covehithe, ct. 8th. The importance of regular and prolonged coverage was emphasised by Landguard cording many more than other sites. Monthly totals there were September — 286, October 16,854 and November — 3,588. Their big day was Oct. 27th when 12,326 flew S. n the same day, 2,100 were noted passing Lowestoft and 1,000 passed Minsmere. In ontrast, on the 28th, only 575 passed Landguard, but 896 were seen off Southwold and 194 at Minsmere. On the 29th, 531 flew S at Lowestoft. In November, the main îovements at Landguard were 1,020 on 12th and 890 on 15th. The white-winged individual, presumably the same individual noted annually since 1 ebruary 1986, was at Trimley, Jan. 4th to Feb. 5th and seen flying S past Lowestoft, outhwold and Minsmere, Oct. 29th before being relocated at Falkenham on Nov. 18th. The only record of the Pale-bellied race B. b. hrota was at Landguard, Nov. 22nd. (ED-BREASTED GOOSE Branta ruficollis An ad. in the Kessingland/Benacre area, Feb. 18th to Mar. 25th and again Nov. 19th to Dec. 2nd, is presumed to be the same escapee that was first recorded in November 1986. EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen

aegyptiacus

Records w e r e r e c e i v e d f r o m 21 sites, m a i n l y in the coastal belt, but with an inland concentration in the L i v e r m e r e / E u s t o n / I x w o r t h area. T h e only counts above five w e r e f r o m :

Somerleyton: 11 Apr. 21st, ten Oct. 31st. Oulton Broad: nine July, 12 Oct. 7th. Carlton Marshes: nine Dec. 17th. Melton: Wilford Bridge G.P., seven Aug. 9th. Livermere: 11 Oct. 28th, ten Dec. 31st.

•xworth Thorpe: six May 7th. 43


At least five p a i r s h a t c h e d y o u n g ; b r e e d i n g r e c o r d s w e r e : G u n t o n : Gunton Hall Lake, pr with seven tiny goslings on the early date of Mar. 6th. Pr with four large young, July 29th. L o u n d : pr with five fledged young July 22nd. Euston: pr with eight young June 18th. Ixworth T h o r p e : three prs May, pr with five young, 2nd.

Elsewhere during the breeding season (April to July), birds were noted at Peto's Marsh, Oulton (two); Flixton Decoy (two); Beccles (two); Loudham Lake, Pettistree (four); Rushmere, nr Lowestoft (two); Livermere (five) and Wickham Market (five). RUDDY SHELDUCK Tadorna ferruginea Recorded in six areas, most noted as being tame or otherwise obvious escapees. Minsmere: three Aug. 14th. Gedgrave: Jan. 2nd. Ramsholt/Falkenham: Jan. 15th to Mar. 29th. Needham M a r k e t : single, very tame, August to December. Livermere: cr present throughout 1989 and paired to a Shelduck in March; 9 May 19th to 21st; two, Dec. 2nd and 5th. L a c k f o r d : Dec. 28th (probably from Livermere).

SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna In view of the exceptionally mild winter it was not surprising that no large movements were recorded in the early months of the year. Landguard reported 15 S Jan. 31st and 67 S during February. Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 300 31 896 1003 883 1033

F 470 58 895 995 1249 1387

M 377 58 1315 1408 1017 1578

A 38 1208 1522 957 1336

TOTALS

4146

5054

5753

5061

A

91 194

S 141 19 203 66 34 249

299

712

14 — —

14 414 199 78 398

N 353 19 828 530 286 956

D 451 20 315 542 766 1555

1103

2972

3649

0 —

The above counts from the principal estuaries follow the usual pattern, except that the April count is exceptionally high. Breeding took place in the vicinity of suitable coasts and estuaries with inland breeding confirmed from: C a v e n h a m : three prs with six young. L a c k f o r d : seven or eight broods, 50 young hatched, 20 fledged. Livermere: 32 prs. May 13th, creche of 70, June 17th.

Other counts of young included a creche of 46 at Iken, June 23rd; 20 juvs. Falkenham Creek, June 25th and 50 juvs. Levington, July 8th. Easily the largest movement of the autumn was 2,000 S off Southwold/Lowestoft, between 12.00 hrs and 16.00 hrs, Oct. 27th. Landguard logged 520 S during October and 364 S November. MANDARIN Aix

galericulata

The following records were received: Thorpeness: on Meare, very tame o• with Mallard, Mar. 12th. Shotley: Shotley Marshes, cr with Brent Geese Mar. 18th.

Freston: 9 on river Nov. 12th and 18th. Ipswich: Christchurch Park, Wilderness Pond, pinioned 9 escorted by two full-winged Of cr of unknown origin, April/May, pr still present early June. Livermere: cr first week in May up to 13th. L a c k f o r d : cr on several days in January and Apr. 30th.

44


WIGEON Anas penelope Very little movement was seen during the mild weather in the first three months of the year (max. 25 N Landguard, Mar. 1 Ith) and counts from main wintering sites were: Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 729 310 2250 877 797 2197

F 658 440 2129 734 544 1562

M 345 382 996 638 180 1641

S 6 60 579 26 233 1328

TOTALS

7160

6067

4182

2232

113 717 253 749 1845

N 142 240 1459 450 666 1637

D 325 450 1721 780 368 1494

3677

4594

5138

O —

A few birds were seen along the coast during the summer, but there were no indications that breeding was attempted. Landguard recorded a total of 729 S during October, including 156 on 4th and 175 on 28th and a total of 491 S in November, including 138 on 16th. An estimated 3,000 were on the R. Aide at Iken, Dec. 30th. GADWALL Anas

streperà J

F

M 7 65 4 2 19

A

Benacre Minsmere Aide/Ore Alton Water Lackford Lakenheath

7 38 12 34

59 23 1 22

-

-

-

5 23 21

TOTALS

91

105

97

84

S 35 160 16 9 155

35 —

0 4 108 2 2 158

N 23 —

4 152

274

375

D 3 33 8 10 266

-

-

179

320

The January and February counts are lower than normal, perhaps indicating that fewer birds crossed the North Sea in the mild winter. The 266 at Lackford on Dec. 2nd is a new record count for the site. Confirmed or probable breeding was reported from Walberswick (three broods); Minsmere (five prs, two broods of eight, June 7th); Middleton (brood of eight, July 20th); Orfordness (four prs); Alton Water (two prs); Fornham St Genevieve; Lackford (excellent breeding season, seven or eight broods) and the River Lark at Mildenhall/Cavenham (up to ten prs May, two with broods). TEAL Anas crecca Monthly counts from the main sites were: J Benacre Blyth Minsmere Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford TOTALS

M

S

265 273 2125 216 91 420 21 89

F 120 180 303 1369 131 105 103 24 99

166 286 1038 129 38 73 10 26

6 217 1153 89 15 415 20 170

3500

2434

1766

2085

-

525 1149 89 11 587 17 185

N 100 3 368 1035 125 9 413 43 92

D 800 2 1119 1180 266 11 118 52 155

2669

2188

3703

0 106 —

In the first winter period the only other counts above 50 were: 52, Thorpeness Meare, Jan. 1st; 334, Orfordness, Jan. 8th and 200, Chillesford, Jan. 14th. Later in the year 300 were at Walberswick, Oct. 12th and 500 at Hollesley, Nov. 5th. While there were spring and summer sightings from a number of sites confirmed breeding reports were only received from Minsmere (min. of five prs, brood of eight June 7th) and Lackford (nine hatched from one clutch, seven young fledged). Landguard recorded a steady, southward autumn passage: 227, August; 188, September; '87, October and 122, November. A total of 150 flew south off Dunwich, Dec. 24th. 45


MALLARD Anas

platyrhynchos

Benacre Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

J 118 166 1406 370 542 1634 324 182

F 468 29 143 1023 218 527 586 253 108

TOTALS

4742

3355

M

A

16 119 500 206 218 556 138 —

1753

32 247 172 103 217 83 —

854

A — —

94 — — —

97 330 —

521

S 1000 8 149 312 142 107 289 236 122

0

N

D

90 195 250 392 743 427 286

19 166 597 205 219 1069 315 324

72 343 1213 280 470 1006 394 1074

2365

2383

2914

4852

In addition to the above, Livermere held a peak of 2,500 Oct. 28th, but many of these were birds reared for shooting. There was a sudden influx to Lackford in early December (see Gadwall) and the count of 1,074 on 2nd is almost double the previous record total for the site. This widespread and common duck is undoubtedly under-recorded as a breeding species. A total of 40 broods involving 258 young was recorded by one observer from the Lowestoft/ Oulton Broad area and Minsmere held a minimum of 18 prs. At Lackford broods emerged later than usual, but there was a high fledging rate. Otherwise, 29 nests or broods were reported from a further 15 sites. For the second successive year there was a very late record from the R. Kennett near Kentford where a brood of 11 newly hatched ducklings, Nov. 1st, had been reduced to five by Nov. 5th.

PINTAIL Anas acuta Benacre Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 3 4 117 90 335 240

F 6 2 75 118 265 144

M 4 2 41 112 49 104

TOTALS

789

610

312

S 30 7 27 50 125

O 20 6 40 16 208 165

N 4 3 75 34 291 119

D 1 10 110 16 218 143

239

455

526

498

There were regular records of small numbers in the coastal belt up to May 21st when two were on Benacre Broad, but there were no June records and no indications of nesting. A total of 51 at Walberswick, Oct. 5th is a record for the reserve and 55, Alton Water, Oct. 15th, had been flushed from the Stour by water skiers. Inland records came from Livermere, with three Jan. 15th, eight Feb. 4th, three Mar. 5th and Dec. 5th and four Dec. 31st and from Lackford, where there was a series of records of one or two until Mar. 11th and of one to four from Sept. 1st into December. Seven flew over the latter site, Nov. 30th. Landguard logged a light southerly passage of 25 September; 33 October and 36 November.

GARGANEY Anas querquedula The first record for 1989 was fairly usual, a cr at Minsmere, Mar. 23rd, but less typical was the appearance of three others at the inland localities of Micklemere and Lakenheath, during the following week. Loafing cr cr, occasionally accompanied by 9 9 , were recorded during April and May from four coastal sites and one inland site, which perhaps shows that breeding was at least attempted, but the absence of family parties in late summer indicates little success. 46


Autumn passage was poor with only four records, the last at Gedgrave Reservoir, Sept. 7th. V'alberswick: Westwood Marsh, pr May 13th, ecl. Aug. 19th. insmere: pr Mar. 26th and 3Ist and May 4th, er Mar. 23rd, Apr. 22nd to 26th, May 6th and 29th, ecl. Aug. 19th. zewell: Levels, er Apr. 23rd.

edgrave: Res., ecl. Sept. 17th. rimley St Martin: Loam Pit Lake, ecl. Aug. 19th.

Iton Water: pr Apr. 9th. worth: Micklemere, er Mar. 26th. ikenheath: R. Little Ouse, pr Mar. 31st, er May 29th.

HOVELER Anas Benacre Blyth Minsmere Alde/Ore Stour Alton Water Lackford TOTALS

clypeata J 3 4 40 77 26 15 14

F 16 45 68 16 3 16

179

164

M 30 25 65 20 1

A

S 6

N

0 5

D 1

24 30

26 10 7

4

40 45 5 2 5

3 7

54

47 52 4 28 78

47 30 12 30 52

54 44 7 48 85

145

97

69

103

214

171

239

-

A 5

Away from the above sites the only counts to exceed ten were from Barton Mere, 15 lar. 5th; Walberswick, 100 Feb. l l t h and 20 Feb. 18th; Livermere, 30 Mar. 24th and 1 Dec. 5th and Lakenheath Washes, 12, Apr. 8th. The 85 at Lackford, Dec. 30th, is . record for the site. A total of 23 prs was reported in the spring from a possible 16 breeding sites, but nesting vas only proven at Walberswick where a brood of ten was seen, May 22nd. Minsmere eported a minimum of four prs. Landguard logged a light southerly passage during the autumn, viz: 11 August; eight September; 18 October and five November. IED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta rufina Some of the following records certainly relate to escapees, but others may well be of wild birds. ienacre: three 9 9 /imms. Aug. 7th. Weybread: free-flying ecl. er Aug. 6th, tarne pinioned er Oct. 26th and 27th and Nov. 6th. Lackford: Wildfowl Reserve, 9 Dec. 30th.

POCHARD Aythya

ferina A

S 1 1

0 3 6

N

D 8 4

Benacre Minsmere Alde/Ore Orwell Alton Water Thorington St. Lackford

J 50 9 NIL 70 27 72 162

F 30 15 11 32 31

M 3 24 18 7

98

Il

120

403

87

166

TOTALS

390

217

63

122

432

187

287

— — —

7 13

6

6

12 6 50 32

77 32

Away from the above sites the only counts to exceed 25 were from Barham Pits where there were up to 50 during October and 30 Nov. 25th. The 403 at Lackford, Oct. 28th, is a record count for the site. Breeding was proven at only three sites, where a total of four broods was seen, although prs were noted on at least seven more potential breeding areas during the spring. Landguard recorded eight S September, 86 S October and 40 S November. 47


TUFTED DUCK Aythya

fuligula

Benacre Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Thorington St. Lackford

J 50 10 17 20 110 133 121 220

F 60 22 60 20 108 170

M 30 37 100 19 183 18

A

12 112 9 126 17 25

223

136

TOTALS

681

663

523

301

S 27 NIL 50 11 104 23 —

0 —

5 14 25 45 28 —

N 21 10 10 44 157 86 —

D 10 15 26 37 108 193 —

160

261

325

253

375

378

653

642

The only other site to hold a three figure population was Holbrook Lake, 100 Jan. 26th A total of 132 prs was reported from 29 sites, with 56 nests or broods seen. The largest offshore movement was 200 flying south off Southwold, Jan. 2nd am Landguard logged 14 S in August, 22 N and 31 S in October and 44 S in November SCAUP Aythya mania Most of the records came from only three sites. Benacre Orwell Alton Water

J 2 25 3

F 4 24 4

M 7 14

TOTALS

30

32

21

O 1

N

D

-

-

!

3 -

3

Additional records for the first winter period were: Minsmere: 9 offshore Feb. 12th. Havergate: single ç 9 Jan. 8th and Feb. 4th, two 9 9 Feb. 14th. Bawdsey: 9 Feb. 17th. One to four were at Benacre Broad until Apr. 15th and a c at Lackford during the late afternoon, May 8th is the only inland record of the year. Singles were seen at Minsmere on Aug. 15th, Sept. 9th and 28th and a male returned to Benacre, Sept. 30th. Landguard recorded one S Oct. 29th and Nov. 8th and another was on the R. Deben, Dec. 17th. EIDER Somateria moltissima There were few records for the first half of the year with one to five from eight coastal locations, the maximum being only five off Dunwich, Jan. 22nd. Much more numerous in the second winter period with the principal counts as follows: Corton: 42 on sea Oct. 6th. Lowestoft: 21 S Nov. 16th, eight S Nov. 25th, 16 N, seven S Nov. 30th, one to three on a further five dates.

Covehithe: 13 S Oct. 9th. Southwold: 15 N Nov. 8th. Minsmere: 24 offshore Oct. 1st and 13 Oct. 9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 44 N, 96 S October incl. 61 S (single flock) 13th; 42 N, 69 S Nov. 16th.

Erwarton: R. Stour, 11 Oct. 7th. O t h e r r e c o r d s of o n e to six c a m e f r o m ten coastal locations d u r i n g O c t o b e r t o D e c e m b e r .

LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis Following the exceptional arrival late in 1988, the number of sightings during the first winter period was well above average. Covehithe: four N Mar. 9th.

Easton Bavents: Jan. 19th, 9 Feb. 3rd and 27th and Mar. 26th. Southwold/Minsmere: Sole Bay, up to six throughout January, six again Mar. 1st and 5th incl. two o - c r , two S Mar. 26th.

48


F F F S

kenham/Hemley: R. Deben, two Jan. 3rd, Feb. 12th and one Apr. 9th. -ston: R. Orwell, two Jan. 1st, one throughout January. ixstowe: Landguard, S Feb. 25th and Mar. 4th. five S Mar. 9th. >ur Estuary: eight Jan. 8th incl. seven in Holbrook Bay.

In late spring one was off Ness Pt, Lowestoft, May. 30th and possibly the same bird f: quented Benacre Broad from June 1st to 19th. An individual S off Landguard Aug. 1 t, was either returning early or had summered in the area. !n stark contrast there was only one record for the second winter period: Bi lacre: Oct. 27th. ( )MMON SCOTER Melanina oast

1 200

F 100

M 35

nigra A 50

M 40

J 25

J 250

A 200

S 60

O 51

N 118

D 150

The above figures are the maximum daily count for each month at any point on the !- :ffolk coast. In fact, apart from October and November, all the counts came from the Sole Bay area off Dunwich or Minsmere. The October and November counts are days oĂ­ maximum southerly passage off Landguard with 51 Oct. 28th and 118 Nov. 16th. 1 andguard logged totals of 146 S during October and 224 S, 78 N November. One observer commented that it was a very poor year for scoter in the Lowestoft area. The following inland records were received: eybread: cr June 14th. Melton: Wilford Bridge G.P., 9 Nov. 19th. ickford: Wildfowl Reserve, five cr cr (mid-evening to dusk), May 24th, cr July 9th to 14th, 9 Sept. 24th. An interesting record concerns a flock of 80 seen 30 miles off the Suffolk coast from le Harwich/Hook of Holland ferry, Nov. 15th. VELVET SCOTER Melanina

fusca

Records in the first winter period were: Benacre: N Feb. 21st. Walberswick/Minsmere: Sole Bay, up to ten during January, seven February, and five March and April (to 24th). 49


Orwell: Trimley/Levington, one to three Jan. 1st to 6th.

The only summer record was of three off Minsmere, Aug. 11th. Second winter records were: Lowestoft: Cf S Oct. 28th, N Oct. 29th.

Benacre: two cr cr Oct. 29th. Covehithe: S Oct. 21st. Sizewell: three S Oct. 28th.

Aldeburgh: S Nov. 20th. Shingle Street: Nov. 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard, seven S Oct. 18th, eight N Oct. 28th, two S Oct. 29th, three S Oct. 31; , 15 N Nov. 2nd, three S Nov. 4th, eight S Nov. 16th.

Two were seen amongst the flock of 80 Common Scoter 30 miles offshore, Nov. 15tl. G O L D E N E Y E Bucephala Benacre Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford TOTALS

clangula J 1 19 54 64 48 29 12

F 2 15 43 46 43 10 17

227

176

M 2 11 20 33 7 17

NIL NIL 3 NIL 1 13

A

O 4 NIL 2 NIL NIL 1 4

N 3 2 3 54 2 6 10

D 2 12 18 60 1 8 8

90

17

11

80

109

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Although widely reported from estuaries and inland waters, no other counts exceeded ten Landguard recorded nine S Apr. 23rd and two N Apr. 26th, the first April records fo the site. Thereafter, the species was absent until one returned to Benacre Broad, Oct. 1st Landguard logged 14 S October and 47 S November.

S M E W Mergus albellus With mild weather in both winter periods it is perhaps not surprising that there were very few records: Gedgrave: Reservoir, red-head Jan. 1st and 2nd. Felixstowe: Landguard, S with Goldeneye Nov. 16th. Trimley St M a r t i n : Loam Pit Lake, two red-heads Nov. 26th. F l a t f o r d : River Stour, red-head January (probably present in this area since 1988).

R E D - B R E A S T E D M E R G A N S E R Mergus

serrator

Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J NIL 1 5 12

F I NIL 6 12

M NIL NIL 4 18

0 1 NIL 2 NIL

N NIL NIL 7 NIL

D 1 NIL 4 7

TOTALS

18

19

22

3

7

12

In addition to the above table, there were records in the first winter period from eight coastal locations between Lowestoft and Landguard. All were of single birds apart from four N, Benacre, Jan. 1st; two, Walberswick, Jan. 7th; three, Minsmere, Feb. 26th and two S, Landguard, Feb. 17th. There were still 19 in Holbrook Bay on the Stour, Apr. 9th and the final spring record was one off Minsmere, May. 1st. Returning birds were noted at Minsmere, July 18th, a red-head S off Benacre, Southwold and Landguard, July 30th (possibly relating to the same individual) and another N off 50


L westoft, A u g . 15th. T h e p r i n c i p a l a u t u m n m o v e m e n t s w e r e : C ehithe: eight N Oct. 8th. V ismere/Sizewell: 19 S Oct. 28th. f 'ixstowe: Landguard, one N, nine S Oct. 27th, 21 S Oct. 28th, six S Oct. 29th, 55 S November iincl. 12, 2nd, 11, 7th and ten, 16th). There w e r e f u r t h e r sightings of o n e to t h r e e f r o m 14 coastal locations d u r i n g O c t o b e r t December. O O S A N D E R Mergus

merganser

Benacre Alton Water Lackford

1 2 2 13

F 2 2 5

M 1 1 2

TOTALS

17

9

4

5

3

Further r e p o r t s c a m e f r o m : nacre: Oct. 31st. outhwold: Boating Lake and on sea, red-head Feb. 15th to 19th. alberswick: N Jan. 7th. lingle Street: male S Nov. 19th. •lixstowe: red-head S Jan. 23rd; Landguard, two S Mar. 5th and cr S Mar. 9th, two S Nov. 16th. albrook: Holbrook Bay, R. Stour, pr, Mar. 5th. ivermere: red-head Mar. 11th. í U D D Y D U C K Oxyura jamaicensis Despite p r s h o l d i n g t e r r i t o r i e s at o n e coastal and t w o B r e c k l a n d localities, b r e e d i n g w a s lot proven f o r t h e s e c o n d s u c c e s s i v e y e a r . >Valberswick: Westwood Marsh, cr ç Apr. 16th to May 27th with a second cr present on three dates. Single cr remained until June 24th (breeding perhaps attempted), •acton: R. Orwell, Feb. 12th. Haverhill: Flood Park, two cr cr and 9 Mar. 16th (arrived from SE, departed to NW). ixworth Thorpe: Lake, pr and extra cr May 2nd, pr displaying May 10th, cr May 16th. Sxworth: R. Blackbourne, pr May 23rd. Lackford: Wildfowl Reserve, ç / i m m . Jan. 1st to 23rd and Mar. 11th, cr Apr. 16th, May 14th, cr found dead May 31st, cr July 22nd, two ç ç / i m m s Aug. 29th to Sept. 4th, two Oct. 18th to 20th, <J ç / i m m . Nov. 16th and 17th. Uvermere: returned Feb. 27th; thereafter, up to six cr cr and three 9 9 throughout spring and early summer — no proof of breeding this year, last seen Sept. 30th (three). H O N E Y B U Z Z A R D Perms apivorus A small but n o t a b l e a u t u m n p a s s a g e with t h r e e r e c o r d s involving f o u r b i r d s : Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, S Sept. 15th (NO, RSm), two S Sept. 24th (NCG, M M , MTW el al ). Trimley St M a r t i n : Sept. 15th (different from Landguard bird) (CPSR). B L A C K K I T E Milvus migrans T w o r e c o r d s this y e a r t a k e s t h e C o u n t y ' s tally to ten with the species h a v i n g n o w b e e n recorded in t h r e e s u c c e s s i v e s p r i n g s . Minsmere: N Apr. 26th (RP), N over levels May 13th (GJJ). R E D K I T E Milvus milvus A relatively p o o r y e a r with only t w o individuals o b s e r v e d . Saxmundham: Nov. 18th (same as Blaxhall bird) (per JHG). Blaxhall: Nov. 18th (JHG). Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street, Nov. 4th (Sir JR per DRM). pre 1950s 1

1960s 9

1970s 15

51

1980s 28


WHITE-TAILED EAGLE Haliaeetus

albicilla

Butley/Boyton: ยกmm. present late 1988 was widely seen in the area up to Feb. 23rd (JBH et al). This bird w a s seen to be colour-ringed, but to date its origins have not b e e n established.

M A R S H HARRIER Circus aeruginosus The encouraging and dramatic increase continues with 28 nests producing a record 7! young. Most available habitat is now being used and it seems logical that continued increase; will result in birds using cereal crops as nesting sites, a practice noted already in Norfolk Some records were received of 'piebald-plumaged' birds. This is apparently a new phenomenon and birds of this type were also observed in Norfolk. With this increase in breeding numbers it is not surprising that the species in encountered more frequently on passage. The following were observed during seawatches: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, imm. N Sept. 3rd. Covehithe: 9 N May 28th, juv. N (well out to sea) Sept. 3rd.

Felixstowe: Landguard Pt. S Aug. 8th. The September record is another example of multiple sightings with this individual also observed off Great Yarmouth where it was still flying N. HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus In the early part of the year 31 were roosting at six sites with many records received from scattered localities. Surprisingly, a 'ring-tail' was located at one site June 14th, but could not be found in July. The first returning migrant was predictably observed at Minsmere, Sept. 13th and by the end of the year up to 22 were counted roosting at five sites. Wintering birds were noted at most regular Breck and coastal locations and also well inland over arable fields. The following were noted battling their way landwards over the waves during autumn passage: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, cr S ( mile offshore) Oct. 27th. Lowestoft/Kessingland: 'ring-tail' S Oct. 27th.

Covehithe: cr cr in off sea, Oct. 7th and 28th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 'ring-tails' Oct. 18th and 27th, two Oct. 30th and Nov. 15th.

52


f ONTAGU'S H A R R I E R Circus

pygargus

\ n a v e r a g e y e a r with r e c o r d s as f o l l o w s : ilberswick: 'ring-tail', May 3rd and 5th (CSW). nwich: 'ring-tail' S May 23rd (SHP). nsmere: 9 June 14th (EWP, RP). ; rstall: juv. Aug. 12th (ABo). venham: 'ring-tail' July 22nd (R & DH).

OSHAWK Accipiter gentilis Five prs are believed to have made a breeding attempt, but there are no details of fledged 'Ling.

Many records were received from predictable areas. An apparent migrant was seen flying n from the sea at Minsmere, Sept. 9th. A female was being flown by a falconer at Sutton Heath, Oct. 23rd. >PARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus This exciting hawk continues to re-establish itself in many parts of the County. Possible reeding birds were located at 50 sites and nesting was confirmed at ten of these. Wintering numbers were high in both periods and birds were located in most parts of ;he County. Hunting birds were observed chasing Starlings, Greenfinches and Lapwings ind one observer watched one snatch a Great Spotted Woodpecker in flight at Darmsden. COMMON BUZZARD Buteo buteo There were up to three birds wintering which were mostly confined to the Benacre and Butley areas. A marked spring passage involving seven birds from four sites was noted in the second half of April. Autumn migrants were noted from mid-August and thereafter eight were located wintering at six sites. All records are listed: Beccles: single October. Barsham: single September.

Benacre: singles Jan. 14th, Feb. 16th, Mar. 11th, Apr. 15th, Nov. 19th; two, Nov. 5th. Henham: Sept. 9th. Minsmere: light-phase Apr. 30th. Butley/Chillesford/Boyton/Gedgrave: Jan 1st intermittently to Mar. 29th.

Melton: Nov. 9th. Shotley: singles, April and August. Hadleigh: Wolves Wood, Feb. 4th. Haverhill: three NE Apr. 20th, NE Apr. 25th. Lackford: Sept. 23rd. Lakenheath: Lakenheath Warren, Nov. 18th.

53


R O U G H - L E G G E D B U Z Z A R D Buteo lagopus All r e c o r d s a r e listed b u t n o t e only t h e o n e r e c o r d f o r t h e s e c o n d w i n t e r period Belton: Waveney Forest/Belton Marshes, Jan. 15th to Mar. 19th (ACE). Benacre: Mar. 30th (LC, AJO). Minsmere: Nov. 14th (RSPB). Aldringham: Feb. 22nd (Mrs JD). Butley/Tunstall: two birds wintering from 1988 were widely seen in the area to Mar. 12th (n any observers). Elveden: Berner's Heath, Jan. 29th and Feb. 11th (CAEK). O S P R E Y Pandion

haliaetus

A n a v e r a g e s h o w i n g of this exciting b i r d w i t h a m a x i m u m of 13 i n d i v i d u a l s : Covehithe: May 24th. Southwold: May 14th. Walberswick/Dunwich: Westwood and Corporation Marshes, May 14th (Southwold bird) and May 17th. Minsmere: three Aug. 14th then singly until Aug. 31st. Little G l e m h a m : Apr. 20th. Felixstowe: Landguard, over Orwell estuary, Aug. 26th. Levington: May 21st. Alton W a t e r : Sept. 20th. Haverhill: Flood Park, seen to take fish May 14th. T h o r n h a m M a g n a : S Aug. 28th. L a c k f o r d : Wildfowl Reserve, Aug. 6th to 27th. pre 1950 many

1950s 25

1960s 56

1970s 63

1980s 104

T h e steady rise in r e c o r d s o v e r t h e past t h r e e d e c a d e s no d o u b t r e f l e c t s the increase in the Scottish and S c a n d i n a v i a n b r e e d i n g p o p u l a t i o n . 54


KESTREL Falco tinnunculus This species is the most commonly observed raptor in the County, although also the nost under-recorded. It is thought to be increasing but records were received for only 0 breeding prs at 19 localities. One was noted wearing jesses, Mar. 3rd, whilst at Bury St. Edmunds one was watched catching a Pied Wagtail and another took a Sand Martin at Lackford. Birds were noted on autumn passage as follows: ovehithe: W (in off sea) Sept. 29th. โ€ข elixstowe: Landguard, in off sea or S, 25 between Aug. 21st and Nov. 4th (LBO). ' { E D - F O O T E D F A L C O N Falco

vespertina

This year's records refer to two wide-ranging individuals which proved very difficult to catch up with:

Kaston Bavents: cr June 20th (DRE).

Southwold: 9 May 24th (JMC, EWP). Walberswick: over beach, 9 May 24th (HM, EW). Dunwich: Dunwich Heath. 9 on wires then N May 24th (JCS).

MERLIN Falco columbarius In the first part of the year 19 birds were reported from 14 sites including inland at Haverhill and Kedington. The first autumn migrant was noted at Felixstowe Ferry, Sept. 12th and another at Sudbourne, from Sept. 17th, where one was observed taking a Snipe, Dec. 8th. At Landguard seven passage birds were noted, between Sept. 14th and Nov. 4th, mainly flying well out at sea, and another flew in from the sea and then S, at Size well, Nov. 5 th. Additionally, 13 were reported at 12 sites. HOBBY Falco subbuteo A concerted effort to locate breeding birds revealed the encouraging total of eight nests fledging 19 young. Possible nesting prs were present at a further five sites. The species is amazingly unobtrusive during incubation, but becomes very vociferous once the young have hatched, which is normally in the first week of August. Further searching at this time might reveal an even larger breeding population in Suffolk. A bird observed at a Breckland site successfully caught a Noctule Bat Nyctalus noctula. As usual many migrants were noted. The earliest in spring was Apr. 15th and the latest in autumn Oct. 14th. PEREGRINE Falco

peregrinus

A n e n c o u r a g i n g s e r i e s of r e c o r d s as f o l l o w s : Covehithe: 9 / i m m . Oct. 27th (SBa).

Walberswick: ยกmm. May 17th (DC). Felixstowe: Landguard, in from sea, Oct. 8th (NO, JZ).

Erwarton: imm. Aug. 20th (RP). 55


Alton W a t e r : juv. Sept. 26th (JMC, EWP). B r a n d o n : Mayday Farm. imm. Nov. 4th (MDR).

RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Alectoris rufa The situation with hybrids of other Alectoris species is now so confusing that a realist c statement on the status of this species is not feasible. Maybe the Christmas record of one sitting in the lower branches of a Pear tree at Dalhu n is sufficient comment! GREY PARTRIDGE Perdix perdix Still generally scarce but records were received from 46 localities. Two were found sheltering from the wind in the ruins of the South Pier Pavilion .it Lowestoft. Oct. 15th. A covey of 25 has been released on Lowestoft Denes. QUAIL Coturnix

coturnix

N a t i o n a l l y this w a s an e x c e p t i o n a l y e a r f o r the s p e c i e s , but unusual n u m b e r s w e r e m t f o u n d in S u f f o l k . In all, only eight b i r d s w e r e located at six sites. Eastbridge: two in song June 29th to July 17th. Chelmondiston: one heard June 16th. Lakenheath: three sites, four birds in song, June. W e v b r e a d : one heard June 4th and 5th.

PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus Albino birds were reported from Henham, Denston, Staverton and Cavendish, wherein at Stutton, of 11 males located five were melanistic. GOLDEN PHEASANT Chrysolophus

pictus

Widespread reports in the Brecks from six sites. At Wordwell a maximum of nine cr cr and five รง รง was watched, Feb. 11th. LADY AMHERST'S PHEASANT Chrysolophus amherstiae The well-recorded male was again at Herringswell throughout the year and possibly another was at West Stow, Oct. 8th. 56


WATER R A I L Rallus

aquaticus

Reporte were received from 17 sites (only three inland) during January to March. Numbers ere low with a máximum of only five at Minsmere, Jan. 29th and Mar. 16th, but "several" /ere at Lackford and Leathes Ham, Lowestoft during this period. A spring migrant at Landguard, Apr. 24th fed with Rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus within iie ringing compound. The only evidence indicating probable breeding was the occurrence of juveniles at ovehithe Broad, Minsmere and Framlingham Mere in mid-August. During the autumn and second winter period there were sightings at 17 localities, of vhich only three were inland. Most reporte were of ones and twos, but up to 12 were intering at Lackford and there was a "good population" at Botany Bay, Lakenheath. At dusk on Jan. 30th one was watched fecding with 20 Moorhens on a wet meadow eside the A45 trunk road at Haughley. IOORHEN Gallínula chloropus Although not generally recognised as being an estuarine species, Moorhens are invariably esent on the fields and freshwater marshes behind river walls and are included in the SoEE counts. Monthly maxima from the principal sites were: Minsmere Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water TOTALS

J 57 98 96 64 60 29

F 75 50 111 80 66 25

M 38 52 44 58 56 21

17 32 32 16 25

404

407

269

122

S 45 28

A

_

0 13 26

-

38 11

57 14 31

N 29 56 41 83 111 24

141

344

-

122

D 54 10 47 30 65 25 231

These figures appear to indicate a relatively stable population in January and February tnd a decrease between the November and December counts. A County record total was established between Glemsford and Long Melford in January, *hen 250 were present. Elsewhere, there were 80, Capel St. Andrew, Dec. 24th and 50, Semer, Sept. 29th. Counts of breeding prs included 19 on the R. Deben between Brandeston and Letheringham and 11 on the R. Linnet in Bury St. Edmunds. Amongst the four migrants recorded at Landguard was a juvenile sheltering under large cubes of concrete, used on sea-defences, close to the jetty, at the southermost tip of the Point, Oct. 17th. A rogue individual was watched taking Little Tern chicks on July Ist at Minsmere, where a partial albino was noted, Feb. 24th. COOT Fúlica atra Walberswick Minsmere Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Lackford

J 29 37 77 188 80 171 100

F 90 33 114 120 81 243 81

M 84 47 126 120 50 141 40

TOTALS

682

762

608

-

57 104 236

S 57 75 89 58 149 60 332

0 36 78 36 42 195 106 344

N 28 26 71 163 500 155 295

D 32 35 113 236 300 275 620

267

510

820

837

1238

1611

A

_ 20 43 79 33 92

A 65 48 -

In addition there were 300 on Thorington St. Res., Stoke-by-Nayland, Dec. 27th. The comment from Minsmere was of very low wintering numbers; this trend towards lower winter totals was again apparent at Alton Water. The 620 at Lackford in December •s a record total for the reserve and the Deben estuary is increasing in importance as a 57


wintering area for the species. Most of the birds involved in the Orwell totals were m Trimley Lake — no longer does a large wintering flock gather on the foreshore betwe ;n Freston and Woolverstone. Up to 60 breeding prs were reported including 21 at Walberswick. CRANE Grus grus Blythburgh: three Sept. 29th (DT, JT).

Almost as surprising as the occurrence of these three Cranes is the fact that they were seen by only two fortunate observers. OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus

ostralegus

Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 4 10 162 474 1997

F 202 232 412 742 782

M 228 628 308 639 871

A 200 608 415 462 542

TOTALS

2647

2370

2674

2227

M 70

47

85

-

J

239 —

309

J

A

238

273

339 619

285

273

1043

S 4 6 169 219 1001 1399

D

4 183 289 1148

N 1 4 165 368 1427

NIL n 2'8 9 8

1624

1965

12 '4

0 —

1

The figure of 1,997 on the Stour in January is a record site-total for the County. Tie above figures also include some interesting discrepancies on the Blyth and Aide/Ore betwe< n the first and second winter period totals and give some idea of the numbers of non-breed» g birds on the estuaries during the summer months. Birds were recorded inland at Tuddenham St. Mary, Lackford and Livermere from early March; at the last site a pr bred successfully rearing three young. In addition, a pr w .s at Ixworth Thorpe in June. Up to four passage birds were recorded inland at Lakenheath in March and April, whi : at Haverhill there were two Jan. 9th; six July 11th and an inland record total of 18 Aug. 3rt. Southerly autumn passage off Landguard peaked at 261 in August. AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta An increase in the breeding population, to 261 prs, but only 69 juvs. raised. Havergate total of 64 prs is 14 more than in 1988, but they had an abysmal fledging success rate producing just seven juvs. Minsmere had a much better year however, with 91 prs r e a r m ; c40 juvs. (45 prs and 14 juvs. in 1988). The remaining 106 prs bred at a further sever sites, satellited to the above, but, due to predation from both natural and man-made forces most met with little success. Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben

J NIL NIL 425 40

F NIL NIL 263 10

M 57 102 359

93 293

TOTALS

465

273

518

386

A —

M

_

J

J

148 113

153 175

53 309

261

328

362

D

23 314

S 14 11 437

0 4 3 295

N NIL 3 255

NIL NIL

337

462

302

258

322

A —

288 34

The wintering population of Avocets in the Alde/Ore/Butley complex is now of international importance. Passage birds were recorded at several coastal sites, but the only inland report this year was of two, Lakenheath, Mar. 30th to Apr. 2nd. STONE CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus The combined total for the Suffolk and Norfolk Breckland is c90 prs, these fledging 65 young, the best number in recent years (RSPB). Birds were also recorded at two sites near the coast. The first migrants were back in the Brecks by Mar. 11th and a straggler was at Westleton, Nov. 12th (HEA). Perhaps the most remarkable record of the year is of one S off Landguard, Aug. 19th (NO). / '

/

58


L! TLE RINGED PLOVER Charadrius dubius n apparent further reduction in the breeding population with only eight prs definitely m mg, all in West Suffolk; breeding possibly took place at four additional sites. A di rmined pr, which had its first clutch of eggs eaten by a Moorhen, went on to produce ar ther three clutches. At two of the sites, birds were again found nesting amongst arable cr ps. here were March records at seven sites from 23rd; spring passage peaked at 15, L kford. Apr. 26th. utumn passage from July 18th was most noticeable at Minsmere, where totals peaked a: ight. July 24th; birds were also noted at this site on 18 days in August with maxima ol our on 13th and 17th. Elsewhere on the coast, there were five at Alton Water, Aug. I h to 18th, and singles S off Southwold, July 30th and Landguard, Aug. 15th. None were recorded after one at Levington, Sept. 1st.

K SGED PLOVER Chciradrius hiaticula Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 7 59 72 283 443

F 16 34 69 625 348

M 14 77 38 94 145

A

A

538 327

S 35 193III 437 312

37 38 46 56

146

IOTALS

864

1(192

368

177

1011

1088

96 16 296 237

N 40 2 100 274 280

D 4 16 23 338 562

645

696

943

0 —

1 he Orwell is of international importance for the species and the Stour of national • portance; on both estuaries this year's totals are significantly higher than in 1988. Autumn Í ^age totals at the Levington roost on the Orwell peaked at 424 Aug. 20th and 392 Sept. 17th. A recently discovered roost in fields adjacent to the Alton Water dam held maxima of i 7 Nov. 12th and 90 Dec. 16th. The roost in a field close to the A12/A1152 roundabout Melton held up to 65 in January and up to three occupied the Lowestoft rooftop roost in September and October (see also Smith, 1990). I he few breeding reports received included three prs on Minsmere Beach, eight prs on Orfordness, six prs at Landguard and a pr nesting in a Sugar Beet field at Alton Water. Inland breeding reports camc from four sites totalling six prs. Significant passage totals were recorded inland; al Lackford, maxima were ten Mar. • 3th and seven July 3rd, while further south at Haverhill peak totals were live Apr. I Ith, 12 July 29th and seven Aug. 20th. Display flight was recorded at Landguard as early as Jan. 28th. GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Another impressive year; 20 sites recorded Clocks of over 2(X) and lour of over I ,000. All flocks of 400 birds or more arc tabulated: though: 500 Feb. 18th. All Saints South Kirnham: 500 Jan. 4th. ''isleham: 500 Jan. 6th (possibly same Hock as at Hllough.i.

Old Newton: 1,400 Feb. 7th. •><»ur Estuary: 425 Mar. 12th. Long Melford: 500 Jan. 27th; 800 Feb 21st; 1.2(H) Mar. 7th. ( avendish: 400 Nov 15th. Stradishall: 500 Dcc. 15th. "worth: 1.200 Dec. 20th. I-ivermere: 1.800 Mar 11th and 18th 59


The pattern this year was of peaks in January/February, mid-March (spring gatheritgs at Livermere and Long Melford) and mid-November to the year's end. There was an unexpected series of records in June with reports from Walberswick. st and another bird, 2nd; Benacre 14th; Minsmere, 17th and Havergate, 24th. The first autumn migrant flew S off Landguard, July 10th — rather surprisingly tht re was only one other July record, at Benacre, 25th. A partial albino with white wings was at Falkenham, Jan. 8th. GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola Peak monthly counts on the estuaries were: Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 13 393 182 285 1442

F 8 348 215 380 941

M 17 70 204 87 770

58 92 66 700

TOTALS

2315

1892

1148

916

A —

M 9 18 11 NIL

J

J

-

Ill

85

A 6 8 58 73 1842

38

111

85

1987

S 17 68 29 53 1296 1463

30 21 90 2091

N 4 57 90 198 1040

D 3 64 77 : 41 L93

2232

1389

1Í- 78

O —

These totals are significantly higher than in 1988 with the 2,091 on the Stour, Oct. 15 .h being a new record total for the County — the wintering population on the Stour is ni w of international importance for which the qualifying level is 800 birds. Counts at Me Levington high tide roost made up the bulk of the Orwell totals with peak figures of 2 2 Jan. 8th, 312 Feb. 12th and 265 Dec. 17th. The Stour also supported impressive totals of oversummering birds: the majority of the >e were probably first-year birds which may have wintered further south; breeding does not take place until the birds are at least two years old (Cramp and Simmons et al, 198?). The very early arrival of large numbers on the Stour in August may well be due te a disastrous breeding season (see also Brent Goose). Southerly movements off the coast peaked on Aug. 15th, with 47 Landguard and 7 Lowestoft and on Oct. 28th with 39 Landguard. nine Southwold and seven Sizewell Inland, two accompanied a Golden Plover flock at Haverhill in January and seven Fea. 20th (DFS). After the exciting events of 1988, Lackford had a quieter year with two Juiy 25th being the only record. LAPWING Vanellus vanellus Counts at the major wetland sites were: Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour TOTALS

J 2030 485 5205 5445 1009 300 1317

F 545 1100 2894 1669 1374 671 1671

M 70 386 667 702 46 4 113

15791

9924

1988

276

A

A

286 NIL 653

S 450 84 625 474 162 NIL 434

1029

2229

_

90

197 27 13 1 38

140 875 333 237 40 503

N 119 440 2939 2116 1223 278 358

D 744 794 1430 1423 1175 317 1564

2128

7473

7447

0

_

T h e a b o v e f i g u r e s s h o w that the influx n o t e d f r o m m i d - D e c e m b e r ¡ 9 8 8 c o n t i n u e d into J a n u a r y ; a d r a m a t i c decline w a s noted f r o m m i d - F e b r u a r y . N o t e w o r t h y inland totals during this first w i n t e r p e r i o d i n c l u d e d : Mickfield: 2.000 Jan. 4th. Stanningfield: 2,000 Jan. 24th. Long Melford: 1.000 Jan. 2nd. 2.000 Feb. 21st. 800 Mar. 7th. Clare: 3.000 Jan. 24th. Haverhill: 2.500 Jan. 10th. 1.000 late February.

60


Autumn migrants were noted from June 7th and by June 25th there were 137 Stour E uary, 128 Lackford and 80 Long Melford. There were 800 at Lackford, July 11th, b it was not until mid-September that most inland areas received larger populations. Although the estuaries did not r e c o r d impressive totals in D e c e m b e r the situation w a s d ferent inland w h e r e the following f o u r - f i g u r e totals w e r e recorded: B ĂŹmford: 2,000, 20th. Gi Wenham: 1,000, 20th. I orth/Pakenham: 2,700, 20th. I iig Melford: 1,000, 20th.

h lington: 3,000, 15th. Seawatchers at Landguard recorded 2,961 moving S in the last two weeks of October, v, rh a peak of 1,748 on 30th, and 521 in November. There was no overall survey of the breeding population this year, but reports did include . prs at Minsmere, a pr nesting successfully within the perimeter fence of Highpoint P son at Stradishall and the best breeding season for several years at Lackford. A partial albino with white wing coverts was at Ellough, Jan. 21st. K >OT Calidris canutus Monthly counts produced the following totals: Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J NIL 6 1 1005 415

F 3 NIL NIL 1000 721

M 2 2 3 79 62

A 2 11 NIL NIL 3

TOTALS

1427

1724

148

16

A 2 NIL NIL 54

S 1 1 21 NIL 16

O 50 3 NIL 5 256

N 2 NIL NIL 30 72

D NIL 6 37 1027 867

56

39

314

104

1937

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

The table clearly illustrates the importance of the Orwell and Stour estuaries for this \ <xies; the Orwell totals in January, February and December were obtained at the Levington h 5h-tide roost. An interesting comparison with the high-tide figures given above is provided by the n onthly, co-ordinated low-water counts on the Orwell and Stour:

19

S NIL 5

0 NIL 75

N 504 168

D 700 1076

19

5

75

672

1776

Orwell Stour

J 1160 2228

F 666 654

M 32 18

A 12 NIL

_

A

TOTALS

3388

1320

50

12

These additional figures pose some interesting questions, most notably where did the extra 2,000 birds in January come from? A summer plumage bird was at Levington, Jan. 2nd. Spring passage was very light with peak counts of 12 River Orwell, Apr. 23rd; 11 Havergate, Apr. 23rd; nine River % t h , May 13th and seven Minsmere, June 14th. There were no further reports until July 8th, when one flew S off Landguard, but it w as not until August that significant totals were recorded e.g. 54 River Stour, 2nd and 30 south off Landguard, 15th. Larger arrivals were recorded in October with 256 R. Stour 15th and 50 Minsmere, 30th. Southerly movements off Landguard totalled 138 in October and 152 in November. There were no inland records this year. SANDERLING Calidris alba First winter period totals were higher than in 1988. Fagbury reinforced its status as the best locality in the County for the species with a peak of 46 Feb. 21st; elsewhere, there were 22 Gorleston, Jan. 27th; 12 R. Stour, Jan. 8th and ten Ness Pt, Lowestoft, J an. 1st. 61


Spring passage was recorded between April and June; totals were generally disappoin: ng with max. counts of 12 Landguard, Apr. 24th; eight Southwold, Apr. 23rd and se en Minsmere, May 17th. There was an interesting sequence of reports inland at Lack! >rd with singles in May on 1st, 11th and 15th, followed by a group of eight June 18th, wh ch is the County's largest recorded inland gathering. The only mid-summer record on he coast was at Minsmere, June 21st.

on July 30th, with 18 at Southwold and eight at Benacre, and Aug. 15th when 29 fl w S off Landguard. Very few were noted in the second winter period with maxima of five Benacre, Die. 17th; four Lowestoft, Dec. 17th and only two Fagbury, Nov. 6th. L I T T L E STINT Calidris minuta A wintering bird was at Cattawade, Brantham, from at least Dec. 23rd 1988 to Fe). 2nd (CBA, HRB, JL). Exceptionally early birds at Havergate, Mar. 25th to 29th and Minsmere, Apr. 3rd (tw i) and Apr. 7th heralded an excellent spring passage in which up to 50 were recorded. Reports were received from seven coastal sites and inland at Lackford. May was the peak mon h with max. site totals of seven Minsmere, 3rd; five Havergate, 30th and four Walberswicx, 14th. Levington's peak of three was as late as June 20th and at Minsmere one or two lingered up to June 27th. Autumn passage from July 13th was at an average level, peaking in late August wiih ten Minsmere, 27th; seven Havergate, 31st and five Walberswick, 28th. In September, up to seven were on Havergate throughout the month and six Minsmere, 14th. There weie only two October records, the latest being an ad. at Benacre Broad, 18th. The sole inland autumn record was at Lackford, July 17th. T E M M I N C K ' S STINT Calidris temminckii A good spring passage but no autumn birds for the second consecutive year. The Cavenham bird is the first inland record since 1983. Walberswick: May 19th (CSW). Minsmere: May 10th (DC); May 24th (JMC, EWP). Cavenham: G.P., May 28th (CGRB et al). pre 1950 many

1950s 15

1960s 40

1970s 43

1980s 51

At the turn of the century, the species was commonly seen on passage, being described by Ticehurst (1932) as "very regular". Although still an annual visitor to the County it has become rather scarce and active observers may be hard pressed to obtain an annual sighting./ 62


V ( I T E - R U M P E D S A N D P I P E R Calidris fuscicollis M smere: ad. July 28th to 30th (JMC, E W P , DW et al).

ar

typically dated ad. of this Nearctic species constitutes Suffolk's first record since 1984 the 12th overall.

P C T O R A L S A N D P I P E R Calidris melanotos m o d e r a t e s h o w i n g of t h i s N e a r c t i c / E a s t P a l e a r c t i c s p e c i e s , he L a k e n h e a t h r e c o r d is t h e f i r s t inland s i g h t i n g s i n c e 1 9 7 7 . W berswick: Sept. 15th to 19th (CSW). M smere: imm. Sept. 28th (CDK, CJT). L nheath: July 14th (DC). pre 1950 7

1950s 5

1960s 7

1970s 11

1980s 41

he steady increase in occurrences during the 1980s conforms to the national trend, w ch also shows a significant rise in the number of records on the east coast of England (I mond, Fraser and Gantlett, 1989). C

9: Ji Âť te o' :

R L E W S A N D P I P E R Calidris

ferruginea

he only spring records were in May at Benacre, 21st; Walberswick, 16th and Minsmere, (two) and 22nd. Mid-summer birds were noted at Levington, June 29th and Minsmere, e 24th (two) and July 3rd. X poor, and exclusively coastal, autumn passage commenced July 17th. The peak totals re six Havergate, Aug. 16th and 17th and only three Minsmere, July 26th. All the indicans are of a poor breeding season with very few juveniles being reported. The last sighting the year was of two Minsmere, Sept. 21st. R P L E S A N D P I P E R Calidris

maritima

Monthly maxima at Lowestoft, the species' principal site in Suffolk, were: J 30

F 24

M

A 35

M 11

J 1

J 1

1

A 1

S 2

O 14

N 23

D 17

The max. first winter period total of 35 occurred as late as Mar. 23rd; the same period ax. in 1988 was also in late March and might indicate the presence of additional passage birds at this time. One with an injured leg remained until June 1st at Ness Pt, Lowestoft, to where a juv. had returned on the early date of July 20th. The November peak again Probably indicates the presence of passage birds. m

63


At the other end of the County, one or two were noted irregularly at Landguan up to May 6th. One S off Landguard, July 30th, is the first site record for that month and was followed by singles on the jetty, Aug. 29th and Sept. 3rd, the latter bird bearii g a coloured ring. Seawatchers recorded four S off Landguard in October and two in Noven ber and two were on the Landguard jetty from Nov. 23rd to Dec. 1st. In addition, one to three were reported from Corton, Benacre Pits (Aug. 28th), Ben; ere Broad, South wold, Sizewell and Felixstowe seafront. DUNLIN Calidris

alpina

Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Lackford

J 808 96 1060 2153 7900 8673 NIL

F 1063 25 1304 1817 7836 11636 22

M 1880 45 1854 1820 824 2680 7

50 1137 960 918 1296 3

20690

23703

9110

4364

TOTALS

A

A

177 1433 4

S 297 109 601 18 562 2395 6

1734

3988

120 — —

0 90 883 186 997 5254 3

N 469 180 612 1273 5204 11833 1

D 540 100 898 1791 8975 9118 NIL

7413

19572

21422

-

As with 1988, these figures clearly show a peak in February and a big arrival betwi sn the October and November counts. Additional first winter period totals included up to 420 at a roost adjacent to the A12/A1152 roundabout at Melton in January (see Rim sd Plover) and 170 Aldeburgh Marshes, Feb. 2nd. Low water totals on the three southern estuaries were: Deben Orwell Stour

J 4013 8512 14995

F 3561 7814 11287

M 3619 1248 1543

A 379 648 1943

A _ — 877

78 962

Low Water T O T A L S High Water T O T A L S

27520 18726

22662 21289

6410 5324

2970 3174

877 1433

1040 2957

S O N E _ _ _ _ 1608 8652 8396 4002 10943 13032 5610 6251

19595 17037

21428 18093

These figures clearly show that many more birds were using these estuaries for feedi ig rather than roosting during the peak winter months, but their destination at high-tide is unknown. There was an excellent spring passage particularly at Walberswick where there were 200 Mar. 27th increasing to 770 May 4th. Additional figures included 108 Minsmere, May 21st and at Havergate 490 Apr. 2nd and 395 May 21st. Up to six at Minsmere in the second half of June probably oversummered at this site where the species was recorded daily throughout July with a max. count of 82 July 19th. At other sites birds arrived in early July e.g. three Lackford, 10th and four Benacre, 2nd. Havergate's early autumn maxima were 127 in July and 280 in August. Landguard's seawatchers recorded 100 flying S in July and 49 in August, but it was not until late October that significant southerly movements were recorded, especially on 28th when there were 1,200 Minsmere/Sizewell and 7,390 Landguard. This latter total was part of the site's monthly total of 9,621 which was followed by 2,139 in November; these large seawatching totals probably explain the major increases on the estuaries at this time. As well as the Lackford records, there were inland sightings of one to three in March, July and August at Livermere, Lakenheath Washes and Haverhill. A leucistic bird was at Martlesham Creek, Dec. 28th. R U F F Philomachus pugnax There was no lekking or any other evidence of breeding this year, but up to six were at a coastal site in June. The only first winter period reports were of seven Levington, Jan. 1st and one or two at Minsmere in February. 64


â&#x20AC;˘ ite 7: Male Red Crested Pochard photographed at Lackford Wildfowl Reserve.


Plate 9: The Breckland breeding population of the Stone Curlew now stands at 90 pai

n a i e iÂŤ: Lapwing on nest at Icklingham.


ring passage commenced in mid-March and extended through to the first week of Minsmere was the principal site with peak monthly totals of 13 Mar. 25th; 16 Apr. and 14 May 7th; elsewhere, on the coast there were 13 Walberswick, May 22nd. land, there were frequent reports from Lackford during Apr. 8th to May 30th with a r, ax. of eight, May 21st; additional inland reports were from Lakenheath, four Mar. 21 and two Mar. 31st and Livermere, May 5th. Return passage commenced as early as July 2nd, when there were four at Havergate an two at Benacre, but generally from mid-July at other sites. Minsmere's July peak was 18 >n 21st, but it was not until August that the species was recorded at several coastal siL1- â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Minsmere again dominated with a total of 20 Aug. 12th. The only inland reports wc t all in August at Lackford, 19th; Haverhill, 23rd and Framlingham, 13th to 15th. Jtals decreased sharply in September with Minsmere's maximum reaching only five, bu in contrast 11 were at Gedgrave 17th. There were one to three at four coastal sites in ctober including one S off Landguard, 29th. Finally, there were singles at Minsmere, N 16th and Sudbourne, Dec. 8th.

Ju 14

JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus iter a good showing in 1988 it is disappointing to report that relatively few were noted tha- year.

During January to March, one or two were at nine coastal sites and inland at Lakenheath "d Lackford; the only bright note came from Shotley Marshes where there were up to nine in January. Passage birds were reported in April at Landguard, 14th and on four dates at Minsmere up to 22nd. An early autumn bird was at Sudbourne, Sept. 17th, and on Oct. 15th four were recorded during the Aide complex BoEE count. Singles were at only four coastal sites October to December, but in the latter month there were four at Gisleham. Inland, singles were at ÂŤworth and Lackford in November and December. a

65


SNIPE Gallinago gallinago The breeding information received relates to only 26 prs at seven inland and five co< stal sites — it is hoped that these figures do not accurately reflect the actual breeding situât m. Pakefield Benacre Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford TOTALS

J 120 22 32 149 112 258 9 4 6

F 100 100 43 41 154 74 71 33 17 6

M 150 40 20 160 50 32 154 35 17 2

63 80 8 29 1 3 2

35

712

639

660

186

A

A

S —

130

7 6 23 12

60 NIL 25 40 19 15 20 27 15

83

221

— —

N

O —

D —

60 62 13 38 25 13 12

159 NIL 74 35 21 24 10 20 4

20 NIL 29 80 9 40 42 40 25

353

347

285

The significantly lower totals during October to December than those during Janu ry to March are possibly explained by the arid nature of many sites following the exception, ly dry summer and autumn. The Pakefield birds were present on sports pitches, within the Pontin's Holiday Car p, and in January 71 were ringed on the Shotley Marshes. Only six spring migrants were noted at Landguard during Mar. 8th to Apr. 7th, I ut between Aug. 19th and Nov. 24th at least 36 were recorded there, mostly flying S, includ lg seven Oct. 29th. One visited a garden in Walpole on several occasions during October and Novemb r. W O O D C O C K Scolopax rusticóla There were more reports of roding from the north-west of the County this year w th at least 16 at eight sites, including six on Knettishall Heath. On the coast 15 were not ;d at eight sites and at least two prs were in the Haverhill area. Many reports were received of one to three from throughout the County during the fi st winter period. Spring migrants were noted at several sites in March and included sing in an Ipswich garden, 21st and at Ness Pt, Lowestoft, 12th; four passed through Landguat J, 4th to 21st. Few autumn migrants were recorded e.g. only five at Landguard during Oct. 28th <o Nov. 18th; one flew in from off the sea at Ness Pt, Lowestoft, Nov. 1st. Likewise, few were reported during the second winter period, but they did include 13 Sweffling, Nov. 19th and " m a n y " , King's Forest, November and December. B L A C K - T A I L E D G O D W I T Limosa limosa One or two prs showed territorial behaviour at a coastal site, but the only known nest failed. Blyth Minsmere Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour TOTALS

J NIL NIL 10 70 8 1080 1168

F NIL 10 26 333 28 680 1077

M 10 150 55 350 56 17 638

A

M

J

3 135 168

15 19 5 20

17 43 4

160 300 119 885

NIL

-

64

59

J 22 122 185 28 20 7 384

A —

76 213 101 60 680 1130

S NIL 2 42 143 38 638 863

O —

N NIL

1577

NIL 12 5 335 507

1654

859

1 11 24 41

D NIL 1 9 46 170 203 429

There was direct evidence indicating movement between the estuaries; on Mar. 19th a flock of 350 at Hemley on the Deben was seen to fly off towards the south-west i.fiin the direction of the lower Orwell and Stour — a short while later they were seen heading high over Levington towards the Stour. 66


>w-tide counts on the three southern estuaries were: Deben Orwell Stour L H

.de TOTALS de TOTALS

A

M

I

J 34 480 903

F 74 51 287

M 5 379 120

128 3

-

1417 1158

412 1041

504 423

131 419

J

A

S

O

N

D

348

20 924

120 1935

2077 1011

416 1708

348 680

944 676

2055 1618

3088 842

2124 373

uring the second winter period it would appear that many more were using the estuaries for feeding rather than roosting — the high-tide destination of these additional birds is as et unknown. The figure of 2,077 on the Orwell in November is a new County record to; ii; unfortunately the November low-tide counts were not carried out simultaneously so we cannot be sure that over 3,000 were using our estuaries in that month. aring migrants arrived in force in late March e.g. 150, Minsmere, 30th; 100, Walbersw k, 27th and inland at Haverhill on 28th (nine), 30th (four) and 31st (two). A strong pa age was recorded up to mid-April e.g. 300, R. Orwell, 11th; 168, R. Aide, 9th; 160, R )eben, 9th and 135, Minsmere, 14th; inland, a " p a r t y " was at Haverhill, 12th and or at Lackford, 9th; totals declined after mid-April. i early June, ten headed north-east over Walberswick, 1st, 17 were on the Blyth estuary, 4t and 26, Minsmere, 2nd; at the latter site the total had increased to 43 by June 16th. )ur on the Aide estuary, June 23rd are likely to have been early returning birds, but it as not until July and August that larger totals were recorded at the coastal sites as si; vn in the first table. Wintering birds arrived in force from October peaking in November; th Orwell figure in November was composed of 1,072 at Freston and 1,005 at Nacton. B R-TAILED G O D W I T Limosa lapponica here was a scattering on the estuaries in January with max. totals of 12, Aide; 14, D oen; one, Orwell and five, Stour. The 12 on the Aide, Jan. 4th included a summer p!' mage bird. ^n excellent spring passage peaked on Apr. 23rd when there were 53, Minsmere; 95, H 'vergate and 20, Levington and again in early May with 52, Southwold, 6th; 41, M nsmere, 5th and 70, Havergate, 5th. Additional reports were of 34 R. Deben, Apr. 9tn; 35 Snape, May 18th and one inland at Lackford, May 5th. As in 1988, the first returning birds were recorded as early as June 25th when there were 32 on Havergate. Peak autumn totals occurred in August when there were ten Covehithe, 31st; nine Minsmere, 23rd and 20 Havergate, 12th. Seawatchers at Landguard recorded eight in July and 21 in August, which included 19 on 15th. Very few were noted during the second winter period. The largest monthly site totals were all at Havergate with 12 October; six November and 17 December. One roosted with gulls on the car park at the North Denes, Lowestoft, Sept. 11th and on Oct. 28th. ^ UIMBREL Numenius phaeopus Early arrivals were recorded in March: two Minsmere, 26th and 27th; nine Thorpeness, :7 t h and inland at Haverhill on 28th, seven, 29th and four, 30th. At the last site a further >1 were recorded in April up to 12th. During the main phase of spring passage there were widespread reports from the coastal region. Peak totals in April were 11 Reydon, 30th; 14 Minsmere, 23rd and 30 Thorpeness, -4th; in May, 36 were on Havergate, 11th and 50 at Thorpeness, 6th. Nineteen flew past Landguard in May, including 11 on 11th. Additional inland reports came from Livermere, A Pr. 13th and Lackford, May 8th. Late spring birds were at Minsmere, June 1st and 10th and the first autumn bird was at Havergate, June 24th. Reports became widespread on the coast from mid July. Southerly movements at Landguard totalled 33 in July from 7th and 62 in August, but the peak autumn 67


passage took place at Minsmere, Aug. 5th, when 100 flew past in three hours and it Slaughden where 49 were noted on the same day. Additional notable gatherings, all n August, were 31 Minsmere, 20th; 30 Havergate, 12th; 22 Lowestoft, 13th and 22 Shotle , 12th. Relatively few were noted in September, but there was a final flurry of activity in la e October when birds flew south at Landguard, 27th and five at Sizewell, 27th and 12, 29 h (JB). C U R L E W Numenius arquata Maximum monthly counts were: Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 33 425 717 825 1065

F 33 633 772 904 544

M 5 721 673 431 920

A

M

J 4 52 38

521 429 441 501

28 68

-

263

TOTALS

3065

2886

2750

1892

96

357

J

A

748

250 66 308 1896

S 66 623 337 578 1313

1110

2520

2917

85 —

in

0 484 876 962 1065

N 95 342 779 511 773

3.9 4'5 12,4

3387

2500

23'5

D

03 2i A

Individual site totals in the first winter period included 300 Sudbourne, Jan. 30th; 300 Levington, Feb. 5th and 340 Shotley Marshes, Apr. 9th. It seems likely that the 840 th t flew S past Landguard, Feb. 11th were moving between estuaries. Spring movements peaked in late April and in particular on 23rd when Landguard s in-house insomniacs estimated that 100s passed over during a six hour nocturnal passag The first autumn birds had returned by early June with four on the R. Blyth, 4th ar, 1 one S off Landguard, 6th. By 25th, 263 were back on the R. Stour, a site which dominate 1 the monthly counts during the autumn with an early peak of 1,896, Aug. 20th. Inlani. groups of 20 were noted over Haverhill, Aug. 21st and 25th. Breeding season reports from seven Breckland sites indicated an overall total of up to ten prs. S P O T T E D REDSHANK Tringa erythropus Monthly maxima at Minsmere and Walberswick were as follows: J 4 NIL

Walberswick Minsmere

F — NIL

M

A 1 3

M 6 15

J 3 38

12 10

J 14 70

A 4 81

S 67 50

O — 34

N — 5

O NIL

First winter period reports were restricted to singles at Havergate, Jan. 7th and Blythburgh, Feb. 19th and up to four at Walberswick in January. Spring passage birds were noted between Mar. 14th and May 20th; max. site totals on the coast were 15 Minsmere, Apr. 8th; 12 Walberswick, May 4th and 11 R. Blyth, Apr 30th. Singles at Livermere, May 6th and 7th and Lackford, May 18th to 20th are the first inland spring records since 1984. Autumn passage commenced at Minsmere, June 7th and numbers peaked at 81, Aug. 17th — a new County record figure; Walberswick's peak of 67 occurred on Sept. 2nd. Away from these two principal sites there were autumn passage reports from eleven coastal localities; totals included ten Benacre, July 2nd; six Covehithe, Aug. 28th; five Levington, July 5th and two S past Landguard, Aug. 13th. Away from the coast singles were at Lackford, July 11th and Alton Water, Aug. 17th. REDSHANK Tringa totanus Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 357 501 1437 1254 905

F 697 670 1903 1153 875

M 551 1128 1028 358 503

A

M

787 949 549 716

TOTALS

4454

5298

3568

3001

J

60 —

110 137

100 259

535 941

S 298 753 1417 869 856

60

247

594

1677

4193

68

J —

235 —

A —

201 —

720 1362 905 1010

N 579 1458 1657 772 617

D 195 508 888 445 335

3997

5083

2371

O —


Low-water totals o n the t h r e e s o u t h e r n e s t u a r i e s w e r e : Dcben Orwell Stour

J 1076 1718 1289

F 1290 969 675

M 998 1412 767

L. Water TOTALS H Water TOTALS

4083 3596

2934 3931

3177 1889

A

M

J

470 520 226

1216 2214

— -

J

1206

S O N 1148 1599 1439 1532 1120 1353

— -

— -

1206 941

2680 1725

-

-

-

A -

2719 1915

2792 1389

D 1958 949 2907 780

The high-water figures show higher totals in February and April than in 1988; the autumn i gures are very close to those of 1988, except for the inexplicable decline in December, which is not reflected in the low-water totals. From the latter it would appear that, with the exception of February and April, more birds were feeding on the estuaries than were i costing there. Of the 72 breeding prs reported from the coastal region, 30 were at Minsmere and 23 ai Walberswick. Birds were also recorded in the breeding season from seven Breckland sites and a pr bred successfully at Lackford. Inland totals included 31 Lackford, May 21st and 20 Lakenheath, Mar. 31st. ( • REENSHANK Tringa nebularia One on the Deben estuary in February was the only first winter report. What is assumed to have been a migrant was at Minsmere, Mar. 29th to 31st, but there ere no more until the third week of April. May witnessed the largest gatherings with Walberswick, 4th; nine Minsmere, 14th and eight, Havergate, 3rd. Birds occurred land at Lackford, Livermere, Ixworth Thorpe and Haverhill between Apr. 27th and May 28th; max. site totals were four Lackford, May 2nd and two Livermere, May 21st. Spring migrants were recorded up to June 8th. One at Minsmere, June 17th is likely to have been an early autumn bird as were further singles there on June 25th and 28th, at Levington, June 22nd and Lackford, June 30th. The autumn's largest gatherings were mainly on the estuaries: Benacre Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water

J 11 7 9 1 5 12 1

A 8 7 10 14 4 66 4

S 13 5 14 4 4 36 13

0 7 2 7 22 NIL 9 7

N NIL NIL NIL NIL NIL 4 NIL

TOTALS

46

113

89

54

4

Ten at Walberswick, Sept. 2Ist, was the only other significant count. Inland reports were received from only three sites; the max. gatherings were four Cavenham, Aug. 20th and four at Lackford as late as Oct. 16th. The only second winter period report referred to one at Alton Water, Dec. 16th. GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Another mild first winter period must have greatly assisted the 34 individuals which were located at 20, mainly coastal, sites up to early March. Four were recorded on the R Aide BoEE count, Jan. 8th and three at Lackford, during January. Spring passage was on a larger scale than in 1988 with reports from 23 widespread sites during March to May 21st. Notable gatherings were six, Sproughton, Mar. 31st; five, Long Melford, Mar. 30th and five, Lackford during April. Individuals at Minsmere, May 27th and Lakenheath, May 28th could have been oversummering, but it seems likely that reports from Lackford, June 5th and Alton Water, June 6th refer to early autumn migrants. Passage totals were generally low until the period ro>d August to mid September, when reports included 15, Aide BoEE count, Sept. 17th; '2, Martlesham Creek, Aug. 20th; 11 Alton Water, Sept. 8th; ten, Minsmere, Aug. 17th; n, ne, Lackford during August and seven, Framlingham Mere, Aug. 15th. 69


Migrants trickled through to early November. On the Oct. 15th BoEE count there were seven, Alton Water; six R. Aide and five R. Deben. At least 34 were found from Novemt ;r onwards including the impressive total of eight Alton Water, Dec. 26th — the very m id weather and low water levels at the reservoir at this time provided ideal conditions f >r the species. WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola There was a better showing than in 1988, particularly in the autumn. For the first tir e since 1982, there were no April records; however, six were noted in May, three on the coast and three inland. Walberswick: 18th to 21st. Minsmere: 11th and 12th; 19th. Lackford: 20th. Bury St. Edmunds: R. Linnet, 14th. Haverhill: Flood Park, 16th.

There were none in June and only one in July, and at most sites passage was restrict! J solely to August. The largest gathering of the year was six at Havergate. Walberswick: Aug. 28th and Sept. 2nd. Minsmere: July 13th; Aug. 6th; two Aug. 17th and 24th; two Sept. 25th to 30th; five Sept. 28t : two Oct. 1st to 3rd; one Oct. 4th to 7th.

Havergate: six Aug. 27th. Framlingham: Mere, Aug. 6th to 8th; two Aug. 13th to 15th. Martlesham: Creek, Aug. 20th and 21st.

Levington: Aug. 8th to 18th. Alton Water: Aug. 15th and 17th. Haverhill: Flood Park, with Green Sandpipers. Aug. 19th.

The main passage through Minsmere, in late September/early October, was not reflecte 1 elsewhere in the County.

COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos The mildness of the first winter period was presumably responsible for there being mor overwintering birds than usual; up to early March, singles were noted at Lake Lothing Oulton Broad, Melton, Bramford and Felixstowe Docks and two at Benacre and Alton Water. Singles in late March at Bramford, 28th; Melton, 30th and Haverhill, 31st, could have been early arrivals — otherwise the first spring migrant flew N off Landguard, Apr. 8th Spring passage took place up to June 7th, but although migrants were widespread numbers were generally low; peaks of six occurred in May at Reydon, 14th; Minsmere, 15th and Lackford, 6th to 8th and 21st. There has been no record of nesting in the County since 1929, so it is encouraging to report the presence of a displaying pair in the Stour Valley in late May — hopefully they will return. It is difficult to assign a migratory status to the two at Ixworth Thorpe, June 15th, but autumn birds were noted from the first week of July. Passage was described as being disappointing; peak totals at three well-watched sites, followed by the corresponding 1988 figures were: eight, Minsmere (21), eight, Lackford (20) and nine, Felixstowe Ferry (18). This year's largest gatherings were all on BoEE counts with 23 R. Deben, Sept. 17th; 16 R. Orwell, Aug. 20th and 16 R. Stour, Aug. 20th. Most migrants had passed through by mid-October. Birds were noted in late November at Brantham, 19th; Boyton, 24th, Minsmere, 25th and Levington, 27th (two), but not subsequently. In December, singles were at Benacre, Melton and Bramford and two were at Alton Water. 70


T JRNSTONE Arenaria

interpres

A . ie/Ore D;ben O well St.-.ur

J 5 17 148 494

F 15 16 204 272

M NIL 18 155 479

A 2 23 143 368

M 9 3 18 —

TOTALS

664

507

652

536

30

J

J

5

5 6

165 446

S 4 3 200 341

5

11

631

548

-

A 20 —

O 18 9 215 256

N NIL 2 243 422

D 4 19 442 343

498

667

808

These figures are generally lower than those of 1988, but they still clearly illustrate th importance of the Orwell and Stour estuaries for the species. Away from the coast o; e was found accompanying Lapwings on a ploughed field at Westerfield, Feb. 10th. \ light spring passage peaked in May with ten Minsmere, 8th; ten Walberswick, 11th a ,d five Alton Water, 13th. The only inland record also occurred in May, at Lackford, 7t I. Passage birds lingered into early June, but those located later in the month at Minsmere, 1 th and on the Stour, five, 25th, were probably oversummering. \utumn migration, from July 10th, was mainly recorded by seawatchers and estuary c unters. The peak day for southerly passage was July 30th, when our growing band of st ¡watchers recorded totals of 70 and 48 past Southwold and Landguard respectively. In A gust, 61 were noted flying south at Landguard and this month saw the first three figure t als of the autumn on the estuaries, notably 446 on the Stour, 20th. !n December, 36 were counted at a roost near the Alton Water dam, 17th and 30 were ft' ding in fields at Carlton Col ville, 28th. An interesting aspect of roosting behaviour was noted at Lowestoft Harbour, Jan. 1st, v len, in darkness, ten were observed roosting on yacht mooring ropes and when disturbed î w onto the flat roof of an adjacent amusement arcade. On Mar. 20th, 65 were roosting s le by side on the mooring ropes. J ED-NECKED PHALAROPE Phalaropus

lobatus

Mnsmere: The Scrape, cr June 4th (RSPB).

The single record is about par for the course and this individual, although seen by many visitors to Minsmere reserve, was present for only a few minutes as it ran the gauntlet amongst the breeding Avocets. pre 1950 c25

1950s 28

1960s 30

1970s 28

1980s 18

A noticeable decline in records over the past decade no doubt reflects the diminishing reeding population in the south of its range (Cramp and Simmons et al, 1983). Annual totals of up to nine passage birds, last recorded in 1976, may be gone forever. ;

GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicarius Many observers added this species to their Suffolk lists during the protracted presence the Minsmere bird in September and October; for the other birds it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Southwold: S Nov. 8th (JMC, EWP). Minsmere: Sept. 9th to 23rd and presumably the same bird, Sept. 29th to Oct. 2nd (RSPB). Havergate: Sept. 7th (RSPB). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Oct. 31st (DC, SHP).

There were two December records of probable Grey Phalaropes, which occurred during the same period as a massive influx of Leach's Petrels to Britain (alas, none in Suffolk). However, from the details submitted in both cases the SORC could not, with any confidence, rule out Red-necked Phalaropes. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Dec. 19th (JAD).

Trimley St. Martin: Loampit Lake, Dec. 17th (RB). 71


POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus One at the sewer outlet off Ness Pt, Lowestoft Feb. 2nd to 17th and two three Fe! 18th and 19th are the first ever February records for Suffolk. T h e r e w e r e n o spring r e c o r d s , but a u t u m n m o v e m e n t w a s well s p r e a d b e t w e e n the en 1 of July t o early N o v e m b e r .

Corton: ad. Oct. 8th. Lowestoft: Ness Pt, Feb. 2nd to 17th, two Feb. 18th and 19th, S July 30th S Aug. 1st, 10th ai 1 11th, two Aug. 6th, N Sept. 4th, N Oct. 27th, 30th and 31st. Covehithe: N Aug. 10th and 13th, two N Aug. 18th, S Aug. 28th, two N Sept. 3rd, N Sept. lit! two N Sept. 28th; two S Oct. 8th.

South wold: three N Nov. 2nd, N Nov. 11th. Minsmere: ad. July 23rd, S Sept. 27th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, ad. S Aug. 12th, N Sept. 28th, Oct. 7th, 28th and 31st, three N Oct. 27t!

ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus The only spring record was of two off Minsmere, Apr. 23rd. Autumn passage extended from early July to mid-November, but was at its heavie during August with peaks on 10th, when 20 flew S off Covehithe and 27th when at lea 76 moved S there. Small flurries were noted during the first weeks of September and Octobc and singletons were reported daily up to Nov. 11th. LONG-TAILED SKUA Stercorarius

longicaudus

C o i n c i d i n g with the u p s u r g e in s e a w a t c h i n g in north-east S u f f o l k , the s p e c i e s is now being more frequently reported. Lowestoft: Ness Pt, first winter, Oct. 4th (EWP).

Covehithe: imm. July 16th (JMC, JBH, SL), juv. Oct. 7th (DC, MM, SHP). 72


( «EAT SKUA Stercorarius skua A good year with at least 50 individuals noted offshore. Singles at Southwold, Apr. 16th and Havergate, June 29th were the only records for the first half of the year. Autumn passage extended from July 12th to Nov. 4th and was rather more pronounced tf an usual. Records, covering 22 days within the period, were evenly distributed along the coast, but there were definite peaks on Aug. 11th when 11 flew N off Covehithe (in S iV winds) and Sept. 11th, when three were reported at Corton and Southwold, four N erf Covehithe and two off Landguard. Four S off Covehithe, Oct. 8th and four N off 1 iwestofit on 27th were the only other notable counts. Singles noted at Covehithe, Felixstowe a d Landguard, Nov. 4th, could all have referred to the same bird. One at Benacre on Oct. 10th bathed in the Broad before roosting on the beach. ' EDITERRANEAN GULL Larus 1 westoft

J 1

ad.

F 1

l y r l I nacre

1

insmere

M _

melanocephalus A _

M

J

1

1

1 —

2 yr 1 l y r — 2 yr 1

1 1 _

1 1

_

ad. 1 yr

1 —

— 1

2

2

1 lixstowe

1 —

ad.

l

y

2 yr

2

_

r

_

_

_

_

_

_

_

_

-

2

_

A _

1 _ _ —

_

_

1

1 1

1

1

_ — i

_ _

— _

1

i _

O

N 1

D 1

-

1 — 1

— 1 _

1 _ —

i

2 _ _

1 1

S

_

1

_ _

— 1

1

_

_

— _ _

1 —

i

J

_

1 _

1

_

1

_ 1

1 _

1 _

_

_

_ 2

_ i

2 _

_

The table covers the main areas favoured by the species. There were a few reports from her localities, which may have involved birds wandering from these areas. Interchange ;tween Benacre and Lowestoft is likely and records for Pakefield, Sizewell and Levington e included in the respective Lowestoft, Minsmere and Felixstowe totals.

It would appear that a min. of 16 birds was recorded and again during all months of the year, even if the East German-ringed ad., which again oversummered at Felixstowe, 's excluded. The only inland record came from Bramford where an adult was present on Dec. 20th and 30th. 73


An adult in f.s.p. was calling and apparently displaying to a Black-headed Gull at Southwold on May 24th and presumably the summering Felixstowe bird was one of pidisplaying on the roof of the Spa Pavilion in late May. A first winter bird was seen to eat a tea-bag at Lowestoft. LITTLE GULL Larus minutus The only record for the first winter period was of an imm. at Benacre, Jan. 14th. Spring passage was light with maxima of six, Minsmere, Apr. 23rd; 12 Benacre. Ma 14th and, inland, three f.s.p. ads Livermere, May 4th and seven Lackford, May 5th Autumn passage commenced during the first few days of July with a peak on 16th when 26 moved N off Covehithe. Numbers remained about average until Aug. 27th when 3 flew N and six S at Pakefield. A strong passage occurred between Sept. 4th and 11th, max. counts being 14 S off Cortor 4th, 23 and 48 N off Covehithe, on 9th and 10th, respectively, and 24 N Corton, 11th Early October produced higher counts with 66 N off Corton, 26 N off Southwold an 64 off Covehithe, all on 9th, and 20 N off Corton and 35 off Lowestoft on 10th. During November, ones and twos were noted almost daily, with the exception of tw< N and 14 S at Southwold on 2nd. Single ads in December were noted at Minsmere, 13th Southwold, 17th and Sizewell throughout the month, with six there on 26th. SABINE'S GULL Larus sabini A n o t h e r g o o d y e a r with t w o a u t u m n r e c o r d s as f o l l o w s : Corton: ad. in f.s.p. feeding close inshore with Little Gulls, Sept. 4th (JHG). Lowestoft: Ness Pt, juv. N Aug. 28th (MDC, JHG). pre 1950 5

1950s I

1960s 3

1970s 8

1980s 18

The above table shows the frequency of records, but the upsurge is probably due t( increased vigilance rather than an increase in occurrences. BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus Blyth Aide Minsmere De ben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford TOTALS

J 10 2234 —

F 160 1354

_

2176 4300 380 364 3000

5462 1964 2041 233

12464

11214

M 540 1676 —

ridibundus A

J

1976

1053

2189 3635 1090 110

2411 1629 777 33

9240

6826

_ — —

_

A — —

1183 —

1730 1331

_

S 450 1840 —

2273 1153 868 —

O —

1511 —

N 180 1113 —

4244

6584

1540 3433 821 221

1474 1481 496 244

1492 3381 796 115 10000

7526

4988

16125

-

1053

D 50 291

The only counts from the breeding colonies were 115 prs, which reared a min. 75 young at Minsmere; 35 prs at Orfordness, 300 prs on Butley River and 700 prs on the R. Blyth The latter colony was twice washed out by high tides. An ad. was seen to swallow a Field Vole Microtus agrestis at Aldeburgh, Feb. 5th. COMMON GULL Larus canus 1

_

F

_ _

M

_ _

A

M 100 55

A

_

S

O

N

_

_ _

28 19 87 96 275

29 54 71 87 300

Benacre Minsmere Aide Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

53 115 117 87 251 100

39 56 142 118 140

38 46 595 144 227

45 30 18 36 39 44

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

TOTALS

723

495

212

159

107

168

505

541

1050

37 —

_ 4

_

74

20 50

_ 36 14 104 14

_

D — —

17 47 43 50 60 —

217


The Orfordness breeding colony numbered eight prs from which one chick was ringed, hedging success is unknown. Passage was poorly documented with Landguard logging the only four-figure count, iz. 1,000 S Nov. 16th. ESSER BLACK-BACKED G U L L Larus cnacre linsmere vide • >eben ! rwell •tour ilton Water Melford/Acton ackford <entford OTALS

J 2 2 35 14 13 7 1

F 1 1 21 7 2 57 NIL 50

M 3 —

1059 55 8 14 NIL 20

A 34 81 4679 27 5 25 200

fuscus M

J 51 78

40 —

_

J

A 25

100

-

_ _

3

— —

20 41

O

N

D

16 118 6 5 67 3

S —

1 84 42 32 9

79 3 5 22 2

14 6 2 NIL 22

10

10

10

50

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

180

-

-

-

124

139

139

110

266

169

Ill

1159

5051

53

1

44

16 -

231

The table shows the good number of birds wintering and the increase on the R. Aide ; s birds return to their breeding colonies. Away from the estuaries there were few counts ibmitted. There was little change in the population of the mixed Herring/Lesser Black-backed iull colony on Orfordness, except, perhaps, for an increase in the proportion of the latter, vhich is now thought to be in the region of 75% (RCB). A full survey in 1990 will reveal tie true figure. A regular overland movement of Herring/Lesser Black-backed Gulls was noted in the ynn Valley, Witnesham, flying W soon after dawn and E at dusk. On Feb. 3rd, a total of 800 was noted flying E, in a 30 minute period, of which 60% were Herring Gulls and -0% Lesser Black-backs. The birds were thought to be commuting between Bramford uandfill Site and their roost at Orfordness. Birds showing characters of the race L.f. intermedius were seen as follows: Wakefield: Mar. 1st. ilenacre: three Mar. 5th, two Apr. 16th.

Southwold: Mar. 1st, four May 21st. A bird ringed as a nestling at the B.P. refinery, Rozenburs, Zuid Holland on Mar. 3rd 1982, was found dead at Bramford May 15th 1988. HERRING G U L L Larus

argentatus

Aide Deben Orwell Stour L. Melford/Acton

J 2505 456 108 25 10

F 987 127 178 43 2

M 3517 150 16 70 20

A 4679 100 28 15 20

TOTALS

3104

1337

3773

4842

M

135

S 206 98 136 33

O 205 111 196 31

N 198 128 51 20

D 760 156 67 193

135

473

543

397

1176

A

11

_

-

11

The table shows the concentration of birds on the Aide. Elsewhere, the species was under-recorded and observers are requested to submit all counts to enable the proportion °f Lesser Black-backed/Herring Gulls, particularly at inland feeding stations, to be determined. Birds showing characters of the nominate race L. a. argentatus were noted at follows: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, Jan. 8th. Pakefield: Jan. 20th, Oct. 22nd.

Benacre: Jan. 25th. Southwold: three January and February.

75


Felixstowe: Oct. 18th. Yellow-legged individuals assigned to the race L. a. michahelis were noted at: Pakefield: Mar. 9th Minsmere: Apr. 15th. A bird with a dyed tail at Lowestoft, Dec. 12th 1988, had been marked at Boston Lincolnshire, on Dec. 3rd 1988, where, in the same catch, there were two others whici had been ringed at the Orfordness breeding colony. ICELAND GULL Larus glaucoides An average year with three records: Gorleston/Lowestoft/Benacre: first winter Jan. 5th to Mar. 19th. Minsmere: second summer Apr. 14th to 16th. Felixstowe: ad. 1988 to Apr. 28th and again Oct. 12th to end of the year.

The Felixstowe bird has now wintered annually since 1984 and again made frequen excursions to Landguard. GLAUCOUS GULL Larus hyperboreus Probably between five and eight individuals visited the County during the year. Lowestoft: first winter Jan. 14th to 16th, Feb. 18th and 23rd and Mar. 2nd, another Dec. 1st, secon winter Jan. 7th to 21st, Feb. 19th and Mar. 19th. Benacre: first summer Mar. 5th and Apr. 3rd, second year Mar. 28th. Easton Bavents: unaged Nov. 12th, first winter Dec. 12th. Southwold: first winter Jan. 2nd and 25th, Feb. 14th. Walberswick: first winter Aug. 28th.

Gedgrave: Oct. 25th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, ad. 1988 to Mar. 27th and again Aug. 30th to end of year, Landguar« Pt, ad. S Oct. 15th (different from Felixstowe Ferry bird).

GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Lackford

J 12 48 168 91 28 25 45

TOTALS

417

F 3

M 2

A NIL

marinus

-

-

-

-

D 37 46 121 101 37 201 300

327

386

643

517

843

A —

38

36 28 16 88

26 16 2 29

14 8 1 24

-

171

-

-

75

47

38 205 46

S 17 42 222 14 60 31

0 —

444 46 139 14

N 9 —

400 50 38 20

The Aide is the principal wintering site for this predatory gull. The large numbers at Lackford (as with Lesser Black-backed Gull) are due to the close proximity of the recently established waste disposal site at nearby Hall Heath. The gulls flight into the Wildfowl Reserve to bathe before going to roost. KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla At Lowestoft, after losing the main breeding site, the South Pier Pavilion, and having 40 nests vandalised, 89 prs managed to raise 36 young. The new purpose-built wall held ten prs which produced three young between them — these are included in the above figures. There were marked northerly movements during the autumn as the following counts show: Covehithe: 130 Aug. 1st, 600 Aug. 27th, 500 Sept. 9th, 600 Sept. 10th, 110 Oct. 2nd, 300 (in I hr) Oct. 15th, 51 Oct. 18th. Inland, an ad. was at Lackford from Mar. 15th to Apr. 7th and an imm. was found dead at Livermere, Dec. 2nd. 76


ASPIAN T E R N Sterna caspia The following records take the County's tally to 27. ackford: Wildfowl Reserve, May 30th (SB, CJ, TPK et al). 987 Minsmere: June 13th (MKA, DWH, PAS). The Lackford bird was present for two hours, initially resting on a sand-bank and later Âżen fishing. The 1987 record brings the total for that year to four, making it Suffolk's best year mce 1967 when there were six. A N D W I C H T E R N Sterna sandvicensis An extremely poor year once again with no breeding reported. Apart from up to 65 at Minsmere and Havergate during Aprii and 90 at Minsmere in ily, the only reports of any numbers were autumn passage movements and even these vere below average. Peak counts at Covehithe were: 50 N Aug. 8th, 50 S Aug. 12th and 4 S Sept. 28th. The log at Landguard shows that the total count for the whole of August nd September amounted to a mere 155 birds. One visited Lackford, June 10th, where there were four, Aug. 26th and Sept. lOth. O S E A T E T E R N Sterna dougallii Only two records both involving birds on autumn passage:

Covehithe: S Aug. 27th (JMC, JHG). Southwold: juv. Oct. 6th (RS). The Southwold bird is the latest ever for Suffolk. C O M M O N T E R N Sterna hirundo The breeding population in the County seems to be in a sorry state, with only around 25 prs reported producing a total of 14 young. These figures do not include Havergate w here a peak of 130 birds was present on June 17th. Numbers on both spring and autumn passage were quite low. Landguard recorded around 280 during August and 175 in September and at Lackford 51 were present, Aug. 26th. 77


ARCTIC TERN Sterna

paradisaea

In parallel with the p r e c e d i n g species, n u m b e r s w e r e v e r y l o w . S p r i n g p a s s a g e w a s c o n f i n e d to j u s t five sites with r e c o r d s as f o l l o w s :

Benacre: two May 7th. Covehithe: six May 6th and 12 N May 28th. Minsmere: ad. Apr. 24th and May 5th. L a c k f o r d : singles Apr. 22nd and 27th.

Weybread: four Apr. 21st. Autumn passage began during mid-July with three at Benacre on 11th and one N at Covehithe on 18th. Movement continued until Oct. 9th, but with the exception of 11 N at Covehithe on Aug. 1st, only one to three were counted at any one place on any one day. A late first winter bird was off Landguard, Nov. 4th. Inland, at Lackford, a total of ten birds was noted between Aug. 11th and 28th. LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons One at Havergate, Apr. 8th, is the County's earliest ever, but otherwise the main arrival occurred in the last week of April. Spring peaks were 70 Minsmere, May 17th and 16 Havergate, May 28th. Passage was most evident at the inland localities of Lackford, where up to four were present from May 3rd to 8th, and at Haverhill, where two flew NW with Common Terns, May 14th. A slight increase in the number of breeding prs this year with a minimum of 222. The fledging rate was poor however, with only 79 young known to have survived. This may have been higher as success rate is not known from one site where 28 prs bred. Despite this, the success rate does not compare well with last year's 162 from 206 prs. Reasons given for failure at four of the sites, which held a total of 80 nests, were prĂŠdation by Fox, Weasel and Kestrel as well as human disturbance. A Moorhen is known to have taken chicks at one of the successful sites. Unfortunately, the fencing of colonies had little effect this year. The autumn exodus is best illustrated by the figures from Minsmere, where 108 were present July 2nd (the year's largest gathering), reducing to 59 July 21st and then to two July 29th. A peak of 40 was noted at Havergate, July 8th and 45 were seen on the Stour BoEE count, Aug. 20th. Four more were at Lackford, Aug. 17th and the last of the year was again at Havergate, Sept. 21st. BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger A superb spring passage with an estimated 86 birds passing through Livermere. The maximum here at any one time was 38, May 8th, and later in the month there were ten at Lackford, 21st, seven Lakenheath Washes, 6th, and five Haverhill Flood Park, 14th. The figures from the coast were typically lower with a max. of 11 at Alton Water, May 9th; no other coastal site hosted more than two birds. There were two mid-summer records, possibly involving the same bird, from Benacre, June 17th and 18th and then at Minsmere on the latter date. In contrast, the autumn movement was quite poor and, apart from five flying S at Minsmere, Aug. 20th and nine at Havergate, Sept. 13th, only ones and twos were reported. GUILLEMOT Uria aalge Very few live birds were noted inshore during the first half of the year and very few instances of oiling were reported this year. This was contrary to the headline which appeared in The Evening Star, Jan. 3rd, which stated "scores affected by oil". There were one or two corpses found on the tideline, but if "scores" were found they were quickly disposed of and not reported, although one is tempted to think that the lack of evidence may have been due to the vagaries of the weather rather than a reflection of the true situation. One at Alton Water, Feb. 20th, is the first record for the reservoir. 78


There were some impressive movements of auks (see below) during the autumn and, if the small percentage specifically identified, most were of this species. At least 86 ndividuals were noted, the highest count being 27 from the 210 auks which flew N off 'ovehithe, Oct. 8th. During the second winter period there were ones and twos close inshore and in most iver estuaries and harbours. OJK SP. The year's largest counts, involving birds moving N during the autumn, were obtained as follows: orton: 356 Oct. 9th. ovehithe: 77 Sept. 10th, 47 Sept. 28th, 23 Sept. 29th, 210 Oct. 8th. outhwold: 89 Nov. 2nd, 44 Nov. 8th, 13 Nov. 22nd, 28 Nov. 23rd.

AZORBILL Alca torda There were only four records for the first half of the year, all off NE Suffolk. A total of 52 individuals was noted in offshore auk movements at Corton, Lowestoft, enacre, Covehithe, Southwold and Landguard during the autumn. ITTLE AUK Aile aile

No large scale movements this year. Landguard recorded the only counts of more than two, with 11 S Oct. 20th, five Oct. 28th and eight Nov. 1st. Otherwise, only ones and twos were moving very sporadically between Sept. 10th and Nov. 15th, with most between Oct. 20th and Nov. 1st. The September record refers to an extremely early returning bird was noted during a heavy passage of other seabirds (JHG). Casualties were reported dead or dying at Southwold, Nov. 2nd and Fagbury, Nov. 8th. On Nov. 1st an observer described one on the Lowestoft Oval as "waddling about and being harasssed by other birds". PUFFIN Fratercula arctica A good year by Suffolk standards with at least 12 individuals being noted. Again, the end of September and the beginning of October was the best period to see birds on passage. An ad. N in f.s.p. off Covehithe, May 7th was the only spring record. In the autumn birds were noted as follows: Covehithe: five N Sept. 28th, two Sept. 29th, singletons Oct. 1st and 8th. Southwold: N Nov. 22nd. Bawdsey: Marshes, Oct. 6th. The Bawdsey bird was picked up exhausted and taken to a bird rehabilitation centre at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. 79


STOCK DOVE Columba oenas The unobtrusive nature of this species and a distinct lack of anything but the most cursor/ amount of attention paid to it by observers, traditionally combine to present a tricky problen . Is the species really as scarce as records suggest? Probably not, and the increase in record > coming from 37 parishes as opposed to 20 in 1987 and 24 in 1988 perhaps still underplay s the true picture. The only comment on change of status was from the Felixstowe area, where a steady decline was noted. Largest gatherings noted in the first winter period were meagre, the maxima being 4 ) at Morston Hall, Trimley, Jan. 15th, c25 at Dalham, Mar. 22nd and 19 at Haverhill, Feb 20th. Scant information was received for the second winter period, but did include record ; of flocks of 100 at Falkenham, Dec. 23rd and over 100 at Sudbourne, Dec. 24th. Evidence of spring passage came from Landguard, where seven were noted betwee i Mar. 7th and Apr. 1st. Movement there was more pronounced in autumn, with 26 note 1 between Oct. 24th and Nov. 6th, while seven came in off the sea and flew south at SouthwoM on Nov. 1st, a day of diverse species' passage. WOODPIGEON Columba palumbus Aberrantly-plumaged birds were noted at Felixstowe, Mar. 13th and Apr. 3rd and a: Moulton, Mar. 17th. In each case they showed much white in their plumage. The largest flock recorded was of 1,000 at Minsmere, Feb 19th. A few records referred to passage, these being at Landguard, 48 south Nov. 5th an31 north Nov. 20th and at Southwold, 15 south Nov. 1st. COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decaocto The largest roosts recorded were 250 at Lowestoft, Nov. 12th (although it is perhap wise to see this in the context of the town's former population of 2,000 to 3,000 birds and 146 in February at Haverhill. Early nesting is a trait often associated with this species and it was again evidencei by a nest with two eggs at Landguard, Feb. 5th. Also of interest in a general paucity of records were notes of a pair's precarious nest on a girder under Felixstowe railway station's roof and a pair's apparently stoic disregard for comfort in the use of wire for a nest in a roof gutter at Brent Eleigh. TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia turtur One at Haverhill, Apr. 4th was an early arrival, but relatively few appeared through the rest of the month. The second week of May saw a distinct increase in arrivals of migratory parties, with groups of up to ten birds. Several observers gave general comments indicating an increase in breeding numbers, although two references were of an apparent decrease in the Cavendish and Long Melford and Walberswick areas. There were few specific breeding records so it is difficult to assess the true situation. Minsmere reported 36 territories, six were known of at North Warren and five prs were noted in CBC work at Coddenham. More precise, as is usually the case, were records of post-breeding gatherings. In contrast to the feared breeding decline in the Cavendish and Long Melford area, a flock of 240 on overhead wires after rain there, Aug. 26th, was by far the biggest recorded in the County for the year. Counts of 105, cl20 and cl80 also came from this locality in late August/early September. Elsewhere, the only count of similar size was the rather evocative record of 140 on wires over a Sunflower field at Chelmondiston, Sept. 3rd. A remarkably late pr of records was of two at Landguard, Oct. 23rd and, even more unexpected, one with Collared Doves at Hollesley, Dec. 17th (MC). 80


tING-NECKED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri The poorest showing for a considerable time, with only eight records, each listed below, nd two of these surely refer to the same bird, '-enacre: Jan. 7th and S, Mar. 12th. essingland: Jan. 29th and S, Mar. 12th. outhwold: Feb. 26th. Idham: 9 , July 12th and 24th.

.awdsey: cr, Nov. 25th. CUCKOO Cuculus

canorus

Following two earlier March reports, which were considered questionable, there were no problems regarding the acceptance of one at Haverhill on Mar. 29th â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the record was accompanied by an excellent photograph of the bird concerned. This was followed by another record which, in a more conventional year, might well have been the County's fct; Trimley, Apr. 7th. By the last week of April the species was widespread in the County. Reported from about 70 sites, indicating that the population has probably fought back after the slight decline of the previous two years, although an ominous comment came from a Shotley Peninsula observer who estimated numbers were "down 50% ". Most other observers' comments were more encouraging however. Host species noted were Reed Bunting and Dunnock, whilst one was seen to "raid" 'he nest of a pr of Woodlarks at a site on the coastal heaths. The last recorded sighting was at Landguard, Sept. 12th. 81


YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO Coccyzus americanus Topsy-turvy days indeed, with East Anglia infiltrated by 'yanks' while Britain's wes coast watchers were left kicking their heels in frustration over a relatively uneventful autumr Many of the twitchers who quickly amassed at Landguard Bird Observatory, soon afte this much-admired rarity plunged into a mist-net, had a somewhat 'Scilly' day. Havin trekked to Norfolk for the Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis, none but the mo1. optimistic could have hoped for a second transatlantic vagrant to immediately turn up i the region.

Local birdwatchers who dropped everything and dashed to the scene were also bowled over by the bird, especially as the County's first has such a hallowed place in Suffolk's ornithological folk lore. That poor specimen was found exhausted at Reydon, near Southwold, on Oct. 18th 1971, and died the next day. Landguard's individual was also a one day wonder and whether it succumbed or survived will probably never be known. Felixstowe: Landguard, first winter, trapped, Oct. 25th (JRA, AK, NO et al). BARN OWL Tyto alba For the third successive year reports came from about 100 localities â&#x20AC;&#x201D; could this simply be because observations are being made annually by the same people and the true population level is not being accurately reflected? Among the records there was very sparse and undoubtedly incomplete reference to breeding so no constructive estimate can be made. There were, however, references to unusual behaviour. One perched on overhead wires at Mildenhall, July 2nd, and one seen following a dog at Wickham Market, Feb. 9th. was perhaps either inquisitive or extremely hungry. Road casualties were noted at Blaxhall. Lakenheath and Saxmundham. One of two birds roosting in Felixstowe Docks was among reels of paper in a shed where work was taking place, Sept. 22nd to Oct. 27th. These may have accounted for sightings at Landguard, Oct. 14th and Nov. 5th. 82


ITTLE O W L Athene noctua Reports came from 80 localities, a considerable increase over the previous year's total f 60. However, as is so often the case in assessing records, it is probably best not to at carried away with optimism as this may represent vagaries in the level of reporting ither than a genuine population increase. Migrants, or perhaps wandering local birds ÂŤ'ere at Landguard, Apr. 1st and Oct. 16th. TAWNY O W L Strix aluco Assessing the population from records received is probably only of academic interest ;is 89 prs in 74 parishes more likely represents merely the tip of the iceberg. Exactitude an, however, be obtained in the case of Minsmere, where 13 territories were held. A female (determined by measurement), which took up residence at Landguard, from Oct. 7th to 1990, is only the third record for the site and examination of pellet remains reveals that her diet has consisted almost entirely of Rat Rattus norvegicus.

1 ONG-EARED O W L Asia otus The pr with two young at a well-established breeding site on the coastal heaths was ; e only confirmed success and this surely cannot be a complete picture. Breeding probably took place at two other locations on the coastal strip, and, highly surprisingly, the only eeding season report from the Breck was of one, June 1st. However, we can safely assume that, scattered across the County in its relatively plentiful breeding habitat, this species is having a more productive time than records suggest. The same can probably be said of the wintering population. A road casualty in the littlebatched Brightwell/Bucklesham area, Jan. 27th, indicates that this is the case. The only â&#x20AC;˘ immunal roost record referred to three in the west of the County, Jan. 1st. Seven birds at six sites indicated a light spring passage during March and April, but, predictably, autumn immigration was much more pronounced. Early autumn arrivals were noted in late September, but the peak period was early and late October and early to midNovember. Up to six roosted in sheds at Felixstowe Dock (see Barn Owl), Oct. 5th to 18th. Immigrants also included individuals found in a shed at Sizewell Power Station (caught and then released at Shotley, Oct. 21st), one which flew in from the sea and landed on a wheelbarrow handle at Ness Point, Lowestoft, Oct. 28th, and another which hitched a lift on a Zeebrugge-Felixstowe ferry five miles from the Suffolk town, Nov. 18th. SHORT-EARED OWL Asio Jlammeus An unremarkable set of records for the first winter period in which observations came from about 22 sites and, in a generalisation, the R. Aide BoEE area. The records included a peak of six at Cavenham Heath, Feb. 12th to Mar. 31st. There was, however, an interesting behavioural note; one at Hawstead on Mar. 17th was reported to have "repeatedly swooped at a ginger cat which stood with its back arched, clawing at the air". Another was seen among Hares Lepus capensis, which ran around it in a field at Icklingham, Mar. 25 th. Spring passage was mainly in April and May; for example one flew north high over the sea at Landguard, Apr. 25th and one was seen flying out to sea off Dunwich Cliffs, May 6th. There were no confirmed breeding records and the only June observation was of one, rather surprisingly, at Risby on 5th. Immigration appeared to commence on Sept. 21st, when one arrived from the east at Southwold. There followed the expected series of coastal records through October and the species had taken up its winter occupation of Stradishall Airfield by 23rd. The winter's peak gathering was six at Sudbourne, Dec. 2nd. 83


NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus Minsmere's tally of 40 'churring' males represents a sudden and dramatic increase ov the reserve's previous record of 23, a level which was reached as recently as 1988. Breedi information from other coastal sites, however, was rather scant, but there appears to no reason to doubt that the species at least held its 1988 level of 127 'churring' mak More detailed information was received from Suffolk Breckland where 111 prs we recorded on forest clearings and eight prs frequented heathland, consolidating the rece colonisation of Forestry Commission clear fell areas (see Bowden antea).

r g e e it

SWIFT Apus apus On June 24th, a flock of more than 200 of these natural 'flying machines' stoppĂŠe a display of man-made flying machines at RAF Wattisham for ten minutes while bird-scari g devices were used to disperse them. Perhaps these Devil-birds had a little devilment n them that day. The first spring bird was noted over Chantry Park, Ipswich, Apr. 24th, and there followc d a total of 12 sightings during that month, including ten at Alton Water 30th. Howeve . records indicate only a light influx of arrivals during the first half of May with the large t counts at this time being 70 at Minsmere and 30 at Haverhill, both on May 13th and bo h fairly modest. The 52 which flew south at Landguard on May 30th heralded a strong passage throuj h the following month which included a Havergate count of 898 on 27th, a day of obvioi s movement with additional counts of 200 at Minsmere and 300 in just 20 minutes at Felixstowe Ferry. The southwards drift carried on in July and was exemplified by a series of records fro n Landguard which included 104 on 1st, 200 on 26th, 220 on 29th, 2,680 (the County's largest count of the year) on 30th and 120 on 31st, Aug. 10th was another day of clear-cut movement, there being 145 of Landguard s monthly total of 567, while a Worlingworth observer noted a "big movement south" ani Benacre weighed in with 37. A few lingered into September and the last to be noted was at Landguard, 24th. KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis The welcome increase in records, undoubtedly attributable to the recent series of mild winters, continued. There were records from about 100 sites, maintaining the upward trend from c65 in 1987 and c88 in 1988. There were about 17 references in observers' records which related to confirmed breeding, but, with such an encouraging upturn in the species' fortunes, this figure must significantly underplay the true total. HOOPOE Upupa epops An average showing for this welcome visitor from warmer climes with a series of records which may relate to only six birds. Gorleston: Apr. 8th. Lowestoft: Sparrow's Nest Gardens, Sept. 14th; Sharon Drive, Sept. 30th. Oulton Broad: Camp's Heath, Sept. 24th.

Dunwich Heath/Minsmere: Apr. 29th and 30th. Finningham: May 9th. Gislingham: found dead in garden, May 10th.

Cavenham Heath: May 11th and 13th. pre 1950 many

1950s 28

1960s 25

84

1970s 29

1980s 48


The significant increase in occurrences over the past decade is contrary to the national t nd, which shows a steady run of records averaging 125 per annum (Dymond, Fraser a d Gantlett, 1989). \ RYNECK Jynx torquilla Spring occurrences appear to be declining and 1989's total was only four, commencing v. th singles at Minsmere and Lowestoft, Apr. 29th. In stark contrast to the spring showing there was a positive deluge of September records b tween 5th and 22nd. Twelve sites were visited, all of them coastal, except for Ipswich a d Harkstead, and a min. of 18 birds was involved. < >rton: Cliffs, Sept. 17th. I westoft: Gunton, in garden, Apr. 29th; disused railway line, two, Sept. 12th; Sparrow's Nest/Denes Oval, two, Sept. 13th to 18th; Normanston Park, Sept. 12th and 13th.

N rth Cove: September. E nacre: up to four daily, Sept. 16th to 21st.

V entham: Covehithe Rd, May 14th. S- uthwold: Tennis Courts, two, Sept. 13th to 17th, single, 18th, Churchyard, two, 13th. S nsmere: Apr. 29th, up to three daily, Sept. 13th to 18th.

S ewell: May. C ford: Havergate, Sept. 22nd. 1 wdsey: Picnic Site, Sept. 14th. I lixstowe: Peewit Hill, Sept. 14th to 17th; Docks, Sept. 19th; Landguard, Sept. 5th to 7th, Sept. 9th, 10th and 16th. Ipswich: Bucklesham Road, Sept. 10th. 1 rkstead: in garden, Sept. 15th, 19th and 20th.

One of the two in Southwold churchyard was seen to be killed by a Cat, a sad occurrence but a fitting final resting place for the unfortunate bird. GREEN WOODPECKER Picus viridis Records from 92 sites indicated the population level to be broadly in line with that of rccent years, with a slight suggestion of an increase as totals for the previous three years were 87, 85 and 88. At Minsmere, however, there were 14 territories, a decrease of two from the previous year. The species is only a scarce visitor to Landguard and the site's sole record for the year was on Sept. 1st. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos major Observations were made at a total of about 130 sites, a figure which shows an encouraging increase over the previous year's level of 98 and, perhaps even more significantly, an increase of 20 over the pre-1987 storm figure reported for 1986. Within this total were '8 territories at Minsmere, the same figure as that noted there in the big storm year. A tentative conclusion might well be that the species is faring rather well. The same could not be said, however, for one which was seen to be killed by a Sparrowhawk at Darmsden in early November. Recent runs of records at Landguard indicate that the species is not as sedentary as might often be supposed. The series was continued with records as follows: one seen Apr. 18th, 'wo ringed on Aug. 21st and another seen Oct. 22nd. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos minor As with the previous species, a satisfactory end of term report is able to be written. The records from 64 sites compare with 55 in 1988, 65 in 1987 and 60 in 1986. This situation is virtually mirrored at Minsmere, where the nine territories discovered compare w ith seven last year and eight in 1987 (RSPB), although at Benacre and Walberswick it 85


has been reported to be decreasing (CSW). At least six prs were found in the Little Ouse Valley between Brandon and Two Mile Bottom, where it was thought to be increasing and doing well (RH). It is possible that the apparent increases are due to increased vigilance by observe s. WOODLARK Lullula arborea A marked increase was recorded in both the Suffolk Breckland and coastal populatic is after several years at relatively stable levels. The Suffolk Breckland population increas d from 31 prs in 1988 to 37 (RSPB) and in the coastal belt a minimum of 37 was record d in a single co-ordinated count (SWT), compared with 25 in 1986 when this area was 1; st thoroughly surveyed (see Wright antea). In Breckland, there was one breeding season record from a fragment of heath, t le remaining birds ail being on young conifer plantations. The improved coverage of t te coastal belt revealed at least ten territories on heathland sites, an increase from seven in 198 \ Passage birds were recorded on Havergate Island Sept. 21st and 22nd (RSPB), and it Landguard, Oct. 27th (NO, AMG, SHP) and 30th (GM). The latest report was of a bird singing Nov. 21st in the coastal belt (CGRB), but agi n no wintering flocks were located. SKYLARK Alauda

arvensis

// Peak first winter period flocks were considerably smaller than in most years, presumably due to the mild weather: Butley: 100+ Jan. 7th. Sudbourne: 60 Jan. 21st. Long Melford: 50 throughout January. 86


breeding n u m b e r s w e r e r e p o r t e d as f o l l o w s : N nsmere: 30 territories (29 in 1988). C ddenham: CBC, 19 territories (17 in 1988).

At Landguard the largest numbers arrived in early November when 490 flew S, but n ist arrivals were noted in the second half of October at several coastal locations. No e eptionally large numbers were involved, and the lowest numbers for at least five years v. re observed at Felixstowe. The second w i n t e r period p r o d u c e d l a r g e f l o c k s as f o l l o w s :

G eat Bealings: 110 Nov. 27th. F kenham: King's Fleet, 160 Dec. 8th.

S 1 bourne: 150+ Dec. 19th. B deston: 100+ Dec. 23rd. S IORE LARK Eremophila alpestris This now nationally scarce species was only recorded in the Benacre area in the first v> nter period, where two were seen on at least 15 dates between Jan. 1st and Apr. 1st. S ND MARTIN Riparia riparia Three at Lackford, Mar. 9th are Suffolk's earliest ever (TPK); reported from five sites b Mar. 13th. and 300 present at Minsmere by Mar. 29th, indicated an exceptionally early inrlux. breeding numbers again declined at the Minsmere car park colony, where only 13 holes w re occupied compared with 366 in 1987. A colony of 80 on the Waveney at Mendham declined to nil. The Lackford colony, however, again increased, from 128 in 1988 to 320 p s, making the overall picture unclear. The Dunwich Cliffs site contained 400 nesting holes and a new colony at Corton Cliffs held 50 prs. Autumn passage peaked at Landguard with 417 S Aug. 19th. The last of the year was noted at Benacre, Oct 14th. SWALLOW Hirundo rustica A total of 24 March records from 18 sites reflects an unusually early influx, the first of which was at Haverhill, Mar. 24th. There was no obvious change in the breeding numbers of this extremely widespread species. Autumn passage was generally unexceptional, with few large concentrations. A southerly movement involving 700 birds in a 15 minute period at Minsmere, Sept. 13th was an exception; a total of 14,766 was counted moving S at Landguard during September. There were 18 November records including a movement of 23 S at Landguard on 1st. The last of the year were two over Felixstowe Docks, Nov. 22nd.

RED-RUMPED S W A L L O W Hirundo daurica Two records of this national rarity bring the Suffolk total to seven records totalling eight birds. Southwold: S May 4th (SL, JMC). Lowestoft: Sparrow's Nest/Belle Vue Park, Nov. 4th (RCS, NJS, RF).

HOUSE M A R T I N Delichon urbica First recorded at Haverhill, Mar. 28th and at four other sites before Apr. 10th, which is earlier than normal. Later in the month and in May, the species was decidedly scarce at a number of sites, but by June its breeding numbers were generally regarded as being normal. 87


No major concentrations were reported in spring or autumn, although small numb rs were noted moving S through most of October at coastal sites. As usual there was a go xl number of November records including 50 at Lowestoft, Nov. 4th. The latest was at Woodbridge on Nov. 28th. TAWNY PIPIT Anthus

campestris

Southwold: S May 7th (SL. WJB, JMC). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, juv. Sept. 12th to 19th (CGDC el al).

The Southwold bird is the County's fourth spring record and the second in consecuti e years. The Landguard bird attracted over 1,000 observers during its stay and is the fou: <:h record for the site. These records take the County total to 25. pre 1950 1

1950s NIL

1960s 8

1970s 6

1980s 10

For a southern county, Suffolk has hardly received its fair share of records. Since 195 i, the national average has been around 24 records per annum whereas in Suffolk, duri g the same period, it has occurred less than annually. TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis Singles at Minsmere (RSPB) and Mayday Farm, Brandon (RAH), Mar. 31st are t: e second earliest county records and the first in March since 1968. The coastal belt and Breckland again held good numbers. At Minsmere there were 0 territories compared with 14 in 1988. There were 16 at Haverhill, Apr. 17th and ten it Cavenham, May 9th. Last recorded at Landguard, Sept. 22nd, where autumn passage peaked at eight, Sep 13th.

MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis This widespread species was reported from numerous sites within the county, the largest concentrations as usual being in the autumn. A total of 2,281 was counted moving south at Landguard, Sept. 14th to 24th and there were several coastal records exceeding 100 in early and late October. Breeding numbers were received only for Minsmere where there were 25 prs. ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus Recorded at 24 widely scattered sites during the year, 19 of which were coastal. The majority of records involved single birds, the largest single count being 14 on R. Deben BoEF, count, Nov. 12th. Recorded equally in both winter periods, up to May 5th at Minsmere and from Sept. 19th at Landguard. Inland reports were from Lackford, Sept. 29th; Sproughton, Jan. 3rd and Necdhani Market, Oct. 10th. Birds showing the characteristics of the Scandinavian race A.p. littoralis were seen al Southwold Boating Lake during February and March, with a peak of four Mar. 10th (JMC, SL, IRW) and another was at King's Fleet, Falkenham, Mar. 12th (MM). A wintering bird was seen intermittently at Southwold from Dec. 14th through to the New Year (JMC, EWP, RW). WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta More records were received than in previous years, mostly from Minsmere, where birds were on show from January to mid-April and again from the end of October to 1990 88


C fie there, Aug. 27th (AJP), is an exceptionally early returning bird. The other regular s e was the Benacre area, where one frequented the edge of the Broad. B nacre: three Jan. 1st, single intermittently from Jan. 4th to Mar. 10th and again Nov. 11th to Dec. 15th. t ston Bavents: Nov. 19th. V dberswick: Jan. 3rd. ^ nsmere: single throughout January; two, 15th and 16th, four 27th. three 29th to 31st, daily throughout February, five 4th, three 7th and 21st. regular in March, max. four 7th, 10th and 20th and two 29th, daily in April to 17th, three 2nd, two 6th and 7th, one Aug. 27th; one Oct. 30th, two Oct. 31st, regularly throughout November and December, max. six Nov. 21st and 28th and Dec 19th. A Jeburgh: Slaughden Quay, Feb. 15th and Mar. 11th. Si dbourne: two Jan. 15th and Nov! 19th. ( ttawade: Feb. 15th.

YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava The first record was from Alton Water, Mar. 27th (JAG) and the species was recorded a' three other sites by Apr. 4th. The main arrival was recorded in the third and fourth v jeks of April. Breeding records were received for 17 prs at nine sites. Reedbed roosts of c60 at Holbrook Creek, Aug. 31st and c80 at Shotley, Sept. 9th were tre largest concentrations apart from c200 at Alton Water, July 23rd. Records referred to the use of a wider variety of sites during late August and early S ptember as birds began moving S. The last of the year was flying south at Landguard, Oct. 15th. There were nine records of Blue-headed Wagtail M.f. flava from five sites, mostly in ay. An autumn record from Landguard, Sept. 5th is less usual. A bird showing characteristics of the Grey-headed race, M.f. thunbergi, was seen at Kedington, May 23rd and 24th (PHN). Two males at Alton Water, May 8th had the plumage features of Syke's Wagtail, M.f. beema (SL) as did one bird there, May 17th (JBH). This is the second occasion that birds in such plumage have been noted in Suffolk, the first having been at Southwold Marshes, Apr. 28th to 30th, 1979 (BJB). However, although birds superficially resemble this race they are far more likely to be hybrid Yellow x Blue-headed Wagtails.

C.REY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea Recorded at 27 sites between January and March and at 32 sites, October to December, involving scattered localities throughout the county. Breeding was confirmed for 13 prs at 11 localities, although this total would undoubtedly be increased by a thorough survey.

PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Recorded commonly throughout the county with roosts of more than 40 noted at six sites. The largest concentration in the first half of the year was at Minsmere where there were 80 Mar. 25th. Post-breeding roosts peaked at 200 at Lackford, Oct. 4th, and 114 Martlesham Creek, Aug. 8th. There was a total of 51 spring records of White Wagtail M. a. alba, from Mar. 20th onwards. Twelve autumn records were all at coastal sites, the last of which was at Lowestoft, Oct. 6th. 89


WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus The first winter period completed the best winter for Waxwings for many years. 1 le Pakefield area held a minimum of 17 birds seen together from the beginning of the y ar to early February. At least 12 were at Oulton Broad from Mar. 19th to 29th, which w re presumably from the Pakefield flock, then dispersed, evidenced by the presence colo rrings â&#x20AC;&#x201D; see below. Three of the Lowestoft birds had been colour-ringed in the Aberdeen area (see ring lg report for full details) in November 1988 where several large flocks were prese it. Interestingly, others ringed at the same time remained in Aberdeen until February. l i e ringed birds showed that smaller numbers seen around the Lowestoft/Oulton Broad a a subsequently were probably the same individuals. Other sites where birds lingered included Woodbridge, where one was seen at interv Is from January to the unusually late date of Apr. 17th when two were present. Six furtf :r sites had singles, mostly in January, and at Dunwich there were 15 Jan. 11th. The second winter period more typically produced just two records: singles at Landgua i, Oct. 27th (SM, IA) and Kessingland, Dec. 29th (RCS).

WREN Troglodytes troglodytes Increases were reported by many observers following the very mild winter. At Coddenh n the number of territories recorded in the CBC had further increased to 34, from 27 in 1988 and 13 in 1987. One was seen feeding a juv. Cuckoo at Minsmere, July 23rd.

DUNNOCK Prunella modularis Evidence of an increase was noted from the Coddenham CBC where there were 25 territories compared with 15 in 1988. A light passage was noted at Landguard during March and more noticeable movements from mid-September to the end of October, peaking at 53, Sept. 24th. At Southwold, Sep';22nd, Dunnocks were reported as "dropping out of the sky" into coastal vegetation

ROBIN Erithacus rubecula A lack of easterly winds and 'fall' conditions prevented a repeat performance of last year's dramatic arrival in October. At Landguard the largest 'falls' were 50 Sept. 12th and 30 Oct. 27th. A Norwegian ringed bird 'controlled' there Oct. 5th gives an indication as to the origin of some of the birds passing through. At Minsmere a total of 225 territories was located, while at Valley Farm. Coddenham only 13 were found compared with 19 in 1988.

N I G H T I N G A L E Luscinia megarhynchos Two at Minsmere, Apr. 13th, were the first record of the year. Subsequently, at least 184 singing males were reported in the County, which included 62 at Minsmere (45 in 1988). Breeding was noted at Over Hall, Shotley, for the first time since 1963. Landguard produced its usual crop of migrants. In the spring they were noted between Apr. 23rd and May 8th, with a maximum of three, Apr. 24th. Ringing proved that at least seven individuals were involved. All of the autumn migrants were in August â&#x20AC;&#x201D; two on 8th and singles 9th and 20th. The last bird of the year was seen nearby at Felixstowe Docks, Sept. 12th. 90


B . U E T H R O A T Luscinia

svecica

Two records, both in the a u t u m n . F iixstowe: Docks, Sept. 12th (WJB). Landguard, first winter, trapped, Sept. 30th (MM. NO etui). pre 1950 31 + Spr.

Aut.

1950s 9 Spr. NIL

Aut. 9

1960s 117 Spr. 5

Aut. 112

1970s

1980s

20

16

Spr. 8

Aul. 8

Spr. 15

Aut. 5

The 1989 records are the County's first in autumn since 1984. The above table shows that Bluethroats were formerly seen predominantly on autumn passage, but since 1975 0 ;ly six of the 28 records have occurred in that season. The bulk of the total for the 1960s comprises 90 or more individuals seen on the coastal strip between Lowestoft and Minsmere during the "great f a l l " of September 1965 (Axell and Pearson, 1966). The national analysis of records for the period 1958-85 shows 62% for spring (almost a in May) and 38% for autumn (Dymond, Fraser and Gantlett, 1989), whereas in Suffolk the corresponding figures are 17% and 83% respectively. Ignoring the birds involved in ti e 1965 fall, the adjusted figures would be closer (44% and 56%), but the period 1975-89 ( i ' 2 % and 18%) shows the recent shift in predominance from autumn to spring records.

BLACK R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus ochruros Reports indicate a breeding population of eight to 19 prs. 1 westoft: At least four prs bred. Sizeweil: No breeding reported but birds present May 11th and 27th. Aug. 30th and Sept. 6th. 1 deburgh: North Warren, pr bred raising two broods. K'lixstowe: Landguard/Felixstowe Docks, at least nine singing o• cr reported. Six juvs. ringed at Landguard July/August is an indication of breeding success. L'swich: Corn Exchange, cr singing. May 10th. Haverhill: Breeding not suspected, but cr present at Flood Park. May 13th and July 29th. kury St. Edmunds: two prs bred.

Early in the year wintering birds were reported from three sites; Felixstowe Coastguard Station. Jan. 18th to Feb. 16th; Felixstowe Docks, Feb. 3rd onwards and Lowestoft, imm. Feb. 2nd to Mar. 3rd. A late February record could refer to an early migrant: Bury St. Edmunds, cr Feb. 21st. At Landguard, the first spring migrant appeared Mar. 11th and the peak count of a rather light spring passage was seven. Mar. 30th. Away from breeding sites spring migrants were also noted at Gisleham. Benacre, Easton Bavents. Minsmere. Havergate. Felixstowe Ferry. Nacton. Otley and Long Melford. Autumn passage was also light and confined to the coastal strip, with the exception of °ne in a garden at Risby. Oct. 28th and 29th. Most records occurred in October, including 'en at Landguard. Oct. 22nd and six at Sizewell. Oct. 9th. Late birds were reported at Landguard, Nov. 23rd and Lowestoft, Nov. 24th. One present at Felixstowe Docks in December was probably an over-wintering individual.

REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus A total of 67 territories was reported from seven localities showing an improvement °n the 40 territories in 1988. The main concentrations were at Staverton (25); Minsmere • 16)(12 in 1988) and Thetford Forest (14). Unfortunately, this species seems to be underrecorded in the Breck where only 16 territories were reported. A very early migrant, a male, was seen at Bawdsey. Mar. 30th (HRB) — the County's first March record since 1973. There was then a very light spring passage, with ones and twos at a handful of coastal sites, up to May 23rd. 91


Autumn migrants began to appear from mid-August. Passage was generally light altho gh an influx Sept. 11th to 18th included counts of 15, Landguard, 15th and 10, Norman:- on Park, Lowestoft, 12th and 13th. October produced very few records the latest of wh ch were: Landguard, 18th; Covehithe, 22nd and Minsmere 21st, 22nd and 27th. W H I N C H A T Saxícola rubetra Again absent as a breeding species on the coastal strip, but in the Suffolk Breck se en prs at four sites indicate a slight recovery. It is likely however, that some prs v. nt unrecorded. Spring migration was disappointing with a scattering of records between Apr. 1 th (Haverhill) and June 1st (Landguard). With the exception of two at Haverhill, Apr. 25:h. all reports referred to singletons. By contrast, autumn passage was well represented. Following one at Minsmere, J iy 26th, there was a trickle of records throughout August and early September. A nota 'le influx occurred between Sept. 6th and 21st, when groups of ten or more were notée at ten localities. Peak counts were: 20, Lound. 11th; 18, Minsmere, 10th; 15, King's Fie :t, Falkenham, 6th and 15, Landguard, 12th. Ten inland at Stradishall Airfield, Sept. 1 th are also worthy of note. October produced a handful of records including late birds at Long Melford, 22nd; tv.a, Minsmere, 22nd and Kessingland, 25th. S T O N E C H A T Saxícola lorquata The only breeding records came from the coastal strip between Benacre and Aldeburj.ii, where at least 14 prs were reported, including five at Minsmere. It is the first year since 1982 that there were no breeding records from Suffolk Breckland. Small numbers were present along the length of the coastal belt during both winter pericx s. Ten at Minsmere, Nov. I 1th, was the largest number reported, most records referring to one or two birds. Inland records came from six localities. Lackford, Mar. 16th to 19th; Cavenham Heatii, two up to Feb. 21st and one Apr. 10th and I Ith; Elveden, Feb. 1 Ith; Haverhill, Apr. 12th to 14th and Apr. 25th to 27th; Stradishall Airfield, Oct. 20th and Cavendish/Long Melford, Oct. 22nd and 23rd (the first in the area since 1980). An early example of post-juv. dispersal was provided by one at Landguard, July 17th and 18th. W H E A T E A R Oenanthe oenanthe The only breeding records received were: two prs in the Suffolk Breck and two to three prs in the coastal region. Presumably many prs, especially in the Brcck, were u n r e p o r t e d and observers are urged to submit all records to enable our breeding population to be monitored more closely. A male at Sutton Heath, Mar. 7th, was the year's first arrival and this was closely followed by three at Woodbridge Airfield and three at Ransomes Industrial Estate, Ipswich, the next day. Spring passage peaked in April, the highest counts being logged on 25th, viz. 30. Southwold; 15, Landguard; 15, Felixstowe Ferry and I I, Minsmere. A count of 15 inland at Haverhill, on 11th, is also worthy of note. In May the largest group was 13 at Landguard, 2nd, and small numbers of migrants were noted up to 30th. Birds of the Greenland race O. o. leucorrhoa were reported at Landguard, M i n s m e r e and Southwold from Apr. 12th onwards, but ringing studies at Landguard have shown that most migrants in May are of this race. 92


\ juv. at Benacre, July 14th, was the first report of autumn passage, which was uneventful ur il Sept. 8th to 17th when a coastal influx produced double-figure counts at nine localities, th largest being: 70 Lowestoft, 12th; 35 Landguard, 15th and 35 Sudbourne, 17th. n October, nine at Landguard, 2nd, was the only group to exceed four birds and there w re four November records: Sizewell, 1st; Landguard, 2nd, Sudbourne, 4th and Fi kenham, 4th. RING O U Z E L Turdus torquatus \n excellent spring passage involving at least 50 individuals extending from Apr. 2nd (A .deburgh) to May 14th (Minsmere). Records were received from 21 localities of which si were inland â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Haverhill, Hessett, Great Waldingfield, Brandon, Cavenham Heath ar i Foxhole Heath. The main influx occurred between Apr. 17th and 27th, including eight at Walberswick 1" h, nine at North Warren, Aldeburgh 25th, and groups of three at Lowestoft, Minsmere ari Landguard. \utumn passage was less noticeable and confined to the coastal strip. Early migrants (X urred in September at Lowestoft, 10th, Felixstowe Docks, 12th to 14th, and Kessingland, 16th and 23rd. At least 12 birds were reported in October including groups of three at L idguard, 2nd and 28th and Felixstowe, 31st. November produced a further two records, a very late bird at Minsmere, 21st, and a partial albino, with white feathering on its head and rump, which was ringed at Rushmere Hall School, Ipswich, 1st. BLACKBIRD Turdus merula The mild start to the year prompted an early breeding attempt at Haverhill where a nest w th two eggs was found Jan. 27th; unfortunately it was empty when checked again on Feb. 12th. At Valley Farm, Coddenham the number of territories increased to 38 (28 in 1988), whilst at Benhall a poor breeding season was reported. A good spring passage at Landguard included a " f a l l " of 100 Mar. 7th and a Danish ringed bird "controlled" Mar. 11th. Lack of " f a l l " conditions resulted in the lightest autumn passage for many years. At Landguard the maximum count was a mere 40 Oct. 19th and only 168 were ringed in October/November when usually the figure exceeds 300. At Benhall the winter influx occurred three weeks later than in 1988 and in the Cavendish/ Long Melford area an increase in numbers was noted in early December. FIELDFARE Turdus pUaris During the first winter period three-figure flocks were reported from 14 localities, the largest of which were 400 at Leiston, Jan. 1st and 227 at Lidgate, Feb. 7th. Most birds had departed by the end of March. However, there was an upsurge of records in late April which included flocks of 220 at Lound, Apr. 21st and 105 at Benhall, Apr. 27th. Very few lingered into May, the only records being three singles up to 8th and a late bird at Livermere, May 21st. One was seen feeding with Mistle Thrushes at North Warren, Aldeburgh, June 20th â&#x20AC;&#x201D; an intriguing occurrence! Autumn migration began slowly with the first being three at Lavenham, Sept. 23rd. Very few followed until the second half of October when a noticeable movement was apparent in the last few days including 300 south over Barking Tye during a three hour Period, 28th, 160 at Great Bradley on the same day and a large southerly movement over Lackford, 31st, including a single flock of 300 birds. Surprisingly, no major influxes were noted on the coast at this time, and the species remained very scarce in coastal areas until late December when there was a sudden increase coinciding with a cold snap. The largest locks then reported were: 270, Minsmere, 27th; 400, Rendlesham, 28th and a remarkable ? 50, Sudbourne, 30th. 93


SONG THRUSH Turdus philomelos Both passage periods were devoid of major "falls", with Landguard's spring peak bf ng 30 Apr. 23rd, whilst in the autumn no count exceeded 20. At Minsmere 29 territories were counted, a marked increase from the 14 in 19 Ă&#x152;8. However, in contrast, the number of territories at Valley Farm, Coddenham, fell fr im seven to five.

REDWING Turdus iliacus Numbers were very low in January and February, the largest gathering reported be ng 50, Normanston Park, Lowestoft, Jan. 1st. The species was apparently absent from he Long Melford area. March saw an influx of passage birds including 300 coming in off the sea at Landgua d, 5th and 120 at Lackford, 12th. Few birds stayed into April, although there were still 20 at Lound, 21st. The last bi ds of the spring were singles at Minsmere and Dunwich, Apr. 29th. One heard over Ipswich, Sept. 29th and one at Landguard, Sept. 30th were the stirt of autumn immigration. Influxes during October occurred in two main waves â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 11th to 19th and 27th to 31st. The first wave included more than 300 over Woodbridge, 1: th and 207 at Landguard, 19th, whilst during the second wave a large southerly movement was noted over Lackford, 31st, including a single flock of 134 birds. Also on 31st, tin re were 220 at Landguard and 200 nearby at Felixstowe. Most birds soon moved on and the wintering flocks were generally small, the followi g being the only exceptions: 200, Assington, Dec. 2nd; 100, Cowlinge, Nov. 30th and "0 Long Melford, Dec. 6th.

MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Ten territories were held at Minsmere compared with 12 in 1988. Reports indicate an excellent breeding season and a number of large post-breeding groups were recorded including flocks of 50 at North Warren, Aldeburgh, July 13th, and Barnhai n. May 28th and 29th. The latter flock was feeding on caterpillars, each bird having its own feeding territory in or under an Oak tree. CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia celti The species made a welcome return to Minsmere where song was reported from Mar. 15th until mid-May; two birds were seen on May 14th and a pr probably bred. Song r e s u m e d in September and was last noted on Oct. 22nd. Further north at the Oulton Broad site, where a bird had been present in 1988, song was recorded on several dates from Mar. 6th; two birds were present on May 14th and breeding possibly occurred. Song was again heard from Nov. 12th onwards. The only other report was of one ringed at Landguard, May 6th, the first site r e c o r d (MM, JZ); it seems likely that this occurrence indicates continued immigration. GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella naevia An excellent year with the total of 71 "reeling" males reported from 23 sites being the highest recorded in the 1980s. Site totals included 24 at Minsmere and nine at Walberswick. Reports from West Suffolk were of 16 males at ten sites, including five at Haverhill. Passage birds were recorded at Landguard Apr. 23rd to 26th, Aug. 31 st and Sept. 24th. One singing at Hepworth, Apr. 1st, is the earliest recorded for the County (KBC); this coincided with other exceptionally early records elsewhere in the country. 94


S NTS WARBLER Locuslella

luscinioides

\ disappointing y e a r with " r e e l i n g " m a l e s at only o n e locality. Si ; B: Apr. 21st to May 5th and two, June 17th to July 8th.

There were no reports from Minsmere for the first time since 1983. \ very elusive bird at Landguard, Apr. 23rd and 24th is the first site record (HRB, MDC, EWP). SI DGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus As with many summer visitors this species arrived earlier than usual with reports in M irch from Walberswick, Minsmere, Shotley and Lackford, the first being five at M nsmere, 28th. There was a general arrival from mid-April. "he breeding population was again at a high level with even larger totals than in 1938; maximum site figures (followed by 1988 totals in brackets) were 130 prs (94) at M nsmere; 40 prs (30) Shotley Marshes; 47 prs (42) Glemsford/Long Melford and 24 pr (29) Haverhill. \t Landguard, there was a light spring passage between Apr. 18th and June 2nd and di ing the autumn, passage was noted between July 20th and Sept. 23rd, max. of six, Sept. 12th. R ED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus \ very early bird at Minsmere, Apr. 5th, equals the County record, but there were nt further arrivals until Apr. 25th. About 20 were recorded at Landguard between May 2nd and June 20th with a max. of five, May 14th and four as late as June 11th. There were widespread reports of singing males from the coastal region including 52, Minsmere and 40 (25-30 in 1988) Shotley Marshes. Relatively few were reported from West Suffolk, but there were 17 in the Glemsford/Long Melford area (15 in 1988). \utumn passage between July 22nd (Landguard) and Oct. 24th (Hollesley) max. of ten, L.ndguard, Sept. 15th. U TERINE WARBLER Hippolais icterina There were no spring records this year, unlike 1988, but the best ever autumn with seven recorded on the coast, all at well-watched sites. Lowestoft: Warrenhouse Wood, Sept. 10th (JMC et al)\ Arnold's Walk/Lighthouse Score, Oct. 10th (JHG). Benacre: Sept. 10th (RWi), Sept. 21st (SR). W h w o l d : nr Tennis Courts, Sept. 12th (LT). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, singles trapped Sept. 3rd (NO, SHP, JZ et al) and 18th (NO).

The bird at Lowestoft in October is the latest ever recorded in Suffolk. pre 1950

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

NIL

NIL

12

30

49

It is suspected that this upward trend is due to a combination of an increase in observers, an improvement in their ability to identify this tricky species, the development of mistnets for ringing and a concerted effort at coastal localities during passage periods, rather than a genuine upsurge in occurrences. A similar pattern is shown nationally. MELODIOUS WARBLER Hippolais polyglotta A singing bird frequenting suitable breeding habitat in west Suffolk was one of the most unexpected reports of the year. This constitutes the County's fifth record, the first since '983, and the first for mid-summer. Si,

e A: singing cr, June 28th (AK, RJK, CR, PW).

95


SUBALPINE WARBLER Sylvia cantillans Two more records take the County total to five. Dunwich: cr, trapped, June 4th (Sir AGH et at). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 1st summer cr, trapped, May 30th (GBB, JA et at).

Landguard has now recorded four in four years, but its monopoly of this species in Sul oik has finally been broken. BARRED WARBLER Sylvia nisoria

A r e a s o n a b l e a u t u m n f o r the species with t h r e e coastal birds in m i d - S e p t e m b e r . Kessingland: juv., Sept. 16th (RCS).

Southwold: juv., Sept. 12th and 13th (CSW et at). Felixstowe: Docks, juv., Sept. 12th (JMC et at). pre 1950

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

2

6

17

26

19

The above table shows a decrease in records, during the 1980s, despite a significant increase in observers and overall coverage at coastal sites in migration periods. This situation is mirrored nationally, with a noticeable peak during 1958/1975 followed by a 'possible' decline (Dymond, Fraser and Gantlett, 1989). LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca Arrivals on Apr. 13th at Landguard (two) and Minsmere are the earliest since 1974. There was a general arrival from Apr. 20th, which peaked noticeably at Landguard where there were 30, Apr. 29th (22 trapped) and 15, May 1st. Decreases in the breeding population were reported from Haverhill and Coddenham. but there was a dramatic increase at Minsmere, where 34 territories were located (nine in 1988). As in 1988, breeding season reports were received from about 40 sites. Autumn movements peaked in late August, with totals of 20, Minsmere, 23rd and eight. Landguard, 29th and again in mid-September when there were 15, Minsmere, 12th and 12, Landguard, 13th. Numbers decreased from then on, but at least nine were noted in October, up to 24th. Suffolk's second record of an individual showing characteristics of the Siberian race S.c.blythi was trapped at Landguard, Oct. 13th (MM, NO). 96


PI te 11: A Little Ringed Plover at a Breckland breeding site.

Plate 12: Adult White-rumped Sandpiper at Minsmere â&#x20AC;&#x201D; first County record since 1984.

Plate 13: Ruff.


n a t e 15: Black-headed Gulls at Minsmere.


W 1ITETHROAT Sylvia communis )ne at Westleton, Apr. 6th, is the earliest arrival since 1968 (RMP). There was another ealy bird at Bramford, Apr. 8th, but it was not until mid-April that the main arrival cc nmenced. Landguard recorded higher spring passage totals than in 1988 with 15 Apr. 24 ;h and 20 May 2nd. at pi G T

\s with the previous species there was a dramatic increase in the breeding population vlinsmere where 76 territories were located (38 in 1988); other notable counts of breeding (followed by the 1988 figure where available) came from Haverhill — 24 (21); :msford/Long Melford — 16 (16); Valley Farm, Coddenham — 14 (12); North Warren, orpeness — 22 and Alton Water — 12.

\utumn passage totals at coastal sites were generally lower than those for Lesser V. iitethroat, the only double figure count being 15, Landguard, Sept. 12th. The sole October re :ord occurred at Minsmere, 18th.

G RDEN WARBLER Sylvia borin here were sightings in April at eight localities including three birds singing at Nacton as ;arly as 15th. Passage at Landguard extended from Apr. 30th to June 13th and at least 30 birds passed through this site in May. rhe breeding scene was again dominated by Minsmere, where there was a slight increase in :he population to 42 prs (36 in 1988). Elsewhere, census work results (followed by th 1988 figures where available) came from Haverhill — 17 prs (11); Glemsford/Long Melford — seven prs (six) and North Warren, Aldeburgh — nine. Autumn passage from July 23rd would have almost passed unnoticed had it not been for a marked arrival at Landguard in mid-September, which resulted in site totals of 18 or. 11th and ten on 15th. There were three October sightings up to 13th.

BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla During January and February there were reports from central Felixstowe, Landguard Jan. 28th to Feb. 2nd), Ipswich (three) and Haverhill. The Landguard bird was frequently seen perched on peanut holders set in the Heligoland trap in the Observatory compound. Although the species has been recorded feeding from bird tables, there appears be no reference to Blackcaps taking food from bird feeders (MM, SP). It seems likely that one accompanying a tit flock at Lackford, Nov. 12th could have wintered in that area. Single birds were noted in December at Chelmondiston, Trimley St Martin and central Felixstowe. A cr at Minsmere, Mar. 14th and 20th, could have been an early returning bird. Further reports in March came from Dunwich, 26th and Wolves Wood RSPB Reserve, 27th and there were widespread sightings from Mar. 30th. Landguard recorded migrants during the period Mar. 30th to June 12th with max. totals of 11 Apr. 23rd and 15 May 2nd. Numerical comparisons with the 1988 breeding population, and comments, were generally favourable; the numbers of territories at the principal survey sites (followed by the 1988 figure) were: Minsmere — 62 (51); Haverhill — 42 (34) and Glemsford/Long Melford ~ 15 (20). Autumn passage was undistinguished, the only double figure count being 15, Landguard, Sept. 15th. At least 11 occurred at coastal sites in November up to 18th, of which eight were at Landguard. 97


PALLAS'S WARBLER Phylloscopus proregulus After an unexpected absence in 1988, this species sprang back to prominence with fc jr records in late autumn. Lowestoft: Denes Oval, Oct. 20th and 21st (RWi et al).

Benacre: Nov. 19th (CAB, ARi, RWa). Iken: Nov. 19th (CM, NJS et al). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Oct. 18th to 22nd (RCB, SHP et al).

The Iken bird, which is Suffolk's first to be recorded away from the immediate vicini'/ of the coast, was found by a party from the Lowestoft RSPB members' group, pre 1950 NIL

1950s NIL

1960s 2

1970s 1

1980s 14

The above table shows the upsurge in records in the 1980s, which was part of a national increase, said to be due to "the prevalence of easterly winds during October" (Dymonu. Fraser and Gantlett, 1989). YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus inornatus This year's minimum total of nine is well below the 1988 figure (23), but equals the previous record set in 1985. All sightings occurred in October with the main arrivals around 4th and 11th. There were many reports of the birds present at Lowestoft which was again the principal site for the species. Corton: Oct. 2nd (PG, RWi). Lowestoft: Gunton Cliff, Oct. 12th (JHG); Warrenhouse Wood, Oct. 4th to 7th (JMF, JHG, SHP). Belle Vue Park/Sparrow's Nest, Oct. 2nd to 15th and three, Oct. 11th to 13th (JMC, JHG, PJR et al).

Minsmere: Oct. 4th (RSPB). Sizewell: Oct. 4th (ABo). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Oct. 6th (NO). pre 1950 2

1950s NIL

1960s 2

1970s NIL

1980s 56

The above table shows the phenomenal upturn in occurrences during the 1980s, which coincides with the national trend, and also two notable gaps. Suffolk's first example was in 1910, followed by a second in 1915. The species was then absent for 46 years before singles were noted in 1961 and 1968. There followed an interval of 13 years before we received our fifth record. It seems quite incredible that 90% of the County's records have occurred since 1984. 98


V OOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix The only April record occurred at Haverhill, 28th. During the period May 6th to 9th b rds were recorded at Corton, Lowestoft, Rendlesham, Landguard, Haverhill (four) and L tkenheath. There were no more reports until May 22nd to 29th when birds were noted a; Walberswick, Minsmere, Thorpeness, Sutton and Alpheton. The birds at Sutton and A pheton remained there until June 15th and July 10th respectively, but at neither site v. is breeding proven.

Autumn movements were recorded between July 27th (Dunwich) and Sept. 5th (Corton and Lowestoft). At least nine were noted in August, of which six were at Landguard including three on 4th. • HIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita Another mild first winter period produced reports from Benacre, Darsham. Westleton (two), Minsmere, Nacton, Felixstowe, Coddenham. Stowmarket, Haverhill and Thurlow Sewage Farm. The Felixstowe bird was heard singing, Feb. 10th. With the mild weather continuing into March there was an early arrival of migrants e g. Minsmere — 4th; Cavenham — 6th; Ixworth — 7th; Bawdsey — 8th and Long Melford — 8th. March reports were widespread from mid-month and included 15, Minsmere, 27th; 30, Sutton Heath/Hollesley Heath, 30th and 15, Wolves Wood, Hadleigh/Aldham. 27th. Spring passage continued at Landguard until June 10th with a peak day total of ten, Apr. 24th which included one showing characteristics of the race P. c. abielinus. It is encouraging to report a further increase in the Minsmere breeding population from 85 territories in 1988 to 101 this year: numbers of territories at other survey sites (followed by the 1988 figures) were Haverhill — 25 (23); Glemsford/Long Melford — 13 (nine); Coddenham — ten (six) and North Warren, Aldeburgh — 12. Autumn passage commenced on Aug. 24th, but totals were well below those of 1988; the only double figure gathering was ten at Landguard, Sept. 24th. Passage continued well into November on the coast; there was evidence of an arrival in the fourth week of the month with reports from Denes Oval, Lowestoft, 25th (two); Benacre, 22nd and Bawdsey, 23rd (three ringed). Evidence of overwintering in the second winter period was provided by two accompanying a tit flock in the West Stow area Nov. 4th and 5th and one at Minsmere, Dec. 6th. 99


WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus The best ever March arrival with reports from 25 sites after the first at Levington, 23rd and totals including five at Minsmere, 29th and six at Martlesham Heath, 28th. An excellent spring passage occurred at Landguard, peaking on Apr. 24th when at leas 100 were present, of which 47 were ringed; further arrivals at Landguard included 25 May 2nd and 30 May 13th â&#x20AC;&#x201D; passage continued at this site up to June 6th. There was evidence of an excellent breeding population with territory counts of 221 and 78 at Minsmere and Haverhill respectively representing increases of 33% and 37?? over the respective 1988 site totals. Additional 1989 site territory totals (followed by thi 1988 figures where available) were 23 (15) Glemsford/Long Melford; 11 (13) Coddenham 39 Bamham and 16 North Warren, Aldeburgh. Autumn passage, from mid-July, was generally uneventful; at a Dunwich ringing siti 76 were trapped in July but only 49 in August and a Benhall ringer commented on the almost complete absence of autumn passage birds. There was a moderate arrival on the coast in mid-August with totals of 35 Landguard, 17th; 13 Bawdsey, 18th and 12 Minsmere 16th and again in mid-September when there were 30 Landguard, 12th; 15 Denes Oval Lowestoft, 17th and 13 Bawdsey, 15th. The only October records were two at Lackford 15th and two at Corton, 30th.

GOLDCREST Regulus regulus During the mild conditions which prevailed in the first winter period, song was heari from Jan. 30th at Ipswich. A pr was nest-building at Gazeley, Mar. 11th and the species was described as being more numerous in the Glemsford/Long Melford area than durine the equivalent period in 1988. Passage birds were recorded at Landguard between Mar. 7th and May 17th and peakec at 20 Mar. 7th and 15 Mar. 26th. Smaller numbers were reported from other coastal sites in late March. At Minsmere. 66 breeding territories were located. An excellent autumn movement commenced on Sept. 3rd. At the month's end there were "100s" at Lowestoft, 29th. In early October reports included 60, Landguard, 4th: ' 'large numbers ' ', Orfordness, 6th and 26 ringed, Bawdsey, 5th as well as smaller numbers along the whole length of the coast. Another large influx in late October, peaking at 100 Lar.dguard, 27th, was mostly restricted to the southern section of the coast. Amongst the 100 at Landguard was a Polish ringed bird and another bearing a Dutch ring was trapped there, Oct. 14th (we await further details). Evidence of a relatively fast movement was also provided courtesy of ringing returns, with one ringed at Dunwich, Oct. 8th controlled on the Castricum Dunes, in Holland, eight days later (see Ringing Report).

FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus The only first winter report was from Benacre, Jan. 11th. An excellent spring passage totalling about 70 birds was reported between Mar. 7th (male at Landguard â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the earliest site record) and May 20th from seven coastal sites and inland at Haverhill and Stradishall. At Landguard monthly ringing totals were 13 March and 16 April, with a peak day total of six Mar. 31st; elsewhere, totals included six Southwold, Mar. 27th and four Minsmere, Mar. 27th and Apr. 15th. Potential breeding activity was reported from only one site where a male was seen collecting food in mid-May. Hopefully this does not accurately reflect the actual breeding situation in the County during the year. 100


An early migrant was at Aldringham, Aug. 8th, but the main autumn passage commenced on Sept. 9th and extended through to Nov. 23rd. Overall, up to 50 were reported from ¿ight coastal sites and inland at Bradfield Wood and the King's Forest; about 20 were noted at Landguard during Sept. 9th to Nov. 9th, including up to four during Oct. 4th to 8th. Single wintering birds were located in late December at Lowestoft and Dunwich. J 1

F NIL

M 30

A

M 34

J 8

J NIL

NIL

A 1

S 3

O 28

N 15

D 2

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscícapa striata The first arrival was noted on May 2nd at Walberswick. Passage at Landguard occurred luring May 12th to June 11th and included ten June 1st. Breeding reports were widespread, although apparent declines were noted at Brent Eleigh ind Halesworth. Counts of breeding prs included 17 Haverhill (13 in 1988); nine Minsmere md six Benhall. A pr nested in a hanging flower basket at Leiston and at Hitcham young •vere reared in a disused Blackbird's nest which was on the top of a pile of four old nests, the lowest of which was several years old. Notable post-breeding gatherings included 35 Alton Water, Sept. 5th; 14 Sproughton, \ u g . 26th and ten Gt. Bradley, Aug. 17th. In late August, there were 21 on a four km stretch of R. Waveney, 26th; 12 at Lowestoft, 31st and eight at Landguard, 22nd. After mid-September most reports were from the coastal region including 20 Lowestoft, Sept. 22nd, but there were six, Long Melford. Sept. 24th. The only October records were of single birds at Lowestoft, 3rd and 12th. RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Ficedula parva This species was noted in the County for the fourth consecutive year; in three of these four years there have been sightings at Lowestoft. Uwestoft: Flycatcher Lane, Sept. 11th (JHG); Gunton Cliff, Sept. 13th (BJB); Denes Oval/Sparrow's Nest, Oct. 11th to 13th (DC, JHG, SHP et al).

Although the first two sites are in very close proximity to each other and both birds were observed within a two day period, they are considered to be different individuals, pre 1950 NIL

1950s 2

1960s 10

1970s 5

1980s 12

A mere 29 records all occurring in September or October with the exception of two in May (1959 and 1977) and one in July (1975). PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca There were seven April migrants including a very early cr at Minsmere, 6th and singles inland at Haverhill, 26th and Monks Eleigh, 28th. Only five were located in May to 23rd three of which were at Haverhill. No more were reported until Aug. 19th when the first autumn migrants were at Landguard and Minsmere with a peak August figure of five Landguard, 22nd. One was inland at Sproughton, 26th. Coastal migrants were widespread in the first half of September, but all reports were of one to three until Sept. 12th when there were ten Benacre and eight Lowestoft. Inland, records in September were from Gazeley, 5th; Benhall, 12th and 20th and Wolves Wood, Hadleigh/Aldham, 17th. September reports decreased after 20th, but there were more October records than usual; at least 14 were reported, mainly from the Lowestoft area, w here there were three on 4th and the final bird of the year on 12th. A 7

M 5

J NIL

J NIL

101

A 27

S 110

O 14


BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus A second successive mild first winter period further helped this species' recover Again, as last year, no population census was undertaken, but a count of 130 at Minsm 'e in September perhaps indicates a reasonably successful breeding season. Bred at Eas m Broad and Walberswick with 80 juvs. seen at the latter site in July. Present in several small reedbeds along the coastal strip in autumn and winter includ ig 30 at Flatford and one at Cattawade, Nov. 19th. A single at Lackford, Oct. 28th to 31st is the first west Suffolk record since 198 . LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus Widely reported throughout the County and increasing as a result of the mild winte >. Observers' comments were that this species seems to be everywhere. The largest flocks were 41 in Dunwich Forest, Jan. 28th, 32 Beccles in June and 6 Sutton Heath, Nov. 8th. At Minsmere breeding prs. increased from 30 in 1988 to 45. At Landguard a flock if 11 was present Oct. 23rd. MARSH TIT Parus palustris Recorded from 40 widespread sites throughout the County (32 in 1988). A total of 19 prs bred at Minsmere (22 in 1988), including one in a nest-box. WILLOW TIT Parus montanus Over the past two decades this species appears to have decreased as the Marsh Tit h s increased. It is now becoming a rarity on the coast and its stronghold rests in SW Suffoi Recorded from. 30 sites (18 in 1988), with birds located in the breeding season it Glemsford, Haverhill, Wickhambrook, Lackford, North Warren, Santon Downha Stansfield and Hawkedon. COAL TIT Parus ater Recorded from 35 sites throughout the County. A flock of 24 was noted at West Stow Heath on Jan. 10th. At Minsmere seven prs bred in nest-boxes. Singles were at Landguard on Aug. 29th, Oct. 7th and 17th. BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Abundant and widespread throughout the County. The largest flock noted was 50 at Butley on Apr. 5th. At Minsmere 28 prs bred in nest- boxes. Autumn passage at Landguard was almost non-existent this year. GREAT TIT Parus major At Great Glemham numbers using nest-boxes were below average for the second year running. At Minsmere 33 prs bred in nest-boxes. At Landguard passage was noted in March with 15 on 11th and nine on 27th. NUTHATCH Sitta europaea Records are now showing an apparent decrease in the County's breeding population which is, perhaps, now at an all time low. Recorded from only 40 sites compared with 55-60 in 1988 and 55 in 1987, with eight breeding territories at Minsmere (seven in 1988). Observers are requested to pay particular attention to this species to enable population trends to be assessed. 102


REECREEPER Certhia familiaris Reports came from 50 sites (55 in 1988). A total of 26 prs was recorded at Minsmere (27 in 1988). ENDULINE TIT Remiz pendulinus A new bird for the County. With an i n c r e a s i n g population o n the C o n t i n e n t and b r e e d i n g r e c o r d e d f r o m H o l l a n d id B e l g i u m , f o l l o w e d b y an u p s u r g e of r e c o r d s in B r i t a i n , it is p e r h a p s not s u r p r i s i n g : lat this species h a s n o w b e e n r e c o r d e d in the C o u n t y . B i r d s w e r e r e c o r d e d at M i n s m e r e u t e r m i t t e n t l y t h r o u g h o u t the y e a r as f o l l o w s : insmere: cr Apr. 13th to 14th and 19th to 25th, June 23rd to 24th, ad and twojuvs. Oct. 25th to 29th. It is quite c o n c e i v a b l e that the A p r i l and J u n e r e c o r d s r e f e r to the s a m e i n d i v i d u a l . T h e >ecies can b e v e r y secretive and it could h a v e r e m a i n e d u n d e t e c t e d in the m o r e r e m o t e arts of the r e s e r v e . T h e O c t o b e r b i r d s , h o w e v e r , m a y h a v e b e e n f r e s h a r r i v a l s and fit ell with o t h e r r e c o r d s in s o u t h e r n Britain at that t i m e . T h e sight of t w o j u v e n i l e s late l the y e a r , t o g e t h e r with a possible o v e r s u m m e r i n g adult, initially gave rise to speculation ÂŤ f b r e e d i n g , but d e s p i t e intensive s e a r c h i n g no sign of any nest was f o r t h c o m i n g .

-OLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus oriolus The number of prs at the principal breeding site continues to fall in association with t ie harvesting of the woodland. Only two prs were located this year, but another was proved eeding at a second fenland site. A hopeful sign for the future lies in the continued ccupation of the unrelated 1988 site, where this year two prs bred successfully. It was a good spring and early summer for passage birds with c cr heard singing at v'alberswick, May 24th, Wolves Wood, Hadleigh/Aldham, May 14th, Dunwich village, ine 3rd and Dunwich Forest, June 14th and 15th. A migrant juv. was recorded in an Aldeburgh garden, Aug. 10th. iED-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius collurio There was no evidence of breeding this year. The cr frequenting the St Helen's Picnic Site, Norfolk (near Santon Downham) was seen on the Suffolk side of the Little Ouse, May 28th. Apart f r o m t h o s e a b o v e , t h e r e w e r e t w o spring r e c o r d s w h i c h r e f e r either to p a s s a g e birds o r p i o n e e r i n g individuals p r o s p e c t i n g n e w territories, Âťlinsmere: Sheepwash Spinney, 9 June 10th. Brandon: Mayday Farm, cr May 10th.

An excellent autumn passage with at least 12 individuals reported as follows: Lowestoft: Gunton, disused railway line, juv. Sept. 10th to 19th; cliffs/gardens, 9 Sept. 12th and 13th; North Denes, ad. cr Sept. 10th to 12th, juv., Sept. 10th.

Kessingland: 9 Oct. 24th. Southwold: Gun Hill, juv. Sept. 15th to 24th.

Dunwich: juv. Sept. 12th. Minsmere: 9 Aug. 19th to 29th, juv. Oct. 14th. Sizewell: Sept. 6th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, juv. Sept. 12th to 22nd, second juv. Sept. 21st (both ringed), 9 Sept. 13th.

LESSER GREY SHRIKE Lanius minor The fourth County record, following a 12 year absence. Lound/Ashby: cr Sept. 10th to 12th (MB et al).

This beautiful bird gave great pleasure to hundreds of observers. 103


G R E A T G R E Y S H R I K E Lanius excubitor As this species holds large territories it is difficult to assess the number of winteri g birds. It is likely however, that there was one individual on the coast and two in the Bre k during both winter periods.

The mid-April records probably refer to passage migrants and are in addition to those wintering. Minsmere: Dunes, Apr. 16th. Iken: Jan. 3rd to 5th. Tunstall: Mar. 3rd and Mar. 11th. Wantisden: Staverton Park, Dec. 9th to 1990.

Sutton Heath: Apr. 18th and 19th. Knettishall Heath: late October. Brandon: Mayday Farm, two, 1988 to at least Apr. 13th; one Oct. 31st to 1990.

Eriswell: Jan. 10th. Lakenheath: Lakenheath Warren, Jan. 29th to Mar. 11th, two, Mar. 11th.

One of the Mayday Farm birds was seen to catch and eat a Common Lizard, Lacerto vivipara, Apr. 8th. W O O D C H A T S H R I K E Lanius

senator

Westleton: Westleton Common, cr May 18th (MD, RM).

This cr, in superb plumage, spent an afternoon amongst rank heathland on the fringe of Minsmere Reserve. This is only the 18th record for the County and the first since 1986. pre 1950 4

1950s 3

1960s 1

1970s 5

1980s 5

J A Y Garrulus glandarius The largest gatherings reported were 16 at Santon Downham, Apr. 18th and eight at Redgrave Fen, on Oct. 14th. 104


; l A G P I E Pica pica Maximum gatherings were 32 at Minsmere, Nov. 11th, 34 Sutton Heath, Dec. 12th, 16 at Great Bealings, Jan. 26th and 19 at Lackford, Nov. 20th. As a result of the mild winter, nesting activity had started in February. At Oulton Broad bird was seen visiting a nest on Feb. 11th and 18th; one was carrying nesting material Sproughton, Feb. 28th.

. ACKDAW Corvus monedula The largest flocks reported were 150 at Minsmere, Jan. 8th, 100 at Acton, Feb. 26th, 94 at Cavenham Heath, Mar. 25th, 200 at Gt Bradley, Aug. 4th, 125 at Eye, Sept. 26th, 50 at Barton Mills, June 30th and 650 at Sweffling, November/December. Evidence of migration was provided by records of five N at Covehithe, May. 28th and 5 at Landguard, Nov. 1st. Two showing characters of the nominate Scandinavian race C. m. monedula, which has reyer underparts and a silvery-grey collar, were noted in the Pakefield, Gisleham and essingland areas between Feb. 4th and Mar. 17th (BJB, TMB, JMC). This sub-species as added to the British List in 1934, on the strength of two examples obtained at Corton in 1911 (Payn, 1962). Since then, there has been little documentation on occurrences and le race has been ignored in former editions of the Suffolk Bird Report. However, there ave been two records published in the annual reports of the Lowestoft Field Club: W! Lowestoft: North Denes (former Rubbish Tip), Feb. 4th to 18th (BJB, RSB). '70 Lowestoft: North Denes (former Rubbish Tip), Feb. 24th (BJB. DRM).

OOK Corvus frugilegus The largest groups reported were 10,000 at Newton, Nov. 11th, 900 at Sweffling, November/December, 5,000, Great Bealings in February and 1,500, Playford, Dec. 9th. Migration was noted as follows: owestoft: in from sea, four Oct. 11th, 38 Nov. 1st. outhwold: in from sea, three Oct. 12th, five Nov. 1st, three Nov. 2nd. elixstowe: Landguard Pt, N Apr. 16th, up to 25 between Nov. 1st and 24th.

C A R R I O N C R O W Corvus corone The biggest winter flock was again at Wherstead Strand with 220 on Nov. 11th. At â&#x20AC;˘Valberswick 43 roosted on the marsh on Jan. 8th. An interesting record was of a pr, which collected nesting material from Landguard and took it to one of the lighting pylons, in the Felixstowe Docks, which was last year occupied by Rooks. At Covehithe three came in from the sea on Feb. 19th. Observations of Hooded Crow C. c. comix came from the coastal strip as follows: Pakefield/Gisleham: up to three in January/February and two to Apr. 4th. Kessingland: throughout February and a Carrion/Hooded hybrid Mar. 9th. Benacre: Mar. 11th. Minsmere: Mar. 29th and Apr. 3rd. Friston: Jan. 2nd. Snape: Jan. 2nd. Sudbourne: two early February. A Carrion/Hooded Crow was at Belton during February. 105


RAVEN Corvus corax 1988 West Stow: found dead under wires, Jan 25th (anon per DRGM, BASC).

There were no reports in 1989, but Suffolk's second record for 1988, only the fouiih record this Century, was truly amazing. One found dead under overhead wires at W st Stow in January 1988, had been ringed as a nestling, on May 1 Ith 1987 at Altiffirn n Glen, Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The BTO hailed this as their recove y of the year. The identity of the bird was verified and the ringer was also able to confn n that the nestlings appeared to have fledged successfully, so human agency is unlikely (s :e Ringing Report).

STARLING Sturnus vulgaris Estimated sizes of flocks either roosting or flying to roost were 7,000, Earl Stonhai l, Mar. 13th; 6,000, Minsmere, Nov. 1st; 5,000, Levington, Nov. 25th and 3,200 over Great Bradley, Nov. 3rd. This last flock roosted at Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, which was t e destination of the large flocks seen flying northwards over Haverhill in 1987 (see Suffo k Birds 1989 p. 128). Coastal immigration occurred in March and between late September and November wi h peak counts of 1,100 at Lowestoft, Oct. 28th, 1,000 at Southwold, Nov. 2nd and 2,3. 5 at Landguard, Oct. 30th. The principal months for immigration at the latter site were Octob r and November when the respective monthly totals of 3,353 and 2,464 were logged.

HOUSE SPA R R O W Passer domesticus Autumn migratlon was observed at Landguard with groups of 100 passing south, Oc 12th and 15th, and 169, Nov. Ist; on the latter date southerly movement was also noted at Lowestoft and Southwold. Leucistic individuals were at Thorndon, Oct. lOth and Levington in August.

T R E E S P A R R O W Passer montanus Flock sizes were somewhat down this year, the largest being 200 at Stowmarket, Feb. 26th. Additional flocks were: 50, Ellough, Mar. 17th; 50, Sudbourne, Feb. 5th; 50, Hollesley, Nov. 26th; 50, Capei St Andrew, Jan. 6th and 40, Alton Water, Jan. 7th At Haverhill breeding numbers increased to 26 prs (14 in 1988). In Breckland it was noted as being scarce. At Landguard, spring passage was noted from Apr. 22nd to May 20th. There was a heavy autumn passage there between Aug. 20th and Nov. 12th, peaking at 132 on Oct. 24th. A total of 423 passed S during October and 125 in November. This species is becoming increasingly scarce, perhaps, failing to recover from the run of harsh winters earlier in the decade? Observers are requested to submit all sightings to enable its breeding and wintering status to be more accurately monitored.

C H A F F I N C H Fringilla coelebs The largest first winter flocks were 130 at Minsmere, Jan 15th and 100 at Butley Mills, Feb. 16th and Benacre, Mar. 25th, the latter probably a pre-dispersal gathering. Smaller groups were of 70, Westleton and 54, Holbrook sewage works, in March. A dramatic increase occurred in the number of territories recorded at Minsmere, which totalled 318 (191 in 1988). An increase to 39 prs was also noted at Valley Farm, Coddenham (36 in 1988), although, at Haverhill, a 10% reduction was recorded. 106


In the autumn an unusually early flock of 50 was noted at Sutton Heath, Aug. 8th. 5 lutherly passage was recorded at Southwold, Sept. 21st and 22nd, but the main visual immigration occurred from mid-October to Nov. 1st: 1 >westoft: an apparent 'fall', Oct. 30th and southerly passage Nov. 1st. S uthwold: passage, Nov. 1st. S zewell: 120 in off sea Oct. 25th. I lixstowe: Landguard Pt, 233 in off sea Oct. 15th, 134 Oct. 24th and passage of 61 Nov. 1st. A flock of 100 was noted at Levington, Dec. 16th. I RAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla A poor year with few sizeable flocks reported in either winter period. January to March reports covered 15 sites, mostly involving up to three birds only, but 50-70 were in a finch flock at Tuddenham St Mary on two dates in January and 17 at 1 riswell, Feb. 11th. Return movements had commenced by late March with 17 N at Haverhill, Mar. 27th ;ad ten Minsmere, Mar. 29th. Five further sites were involved in April including Landguard where birds were recorded cn seven dates from 9th including five Apr. 14th. At Santon Downham, 30 were present, pr. 26th and a pr at Lound, Apr. 30th, was in fine summer plumage. The last of the iring was at Landguard, May 1st. The first autumn bird was at Minsmere. Oct. 1st, followed by a light scattering, at coastal tes only, by mid-month. Numbers increased later in October including 12 seen coming i off the sea at Southwold, Oct. 24th. Recorded at Landguard on 14 dates including nine Oct. 27th and 20 Oct. 28th. Birds obviously moved through promptly as there were only two records in December. GREENFINCH Carduelis chloris A near fatality was reported from Gazeley, early in the year, when a bird was found /edged in the top of a peanut holder and had to be eased free! The message here is to lake sure that lids are fitted correctly. Sizeable flocks were recorded at Knodishall, with 250 Feb. 14th, 160 Butley Mills, Jan. 9th and 120 Boyton, Jan. 12th. Spring passage at Landguard was noted during March with over 150 present at the month's end with fewer by mid-April, and at Witnesham, from Apr. 3rd to 19th. Huge flocks in the Long Melford/Cavendish area in August/September peaked at 1,100 Sept. 13th reducing to 500 by the end of the month. Southerly passage was evident at Lowestoft, Southwold and Landguard throughout October and early November, with peaks at Landguard of 375 Oct. 12th and 286 Oct. 15th. A pr was nest-building in a conifer at Worlingworth as late as July 29th. GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis Very few reports during January to March with small flocks only at Benacre (20), Woodbridge (40), Nacton (45) and Brantham (64). The one notable exception was of an enormous flock of 750 at Ramsholt, Mar. 18th. Coastal passage was evident at Landguard on various dates from Apr. 8th to May 10th and at Minsmere numbers peaked at 100+ Apr. 27th. Return movement commenced in September. Birds were seen heading S at Southwold, Sept. 21st and 22nd and at Minsmere numbers peaked at 100 Sept. 28th. Landguard recorded 358 south throughout September, followed by a heavy passage for most of October and early November. Peak days were: 658 Oct. 10th, 693 Oct. 11th, 607 Oct. 30th and 654 Nov. 1st. At Lackford 215 were present, Oct. 7th. 107


SISKIN Carduelis spinus Reported from 43 sites in the January to March period. Largest gatherings were it Minsmere and included 150 Jan. 2nd and 140 Mar. 27th, and in the Mayday Farm ar a at Brandon with 200 Mar. 12th and over 250 Mar. 18th: also 125, Santon Downham Ms . 30th. Numbers reduced during April with reports from only 20 areas. A noisy flock of ' 5 at Sutton Heath, Apr. 4th and 60 Minsmere, Apr. 6th, were the largest groups. The on y report in May was of three at Minsmere on 10th. Information on the fortunes of the breeding population was scant, although "hi) h numbers ' ' were again reported in Thetford Forest. The only postitive evidence of breedi; g in this region however, involved a singing cr, at Mayday Farm, Brandon, June 11th. t a second west Suffolk site a cr was heard singing in April, three fledged young were see . June 5th and a รง was carrying nesting material (presumably for a second brood), Ju; e 26th. Information on the status of birds breeding in the County's conifer plantations s urgently required. The only other summer record was of one S over Landguard, July 16th. The first autumn activity commenced at Landguard, Sept. 25th and five were at Minsmer Sept. 27th. At Nedging, 60 were noted in a mixed flock, Sept. 29th. Main autumn souther movements occurred from Oct. 25th to Nov. 4th with peaks at: Southwold: 24 S Oct. 26th. Minsmere: in Alders, 200 Oct. 28th. Sizewell: in from sea, 50 Oct. 28th. Aldeburgh: 55 S Nov. 4th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 381 October peaking at 196 S 30th.

Flocks of up to 60 were at various sites in November and December. LINNET Carduelis cannabina The only wintering flock reported was of 200 at Ferry Road, Felixstowe in Januan reducing to 100 in February and 50 in March. Return movements were noted from mid-March including 22 N at Minsmere, Mar. 31st and increased numbers at Landguard from Mar. 25th. Most spring migration however, occurred in April with Minsmere recording a northerly passage averaging 100 per da on six dates. Birds were also on the move at Landguard with 140 coasting south Api 8th and 200 Apr. 10th. Sizeable coastal flocks included 150 at Lowestoft, Apr. 18th; 175 on stubble at Sudbourne, Apr. 9th and 150, Felixstowe, May 1st. Minsmere recorded 35 breeding territories and there were eight at Valley Farm. Coddenham (four in 1988). Autumn migration was evident at Landguard from mid-September with totals of over 2,000 S in September and 5,400 during October. Sizeable winter flocks were 200 at Cavendish, Nov. 22nd and 100 Falkenham, Dec. 23rd TWITE Carduelis flavirostris First winter flocks were reported from six coastal sites: Easton Broad: up to 37 in January. Walberswick: 80 Jan. 1st to 8th, but generally 30 to 40 to Mar. 28th.

Sudbourne: 114 Jan. 30th. Boyton: 20 Jan. 1st, 50 Jan. 6th. Falkenham/Felixstowe Ferry: 25 Jan 8th, 40 Feb. 12th, 20 Mar. 12th and four still present Mar. 20th. Levington: up to 80 January to March, with 40 Mar. 25th.

Returning autumn birds were first noted on Oct. 10th when 14 were at Minsmere. Other October records, mostly mid-month, were from ten coastal sites between Easton Bavents and Landguard. Highest count was 69 R. Deben, Oct. 15th. 108


O v e r w i n t e r i n g f l o c k s w e r e n o t e d at:

V''alberswick: 25 to the year end. ! inwich: 30 Nov. 5th.

!â&#x20AC;˘ idbourne: up to 32 Dec. 2nd. 1 Ikenham: 30 Nov. 12th.

i lixstowe Ferry: 27 Dec. 3Ist. 1 evington: 90 Nov. 25th and 26th.

1 EDPOLL Carduelis flammea Reported from 53 sites. Largest wintering flocks were 80 Minsmere, Jan. 14th; 70 I knield Way, Apr. 2Ist; 60 Thurston, Jan 24th and 50 Long Melford, January to March. The latter was often seen feeding on spent Evening Primrose seed. Small numbers of birds passed S at Landguard during April and May. Breeding behaviour was reported from only 12 sites (40 in 1988) although this is unlikely to reflect an actual reduction in the breeding population. At Haverhill 14 prs bred (16 i-i 1988). A light southerly movement occurred at Landguard on a few dates in October and ovember. Largest second winter flock was 45, Lackford, Dec. 31st. Rather more Mealy Redpolls, C.f. flammea were recorded than in recent years with ports from: sulton Broad: Mar. 1 Ith. 'artlesham: up to ten in Redpoll flock in January. elixstowe: Landguard Pt, one bearing a German ring, May 7th (see Ringing Report),

ramford Pits: Jan. 29th. ong Melford: three in large Redpoll flock in January.

The Martlesham birds were noted amongst a flock of 40 Redpolls which also contained very white individual considered by some observers to be an Arctic Redpoll C. hornemanni >f the race exlipes. This record is currently under consideration by the BBRC.

CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra Reported from 18 sites and, although 11 of these are in east Suffolk, the species was nost frequently seen in the Lackford and Mayday Farm, Brandon areas. Birds were recorded at 12 sites during the breeding season (15 in 1988). Sizeable flocks were ten at Minsmere, Jan. 23rd; eight, Hollesley Heath, Jan. 15th; up to 15, Mayday Farm, Mar. 26th and 18, Lackford, Aug. 18th.

SCARLET ROSEFINCH Carpodacus erythrinus A magniflcent male appeared, albeit too briefly, at Minsmere, near the West Hide, on a morning in June. Minsmere: er in song, June 1 Ith (RNM).

This is only the third County record; interestingly the second record was also on June 1 Ith at Lakenheath in 1982.

BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Minsmere recorded 25 territories and a flock of 12 Nov. 5th; similar flocks were at Long Melford, Oct. 2nd and Redgrave Fen, Oct 14th. Eight were noted in a southerly movement of passerines at Southwold, Oct. 13th and an influx of eight at Landguard, Oct. 23rd is also a notable record. 109


HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes Reported from 17 locations (20 in 1988) throughout the County including six in ti e coastal region. At Landguard, three records in April included a 9 ringed on Apr. 16 h â&#x20AC;&#x201D; only the fourth ringed on the site. Hawfinches were noted at eight sites during the breeding period with one fortun; e observer having one regularly visiting her Bury St Edmunds garden. Single birds we e often noted in the Vicarage garden at Gazeley, from February to July, and three we e present on Mar. 3rd. The largest groups seen were four at Henham and Staverton in April.

LAPLAND BUNTING Calcarius lapponicus Apart from two at Walberswick Jan. 4th, first winter records were limited to Sudbour e from January to March with a peak of ten Feb. 12th and two still present Mar. 12tl Second winter period reports referred to eight coastal sites. The only September reco; i was of a very obliging bird at Lowestoft Denes, 17th. This was followed by a light scatterii g from early October: Lowestoft: The Denes, Sept. 17th. Kessingland: S Nov. 20th. Benacre: three Oct. 2nd. Easton Broad/Bavents: Oct. 18th, two crir Nov. 12th and 19th. Minsmere: two Oct. 30th. Aldeburgh: Nov. 18th. Sudbourne: up to ten Nov. 12th to end of year. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Oct. 1st and 2nd, three S Oct. 23rd and two S Nov. 1st. 1988 Shingle Street: three S Oct. 28th. The last record was previously not accepted, but is now considered authentic in the light of further evidence.

SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis An excellent first winter with large flocks still present from late 1988. Reports came from 15 sites between Lowestoft and Landguard with the principal flocks at: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, 50 Jan. 8th. Benacre: 70 Jan. 1st. Aldeburgh: Slaughden Quay, 110 Jan. 2nd. Sudbourne: 110 Jan. 2nd. Orfordness: 140 Jan. 15th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Pt, 60 Jan. 7th. There may well have been some interchange between the Slaughden, Sudbourne and Orfordness areas, but nonetheless exceptionally high numbers were present. Late birds, and the only April records, were at Landguard on 3rd, 7th and 8th. First returning birds were singles on Dunwich Beach, Oct. 12th and at Orford, Oct. 15th. Ten were seen coming in off the sea at Minsmere, Oct. 27th. Although reports in the second winter period involved 17 sites, flocks were smaller than in late 1988 with largest numbers at: Benacre: 80 Dec. 31st. Covehithe: 44 Dec. 27th. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, 60 Nov. 10th. Sudbourne: 80 Dec. 8th and 31st. 110


ELLOWHAMMER Emberiza citrinella Useful breeding territory data confirmed 70 prs at Minsmere (71 in 1988), 27 Valley ! arm, Coddenham (22 in 1988) and 18 Haverhill (25 in 1988). In the spring and winter months, sizeable flocks were noted at Needham Market (60); i reat Waldingfield (60-100); Fressingfield (70) and Winston Green (80 going to roost). 1 EED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus A report of a male visiting a bird table in Ipswich Jan. 22nd was an interesting, although r ot unique record. Observers are requested to report similar occurrences. There were 25 territories recorded at Minsmere and 32 at Haverhill (43 in 1988) including t vo nests containing young Cuckoos. Some southerly movements were recorded at Southwold and Landguard from mid-ptember to early November peaking with 34 at the latter site Oct. 23rd. The largest roost gathering involved 25 birds in a mixed roost at Great Cornard, Nov. 5th to 26th. ORN BUNTING Miliaria calandra Reported from 38 sites throughout the year (36 in 1988); most were in E Suffolk, but ! tere were 11 in the west. A total of 21 records was reported relating to the breeding season. The largest winter flocks were 40 at Sudbourne in early January and 100 at Kedington, Oct. 4th. At Landguard, where the species is an uncommon migrant, singles were recorded Aug. th, Oct. 18th and 30th, Nov. 1st and two south Nov. 4th.

APPENDIX I — CATERGORY D SPECIES Wood Duck Aix sponsa xworth: Micklemere, o- and ç Feb. 28th and Mar. 12th. •Vickhambrook: Badmondisfield Hall, Aug. 5th

APPENDIX II -

ESCAPEES

Another good selection of exotics this year. Some birds, perhaps, obtained their freedom after their keepers had waited just a little too long before bringing out the pinion shears, or fixing a hole in the cage. Some individuals are now long-term fugitives and there are signs that Black Swan may soon follow Egyptian Goose and Ruddy Duck to colonise Britain as a feral species. The enhancement of our avifauna by such species has taken place for many years and it is important that all records are properly documented. Early visits of Night Heron, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck and Trumpeter Finch were all at one time viewed with suspicion, but their wild origins have been proved by either the pattern of occurrences or by ringing recoveries. The status of Red-headed Bunting is currently under review, by the British Ornithologists' Union, but, unfortunately, the Suffolk records have been treated far too lightly in the past and in some cases the dates of occurrences have been omitted in the reports and details lost. The most interesting record of the year concerns a Sooty-headed Bulbul, at Landguard, which is considered to have been ship-assisted rather than an escapee. The native range and, in some cases the status, precede the records of each species, with references from Clements (1981) unless otherwise stated. Ill


African Spoonbill Platalea alba Resident in Africa, south of the Sahara, and Madagascar. Lowestoft: Northfield, St. Nicholas School playing field, ad. Mar. 14th (RCS). Ramsholt: in wet meadow, Mar. 25th.

The Lowestoft record is most bizarre. The young pupils at the school summoned th teacher (RCS) who found the bird totally circled by about 70 children, and quite unconcern about the attention bestowed upon it. This is the second successive year in which the species has occurred in Suffolk and choice of sites and behaviour is intriguing. Whilst at Martlesham in 1988 it was report to have fed on Weetabix and milk.

ir d is d

Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis Resident in southern South America. Widely kept at wildlife parks, zoos, gardens a d wildfowl collections. Minsmere: May 26th. O r f o r d : Havergate, May 24th and 25th.

Lackford: June 16th to 18th. Flamingo sp. Phoenicopterus Minsmere: Apr. 26th.

sp.

T h e b e r t o n : Eastbridge, Apr. 26th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, flying S high overhead, July 15th.

Black Swan: Cygnus atratus Resident in Australia, including Tasmania, and introduced to New Zealand. Minsmere: May 15th, two S Sept. 23rd, two Sept. 26th. O r f o r d : R. Aide: two N'Jan. 22nd. Havergate: two Sept. 30th. Kettleburgh: R. Deben, June 17th. F a l k e n h a m : King's Fleet, Dec. 17th; two Dec. 30th and 31st. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, two N Sept. 26th. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Park, Dec. 20th to 1990. G l e m s f o r d : G . P . , with Mute Swans, end November.

Hessett: June 6th. The Landguard birds are likely to be the same as those at Minsmere which were seen later the same day. In 1988, Essex recorded its first successful breeding attempt, when a cygnet was fledged from a nest on the R. Colne at Colchester (cf. Essex Bird Report 1988, p. 87). Suffolk next'.' Bar-headed Goose Anser

indicus

R e s i d e n t in c e n t r a l A s i a to I n d i a and B u r m a .

Benacre: May 23rd. Alton W a t e r : Jan. 29th, Feb. 13th, Sept. 21st, Oct. 15th, Dec. 9th to 30th.

Hawaiian Goose Branta sandvicensis Endemic to the island of Hawaii and introduced to Mauai. An endangered species with no more than 20 individuals surviving in 1950 (Owen, 1980). A successful rear and release programme in Hawaii and Britain has since boosted the population to a reasonably secure level. Lowestoft: Kirkley Middle School, Playing field, full-winged and unringed, Nov. 20th to 22nd. T h i s b i r d is u n d o u b t e d l y a p r o d u c t of t h e British p r o g r a m m e .

112


' hiloe Wigeon Anas sibilatrix Resident from southern Brazil to Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands, eedham M a r k e t : Station Lake, male, Jan 10th.

ivermere: May 4th. oeckled Teal Anas flavirostris Widespread in South America. ackford: several dates from Aug. 9th to Sept. 3rd, two Oct. 14th.

ahama Pintail Anas

bahamensis

W i d e s p r e a d in South A m e r i c a and W e s t Indies,

¡rford: Havergate, Dec. 18th and 19th. •Veybread: G.P., two Aug. 6th. ieeve's Pheasant Syrmaticas reevesii Resident in hills of northern and central China north of Yangtze river, avenham: male, several dates between February and June.

•iamond Dove Geopelia

cuneata

W i d e s p r e a d in the s a v a n n a s of Australia, elixstowe: Landguard, May 29th and 30th.

Parakeet sp. Psittacula sp. Oulton Broad: Mar. 11th. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 15th. iloxne: November/December. Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus Widespread in Australia. Lowestoft: Ness Point, July 7th. Pakefield: May 7th.

Leiston: Feb. 16th. Rendlesham: RAF Bentwaters, Sept. 9th. Felixstowe: Landsdowne Road, May 23rd; Landguard. June 6th, S, Aug. 2nd.

Ipswich: Cliff Quay, Nov. 22nd. An increasingly frequent escapee. Peach-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis Frequents dry country of southwestern Africa. Brent Eleigh: Mar. 24th. Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster Ranges from southern China to Indochina and Java. Felixstowe: Landguard, Sept. 3rd and 4th.

This spectacular individual delighted members of an SOG field trip as it hunted the banks around the Bird Observatory. It was nevertheless extremely wary, but it eventually ventured into the Heligoland trap where it was captured. On examination, there was no sign of feather abrasion and the bird was unhappy about being handled. There was contrast in the greater coverts indicating that it was a bird of the year. The possibilty of escape from captivity cannot be ruled out although in this case the record is more likely to be a result of ship assistance, since ships from S.E. Asia frequently dock at Felixstowe. 113


Z e b r a F i n c h Poephila guttata Frequents dry open woodlands throughout Australia. Kesgrave: road casualty, July 25th. P i n - t a i l e d W h y d a h Vidua macroura W i d e s p r e a d in A f r i c a south of the S a h a r a . Benacre: ad. cr, Aug. 28th. Covehithe: ad. ce, Aug. 28th, Sept. 2nd to 6th. Minsmere: ad. c , car park, Nov. 14th. T h e b i r d w a s m o s t s p e c t a c u l a r b e i n g a m a l e in f u l l - b r e e d i n g p l u m a g e c o m p l e t e v th tail. D u r i n g its stay at C o v e h i t h e it f e d exclusively o n a m a n u r e h e a p o n the cliff-tc s. All r e c o r d s r e f e r r e d to t h e s a m e individual w h i c h p r o b a b l y m e t its e n d at M i n s m e r e as e v i d e n c e d by a "smug-looking" Sparrowhawk. In a d d i t i o n , t h e r e w e r e n u m e r o u s r e p o r t s of C h i n e s e ( S w a n ) G o o s e Anser a n d M u s c o v y D u c k Cairina moschata.

A P P E N D I X III -

cygnoit

â&#x20AC;˘s

SCHEDULE OF NON-ACCEPTED RECORDS

T h e f o l l o w i n g list c o n s i s t s of r e c o r d s that w e r e not a c c e p t e d b y the B B R C (natior rarities) o r t h e S O R C ( C o u n t y rarities). It m u s t b e e m p h a s i s e d that in the vast m a j o r i t y of c a s e s t h e r e c o r d w a s not accept b e c a u s e the C o m m i t t e e m e m b e r s w e r e not c o n v i n c e d , o n the e v i d e n c e b e f o r e t h e m , th the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w a s f u l l y e s t a b l i s h e d ; in only a v e r y f e w c a s e s w e r e t h e C o m m i t t e satisfied that a m i s t a k e had b e e n m a d e .

d d t s

1989 Records: G r e a t N o r t h e r n Diver: Benacre, Sept. 18th. Red-necked Grebe: Minsmere, four Nov. 19th. Soo.y Shearwater: Minsmere, Sept. 17th. Purple Heron: Hollesley, sub-ad. Nov. 19th onwards. Whoop Swan: Pakefield, nine SW May 17th. Pink-footed Goose: Walberswick, S Jan. 14th. Black Kite: Minsmere, June 27th. Red Kite: Moulton, June 26th. M o n t a g u ' s H a r r i e r : Benacre, 9 May 23rd; Minsmere, Apr. 14th; Kelsale, cr July 29th, Sutton Heath, Aug. 15th, Lakenheath, July 27th. Redcrested P o c h a r d : Trimley St Martin, six Dec. 3rd. C o m m o n Buzzard: Little Whelnetham, Mai 29th. Rough-legged Buzzard: Beccles, November; Great Barton, Apr. 4th; Tuddenham Heath, Feb 26th. Goshawk: Minsmere, Apr. 28th. Red-footed Falcon: Havergate, Sept. 14th; Blaxhall, prob imm. 9 May 16th; Felixstowe, 9 N May 19th. Peregrine: Walberswick, juv. Aug. 22nd. Kentish Plover: Havergate, May 13th. Pectoral Sandpiper: Minsmere, Aug. 10th. Grey Phalarope: Sizewel! Oct. 28th. P o m a r i n e S k u a : Minsmere, S Sept. 27th. M e d i t e r r a n e a n Gull: Haverhill, Jan. 28th to Mar. 10th. Ring-billed Gull: Benacre, July 27th. Iceland Gull: Felixstowe, Sept. 17th. Sandwich T e r n : Minsmere, Nov. 23rd. Cuckoo: Felixstowe, Mar. 21st; Kentford, Mar 25th and 30th. House M a r t i n : Alton Water, three Mar. 19th. Water Pipit: Levington, Jan. 15th. Whinchat: K e s s i n g l a n d . Nov. 27th. Ring Ouzel: Haverhill, two Aug. 30th. M a r s h W a r b l e r : Haverhill, Apr. 16th. I c t e r i n e W a r b l e r : Felixstowe Docks, Sept. 13th, two Sept. 14th. Melodious W a r b l e r : Felixstowe Docks. Sept. 12th and 13th. Wood W a r b l e r : Wetherden, July 18th. Firecrest: Somerleyton, six Feb. 9th-

1988 Records: White-winged Black T e r n : Havergate, Aug. 10th. 1987 Records: Red-footed Falcon: Cotton, ad. 9 May 10th. Stilt Sandpiper: Minsmere, Oct. 16th. Citrine Wagtail: Cavenham, Sept. 17th. 114


1 86 R e c o r d s : A1 lerican Wigeon: Barsham, 9 Feb. 28th. 1 83 R e c o r d s : Gi ll-billed T e r n : Minsmere, Sept. 24th.

â&#x20AC;˘ <n

.

List of Contributors I have e n d e a v o u r e d to a c k n o w l e d g e all c o n t r i b u t o r s to Suffolk Birds and to the best of my k n o w l e d g e this list is c o m p l e t e . If by s o m e m i s c h a n c e I h a v e failed to include y o u r contribution p l e a s e accept m y sincere apologies â&#x20AC;&#x201D; E d s . S. Abbott, T. Abrehart, D. Adelson, M. K. Ahmad, J. Alan, S. Alan, C. B. Allen, G. Allen, I- Andrews, G. Anderson, J. R. Askins, H. E. Axell. J

- W. S. Bailey, Mrs. M. Bacon, D. B. Baker, N. P. Baker, T. Bamber, S. Banks. W. A. Baston, R- E. Batty, Dr. C. Beardall, J. Bedford, H. R. Beecroft, Mrs. M. J. Beecroft, R. C. Beecroft, Rev. G. Bell, R. Belson, K. Bennett, R. Biddle, A. Bimpson, S. Bishop, L. T. Bloomfield, Blue Cross (Felixstowe) British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), A. Botwright (ABo), C. G. R. Bowden, W. J. Brame, E. W. Bridges, R. S. Briggs, British Trust for Ornithology, B- J. Brown, C. Brown, G. B. Brown, R. M. Brown, T. M. Brown, J. A. Brydson, W. Bryon, A- L. Bull, M. Bunn. H. M. Butcher, C. A. Buttle. F

E. Cannell, N. Cant, K. B. Carlisle, Catchpole, Cockram and Peters Ringing Group, P. Catchpole, - M. Cawston, M. Cavanagh (MCa), Miss P. Chase. K. J. Chittleborough, R. E. Clarke, J. Clay, M. Clements, I. C. Clowes, L. Colburn, Mrs. M. Cook, R. Cottrill, T. Craven, M. D. Crewe,

J

115


M . Crowley, F. A. Currie, D. Croxson, C. G. D. Curtis. J. A. Davies, Mrs. J. Davies, M . Davies, S. F. Davies, K. Davis, V. Davison, T. R. Dt in, C . F. Dibble, H. W . Dockerill, O. G. Douglas, J. W. Drake, S. Dumican, R. A. Duncan. M . J. Eales, A. C . Easton, D. R. Eaton, T. Eaton, S. Edwards, G. L. Ellis, F . E. Elliston, Mrs B. E. Elliston, L. G. R. Evans. R. Fairhead, Mrs. J. Fisher, D. Flatman, J. Flecknoe, M. Forbes, M . Foreman, J. Frost, S. Fr\ tt, C. Fulcher. H. K. Garner, R. W. H. Garner, C. Garnham, Mrs. J. D. Garrod, K. W . Garrod, J. Garsta g, N. Gibbons, D. J. Gibbs, A. Gilbey, P. Gill, J. A. Glazebrook, W. A. Goddard, A. Gotx y, A. Gooding, J. Goodwin (JGo), p . R. Gowen, A. J. Graham, J. B. Graham, S. A. Grah, n, J. H. Grant, Miss L. Green, N. C. Green, A. M . Gregory, Miss Guyler. A. S. Hall, M . A. Hall, D. Hardling, Mrs. R. Harding, D. C. Harper, B. Harrington, B. H; rt, Mrs. M . Hart, P. A. Harvey, P. Heath, J. B. Higgott, R. Hoblyn, P. Horsenail, D. W. Hovell. ir A. G. Hurrell. Ipswich

Museum.

P. Jackson, C. J. Jakes, L. Jakes, M . James, H. G. Jeffery, G. J. Jobson, D. P. Johnson. A. Kane, R. J. Kane, J. Kay, M . C. Keer, Mrs L. F. Kellow, M . Kelvin, A. S. Kenne, y, T. P. Kerridge, Dr. T. Kerry, Miss J. Kirk, C. A. E. Kirtland, D. B. Kightley, G. Km; t, J. Knights, C. D. Knott. Lackford Wildfowl Reserve, Landguard Bird Observatory, B. Law, A. J. Last, W. A. Last, J. Law h . W. G. D. Legge, J. Le vene (JLe), D. Liley, S. Ling, W . E. Lingley, J. A. Lowe, Lowestoft Fie-d Club. R. N. Macklin, H. Maclean, Miss Z. Maclaughlin, J. Mallard, J. H. Marchant, S. J. Margins, i, D. C. Marsh, M . Marsh, N. Marsh, J. R. Martin, N. J. Mason, Dr P. McAnulty, B. McCartl . Miss M. Mckerness, A. Miller, D. R. Miller, D. R. Moore, N. Moore, M. R. Morley, C. M o r t a , G. Mortimer, P. W. Murphy, D. G. R. Myles. A. R. Nairn, P. Napthine, C. R. Naunton, D. R. Newton, Mrs. M . Newton, P. H. Newpo :. P. C. Noaks, T. North. N. Odin, G. Oram, A. J. Osborne. M . Packard, E. P a r s o n s , R. M . Patient, E. W . Patrick, W . H. Payn, J. Pearce-Higgir . B. A. Pearson, W . E. L. Peart, N. Percival, I. Peters, S. H. Piotrowski, R. Plowman, A. Pope, L. A. Potter, A. J. Prater, Mrs. B. P. R. Pritchard, R. Prytherch. J. L. Raincock, B. Ranner, P. J. Ransome, N. W . Rayment, Rev. C. M . Reed, S. Reek . D. A. Riley, A. Riseborough, Mrs. M . Rivers, S. Roper, C. Rose, Sir J. Rowley, Royal Socieh for the Protection of Birds, M . D. Robertson, C. P. S. Ruffles, M . D. Russell. Mrs. J. Sabin, E. Seymour, Mrs. D. Sheppy, Mrs. P. Shott, Dr M . J. Simmonds, D r N. J. Skinner. B. J. Smith, D. F. Smith, R. C. Smith, Rik Smith (R.Sm), R. Smurthwaite, E. Snell, J. Sorensen. M. Spackman, Dr C. Spray, P. A. St. Pierre, J. N. Stedman, P. Steggall, R. Stewart, M. G. Stiff. His Hon. Judge D. Stinson, Suffolk Biological Records Centre, Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, J. C . Sutherby, R. Swindin. Mrs. J. Taylor,

M . Thomas,

Mrs. R. Thomas,

D. Thorogood.

J. Thorogood,

R. Tomlinson,

L. Townsend, Mrs. D. C. Tozer, R. B. Tozer, C . J. Turner, J. A. Turner, M . N. Turner. D. K. Underwood, Mrs Usherwood. J. Vane, A. E. Vine, Mrs. M. Vincent. R. Waiden, C . S. Waller, I. R. Walsh, R. B. W a r r e n , Rev. R. G. W a r r e n , R. J. Waters. M . Watkins, G. Watley, D. Watson, E. H. Webb, L. Webb, W. Webber, Mrs. A. Welch, A. Westcott, R. West, P. Whittaker, M. Whittingham, E. Wicken, Mrs. Wickham, P. Wilson, R. Wincup (R.Wi), R. Witters, J. C. G. Wolf, P. Wood, L. Woods, J. Woolfries, J. H. Woolnough. M . Wright, M . T. Wright. S. Youell. J. Zantboer.

116


EARLIEST AND LATEST DATES OF SUMMER MIGRANTS Si ECIES G rganey H bby St >ne Curlew L tie Ringed Plover V limbrel V tod Sandpiper S idwich Tern C tnmon Tern A ctic Tern L tie Tern§ B ick Tern T rtle Dove C .ckoo f ghtjar S .¡ft ryneck i nd Martin § i 'allow 1 >use Martin 1 ee Pipit > :llow Wagtail ghtingale 1 -dstart ' hinchat ' heatear i tng Ouzel asshopper Warbler§ -dge Warbler i eed Warbler : esser Whitethroat hitethroat ; trdcn Warbler •Vood Warbler •'illow Warbler ¡lotted Flycatcher 'ied Flycatcher Ked-backed Shrike

Date Mar. 23rd Apr. 15th Mar. 11th Mar. 23rd Mar. 26th May 11th Mar. 24th Apr. 7th Apr. 21st Apr. 8th Apr. 24th Apr. 4th Mar. 29th May 11th Apr. 24th Apr. 29th Mar. 9th Mar. 24th Mar. 28th Mar. 31st Mar. 27th Apr. 13th Mar. 30th Apr. 18th Mar. 7th Apr. 2nd Apr. 1st Mar. 28th Apr. 5th Apr. 13th Apr. 6th Apr. 15th Apr. 28th Mar. 23rd May 2nd Apr. 6th May 10th

ARRIVALS Locality Ixworth/Minsmere Covehithe Breckland Cavenham Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere/Havergate Minsmere Weybread Havergate Lackford Haverhill Haverhill Minsmere Ipswich Minsmere/Lowestoft Lackford Haverhill Haverhill Thetford/Minsmere Alton Water Minsmere Bawdsey Haverhill Sutton Heath Aldeburgh Hepworth Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere/Landguard Westieton N actor. Haverhill Levington Walberswick Minsmere Brandon

Date Sept. 17th Oct. 14th Nov. 12th Sept. 1st Oct. 29th Oct. 7th Oct. 27th Oct. 28th Nov. 4th Sept. 21st Sept. 22nd Oct. 23rd Sept. 12th Sept. 22nd Sept. 24th Sept. 22nd Oct. 14th Nov. 22nd Nov. 28th Sept. 22nd Oct. 15th Sept. 12 th Oct. 27th Oct. 25th Nov. 4th Nov. 21st Sept. 24th Sept. 23rd Oct. 24th Oct. 24th Oct. 18th Oct. 13th Sept. 5th Oct. 30th Oct. 12th Oct. 12th Oct. 24th

DEPARTURES Locality Gedgrave Woodbridge Westieton Levington Sizewell Minsmere Minsmere Lowestoft Landguard Havergate Lackford Landguard* Landguard Brandon Landguard Havergate Benacre Felixstowe Woodbridge Landguard Landguard Felixstowe Minsmere Kessingland Sudbourne/Falkenham Minsmere Landguard Landguard Hollesley Minsmere Minsmere Corton Corton/Lowestoft Corton Lowestoft Lowestoft Kessingland

otes: * See details of overwintering bird. § Earliest for Suffolk.

References: Axell, H . E . a n d P e a r s o n , D . J . 1 9 6 6 . T h e g r e a t fall of m i g r a n t s — a special r e p o r t . Trans, Nat. Soc. 1 3 : 2 5 0 - 2 6 6 . Clements, J . 1 9 8 1 . Birds of the World:

a checklist.

London.

C r a m p , S . a n d S i m m o n s , K . E . L . ( E d s ) 1983. The Birds University Press.

of the Western

Palearctic.

D y m o n d , J. N . , F r a s e r , P . A . & G a n t l e t t , S. J. M . 1989. Rare Birds in Britain O w e n , M . 1 9 8 0 . Wild geese of the world. Fakenham. p a y n , W . H . 1 9 6 2 . The Birds of Suffolk. London. Piotrowski, S . H . 1 9 9 0 . A fishy story. The Harrier 8 7 : 1 2 - 1 3 . Smith, R . C . 1 9 9 0 . L o w e s t o f t ' s h i g h rise w a d e r r o o s t . The Harrier Ticehurst, C . B. 1 9 3 2 . A History of the Birds of Suffolk. London.

117

Suffolk

88:

V o l . 3. O x f o r d

and Ireland.

Carlton.


Suffolk Bird List by Steve Piotrowski At total of 301 species were admissible to the County list up to the end of 1960 (Pi 1978). Over the past thirty years this list has grown steadily, at an average of just o' two new species per year, and now stands at a respectable 365. The species are group into five categories according to their national status as determined by the Brit Ornithologists' Union Records Committee (BOURC):

H\Cjt»QT.T- •

•"•'.'.'.' "'

n :r d h

-

Category A: Species which have been recorded in an apparently wild state in Brita i or Ireland at least once within the last 50 years. Category B: Species which have been recorded in an apparently wild state in Britam or Ireland at least once, but not within the last 50 years. Category C: Species which, although introduced by man, have now established regular feral breeding stock which apparently maintains itself without necessary recourse to further introduction. Category D: Species which have been recorded within the last 50 years and would otherwise appear in category A except that (1) there is a reasonable doubt that they have ever occurred in a wild state, or (2) they have certainly arrived with a combination of ship and human assistance, including provision of food and shelter, or (3) they have only ever been found dead on the tideline; also species which would otherwise appear in category C except that their feral populations may or may not be self-supporting. The main object of category D is to collect together the records of species which are not yet full additions, so that these are not overlooked if there are subsequently fully acceptable records. Category E: Species which would otherwise appear in category A or B but have only ever been recorded in British or Irish waters between 3 and 200 miles (4.8 and 320 Km) from land. The following species numbered and listed in categories A to C are considered by the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee as being admissible to the County list. Those showing a coded entry are either feral species that have not yet become fully e s t a b l i s h e d in the County or have not yet occurred in a wild state (see notes). 118


( itegory A 1. Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata 2. Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica 3. Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 4. White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii 5. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 6. Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 7. Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena 8. Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus 9. Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis 0. Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 1. Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea 2. Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis 3. Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus 4. Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 5. Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus 6. Leach's Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa 7. Gannet Sula bassana 8. Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo ¡9. Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis ¡0. Bittern Botaurus stellaris 21. Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus 22. Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 23. Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides 24. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 25. Little Egret Egretta garzella 26. Great White Egret Egretta alba 27. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 28. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea 29. Black Stork Ciconia nigra 30. White Stork Ciconia ciconia 31. Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 32. Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia 33. Mute Swan Cygnus olor 34. Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus 35. Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus 36. Bean Goose Anser fabalis 37. Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus 38. White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons * Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus 39. Greylag Goose Anser anser 40. Snow Goose Anser caerulescens 41. Canada Goose Branta canadensis 42. Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis 43. Brent Goose Branta bernicla 44. Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis 45. Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 46. Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 47. Wigeon Anas penelope 48. American Wigeon Anas americana 49. Gadwall Anas streperà 50. Baikal Teal Anas formosa 51. Teal Anas crecca 52. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 53. Pintail Anas acuta 54. Garganey Anas querquedula 55. Blue-winged Teal Anas discors

56. Shoveler Anas clypeata 57. Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina 58. Pochard Aythya ferina 59. Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris 60. Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca 61. Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula 62. Scaup Aythya marila 63. Eider Somate ria moltissima 64. Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis 65. Common Scoter Melanina nigra 66. Velvet Scoter Melanina fusca 67. Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 68. Smew Mergus albellus 69. Red-breasted Merganser Mergus senator 70. Goosander Mergus merganser 71. Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus 72. Black Kite Milvus migrans 73. Red Kite Milvus milvus 74. White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla 75. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus 76. Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus 77. Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus 78. Goshawk Accipiter gentilis 79. Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 80. Buzzard Buteo buteo 81. Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus 82. Osprey Pandion haliaetus 83. Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 84. Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus 85. Merlin Falco columbarius 86. Hobby Falco subbuteo 87. Gyr Falcon Falco rusticolus 88. Peregrine Falco peregrinus ** Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus ** Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix 89. Grey Partridge Perdix perdix 90. Quail Coturnix cotumix 91. Water Rail Rallus aquaticus 92. Spotted Crake Porzana porzana 93. Little Crake Porzana parva 94. Baillon s Crake Porzana pusilla 95. Corncrake Crex crex 96. Moorhen Gallínula chloropus 97. Coot Fúlica atra 98. Crane Grus grus 99. Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax 100. Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata 101. Great Bustard Otis tarda 102. Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 103. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 104. Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta 105. Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus 106. Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor 107. Collared Pratincole Glareola pratíncola 108. Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum

119


109. Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni 110. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 111. Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula 112. Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus 113. Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii 114. Dotterel Charadrius morinellus 115. Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria 116. Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 117. Sociable Plover Chettusia gregaria 118. Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 119. Knot Calidris canutus 120. Sanderling Calidris alba 121. Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla 122. Little Stint Caiidris minuta 123. Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii 124. White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis 125. Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii 126. Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanolos 127. Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 128. Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima 129. Dunlin Calidris alpina 130. Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus 131. Stilt Sandpiper Micropalama himantopus 132. Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis 133. Ruff Philomachus pugnax 134. Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus 135. Snipe Gallinago gallinago 136. Great Snipe Gallinago media 137. Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus 138. Woodcock Scolopax rusticรณla 139. Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa 140. Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica 141. Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 142. Curlew Numenius arquata 143. Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda 144. Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus 145. Redshank Tringa totanus 146. Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 147. Grecnshank Tringa nehularia 148. Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 149. Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 150. Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus 151. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 152. Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 153. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 154. Spotted Sandpiper Actitis munduria 155. Turnstone Arenaria interpres 156. Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor 157. Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus tohatus 158. Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius 159. Pomari ne Skua Stercorarius pomarinus

160. Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 161. Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus 162. Great Skua Catharacta skua 163. Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 164. Laughing Gull Larus atricilla 165. Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan 166. Little Gull Larus minutus 167. Sabine's Gull Larus sabini 168. Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 169. Slender-billed Gull Larus genei 170. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 171. Common Gull Larus canus 172. Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscu. 173. Herring Gull Larus argentatus 174. Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides 175. Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus 176. Great Black-backed Gull Larus marim 177. Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 178. Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea 179. Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 180. Caspian Tern Sterna caspia 181. Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 182. Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii 183. Common Tern Sterna hirundo 184. Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 185. Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata 186. Little Tern Sterna albifrons 187. Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 188. Black Tern Chlidonias niger 189. White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 190. Guillemot Uria aalge 191. Razorbill Alca torda 192. Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle 193. Little Auk Alle alle 194. Puffin Fratercula arctica 195. Pallas's Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxus 196. Feral Pigeon Columba livia 197. Stock Dove Columba oenas 198. Woodpigeon Columba palumbus 199. Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 200. Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur 201. Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 202. Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus 203. Barn Owl Tyto alba 204. Scops Owl Otus scops 205. Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca 206. Tawny Owl Strix aluco 207. Long-eared Owl Asio otus 208. Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus 209. Tengmalm's Owl Aegolius funereus 210. Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus 211. Swift A pus apus 212. Alpine Swift Apus melba

120


13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis Bee-eater Merops apiaster Roller Coracias garrulus Hoopoe Upupa epops Wryneck Jynx torquilla Green Woodpecker Picus viridis Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major '20. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor 221. Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla 22. Woodlark Lullula arborea .23. Skylark Alauda arvensis :24. Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris '25. Sand Martin Riparia riparia 226. Swallow Hirundo ruslica 227. Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica 228. House Martin Delichon urbica 229. Richard's Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae 230. Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris 231. Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis 232. Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi 233. Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 234. Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus 235. Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus 236. Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta 237. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 238. Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola 239. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 240. Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba 241. Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus 242. Dipper Cinclus cinclus 243. Wren Troglodytes troglodytes 244. Dunnock Prunella modularis 245. Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris 246. Robin Erithacus rubecula 247. Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia 248. Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos 249. Bluethroat Luscinia svecica 250. Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros 251. Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus 252. Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 253. Stonechat Saxicola torquata 254. Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 255. Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti 256. White-crowned Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga 257. White's Thrush Zoothera dauma 258. Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus 259. Blackbird Turdus merula 260. Fieldfare Turdus pilaris 261. Song Thrush Turdus philomelos 262. Redwing Turdus iliacus 263. Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus 264. Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti 265. Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia 266. River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis

261. Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides 268. Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola 269. Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus 270. Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola 271. Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris 272. Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus 273. Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus 274. Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina 275. Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta 276. Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata 277. Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans 278. Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria 279. Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca 280. Whitethroat Sylvia communis 281. Garden Warbler Sylvia borin 282. Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla 283. Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides 284. Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus 285. Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus 286. Radde's Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi 287. Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus 288. Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli 289. Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix 290. Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita 291. Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus 292. Goldcrest Regulus regulus 293. Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus 294. Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 295. Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva 296. Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis 297. Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca 298. Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus 299. Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus 300. Marsh Tit Parus palustris 301. Willow Tit Parus montanus 302. Crested Tit Parus cristatus 303. Coal Tit Parus aler 304. Blue Tit Parus caeruleus 305. Great Tit Parus major 306. Nuthatch Sitta europaea 307. Treecreeper Certhia familiaris 308. Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus 309. Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus 310. Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus 311. Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio 312. Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor 313. Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor 314. Woodchat Shrike Lanius Senator 315. Jay Garrulus glandarius 316. Magpie Pica pica 317. Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatacles 318. Jackdaw Corvus monedula 319. Rook Corvus frugilegus 320. Carrion Crow Corvus corone 321. Raven Corvus corax 322. Starling Sturnus vulgaris 323. Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus 324. House Sparrow Passer domesticus

121


325. 326. 327. 328. 329. 330. 331. 332. 333. 334. 335. 336. 337. 338. 339.

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Brambling Fringilla montifringilla Serin Serinus serinus Greenfinch Carduelis chloris Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Siskin Carduelis spinus Linnet Carduelis cannabina Twite Carduelis flavirostris Redpoll Carduelis flammea Arctic Redpoll Carduelis homemanni Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoplera Crossbill Loxia curvirostra Parrot Crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus

340. 341. 342. 343. 344. 345. 346. 347. 348. 349. 350. 351. 352. 353.

Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineยก ยก Scarlet Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrii is Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothrau: >s White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia a hicollis Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus C o r a Bunting Miliaria calandra

Category B 354. Spotted Eagle Aquila elanga 355. Allen's Gallinule Porphyrula

356. Eskimo Curlew Numenius

borealis

alleni

Category C 357. 358. 359. 360. 361.

362. Golden Pheasant Chrysolophus pictus 363. Lady Amherst's Pheasant Chrysolophu amherstiae 364. Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krami i 365. Little Owl Athene noctua

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus Mandarin Aix gale riculata Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Category D 1. 2. 3. 4.

White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber Wood D u c k Aix sponsa Bobwhite Colinus virginianus

5. Snow Finch Montifringilla nivalis 6. Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus 7. Red headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps

Category E ยง Pacific (Fork-tailed) Swift Apus

pacificus

Notes * Unlikely to have occurred as a truly wild bird. ** Introduced species either not fully established or died-out. ยง Captured at sea, released at Ellough Airfield and seen the next day at Shadingfield.

Reference: Payn, W . H . , 1978, The Birds of Suffolk.

S. H. Piotrowski,

Ipswich.

18 Cobham Road, Ipswich IP3 9JD.

/ 122


Rarities in Suffolk 1989 by Steve Piotrowski It was one of the leanest years of late for national rarities, with only 14 species attaining t iat status being recorded. There was a good selection of scarce migrants however, which * ere particularly evident during passage periods. Penduline Tit was the only species added to the County list and, for a coastal county, holding some extensive reedbeds, it was considered to be long-overdue. A male was noted ÂŤradically at Minsmere throughout the breeding season which culminated in the presence i f an adult and two juveniles in October. The biggest surprise of the year, must have been Suffolk's second record of Yellow! tiled Cuckoo, which appeared in a mist-net at Landguard during a rather bleak autumn passage.

A Great White Egret at Minsmere was the third for the County and the more regular Little Egret paid us a visit along with two Purple Herons. Last year's White-tailed Eagle was still around during the first two months of the year, whilst, during late spring, two wide-ranging Red-footed Falcons and two Black Kites set the pulses racing of their many chasers. The autumn proved to one of the best in recent years for observing Honey Buzzards with four being noted in the Felixstowe area. Seawatchers notched up another three Cory's, and an incredible 106 Sooty. Shearwaters, seven Leach's and two Storm Petrels (two Leach's and two Storm Petrels were also found wrecked), three Long-tailed Skuas and two Sabine's Gulls. A Caspian Tern was a surprise find at Lackford Wildfowl Reserve. Scarce waders almost went absent in 1989 with just four Temminck's Stints, a Whiterumped and three Pectoral Sandpipers, single Red-necked Phalarope and four Grey Phalaropes being the exceptions. Spring conditions were ideal for overshooting vagrants and we were not to be dis123


appointed. Four Hoopoes, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Woodchat Shrike, Sca- et Rosefinch (third record for Suffolk), two Subalpine Warblers and a Melodious Warh :r were the prizes amongst a good selection of more regulär migrants.

Wrynecks and Red-backed Shrikes were well represented on autumn passage, but t ! rewards for the coastal-migrant specialist were two Bluethroats, seven Icterine, three Barre for Pallas's and nine Yellow-browed Warblers, three Red-breasted Flycatchers, Red-rump Swallow, three Hoopoes, Tawny Pipit and Suffolk's fourth record of Lesser Grey Shrik

Penduline Tit — first record for Suffolk by Rob Macklin At approximately 19.00 hrs on April 13th 1989 two visitors (names unknown) came into the North Hide at the RSPB Minsmere Reserve and mentioned that they had just seen a probable Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus from the Centre Hide. I hurried round to the Centre Hide with other members of the reserve staff and scanned the area for about 30 minutes, but failed to find the bird. Düring the following morning another visitor (again. name unknown) came into the reserve reception centre and reported that a Penduline Tit was showing well front Centre Hide. Along with several colleagues I rushed down to the hide and quickly located the bird feeding on the seed-heads of Great Reedmace Typha latifolia. Description: Size: about that of Blue Tit Parus caeruleus. but less bulky and with longer tail. Head: forchcad — white; crown and nape — bluish grey: chin and throat — white; lores, above and below eye and ear-coverts — solid black creating masked effect. Upperparts and wings: mantle, scapulars and coverts — rieh chestnut; back and rump — golden brown; flight feathers — black with white edgings. Underparts and wing.s: generally creatn with an apricot flush on breast and flanks. but undertail coverts werc white. Tail: relatively long with black centre and greyish-white edges. Bure parts: eyes — black; bill — dark grey; legs — dark grey.

124


In several respects the bird resembled a miniature male Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio. he solid black of the mask and the richness of the chestnut on the mantle indicated that i* was a male. The bird was watched throughout the day by a large number of observers, but it then sappeared until it was relocated in front of the Tree Hide on April 19th. It then moved 1 ack to the Centre Hide where it was regularly seen up to and including April 25th. What might have been the same bird was again present in the vicinity of the North and entre Hides during June 23rd and 24th. The sight of an adult and two juveniles in the ime area during October 25th to 29th gave rise to speculation that breeding might have tken place on the reserve, but a search of suitable breeding areas failed to find a nest, now seems likely that these three birds were new arrivals since their discovery coincided /ith other reports from southern England.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo â&#x20AC;&#x201D; second record for Suffolk by Jim Asklns While carrying out a net-round at Landguard Bird Observatory, Felixstowe, just after ÂĄ8.00 hrs on October 25th 1989, I heard the mobbing tones of small passerines coming rom a Tamarisk bush. I suspected that they had located a roosting owl, but could see othing and so carried on. When I returned I saw a thrush-like bird in the bottom panel of the nearest net. As soon as I reached the bird I could see that it was in fact a Yellow'illed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus which was extracted from the net and taken to the inging room. The bird was ringed, processed and in-the-hand descriptions taken with he help of Nigel Odin and Mike Marsh; photographs were taken by Adam Kennedy.

Description: Upperparts: forehead, crown, ear-coverts. nape and mantle were ail brownish-grey with slightly darker lores. There was a paler smudge above the eye but no supercilium. The rump was grey as were the upper-tail coverts which also showed a slightly greenish sheen. Underparts: chin and throat were slightly off-white and the breast, flanks, belly, vent and under-tail coverts a more

125


creamy white. Wings: primaries — Ist pure brown. 2nd were two-thirds rufous and the remai der were brown with the middle two-thirds rufous with a rufous edge; secondaries — slighüy rufous bi wn with the outer webs tinged rufous and inner webs tinged greyish-brown; tertials — greyish gr en: primary coverts — grey brown tipped rufous; alula — greyish green; lesser coverts — as prir aty coverts but lightly fringed rufous; median and greater coverts — greyish green; underwing — ere my white; axillaries — white; in general the wings were in fresh unwom condition; wing length — 147 un. Tail: RI — dark grey-brown with white tip and outer web; R2 & 3 — dark grey-brown with v ;iite tip; R4, R5 and centrai pair — grey-brown with a slight greenish sheen. Tips of tail feathers 1 ere in worn condition. Bare parts: Iris — tawny brown; orbitai ring — yellow; tarsus — grey-blue; toes — dark-brown; soles — pale-grey; lower mandible — yellow; upper mandible — yellow betv :en black at base and on tip. Weight: 48g. Age: first winter.

Discussion: The bird's age was determined by the extensive rufous tone on the wr gs, lack of dark streak from lores to lower ear-coverts and a greyer tone to the under de of the tail feathers. The wing length of 147mm lies within the middle of the range for a iemale (143-154m il, but close to the top of the range for a male (139-149mm) (Cramp et al 1985). There was no fat at ali in the clavicle pit, but its weight of 48g is not abnormally li w; weights of 14 exhausted migrants that had just completed the Caribbean crossing to he Netherlands Antilles varied between 29g and 45g with an average of 34.4g — mos; of these birds died shortly afterwards (Cramp et al 1985). The bird was released after processing and spent much of its time around the north s le of the Observatory, perched in bramble bushes. It was seen to drink and take an item of food on one occasion. It was seen to go to roost but, despite an exhaustive search, it could not be found the next day. Reference: Cramp, S. (Ed.) 1985. Birds of the Western Palearctic.

Voi. 4. Oxford.

Notes T H E T I T S ' B A L L E T . At daybreak on the morning of Mar. 8th 1989, I was w a k e n e d by a tapping noise on my bedroom window. Investigation revealed that a pair of Longtailed Tits was responsible. They were performing a delightful little ballet just outside. With tails cocked over their backs, they were springing about between the branches ot the climbing hydrangea on the house-wall and the windowsill, from which, individuali) and together, they would tap busily upon the window panes. This would go on for some 126


t /o or three minutes at a time, while I stood watching within a few feet of them. Finally, t ey flew off, but the whole performance was repeated at about the same time on the f jllowing two mornings and then irregularly up to March 19th when their antics ceased. Window tapping by birds is, of course, well known, but I am not aware that the Longt iled Tit has previously been recorded as doing so. During some of that time, what I assumed was the same pair of tits, fed from peanut i intainers at our bird-table. V. H. Payn, River Close,

Ixworth.

MOUSE M A R T I N S P E R C H I N G ON F O L I A T E D BRANCHES. On Sunday Aug. 6th >89, at 17.50 hours (BST), I was watching a group of around 150 House Martins Delichon t ròica flying around buildings in the village of Wangford (east). The species nests in the illage, but the numbers observed far exceeded the resident population. A medium sized reen, holding some young trees, is situated near to the centre of the village including dead Willow around 4.5 métrés high. Some of the House Martins were perching on s bare branches, a practice not unusual and well documented in the literature. Around 0 métrés away stood a Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus 4 métrés high, a live specimen ith ample foliage. At least 18 martins were flying into the canopy and perching on the ranches. Migrating House Martins normally roost overnight in nests, but foliated branches are imetimcs used if not enough nests are available (Cramp et al 1988). The spring and summer f 1989 were notable for the lack of rainfall, which probably prevented the construction f nests. Therefore, if a number of migrant birds arrived in Suffolk with insufficient roosting ites available alternative sites would need to be found. ieference ramp, S. (Ed.) 1988. The birds of the Western Palearctic.

Vol. 5. Oxford.

R. Martin, 17 Moss Way, West Bergholt, Colchester, Essex C06 3LJ.


Obituary - David Smee (1932-1988) by Philip Murphy Death was made to appear particularly cruel on July 16th 1988 when David Smee ti ed. His vitality and enthusiasm for all aspects of natural history were an inspiration to all ho met him either in the field, committee meetings or classroom. David was brought up at East Bergholt where his interest in natural history began. Initi he completed his education in Ipswich at Northgate Grammar School where seven Suffolk's senior naturalists have been educated over the years. Having completed his sc studies he went on to do his statutory two years of National Service during 1949-51. Du this time he visited Greece and developed an interest in mountaineering which was to to his testing, in the Welsh mountains, of the equipment destined for use on the 1953 Evi expedition.

ily, of ool ing ad est

After leaving the Army he worked for various firms in the Brantham area, inclut ng B.X. Plastics, up to 1960. He had developed an interest in helping younger people at ;he East Bergholt Youth Club and in 1960 he embarked on a two year course at Birmingh am University which resulted in him being awarded a Certificate of Youth Service in 1952. There then followed periods of service running local authority youth clubs at Bourton >nthe-Water and Harlow before arriving in Ipswich in the early 1970s to take charge of ยกhe Whitehouse Youth Club. In this latter capacity he was attached to Chantry Secondary Sci x>l as a Youth Adviser which led to his decision to enter the teaching profession. He trai ed for a year at St Osyth Teacher Training College in Essex and then started work in 1 78 at Chantry Secondary School as a teacher of science and geography; he was to conti ue as a teacher at Chantry until ill-health forced his retirement in 1987. David joined the Suffolk Naturalists' Society upon his return to Suffolk in 1972. Betw en 1976 and 1987 he was the Society's Bird Excursions Organiser; following a change in the Society's constitution this post resulted in his being on the SNS Council during 1982 7. In addition, he arranged the Society's field meetings for all disciplines during 1978 4 He was a very popular field meeting leader; his all-round knowledge of natural history and considerable reserves of energy and optimism would ensure that something of interest was always found on his outings. He was a supporter of the Field Studies Council's Centre at Flatford Mill where he sometimes lectured. For several years he helped out with the monthly BoEE counts on the Stour estuary and was also involved with the marking of deer in Thetford Forest. Scotland was one of his favourite areas and he would often go there, climbing and birdwatching, at Christmas. Spring would see him visiting either Spain or the C a m a r g u e for birds and flowers and other areas he had visited included Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. David will be sorely missed by all those who knew and worked with him. His amiable nature and continual willingness to help those around him will mean that those who have taken on the roles he left behind have got an immense task to emulate the standards he set.

128


P ite 16: A well-watched adult Mediterr lean Gull at Levington.

Piate 17: Fledging success of Little Terns was poor.

-

FHRF^TV* rn

Hate 18: Turtle Dove.


Plate 20 & 21: The surprise bird of the year was this Yellow-billed Cuckoo; Suffolk's second record.


Landguard Bird Observatory 1989 by Mike Crewe 1 is not possible to go on breaking records forever and 1989 saw an end to our recent ree >rd-breaking run. This was partly due to the absence of a permanent warden during the first half of the year, resulting in incomplete coverage. Despite Observatory staff co .-ring the critical periods during the spring, a poor autumn passage failed to compensate. LBO had to dig deep into its funds to find the finance to employ a full-time warden for the iate-summer/autumn period and it is a credit to our many 'friends' that this was eventually acl leved. However, this would not have been possible without sponsorship from our ne ;hbours, Hall's Aggregates and the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company, and help fio n the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. In July, we welcomed Nigel Odin, an experienced on ithologist from South Wales, who took over as warden of the Observatory and the Local N; ure Reserve. i total of 188 species was observed at Landguard during the year, which was lower th; i expected, but another four new species were added to the Landguard list: Stone Curlew, Ss i's Warbler, Cetti's Warbler and Yellow-billed Cuckoo — the last two being ringed. T1 total number of species observed now stands at 245 with 119 of these being ringed. The ringing total of 5,916 birds is the lowest since 1985, but was nonetheless a good figure ar. now brings the overall total of birds ringed at Landguard since 1978 to 43,729. Once again the 'Friends' Day' proved to be a successful social occasion and the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group chose a good day to visit with members being treated to an Icterine W urbler and an exotic Sooty-headed Bulbul — perhaps a genuine ship-assisted vagrant? JANUARY: Generally a quiet month with offshore highlights being three Red-throated Divers and exceptionally early Fulmars on 28th and 29th, perhaps both referring to the same bird. A Shag was on the jetty on 28th and three Common Scoter flew north on 2nd. TI e only Mediterranean Gull record involved an adult on 16th, but the Iceland Gull wintering •n Felixstowe was seen at Landguard three times during the month. Collared Doves began nest-building before the end of the month and two Mistle Thrushes passed through on 14th. The biggest surprise was provided by a male Blackcap which was trapped on 28th and remained until Feb. 2nd. The bird spent much of the time in the Heligoland Trap area, where it was seen feeding from the peanut holders. F BRUARY: Sea passage picked up a little with eight Red-throated Divers and a trickle of Great Crested Grebes, Cormorants and Brent Geese as well as an assortment of ducks including a Long-tailed Duck on 25th. On 11th there was a good movement of waders including two Bar-tailed Godwits north and record numbers of Curlew, with 840 flying south including a single mass movement of 750. The only non-ornithological record of the month concerned a Weasel on 2nd. MARCH: Little regular offshore movement was noted, but the few interesting records included a Red-necked Grebe south on 12th, 20 Knot south on 19th and the excellent winter for Long-tailed Ducks terminated with one south on 4th and an unprecedented five south °n 9th. Duck reports also involved three Goosanders during the month and a flock of 13 Teal. A female Sparrowhawk terrorized the local Blackbirds on 25th and a Moorhen appeared in the ringing compound on 28th. Wader movements were generally uneventful, b ut included three Woodcock, a single Snipe and an Avocet flying south (31st). After a Poor winter for the species it was good to receive a report of a first-winter Mediterranean Gull on 10th and the Felixstowe Iceland Gull increased its visits to the site, being noted °n nine dates. 129


Several summer visitors arrived during March including Black Redstart on 1 lth, Wh tear on lOth and three Willow Warblers on 30th. The second Blackcap of the year app ired on 30th and a run of Chiffchaffs peaked at 18 on 26th after the first on 1 lth. Sprin; was finally heralded by the first Swallow on 31 st. Passage birds included a male Stor :hat on 4th and Goldcrests and Firecrests from 7th, the latter being the earliest ever fc the site. Winter visitors generally slipped away unnoticed, but there was an audible e: >dus of Fieldfares and Redwings on the night of 12th. Two Collared Dove chicks were rr ged on 31st and the first Small Tortoiseshell was enticed out of hibernation on 27th. A P R I L : Most summer visitors put in an appearance this month, but in lower nun iers than usuai and several were rather late in appearing. Highlights included Grasshi per Warblers on 23rd, 24th and 26th and the site's first Savi's Warbler on 23rd. Two 'ied Flycatchers were seen and Ring Ouzels were present in good numbers, being noted e ery day from 16th to 27th with a daily maximum of three. The usuai trickle of departing w iter birds took place and included three Snow Buntings, a good run of Bramblings and se ral Fieldfares and Redwings while the Iceland Gull was finally noted on 28th. Wader reports included six Whimbrel and 13 Bar-tailed Godwits passing througl but the main interest was again supplied by a large passage of Curlew, surpassing the re ird count in February; on 22nd, 32 were counted flying north during the day followe by an almost Constant passage of birds after dark, calling as they passed over, with s me heard as late as 02:45 the following morning. At first light 53 were seen flying str. ght out to sea. Unusual records involved a Manx Shearwater north on 19th (the first ever spring re ird here), a Water Rail in the ringing compound (24th), an adult Little Gull (2nd), Great Sp< ted Woodpecker (18th), Short-eared Owl (25th) and Hawfinches on lst, 16th and 17t! Green-veined Whites appeared on the very early date of 15th and another good rei ird was provided by a Painted Lady on 30th. Brown Rats and Wood Mice showed great ten; ity and agility by mounting regular raids on the peanut holders in the Tamarisk busht MAY: Two unseasonal Shags were noted on 19th and a Purple Sandpiper lingered to h. A few more Whimbrel passed through and Greylag Geese continued a record-break:ng run, perhaps reflecting an increase in the feral population in East Anglia. A second L tle Gull was noted on 14th and terns drifted through, although Little Terns were slow to estat ^h territories. A Long-eared Owl patrolled the beach on the evening of 16th and the lasÂť ot the summer migrants, Swifts and Spotted Flycatchers, appeared but were in short supply as were Cuckoos with only the second of the year noted on lst. Despite the low numbers of many summer migrants â&#x20AC;&#x201D; probably reflecting the weather conditions which were conducive to movement on a broad front, thus producing no notarle " f a l l s " â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats were recorded in good numbers with 74 and 35 ringed respectively. Interesting passage birds included a Blue-headed Wagtail (23rd), Wood Warbler (8th), the site's first Cetti's Warbler (6th) and the now almost obligatory Subalpine Warbler (30th). A Brambling lingered to lst and a Fieldfare to 2nd and Firecrests were noted as late as 20th. A German-ringed Mealy Redpoll was controlied on 7th. Interesting insects included a Four-spotted Chaser and the second record of Emperor Moth, the latter being the first imago for the site. Shifting currents offshore produced a shingle-bar which was patronized by up to seven Common Seals. Butterflies includi.' Common Blue from 2lst and a Wall Brown on 23rd while Orange Tips were present throughout the month. J U N E : Warm days with continuous sunshine throughout the month were not conducive to good " f a l l " conditions and this was reflected in the low ringing totals. The last of 11 L summer migrants drifted through, but an "arrivai" of at least ten Spotted Flycatchers on lst was the only notable count of passage birds. Little Terns peaked at 33 on lst, bu


shi wed no signs of settling down to breed. A Grey Wagtail Aying north on 1 Ith was the nw ¡t surprising bird of the month. mall Heath and Meadow Brown butterflies emerged in good numbers, encouraged by tht good weather and Common Blues were much in evidence. Moths included records of Vellow Shell and Heart and Dart. Jl ai on Ti S« Gì SI A ar m fr bt st w

Returning waders began to drift back south and although numbers were small, xxl ränge of species was recorded. Five Avocets were noted on 9th and a Golden Piover lOth, followed by a good run of Lapwing, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel and nstone. A Greenshank was noted on 15th and the end of the month produced several derling, a Green Sandpiper, two Common Sandpipers and a party of nine Black-tailed iwits. A Purple Sandpiper on 30th is the first July record for the site. An adult Arctic la flew along the beach on 8th and Common and Sandwich Terns trickled through. ew pairs of Little Terns managed to raise young within the fenced area of the beach the grounds of the Harwich Harbour Conservancy Board. \ Grey Wagtail on 15th may have been the bird noted last month while another early irant was a juvenile Stonechat on 17th and 18th, preceding a run of Wheatear records m 21st. All the common warblers were noted and included a Wood Warbier on 29th, flycatchers were represented by just a single Spotted Flycatcher on 9th. Most other :imer migrants were noted in small numbers but Swifts produced some good day totals h a peak count of 2,680 south on 30th.

A GUST: Offshore movements included a good run of several species including Gannets P' iking at seven on 28th, Common Terns at 77 on 26th and a maximum day-count of 21 Sandwich Terns on 15th. Two Arctic Terns were also recorded and three Great Crested G ebes flew south on 4th. Duck passage was light, but included a good total of 227 Teal ai J some interesting species including two Gadwall, six Pochard and, amazingly, a Longta.led Duck on Ist. On 26th an Osprey flew over the docks and up the Orwell, while at th - same time an Arctic Skua lingered in the estuary. Further raptor interest was provided by a Marsh Harrier Aying south on 18th. Wader passage was very interesting with a total of 21 species noted. Highlights included a Little Ringed Piover (15th), two Spotted Redshank south (13th) and a Purple Sandpiper on 29th and 30th. Whimbrel put on an excellent show with a total of 62 counted passing south during the month and up to four Common Sandpipers paused to feed along the tideline. Summer migrants began their return passage in earnest with Yellow Wagtails, Tree Pipits, ^ heatears and most of the warblers in good numbers. There was a welcome run of Spotted Flycatchers, recorded daily from 22nd, and Pied Flycatchers on most dates from 19th. Additionally, there were smaller numbers of Nightingales, Redstarts and Whinchats and an unexpected Grasshopper Warbier on 3Ist. Other unusual records included two Great Spotted Woodpeckers trapped and ringed on 21st, a Long-eared Owl on 26th and, most surprising of all, Landguard's first Stone Curlew, which flew south offshore on 19th. Interesting insects included a Common Hawker dragonfly on 9th and a Poplar Hawk moth on 5th. SEPTEMBER: The first Red-throated Diver of the autumn was recorded on 28th and °n the same day a total of 240 Brent Geese and 90 Wigeon flew south. An impressive tQ tal of 67 Gannets was logged including 48 north on 1 Ith. Raptors included two Sparrowhawks mid-month, a Merlin (14th) and no less than three Honey Buzzards with °ne on 15th and two on 24th. Wader movements were generally uneventful, but included a total of at least 15 Snipe and on 3rd a Purple Sandpiper was seen wearing a colour-ring. Skua passage was light but the three commoner species were all recorded with Great Skua on 1 Ith, a Pomarine Skua on 28th and a total of eight Arctic Skuas during the month. At least two Mediterranean Gulls were present on and off and tern movements included 66 Sandwich and 134 Common Terns with the less regulär species being represented by 131


three Arctic Terns and two Black Terns. An early Guillemot was noted on 11th The mass exodus of Hirundines began in earnest with peak periods of movemeni The period from 1st to 5th produced counts of 822 Sand Martins, 640 House Martins and 230 Swallows and the period from 14th to 19th produced counts of 402 Sand Martins, A 579 House Martins and 6,765 Swallows. The movement of Swallows and House M tins continued after Sand Martins tailed off with another peak period from 21st to 26th protl ing 2,815 House Martins and 5,395 Swallows. Most of the Swifts left in August and the hi rest day count was only four on 13th and 17th. Three Wrynecks put in an appearance bet een 5th and 16th and other near-passerines included a Green Woodpecker (1st), King! her (23rd), Long-eared Owl (18th) and Short-eared Owl in off the sea (27th). The site's first Tawny Pipit since 1982 drew a good crowd during its eight-day tay from 12th and a Blue-headed Wagtail on 5th was also a good autumn find. A tame Blueti oat delighted Observatory staff with its presence on 30th, but could not be located the ext day. Most of the regular warblers and chats were recorded in very good numbers, espee illy around mid-month with some of the best counts including ten Reed Warblers (15th 18 Garden Warblers (11th), 15 Whitethroats (12th), 12 Lesser Whitethroats (13th), 30 Wi ow Warblers (12th), 15 Redstarts (14th) and 15 Whinchats (12th). There was also a j o d number of Spotted and Pied Flycatchers noted almost daily from 2nd to 16th. Amongst all this activity one or two gems turned up including a Grasshopper War er (24th), two Icterine Warblers (3rd and 18th) and a steady flow of Firecrests. A juve ile Red-backed Shrike took up temporary residence from 12th to 22nd and was joinec by two others for single days on the 13th and 21st. A Sooty-headed Bulbul was present on 3rd and 4th â&#x20AC;&#x201D; with the recent change in attitude towards ship-assisted passage who kn -vs whether it will eventually find its way onto the British list? Non-ornithological records were sparse, but on 17th the continued survival of Stink ng Goosefoot Chenopodium vulvaria received a tremendous boost when a colony of at least 120 plants was discovered on the beach in an area recently cleared of beach huts. O C T O B E R : Despite only producing one new record for the site, the whole of October was generally very good and resulted in 141 species being recorded, the highest total ever achieved in one month. Offshore passage produced many highlights, especially in the second half of the month. A Black-throated Diver flew south on 19th and a trickle of Red-throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes was observed. The 27th produced some exciting records including R necked Grebe, the first Sooty Shearwater since 1983, Hen Harrier, Merlin, ten Gadwai . two Pomarine Skuas and 52 Kittiwakes. The 28th was equally interesting, but p r o d u c e d a very different variety of species with wildfowl and waders predominating; counts included 24 Gannets, 101 Shelduck, 175 Wigeon, 97 Teal, 13 Pochard, 52 Common Scoters, eight Velvet Scoters, 21 Red-breasted Mergansers, 39 Grey Plovers, 85 K n o t , single Pomarineand Arctic Skuas, three Little Gulls and five Little Auks. The highest counts, however, were produced by Brent Geese with an amazing 12,326 passing south on 27th and another 2,124 on 28th. Dunlin passage was scarcely less impressive with 7,390 counted on 28th and 1,574 on 29th. A Leach's Petrel was found in Felixstowe Docks on 27th and another two flew south on 29th. Raptor passage was also relatively good with four Hen Harriers, five S p a r r o w h a w k s . at least ten Kestrels, four Merlins and a Peregrine. A Grey Phalarope was seen around the jetty on 31st and the total of 18 Little Auks included a record day-total of 11 on 20th Five species of owl were recorded including six Long-eared, ten Short-eared, a Barn (14th) and a Little (16th). A Tawny Owl, from 7th, is the third record for the site and, remarkably, this individual was still present well into 1990, living off a diet of Brown Rats, Wood Mice and Starlings. The Iceland Gull returned to the area for another winter, first being noted at Landguard on 12th. Hirundines continued to depart en masse with over 2,000 House Martins and 1.5UU 132


s 1 late 22: Great-spotted Woodpecker at Fornham St Genevieve.

Plate 23: Dunnock.

Plate 24: This Waxwing flock at Westleton contributed to Suffolk's best winter for the species in many years.


Plate 25: Sedge Warbier.

Plate 26: This male Penduline Tit wa seen sporadically at Minsmere.


S\ allows counted flying south, but most summer migrants produced a mere trickle during th first half of the month only and were gradually replaced by incoming Fieldfares, Redwings and Bramblings. There were also reports of five Lapland Buntings and three Srow Buntings during the month and a good number of Twite recorded with a maximum of 18 on 22nd. 'assage migrants were generally rather thin on the ground, but included a Pied Flycatcher (2 ¡d), Yellow-browed Warbler (6th), nine Ring Ouzels, four Stonechats, five Grey W .gtails, Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Woodlarks. The latter species had not been re orded at Landguard since 1986. A visiting observer reported a Wax wing along the aj iroach road on 27th and a Pallas's Warbler brightened everybody's autumn, staying fr m 18th to 22nd. The prize of best bird of the year must go to the Yellow-billed Cuckoo which blundered in o a mist-net on the morning of 25th. As is so often the case with this trans-Atlantic vi ¡tor the bird was extremely weak and quickly released. It rested around the compound th oughout the day delighting hundreds of visiting birders, but despite an attempt to provide it -vith sustenance, by way of a pint of maggots purchased at a nearby angling shop, it d appeared overnight to the disappointment of a new wave of birdwatchers the next day. V iether it succumbed or continued its adventurous journey we will perhaps never know. Butterflies were still present in good numbers with plenty of Holly Blues noted and a g od passage of Red Admirals including counts of 30 on 23rd and 43 on 24th, all moving S( Jth. Mammal records included sightings of Stoats and Weasels and a Grey Squirrel a peared in the ringing compound on 8th. v ) V E M B E R : The winter winding down period for the Observatory usually begins in November, but records continued to arrive. Red-necked Grebes produced a record autumn s; owing with three in October being followed by another seven including an unprecedented fi e south on 7th. Gannet numbers dropped but still produced a count of 14 on 4th. Sightings oi skuas continued with three Arctic and one Great Skua noted and a late Arctic Tern was fishing off the Point on 4th. Little Auk passage continued with a total of three north and six south and a total of 16 Little Gulls was logged during the month. With offshore passage being generally unnoteworthy, a Storm Petrel caught in Ipswich Docks and released at Landguard on 2nd was a surprise find. Bewick's Swans were noted hi higher numbers than usual with a total of 11 birds seen on four dates. Duck passage was generally light with only six Gadwall of note among the dabbling ducks, but sea ducks were more in evidence with Eider producing a good day count of 42 north and 69 south °n 16th; in addition there were respectable totals of 302 Common Scoters, 28 Velvet Scoters and 55 Red-breasted Mergansers during the month. Records also included two Goosander and a Smew on 16th. A fair range of waders was noted, but passage was poor with only Dunlin producing reasonable counts including 766 on 7th and 558 on 2nd; seven Avocets were seen flying south on 11th. Four species of owl were recorded with only Little Owl being absent from last month's list and a Kingfisher appeared briefly on 12th. There were few records of lingering summer migrants with the only species noted being Swallow to 22nd, House Martin (12th), Wheatear (2nd), Blackcap (18th) and Chiffchaff (12th). Fieldfare records were few, but Redwings came through in good numbers during 'he first half of the month and three Firecrests were noted up to 9th. Southerly passage of passerines on 1st was very noteworthy and produced some interesting counts including 169 House Sparrows, 99 Tree Sparrows, 18 Reed Buntings, two Lapland Buntings and single Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting. Additional records of interest included 31 Siskins south on 3rd and a total of four Snow Buntings during the month. Red Admirals continued to move through with the highest count being 22 south on 5th.

D E C E M B E R : Coverage was incomplete during the month and records were therefore 133


erratic. Four Red-throated Divers were noted offshore during the month with three fl ing south on 17th. On the same day a Fulmar flew south, continuing the recent spate of w iter records of the species. Single Golden Plover and Sanderling were noted feeding o the reserve on 9th and three Knot flew past on 17th while Turnstones returned in small nun ers to feed along the tideline at low tide. Kittiwake numbers have increased in recent > ars and birds were often following fishing boats offshore; counts included 14 on 6th an, ten on 29th and in addition, 85 were counted flying south, on 17th. Most passerines had dr ted away during late November and Linnets were only noted on 2nd while Greenfinch nun ers reached double figures throughout the month.

Landguard Outsites by Roger Beecroft Ringing studies continued at the Landguard "outsites", with a total of 2,944 birds rir ed during the year. At Fagbury we continued catching and colour-marking waders to assess how i eir movements are affected by the latest phase of the dock expansion. This project, wi. ch forms an important part of a larger study by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust on the dock development, started in 1984. A large amount of data has been collected to show bow the birds responded to the habitat loss. This information will not only be useful in show ng the effect of the Felixstowe development but will also be of use where mudflats re threatened elsewhere. A total of 21 Snow Buntings was caught and ringed at Fagbury in January and Febru. y. The flock size averaged around 25 birds, but not one bird was retrapped. This would sug; st that a steady change was taking place in the make-up of the group although the flock ' e did not fluctuate greatly. A similar situation is found with the larger flocks that win er in Scotland and has been the subject of a recent study. Six visits were made to the landfill site at Bramford where 1,254 gulls were caught in cannon-nets, the highest total being 356 on Feb. 11th. Our work here, and at the Orfordr.-ss breeding colony has produced many long distance recoveries. These now include bi'is from 14 countries ranging from the USSR to the Western Sahara. Some of this yea; s highlights can be found in the Ringing Report. Four visits were made to the Sand Martin colony at Levington where 193 birds were processed. It is interesting to note that three birds ringed here were controlled in East Sussex by the Rye Bay Ringing Group on Aug. 31st and Sept. 1st, oddly enough coinciding with a visit by some LBO members to the site. Acknowledgement As always our work at Landguard "outsites" relies on the goodwill of the landowners and farmers on whose property we operate. We gratefully acknowledge their support and assistance over the past year.

Roger Beecroft,

2 Fen Cottages,

Creeting St. Mary, Stowmarket IP6 8QE.


TABLE I: BIRDS RINGED AT LANDGUARD 1978- 1989

Sp des M: îx Shearwater Storni Petrel Mi te Swan Teal Sp rrowhawk Kc.trel H. iby Rc -legged Partridge W ter Rail M orhen R¡ ged Piover & Jen Piover Pi pie Sandpiper * odcock Ci nmon Sandpiper T' listone A; ;tic Skua M diterranean Gull B ck-headed Gull C mmon Gull Li ile Tern Lrtle Auk W >od Pigeon C llared Dove T rtle Dove Cackoo Ï llow-billed Cuckoo B ,rn Owl Little Owl T :wny Owl L ng-eared Owl Nightjar Swift K^ngfisher Wryneck Oreen Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Sitylark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Thrush Nightingale Nightingale Bluethroat Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Wheatear Desert Wheatear

Total 1989 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 9 19 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 0 0 1 100 27 5 10 0 0 0 1 126 122 182 0 11 1 27 42 3 0 14 0

Grand Total 1978-89 1 1 2 1 5 9 1 15 1 2 58 2 1 15 2 3 1 1 13 4 28 2 36 137 26 26 1 1 2 1 25 1 6 6 11 5 10 2 36 8 1894 994 43 317 1 7 1 7 505 1319 1770 1 55 3 304 286 61 4 213 1

135

Species Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbler Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Paddyfield Warbler Marsh Warbler Reed Warbler Icterine Warbler Melodious Warbler Subalpine Warbler Barred Warbler Lesser Whitelhroat Whitethroal Garden Warbler Blackcap Pallas's Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler Dusky Warbler Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Treecreeper Red-backed Shrike Great Grey Shrike Magpie Jackdaw Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Redpoll Bullfinch Hawfinch Snow Bunting Yellowhammer Ortolan Bunting Little Bunting Reed Bunting TOTAL

Total 1989 7 409 3 237 47 0 1 2 56 0 0 51 1 0 1 0 105 152 71 180 1 0 0 6 135 454 327 44 44 0 29 9 0 0 2 36 63 0 2 0 0 0 185 407 4 62 6 1616 78 0 338 4 16 1 0 1 0 0 5 5916

Grand Total 1978-89 46 3609 52 1970 399 13 1 6 208 1 1 352 14 1 4 7 415 570 610 1115 4 12 1 29 816 3071 1184 157 360 2 292 146 1 2 18 931 526 2 5 2 2 1 1482 1628 57 633 119 9881 1030 13 3317 64 70 3 2 151 3 2 22 43729


Suffolk Ringing Report by Reg Clarke An exceptional spring passage for passerines gave a promising start to the year, bi' . unfortunately, the autumn and winter were dominated throughout by long periods of hi; i winds, which limited netting opportunities. The Suffolk countryside and ringing sites we battered by gales, which badly damaged Landguard's Heligoland Trap. After a long absen from the County we welcome back Sir Anthony Hurrell, who celebrated his return 1 ringing some 3,600 birds at Dunwich. This significant addition to the annual total result. ! in the record set in 1988 being broken. A surprise addition to the County's ringing list came in the shape of a Yellow-bilh I Cuckoo, ringed at Landguard on October 25th, the first Nearctic bird to be ringed in t) County. A storm driven Storm Petrel, also ringed at Landguard, is thought to be the fit ringed in Suffolk and other rarities ringed included two Subalpine Warblers, at Dunwk and Landguard, and a Pallas's Warbler at the latter locality. Scarce migrants include just single Wryneck, Bluethroat and Icterine Warbler, eight Ring Ouzels and three Re. backed Shrikes. For the first time in recent years neither Barred nor Yellow-browe Warblers were ringed despite reasonable showings of both species in the County. Tl longest movements both involve gulls with a Herring Gull from N. Norway and a Lessi Black-backed Gull from Morocco. On the wader front the first half of the year produced good catches, but ringers wer blown out of business in the autumn. This caused much disappointment as there were goo numbers of birds present at most sites. The shorebird specialists were not totally defeate by the weather however, with 1,187 waders of 18 species caught, which is only marginal! down on last year. Worthy of note were 16 Knots, four Sanderlings, three Jack Snipe 125 Snipe, two Bar-tailed Godwits, seven Whimbrels, four Greenshanks, six Gree Sandpipers and 30 Turnstones. Following 1988's exceptional catch of Teal by Peter Catchpole's team, efforts in 198c) were redoubled resulting in the magnificent total of 92 birds being trapped. The duck were caught as they came to feed on rotten potato-slurry and the total was just reward for the pre-dawn struggle to catch these wary and sometimes slippery birds. Whether the ringers ever eat pototoes again however, is open to question! Two trial cannon-netting sessions aimed at catching ducks were attempted at Freston, resulting in four Shelduck, one Wigeon and six Pintail being ringed. Not an auspicious start maybe, but hopefully perseverance, and a revision of techniques, will reveal the site's potential. As a result of the continued expansion of the Port of Felixstowe, the old oyster-beds and most of Fagbury Flats now lie under concrete. The construction methods employed have also drastically changed the composition of the remaining mudflats, thus reducing the prime feeding areas of Fagbury's overwintering wader population. This has resulted in the rapid decline of the Fagbury roost, with birds dispersed into smaller groups along the shoreline. Under these conditions cannon-netting became more difficult and with mistnetting affected by the high winds, very low numbers of waders were trapped at this site. The RSPB Nightjar and Woodlark studies in Breckland continued apace with good numbers of both species being ringed. Four Constant Effort Sites were operated again this year in the County and an initial look at the results suggests that a good breeding season was enjoyed by most species. The numbers of Sedge and Reed Warblers, Lesser Whitethroats, Wrens, Goldcrests, Long-tailed Tits and Kingfishers were up, but on the debit side Grasshopper Warblers and Nightingales appear to have had a poor breeding season. The most significant fall in numbers seems to be that of Redpolls which, perhaps, is a trend that has slowly come about over the last ten years. 136


T h e ringing r e t u r n s f r o m t h e L B O Gull Study r e v e a l e d that 682 L e s s e r B l a c k - b a c k e d and 131 H e r r i n g Gull pulii had b e e n ringed o n O r f o r d n e s s , whilst a f u r t h e r 1,030 Blackheaded, 24 C o m m o n , 2 8 L e s s e r B l a c k - b a c k e d , 101 H e r r i n g and 2 3 G r e a t B l a c k - b a c k e d Gulls w e r e r i n g e d in f i v e sessions at B r a m f o r d Landfill Site — the best y e a r s o f a r f o r the latter s p e c i e s .

Selected List of Recoveries A r r a n g e m e n t of e n t r y :

R e c o v e r i e s are a r r a n g e d by species; ringing détails a r e g i v e n on the first line and r e c o v e r y data on the s e c o n d .

Age when ringed:

This is given according to the EURING code; the figures do NOT represent years. Interpretation is as follows: 1 Pullus ( = nestling or chick) 2 Fully grown, year of hatching quite unknown 3 Hatched during calendar year of ringing 4 Hatched before calendar year of ringing, but exact year unknown 5 Hatched during previous year 6 Hatched before previous calendar year, but exact year unknown 8 Hatched three or more calender years before year of ringing c ' = male; ç = iemale v Caught or trapped. released with ring vv Ring number read in the field, or sight record of identifiable colour ring(s) vB Breeding where recaptured + Shot or killed by man x Found dead xF Found freshly dead or dying xL Found long dead () Caught or trapped alive and not released 111 Manner of recovery unknown * Exact locality witheld

Sex: Manner of recovery:

Shag Phalacrocorax 1258520 1 vv

aristotelis 20.06.89 16.09.89

Isle of May: 56°11'N 02°33'W (Fife Region) Southwold Harbour: 52° 19'N 01 ° 4 l ' È (Suffolk) 510Km SE

This extremely tame individuai wintered in Southwold Harbour and was hand-fed on one occasion (Piotrowski, 1990). Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 5150122 1 24.06.89 + 31.10.89 L05332 1 04.06.89 + 31.10.89

St Margarets Island: 51°38'N 04°42"W (Dyfed) Alton Water: 51°59'N 01°07'E (Suffolk) 401Km ENE Puffin Island: 53°19'N 04°02'W (Anglesey) Alton Water: 51°59'N 01°07'E (Suffolk) 377Km ESE

These two recoveries were amongst five found, apparently shot, close to a regulär roosting site. Teal Anas EJ72273

crecca 3 9 +F

05.11.89 06.11.89

EN71412

4? + F

17.01.87 28.10.89

Hollesley: 52°03'N 01°26'E (Suffolk) Combron: 50°07'N 01°46'E (Somme) F R A N C E 216Km S Leckford, Stockbridge: 51°08'N 01°28'W (Hampshire) Gedgrave Res: 52°05' 01°31'E (Suffolk) 231Km ENE

Note the rapid movement of 216Km in just one day by EJ72273. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos GJ80830 6o25.07.87 +F 22.10.89

Hollesley: 52°03'N 01°26'E (Suffolk) Parque Nacional de Donana 37°00'N 06°30'W (Sevilla) SPAIN l,784Km SSW A Suffolk ringed bird recovered at one of Europe's premier Nature Reserves and at the southern most limit of its over-wintering ränge. 137


Pintail Anas acuta SS70039 4 er +F

08.09.67 10.03.78

Nacton: 52°01'N 01° 15'E (Suffolk) Almyros, Volos: 3 9 0 l l ' N 22°45'E (Thessalia) GREEC1 2,189Km SE A remarkable recovery, recently received, that poses more questions than it answers, but could sugge a return movement to Russian breeding grounds via the Mediterranean. Kestrel Falco tinnunculus EP17475 1 o18.06.89 nr Sherrington: 51°19'N 02°03'W (Wiltshire) xF 29.07.89 Blyford: 52°19'N 01°34'E (Suffolk) 281Km NE Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus FR85331 8 15.11.86 Fagbury: 51°58'N 01°18'E (Suffolk) vv 02.03.89 Urk, Westermeerdijk: 52°41'N 05°36'E (Ijsselmeerpolders) N E T H E R L A N D S 303Km ENE The interchange between Holland and East Anglia is demonstrated by this recovery. To date tw birds bearing Dutch rings have been controlled at Fagbury, but this is the first instance of a bir moving the other way. Avocet Recurvirostra DFH 1 5220498 V

avosetta 12.06.88 10.10.88

Beltringharder Koog: 54°32'N 08°57'E (Schleswig-Holstein) W E S T GERMANY Butley River: 52°05'N 01°30'E (Suffolk) 564Km WSW

Suffolk's first control of a bird ringed in West Germany. Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula SVS 69 30.05.85 Vallinge Angar: 55°28'N 12°58'E 3348076 (Malmohus) SWEDEN v 06.09.88 Levington: 51°59'N 0 r i 6 ' E (Suffolk) 860Km WSW The first record of a Swedish ringed bird on the Orwell. Dunlin Calidris alpina SFH 2 PT14077 v

22.07.77

Tauvo, Siikajoki: 64°48'N 24°38'E (Oulu) FINLAND 17.02.89 Freston, nr Ipswich: 52°00'N 01° 10'E (Suffolk) 1959Km SW SFH 6 26.07.87 Sappi, Luvia: 61°29'N 21°21'E (Turku-Pori) FINLAND KT 10797 v 07.12.88 Fagbury: 51°58'N 01°18'E (Suffolk) 1609Km SW Suffolk ringed birds were recovered in West Germany and birds bearing Swedish and Finnish rings were controlled on the Orwell Estuary. The longevity of the speicies is demonstrated by PT14077 which had attained the age of 11 years and seven months when captured. Bearing in mind the ringing code of 2 it was probably much older. Snipe Gallinago gallinago XP94035 4 24.10.85 Bourne Park, Ipswich: 52°03'N 01 °09'E (Suffolk) x 01.11.89 Ipswich: 52°03'N 01°09'E (Suffolk) 4Km N This movement was hardly spectacular, but the manner of recovery is worthy of note. The bird was brought in by a cat, the creature showing a catching technique as yet untried by ringers. Redshank Tringa totanus DR22170 3 28.08.81 Butley: 52°05'N 01°09'E (Suffolk) /?/ 24.09.89 Thurso area 58°36'N 03°31'W (Highland Region) 790Km NW Greenshank Tringa DN64259 3 +

nebularia 20.08.87 Levington: 51°59'N 01°16'E (Suffolk) 16.07.89 Marais de Slack: 50°48'N 01°36'E (Pas-de-Calais) F R A N C E 133Km S

138


ireen Sandpiper Tringa CE55127 3 v

ochropus 15.11.86 16.08.89

Ramsholt: 52°05'N 01°16'E (Suffolk) Levington: 51°59'N 01°16'E (Suffolk) 14Km SSW

Slack-headed Gull Larus ridibundus SP28657 4 17.12.88 Bramford: 52°06'N 01°05'E (Suffolk) x 25.05.89 Lodeynopolsky District, Leningrad: 60°39'N 33°38'E U.S.S.R. 2207Km ENE A number of Suffolk ringed birds were recovered on the North Sea coasts, around the Baltic Sea ind in Scandinavia. Birds bearing foreign rings came from Holland, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania. The longest movement is shown above. Common Gull Larus EP28940 5 /?/

canus 14.01.89 11.07.89

Bramford: 52°06'N 01°05'E (Suffolk) Bjararyd, Solvesborg: 56°10'N 14°36'E (Blekinge) SWEDEN 988Km ENE NOS 1 08.07.88 Grimstadvatnet: 62°22'N 06°00'E MA 16577 (More Og Romsdal) N O R W A Y vv 11.03.89 Ipswich: 52°03'N 01°09'E (Suffolk) 1182Km SSW A second Norwegian-ringed bird was seen at Lowestoft and another from West Germany at Felixstowe. Both rings were transcribed in the field. Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus GG56731 1 10.07.88 Orfordness: 52°05'N 01 °35'E (Suffolk) 111 05.12.88 Larache, at sea: 35°00'N 06°25'W N O R T H A T L A N T I C l,981Km S GG49340 1 08.07.89 Orfordness: 52°05'N 01 °35'E (Suffolk) /?/ 01.01.90 Agadir: 30°30'N 09°40'W (Agadir) M O R O C C O 2570Km SSW 1 25.06.88 Orfordness: 52°04'N 01 °33'E (Suffolk) GH57242 xF 04.01.89 Sidi Rabad: 30°05'N 09°40'W (Hanoun el Kbir) M O R O C C O 2612Km SSW To date nine birds ringed as pulli on Orfordness and another as an adult at Foxhall have been recovered in North-west Africa. GG56731 was caught alive on a ship and later released. Additional recoveries from the Orfordness breeding colony in 1988 and 1989 were received from Portugal (2) and France (1). Three birds ringed as pulli in Holland in 1982 (2) and 1986 were recovered at Foxhall and Bramford Landfill sites and Orfordness in 1988. Herring Gull NOS 466423 CG44076

Larus 1 v 5 /?/

argentatus 15.07.84 05.12.87 11.03.89 23.04.89

Loppa: 70°20'N 21 °28'E (Finnmark) N O R W A Y Foxhall: 52°03'N 01°16'E (Suffolk) 2,285Km SW Bramford: 52°06'N 01 °05'E (Suffolk) Kinshaldy Beach: 56°25'N 02°48'W (Fife Region) 542Km NNW The Norwegian bird was one of several of the race L. a. argentatus trapped at Foxhall that day indicating the origins of some of our wintering birds. Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus NOS 1 12.06.87 Nordkjor, Sola: 58°54'N 05°27'E (Rogaland) N O R W A Y 321212 v 11.02.89 Bramford: 52°06'N 01 °05'E (Suffolk) 804Km SSW Suffolk's second recovery of a Norwegian ringed Great Black-backed in the space of four years, but the first for LBO's gull project. Nightjar Caprimulgus ??????? 49 vB

europaeus 17.06.88 18.06.89

West Suffolk*: West Suffolk*: 12Km NW

An interesting recovery of a bird returning to breed 12Km away from the site where it was ringed.

139


Swift Apus SB27711

apus 4 x

W o o d l a r k Lullula NH43733 1

08.06.84 17.05.89

Alton Water: 51 °59'N 01 °09'E (Suffolk) Banc D'Arguin: 44°42'N 01 °09'W (Gironde) FRANC* 827Km SSW

23.04.87

Thetford Forest area: 52°25'N 00°40'E (Suffolk)

10.04.88

Lincolnshire*: 53°25'N 00°20'E (Lincolnshire) 117Km

arborea

vv

This is the second record of a bird ringed in the Breck and recovered over 100km away. Sand M a r t i n Riparia EOI6606 3J

riparia 01.07.86 26.03.89

Aldeburgh: 52°09'N 01°35'E (Suffolk) Alsager, Stoke-on-Trent: 53°05'N 02°18'W (Staffordshii 282Km W N W FRP 3 06.08.88 Acheres, Yvelines 48°58'N 02°04'E 3331962 (Seine-et-Oise & Seine) F R A N C E v 30.07.89 Dunwich: 52°16'N 01°37'E (Suffolk) 368Km N E317549 4 28.06.87 Nacton: 52°03'N 01°12'E (Suffolk) X 14.05.89 Zaragoza 41°39'N 00°54'W (Zaragoza) SPAIN l,166Km S E533573 3 12.08.87 Chillesford: 52°07'N 01°29'E (Suffolk) X 14.06.89 nr Asia: 33°01'N 00°05'W A L G E R I A 2,126Km S A total of ten birds ringed in Suffolk was controlled at Icklesham in Sussex. The ring from E31754 was discovered in a Barn Owl's pellet. X

Waxwing Bombycilla White ? vv vv

garrulus 22.11.88 07.01.89 12.03.89

Kincorth, Aberdeen: 57°09'N 02°06'W Lowestoft: 52°27'N 01 °43'E Oulton Broad: 52°28'N 01 °43'E

The above is an example of three colour-ringed birds which frequented the Lowestoft area during early 1989. They were part of a major influx into eastern Scotland, where a total of 39 birds was ringed of which 17 were fitted with either White, Red or Orange colour-rings (Graham & Duncan, 1989). Robin Erithacus rubecula E675090 3 16.10.88 /?/ 15.02.89

Landguard Point: 51°56'N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E (Suffolk) Maulevrier: 4 7 ° 0 1 ' N 00°45'W (Maine-et-Loire) FRANCE 566Km SSW 16.10.88 Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 13.11.89. La Ferriere 46°43'N 01°19'W (Vendee) F R A N C E 610Km SSW

E675125 xF

The above birds were both ringed in the 'fall' of October 1988. Ring Ouzel Turdus RC41182 40r x

torquatus 15.10.88 23.12.88

Landguard Point: 51 °56'N 01° 19'E (Suffolk) Sanquinet: 44°29'N 01 °05'W (Landes) F R A N C E 610Km S Another bird involved in the 1988 'fall' which sadly finished as a road casualty. The recovery suggests that the bird was wintering north of its normal ränge which is shown by Cramp et al (1988) to be southern Spain and north-west Africa. Blackbird Turdus XP57901 5M xF

merula 17.02.85 01.11.89

Woodbridge: 52°05'N 01° 18'E (Suffolk) Nockerod, nr Bullaren: 58°39'N I I ° 3 2 ' E (Goteborg och Bohus) S W E D E N 973Km NE Suffolk-ringed birds were also recovered in Holland and West Germany and two birds bearing Belgian rings were controlled at Dunwich and Landguard.

140


Plate 28: This Lesser Grey Shrike was a real pnze ior loca. D I I U ^ . » , County's fourth record and the first since 1977.

— S

P l a t e 29 & 3 0 : These two Red-backed Shrikes (Landguard — left, Southwold — contributed to an excellent a u t u m n p a s s a g e .


F

f) S o o £ ® >

Plate 31: This Pallas's Warbler at Landguard was one of four noted in Suffolk in 1989.

cu î) Plate 32: Greenfinch.


Fieldfare Turdus pilaris RC44358 6 a

Song T h r u s h Turdus RV50040 3 x

01.02.87 10.08.89

East Bergholt: 51°58'N 01°02'E (Suffolk) Solbacken, nr Boxholm 58°13'N 15°04'E (Ostergotland) SWEDEN l,129Km ENE

philomelos 16.10.88 15.01.89

Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) Alentejo area: 39°00'N 07°30'W (Alto Alentejo) P O R T U G A L l,591Km SSW RV50110 3 17.10.88 Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) x 15.10.89 Hilvarenbeek: 51°29'N 05°09'E (Noord-Brabant) N E T H E R L A N D S 269Km ESE Two more foreign recoveries from the 1988 'fall'. Sedge W a r b i e r Acrocephalus schoenobaenus F551451 3 27.07.89 Wiek, Christchurch: 50°43'N 01°46'W (Dorset) v 02.08.89 Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 253Km ENE Reed W a r b i e r Acrocephalus scirpaceus NLA 02.08.88 Duinen Bij Zandvoort: 52°18'N 04°32'E 4 9 A938454 (Noord-Holland) N E T H E R L A N D S V 31.07.89 Walberswick: 52°18'N 01°38'E (Suffolk) 197Km W F148866 3 19.08.89 Hollesley: 52°03'N 01°26'E (Suffolk) V 14.09.89 Wetteren: 51°00'N 03°53'E (Oost-Vlaanderen) B E L G I U M 206Km SE F167418 3J 09.07.89 Slapton 50°17'N 03°39'W (Devon) V 12.08.89 Hollesley: 52°03'N 01°26'E (Suffolk) 405Km ENE An example of post juvenile roaming from a breeding site in SW England is shown by Fl67418, which almost mirrors the recovery of the Sedge Warbier. Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca E674351 4 10.09.88 xF 04.06.89

Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) Monifieth, Dundee: 56°28'N 02°49'W (Tayside) 571 Km NNW

An interesting recovery of a bird ringed on passage at Landguard, which had presumably returned to nest in Scotland where it is a scarce breeding species. G a r d e n W a r b i e r Sylvia borin BLN 3 ' 10.09.89 3327265 v 02.10.89 Fl 26335 3 07.08.89 v 26.08.89

Clabecq: 50°41'N 04°13'E (Brabant) B E L G I U M Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 245Km NW Dunwich: 52°16'N 01°37'E (Suffolk) Sheringham: 52°57'N 01°12'E (Norfolk) 81Km NNW

Reverse migration is shown in both recoveries. Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla NLA 13.10.88 3 er B762634 17.10.88 V 5a 24.04.88 E492881 V 23.04.89 BLN 18.09.88 39 V 23.04.89 3091356 3a F354480 02.09.89 01.11.89 /?/

Kroon's Polders: 53°16'N 04°58'E (Vlieland) N E T H E R L A N D S Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 287Km SW Bardsey Island: 52°46'N 04°48'W (Gwynedd) Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 425Km ESE Herne: 50°43'N 04°02'E (Brabant) B E L G I U M Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 232KM NW Newbourne: 52°02'N 01°18'E (Suffolk) Castellón: 39°58'N 00°16'W (Castellón) SPAIN l,346Km S

The Dutch-ringed bird was no doubt swept across the North Sea by the easterly winds which contributed to the 1988 'fall'.

141


Goldcrest Regulus 9R6912 39 v

regulus 12.09.89 28.09.89

9R6929

39 v

28.09.89 30.09.89

9R6828

3 Of v

08.10.89 16.10.89

All three recoveries show extremely within two days of being ringed.

Dunwich: 52°16'N 01°37'E (Suffolk) St. Alban's Head: 50°35'N 02°03'W (Dorset) 315Km WSW Dunwich: 52°16'N 01°37'E (Suffolk) Cissbury, Worthing: 50°52'N 00°23'W (Sussex) 208Km SW Dunwich: 52°16'N 00°17'E (Suffolk) Castricum Dunes: 52°33'N 04°37'E (Noord-Holland) N E T H E R L A N D S 206Km E fast movements, especially 9R6929 which moved the 208Kni

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula NLA 3 cr F180082 v

hypoleuca 20.08.89 Kroon's Polders: 53° 16'N 04°58'E (Vlieland) N E T H E R L A N D S 26.08.89 Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 287Km WSW Quick movement of 287Km in six days. Bearded Tit Panurus F187261 4 cr v

biarmicus 16.01.89 Icklesham: 50°55'N 00°41'E (Sussex) 10.06.89 Walberswick: 52°18'N 01°38'E (Suffolk) 167Km NNE

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus 3P5767 2 28.10.87 Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01° 19'E (Suffolk) v 26.11.89 Wicken Fen: 52° 18'N 00° 17'E (Cambridgeshire) 81 Km NW The above is the second bird from a flock (all ringed at Landguard) to be controlied at Wickham Fen. The first, 3P5765, was found there in August 1988. G r e a t Tit Parus major E674653 39 v E675985

59 v

22.09.88 31.03.89 26.03.89 07.04.89

Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) Fellfoot, Staveley: 54°24'N 02°50'W (Cumbria) 389Km NW Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) Grosmont: 54°27'N 00°44'W (N. Yorkshire) 31 lKm NNW

Both recoveries show movements in excess of 300Km for a species which is supposedly sedentary. Red-backed Shrike Lanius

collurio

VB33769

3ç 11.08.86 Landguard Point: 51 °56'N 01° 19'E (Suffolk) v 25.07.89 Breckland*: 82Km NNW Truly a remarkable recovery. A Ione male spent several weeks holding territory at a Breckland site waiting for a mate. The day after its departure a iemale arrived hearing a ring which revealed that it had passed through Landguard as a juvenile three years previously (C. G. R. Bowden per s. com.). Raven Corvus corax HT24977 1 11.05.87 Altiffinan Glen, Ballycastle: 55°09'N 06°12'W (Antrim)

N. IRELAND x

25.01.88

West Stow: 52°18'N 00°40'E (Suffolk) 551Km SE

The third record for Suffolk this Century and an amazing ringing recovery. There is no question regarding the bird's identification and the ringer was able to confirm that the nestlings appeared to have fledged successfully. The only question mark hanging over the record is the fact that the ring-bearing corpse was delivered anonymously to the offices of the British Association of Shooting and Conservation with a note saying it was found under wires. Movements exceeding lOOKm are unusual (Mead and Clark, 1989).

142


Starling Sturmis vulgaris RE18219 3F 02.12.88 x 02.06.89

Chaffinch Fringilla NLA 49 B737679

Benhall Low Street: 5 2 ° l l ' N 01 °26'E (Suffolk) Pori: 61° 13'N 21 °52'E (Turku-Pori) FINLAND 161 lKm NE

coelebs 14.10.88

Kennemerduinen: 52°25'N 04°34'E (Noord-Holland) N E T H E R L A N D S 17.10.88 Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 228Km W E674827 04.10.88 Landguard Point: 51°56'N 0 r i 9 ' E (Suffolk) 49 x 10.01.89 Cambois, Blyth: 55°06'N 01°31'W (Northumberland) 398Km N The Dutch-ringed bird was controlled during the 1988 'fall' (see also Blackcap). Greenfinch Carduelis VC71389 5F v

chloris 01.04.88 Landguard Point: 52°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 21.12.88 St Columb Major: 50°25'N 04°55'W (Cornwall) 466Km WSW CU 5M 25.02.89 Vale Marais: 49°30'N 02°32'W A46585 (Guernsey) C H A N N E L ISLANDS v 01.04.89 Landguard Point: 51°56'N 01°19'E (Suffolk) 383Km NE Landguard's affinity with the Channel Islands continues with its 4th control of a Greenfmch from this region. Goldfinch Carduelis E951791 49 x

carduelis 15.04.89 19.06.89

Reed Bunting Emberiza F231331 59 v

Dunwich: 52° 16'N 01 °37'E (Suffolk) Stainsacre, Whitby: 54°27'N 00°35'W (North Yorkshire) 283Km NNW

schoeniclus 19.03.89 Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve: 51°17'N 00°11'E (Kent) 01.04.89 Holbrook: 51°58'N 0 1 ° H ' E (Suffolk) 103Km NE

Acknowledgements: I should like to thank Ian Peters for his help in collating this report and Chris Mead, Mike Marsh, Philip Murphy and Steve Piotrowski for their comments on the draft. Data was received from Ron Batty, Rex and Roger Beecroft, Chris Bowden, Peter Catchpole, Malcolm Cavanagh, Mike Crewe, Robert Duncan, Derek Eaton, Sir Anthony Hurrell, Landguard Bird Observatory, Dr Tony Martin, Mike Marsh, Dr Peter McAnulty, Alan Miller, Derek Moore, Paul Newton, Ian Peters, Brian Thompson, Tony Thompson, Cliff Waller, Lyn Webb, Rodney West and Mick Wright, which has been used to form the basis of this report.

References: Cramp, S. (Ed) 1988. The birds of the Western Palearctic vol. 4. Oxford. Graham, S. & Duncan, R. 1989. Colour-ringed Waxwings in Lowestoft winter 1988-89. Suffolk Ornithol. Group Bull. 85: 16-18. Mead, C. J. & Clark, J. A. 1989. Report on bird ringing for Britain and Ireland for 1988. Ringing & Migr. 10: 159-196. Piotrowski, S. H. 1990. A fishy story. The Harrier 87: 12-13.

Reg Clarke, 6 Nelson Road, Ipswich 1P4 4DS.

143


TABLE II: SYSTEMATIC LIST OF SPECIES AND TOTALS OF BIRDS RINGED IN SUFFOLK, 1989 Species Storm Petrel Grey Heron Canada Goose Shelduck Wigeon Teal Mallard Pintail Marsh Harrier Sparrowhawk Kestrel Water Rail Moorhen Oystercatcher Avocet Ringed Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Knot Sanderling Dunlin Jack Snipe Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Turnstone Black-headed Gull Common Gull Lsr. Blk-bkd. Gull Herring Gull Gt. Blk-bkd. Gull Little Tern Wood Pigeon Collared Dove Turtle Dove

Total 1 8 296 15 1 92 3 6 27 10 13 1 10 32 46 51 10 39 16 4 706 3 125 1 2 7 25 107 4 6 6 30 1036 25 816 242 23 20 21 22 5

Species

Total

Cuckoo Yellow-billed Cuckoo Barn Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Nightjar Swift Kingfisher Wryneck Green Woodpecker Gt. Sptd. W'pecker Lsr. Sptd. W'pecker Woodlark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Bluethroat Black Redstart Redstart Wh inchat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbier G'hopper Warbier Sedge Warbier Reed Warbier

144

1 1 5 1 2 28 6 13 1 7 12 5 26 863 505 963 8 33 1 33 1 72 764 779 634 34 1 27 58 10 16 8 1180 5 507 68 11 1 6 336 709

Species Icterine Warbier Subalpine Warbier Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbier Blackcap Pallas's Warbier Wood Warbier Chiffchaff Willow Warbier Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Red-backed Shrike Jay Jackdaw Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Redpoll Bullftnch Hawfinch Snow Bunting Yellowhammer Reed Bunting GRAND TOTAL

T< il 1 2 2;3 4 0 2;8 5;i8 1 g 3h9 8(1 542 47 IS 30 20 32.' 40 8~> 148: 746 25 70 3 12 1 1520 460 10 410 7 3641 288 212 532 74 253 2 21 39 67 25.819


SUFFOLK NATURALISTA SOCIETY Founded in 1929 by Claude Morley (1874-1951), the Suffolk Naturalists' Society pioneered the study and recording of the County's flora, fauna ind geology, to promote a wider interest in natural history. Recording the natural history of Suffolk is still one of the Society's primary objects, and members' observations are fed to a network of specialist recorders for possible publication, and deposited in the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, jointly managed with Ipswich Museums. Suffolk Natural History, a review of the County's wildlife, and Suffolk Birds, the County bird report, are two high quality annual publications issued free to members. The Society also publishes a quarterly newsletter and organises an interesting programme of summer field excursions and winter lectures at venues throughout the County. The Suffolk Naturalists' Society offers a joint membership with the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group at a reduced subscription. This entitles joint members to receives literature and attend the meetings of both organisations. If you are not yet a member of the Society but would like to join, contact Jeff Martin, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES SNS £8.00 Individual £10.00 Family £3.00 Junior (under 18)

Joint membership SNS/SOG £14.00 £17.00 £4.00


CONTENTS Page Editorial. S. H. Piotrowski 5 Suffolk Heronries 1985-89 and the October '87 'Hurricane'. M. T. Wright 6 Census of breeding Woodlarks in Coastal Suffolk 1989. M. T. Wright 11 Nightjars in Suffolk. C. G. R. Bowden 14 The Hobby as a breeding bird in Suffolk. D. R. Moore 16 Breeding Cormorants in East Anglia. Steve Piotrowski 19 Further notes on the Kittiwake in Suffolk. Brian Brown .• 21 Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve. Roger Breecroft 23 Dingle Hills, Walberswick Constant Effort Site Scheme, 1986-89. Tony Thompson...25 Weather Trends and their effect on the county's avifauna 1989. John H. Grant 27 The 1989 Suffolk Bird Report. The Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee 31 Earliest and latest dates of summer migrants. Steve Piotrowski 117 Suffolk Bird List. Steve Piotrowski 118 Rarities in Suffolk 1989. Steve Piotrowski 123 Pendutine Tit. Rob Macklin 124 Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Jim Askins 125 Notes: 126 Tit's Ballet, W. H. Payn . 126 House Martins perching on foliated branches. J. R. Martin 127 Obituary — David Smee (1932-1988). Philip Murphy 128 Landguard Bird Observatory 1989. Mike Crewe 129 Languard Outsites. Roger Beecroft 134 Suffolk Ringing Report. Reg Clarke 136

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Volume 39 Bird Report 1989

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