Page 1

The 1992 Suffolk Bird Report INTRODUCTION The systematic list of species has been written by the Editorial Committee, headed by the Editor, Mike Crewe, using data collated by the County Recorder, Philip Murphy and entered onto computer at the Ipswich Museum. The authors for each section are as follows: Divers to Shag : John Cawston Herons, Swans & Geese : Mike Crewe Ducks : Malcolm Wright Raptors, Gamebirds & Rails : Derek Moore Waders : Mike Crewe Skuas to Auks : John Cawston and Stuart Ling Near-Passerines : Stuart Ling Larks to Dunnock : Brian Small Chats and Thrushes : Rex Beecroft Warblers : Nigel Odin Tits to Sparrows : Brian Thompson Finches & Buntings : Rob Macklin Appendices : Mike Crewe The order and nomenclature follow the Birding World Complete List of The Birds of the Western Palearctic which in turn follows Dr K. H. Voous's List of Recent Holarctic Bird Species with any more recent alterations. All 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, all records are listed under the parish followed by a more 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 NNR, Minsmere, Orfordness, Alton Water etc. 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; the bulk of these data comes from the Birds of Estuaries Enquiry (BoEE) co-ordinated counts. A dashed entry indicates that no figure was received. Counts from North Warren include Thorpeness Meare, Church Farm Marshes and the seashore between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh; the Aide/Ore includes the complex of the Aide, Ore and Butley rivers as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave Reservoir and Havergate Island; the Orwell includes Trimley Marshes, Bourne Park Water Meadows and Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin 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. We are in the fortunate position of having data for a number of years from a crosssection of geographically well spread sites 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 any local population changes in common species. The centres of such activity lie at Dingle Hills, Westleton; Minsmere; North Warren, Aldeburgh; Belstead; Valley Farm, Coddenham; the Stour Valley (Cavendish to Long Melford); Newbourne Springs; Wolves Wood, Hadleigh/Aldham and Lackford Wildfowl Reserve. Fieldworkers 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. 30


All records come under the scrutiny of the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee (SORC) and for rare or scarce species verification is sought — i.e. photographs, field sketches, witnesses, sound recordings (for calling or singing birds) and (most importantly) 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 decisions are accepted by SORC, with few exceptions. As well as national rarities, 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; all shearwaters; Storm and Leach's Petrels; Little Egret; Purple Heron; White Stork; Bean and Pinkfooted Geese; Red-crested Pochard; Ring-necked Duck; Ferruginous Duck; Surf Scoter; Honey Buzzard; Red Kite; Montagu's Harrier; Goshawk; Rough-legged Buzzard; Peregrine; Quail; Spotted Crake; Corncrake; Crane; Kentish Plover; Dotterel; Temminck's Stint; Pectoral Sandpiper; Buffbreasted Sandpiper; Red-necked and Grey Phalaropes; Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas; Sabine's, Ring-billed and Iceland Gulls; Roseate Tern; Black Guillemot; Puffin; Bee-eater; Hoopoe; Shorttoed Lark; Richard's, Tawny and Water Pipits; Dipper; Bluethroat; Savi's, Aquatic, Marsh, Icterine, Melodious, Dartford, Barred, Pallas's and Yellow-browed Warblers; Red-breasted Flycatcher; Woodchat Shrike; Raven; Serin; Common Rosefmch; Ortolan, Little, 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. 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 details were not forthcoming. It does not include records still under consideration. Observers are reminded that Suffolk works to Watsonian vice-county boundaries, taking in areas that are now administered as Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Essex. The most significant area affected is that of Lothingland, the northern limits of which follow the River Yare and include the south side of Breydon Water. We have retained these original boundaries as we feel that sensible comparison of data can only be made from year to year if the recording area is kept constant and does not keep changing size and shape. To aid the inputting of data at Ipswich Museum, we would request observers to submit their records monthly. We also suggest that the following format is followed: (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 — c , ç , 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, please put all details at the top of the list and annotate with sex and/or abundance. Records for 1993 should be submitted to P.W.Murphy, 24 Henstead Gardens, Ipswich IP3 9LN. Those received after Jan. 31st cannot be guaranteed inclusion in that year's Report. Please see the Editorial at the front of this publication for details of the procedure for 1994 records. 31


Acknowledgements The Editor would like to personally thank ail those involved with the production of this report. Particular thanks go to the RSPB and SWT reserve wardens for making available data from their reserves, in particular dĂŠtails of commoner species; to the sub-editors of the various sections of the checklist for their hard work and to Philip Murphy, Steve Piotrowski and Mike Marsh for their valued help and guidance. Thanks also go to ail those observers who found time to submit their sightings accurately and punctually. The following abbreviations are used in the systematic list: cr G.P. = Gravel Pit. male. Ind. Est. = Industriai Estate. 9 = iemale. NNR = National Nature Reserve ad. = adult. R. - River. imm. = immature. res. = reservoir. juv. = juvenile. W . P . = Water Park. f.s.p. = full summer plumage. W.R. = Wildfowl Reserve. pr(s) = pair(s). N. = bird(s) flying north. S. = bird(s) flying south. The following dĂŠfinitions are intended as a guide to the relative 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.

SYSTEMATIC LIST R E D - T H R O A T E D D I V E R Cavia stellata Common winter visitor and passage migrant.

DĂźring the previous five years, counts of this species off the Suffolk coast had been rather low. However, both winter periods during 1992 saw a return to the higher counts more typical of the early and mid-eighties, as shown below: 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 J D J D J D J D J D J D J D J D J D J D J D 250 352 977 2 0 0 5 0 0 318 2 4 3 55 6 0 0 85 300 50 280 50 105 138 6 4 100 2 1 3 5 0 0 5 3 5

32


Counts of 200 or more during January and February involved: Benacre: 200 S., Jan. 5th; 300 N., Jan. 11th. Covehithe: 200 offshore, Jan. 4th. Southwold: 300 S., Jan. 10th. Minsmere: 500, Jan. 10th; 406, Feb. 3rd. It seems likely that there is much duplication involved in the above records. On the estuaries, there were singles at Blythburgh, Jan. 27th and Falkenham, Jan. 19th and on the River Aide, Jan. 21st to 24th and Feb. 13th to 17th. Elsewhere, singles were on Oulton Broad, Feb. 9th and Melton G . P . , Jan. 29th to 31st (found dead Feb. 3rd). Reports from two flooded gravel pits in the upper Gipping Valley in February probably refer to one bird. Early in March there were still 80 off Benacre on 8th but the only report after Mar. 28th was of one on the River Aide at Iken, May 8th. Early autumn arrivals in August flew north off Landguard on 23rd and north off Covehithe (two) on 29th, but relatively few were noted until late November when 224 were off Minsmere on 28th. This total was exceeded in December with reports of 300 north off Aldeburgh on 12th and 535 off Minsmere on 14th. On the estuaries there were singles on the River Aide at Slaughden, Dec. 26th to 30th, on the River Ore by Havergate Island, Dec. 20th and on the River Orwell in the Ipswich Dock area, Dec. 12th. Oiled birds were also reported in December from Easton Bavents on 5th and on Alton Water from 30th into 1993. An exhausted bird, picked up at Tuddenham Hall, Tuddenham St. Martin, Dec. 30th was released on the Aide at Snape the next day. Of great interest was the news of a ringed bird picked up long dead on Havergate Island, July 1st 1990 which was found to have been ringed as a nestling in southern Finland in 1987. This is the County's first ringing recovery of this species. (See Ringing Report). B L A C K - T H R O A T E D D I V E R Gavia arctica Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. After the excellent total of 17 birds reported the previous year, 1992 produced a lower total of 11 individuals. None lingered at accessible localities and most records involved either birds offshore with the Red-throated Diver flocks or one-day sightings on the river estuaries. All records are listed. Benacre: S. offshore, Jan. 5th; Benacre Broad, slightly oiled, Mar. 17th. Miasmere: one or two offshore, Jan. 8th to Feb. 22nd; singles, Nov. 18th, 26th and 27th; N., Dec. 12th. Aldeburgh: Aide Estuary, Dec. 13th. Sudbourne: Aide Estuary, Feb. 15th. Felixstowe: offshore, Feb. 2nd; Landguard, S., Nov. 1st. Trimley St. Mary: sick or injured bird on the river wall, Dec. 20th. G R E A T N O R T H E R N D I V E R Gavia immer Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. The total of six birds during the year is an average showing for this species which remains a scarce visitor to the County. Minsmere: N „ Mar. 27th; offshore, Apr. 1st; N., Nov. 13th (RSPB). Felixstowe: Landguard, N., Jan. 27th (NO,SHP); S., then up R. Orwell, May 12th (MM). Holbrook: Holbrook Bay, Jan. 28th (EWP). 1977 Felixstowe: Landguard, two, May 15th. The bird off Landguard on May 12th was thought to be the latest ever spring record in Suffolk. However, when researching this, it was discovered that a record of two off 33


Landguard, May 15th 1977 had been omitted from previous Suffolk Bird Reports. This record therefore still stands as the latest spring sighting in the County. L I T T L E G R E B E Tachybaptus ruficollis Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton W a t e r Lackford W . R . Stour ( H W ) (LW)

J g 4 35 27 0

F 15 3 42 22 0

M 4 0 32 14 1

2 —

2 9

A

A

5 0 0 —

0

! 1 —

0 —

0 —

S 0 1 13 21 1 0 1

O 0 3 21 20 4 1 0

N —

16 32 11 1 2 0 11

D 6 6 48 20 0 1 8 —

After an apparent drop in the number of pairs during the breeding season in 1991, it was pleasing to see a return to the sort of numbers expected in the County, with at least 41 pairs being reported. The highest density reported came from North Warren/Thorpeness where 11 pairs were found but the former stronghold of Lackford recorded a drop in numbers for the second successive year, with only two pairs present. Wintering numbers were once again highest on the Deben estuary, especially at the favoured area around the mouth of Martlesham Creek where 32 were counted, Mar. 13th. Other high counts included 27 in Ipswich Docks, Jan. 4th; 26 on Breydon Water, Dec. 31st; 22 on the River Orwell near Fox's Marina, Wherstead during February and 20 on Lake Lothing in January. G R E A T C R E S T E D G R E B E Podiceps cristatus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton W a t e r Stour Lackford W . R .

J 7 0 30 47 27 4

F 0 4 15 92 27 10

M 3 11 16 85 49 13

A

A

10 7 78 35

6 79 110

S 2 0 9 106 154 0

O 15 3 25 73 187 9

N 25 10 33 140 87 13

D 9 7 47 157 88 12

The 60 pairs repotted in 1992 represent a drop of 35 % on the 93 pairs in 1991 but some sites were under-recorded and the population is probably stable. Alton Water remains the stronghold for the species in the County with 40 pairs present during May. Alton Water featured strongly again during the winter months with maximum counts of 140 and 157 present during November and December respectively. Good numbers were also again present on the sea during the winter with favoured sites producing counts of 180 off Dunwich, Feb. 16th and 122 off Minsmere, Feb. 28th. The former figure represents a record offshore count for the County. Southerly autumn passage off Landguard peaked in October with 27 recorded between 2nd and 27th. R E D - N E C K E D G R E B E Podiceps grisegena Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The mild winters failed to produce any influxes of this species which is often displaced from the Continent during hard weather. As a result, the year's total amounted to just eight (possibly ten) birds, the poorest year since 1984 when seven were recorded. Lowestoft: Nov. 13th. Southwold: N. offshore, two Oct. 10th. Walberswick: offshore, in summer plumage, Mar. 8th; two Oct. 15th. Minsmere: offshore, Jan. 10th to 13th and Dec. 6th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, N. offshore, Oct. 14th. Levington: R. Orwell, Nov. 28th into 1993. 34


The two October birds off Walberswick were perhaps the same as the two off Southwold. Totals for the previous five years are: 1987 18

1988 13

1989 17

1990 11

1991 24

SLAVONIAN G R E B E Podiceps auritus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. After last year's high total of 17 birds, 1992 saw a return to a more typical figure of six individuals. Just one bird was reported in the first winter period and one in the spring. The four birds reported during the second half of the year included a long-stayer at Benacre Broad which remained until forced to move on when the broad froze over in cold weather. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Dec. 12th to 30th. Aldeburgh: offshore, Jan. 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard, S. then on sea, Nov. 15th. Wherstead: R. Orwell, Nov. 11th. Alton Water: Dec. 31st. Holbrook: Holbrook Bay, summer plumage, Mar. 22nd and 23rd. Totals for the previous five years are: 1987 8

1988 6

1989 6

1990 5

1991 17

B L A C K - N E C K E D G R E B E Podiceps nigricollis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Generally the rarest of the County's grebes, the total of eight birds in 1992 is higher than the total for the preceding species and on a par with Red-necked Grebe. The species was also easy to see, with one bird spending most of the first winter period on the Orwell. The individual at Thorington Street Reservoir in June is an intriguing record. Burgh Castle: Breydon Water, Jan. 6th to 23rd. Minsmere: offshore, Aug. 29th to Sept. 1st; Island Mere, Nov. 3rd. Orwell Estuary: variously between Wherstead and Levington, Jan. 7th to Feb. 28th; Pinmill, two Dec. 29th. Alton Water: Dec. 30th and 31st. Stoke-by-Nay land : Thorington Street Res., June 23rd to 28th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., summer plumage, Apr. 21st. Totals for the previous five years are: 1987 5

1988 6

1989 2

1990 5

1991 8

F U L M A R Fulmarus glacialis Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A rather disappointing year. Unfortunately, breeding birds had an unsuccessful year at Bawdsey, despite there being up to 38 present during the spring. Foxes again appeared 35


to be the reason for this failure but it is hoped that an electric fence can be installed in future to try to alleviate the problem. A single bird was back at Bawdsey on Dec. 18th, the earliest recorded return at the site. On Apr. 30th, two birds were prospecting a cliff site elsewhere on the coast. This species has always been very scarce offshore during the winter months, so single birds off Easton Bavents, Jan. 1st, Southwold, Jan. 9th and Benacre, Jan. 11th were unexpected, but were associated with reports of other seabirds at the same time (cf. Gannet and Pomarine Skua). Although regularly present offshore in small numbers throughout the spring and summer, only one count exceeded 20 birds, viz. 22 north off Southwold, May 27th. Autumn passage movements were even less impressive and no single day counts entered double figures. This dearth of records is probably due to a lack of strong northerly gales during the late summer and autumn, which have been responsible for large movements of this species off the Suffolk coast in previous years. There were no inland reports, although a single bird was on the River Stour at Harkstead, June 5th and another flew over Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin, May 31st. Regular recording at Landguard produced monthly offshore totals as follows: J

F

M

A

M

J

North

0

2

6

20

37

17

1

J 21

A 6

S 0

O

0

N

D 0

South

1

2

5

84

38

10

2

27

9

0

0

0

It is interesting to note that, like elsewhere in the County, Fulmars are seldom recorded at Landguard in the winter, despite the fact that breeding birds return to the cliffs nearby at Bawdsey in January (or even December). Seawatchers at Southwold reported a quiet year with spring and autumn movements producing no double-figure day counts apart from the 22 on May 27th whilst the only significant movement off Minsmere involved a count of 19 on Mar. 27th. G R E A T S H E A R W A T E R Puffinus gravis Very rare (autumn) passage migrant.

36


A pleasant sunny evening with a light easterly breeze rather unexpectedly produced the County's fourth record of this exciting large shearwater. The bird passed north only 500 yards off Southwold promenade, much to the delight of the two fortunate observers present. Southwold: N., Sept. 10th (MSF, RW). SOOTY S H E A R W A T E R Puffinus griseus Uncommon passage migrant. A minimum of 32 birds was recorded this year with the main passage taking place in the first twelve days of October, which regularly saw periods of strong north-easterly winds. The first of the year flew north off Southwold on Aug. 8th. There was then just a handful of records until early October when the bulk of the records occurred. Monthly totals involved two in August, three in September and 27 in October. All records were as follows: Lowestoft: S., Sept. 11th (BJB); six S., Oct. 3rd (DBB); two N., Oct. 10th (BJS). Southwold: N., Aug. 8th (DCM); four N., Oct. 5th (WJB, JMC, EWP); four N., Oct. 7th (RW); five N., Oct. 10th (WJB, JMC, SJL el al.); three N., Oct. 12th (WJB, NJS et al. ). Minsmere: singles reported Oct. 5th, 7th and 9th (RSPB). Felixstowe: Landguard, N., Aug. 30th (MM); two N., Sept. 6th (MM, NO). Seawatchers are requested to include the times of their observations of unusual seabirds so that any duplication can be eliminated — it is often difficult to assess numbers at wellwatched sites such as Southwold where individual observations may partially overlap. MANX S H E A R W A T E R Puffinus puffinus Uncommon passage migrant. This species put in an earlier appearance than usual this year when 11 birds flew north off Minsmere on Mar. 24th (IR). Spring records of this species are always rather scarce so a double-figure count is particularly unexpected; this is the earliest County record since 1983. Autumn passage peaked in September when a total of 15 was seen offshore. Generally however, passage was unremarkable with no single day count exceeding two birds. T w o north off Southwold on Oct. 10th were the last of the year. Monthly totals were as follows: m a m J J A s o 11

2

0

0

0

2

15

8

L E A C H ' S P E T R E L Oceanodroma leucorhoa Scarce passage migrant. A good year with seven birds reported. All records involved birds passing offshore (there were no storm-driven casualties) and came from just three well-watched sites. All records are listed. Benacre: N„ Sept. 18th (CAB). Southwold: S., Aug. 23rd (JMC, SJL); two N., Sept. 17th (MSF); two N., Oct. 5th (JMC, EWP). Felixstowe: Landguard, S., Sept. 11th (NO). The August record off Southwold is rather unusual since the bird flew south on strong south-south-westerly winds. This bird also constitutes only the second August record for the County since 1950, following on swiftly from the 1991 record. GANNET Morus bassanus Common passage migrant. After the intensive seawatching activity of the late 1980s, records of this fine seabird seem to have levelled off during the past couple of years. Perhaps this is due to seawatchers now being more selective and only watching in optimum conditions, rather than sitting for long hours in less favourable weather. 37


At least 876 were recorded offshore during the year, in all months except December. After an atypical report of 25 flying north off Benacre on Jan. 1st, spring passage was very poor with only 27 birds reported between March and the end of May. Autumn passage got under way in August, increased throughout September and peakec at just under 400 birds in October. Monthly totals were as follows: J 38

F 11

M

A

M

3

1

J 19

23

J 145

32

A

S 172

O 396

N 36

D 0

The highest counts of the year came from Southwold with peaks of 68 north and eight south, Oct. 10th and 80 north and one south, Oct. 12th. There were two autumn records of birds inland; an immature flew over Cavenham Heath, Sept. 26th and a month later, on Oct. 26th, an adult and an immature flew east over Coney Weston after very stormy conditions. C O R M O R A N T Phalacrocorax carbo Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. J 7 64 26 70 32 48 17

Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton W a t e r Lackford W.R.

F 0 6 48 83 74 16 12

A

M 0 43 47 76 68 0

A

36 43 48 2

63 145 2

S 35 64 107 43 110 6 26

O 17 68 75 101 114 11 39

N —

58 84 69 94 111 28

D 3 53 39 71 62 211 32

Counts from some of the regular roost sites around the County included peaks of 84 on Sizewell Rigs, Dec. 7th and 63 River Deben, Melton, Aug. 31st. The inland roost at Long Melford peaked at seven birds on Jan. 22nd, and the total of 39 at Lackford W.R. on Oct. 25th is a site record. The highest summer count came from Minsmere where 45 were counted on Island Mere on July 18th. A count ofbirds at Lowestoft on Jan. 19th included a bird ringed as a nestling at Abberton Reservoir, Essex in 1991 (see Ringing Report). SHAG Phalacrocorax aristotelis Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. With no hard weather influxes or 'wrecks' during the year, an uninspiring total of around 35 birds was reported. Three birds were in the Lowestoft Docks/Lake Lothing area throughout January and a single bird was in Ipswich Docks on Feb. 17th. No more were recorded until one flew south off Landguard, May 30th, and two north there, May 31st, again showing signs of spring passage (see Suffolk Birds 1992). Single birds were off Landguard, Aug. 15th and Lowestoft, Sept. 10th and were followed by a small influx during October and November with Landguard and Lowestoft logging totals of seven and nine birds respectively during this two month period. Up to three birds remained around Lowestoft to the year's end and elsewhere in December, singles were found in the coastal region at Easton Bavents, Ipswich Wet Dock, Landguard and Aldeburgh. This species is becoming notorious for its offbeat behaviour and perhaps the most bizarre report of the year was of an immature Shag found lurking behind dustbins in Pine Close, Thetford on Oct. 11th!! The bird was captured, ringed and released the following day at the nearby Nunnery Lakes at the BTO headquarters. The only other inland occurrence was of an immature at Bramford, Dec. 25th to 27th. Monthly totals were as follows: J 3

F

M 1

A 0

M 0

J 3

0

J 0

38

1

A 3

S 7

O 9

N 8

D


BITTERN Botaurus stellaris Scarce and decreasing resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A maximum of 11 booming males was reported from the coastal strip during 1992. This is an increase of two on the previous year but there may be some duplication. Typically, the bulk of the records came from Minsmere. At that site, two nests were located and at least two males were booming during the spring. The drying out of reedbeds, caused by the gradual build-up of litter which occurs when reeds are not cut regularly, has been identified as one of the major reasons for the decline in this species. At Minsmere, attempts to reverse this process have included the introduction of a more intensive reed cutting regime and raising of the overall water level on the site. Wetter reed beds mean that the frogs and fish which form a major part of the diet of Bitterns can infiltrate the reedbed itself and become available as prey without the birds having to hunt in the open. Away from Minsmere, three other sites held up to three booming males each. Wandering winter birds were noted at Holbrook Gardens, Jan. 1st to 5th and Frostenden, Jan. 27th whilst a totally unexpected record involved one at Onehouse, Sept. 28th. NIGHT HERON Nycticorax nycticorax Very rare visitor. Felixstowe: first-winter, late January to Mar. 4th (PPM, RBW et al.). This bird was present on private land on the outskirts of Felixstowe and the wishes of the landowner were that news of the bird should not be put out. Rather remarkably perhaps, the bird managed to keep its presence a relative secret. This is the 11th County record this century.

39


C A T T L E E G R E T Bubulcus ibis Accidental. Ousden: three, May 3rd (EC, RFN et al. ). The second County record. These three were part of an exceptional influx of at leas 18 into Britain during May 1992, which included a group of eight in Hertfordshire the largest flock ever recorded in Britain — and severa! records from just outside our Count; in the Fenland area. Found and photographed by a locai farmer, the news of these bird had many County birders reaching for their maps to discover exactly where this remot part of Suffolk is! L I T T L E E G R E T Egretta garzetta Rare visitor. Breydon Water: Aug. 22nd to at least Dee. 23rd (BJB et al.). Burgh Castle: Sept. 6th (NJS); Sept. 22nd (RF); Sept. 23rd (ACE). Blythburgh: Blyth Estuary, Dee. 29th to 30th (CSW). It seems probable that all these records relate to one individuai. At a time when record: are increasing very dramatically on the south coast of England, numbers in Suffolk appea' to be on the decline. The Breydon Water and Blythburgh sightings constitute the firs December records for Suffolk. G R E Y H E R O N Ar dea cinerea Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Site Wild C a r r , W o r l i n g h a m North C o v e Henham Sudbourne Blackheath, Friston M e t h e r s g a t e , Sutton Ramshoit Woolverstone Stutton Stoke-by-Nayland Stanstead Little W r a t t i n g Thurlow Livermerc W e s t Stow Euston Brandon TOTAL

1992 3-5

N o . of o c c u p i e d nests 1991

12-15 9-11 7 13-16 25-27

13-14 24-25 6 13-15 34

1990 4-5 1 12-15 3 14 23 6 18-22 38

5-7

14 11 11

9-10 2 4 NIL 13 15 14

10 1 2 2 13 15 14

123-141

163-168

176-184

13-17

— — —

1 15

The drop in breeding numbers in 1991 was thought to be attributable to severe winter weather but, with a further drop in 1992, a worrying trend may be developing. Field roosting appears to be catching on in the Upper Orwell area with ten seen near the Freston water tower Nov. 9th, 12 nearby at Wherstead Strand Oct. 9th and up to 19 at the latter site during December. Sightings of birds Aying in off the sea included 12, Bawdsey, Sept. 27th; 11, Corton, Sept. l l t h and singles at Landguard, Oct. 3rd and Oct. 27th. P U R P L E H E R O N Ardea purpurea Scarce passage migrant. Blythburgh: Hinton, Apr. 30th (DRN). Aldeburgh: North Warren, July 8th (DRN). This species remains an elusive bird in the County — the above observer was indeed fortunate during 1992. 40


W H I T E S T O R K Gamia ciconia Rare visitor. Chelmondiston: flying NW, Oct. Ist (JAG). Another elusive species and one which has declined in occurrence over the last ten years. Reports of this species are always fraught with the possibility of escapes from the freeflying group at Whipsnade, Bedfordshire — Ed. GLOSSY I B I S Plegadis falcinellus Very rare visitor. Carlton Cohille: Carlton Marshes, May 6th to 8th (RCS et al.). Minsmere: May 6th (MF et al.) (same as Carlton Colville bird). A well-watched bird and the first in the County since one at Minsmere in 1982. Remarkably, the bird managed to disappear without trace and was not reported again. S P O O N B I L L Platalea leucorodia Uncommon passage migrant. Now increasingly oversummers; has overwintered. Burgh Castle: Oct. 24th. Lowestoft: Ness Point, S. offshore, May 9th. North Cove: flying N., May 14th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, May 24th; one to five present on various dates from June 2nd to July 14th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, two Apr. 22nd and May 20th. Minsmere: May 20th to 22nd; one to four present on various dates from June 3rd to Sept. 10th. Orford: Havergate I., Aug. 14th to Sept. 1st. The Burgh Castle bird was presumably the individual that was present on the Norfolk side of Breydon Water from Oct. 20th to Nov. 3rd. During July, a colour-ringed bird, believed to have been of Dutch origin, was one of three present at Minsmere. MUTE S W A N Cygnus Common resident. Carlton M a r s h e s North W a r r e n Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

olor J 24 24 85 60 88 110

F 40 30 103 81 89 98

M 64 27 98 83 83 86

A 36 31

A

55

82 51 80

106

43 92 59 8 171

_ —

S

0 46 36 87 80 135 133

N 52 29 112 92 113 89

D 69 34 72 89 97 121

Highest counts from individual gathering sites adjacent to the estuaries included 60, Sudbourne Marshes, Jan. 29th; 38, Gedgrave Marshes, Mar. 16th and 78, Falkenham Marshes, Feb. 29th with 89 there, Dec. 22nd. Breeding pairs were reasonably well recorded with one observer reporting the ' 'highest number of pairs for some years ' ' between Long Melford and Glemsford. However, levels of success were variable with a pair at Leathes Ham, Lowestoft managing to raise nine young (although losing one to an uncontrolled dog) but all three pairs at North Warren were unsuccessful. The regular flock at Falkenham Marshes/King's Fleet contained an immature of the 'Polish' type on Nov. 15th. At Wilford Bridge, Melton, June 28th a pair, of which the cob was 'Polish', was observed with a brood of three juvs which included one of the 'Polish' type. B E W I C K ' S S W A N Cygnus columbianus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. During the first winter period the highest counts were as follows: Somerleyton: Somerleyton Marshes, 50 Jan. 15th. 41


Benacre: Benacre Broad, 51 Feb. Ist; on sea, 32 Mar. 8th. Minsmere: 26 Mar. Ist. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes, 17 Feb. 23rd; North Warren, 60 Feb. 17th. Orford: Town Marshes, 59 Feb. 24th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, 20 N., Feb. 25th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., 12 Feb. 2nd. Smaller numbers were noted at a handful of other sites. Small parties continued to be reported until the last record of 30 on the sea off Landguard, Mar. 17th. DĂźring the second winter period, the first birds were noted on Oct. 13th when eight flew north off Landguard and two were at Minsmere. Small numbers were then reported throughout October and November as birds moved along the coast but there were few counts of any significance. Highest numbers included up to 38 feeding in a sugar beet field between Beccles and Ellough during December; 38, Minsmere, Nov. 8th; 26, Shipmeadow, Dec. 28th and 84, Sedge Fen, Lakenheath, Oct. 31st. The latter flock was present on a relatively early date for such a large number and perhaps involved birds intending to move on further west. Direct immigration was noted at Landguard, Oct. 21st (six); Aldeburgh, Nov. 8th (14) and Benacre, Dec. 6th (13).

W H O O P E R S W A N Cygnus cygnus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A reasonable run of records but, as usuai, only involving small parties of birds. One double-figure count was received. Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, Jan. 1 Ith. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Jan. 7th. Minsmere: two Mar. 2nd; three Nov. lOth; one Nov. 14th to 28th. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes, two Feb. 23rd to Mar. 2nd; two Dec. 13th into 1993; North Warren, two Feb. 12th and 24th and Mar. Ist and 7th; two Nov. 1 Ith; six Nov. 12th; two Dec. 6th to 8th; 13 Dec. 1 Ith. Iken: Iken Marshes, two Nov. 6th. Sudbourne: River Aide, four Dec. 6th; Sudbourne Marshes, two Jan. 29th and Feb. Ist to 27th. Butley: two Nov. 7th and 28th. Boyton: Boy ton Marshes, two Nov. 2 Ist. Falkenham: Falkenham Marshes, Dec. 15th into 1993. Trimley Marshes: Apr. 22nd and 23rd. Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street, Dec. 3rd. Bamham: nine SE, Nov. 13th. It seems reasonable to assume that the same two birds were involved in several of the coastal reports during the first winter period. The April bird at Trimley is interesting but perhaps the bird was sick or injured.

B E A N G O O S E Anser fabalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. This species continues to pay erratic Visits to the County which makes it difficult to spot a trend in the occurrences. However, 1992 does continue the recent run of poor years for this species. Kessingland/Benacre: three Dec. 31st. Gisleham: Dec. 3Ist into 1993. Blythburgh: cereal field near Westwood Lodge, Dec. 29th. Minsmere: three June 15th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, three of race A. f . rossicus Feb. 15th to Mar. 4th. 42


Sudbourne: Cowton, Feb. 15th. Falkenham/Felixstowe: King's Fleet, in flight, Nov. 28th. Felixstowe: Landguard, N., Mar. 30th. A rather odd selection of records upon which it is difficult to comment, although a minor arrival in late December is evident. The June record is interesting, although it seems likely that these birds were of feral origin.

P I N K - F O O T E D G O O S E Anser brachyrhynchus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. This species appears to be cropping up more regularly as an escapee and assessment of single birds or those away from coastal marshes is becoming increasingly difficult. The following records probably involve wild birds: Minsmere/Eastbridge: five in flight, Jan. 1st; Dec. 28th to 31st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Jan. 30th; Feb. 15th to Mar. 7th, two from 21st; two Mar. 28th. Falkenham/Felixstowe: King's Fleet, three Feb. 4th; two Feb. 6th. Records probably involving feral or escaped birds involved singles at Minsmere, Aug. 31st; Havergate Island, Apr. 21st and 28th; Wickham Market, Feb. 10th; King's Fleet, Felixstowe, May 10th and 11th; Livermere Lake, Mar. 15th and May 2nd and Redgrave Lake, May 13th. Four were also reported from Causeway Lake, Baylham, Apr. 21st. It seems possible that many of the coastal sightings could refer to a single wandering individual. One at Minsmere with Brent Geese on Oct. 7th is a difficult record to comment on but it may well have been an escapee.

W H I T E - F R O N T E D G O O S E Anser albifrons Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. As last year, there was no shortage of reports but once again numbers were generally low. During the first winter period, small flocks were noted at seven coastal sites. The highest counts came from the Eastbridge/Minsmere area where the species was regularly noted from Jan. 19th to Mar. 19th; totals at this site gradually increased from 98 on Jan. 19th to 120 on Feb. 5th and then peaked at 163 on Mar. 7th before the final sighting of 25 on Mar. 19th. Elsewhere, 38 were at Beccles, Feb. 11th and 24 were on Havergate Island, Jan. 26th. During the second winter period, small parties were noted at just four sites, Minsmere/ Eastbridge, North Warren, Boyton and Capei St. Mary with highest counts involving 14 at North Warren, Dec. 21st and 18 at Minsmere during December. More unusual reports involved 50 flying north-east over Boxford, Jan. 21st, a flock heard flying over Capei St. Mary after dark, Dec. 17th and four flying south off Ness Point, Lowestoft, Mar. ist.

LESSER W H I T E - F R O N T E D G O O S E Anser erythropus Escapee. Wandering 'wire-hoppers' were located at three sites: Weybread: Weybread Pits, four Sept. 10th. Alton Water: one sporadically throughout the year; two Jan. 19th. Lackford: Uckford W.R., singles May 11th and 30th then four June 18th to Aug. 10th. The origin of the Lackford birds is not known but they remained throughout the summer and moulted with the resident groups of Canada and Greylag Geese. 43


G R E Y L A G G O O S E Anser anser Common resident. Counts from the main sites were as follows: J 5 165 163 37 131 31

Aide/Ore Minsmere North Warren Orwell Alton W a t e r Lackford W . R .

F 38

M 19

A

M

A

40 24 74 8

12 26 47

4 19 45

26 8 9

10 41 181 80

S 15

O 0

N 2 41 140 80 127 60

13 38 222

100 60 162 67

D 0 —

92 0 182 96

The highest counts received from other sites included 122, Benacre Broad, Aug. 29th; 80, Sizewell, Dec. 9th; 150, Southwold Town Marshes, Oct. 18th and 80, Livermere Lake, Sept. 30th. The total of 96 at Lackford W . R . on Dec. 6th is a site record. Observers are urged to make counts of flocks during July/August as at this time the birds will be gathered together in moulting flocks and a good estimation of the County population should be possible. At least 17 breeding pairs were located of which eight reared 53 juveniles at Minsmere. S N O W G O O S E Anser caerulescens Escapee. Five birds were reported, all of the 'blue' phase. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, Jan. 1st. Weybread: Weybread Pits, four Sept. 10th. C A N A D A G O O S E Branta canadensis Very common resident. Counts from main sites were as follows: J Benacre North Warren H a v e r g a t e I. Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water Livermere/Lackford W.R. Long Melford

240 279 500 110 89 373 38 750 204

F —

110 200 460 76 101 428 76 26 105

M

A

M

52 195 195 110 44 96 2

48

65 55 269 115 72 318 2 53

— —

J 500 47 250 250

J 450 34 260 397

37

270

A —

120 312 312 —

210 344 264

S —

150 660 848 149 67 129 126 1200

O —

213 600 932 —

136 321 176 324 211

N 266 274 600 635 37 36 29 280 364 232

D 30 363 400» 400* 299 121 215 197 380 220

The Havergate totals are included in those for the Aide/Ore but are considered of sufficient interest to be separately published. Highest counts from other regularly monitored sites included 400, Easton Broad, Sept. 19th; 132, Bramford Water Park, Aug. 31st; 270, Ixworth Thorpe, Jan. 17th; 160, Lower Raydon, Feb. 7th; 232, Long Melford, Nov. 1st; 175, Thorington Street Reservoir, Jan. 24th and 500, Weybread Pits, Sept. 10th. The County certainly appears to be developing a large population of this species. An idea of the fecundity of this species can be gained from Minsmere where 15 pairs raised 110 young. The comment on summer counts under Greylag Goose also applies to this species. A small individual, considered to be of the race B. c. minima was with the flock at Easton Broad on Sept. 19th. B A R N A C L E G O O S E Branta leucopsis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Increasingly common feral resident. This species is a good example of how regular monitoring of escaped birds can give us an insight into the development of a feral population. This species has perhaps now 44


reached the point where it occurs as a feral species in the County, as legitimate as populations of Canada or Greylag Geese. Despite the numbers present however, few breeding reports are being received and during 1992, single pairs were reported only from Walsham-leWillows and Heveningham. Unfortunately, the numbers now present in the County make it almost impossible to detect any truly wild birds that may arrive. The largest feral flock, on Kessingland Levels peaked at 80 birds during December (perhaps numbers are swollen by wild birds?!). Records that may have some credibility as wild birds were as follows: Minsmere: 90 S., Nov. 25th. Aldeburgh: River Aide, five Feb. 10th (same as Sudbourne birds). Sudbourne: five Jan. 2nd to Feb. 23rd. Several observers reported a flock of up to 46 birds in the Boyton/Hollesley/ Shingle Street area during February. Although at first believed to be wild birds, a close scrutiny of the flock revealed that at least four Canada x Barnacle Goose hybrids were present. From dates received, it was possible to track the movement of these birds north to Havergate Island Mar. 3rd and Minsmere Mar. 4th — perhaps they were returning to Kessingland?

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

J 299 1600 900 1840

F 367 3000 312 1979

M 36 36 86 1075

TOTALS

4639

5658

1233

A 3 19 815

S 1 0 0 0

O 6 45 173 1690

N 174 779 123 1617

D 136 1555 126 1849

837

1

1914

2693

3666

Reports during the winter periods were mainly confined to counts of flocks at regular sites and included 3500, Falkenham, Feb. 9th; 3000, Bawdsey, Jan. 22nd; 2500, Trimley Marshes, Jan. 19th; 2000, King's Fleet, Dec. 29th; 944, Fagbury Flats, R. Orwell, Dec. 16th; 550, Trimley St. Martin, Feb. 26th and 300, Havergate Island, Sept. 30th. An interesting observation involved one feeding in a wheat field at Kedington in West Suffolk on Jan. 11th. Summer reports of sick or injured birds have become of regular occurrence in recent years but, even excluding reports of ones and twos, 1992 produced an unusually high number of records well into May as follows: Felixstowe: Landguard, 90 N „ May 29th; 65 N., May 30th. Levington: Levington Creek, 11 May 11th to 13th. Holbrook: Holbrook Bay, 13 May 11th. Stutton: 337 May 10th. Of the later reports received, six flying north off Southwold on July 5th is particularly noteworthy. Coastal autumn passage commenced on Sept. 6th when one flew south off Landguard. Many observers reported good numbers during October. The highest counts included: Lowestoft: 706 S. in one hour and 20 minutes, Oct. 3rd. Southwold: 700 S., Nov. 9th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, 1000 S. in two hours, Oct. 3rd. Aldeburgh: 770 S. in one hour, Oct. 3rd; 3026 S. in one hour, Dec. 9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 4913 S. in Sept. (max. 4453 on 30th); 4221 S. in Oct. (max. 2539 on 3rd) and 2585 in Nov. (max. 1199 on 8th). Close observation of the Falkenham/Felixstowe flock during the second winter period resulted in no immatures being located, indicating that the species had had a disastrous breeding season. 45


Up to two individuals of the pale-bellied race B. b. hrota were present at Felixstowe Falkenham from Jan. 13th to Feb. 26th and one was again at the same site from Nov 15th to the year's end. An individual showing characteristics of the North American and East Siberian ract B. b. nigricans was reported from south-east Suffolk: Falkenham/Felixstowe: King's Fleet, Dec. 8th 1991 to Jan. 14th (MM et al.). E G Y P T I A N G O O S E Alopochen aegyptiacus Locally fairly common resident. Records came from 17 localities with peak counts from the main sites being: Fritton: Fritton Decoy, 18 July 5th. Somerleyton: 25 Jan. 1st. Herringfleet: 19 Feb. 27th. Lound: 15 Jan. 13th and Nov. 17th. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, 36 Oct. 17th. Ixworth Thorpe: nine Jan. 17th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, 14 Jan. 4th. Lackford: Lackford W.R. five Dec. 19th. The population is certainly stable and probably increasing in the two main areas of Breck land and Lothingland. However, the only confirmed breeding reports received involvec single pairs with seven and eight young on Apr. 17th at Ixworth Thorpe and Lounc respectively. The count of 36 at Carlton Marshes is a County record, although there is an unconfirmed report of 7 0 + at Somerleyton during August. R U D D Y S H E L D U C K Tadorna ferruginea Escapee. The following records are all considered to relate to recently escaped or feral birds Minsmere: ç from Apr. 25th throughout May. Orford: Havergate I., Apr. 19th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, June 14th. Redgrave/Botesdale: Redgrave Lake, Nov. 3rd to Dec. 15th. S H E L D U C K Tadorna tadorna Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 556 823 726 889 2619

F 283 676 766 1017 2822

M 582 1154 875 1026 1596

A

A 100

919 525 971

— —

265

S 78 219 59 34 172

O 401 447 223 412 830

N —

1035 328 489 1753

D 368 971 359 1226 2006

Additionally, spring and summer counts at Havergate Island involved 179, Apr. 24th to 26th; 282, June 21st and 172, July 12th. A total of 479 was counted on the Orwell at Nacton, May 15th. The 1992 survey of breeding Shelduck resulted in at least 1129 pairs being found in Suffolk (see pages 14-17). In addition to those found during the course of the survey work, single pairs bred successfully inland at Barking, Boxford, Bramford, Framlingham Mere and Sproughton. Pairs were also present during the breeding season at Barham, Baylham, Coddenham (two), Gt Bealings Sewage Farm, Heveningham Hall Lake (three) and Needham Market. Higher totals than those published in the survey report involve eight pairs at Redgrave Lake, May 13th and a gathering of 155 at Livermere Lake, Apr. 18th. It seems likely that other pairs went undetected in the west of the County during the breeding season. Landguard Bird Observatory recorded monthly totals of 131 south in September, 41 south in October and 145 south in November whilst elsewhere, 382 were counted passing south off Aldeburgh, Dec. 9th (see Wigeon). 46


MANDARES Aix galericulata An uncommon visitor. A similar spread of records to last year with some reports undoubtedly referring to escaped birds. Walberswick NNR: er in flight, Apr. 24th. Minsmere: cr Apr. 10th. Alton Water: c Apr. 25th to May 19th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street Res., cr Jan. 21st and Feb. 3rd. Polstead: village pond, pair, Jan. 29th; o Feb. 4th to 8th. Boxford: ct Mar. 13th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, two cr cr and one ç present throughout year. Lackford: Lackford W.R. o' Feb. 2nd; June 11th; Nov. 15th to 17th; pair, Oct. 10th; Dec. 13th. It is possible that the Stoke-by-Nayland, Polstead and Boxford records refer to the same individuals and that the Lackford birds originated from Livermere Lake. The Alton Water bird seemed to be suffering from an identity crisis as it was seen attempting to court a female Mallard! A male reported from Lound village pond was found to have been wing-clipped. WIGEON Anas penelope Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Blyth Minsmere North Warren Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 792 550 1000 2721 1392 1578 2952

F 901 500 800 2021 1128 611 2813

M 864 218 400 411 216 88 837

S 30 148 2 159 0 34 221

O 206

N 150

64 1364 553 566 1641

440 2658 553 1117 3356

D 380 300 650 2893 277 1245 3356

Higher totals at Havergate Island on non-BoEE count days included 739, Mar. 8th and 296, Sept. 27th. Away from the regular coastal resorts, the only counts of more than 50 birds involved 80 at Thorington Street Reservoir, Jan. 21st increasing to 108 there, Feb. 15th and 140, Livermere Lake, Jan. 4th with 105 there, Dec. 31st. Records during the months of May, June and July came from eight coastal and two inland sites with some sightings perhaps referring to sick or injured birds remaining from the previous winter. However, one site held six males and two females to at least late May but breeding was not confirmed. Landguard Bird Observatory's monthly totals of birds passing south included 320 in September, 553 in October and 108 in November. The bulk of the October count was accounted for by a movement of 221 on 3rd, on which date 130 flew south off Aldeburgh and 94 off Lowestoft. The only other significant movement involved a count of 280 south off Aldeburgh, Dec. 9th (see Shelduck). GADWALL Anas streperà Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Benacre Minsmere Alde/Ore North W a r r e n Orwell Alton W a t e r Lackford W . R .

J 20 90 27 32 79 30 217

F 60

_ 50 14 12 52

A

M 60

_ _

_

5 16 5 6 32

A -

166

S

_

10 6 3

133 2 23 3 10

60

4

O — —

3 54 27 —

N 128 18 6 90 9 16 80

D 140 8 9 120 55 5 302

Higher totals at Havergate Island on non-BoEE count days included 35, Nov. 5th and Dec. 31st. 47


Significant figures also came from Livermere Lake with counts of 70, Jan. 4th; 39, Apr. 18thand31, Dec. 20th. This species does not normally feature strongly on the estuatine BoEE counts because of its preference for freshwater habitats — records for the Orwell come mainly from Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin and the Aide/Ore birds are generally on freshwater dykes or lagoons. Once again, Lackford W.R. hosted a significant wintering population; this is the third year running that a total of over 300 has been recorded at this site. The only confirmed breeding records received came from Southwold (one pair), Minsmere (four pairs), North Warren (eight pairs), Looinpit Lake (one pair) and the River Lark between Icklingham and Barton Mills (eight pairs). The latter count is interesting and perhap; suggests that a closer survey of other river Valleys could result in more pairs being found. T E AL Anas crecca Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Benacre Blyth Minsmere North Warren Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton W a t e r Lackford W.R.

J 640 370 500 700 2378 166 471 821 105 53

F 54 244 —

600 146 175 137 207 84 78

M 41 92

A 15

30

150 20 85

240 421 43 36 53 21 32

A

S

O 350 206

172 475 11 38 60 56 46

210 481 22 500 161 113 35

N 800 —

630 1420 226 800 170 157 45

D —

380 120 800 740* 43 700 181 29 47

* B o E E figure. A c o u n t o n H a v e r g a t e Island. D e c . 31st p r o d u c e d a total of 1500 t h e r e .

The only other counts of over 50 birds involved 100, Hazelwood Marshes, Aldeburgh. Sept. 4th; 95, Sluice Farm, Martlesham, Jan. 3rd and 70, Loudham Lake, Campsey Ash. Jan. 4th. Judging by the records received, it was apparently a poor breeding season for this species in the County. Minsmere reported "two pairs — a very poor year" and a single pair at North Warren was not successful. Contrary to this however, there was a high summer count of 102 at Benacre Broad on July 5th, but it seems likely that these were non-breeding, moulting birds. Autumn passage off Landguard was not particularly noteworthy with southerly movements producing monthly totals of seven in July, 208 in August, 355 in September, 94 in October and 39 in November with a peak day count of 119 south, Sept. 6th. A drake of the North American race A. c. carolinensis, colloquially known as Greenwinged Teal, was at Trimley Marshes from May 2Ist to 23rd. This is the eleventh County record of this subspecies (RCB et al.). M ALL ARD Anas platyrhynchos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Benacre Blyth Alde/Ore North Warren Deben Orwell Stour Alton W a t e r Lackford W . R .

J 124 251 1081 124 224 326 1147 219 598

F

M

A

A

92 345 125 129 327 756 199 96

47 435 54 103 174 221 107 98

27 160 82 62 95

23

293 72 214 —

S —

31 210 102 79 141 317 157 —

O 100 80 290 122 157 318 369 233 126

N 150 —

817 184 126 343 612 377 150

D —

77 1059 95 337 316 505 274 500

On non-BoEE co-ordinated count days, Havergate Island produced higher figures with 1839 during January, 455 in February and 777 in March. There was also a count of 400 on Hazelwood Marshes, Aldeburgh, Sept. 4th. 48


At other sites, the only count of note was of 900 at Livermere Lake, Jan. 4th but at nearby Ampton Water, large numbers of this species are raised under artificial conditions for shooting. The only significant breeding report was of 24 broods at Minsmere. Düring the peak month of October, autumn passage at Landguard produced a total of just 28 birds passing south. PINTAIL Anas acuta Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Benacre Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Lackford W . R .

J 10 10 79 47 528 362 5

F —

13 23 55 190 248 2

A

A

-

15 23 41 10 27 3

M

7

S 3 —

1

_

16 0 25 37 5

O 1 58 15 13 228 98 2

N 2

93 1 302 159

80 32 432 323

D

The only other double-figure counts involved 90, Breydon Water, Jan. 6th and 22, North Warren, Feb. 27th with 16 there, Dee. 13th. With the exception of the Lackford records — which also included a single on June 16th — the only inland report involved two males at Livermere Lake, Jan. 4th. Düring the summer months, records of up to three birds came from five coastal sites but no other indication of breeding was noted. Landguard Bird Observatory logged a light southerly passage of 123 birds between Aug. 30th and Nov. 15th with a peak of 39 on Oct. 27th. GARGANEY Anas querquedula Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. In the previous two years the first Garganey had reached Suffolk by mid-March but this year the first bird was not located until Mar. 3 Ist when a female was at Benacre Broad. Thereafter, reports of one to five birds came from seven coastal sites during the spring and summer, but proof of breeding by this notoriously skulking species was not fortheoming. Away from coastal sites, the only record was of one at Framlingham Mere, May 13th. The record of a drake flying south off Landguard with two Red-breasted Mergansers, Apr. 8th must have presented an unusual sight. After the end of July, the only records were of an immature at Minsmere from Aug. •9th to 23rd and the same or another there on Sept. 8th. Then on Nov. 9th, one flew south past Landguard, easily the latest ever Suffolk record (MM et al.). 49


S H O V E L E R Anas clypeata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Blyth North Warren Aide/Ore Orwell Stour Alton W a t e r Lackford W.R.

J 0 89 16 24 19 9 77

F 7 98 30 102 6 6 72

M 6 50 41 40 0 0 42

A

A

20 15 15 0 0

8 25 15 4 0 71

S 0 22 20 12 2 0 173

O 0 31 27 20 0 0 34

N —

94 52 27 2 3 45

D 0 133 46 11 0 23 60

It appears to have been a very poor breeding season for this species. Minsmere recorded just six pairs with poor success attributed to Fox prédation and North Warren held only one successful pair. Elsewhere, two juveniles were reported from Walsham-le-Willows and a pair was seen with seven young at Southwold. Highest counts from other locations were as follows: Benacre: Benacre Broad, 15 June 12th. Southwold: 15 S. offshore, Feb. 12th; Town Marshes, 40 Mar. 18th. Minsmere: 49 during January. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, 24 Jan. 10th; 15 Mar. 7th; 15 Aug. 23rd; 12 Sept. 8th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street Res., 27 Jan. 29th; 27 Feb. 4th; 12 Dec. 5th. Redgrave/Botesdale: Redgrave Lake, 15 Jan. 14th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, 40 Jan. 4th; 16 Apr. 18th; 15 Nov. 15th. Passage off Landguard was, as usual, almost non-existent with the highest monthly total being just 15 during November.

R E D - C R E S T E D P O C H A R D Netta rufina Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. A difficult species to assess as the escape likelihood is high and some of the following may have 'jumped the wire'. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Dec. 30th (CSW). Trimley Marshes: cr and 9 , May 18th and 19th (same as Loompit Lake birds) (RCB et al.). Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, cr and ç , May 15th to 24th (SHP et al.). Lackford: Lackford W.R., 9 Feb. 22nd to 26th; cr Feb. 29th to Mar. 3rd; cr Dec. 17th and 31st (CJJ

et

al.).

P O C H A R D Ay thy a ferina Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Minsmere Orwell Alton W a t e r Bramford W.P. T h o r i n g t o n St. R e s . Lackford W . R .

J 34 77 134 5 62 190

F 40 45 38 9 10 38

M 38 20 4

A

A

— —

3 0 1

S

O

N

2 7 36

100 25 47

95 0 21 126 128

20 22

57

69

D 24 100 72 25 50 108

Highest counts received from other sites included 43, Oulton Broad, Jan. 15th; 30, Loudham Lake, Campsey Ash, Feb. 6th and 48, Livermere Lake, Mar. 15th. Breeding records were received from just four coastal sites. At one site, three females were seen with young and the other three sites all held a single brood. During the autumn migration period, Landguard Bird Observatory recorded highest day counts of 14 south, Oct. 27th, 14 south, Nov. 4th and 57 south, Nov. 9th. For hybrids with Tufted Duck see that species. 50


TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton W a t e r B r a m f o r d W .P. T h o r i n g t o n St. R e s . Lackford W . R .

J 64 65 84 350 70 95 200

F 19 71 66 120 99 75 177

M 59 68 77 7

-

41 74 13

A

13 10

S 5 5 44 16 44

221

62 169

A

N 16 18 101 0 61 50 175

O 5 21 37 135 44

D 43 9 98 230 69 —

224

The only other count exceeding 50 was of 70 at Lound, Dec. 28th. Very few breeding records were received but an impressive total of 102 juveniles was recorded on July 16th at Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin, the County's premier breeding site for this species. Elsewhere, counts of juveniles included 37, Thorington Street Reservoir, Stoke-by-Nayland, July 4th; 18, Barking, July 22nd and 14, Leathes Ham, Lowestoft in July. Single males considered to be hybrids between this species and Pochard were reported from Oulton Broad, Nov. 15th to Dec. 13th and Thorington Street Reservoir, Mar. 17th.

SCAUP Aythya marita Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Highest monthly counts from the most regular sites were as follows: Benacre Orwell Loompit Lake Alton Water

j

F

M

o

N

2

2

2

5

1

1

4

1

1

12

1

-

3

4 —

D

With no significant spells of hard weather, numbers were low in both winter periods. In addition to the table above, records of one to five came from 12 other coastal sites between Jan. 1st and Mar. 1st and 20 flew south past Lowestoft, Jan. 21st. None were seen after a pair on Benacre Broad, Mar. 11th until one flew north past Southwold, Oct. 7th. Away from the sites in the table above, the only report from the second winter period was of a male at Kessingland, Dec. 26th. The only inland report was of three males at Bungay, Jan. 3rd.

EIDER Somateria mollissima Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few non-breeders oversummer. A relatively uneventful year for this species in the County. Single figure counts were received regularly from most coastal watchpoints during both winter periods but the only double-figure gathering involved ten off Minsmere, Dec. 10th. The largest offshore movements involved counts of 29 north, Dunwich, 28 north, Felixstowe and 85 north, Lowestoft, all on Jan. 11th. At Southwold, the only site to regularly report the species, a total of 17 north and 26 south was reported during the year. The only records away from the immediate coast involved birds entering the larger river estuaries. During the first winter period, at least two birds were noted on the River Orwell on several dates in the Trimley/Levington area and during the second winter period, two were off Kirton Creek on the River Deben, Dec. 27th. A superb adult male was well up-river on the Deben at Woodbridge from at least Feb. 5th to 12th and had previously been reported from Falkenham, Jan. 19th. During the summer, a few non-breeding birds loitered along the coast and included singles on Benacre Broad, June 6th, Havergate Island, June 23rd and Lowestoft, June 30th whilst at Minsmere, up to four birds remained around the sluice during June, July and August. 51


L O N G - T A I L E D D U C K Clangula hyemalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant.

An average year for this attractive sea duck. During the first winter period, records involved the following: Kessingland: five Jan. 25th then two to four regularly until finally three on Apr. 4th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Jan. 8th; Apr. 1st to 8th; Benacre Pits, Jan. 1st to Mar. 31st (probably only one individual involved). Aldeburgh: N. offshore, Jan. 12th. Orwell Estuary: Wherstead/Ipswich Docks, Jan. 5th to Feb. 15th — max. four Jan. 7th. Fewer records were received during the second winter period but included reports from less traditional locations: Minsmere: cr Oct. 30th; two S., Nov. 9th. Orwell Estuary: Wherstead/Pinmill, Nov. 19th to at least Dec. 20th. Alton Water: Dec. 8th to 12th. Lackford: Lackford W.R.: Nov. 24th. The bird at Lackford constitutes the second record for the site, the first having occurred there on May 31st 1988.

C O M M O N S C O T E R Melanina nigra Common non-breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The maximum daily counts from any point on the coast were as follows: J 550

F 700

M 1100

A 700

M 25

J 75

64

J 53

A

S 93

O 62

N 50

D 3

The counts from January to April all came from Kessingland where a large flock was present off the cliffs, peaking at an estimated 1100 birds on Mar. 21st. This is the largest flock recorded in Suffolk since 1982 but in the second winter period just three birds were reported f r o m this site. Numbers of this species have declined off the Suffolk coast in recent years with the almost total disappearance of birds from traditional winter sites such as Sole Bay, Dunwich. The non-breeding summer flock in Sole Bay peaked at just 75 during June. An interesting record involves the report of 12 on Breydon Water, June 10th. Autumn passage off Landguard was very light with just 85 south in September and 84 south in October. Inland records came from Weybread G.P. with four on both Apr. 15th and July 10th and Lackford W . R . with a male, Feb. 22nd and two, Mar. 29th. An unusual record is that of a male in Ipswich Wet Dock, Feb. 28th. 52


VELVET S C O T E R Melanina fusca Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. There was an improvement on last year with the north of the County in particular producing good numbers. In the first winter period, the large scoter flock off Kessingland attracted good numbers of this species between Jan. 25th (15) and Apr. 4th (27) with a peak count of 63, Feb. 23rd — the largest flock in Suffolk since 102 off Gorleston, Nov. 9th 1972. January also produced up to 24 off Benacre and eight off Minsmere whilst 15 were seen flying north off Gorleston, Jan. 15th. One was on the sea off Landguard, Apr. 20th. During the summer, three were off Minsmere, July 27th and a male, first reported from Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin on June 22nd, remained in the Lower Orwell area throughout the summer and was also on the Trimley Marshes Reserve on Sept. 12th. Landguard Bird Observatory reported one flying west, June 4th (presumably the Orwell bird) and one south, Sept. 26th. The second winter period produced few reports. Off Benacre, three flew north, Nov. 14th with singles noted there on Nov. 15th and 16th; one south off Easton Bavents, Nov. 18th and one off Minsmere, Oct. 30th with three there, Nov. 9th and 15th and two, Nov. 21st and 22nd. G O L D E N E Y E Bucephala clangula Common winter visitor and passage migrant. J

Benacre Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton W a t e r Lackford W . R .

F

_

_

10 54 86 124 5 18

30 64 49 149 15 13

M

A

O 3 0 0 1

— "

4 7 18 0 15

0 0 8 2

0 0 8

N 4 6 18 45 73 6 15

D 1 5 17 107 77 8 14

An immature male lingered on Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin from Apr. 25th till the late date of May 17th. Thereafter, none was seen until one flew past Benacre on Oct. 10th. Passage past Landguard produced 20 south during October (12 on 27th) and 19 south in November. In addition to the Lackford reports, one or two were also noted inland at Bramford, Thorington Street Reservoir and Weybread G . P . . SMEW Mergus albellus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. With mild weather in both winter periods, records were, not surprisingly, few: Aldeburgh: River Aide, redhead Feb. 10th. Felixstowe: Landguard, redhead S., Oct. 27th. Lackford: Lackford, redhead Nov. 14th and 15th. R E D - B R E A S T E D M E R G A N S E R Mergus serrator Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Benacre Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 1 0 0 7 39

F 1 0 0 15 28

M 2 0 0 8 29

S 0 0 0 0 0

O 0 1 0 0 4

N 3 0 1 2 19

D 1 0 1 15 17

Early in the year, reports also came from Lake Lothing, Lowestoft, Jan. 12th; Minsmere (up to two in February) and Shingle Street, Mar. 5th. 53


Light passage during April produced records of one or two birds at eight coastal localities and two flew south off Landguard, May 4th. Mid-summer records involved single female 1 on the River Stour at Harkstead, June 3rd and Benacre Broad, June 21st to 24th with a male at the latter site on June 26th. One flew south off Landguard, July 29th and on Augusi 8th, singles were noted at Minsmere and Southwold. No autumn records were received until Oct. 7th when two flew north past Corton Cliffs Lowestoft and Southwold. Thereafter, small numbers were regularly reported along the coast with 11 at Minsmere, Oct. 15th and Nov. 9th and two notable days of passage oft Landguard with counts of 21 south, Oct. 27th and 65 south, Nov. 9th. On the latter date 13 were also reported flying south off Southwold. G O O S A N D E R Mergus merganser Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Peak counts from the most regular sites were as follows: Orwell Alton Water Bramford W.P. Lackford W.R.

J 0 0 1 16

F 6 0 0 13

M 0 0 0 6

O 0 0 0 0

N 1 0 0 7

D 1 4 1 12

Additional records for the first winter period involve the following: Breydon Water: 20 Mar. 29th and 30th. Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, redhead Jan. 12th. Southwold: Boating Lake, cr Feb. 3rd. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness Meare, redhead Feb. 27th and 28th. Baylham: redhead Mar. 5th to Apr. 5th. No more were seen until a flock of 11 flew south past Landguard, Oct. 15th. The same site then logged a flock of ten south, Oct. 19th; one south, Nov. 19th and one north, Nov. 27th. Additional records during the second winter period involve: Lound: six redheads Dec. 8th and five Dec. 10th. Beccles: River Waveney, cr Dec. 3rd. Easton Bavents: redhead S., Oct. 26th. Minsmere: redhead Oct. 24th and Nov. 4th. East Bergholt: Fiatford Mill, er, three redheads Dec. 29th. Glemsford: redhead Nov. 12th. R U D D Y D U C K Oxyura jamaicensis Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant.

54


At Livermere Lake, the County's principal breeding site for this species, birds were reported regularly between Apr. 11th and Sept. 16th. Two pairs nested successfully there, rearing broods of seven and five young and on Aug. 31st, nine adults and 12 juveniles were seen, the largest gathering ever recorded in Suffolk (RVAM); a single bird was still present there on Dec. 31st. Lackford received dispersing birds from Livermere with one in January and two, Feb. 8th. A single had returned by Aug. 1st increasing to two from Aug. 29th then up to four in September, seven in October, nine in November and eight in December. Much of this movement is probably due to disturbance at Livermere during the shooting season. Other records received was as follows: \ldeburgh: North Warren, cr Oct. 18th. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, cr Dec. 5th, 6th, 24th and 31st. Trimley Marshes: Dec. 14th to 16th and 27th (same as Loompit Lake bird). Bramford: Bramford W.P., 9 /ยกmm. Aug. 20th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street Res., pair Apr. 9th and July 27th. Ixworth Thorpe: cr Apr. 9th.

HONEY BUZZARD Pernis apivorus Rare passage migrant. Iken: north then north-east, July 9th (MDC). Lackford: May 17th (SB). Herringswell/Tuddenham/Cavenham: May 21st (TPK). Central Suffolk: in suitable breeding habitat, July 12th. The welcome trend of increased numbers of this species continues. The July records are intriguing; whilst there is the possibility that they could relate to a single bird, it is interesting to speculate on whether a handful of prospecting birds is roaming around East Anglia. No reports of autumn migrants were received.

RED K I T E Milvus milvus Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Benacre: Mar. 20th and 21st (JM, RCS). Walberswick NNR: Westwood Marshes, Apr. 11th (CSW). Minsmere: Feb. 16th (IR). Sudbourne: Apr. 3rd (JHG). Stratford St. Mary: west over A12, Apr. 13th (RH). A good crop of records with most falling within the typical early spring period.

MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosa Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. No complete survey of nests was received but definite breeding data revealed 28 females and a minimum of 22 young which is a much lower rate of fledging success than in 1991. However, it seems likely that this underestimates the true numbers and it is possible that there were as many as 37 nests, given the number of females reported during the summer. Passage birds recorded away from the normal breeding areas were as follows: Southwold: in off sea, Aug. 23rd. Metfield: juv. July 14th. Worlingworth: juv. Aug. 31st. Felixstowe: Landguard, two S., Aug. 21st; in off sea, Sept. 5th. Alton Water: juv. Aug. 29th. Boxford: SW, Sept. 27th. 55


Lackford: Lackford W.R., single 9/imms. June 3rd, July llth, Aug. 23rd, Aug. 29th, Sept. 8tl and Sept. 26th. Kedington: NE, Apr. 20th. Risby: er Sept. 27th. Mildenhall: <J Apr. 23rd. Wintering birds were well reported with a total of around ten individuals being noted at ten traditional sites during both winter periods. A juvenile was seen flying offshore at Dun wich on Aug. 26th being attacked by an Arctic Skua. HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. The species was well reported in the first winter period with a scattering of birds alonf the coastal strip and at favoured sites in Breckland. The only deviations from the nortr involved an adult male at Pettistree from at least Feb. 17th to 22nd and a bird at Newmarkei on Mar. 8th. Roost counts came from Minsmere (four) in February, Westwood Marshes. Walberswick (five) in January and a Breckland estate where six were present up to early March. Several birds lingered into April and late reports involved singles at Minsmere May 2nd and Benacre Broad, May 4th. The first autumn bird appeared unusually early at North Warren on Aug. 16th and stayed to 18th. After one at Minsmere, Oct. 1st, a more general arrival took place around midOctober along the coast and the first Breckland bird was observed on Nov. 1st. The second winter period produced few birds but this was perhaps a reflection of mild weather conditions on the Continent. The largest gathering was of four at Minsmere, Dec. 20th. M O N T A G U ' S HARRIER Circus pygargus Scarce passage migrant. Formerly bred. Minsmere: cr May 2nd (IR); imm. cr May 25th (IR). With both records coming from a single location, it is possible that odd migrants pass through the County unnoticed, which is perhaps not surprising. GOSHAWK Accipiter gentilis Scarce resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Our knowledge of the status of this species in the County remains rather vague with suppression of birds and poorly submitted notes affecting the number of accepted records. The myth that this species looks just like a large Sparrowhawk is often repeated in records that are not accepted by the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee. Observers are requested to be more thorough with their descriptions of a bird which, if seen well, should not be too difficult to identify. It is a pity that genuine records have probably not been accepted due to the submission of poor descriptions. Nevertheless, at least three pairs bred successfully in the County and there was an interesting report of a single at Trimley Marshes, Mar. 13th; while the possibility of the bird being an escapee cannot be ruled out, it is perhaps also a good time for a bachelor to be seeking a mate (although the bird was not sexed in this case). SPARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The speed with which this species has repopulated the County, and the associated mountain of reports that has been received, is quite stunning. Records came from at least 110 parishes with breeding season reports received from over 70 sites including five pairs at Minsmere. The diverse feeding habits of this species resulted in observations varying from one demolishing a Blue Tit on a garden lawn in Ipswich to one adventurous bird at Levington 56


5: Pure Red-legged Partridges are now being released in the County.

6: The south and west of the County produced high winter counts of Golden Plover.

7: Good numbers of Little Stints were reported in both spring and autumn.


8: Orfordness was finally bought by the National Trust in 1993.

v: curiew at nest, West Suffolk. This species remains a very rare breeding bird in Suffolk.


vhich took on a Red-legged Partridge! Garden sightings were common and one bird had to be rescued from a car workshop in Ipswich. The highest count received from a single site was of five at Benacre, Apr. 25th. Coastal migrants were recorded at Landguard on ten dates, Mar. 19th to Apr. 25th and 12 dates, Aug. 14th to Nov. 12th. It is perhaps unfortunate that the return of this species to its former status after many years of persecution has been cited as a reason for the decline in numbers of some small passerine species. As yet, there is no evidence for this whatsoever as the numbers of small passerines in other parts of Britain, where Sparrowhawks have always been more common, are not noticeably lower than they are in Suffolk. C O M M O N B U Z Z A R D Buteo buteo Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. During the early part of the year records were as follows: Beccles: Mar. 6th and 15th; Apr. 2nd; May 3rd and 25th. Benacre: two, Mar. 2nd; single intermittently Mar. 4th to Apr. 12th. Reydon/South Cove: Potter's Bridge, Apr. 12th. Minsmere: pale phase Jan. 1st and 4th and Feb. 23rd and 24th. Butley: pale phase Jan. 11th; two Mar. 1st. Hollesley: Apr. 26th. Levington: Apr. 1st. Lackford: Jan. 18th. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, two Jan. 18th. Elveden: Jan. 4th; Feb. 9th. Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford: feeding on dead Brown Hare Lepus capensis , Feb. 4th. These represent a typical number of wintering and spring passage birds. Records from three sites in north-east Suffolk during July may have involved a single oversummering individual. Autumn arrivals began early with singles over Holbrook, Aug. 7th and Covehithe, Aug. 16th. The latter half of the year then provided the following: Barsham: Sept. 17th. Beccles: Dec. 23rd. Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, Sept. 12th (considered different to Benacre bird an same date). Benacre: Sept. 5th, 10th and 12th. Thorington: mid-December to year's end. Felixstowe: Landguard, S., Sept. 12th; S., Oct. 1st. Lackford: Aug. 28th; Sept. 11th; Sept. 20th. Moulton: seen killing Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, Sept. 11th. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, Sept. 1st. Rather a poor showing of wintering birds during the latter part of the year but a good autumn passage. In addition, an unidentified Buzzard was seen over Shottisham, Nov. 14th. R O U G H - L E G G E D B U Z Z A R D Buteo lagopus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Beccles: Beccles Marshes, mainly in Norfolk but entered Suffolk, Nov. 7th and Dec. 7th. Benacre: Apr. 2nd to 12th. Minsmere: N., Oct. 31st. Butley/Boyton/Gedgrave: two from 1991 to Feb. 23rd. Butley: two, Nov. 26th; one Dec. 28th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, Nov. 28th. Ă&#x2021;avenham: Cavenham Heath, Feb. 20th. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, from Dec. 1991 to Jan 26th. 57


Elveden: Jan. 25th; Feb. 9th (same as Icklingham bird). A reasonable crop of records. However, the Butley River area failed to provide the now almost expected regular views during the second winter period.

OSPREY Pandion haliaetus Uncommon passage migrant. With the bulk of the reports involving fly-over birds, there were no long-stayers to enjoy. It is difficult to comment on the number of birds involved at Lackford and Minsmere although, at the latter site, most of the reports involved birds passing south: Pakefield: over A12, May 19th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, May 7th. Southwold: May 7th. Minsmere: Apr. 27th and 29th; May 26th; Aug. 7th; Aug. 17th; Sept. 14th; Sept. 30th. Butley: Butley River, on saltmarsh, Oct. 16th. Wantisden: Apr. 24th. Felixstowe: Landguard, south then west, Sept. 20th. Trimley Marshes: Sept. 15th. Nacton: Decoy, Apr. 21st to 23rd. Raydon: Aug. 22nd. Tuddenham St. Mary: Sept. 10th. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, Sept. 10th (same bird as that at Lackford on same date). Lackford: Lackford W.R., Apr. 6th; May 12th, 16th and 21st; May 30th and 31st; Aug. 2nd; Sept. 10th and 20th. 58


KESTREL Falco tinnunculus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Little ink was wasted in reporting this widespread species which has long suffered from being regarded unworthy of attention by many. The species was most widely reported in July when family parties caught observers' attention. A Shotley observer reported that three pairs successfully fledged a total of nine young and single pairs bred in the dock complexes at Lowestoft and Felixstowe. On May 7th a bird was seen to take a Slow-worm Anguis fragilis at The Grove, Felixstowe. During the autumn, signs of migration included a total of nine south at Landguard, Aug. 15th to Oct. 1st and one in off the sea at Felixstowe, Oct. 29th. RED-FOOTED FALCON Falco Very rare visitor

vespertinus

Suffolk had received 19 examples of this species before the unexpected events of 1992. An unprecedented influx of Red-footed Falcons into Britain took place and involved over 100 birds, of which Suffolk's share was at least ten birds. Some observers were lucky enough to see two, three or even four in the County in a single year. However, this glut °f sightings in no way detracted from the enjoyment of watching such a fabulous species. Gorleston-on-Sea: 9 May 14th (BWJ) Bradwell: 9 May 15th (PRA) (probably same as Gorleston bird). Aldeburgh: North Warren, first-summer 9 May 25th to 29th (WJB, JMC, RNM et al.). Orford: Orfordness, 9 May 24th to 25th (MDC et al.). Capel St. Andrew: first-summer cr June 9th (RFT). Falkenham: 9 May 14th (PHa). 59


Felixstowe: Landguard, first-summer cr May 30th (NO, BJS et al.). Trimley Marshes: 9 June 15th (RCB). Hengrave: first-summer 9 June 7th to at least 9th (AH et al.). Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, cr Apr. 21st and 22nd (MJA, PVH). Brandon: 9 June 9th (AMS, JLT). 1987 Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, imm. cr Oct. 2nd (MW). These records have all been accepted by the British Birds Rarities Committee and it is possible that late submissions could increase the total for 1992. M E R L I N Falco columbarius Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The coastal heaths and marshes remain the best places to see this species in Suffolk During the first winter period, records came from at least 12 different coastal sites and there were reports from Cavenham Heath and Elveden in Breckland. The only April birds were reported from Trimley Marshes on 25th and, unusually, from Great Waldingfielc on 6th. Remarkably, two birds were picked up dead at Benacre within a few days of each other on May 5th and 10th. Autumn migration began early with reports of singles at Landguard, Aug. 21st and Trimley Marshes, Aug. 22nd perhaps referring to the same bird. After one on Havergate Island Sept. 22nd there was a noticeable increase in reports during October but numbers then dropped during November to leave a scattering of wintering birds. During the second winter period, records again came predominantly from traditional coastal sites but singles were also found inland at Lackford W . R . , Oct. 13th and Decn t h , 28th and 29th. HOBBY Falco subbuteo Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. There can be little doubt that one of the most exciting ornithological events of the early 1990s has been the remarkable increase in Hobbies in the County. The first spring records occurred in April at Bawdsey, 19th; Trimley Marshes, 25th; Lackford, 28th and Kedington, 30th. Records were then widespread by early May and reports came from across the whole County. There was a wealth of records during May and June, coinciding with the influx of Redfooted Falcons into Britain. It is possible that the many birds reported away from more traditional sites were wandering non-breeders that had arrived with the Red-footed Falcons Breeding can be very difficult to prove as this species is surprisingly secretive during the early stages of the breeding cycle. Given this fact, the total of eight confirmed nests and a further three probable breeding pairs is almost certainly an underestimate. This species has traditionally nested in arable farmland areas in central southern England, so it will not be short of suitable habitat in Suffolk. With Carrion Crows now increasing in line with the demise of old game-keeping practices there should also be plenty of old nests for this super little falcon to utilise. Autumn produced relatively few records with even passage birds having mostly gone through by mid-September. The latter half of that month produced reports of singles al Easton Broad and Worlingworth, 19th; Walberswick, Levington and Holbrook, 20th; Landguard and Benacre, 26th; Minsmere and Lackford W . R . , 27th and Baylham, 29th. A late bird was noted at Minsmere on Oct. 11th. PEREGRINE Falco pereghnus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. This species' improved fortunes elsewhere have no doubt been the reason for the continued increase in sightings of this impressive bird. No longer do Suffolk's birdwatchers have 60


to travel to the west coast of Britain as the chances of finding one at home increase. During the first part of the year, records are as follows: iiarnby: Barnby Broad, February. Minsmere: Mar. 16th. Falkenham: Jan. 4th and 10th. Kirton: Kirton Creek, Jan. 18th. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Flats, Mar. 2nd. Harkstead: R. Stour, Jan. 12th. Ipswich: Cliff Quay Power Station and area, two from Dec. 6th 1991 to at least Mar. 31st. Little Livermere: Feb. 9th. The Ipswich birds were also seen sporadically at other sites lower down the Orwell Estuary. On Mar. 31st, one of the Ipswich birds was watched as it was vigorously pursued by a Kestrel. A late migrant was reported from Walberswick N N R . , Apr. 18th and 21st. The first report of the autumn came, rather surprisingly, from Lackford W . R . on Aug. 27th where an immature bird chased gulls for 40 minutes. Other reports during the latter part of the year involve the following: Benacre: Benacre Broad, Sept. 8th and 12th. Southwold: S. offshore, Oct. 25th. Reydon: Reydon Marshes, Nov. 29th. Uunwich: Dec. 13th. Minsmere: Sept. 7th; Oct. 8th; Nov. 18th. Mdeburgh: North Warren, Oct. 25th. Orford: Havergate I., Sept 4th; Sept. 5th; Sept. 27th; Nov. 10th (at least three birds). Bawdsey: Sept. 20th. Felixstowe: Cobbold's Point, in off sea, Oct. 6th. Orwell Estuary: ad. 9 Sept. 8th to end of year; second bird present. Sept. 28th. Erwarton: Erwarton Marshes, Nov. 15th. Although many birds were obviously just passing through, the above details constitute an impressive list of sightings. The bird(s) on the Orwell Estuary frequently entertained onlookers with impressive attacks on the local Feral Pigeons. However, routine inspections of the tops of the columns that support the Orwell Bridge by an ornithologist-cum-bridge inspector have revealed that waders are very much on the menu. To date, the remains of Redshank, Dunlin and Knot have been discovered and the corpse of a first-winter Little Gull has also been found. RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Alectoris

rufa

61


Despite last year's plea for observers to study partridge coveys to determine the relative abundance of true Red-legged Partridges and hybrids, few records were received â&#x20AC;&#x201D; indeed observers now appear to be ignoring them altogether! With Britain now holding a significant percentage of the world population of Red-legged Partridges, it is important that these birds are looked after and populations monitored. New legislation now makes it illega! to release hybrids and observers are requested to keep an eye out for any evidence thai hybrids are still being raised and released. The situation should now slowly improve bui it will take several generations before all traces of hybridisation have been bred out. It is rather odd that birdwatchers seem happy to tick off a hybrid partridge as Red-leggec Partridge on their year lists but would not dream of counting a hybrid Canada x Barnacle Goose as a genuine Canada! (Or would they?) GREY PARTRIDGE Perdix perdix Formerly common resident, now decreasing rapidly. Although now scarce, this species was reported from throughout the County althougl mainly in Breckland and the coastal region. During the winter periods, small coveys o! up to ten birds were reported and pairs at 'traditional' sites were well reported by severa' observers. During the summer, odd pairs were noted from locations throughout the Count) and a covey of 26 birds was seen at Levington, June 29th, although given the date, it seems likely that they had been recently released. In all, reports were received from ai least 41 localities, showing a remarkable consistency with the previous two years. One at North Warren RSPB Reserve, Aldeburgh on Oct. 25th is the first there sincc Nov. 16th 1990. QUAIL Coturnix coturnix Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. Gunton: Gunton Cliffs, flushed, May 15th. Holbrook: Lower Holbrook, calling, June 26th. Hawstead: calling, Aug. 11th. Mildenhall: West Row, calling, June 17th. Knettishall: two calling, June 16th; one calling July 9th. Market Weston: calling, June 14th, July 10th, 11th, 24th and 25th. The June records were part of an influx of this species into all parts of Britain at a typical time of year. The May record is interesting and, being in the immediate vicinity of the coast, may have just arrived. It is difficult to detect a trend in the locations at which birds are found. However, it seems very likely that many birds are missed in the much underwatched arable 'prairies' of mid-Suffolk. See also comment under Japanese Quail, Appendix II p. 136.

PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus Very common resident. It is always difficult to comment on a species which rarely seems to do anything that observers find interesting! The usual reports of albino birds were received and it seems likely that some of these individuals may live for some years as they are often deliberately not shot.

GOLDEN PHEASANT Chrysolophus pictus Scarce resident. A handful of records was received from traditional locations in the King's Forest area and at Mayday Farm, Brandon. The highest count was o f t e n at the latter site on Jan. 18th. 62


ADY AMHERST'S PHEASANT Chrysolophus amherstiae After short deliberation, it was decided by the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee hat this species should no longer be recognised as a Suffolk bird. Its inclusion on the Suffolk list was based on a single male present for several years in the Herringswell area. As this hardly constitutes a viable population, and most likely involves a bird intentionally released by a local gamekeeper, the species has been removed from the County list. WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Reports were received from 22 localities, mainly in the coastal strip but also from Stownarket, Combs, Thetford and Lackford W . R . At least six were present at the latter site luring October to December. As usual, birds were more widely reported in the winter rionths when harder weather drove them into the open to find food. Population estimates of breeding numbers are very difficult but Minsmere staff located ten territories on their reserve and breeding was suspected at Lackford W . R . An interesting report was of two, present throughout December, at Cliff Quay Sewage Works, Ipswich and one was at Kessingland Sewage Works on Dec. 5th. ¡POTTED C R A K E Porzana porzana Rare passage migrant. linsmere: calling, May 6th to 8th (IR); July 23rd and 25th (IR, PRG). With such an accomplished skulker, it is interesting to speculate as to whether the two sets of sightings are connected. C O R N C R A K E Crex crex Very rare passage migrant. •orleston-on-Sea: flew into window and died, Sept. 6th (PRA). Benacre: Benacre Broad, Sept. 17th (CAB, TD). The lucky observers who saw the Benacre bird enjoyed brief but close views as it flew across the reeds in front of the public hide. M O O R H E N Gallinula chloropus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. North W a r r e n Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton W a t e r Stour

J 61 46

M 65 43

F 57 45

_

_

40 30 12

29 18 55

A 13

A 40

_ _

30 21 15

22 9 1

S 42 37 18 53 28 24

— —

_ 23 —

0 68 30 45 56 26 12

N 56 48 27 46 21 24

D 82 48 24 73 9 48

Figures for this under-recorded species are difficult to analyse as, even on officiai estuary counts, the species is easily missed as it skulks along the edge of cover. Notable totals elsewhere included 32, Lackford W . R . , Oct. l l t h ; 23, Carlton Marshes, Jan. 21st and 21, Bramford W . P . , Aug. 21st. At Minsmere and North Warren, surveys revealed populations of 21 and 62 pairs respectively. C O O T Fulica atra Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. North W a r r e n Aide/Ore Deben

J 142 80 102

F 143 100 130

M

% 47 50

63

A 56

A 86

13

S 95 45 30

0 148 52 41

N 122 71 61

D 176 115 60


Orwell Alton W a t e r Lackford W . R .

J

F

M

A

510 90 231

152 147 84

108 114 82

44 69

S

O

N

D

308 70 210

439 70 316

750 107 318

177 208 314

A

_ 102

-

Highest counts received from other sites included 144, Oulton Broad, Dec. 12th; 120, Walberswick, Feb. 16th; 113, Minsmere, Sept. 10th; 100, Carlton Marshes, Dec. 5th; 70, Lound Waterworks, Dec. 12th and 60, Bramford W . P . , Dec. 20th. Breeding reports included 18 pairs at North Warren, 15 pairs at Minsmere and 35 juveniles at Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin, May 26th. CRANE Grus g rus Rare passage migrant. Minsmere: Feb. 15th to 26th (IR et al.). Butley/Boyton: S. over Butleyferry Farm, Feb. 13th (AM). After a fly-over view for one fortunate observer, what was probably the same bird took up temporary residence in a distant corner of the RSPB reserve where it was enjoyed by an appreciative audience. OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. More reports were received from the west of the County than usual with Lackford W.R. in particular receiving more birds than ever before. An unusual autumn report of a single there on Nov. 11th was followed by a record site count of six on Dec. 20th. Earlier in the year, reports from the west included two at Cavenham Pits, Mar. 15th, up to three at Livermere Lake in May and a pair at Ixworth Thorpe which may have bred. The BoEE count totals are as follows: Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour ( H W ) (LW)

J 87 99 307 395 1766 —

F 177 99 282 613 1243 1143

M 172 613 486 590 811

A

A

464 713 512

592

S 41 16 170 282 1173 —

O 15 16 230 521 1197 —

N —

63 182 41 1362 1248

D 33 128 104 598 1423 —

Non-BoEE survey totals included 110 on Havergate Island, July 12th. Trimley Marshes began to develop a regular high tide roost which peaked at 560, Aug. 31st. Less typically, one was on Mendham Marshes, June 27th, three were seen in flight over Bramford W . P . , July 22nd, a pair may have bred at Bungay and observers regularly noted birds on a factory roof near Lake Lothing, Lowestoft. In recent years, birds have been seen utilising grass leys near the coast as feeding sites. Counts of birds feeding in this habitat included 21, Lowestoft North Denes, Dec. 10th and 64, Oxley Marshes, Hollesley, Mai . 28th. Autumn passage off Landguard peaked during August when a total of 518 birds was logged passing south, with the highest count being of 192 on 20th. AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta Common resident, summer visitor, winter visitor and passage migrant. J Benacre Blyth Minsmere North W a r r e n Aide/Ore Deben Orwell

F

31 1

21

0 350 52 0

0 660 2 0

M 14 73 82 0 946 0 4

A 2 42

A 5

22 262 2 15

0 442

64

18

S

O

N

D

4

17

92

146

0 800 3 10

0 257 40 0

0 565 61 1

0 524 65 0

_


Havergate's monthly maxima began with 84 during January and peaked at 442 in August. Once again the Aide Estuary is confirmed as Britain's premier wintering spot for this pecies. We stili await the magic 1,000, numbers peaking at a 'mere' 946!! Most birds in the Aide favour the area between Iken and Snape and can often be seen in a single !ock from the Iken Cliff car park making an inspiring sight on a cold winter's day. Minsmere reported that a total of 52 pairs made 96 breeding attempts but only 20 young iedged. Breeding success at Havergate Island was even worse with 110 pairs managing îo fledge a total of just five young whilst at Trimley Marshes, ten pairs bred but no young ire known to have fledged. The species does appear to have more success when breeding n smaller colonies. Further north in the County, a colony of 25 pairs raised 13 young. Cespite being notoriously aggressive to ail other birds, this species stili suffers heavily rom chick prédation. Once again we include a table derived from the BoEE counts and taken from Cranswick et al. 1992. This table clearly shows that the Avocet is continuing to increase as a wintering pecies in Britain and also that the Aide/Ore complex is edging ever closer to the total of 700 required to give it 'Internationally Important' status. Alde/Ore Exe (Devon) Tamar (Cornwall) H a m f o r d Water (Essex) M e d w a y (Kent) Poole Harbour (Dorset) Thames S w a l e (Kent)

1987/88 285 152 (102) (64) (16) 48 22 1

88/89 514 229 90 85 (38) 65 (40) (18)

89/90 721 379 185 (0) (136) 122 58 36

90/91 729 323 240 188 36 175 (37) (75)

91/92 946 473 231 227 215 144 137 136

Ave. 639 311 186 166 129 110 72 62

One at Lackford W.R., June 16th constitutes the first West Suffolk record since 1989 and the third site record. STONE-CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus Locally fairly common summer visitor. The first sighting reported in the spring was of a bird at a Breckland breeding site on Mar. 15th. The Breckland breeding total of 44 pairs raising 41 young is slightly lower than last year but involved more birds using heathland which is encouraging for the future °f the species in the County. Once again, no breeding was proven in the coastal belt and, sadly, the increase in records there was not continued. However, a colour-ringed bird appeared on the Scrape at Minsmere °n May 6th and a différent bird was on the reserve from June 8th to lOth. Habitat création schemes are currently being carried out on the coastal strip in an attempt to encourage b,rds back to their former haunts. 65


This year's autumn gathering of post-breeding birds in Breckland peaked at 24 in late August at a traditional site. LITTLE RINGED PLOVER Charadrius dubius Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first report was of one at Lackford W . R . on Mar. 20th but there were few spring records until birds began to arrive at other breeding sites in April. The few breeding seasor records came from Alton Water, Baylham, Bury Beet Factory Ponds, Great Blakenham Ixworth Thorpe, Lackford W.R. and Weybread Pits. The latter site held the year's highes total with a peak of seven on Apr. 19th. Interesting spring reports included one at Southwold Apr. 24th and two south off Landguard, May 12th while an intriguing sighting involveÂŤ! one at Walberswick Ferry, June 26th. Autumn passage is traditionally heavier, involving mosdy juveniles and records involve Benacre: Benacre Broad, one July 20th to 22nd; two Aug. 15th to 23rd with three, Aug. 22nd; twe Sept. 18th. Minsmere: monthly maxima of three in July and six in August; last record involved one, Sept. 13th Orford: Havergate I., singles July 12th, 18th and 30th and Aug. 28th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Sept. 10th. Falkenham: River Deben, July 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Aug. 10th; two S., Aug. 23rd. Trimley Marshes: Aug. 1st and 2nd; Fagbury Cliff, in flight, Aug. 10th. Alton Water: singles July 16th and 24th; two Sept. 7th. Sproughton: Sproughton B.F. Pits, two Aug. 12th. Bramford: Bramford G.P., July 11th; two Aug. 12th; four Aug. 15th; two Sept. 1st. Barking: July 22nd. The records from the latter three sites may refer to local post-breeding birds. RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant.

66


Blyth North W a r r e n * Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour ( H W ) (LW) Alton W a t e r

J 0 32 0 0 100 101 —

337

F 2 20 48 3 302 94 65 110

M 1 18 34 0 138 106

A

A

4 34 0 70 33

10 157 18 225 275

46

0

4

S 203 75 169 130 268 571

O 8 90 33 0 142 245

14

187

N —

45 10 0 352 468 164 273

D 3 100 58 0 51 756 —

54

»Monthly maxima.

Alton Water is becoming an increasingly important roost site for this species with the lirds usually gathering on a field near the dam. Peak counts at other sites mainly occurred during the autumn migration and included 225, Levington, Aug. 16th and 255 there, Sept. 13th; 157, Havergate Island, Aug. 28th *vith 169 there, Sept. 2nd and 70, Southwold beach, Oct. 8th. In addition, the severe weather of Aug. 30th produced counts of 84, Benacre Broad ; 84, Minsmere ; 418 south off Landguard from a monthly total of 508) and 615 south off Southwold (in 3Vi hours). The population in the west of the County appears to be doing well with confirmed breeding records from Tuddenham St Mary, Thetford Heath and the Elveden Estate and reports of pairs from Lackford W . R . and Ixworth Thorpe. Breeding was under-recorded on the oast where fortunes appear to have been mixed. Single pairs bred successfully at Alton Water and Shotley Marshes but success at Minsmere was poor with all attempts on the beach failing and just one pair fledging four young, on the Scrape. At Landguard, five oairs nested but no young fledged. KENTISH PLOVER Charadrius alexandrinus Rare passage migrant. A single record from one fortunate observer constitutes the earliest arrival in the County since 1983. Blythburgh: Blyth Estuary, 9 Apr. 21st (BJB). DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus Rare passage migrant. Aldeburgh: beach. May 24th (PE, RNM). There have now been only two records in the last four years, both involving short-staying individuals in May — this is becoming an increasingly difficult species to see in Suffolk. GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Common winter visitor and passage migrant Some very impressive flocks were noted during the first winter period, especially in the south and west of the County. Flocks of 300 or more involved: Kllough: Ellough Airfield, 1,000 Jan. 4th. Sudbourne: 300 Jan. 24th. Falkenham/Felixstowe: King's Fleet, 1,000 Jan. 1st. Stratton Hall: 300 Jan. 6th. Long Melford: 800 Jan. 6th; 2,500 Jan. 11th; 500 Feb. 16th. Mellis: 300 Jan. 3rd. Bradfield Combust: 400 Feb. 4th. R'sby: 3,000 Mar. 15th. Great Livermere: 700 Mar. 14th. The flocks at the latter two sites probably involved an influx of returning spring migrants, 'n addition to these counts, 250 were still at Stanton, Apr. 4th and 80 at Great Waldingfield 0[ i Apr. 2nd were mostly in summer plumage. Later spring passage was uneventful with the last three birds being singles at Southwold, May 8th and 13th and Minsmere, May 67


17th. One on Havergate Island, June 14th was presumably oversummering in the area. Autumn migration became evident in July with the appearance of singles at Erwarton, 12th; Benacre, 14th and North Warren, 30th and a party of six at Havergate Island, 21st. A scattering of single-figure reports continued through the autumn and Landguard Bird Observatory recorded a total of 48 south during August. High counts at the latter end of the year included: Carlton Col ville: Carlton Marshes, 284 Sept. 20th. Ellough: 200 Dec. 23rd. Gisleham: 200 Nov. 21st. Great Wenham: 219 Dec. 17th. Great Waldingfield: 300 Dec. 22nd. Long Melford: 200 Oct. 16th; 3,800 Dec. 20th; 600 Dec. 28th. Pakenham: 800 Nov. 18th. Great Barton: 250 Nov. 15th.

G R E Y P L O V E R Pluvialis squatarola Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour ( H W ) (LW)

J 29 44 163 90 4279 —

F 56 48 373 134 1382 1150

M 91 89 13 37 912

A 12 42 2 0 1083

A —

145 —

1101

S 23 30 165 8 1047 —

O 19 50 151 17 647 —

N —

26 101 188 1774 1796

D 46 30 75 245 1832 —

The Stour continues to be a significant area for this species and is well within the criteria for acceptance as an 'Internationally Important' site (i.e. an average peak of at least 1,500 birds on site over the last five years). The figure of 4,279 on the Stour in January is a record site total for Suffolk. Monthly trends and averages have been worked out over the year to give population indices for wintering waders. The January counts for Grey Plover in 1992 enhanced the population index for the species by 17%, resulting in a remarkable fourfold increase in the UK wintering population over the last 20 years (Cranswick et al. 1992). January is traditionally the peak month for Grey Plover numbers and the BoEE high water counts have shown a steady increase in the last ten years with a large leap in 1992. Only time will tell whether this was just a one-off event, perhaps due to adverse weather conditions elsewhere. Stour J a n u a r y totals

1983 1039

1984 405

1985 783

1986 1122

1987 1430

1988 700

1989 1442

1990 2473

1991 1999

1992 4279

Spring passage numbers peaked in late May with several parties of full summer plumage birds including ten, Benacre, May 26th; three, Walberswick, May 24th and 30, Orfordness, May 24th.Late birds involved ten at Havergate Island, June 3rd and ten, Harkstead, June 5th. Autumn passage began with three on the River Stour at Erwarton July 12th; eight, Havergate Island, July 21st and two, Holbrook Bay, July 25th. On Aug. 16th, 113 flew south off Landguard and 233 were present on the Stour in Seafield Bay, Brantham. The species was heavily involved in the spectacular wader movements on Aug. 30th when 278 flew south past Landguard (as part of the site's monthly total of 610 south), 145 were on Havergate Island and 104 at Minsmere. Subsequent monthly totals of birds flying south past Landguard included 53 in October and 117 in November. Away from the coast, singles were in the Gipping Valley at Bramford, Feb. 9th and Great Blakenham, May 24th. The only reports from the west of the County involved singles at Lackford W . R . , Jan. 11th and May 23rd to 25th. 68


.APWING Vanellus vanellus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth North W a r r e n * Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour ( H W ) (LW) Alton W a t e r

J 982 1200 2766 2024 655 2910 —

2500

F 1008 370 1503 1263 1023 1694 2611 420

M 404 130 481 86 29 30 —

A

A

31

70

32 19 16

— —

593

13

3

S 172 12 328 506 0 225 —

12

0

O 33 146 985 324 698 1964 —

651

N —

300 2490 2891 275 5307 295 1000

D 3010 600 9840 3623 1684 9712 —

620

* Monthly m a x i m a .

Highest counts received during both winter periods involved: arlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, 2,500 Jan. 18th; 1,000 Nov. 7th. Hough: 1,500 Nov.24th. ldeburgh: North Warren, 1,200 Jan. 20th. Word: Havergate I., 1,946 Dec. 13th. lixstowe/Falkenham: King's Fleet, 2,000 Jan. 1st. rimley St. Martin: 2,000 Oct. 27th; 5,000 Nov. 7th; 1,200 Nov. 27th; 3,000 Dec. 14th; Thorpe Bay, 1,600 Dec. 16th. evington: 1,000 Dec. 13th. V'herstead: Wherstead Strand, over 1,000 from at least Nov. 4th, peaking at 2,000 Nov. 26th and 5,000 Dec. 12th. arking: Barking Tye, 1,000 Oct. 10th; 1,400 Oct. 17th. ong Melford: 1,000 Jan. 6th. tanton: 2,000 Sept. 28th. ackford: Lackford W.R., 700 during December. The pronounced increase in numbers in mid-December was mirrored just across the bounty border at Breydon Water where up to 40,000 were estimated to be present on Dec. 13th; this figure is well above the site's five year average of 7,700. During the breeding season, records were sparse but at the RSPB Minsmere Reserve, 17 pairs were located which raised a total of 19 young and another five pairs were on Jie nearby Minsmere Level. It is encouraging to be able to report that 37 pairs were present on the relatively new Church Farm Marshes section of the North Warren RSPB Reserve. As in 1989, a pair nested within the confines of Highpoint Prison, Stradishall. KNOT Calidris canutus Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour ( H W ) (LW)

J 0 1 0 15 3209 —

F 7 0 1 31 648 798

M 0 0 0 0 25

A

_

0 0 0 —

A

_ —

6 —

S 6 8 5 0 135 —

O 1 1 0 0 0 —

N —

0 0 0 1561 360

D 0 0 0 20 2661 —

BoEE figures for this species are always difficult to interpret due to the constant interchange of birds between sites, particularly the Orwell and Stour. Evidence for this includes reports of flocks seen heading off south from the River Orwell at Wherstead and also flying over Alton Water. Counts on the Orwell other than BoEE totals included 274, Fagbury, Dec. 19th; 120, Nacton, Nov. 19th and 300, Wherstead Strand, Dec. 26th. Passage appears to have been light with the highest BoEE figures occurring in midwinter. However, the severe weather of Aug. 30th brought large numbers to the Suffolk coast with this species being affected more than any other. At well-watched sites along the coast observers reported 350 S. off Ness Point, Lowestoft; 2,400, Benacre Broad; 2,475 south off Southwold (in just V/2 hours!); 354, Minsmere; 1,400, Havergate Island 69


and 4,034 south off Landguard. Virtually all the birds had gone the next day. Spring counts at regular sites peaked in mid-May and included 20, Benacre Broad, May 16th; 11, Minsmere, May 14th and seven, Trimley Marshes, May 23rd. U p to seven were present at Minsmere during June. Autumn passage began with three south off Landguard, July 11th; one, Benacre Broad, July 15th and 16th with three there on 17th and eight, Havergate Island July 30th. The decapitated corpse of a Knot was found on top of one of the piers that support the Orwell Bridge on Feb. 11th. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; evidence that the Peregrine was savouring the delights of more than just the local Feral Pigeons. SANDERLING Calidris alba Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. This species is unlikely to become abundant in the County as its favoured sandy habitats are in short supply. The Lowestoft beaches and South Pier (roost site) remain the most reliable areas with counts including 14 Jan. 6th, 14 Feb. 14th and ten, Dec. 28th. However, Fagbury on the River Orwell produced the highest counts once again with peaks of 31, Feb. 7th and 27, Mar. 4th. Counts there in the second winter period peaked at only six on Nov. 13th. At other sites, 18 were at Ness Point, Lowestoft, Mar. 1st, up to four fed regularly on the expanding sandy area at Benacre Broad and 11 were on Kessingland Beach, Feb. 1st. More unexpected was one at Wherstead Strand, River Orwell Jan. 31st. Spring migration brought peak counts of six, Benacre, May 25th; three, Havergate Island, Apr. 6th, and up to 11 at Minsmere in late May. Occasional reports also came from coastal sea-watching sites. Autumn passage began with singles at Benacre Broad, July 16th and at Minsmere, July 20th, peaking there at four on July 25th. Reports in August included up to four at Benacre and one at Trimley Marshes and light passage was reported off Landguard and South wold. Once again, the events of Aug. 30th were significant with observations including 50, Benacre Broad; 30 south off Southwold; 32, Minsmere and 77 south off Landguard. On Nov. 9th counts of birds flying south past coastal sites included seven, Southwold; 65, Minsmere and three, Landguard. In the west of the County, one was at Lackford W . R . , May 7th. S E M I P A L M A T E D SANDPIPER Calidris pusilla Accidental. 1982 Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, first-winter, Oct. 30th to Apr. 14th 1983 (MM et al.). 1983 Felixstowe: See 1982. After much debate, the 'Felixstowe Stint' is finally laid to rest. See p. 22 for a summary of this record. LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta Fairly common passage migrant. Spring passage began with one at Minsmere on May 10th. Reports were: Benacre: Benacre Broad, May 13th and 19th. Southwold: Town Marshes, May 18th. Minsmere: May 10th; three May 15th; two May 16th; June 1st. Trimley Marshes: May 12th; four May 22nd; two May 23rd to 28th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., two May 22nd. Typically, autumn passage was more notable and involved: Benacre: Benacre Broad, singles regularly from July 31st to Aug. 16th; Sept. 26th and a late individual Nov. 16th; two Aug. 11th; three Aug. 30th. Southwold: two S., Aug. 30th. Minsmere: July 25th and 31st; up to five present during August; up to 12 present during September; singles to Oct. 22nd. 70


Jrford: Havergate I., three July 21st; Aug. 22nd and 29th; three Sept. 13th; Oct. 7th. alkenham: one trapped and ringed Sept. 26th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, Aug. 3rd; Landguard, singles S., July 27th, Aug. 12th and Aug. 30th. I'rimley Marshes: two Aug. 2nd then singles regularly to Aug. 22nd; two Aug. 23rd to Sept. 3rd; Sept. 7th. Vherstead: Wherstead Strand, six Aug. 30th. \lton Water: three Sept. 13th. ackford: Lackford W.R., Sept. 2nd to 3rd. The record of six on the River Orwell at Wherstead Strand, Aug. 30th is most surprising but coincided with exceptional wader movements during adverse weather conditions on .hat date.

P E M M I N C K ' S S T I N T Calidris temminckii Uncommon passage migrant. A good showing despite being well below the record 1991 total. All arrival dates occurred luring two distinct periods, May 8th to 12th and May 23rd to 30th. There were no autumn records. linsmere: May 10th and May 11th to 12th (SHP, IR), tldeburgh: North Warren, May 8th to 13th (RNM). Trimley Marshes: May 23rd to 24th, 27th to 28th and 30th (at least two different birds involved) (RCB, MDC et al.). Âť.ackford: Lackford W.R., May 23rd to 24th (CJJ).

S E C T O R A L S A N D P I P E R Calidris melanotos Scarce passage migrant. A slight improvement on last year but no long-stayer available for the masses. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, May 6th to 10th (CSW). vlinsmere: Sept. 14th to 15th and Sept. 19th to 20th (RSPB).

C U R L E W S A N D P I P E R Calidris ferruginea Fairly common passage migrant. Spring passage was a great improvement on the poor showing in other recent years. Minsmere and Trimley Marshes in particular received a good run of records. Benacre: Benacre Broad, two May 26th. Southwold: Town Marshes, May 2nd. Minsmere: Apr. 28th; three May 15th to 17th; May 18th; May 26th; two June 3rd; June 5th. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury, May 31st. Trimley Marshes: Apr. 26th; three Apr. 27th; May 9th; two May 11th to 17th; May 19th to 23rd; June 4th. Autumn passage predictably involved more birds and was spread over a longer period with records spanning from July 3rd to Oct. 20th. Surprisingly, only Minsmere and Havergate Island attracted exceptional totals during the Aug. 30th wader movements. Benacre: Benacre Broad, present July 24th to Sept. 17th, inc. five Aug. 2nd; max. 25 Aug. 30th. Southwold: nine S., Aug. 30th. Minsmere: present July 18th to Oct. 20th inc. ten Aug. 3rd and six July 25th to Aug. 2nd; max. 49 Aug. 30th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Aug. 11th. Orford: Havergate I., present July 3rd to Sept. 13th max. four July 31st, 70 Aug. 30th and 28 Aug. 31st. Felixstowe: Landguard, six S., Aug. 1st; four S., Aug. 2nd; two S., Aug. 16th; S., Sept. 1st. Trimley Marshes: present from July 29th to Aug. 31st max. 12 Aug. 4th and 13 Aug. 6th. The gathering at Havergate Island on Aug. 30th is the highest site total since 1969. 71


P U R P L E SANDPIPER Calidris maritima Locally fairly common winter visitor and scarce passage migrant.

> "O CD C c03 *

E co

T3 <

Monthly maxima at Ness Point, Lowestoft were: J 21

F 13

M 15

A 16

M 5

J 0

J 0

A 5

S 2

O 3

N 17

D 18

Not quite up to last year's peak figures but a good showing at this traditional site. Numbers there in early April tailed off to just two before an influx of 15 on 17th and 16 on 19th, including some in summer plumage, suggesting spring passage through the site. Similarly, a slight peak in August suggests light autumn passage. Spring passage also produced singles on Landguard Point, Apr. 19th and Minsmere, Apr. 28th. In the autumn one was at Benacre Broad, Oct. 26th; two, Gorleston-on-Sea, Sept. 2nd; two, Minsmere, Aug. 30th and singles there Nov. 9th, 25th and 26th and singles at Landguard, Oct. 25th and 27th and Nov. 27th. The new stone revetment at Southwold Harbour attracted a single bird throughout the first winter period and two on Mar. 2nd. In the second winter period, one was at Landguard, Dec. 31st. Less typical reports included one at Levington, Jan. 18th and one standing in a puddle in Felixstowe Docks, Nov. 11th. DUNLIN Calidris alpina Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth North W a r r e n * Aide/Ore Havergate I.* Deben Orwell Stour ( H W ) (LW)

J F 857 1460 1000 530 2043 1296 674 299 2173 1948 5926 6750 17189 16045 — 9155

M 1030 25 2748 570 494 726 5362

_

A

_

3 —

400 273 271 2513

_

A —

6 -

220

_ _

1388 —

S 186 1 1065 347 380 52 2025 -

O N D — 614 682 0 150 220 1292 2 6 0 0 3 6 7 3 330 600 558 235 1398 2 3 7 4 246 2622 4147 5641 19902 14384 — — 9265

* Monthly maxima.

A slight fall in the average numbers recorded on the Stour was matched by other sites around the country and the estuary remained at 13th place in the table of main resorts 72


for this species in Britain (Cranswick et al. 1992). Highest counts at other sites included 200, Benacre Broad, Jan. 4th and 400, Southwold Town Marshes, Nov. 29th. Passage counts from Landguard Bird Observatory produced very small numbers in spring )ut southerly movements in autumn gave monthly totals of 294 in August, 524 in September including 400 on 11th, 2,272 in October including 1,857 on 27th and 885 during November. In the west of the County, Lackford W.R. entertained singles on Jan. 6th and Feb. 26th o 27th; two, Feb. 29th and Mar. 1st and up to three during most of March then one, Oct. 21st. It is interesting to note that most of Lackford's birds occurred in the winter ather than the migration periods. Two were also at Cavenham Pits, Mar. 15th with one here, Mar. 23rd. This species did not feature prominently in the exceptional wader movements on Aug. '0th; site totals included 104 at Minsmere and 137 south off Landguard. On Nov. 9th outherly movements of Dunlin involved 1,500 past Southwold and 621 off Landguard. RUFF Philomachus pugnax Common passage migrant. A few oversummer and overwinter. Most of Britain's wintering Ruff tend to favour the southern counties and also seem o prefer inland sites, thus making Suffolk's wintering population insignificant in national erms. First winter period records involve one, Livermere Lake, Jan. 1st and up to five at Minsmere in January. In the second winter period, 30 were still at Minsmere, Nov. ith but these soon moved on and no more were reported. Spring migration began in March with singles at Trimley Marshes on 12th and Iken on 14th. Reports were then widespread throughout March to May but numbers were generally confined to single figures. Peak day counts during this period included: ĂŹenacre: Benacre Broad, six May 15th. Southwold: Town Marshes, 40 Apr. 22nd; 22 May 24th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, 30 May 14th. ÂĄiunwich: Corporation Marshes, 20 May 17th. Minsmere: 15 Apr. 24th. Mdeburgh: North Warren, 25 May 16th. Mdeburgh/Friston: Hazelwood Marshes, four Apr. 23rd. rrimley Marshes: 62 Apr. 22nd and 25th; 72 Apr. 23rd; 36 May 18th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., nine Apr. 20th (then up to five on nine dates until May 21st). The figures for Trimley Marshes are excellent and show that, for this species at least, the reserve is becoming a major attraction. The numbers there are exceptional when compared with the relatively mediocre figures elsewhere. Away from the more usual sites, up to two were at Livermere Lake during the spring and two were on The Oval at Lowestoft, May 14th. Up to ten were at Minsmere throughout June and two males were observed lekking at another coastal site in May but there was no comfirmed breeding. Autumn passage was generally uneventful with most birds moving through between midAugust and mid-September. Highest counts during the autumn included eight, Havergate island, Sept. 23rd; 14 south, Landguard, Aug. 22nd; 28, Minsmere, Sept. 14th and 15, Trimley Marshes, Sept. 3rd. The only autumn records from the west involved singles at Lackford W . R . , Aug. 9th and Aug. 14th to 28th. JACK S N I P E Lymnocryptes minimus Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. Reports were received from 15 sites with one or two birds in most instances. Records of three or more involve: Aldeburgh: North Warren, three Feb. 11th and 16th; four Oct. 7th; three Oct. 15th. Martlesham: Sluice Farm, three Feb. 14th. Trimley Marshes: three Oct. 1st. Levington: three Dec. 19th. 73


Migrants turned up at several sites with singles at less traditional locations including Hollesley, Oct. 17th; Weybread G.P., Apr. 5th and Easton Broad where the last spring bird was noted on May 4th. The Weybread bird was the only individual reported away from the immediate vicinity of the coast or its estuaries. Minsmere hosted the first autumn bird on Sept. 22nd. One observer had a lucky sighting when a Jack Snipe was flushed by a Barn Owl near Dunningworth Hall, Tunstall, Jan. 22nd.

SNIPE Gallinago gallinago Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Small numbers breed. North W a r r e n Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour

J 140 13 22 74 1 13

F 240 6 7 65 0 15

M 60 4 20 46 0 13

A 8 —

6 7 0 1

A 17 — —

! 5

S 84 24 9 8 1 2

O 71 36 4 79 2 12

N 7 60 13 37 0 11

D 70 13 10 50 2 13

Unfortunately, regular counts were not received from some important wetland sites this year so it is not possible to draw any major conclusions on either the wintering or breeding figures. The estuaries are not prime habitat for Snipe, thus the BoEE counts are of limited value for this species but totals at North Warren, although down on last year, show the importance of prime, freshwater marsh habitat for this species. Random counts from other sites included peaks of 60, Bourne Park, Ipswich, Nov. 8th; 74, Hazelwood Marshes, Mar. 25th; 75, Minsmere, Feb. 24th; 54, Trimley Marshes, Oct. 1st and 33, Shotley Marshes during October. A wisp of 51 was seen in flight at Breydon Water, Dec. 13th. Although incomplete, the few breeding reports received were not encouraging with numbers well down on previous years e.g. only four pairs at Minsmere. In addition, one observer has noted a substantial drop in autumn numbers in the last three years around the Felixstowe area whilst Landguard Bird Observatory recorded a total of 11 flying south between Aug. 30th and Nov. 6th (28 in autumn 1991).

W O O D C O C K Scolopax rusticóla Fairly common resident, winter visitar and passage migrant. The majority of records carne in October and November and presumably involved incoming migrants. During this period, reports carne from 15 sites including many from the immediate coast with one seen coming in off the sea at Ness Point, Lowestoft, Oct. 25th and others located at Warrenhouse Wood, Lowestoft; Kessingland S.F.; Benacre Denes; Southwold Churchyard; Dunwich Cliffs; Aldeburgh; Bawdsey and Landguard. There was also a spate of records during February, perhaps indicating a hard weather movement of this species. Reports at this time included one sitting in an open field at Gulpher Road, Felixstowe, Feb. 29th; one near Saddlemaker's Lañe, Melton, Feb. 1 lth and one by the Wickham Market by-pass, Feb. 13th. Winter records were few but carne from right across the County with regular reports from Tunstall peaking at eight on Jan. 27th. Breeding reports were similarly in short supply with records coming from heathland areas of Breckland and the coast. 74


BLACK-TAILED G O D W I T Limosa limosa Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Blyth Minsmere* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 69 0 309 88 58 756

F 142 50 321 96 41 2169

M 92 12 364 85 73 450

A

A

23

70

167 171 0

— —

610

S 2 —

328 80 788 238

O 11

D 134

396 25 556 1090

N

160 72 380 957

7 1 597 879

* Monthly m a x i m a

This species continues to increase in numbers in the County as a wintering and passage bird. Higher counts than those on BoEE days included 862, Blyth Estuary, Apr. 11th (with counts of over 400 there on several other dates in April); 500, Iken, Feb. 13th; 400, Wherstead Strand, Sept. 6th and 8th and Oct. 10th; 449, Nacton, Oct. 23rd and 400, Shotley Marshes, Oct. 23rd. Numbers at non-BoEE sites included peaks of 25, Benacre Broad, May 3rd; 11, North Warren, Nov. 8th and 87, Southwold Town Marshes, Mar. 31st (and 72 there, Apr. 22nd). In the west of the County, the only report received was of one at Lackford W.R., Apr. 21st. At Chelmondiston, one observer reported a flock of 500 feeding in a field of newly sown barley, Oct. 26th. Unfortunately, breeding season records have not increased, despite the large number of birds passing through. In 1992, breeding was only known to have been attempted at one site where a pair raised three young, despite disturbance by cattle half-way through the breeding cycle.

BAR-TAILED G O D W I T Limosa lapponica Fairly common passage migrant and locally fairly common winter visitor. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 0 131 1 1 33

F 18 4 1 1 133

M 14 49 0 0 0

A

A

_ 1 0 3

-

_ _ 1

S 0 28 1 0 38

O 0 4 0 0 0

N 2 0 0 13

D 0 1 0 0 5

This species continues to show a slight increase in wintering numbers with peak nonBoEE counts in 1992 of 32, Blyth Estuary, Jan. 12th; 59, River Aide, Iken, Jan. 1st and 16, River Ore, Boyton, Jan. 7th. Single-figure counts came from several other locations. A general increase in reports began in late March with spring migration getting under way. However, despite reports coming from most suitable coastal sites, the only doublefigure counts were of 40, Iken, Mar. 25th; 17, River Stour, Holbrook Bay, Mar. 28th; 12, Benacre Broad, May 15th and 11, Trimley Marshes, May 6th. Autumn passage spanned from July 8th to the first week of November and, as with the spring migration, numbers were generally low. Once again most reports were of single figures with exceptions involving 20, Havergate Island, July 8th and 19 south oft Minsmere, July 24th. This species featured strongly in the impressive wader movements caused by severe weather °n Aug. 30th. Counts of birds sheltering from the worst of the weather on this date included 450, Benacre Broad; 575, Havergate Island and 295, Minsmere. In addition, seawatchers counted 170 south off Ness Point, Lowestoft; 720 south off Southwold and 1,824 south off Landguard. The only inland reports came from Lackford W.R. where one was present, Apr. 20th with two there the following day. 75


W H I M B R E L Numenius phaeopus Common passage migrant. A wintering bird on the Butley River was a good find on Jan. 2nd (BJS). As with the preceding species, numbers were well down in the spring with very few double-figure counts. After an early bird at Minsmere, Mar. 29th to 30th there were no reports until one at Trimley Marshes, Apr. 19th which remained until 22nd. Passage was then reported from Apr. 21st with peaks of 17, Southwold Town Marshes, Apr. 22nd; 15, Walberswick, May 9th and 10th; 14, Shotley Marshes, Apr. 26th and 11 south off Landguard, Apr. 22nd. Nine were still on Havergate Island as late as June 9th. Autumn passage showed only a slight improvement on spring numbers with peak counts from regular sites including: Minsmere: 16 N., July 31st; 17 N., Aug. 15th. Orford: Havergate I., 25 Aug. 9th. Bawdsey: 14 N., Aug. 20th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 17 S., July 29th; 23 S., Aug. 9th; 18 S., Aug. 16th. The final bird of the autumn was on Havergate Island, Oct 5th. Reports away from more regular sites included three flying south-east over Fressingfield, July 29th; one, Alton Water, July 8th and three there July 29th. In the west of the County, reports involved one on Cavenham Heath, May 2nd to 4th; two at Horringer, July 21st and five west over Lackford W.R., Apr. 20th with one there on Apr. 26th. C U R L E W Numenius arquata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. J 31 692 437 747 1281

Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

F 55 594 895 803 1735

M 131 820 515 509 898

A

A

S 87 637 557 683 767

161 130 209 574

242 130 598

O 128 584 444 500 878

N —

453 470 793 1225

D 66 767 473 708 1475

Once again the BoEE counts reveal the importance of the Suffolk estuaries as roosting sites for this species. Individual site totals included 500 on Shotley Marshes, Oct. 23rd. Low water counts on the Stour of 699 in February and 853 in November show that the intertidal areas are of major importance as feeding sites for Curlews. Few other counts were received but they did include 300, Breydon Water, Feb. 13th. Migration appears to have been unexceptional. Spring passage at Landguard peaked in mid-April with a total of 175 birds passing north during 17th to 19th. Typically, autumn migration started early with 50 already on Havergate Island, June 28th. Of interest was an individual flying over the A140 at Stonham Parva, July 5th. Breeding season reports carne from four different heaths in Breckland, but no details of breeding success were received. S P O T T E D REDSHANK Tringa erythropus Common passage migrant. A few occasionally overwinter. Monthly maxima at the County's principal sites were as follows: Benacre Minsmere Havergate Trimley

J _ — — —

F _ 1 — —

M

A 2 — i _

M 3 4 _

1 2 _

i

2

J 2 38 i —

J 3 85 4 —

3

A

S

2 59 i 6

46 2 1

O 1 20 2 —

N — 2 — —

D — — —

One or two birds were reported from many coastal sites during the main migration periods with the highest counts generally being in the autumn. Counts at North Warren peaked at five in July, four in August and five in September and the highest count of the year was of 85 at Minsmere, July 17th. The highest spring count involved 13 on Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick on Apr. 22nd. 76


This species is rarely recorded moving offshore which makes the total of 20 that flew outh off Southwold, Aug. 30th, during the exceptional wader passage on that date, articularly noteworthy. Winter birds were at Felixstowe Ferry, Jan. 12th and King's Fleet, Felixstowe, Dec. 7th, both sites on the Deben Estuary. (EDSHANK Tringa totanus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 759 521 877 1112 1276

F 364 700 631 1531 1279

M 733 998 795 701 1009

A 500 —

649 262 459

A — —

220

_

810

S 1050 863 370 755 952

0 1219 1169 842 969 1123

N

_ 1665 1432 1007 889

D 368 2259 846 862 975

Despite the loss of many favoured feeding areas to development, the Orwell remains in important estuary for this species, the biggest numbers now generally occurring in the Vherstead/Nacton area. Regular counts between the Orwell Bridge and Nacton Quay produced totals of 777 in Feb., 653 in Mar., 731 in Oct. and 1,007 in Nov. The five year maxima for the four major estuaries for this species are as follows (from -,'ranswick et al. 1992): Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

1987-88 1046 1760 1600 1158

1988-89 1128 1903 1373 905

1989-90 (1458) 1657 1243 1185

1990-91 1784 (1191) 1574 1478

1991-92 1114 1089 1531 1279

Ave. 1306 1602 1464 1201

AU these estuaries maintain five year averages high enough to designate them 'Nationally nportant' whilst the Deben remains 'Internationally Important' with an average exceeding Few breeding season reports were received but it seems likely that the species remains a reasonably common breeding bird in Suffolk, although loss of habitat gives cause for oncern in some areas. Hope for the future comes from such sites as Hazelwood Marshes SWT reserve and North Warren RSPB reserve where habitat development will help to compensate for losses in other areas. Indeed, the latter site held the County's highest breeding concentration in 1992 with 28 pairs. Numbers in the west of the County are naturally far smaller, but 1992 saw some interesting counts with totals at Lackford W.R. peaking at nine, Mar. 19th and nearby, six were at Livermere Lake, Apr. 8th and 18th. (The species has bred at the latter site in the past). The corpse of a Redshank, found on top of one of the Orwell Bridge support piers on Feb. 4th was presumably the remains of a Peregrine kill (see also Knot and Little Gull). Offshore passage totals included 112 south off Landguard in August and 80 south off Southwold, Aug. 30th during the exceptional wader movements on that date. GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia Common passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. There were no reports during the first winter period and observers had to wait until mid-April for the first spring migrants to arrive. The earliest arrivals involved one, Long Melford, 16th; one, Trimley Marshes, 18th; three, Havergate Island, 20th and singles at Blythburgh and Benacre, 21st. Birds were then soon widespread with mid- to late May producing the highest counts which included seven, North Warren, 16th; five, Southwold Town Marshes, 17th and five, Trimley Marshes, 22nd. Any arrival of early autumn migrants in June was masked by lingering spring birds, out by July numbers were increasing noticeably and included four, North Warren, 4th; w e e , Weybread G.P., 10th; 17, Benacre Broad, 12th and seven, Melton, 19th with smaller 77


numbers from many other sites. Highest counts received during the autumn period includeÂŤ the following: Benacre: Benacre Broad, monthly maxima of 17 July 12th and 12 Aug. lst; single figures presen to late Oct. but ten Sept. 16th. Minsmere: monthly maxima of six in July; five in Aug.; four in Sept.; seven in Oct. Aldeburgh: North Warren, monthly maxima of four July 4th; six Aug. lOth; three Sept. 28th; oni Oct. 14th. Orford: Havergate I., monthly maxima of 40 July 21st; 12 Aug. 30th; seven Sept. 14th; two Oct. 29th Falkenham: four Sept. llth. Waldringfield: 16 Oct. llth. Melton: R. Deben, seven July 19th; seven Aug. 3lst. Brantham: Seafield Bay, five Aug. 16th. The high count at Waldringfield occurred on a small reservoir and is particularly interesl ing considering the late date. In addition to these records, 35 flew south at Minsmere or Aug. 9th and on the same date, a single flock of 30 vociferous birds dropped into Trimley Marshes for ten minutes before flying off south. Few birds lingered at the end of the main autumn migration period with the only Novembe sighting involving one at Benacre Broad on 7th. GREEN SANDPIPER 7'tinga ochropus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Wintering birds were well reported with a minimum of 25 birds at 18 sites during th first winter period, including four together at Martlesham in January. During the seconc winter period numbers were similar with a minimum of 27 birds noted at 15 sites including four at Sproughton and three at Bramford G.P. and Lackford W.R.. Spring passage was unimpressive with generally ones or twos reported from a handft! of mainly coastal sites. The highest counts occurred on Apr. 20th and involved six ai Lackford W.R. and three at Trimley Marshes. What is assumed to have been the same late spring passage bird was reported from Southwold Town Marshes and Walberswick May 24th. Returning birds began to appear from June 2nd. Many sites recorded birds in mid-Junt including three at Lackford on 16th, increasing to seven there on 26th. Reports continued to increase throughout July and August with numbers lower but stili widespread throughout September and October. Higher counts during the autumn period included the following: Minsmere: monthly maxima 15 in July, 12 in Aug. and four in Sept. Iken: Iken Cliff, four Aug. 8th. Wantisden: irrigation pond, six Aug. 4th. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, four Aug. 9th. Trimley Marshes: four Aug. 12th; six Sept. 4th. Sproughton: Beet Factory Pits, five July 18th. Alton Water: 11 July 8th; 13 July llth; nine July 25th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., monthly maxima of four in July and five in Aug. and Sept. In addition, up to three birds were reported from many other sites across the County An interesting report involved a bird in song near Flatford, East Bergholt on June 24th (DRM). W O O D SANDPIPER Tringa glareola Fairly common passage migrant. In what was a very poor year for this species, an accurate assessment of totals is difficult but a minimum of 19 birds was reported as follows: Benacre: Benacre Broad, May 19th; Aug. 2nd. Southwold: Town Marshes, two May 14th; Havenbeach Marshes, June 13th. Minsmere: three May 14th; singles May 18th, 20th and 24th; Aug. 7th; Aug. lOth and llth. 78


Ideburgh: North Warren, July 7th; present throughout Aug., max. four 10th. rimley Marshes: two May 14th; May 23rd; July 24th to 28th; Aug. 16th; Sept. 30th. (engrave: July 18th. C O M M O N S A N D P I P E R Actitis hypoleucos Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. 1992 was a poor year for overwintering birds with just a single record in January and ebruary, which involved one on several dates beside the R. Orwell between Princes Street md Yarmouth Road, Ipswich. One at Minsmere, Mar. 8th is likely to have involved an 'verwintering bird starting to move north. The first spring birds involved singles at Benacre Broad, Apr. 21st and 24th; three, ackford W . R . , Apr. 24th and singles, Trimley Marshes, Apr. 25th and 30th. A handful of records followed in early May but the main passage occurred in mid-May with higher ounts including six, Lackford W . R . , 10th; five, Alton Water, 15th and five, Trimley Marshes, 17th. In the west of the County, the only report away from Lackford involved two, Livermere Lake, May 2nd. One at Lackford W . R . , June 13th was perhaps a lingering spring bird as there were io other birds reported until early July when autumn passage got under way with singles it Weybread G . P . and Lackford W . R . on 10th and five at Alton Water and singles at alkenham and Trimley Marshes all on 11th. Records then came thick and fast with the lighest counts as follows: >enacre: ten July 24th and 25th. •linsmere: 25 Aug. 1st; 17 Aug. 15th. tldeburgh: North Warren, six Aug. 9th. )rford: Havergate I., 15 Aug. 8th. •iawdsey: Shingle Street, seven July 25th. alkenham: five July 19th. Waldringfield: R. Deben, 12 Aug. 14th. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, five Aug. 9th. Trimley Marshes: 17 Aug. 6th; 20 Aug. 14th and 29th; eight Sept. 4th. Alton Water: six July 29th. Bramford: Bramford G.P., six Aug. 31st. Smaller numbers were widely reported from many sites. Autumn passage ceased after a single bird at Bramford W . P . , Oct. 18th; there were no reports in the second winter period. In the west of the County, autumn sightings included one, Bury Beet Factory ponds, Aug. 16th; two, Glemsford, Aug. 4th and one there, Aug. 28th; singles, Long Melford, Aug- 23rd, Sept. 10th and Sept. 13th and a maximum count of five, Lackford W . R . , Aug. 22nd. TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour

J 6 23 170 321

F 2 27 286 583

M 12 4 171 503

A 10 50 105 128

A 8 —

338

S 0 13 48 339

0 0 29 425 313

N 0 37 138 487

D 30 21 125 285

The only other site to produce high counts was Alton Water where a regular high water roost of birds (presumably from the Stour) produced counts of 200, Jan. 5th; 145, Jan. 19th and 142, Nov. 15th. Both spring and autumn passages were light with highest counts as follows: Lowestoft: Ness Point, 14 Apr. 19th; 14 Sept. 27th. Benaere: Benacre Broad, ten May 26th; (see below also). Minsmere: 12 July 30th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, ten Oct. 25th. 79


Orford: Havergate I., ten Apr. 2nd; nine July 21st; eight Aug. 28th. Felixstowe: Landguard, total of 70 S. during Aug., max. 15 on 2nd. Trimley Marshes: 25 Apr. 24th; 13 May 2nd; 16 Aug. 4th; 25 Oct. 16th. Stutton: Stutton Ness, 25 July 29th. An exception to these figures involved birds caught up with other waders in the sever weather of Aug. 30th when 50 took shelter on Benacre Broad. At Lowestoft, wintering birds continued to use flat-roofed buildings as roosting area with 20 noted using such a site at the South Pier on Jan. 11th. (see Suffolk Birds 1990 p.70) A bird with deformed, crossed mandibles was observed at Lake Lothing, Lowesto! on Mar. 1st. R E D - N E C K E D P H A L A R O P E Phalaropus Rare passage migrant.

lobatus

An average year which included a long-stayer at Minsmere. Minsmere: July 15th to 25th (RSPB). Aldeburgh: North Warren, Sept. 7th (RNM). 1991 Dunwich: <J May 30th (MGW). It had previously been thought that 1991 was the first blank year for this species in Suffolk since 1973 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; this late record rectifies the situation. P H A L A R O P E SP. Single phalaropes, either Grey or Red-necked, were at Livermere Lake, Sept. 1st (TB) and Southwold, where one flew north, Oct. 10th (SJL, EWP). No Grey Phalaropes were positively identified in Suffolk in 1992, which makes it the first year since 1979 that the species has not been noted in the County. P O M A R I N E SKUA Stercorals pomarinus Uncommon (mostly autumn) passage migrant. Two immatures were reported by several observers on Jan. 1st from various locations between Benacre and Minsmere. A third bird joined them on Jan. 3rd and all remained 80


10: This very early Caspian Tern was much appreciated during its stay at Lackford Wildfowl Reserve.

Is 11: This Terek Sandpiper paid an all too 12: Hoopoe at Felixstowe, September brief visit to South wold Boating Lake. 1992.


13: Great Spotted Cuckoo, Aldeburgh. One of the year's blue riband birds.

14: "Steppe" Shrike at Easton Bavents.


1 the area to Jan. 11th and were frequently seen harassing a group of Common Gulls iat had gathered offshore. Although typically dated, one north off Sizewell, May 17th, constitutes only the eighth ring record for the County. Only 16 were recorded during the second half of the year, with autumn passage contenting on Aug. 20th. Sightings peaked in early October during a period of strong northerly inds but no more than two birds were recorded on any one date. Most records came om Southwold where a total of nine birds was noted on seven dates between Aug. 30th id Oct. 12th. At Landguard, a single bird was present offshore from Nov. 21st to 25th and a late, overwintering, bird was off Minsmere on Dec. 21st. J 3

F 0

M 0

A 0

M 1

J 0

J 0

A

4

S

2

8

O 1

N

D 1

R C T I C S K U A Stercorarius parasiticus Common passage migrant. A poor spring but busy autumn for this species with an overall total of 195 birds reported. J

F

1

0

M 0

A 1

M 1

J

J

0

0

A 51

S 66

O 70

N 3

D 2

Sightings of single birds off Minsmere, Jan. 5th and 6th and off Thorpeness/Aldeburgh, in. 8th were thought to all refer to the one individual. The spring records involved singles north off Benacre, Apr. 26th and Felixstowe, May 5th. Autumn passage was first noted on July 31st when a single bird flew north past Ness oint, Lowestoft. There were then three distinct peaks in the passage of this species, on >ug. 30th, Sept. 6th and in early October, the latter coinciding with the peak counts of > mari ne Skuas. The December reports involved singles off Minsmere on 12th, 13th and 29th. The highest counts came from the following sites: orton: 14 S., Oct. 4th. uwestoft: Ness Point, 17 S., Oct. 3rd; 23 S. and 12 N., Oct. 4th and 23 N „ Oct. 10th. •outhwold: 15 N., Aug. 30th and 22 N „ Sept. 6th. -elixstowe: Landguard, 19 N „ Aug. 30th and 21 N., Sept. 6th. The most interesting behavioural observation was of one mobbing an immature Marsh Harrier about 500 metres offshore at Dunwich, Aug. 26th. L O N G - T A I L E D S K U A Stercorarius longicaudus Scarce passage migrant. This year was unlikely to produce a crop of records like that of 1991 but four is still a good total for a species that remains far from common in the County. It is probable however, that the two October records refer to a single individual. Southwold: juv. offshore for 30 mins then N., Sept. 6th (WJB, JMC, GJJ et al.). Minsmere: ad. S. over reserve, May 21st (KWG and Mrs. JDG); juv. N., Oct. 5th (IR). Felixstowe: Landguard, juv. N., Oct. 5th (MM). The May bird constitutes Suffolk's first spring record and must have been the highlight of the day for the lucky finders. G R E A T S K U A Stercorarius skua Fairly common passage migrant. A reasonable year for this species with about 30 individuals reported and, as with the previous two species, a peak in records during early October. The only spring record concerns one flying south off Minsmere, May 23rd. 81


Autumn passage began early with a single south off Shingle Street, July 25th. This wa followed by a scattering of records in August and September involving no more than tw birds on any one date. The autumn's peak occurred on Oct. 4th when ten were recorde flying south off Corton. Records then continued until Oct. 12th and one was picked u dead on the beach at Minsmere, Nov. 28th. M 0

A

M 0

J 0

1

J

A

1

M E D I T E R R A N E A N G U L L Larus

S 5

2

O 20

N

.

D 0

t

melanocephalus

Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. There was a slight increase in the number of birds reported in the first winter perio with up to 14 present in the County during January. Lowestoft was the principal site wit up to six birds overwintering around the town, whilst away from the immediate coasi one was at Bramford W.P. during January with two at the nearby landfill site, Feb. 8th and three birds roosted at Lackford W.R. during early January. As in 1991, records for the County peaked in April and perhaps indicate a small sprin passage through the area. Benacre produced the highest count at this time with four first summer birds present on Apr. 24th. This influx of birds produced no indication of attempte nesting, despite recent breeding success in Essex and Norfolk. An interesting report involved the presence of a first-summer individual with all dar wings and a pale grey 'saddle' on the mantle, superficially resembling a Laughing Gul Larus atricilla. This bird was noted at Cobbold's Point, Felixstowe, Apr. 16th an. Landguard, Apr. 20th and May 2nd to 4th, 6th and 30th (MM, NO). What was probabl the same individual was reported from Benacre, Apr. 24th (RW). The table below shows estimated monthly totals: J 6 — _ 1 — 2 1 _ 1 3

Lowestoft Benacre Southwold Minsmere/Sizewell H a v e r g a t e I. Felixstowe R. O r w e l l R. Stour Bramford W.P. Lackford W.R.

F 2 — _ 1 — 3 1 _ 2 2

L I T T L E G U L L Larus

M 2

A

M 1 6

2 _ 1

_ 2

— 3 1 _

_ — 1

6

— 1

_ —

2 1

2 _

J — 2

— 5

_

2

_ — _

_

— I — _

— — 2

— — _

S

O 2

_

1 — I —

A 1 —

1 —

1 —

— _

J — —

— 1 _

_

1 2 — — _

N 2 — i _ —

3

1 1

1 — —

— — —

_

2

1

1 — — —

D 2 — _ I — 2 1 — — -

minutus

Fairly common passage migrant. Smaller numbers oversummer and overwinter. A rather meagre showing, with only three birds located during the winter months and average totals during both migration periods. The only record during the first winter period involved an adult at Lackford W.R. on Jan. 3rd. Spring passage peaked spectacularly inland at Lackford W.R. on Apr. 11th when 59, mainly adults, were present; overall Lackford recorded this species on ten dates in April between 8th and 23rd, totalling 65 to 70 birds. Elsewhere inland in April, there were reports from Ixworth Thorpe, 17th; Weybread G.P., 15th and five, Livermere Lake, 11th. In May, all reports were from coastal sites and totalled 25 birds. Autumn passage began in July with five birds at Southwold, July 5th but there were no double-figure totals until September when 11 were at Lowestoft on 1st and 16 there on 11th. Numbers reached their peak during October and highest counts included 17 north off Southwold, 12th; 12, Ness Point, Lowestoft, 3rd and ten south off Landguard, 27th. Monthly maxima were as follows: J 1

F

M o

A 1

M 75

25

j 18

j 22

82

a 15

s 31

o 53

n 2

d 2


The December records involved singles at Kessingland, 19th and Ness Point, Lowestoft, 3th. A first-winter bird fell foul of the local Peregrine on the Orwell Estuary and the remnants its body were found on top of one of the concrete piers supporting the Orwell Bridge i Oct. 27th. The only inland autumn report was of an immature at Bramford, Sept. 17th. VBINE'S G U L L Larus sabini Rare passage migrant. The only record of the year came, rather remarkably, in mid-winter when the species not normally this far north. insmere: adult N. offshore, Jan. 20th (IR). L A C K - H E A D E D G U L L Larus ridibundus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton W a t e r Lackford W . R .

J 517 960 1095 1248 465 6544

F 264 1466 2192 1393 348 -

M 745 4765 1110 1779 88 —

A

A

1371 1107 856 41 —

— — —

182

S 227 2261 1048 1124 142

O

N

66 981 709 598 703 3500

712 2922 619 489 —

D 833 1643 1600 1671 311 8000

Only a few reports were received of breeding birds but they did include 309 pairs Minsmere with 51 young birds successfully fledged and 1,386 nests counted at Havergate land. Inland, ten pairs probably bred at Bury St. Edmunds Beet Factory Ponds. The highest counts of the year came from Lackford W . R . where a regulär winter roost 'oduced a peak count of 6,544 birds, Jan. 25th and up to 8,000 during December. The only significant offshore movement was of 400 birds south past Landguard, Apr. 2th. O M M O N G U L L Larus canus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton W a t e r

J 9 36 74 36 376

F 18 41 23 68 206

M 70 64 20 65 114

A

A

13 4 14

_ 12

S 4 15 4 2 11

0 2 5 0 12 194

N —

16 32 96 300

D 91 79 137 28 99

The highest count received during the first winter period was of 1,500 birds off Landguard on Feb. 18th. In the west of the County, the highest count involved 580 roosting at Lackford W.R. on Jan. 25th. Spring passage included an excellent total of 400 birds at Benacre Broad, May Ist. At Orfordness, 15 pairs were present during the breeding season but their success would seem to have been rather poor as only one juvenile was seen there on July 12th. In the latter half of the year, a distinct influx of birds took place in November when at least 1,000 were off Landguard, 14th and 300 at Alton Water, 15th. LESSER B L A C K - B A C K E D G U L L Larus fuscus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton W a t e r Lackford W . R .

I 0 15 4 7 1 72

F 0 20 0 0 5 —

M 1 3810 7 5 2 114

83

A 10

A

2 17 0

31 1

S 3 301 32 78 0 350

O 4 9 7 11 0 397

N 16 4 1 0

D 0 22 8 4 0


In addition, summer counts from Lackford W.R. produced monthly peaks of 107 ir May, 179 in June and 300 in July. As this is predominantly a summer species in Suffolk, it never features strongly in the BoEE counts. However, the table above helps to show the monthly changes in number; and also shows a relatively high number of birds wintering on the Aide/Ore complex The sudden increase in numbers on the Aide/Ore complex in March is accounted for b> the arrival of breeding birds on Orfordness. Elsewhere, winter counts were predictably low except at Lackford W . R . where roosi counts peaked at 72 adults on Jan. 25th. A handful of reports of the more northerly, Continental race L. f . intermedius was reĹ&#x201C;ivec during the year. The taxonomy of the larger gulls is notoriously complex and there are several current schools of thought. Whilst some taxonomists do not even recognise intermedius as a valid race, others consider it to form a discreet population between the northern and eastern Justus (which generally migrates south-east across Europe, avoiding the western seaboard of the Continent and, thus, Britain) and the southern and western graellsii which breeds in Britain. More recently, Dutch breeding birds have been assigned by some ornithologists to the race intermedius and as Orfordness is an isolated colony with the nearest colonies elsewhere being in The Netherlands, one could perhaps speculate as to both the origin of our birds and the race involved (indeed, Orfordness-bred Lesser Blackbacks have recently been found nesting in The Netherlands â&#x20AC;&#x201D; see Ringing Report). As far as migrants are concerned, it seems reasonable to assume that a good number of intermedius Lesser Black-backs pass through Suffolk on their way to more southerly and westerly wintering areas. HERRING G U L L Larus argentatus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Aide/Ore Deben Orwell

J 1684 285 45

F 1292 55 14

M 4345 259 66

A â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

48 10

A -

S 321 42 16

0 237 54 117

N 261 135 147

D 1816 235 18

This remains a very much unrecorded species with the bulk of the available data coming from BoEE counts (and even some of these have taken to ignoring gulls!). The highest count from the first winter period was of 5,000 birds off Aldeburgh/Thorpeness, Feb. 17th which were attracted to the huge inshore shoals of Sprats present at that time of year. As with the previous species, the high count on the Aide/Ore complex in the above table in March was the result of a build-up of pre-breeding birds on Orfordness. Away from the Orfordness colony, a pair raised three young on the north extension of Lowestoft Harbour; this is the first time that the species has been recorded breeding at Lowestoft and constitutes only the third breeding site for the County (the species has previously bred at Minsmere). At least 12 birds were recorded which were judged to be showing the characteristics of one of the yellow-legged races as follows: Lowestoft: third-year June 16th. Benacre: not aged June 11th. Southwold: first-winter Nov. 14th into 1993. Minsmere: adults Mar. 29th; Oct. 12th; Dec. 2nd, 6th and 12th; third-years Nov. 2nd and 3rd; Nov. 9th; second-winter Dec. 5th and 6th; first-winter Nov. 11th. Felixstowe: not aged Jan. 4th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., second-year Sept. 3rd and 9th. (Of these listed records, only the Southwold bird was well watched and a description taken. Observers of 'Yellow-legged Gulls' should take note that all records will in future be considered by the SORC and all further sightings should be accompanied by detailed notes. This decision has been taken for several reasons. Firstly, these birds are obviously 84


n the increase in Britain and it would be useful to be able to accurately monitor their oread; secondly, it seems almost inevitable that eventually the BOU will catch up with ne rest of the World and promote them to full species status; thirdly, the SORC feels i at the identification of these birds is far from straightforward and some text books appear o be rather misleading. The pattern of occurrences in Suffolk in recent years has not iirrored that of neighbouring counties which have a peak of records in late summer/early utumn and this fact raises a little concern over some of the sightings. — Ed.) ^ELAND G U L L Larus glaucoides Scarce winter visitor. Four or five birds were recorded, all in the first winter period: owestoft: Ness Point, second-winter Jan. 19th (BJS). iston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, first-winter Feb. 11th (CAC). Idringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, first-winter Jan. 7th (BJB). (perhaps same as Sizewell bird), •lixstowe: adult from 1991 to Apr. 3rd (many obs.); Landguard, first-winter Feb. 9th to 12th (MM, SHP). After spending its ninth successive winter with us, the Felixstowe bird disappointed many bservers by failing to appear in the autumn — it will be sadly missed. LAUCOUS G U L L Larus hyperboreus Scarce winter visitor. Another poor year for this 'King-sized' gull with only two individuals recorded. A firstinter bird was present along the north Suffolk coast from Jan. 1st, when it was at Minsìere, to at least Feb. 27th when it was reported from North Warren. During the intervening Jriod it was also recorded at Lowestoft and Benacre. The latter site also produced a late ird in the spring: owestoft/Aldeburgh: various coastal sites, first-winter Jan. 1st to Feb. 27th (many obs.). •enacre: Benacre Broad, second-summer Apr. 2nd (DAR). j R E A T BLACK-BACKED G U L L Larus marinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell

J 9 161 32 6

F 12 51 1 3

M 41 76 0 13

A — —

4 —

A — — —

S 126 157 42 1

0 106 141 12 21

N —

155 12 27

D 56 222 36 6

This species remains under-recorded and it is difficult to detect any trends or changes in numbers. The figures in the table above show a good passage of birds through the area in the autumn whilst the high figures on the Aide/Ore complex are more than a little due to good numbers using Havergate Island as a roost site. This site also reported counts of 473, Dec. 5th and 201, Sept. 4th. Small numbers of immature birds remained in the County throughout the summer and the first count of any significance in the autumn came from Landguard where 63 flew south, Aug. 15th. This latter site also held good numbers •n the second winter period with at least 100 present on Nov. 14th. In the west of the County, the regular gull roost at Lackford W . R . held a peak number of 90 Great Black-backs on Jan. 8th. The breeding status of this species in the County appears to be open to debate so the presence of three adults showing signs of territorial behaviour on Orfordness on May 24th •s interesting but far from conclusive.

Kirn WAKE

Rissa tridactyla Very common passage migrant. Smaller numbers breed and a few overwinter. During the first winter period, little offshore movement was observed but several regular 85


feeding flocks were reported. The only exceptions involved a large movement of 500 soutl off Benacre, Jan. 5th followed by 57 south off Slaughden, Jan. 8th and 20 south off Aide burgh the same day. Few records were received during the spring and summer but a few birds began to appea at various points along the coast during July. The autumn passage then peaked in Octobe (or is this when seawatching activity peaked?) with highest counts as follows: Benacre: 125 N., Oct. 10th. Southwold: 71 N „ Oct. 4th; 52 N„ Oct. 5th; 153 N„ Oct. 7th; 1,000 N., Oct. 10th; 775 N., Oct. 12th Offshore flocks during the second winter period were similar to those in the early par of the year with up to 150 off Minsmere, 80 off Aldeburgh and 40 off Landguard. It addition, 400 flew south off Minsmere in an hour, Dec. 2nd. Inland, the only report came from Lackford W.R. where a singleton was present fron Mar. 15th to 19th. Kittiwakes have now bred at Lowestoft for 35 years, since the initial attempt in 1958 With the destruction of their favoured nest site, the South Pier, in 1989, they eagerly tool to the purpose-built ledges on the opposite side of the harbour entrance and are slowlj spreading out from there, increasing their numbers every year. The success of the Lowestoft breeding colony is demonstrated by the table below, drawi up from data supplied annually by B. J. Brown.

1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Total N o . of nests 86 74 82 77 89 81 76 90 91 107 129 112 157 203

Successful nests 47 53 46 56 ?? 59 59 76 83 91 89 80 125 143

Fledged young 70 62-71 72 92 86 82 90 121 142 153 36* 134 197 233

* In 1989, the South Pier was demolished and 4 0 nests w e r e vandalised. T h e birds also took a y e a r to get accustomed t o the p u r p o s e built wall.

C A S P I A N T E R N Sterna caspia Rare visitor. Lackford: Lackford W.R., intermittently Apr. 5th to 18th (AT el al.). This extremely early bird was initially present at Lackford on Apr. 5th. It could not be found on 6th but showed well to local birdwatchers on 7th, between midday and 6 p.m. when it departed eastwards. It was back again on 10th and showed well to over 1,000 birdwatchers during the Easter weekend up to and including 12th. On 17th, what is assumed to have been the same bird was seen in both Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire before returning to Lackford again on 18th. This bird becomes the fourth individual to be noted at Lackford W . R . since 1987. L E S S E R C R E S T E D T E R N Sterna

bengalensis

Accidental. Minsmere: Aug. 4th to 6th (PC, MLC et al.). Following hot on the heels of Suffolk's first record in 1991, this individual obliged many observers as it came in to roost on the evenings of the 4th and 5th on The Scrape at Minsmere. Both Suffolk records are assumed to relate to the famous Northumberland individual 86


vhich has been summering on the Farne Islands annually since 1984. Observers should ie aware that this female bird has raised at least two hybrid young with male Sandwich ferns so careful observation of all details is essential. 1 AND W I C H T E R N Sterna sandvicensis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Two at Havergate Island, Mar. 24th were the first birds of the year but no more were â&#x20AC;˘ported until one flew north past Benacre, Apr. 8th. Numbers during spring were generally ery low; Havergate produced the only counts of any note with a maximum of 127, Apr. '6th. Offshore passage at Landguard produced 54 north and 32 south during May and 52 north nd 16 south during June. This tern remains at a low ebb as a breeding species in the County with Havergate Island olding the only colony. At that site, about 70 pairs managed to rear 40 young, whilst it Minsmere, courtship behaviour was observed, offering hope for the future. Offshore passage during the autumn was rather light with no more than 20 being reported n any one day. Landguard Bird Observatory recorded 22 north and 16 south during July, 7 north and 43 south during August and 13 north and 62 south during September. During )ctober, ones and twos were reported from Corton, Lowestoft and Southwold, the last eport concerning two south past the latter two sites, Oct. 8th. During the course of the year, inland records involved two, Lackford W . R . , June 13th; iiree, Station Lake, Needham Market, Aug. 15th and one, Flatford Mill, East Bergholt, Sept. 26th. ROSEATE T E R N Sterna dougallii Rare passage migrant. Two adults were recorded during the year, both from the south of the County. ' elixstowe: Landguard, S., Aug. 1st (NO), frimley Marshes: June 27th (RCB, CS, SAS). The table below shows the number of occurrences over the past ten years. Since 1989, the majority of records have involved adults flying south offshore. 1983 5

1984 3

1985 2

1986 0

1987 2

1988 1

1989 2

4

1990 2

1991 3

1992

C O M M O N T E R N Sterna hirundo Common summer visitor and passage migrant. As in 1991, the first report of the year occurred inland at Lackford W . R . where one was present on Apr. 11th; an early peak of 21 was recorded there on Apr. 20th. The first coastal report concerned two flying north on Apr. 15th past Landguard where spring passage peaked at 25 north and six south during May. A large proportion of records received came from sites away from the coast. At Alton Water birds were recorded from Apr. 25th to Sept. 7th with a spring maximum of eight, May 6th and an autumn maximum of 30, Aug. 29th; one there on July 12th appeared 'o be in exceptionally early full winter plumage. As well as the above figure, totals at Lackford W.R. peaked at 11, May 19th; 14, Aug. 30th and up to six in September until 18th. Other inland reports included a wide-ranging pair which frequented the River Gipping from Sproughton to Ipswich Docks between Apr. 27th and May 3rd; a displaying pair, f ' P P ' s Ford, Barking, May 6th; a pair, Redgrave Lake, May 13th and singles, Station Lake, Needham Market, Aug. 29th to 31st and Sept. 7th and 8th. The rapidly developing Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Trimley Marshes attracted 20 breeding pairs but no young fledged. At Minsmere, seven pairs bred successfully and Havergate Island held 65 pairs which raised at least 40 young. Inland, a pair engaged 87


in display-feeding on the Lackford W.R. tern raft in the second half of July but did noi attempt to breed. The most intriguing potential breeding record of the year involved three pairs which probably bred on the roof of Brooke Yachts factory, Lowestoft. Coastal and estuarine reports included 89, Havergate Island, June 21st and 109 there July 3rd and 28, Sizewell, Apr. 30th. Offshore autumn passage reached its peak during late August/early September as follows: Lowestoft: "Large southerly movement" Sept. 2nd. South wold: 200 S., Aug. 28th; 115 S., Aug. 30th; 100 S., Sept. 13th. Minsmere: 53 S., Aug. 23rd. Felixstowe: Landguard, 83 N., 521 S. during August with a max. of 159 S., Aug. 22nd; 537 S. during September with max. of 164, Sept. 11th and 142, Sept. 12th. The last report of the year was of two at Levington, Oct. 11th. ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally breeds. The year began with a single north off Landguard Apr. 20th and further northerly passage was noted there on May 14th (five), 17th (three) and 19th (two). Elsewhere, Minsmere hosted two, Apr. 28th, one, May 2nd and two, June 14th, 20th and 21st whilst at Sizewell, one was present, May 26th. Northerly passage off Southwold was recorded on May 17th (three), May 27th (12), June 1st and June 13th (six). Inland, singles were observed at Lackford W . R . , May 1st and June 14th with two there, Apr. 26th. Autumn passage commenced on July 6th with two north off Southwold and one at North Warren. A further 105 were reported during the period, mostly relating to light offshore 88


massage and ones and twos on coastal lagoons and beaches. The highest counts included 13, Minsmere, Aug. 12th; six, Sizewell, Sept. 12th; 11 south off Landguard, Aug. 30th; 14 south off Southwold, Aug. 27th and nine south at the latter site, Sept. 13th. Individuais were noted inland at Lackford W . R . , Aug. 21st and 23rd and Sept. 6th and 18th. The only October record involved one north off Southwold on 12th. LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first bird of the year was reported from Sizewell on Apr. 2Ist. 1992 proved to be another disappointing breeding season for this species and continues the worrying downward trend. The total of 215-220 pairs is up on 1991 but well below the peak of 316 in 1990. Similarly, the figure of 42 young fledged is five up on 1991 but falls well short of the 118 in 1990. At one of the four colonies on Orfordness, over 60 nests with eggs were found from which 50 chicks were ringed. The 15 young which ventually fledged from this colony are the first to have done so for a number of years. At Trimley Marshes, at least 50 pairs were present early in the season but numbers fluctuated with only about 25 pairs eventually attempting to breed and ali of which failed during he incubation stage. PrĂŠdation of the eggs by Moorhens was observed at this site. Autumn passage was generally rather light but peaked on Aug. 30th with 65 at Benacre 3road, 32 on Havergate Island and totals of 184 and 44 south off Landguard and Minsmere espectively (see Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit). A few individuals remained into September with the last sighting being at Sizewell, Sept. 27th. The only non-coastal/estuarine reports came from Alton Water where there were two, luly 16th and 31st and Lackford W . R . where singles were noted on Apr. 24th and May 14th and a group of four, May 26th. The following table shows the numbers and success at each locality: Kessingland Benacre Covehithe Easton Bavents Dunwich Minsmere Sizewell Orfordness Landguard Felixstowe Docks Trimley TOTALS

Pairs ? 0 10 9 7 4 ? 81-86 4 c.75 <^25

Fledged Young ? 0 7 6 ? 4 ? 25 0 ? 0

215-220

42

BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger Fairly common passage migrant. For the third consecutive year, excellent numbers were reported with at least 580 birds seen during 1992. Rather atypically however, the peak came during the autumn period. Spring passage began with a single at Weybread G . P . , Apr. 2Ist to 24th, after which a further 90 individuals were reported, a lower total than in the three preceding years: Benacre: Benacre Broad, May 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard, three N., May 17th. Trimley Marshes: two May 16th; three May 17th and 18th; May 20th to 24th. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, May 17th. Alton Water: four May 4th; May 19th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., seven May 14th; three May 16th; six May 17th and 18th; nine May 19th; May 20th; three May 24th; three May 27th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, six May 18th; five May 19th. 89


Weybread: Weybread G.P., Apr. 21st to 24th; nine May 17th; 26 May 19th and 20th. After an isolated record of one on Havergate Island, July 8th, autumn passage began in earnest in early August and built up to an impressive movement as follows: Breydon Water: 20 Aug. 9th. Burgh Castle: two Sept. 22nd. Lowestoft: Ness Point, four S., Aug. 30th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, six Aug. 30th. Southwold: at least 100 S., Aug. 30th; S., Sept. 6th; 14 Sept. 11th; two S., Sept. 24th. Minsmere: singles Aug. 2nd, 16th to 19th, Sept. 15th, 16th, 22nd and 27th and Oct. 2nd; three Aug. 10th; three Aug. 22nd; 70 Aug. 30th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell Rig, Sept. 5th and 6th; two Sept. 10th; Sept. 18th. Orford: Havergate I., July 8th; 45 Aug. 30th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Aug. 20th. Felixstowe: Landguard, S., Aug. 18th; four S. & 12 N., Aug. 30th; S., Sept. 1st; four S. & six N., Sept. 11th; three S., Sept. 13th; S., Sept. 23rd; two S., Sept. 24th. Trimley Marshes: Aug. 14th to 29th; two Sept. 22nd. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, Aug. 25th. Alton Water: two Aug. 29th; Sept. 1st; three Sept. 11th; two Sept. 13th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., Aug. 9th; 112 Sept. 11th; three Sept. 12th to 18th; six Sept. 23rd. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, seven Sept. 11th. Weybread: Weybread G.P., 45 Sept. 11th; two Sept. 26th. Strong south-westerly winds were responsible for the large influxes on Aug. 30th and Sept. 11th. On the latter date, there was a huge influx into Great Britain resulting in nearly 1,700 in the West Midlands and 700 in Northamptonshire. During both influxes, high windspeeds at altitude probably resulted in the birds changing height to avoid stiff headwinds (Nightingale and Allsopp 1993). The influx on Aug. 30th coincided with an exceptional coastal wader passage. GUILLEMOT Uria aalge Common passage migrant and winter visitor. During the first winter period, small numbers were seen offshore with peak counts ol 38 south off Slaughden, Aldeburgh, Jan. 8th; 30, Southwold, Jan. 11th and 20, Benacre. Jan. 5th. During this period a wide-ranging bird frequented the length of the Orwell Estuary throughout January and one was on the River Deben at Waldringfield, Jan. 24th. The only spring records came from Southwold with two north, May 27th and one north. June 13th. Autumn passage began with one north off Southwold, Sept. 13th with peak numbers recorded from Minsmere including 300, Oct. 25th and 110, Nov. 13th. The only offshore count of any note in the second winter period was of 30, Easton Bavents. Dec. 28th and the only estuarine report came from the River Aide, Dec. 13th. The highest counts of large auk species (i.e. unidentified Guillemots/Razorbills) off Southwold included 164 north, Oct. 5th and 89 north, Oct. 7th. RAZORBILL Alca lorda Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. Another poor year for this species with only 40 being reported. During the first winter period the only records involved four south, Slaughden, Aldeburgh, Jan. 8th and one north. Lowestoft, Jan. 19th. Singles north off Southwold, May 27th and June 13th coincided with movements of Guillemots on the same dates. Typically, the majority of records came during the late autumn period with peak counts of ten off Minsmere, Oct. 25th and eight north, Southwold, Oct. 5th. This species is probably well represented in auk movements off our coast, but as the 90


majority of birds are either too distant or fast-moving, accurate identification is often not possible. However, one observer considered that of the 164 auk sp. north off Southwold, Oct. 5th, a high proportion may well have been Razorbills. LITTLE A U K Alle alle Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. A disappointing year for this species with probably no more than 35 being recorded, â&#x20AC;˘owestoft: N., Oct. 5th. tessingland: Nov. 13th; S., Nov. 14th. iienacre: one N., one S., one on the sea, Nov. 14th; two S., Dec. 31st. Southwold: six Nov. 13th; three Dec. 2nd. Walberswick: Oct. 26th. tlinsmere: Feb. 15th; four Oct. 25th; five Nov. 13th; five Dec. 2nd. Vldeburgh: on sea, Nov. 14th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Nov. 8th. There were no reports of 'wrecked' birds inland. PUFFIN Fratercula arctica Scarce passage migrant. A good year for this species with 17 live birds reported. Southwold: three N., Oct. 4th (WJB); N., Oct. 7th (EWP, RW); five N., Oct. 12th (WJB, SJL, NJS); N., Oct. 25th (GJJ); two Nov. 13th (IR). Minsmere: S., Jan. 2nd; S., Oct. 5th; two N., Oct. 6th; one Nov. 13th. (IR). Observers hoping to see this species in Suffolk are advised to station themselves in the shelter on Southwold promenade during late September and October in strong north-west to easterly winds as this is when most individuals have been reported in recent years. The table below shows the number of live individuals recorded in the past ten years. The increase in numbers since 1988 is a direct result of more intensive late autumn seawatching. 1983 2

1984 1

1985 1

1986 5

1987 0

1988 9

1989 12

1990 19

1991 7

1992 17

ROCK DOVE Columba livia Very common resident from feral stock. This species remains very poorly documented, despite requests for information. It has to be admitted that distinguishing genuine feral populations from roaming racing or homing birds can be difficult but it would be interesting to be able to assess the distribution and population of wild birds in the County. Certainly in Ipswich, where there is a large population, the birds appear to breed in loose colonies, of which each is a discreet unit and they are not spread evenly throughout the town. Populations are also known to breed in some of the Martello towers along the coast and there are good numbers in Lowestoft (M. D. Crewe pers. comm.). One report received during the year involved a count of a minimum of 1,200 birds around the disused Cliff Quay Power Station, Ipswich on Dec. 26th. (No wonder Peregrines are starting to favour the site!) STOCK DOVE Columba oenas Fairly common resident and passage migrant. Rather poorly documented with reports from fewer than 30 sites. During the winter periods the only counts of 20 or more birds were as follows: Oulton: Fisher Row, 30 Jan. 26th. Minsmere: 120 Nov. 6th. Sudbourne: Crag Farm, 41 Feb. 13th. 91


Orford: Orfordness, 30 Mar. 22nd. Shottisham: Shottisham Creek, 20 Oct. 1 Ith. Trimley Marshes: 20 May 2nd. Boxford: 94 Feb. 23rd. Cavenham: 85 Oct 10th. The number of breeding records received was too low to allow an assessment of totals; five pairs were located at Minsmere and one observer from Felixstowe reported a continued decline in the area. During the autumn, southerly migration at Landguard was logged on four dates during October, totalling 28 birds. However, the heaviest passage of the year occurred on Nov. 4th when observers reported counts of 36, Easton Bavents; 27, Southwold; 27, Aldeburgh; 62, Thorpeness; 92, North Warren and 43, Landguard, all passing south. On Nov. 6th there were further southerly movements at North Warren (20) and Landguard (46) and finally, eight flew south at Easton Bavents, Nov. 18th. WOODPIGEON Columba palumbus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. The only flocks of note in the first winter period were 800 at King's Fleet, Falkenham/ Felixstowe, Jan. 1st and 600 at Boxford, Mar. 13th. Few breeding reports were received, but it seems likely that the species remains common and widespread throughout the County. At Felixstowe numbers were considered above average, whilst at North Warren, 43 pairs were located. At Orfordness, four nests found on the ground amongst Sea-purslane A triplex portulacoides shows the species' adaptability when faced with an apparent lack of suitable breeding sites. The heaviest passage of the autumn was once again centred in the Felixstowe/Bawdsey area. During October, 500 were logged flying south at Bawdsey, 22nd and 300 west at Felixstowe, 24th. No more than 70 were recorded on any one date in October at Landguard but during November this site recorded 1,101 south, with daily maxima of 433 on 4th and 341 on 6th (cf. Stock Dove). Away from the Felixstowe area, the highest counts received were of 250, Levington, Oct. 9th; 450 flying south-west at Lowestoft, Oct. 26th and 200 west, Witnesham, Oct. 31st. During the second winter period the largest flocks reported were 1,000 at Glemsford, Nov. 26th and 250 at Blundeston, Dec. 8th. C O L L A R E D D O V E Streptopelia

decaocto

Common resident. Fewer reports were received of this dove than in past years and it is possible that the species is on the decline, in line with other seed-eating farmland birds. It would be useful if observers could submit population assessments for their areas to the County Recorder to allow a realistic appraisal of the species' status to be made. Apart from North Felixstowe, where a continuing decline was reported, only four breeding records were received, viz. one pair at Minsmere, nine pairs at North Warren, two pairs at Landguard and an intriguing report of a pair nest-building in a garden conifer in Ipswich on Christmas Day. Flock sizes were generally rather low; one observer considered the number in the Tuddenham Road area of Ipswich to be much lower than in previous years. The biggest gatherings during the year included 500, Leathes Ham, Lowestoft during January and 400 there Oct. 9th; 198, Sluice Farm, Martlesham, July 23rd and 130, Trimley St. Mary, Oct. 19th. All other reported flocks involved gatherings of less than 100 individuals. Signs of visible migration came from Landguard where seven birds flew south during October and 16 during November. However, the origins and destinations of the birds involved in these annual movements remain a mystery. 92


1 URTLE D O V E Streptopelia turtur Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Unlike other members of the same family, this species appears to receive more attention f im observers; perhaps an interest in logging first and last dates helps to amass some u: eful data. The over-wintering bird at Lowestoft ( S u f f o l k Birds 1992 p.96) was regularly reported f im its roost-site at Leathes Ham, where it remained until Apr. 4th. The first returning bird was noted at Lackford, Apr. 21st, after which date the species as well reported throughout the County. Typically, the heaviest spring passage occurred ' ring May, when birds were seen coming in off the sea in pairs at Benacre on 5th and s tall numbers were still passing through Landguard in early June. Breeding reports indicate that this species is still widespread in the County. A continuing decline in numbers at Felixstowe was compensated somewhat by a slight increase across tf.e River Orwell at Shotley. Totals of territories at well- monitored sites included 17 in t e Walberswick/Dunwich area, 14 at Minsmere and 16 at North Warren. A flock of 50 in Rendlesham Forest on June 22nd is interesting considering the date, ore typical gatherings included post-breeding groups of 70, Trimley Marshes, Aug. 16th £ d 53, Long Melford, Aug. 25th. Most birds appeared to have departed by the end of Jgust as there were only five reports during September. In October singles were at Fagbury 1 ¡iff, Trimley St. Mary, 1st; Landguard 2nd, 3rd and 4th and Searson's Farm, Trimley & Mary, 19th.

RING-NECKED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri Scarce resident. Twelve records were received of this species, although it is possible that only four dividuals were involved. ythburgh: between Blythburgh and Westieton Nov. 8th; Westwood Lodge, Oct. 7th. Walberswick: Westwood Marshes, Apr. 5th and Dec. 12th; Sallow Walk Covert, Dec. 15th to the year's end. Westieton: Dingle Marshes, Dec. 19th. Minsmere: Nov. 4th and 6th. 1 eiston/Tbeberton:Eastbridge, Nov. 10th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Mar. 28th and May 16th. Kendham: Aug. 28th. ^proughton: flying over football ground, Aug. 18th. In addition, single unidentified Parakeets were seen at Benacre, Mar. 28th and Landsdowne Road, Ipswich, Mar. 30th.

G R E A T S P O T T E D C U C K O O Clamator

glandarius

Accidental. Aldeburgh: Slaughden and Aldeburgh Marshes, imm. Oct. 29th to Nov. 12th (RNM, JRP et al.) This individual, the first to be recorded in the County, was discovered at Slaughden Quay on Oct. 29th by a visiting birdwatcher, but remained undetected in the area until Nov. 5th when it was refound on nearby marshes. Fortunately the bird survived the shock °f the Bonfire Night frivolities in the nearby town and remained in the area long enough to be enjoyed by many observers. This is the latest recorded date for this species in Britain, the record having previously been held by an individual in Humberside from Oct. 16th 'o Nov. 6th 1982. 93


CUCKOO Cuculus canorus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first bird of the year was reported from Landguard on Apr. 16th and by the fourth week of Aprii reports were received from throughout the County. The specialised breeding ecology of this species makes assessment of numbers difficult. Nevertheless, at least six territories were held at North Warren and one observer at Shotley reported the best numbers for many years. Dunnocks are clearly popular hosts for this species; a pair was observed feeding a juvenile Cuckoo at Chelmondiston in JuĂŹy and three fledged juveniles at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket ali had Dunnock hosts. In the latter half of the year, a total of 13 was reported during August, whilst September records involved singles at Landguard 3rd; Long Melford, 3rd and lOth; Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary, 6th; Dunwich, lOth and Minsmere, 14th. BARN OWL Tyto alba Fairly common resident. Records of this species were received from just over 70 locations during the year. This is well below the level of the past three years when approximately 100 sites held birds. This difference may just be due to a lower level of recording since the records received indicate that Barn Owls are stili widespread in the County. Nevertheless, confirmed breeding records were rather sparse, involving just seven pairs, of which two were in the traditional Butley area. Road casualties were reported this year from Barrow, Bury St Edmunds, Creeting St Mary, Haughley, Levington, Nacton, Needham Market, Sproughton, Stoke Ash and Wherstead. The majority of these unfortunate victims were on the A12 or A45 trunk roads. 94


LITTLE OWL Athene noctua Fairly common resident. Reported from approximately 70 sites during the year, which is about average for this species. During the three previous years the number of sites varied from 60 to 85. As with the previous species, very few breeding records were received. One at North Warren, Sept. 17th is the first record for the reserve, while one at Landguard, Oct. 22nd continues the site's annual run of records which began in 1986. Fortunately, no road casualties were reported this year. TAWNY OWL Strix aluco Common resident. Records were received from 66 sites which must surely underestimate the true status of this species in Suffolk. On the Shotley Peninsula the calls of Tawny Owls are frequently heard in the small hours of the night and this is probably true of many areas in the County. One roosted in No. 30 shed at Felixstowe Docks from Jan. 1st to Feb. 28th where it fed on a diet of Starlings and another occurred in the same area on Aug. 27th. These records may relate to the regular Landguard bird which was recorded in every month from April to November. Road casualties were reported from Haughley Park, Long Melford, Stanton and Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford. Site totals of breeding pairs included 11 at Minsmere, four at Shotley and three at North Warren, Aldeburgh. LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. This species was so poorly reported that all records received can be listed. In the first winter period a roost of up to seven birds occurred during January and February at a traditional site in the south of the County. Elsewhere, singles were seen at Kedington, Jan 11th; Tunstall Common, Jan. 17th; Butley, Jan. 25th and Barking, Mar. 1st. The only spring migrants were recorded at Landguard on Apr. 2nd and 22nd with two on the latter date. This species is notoriously difficult to locate and the total of three breeding records is without doubt a gross underestimate of the species' true status in Suffolk. At Minsmere, a pair raised at least one young, a pair bred successfully near Sutton and two or three young were heard calling in a plantation near Timworth. Autumn passage was the poorest for many years with just one migrant at Landguard on Oct. 5th. There were no reports at all during the second winter period. With records of live birds from only nine sites during the year, it is alarming to report road casualties from Icklingham, Ipswich, Knettishall, Long Melford and Stowmarket (two). On the brighter side however, perhaps this helps to provide evidence that this most nocturnal of our owls is definitely far more widespread than records suggest. An insight into the movements of this species is provided by the discovery of a dead individual at Mildenhall, Feb. 14th that had been ringed in Sweden (see Ringing Report). SHORT-EARED OWL Asio flammeus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. In the first winter period records were received from 18 different sites, mainly on the coast, totalling about 31 birds. The highest site totals involved four in the Fisher Row/Oulton Marshes area during January; four on Orfordness, Mar. 22nd and three on Stradishall Airfield in February. Spring records were sparse and mainly related to birds lingering at wintering sites, the last report involving a migrant at Landguard, May 28th. During the summer up to two 95


birds were recorded from Havergate Island and on nearby Orfordness on five dates ir June, eleven in July and one in August, although no proof of breeding was forthcoming At least one was at another coastal site in June. Autumn passage commenced with singles at six sites in September followed by an upsurge in reports during October when birds were located at 16 sites. Four individuals were seer flying in off the sea at Landguard, Oct. 12th with singles similarly reported in October from Southwold, 7th and 11th and Ness Point, Lowestoft, 11th. The highest site total reported during October involved seven at Trimley Marshes, 16th. During the second winter period, numbers seemed to be rather low with no more than two reported from any one site. The Aide/Ore BoEE count recorded a total of 11 scattered along the whole estuary complex on Dec. 13th. Well away from the more typical haunts, one was at Chelsworth, Mar. 28th.

NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. The joint BTO/RSPB survey carried out during the summer produced an unprecedented total of 317 territories, of which 150 were in Breckland and 167 on the coast. This figure represents a considerable increase on all previous surveys and estimates for the County 1981 1988 1992

Coast 34 150 167

Breckland 89 119 150

Total 123 269 317

These figures must surely be in no small part due to the effects of the devastating winds of October 1987 which originally helped to create great swathes of suitable habitat for this species. The first report of the year came from Minsmere where a bird was located on May 14th and the same site also produced the last report with one present on Sept. 13th. One in the reserve car park at Lackford W.R., Aug. 19th constitutes the first record for the site while sightings of coastal migrants involved singles at Fagbury Cliff on Aug. 18th and Landguard Bird Observatory on Sept. 4th. One found long dead in a workshop in Felixstowe Docks, July 17th had been ringed at Tunstall Common in 1990 (see Ringing Report).

SWIFT Apus apus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first bird of the year was noted over Westwood Marshes, Walberswick NNR, Apr. 21st and a further 22 were reported before the end of the month. Spring passage was generally rather poor, the only noteworthy counts being a total of 132 south and 20 north at Landguard during May and 650 in off the sea and then south at the same site on June 5th. Breeding season reports were few but one observer highlighted a continued decline at Felixstowe. The largest flock reported during the year was a rather meagre 270 at North Warren, July 13th, and this was reflected in the southerly migration from mid-July onwards which was just as poor as in the spring. The only counts of any note came from the south of the County; at Landguard the highest count during July was 230 south on 13th whilst in August counts of 450, 850 and 625 were made there on 6th, 12th and 16th respectively. Additionally, 200 flew south at Bawdsey, Aug. 3rd. Interestingly, a Felixstowe observer considered the number of September records over the town to be the highest since 1985 and down the road at Landguard, 189 were logged flying south during that month. Elsewhere, a further 162 birds were reported during September with the last bird of the year being at Chelmondiston on 28th. 96


A L P I N E S W I F T Apus

melba

Very rare visitor. The second consecutive year for this species in Suffolk, bringing the County total to 14 individuals. The erroneous total in last year's report assumed that the individuals at Dunwich and Benacre on May 2nd 1987 related to différent birds. They were in fact accepted by the British Birds Rarities Committee as both relating to the same individuai. Dunwich: May 23rd (BJS). Like most records of the species, this individuai were only present for a short time. Those observers hoping to add this species to their County lists need the luck of being in the right place at the right time. KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis Fairly common resident.

Düring the course of the year this species was reported front 70 locations but despite the fact that pairs were seen at several locations during the summer, indications of breeding was only received from five sites. An analysis of the records shows that birds have remained faithful to most of their regulär haunts in the County. Bridges and sluice gâtes on the tributaries ofmost of our estuaries and rivers remain favoured sites for the species, particularly during the winter. However, Kingfishers often turn up on the smallest of lakes and ponds — one on Beech Water in Chantry Park, Ipswich on Aug. 9th is the third record for the site. Records from such sites most often occur during late summer and autumn when juveniles are dispersing from breeding sites; such movements are also likely to account for the individuai at Landguard, Sept. 16th. Lackford W.R. remains a good place to see this species with up to four noted almost daily during October to December and three pairs bred in the area. An interesting record from Chattisham, Aug. 1 Ith relates to an unfortunate individuai brought in by a cat; despite being released, the bird was found dead the next day. BEE-EATER Merops apiaster Very rare visitor. Analysing reports of this highly mobile species is difficult and the following records probably involve a total of three individuals. However, this is the largest number of birds 97


recorded in any year since 1955 when a party of seven was at Orford. Walberswick NNR: Westwood Marshes, two overhead for ten minutes drifted off inland, May 24th (MM, MRM, SHP). Minsmere: two May 24th (per RSPB) (presumed same as Walberswick birds); May 26th (GRW). H O O P O E Upupa epops Scarce passage migrant. Only two were reported during the spring, the poorest showing since 1985. South Cove: April 19th (Dr. NC & Mrs. DC). Minsmere: May 10th (AJM). During the autumn three individuals were noted and rather unexpectedly, a bird was found in December at Higham near Bury St. Edmunds. This would have been the latest for Suffolk, but for the late acceptance of the 1987 record below: Dunwich: Cliffs, Oct. 14th to 17th (Sir AGH). Aldeburgh: North Warren, Sept. 16th (JAD, RNM). Felixstowe: South Felixstowe/Landguard, Sept. 11th to 14th (LBO et al.). Higham: Lower Green, Dec. 18th and 19th (AMo). 1987 Woolverstone: Dec. 31st. (RP, SP). The 1987 record constitutes the latest record for the County â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and on a date which can never be beaten! WRYNECK Jynx torquilla Uncommon passage migrant. Formerly bred. The comments in Suffolk Birds 1992 that this species is becoming scarcer in spring were borne out in 1992 when just two individuals were found. Autumn passage was slightly better, with five birds noted but compared with the number reported from nearby Norfolk in most years, Suffolk is clearly not favoured by this species: Minsmere: Scott's Hall, Sept. 18th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Sept. 25th to 27th. Felixstowe: Landguard, two Sept. 18th to 20th; Sept. 26th to 29th. Hawstead: Apr. 1st. Thetford: Lodge Warren, Apr. 25th. The Hawstead bird constitutes the earliest date published in a Suffolk Bird Report since regular records began in 1950. GREEN WOODPECKER Picus viridis Common resident. Records were received from about 100 sites which, although slightly down on the previous year, is probably only a reflection of fluctuations in recorder coverage. At well-monitored sites, nine pairs were located at North Warren and 12 territories were found at Minsmere. This latter figure represents the lowest number on the reserve since 1987. The highest count received from a single site came from Sutton Common where seven birds were located, Aug. 10th whilst a somewhat unusual record involved a bird flying over Ipswich Docks, Nov. 26th. Indications of movement by this species came from Landguard where singles were reported on Apr. 1st and Aug. 1st and 2nd. The April bird constitutes the first spring record for the site. G R E A T S P O T T E D W O O D P E C K E R Dendrocopos

major

Common resident. The total of 90 sites from which reports of this species were received is considerably lower than the figure of 118 in 1991 but compares well with the 87 localities reported 98


in 1990. Once again, fluctuations in observer coverage are probably the reason for these apparent swings in population levels. Breeding season reports were more widespread than for the previous species but similarly, the total of 13 territories at Minsmere represents a fall in numbers. Post-breeding dispersal of juveniles produced singles at Landguard on July 17th, Aug. 6th, Sept. 26th and Oct. 19th. An interesting observation involved a bird feeding on thistle heads at Levington Research Station on Sept. 1st; the bird was presumably finding a good supply of insects on them. L E S S E R S P O T T E D W O O D P E C K E R Dendrocopos minor Uncommon resident. Coverage of this species is usually good and, consequently, the total of 48 sites from which reports were received represents a worrying drop in numbers compared with the figure of 60 in 1991. This total is the lowest since the late 1970s when observer coverage was less intensive. Signs of breeding activity were reported from several sites but confirmation came from few. On the RSPB reserves, three pairs were found at Minsmere and single pairs at North Warren and Wolves Wood. The total at Minsmere continues to decline and this would appear to be reflected in the rest of the County. Observers are urged to keep an eye (or at least an ear) open for this species and to submit all sightings so that a realistic assessment of the County's population can be achieved. S H O R T - T O E D L A R K Calandrella Very rare visitor.

brachydactyla

Felixstowe: Landguard, Sept. 23rd to 25th (NO et al.). The sixth record for Suffolk and the first since one at Benacre, Sept. 11th 1982. This bird appeared at the peak time (late September/early October) for the species. It performed very obligingly, feeding in the open with Meadow Pipits and allowing many observers to enjoy its stay. W O O D L A R K Lullula arborea Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. Disappointingly, after last year's showing, there were no winter records in 1992. The earliest record received came from Breckland on Mar. 14th when ten were present at a single locality. The last report came from the coast on Nov. 27th. Again, presumably most Suffolk birds migrate south in winter, with a few lingering on arable land in mild years. The total of 76 singing males in Suffolk Breckland is almost double that of 1991 when 99


39 were found; all of these were in the Thetford Forest â&#x20AC;&#x201D; none were located on heathland areas.

The Sandlings Woodlark census showed another dramatic increase in breeding numbers when compared with the last two years. As can be seen from the table below, an overall increase of almost 45% has taken place within the three breeding seasons concerned. This is due partly to a dramatic increase in suitable habitat after the 1987 storm and also to a positive attitude towards Woodlarks by Forest Enterprise with the setting up of specially managed areas for the species. Suffolk Sandlings totals (supplied by BTO Regional Representative). 1992 1991 1990 34 16-18 16 Heathland 72-79 62 43-47 Forest areas 106-113 78 59-65 Total Coastal autumn reports were as follows: Covehithe: Oct. 18th. Minsmere: Sept. 30th; Oct. 10th and 11th; eight Oct. 12th; Oct. 28th; two Nov. 6th. Iken: Iken Marshes, Oct. 5th; four Nov. 12th. Felixstowe: Landguard, two Sept. 27th; S., Oct. 14th; S., Oct. 19th. There is the possibility that the Minsmere and Iken sightings refer to localised movements of breeding birds rather than passage migrants. Given the proximity of the Breckland breeding population it is surprising to record that one flying south over Lackford W . R . , Nov. 14th is the site's first record of this species; it is also the latest Breckland Woodlark for at least 25 years. Almost 500 Woodlarks have been colour-ringed in Suffolk, mainly in Breckland, since 1986 by Ron Hoblyn. Observers are requested to check closely for colour rings on any Woodlarks they may find and inforn Ron Hoblyn (via the County Recorder). Details required include locality, date and combination of colour rings. Ideally, the complete combination of colour rings is required but incomplete details can also be of considerable use. 100


SKYLARK Alauda arvensis Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Several average-sized flocks were reported in the early part of the year, with the largest being 150 at Sudbourne, Jan. 24th. Breeding figures at scattered localities give some indication as to the true County status of this common breeder with totals of 65 singing males at Alderton Marshes, 16 at Minsmere and 38 at North warren. Autumn passage was rather quiet with 70 south at Aldeburgh, Sept. 27th and Landguard's peaks of 74 south, Oct. 14th and 119 in off the sea, Nov. 8th being the maxima. Sizeable flocks at the end of the year were also few; the only three figure totals were of 150, Barking Tye, Nov. 15th and 100, Sudbourne, Dec. 5th. S H O R E L A R K Eremophila

alpestris

Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. The small flock of six in the Benacre/Kessingland area remained from 1991 into 1992, reducing to five by Feb. 12th then four by mid-March. The last report during the early part of the year was of a single still there on Apr. 4th. N o records were received from elsewhere in the County during the first winter period. Possibly the same birds reappeared on Oct. lOth, when two were found near Benacre Pits. Totals there increased to three, Nov. 14th and then four, Nov. 21st, the latter number remaining into 1993, although nine were present on Dec. 24th. Pleasingly, records also came f r o m several other sites as follows: Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, Nov. 4th; seven Dec. 23rd. Minsmere: Oct. 24th to Dec. 12th, with four Nov. 14th and two Dec. 12th. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, three Dec. 26th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Oct. llth to 13th. It is difficult to estimate the exact numbers involved, but it seems likely that the Minsmere birds moved north to Easton Broad, then onward to Benacre, swelling the total there to nine on Dec. 24th. S A N D M A R T I N Riparia

riparia

Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The annual 'Sand Martin Challenge' for the earliest arrivai in the County was, as usuai, a close contest! Lackford W . R . claimed the prize with one on Mar. 7th, narrowly beating birds at Minsmere and Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin on Mar. 8th. A more general arrivai took place two weeks later on Mar. 21st when there were increased numbers at the above sites and birds appeared at several other locations. Later in the spring, a major movement resulted in a report of 1,500 at Lackford W . R . , May 8th. Few breeding season counts were received this year, but impressive colonies included 721 'active holes' between Southwold and Easton Broad and 366 pairs at Dunwich Cliffs. Clearly, the coastal cliffs provide an important breeding habitat for the species and one wonders what effect the massive coastal Êrosion, particularly near Dunwich and Covehithe, might be having on breeding numbers. Counts of nesting holes at Gipping Valley gravel/ chalk pits were received from Great Blakenham (150), Bramford (75) and Barking (50). At Trimley, 800 were counted in mid-May, and 500 roosted at a regulär site near Levington, July 30th. Both counts perhaps involved birds from colonies at Levington. Autumn figures showed a relatively quiet passage with only two October reports received, involving singles at Minsmere on Ist and Lackford W . R . on 20th. Landguard Bird Observatory counts of southerly movements produced 325, July 22nd; 214 in August and 604 in September. Perhaps the most unusual report of the year involved an albino at Dunwich on Aug. 4th. 101


SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant.

The first harbinger of spring was at Minsmere on Mar. 16th, the County's earliest arrival for 70 years. However, there were no further sightings until singles at Alton Water and Lackford W.R. on Apr. 7th and the main arrival occurred from Apr. 10th onwards. The species was widespread by late April and some observers reported the highest April numbers since 1987. Detailed breeding figures were almost non-existent; at Benhall Low Street, eight first broods produced 35 fledged young and seven second broods produced 32 young. The total o f t e n pairs at Over Hall Farm, Shotley is an improvement on the seven pairs there in 1991. Autumn passage was relatively quiet, apart from several large flocks, mainly occurring around Sept. 20th to 23rd. Felixstowe: Landguard, monthly totals S of 190 Aug., 9,140 Sept. (peaking at 2,850 on 12th) and 182 Oct. Levington: roost counts, 400 Aug. 14th; 1,200 Aug. 21st; 3,000 Sept. 19th; 2,500 Sept. 20th. Martlesham: 700 roosted on wires with House Martins Sept. 23rd. Lackford: Lackford W.R., 320 Sept. 23rd. During October, 22 records came from 16 mainly coastal sites, totalling 312 individuals. A few birds then lingered into November with singles at Ipswich, 10th; Landguard 5th, 7th and 10th; Benacre, 16th and Minsmere, 14th and 28th. A leucistic individual was reported from Trimley St. Mary, Sept. 13th. RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Hirundo daurica Very rare passage visitor. South wold: May 29th (TN). The species has now been recorded in Suffolk for four successive years, reflecting a 102


national trend. Typically, this year's bird showed itself only briefly to one fortunate observer. There have now been 11 County records totalling 12 individuals. H O U S E M A R T I N Delichon

urbica

Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Always the most tardy of the hirundines, Lackford W . R . reported the first bird of the year on Apr. 11th, with singles there and at Minsmere, Landguard and Long Melford all on 12th. During the last ten days of April, most notably 21st and 22nd, records came from 18 localities, marking the main arrival. General comments concerning the breeding season indicated that numbers were up, although in some areas a decrease was evident A prolonged breeding season, with birds still at the nest in October at Lowestoft and Wetherden, should have helped to give the population a much needed boost. An albino bird was reported from Long Melford on July 13th and 14th. Birds passing south in the autumn produced monthly totals at Landguard of 82 in August and 10,039 in September but only 113 in October (730 in Oct. 1991). Highest daily totals at the site included a count of 5,250 passing through on Sept. 16th. There had been reports totalling 79 birds in November 1991, but in November 1992 only four were noted, involving three south at Landguard on 5th and one over Felixstowe Docks on 17th. R I C H A R D ' S P I P I T Anthus

novaeseelandiae

Rare visitor.

Southwold: Town Marshes, Sept. 19th (JMC, SJL et al.). This elusive bird was seen and heard sporadically in flight only. The first named observer is developing an uncanny knack for finding this species in Suffolk! Considering the County's 103


east coast position, Suffolk receives a poor showing of this fine bird, this being only the 20th record. T A W N Y PIPIT Anthus campestris Rare passage migrant. Benacre: Denes and Pits, May 15th to 17th (RW et al.). Felixstowe: Landguard, Aug. 22nd to 25th (AB et al.). The sixth spring record (and the fourth in the County within four years) followed by the fourth autumn record in three years continues the good spell for this species. T R E E PIPIT Anthus trivialis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A record of two at Minsmere, Mar. 26th turned out to be a one-off occurrence and did not precede an early passage. Apart from one in Rendlesham Forest on Apr. 5th, most appeared on territory at the end of April with the 25th producing an upsurge in reports. Spring passage at Landguard saw birds there on Apr. 25th, 28th and 29th, May 2nd, 15th (two), 25th and 30th (three) and June 1st to 3rd. The only detailed breeding statistics came from Minsmere where 15 territories were located and the Walberswick/Dunwich area with 24 pairs. Although numbers reported from many sites were low, observers felt that the breeding season was successful, with good numbers of juveniles seen. Autumn passage at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary was noted between Aug. 18th and Sept. 26th, with two present on four dates. At Landguard, passage was logged on seven dates in August including eight south on 26th and a total of 23 south during September, peaking at five on 4th. The last records of the year came on Oct. 4th from Landguard and Minsmere. M E A D O W PIPIT Anthus pratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. During the early part of the year, small flocks were reported from scattered localities with 40 at Barking Tye, Feb. 16th and 40 at Dunwich Forest, Feb. 12th being the largest. This species is drastically under-recorded (as befalls many common species) and is presumably much more numerous and widespread than records suggest. Too few spring passage reports were received to produce any sort of analysis but Gipping Valley reports included 60, Barking Tye, Apr. 6th and 20, Baylham, Apr. 5th. Breeding season reports indicated lower numbers than normal. The most detailed counts came from the well monitored RSPB reserves where 12 territories were located at Minsmere (16 in 1991 and 24 in 1990) and 20 at North Warren â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Minsmere figures are surely cause for concern. Elsewhere, 27 pairs were reported from the Walberswick/Dunwich area. Passage was noted at several, mainly coastal, sites in the autumn with the highest counts listed below. Covehithe: 100 Sept. 16th. South wold: 362 S. in three hours, Sept. 19th; 329 S., Sept. 20th. Minsmere: 1,200 S. in one hour, Sept. 17th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 100 Sept. 10th. Felixstowe: Landguard, monthly totals of 1,980 S. in Sept., 1,005 in Oct. and 95 in Nov. Observations at Landguard peaked at a maximum day count of 425 south on Sept. 26th, a day when there were also 150 grounded on the reserve. RED-THROATED PIPIT Anthus cervinus Accidental. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Oct 11th (MDC). 104


Only the second record for Suffolk, this bird occurred on a typical date and was one of about 12 reported in Britain during Oct. 1992. This species is proving to be very difficult to get to grips with in the County with several 'probables' over the last few years flying straight through without stopping to provide confirmation. R O C K P I P I T Anthus

petrosus

Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. During the first part of the year, 37 individuals were reported from 18 localities, the last record being on Apr. 18th at Levington. All sites were coastal and the highest numbers involved counts of four at Gedgrave Marshes, Feb. 23rd and Trimley Marshes, Mar. 9th. Of those reported, three were subspecifically identified as being of the race A. p. littoralis from Fennoscandia and north-west Russia â&#x20AC;&#x201D; one at Landguard, Mar. 20th and two at Trimley Marshes, Mar. 9th. In the autumn, the first report was of one moving south at Landguard, Sept. 18th with monthly totals in the County then being as follows: S o N D 7

42

29

28

The above figures include 18 south and three north at Landguard in October, five at Levington, Oct. 11th and 23 south at Landguard in November. These figures indicate a strong autumn passage, most notably in October. A group of 19 birds on Southwold Golf Course on Dec. 9th were all considered to be of the race A. p. littoralis, as were six at Trimley Marshes, Dec. 25th. Subspecific identification of this species is far from easy and at times impossible, except when birds are attaining their distinctive breeding dress in spring. It is therefore surprising that 25 birds should be subspecifically identified as littoralis late in the year, but only three early in the year. Recent speculation that perhaps all records in Suffolk refer to Scandinavian birds is not borne out by the presence of two birds identified by a competent observer as being of the nominate race A. p. petrosus at Southwold on Oct. 8th. Two Swedish ringing recoveries in Suffolk in the last two years help to confirm the presence of Scandinavian birds, but the picture is still far from clear. W A T E R P I P I T Anthus

spinoletta

Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. In the early part of the year, the species was noted at five typical coastal sites with singles at Benacre Broad and Easton Broad, Jan. 1st and Eastbridge, Feb. 23rd and two at North Warren, Jan. 24th. However, Minsmere remains the County's most regular site for this species with monthly maxima of three in January, four in February and up to ten in late March. The latter total probably included spring passage birds. The last spring bird was in full summer plumage at Minsmere on May 2nd, a relatively late date. During the latter half of the year, after an early arrival at Minsmere on Sept. 1st, records were received from seven widespread localities but again only Minsmere recorded more than just single birds. Records were as follows: Lowestoft: North Denes, Oct. 11th. Benacre: Broad and Pits, Oct. 17th until year's end. Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, Nov. 21st; Dec. 23rd and 28th. Minsmere: Sept. 1st and 23rd; three Sept. 30th; up to five during Oct.; three during Nov; up to four in Dec. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Dec. 29th; Slaughden, Nov. 15th. Trimley Marshes: Dec. 25th. As with the preceding species, it is interesting that the bulk of records should come at a time when the separation of this species from Rock Pipits of the race A. p. littoralis is most difficult. 105


Y E L L O W W A G T A I L Motacilla flava Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first report involved an early bird at Sudbourne Marshes on Mar. 22nd. Thereafter, reports came from just three sites in early April and the main influx was generally late, occurring from Apr. 19th onwards. The highest counts during April involved 14 at Bawdsey, 26th; 11, King's Fleet, Felixstowe, 21st; 20, Shotley, 24th and 24, Trimley Marshes, 22nd. Spring monthly totals were as follows: M A M 1

91

73

Southerly spring passage at Landguard totalled 45 in May. Rather disappointingly, records were received from only eight localities during the midsummer months with details of confirmed breeding from just four sites. With ten pairs reported from Shotley Marshes, it seems unlikely that such a high number should be present at one locality with none at other similar sites but several well-watched areas are known to have been under-recorded. The County Recorder would like to receive all records of this species during the breeding season in future. The expected late summer/early autumn gatherings and roosts were rather poor this year, the only noteworthy figures being 20, Alton Water, Sept. 1st; 50, Levington, Sept. 12th; 60, Shingle Street, Sept. 10th and 30, Trimley Marshes, Aug. 7th. Southerly autumn passage at Landguard from July 30th totalled 183 in August and 174 in September with a maximum day count of 43 on Aug. 26th. The only October records came from Landguard with singles moving south on 7th, 15th and 29th. The above records all refer to reports of the local race flavissima , or those not racially identified. Other races were reported as follows: Blue-headed Wagtail M. f . flava Reported from seven sites with eight in spring between Apr. 26th and May 23rd and one in the autumn at Shingle Street, Sept. 11th. Grey-headed Wagtail M. f . thunbergi Suffolk received its share of a national influx of this race which breeds in Scandinavia with singles at Lackford W . R . , May 20th; Southwold, May 25th and Trimley Marshes, May 28th to 30th. Landguard hosted four, May 30th with three still present,May 31st and one remaining to June 5th. These birds, two males and two females, were present on a day when Landguard also held Marsh and Wood Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Red-footed Falcon!!

G R E Y W A G T A I L Motacilla cinerea Fairly common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. This species is generally well-recorded and reports came from 47 sites, a little down on average and perhaps not the full picture. This species is increasing in the County and birds now overwinter on the smallest of farm ponds and ditches. Early in the year, reports came from 21 localities involving 32 individuals. Some of these birds were perhaps local breeders as five of these sites held six of the seven pairs found breeding during the summer. The breeding population may well be larger than this as reports were received from 16 localities during the summer months. Monthly totals: J f m a m j j a s o n d 17

10

20

11

20

9

14

6

33

32

3

5

The above table clearly shows an increase in sightings during migration periods, 106


particularly in autumn. Most of this passage was noted at coastal sites and selected records include: Minsmere: singles on nine dates between Sept. 20th and Oct. 18th. Felixstowe: Landguard, southerly passage included singles, Aug. 19th and Sept. 1st, a total of 24 in period Sept. 20th to Oct. 2nd (max. four Sept. 26th) and singles Oct. 8th, 19th and 22nd. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Sept. 20th, 21st, 25th and 26th; Oct. 4th, 6th and 27th. One was reported foraging on the sea defence blocks at Ness Point, Lowestoft on Sept. 23rd.

PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. It is difficult to get a clear picture of this common but under-recorded species. At the start of the year, only three sizeable flocks were noted which involved roost counts of 50, Kessingland Sewage Works, Jan. 15th; 73, Long Melford Sewage Works, Jan. 2nd and 60, Martlesham Police Headquarters, Feb. 12th. There seems to be a general consensus of opinion that breeding numbers were lower than usual but that autumn numbers picked up quickly in September. Passage through Landguard gave monthly totals of 54 in September, 138 in October and 15 in November. The highest gatherings reported in the second winter period involved 145 at Glemsford, Nov. 17th and 58 nearby at Long Melford, Dec. 25th. Positive identifications of the Continental White Wagtail M. a. alba are excluded from the above account. Reports of this race were received from 16 localities and involved 32 birds. Spring records began with early birds at Kessingland Sewage Works, Feb. 21st and Minsmere, Mar. 4th. The last was reported from Landguard, June 1st. Typically, the majority appeared in April with the largest gathering being of six at The Haven, Aldeburgh on 9th whilst three were at Landguard on 1st. The following table of monthly totals illustrates the pattern of occurrences of White Wagtails in spring: F M A M J 1

6

19

3

1

In the autumn, two singles were seen in September, at Brightwell on 10th and Shingle Street on 23rd.

W A X W I N G Bombycilla garrulus Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Reports from the early part of the year involved the remnants of the 1991 influx and signalled the end of the recent run of good winters for this species. Birds lingered at one traditional site but later appeared to disperse and a few wandering individuals then turned up at several scattered localities. The last record came from Reydon on Mar. 16th. Lowestoft/Pakefield: Bloodmoor Road, Jan. 1st to 14th max. 24 Jan. 1st; town centre, five Jan. 18th; Long Road, six Feb. 22nd; four Feb. 23rd; Westwood Road, five Feb. 25th. Reydon: seven Feb. 18th and 19th; six Mar. 14th and 16th; eight Mar. 15th. Sudbourne: five Jan. 1st. Butley: Jan. 11th. Felixstowe: two Jan. 13th; Landguard, Feb. 2nd. Needham Market: Feb. 22nd. Stowmarket: Jan. 4th. Kedington: Feb. 14th. Those in the Lowestoft area were perhaps all part of the same flock and those at Reydon may also have been from this group. 107


DIPPER Cinclus cinclus Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. The bird of the Continental race C. c. cinclus first located on Belstead Brook, Ipswich on Nov. 7th 1991 remained there to Mar. 28th. WREN Troglodytes troglodytes Very common resident. This widespread species will perhaps always be under-recorded, making assessments of population trends difficult. At regularly monitored sites, Minsmere reported 170 territories and North Warren staff found 59 pairs, figures that are higher than in previous years. At Groton Wood, 21 singing males were located (23 in 1991) and a Felixstowe observer considered that numbers had peaked in 1989 and are now declining in the area. In the autumn, numbers at Landguard built up to ten by the end of September and peaked at 12 on Oct. 2nd but fell to six by the month's end. An unusual bird with greenish upperparts, described as " . . . looking like a short-tailed Chiffchaff in flight", was observed at Dunwich Heath, Nov. 22nd. DUNNOCK Prunella modularis Very common resident and passage migrant. With records from just five sites, this common bird suffers the same lack of regular monitoring as the previous species. Accurate breeding season figures came from Minsmere and North Warren with counts of 61 and 48 territories respectively. At Groton Wood, only six singing males were located, compared with nine the previous year. Observations at Landguard Bird Observatory (LBO) once again help to highlight movements of a species once thought to be sedentary. Visible migration there produced a total of 100 south between Sept. 1st and Nov. 6th, peaking at 36 south, Sept. 19th. Such movements are highlighted by the monthly ringing totals of this species at LBO: J 0

F 0

M 9

A 1

M 13

J 23

J 24

A 16

S 57

O 20

N 0

D 0

These figures indicate a light spring passage in March and a heavier autumn passage in September and October. The high totals for May to August mainly involve locally reared juveniles. In December, a small party of seven birds was noted feeding together on the old railway line at North Warren, Aldeburgh. ROBIN Erithacus rubecula Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Spring passage passed almost unnoticed in the County with a maximum day count of ten birds being logged at Landguard Bird Observatory on Apr. 10th, decreasing to two at the month's end. An early breeding attempt was reported from Ingham where a nest with young was found on Apr. 2nd. At regularly monitored sites, population counts included 86 territories at Minsmere, 42 at North Warren (45 in 1991) and 11 at Groton Wood. Autumn passage was noted from mid-September but the main passage occurred from Sept. 26th and continued into early October with a further influx during early November. Landguard Bird Observatory recorded maximum day counts of 40, Sept. 26th and 27th; 35, Sept. 28th; 30, Sept. 29th and 30th; 40, Oct. 3rd to 5th and 25, Nov. 9th. Smaller influxes at other sites included 20 at Bawdsey, Sept. 27th and five at Benacre Broad, Oct. 8th. NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. The first spring bird was reported from Landguard, Apr. 19th, quickly followed by 108


reports from seven widely distributed sites on Apr. 21st and a more general arrival by Apr. 26th. A tardy passage bird was still at Landguard, June 2nd. A total of 178 singing males was recorded which represents a fall when compared with the previous year but is probably explained by a drop in recorder coverage. Recent County totals of singing males are as follows: 1986 150

1987 170

1988 180

1989 184

1990 173

1991 207

1992 178

These figures can be compared with the more thorough 1980 BTO survey which produced a total of 367 singing males in the County. Territory counts at main monitoring sites involved 35 at Minsmere (24 in 1991), 19 at North Warren (11 in 1991), 11 at Wolves Wood (19 in 1991) and eight at Groton Wood. The overall total was thus a little down on the previous year but the increases at Minsmere and North Warren are encouraging. Changes in habitat are bound to affect numbers of this species at individual sites. A good example of site fidelity came from Bawdsey where a bird trapped in 1988 was retrapped in 1989, 1990 and again in 1992. This skulking species is always difficult to find once singing ceases and the latest reports came mainly from ringing sites: Minsmere: Sept. 16th. Felixstowe: Landguard, July 31st. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Aug. 9th to Oct. 1st with two Aug. 16th. BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica Scarce passage migrant. Minsmere: o' of red-spotted race L. s. svecica May 23rd (MLC, IR, BJS). A typical date. This is the sixteenth spring record for Suffolk during the last decade (see table below), but there have only been seven since 1985. 1983 1

1984 3

1985 5

1986 0

1987 2

1988 1

1989 0

1990 2

1991 1

1992 1

BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus ochruros Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Overwintering birds were recorded at Landguard from Jan. 7th to at least Feb. 3rd (with perhaps the same bird on Mar. 2nd) and in Felixstowe Docks during January and February. At Sizewell, a male was present, Feb. 11th and 18th and a female/immature also on 18th. Spring records were received from 15 sites during March/April with the first on Mar. 14th and peaks of five at Sizewell, Apr. 19th and five at Landguard, Mar. 20th and Apr. 10th and 11th. Most reports came from coastal locations but single birds were also noted in early April at Glemsford and Long Melford, 7th and Walsham-le-Willows, 2nd. Song was first noted at Felixstowe Docks on Feb. 14th (the same date as last year) and singing males were also reported from 12 other sites although this probably understates the total as apparent pairs were observed at other localities where singing was not heard. Actual breeding was confirmed for five pairs involving a total of six broods with a high probability of breeding at several other sites: Lowestoft: at least four singing cr a' but only one pair definitely bred. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell Power Stations, at least two pairs present during April/May. Bawdsey: Bawdsey Manor, pair in suitable breeding habitat, Apr. 29th. Felixstowe: Landguard, present throughout summer with maximum of seven birds during June; Docks, two pairs confirmed breeding. Ipswich: Portman Road, singing cr on several dates. May 26th to June 20th; Wet Dock, seen and heard on several dates May 11th to July 8th. Haverhill: Industrial Estate, two pairs raised 11 young (one pair double-brooded). The singing male in Portman Road chose to take up residence at the Ipswich Town 109


Football Ground. Whilst presumably enjoying the peace of the 'close season', it nevertheless managed to survive a Dire Straits concert! Autumn passage was recorded at 13 sites, inevitably mostly coastal, from Lowestoft to Landguard with a peak of five at the latter site on Oct. 12th. The only inland report came from Lackford W . R . on Sept. 25th. December records came from Easton Bavents, Size well (2), Felixstowe Ferry, Landguard and, most interestingly, Preston St. Mary. REDSTART Phoenicians phoenicurus Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Spring records were rather sparse with the first bird not recorded until Apr. 19th at Landguard, followed by twos and threes there on several dates to the month's end, and one or two on eight dates in May up to 30th. However, breeding birds were obviously on territory in good time with four males reported on Sutton Heath, Apr. 25th. An interesting record involved one on Havergate Island, June 18th and 19th. Although there was an apparent reduction in singing males from 28 in 1991 to 23 in 1992, no figures are available from important breeding areas at Wantisden and Thetford Forest. Breeding reports included the following: Walberswick/Dunwich: seven pairs (seven in 1991, 12 in 1990). Minsmere: eight pairs (ten in 1991, 18 in 1990). Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, three pairs (one in 1991). Sutton: Sutton Heath, four er cr (one in 1991). Autumn movements were noted at 17 sites with the first reported from Landguard, Aug. 18th. Peak movements occurred between Sept. 18th and 27th with highest counts of 12 at Fagbury Cliff, Sept. 19th to 21st and ten at Landguard, Sept. 18th. During September, 36 were trapped at Fagbury Cliff. A bird at Landguard on Nov. 9th constitutes the latest County record since one at Tangham, Capel St. Andrew on Nov. 22nd 1975. WHINCHAT SaxĂ­cola rubetra Common passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Singletons were first noted at Alton Water and Landguard, Apr. 26th with passage continuing at the latter site almost daily until early May with a peak of five, May 13th. In West Suffolk, singles were present at Long Melford, Apr. 30th and Horringer, May 13th. This species has almost disappeared as a breeding species from Suffolk with just one confirmed breeding report received from the west of the County. Three juveniles were present at an East Suffolk site in early September and were still there some three weeks later; although in suitable breeding habitat, autumn migration was well under way by this time and no adults were reported. Breeding numbers have fluctuated widely in the last ten years with 20 pairs reported as recently as 1987 and perhaps 16 pairs in 1990. It is possible that some pairs are going unrecorded and observers are requested to supply confidential breeding reports to the County Recorder. Autumn passage was far more encouraging, commencing on Aug. 8th and involving reports from 32 sites. Most records fell within the periods Aug. 20th to 26th and Sept. 18th to 25th and included peak counts of 18 at Minsmere, Sept. 20th and 21st and 13 at Landguard, Aug. 26th. The last sightings involved singles at Minsmere and Landguard, Oct. 3rd and Waldringfield, Oct. 11th. STONECHAT SaxĂ­cola torquata Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Once again, the species was present in good numbers during the breeding season with reports of territorial pairs from 21 sites along the coast from Dunwich to Hollesley. 110


Minsmere again had a good year with seven territories located and eight pairs were on Dun wich Heath. Autumn/winter records were received from 23 coastal or near-coastal sites with the exception of two birds at Barsham, Nov. 20th. At Landguard, the first winter period provided one on Jan. 26th and one to three daily from Feb. 28th to Mar. 6th whilst the autumn produced two, Oct. 12th and singles on six other dates in October. There were no reports from West Suffolk this year. W H E A T E A R Oenanthe oenanthe Common passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Lakenheath Airfield exercised its magnetic pull on this species for the third year running with an early bird on Mar. 2nd. Single males then followed at Foxhole Heath, Eriswell, Mar. 8th and Trimley Marshes, Mar. 15th. Thereafter, records were received from 17 sites to the end of March with peak counts of 22 at Landguard, Mar. 20th and nine at Cavenham Heath, Mar. 21st. A later, heavier movement, partly involving the larger, Greenland birds O. o. leucorhoa , occurred during late April and early May and included: Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, six Apr. 23rd. Felixstowe: Landguard, 11 Apr. 19th; 12 Apr. 24th; 35 Apr. 25th; 25 Apr. 26th and 27th; 30 Apr. 30th; in May, peak of 33 on 1st, then double-figure counts daily to 14th when 18 present. Trimley Marshes: four May 8th; five May 10th. Great Waldingfield: eight Apr. 29th. Wortham: Wortham Ling, six May 2nd. Regrettably, just three breeding pairs were located during the summer. Two pairs bred at Landguard but young of the second pair were predated. Interestingly, the male of the second pair had been ringed as a juvenile at Landguard in 1991. Four young were raised by the only breeding pair to be reported from the west of Suffolk where at least 54 pairs had been located in a Breckland census in 1976. A single bird at Havergate Island, Aug. 4th, and three at Trimley Marshes, Aug. 11th were the forerunners of the autumn movement which started in earnest on Aug. 14th with 19 at Landguard. Totals at Landguard peaked during the period Aug. 23rd to 29th when at least 25 were present daily with maximum counts of 32 on 26th and 28th; on the latter date there were also 14 nearby at Trimley Marshes. Smaller numbers were recorded throughout September and into October and included an unusual leucistic bird in Felixstowe Docks, Sept. 25th and 26th which superficially resembled an Isabelline Wheatear O. isabellina. (see p. 143). The last reports involved single birds at Trimley Marshes, Nov. 1st and Landguard, Nov. 9th and 10th. RING O U Z E L Turdus torquatus Fairly common passage migrant. A reasonable spring with records coming from seven sites between Apr. 12th and May 11th, mostly from the coastal strip: Lound: cr Apr. 17th. Lowestoft: North Denes, Ç , two cr cr, Apr. 16th — ç remained to Apr. 17th, one cr to Apr. 18th. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, May 2nd. Minsmere: Apr. 18th; ç May 11th. Felixstowe: Landguard, two Apr. 30th. Trimley St. Mary: Cordy's Lane, Apr. 12th. Sudbury: cr Apr. 16th. Autumn passage was noted from Sept. 4th to Oct. 23rd with most records during the period Oct. 4th to 7th. Lowestoft: Warrenhouse Wood, Sept. 4th. Southwold: two Oct. 7th, 8th and 9th. (records not necessarily relating to the same birds.) Westleton: Little Dingle, Oct. 9th. Ill


Minsmere: Sept. 12th; Oct. 7th. Sutton: Sutton Common, two Oct 7th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Oct. 20th. Felixstowe: The Grove, Sept. 24th; Peewit Hill, Oct. 4th; three Oct. 7th; Landguard, Sept. 28th and 29th; four Oct. 5th; singles Oct. 4th, 6th, 12th and 23rd. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Oct. 4th to 6th; two Oct. 7th; Oct. 12th. Shotley: two Oct. 4th. BLACKBIRD Turdus merula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Signs of a mild winter were demonstrated by the discovery of a recently fledged juvenile at Bawdsey on Feb. 23rd. Reports of gatherings of birds in the early part of the year included 200 in the Fynn Valley between Tuddenham St. Martin and Witnesham, Jan. 17th. Landguard's largest spring influxes involved counts of 70 on Feb. 29th, 50 on Mar. 8th and 50 on Mar. 17th; there were also 20 on Lowestoft Denes on the latter date. During the breeding season, Minsmere staff recorded 28 territories and 52 pairs were logged at North Warren. Surveys at Groton Wood revealed 13 singing males. In the autumn, an increase in numbers was noted at Landguard from Sept. 27th but in general, the main influx occurred from mid-October to mid-November: Lowestoft: noticeable influx Oct. 14th. Southwold: St. Edmund's Churchyard, 30 Oct. 12th. Felixstowe: The Grove, noticeable influxes Oct. 14th and Nov. 20th; Landguard, 60 Oct. 30th and 31st; 250 Nov. 9th; also late fall of 50 Dec. 9th. Trimley St. Mary: 200 Oct. 31st. At Benhall, one observer considered that the influx was later than usual and numbers were lower than in recent years â&#x20AC;&#x201D; perhaps again a reflection of mild weather. FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris Common winter visitor and passage migrant. During the first winter period, reports came from 47 parishes. Flock sizes ranged from ten to 1,150 with many of 50 to 250 in number. Largest flocks were reported as follows: Halesworth: 1,156 SW, Jan. 24th. Sudbourne: Crag Farm, up to 1,000 during January. Wantisden: Staverton Park, 500 Jan. 26th. Raydon: Lower Raydon, 500 Jan. 14th. Pre-emigration gatherings and spring passage flocks were in evidence from early March onwards into April. The largest totals were mainly in West Suffolk: Beccles: 200 Apr. 5th. Boxford: 500 Mar. 20th. Eriswell: 310 Apr. 2nd; Foxhole Heath, 350 Mar. 8th. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, 150 Apr. 11th. Mildenhall: 300 Mar. 20th. Ixworth Thorpe: 200 Apr. 9th. Market Weston: 250 Mar. 26th. Late individuals were reported from Lowestoft, May 6th and Minsmere, May 10th. The first autumn bird was at Trimley St. Martin, Sept. 18th but there were no further sightings until eight at Minsmere, Oct. 1st. During October, reports were generally of small numbers although 35 were at Stowmarket, Oct. 16th and 60 at the King's Forest, Oct. 29th. Numbers during November and December remained low, the largest flocks being: East Bergholt: 200 Dec. 30th. Lackford: 200 Nov. 15th. Long Melford: Kentwell Hall, 200 Nov. 15th. Two partially albinistic birds were noted at Walsham-le-Willows, Feb. 15th to 17th. 112


16: Concern over a dĂŠclinĂŠ in Skylark numbers has eased with a change in the setaside laws.

17: This Tawny Pipit at Landugard continues the recent run of good years for this species in Suffolk.


: Song thrushes remained scarce in 1992 with many observers reporting continued low numbers.

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19: A migrant's-eye view of Landguard Point.


S O N G T H R U S H Turdus

philomelos

Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Spring passage passed almost unnoticed in the County. However, regular monitoring at Landguard Bird Observatory produced a notable influx of 25, Feb. 29th (see Blackbird) and a smaller influx of ten individuals, Mar. 17th; a total of 40 birds was ringed there between February and April. Interestingly, three were seen flying in off the sea at Landguard on Apr. 22nd. Breeding territories at Minsmere and North Warren totalled 14 and 11 respectively with four at Groton Wood (five in 1991). These totals indicate that Song Thrush numbers are still at a low ebb and the species appears to be far from common in some areas. Autumn reports were largely confined to the Felixstowe area where one observer recorded a noticeable influx at The Grove, Oct. 14th. Autumn passage at Landguard lasted from Sept. 17th to mid-November with peak counts of 50, Sept. 29th; 40, Oct. 8th and 30, Nov. 9th; a total of 169 individuals was ringed at Landguard during this period. R E D W I N G Turdus iliacus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Records of this species reflected those of Fieldfare with reports during the first winter period being somewhat thin on the ground. The largest wintering flocks reported included 200, Sudbourne, Jan. 29th; 200, Capei St. Mary in January; 124, Tangham, Capei St. Andrew, Feb. 4th and 100, Long Melford, Jan. 8th. Other reports were of relatively low numbers and in the Leiston/Minsmere area the species was considered to be very scarce. A flock of 85 noted at Landguard, Feb. 29th was associated with a fall of Song Thrushes and Blackbirds. Sightings were more widespread in March with heavy passage heard on Mar. 16th over Ipswich in the early evening and at Trimley St. Martin overnight. The largest March flocks were at Cavenham Heath with 100, Mar. 5th and 125, Mar. 18th. A heavy nocturnal movement was recorded at Ipswich, Apr. 11th and the last spring bird was noted at Landguard, Apr. 22nd. The first birds of the autumn occurred on RSPB reserves with reports of three at Minsmere, Sept. 20th and six at Havergate Island, Sept. 29th. These constituted the only September records. The main autumn influx was recorded at several sites during Oct. 4th to 11th with highest numbers reported from Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary during this period including 60 on 4th, 100 on 5th, 200 on 7th and 200 on 10th. Generally, numbers were low in November and December, although 110 were at Sta verton Park, Wantisden, Nov. 28th and 100 at East Bergholt, Dec. 30th.

M I S T L E T H R U S H Turdus

viscivorus

Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Comparison with the 1991 data reveals considerable variations within the breeding population. Minsmere's wardens located just eight territories (16 in 1991) but on the smaller North Warren reserve, nine territories were found (six in 1991). A Felixstowe observer reported a steady decline following a peak in 1988. This species traditionally forms post-breeding flocks and the highest numbers included: Dunwich: 18 Aug. 24th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 21 July 1st. Wantisden: Staverton Park, 18 Nov. 28th. Alton Water: 25 July 11th. Long Melford: 11 July 14th. Coney Weston: 40 Sept. 24th. King's Forest: 268 Aug. 2nd (SB). The last figure is the second largest gathering ever recorded in Suffolk, having been 113


exceeded only by the flock of 300 at Bradfield Combust, Aug. 25th and 26th 1984. Up to three were noted flying south at Southwold on four dates between Sept. 19th and Oct. 13th. In spring, a total of seven individuals was recorded at Landguard between Mar. 1st and June 12th and autumn birds were logged there on ten dates between Sept. 19th and Nov. 15th including four north, Sept. 28th; three south, Oct. 1st and three on the reserve, Nov. 15th. C E T T I ' S W A R B L E R Cettia cetti Scarce resident and very rare passage migrant. As in 1991, reports were restricted to two traditional localities. Despite some recent mild winters, this species shows no inclination to increase its numbers to those of the early 1980s and, if anything, the population is still in decline. Ouiton: Fisher Row, singles heard on several dates between Feb. 13th and May 12th, involving at least two crcr. Minsmere: Sept. 2nd and 3rd. G R A S S H O P P E R W A R B L E R Locustella naevia Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A steady population level with about 58 birds reeling at 18 sites (50 at 16 sites in 1991). A few of these may have involved migrants however, including singles at Wolves Wood RSPB Reserve, May 5th to 10th and Groton Wood, May 10th. Counts at some of the coastal strongholds included 22 reeling in the Walberswick/Dunwich area and 18 territories at Minsmere. The first spring reports came from Minsmere and Walberswick NNR on Apr. 19th and the last reeling bird was heard on Aug. 11th at North Cove. A very skulking juvenile at Landguard, Sept. 25th raised hopes of something rarer and showed how easily the species can pass through unnoticed on autumn migration.

S A V I ' S W A R B L E R Locustella luscinioides Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. A slight increase on the previous year, but breeding success is always difficult to assess. Walberswick NNR: first heard reeling on Apr. 22nd, increasing to three birds with one last heard on June 22nd. Minsmere: two pairs bred. Site D: one reeling, June 1st to 29th.

S E D G E W A R B L E R Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. First noted at Lackford W.R. on Apr. 6th. A decline in the breeding population is apparent at well-monitored sites with Minsmere holding 125 territories (185 in 1991), North Warren 44 (45 in 1991) and Alton Water just five (24 in 1991). Breeding numbers were also reported to be well down on Shotley Marshes. With a declining population it is perhaps also worth mentioning counts of eight pairs at Felixstowe Ferry, nine at Alderton Marshes and eight on the developing habitat at Trimley Marshes. Spring passage at Landguard Bird Observatory was rather mediocre, involving a total of 18 individuals between Apr. 22nd and May 16th, with a late bird on June 9th. Autumn passage at the same site began on July 23rd with the last bird there on Sept. 26th and a maximum count of seven, Aug. 26th. This latter date also produced a peak count of 40 nearby at Fagbury Cliff where a total of 125 birds was ringed during August and September. 114


M A R S H W A R B L E R Acrocephalus palustris Rare passage migrant. The recent run of records continues with two perfectly timed spring migrants, taking the County total to nine. It is not known whether the species is genuinely on the increase on the near-Continent, or if the recent upsurge in records is due to favourable weather conditions bringing more birds our way. Either case could result in the species breeding in the County if the increase continues. Keep an eye — and ear — on those damp, scrubby patches! Felixstowe: Landguard, singles May 30th (MM, NO, SHP et al.) and June 3rd (OJL, MM, NO et al.). The May record involved the classic problem of a skulking bird singing from deep cover. Observers should be aware that this is typical behaviour for the species and helps to separate it from the audibly similar Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina which normally sings from a higher perch in trees (but beware of migrants behaving atypically!). The May bird was initially identified as an Icterine Warbler, and twitched as such by many observers, despite its classic Marsh Warbler behaviour. Its identity was only resolved when it was trapped much later in the day. R E E D W A R B L E R Acrocephalus scirpaceus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first report came from King's Fleet, Felixstowe on Apr. 21st. The increase in breeding numbers continued with 250 territories at Minsmere and 114 at North Warren (152 and 72 in 1991 respectively). Other sites also reported good numbers, including 32 singing at Alderton Marshes in May, suggesting a very healthy breeding population in the County, although numbers appeared to be similar to the previous year's at Shotley Marshes. Spring passage at Landguard was noted from May 11th to June 23rd with a maximum count of seven on June 6th and autumn passage there lasted from July 30th to Oct. 3rd. At Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary, a total of 380 birds was ringed during the autumn period with a maximum of 80 birds present from Aug. 9th to 11th. The last bird of the year was reported from Fagbury Cliff on Oct. 30th. G R E A T R E E D W A R B L E R Acrocephalus arundinaceus Very rare visitor. Regrettably, the County's ninth record of this noisy songster received some unwelcome harassment by visiting twitchers in the evening and, perhaps not surprisingly, could not be found the next day. Aldeburgh: Sluice Cottage, cr in song, May 31st (DRN, JN et al.). Note: The record in Suffolk Birds 1991 was inadvertently listed as the County's sixth record. It was in fact the eighth — Ed. I C T E R I N E W A R B L E R Hippolais icterina Uncommon passage migrant. The best ever showing in Suffolk which included only the sixth to eighth spring records for the County. Minsmere: in song, June 3rd (IR); another in song, June 13th (IR). Bawdsey: Bawdsey Cliff, Sept. 25th (MDC). Felixstowe: Landguard, in song, June 1st (NO); imm. Aug. 20th to 21st (RAD, MM, NO et al.). Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, four records with singles, Aug. 10th to 11th; Sept. 9th to 12th; Sept. 12th to Oct 8th and Sept. 26th to 27th (MDC, SHP et al.). The long-staying Fagbury bird weighed a remarkable 23 grammes when trapped on Sept. 19th (the previous bird, when trapped, weighed a more typical 16 grammes). Its generally podgy appearance prompted speculation as to its ability to fly at all! 115


DARTFORD W A R B L E R Sylvia undata Very rare passage migrant. Formerly bred. Only the third Suffolk record since 1939, when the species was last seen in its former coastal breeding areas. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, c , Nov. 6th into 1993 (IR et al.). Unlike the two previous records in 1987 and 1988, this bird decided to stay and was a welcome addition to many observers' County lists.

BARRED W A R B L E R Sylvia nisoria Scarce passage migrant. The south-east of the County held a monopoly on this species in 1992. Felixstowe: Landguard, Oct. 10th (NO et al.). Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, single juveniles trapped, Sept. 22nd and 27th; one of these again seen Oct 1st to 8th. (SHP et al.).

LESSER W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia curruca Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first report received was of an individual at Southwold Golf Course on Apr. 22nd, followed swiftly by a general arrival throughout the County. It is difficult to assess the breeding population from the few records received, but at well-monitored sites a decrease in numbers was evident; 13 territories were logged at Minsmere (19 in 1991), 19 pairs in the Dunwich/Walberswick area (23 in 1991) and only two singing males at Belstead (seven in 1991). However, North Warren reported a population of 23 pairs, an increase of five on the 1991 total. Despite this apparent general decrease in numbers, Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary received good numbers in the autumn with 116 birds ringed between August and October, including a maximum day count of 50, Sept. 20th. The last record was of a bird at Fagbury Cliff on Oct 10th. An individual showing characteristics of the central Asian race S. c. blythi was at Landguard, Oct. 5th and 6th. This is Suffolk's fourth record of birds showing the characteristics of this race, the others having occurred in 1964, 1987 and 1989; the identity of such birds is far from clear and it is not always possible to positively identify races of Lesser Whitethroat.

W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia communis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. First noted at Felixstowe on Apr. 20th after which the species was soon widespread. After some disappointing figures in 1991, there was a recovery in breeding numbers on the coastal reserves with Minsmere holding 52 territories (44 in 1991), North Warren 68 pairs (50 in 1991) and Walberswick/Dunwich 74 pairs (54 in 1991). Numbers at Shotley remained the same as in 1991. Passage was noted all along the coast. Landguard recorded spring passage from Apr. 22nd to early June with a maximum of 18, May 12th and autumn passage from early August to the last bird on Oct. 8th with a peak of 25, Aug. 26th. At Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary, the species featured strongly with a total of 383 birds ringed during the autumn period; up to 150 were present there daily from Aug. 29th to 31st and smaller numbers passed through the site until the last straggler on Nov. 4th. 116


GARDEN W A R B L E R Sylvia borin Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. After the first report from Wherstead Wood on Apr. 19th there were sightings at five other sites in April including six at Minsmere on 23rd. The species appeared in good numbers and showed an increase on the previous year at several sites. 38 pairs were located in the Walberswick/Dunwich area (34 in 1991), 38 pairs at North Warren (20 in 1991) and eight singing males at Groton Wood (five in 1991). Minsmere's population remained fairly steady with 42 territories (44 in 1991) and at Wolves Wood observers located seven territories. Landguard Bird Observatory logged spring passage from Apr. 27th to June 6th with a maximum of five on May 2nd. Autumn passage there stretched from July 25th to Oct. 3rd with a peak day count of just six and a late bird, and the last reported in the County, on Nov. 10th. Fagbury Cliff received larger numbers in the autumn period with 58 ringed in August, 114 in September and 12 in October; the maximum day count there was of 50 birds, Sept. 27th. BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Warblers certainly showed some encouraging population increases in 1992, none more so than the Blackcap. Counts at regularly monitored sites included 64 territories at Minsmere (56 in 1991), 29 at North Warren (19 in 1991), 41 in the Walberswick/Dunwich area (41 in 1991) and nine singing males at Groton Wood (11 in 1991). Elsewhere, eleven territories 117


were located at the Wolves Wood RSPB Reserve and breeding numbers at Shotley were higher than 1991. Differentiating between the first passage birds and wintering individuals was not easy but Landguard logged spring migrants between Mar. 31st and May 13th with a laggard on June 2nd. Autumn passage there lasted from Aug. 26th to Nov. 16th with a maximum of 50 present on Oct. 6th. The total of 295 Blackcaps ringed at Landguard is a record total for the site (previous record 253 in 1988) but it pales into relative insignificance when compared with the numbers recorded at nearby Fagbury Cliff. A total of 1,229 birds was ringed there during the autumn migration period from August to November and day counts of over 100 birds were made on 13 dates with an incredible 500 present on Sept. 28th. It was estimated that well in excess of 5,000 Blackcaps passed through the site on autumn migration, with later sightings probably including birds arriving to spend the winter in Britain. Records of wintering birds increased dramatically with some sites attracting two or three individuals. However, the trend for more wintering birds to be recorded during January to mid-March than in late November and December ( S u f f o l k Birds 1992 p. 119) was dramatically reversed this year. Whereas only ten were found at nine localities during the first winter period, (11 at seven sites in 1991), an unprecedented total of 24 was reported from 17 widely scattered sites in the last five weeks of the year (seven at four localities in 1991), perhaps reflecting the record autumn passage and mild weather conditions. Bird tables proved very popular with the species and back garden ringers found that not all sightings involved the same birds. Thus, with birds apparently regularly on the move, it is difficult to assess the actual numbers involved, but it seems likely that wintering numbers are very much on the increase. An interesting, partially albinistic male Blackcap was at Fagbury Cliff on Sept. 27th. ^(iinnmTÂĽfiÂĽÂĽ n r A n n v r r n

ni

11

i -l

' I

Two in one year in Suffolk is unprecedented, constituting only the 4th and 5th County records and the first in spring. Felixstowe: Landguard, a in song, May 28th (NO et al.). Trimley St. Mary: Christmasyards Wood, cr in song, June 7th (AGG, SLo et al.). The second individual was one of several rare birds found by twitchers looking for the White-throated Sparrow in late May and early June. 118


Y E L L O W - B R O W E D W A R B L E R Phylloscopus inornatus Scarce visitor. A poor showing by modern standards, but two relatively long-stayers allowed many to catch up with the species. Lowestoft: Lowestoft Cemetery, Oct. 10th to 19th (BJB, RF, MSF). Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, singles Sept. 26th to 30th (MDC, SHP et al.) and Oct. 4th (SHP et al.) Up until ten years ago this species was a great rarity in Suffolk but now, an active observer can expect to see at least one more or less annually in the County. DUSKY W A R B L E R Phylloscopus fuscatus Accidental. Suffolk's third record and the latest by far. The two previous records were both on Oct. 27th, in 1987 and 1991, the former remaining to Nov. 1st. As with the 1991 record, this year's bird was found in the observer's garden. Westleton: Nov. 20th (HEA). W O O D W A R B L E R Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. Spring passage was confined to May with three singles in Lowestoft between May 2nd and 13th, and one at Landguard, May 30th. Away from the immediate coast, singles were singing at Wolves Wood, Hadleigh, May 4th to 5th; Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin, May 11th and Sutton Heath, May 13th. No reports were received during the breeding season. Autumn passage was more impressive, involving at least 22 individuals, all at coastal sites. On the northern half of the coast, singles were at Dunwich, Aug. 1st and Lowestoft, Aug. 12th and 16th. Landguard logged eight singles between July 28th and Aug. 28th with three, Aug. 14th and Suffolk's latest ever on Oct. 1st. Ringers at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary trapped seven birds between Aug. 1st and Sept. 1st with a maximum count of four present on Aug. 10th. C H I F F C H A F F Phylloscopus collybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Wintering Chiffchaffs have become very much a part of the Suffolk scene in the last ten years and many records were received during both winter periods in 1992. Notable concentrations included up to six at Kessingland Sewage Works in both January and December; four, Southwold Sewage Works, Dec. 9th; four, Beccles Marshes, Dec. 15th and three at Minsmere during December. A report of one singing at Ipswich, Feb. 18th probably involved a wintering bird. A partial recovery in breeding numbers was noted at Minsmere with 56 territories located (44 in 1991, but still well down on the 135 in 1990). At North Warren there were 38 pairs (39 in 1991) and 15 territories were found at Wolves Wood. Spring and autumn passage dates were somewhat obscured by the presence of wintering birds. At Landguard, spring passage was noted from Mar. 16th to June 13th with a peak of ten, Apr. 22nd; autumn passage began there on Sept. 8th, peaking at 40 on Sept. 25th and finishing with a late bird on Dec. 3rd. A total of 219 birds was trapped and ringed at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary during the autumn period. Records of birds showing characteristics of the eastern race P. c. tristis are becoming much more frequent, perhaps due to observer awareness but caution should be exercised as birds from any regional population can show a lack of yellow in the plumage and it is always useful to listen for the distinctive call of tristis birds. 1992 produced an exceptional list of reports with two at Kessingland Sewage Works, Feb. 12th and singletons there Feb. 25th and Mar. 7th. and one at Long Melford, Jan. 26th to Feb. 9th. The second winter 119


period produced singles at Fagbury Cliff, Nov. 15th; Southwold Sewage Works, Dec. 9th and Landguard, Nov. 27th to Dec. 4th; at this latter site, another was present Dec. 10th and two Dec. 11th, with one remaining to Dec. 27th. W I L L O W W A R B L E R Phylloscopus trochilus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first reported sighting came from Knettishall Heath on Apr. 8th and after that date records soon became widespread. At the well-monitored reserves a further disappointing decline in nesting birds was noted with Minsmere holding 132 territories (159 in 1991 and 217 in 1990) and North Warren 37 pairs (44 in 1991). Groton Wood observers located 11 singing males (13 in 1991) and 25 territories were found at Wolves Wood. Spring passage at Landguard lasted from Apr. 11th to June 6th with a maximum count of 100, Apr. 30th and autumn passage there spanned from July 28th to Oct. 3rd with a peak of 100, Aug. 26th. This latter date also provided a peak count at Fagbury Cliff when about 300 birds were present, some of which added to the total of 509 birds ringed there during the autumn period. Away from these two sites the only notable passage count was of 30 at Sparrow's Nest, Lowestoft on Sept. 14th; this site also produced a very late bird, Nov. 12th, shortly after one at Landguard, Nov. 9th and 10th. G O L D C R E S T Regulus regulus Very common resident and passage migrant. Despite a mild winter, this species remains at a very low ebb following the harsh weather of February 1991, with only eight territories located at Minsmere (11 in 1991 and 47 in 1990) and three pairs at North Warren. Although this species is apparently scarce at the moment, it is nonetheless very much under-recorded, there being no records received for January and February and no breeding season reports other than those above. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the RSPB workers who so carefully monitor the common breeding species on their reserves, allowing at least some assessment of population trends. The County Recorders would welcome more records of this species. The first spring migrant was reported from Havergate Island, Mar. 8th but spring passage at Landguard was poor, lasting from Mar. 17th to Apr. 12th with no more than two birds present on any one day. The only double-figure spring count received was of ten at Benacre Denes, Mar. 28th, on which date there were also eight at Kessingland Sewage Works and "good numbers" at Bawdsey. After an unseasonable bird at Landguard, May 31st to June 2nd, autumn passage there showed an improvement on the previous year, lasting from Sept. 15th to Nov. 13th with a peak count of 100, Oct. 3rd. Fagbury Cliff also received a good number of birds with 73 ringed during the autumn and a maximum count of 50 birds present from Oct. 3rd to 5th. Other coastal sites provided evidence of passage with Oct. 13th producing counts of 62 at Southwold, 34 at Thorpeness and 12 at Shingle Street. Other counts included 15, Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft, Sept. 30th; ten, Minsmere, Oct. 7th; up to 29 at Southwold, Oct 5th to 11th; 20, Kessingland Cliffs, Oct. 8th; 14, Melton, Nov. 1st and ten, North Warren, Oct. 26th. Very few reports were received during the second winter period but they did include a flock of 20 at North Warren, Dec. 17th. FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters irregularly. In the first winter period a single bird was again found at Dunwich and one was at North Warren on Jan. 5th. Spring passage along the coast was noted from Mar. 17th to May 23rd involving at least 21 birds which included one seen flying in off the sea at Aldeburgh, Apr. 12th. Three main arrival periods were evident, from Mar. 17th to 28th, Apr. 2nd to 5th and Apr. 120


21st to 29th. Three late coastal arrivals occurred between May 20th and 23rd. The only inland record received was of a bird singing at Mayday Farm, Brandon on May 4th. Autumn passage was reasonably good with the main influx coinciding with the arrival of good numbers of Goldcrests in mid-October. Birds were reported from Southwold (four), Dunwich (three), Minsmere (five), Thorpeness (two), Shingle Street (one), Bawdsey (one), Landguard (eight) and Fagbury Cliff (eight). The potential for overwintering looked promising with December records received from the coast at Southwold Sewage Works, Dunwich (at least four) and Landguard and inland at Ipswich and Bromeswell with the latter still present into 1993. S P O T T E D F L Y C A T C H E R Muscicapa striata Common summer visitor and passage migrant. An early arrival was reported from Barking Tye, Apr. 22nd but no more were noted until May 11th when one at Landguard preceded a general arrival over the following few days. Spring passage at Landguard was noted from May 11th to June 13th with a peak of ten on May 15th. The breeding population has fluctuated in recent years with some sites showing increases while others have shown a significant decline in numbers. Interestingly, of eight pairs located in the Dunwich/Walberswick area, five were in village gardens and at Shotley, five pairs nested in open-fronted nestboxes â&#x20AC;&#x201D; perhaps this shows a change in habitat preference for nest sites. Sadly, Minsmere reported just five territories (nine in 1991) and only a single pair was found at North Warren. Fecundity rates are demonstrated by autumn concentrations at good feeding sites as emphasised by a total of 23 at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, Aug. 17th, at least 18 at Boxford during August and 15 at Tattingstone, Aug. 24th. Autumn passage was mediocre, lasting from Aug. 11th to the last bird at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary on Oct. 2nd. Landguard received daily maxima of no more than five birds but Fagbury held up to 20, Sept. 27th and 28th and 20 were at Sparrow's Nest, Lowestoft, Sept. 14th. R E D - B R E A S T E D F L Y C A T C H E R Ficedula parva Rare visitor. Of the previous 31 County records, only three have been outside the months of September and October (two in May and one in July). As such, the two spring birds at Landguard were unexpected and most welcome. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, first-winter Sept. 22nd to 25th (MC, MDC et al.). Felixstowe: Landguard, ad. cr May 30th (JA, NO et al.); <? June 7th (MM, NO et al.). The adult male at Landguard was trapped early in the morning, prior to a torrential downpour. After the rain abated, the bird came out from cover to feed on the security fence surrounding the Hall's Aggregate yard. During its flycatching sorties it inexplicably collided with one of the metal water tanks in the gravel yard and was killed. The skin has been deposited at the Ipswich Museum. 1991 Offshore: on board ferry, Oct. 9th (RBu per SHP). This late record becomes the 31st for the County and plugs a gap in the records, being the only one reported in 1991. The bird was observed on board the Zeebrugge to Felixstowe ferry and was still present when the ship passed the Shipwash Buoy off Orfordness. P I E D F L Y C A T C H E R Ficedula hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant. Spring records of this species are very unpredictable and 1992 saw just two coastal reports. These were of an early male at Dunwich, Apr. 21st and a female on the late date of June 9th at Landguard. Far more unexpected was the discovery of two males singing and holding 121


territory in West Suffolk; one bird was heard on May 6th, staying at least into June and a second bird was heard on May 29th. Autumn passage was predictably more notable with Landguard logging birds from Aug. 8th to Oct. 3rd with a peak of seven, Aug. 20th. At nearby Fagbury Cliff, the spread of records was almost identical, from Aug. 8th to Oct. 4th with double-figure counts of 12, Sept. 18th and 27th and 20, Sept. 28th. In the Lowestoft area, passage was noted from Aug. 9th to Sept. 28th with a peak count of five, Sept. 13th and 14th. Other sites with smaller numbers included Benacre (max. three, Sept. 18th and 19th), Southwold, Dingle Little Hill, Dunwich, Minsmere, Sizewell, Thorpeness, North Warren and Orfordness. Very few are seen inland on autumn passage making sightings of singles at Parklands Wood, Ufford, Aug. 7th and Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, Sept. 24th particularly notable. BEARDED T I T Panurus biarmicus Uncommon resident. This species generally remained at a very low ebb during 1992. Reports of from one to six individuals came from 15 different locations, while double figures were reported from Southwold Boating Lake, where 11 were present on Oct. 17th and Minsmere, where it was estimated that a total of 35 young was raised by seven pairs. Contrary to these low figures, a census at Walberswick in late September resulted in an estimate of 340 birds being present. Of particular interest is the report of a male at Livermere Lake, Nov. 15th (PWM). LONG-TAILED T I T Aegithalos caudatus Very common resident. The increase in numbers of this species appears to be continuing unabated. Reports came from throughout the County with flocks ranging in size from groups of ten to as many as 40. One observer commented that numbers in the Felixstowe area in the early part of the year were the highest since 1972 whilst other contributors noted a marked increase in numbers during the year. Breeding totals included 35 pairs at Minsmere, 20 at North Warren and at least five pairs at Newbourne Springs. The BTO's Common Bird Census for 1992 revealed a 33% increase in breeding numbers in Britain compared with the previous year (Marchant and Balmer 1993). The activities of this species in observers' gardens included two cases of feeding from red nut bags and one instance of a bird feeding from a suspended bone. M A R S H TIT Parus palustris Fairly common resident. This ubiquitous species was reported from all parts of the County, usually involving twos or threes but confirmed breeding was reported from just five localities. A downward trend appears to be continuing with Minsmere reporting only 18 pairs (27 in 1991 and 32 in 1990). As with the previous species, CBC figures were revealing, showing an 8% drop in numbers on the previous year (Marchant and Balmer 1993). Despite these findings, one pair did its best to improve the species' numbers by fledging a total of ten young from a nestbox at Lackford W.R.. No gatherings were reported during the winter periods. W I L L O W TIT Parus montanus Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. This species is by no means common in the County and although the usual pattern of reports was received, numbers appeared to be even lower than usual with records coming 122


from 20 locations (26 in 1991), of which only six were in the coastal belt. Breeding was confirmed at Stowmarket where one pair bred successfully, but at Lackford W.R., where a pair bred in 1991, there were no sightings after Apr. 25th and breeding was not suspected. COAL T I T Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. This species may have declined somewhat in the County with no large gatherings reported at all. One Ipswich observer considered the species to be far less frequent than in past years. Minsmere staff located 41 territories (51 in 1991) but the stronghold for the species remains the large coniferous blocks of Rendlesham, Tunstall and Breckland. Few breeding season reports were received but of interest was a pair which raised seven young in a garden nestbox at Kirton. BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Very common resident. Few records were received of this undoubtedly very common species. However, ringers reported a much better breeding season than in 1991 with generally larger broods being produced in monitored nestboxes. Totals of breeding pairs included 65 at Minsmere and 46 at North Warren, Aldeburgh. Ten pairs produced 97 juveniles in nest boxes at Benhall. A significant increase in numbers was noted in late summer and autumn. GREAT T I T Parus major Very common resident. Again, few records were received for this species. Contrary to the poor breeding season reported in 1991, the decline in numbers appeared to come to a halt in 1992. Some observers reported an excellent breeding season in their areas with more broods in nestboxes than for several years, resulting in good numbers being noted in late summer and autumn. In the Benhall/Snape/Great Glemham area, 23 pairs reared 199 young in nest boxes. On the RSPB reserves, totals of breeding pairs included 35 at North Warren (21 in 1991) and 55 at Minsmere (36 in 1990). NUTHATCH Sitta europaea Fairly common resident. Although the British population of this species is gradually increasing (Andrews and Carter 1993), there were reports from only 30 sites in Suffolk in 1992 (45 in 1991) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it is hoped that this is due to under-recording rather than a genuine decrease. However, the species continues to reside in suitable habitat throughout the County but its presence can often be difficult to detect. The highest numbers reported involved counts of four at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, and Porter's Wood, Woodbridge. Surprisingly, the only report received from Ipswich was in Christchurch Park although this area surely remains a stronghold for the species. A pair bred successfully in a nest box at Lackford W.R.. T R E E C R E E P E R Certhia familiaris Common resident. It remains difficult to make a comment on the current status of this species. Despite its secretive ways, it is not difficult to locate by call and the lack of records surely is an indication that the species is very much under-recorded. A little worryingly, however, numbers at Minsmere fell again with just 20 territories located (30 in 1991 and 32 in 1990). Reports of single birds were received from right across the County. 123


G O L D E N O R I O L E Oriolus oriolus Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. With the break-up of the colony at Lakenheath, reports of this species are becoming fewer. It is possible that birds from Lakenheath now breed undetected elsewhere in Suffolk. However, it seems likely that some of the former Lakenheath breeders have now established themselves within breeding populations elsewhere in East Anglia, particularly in poplar plantations in Norfolk. Up to four birds, including a juvenile, were reported from Lakenheath between June 7th and July 26th. Reports of migrants involved the following: Benacre: Beach Farm, June 7th. Covehithe: June 15th. Minsmere: singles on four dates between May 31st and June 24th, probably involving one individual. Leiston-cum-Sizewell:Sizewell, May 7th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, May 30th and 31st. Burstall: June 14th. Hadleigh: ct various dates in June. Wixoe: Pair, June lst. Lackford: Lackford W.R., Aug. 28th. Culford: Culford Hall School, May 29th. 1988 Hadleigh/Aldham: Wolves Wood, pair May 29th to June lst. R E D - B A C K E D S H R I K E Lanius collurio Scarce passage migrant and summer visitor.

Much to everyone's surprise, a pair was discovered breeding in East Suffolk and four young were successfully fledged. In a better than average year (by current standards) for spring migrants, it seems likely that this was a one-off event, resulting from the chance meeting of two migrants in a suitable breeding location. (See report on p. 142). Reports of migrants ail came from the coastal belt: Rushmere: รง Sept. 23rd. 124


Reydon: Potter's Bridge, June 2nd. Southwold: Oct. 3rd to 5th. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, รง May 13th; pair May 24th. Minsmere: o - June 2nd to 24th (also reported from Dunwich Heath). Aldeburgh: North Warren, 9 June 6th; juv. Aug. 21st. Orford: รง Orfordness, May 25th. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury, cr in song, June 4th and 5th. G R E A T G R E Y S H R I K E Lanius excubitor Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. The pattern of occurrences followed that of the previous year with just two reports in the first winter period. The majority of records involved autumn migrants in October. At least one bird remained into the second winter period, with a second wintering bird in the west perhaps having remained undetected since arriving in the autumn. Covehithe: Oct. 31st. Southwold: Golf Course, Oct. 8th. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath/Minsmere B.R., Oct. 20th into 1993. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, Oct. 1st to 4th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Common, Oct. 8th. Tattingstone: Oct. 6th. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, Jan. 26th. Brandon: Mayday Farm, Jan 4th; Dec. 27th. In addition, the following record involved one of the best birds of the year and was much appreciated by many observers. It constitutes Britain's sixth, and Suffolk's second, record of this distinctive race from the Russian steppes. Suffolk's first record involved one at Landguard on Dec. 6th 1986. The bird almost met an untimely end on Oct. 5th when a Sparrowhawk narrowly missed it! Easton Bavents: individual showing characteristics of the race L. e. pallidirostris Oct. 4th to 7th (WJB, JMC et al.). J A Y Garrulus glandarรฌus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Poorly reported during the year but with a spate of records in October indicating a small influx of birds. Highest counts included 14, North Warren, Oct. 26th and ten, Sizewell Belts, Nov. 3rd. In addition, 'good numbers' were reported to be in Dunwich Forest on Oct. 18th. Eight breeding pairs were located on the RSPB North Warren Reserve, Aldeburgh. M A G P I E Pica pica Very common resident. There is some indication that after several years of rapid increase, the population of this species is now stabilising. The numbers involved in the largest gatherings were slightly lower than in 1991 but did include 53, North Warren, Oct. 25th; 29, Sutton Common, Jan. 8th; 28, Cavenham, Dec. 31st; 22, Lackford W . R . , July 23rd; 20, Gisleham, Mar. 15th and 20, Spring Wood, Wherstead, Nov. 22nd. J A C K D A W Corvus monedula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Several sizeable winter flocks were reported, the largest being 500, Great Bealings, Jan. 2nd; 200-300, Ickworth Park, Feb. 12th; 200, Alton Water, Mar. 3rd and 200, North Warren, Apr. 21st. There was evidence of coastal passage and immigration with Landguard Bird Observatory reporting nine instances of birds moving either along the coast or coming in off the sea; 125


these included 13 north, Mar. 19th; 11 north, Apr. 5th and six south, Oct. 29th. In addition, individuals showing characteristics of the Scandinavian race C. m. monedula were reported from Bramford Water Park, Feb. 9th and Sutton Common, Feb. 27th. R O O K Corvus frugilegus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A flock containing 3,500 birds was reported from Great Bealings on Jan. 2nd, presumably involving a pre-roost gathering of birds using the regular winter roost site at Culpho. Smaller flocks of 400, 200 and 200 were reported from Westleton, Feb. 2nd; Boxford, Aug. 12th and Carlton Marshes, Dec. 7th respectively. New rookeries were located within the Ipswich Borough boundary at St. Clements Hospital (eight nests) and Woodlark Close (five nests). A leucistic bird, being light chocolate brown in colour with paler wings and tail, was at Sutton Common on Feb. 27th. C A R R I O N C R O W Corvus corone Very common resident. With the general decline in gamekeeping activity in Suffolk, several observers reported an increase in numbers of this species in their areas and at least one CBC site recorded the species holding territory for the first time. The traditional gathering place at Wherstead Strand held 260 birds, Jan. 19th and 58 were at Wantisden, Jan. 21st. Hooded Crows C. c. cornix remain in short supply and are now difficult to find in the County. Five birds were located as follows: Benacre: Jan. 12th and 15th. Blythburgh: Westwood Lodge, Nov. 29th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, Oct. 11th. Sudbourne: Mar. 29th. Bramford: Oct. 24th (considered same as Somersham bird). Somersham: Nov. 16th to 19th and Dec. 11th. S T A R L I N G Sturnus vulgaris Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Fewer reports were received of this species in 1992 but comments from observers generally indicated a welcome increase in numbers. Reports of large numbers of immigrants came from the coast during the autumn period with totals including 5,985 coming in at Landguard during October, including 4,718 on 27th; "thousands in off the sea" at Benacre, Oct. 26th; 429 in at Landguard, Nov. Ist and 390 in at Southwold, Nov. 15th. A 'tea-coloured' leucistic bird was reported from King's Fleet, Felixstowe on Feb. 3rd and 5 th. The regular Minsmere roost peaked at just 2,200 on Dec. 9th. H O U S E S P A R R O W Passer domesticus Very common resident. This cheerful, but much maligned, species is often taken for granted and seldom well reported in the County. There is evidence to suggest, however, that the species is not faring well with a handful of keen-eyed observers noting a decline in their areas. It would be useful to receive regular counts from gathering sites, e.g. farmyards or roosting hedges in towns to monitor numbers and assess any change in status. The largest flock reported was of 200 at Levington, Sept. 17th. Evidence of southerly movements came from Landguard with a total of 299 birds flying south during the period September to November with a maximum of 45 on Sept. 26th. 126


T R E E S P A R R O W Passer

montanus

Uncommon resident. After last year's dispiriting comments, 1992 proved to be no better for the species with typical observer comments being "noticeable decline", ''definite decline'' and "only two birds found during concerted effort to find the species". The latter comment came from the Timworth area where observers with good local knowledge failed to find the species in many formerly favoured localities in December. Most reports received now involve single figure sightings, but the species does still appear to be present throughout the County. During the autumn, Landguard recorded 65 individuals flying south during the period from Aug. 26th to Oct. 16th with a maximum day-total of 23 south, Sept. 1st. Autumn passage totals at this site have been declining since 1983 when 4,675 were recorded flying south there between Oct. 6th and Nov. 13th. Reports of gatherings were as follows: Oulton: Camps Heath, 30 Jan. 26th. Weybread: Weybread G.P., 35 Mar. 25th. Sudbourne: 50 Feb. 2nd. Witnesham: 40 Dec. 9th. Badley: 50 Feb. 29th to Mar. 8th. C H A F F I N C H Fringilla coelebs Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. During the first winter period, the largest flocks reported included 100, Shrubland Park, Coddenham, Jan. 25th; 146, Lackford W . R . , Jan. 25th and 100 there, Feb. 16th; 100, Badley, Mar. 1st; 200, Tuddenham St Mary, Mar. 8th and 100, Levington, Mar. 13th. Gatherings as late as March are likely to have involved birds passing through on their way back to the Continent; at this time, Landguard recorded a count of 83 south, Mar. 18th. Breeding season reports were too few to analyse but well-monitored reserves showed conflicting trends with 112 territories at Minsmere (down on the previous year) and 51 at North Warren (42 in 1991). Significant autumn coastal movements at Landguard included 25 south, Sept. 27th; 88 in off the sea, Oct. 27th and 33 south, Oct. 28th. A total of 215 moved south through the site in October and 165 in November. Somewhat lower numbers were reported in the second winter period with peaks of 60, Aldringham Walks, Oct. 19th; 50, Levington, Oct. 20th; 76, North Warren, Oct. 26th rising to 80, Dec. 21st and 68, Purdis Heath, Dec 26th. BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. Records came from 14 localities in the first winter period including 15, Levington, Jan. 3rd; 20 (including two males in near-summer plumage) Eyke, throughout January; 20, Orford Church Walks, Feb. 2nd; 20, Crag Farm, Sudbourne, Feb. 21st; 50, Tuddenham St Mary, Mar. 8th and 15 at a feeding station at Lackford W.R. during March. Light spring passage through the County resulted in several reports of small flocks at a number of sites including eight, Dingle Little Hill, Walberswick NNR, Apr. 12th; ten, West Stow, Apr. 14th; six, Goose Hill, Leiston, Apr. 17th; eight, Upper Hollesley Common, Apr. 20th and ten, Euston, Apr. 4th. The only May report was of one in Flycatcher Alley, Lowestoft on 6th. The first reports of the autumn were of singles at Landguard, Sept. 17th and at Minsmere, Sept. 18th. At the former site, passage was noted until Nov. 8th, with a peak count of 15 on Sept. 28th and a total of 39 south, during October. Counts at other principal sites included: Lowestoft: Belle Vue Park, 12 Oct. 7th; 15 Oct. 12th. 127


Walberswick: 100 Oct. 7th. Minsmere: recorded throughout October, max. 160 Oct. 21st. Bawdsey: 76 Oct. 7th. Felixstowe: Cawston Junior School, 20 Oct. 8th; 40 Oct. 9th; 30 Oct. 12th. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, 30 Sept. 29th; 20 Oct. 9th; 30 Oct. 10th; 15 Oct. 19th. The second winter period produced peak counts of 12 on Dunwich Heath, Nov. 23rd; 12, Levington, Dec. 22nd; 100, Iken Hall, Dec. 23rd (into 1993) and 20, Minsmere, Dec. 28th. S E R I N Serinus serinus Very rare migrant. Three individuals, two being typical spring overshoots from the Continent and the third a much enjoyed long-stayer holding territory. These three records are the first in Suffolk since 1987 and bring the County total to 16. Reydon: Covert Road area, cr holding territory, May 14th to July 26th (AP et al.). Felixstowe: Landguard, Apr. 29th (SHP). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, flying west, June 3rd (MJA, PVH). G R E E N F I N C H Carduelis chloris Very common resident and passage migrant. The highest counts received at the start of the year included 200, Cracks Lane, Eyke during January; 250, Halfway House, Leiston, Jan. 12th and 74 ringed at Lackford W . R . , Feb. 1st. Spring passage at Landguard was very light and just 286 were ringed in the period March to May. Numbers ringed on passage at Landguard have shown a continuing decline since 1986, as illustrated by the table below: N o . Ringed

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

Mar-May

1429

1261

1127

1109

678

395

286

Sept-Nov

443

522

429

174

175

167

104

Few breeding season reports were received but 11 pairs at North Warren represented a stable population while Minsmere recorded a major crash to just three pairs (11 in 1991). Autumn passage produced a scattering of reports from across the County. Higher counts included 50, Carlton Marshes, Sept. 27th; 60, Butley, Oct. 8th; 61 south, Southwold, Oct. 18th and a flock of 150 on Sunflowers at Levington, Oct. 19th. Ringers at Lackford W . R . also recorded good numbers, trapping 61, Oct. 31st; 97, Nov. 14th and 60, Nov. 28th. However, at Landguard,numbers were disappointing; a total of 535 birds was logged flying south, Sept. 26th to Nov. 14th with a maximum day count of 101, Oct. 18th. G O L D F I N C H Carduelis carduelis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Fairly scarce during the first winter period (or perhaps under-recorded) with peak flocks of 30, Orfordness, Jan. 19th and 70 there, Mar. 22nd; 50, Levington, Feb. 18th and Mar. 20th and 120, Bawdsey Manor, Mar. 20th. Spring passage at Landguard produced totals of 285 south during April, max. 169 on 29th and 853 south in May, max. 198 on 5th. Autumn passage was more widely reported and included the following: Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, 30 Sept. 5th; 50 Oct 10th. Southwold: 100 S., Oct. 14th; 90 S., Oct. 18th. Blythburgh: 75 Sept. 21st. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, 60 Sept. 29th; 200 Oct. 17th; 30 Oct. 28th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Common, 200 Oct. 19th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 40 Oct. 26th. Trimley Marshes: 60 Sept. 14th. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, 50 Oct. 11th. 128


Chelmondiston: Pinmill, 60 Aug. 9th. Witnesham: 40 Oct. 6th. Glemsford: 50 Aug. 20th. In addition, southerly passage at Landguard Bird Observatory gave monthly totals of 228 in September, 1,612 in October (max. 291 on 23rd) and 330 in November. The October figure is low compared with the total of 3,891 logged in Oct. 1991. Winter flocks included 100, Friston, Nov. 4th and 78, Bramford W . P . , Dec. 19th. During the breeding season, the species was reported as " v e r y c o m m o n " at Great Finborough and five pairs were located at Minsmere. SISKIN Carduelis spinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant Uncommon resident. The species was well recorded during the first winter period with counts coming from 32 sites. Higher totals included: Minsmere: 100 Jan. 1st and 15th; 200 Jan. 2nd; up to 120 in February. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell Belts, 100 Apr. 2nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 100 Jan. 19th; 110 Jan. 26th; 100 Feb. 11th. Hollesley: Poplar Farm, 70 Feb. 5th; Upper Hollesley Common, 80 Mar. 18th. Great Bealings: 100 Jan. 2nd. Martlesham: 80 Jan. 25th. Baylham: 90 Feb. 1st. Lackford: Lackford W.R., 30 Jan. 23rd and 80 Mar. 1st. Brandon/Wangford: Mayday Farm area, at least 300 Mar. 7th. Brent Eleigh: up to 50 on January. Breeding season reports came from an encouraging number of sites including Barking, Blythburgh, Minsmere, Witnesham, Elveden, Wordwell, King's Forest and Mayday Farm. Autumn passage produced single figure counts from several coastal sites. Landguard recorded monthly passage totals of 26 in September, 225 in October and 25 in November, maximum 32 south, Oct. 14th. The second winter period produced fewer November and December records than the early part of the year with peak flocks of 60, Lackford W . R . in Nov./Dec.; 95, Minsmere, Nov. 14th; 120, Little Ouse, Thetford, Nov. 15th and 50, Upper Hollesley Common, Dec. 12th. L I N N E T Carduelis cannabina Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in smaller numbers. The early part of the year saw several large gatherings with highest counts of 300, Alderton, Feb. 20th; 200, Eyke during January and 100, Raydon Hall Farm, Orford, Jan. 17th. Highest counts during the spring passage period included: Lowestoft: The Oval, 200 Apr. 16th. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, 100 Apr. 26th. Aldeburgh: 750 S., Apr. 21st. Blaxhall: Blaxhall Common, 250 Apr. 5th. Trimley Marshes: 150 Apr. 9th; 91 Apr. 24th. Passage totals at Landguard included 1,207 south in April, max. 165 on 12th and 552 on 22nd and 415 south in May. Additionally, up to 130 were present on the site throughout the period. Breeding reports included a count of just 20 pairs at Minsmere (26 in 1991 and 39 in 1990) and 15 pairs at North Warren (11 in 1991). Numbers were reported to be well down at normally productive breeding sites at Pettistree and Ufford and it looks as though this species could be suffering a major decline in the County. 129


Autumn passage peaked as follows: Southwold: 40 S., Oct. 18th. Felixstowe: Landguard, monthly totals of 41 S. in August; 1,656 S. in September, max. 300 on 19th; 460 on 26th and 565 on 27th; 1,277 S. in October, max. 205 on 23rd and 262 S. in November. Trimley St. Mary: 210 Sept. 14th. The species appeared to be very scarce in the second winter period with 200 at Boyton on Dec. 23rd being the only sizeable flock.

T W I T E Carduelis flavirostris Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded at only nine coastal sites in the first winter period with peak counts as follows: Easton Bavents: 30 Mar. 17th. Walberswick: 30 Feb. 22nd and 29th; 35 Mar. 7th; 60 Mar. 22nd. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, 25 Feb. 9th. Orford: Orfordness, 50 Jan. 19th. Sudbourne: 100 Jan. 4th; 50 Jan. 17th. Falkenham: 25 Jan. 19th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 50 Feb. 23rd; 47 Mar. 6th; 22 Mar. 22nd. Trimley St. Mary: 25 Jan. 2nd. Levington: 30 Jan. 17th and 31st; 20 Mar. 1st. Wintering birds departed quickly with a singleton at Walberswick (24th) being the only April report received. In the latter part of the year, the first returning bird was noted at Southwold Denes on Oct. 8th. Subsequently the species was reported from 15 locations to the end of the year, the main sites producing totals as follows: Breydon Water: 25 Dec. 13th. Walberswick: 13 Nov. 28th; 30 Dec. 26th. Minsmere: up to 20 on The Scrape in October. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, 30 Oct. 26th. Orford: 60 Dec. 27th. Havergate I., 20 Oct. 13th; two Nov. 17th; 70 Dec. 5th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 57 S. in October.

REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Common resident, summer visitor, winter visitor and passage migrant. No major influxes occurred during 1992. Three-figure counts came from only two localities in the first winter period with peak figures as follows: Minsmere: 100 Jan. 15th; 20 Mar. 5th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: North Warren/Thorpeness, up to 50 during January and February. Playford: 30 Apr. 3rd. Stowmarket: Combs Lane water meadows, 25 Mar. 1st. Barking: Barkifig Tye, 30 Jan. 28th and Feb. 16th. Glemsford: 25 Jan. 20th and Feb. 17th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., peak monthly counts of 62 Jan. 11th; 100 Feb. 16th and 40 Mar. 1st. Spring passage was negligible and breeding records were few, although the RSPB reserves recorded a slight increase with five pairs at Minsmere (four in 1991) and six at North Warren (four in 1991). Autumn passage showed only a slight improvement on the spring with birds noted at Landguard from July 5th and peaking at 24 south on Oct. 2nd. The species remained hard to find in the second winter period with the highest counts received being 30 at Beccles Marshes, Dec. 7th and 40 at Brent Eleigh in December. Mealy Redpolls C. f . flammea were typically scarce after the good numbers of 1991 and the only reports received involved one at Belstead Brook, Ipswich, Feb. 20th and two at Minsmere, Mar. 5th with one there, Mar. 8th. 130


A R C T I C R E D P O L L Carduelis hornemanni Very rare winter visitor. 1989 Martlesham: Jan. 1 Ith to 28th (JAD, DCM et al). This bird was discovered within a Redpoll flock that included up to ten Mealy Redpolls C. f . flammea. Its lengthy stay enabled many observers to "pencil-in" the species onto their County lists, but they had to wait four years for final confirmation — acceptance of this sighting by the British Birds Rarities Committee was unusually tortuous. This is the first Suffolk record since 1972. There were subséquent reports of this species in the County in 1990 and 1991. C R O S S B I L L Loxia curvirostra Localised resident and irruptive visitor. Crossbills were somewhat scarce in 1992 with reports coming from 15 sites in the first half of the year, peaking at 17, Lackford W . R . , Jan. Ist; nine, Elveden, Jan. 25th and 12, Mayday Farm, Brandon, Apr. 18th. Records from the coast were almost non-existent but did include counts of up to three birds at Minsmere and a handful of reports of pairs in the south-east forests. Interesting reports included one at Martlesham Creek, Mar. 18th; two, Gedgrave Broom, Feb. 4th; one over Stowmarket, May 29th and one south at Landguard, Aug. 9th. Breeding was confirmed at Mayday Farm with family parties recorded on Apr. 18th and May 3rd and breeding may have occurred at Dunwich Forest as a flock of eight was noted at nearby Dingle Little Hill, June 24th. Reports at the end of the year were few and far between: Minsmere: Oct. 8th. Capei St. Andrew: Tangham, Aug. 7th. Lackford: Lackford W.R., up to ten during the autumn. King's Forest: six Dec. 6th. Thetford: The Nunnery, Sept. 7th; two Nov. 24th. C O M M O N R O S E F I N C H Carpodacus erythrinus Very rare passage migrant. (Increasing) Although this species has colonised The Netherlands in recent years, surely no-one could have predicted the events of 1992. Up to the end of 1991 there had only been five recorded occurrences of this species in Suffolk. After the appearance of two singing maies on the coast in early June, there came news of nest building and it was soon apparent that the species had established a toe-hold in the County. Further north, as many as five pairs may have bred on Humberside and perhaps others went undetected on the English East coast. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues. Benacre: Beach Farm area, i m m . c in song, June 6th and 7th (CAB et al.). Walberswick NNR: ad. cr in song, June 3rd (DJP). Dunwich: adult trapped, July 3rd (Sir AGH). Minsmere: nest building noted from June 13th. It is thought that eggs were laid but failed to hatch, although there was an unconfirmed report of an adult carrying a faecal sac (RSPB). Bawdsey: pair present June 25th to July 3Ist raised at least two young (HRB, MJB). As might be expected of a newly colonising species, the maies of both pairs were brown, first-summer birds. Young birds such as these, breeding for the first time, will be the first to spread out into new areas to set up territories. See p. 21. B U L L F I N C H Pyrrhula pyrrhula Very common resident. Poorly reported. Some observers felt that the species had declined, at least in south-east Suffolk but without regulär monitoring it is difficult to comment. Minsmere reported a 131


total of only 14 pairs (25 in 1991 and 36 in 1990) which would support the view that there has been a sharp drop in numbers but North Warren's population remained fairly stable at seven pairs (six in 1991). The highest counts received included 12, North Warren, Jan. 26th and 16, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, Aug. 31st. One to three were recorded at Landguard on eight dates between Oct. 1st and Nov. 8th. H A W F I N C H Coccothraustes coccothraustes Uncommon resident. Recorded from 12 localities including nine possible breeding areas. Henham: Apr. 19th. Ubbeston: Church Farm, pair Apr. 9th. Dunwich: Greyfriars, Feb. 17th. Minsmere: pair May 18th. Wantisden: The Thicks, six May 10th and 13th; cr feeding 9 at nest, June 6th. Melton: Bury Hill, Nov. 1st. Bentley: Dodnash Wood, three during May. Hadleigh/Aldham: Wolves Wood, two cr, one 9 , May 6th. East Bergholt: Jan. 7th. Lackford: June 9th. King's Forest: May 4th. Thetford: The Nunnery, May 5th; Dec. 25th. With such a wide scattering of records, it seems likely that the species is overlooked (as would be expected with such a competent skulker). It is interesting to note that there have been no records from Woodbridge since a regular recorder moved from the area. L A R K S P A R R O W Chondestes grammacus Accidental. 1981 Felixstowe: Landguard Point, June 30th to July 8th (LC, TDC el al.). The occurrence of Suffolk's, and Britain's, first record of this Nearctic 'sparrow' has now been placed in Category A of the British List by the BOU. (See p. 23 for a summary of this record.) W H I T E - T H R O A T E D S P A R R O W Zonotrichia Accidental.

132

albicollis


Suffolk's second record of this attractive American 'sparrow' was perhaps the star bird of the year and the precursor of a remarkable run of rarities in the Trimley area. Although very elusive, it remained long enough for would-be observers to have several attempts at finding it. Its discovery was just reward for the finder's dogged persistence at the site. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff and area, May 31st to June 8th (WJB et al.). The first County record involves a bird at Herringfleet near Lowestoft from Nov. 16th 1968 to Jan. 1st 1969 when it died. L A P L A N D B U N T I N G Calcarius lapponicus Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Very scarce in the first winter period with reports of (only) 15, Sudbourne Marshes, Jan. 2nd; one, Minsmere, Jan. 19th and two, Burrow Hill, Butley, Feb. 23rd. After two at Minsmere on Sept. 20th the species was recorded in the latter part of the year as follows: Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, two Nov. 10th; Nov. 21st. Blyth Estuary: Nov. 17th. Minsmere: two Sept. 20th; Sept. 28th and 30th; two Oct. 14th to 19th, up to three in November and one Dec. 4th. Sudbourne: two Dec. 13th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, three Oct. 11th. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Oct. 7th. Trimley Marshes: Oct. 15th and 18th; two Oct. 16th. With a change of land use at the favoured Sudbourne site, this may become a difficult bird to catch up with in the County. S N O W B U N T I N G Plectrophenax nivalis Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Well recorded in the first winter period with reports from 15 sites, the last being at Aldeburgh on Mar. 28th. Highest counts at principal sites were: Kessingland: 15 Jan. 26th; 26 Feb. 26th; 17 Mar. 2nd. Benacre: 24 Jan. 28th; 45 Feb. 22nd; ten Mar. 5th. Covehithe: 22 Jan. 26th. Minsmere: 20 Feb. 24th. Aldeburgh: 40 Jan 11th; 54 Jan. 23rd; 35 Feb. 13th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 31 Jan. 17th; 32 Feb. 15th; 12 Mar. 6th and 13th; Landguard, 30 Jan. 31st. Of particular interest during the first winter period was the presence of a colour-ringed bird at Kessingland during February and March. The bird had been ringed in the Cairngorms in March 1991 and a fortnight after its last reported date in Suffolk it was seen again back on the Cairngorms. Single birds at Benacre and Southwold on Oct. 8th were the first to be noted in the autumn and reports then came from a total of 17 coastal sites in the latter part of the year with highest counts including: Kessingland: 12 Nov. 8th; 30 Nov. 14th. Easton Bavents: 60 Nov. 18th; 56 Dec. 5th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, 25 Nov. 28th. Aldeburgh: 40 Nov. 21st; 34 Dec. 1st; 40 Dec. 12th. Orford: Orfordness, 80 Dec. 13th. Hollesley/Bawdsey: Shingle Street area, 26 Nov. 14th; 24 Dec. 12th; 21 Dec. 29th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 12 Nov. 29th; 20 Dec. 5th. Y E L L O W H A M M E R Emberiza citrinella Very common resident and passage migrant. Several reports of winter flocks came in during the early part of the year and included 133


30, Witnesham, Jan. 1st; 50, Lavenham in early January; 50, Chillesford, Jan. 17th; 50, Beccles Marshes, Jan. 25th; 50, Great Waldingfield, Feb. 6th; 40, Martlesham, Feb. 6th; 35, The Grove, Felixstowe in February and 30, Badley, Mar. 1st. While North Warren reported a stable population at 19 pairs, Minsmere recorded a continuing decline with only 26 pairs located (38 in 1991 and 68 in 1990). Passage at Landguard was almost non-existent with just 36 birds moving through in the spring and 25 birds in the autumn. Flocks were few and far between in the second winter period with peak counts of only 20 at Felixstowe, Nov. 18th and 30, Long Melford, Dec. 21st. O R T O L A N B U N T I N G Emberiza hortulana Rare passage migrant. Two over-shooting spring migrants were reported, involving a confiding bird which took a liking to the lawn of the Dolphin Hotel, Thorpeness, and the first April record for Landguard. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, 9 May 14th. (BJS et al.). Felixstowe: Landguard, Apr. 29th (NO, SHP). R U S T I C B U N T I N G Emberiza Accidental.

rustica

Yet another major rarity occurring for only the second time in the County. The first bird was a female, trapped and ringed at Minsmere on Oct. 24th 1962. Although its stay was brief, this second bird was well-watched and found its way onto many observers' County lists. Felixstowe: Landguard, imm. cr Oct. 3rd. (RAD et al ). R E E D B U N T I N G Emberiza schoeniclus Very common resident and passage migrant. It is disturbing to report the continued decline of this species at Minsmere where only 13 pairs were located (16 in 1991 and 31 in 1990). However, North Warren fared relatively better with 11 pairs (nine in 1991 and six in 1990), perhaps due to the habitat creation and improvement that is taking place there. Nine singing males were recorded at a newly monitored site on Alderton Marshes. Spring passage at Landguard involved just three birds but there was an improvement in the autumn with a total of 65 birds logged moving south. Elsewhere, the largest autumn passage gathering was of 30, Southwold Denes, Oct. 17th. The largest flocks in the second winter period included 40, Havergate Island, Dec. 5th and 30 in a stubble field at East Bergholt, Dec. 30th. 134


B L A C K - H E A D E D B U N T I N G Emberiza melanocephala Accidental. The absence of this species from the County list had been something of an enigma. This individual, Suffolk's first, was one of the rarities that occurred during Trimley's 'purple patch' but its stay was all too brief for most! Trimley St. Mary: Searson's Farm, c June 4th (ABa et al.). C O R N B U N T I N G Miliaria calandra Uncommon resident. Reported from 15 localities in the early part of the year with some encouraging counts: Orford: Orfordness, 63 Jan. 19th; 50 Mar. 22nd. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, 24 Jan. 1st. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 32 Jan. 16th; 40 Jan. 28th; 30 Feb. 23rd. Trimley Marshes: 25 Mar. 9th. Ipswich: Belstead Brook, 20 Feb. 20th and 23rd. Great Waldingfield: 30+ Jan. 25th. Kedington: 134 Jan. 18th; 112 Apr. 3rd; 70 Apr. 7th; 47 Apr. 11th; 45 Apr. 18th. Breeding season reports were received from 16 sites (21 in 1991) but this apparent decline was almost certainly due to poorer coverage. Sadly, there were no breeding season reports from the Sudbourne area. In the second winter period, observers found the species in ten localities with peaks of 41, Aldeburgh Marshes, Dec. 27th (where do these go to in the breeding season?) and 30, Trimley Marshes, Oct. 16th. At Landguard Point, single birds flew south on Oct. 29th, Nov. 4th and Nov. 6th. APPENDIX I -

CATEGORY D SPECIES

B A R - H E A D E D G O O S E Anser indicus Alpine lakes in central Asia; winters to India and Burma. Huntingfield: Heveningham Hall Lake, Aug. 18th. Orford: Havergate I., occasional dates throughout the year. Gedgrave: Gedgrave Marshes, July 3rd. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, two in flight, May 10th; Dec. 6th to 31st. A P P E N D I X II -

ESCAPEES

The nomenclature and native range and status preceding the record of each species is, in most instances, taken from Clements (1991). S T R A W - N E C K E D IBIS Threskiornis spinicollis Australia; ranges to Tasmania, New Guinea. Tuddenham St. Mary: June 25th. Mildenhall: June to at least September. A remarkable discovery which must have taken some good detective work to identify. No doubt a valuable loss to somebody's collection! Both records relate to the same bird. F U L V O U S W H I S T L I N G - D U C K Dendrocygna bicolor Southern U.S. to Argentina; E. Africa, Madagascar and southern Asia. Minsmere: occasional reports throughout year. B L A C K S W A N Cygnus atrata Australia and Tasmania. Oulton: Oulton Dyke, Apr. 25th. 135


Orford: Havergate I., July 30th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Aug. 1st. Levington: River Orwell, Aug. 4th. East Bergholt: River Stour, Flatford, two July 17th and Dec. 10th; Flatford Mill, July 23rd. Stratford St. Mary: River Stour, two Dec. 10th. C H I N E S E G O O S E Anser cygnoides Domestic form of Swan Goose. Originated from China, does not occur in the wild. Huntingfield: Heveningham Hall Lake, Aug. 18th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two May 6th; May 13th. R O S S ' S G O O S E Anser rossii Tundra of northern Canada; winters to southern United States. Lackford: Lackford W.R., July 4th. N E N E Branta sandvicensis Upper lava flows of Hawaii Lound: Lound Waterworks, Jan. 13th to Apr. 12th at least. C H I L O E W I G E O N Anas sibilatrix Central Chile, Argentina to Tierra del Fuego, Falklands; winters to S.E. Brazil. Minsmere: cr May 23rd to 26th at least. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two July 7th. Trimley Marshes: cr July 17th and 26th, apparently paired to 9 Wigeon Sept. 10th to 13th. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, July 26th. S P E C K L E D T E A L Anas flavirostris Andes of Venezuela to Tierra del Fuego. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Aug. 15th to Sept. 9th. This bird was one of the yellow-billed races. There was some confusion over whether the bird was this species or the Yellow-billed Pintail Anas geรณrgica. However, that species is more uniform in colour and considerably larger. W H I T E - C H E E K E D (BAHAMA) P I N T A I L Anas bahamensis Locally in S. America, West Indies and Galapagos Is. Minsmere: Nov. 19th; Dec. 30th and 31st. Trimley Marshes: Aug. 14th to 17th; Sept. 14th to 19th. P R A I R I E F A L C O N Falco mexicanus Arid interior of North America from British Columbia to Mexico. Trimley Marshes: Sept. 8th. Kept quite frequently by the falconry fraternity and much (ab)used for hybridising with other species of large falcon. J A P A N E S E Q U A I L Coturnix japรณnica E. Palearctic; winters to S.E.Asia and eastern China. Felixstowe: Landguard, adult trapped, Aug. 25th. Contrary to comments in last year's bird report ( S u f f o l k Birds 1992 p.64) this species may be impossible to distinguish from Quail C. coturnix in the field under most circumstances. Only the adult male Japanese Quail has rufous on the head, and the chance of an out-of-season bird calling is remote. 136


20: Mass-hallucination' by twitchers meant that this Marsh Warbler was at first misidentified as an Icterine Warbler until later trapped.

21: This long-staying male Dartford Warbler at Dunwich Heath was a welcome addition to many observers' County lists.


22: Numbers of wintering Blackcaps continue to increase in the County.

23: Coal Tits appears to be on the decline in Suffolk.


B L U E - B R E A S T E D Q U A I L Coturnix chinensis Grasslands and marshy areas of southern Asia and Australian region. Ipswich: St. Edmunds Road, cr Sept. 25th. Another tricky group of several similar species from various parts of the Old World. However, the above species is the one most often kept in captivity. B A R B A R Y D O V E Streptopelia 'risoria ' Domestic form of uncertain origin. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, two Oct. 9th. These birds were also noted at the same site in the autumn of 1991. Where do they go in the meantime? E A S T E R N R O S E L L A Platycercus eximius Woodland and riverine scrub of S.E.Australia and Tasmania. Felixstowe: Landguard, June 26th. B U R R O W I N G P A R R O T Cyanoliseus patagonus Central Chile, northern and central Argentina. Cavenham/Icklingham: Temple Bridge, Dec. 31st into 1993. This bird, also known as the Patagonian Conure, was reported by several bemused observers and it was some time before its identity was finally agreed upon. C O C K A T I E L Nymphicus hollandicus Widespread and abundant in interior of Australia. Minsmere: July 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard, June 27th and 28th; Oct. 1st and 2nd. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury, yellow morph (leutino), Aug. 16th. Trimley St. Martin: Old Kirton Rd, May 15th and Dec. 1st; Loompit Lake, May 20th. Ipswich: Foxhall Rd., Oct. 4th. Holbrook: Dec. 14th. Lackford: Aug. 31st. With records of this species continuing unabated, will we see the establishment of a breeding population, as happened with Ring-necked Parakeets? Z E B R A F I N C H Taeniopygia guttata Dry open woodlands of Australia and Lesser Sundas. Felixstowe: Cawston Junior School, June 15th; Marsh Lane, Aug. 5th. SUDAN G O L D E N S P A R R O W Passer Thornscrub of sub-Saharan Africa. Felixstowe: Landguard, cr May 5th.

luteus

V I T E L L I N E M A S K E D W E A V E R Ploceus vitellinus Acacia and savanna of sub-Saharan Africa. Southwold: cr Sept. 9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Oct. 14th. V I L L A G E W E A V E R Ploceus cucullatus Savanna and swamps of Afro-tropical region. Beteles: cr Aug. 26th to 28th. Felixstowe: Landguard, cr Aug. 22nd. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury, cr Aug. 21st. 137


R E D - F R O N T E D S E R I N Serínus pusillus Mountains of southern Asia to western China. Felixstowe: Landguard, cr June 6th. With this species breeding as cióse as central Turkey, there is some speculation as to the origin of this bird. However, the species is only an altitudinal migrant with populations from higher up moving to lower altitudes for the winter. As such, they are not long distance migrants. We await official adjudication with bated breath! In addition, there were the usual reports of Muscovy Ducks, Canaries and Budgerigars. A P P E N D I X III -

SCHEDULE OF NON-ACCEPTED RECORDS

The following list consists of records that were not accepted by the BBRC (national rarities) or the SORC (County rarities). It must be emphasised that in the vast majority of cases the record was not accepted because the Committee members were not convinced, on the evidence before them, that the identification was fully established; in only a very few cases were the Committees satisfied that a mistake had been made. 1992 Records: Sooty Shearwater: Pakefield, July 7th. Whooper Swan: Thetford, four, Jan. 1 lth and 12th. Steller's Eider: Minsmere, Sept. 28th. Honey Buzzard: Dunwich, July 12th; Holbrook, Sept. 27th. Black Kite: Minsmere, Apr. lOth; Stowmarket, June 13th. Montagu's Harrier: Lowestoft, May 8th, 19th and 29th; Minsmere, May 16th; Aldeburgh, Aug. 9th. Goshawk: Ipswich, Mar. 20th. Red-footed Falcon: Minsmere, i m m . c , May 5th; Tunstall Forest, 9 , July 24th. Corncrake: Reydon, Dec. 30th. Little Stint: Aldeburgh, Mar. 22nd. Ring-billed Guil: Lowestoft, Mar. 7th. Gull-billed Tern: Minsmere, June 28th. White-winged Black Tern: Alton Water, imm., Aug. 29th. Nightjar: Beccles, four south, May lOth. Red-throated Pipit: Benacre, May 2nd. Citrine Wagtail: Dunwich, July 7th. Alpine Accentor: Walberswick, May 23rd. Marsh Warbler: Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary, May 18th. Icterine Warbler: Landguard, Aug. 31st. Melodious Warbler: North Warren, Aldeburgh, May 25th. Yellow-browed Warbler: Minsmere Sluice, Oct. lst. Collared Flycatcher: Worlington, Apr. 21st. Common Rosefinch: Landguard, May 30th. 1991 Records: Whiskered Tern: Landguard, June 3rd. Melodious Warbler: North Warren, Aldeburgh, Oct. 6th. 1990 Records: Yellow Wagtail: Newmarket, Feb. 23rd. References: Andrews, J. & Cárter, S. P. 1993. Britain 's birds in 1990-91: the conservation andmonitoring review. BTO/JNCC, Thetford/Peterborough. Clements, J. 1991. Birds of the World: a checklist. Ibis, California. Dymond, J. N., Fraser, P. A. & Gantlett, S. J. M. 1989. Rare birds in Britain andlreland. Poyser, Calton. Kirby, J. S., Fems, J. R., Waters, R. J. & Prys-Jones, R. P. 1991. Wildfowl and wader counts 1990-91 The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. Lack, P. C. 1986. The atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. Marchant, J. & Balmer, D. 1993. Common birds census: 1991-1992 index report. BTONews 187:9-12. Murphy, P. W. 1982. Early & late dates for summer & passage migrants in Suffolk 1950-1980. Suffolk Birds 1981 35-47. Nightingale, B. & Allsopp, K. 1993. Seasonal reports. Autumn 1992. Brit. Birds 86:332. Payn, W. H. 1978. The birds of Suffolk. Ancient House Publishing, Ipswich. Rogers, M. J. et al. 1993. Report on rare birds in Great Britain and Ireland in 1992 Brit. Birds 86: 447-540. 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. 138


List of Contributors 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 — Eds. S. Abbott, D. Adelson, R. Aldous, P. R. Allard, D. M. Archer, J. Arnold, J. R. Askins, M. J. Austin, H. E. Axell, J. Aycliffe. D. B. Baker, Miss D. E. Balmer, Dr M. F. M. Bamford, P. H. Banks, A. Banwell (ABa), R. Barras, R. E. Batty, L. P. Baxter, Dr C. Beardall, Miss A. Beaufoy, J. Bedford, H. R. Beecroft, Mrs M. J. Beecroft, R. C. Beecroft, Rev. G. Bell, P. Bergdahl, Mrs D. Berry, R. Biddle, A. Bimpson, Birdline East Anglia, Birds of Estuary Enquiry, S. Bishop, L. T. Bloomfield, A. Botwright (ABo), W. J. Brame, Dr A. Brenchley, British Trust for Ornithology, B. J. Brown, J. A. Brown, R. M. Brown, D. Bryant, J. A. Brydson, M. Buckingham, J. Budd, A. L. Bull, R. Burridge, D. Butcher, H. McK. Butcher, C. A. Buttle. N. Cant, E. Cantillon, Dr N. Carter, Mrs D. Carter, S. P. Carter, Catchpole, Cockram and Peters Ringing Group, P. R. Catchpole, M. Cavanagh (MCa), J. M. Cawston, Mrs L. Charlton, T. D. Charlton, P. Chesbrough, K. J. Chittleborough, Mrs A. E. Cobb, Mrs J. Cook, M. Cook, C. A. Cornish, M. L. Cornish, W. R. Cornish, R. Cox, J. Cracknell, D. Crawshaw, M. D. Crewe, N. Crouch, R. Crozier, C. G. D. Curtis, C. J. Cuthbert. J. A. Davies, J. Davis, D. Davison, T. Diebel, Dingle Bird Club, P. J. Dolton, O. G. Douglas, S. P. Dudley, S. Dumican, R. A. Duncan. A. C. Easton, G. Elliott, R. N. Elliston, P. Etheridge (PEt), P. Evans, S. P. Evans. R. Fairhead, Mrs L. Farrell, M. Farrow, Mrs C. Fayers M. S. Forbes, Miss J. F. Fourdrinier, A. Freeman, M. Freeman, S. J. Fryett, C. Fulcher, J. Fulcher, D. J. Fuller. R. W. Gardiner, C. Garnham, Mrs J. D. Garrod, K. W. Garrod, J. Garstang, D. J. Gibbs, J. Gibbs, Miss K. Gibson, A. Gilby, J. A. Glazebrook, R. Glazebrook, J. Goddard, S. R. Goddard, M. J. Goddard, G. Goodall, A. Gooding, A. G. Gough, P. R. Gowen, S. A. Graham, J. H. Grant, T. Gray, Mrs T. Gray, N. Green, A. Greengo, A. Gregory, G. Grieco. M. A. Hall, P. Hall, P. Hamling, B. Harrington, B. Hart, Mrs M. Hart, P. Harvey (PHa), A. Halsten, B. Hawes, G. Hawthorn, P. V. Hayman, B. R. Heal, P. Hobbs, R. Hoblyn, Rev. A. Hogarth, Mrs S. Hogarth, S. J. Holloway, D. J. Holman, R. Horn (R. Ho), A. Howe, A. Hubbard, Sir A. G. Hurrell. Ipswich Borough Council Park Ranger Service, Ipswich Museum. E. Jackson, P. Jackson, C. A. Jacobs, C. J. Jakes, M. James, G. J. Jobson, D. P. Johnson, B. W. Jones. E. Kearey, K. Keeble, C. Kemp, J. Kemp, A. Kennedy, T. P. Kerridge, Dr T. Kerry, C. A. E. Kirtland, W. J. Kirton, C. D. Knott. P. Lack, P. Lakey, Lackford Wildfowl Reserve, Landguard Bird Observatory (LBO), R. H. Längsten, A. J. Last, W. A. Last, B. Lawson, J. C. LeGassick, J. Levene, R. Lightfoot, S. J. Ling, S. Lovric (SLo), J. A. Lowe. A. J. Macfarlane, R. N. Macklin, Miss Z. Maclaughlin, J. H. Marchant, S. J. Marginson, D. C. Marsh, M. Marsh, N. Marsh, R. V. A. Marshall, N. J. Mason, P. P. Mason, C. J. Mead, H. Mendel, A. Miller (AMi), J. Minihane, A. Moore (AMo), D. R. Moore, M. R. Morley, A. Morris, C. E. Morris, G. Mortimer, P. W. Murphy. P. Napthine, C. R. Naunton, M. Neave, P. Newport, D. R. Newton, Mrs J. Newton, Mrs M. Newton, P. Newton, T. Nightingale, S. D. Noble, T. North (TNo), C. R. Nunn, N. P. Nunn, R. F. Nunn. N. Odin, G. Oram, J. Osborne. M. Packard, A. R. J. Paine, E. Parsons, J. Partridge, E. W. Patrick, A. Pearson, Dr D. J. Pearson, Mr & Mrs J. R. Pilkington, S. H. Piotrowski, R. Plowman, Mrs S. Plowman, J. Pope, T. Porter, L. Potter, A. J. Prater. J. L. Raincock, B. Ranner, P. J. Ransome, Mrs A. Ravenscroft, 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. S. Satchel 1, T. Scofield, E. Seymour, B. Sanders, Dr N. J. Skinner, B. J. Small, D. R. Smalley,

139


R. C. Smith, R. Snook, G. Stebbing-Allen, P. Steggall, A. M. Stevenson, T. Stopher, Mrs C. Stow, S.A. Stow, Suffolk Biological Records Centre, Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT), R. Swindin. A. Täte, J. L. Thomas, M. Thomas, Mrs P. Thomas, B. G. Thompson, J. Thorogood, N. G. Thorpe, R. F. Tomlinson, Mrs D. C. Tozer, R. B. Tozer, J. A. Turner. D. K. Underwood. J. Vane, H. Vaughan, P. Vaughan, P. J. Vincent, A. E. Vine. R. Waiden, C. S. Waller, D. F. Walsh, J. Walshe, R. A. Walthew, R. B. Warren, Rev. R. G. Warren, R. J. Waters, E. H. Webh, L. Webb, J. Weeks, L. H. Weeks, Mrs A. Welch, Mrs H. Welch, G. R. Welch, R. West, P. Whittaker, J. D. Wilson, M. G. Wilson, R. Wilton, B. Woodhouse, M. Wright, M. T. Wright. S. Youell. J. Zantboer.

// 7

140


E A R L I E S T AND LATEST DATES O F SUMMER M I G R A N T S SPECIES Garganey* Osprey Hobby Stone C u r l e w Little Ringed P l o v e r Whimbrelf W o o d Sandpiper

Date M a r . 31st A p r . 6th A p r . 19th M a r . 15th Mar. 20th Mar. 29th M a y 14th

Sandwich Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Little T e r n Black T e r n Turtle Dovef Cuckoo Nightjar Swift Wryneck Sand Martin Swallow House Martin T r e e Pipit Yellow Wagtail Nightingale Redstart Whinchat Wheatear R i n g Ouzel Grasshopper Warbler

Mar. 24th A p r . 11th Apr. 20th Apr. 21st Apr. 21st A p r . 21st A p r . 16th M a y 14th A p r . 21st A p r . 1st M a r 7th M a r . 16th A p r . 11th Mar. 26th Mar. 22nd A p r . 19th A p r . 19th Apr. 26th Mar. 2nd A p r . 12th A p r . 19th

Sedge Warbler Reed W a r b l e r Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Wood Warbler* Willow Warbler Spotted F l y c a t c h e r Pied F l y c a t c h e r Red-backed Shrike

A p r . 6th Apr. 21st Apr. 22nd Apr. 20th A p r . 19th May 2nd A p r . 8th Apr. 22nd A p r . 21st M a y 13th

ARRIVALS Locality B e n a c r e Broad Lackford Bawdsey Breckland Lackford Minsmere Southwold/Minsmere/ Trimley Marshes Havergate Lackford Landguard Sizewell Weybread G.P. Lackford Landguard Minsmere Walberswick Hawstead Lackford Minsmere Lackford Minsmere Sudbourne Landguard Landguard Alton W a t e r / L a n d g u a r d Lakenheath T r i m l e y St. M a r y Minsmere/Westwood Marshes Lackford Felixstowe Southwold Felixstowe Wherstead Lowestoft Knettishall Barking Tye Dunwich Dunwich

N o t e s : t See checklist f o r details of o v e r w i n t e r i n g bird. * Latest f o r S u f f o l k .

141

Date N o v . 9th O c t . 16th O c t . 11th S e p . 25th Sep. 18th O c t . 5th S e p . 30th

DEPARTURES Locality Landguard Butley River Minsmere Breckland Benacre Havergate Trimley Marshes

O c t . 8th O c t . 11th O c t . 12th S e p . 27th O c t . 2nd O c t . 19th S e p . 14th S e p . 13th S e p . 28th Sep. 29th O c t . 20th N o v . 28th N o v . 17th O c t . 4th O c t . 29th O c t . 1st N o v . 9th O c t . 11th N o v . 10th Oct. 23rd Sep. 25th

Lowestoft/Southwold Levington Southwold Sizewell Minsmere T r i m l e y St. M a r y Minsmere Minsmere Chelmondiston Landguard Lackford Minsmere Felixstowe Minsmere/Landguard Landguard Fagbury Landguard Waldringfield Landguard Landguard Landguard

S e p . 29th O c t . 30th O c t . 10th N o v . 4th N o v . 10th O c t . 1st N o v . 12 th O c t . 2nd O c t . 4th O c t . 5th

Fagbury Fagbury Fagbury Fagbury Landguard Landguard Lowestoft Fagbury Fagbury Southwold


NOTES SUCCESSFUL BREEDING BY RED-BACKED SHRIKES - On the morning of July 8th 1992, Fred Elliston informed me that he and his wife had observed a male Red-backed Shrike Lanìus collurio the previous day. It was perched on power-lines, close to a cottage, at a site in coastal Suffolk. My husband Ken, and I, decided to follow up this sighting immediately and, despite torrential rain, drove to the area. We arri ved at around lunchtime and soon after the weather cleared, walked along a track where we found, to our surprise, a iemale Red-backed Shrike perched on the same stretch of power-lines as the male had been previously! After a few seconds, the male appeared and perched beside her. He was very bedraggled from the downpour, but in the warm sunshine that followed, soon regained his normal splendour. We walked straight past the pair, who took no notice of us and from a safe distance, and out of sight of passers-by that might have happened along, set up our telescopes. We saw that the male bird was continually catching bees and taking them to an area of thick Bramble Rubus sp. and Rosebay Willowherb Chamerion angustifolium in which, we suspected, the pair was nesting. Meanwhile, the female flew quite close to us and fed herself. After a time, she joined the male in taking food to the apparent nest area. We could hardly believe what we were witnessing — a pair of Red-backed Shrikes breeding again in Britain and virtually on our doorstep! We kept our distance from the birds and discussed what we should do about our discovery. On our return home, I telephoned Derek Moore, Director of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust who in turn contacted Richard Davis, Conservation Officer for Forest Enterprise. On July lOth, DM and RD visited the site to find both adults apparently feeding young. Ron Hoblyn, also of Forest Enterprise, was informed as he had the necessary licence to allow an approach to the nest of this species which is protected under Schedule One of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. RH visited the site on July 13th and found the shrikes' nest containing four half-grown young which he estimated to be one week old. Ken and I visited the area regularly from July 8th onwards to make sure that there was no disturbance. On July 20th, RD telephoned to say that at 7.30 a.m. that morning, he and RH had been to the nesting area and found that ali four young had fledged. That night, about one and a half inches of rain fell and we were concerned that the young birds might not have survived the very wet conditions. However, as we walked up the path the next day, we could hear the young calling. Although we only saw the adults on that visit, they were obviously feeding their offspring. On July 30th, two of the juveniles had moved to an adjacent paddock where we watched the female feeding them on Small Tortoiseshells Agíais urticae whilst the male was obviously feeding the remaining two in the nesting area. On August lst, the entire family was in the paddock with the female feeding the two larger young and the male the other two, one of which was obviously the runt of the brood. From August 4th to 15th, the adults fed their respective young in the paddock, but there was no sign of the birds after the latter date. Hopefully, they had set off safely for their winter quarters, perhaps to return another year. Mrs Jean D. Garrod, 769 Foxhall Road, Ipswich 1P4 5TJ R E D - F O O T E D FALCON STEALING F O O D F R O M K E S T R E L - On May 25th 1992, Mike Marsh, Peter Evans and I spent approximately two hours watching the activities of a female Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus on the second day of its presence at Kings Marshes, Orfordness. The bird perched on overhead power-lines for long periods, occasionally flying short distances to settle further along the wires. We had almost ignored a Kestrel F. tinnunculus which was hunting some 300 metres away to the north but, to our surprise, the Red-footed Falcon suddenly took flight and headed strongly in its direction. 142


We noted that the Kestrel had captured a small item of prey and in its normal, rather labouring flight was presumably carrying its quarry to a perch for immediate consumption. The Red-footed Falcon flew directly at the Kestrel and after a brief aerial encounter, in which the talons of the two birds appeared to become momentarily interlocked, the Redfooted Falcon seized the prey and returned to perch less than 30 metres from our vantage point. Through telescopes we were able to identify the stolen meal as a Short-tailed Vole Microtus agrestis and we watched with interest as the falcon proceeded to consume its prize. It initially attacked the mammal's head with its bill, tearing off small chunks of fur and flesh and tossing them aside. Once the vole's head had been removed, the bird discarded its victim's innards, hooking them out in a single operation and dropping them to the ground. The rodent was then swallowed whole. Food piracy by Red-footed Falcons on Kestrels has been well documented (e.g. Hogg 1977, Oldenburgh & Ellwanger 1987, Kettle 1990 and Combridge & Combridge 1992) and talon locking between the two species has also been noted (Coath 1992). However, this is the first occasion that such activity has been recorded in Suffolk and the incident as a whole is worthy of note. References: Coath, M. 1992. Talon-locking between Kestrel and Red-footed Falcon. Brit. Birds 85: 496. Combridge, M. C. & Combridge, P. 1992. Red-footed Falcon robbing Kestrels. Brit. Birds 85: 496. Hogg, R. H. 1977. Food piracy by Red-footed Falcon. Brit. Birds 70: 220. Kettle, A. 1990. Red-footed Falcon attacking and robbing Kestrel. Brit. Birds 83: 548. Oldenburgh, H. & Ellwanger, G. 1987. Food piracy by Red-footed Falcons. Brit. Birds 80: 283. Steve Piotrowski,

18 Cobham

Road, Ipswich

1P3 9JD.

L E U C I S T I C W H E A T E A R A T F E L I X S T O W E â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Mike Marsh was driving through Felixstowe Docks on September 26th 1992, when his attention was drawn to a very pale wheatear Oenanthe sp. which flew across Fagbury Road in front of him and settled on a small area of short grass. Stopping for a closer look, he found a wheatear with a rather upright stance and a plumage of pale sand. When he finally arrived at Fagbury Cliff, he alerted others to the bird's presence and several people went to see it. I was able to watch the bird on several occasions over the two days that it was present and took notes on various plumage and structural features. There was much discussion as to the identity of the bird which was considered by some to be an Isabelline Wheatear O. isabellina. The bird was finally identified as a leucistic Wheatear O. oenanthe and a complete description was taken at the time. As the bird was in aberrant plumage, its identity was based mainly on structural features, but a few plumage characteristics (other than colour) were also of use. Structurally, the bird was identical to a second (normally plumaged) Wheatear also present; both showed the same stance and the proportions of head, body and bill were the same. Both birds were rather large, upright individuals and were almost certainly of the Greenland race O. o. leucorhoa. The length of the tail and primary projection were both too long for Isabelline, and this, coupled with the relatively smaller head, gave the bird a different outline to the large-headed, short-tailed appearance of Isabelline. These structural features were enough to rule out the possibility of the bird being a leucistic Isabelline but plumage features such as the generally rather pale sandy colour and, particularly, the whitish underwing, were still held by some to be enough evidence to suspect that the bird was an Isabelline. A closer look at plumage features other than the general colour revealed several useful points as to the bird's identity. The white base to the tail feathers was too extensive for Isabelline, extending along two thirds of the length of all but the central two tail feathers; 143


on Isabelline the white would be confined to the basal one third. Similarly, the white on the rump extended too far up the lower back; when compared with the folded wings, the white extended further up the back than the lower edge of the tertials and secondaries whereas Isabelline shows a much more restricted band of white in this area. Finally, the face pattern was wrong for Isabelline, with the lores being too pale and the cream supercilium being more obvious behind the eye than in front. The fact that the bird was leucistic, (all colours washed out leaving a mix of various shades of pale brown and cream), in fact meant that several features were too pale even for Isabelline Wheatear. The legs were not black but appeared various shades of blackish brown according to the light; the brown on the tail was too pale and the general ground colour of the primaries and secondaries was far too pale. At close range, the primaries showed white shafts. Aberrant Wheatears appear to be more common than one would think and should always be borne in mind when studying any unfamiliar wheatear. Such birds were initially misidentified as Isabelline Wheatears in Wales in 1988 (Allsopp et al. 1989) and in The Netherlands in 1991 (vanBoheemen 1993). Fortunately, wheatears have a habit of being approachable and a policy of careful study and note-taking should produce the right conclusions. Fortunately, this individual was very obliging and some useful footage of the bird was obtained on video by Dave Outten which helped to provide supporting evidence in confirming this individual as a leucistic Wheatear. References: Allsopp, K., Dawson, I. & Nightingale, B. 1989. September reports 1988. Brit. Birds 82: 43/46. (corrected F. 636). van Boheemen, E. 1993. ['Aberrant Northern Wheatear on Schiermonnikoog in August 1991.'] Dutch Birding 15: 66-67. (In Dutch). Mike Crewe, 2 Hill Cottages,

Brightwell

IP10

'ti

144

OBA.


Rarities in Suffolk 1992 Mike

Crewe

For the rarity hunter, the tide appears to be turning. It is not often that we look forward to winter for a chance to sit down and catch up on ourselves due to an overdose of rarities â&#x20AC;&#x201D; indeed, if they get any more frequent we shall have difficulty in justifying the term 'rarity'!! As with 1991, 1992 saw a rather poor autumn passage period but many people were still recovering from the events of the spring and perhaps would not have coped with a good autumn as well. It seems likely that 1992 will go down as the best year since 1987 for scarce and rare birds in the County, although the year started rather quietly. Two Roughlegged Buzzards lingered into the New Year and a Crane loitered for a while at Minsmere for all to enjoy, but a Night Heron chose an inconvenient place to hide and could not be broadcast. Sightings in April included four Red Kites, Kentish Plover, Hoopoe and a very early Caspian Tern but the balloon did not really go up until early May with the revelation that three Cattle Egrets had been seen in West Suffolk. These were quickly followed by a wellwatched Glossy Ibis at Minsmere and later at Carlton Marshes before the flood gates opened to let in rarities aplenty from all points south and east. Most spectacular of all was the arrival of at least ten Red-footed Falcons, part of the largest ever influx of the species into Britain. The winds continued to blow favourably throughout late spring and early summer, treating Suffolk with a Purple Heron, two Montagu's Harriers, Spotted Crake, 145


Dotterel, Pectoral Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Long-tailed Skua (exceptional in spring), Roseate Tern, Alpine Swift, several Bee-eaters, Hoopoe, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny Pipit, at least seven Grey-headed Wagtails, Bluethroat, two Marsh Warblers, Great Reed Warbler, three Icterine Warblers, the first two spring Greenish Warblers for Suffolk, two Red-breasted Flycatchers, at least seven migrant Golden Orioles, at least seven migrant Red-backed Shrikes, two Common Rosefinches, two Ortolan Buntings and the County's first Black-headed Bunting. A male Serin also appeared and set up territory until July when the awful truth that there were no females about finally dawned upon him. On top of all this, a White-throated Sparrow, discovered at Fagbury Cliff near Felixstowe Docks seems likely, in view of the predominant weather patterns, to have arrived in style by transatlantic container ship. Its proximity to the docks perhaps supports this but we must not fall into the trap of assuming that all scarce birds near docks must have arrived by boat. The presence of very bright lights in Felixstowe Docks presents an irresistible draw to many lost migrants and we must keep an open mind on the origin of all birds unless hard facts or irrefutable evidence suggests otherwise. This attitude is particularly important when considering the Red-fronted Serin that appeared at Landguard on June 6th. It is difficult to consider this a wild bird given that the species cannot really be considered a long-distance migrant; however, we should not ignore the appearance in Britain of such species as Marmora's Warbler, Wallcreeper and White-crowned Black Wheatear, all of which are considered to be sedentary or only short-distance migrants. July offered the chance for a short pause to recuperate from the spring onslaught, and for bank balances to recover, but the month was not birdless. Highlights included a Purple Heron, two Honey Buzzards, a Spotted Crake, a long-staying Red-necked Phalarope and a Common Rosefinch. In addition, remnants of the summer invasion resulted in one pair of Red-backed Shrikes and two pairs of Common Rosefinches breeding in the County. The hardened seawatcher had a chance to produce the goods in the early autumn period with highlights including a Great Shearwater, five Sooty Shearwaters, four Leach's Petrels, four Pomarine Skuas, two Long-tailed Skuas and a Roseate Tern. On terra firma, landlubbers were treated to a good number of County rarities but nationally rare species remained just that. During August and September, the pick of the bunch included a Black-necked Grebe, two Corncrakes, two Pectoral Sandpipers, Red-necked Phalarope, a roosting Lesser Crested Tern, two Hoopoes, the first Short-toed Lark since 1982, a flighty Richard's Pipit, Tawny Pipit, six Icterine Warblers, two Barred Warblers, Yellow-browed Warbler and a Red-breasted Flycatcher. October is the month that the east coast rarity hunter looks forward to with bated breath but many must have been left feeling hungry. A Rustic Bunting at Landguard stayed for one day only but was seen by most who went to see it and must have been seen as a good omen. However, it was not to be, and most observers had to wait until the last days of the month to be'stunned with the news that a visiting birdwatcher had seen a Great Spotted Cuckoo at Aldeburgh! Luckily the bird was refound a few days later and was good compensation for those missing Suffolk's second Red-throated Pipit which showed itself to just one observer and was the only other nationally rare species reported that month. One of the most attractive birds of the autumn however, and a nationally rare subspecies, was a Great Grey Shrike of the eastern race L. e. pallidirostris which performed well in front of many admirers. Scarce species appeared in the shape of a fly-over White Stork, a Hoopoe, two Yellow-browed Warblers and a Red-backed Shrike, plus a handful of long-stayers from September. Once again it was the seawatchers who were on cloud nine with a continuation of the good run that started in early autumn. Amongst the commoner species, sharp eyes located 27 Sooty Shearwaters, two Leach's Petrels, seven Pomarine Skuas, two Long-tailed Skuas and 12 Puffins. The year fizzled out rather quietly with the weather being too mild to bring in the northern 146


specialities. However, those that persisted managed to find at least three Black-throated Divers, Great Northern Diver, five Slavonian Grebes, two Black-necked Grebes together, five Bean Geese, three Rough-legged Buzzards, a very late Hoopoe and a sprinkling of Lapland Buntings. Sadly, the regular wintering Iceland Gull failed to return to Felixstowe at the end of the year but one of the biggest surprises was the discovery of a male Dartford Warbler on Dunwich Heath which had fallen in with a pair of Stonechats. He set up territory and remained well into 1993. In all, another excellent year, but County Listers were hard pressed to improve their tallies as many birds passed through all too quickly. GREENISH WARBLER -

F O U R T H F O R S U F F O L K . Thursday May 28th

1992

dawned with a fairly strong easterly wind and was warm and muggy at Landguard. At around 05.00 hrs I heard a song that was unfamiliar to me, coming from the Evergreen Oaks along the eastern side of the observatory ridge. Because of the wind, I could not open the mist nets there so I opened as many nets as possible on the more sheltered western side in the hope that the mystery songster would filter through to a less windswept position. Before I had finished opening the nets, the bird had already moved across the ridge and was singing above my head. Tantalisingly brief glimpses revealed that it was a Phylloscopus warbler with a wing bar. Fortunately, at this point the bird descended from the canopy of the Poplars and into the mouth of the Heligoland Trap and was easily caught. The bird was quickly identified as a Greenish Warbler and, after ringing and examination, it was released and remained at Landguard all day, singing occasionally. The bird was often elusive, until late in the day when it performed well to the crowds. No field notes were taken except for a description of the song which consisted of short, varied phrases of notes with a liquid trill at the end which I likened to a cross between a Chaffinch and a Wren. A loud double note call was given on release from the hand. The following in-hand details were noted: Upperparts: Pale olive-green crown, nape, back and rump. Pale yellowish-white supercilium extending well behind eye and at its broadest just behind the eye. Dark lores. Ear coverts blotchy olivegreen and yellowish. Lesser coverts olive-green. Greater coverts slightly darker than lesser coverts with white tips (0.75mm wide) forming a distinct short wing bar. Primary coverts, primaries and secondaries dark olive-brown with bright olive-green edges. Alula dark olive-brown. Tail feathers dark olive-brown with slight green edges. Underparts: Off-white with very faint yellowish tinge. Flanks slightly greyer. Underwing coverts white with very slight yellowish wash, yellower at bend of wing. Bare Parts: Lower mandible orange-horn. Upper mandible dark brownish-horn with pale orange cutting edges. Legs brownish-horn with soles slightly paler. Weight: 7.8gm. Wing Length: 64mm. Wing Formula: Emarginated on 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th primaries; wing point 3rd and 4th primaries. 2nd primary tip falling between tip of 6th and 7th. Nigel Odin, Landguard HTW.

Bird Observatory,

View Point Road, Felixstowe,

Suffolk

IP 11

RUSTIC BUNTING â&#x20AC;&#x201D; SECOND FOR SUFFOLK. Whilst on a net round at Landguard Bird Observatory at around 10.00 hrs on October 3rd 1992, David Kightley and I saw an unusual looking bunting which I suspected to be a Rustic Bunting. The bird was pointed out to others present but views were poor and the identification could not be confirmed. Fortunately, the bird was later trapped and the chestnut streaking on breast and flanks, scalloped chestnut rump and striking head pattern and wing bars confirmed that the bird was indeed Suffolk's second Rustic Bunting, the first having been trapped at Minsmere on October 24th 1962. 147


The following in-the-hand description was taken. Upperparts: Broad cream supercilium starting just in front of eye and extending above and beyond ear coverts, possibly broadening slightly at rear. Cheeks pale grey-brown with dark brown border forming narrow moustachial stripe and broader eye stripe behind eye only. A pale cream spot was just visible at rear of ear coverts. Lores pale grey-brown. Broad cream sub-moustachial stripe and dark brown malar stripe merging into grey sides of neck. Nape and side of neck pale grey with small chestnut blotches on rear of crown. Plain nape contrasted with streaked mantle. Crown with dark brown streaks with buff frìnges to feathers. An indistinct cream-centred crown stripe was more visible at front of crown, but a creamy patch also noticeable at rear of crown, although not continuous with crown stripe. Lower back and rump chestnut with pale grey fringes giving scalloped effect on rump. Upper tail coverts rufous with pale tawny fringes. Tail dark brown with narrow buff fringes on inner four pairs of feathers. Central pair shorter and more broadly edged buff than others. Outer two pairs of feathers with extensive white areas, especially on outermost pair. Underparts: Throat and chin cream with a few dark flecks on lower throat. Flanks had chestnut centres with whitish edges, chestnut extending across upper breast, forming dark patch. Lower breast, belly and undertail coverts white. Wings: Primaries and secondaries brown with narrow buff edges. Tertials black with broad pale brown fringes. The three inner greater coverts as tertials, remaining greater coverts black, tipped off-white and edged pale brown. Alula and primary coverts as primaries. Median coverts black, tipped off-white. Lesser coverts rusty brown edged pale buff. Underwing coverts white. Pale tips to median and greater coverts produced two fairly obvious wing bars. Bare Parts: Bill pinkish horn on upper mandible. Lower mandible pale pinkish. Culmen ridge straight. Legs pale pinkish horn. Eyes dark brown — no obvious eye ring, although narrow cream line below eye just visible. Biométries: Wing 81mm, emarginated 3/4/5, wing point 3/4/5; Weight 22.0g; Fat score 1. The bird was seen by a number of observers whilst being ringed and processed and was then released into the area of poplars where it had been originally seen and caught. It remained in that area for the rest of the day and was seen by around 75 observers. On release the call was described by N. Odin as a 'zitting tick'. The bird was aged/sexed as a first-winter male using the criteria laid out in Svensson (1992). The bird appeared on a day when Landguard received a good fall of Goldcrests, Blackbirds and Robins with one of the latter hearing a Danish ring. R. A. Duncan,

5 Melton

Road, Hollesley,

Woodbridge

IP12

3LB.

R E D - T H R O A T E D PIPIT - S E C O N D FOR SUFFOLK. After looking for autumn migrants in bushes at Shingle Street, near Hollesley, Suffolk on October 1 Ith 1992,1 walked south across damp grazing pasture to check the rough grassland beyond. After a couple of minutes Walking, my attention was drawn to a loud, insistent 'Pzssssss' call with the emphasis at the beginning and tailing off slightly at the end. Past experience enabled me to identify it immediately as the call of a Red-throated Pipit and I heard the call four or five times before I latched onto a small pipit which dropped into an area of rushes Juncus beside some shallow pools in front of me and promptly disappeared! Unfortunately 1 was caught in the open, but I managed to work my way round and found four or five Meadow Pipits feeding amongst the rush clumps. Shortly, I located a pipit that was immediately more 'contrasty' than any of the (albeit variable) Meadow Pipits. It looked more heavily streaked below with a whiter ground colour and appeared more contrastingly streaked above. Most importantly, the base of the lower mandible was yellowish, in contrast to ali the Meadow Pipits present which ail showed an obviously pinkish colour to this area. Unfortunately the bird suddenly took off after about two to three minutes, although the other pipits ail stayed put. It immediately began to call again, the call being heard four times before it was too far away to hear and I followed it through the binoculars as it headed off northwards and was lost from view. The following description is from hurriedly scribbled notes taken at the time: Description: A small pipit, the same size as accompanying Meadow Pipits but appearing a little


more dumpy, due to the slightly shorter tail. Upperparts generally olive-brown, finely streaked blackishbrown on crown and more heavily streaked blackish-brown on mantle. Dark streaks on rump could not be seen but there appeared to be dark centres to the feathers on the sides of the rump, just visible when the bird lifted its wings slightly when reaching forward to pick at food items. Creamy 'braces' mentioned in texts were not obvious (and any way they showed quite obviously on several Meadow Pipits viewed later!) but the heavier dark markings on the mantle gave a more general striped appearance. Head pattern rather plain, similar to that of Meadow Pipit with pale supercilium and lores and rather plain, olive-brown ear coverts, but with a more noticeable dark malar stripe. Tertials and greater coverts dark centred with pale, creamy edges and tips. Median coverts with similar creamy edges and with very dark centres, forming dark bar across wing. Underparts creamy white, noticeably paler and whiter than the buffy underparts of the Meadow Pipits present (although some paler â&#x20AC;&#x201D; presumably adult â&#x20AC;&#x201D; birds present approached it in colour). Heavy, blackish streaking on underparts, most noticeable at the top of the sides of the breast where the streaks formed an eye-catching dark patch, and on the flanks where the streaks were much heavier than on neighbouring Meadow Pipits and contrasted strongly with the very white undertail coverts. (This last point also noticeable in flight as the bird left the area.) Legs pale pinkish, upper mandible dark. Lower mandible with dark distal third and proximal two thirds pale, showing noticeably yellow at the base. Mike Crewe, 2 Hill Cottages, Brightwell IP10 OBA. W H I T E - T H R O A T E D S P A R R O W - S E C O N D F O R S U F F O L K . After a fruitless visit to a fog-bound Landguard Point on Sunday May 31st 1992, I decided to go to nearby Fagbury Cliff. Upon my arrival, I found that the weather conditions were much better than at Landguard and, as Reed Warblers could be heard singing, I worked slowly into the area known as The Orchard. After several minutes I had had little success so I tried " p i s h i n g " as this usually brings out a few warblers. Almost immediately, a bird dropped onto a bare branch about eight metres from me. Although it had its back to me, I could see that it had a bold, pale supercilium and pale tips to its greater coverts. Because of its generally brown coloration and nervous wing flicking, my first thoughts were that it must have been a species of accentor, but it soon shuffled sideways and revealed its pure white throat and bunting-like bill. I could clearly see its white median and blackish lateral crown stripes and realised I was watching a Whitethroated Sparrow. After taking a brief description, I dashed off to 'phone out the news. Luckily, the bird stayed for some time and the following, more detailed description was taken on a later date: Size: Appeared at least as large as Yellowhammer. Head: Median crown stripe narrow, white, lightly flecked with black; lateral crown stripe black, broader than median stripe; supercilium white behind eye, yellow in front of eye, broadening behind the eye and appearing upturned where it joined the nape. Eye-stripe black, widening behind the eye; moustachial stripe black, short; cheeks pale grey; throat white, with pale grey malar stripe running through. Pale grey line joining the lower end of the malar stripes and forming a pale grey lower border to the white throat. Crown stripes and supercilium ending at nape and diffusing into chestnutbrown and black flecking of nape. Upperparts: Nape, mantle and scapular feathers blackish with broad chestnut-brown fringes giving a rather Dunnock-like appearance. Wing coverts similar in colour to mantle with pale whitish tips to greater and median coverts forming a double wing-bar. Tertials and secondaries blackish-brown with broad chestnut-brown fringes forming an obvious panel. Primaries dull brownish; rump and upper tail coverts dull greyish-brown; tail brown. Underparts: All dull grey with some reddish-brown streaking on sides of breast and flanks. Legs: Dull reddish-brown. Bill: Strong, conical, with straight culmen. Pale pinkish-horn with dark grey culmen. Eye: Blackish. W. J. Brame, 43 High View Road, Ipswich IP1 5HJ. Despite much searching, the bird was not refound on May 31st. However, it was relocated by E. W. Patrick at around midday on June 1st and remained in the area until at least


June 8th. Although often difficult to locate, many hundreds of birdwatchers were able to enjoy this often very confiding individuai â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Ed. L E S S E R C R E S T E D T E R N - S E C O N D F O R S U F F O L K . On Tuesday, August 4th 1992, I had just finished work on Dunwich Heath and decided to cycle along the beach to the public hide overlooking the Minsmere Bird Reserve. After viewing The Scrape for about ten minutes, I decided to check through the Black-headed Gulls and Sandwich Terns that were gathering to roost on a mud spit towards North Hide. As I reached the end of the flock, I was struck by a tern, the size of the accompanying Sandwich Terns, but sporting a long, bright orange bill. Realising that the bird was not a Caspian Tern, I suspected it must be a Lesser Crested Tern and left another observer watching the bird whilst I cycled to the Minsmere reception centre to alert staff there. Shortly, we were obtaining closer views from the East Hide and the bird was observed for some 20 minutes. DĂźring this time, the pale grey rump was noted whilst the bird was preening and this feature helped to clinch the identification. The following notes were taken at the time: Size and Structure: Slightly larger than Sandwich Tern and generally more thick set. Also a little shorter legged. Bill: Longer and stouter than Sandwich Tern's bill. Bright orange, becoming yellower towards the tip with a small translucent area at the very tip. Head: Crown from above eye to back of head black with short, shaggy crest at rear. Black drawing to a point at nape. Forecrown white, flecked with black. Upperparts: Mantle and wing coverts pale grey, similar in tone to that of Sandwich Tern. Primaries appearing a 'purer' black than those of Sandwich Tern. Rump and tail pale grey, paler than mantle but noticeably greyer than pure white underparts. Underparts: Pure white. Legs: Short and dark, although not appearing pure black. M. L. Cornish,

23 Waterloo Avenue,

Leiston

IP16

4HE.

" S T E P P E " S H R I K E - S E C O N D F O R S U F F O L K . At about midday on October 4th 1992, W. J. Brame, E. W. Patrick and I were searching for migrants in an area of low scrub at Easton Bavents, north of Southwold. As we approached one of the small sheep paddocks there, WJB saw a large, very pale passerine fly from a low bush and alight on the ground some 20 metres away. He turned and immediately drew my attention to it but before we could get a proper look at the bird, it had flown behind another bush. It appeared to be about the size of a large thrush and I was immediately struck by its apparent whiteness. Shortly, the bird reappeared on the ground a little further away and it became obvious that the bird was a Great Grey Shrike, although nothing like the bird we had seen the day before at Sizewell. The upperparts were extremely pale grey, barely contrasting with the white underparts and the black face mask was narrow and restricted to behind the eye. Our thoughts turned to the eastern races of Great Grey Shrike and we concluded that the bird was an individuai of the race L. e. pallidirostris, colloquially known as " S t e p p e " Shrike. Whilst I made notes and sketches, EWP went to spread the news and the bird showed well to ali who came to see it. The bird remained to October 7th and was well-watched and photographed. The following description was put together from notes made at the time: Size: As nominate race but looked sleeker and less heavily built. Head: Throat white, upper half of lores very pale grey, lower lores more buffy grey. Dark mask narrow and confined to behind eye, showing diffuse edges at close quarters and sooty black in colour with a few pale flecks. Forehead, crown and nape very pale grey with a faint buff wash visible only at close range. Upperparts: Mantle, rump and upper tail coverts very pale silver-grey, appearing white at a distance with little or no contrast between the upper and underparts. Lower scapulars pure white, contrasting strongly with the black of the wing coverts and tertials. 150


Wings: Lesser and median coverts black. Greater coverts black with obvious white margins, the white being broader and more extensive on the inner greater coverts. Primary coverts black with white edges and broader white tips; alula feathers black with white margins. Tertials black with narrow white margins and broad white tips; secondaries (visible during aerial sallies for insects) black with broad white fringes and tips. Primaries black with white tips and white proximal half, forming a rectangular white panel on the closed wing, reaching from the tip of the primary coverts to the tip of the uppermost tertial. Primary projection looked longer than on the nominate race and was estimated to be about three-quarters the length of the longest tertial. Underwing pure white. Underparts: White with pale buffy wash on upper breast and flanks. Tail: Upperside black with very narrow brownish fringes and tips to central pair of feathers; outer pair appeared to be wholly white. From below, the tail appeared white with a broad dark line up the centre. Bill: Appeared longer and deeper than that of nominate race; tips medium grey, becoming more pinkish horn towards the base. Very base of bill pinkish. Culmen grey. Legs: Dark grey. The bird was at times very confiding, often allowing approach to around ten métrés. It also frequently showed a preference for feeding on the ground, at which time it adopted a habit of chasing food items across the sheep-grazed turf. John Cawston, 477 Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich IP2 ORU. The appearance of these birds is so distinctive that it seems unlikely that they would be passed up as a nominate Great Grey Shrike. With this in mind, the recent upsurge in sightings in Britain suggests an actual increase in occurrences. It is interesting to note, however, that Suffolk's first record, at Landguard on December 6th 1986, was wrongly identified by visiting birdwatchers and described as a juvenile/first-winter bird of the nominate race (Twitching Vol. 1, p.50) but with accurate observation, these birds should present little problem — Ed. GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO -

F I R S T F O R S U F F O L K . On October 29th

1992,

Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Pilkington were birdwatching at Aldeburgh whilst visiting Suffolk from their home in Derbyshire. At around 14.00hrs, they flushed a long-tailed bird with the appearance of a dark Magpie from long grass beside the River Aide near Slaughden. The bird flew some 200 métrés and settled again and they were able to identify it as a juvenile Great Spotted Cuckoo. Their submitted notes contained the following détails of the bird: Size: Similar to Magpie but appeared slimmer with proportionately longer tail. Upperparts: Dark brown with whitish spots on tail and back. Head: Black with noticeable crest. Yellow neck collar, fading into white on breast. Underparts: White. Wings: Dark with reddish brown panel, conspicuous in flight. (The above description was compiled from notes submitted by the finders — Ed.) BLACK-HEADED BUNTING — FIRST FOR SUFFOLK Whilst Walking back to the car park at Trimley St. Mary on June 4th 1992, having seen the White-throated Sparrow that was present, I could see a flock of sparrows ahead of me, bathing in a puddle at Searson's Farm. As I approached, a bird with a noticeably dark head became apparent and a closer look with binoculare revealed rich yellow underparts, immediately identifying it as an adult male Black-headed Bunting. I 'scoped the bird for no more than a minute and left to alert other birdwatchers, but upon our return, no birds were bathing in the puddle. Shortly, the bird was relocated with sparrows in the farm yard and was watched by about 20 people for around 20 minutes. During this time, I compiled the following notes: Size: Noticeably larger than House Sparrow. Head: Black on crown and face. Throat yellow.


Underparts: Bright yellow, extending onto sides of neck. Upperparts: Rich rufous with paler edges to rump feathers. Wing: Coverts brownish with pale edges and tips. Pale tips formed double wingbar. Tertials blackish with pale edges. Primaries and secondaries dark brown. Tail: Dark. Bill: Deep based; pale grey. The bird fed with sparrows on a small maize heap by the farm buildings until it was flushed. It then flew off over a nearby barn and could not be relocated. A. Ban well, 53 St. Nicholas Close, Gayton, King's Lynn, Norfolk PE32 1QS This bird caused much frustration for local birders by disappearing ail too quickly. Despite much searching over several days, it could not be relocated â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Ed. The rather meagre descriptions received for the last two species, both 'firsts' for the County, are a sad indictment of today's style of birdwatching. Although both found by visitors to the County, who may not have realised the local importance of the records, other observers nevertheless failed to provide supporting notes and it is perhaps fortunate that the records were accepted at ali. Luckily some excellent photographs were available to support the Great Spotted Cuckoo, but these alone cannot be used to get a record through.

f

152


Suffolk Ringing Report Mike

Marsh

In a recent Suffolk Ringing Report ( S u f f o l k Birds 1991:155) it was feared that the ringing effort in the County might decrease as a result of increasing costs of rings and ringing equipment. Fortunately, these fears have been unfounded and 1992 proved to be the busiest, and most expensive, year on record for the County's ringers. The County's annual ringing total attained a new high of 37,359 birds, a quite remarkable achievement which surpassed the previous record by nearly 50%. As with previous reports, ringing data from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Redgrave and Lopham Fens, which straddles the Norfolk/Suffolk border, are included even though most of the ringing is undertaken on an area of the reserve which lies within Norfolk. Migrant passerines, especially Sand Martins, warblers and Meadow Pipits were prominent in the list of species which were ringed in much higher numbers in 1992. This is best shown in the following list which compares the 1992 ringing total with the highest annual figure of the previous six years.

Sand M a r t i n M e a d o w Pipit Sedge W a r b l e r Reed W a r b l e r Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Willow Warbler

1992 total

1986-1991 highest annual total

2637 642 603 1450 1083 463 2437 1644

1302 232 346 906 517 238 777 1094

Nearly two-thirds of the Sand Martins were ringed at just one site, Dunwich, whilst the bulk of the Meadow Pipit total is due to a successful tape-luring effort at Shingle Street. A major factor contributing to the high warbler numbers was the increased activity at Fagbury Cliff, near Felixstowe where almost daily coverage was achieved from the beginning of August to the end of November. The numbers of birds handled at this site were highly impressive and included 125 Sedge Warblers, 389 Reed Warblers. 118 Lesser Whitethroats, 389 Whitethroats, 184 Garden Warblers, an unprecedented 1,227 Blackcaps, 218 Chiffchaffs and 513 Willow Warblers. With figures like these. Fagbury Cliff has rapidly become one of the country's most important sites for studying warbler migration. The site is adjacent to the Port of Felixstowe and it is likely that the large numbers of warblers that occur on passage are attracted to the lights of the port, the glow of which can be seen from a distance of several miles. The wintering Redshank population on our estuaries, especially the Deben and Orwell, was decimated by the Arctic weather conditions of February 1991 so it was pleasing to see that the County's wader ringers were catching good numbers of this species again in 1992. Other noteworthy catches on the wader front were 32 Black-tailed Godwits, nine Whimbrel, seven Greenshank, three Ruff and a Little Stint. Highlights from the list of ringing recoveries are a Sedge Warbler to Ghana, a Swallow to South Africa, a Reed Warbler from Sweden, a Goldcrest to Sweden, a Red-throated Diver from Finland and a Brent Goose wintering in Suffolk which was subsequently seen in Siberia. Also of interest are four Lesser Black-backed Gulls, all ringed as pulli at the Orfordness colony, which were found in Dutch breeding colonies. Three of these birds were confirmed as breeding which is apparently the first instance of Orfordness-bred Lesser Black-backed Gulls breeding in other colonies. Has Orfordness reached saturation point or is there regular 153


interchange across the North Sea? In recent years, large numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls have been colour-ringed in the Dutch colonies, so if there is regular interchange we should be seeing some of these birds in Suffolk. Observers are requested to check Lesser Black-backed Gulls carefully and report any sightings of colour-marked birds to the relevant Area Recorder.

Selected List of Recoveries This part of the report is a selection of ringing recoveries received in, or relating to, 1992. Recoveries are arranged in species' order with ringing details 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. A g e w h e n ringed:

This is given a c c o r d i n g to the E U R I N G c o d e s a n d the figures d o not r e p r e s e n t years. 1 pullus ( = nestling o r chick) 2 fully g r o w n , y e a r of hatching quite u n k n o w n 3 h a t c h e d during c a l e n d a r y e a r of r i n g i n g 4 h a t c h e d b e f o r e c a l e n d a r y e a r of r i n g i n g , but exact y e a r u n k n o w n 5 h a t c h e d d u r i n g p r e v i o u s calendar y e a r 6 h a t c h e d b e f o r e p r e v i o u s c a l e n d a r y e a r , but e x a c t y e a r u n k n o w n 7 definitely hatched t w o y e a r s b e f o r e y e a r of r i n g i n g 8 hatched t h r e e o r m o r e c a l e n d a r y e a r s b e f o r e y e a r of

Sex:

ringing

cr = m a l e 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. RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellam BT008379 1 19.07.87 Renko, Hame, FINLAND (60°55'N 24° 18'E) Helsinki long dead (01.07.90) Havergate Island. Suffolk (52°04'N 01 °31'E) — 1702km SW The exact finding date for this bird is not known, but it had presumably died during the winter months. This recovery shows that some of the Red-throated Divers that occur off the East Anglian coast are from breeding grounds in Scandinavia, although others come from much further afield as shown by one found dead in Essex in September 1959 that had been ringed in Greenland (Cox 1984). CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo Details were received for two colour-ringed Cormorants seen in the County in 1992. Both had been ringed as nestlings at Abberton Reservoir, Essex — one seen at Lake Lothing, Lowestoft on Jan. 19th had been ringed in 1991 and the other at Benacre Broad on Sept. 6th had been ringed in 1992. CANADA GOOSE Branta canadensis 5140137 4 10.07.88 Ixworth, nr. Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk (52° 18'N 00°50'E) field record 21.08.92 Abberton Reservoir, nr. Colchester, Essex (51°49'N 00°50'E) — 56km S Movements of Canada Geese between the West Suffolk and Essex populations are probably quite regular as there were also two similar movements reported in 1991. These involved sightings at Hanningfteld Reservoir in June and Abberton Reservoir in August of single birds which had been ringed in June 1990 at Lackford and Ixworth respectively. The only other movement reported in 1992 linked West Suffolk with the north-east of the County — two birds colour-ringed at Livermere in July 1989 were sighted at Lound on Aug. 17th. 154


BRENT GOOSE Branta bemicla W9BF 6F 10.05.83

Hallig Nordstrandischmoor, Schleswig-Holstein, (colour-rings) GERMANY (54°33'N 08°48'E) 29.03.88 Hallig Nordstrandischmoor — present to 07.04.88. 22.01.89 Trimley St. Martin, nr. Felixstowe, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°18'E) 19.06.91 Bird Islands, Lidia Bay, Taimyr, RUSSIA (74°07'N 86°37'E) - present to 10.07.91 28.03.92 Ameland, NETHERLANDS (53°21'N 05°44'E) — present to 12.04.92. Observers are urged to check flocks of Brent Geese for colour-ringed birds. The above series of sightings shows how rewarding it can be, with this individual reported in Suffolk in winter being subsequently sighted on the Siberian breeding grounds over 4,500 kilometres away. When reporting a colour-ringed bird it is important not only to note the colour of the rings and the inscriptions, if any, but also which ring is on which leg. TEAL Anas crecca EP99697 5M shot

08.02.92 22.09.92

MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos GH73211 5M 14.05.89 field record field record

17.02.90 13.12.92

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) Sevedo, Sjaelland, DENMARK (55°12'N 11°19'E) 738km ENE

Abberton Res., nr. Colchester, Essex (51°49'N 00°50'E) Oulton Broad, Suffolk (52°28'N 01°43'E) - 94km NE Oulton Broad, Suffolk

PINTAIL Anas acuta FV60060 4F shot

08.09.78 Nacton Decoy, Suffolk (52°01'N 01°15'E) c. 15.07.83 Tavdinsky Region, Sverdlovsk, RUSSIA (58°00'N 65°19'E) - 4126km E The recovery locality of this individuai is situated in central Russia east of the Urals.

KESTREL Falco tinnunculus EP99661 1 29.06.91 bird found (26.01.92)

Iken, Suffolk (52°08'N 01 °31'E) Drinkstone Park, Suffolk (52° 12'N 00°51'E) 46km W

-

OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Friskney, Lincolnshire (53°03'N 00°01'E) FA04389 8 09.09.86 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N field record 31.10.92 01°19'E) - 152km SE FR85345

3 controlled

15.11.86 31.07.92

Fagbury, nr. Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °58'N 01° 18'E) North Sea Camp, Boston, Lincolnshire (52°56'N 00°04'E) — 136km NW

STONE-CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus site confidential. West Suffolk ED62076 1 04.06.86 Jaca, Huesca, SPAIN (42°34'N 00"33'W) — 1098km S freshly dead 28.03.92 AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta 3386351 4 16.06.84 Arnhem field record 05.05.89

Oost Holwerd, Friesland, NETHERLANDS (53°22'N 05°54'E) R.Ore, Orford, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°31'E) - 328km WSW 155


In addition to the above, a colour-ringed Avocet present at Trimley Marshes Apr. 12th to 20th 1992 was confirmed as having been ringed as a pullus at Elmley, Kent on June 23rd 1990. DUNLIN Calidrìs alpina NR 17034 controlled NR42798

NS66654

20.09.89 21.07.92

controlled

02.10.90 30.07.92

4 controlled

19.11.84 08.08.87

King's Fleet, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°24'E) Raasio, Siilinjarvi, Kuopio, FINLAND (63°09'N 27°42'E) - 1987km NE Ramsholt, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°22'E) Haparanda Sandskar, Norrbotten, SWEDEN (65°35'N 23°45'E) - 1968km NE

Ramsholt, Suffolk (52°02'N 01 °22'E) Vistula Mouth, Swibno, Gdansk, POLAND (54°20'N 18°56'E) - 1194km ENE Ottenby, Oland, SWEDEN (56°12'N 16°24'E) controlled 15.08.92 1082km ENE NR10191 01.12.90 Bangor Harbour, Gwynedd, W A L E S (53°14'N 04°07'W) controlled 09.12.92 Stutton Mill, nr. Brantham, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°06'E) - 380km ESE Details were received of movements to or from Finland (3), Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden (4). Of these, the two longest movements are shown together with a double recovery in Poland then Sweden. The last recovery shown is particularly interesting as the bird involved had apparently changed its wintering grounds from Wales to Suffolk.

REDSHANK Tringa totanus 623740 1 15.06.8 Reykjavik found dead 11.02.91

Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, ICELAND (63°26'N 20°16'W) Methersgate, R.Deben, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°20'E) — 1789km SE GEI 8537 18.02.88 Les Portes-en-Re, Charente-Maritime, FRANCE Paris (46°15'N 01°30'W) controlled 01.04.92 Boyton, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°29'E) - 682km NNE DN00546 18.06.81 1 Shotley, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°15'E) Trimley Marshes, nr. Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N field record 02.05.92 01°I6'E) - 1km E 623740 which had been ringed as a pullus in Iceland would have been of the subspecies T.t. robusta. Britain and the Low Countries are the main wintering grounds for the Icelandic Redshank population (Cramp & Simmons, et al 1983). DN00546 is included as an example of longevity and site fidelity. GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia DN64073 3 05.09.87 Levington, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°15'E) retrapped 27.07.91 Levington This recovery shows how some migrant waders use traditional stop-over sites on passage. G R E E N SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus CE55127 15.11.86 Ramsholt, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°22'E) controlled 16.08.89 Levington, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°15'E) — 14km SW controlled 25.07.91 Levington NV19444 3 22.09.88 Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01 °26'E) controlled 10.10.92 R.Deben, nr. Ramsholt Lodge, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°20'E) - 7km WSW

t

BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus EP28648 3 17.12.88 Bramford Landfill, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°06'N 01°05'E) found dead (15.05.92) Dedovichi, Pskov, RUSSIA (57°32'N 29°56'E) 1940km ENE

156


EB 18447

6 04.01.76 field record 07.06.90

Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°10'E) Hakaniemen Silta, Helsinki, Uusimaa, FINLAND (60°10'N 24°58'E) - 1721km ENE 6089884 6 20.03.86 Christianshavns Void, Copenhagen, DENMARK Copenhagen (55°40'N 12°36'E) field record 25.12.91 Damhussoen, Vanlose, Sjaelland, DENMARK (55°41'N 12°29'E) field record 16.02.92 Lowestoft, Suffolk (52°30'N 01°45'E) field record 09.03.92 Degnemosen, Bronshoj, Sjaelland, DENMARK (55°42'N 12°30'E) Recoveries of Suffolk-ringed Black-headed Gulls in 1992 included birds in Denmark (2), Finland (2), Germany (2), Netherlands (2), Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden (3). All of these birds had been ringed in the winter months. The most distant movement is shown together with details of EB18447 which, having been ringed as an adult, must have been at least 16 years old when sighted in Finland. As usual, several foreign-ringed birds were seen in the County, most of which originated from southern Scandinavia and the Baltic region. For example, at Felixstowe seafront Black-headed Gulls were seen that had been marked in Estonia, Finland, Germany (2), Latvia, Norway and Poland. These included a site faithful German-ringed bird which had returned for its sixth consecutive winter. 6089884 was a colour-ringed bird and just a few of the 45 sightings of this individual are shown. The observations not listed were all in the general Copenhagen area, including a number in midwinter. It is odd that this bird should make a brief visit to Suffolk in what was essentially a mild winter.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus GG44783 1 06.07.91 Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) found sick 30.10.92 Agadir, MOROCCO (30°30'N 09°40'W) - 2570km SSW GH28083 1 30.06.85 Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) 24.04.92 Maasvlakte, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NETHERLANDS field record (51°57'N 04°03'E) - 169km E Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) GH35827 13.07.86 1 Maasvlakte, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NETHERLANDS 22.05.92 (51°57'N 04°03'E) - 169km E controlled Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) GG56922 10.07.88 Meeuwenduin, Westerschouwen, Zeeland, 14.05.92 1 NETHERLANDS (51°42'N 03°41'E) - 150km ESE field record Oosterscheldekering, Neeltje Jans, Zeeland, field record 19.06.92 NETHERLANDS (51°38'N 03°43'E) - 155km ESE Orford Spit, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°33'E) GH57287 1 11.07.87 Europoort, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NETHERLANDS field record 10.06.92 (51°56'N 0 4 o l l ' E ) — 181km E Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria (54°02'N GM17553 08.07.64 1 03°12'W) Rushmere Hall, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°11'E) — controlled 28.03.92 365km SE There was a total of four recoveries in Morocco of pulli ringed in the Orfordness area and the most distant is shown. The Dutch recoveries are particularly interesting as the birds, which had all been ringed as pulli in the Orfordness area, were all present in breeding colonies and three were confirmed as nesting. GM17553 is an excellent longevity record, being over 27 years old when caught. Will any of the pulli ringed on Orfordness in 1992 still be alive in the year 2020?

HERRING GULL Larus argentalus GG75037 3 05.10.91 field record 15.07.92

Bramford Landfill, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°06'N 01 °05'E) Harlingen, Friesland, NETHERLANDS (53°11'N 05°25'E) - 316km ENE

157


GG75874

1 07.07.92 field record 05.10.92

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) Tilburg Rubbish Dump, Noord-Brabant, NETHERLANDS (51°36'N 05°03'E) - 245km ESE GG41422 8 23.04.88 Foxhall Landfill, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°03'N 01° 16'E) freshly dead 18.09.92 Foulness, Essex (51°35'N 00°53'E) - 58km SSW GG41422 is included because of its unusual manner of recovery — it was killed by hailstones during a violent storm. LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus 8049150 3 19.10.90 Stockholm freshly dead 14.02.92

Hoburgen, Sundre, Gotland, SWEDEN (56°55'N 18°08'E) Mildenhall, Suffolk (52°21'N 00°30'E) - 1241km WSW There have only been three previous recoveries of Swedish-ringed Long-eared Owls in Britain (Mead, Clark & Peach 1993). NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus XK22422 4M 07.08.90 long dead 17.07.92

Tunstall Common, Suffolk (52°09'N 01 °27'E) Felixstowe Docks, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°20'E) - 25km SSW The body of this bird was found in a workshop at Felixstowe Docks. It had probably been dead since the spring as there was a report of a Nightjar seen flying into the building on May 12th. SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia Hl 14750 3 19.07.91 controlled 08.03.92

Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Pare National du Djoudj, Fleuve, SENEGAL (16°25'N 16°18'W) - 4289km SSW Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) H547383 14.07.92 Pare National du Djoudj, Fleuve, SENEGAL (16°25'N controlled 27.12.92 16°18'W) - 4289km SSW E677816 4M 27.07.91 Bramford Landfill, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°06'N 01°05'E) controlled 06.03.92 Pare National du Djoudj, Fleuve, SENEGAL (16°25'N 16°18'W) - 4255km SSW Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Hl 14903 06.08.91 Malaga, SPAIN (36°43'N 04°25'W) - 1791km SSW controlled 04.04.92 La Varenne, Maine-et-Loire, FRANCE (47°19'N 3343728 3 16.07.89 01°I9'W) Paris controlled 10.07.91 Kesgrave, nr. Ipswich, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°13'E) — 560km NNE Trans-Saharan recoveries of Suffolk-ringed Sand Martins have become regular in the last few years thanks to the efforts of a joint French and British ringing project in Senegal. 3343728 was presumably on passage when ringed in France. In addition to the recoveries shown above there were a number of movements of up to 248km between Suffolk and other English counties. For example, Sand Martins ringed at Dunwich were recovered in Humberside, Kent (2), Norfolk and Sussex (5) and 'controls' at this site included birds ringed in Hampshire, Norfolk (2), Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire (3), Staffordshire and Sussex. It is interesting to note that the birds from Oxfordshire, which had all been ringed at one locality in late June/early July 1992, were all caught at Dunwich on the same day — July 20th. SWALLOW Hirundo rustica H236985 ' 4M 16.09.91 Chelmondiston, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°12'E) freshly dead c.25.11.92 nr. Hluhluwe, Natal, SOUTH AFRICA (28°01'S 32° 11 'E) - 9397km SSE E676915 3 09.08.89 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °56'N 01 °19'E) controlled 08.05.92 Sebes, Flix, Tarragona, SPAIN (41° 14'N 00°32'E) 1190km S South Africa is the main wintering ground for British and Irish Swallows (Cramp et al 1988).

158


ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus A86661 1 14.06.87 Nidingen, Halland, SWEDEN (57°18'N 11°54'E) Stockholm long dead 06.01.92 Brantham, Suffolk (51 °58'N 01 °04'E) - 914km SW This is the second Swedish-ringed Rock Pipit to be recovered in the County in the last two years. The two ringing localities involved are within a few miles of each other just south of Gothenburg. ROBIN Erithacus rubecula El 18375 3 03.10.88 Stavanger controlled 05.10.89

Groda, Farsund, Vest-Agder, NORWAY (58°07'N 06°36'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 765km SSW 9N62703 3 27.09.91 Christianso, Bornholm, DENMARK (55°19'N Copenhagen 15°12'E) controlled 03.10.92 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 988km WSW F411819 3 27.09.91 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) controlled 08.04.92 Falsterbo, Malmohus, SWEDEN (55°23'N 12°49'E) — 848km ENE These recoveries confirm the Scandinavian origins of many of the migrant Robins that occur in Suffolk in late autumn. By an amazing coincidence, on the same day that F411819 was 'controlled' at Falsterbo a Landguard-ringed Goldcrest was also trapped there. NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos E676139 4 24.04.89 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °56'N 01°19'E) controlled 31.08.92 nr. Everton, Bedfordshire (52°09'N 00°17'W) 112km WNW BLACKBIRD Turdus merula 4298138 3F 16.10.91 Stockholm controlled 09.11.92

Eggegrund, Gavleborg, SWEDEN (60°44'N 17°34'E)

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 1395km SW RE65483 6M 23.02.92 Flatford, East Bergholt, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°02'E) Gronlund, Mantorp, Ostergotland, SWEDEN (58°22'N road casualty 24.05.92 15°21'E) - 1153km NE Barrow, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk (52°15'N 00°35'E) RH25020 6M 13.01.91 Fredrikstad, Ostfold, NORWAY (59°15'N 10°55'E) found dead 08.01.92 1010km NE In 1992, details were received of seven Suffolk-ringed Blackbirds recovered abroad and of four foreign-ringed recovered here. The countries involved were Denmark (2), Germany (3), Netherlands, Norway (3) and Sweden (2). Details of the three longest movements are shown above. Note the change of winter quarters of the last bird.

FIELDFARE Turdus pdaris RE18159 3F 12.11.88 found dead 04.05.92 RH 18978

3F

23.10.91

found dead

05.07.92

Benhall Low Street, Suffolk (52°11'N 01°26'E) Lohilahti, Sumiainen, Kuopio, FINLAND (62°40'N 25°56'E) - 1862km NE Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Laukkala, Pertunmaa, Mikkeli, FINLAND (61°32'N 26°20'E) - 1851km NE

159


SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus F271839 4 20.07.91 Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) freshly dead (14.04.92) Kalba, GHANA (09°34'N 02°39'W) - 4735km S H884599 15.08.92 Powgavie, Inchture, Tayside, SCOTLAND (56°25'N 03°09'W) controlled 22.08.92 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 576km SSE E395943 24.08.91 Beachy Head, Eastbourne, Sussex (50°44'N 00°15'E) controlled Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) — 176km N 02.05.92 There have been only four previous recoveries of British-ringed Sedge Warblers in Ghana (Mead, Clark & Peach 1993). In addition to the recoveries listed there were also at least five movements between Suffolk sites and Icklesham, Sussex. REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus AZ05288 3 10.09.92 Getteron, Halland, SWEDEN (57°07'N 12°14'E) Stockholm controlled 19.09.92 Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 909km SW H729544 Redgrave and Lopham Fens, Suffolk/Norfolk (52°23'N 24.07.92 oroi'E) controlled 15.08.92 St. Ouen, Jersey, CHANNEL ISLANDS (49°13'N 02°13'W) - 416km SSW B762968 Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) 08.09.90 St. Ouen, Jersey, CHANNEL ISLANDS (49°13'N controlled 31.07.92 02°13'W) - 406km SW Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) H815117 30.07.92 Hamme, Oost-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51°06'N controlled 29.08.92 04°08'E) - 216km SE Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) H690601 06.08.92 Zwin, West-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51°22'N controlled 15.08.92 03°22'E) - 153km ESE The movement from Sweden is unusual — there have only been six previous Swedish-ringed Reed Warblers recovered in Britain (Mead, Clark & Peach 1993). The south-easterly movement into the Low Countries of H815117 and H690601 is also of interest as a south-westerly heading in autumn is more normal. Ringing results have shown that British Reed Warblers head for Portugal where they build up fat reserves ready for the long flight to their West African wintering grounds south of the Sahara (Alerstam 1990). LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca F627594 1 06.07.90 Carlton Marsh, Barnsley, South Yorkshire (53°36'N 01 °26'W) controlled

06.06.92

Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) — 200km SE

GARDEN WARBLER Sylvia borin H977852 3 01.10.92 controlled 31.10.92

Elms Farm, Icklesham, Sussex (50°54'N 00°40'E) Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01 °17'E) — 124km NNE Note the unexpected northwards movement of this bird and the very late recovery date. BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla H377895 // 4M 29.04.92 Rushmere St. Andrew, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N

oni'E) 4438131 Bruxelles

trapped

16.10.92

3F

04.09.92

controlled

27.09.92

Foret de Bou Mahni, Ain-Zaouia, Alger, ALGERIA (36°35'N 03°54'E) - 1733km S Awirs, Liege, BELGIUM (50°36'N 05°24'E) Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °57'N 01°I7'E) — 323km WNW

160


months.

fa—»»"1"*

— ~ Bawdsey, 26: Immature (above) and adult (below) Common Rosefinches trapped at July 1992 (see p.21).


27: This White-throated Sparrow at Trimley St. Mary delighted many hundreds of observers during its nine-day stay.

28: Immature male Rustic Bunting at Landguard stayed for just one day.

29: Sparrowhawks have increased dramatically in the County as a breeding species.


4398526 Bruxelles

3F

05.09.92

Zele-Heikant, Oost-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51°04'N 04°02'E) controlled 17.09.92 Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 211km WNW 4228230 3M 05.09.92 Wetteren, Oost-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51°00'N Bruxelles 03°53'E) controlled 19.09.92 Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 209km WNW 4722325 3M 10.10.92 Hamme St. Anna, Oost-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM Bruxelles (51°06'N 04°05'E) controlled 22.10.92 Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 215km WNW F457376 3F 14.10.92 Kroonspolders West, Vlieland, NETHERLANDS, Arnhem (53°15'N 04°57'E) 25.10.92 Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk controlled (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 286km WSW F751190 Dinton Pastures, Woodley, Reading, Berkshire 3F 27.06.91 (51°27'N 00°53'W) Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) - 194km ENE controlled 18.05.92 H528796 Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk 3F 15.11.92 (51°57'N 01°17'E) Starston, Harleston, Norfolk (52°24'N 01°17'E) — found dead 13.12.92 48km N Although North Africa is one of the wintering areas for British breeding Blackcaps some are also known to winter south of the Sahara, so it is possible that H377895 was still on passage when trapped in Algeria. Note the December recovery date of H528796. The Blackcaps which winter in Britain are believed to originate from central Europe and 4722325 and F457376 may well have been wintering birds arriving in the country. The other three Belgian-ringed birds occurred during a run of south-easterly winds in the second half of September and were probably drift-migrants. It is interesting to note that these three birds had all been ringed on either Sept. 4th or 5th.

CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita 0T1816 20.07.92 Bainton Quarry, Cambridgeshire (52°38'N 00°22'W) 12.09.92 Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk controlled (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 135km SE 21.10.92 Waxham, Hickling, Norfolk (52°46'N 01°37'E) 3F6156 31.10.92 Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk controlled (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 94km SSW

WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus irochilus 1F9790 3 13.09.92 Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) captured 12.10.92 Khouribza, MOROCCO (32°53'N 06°54'W) 2261km SSW 13% 16 4 07.05.86 Le Foulon, Guernsey, CHANNEL ISLANDS, (49°28'N 02°34'W) Jersey controlled 04.08.87 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 387km NE 4F 21.05.91 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °56'N 4T3240 01°19'E) controlled 01.08.92 Kippo Wood, Fife Region, SCOTLAND (56° 17'N 02°43'W) - 550km NNW 3 18.07.92 Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) 1F9732 controlled 31.07.92 Marley Common, Sussex (51°04'N 00°44'W) — 210km SW

161


GOLDCREST Regulus regulus 4T3620 3M 11.10.91 controlled 08.04.92 JS7303 Bruxelles

3F

09.10.92

controlled

13.10.92

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Falsterbo, Malmohus, SWEDEN (55°23'N 12°49'E) 848km ENE Spixhe, Theux, Liege, BELGIUM (50°32'N 05°49'E)

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °57'N 01°17'E) - 352km WNW 0C9265 2M Waxham, Hickling, Norfolk (52°46'N 01°37'E) 08.10.92 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N controlled 12.10.92 01°19'E) - 95km SSW 4T3620 is the first British-ringed Goldcrest to have been recovered in Sweden and it occurred at Falsterbo on the same day as a Landguard-ringed Robin. Note the quick movement of JS7303 which was ringed well to the south-east in Belgium. BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus HI 60444 3F 09.07.92 controlled 23.11.92

Walberswick, Suffolk (52°18'N 01°38'E) Wheldrake Ings, North Yorkshire (53°53'N 00°56'W) - 245km NW

GREAT TIT Parus major F412384 6M 05.04.92 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °56'N 01° 19'E) controlled 18.10.92 Sheringham, Norfolk (52°56'N 01°09'E) — 112km N Movements by this species of over 100km are noteworthy. This bird was one of only four ringed on spring passage at Landguard in 1992. STARLING Sturnus vulgaris XP48333 5M 27.01.85 Shotley, nr. Ipswich, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°15'E) taken by cat c. 15.05.90 Volosovsky Region, St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), RUSSIA (59°21'N 29°39'E) - 1954km ENE Adazi, Riga, LATVIA (57°07'N 24°20'E) P767852 4M 02.08.90 Moscow found dead 03.03.92 Ipswich, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°07'E) - 1595km WSW RJ42024 Chelmondiston, Suffolk (51°59'N 0I°12'E) 5F 05.01.92 Drachten, Friesland, NETHERLANDS (53°06'N 06°06'E) freshly dead 29.02.92 - 354km ENE Note the early return to the Continent of the last bird. GREENFINCH Carduelis VB05839 controlled 6M VE19371 controlled

Maris 29.03.89 20.02.92 12.01.91 25.03.91

SISKIN Carduelis spinus Fl 48627 5M controlled

27.03.89 28.03.92

Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) East Cosham, Hampshire (50°50'N 01 °03'W) — 243km SW Walsgrave, Coventry, Warwickshire (52°25'N 01°27'W) Redgrave and Lopham Fens, Suffolk/Norfolk (52°23'N OrOl'E) - 167km E Of the numerous recoveries reported for this species in 1992, only one exceeded a distance of 200km. In addition to the recoveries shown there were movements to or from Berkshire, Greater London, Hertfordshire and Lincolnshire as well as many short distance movements around East Anglia.

Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N OPIO'E) Garboldisham, nr. Diss, Norfolk (52°23'N 00°57'E) — 38km NNW

SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis VJ37670 5F 22.03.91 Cairngorm, nr. Aviemore, Highland, (57°08'N 03°40'W)

162

SCOTLAND


field record 05.03.92 retrapped 18.03.92

Kessingland, Suffolk (52°24'N 01°43'E) - 629km SSE Cairngorm

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, Peter Catchpole, Malcolm Cavanagh, Dingle Bird Club, Rob Duncan, John Glazebrook, Ron Hoblyn, Sir Anthony Hurrell, Peter Lack, Lackford Ringing Group, Landguard Bird Observatory, Dr. Peter McAnulty, Market Weston Ringing Group, Alan Miller, Derek Moore, Philip Murtón, Paul Newton, North West Norfolk Ringing Group, Adrian Parr, Ian Peters, Roy Thatcher, Brian Thompson, Wally Thrower, Cliff Waller, Lyn Webb, Rodney West, Chris Wright and Mick Wright. I should also like to thank Jacquie Clark of The British Trust for Ornithology, David Lampard of Ipswich Museum and the County Recorder, Philip Murphy, for forwarding information from their files and Philip Murphy, Nigel Odin and Steve Piotrowski for their comments on the draft. References: Alerstam T. 1990. Bird Migration. Cambridge University Press. Cox S. 1984. A New Guide to the Birds of Essex. Essex Bird Watching and Preservation Society Ipswich. Cramp, S. & Simmons K. E. L. (eds.) 1983. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol.m. Oxford University Press. Cramp, S. (ed.) 1988. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. V. Oxford University Press. Cramp, S. (ed.) 1992. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. VI. Oxford University Press. Mead, C. J., Clark, J. A. & Peach, W. J. 1993. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1992. Ring. & Migr. 14: 152-200. Mike Marsh, 5 Ennerdale Close, Felixstowe, IP11 9SS.

163


SYSTEMATIC LIST O F SPECIES AND T O T A L S O F BIRDS RINGED IN SUFFOLK, 1992 Species

Total

Shag 1 Grey Héron 23 Mute Swan 6 Canada Goose 7 Shelduck 6 Wigeon 8 Teal 42 Mallard 58 Tufted Duck 2 Marsh Harrier 54 Sparrowhawk 27 Kestrel 20 Water Rail 1 Moorhen 14 Coot 3 Oystercatcher 11 Avocet 15 Stone Curlew 65 Ringed Piover 20 Golden Piover 1 Grey Piover 15 Lapwing 57 Knot 2 Little Stint 1 Dunlin 747 Ruff 3 Jack Snipe 2 Snipe 25 Woodcock 3 Black-tailed Godwit 32 Whimbrel 9 Curlew 25 Redshank 264 Greenshank 7 Green Sandpiper 3 Common Sandpiper 1 Black-headed Gull 61 Common Gull 1 Lsr. Black-backed Gull 471 Herring Gull 137 Great Black-backed Gull 7 Common Tern 35 Little Tern 50

Species

Total

Woodpigeon 75 Collared Dove 12 Turtle Dove 11 Cuckoo 3 Little Owl 8 Tawny Owl 4 Long-eared Owl 6 Nightjar 40 Swift 1 Kingfisher 12 Wryneck 3 Green Woodpecker 13 Great Sp. Woodpecker 20 Lesser Sp. Woodpecker 2 Woodlark 37 Skylark 2 Sand Martin 2637 Swallow 1482 House Martin 590 Tree Pipit 40 Meadow Pipit 642 Yellow Wagtail 9 1 Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail 125 Wren 606 Dunnock 868 Robin 845 Nightingale 48 17 Black Redstart 84 Redstart 14 Wh inchat Stonechat 2 Wheatear 36 Blackbird 1991 11 Fieldfare 672 Song Thrush Redwing 137 Mistle Thrush 42 Grasshopper Warbier 8 Sedge Warbier 603 Marsh Warbier 1 Reed Warbier 1450 4 Icterine Warbler

Species

GRAND T O T A L NO. O F SPECIES

164

Total

2 Barred Warbler Lesser Whitethroat 341 Whitethroat 1083 Garden Warbler 463 Blackcap 2437 Greenish Warbler 1 Yellow-browed Warbler 1 16 Wood Warbler Chiffchaff 836 Willow Warbler 1644 Goldcrest 504 Firecrest 30 Spotted Flycatcher 158 Red-breasted Flycatcher 2 38 Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit 250 Long-tailed Tit 616 Marsh Tit 84 Willow Tit 16 Coal Tit 81 2543 Blue Tit Great Tit 1582 Nuthatch 7 Treecreeper 58 Jay 26 Magpie 12 Jackdaw 3 Starling 1438 303 House Sparrow 5 Tree Sparrow 1192 Chaffinch 32 Brambling Greenfinch 3832 602 Goldfinch Siskin 35 980 Linnet Redpoll 58 2 Crossbill Scarlet Rosefinch 5 Bullfinch 232 Yellowhammer 112 Rustie Bunting 1 Reed Bunting 140 37359 129


SUFFOLK NATURALISTA SOCIETY Founded in 1929 by Claude Morley (1874-1951), the Suffolk Naturalists' Society pioneered the study and recording of the County's flora, fauna 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' observation are fed to a network of specialist records 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 £18.00 £22.00 £8.00


CONTENTS Page Editorial Mike Crewe Winter Gull Roosts in Suffolk Adam Bimpson 1992 Survey of Breeding Shelducks in Suffolk Mick Wright Weather trends and their effect on the County's avifauna, 1992 John Grant Common Rosefinch — First confirmed breeding in Suffolk Rex Beecroft Recent Additions to the Suffolk List Mike Crewe & Philip Murphy Submission of Records: Guidelines for Observers Steve Piotrowski The 1992 Suffolk Bird Report List of Contributors Earliest and latest dates of summer migrants Notes: Successful Breeding by Red-backed Shrikes Jean Garrod Red-footed Falcon stealing food from Kestrel Steve Piotrowski Leucistic Wheatear at Felixstowe Mike Crewe Rarities in Suffolk 1992 Mike Crewe Greenish Warbler Nigel Odin Rustic Bunting Rob Duncan Red-throated Pipit Mike Crewe White-throated Sparrow Will Brame Lesser Crested Tern Mark Cornish " S t e p p e " Shrike John Cawston Great Spotted Cuckoo J. R. Pilkington Black-headed Bunting A. Banwell Suffolk Ringing Report Mike Marsh

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Suffolk Birds 1993 Part 2  

Volume 42 Systematic List

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