SYSTEMATIC LIST RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Coastal reports were widespread in the first winter period but nobody could have predicted the events of January 23rd when 2724 flew south and 92 north off Covehithe (PJD) and 1200 were offshore at Minsmere â€” it seems likely that these are the highest totals ever recorded in the Western Palearctic. Additional monthly totals off Covehithe were 288 in February and 172 in March. Away from the immediate vicinity of the coast single birds were located as follows : Beccles: River Waveney, February 15th to 25th. Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, January 17th. Iken: January 21st. Deben Estuary: February 13th. Orwell Estuary: wide-ranging individual frequently reported between January 2nd and April 14th (when found dead at Trimley Marshes); it was seen in Ipswich Wet Dock, February 2nd.
Spring passage was well documented at Covehithe where a maximum of 32 flew north on April 19th and later sightings there involved nine north on May 20th and the final bird of the spring on May 28th. Birds were also noted offshore in the third week of May at Southwold, Minsmere and Landguard. The first autumn birds were four off Covehithe on the early date of August 16th. Totals off Covehithe reached 45 in October and 255 on November 24th before peaking spectacularly in mid-December with 337 north, 13th and 1500 north, 16th (DFW). Elsewhere, 200 were off Southwold, November 28th and 85 off Minsmere, December 12th. BLACK-THROATED DIVER Gavia arctica Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The total of 11 is average for recent years although several additional reports await consideration by SORC. Typically, most reports were from the coast although the most accessible birds were those remaining from 1993 on Alton Water. It is open to speculation as to how many went unrecorded amongst the huge gathering of Redthroated Divers off the Covehithe/Minsmere stretch of coastline in January. Lowestoft: north, March 12th. Benacre: offshore, January 8th. Covehithe: north, September 13th (summer plumage); south, October 17th; south, November 7th; north, December 13th. Southwold: offshore, October 22nd (summer plumage). Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, offshore, January 23rd. Bawdsey: January 9th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, first-winter, dead, February 13th. Felixstowe: Landguard, south then into Stour/Orwell Estuary, December 29th. Alton Water: two from December 1993 remained to January 6th; January 15th.
GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Gavia immer Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. A good year for this species with at least seven being recorded. The bird on the upper reaches of the Orwell Estuary attracted much attention from observers. Covehithe: two north, May 18th (PJD); November 17th to 19th (PJD). Southwold: south, November 5th (SJL). Leiston: Sizewell, south, February 6th (WJB). Ramsholt: River Deben, January 16th to 22nd (N Mar, N Mas).
Felixstowe: Landguard, south, November 20th (MCM). Wherstead/Freston/Woolverstone: River Orwell from December 1993 to at least January 18th (many obs.).
The Covehithe birds on May 18th are the latest ever spring records in the County. Totals for the past ten years are as follows:1985 2
1988 1989 1990 1991 5 4 4 5 6
WHITE-BILLED DIVER Accidental
Southwold: adult south, November 6th (WJB, JMC).
Although now a regular visitor to northern Britain, this is only the third Suffolk record and justifiable reward for two of the County's most persistent seawatchers. The other Suffolk records are of one shot at Pakefield, near Lowestoft in the spring of 1852 and one seen from a ferry off Felixstowe on January 5th 1978. (See note on page 156.) LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Lake Lothing* Benacre* Blyth Minsmere Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
Jan 28 n/c n/c n/c
Feb 32 4 2 n/c
36 26 4 1 6
31 21 1 1 2
Mar 19 2 -
n/c n/c 18 9 3 2 n/c
Apr n/c n/c n/c 8 n/c 13 7 1
Sep n/c n/c
Oct 5 19
19 23 5 15 2 1 6
11 33 12 22 6 5 5
Nov n/c 19 5 2 37 31 37 9
Dec 9 17 n/c 3 15 40 8 1
Breeding reports were received from 24 widely scattered localities involving at least 43 pairs (55 in 1993). Individual site totals included 13 pairs at North Warren (15 in 1993) and four pairs at Minsmere (eight in 1993); the species' fortunes at Lackford W.R. are at a low ebb at present with only one breeding pair recorded (five in 1988). GREAT CRESTED GREBE Podiceps cristatus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
32 41 92 50 4
19 16 46 39 3
Mar n/c 13 8 50 27 8
Apr n/c 21 28 23 33 8
Aug n/c n/c 15 66 73 12
15 95 21 n/c
Oct 6 3 14 128 180 5
Nov 7 14 39 115 199 2
Dec 7 7 21 117 6 2
Breeding reports were received from 26 sites involving a total of about 60 pairs (69 in 1993, 93 in 1991 ) which probably indicates a relatively stable population at present. Alton Water again held the greatest breeding concentration with at least 23 pairs present in June (35 in 1993); unfortunately, fluctuating water levels resulted in complete breeding failure at this site. Elsewhere there were at least 12 pairs at Weybread G.P. A particularly interesting report was of a pair which nested on the 31
River Gipping close to Yarmouth Road Bridge in Ipswich. Offshore totals increased still further this year with a new County offshore record of 280 off Dun wich in January. Counts off Benacre/Covehithe peaked at 120 on February 10th and 50 were off Minsmere on February 2nd. The most obvious question relating to the WeBS counts in the above table relates to the mass exodus from the Stour between November and December â€” where did they all go? RED-NECKED GREBE Podiceps grisegena Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant.
With the mild weather prevailing only 13 birds were reported. However, this did nothing to reduce the species' popularity and the long-staying birds in the Gipping Valley in March and November/December in particular attracted a steady stream of admirers. Minsmere: offshore, January 7th and 9th. Iken: River Aide, January 9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, north, September 18th, and another north there, November 26th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, River Orwell, September 20th. Wherstead: River Orwell, November 20th. Orwell Estuary: wide ranging individual from December 1993 to at least February 23rd. Stour Estuary: two, October 9th. Alton Water: March 13th; November 6th. Barking: Gallows Hill G.P., March 1 Ith to 29th. Bramford: Suffolk W.P., May 2nd; November 20th to December 16th.
Totals for the past ten years are as follows:1985 12
SLAVONIAN GREBE Podiceps auritus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e total of 12 is about average for the last d e c a d e . Burgh Castle: Breydon Water, in breeding plumage, April 9th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, November 9th. Covehithe: offshore, December 7th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, December 4th to 9th; December 31st. Ramsholt: River Deben, November 26th. Trimley St Mary: two, River Orwell, November 29th.
Alton Water: from November 1993 to January 7th; October 21 st; December 18th to end of year. Stour Estuary: January 16th; February 13th.
Totals for the past ten years are as follows:1985 16
BLACK-NECKED GREBE Podiceps nigricollis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. One of the year's ornithological highlights was the sight of a group of eight flying south close inshore at Landguard on September 30th — this is the largest gathering of the species ever recorded in Suffolk. The Minsmere bird in July was presumably an early autumn migrant. Minsmere: July 29th to August 5th. Havergate Island: February 18th. Felixstowe: Landguard, eight south, September 30th (MCM). Orwell Estuary: from December 1993 to January 16th; presumed same, February 13th and 23rd. Lackford W.R.: September 1st — fourth site record.
Totals for the past ten years are as follows:1985 5
FULMAR Fulmarus glacialis Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. There was no successful breeding at Bawdsey Cliffs for the third successive year; birds were recorded at this site between January 19th and June 16th with monthly maxima as follows;Jan 15
There was a record spring passage which peaked in mid-April and again in the third week of May:Covehithe: 412 north, April 16th (PJD) — see Gannet. South wold: 233 north, May 21st (JMC). Minsmere: 185 north, April 15th; 295 north, April 16th (DF) — see Gannet.
Three blue-phase birds off Covehithe, May 5th (PJD), constitute the third County record of this form and the first seen since October 1981 although one was found dead at Minsmere in February 1983. Autumn passage was on a smaller scale than in the spring but monthly totals off Covehithe were still impressive with 71 in July, 264 in August and 20 in September. Movements off Southwold peaked at 37 south, September 1st. The only December reports were of one off Aldeburgh, 29th and a total of four off Covehithe. Regular recording at Landguard produced monthly offshore totals as follows:North South
Feb 2 2
Mar 6 15
Apr 69 67
May 12 20
Jun 8 12
Jul 4 9
Sep Oct Nov 8 1 1 32
Away from the immediate vicinity of the coast singles were noted in flight over the River Orwell at Trimley Marshes, May 16th and July 27th and Levington, July 12th. Two were found dead at Falkenham on the Deben Estuary, February 24th. For the second successive year there was a West Suffolk report with one over Lackford W.R., August 21st, the first site record. 33
A very rare p a s s a g e ( a u t u m n ) m i g r a n t South wold: flying north, October 19th (JMC). T h e C o u n t y ' s latest ever record of this species and the first since 1991. T h e r e h a v e n o w b e e n 16 C o u n t y records involving 2 3 individuals. Totals for the past ten years are as f o l l o w s : 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 3 3 3 3 5 1
U n c o m m o n p a s s a g e migrant. T h e average a n n u a l C o u n t y total in the p r e v i o u s d e c a d e had been 4 0 so this y e a r ' s figure of 39 is o n l y slightly b e l o w average. T h e peak p e r i o d f o r sightings w a s August 31st to S e p t e m b e r 14th during w h i c h time 3 3 w e r e reported. Covehithe: all north â€” July 29th; August 13th; August 15th; August 31st; December 14th. Southwold: north, July 30th; six north, August 31 st; six north, September 1 st; north, September 2nd; four north and one south, September 14th. Minsmere: seven north, September 2nd; five north, September 8th. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, north, August 31st; north, September 8th. Felixstowe: Landguard, north, September 14th. T h e D e c e m b e r sighting ( P J D ) is the latest ever r e c o r d e d in S u f f o l k . Totals for the past ten years are as f o l l o w s : 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 3 5 94 35 106 49 26 32 47 39
U n c o m m o n p a s s a g e migrant. T h e r e were a l m o s t seven t i m e s as m a n y r e c o r d s as in 1993, repeating the healthier totals of previous years. Lowestoft: Ness Point, south, September 16th. Covehithe: two north, July 1st; singles north, July 17th, July 19th and July 24th; south, July 31st. Southwold: two south, May 22nd; south, August 9th; four north and two south, September 14th. Minsmere: north, April 15th. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, 22 north and six south, September 1st. Felixstowe: Landguard, eight north and two south, September 14th. Totals for the past ten years are as f o l l o w s : 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 5 13 35 70 107 47 33 38 8 55 For the first t i m e since 1981 there were n o reports in the C o u n t y of either S T O R M
PETREL Hydrobates pelagicus or LEACH'S PETREL Oceanodrama GANNET
C o m m o n passage migrant. T h e result of h u n d r e d s of h o u r s spent s e a w a t c h i n g at C o v e h i t h e by o n e dedicated o b s e r v e r (PJD) w a s a record y e a r for o b s e r v a t i o n s of this species off the S u f f o l k coast. T h e y e a r ' s total of 4 7 9 7 w a s distributed as f o l l o w s : Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 6 37 184 1686 653 207 279 554 617 473 73 28 M o n t h l y totals at Covehithe, w h e r e the overall figure f o r the year w a s 3 6 8 0 , w e r e : Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 6 23 99 1280 584 184 233 470 428 284 61 28
Peak movements occurred during cool northerly conditions in mid-April;Covehithe: 560, north, April 16th (County record); 121, north, April 18th; 105, north, April 20th â€” see Fulmar. Minsmere: 215. north, April 16th â€” see Fulmar.
It seems likely that there is some duplication between sightings on April 16th. One found at Felixstowe, October 15th, had twine wrapped around its legs and beak; it was released after being disentangled. CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer.
Cormorant Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated : Blyth Aide/Ore Havergate* Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Lackford* Long Melford* * monthly maxima
Jan n/c n/c n/c 38 79 24 25 29 10
Feb 4 n/c n/c 30 73 9 21 21 6
Mar 5 n/c 16 45 100 2 28 16 4
Apr n/c n/c 9 31 61 4 80 16 3
Sep 27 49 35 90 91 2 16 30 -
Oct 18 32 16 109 82 20 9 66 6
Nov 9 60 17 59 94 19 50 21 5
Dec n/c 45 19 50 95 18 29 25 9
Additional counts included 92, Sizewell Rigs, February 9th; 50, Ness Point, Lowestoft, January 30th; 40, Alton Water, December 25th; 39, Minsmere in December; 35, Livermere Lake, October 20th; 35, Weybread G.P., February 25th; 33, Benacre Broad, January 28th and 15, Redgrave Lake, February 1st. There was no evidence of attempted breeding but mid-summer totals included 37, Havergate Island, July 23rd; 36, Sizewell Rigs, July 31st; 21, Alton Water, July 21st; 18, Minsmere in July; 14, Bromeswell, June 7th and four, Lackford W.R. in June. 35
Several colour-ringed birds were reported which included immatures ringed as nestlings at Abberton Reservoir, Essex, in May 1992, May 1993 and April 1994 that were subsequently reported in 1994 at Minsmere on June 25th, February 19th and June 25th repectively (see Ringing Report). A partial albino was at Suffolk W.R, Bramford, February 20th. SHAG Phalacrocorax aristotelis Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly totals were as follows:Jan 17
There is considerable overlap in the early months caused by the presence of several long-staying individuals. At least 22 had been present in the County in December 1993 and several stayed over into 1994. Reports from the principal sites were:Lowestoft: Harbour area, up to seven in January; five in March; five, May 13th; two firstsummers, June 13th to July 18th; three in August; December 15th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, four, February 11th; two, September 4th. Ipswich: Wet Dock, up to five in January; three in February; two remaining to March 22nd; December 28th. Felixstowe: Landguard, February 11th; north, February 18th; March 6th and 7th; north, March 25th; April 1st; north, May 24th.
Away from the coast and estuaries, one was at Suffolk W.R, Bramford, January 19th and what could have been the same bird at Station Lake, Needham Market, February 10th. One found dead at Hopton, January 18th, had been ringed as a nestling on the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, August 2nd 1991. BITTERN Botaurus stellaris Scarce and decreasing resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. With a maximum of eight boomers the recent downward trend suffered by this species appears to have slowed, although the situation still gives cause for concern. The extensive reedbeds of Minsmere and Walberswick remain the County's stronghold and held a maximum of seven boomers between them. One other boomer was located at Benacre. It is hoped that the recent management work undertaken within the County will provide much needed relief for this highly soughtafter reedbed speciality. Outside of these three sites birds were recorded as Bittern follows:â€” 36
Fritton: Fritton Marsh, January 15th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, February 13th and 24th, March 4th and December 5th. Friston/Aldeburgh: Hazlewood Marshes, August 4th and 9th. Bromeswell: trout farm, March 4th. Trimley Marshes: January 9th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, January 2Ist. Alton Water: February 2Ist.
NIGHT H E R O N
Very rare visitor.
Night Heron Lackford W.R.: adult. May 8th (TH, RMB, CJJ). 1989 Lackford W.R.: second year, May 5th (SBis).
These records bring the County's total to 13 since 1900. LITTLE EGRET Scarce visitor. After last year's ment with a total of period supported by received:-
relatively poor showing, 1994 showed a marked improve13. As is to be expected most records were from the summer a couple of winter observations. The following records were
Benacre: south and on the Broad, April 4th (RCS, PJR).
Blythburgh: River Blyth, December 3Ist (MCM). Minsmere: present from April 4th to September 19th, numbers peaking at three on August 14th (RSPB). Aldeburgh: North Warren/Church Farm Marshes, June 19th and August 28th, with two present, August 14th to 17th (RNM). These were presumably the same as the Minsmere birds. Orford: Orfordness, January 22nd (GE, PWM). The first summer record was noted on June I Ith (MCM) and the numbers built up to four during early July (CJJ, EM, MCM). Havergate Island: first recorded on May 28th (SJD). Numbers peaked at six in August, seven in September, with two still present October Ist, and last recorded, October lOth. Presumably same birds as those on Orfordness. Trimley Marshes: August 14th and 28th, and October 9th (MTW et al). All records are presumed to relate to the same individuai. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake and Thorpe Bay Saltings, May 31st (RBid).
Orfordness and Havergate are consistently the most productive areas in terms of records and long-staying individuai. It is interesting to note that the species appears to be becoming more widespread in the County, presumably as a resuit of the ever increasing numbers recorded from the south coast of England. GREAT WHITE EGRET Very rare visitor
Lakenheath: Botany Bay, January 1 st (NG).
This is only the fourth record for the County, the others being in 1984, 1985 and 1989, and on a distinctly atypical date. GRE Y HERON Ardea cinerea Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The long-running B.T.O Heronries survey recorded a total of between 146 and 159 occupied nests. Full dĂŠtails are given below:-
No. of occupied nests 1994 5-6 22-24
Site Wild Carr, Worlingham Henham Sudbourne Blackheath, Friston Methersgate, Sutton Ramsholt Woolverstone Stutton Stanstead Thurlow West Stow Euston Brandon Barsham
8-11 26-27 4-5 15-19 18 4-5 3 12 11 17 1 146-159
1992 3-5 13-15
18-20 4 10-12 21-26 5-6 16-18 21 4-5
12-15 9-11 7 13-16 25-27 5-7
16 7 15
14 11 11
The numbers suggest an increase in the County's population with some sites recording the first evidence of breeding for several years. Outside the breeding season. Grey Herons were recorded on the WeBS counts as follows:Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Jan n/c 16 7 8 1
Feb 9 42 15 6 6
Mar 2 n/c 33 10 12
Apr n/c n/c 21 5 65
Sep 8 46 21 13 16
Oct 14 47 38 8 20
Nov 12 48 43 9 12
Dec n/c 2 15 4 2
The Orwell again produced the largest single count at any one site with the traditional Wherstead Strand high-tide roost reaching a maximum of 26 on November 19th. Other double-figure counts included ten at North Warren, November 27th; 12 in the Sizewell Belts, November 1st and 14, Havergate Island, October 1st. Wandering birds were noted along the coast with Landguard recording the species from March through to late autumn and peaking in August when five were recorded. A single was also noted flying north off Ness Point, Lowestoft, October 12th. Other records of note include a melanistic bird present at Benacre during July, and a bizarre incident on November 24th at Falkenham on the Deben where an individual was observed swimming in the middle of the river â€” maybe the local Cormorant population has a new rival! PURPLE HERON Ardea Scarce passage migrant.
T h e best y e a r f o r this elusive h e r o n in S u f f o l k since 1989. Minsmere: a superb showing with a maximum of four birds. First recorded on May 15th with an adult in off the sea and a juv./subadult also present (IR). Two adults and a subadult were present on May 16th and then subadults were present for the rest of the month and throughout early June, with two together on June 16th at least, the last record being on June 19th.
Great Livermere: May 24th (SBis). SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodia Uncommon passage migrant. Now increasingly oversummers; overwinters. 39
Barnby: two adults present during January. Benacre: August 16th and 17th. Easton Bavents: June 13th. Walberswick: Westwood Marshes, in flight, May 28th. Minsmere: March 18th and 28th and August 15th.
A relatively poor year given the species' excellent recent oversummering record. The winter record is the first for four years. MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor Common resident The County's breeding stock appears to have fallen further with only 30-40 pairs recorded, compared with the 1993 total of 55 pairs. This may however be due to under-recording. Breeding success proved variable e.g. North Warren held seven pairs but only four young fledged. The Deben produced the highest count for a wintering herd, peaking at 101 on January 9th at King's Fleet, Falkenham. Monthly maxima on the WeBS counts were as follows:Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Alton Water
Jan n/c 78 100 114 125 â€”
79 83 75 104 4
n/c 88 96 40 2
Apr n/c n/c 66 54 58 5
May n/c n/c -
90 n/c 9
Aug n/c n/c -
20 99 11
89 69 98 54 15
84 81 73 125 10
Nov 3 128 98 27 144 26
Dee n/c 134 89 105 94 24
Additional counts of over 50 included 70, North Warren, November 6th; 55, Sudbourne, January 15th and 54, Raydon Hall, Orford, January 22nd. North Warren held good numbers throughout the summer with the flock maintaining over 50 birds between June and November. Wandering birds observed off Landguard during the second winter period were probably just moving between the estuaries. BEWICK'S SWAN Cygnus columbianus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. The first winter period produced most records, with an even scattering of records throughout January-March, and from around the County. Mid-January produced a good run of observations including a flock of 35 seen in flight at Alton Water, January 16th. The main flocks peaked as follows:Shipmeadow: 55, January 16th. Minsmere: 33 during January. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 49, March 2nd. Sudbourne: 23, January 29th. Most birds had departed by mid-March with the latest record involving an injured bird at Boyton which was last seen on May 30th, but had been present since Aprii. Although the second winter period produced the largest single count, the overall numbers were much lower than during the first winter period. Mildenhall: Mildenhall Fen, 200, December 31 st. These birds were probably part of the Ouse Washes flock. Movement on the coast was noted in each winter period with Landguard recording seven birds in off the sea, December 24th. Ali other records can be attributed to local movements, including a flock of 21 south at Aldeburgh, January 29th. WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. 40
The species showed a similar pattern to previous years with only single-figure groups. Records were fairly evenly distributed between each winter period (compare Bewick's Swan). Details b e l o w i n c l u d e all r e c o r d s : Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, three adults, December 22nd and 31st. Minsmere: two adults, February 7th and seven adults, November 5th. Aldeburgh: seven adults, January 1st; two, December 24th. Boyton: January 15th and 19th; Butley River. March 12th. Trimley Marshes: May 2nd-29th and October 21st; seven in flight, December 24th. Mildenhall: five adults, January 17th. Lackford W.R.: two adults, October 27th.
This elegant swan still remains one of the scarcer wintering species within the County. Trimley Marshes appears to be a favoured site for late spring or summering records of wildfowl as other late-staying species have included White-fronted Goose and Brent Goose. BEAN GOOSE Anserfabalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A fairly typical year with an erratic spread of records, although both winter periods produced double-figure counts. A small influx appears to have occurred during the last ten days of January with most records involving A.f.fabalis. Kessingland Levels held the only long-staying birds. Details for the first winter period:Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, two, January 16th-February 20th, identified A.f. rossicus by some observers. Numbers rose to 20, January 25th. Minsmere: two, January 24th. Deben Estuary: three in flight, January 1st; two, December 4th. Lackford W.R.: two, January 15th-18th, origin uncertain.
The second winter period was notable for the greater number of A.f. observations. Details are given below:-
Minsmere: six, December 30th; probably part of the flock seen at Friston. Aldeburgh: North Warren, three, A.f. rossicus, December 12th. Friston: Blackheath Corner, four present on December 30th, increasing to 11 on 31st â€” all records refer to A.f. rossicus.
PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A reasonably productive year for this species, with the majority of records coming from the first winter period. Numbers during January built up in two distinct phases, at the beginning and end of the month. The early counts probably relate to birds remaining from 1993, while the build up during the last ten days appears to be separate, coinciding with the influx of Bean Geese, and giving many observers an opportunity to compare the two species. The majority of records this year appear to relate to wild birds. Records from the first winter period are detailed below : Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, birds present January 23rd-February 20th, reaching a maximum of 45, January 26th. South Cove: 50, January 2nd; 24, January 3rd. Dunwich: two, January 29th. Butley River: five, January 2nd. Brantham: Cattawade, two adults, February 5th. The s e c o n d w i n t e r p e r i o d d i d not p r o d u c e any l o n g - s t a y i n g f l o c k s : Covehithe: 150-175 in harvested carrot field by Covehithe Church, with 40 north offshore, possibly part of the same flock, November 28th.
Minsmere: 28 south, October 16th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, seven, September 25th. Friston: Blackheath Corner, one, December 30th.
The North Warren birds in September were either an early returning party or of feral origin. Birds of either feral or escapee status were reported from Great Blakenham, May 31st; Southwold Town Marshes, March 6th, later moving to Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick, where seen on March 8th and again May 14th, and on Westwood Marshes, May 6th and 14th; Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin, January 16th and 22nd, and March 1st and Weybread G.P., January 4th and April 30th. WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser albifrons Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. An average year with numbers returning to more usual levels after last year's good counts. The first winter period dominated with regard to numbers and the second period produced the more usual lower numbers. Peak counts for the first winter period were as follows:Beccles: Beccles Marshes, a flock of 100 seen in flight, January 22nd. Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, 63, January 16th. Minsmere: 137, February 28th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 120, February 13th. Havergate Island: 70, February 2nd.
Virtually all birds had departed by early March. An injured bird which over42
summered at Trimley Marshes was last seen on August 20th. Numbers for the second winter period were much lower with only two doublefigure counts. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 42, December 28th. Minsmere: 25, December 6th.
Movement on the coast was only recorded in the Felixstowe area, with 25 south, February 1st; a single south, December 3rd, and five north on December 22nd. There were reports of presumed escaped birds from Alton Water, January-April and Southwold, May 14th and 20th. GREYLAG GOOSE Ans er unser Common resident from feral stock. Monthly maxima from some of the key sites are tabulated:Blyth Minsmere North Warren Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Trimley Marshes Alton Water Stour Lackford
Jan n/c 271 87 30 -
107 11 250 7 123
Feb Mar 5 74 162 39 19 n/c 2 97 62 18 45 100 74 1 7 2 4
Apr May Jun Jul Aug n/c n/c n/c n/c n/c 54 124 88 24 107 3 18 26 39 n/c n/c n/c n/c n/c _ _ _ 1 16 12 n/c n/c 27 37 28 n/c 62 107 20 30 283 300 204 _ _ â€” 7 14 122 140
165 102 -
_ 140 152 157
Oct Nov 6 5 150 16 140 147 46 3 1 1 65 27 150 280 247 356 _ 7 249 191
92 250 524
Away from the sites listed above, highest counts were from Livermere Lake, 250, September 27th; Benacre, 120, during August and September and Walberswick, 100, January 3rd. The County appears to hold a fairly stable population. Breeding records were few and do not reflect the true status of the species but pairs can be difficult to find during the breeding season. Alton Water produced the largest number of reported young, totalling 45, although the number of pairs is unknown. At Lackford, 36 young were reared from ten broods, and Minsmere held 16 pairs but the success of these is unknown. There were single pairs at Bramford; Baylham Fishpond; Stoke-by-Nayland and Trimley Marshes. There were irregular sightings offshore with the largest individual flock being 13 north past Landguard, December 24th. CANADA GOOSE Brant a canadensis Very common resident. Monthly maxima for some of the regularly counted sites are tabulated:North Warren Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Lackford W.R. Long Melford
Jan 330 118 80 -
593 400 183
Feb 102 122 30
Mar 46 120 65
481 141 82
367 88 n/c
Apr 33 49 60 3 249 102 n/c
Aug 164 n/c 335 209 429 344 47
Sep 208 55 349 213 137 35 n/c
Oct 310 122 44 47 382 169 194
Nov 293 215 4 293 60 245 171
Dec 325 29 82 98 144 447 169
The largest count of the year was to be found at Livermere Lake where the flock reached well in excess of 1000 birds during the last quarter of the year, peaking at 1600 on October 20th. Other large flocks included both late-summer and winter gatherings:Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, 480, January 10th.
Benacre: 317, July 8th. 43
Havergate Island: 385, July 3rd; 450, September 15th; 250, October 31st; 408, December 4 th. Trimley Marshes: 200, February 20th; 450, September Ist. Trimley St Martin: 300, Loompit Lake, August 3Ist. Levington: 200. August 20th.
As with the previous species few breeding numbers were reported but counts of juveniles at traditional breeding sites included 84 at Lackford; 40 at Havergate; ten at Trimley Marshes and six at Alton Water. An individual of one of the smaller races was present at North Warren on January 29th. Canada x Greylag Goose Gt/Lt Livermere: two, September 27th; five, October 7th, amongst a large gathering of both species. Long Melford: two, BBA Works, June Ist.
Canada x Barnacle Goose Gt/Lt Livermere: October 7th.
Hybrid geese are undoubtedly under-recorded in the County. BARNACLE GOOSE Branla leucopsis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Increasingly common feral resident. This year's records are dominated by feral birds with a large number derived from the Kessingland population. Even with the genuine records there exists the potential for confusion which is well illustrated by the case of the ringed individual which originated in Spitzbergen but was found oversummering in a feral flock within the County ( S u f f o l k Birds 1994: 43). Details of presumed wild birds are as follows:Havergate Island: 38, February 25th. Trimley Marshes: 19-20, February 20th-27th; up to seven, December 14th to the end of the month. There were also records of three, March 28th, with a single bird present through to June of which the origin is uncertain.
High counts were received from the County's ferai population and included 76 north past Benacre, November 1 Ith; 66, Covehithe Broad, November 30th and 45, Kessingland. January 26th. BRENT GOOSE Branla bermela Common winter visitor and passage migrant. WeBS counts were as follows:Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Jan n/c 41 3282 920 1742
306 2170 747 578
n/c 249 655 1419
Apr n/c n/c 4 92 919
Nov 1 318 675 615 1606
Dec n/c 143 2206 810 1202
The consistently higher April counts for the Stour estuary lend further weight to last year's comment regarding the estuary as a Staging post for birds returning north from more southerly wintering areas. In addition to the regular WeBS counts the majority of records came from the traditional wintering flocks on the coastal marshes. The largest regular flock was in residence on the Deben Estuary, with 2500 at Ramsholt Marshes on February 20th. Other large counts included 2100, King's Fleet, Falkenham, January 16th and 1300, December 4th; 1000, Levington, December 29th and 800, Erwarton, December 30th. 44
The Deben flock in January/February contained between 20-30% juvenile birds, a figure which was carried over from the previous year. No records of juveniles were received for the second winter period. Most birds had departed by mid-April, with only the Orwell holding substantial numbers into May with a peak count of 100 noted at Levington on 14th. The final flock of the spring was of 35 north off Landguard, June 2nd. Trimley Marshes again held oversummering individuals with two present until mid-July. Three flew south off Landguard, August 29th but generally returning birds were first noted in September with a total of 90 being recorded offshore at Covehithe during the month. October produced the first large counts with 4000 offshore at Minsmere on 16th and 3000, in flight, Havergate Island, 21st. Landguard produced larger numbers including 4528 south on 17th and 3578 south on 16th. Early November produced the heaviest passage with 11500 recorded off Minsmere on 3rd; other records on the same day included 4500 south past Landguard and 4000 south off Dunwich. The numbers passing the coast this year would appear to have been higher than in recent years with Landguard recording 24940 during September to December compared with last year's figure of 13706 during the same period. The only records away from the coastal strip involved four individuals at Livermere Lake, October 20th and singles there, November 13th and 17th. Individuals of the pale-bellied race B.b. hrota were present at King's Fleet, Falkenham on January 1st and November 6th, and south off Landguard, October 23rd. An individual of the North American and East Siberian race B.b. nigricans, colloquially known as Black Brant, was reported as follows:Falkenham/Felixstowe: King's Fleet, November 6th (MCM).
A single bird with a neck collar, marked A13, present at Trimley Marshes on March 20th, had first been recorded there in 1991 (Suffolk Birds 1992: 41). This individual has also been seen in Germany (where it was ringed) and the Netherlands. [RED BREASTED GOOSE Very rare visitor.
Minsmere: October 16th (RSPB)
This record is presumed to refer to an escapee.] EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiacus Locally fairly common resident. Double-figure counts reported were:Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, 18, September 27th. Barnby/North Cove: Castle Marsh, 36, November 7th. Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, 11, December 3rd. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, 20, September 2nd. Ixworth Thorpe: 12, November 3rd. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, 18, September 6th.
Birds were also reported during the year from Weybread G.P; Beccles; Lound; Oulton Broad; Minsmere; North Warren; Iken Cliff; Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin; Levington; Trimley Marshes; King's Fleet, Falkenham; Fagbury Cliff; Felixstowe and Lackford. There would appear to be three distinct centres of population in the County: the north-east, the south-east and Breckland. Movement was observed on the coast at Benacre with five north, August 22nd and six south, October 10th. The County's population appears to be fairly stable. However last year's comment 45
relating to the demise of the breeding population at Wickham Market appears to have been well founded with no reports from there at all this year. Breeding success was reported from traditional sites; Livermere Lake held one pair which produced six young, with successful breeding also reported from Lackford, Thetford and West Stow. [RUDDY SHELDUCK Tadorna ferruginea Escapee. The following records are all considered to relate to escaped or feral birds. Blythburgh: female/imm, February 23rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, August 19th. Ipswich: River Orwell, February 13th Fressingfield: March 20th. Great Livermere: April 11th. Thetford: Little Ouse, female, August 15th; Nunnery Lakes, two, September 6th.]
SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from some key sites are tabulated:Minsmere* Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Lackford W.R.* Livermere Lake* * monthly maxima
Jan 40 n/c 943 672 1240 2232 21 64
Feb 27 532 1179 815 999 2967 6 115
Mar 30 559 n/c 1297 1320 2162 29 152
Apr 62 n/c n/c 872 440 1354 16 135
Sep 7 57 165 63 47 140 -
Oct 40 190 519 265 88 527 4 n/c
Nov 48 231 800 509 642 1717 5 n/c
Dec 36 n/c 455 514 1186 1963 33 58
Breeding took place in the vicinity of the coast and estuaries. Reports included 34 young which fledged from ten broods at Havergate Island; 29 juveniles at Trimley Marshes and the first recorded instance of breeding at Landguard. Inland breeding was confirmed from:Bramford: Suffolk W.R, four juveniles. May 31st. Great Blakenham: juvenile, June 1 st. Barham: Barham Pits, three juveniles, August. Barking: gravel pits, four juveniles, July 4th and August 3rd. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, juveniles present, June 4th and September 4th. Ixworth: Mickle Mere, two broods, May 30th. Lackford W.R.: ten juveniles, May â€” none fledged because of predation by Mink.
The only sizeable coastal movements were noted from Landguard with reports of 82 south, February 14th; 43 south, October 17th and 57 south, November 3rd being eclipsed by 747 south on November 19th which was easily the largest movement of the year. MANDARIN Aix galericulata Uncommon visitor. The following records may refer to wild birds or more probably to escapees or released birds. Benacre: Benacre Broad, male. May 1st. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, female, August 9th. Trimley Marshes: male, June 7th; immature on eight days in June. Felixstowe: Langer Park, female, April 26th. Ashbocking: male, March 15th.
Brent Eleigh: River Brett, eclipse male, July 9th. Ixworth: Mickle Mere, male, March 23rd and May 20th. Hengrave: Hengrave Hall, male, October 12th. Lackford W.R.: male, May lOth.
WIGEON Anas penelope Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Minsmere* North Warren* Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour * monthly maxima
Jan 650 1080 n/c 3473 1047 1541 -
Feb 450 890 1422 1729 700 1879 120 1771
Mar 415 490 266 n/c 578 528 21 1170
Apr 69 17 n/c n/c 6 11 2 178
Sep 165 200 16 31 308
Oct 1300 370 602 1289 72 713
Nov 370 1130 828 3398 879 1812 51 3951
Dee 24 1740 n/c 2249 1757 1713 121 2474
Away from the coast the highest counts were of 150, Livermere Lake, January 7th and 168 there, October 20th; 90, Mickle Mere, Ixworth, March 5th and 108, Lackford W.R., December 17th. There was the usuai handful of mid-summer records with birds seen at five coastal sites in June or July but no proof of breeding. A pair stayed at Weybread G.R until May 30th. A good autumn passage was logged from Landguard Bird Observatory where 547 flew south during September, maximum 221 on 21st; 661 south in October, maximum 189 on 17th and 1278 south in November, which included 478 on 3rd, 354 on 4th and 204 on 19th. [AMERICAN WIGEON Very rare visitor
Long Melford: River Stour, eclipse male, August 28th and September 12th.
Presumed escapee.] GADWALL Anas streperĂ Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites and estuaries are tabulated:Minsmere* North Warren* Blyth Aide/Ore Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
Jan 94 106 n/c 39 64 1 2 92
Feb 84 126 10 18
Mar 82 111 6 n/c 3
Apr 40 31 n/c n/c 2
Sep 61 100 â€”
5 2 6 117
Oct 205 70
Nov 148 73 4 21 31 2 63 65
Dee 250 100 n/c 8 32 2 127 247
Lackford also held maximum counts of 34, July and 204, August. Other counts of note were 43, Benacre, January 16th; 50, Thorpeness Meare, December 6th; 40, Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, January 25th and February 2nd and 50 there, November 20th and 43, Livermere Lake, October 7th. Confirmed breeding records carne only from North Warren (13 pairs), Lackford W.R. (three broods), Havergate Island, Trimley Marshes and Weybread Gravel Pits 47
but was undoubtedly much more widespread than this. Nesting along the River Lark south of Mildenhall appears to have been adversely affected by Mink. Autumn passage south off Landguard totalled just 12 birds. TEAL Anas crecca Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Jan Benacre Broad* 300 Minsmere* 700 North Warren* 630 Blyth n/c Alde/Ore 1782 Deben 59 Orwell 200 Stour 312 Trimley Marshes* 500 Lackford W.R.* 66 * monthly maxima
Feb 230 500 1430 326 724 51 216 119 250 79
Mar n/c 250 530 128 n/c 34 123 99 161 40
Apr n/c 91 174 n/c n/c 17 50 34 99 11
Sept n/c 550 300 82 276 3 262 52 200 37
Oct 200 756 88 570 469 21 208 122 500 78
Nov n/c 433 270 407 1235 28 415 327 630 71
Dec 110 494 820 n/c 646 109 454 175 650 25
Numbers were not particularly high this year, perhaps due to the mild weather in both winter periods. Other counts of note included 200, Hazlewood Marshes, Aldeburgh/Friston, February 2nd. Mid-summer records were received from one inland and four coastal sites and indicated that about 50 birds were present during June. No juveniles were reported. 1500 flew south off Southwold on September 1st, while at Covehithe the monthly totals flying south were 270, October; 470, November and 290, December. Landguard logged 258 south in August; 369, September (maximum 186 on 1st); 190, October and 201, November (maximum 161 on 13th). MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Minsmere* North Warren* Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Trimley Marshes* Lackford W. R.* * monthly maxima
Jan n/c 113 n/c 860 135 313 187 446 70 400
Feb n/c 72 77 736 160 347 118 380 64 90
Mar 118 52 22 n/c 126 249 77 281 50 56
Apr 50 45 n/c n/c 102 141 70 72 60 50
Sep 376 191 75 168 50 252 213 168 500 714
Oct 309 128 254 435 85 394 420 435 120 1046
Nov 149 86 148 439 194 387 241 439 185 530
Dec 37 155 n/c 455 139 307 183 455 200 892
The only other count of note away from these sites was of 385 at Livermere Lake, October lOth; numbers at this site are often boosted by birds introduced for shooting. Breeding season records came from far and wide, with the highest count being of 26 pairs at North Warren. Only nine broods of young were seen at Lackford W.R. Mallard x Gadwall Lackford W.R.: January 26th and March 8th (many obs.).
An interesting and unusual individual. The possibility of a captive origin cannot be ruled out. 48
1: Female Red-footed Falcon at Great Livermere in late May.
2: Breeding pairs of Curlews were located on four Breckland
3: Autumn passage of Little Ringed Plovers peaked in late August with 13 at Minsmere.
" J®. jm.
, * . V-
i • '•"T«-»-!*
; ' ...
4: Three West Suffolk sites hosted breeding pairs of Ringed
7: 1000 pairs of Black-headed Gulls bred on Havergate
PINTAIL Anas acuta Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Monthly counts from the key sites are tabulated:North Warren* Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Trimley Marshes* * monthly maxima
Jan 2 n/c 140 64 96 811 2
Feb 14 184 101 75 75 253 5
Mar 14 89 n/c 98 12 157 20
Apr 1 n/c n/c 1 -
Sep n/c -
3 48 6
Oct n/c 53 1
70 241 20
Nov n/c 22 74 16 231 425 14
Dee n/c n/c 90 23 282 177 20
Other counts of note were 40, Hazlewood Marshes, Aldeburgh/Friston, February l l t h and 24 west over Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, November l l t h . Other inland records were very few and consisted of singles at Suffolk W.P., Bramford, January 16th, November 13th and 17th, and occasionai records of one or two from Livermere Lake and Lackford W.R. A pair was seen displaying at one coastal site and two birds summered at another site but there was no proof of nesting. In the autumn, 61 flew south past Minsmere on November 5th, and Landguard logged a total of 133 south between September lst and December 4th. GARGANEY Anas querquedula Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. There was a simultaneous arrivai at three sites (one inland) on March 27th. There was no proof of nesting but a juvenile seen at Lackford W.R. on August 6th and 7th might possibly have been bred in Suffolk. The final sighting of the year occurred on August 25th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, male. May 8th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, two males and a iemale, May 15th; pair on May 16th. Minsmere: up to three in late March after initial arrivai. March 27th; up to four in Aprii; two May to early August and an eclipse male, August 2lst. Aldeburgh: North Warren, pair. March 27th. Trimley Marshes: male on several dates, May 7th to June 6th, with three on May 16th and 22nd, and four, May 30th. Shotley: Shotley Marshes, male, May 15th. Alton Water: pair, June 15th and a male in eclipse, August 25th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, pair, March 27th and Aprii 13th. Lackford W.R.: juvenile, August 6th and 7th. Weybread: Weybread G.P., male, Aprii 27th to May 15th. Lakenheath: Lakenheath Washes, pair, May 30th.
SHOVELER Anas clypeata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Monthly counts from the key sites are tabulated:Minsmere* North Warren* Blyth Aide/Ore Orwell Stour Trimley Marshes* Alton Water Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
Jan 133 214 n/c 19 15 4 31 18 6
Feb 84 250 3 10 7 1 25 10 30
Apr 33 24 n/c n/c 9 9 19 1 2
Mar 80 200 4 n/c 16
Sep 69 20 â€”
Oct 122 50 5
22 4 46
Nov 64 220
49 10 13 69 9 37
Dec 38 264 n/c 130 35 2 60
Shoveler The only counts above 20 away from these sites were from Livermere Lake with 26, October 7th and 25, December Ist. North Warren is now clearly the best Shoveler habitat in Suffolk and the 264 there in December is the highest count in the County in the past decade. Summering birds were recorded at 11 sites suitable for nesting, both coastal and inland, but juveniles were reported only from Trimley Marshes. At Landguard a total of 28 flew south between August 17th and October 18th. RED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta rufina Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Lound: Village pond, female, probably an escapee, March 2nd, November 22nd and 27th. Melton: male and two females, October 22nd. Waldringfield: Waldringfield Quarry, two males, January 20th. Holbrook: Holbrook Gardens, male, December 3Ist. Alton Water: male, January 22nd, April 22nd, June 12th; two males, December 28th and 29th; male, December 30th. Framlingham: pair, July 30th, probably ferai. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, female, August 23rd, male, October 30th. Lackford W.R.: female, August 27th to 29th, September 3rd to 17th.
POCHARD Aythya ferina Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:50
Minsmere* Orwell Trimley Marshes* Alton Water Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
Jan 32 174 200 236 72
Feb 38 93 113 142 243
Apr 39 4 7
Mar 38 35 24 7 75
Sept 15 -
Oct 18 4 9 251 184
Nov 6 17 35 518 206
Dec 27 10 48 832 152
There were reports of smaller numbers from many, mainly freshwater, sites but the only counts of 50 or more were 110, Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, January 8th and 50 there December 21st, and 67, Bramford, December 13th. The total count of 832 on Alton Water in December is the highest in the County since 1979 when about 1000 were present at Lowestoft Harbour, January 20th to February 4th. The only confirmed breeding came from Lackford W.R., where two young were seen, May 28th. A pair laid eggs at Trimley Marshes, but unfortunately the breeding attempt failed. In June, up to 12 were present at Minsmere and eight at Trimley Marshes. During the autumn, 49 flew south past Landguard, most (31) in November. Aythya hybrids Male Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrids were reported as follows:Benacre: Benacre Broad, January 3rd. Alton Water: two, November 20th, December 10th, 18th and 31st. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, April 20th. Lackford W.R.: January 29th; two September 25th, October 2nd and December 19th.
TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Trimley Marshes* Alton Water Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
Jan 90 49 142 62 463 148
Feb 73 19 81 28 223 189
Mar n/c 17
Apr n/c 15 115 45 89 66
60 78 100
Sep 22 -
34 18 276 78
Oct 25 5 24 22 524 220
Nov 36 13 29 78 1500 182
Dec 10 17 49 60 1682 230
The total of 1682 on Alton Water is the highest site total ever recorded in Suffolk. There were numerous reports from freshwater sites throughout the County but the only counts away from the above sites to reach 50 or more were f r o m : Bramford: Suffolk W.P., 50, January 15th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, 50, April 12th; 109, April 25th. Wey bread: Weybread G.P., 52, January 22nd. Breeding was reported from only 11 sites, which is a gross under-recording of the true situation. At Lackford W.R. only eight broods were seen (16 in 1993), while at Trimley Marshes about 28 broods produced about 190 ducklings. Mink are considered to have adversely affected breeding numbers along the R.Lark south of Mildenhall. Only 14 flew south off Landguard between August 1st and November 30th. SCAUP Aythya marila Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. The majority of records came from just four sites, with monthly maxima as follows:51
Benacre Broad Aide/Ore Orwell Alton Water
Jan 2 3 5 6
Feb 1 5 1
Nov Dec 1 1
In addition, the first winter period produced a single at Covehithe, January 7th; male, Castle Marsh, Barnby/North Cove, February 20th; female, Trimley Marshes, January 14th and 29th, and May 5th and three females on the River Stour at Brantham, January 3rd. Well inland a female remained at Lackford W.R. from February 17th until May 28th â€” during May it was apparently paired to a male Tufted Duck. Four were present on Benacre Broad, July 21st. A very light southerly autumn passage was noted:Covehithe: four, October 21st; December 15th. Southwold: September 1st. Minsmere: five, September 23rd; three, October 17th and two, November 12th. Felixstowe: Landguard, October 2nd.
In the second winter period records in addition to those tabulated above were of three, Easton Broad, October 28th and a female there, November 20th and 27th and a pair at Martlesham Creek, November 20th and December 31st. EIDER Somateria moltissima Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few non-breeders oversummer. As usual with this species all records came from saltwater areas and it was widely reported from the coast in small numbers. Many of the records referred to birds flying north or south but there were no really substantial movements this year. The following table shows accumulated monthly totals of birds flying past two points on the coast which were well watched, at Covehithe largely by a single observer. There may well be some duplication of individual birds. Covehithe Landguard
Feb 5 -
Mar 4 1
Apr 9 2
Sep 33 8
Oct 76 21
Nov 67 29
Dec 73 7
The largest flock of the year was 26 flying south off Covehithe, September 21st. There were 21 off Minsmere, September 25th; 17 flew south off Felixstowe Ferry, February 27th and 17 south off Minsmere, November 4th. There were several records from the Stour and Orwell Estuaries, with a female at Freston/Woolverstone, January lst-4th, being the furthest "inland". On the Blyth a female was well upstream at Blythburgh, January 1st. A handful of birds spent the summer offshore, for example, three, Benacre, June 20th and nine, Lowestoft, July 7th. LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. With mild weather in both winter periods it was a fairly quiet year for this attractive sea-duck. There were several reports away from the immediate vicinity of the coast, including a long-stayer at Lackford W.R. Lowestoft: Ness Point, three, January 29th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, pair, January 1st to 29th; female, April 9th to 19th. Covehithe: male, flying north, October 17th; female/imm. flying south, November 19th and 25th. Southwold: November 6th. Falkenham: found dead, February 6th. Trimley Marshes: four, December 22nd; five, December 23rd; four, December 24th.
Chelmondiston: River Orwell, Pinmill, January 29th. Felixstowe: Landguard, flying south, April 1st. Stour Estuary: January 16th. Brantham: River Stour, March 18th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, imm, September 27th. See below. Lackford W.R.: imm found on September 19th stayed until the end of the year, the third site record. Likely to be the same bird as at Livermere Lake.
COMMON SCOTER Melanina nigra Common non-breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Widely reported offshore in all months of the year. At two well-watched locations the accumulated monthly totals of birds flying past are shown in the table below. There is likely to be some duplication of individual birds. Landguard Covehithe
Feb 2 113
Mar 2 28
Apr May 21 11 n/c n/c
Jun 1 n/c
Jul 70 682
Aug 3 358
Sep 260 189
Oct 56 n/c
Nov 289 n/c
Other notable counts include 220, Dunwich, February 7th; 500, Minsmere, June 15th and 400, Sole Bay, Dunwich, June 20th. These latter two reports clearly refer to the same flock and perhaps herald a return of a larger flock of summering birds. 400 flew south off Southwold, September 1st and 700 south off Minsmere, September 2nd; also off Minsmere there were 256 south, November 3rd, 400 south, November 4th and 355 south, November 5th. Inland r e c o r d s c a m e f r o m f o u r s i t e s : Bramford: Suffolk W.P., male, March 21st. Lackford W.R.: male and three female/imm on the sailing lake, July 17th. Weybread: Weybread G.R, female, May 29th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, female, April 13th.
VELVET SCOTER Melanitta fusca Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. In a fairly quiet year records in the first winter period came f r o m : Benacre: Benacre Broad, April 6th. Covehithe: two north, January 15th; four north, January 30th; north, February 27th. Minsmere: female, offshore, January 9th. Dunwich: January 30th; four, January 31st.
A male was off Felixstowe, July 30th, and then in the second winter period records were received from:Lowestoft: Pakefield, two, December 24th. Benacre: December 10th. Covehithe: two north, September 17th. Easton Bavents: male, November 7th. Southwold: September 1st; four, November 2nd; male, November 5th; November 26th. Minsmere: ten, offshore, September 18th; 13, September 19th. Leiston: Sizewell, flying south, November 5th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, three flying south, November 5th. Aldeburgh: two south, November 18th; Slaughden, two south, November 4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, two south, November 6th; two north, November 29th.
GOLDENEYE Bucephala clangula Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from the key sites are tabulated:Benacre Broad* Aide/Ore Deben
Jan 8 24 27
Feb 10 6 39
Mar 4 n/c 20
Apr 5 n/c 1
Nov 6 3 4
Dec 4 -
Orwell Stour Alton Water Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
Jan 36 201 16 13
Feb 37 57 46 18
Mar 17 59 34 18
Nov 57 81 12 14
Dec 66 71 10 14
There were widespread reports of small numbers elsewhere but no other count exceeded ten apart from 17, Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, March 20th. The final report of the spring was of a pair at Weybread Gravel Pits, April 2 Ist and none were seen thereafter until two flew south past Minsmere, October 6th, apart from one flying south past Landguard on the very unseasonable date of June 2nd. The usual light autumn passage was noted, viz: 17 south off Covehithe during October, followed there by 42 south, November and two south, December; 22 flew south off Minsmere, November 3rd; 18 south, Landguard, October and 50 south there, November. SMEW Mergus albellus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. With mild weather in both winter periods there were just eight records of this Continental visitor. Lound/Fritton: redhead, January Ist and 3rd. Benacre: Benacre Broad, redhead, January lOth to 26th. Minsmere: two redheads, January 25th; maie, December 23rd. Havergate Island: two redheads, January Ist, 14th and 16th; one redhead, February 18th. Levington: River Orwell, Levington Creek, redhead, March 8th. Alton Water: redhead, January 7th to March 5th.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER Mergus serrator Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Benacre* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour * monthly maxima
Jan 2 2
Feb 1 2
Dee 2 2
2 2 28
Reported from ten other coastal localities but mainly of birds flying north or south. There were no inland records. Several birds lingered into May but the only summer records were one south, Landguard, June 1 st and a maie at Minsmere, June 3rd. There was a substantial passage in early November recorded from Minsmere with 94 flying south on 3rd; 28 south on 4th and 44 south on 5th. Landguard logged 56 south during October and 61 south in November. GOOSANDER Mergus merganser Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Records from the regular County sites were:Benacre Broad Alton Water Lackford W R.
Jan 1 8
Dee 2 5
Other r e c o r d s in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d c a m e f r o m : Beccles: River Waveney, redhead flying east, January 22nd. Minsmere: redhead, January 26th; February 22nd; March 1st and April 2nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, redhead, April 18th. Havergate Island: redhead, January 1st and April 2nd. Felixstowe: Landguard three south, January 9th; north, January 16th; Felixstowe Ferry, male south, April 3rd. Trimley Marshes: April 2nd. Hadleigh: River Brett, male, February 6th. Redgrave/Botesdale: Redgrave Lake, redhead, February 1st. Gt/Lt Livermere: pair, January 29th. Reports in t h e s e c o n d w i n t e r p e r i o d w e r e f r o m : Beccles: Beccles Marshes, two redheads, December 1 st. Lowestoft: redhead south, October 23rd; redhead south, December 3rd. Covehithe: redhead south, November 13th; pair south, November 19th; redhead south, December 1st; redhead north, December 9th; Covehithe Broad, four redheads, November 13th. Dunwich: Corporation Marshes, two south, November 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard, three south and one north, November 13th; two south, November 14th; one south, November 19th. Barsham: three, November 24th. Bramford: Suffolk W.R, redhead, November 14th. RUDDY D U C K Oxyura jamaicensis U n c o m m o n r e s i d e n t , w i n t e r visitor and p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . R e p o r t e d f r o m j u s t six sites but b r e e d i n g w a s c o n f i r m e d at t h e r e g u l a r locality. Walberswick: Westwood Marshes, female, May 8th; pair, May 15th and June 3rd. Minsmere: male, March 21st to 30th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, August 14th. Alton Water: female, January 18th and 25th; male, November 2nd; female, November 19th to December 31st. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, reported from March 10th to October 20th with a highest count of 16, April 20th. Three broods of young were seen on July 18th. Lackford W.R.: up to two recorded fairly regularly throughout the year, with a maximum of four, September 16th and 17th. HONEY BUZZARD Pernis apivorus Rare passage migrant. All r e c o r d s r e c e i v e d are as f o l l o w s : Lowestoft: Gunton, juvenile/first-winter, in off the sea, September 20th (ACE). Walberswick: Westwood Marshes, north, June 13th (DP). East Bergholt: June 2nd (JAG). Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, light morph, south, May 13th (Miss DEB, Mrs CD); Mill Lane, south, May 24th (IGH). A f t e r last y e a r ' s a m a z i n g a u t u m n p a s s a g e b y this species, j u s t o n e S e p t e m b e r record b r i n g s t h i n g s b a c k t o n o r m a l . R E D K I T E Milvus milvus Scarce w i n t e r visitor a n d p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . Benacre: August 9th (CB. RGH); August 24th and 28th, September 9th and 16th (Wing tagged — red with white ' N ' ) (CB). Covehithe: August 6th (EH); August 27th (CRP); September 11th and 13th (Wing tagged — same as Benacre bird) (AR). Minsmere: June 3rd; June 4th (Wing tagged — both green) (IR); October 26th (RSPB). Butley: January 3rd (MCav, PCav, PN). Ufford: Loudham Hall/Lake, November 1st (DRM). 55
Brantham: March 13th (DCL & Mrs CML). Icklingham: June 5th (PVH). Mildenhall: Mildenhall Fen, mid-December (DKin). Thetford: BTO Headquarters, May 5th (IGH). 1993 Troston: December 30th (SBis & Mrs SB).
Perhaps as many as ten birds are involved in the above records although some duplication of long-staying birds is possible. The 1993 bird is included here due to late submission of the record. With the continuing success of the reintroduction programme in the Home Counties and the new releases in the English Midlands, the optimists amongst us probably believe that the long-term prospects now look good for this species to recolonise Suffolk. MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter.
Marsh Harrier The information received regarding the breeding fortunes of this species was rather sketchy, but it seems likely that at least 20 'pairs' bred with a minimum of 16 nests, at three sites, producing an unknown number of young. It is hoped that the current SOG 'Breeding Raptor Survey' will provide a more detailed picture of the 1995 breeding fortunes of this marvellous bird. The following records, all from spring and summer, were received from the west of the County. Coney Weston: male, May 24th. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, female, April 30th; Deadman's Grave, female, June 14th. Lackford W.R.: male, April 20th; female, May 11th and 12th. Lakenheath: Lakenheath Washes, pair, May 30th. Lidgate: female/immature, August 4th. Moulton: female, north-west, May 19th; female, August 18th.
During the first winter period there were up to 11 birds present at seven coastal sites, although there is, no doubt, some duplication of wandering birds involved. Numbers were higher during the second winter period with perhaps as many as 15 birds recorded from four sites, including four at Westwood Marshes, Walberswick, November 13th and an excellent count of eight there, December 29th. 56
HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. DĂźring the first winter period numbers were generally low with birds recorded from just 20 diffĂŠrent sites with the largest roost count of the period being an excellent total of nine individuals at Westwood Marshes, Walberswick on March 17th. Two reports of wing-tagged birds were received; one (with a green tag on its left wing) at Westwood Marshes, Walberswick during January and one at Benacre on March 27th. It is not clear whether these sightings relate to one or two individuals. Information regarding the origin(s) of the bird(s) involved would be most welcome. The first returning bird of the autumn was a female at Havergate Island on September 4th. This was then followed by reports from three other sites during that month, before the main influx occurred during October and November. Reports came from 39 sites during the second winter period including one, away from the usuai coastal and Breckland locations, seen along the Hadleigh bypass on November 5th. The largest roost count of the period was again at Westwood Marshes, Walberswick with four birds on December 3Ist. MONTAGU'S HARRIER Circus pygargus Scarce passage migrant. Formerly bred. A good year by recent standards with the following records received:Covehithe: juvenile, August 27th (CRP). Walberswick/Reydon: sub-adult male, May 20th (PL). NW Suffolk: female, seen in suitable breeding habitat, June 2Ist (OM, MM).
The Covehithe bird must have been an exciting find as it was watched sparring with a wing-tagged Red Kite. Although breeding was not suspected within the County, the female seen in the north-west during late June is most encouraging. GOSHAWK Accipiter gentilis Scarce resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Displaying birds were noted at four sites, of which three are in Breckland, but, unfortunately, no confirmation of breeding was received. Away from the breeding areas, birds were seen at Minsmere, March 12th, April 28th, May 8th and 18th; Nowton, October 23rd; Sizewell, May 8th and Stallode Wash/Botany Bay, Lakenheath, January 3rd. Of interest was one seen to catch and eat a pigeon at Nacton on November 1 Ith, and a bird seen at Southwold on September 2Ist may well have been an immigrant from the Continent. SPARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This impressive species continues to be well reported with just over 600 records received from at least 167 localities. Breeding was only confirmed from seven sites, although this must be far below the true figure. The wide range of quarry that this species will tackle was again illustrated by the reports received of birds taking prey ranging in size from Blue Tit to Stock Dove (Lackford W.R. February 9th). One was seen hunting Meadow Pipits at Shotley Marshes on November 6th. Autumn passage was again evidenced at Landguard where the monthly ringing totals for October and November were six and seven respectively. 57
COMMON BUZZARD Buteo buteo Fairly c o m m o n w i n t e r visitor a n d p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . D u r i n g t h e first half of t h e y e a r the f o l l o w i n g b u m p e r c r o p of r e c o r d s w a s received, i n c l u d i n g a n o t h e r l o n g - s t a y e r in the B e c c l e s A V o r l i n g h a m a r e a : Aldeburgh: North Warren, west, March 26th. BecclesAVorlingham: many dates between January 1 st and June 8th. Benacre: March 14th and 20th and April 22nd. Blythburgh: Blythburgh Fen, May 15th. Bramford: Suffolk W.P., April 3rd. Brightwell: over A12, April 10th. Dunwich: January 30th; north, March 6th; April 3rd. Elveden: May 24th. Felixstowe: Landguard Common, an emaciated, freshly dead bird found on the tideline, February 15 th. Fritton Decoy/Ashby Warren: two, March 27th; April 10th. Herringswell: dark phase, May 13th. Higham: north, February 12th. Hollesley: Upper Hollesley Common, dark-phase north, March 30th. Lakenheath: Lakenheath Washes, May 30th. Minsmere: north, March 26th; April 19th, 22nd, 25th and 30th. Moulton: north, January 10th; north, June 24th. Trimley Marshes: immature, April 2nd. I\install Forest: February 25th. Walberswick: Westwood Marshes, March 22nd and May 3rd. Waveney Forest: April 23rd. Westleton Heath: 'Very pale bird' January 30th. R e c o r d s f o r t h e a u t u m n a n d s e c o n d w i n t e r p e r i o d are listed b e l o w . Aldeburgh: North Warren, October 27th; two adults, October 28th. Bawdsey: Bawdsey Manor, September 2nd. Beccles: August 14th. Benacre: November 20th. Boyton: December 31st. Butley: December 30th and 31st. Gedgrave: November 15th. Havergate Island: two adults, August 20th; October 26th; three adults, December 28th. Hawstead: October 19th. Hengrave: December 2nd. Lakenheath: December 6th. Leiston: Sizewell, October 21st. Long Melford: dark-phase, December 11th. Lowestoft: October 4th. Moulton: north, August 7th. Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, October 28th and November 2nd. N o d o u b t t h e r e is c o n s i d e r a b l e d u p l i c a t i o n w i t h i n the a b o v e listings a n d it is d i f f i c u l t to e s t i m a t e the n u m b e r of d i f f e r e n t i n d i v i d u a l s involved here, but the u p s u r g e in t h e n u m b e r of r e c o r d s received over recent y e a r s h a s c e r t a i n l y c o n t i n u e d . D e s p i t e this i n c r e a s e in n u m b e r s , f e w s e e m to linger t h r o u g h o u t the s u m m e r m o n t h s and t h e r e h a s b e e n n o sign of any recent b r e e d i n g a t t e m p t s . B i r d s f r o m this s p e c i e s ' n o r t h e r n a n d w e s t e r n s t r o n g h o l d s in Britain h a v e b e e n s l o w to e x p a n d into s o u t h e r n a n d eastern c o u n t i e s (indeed, t h e r e w a s s m a l l d e c l i n e in t h e n u m b e r of o u t l y i n g pairs b e t w e e n the t w o B T O b r e e d i n g atlases), a f a c t that h a s b e e n m a i n l y attributed to illegal p e r s e c u t i o n of these m a r g i n a l pairs ( G i b b o n s 1993). ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD Buteo lagopus U n c o m m o n w i n t e r visitor a n d p a s s a g e m i g r a n t . 58
T h e r e w a s j u s t o n e r e p o r t in the first w i n t e r p e r i o d : Yoxford: January 20th.
This single sighting did little to prepare the County's birders for the avalanche of birds that Suffolk received during Britain's largest autumnal influx since the 250 seen in October 1974. Aldeburgh: North Warren, October 23rd, 27th and 28th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Common/Thorpeness G.C., October 28th. Benacre: Denes, immature, October 21st; October 23rd. Butley: two adults, December 30th and 31st. Corton: south, October 24th. Felixstowe: two, Landguard, October 26th; Manor Park and Landguard, October 27th. Gedgrave: November 2nd. Havergate Island: September 27th; October 25th; two adults, October 26th; November 16th; November 22nd. Kessingland: two juveniles south, October 23rd. Lackford W.R.: north, October 22nd. Leiston: Sizewell, two adults, October 26th; November 16th and 17th; December 19th. Lowestoft: Kirkley Ham, south, October 23rd; Waveney Drive and North Denes, October 23rd, juvenile north, October 24th; Lake Lothing, two, October 24th. Minsmere: October 24th; October 26th and 27th; two, October 28th; November 3rd; November 17th. Ramsholt: Churchyard, October 27th. Reydon/South Cove: Potters Bridge, October 28th. Southwold: October 23rd. Sudbourne: October 23rd; picked up exhausted, October 30th, released at Sutton Common, November 7th. Trimley St Mary: two, Fagbury Cliff, October 26th; November 2nd. Walberswick: over B1387, November 7th. Wantisden: November 21st. Waveney Forest: immature, October 30th; immature, November 13th. Woodbridge: October 23rd.
It is very difficult to accurately assess the number of different individuals seen here, but it is thought that at least 15-20 birds were involved. After the main influx in the third week of October, the majority of birds passed quickly through. Most had gone by early November and only three were seen in December. OSPREY Pandion haliaetus Uncommon passage migrant. A fairly typical spread of records, covering both spring and autumn periods, with the concentration of records at traditional well-watched sites. With many in-flight records, and many records of birds on similar dates at nearby sites, it is impossible to comment on whether there were lingering birds or a steady stream of birds passing through. Spring passage involved birds both inland in West Suffolk between April 22nd and May 28th, and on the coast, April 23rd to June 9th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, April 22nd and 28th.
Lackford W.R.: May 4th, 5th, 13th and 28th. Minsmere: April 23rd, May 3rd, June 9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 23rd.
Marlesford: over A12, April 30th. The autumn records were all coastal (apart from one at Coddenham) between August 27th and October 3rd, with a concentration of records in the south-east of the County. Benacre: August 27th. Minsmere: August 27th.
Felixstowe: Landguard, September 4th. Havergate Island: September 15th. Shotley: September 26th and 30th. Trimley Marshes: September 19th, 21st and 26th, October 1st and 2nd. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, October 2nd (same as Trimley Marshes bird). Coddenham: October 2nd. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, October 3rd.
KESTREL Falco tinnunculus Very common resident. Inconsistent standards for recording this species across the County, and lack of comparative data from year to year, make it impossible to say anything meaningful, other than it remains widespread. Breeding records were received from around the County, in farmland, parks, woodland and urban and industrial sites. Possible passage movements of occasional birds were noted at Landguard in April, May, August, September, October and November, including individuals in off the sea on April 26th, August 28th and November 27th, and flying south offshore at Felixstowe on October 13th. Records of prey included juvenile Little Terns at Landguard, Common Shrew and juvenile Tufted Duck. There was a single report of a road casualty on the A1071 at Boxford on December 19th. RED-FOOTED FALCON Very rare visitor
A typical year with two records of this delightful raptor. Minsmere: female. May 29th-June 3rd (AL, BJS). Gt. Livermere: female. May 25th-29th (TH, TS et al). These two records take the County total to at least 31. MERLIN Falco columbarius Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant There were winter (January/February and November/December) records from about 20 sites, mostly coastal but with records from both Breckland and the Fens. 60
Most of these 20 sites produced records on just single dates, with only Minsmere and Trimley producing a run of records. Passage on the coast was widespread in both spring and autumn. There were eight spring records in March and April, with a late bird at Landguard on May 13th and around 14 autumn records during September and October. Passage inland was more restricted with records at Worlingworth, April 10th, Cavenham in April and September, and Lackford on various dates in March. There was an exceptional summer record of a female at Worling worth, June 11th, 13th and 15th (BJS). HOBBY Falco subbuteo Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant.
Hobby The first of the year were on April 21st at Eriswell and Thetford with other April records from North Warren, 23rd; Benacre 24th, 26th and 29th; Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket 24th and 29th; Blaxhall, 25th; Great Livermere, 25th; Landguard, 25th; Southwold, 26th and Minsmere, 30th. There followed numerous May records from across the County. This exciting summer visitor seems now well established within the County. Late spring/summer records came from 50+ parishes. Although breeding was proven at only a few sites, there were sequences of records from around 20 parishes suggesting possible breeding in the vicinity. Late records in October came from Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, 2nd; Moulton, 4th; Havergate Island, 9th and 10th and Thetford, 17th with an exceptionally late bird at Havergate Island, November 3rd. PEREGRINE Falco peregrinus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The good run of records of recent years continues. Birds were present from January to May, and again from August to December. The majority were coastal, with very few inland records. All records received are listed:Orford: Orfordness, January 1st.
Stour Estuary: January 16th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, January 21st.
Iken: Iken Cliff, February 4th. 61
Wherstead: Wherstead Strand, February 27th. Trimley Marshes: March 5th. Groton: March 6th. Ipswich: Cliff Quay Power Station, March 11th. Bawdsey: April 2nd. Beccles: May 1st. Walberswick: May 20th, 28th and 31st. Stour Estuary: August 21st; October 9th. Trimley Marshes; one seen on 16 dates, September to December. Walberswick: September 3rd. Benacre: September 23rd; October 10th, 28th and 30th; November 2nd, 18th and 26th; December 18th and 26th. Deben Estuary: October 9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, one in off sea, October 4th; October 8th, 9th and 24th. Minsmere: October 23rd and 27th; November 20th. Leiston: Sizewell, November 28th. Havergate Island: October 26th; November 16th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness Beach, November 5th. Covehithe: November 8th and 19th. Fritton: Waveney Forest, November 13th and 18th. Shotley: Shotley Marshes, December 2nd. Bramford: Suffolk W.P., December 2nd. Aldeburgh/Friston: Hazlewood Marshes, December 6th. Wherstead: Orwell Bridge, December 9th, 14th and 21st. Alton Water: December 31st.
RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Alectoris rufa Pure birds rather rare at present but hybrids very common. The difficulties of separating pure-bred birds from hybrids still present problems, or lack of interest, for many observers. Most records received are for Redlegged Partridge despite the fact that few of these are known to now exist. Only two records of hybrids were reported, from Occold and the Minsmere/Walberswick area. Numbers appeared up from 1993, with covey sizes exceeding 30 reported from four different locations: 47, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket; 44, East Farm, Barnham; 37, Barrow and 32, Aldringham Common/Thorpeness golf course. The birds in the west of the County were almost certainly releases from nearby sporting estates and their origin is, therefore, a little suspect. Breeding occurred throughout the County with numbers reported as being reasonably stable. Seven pairs were thought to have bred at Landguard and perhaps the biggest surprise there was a bird trapped at the Observatory which wore a gold coloured wing tag (WH3). Further information on the origin of this bird would be appreciated. GREY PARTRIDGE Perdix perdix Formerly common resident, perhaps decreasing rapidly. Continuing the trend from 1993, this species was reported throughout much of the County. Usually only small numbers, pairs or singles were recorded but covey sizes included 25, St Peter South Elmham; 22, Minsmere; 12, Trimley Marshes; 12, Corton Church; 11, Risby and 11, Beccles Marshes. More favourable agricultural practices may be benefiting this species again. Unsprayed headlands should help to increase the availability of invertebrate food. Set-aside provides additional breeding habitat provided spraying or ploughing takes place late in the season. 62
QUAIL Coturnix coturnix Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. This w a s n o t a m a j o r Q u a i l year w i t h o n l y n i n e r e c o r d s , m o s t of w h i c h c a m e , as in 1993, f r o m n o r t h - w e s t S u f f o l k . Coney Weston: single bird, May 23rd. Elveden: calling, June 23rd. Lakenheath: Sedge Fen, two calling, June 26th and another calling, August 22nd. West Stow: Country Park, one calling in flight, July 15th. Blythburgh: Hinton, male calling, June 8th and 12th. Gisleham: calling, June 14th. Felixstowe: Landguard, single bird, May 23rd.
The bird at Landguard is the first record for the site; remarkably, when discovered, it was feeding in the open on the Reserve but unfortunately did not linger long enough for observers to get unaccustomed views of this normally very elusive bird. PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus Very common resident. Few observers consider this a worthwhile species to record and reports were mainly confined to regular or unusual breeding sites and sightings of white/albino birds. At Valley Farm, Coddenham, a regularly monitored site, increased numbers were noted with 12 pairs estimated to be breeding (eight pairs in 1993). Breeding continued on Havergate Island with six pairs confirmed (eight pairs in 1993). White or albino birds were reported from Elveden, Great Livermere, Lakenheath Warren and Nowton. GOLDEN PHEASANT Scarce resident.
O b s e r v e r s t o o k last y e a r ' s r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s to h e a r t a n d a f e w m o r e r e c o r d s w e r e received in 1994; all e x c e p t t w o w e r e f r o m T h e K i n g ' s F o r e s t a n d M a y d a y F a r m . IcklinghamAVest Stow: The Kings Forest, five males and one female, February 18th; three males, March 12th; one male and several additional birds, March 26th; one calling, April 22nd; male, April 28th; two males, December 30th; Home Heath, male, April 26th. Wordwell: three males, February 18th. West Stow: Pear Tree Cottage, two males, February 6th. Brandon: Mayday Farm, a radio-tagged male and a female reported January 12th and 15th; two radio-tagged females, February 2nd; two males April 9th and December 31st. Knettishall: dead male. May 18th.
Perhaps the most surprising record was of a male at Saxtead Green on September 17th. WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Observations were received from 33 locations, mostly coastal marshes with a few reports from the north-west of the County. The highest number recorded was at North Warren â€” seven, October 1st. Other areas of apparently suitable habitat exist in Suffolk especially around the mid-Suffolk fens, Suffolk Broads and the Gipping and Stour valleys. Visits to these areas could be well rewarded and future observations would be very welcome. Most birds, usually singles, were seen in the winter months. There were few instances of confirmed breeding but the 20 pairs estimated at Minsmere indicated that recent population levels are being maintained. 63
MOORHEN GallĂnula chloropus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:North Warren* Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour * monthly maxima
Jan 147 51 43 108 9 5
Feb 90 35 41 122 10 11
Mar 73 n/c 33 60 14 14
Apr n/c n/c 23 44 14 29
Sep 40 44 13 91 28 47
Oct 50 63 38 66 45 45
Nov 60 74 38 82 61 46
Dec 75 42 27 30 40 9
WeBS survey results indicate an increase in coastal wintering numbers from 1993. Elsewhere, the highest counts were 83, Great Livermere, February 19th; 55, Mili River, Newbourne, January 13th; 40, Heveningham Hall Lake, February lst; 40. Gallows Hill, Barking, February 26th and 40, Framlingham Mere, December llth. Breeding was reported from a variety of sites ali across the County. Minsmere numbers were down on 1993 with only 18 pairs estimated (29 pairs in 1993) but North Warren had an increased population with 91 pairs (72 pairs in 1993). COOT FĂşlica atra Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. a)
Coot Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Blyth North Warren* Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
Jan n/c 241 188 133 188 423 15 253
Feb 21 260 202 90 133 320 -
Mar 46 216 n/c 68 98 255 18 57
Apr n/c 48 n/c 52 52 167 10 37
Aug n/c -
n/c n/c 63 275 20 158
142 77 51 311 333 17 170
118 71 71 444 731 17 230
Nov 17 144 181 94 481 790 52 279
Dec n/c 215 112 66 298 1427 -
It should be remembered that the estuaries counted as part of WeBS encompass adjacent freshwaters, notably Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, on the Orwell, which account for a substantial part of the overall counts. The end of year counts at 64
Alton Water are quite exceptional compared with the more usuai numbers of several hundred in recent years Other counts of over 100 were received from Old Hall, Barsham (January), Suffolk W.P., Bramford (January and December), and Oulton Broad/Lake Lothing (January). Breeding was recorded from some 20 sites, presumably a gross underestimate of the true status, since the "Provisionai Atlas of Breeding Birds in Suffolk" recorded breeding in well over 100 tetrads. Estimâtes of breeding numbers from regular sites suggest that the population is at least stable: Minsmere, 13 pairs (13 in 1993, 15 in 1992); North Warren, 30 pairs (15 in 1993, 18 in 1992) and Trimley Marshes, 15 pairs. OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Jan n/c 39 226 1388 1280
Feb 122 202 281 1119 1032
Mar 304 n/c 357 978 1098
Apr n/c n/c 196 416 841
Aug n/c n/c n/c 368 1157
Sep 11 11 327 598 1409
Oct 4 8 194 631 1250
Nov 39 161 156 841 1170
Dee n/c 30 94 716 1535
The Orwell figures are the highest on the estuary since 1986 — individuai roost totals included 750 at Shotley Marshes in February and 600 on Trimley Marshes in December. On the Stour there were up to 530 in Holbrook Bay in September and 430 in Erwarton Bay in October. The most significant concentrations of breeding pairs in the coastal région were at Boyton Marshes (12) and Shotley Marshes (six). This species is now a regular feature during the summer months at several West Suffolk sites — this year birds were reported from eleven localities with pairs confirmed as breeding at Cavenham/Tuddenham (two), Livermere Lake and Ixworth Thorpe and another pair displaying at Honington Airfield. The highest site totals were seven north over Troston, July 17th and seven south over Raydon, July 15th. At additional non-coastal/estuarine sites a pair bred at Weybread G.P. and a pair was in the Bramford/Gt Blakenham area of the Gipping Valley in May and June. Monthly totals of southerly autumn passage off Landguard peaked at 329 in August. One was watched vigorously mobbing a Marsh Harrier at Covehithe Broad, Aprii 24th. AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta Common resident, summer visitor, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Jan Feb Mar Sep Oct Nov Dee Blyth n/c 187 403 1 202 n/c 444 Aide/Ore n/c 775 652 717 231 656 Deben 14 4 23 75 93 79 P e a k n o n - W e B S totals i n c l u d e d : Benacre: Benacre Broad, 22. July 8th to 13th. Blythburgh: 300, January 9th; maximum 280 in February. Minsmere: peak monthly maxima of 179 in May, 215 in June and 218 in July. Iken: 701, January 25th; 620, February 8th. Havergate Island: peak monthly maxima of 236, March 15th; 355, July 20th; 440, August 21st and 616, September 1 lth.
Ramsholt: 60, January 6th. Trimley Marshes: peak monthly maxima 60, April 17th; 73, June 27th; 65, July 25th; 60, August 20th; 60, October 9th and 60, December 5th.
The Alde/Ore complex retains its status as a site of International Importance for this species (live year average maximum of over 700). If the recent rate of increase in the Blyth's wintering population is maintained then it too could achieve the same status as the Aide/Ore by the end of the current decade. The extent of interchange, if any, between the Blyth and Alde/Ore populations is not known. Breeding data were only received from Minsmere, Trimley Marshes and Havergate Island. At Minsmere, where the first returning bird was present on February 15th, 105 pairs reared 30 young (70 pairs and 44 young in 1993) â€” as well as the expected gulls, predators at this site included a Marsh Harrier! The first spring arrivai at Trimley Marshes was on February 13th; although the number of pairs at this site increased further to 22 (20 in 1993) the total of fledged young decreased to only 23 (minimum of 40 in 1993). A more encouraging situation was reported from Havergate Island where 103 pairs (90 in 1993) reared 35 young (three in 1993, five in 1992). A wintering bird on the Aide Estuary, February 4th, had originally been ringed near Rotterdam in the Netherlands in August 1991. Perhaps the most remarkable sight of the year occurred at Landguard on November 6th when 127 flew north in two flocks containing 80 and 47 birds. STONE CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus Locally fairly common summer visitor.
Stone Curlew The first spring arrivai was in Breckland on March 5th, (Mrs JG, KWG), the earliest to have been recorded in Suffolk since 1972 (February 1 Ith, Levington). RSPB survey work in the Suffolk Breck revealed 54 pairs (48 in 1993) v/hich fledged only 27 young (32 in 1993), well below the average figure of 0.7 young/pair that the RSPB estimĂ˘tes is needed to maintain the breeding population at its current level. An impressive post-breeding/pre-emigration gathering on one of the Breckland heaths peaked at 50 on October Ist. 66
It is encouraging to report the presence of a bird at Minsmere on March 21st (same date as the 1993 sighting at this locality) which gives some hope that the species might become re-established at this former breeding site. A passage migrant was at Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary, May 21st and the final sighting of the year was in Breckland, October 21st. ORIENTAL PRATINCOLE Accidental
1993 Havergate Island: September 4th and 19th (CAC, MLC, WRC, SJD).
The second County record of this Asiatic species, the first having been at Dunwich, June 22nd to July 8th 1981. The Havergate bird could well have been the same individual as that which occurred in Norfolk, May 14th to August 17th, although there was also one in East Sussex, August 29th and 30th — perhaps only one individual was involved in all three occurrences. (See note on page 156.) LITTLE RINGED PLOVER Charadrius dubius Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. This wader appears to be declining as a breeding species in the County with reports from 11 sites totalling only 12 pairs — as recently as 1990 at least 33 pairs were located. This year's breeding season reports came from Weybread G.P.; Freckenham; Lackford W.R.; Cavenham G.P.; Ixworth Thorpe; Melton G.P. and five Gipping Valley sites. Although it seems likely that some pairs went unreported, the decline in gravel extraction at several sites has probably contributed to a genuine decrease in numbers. There was an early spring arrival at Lackford W.R., March 11th, but the only other March reports were from Mickle Mere, Ixworth on 26th and 30th (two). Subsequent spring passage was noted at nine sites with maximum totals of eight, Lackford W.R., April 23rd; four, Minsmere, May 2nd and four, Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, April 15th and May 13th. J u n e r e p o r t s f r o m N o r t h W a r r e n , A l d e b u r g h , 16th a n d 24th, a n d N u n n e r y L a k e s , T h e t f o r d , 2 9 t h (three) c o u l d r e f e r to early r e t u r n i n g b i r d s but the m a i n p h a s e of a u t u m n p a s s a g e o c c u r r e d b e t w e e n m i d - J u l y a n d late A u g u s t as f o l l o w s : Benacre: Benacre Broad, August 1st and 27th; September 10th. Minsmere: up to five, July 14th to 22nd; two, August 26th; 13, August 27th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, July 17th. Havergate Island: two, July 22nd. Felixstowe: Landguard, south, August 6th. Trimley Marshes: singles, July 12th and 26th; up to five, August 4th to 10th; up to three, August 18th to 27th; September 12th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, three, July 16th and September 4th.
RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Blyth North Warren* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour * monthly maxima
Jan n/c 20 30 32 643 178 190
Feb 4 33 44 36 382 27 165
Mar 30 12 n/c
4 164 15 145
Sep 25 110 313 10 477 -
Oct 84 112 20 66 583 -
Nov 5 64 38 14 349 5 316
Dec n/c 75 47 14 158 150 380
Additional counts included 204, Alton Water, January lst with 327 there on November 2nd, and 200, Levington, August 17th. An impressive high-tide roost on the beach near the Point at Landguard in November and December peaked at 60, November 30th and 150, December 14th. Display was first noted at Landguard on February 16th and the first West Suffolk report of the year came from Ixworth, February 20th. No co-ordinated survey of the breeding population was undertaken but higher totals of pairs were reported from Levington (ten), Minsmere (eight), Landguard (six) and Covehithe (five). A pair was located on Woodbridge Airfield and in West Suffolk single pairs bred at Lackford W.R., Risby (in set-aside field) and Freckenham. Two juveniles reached the flying stage at Landguard, the first to have done so at this site for several years. The first half of May witnessed a coastal passage of birds of the northern race C.h. tundrae with reports of 50, Levington, 8th; nine, Blyth Estuary, 2nd and eight, Minsmere, 15th. Spring passage totals in West Suffolk peaked at ten, Lackford, Aprii 22nd. Southerly coastal autumn passage was principally reported from Landguard where peak monthly totals involved 109 in August and 62 in September. KENTISH PLOVER Charadrius alexandrinus Rare passage migrant. This year's three reports were ail from well-watched RSPB coastal reserves. Minsmere: male, Aprii 26th (RMoo et al). Havergate Island: male, May 15th and 16th; August 6th and lOth (SJD et al).
D O T T E R E L Charadrius morinellus Rare passage migrant. West Suffolk's first report since 1987 is also the County's largest "trip" since 1987 (12, Icklingham, May l l t h ) and the County's earliest since 1987. Moulton: Trinity Hall Farm, ten, Aprii 30th (PB).
These birds are justifiable reward for the careful watching of a local "patch" near Newmarket â€” how many others go unobserved in underwatched areas on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border? GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Common winter visitor and passage migrant.
Lapwings and Golden Piover 68
Despite generally mild weather in January and February there were some impressive totals of this species particularly in the central areas of the County:Ellough: 250, January 2nd. Havergate Island: 300, January Ist. Trimley St Martin: 475, January 5th.
Levington: 700, February 28th. Shotley: 270, February 22nd. Worlingworth: 1600, January 16th. Stowmarket: 700 north, January l l t h ; 850 south, January 22nd; 450 south, January 24th. Honington: 800, January 20th.
Spring passage, principally through West Suffolk, witnessed some spectacular gatherings which contained many summer-plumaged birds:Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, 1500, March 5th; 1200, March 20th; 1200, April 2nd; 1200, April 16th. Pakenham: 930, April 3rd. Ixworth: 270, April 17th. Thorpe Morieux: 400, April 16th.
None were reported in spring after April 21 st. For the third successive year there was evidence of oversummering on Havergate Island, where one was noted on June 2nd, June 7th and July Ist. The first autumn migrants were 16 on Havergate Island, July 14th. Totals increased rapidly at some sites in August and September with peak counts of 750, Ixworth, August 3Ist; 450, Redlingfield, August 23rd and 200, Levington, September 6th. Wintering flocks were widely reported from mid-October onwards, particularly in central and western areas, with the largest flocks as follows:Iken: 432, November 20th Falkenham: King's Fleet, 240, December 4th. Levington: 200, December 1 Ith. Erwarton: 309, October; 350, November; 701, December. Brantham: 331, November 8th. Honington: 320, October 3rd; 400, October 30th; 400, December 3Ist. Ixworth: 200, December 3Ist. Troston: 940, October 24th. Gt/Lt Livermere: 2000, November 26th. Long Melford: 800, December 26th.
GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Jan n/c 22 8 183 2311
200 361 1526
Mar 49 n/c 221 227 1671
Apr n/c n/c 129 12 876
Aug n/c n/c n/c 51 1680
Sep 4 -
203 41 1286
Oct 40 2 116 240 1576
Nov 22 72 50 164 1922
Dec n/c 14 2 49 4253
The December total on the Stour is the second highest ever recorded site total in Suffolk and increases the average maximum for the estuary over the last five years to 3231 (2732 in 1993). May witnessed a pronounced spring passage on the coast and estuaries; higher counts included 50, Trimley Marshes, 5th and 20, Blythburgh, 14th. Inland, one was at Cavenham, 12th. Late or oversummering birds in June included 23, Trimley Marshes, l l t h and eight, Havergate Island, 4th. 69
Autumn numbers did not increase significantly until mid-August; site totals at this time included 121, Holbrook Bay, 15th and 50, Levington, 13th. Southerly passage off Landguard totalled 70 in August and 54 in September. Away from the coastal region single autumn migrants were at Lackford W.R., August 27th and south over F r e s s ingfield, September 4th. The huge increase in the Stour population between November and December was not reflected in seawatching totals â€” only 67 flew south off Landguard in November and five in December.
LAPWING Vanellus vanellus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Blyth North Warren* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour * monthly maxima
n/c 1500 3751 4234 350 1621
264 1560 912 1313 1033 1226
110 70 n/c 137 88 58
n/c 9 n/c n/c 301 1880
14 52 187 678 342 1013
167 200 1012 1122 1376 1718
821 700 3138 1296 666 4620
n/c 2240 2521 1686 174 2127
Large flocks were widely reported during the first winter period with a marked increase prior to a colder spell of weather in February; gatherings at this time numbering at least 1000 were:Aldeburgh: 1500, January 4th. Friston: 1050, January 31st. Ramsholt: 1550, January 22nd. Trimley St Martin: 5000, January 5th. Levington: 1000, February 28th. Brantham: 8000, February 5th. Stowmarket: 1200, January 31st. Haughley: 1000, January 23rd. 70
Direct emigration was noted at Landguard on March 4th when 75 flew high east out to sea. Breeding reports were received from 17 widely scattered localities. The greatest breeding densities were at three coastal reserves; on Trimley Marshes, 38 pairs reared only 15 young (29 pairs in 1993) while further north 54 pairs fledged 20 young at North Warren (45 pairs and 20 young in 1993) and 21 pairs at Minsmere (27 pairs in 1993). The first "autumn" migrants were noted over Felixstowe on June 13th and 420 were at Lackford by July 30th. Much larger numbers were recorded in the last quarter of the year, especially in November in the south-east coastal region. Flocks containing at least 1000 birds were as follows : Blythburgh: 1508, November 15th; 3500, December 31st. Iken: 1800, November 11th, increasing to 3947, November 20th. Havergate Island: 1000, November 14th.
Ramsholt: 1313, November 27th. Falkenham: King's Fleet, 2500, November 21st. Erwarton: up to 1358 in December. Trimley St Martin: 2000, November 6th, increasing to 3000, November 19th. Levington: 1500, September 22nd. Wherstead: 1000, November 12th and 19th; 1143, December 14th. Gt/I.t Livermere: 1000, November 26th. Lackford W.R.: 1000, November 14th. Honington: 2000, October 30th.
A total of 827 flew south at Landguard in November. One found dead on top of one of the concrete piers supporting Orwell Bridge on November 23rd was presumably a victim of the site's wintering Peregrine. KNOT Calidris canutus Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Mar 29 n/c
Apr n/c n/c 14 160 30
13 5 1
_ _ _ -
Dec n/c â€” â€”
Non-WeBS totals in the first winter period give some indication of the large variations in this species' population on our estuaries, almost on a day-to-day basis: Blyth: Blythburgh, 66, January 20th. Deben: Felixstowe Ferry-Kirton, 184, February 27th. Orwell: Fagbury Flats, 670, January 9th; Freston, 461, February 2nd; Wherstead Strand, 402, February 8th. Stour: Brantham, 3400, January 3rd; Holbrook Bay, 1600, January 28th. During a brief cold spell in mid-February, 31 flew south off Landguard, 14th and 13 next day. Passage in May was mainly restricted to Havergate Island where a maximum of 40 was present on 11th. The few June records included 11, Havergate Island, 4th; three, Minsmere, 16th and singles south off Landguard, 3rd and 25th. The first week of July witnessed the start of what was to be a very light autumn passage. By late August there were up to ten at Benacre and eight on Havergate Island where 50 were present, September 23rd. Counts of southerly passage off Landguard peaked at only 35, October 6th and 28, November 6th. In the last quarter of the year non-WeBS counts on the estuaries included:Orwell: Freston, 72, October 18th; Wherstead Strand, 241, November 30th and 326, December 14th. 71
Stour: Erwarton, 133 in October, 114 in November, 395 in December.
It is interesting to speculate as to where the Stour birds recorded on the November WeBS count had moved to before the December count. There were no inland records. SANDERLING Calidris alba Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Fagbury Flats quickly lost their attraction to this species with the commencement of construction work for the extension of Felixstowe Docks. This meant that the beaches at Lowestoft regained their status as the County's principal site for Sanderlings. Counts at Lowestoft in the first winter period peaked at 26, January 7th and 26, March 3rd. Benacre also proved to be a popular site with maxima of 14, February 23rd and seven, March 4th. Spring passage sightings at Landguard were of six south, April 27th and eight north, May 5th. Elsewhere in May there were eight at Benacre, 26th and three inland at Lackford W.R., 7th â€” this is the sixth successive year that the species has been recorded on spring passage at Lackford. The final spring passage bird was on Havergate Island, June 3rd. Autumn movements were very sparse after commencing with six at both Benacre and Minsmere, July 17th. August's maximum was only four at Benacre, 13th and in September there were up to three at both Havergate Island and Benacre. During the last quarter of the year totals at Lowestoft peaked at six, October 30th and eight, December 11th. Landguard hosted four, December 24th and two were at Fagbury, November 1st. An unfortunate individual at Lowestoft, January 1st had a Cockle shell attached to its right leg. LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. The bird recorded at Trimley Marshes in December 1993 remained there throughout January and February; it was joined by a second bird on March 28th and both remained there into May. Further up the coast, one was found at Minsmere, February 19th and two there, March 17th, which remained on the Scrape until at least April 23rd. It is possible that the March birds could have been early spring arrivals particularly as another was at North Warren, April 2nd to 10th. However, the main phase of spring passage commenced in the first week of May and was more pronounced than in 1993. The highest totals were at Minsmere with four on 1st, three on 10th and as many as ten on 18th. Elsewhere in May reports were of three, Trimley Marshes, 3rd (see above); two, North Warren, 16th and singles at Blythburgh, 2nd; Walberswick, 14th and 15th and Shotley, 15th. Laggards in June involved three at Minsmere, 8th and 16th and two on Trimley Marshes, 17th. Autumn passage was very light when compared with that in 1993. The first migrants were in July at Minsmere, 18th, and Trimley Marshes, 28th (three). August totals peaked at five, Minsmere, 26th and two, Havergate Island, 28th. Reports were received from seven sites in September and included five, Benacre, 12th; three. River Stour, Stutton, 6th and the year's only inland record at Livermere Lake, 13th. The few October records were at Minsmere, 7th and 16th (three); Trimley Marshes, 22nd and the final bird of the year at North Warren, 27th. TEMMINCK'S STINT Calidris Uncommon passage migrant.
As in 1993, only two were reported:Aldeburgh: North Warren, August 24th (MLC). Trimley Marshes: May 10th (MTW et al). 1986 Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, August 16th to 20th (SBis, AN).
Revised annual totals for the last decade are:1985 5
1987 1988 1989 6 1 4 3
PECTORAL SANDPIPER Scarce passage migrant.
Minsmere: adult, July 16th and 17th (GW, GJJ); adult, August 15th to 17th (IR); juvenile, August 21st to 31st (DF et al). 1993 Cavenham: female, May 15th to 17th (PVH, GR, MS).
CURLEW SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea Fairly common passage migrant. During a typically poor spring passage the only reports were as follows:Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, May 14th and 15th. Dunwich: Corporation Marshes, two, May 16th. Minsmere: May 9th; May 12th; May 16th; June 4th. A m o d e r a t e a u t u m n p a s s a g e w a s r e c o r d e d b e t w e e n J u l y 11th a n d O c t o b e r 16th and p e a k e d in the first half of A u g u s t . Principal s i g h t i n g s w e r e : Benacre: Benacre Broad, July 11th; four, July 31st and August 7th; three, September 10th. Southwold: two south, August 24th. Minsmere: July 15th; four, July 25th; 11, August 11th; three, September 15th; October 3rd; October 16 th Havergate Island: July 12th; five, July 31st; 30, August 4th decreasing to 12, August 9th; six, August 23rd; four, August 24th and 26th; five, September 9th; four, September 27th. Ramsholt: three, September 4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, south, September 19th. Trimley Marshes: July 12th; three, July 24th increasing to six, July 27th; four, July 28th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, three, September 3rd. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, September 4th.
The Livermere bird is the first reported in West Suffolk since 1990. PURPLE SANDPIPER Calidris maritima Locally fairly common winter visitor and scarce passage migrant. Monthly maxima at Ness Point, Lowestoft were as follows:Jan 15
These totals are generally lower than in recent years with no evidence of the presence of spring passage birds in April or May or autumn passage birds in August at this site. During the first winter period Southwold Harbour attracted two in January, three in February and two in March. There was evidence of spring passage at Landguard where none was seen until one on April 4th followed by singles on eight dates between April 12th and May 5th, three on May 8th and singles May 9th and May 17th. The first bird of the autumn was back at Ness Point on September 1st; other September arrivals were at Felixstowe, 11th; Benacre, 13th, and Landguard, 16th (two). The only sightings away from Ness Point during the last quarter were singles at Landguard on four dates in October and two in November. 73
DUNLIN Calidris alpina Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Jan Blyth n/c Minsmere* n/c North Warren 420 Aide/Ore 3739 Havergate Island* 400 Deben 1560 Orwell 990 Stour 18241 * monthly maxima
Feb 2948 n/c 850 2704 1000 2876 7324 12390
Mar 2948 112 50 n/c 150 763 1301 3061
Apr n/c n/c 18 n/c 200 492 357 1217
Aug n/c 55 7 n/c 350 n/c 35 1050
Sep 256 n/c n/c 29 440 25 81 2142
Oct 400 n/c n/c 656 538 468 730 7172
Nov Dee 1333 n/c n/c n/c 100 600 2302 1325 952 550 1100 1612 5600 5018 14821 16024
The decrease in the Stour totals between January and February is perhaps explained by the corresponding increase on the Orwell and, to a lesser extent, the Deben. Additional reports in the first winter period to those in the above table included 2985, R. Aide, Friston, January 14th; 2974, R. Stour, Holbrook Bay, January 2nd; 2000, Trimley Marshes/Fagbury Flats, January 28th and 600, R. Ore, Shingle Street, January 3rd. The only inland reports at this time were of one at Lackford W.R., February 17th and 19th and three north over Moulton, February 14th. During a cold speli in mid-February 134 flew south off Landguard, 14th. Spring passage became apparent at inland sites in March with singles at Livermere Lake, 6th; Lackford W.R., 12th and Ixworth Thorpe, 17th. Additional inland localities to record spring migrants were Barnby, Beccles, Weybread G.R and Thetford; the highest inland totals were 14, Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, Aprii 15th; four, Beccles Marshes, May 3rd; three, Lackford W.R., March 29th and three, Livermere Lake, Aprii 23rd. Significant coastal spring passage flocks included 1200, Blythburgh, Aprii 24th; 480, Minsmere, May 8th and 13th; 200, Levington, May 8th and 128, Havergate Island, May 8th. Birds flew south off Landguard, June 23rd (two) and June 25th but it was not until July that autumn passage got properly underway with ten at Trimley Marshes, lOth. Totals quickly peaked at Minsmere with 40, July 16th and 129 there next day. Relatively few were reported from coastal sites until the build up of the wintering population but monthly totals of southerly passage off Landguard were of 54 in August, 125 in September, 244 in October and 1065 in November. The only inland autumn reports were of singles at Lackford W.R., July 30th and August 26th and two at Livermere Lake, August 23rd. During the second winter period site figures on the Stour involved 1060, Holbrook Bay, October 22nd and up to 5000 at Erwarton in December. On the Orwell there were 1250 at Levington, December 21st, while further north 2000 frequented Southwold Town Marshes, December 31 st. The only reports from inland sites during the second winter period were of two, Livermere Lake, December lst and one, Lackford W.R., December 17th. RUFF Philomachus pugnax Common passage migrant. A few oversummer and overwinter. Fewer overwintering birds were located in January and February than in the corresponding period in 1993 â€” this year's reports were of singles at North Warren, January 9th and February 7th and 27th; Iken, February 2nd and on the Deben Estuary, February 13th. The first signs of what was to become the largest ever spring passage in Suffolk 74
were March arrivals at Trimley Marshes, 2nd; Minsmere, 7th (two); North Warren, 7th (four) and Southwold, 10th (two). One flew south off Landguard, March 5th and inland reports at this time were from Livermere Lake, March 19th and Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, March 29th (four). Totals gradually increased throughout April and then peaked spectacularly in early May â€” the principal counts were as follows:Beccles: Beccles Marshes, 22, May 22nd. Blythburgh: 11, May 2nd. Southwold: Woodsend Marsh, 60, May 4th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, 30, May 6th. Minsmere: 31, April 30th; 228, May 2nd; 39, May 3rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 11, April 28th; 54, May 3rd; 29, May 6th. Trimley Marshes: 11, April 18th; 36, April 29th; 80, May 1st; 50, May 2nd; 60, May 3rd; 48, May 4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, eight south, May 3rd.
The gathering at Minsmere on May 2nd is the highest site total in Suffolk since the "Great Fall" in September 1965, when there were 350 at Walberswick, and the highest ever on spring passage. In addition to those at Beccles, spring passage totals away from coastal and estuarine sites included six, Livermere Lake, May 10th; four, Lackford W.R., April 30th and four, Weybread G.P., May 2nd. The only sightings that could indicate possible breeding were those of a female, North Warren, June 20th and a female, Trimley Marshes, June 19th, with a male there, June 25th and both birds, June 27th and 30th. Autumn passage commenced with eight at Trimley Marshes, July 2nd and was on a relatively light scale with double-figure totals only at Trimley Marshes and Minsmere. At the former site, totals increased to 27, July 18th and 23, July 28th, with an August peak of 15 on 4th. Passage at Minsmere got underway with an impressive total of 32 as early as July 8th increasing to reach a maximum of 57, July 25th â€” additional figures at this site were 32, July 31st and 44, August 17th. The only site in West Suffolk to record this species in the autumn was Lackford W.R. with sightings on five dates between August 8th and September 4th and a maximum of five, August 26th. Two were noted at Saxmundham, September 16th. The only double-figure total in September was 12, Trimley Marshes, 14th. During the last quarter of the year the only sightings were of singles at Livermere Lake, October 20th; Trimley Marshes, November 15th and Suffolk W.P., Bramford, December 16th. JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. Early in the year several sites held more than one bird: peak totals involved six at Framlingham Mere in February and four, Lackford W.R., three, Levington Lagoon and three, Martlesham Creek, all in March. Single birds at Minsmere and Trimley Marshes on April 18th were the last seen in the spring. A passage migrant was at Landguard, March 30th. The first autumn records were in September at Kessingland, 19th; Havergate Island, 20th and Easton Broad, 22nd. Seven localities held one or two in October, but thereafter the only reports were of one at Nunnery Lakes, Thetford on November 23rd and December 8th; two on the Deben Estuary in November and two at Minsmere on December 15th and 23rd. SNIPE Gallinago gallinago Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Small numbers breed. This species was widely reported throughout the year. 75
Snipe Monthly counts from the estuaries are tabulated:Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee Blyth n/c 1 n/c 2 11 3 n/c Alde/Ore n/c n/c 18 178 34 27 51 Deben 1 43 18 8 8 7 3 8 42 37 Orwell 69 106 85 20 33 Stour 34 62 1 2 18 3 3 15 In addition, 9 1 w e r e r e p o r t e d f r o m E r w a r t o n B a y on t h e S t o u r in D e c e m b e r .
Notable first winter concentrations in February included 200 at North Warren, 7th; 73 at Mickle Mere, Ixworth, 19th and 30 at Bourne Park, Ipswich, 26th. Numbers increased at several localities during March, with máximum counts during the month of 106 at Mickle Mere, Ixworth and 63 at Trimley Marshes. Breeding information was sparse with reports of pairs in suitable habitat from Boxford; Chelmondiston; Market Weston Fen; Minsmere (seven pairs; six in 1993) and North Warren (seven pairs; nine in 1993). Autumn counts were unexceptional; máximum totals were 19, Benacre Broad, August 20th; 34, Havergate Island, August 26th and 73 there, September 4th; 15, Trimley Marshes, September lst; 23, Covehithe Broad, September 3rd and 20, Shotley Marshes, August 2lst. Without a more focused survey it is impossible to assess the breeding status, and relate to the decline suggested in last year's Report. The WeBS and other counts indícate that there is still a substantial wintering population in the County. WOODCOCK Scolopax rusticóla Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Early in the year there were very few reports, all singles apart from three at Playford, four on Sutton Heath and 'several' on Cavenham Heath. Spring migrants in March included one in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 16th and 12, North Warren, 4th. The highest count in the second winter period was 15 on December 6th in the copse 76
at Shotley where 18 had been present in December 1993. It is encouraging to report more breeding season sightings than in 1993; this year observations were from Barton Mills; Bradfield Woods; Brandon Fen; Dunwich; Gazeley; Hinton; Hollesley; Icklingham; Ickworth; The King's Forest; Lackford W.R.; Mayday Farm, Brandon; Mildenhall; Minsmere; Tunstall; West Stow and Wolves Wood, Hadleigh/Aldham. Obvious immigration occurred in October and November; coastal reports were most widespread during the period October 19th to 21st with sightings at Benacre; Covehithe; three sites in Lowestoft; Aldeburgh; Fagbury Cliff and Felixstowe. Records from Fagbury were confined to late October and November, with a maximum of 12 on November 6th. There was evidence of immigration continuing into December with one on the sea wall at Lowestoft, 15th. BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer and breeding has occurred. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Jan n/c 2 5 270 1702
1 269 598
Mar 430 n/c 43 83 495
Apr n/c n/c 141 39 73
30 272 287 1413
Oct 37 87 230 294 1823
Nov 125 39 77 728 1087
20 430 423
In addition, the Alde held 143 at Friston on March 23rd and 163 at Iken on March 26th. There were also 350 on the Blyth on April 2nd and 110 on the Butley River at Chillesford on January 30th. Individual site totals also included:Southwold: 114, March 6th; 500, April lOth; 200, December 31st. Minsmere: 95, March 23rd; 58, April 9th; 64, July 14th. Trimley Marshes: 31, May 8th; 36, June 27th; 140, July 29th; 55, August 16th; 90, September 2nd.
Birds were recorded inland at Lackford W.R. on February 19th, May 13th (two), July 12th to 15th and July 27th to August 3rd. An unusual report involved one flying east over Gt Waldingfield on Boxing Day. Single pairs displayed on a coastal marsh and at a site in the Waveney Valley. Hopefully, ever-improving management on these and other sites will see this species established as a regular breeder in the near future. BAR-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica Fairly common passage migrant and locally fairly common winter visitor. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Jan n/c 22
Feb 1 20
_ n/c 1 1
Apr n/c n/c 4
Oct 28 14 1 8 12
Nov 6 5
Dec n/c 11
This species continues to be present in low numbers as a winter visitor to Suffolk estuaries. Spring records included:Benacre: two, February/March; nine, May 8th.
Southwold: 14, May 14th; 16, May 15th. Blythburgh: Wolsey Creek, 15, May 7th.
Walberswick: 41, May 12th. Havergate Island: 19, May 10th; 28, May 18th. Levington: four. May 8th. Trimley Marshes: three, April 22nd; ten. May 7th; 30, May 8th; 15, May 15th. Weybread G.P.: April 30th; May 11th.
In autumn very few flocks of note were seen, the only double-figure records being 24, Havergate Island, September 27th; 18 flying south at Southwold, September 11th; 17 past Landguard, September 8th; 15, Benacre, September 10th and ten, Levington, October 6th. Landguard migration counts are summarised as follows:J
WHIMBREL Numenius phaeopus Common passage migrant. A very early bird heard at Minsmere on March 10th (IR) is the County's earliest spring arrival since 1958 (March 2nd, Orford). There were no further reports until March 28th when one was on Trimley Marshes. Double-figure counts in the spring included:Beccles: 84, April 28th; 70, May 1st; 14, May 5th. Blythburgh: 41, May 2nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 41, May 7th. Iken: 142, May 1st. Havergate Island: ten, April 23rd; 85, May 9th; 20, May 17th. Boyton: 31, April 24th. Trimley Marshes: 18, May 2nd.
In West Suffolk single birds were reported in late April at Cavenham, 27th and 28th; Gt Livermere, 23rd and Icklingham, 29th. The bird at Cavenham, April 28th, was heard singing. In early May four flew north over Troston, 1st. Birds were seen in early June at Trimley and Havergate; the latter site recorded the first returning birds with three on June 23rd. July saw double-figure flocks at Benacre, Havergate, Minsmere and North Warren. Havergate recorded 45 on August 6th, decreasing as the month went on to three, September 1st and one staying to September 18th. Landguard migration counts are summarised as follows:Apr/May 102
Late birds were one at North Warren on October 6th and three at Freston on November 11th. CURLEW Numenius arquata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Jan Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
n/c 862 897 591 1544
Feb 33 483 860 636 915
478 575 837
716 401 579
Sep 97 420 989 655 487
Oct 44 468 690 637 1326
Nov 54 819 1153 808 1474
n/c 393 708 87 1560
Maximum winter flocks on coastal grazing marshes included 200 at Boyton, January 19th; 130 at Hazlewood Marshes, January 19th and 500 at Shotley Marshes, March 13th. Breeding pairs were noted on four Breckland heaths. There were reasonable late-summer numbers at the beginning of the return 78
passage with, for example, 50 at Levington, July 12th; 250 at Ham Creek, Friston, July 24th and 149 on Havergate Island, August 14th. Movement recorded at Landguard is summarised as monthly totals, with the daily maximum being 56 flying south on June 23rd:Jan 6
One was reported attacking a Moorhen at Oxley Marshes, Shingle Street on April 17th. SPOTTED REDSHANK Tringa erythropus Common passage migrant. A few occasionally overwinter. Wintering birds comprised three at Westwood Marshes, Walberswick NNR on January 1st; two at Benacre in February and March; singles at Havergate in January and on December 1st; three at Dunwich Beach on December 27th and up to five at Walberswick in December. Spring saw up to 11 at Minsmere in April and a maximum of 18 there on May 2nd and up to six at Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick in May but only odd birds elsewhere. The only inland records involved singles at Livermere Lake, April 21st and Lackford W.R., May 2nd. Returning birds appeared by mid-June, with, typically, numbers substantially higher than in spring. There were 13 on Tinker's Marshes on June 25th and Minsmere had flocks of 61 on July 6th and August 11th. Elsewhere, September brought peak numbers with 15 at Benacre on 10th; 11 at Covehithe on 3rd and 19 at Trimley Marshes on 1 st. Records continued into October, with a maximum of 11 on Havergate Island, 26th. Late migrants in November involved one at Trimley Marshes, 14th and as many as 12 on Havergate Island, 16th. REDSHANK Tringa totanus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated:Jan n/c 1697 1590 732 980
Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Feb 605 1167 935 1106 1917
Mar 1294 n/c 1265 1315 1066
Apr n/c n/c 935 671 1046
Sep 1061 393 955 744 1933
Oct 871 868 1439 1180 657
Nov 697 1759 1574 2320 1297
Dec n/c 1592 1213 1888 2074
The largest individual flock reported was 1000 on the high-tide roost on the Orwell at Ipswich Docks on November 6th. The following breeding information was provided â€” undoubtedly incomplete:Bawdsey: three pairs holding territory. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, eight pairs bred. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, two pairs present (two in 1993). Havergate Isiand: nine pairs bred (two in 1993). Lackford W.R.: one pair bred (two pairs in 1993). Ixworth: Mickle Mere, juvenile seen on June 13th (three pairs in 1993). Minsmere: 16 possible pairs (22 pairs in 1993). Aldeburgh: North Warren, 23 pairs attempted breeding (32 pairs in 1993). Shotley: Shotley Marshes, seven pairs nested. Trimley Marshes: 32 pairs (29 pairs in 1993); however the breeding season was a total failure due to poor weather and prĂŠdation.
Autumn passage was underway in late summer but with few records; a dribble of migration was observed at Landguard in the autumn as follows:Jan
GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia Common passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. The opening spring record was at North Warren on April 1 st, which subsequently stayed ten days. Noteworthy spring numbers were 11 at Benacre, April 18th; 20 at Minsmere, May 7th and ten at Southwold, May 7th. In West Suffolk up to two were present at Lackford W.R. on 19 dates between April 22nd and May 15th and singles at Mickle Mere, Ixworth, May 1 st and May 30th. Autumn venues produced larger counts as follows : Benacre: eight, July 10th; 11, July 25th; 16, August 3rd; 28, August 28th; 12, September 2nd. Minsmere: 15, July 31st; eight, August 6th. Havergate Island: up to seven during August; 40, September 1st; 18, September 13th; 11, October 1st. Trimley Marshes: six, July 7th; five, August 3rd. The WeBS count in October recorded a total of 67 Greenshank on the Deben Estuary. Late birds were reported in November at Havergate Island, 6th and 15th (two); Westwood Marshes, Walberswick NNR, 1st and 7th; Bourne Park, Ipswich, 4th and Trimley Marshes, 7th. GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. A minimum of 15 sites held up to two birds in the first winter period. In spring the largest group was four at Suffolk W.P., Bramford on various dates in March and April, with no other site holding more than two. Return passage numbers were higher with larger totals recorded as follows:Benacre: six, August 3rd. Walberswick: six, July 10th. Minsmere: 13, July 30th and August 10th. Friston/Aldeburgh: Hazlewood Marshes, ten, August 1st; six, August 23rd. Trimley Marshes: six, July 8th; eight, July 26th; eight, August 22nd. Barking: Riverside Farm/Pipp's Ford, 17, July 17th; 11, August 3rd. Lackford W.R.: up to 11, late July to August 5th; 12, August 6th; 13, August 8th; then decreasing in numbers throughout the rest of August and September. It is difficult to assess w h e n p a s s a g e e n d e d , as several w i n t e r i n g b i r d s w e r e first r e p o r t e d in O c t o b e r but s o m e m o v e m e n t w a s still o c c u r r i n g in that m o n t h . B i r d s w e r e located at eight sites in N o v e m b e r a n d D e c e m b e r , m o s t l y s i n g l e s but t w o , L a c k f o r d W.R., N o v e m b e r 13th a n d three, M e l t o n R i v e r s i d e , N o v e m b e r 18th.
WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola Fairly common passage migrant. Spring saw records from April 28th (Minsmere) to May 21st, with maximum counts of two, Beccles Marshes; four, Benacre; two, Minsmere; three, Southwold and five, Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick NNR. The only June record was at Trimley Marshes, 17th. Singles were noted inland in May at Mickle Mere, Ixworth, 1st; Lackford W.R., 8th and Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, 13th. The sole July occurrence was at Minsmere, 17th. The majority of autumn records were in August: two at Southwold on 4th; four at Benacre on 7th; two at Minsmere on various dates and four at North Warren, Aldeburgh on 16th. There were then single birds at Minsmere on September 1st and 12th, and at Ramsholt, September 19th â€” the latter bird was trapped and ringed. COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. 80
Wintering birds were reported (but only once in each case) from Flatford Mill, East Bergholt on February 13th; Minsmere on December 7th and Alton Water on December 28th. The first spring passage birds were at Havergate Island and Barking (five) on April 7th. Larger numbers (greater than five) in spring were reported as follows:Benacre: 18, May 20th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, ten, May 15th. Minsmere: 16, May 15th. Havergate Island: 30, May 15th. Bawdsey: nine, May 16th. Trimley Marshes: 20, May 15th. Shotley: Shotley Marshes, 17, May 15th. Bramford: Suffolk WPâ€ž six, May 18th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, six, May 15th. Lackford W.R.: ten, April 27th.
May 15th was obviously Common Sandpiper day! An intriguing report was of a pair copulating at Weybread G.P., May 16th. The last spring migrants were on June 11th at Havergate Island and Levington, with the first autumn bird at Havergate Island, June 28th. Larger numbers (greater than five) were reported as follows:Benacre: 20, July 30th; ten, August 14th. Blythburgh: Wolsey Creek, 11, July 20th. Minsmere: 13, July 24th; 18, August 6th. Havergate Island: 12, July 20th; 40, August 6th decreasing to 20, August 22nd. Martlesham: six, July 23rd. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, six, August 22nd. Trimley Marshes: 12, July 29th and 31st; ten, August 6th; 15, August 10th; 14, August 15th; 11, September 11th. Bramford: Suffolk W.P., 15, August 7th. Lackford W.R.: up to eight between July 26th and August 5th.
Several places recorded their last passage birds on October 1st and 2nd and the last sighting came from Havergate Island, October 4th. TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Estuary counts are tabulated:Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour
Jan n/c -
21 106 403
18 136 239
Mar 1 n/c 18 135 239
Apr n/c n/c 25 233 430
Sep 1 5 8 91 530
33 184 779
7 164 876
10 216 181
Apart from wintering birds on the estuaries, high numbers were also found at other coastal sites, with maxima of 20 at Shingle Street, January 3rd; 16 at Corton Cliffs, January 8th; 30 at Benacre Broad, February 27th and 61 at Lowestoft Harbour, March 4th. Inland, records came from Suffolk W.P., Bramford, May 8th; Weybread G.P., May 11th; Livermere Lake, May 11th and August 7th (three) and Lackford W.R., September 13th. Passage was unremarkable, with birds flying north at Landguard on five dates in May and south on 14 dates between June and September, with a maximum of 47 on September 1st. On October 15th, a high-tide roost of 13 was located on the railings on Shotley Pier, R. Stour. 81
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE Phalaropus Rare passage migrant. Single spring and autumn records:-
Minsmere: September 25th (RSPB). Aldeburgh: North Warren, female, May 28th (SHP et al).
There have now been 13 records in the last ten years : 1985
GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicarius Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Lowestoft: Harbour area, the first-winter bird from 1993 remained there until at least March 12th. Southwold: probably first-winter, February 15th (DBS).
For the third year in succession, none were located during autumn seawatches. There have now been 27 records in the last ten years:1985 1
POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus Uncommon passage migrant. A few overwinter. Vigilant seawatching, particularly in the north of the County, has led to a marked increase in sightings of this species. Overwintering individuals were again noted along the Lowestoft-Benacre-Covehithe-Minsmere coastline, mostly during the first winter period when at least five birds (two adults, three immatures) were seen in early January, after which single birds were observed on several dates until mid-March. In the south of the County, one flew north at Aldeburgh on January 31 st, a single bird was seen off Landguard on February 24th and possibly the same individual was present there again on March 8th. Birds, mostly immatures, continued to be seen off Covehithe during April, on many dates, but total numbers involved are uncertain. Elsewhere in April, a single bird was off Minsmere, 29th. The only May records came from Benacre where there was an immature on 7th and two on 14th. Autumn movements started early with an immature bird off Covehithe on August 1st. The majority of observations occurred between August 10th and September 18th and involved sightings of single birds in the north of the County. On August 19th an immature was seen to attack Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls offshore at Covehithe. Elsewhere two immatures were seen off Southwold on August 17th. Observations continued into September with two adults and an immature off Covehithe on 16th and three immatures there on 18th. The only October record was of one north, Landguard, 16th. The only record from the second winter period was of an immature off Covehithe Cliffs on December 15th. ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus Common passage migrant. A small number of overwintering birds were present during January; these included at least two adults offshore at Minsmere between 9th and 24th, and birds reported off Covehithe/Benacre on 9th, 13th and 23rd. There was also one off Pakefield on 13th. Spring movement was first noted on March 13th when six adults were offshore at Minsmere, although the next sightings were not until a month later and involved 82
birds off Covehithe, April 14th, 16th (two) and 18th and Minsmere, April 15th. There were also several reports of mostly single (occasionally two) birds during May and June from Lowestoft, Benacre, Covehithe and Minsmere. Autumn passage started slowly with a handful of observations in July, but gained momentum during August when numbers peaked between 6th and 18th. During this period seven were seen flying north off Ness Point, Lowestoft on 6th and 7th and five were offshore at Minsmere on 10th. A total of 30 was seen off Covehithe during August including eight on 12th. Singles were also observed at Corton, Landguard, Benacre and Southwold, where two flew north on 25th. However, September proved to be the best month for this species; 95 adults were counted off Covehithe during the month, including 36 on 14th. On the same date 29 flew south past Southwold and 46 flew south off Landguard. Three birds were seen off Lowestoft on September 17th. Small numbers moved along the coast during October including 15 adults past Covehithe and five off Minsmere. Finally, there was one record for November â€” one offshore at Thorpeness, 5th. LONG-TAILED SKUA Stercorarius longicaudus Scarce passage migrant. There were four records of this evasive species in 1994, all relating to autumn passage:Lowestoft: Ness Point, juvenile, September 21st (BJB). Covehithe: juvenile, August Ist (PJD). Southwold: adult, south, September 7th ( JHG). Felixstowe: Landguard, juvenile, September 16th (LBO).
GREAT SKUA Stercorarius skua Fairly common passage migrant. A good year for this species with records of birds in most months, the main peaks being in April and September. There were two unseasonable records; one bird off Covehithe Cliffs on January 23rd and another at Felixstowe Ferry on February 18th. Spring movements started in April with 11 off Covehithe on 21st. There were also several records during May, including one bird seen killing and eating a Herring Gull offshore at Covehithe on 26th. A mid-summer record involved one at Havergate Island, July 12th. Autumn passage started in mid-August and peaked a month later; there was a handful of sightings in October and November. Notable records include : Covehithe: two, north, August 20th; three, north, September 16th; two, north, September 21st; two, north, October 17th. Southwold: six, south, September 14th.
Total monthly sightings off Covehithe Cliffs:Jan Feb 1 0
MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Sightings during the first three months of the year indicate that at least 17 birds were present in the County at that time. The records came from a dozen coastal locations and included the following long-staying adult birds:Lowestoft: Harbour, two, January 1st to March 12th.
Trimley Marshes: January 2nd to 24th. Stratton Hall: Levington Marina, January 1st to 22nd.
At Minsmere one bird was seen courting Black-headed Gulls at the end of March and although a pair took up territory in summer they did not breed. However, breeding 83
did take place at Havergate Island where a pair nested twice, but unfortunately their hatched young were predated on both occasions by Herring Gulls. In July the number of oversummering birds was boosted by others returning from their breeding grounds. Reports of singles came from Trimley, Benacre and the Blyth Estuary, and there were two birds at Felixstowe and Lowestoft. The Levington Marina bird returned at the end of August and remained until November. Up to 11 birds were reported during October and a maximum of 14 was present in the County by the end of the year. These included birds at four non-coastal sites; at Suffolk W.R, Bramford, a first-winter bird in October was joined by an adult and three more first-winter birds in November. Meanwhile, Lackford W.R. gull roost held an adult, a first-winter and a second-winter bird by the end of December. In addition to these records single first-winter birds were present at Alton Water, November 19th and Ipswich Wet Dock, December 18th. Maximum monthly totals are as follows:Jan 8
LITTLE GULL Larus minutus Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers oversummer and overwinter. Four birds were reported during the first winter period, continuing the trend of recent years. They involved an adult at Landguard on January 6th; a first-winter at Southwold on February 15th and singles at Benacre, February 16th and Covehithe, January 28th. The number of birds on spring passage was fairly low. At the end of March there were three birds inland at Lackford W.R., 30th and an immature at Minsmere the next day. During April, singles were noted off Covehithe on three dates; eight flew north past Landguard on 22nd and a first-winter bird was present at Lackford W.R. on 27th. Movements continued into May with singles recorded off Minsmere and Southwold and up to three adults and two immatures were at Trimley Marshes throughout the month. The only record for June was of two first-summer birds at Minsmere. Autumn passage started in July and peaked in August, with the majority of records coming from the north of the County. Up to 22 adults were i A' ^r^1 present at Benacre from mid(< -JïLOL y u n t ' ' a t ' e a s t August Œ ï z f ç JT-* 9th. Monthly totals off ! . \ I nearby Covehithe were as Little Gull * > 'V follows:Jul 111* !
These records involved over 80% immature birds.
Elsewhere in the County during August, a single was at Landguard, 12th and two birds were present at Sizewell, Trimley Marshes, Southwold and Benacre. There were also sightings of birds flying north off Lowestoft during August, including four on 1st and 18 on 26th. September was quieter; the only records came from Benacre where there were 22 on 3rd; Lowestoft with 27 adults on 17th and Sizewell where there were up to ten during the month. Singles were reported off Landguard on three dates. Similar numbers were present in the north of the County during October. Elsewhere there were six at Minsmere on 19th and eight offshore at Landguard on 29th with singles there on three other dates. An immature was seen at Felixstowe Ferry on October 19 th and 21st. There were still a number of birds present in November; eight flew past Landguard on 5th and there were monthly totals of four, Minsmere; three, Covehithe; two, North Warren and one, Suffolk W.P., Bramford. Finally three adults were recorded off Covehithe in December. SABINE'S GULL Larus sabini Rare passage migrant. There was only one record of this species in 1994. Southwold: August 31st. (JMC, SJL).
BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant.
Breeding records for 1994 were fairly sparse. Over 1000 pairs nested on Havergate Island but there was heavy prédation of juveniles by larger gulls. 102 pairs nested at Trimley Marshes, a substantial increase on the 12 pairs in 1993, but the colony was almost a complété failure with only ftve young fledging due to prédation. Elsewhere, 121 pairs were recorded at Minsmere and an estimated 25-30 pairs bred at Bury Beet Factory, slightly up on last year. A juvenile seen at Lackford W.R. °n June 30th is likely to have come from the latter site. The regular winter roost at Lackford W.R. regularly held up to 9000 birds during the first winter period. Other sizeable flocks included 3840 at Friston on February 24th. In the second winter period the numbers at Lackford W.R. peaked at 2800 in October, and elsewhere, 5650 were counted at Ipswich Docks on October 18th and 1620 flew south at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket on December 8th. The WeBS counts were as follows:85
Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water
Jan n/c 1339 7873 1231 433
Feb 821 1301 1072 1479 200
Mar 1498 n/c 1107 1791 110
Apr n/c n/c 1433 536 94
Sep 21 1554 2992 649 245
Oct 127 1694 1838 501 540
Nov 498 840 918 n/c 500
Dec n/c 1142 1088 n/c 126
COMMON GULL Larus canus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Breeding took place for the second successive year on Havergate Island where two pairs nested but failed to rear any juveniles. There were 51 pairs on Orfordness, continuing the increase of recent years (25 pairs in 1993, 15 in 1992). Notable counts from the first winter period included 500 adults offshore at Landguard on January 11th and 850 there on January 23rd. About 400 adults were present at Benacre on February 15th. During the second winter period 300 were present at the inland gull roost at Lackford W.R. during December and 138 roosted at Felixstowe Docks on December 2nd. The numbers of birds found on the WeBS counts were generally lower than the previous two years and are as follows:Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water
Jan n/c 15 92 45 136
Feb 372 17 104 53 72
Mar 14 n/c 29 37 39
Apr n/c n/c
Sep 3 -
Oct 4 28 8 15 152
Nov 42 35 15 n/c 234
Dec n/c 5 14 n/c 128
Spring passage peaked in mid-April when 378 flew north past Southwold on 13th and 450 north off Minsmere on 16th. Autumn passage was less pronounced; 30 adults were present at Landguard on August 4th and 47 adults were found inland at Long Melford on August 15th. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Breeding records were received from Havergate Island where, although 27 pairs attempted to nest, only two young fledged. Lowestoft's first breeding record involved a pair which bred on a factory roof at Lake Lothing (adjacent to the site's Common Terns) and reared two juveniles. The main breeding colony on Orfordness appears stable with an estimated 8781 pairs (9043 in 1993). Most winter records involved single-figure sightings. More notable counts from the first winter period included 101 flying north past Landguard during February 18th-25th (probably early returning migrants); 13 adults at Brantham on February 5th and 19 adults at North Warren on February 20th. During the second winter period at least 640 were present at the Lackford W.R. gull roost during October and 54 adults were at Great Livermere on October 13th. Elsewhere that month smaller numbers were present at Wherstead; Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin and Havergate Island. The WeBS counts indicate that the small wintering population on the Suffolk estuaries remains stable. Meanwhile, in the west of the County at Lackford W.R. the number of wintering birds continues to rise. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben
Jan n/c 68 2
Feb 6 15 13
Mar 19 n/c 11
Apr n/c n/c 13
Sep 15 7 33
Oct 22 20 22
Nov 37 51 16
Dec n/c 37 5
Orwell Alton Water Lackford W.R.* * monthly maxima
Jan 3 4 23
Feb 6 4 n/c
Mar 6 -
Apr 6 2 57
Sep 7 2 n/c
Oct 8 3 640
Nov n/c 10 11
Dec n/c 6 n/c
Spring passage peaked in April, when there was a monthly maximum of 400 at Minsmere and 338 flew north past Landguard between 10th and 17th. Inland totals in April included 57 at Lackford and 62 at Boxford, while amongst birds moving north off Covehithe Cliffs during the month at least 30 were considered to be of one or other of the Scandinavian races L.f. fuscus/intermedius. Records of non-breeding birds were fairly widespread and included 50 adults on Gt Finborough school playing fields on May 15th. Inland there were 63 at Lackford W.R. in June and a maximum of 207 there in July; 30 adults at Stradishall on June 4th and 5th and 81 at Elmswell on July 26th. 250 were present at Benacre Broad on June 24th. Significant late-summer/autumn movements included 400 at Benacre on August 20th and 420 there on September 3rd and 80 flying south over Felixstowe on September 1st. In the west of the County, 44 flew over Hardwick Heath, Bury St Edmunds on September 8th. Other interesting records involved two partially albinotic individuals â€” one at Benacre in May, the other on Orfordness in July. Two birds showing characters of the race intermedins were seen off Sizewell on October 4th and the 52 birds counted at Lackford W.R. on March 20th showed characters of the r a c e f u s c u s . HERRING GULL Larus argentatus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. WeBS counts are summarised:Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell
Jan n/c 875 97 11
Feb 56 442 129 35
Mar 7 n/c 80 32
Apr n/c n/c 144 13
Sep 8 154 70 13
Oct 20 190 174 39
Nov 22 206 138 n/c
Dec n/c 427 69 n/c
Other significant counts away from the above sites during January included 250 at North Warren, 6th; 500 off Sizewell, 17th; 400 adults off Landguard, 23rd and 510 at Friston, 31 st. Seawatching on February 4th produced a count of 1750 offshore at Minsmere. Apart from the WeBS counts, second winter figures never matched the earlier ones; by far the highest number was 800 recorded at Minsmere during December. Elsewhere there were 147 at Wherstead on October 5th; 40 at Havergate on November 13th and the same number at Trimley on December 4th. Highest inland counts came from Lackford W.R. where there were 200 in December. The main breeding colony on Orfordness appears stable with an estimated 3945 pairs (3691 in 1993). Away from Orfordness, breeding was confirmed at two other sites; at Lowestoft Harbour six pairs were located which reared 13 juveniles and a further two pairs attempted to nest on Havergate Island. Other interesting summer sightings included 102 at an inland gull roost at Elmswell on July 26th and 12 adults during July at Lackford W.R. There were three reports of yellow-legged individuals of the race L.a michahellis: Minsmere: adult, January 27th (DF). Lackford W.R.: adult, April 6th (TK). Southwold: second-year, May 23rd (JMC).
All records of this race are pending further consideration by SORC. 87
ICELAND GULL Larus Scarce winter visitor.
R e p o r t s c a m e f r o m f o u r sites a n d involved at least f o u r d i f f e r e n t i n d i v i d u a l s w i t h a m i n i m u m of t h r e e in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d and at least o n e in the s e c o n d . Lowestoft: Ness Point, January 24th (CB); imm, February 13th (RF, RWal). Minsmere: imm, January 3rd (MLC); December 22nd; bird roosting, December 25th (GW, Mrs HW). Leiston: Sizewell, third-year bird plus adult, January 29th (MCM); imm, February 4th (AMil). Felixstowe: Docks, one flying south, December 23rd (WJB).
GLAUCOUS GULL Larus hyperboreus Scarce winter visitor. Another rather poor year for this species involving one immature bird in early January at Minsmere (having been present since late December), a hybrid and, intriguingly, a mid-summer recovery. Lowestoft: Harbour, first-winter Glaucous x Herring Gull hybrid, January 9th (RWal). Minsmere: second-year, January 2nd and 8th. (DF). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Flats, dead first-year, June 24th. (NO).
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. WeBS counts are tabulated:Jan
Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell
49 20 10
Feb 17 76 17 9
Sep 2 6 5 2
Oct 47 83 3 11
Nov 16 126 18
n/c 196 44
Monthly counts at Trimley Marshes were as follows:Jan 7
The Aide/Ore complex remains the stronghold for birds wintering in the County. Notable winter counts include 37, Long Reach, Friston, January 31 st; 20, offshore, Landguard, January 23rd and 30, North Warren, January 23rd. The inland gull roost at Lackford W.R. held peak numbers of 55 (all immatures) in early March. There were more records from the second winter period, notably 22 at Lackford W.R. during October; 70 adults, Havergate Island during October and 28, flying south, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, November 8th. In December 112 adults were present around Southwold, 20th; a maximum of 120 was recorded off Minsmere during the month and 71 were counted at Oulton Broad, 15th. Spring passage was noted at Havergate Island with 62 adults, April Uth, and Minsmere where 200 flew north on April 16th with 81 north off Southwold on the same day. However, by the beginning of May the number of birds in the County had fallen considerably. There were several records of non-breeding birds during the summer months; two adults remained on Havergate Island until June 5th at least. One or two were present at Landguard during June/July and there were 12 at Minsmere and up to 20 at Trimley over the same period. The only autumn records were from Trimley Marshes (see above table) and Landguard, with 14 adults on August 7th and 22 flying south on September 15th. KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla Very common passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers breed. 88
It was another record year for the Lowestoft Kittiwake colony with over 250 fledged young, for the first time. Totals of nests and young at Lowestoft in the 1990s are:1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
Total Number of Nests 112 157 203 167 222
Successful Nests 80 125 143 127 175
Fledged young 134 197 233 196 266
The number of overwintering birds was again high. During January birds were "abundant" off Aldeburgh, Walberswick and Lowestoft. Counts at Landguard peaked at 500, January 11th. Monthly totals off Covehithe Cliffs were as follows : Jan Feb 400 1024
The above totals included 730 flying south on February 4th. Spring movements were also noted off Minsmere where 250 flew north on April 16th. Autumn passage counts were generally low, with maximum daily counts from Minsmere of 30 in October, 20 in November and 15 in December. The vast majority of overwintering birds were found in the north of the County. Away from the coast single birds were reported from Needham Market, February 25th and Woodbridge, September 23rd. SANDWICH TERN Sterna sandvicensis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Typically, the first of the year were at Havergate Island where 26 were present on March 25th and 48, March 27th. The only other site to record the species in March was Minsmere with two on 29th and nine on 31st. Totals at Havergate Island rose rapidly with 219, April 4th increasing to 566, April 11th and a peak count of 968, April 17th — this is the highest Havergate total since 1981 (1000, April 27th). The impressive total of 300 pairs bred at Havergate Island (125 in 1993; 70 in 1992) and reared 200 juveniles — this is the largest breeding population at Havergate since 1964 (450 pairs). During the spring and early summer displaced migrants were recorded inland at Lackford W.R., May 13th and June 13th and two south near Mayday Farm, Brandon, June 25th. This species was regularly recorded off Covehithe during the autumn with monthly totals being 276, July; 359, August and 173, September. The peak day for movement off Southwold was September 1st when 100 flew south. Totals of southerly passage at Landguard were 40 in August and 64 in September. Inland migrants in September were two north over Stowmarket, 22nd and five south over Barking, 15th. The final sightings of the year were 18, Covehithe, October 1st and three, Easton Bavents, November 7th. ROSEATE TERN Sterna dougallii Rare passage migrant. The first Minsmere records since 1990 and the second for Trimley Marshes. Minsmere: two adults, June 16th to 26th — observed nest scraping and copulating (Mrs JG, KWG et al)-, presumed one of the same, July 1st and 3rd (IR). Trimley Marshes: adult, June 21st (MTW et al). The annual totals during the last decade are:1985 2
1988 1989 1990 1991 1 2 4 2 3
COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The initial sighting was of two at Havergate Island, April 16th, but the general arrival occurred in the fourth week of April. Sightings in April included 87, Havergate Island, 30th; 21 north, Landguard, 22nd and singles inland on 22nd at Lackford W.R. and on 23rd at Weybread G.P.. In May only 27 flew north off Landguard but further up the coast counts of "Commie" Terns moving north off Covehithe included 112 on 20th and 146 on 27th. Northerly passage continued into June off Landguard peaking at 35 on 2nd. As in 1993, early June witnessed the unusual occurrence of a first-summer bird, with one at Trimley Marshes, 7th. Breeding reports from coastal sites were of seven pairs at Minsmere; 85 pairs which reared 84 juveniles on Havergate Island (92 pairs and 60 juveniles in 1993) and 38 pairs which failed to rear any juveniles at Trimley Marshes because of predation by Brown Rats and a Stoat (30 pairs and 57 juveniles in 1993). Further up the coast the colony on a factory roof at Lake Lothing, Lowestoft increased to six pairs which reared 13 juveniles. ( S u f f o l k Birds 1994: 18-19). As in 1993, inland breeding reports were encouraging: the principal site was Weybread G.P. where five pairs fledged 11 juveniles while in the Gipping Valley a pair again successfully reared three juveniles at Sharmford Mere, Coddenham and another pair was displaying at Bramford G.P., June 23rd. Irregular reports from Livermere Lake and Lackford W.R. during the summer months offer hope that the species might be prospecting these sites. Autumn passage was on a larger scale than in 1993. Counts of "Commie" Terns moving south off Covehithe resulted in monthly totals of 226, July; 752, August and 60, September. Likewise, figures from Landguard of Common Terns were 349 in August and 558 in September (225 and 172 respectively in 1993). The peak day for southerly passage was September 1 st with counts of 400 off Southwold and 277 off Landguard. Regular observations of birds around Sizewell Rigs produced figures of 120, August 26th and 140, September 11th. The few October reports included 31 off Covehithe, 1st; 14 south, Landguard, 2nd and the final sighting of the year at Sizewell, 28th. ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally breeds. A moderate spring passage was recorded between April 16th and June 11th as follows: Southwold: 14 north, May 21st. Felixstowe: Landguard, north, May 16th. Trimley Marshes: May 28th; May 30th; June 11th. Alton Water: two, April 25th. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, June 2nd. Lackford W.R.: two, April 16th; nine, April 18th; April 23rd; April 25th.
As in 1993, successful breeding occurred at Havergate Island where two pairs fledged three juveniles. In addition, the species was recorded at Minsmere on seven dates between June 11th and July 14th with a maximum of seven on June 23rd which offers some hope that maybe breeding will commence at this site in the nottoo-distant future. Autumn passage from July 20th (Benacre) to October 5th (Lackford W.R.) was disappointing. The only double-figure counts were of 11 north, Southwold, August 22nd and 12 off Minsmere, September 14th. LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons Common summer visitor and passage migrant. 90
Reports from the coast were of a general arrivai in the fourth week of Aprii after the first at Trimley Marshes, Aprii 22nd. Numbers then increased quickly with, for example, 45, Benacre, Aprii 29th; 36, Trimley Marshes, Aprii 28th and up to 135 in the last week of Aprii at Minsmere where a maximum of 192 was recorded in May. Two were inland at Lackford W.R., May 2nd. The revised total of pairs in the County in 1993 is 182. This means that the 1994 figure of 141-144 pairs represents a decrease of 21% when compared with the previous year. The number breeding is the lowest for ten years although the total of fledged juveniles is a big improvement on the previous year's figure of ten. The following table shows the numbers and success at each locality:-
Kessingland Benacre Covehithe Walberswick/Dunwich Blyth Minsmere Landguard Fagbury Orfordness Trimley Marshes Shotley Totals
Pairs 0 3 18 6 4 28 14 4-5 63-65 0 1
Fledged Voung 0 0 9-11 0 3 23 0 0 22 0 0
There was heavy prédation by Moorhens on the Minsmere Scrape and by a male Kestrel at Landguard. The pairs that eventually reared young at Minsmere were on the Scrape — ali nesting attempts failed on the beach. Impressive totals of birds included 100, Shingle Street, June 7th and 86 on Havergate Island (where breeding did not take place), May 15th. In addition to the above breeding totals, a pair was seen displaying inland at Weybread G.R, May 16th. The peak post-breeding gathering was of 127 at Minsmere in late July. Southerly passage off Covehithe totalled at least 43 in August and 27 flew south off Landguard, September 8th. The final sighting of the year occurred at Covehithe, October 2nd — this is the first October sighting in the County since 1986 (12th, Shotley). BLACK TERN Chlìdonias niger Fairly common passage migrant. When compared with the impressive influxes in recent years, the figures for 1994 are relatively mediocre with only one double-figure flock in the spring and just two periods of noticeable passage in the autumn. The only Aprii records were from Lackford W.R., 23rd (two) and Trimley Marshes, 24th (five) and 29th. There were reports from four inland and five coastal sites in May with the principal sightings being 18, Weybread G.P., 3rd and nine, Lackford W.R., 14th. None were reported between May 29th and July 1 st. On the latter date two were at Lackford W.R., with one at Havergate Island the next day. The only other July sightings were of singles at Minsmere, 13th and 17th and five south off Covehithe, 31 st. More passed through in August with sightings at six coastal localities but maxima of only eight south, Southwold, 17th and three at Sizewell, 29th. The peak in autumn sightings occurred on September lst when there were two at Lackford W.R., 15 at Sizewell and 70 flew south off Landguard — as in 1993, this peak in movements occurred at the same time as those of Common Terns. 91
A secondary peak occurred in mid-September with six south off Landguard, 14th; 20 around Sizewell Rigs, 15th and two inland at Lackford W.R., 16th. The final report of the year was of six south off Southwold, September 20th. WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN Chlidonias leucopterus Very rare passage migrant. The first in the County since 1991, birds in spring and autumn take the Suffolk total to 21 records totalling 23 birds. Walberswick: adult, June 6th (SHP, CSW). Minsmere: moulting adult, August 4th (JACK, RMoo). Lakenheath: Lakenheath Washes, June 5th (SE)
The Lakenheath bird spent most of its stay on the Norfolk side of the river, but with a brief sojourn into Suffolk. GUILLEMOT Uria aalge Common passage migrant and winter visitor. First winter period reports were dominated by a count of 550 off Minsmere, January 28th and a total of 216 off Covehithe in February. At least two were on both the Deben and Orwell Estuaries during January and February including one in the Ipswich Wet Dock, January 3rd and 16th. Counts of birds found dead on the tideline in February included 16 (three oiled) between Sizewell and Aldeburgh, 26th; nine, Felixstowe Ferry area, 20th; five, Shingle Street, 19th and four, Landguard, 15th. Counts of auks (probably mainly Guillemots) moving north off Covehithe in late spring included 94, May 13th; 57, May 18th and seven, June 10th. Seawatching at Southwold revealed 17 north, May 21st. An early autumn bird flew south off Minsmere, August 10th but it was not until the last quarter of the year that the species became plentiful offshore. Counts of auks (probably mainly Guillemots) off Covehithe were of 170 in October, 41 in November and 317 in December. Elsewhere, 95 were off Minsmere, December 12th and 13 flew south off Slaughden, Aldeburgh, December 17th. RAZORBILL Alca torda Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. Another poor year for this species with only one double-figure group reported. In January at least 35 were with the Guillemots off Minsmere, 28th. Three were found dead on the lower Deben Estuary at Falkenham, February 20th and elsewhere in February singles were off Minsmere, 7th and 18th and Landguard, 11 th. Reports in March were all of singles, off Southwold, 6th and Minsmere, 18th and 30th. No more were reported until an unseasonable bird off Benacre, July 3rd. The only autumn reports were of singles in October off Covehithe, 2nd and Southwold, 19th. PUFFIN Fratercula arctica Scarce passage migrant. Another average year with at least seven reported as follows:Covehithe: two north, September 18th; north, October 5th and 17th. Southwold: north. May 21st. Minsmere: two, offshore with other auks, January 28th.
In addition, singles were found dead at Minsmere, March 10th and Southwold, May 14th and two dead at Minsmere, March 12th. Despite much seawatching no LITTLE AUKS Alle alle were reported off the Suffolk coast, the first blank year since 1978. 92
ROCK DOVE Columba livia Very common resident from feral stock. Despite pleas for more information about this species in the last three editions of Suffolk Birds no further population estimates or counts have been received. Pigeons and doves still remain an uninspiring group of birds and perhaps none more so than the Feral Pigeon, a bird which has received a fair amount of attention in the media in recent times. The population at Ipswich remains in a healthy (if perhaps unhygenie) state and this was borne out by the continued presence of c. 1000 birds around Cliff Quay Power Station, just prior to the site's demolition on November 27th. The only other reports came from Landguard where up to six were seen on numerous occasions during the year, with one pair breeding for the first time at the site. STOCK DOVE Columba oenas Fairly common resident and passage migrant. Once again, this species was very poorly recorded with observations from just over 30 sites. The scant attention paid to this species fails to allow an accurate assessment of its true distribution in Suffolk; the presence of one or two individuals at a location seems unlikely to stimulate any but the keenest local patch watchers. Pairs were noted at several locations during the summer but confirmed breeding came from few, although at Polstead this species was considered to be abundant. Counts of flocks during the year were generally rather low with 60 at North Warren, May 7th being the highest reported. The only other counts of note were 50 by the Orwell Bridge, Wherstead, January 6th; 30, Boyton Marshes, January 22nd and 47 there March 12th and 30, Trimley Marshes, October 29th and November 11th. Between October 13th and November 18th a heavy southerly passage was recorded at four coastal sites totalling some 3133 birds: Covehithe: one, November 11th; 205, November 17th. Minsmere: 124, October 24th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 14, October 26th. Felixstowe: Landguard, two, October 13th, then 459 on five dates between October 23rd and 31 st with a maximum of 163, October 30th. During November a total of 2328 was recorded up to 18th with peak counts of 465, 1st: 430, 2nd; 313, 7th; 284, 15th; 329, 16th and 245, 17th.
These movements may well represent the heaviest documented autumn passage in the County since November 1959 when a southerly movement occurred at Minsmere between 13th and 23rd, peaking at 2000 on the latter date. WOODPIGEON Columba palumbus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. During the first winter period several flocks of note were reported, the largest of which were 1000, Trimley Marshes, February 11th; 1200, Holton St. Mary, February 18th and 700, Trimley St. Martin, February 9th. Towards spring, several flocks remained, including 500, Trimley Marshes, April 8th; 400, Holbrook, April 10th and 320, Alton Water, April 11th. Spring movements were restricted to Landguard where 41 flew south during March with a maximum of 28 on 7th and 80 south during May, with a maximum of 51 on 4th. There were very few reports during the breeding season but the 15 pairs that nested at Landguard were an increase on the 12 in 1993 and eight in 1992. Between October 9th and November 25th one of the heaviest southerly passages 93
ever recorded in the County was witnessed at ten sites, with numbers running into many thousands: Covehithe: 1160, October 28th; 350, November 1st; 140, November 2nd. Minsmere: 1900, October 26th; 1400, October 27th; 5400, October 28th. Dunwich: 10000, November 1st. Aldeburgh: 4500, November 2nd. Hollesley: 900, October 26th; 2000, November 5th. Bawdsey: 'several thousand', November 1st; 1600, November 8th; 80, November 15th. Felixstowe: 400 south, October 24th; 300 south, October 27th; 175, November 8th. Adastral Close, 2000, October 24th. Landguard, between October 10th and November 25th a staggering total of 88397 was logged moving through, with 96% occurring between October 24th and November 8th. Four- or five-figure movements were noted on nine dates including an incredible count on November 2nd.
October 24th — 3136 November 2nd — 3 0 6 1 0 October 26th — 2280 November 6th — 3545 October 27th — 7283 November 7th — 7380 October 28th — 18490 November 16 th — 1253 November 1st— 11190 During the period of this movement the numbers present on site increased noticeably from the regular 30-35, peaking at 170, November 15th. After midNovember numbers soon fell again and in December no count exceeded 25 birds. The majority of these birds probably originated from west Scandinavian populations, passing through quickly to winter, chiefly on the Iberian Peninsula, as few large flocks were encountered towards the end of the year. A count of 2000 at Cowlinge, December 20th was by far the highest reported. COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decaocto Common resident. This species was only reported from 21 sites during the course of the year, which was at least an increase on the 12 in 1993, but still does not allow any meaningful comment on status. There has been a trend towards smaller flock sizes in recent years and during 1994 the only counts of 30 or more were 80, Searsons Farm, Trimley St Mary, December 12th; 70, Calford Green, Kedington, October 29th; 60, Great Livermere, October 8th; 36, Landguard, October 5th, with 33 there November 25th and 35, Gazeley, November 8th. The few records relating to breeding included seven pairs at North Warren and six at Landguard, an increase on the three in 1993. On a positive note, one observer considered the species to be abundant in NE Ipswich and the Fynn Valley, and in Felixstowe numbers were reported to have increased again since the drop in 1990. Unlike the two previous species, coastal movements were almost non-existent, being restricted to Landguard where birds flew south, March 6th (two), March 27th (six) and October 5th. TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia turtur Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The appealing nature of this migrant dove, in comparison with the resident species, ensures a healthy crop of records with sightings from 51 locations across the County. One at Henstead, April 1 st was exceptionally early and constitutes the earliest ever recorded spring arrival date for the County (PJD). Records did not become widespread until the last week of April, with the majority of new arrivals occurring during May. Active migration was witnessed at Fagbury Cliff, with nine 94
west, May 5th and seven west, May 13th, and at Landguard where six flew north and 51 south between April 29th and June 2nd, with a maximum of 16 south, May 31st. Pairs were reported from numerous sites during the summer months but few records related to confirmed breeding. Notable concentrations included 18 pairs at North Warren (12 pairs in 1993) and 15 at Worlingworth. There were four pairs at Valley Farm, Coddenham (one in 1993, four in 1992). In contrast, none bred at Fagbury Cliff, where they have done in previous years and two observers considered numbers in south-east Suffolk to be significantly lower than in recent years. Rather surprisingly there were very few reports of gatherings during the spring and summer, the highest counts coming from Rookery Farm, Snape, where 47 were gathered, May 27th; Trimley Marshes where numbers increased from 42, July 11th to reach a peak of 54, July 25th and Long Melford with 26, August 1st. No other count exceeded 12 birds. Birds soon departed during the autumn, the only September records coming from Barton Mills, 1st; Great Livermere, 4th; Shotley Marshes, 11th; Worlingworth, 17th and Landguard, 29th (two). During October singles were recorded at the latter site 1st, 2nd, 8th and 24th and one was at Adastral Close, Felixstowe, 15th. RING-NECKED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri Scarce resident. The decline of this charming species in Suffolk continued during 1994 with records from just two localities. As recently as 1990 there were 18 records from 13 sites but it is now a very fortunate observer who encounters this parakeet in the County. Felixstowe: The Grove, female/immature December 12th (RBid).
Great Livermere: female, November 13th (TS). CUCKOO Cuculus canorus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year were at Raydon, April 7th; Dunwich, April 10th and Minsmere, April 13th. Birds were widespread by the latter half of the month. Birds were recorded from some 60 sites during the period from late April to June. There were an estimated eight territories at North Warren (seven in 1993, six in 1992), and two territories at Valley Farm, Coddenham (two in 1993). The only hosts recorded were Dunnock and Spotted Flycatcher. The last singing male was recorded on July 1st. Birds were recorded from just five sites in September, with the last being at North Warren, September 22nd, and Fagbury Cliff, September 24th. BARN OWL Tyto alba Fairly common resident. Records were received from about 100 locations during the year, a large percentage of which were in the coastal region. The number of sites has been fairly consistent in recent years and there is every reason to assume that the County population remains stable. Although reports of two adults together came from numerous sites there were almost no instances of confirmed breeding this year, hopefully only due to a lack of observer coverage. There was, similarly, rather a lack of noteworthy observations concerning this species; the most frequently recorded details concerned the fatalistic nature of birds. 95
Road casualties were noted at Akenham (wearing a British Bird Council ring and leather thong), Cavenham Heath, Stowmarket, A l l Eriswell, A I 4 0 Eye, Felixstowe Ferry, AI I Icklingham, A l l Mildenhall, A I 0 6 5 Mildenhall, A12 Parham, A I 120 Stowupland, Sudbury (bearing ring number 12692 BCU), A H O Thornham Parva, A14 Orwell Bridge, Wherstead (two) and A I 2 Wickham Market. LITTLE OWL Athene noctua Fairly common resident. During the course of the year birds were reported from about 95 sites which equates well with the 1993 total of 92. An analysis of Barn Owl records for the past five years shows an average of about 80 sites with yearly fluctuations probably reflecting different recording levels. Little Owls have a remarkable habit of sitting in exposed places, particularly near roads and this, together with a high degree of site fidelity, suggests that a large proportion of the County's population gets reported. Proof of breeding is less easy to determine though and there were only seven records of confirmed breeding; indeed many sites received just single records through the year. The only obvious sign of post-breeding dispersal was provided by six records at Landguard between October 9th and November 1st which presumably all relate to the same individual. The only road casualty was found at Felixstowe July. TAWNY OWL Strix aluco Common resident. The population of this species appears to remain stable with records from around 95 sites across the County. The distinctive calls of this owl are easily detected and many reports referred to birds vocalising. In contrast with the previous two species 96
9: Nuthatches were located at about 30 sites.
10: Spotted Flycatchers were reported between April 24th and October 8th.
11: American Robin found dead at Felixstowe Docks on November 1st.
15: Suffolk's first Pied Wheatear at Felixstowe Docks in the fourth week of October.
16: Bury St. Edmunds and Felixstowe were the principal breeding sites for Black Redstarts.
breeding pairs and juveniles were frequently noted although the only concentrations reported were four pairs at Nowton and three at North Warren, Aldeburgh. The long series of records from Landguard in recent years appears to be coming to an end with just one sighting in 1994 on January 19th. The alarming trend in road casualties noted in 1993 continued during the year with a total of 24 dead birds being found. Of these, eight were found along the Al 1 in West Suffolk, a frequent death trap for owls. LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Once again this secretive species was poorly recorded during the year, particularly during the breeding season. Hopefully, a county-wide survey of raptors and owls organised by the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group during 1995-97 will provide a clearer picture of the distribution of both this and other species. During the first winter period the only report was of a singleton at Levington, February 5th and there was also only one record in the spring, at Beccles Marshes, April 26th. During the breeding season reports came from Fornham St. Martin; Waveney Forest, Fritton; Lackford; Stradishall and The King's Forest but none related to confirmed breeding. The sole road casualty found during the year was along the A l 101 at Icklingham, July 11th. Autumn passage was more marked than in some recent years with birds recorded as follows: Covehithe: November 5th. Southwold: October 22nd. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Flats, November 16th. Fagbury Cliff, October 23rd (ringed), October 30th, November 7th (ringed), November 11th (one or two), November 13th and November 16th (ringed). Felixstowe: Adastral Close, September 25th, October 24th (five) and November 6th (three). Landguard, in off the sea, October 16th, and then present daily October 21st-28th with a maximum of six, October 25th, and three-four on four other dates with one still present October 31st; during November birds were noted 3rd, 4th and 6th. In addition, an owl f l y i n g south at C o v e h i t h e , O c t o b e r 2 0 t h w a s either this s p e c i e s
or Short-eared Owl. The only second winter report was of one at Trimley Marshes, December 16th. SHORT-EARED OWL Asio flammeus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. 1994 was the poorest year for some time for this owl with a paucity of records in all seasons. During the period January-March birds were recorded from ten sites, and only Aldeburgh Marshes could muster more than one individual; Oulton Marshes, January 15th; Kessingland Levels, February 27th; Benacre Broad, March 26th; Westleton Heath, February 12th; Aldeburgh Marshes, January 2nd (two), January 14th and January 31st; Orfordness, January 22nd and February 17th; Falkenham, February 20th; Trimley Marshes, January 2nd, March 7th, March 16th and March 24th; Levington, March 26th and Chelmondiston, March 21st. During the spring a pair was seen at Fisher Row, Oulton on April 9th; on the River Orwell one was at Shotley Marshes, April 10th and one remained at Trimley Marshes sporadically from April 7th-23rd. What may have been the same individual was seen nearby at Levington, April 4th and Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, April 26th. Singles at Benacre and Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick, both on May 6th, were the last spring records and there were no more reports during the summer months. 97
The first autumn migrants were noted at Boyton and Minsmere, September 3rd, and two, Havergate Island, September 15th-30th. In October two remained at Havergate Island, and singles appeared at Landguard, Lound, North Warren, Southwold, Trimley Marshes and on the Deben Estuary. The second winter period proved to be even poorer than the early part of the year with a rather paltry total of seven birds at six sites as follows; Lowestoft, December 12th; Minsmere, December 13th; North Warren, November 3rd-4th; Havergate Island, two during November and December; Falkenham, November 6th and November 24th and Trimley Marshes, November 2nd and December 22nd. NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. There were numerous reports of small numbers at traditional sites during the summer but the absence of any detailed surveys makes it impossible to gauge the population success during 1994. The only detailed surveys of territories reported were from Minsmere where 24 churring males were counted (28 in 1993) and Dunwich Forest/Westleton Heath NNR with 32 (37 in 1993). The first report of the year came from Minsmere, May 11th and the last sighting was at Hollesley Heath, September 2nd. SWIFT Apus apus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first returning bird was noted at Westleton, April 23rd and there were a further nine records before the close of the month. The major arrivals of this species were, as usual, during May, including a mass arrival at Ipswich, 8th and large numbers flying east at Martlesham, 1 Ith. Several large gatherings were reported during the month and into mid-June including: 2500, Lackford, May 24th and 2000 there, June 10th; 2000, Minsmere during May and June; 890, Havergate Island, June 4th; 700, Alton Water, May 17th; 500, Trimley Marshes, June 19th and 400, Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, June 11th. There was an abundant southerly movement at Felixstowe, June 4th and Landguard logged 259 north and 131 south during May and 221 north and 3489 south in June with a maximum count of 1500 south, June 21st. Reports of breeding were hard to come by but several large flocks built up during July and August notably 2000 at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, August 21st and 1000, Hardwick Heath, August 10th. At Landguard, 44 flew north, 22 west and 826 south during July and 164 north and 380 south during August. Birds soon moved on during the autumn with September records confined to 15 sites totalling 124 birds. Of these, 81 flew south at Landguard on 11 dates up to September 16th. There were no reports during October but a very late bird was seen at Stratford St Mary, November 17th (SHP). This becomes the second latest for the County, beaten only by one which remained in Ipswich from November 5th â€” December 9th 1974. ALPINE SWIFT Very rare visitor.
Aldeburgh: North Warren, April 23rd (RNM).
This, the 15th record for Suffolk, was, typically, only seen for a short period by one fortunate observer. KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis Fairly common resident. 98
Records came from about 80 sites which compares favourably with the previous two years and hopefully indicates a stable population. Sightings came from across the County and throughout the year. During the breeding season records came from about 20 sites; pairs were seen at a number of these but there were only four instances of confirmed breeding. Several locations featured prominently in observers' records, the most notable of which were the stretch of the River Orwell comprising Trimley Marshes, Loompit Lake and Levington Lagoon, and Lackford W.R.. The popular Ipswich spot at Bourne Bridge was also a regular haunt of Kingfishers during the early part of the year. The highest concentration of birds was five on the River Deben WeBS count, October 9th. Post-breeding dispersal failed to produce any records away from the expected sites but an unexpected find was a stunned individual at Witnesham, September 5th which later recovered from its ordeal. HOOPOE Upupa epops Scarce passage migrant. T h e total of three or f o u r r e c o r d s m a t c h e s the p r e v i o u s y e a r but n o n e w a s w i d e l y available. T h e o b s e r v e r s of the t w o inland s p r i n g m i g r a n t s m u s t h a v e b e e n particularly p l e a s e d w i t h their finds. Westhall: Sunnyside Farm, April 4th (PCli).
Kesgrave: April 14th and 18th (PRC, PN). Felixstowe: near railway station, September 7th (Mrs EM, MJam); presumed same, Exeter Road, September 9th (ETM, TB).
WRYNECK Jynx torquilla Uncommon passage migrant. Formerly bred. The decline of this species as a spring migrant in Suffolk continues and, possibly for the first time ever, there were no reports during the spring months. In contrast, the autumn passage was pronounced, with a total of around 22 individuals recorded, the best autumn since 1989 when 30 birds were seen. The bulk of reports occurred between September 2nd-22nd and all of them were coastal apart from singles at Hollesley Heath and Burstall. Lowestoft: North Denes, September 20th; Gunton, disused railway line, September 2nd-3rd. Kessingland: Denes, September 21st.
Benacre: September 18th. Dunwich: September 16th (trapped and ringed). Minsmere: September 2nd, September 22nd and October 1 st-3rd. Leiston: Sizewell, August 12th and 19th. Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, September 10th Burstall: Walnut Tree Farm, September 19th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, August 14th, 16th (two), 18th (two), 23rd, 24th and 29th. Felixstowe: The Grove, October 10th; Landguard, September 2nd, September 14th, joined by another September 15th and a third September 16th; only one was present September 17th but it was considered a new arrival and this remained until September 25th; View Point Road, September 18th.
The individual at The Grove is the latest recorded in Suffolk since one was trapped at Landguard, October 20th 1988. GREEN WOODPECKER Picus viridis Common resident. The increase in records of this species, highlighted during the previous few years, continued during 1994 with observations from about 150 sites. Even allowing for 99
yearly fluctuations in recording levels this species has clearly become widespread during the 1990s, since the late 1980s produced, on average, records from only 85-90 sites. At well-monitored RSPB reserves numbers remained stable with 12 territories at both Minsmere and North Warren (13 and ten respectively during 1993). The largest gatherings reported during the year included: eight, Minsmere, July 10th; seven, Purdis Heath, July 10th; six, Shingle Street, during January; six, Cavenham Heath, July 8th and December 2nd and six, Hollesley Heath, August 6th. The majority of these groups probably comprised family parties. At Landguard, singles were seen July 24th and 27th and on five dates during August including three trapped and ringed. At nearby Fagbury Cliff this is the commonest woodpecker encountered with regular records from June-November and a total of four birds trapped and ringed. One at Porter's Wood, Woodbridge, April 24th was seen to raid a Nuthatch nest and steal an egg. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos major Common resident. During the course of the year records were received from about 150 sites which is a significant increase on the 120 in 1993 and surpassing 1989 when there were sightings from 130 locations. Records came from across the County but, as usual, confirmed breeding only came from a few. At Minsmere, 14 pairs bred (12 in 1993) and four pairs bred at both Nowton and North Warren (six in 1993). There were several reports of three birds seen together but the highest count of the year was five at Hollesley Heath, March 12th. At Landguard, post-breeding dispersal produced singles on July 22nd and August 4th, whilst one trapped, September 22nd showed characters of the nominate race D.m. major. This represents only the second confirmed record of this race in Suffolk since 1914, the last also being at Landguard, May 21st 1991. At Fagbury Cliff, birds were noted on 12 dates between May and November with one bird trapped and ringed. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos minor Uncommon resident. The number of sites for which records of this woodpecker have been received has shown a high degree of fluctuation in recent years making it difficult to establish the true status of this species in the County. During 1994 records were received from 62 localities which is a considerable drop on the 1993 total of 73 but well up on 1992 when there were sightings from just 48 locations. Many observers have commented on the difficulty of finding this species in recent years and indeed, many of the sightings refer to single reports at a given location. An analysis of the records received shows that the most regular sites include Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket; Groton Wood; Holywells Park, Ipswich; Lackford WR and West Stow Country Park. At the well-monitored RSPB reserves, three pairs bred at Minsmere (the same figure as 1993 and 1992) but there was only one sighting at Wolves Wood, Aldham/ Hadleigh and none at North Warren where a pair bred in 1993. No other reports referred to confirmed breeding or the presence of juveniles. None were reported at Landguard during the year but at Fagbury Cliff singles were seen February 12th and September 22nd. The latter bird, an adult female, was trapped and proved to have been ringed at the same site in June 1993. 100
WOODLARK Lullula arborea Uncommon breeding species and scarce passage migrant. There was only one January report, a bird at Westleton Heath on 30th. This was then followed by a number of well-spread sightings in early February and an influx onto the breeding sites during the second half of the month. An unusual report was of one at Fisher Row, Oulton, February 16th, and in March passage migrants were at Landguard, 8th and Kessingland, 18th. The number of singing males in Suffolk Breckland continues to increase; 112 were found in 1994, including 17 birds on non-forest habitats (five in 1993). Annual totals for the last five years in Breckland are:1990 c.15
This year's breeding survey of the Sandlings sites also found another large increase in numbers, with 151-161 singing males/pairs discovered (118-131 in 1993). In line with this increase in numbers it is encouraging to report an extension of the species' rĂ¤nge with one singing at Foxhall on the outskirts of Ipswich, April 24 th. Some birds were still on their breeding grounds in September. The only reports relating to autumn passage were of two south at Fagbury Cliff, September 23rd and one there October 2nd, and one seen at Landguard on November 3rd. Reports carne from four sites during December with 21 at Blackheath Corner, Friston on 30th (RNM) being by far the largest count. SKYLARK Alauda arvensis Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor.
D u r i n g the first w i n t e r p e r i o d , the o n l y t h r e e - f i g u r e c o u n t s r e c e i v e d w e r e : Shotley: 140, January 8th. Barking: Barking Tye, 130, January 9th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 100, January 10th. Friston: 100, February 28th.
The breeding season passed with little comment, but one observer stated 'many pairs raised two broods' at both Boyton Marshes and Havergate Island. At the well monitored RSPB reserves, 52 territories were located at North Warren (41 in 1993) with another 20 found at Minsmere (15 in 1993). Hopefully, recent changes to the set-aside rules, allowing farmers to delay cutting or ploughing fields until July, will have resulted in the loss of far fewer broods than must have occurred in 1993. Southerly autumn passage was logged at Landguard on 22 days during October and involved a total of 478 birds (plus another 40 in off the sea) with 206 on 23rd and 93 on 24th being the peak daily counts. Movements during November were lighter, but a total of 151 south and two east on 14 days to 21st (max 42 south on 4th) was recorded. The only second winter counts of flocks containing 100 or more birds were:Barking: Barking Tye, 250, October 22nd and 300, November 13th. Long Melford: Sewage works, 140, October 29th. Ipswich: Henley Road, 100, November 15th. Risby: 200, December 31st.
SHORE LARK Eremophila alpestris Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. An excellent year in comparison with the rather meagre annual totals of the last decade. All birds were recorded during the second winter period as follows:Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, up to ten between November 6th and December 11th. Minsmere: first recorded October 11th, increasing to three by the end of the month, up to 16 during November, then up to 26 during December (with 24 still present there on 31st). Trimley Marshes: October 16th to 20th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury track, October 12th to 21st. Moulton: Trinity Hall Farm, October 20th to 25th. (PBul).
The bird found inland at Moulton is unprecedented within the County but coincided with others inland in Essex (at Hanningfield Reservoir). The flock at Minsmere is the largest in the County since 1979. SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. An early bird was at Minsmere on March 1 st and was quickly followed by one at North Warren on 2nd. Records were then received from a further 11 sites during the month, with 60 at Lackford W.R. on 31st being the highest count. The largest spring gathering occurred at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin on May 28th when 500 were present. T h e only b r e e d i n g c o l o n y c o u n t s r e c e i v e d w e r e : Benacre to Covehithe: Sea Cliffs, 810 nest holes in ten colonies. Lackford W.R.: 45+ pairs. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, Thorpe Bay, five active nest holes. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, eight nest holes. Minsmere: 87 pairs.
The largest late-summer/autumn counts were 1000 at Trimley Marshes, September 1st; 800 at Lackford W.R., September 17th and 1000 at Hollesley Heath, September 26th. There was a noticeable southerly passage of birds at Landguard 102
during July, August and September. Most birds appeared to have departed by the end of September, but odd birds were still present at five sites during October, the last of which were singles at both Landguard and Lowestoft on October 26th. SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Immigration began on March 26th when singles were present at both Kessingland and Lackford W.R. Four other sites then received March birds, but the main spring arrival seemed to be rather drawn out through April and May with no obvious periods of influx. The only notable spring counts were 500 at North Warren, April 28th; 350 at Alton Water, May 17th; 150 at Trimley Marshes, May 17th with 200 also there on 22nd and 200 at Fagbury, May 22nd. Of the few breeding reports received, eight pairs at Shotley was the highest concentration. Late-summer roost counts included 500 at Levington, July 25th, and 700 at Hare's Creek, Shotley during August. Notable autumn counts were: Lackford W.R.: 300, September 19th. Covehithe: 485 south, September 27th. Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, 1000, September 26th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, 200, September 27th. Felixstowe: Landguard recorded a total of 171 north and 7620 south on 22 dates in September, with peak counts of 2200 south, 4th, 2375 south, 5th, and 1000 south, 27th.
During November 32 birds were recorded from seven coastal sites, but by far the latest sighting came from the west of the County where a 'small group' was seen at Flempton G.C. on December 22nd. This is the first December record since 1987 and the second latest ever, after the one recorded by Ticehurst at Bradfield St George on December 24th (no year) (Payn, 1978). RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Very rare passage visitor.
Southwold: Town Marshes, May 14th (JMC, SJL et al) Minsmere: May 27th (DF, IR) [one accepted, possibly also a second bird ]. Felixstowe: Landguard, south with Swallows, October 26th (RR, 1RH, JTob, RJA).
The Landguard bird was an unexpected bonus for several of the birders who had travelled to the site to see the Red-flanked Bluetail. The Southwold bird, which awaits acceptance by the British Birds Rarities Committee, is the fourth site record in seven years. After a blank year in 1993, Suffolk's recent good fortune with this species continues with the above three birds becoming the County's 12th, 13th and 14th records involving 15 birds in all since the first in 1987. HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. One at Havergate Island on March 21st is the County's earliest since 1990. The only other March sighting was at Lackford W.R. on 31st. D u r i n g the first half of April, birds w e r e r e c o r d e d f r o m only three sites (including 2 0 at N o r t h W a r r e n ) a n d n u m b e r s w e r e still low at the e n d of the m o n t h . N o large c o u n t s w e r e r e c e i v e d until M a y , the h i g h e s t of w h i c h w e r e : Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, 600, May 27th and 700, May 28th. Trimley Marshes: 300, May 28th. Alton Water: 600, May 17th. Lackford W.R.: 500 during May.
Breeding reports were scarce, but there were 12 pairs at Hengrave Hall, 12 pairs at Henstead (six of which reared second broods) and three pairs at Shotley. Birds apparently suffered at Dunwich during a cold and windy period on September 17th with one being found dead there that day. The autumn exodus was well documented at Landguard where movements were noted from early August onwards into November, although the main passage occurred during September. A total of 2343 south and 461 north was logged on 19 dates during this month (1460 south on 5th being by far the largest single daycount). October numbers were much smaller but still included 100 flying south over Lackford W.R., 7th and 83 south and 40 north at Landguard on 3rd. Eight sites recorded a total of 19 birds during November (eight of which were at Landguard), but the final sighting of the year was at Lackford W.R. on December 3rd. RICHARD'S PIPIT Anthus novaeseelandiae Rare visitor. Britain received a major influx of this species during the autumn of 1994 and, for a change, Suffolk received its fair share of the records:Lowestoft: Gunton beach/dunes, November 15th and 16th (RF, PJR) Easton Bavents: November 6th and 7th (JMC). Southwold: October 15th and 16th (HRB, BJS). Dunwich: October 12th (AR, JCE). Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Flats, September 26th (KWG, Mrs JG, SHP, DWF). Felixstowe: Landguard, October 3rd (LBO) and two south, November 16th (LBO); Peewit Hill, October 8th (PK).
With only five during the last decade, nine in one year is unprecedented and totally eclipses the County's previous highest annual figure of four in 1969. The County total now stands at 29. BLYTH'S PIPIT Accidental.
Felixstowe: Landguard, November 4th to 10th (NO, BJS et at).
[This record has been accepted by BBRC and passed to BOURC for re-categorisation from 'B' to 'A'] 104
All credit must surely go to the above sharp-eyed observers for finding and identifying this bird. News of this much sought-after vagrant resulted in one of Suffolk's largest ever twitches on the following morning. The bird performed well and continued to delight visitors throughout the following week. It was still present on 10th when its identification was confirmed in the hand. Sadly, it fell prey to a local Kestrel as it fed on the common later that day. This bird occurred shortly before another long-stayer â€” in Kent â€” and is a welcome addition to the County list. (See note on page 151.) TAWNY PIPIT Anthus Rare passage migrant.
Felixstowe: Landguard, October 16th (LBO, BJS).
This autumn record brings the County total to 32 individuals. This species has now been recorded annually at Landguard since 1991. As is so often the case with this species, this bird did not hang around to be admired. TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Spring passage commenced on April 3rd with singles at North Warren and Thorpeness. Birds arrived at a number of coastal sites over the following week and the first was back in Breckland, at Cavenham Heath, on 17th. Migrants were still passing through Fagbury during late May with five trapped there between 20th and 22nd. Few comparative data were received relating to breeding birds, but an increase was observed at Minsmere where 19 pairs were located compared with 13 in 1993. Late August saw the first signs of autumn passage with singles seen at Fagbury on six dates from 14th; Landguard on four dates from 22nd; Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, 30th and Southwold, 25th and 31st. Fagbury Cliff recorded ten west, August 23rd, and six, August 30th. Five coastal sites then saw small numbers of birds during September, but the final birds of the year were at Landguard on October 1st, and Fagbury on October lst-2nd, and 23rd, the latest ever recorded date for this species in the County (SHP). MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The first two months of the year produced a good crop of records relating to wintering flocks, the largest of which were:Barking: Barking Tye, 72, February 26th. Cavenham/Icklingham: Cavenham Heath, 90 during February (increasing to 130 during March). Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, 80, February 9th. Moulton: 150, January 22nd. Trimley St. Martin: Back Lane, 70, January 13th.
Several other widespread sites recorded flocks of 30+ birds at this time. Throughout March and April, passage was not particularly obvious but did include up to 55 at North Warren, April 1st and 68 flying north over Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket on March 20th. Birds were seen coming in off the sea at Landguard on March 20th (25) and 26th (16) and there was a noticeable 'fall' there on March 30th when 90 were present. Few breeding reports were received, but comments from Havergate Island suggest that the species had a good season, with pairs there managing to raise two or three 105
broods. Elsewhere, 11 pairs were found at Minsmere (same as 1993); 30 were at North Warren (28 in 1993) and six at Landguard (four in 1993). Two pairs found breeding at Haverhill were the only ones confirmed in the west of the County. A flock of 100 at Shingle Street on September 3rd was, presumably, a forerunner to the main autumn passage which began in earnest later in the month. This included 130 south at Covehithe, 27th and 115 south there on 30th; 135, North Warren on 30th and 200, Southwold Town Marshes on 23rd. Southwold recorded some good movements during the last week of September with 150 north, 24th; 301 south, 29th and 308 south, 30th. Landguard managed 913 south (plus 63 in off the sea) on 18 dates during the month with 273 south, 19th; 142 south, 28th and 147 south, 30th being the peak counts. Migration appeared to cease at most sites after the end of September, but continued well at Landguard with birds seen flying south there on 20 dates during October (including 200 on 22nd and 158 on 24th) and 18 dates during November (max 74 on 1st). Passage there just managed to creep into December with five seen flying south on 2nd. During the second winter period, numbers appeared to be quite low with no threefigure flocks found. ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. During the first winter period, sightings came from 18 coastal sites, the peak totals being 35 on the River Aide saltings at Friston, February 13th; ten, Fagbury Flats, January 28th and 12 at both Slaughden Quay, Aldeburgh, January 4th and Trimley Marshes, March 13th. The latter group probably included passage birds heading for their northern breeding grounds. One was back at Ness Point, Lowestoft on the very early date of August 24th, but this was not, unfortunately, the forerunner to good autumn and second-winter numbers. Four at Minsmere, September 22nd, plus singles at Landguard on 18th (south), 22nd and 30th were the only reports received for that month and only six sites recorded birds during October, including ten logged south at Landguard on 23rd. During the last two months of the year, King's Fleet, Falkenham, was the only site to hold a group reaching double-figures, with ten being found there on November 6th and December 4th. Landguard recorded a total of 33 south up to November 16th, seven on 5th being the maximum day count. Birds identified as belonging to the race littoralis â€” from Fennoscandia and north-west Russia â€” were located as follows:Lowestoft: Ness Point, two, October 29th. Southwold: two, March 26th.
A pipit seen inland at Lackford W.R. on October 12th was of this species or the following. WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. In what proved to be a good year for this species, birds were reported from six sites during the first winter period, although one at Potter's Bridge, Reydon/South Cove on January 6th was the only record for that month. As expected, most records came from Minsmere, monthly maxima there being eight during February, seven during March and one in April. The only other site to record more than two birds together during the first half of the year was Southwold, with five passage birds present there on April 6th. Singles at Thorpeness on April 106
3rd and North Warren on April 3rd and 4th were in summer plumage. The last of the spring were two at North Warren on April 19th. D u r i n g the s e c o n d w i n t e r period, birds w e r e f o u n d at the f o l l o w i n g seven locations, w i t h M i n s m e r e , a g a i n , h o l d i n g t h e m a j o r i t y : Benacre: Benacre Broad, two, December 16th. Covehithe: Covehithe Broad, October 24th. Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, October 24th; November 27th; two, November 28th and two, December 17th. Southwold: October 13th and November 5th. Walberswick: November 13th and December 11th. Minsmere: six, October 24th, up to 20 during November and 26 in December. Trimley M a r s h e s : November 29th.
The Minsmere December total equals the highest ever concentration of this species to be found in Suffolk. YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava Common summer visitor and passage migrant. For the first time since 1988, there were no early migrants found during March, although four sites had recorded birds during the first three days of April with singles at Minsmere and North Warren being equal earliest on 1st. April sightings were, generally, rather low but May reports were received from many widespread locations and included spring groups of up to 22 at Alton Water, 10th; 21, Beccles Marshes, 30th and 56, Hopton on Sea G.C., 28th. The 12 at Great Livermere on 28th was the highest count in the west of the County. Breeding was confirmed at only six sites, but this is, hopefully, due to a lack of recording as opposed to this species' true Suffolk Yellow Wagtail status. Above-average numbers were noted feeding on the reserve at Landguard during late summer and autumn, with birds present almost daily from July 30th to October 4th; double-figure counts were recorded on 22 dates during this period (max 20, August 16th and 25, September 16th). During September, some impressive preemigration flocks were seen, the largest of which were all found on the coast and 107
included 45, Chelmondiston, 12th; 50, North Warren, 13th; 100, Shingle Street, 10th and 60, Trimley Marshes, 14th. The final sighting of the year was at Corton on October 15th. Reports of birds belonging to races other than flavissima are as follows:Blue-headed Wagtail M.f. flava. In what was a good year for the nominate race, ten sites recorded at least 19 birds during the spring, between April 5th and May 16th, including four, Beccles Marshes, May 2nd and three at both Hopton on Sea G.C., April 28th and Southwold Town Marshes, April 24th. The only sighting of the autumn was one at Henstead, September 15 th. Grey-headed Wagtail M.f. thunbergi Landguard Common was the only site to host this subspecies during 1994; a female was present on May 20th and two males were there on September 15th, one remaining until 16th. GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea Fairly common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Birds were recorded from at least 75 sites during the year, with breeding confirmed at eight of these and birds present during the breeding season at a further 11. These figures are broadly similar to those of recent years. A u t u m n p a s s a g e a p p e a r e d r a t h e r quiet (especially w h e n c o m p a r e d w i t h last year), but d i d include t h e f o l l o w i n g coastal m i g r a n t s : Corton: two, September 25th. Covehithe: in flight, September 27th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 35 south and one north, during September (maximum 13 south, 27th) and 14 south during October (maximum five south, 1st), plus a late bird south there on November 6th. Adastral Close, singles present on September 26th and 27th and October 1st and 11th, with two there on 9th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, September 30th, October 1st and 30th. Lowestoft: September 2nd and 18th, October 18th and November 4th-11 th, 16th and 22nd. Minsmere: four in flight, October 14th. Southwold: two south, September 30th, north, October 11th, plus three at the Sewage Works, September 25th. Shotley: Shotley Gate, in flight, October 22nd.
Lack (1986) states that most Scandinavian and many central-European Grey Wagtails winter in Spain, Portugal and northern Africa and it would, therefore, seem likely that some of our autumn migrants relate to these birds. There has not yet, however, been a recovery or control of any Continental-ringed bird from Suffolk. PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Very common resident, passage migrant and summer and winter visitor. Only four sizeable flocks were reported during the first winter period: 56, Long Melford Sewage Works, January 9th; 40, Cornard Mere, January 15th; 96, Kessingland Sewage Farm, January 16th and 50, Benacre Broad, February 27th. No other site was able to manage double-figures at this time. Things picked up a little during the spring, with coastal sites receiving reasonable numbers of passage birds with 29 at Alton Water on March 6th and 50 there, April 15th; 27, Beccles Marshes, May 4th and 30, Castle Marshes, Barnby, March 20th being the highlights. Further inland, 50 were roosting at Thurleston High School, Ipswich, April 28th. Breeding was confirmed at just nine sites, including six pairs at Hengrave Hall 108
and three pairs at North Warren. One observer reported a steady increase in numbers in the Felixstowe area in the past few years, with now four times the numbers of the mid-1980s. Autumn passage was not exceptional, although Landguard logged a total of 191 birds on 15 dates during October, including a peak of 32 south on 24th. Notable counts from other widespread sites were 40, Southwold Boating Lake, September 15th; 64, Stowmarket, September 26th; 50, Cavenham Heath, September 29th and 250 roosting at the A140/A14 Service Station, Coddenham, October 26th. This species was considered abundant at Lackford W.R. during October. During the last two months of the year, 29 were at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, November 8th; 153 were roosting at Thurleston High School, Ipswich, November 18th; 60 were at Lackford W.R., December 28th and 59 were at Long Melford Sewage Works, November 26th with 58 there, December 30th. Spring birds of the nominate race M.a. alba were recorded from 13 coastal sites between March 4th and June 14th and involved at least 80 birds. By far the largest gatherings were of 45 at Minsmere, March 24th and ten at North Warren, March 28th. Away from the immediate coast, up to four were at Alton Water during early April. The only reports from the west of the County were at Long Melford Sewage Works, April 3rd, 9th and 11th, plus an early returning bird there on August 14th. There were only two other reports during the autumn: one at Golf Road, Felixstowe, September 4th and ten at Southwold G.C. on September 11th. There were no records of WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus in Suffolk in 1994. DIPPER Cinclus cinclus Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Lowestoft: Gunton Hall, January 15th to February 1st (possibly same as that seen nearby at Kensington Gardens, November 4th 1993). (BJB, RWa et at). Mildenhall: December 26th and 30th (AB, PJ). Cavenham/Icklingham: River Lark, Temple Bridge, December 31st into 1995 (same as Mildenhall bird). (CJJ).
The County's excellent run of recent sightings continues with birds now recorded in six of the last eight years. Both this year's birds were of the Black-bellied race, C.c. cinclus, from the Continent and, indeed, could relate to the same, returning, individual. WREN Troglodytes troglodytes Very common resident and passage migrant. Following the recent run of relatively mild winters, the few reports received seem to indicate that this species is currently doing very well in the County. During the breeding season, one observer considered it to be "abundant" in the NE Ipswich/Fynn Valley area, whilst 15 territories were located at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket (same as in 1993), 22 at Valley Farm, Coddenham (21 in 1993), and 104 were found at North Warren (123 in 1993, but still well up on the 59 in 1992). Some evidence of a light spring passage came from Landguard with 19 new birds being ringed there during March to early May, including four on April 7th. A light passage was also observed there during the autumn, from mid-September with a total of 40 birds ringed there during October and November (102 during these two months in 1993). DUNNOCK Prunella modularis Very common resident and passage migrant. 109
A much under-recorded species. Reports were received from only five sites during the breeding season including the following where comparative data are available from previous years : Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, 15 singing males (same as 1993). Breeding confirmed by ten 'pairs'. Felixstowe: Landguard, ten 'pairs' (ten in 1993). Aldeburgh: North Warren, 76 territories (79 in 1993). Coddenham: Valley Farm, 22 'pairs' (12 in 1993).
Landguard received a light passage of birds from late February until the end of March and, again, from early September onwards into early November, although there were no obvious influxes. ROBIN Erithacus rubecula Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Very few records early in the year hopefully indicates that the species was abundant and not absent. This assumption is based on the fact that coastal localities held good wintering numbers with no cold spell to lower the population. Spring passage began early at Landguard, with two migrants on February 26th, followed by a light spring passage from March 11th up to May 13th, and a late very grey coloured individual, June 3rd. An early nest was found in Ipswich in late March but the chicks were dead in the nest after poor weather on April 1st. The population remained stable at North Warren with 76 pairs (76 in 1993) and Valley Farm, Coddenham with 19 pairs (19 in 1993) but there was a decrease to five pairs at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, compared with 12 in 1993. Unfortunately the population at Minsmere was not surveyed. One observer reported a drop in numbers in the Felixstowe area over the period 1991-1994. As is the norm, juvenile dispersal was widespread in late summer and early autumn. The main autumn passage was from mid-September to early November, with notable influxes at Landguard of 60, September 26th; 40 to 50 present daily, October 16th to 18th and 60, November 3rd. No more than 17 were noted at any other coastal migration points with the Fagbury peak, September 26th, and the Bawdsey peak, October 17th, (16 ringed) tying in nicely with Landguard's main movements. NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. First noted at North Warren, Aldeburgh, April 9th, with records widespread later in the month and throughout May giving the impression that any suitable habitat throughout the County visited by recorders is liable to yield singing Nightingales. Spring passage at Landguard consisted of five singles, April 19th to May 3rd, with a late straggler present, June 20th. At Fagbury Cliff two were present, April 28th and one the next day with no others noted until late spring singles, June 2nd, 9th and 16th. At well-monitored sites numbers were roughly stable with 21 pairs at Minsmere (23 in 1993), 17 at North Warren (14 in 1993) and 12 pairs at Wolves Wood (ten in 1993). After mid-June, records were restricted to Landguard which noted singles August 3rd and 15th, and Fagbury Cliff where 13 were ringed July 29th to September 7th with a maximum of three present, August 8th. BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica Scarce passage migrant The best spring ever with six males of the Red-spotted race L.s. svecica recorded in May, including one slightly inland; 110
Felixstowe: Adastral Close, May 15th and 16th (DCM et al). Landguard, May 18th (LBO) and 23rd (NO, SY et al).
Lowestoft: Gas Works, May 17th (RF, NJS). Shottisham: May 21st (AJLaw & Mrs DL). Southwold: Ferry Road/Denes, May 22nd (JMC, SJL et al). T h e r e w e r e n o a u t u m n reports.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL Tarsiger Accidental An addition to the County list.
Felixstowe: Landguard, adult male, October 26th (MCM, NO).
A surprise find in a mist net early in the morning fortunately stayed around all day despite being harassed by territorial Robins. (See report on page 150.) BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus ochruros Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter.
Black Redstart A few overwintered in the County, with at least two in Lowestoft, early January; one at Slaughden Quay, Aldeburgh, January 4th, and singles at Hollesley Bay, February 19th, and Alton Water, February 26th. Spring passage was noted in small numbers mostly on the coast from March 12th at Benacre and Lound, to May 5th at Weybread Gravel Pits, with other inland singles noted at Haverhill, Lackford, Stowmarket and Moulton. Breeding records involved:Bury St. Edmunds: Beet Factory, five singing males, with at least four pairs rearing young. Felixstowe: Docks, at least five singing males with at least three audible from Fagbury Cliff and two from Landguard possibly included in this five. Breeding success was assumed to be poor as few juveniles were trapped for ringing at these sites; one brood of three young was seen in the Docks. Ipswich: males singing in Portman Road and Ranelagh Road, May 1st to June 30th. Lowestoft: Commercial Road, pair feeding fledged young, June 30th. Leiston: Sizewell, two pairs, one pair feeding two young. M a r t l e s h a m : BT Laboratories, singing male, April 12th.
Good numbers were present around Adastral Close, Felixstowe, late summer and in the autumn, peaking at eight, August 25th. Autumn passage was mostly coastal from September to mid-November with notable counts of five at North Warren, 111
October 9th, and a maximum of eight at Landguard, October 18th, on which date there were also five at Fagbury Cliff. The last of the year was noted at Walberswick, November 27th, with none reported in December. REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. First noted at Hinton, March 27th (CB)(earliest in County since 1973), and Hollesley, April 3rd, with spring passage at several coastal localities until May 28th with a peak count of six at Landguard, May 15th. Reports from breeding sites or potential breeding sites included:Brandon: Mayday Farm, male, April 25th; Brandon Country Park, two, May 2nd. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, male, July 29th. Elveden: pair feeding young juvenile, June 4th. Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, four pairs.
Minsmere: 11 pairs. Wantisden: Staverton Park and The Thicks, two males. May 1st. Sutton: Sutton Heath, at least two males with one pair feeding young juvenile, early June.
Kings Forest: at least one pair. Walberswick NNR: four pairs Fen Covert, plus pairs at Sallow Walk Covert and Newdelight Covert. Woodbridge: Golf Course, May 2nd.
Autumn passage was noted at several coastal localities in small numbers from August 8th, at Adastral Close, Felixstowe, until October 23rd, at Fagbury Cliff. The only sites that exceeded day-counts of three were Fagbury Cliff with a maximum of ten, September 16th, on which date Landguard also had its autumn maximum of 15, and Southwold with a peak of eight, September 21st. The only inland records were of singles at Maidenhall allotments, Ipswich, October 12th, and Lackford, October 1st. WHINCHAT SaxĂcola rubetra Common passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Spring passage was noted all along the coast from April 21st at Fagbury Cliff to May 28th at The Candlet, Felixstowe, with a maximum of three at Landguard, April 28th. A late migrant was at North Warren, June 10th. Inland, a passage bird was noted at Lackford, April 23rd. Collated records from breeding sites or potential breeding sites (all in Breckland) indicated:Barnham: Bamham Heath, pair, unconfirmed breeding. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, pair plus male, unconfirmed breeding. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, two May 15th and one July 8th, not thought to have bred. Lakenheath: Lakenheath Warren, four pairs, pair plus juvenile June 23rd. Thetford Forest (Elveden): three pairs plus two males. Autumn passage began with an early migrant at Trimley Marshes, July 21 st, but the next was not noted until an inland bird at Lackford, August 12th, and singles August 16th, at both Landguard and Trimley Marshes. Mid-September peaks were notable at many coastal sites with peaks of 23 at Southwold, September 15th; 20, Easton Bavents, September 21st; 19, North Warren, September 18th; 14, Minsmere, September 11th; nine, Adastral Close, Felixstowe, September 2nd; nine, Landguard, September 16th; nine, Thorpeness, August 25th; eight, Fagbury Cliff, September 17th; seven, Benacre, September 2nd and seven, Lowestoft, September 1st. Passage petered out in early October although a very late bird was at Trimley Marshes, November 15th. A pure albino was at North Warren, September 9th to 13th. STONECHAT SaxĂcola torquata Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. 112
A run of mild winters is obviously benefiting this species with at least 53 individuals wintering along the coastal strip and a further 14 individuals inland. Notable areas included Alton Water with five and Benacre with five. No doubt many more went unrecorded. Spring passage in this species was very early with an unprecedented "fall" of 11 at Landguard, February 24th, and passage continuing in small numbers to March 11 th. The only other site to record this spring passage was North Warren with a peak ' of three on March 4th. Overwintering or late spring passage birds were noted . up to April 27th after which breeding season records were:Dunwich: Forest, June 11th. Lowestoft: Gunton, male, May 22nd.
Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, female, - Y> June 25th, male, July 28th. Minsmere: ten pairs ( 11 in 1993). ? ' Shottisham: pair, June 25th. > TĂźnstall: Tunstall Forest, June 28th. Walberswick: Common, pair, May. Westleton: Heath, three singing males.
The main autumn passage did not get underway until September 23rd at Landguard with six individuals noted here up to October 25th, all singles except for two, October 21st. A light autumn passage was noted at most coastal localities and occasionally inland. Another mild winter resulted in at least 23 individuals along the coastal belt plus at least four inland. Hopefully observers will not ignore the species as it becomes more common. WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe Common passage migrant. A few pairs breed. First noted in March, at Cavenham, 2nd, Worlingworth, 4th and Landguard, 9th, with spring passage lasting until at least May 31st. Notable counts at Landguard were of 20, April 4th and 17, May Bth, on which latter date there were also 12 in Felixstowe Docks. The only other sites to produce notable counts were Cavenham Heath with ten, March 25th and Fagbury Cliff with 12, May 8th. Collated breeding information for Breckland is as follows:Cavenham: Heath, four pairs, three broods fledged. Icklingham: Deadman's Graves, two pairs, plus one on adjacent farmland; Low Meadows, pair plus juvenile, May 30th and June 18th. Thetford: Thetford Heath, one pair nested.
Birds were also recorded during the summer at Eriswell High Warren, Euston Estate, Foxhole Heath, Elveden Estate and Wangford Warren, but breeding was not proven at these sites. The only other site with confirmed breeding was Landguard Common:Felixstowe: Landguard, two pairs plus an unpaired territorial male, with eight young reared from second broods after both pairs failed with first broods.
Autumn passage produced counts in August of 23 at Landguard and 16 at Thorpeness, both on 26th, but, as is the norm, passage was heaviest in mid-September. High counts are always concentrated on the coast with peak counts at well-watched localities being 20 at Benacre, 30 at Minsmere and 35 at Southwold, September 15th; 28 at Landguard, 16th and 20 at Fagbury Cliff and 14 at North Warren, 24th. Smaller counts were widespread along the coast with the last of the year noted at Adastral Close, Felixstowe, November 3rd. PIED WHEATEAR Oenanthe pleschanka Accidental Another addition to the County list during Felixstowe's "purple patch". Felixstowe: Docks, first-winter female, October 24th to 27th (MSmi, AHS, SHP, DJP).
On October 26th twitchers could see not only this bird, but also Red-flanked Bluetail, Red-rumped Swallow, two Rough-legged Buzzards, Yellow-browed Warbler and several Pallas's Warblers and Long-eared Owls, all in the Felixstowe Docks area! (See report on page 153.) RING OUZEL Tardus torquatus Fairly common passage migrant A typical year. Spring passage ran from April 2nd to May 14th, involving a minimum of 26 birds:Aldeburgh: North Warren, three, April 28th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, April 20th.
Carlton Colville: April 16th to 17th. Dunwich: April 29th. Felixstowe: Landguard, six dates, April 16th to 30th, maximum two, 25th. Iken: two, April 24th.
Kings Forest: April 2nd, May 2nd. Leiston: Sizewell, April 24th and 30th.
Little Wenham: May 1st. Lound: Waterworks, May 3rd. Minsmere: eight dates, April 8th to May 4th, maximum two, May 2nd.
Pakefield: May 14th. Autumn passage was noted from September 14th to November 14th: Corton: disused railway line, September 25th. Felixstowe: Adastral Close, October 31st to November 4th; Landguard, singles on seven dates, September 14th to November 3rd with three, September 26th and eight, October 16th; Peewit Hill, September 25th, two, October 18th. Friston/Aldeburgh: Hazlewood Marshes, October 25th. Henstead: Hulver Street, October 12th. Kessingland: Sewage Farm, October 2nd. Leiston: Leiston Common, October 10th. Minsmere: singles on five dates, September 14th to October 24th and two, October 16th.
Otley: November 14th. Reydon: two, September 26th. Southwold: Golf Course, October 19th. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, October 16th and 28th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, singles on six dates, two on three dates, three on two dates and four on three dates, September 17th to October 26th.
Trimley Marshes: three, October 16th. BLACKBIRD Turdus merula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. No notable concentrations were seen early in the year probably as a result of the 114
mild conditions. Spring migration was almost non-existent with Landguard's peak count being only 30, March 1st. Breeding season records revealed a slight increase in numbers with 60 pairs at North Warren (56 in 1993), 11 pairs at Combs Lane Water Meadows (ten in 1993), 22 pairs at Valley Farm, Coddenham (17 in 1993) and ten pairs at Landguard (nine in 1993). No other censuses of breeding populations were reported to the Recorders. Autumn movements were noted at Landguard from September 24th to December 10th although the last "fall" was on November 19th; the peak counts there were 75 on both October 8th and November 3rd, although nearby at Fagbury Cliff there were high counts in October of 200, 16th; 250, 17th and 200, 20th. The only other site to produce a count of over 50 was Adastral Close, Felixstowe with a peak of 60, October 31st. FIELDFARE Tardus pilaris Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Early in the year the numbers present in the County did not appear to be large although there were notable gatherings of 200 at Brettenham in January; 300, Combs, January 2nd; 300, Henstead, January 25th and 250, Darsham, February 4th. Flocks were more widespread from the second half of February into early April with the following notable counts;- 200 at Eyke, February 14th; 320 at Barking Churchyard, February 21st; 450 at Fressingfield, February 26th; 433 at Barrow Field, March 3rd; 500 at Moulton, March 8th; 300 at Butley, March 19th; 500, Codson Hill, Eriswell, March 20th; 200, Bonny/Round Woods, Barking, March 20th and 550 at Mickle Mere, Ixworth, April 3rd. The last of the spring were noted on the coast at Felixstowe Ferry, May 2nd and The Oval, Lowestoft, May 5th. Summer records were received of one, Shelland, July 12th and one, Butley, August 13th, although this latter bird could well have been an early autumn migrant. The first September arrivals were noted at Great Thurlow, 21st and Fagbury Cliff and The Oval, Lowestoft, 24th. Some notable autumn passage flocks in October and the first half of November included 400, Minsmere in October; 129, Candlet Farm, Felixstowe, October 19th; 250, Fagbury Cliff, October 23rd; 220, Stowlangtoft, October 23rd; 200, Coney Weston, October 26th; 250, Lackford, November 6th and 123, Barking Tye, November 20th. Most birds obviously moved out of the County as December records were very scarce although there were notable concentrations of 1000 in an orchard at Risby, December 1st and 300 at Raydon, December 25th. SONG THRUSH Turdus philomelos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Spring passage at Landguard was noted from mid-February to mid-May with peaks of activity February 24th to 27th and April 19th to 24th, although numbers involved were low. The only other coastal site to record any passage was North Warren in February. Breeding censuses revealed a stable population with ten pairs at North Warren (ten in 1993), five at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket (seven in 1993) and two at Landguard (two in 1993). Autumn movements were noted from September 8th to December 3rd in the Felixstowe area, although the main passage was in the period from late September to early November. The peak day was October 16th with 100 at Fagbury Cliff and 50 at Landguard, with other notable counts of 100 at Fagbury Cliff, October 21st and 25 at Adastral Close, Felixstowe, October 12th. 115
REDWING Turdus iliacus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Early in the year the species was widespread but with no real concentrations reported apart from 135, Badley, February 19th and 100, Boxford, February 24th. Spring passage counts were more notable with higher counts of 220, Lackford, March 3rd; 345, East Town Park, Haverhill, March 8th and 130, Fisher Row, Oulton, March 9th. Spring passage at Landguard was largely concentrated in the three days, March 8th to 10th, with a peak of 125 on 9th. Audible nocturnal activity suggests that vast numbers actually pass through the County but go uncounted on migration. Spring lingerers were noted in May at Dunwich on 1st, Fynn Valley, Playford, 7th and Peewit Hill, Felixstowe, 19th. First noted in autumn at Reydon, September 8th followed by records at Troston and Southwold, September 18th. Passage at Landguard continued until December 1 st but was heaviest everywhere in mid-October, with peak counts of 500 at Fagbury Cliff, October 16th; 500, Woodbridge Golf Course, October 15th and 500, Minsmere during October. Other notable counts were of 355 flying north, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, October 16th; 100, Landguard, October 16th and 200, Hengrave Hall Estate, October 17th. A later influx obviously occurred in midNovember with counts of 206 at Combs Lane Water Meadows and 200 at Fagbury Cliff, November 19th. Fagbury Cliff also recorded counts of 200 on October 22nd and November 5th. Records for later in the year are very few with the only notable count being of 100 at Risby, December 1st. MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Concentrations of 50 at Eriswell, January 20th and 27th and 16 at North Warren, January 1st are worthy of note. Spring passage on the coast was largely non-existent with just two at Landguard, February 24th. Amongst the breeding records received were ten pairs at North Warren (nine in 1993) and six pairs at Hardwick Heath, Bury St Edmunds. Juvenile dispersal starts early as the species nests early, with dispersing youngsters noted at Landguard from May 28th. As is the norm the highest concentrations occurred in the summer and early autumn with maxima of 100 at Hengrave Hall Estate in September and 50 at Barton Mills, September 17th. Flocks 20 to 30 strong were noted from June to September at Barton Cross Common, Beccles Marshes, Cavenham Heath, Dunwich, Great Blakenham, Hollesley, North Warren, Sutton Heath and Westleton. Autumn passage along the coast was noted from September 13th into November in small numbers â€˘with maximum counts of eight at Landguard, October 27th and ten at Fagbury Cliff, October 28th. [AMERICAN ROBIN Turdus migratorius Despite all the other national rarities around Felixstowe at the time, nobody would have predicted this one from the Nearctic. Felixstowe: Dock Basin, first-winter found freshly dead, November Ist (SDowers, LW, WJB).
This bird was found on top of a container being loaded onto a ship in the dock basin. The container had previously been stored in Trinity Terminal. If found alive how big a crowd would this one have attracted? The specimen is now stored at Ipswich Museum.] CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti Scarce resident and very rare passage migrant. The species still manages to just about cling on in the County. 116
Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, in song, September 27th. Oulton: Fisher Row, in song on several dates, February 16th to April 23rd.
Despite a run of mild winters, records are getting fewer. GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella naevia Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. First noted "reeling" on April 18th at Alton Water, with the last song noted at Fenstreet Road, Westleton, August 2nd. At least 62 birds were noted in song at 19 sites but some of these were undoubtedly migrants including singles at Landguard, April 27th and May 6th. Minsmere held 11 territories (12 in 1993) and North Warren three (two in 1993). Other notable counts of singing males included 15 at Westwood Marshes, Walberswick NNR and eight at Redgrave and Lopham Fens, May 9th. The only autumn records were of singles at Landguard, September 17th and 26th. SAVI'S WARBLER Locustella luscinioides Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. Records came from two traditional sites. Minsmere: three "reeling". May 7th, with two on 8th and 9th. Walberswick: "reeling", June 4th.
SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A general arrival from April 9th when first noted at Barton Mills and North Warren. Spring passage at Landguard was typically light, April 22nd to May 25th, but continued at Fagbury Cliff until early June. A welcome increase in breeding pairs was noted with 127 pairs at Minsmere (101 in 1993), 78 pairs at North Warren (51 in 1993) and eight pairs at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket (six in 1993). Other notable counts of pairs were 45 at Westwood Marshes, Walberswick NNR; 15 at Martlesham Creek, May 6th and nine at Alton Water, April 24th. After none at all at Shotley in 1993, five pairs were noted in June this year. Autumn passage at Landguard was noted, July 26th to September 27th, with the highest count being just three on several dates. Higher numbers were at Fagbury Cliff with a high count of 14, September 13th and the last of the year noted, October 1st, on which date there was also one at North Warren. MARSH WARBLER Acrocephalus palustris Rare passage migrant. The increase in records continues, including the first inland records. Felixstowe: Suffolk Sands Caravan Park, one singing at the junction of Carr Road and View Point Road, May 23rd (DW et at); Landguard, one trapped and a different bird singing, May 23rd (MCM, NO et al), another different bird on the Point, May 24th (LBO). Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, in song, June 2nd to 11th (JWal et al). Boxford: in song, May 30th to June 1st (PJH et at). Southwold: Golf Course, October 11th (JMC, EWP). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, four singles trapped, May 16th and 26th, June 5th and 7th. Songsters also heard May 25th, 28th and 30th. (SHP et al).
A minimum of four birds at Fagbury, four in the Landguard area (including a multiple arrival of three on the same day) and two inland in spring is remarkable. The October bird at Southwold is the second County record for that month and the bird at Fagbury, May 16th is the earliest ever recorded in Suffolk. The County total rises to at least 25 birds. 117
The number of individuals recorded in the County since the first in 1986 is given below:1986 1
REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year was relatively late on April 22nd at Havergate, after which the species was widespread in suitable habitat. Spring passage at Landguard was noted from April 29th to June 26th, with peaks of ten, May 20th and 15, May 23rd. On this latter date there were 100 at Fagbury Cliff, with another high count of 50 at this locality, May 26th and 27th. Censused sites revealed 207 pairs at Minsmere (200 in 1993); 189 pairs at North Warren (114 in 1993); 15 pairs at Shotley (26 in 1993); 17 pairs at Boyton Marshes and three pairs at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket. Autumn passage was noted at Landguard, July 22nd to October 12th, with a peak of six, September 26th. At Fagbury Cliff higher numbers moved through with counts of 100, August 14th and 50, August 11th and September 11th, with passage continuing there to October 16th. Up to two later birds were noted at Fagbury Cliff. November 5th to 11th and the County's latest ever is the adult trapped at Landguard. December 2nd (MCM). GREAT REED WARBLER Acrocephalus arundinaceus Very rare visitor 1993 Minsmere: May 28th and 29th (IR et al). This belated record takes the County total to ten, all since 1958 and is the first at Minsmere since 1966. ICTERINE WARBLER Hippolais icterina Uncommon passage migrant. Two spring songsters at the same site on the same day constitute the County's tenth spring record, but what on earth was one doing singing at Landguard on July 3rd? Felixstowe: Landguard, male, July 3rd (NO et al). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, two males, May 22nd (SE et al).
A more typical autumn after 15 in autumn 1993. Dunwich: August 22nd (Sir AGH). Minsmere: September 1st (GW et al) and 3rd (RSPB et al). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, September 6th and 15th.
MELODIOUS WARBLER Very rare pasage migrant.
Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, June 10th (SE et al).
Only the seventh County record, including a late record for 1989. 1989 Felixstowe: Docks, September 12th and 13th (WJB, EWP). DARTFORD WARBLER Sylvia undata Very rare passage migrant. Formerly bred. Leiston: Sizewell, December 23rd to 31st (MLC et al).
Are the mild winters going to help this species recolonise Suffolk? Birds have now been present in the County in 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993 and 1994 (the only records since 1939). 118
SUBALPINE WARBLER Sylvia cantillans Very rare visitor. Minsmere: singing, May 24th to 25th (DF, MCur). An addition to the Minsmere list and the tenth to be recorded in Suffolk. SARDINIAN WARBLER Sylvia melanocephala Accidental. A much anticipated addition to the Suffolk list. Felixstowe: Landguard, male, trapped and ringed, May 20th (MCM, NO et al).
Once an extreme rarity in Britain, several are now recorded annually. (See report on page 154). BARRED WARBLER Sylvia nisoria Scarce passage migrant. Another good autumn for the species. South wold: Golf Course, August 13th (WJB et al)-, Constitution Hill, September 22nd (JHG). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, August 22nd (SHP et al). Corton: September 2nd (RF). Minsmere: September 2nd to 4th (DF et al). Felixstowe: Adastral Close, September 15th (DC, JZ et al)\ probably same, Landguard, September 16th (PO). Lowestoft: disused railtrack by cemetery, November 11th to 13th (RF, PJR).
Seven exceeds 1993's record year (six). The reports this year are more geographically spread along the coast and include yet another November sighting, the latest County record. LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca Common summer visitor and passage migrant. First noted at North Warren, April 19th after which records were widespread. Spring passage at Landguard was in the period from April 20th to June 4th with peak counts of five, May 5th and 16th. Higher numbers were noted at Fagbury Cliff with high counts of 100, April 30th and 50, May 1st. The species is obviously a widespread breeding bird across the County but once pair bonding and territories are set up song ceases resulting in many being overlooked. Censused areas produced 28 pairs at Minsmere (26 in 1993); 26 pairs at North Warren (19 in 1993) and five pairs at Valley Farm, Coddenham (five in 1993). From the spread of records the impression is that any suitable piece of habitat in the County may well hold Lesser Whitethroats. Autumn passage at Landguard was noted from August 7th to October 20th with a peak of just three on several dates. Fagbury Cliff recorded a peak of 50, September 1 1th with other coastal sites noting only small numbers. An inland "fall" produced 20 at Long Melford Sewage Works, August 27th. One showing characteristics of the race S.c.blythi was at Landguard, September 21st to October 20th (MCM, NO et al). One at Fagbury Cliff, October 26th to November 6th showed characteristics of the race S.c.halimodendri which breeds in the Russian steppes from Volga to Altai and is the first of its kind to be recorded in Suffolk (DJP et al). WHITETHROAT Sylvia communis Ve ry common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year was at Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate, Ipswich, April 13th. Spring passage at Landguard was from April 20th into June but with very few 119
migrants noted after May 26th. Numbers were insignificant when compared with counts from Fagbury Cliff of 150, April 26th and 100, April 29th, May 1st and 5th. The number of nesting pairs was stable or perhaps slightly increased at the few sites with comparative breeding data, with 103 pairs at North Warren (83 in 1993); 67 pairs at Minsmere (47 in 1993) and 22 pairs at Valley Farm, Coddenham (24 in 1993). From the other records received it would appear that the species is widespread and fairly abundant in any suitable habitat across the County. The start of autumn passage at Landguard was obscured by the presence of a pair plus their offspring, but was underway in early August and continued to October 9th, with a peak of six, September 13th. At Fagbury Cliff no large counts were recorded although there were 80 present on September 11th and records here continued into November, with one late bird lingering to 18th. G A R D E N W A R B L E R Sylvia borin Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year was noted on April 23rd at Landguard, where passage continued up to June 9th, with a peak count of seven, May 7th. At Fagbury Cliff the peak count was 50, May 8th on which date there were also ten at Adastral Close, Felixstowe. The numbers of pairs nesting showed an increase on the previous year with 51 pairs at Minsmere (45 in 1993), and 34 pairs at North Warren (29 in 1993). Smaller numbers of singing males were noted at many other widespread sites. Autumn passage at Landguard ran from July 25th to October 16th with a peak of ten, September 16th on which date Fagbury Cliff also recorded its autumn peak of 17. November records came from Adastral Close on 3rd and Fagbury Cliff on 1st and 7th. One was observed foraging amongst seaweed at Landguard Point, September 21st. B L A C K C A P Sylvia atricapilla Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Nowadays the species is frequent in the winter months and large numbers may be going unreported. (For example the author of this section of the report has many wintering Blackcaps casually mentioned to him in passing conversation with the public in Felixstowe, who have Blackcaps in their gardens, but these otherwise go unrecorded.) Nevertheless a minimum of 30 Blackcaps was recorded throughout the County in January and February. Spring migrants were noted at Landguard from March 30th to May 24th with a single late bird, June 12th and a spring peak at this locality of eight, April 28th. The spring peak at Fagbury Cliff was 40, April 25th. Well-monitored sites noted an increase in the breeding population with 70 pairs at Minsmere (67 in 1993); 39 pairs at North Warren (32 in 1993) and eight pairs at Valley Farm, Coddenham (six in 1993). Smaller numbers of breeding pairs were noted from just about all areas of suitable habitat throughout the County. Autumn passage at Landguard was preceded by an early bird, August 20th, and then ran from September 1st to November 30th with peaks of 20 on September 29th and October 16th. The peak count at Fagbury Cliff was 150, September 11th with 94 ringed, September 26th and 122 ringed the next day. December records were received from eight localities but again several more must have gone unrecorded. P A L L A S ' S W A R B L E R Phylloscopus proregulus Rare visitor. With 27 previous County records, mostly in recent years, added to this year s 120
minimum of 22, the species is now almost predictable in easterly winds from midOctober to mid-November:Bawdsey: October 23rd (SBab). Dunwich: November 3rd (Sir AGH). Felixstowe: Adastral Close, October 20th (WJB et at) and October 22nd to 23rd (WJB, PK, JZ et al). Golf Road, October 23rd (PK et al). Landguard, October 16th (MCM, NO et al), November 2nd (NO et al), two, November 3rd (NO et al) with one of these two remaining to 6th. Lowestoft: disused railtrack by cemetery, October 19th to 23rd, with definitely two birds present on 21st and 22nd and unsubstantiated claims of three birds on 20th. Minsmere: October 18th and November 3rd (DF et al). South wold: St Edmund's Churchyard, November 5th to 6th (SBab, JMC, SJL). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, minimum of nine (eight ringed); one, October 19th, from October 22nd to 27th at least five with one, 22nd and 23rd, two new birds, 24th, five, 25th, three, 26th and two, 27th. Singles then noted November 4th, 9th to 13th and 16th. (SHP et al).
(See article on page 21.) YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus inornatus Scarce visitor. The second-best autumn ever in Suffolk although still short of the record 23 in 1988:Aldeburgh: Sluice Cottages, October 21st (JAD). Benacre: Beach Farm Marshes, September 24th (NP); Benacre Broad, September 29th (NP); Denes & Pits, October 4th to 5th (CAB). Corton: disused railway, September 25th (RF, CAJ, PJR). Felixstowe: Adastral Close, one, October 8th, two, 9th (PK, BJS, DFW et al), one, October 17th to 18th (WJB, JZ et al); Golf Road, October 23rd (WJB, EWP). Lowestoft: Cemetery, September 24th (RF, RCS); Arnolds Walk, November 3rd to 5th (RF, PJR). Southwold: St. Edmund's Churchyard, October 11th (JMC). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, at least eight; one, September 21st; one, October 16th. Birds were present from October 20th to November 16th, and it is difficult to work out the number of individuals involved, but there were singles ringed, October 20th, 24th and November 7th, and a maximum of four present, October 24th.
This gives an estimate of at least 20 birds recorded in the County between September 21st and November 16th. RADDE'S WARBLER Phylloscopus Very rare passage migrant.
Kessingland: November 2nd (CDD, RF, DRE, PJR).
Suffolk's sixth record, following occurrences in 1991 (two), 1966 (two) and 1964. (See report on page 157.) WOOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. The first of the year was at Sutton Heath, April 25th. A multiple arrival occurred Â°n April 28th with singles at Boxford, Barrow, Fagbury Cliff and Minsmere with another on 29th at Porters Wood, Woodbridge. The only other spring records were 'n mid-May with singles at Landguard, 14th to 16th; Staverton Park, 14th; Adastral Close, Felixstowe, 15th and Sparrows Nest, Lowestoft, 18th, with a later bird at Minsmere, May 24th. There were no breeding reports. Autumn records ran from July 27th to September 15th, with 12 at Fagbury Cliff, two at Landguard, two at Adastral Close and singles at Dellwood Avenue, Felix121
stowe; Kessingland; Minsmere and Shingle Street. Finally, Suffolk's latest ever was beaten for the third year in succession with one at Landguard, October 9th to 11th. CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Early in the year a total of 20 individuals was reported from 16 localities in January and February, including three at Kessingland Sewage Farm, a favourite wintering spot. Spring passage at Landguard was noted from March 3rd to June 28th with a peak of 20, March 30th. Minsmere had up to 40 in April and there were 25 at Fagbury Cliff, April 2nd. Records of singing birds were widespread in spring but the only notable breeding census counts were 55 at North Warren (48 in 1993) and 12 at Valley Farm, Coddenham (six in 1993 but 14, 1992). A total of 104 singing/ territorial males was located in Dunwich Forest. Autumn passage at Landguard was noted from September 3rd to November 25th, with peaks of 25 on September 15th, 27th and 29th. Small numbers passed through Fagbury Cliff but 21 were ringed on both September 29th and October 1st. The only other site to produce notable counts was Adastral Close with a peak of 40, September 29th. Records were received of 14 individuals at eight sites in December including five at Kessingland Sewage Farm. Birds showing characteristics of one of the "eastern" races, probably P.c. tristis, were at Landguard, October 27th; Lowestoft, November 13th to 17th (two) and Long Melford Sewage Works, December 25th to 31st. WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. First seen at Minsmere, March 21st and Thetford, March 25th followed by records on 29th at Fisher Row, Oulton and Freckenham and a further five localities on 30th. Spring passage at Landguard was from March 30th to May 29th with a laggard, June 17th and a spring "fall" of 100, April 28th, on which date there were also 30 at Fagbury Cliff. The species is a widespread breeder across the County, but the only significant census return was of 33 pairs at North Warren (30 in 1993) although 213 singing males were located in the Westleton/Blythburgh/ Dunwich area. The species had a reasonably good breeding season judging by the good numbers logged on autumn passage. Autumn passage at Landguard ran from July 23rd to October 1st, with this last bird remaining to 21st, and the autumn maximum of 50 on August 6th. Fagbury Cliff had its best autumn for the species with high counts of 300, August 28th and September 11th and 100, August 7th. The last of the year was a very late bird at Fagbury Cliff, November 12th to 16th (WJB et al) â€” this equals the latest ever recorded date for the species in Suffolk (1982, Felixstowe). GOLDCREST Regulus regulus Very common resident and passage migrant. A handful of records of very few birds was received for the early part of the year with the only notable count being 26 at Staverton Park, Wantisden, January 16th. Surely during a run of mild winters significant numbers must overwinter in the County? Spring passage at Landguard was noted March 4th to April 21st with a peak of 15, March 28th. A late spring migrant was at Fagbury Cliff, May 7th. The only breeding season records involving more than single pairs were of seven pairs at North Warren (five in 1993); six pairs at Nowton Park; four pairs at Hardwick Heath and "several" pairs at Hengrave Hall Estate. Autumn passage at Landguard was noted September 18th to November 21st with a high count of 100, 122
October 17th. At Fagbury Cliff the first migrant was noted September 6th with high counts of 100 present, October 24th and November 5th. Other sites to report good numbers were North Warren with a peak of 80, October 20th and Adastral Close with 50 on October 20th and 22nd. Later in the year the only notable count was of 17 at Freston Wood, December 14th. FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters irregularly.
Firecrest Early in the year two remained at Dunwich from December 1993 and one was at The Grove, Felixstowe, January 21st. Spring passage at Landguard was noted from March 9th to June 2nd, with a maximum of five, March 21st. At Fagbury Cliff passage continued to June 5th, with the spring maximum of six, May 5th. Elsewhere during this period birds were noted at Bawdsey Picnic Site; Beach Farm Marshes, Benacre; Bixley Heath, Ipswich; Dunwich; Adastral Close, Felixstowe; Fressingfield; Hadleigh Railway Walk; Kirkley Ham and Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft; Mayday Farm, Brandon; Orwell School, Nacton; Priestly Woods, Barking; Lower Raydon and Nunnery Lakes, Thetford. One singing at Stansfield, June 4th to 5th is the only â€˘June record away from Fagbury and Landguard. No July records were received and the only August record is of a pair at Hill Wood, Sizewell. Autumn passage was first noted at Minsmere and Southwold, September 15th, with far fewer birds noted than in spring. At Landguard passage ran from October 2nd to November 11th, with a peak of just three, November 5th and the last bird noted remaining until March 1995. Adastral Close had an autumn peak Â°f four, October 23rd and Minsmere, three, November 4th. Other sites that reported up to two included Bawdsey; Benacre; Dunwich; Kirkley Ham, Belle Vue Park, Sparrows Nest, Arnolds Walk and Kensington Gardens, Lowestoft; Shingle Street a "d Ferry Road Caravan Park and St Edmund's Churchyard, Southwold. The only overwintering bird late in the year was the individual at Landguard. 123
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata Common summer visitor and passage migrant. First noted at Framsden, April 24th followed by records at both Fagbury Cliff and Landguard, April 30th. Spring passage at Landguard continued until June 10th with a peak count of 12, May 23rd, with Fagbury's peak being ten, May 20th. During May, 37 were ringed at Landguard. The species is a fairly widespread breeder with pairs recorded nesting at Brettenham; Combs Lane Water Meadows; Fagbury Cliff; Gazeley Churchyard; Great Bealings; Great Finborough; Hardwick Heath; East Town Park, Haverhill; Hollesley Common; Nowton Park; Rushmere Churchyard; Old Hall Grove, Shotley; The Grove, Felixstowe; Christmasyards Wood, Trimley St Mary; Wolves Wood, Aldham; Worlingworth; Westleton; Blythburgh; Dunwich and Long Melford, and no doubt also at many other sites. One observer indicated "lowest numbers since 1985" in the Felixstowe area. One pair at Chilton Road, Ipswich was host to a young Cuckoo. An unseasonable bird was at Landguard, July 2nd to 3rd with autumn passage there running from August 20th to October 4th, with a peak of just four on September 5th and 7th. Passage continued to October 8th at Fagbury Cliff, where the peak was 20, August 28th. No other October records were received. RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Ficedula parva Rare visitor The sixth spring record for the County. Felixstowe: Adastral Close, immature male, May 27th to 28th (JZ et al). Despite looking like a female this bird was heard to sing. PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant. Spring records were of a male at Coopers Lane, Kessingland, April 30th and females at Fagbury Cliff, May 22nd and Landguard, May 24th. Autumn passage began early at Landguard running from August 3rd to September 27th, with a peak count of six, September 15th. At Fagbury Cliff passage was from August 4th to October 1st, with a maximum of three on any one date. Elsewhere on the coast up to four were noted at Bawdsey; Benacre; Dunwich; Adastral Close. Felixstowe; Minsmere and Orfordness. Sites to gain higher counts included a maximum of six at Corton, September 18th; eight at Southwold, September 1st and six. Sparrows Nest Gardens, Lowestoft, September 1st. The only inland records were of singles at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, September 2nd and 22nd; West Stow Country Park, August 26th to 28th and September 18th and Christchurch Park, Ipswich, August 12th and 19th. The final sighting of the year was at Peewit Hill, Felixstowe, October 9th. BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus Uncommon resident. Fifteen pairs bred at Minsmere (13 in 1993, seven in 1992), where up to 100 were seen in October, and 22 pairs were recorded at Walberswick (25-30 in 1993). Breeding also occurred at Easton Broad, where subsequently 12 were seen m December, and Hazlewood Marshes, Friston/Aldeburgh. The usual post-breeding dispersal occurred with reports of two, S h i p m e a d o w . October 4th; 13, Peewit Hill, Felixstowe, October 9th; three, River Deben, October 9th; six, Southwold Boating Lake, October 11th; six, Benacre Broad, October 14th. eight, Snape, November 11th; one, Levington, November 4th; one, FalkenhamNovember 6th and two, Trimley Marshes, November 7th. 124
Bearded Tits Up to three were seen at North Warren during the second winter period. The only record from the west of the County was a male singing at Lackford W.R. on March 17th and 18th (TK); this is the second successive year that the species has been recorded at Lackford W.R. LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus Ve ry common resident. This species continued its recent increase in numbers. At North Warren, for example, 28 pairs bred compared with 23 in 1993 and 20 in 1992. At Landguard there were far more March records than usual, with 23 ringed there du "ng the month. The highest counts reported during the year were 80, Staverton Park, Wantisden, January 16th; 60, Minsmere, March 13th; 55, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stow"Âťarket, September 25th; 51, Lackford W.R., August 8th and 50, Trimley St Martin, August 21st. MARSH TIT Parus palustris ĂŻ?ly c o m m o n resident. Records received from only 19 sites, with breeding confirmed at just six. Surely 125
this represents under-recording or is this species in decline? Five pairs bred at North Warren (four in 1993) but the lack of other comparative breeding counts makes any general population trend difficult to assess. A pair nested in a nesting box at Lackford W.R. One ringed at Fagbury Cliff on September 3rd is the first for the site.
WILLOW TIT Parus montanus Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. Reports from only 21 locations, compared with 19 in 1993 and 20 in 1992. DĂźring the breeding season records were received from Bamham Cross Common. Bradfield Woods (four singing males); Combs Lane Water Meadows, S t o w m a r k e t . Hollesley Heath; The King's Forest; Lackford W.R.; Lawshall; Lineage Wood, Long Melford; Nacton; Kenton Hills, Sizewell; Santon Downham; Stallode W a s h / B o t a n y Bay, Lakenheath; Thornham Parva; Tuddenham Heath; West Stow C.P. and Weybread G.P.. Breeding was confirmed at just four of these sites but s u s p e c t e d at others. It is clear that the species is now particularly scarce in the east of the County. In addition to the above areas there were winter sightings at Crabtree Wood. Lavenham; Great Livermere; Long Melford Sewage Works; North Warren and Minsmere. COAL TIT Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. 126
Although widespread, this species continues to be under-reported with nine singing males on Hollesley Heath, May 16th and ten pairs at North Warren being the only significant counts received. One observer in the Felixstowe area reported none for the first time since 1985 in his local recording area. One trapped at Great Glemham in January had been ringed there in February 1989, reflecting the sedentary nature of our breeding population. By contrast, another ringed at Landguard on April 4th showing characteristics of the Continental race P.a.ater provided clear evidence of immigration. In the autumn another passage migrant was at Fagbury Cliff, October 24th. BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Comparative breeding data suggest a fairly stable population: 63 pairs at North Warren is the same total as that for 1993 (ten of these bred successfully in the reserve's nestboxes) and nine pairs bred at Valley Farm, Coddenham (13 in 1993, eight in 1992). Two pairs nested concurrently in the same nesting box in a garden at Medway Road, Ipswich. At Landguard light passage was noted in March with a total of 13 ringed. Two/three were present at Landguard on most days in July and August but although the daily count was fairly constant, ringing showed that the total number of individuals involved was much higher; 13 were present there on September 28th. At Fagbury Cliff about three pairs bred and passage peaked in late October. One found dead at Benhall had been ringed there in August 1986. See Ringing Report for details of a Norwegian-ringed bird controlled at Fagbury Cliff. GREAT TIT Parus major Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Evidence of a continued increase in population came from the well-monitored North Warren site where 76 pairs bred (59 in 1993, 35 in 1992) with 20 pairs rearing young from nestboxes, but elsewhere breeding numbers remained fairly stable with seven pairs at Valley Farm, Coddenham (ten in 1993, seven in 1992) and nine at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket (ten in 1993). A remarkable southerly movement was noted in March at Benacre, Bawdsey and Landguard. At the latter site it was estimated that a minimum of 400 birds was involved of which 244 were ringed. The highest numbers occurred from 6th to 11 th w 'th 100 present (64 ringed) on 10th. To put the size of this movement into Perspective, the previous highest day-catch at Landguard (since 1983) was just 12. During unusually mild weather in November early song was recorded at Stowm arket, 15th and Ipswich, 24th. NUTHATCH Sitta europaea a r ' 'y common resident. This species was reported from about 30 locations for the third successive year Â°ut it is difficult to comment on whether this indicates that the population is stable. ne distribution remains widespread with several of the Ipswich parks remaining |Â°od places to see a Nuthatch. There was just one record from Minsmere (in May). IVe Pairs were present in Nowton Park near Bury St Edmunds. TREECREEPER Certhia familiaris Common resident. Records from across the County suggest that this species remains widespread. Six 127
pairs were noted at Nowton Park near Bury St Edmunds and (as in 1993) five pairs bred at North Warren. PENDULINE TIT Remiz pendulinus Very rare visitor. This species was recorded in Suffolk for the second successive year: Minsmere: male, September 1 lth-22nd (DF, ARJP et al). This long-stayer showed well on occasions but also proved elusive at times, ranging over a wide area. It is just possible that a second individual was involved. There have now been at least five records of this species in Suffolk involving at least six, and possibly as many as eight, birds (this corrects the statement in Suffolk Birds 1994 which should read "at least four records involving five to seven birds). GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus oriolus Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. One pair is known to have bred successfully at the traditional Lakenheath site. In addition, the following passage migrants were noted:Oulton: Fisher Row, male, May 8th (RF, RCS). Covehithe: Churchyard Wood, June 17th (DJP). Walberswick: Old Covert, imm male, May 19th and 20th (DJP). Dunwich: Sandy Lane Farm, June 30th (DJP). Ramsholt: male, May 30th (JCWE). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, female, trapped, June 16th (MTW). Nacton: male, May 30th (PN, GEng); June 19th (PN).
The Fagbury bird is the first record for the site and involved a female with a brood patch â€”had she been displaced from a nesting area nearby? RED-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius collurio Scarce passage migrant. Formerly bred. Spring passage was noted as follows : Benacre: male, May 26th-28th. Walberswick: East Hill, male, May 29th. Minsmere: male, May 28th; same or another, June 5th-9th; female, June 5th-13th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: May 28th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, male, April 28th.
The North Warren bird is the earliest recorded in Suffolk since 1956 (April 27th, Reydon). The other dates are more typical and the singing male at Minsmere must have raised hopes of breeding. A male was seen near the 1992 breeding site on August 8th but not before or subsequently. A u t u m n p a s s a g e w a s , as u s u a l , a m o r e p r o t r a c t e d a f f a i r : Lowestoft: Kirkley Ham, female, September 21st; Gunton, juvenile, November 5th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, female, August 14th-15th; female, August 24th. Felixstowe: Peewit Hill, juvenile, September 4th-10th; Adastral Close, juvenile, September 30th-0ctober 15 th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, juvenile, September 16th-October 2nd.
The juvenile at Gunton on November 5th is the latest record in Suffolk since 1883 (November 8th, Somerleyton; November 12th, Oulton). GREAT GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubitor Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. A poor year for this species, the only reports being as follows:Walberswick NNR: Westwood Marshes, October 28th and November 1st. Westleton: Heath, from October 11th 1993 to April 6th, and from November into 1995.
l akenheath: Sedge Fen, January Ist. Eriswell: Weather Heath, November Ist.
The individual(s) at Westleton Heath covered a large territory (including part of Minsmere reserve) — it was heard to sing in April.
Great Grey Shrike WOODCHAT S H R I K E Rare visitor.
Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, juvenile, September 26th (RF, GAH). Felixstowe: Landguard, juvenile, September 14th-16th, trapped 16th (MCM, NO et al).
These two individuals are the 19th and 20th County records and the first since 1989. The Landguard bird is the second for the site, the first having been present therefrom August 17th-21st 1977. JAY Garrulus glandarius Common resident and scarce passage migrant. Widespread reports were received across the County throughout the year, mainly °f individuals or pairs. There was insufficient information to comment on population trends but breeding records from one well-monitored site, North Warren, showed •ittle change with 11 pairs (12 in 1993). The largest gatherings were of 11, King's Forest, January 26th and 11, Iken, November 11th. There was evidence of some coastal passage in May with singles at Fagbury Cliff, 1st and 15th, and Landguard, 14th. A more pronounced movement occurred in the 129
autumn at Fagbury Cliff with reports on five dates between September 26th and October 26th, with a peak count of eight on the latter date. MAGPIE Pica pica Very common resident.
Magpie This is still a very much under-recorded species despite the adverse press coverage that it has had in the past year or so. However, regular monitoring of breeding pairs at North Warren indicates that this species is increasing in number with 20 pairs this year compared with 13 the previous year. Observers are encouraged to take a closer note of these conspicuous birds. In the winter months, concentrations of roosting birds were reported from North Warren with counts of 73, January 5th; 61, March 1st and 29, November 6th, and Lackford W.R. where there were 40, January 25th and 47, November 19th. Elsewhere the only record of a group of over 20 individuals came from Hollesley with 25, January lst-February 27th. JACKDAW Corvus monedula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Few records were received for this species, and most of them referred to winter flocks or birds seen migrating at coastal sites. The largest wintering flocks were at Witnesham where "several" hundred were seen within mixed corvid flocks; Westwood Marshes, 400, February 9th and Cavenham where numbers reached a maximum of 310 in the autumn. Spring passage was particularly evident on March 26th when 100 flew north at Kessingland; 25 north high over Ipswich; 21 south over Stowmarket and five south at Landguard, where 49 flew north, March 6th. Autumn movements peaked at Landguard in October with maximum counts of 55 in off the sea, 17th and 82 south. 28th. Scattered breeding reports were received from across the County but there was 130
little to indicate any population trends. Five pairs bred at Valley Farm, Coddenham (two in 1993, four in 1992). One of the nominate Scandinavian race C.m. monedula was at Wherstead Strand, December 27 th. ROOK Corvus frugilegus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. This is an easy species to census but few rookery counts were received. Two rookeries in Felixstowe both showed a continuing rise in numbers of nests over the past three years:Brooke Lane The Grove
1992 12 26
1993 14 37
1994 16 41
However, there were no real indications that the breeding population has changed much in recent years with small flocks of birds (under 100) being reported all across the County. The regular wintering flock at Culpho and Great Bealings again produced numbers between 1500-2000 birds from early November to late December. Other winter flocks included 1000 over Iken Cliff, February 10th and 11th; 750, Brettenham, December 4th and 700, Hengrave Hall, March 8th. Movements at Landguard involved small numbers in the spring, mainly travelling south. Autumn movements at Landguard were again in a southerly direction and peaked at 49, October 28th and 11, November 6th. CARRION CROW Corvus corone Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. This is another grossly under-recorded species with breeding records only received from Boyton Marshes; Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket; Landguard; Moat Farm, Little Glemham and North Warren. The resident pair at Landguard nested on one of the lighting towers in the Docks and successfully reared four young, all six birds being seen on the Reserve from June 29th. At North Warren, the breeding population increased from two pairs in 1993 to three pairs this year. Spring coastal movements included sightings of 30 adults coming in off the sea at Lowestoft, March 12th and 13th and further small flocks seen off the coast at Landguard, with a maximum of 26 moving south, March 26th (see Jackdaw) and 12 south on April 25th. There was an interesting inland record of 17 adults at Cavenham Heath on May 2nd. Regular records were received from Trimley, where the species was seen in all months of the year, with a maximum count of 120, October 20th. Winter numbers reached a maximum at Wherstead Strand with 380, January 16th, followed by further counts in the second winter of 133, October 20th and 156, November 25th. Winter records of Hooded Crow Corvus corone cornix were again evident. A single bird was seen at Fritton/St Olaves on January 1st which may have been the same bird as was seen on the same day at Lound. One was observed at Hopton-onSea, March 27th and again on April 9th, and another inland at Easton, January 31st. A late individual was reported from Beccles, May 31st. Reports of single birds came in the late autumn and winter from Benacre; Blythburgh; Walberswick; Dunwich; Minsmere; North Warren; Sudbourne; Bawdsey; Havergate Island and Fagbury Cliff. An apparent Hooded Crow x Carrion Crow hybrid was at Benacre, August 9th. 131
STARLING Sturnus vulgaris Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. As a breeding bird in Suffolk this species would still appear to be slowly declining. The breeding population at Landguard held its own with between six and eight pairs but the population at Combs Lañe Water Meadows, Stowmarket fell from four to two pairs. This decline has been noted nationally and as yet no reason for it has been determined. A pre-emigration gathering on Shotley Marshes, April lOth involved 500 birds. The autumn passage at Landguard was less than in 1993 with a máximum of 310 flying south on October 24th. Small movements were noted at Landguard in late September but most were between October 8th and November 16th during which period 1328 flew south there. No other coastal movements were recorded, although large immigrant flocks were noted in the Felixstowe area during October. Roost counts involved some impressive numbers. In the summer a roost became established in the Holm Oaks in the Landguard Observatory compound which gradually built up from 2000 birds in June peaking at 4000 in July. Winter numbers roosting at Landguard peaked in mid-October with an estimated 10000 present on October 21st. After this date numbers rapidly declined and from mid-November numbers did not exceed 500. The drastic reduction in numbers coincided with the appearance of up to six Long-eared Owls on site which were seen hunting in the vicinity of the Holm Oaks where the main roost was situated. Elsewhere, autumn and winter concentrations included 2000, Long Melford Sewage Works, October 23rd; 1100, Great Livermere, September 27th; 1000, North Denes, Lowestoft, October 21st and 600 in orchards at Risby, December lst. Birds were reported in all months at Trimley Marshes with peak counts of 1500, October 18th; 1200, February 5th and 800, March 17th. Amongst the birds roosting at Great Livermere, September 27th was one with an all-white tail. HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus Very common resident. Passage migrant in small numbers. Without more detailed information, it is impossible to make any meaningful comments on the status of the breeding population, although it was © . reported that there was a further decline in numbers at Felixstowe. Flocks early in the year included 40 at Great Finborough throughout February; 50 at Hollesley to March 5th and 35 at Combs Lañe Water Meadows, Stowmarket, March 7th. Three post-breeding flocks were reported: at Combs Lañe Water Meadows, Stowmarket, numbers reached a máximum of 100 on August 12th, decreasing through House Sparrow the following months; 110 were reported at 132
Sizewell dunes on August 17th and 100, Trimley St Martin, September 22nd. Landguard noted southerly movements in September of 15 on 27th and seven on 28th. TREE SPARROW Passer montanus Uncommon resident and passage migrant. Reports were received from 31 localities although in depressingly low numbers. Peak counts in the first winter period were 20 at Timworth, January 1 st and February 20th; 12 at Worlingworth, January 2nd; 55 at Onehouse, January 23rd and 15 at Tuddenham St Mary, March 18th. Reports that could possibly refer to spring migrants were of 13 at Aldeburgh on May 22nd and 17 at Covehithe on May 27th. Breeding information was very brief with proven breeding only from Benacre, Great Waldingfield and Old Newton. A very light autumn passage at Landguard peaked at only ten, August 30th; six, September 3rd; 16, September 7th; seven, October 9th and nine in November; monthly maxima at Minsmere were three in September and 14 in October. There were no double-figure counts in the second winter period. According to BTO figures this species has suffered a drastic 80% decline in numbers over the last 25 years so please continue to send in ail records for this species. CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A good showing in the first winter period with several large flocks reported:Minsmere: 650, January 18th. Iken: 200, January 18th. Farnham: 100, February 16th. Rendlesham: 200, January 14th. Eyke: 200, January 30th. Hollesley: 250, February 21st. Gt Blakenham: Blue Circle pits, 200, February 26th. Barnham: East Farm, 315, January. Lakenheath: 101, February 22nd. Fackford W.R: 100, February. Tuddenham St Mary: 400, February 1 lth; 300, February 22nd.
Early nest building was noted at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket on March 28th. Comparative breeding data from a couple of sites suggest a stable population: 83 pairs at North Warren (74 in 1993) and 37 pairs at Valley Farm, Coddenham (40 in 1993). Autumn passage at Landguard included 42 south on September 28th, 88 south on October 24th and 118 moving south in November including 44 on 16th. Larger flocks in the latter part of the year included: Minsmere: 300 in October, 80 in November and 200 in December. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 60, November 8th.
Butley: 100, November 21st. Eyke: 150, December 31 st. Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, 50 throughout November/December. Rushmere St.Andrew: 50 in the last week of December. Baylham: 115, November 28th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, 90, November lst. Tuddenham St M a r y : Roper's Heath, 200, November 26th. R'sby: 100, December lOth. Honington: 200, December 3lst.
BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. A tremendous year for this species particularly in the early part of the year with several four-figure flocks reported. Peak counts were as follows:Minsmere: 200, April. Westleton: 150, March 13th. Middleton: 40, January 30th. Icklingham: 300, January 1st and 1200, January 8th; Rampart Field, 60, February 13th. Lakenheath: Stallode Wash/Botany Bay, 1000, January 1st. E r i s well/Lakenheath: 4000, January 8th (MTW, SHP, MCM); 300, April 7th. TĂźddenham St Mary: 500, January 8th. Lackford W.R.: 200, February. Cavenham: 250, April 4th.
The flock of 4000 in the Eriswcll/Lakenheath area on January 8th is the largest ever recorded in the County. There were April reports from 19 localities with the last being three at Dun wich and Southwold on 24th, then six in Dunwich Forest on 26th. A very intriguing report came from West Stow Country Park where a summer plumage male was located on June 25th and July 3rd (TK, CG). The first autumn arrivals were recorded in September at Landguard, 22nd; Boxford, 23rd and 30, Southwold, 25th. These preceded a more general arrival from early October. Landguard reported migrants from September 22nd to November 25th, peaking in October with 61 south on ten dates, maximum 19 on 23rd. The second winter period saw numbers back to normal with only one four-figure flock reported. Peak counts were: Dunwich: Mount Pleasant Farm, 1000, October 20th with 95 in November and 90 in December. Eyke: 40, December 31st. Lakenheath: 100, December 31st. Tuddenham St Mary: 40, December 3rd. Moulton: 150, October 30th.
SERIN Serinus serinus Very rare migrant. An excellent year for this species with a minimum of three birds, which brings the County total to 20. Southwold: Blyth Road allotments, singing male, April 6th to 1 Ith (CB, GJJ et al ). Leiston: Sizewell "B" Power Station, female, September 23rd (AMil). Felixstowe: Landguard, present on Reserve before flying off south, May 5th (LBO).
GREENFINCH Carduelis chloris Very common resident and passage migrant. First winter period flocks included 300, Sedge Fen, Lakenheath, January 8th; 500. Minsmere, January 18th; 300, Lackford W.R. in February; 1000, Westleton, February 13th; 100, Blue Circle pits, Gt Blakenham, February 26th; 146, Kirton Creek. River Deben, February 27th and 100, Rushmere Hall Primary School, Rushmere St Andrew in March, including 70 ringed on 19th. Spring passage peaked in late April with maximum totals of 117 on 20th and 41 on 26th at Landguard, and 80 at Harkstead on 23rd. The breeding population at North Warren reached an all-time high of 16 pairs (seven in 1993) whilst the breeding population at Landguard fell by 50% to only five pairs. Coastal autumn passage was noted at only three sites:134
Pakefield: 50, October 26th; 80, November 30th. Minsmere: 550 in October. Felixstowe: Landguard, 71 south on five dates in September, maximum 28 on 27th; 367 on 16 dates in October, maxima of 47 on 6th and 82 south on 24th; 276 on 12 dates in November, maximum 56 south on 1st; 12 ringed in December.
Autumn and winter peaks included 100, Long Melford during August; 175, Ipswich Airport, September 9th; 82 ringed at Rushmere Hall, Rushmere St Andrew, November 19th; 100, Herringswell, December 3rd; 120, Benacre Pits, December 13th and 70, Barsham, December 29th. GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. A tremendous showing in the first winter period included the following large flocks:Westleton: Common, 120, January 27th; 700, February 13th. Middleton: 200, January 30th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 120, February 12th. Iken: 150, January 18th. Lakenheath: Sedge Fen, 200, January 8th. Hengrave: Hall Estate, 100, January 31st. Lackford W.R.: 37 in January; 200 in February; 100 in March. Mildenhall: Hurst Fen, 1000, February 9th (ACF). Tuddenham St Mary: 200, February 22nd. Sudbury: Northern Bypass, 108, March 28th. Boxford: 130, April 6th.
The gathering of 1000 at Mildenhall, February 9th is the largest feeding flock ever recorded in Suffolk. Spring reports involved 80 at Rampart Field, Icklingham on April 10th, while Landguard reported 462 south in April, maximum 108 on 25th; 371 south in May, maximum 61 on 8th and 45 south in June until 9th. A hybrid finch at Landguard from May 5th to June 19th had a face pattern and call resembling that of Goldfinch and was almost certainly a Goldfinch x Canary hybrid. Very little breeding information was received although North Warren reported an increase to five pairs (two in 1993). A u t u m n p a s s a g e w a s r e c o r d e d at ten localities with the f o l l o w i n g highlights:â€” Shipmeadow: 200, September 28th.
Minsmere: 190, October. Leiston: 100, October 1st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 60, August 1st and 6th. Tuddenham St. Martin: Fynn Valley, 200, October 27th. Trimley Marshes: 200, August 26th and 28th; 100, September 12th and 19th; 70, October 3rd; 50, November 21st. Felixstowe: Landguard, 34 south on August 30th; 626 south on nine dates in September, maxima 217 on 27th and 242 on 28th; 2877 south on 22 dates in October, maxima 403 on 8th and 409 on 23rd; 1069 south on 20 dates in November, maximum 587 on 1st; three south on December 2nd and 5th. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, 60, August 13th.
Finningham: 300, September 21st. Hengrave: 50 in September, mostly juveniles.
The total of 4572 south over Landguard during September to November is the highest autumn passage total at this site since the 5037 in the equivalent period in Scarce in the second winter period with the only flocks of note being 250 at Aldringham Walks on November 8th and 30 at Trimley Marshes on December 4th. 135
SISKIN Carduelis spinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Widespread throughout the first winter period with peak counts of 210 at Minsmere on January 2nd; 250 at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket on January 3rd and 130 at North Warren, Aldeburgh on January 19th with 100 there on February 25th. No breeding reports were received although May reports involved two at Waveney Forest, Fritton, on 2nd; 17 at Dunwich Forest on 3rd and 19 in The King's Forest on 15 th. A h e a v y a u t u m n p a s s a g e w a s r e c o r d e d f r o m a n u m b e r of s i t e s : Aldeburgh: North Warren, 100 north, September 26th; 35 south, October 27th. Friston: Blackheath Wood, 30, October 11th. Covehithe: 40 south, September 27th; 15 south, October 6th and 8th. Lackford W.R.: eight, October 5th; 17, October 10th; 30, October 14th; six, October 20th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 16 north and 196 south on ten dates in September, with maxima of 61 south on 27th and 71 south on 30th; 373 in October, maximum 47 south on 4th; 192 in November, with maxima of 43 south on 4th and 35 south on 25th. Leiston: Sizewell, 40, September 26th. Southwold: 47 south on September 29th; 51 south on September 30th; 19 south on October 11th. Ufford: Vale Farm, 50, October 12th.
Late winter counts peaked at 200 at Santon Downham on November 12th; 190, North Warren, November 13th and 100 there, December 11th; 185, Lackford W.R. in November; 100, Sizewell in December; 110, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, December 20th; 100, Minsmere, December 23rd and 500, Barsham, December 30th. LINNET Carduelis cannabina Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in smaller numbers. According to BTO sources this species has suffered a 56% decline over the past twenty-five years. Reports received in 1994 in Suffolk may well indicate an upturn in the fortunes of this species particularly with the number of winter flocks reported. First-winter highlights were:Minsmere: 410, March 31st. Friston: 175, February 28th. Snape: Rookery Farm, 120, January 22nd; 380, January 29th; 200, February 25th and 140, April 19 th. Sudbourne: Ferry Farm, 120, January 15th. TĂźnstall: 100, April 20th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Common, 130, March 3rd. Gt Blakenham: Blue Circle pits, 100, February 26th; 105, April 5th. Lackford W.R.: 100 in January, rising to 300 in February.
An extensive spring passage was reported from several coastal sites : Covehithe/Benacre: steady southerly passage all day on March 27th including a flock of 250; southerly movement throughout the day on April 22nd/23rd, then 200 on April 26th. Southwold: 189 south on April 24th; 141 south on April 26th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 64 south on March 29th; 54 north on April 12th; 90 south on April 19th; 90 south on April 24th; 40 on May 20th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 1787 south on 19 dates in April, maxima 217 on 19th, 265 on 22nu and 323 on 25th. In May, 82 south on four dates until the 10th.
Breeding reports from well-monitored sites were very encouraging with 31 paifS at North Warren (23 in 1993, 15 in 1992); 29 at Minsmere (26 pairs in 1993, 20 m 1992) and five at Valley Farm, Coddenham (three in 1993, five in 1992). 136
Autumn passage was mainly reported from Landguard with 1682 south in September, maxima 562 on 27th and 730 on 28th; 2844 south on twenty dates in October, maximum 423 on 8th and 402 south in November, maximum 94 on 1st. Elsewhere there were 80, Levington, September 26th; 120, Sutton, September 29th; 155, North Warren, September 30th and 130, Baylham, October 9th. Very much less in evidence in the latter part of the year with peak counts of:Snape: Rookery Farm, 200, October 14th. Ufford: Lower Ufford, 200, October 12th. Felixstowe: Candlet, 150, November 27th.
TWITE Carduelis flavirostris Common but declining winter visitor and passage migrant. Reported from eight localities in the first winter period with peak counts of 23 at Dunwich, January 3rd; 46, Waldringfield Heath, January 11th; 50, Levington, January 20th; 40, Walberswick, January 22nd; 33, Southwold, February 6th and 34 on the Deben Estuary, February 13th. Birds returned earlier than normal with September reports of seven, Shingle Street, 10th; one, Benacre, 18th; two, Lowestoft, 21st and one, Southwold, 24th. These were followed by peak counts of 35 on the Deben Estuary, October 9th; 27 south at Minsmere, October 27th with 32 south there on November 2nd and 50 at Walberswick, November 27th rising to 60, December 11th and 24th. REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Common but declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This species continues to decline in the County with very low numbers recorded. Early peaks were only 19 at Lackford W.R. in January; 20, Minsmere, January 19th; 24, Blythburgh, January 31st; 25, Blackheath, Friston, January 31st; 35, Cavenham Heath, February 25th and 50, Worlington Golf Course, March 2nd. Breeding data were very scanty, although North Warren reported a recovery to six pairs (three in 1993, six in 1992). Reports were received from eight localities in Ipswich during the breeding season. Autumn passage at Landguard involved six birds in September; 81 south in October, maximum 20 on 27th and 72 south in November, maximum 41 on 1st. Only four reasonable size flocks were reported later in the year with 25 at Woodbridge Golf Course, September 4th; 43, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, November 5th; 35, Lackford W.R. in November and 60, Thetford Heath, December 31st. Two Mealy Redpolls (C.f. flammea) were reported from Landguard, October 16th and ten at Suffolk W.P., Bramford, December 27th. CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra Localised resident and irruptive visitor. Relatively low numbers were reported for this species with only two three-figure flocks, at Minsmere and Hollesley Heath in May. Early year highlights were:Lound: Waterworks, 24, June 1st. Walberswick: Sallow Walk Covert, 36, May 18th; 35, May 27th. ""nwich: 50, March 27th; 80, March 28th; 30, April 6th and 40, April 21st and 24th. â€˘Hinsmere: 11, January 22nd; 25, March 21st; 34, April 3rd; 66, May 29th; 204, May 30th and 61, June 11th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 27 north, March 26th; 18 north, March 27th. â€˘unstall Forest: family party, March 19th; 35, April 2nd and a mixed flock of 40 adults and juveniles in the summer.
Iken: 20, May 26th. Rendlesham Forest: 35, May 29th. Wantisden: Staverton Thicks, 20 north, May 1st. Capei St Andrew: Tangham, 30, May 30th. Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, 20, March 19th; 140, May 31st. Santon Downham: 40, June 7th.
Less typical reports involved two at Alton Water, May 30th; four, Chelmondiston Churchyard, June 2nd and seven, Kirkley Fen, Lowestoft, April 16th. Very scarce in the latter part of the year being reported from only nine localities. Peak counts were 64 at Minsmere, July 3rd and 30 at West Stow Country Park, October 8th. Migrants flew south at Landguard, August 28th (three) and Southwold. November 2nd. COMMON ROSEFINCH Carpodacus erythrinus Very rare passage migrant. Has bred. After the influx and breeding of 1992 only one was reported in 1993 and, unfortunately, 1994 continued in the same vein, with just two records. Southwold: imm, September 1st (BJS). Minsmere: imm. male in song, June 3rd to 6th. (IR).
BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Very common resident. Scarce passage migrant. Individuals of the nominate Continental race P.p. pyrrhula were recorded at Fagbury Cliff, May 18th (trapped) and October 26th, and Bawdsey, November 1st (trapped); the autumn birds were part of the largest ever recorded influx of this race into Britain, most of which occurred in Shetland and Orkney. Very few breeding data were received although North Warren reported an increase to 12 pairs (eight in 1993, seven in 1992); this is countered by comments from one observer who has reported a drastic decline in numbers in the Felixstowe area since 1991. The largest reported gatherings were of 23 at Minsmere on January 19th and ten at North Warren on November 27th. The only report from Landguard was of two males on November 19th. HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes Uncommon resident. This most secretive of species was recorded from 15 localities though only I one site attained double? figures. Darsham: May 3rd. Minsmere: single birds m June and from October 23rd to 26th. Leiston: Sizewell, one dead. November 7th. Wantisden: Staverton Thicks, [ w u , April / \ I ; 1 i I 6th; u u i , May i v i i i v 1st. fit-ff two, Trimley St Mary: Fagbury ClittNovember 6th and 9th. Felixstowe: Adastral Close, October 12th; Landguard, April 8th; female. October 11th and 12th.
Hadleigh/Aldham: Wolves Wood, two dates in April. Hengrave: five, January 19th; March 11th; four between September 1st and November 30th; 15, December 30th. King's Forest: three, April 5th. Little Saxham: April 29th. Nowton: Nowton Park, three, March 6th; December 17th; one pair probably bred. Thetford: Bamham Cross Common, eight dates until April 11th, all singles except four on January 2nd and two, March 1st and 27th; three, November 9th; November 28th and 29th; The Nunnery, singles on three dates up to April 12th, then three on November 8th. West Stow: Country Park, singles on March 29th and December 1st and 3rd.
LAPLAND BUNTING Calcarius lapponicus Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. A very poor year with records from only three sites:Minsmere: January 1st; two, January 7th; February 17th and 21st; two south, October 7th; October 11th and 12th; November 3rd; December 3rd. Trimley Marshes: November 26th and 28th. Felixstowe: Landguard, one, October 8th; singles south, November 6th, 12th and 17th.
SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded from 15 localities in relatively small numbers with no three-figure flocks reported. Early-year h i g h l i g h t s w e r e : Lowestoft: Pakefxeld, 50, January 18th; 23, March 9th. Kessingland: 42, February 6th; 50 south, February 27th. Aldeburgh/Thorpeness: 43, January 2nd; 27, February 7th; 19, March 3rd. April r e c o r d s involved o n e at K e s s i n g l a n d on 9th a n d 12 at A l d e b u r g h on 19th. One at S i z e w e l l o n S e p t e m b e r 18th p r e c e d e d t h e f o l l o w i n g l a t e - y e a r p e a k s : Kessingland: 43, November 30th; 40, December 22nd. Easton Bavents: 21, November 6th. Dunwich: 18, December 3rd and 27th. Aldeburgh/Thorpeness: 17, November 3rd; 35, December 14th.
Y E L L O W H A M M E R Emberiza citrinella Very common resident and passage migrant. Several flocks were reported in the first winter period with peaks of 39 at Barrow in January and 60 there in February; 80, Minsmere, January 18th; 50 roosting at Levington, February 5th; 60, Kentford, February 16th; 350, Blue Circle pits, Gt Blakenham, February 26th and 35, Lound, March 20th. There are no overriding trends in breeding numbers from the limited comparative data:- North Warren, 24 pairs (15 in 1993); Minsmere, 27 pairs (37 in 1993) and Valley Farm, Coddenham, 27 pairs (21 in 1993). Landguard reported 12 south on six dates between October 23rd and November 2 1st, maximum six on October 24th. Late year peaks were 100 at Desning Hall, Gazeley, December 3rd; 220 at Onehouse, December 10th; 30 at Benacre Pits, December 13th and 40 at Trimley St Martin, December 19th. ORTOLAN BUNTING are passage migrant.
This a n n u a l visitor w a s r e c o r d e d f r o m t w o sites o n typical d a t e s : ^insmere: female, May 20th (AJLei, IR). *elixstowe: Landguard, male, May 8th (LBO).
REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus Very common resident and passage migrant. The only flocks of note reported were 30 at Prettyman's Whin, Sudbourne on January 15th and 30 at Lackford W.R. in January, followed by 25 there on March 21st and 20 in April. Breeding reports included 29 pairs at Minsmere (25 in 1993); 21 pairs at North Warren (16 in 1993) and 13 pairs at Boyton Marshes. Autumn passage at Landguard involved seven in September and 58 in October, maximum 11 south on 24th and 28th, with four singles in November up to 24th. Minsmere reported 30 birds in October. CORN BUNTING Miliaria Uncommon resident.
Six localities r e c o r d e d d o u b l e - f i g u r e f l o c k s in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d as f o l l o w s : Lakenheath: Stallode Wash/Botany Bay, 11, January 1st; Sedge Fen, 20, January 8th. Kirton: 24, January 20th; 20, February 27th Holbrook: Lower Holbrook, 30, February 5th. Chelmondiston: Lings Lane, 15, February 26th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Common, 18, March 3rd.
Reported from 27 sites in the breeding season mostly involving one or two pairs except for three pairs at Great Livermere. Relatively scarce in the latter part of the year with the following peak counts;Sudbourne: 35, November 13th. Chelmondiston: 31, December 26th. Mildenhall: Mildenhall Fen, ten, December 31st.
Spring reports from Landguard involved singles on three dates between March 22nd and April 9th. In late autumn, birds flew south at Landguard on November 12th (two) and November 16th. According to BTO sources this species has suffered a 76% decline over the past 25 years; please continue to send in all records.
APPENDIX I — CATEGORY D SPECIES BAR-HEADED GOOSE Anser indicus Alpine lakes in central Asia; winters to India and Burma. Benacre: intermittently, August to at least October 22nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, August 19th to September 4th. Trimley Marshes: two in November, one in December. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, two, November 29th; Loompit Lake, December 21st. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, April 30th. This species shows no sign of establishing itself in the County. A small increase in sightings could be due to increased reporting, or the result of two birds wandering the Suffolk coast. SNOW G O O S E Anser caerulescens North-eastern Siberia and North America; winters North America south to Mexico. Kessingland: Kessingland Levels, January 16th. Benacre: July 3rd. Covehithe: November 30th. All records refer to the same individual. MUSCOVY D U C K Cairina moschata Lowlands of southern Mexico to Argentina and Brazil. Following on from the comments in last year's report, there has been increased interest in the population of this species at Oulton Broad, Lowestoft. The highest single count received involved a total of 102 individuals present, October 9th, an increase from the count of 85 made there on January 16th. Little has been revealed yet on the breeding biology of this population, but newly hatched young reported in October would suggest that the species is either continuous brooded (weather permitting) or breeds very late. WOOD D U C K Aix sponsa Inland waters of Canada to northern Mexico; Cuba and Bahamas. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, female, January 1st to at least March 24th. Felixstowe: Langer Park, two females, one first-year male, April 26th.
APPENDIX II — ESCAPEES BLACK SWAN Cygnus atraía Australia and Tasmania Shipmeadow: October 31st and November 26th. Carlton Colville: Peto's Marsh, October 26th. Oulton: July 8th and August 21st. Minsmere: May 2nd. It seems likely that all sightings refer to the same individual. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED G O O S E Anser erythropus North Eurasia; winters to southern Europe, India and China. Reports came from the usual areas, although the Bramford bird could feasibly be new. Bramford: SuffolkW.P., paired with Greylag Goose, April 2nd. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, intermittently during January and February. Alton Water: adult present throughout the year. Lackford W.R.: three adults, June 27th present throughout July and August. Botesdale/Redgrave: Redgrave Lake, two adults, February 1st. 141
EMPEROR GOOSE Anser canagicus Tundra of north-eastern Siberia to western Alaska; winters southern Alaska to northern California. Weybread: Shotford Bridge, January 4th. An individual of this species was seen just across the border in Norfolk on December 29th and it seems possible that the Otter Trust collection at Earsham could be guilty of letting it slip. CHINESE GOOSE Domestic origin. Melton: Water Park, May 18th to end of year. This bird was misidentified by more than one observer as a Swan Goose Anser cygnoides, the wild ancestor of the Chinese Goose. However, that species does not have the bulk of Chinese Goose, nor the large protuberance on the bill. At least some birds that appear to be Chinese/Greylag hybrids are at large in the County (M.Crewe pers. obs. ) It seems likely that this individual was deliberately released at this site. CHILOE WIGEON Anas sibilatrix Central Chile, Argentina to Tierra del Fuego, Falklands; winters to south-east Brazil. Great Bealings: two, October 31st.
Trimley Marshes: intermittently, January 14th to March 7th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, January 8th and 10th, presumed same as Trimley Marshes. WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL Anas bahamensis Locally in South America, West Indies and Galapagos Islands. Trimley Marshes: September 2nd.
ARGENTINE BLUE-BILL Oxyura vittata Southern Argentina and Chile; winters north to southern Brazil, Paraguay. Gt/Lt Livermere: Livermere Lake, male, April 11th to 30th. Presumably the same bird as last year. It is interesting to note that an individual of this species has also been reported from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Welney and returned there for its third winter at the end of 1994. REEVES PHEASANT Syrmaticus reevesii Low altitude deciduous forests of northern-central China. Mildenhall: Butts Plantation, male. May 9th. BUDGERIGAR Melopsittacus undulatus Abundant throughout drier parts of Australia. Felixstowe: Landguard, dead on beach, June 27th; live individual, July 14th. B A R B A R Y D O V E Streptopelia 'risoria' Domestic form of uncertain origin. Felixstowe: The Grove, with Collared Doves, January 15th. SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO Cacatua galerita New Guinea and adjacent islands to Australia and Tasmania. Lowestoft: Pakefield Cliffs, May 1 st. COCKATIEL Nymphicus hollandicus Widespread and abundant in interior of Australia. 142
Lowestoft: Jubilee Way, June 18th; Harbour, September 23rd; Denmark Road, October 6th. Leiston: May 31st. Felixstowe: June 19th to 20th; Landguard, May 24th and 30th, September 21st and 22nd. The usual run of sightings but all involving single birds. The species appears to be relatively short-lived when at large in this country. RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIX Leiothrix lutea Mountains of northern India, south-east Tibet, southern China, Burma and northern Tonkin. Felixstowe: Landguard, June 12th. This species is also known as Pekin Robin. VERDITER FLYCATCHER Muscicapa thalassina India to central and southern China, south-east Asia and Greater Sundas. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 12th. A male of this stunning species was seen at the north end of the Landguard Peninsula around the caravan park and later in Adastral Close. LONG-TAILED ROSEFINCH Urag us sibiricus Locally common in Eastern Palearctic to Japan. Vlinsmere: male, April 21st (WJB, DF). This is the second County report of this presumed escapee â€” the first was at Walberswick on 26th September 1991. DESERT FINCH Rhodopechys obsoleta Locally in mountains of southern Asia. Felixstowe: Landguard, female/imm. November 4th. Present briefly in the Landguard Bird Observatory compound before flying off south. Although most likely an escape from captivity, it is interesting to note that its occurrence coincided with that of the Blyth's Pipit at Landguard. ZEBRA FINCH Taeniopygia guttata Dry open woodlands of Australia and Lesser Sundas. Brightwell: killed by cat, January 21st.
APPENDIX III: LIST OF NON-ACCEPTED RECORDS The following list consists of 1994 and 1993 records that were not accepted by either 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. Black-throated Diver: up to three, offshore, Minsmere, during January; five, offshore, Covehithe, April 19th; offshore, Covehithe, November 9th; offshore, Covehithe, November 13th. Great Northern Diver: two, offshore, Minsmere, January 7th; offshore, Minsmere, January 30th; offshore, Covehithe, October 16th; offshore, Covehithe, November 9th. Red-necked Grebe: three, offshore, Minsmere, January 1st; offshore, Minsmere, January 28th; Slaughden, February 13th; Slaughden, December 4th. Slavonian Grebe: River Orwell, February 15th. Cory's Shearwater: offshore, Lowestoft, April 14th; offshore, Covehithe, July 25th; offshore, Covehithe, August 16th. 143
Mediterranean Shearwater: Sizewell, September 25th. Great White Egret: Butley Creek, August 6th. Purple Heron: Eastbridge, June 2nd; Benacre Pits, June 18th. Bean Goose: eight, Benacre Broad, January 21st. Honey Buzzard: Barking, September 21st. Black Kite: Gazeley, June 10th; Lackford, May 20th. Red Kite: Wingfield, August 5th; two, Wingfield, August 6th; East Bergholt, January 1st.. Montagu's Harrier: male, Minsmere, May 16th; female, Minsmere, May 20th. Goshawk: Knodishall, May 26th. Rough-legged Buzzard: Minsmere, February 4th, February 7th, February 26th, March 5th. Red-necked Phalarope: second bird, Minsmere, September 25th. Pomarine Skua: offshore, Minsmere, April 15th; offshore, Minsmere, April 16th; three, offshore, Minsmere, October 17th; seven, Sizewell, September 14th. Long-tailed Skua: imm, offshore, Covehithe, May 1st and 2nd; juv, offshore, Covehithe, August 4th. Sabine's Gull: juv/first-winter, offshore, Minsmere, April 15th. Ring-billed Gull: two adults/one second-winter, Blythburgh, January 30th; first winter, Minsmere, May 4th. Chimney Swift: Aldeburgh, November 5th. Roller: Aldeburgh, May 28th. Richard's Pipit: Minsmere, September 25th. Tawny Pipit: Minsmere, May 25th. Pechora Pipit: Minsmere, November 5th. Black-eared Wheatear: first-year female, Benacre, September 27th. Icterine Warbler: Minsmere, April 30th; Felixstowe, September 5th; Hill Wood, Sizewell, September 15 th. Greenish Warbler: Felixstowe, May 22nd. Arctic Warbler: Walberswick, September 5th. Red-breasted Flycatcher: Felixstowe, September 17th. Serin: Minsmere, May 20th. Rustic Bunting: male, Felixstowe, October 25th. Black-faced Bunting: first-year male, Minsmere, March 30th. A variety of records relating to Black-throated Diver, Pomarine Skua and Yellow-legged Gull are pending further consideration by SORC. 1993 records:Leach's Petrel: Minsmere, September 13th. Black Kite: two, Minsmere, September 16th. Great Snipe: Minsmere, September 13th. Pallas's Warbler: two, Minsmere, October 30th. Rose-coloured Starling: Theberton, August 29th. Cirl Bunting: Pakefield, October 28th. REFERENCES Gibbons, D W, Reid, J B and Chapman, R A 1993. The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain
and Ireland 1988-1991. Poyser, London. Lack, P C 1986. The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London.
Payn, W H 1978. The Birds of Suffolk. Ancient House Publishing, Ipswich.
19: Up to 300 Willow Warblers occurred at Fagbury Cliff in late August and midSeptember.
21: Birders at Blyth's Pipit twitch at Landguard in early November.
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 â€” Eds. S Abbott. D Ackfield, R J Arnfteld, J R Askins, T A Atkinson, J Attenborrow, R Attenborrow. S Babbs, D B Baker, J K Baker, Dr S P Ball, Miss D E Balmer, Dr M Bamford, P H Banks, N Barker, R Barras, L Battle, R E Batty, L P Beaven, J Bedford, R Bedwell, H R Beecroft, Mrs M J Beecroft, Rev G Bell, A Berry, M Biddle, R Biddle, Birdline East Anglia, Mrs S Bishop, S Bishop, T Bixby, M J Blair, L T Bloomfield, L Boswell, P Boswell, P D Boyles, W J Brame, S J Branch, Dr A Brenchley, British Trust for Ornithology, B J Brown, M Brown, R M Brown, T J Brown, T M Brown, S J Browne, J A Brydson, D Buckingham, A L Bull, P Bullett, R Burridge, H McK.Butcher, C Buttle. C Campbell, N Cant, D Carter, M Carter, Dr N Carter, S P Carter, W Carter, P R Catchpole, M Cavanagh, P Cavanagh, J M Cawston, C Chapman, A Charles, R Charles, K J Chittleborough, J A Clark, N A Clark, P Clifton, Mrs A E Cobb, D R Collins, Mrs J M Cook, M Cook, C A Cornish, M L Cornish, W R Cornish, D A Craven, M D Crewe, T Cross, N Crouch, C G D Curtis, M Currie, C J Cuthbert. P T Dann, C D Darby, Dr P J Dare, J A Davies, D Davison, H Dennington, S J Denny, T Dockerty, P F Donald, S Dow, S Dowers, Mrs C Dudley, S P Dudley, S Dumican, R A Duncan, 1 Dunnett. A C Easton, D R Eaton, J C Eaton, J C W Edwards, J Elliot, G Elliott, M Elliott, G English, A D Evans, J B Evans, S Evans. Fagbury Cliff Ringing Group, I Fair, R Fairhead, D Fairhurst, A Farthing, Mr Fiske, Miss J Fourdrinier, A C Frost, S J Fryett, C Fulcher, R J Fuller. Mrs J Garrod, K W Garrod, J Garstang, D W Gibbons, N Gibbons, Rev T W Gladwin, J A Glazebrook, S J Gough, S A Graham, J H Grant, T Gray, Mrs T Gray, C Gregory, L Gregory, R D Gregory. L P Hall, P Hamling, B Harrington, R G Harris, B Hart, Mrs M Hart, I R Hartley, P Harvey, G A Hawes, M Hawkes, P V Hayman, I G Henderson, Mrs J Hill, B Holland, S J Holloway, A Howe, D Howe, T Humpage, Sir A G Hurrell, E Huxley. D Ireland. M Jackson, P Jackson, R Jackson, C A Jacobs, C J Jakes, M James, G J Jobson, D P Johnson, M Jowett. K Keeble, A Kennedy, T Kerridge, Mr & Mrs F Kiddy, D Kightley, D King, J A C King, W J Kirton, P Kitchener, C D Knott. Dr P C Lack, Lackford Wildfowl Reserve, P Lambert, Landguard Bird Observatory, C Langlois, D Langlois, R A Langston, R H Langston, A Lapworth, A J Last, A J Lawrie, Mrs D Lawrie, J Lawson, R Leavett, A J Leitch, S M Leonard, B Leport, R Ling, S J Ling, J V Lloyd, Mrs C M Lowe, D C Lowe, G Lowe. R N Macklin, Mrs E Mansfield, J H Marchant, S Marginson, M Marks, O Marks, D C Marsh, E Marsh, E T Marsh, E W Marsh, M C Marsh, N Marsh, N Mason, P Mason, S Mayson, Mrs McPherson, H Mead, R Michette, A Miller, D R Moore, R Moore, Mrs A G Morgan, A Morris, T Morris, R Moss, P W Murphy. A Nairn, M A Neave, P Newton, S D Noble.
D O'Hara, N Odin, P Oldfield, G Oram, T Outlaw, J Oxford. M Packard, A R J Paine, B Parker, M Parker, A J Parr, E Parsons, Miss S Parsons, J Partridge, E W Patrick, W J Peach, Dr D J Pearson, R Perkins, I Peters, S H Piotrowski, R Plowman, N Pope, L Potter, C R Powell, T Proctor. R Rafe, B Ranner, P J Ransome, Mrs R Ranson, Mrs A Ravenscroft, N Rayment, S Read, G Reeder, D Ridgley, B E Ridout, D A Riley, G Riley, A Riseborough, M Rivers, Ms M Rivers, I Robinson, B S Rose, Sqd Ldr D R Rothery, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, M W Russell. B Salway, D Scott, R E Scott, Mrs M Seeker, D A Secret, A Sherwin, Miss M Sibthrop, K Simons, D B Sivyer, Dr N J Skinner, A H Skull, B J Small, J Smith, M Smith, R Smith, R C Smith, R Snook, P Steggall, R Stewart, M G Stiff, V E Stiff, Judge D Stinson, T Stopher, Mrs C Stow, S A Stow, J G Stray, Suffolk Biological Records Centre, Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, C Sutton, C D Sutton, D Sutton, M Sutton, Mrs R N Sutton. M Thomas, B G Thompson, J Thorogood, B Tickner, J Tobias, L J Townsend, Mrs A Trodd, Mrs B J Turner, J A Turner. D K Underwood. J Vane, P Varney, R Viccars, P J Vincent, A E Vine, N Vipond. R Waiden, C S Waller, D F Walsh, J Walshe, L Ward, Rev R G Warren, R B Warren, J Wasse, R Waters, J R Watson, E H Webb, L H Weeks, G Welch, Mrs H Welch, R West, G C White, P Whittaker, Mrs B Williamson, A M Wilson, J D Wilson, R Wilson, J Woolfries, M Wright, M T Wright. S Youell. J Zantboer.
EARLIEST AND LATEST DATES OF SUMMER MIGRANTS SPECIES
M a r c h 27th
April 2 2 n d
Eri s well/Thetford
M a r c h 5 th
Little R i n g e d P l o v e r Whimbrel
M i n s m e r e / N o r t h Warren/ Thetford
M a r c h 11th
L a c k f o r d W.R.
M a r c h 10th April 28th
A u g u s t 25th
O c t o b e r 3rd
N o v e m b e r 3rd October 2Ist
H a v e r g a t e Island Breckland
S e p t e m b e r 12th
N o v e m b e r 1 Ith
S e p t e m b e r 19th
S a n d w i c h Tern
M a r c h 25th
H a v e r g a t e Island
N o v e m b e r 7th
C o m m o n Tern
O c t o b e r 28th
L a c k f o r d W.R.
O c t o b e r 5th
L a c k f o r d W.R.
April 2 2 n d
Trimley M a r s h e s
O c t o b e r 2nd
B l a c k Tern
April 2 3 r d
L a c k f o r d W.R.
S e p t e m b e r 20th
O c t o b e r 24th
M a y 11th
N o v e m b e r 17th
S a n d Martin
M a r c h 1st
H o u s e Martin
S e p t e m b e r 24th
M a r c h 26th
K e s s i n g l a n d / L a c k f o r d W.R.
M a r c h 21st
H a v e r g a t e Island
Easton Bavents Sizewell
Fagbury Cliff Hollesley Heath Stratford St M a r y
O c t o b e r 10th
The Grove, Felixstowe
O c t o b e r 26th
December 22nd D e c e m b e r 3rd
Flempton L a c k f o r d W.R.
N o r t h Warren
O c t o b e r 23rd
O c t o b e r 15th
N o r t h Warren
T r e e Pipit
M a r c h 27th
Ring Ouzel Grasshopper Warbler S e d g e Warbler
September 7th O c t o b e r 23rd
N o v e m b e r 15th
Fagbury Cliff Cavenham Heath
N o v e m b e r 3rd
Fagbury Cliff Fagbury Cliff Trimley Marshes Felixstowe
April 2 n d
K i n g s Forest
N o v e m b e r 14th
A l t o n Water
S e p t e m b e r 26th
Barton M i l l s / N o r t h Warren
O c t o b e r Ist
North Warren/Fagbury Cliff
April 2 2 n d
H a v e r g a t e Island
N o r t h Warren
N o v e m b e r 6th
F a g b u r y Cliff
N o v e m b e r 18th
April 2 3 r d
S u t t o n Heath
W o o d Warbler
N o v e m b e r 7th O c t o b e r 1 Ith
Fagbury Cliff Landguard
M a r c h 21st
N o v e m b e r 16th
S p o t t e d Flycatcher
O c t o b e r 8th
O c t o b e r 9th
W i l l o w Warbler
S u f f o l k ' s earliest s p r i n g arrival s i n c e 1 9 5 8
(March 2nd, Orford)
S u f f o l k ' s e a r l i e s t e v e r r e c o r d e d s p r i n g arrival d a t e
S u f f o l k ' s s e c o n d latest e v e r r e c o r d e d
T h e first D e c e m b e r record in S u f f o l k s i n c e 1987, a n d the s e c o n d latest e v e r
( D e c e m b e r 9th 1974, I p s w i c h ) ( D e c e m b e r 24th — n o year
S u f f o l k ' s latest e v e r r e c o r d
S u f f o l k ' s earliest s p r i n g arrival s i n c e 1 9 7 3
S u f f o l k ' s latest e v e r r e c o r d T h e N o v e m b e r r e c o r d r e f e r s to an e a s t e r n race bird, p r e s e n t O c t o b e r 26th t o N o v e m b e r 6th; o t h e r w i s e latest, O c t o b e r
(March 22nd, Akenham/Minsmere)
20th, L a n d g u a r d *9 * 10
S u f f o l k ' s latest e v e r r e c o r d E q u a l s latest e v e r S u f f o l k r e c o r d
RARITIES IN SUFFOLK 1994 Mike Crewe (with Richard Rafe and Philip
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I have to start this review by saying that this was yet another good year for anyone hooked on the pursuit of rarities. It is obvious that the dramatic increase in the number of observers in recent years has had an effect on the number of rare birds found, but can this be the only reason for the upsurge in records? It does seem likely that migration patterns of some species are changing and some of the once very scarce visitors may be coming here in greater numbers. This would appear to apply particularly to far-eastern visitors such as Richard's Pipit and Yellow-browed and Pallas's Warblers, but species extending their breeding ranges westwards may also become regular â€” look out for more Red-flanked Bluetails, Lanceolated Warblers and Yellow-breasted Buntings! For one fortunate observer, January 1 st provided an exceptional start to the year with a Great White Egret at Botany Bay, only the fourth County record. Predictably, for the rest of us, the year started quietly, but a long-staying Great Northern Diver on the Orwell was appreciated by many. The glut of Little Egrets on the south coast of England has yet to become a feature of East Anglia and Suffolk attracted just a single in January. Observers in the north of the County were treated to several wintering Pomarine Skuas offshore and a long-staying Grey Phalarope in Lowestoft Harbour. The early part of the year provided a selection of birds of prey, including a good number of Buzzards and a continued increase in the number of wintering Peregrines. Both Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were reported but remained elusive, and Great Grey Shrikes continue to remain scarce with one on Westleton Heath being the only settled bird in the early part of the year. A Dipper at Gunton Hall near Lowestoft for two weeks in January continued the recent trend, with County records in six of the last eight years. Spring passage brought with it the usual run of over-shooting migrants. Rare herons included a Night Heron at Lackford Wildfowl Reserve (the County's 13th and Lackford's second) and four long-staying Purple Herons at Minsmere with another one-day bird at Livermere. Four spring Honey Buzzards, several Red Kites and Montagu's Harriers, together with two May Red-footed Falcons provided the raptor stars. Waders were uninspiring with no major rarities, but finders were no doubt still pleased with two Kentish Plovers and single Temminck's Stint and Rednecked Phalarope. A trip of ten Dotterel in the far west of the County was seen by one fortunate observer, just reward for 'local patch' work. Classic spring over-shoots included Alpine Swift (the County's 15th), two Redrumped Swallows, two White-winged Black Terns, two Hoopoes (both inland), six Bluethroats (the best ever spring total), two Serins, seven Red-backed Shrikes and two Ortolan Buntings. There was just a single Common Rosefinch so, disappointingly, no consolidation of the breeding attempt of 1992. There were also reports of Melodious Warbler trapped at Fagbury (the County's seventh), Subalpine Warbler at Minsmere (the County's tenth) and Red-breasted Flycatcher (the County's sixth spring record) and two Icterine Warblers at Fagbury. The year's first addition to the County list came with a Sardinian Warbler at Landguard on May 20th. Marsh Warblers continue to increase and, possibly for the first time ever, there were no spring records of Wryneck. Mid-summer was, as expected, quiet but with a good showing of Little Egrets, mainly around the Aide-Ore Estuary, several Red Kites, two adult Roseate Terns at Minsmere copulating and nest scraping, but then departing and, most surprisingly, an Icterine Warbler in song at Landguard on July 3rd. 148
Autumn is the season for the rarity-conscious birder. It seems remarkable that each year can be so different from previous years and produce a crop of completely unexpected birds time after time. Seawatchers took up position for another season of wait-and-see and the early-autumn tally included three Long-tailed Skuas and a Sabine's Gull. Raptors were not overly inspiring with a trickle of Ospreys, several Red Kites, just a single Honey Buzzard and a single Montagu's Harrier. As with spring passage, no major wader rarities were noted, although a Kentish Plover, Temminck's Stint, three Pectoral Sandpipers and Red-necked Phalarope were located. A White-winged Black Tern at Minsmere was the third of the year. September, October and early November produced a scattering of 'traditional' autumn migrants, including a Hoopoe, 22 Wrynecks, Red-rumped Swallow, nine Richard's Pipits (after only five in the last decade), Tawny Pipit, four Icterine Warblers, seven Barred Warblers, two Woodchat Shrikes and Serin. Yellow-browed Warblers appeared on cue in late September with an estimated 20 birds recorded (the second best autumn ever). Minsmere maintained its monopoly on Penduline Tits with a male sporadically reported throughout much of September (the County's fifth record, involving at least six birds). After a good spring showing, there were no autumn Bluethroats. October also produced the County's latest ever record of Cory's Shearwater. Once again, it was the blanket coverage of the south Felixstowe area which produced some of the really special birds, and Suffolk birders must owe a great debt of gratitude to whoever pays the lighting bill at Felixstowe Docks! A Pied Wheatear (first for Suffolk) on the dock fence at Fagbury started the ball rolling and was still present two days later when, beyond the wildest dreams of all but the most hopelessly optimistic, a superb male Red-flanked Bluetail (first for Suffolk) was trapped at Landguard. On October 26th, birders in the Felixstowe area could see Pied Wheatear, Red-flanked Bluetail, Red-rumped Swallow, two Rough-legged Buzzards, Yellow-browed Warbler and several Pallas's Warblers. The late autumn continued to produce further birds for the rarity hunter to pursue. There was just time to draw breath from the late October extravaganza, before a rather odd-looking Richard's Pipit at Landguard was finally confirmed as Suffolk's first Blyth's Pipit. Three Suffolk "firsts" in quick succession, but perhaps the most extraordinary occurrence of the year involved an American Robin, sadly found dead, in Felixstowe Docks. There was an influx of Rough-legged Buzzards which started uneventfully in September, but became the largest invasion of this species since 1974; the full total may never be known exactly, as birds wandered through the County, but at least 20 birds are thought to have occurred. After the main influx in late October, the majority of birds passed quickly through. Also re-writing the record books, a staggering total of at least 22 Pallas's Warblers was reported, emphatically surpassing the previous best annual total of six and nearly doubling the County's total of 27 up to the end of 1993; with the bulk coming from wellwatched locations and ringing sites, one wonders just how many went undetected. A Radde's Warbler in early November is the County's sixth record. November also saw reward for two of the County's most persistent seawatchers with a White-billed Diver off Southwold (only the County's third record). Late autumn and winter again saw Buzzards and Peregrines in good numbers, and a good showing of Shore Larks after the rather meagre totals of the last decade. Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were again scarce, and there were no Waxwings. A Dipper appeared on the River Lark at Mildenhall, a Great Grey Shrike returned to winter on Westleton Heath and a Dartford Warbler was again present in the County at the year end â€” this species has now been present in five of the last eight years. 149
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL — FIRST FOR SUFFOLK Düring the second net round of the day at Landguard Bird Observatory on Wednesday October 26th 1994 I found a small passerine in one of the nets that was immediately identifiable as being an adult male Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus. The bird was taken to the ringing room where it was ringed, processed and a full description taken with the assistance of Mike Marsh. After being released the bird remained at Landguard for the remainder of the day. It was eventually seen by about 500 observers despite being very mobile around the site. The Bluetail occurred on a day when very few other grounded migrants were present and the day's ringing total was only 14 birds. However visible passage was very much in evidence, with 2280 Wood Pigeons Columba palumbus, 108 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis and over 500 finches moving south, and single Roughlegged Buzzard Buteo lagopus and Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica were also seen. In-the-hand description: This was kept to a minimum as the bird presented no identification problems. There were no signs of wear on the wing tips or feet and the bird showed no signs of having recently been in captivity. Head Forehead and Crown: Robin-brown with metallic-blue bases grey-brown Lores: grey-brown Ear Co verts: broad cream in front of eye, metallic-turquoise above and Supercilium: behind eye Upperparts Nape: grey-brown Scapulars and Mantle: turquoise-blue with broad brown fringes Rump and Upper-Tail Coverts: metallic-blue Wings Primaries and Secondaries: blackish-brown with Robin-brown outer webs Tertials and Primary Coverts: as primaries and secondaries but with slight bluish tinge Alula: blackish-brown Lesser Coverts: bright metallic-blue with blackish base to feathers bright metallic-blue with brown fringes Median Coverts: dark metallic-blue broadly fringed Robin-brown Greater Coverts: blackish-brown with broad pale buffish-yellow tips Underwing Coverts: fresh with no signs of wear Condition of wing: Underparts Chin: buff, sharply contrasting with ear coverts Throat: cream Breast band: buffish-yellow Flanks: orange Belly: ofï-white Vent and Under-Tail Coverts: white Axillaries: yellowish Tail Central pair of tail feathers bright metallic-blue, remainder of tail feathers bright blue with darker inner webs; no signs of wear on tail. Bare Parts Bill: black with inside black with pinkish inner area Iris: blackish-brown Orbital Ring: whitish below eye Tarsus and Toes: blackish-brown Soles: very pale greyish 150
Behaviour was very much like that of a Robin Erithacus rubecula. Whenever it attempted to settle down in any particular area it would be harassed by the territorial wintering Robins; as such, at times it was understandably skulking. No call was heard. Nigel Odin, c/o Landguard Bird Observatory, View Point Road, Felixstowe IP 11 8TW
BLYTH'S PIPIT â€” FIRST FOR SUFFOLK Friday November 4th 1994 saw a small arrival of typical late-autumn migrants at Landguard Point, Felixstowe. During the daily census of migrants on the Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve Nigel Odin found a large pipit which was tentatively identified as being a Richard's Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae. However, the possibility of the bird being a Blyth's Pipit Anthus godlewskii was discussed, albeit somewhat lightheartedly, with Mike Marsh and Justin Zantboer. Nevertheless, the news was put out to the effect that a Richard's Pipit was present at Landguard and several observers saw the bird during the course of the day. The observers who arrived to see the pipit (and a Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus) on November 5th included Brian Small who had made a detailed study of pipit skins at the British Museum, Tring. BS was immediately struck by the pipit's small size, pale appearance and very active behaviour; continued observation revealed more features that were compatible with Blyth's Pipit including the short hind claw which was equal to or even slightly shorter than the hind toe. During the course of the day discussions concerning the bird's identity led to complete agreement that the bird was indeed a Blyth's Pipit. During the course of the bird's sojourn at Landguard it was seen by about 2000 observers. Initially the pipit fed actively, very much in the manner of a wheatear Oenanthe sp. However, on November 7th NO started putting out maggots for the pipit which it obviously took a liking to as by November 9th it was spending the bulk of its time sitting by its food supply and gradually getting visibly fatter. On November 10th the pipit was trapped for an in-hand examination. Unfortunately, one and a half hours after being released the pipit was caught by a male Kestrel Falco tinnunculus. The following in-hand description was taken : Upperparts Forehead and crown pale brownish-buff heavily streaked with blackish-brown, the heavy streaks at the side of the crown giving an eyebrow effect above the supercilium; supercilium creamy-white, broad behind the eye, slightly bulging above it and merging with the pale lores in front; narrow creamy-white eye-ring obvious below eye but not discernible against similarly coloured supercilium; lores very pale greyish-buff; ear coverts pale brown adjacent to eye, slightly darker towards nape; diffuse dark brown eye-stripe extending back from eye, merging into the brown along the rear edge of the ear-coverts; mantle and upper back pale brownishbuff heavily streaked with blackish-brown; scapulars, lower back, rump and upper-tail coverts unstreaked brown with slight greyish tinge. Underparts Chin and throat off-white with a slight creamy tinge; blackish-brown moustachial stripe, indistinct towards bill but broad just below eye; creamy-white submoustachial stripe; thin dark brown malar stripe from base of lower mandible, joining with streaks at side of breast; cream coloured breast with distinct gorget of dark brown spots/streaks, broad dark brown spots at the centre becoming narrower streaks at sides; flanks, vent and under-tail coverts unstreaked warm buff; belly greyish off-white, much colder than flank and breast. Wings
Primaries dark brown, with narrow slightly paler edge to outer web; secondaries dark brown with broad pale tawny-brown edge to outer web; tertials dark brown with broad off-white 151
fringe to outer web; upper lesser coverts greyish-brown with dark brown centres; lower lessercoverts blackish-brown with off-white fringes; median coverts, all same age, blackish-brown with clear-cut off-white fringes, narrow at sides but broad just before tip so that the dark centres reached a distinct point; greater coverts, as medians but dark centres not reaching such a pronounced point and the fringes pale buff-brown at the sides becoming whitish towards tips; inner greater covert of each wing differing from the others by having the fringe a uniform warm brown becoming narrower towards tip instead of getting broader; primary coverts dark brown narrowly tipped with off-white; alula feathers dark brown edged with off-white, although the large feather was marginally paler with a narrower fringe; under-wing coverts whitish with pale grey centres; axillaries buff; condition of wing fresh. Tail Central tail-feather (tl) noticeably paler than adjacent tail-feathers being greyish-brown, similar in colour to the upper-tail coverts, edged with buffish-white; t2 blackish-brown; t3 blackish-brown with very small white spot on tip; t4 blackish-brown with white tip to inner web and 9 mm white end to outer web; t5 blackish-brown with distal two-thirds of outer web creamy-white and large triangular creamy-white wedge on inner web, extending to 23.3 mm along shaft from tip on left feather and 25.5 mm on right; outer web of tail-feather (t6) completely white; inner web extensively white at end of feather, the white extending in a wedge up the shaft to 39 mm from tip with the rest of the feather blackish-brown. Tail feathers slightly worn at tips, otherwise fresh. Bare Parts Upper mandible blackish, pink on cutting edge for basal two-thirds and small pale spot on extreme tip; lower mandible pink with black tip; iris brownish-black; tarsus, soles and toes pinkish-brown; inside of upper mandible basally pink becoming yellowish towards tip and brown at extreme tip. Age The bird was aged as a first-winter using the criteria detailed by Svensson, 1992 (Identification Guide to European Passerines. 4th edition) i.e. the pattern of the median and greater coverts. Wing formula 3rd primary longest; 2nd - 0.5 mm; 4th - 0.5 mm; 5th - 1.0 mm; 6th - 9.0 mm; 7th - 15.0 mm; 8th - 18.0 mm; 9th - 20.0 mm; 10th - 22.0 mm; 1st primary miniscule; wingpoint 1.0 mm longer than longest tertial; emarginations on outer web of 3rd, 4th and 5th primaries. Measurements wing length (maximum cord): 90 mm tail length: 70 mm tarsus length: 27.0 mm (left); 27.2 mm (right) tarsus width: 2.1 mm hind claw: 12.5 mm (left); 11.8 mm (right) hind toe + claw (right leg): 22.0 mm bill to skull: 16.4 mm bill width: 4.5 mm bill depth: 4.1mm weight: 26.5 gms fat score: 4 (Bill width and depth measurements taken at proximal end of nostrils) Call: resembled the call notes of both Richard's Pipit and Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava. Nigel Odin, c/o Landguard Bird Observatory, View Point Road, Felixstowe IP 11 8TW Mike Marsh, 5 Ennerdale Close, Felixstowe IP 11 9SS (An excellent field description was also submitted by Brian Small whose colour illustration of the Blyth's Pipit is featured on page 528 of the November 1995 issue of British Birds â€” Ed.) 152
PIED WHEATEAR — FIRST FOR SUFFOLK In the late afternoon of October 24th 1994, after visiting Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St Mary to see a Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus, my wife and I were returning to our car, which was parked at the start of the footpath, when a small bird appeared on top of a parked lorry trailer cióse by. I expected it to be one of the local Black Redstarts Phoenicurus ochruros but when I looked at it through binoculars I quickly realised that it was a small wheatear Oenanthe sp but clearly not a Wheatear O. oenanthe. After a few seconds it disappeared from view behind the parked lorries. I relocated it in the lorry park at some distance but through my telescope had prolonged views of it as it fed beneath the trailers. By this stage I was fairly certain that I was watching either a Pied Wheatear O. pleschanka or a Black-eared Wheatear O. hispánico. The light was now fading quickly so I concentrated on getting as good a description as circumstances permitted. Given the light conditions there seemed little point in alerting other observers, so I returned home. Research convinced me that I had been watching a female Pied Wheatear, probably a first-winter. However some features were puzzling, such as the very dark flanks, which I could not find illustrated, so I did not, at this stage, rule out a Blackeared Wheatear of the eastern race O.h. melanoleuca. I returned at first light on October 25th and was able to relocate the bird despite heavy rain. I then contacted Birdline East Anglia which quickly resulted in the arrival of Mike Marsh, Nigel Odin and Steve Piotrowski. The bird's general coloration, barring across the back and contrast between the flanks and white vent left its four observers in no doubt that it was a first-year female Pied Wheatear. However, with the arrival of more observers some scepticism aróse concerning the initial identification with some still maintaining the view that it might be an eastern race Black-eared Wheatear. In order to dispel these doubts it was decided to trap the bird if the opportunity aróse. Svensson (1992) shows that there is some overlap in wing measurements between Pied and Black-eared Wheatears but a wing length of 91 mm or more should rule out Black-eared. The bird was eventually caught on October 26th using a "Potter" trap and the following in-hand description was taken by David Pearson in the company of Rex Beecroft and Gary Mortimer:Upperparts Forehead, crown and nape: cold darkish brown with narrow buff feather tips (some oil on crown!) Lores and ear coverts: as crown Supercilium: paler buff-brown but not very pronounced Mantle and scapulars: cold darkish brown with broader buff tips Back: dark brown with narrow buff tipping Rump and uppertail coverts: slightly dirty white, longest tail coverts worn on tips Wings Primaries and secondaries: blackish-brown with narrow buff edges Primary coverts, greater coverts, tertials: blackish-brown with broad buff edges Smaller wing coverts: dark brown in centre largely obscured by broad buff edges Tail t3-t4 with inner webs white to tip but outer web with 15 mm wide blackish brown tip; ti blackish; t2 and t5 with 18 mm wide dark blackish-brown tip; t6 as t2/t5 but blackish-brown extending further from tip along outer edge. Underparts Chin and throat: palé greyish-buff 153
Breast: Belly: Flanks: Bareparts Legs: Bill: Iris:
as throat but with darker grey-brown barring forming a complete band — some dark shaft streaks on lower breast greyish-white dark greyish-brown contrasting with white vent and undertail coverts black blackish, inside of upper mandible yellowish black
Worn uppertail coverts, slightly worn primary tips, broad buff wing edging and dark brown (rather than black) tail feather tips indicated a first-year bird; lack of any black feathers in throat indicated that it was a iemale. Biométries
96 mm, emarginated on p3-p5, wing point p3/4, p2 = 5/6.
REFERENCE: Svensson, L. 1992. Identification Guide to European Passerines. 4th édition. Stockholm.
Mark Smith, 2 Highfield, Eye, Suffolk IP23 7BP
SARDINIAN WARBLER — FIRST FOR SUFFOLK After three days of mainly northerly winds and little migrant activity I was hopeful that May 20th 1994 would be more productive. The winds had dropped to a light north-easterly breeze, it was overcast and there had been light rain overnight. As usuai the nets at Landguard Bird Observatory were unfurled just before first light and the first few net rounds confirmed that there had been a reasonable arrivai of migrants including a good selection of common warblers and several Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata. Just after 07.00 hours as I was approaching one of the mist-nets I could see that it held a warbler, which from a distance I assumed to be a Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla. Initially all I could see of the bird was its back and the top of its head, which was obviously black. When I reached the net and saw the bird side on it was immediately obvious that I was looking not at a Blackcap but at a male Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala ! Its most obvious features were its extensive glossy black cap, white chin and throat and brilliant red eye-ring. The bird was quickly extracted and taken to the ringing room where it was ringed, processed and a full description taken with the assistance of Nigel Odin. On release it flew into the Holm Oaks at the front of the Observatory compound. Whilst in the thick cover of the Holm Oaks and adjacent végétation it could be heard calling occasionally, its cali being a harsh scolding chatter, but gave nothing more than tantalising glimpses. After a while it was lost completely and there was no sight or sound of it for several hours until the afternoon when it was relocated in an area of scrub at the back of the Observatory compound. Fortunately for the many birders who were now present it was not as secretive as it had been in the morning and most had excellent views. Description Upperparts
Crown, forehead, lores and ear-coverts glossy black, the black cap extending from bill below eye to lower ear-coverts; nape, back, rump and upper-tail coverts slate-grey. Underparts
Chin and throat pure white, although feather bases dark; flanks and under-tail coverts ash-grey with paler greyish-white breast and belly. 154
Sardinian Warbler Wings Lesser and median coverts slate-grey; greater and primary coverts, blackish-grey neatly edged and tipped with slate-grey; greater coverts all of same age; alula noticeably darker than rest of wing, the large alula feather being blackish, edged with pale dirty grey and the middle feather blackish, distinctly edged with silvery-grey; primaries and secondaries brownish-black, outer webs finely edged with pale grey; tertials brownish-black, broadly fringed with pale grey; condition of wing fresh apart from slight wear on inner primaries. Tail T1 dark grey; t2 and t3 black; t4 black with small white tip; t5 black with broad white tip; outer tail feather (t6) with outer web white, grey at base and inner web black with distal quarter white, the white being more extensive along edge of inner web; tail rounded. Bare parts Upper mandible blackish-grey with pale grey cutting edge; basal two-thirds of lower mandible greyish-horn, tip black; legs and feet orange-brown, soles yellowish-brown; claws dark brown; iris orange-brown; orbital ring scarlet. Wing formula 1st primary 3.5 mm longer than primary coverts; 3rd and 4th longest; 1st - 12.0 mm; 2nd 5.0 mm; 5th - 0.5 mm; 6th - 3.0 mm; 7th - 5.0 mm; 8th - 6.0 mm; 9th - 7.0 mm; 10th 7.5 mm; 1st secondary - 6.0 mm; emarginations on 3rd, 4th and 5th. Measurements Wing length (maximum chord): 64 mm Weight: 11.9 g Fat score: 0. Age The absence of any obvious moult limits and the fresh, grey-edged primaries and primary coverts suggested an adult, but some young birds undergo a complete moult (Svensson 1992) so this bird has to be left unaged. REFERENCE: Svensson, L. 1992. Identification Guide to European Passerines. 4th edition. Stockholm
Mike Marsh, 5 Ennerdale Close, Felixstowe IP 11 9SS 155
ORIENTAL PRATINCOLE — SECOND FOR SUFFOLK On September 4th 1993 I started a week's voluntary wardening on Havergate Island RSPB reserve. On this particular day I was accompanied by my father, W R Cornish and brother, M L Cornish. Before WRC and MLC had to return to Orford we decided to have a final look on Dovey Scrape. Several waders were beginning to gather on the Scrape as the rising tide pushed them off the mudflats of the River Ore. While trying to locate some Golden Plovers Pluvialis apricaria that MLC had found I scanned across a sand pit and to my amazement saw the head of a pratincole Glareola sp protruding from a clump of Vegetation. Having pointed out the bird to WRC and MLC, I raced back to the accommodation huts to inform Stephen Denny, the reserve's Assistant Warden, of my discovery. I returned to the hide but during continued observation the bird remained half hidden by the végétation. The head and breast could be clearly seen but not any features that would determine specific identification. The other three observers had to leave but I remained in the hide to watch the bird and eventually it walked out into the open. Whilst preening it lifted a wing revealing chestnut underwing coloration thus ruling out Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni. When it was in the open the bird frequently "pumped" its tail up and down and the tail length was shorter than the primaries which indicated Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum. Identification was finally confirmed when the pratincole flew about 15 métrés to a nearby mudbank and revealed a dark upperwing with no white trailing edge to the secondaries — it was indeed an Oriental Pratincole. I watched the pratincole for two and a half hours and returned again in the evening and saw it again but only for two minutes before it was chased off by a Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. I searched for the pratincole again on September 5th but failed to relocate it. However, what is presumed to have been the same bird was seen again on the reserve two weeks later on September 19th. Description Head Crown dark brown; lores black; blackish-brown smudge behind eye; neck/collar pale buff. Underparts Chin/throat very pale buffish-yellow demarcated by black line; breast rieh, warm buffish peach with deepest intensity of colour on lower breast; vent white. Upperparts Mantle greyish-brown; rump white; tail black with deep fork; tail shorter than primaries. Wings Underwing coverts and axillaries brown-red; no white trailing edge to secondaries; primaries, secondaries and primary coverts blackish-brown contrasting with paler brown remainder of upperwing. Bare parts Legs black; bill short, stubby and down-curved — black with red base; eyes black. In flight looked tern-like; flight fast and swift, low over ground.
Carl Cornish, c/o 23 Waterloo Avenue, Leiston, Suffolk IP16 4HE
WHITE-BILLED DIVER — THIRD FOR SUFFOLK At about midday on November 6th 1994 I was seawatching from the north end of Southwold Promenade with W. J. Brame. We had located three Velvet Scoters Melanina fusca and a Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis amongst a flock of about 200 Common Scoters Melanina nigra some 400 métrés offshore when WJB 156
excitedly brought my attention to a diver Gavia sp flying south. I quickly panned my telescope to the north of the scoter flock and located a very large Gannet-sized diver flying steadily south, very low over the water. The all-black-looking head and neck suggested that it was still in summer plumage and my attention was immediately drawn to its large, prominent and very pale yellow bill which contrasted with the black-looking head. It was immediately obvious to both of us that the bird was a White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii. We watched the diver as it flew south over the scoter flock only about 400 metres offshore and continued watching it until it was lost to sight. Viewing conditions were perfect with a flat calm sea and the light behind us. While watching the diver we concentrated on looking at the bird's bill shape and colour and also its head shape and general overall "jizz". The following notes were made immediately after the bird was lost to sight:— Size and Shape Appeared very large, almost Gannet-sized, with a long, sturdy, torpedo-shaped body. The head and neck were thickset and almost seemed to merge together with the neck appearing as deep as the head. Wings and Back The upper surface of the wings and back was dark grey, almost black, in colour; the underwing was pale grey with a diffuse darker grey margin. Underparts Breast, belly, flanks and vent all white except for a blackish area on the uppermost part of the flanks where the wings joined the body. Head and neck Appeared jet-black and sharply demarcated from the white of the underparts; on the base of the neck there was a narrow but obvious white smudge or bar which did not extend to the rear of the neck; the forehead was rather steep with a distinct bump at the top. Bill In many ways the most obvious feature, being uniform very pale yellow or ivory in coloration; we noted that the colour of the bill was obvious and remained constant throughout the duration of the observation — it was obvious as the bird approached us and the colour could still be clearly seen as the bird moved away from us; the size and shape of the bill were equally distinctive, looking like a large inverted wedge attached to the front of the head — the culmen looked very flat and the colour of the bill contrasted sharply with the black head. Feet Large, grey and rather ridiculous-looking as they projected beyond the tail. Flight Powerful with steady goose-like wing beats.
John M Cawston, 66 Lavenham Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 OJZ
RADDE'S WARBLER — SIXTH FOR SUFFOLK On November 2nd 1994 I located a warbler in the hedgerow at the end of my garden in Kessingland. My initial impression was of a bull-necked warbler the size of a Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita with a bold creamy-buff supercilium which ran from the bill over the eye and tapered to a fine point on the nape with a distinct upwards kink. Beneath the supercilium there was a distinct black eye stripe. The crown, nape, scapulars, wing-coverts, rump and tail were all dark brown without any green tinge. There were no wing bars. The flanks and under-tail coverts were dark buff with the throat, central belly and vent being a lighter yellow-buff. The warbler fed briefly in the upper branches of a Field Maple by hopping along the branches rather than flitting. It then moved lower down into the hedgerow and 157
became hidden behind a fence. After Consulting A Field Guide to the Rare Birds of Britain and Europe I concluded that the bird was either a Dusky Warbler P. fuscatus or a Radde's Warbler P. schwarzi, neither of which I had seen before. My initial impression was that the bird did not appear to be much larger than a Chiffchaff and the bill did not seem to be particularly robust. As such, I decided that the bird might be a Dusky Warbler. Having phoned local observers I commenced taking a detailed description of the bird. The bird followed a regular feeding circuit in the hedge, flying short distances and clambering along the branches to pick food items from the underside of the maple leaves. On average it returned every 20 minutes and appeared to show a preference for the upper parts of the Field Maple. It moved continuously, occasionally flicking its wings and once, when agitated, flicked both wings and moved its tail rapidly up and down. Occasionally it would come out into the sunshine and on one occasion gave excellent views when it hopped along the top of the fence. These views permitted an examination of the colour of the bill, legs and feet. The bill was now seen to be clearly robust and stouter than that of the Chiffchaff which was conveniently present for comparison. The upper mandible was dark, the lower yellow and the legs were stout with claws the same colour as the feet; in a good light the legs were seen to be orange-red and an olive sheen was noted on the wings. After consulting additional literature, notably the article by Steve Madge in Birding World 3: 281-285, we identified the bird as a Radde's Warbler. The Radde's Warbler remained in the area until dark and was seen well by several local observers, one of whom (C S Waller) has had numerous previous encounters with the species and was able to confirm our identification. Unfortunately, due to the location the news of the bird's presence could not be broadcast to a wider audience. The Radde's Warbler could not be relocated the next day. Detailed Description Head Generally broad and flat-looking; crown dark buff-brown; supercilium prominent and very long, reaching to nape with an obvious upturn — viewed from the rear the supercilia almost met on the nape — supercilium broad, same width in front of and behind the eye but tapering towards the rear — pale buff in coloration, slightly darker in front of the eye — supercilium accentuated by a slightly darker latéral crown stripe and well marked black eye stripe running from the base of the bill to the nape; ear coverts pale buff with dark streaks; chin very pale buffîsh-white; black lores. Upperparts Nape, mande, back, wing-coverts, rump and tail ali dark buff-brown — in good light it was possible to discern a greenish-olive lustre to the back, mantle and wings and narrow pale edges to the primaries and possibly some secondaries; alula edged pale buff-yellow; closed wings reached the end of the undertail coverts but the overall impression was of a short-winged, long-tailed bird; tail constantly flicked. Underparts Sides of breast, flanks and undertail coverts dark buff, almost as dark as the upperparts becoming paler towards the centre; central breast area, belly and vent much paler, almost white with a very pale buff-yellow coloration. Bareparts Legs long, pale yellow pinkish-buff sometimes appearing paler at the rear of the tarsus — m bright sunlight the legs appeared to have an orangy tinge; feet same colour as legs and looked big; claws whitish-horn coloured; eye large, black and prominent with suggestion of a pale eye ring on the lower edge; bill stout looking, upper mandible dark, lower mandible pale yellowish with dark tip. Bird was not heard to cali.
C D Darby, 18 Chipperfield Road, Kessingland, Suffolk NR33 7SS 158
A GUIDE TO RECORDING BIRDS IN SUFFOLK As a guide for observers wishing to send in their sightings, the following list of species, ali previously recorded in the County, has been annotated with codes which act as a guide to the records that the County Recorders require. The codes are explained in the following key: Recording Code Key:
A B C D
Ail records required Birds confirmed breeding or holding territory Counts of roosts, flocks or movements Detailed description required to substantiate claim (forms available from County Recorders) E Earliest and latest dates (for summer and winter migrants) I Inland records required IN Notes required to support inland claims M Migration or weather-related movements N Brief notes required (how bird was identified, view, distance, etc.) W Ail winter records required In addition, ail claims of National rarities should, of course, be accompanied by a full description, preferably submitted to the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC) via the County Recorder(s). The reason for this is to enable the Recorder(s) to be aware of what claims are being submitted, so as to keep ail County records in order. It is not the rôle of the County Recorder(s) to prejudge any records sent through them to BBRC. Remember, if in doubt as to the value of any record of any species, please send it in!
Red-throated Diver Black-throated Diver Great Northern Diver Little Grebe Great Crested Grebe Red-necked Grebe Slavonian Grebe Black-necked Grebe Fulmar Cory's Shearwater Great Shearwater Sooty Shearwater Manx Shearwater Storm Petrel Leach's Petrel Gannet Cormorant Shag Bittem Little Egret Grey Héron Purple Héron White Stork Spoonbill Mute Swan
Bewick's Swan Whooper Swan Bean Goose Pink-footed Goose White-fronted Goose Greylag Goose Canada Goose Barnacle Goose Brent Goose Egyptian Goose Shelduck Mandarin Wigeon Gadwall Teal Mallard Pintail Garganey Shoveler Red-crested Pochard Pochard Ring-necked Duck Ferruginous Duck Tufted Duck Scaup
A N N BC BC N N N BCIN D D N A D D A BC AIN A D BCM D D A BC
A N N N A BC BC A CMI A BCI N BCMI BC BCM BC BCIM A BC A BCM D D BCM A
Eider Long-tailed Duck Common Scoter Velvet Scoter Goldeneye Smew Red-breasted Merganser Goosander Ruddy Duck Honey Buzzard Red Kite Marsh Harrier Hen Harrier Montagu's Harrier Goshawk Sparrowhawk Buzzard Rough-legged Buzzard Osprey Kestrel Merlin Hobby Peregrine Red-legged Partridge Grey Partridge Quail Pheasant Golden Pheasant Water Rail Spotted Crake Corncrake Moorhen Coot Crane Oystercatcher Avocet Stone Curlew Little Ringed Piover Ringed Piover Kentish Piover Dotterei Golden Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Knot Sanderling Little Stint Temminck's Stint Pectoral Sandpiper Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Buff-breasted Sandpiper Ruff Jack Snipe
AIN AIN A AIN CM A AIN A A D N A A D N A A N A BCM A A A B A N B A A D D BC BC D BCI A A A BCI D N C CI BC CI A A N D A AIN CI D A A
Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew Spotted Redshank Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Turnstone Red-necked Phalarope Grey Phalarope Pomarine Skua Arctic Skua Long-tailed Skua Great Skua Mediterranean Gull Little Gull Sabine's Gull Black-headed Gull Ring-billed Gull Common Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Great Black-backed Gull Kttiwake Sandwich Tem Roseate Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Little Tern Black Tern Guillemot Razorbill Black Guillemot Little Auk Puffin Ferai Pigeon Stock Dove Wood Pigeon Collared Dove Turtle Dove Ring-necked Parakeet Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Short-eared Owl Nightjar
BC A BCI A A BC A BC A A A A CI D N N AIN D AIN A A D BC D BC BC BC N N BC BCI BCEI D BCEI A BCEI A AIN AIN D AIN N BC BCM BCM BC BCE A BE A A A A A A
Swift Kingfisher Bee-eater Hoopoe Wryneck Green Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Short-toed Lark Woodlark Skylark Shore Lark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Richard's Pipit Tawny Pipit Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Water Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Waxwing Dipper Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Bluethroat Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbler Grasshopper Warbler Savi's Warbler Aquatic Warbler Sedge Warbler Marsh Warbler Reed Warbler Icterine Warbler Melodious Warbler Dartford Warbler Barred Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler
BCE A D N A A A A D A BCM A BCE BCE BCE D D A BCM AIN N BCE A BC A D BC BC BC BE D A A A A A A BMC CEM BCM BCEM BC N A D D BCE D BCE D D D D BCE BCE BCE
Blackcap Pallas's Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Crested Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Golden Oriole Red-backed Shrike Great Grey Shrike Woodchat Shrike Jay Magpie Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Raven Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Serin Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Twite Redpoll Crossbill Common Rosefinch Bullfinch Hawfinch Lapland Bunting Snow Bunting Yellowhammer Ciri Bunting Ortolan Bunting Little Bunting Corn Bunting Reed Bunting
BCEW D D N BCW BCE BC A BCE D A A BC BC A D BC BC BC A A N A A D BCM BC BCM BCM BCM D BCM BCM A BCM A D BCM BCM BCM BCM AIN BCM A D BCM A N AIN BCM D D D A BCM
SUFFOLK RINGING REPORT Mike Marsh In 1994 a total of 42834 birds was ringed in the County, a 3% increase on the previous year's figure and yet another record high. As with previous Suffolk Ringing Reports, the ringing totals include those from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Redgrave and Lopham Fens even though most of the ringing at this site is undertaken on part of the reserve which lies just over the Norfolk border. The number of Greenfinches caught increased sufficiently for it to regain the position of top species ringed after being relegated to third place by Blue Tit and Blackcap in 1993. At the other end of the scale an impressive list of rarities was ringed including Blyth's Pipit, Red-flanked Bluetail, Pied Wheatear, Sardinian Warbier, Woodchat Shrike and a remarkable 12 Pallas's Warbiers. Warbiers were again ringed in large numbers and, as in 1992 and 1993, the ringing activities at Fagbury Cliff were a major contributing factor. Almost daily coverage at this site from late April to mid-June and again from late July to midNovember resulted in an amazing 5384 warblers being caught, including 1515 Blackcaps, 930 Willow Warblers, 884 Whitethroats and 805 Reed Warblers. One feature of the spring passage period was an unprecedented movement of Great Tits. The scale of this movement is best shown by the ringing figures at Landguard Bird Observatory. With figures going back to 1983, the record day-catch at this site was just 12 birds but in the first half of March 48 were caught on 6th, followed 51 on 8th, 64 on lOth and 35 on 1 Ith. Numbers of Bramblings and Siskins in the County were high early in the year and this is reflected by the above-average ringing totals for these two species. The majority of the 222 Bramblings ringed were caught in the west of the County by the Lackford Ringing Group whilst Siskins were caught by many ringers especially in gardens and at feeding-stations. Of the non-passerines, waders were ringed in lower numbers than 1993, mainly due to fewer Redshank and Dunlin being caught. The lack of numbers was compensated by some interesting migrant species being caught including seven Little Stints, three Curlew Sandpipers, two Ruff, 12 Green Sandpipers, one Wood Sandpiper and 23 Common Sandpipers. The recoveries received this year included some excellent foreign movements, notably Blue Tit from Norway, Lesser Whitethroat to Egypt, Blackcap from Poland, Redshank to Corsica, Mandarin from the Netherlands and Cormorant from Switzerland. Pride of place, however, goes to a Starling which was ringed in Ipswich and found near the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan. What makes this recovery all the more remarkable is the fact that it was found in 1968 but has only recently been reported. One wonders how many of our ringed birds are found in obscure parts of the world and are never reported. SELECTED LIST OF RECOVERIES This part of the report is a selection of ringing recoveries received in, or relating to, 1994. Recoveries are arranged in species' order with ringing détails shown on the first line — ring number/age and sex/date/locality, and recovery détails on the second line — manner of recovery/date/locality with distance and direction of movement. The following codes have been used: Age when ringed: this is given according to the EURING codes and the figures do not represent years. 1 pullus (= nestling or chick) 2 fully grown, year of hatching quite unknown
3 hatched during calendar year of ringing 4 hatched before calendar year of ringing, but exact year unknown 5 hatched during previous calendar year 6 hatched before previous calendar year, but exact year unknown 7 definitely hatched two years before year of ringing 8 hatched three or more calendar years before year of ringing 10 hatched four or more calendar years before year of ringing M = male F = female
In the r e c o v e r y data, the t e r m ' c o n t r o l l e d ' r e f e r s to a ringed bird w h i c h has b e e n c a u g h t by a ringer a w a y f r o m t h e locality w h e r e it w a s originally ringed. Also, w h e r e the d a t e of r e c o v e r y is not k n o w n , t h e d a t e of the reporting letter is s h o w n in brackets.
CORMORANT 967680 Sempach
Oberkirch, Luzern, S W I T Z E R L A N D (47°09'N 08°07'E) Aldeburgh, Suffolk (52°09'N 01°36'E) — 726km NW
1 field record field record field record
24.04.93 22.06.93 11.11.93 12.06.94
Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, Essex Leathes Ham, Lowestoft, Suffolk Oulton Broad, Suffolk Wilstone Reservoir, Hertfordshire
1 field record field record
01.05.93 18.08.93 07.03.94
Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, Essex Minsmere, Suffolk Elmley, Kent
The movement of the first bird is unprecedented, there having been no previous British recoveries of this species either to or from Switzerland. The two birds from Abberton Reservoir were both colour-ringed and the series of sightings shows the mobility of this species. SHAG
BRENT GOOSE W2RN
aristotelis 25.06.82 07.03.94
Fame Islands, Northumberland (55°37'N 01 °37'W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 452km SSE
Terschelling, NETHERLANDS (53°24'N 05°26'E)
field record 09.11.93 Terschelling field record 12.12.93 Falkenham Marshes, Suffolk (52°00'N 01 °23'E) field record 16.01.94 Terschelling — present to 28.03.94 N o t e that this bird m a d e j u s t a fleeting visit to S u f f o l k , b e i n g b a c k in the N e t h e r lands b y m i d - J a n u a r y . T w o other c o l o u r - r i n g e d B r e n t G e e s e w e r e n o t e d in the flock at F a l k e n h a m M a r s h e s o n F e b r u a r y 13th 1994. B y their b e h a v i o u r they w e r e o b v i o u s l y a pair and a f t e r l e a v i n g S u f f o l k they w e r e seen t o g e t h e r at several localities in the N e t h e r l a n d s b e t w e e n M a r c h 24th and M a y 24th. B o t h birds h a d b e e n ringed in t h e N e t h e r l a n d s at V l i e l a n d on J a n u a r y 10th 1989. O b s e r v e r s are u r g e d to c h e c k Brent G o o s e f l o c k s f o r c o l o u r - r i n g e d birds as all sightings a r e of great value. In recent y e a r s a n u m b e r h a v e b e e n m a r k e d on the b r e e d i n g g r o u n d s in S i b e r i a a n d h o p e f u l l y s o m e of these will b e s e e n in S u f f o l k .
A ix MANDARIN 5201834 4M Arnhem caught
galericulata 09.04.89 09.04.90
Bennebroek, Noord-Holland, NETHERLANDS (52°20'N 04°36'E) Eastwood Farm, Lound, Suffolk (52°32'N 01 °41 'E) — 199km W
It is interesting t o note that a m a l e ringed in B u c k i n g h a m s h i r e in M a r c h 1993 was c a u g h t at B e n n e b r o e k six w e e k s later ( M e a d , C l a r k & P e a c h 1995). Is t h e r e a regular i n t e r c h a n g e b e t w e e n E n g l a n d a n d the N e t h e r l a n d s ? G A D W A L L Anas FR91269 3F
T E A L Anas EP74231 4M
Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, Essex (51°49'N 00°50'E) Wrentham, Suffolk (52°23'N 01°40'E) — 85km NE Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, Essex (51°49'N 00°50'E) Orford Marshes, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°33'E) ENE
Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°16'E) shot c.05.05.94 near River Volga, Yaroslavl, RUSSIA (57°37'N 39°52'E) — 2543km ENE T h e r e c o v e r y locality of this bird is a b o u t 2 5 0 k m n o r t h - e a s t of M o s c o w .
M A L L A R D Anas GG92166 4M shot P I N T A I L Anas FS02741 3 shot
platyrhynchos 18.09.92 Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°16'E) 17.01.94 Wassenaar, Zuid-Holland, NETHERLANDS (52°09'N 04°24'E) — 215km E acuta 09.10.70 c.15.05.76
Nacton Decoy, near Ipswich, Suffolk (52°01'N0ri5'E) Yaguryakch, Kchanty-Mansiysk, Tyumen, RUSSIA (61°13'N 67°38'E) — 4161km ENE
A b e l a t e d r e p o r t of a bird r e c o v e r e d east of t h e Urals. TUFTED DUCK SS42251 I shot
Aythya fuligula 11.07.81 Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) 21.10.93 Chaffas, Doubs, FRANCE (46°55'N 06° 16'E) — 668km SSE FR21455 5M 27.06.81 Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, Essex (51°49'N 00°50'E) shot 28.12.94 Great Thurlow, Suffolk (52°07'N 00°26'E) — 43km NW T h e r e c o v e r y locality of S S 4 2 2 5 1 is in eastern F r a n c e c l o s e to the S w i s s border. T h i s is a n o t h e r f a s c i n a t i n g m o v e m e n t of a T u f t e d D u c k ringed as a d u c k l i n g at H o l l e s l e y — o t h e r s h a v e b e e n f o u n d in N o r t h e r n I r e l a n d , Eire, the Netherlands, P o l a n d and R u s s i a . R E D K I T E Milvus milvus A wing-tagged bird present in the Benacre/Covehithe area f r o m August 9th to at least S e p t e m b e r 16th 1994 had been released at a confidential site in southern England on July 20th 1994 as part of the experimental reintroduction of this species to England and Scotland. In N o v e m b e r it w a s seen back in southern E n g l a n d at a c o m m u n a l roost. 164
SPARROWHAWK DA69030 8M found dead
KESTREL Falco ESS 1915 1 controlled
Accipiter 12.04.92 11.02.94
nisus Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) Euximoor Fen, Cambridgeshire (52°34'N 00° 10'E) — 105km NW
tinnunculus 22.06.94 22.10.94
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (52°38'N 01°43'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 82km SSW T h i s bird w a s r e a r e d by a pair of Kestrels that h a d b e e n p r e d a t i n g the G r e a t Y a r m o u t h Little Tern colony.
OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus FR85073 5 23.02.86 Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01 o 17'E) found dead 01.07.94 Bennebroek, Leidsevaart, Noord-Holland, NETHERLANDS (52°20'N 04°35'E) — 227km E A V O C E T Recurvirostra avosetta ER62307 1 13.06.93 site confidential, coastal Suffolk found dead 24.02.94 Kenitra, MOROCCO (34° 16'N 06°36'W) — 2113km SSW T h i s is the first r e c o v e r y in A f r i c a of a British-ringed Avocet. T w o c o l o u r - r i n g e d Avocets seen in the C o u n t y in 1994 w e r e c o n f i r m e d as b e i n g of D u t c h origin. O n e of these, n u m b e r C 2 6 o n a w h i t e ring, b r e d at T r i m l e y M a r s h e s w h e r e it h a d b e e n seen on a s i n g l e d a t e in 1993. Full ringing details of this bird are s h o w n in last y e a r ' s R i n g i n g R e p o r t ( S u f f o l k Birds 1994:168). T h e other, w h i c h w a s seen on the A i d e E s t u a r y o n F e b r u a r y 4th, h a d b e e n ringed as a p u l l u s at R o t t e r d a m in 1991. RINGED PLOVER NV74683 4F controlled
Charadrius 24.05.94 02.10.94
hiaticula Seal Sands, Teesmouth, Cleveland (54°37'N 01°1 l'W) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57TSI 01°17'E) — 339km SSE
Snettisham Coastal Park, Norfolk (52°52'N 00°26'E) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 117km SSE
Shingle Street, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 16km SW All three of these birds w e r e c a u g h t in the s a m e c a n n o n - n e t catch. N V 7 9 0 0 9 w a s nesting at S n e t t i s h a m w h e n ringed a n d note that the last bird w a s 14 y e a r s old w h e n caught. controlled
LAPWING Vanellus vanellus DN46632 1 20.06.87 shot 04.01.93 DUNLIN Calidris NR83132 6 controlled
Boyton, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°29'E) Sarzeau, Morbihan, FRANCE (47°32'N 02°46'W) — 577km SSW
alpina 08.02.93 24.05.94
Stutton Mill, near Brantham, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°06'E) Ristisaari, Pyhtaa, Kymi, FINLAND (60°19'N 26°49'E) — 1837km ENE A s usual t h e r e w e r e several recoveries b e t w e e n S u f f o l k and the Baltic a n d N o r t h S e a coasts, the m o s t distant of w h i c h is s h o w n a b o v e . 165
BLACK-TAILED G O D W I T EF90838
Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Birch Estate, Colchester, Essex (51 °50'N 00°49'E) 36km WSW
Butley River, Orford, Suffolk (52°06'N 01°30'E) Holbeach St. Matthew, Lincolnshire (52°52'N 00°06'E) — 127km NW T h i s bird set a n e w longevity r e c o r d f o r a B r i t i s h - r i n g e d B l a c k - t a i l e d G o d w i t .
Boyton, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°29'E) Barcaggio, Corsica, F R A N C E (43°00'N 09°24'E) 1168km SSE
Butley River, near Butley Corner, Suffolk (52°05TSI 01°29'E) road casualty 30.06.94 Midhus, Eidapingha, Nordur Mula, I C E L A N D (65°16'N 14°22'W) — 1720km NNW T h e m o v e m e n t t o C o r s i c a is u n e x p e c t e d — p r e s u m a b l y it involved a bird of C o n t i n e n t a l origin ringed o n p a s s a g e . DK30392
B L A C K - H E A D E D G U L L Larus ridibundus 30.06.92 Ii, Oulu, FINLAND ST157957 1 Helsinki 189660 Kaunas
(65°24'N 25°02'E) Pakefield, Suffolk (52°27'N 01°44'E) — 1951km SW Antaliepte, Zarasai, LITHUANIA (55°39'N 25°53'E) Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°22'E) — 1659km WSW
17.02.76 Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°21'E) 6 field record 28.12.94 Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°23'E) — 2km E T h e r e w a s the n o r m a l c r o p of r e c o v e r i e s involving m o v e m e n t s to a n d f r o m Scand i n a v i a , the Baltic region, n o r t h e r n G e r m a n y a n d the L o w C o u n t r i e s . S T 157957 is t h e l o n g e s t m o v e m e n t f o r the y e a r a n d 1 8 9 6 6 0 s h o w s h o w early s o m e b i r d s f r o m the B a l t i c r e g i o n start t o arrive in t h e C o u n t y . T h e last bird is s h o w n f o r its l o n g e v i t y and site fidelity. It w a s ringed as an a d u l t in 1976 a n d t h e r e f o r e w a s at least 2 0 y e a r s old w h e n s e e n in 1994.
COMMON GULL EP70548
Larus canus 09.02.91 (16.12.92)
Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 01° 10'E) exact location unknown, LATVIA (57°00'N 24°00'E) — 1569km ENE
L E S S E R BLACK-BACKED G U L L GG92037
Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01 °35'E) Tan Tan, M O R O C C O (28°30'N 11°02'W) — 2822km SSW T h e f u r t h e s t of t h r e e r e c o v e r i e s in M o r o c c o is s h o w n . A l s o , c o n t i n u i n g the trend of r e c e n t years, three birds ringed as pulii at O r f o r d n e s s w e r e f o u n d in D u t c h colonies near Rotterdam.
IHERRING GULL Larus argentatus colour10 Plockton, Highland Region. SCOTLAND 16.06.83 rings (57°20'N 05°40'W) field record 06.12.92 Minsmere, Suffolk (52°15'N 01°37'E) — 730km SE 5
1 found dead
1 found dead
Bramford Landfill, near Ipswich, Suffolk (52°06'N 01°05'E) West Links, North Berwick, Lothian Region, SCOTLAND (56°03'N 02°45'W) — 505km NNW Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) Groede, Boschplaat, Terschelling, NETHERLANDS (53°25'N 05°26'E) — 295km ENE
Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°35'E) Brouwersdam Noord, Zeezijde, Zuid-Holland, NETHERLANDS (51°47'N 03°51'E) — 159km ESE T h e bird f r o m P l o c k t o n is u n u s u a l b e c a u s e it is f r o m the w e s t coast of Scotland. O t h e r movements to or f r o m S c o t l a n d in recent years h a v e all involved the east coast. LITTLE T E R N NV41214 1
Sterna albifrons 29.06.88 Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N0ri7'E) controlled 29.05.94 Zeebrugge, West-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51=20^ 03°12'E) — 149km ESE This bird w a s n e s t i n g at Z e e b r u g g e a n d is the s e c o n d e x a m p l e in recent y e a r s of a Little Tern r e a r e d in S u f f o l k that h a s s u b s e q u e n t l y b e e n f o u n d b r e e d i n g on the C o n t i n e n t — o n e from O r f o r d n e s s n e s t e d in a G e r m a n colony in 1991 ( S u f f o l k Birds 7 9 9 2 : 1 6 8 ) . RAZORBILL Alca M27267 1 found dead
torda 30.06.92 20.02.94
Skomer Island, Dyfed, WALES (51°44'N 05°18'W) River Deben, Falkenham, Suffolk (52°00'N 01 °22'E) — 458km E This bird w a s a m o n g s t an u n u s u a l l y high c o n c e n t r a t i o n of auk c o r p s e s f o u n d on the Deben E s t u a r y — n i n e G u i l l e m o t s and three R a z o r b i l l s a l o n g j u s t a half mile stretch of tideline. S A N D M A R T I N Riparia riparia 20.08.90 Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) F869829 3 17.04.94 Palau, Gerona, SPAIN (42°18'N 03°09'E) controlled 1113km S H860150
Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Applegarthtown, Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway, SCOTLAND (55°08'N 03°25'W) — 459km NW
Aldoth Sand Quarry, Abbeytown, Cumbria (54°49'N 03°20'W) Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) — 432km SE
Dunwich, Suffolk (52°I6'N 01°37'E) Applegarthtown, Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway, SCOTLAND (55°08'N 03°25'W) — 459km NW Applegarthtown
Hadston, Northumberland (55°1 l'N 01°34'W) near Charity Farm, Shotley, Suffolk (51°59'N Ol-IS'E) — 401km SSE 167
River Usk, near Talybont, Powys, WALES (51°54'N 03°18'W) Waldringfield Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N O l 0 ^ ^ ) — 314km E
All movements over 400km are listed together with details of one from Wales. As usual, there were many other recoveries during the year and these included movements to or from Cheshire, Gloucestershire. Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Surrey and Sussex. SWALLOW J795258
near Drem Pools, Lothian Region, SCOTLAND (56°00'N 02°48'W) near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) — 518kmSSE Warton, Lancaster, Lancashire (54°08'N 02°45'W) near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) — 363km SE
MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis H952957 3 20.09.92 Shingle Street, Suffolk (52°01'N 01°26'E) bird found (19.12.94) Aityadine, near Khemisset, MOROCCO (33°58'N 06°03'W) — 2094km SSW Special efforts were made to catch Meadow Pipits at Shingle Street in 1992 and these were rewarded by this recovery in northern Africa. ROBIN
Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01 o 17'E) Haapala, Anjalankoski, Kymi, FINLAND (60°47'N 27°12'E) — 1865km ENE Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Langli, Vadehavsoerne, Jylland, DENMARK (55°31'N 08°19'E) — 608km NE Zomergem, Oost-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51°07'N 03°33'E) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 182km WNW
Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) found dead 24.10.94 Birkdale, near Southport, Merseyside (53°37'N 03°00'W) — 342km WNW The first bird is only the sixth British-ringed Robin to have been recovered in Finland. Interestingly, two of the others had also been ringed in Suffolk — birds caught at Walberswick in October 1961 and Landguard in October 1987 were found in Finland in April 1962 and April 1988 respectively. J328623
taken by cat
megarhynchos Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Clacton-on-Sea, Essex ( S l ^ T M O l ' W E ) — 21km SSW
REDSTART F411673 3F
Phoenicurus phoenicurus 14.09.91 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E)
near Nador, MOROCCO (35° 10'N 03°00'W) — 1894km S
WHEATEAR J052942 3
Oenanthe oenanthe 04.08.93 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) found dead 08.07.94 Adrar, ALGERIA (27°51'N 00° 1 9 ^ ) — 2679km S
Frog Hill, Wretham, Norfolk (52°30'N 00°45'E) Cavenham Heath, Suffolk (52°19'N 00°34'E) — 24km SSW T h e f i n d i n g p l a c e of the first bird is in central A l g e r i a on the e d g e of the S a h a r a . A l t h o u g h the r e c o v e r y d a t e is s h o w n as July it w a s reported as h a v i n g b e e n " e a t e n b y i n s e c t s " a n d p r e s u m a b l y h a d b e e n d e a d f o r s o m e t i m e w h e n f o u n d . N o t e the early arrival date of t h e s e c o n d bird, a m a l e , at a site close to its natal area — it had already b e e n p r e s e n t f o r several d a y s b e f o r e it w a s caught. BLACKBIRD RH91780 3F
Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Gudhjem, Bornholm, DENMARK (55°13'N I4°59'E) — 972km ENE Oyestranda, Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder, NORWAY (58°17'N 06°54'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 789km SSW Landguard Point Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) St. Nicolas, Arras, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE (50°17'N 02°46'E) — 209km SSE Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Shorland, Bratton Fleming, Barnstaple, Devon (51°09'N 03°53'W) — 368km WSW
T h e N o r w e g i a n bird c o n t r o l l e d p e a k spring p a s s a g e of B l a c k b i r d s at this site o c c u r s in M a r c h w i t h very f e w m i g r a n t s a f t e r t h e first w e e k of April. In addition to the r e c o r d s listed a b o v e there w e r e six o t h e r f o r e i g n r e c o v e r i e s . T h e s e involved m o v e m e n t s to or f r o m B e l g i u m , G e r m a n y , the N e t h e r l a n d s (three) and N o r w a y . SONG THRUSH RV77548 3 shot
Tardus philomelos Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) 04.10.89 Cordobilla de Lacara, Badajoz, SPAIN 01.01.94 (39°09'N 06°27'W) — 1542km SSW
Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) road casualty 14.03.94 Titchwell, Norfolk (52°57'N 00°36'E) — 123km NNW A l t h o u g h R V 7 7 5 4 8 is the f i f t h L a n d g u a r d - r i n g e d S o n g T h r u s h to b e r e p o r t e d in Iberia, it is the first in S p a i n . All h a v e b e e n r e c o v e r e d in either D e c e m b e r or January. RV99482
SEDGE WARBLER J615189
Martlesham Creek, Martlesham, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°17'E) Hondarribia, Guipuzcoa, SPAIN (43°22'N 01°47'W) — 993km SSW near Charity Farm, Shotley, Suffolk (51°59'N01°15'E) Etang de Trunvel, Finistere, FRANCE (47°54'N 04°21'W) — 605km SW Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) St. Vigor D'Ymonville, Seine-Maritime, FRANCE (49°30'N 00°22'E) — 280km SSW
Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) Zwinjnaarde, Oost-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51 °00'N 03°43'E) — 257km ESE
Walberswick, Suffolk (52°18'N 01°38'E) Slapton Ley, Slapton, Devon (50°17'N 03°39'W) — 430km WSW
Walberswick, Suffolk (52°18'N 01°38'E) Keysworth Farm, Poole Harbour, Dorset (50°42'N 02°06'W) — 313km SW
Shotley Marshes, Shotley, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°16'E) Keysworth Farm, Poole Harbour, Dorset (50°42'N 02°06'W) — 273km WSW
Chew Valley Lake, Avon (51°19'N 02°38'W) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 279km ENE Details of all foreign recoveries are listed together with the British movements of over 250km. Note the quick movement of J454361. J667579
REED WARBLER 476998 Madrid J356502
road casualty 17.08.94 4303641 Bruxelles
scirpaceus Parque Nacional de Donana, Huelva, SPAIN (37°00'N Oe^O'W) Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) — 1811km NNE Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Tamanar, Essaouira, MOROCCO (31°00'N 09°40'W) — 2495km SSW Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01 o 17'E) Nogent-le-Rotrou, Eure-et-Loire, FRANCE (48°19'N 00°50'E) — 405km S Zele-Heikant, Oost-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM ( S r & f N 04°02'E) Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) — 209km W N W Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley Ingooigem, West-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (50°49'N 03°26'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 192km NW
Betley Mere, Betley, Staffordshire (53°01'N 02°23'W) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 275km ESE
Ray Farm, Parkeston, near Dovercourt, Essex (51°56'N 01°15'E) controlled 25.05.93 Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 3km NE controlled 11.11.94 Fagbury All of the international m o v e m e n t s r e p o r t e d d u r i n g the y e a r are listed t o g e t h e r w i t h the l o n g e s t m o v e m e n t w i t h i n Britain and details of a bird controlled at F a g b u r y in N o v e m b e r . M o v e m e n t s b e t w e e n Britain and Spain are not u n c o m m o n but that of 4 7 6 9 9 8 is u n u s u a l b e c a u s e it involves a bird ringed in S p a i n — u p to the e n d of 1991 t h e r e w e r e 7 4 r e c o v e r i e s of B r i t i s h - r i n g e d R e e d W a r b l e r s in Spain c o m p a r e d with j u s t five S p a n i s h - r i n g e d birds in Britain ( M e a d & C l a r k 1993). R e e d W a r b l e r s are r a r e l y e n c o u n t e r e d in the C o u n t y after O c t o b e r so the N o v e m b e r d a t e f o r H 7 7 6 2 9 4 is noteworthy.
LESSER WHITETHROAT J699059
Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) Matruh, EGYPT (31 °21 'N 27° 15'E) 3121km SE
Donna Nook, Lincolnshire (53°28'N 00°09'E) Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51=57^ 01°17'E) — 185km SSE T h e r e h a v e b e e n 11 p r e v i o u s recoveries of British-ringed L e s s e r W h i t e t h r o a t s in E g y p t . T h i s s p e c i e s m i g r a t e s s o u t h - e a s t w a r d s in a u t u m n , r e a c h i n g w i n t e r i n g g r o u n d s in n o r t h - e a s t e r n A f r i c a , mainly S u d a n a n d C h a d , via the eastern M e d i t e r r a n e a n ( C r a m p 1992). J543514
Holme Dunes, Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk (52°58'N 00°32'E) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 124km SSE
Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) road casualty 04.07.94 Stilton, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire (52°29'N 00°17'W) — 122km WNW O f the m a n y r e c o v e r i e s r e p o r t e d f o r this species in 1994 only t w o e x c e e d e d 100km.
GARDEN WARBLER J643870
BLACKCAP KK32108 Gdansk
Weyboume, Norfolk (52°56'N 01 °08'E) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 110km S
Jagodna, Nowakowo, Elblag, POLAND (54°14'N 19°24'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk ( ä l ^ ' N 01°19'E) — 1233km WSW
taken by cat
Meetkerke, West-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M (51°14'N 03°09'E) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 151km WNW Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17 / E) Rio Seco, Alcaucin, Malaga, SPAIN (36°54'N 04°06'W) — 1725km SSW Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Lavalette, Var, F R A N C E (43°08'N 05°59'E) — 1042km SSE
Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) taken by cat (19.12.94) Lisvane, Cardiff, Glamorgan, WALES (51 " 3 2 ^ OSTOW) — 310km W K K 3 2 1 0 8 is the first P o l i s h - r i n g e d B l a c k c a p to h a v e b e e n f o u n d in B r i t a i n and m a y h a v e b e e n a bird arriving to w i n t e r here. N o t e the w i n t e r r e c o v e r y d a t e in Wales of J 3 5 9 2 7 9 . T h e r e w e r e six o t h e r r e c o v e r i e s in e x c e s s of 1 0 0 k m . T h e s e involved m o v e m e n t s to or f r o m B e d f o r d s h i r e , Kent, L i n c o l n s h i r e , N o t t i n g h a m s h i r e and Sussex.
9S9567 killed by cat
Portland Bill, Dorset (50°31'N 02°27'W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 306km ENE
Filey Brigg Country Park, North Yorkshire (54°13'N O O ^ ' W ) Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 0I°20'E) — 274km SSE
Cissbury Ring, Worthing, West Sussex (50°52'N 00°23'W) controlled 06.08.94 Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) NNE T h e southerly m o v e m e n t in M a y / J u n e of 9 S 9 5 6 7 is u n u s u a l .
WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus 09.09.94 2W1106 3 Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk
(51°57'N 01°17'E) Erandio, Goyerri, Vizcaya, SPAIN (43°10'N 02°33'W) — 1017km SSW Loinnbuie, Highland Region, S C O T L A N D ^ " 4 7 ^ 03°59'W) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 " 5 7 ^ 01°17'E) — 730km SSE Loinnbuie, Highland Region, S C O T L A N D (57°47'N 03°59'W) near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01 °26'E) — 724km SSE Beacon Hill, Northumberland (55°13'N 01°46'W) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk ( 5 ^ 5 7 ^ O r n ' E ) — 415km SSE
Broom Park, Acomb, Northumberland (54°59'N 02°07'W) Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk ( 5 1 - 5 7 ^ 01 °17'E) — 405km SE
Pilling Moss, Lancashire (53°54'N 02°55"W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 358km SE All m o v e m e n t s over 3 0 0 k m a r e listed. It is o b v i o u s f r o m these r e c o v e r i e s that m a n y W i l l o w W a r b l e r s f r o m S c o t l a n d a n d northern E n g l a n d pass t h r o u g h our region on a u t u m n p a s s a g e .
GOLDCREST 2W1928 3M
Regulus regulus 05.11.94 Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) controlled 19.11.94 Wintersett Reservoir, Wakefield, West Yorkshire (53°37'N 01°26'W) — 260km NW
3M 04.11.94 freshly dead 16.11.94
Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Chesham, Buckinghamshire (51°42'N 00°36'W) — 164km WSW
T h e first bird s h o w s an interesting northerly m o v e m e n t in N o v e m b e r .
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk H526282 3 29.08.92 (51°57'N01 o 17'E) bird found (30.04.94) Touled Boughalem, Mostaghanem, Oran, ALGERIA (35°54'N 00°05'E) — 1788km S Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) freshly dead 18.07.94 East Bilney, East Dereham. Norfolk (52°44°N 00°52'E) — 94km NNW T h e r e have o n l y b e e n t w o p r e v i o u s recoveries of British-ringed Spotted Flyc a t c h e r s in A l g e r i a . E676595
PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca H341448 5M 26.05.93 Sofiemyr, Oppegard, Akershus, NORWAY Stavanger (59°48'N 10°48'E) controlled 22.08.93 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 " 5 6 ^ 01°19'E) — 1054km SW T h i s gives an indication as to the S c a n d i n a v i a n origin of s o m e of the Pied F l y c a t c h e r s that o c c u r on p a s s a g e on the S u f f o l k coast.
B L U E T I T Parus E376947 5M Stavanger controlled
Austad, Vest-Agder, NORWAY (580171* 06°41'E) 17.10.94 Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) — 782km SSW O n e of the m o s t u n e x p e c t e d recoveries of the year. E x c l u d i n g o n e w h i c h r e a c h e d a N o r t h S e a oil p l a t f o r m in 1988, this is t h e first S c a n d i n a v i a n - r i n g e d B l u e Tit to h a v e b e e n f o u n d in Britain. 173
G R E A T T I T Parus J057982 3M controlled
major 28.12.92 30.01.94
Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Chilbolton, near Stockbridge, Hampshire (51°09'N 01 " 2 7 ^ ) — 245km WSW
5F found dead
Bawdsey Manor, Bawdsey, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°24'E) Eastbourne, East Sussex (50°46'N 00° 15' E) — 157km SSW
Trowbridge, Wiltshire (51°19'N 02° 12'W) Thornham Hall, Suffolk (52°18'N 01°05'E) — 251km ENE
4F 10.03.94 Bawdsey Manor, Bawdsey, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°24'E) controlled 26.03.94 Weybourne, Norfolk (52°56'N 01°08'E) — 107km N T h e r e w a s a c o n s i d e r a b l e m o v e m e n t of G r e a t Tits on t h e S u f f o l k coast in M a r c h 1994 a n d t w o of t h e birds listed a b o v e w e r e ringed at this t i m e . N o t e that t h e t w o B a w d s e y birds h a d m o v e d in o p p o s i t e directions.
NUTHATCH Sitta VA57375 4M found dead
europaea 30.06.94 05.09.94
Bawdsey Manor, Bawdsey, Suffolk (510591Sr O l ^ ' E ) Melton, Woodbridge, Suffolk (52°07'N 01°20'E) — 15km NNW
M o v e m e n t s of o v e r 10km are u n u s u a l f o r this h i g h l y s e d e n t a r y species. CARRION CROW
STARLING Sturmis CR06373 4F bird found
vulgaris 24.01.68 21.12.68
6M found dead
near Budby South Forest, Budby, Nottinghamshire (53°13'N 01°04'W) long dead 10.05.93 Freckenham, Suffolk (52°19'N 00°27'E) — 143km SE T h i s is t h e s e c o n d m o s t distant r e c o v e r y of a B r i t i s h - r i n g e d C a r r i o n C r o w ( M e a d , C l a r k & P e a c h 1995). Ipswich, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°09'E) Saljansky Region, AZERBAIJAN (39°33'N 48°58'E) — 3934km ESE Ventes Ragas, Silute, LITHUANIA (55°21'N 21°13'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 1364km WSW Stowmarket, Suffolk (52°11'N 00°59'E) Schlagresdorf, Schwerin, GERMANY ( 5 3 0 4 5 ^ 10°51'E) — 683km ENE
Weerselo, Overijssel, NETHERLANDS (52°21 'N 06°51 'E) controlled 21.10.94 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) — 380km W T h e r e c o v e r y d e t a i l s f o r C R 0 6 3 7 3 h a v e o n l y recently b e e n received e v e n though the bird w a s f o u n d in 1968! H o w e v e r , the wait h a s b e e n well w o r t h w h i l e as this is an e x c e p t i o n a l m o v e m e n t . T h i s bird h a d o b v i o u s l y c h a n g e d its w i n t e r i n g area in s u c c e s s i v e winters, t h e r e c o v e r y l o c a t i o n b e i n g a d j a c e n t to t h e C a s p i a n S e a . Note that K 8 5 6 6 7 1 h a d b e e n ringed as a n e s t l i n g in t h e N e t h e r l a n d s . T h e r e w e r e a l s o three r e c o v e r i e s in the N e t h e r l a n d s of b i r d s ringed at L a n d g u a r d . 174
CHAFFINCH H957806 3F
Fringilla coelebs 10.10.93 Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, WALES (52°45'N 04°48'W) controlled 08.10.94 West Stow Country Park, Suffolk (52° 18'N 00°39'E) — 372km E
GREENFINCH Carduelis chloris VN64256 5F 22.03.94 Chelmondiston, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°12'E) controlled 12.09.94 Finset, Hemsedal, Buskerud, NORWAY (60°53'N 08°31'E) — 1085km NNE A37346 Jersey
La Vilette, Guernsey, CHANNEL ISLANDS (49°26'N 02°34'W) Lavenham, Suffolk (52°06'N 00°47'E) — 378km NE
6M 16.05.93 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01° W E ) found dying 19.02.94 South Brent, Devon (50°25TM 03°50'W) — 396km WSW V N 6 4 2 5 6 is t h e s e c o n d G r e e n f i n c h recovery b e t w e e n S u f f o l k a n d N o r w a y , the o t h e r b e i n g a N o r w e g i a n - r i n g e d bird f o u n d here in 1991. T h e r e w e r e three m o v e m e n t s b e t w e e n S u f f o l k a n d the C h a n n e l Islands in 1987 and another in 1989 but A 3 7 3 4 6 a p p e a r s to be the first since. GOLDFINCH J328246 3F
Carduelis carduelis Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk 04.10.93 (51°57'N01°17'E) caught c.¡5.11.93 Etalondes, Seine-Maritime, FRANCE (50°02'N 01°23'E) — 213km S
6F 03.03.94 road casualty 08.05.94
Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) Felton, Northumberland (55°18'N 0f°43'W) — 367km NNW
Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Glaisdale, North Yorkshire (54°25'N 00°49'W) — 288km NW J 5 8 2 8 5 4 s u g g e s t s that s o m e of the C o u n t y ' s w i n t e r i n g G o l d f i n c h e s originate f r o m f u r t h e r north. H940192
4M 04.04.93 road casualty 15.06.94
Carduelis 5F controlled
spinus 02.04.94 12.04.94
near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) Milford, Surrey (51°10'N 00°39'W) — 174km SW
REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk 23.10.94 J358968 3M (51°57'N 0f°17'E) Aldhurst Farm, Surrey (51°09'N 00°I9'W) — 142km controlled 06.11.94 SW REED BUNTING H528129 3F
schoeniclus Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) La Maziere, Villeton, Lot-et-Garonne, FRANCE (44°21'N 00°16'E) — 850km S Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01 o 17'E) Morchard Bishop, Crediton, Devon (50°51'N 03°44'W) — 369km WSW 175
This species is a scarce migrant at Fagbury and only 15 had been ringed there up to the end of 1994. To get two long distance recoveries from such a small sample is remarkable. It is likely that the first bird was of Scandinavian origin as British birds are mainly sedentary whilst those from western Scandinavia winter mainly in southern France (Cramp & Petrins 1994). Acknowledgements: Special thanks to the following ringers/ringing groups who supplied the information upon which the bulk of this report is based; Sid Batty, Rex Beecroft, Peter Catchpole, Malcolm Cavanagh, Dingle Bird Club, Rob Duncan, Tim Fuller, John Glazebrook, Peter Hayman, Ron Hoblyn, Sir Anthony Hurrell, Lackford Ringing Group, Landguard Bird Observatory, Alan Leitch, Dr Peter McAnulty, Market Weston Ringing Group, Alan Miller, Derek Moore, the late Philip Murton, Paul Newton, Adrian Parr, Ian Peters, RSPCA Norfolk Wildlife Hospital, Roy Thatcher, Brian Thompson, Wally Thrower, Cliff Waller, Lyn Webb, Rodney West, Wissey Ringing Group, Chris Wright and Mick Wright. I should also like to thank Jacquie Clark of the British Trust for Ornithology, the Regional County Recorders and Graham Ekins for forwarding information from their files and Philip Murphy for his comments on the draft. References: Cramp, S.(ed.) 1992. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. VI. Oxford University Press. Cramp, S. and Perrins, C.M.(eds.) 1994. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol.IX. Oxford University Press. Mead, C.J. & Clark, J.A. 1993. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1991. Ring. & Migr. 14: 1-72. 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. Mead, C.J., Clark, J.A. & Peach, W.J. 1995. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1993. Ring. & Migr. 16: 16-64.
Mike Marsh, 5 Ennerdale Close, Felixstowe IP 11 9SS.
SYSTEMATIC LIST OF SPECIES AND TOTALS OF BIRDS RINGED IN SUFFOLK, 1994 Species Total Grey HÃ©ron 27 Mute Swan 27 Greylag Goose 1 Canada Goose 7 Shelduck 9 Teal 70 Mallard 5 Marsh Harrier 48 Sparrowhawk 45 Kestrel 16 Hobby 1 Grey Partridge 1 Water Rail 7 Moorhen 7 Coot 1 Oystercatcher 18 Avocet 45 Stone Curlew 38 Little Ringed Piover 4 Ringed Piover 109 Grey Piover 27 Lapwing 52 Knot 10 Little Stint 7 Curlew Sandpiper 3 Dunlin 808 Ruff 2 Jack Snipe 7 Snipe 11 Woodcock 7 Black-tailed Godwit 7 Whimbrel 2 Curlew 11 Redshank 122 Greenshank 3 Green Sandpiper 12 Wood Sandpiper 1 Common Sandpiper 23 1 Mediterranean Gull 48 Black-headed Gull Common Gull 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull 730 Herring Gull 149 Common Tern 8 Little Tern 16 Stock Dove 8 100 Woodpigeon
Species Total Collared Dove 58 Turtle Dove 4 Cuckoo 4 Barn Owl 7 1 Little Owl Tawny Owl 7 Long-eared Owl 11 Nightjar 42 Swift 142 24 Kingfisher 6 Wryneck 28 Green Woodpecker 28 Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 2 Woodlark 51 31 Skylark 1105 Sand Martin 1494 Swallow 980 House Martin 1 Blyth's Pipit 49 Tree Pipit 288 Meadow Pipit 44 Yellow Wagtail 8 Grey Wagtail 66 Pied Wagtail 756 Wren 911 Dunnock 1400 Robin 42 Nightingale 1 Red-flanked Bluetail 36 Black Redstart 82 Redstart 14 Whinchat 5 Stonechat 37 Wheatear 1 Pied Wheatear 18 Ring Ouzel 2030 Blackbird 33 Fieldfare 846 Song Thrush 333 Redwing 34 Mistle Thrush 16 Grasshopper Warbier 718 Sedge Warbier 5 Marsh Warbier 2150 Reed Warbier 6 Icterine Warbier
Species Melodious Warbler Sardinian Warbler Barred Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Pallas's Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Golden Oriole Woodchat Shrike Jay Magpie Jackdaw Carrion Crow Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Redpoll Crossbill Bullfinch Hawfinch Yellowhammer Reed Bunting
Total 1 1 1 616 1749 696 2717 12 5 14 936 1755 876 48 190 71 196 596 74 12 114 2811 2128 22 58 1 1 20 11 5 1 2602 388 8 1135 222 3331 664 318 1285 58 70 170 2 97 125
Grand Total Number of Species
SUFFOLK NATURALISTS' SOCIETY Founded in 1929 by Claude Morley (1874-1951), the Suffolk Naturalists' Society pioneered the study and recording of the County's flora, fauna and geology, to promote a wider interest in natural history. Recording the natural history of Suffolk is still one of the Society's primary objects, and members' observations are fed to a network of specialist recorders for possible publication, and deposited in the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, jointly managed with Ipswich Museums. Suffolk Natural History, a review of the County's wildlife, and Suffolk Birds, the County bird report, are two high quality annual publications issued free to members. The Society also publishes a quarterly newsletter and organises an interesting programme of summer field excursions and winter lectures at venues throughout the County. The Suffolk Naturalists' Society offers a joint membership with the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group at a reduced subscription. This entitles joint members to receive literature and attend the meetings of both organisations. If you are not yet a member of the Society but would like to join, contact Jeff Martin, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES: SNS £10.00 Individual £12.00 Family £5.00 Junior (under 18)
Joint membership SNS/SOG
£18.00 £22.00 £8.00
CONTENTS Notice to Contributors Addresses Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee Editorial Richard Rafe Suffolk Naturalists' Society Conference 1994 Digging for Bitterns — Reshaping Minsmere's Scrape Geoff Welch Management and Birds in Woodland Nature Reserves Dr Rob Fuller . . . . Golden Orioles in the Fens Paul Mason and Martin Raines Breeding Birds in Farmland Dr Peter Lack Birds of Prey in Suffolk Derek Moore [The BTO Atlas — Recent Trends Dr David Gibbons] [The Stone Curlew in East Anglia Dr Rhys Green] The 1994 Influx of Pallas's Warblers in Suffolk Richard Rafe Weather Trends and their Effect on the County's Avifauna Adam Bimpson .. The 1994 Suffolk Bird Report Introduction Systematic List Appendix 1: Category D Species Appendix 2: Escapees Appendix 3: List of Non-Accepted Records Référencés List of Contributors Earliest and Latest Dates of Summer Migrants Rarities in Suffolk 1994 Mike Crewe Red-flanked Bluetail Nigel Odin Blyth's Pipit Nigel Odin and Mike Marsh Pied Wheatear Mark Smith Sardinian Warbler Mike Marsh Orientai Pratincole Carl Cornish White-billed Diver John Cawston Radde's Warbler C D Darby A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Suffolk Ringing Report 1994 Mike Marsh
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Volume 44 Systematic List