Page 1

The 1991 Suffolk Birci Report INTRODUCTION The systematic list of species has been written by the Editorial Committee, headed by the Editor, Steve Piotrowski, using data collated by the County Recorder, Bob Warren. Committee members are the authors for the species grouped below: Divers to Shag John Cawston Hérons, swans & geese John Grant Ducks Malcolm Wright Derek Moore Raptors, gamebirds & crakes Simon Evans Moorhen to Dunlin Mick Wright Ruff to Grey Phalarope John Cawston Skuas to auks Nigel Odin Near-passerines Brian Small Larks to Dunnock Rex Beecroft Chats & thrushes Philip Murphy Warblers Brian Thompson Tits to sparrows Rob Macklin Finches & buntings Steve Piotrowski Appendices The order and nomenclature follow the British Birds list of The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Ali records refer to a single bird unless otherwise stated. Subspecies are listed under the main species heading, which includes the scientific name. With scarcer species, ali records are listed under the parish followed by exact location, if known. The exception to this is at the river estuaries and larger, well-known sites criss-crossed by parish boundaries e.g. Walberswick, 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. Unless otherwise stated, the tabulated sets of counts are the highest day-counts for each locality, with each figure representing the maximum number of birds feeding or roosting at that particular site during the month. Grand totals are given where the data is exclusively that derived from the co-ordinated, single-day counts conducted in conjunction with the Birds of Estuaries Enquiry (BoEE). A dashed entry indicates that no data was received. Counts from North Warren include Thorpeness Meare, Church Fm Marshes and the seashore between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh; the Aide/Ore includes the complex of the Aide, Ore, Orford and Butley rivers as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave Reservoir and Havergate Island; the Orwell includes Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin 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; ç = female; ad. = adult; imm. = immature; juv. = juvenile; ecl. = duck/drake of indiscernible age and/or sex due to being in eclipse plumage; f.s.p. = bird in full summer plumage; nr = near; incl. = including; G.P. = gravel pit; R. = river; Pt = point; W.R. = Wildfowl Reserve; Ind. Est. = Industriai Estate; res. = reservoir; fm = farm; pk = park; pr(s) = pair(s) and N = bird(s) flying north, S = south, etc. The following définitions are intended as a guide to the status of each species: Abundant: Occurs in large numbers in suitable habitat and season. Common: Occurs regularly or widely distributed in suitable habitat. Fairly Common: Occurs in small numbers in suitable habitat and season.


Uncommon: Occurs annually in small numbers. Scarce: One or two records each year or restricted to specific habitats. Rare: Occurs less than annually. Very rare: Less than 15 records in past 30 years. Accidentai: Less than three records in past 30 years. We are in the fortunate position of having data for a number of years from a crosssection of geographically well spread habitats throughout the County. It is to the credit of those observers who have persevered with such intense studies as the Common Bird Census (CBC), Constant Effort Site (CES) and transect counts, that this information is available for use. Such data are invaluable when monitoring locai declines/increases of common species. The centres of such activity lie at: Dingle Hills, Westleton; Minsmere; North Warren, Aldeburgh; Belstead; Valley Fm, Coddenham; the Stour Valley (Cavendish to Long Melford); Newbourne Springs; Wolves Wood, Hadleigh/Aldham and Lackford Wildfowl Reserve. As the CBC 1990-91 index report has been published (Marchant & Musty 1992), we have been able to determine how the national population of some species have fared, compared with those of the County's, over the previous year. Field workers involved in CBC, CES or other survey work are urged to forward summaries of their observations to the County Recorder at the end of the breeding season. Contributors are requested to be specific, especially when detailing observations of the commoner breeding species. Ali records come under the scrutiny of the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee (SORC) and for rare or scarce species vérification is sought — i.e. photographs, field sketches, witnesses, sound recordings (for calling or singing birds) and written descriptions. The SORC's policy for vagrants, classified as national rarities, is clear; records should be channelled through the County Recorder to be considered by the British Birds Rarities Committee. Its décisions are accepted by SORC, with few exceptions. The list of species for which a written description should accompany a report is as follows: Black-throated and Great Northern Divers; Red-necked, Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes; ali shearwaters; Storm and Leach's Petrels; Little Egret; Purple Heron; White Stork; Bean and Pinkfooted Geese; Red-crested Pochard; Ferruginous Duck; Surf Scoter; Honey Buzzard; Red Kite; Montagu's Harrier; Goshawk; Rough-legged Buzzard; Peregrine; Quail; Spotted Crake; Corncrake; Orane; Kentish Piover; Dotterei; Temminck's Stint; Pectoral Sandpiper; Buff-breasted Sandpiper; all phalaropes; Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas; Sabine's, Ring-billed and Iceland Gulls; Roseate Tern; Black Guillemot; Puffin; Bee-eater; Hoopoe; Richard's, Tawny and Water Pipits; Dipper; Bluethroat; Savi's, Aquatic, Marsh, Hippolais, Dartford, Barred, Pallas's and Yellow-browed Warbiers; Red-breasted Flycatcher; Woodchat Shrike; Raven; Serin; Common 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 füll Suffolk bird list was published in Suffolk Birds 1990 and there has been one addition since — Lesser Crested Tern. 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 were considered unacceptable due to either the identification not being fully established or, more rarely, a genuine mistake having been 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 détails were not forthcoming. It does not include records still under considération. 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 Brey don Water. A map of the County of Suffolk can be found on the inside front cover.


As reported in Suffolk Birds 1991, 1991 was Bob Warren's final year as County Recorder and since January 1992 the records have been handled by The County Recorder, Philip Murphy, before he passes them on to the Suffolk Biological Records Centre for inputting into a computerised data bank. This has been a major change in the administration of records and observers can help by submitting their records monthly and in diary form. When submitting records, observers are requested to adopt the following format: (a) Location (precise place name from the Ordnance Survey Map plus Parish if ambiguous). (b) O.S. Grid Reference if available (six figures if possible, but a minimum of four). (c) Species. (d) Date. (e) Name and address of observer. (f) Sex/age — O", 9 , juv., etc. (g) Abundance — count numbers, frequency, etc. (h) Type of record — dead, ringed, etc. (i) Comments. If submitting a list of records for one particular site, put ail détails at the top of the list and annotate with sex and/or abundance. Records for 1992 should be submitted to P. W. Murphy, 24 Henstead Gardens, Ipswich IP3 9LN. Those received after Jan. 3 Ist cannot be guaranteed inclusion in that year's Report.

Acknowledgements Again, we must thank the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), SOG, Landguard Bird Observatory (LBO) and Lackford Wildfowl Reserve for providing records from their logs. My personal thanks go to Philip Murphy, Mike Marsh, Nick Green, Brian Brown, Rex Beecroft, Derek Moore, John Cawston, Daryl Rhymes, Nigel Odin, Rob Macklin, Cliff Waller and Gerald Jobson who prepared extensive comments on earlier drafts of this Report. Mick Wright has forwarded detailed information on Grey Héron, Little Tern and Woodlark, which has been used in this Report, as well as administering the BoEE counts. Thanks are due to Ken and Jean Garrod, Fred and Bea Elliston and David Walsh for proof-reading. Finally, the Records/Editorial Committees thank ail observers for submitting field notes, since without them this Report would not have been feasible.


SYSTEMATIC LIST RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata A common winter visitor and passage migrant. Despite a severe cold spell during mid-February, offshore counts were rather low during the first winter period. The largest gatherings were 80 off Dunwich, Jan. 12th and 100 off Benacre, mid-January. Two birds were found frequenting freshwater: Melton G.P., Jan. 11th to 14th (found dead in March) and Alton Water, Jan. 15th to Feb. 2nd. A confiding individual was in Ipswich Wet Dock, Jan. 4th to 24th. There were only five reports offshore during March, the last off Minsmere on 31st. An oiled bird was found dead at Shingle Street, Apr. 1st. The first autumn migrant was seen flying north off Ness Pt, Lowestoft, Sept. 4th, followed by a light passage with offshore movements of up to eight birds to mid-October. The highest count in the second winter period was 213 off Minsmere, Dec. 8th. BLACK-THROATED DIVER Gavia arctica An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A good year with at least 17 birds recorded, including an exceptionally long-staying individual on a freshwater lake for over two months. The Breydon individual was the only record from the estuaries, all other records referring to birds seen offshore. All records are listed: Breydon Water: Feb. 17th. Benacre: Feb. 16th and Dec. 28th. C o v e h i t h e : singles N Sept. 22nd, Dec. 27th & 30th. S o u t h w o l d : N Sept. 29th.

Walberswick: Jan. 20th. M i n s m e r e : two Jan. 20th, Feb. 15th, N Apr. 13th and Dec. 8th, 27th & 29th. F e l i x s t o w e : Felixstowe Ferry, Jan. 5th; Landguard Pt, intermittently, Jan. 29th to Feb. 12th. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, Mar. 1st to May 6th.

The Bramford bird proved to be a popular attraction during its long stay and seemed quite unconcerned at the regular presence of the local wind-surfing club. The April Minsmere record is also unusually late. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Gavia immer A scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. There were five birds reported in 1991: Southwold: offshore, N Oct. 20th (MSF, EWP). Dunwich: offshore, Mar. 10th (BS). A l d e b u r g h : Slaughden, R.Alde, Jan. 5th to 6th, Feb. 2nd to 5th and again Mar. 1st ( M M et al). O r w e l l / A l t o n W a t e r : reported on at least eighteen dates from Jan. 11th. This bird covered the length of the river and made frequent visits to Alton Water. Last seen Feb. 20th flying out of the Orwell mouth and north off Landguard Pt (many observers). F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, N Oct. 23rd ( M M , N O , SHP).

In spite of the large number of observers in Suffolk, this diver is still a scarce visitor. Numbers of records for the past five years are given below: 1986 4

1987 3

1988 5

1989 4

1990 4

LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis A common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. The total of 25 pairs reported during the breeding season was well down (57%) on last year's total of 59. It is not clear whether this is a genuine decrease, or due to underrecording.



The usual stronghold of Lackford W.R. held only three pairs and three juveniles were found dead there under power cables. The North Warren/Thorpeness Meare area held highest concentration with eight pairs reported. A total of 26 juveniles was seen oughout the County in late summer. I 4 6 2 66 19 1 6

Lake Lothing Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Lackford

F 12 5 2 38 20 1 5


A 1

2 3 11 g NIL 2


S 2



1 8 4 1 7

5 1 14

N 6 3 7 33 20 2 7

0 9 NIL —

12 14 1 9

D 20 8 9 69 17 1 5

Wintering numbers were again highest on the R.Deben, where counts of over 60 were made during January and December. The estuary is now eighth in the table of Britain's best sites covered by the National Wildfowl Count scheme (Kirby et al 1991). One found in Hamilton Rd, Felixstowe, was taken into care and fed on egg sandwiches at Felixstowe Custom House before being released at Landguard Pt. GREAT CRESTED GREBE Podiceps cristatus A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. It was an excellent breeding season with 93 pairs reported from 24 sites. A total of 35 young was counted and again Alton Water was the principal site, where 57 pairs and at least 14 young were noted in June. J 14 NIL 13 34 76 122

Lake Lothing Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford


F 8 1 11 112 50 102

5 2 8 45 84 20

A 2 2 2 2 42 73


11 70 93

S 6 7 1 27 161 94 8

3 —

0 9

N 15 4 9 11 88 74 11

4 11 212 91 8

D 15 11 2 27 144 77 10

During the autumn and winter periods some very high counts were reported, particularly from the Stour estuary (see months September, October and December). A significant drop in numbers occurred at Alton Water during February's freeze (102 — 2nd, 35 — 9th and 18 — 18th) and this corresponded with an increase on the Orwell estuary. Post-breeding gatherings at Breydon Water included 53 June 24th, 76 July 31st and 70 Aug. 4th. The number of wintering birds offshore was probably the highest ever recorded, with a peak count of 100 off Dunwich, Jan. 19th. RED-NECKED GREBE Podiceps grisegena An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Suffolk's best year since the large influx of 36 during the severe winter of 1978/79. A minimum of 24 birds, possibly as many as 27, was noted at eight coastal and two inland sites. The peak of six in February coincided with the severe weather. Monthly totals were as follows: J F M A s O N D 2








There was a small influx during the autumn, with three together on freshwater being unusual. A l l r e c o r d s are l i s t e d , t o g e t h e r w i t h m o n t h l y totals:

Burgh Castle: Breydon Water, Feb. 2nd to 17th. L o w e s t o f t : Ness Pt, juv. Sept. 27th.

Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, Dec. 3rd.


Southwold: offshore, N Nov. 12th. A l d e b u r g h : Slaughden Quay, offshore, on sea, Feb. 17th.

Boyton: Dec. 1st. F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, S then N Apr. 28th, N Sept. 13th, S Sept. 23rd, S Nov. 4th, S Nov. 10th. O r w e l l : numerous dates from Jan. 7th to 26th and again Feb. 23rd; Ipswich Docks, Feb. 17th, N o v . 8th to 24th with two 23rd; Levington, Dec. 4th; Wherstead/Woolverstone, D e c . 13th to 28th.

Alton Water: Feb. 16th to Mar. 21st, Oct. 12th to 17th and Dec. 1st, 8th & 13th. S t o u r : Stutton, Feb. 12th; Flatford, Oct. 4th. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, three Oct. 15th & 16th, two Oct. 17th and single remaining to 19th.

West Stow/Lackford: Angling Lake/W.R., Jan. 19th to Feb. 2nd. SLAVONIAN G R E B E Podiceps auritus An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. As with the previous species, this grebe had its best year in the County since the cold weather influx of 1978/79 when 15-20 birds were recorded. A minimum of 17 birds was reported from 11 coastal and three inland sites. Monthly totals were as follows: J F M a o N D 4 3 3 1 2 2 1 A l l r e c o r d s a n d m o n t h l y totals are s h o w n : B u r g h C a s t l e : Breydon Water, Jan. 9th and another Jan. 16th to Feb. 17th. C o v e h i t h e : offshore, Oct. 6th and N N o v . 23rd.

Blyth Estuary: Mar. 3rd to 10th. Minsmere: Feb. 2nd & 3rd and Mar. 4th. A l d r i n g h a m c u m T h o r p e : Thorpeness Meare, N o v . 22nd.

Aldeburgh: Oct. 27th. D e b e n : Waldringfield, Jan. 20th to 31st. O r w e l l : Fox's Marina/Woolverstone, Feb. 9th to 18th; Loompit Lake, Dec. 1st. S t o u r : Holbrook Bay/Stutton, Jan. 20th and Feb. 12th & 17th; Cattawade Marshes, Mar. 17th.

Alton Water: Jan. 28th. Lackford: W.R., f.s.p. Apr. 14th. Weybread: G.P., Feb. 15th to Mar. 28th.

B L A C K - N E C K E D G R E B E Podiceps nigricollis A scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Still the scarcest of the County's grebes, but a good year with eight birds recorded. Spring records included single birds in March and April. The other records were widely scattered during late autumn and winter. B u r g h C a s t l e : Breydon Water, Dec. 22nd to 1992 (per SHP). L o w e s t o f t : Lake Lothing, Feb. 10th to 24th (BJB, RF, NJS et


Southwold: S Oct. 20th (WJB, JMC, JHG). M i n s m e r e : Island Mere, Mar. 23rd; offshore, Nov. 18th (IR). S n a p e : Snape Bridge, 1990 to Feb. 5th (SHP et al). O r w e l l : Levington Creek, D e c . 1st to 7th (RB). G t / L t L i v e r m e r e : Livermere Pk, f . s . p , Apr. 20th to 22nd (RMB, M M , SHP et


The Snape bird proved to be a great attraction during its stay, frequently giving excellent, close views from the road bridge at high tide. F U L M A R Fulmarus glacialis A fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. After a gap of two years, successful breeding again took place at the Bawdsey Cliff colony. Eleven birds were counted on Jan. 1st rising to a peak of 32 June 6th. Two juveniles were seen on the ledges, Aug. 1st. Small numbers were regularly seen offshore throughout the spring and summer.



There were only two large offshore movements noted during the year, both off Southwold. A 2!/4 hour seawatch in strong north-easterly winds on June 1st revealed a northerly movement of 82 and there were 40 north and ten south there on Sept. 7th. A single bird was noted flying along the R.Orwell at Trimley Marshes, June 9th. At the year's end, six birds were occupying the Bawdsey ledges on Dec. 26th, the earliest return recorded. CORY'S S H E A R W A T E R Calonectris diomedea A very rare passage (autumn) migrant. Despite 1991 not generally being an outstanding year for Manx and Sooty Shearwaters in the County, this species excelled itself in the space of about two hours on Sept. 30th. S o u t h w o l d : up to five singles N between 16.55 hrs & 18.40 hrs, Sept. 30th (BJB, T M B , RW et


These birds constitute the 15th record for the County involving 22 individuals. Although wind and sea conditions were generally calm on 30th, it should be noted that the previous two days had been dominated by strong south-easterly winds and heavy rain. Numbers of this species in the County for the past 20 years are shown below: 72-76 2

77-81 2

82-86 3

87-91 15

SOOTY S H E A R W A T E R Puffinus griseus A fairly common passage migrant. The year's total of about 26 birds is the lowest since 1986, when only five were recorded. There was a distinct peak in the first half of September, coinciding with the record influx of Long-tailed Skuas in the North Sea at that time. C o r t o n : four N Sept. 7th (JHG). Covehithe/Southwold: two N Sept. 6th (JMC), 12 N Sept. 7th (WJB, JMC, SL, EWP), singles N Sept. 8th, 12th and 14th (SHP) and N Oct. 19th (DJP). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, N Aug. 23rd (JRA, NO), S Sept. 28th (AK).

Estimated monthly totals were as follows: A 3

s 22

O 1

MANX S H E A R W A T E R Puffinus puffinus An uncommon passage migrant. An average year with a total of about 33 birds recorded. There were two spring records from Minsmere which involved singletons passing north offshore Apr. 14th and May 5th. One moving south off Landguard, June 21st, was probably a non-breeder. As with Sooty Shearwater, autumn passage peaked during September with the highest count being seven south at Southwold, Sept. 28th during a strong south-easterly gale. An autumn straggler flew north at Lowestoft, Nov. 19th. Monthly totals were: A M I J A S O N 1








STORM P E T R E L Hydrobates pelagicus A scarce passage migrant. Two records as follows: Southwold: S Oct. 19th (DC, JMC, LT). Hollesley: picked up from road (released at Shingle Street) N o v . 27th (RP1).

The Southwold bird was just reward for the three observers who kept an almost all-day seawatch vigil from the promenade shelter during a day of cold northerly gales.


LEACH'S PETREL Oceanodroma leucorhoa An uncommon passage migrant. Suffolk's best ever year for this exciting seabird with at least 13 birds. All records are listed: C o v e h i t h e : two S Sept. 28th (CDK), N Oct. 10th (RW). Southwold: S Sept. 11th (EWP, RT), six S Sept. 28th (MSF, GJJ, RW), two N Oct. 10th (JMC, EWP). D u n w i c h : following fishing boat, Aug. 11th (BS). F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, S Sept. 28th (AK, N O , JZ); Docks, single captured aboard Bulgarian ship (ringed and released at Landguard), Nov. 4th (CPSR).

The Dunwich record is unusually early. The nine birds on Sept. 28th were the result of a strong south-easterly gale with driving rain. Intensive seawatching has seen a dramatic increase in records in recent years. From 1987 to 1991, at least 34 birds were recorded, whereas the previous five years, 1982-86, yielded only seven. GANNET Morns bassana A common passage migrant. The year's approximate total of 1,055 is a poor showing compared with those of recent years. Estimated monthly totals from all sites were: J 5



A 7

M 3

J 21


J 17

A 115


S O 402


D 1


The first of the year occurred off Felixstowe on Jan. 18th. March and April are normally the peak months for spring migration in Suffolk, but in 1991 the peak occurred much later with 36 seen during May. The largest autumn movements were noted as follows: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, 102 S Sept. 29th. Southwold: 157 (140 N & 17 S) Oct. 10th and 173 (158 N & 15 S) Oct. 11th. CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo An abundant winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore De ben Orwell Stour Alton Water Long Melford Lackford

M 7



J 4

F 7

53 27 77 120 286 6 28

46 14 144 89 300 23 23

70 14 151 124 11 6 5

43 35 66 104 10 2 4





35 9




57 175

60 58 25 93 129








1 9

O 23

N 9

D 8

20 67 66 165 2 2 32

60 59 128 136 81 4 33

25 70 84 94 144 6 26

Typically, the highest wintering numbers were on the Orwell and Stour estuaries, which held the bulk of the County's wintering population, and Alton Water Reservoir. At the latter site, at least 300 were counted on Feb. 10th, but by the 17th freezing conditions had reduced numbers to only seven. Up to 100 now regularly roost at Fritton Lake during the winter months. Inland, up to 33 were at Lackford W.R. in November and up to nine birds wintered along the Little Ouse River at Santon Downham. Summer counts included 35 and 55 at Minsmere and Alton Water respectively in June and 50 were roosting on Sizewell rigs on July 20th. An unusual record is of four roosting on overhead power lines at Barking G.P., Aug. 14th. Two colour-ringed birds from the Abberton Reservoir breeding colony (Essex) were noted in Suffolk. Both were first-year birds and were at Landguard Pt in August and Lake Lothing, Lowestoft in November.


SHAG Phalacrocorax aristotelis A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded in all months (except July) with an above average total of about 62 individuals. Principal sites during the first winter period included the R.Orwell and Ipswich Docks, where up to two birds were present, Jan. 8th to Mar. 17th and Lowestoft where up to 12 were present in January and four in February. A single bird was seen regularly off Felixstowe from Jan. 2nd to at least Feb. 24th. Two 'wrecked' individuals were found at inland localities during February's cold spell. One, found dead (minus its head) at Hintlesham, 19th, had been ringed as a nestling on the Isle of May, July 18th 1990 and another, found emaciated in a Walsham-le-Willows garage, Feb. 13th, was taken into care by the RSPCA and released at Felixstowe on 23rd. Landguard logged a marked northerly passage during May with two on 8th and eight (one flock) on 10th. There were two June records involving birds flying north off Cobbold's Pt, Felixstowe, 19th and Landguard Pt, 22nd. In the second winter period, Landguard recorded a single north Sept. 14th and two were present from Oct. 18th to Nov. 14th. Elsewhere, only small numbers were reported with singles at Lowestoft, Minsmere and on the Orwell estuary during December. In recent years, the antics of rather adventurous individuals have been noted (Piotrowski 1990) and in November, Landguard was to play host to such a bird. An extremely tame juvenile spent much of its time hiding behind fishermen's umbrellas on the beach. When one particular fisherman moved away to cast his rod the Shag's tactics became apparent, moving in swiftly to steal his bait. The bird was easily tempted into the hands of LBO staff, much to the relief of the fisherman who had been afraid to return to his umbrella for fear of being savaged by the bird's menacing bill! Monthly totals were as follows: All sites

J 15

F 13


A 2

M 1

J 2



A 1

S 1

O 6

N 6

D 3

BITTERN Botaurus stellaris A scarce and decreasing resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. This species has hit the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons — RSPB research has shown that over-estimates of the UK population have almost certainly been made in recent years and the true status of this secretive bird may well be more alarming than was feared. Desperate measures, such as eel-introduction schemes to boost food supplies, may be the only hope of halting its decline. In the meantime, Suffolk's records remain relatively unchanged with nine booming males recorded at four sites (nine 1990 and 12 1989). February's cold spell was probably responsible for inducing individuals to Boyton Marshes on 17th and the R.Waveney at Bungay later in the month. They were likely to have been forced to leave the continent at the onset of harsh weather, although displaced individuals from local reedbeds might have been involved. LITTLE EGRET Egretta garzella A rare passage migrant. Only two were reported. The first was a surprise bonus for a team of 24-hour sponsored birders who watched in amazement as one followed a Grey Heron in flight over Blaxhall Common. The second frequented the Breydon Water area, often feeding on the southern shore. Blaxhall: Blaxhall Common, W May 13th (JHG, M M , SHP, CSW).

Breydon Water: Sept. 10th to Oct. 13th (JMC, EWP). 1990 O r f o r d : Havergate Island, Aug. 2nd & 7th, again 10th to 17th and 23rd to 30th and Sept. 5th to 20th (per A . M c K ) .


The corrected dates for the 1990 Havergate Island individual are taken directly from the reserve log and show that it was present, more or less continuously, from Aug. 2nd to Sept. 20th. GREY HERON Ardea cinerea A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The 1991 BTO sample census reported a total of between 163 and 168 occupied nests in 13 heronries. No. of occupied nests 1991 1990 — 4-5 1 1 15 12-15 — 3 13-14 14 24-25 23 6 6 13-15 18-22 34 38

Site Wild Carr, Worlingham North Cove Henham Sudbourne Blackheath, Friston Methersgate, Sutton Ramsholt Woolverstone Stutton Stoke-by-Nayland Stanstead Little Wratting Thurlow Livermere West Stow Euston Brandon


9-10 2 4 NIL 13 15 14

10 1 2 2 13 15 14



The number of occupied nests (168) fell by 9%, when compared with 1990's figures (184). This is the first decline in breeding numbers since 1988 and may well be attributed to the severe winter weather experienced in February. No information was received for the Wild Carr, Sudbourne and Stoke-by-Nayland heronries. Fledging success was reported from Henham (c35), Stanstead (15 minimum), Ramsholt (four) and Black Heath (14 minimum). Harsh winter conditions were responsible for some interesting occurrences. One was seen carrying a Stoat in ermine at Boyton Marshes, Feb. 17th, the mammal managing to wriggle free and escape on landing (Piotrowski 1991). One marauded around gardens in central Felixstowe in February and March and another played havoc at a garden pond at Sicklesmere, Feb. 19th. The following migrants were recorded, with Sept. 29th being a particularly noteworthy date: L o w e s t o f t : Ness Pt, 22 W Sept. 29th. A l d e b u r g h : six offshore arrivals, Sept. 29th. F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, S Feb. 10th, Mar 20th, 22nd & 23rd, calling Apr. 8th, offshore arrival May 9th, N May 11th, four offshore arrivals Aug. 16th and two 17th, four S Sept. 29th, five S during October and single Nov. 12th.

PURPLE H E R O N Ardea purpurea A scarce passage migrant. E a s t o n B a v e n t s / S o u t h w o l d : offshore arrival, Aug. 22nd (JMC, MSF). A l t o n W a t e r : SW with Grey Heron, May 22nd (SHP).

The Alton Water bird is the first record at the reservoir. BLACK STORK Ciconia nigra A very rare passage migrant. Hard on the heels of the much-celebrated 1990 individual came Suffolk's 11th record.


However, unlike its predecessor, this bird was not enjoyed by a mass army of twitchers. Santon Downham: NE July 3rd (BS). 1990 Covehlthe: Sept. 12th. The latest date for last year's wide-ranging individual was originally not accepted for publication by the BBRC, but after further considĂŠration the record is now deemed authentic. BBRC further considers that, from the records and descriptions received, two individuals, an adult and an immature, were involved during the period July 29th to Sept. 12th. The SORC stands by the comments made in Suffolk Birds 1991 and considers that only one bird, an immature, was involved. It is considered that discrepancies in the descriptions were solely due to observers' failure to take proper notes whilst viewing the bird. SPOONBILL Platalea


An uncommon passage migrant. Yet another crop of records — could it be tempting fate to suggest that breeding in the County might soon take place? Let us hope so, but in the meantime the plethora of records was as foliows: Breydon Water: Apr. 24th and 1-2 in July. B e n a c r e : Mar. 19th to 26th, Apr. 14th, two July 7th, up to five Aug. 2nd to Sept. 7th (including one ringed as a nestling at Terschelling, Netherlands, May 20th 1989), singles Sept. 14th & 30th and Oc t. lst. Southwold: May 22nd and July 12th. Blythburgh/Walberswick: Apr. lOth, 19th & 25th and May lOth. M i n s m e r e : Mar. 25th, intermittently Apr. 6th to 28th, May 9th to l l t h , July 7th, 12th, 20th, four Aug. lst, Aug. 3rd & Oct. lst.

Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, Aug. lst.


O r f o r d : Havergate Is., July 14th. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, intermittently July 7th to 25th and two July 26th & 27th.

Undoubtedly, some duplication exists in the above records but, even when this is taken into account, 1991 was another excellent year for the species. M U T E SWAN Cygnus olor A common resident. Carlton Marshes North Warren Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 24 20 114 101 93 188

F 20 11 133 104 111 73

M 30 —

101 61 24 111

A 65 -

52 95 61 10

M 45 22 21



22 1 18

24 3 30

— —






51 26 84 78 131

33 128 131

O 3 41 —

69 23 218

N 42 21 87 87 108 99

D 27 36 116 78 107 105

The above estuary counts show a relative degree of uniformity but some interchange between sites is apparent. Only rarely is this static pattern broken — for example the big rise in the Stour October total and the corresponding fall in the Orwell's total at that time. Perhaps some of the Orwell's birds temporarily wandered the relatively short distance to the Stour? In 1990, the data from the BTO's national survey was available, which allowed an estimate of the County's breeding population to be made. Without this, a figure for 1991 is not possible, but it would seem that the species is at least holding its own. On a less encouraging note, however, three were found to have been illegally shot during March in the King's Fleet area of the R.Deben estuary. B E W I C K ' S SWAN Cygnus columbianus A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Few were reported in the first winter period, the only sizeable herds being: Burgh Castle: 49 Jan. 21st. Shipmeadow: 75 Jan. 6th. Orford: Town Marshes, 30 Jan. 20th. Lakenheath: Sedge Fen, 130 Jan. 9th. An individual with a damaged wing remained in the Waveney Valley, near Beccles, until July 21st. The customary autumn influx was noted in late October and November and included: eight flying west over Southwold, Oct. 20th; 16 Benacre, Oct. 21st; nine flying west over Lackford W.R., Oct. 27th; 20 flying in off the sea at Lowestoft, Oct. 27th; 14 over Woodbridge, Oct. 27th; 29 flying south at Landguard, Oct. 28th; 25 flying north over Lowestoft, Nov. 6th and five north off Landguard, Nov. 20th. Second winter period records were dominated by those from the Sedge Fen area of Lakenheath, where a mixed flock of about 1,000 swans, mainly Bewick's, fed on Sugar Beet tops. In East Suffolk, during this period, the largest herd was 44 at Minsmere on Dec. 27th. W H O O P E R SWAN Cygnus cygnus An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. One with an injured wing was present at Benacre throughout the year, thus tainting the other records from the site — did this bird feature in the two on Kessingland Levels on Jan. 1st and 2nd or the two at Kessingland Sluice on Feb. 11th, or in the six on Benacre Broad on Nov. 24th? The possibility that the injured bird simply wandered from the nearby wildlife park at Kessingland could not be ruled out. No doubts exist over the following records: Minsmere: two Feb. 21st and Mar. 13th.


S u d b o u r n e : Sudbourne Marshes, seven W Jan. 20th. F a l k e n h a m : King's Fleet area, two Jan. 9th to Feb. 23rd, with three on 3rd & 8th and one remaining to Mar. 21st. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, Nov. 9th.

Kedington: W Oct. 27th. Lackford: W.R., two Mar. 13th. KnettishaU: KnettishaU Heath, four WSW Oct. 28th.

BEAN GOOSE Anser fabalis An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Double figures were reached only once with 12 at King's Fleet on Jan. 16th. Two, which frequented the Eastbridge area from Jan. 1st to 24th, may have been the same birds which were seen at nearby Aldeburgh on Jan. 7th. Seven were reported from Sudbourne Marshes, Feb. 17th to 24th. Individuals at the R.Waveney, Homersfield, Mar. 3rd and Ixworth Thorpe, May 4th were probably of feral origin. For the second winter period, only one record was received — four at King's Fleet, Dec. 6th and 7th. PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Sorting out feral birds from genuine immigrants is a daunting task with this and many other species which are kept in captivity, but there were no such problems concerning the 100 flying over Lackford W.R. on Oct. 13th. This is the largest flock recorded in Suffolk since 1979, overshadowing even the 43 which flew south in severe weather over Worlingworth on Feb. 9th and the 23 at Minsmere on Sept. 27th. Elsewhere, the picture was blurred by hints of Houdini, but the series of records of twos and threes from Kessingland during January and February, culminating in seven on Mar. 8th, could possibly be given the benefit of the doubt. WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser albifrons A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Although there was no lack of sightings, the flocks involved were again thinly distributed. During the first winter period, Suffolk could manage only 85 as its largest reported group — at Minsmere Levels on Jan. 31st. Eastbridge and Kessingland Levels produced the bulk of the records in this period, with a peak of 31 at the former on Jan. 19th and 14 at the latter on Feb. 25th. Trimley Marshes weighed in with 26 on Jan. 29th to 31st. The only flock to reach three figures was 120 at Minsmere on Mar. 3rd and 9th and this probably included passage birds from further south. Immigration was noted from Oct. 3rd with one at Southwold, but numbers in the second winter period were again small, the largest flock reported being 65 flying east over Ellough, Dec. 8th. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser erythropus A fairly common escapee. The Alton Water individual was again present for much of the year and may have been the bird seen beside the R.Stour at Cattawade on Apr. 22nd. At Lackford W.R., four joined a moulting goose flock on July 2nd and remained to at least Sept. 8th. All five birds are regarded as being of feral origin and Suffolk still awaits its first genuine vagrant.


G R E Y L A G G O O S E Anser anser An abundant resident. Breeding records were incomplete, but included 40 young from eight broods at Gt Livermere. Counts from the main sites were as follows: Aide/Ore Minsmere North Warren Orwell Alton Water Lackford Livermere

J 2 125 47 35 136 72 75

F 5 140 40 25 57 74

M 10 65 6 35 90 4

A 12 60 13 g 70 6

M 5 20 15 7 10



A 8 150 21 50 177 73

350 19 51 202 g7

go 10 7 229




_ _




O 1 70 100 NIL 152 91 —



86 34 39 177


D 2 146 45 37 154 90 44

A far from complete set of records makes accurate interpretation impossible. Minsmere's peak of 350 in September equals the County record, set at the same site on Nov. 14th 1987. Lackford W . R . ' s peak of 91 on Oct. 13th is a new record for the site. Elsewhere, the highest numbers recorded were 100 at Southwold, Jan. 11th and 131 Oct. 3rd and at Walberswick, 83 Dec. 27th. S N O W G O O S E Anser caerulescens An uncommon escapee. A l l r e c o r d s , p r e s u m a b l y r e f e r r i n g to feral b i r d s , are s h o w n . L a c k f o r d : W . R . , 'blue-phase' noted in February and April and Dec. 7th, 'white-phase' Dec. 1st to 8th. F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, 'blue-phase' flying around area Oct. 9th.

CANADA G O O S E Branta canadensis An abundant resident. Counts from main sites were as follows: 1 F M A M Benacre North Warren Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford/Livermere

11 215 160 197 79 290 34 550

238 433 126 75 507 19 200

230 78 263 80 68 261 5

700 62 302 98 65 266 12

6 57 200

J 390 40 250

J 530 54 350






A 600 200 300 74 200 250 13 465

S —

236 609 21 250 7 620 1200

O —

300 200 2g6 4 6g2 123 803

N —

240 1053 156 87 35 370 500

D —

250 620 106 82 292 75 1000

Other notable counts included 225 in January between Cavendish and Long Melford, 276 Long Melford, Nov. 9th and 319 Holbrook, Nov. 23rd. The largest breeding concentration was again at Lackford W.R., where there was a total of 25 to 30 successful pairs. About 40 young were raised between Cavendish and Long Melford and 16 pairs bred on Havergate Island. Two colour-ringed birds were observed at Needham Market in June. One had been ringed at Redgrave Lake in July 1990 and the other had been ringed in the Lark Valley in 1989/1990. The former bird was also seen at Needham Market in October. B A R N A C L E G O O S E Branta leucopsis An uncommon winter visitor, passage migrant and an increasingly common feral resident. The perennial problem of the presence of feral birds makes interpreting records a nightmare. Optimism on this point is raised by a statement in the plethora of records to the effect that there appear to be only two regular feral birds left in the West Suffolk Canada Goose flock. If that was the case in East Suffolk, the task of assessing the origins of flocks would be far easier. As it is, the records are a hotch-potch of wild and feral birds and we can only guess at the solution. The case for most flocks being descendants from feral populations is reinforced by two nesting pairs on Havergate Island, which raised six goslings.


The largest flocks were noted as follows: Lound: 59 Dec. 26th & 27th. kessingland/Benacre: 49 in carrot field, Feb. 9th & 10th increasing to 55 23rd to 26th, 47 N Dec. 1st. Dunwich: ten making repeated attempts to fly out to sea during NE winds, Apr. 25th.

Sudbourne: 66 Feb. 17th. Boyton/HoUesley: 56 Feb. 16th & 17th. As for the rest, you pays your money and you takes your choice, but you will never know for sure unless you are fortunate enough to clinch it with ring observations. This is just what did happen at Havergate Island, where a bird, found long dead on Apr. 27th, had been ringed in The Netherlands, the favoured wintering area of the Russian population (Ogilvie 1978). This adds credence to the probable wild origins of the Boyton/Hollesley flock (see Ringing Report).

BRENT G O O S E Branta bernicla A common winter visitor and passage migrant. BoEE counts were as follows: Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 217 2057 309 1228

F 826 605 1150 948

M 37 117 109 1191









A 4 —


0 20 36 557

N 295 969 436 1095

D 39 2045 59 1836





Suffolk's largest-ever flock built up during December in the Falkenham/King's Fleet area of the lower Deben Marshes. Estimates varied and, of course, there was much intersite movement of individuals, but counts of between 1,850 and 5,000 were made during the month. Here it was possible to see three races of the species in the same flock. There was an unprecedented northerly passage off Landguard during the second half of May including 45 - 18th, 59 - 19th, 11 - 20th and 112 - 20th. Summer records included two at Levington in June and singles at Benacre, Minsmere and Trimley Marshes in July. Returning flocks held a good number of juveniles, up to 50% in some flocks, indicating a good breeding season on their tundra nesting grounds. The mass southward migration along the Suffolk coast was again spectacular and charted regularly at Landguard where the following totals were amassed: September: 1,364, peak 701 on 28th. October: 10,954, peak 3,839 on 12th. Also 1,054 20th, 1,494 26th and 2,133 29th. November: 1,216, peak 249 on 18th.

A bird with a plastic neck collar at Trimley Marshes, Jan. 13th to Mar. 17th proved to be a female ringed on Apr. 22nd 1987 at Rostock, Germany, which was also subsequently seen at Westpolder, The Netherlands on Apr. 12th 1991 (see Ringing Report). The species is only rarely encountered in West Suffolk, so 70 in flight over Barton Mills on Jan. 28th are especially noteworthy. The two which flew past an office window in central Ipswich on Mar. 8th give a new meaning to birds commuting between sites, but, on a less flippant note, it is outrageous that two were found illegally shot at King's Fleet in March. Pale-bellied individuals B.b.hrota were noted as follows: Walberswick: Feb. 16th. Felixstowe: King's Fleet, Dec. 8th to 1992; Landguard Pt, S Sept. 28th.

There was a single example of the North American and East Siberian race, the Black Brant B.b. nigricans: f^St0We:






- 8th to 1992 (MM et

1990 Breydon Water: Nov. 6th to 1991.



The 1990 record was listed in Suffolk Birds 1991 in error. Although there is no doubt that the bird was present at Breydon Water between the dates shown, there is no evidence to suggest it frequented the Suffolk side of the estuary. In conséquence, the record has been deleted from the County's files. EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiacus A fairly common resident. The species remains faithful to its traditional strongholds and, although it shows no sign, as y et, of pioneering many new sites, the population does seem to be increasing, particularly in West Suffolk. Five breeding pairs raised 32 young at four sites. Peak counts from the main sites were as follows: Somerley ton/Blundeston: 23 Oct. 15th. Lound: 20 May 12th. C a r l t o n M a r s h e s : eight Sept. 28th. A l d e b u r g h : Church Fm Marshes, two Jan. 6th to 18th and Apr. Ist.

Wickham Mkt: ten Sept. 15th.

Ixworth Thorpe: 16 Apr. 9th. L a c k f o r d : Lackford Wildfowl Res., three May 26th.

Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Pk, 11 June 16th. Records of up to four came from 12 other sites, but these almost certainly referred to birds wandering short distances from the above localities. One of a pair at Cavenham Heath, Mar. 31st, was an albino. RUDDY SHELDUCK Tadorna ferruginea An uncommon escapee. The following records are believed to relate to escapees or Wanderers from the feral European population. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, May 22nd and ç July 27th. I x w o r t h T h o r p e : ad. er Jan. 27th, single Sept. 14th. G r e a t L i v e r m e r e : Livermere Pk, Jan. 29th and June 16th.

SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A total of 291 flew south off Landguard during the cold speli between Feb. 3rd and 14th and, as in preyious winters, the species' susceptibility to freezing conditions was demonstrated by the number of tideline corpses on the estuaries. In total, no fe wer than 99 bodies were found, with nine on the Aide/Ore, 52 on the Deben and 38 on the Orwell. For the Deben and Orwell estuaries, this represents a respective loss of five and three per cent in the wintering populations (see also Grey Piover, Dunlin and Redshank). Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 689 1474 1097 791 1432

F 645 1190 775 1304 1589

M 609 1093 1168 1515 1401

A —

1058 938 907 914



276 47 45 184

64 213

0 166 —

171 171 1006

N 540 830 476 694 1660

D 551 1041 495 748 2469

A large pre-breeding concentration involving 144 birds was noted at Livermere Lake, Apr. 20th. Breeding took place adjacent to coast and estuaries, with inland breeding confirmed from: Ixworth Thorpe: juv. June 5th. G t / L t L i v e r m e r e : Livermere Pk, 4 0 juvs in five broods, June. L a c k f o r d : W.R., six broods. Survival rate poor due to bad weather at hatching, only nine young fledged.

Southerly, autumn passage off Landguard totalled 65 during September, 586 October and 68 November, with a peak day-count of 187 Oct. 20th.


MANDARIN A ix galerìculata An uncommon resident. A substantial increase in records perhaps indicates that this naturalised species is expanding its range from its Home Counties stronghold, although some certainly refer to escaped or released birds. Reports were received as follows: owestoft: Leathes Ham, er N o v . 4th and Dec. 25th. Bcnacre: Benacre Broad, pr Oct. 7th.

Minsmere: ç Apr. 7th. O r f o r d : Havergate Island, er Oct. 1 Ith to 13th. Freston: pr with three juvs, June 29th. pswich: Christchurch Pk, Wilderness Pond, three free-flying er er Mar. 18th, er in ecl. July 21st.

Long Melford: G.P., er Mar. 21st. Up to four in winter. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Pk, pr during May. Lackford: ç Jan. 19th and Mar. 28th.

WIGEON Anas penelope An abundant winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. The only sign of émigration during the February cold speli was of 59 flying south off Landguard on 6th. Blyth Minsmere N.Aldeburgh Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 1271 434 90 3843 1514 702 2007

F 945 313 114 3683 1132 624 2000


M 464 250 40 1320 434 336 873

200 21 256 63 125 105

O 87 390 6 500 554 1102 1528

N 572 1200 290 3293 835 967 1481

D 625 400 800 2925 1104 1150 3018

Away from the coast the highest counts were: 65 on field with Mallards at Higham, Feb. 24th; 85 at Micklemere, Ixworth, Feb. 2nd; 291 at Lakenheath Washes, Feb. 1 Ith and 64 at Livermere Park, Dee. 2nd. There was no proof of breeding this year, although birds were seen at four coastal sites between late May and early July, with two males and three females at one site. During autumn passage, Landguard logged totals of 1,777 south during September, 1,535 October and 127 November. A total of 913 flew south off Southwold, Oct. lOth and 1,200 south off Minsmere, Nov. 18th. G ADWALL Anas streperà A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. J Benacre Minsmere Aide/Ore North Warren Orwell Alton Water Lackford Ixworth Thorpe

55 28 17 18 35 315 100



48 12 9 8 28 248 53





66 15 21 5 38 50 30



65 20 13 2 10


66 4 28 28 2 98

77 55 82 68 10 162


N 10 116 29 40 49 28 92 80

D 23 67 30 29 62 12 74 69

The majority of birds counted on the Orwell Estuary were on Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin. Other notable counts included 44 at Southwold, Mar. 22nd and 138 at Minsmere, June 23rd. The principal breeding season records came from Walberswick (c30 pairs), Minsmere (30+ pairs, seven broods seen), North Warren (ten pairs, broods of eight and ten seen). Lackford W.R. (13 pairs) and Ixworth Thorpe (six pairs). Lackford W.R. has now been recognised as a site of international importance for its wintering population of this species.


TEAL Anas crecca An abundant winter visitor and passage migrant and scarce resident. J 360 148 500 145 2515 199 1650 571 320 40

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

F —

149 110 262 1633 755 391 166 600 88

M 25 218 200 118 551 49 182 380 400 20

S — —

350 12 660 29 243 64 124 47

O 83 12 400 100 243 55 337 512 205 191

N 350 911 1500 400 855 235 657 390 160 327

D 275 501 349 443 2001 301 295 627 143 122

Other counts of interest were 1,640 on Trimley Marshes, Jan. 9th, 500 on the decoy pond at Falkenham, Jan. 16th, 140 Thorpeness Meare, Dec. 12th and 100 Ixworth Thorpe, Dec. 28th. The only records of breeding were from Walberswick (cl5 pairs), Minsmere (only one brood seen) and Lackford (six juveniles from two broods). Southward, autumn passage off Landguard consisted of 193 during August, 292 September, 477 October and 50 November with a peak day-count of 191 south, Oct. 20th. Southwold logged 105 south, Aug. 22nd and 102 flew south off Bawdsey, Oct. 20th. A drake of the North American race A.c. carolinensis, colloquially known as the Greenwinged Teal, was at Lackford W.R. on Apr. 21st (MB, DRM et al). This race has now been recorded in Suffolk on ten occasions. MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This widespread resident was recorded nesting between February, with a female with two young ducklings on 13th at Bures St Mary and November, with a brood of 11 newly hatched ducklings at Leathes Ham, Lowestoft, on 21st. At Minsmere, 23 females were seen with young and at Lackford, where there were 19 breeding pairs, many early ducklings perished due to poor weather. Benacre Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore North Warren Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

J 100 101 297 1454 120 136 566 1216 441 500

F —

167 336 1354 73 219 455 699 364 740







72 63 325 102 125 174 289 190 200

46 231 63 109 % 135 93

200 150 74

88 211 85 48 318 148 276 355

72 107 100 113 69 243 513 351 500

121 158 536 75 105 543 725 380 308

115 25 262 350

D 365 139 342 1032 118 265 415 938 351 421

Elsewhere, a total of 200 was on the lake at Great Livermere, Apr. 27th and c500 were on Lake Lothing/Oulton Broad from September to December. PINTAIL Anas acuta A common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Benacre Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 5 2 130 131 425 239

F 7 12 98 148 329 320

M —

15 33 37 118 59

S 7 16 15 NIL 26 38







9 47 NIL 224 249

50 110 2 286 242

8 48 52 392 289

Away from the above sites the only count to exceed ten was of 20 at Alton Water, Oct. 13th.


Inland records came from Livermere Park — male Jan. 29th and two Nov. 10th and Lackford W.R. — up to five were seen in both winter periods and a male July 4th. There were also records of one or two birds at three coastal sites in May and June, but no evidence of nesting. A total of 236 flew south off Southwold on Oct. 10th, followed by 37 the next day, while Landguard logged southerly movements between Sept. 14th and Nov. 3rd involving 237 birds with a peak of 128 Oct. 10th. Also, 50 flew south off Minsmere, Nov. 18th. GARGANEY Anas querquedula An uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. A male was on Benacre Pits and two males and a female were in the Falkenham Creek area of the R.Deben, Mar. 16th, while a pair arrived on Bramford Water Park Mar. 29th and stayed until Apr. 11th. Thereafter, groups of 1-4 were recorded from only five coastal sites during the spring and summer with a single inland record of a pair at Lackford, June 9th. A juvenile, at Minsmere, between Aug. 4th and 17th may have been reared locally and the only other autumn records involved singles at North Warren, Aug. 4th and Minsmere, Aug. 26th. SHOVELER Anas clypeata A common winter visitor and passage migrant and uncommon resident. The only indication of breeding came from Walberswick (cl5 pairs), Minsmere (c20 pairs, one brood seen), North Warren (three pairs, no young seen), Trimley Marshes (one pair) and Lackford W.R. (one pair, no young seen). Blyth Minsmere North Warren Aide/Ore Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

J 18 80 60 62 40 16 3 107

F NIL 36 20 53 68 48 NIL 137

M 20 71 5 85 39 5 NIL 50



70 12 50 4 2 1 2

4 20 1 NIL 5 70

S —

58 21 4 8 NIL NIL 203

O NIL 46 48 40 19 12 NIL 209

N 10 60 43 110 15 NIL NIL 155

D 12 93 100 73 41 8 NIL 120

Elsewhere, the only counts to exceed ten were from: Southwold: 44 Mar. 17th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness Meare, 40 Dec. 8th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington St Res., 15 Nov. 12th, 20 Nov. 26th and 37 Dec. 21st.

A light autumn passage was detected at Landguard with 13 south in August, 25 in September and 14 in October. RED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta rufina A scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Some of the following records may refer to escapees: Benacre: four Apr. 12th. Orwell: Ipswich Docks/Wherstead Strand, Ç and two er cr Feb. 10th to 13th, cr Nov. 16th to 18th.

Alton Water: 9 Jan. 1st to Apr. 7th, joined by imm. cr Mar. 17th to 29th. Lackford: W . R . , imm. cr Feb. 23rd & 24th, ç July 23th & 24th, Nov. 30th and imm. cr N o v . 30th/Dec. 1st.

POCHARD Aythya ferina A common winter visitor and passage migrant and scarce resident. Birds were seen at several sites during the summer, but the only evidence of breeding came from Minsmere, where a female appeared with seven ducklings on Island Mere, June 11th and at another coastal site three females nested of which two were successful.


J 1 46 61 65 30 68 220

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


M 1 16 30 43 420

14 50 222 230 96 189





2 1



7 21 1 3




9 16





D 17 16 2 50 104 45 99

53 50 60 1%

The table shows an increase in records in February which corresponds with the onset of severe weather. Additional February records included 50 in the inner-harbour at Lowestoft, 11th to 14th, 120 Lake Lothing, Lowestoft, 16th and 14 Ipswich Wet Dock, 7th/8th. On 17th, 127 were found during the BoEE count on the R.Stour, where Pochard are usually scarce. The only other counts of 50 or more were: 61 at the Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, Nov. 23rd; 50 at Wilford Bridge gravel pit, Melton, Jan. 4th & 5th and 50 at Trimley Marshes, Jan. 12th and 74 there Feb. 2nd. A bird considered to be a male Pochard x Ferruginous Duck hybrid was at Fox's Marina, Wherstead, Feb. 16th to 22nd.

FERRUGINOUS DUCK Aythya nyroca A rare winter visitor and passage migrant. East Bergholt: Fiatford, er July 3rd (CS, SS). The species is now much scarcer than during its heyday in the early 1980s, when it was recorded annually. The record is the first for Suffolk since 1987. Additionally, the feral female from 1990 was present on the R.Stour, near Long Melford, until at least Nov. 9th.

TUFTED DUCK Aythya fitligula A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A total of 69 broods of young seen, which undoubtedly understates the true picture. A total of 29 flew south off Easton Bavents, Oct. 28th and Landguard reported just 34 south during October. Benacre Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Thorington St. Lackford

J 54 116 23 78 385 92 172

F 42 52 38 373 650 69 200

M —

78 50 102 150 —


A 8 88 15 83 56 31 125

A —

2 —

180 67







19 28 43 48

1 6 45 75

4 18 47 200 155 209



D 37 42 37 105 240 53 171

This species was also affected by the severe cold spell in February, with the month's total being about double that of the recent mild winters. In addition, 60 were in the inner harbour at Lowestoft, 11th, 80 Lake Lothing, Lowestoft, 16th, 80 Wilford Bridge gravel pits, 6th, 80 Ipswich Wet Dock/Wherstead Strand, 9th and 299 on the R.Stour BoEE count, 17th. The only other counts of over 100 were in November: 116 Barham Pits, 2nd and 101 Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, 23rd. Birds showing hybrid characteristics of this species with Pochard were recorded from: L o w e s t o f t : Leathes Ham, cr May 4th and Dec. 23rd. L o w e s t o f t : Oulton Broad, N o v . 24th and Dec. 8th.

Alton Water: cr May 14th.


SCAUP Aythya mania A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. J Lowestoft Benacre Orwell Alton Water

1 2 —

F 17 3 131 10

M —

2 9 2

O 6 1 —


N —

5 1

D —

1 2 —

There was an influx during the February cold spell, especially to the upper reaches of the R.Orwell. Birds were concentrated between Ipswich Wet Dock (max. 29 on 16th) and Freston, with the highest count of 131 occurring at Fox's Marina, Wherstead, on 22nd. Landguard logged 71 south, Feb. 11th and, well inland, five males and two females were at Lackford W . R . , Feb. 8th. Breydon Water held 22 during February, nine were at Brantham, on the R.Stour, Feb. 16th and seven on the Blyth, Feb. 17th. Ones and twos were noted at nine other coastal sites. Several lingered into May including a pair at Bramford Water Park until 6th and a female oversummered at Minsmere, being present from June 8th to July 7th. Autumn passage commenced with one at Breydon Water, July 21st followed by two Aug. 10th; one was at Benacre, Aug. 10th and 11th, and another at Minsmere, Aug. 24th. Scarcer during the second winter period with records of 1-6 at nine coastal sites and a female at Lackford W.R., Nov. 13th to 16th.

EIDER Somateria moltissima A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. As usual with this species, all records came from salt-water areas. The following table shows the accumulated, monthly sightings from each of the selected points. Most records refer to movements, although some relate to feeding flocks. J Lowestoft Benacre/Covehithe Southwold Minsmere Aldeburgh Orwell Landguard






28 2 1 20

21 2 10 63







S 11 1 10 3 4 —


O 1 3 2 1 7 —


N 90 108 405 151 21 1 7

D 9 16 —

1 —

2 —

In addition, records of 1-6 came from five other coastal sites and nine flew east out to sea off Felixstowe, Feb. 18th. The November count of 405 for Southwold was a single day count of birds flying north, which included one flock of 72. This is easily the record one-day count for Suffolk more than doubling the previous highest count, which was 161 north off Lowestoft/Kessingland on Nov. 21st, 1988. There were several summer records of non-breeding birds. Up to five were off Lowestoft in June and July; a female was off Minsmere, June 22nd to July 5th; a male and two females were on Havergate Island, June 22nd; an immature male at Easton Bavents, July 13th, and another off Landguard, July 18th.

LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. An exceptional year for this attractive little seaduck. In the first winter period records came from: Benacre: ç Jan. 1st to Apr. 23rd and or Mar. 17th. O r w e l l : Ipswich Docks/Woolverstone, many records of up to 13 throughout January and February, 12 in early March and the last, three Apr. 14th; Wet Dock, 4-6 regularly January/February and eight, Feb. 5th.


Alton Water: Mar. 15th. H o l b r o o k : Holbrook Gardens, Mar. 24th.

F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, two S Feb. 9th, two (one N & one S) Feb. 14th and or (f.s.p) N May 8th.

The flock of 13 on the Orwell constitutes a record count for the County. Second winter period records were received as follows: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, on sea Nov. 19th. Benacre: offshore, N Nov. 5th and S Nov. 10th. S o u t h w o l d : offshore, S Oct. 18th and 20th, two N N o v . 10th, three N N o v . 20th and N Dec. 10th. M i n s m e r e : offshore, N Nov. 20th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, offshore, two on sea and one S Oct. 20th. O r f o r d : Havergate Island, Oct. 11th, 12th, 13th, 22nd, 26th, 28th and N o v . 10th. F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, eight S October, incl. four on 30th, three N Oct. 26th and S Nov. 7th. O r w e l l : Ipswich Docks/Woolverstone, up to five from Nov. 8th to 24th.

COMMON SCOTER Melanina nigra A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Coast:

J 82

F 200

M 162

A 20

M 100

J 70


J 102


S 26

O 742

N 100

D 200

The above figures are the maximum daily counts from any point on the Suffolk coast. A total of 1,271 flew south off Landguard during October and this included 216 20th, 157 21st and 742 22nd. Inland, at Lackford W.R., two males were noted July 27th and 28th, one remaining until 30th. VELVET SCOTER Melanina fusca An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. There were no records in the first winter period, but at Landguard an immature flew past on Apr. 8th and two flew north on May 9th. Second winter period records were received as follows: Corton: Oct. 21st. L o w e s t o f t : Ness Pt, three N Oct. 21st. B e n a c r e / C o v e h i t h e : nine N Oct. 22nd, two N o v . 10th, Nov. 23rd, three N Dec. 22nd, two Dec. 23rd, three N D e c . 28th. S o u t h w o l d : two S Oct. 5th, ten Oct. 20th, Nov. 5th, 11 N , nine S N o v . 20th.


P l ä t e 5 T Eiders at Minsmere Sluice. This species is increasingly oversummering the Suffolk coast.

Plate 6: A well-watched pair of Smew near the centre of Ipswich in February 1991.

g Marl'; i S n i F ™



ÂŤ a t e 9: S U m m e r p l u m a g e Minsmere.

Vlinsmere: four Oct. 21st, t w o S Oct. 26th, 18 N o v . 20th, D e c . 5th, t w o D e c . 28th. A l d r i n g h a m c u m T h o r p e : Thorpeness, offshore, two Oct. 30th and er N N o v . 2 2 n d . Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, S Oct. 21st, 5 6 S (one flock) Oct. 2 2 n d , single S Oct. 29th, four S N o v . 21st, single o n sea N o v . 22nd & 23rd and N D e c . 20th.

The total of 56 flying south off Landguard, Oct. 22nd, is a record movement for the County and coincided with a heavy movement of Common Scoters. The County's largest gathering was a flock of 102 birds off Gorleston, Nov. 9th 1972. GOLDENEYE Bucephala clangula A common winter visitor and passage migrant. J Benacre Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

6 86 94 69 13 12

F 11 32 108 110 201 10 —

M 3 2 NIL 17 47 NIL 17


0 6 —


N 4 NIL NIL 71 19 8 22

D 4 28 40 82 103 5 9

The February total was well above normal, due to an influx of birds during the cold spell. Landguard logged a movement involving 11 birds, 10th and seven on 11th and the only other count to exceed ten during the year was 20 on Lake Lothing/Oulton Broad, 10th. A lingering female frequented Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, May 19th and thereafter none was seen until one flew south off Landguard, Oct. 16th. Autumn movements included 17 south and 12 north off Southwold, Oct. 20th and 41 south off Landguard during October (including 19 on 20th) and nine in November. SMEW Mergus albellus An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. There was a cold-weather influx involving approximately 80 birds in February, including 26 which flew past Landguard during the period 10th to 12th. The records began with a male at Benacre Broad on 3rd and, as the cold weather passed, the birds dispersed almost as quickly with none seen after 28th. Breydon Water: eight 2nd. Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, t w o 9 9 / i m m . 10th & 11th. Benacre: cr 3rd to 11th and 1-5 9 9 / i m m s 9th to 20th. Blythburgh: R. Blyth, 9 / i m m . 16th. W e y b r e a d : G . P . , eight 9 9 / i m m s 9th to 15th and cr 19th.

Minsmere: 9 /imm. 8th to 10th and pr 24th. S u d b o u r n e : R . A l d e , t w o cr cr & 9 / i m m . 17th. Hollesley: Shingle Street, 9 / i m m . 6th. M a r t l e s h a m : Martlesham Creek, 9 / i m m . 17th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 15 (three cr cr, 12 9 9 and incl. flock o f eight) S 10th, eight (four a a , four 9 9 ) S 11th and three ( c t and two 9 9 ) up river 12th. Alton W a t e r : up to five 9 9 / i m m s and t w o cr cr from 10th to 28th. Orwell: Ipswich D o c k s / S h o t l e y , m a n y sightings o f 1-5, 8th to 28th; Wherstead Strand, seven 12th; West End Rd/Stoke Bridge, Ipswich, pr 8th to 17th. B r a m f o r d : S u f f o l k Water Pk, t w o 9 9 / i m m s 16th to 20th with three 22nd & 23rd. L a c k f o r d : W . R . , four crcr

& 9 23rd to 28th.

In the second winter period there were just two records: Minsmere: t w o crcr N D e c . 7th. Stour Estuary: 9/imm. Nov. 10th. RED-BREASTED M E R G A N S E R Mergus senator A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant.


J NIL 3 2 8 12 2

Benacre Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water

F 4 1 2 26 2 2

M 2 1 NIL 11 44 1

O 7 —


N 2 I 1 7 12 NIL

D 1 2 1 5 31 NIL

The R.Orwell is clearly a favoured water during severe weather and, while numbers increased there during the February cold spell, the Stour was almost deserted. Up to 18 birds frequented the Ipswich Wet Dock and off Landguard, southerly movements included a single south, 1st and 15 on six dates between 6th and 22nd with a maximum of five on 14th. During the first winter period, there were records of 1-3 from six other coastal sites and occasional records of 1-2 during the spring and summer. Landguard logged five south Sept. 29th, 38 in October (including 12 on 26th) and six in November, while off Southwold 15 flew north, Oct. 20th and six south, Oct. 29th. There were further records of 1-4 from six more coastal sites during the second winter period. GOOSANDER Mergus


A fairly c o m m o n w i n t e r v i s i t o r and p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . Benacre Orwell Alton Water Bramford (Suff. Wat. Pk) Lackford

J — 1 2 2 14

F -

M — 1

4 4 26

1 1 12

N 2 — — 4

D 1 1 — — 12

Other records in the first half of the year came from: Southwold: 9 /imm. N May 5th. M i n s m e r e : offshore, seven Feb. 10th, three Mar. 2nd, 9 imm. Apr. 17th, pr May 6th. M a r t l e s h a m : Martlesham Creek, pr Feb. 10th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, eight S Feb. 10th, two S 11th and two N 13th.

Stour Estuary: three Feb. 17th. After the two at Minsmere, May 6th, there were no more records until two at Lackford, Oct. 25th. Records for the second winter period were: Lowestoft: Lake Lothing/Oulton Broad, ç /imm. Nov. 10th & 23rd to 26th; Ness Pt, cr S Oct. 27th.

Southwold: ç /imm. S Nov. 10th. Boyton: pr Nov. 16th. N e e d h a m M k t : Station Lake, 9 / i m m . Nov. 24th. R e d g r a v e : Redgrave Lake, three N o v . 10th. L a c k f o r d : W.R , pr Oct. 25th, single Nov. 13th, four Nov. 20th increasing to 12 D e c . 3rd and then decreasing to six by the N e w Year.



A n u n c o m m o n resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. D u r i n g F e b r u a r y ' s c o l d spell t h e s p e c i e s w a s r e p o r t e d a s f o l l o w s :

Benacre: 9 10th. W o o d b r i d g e : Kyson Pt, R.Deben, 10th. I p s w i c h / W h e r s t e a d : Wet D o c k / F o x ' s Marina, er 11th & 12th.

Alton Water: cr 10th. O t h e r r e c o r d s s h o w e d a c o n t i n u e d spread o f this N o r t h A m e r i c a n stifftail a n d c a m e f r o m : L o w e s t o f t : Oulton Broad, 9 Dec. 15th to 18th.

Wey bread: G.P., 9 Dec. 12 th to 18th. R e d g r a v e : four cr cr May 29th. W a l b e r s w i c k : Westwood Marsh, crMay 13th & 18th, again June 5th and five 7th. A l d r i n g h a m c u m Thorpe: Thorpeness Meare, pr Aug. 24th.


Melton: Wilford Bridge G.P./Riverside, imm. cr Jan. 1st to 16th.

Waldringfield: R.Deben, Jan. 31st. ;'x worth Thorpe: 1-3 Between Mar. 29th and July 6th. Gt/Lt Livermere: up to four cr cr and two รง Q regularly recorded from Apr. 1st to May 26th. i.ackford: W . R . , 1-2 recorded in every month except March, peak count five Oct. 30th.

No proof of breeding was obtained. HONEY BUZZARD Pernis


A rare p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . T w o typical e a r l y a u t u m n r e c o r d s : i-owestoft: Sparrow's Nest Gardens, overhead, drifting S, Sept. 2nd (JHG). ienacre: two offshore arrivals then S Aug. 26th (RW).

In addition to the two off Benacre, the named observer also recorded a Marsh Harrier and two Short-eared Owls arriving from offshore. All in a day's seawatching! RED KITE Milvus milvus A scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Another excellent year for this splendid raptor with records involving up to five individuals as follows: Minsmere: Mar. 21st and possibly the same there Apr. 1st & 2nd. Also at Middleton and Eastbridge on Apr. 1st (AEC, NG, IR).

Felixstowe: Old Felixstowe, SW Jan. 14th (DS).

Ixworth Thorpe/Little Welnetham: Apr. 5th & 6th (WHP, JHW). Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, June 18th & 19th (CG, A H , TPK, MW).

Observers are requested to look for wing-tags, if fortunate enough to obtain a sighting of a Red Kite, which should determine the origin of the bird. MARSH H A R R I E R Circus aeruginosa A fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. The continued increase is now making the task of monitoring all nests impossible. All reported nests were still in reedbeds, but some adults were hunting some distance from traditional habitats and it may be that some birds are now using crops. In Norfolk, eighteen nests were located in crops in 1991 (Seago 1991). If Oilseed Rape is used, then it is essential that the nest is located. When at its tallest, the crop falls onto the nest making it difficult for adults to locate their young. It is then necessary to cut the crop away from the nest to ensure the survival of the juveniles. Remember that Marsh Harriers are protected under 'Schedule One' of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and a permit, issued by English Nature, is required if an approach to the nest is thought necessary. Reports were received from 21 nests which fledged a total of 59 young, but there could have been at least fifteen other nests from which data were not received. Passage birds, a w a y f r o m normal breeding haunts, w e r e reported as f o l l o w s : Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, N Aug. 20th.

Barton Mills: a Apr. 14th. Boxford: รง NW May 24th. Haverhill: cr May 27th. Lackford: W. R . , sub-ad. Mar. 25th, Aug. 14th and Sept. 18th.

Wattisfield: sub-ad. cr May 15th. W i n t e r i n g b i r d s h a v e v e r y m u c h b e e n a f e a t u r e o f t h e last d e c a d e , m o s t r e f e r r i n g t o females. T h e f o l l o w i n g w e r e reported:

Kessingland: Feb. 24th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, 9 Dec. 25th.


Walberswick: Westwood Marsh, imm. 9 Jan. 1st to 4th, three Jan. 6th to 12th, two until Feb. 17th and two 9 9 Dec. 28th.

Minsmere: two 9 9 Jan. 6th to Feb. 2nd, but four Jan. 14th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 9 Feb. 22nd.

Orfordness: Feb. 17th. Falkenham: two Jan. 19th. HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. A total of 20 individuals was located at six roost sites between January and late March. Lingering birds were present in May at Benacre, 8th and 15th and Minsmere, 1st to 23rd. The first autumn arrival was a ring-tail at Risby, Sept. 23rd to 30th and there were seven October records. A male was noted offshore at Benacre, struggling south low over the waves, being pursued by two Herring Gulls on Nov. 2nd. By the year's end, 25 birds were roosting at seven sites. Typically, the majority of the 216 records received were from the coastal belt and Breckland areas with the only exceptions being at Cratfield, Feb. 10th, Weybread, Jan. 27th and Stradishall Airfield, Nov. 2nd and 3rd and again in December. Interesting records are of males visiting a back garden feeding station at Theberton, Mar. 24th and Nov. 6th. MONTAGU'S HARRIER Circus pygargus A scarce passage migrant. Only two acceptable records of this graceful raptor and both on typical dates: Blythburgh: a May 31st (CF). Minsmere: 9 May 7th (DRN).

GOSHAWK Accipiter gentilis An uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Birds showing signs of breeding behaviour were noted at six widely spread sites. A probable migrant was found at Trimley Marshes, Aug. 21st and what was assumed to have been an immigrant was in the dunes at Southwold, Sept. 13th. An obvious migrant was observed flying in from the sea at Corton, Oct. 21st. One fortunate observer had the unforgettable experience of watching a female take a Lapwing at Lackford W.R., Dec. 7th. SPARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The continued increase and spread of this species is reflected in the 511 records received, more than for any other species. A record number of 86 territories was reported, but breeding was confirmed at only seven. Prey items included Golden Plover, Grey Partridge, Moorhen, Kingfisher, Fieldfare, Starling, House Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird and Collared Dove. A Sparrowhawk was picked up injured at Crowfield after flying into a greenhouse, Feb. 5th, but died despite receiving treatment. Evidence of migrants arriving on the coast came mostly from Landguard as follows: Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, singles on nine dates from Mar. 21st to May 9th and autumn passage involved 27 birds on 2 0 dates Aug. 28th to N o v . 23rd with a max. of four Sept. 27th.

One trapped at Landguard on Sept. 1st had been ringed as a pullus in Denmark on July 4th (see Ringing Report). COMMON BUZZARD Buteo buteo A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. At least one bird spent most of the year at one site, but breeding was not suspected.


All other records are listed by site below: Oulton: Oulton Marshes, May 5th. Kessingland/Benacre: Mar. 24th, three Apr. 27th and singles Sept. 15th and Oct. 5th.

Mutford: Feb. 24th. Southwold: Town Marshes, Sept. 9th to 25th. Walberswick: Dec. 27th. Minsmere: Feb. 21st, five dates in March, three dates in April, Aug. 26th, Sept. 20th, Oct. 6th & 14th.

Great/Little Glemham: Dec. 10th. Gedgrave: Dec. 1st. Butley: Butley Mills, Ian. 20th. Tunstall/Eyke: Tunstall/Rendlesham Forest, Mar. 9th & 21st. Otley: Oct. 27th.

Playford: Sept. 9th. Felixstowe: Oct. 21st. Alton Water: Sept. 12th. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, four together at end of October.

King's Forest: Nov. 8th. Lackford/West Stow: W . R . / C . P . , May 6th & 8th and June 16th & 22nd. Mildenhall: Mildenhall Woods, N o v . 1st & 12th.

ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD Buteo lagopus An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. P o s s i b l y s i x i n d i v i d u a l s in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d w e r e r e c o r d e d w i t h t w o a p p a r e n t l y

returning to the same area late in the year: Benacre: Apr. 13th and S Oct. 5th. Southwold: offshore arrival Oct. 18th.

Wangford (East): Oct. 27th. Dunwich: Shore Pools, Feb. 20th. Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, Mar. 30th. Butley/Wantisden: Butley River/Staverton, Jan. 5th & 6th, two Jan. 12th to 21st, single Jan. 26th, Mar. 23rd & 24th and Apr. 14th, Nov. 9th, two Nov. 16th to 20th then single until Dec. 19th. Elveden: Berner's Heath, Dec. 28th. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, Dec. 27th.

OSPREY Pandion haliaetus A fairly common passage migrant. As numbers increase in northern breeding grounds, it is perhaps inevitable that more passage birds will be noted. Another good year as follows: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, N May 3rd. Walberswick: Westwood Marsh, N May 3rd (see Lowestoft). Minsmere: May 3rd (as above), May 8th, May 25th and N July 13th. Aldringham c u m T h o r p e : Thorpeness Meare, N May 15th and another catching fish June 29th.

Aldeburgh: N Apr. 27th. Iken: Apr. 28th. Bromeswell: Apr. 26th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, offshore arrival then N July 11th and another S Sept. 25th. Trimley St M a r t i n : Loompit Lake, July 13th (see Landguard).

Alton Water/Holbrook: Apr. 27th and May 27th. Purdis Farm: Warren Heath, Apr. 27th (see Aldeburgh and Iken).

SwiUand: June 14th. Gipping Valley: Coddenham/Baylham/Barham, June 1st to 14th.

Brandon: Mayday Fm, May 8th. Lackford: Wildfowl Reserve, imm. (*'virtually daily") May 8th to June 20th, two June 1st and again July 2nd, 3rd & 14th and another Sept. 15th. Great Livermere: Livermere Pk, June 16th (probably Lackford bird).

Tuddenham St Mary: May 4th (see Lackford). Moulton: Aug. 15th.


K E S T R E L Falco tinnunculus An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Reports were received from 45 areas in the breeding season. Of these four pairs fledged 14 young. Evidence of immigration was recorded at Landguard, where birds were noted arriving from offshore or flying south as follows: July 31st; 20 individuals on 12 dates from Sept. 7th to Nov. 11th with a max. of five Oct. 19th. MERLIN Falco columbarius A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. All records are listed as follows: Lowestoft: May 4th. Benacre: Feb. 10th, cr Apr. 27th, Oct. 5th, pr Oct. 8th and รง

Oct. 26th.

Easton Bavents: Oct. 25th. W a l b e r s w i c k : Westwood Marsh, Feb. 17th.

Minsmere: 9 Jan. 12th & 20th, cr Feb. 11th to 17th, 9 Apr. 12th, cr Oct. 17th & 25th, 9 Nov. 18th, Dec. 6th & 7th and o- Dec. 28th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Oct. 13th & 25th and again in December. A i d e / O r e : Snape Warren, Jan. 20th; Sudbourne Marshes, cr intermittently from Jan. 20th to Feb. 17th, 9 Mar. 9th & 31st, imm. 9 Dec. 5th; Havergate Is., May 28th; Gedgrave, Jan. 15th; Boyton Marshes, Jan. 1st & 4th and N o v . 16th.

Rendlesham: RAF Bentwaters, Oct. 15th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, S Sept. 29th, offshore arrival Oct. 20th, two S Oct. 29th, singles S Nov. 5th & 16th. Trimley St M a r y : Trimley Marshes/Fagbury Flats, Feb. 2nd, Mar. 9th, Oct. 8th & 16th, Nov. 24th, Dec. 5th, 7th & 31st

Levington: Feb. 2nd. Alton Water: 9 Apr. 3rd. Lackford: W.R., Oct. 20th and Dec. 3rd. King's Forest: Jan. 18th. Elveden: Nov. 10th & 14th. The Havergate Island record was particularly late. HOBBY Falco subbuteo A fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. No concentrated effort was made to locate breeding pairs, but a minimum of 15 territories were occupied (13 in 1990), including two pairs which fledged two young each. The recent upsurge in summer records suggests that the colonisation of the County continues. This conforms to the national trend which shows the breeding range is expanding eastwards into Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire (Marchant et al 1990). In 1991, an increase of 20% on 1990's figures was noted in Essex (cf. Essex Bird Report 1991). Elsewhere in Europe, however, there has been a marked decline over the last three or four decades, in France, Denmark, Finland and Hungary, contrasting with apparent stability in Austria and increases in the Netherlands and the former U.S.S.R. (Cramp & Simmons 1979). At Benacre Broad, one was seen to catch a Dunlin on Sept. 7th. The first record for spring was reported from Benacre on Apr. 12th and the last of the autumn was again at Benacre on Oct. 8th.




An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e w e l c o m e increase o f this majestic s p e c i e s c o n t i n u e s w i t h a total o f 7 0 records r e c e i v e d , w h i c h refer t o n o m o r e than t e n i n d i v i d u a l s . A l l are l i s t e d b e l o w : Beccles: Jan. 10th. Benacre: May 16th & 31st. Southwold: juv. ç Oct. 10th. Walberswick: May 16th. Minsmere: May 15th to 17th and 25th, July 10th (when it took a Lapwing chick from The Scrape) and Nov. 3rd. Aldeburgh: 9 high over Apr. 23rd. Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, Jan. 1st to 4th and Mar. 17th. Orford: Havergate Is., two May 11th & 13th. Gedgrave: Jan. 5th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, imm. Sept. 22nd. Felixstowe: Sept. 8th. Ipswich & Orwell Estuary:, a single roosted regularly on Cliff Quay Power Station chimneys and electricity pylons from Jan. 4th until Mar. 21st. It, or another, was noted again from Sept, 14th and then two D e c . 6th to the end of the year. Stour Estuary: Feb. 12th & 17th and Nov. 10th. Ixworth: Nov. 23rd. Risby area: imm. several dates between Jan. 1st to June 30th (who reported this ?? — Ed).

The Orwell birds accounted for many records on the estuary down as far as Trimley Marshes. They entertained hundreds of birdwatchers and were seen to capture waders and feral pigeons and sometimes to perch on top of the columns supporting the Orwell Bridge. The last Peregrine eyrie was in the steeple of Corton Church, being used regularly U P to the 1830s. Ticehurst (1932) reports that the nestlings were "always taken and used for hawking by Downes, who then lived at Gunton, and the parish clerk was paid a retaining fee for the preservation of the birds. " The return to Suffolk as a breeding species would be a wonderful event.


RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Alectoris rufa An abundant resident. Most birds reported were described as hybrids with Chukar/1. Chukar and it now seems doubtful whether we should report under this species name in future. Observers are requested to study 'Red-leg' coveys in an attempt to determine the current status of this species in Suffolk. For a guide to separating hybrids from pure birds see Crew 1991. An interesting extract from the Landguard log reads as follows: "a warden's tasks are many fold and Nigel lent a hand to a family of chicks whose mother was expecting them to make a 12 foot drop off the wall by the kitchen. Four were carried down but three jumped, only two surviving the fall. " GREY PARTRIDGE Perdix perdix A fairly common resident. A slight increase on 1990 with records received from 42 localities. The nominate British race P.p.perdix is now considered extinct in its pure form. The current resident population is said to contain intraspecific hybrids as a result of introductions (B.O.U. 1991). QUAIL Coturnix coturnix A scarce summer visitor and passage migrant.. Reported from six localities as follows: Carlton Colville: calling July Ist (HV). Walberswick: Aug. 8th (DJP). A l d e b u r g h : Aug. 26th (JAD). N a c t o n : in garden, Oct. 15th (RCB).

Wherstead: two ero- July 7th to 19th (WJB, EWP). Lakenheath: two June 30th (CPSR). B r a n d o n : Palmer's Heath, calling June 17th (CG).

By its behaviour and location, the Nacton individual was thought to be an escapee rather than a genuine migrant. Quails are increasingly being kept in captivity for egg production, so observers should be wary of particularly tame individuals. Observers should also be aware of its close relative the Japanese Quail C.japonica, also kept in captivity, which resembles C.coturnix but shows more chestnut on the head and has a less musical call. PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus An abundant resident. A male was noted at Landguard, Nov. 4th, where it is very much a rarity. GOLDEN PHEASANT Chrysolophus pictus A scarce resident. Reported from Brandon Country Park, Elveden, Mildenhall, King's Forest, Mayday Farm, Santon Downham, West Stow and Wordwell. Up to 15 were located at Mayday Fm, Brandon, Apr. 8th. LADY AMHERST'S PHEASANT Chrysolophus amherstiae A rare resident. The Herringswell male was noted on Jan. 6th, Feb. 4th and Apr. 1st. This lone bird has now been reported intermittently at Herringswell since 1976 and another was at West Stow in 1990. WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus A fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Repotted from 30 localities, but the only evidence of breeding came from Lackford (two


ijccessful pairs) and Minsmere (11 territories, but only one brood noted). This species often shows better when the weather is at its worst. Lackford recorded peak of nine during February's cold speli and included one on the reserve's bird table! At the year's end there were at least seven at the North Warren RSPB reserve, Aldeburgh. One sought refuge in a field drainage pipe when disturbed on Shotley Marshes, Dee. lOth. CORNCRAKE Crex crex A very rare passage migrant. willand: June 13th. The bird, observed running ahead of a combine-harvester, is the first record since one was found dying at Heveningham in October 1988 and only the eighth since 1970. •POTTED CRAKE Porzana


A rare passage migrant. Two reports from Minsmere, involving an intriguing midsummer record and an autumn passage bird. Minsmere: July 2nd to Aug. lOth; Sept. 27th to Oct. 12th (RSPB).

MOORHEN Gallínula chloropus An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Despite being widely distributed throughout the County, this species remains underrecorded. Minsmere North Warren Aide/Ore Orwell Stour Alton Water

J 20 116 5 82 105 2

F 40 102 42 29

M 19 38 5 28

A 3 17 11 27




A 12 18 —

29 6 31

S 15 36 7 31 1 14

O —

41 —

39 2 19

A count of 45 at Lake Lothing, Lowestoft, is also worthy of note.


N 6 13 47 45 26 11

D 8 61 33 39 52 24

C O O T Fulica atra An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Reports showed a better reflection of the County's breeding and wintering population: than in previous years, although it remains under-recorded. Alton Water remains the County's best breeding site with 48 pairs. J L.Lothing Minsmere North Warren Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Lackford


34 97 304 220 242 267

20 95 58 186 73 217 234





20 63 53 88 87 121

17 47 23 51 47 98

56 53

12 80

126 211

S 47 14 129 26 71 162 118 248

N 156 4 186 40 47 850 117 216

O 94 33 132 —

69 278 97 172

D 206 7 171 68 74 543 168 216

The Orwell peak count occurred on Nov. 20th and mainly involved birds on Loompii Lake, Trimley St Martin. The counts for Lake Lothing included 117 on Oulton Broad, Dec. 7th, which is a record for the site and the North Warren counts were principali) from Thorpeness Meare. Other significant counts were from Lound Waterworks Ponds. 50 Feb. 16th and 60 Dec. 11th. Of further note was an unprecedented run of records at Landguard Pt, where this species is extremely rare, all during February's cold spell: three — 11th, single — 14th and seven - 18th. C R A N E Grus grus A rare passage migrant. M i n s m e r e : two ads over Apr. 18th (HMB, D R N ) and single May 16th ( D R N , JS). I p s w i c h : Belstead Rd/Sproughton Rd, three ad. N Apr. 12th (ME/per HM).

Recorded for the fifth year in succession. The two noted at Minsmere were probably part of the initial group of three seen flying north over west Ipswich. O Y S T E R C A T C H E R Haematopus ostralegus An abundant winter visitor and passage migrant and common resident. Reports were received from many widespread coastal and estuarine localities and in Breckland at Cavenham, Eriswell, Livermere Park, Hengrave, Ixworth Thorpe, Lackford W.R. and Santon Downham. The only confirmed inland breeding occurred at Ixworth Thorpe, where a pair was seen with a well grown juvenile, July 31st. Peak winter counts came again from the Stour Estuary. Other notable reports included: 450 at Crane Creek, Shotley, Feb. 17th; 250 at Levington Creek in February; 230 on the Deben at Kirton, Jan. 1st and a summering flock of 160, presumably non-breeding birds, at Trimley Marshes throughout June and July. Significant offshore movements were logged at Landguard including 115 south in March, 3 south in April and 345 south in August with a peak day-count of 54, 24th. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell (HW) (LW) Stour (HW) (LW)

J 14 64 282 123 286 1087 —

F 63 186 161 480 —

1151 —

M 204 580 405 426 482 607 —

B L A C K - W I N G E D S T I L T Himantopus




388 401 407 290 653


136 141 147 268 326

66 —

633 —


A v e r y rare p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, ad. July 7th to 25th (RCB et



O 5 —

214 353 393 950 907

N 65 4 47 444 307 723 —

D 78 8 74 443 —

756 900

This long-staying individual was a welcome addition to many birders' County lists. There were two records during the 1980s and one in the 1970s, but this is the first to be seen

for more than a few minutes since the pair at Felixstowe Ferry and Minsmere in April and May 1965. W O C E T Recurvirostra avosetta A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Benacre Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell

29 729 36 NIL

21 2 878 48 2

M 4 59 120 321 NIL

A 8 16 150 274 NIL 2

A 16

S 2

50 478

22 660 NIL NIL





361 43 NIL

331 54 NIL

Perhaps the most spectacular sight of the winter months was the pack of Avocets feeding on the Aide mudflats off Iken Cliff. The Aide complex is Suffolk's, and Britain's, principal wintering site, currently supporting over 50% of the U.K. population (Kirby et al 1991). Flocks regularly exceeded 500 and the low-tide estuary count, conducted on Feb. 3rd, yielded a magnificent 878 birds, which is a County record. The following table, reproduced in part from Kirby et al (1991), gives the average winter maxima for each site over a five year period using data derived solely from BoEE counts (incomplete counts are bracketed): Aide/Ore Exe (Devon) Tamar (Cornwall) Hamford Water (Essex) Poole Harbour (Dorset) Medway (Kent)

1986/87 (411) 121 (1) 26 59 0

88/89 514 229 90 85 65 (38)

87/88 285 152 (102) (64) 48 (16)

89/90 721 379 185 (0) 122 (136)

90/91 729 323 240 188 175 36

Ave. 562 240 171 99 93 52

The table demonstrates the importance of the Aide/Ore complex for wintering Avocets in comparison with Britain's five other favoured estuaries. The average peak up to April 1991, however, still falls short of the figure of 700 which is required to register the estuary as "Internationally Important" for the species.


There is no evidence to suggest that the wintering population suffered greatly from the effects of February's severe weather, although one was found dead on the tideline a; Landguard Pt, 13th and an exhausted bird, picked up in Spring Lane, Wickham Market 9th, died soon after being taken into care. A southerly movement of 35 off Shingle Street during heavy snow, 7th, may have been part of a general exodus from frozen estuaries In the past decade, birds ringed in the summer months in Belgium (three) and German; (see Suffolk Birds 1981, 1985 and 1990) and recovered in winter on Butley River, sugges that the origin of the County's wintering population lies on the near continent. A p p r o x i m a t e l y 2 4 0 pairs a t t e m p t e d to b r e e d in the C o u n t y a l t h o u g h s u c c e s s w a s agaii poor. Breeding records w e r e received as follows: M i n s m e r e : 98 nesting attempts. O r f o r d : Havergate Is., 120 prs fledged 21 young. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, pr from Feb. 18th, four prs raised six young, peak of 19 presen: on June 28th. Site A: 15 prs fledged 22 juveniles from ten successful nests. Site C : eight prs with five juvs July (only two or three prs successful).

Site F: two prs. Site P : young hatched.

S T O N E - C U R L E W Burhinus oedicnemus A fairly common summer visitor. Birds had returned to the Suffolk Breckland by Mar. 17th, where 48 pairs raised 48 young. One, colour-ringed locally, was unfortunately killed when it flew into overhead cables after being disturbed by an early morning jogger in Suffolk Breckland. Although there was no confirmation of successful breeding from the coastal belt, the increase in records there is encouraging indeed. Hopefully, this signals a return to their former nesting haunts. Migrants were reported as follows: Minsmere: June 16th. A l d r i n g h a m c u m T h o r p e : Thorpeness Beach, nr Haven House, May 22nd. W o r l i n g w o r t h : two (heard calling at night) July 23rd to Aug. 19th. F e l i x s t o w e : Felixstowe Ferry Golf Course, two early September.

An autumn gathering of up to 35 birds was noted at a Breckland site, Sept. 28th. L I T T L E R I N G E D P L O V E R Charadrius dubius A fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Breeding was probably attempted by 23 prs at the following 14 sites which is well down on 1990 (33 prs at ten sites). W e y b r e a d : G . P . , up to eight Mar. 31st to Aug. 7th (at least two prs bred). M e l t o n : Wilford Bridge G . P . , pr Apr. 28th to May 15th. A l t o n W a t e r : pr Apr. 9th to June, display noted in May and probably bred.

East Bergholt: Fiatford G.P., pr June 3rd. G i p p i n g Valley: Sproughton G . P . , pr during May; Bramford, Suffolk Water Pk, up to three May 6th to Aug. 5th; Gt Blakenham, pr May; Gallow's Hill G . P . , May 4th, display noted June 12th; Station Lake, pr Apr. 23rd to Aug. 28th. L a r k V a l l e y : Cavenham G . P . , up to three, incl. displaying birds Apr. 23rd to July 8th; Lackford W . R . , first noted Mar 14th then regularly to Sept. 30th, max. 21 (incl, five young) June 25th (breeding attempted by five or six prs, but proved only for four). I x w o r t h T h o r p e : Apr. 3rd, displaying pr Apr. 22nd & 30th, three prs June 1st incl. pr brooding three chicks.

Site A: two prs. Site B: pr May 6th & 20th. Passage migrants were noted as follows: Breydon Water: May 23rd. S o u t h w o l d : Buss Creek, May 22nd to 31st, two July 13th to 19th.


ienacre: Benacre Broad, July 3Ist and Aug. 26th. W a l b e r s w i c k : Tinker's Marshes, May 12th & June 30th. l i n s m e r e : Apr. 24th, 26th (two) & 29th, May 9th and July 19th, up to ten July 20th to Sept. l l t h . \ l d e b u r g h : North Warren, Aug. 17th & 18th. Feüxstowe: Landguard Pt, S May 20th, two S July 3rd. Trimley St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, one or two May 24th & 25th and again July 13th to Aug. 16th.

Stratton Hall: Levington Lagoon, Aug. 9th.

Alton Water: up to six Sept. 6th to 21st. 8ury St E d m u n d s : Beet Factory Ponds, ten Apr. 1 Ith. G t / L t L i v e r m e r e : Livermere Park, Apr. 20th.

RINGED P L O Y E R Charadrius hiaticula A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth North Warren Alde/Ore Deben Orwell (HW) (LW) Stour (HW) (LW) Alton Water

J 23 26 49 70 34 197 365



F NIL 2 9 29 133 —


M 18



27 30 68 82 88

30 2 53 45 35

25 119 30 140 106

75 124 159 200 9 638








O 12 104 80 73 80 169 441 421 6

N —

35 56 30 40 35 336 —


D 2 44 99 39 214 —

325 55 220

In addition, 130 were on the south side of Breydon Water, May 26th and BoEE counts again reflected a significant September passage, although this was not as marked as in 1990. The higher totals for Alton Water refer to a high-tide roost, in fields adjacent to the reservoir and, presumably, are birds from the Stour Estuary. A total of 60 breeiding pairs was reported from ten sites, but, as no counts were received from the principal areas, this is hardly the complete picture of the County's population. Success was generally poor as typified by events at Minsmere where 11 breeding attempts yielded no offspring. Birds showing characteristics of the race C.h.tundrae were noted as follows: S o u t h w o l d : Buss Creek, 12 May 23rd, two May 24th and up to 19 June Ist & 2nd. M i n s m e r e : two on four dates in May, four June 4th and single June 5th. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, two May 24th and four May 25th & 26th.


K E N T I S H P L O V E R Charadrius A scarce passage migrant.


B r e y d o n W a t e r : Cobham Island, or May 10th to 14th with two or cr on 11th ( C A B , EWP, SHP and 9 May 25th & 26th ( M M , SHP), cr June 1st and again June 6th & 7th.

Benacre: juv. Oct. 7th (CAB, EWP, CSW). M i n s m e r e : juv. Aug. 28th to Sept. Ist (IR).

Six individuals represent the County's best year since 1978 and as they are generali} scarce on autumn passage, the records at Benacre and Minsmere are particularly noteworthy The Benacre bird is the County's second latest ever, only being surpassed by Ticehurst's (1932) latest date of Nov. 27th. G O L D E N P L O V E R Pluvialis apricaria A common winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J NIL 54 800 150 500

F NIL 2 125 —


M 10 5 40 —




50 29

100 26 170 135





0 1 7 16 120 200

N NIL 79 230 800 NIL

D NIL 145 200 104 270

The above table shows the maximum count for each estuary with most birds frequenting adjoining fields or marshes. A flock of 40 feeding with Lapwings on the mudflats at Iken, Dec. 28th, is worthy of note. The majority of birds on the Deben fed on arable fields in the Felixstowe Ferry/King's Fleet/Falkenham area, where a peak of 800, a site record, occurred on Jan. 15th. There was obvious interchange between the Deben and Orwell estuaries. Widely reported away from the estuaries, with site peaks of 300 or more as follows: Ellough: 500 Nov. 26th.

Gisleham: 300 Mar. 2nd. Kessingland: adj. to A12, 304 Jan. 12th and 320 Dec. 7th. Worlingworth area: 3,500 Mar. 12th. Laxfield: 2,500 Mar. 10th.

Trimley St Martin: 800 Nov. 24th. Barking: Barking Tye, 300 Oct. 1st and Nov. 10th. Sudbury: 3,000 Mar. 10th.

Cavendish/Long Melford: 500 January and 300 Dec. 1st. I x w o r t h : 522 Sept. 29th and 500 Dec. 1st.

Great Livermere: Livermere Pk, 350 Dec. 2nd. Risby: 500 Apr. 6th. Five of the sites recorded a peak in March and April and three recorded the largest flocks of the year, 3,500, 3,000 and 2,500, in a three-day period from Mar. 10th to 12th, indicating the presence of passage birds. The last spring bird was at Minsmere, May 31st and showed characteristics of the northern race P.a.altifrons. The first returning bird was noted at Southwold, July 9th. G R E Y P L O V E R Pluvialis squatarola A common winter visitor and passage migrant. The County's estuaries continue to hold good numbers, although, overall, totals were slightly down on 1990. February's figures were significantly down and, perhaps, indicate either a mass exodus or a high mortality during the hard-weather period. Evidence points to the latter being the most likely explanation with no fewer then 54 tide-line corpses being found on the Deben alone, showing that the species is far more likely to brazen out tough conditions. It is estimated that 39% of the Deben's wintering population perished during the cold spell (MTW).


Blyth Aide/Ore Deben (HW) Orwell (LW) (HW) Stour (LW)

J 32 63 265 61 203 1999 391

F 75 170 196 302 —

1331 —

M 26 48 180 34 53 522 904

A 11 20 9 5 3 632



23 52 NIL —


20 78 2 10 845

O 49 210 135 51 87 1053 874

N 52 190 277 248 156 1254 —

D 35 77 292 211 122 1412 988

Peak offshore movements were logged at Landguard in May, when 37 flew north (28 on 26th) and August, when 224 moved south (102 on 23rd). Inland, one associated with Golden Plovers at Worlingworth, Oct. 6th and singles passed rhrough Lackford W.R. on May 23rd & 26th, June Ist and Aug. 24th. LAPWING Vanellus vanellus An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth North Warren Alde/Ore Deben Orwell (HW) (LW) Stour (HW) (LW) Alton Water Lackford

J 169 700 5000 3360 1062 89 983

F 3000 400 5 800 99 —


1000 —

MI —

M 83 24 263 100 68 68 208



34 147 31 16 18 51

100 142

72 664 593 522 36 271

52 —



44 63

12 2

5 770

28 224

O 116 165 1350 1635 1400 20 423 612 540 593

N 12 700 767 1052 554 3846 693 —

850 800

D 1744 725 1393 5000 1433 —

372 4695 73 —

E l s e w h e r e , flocks o f 2 , 0 0 0 o r m o r e w e r e n o t e d a s f o l l o w s : Carlton Colvüle: Carlton Marshes, 2 , 0 0 0 N o v . 26th. Worlingworth: 7 , 0 0 0 Oct. 6th. Trimley St Martin: 4 , 5 0 0 Nov. 24th to Dec. 4th. Chelmondiston: 2 , 0 0 0 N o v . 24th. Claydon: 2 , 0 0 0 Dec. 1st to 4th. Henley/Akenham: 3 , 0 0 0 Nov. 18th. Gt/Lt Waldingfield: 3 , 3 6 0 Jan. 30th. Long Melford: 2 , 0 0 0 Dec. 1st. Ixworth: 2 , 0 0 0 Sept. 29th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Park, 2 , 2 5 0 Dec. 2nd. Knettishall: 2 , 5 0 0 Sept. 29th.

Following last year's request, there was a significant improvement in the reporting of breeding success with records involving c.100 pairs at 14 sites. However, no data were received from many sites, including some important nature reserves. Early nesting was noted at Minsmere where a pair was brooding two eggs on Mar. 27th. The largest breeding concentrations were noted at Blythburgh/Walberswick/Dunwich area (30 pairs), Minsmere (28 breeding attempts, 15 young seen), North Warren (25 pairs fledged 20 juveniles) and Trimley Marshes (eight pairs). The first autumn migrant flew over Landguard on June 6th, where peak southward migration and immigration was logged in October, involving 954 birds, including 436 on 26th. KNOT Calidris canutus A common winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell (HW) (LW) Stour (HW) (LW)

J NIL 17 NIL NIL 222 2564 —

F 74 NIL 14 280 —

3596 —

M 35 16 1 NIL 54 188 —


A —



— —





6 NIL 1 5 —

O NIL 21 NIL NIL 4 270 —

N NIL 1 1 40 51 1421 —


3290 3072

The most transient of waders, with large flocks often moving to more distant feeding grounds overnight. This is typified by a series of variable early-year counts on the Orwell which ranged, in January, from a concentration of 1,154 at Fagbury Flats, near the estuary mouth, 4th to a nil BoEE high-tide count on 20th. A small reduction was recorded in February, with 1,000 at Fagbury, 13th and 800 near the Orwell Bridge, 7th, but only 280 on the high-tide BoEE count, 17th. Movements off Landguard during the harsh weather conditions in February included 177 south, 10th and 26 south, 11th. Further up the coast, 170 flew north off Lowestoft, Feb. 7th and 100 south off Benacre, 10th. Spring passage was sparse with Minsmere hosting a mere five individuals between Apr. 28th and May 15th, Benacre a single flock of seven on Mar. 17th and the high-tide roost at Levington yielding 11 May 28th. Offshore movements were light with Landguard logging 20 south, Mar. 10th, a single north May 8th and six south, May 25th. The species was more prominent on autumn passage with small parties of up to 15 birds at Minsmere from July 17th to Oct. 4th and up to 13 at Benacre Broad from July 19th to Sept. 12th. Southerly passage was logged at Landguard: 137 in August (108 on 23rd); 130 in September (68 on 22nd); 60 in October and 48 in November. The Stour continued as Suffolk's stronghold for this species with another record December high-tide count. Movements between the Orwell and Stour estuaries were evidenced by 1,200 flying over Shotley on Nov. 26th & 30th. There was an absence of inland records.

SANDERLING Calidris alba A common winter visitor and passage migrant. Lowestoft Benacre Minsmere Havergate Orwell

J 7 1 —

F 1 3 1

M —

6 -





_ —

_ 2 6

M 8 6 10

J — —

9 1


J —

7 5 5 —

A —

8 7 7 —

S —



6 —

O 3 —

N —


D 9 2 2

1 11



Again, Fagbury Flats produced the largest flocks with maxima of 31 Feb. 21st and 32 Nov. 12th. Elsewhere, wintering birds were noted at Bawdsey/Felixstowe Ferry — three Feb. 12th and two Dec. 28th; Gorleston — five feeding in puddles on grassy cliff-tops, Jan. 14th, increasing to 26 by Feb. 23rd and at North Warren — one on marshes Jan. 1st. There was a light spring passage, peaking in late May, with the principal counts coming from Lowestoft — up to eight from 8th to 31st; Benacre — up to six from 19th to 24th; Walberswick — up to 13 from 15th to 31st and Minsmere — up to ten 22nd to June 1st. The species was recorded at seven other coastal sites. T h e r e w e r e f i v e inland r e c o r d s , a l s o all in M a y , i n v o l v i n g s e v e n i n d i v i d u a l s : L a c k f o r d : W . R . , 16th, 24th & 25th (two) and 28th.

Cavenham: G.P., two 31st. L a k e n h e a t h : Little Ouse Washes, 26th.

Autumn passage commenced at Landguard on July 18th, when three flew south and, thereafter, small parties were noted at seven sites with the highest counts being eight at Benacre, Aug. 24th and eight south off Landguard, Aug. 20th.

L I T T L E STINT Calidris minuta A fairly common and passage migrant. The overwintering individual, first noted on the Orwell estuary in November 1990, was last noted at Levington l a g o o n , Jan. 23rd. The bird was most frequently seen feeding on the muddy edge of Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, although occasionally on the open mud-flats amongst Dunlin.


Benacre Minsmere \lde/Ore Orwell Lackford





M NIL 5 2 8 1

J NIL 10 1 9 NIL

J 3 15 5 4 NIL

A 1 14 7 NIL NIL

S 1 6 6 NIL 3

O 2 1 1 NIL 1



The table shows a reasonable spring passage with the only April record, from Minsmere, 10th, followed by a small influx in early June, including ten at Minsmere, 4th and nine at Trimley Marshes, 2nd, with the last of the spring noted at Minsmere on 12th. The figures for the Orwell equal the estuary record and all totals relate to the new Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve. In addition to the sites listed, two were at North Warren marshes on June 2nd, one remaining to 4th, two on the south shore of Breydon Water, May 26th and two on flooded meadows at Southwold Town Marshes, May 23rd to 30th. A mediocre autumn passage commenced at Trimley Marshes on June 29th and continued through to Nov. 24th, peaking at 15 at Minsmere during July 20th to 31st. Elsewhere, parties of 1-7 were noted at six coastal sites. The species showed well at freshwater sites in both passage periods. Reports were received as follows: Weybread: G . P . , Sept. 22nd. Alton Water: Sept. 6th & 7th. Lackford: May 31st, Sept. 10th to Oct. 6th (noted on 13 dates, with max. of three Sept. 22nd & 24th). Cavenham: May 31st.

T E M M I N C K ' S STINT Calidris temminckii An uncommon passage migrant. Probably Suffolk's best year since records began, with as many as 17 individuals reported as follows: Benacre: July 14th (JDG). Southwold: Buss Creek/Town Marshes, two May 22nd to 24th, single to June Ist (JMC et al). Walberswick: Tinker's Marsh, May 13th ( M M , SHP, CSW). Minsmere: three May 19th, one remaining to 22nd, two 27th, ad. Aug. 29th & 30th (IR et at). Aldeburgh: North Warren, May 14th to 16th (RNM). Orford: Havergate Island, Aug. 8th (per KG). Trimley St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, single May 10th to 17th (SHP), three May 25th to 27th (MM

et al). Lackford: W . R . , Apr. 29th to 30th (CJJ, TPK). Cavenham: G . P . , Apr. 30th to May 6th (Lackford bird) ( A H , TPK, MW).

The Lackford bird constitutes the County's earliest ever spring record and the first in April. PECTORAL SANDPIPER Calidris melanotos A scarce passage migrant. A single record makes 1991 the County's worst year for this species since the blank year of 1980. Trimley St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, June 30th (AB et


Suffolk has two previous June records, both from Minsmere, on 7th 1974 and 26th to 28th 1975 (Payn 1977). CURLEW SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. May reports from Bawdsey, 10th, Minsmere, 22nd & 23rd, Havergate Island, 23rd and Trimley Marshes, 24th to 27th, are typical of the poor spring passages experienced in recent years.


Return passage was more productive with adult birds showing at Minsmere as earl; as July 12th and peaking, with the arrival of juveniles, between Aug. 16th and Sept. 15th when as many as 63 birds were present at nine localities. Landguard logged three south Aug. 23rd. Maxima at the principal sites were as follows: Benacre: 15 Sept. 5th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, two Sept. 15th. M i n s m e r e : 17 Aug. 23rd to 27th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, six Aug. 17th, 18th & 21st. O r f o r d : Havergate Island, 17 Aug. 31st. Trimley St M a r y : Trimley Marshes three Aug. 16th.

Away from the coast and estuaries, one was at Alton Water from Aug. 29th to 31st P U R P L E SANDPIPER Calidas maritima A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly maxima at Ness Pt, Lowestoft, were as follows: J 13

F 39

M 15

A 11

M 9



A 3




N 15


D 16

February's count is the highest since 1988. Elsewhere, during the first winter period, there were reports from Pakefield, Benacre, Southwold and Landguard (three). The last of the spring was at Ness Pt, May 18th. The first autumn birds were three at Ness Pt, Aug. 21st, followed by a single at the Landguard Pt jetty, Sept. 2nd. Thereafter, individuals were reported from Southwold (three), Minsmere and Bawdsey. DUNLIN Calidas alpina An abundant winter visitor and passage migrant. J Benacre Blyth North Warren Aide/Ore Deben Orwell (HW) (LW) Stour (HW) (LW)

758 700 2875 1840 1522 11054 16429

M 70 690 5 923 598 377 1377 3153

F 23 2408 18 3998 1341 10810 —

13778 —

A 9

A 70 —

1745 300 167 218 1706

1 1175 163 44 165 1576

18 —


0 52 501

2 202

S 60

1999 949 212 1397 9943 5303

N 30 1269 250 2623 1366 4568 6929 12409 —

D —

978 500 3211 2151 6786 —

17412 8695

Between the winters of 1989-90 and 1990-91 there was little change in the County's wintering population, whereas an increase of 18% was recorded nationally (Kirby et al 1991). With minimal change in the five year average against increases elsewhere, Suffolk's principal estuary, the Stour, has slipped from 10th to 13th place in the national table of favoured sites. However, the December count, the highest since January 1985 with 20,854, may well boost the status of this estuary. Co-ordinated low water totals for the Orwell and Stour were as follows: Orwell Stour

J 11054 9776


20830 17951

F —

_ 24588

M 1377 4451

A 218

5828 3530

218 1873


_ -

_ 1620

O 1397 1282

N 6929

2679 10155

6929 16977

D 8873 8695 17568 21198

The species suffered badly during February's cold spell with no fewer than 240 tideline corpses found on the Aide/Ore (18), Deben (175) and Orwell (47) estuaries. The high figure for the Deben represented a loss of 10% of the estuary's wintering population. In vie\y of the Felixstowe Dock extension, monitoring of birdlife on the remainder of Fagbury Flats continues and a high count of 4,000 was achieved on Dec. 24th. Other concentrations on the Orwell included 7,000 at Levington Creek, Feb. 17th, 2,000 at Black


Ooze, Ipswich, Feb. 10th and 3,000 and 4,500 roosting in fields adjacent to Wherstead Strand, Jan. 14th and Feb. 12th respectively. Landguard logged 169 south, Feb. 6th. Interchange between the Orwell and Stour estuaries was confirmed by a flock of 4,600 birds which headed overland from the Orwell at 10.00 hrs on Jan. 4th. T h e r e w a s a h e a v y s p r i n g p a s s a g e w i t h f l o c k s still p a s s i n g t h r o u g h in e a r l y J u n e . T h e f o l l o w i n g p e a k c o u n t s w e r e r e c e i v e d and r e f e r to M a y u n l e s s o t h e r w i s e stated: Bradwell: Breydon Water, 5 2 0 (on south shore) 26th.

Blyth Estuary: 400 12th. Iken: R.Alde, 880 5th. Trimley St M a r y : Fagbury Flats, 85 19th; Trimley Marshes, 6 0 24th and ten June 2nd. Levington: 300 14th and 150 28th.

A single at Lackford, June 26th, was the first reported autumn passage migrant and was followed by flocks of 60 or more at Breydon Water (south shore), Benacre and Minsmere by late July. Landguard logged southerly movements of 238 in July, 169 in August, 438 in September, 1,053 in October and 153 in November, but the peak daycount was only 177 Oct. 20th. With high n u m b e r s present o n the coast and estuaries in b o t h p a s s a g e p e r i o d s , it is perhaps not surprising that r e c o r d totals w e r e n o t e d e l s e w h e r e . R e p o r t s w e r e r e c e i v e d as f o l l o w s : Weybread: G . P . , May 28th, June 2nd and Sept. 21st & 22nd.

Needham Mkt: two Aug. 18th. Ixworth Thorpe: Jan. 26th and two June 5th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Pk, Apr. 27th. Lackford: W . R . noted on 6 9 dates between Mar. 6th and Dec. 21st, the largest party being eight May 16th.

RUFF Philomachus pugnax A common passage migrant. A few oversummer and overwinter. The number of wintering birds was probably the highest ever recorded in the County, but insignificant when compared with national statistics, which show the British and Irish wintering population to have a maximum of 1,400 during the 'Winter Atlas' years (Lack 1986). Wintering birds were noted as follows: Benacre: Feb. 2nd. Minsmere: two Feb. 28th.

Orfordness: BoEE, 41 Feb. 17th. Levington: three Jan. 12th. Lackford: W.R., Feb. 15th. The Orfordness birds were probably a roving flock, as evidenced by a gathering of a similar magnitude noted at Hamford Water, Essex in January — these were the highest BoEE counts recorded in Britain in winter 1990-91. Ruff rarely occur in Suffolk during the early winter months (November and December), but flocks often occur in January and February. This conforms to the national trend and it is believed that the increase, over the course of the winter, is due to immigrants moving north and west in early January (Prater 1973 & 1981). Spring movements were noted at Benacre, Lackford W . R . , Minsmere, North Warren, South wold, Havergate Island and Trimley Marshes, where records were received on an almost daily basis from May to the first week of June. See table for peak numbers at principal sites:

Southwold Minsmere Trimley Marshes

March 1/14 15/31 9 11 5 3

1/14 4 8

April 15/30 6


1/14 5 4 1

May 15/31 7 5 10

1/14 4 6

June 15/30

Displaying birds were noted at three sites with suitable breeding habitat. It is thought that breeding took place at one site and was attempted at a second. The first returning birds were recorded during the first half of July with three at Trimley Marshes, 3rd, singles at Benacre, 5th and Southwold, 11th and 24 at Minsmere, 7th and 16 13th. These were followed by a series of records from five coastal sites of mostly singlefigure counts, with notable exceptions being the Aide estuary where 21 were present on Aug. 31st and Minsmere, where a maximum of 24 was recorded during July and 2 0 + on Aug. 17th. Away from the coast and estuaries, records were received from Alton Water — maximum of four Sept. 17th, Bramford — May 30th, Redlingfield — two (with Golden Plovers) Nov. 10th and Lackford — maximum of four July 20th. J A C K SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus A fairly common passage migrant. Records were received from 22 sites, with most during the first winter and spring periods. The last of the spring was at Minsmere May 2nd and the first returning bird was on Hazelwood Marshes, Aldeburgh, Sept. 23rd. Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell

J — 1 2 3

F — — 1 3

M 1 — 3 5

A 2 — — 10

M 1 — — -

S 2 1 — —



4 1 — 5

1 — 2 1

D 1 7 1 1

The table shows the Orwell to be the County's principal estuary. The count of ten birds in April was confined to Levington Lagoon on 2nd, probably referring to passage migrants. Elsewhere, records involved birds wintering on, or near, the coast and estuaries, which are listed as follows: Lowestoft: Kirkley Ham, Dec. 14th. Oulton: Fisher R o w , four Feb. 10th. Kessingland: Sewage Works, Feb. 2nd. Southwold: T o w n Marshes, Feb. 4th to 6th. Walberswick: Westwood Marsh, Jan. 1st and Dec. 30th.

Leiston cum Sizewell: Eastbridge, Dec. 14th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, Jan. 2nd to 13th, Oct. 2nd, 13th & 24th and three Dec. 5th. Felixstowe: Cowpasture Allotments, Oct. 24th; Landguard Pt, offshore arrival Oct. 20th.

Reported away from the coast and estuaries as follows: Cratfield: Rookery Fm, Feb. 10th to 17th. Gt Bealings: Sewage Works, Feb. 9th.

Santon Downham: Feb. 9th. L a c k f o r d : singles flushed on several dates in February and three Mar. 29th.

SNIPE Gallinago gallinago A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The downward trend of both breeding and wintering populations continues with several observers reporting only small numbers in their areas. A total of only 14 displaying males was reported from three inland and three coastal sites. The table shows a significant drop in wintering numbers in comparison with previous years. Minsmere North Warren Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

J 80 250 31 30 17 6 16 2

F 30 50 26 7 6 2 1 17

M 100 20 10 46 50 12

A 80 18 8 5 2 3






A 100 67 11


20 NIL 10 7

S 50 12 37 8 9 2 5 7

O 120 44 6 3 44 2 7

N 40 110 16 NIL 25 3 3

I) 20 44 16 14 100 12 13 —

The Orwell December count was solely comprised of birds on Shotley Marshes and is the highest since January 1989 when 258 were present. Other localitíes, where double-figure counts were recorded, included 25 at Benacre Broad, Jan. 26th, 75 at Pakefield, Dec. 16th and 50 at Southwold Town Marshes, Nov, 2nd increasing to at least 100 Nov. 15th. Landguard logged 28 individuáis on 16 dates during the period Aug. 8th to Nov. lOth including seven on Aug. 9th. W O O D C O C K Scolopax rusticóla A fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Records of roding males were received from only 11 sites (six on coastal heaths, four on breck and another inland), which understates the true breeding population. Notable records for the summer months were received as foliows: Brandon: four June 2nd. Santón Downham: five together July 4th. Cavenham: ad. flushed was seen to carry chicks, July 14th. Immigrants arriving from offshore were noted as folio ws: Lowestoft: N e s s Pt, Feb. 8th, Oct. 20th and 21st.

Benacre: Nov. 6th & 9th and two Nov. lOth. Southwold: O c t . l 2 t h and 20th, N o v . 9th and two N o v . lOth.

In addition, coastal migration was mainly reported from Minsmere, Fagbury Cliff, Felixstowe and Landguard Pt with most records in March and October. Wintering birds were said to be plentiful in the King's Forest, and elsewhere totals included 30 at Dunwich Forest, Mar. 15th and up to 16 at Shotley in December. Hard weather influxes were noted at Minsmere where there were ten Feb. 9th and 13th and at North Warren, where a peak of 18 was reported during February's cold spell. There was the usual crop of birds seen away from their normal wooded habitats, mainly frequenting gardens, but including an individual which collided with a patio window in Felixstowe in March and another flying at roof-top height over an area of houses near Ipswich town centre, Oct. 21st. Otherwise, observations were limited to single birds at widely scattered localitíes throughout the County. BLACK-TAILED G O D W I T Limosa limosa A common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. A large number of records was received for sites within the areas Usted below. The peak monthly counts were as follows: J 30 1 464 66 280 1248

Blyth Minsmere Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

F 10 NIL 350 64 525 1417

M 650 30 222 42 NIL 1506

A 650 131 451 232 1 NIL






100 90 50 106

23 78 19 250 220

\II 354 213 492 927

O NIL NIL 250 72 1444 1414

N 193 75 141 112 850 872

D 59 NIL 361 65 563 761

In recent years, this species has become highly mobile between the Stour, Orwell and an Essex site (probably Hamford Water). To give a measure of the number involved at the two principal Suffolk sites, the populations either roosting (BoEE) or feeding, as determined by co-ordinated counts, are given in the table below. Orwell Orwell Stour Stour

(HW) (LW) (HW) (LW)

I NIL 280 1188 1248

F 330 —

345 —

M NIL NIL 1506 1465


A 5 —


S 35 492 927 —

O 620 1444 1414 853

N 700 543 872 —

D 155 762 352 761

Whilst the Stour is widely recognised as a site of international importance (qualifying level 700), the Orwell, based on BoEE data over the past five years, is only of national


importance. However, the number of birds that regularly feed on the mudflats at low tide is considerably higher than the BoEE counts, thus suggesting that the Orwell is much more important than the roosting figures would suggest. Displaying birds were noted at two sites, but there was no confirmation of breeding taking place. However, records of birds oversummering are increasing and being observed at more sites. The two races L.l.islandica and L.I.limosa are both likely to occur on the coast during passage periods, but the race(s) of the County's summering birds is unknown. Studies in The Netherlands were unable to provide methods of separating the two races in the field (Roselaer & Gerritsen 1991). Return passage was noted at North Warren from June 16th and an early peak occurred on June 29th when 102 were present on Minsmere's Scrape, 104 flew north at North Warren (same birds?) and parties of ten and five flew overhead at Lackford W.R. Lackford logged an unprecedented run of occurrences which totalled 21 individuals. A single on Mar. 13th was followed by 15 June 29th and then singles, July 27th, Aug. 7th to 19th, Aug. 26th, Sept. 13th to 22nd and Oct. 4th & 5th. Reports were received from Alton Water on four dates between Sept. 8th and Dec. 21st peaking at six Dec. 14th. BAR-TAILED G O D W I T Limosa lapponica A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. There was a slight increase in the number of birds wintering which included 30 at Minsmere, Feb. 7th, 16 at Havergate Island in January and 28 Nov. 20th, nine at Ramsholt, Feb. 17th and ten at Levington, Nov. 3rd. During February's cold spell, 28 flew south and two north off Landguard between 6th and 11th and elsewhere there were records of 1-3. S p r i n g p a s s a g e w a s n o t e d f r o m early M a r c h , w i t h p e a k n u m b e r s o c c u r r i n g in M a y . T h e h i g h e s t c o u n t s w e r e n o t e d at:

Benacre: ten Apr. 27th. Southwold: ten May 2nd. Blythburgh: 30 Mar. 3rd. Walberswick: up to 20 in May. M i n s m e r e : 45 Mar. Aide/Ore: Been, 18 D e b e n : Falkenham, Orwell: Levington,

4th, 11 Apr. 24th to 30th and 21 on 27th. May 5th; Havergate Island, 30 Apr. 28th and 4 0 May 14th. 17 May 24th; Ramsholt, 13 May 18th. 14 May 28th; Trimley Marshes, 15 May 24th.

Singles at Livermere Apr. 22nd and 23rd and at Lackford W.R., June 3rd and 4th were the only inland sightings. Offshore passage was light, with Landguard logging a mere 27 in May, including 17 on 8 th. T h e r e w e r e a f e w r e c o r d s f o r J u n e , i n c l u d i n g e i g h t s o u t h o f f L a n d g u a r d , 13th, w h i c h m a y h a v e i n v o l v e d t h e first o f t h e returning b i r d s , but a u t u m n m i g r a t i o n w a s not really e v i d e n t until t h e first w e e k o f J u l y . P e a k c o u n t s w e r e n o t e d a s f o l l o w s : Benacre: five July 25th, 13 S Sept. 8th and nine Sept. 23rd. O r f o r d : Havergate Island, 31 July 1st, 18 Aug. 21st and 32 Oct. 23rd.

Deben: Falkenham, 18 Oct. 6th.

Southerly movements off Landguard included 50 during July (25 on 14th), 60 during August (20 on 23rd) and 48 during September (32 on 22nd). W H I M B R E L Numenius phaeopus A common passage migrant. The first spring record came from Havergate Island, Mar. 30th and was followed by one at Trimley Marshes, Apr. 4th. Thereafter, most records were in May at several coastal sites with peak counts as follows: Breydon Water: 499 NE May 7th to 9th.


Minsmere: 24 Apr. 25th, 17 Apr. 28th and 61 May 7th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 58 Apr. 26th, 36 Apr. 27th, 26 May 1st, 25 May 7th and 2 0 May 9th.

Gedgrave: 12 May 17th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 17 Apr. 28th and 100 during May of which 98 flew north incl. 42 on 8th.

Levington: 15 May 8th. Inland records, mainly of singles, were from Cavenham, Livermere Park and Lackford during April and Boxford, Hengrave and Lackford during July. The autumn passage period m a y have b e g u n during early June w h e n a single f l e w south o f f B e n a c r e , 9th. H o w e v e r , it w a s not until early July that birds w e r e noted in any f r e q u e n c y and o n l y t h e n in s m a l l n u m b e r s . P e a k c o u n t s w e r e n o t e d a s f o l l o w s :

Breydon Water: 200 W Aug. 8th and 150 9th. Benacre: 17 S Aug. 24th. Covehithe: eight July 9th.

Southwold: 12 S July 12th. Minsmere: 16 July 18th and 11 on two dates in August. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 31 July 31st and 5 0 Aug. 1st. Orford: Havergate Island, 30 July 25th and 28 Aug. 8th. Hollesley: Shingle Street, 34 Aug. 24th.

Bawdsey: 30 S Aug. 8th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, two S June 30th, 35 S July 18th and 131 S in August (incl. single flock of 55 on 8th).

The only September records involved 12 south off Thorpeness on 2nd, one south off Landguard, 7th and two over Stowmarket, Sept. 15th. In October, singles were noted at Minsmere, 9th and on Havergate Island, 15th and 19th. CURLEW Numenius arquata A common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Maximum monthly counts were: F M A I A s 0 Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

36 326 460 600 765

53 379 301 523 7%

67 778 754 522 1018

348 296 237 617



326 677


645 217 450 477

66 113 543 600 928

N 47 595 440 600 1003

D 33 749 714 489 893

The vast majority of the large flocks were recorded as part of co-ordinated estuary counts, supplemented by the few site observations listed below. For such a large, conspicuous wader it is perhaps surprising that records were received from only 20 coastal and estuatine sites: Minsmere: 120 July 2nd. Kirton: 178 Mar. 2nd. Trimley St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, 210 July 14th. Shotley/Chelmondiston: Hare's Creek/Pinmill, 6 0 0 Jan. 9th and Nov. 26th, 307 Mar. 22nd and 450 Sept. 20th. Levington: Levington Creek, 6 0 0 Nov. 10th.

During the harsh weather conditions that prevailed during the second week of February, 75 flew south off Landguard (between 8th and 13th) and further evidence suggesting that birds attempted to escape the severe weather lies with Suffolk-ringed birds being recovered in northern France (singles 16th and 17th Feb — see Ringing Report). At North Warren, return migration started as early as June 22nd, with numbers quickly building up to 41 on 24th. Landguard logged 125 birds flying south between June 15th and 30th, including 38 on 25th, and the monthly total for July was 125. Passage birds were also recorded at Minsmere — 120 July 2nd and 115 3rd and Orfordness — 50 June 29th. The only breeding records submitted involved three pairs at three Breckland sites.


S P O T T E D REDSHANK Tringa erythropus A common passage migrant.. Monthly maxima at the County's principal sites were as follows: M A M J J A s J F Benacre Minsmere Havergate Trimley

— — 3 —

— 1 — —

1 4 2 —

1 6 — 1

— 4 — —

31 4

1 112 2 4

6 71 1 3


15 14 1 -



27 11 —

2 15

NIL — —

There was a slight increase in the number of birds wintering with three on Havergate Island during January, the best site-count for that month since 1988 and singles at various localities on the Deben Estuary in January, March, November and December and another at Minsmere in February. The first of the spring was noted at Benacre, Mar. 31st and recorded, thereafter, at Blythburgh, Iken, Levington, Minsmere, North Warren, Southwold, Trimley Marshes and Walberswick, but numbers were small with the highest counts being of six at both Minsmere Apr. 27th and Snape, May 7th. Two flew north off Landguard, May 9th. Numbers observed during autumn passage were much higher and for the third year in succession Minsmere attracted a County record gathering with 112 July 21st, easily surpassing the total of 90 present during Aug. 5th to 7th 1990. Notable records other than those tabulated were: Walberswick: 56 Sept. 22nd. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, 11 June 22nd & 23rd and ten 26th.

In addition, ones and twos were noted at Blythburgh, Levington and Southwold. Singles flew south off Landguard, July 18th, Aug. 26th and Sept. 4th. Inland: singles passed through Lackford W.R., June 4th and 20th and July 3rd and one was at Station Lake, Needham Market, Aug. 6th. REDSHANK Tringa totanus A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A total of 93 breeding pairs was reported, including between ten and 12 on Trimley Marshes, 13 at North Warren, 21 at Minsmere, 3-4 on Shotley Marshes and 36 in the Walberswick/R.Blyth areas. One to two pairs were located inland at Ixworth Thorpe, Livermere Park, Lackford, Lakenheath and Thetford Heath. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 411 1784 720 700 1478

F 447 951 380 363 1119

M 913 547 443 553 876





735 267 130 230

675 873 514 683

684 256 825

404 616

N —

778 1089 500 1089

Co-ordinated low-water counts on the Stour and Orwell were as follows: N A A s 0 J F M Orwell Stour

1788 744

_ —

1032 994

802 —

1136 —

1736 1282

1652 —

1507 1053

D —

1114 692 560 1123 D — —

The only sizeable individual flocks reported were at sites on the Orwell: c700 Fox's Marina, Wherstead, Jan. 14th; 500 Ipswich Docks, Jan. 20th; c500 Levington, Nov. 10th; 514 feeding between Nacton Quay and Mansbrook Creek, Nacton, Sept. 16th and 560 Piper's Vale, Ipswich, Dec. 18th. Other records include 189 south past Southwold, Aug. 18th, a total of 171 flying south past Landguard in August (27 on 24th) and 12 roosting on boats at Lake Lothing, Lowestoft, Dec. 26th. BoEE counts since the mid-1980s indicate that both the Stour and Orwell estuaries have slipped below the international qualifying level of 1,500 (Waters & Prys-Jones 1990). However, the trend in the numbers feeding on the Orwell during the low-water period


Plate 10: Wilson's Phalarope at Benacre Broad in September 1991, Suffolk's sixth record.

Plate 11: White-winged Black Tern at Cattawade in June 1991.

Plate 12: Adult Mediterranean Gull at Levington.

late March.

indicates that the population is reasonably stable and that the estuary appears to be more important than roosting figures suggest. Yearly maxima of BoEE and low-water counts on the Orwell. Orwell Orwell

(LW) (HW)

84/85 2581 2972

85/86 1516 1070

86/87 1718 1373

89/90 1958 1243

90/91 1788 1574

The species is known to be susceptible to severe weather and during February's cold speli the carnage on our estuary shore-lines was most evident. No fewer than 574 corpses were recovered on the Aide/Ore (22), Deben (448) and Orwell (104) and many more undoubtedly went unnoticed, being eaten by predators, taken out to sea, etc. GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia A common passage migrant. There were two winter records, both in November, from Loompit Lake on the Orwell estuary, 17th and Holbrook on the Stour, 23rd. Livermere Park saw the first of the spring on Apr. 13th, but by the end of April only six coastal sites had recorded birds. May, however, saw a light passage period when records were widespread from coastal and estuarine rĂŠgions. Observations in May included five at Breydon Water, 26th; eight Southwold Marshes, 23rd; five Minsmere, 17th; 13 and 15 North Warren, 26th & 28th respectively; six Levington, 3rd and six Trimley Marshes, 3Ist. There were only six records for June, the highest being nine at Trimley Marshes, Ist and the last date for spring migration was 17th at North Warren. Return migration commenced on June 29th, when a single flew south past Landguard, and by the second week in July observations were widespread. Site peaks were as follows: B e n a c r e : 11 July 25th, 4 0 Aug. 19th to 21st, 31 Aug. 24th and 12 Sept. 2nd. W a l b e r s w i c k : up to 12, July 7th to Sept. Ist.

Minsmere: 10 July 31st and 14 Aug. 12th. A l d e b u r g h : Hazelwood Marshes, 12 Aug. 23rd and 11 Sept. 25th. O r f o r d : Havergate Island, 14 July 21st. D e b e n : Martlesham Creek to Waldringfield Hall, ten Aug. lOth. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, nine S July 24th and 12 S in August. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, four July 21st and six Aug. 16th. Levington: six July 9th, six Aug. 24th and four Sept. 18th.

Alton Water: seven Sept. 13th. S t o u r : Holbrook Bay, 12 Aug. l l t h . L a c k f o r d : W . R . , four Aug. 25th and two Sept. 6th & 28th.

The August gathering at Benacre is Suffolk's biggest ever away from the estuaries. The only October records came from Benacre, where up to three were present from Ist to lOth, and Iken, 17th. Additional inland records were from Homersfield, May 4th and Ixworth Thorpe, Aug. 22nd to 28th. GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. The number of wintering birds was similar to that of recent years. A minimum of 32 individuĂĄis was at 24 localities in January/February with the highest count of four at Alton Water, Jan. Ist. During the November/December period, a minimum of 23 birds was at 14 sites, the highest count being five on Sudbourne Marshes, Nov. lOth. Spring passage was light and mainly involved sightings of 1-2 birds with the only exceptions being four Lackford, Apr. 24th and four Minsmere, May 8th. The autumn passage period, however, was good with widespread reports. Notable gatherings included: Walberswick: up to 12 in early August. Minsmere: 15 during July and 12 in August.


T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, four July 4th & 8th, nine July 31st and 15 Aug. 3rd. S t r a t t o n H a l l : Levington Lagoon, four July 25th and Aug. 7th. A l t o n W a t e r : six Aug. 29th, five Sept. 6th and six Sept. 12th & 24th. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, six Aug. 4th, five Aug. 12th and six Oct. 6th. L a c k f o r d : W . R . , 10 July 20th and seven Aug. 11th. A f l o c k o f five f l e w s o u t h o v e r L a n d g u a r d Pt, A u g . 2 8 t h .

W O O D SANDPIPER Tringa glareola A fairly common passage migrant. The first of the spring was at North Warren, May 3rd and thereafter a minimum of 22 birds occurred at eight sites. Spring passage is summarised as follows: S o u t h w o l d : Buss Creek/Town Marshes, 1-3 May 20th to June 2nd. W a l b e r s w i c k : Westwood Marshes, June 5th. M i n s m e r e : singles on four dates in May and four June 2nd and again June 13th to 16th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, 1-3 May 3rd to June 3rd. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, 1-3 May 13th to June 1st. L a c k f o r d : W . R . , four May 30th, three May 31st and a single June 1st.

Return passage commenced at North Warren, June 17th and was last recorded at Havergate Island, Sept. 8th. Autumn passage is summarised as follows: Weybread: G.P., Aug. 10th. B e n a c r e : July 19th & 20th, six July 31st and two Aug. 2nd. S o u t h w o l d : Buss Creek/Town Marshes, July 13th & 14th, two July 31st increasing to five Aug. 7th. W a l b e r s w i c k : Westwood Marsh, July 21st. M i n s m e r e : June 27th & 28th, up to three July 4th — 14th, 29th & 31st, four Aug. 4th & 5th and five Aug. 7th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, June 17th & 26th and Aug. 4th & 5th. O r f o r d : Havergate Island, 1-2 July to Sept. 8th. H o l l e s l e y / B a w d s e y : Shingle St/East Lane, Aug. 3rd. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, 1-3 July 28th to Aug. 20th.

Alton Water: Aug. 2nd. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, Aug. 5th. L a c k f o r d : W . R . , June 28th and Sept. 11th.

C O M M O N SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos A common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Overwintering was reported at the following sites: Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, Feb. 10th. Ipswich: Docks area, Feb. 5th, 6th & 15th. A l t o n W a t e r : five dates in January and February with two Jan 25th & 28th and single Nov. 23rd. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, Jan. 1st & 21st.

A large number of records for spring and autumn passage, received from about 50 sites, are summarised in the table below: No. of sites Bird days (minimum)

A 6 9


J 11 21

25 186

J 21 118

A 24 295

s 13 60

o 7 9

The most notable (double-figure) gatherings were as follows: Benacre: 16 July 31st and 14 Aug. 8th. M i n s m e r e : 20 May 8th, 25 July 31st, 36 Aug. 8th and 29 Sept. 1st. O r f o r d : Havefgate Island, ten Aug. 9th.

Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, 12 May 19th.

Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, ten Aug. 2nd, 12 Aug. 12th and 18 Aug. 16th. Levington: 12 Aug. 8th.


TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres A common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Maximum monthly counts were as follows: Aide/Ore Orwell Stour Alton Water

J 2 120 352 12

F 1 109 478 8

M 12 87 270 NIL

A 3 129 188 NIL

A 6 82 297 NIL

S 3 88 422 NIL

O 7 133 167 NIL

N 17 245 462 132

D 10 211 337 10

The only other sizeable flocks reported were of 55 birds roosting on the South Pier at Lowestoft, Feb. 27th, 25 with Lapwings on an arable field at Carlton Marshes, Mar. 16th and 30 on the Bawdsey shingle spit, Mar. 3rd. Passage birds noted flying north past Covehithe included four May 13th and six 18th. Southerly movements at Landguard included 18 July 18th, 19 31st and 48 during August. Spring passage birds were recorded inland at Lackford W.R. on May 5th, 23rd (three) and June 3rd and Weybread G.P. on Apr. 27th and May 20th. Two were observed apparently feeding on a dead Bream at Alton Water, Jan. 29th. One was found dead beside the Orwell at Shotley, Feb. 8th with a Mussel clamping its mandibles together — presumably the bird had starved to death (see Letter on page 155 and Plate 30). WILSON'S P H A L A R O P E Phalaropus


A very rare passage migrant. B e n a c r e : Benacre Broad, juv. Sept. 14th to 19th (CW et


This well-watched individual constitutes the County's sixth record. GREY P H A L A R O P E Phalaropus


A rare w i n t e r v i s i t o r and p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . A n a b o v e a v e r a g e y e a r w i t h five a u t u m n r e c o r d s a s f o l l o w s : L o w e s t o f t : N e s s Pt, S Oct. 31st (BJB). K e s s i n g l a n d : on sea Oct. 26th ( C D D ) . B e n a c r e : Benacre Broad, Sept. 14th & 15th (RW).

Southwold: offshore, S Oct. 7th (JMC, MSF, EWP). O r w e l l : Fagbury Flats, Oct. 24th (MTW).

The Benacre bird made brief appearances, on both days, feeding alongside the Wilson's Phalarope. Unfortunately, Suffolk experienced its first blank year for Red-necked Phalarope since 1973, denying the opportunity of seeing all three species in the same year.


P O M A R I N E SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus An uncommon (mostly autumn) passage migrant. An average year with about 24 individuals. Monthly sightings were as follows: M 3

S 9


N 3


This species is always very scarce in spring, so a flock of three adults moving north off Landguard, May 8th, must have been a particularly splendid sight. This is only the seventh spring record for Suffolk (MM, NO, JZ). Autumn passage started rather later than usual with no August records at all. Records were received as follows: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, two N Oct. 2nd. B e n a c r e / C o v e h i t h e / S o u t h w o l d : singles Sept. 6th, 13th, 15th & 29th; Oct. 11th, 24th, 26th & 31st; four Sept 7th and two Nov. 10th.

Minsmere: Oct. 9th & 27th. F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, S Sept. 21st, Oct. 6th & 28th.

A R C T I C SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus A common passage migrant. There were no records for the first winter period and the only spring report was of one flying north off Covehithe, May 18th. Return migration was particularly early with the first of the autumn being three adults south over North Warren Reserve, June 26th, followed by six individuals at four coastal sites from July 9th to 31st. As successful breeders remain within the southern colonies (Shetland) until early August and two weeks later for those at higher latitudes (Furness 1987), the records are presumably failed breeders or immatures. More typically, the rest of the 189 individuals were recorded between Aug. 18th and Dec. 23rd. September was the best month and provided the highest counts of the year: 30 south off Covehithe, 8th (coinciding with the Long-tailed Skua influx) and ten south off Southwold and 14 off Landguard, 28th. The December record refers to one off Benacre, 23rd. Monthly sightings were as follows: M J J A s O N D 1








L O N G - T A I L E D SKUA Stercorarius longicaudus A scarce passage migrant. A superb year for this graceful seabird with a record 37 individuals. Thirty birds were noted during September and formed part of an unprecedented influx into the North Sea during that month, which resulted in a national total of c3,500 birds (cf Birding World 4:304) (Cawston antea). All sightings are listed as follows: C o r t o n : two imm. S (early morning) Sept. 7th ( J H G ) . Covehithe: three ads (N & two S) and eight juvs (seven S & one in off sea), 1 7 . 0 0 - 1 9 . 3 0 hrs, Sept. 7th (JMC, JHG, SL), juv. N Sept. 13th (JMC, EWP) & 15th (BS) and ad. S Sept. 19th (RW). S o u t h w o l d : 11 S (single flock), 15.55 hrs, Sept. 7th (WJB, JMC, SL, EWP), juv. S Oct. 10th (JMC, M S F , EWP), imm. N N o v . 10th (JHG).

Minsmere: S Oct. 8th (IR). Aldeburgh: N Sept. 18th (CD). S u d b o u r n e : Sudbourne Beach, juv. quartering beach, 1 2 . 3 0 - 1 4 . 5 0 hrs, Oct. 27th (EWP). B a w d s e y : 13 S (single flock — probably Southwold birds plus two), 17.00 hrs, Sept. 7th (ABo). F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, two juvs S Aug. 22nd ( N C , M M , N O ) , S Sept. 28th ( M M , NO) and S Oct. 19th (MM). A 2

S 30


O 4

N 1

GREAT SKUA Stercorarius skua A fairly common passage migrant. A poor year with only 22 individuals recorded. There were no first winter records and the only spring bird flew north off Southwold. May 6th. As with Pomarine Skua, this species was rather late in arriving off the Suffolk coast in the autumn. There were no July occurrences and only one bird was seen in August. September was the best month for passage with 16 sightings, the highest counts coming from Landguard, where three flew south 21st, and Southwold where three flew south, 29th. There were no second winter records and the last of the year flew north off Southwold, Oct. 21st. A NIL





A 1

S 16

O 4

MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus A fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The steady increase continues and the number of birds oversummering is encouraging. No fewer than 190 reports were received and in April perhaps as many as 16 birds frequented the Suffolk coast and in the second winter period the County's wintering population was about 11 birds, four in the Lowestoft area. Hopes of successful breeding were again raised, but not fulfilled, with Minsmere having an impressive series of records during the spring. Three adults were present Mar. 15th and by Apr. 26th four adults, a second-summer and a first-summer were together on The Scrape. A single adult displayed throughout April to a Black-headed Gull and successfully mated with it, May 18th. This bird remained in the area throughout the summer, but no hybrid young were reported. Although the gull failed to breed successfully in Suffolk, a pair has nested successfully in 1990 and 1991 over the County border in Essex (cf Essex Bird Report p.72). The table below shows the estimated monthly totals: Lowestoft Benacre Southwold Minsmere Havergate Felixstowe Orwell Bratrford Lackford

J 2 _ _ _ 1 _ _

F 3 _ _ 1 _ 1 1 _ _

M 3

A 1



i _ 1

_ 1 1 _ _

J — i

_ 4 2 — — _ _

_ _ 8

_ 5

_ 1


_ _

_ 1 — 1 1 _ _

2 _ _

N 4




1 _ _

O 1



2 1

S 1






3 — _ _

J — i

— — 1 — _ _

i 1

_ 2 — 1

— 1 2

1 2 i

D 1 _ _ 2 — 1 1 2 3

The figures for Minsmere include birds feeding at the Sizewell Power station outfall and the Orwell records are from Levington and Trimley Marshes. Inland records for December included an adult and first-winter bird at the Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, three first-winter birds amongst roosting gulls at LacKford W.R. and an adult "following the plough" at Tim worth. Other traditional sites such as Sizewell, Felixstowe and Levington all held single adults during both winter periods.

FRANKLIN'S G U L L Larus pipixcan Accidental. Burgh Castle: Breydon Water, ad. f.s.p. June 30th (WJB, JMC, EWP).


This magnificent bird, found at Breydon Water, Gt Yarmouth, Norfolk, around noon, flew up river to Burgh Castle during the late afternoon. It stayed there until the evening feeding on the mudfats with Black-headed Gulls on the Suffolk side of the estuary. Alas,

This is the County's second record, the first being the second-winter individual, which frequented the Lowestoft/Carlton Colville area from Nov. 13th 1977 to Mar. 30th 1978 (cf Brit. Birds 72:527). L I T T L E G U L L Larus minutus A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Recorded in every month except March. Records for the first winter period included a single at Benacre Denes, Jan. 18th, two on Benacre Broad, Feb. 2nd and another 17th, two at Minsmere, Feb. 9th and one at Holbrook, Feb. 12th. Rather unusually, this species was recorded in consistently high numbers from April into August. The highest spring count came from inland at Lackford W.R., with 12 Apr. 10th. During June, good numbers were recorded from the lower Orwell and Deben estuaries. Up to 13 were on Trimley Marshes including seven adults, 5th and six immatures 7th. At King's Fleet, R.Deben, there were six immatures 4th and three adults, 9th. Interchange between the two sites was likely. Autumn passage was not as marked as in the past two years with October and November providing the highest counts as follows: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, offshore, 25 Nov. 19th. South wold: 12 N & two S Oct. 11th, nine S Oct. 29th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 34 S & five N Oct. 26th. J 1

F 5


M 34


J 23

J 18

A 26


S O 103

N 29

D 1

The December record relates to one found freshly dead on the tideline at Landguard, 15th. SABINE'S G U L L Larus sabini A rare passage migrant. A good year for this species, with regular seawatching yielding five records: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, juv. Sept. 29th to Oct. 10th (PG, RCS). Southwold: ad. N Oct. 10th (JMC, EWP), juv. N Oct. 11th (JMC, EWP). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, ads. N Aug. 31st (NO) and possibly the same Sept. 3rd (NC, LWo).


The table below shows the number of occurrences over the past ten years. The five years 1982-86 produced just two records, but since 1987, when there has been a dramatic increase in seawatching activity, 22 individuals have been reported. 1982 NIL

1983 1

1984 NIL

1985 1

1986 NIL

1987 3

1988 9

1989 2

1990 3

1991 5

BLACK-HEADED G U L L Larus ridibundus An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The only breeding data came from the Havergate and Blyth colonies, where respective totals of 1,100 and 1,500 pairs were reported. The highest winter roost counts were of c8,000 at Lackford W.R. during November and December and 4,500 at Minsmere in December. Blyth Aide Minsmere Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

J 90 823


2451 893



I 440 1473 400 1124 1403

M 700 3477 1200 2048 988

A 1226 600 1505 534




364 4500



532 490 —


2031 300 2386 3858





220 450 2106 4186 1507 440 —

D —

300 —

731 384

1341 4500 813 833

469 8000

520 8000

Offshore movements were unremarkable with the best counts coming from Landguard where 552 flew south, Oct. 12th. An albinistic adult was present at Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, Dec. 31st. At Lackford W.R. on Sept. 19th, three first-year birds repeatedly dropped a leaf, from a height of approximately ten metres, before diving down to retrieve it.

RING-BILLED G U L L Larus delawarensis Accidental. Suffolk had to wait six years for its second record of this transatlantic vagrant, which is now a regular visitor to Britain and Ireland, but still mainly to south-western counties (Dymond et al 1989). Lowestoft: N e s s Pt, second-winter Feb. 24th (RW).

COMMON G U L L Larus canus An abundant winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. The Orfordness colony held 25 pairs, fledging at least eight young. The highest count away from the immediate vicinity of the coast or estuaries was of 506 at Alton Water on Nov. 10th. T h e r e w e r e distinct i n f l u x e s d u r i n g January a n d D e c e m b e r w i t h h i g h c o u n t s a s f o l l o w s : Minsmere: 9 5 0 Dec. 23rd. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 800 Jan. 20th and c 5 , 0 0 0 Dec. 20th. Trimley St M a r y : Fagbury Flats, c l , 0 0 0 Dec. 5th.

Monthly counts are listed as follows: J

Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water



40 1 28 42 87


F 53 350 63 50 138 216 200

M 11 130 88 36 84 350 —






580 37 27 6

23 4

15 10

65 10 7 34

60 13 21 66 305 169

60 27 16 185



8 —


1 —




1 —


506 —

D —

950 46 22 1000 254 205 147

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. No accurate counts were made at the Orfordness colony, but numbers were estimated to be similar to recent years. Wintering numbers were relatively low, with the inland gull roost at Lackford W.R. providing the highest counts viz. 21 Jan. 13th, 50 Feb. 23rd and 58 Nov. 10th. On the coast, the highest count was 55 at Minsmere, Dec. 23rd. Huge numbers built up on the Aide/Ore estuary complex prior to breeding on Orfordness with counts of 3,246 and 3,866 in March and April respectively. Spring passage peaked during April and early May and movements included good counts of the southern Scandinavian race L.f. intermedius as follows: Southwold: 24 Apr. 12th and 33 May 1st. Minsmere: 14 May 1st. Single birds considered to be of the nominate, northern Scandinavian race L.f.fuscus were at Southwold, Nov. 2nd and Bramford. Oct. 26th. J Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford

4 1 3 3 21

F 11 1

M 22 3246 1 4

1 —



A 65 3866 32 26 2 158

M 110 100 10 5

J 40 44

J 300 32



A —



S 27 160 —

8 1 —

0 70 20 10 15 25 3 —

N 12 39 2 3


6 58

D 55 37 —

2 1 3 —

The count of 220 at Lackford, July 11th, is surely evidence that breeding birds from, perhaps, the Orfordness colony are prepared to travel some considerable distance to find food. At Lackford, a beleaguered parent was seen to regurgitate food to two full-grown juveniles, July 26th, which indicates that, for a time, some young are still reliant on the adults after leaving their colony. H E R R I N G G U L L Larus argentatus An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. As with last year, this species was generally under-recorded. Only 32 records were received as compared with 52 for Iceland Gull and no breeding data were received. Excepting the large, pre-breeding gatherings around the Aide/Ore estuary complex, the largest count was 750 off Landguard, Nov. 28th. Minsmere Aide Deben Orwell

J 40 991 90 70

F 120 414 150 29

M 10 2639 107 85

A 38 1478 134 23

M 9 16

J 120 40


J 120 28







126 111 82

0 40 29 55 120

N 60 411 130 84

D 320 1802 140 191

It was an excellent year for 'Yellow-legged Gulls' with 14 individuals reported all showing characters of the race L.a. michahellis as follows: B r e y d o n Water: up to four June 30th to Aug. 8th and singles Aug. 15th & 28th and Sept. 6th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, ad. Aug. 28th. Southwold: Boating Lake, Oct. 5th. M i n s m e r e : ads Oct. 1st, 25th & 26th and Dec. 11th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, ad. June 24th. Trimley St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, ad. July 14th.

ICELAND G U L L Larus glaucoides A scarce winter visitor. P r o b a b l y o n l y f o u r birds w e r e r e c o r d e d d u r i n g t h e y e a r .

Minsmere: ad. Feb. 21st (IR). Aldeburgh: North Warren Reserve, first winter Dec. 31st (BJB, TMB, M DC).


Foxhail: first or second-winter Dec. 22nd (probably Aldeburgh bird) (MDC). Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry to Landguard Pt, ad. 1990 to Apr. 12th and again from Oct. 23rd to the year's end (many observers).

It was the ninth successive year for the Felixstowe individual. GLAUCOUS G U L L Larus hyperboreus A scarce winter visitor. An average year with about 5-6 individuals. All records are listed and the inland bird at Bramford is particularly noteworthy, being the first County record away from the coast and estuaries.

L o w e s t o f t : N e s s Pt, first-winter Jan. 10th to 12th (NJS, RF, CSW), another Oct. 19th to 21st (RF, CAJ, RCS) and again Nov. 19th (JHG). B e n a c r e : first-winter Dec. 23rd ( D B B . RCS). M i n s m e r e / A l d e b u r g h : first-winter Oct. 20th & 21st (MLC, JAD, RNM), again Oct. 26th (CAJ, IR) and Dec. 22nd ( R N M , R V A M ) ) . B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, ad. Feb. 23rd (WJB, SD).

GREAT BLACK-BACKED G U L L Larus marinus An abundant winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell

J 60 49 21 21

F 40 46 5 10

M 13 38 4 6

A 30 8 9 9

J 150 10

A -








63 22 93

O 40 130 18 19

N 30 249 45 44

D 75 78 9 33

The highest count of the year came from Bramford Landfill Site, where at least 500 were roosting in a field, Jan. 5th. A roost of 110 was noted at Southwold Marshes, Nov. 2nd. An interesting inland record involved a bird feeding on a dead Hare at Long Melford, Nov. 2nd.


K I T T I W A K E Rissa tridactyla An abundant resident and passage migrant. At Lowestoft, breeding success was excellent, with numbers increasing yet again on 1990. There were 157 nests, of which 125 were successful and 197 young were raised, making it a record year for this colony. T h e r e w a s a n o t a b l e i n f l u x o f b i r d s f e e d i n g o f f s h o r e d u r i n g l a t e D e c e m b e r , w i t h the following high counts:

Kessingland: 350 23rd.

Covehithe: 100 27th. Orfordness: 200 21st. Other large movements involved 300 birds flying south off Southwold, Oct. 19th and 300 off Minsmere, Nov. 20th. At least 200 followed the m.v. Hamburg down the Suffolk coast, Feb. 12th. Counts from Landguard included 100 Jan. 16th and 20th, Feb. 2nd and Nov. 28th. Inland, one was at the Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, Nov. 23rd. G U L L - B I L L E D T E R N Gelochelidon


A v e r y rare p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, N May 28th (JRA, N C , NO).

Perfect seawatching conditions, during a strong south-easterly wind and low cloud, contributed to Suffolk's eighth record. CASPIAN T E R N Sterna caspia A rare summer visitor and passage migrant. With four records in 1991, Suffolk kept its reputation for being one of the best counties in Britain for observing the species. Bradwell: Breydon Water, 1-2 ad. July 6th to Aug. 8th (CAB). Covehithe: Covehithe Cliffs, ad. N July 5th (JMC, EWP). M i n s m e r e : July 28th (GAG, JPT). L a c k f o r d : W . R . July 23rd (JD).

These four records bring the County's tally to 31. The Covehithe bird bathed with gulls on Benacre Broad for an hour, before continuing its journey north, and was probably that seen at Breydon Water the next day. Whilst at Breydon, the bird regularly roosted with gulls on the Norfolk side of the estuary, but was frequently observed on the southern shore. Lackford is fast becoming a 'hot-spot' for the species with the above being the site's third record in four years. LESSER C R E S T E D T E R N Sterna bengalensis Accidental. Benacre: ad. Aug. 25th (HP, SEP, MJT). Unfortunately, this individual stayed for only 15 minutes before flying back out to sea. A new species for the County and a long predicted addition to the Suffolk list. This is assumed to have been the bird which has oversummered with Sandwich Terns on the Farne Islands since 1984. The nearest large breeding colony of this species lies on the islets in the Gulf of Sirte, off the coast of Libya (Cramp et al 1985). SANDWICH T E R N Sterna sandvicensis A common summer visitor and passage migrant. A single on Havergate Island, Mar. 17th, was the first of the year, soon followed by three at Minsmere on 21st. There was a dramatic build up at both sites with monthly totals


at Minsmere peaking at 340 on Apr. 30th and 420 May 6th and at Havergate Island 61 Mar. 28th, 420 Apr. 22nd and 600 May 4th. Offshore, spring passage included 96 flying north at Landguard, Apr. 19th and 46 north off South wold, May 6th. A total of 22 pairs nested at Minsmere, but, sadly, all were unsuccessful. The Havergate Island colony was more successful, however, with 84 pairs raising 50 young. Away from the coast and estuaries, two were in the Gipping Valley at Baylham, May 18th, singles at Alton Water, Sept. 7th and Station Lake, Needham Market, Aug. 24th and a flock of 28, the County's largest ever inland total, flew east over Lackford W.R., Aug. 28th. There were no large southerly, autumn movements, but there was a steady offshore passage during August and September. Eight south off Minsmere, Nov. 20th, were the last of the year and the latest ever recorded in Suffolk. ROSEATE T E R N Sterna dougallii A rare summer visitor and passage migrant. There were two records as follows: Southwold: ad. S Sept. 29th (JMC, EWP). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, ad. S Aug. 19th (WJB, JMC, M S F , EWP).

COMMON T E R N Sterna hirundo A common summer visitor and passage migrant. Breeding numbers are at present very low, with only about 75 pairs reported (136 in 1990). Fifteen pairs were present along the R.Blyth, seven pairs nested at Minsmere and 47 at Havergate Island. The first bird of the year was inland at Lackford W.R., Apr. 4th, the site's earliest ever record. There were frequent reports from Lackford W.R. up to Oct. 1st with maximum counts of 11 Apr. 10th, up to 11 during May and seven Sept. 27th. At other inland sites, 1-2 frequented the Gipping Valley between late April and mid-July and singles occurred at Eye, July 19th, Redgrave Lake, May 29th and Long Melford, June 8th and July 13th. In the Waveney Valley, six were at Wey bread Pits, May 4 th and two were there July 28th. The peak counts at Alton Water were 30 Apr. 25th and May 3rd. Autumn passage peaked in August with Landguard recording 500 birds south during the month. The highest counts were as follows: Benacre: Benacre Broad, 70 roosting 25th.

Southwold: 53 S 22nd. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 133 S 22nd.

A straggler at Sizewell, Nov. 2nd constituted the last record of the year. ARCTIC T E R N Sterna paradisaea A fairly common passage migrant. A bird o n t h e R . S t o u r at H o l b r o o k , A p r . 14th w a s t h e first o f the y e a r . A g o o d s p r i n g p a s s a g e s h o w e d a distinct p e a k in early M a y : Southwold: ten N May 1st and nine N June 1st. Minsmere: The Scrape, nine May 2nd.

Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 13 N May 8th.

Alton Water: two Apr. 27th. Lackford: W . R . , three Apr. 28th, four May 5th, 12 May 6th, two May 8th and a single May 31st.

Gt Livermere: Livermere Pk, May 6th. Autumn passage was rather poor with the only double-figure count 12 north off Covehithe, Sept. 14th. October records included a juvenile at Havergate Island on 6th and six flying


south off Landguard on 8th. The last of the year was a juvenile flying north past Lowestoft, Nov. 19th, the latest in Suffolk since 1982 (JHG). L I T T L E T E R N Sterna albifrons A common summer visitor and passage migrant. An extremely disappointing year with a considerable decrease in both the number of pairs breeding and the number of chicks fledged. The adjusted total of 169-184 pairs represents a decrease of between 31 % and 24 %, when compared with 1990 (244 pairs). Only 37 chicks survived to the flying stage and excluding the Felixstowe birds from the productivity figures, as the outcome was unknown, gives a fledging rate of 0.25 chicks per pair. The following table shows the numbers and success at each locality (key: p = pairs, f = no. of fledged young, — = no information received): Kessingland Benacre Covehithe Easton Bavents Dunwich Minsmere Sizewell Orfordness Landguard Felixstowe Docks Trimley TOTALS

P 25 9 19 9 27 12 NIL 55-60 9 25-35 8





The future of the County's breeding colonies looks grim indeed, with most failures being the result of disturbance, even at sites which have been fenced to deter human intruders — e.g. Benacre, Covehithe, Minsmere and Landguard. Other colonies suffered from predation, by Foxes and Moorhens, and sudden thunderstorms. Five flying north off Landguard, Apr. 23rd, were the first of the year. At Minsmere 105 birds were present between Apr. 24th and 30th, which was the largest gathering of the year. Inland records came from Lackford W.R., where singles were present on May 18th and July 4th, two on July 3rd and Aug. 23rd and another, the last of the year, on Sept. 22nd. The latter bird, a juvenile, mobbed a passing Sparrowhawk. BLACK T E R N Chlidonias niger A fairly common passage migrant. The first of the year were seven at Lackford W.R., five at Alton Water and two at Minsmere all on Apr. 25th. These heralded the start of an impressive spring passage which totalled about 180 birds and peaked in late May and early June. The best counts received (four or more) were as follows: Breydon Water: 22 Apr. 26th. Covehithe: 20 N May 31st. Southwold: 16 N May 28th. W e y b r e a d : G . P . , four May 25th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, four N May 26th and 28th and four S May 30th. T r i m l e y St M a r t i n / M a r y : Loompit Lake, four May 26th; Trimley Marshes, five Apr. 29th. A l t o n W a t e r : five Apr. 25th, six May 3rd and four May 30th. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, 18 May 30th and four May 31st. L t C o r n a r d : R.Stour, four Apr. 29th. L a c k f o r d : W . R . , seven Apr. 25th, eight May 27th and ten June 1st.

Additional records from inland sites included three at Livermere Park, Apr. 28th and one at Redgrave Lake, May 29th.


By comparison, autumn passage was very light, heralded by one at Trimley Marshes, July 29th and followed by four at Benacre, July 31st. Elsewhere along the coast, ones and twos were recorded with the last of the year being a single off Covehithe, Oct. 1 Ith. WHITE-WINGED BLACK T E R N Chlidonias


A very rare passage migrant. Brantham/East Bergholt: Cattawade/Flatford, ad. & second-summer June 2nd to 5th (MFMB et al). Both birds were in splendid summer plumage and gave superb close-up views over a small pond at Flatford and a section of the R.Stour at Cattawade. There have now been 18 records of this species in Suffolk, totalling 20 birds. The only other record involving two together occurred on June 14th 1960 at Reydon. G U I L L E M O T Uria aalge A common passage migrant and winter visitor. At least six birds spent the first winter period on the R.Orwell, five of which were considered to be of the nominate northern race U.a.aalge. There were no large offshore movements, but 80 off Benacre, May 18th, was a very good count for the time of year. Spring passage lasted to June Ist, when three flew north off Southwold. Counts of unidentified species of auk (presumably Guillemot/Razorbills) included: Southwold: 165 N Oct. 18th, 100 N Oct. 19th and 107 N Oct. 20th. RAZORBILL Alca lorda A fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. A very poor year for this handsome auk, with only 21 recorded alive and nine found dead. The largest gathering was of five together on the sea off Bawdsey, Dec. 20th. Most other records concerned one or two birds with most occurring between early October and mid-November.


BLACK G U I L L E M O T Cepphus grylle Accidental. Southwold: nr Southwold Pier, on sea, first winter Oct. 21st (JHG et


This is only the sixth record for the County and the first since Oct. 29th 1983, when one flew north off Easton Bavents. This species is much sought after by local birders and, with the stay of this individual limited to no more than three hours, only seven or eight fortunate observers were able to add it to their County list. One offshore at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, Oct. 22nd, was likely to have been the Southwold bird (cf Essex Bird Report 1991, p79). L I T T L E AUK Alle alle A fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. An excellent year with over 300 birds recorded. In the early part of the year, two were off Minsmere, Jan. 26th and there were six sightings of singles in January and another in February. The main influx began in mid-October, with seven north off Southwold and one south off Landguard, on 19th. The highest counts came on Oct. 20th, when well over 200 birds were recorded as follows: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, 72 N 20th. Southwold: 107 N 20th. B a w d s e y : 18 (eight N , four S & five inland with Starlings) 20th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 19 N & eight S 20th.

Ones and twos then occurred offshore until Nov. 5th, when five flew north off Minsmere, followed, on Nov. 19th and 20th, by 15 and three north off Lowestoft and Southwold, respectively. 'Wrecked' birds were found at Woodbridge, Oct. 21st and inland on the R.Lark at Lackford on the same day. Another picked up in a garden at Bradfield St George, Oct. 27th was released at Felixstowe. J 6

F 1

O 242

N 55

One flying towards the shore with a group of Starlings off Bawdsey, Oct. 20th was taken by a Great Black-backed Gull and swallowed whole! PUFFIN Fratercula arctica A scarce passage migrant. Only seven recorded this year, all within a three day period coinciding with the large Little Auk movement. All records are listed: Southwold: two N Oct. 19th (JMC), four N Oct. 20th (WJB, JMC, MSF, EWP) and one N Oct. 21st (MSF).

During the same period, the species was particularly prominent in East Anglia, being recorded in Norfolk, with six at both Blakeney Pt and Sheringham (Seago 1992) and in Essex at St Osyth, Bradwell, Southend Pier and East Tilbury (Green 1992).

R O C K DOVE Columba livia An abundant resident from feral stock. Cramp et al (1985) describes the original distribution as being "obscure . . . because of the long history of domestication by man, e.g. for food (dovecotes and special platforms in breeding caves) and for breeding (as racing pigeons or for producing fancy varieties) ' '• He also states that it was impossible to construct any detailed distribution map of the western


Palearctic populations as until recently they have been ' 'largely neglected by ornithologists and some recent atlas surveys have not included feral forms". Sharrock (1976) states that the breeding population for Britain and Ireland "could exceed 100,000 pairs". We have no idea of the size of the County's breeding populations nor whether they are increasing or decreasing. In view of the forthcoming Avifauna, observers are requested to pay more attention to their local flocks by reporting large gatherings as well as any apparent population fluctuations. STOCK DOVE Columba oenas A fairly common resident and passage migrant. Recent editions of Suffolk Birds bemoan the lack of records concerning the status of this species. In this respect, there was no change in 1991, apart from an apparent further decline in both numbers and localities. Very few nesting records were received. The parents of two late juveniles that fledged, from a nest box originally intended for Barn Owls at Gt Bradley in October, were chancing their luck. Winter gatherings were paltry with the only counts of over 40 being flocks of 50 at both Sudbourne and Shottisham Creek, Jan. 20th and 52 at Bramford Water Pk, Nov. 28th. Very few migrants were noted in the spring or early autumn. However, from Nov. 2nd to 10th Landguard logged 315 individuals including a dramatic 261 south on 9th. Single figure counts of passage birds were also noted at Benacre and Southwold during this period. Movements, such as those witnessed at Landguard, are not uncommon, the County's record currently standing at 2,000 south at Minsmere, Nov. 23rd 1959 (Axell I960). W O O D P I G E O N Columba palumbus An abundant resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. With the shift to nesting in urban areas aiding breeding success and large parts of the Suffolk countryside resembling one huge bird-table for Woodpigeons, courtesy of the local fanners, the non-migratory Suffolk population is probably vast. However, as is generally the case with abundant species, detailed records in the breeding season are few; this has resulted in counts of 24 pairs at North Warren, Aldeburgh and 7-9 pairs at Landguard being the largest received. The only four-figure counts of winter flocks were of 1,000 at both Halesworth, Jan. 11th and Searson's Fm, Trimley St Mary, Mar. 4th. Spring passage was only noted at Landguard and can be best described as mediocre with the only double-figure counts being of 11 south Mar. 14th, 19 south Apr. 6th and 26 south Apr. 9th. Records of five north May 12th and 21 south 20th are difficult to explain, as this is well after the species' main period of spring movements. Autumn passage was first noted at Bawdsey, Oct. 20th when 17 were seen to fly in off the sea. However, on the Felixstowe peninsula an impressive southerly movement from Nov. 2nd to 13th totalled nearly 25,000 birds with peak days at Landguard of 8,390 on 6th and 8,450 9th. Elsewhere, the only passage count was of 2,000 south at Hollesley, Nov. 10th — these birds may well have been seen shortly afterwards at Landguard. As in previous years, no movements were logged further up the Suffolk coast, suggesting a more direct east to west approach, rather than a southward drift. Few of these birds are likely to winter in Suffolk. Cramp et al (1985) states that ' 'Fenno-Scandia and eastern European populations move south-west from mid-September to early November ' ' to wintering grounds mainly in ' 'southwest France and (especially) Iberia ' ' and that ' 'autumn occurrences of Continental birds in (mainly eastern) Britain believed attributable to drift movements in overcast conditions over the North Sea". This is contrary to observations at Landguard where large, earlymorning flocks pass south predominantly during periods of clear skies.


C O L L A R E D DOVE Sireptopelia decaocto An abundant resident. Only 35 years since its first appearance in Suffolk, Collared Doves are now largely ignored by observers. This is a shame as the species' decline is not being as well documented as its arrival and subsequent colonisation. The species continues to decline in and around Felixstowe and, judging by the lack of records, also at many other sites. The Leathes Ham, Lowestoft roost held 180 Feb. 14th and later in the year 420, Nov. 23rd. The only sizeable gathering away from this site was of 180 at Sluice Fm, Martlesham, Nov. 10th. Light coastal passage was noted only at Landguard. In the spring, migrants were recorded from Apr. 9th to early June with a maximum of eight, May 31st. During a very poor autumn passage in October and early November the maximum was 18, Oct. 16th. T U R T L E D O V E Streptopelia turtur A common summer visitor and passage migrant. In contrast to the last three species, an abundance of records makes a meaningful assessment more likely. The first spring record was at Westleton, Apr. 13th and the species was widely noted from late April onwards into May, when the main arrival occurred, with birds still being noted at passage sites into June. However, all counts were in single figures. Breeding pairs were widespread in the County with the important RSPB reserves at Minsmere and North Warren reporting 24 and 13 territories respectively. Notable gatherings included an unexpected pre-breeding concentration of 95 at Worlingworth, June 1st and 2nd and a post-breeding assembly of 107 on electricity cables at Long Melford, Sept. 15th. Autumn migration, as in the spring, was sparse. Birds lingered on into October at seven localities until the last at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary on 28th and into November at Worling worth, 14th. Wintering by this species is unusual, but one was present from Nov 10th onwards into 1992 at Lowestoft, where it fed at the Commercial Rd grain silo and roosted with Collared Doves at Leathes Ham. This is the County's seventh winter record, since first noted in 1975. R I N G - N E C K E D P A R A K E E T Psittacula An uncommon resident.


A n u n i n s p i r i n g s e l e c t i o n o f r e c o r d s p o s s i b l y relates t o o n l y e i g h t i n d i v i d u a l s :

Benacre: two Mar. 13th. Southwold: S Oct. 24th. B l y t h b u r g h : Sept. 18th & 26th. W a l b e r s w i c k : Westwood Marsh, Dec. 28th. M i n s m e r e : Sept. 18th, Oct. 2nd, 4th, 5th & 24th and Dec. 28th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, N Oct. 5th & 23rd. I k e n : Iken Cliff, Dec. 28th.

Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff/Blofield Hall, Sept. 3rd to 7th. Aldham: February. Unfortunately, the survivor of the breeding pair at Aldham Church was found dead. The pair was a popular ornithological attraction to the village, nesting in a hole in the church masonry since 1977. Also an unidentified Parakeet, probably of this species, was at Benacre Broad, Nov. 16th. C U C K O O Cuculus canorus A fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Lackford W.R. hosted this year's first on Apr. 12th, but by the following day reports were widespread.


Widely distributed in the breeding season. Departing adults were noted in the last third of June at Landguard where there was a maximum of three, 28th. A total of only ten individuals was noted throughout the County in August with the last record of the year being a juvenile at Minsmere, Sept. 9th.

BARN O W L Tyto alba A fairly common resident. Records from about 100 localities indicate that Barn Owls are holding their own, although breeding was confirmed at very few sites. Road casualties this year were at Barrow, Beyton, Bury St Edmunds, Great Saxham, A45 (near Asda superstore), Ipswich, Martlesham, Rougham, Saxmundham, Stanton and Stoke-by-Clare. Individuals that regularly hunt during the hours of daylight, at well-watched sites, inevitably attract much attention. Based upon the number of reports, this year's most popular individual occurred at Butley Mills in January coinciding with the roosting Rough-legged Buzzards nearby!

LITTLE O W L Athene noctua A fairly common resident. Reported from 82 localities which compares well with recent years. No road casualties were reported, although one was found drowned in a water-butt at Low Street, Benhall, Mar. 2nd. Although not renowned for its migratory prowess, there were sightings at Landguard on five dates in January, Oct. 20th, Nov. 20th and 23rd, which probably refer to individuals wandering in search of new territories.

TAWNY O W L Strix aluco A common resident. Widely scattered reports from across the County indicate a healthy population, particularly in the urban conurbations where a plentiful supply of food is available. The records suggest that Felixstowe and Ipswich are the best sites in the County for this species, but this is undoubtedly just a reflection of where most observers reside. Landguard's resident Tawny Owl (see Suffolk Birds 1990 p83 and Suffolk Birds 1991 p99) became elusive and it is suspected that she now has a new diurnal residence within Landguard Fort rather than a windy Holm Oak in the Observatory compound. LONG-EARED O W L Asio otus A fairly common winter visitor, passage migrant and scarce resident. Very few nesting records from traditional sites in Breckland or coastal heaths probably reflect lower recording levels than in 1990. Away from the traditional areas, there was a breeding record from the south of the County where, coincidentally, the only sizeable winter roost occurred with up to ten birds in the first winter period and four in the second. A smaller gathering of three was in Tunstall Forest, Dec. 9th. The only winter sightings away from known breeding areas were at Sudbourne, Jan. 1st and Dec. 29th and an unfortunate road casualty at Gazeley in December. Spring passage involved singletons along the coast, Mar. 4th to May 19th. Autumn passage was more widespread from Oct. 8th to Nov. 27th with a maximum of three at Landguard, Oct. 27th. As in previous years, there was a sighting in Felixstowe Docks with one in No. 14 Warehouse, Oct. 29th.


S H O R T - E A R E D O W L Asio flammeus A fairly common winter visitor, passage migrant and scarce resident. There were winter sightings at 22 localities early in the year, with the maximum counts being six on the Aide/Ore and five inland at Cavenham Pits. Reports in spring at 13 sites in April and May up to 23rd undoubtedly included many passage migrants. There were no further records until two flew in off the sea at Benacre, Aug. 26th (see Honey Buzzard). Autumn passage was unremarkable, being noted at only ten coastal localities and continued into November. Records were received from 20 potential wintering localities by the year's end with a maximum of only four on Orfordness, Nov. 10th. Other records away from the coast and estuaries were from: Beccles, Mar. 12th; Stowupland, Nov. 8th; Stradishall, up to three Jan. 1st to Apr. 30th and two November and December; Elveden, Jan. 11th and West Stow C.P., Nov. 17th. N I G H T J A R Caprimulgus europaeus An uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Editors of ' 'Suffolk Birds ' ' have been spoilt in recent years with several detailed surveys of Nightjars both on the coast and in the brecks. Unfortunately, this is not the case in 1991, so it would be futile to make any statements on available information. However, the annual census of Rendlesham and Tunstall Forests yielded 25 and 15 pairs respectively. The first reported arrival was at Minsmere, May 12th and the last of the year was again at Minsmere, Aug. 29th. S W I F T Apus apus An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. First arrivals were reported on Apr. 24th at Carlton Marshes, Oulton Broad and Lackford W.R. and, thereafter, birds were widely noted. Spring passage was not spectacular, although 2,000 were at Southwold, May 17th and 2,000 passed through Minsmere the following day. Observers reported "poor numbers" ax Holbrook and Ipswich, but large mid-summer gatherings included 2,000 at Lackford W.R., June 19th, 2,000-3,000 at Carlton Colville, July 12th and 5,000 at Minsmere, July 14th. An observer based in Old Felixstowe reported the largest August passage at that site since 1985, although numbers just down the road at Landguard were distinctly unimpressive. Four-figure autumn passage counts included 6,000 south at Benacre, July 9th (07.00 to 09.00 hrs) and 1,000 south over Chantry Fm, Campsey Ash, Aug. 6th. An abundance of sightings was reported in September as observers competed for the honour of seeing the last Swift of the year, but most were beaten with the prize shared between North Denes, Lowestoft and Benhall Low Street, Oct. 3rd. ALPINE SWIFT Apus melba A very rare passage migrant. This record is the first since 1987 bringing the County total to 14. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, S July 11th (AB et al). KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis A fairly common resident. A run of mild winters had resulted in a widespread healthy wintering population, but all was to change at the onset of the cold spell in February, when numbers were quickly depleted. At regular sites, observers were struggling to find any and they became very scarce in the coastal strip. All those noted in the few weeks immediately after the cold spell are documented as follows:


Lowestoft: Feb. 6th to 13th. Beccles: dead Feb. 14th. Reydon/Southwold: Wolsey Bridge/Town Marshes, Feb. 9th and Mar. 1st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Feb. 24th, noted on five dates, March/April.

Snape: Maltings, Mar. 7th.

Gt Glemham: dead Feb. 14th. Ipswich: Holywells Pk, Feb. 20th; Stoke Bridge/Wet Dock/Orwell Bridge, regularly up to Feb. 17th.

Long Melford: up to Feb. 24th Bar ham: G . P . , Mar. 30th.

Gt Finborough: Mar. 24th. Lackford: W . R . , three dates Feb. 8th to Mar. 30th. D u r i n g t h e s e v e r e w e a t h e r , s e v e r a l b i r d s s u r v i v e d b y f e e d i n g in areas o f b r a c k i s h w a t e r . F o l l o w i n g this d e v a s t a t i n g h a r s h w e a t h e r p e r i o d , t h e o n l y c o n f i r m e d b r e e d i n g w a s at M i n s m e r e , N o r t h W a r r e n , W a v e n e y V a l l e y , I x w o r t h T h o r p e and W i l t o n B r i d g e , B r a n d o n . Pairs a p p a r e n t l y reared y o u n g at o t h e r s i t e s , as f r o m t h e e n d o f July r e c o r d s b e c a m e m o r e widespread.

Although it will take another run of mild winters for the population to return to its preFebruary levels, recovery will not be aided by the female Sparrowhawk which killed a Kingfisher at North Warren in early August.

Suffolk's 26th record, yet again, seen by the lucky few who happened to be in the right place at the right time! ROLLER Coracias garrulus A very rare passage migrant. The tenth County record this century toughened up a few calf muscles as the delighted hordes hiked down the shingle ridge towards Orfordness to view this gaudy juvenile found on a BoEE count.


O r f o r d n e s s : Lantern Marshes, Sept. 8th to 13th (DCr et al).

."fatm Çrymt!.


H O O P O E Upupa epops A scarce passage migrant. A n a v e r a g e s h o w i n g w i t h p e r h a p s o n l y t h r e e individuate f r o m five r e c o r d s a s f o l l o w s :

Kessingland: Apr. llth (TN et al). Southwold: Gun Hill Apr. 13th (per JHG). Dunwich: Beach, May 17th (FB). Minsmere: May 22nd (per IR). Worlingworth: Oct. 13th (Mr & Mrs P per DMA). W R Y N E C K Jynx torquilla An uncommon passage migrant. Formerly bred. Wrynecks are becoming scarcer in Suffolk on spring passage, but this year's total of five individuals is about average for recent years. Two out of four were long-stayers. However, the singing bird at Dunwich and the June record from Benacre are hopeful signs for the future. Maybe they are pioneering their return to the County as a breeding species? Kessingland: Sewage Works, Apr. 30th to May 3rd (CAB, SHP, CSW et al). Benacre: Benacre Denes, May 4th to 13th (RW, CSW) (considered same as above); nr Broad, June 20th (CSW). D u n w i c h : Greyfriars, cr May 2nd to 21st (AH) (trapped 2nd & l l t h — heard singing). M i n s m e r e : Scottshall Covert, May 9th (RSPB). Chillesford: nr Post Office, May lOth (per JHG).

Autumn's showing was the poorest since 1979 with only three reports as follows: Aldeburgh: Sailor's Path, Sept. 2nd (J & GC).

Minsmere: Sept. 5th & 6th and Oct. 2nd to 6th (IR). G R E E N W O O D P E C K E R Picus viridis A common resident. Records from about 125 sites is a significant increase on recent years, but this may just reflect better observer coverage. Breeds widely in the County with Minsmere's 16 territories being about average for the reserve. Juvenile dispersal is widespread in the early autumn, evidenced by records of four singles at Landguard in August. G R E A T S P O T T E D W O O D P E C K E R Dendrocopos major A common resident. Recorded from 118 sites, an increase on last year's 87, but again this probably represents better observer coverage. Breeding was reported from several sites with 17 territories at Minsmere being one down on 1990's total. A spring migrant, trapped at Landguard on May 21st, was of the nominate, northern race D.m. major, the first definite County record of this race since 1914. Juvenile dispersal was noted at Landguard with singles July 20th, Aug. 19th and Oct. 14th. LESSER S P O T T E D W O O D P E C K E R Dendrocopos minor An uncommon resident. Records were received from about 60 sites which fits in well with recent years, although, disturbingly, Minsmere's population declined to four pairs from nine in 1990 and only one pair was located at Over Hall, Shotley where up to five pairs had been present prior to the 1987 storm. The decrease in breeding pairs at Walberswick and Benacre continues. In recent years, Minsmere has shown quite a healthy population compared with the species' obvious demise elsewhere in the County. Since 1977, the number of territories recorded were eight (1977), seven (1978), nine (1979) and nine (1990). There is now some doubt as to the accuracy of these figures and it is thought that CBC surveyors may have been misled by roving males searching for mates.


One Brent Eleigh observer must have gained considerable entertainment from a pair rearing young in an Alder in his garden. WOODLARK Lullula arborea An uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. Perhaps reflecting the increase in the breeding population noted in last year's report, there were the largest numbers recorded in winter for several years. Six winter records involving 30 individuals came mostly from the coastal area, including a group of 15 in December at Shottisham (MDC) and another of five discovered feeding in snow in Tunstall Forest during early February. First noted in song on the early date of Jan. 4th, but February's arctic spell may have accounted for the decrease in numbers in both the coastal belt and Breckland during the subsequent breeding season. Of the 61-68 pairs nesting on the coast, 16-18 frequented The Sandlings and 45-50 the newly planted forestry belts. Suffolk Breckland held 39 pairs of which only two were on heathland. Suffolk Breckland Coastal Belt TOTALS

1990 45 78

1991 39 61-68



Passage birds were noted at Minsmere, Feb. 21st and Oct. 17th and Landguard Nov. 4th and 6th (MM, NO). SKYLARK Alauda arvensis An abundant resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A large n u m b e r o f reports w i t h m a n y s m a l l , and several l a r g e , f l o c k s in the early m o n t h s . M a n y w e r e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the F e b r u a r y s n o w f a l l s , w h i c h w e r e a l s o r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a marked hard w e a t h e r m o v e m e n t :

Kessingland: 150 12th. E l l o u g h : 500 in snow covered fields 10th.

Worlingworth: 250 8th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, 31 S 10th. Felixstowe: 7 0 S in 90 mins 10th; Landguard Pt, 102 S 9th, 508 S 10th and 64 S on 11th.

The breeding picture still remains unclear with a decline in territories at Minsmere with 34 (61 in 1990), but normal numbers at Valley Fm, Coddenham (19) and North Warren, Aldeburgh (39). Autumn passage was fairly uneventful, with reports of small groups flying in from the sea, with a marked movement on Oct. 20th as follows: Southwold: 389. Bawdsey: 150. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 1,008 S or in from sea in October incl. 597 on 20th.

SHORE L A R K Eremophila alpestris A scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. An improved situation in the late year period echoed the increase in numbers in the rest of the country and included a well-watched group of six in the Covehithe/Benacre/ Kessingland area. There was also a remarkable July occurrence, Suffolk's first record for that month. L o w e s t o f t : The Denes/Ness Pt, July 19th & 20th (RF, NJS et al). Kessingland/Benacre/Covehithe: five Nov. 8th increasing to six on 9th to year end (CAB, DAR et al).

Easton Bavents: Nov. 3rd (CAB, MSF, et al). M i n s m e r e : Beach, Sept. 28th to 30th ( D R N , IR, et


Gedgrave: two Dec. 12th (JHG). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Oct. 21st to 23rd (DCM et



The Benacre flock was wide-ranging, but tended to favour either an area near Benacre Pits or Kessingland Beach. SAND M A R T I N Riparìa


A n abundant s u m m e r visitor and passage migrant.

An uneventful spring migration with only three records received for March as follows: Minsmere: 17th. Alton Water: 17th. Lackford: W. R., three 16th. T h e b r e e d i n g picture w a s , a s u s u a i , o f f l u c t u a t i n g n u m b e r s , but in g e n e r a l , c o v e r a g e w a s m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i v e than in recent y e a r s . F e w c o l o n i e s h a v e b e e n regularly m o n i t o r e d h o w e v e r , and i n f o r m a t i o n r e c e i v e d o n p r o g r e s s o r s u c c e s s w a s sparse. N u m b e r s o f "active holes" w e r e n o t e d at the f o l l o w i n g c o l o n i e s :

Covehithe to Southwold: sea-cliffs, 1,443 (MM, SHP). Weybread: G.P., 29. Dunwich: sea-cliffs, 188. C h i l l e s f o r d : G . P . adj. to Butley River, 33.

Waldringfïeld: G.P., c200.

Kesgrave: G.P., 175. F o x h a l l : Landfill Site, 91.

Stratton Hall: G.P./river bank, 20. W h e r s t e a d : Bourne Hill, 183. B r a m f o r d : Landfill Site, 82.

Lackford: W.R., 190. Breeding was also recorded in small or unknown numbers at Aldeburgh, Barham Pits (six) and Kirton Pits (six). Late summer/autumn gatherings were bigger than last year and included 900 at Minsmere, July 17th and 1,000 Sept. 13th, 485 at Dunwich, Aug. l l t h and 600 at Levington, Aug. 6th. Autumn passage at Landguard included 130 south in July, 250 south in August and 70 south in September. Of ten reports received in October, a flock of 80 at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, 6th, was the largest and one at Minsmere, 16th, the last. S W A L L O W Hirundo rustica An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. Many spring records came from well-scattered localities in Aprii, the earliest being at Thorpeness on Apr. lst. Numbers remained low until Apr. 14th, when larger groups were noted: e.g. 80 Alton Water and 20 Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin. Passage reported at Landguard was light in Aprii, but improved in May with 296 south and 46 north — maximum 52 south on May 13th. Southerly movements of Swallows are a typical feature of May at Landguard. The few breeding reports suggested that success was good, despite a slight réduction in actual numbers. Autumn passage became noticeable in August. Large roosting or feeding flocks, prior to émigration were reported from Levington — 800 in reedbed, Aug. 6th and North Warren — 250 Sept. 8th. At Landguard, 442 moved south in August (max. 120, 20th); 7,094 south and 65 north in September (max. 2,750 south, 17th) and 1,365 south in October (max. 350, 2nd). November records came from 24, mainly coastal, sites, mostly singles; fi ve at Aldeburgh on 7th was the largest gathering and one at Woolverstone, 28th the last. R E D - R U M P E D S W A L L O W Hirundo daurica A very rare passage migrant. Recorded in Suffolk for the third consecutive year, this single bird was unfortunately


seen only briefly in the early morning on a typical date. Aldringham c u m Thorpe: Thorpe Meare, May 15th (JB, RG).

The tenth record and the eleventh individuai. HOUSE M A R T I N Delichon urbica An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. After the first in Ipswich on Apr. lst carne reports from 16 sites in Aprii, mainly from 24th onwards, albeit in relatively small numbers. The largest spring group was 100 at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin on May 3rd. During the breeding season it appeared that numbers were, like those of the Swallow, generally down on last year. Specific comments ranged from "very scarce" and "well below usuai" to "numbers down by one-third" and "average numbers". There were a couple of reports of second broods, but no information about success rates. Autumn passage at Landguard lasted from Aug. 16th until Nov. 16th. In September, 2,039 flew south (max. 785 on 17th) and in October 730 flew south and 103 north (max. 235 on 2nd). Elsewhere, passage was fairly uneventful and November records carne from 19 widespread coastal sites totalling 79 birds, the largest group being ten at Aldeburgh on 7th. The last record carne from Minsmere on Nov. 29th. RICHARD'S P I P I T Anthus novaeseelandiae A rare passage migrant. For an east-coast county, records of this uncommon migrant remain few and far between. The following record is only the third in seven years: Breydon W a t e r : Cobham Island, Sept. 13th (JMC, EWP).

This record constitutes the County's earliest on autumn passage. TAWNY P I P I T Anthus



A rare passage migrant. One spring record, only the fifth for Suffolk, and two in autumn bring the County total to 28. Easton Bavents: juv. moulting to first winter, Oct. 27th to Nov. 3rd ( D C , SHP, BS et al). S n a p e : Snape Warren, imm. Sept. 2nd to 9th (JCo, MMi). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, briefly on reserve, then S May 28th ( M M , N O , SHP et al).

The Easton Bavents bird was particularly tame and easily overlooked as it fed on the vegetated landslip at the foot of the cliff face; it is the County's latest ever and the first to occur in November. T R E E PIPIT Anthus trivialis A common summer visitor and passage migrant. This species followed its usual pattern of arrival by being first seen on territory and the relatively few spring passage birds all occurred at Landguard. The first report was from Breckland on Apr. 7th and there was a small cluster of records on the following two days. Reports were more widespread from Apr. 24th. Breeding data revealed an unclear picture, with a minimum of 67 pairs. Well-studied localities produced the highest numbers in recent years, e.g.: Minsmere

1987 7

1988 14

1989 20

1990 16

1991 22

Of the 20 pairs noted in the Walberswick/Blythburgh/Dunwich area, ten were on heathland and the remainder in forest clearings. In west Suffolk, it was reported that ' 'higher numbers ' ' frequented Forestry Commission clearings. This reported increase appears to go against the national trend which shows a downward drift since 1970 (Marchant et al 1990). Autumn migrants were seen at seven sites: Minsmere: 17 Sept. 13th. Leiston cum Sizewell: Sizewell Beach, Oct. 10th. O r f o r d n e s s : Sept. 26th.

Helmingham: Sept. 1st. Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, Aug. 19th; Fagbury Cliff, Sept. 27th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt : passage from Aug. 15th to Oct. 2nd totalling 34 birds — max. eight S Aug. 15th.

M E A D O W P I P I T Anthus pratensis A common resident and passage migrant. Early in the year, observations were of scattered groups at several sites, the largest being 55 at North Warren, Aldeburgh Jan. 2nd and 26th. Numbers were relatively poor, especially from early February onwards, when we were in the grip of 'arctic' weather. The only detailed breeding reports came from: Minsmere — 16 territories (24 in 1990), the Walberswick/Dunwich/Blythburgh area — 27 pairs and North Warren — 23 pairs. Passage in the autumn was uneventful, apart from a period in late September (25th and 26th) when 1,500 were noted at Benacre Denes, 1,140 flew south over Landguard Pt out of a September total of 2,799 and large groups occurred at North Warren, Orfordness and Trimley St Mary. R O C K PIPIT Anthus petrosus A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Despite early-year maxima being lower than last, this species was recorded from as many as 20 sites. Maximum numbers from regular localities were quite high and the most notable are listed below: Benacre: three (incl. two colour-ringed birds — see Ringing Report) until Mar. 8th.


Southwold: ten Jan. 6th, 12 Mar. 17th and single May 24th which proved to be the County's latest spring record. Walberswick: Dingle Great Hill, 30 in reed stubble, Jan. 28th; Beach, ten feeding around machinery rebuilding shingle sea-defences, Jan. 12th. Deben: BoEE, 10 Jan. 20th, two Mar. 17th. Levington: Levington Creek, ten Jan. 5th, eight Feb. 2nd, last noted Mar. 31st. Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, nine Jan. 3rd, two until February. The origins of the two colour-ringed birds at Benacre were determined as the Isle of May, Fife (there are no details on date ringed, age or race) and Malon Island, Onsala, Sweden. The latter bird was ringed as an adult on its breeding grounds, 25 miles south of Gothenburg and after being noted at Benacre it returned to oversummer once again at Malon Island (see Ringing Report). Passage birds were noted in spring on Mar. 13th at Walberswick where a "noticeable movement of immaculate spring-plumaged birds of the Scandinavian littoralis-type ' ' was noted. In autumn, 68 birds were logged at Landguard from Sept. 14th until Nov. 16th, where maxima of six Oct. 14th, 24 south during October and nine south in November, were noted. Late year, wintering reports came from 22 sites. Most were of singletons, but late year maxima included: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, four Dec. 1st. Orfordness: four Dec. 31st. Deben: BoEE, 11 Nov. 10th & six Dec. 8th. Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, five Oct. 24th and three November and December. The ringing recovery from Sweden hints at the origins of our overwintering population. Indeed, there is some doubt as to whether British breeding birds, A.p.petrosus, occur in Suffolk at all. Observers should continue to scrutinise individuals in order to determine the race involved. Positive identifications of A.p. littoralis were as follows: Benacre: Jan. 20th (colour-ringed in Sweden, presumably of this race), Oct. 29th. Easton Bavents/Southwold: ten Jan. 6th, 12 Mar. 17th, Apr. 7th, May 24th, Oct. 5th and two Nov. 6th. Walberswick: passage noted on Mar. 15th. Minsmere: May 2nd and 3rd. WATER P I P I T Anthus spinoletta An uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A quieter year for this species than 1990 with reports from only five typical coastal sites, all or near freshwater marsh. The last spring record occurred on Apr. 6th and came, as usual, from Minsmere where the first returning bird in autumn was noted on Oct. 27th. All records are listed as follows: Benacre: Benacre Broad, two until Mar. 9th; from Nov. 5th to year's end. Covehithe: Dec. 4th. Southwold/Easton Bavents: Oct. 28th, up to four until at least Dec. 9th. Walberswick: Westwood Marsh, two Jan. 27th and 28th. Minsmere: reported until Apr. 6th, max. of three in March; then from Oct. 27th to year's end — max. of three in November and December. YELLOW W A G T A I L Motacilla flava A common summer visitor and passage migrant. Following several scattered reports, the earliest of which was at Felixstowe Ferry on Mar. 14th, followed by another at Lackford, 16th, the main arrival at most localities occurred, predictably, from mid-April onwards. During the breeding season, birds were recorded at 31 sites with breeding proven at eleven and Alton Water perhaps having the highest population in the County. A pair nested on heathland at Cavenham, fledging three or four young and was noted as "the first breeding record in recent years" reflecting a slight upward trend in the species' success.


Late summer/autumn flocks were disappointingly few, the highest number being 70 at Levington Lagoon, Sept. 5th. Passage at Landguard was light, being noted in small numbers during all months from April to October, with the final record on Oct. 25th. The number of reports of birds showing features of a number of subspecies was recorded. The nominate race M.f. flava was reported at 13 sites with all apart from one occurring in April, May and June. After one at Kessingland on Apr. 11th eleven came in May — two were at Minsmere on May 12th — and two in June. The autumn report, on Sept. 29th, came from Kedington, feeding on farmland. A Grey-headed Wagtail, race M.f.thunbergi, was at Minsmere's Scrape and then on pools south of The Sluice, on May 12th (IR, BS). G R E Y W A G T A I L Motacilla cinerea A fairly common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Recorded during the first winter period at 45 sites, with most reports being of singles, but reports of two came from Ipswich Wet Dock, Stowmarket, Sudbury and Tuddenham St Martin. Most were noted in January with only a few lingering into February, March and April. Breeding season reports came from 20 localities. Successful breeding was proven at five sites and possibly occurred at three others. The majority of the summer records could well refer to wandering unpaired birds or post-breeding dispersal in June or July. Reports of breeding success would be welcomed in order to obtain a clearer picture of this species' status in Suffolk. Autumn passage and late-year arrivals started in August as follows: Corton/Lowestoft: Oct. 5th, 13th & 21st and Nov. 12th & 16th. Kessingland/Benacre: Sewage Fm/Sluice, Sept. 21st, Oct. 1st to Nov. 24th and D e c . 29th. Southwold: Sept. 29th and Oct. 10th & 12th. Minsmere/Sizewell: Sept. 10th, Sept. 28th & 29th, Oct. 5th, 6th & 12th and Dec. 15th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two Sept. 22nd and Dec. 10th. Benhall: Benhall Green, Oct. 24th.

Pettistree: Oct. 18th. M e l t o n / W o o d b r i d g e / M a r t l e s h a m : R.Deben, N o v . 21st & 24th and Dec. 6th & 9th.

Bucklesham: Waterworks, Oct. 7th and Nov. 1st, 12th & 13th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, six dates in September and seven in early October.

Witnesham: Nov. 4th. Chelmondiston: Pinmill Common, Sept. 21st, Nov. 3rd & 12th and Dec. 13th. Ipswich: Belstead Brook, Nov. 11th to year's end. East Bergholt: Flatford Mill, Sept. 26th.

Nayland: Nov. 12th. G l e m s f o r d / C a v e n d i s h / L o n g M e l f o r d : Aug. 18th & 25th, Sept. 12th, N o v . 30th then throughout December. Gipping Valley: Suffolk Water Pk, Aug. 21st, Nov. 9th and 23rd; Baylham, N o v . 17th. Ixworth: garden, throughout November.

Lackford: W.R., Oct. 1st to 31st. Barton Mills: Sept. 10th. PIED W A G T A I L Motacilla alba An abundant resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. As last year, reported from only 24 sites. Notable early year records came from the Bourne Pk reedbed roost, Ipswich, where there were 150 on Jan. 11th and the R.Stour with 70 on Jan. 11th. Passage was noted in autumn, mainly during October. Inland, 100 were at Lackford, Oct. 26th and on the coast Landguard recorded 130 S in October and at Sizewell 60 were located in a 50 metre stretch of dunes, Oct. 23rd.


It was a very good year for records of the nominate race M. a. alba with 99 birds at 21 localities. Most fitted the usual spring pattern, being reported between Mar. 6th and May 19th — the largest groups were 12 at Southwold Golf Course on Mar 17th and seven at North Warren on Mar. 31st. Summer records in late July were presumably dispersing continental breeders: Minsmere, 21st and Covehithe, 22nd. In the autumn, a total of nine birds was reported from eight sites between Aug. 19th and Oct. 25th. WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus An uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Following on from last year's influx, birds continued to be reported in the early year period until Mar. 7th with c.150 birds reported as follows: Gorleston: 25 mid-February. Blundeston/Corton: up to 12 Jan. 1st to 6th and single Mar. 2nd. L o w e s t o f t : Corton Rd, six Feb. 14th; Oulton Broad, two Jan. 2nd; Landsdowne Rd/Bloodmoor Rd, Jan. 13th to Mar 7th — max. 2 0 Mar. 3rd.

Halesworth: Jan. 18th. Ipswich: Rushmere Rd, 53 Feb. 7th, three Feb. 10th, three Mar. 4th & 5th. B r a n d o n : Mayday Fm, eight Feb. 2nd.

The late year continued the 'good run' of winters with birds at 24 sites from Nov. 16th. Ascertaining numbers of this highly mobile species can be difficult, but the total involved is likely to have been around 160. L o w e s t o f t / P a k e f i e l d : Nov. 16th to year's end — max. 33 (Bloodmoor Rd) D e c . 29th. K e s s i n g l a n d / B e n a c r e / C o v e h i t h e / W r e n t h a m : two N o v . 20th, nine Dec. 7th and single Dec. 18th.

Walpole: Nov. 21st. W e s t l e t o n / M i n s m e r e : four Nov. 1st, 4 0 Nov. 23rd, then fluctuating small numbers until Dec. 22nd. A l d e b u r g h : 32 N o v . 20th to 28th.

Sudbourne: Dec. 1st. Capei St Andrew/Butley/Boyton: six Dec. 6th & 8th. Bawdsey: ten N o v . 23rd, 26th & 27th.

Ufford: Dec. 9th. Falkenham: Nov. 24th and Dec. 16th. I p s w i c h / B e l s t e a d : Bourne Pk, six/eight Nov. 23rd and three Nov. 27th & 28th.

Harkstead: Dec. 28th. Crowfield: Dec. 24th. S t o w m a r k e t / C o m b s / S t o w u p l a n d : up to nine in December.

Bury St Edmunds: one/two Dec. 30th & 31st. Lackford: Dec. 24th and 31st.

Most were short-term visitors arriving in late November and early December with only the Pakefield and Minsmere groups being fairly settled. The Bloodmoor Rd area of Pakefield appears to be becoming a regular site for this species.

DIPPER Cinclus cinclus A rare winter visitor and passage migrant. A ringed bird of the nominate, black-bellied race C.c. cinclus found on Nov. 7th at Belstead Brook, Ipswich, remained there until the year's end (SHP et al). When trapped on Nov. 14th it proved to be the bird which had over-wintered at Burnham Market, Norfolk, in 1990/91 and ringed on Feb. 16th 1991 (Seago 1991).


The bird favoured an overgrown section of the brook west of Ellenbrook Bridge and allowed very close approach. On at least one occasion, it was seen to go to roost in a small drainage pipe under the bridge.

W R E N Troglodytes troglodytes An abundant resident. In the first winter period and especially after the severe February weather, recorders were generally optimistic about the survival of this species. Typical comments received were "numbers remaining high" and "numbers quite high despite cold weather" — although these came from observers in the coastal region. Subsequent breeding reports, however, suggested that success was low: Felixstowe: "lowest numbers since 1986"; Landguard Pt, "none bred following L o n g M e l f o r d : ' 'doesn '( appear to be doing well. ' ' L a c k f o r d : "depleted by February cold spell. "

cold spell. "

At well-monitored sites: Aldeburgh: North Warren, 47 territories (same as 1990). Coddenham: Valley Fm CBC, six territories (34 in 1989 and 30 in 1990). DUNNOCK Prunella modularis An abundant resident and passage migrant. A very poor year with 21 records received reflecting fluctuating numbers, but generally, reports were favourable: Aldeburgh: North Warren, 66 territories. Coddenham: Valley Fm CBC, 11 pairs (17 in 1990 and 25 in 1989). A light autumn passage was noted at Landguard with 49 towering south from Sept. 14th to Oct. 4th, peaking at 30 on Sept. 26th. ROBIN Erithacus rubecula An abundant resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Spring movement of returning birds is always difficult to quantify, but ten at Landguard in late May suggested a light passage. The earliest record of nest building was at Felixstowe on Feb. 19th. As last year, a pair used a disused drinks machine in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe as its nesting site. Surveys of birds holding territories revealed 45 at North Warren and ten at Valley Fm, Coddenham (13 in 1990). At Bond's Meadow, Oulton, the status did not appear to have been adversely affected by February's harsh weather.


Autumn passage was again relatively light and reported only from the Felixstowe area: Felixstowe/Trimley St Mary: Docks/Fagbury Cliff, 70 Oct. 11th and 42 Oct. 23rd; Landguard, 40 Oct. 11th, 60 Oct. 12th, 40 Oct. 13th and 40 Oct. 26th. During October a total of 134 was ringed at Landguard which is an average showing. NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos A fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. A remarkably early bird at Market Weston Fen, Apr. 3rd set a new County record surpassing the previous figure by three days (cf Suffolk Birds, 1981 & 1985). It was followed by birds at Minsmere from April 10th. An exceptionally good spring followed with reports of singing males/territories totalling 207, the highest figure since 1983 (218) and considerably higher than in recent years: 1986 150

1987 170

1988 180

1989 184

1990 173

1991 207

Counts of territories at well watched sites included Walberswick /Dunwich/Blythburgh area — 24 (similar to 1990), Minsmere — 44 (20 in 1990), North Warren — 11 and Wolves Wood — c.18 (slightly down on average). Autumn records were typically sparse: Turatali: Tunstall Forest, Sept. 14th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Aug. 13th and 24th to 27th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Sept. 9th, 19th to 26th and Oct. 5th & 6th. The lingering bird at Fagbury is the latest in Suffolk since 1958 (Murphy 1981). BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica A scarce passage migrant. A splendid male of the red-spotted race L.s.svecica was present at Landguard, May 19th (JBH, SHP). This is the 20th spring record for the County during the last decade of which only six have occurred since 1985. Another, caught by a cat at Gt Yarmouth, Norfolk, May 12th, was released at Dunwich. The latter individual does not figure in the following statistics: 1982 2

1983 3









1988 1

1989 -

1990 2

1991 1

There was also one autumn record, the seventh since 1975: Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, first winter cr trapped Oct. 20th & 21st (JRA, NO, SHP et al). This is the County's second latest ever, only beaten by one on Orfordness, Nov. 8th 1962. BLACK R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus ochruros An uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Overwintering birds were noted during January and early February, generally before the harsh weather commenced, at eight sites, the highest total for many years and perhaps a result of the generally milder winters of recent years. Benacre: Denes/Sluice area, recorded on eight dates during January. Walberswick: beach, Jan. 2nd; Westwood Marsh, on reed stubble, Jan. 28th. Aldeburgh: two Jan. 5th. Orfordness: Jan. 7th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, a Feb. 3rd & 4th; Docks, up to three incl. cr. Alton Water: two Jan. 1st to 7th. Spring passage was noted at various coastal sites during March/April with a peak count of seven at Landguard, Apr. 23rd. Song was first noted at Felixstowe Docks on Feb. 14th and recorded frequently thereafter throughout the breeding period at Lowestoft, Sizewell, Felixstowe Docks and Landguard Pt, involving at least 20 individuals.


A t least s i x pairs bred o n the c o a s t o f w h i c h o n e w a s d o u b l e b r o o d e d : Lowestoft: spring crcr in at least three areas with one pair known to have bred successfully. Leiston cum Sizewell: Power Station 'A' Site, up to four prs, two of which are known to have fledged young. One pr double brooded; Power Station 'B' Site, at least one pr. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt/Docks area, up to nine singing cr cr during April to June and juvs ringed at Landguard indicate some degree of success.

Autumn passage was reported from 16 sites with a peak of ten at Landguard, Oct. 27th. December records, mostly before mid-month, were from Lake Lothing (Lowestoft), Sizewell, Felixstowe Dock and Landguard. REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus A fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Disappointingly, only 28 territories were recorded, the lowest number for five years: W a l b e r s w i c k / B l y t h b u r g h : seven (12 in 1990).

Minsmere: ten (18 in 1990). Wantisden: Staverton Pk, six, although this area is difficult to monitor.

Hollesley: one June 5th. Sutton: pr June 7th. T h e t f o r d Forest: three singing er cr in May — "fewer than


First record was of a male at Shelland on Apr. 9th quickly followed by reports from Kessingland, Apr. 12th and Minsmere, 13th. A very light passage was noted at Landguard from May 13th to June 11th. Autumn passage birds were noted at 11 coastal sites from Aug. 25th with a peak of 12 at Landguard, Sept. 27th. Latest date was at Cowpasture Allotments, Felixstowe, Oct. 25 th. A male showing characteristics of the eastern race P.p.samamisicus in Southwold Churchyard was no doubt brought in by the gale-force south-easterly winds which preceded its arrival. Southwold: St Edmund's Churchyard, Sept. 28th to 30th (SR et


The bird showed a distinct pale patch on each wing formed by broad white edges to its flight feathers. This Asiatic race had never previously been seen in Suffolk and constitutes the fifth record for Britain (Rogers 1990). W H I N C H A T Saxícola rubetra A fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Once again the sparsity of records during the breeding season shows how tenuous a foothold this species has in the County. Breeding was confirmed at only three sites, all in west Suffolk, but there were reports of single birds from three other areas on encouraging dates. The first spring record was of two at Sizewell, Apr. 18th, but the main passage was noted from May 20th to 22nd with peaks as follows: Easton Bavents/Southwold: 11 May 21st. Minsmere: ten 21st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, ten 22nd. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, eight 20th & 21st. The main peak of autumn passage was recorded in late August/early September at many coastal sites from Kessingland to Landguard, with the highest count being of 12 at North Warren, Sept. 8th. The last recorded was at Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Oct. 13th. S T O N E C H A T Saxícola torquata A fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Another excellent year with 19 territories (22 in 1990) of which only one was in west


Suffolk. Minsmere again had a good year with nine territories. Reports during the autumn/winter period were received from 20 coastal/estuarine areas. Birds showing characteristics of one of the eastern races S.t.maura/stejnegeri were recorded in October as follows: Breydon: Oct. 7th to 11th. L o w e s t o f t : North Denes/Ness Pt, Oct. 5th, another Oct. 21st to 25th (PG et


W a l b e r s w i c k : beach/shore pools, Oct. 26th ( A A K L ) . T h e s e t a k e t h e C o u n t y ' s tally o f t h e s e rare r a c e s t o e i g h t .

WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe A common summer visitor and passage migrant. At least ten pairs bred, of which three were at a west Suffolk site and the remainder coastal. Four territories were recorded at Minsmere and a pair bred at Landguard, the first since 1981. Pairs possibly bred at two other sites. Lakenheath Airfield had been the location of 1990's record-breaking February sighting and it also hosted this year's first arrival, on Mar. 13th, quickly followed by singles at Icklingham Plains, 14th, Minsmere, 15th and two 16th, Landguard, 17th and six further sites by the month's end. Passage continued in relatively small numbers during April and early May with peak numbers recorded from mid- to late May: Kessingland: 16 13th. Benacre: Benacre Pits, 14 13th.

Southwold: 12 21st. Minsmere: 20 22nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, nine 29th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry Golf Course, 28 19th; Landguard Pt, 2 0 14th and 25 21st.

From biometrics taken during ringing at Dunwich and Landguard, birds of the Greenland race O.o.leucorhoa were passing through from Apr. 26th to May 22nd. A bird at Walberswick, July 14th, was assumed to be an early autumn passage bird, but the highest numbers were during August and September with peak counts of 20 at Lowestoft, Sept. 2nd and 15 at Landguard, Sept. 14th. Reports were received from 17 coastal or estuarine sites including one of six birds in off the sea at Southwold, Sept. 27th. Of the four November records, the last was at Covehithe, 24th, which equals the County's second latest date. RING O U Z E L Turdus torquatus A fairly common passage migrant. An excellent spring with records from 15 sites commencing with a very early bird at Landguard, Mar. 18th. Only one spring record came from outside the coastal strip. Oulton: Fisher Row, May 13th. Lound: Waterworks, six May 4th to 9th.

Lowestoft: Cemetery, two May 7th & 8th. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, May 18th. Kessingland/Benacre: Benacre Pits, one/two May 30th to June 2nd. Southwold: Buss Creek/Town Marsh, May 23rd. Blythburgh: Westwood Lodge, May 8th & 15th. Westleton: Westleton Heath, May 23rd. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, Apr. 28th. Minsmere: Whin Hill area, four Apr. 20th to 30th, two May 8th, singles May 11th, 18th & 26th. Aldringham c u m Thorpe/Aldeburgh: Thorpeness Apr. 15th; North Warren, Apr. 10th and May 3rd. Hollesley: Shingle Street, Apr. 13th & 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Mar. 18th, Apr. 23rd and May 6th and another 7th. Levington: Research Station, Apr. 22nd. ErisweU: Codson HU1, Apr. 23rd.


Returning birds in the autumn were also recorded at 15 sites, again mostly coastal, with the first noted on Sept. 29th at Benacre, Minsmere and Landguard. Peak passage occurred in mid-October and two late birds were noted at Minsmere and North Warren, Aldeburgh in early November. Lowestoft: North Denes, Sept. 30th. Kessingland/Benacre: Sewage Works, Oct. 5th; Benacre Pits, Sept. 29th.

Easton Bavents: Oct. 18th. South wold: Oct. 13th. Walberswick: Oct. 4th. M i n s m e r e : Sept. 29th & 30th, Oct. 10th, 14th & 18th and N o v . 4th & 5th.

Leiston cum Sizewell: Sizewell Beach, Oct. 12th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, Oct. 12th & 20th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, Oct. 24th and Nov. 4th.

Saxmundham: Oct. 13th. Hollesley: Upper Hollesley Common, Oct. 21st. B a w d s e y : Bawdsey Manor, Oct. 13th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 24 birds noted from Sept. 29th to Oct. 26th, with max. of five Oct. 12th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff/Trimley Marshes, three Oct. 11th and singles Oct. 13th & 25th. L a c k f o r d : Lackford Wildfowl Res., Oct. 19th (trapped) to Oct. 24th.

B L A C K B I R D Turdus merula An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A bird was in song in Rope Walk, Ipswich, on the remarkably early date of Jan. 3rd. Spring passage of returning birds was evident at Landguard, concentrated between Mar. 10th and 18th with a max. of 80 on 12th. A good season reported from Lackford W.R., 40 territories noted at North Warren, but reducing to 14 at Valley Fm, Coddenham (29 in 1990). The highlight of the autumn was the major influx that took place from mid-October with main reports as follows: L o w e s t o f t : Sparrow's Nest Gardens/Belle Vue Pk, 80 Nov. 17th. M i n s m e r e : 50 new arrivals Oct. 26th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 105 Oct. 25th. Benhall: Low Street, influx noted Oct. 12th to 20th, but most had moved on by end of October.

Second increase noted during second half of October. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, passage largely concentrated Oct. 7th to Nov. 7th with three figure counts most days between Oct. 19th to 27th with peak of 485 Oct. 23rd. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, 170 Oct. 22nd. Gazeley: 150 present following large influx in mid-November.

The unprecedented numbers arriving at Landguard especially from Oct. 19th to 27th resulted in an incredible 784 being ringed during that month (207 on Oct. 23rd), a higher figure in one month than most previous annual totals of this species at that site: 1983 308

1984 548

1985 341

1986 544

1987 599

1988 800

1989 409

1990 558

1991 1050

FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris A common winter visitor and passage migrant. Several reports were received of flocks of 100-200 birds during January to April from both east and west Suffolk, but the largest flocks, not surprisingly, were from Apple orchards including 700 at East Bergholt, Jan. 13th and 400 Leavenheath, Mar 20th. A flock of 42 at West Stow, Apr. 20th, included a leucistic individual. During May, birds were reported from ten sites. At Lound, there were records on six dates between May 4th and 12th peaking at 60 7th, and on 5th, five were present with Ring Ouzels. The last of the spring was a very late individual at Lackford W . R . , June 9th.


Plate 16: Numbers of Shore Larks are now showing a welcome increase.


Plate 17: This juvenile Sand Martin emerged from the Covehithe colony.

Plate 18: Radde's Warbler at Landguard Point in October 1991, Suffolk's fourth record.


Plate 19: This immature Tawny Pipit at Easton Bavents is Suffolk's latest ever.

Plate 20: This Black-bellied Dipper at Belstead Brook, Ipswich in November 1991 had spent the previous winter in Norfolk.

The first autumn records were of seven arriving at Dunwich, Sept. 7th and one at Walberswick, Sept. 8th. There were then no further records until Oct. 19th and 20th when a major influx occurred continuing into early November and involving many sites: Southwold: 23 offshore arrivals Oct. 20th and 50 offshore arrivals Nov. 6th. Mdeburgh: North Warren, 200 W Nov. 5th. Leiston cum Sizewell: Sizewell Beach, 250 offshore arrivals Nov. 10th. Hollesley: Shingle Street, 12 offshore arrivals Oct. 25th. Felixstowe: 100 W Oct. 20th, 184 offshore arrivals Oct. 23rd and 353 offshore arrivals Nov. 6th.

Levington: 300 Nov. 6th. Holbrook: 150 W Oct. 20th. Barking: Barking Tye, passage of c . 1 , 1 0 0 in two hours (08.00-10.00 hrs) Oct. 21st. Lackford: Lackford Wildfowl Res., 700 S Oct. 20th and 100 Nov. 5th.

King's Forest: 3,500 E Oct. 20th. The movement over the King's Forest is the largest ever recorded in Suffolk, surpassing that of the 1,000 on Havergate Island, Jan. 14th to 21st 1955. Several flocks of 100-250 were recorded to the end of December. SONG T H R U S H Turdus philomelos An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. In c o m m o n w i t h national data ( M a r c h a n t et al 1 9 9 0 ) , n u m b e r s o f r e s i d e n t birds are, from the l i m i t e d i n f o r m a t i o n a v a i l a b l e , d e c l i n i n g in the C o u n t y f o r r e a s o n s as y e t u n c l e a r . Minsmere: 14 territories (20 in 1990 & 29 in 1989). Vldeburgh: North Warren, nine territories.

Felixstowe: "lowest for six years. " More information on reliable breeding territory assessments would be gratefully received. In spring, small numbers of returning migrants were noted at Landguard in March with ten on 6th and 15 on 18th. A few reports confirmed a small immigration from the end of September and during October: Easton Bavents: c50 offshore arrivals Oct. 20th. Felixstowe: autumn numbers down 50%; Landguard Pt, small 'falls' of up to 20 Sept. 29th & 30th and a small peak of 60 Oct. 10th.

Resumption of song was noted at Shotley, Nov. 24th and Landguard, Nov. 30th. REDWING Turdus iliacus An abundant winter visitor and passage migrant. The largest flocks early in the year were 300 in an Apple orchard at East Bergholt, Jan. 13th and 150 in Holywell's Park, Ipswich on the same day. Ipswich parks were obviously in favour as flocks of c.100 were also noted in Chantry Pk, Jan. 21st. Many reports of large flocks in mid-March indicated a huge movement of returning migrants including a massive count of 2,000 on Trimley Marshes, Mar. 17th to 24th. Peak counts were as follows: Lowestoft: heavy nocturnal passage mid-March.

Carlton Colville: 800 Mar. 16th. North Cove: 200 Mar. 18th. Westleton: 200 Mar. 10th. Great Glemham: 350 Mar. 19th. Campsea Ash: 250 Mar. 11th. Ipswich: nocturnal passage Mar. 10th, 12th and Apr. 2nd.

Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 210 Mar. 12th and 350 Mar. 18th. Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, 2,000 Mar. 17th to 24th. T h e r e w e r e n i n e r e c o r d s d u r i n g M a y , m o s t l y early in t h e m o n t h , but w i t h late birds at: B l y t h b u r g h : Westwood Lodge, June 2nd.


B a w d s e y : May 30th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, May 19th.

The first returning birds in the autumn were at Landguard, Sept. 27th with 20 29th. On the latter date, birds were also reported from Benacre, Southwold (four south), Walberswick, Dunwich, Minsmere (34) and Lackford (four). There were then few records until the third week of October, although some southerly movement was noted at Felixstowe from Oct. 10th and 40 were at Landguard the next day. The major influx of the autumn, however, occurred on Oct. 19th/20th with main records as follows: Lowestoft: 50 offshore arrivals Oct 20th, nocturnal passage Oct. 25th to 29th. Oulton: Oulton Marshes, nocturnal passage Oct. 19th. Southwold: 100s of offshore arrivals Oct. 20th. A l d r i n g h a m c u m Thorpe: Thorpeness Cliffs, 100 Oct. 19th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, 4 0 Oct. 18th. W o o d b r i d g e : heavy northward movement Oct. 19th, 5 3 0 W (various flocks) Oct. 20th. Felixstowe: 100s of offshore arrivals in constant stream heading west Oct. 20th; Landguard Pt, 401 Oct. 20th and 5 3 0 23rd. L a c k f o r d : Lackford Wildfowl Res., 500 S Oct. 20th. Great Bradley: 130 (in two flocks) Oct. 20th.

Most appear to have passed through the County quickly as there were few records in November or December, although a mixed flock of Redwings and Fieldfares in the Cavendish/Long Melford area in December exceeded 300 birds. M I S T L E T H R U S H Turdus viscivorus A common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Nine were seen flying south at Landguard, Feb. 12th, an unusually high number for the site and probably a response to harsh weather conditions. Generally, breeding records were sparse for this somewhat under-recorded species, but at Minsmere 16 territories were noted (15 in 1990) and six at North Warren. Relatively large post-breeding gatherings were recorded as follows: Westleton: 11 Aug. 26th. Theberton: 30 July 24th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 45 June 29th (peak count). Sutton: Sutton Common, 30 July 22nd. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, 22 Aug. 21st. Assington: Arger Fen, 4 0 on wild Cherries Aug. 14th. Gazeley: 29 in September.

C E T T I ' S W A R B L E R Cettia cetti A scarce resident and very rare passage migrant. February's harsh weather caused no major reduction in the population, but reports were restricted to the traditional strongholds at Oulton and Minsmere. Oulton: Fisher R o w , up to five singing cr cr regularly reported between Feb. 25th and June 7th — there was no evidence of successful breeding. Minsmere: up to four birds in January, 9 on two occasions in April and a singing cr May 8th.

G R A S S H O P P E R W A R B L E R Locustella naevia A fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. The population remained at the same level as in 1990 with a total of 50 "reeling" males at 16 sites (46 Ă t 14 sites in 1990). However, there were indications of a decline at Southwold from where there was only one report. As in previous years the highest site totals were on the coast at Minsmere and Walberswick with 17 and 11 territories respectively (19 and eight in 1990).


Principal reports of "reeling" males at inland sites were from Lackford W.R. (three), Cavenham Heath (two), Market Weston Fen (two) and Redgrave and Lopham Fen (two). The only passage migrant was reported from Landguard, May 8th. Birds were still reeling in August at Great Bealings, 2nd and Knettishall, 25th. SAVI'S W A R B L E R Locustella luscinioides A scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. O n l y t w o territories at M i n s m e r e , but n o reports a w a y f r o m t h e c o a s t . B l y t h b u r g h / W a l b e r s w i c k : Westwood Marsh, "reeling" cr May 27th and June 4th. Minsmere: recorded between May 19th and Aug. 4th; two "reeling" e r a established territories, but breeding success unknown.

SEDGE W A R B L E R Acrocephalus schoenobaenus An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. Further increases in the breeding population were recorded on the coast at the Minsmere and North Warren Reserves, but, reflecting a national decline of 31 % (Marchant & Musty 1992), significant decreases were reported elsewhere. The principal totals of singing males (1990 figures in brackets) were recorded at Minsmere, 185 (162); North Warren, Aldeburgh, 45 (37); Cavendish/Long Melford, 30 (48); Shotley Marshes, 24 (40) and Alton Water 20 (17). In addition, 25 territories were located beside the R.Gipping between Baylham Mill and Great Blakenham and a reduced population was recorded at Lackford W.R., where there was a short breeding season following a late arrival. For the fifth successive year, Minsmere recorded the first of the spring with one on Mar. 30th — this continued the sequence of March records at this site which commenced in 1989. No others were noted until Apr. 10th and the general arrival occurred from the third week of April onwards into May. Passage at Landguard peaked on May 21st when ten were present. Return movements commenced in late July and by early August most of Lackford's breeding birds had departed. A total of 21 birds was trapped at Landguard in August, but only seven in September up to mid-month, after which very few were noted. Late birds were recorded in October at Landguard (2nd), Dunwich (2nd) and Fagbury Cliffs, Trimley St Mary (4th). MARSH W A R B L E R Acrocephalus palustris A rare passage migrant. This species was added to the Suffolk list as recently as 1986, but has now been recorded in each subsequent year apart from 1989. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, singing cr May 29th to 31st, trapped 29th (JRA, NO et al). This is the County's seventh record (of which three have occurred at Landguard) and on a typically late spring date. Despite singing well it showed itself to very few observers. REED W A R B L E R Acrocephalus scirpaceus An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. Survey work at North Warren (Aldeburgh) and Minsmere RSPB Reserves revealed considerable increases in the population. At North Warren, the number of territories more than doubled from 33 in 1990 to 72 this year, while just up the coast at Minsmere the respective increase was from 84 to 152. However, at two other regularly monitored sites, Shotley Marshes and Cavendish/Long Melford, significant decreases were recorded. At Shotley, the population was considered to have decreased by 50-60% down to c25 pairs (55 in 1990), while between Cavendish and Long Melford the decrease was from 21 in 1990 to 11.


Notable totals of territories elsewhere included 17 beside the Cut-off Channel between Mildenhall and Brandon, 12 in the Stour Valley at Kedington and four at Alderman Rd Recreation Ground, Ipswich. Lackford logged the first of the spring on Apr, 20th, but it was not until early May that a general arrival was recorded. Fifteen were trapped in May at Landguard, where arrivals continued until at least July 1st. Autumn passage commenced at Landguard on Aug. 9th. Totals were lower than in recent years at a Dun wich ringing station, but Lackford reported ' 'large numbers ' ' passing through in the third week of August and there were 20 at North Warren, Sept. 8th. Most had passed through by late September, but ringing activities in October at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary, resulted in at least 23 being trapped, the last on 15th. The final reports were of singles at Landguard, Oct. 28th (LBO) and Fagbury Cliffs, Nov. 4th (EWP). This latter report is Suffolk's fourth November record and the latest since 1972.

I C T E R I N E W A R B L E R Hippolais An uncommon passage migrant.


None were reported in 1990, but this year at least five were located by coastal watchers between late August and early October. L o w e s t o f t : Warrenhouse Wood, Aug. 28th (RWin); Sept. 29th and 30th (JHG et al) and possibly same Oct. 5th and 6th (RWi, RWin et al).

Easton Bavents: Aug. 30th and 31st (DC, DRE et al). Minsmere: Sept. 1st (IR et al). A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, Sept. 8th (RNM).


BARRED WARBLER Sylvia nisorĂ­a An uncommon passage migrant.

Three typically dated autumn birds were followed by an exceptionally late and wellwatched individual in early November. B e n a c r e : Benacre Pits/Sluice, N o v . 4th to 9th (CAB et al). E a s t o n B a v e n t s : Southend Warren, Sept. 20th (JMC, MSF). W e s t l e t o n : Dingle Hills, trapped Sept. 15th (DBC). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Sept. 4th (SPE, N O et al).

The Benacre bird constitutes Suffolk's latest record; the previous latest, on Oct. 19th 1974, also occurred at Benacre. LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca A common summer visitor and passage migrant. The distribution was much the same as in 1990 with singing males reported from 33 potential breeding sites (30 in 1990). However, there were conflicting reports concerning population levels. On the positive side, 18 territories were located at North Warren, Aldeburgh and the species was described as being "quite common" in coastal, north-east Suffolk where 23 singing males were located in the Walberswick/Blythburgh/Dunwich area. Conversely, decreases were reported from Hollesley, Shotley (50-60% lower than in 1990), Minsmere (19 territories — 25 in 1990) and Cavendish/Long Melford, where none bred (two pairs in 1990, five in 1987). Nationally, a decline of 20% was recorded (Marchant & Musty 1992). Ringers at Hollesley and Saxmundham reported passage totals as being "lower than usual this year". Spring migrants were noted from April 20th and passage peaked at Landguard in May, when 24 were trapped.


Autumn passage commenced on a low scale in mid-August and it was not until Sept. 15th that significant totals occurred when ten were at Benacre followed by eight at Landguard the next day. Two weeks later, on Sept. 29th, nine occurred at North Warren, Aldeburgh, and at least 40 were at Minsmere, the largest gathering ever recorded in Suffolk. There were October records from four coastal sites up to 14th. W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia communis An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. The largest counts of territories this year were of 54 in the Walberswick/Dunwich/ Blythburgh area and 50 at North Warren, Aldeburgh. Minsmere's population declined sharply to 44 pairs (79 in 1990), which mirrors national statistics which show a decrease of 41% on farmland and 28% in woodland (Marchant & Musty 1992). Counts of pairs or territories at other sites where decreases were recorded (1990 figure in brackets) came from Coddenham — 16 (18), Cavendish/Long Melford — 12 (18) and Belstead 14 (16). However, at Kedington the population was considered to have been higher than in recent years and at Shotley there were 10% more than in 1990. The first spring bird was at Ipswich on Apr. 14th, but at most sites the initial arrivals were not recorded until the fourth week of April. May witnessed the main passage at Landguard where 40 were trapped during the month, peaking at 30 on 21st. Autumn movements commenced at Landguard on July 15th and by the end of August 16 had been trapped there. In September, a further 17 were trapped there and at Benacre ten were present on 2nd and 15th. Unusually, the autumn's highest total was reported in early October with 20 at Fagbury Cliff, on 5th. Passage continued at Fagbury to 14th (four) and at Landguard until 19th. Two exceptionally late birds were reported. One at Southwold, Nov. 18th, is the County's third latest ever (MSF), whilst five miles further up the coast, at Benacre Pits, there were several reports of an immature bird between Nov. 7th and Dec. 7th, the County's latest ever and the first December record (RCS, ICW et al). GARDEN W A R B L E R Sylvia borin An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. The only April records were of single birds at Minsmere, 20th and North Warren, Aldeburgh, 28th. In most areas, the first arrivals were recorded during the second and third weeks of May. A total of 29 was trapped during May at Landguard, where passage birds were recorded between May 8th and June 7th, peaking on 21st when 15 were present. As with several other warbler species, some areas reported a slightly increased population, while at other equally well surveyed sites there was a slight decrease. When combined, the figures probably indicate a relatively stable population at present. Principal counts of territories (1990 figure in brackets) came from Minsmere — 44 (52); Walberswick/ Dunwich/Blythburgh — 34; North Warren, Aldeburgh — 20 (17); Cavendish/Long Melford — 12 (11); Belstead area — nine (eight) and Alton Water — six. At Shotley, a 15% increase was reported. Reports of a rather uneventful autumn passage were mainly from the Felixstowe area. Movements commenced at Landguard on Aug. 7th and by the month's end 19 had been trapped. Only eight were trapped in September, a very poor total, but the autumn's peak day-total of six was recorded on 2nd. Birds were reported from four coastal sites in October with a maximum of four at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary as late as 13th. The final bird of the year was at Landguard on Oct. 17th. B L A C K C A P Sylvia atricapilla An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Suffolk's first report of a wintering Blackcap was in 1954, but nowadays they are a


regular feature of the winter months in some observers' gardens. During the period January to mid-March, birds were reported from Woodbridge (three), Ipswich (two), Holbrook (two), Capei St Mary (reported as being aggressive to other garden-feeding birds), Darsham, Lowestoft and Wangford (east). As tends to be the case, fewer were noted during the period from late November to the year's end; there were reports from Ipswich (three), Minsmere (two), Bury St Edmunds and Henham (one accompanying a tit flock containing up to 80 birds). Spring migrants were widespread by mid-April, but it was not until Apr. 23rd that the first arrivals were recorded at Landguard, where passage continued until June 1st and 25 were trapped in May. In common with several other warbler species, Minsmere reported a significant decrease in the number of territories, but at other sites a small increase was recorded. The principal counts of territories (1990 figure in brackets) were received from Minsmere — 56 (82); Walberswick/Dunwich/Blythburgh — 41; Cavendish/Long Melford — 25 (24); North Warren, Aldeburgh — 19 (15); Belstead area — 14 (10) and Valley Fm, Coddenham CBC — eight (six). There was evidence of good breeding success at Lackford where 65% of the birds trapped in July were juveniles. Autumn passage birds were first noted in small numbers, both on the coast and inland, in August. Relatively few were reported in September with the only notable report being of 50 at Minsmere, 29th (see Lesser Whitethroat). The largest totals of the autumn occurred in October at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary where c. 100 were present on 11th and c.200 on 12th and 14th — these are the largest gatherings of this species in Suffolk since Oct. 5tli 1984 when c.500 were at Landguard (SHP, CSPR). Migrants were found at six coastal sites in November including ten at Fagbury Cliff, 5th and 8th; three Lowestoft, 12th and three Landguard, 6th. Passage continued in November to 28th at Landguard and 23rd at Fagbury Cliff. PALLAS'S W A R B L E R Phylloscopus proregulus A rare passage migrant. Although no longer having BBRC rarity status, this tiny warbler retains its special appeal to the rarity-hunter. The three records listed below are on typical dates and take the Suffolk total to 22. L o w e s t o f t : Denes Oval/Flycatcher Alley, Oct. 26th (RF, PNa). B a w d s e y : Bawdsey Manor, Oct. 29th (MDC). Felixstowe: Golf Rd, Oct. 30th (CGDC, D C M , AW).

Y E L L O W - B R O W E D W A R B L E R Phylloscopus inornatus A scarce passage migrant. After a poor showing in 1990, coastal observers found seven or eight at well-watched sites between Sept. 27th and Oct. 22nd. Corton: Oct. 6th (SOG). L o w e s t o f t : Sparrow's Nest, Oct. 6th, 10th, 11th & 22nd (SAG, JHG, BS); Warrenhouse Wood, Oct. 22nd (RF). B e n a c r e : Benacre Broad, Oct. 5th (RCS). S o u t h w o l d : St Edmund's Churchyard, Sept. 27th to Oct. 1st (MSF et al).

Minsmere: Sluice Bushes, Oct. 9th (DJP). Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Carr Rd/Adastral Close, Sept. 29th (MJ, M M , LW et


RADDE'S W A R B L E R Phylloscopus schwarzi A very rare passage migrant. A record year for this Asiatic species in Britain with at least 23 occurring between Oct. 5th and Nov. 10th (Birding World 4:432), so it is perhaps not surprising that, after an absence of 25 years, the species was again recorded in Suffolk. Coastal ringers extracted


t w o f r o m m i s t n e t s in t h e s e c o n d w e e k o f O c t o b e r and the L a n d g u a r d bird r e m a i n e d there l o n g e n o u g h to e n a b l e m a n y o b s e r v e r s to s e e this s p e c i e s in S u f f o l k f o r t h e first t i m e .

Hollesley: trapped Oct. 12th (PRC, JAG). F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, trapped & photographed Oct. 8th & 9th (HRB, MJB et


Suffolk's previous records occurred in 1964 and 1966 (two). DUSKY W A R B L E R Phylloscopus fuscatus Accidental. Suffolk's second record of this species occurred on a day when there were also arrivals in Norfolk (two), Northumberland and East Sussex (Birding World 4:344). Unlike the Landguard bird in 1987, this individual did not remain in the area long enough to attract any would-be admirers. D u n w i c h : trapped Oct. 27th (Sir AGH).

W O O D W A R B L E R Phylloscopus sibilatrix An uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. A rather disappointing year with no evidence of breeding and no reports away from the coast. At least 12 singing males were recorded at seven sites in May between 10th (Stratton Hall) and 31st (Oulton) with most arrivals during the period 11th to 14th. There were no further reports until autumn passage commenced with one at Minsmere, July 28th. A further six occurred in August including singles at Landguard, 16th and 18th and in September singles were at Benacre, 3rd and Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary, 1st and 10th. C H I F F C H A F F Phylloscopus collybita An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Overwintering by this species in Suffolk has only occurred regularly since 1974. During the first winter period, there were reports from Barton Mills, Debenham, Eastbridge, Felixstowe, Ipswich (four), Kessingland Sewage Farm (up to four including two showing characteristics of the Siberian race P.c.tristis), Lowestoft, Melton, Minsmere, Nacton (two), Staverton, Oulton, Theberion and Wantisden. The birds at Nacton and Oulton were accompanying tit flocks. Minsmere recorded its first migrant on Mar. 9th and two were singing at North Warren, Aldeburgh, Mar. 10th. There was a general arrival from Mar. 16th and by the month's end counts of singing birds included 20 at Minsmere and 14 at North Warren. Landguard's first arrival was on Mar. 22nd and subsequent monthly ringing totals at this site were April — 27, May — 22 and June — 13. National CBC statistics show a decrease in the breeding population of 42 % on farmland and 27% in woodland (Marchant & Musty 1992) and this compares favourably with observers' notes. A massive 67% decrease was recorded at Minsmere, where only 44 pairs were located compared with 135 in 1990 and totals of pairs at other sites (1990 figure in brackets) included: North Warren — 39; Walberswick/Dunwich/ Blythburgh — 33 and Cavendish/Long Melford — nine (12). A few coastal migrants were recorded in August and 23 were trapped at Landguard in September. In October, 22 were trapped at Landguard and nearby, 50, the autumn's highest total, were at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary, Oct. 13th. Additional October totals included Sizewell, 2nd and six at Lowestoft, 27th. Passage birds were recorded at eight coastal sites well into November with a maximum day-total of four at Lowestoft, 12th. The final passage bird was recorded at Landguard, Nov. 27th. During late autumn, birds showing characteristics of the Siberian race P.c.tristis were noted at Southwold, Oct. 29th; BenacTe, Nov. 8th and Lowestoft, Nov. 12th (two).


During the mild weather conditions that prevailed at the year's end, wintering birds were found at nine sites, all but one of them in the coastal belt. Reports were received from Bawdsey, Ipswich, Kessingland Sewage Farm (five), Lowestoft, Minsmere (three), Henham, North Warren, Sudbourne and West Stow. The birds at Henham and West Stow were accompanying Long-tailed Tit flocks. WILLOW W A R B L E R Phylloscopus trochilus An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. There was only one March record, at Blythburgh on 30th, but a general arrival was recorded during the second week of April. The first arrival at Landguard was on Apr. 1st, where passage was light until the second week of May, a month in which 159 were trapped including the maximum day-total of 80 on 13th and 21st. Passage continued at Landguard until June 12th. Relatively few breeding season reports were received. The principal counts (1990 figure in brackets) were noted at Minsmere — 159 (217); North Warren, Aldeburgh — 44; Cavendish/Long Melford — 24 (33) and Valley Fm, Coddenham C.B.C. — ten (11). Between July 1st and Aug. 24th, 56 were trapped, mainly in mid-July, at Lackford, of which 41 were juveniles. Landguard's first autumn bird was on July 27th and arrivals at this site increased rapidly to peak in August when 117 were trapped and maximum day-totals occurred on 12th (20) and 25th (30). Further up the coast at Dunwich, the autumn's ringing total of 28 was well below the equivalent figures from 1990 (99) and 1989 (153); of these 28, 23 were trapped on Aug. 11th. The only other significant total in August was of 20 at Southwold, 26th. Totals declined sharply in September when only 25 were trapped at Landguard. Single birds were noted at six coastal sites in October with the final reports from Sizewell, Oct. 23rd and Lowestoft and Southwold both on Oct. 27th. GOLDCREST Regulus regulus An abundant resident and passage migrant. The deleterious effects of February's harsh weather on this vulnerable species were evident not only in the subsequent breeding population, but also in passage totals. Spring passage at Landguard between Mar. 12th and May 8th only totalled 17 birds which is lower than the peak day-total (20) in spring 1990. Additionally, very few spring migrants were observed at Walberswick. The BTO's CBC: 1990-91 Index Report (Marchant & Musty 1992) showed a national decline of 53% on farmland and 66% in woodland. This was certainly reflected in observers' notes with the only reported counts of singing birds in the breeding season being from Minsmere — 11 (47 in 1990); Christchurch Pk, Ipswich — four and North Warren, Aldeburgh — two. There was no evidence of breeding this year at well-watched sites in Lackford and Long Melford where the species is usually present. A juvenile dispersing from its natal area was at Landguard, July 12th and 13th. The species' absence on passage was even more marked in the autumn than in the spring. Only two were trapped at a Dunwich site where 99 had been ringed in autumn 1990. Likewise, further down the coast at Bawdsey only five were trapped in October whereas the equivalent figure in 1990 had been 195. Autumn passage was recorded at Landguard between Sept. 27th and Nov. 5th with the highest totals in October when 34 were ringed (314 in October 1990). FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus An uncommon passage migrant and rare resident. The birds found wintering at Dunwich and Oulton late in 1990 were present at both sites in January with the Oulton bird remaining to early March.


Only about 15 were recorded on spring passage between Mar. 21st and Apr. 28th, the lowest total for five years. Reports were received from Benacre, Southwold, Dunwich, Minsmere, North Warren and Landguard with most sightings in late March and early April. There was again no evidence of breeding, although singing males were found at two sites in the north-west of the County on single dates in May and June. Between 25 and 30 were recorded during a moderate coastal, autumn passage between Sept. 6th and Nov. 8th with 20 occurring in October. December records involved singles at Minsmere, 1st & 16th, Bawdsey, 5th and North Warren, 8th.

S P O T T E D F L Y C A T C H E R Muscicapa striata A common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first arrival was at Minsmere, May 11th. At Landguard, spring migrants occurred between May 13th and June 17th when 27 were trapped and a maximum day-total of 12 was recorded on May 21st. Along with national statistics, which showed a decline in the breeding population of 39% on farmland and 23% in woodland (Marchant & Musty 1992), decreases were reported from Lowestoft, Southwold, Walberswick, Felixstowe, Lackford, the Cavendish/Long Melford study area (seven pairs — ten in 1990) and Kentwell Hall, Long Melford (only one pair — usually at least ten pairs). Conversely, the reports from Minsmere (nine pairs — six in 1990), Kedington, Brent Eleigh, Shotley and Saxmundham were of either average or improved breeding totals. The largest post-breeding gathering was of 30 at Helmingham, Sept. 1st. Autumn passage totals were well below average, probably reflecting a generally poor breeding season. At a Dunwich ringing site, only ten autumn migrants were trapped as compared with 30 in 1990 and 44 in 1989. The highest passage totals were at Southwold with 18 Aug. 26th and Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary 15 on Sept. 2nd and 13 on 20th. There were sightings at four coastal sites in October up to 13th. P I E D F L Y C A T C H E R Ficedula hypoleuca A fairly common passage migrant. Spring reports were received from seven coastal and one inland site totalling at least 13 birds. There was only one April record, at Landguard, 26th to 28th and the remainder were all in May. Most reports were during the period 7th to 14th including two at Walbers-


wick, 9th and one inland at Brandon, 14th. Later in the month, two were at Southwold, 21st and 22nd and the last bird of the spring was at Landguard, 30th to June 1st, the first site record for June. Autumn passage was poor with only about 50 records (78 in 1990; 151 in 1989). It was also exclusively coastal with reports from ten sites between Landguard and Lowestoft. The first migrants did not arrive until Aug. 26th (Aug. 2nd in 1990), when there were reports from Southwold (two) and Landguard. Arrivals quickly peaked in the first week of September when there were three at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary and Lowestoft, two at Landguard and singles at six other sites. A secondary peak occurred during the period Sept. 26th to 28th, when twos frequented both Fagbury Cliff and Southwold and singles were at three other sites. October reports were only received from Lowestoft and Fagbury Cliff with the final sighting at the latter site on 9th. Of the autumn's total, 17 occurred at Lowestoft, ten at Landguard, nine Fagbury Cliff and seven at Southwold. BEARDED T I T Panurus biarmicus An uncommon resident. This species is very susceptible to cold winter weather and the arctic spell experienced in February had a devastating effect, with numbers well down at all breeding sites. Prior to the period of harsh weather, the highest count received was 40 at Walberswick on Feb. 2nd. It was reported that an estimated 100 pairs in the Walberswick reedbeds crashed to around eight pairs. Reports from Easton Broad were conflicting with one observer estimating that around 15 pairs had survived the arctic spell and another recording that from 34 birds present at Potter's Bridge, South Cove, on Jan. 1st, only one bird remained by May 31st "after several visits". It would appear that Martlesham Creek is holding more wintering birds than formerly. A maximum count of 25 at this site was recorded on Feb. 14th. LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus An abundant resident. A common species which is showing a general increase in numbers throughout the County. This upward trend has been apparent for the last two or three years. One observer, from Brent Eleigh, reports that they are common in the district and seen more frequently than in previous years. Flocks of 30 or more were reported from several locations and one of 40 from Newbourne Springs on Nov. 11th. MARSH T I T Parus palustris A fairly common resident. Present throughout the County, but never seen in large numbers. A group of seven was recorded at Black Heath, Friston on Jan. 8th. National statistics had shown a shallow decline (Stroud & Glue 1991), so an increase of 22% in the CBC results for 1991 as compared with those of 1990 (Marchant & Musty 1992), was most welcome. In Suffolk, insufficient records were submitted to enable an accurate assessment to be made. A total of 27 pairs was reported to be holding territories during the breeding season at Minsmere (32 in 1990). W I L L O W T I T Parus montanus An uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. This species was reported from 26 sites. As in previous years, the vast majority of the records, usually of ones and twos, were from the west and centre of the County. Coastal records were from Benacre Broad, June 23rd, Minsmere, May 11th and Norman Gwatkin Reserve, Henham, Nov. 27th. Additionally, adults were observed feeding a single juvenile at North Warren Reserve, Aldeburgh, July 11th.


C O A L TIT Parus ater An abundant resident and scarce passage migrant. Numbers reported at the beginning of the year were much higher than in the previous three years. Mixed tit flocks at Mayday Fm, Brandon and Wordwell in January and February, contained at least 100 and 80 Coal Tits respectively. Records from later in the year only refer to single figure groups, but 51 territories were occupied at Minsmere (40 in 1990). BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus An abundant resident. Although still abundant, there are some worrying reports about this species. An observer from Felixstowe recorded the lowest totals there for six years and from three areas there were reports of reduced breeding populations. For example, only two nest-boxes were occupied in a wood near Ipswich, one containing six pulii and the other only a single pullus, where normally six/seven boxes are occupied. A survey at North Warren revealed 41 pairs. An interesting record from Ipswich involved a brood being raised in an old House Martin's nest (DMA). This is obviously a species which needs careful monitoring and all records should be submitted with comparisons from previous years. G R E A T TIT Parus major An abundant resident. Another species which is not as abundant as formerly, but with a few encouraging reports a partial recovery may be underway. Breeding numbers were reported to be down with much reduced use of nest boxes at Long Melford, whilst at Great Glemham a better breeding season was reported with more and slightly larger broods. The latter was also the case in a wood near Ipswich where a nest box scheme is operated. This is offset by a report from Shotley which states "no recovery yet, numbers very low. "Reduced numbers are also reported from Lackford W.R. North Warren held 21 breeding pairs. N U T H A T C H Sitta europaea A fairly common resident. A total of 89 reports was received from all parts of the County, which tends to suggest an increase in the population over the previous two years. There were confirmed breeding records from Ipswich, Corton Woods, Felixstowe (The Grove) and Hadleigh/Aldham (Wolves Wood). The highest count was of nine together at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Mar. 31st. One of the best places to see this species is in the Ipswich parks, from where at least five males were reported holding territories in Chantry, two in both Holy wells and Christchurch and another in Bourne. T R E E C R E E P E R Certhia familiaris A common resident. This is another species which is very vulnerable to harsh winter weather and February's cold snap may have had a significant effect on the breeding population. There were reports of greatly reduced populations at Brent Eleigh and Saxmundham and a slight decrease at Minsmere (32 in 1990) to 30. This, however, conflicts with national statistics, which show an increase of 48% on farmland and a decrease of only 4% in woodland (Marchant & Musty 1992). There was no reduction in the numbers caught and ringed at sites near Ipswich and Hadleigh.


GOLDEN O R I O L E Oriolus orĂŹolus A s c a r c e s u m m e r v i s i t o r and p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . R e c o r d e d at o n l y t w o traditional b r e e d i n g sites: Lakenheath: singing e

from May 30th; 9 on nest early June.

Site A: singing cr. Unusually, there w e r e n o reports o f passage migrants.

RED-BACKED S H R I K E Lanius collurio An uncommon passage migrant and scarce summer visitor. The sad decline of the species continues with a Ione iemale at Minsmere and a male at Santon Downham being the only spring records. There was a small autumn passage with juveniles being noted at Minsmere, Sizewell and Walberswick. R e c o r d s are s u m m a r i s e d as f o l l o w s :

Walberswick: juv. Oct. 8th. Westleton: Dingle Marshes, juv. Sept. lst to 8th. Minsmere: 9 June 8th to 12th, juv. Sept. 14th. Trimley St M a r t i n : Trimley Marshes, 9 June 29th.

Santon Downham: <J June 16th to 30th. Site G: 9 July 3rd. GREAT G R E Y S H R I K E Lanius excubitor An uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Typically, the majority of records were from the autumn and winter periods. However, a long-staying, virtually oversummering, individuai remained in the Carlton Colville area between May 18th and July 8th. Another bird which was recorded by several observers was at Mayday Farm, Brandon, during the first winter period. An interesting prey item was a Goldcrest which the shrike was seen to catch and then store by jamming the unfortunate individual's head into a cleft between two branches. An autumn immigrant was seen to fly in off the sea at Landguard Pt before being trapped and ringed, Oct. 17th.


The total of 58 records received probably refers to 12 or 13 individuals. Carlton C o l v i l l e / M u t f o r d / G i s l e h a m : May 18th to July 8th. Benacre: Benacre Pits, Oct. 26th. R e y d o n : Nov. 3rd. Walberswick: Hoist Covert, Oct. 11th. Westleton: Westleton Heath, Oct. 30th to Nov. 3rd. M i n s m e r e : Sept. 27th to 29th and another Nov. 20th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Oct. 17th. Stradishall: Stradishall Airfield, Oct. 4th. H i t c h a m : Jan. 20th & 27th. C a v e n h a m : Cavenham Heath, Nov. 11th. Brandon/Wangford: Mayday Fm/Wangford Warren area, Jan. 6th to Feb. 24th, probably same Mar 23rd.

JAY Garrulus glandarius An abundant resident and scarce passage migrant. Many observers report that this species is seen with increasing regularity in most parts of the County. There were 22 territories at Minsmere. There were two movements of presumed migrants during late October as follows: F e l i x s t o w e : Dellwood A v e , four N (high).

Levington: Research Station, 10-12 NW, 20th. A report from Minsmere states that the population on the reserve appeared to double overnight on several dates during October. M A G P I E Pica pica An abundant resident. T h e r e w e r e s e v e r a l reports o f l a r g e g a t h e r i n g s o f this s p e c i e s : D u n w i c h : 38 Dec. 14th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 67 Jan. 10th. Sutton/Shottisham: 18 Feb. 2nd, 32 Mar. 23rd, 34 Nov. 28th.

A report from Shotley which states ' 'this species had increased so dramatically on Over Hall Fm that it had to be controlled" is typical for most of the County. An observer from the Cavendish area reported that a local gamekeeper trapped and killed around 50 during the year. A total of 25 territories was recorded at Minsmere. J A C K D A W Corvus monedula An abundant resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The highest counts recorded were 250 at Iken Cliff, Dec. 25th and 160 at Cavenham, Oct. 27th. Individuals showing characteristics of the nominate Scandinavian race C.m. monedula were reported from Aldeburgh, Jan. 24th, Kessingland, Feb. 24th and Bramford, Nov. 24th. In addition, a partial albino was seen at Bramford on the latter date. An observer from Brent Eleigh reported that numbers seemed to be higher than in previous years. A pair was found nesting in a box erected for Barn Owls at Cratfield. There was evidence of both immigration and emigration: four flew high out to sea at Southwold, May 12th and four arrived from offshore at Landguard, May 20th and five Oct. 22nd. R O O K Corvus frugilegus An abundant resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. The cold weather in February did not seem to deter some individuals, with reports of


nesting activity from Tostock, where birds remained at their nests despite the surrounding snow and Glemsford where a rookery was occupied in mid-month. The largest gathering was with Jackdaws and totalled 3,000 birds at Sibton, Feb. 24th. The largest rookery reported contained 61 nests at Flatford Mili. Evidence of immigration from the Continent was provided by reports from Landguard where 66 offshore arrivals were noted between Oct. 21st and Nov. lOth, including 36 on former date, and at Southwold where 20 arrived on Oct. 28th. CARRION C R O W Corvus corone An abundant resident. Large numbers were reported on various dates feeding on the exposed mud at Wherstead Strand, R.Orwell: 196 Feb. 2nd, 50 Mar. 27th, 150 Oct. lOth and 230 Dec. 31st. The partial albino reported in 1990 at Oulton Marshes was again noted in the same area Mar. 30th, Apr. 5th and June 22nd. T h e r e w e r e o n l y f o u r r e c o r d s o f H o o d e d C r o w s C.c.cornix, which probably involve no m o r e than five i n d i v i d u รก i s as f o l l o w s : Burgh Castle: May 15th to the end of June. Kessingland: Feb. 2nd and Mar. 9th. Benacre: two Jan. lst to 30th and then a single to Mar. 22nd and Dec. 7th.

RAYEN Corvus corax Accidental. T h e t w o r e c o r d s a l m o s t c e r t a i n l y r e f e r to t h e s a m e b i r d . Minsmere: Scottshall Coverts, Apr. 28th and May 29th (IH, IR).

This is the fifth record of the species in Suffolk this century. The fourth record, in 1989, was also at Scottshall Covert. STARLING Sturnus vulgaris An abundant resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A Felixstowe observer reported high totals in the winter and breeding season and exceptional numbers in March, when birds gathered together prior to emigration. Large scale immigration was reported from many coastal localities throughout the autumn and second winter period. The first offshore arrival was noted at Landguard on the exceptionally early date of June 23rd and, thereafter, flocks reported varied in size from 100 to 1,000 birds. A clue as to the origins of these birds was provided by a juvenile which had been ringed as a nestling in Denmark, May 25th and controlled at Landguard Pt, July 4th (see Ringing Report). A total of 2,669 birds passed through Landguard between Oct. 15th and Nov. 16th with a peak of 867 on Nov. lOth. Pre-roost gatherings at Minsmere were 500 Sept. 29th, 3,000 Oct. 27th and 8,000 Nov. 24th and at Landguard 6,000 Oct. lOth. Flocks of up to 10,000 were noted crossing low over the A137 near Brantham, Feb. 28th and Mar. 8th HOUSE S P A R R O W Passer domesticus An abundant resident. It is difficult to make an accurate assessment of population trends from the few reports received, although it would appear that the local declines, which have been noted in recent years, are continuing. These conform with a national trend shown in the BTO's Garden Bird Feeding Survey, which saw a 15-20% reduction in the ten year period from 1977/78. (Marchant et al 1990). A southerly passage was noted at Landguard involving 140 birds between Oct. 4th and Nov. 9th with a peak of 45 Nov. 4th.


One unfortunate individual sought refuge in the engine compartment of a parked car at Lowestoft Denes in a vain attempt to avoid the menacing advances of a particularly persistent Kestrel (see note on page 152). T R E E S P A R R O W Passer montanus An uncommon resident (decreasing). A widely reported species, although there were few reports of large gatherings unlike the situation less than a decade ago. Undoubtedly, there has been an alarming crash in the County's breeding population, which is mirrored nationally where a massive reduction, from 850,000 pairs in the mid-1960s down to 130,000 pairs in 1988 (Marchant et al), has been noted. In the past four years, there has been a further reduction of great significance, with the species disappearing completely from vast areas of countryside. Are we nearing the day when all records of Tree Sparrow warrant publication in Suffolk Birds? Unfortunately, a comment in one observer's notes "much lower than last year, maximum 28 in March compared with 90+ in 1990" appears to be the general case. Sudbourne Marshes appears to be a stronghold with a flock of 70 being noted on Jan. 20th increasing to 150 Jan 30th. Other notable concentrations were: S t u t t o n : Stutton N e s s Cliff, 110 Jan. 20th.

Stowmarket: 50 Mar. 15th. T u d d e n h a m / C a v e n h a m : Tuddenham/Cavenham Heath, 80 Feb. 5th and 100 Mar. 12th.

At Landguard, autumn passage was poor with only 105 bird-days between Aug. 18th and Nov. 9th, peaking at 23 Sept. 4th. RED-EYED V I R E O Vireo olivaceus

Accidental. Remarkably, Suffolk's second record of this transatlantic vagrant occurred within a few hundred metres of where the first was found in September 1988. L o w e s t o f t : Sparrow's Nest Gardens/Arnold's Walk, Oct. 6th (PR, RWi et



CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs An abundant resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Three-figure flocks were reported from 12 localities in the first winter period. The highest counts were of 200 in the King's Forest on Jan. 26th rising to 500 on Jan. 30th; 300 at North Stow on Feb. 2nd; 300 at Wordwell on Feb. 4th and 150 at Covehithe Cliffs on Feb. 16th. Early spring passage occurred at Landguard with 178 flying south between Mar. 11th and 18th. A total of 42 breeding territories was located at North Warren, Aldeburgh, while a decrease in the number of juveniles was noted along the Stour between Cavendish and Long Melford. Landguard reported significant coastal movements in November involving 206 birds with a peak count of 76 on 4th. Levington produced the only sizeable flock in the second winter period with 200 on Oct. 30th and 180 on Dec. 3rd. Up to 100 visited a feeding station at Lackford W.R. in November and December and ringing data showed a continual turnover of new arrivals.

BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla A fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. An extremely encouraging picture in the early part of the year with sizeable flocks recorded across the County. P e a k early y e a r c o u n t s w e r e : M a r t l e s h a m : Martlesham Creek, 4 0 Feb. 8th. I p s w i c h : Bishop's Hill, 45 Feb. 23rd; Chantry Pk, 50 Jan. 21st. B r a n d o n : Mayday Fm, 50 Jan. 20th.

Santon Downham: 100 January to March. E l v e d e n : 2 0 0 Mar. 24th incl. several cr a in f.s.p.

King's Forest: 50 Jan. 26th; 150 Feb. 25th; 80 Mar. 31st.

Icklingham: 80 Mar. 22nd. West Stow: 50 Apr. 1st. Recorded from nine localities in April and a further three in May including 13 at Cavenham Heath, May 14th and one at Tuddenham Rd, Ipswich, 24th. The first arrivals in the later part of the year occurred at Minsmere, 25 Sept. 27th. Peak late winter counts were: 40 at Minsmere, Oct. 5th; 20 at Sizewell, Oct. 14th, 30 at Dunwich, Oct. 28th; 25 at the Sparrow's Nest Gardens, Lowestoft, Oct. 15th and 30 at Crag Farm, Sudbourne, Dec. 1st.

G R E E N F I N C H Carduelis chloris An abundant resident and passage migrant. Sizeable early year flocks occurred as follows: Boyton: 400 Jan. 1st; 120 Jan. 8th and 150 Jan. 29th. S u d b o u r n e : Sudbourne Marshes, 100 Jan. 1st. Alton W a t e r : 5 0 0 + Jan. 29th; 3 0 0 Jan. 30th; 2 0 0 Feb. 17th.

Spring passage was evident at Minsmere on Mar 27th with 4 0 + per hour moving through. Ringing returns at Lackford W.R. suggested a poor breeding season and at both Minsmere and North Warren reserves only 11 pairs were located. A relatively light, southerly autumn passage at Landguard involved 301 birds in October,


max. 70 on 18th and 221 in November, max. 95 on 4th. Late year flocks included 150 at Market Weston, Sept. 3rd; 200 at Trimley Marshes, Sept. 10th; 200 at Long Melford S.F. Nov. 9th and 300 at Leathes Ham, Lowestoft, Nov. 23rd. G O L D F I N C H Carduelis


A n abundant s u m m e r visitor and passage migrant. A f e w overwinter. T h i n o n the g r o u n d in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d w i t h o n l y t h r e e f l o c k s o f a n y c o n s e q u e n c e C a v e n h a m Cavenham Heath, 1 5 0 + Feb. 5th. C o d d e n h a m : Shrubland Pk, 120 Mar. 23rd and 100 Apr. 5th.

Levington: 50 Mar. 27th. Spring passage was noted at three sites: A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, 52 Apr. 24th; 10 N Apr. 27th; 2 0 S Apr. 29th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 125 S in April and 397 S in May incl. peak day of 9 8 May 19th. T r i m l e y St M a r t i n : Thorpe Common, 40 Apr. 16th.

Stroud and Glue (1991) give the national population trend as "declining, steeply outside farmland, after reaching high population levels in the 1970s" and a further decline was experienced in 1991 (Marchant & Musty 1992). In Suffolk, however, there were very few breeding reports with five pairs at Minsmere and three pairs at North Warren being the most significant. The number of juveniles in the Cavendish/Long Melford area in late summer was reported as being lower than in recent years. Autumn coastal passage was recorded at a number of sites from Aug. 26th as follows: C a r l t o n Colville: Carlton Marshes Reserve, 100 Sept. 28th.

Southwold: 150 S Oct. 6th; 285 S Oct. 12th. Minsmere: 300 S Oct. 7th. L e i s t o n c u m Sizewell: Sizewell, 3 0 0 Oct. 28th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, 71 S Oct. 2nd and 4 0 S Oct. 12th. Hollesley: Shingle Street, 2 0 0 Oct. 13th.

Woodbridge: 150 Oct. 2nd. F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, 3 6 0 S in September incl. 105 on 30th; 3.891 S in October incl. 6 1 9 on 2nd, 405 on 6th, 5 6 0 on 7th and 3 6 0 on 19th; 786 in November incl. 392 on 4th. H o l b r o o k : Holbrook Creek, 150 Aug. 26th. E a s t B e r g h o l t : Flatford Mill, 100 Sept. 26th.

Long Melford: 100 Sept. 15th. Very scarce at the end of the year with 30 at Minsmere, Nov. 3rd and Dec. 26th and 31 at North Warren, Dec. 8th being the only flocks reported. S I S K I N Carduelis


A c o m m o n w i n t e r v i s i t o r , p a s s a g e m i g r a n t and u n c o m m o n resident. W i d e l y r e p o r t e d in the first w i n t e r p e r i o d w i t h f l o c k s o f 5 0 o r m o r e a s f o l l o w s :

Benacre: 50 Mar. 6th. A l d r i n g h a m c u m T h o r p e : Thorpeness Meare, 70 Mar. 10th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, 51 Jan. 26th. B r a m f o r d : Suffolk Water Pk, 70 Mar. 10th. C o d d e n h a m : Pipp's Ford, 6 0 Jan. 10th & 80 Feb. 11th.

Brent Eleigh: 50 Feb. 6th. C a v e n h a m : Cavenham Heath. 100 Jan. 23rd. B r a n d o n : Mayday Fm, 50 Mar. 31st. K i n g ' s Forest: 100 Jan. 26th.

Lackford: W.R., 60 Mar. 17th. There was evidence of spring passage at Landguard Pt, where singles flew south, Apr. 26th, May 12th and May 20th, 16 south Apr. 1st and ten north, 27th. Singing males were reported in April/May from King's Forest and Lound whilst other breeding season reports came from Dunwich, Hollesley Heath, Mayday F m , Minsmere, Santรณn Downham, Sutton Common, Thorpeness Meare and Walberswick. A flock of 25


adults and juveniles was recorded at Tunstall on July 21st. An interesting summer record is of eight south over South wold, June 2nd. Autumn passage was recorded at a number of sites: Benacre: two in from sea Nov. 15th. Easton Bavents/Southwold: ten S and 12 offshore arrivals Nov. 8th. Yldeburgh: North Warren, four S Sept. 22nd, 54 S Sept. 30th, 23 N Oct. 15th, 15 S Oct. 16th.

iiawdsey: three S Oct. 13th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, two S July 16th, 56 S & single N in September, 229 S & four N in October, nine N Nov. 21st, 23 S Nov. 23rd, single S Dec. 1st.

Late year flocks included 100 at Lackford W.R., Oct. 26th and 115 Dec. 17th; up to 120 at Minsmere from October to December and 150 North Warren, Dec. 29th. LINNET Carduelis cannabina An abundant summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. First winter period flocks included 150 Cavenham Heath, Feb. 4th; 125 Boyton, Jan. 29th & 160 Mar. 23rd, 120 North Warren, Feb. 10th and 250 Aldringham, Mar. 31st. The cold spell in early February saw a southerly movement through Landguard with 177 on 10th and 49 on 11th. Spring p a s s a g e p e a k e d at the f o l l o w i n g sites:

Lowestoft: The Oval, 100 Apr. 8th and 300 May 5th. Kessingland: 120 Apr. 11th. B e n a c r e : "good numbers south all day"

Apr. 12th.

Southwold: 300 S in one hr, Apr. 7th. D u n w i c h : Greyfriars, 150 + ringed (more numerous than previous two years).

Minsmere: 70+ per hr Mar. 31st, 340 Apr. 12th. A l d e b u r g h : North Warren, monthly peaks of 300 Apr. 7th, 200 May 31st, 100 June 4th. Hollesley: Shingle Street, 400 N Apr. 13th. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, 425 offshore arrivals April, incl. 70 on 9th.

Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, 190 Apr. 16th & 280 18th. Breeding reports included 26 pairs at Minsmere (39 in 1990), 11 pairs at North Warren, five pairs at Levington Lagoon and c50 pairs at Landguard. There was considered to have been fewer juveniles in the Long Melford/Cavendish area in late summer than in recent years. Excellent numbers were recorded on autumn passage, although no second winter flocks were reported: Southwold: 150 S Oct. 12th. Knodishall: 2 0 0 Sept. 23rd. Felixstowe: "gigantic flock with Greenfinches", Oct. 5th; Landguard Pt, 1,376 S September, 3,829 S October, incl. 704 S Oct. 12th, and 313 S November.

Levington: 300 Sept. 9th. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, c3,000 July/August; Trimley Marshes, 2 0 0 Aug. 20th & 2 5 0 Oct. 6th.

T W I T E Carduelis flavirostris A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded in good numbers at 15 coastal and estuarine sites in the first winter period with peak counts as follows: Breydon Water: Burgh Castle, 40 Feb. 24th. Deben: Waldringfield, 65 Jan. 31st to Feb. 2nd; Hemley, 70 Feb. 3rd, Falkenham Creek, 40 Jan. 20th.

Orwell: Levington, 80 Jan. 18th.

The only April record involved a single at Landguard on 24th. October brought a flurry of records from 6th at nine sites, peaking at 50 at Walberswick 17th, 50 Minsmere 25th and 26th and 50 King's Fleet, Falkenham/Felixstowe on 27th.


Reasonable sized flocks remained in the County in the second winter period peaking at 45 at Falkenham, 30 at Levington all on Nov. 10th, 40 Felixstowe Ferry, Dec. 8th and 70 Orfordness, Dec. 31st. R E D P O L L Carduelis flammea A common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. R e c o r d e d f r o m 2 6 l o c a l i t i e s in the first w i n t e r p e r i o d w i t h p e a k n u m b e r s a s f o l l o w s Hollesley: Upper Hollesley Heath, 30 Jan. 18th. I p s w i c h : Pipers Vale, 4 0 Jan. 9th.

Tuddenham St M a r y : Tuddenham Heath, 50 Mar. 8th & 12th. K i n g ' s F o r e s t : Queen Mary's A v e , 120 Jan. 26th to Feb. 1st.

Breeding season reports came from 22 sites and included four pairs at both Minsmere and North Warren. There were fewer juveniles in the Long Melford/Cavendish area in late summer than in recent years. Autumn passage at Landguard began Sept. 16th and continued to Nov. 23rd. Movements of 22 south Sept. 30th, 21 north and 60 south in October were followed by 24 south in November, including 15 on 4th. The only sizeable, late year flocks were of 150 Lackford W.R., Nov. 24th & Dec. 8th and 50 North Warren, Nov. 5th & Dec. 29th. M e a l y R e d p o l l s C.f. flammea w e r e m u c h in e v i d e n c e in t h e first part o f t h e y e a r although c o m p l e t e l y a b s e n t in the s e c o n d w i n t e r p e r i o d :

Southwold: two May 23rd. B l a x h a l l : Blaxhall Common, 5 0 Mar. 29th/30th. M e l t o n : Riverside Picnic Site, Jan. 8th. M a r t l e s h a m : Martlesham Creek, two Feb. 8th. I p s w i c h : Pipers Vale, two Jan. 11th. T u d d e n h a m St M a r y : Tuddenham Heath, "small numbers" Mar. 8th to 12th. K i n g ' s F o r e s t : 2 0 Jan. 26th, five Jan. 27th, c60 Feb. 2nd, 12 Feb. 3rd, single Mar. 9th.

A R C T I C R E D P O L L Carduelis A very rare winter visitor.


T h r e e i n d i v i d u a l s w e r e r e c o r d e d f r o m t w o s i t e s in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d :

Brad well: photographed Jan. 27th to Mar. 3rd (PRA, RW). B l a x h a l l : Blaxhall Common, Mar. 29th (BS). W e s t S t o w : King's Forest, two feeding in large Redpoll flock Jan. 26th to Feb. 4th and again Feb. 16th (JMC, EWP, RT), presumed one of the same relocated Apr. 1st (RMB, SB, TPK).

CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra A fairly common resident and irruptive visitor. Recorded from 28 sites in the first half of the year continuing the build up in the County in the latter half of 1990. P e a k c o u n t s w e r e as f o l l o w s : L o u n d : Waterworks, c . 6 0 May 25th. W a l b e r s w i c k : Westwood Marsh, 25 June 2nd. D u n w i c h : Dunwich Forest, 20 Apr. 9th. M i n s m e r e : 23 Apr. 29th, 33 May 24th, 4 0 June 27th, 50 July 10th and 21 Aug. 12th. B l a x h a l l : Blaxhall Common, 4 0 May 29th. W a n t i s d e n : Staverton Pk, 2 6 June 2nd.

Capei St Andrew: Tangham Fm, 25 Apr. 21st. B r a n d o n / W a n g f o r d : Mayday Fm area, 55 Jan. 27th, 30 Feb. 3rd & 24th, 75 Mar 23rd, 150 Mar. 31st, 2 5 0 April 28th & 60 May 11th. W o r d w e l l : King's Forest, 2 0 May 11th; Queen Mary's Ave, 5 0 Mar. 1st to Apr. 30th.

Landguard recorded late summer movements from July 16th to Aug. 24th, max. 11


July 16th & 30 19th and single Oct. 19th. One at Alton Water, June 2nd is only the second record for the reservoir. Recorded from 30 localities in the second half of the year though certainly less numerous. Maximum counts were 23 north at Bawdsey, July 4th, up to 50 Minsmere in July and up to 200 Thetford Forest from July 1st to Aug. 30th. PARROT CROSSBILL Loxia pytyopsittacus A rare winter visitor. Small numbers were seen regularly in the Mayday Farm area of Thetford Forest throughout January and until mid-February by many observers. The birds were often associated with Crossbills and the numbers that observers assigned to this species varied considerably. B r a n d o n : Mayday Fm, ç Jan. 2nd to 30th and Feb. 11th, or Jan. 2nd to Feb. 5th, second o- Feb. 2nd (PJD et al).

These birds are considered to have arrived at this site as part of a national influx in autumn 1990. C O M M O N R O S E F I N C H Carpodacus erythrinus A very rare passage migrant. Southwold: Golf Course, Ă&#x2021; /imm. June 2nd (JMC). This is the fifth record for Suffolk and on a typical date. BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula An abundant resident. Breeding reports included 25 pairs at Minsmere (36 in 1990 & 25 in 1989) and six pairs at North Warren (four in 1990). Landguard recorded individual birds on Mar. 3rd (two), 13th and 22nd, Apr. 8th (two) and 12th, July 14th and Nov. 4th while six flew south on Nov. 6th. Double-figure counts came only from North Warren where there were 15 Jan. 27th & 11 Dec. 4th. HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes An uncommon resident. Recorded from 19 sites including 11 possible breeding localities, though singing males/ territories were only located at five sites. Campsea Ash: singing cr Mar. 6th., S p r o u g h t o n : Hazel Wood, singing cr Mar. 2nd. I p s w i c h : Christchurch Pk, Arboretum, agitated pair Apr. 26th. H a d l e i g h / A l d h a m : Wolves Wood, recorded throughout and thought to have bred. L a c k f o r d : Church, singing cr Apr. 4th.

Peak counts were seven at Hazel Wood, Sproughton, Jan. 27th & Apr. 6th and four Staverton Thicks, Wantisden, May 4th. Lower numbers than usual in the Santon Downham area were linked to a failure of the local Cherry crop. LAPLAND BUNTING Calcarius lapponicus An uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Recorded from only five coastal sites in the first winter period although Sudbourne produced a new County record total: Minsmere: Jan. 11th, Feb. 9th & 10th & Apr. 3rd. T h e b e r t o n : single in a back garden Feb. 12th & 13th, during the period of harsh weather. S u d b o u r n e : Sudbourne Marshes, 5 0 Jan. 3rd; 70 Jan. 5th and 100 Jan. 13th (CPSR).

Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, Feb. 10th. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, two Jan. 1st; eight Jan. 12th, five Jan. 13th, singles Jan. 21st & Feb. 7th.


A particularly late bird in almost full summer plumage was at Benacre Pits on May 13th (CAB, MSF). The second winter period produced records from 13 coastal localities after the initial arrival at Minsmere on Sept. 15th, but totals were low with peak counts of four at Easton Bavents, Nov. 3rd; three Corton, Nov. 10th; three, offshore arrivals, Landguard, Nov. 21st and only three Sudbourne Marshes, Dec. 1st. SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis A fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Small numbers reported in the first winter period and no records were received from the recent principal site at Sudbourne. P e a k c o u n t s w e r e as f o l l o w s : L o w e s t o f t : The D e n e s / N e s s Pt, 13 Jan. 29th, 17 Feb. 9th, 14 Mar. 2nd.

Pakefield/Kessingland/Benacre: 25 Jan. 13th, 17 or 18 Feb. 5th to Mar. 3rd. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry/Landguard Pt, up to 23 throughout January & 15 to Feb. 24th. T r i m l e y St M a r y : Fagbury Beach, 2 0 Jan. 26th.

The last of the first winter period were two at Benacre, Apr. 7th. A slightly better showing later in the year after the first arrival at Landguard on Sept. 15th. Principal reports were as follows: K e s s i n g l a n d / B e n a c r e / C o v e h i t h e : 25 Nov. 24th, 30 S 29th, 27 Dec. 4th, 12 25th & 20 27th.

Easton Bavents: 26 Nov. 6th and 30 Nov. 15th. Minsmere: 20 Nov. 22nd. A l d e b u r g h : North Beach, 25 Nov. 21st, 44 Dec. 14th and 21 Dec. 28th.

Orfordness: 22 Dec. 31st. Bawdsey: 22 N Nov. 28th. Felixstowe: 15 Dec. 1st and 25 Dec. 19th. Y E L L O W H A M M E R Emberiza citrinella An abundant resident and passage migrant. Despite being one of Suffolk's most widespread birds, breeding data were received from only two sites. The population at Minsmere crashed to the lowest level for many years, with only 38 pairs (68 in 1991). This compares with national statistics which show a decline of 17% on farmland and 22% in woodland (Marchant & Musty 1992). Survey work at North Warren revealed a total of 19 pairs. The largest flocks were 100 Beccles, Jan. 2nd, 100 Butley, Jan. 25th, 50 Iken, Jan. 27th, 47 Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Feb. 3rd, 50 Tuddenham Heath, Mar. 12th to 15th and 50 Eyke, Dec. 19th. Landguard logged a small southerly movement of 14 in October and eight in November. O R T O L A N BUNTING Emberiza hortulana A rare passage migrant. Landguard recorded individuals on spring and autumn passage as follows: F e l i x s t o w e : Landguard Pt, ad. May 19th (NC, SHP et al),

รง / i m m . Sept. 14th (MM et al).

R E E D BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus An abundant resident and passage migrant. Breeding reports were received from Minsmere with 16 territories (31 in 1990) and North Warren with nine territories (six in 1990). The cold spell in February brought 24 together at Woodbridge on 10th while ten remained in a Theberton garden from 10th to 13th. Two in a garden at Gt Finborough, 8th and 9th were reported as being noticeably tamer than other garden species.


Autumn passage at Landguard produced a single in August, two in September, 33 in October (nine on 12th) and 11 in November (six on 6th). Five flew south over Southwold, Oct. 12th. CORN BUNTING Miliaria calandra An uncommon resident. This nationally declining species was reported from 19 sites in the first winter period with the principal reports as follows: Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, 30 Jan. 4th and 14 Mar. 30th. Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, 35 Jan. 1st, 90 Jan. 12th, 40 Mar. 6th and 26 Apr. 10th. Levington: eight Jan. 23rd.

Alton Water: 16 Jan. 7th. During the cold weather in February, two were trapped at Landguard (12th) and singles were present there on 13th and 14th and again 17th and 18th. One, which frequented a Theberton garden Feb. 13th to 15th, was presumably also struggling to survive the cold spell. Breeding reports were received from 21 localities with peak numbers of singing males being eight at Sudbourne Marshes, ten at Trimley Marshes and four at Wherstead. An indication of possible coastal spring passage was provided by two on Apr. 1st at Landguard, where in the autumn singles flew south, Oct. 14th & 25th and Nov. 22nd. Much scarcer in the second winter period with ten at Corton in November, 12 at Felixstowe Ferry, Dec. 21st and 50 Kedington in December being the only flocks of note. APPENDIX I -


W H I T E P E L I C A N Pelecanus onocrotalus Widely distributed in southern Europe, Asia and Africa. The status of this species in Britain is a tantalising puzzle. The birds may be escapees â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but there is just a hint of a possibility that they are genuine wild vagrants, as the date of this individual would suggest. Perhaps this is another insoluble problem but, in the meantime, sightings have, at least, some entertainment value. They are, after all, somewhat comical birds. W o o l v e r s t o n e : R.Orwell, photographed Sept. 7th & 8th (JAG).

W O O D DUCK Aix sponsa Widely distributed and common in Canada throughout the United States and into Mexico and on many of the West Indian islands. L o u n d : village pond, cr May 12th & 27th and July 21st. Ipswich: Belstead Brook, pinioned cr May 2nd.

Long Melford: May 6th & 7th. APPENDIX II -


As in previous issues of Suffolk Birds the native range and status precede the record of each species, with references taken from Clements (1991) unless otherwise stated. BLACK SWAN Cygnus atratus Resident in Australia, including Tasmania, and introduced to New Zealand. Imposing and impressive as they may be, these represent none of the problems of status raised by some other species â&#x20AC;&#x201D; clearly, all sightings refer to escapees. All records are included, although some duplication probably exists: Benacre: Benacre Broad, Apr. 13th. Minsmere: May 13th.


Waldringfield: Jan. 30th. East Bergholt: Fiatford Mill, June 3rd and Oct. 18th. Sudbury: Feb. 8th & 10th.

Cavendish/Long Melford: Apr. 3rd & 5th. Lackford: W.R., Nov. 9th. A pair bred successfully in Essex in 1989. CHINESE (SWAN) G O O S E Anser cygnoides Widely distributed throughout the Eastern Palearctic. L o n g Melford: with Canada Geese, January. Lackford: Wildfowl Reserve, February.

BAR-HEADED G O O S E Anser indicus Resident from central Asia to India and Burma. Falkenham: Mar. 24th. Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, May 10th.

R O S S ' S G O O S E Anser rossii Breeds in Tundra region of Canada and winters in southern United States. L a c k f o r d : Wildfowl Reserve, 25th Feb. to end of year.

E M P E R O R G O O S E Anser canagica Confined to north-east Siberia and coastal western Alaska. Ixworth: Micklemere, Jan. 13th to Feb. 2nd. Sudbury: Jan. 27th.

Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Pk, June 16th. NENE (HAWAIIAN) G O O S E Brama sandvicensis Endemic to the island of Hawaii and introduced to Mauai. Previously this was an endangered species with no more than 20 individuals surviving in 1950 (Owen 1980). However, a successful rear-and-release programme in Hawaii (and Slimbridge) has since boosted the population to a reasonably secure level. L o u n d : Waterworks, full-winged and unringed, Mar. 3rd to May 6th, again Oct. 6th to Nov. 21st.

UPLAND (MAGELLAN) G O O S E Chloephaga picta Resident in Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. Ixworth: Micklemere, Jan. 13th to Feb. 2nd. C H I L O E W I G E O N Anas sibilatrix Resident from southern Brazil to Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. Freston: R.Orwell, Jan. 12th & 14th. Triniley St M a r y : Trimley Marshes, June 14th.

B R O W N (YELLOW-BILLED) PINTAIL Anas geรณrgica Resident in Colombia, Ecuador to Chile and Argentina. Minsmere: Apr. 26th. BAHAMA PINTAIL Anas bahamensis Widespread in South America and West Indies. Gt/Lt Livcrmere: Livermere Pk, May 4th. L a c k f o r d : Wildfowl Reserve, May 10th.


Plate 21: Fieldfare at Alton Water.

Plate 22: Unprecedented numbers of Blackbirds arrived at Landguard in late October.

Plate 23: The Song Thrush breeding population is decreasing

n a i e Âż*: i n e Lesser Whitethroat ĂŹs a common passage migrant.

Piate 25: This Yellow-browed Warbler frequented St Edmund's churchyard, Southwold.

Piate 26: The Yellowhammer is one of Suffolk's most widespread birds.



C o n f i n e d to the mountains o f southern China to Indochina, evington: Research Centre, Mar. 27th.



A highly domesticated species with a w o r l d w i d e distribution. x)westoft: Leathes Ham, two in Collared D o v e roost, Nov. 30th.



W i d e s p r e a d in A u s t r a l i a . Corton: Oct. 13th. Oulton: Oulton Marsh, Holly Fm, Oct. 14th. Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, Mar. 15th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, N o v . 3rd. Easton Bavents: N o v . 3rd. Kesgrave: Bell Lane, Aug. 10th. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 3rd and flying around well offshore Nov. 9th. rrimley St M a r y : Fagbury Cliff, Oct. 11th. Ipswich: Cumberland Towers, Aug. 7th; Sallows Close, Aug. 8th. T h e c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f r e c o r d s , f r o m m i d - O c t o b e r to e a r l y N o v e m b e r , is p r o b a b l y d u e to a m a s s b r e a k - o u t o f t h e s p e c i e s f r o m the K e n s i n g t o n G a r d e n s A v i a r y at L o w e s t o f t following vandalism.

GREY-BACKED W H I T E - E Y E Zosterops


C o n f i n e d to t h e Fiji I s l a n d s t h r o u g h to A u s t r a l i a a n d N e w Z e a l a n d . Lowestoft: Flycatcher Alley, Nov. 8th to 12th. T h i s i n d i v i d u a l c a u s e d quite a stir, w i t h o b s e r v e r s initially b e l i e v i n g that it w a s o n e o f the m i g r a n t w h i t e - e y e s f r o m s o u t h - e a s t A s i a .



W i d e s p r e a d in A f r i c a s o u t h o f t h e S a h a r a . Felixstowe: Peewit Hill, Mar. 28th. T h i s bird w a s p r o b a b l y o n e o f t h o s e that f r e q u e n t e d t h e F e l i x s t o w e D o c k area last y e a r .

LONG-TAILED R O S E F I N C H Uragus sibiricus L o c a l l y c o m m o n in E a s t e r n P a l e a r c t i c to Japan. W a l b e r s w i c k : East Hill, cr Sept. 26th (DJP). I n t e r e s t i n g l y , a m a l e w a s at Portland B i l l , D o r s e t b e t w e e n A u g . 2 n d and 9 t h and another w a s at N a g ' s H e a d S e w a g e F a r m , H a r o l d W o o d , E s s e x , o n D e c .




W i d e s p r e a d in the E t h i o p i a n r e g i o n . Botesdale: coming to bird-table, December 1990 to at least Jan. 4th.



W i d e s p r e a d in A f r i c a s o u t h o f Sahara. Felixstowe: Landguard Pt, cr Aug. 17th to 19th when a second bird was present, another Aug. 29th.



R e s i d e n t in t h e g r a s s l a n d s o f t h e S u d a n and E t h i o p i a and south t o S o u t h A f r i c a . B e n a c r e : Beach Fm, Nov. 21st to 25th. In a d d i t i o n , t h e r e w e r e the u s u a l reports o f M u s c o v y D u c k s , C a n a r i e s and B u d g e r i g a r s .




The following list consists of records that were not accepted by the BBRC (nation;: rarities) or the SORC (County rarities). It must be emphasised that in the vast majority of cases the record was not accepter because the Committee members were not convinced, on the evidence before them, thai the identification was fully established; in only a very few cases were the Committee satisfied that a mistake had been made. Records marked with an asterisk have beer withdrawn by the observer. 1991 Records: Slavonian Grebe: Minsmere, Feb. 2nd; Cory's Shearwater: Southwold, Nov. 10th. Black Kite Benacre, Feb. 2nd. Montagu's Harrier: Minsmere, May 26th. Pomarine Skua: Aldeburgh, Dec

6th. Ring-billed Gull: Martlesham, Sept. 9th. Roseate Tern: Felixstowe, June 16th. Alpine Swifl Felixstowe, July 26th. T a w n y Pipit: Minsmere, Sept. 22nd. Black Wheatear: Barton Mills, Sept

10th. Raven: Elveden, May 15th. 1989 Records: Ring-necked Duck: Minsmere, nine Oct. 14th. 1988 Records: Blue-winged Teal: Lakenheath, May 14th. A P P E N D I X IV INDEX O F S C I E N T I F I C N A M E S O F NON-AVIAN S P E C I E S M E N T I O N E D IN T E X T Mammals: Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus; Lepus capensis. Insects: Dragonfly Anisoptera

Stoat Mustela erminea\ Fox Vulpes vulpes\ Brown Hare


Fish: Bream Abramis


Mollusca: Mussel Mytilus


Plants: Alder Alnus glutinosa-, Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus\ Beech Fagus sylvatica\ Malus domesticus; Wild Cherry Prunus avium; Oilseed Rape Brassica napus.



E A R L I E S T AND LATEST DATES O F S U M M E R M I G R A N T S SPECIES Garganey Osprey Hobby Stone Curlew Little Ringed Plover â&#x20AC;˘V'himbrel Wood Sandpiper Sandwich Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Little Tern Black Tern

Date Mar. 16th Apr. 26th Apr. 12th Mar. 17th Mar. 14th Mar. 30th May 3rd Mar. 17th Apr. 4th Apr. 14th Apr. 23rd Apr. 25th

Turtle Dove* Cuckoo Nightjar Swift Wryneck Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail Nightingale** Redstart Whinchat Wheateart Ring Ouzel Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroatt Garden Warbler Wood Warbler Willow Warbler Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Red-backed Shrike

Apr. 13th Apr. 12th May 12th Apr. 24th Apr. 30th Mar. 16th Apr. 1st Apr. 1st Apr. 7th Mar. 14th Apr. 3rd Apr. 9th Apr. 18th Mar. 13 th Mar. 18th Apr. 14th Mar. 30th Apr. 20th Apr. 20th Apr. 14th Apr. 20th May 10th Mar. 30th May 11th Apr. 26th lune 8th


* ** t t

ARRIVALS Locality Falkenham Bromeswell Benacre Breckland Lackford Havergate North Warren Havergate Lackford Holbrook Landguard Alton Water/Lackford/ Minsmere Westleton Lackford Minsmere Carlton/Lackford Kessingland Lackford Thorpeness Ipswich Breckland Felixstowe Market Weston Shetland Sizewell Lakenheath Landguard Minsmere Minsmere Lackford Bungay/Lackford Ipswich Minsmere Stratton Hall Blythburgh Minsmere Landguard Minsmere

Date Aug. 26th Sept. 29th Oct. 8th Sept. 28th Sept. 30th Oct. 19th Sept. 8th Nov. 20th Nov. 2nd Nov. 19th Sept. 22nd Oct. 11th

DEPARTURES Locality Minsmere Landguard Benacre Breckland Lackford Havergate Havergate Minsmere Sizewell Lowestoft Lackford Covehithe

Nov. 14th Sept. 9th Aug. 29th Oct. 3rd Oct. 6th Oct. 14th Nov. 28th Nov. 29th Oct. 10th Oct. 25th Oct. 6th Oct. 25th Oct. 13th Nov. 24th Nov. 5th Aug. 25th Nov. 4th Oct. 4th Oct. 14th Dec. 7th Oct. 17th Sept. 10th Oct. 27th Oct. 13th Oct. 9th Oct. 8th

Worlingworth Minsmere Minsmere Lowestoft/Benhall Minsmere Sizewell Woolverstone Minsmere Sizewell Landguard Fagbury Felixstowe Fagbury Covehithe Minsmere Knettishall Fagbury Fagbury Fagbury Benacre Landguard Fagbury Southwold/Lowestoft Felixstowe/Fagbury Fagbury Walberswick

See details of overwintering bird. Earliest for Suffolk, Latest for Suffolk, Equals latest for Suffolk.

References: Axell, H. E. 1960. R.S.P.B. Minsmere Bird Reserve, 1959. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc., 11: 441-450. BOU: Records Committee, 1991. 15th Annual Report (April 1991). 133: 438. Clements, J. F. 1991. Birds of the World: a checklist. Ibis. Vista. Crewe, M. D. 1991. Alecloris Partridges in Suffolk. Suffolk Ornithologists' Group Bulletin. 91:12-14. Cramp, S. & Simmons, K. E. L. (Eds.) 1979. The birds of the Western Palearctic. Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. Cramp, S. & Simmons, K. E. L. (Eds.) 1985. The birds of the Western Palearctic. Vol. 4. Oxford University Press. Dymond, J. N . , Fraser, P. A. & Gantlett, S. J. M. 1989. Rare birds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser. Calton. Furness, R. W. 1987. The Skuas. Poyser. Calton. Green, N. C. (Ed.) 1992. Systematic list 1991. The Essex Bird Report 1991. 80. Image, R. A . , 1991. Montagu's&Marsh Harriers in West Norfolk 1987-1991. Norfolk Bird & Mammal Report 1991. 270-272.


Kirby, J. S., Ferns, J. R., Waters, R. J. & Piys-Jones, R. P. 1991. Wilfowl and wader counts 1990-91 The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. Lack, P. 1986. The Atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser. Calton. Marchant, J. H., Hudson, R., Carter, S. P. & Whittington, P. 1990. Population Trends in Britis, Breeding Birds. British Trust for Ornithology. Thetford. Marchant, J. H. & Musty, L. 1992. Common Birds Census: 1990-91 index report. BTONews 182:9-12 Murphy, P. W. 1981. Early & late dates for summer & passage migrants in Suffolk 1950-1980. Suffoi Birds 1981 35-47. Ogilvie, M. A. 1978. Wild Geese. Berkhamsted. Owen, M. 1980. Wild Geese of the World. Batsford. London. Payn, W. H. 1977. The birds of Suffolk. Ipswich. Piersma, T. & Davidson, N. 1992. The migration of Knots. Wader Study Group Bulletin 64 (supplement). Prater, A . J . 1973. The wintering population of Ruffs in Britain and Ireland. Bird Study 20:245-250 Prater, A. J. 1981. Estuary Birds of Britain and Ireland. Poyser. Calton. Piotrowski, S. H. 1990. A fishy story. The Harrier 87:12-13. Piotrowski, S. H. 1991. Grey Heron versus Stoat. Suffolk Birds 1991 40:145. Rogers, M. J. 1990. Report on rare birds in Great Britain and Ireland in 1989. Brit. Birds 83:475 Roselaar, C. S. & Gerritsen, G. J. 1991. Recognition of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit and its occurrence in The Netherlands. Dutch Birding 13:128-135. Seago, M. J. (Ed.) 1991. Classified notes. Norfolk Bird & Mammal Report 1990. pl46. Seago, M. J. (Ed.) 1992. Classified notes. Norfolk Bird <6 Mammal Report 1991. p315. Sharrock, J. T. R. 1976. The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. British Trust for Ornithology. Tring. Herts. Stroud, D. A. & Glue, D. (Eds.) 1991. Britain's Birds in 1989/90: the conservation and monitoring review. British Trust for Ornithology/Nature Conservancy Council. Thetford. Ticehurst, C. B. 1932. A history of the birds of Suffolk. London.

LIST O F C O N T R I B U T O R S We have endeavoured to acknowledge all contributors to Suffolk Birds and to the best of our knowledge this list is complete. If by some mischance we have failed to include your contribution please accept our sincere apologies â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Eds. S. Abbott, Dâ&#x20AC;&#x17E; Adelson, T. Addnell, G. Allan. D. M. Archer, J. R. Askins. F. Baines, J. K. Baker, D. B. Baker, R. G. Balls, Dr. M. F. M. Bamford, S. Banks, D. Beamish, J. Bedford, H. R. Beecroft, Mrs. M. J. Beecroft, R. C. Beecroft, P. Beeson, Rev. G. Bell, R. Biddle, A. Bimpson, S. Bishop, M. Binns, Mrs. T. G. Blissett, L. T. Bloomfield, A. Botwright (ABo), W. J. Brame, British Trust for Ornithology, B. J. Brown, C. Brown, J. A. Brown, R. M. Brown, S. G. Brown, T. M. Brown, J. Bryant, J, A. Brydson, A. L. Bull, Mrs. M. Burt, D. Butcher,


H. MckButcher, S. Butterfield, C. A. Buttle. N. Cant, Catchpole, Cockram and Peters Ringing Group, P. R. Catchpole, J. M. Cawston, J. Chaplin, F. S. Cheney, K. J. Chittleborough, J. A. Clarke, N . A. Clarke, R. E. Clarke, J. Clay, I. C. Clowes, Mrs. A. E. Cobb, Mrs. M. Cook, C. A. Cornish, M. L. Comish, G. Court, J. Court, J. Cracknell, D. Crawshaw, M. D . Crewe, N. Crouch, M. Crowley, D. Croxson, M. A. Currie, C. G. D. Curtis. C. D . Darby, C. Davies, J. A. Davies, D. Davison, T. R. Dean, S. Dean, Dingle P. J. Dolton, J. Dorling, O. G. Douglas, S. P. Dudley, S. Dumican.



A. C. Easton, J. C. Eaton, E. Edwards, Dr. J. Edwards, Dr. S. Edwards, E. Edwards, M . Eke, S. P. Evans. R. Fairhead, R. E. Fielding, J. Flecknoe, M. S. Forbes, Miss J. Fourdrinier, S. J. Fiyett, C. Fulcher. R. W. Gardiner, Mrs. H. K. Garner, R. W. H. Garner, C. Garnham, Mrs. J. D . Garrod, K. W. Garrod, J. Garstang, N . Gartshere, K. Gibson, A. Gilby, the late P. Gill, J. A. Glazebrook, R. Glover, S. R. Goddard, G. A. Goffin, A. Gooding, A. J. Graham, S. A. Graham, J. H. Grant, Mrs. T. Gray, N . C. Green, A. Greengo, J. Greenwood. C. Gregory, G. Grieco. D. Hale, P. Hambling, Mrs. Hammond, B. Harrington, B. Hart, Mrs. M. Hart, P. V. Harvey, T. Harvey, I. Hawkins, J. B. Higgot, R. Hoblyn, R. H o m e , A. H o w e , J. K. Hubbard, Sir A. G. Hurrell. Ipswich Borough

Council Park Ranger Service,



E. Jackson, P. Jackson, C. A. Jacobs, C. J. Jakes, M. James, G. J. Jobson, D. P. Johnson. K. Keeble, C. Kemp, A. S. Kennedy, T. P. Kerridge, Dr. T. Kerry, C. A. E. Kirtland, J. Knights, C. D . Knott. P. Lack, Lackford Wildfowl Reserve, Landguard Bird A. A. K. Lancaster, A. J. Last, D . Liley, S. J. Ling. R. R. H. G.


(LBO), R. H. Langston,

N . Macklin, J. H. Marchant, S. J. Marginson, D . C . Marsh, M. Marsh, N . Marsh, V. A. Marshall, J. R. Martin, Rev. F. W. Martin, N. J. Mason, B. McCarthy, A. McKeeman, Mendel, R. Millington, M. Mitchell, D. R. Moore, M. R. Morley, A. Morris, C. E. Morris, Mortimer, P. W . Murphy.

P. Napthine,

P. N e w p o r t ,

D . R. N e w t o n ,

Mrs. M . N e w t o n ,

T. N i g h t i n g a l e ,

T. North,

Mrs. R. Norton. N. Odin. M. Packard, H. Parsons, J. Partridge, E. W. Patrick, W. H. Payn, M. S. Peach, J. Pearce-Higgins, B. A. Pearson, Dr. D. J. Pearson, C. E. Peqach, S. E. Pearson, S. H. Piotrowski, G. Plank, R. Plant, R. Plowman, A. Pope, R. Porter, L. Potter, Mr & Mrs Pringle, R. P. Prys-Jones. J. L. Raincock, B. Ranner, P. J. Ransome, N . Rawlings, S. Read, Rev. C. M . Reed, G. Reeder, D. A. Riley, A. Riseborough, I. Robinson, Sqn. Ldr. D. R. Rothery, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), C. P. S. Ruffles, M. D. Russell. J. Simms, Dr. N . J. Skinner, B. Small, D . F. Smith, Mrs. J. Smith, R. C. Smith, R. Snook, D. Songhurst, R. Southgate, J. N . Stedman, P. Steggall, M. G. Stiff, His Hon. Judge D. Stinson, D. E. Stocker, S. Songhurst, C. Stow, S. Stow, Suffolk Biological Records Centre, Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT), J. Summers, R. Swindin. S. Taylor, M . Thomas, B. G. Thompson, J. P. Thompson, W. E. Thompson, J. Thorogood, Mrs. D. C. Tozer, R. B. Tozer, Miss Tratt, R. Tuck, J. A . Turner. D. K. Underwood. J. Valentine, L. Valentine, H. Vaughan, I. M . Vaughan, Mrs. P. V . Vincent, A . E. Vine. R. Waiden, C. Walker, C. S. Waller, R. B. Warren, Rev. R. G. Warren, R. J. Waters, E. H. Webb, L. Webb, Mrs. A. M. Welch, G. Welch, R. West, I. C. Whitehouse, D. D. Whiting, P. Whittaker, J. H. Wilson, P. Wilson, R. WUton (RWi), R. Wincup (R. Win), Wolverhampton Group B. Woodhouse, L. Woods, M. Wright, M. T. Wright. S. Youell. J. Zantboer.




Rarities in Suffolk 1991 by Steve


Despite a poor autumn passage period, 1991 will be remembered by County rarity-hunters as one of the most rewarding years of recent times. No fewer than 262 species were noted in Suffolk (excluding the three most obvious escapees â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Lesser White-fronted and Snow Geese and Ruddy Shelduck) in a year which featured a glut of scarce birds. The County missed out on a new species in 1990 but a Lesser-Crested Tern, seen briefly at Benacre Broad in August, redressed the balance this year. This was the jewel amongst a good selection of rare gulls and terns, which included Suffolk's second records for both Ring-billed and Franklin's Gulls, five Sabine's Gulls and a Gull-billed, at least four Caspian, two Roseate and two White-winged Black Terns. During a purple patch in late October coastal ringers produced a Dusky Warbler (second for Suffolk) and two Radde's Warblers (fourth and fifth for Suffolk), but perhaps the surprise of the year was the County's second Red-eyed Vireo, found just a few hundred metres from the area frequented by the first. A long-staying Black-winged Stilt at Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve was the pick of the waders, but there were also six Kentish Plovers, a record 17 Temminck's Stints, a superb Pectoral Sandpiper, a well-watched Wilson's Phalarope and five Grey Phalaropes. Seawatchers too will be pleased with their year's work, the highlights being five Cory's Shearwaters, a record 13 Leach's Petrels, two Storm Petrels, a Black Guillemot, over 300 Little Auks, seven Puffins and, arguably the most memorable event of the year, Suffolk's share of an unprecedented passage of Long-tailed Skuas, which totalled no fewer than 37 birds. Anyone with a serious interest in seawatching would have been disappointed if they had failed to add this species to their County list in 1991. A Roller, which frequented the wastes of Orfordness, was most welcome, as was a Common Rosefinch at South wold, a Bee-eater at Benacre and an Alpine Swift over Landguard. Only the former species stayed long enough to be viewed by a substantial number of birders. The sundries included two Little Egrets, two Purple Herons, a Black Stork, a Greenwinged Teal, two Honey Buzzards, two Montagu's Harriers, a Corncrake, a Spotted Crake, four Cranes, five Hoopoes, a Red-rumped Swallow, a Richard's and three Tawny Pipits, a Dipper, three Bluethroats, an eastern Redstart, a Marsh Warbler, four Barred Warblers, three Pallas's Warblers, seven Yellow-browed Warblers, a Raven, four Arctic Redpolls, two Parrot Crossbills and an Ortolan Bunting. So, all in all, a magnificent year with plenty of birds to chase. For those, like myself, who confine most of their birdwatching activities to Suffolk, catching up with these birds was more difficult than it may seem (my Suffolk year list ground to a halt in November on 241, but, nevertheless, this constitutes a County record total). The ingredients for a good County year list include a period of harsh weather, a good spring and autumn passage, with predominantly easterly winds, autumn storms for seawatching and, most of all, plenty of luck. 1991 saw a good assortment of these conditions, so it is perhaps not surprising that good totals were achieved.

LESSER C R E S T E D T E R N - FIRST FOR SUFFOLK - At about 11.50 hrs on Aug 25th 1991, while birdwatching from the hide on the southern edge of Benacre Broad, I found a relatively large tern with a sizeable yellowish-orange bill. The tern stood on the mud at a range of about 100 metres and my immediate impression was that it was a Lesser Crested Tern, a species that I regular saw while working in Oman between 1985 and 1988.


However, I carefully examined the tern in order to exclude confusion species such as Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Crested Tern and Elegant Tern. The only other terns present for comparison were two adult Sandwich Terns, which were present closeby. After about 15 minutes the Lesser Crested Tern took off, flew out over the Broad towards the sea and departed southwards. The following description was taken: Size/shape: about the same as Sandwich Tern. Bill: yellowish-orange, large and dagger-like, possibly slighdy larger than that of Sandwich Tern and appeared to be slightly downcurved. Legs/feet: black. Head: bird was moulting into winter plumage with white forehead, white forecrown above the eye streaked with black and crown black with short shabby crest down to nape. Upperparts: pale grey, but slighdy darker that that of Sandwich Tern — in flight the rump and tail were seen to be also pale grey. Underparts: white. The only other observers of the bird were M . J . Thompson and S. E. Pearson both from St Albans. Howard Parsons,

7 Hawthorn Drive, Seaming,



This bird is considered to be the same as that which regularly oversummers on the Fame Islands, Northumberland, having been first noted there in 1984 (Dymond et al 1989). Rogers (1992) believes that four individuals have now visited Britain, which will undoubtedly include the Suffolk bird. However, the species has been noted at various sites every year since 1982, and it is therefore conceivable that only one bird has been involved — Ed. FRANKLIN'S G U L L — SECOND F O R SUFFOLK — During the morning of June 30th 1991, an adult Franklin's Gull in breeding plumage was found at the eastern end of the north (i.e. Norfolk) shore of Breydon Water, just inland from Great Yarmouth. Along with two companions, W. J. Brame and E. W. Patrick, I saw this bird in flight on the Norfolk side of Breydon Water just before it flew off upstream and was lost to sight at about 15.20 hrs.

Almost five hours later we received news that the bird had been relocated at Burgh Castle on the south (i.e. Suffolk) bank of the river at the west end of Breydon Water. We arrived at Burgh Castle at about 20.25 hrs and quickly found the Franklin's Gull feeding with Black-headed Gulls on the mud about 50 metres from the river wall. The following identification features were noted: Size: slightly smaller than Black-headed Gull. Shape: rather pigeon-chested; distinctly plumper than Black-headed Gull and with a shorter, thick-set neck. Head: jet black hood extending down onto the lower nape was similar to that of a breeding plumage Mediterranean Gull; noticeable white crescents above and below the eye did not join; eye coloui was not determined. Bill: Blood-red with a black


subterminal band near the tip; blunter, shorter and thicker than that of Black-headed Gull. Upperparty mantle, scapulars and all wing coverts dark grey, approaching that of an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull of the race graellsii; tertials showed broad white tips forming an obvious white crescent between the dark grey mantle and the black of the primaries which had obvious white tips projecting well beyond tail; folded inner primaries white merging with the white of the tertials. Underparts: white Legs: darker red than bill, looking almost black at some angles. Upperwing pattern in flight: dark grey with broad white trailing edge which extended across the tips of the tertials, secondaries and inner primaries before cutting across the middle of the outer primaries to the leading edge of the outermost primary — this isolated the outer black half of the outer primaries from the grey of the rest of the wing. John Cawston, 477 Hawthorn

Drive, Ipswich IP2 ORU

This is the second record for Suffolk, the first having frequented the Lowestoft/Carlton Colville/Mutford/Barnby areas between Nov. 13th 1977 and Mar. 30th 1978. Rogers (1992) lists 21 records for Britain and Ireland. — Ed. R I N G - B I L L E D G U L L - SECOND F O R SUFFOLK - Arriving at Lowestoft Coast guard Station at 07.20 hrs on February 24th 1991, I scattered a half a loaf of bread on the car park and sat in my car to observe what gulls that might be attracted. Some 50-75 gulls came to feed, but I noted nothing unusual amongst them. I left my car to look in the harbour and on my return (07.50 hrs) I noticed four gulls perched on the groynes beneath the Coastguard Station. I identified two Herring Gulls and one Black-headed Gull, but the fourth was more interesting. Its most striking feature was its noticeably 'ringed' bill and after watching the bird for about five minutes through my telescope at a distance of about 40 metres I identified it as a Ring-billed Gull. It then took off into the fresh southwesterly breeze, dipping a couple of times close to the surface of the sea before turning and flying off towards the offshore sewage outfall to join the handful of gulls feeding there. I drove to North Denes and informed other observers by telephone. On my return to the Coastguard Station, I quickly relocated the Ring-billed Gull as it flew towards the shore in the company of an adult Common Gull. It appeared to be about 10-15% larger than the Common Gull and I estimated its size to be midway between that of Common and Herring Gull. As the two gulls neared the end of the groynes they turned south and disappeared from my view behind the S.L.P. Engineering complex. Description: Head: basically white, with dusky spotting or flecking on the nape, denser at its base; dark smudging around eye highlighting the white crescents, the iris was pale and these features combined to give a somewhat fierce expression. Upperparts/wings: mantle, scapulars and upperwing coverts — pale grey, matching those of Black-headed Gull alongside; tertials — pale grey with white borders with small amount of indistinct brown smudging; due to the rather loose manner in which the tertials were held, it was impossible to gauge accurately the width of the tertial crescent; primaries — those visible on folded wing appeared black; in flight, the outer primaries were all black to the bend of the wing, the black tapering off across the tips of the inner primaries; there was a pale mirror visible on the outer primary on the underwing, which I was unable to observe on the upperwing; brownish smudging or partial barring on the secondaries. Underparts: completely white. Tail: incomplete subterminal band, with the outer one or two tail feathers being completely white. Bill: rather deep and blunt, basal two-thirds yellowish-flesh with black sharply defined and complete band around the bill, while tip was flesh in colour. Legs and feet: pale yellow-green. Size: 10-15% smaller than Herring Gull. I remained in the area of the harbour until just after noon, being joined by several other observers during the course of the morning. Apart from one or two smallish immature Herring Gulls, which bore superficial resemblance to Ring-billed Gull and which caused a momentary stir amongst some observers present, there was no sign of the bird that I had seen earlier and as far as I knew, it was not seen again. Richard Walden, 21 Kilbrack, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 9SH. The above constitutes the second record for Suffolk, the first having occurred at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin on Sept. 28th 1985. Great Britain had to wait until 1973 for

its first record (Dymond et al 1989), but since then the species has been recorded more than 500 times, although the vast majority of occurrences are confined to south-western counties — Ed. tED-EYED V I R E O — SECOND FOR SUFFOLK — Following a week of unsettled vesterly weather created by low pressure systems crossing the Atlantic, Oct. 6th 1991 •vas a clear, sunny day with only a light westerly breeze. Accompanied by Robert Wilton, I was birdwatching in Sparrow's Nest Gardens, Lowestoft when, at 08.35 hrs, I located a bird resembling a large warbler with a broad flat-looking head feeding in a Holm Oak. A quick glance with binoculars almost instantly identified it as a Red-eyed Vireo. While frantically made notes, RW went off to alert local birders. Inevitably the vireo had disappeared by the time other birdwatchers arrived and it took some 2 'A hours of searching before the bird was relocated in Sycamores adjacent to the bowling green. During the rest of the morning it was seen at frequent intervals feeding in Sycamores and Ornamental Oaks before moving about 100 metres south into Arnold's Walk where it remained until dusk, but could not be found the next day. The following notes were taken: General behaviour: fed in deliberate manner more usually associated with Hippolais warblers, often umbering or crashing through the foliage and creeping along branches; sometimes it would feed from ¡he outer branches of trees and at other times in the canopy; successful flycatching was observed on several occasions with the insect being beaten against a branch prior to consumption. Size/posture: bulky, pot-bellied, warbler-type bird, of size recalling that of House Sparrow and shape of Garden Warbler; by frequently drooping its wings and cocking its tail, it recalled the posture of a Red-breasted Flycatcher. Bare Parts: bill — thick, blunt-tipped and generally grey-black in colour, although in good light the base of the lower mandible appeared to be a light pink-yellow colour; iris — brown; legs — thick, strong-looking and blue-grey in colour. Head: proportionately larger than that of common British warblers; crown — slate-grey, appearing bluer in strong sunlight and blacker when the crown feathers were raised; lateral crown stripe — black extending from in front of the eye almost to the end of the supercilium and thickening behind the eye; supercilium — strikingly white, extending from the bill to the rear of the ear-coverts and thickening behind the eye; eye-stripe — dark-brown, extending from the lores almost to the end of the supercilium; ear-coverts — olive-green. Upperparts: mantle — strikingly olive-green; alula — blackish; inner webs of primary coverts — blackish; primary projection — two-thirds tertial length, extending to the rear of the undertail coverts; tail — relatively short and notched; olive-green on upperside, blackish on underside. Underparts: silvery-white apart from yellowish wash to the undertail coverts, vent and sides of the upper-breast. Age: the brown iris would tend to indicate that this was a first winter individual, but following advice given by Rogers (1989) it is best left unaged. Peter Ransome, 54 Corton Road, Lowestoft NR32 4PP. Suffolk's second Red-eyed Vireo was found only a kilometre south of Warrenhouse Wood, where the County's first and totally unexpected record occurred on Sept. 29th 1988. There was only one record for Britain and Ireland prior to 1958, but since then it has become increasingly regular and the total number of records now stands at 70 (Rogers 1992) — Ed. WILSON'S P H A L A R O P E — While walking along the footpath beside Long Covert towards Benacre Broad at 10.50 hrs on Sept. 14th 1991,1 noticed a medium-sized wader with yellow legs and a relatively long, fine bill out on the mud. I tentatively identified the bird as a Wilson's Phalarope. In the hide I met Cyril Walker who had initially located the same bird some 20 minutes earlier and was of the same opinion as myself concerning its identity. I returned to the footpath and saw the bird take flight, exposing a white rump and lack of any wing-bars, thus confirming its identity as a Wilson's Phalarope. General appearance: plump-bodied wader about two-thirds the size of a Greenshank; generally whitish in colour with a relatively long neck. Bare parts: bill — black, straight, delicate and finely pointed, about a third longer than the head; iris — appeared to be very dark red; legs — long, bright yellow. Head and neck: forehead, lores and chin — white; crown — dark-grey; nape and hindneck — pale


grey, with some brown flecking on lower hindneck; supercilium — broad, white extending onto the side of neck and emphasising the dark capped appearance; eyestripe — dark through eye fading into pale grey wash running through ear-coverts and onto side of neck. Upperparts: mantle — mixture of pale grey adult feathers, finely edged white and brown juvenile feathers with pale buff fringes; scapulars and coverts — brownish, edged buff; tertials — dark brown/black, broadly edged buff; rump and undertail coverts — white, rump showing as a large square area in flight; tail — grey, finely edged white; flight feathers — dark grey; primary tips and coverts — blackish. Underparts: white apart from a light greyish on upper flanks. Underwing coverts and axillaries: white. Behaviour:

fed on the mud at the water's edge with short running or rapid Walking action, stabbing and picking (presumably at insects) in a crouched position, often with its neck extended and held to one side; in flight the wings appeared long and pointed with relatively slow beats — the legs protruded beyond the tail in flight; the bird was not seen to swim. Alastair Riseborough,

35 Annandale

Drive, Beccles NR34


Descriptions of this bird were also received from Carl Buttle, Dennis Baker and Dr Neville Skinner — Ed. RADDE'S WARBLER — F O U R T H FOR SUFFOLK — Over the years since Landguard Bird Observatory first opened, there has been much discussion, some with a serious ornithological intent and some quite the reverse, amongst members endeavouring to forecast what national or county rarity was likely next to appear on the Landguard list! Tuesday Oct. 8th 1991 proved to be no exception as Mike Marsh, a member of the early 'shift' who had been ringing since dawn and was reluctantly leaving for work during a promising S.E. wind, had a passing comment to the incoming 'day shift' "could be a Radde's day today" — a forecast which had been made, unsuccessfully, on a number of occasions previously! Birds had been few and far between that morning with two Blackcaps being the only summer migrants ringed in an otherwise mundane autumn species' list. However, interest increased dramatically when, at about 11.00 hrs, during one of the regulär net rounds, my wife Muriel and Cyril Burton were the first to find an unusual warbler in the bottom shelf of a mist-net in the White Poplar area on the north west side of the Observatory ridge.


The immediate most notable features were the very prominent buffish supercilium which extended as far back as the side of the nape and also the yellowish/orange colouring of the undertail coverts. The bird was promptly processed in the Observatory by Muriel and myself, with others present that morning looking on expectantly, and we identified the bird as a Radde's Warbler. The bird was subsequently seen by many observers throughout the day, and up to clO.OO hrs the next day, as it fed amongst brambles in an area of low cover on the west side of a flat area between the Observatory and Landguard Fort. D e s c r i p t i o n : Upperparts: forehead to tail — dark olive with exception of uppertail coverts which were dark brownish olive. Underparts: chin and throat — whitish; breast — pale yellow with greyish olive sides; flanks — yellowish washed greyish-olive; belly/undertail coverts/vent — rusty yellow. Head: supercilium — very conspicuous deep buff stretched from before the eye, although not reaching bill, to well behind the ear-coverts and down to the edge of the nape; eye-stripe — blackish-olive; ear-coverts — pale yellow heavily marked greyish-olive which also extended under the eye to the lower mandible. Wings: all feathers fresh and primaries 8, 9 & 10 and all secondaries noticeably pointed; primaries 3, 4, 5 & 6 were emarginated. primaries, primary coverts, secondaries, greater coverts and tertials — dark olive edged greenish olive; alula — dark olive; lesser median coverts — greenish olive; underwing coverts and axillaries — pale rusty yellow, the former very long at 31mm. Overall wing-length — 61mm. Tail: greenish olive and pointed; length — 49mm. Bare parts: bill — pale pinkish-yellow cutting edge with upper mandible coloured dark brown to horn and lower mandible pinkish -yellow at base and dark brown at the distal half; iris — blackish brown; legs — stout (2mm) and pale flesh brown Weight: 10.2g.

Rex Beecroft,


Hall Lane, Witnesham,

Ipswich IP6


This is the first Radde's Warbler recorded for the site and only the fourth for the County, the third having occurred 25 years ago at Minsmere in October 1966 — Ed. RADDE'S W A R B L E R - F I F T H F O R SUFFOLK - On Oct. 12th 1991, only four days after Suffolk's fourth Radde's Warbler had been trapped at Landguard Pt and during a period of moderate easterly winds, Peter Catchpole and I trapped a large phylloscopus warbler in a mist-net during a ringing session at Hollesley. The combination of bold supercilium, dark eyestripe and heavy bill quickly led us to identify the bird as yet another Radde's Warbler. T h e f o l l o w i n g details w e r e o b t a i n e d w h i l e the bird w a s b e i n g p r o c e s s e d : Head: crown — deep olive-green; supercilium — creamy white, 22mm long, 2 . 5 m m deep, 12mm between supercilium and nape; eyestripe — dark olive extending from lores to nape; nasal bristles — dark grey/black; ear-coverts — mottled olive on pale yellow. Upperparts: mantle — olive green, but paler than crown; rump — olive green, but paler than mantle. Underparts: throat — white, finely diffused with yellow; breast and belly — yellow on white with diffuse pale olive band across breast; flanks — dingy yellow; vent — strong orangey/yellow. Wings: uniform olive green with paler fringes on outer webs of coverts, primaries and secondaries. Wing formula: length of straightened wing — 58mm; wing point — p5; second primary — plO; first primary covert to p i — 11mm; p i to p2 — 16mm; p2 to p3 — 6mm; emarginated on p3, p4, p5 & p6; length of emargination on p3 — 23mm; on p4 — 17.5mm; on p5 — 13mm and on p6 — 11mm. Tail: olive green with paler fringes; all tail feathers being pointed; rectrices 1 & 2 shorter than other tail feathers. Bare parts: eye — relatively large; iris — dark brown; bill — upper mandible — lower edge yellow, culmen brown; lower mandible — pinkish yellow, proximal depth — 3.6mm, width — 4 . 5 m m ; legs — pinkish yellow with bright yellow soles to feet. Weight: 10.2g. Ring number: 8T7062.

Upon release the Radde's Warbler flew into thick cover and was not seen again. John Glazebrook,

61 Woodlands,


Ipswich IP9 1DU.

DUSKY W A R B L E R — SECOND F O R SUFFOLK - On Oct. 25th 1991, an anticyclone, which had been over the U.K., moved into the North Sea and then across to the Baltic. Despite the resulting easterly winds this didn't appear to stimulate much of 147

a passage on my part of the coast at Dunwich apart from Blackbirds, Redwings and Greenfinches. On Oct. 27th, I had ringed 25 Greenfinches and five Blackbirds and at 13.15 hrs, whilst doing a net-round in my garden, I noticed a very dark, blackish 'Chiffchaff in the bottom panel of a net set in a gap in a Hawthorn hedge running north from the beach. I realised that it was either a Dusky or a Radde's Warbler, both of which I had seen in Nepal and Thailand. Closer examination soon confirmed that it was a Dusky, being smaller than Radde's with thinner bill and very prominent and long supercilium. I t e l e p h o n e d l o c a l o r n i t h o l o g i s t s H e r b e r t A x e l l and D a v i d P e a r s o n w h o c a m e to s e e the bird b e f o r e it w a s r e l e a s e d at a b o u t 1 4 . 0 0 hrs. B e r t k i n d l y p h o t o g r a p h e d t h e bird in the h a n d . W h e n t h e bird w a s r e l e a s e d into a n e a r b y h e d g e it u t t e r e d a s o f t "took" several t i m e s . It m o v e d a l o n g t h e h e d g e w i t h a l o w a n d d i r e c t f l i g h t a n d w a s n o t s e e n again. D e s c r i p t i o n : Biometrics: total length — 113mm; wing — 61mm, p i — 12mm longer than greater coverts, p2 = p8 and shorter than wing-point (53mm), p4 = 6 1 m m , p3 = 5 9 . 5 m m , p5 = 60.5mm and 6th = 60mm, emarginated on 3rd, 4th 5th and 6th. Head: forehead, crown and nape — dark olive brown, very prominent long thin brownish cream supercilium; orbital ring — prominent whitish upper cream. Upperparts: mantle, rump and uppertail coverts — slightly less dark olive brown. Bare parts: bill — 11mm, very fine, width at base 4mm, upper mandible blackish brown, lower basal third pinkish; legs/feet — pinkish brown in front, buff behind, soles greyish buff, hind claw curved dark brown; iris — very dark brown.

Sir A. G. Hurrell,






The above constitutes the second record for Suffolk, the first, a well-watched individual, having been trapped at Landguard Point on Oct. 27th 1987 and staying until Nov. 1st 1987. The species is becoming increasingly regular, particularly to the east coast of Britain, although national statistics show that the total number of occurrences is still less than 100 - Ed. GULL-BILLED T E R N On May 28th 1991, there was a force 3-4 northeasterly wind blowing at Felixstowe accompanied by an overcast sky and excellent visibility. At 11.30 hrs, while seawatching from Landguard Point, a Gull-billed Tern was watched flying north about 100 metres offshore. Description: Size and shape: appeared to be only slightly smaller than a Black-headed Gull; bulkier than a Sandwich Tern with thick set body, head and neck giving it a more gull-like appearance than other terns; comparatively shorter, broader based and more rounded wings; wing-beats slower and more deliberate than those of other terns' with apparently less effort involved in flying into the wind; short tail streamers gave a less pronounced fork to the tail. Head: white apart from neat black cap which had no crest. Back, rump and tail: uniform dull grey. Wings: dull grey apart from dark trailing edge to the primary tips which was most noticeable on the underwing. Bill: short, thick, stubby and all black. The weather conditions associated with the above sighting also led to the occurrence of a Tawny Pipit at Landguard on the same day. Nigel Odin, LBO, View Point Road, Felixstowe IP11 8TW. Jim Askins, 320 High Road, Trimley St Mary IP10 0RL. Since 1959, Suffolk has recorded eight Gull-billed Terns and all have been fly-pasts at coastal localities. Hopefully, it won't be too long before one chooses to stay for more than a few minutes and is seen by observers other than its finders. Five out of the eight occurrences were in May — Ed. R O L L E R — An immature Roller was discovered on Sept. 8th 1991 on the fence surrounding part of the MoD property on Orfordness, south of Aldeburgh by David Crawshaw during a BoEE count. I went to see the bird on Sept. 10th and found it at long range sitting on top of an Elder bush. From that distance it looked surprisingly brown, but its large j



head and bill were clearly indicative of a Roller. It took another 20 minutes of walking to get close to the bird and I was able to obtain a detailed description of the bird as it preened at about 100 métrés range. D e s c r i p t i o n : General impression: bird about the size of a Jay with relatively large bill and short legs. Head and breast: dull brown with a darker area from bill, through eye, narrowing behind eye and reaching almost to the back of the ear-coverts; supercilium — pale fawn; throat — a few pale streaks were visible on the dull brown at close range. Mantle and back: dull brown, darker than on head and breast. Rump: as mande and back, but with a dull buff-blue suffusion. Ear-coverts, tail and belly: buff-blue. Wings: coverts — mainly brown with dull pale-blue wash, but in flight more pale powder blue was revealed; primaries and secondaries — grey-black with pale tips noticeable at close range when perched — the extent of blue was surprisingly limited, being far less than is normally illustrated in field guides, but this was transformed when the bird flew with much blue showing in the wing; underwing-coverts — pale powder blue, but brighter than on upperwing-coverts; underside of primaries — iridescent violet-blue, very striking in flight. Bare parts: bill — heavy, dark grey/black; legs — greyish. Behaviour: the bird spent much of its time perched on top of small Elder bushes or the nearby perimeter fence from which it would drop to the ground to pick up food items. Periodically, it would fly a short distance to find a new feeding area. Occasionally, it took longer flights across the area when it was frequendy mobbed by Black-headed Gulls and once by a Short-eared Owl. Düring one of these flights I was surprised to see it perform a brief rolling display, rocking its body from side to side, accompanied by slow, exaggerated wing beats.

Mike Crewe, 2 Hill Cottages, Brighiceli IP10 OBA. Düring the 19th and early 20th centuries the Roller was a regulär visitor to the County with no fewer than 20 records from 1807 (when one was shot at Benacre) to 1927. It has since become extremely scarce with the Orfordness individuai being only the sixth record since the latter date. This bird was the first long-stayer since the one at Dketshall St Lawrence in 1980 and gave many locai birders, who had previously missed out, the opportunity of adding the species to their County lists — Ed. ARCTIC R E D P O L L Düring a routine visit to Blaxhall Heath on March 29th 1991, I noticed in a stand of Birch, a large redpoll flock comprising more than 50 birds. I decided to spend some time checking through them because initial views showed that several birds were very pale. The birds were rather flighty and stayed high in the canopy. However, eventually they settled and a few came lo wer — to a height of about two metres. Of the 50 birds, half showed characteristics of the nominate flammea race colloquially known as Mealy Redpolls, but three birds were very pale and were almost certainly Arctic Redpolls. However, on the views obtained, I could only identify with absolute confidence one individuai which offered prolonged views and sufficient time enough to take a very detailed description. The birds were watched in very good light, down to a distance of six metres, for more than 50 minutes before the flock flew off. The following notes and sketches were made whilst watching the birds: General appearance: very pale, 'frosted', with washed-out darker markings. Structure, plumage and behaviour: bulky, bull-necked and with a 'push-in' bill; distinctly larger than the Lesser Redpolls present, but roughly equal to the largest Mealies. The bird appeared to have loose feathering, raising the mantle and rump feather tracts on occasions. Head: large on stocky neck; black surround to bill; upper forehead — white, extending as a pale supercilium which broadened behind eye; fore-crown — bright scarlet; rear-crown — white streaked strongly with dark brown-black; nape and hindneck streaked more finely and consequently appeared paler than crown ; ear-coverts — almost unmarked, slighdy buffy white apart from a few streaks to their rear edge. Mantle: prominendy streaked a 'washedout' brown-black on white base colour — almost silvery in some lights. Scapulars: dark brown centres with ochreous fringes. Rump and tail: prominendy white and unmarked apart from a very faint salmon wash on the lowest one-fifth; uppertail coverts — dark centred broadly fringed white forming row of dark spots when visible; tail appeared broad (not pinched at base like the Lessers and Mealies


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present); tail feathers — brown-black, fringed with white. Wings: wing coverts — pale brown broadly tipped white, forming two prominent white wingbars on each wing — the greater bar being particularly broad; tertials and secondaries — black, edged and tipped white; base of secondaries — black forming distinct 'shadow' below greater covert wing bar; primaries — long — extension equal or slightly longer than tertials with the primary spacings increasing towards the wing tip, they had a basic greybrown colour with white fringing along inner edge. Underparts: clean white, apart from a faint salmonpink flush to central area of breast which extended and lightened onto breast sides; flanks — lightly marked with an uneven single thin line of streaks; undertail coverts — clean unmarked white, with no marks even on the longest undertail coverts. Bare parts: bill — shape difficult to perceive, but short and 'push in' — basic colour was ochre, but with a dark tip and upper edge to upper mandible, in most lights the bill appeared bi-coloured; legs — dark, almost black, with a well-feathered thigh. Behaviour: noticeably much quieter, less active and more confiding in nature than the other redpolls, which took flight at the slightest movement.

Discussion: Although three birds within the flock were probably Arctic Redpolls, I could only identify the above bird with total confidence. I did this on several features: the clean white undertail coverts, the clean white rump, the generally frosty appearance, with limited amount of streaking along the flanks and the bird's behaviour. The salmon-pink wash to the central breast and ochreous scapulars would indicate that the bird was an adult and probably a male. Brian Small, 20 Willow Green, Worlingworth,

Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 7LP.

References: Dymond, J. N . , Fraser, P. A. & Gantlett, S. J. M. 1989. Rare birds in Britain and Ireland. Calton.


Rogers, M. J. (Ed). 1989. Report on rare birds in Great Britain in 1988. Brit. Birds


Rogers, M. J. (Ed). 1992. Report on rare birds in Great Britain in 1991. Brit. Birds


Steve Piotrowski,

18 Cobham Rd, Ipswich 1P3 9JD.

APPENDIX I: Index of Scientific names of species mentioned in text. Birds: Cory's Shearwater Galonectris diomedea, Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus, Leach's Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa, Little Egret Egretta garzella, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Black Stork Ciconia nigra, Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, Snow Goose A.caerulescens, Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Green-winged Teal Anas crecca, carolineusis, Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus, Montagu's Harrier Circuspygargus, Spotted Crake Porzana porzana, Corncrake Crex crex, Common Crane Grus grus Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii, Pectoral Sandpiper C.melanotos, Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor, Grey Phalarope P.fulicarius, Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus, Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus, Franklin's Gull L. pipixcan, Sabine's Gull L.sabini, Black-headed Gull L.ridibundus, Ring-billed Gull L.delawarensis, Common Gull L.canus, Lesser Black-backed Gull L.fuscus, Herring Gull L.argentatus, Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica, Caspian Tern Sterna caspia, Royal Tern S.maxima, Crested Tern S.bergii, Lesser Crested Tern S.bengalensis, Sandwich Tern S.sandvicensis, Elegant Tern S.elegans, Roseate Tern S.dougallii, White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus, Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle, Little Auk/I We alle, Puffin Fratercula arctica, Short-eared Owl Asia flammeus, Alpine Swift Apus melba, Bee-eater Merops apiaster, Roller Coradas garrulus, Hoopoe Upupa epops, Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica, Richard's Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae, Tawny Pipit A.campestris, Dipper Cinclus cinclus, Bluethroat Luscinia svecica, (eastern) Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus (samamisicus), Blackbird Turdus menila, Redwing T.iliacus, Marsh Warbler


Acrocephaluspalustris, Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria, Garden Warbler S.borin, Blackcap S.atricapilla, Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus, Yellow-browed Warbler P.inornatus Radde's Warbler P.schwarzi, Dusky Warbler P.fuscatus, Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva, Jay Garrulus glandarius, Raven Corvus corax, House Sparrow Passer domesticus, Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus, Greenfinch Carduelis chloris, Redpoll C. flammea, Arctic Redpoll C. hornemanni, Parrot Crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus, Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus, Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana. Plants: Holm Oak Quercus ilex, Sycamore Acerpseudoplatanus, Oak Quercus sp., Hawthorn Crataegus sp., Elder Sambucus nigra, Silver Birch Betula pendula.

NOTES K E S T R E L P R E Y I N G ON H O U S E S P A R R O W UNDER P A R K E D CAR - On Oct. 1st 1991, I was in my car at North Denes car park, Lowestoft, and as usual there were several House Sparrows Passer domesticus and Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus feeding around the parked cars. Suddenly, all of the gulls took flight and, looking behind me, I saw an immature male Kestrel Falco tinnunculus flying fast and very low across the car park. It flew straight towards a small group of House Sparrows about 20 metres from me. The sparrows scattered in panic leaving a lone male, which had sought refuge under a parked car. I was then amazed at the events that followed. The Kestrel initially ran under the car after its prey and a frantic chase ensued with the sparrow taking evasive action as best it could, twisting and turning and the Kestrel scampering around in pursuit. The sparrow, which never tried to fly out from under the car, eventually managed to reach a place of safety by flying up into one of the rear wheel arches and perching on top of the wheel. But the Kestrel was not giving up the chase that easily and there was much flapping as it almost hung upside down under the car trying to reach the sparrow with its talons. Eventually, its prey was dislodged and another scampering chase followed, albeit for only a few seconds. The chase ended when the sparrow flew into the engine compartment near the radiator. This proved to be a fateful move as, in one swift movement, the Kestrel turned half sidewards, thrust one foot into the engine compartment and grasped the unfortunate sparrow in its talons. With the victim seized the Kestrel then flew off towards a nearby copse. Amazingly, throughout the whole episode, which lasted about two minutes, the occupant of the car was totally oblivious of the life and death struggle which was taking place just beneath him. Mike Marsh, 5 Ertnerdale Close, Felixstowe 1P11 9SS.

R U M P C O L O U R O F DESERT W H E A T E A R S â&#x20AC;&#x201D; In Suffolk Birds 1991, the description of the Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti at Easton Bavents (p. 142) and the entry in the main checklist (p. 110) refer to the colour of the bird's rump in a way suggesting it was abnormal. I would suggest that the colour, while certainly at the darkest and pinkest end of the documented limits, falls within the normal range for the species. Desert Wheatears are often quoted and illustrated as having white rumps, particularly in older field guides, but this is not always the case. The rump colour is very variable, but in general is palest â&#x20AC;&#x201D; usually white or off-white in juveniles before the post-juvenile moult (a short period, perhaps three months at the most) and in worn adults in mid/late summer before their complete summer moult. Other ages all show a buff rump of varying shades. Cramp (1988), for example,


gives the rump colour for an adult maie as ' 'white with strong pink-buff tinge ' ' and for an adult female as "strongly tinged buff, sometimes more distinctly tinged cream-pink or pink-buff". First-winter birds would have the same rump colour as adults. By November, the Easton Bavents bird would have been in reasonably fresh plumage, having just undergone either a partial post-juvenile moult or complete moult from adult summer to adult winter plumage and the rump would therefore be at its darkest. While individuai observers will always interpret colours differently, I was not surprised by the rump colour of the Easton Bavents bird, describing it as "deep peachy-pink becoming pater towards the tail" and I recali seeing a similarly coloured bird in Israel in spring 1990, although admittedly most birds were paler. In short, I feel we have been misled in the past into believing the Desert Wheatear has a white or only pale buff rump, when in fact the rump is normally quite strongly coloured, especially in fresh plumage. Incidentally, the checklist entry refers to the bird as a juvenile, when in fact it would have moulted out of juvenile plumage by late September. Given this fact, it is not possible to âge the bird with certainty, given that first-year and adult birds are not always separable in the field. The total lack of black on the face suggests a female, so the bird should be referred to as "âge/sex uncertain" as listed by Rogers (1991). References: Cramp, S. 1988. The birds of the Western Palearctic Vol. 5. Oxford. Rogers. M. J. (Ed.). 1991. Report on rare birds in Great Britain in 1990. Brit. Birds 84: 483.

M. D. Crewe, 2 Hill Cottages, Brightwell,

Suffolk IP10 OBA.

MIGRANT N O R T H E R N WHEATEARS AT LANDGUARD POINT - The Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe is a common migrant at Landguard Point in spring, from mid-March to early June, and in autumn, from late July to mid-November. There are several races of Northern Wheatear throughout the species' range, but only two are known to pass through Landguard. Field séparation of the races is generally easy in spring, but relatively difficult in autumn. However, différences in the wing length are diagnostic if birds can be trapped. O.o. oenanthe breeds in the whole of Europe except Iceland and Asia Minor. Birds with a maximum chord wing length of 90 to 102mm generally belong to this race (Svensson 1992). O.o.leucorhoa breeds in Iceland, Greenland and north-east Canada. Birds with maximum chord wing length of 96 to 110mm generally belong to this race (Svensson 1992). Both races winter in Africa south of the Sahara (Cramp 1988). A total of 306 Northern Wheatears was trapped at Landguard Point during 1983 to 1991 between Mar. 12th and Oct. 23rd. Birds with wing lengths of over 103mm can be assumed to belong to the Greenland race and those below 95mm to the nominate race, but with much overlap between the two. Nominate race Greenland race Indeterminate

Spring 15% 44% 41%

Autumn 26% 11% 63%

Statements in Suffolk Birds cataloguing a handful of records of Greenland birds in some years do not represent the true status of this race in the County. In spring, the earliest Greenland Wheatear was trapped on Apr. 8th with numbers increasing as spring progresses with the bulk of the birds trapped in the second half of Aprii and May. The reasons for this are: (1) Weather permitting, British breeding birds normally fly directly to their nesting areas and do not stop at coastal sites.


(2) The entire world population of Greenland Wheatears migrates through the U.K. on spring passage. The birds stop, linger and refuel as their more northern breeding grounds will still be frozen when British birds are feeding their first broods. Some Greenland birds at Landguard weighed in at 40g (max. 45.5g) in spring indicating fat storage, for the long haul north. In spring, many indeterminate birds have plumage characteristics indicating that they are of the Greenland race even though wing length does not conclusively prove this. In autumn, the earliest Greenland Wheatear has been trapped on Aug. 26th and the latest Oct. 18th. The number of proven Greenland birds is far fewer in autumn than in spring. However, from mid-September onwards the proportion of Greenland birds increases. The reason for proportionally fewer Greenlands in autumn than spring are: (1) British bred juveniles are using the site in numbers in early autumn in their postfledging wanderings and dispersals. (2) Greenlands' main passage routes do not result in as many birds utilising the site. It is known that in autumn Greenland Wheatears make use of fresh northwesterly winds following Atlantic depressions by flying the 2,500 Km directly from the southern tip of Greenland to western Europe and so bypassing Britain (Alerstam 1990). References: Alerstam, 1990. Bird migration Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. Cramp, S. 1988. The birds of the Western Palearctic Vol. 5. Oxford. Svensson, L. 1992. Identification guide to European passerines Stockholm.

Nigel Odin, c/o Landguard Bird Observatory, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 8TW.

View Point Road, Landguard


Letters G O L D E N O R I O L E S â&#x20AC;&#x201D; I was disappointed to read the rather negative tone of the Editorial in Suffolk Birds 1991 and would like the opportunity to clarify a number of misconceptions. The clear-felling of most of the former 'Oriole woods' in north-west Suffolk was, of course, a loss which was felt by all ornithologists. The Poplar trees had been planted by Bryant and Mays, match producers, in the 1950s and early '60s, but subsequently the company sold almost all of its British plantations in favour of North American timber. However, as a commercial crop which had been planted over a relatively short period of time, the trees were approaching maturity together and at a time when the market value of Poplar-wood was relatively low. Under the circumstances the new owner was, of course, keen to return the land (Grade 1 arable) to more conventional use. As such, attempts at the imposition of SSSI status would have been futile; within a few years the trees would have been over-age; subject to disease and wind-blow; would have been unsuitable for nesting Golden Orioles and would still have to be cleared. Similarly, if the replanting of 1,000 acres of Grade 1 agricultural land with Poplars was the objective it could not have been achieved without compensation to an enormous value. At this point no-one sat back ' 'in the forlorn hope that the interests of our wildlife are being looked after" â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in fact the best people to deal with the problem (the RSPB, The Nature Conservancy Council, as it was then called, and ornithologists with detailed experience of Orioles) got together with the new landowners. After discussion and negotiation, the landowners made their position clear. They intended to farm the estate after felling, they would be prepared to replant some areas of Poplar, but did not want the woods in any sense to become a Reserve. The conservationists argued for the greatest areas of replanting with the best varieties of Poplar, planned sympathetic felling (least disturbance to Orioles) to optimise the Oriole


population for as long as possible and also stepped-up their research into Golden Oriole needs and behaviour in Britain. A 'deal' was established: over 100 acres of Poplar were to be replanted; some, at least, of the original trees will be retained (unless disease prevenís it) until the replanting is mature enough for Oriole use. These agreements were reached several years ago and much of the felling and planned replanting has followed. So, we didn't allow anything to happen by default. Trees for Orioles have been retained and are growing strongly. To complete this, the alleged secrecy has always arisen from the wish of the landowners not to encourage trespassing (there are no public rights of way through the estate) and a desire that a rare breeding species be not abused. In connection with the latter, during the heyday of the woodlands, undergrowth around the nesting trees of Golden Orioles was regularly trampled fiat by ignorant birdwatchers trying to get a better view of this elusive species and, consequently, causing disturbance. Once completed, the negotiations were not secret and therefore, I repeat, it was most disappointing to see poorly informed comments in Suffolk Birds. Every effort was made by those involved to ensure that Golden Orioles have a future in Suffolk and I fail to see why this should be regarded as a lack of success; in fact the opposite is true and deserves to be acknowledged as such. Perhaps I could end by urging ail landowners to find out from the RSPB Regional Office about the scheme for renewed planting of Poplars (particularly in fenland), the new varieties of tree available and the contribution which the planting of these trees can make to conserving a beautiful and interesting species of bird. Mike Jeanes, 10 Anglesea Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 3PT. H E R O N S AND O T H E R ANIMALS — I was interested to read in Suffolk Birds 1991 the account of a Héron attacking a Stoat. My late husband, Dr I. A. U. Morgan saw the same thing about eight years ago at the bend in Red Farm Lane, Bawdsey, where there is a ditch. He was in his car and watched for some time as the Stoat was rearing up at the Héron. The Stoat was not in ermine. I was recently speaking to a local, retired farm manager who described in détail how a Héron caught and swallowed a Mole and an almost fully-grown Rabbit, the latter with some difficulty. This he witnessed from his house in consecutive days. I once saw a Héron take off awkwardly from Shottisham Mill. It stopped and flew on again before stopping again and, through my field glasses, I am pretty sure it had a Water Vole. Audrey Morgan,

Cliff House, Shottisham,


Suffolk IP12


BIRD-KATING MUSSELS — On Jan. 8th 1991, whilst walking along the Orwell foreshore at Shotley, I was approached by an elderly couple who handed me the corpse of a winter plumaged Turnstone. Attached to the bird's bill was a Mussel, holding the bird's mandibles tightly together. I presume this bird starved to death (see Plate 30). Craig Fulcher, 38 Bond Street, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 1HR.


Landguard Bird Observatory 1991 by Mike


January The first winter period of the year started quietly with January's highlight being a flock of Snow Buntings seen frequently in the area. Offshore, a Black-throated Diver was seen on several dates and the now expected wintering adult Iceland Gull was joined by at least one Mediterranean Gull. A Little Owl also took up temporary residence during January but records of Rock Pipits and Purple Sandpipers were few and far between. February February saw an increase in reports with greater observer coverage. The Black-throated Diver remained until at least 12th and a Great Northern Diver was reported on 20th. A Little Grebe, picked up in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, was later ringed and released at Landguard and remained until the following day. Ducks provided the main attraction during February and highlights included 75 Scaup (with 71 south on 11th), four Long-tailed Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers on eight dates, peaking at five on 11th and 12th, 12 Goosander, and an unprecedented series of Smew sightings with 15 south on 10th, eight on 11 th and three flying up river on 12th. Up to seven Coots were noted â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a rare species at Landguard â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and waders began to filter through with several reports of Golden Plover, Knot, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwits and Turnstones while visits to the Point provided up to three Sanderling and two Purple Sandpipers mid-month. A cold spell on 6th provided counts of 169 Dunlin and 315 Lapwing moving south while the 10th provided a notable wader movement which included 13 Turnstone, two Woodcock, 11 Bar-tailed Godwits and 177 Knot passing south. Around the reserve, Snow Buntings remained for most of the month and on 10th, single Twite, Redpoll and Lapland Bunting were recorded. Mistle Thrushes were unusually common with a record count of nine on 12th. Ringing improved on last month with highlights during February including three Common Gulls, three Skylarks and two Corn Buntings. February 1991 will be remembered for the cold spell that killed a large number of waterbirds, particularly waders, along the east coast of England. Significant numbers of dead birds were washed up at Landguard between 11th and 21st with a total of 140 corpses of 22 species including 51 Redshank and 28 Dunlin. March March usually sees the start of spring migration, although this year things were very quiet offshore with a meagre showing of ducks and waders and a gradual increase in Lesser Black-backed Gulls moving north. On the reserve, interesting reports involved a Sparrowhawk, single Woodcock on four dates and two Long-eared Owls while a Tawny Owl on 31st fuelled speculation that the long-staying female from 1990 had returned. Passage migrants drifted through and included a good run of Black Redstarts, single Ring Ouzel and Stonechat, up to two Firecrests on four dates from 21st and an unusually large number of Grey Wagtails with at least 12 birds passing through. Outgoing Fieldfares and Bramblings were in short supply but Redwing counts included totals of 210 on 12th and 350 on 18th. Incoming summer visitors were scarce, with just four Wheatears from 17th and five Chiffchaffs from 22nd. A single White Wagtail was noted on 31st. Warmer weather at the end of March encouraged a Peacock butterfly out of hibernation on 22nd and Small Whites appeared from 29th. April Offshore passage during April improved little on the previous month but did include a Red-necked Grebe on 28th, several Whimbrels from 10th, including 17 north on 28th, a first-summer Mediterranean Gull and a good movement of terns with Sandwich from


17th (including a record day count of 96 on 19th), Common from 1 Ith and Little from 23rd. A single Black Tern on 28th was very unexpected. Four Sparrowhawks passed through during the month and a Cuckoo on 13th equalled the earliest record for the site. Only two Turtle Doves were noted and no Sand or House Martins were seen while Swallows were very low in numbers with just single-figure day counts made on six dates from 9th and a highest count of 12 on 29th. Most of the commoner summer migrants put in no more than a token appearance with ali species being below average in number. Sylvia warblers were particularly noticeable by their absence with just eight Blackcaps and one Whitethroat noted while Willow Warblers peaked at just six on 2Ist, Wheatear day counts never reached double-figures and a mere four Goldcrests were reported. A male Pied Flycatcher stayed for three days from 26th, offering some consolation, and Yellow Wagtails moved through in reasonable numbers. Single Firecrest, Stonechat and Ring Ouzel were seen and finch passage picked up with a steady flow of Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Linnets, a few Siskins, including 16 on Ist and a Twite on 24th. Butterflies braved the mediocre weather conditions with six species being noted, including Holly Blues from 1 Ith and a male Orange-Tip on 20th. With a paucitiy of migrants, ringing was very poor with just 27 species trapped and ringed. Wrens continued their recent upward trend at the site and 185 Greenfinches were trapped but most other species failed to even reach double-figures. May Migration finally picked up a little in May, particularly during the second and third weeks. Passerine movements brought in some unusual species including a Bluethroat and Ortolan Bunting on 19th, Tawny Pipit on 28th and a Marsh Warbler for three days from 29th. A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling on 8th and a iemale Pied Flycatcher appeared on 30th. Warblers in general were still fairly low in number although there was an improvement on April's totals. Higher counts of birds ringed included 40 Whitethroats, 28 Garden Warblers and 159 Willow Warblers. Other species were well down, with, for example, just 11 Sedge Warblers trapped during the month. Winter thrushes included single Fieldfares on 14th and 19th and a Redwing on the latter date while two Ring Ouzels were logged during the first week. Wheatears finally reached good numbers with double-figures present on most days during the second half of May and Whinchats peaked at eight on 20th and 21st. Single Blue-headed and White Wagtails appeared on 19th and two days later a Great Spotted Woodpecker of the nominate, Continental race was trapped and ringed. May 19th was definitely the day to be at Landguard, and visitors arriving to see the Ortolan Bunting and Bluethroat were treated to excellent views of a confiding Long-eared Owl in the Tamarisk bushes. Two Hobbies were noted during the month and Sparrowhawks were present on four dates while the now elusive Tawny Owl stili appeared to be residing in the area. Offshore movements improved on April's account with six Gannets and ten Shags being logged, the latter including a party of eight passing north on lOth. Late Brent Geese filtered through and there was plenty of movement of Shelducks and Common Scoters. Scarcer ducks included two late Redbreasted Mergansers on 6th, a male Long-tailed Duck on 8th and two Velvet Scoters on 9th. A good ränge of waders was recorded with a notable passage of Whimbrel totalling 100 birds during the month. Bar-tailed Godwits and Turnstones also passed in good numbers and less expected records included two Spotted Redshanks on 9th and a Little Ringed Piover on 20th. Movements of gulls and terns included three Little Gulls, 15 Arctic Terns (including 13 on 8th) and 12 Black Terns and on 8th, three Pomarine Skuas flew north. Little Tern numbers were low with just 15 birds present at the end of May. June June was generally quiet but produced one or two highlights. There was a sharp decline in offshore movements but regulär watching produced three Gannets, two Shags, two


Avocets, four Whimbrel and three Arctic Terns. Two Great Crested Grebes flying south on 23rd were unexpected at this time of year and on 21st a Manx Shearwater flew south. A potential new species for the site was an adult Herring Gull of one of the yellow legged races which fed around the outfall between the docks and the fort on 24th. The main passage of Cuckoos was noted this month with birds present regularly from 19th, peaking at three on 28th and Swift movements also peaked during June with a highest count of 700 south on 19th. Wheatears bred successfully on the reserve, the first time they have done so since 1981 (although a pair tried but failed in 1987) and two juveniles were present throughout the month while the iemale Pied Flycatcher from May remained until lst, becoming the first June record for the site. Ringing again tailed off to a very low level with just 140 birds of 21 species trapped and ringed during June. Chiffchaff, with 13 new birds ringed, was the only summer migrant to be ringed in double-figures. Butterflies increased to nine species during May with Wall Brown, Small Heath and Small Copper appearing in the final week and offshore, up to 11 seals were seen out on the Cork Sand. In June, butterflies tailed off a little and a Grey Squirrel was present for at least two weeks. July Traditionally a quiet month at Landguard, there were, nonetheless, a few surprises during July. Fulmar sightings increased offshore with, presumably, more movement from the failed breeding birds at Bawdsey. Most offshore records involved waders, although there was an unseasonable report of a Red-breasted Merganser on 23rd. Two Little Ringed Plovers on 3rd began a movement of a good range of waders, totalling 18 species and including good counts of 14 Knot, 14 Sanderling, 26 Bar-tailed Godwits, 237 Dunlin, 51 Whimbrel (including 35 on 18th), 134 Curlew, 13 Greenshank and 14 Turnstones. Post-breeding movements of Lapwings peaked at 36 north and 77 south on 3rd. A flurry of excitement on 1 lth was brought about by an Osprey flying in off the sea and passing north and later, an Alpine Swift, which rocketed south low over the observatory in early afternoon. Nearly two and a half thousand Swifts moved south during the month, peaking at 750 on 12th and Cuckoos appeared to have had a good year with at least three juveniles passing through. A juvenile Goldcrest on 12th and 13th was an unexpected record for July and during the month Crossbills began to move through with 11 on 16th and 30 on 14th. Ringing produced the biggest surprise of the month when a juvenile Starling wearing a Danish ring was found in a mist net on 4th. Ringing in general was again very poor during July, but figures were boosted a little by a total of 250 Linnets indicating a good breeding season. Breeding birds were, however, well down on last year. Of the 25 species found breeding in the area in 1990, three did not breed at ali in 1991 and 13 species had fallen in number this year, some of them drastically; e.g. Meadow Pipit down from 10-12 pairs to 3-4 pairs and significant drops in numbers of Swallows, Dunnocks, Blackbirds and Goldfinches. Little Terns and Wood Pigeons were the only species to show a slight increase while Wheatear was a new species, not having bred in 1990. Red-legged Partridges suffered heavily from the attentions of Carrion Crows and uncontrolled dogs, and in fact, most if not ali birds present are now hybrid Red-legged x Chukar Partridges. Butterflies increased to 18 species in what is always the best month of the year for them. The biggest surprise was the sighting of a Ringlet on The Butts on 30th â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the first site record of this woodland species. Dragonflies included Southern Hawker, Emperor and Four-spotted Chaser. August August finally brought a flurry of activity as autumn migration got under way. Early seabird movements brought some excellent records which included a Manx Shearwater on 18th, Sooty Shearwater on 23rd, two Long-tailed Skuas on 22nd, Roseate Tern on


19th and a Sabine's Gull on 31st. Less rare, but equally interesting was the increase in sightings of other species including 10 Gannets, eight Little Gulls, six Arctic Terns and two Black Terns and 500 Common Terns were logged flying south. Waders also put on a good show and 21 species were recorded, raost passing south. Highlights included an Avocet on 17th, three Curlew Sandpipers on 23rd and good numbers of Grey Plover, Knot (including 108 on 23rd), Dunlin, Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrel. A single flock of 55 Whimbrel flew south on 8th. Two Mediterranean Gulls returned briefly to the area and raptor reports included single Marsh Harrier, Hobby and Sparrowhawk. Swift passage totalled a little over 1,100 birds during August, peaking at 738 on 23rd and dispersing woodpeckers passed through with a Great Spotted on 19th and four different Green Woodpeckers trapped. Few House Martins were noted as hirundine passage began to pick up but reasonable numbers of Swallows moved through and it is pleasing to be able to report a higher than usual number of Sand Martins passing south with 250 birds logged. Tree Pipit movements included a flock of eight seen on 15th and there was a light but steady flow of Yellow and Pied Wagtails through the site while the first 'chats' began to appear with single Whinchats on four dates from 21 st and a constant supply of Wheatears passing through. Two Nightingales and a single Redstart were trapped and all of the commoner warblers were noted (with the exception of Blackcap which tends to move later through Landguard) and reports also included two Wood Warblers mid-month. At least four Pied Flycatchers occurred from 26th and Crossbills continued to pass through the site with a total of 11 birds noted. The month still saw 16 species of butterfly on the wing and records of dragonflies included a male of the uncommon Ruddy Darter and, perhaps the month's highlight, a well-worn specimen of the Norfolk Hawker, which was caught in the Heligoland trap and photographed before release. The onset of autumn migration boosted the year's ringing totals with 782 birds of 34 species trapped and ringed. This total included 283 Linnets, 117 Chiffchaffs, 32 Wheatears, 28 Meadow Pipits, 21 Sedge Warblers, 21 Swallows and 19 Garden Warblers. September September continued in a similar vein to August with a comparable movement of interesting birds offshore. An early Red-throated Diver flew north on 29th and single Rednecked Grebes were noted on 13th and 23rd. September 28th was a good day to be at Landguard with diligent seawatchers logging one Sooty and three Manx Shearwaters, a Leach's Petrel, 31 Gannets, 701 Brent Geese (including one of the Pale-bellied race), a Long-tailed and 14 Arctic Skuas, five Little Gulls, and three Arctic Terns. The following day produced a different range of species, among them four Grey Herons, 550 Brent Geese, 441 Wigeon, 112 Teal, five Red-breasted Mergansers, single Osprey and Merlin, and a Black Tern. Other offshore sightings included a Shag on 14th, Little Stint on 16th, three Great Skuas on 21st, a Sabine's Gull on 3rd and a total of seven Arctic Terns. The month's tally of Arctic Skuas was above average with a total of 18 birds recorded, including those already mentioned. A Barn Owl paused briefly on 19th and the Tawny Owl continued to put in occasional appearances. Hirundine passage got into full swing with encouraging totals of 70 Sand Martins, 2,039 House Martins and 7,094 Swallows passing south but Swifts had, predictably, all but disappeared with just seven birds passing south, and a late record of four present on 20th. Movements of other species also showed a dramatic increase with southerly migration giving counts of 2799 Meadow Pipits (with 1,140 on 25th), 78 Yellow Wagtails, 56 Siskins and 1,376 Linnets during the month. With so much action taking place offshore, the reserve was comparatively quiet but a few gems did appear in the shape of a Barred Warbler on 4th and an Ortolan Bunting briefly on 14th. More common but no less interesting birds included three White Wagtails, a Firecrest, four Pied Flycatchers and a good scattering throughout the month of Whinchats,


Redstarts, Black Redstarts, Wheatears, Spotted Flycatchers and ali the regular warblers. The last few days of September saw the first arrivai of traditionally later birds including two Goldcrests, two Bramblings, several Robins and Redwings (the latter including 20 on 29th) and four Ring Ouzels. With Tree Sparrow numbers declining alarmingly, it is good to be able to report a total of 41 birds passing south during the month, higher than in previous Septembers. Despite ali this hectic activity, ringing totals for September were well down on the previous month with just 498 birds ringed. Non-ornithological records included reports of several migratory species. These included a Hummingbird Hawk-Moth on 14th and good numbers of Silver-Y's and the 21st produced a notable movement of butterflies with 60 Red Admirals and six Painted Ladies passing south. Yet another new butterfly species for the site was recorded when a Speckled Wood was reported on 29th â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a species currently rapidly colonising east Suffolk now that it has finally got a foot in the door. October The main autumn migration got under way in October and sea watchers were kept busy logging the movements of birds offshore. Red-throated Divers were noted on eight dates, peaking at four on 29th and a Great Northern Diver flew north on 23rd. Wildfowl produced some of the highest counts and southerly passage gave monthly totals of 10,954 Brent (including 3,859 on 12th), 586 Shelduck, 1,535 Wigeon, 477 Teal and 1,271 Common Scoter. Scarcer species included counts of 10 Gadwall, 70 Pintail, 71 Pochard, five Scaup, eight Long-tailed Ducks, 41 Goldeneye, 38 Red-breasted Mergansers and 58 Velvet Scoter moving south; ali but two of the latter occurred on 22nd. Twenty-nine Bewick's Swans flew south on 28th and up to two Shags were present offshore during the month. Gannets totalled 40 north and six south during October and the month produced single Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas on 28th and 19th respectively, and 10 Arctic Skuas. Little Gull passage was good with totals of 11 north and 48 south during the month and there was a steady trickle of Kittiwakes moving through, while terns had ali passed through by 12th with the exception of a few late Arctic Terns with at least one present on 28th and 29th. The Iceland Gull returned to the area to spend its ninth winter with us, being noted on 23rd and an adult Mediterranean Gull appeared on 12th. A few Guillemots were noted passing by but were outnumbered by Little Auks with the latter providing counts of 20 north (19 on 20th) and 12 south (eight on 20th). A good range of waders was logged with small numbers of 17 species noted including five Sanderling, six Woodcock and single Jack Snipe and Purple Sandpiper. Largest movements involved counts of 1,053 Dunlin and 905 Lapwing south. Raptor movements were poor with just three Merlins and six Sparrowhawks noted in addition to the usuai Kestrels but owls put on a better show with a Barn Owl present from 12th to 16th, Little Owl on 24th, up to seven Long-eared and eight Short-eared Owls during the month and the ever elusive Tawny Owl stili in residence. Visible migration of some passerine species was notable with over 1,000 Skylarks and 1,800 Starlings passing through and smaller numbers of Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails, Chaffinches and Greenfinches. Numbers of other species of finch moving south were impressive and included 3,891 Goldfinches, 3,829 Linnets and 229 Siskins with 24 Bramblings, 60 Redpolls, seven Twite and a Crossbill mixed in with them. Hirundine movements gave counts of 1,360 Swallows and 730 House Martins south during the month. Chats were well represented with Redstarts and Whinchats passing through, a Stonechat on 13th and a Bluethroat on 20th and 21st. Wheatears tailed off during October as winter thrushes picked up with the first 'fall' of the autumn providing 50 Redwings and 58 Fieldfares on 19th, the latter peaking later in the month at 184 on 23rd and Blackbirds reached at least 100 on five dates with a peak of 350 on 23rd. Ring Ouzels occurred sporadically throughout the month, peaking at five on 12th. Ali the commoner warblers put in an appearance but Goldcrest numbers were well down, with doublĂŠ figures reached


on just three dates towards the end of the month. Firecrests were present throughout most of the month with one or two noted on nine dates. Two Spotted Flycatchers lingered to 6th while signs of winter included a Lapland Bunting, present for five dates from 8th and four Snow Buntings. October always produces a few surprises and this year was no exception, producing a Shore Lark from 21st to 23rd, a Great Grey Shrike trapped and ringed on 17th and the site's (long overdue) first Radde's Warbler on 8th and 9th. Ringers were kept busy during the month with a total of 1751 birds of 43 species ringed including 784 Blackbirds, 116 Song Thrushes and 134 Robins, of which most were, presumably, of Scandinavian origin. 113 Starlings were also ringed, the total due to the presence of a large roost of up to 6,000 birds that built up in the docks. Non-ornithological reports were few but included a freshly dead Convolvulus Hawk-Moth on 11th. November Autumn migration tailed off abruptly at the end of October and we did not see the usual continuation into November. The ringing total for November was a poor 169 birds of 23 species with 41 Blackbirds, 10 Song Thrushes and 63 Greenfinches being the only doublefigure species' totals. Thrush numbers dropped dramatically after the activity during October with Redwings present in only single figures after a count of 16 on 5th, although Fieldfares continued to overfly the area early in the month with counts of 153 on 6th and 64 on 10th coming in off the sea. Chats were reduced to the occasional Robin and at least one Black Redstart wintering in the area while records of warblers were confined to just single Chiffchaffs on two dates and single Blackcaps on 10 dates. The Starling roost broke up and around 100 birds remained in the area while immigrants from the Continent continued to fly through with a highest count of 867 on 10th. Finch passage continued on a lower scale and provided counts of 206 Chaffinches, 221 Greenfinches, 786 Goldfinches, 313 Linnets, 74 Siskins, 24 Redpolls and 17 Bramblings moving south. Among them were eight Bullfinches, four Lapland Buntings, five Snow Buntings and a Twite. Other migrating passerines included 163 Skylarks, 28 Meadow Pipits, nine Rock Pipits, 11 House Martins and six Swallows. Single Woodlarks were noted on 4th and 6th and single Little, Longeared and Short-eared Owls were reported. The most dramatic event during November was the passage of pigeons with 315 Stock Doves and 23,215 Wood Pigeons logged during the month. Stock Doves peaked at 261 on 9th while the highest Wood Pigeon counts included 8,390 on 6th, 8,450 on 9th and 4,170 on 10th. Waders reports were few although they did include single Snipe, Little Stint and Golden Plover all on 10th and a Woodcock on 15th. Two Little Auks were reported and another three Little Gulls passed by, completing an excellent autumn for this species and an Arctic Skua was noted on 7th. Other offshore sightings included two Red-necked Grebes, a late Gannet on 19th and a scattering of ducks including a Long-tailed Duck, five Velvet Scoter and six Red-breasted Mergansers. Five Bewick's Swans flew north on 20th and on 4th, a Leach's Petrel was found on a ship in the docks and ringed and released at Landguard. Raptor sightings included a Hen Harrier flying in off the sea on 20th and single Merlins south on 5th and 16th while a Pheasant on 4th was perhaps the rarest bird to be seen at Landguard during November. December Winter finally took a hold in December with interesting reports being few and far between. Four Red-breasted Mergansers and a Velvet Scoter were noted offshore and up to 50 Kittiwakes took up winter residence in the area. A single Mediterranean Gull flew south on 20th and the following day, a Razorbill was reported. At least one Black Redstart continued to be reported in the area and a flock of 15 Snow Buntings appeared on 1st. Mike Crewe, 2 Hill Cottages, Brightwell,

Ipswich IP10


Suffolk Ringing Report by Mike


In 1991, a total of 24,390 birds of 128 species was ringed in the county. Although slightly down on the previous year's figure, it still maintains the remarkably consistent run of annual totals since 1986 which have only varied between 23,484 and 25,819. It must of course be stressed that the totals published in this and previous Suffolk Ringing Reports are minimum figures only. Additional birds may have been ringed in the county but not submitted for inclusion in the reports, although the numbers involved are probably small. In common with previous reports, the ringing data from Redgrave and Lopham Fens, which straddle the Suffolk/Norfolk boundary, have been included, even though most of the ringing at this site is carried out on the Norfolk side of the border. Localities which had increased ringing effort in 1991 included Lackford Wildfowl Reserve, Flatford Mill and Fagbury Cliff. At Lackford, the increased activity is due to the fact that Anne Brenchley and Peter Lack, both ' A ' ringers, have moved into the area and are now ringing at the site on a regular basis assisted by an enthusiastic group of trainees. At Fagbury Cliff, regular netting from late August to early November resulted in some impressive numbers of migrant warblers being ringed, including 250 Blackcaps and 133 Reed Warblers. The full potential of this site, which is adjacent to the Felixstowe Docks complex, is still to be realised, and the results from 1991 have whetted the appetite for a more concentrated effort in 1992. A glance through the 1991 Suffolk ringing totals reveals not only a good selection of oddities, including two Radde's Warblers, Dusky Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Barred Warbler, Great Grey Shrike, Bluethroat, Leach's Petrel and 42 pulli Marsh Harriers, but also impressive totals for some of our common species. The Linnet total of 1,422 is considerably higher than in recent years, comparing with 846 in 1990 and 532 in 1989, whilst the number of Blackcaps ringed in the county increased for the fifth successive year. With a grand total of 777 it was surprisingly equal with Willow Warbler as the most numerous warbler ringed. Some species were badly affected by the severe cold spell in February and this is reflected in the ringing totals. For example only 75 Goldcrests were ringed compared with 1,052 in 1990, Wrens were over 60% down on the 1990 total and just five Bearded Tits were ringed. The dramatic reduction in the population of the last species is best shown by the work of the Dingle Bird Club at Walberswick, where in 1990 they caught a total of 314 new Bearded Tits in 34 hours ringing time (eight visits), but in 1991, using the same net sites at the same times of the year, just four new birds and one retrap were caught in 38 hours (ten visits). The cold spell also had serious consequences for the county's wintering wader population with dozens of birds found dead along the banks of the estuaries, especially the Orwell and Deben. Redshank and Dunlin were the species worst affected, and the corpses found included a number of ringed birds. Many of these had been caught in previous winters and found within a few kilometres of their ringing sites, clearly showing the site fidelity of our wintering waders and the importance of protecting their feeding grounds. It seems that some birds moved south to escape the cold weather, as there were recoveries in northern France in February of three Suffolk-ringed waders â&#x20AC;&#x201D; two Curlews and a Redshank. Unfortunately, all of these birds had been shot. A number of recoveries in this year's report demonstrate the advantage of using colourrings. These rings can be read in the field at distances far greater than is possible with conventional metal rings and the combination of colours and numbers/letters usually identifies a particular individual. The Spoonbill recovery in this report is an excellent


example of how the use of colour-rings makes it possible to follow a bird's movements through a series of field records. Unfortunately, not all sightings of colour-ringed birds are reported and there is the frustrating example at the moment of the White-tailed Eagle which frequented the Boyton/Butley area in the winter of 1988/9. Reports at the time were that this bird was colour-ringed and that the rings had been seen well by at least one observer. However it appears that no details of the rings were ever sent in to the BTO and the origin of this bird is likely to remain a mystery. If anybody can supply any information on this bird, please let us know.

Selected List of Recoveries This part of the report is a selection of ringing recoveries received in, or relating to, 1991. Recoveries are arranged in species order, ringing details are shown on the first line — ring number / age and sex / date / locality, and recovery details on the second line — manner of recovery / date / locality with distance and direction of movement. The following codes have been used. Age when ringed:


This is given according to the EURING codes and the figures do not represent years. 1 pullus (= nestling or chick) 2 fully grown, year of hatching quite unknown 3 hatched during calendar year of ringing 3J hatched during calendar year of ringing, and still partly or completely in juvenile body plumage 4 hatched before calendar year of ringing, but exact year unknown 5 hatched during previous calendar year 6 hatched before previous calendar year, but exact year unknown 7 definitely hatched two years before year of ringing cr — male 9 = female

In the recovery data, the term 'controlled' refers to a ringed bird which has been caught by a ringer away from the locality where it was originally ringed. Also, where the date of recovery is not known, the date of the reporting letter is shown in brackets.

C O R M O R A N T Phalacrocorax carbo There were two field records of colour-ringed Cormorants in 1991 — at Landguard Point in August and Lake Lothing, Lowestoft in November. Both were first-year birds which had been ringed as nestlings at the tree-nesting colony at Abberton Reservoir, Essex. S H A G Phalacrocorax 1277297 1

aristotelis 18.07.90

Isle of May, Fife Region, S C O T L A N D ( 5 6 0 l l ' N 02°33'W) found dead 19.02.91 Hintlesham, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 3 ' N 01 ° 0 2 ' E ) — 515km ESE This is the second ringed Shag to be found inland in Suffolk in recent years — the other was found at Stradbroke in March 1988 and had also been ringed as a nesding on the Isle of May.


S P O O N B I L L Platalea leucorodia 8039115 1 20.05.89 Terschelling, N E T H E R L A N D S ( 5 3 ° 2 5 ' N 0 5 ° 3 0 ' E ) Arnhem (present to 19.08.89) field record 18.06.91 Bough Beech Reservoir, Kent (also present 19.06.91) field record 0 7 . 0 7 . 9 1 Breydon Water, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk field record 10.07.91 Hickling Broad, Norfolk field record 18.07.91 Horsey Mere, Norfolk field record 2 6 . 0 7 . 9 1 Trimley Marshes, Suffolk field record 0 3 . 0 8 . 9 1 Titchwell, Hunstanton, Norfolk field record 0 6 . 0 8 . 9 1 Benacre Broad, Suffolk (also present 0 8 . 0 8 . 9 1 ) This individual was colour-ringed as a nestling in the Netherlands — white ring with letter T on the left leg and orange ring with letter U on the right. After being sighted in Kent in June its wanderings around East Anglia in July and early August were somewhat erratic, moving from the Norfolk Broads down to south Suffolk, back up to the north Norfolk coast and then across to the north Suffolk coast.

BEWICK'S SWAN Cygnus columbianus YLB (colour-ring)

— field field field field

21.11.88 record record record record

26.10.89 27.10.89 07.11.89 13.01.90

Slimbridge, Gloucestershire (present 0 6 . 1 1 . 8 8 to 13.02.89) Welney, Norfolk Rutland Water, Leicestershire Tabley Road, nr. Knutsford, Cheshire (present to 26.11.89) Kenny Hill, nr. Mildenhall, Suffolk

C A N A D A G O O S E Branta canadensis 5150234 3 21.06.87 Cavenham, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°35'E) found dead c. 1 5 . 0 5 . 9 0 Barfleur, nr.Cherbourg, Manche, F R A N C E ( 4 9 ° 4 0 ' N 0 1 ° 1 5 ' W ) 319km SSW There have only been six previous recoveries of British-ringed Canada Geese in France — in 1963 (4) and 1965 (2) (Mead & Clark 1991).

B A R N A C L E G O O S E Brama leucopsis 7064058 4 ce 31.12.88 Gaastmeer, Friesland, N E T H E R L A N D S Arnhem (52°58'N 05°34'E) long dead 27.04.91 Havergate Island, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 4 ' N 01 ° 3 2 ' E ) 290km W S W With the Russian population of this species wintering mainly in the Netherlands (Ogilvie 1978) it is not surprising that some reach the Suffolk coast. Unfortunately the presence of feral birds makes the true status of this species as a winter visitor to the county hard to assess.

B R E N T G O O S E Branta bernicla A13 22.04.87 6.9 (neck collar) field record 12.01.91

Insel Langenwerder, Rostock, G E R M A N Y ( 5 4 ° 0 2 ' N 11°30'E) Trimley Marshes, Suffol^ ( 5 1 ° 5 8 ' N 0 1 ° 1 8 ' E ) (present to 17.03.91) Westpolderkwelder, Groninger Kust, N E T H E R L A N D S field record 12.04.91 (53°24'N 06°19'E) Trimley Marshes, Suffolk — 725km W S W field record 2 6 . 1 2 . 9 1 6cr Foehr-Vorland-Ost, Schleswig-Holstein, G E R M A N Y W B 30.04.83 (54°45'N 08°32'E) (colour-rings) Shotley Gate, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 7 ' N 0 1 ° 1 7 ' E ) - 570km SW field record 0 1 . 1 2 . 9 1 Both of these colour-ringed individuals were caught whilst on spring migration on the German coast. In the case of the former bird the colour-ring used was a numbered neck-collar.


S H E L D U C K Tadorna tadorna SA02893 4g 10.05.90 Gdansk found dead c . 2 3 . 0 2 . 9 1

Stawa Swietlna Elblag, Elblag, P O L A N D ( 5 4 ° 1 9 ' N 19°26'E) River Aide, nr. Aldeburgh, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 9 ' N 0 1 ° 3 6 ' E ) - 1210km W This appears to be the first British recovery, to or from Poland, of this species.

T E A L Anas PA02964 Gdansk

EP29961 EP70467

crecca 3 cr




6cf shot 4 cr shot

01.01.89 24.01.91 09.12.89 27.01.91

P I N T A I L Anas acuta FR85518 5M shot

T U B T E D D U C K Aythya FS99376 1 shot

04.02.89 (21.04.90)

Jagodna, Nowakowo, Elblag, P O L A N D ( 5 4 ° 1 4 ' N 19°24'E) Boyton, nr. Woodbridge, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 4 ' N 0 1 ° 2 8 ' E ) 1219km W Icklesham, Sussex ( 5 0 ° 5 5 ' N 0 0 ° 4 1 ' E ) Alderton, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 1 ' N 0 1 ° 2 5 ' E ) - 132km N N E Hollesley, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 3 ' N 0 1 ° 2 6 ' E ) Nr. Canterbury, Kent ( 5 1 ° 2 0 ' N 01 °1 l ' È ) - 81km SSW

Freston, nr. Ipswich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 0 ' N 01 °10'E) Plesetsky Region, Arkhangelsk, R U S S I A ( 6 2 ° 4 2 ' N 4 0 ° 1 8 ' E ) 2612km E N E

faligula 04.08.79 06.05.91

Hollesley, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 3 ' N 01 °26'E) Vuntilsky Region, Komi ASSR, R U S S I A ( 6 3 ° 5 2 ' N 5 7 ° 1 8 ' E ) 3512KM E N E Although recoveries of British-ringed Tufted Ducks in Russia are not unusual, there being 205 to the end of 1986 (Mead & Clark 1987), this one is exceptional as it involves a bird ringed as a duckling.

M A R S H H A R R I E R Circus aeruginosa FC49838 1 11.07.90 site confidential, coastal Suffolk report (27.08.91) Nr. Fimena de la Frontera, Cadiz, S P A I N ( 3 6 ° 3 0 ' N 0 5 ° 2 4 ' W ) 1841km SSW This is apparently the first British-ringed Marsh Harrier to be recovered in Spain. Unfortunately the manner of recovery was not reported. S P A R R O W H A W K Accipiter nisus 6235133 19 04.07.91 Copenhagen controlled 01.09.91

Brakker, Kolding, Jylland, D E N M A R K (55°36'N 09°23'E) Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) 668km SW


K E S T R E L Falco tinnunculus EH75633 3 20.10.90 freshly dead 2 0 . 0 6 . 9 1

Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) Orpington, Greater London ( 5 1 ° 2 2 ' N 0 0 ° 0 5 ' E ) — 145km SW This bird had an unfortunate fate, having died after falling into an oily gas-holder.

O Y S T E R C A T C H E R Haematopus ostralegus Fagbury, nr. Felixstowe, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 7 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) FR85010 6 23.02.86 Heerenveen, Friesland, N E T H E R L A N D S freshly dead 13.05.91 ( 5 2 ° 5 7 ' N 0 5 ° 5 6 ' E ) 332km E N E Friskney, nr. Wainfleet, Lincolnshire ( 5 3 ° 0 3 ' N 0 0 ° 1 5 ' E ) FV44353 7 05.01.78 Felixstowe Cliffs, Felixstowe, Suffolk field record 0 5 . 0 3 . 9 1 ( 5 1 ° 5 9 ' N 0 1 ° 2 3 ' E ) 141km SSE


S T O N E C U R L E W Burhinus oedicnemus ER 19564 1 23.05.89 site confidential, West Suffolk shot 28.11.91 Cabo de Gata, Almeria, SPAIN (36°48'N 02°14'W) 1729km S ER80388 1 26.06.91 site confidential, West Suffolk freshly dead 17.10.91 Vinaroz, Castellón, SPAIN (40°29'N 00°28'E) 1307km S EK88936 1 02.06.88 site confidential, West Suffolk shot 08.10.90 Ezkio-Itxaso, Guipuzcoa, SPAIN (43°05'N 02°06'W) 1047km S EH28575 4 30.09.85 site confidential, West Suffolk freshly dead 01.11.90 Meze, Herault, F R A N C E ( 4 3 ° 2 5 ' N 03°36'E) 1026km SSE ER43583 28.05.90 site confidential, West Suffolk found dead c . 1 5 . 1 1 . 9 0 Ablon, Calvados, F R A N C E (49°24'N 00° 18'E) 308km S

P U R P L E S A N D P I P E R Calidris maritima NV0150 4 05.05.90 North Ronaldsay, Orkney, S C O T L A N D (59°22'N 02°26'W) field record 14.02.91 Landguard Point, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) 858km SSE Although the observer was unable to read the last digit of the ring number it was fortunately still possible to trace the ringing details.

D U N L I N Calidris alpina NS66670 3 control led

19.11.84 15.04.91

Ramsholt, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°23'E) Dorumer Tief, Lüneburg, G E R M A N Y (53°44'N 08°31'E) 512km E N E NS90074 4 10.12.88 Fagbury, nr. Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°19'E) controlled 14.08.91 Schiermonnikoog, N E T H E R L A N D S ( 5 3 ° 2 9 ' N 06°12'E) 370km ENE 3353020 6 30.07.84 Ottenby, S W E D E N Stockholm (56°12'N 16°24'E) controlled 13.02.91 Black Ooze, R.Orwell, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°01'N 0 1 o 1 0 ' E ) 1104km WSW JN18820 Ujscie Wisly K Swibna, P O L A N D 3 01.09.88 (54°22'N 18°56'E) Gdansk freshly dead 16.02.91 Landguard Point, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 1204km WSW 8519683 3 12.09.90 Jomfruland, Kragero, Telemark, N O R W A Y Stavanger (58°52'N 09°36'E) freshly dead 20.01.91 Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) - 906km SW A selection from a fairly Standard batch of Dunlin recoveries received during the year.

J A C K S N I P E Lymnocryptes minimus NV55707 6 " 11.03.91 retrapped 30.10.91 A site-faithful individual.

W O O D C O C K Scolopax EK60013 4 shot


rusticóla 15.11.84 28.01.91

Levington Lagoon, Levington, Suffolk (51 °59'N 01° 16'E) Levington Lagoon

Landguard Point, Suffolk (51°56'N 01° 19'E) Milbrook, Bedfordshire (52°02'N 00°31'W) — 127km W


C U R L E W Numenius arquata 5249941 1 02.06.90 Arnhem found dead 17.02.91 FA26613 5 06.03.89 shot 16.02.91 FR85522

3 er shot

R E D S H A N K Tringa DN64157 6 shot

26.09.89 17.02.91

totanus 16.06.89 08.02.91

DR22197 found dead DS37623

12.10.81 10.01.91

6 19.01.85 freshly dead 28.12.91

Lemselo, Overijssel, N E T H E R L A N D S (52°20'N 06°52'E) Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°15'E) - 385km W Boyton, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°29'E) Varaville, Calvados, F R A N C E (49°15'N 00°09'W) 333km SSW King's Fleet, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°24'E) Baie d'Authie Sud, Somme, F R A N C E (50°22'N 01°35'E) 180km S

King's Fleet, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°24'E) St.Aubin Sur Mer, Calvados, F R A N C E (49°20'N 00°24'W) 321km SSW Ramsholt, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°23'E) Etaples, Pas-de-Calais, F R A N C E (50°31'N 01°39'E) 170km S Fagbury, nr. Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57' 01°18'E) Ameland, N E T H E R L A N D S (53°27'N 05°37'E) 335km ENE

B L A C K - H E A D E D G U L L Larus ridibundus EP74154 4 13.10.90 Bramford Landfill, Suffolk (52°06'N 01 °05'E) controlled 05.07.91 Pesky, Ladoga Lake, St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), R U S S I A (60°32'N 30°32'E) - 2034km ENE EP44886 5 02.03.89 Bramford Landfill, Suffolk (52°06'N 01 °05'E) field record 20.01.91 Maschsee, Hanover, G E R M A N Y (52°21'N 09°45'E) - 590km E EP29880 1 21.06.88 Buüey, Suffolk (52°05'N 01 °30'E) found dead c.25.07.91 Finningley, nr. Doncaster, South Yorkshire (53°29'N 00°59'W) 228km NW The recoveries selected show the longest movement of the year, a Suffolk-ringed bird apparently wintering inland in Germany two winters later and the recovery of a Suffolk-ringed pullus. As usual there were also numerous recoveries to and from the Baltic and North Sea coasts.

C O M M O N G U L L Larus canus 5273294 1 13.06.86 Helgoland field record 14.01.91

Elbinsel Pagensand, Schleswig-Holstein, G E R M A N Y (53°42'N 09°31'E) Lowestoft, Suffolk (52°30'N 01 °45'E) - 535km WSW

LESSER B L A C K - B A C K E D G U L L Larus fuscus GG56998 Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) 1 10.07.88 05.08.91 Nouakchott, M A U R E T A N I A (18°09'N 15°58'W) found sick 4075km SSW GG44558 1 30.06.90 Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) (01.03.91) Nr. Agadir, M O R O C C O (30°30'N 09°40'W) report 2570km SSW The two most distant recoveries are shown. The bird in Mauretania, the most southerly recovery to date of an Orfordness-ringed pullus, was found sick, and sadly died on 21.08.91. Its early August recovery date is interesting. There were also two other movements to Morocco, three to Spain and singles to Portugal and Netherlands.


H E R R I N G G U L L Larus argentatus 4221060 1 02.06.90 Copenhagen found dying 11.02.91

Veno, Limfjord, Jylland, D E N M A R K (56°33'N 08°38'E) Alderton, nr. Woodbridge, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 1 ' N 0 1 ° 2 5 ' E ) — 687km SW L32897 24.12.78 Bredene, West-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M Bruxelles (51°14'N 02o58'E) long dead 08.07.90 Orfordness, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 5 ' N 0 1 ° 3 5 ' E ) - 134km N W GG63074 1 02.07.89 Orfordness, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 5 ' N 0 1 ° 3 5 ' E ) found dead 2 8 . 0 4 . 9 1 Ouddorp, Goeree Island, Zuid-Holland, N E T H E R L A N D S ( 5 1 ° 4 9 ' N 0 3 ° 5 6 ' E ) - 164km E GG44046 Bramford Landfill, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 6 ' N 0 1 ° 0 5 ' E ) 02.03.89 Y than Estuary, Grampian, S C O T L A N D found dead 13.08.91 ( 5 7 ° 2 0 ' N 0 1 ° 5 9 ' W ) 614km N N W The recovery of the bird ringed as a nesding in Denmark is of interest, as birds from Danish colonies usually move no further than the nearest large harbour (Cramp & Simmons, et al 1983). G R E A T B L A C K - B A C K E D G U L L Larus marinus HT21137 5 13.01.90 Bramford Landfill, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 6 ' N 01 ° 0 5 ' E ) found dead 17.12.91 Brighton, Sussex ( 5 0 ° 4 9 ' N 0 0 ° 0 8 ' W ) - 166km SSW L I T T L E T E R N Sterna albifrons NV41042 19 21.06.87 controlled 16.06.91

Orfordness, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 7 ' N 01 °35'E) Lippe, Kreis Pion, Schleswig-Holstein, G E R M A N Y ( 5 4 ° 2 0 ' N 10°37'E) - 649km E N E This bird, ringed as a nestling in Suffolk, was found breeding in a colony on the north-east German coast. Although interchange between colonies is not unusual there are only three previous records of British-bred birds breeding in Germany (Cramp et al 1985). G R E E N W O O D P E C K E R Picus viridis DA69015 3JM 01.08.90 Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) road casualty 2 1 . 0 5 . 9 1 Nr. Wormingford, Colchester, Essex ( 5 1 ° 5 7 ' N 0 0 ° 4 9 ' E ) - 34km W DA50687 3 06.07.90 Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) found dead (30.03.91) Wrentham, nr. Lowestoft, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 2 3 ' N 0 1 ° 4 0 ' E ) - 13km N Movements by this species of over 20km are unusual and the longest British recovery is only 69km (Cramp et al 1985). S A N D M A R T I N Riparia 3801136 4 Paris controlled

riparìa 18.03.91

Pare National du Djoudj, Fleuve, S E N E G A L ( 1 6 ° 2 5 ' N 16°18'W) 01.07.91 Waldringfield, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 1 3 ' N 0 1 ° 1 8 ' E ) — 4273km N N E 3489880 05.09.89 St-Seurin-d'Uzet, Charente-Maritime, F R A N C E Paris (45°30'N 00°50'W) controlled 17.08.90 Dunwich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 1 6 ' N 0 1 ° 3 7 ' E ) - 773km N N E 145947 Jargeau, Loiret, F R A N C E 14.07.89 3 (47°52'N 02°07'E) Paris controlled 17.07.90 Kesgrave, nr. Ipswich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 5 ' N 0 1 ° 1 3 ' E ) 473km N H189851 02.07.91 Mid Dargavel, Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway, SCOTLAND (55°04'N 03°32'W) Dunwich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 1 6 ' N 0 1 ° 3 7 ' E ) - 4 6 0 k m SE controlled 30.07.91 Tregaron, Dyfed, W A L E S ( 5 2 ° 1 3 ' N 0 3 ° 5 6 ' W ) F922589 3J 16.07.91 Dunwich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 1 6 ' N 0 1 ° 3 7 ' E ) - 378km E controlled 20.08.91 There were also seven reports of Suffolk-ringed Sand Martins controlled in Senegal — a belated report of one caught there on Feb. 1st 1990, and six in 1991, between Jan. 3rd and Apr. 1st. These involved birds ringed at Dunwich, Aldeburgh, Chillesford (3), Kesgrave and Levington.


R O C K P I P I T Anthus petrosus AP26201 4cr 27.03.90 Stockholm field record 2 0 . 0 1 . 9 1

Malon. Onsala, Hailand, S W E D E N ( 5 7 ° 2 0 ' N 11°58'E) Benacre Sluice, Benacre, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 2 4 ' N 0 1 ° 4 4 ' E ) — 890km SW This individuai, identifiable by its combination of colour-rings, bred at Malon in 1990 and returned to breed there again in 1991. It can be safely assumed that it was an example of the race A.p. littoralis, which breeds in Fenno-Scandinavia, Denmark and north-west Russia. Another colour-ringed Rock Pipit present at Benacre in January 1991 had been ringed on the Isle of May, Fife. Unfortunately the ringing date could only be confirmed as 'sometime between 1982 and 1986'.

D I P P E R Cinclus XR36588 5F

cinclus 16.02.91

Burnham Market, Norfolk ( 5 2 ° 5 7 ' N 0 0 ° 4 5 ' E ) (present 2 7 . 1 0 . 9 0 to 2 4 . 0 3 . 9 1 ) controlied 14.11.91 Belstead Brook, Belstead, nr. Ipswich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 2 ' N 0 1 ° 0 7 ' E ) - 105km SSE (present 0 7 . 1 1 . 9 1 to 28.03.92) A bird of the Black-bellied race C.c. cinclus wintering in north Norfolk and south Suffolk in successive winters. Where will it try next winter?

R O B I N Erithacus rubecula 3226561 3 27.09.89 Bruxelles controlied 18.03.90 E456541

3J found dead

R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus F247238 1 er controlied

21.06.89 23.07.91

phoenicurus 14.06.89 Bickley, Hackness, North Yorkshire ( 5 4 ° 1 8 ' N 0 0 ° 3 1 ' W ) 20.05.91 Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 r i 9 ' E ) 290km SSE

B L A C K B I R D Turdus merula RH 18602 04.11.90 39 freshly dead 2 6 . 0 7 . 9 1 RC41209

4 cr found dead

25.10.88 29.04.91


3 cr


found dead



4or 10.11.87 freshly dead 19.02.91


49 found dead

Wetteren, Oost-Viaanderen, B E L G I U M (51°00'N 03°53'E) Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) 206km W N W Nr. Gislingham, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 1 8 ' N 0 1 ° 0 4 ' E ) Gant's HUI, Ilford, Essex ( 5 1 ° 3 4 ' N 0 0 ° 0 4 ' E ) 106km SSW

23.10.91 29.10.91

Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) Hammelborg, nr. Sodertalje, Stockholm, S W E D E N ( 5 9 ° 0 9 ' N 17°35'E) - 1297km N E Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) Haija, South Tidaholm, Skaraborg, S W E D E N ( 5 8 ° 0 4 ' N 13°55'E) - 1052km N E Benhall Low Street, nr. Saxmundham, Suffolk (52°11'N 01°26'E) Rodvig, Sjaelland, D E N M A R K ( 5 5 ° 1 6 ' N 12°23'E) 797km E N E Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) Oosterend, Terschelling, N E T H E R L A N D S ( 5 3 ° 2 4 ' N 0 5 ° 2 3 ' E ) 319km E N E Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) Cleethorpes, Humberside ( 5 3 ° 3 3 ' N 0 0 ° 0 1 ' W ) 201km N N W


The three longest movements reported during the year are shown. Details are also given for RC40274 which had an unusual manner of recovery — it was taken by a Peregrine, and RH90585 which made an unexpected movement up the east coast in late October.


S O N G T H R U S H Turdus philomelos RV38213 5 11.03.88 freshly dead 18.02.91

Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) Landulph, Cornwall ( 5 0 ° 2 6 ' N 0 4 ° 1 2 ' W ) 419km WSW RV79151 59 13.08.89 Cavenham G . P . , nr. Icklingham, Suffolk (52°19'N 00°35'E) killed by cat 12.02.91 Lower Dimson, Gunnislake, Cornwall ( 5 0 ° 3 1 ' N 04°13'W) 388km W S W RV23444 14.01.87 Portland Bill, Dorset ( 5 0 ° 3 1 ' N 0 2 ° 2 7 ' W ) found dead 12.01.91 Ipswich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 4 ' N O T I O ' E ) - 294km E N E It is likely that all three records involve cold weather movements from Suffolk to south-west England. The first two birds were recovered in Cornwall, within about 10km of each other, during the cold weather of Feb. 1991 whilst the other was ringed in Dorset in Jan. 1987 when Suffolk was one week into a 17 day severe cold spell.

R E D W I N G Turdus iliacus RV50278 3 25.10.88 controlled 26.10.91

Landguard Point, Suffolk (51 ° 5 6 ' N 01° 19'E) Laarne, Oost-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M (51 ° 0 2 ' N 0 3 ° 5 1 ' E ) 202km ESE

S E D G E W A R B L E R Acrocephalus H158539 03.08.91 22.08.91 controlled

schoenobaenus Fiatford Mill, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 8 ' N 0 1 ° 0 r E ) Oudalle, Seine-Maritime, F R A N C E ( 4 9 ° 3 0 ' N 0 0 ° 1 8 ' E ) 279km S F411366 3J 24.08.91 Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) controlled 25.08.91 Icklesham, Sussex ( 5 0 ° 5 5 ' N 0 0 ° 4 1 ' E ) - 121km SSW Note the next day recovery of the latter bird, one of four Suffolk-ringed Sedge Warbiers to be controlled at Icklesham in 1991.

R E E D W A R B L E R Acrocephalus scirpaceus 3367755 3 23.08.89 Lede, Oost-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M Bruxelles (50°58'N 03°59'E) controlled 21.07.90 Hollesley, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 3 ' N 0 1 ° 2 6 ' E ) -

213km NW

L E S S E R W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia curruca F737775 3 25.08.91 Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire ( 5 3 ° 0 6 ' N 0 0 ° 2 0 ' E ) controlled 03.09.91 Dunwich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 1 6 ' N 0 1 ° 3 7 ' E ) - 127km SE

G A R D E N W A R B L E R Sylvia borin F126323 3 05.08.89 bird found (21.09.91)

Dunwich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 1 6 ' N 0 1 ° 3 7 ' E ) Marrakesh, M O R O C C O (31 ° 4 9 ' N 0 8 ° 0 0 ' W ) 2403km SSW

B L A C K C A P Sylvia atricapilla F284296 5 er 30.04.91 Arnhem controlled 18.05.91


Duinen Castricum, Noord-Holland, N E T H E R L A N D S (52°33'N 04°37'E) Tangham Farm, nr. Woodbridge, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 5 ' N 0 1 ° 2 6 ' E ) 222km W S W An interesting spring movement across the North Sea.


C H I F F C H A F F Phylloscopus


3 found Sick


12.10.91 16.11.91

Füey Brigg, North Yorkshire (54°13'N 00°15'W) Felixstowe Docks, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°23'E) — 271km SSE 5T2407 2 08.09.91 Witnesham, Suffoik (52°06'N 01°1 l'E) controlled 13.10.91 Dungeness, Kent (50°55'N 00°59'E) - 132km S 9X4456 3 21.07.91 Shimpling, Diss, Norfolk (52°24'N 01° 10'E) controlled 19.09.91 Fagbury, nr. Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°18'E) — 49km S The first bird, a rather late migrant, was found in a fatigued State and later released. W I L L O W WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus


3 controlled

Bawdsey, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°25'E) Christianso, Bornholm, DENMARK (55°19'N 15°12'E) 980km ENE J09101 3 Wesplaat, Oostvoome, Zuid-Holland, NETHERLANDS 18.08.89 Arnhem (51°55'N 04°02'E) controlled 21.05.91 Landguard Point, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) 186km W 1X8338 3J 10.08.90 Landguard Point, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) controlled 25.04.91 Calf of Man, Isle of Man (54°03'N 04°49'W) 473km WNW 4cr 4T3056 06.04.91 Landguard Point, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) controlled Misson, nr. Doncaster, Nottinghamshire 01.07.91 (53°28'N 00°56'W) 228km NW 3R7862 3 Landguard Point, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) 12.09.89 killed by cat (16.08.91) Horsford, Norfolk (52°42'N 01°14'E) - 85km N The recovery on the Danish island of Christianso is noteworthy — up to the end of 1986 there had been only five British-ringed Willow Warbiers recovered in Denmark (Mead & Clark 1987). It is worth noting that Christianso is situated in the Baltic well to the east of the Danish mainland. G O L D C R E S T Regulus

A67180 Stavanger


30.08.90 01.06.91



Jomfruland, Kragero, Telemark, NORWAY (58°52'N 09°36'E) controlled 16.09.90 Landguard Point, Suffolk (51 °56'N 01° 19'E) 930km SW Following recoveries of Polish and Dutch-ringed birds in last year's report this is a further example of the remarkable movements undertaken by this tiny bird. B E A R D E D T I T Panurus



24.06.89 09.08.91

3 er controlled

S T A R L I N G Sturmis


Walberswick, Suffolk (52°18'N 01°38'E) Little Oakley, Essex (51°14'N 01°14'E) - 52km SSW


4 er found dead

23.11.88 28.02.90

Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 0I°10'E) Belozersk, Vologda, RUSSIA (59°58'N 37°51'E) 2432km ENE RC48929 Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°10'E) 6 28.02.87 St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), RUSSIA freshly dead 01.10.89 (59°53'N 30°20'E) - 2004km ENE 8829199 Hjortkaer, Bramming, Jylland, DENMARK 25.05.91 19 (55°33'N 08°43'E) Copenhagen Landguard Point, Suffolk (51°56'N 0 r i 9 ' E ) — controlled 04.07.91 630km SW Note the early July recovery date of the last bird, just 40 days after being ringed as a nesding in Denmark. Although it occurred during a period of strong easterly winds, its ringing location, close to the port of Esbjerg, invites speculation that it may have hitched a ride on the Esbjerg-Harwich ferry.


C H A F F I N C H Fringilla coelebs E678178 4c 24.10.89 freshly dead 12.05.91

Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) Hailuoto, Oulu, F I N L A N D ( 6 5 ° 0 1 ' N 2 4 ° 4 3 ' E ) 1977km N E F410187 5 0r 12.03.91 Landguard Point, Suffolk ( S 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) controlled 16.06.91 Karragarden, Hornborgasjon, Skaraborg, S W E D E N ( 5 8 ° 1 9 ' N 13°36'E) - 1053km N E controlled 29.03.92 Karragarden Confirmation of the Scandinavian origins of some of the passage Chaffmches occurring in the county.

G R E E N F I N C H Carduelis 8460883 39 Stavanger controlled

chloris 24.11.90

G O L D F I N C H Carduelis F953041 3J found dead

carduelis 15.07.90 03.11.90

S I S K I N Carduelis spinus 6cr F219651 found dead

27.03.89 28.06.90

Bongsto, Mandai, Vest-Agder, N O R W A Y (58°02'N 07°22'E) 10.02.91 Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) 779km SSW VC72845 3JM 28.09.89 Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) controlled 01.08.91 Berlare, Oost-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M ( 5 1 ° 0 2 ' N 04°00'E) 211km E S E (controlled again 19.08.91) 6a Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) VH03171 21.04.91 Gistel, West-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M ( 5 1 ° 1 0 ' N 0 2 ° 5 7 ' E ) found dead 2 0 . 0 5 . 9 1 141km SE Greenfinches ringed at Landguard have now been recovered in Belgium (3), Shetland (1) and Channel Islands (1), and there have been controls from Channel Islands (3), Netherlands (2) and Norway (1). W h o says Greenfinches are boring? There was the usual glut of recoveries involving movements between Suffolk and other southern and eastern English counties but these were mainly short-distance movements with only one exceeding 200km — 305km, Landguard Point to Langton Herring, Dorset.

Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) Veerle, Antwerpen, B E L G I U M (51 ° 0 4 ' N 0 4 ° 5 9 ' E ) 268km ESE

Great Glemham, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 1 2 ' N 0 1 ° 2 5 ' E ) nr. Funasdalen, Harjedalen Z, Jamtland, S W E D E N ( 6 2 ° 2 9 ' N 12°40'E) - 1324km N E F057621 5 er 11.03.89 Ipswich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 4 ' N 0 1 ° 1 0 ' E ) 11.06.91 Nr. Roybridge, Highland Region, S C O T L A N D caught & ( 5 6 ° 5 3 ' N 0 4 ° 5 0 ' W ) - 660km N W released Evidence of both Scottish and Scandinavian Siskins occurring in Suffolk in early spring.

L I N N E T Carduelis cannabina 3 Cf F410976 28.07.91 controlled 23.12.91

Landguard Point, Suffolk ( 5 1 ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) Laguna de San Juan, Chinchon, Madrid, S P A I N ( 4 0 ° 0 8 ' N 0 3 ° 2 6 ' W ) - 1361km SSW 4er 311112 Westkapelle, West-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M 01.09.89 Bruxelles (51°19'N 03°18'E) found dead 20.05.91 Rushmere St. Andrew, Ipswich, Suffolk ( 5 2 ° 0 3 ' N 0 1 ° 1 2 ' E ) 166km W N W It is pleasing to see that the former bird was controlled — the two previous Landguard-ringed Linnets recovered in Spain were caught and caged.



R E D P O L L Carduelis flammea 3288668 2 cr 24.11.89 Ombret, Liege, B E L G I U M Bruxelles (50째33'N 05째20'E) controlled 16.09.90 Foxhall, Suffolk ( 5 2 째 0 4 ' N 0 1 째 1 2 ' E ) - 333km W N W This was a bird of the race C.f. cabaret (Lesser Redpoll), which breeds in Britain and the Alps, and was presumably a British bird ringed whilst wintering in the Low Countries.

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to the following ringers/ringing groups who supplied the information upon which this report is based; Sid Batty, Rex Beecroft, Dr. Anne Brenchley, Malcolm Cavanagh, Mike Crewe, Dingle Bird Club, Rob Duncan, John Glazebrook, Sir Anthony Hurrell, Peter Lack, Landguard Bird Observatory, Dr. Peter McAnulty, Alan Miller, Derek Moore, Philip Murton, Paul Newton, Adrian Parr, Ian Peters, Roy Thatcher, Brian Thompson, Cliff Waller, Lyn Webb, Rodney West and Mick Wright. I should also like to thank Chris Mead of The British Trust for Ornithology, David Lampard of Ipswich Museum and the County Recorder, Philip Murphy, for forwarding information from their files and Chris Mead, Philip Murphy, Nigel Odin and Steve Piotrowski for their comments on the draft.

References: Cramp, S. & Simmons, K. E. L. (eds) 1983. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Vol. 3. Oxford. Cramp, S. (ed) 1985. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Vol. 4. Oxford. Mead, C. J. & Clark, J. A. 1987. Report on Bird-ringing for 1986. Ring. & Migr. 8: 135-200. Mead, C. J. & Clark, J. A. 1991. Report on Bird Ringing for Britain and Ireland for 1990. Ring. & Migr. 12: 139-176. Ogilvie, M. A . (1978). Wild Geese. Berkhamsted.

Mike Marsh,

5 Ennerdale

Close, Felixstowe,






Little Grebe Leach's Petrel Shag Grey Héron Canada Goose Shelduck Wigeon Teal Mallard Tufted Duck Marsh Harrier Sparrowhawk Kestrel Water Rail Moorhen Coot Oystercatcher Avocet Ringed Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Knot Dunlin Ruff Jack Snipe Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Black-headed Gull Common Gull Lsr. Black-bckd Gull Herring Gull Great Black-bCkd Gull Common Tern Little Tern Stock Dove

1 1 1 24 5 9 1 51 10 1 42 17 15 2 24 9 22 14 30 13 35 2 751 1 7 35 2 3 3 2 10 71 5 10 6 248 17 688 151 4 2 33 5



Woodpigeon 36 17 Collared Dove 11 Turtle Dove 4 Cuckoo 1 Little Owl Tawny Owl 3 4 Long-eared Owl Nightjar 10 14 Swift 11 Kingfisher 1 Wryneck 18 Green Woodpecker 11 Great Sp. Woodpecker 2 Lesser Sp. Woodpecker 7 Woodlark 15 Skylark 1194 Sand Martin Swallow 880 262 House Martin 110 Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit 232 Yellow Wagtail 8 2 Grey Wagtail 47 Pied Wagtail Wren 301 592 Dunnock 595 Robin 21 Nightingale 1 Bluethroat 20 Black Redstart 48 Redstart 17 Whinchat 3 Stonechat 70 Wheatear 11 Ring Ouzel 2148 Blackbird 27 Fieldfare 480 Song Thrush 121 Redwing 26 Mistle Thrush 1 Grasshopper Warbier 259 Sedge Warbier 1 Marsh Warbier


/ 174



Reed Warbier Barred Warbier Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbier Blackcap Radde's Warbier Dusky 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 Great Grey Shrike Jay Magpie Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Redpoll Crossbill Bullfinch Yellowhammer Reed Bunting Com Bunting GRAND TOTAL NO. O F S P E C I E S

647 1 199 397 232 777 2 1 3 430 777 75 12 112 12 5 364 46 22 85 1605 884 8 57 1 26 8 1001 240 6 816 37 3030 455 12 1422 94 17 242 139 64 2 24390 128

SUFFOLK NATURALISTS SOCIETY Founded in 1929 by Claude Morley (1874-1951), the Suffolk Naturalists' Society pioneered the study and recording of the County's flora, fauna and 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 receive 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 £10.00 Individual £12.00 Family £5.00 Junior (under 18)

Joint membership SNS/SOG

£16.00 £20.00 £8.00

CONTENTS Page Editorial. Steve Piotrowski Twenty years of the Common Bird Census on Hollesley Heath. Alan Miller A brief summary of the Eagle Owl's status in Europe and its possible implications for Suffolk and Britain. Jeff Martin The Long-tailed Skua in Suffolk. John Cawston Breeding waders and other waterfowl on the coastal marshes and saltings of Suffolk in 1988 and 1989. T. C. Holzer, C. H. Beardall, R. C. Dryden & R. B. West Weather trends and their effect on the County's avifauna, 1991. John H. Grant... The 1991 Suffolk Bird Report Rarities in Suffolk 1991. Steve Piotrowski Lesser Crested Tern. Howard Parsons Franklin's Gull. John Cawston Ring-billed Gull. Richard Walden Red-eyed Vireo. Peter Ransome Wilson's Phalarope. Alastair Riseborough Radde's Warbler. Rex Beecroft Radde's Warbler. John Glazebrook Dusky Warbler, Sir A. G. Hurrell Gull-billed Tern. Nigel Odin & Jim Askins Roller. Mike Crewe Arctic Redpoll. Brian Small Notes Kestrel preying on House Sparrow under car. Mike Marsh Rump colour of Desert Wheatear. Mike Crewe Migrant Northern Wheatears at Landguard Point. Nigel Odin Letters Golden Orioles. Mike Jeanes Herons and other animals. Audrey Morgan Bird-eating Mussels. Craig Fulcher Landguard Bird Observatory. Mike Crewe Suffolk Ringing Report. Mike Marsh



5 7 11 15

19 29 35 142 142 143 144 145 145 146 147 147 148 148 149 152 152 152 153 154 155 155 156 162

Suffolk Birds 1992 Part 2  

Volume 41 Systematic List

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