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LESSER YELLOWLEGS Tringa flavipes Accidentai. AI cburgh: North Warren, May 7th to 1 Ith (same as Minsmere bird) (R N Macklin et al.) Minsmere: May 6th to 8th (per RSPB). Like the previous species this represents the third county record. However it has taken a little longer for this latest record to arrive, being the first in the county since 1958. Who could have predicted the occurrence of two similar species as these so close to each other at a rather unexpected time of year? Both had presumably crossed the Atlantic in the previous autumn (or earlier). As with the Greater Yellowlegs, this individuai proved equally elusive at times, not only spending long periods hidden from view, but showing a preference for commuting between the two sites - a lot easier for a bird than a birder! GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Fairly common passage migrant with small numbers

wintering.

Wintering birds were reported from nine sites with four on Martlesham Creek on February 24th and three there on January 4th being the highest counts. Mid-March saw an increase in reported numbers with the species being widely noted, both along the coastal strip and inland. However, in common with most other passage waders, spring numbers were poor with three at Lackford WR being the highest Aprii count at any one site. Late June saw birds already beginning to return and reports included four at Lackford WR, four at Southwold on 2Ist, three at Suffolk Water Park on 23rd and one at Pipp's Ford on 24th. Typically, July and August produced the highest counts and included seven at Alton Water, August Ist, four at Suffolk Water Park, August 14th, 12 at Minsmere, July 30th and 10 at Trimley Marshes, August 4th. In the west of the County, nine were at Lackford WR on July 14th and four at Livermere Lake on September 13th. There was a good scattering of records into October and November whilst Alton Water and Suffolk Water Park proved the most productive sites with up to three and five birds respectively stili present in December. WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola Fairly common passage migrant. Contrary to the patterns of a number of other waders, 1995 produced a relatively good spring for this species which tends to be more of an autumn bird in the County. The 16 or so spring individuate were confined to a sixteen day period from May 4th and there was a good number of multiple occurrences, including three inland at Livermere Lake. Southwold: May 6th and 7th; two, May 18th to 20th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, two, May 14th and 15th. Minsmere: May 6th to 14th. Mdeburgh: North Warren, three, May 4th and 5th. Trimley Marshes: May 7th to 14th; two on lOth, 1 Ith and 13th, three on 12th. Livermere Lake: three, May 15th; one, May 20th. Lackford WR: May 5th. Autumn passage produced a minimum of 12 birds, with the first returning individuai noted at Martlesham Creek on July 2Ist. Minsmere: singles daily, Jul. 22nd to Aug. 15th, two, Jul. 31st. One, Sep. 8th and 9th. Bawdsey: East Lane, Sep. 16th. Âťehxstowe: Landguard, north, Sep. lOth. 83


Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, four, Sep. Ist; one Sep. 6th, three, Sep. 17th. Trimley Marshes: Aug. Ist to 20th. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, Jul. 21st; Aug. 4th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, Aug. 30th. Livermere Lake: Aug. 14th. Lackford WR: July Ist to 3rd. Passage was more protracted than in spring with both a wider spread of records, and individuai birds staying longer. TEREK SANDPIPER Xenus cinereus Accidental Minsmere: Jun. 14th (P I Holt, G Lowe et al.). This constitutes the County's fifth record and the first since 1992. Like the previous record, this individuai was present for just a few hours but was at least appreciattd by a few more observers. The following day it was reported from Breydon Water, Norfolk. COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos Common passage migrant. A few occasionally overwinter. Unlike previous years there were no reports of birds during the first winter period, although an early report of one at Needham Market Lake on March 1 Ith may have represented a wintering bird on the move. Spring passage was rather late with the first returning birds being noted on April 20th at Alton Water and Loompit Lake and at Livermere Lake on April 2Ist. As is usuai, May saw the peak of spring migration with highest counts of seven at Minsmere on May 5th, 11 at Suffolk Water Park on May 1 Ith, five at Trimley Marshes on May 1 Ith and six at Alton Water on May 13th. Returning birds were noted from mid-July and built up to peak numbers during the last week of July and the first week of August. Respectable numbers were maintained throughout August and into early September. Peak counts from the main sites included 27 on Havergate, July 3Ist and 15 there on July 2Ist; 14 at Minsmere on August 1 Ith and 12 there, July 31st; 15 at Trimley Marshes, August 25th with 14 on July 3Ist and August Ist; six at Alton Water, September 2nd to 7th and seven at Suffolk Water Park, September 6th; Several sites held birds until the beginning of October with all records involving one or two individuals. Wintering birds involved one at Alton Water throughout December and possible wintering birds at Trimley Marshes from November 8th to 27th and Martlesham Creek on November 27th. West Suffolk added a reasonable number to the year's total. Lackford WR held up to two in April and four in May and singles were at Livermere Lake regularly from April 2Ist into May with three there on May 15th and seven on 18th. One was at Mickle Mere on May 13th. Autumn reports involved up to two at Livermere Lake from August Ist to September 24th with four on September 13th whilst Lackford WR held up to seven in July, and two in August and September. SPOTTED SANDPIPER Actitis Vagrant.

macularia

Only the second for the county, this individuai chose not to stay after its initial discovery. Walberswick: River Blyth, May 18th (E W Patrick et al.) 84


Resplendent in fĂźll summer plumage, this was an unexpected and welcome find for the three lucky observers. The previous occurrence was also at Walberswick, in June 1977. TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres Common winter visitor and passage

migrant.

Monthly WeBS counts are tabulated below:F J M A A S O N D 14 0 3 0 n/c 0 0 0 Aide n/c 23 n/c 12 Deben 16 25 20 25 31 26 105 79 176 n/c 109 Orwell 105 9 0 31 Stour (Suffolk) 239 128 0 454 682 116 245 n/c 339 Stour (Essex) 148 126 112 28 58 67 33 98 n/c Away from the estuaries notable counts included 47 at Alton Water on February 14th and 35 at Carlton Colville on February 13th. Lowestoft held the greatest numbers away from the estuaries peaking at 60 in the Harbour in late February. Spring passage was disappointing with few birds reported and the highest count coming from Trimley Marshes where 11 were present on May 4th. Most birds passed quickly through the County, but Havergate held two birds until mid-June. Overland passage in the spring produced one at Weybread Gravel Pits and three at Lackford on May 2nd. Landguard produced only a handful of records with movement occurring on only two dates in April, the maximum being seven south on the 16th. Mid July saw the start of the autumn passage and numbers remained rather low. Holbrook Bay held 38 on August 17th and 12 were present at Stutton on August 13th. It is not surprising to see the largest concentrations occurring at sites on the Stour with the WeBS counts showing the year's greatest numbers coming during August and September. RED-NECKED PHALAROPE Phalaropus lobatus Rare passage migrant. Minsmere: Jun. 13th to 18th (RSPB) Lfciston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, offshore, Sep. 1st to 3rd (R N Macklin et al.) Although scarce, this delightful wader remains regular in Suffolk and, with thirteen records in the last ten years, consistency is the name of the game! 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicarius Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Felixstowe: Brackenbury Cliff, north offshore, Nov. 4th (W J Brame). Havergate Island: Aug. 31st to Sep. 1st (S J Denny, N D Green, D Mellor) The Felixstowe record represents the first from a seawatch for over three years. Grey Phalaropes remain more regular than the previous species with a total of 28 records in the last ten years. 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1 3 7 4 3 5 0 2 1 2 POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus Uncommon passage migrant. A few overwinter. The recent increase in birds overwintering offshore continued in 1995, with a wealth of reports in the first three months of the year. Sightings were made at several 85


localities from Gunton south to Thorpeness, with Lowestoft, Covehithe and Minsmc re providing the bulk of the records. The exact number of individuals involved is hard to determine, due to regular interchange between sites, but at least ten birds were identified. Up to three were recorded at many sites, with higher counts of four adults at Lowestoft on February 19th and March 11th and six immatures at Covehithe on January 30th. During April, two adults were at Lowestoft on 4th and three were there on 15th whilst one was off Gunton on 11th. The activity of the skuas in pursuit of gu lls was often dramatic and on February 5th at Sizewell, one was seen to knock a Kittiwake into the sea but, despite a follow-up attack, the bird was allowed to escape. Spring passage this year was virtually non-existent with the sole record in May involving an immature off Covehithe on 7th. Autumn passage was at its heaviest during September, with a total of 17 birds recorded, mostly in the north of the County. The majority of records involved singles but three were off Covehithe on 19th, with two there, 22nd and 28th, and up to three lingered around the rigs at Sizewell from 1st to 9th. In the south of the County, one was on the beach at Landguard on 13th before flying off south. During October singles were off Covehithe on 1st, 2nd and 4th; North Warren, 1st; Landguard, 22nd and Minsmere, 29th. The last reports of the year were in November with six north past Covehithe on 4th and an immature south past Benacre on 15th. An excellent find involved a juvenile following a plough inland at Hadleigh on September 18th (J Oxford). This would appear to be the first record for West Suffolk since one at Lakenheath in 1903. ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius Common passage migrant.

parasiticus

During the first winter period there were numerous reports of at least two adults offshore from Gunton south to Sizewell. The earliest report was of a single off Covehithe on January 4th and 5th, with the majority of records occurring between January 21st and February 22nd. One was still off Lowestoft on March 2nd. Further south, singles were off Landguard on January 21st and February 21st and 22nd. Spring passage was very poor, the only records being two north, Thorpeness on April 8th and singles north, Covehithe, May 18th and 21st. Autumn passage started early with a single off Minsmere on June 30th, followed by July records there on 1st and 9th. A further July record concerned a single north, 86


Covehithe, 14th. Numbers gradually began to build up from the middle of August, with a distinct peak in records from 27th to 30th. At Southwold there were daily counts during this period of five north, seven south, 27th; nine north, 28th; 13 north, 29th and 25 north, 30th. Peak counts from elsewhere included six, Lowestoft, 28th; five north, North Warren, 28th; five, Sizewell, 28th, with seven there, 31st and three, Landguard, 31st. September produced the highest monthly total of the year with records spread throughout the month, including a total of 30 adults off Covehithe. Several birds were seen lingering and passing off Sizewell during the month with counts of six, 1st; 18, 3rd; five, 4th; six, 6th and five, 9th. Peak counts from elsewhere included eight, North Warren, 7th; three, Lowestoft, 18th and 24th; three north, two south, Landguard, 7th and two north, Southwold, 1st and 20th. Small numbers were seen during October at Benacre, Covehithe, Orfordness and Landguard, with higher counts at Southwold of three north, two south, 1st and 11 north, 21st. A small peak occurred in early November, with three north, Lowestoft, 4th and four north, North Warren, 5th, followed by the final sightings of the year of singles north past Southwold and Landguard on 17th. LONG-TAILED SKUA Stercorarius Scarce passage migrant.

longicaudus

An impressive total of nine individuals was recorded, all from Southwold, making this the second best year on record for the species. Ideal seawatching conditions at the end of August produced seven individuals in a three day period: Se ¡thwold: two ads, one imm. N., Aug. 29th (J M Cawston, J H Grant, E W Patrick); ad. N., Aug. 30th (J M Cawston, J H Grant, B J Small); ad., sub-ad., imm. N., Aug. 31st (J H Grant, B J Small); ad. S„ Sep. 17th (W J Brame); juv. N„ Sep. 30th (B J Small). The increase in seawatching, coupled with a better understanding of the field characters of skuas and an awareness of the weather conditions likely to produce sightings, has shown this species to be a regular autumn visitor. Fotals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 0 1 6 3 1 37 4 4 4 9 GREAT SKUA Stercorarius skua Fairly common passage migrant. The total of five sightings in January is unusually high for Suffolk, where this species is considered unseasonable in the winter months. Singles flew south off Covehithe, 1st and north there, 3rd; north past Sizewell, 4th and 22nd and north past Southwold, 4th. Spring passage was poorer than in recent years, the only records being singles north past Southwold on April 23rd and June 15th. In marked contrast to the spring, it proved to be a record autumn for the species with a total of 64 individuals reported, all in the north of the county, but for an early bird reported from Havergate on July 16th. August records peaked in the last five days of the month, particularly at Southwold where there were counts of four north, three south, 27th; three north, 28th; two north, 30th and two north, 31st. A total of eight north, two south were observed off Covehithe during the month and elsewhere singles lew south off Corton, 28th and north past North Warren on the same date. During September, ten were recorded from Covehithe and a similar number at Southwold, including three north on 17th and four north, 30th. Singles flew south off Lowestoft °n 17th and off Gunton, 17th and 18th. Small numbers were seen during October, with a Peak of six north, Southwold on 4th and the final records of the year concerned two off Covehithe during November and one south past Southwold on November 3rd. 87


MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant.

Estimating the county population in the first three months of the year was hampered by frequent interchange of individuals between sites. The main localities were Lowestoft, with up to three adults, a first-winter and a second-winter present; Landguard/ Felixstowe, with up to three first-winters, a second-winter and two adults; Suffolk Water Park, where up to five first-winters and an adult were present; Minsmere/ Sizewell, with up to two first-winters, a second-winter and two adults and Lackford WR, which produced two first-winters, a second-winter and an adult. Birds of all ages were seen at several other coastal sites, but the majority were one-day sightings apart from the regular adult at Levington Marina. Further inland records came from Haughley, January 15th and Ixworth, March 11th. Spring passage during April and May was evident on the coast, with notable counts during the period coming from Minsmere, where up to four first-summers and a second-summer were regularly seen and from Landguard/Felixstowe, where up to four first-summers, a second-summer and two adults were noted. Trimley Marshes held four first-summers and an adult on May 12th. Additional records came from Lowestoft, Benacre, Covehithe, Walberswick, Sizewell and North Warren. A longstaying first-summer bird took up residence at Lowestoft from May 2nd until the end of the year. At Havergate Island, six adults were present on April 18th and 19th and subsequently two pairs nested, each rearing two young. This is the first instance of successful fledging to be recorded in Suffolk. It is evident that several birds probably oversummered in the county and these were boosted by returning birds in July and August. Juveniles were noted at Lowestoft, Sizewell and Felixstowe, with further birds noted at a handful of coastal sites. Two first-summers were at Sizewell on July 6th and four adults were at Minsmere on the same date. From late autumn and into the second winter period, birds began to reappear at traditional wintering sites, although numbers were lower than in the first winter. The Landguard/Felixstowe area was again popular, with up to four second-winters and two adults during October, with two second88


•

12: The Flamingo mystery.

origin of this Greater at Minsmere remains a

13: This Common Crane settled fai a while in West Suffolk. Alan 1 te

Robin Chittenden

14: Juvenile Sand Martins - several colonies showed increases in 1995. Andrew Easton


winters and an adult remaining to the end of the year. Lowestoft hosted a secondwinter from November 19th and an adult on October 17th but records were thin on the ground at Minsmere apart from a single on November 25th and three adults, Dc cember 8th. The regular adult at Levington Marina was present again from November 8th to December 24th and a first-winter was there on November 19th and December 26th. Away from these sites records were received from Benacre, Blythburgh, MiUtlesham Creek, Woodbridge and Trimley Marshes. Inland, Suffolk Water Park hosted a first-winter, November 4th to 25th; a second-winter, December 18th and an adult, November 25th and a second-winter was at Lackford WR on November 12th. The table below shows the maximum number of birds recorded in each month; long-staying birds are recorded for each month they were present. All records have been included, with the exception of those at Lackford WR in the first three months of the year, for which accurate data was not supplied. Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 23 23 21 24 18 13 14 6 8 13 12 19 LAUGHING G U L L Larus atricilla Accidental. An addition to the County list. Lowestoft: first-summer, July 8th (R Fairhead). Musmere: first-summer, July 5th to 8th (D Fairhurst et ai). SiMwell: first-summer, July 7th and 9th to 11th (D Fairhurst et al.). Suffolk's first record of this Nearctic gull was initially discovered on the evening of July 5th in the gull roost at Minsmere, from where it regularly commuted to Sizewell over the following six days. On July 8th it ventured further afield, appearing on the roof of the Bird's Eye Factory at Lowestoft. The same individual later appeared at Dungeness, Kent on July 14th where it remained until August 13th. LITTLE G U L L Larus minutus Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers oversummer and overwinter. It was a fairly disappointing year for this species, with few seen in the winter months and rather low numbers during the migration periods. During the first winter period observations were restricted to three dates; two south, La rdguard, January 5th; 12 north, Covehithe, January 12th and a first-winter at North Warren, March 1st. Spring passage was recorded from April 1st to June 14th, the most protracted observations coming from inland sites. At Lackford WR, observations lasted from April 1st to May 1st and peaked at 12 on April 28th. At nearby Livermere Lake, a minimum of four birds was recorded between April 2nd and 14th with four on April 30th and further afield, singles were at Weybread Pits, April 24th and May 15th. Coastal reports came from Southwold, April 4th and 14th and May 13th; Sizewell, June 14th; Havergate Island, May 20th; Landguard, one north, April 18th; four north, April 28th; nine north, April 29th and a first-summer present, June 9th and Trimley Marshes where two were present, April 28th and 29th. A first-summer moulting to second-winter made a protracted stay at Lowestoft Harbour from May 25th to August 5th. Autumn passage commenced in mid-August with a juvenile at Trimley Marshes on -th followed by two more at Covehithe on 18th. Six adults were at Minsmere on 21st and 23rd and 20 flew south at Southwold on 30th. At Benacre, numbers built up from on July 30th to peak at 48 on August 14th. Passage was heavier during September, Wl th a total of 220 north and 40 south recorded off Covehithe during the month. At 89


Sizewell up to 30 were seen between 1st and 7th, although only five remained by 9th and 32 were at Benacre on 3rd. At Minsmere, 10 adults were present on 5th whist Lowestoft counts peaked at 50 on the same day. At Landguard, singles were seen, 7 h, 15th and 16th and two were present, 11th. October records were almost non-existe it, the only report concerning two north off Landguard on 29th. In contrast, November produced an increase in numbers with a total of 85 off Covehithe during the mon h. At Landguard, one flew north, 3rd and three were present, 4th, increasing to 10 m 10th. The final two reports of the year were a second-winter at Lackford WR, November 17th and one at Martlesham Creek, December 20th. SABINE'S GULL Larus sabini Rare passage migrant Lowestoft: Ness Pt, juv. Sep. 4th and 5th (R Wincup); juv. Sep 30th (R Wincup). Southwold: adult N„ Aug. 29th (B J Small, D F Walsh); two first-winters N., Nov. 3rd (J M Cawston, E W Patrick). Livermere Lake: juv. Sep. 11th and 12th (T Humpage, T Stopher, D K Underwood et al.). A good year for this species, the six records constituting the second highest annual total for Suffolk. Following an early adult, five juvenile/first-winters were seen inch iing the County's first inland record. The two first-winters at Southwold in Noveml er were the latest records since two were seen at Shingle Street on December 3rd 1978. Annual totals for the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 0 3 9 2 3 5 1 5 1 6 BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage The WeBS counts were as J F Blyth 1300 297 Aide/Ore 1503 2292 Deben 872 1387 Orwell n/c n/c Alton Water 87 236

follows:M A 4925 3056 2348 n/c 1099 1721 n/c n/c 418 61

M 2865 n/c n/c n/c 6

migrant. A n/c n/c n/c n/c 101

S n/c 2337 2264 1404 107

O 126 1598 1684 769 184

N 314 1176 1376 942 325

D 140 222 102 505 131

The highest count in the first year period came from Lackford WR where a maximum of 12,000 was counted at the roost between January and March. Other counts of note included 3197, Wherstead Strand, January 20th and a maximum of 750 off Landguard on January 28th. As spring progressed numbers began to build up at the breeding sites. At Havergate Island numbers increased from 991 on March 19th to 2500 by April 11th. A total of c.l 100 pairs nested at the site. At Minsmere, 442 pairs nested, rearing a total of 261 young, a considerable increase on 1994. At Trimley Marshes, 350 pairs produced 250 juveniles. By late August numbers began dropping off at the breeding sites, e.g. 250 at Havergate Island, August 25th and 370 at Trimley Marshes, August 30th, and a general increase in returning wintering birds was witnessed across the County. Peak counts in the latter part of the year included 2217, Brantham, December 12th; 1500, Combs Lane, Stowmarket, October 28th; 1648, Wherstead, November 1st, with 2291 there, December 30th; 1843, Freston, August 22nd and between 1000-2000 roosting at Suffolk Water Park at the end of the year. Autumn movements at Landguard peaked during October with a maximum of 880 south on 22nd. 90


COMMON GULL Larus canus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. WeBS counts are tabulated:J F M A M A S N O D 141 11 30 35 1 n/c n/c 117 Blyth 0 35 Aide/Ore 46 47 n/c n/c n/c 16 12 9 15 14 14 2 Deben n/c n/c 12 16 15 n/c n/c n/c Orwell n/c n/c n/c 40 112 207 2 4 Alton Water 0 2 21 99 38 This species remains the most poorly recorded of the commoner gulls, with reports from only nine sites away from the estuaries. During the first winter period, numbers of: Landguard built up from 150 on January 16th to reach a peak of 600 on January 27th. Forty flying south there, January 23rd was the only movement recorded. Other notable counts included 250, Barsham Marshes, January 16th and 700-800 at Lackford WR during March. The only sizeable count during the spring was 250 at Minsmere on April 25th. Up to eight adults were at Havergate Island throughout the spring and summer and a minimum of two pairs nested. The only other observation recorded during the summer months came from Combs Lane Water Meadows where this species' status has changed from being purely a winter visitor, with birds now becoming increasingly regular during the summer months. Up to five birds were seen on 12 dates, compared to three during the summer of 1994 and none at all during 1993. Visible autumn passage was only reported from Landguard where there were peaks of 101 south, August 12th and 64 south, October 22nd. The largest flocks in the autumn and second winter period were 450, Barsham, October 24th; 400, Holbrook B> . River Stour, September 20th and between 100-250 roosting at Suffolk Water Park at the end of December. An interesting first-winter gull at Lackford WR on Jan. 14th was almost certainly a Common x Mediterranean Gull hybrid (M D Crewe et al.). LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. VeBS counts are summarised:F M A M A S O N D J Blyth n/c 73 7 3 12 57 111 7 n/c 53 Aide/Ore 162 49 5 7 289 247 n/c n/c n/c 68 Deben 382 62 45 0 n/c n/c 15 15 n/c n/c ! he number of wintering birds was rather low in the first winter period with just the odd bird noted at a scattering of sites and a peak count of 167 at Lackford WR in February, although this figure may well include the first returning birds. Spring migration began early with 16 south, North Warren on February 12th and increasing numbers at Felixstowe from February 15th. The increase in numbers on the Aide/Ore complex during February and March reflects birds returning to the Orfordness colony a:K ' this was mirrored by almost daily records at Landguard from March 5th. Away from the estuaries, the highest count during March was of 450 at Minsmere, March 14th. Records became more widespread from April onwards with peak coastal movements at Landguard of 86 north, 8 south, April 22nd and 15 north, April 26th. During 'he spring and summer several noteworthy gatherings of non-breeding birds were reported including 48 at Havergate Island, May 14th, increasing to 150, June 29th and 165 by July 7th; 54, Suffolk Showground, Ipswich, June 4th; 30, Trimley Marshes, 91


May 10th, increasing to 92 by June 5th and monthly maxima at Lackford WR of 66 in April and 25 in May. The largest gathering occurred at Benacre Broad where numbers increased from 400 on June 30th to reach a peak of 2000 on August 21st The build up of passage birds from late August produced counts of 100, Trimley Marshes, August 19th; 60, Needham Market, August 8th; 620, North Warren, August 14th; 80, Havergate Island, September 10th and 133, Minsmere, October 9th. Southerly autumn passage at Landguard resumed with 17 on August 12th, reachin: a peak during September with 45, 5th; 150, 8th and 191, 7th. In addition to these, H) were around the reserve on the 16th. Autumn passage at Lackford WR peaked slightly later than on the coast and produced notable counts of 1000, September 30th and 3350, October 10th. The number of birds remaining during November and December was higher than in the first winter period with additional counts away from the estuaries of 11, Blythburgh, December 24th and maxima at Havergate Island of 12, November 12th and six, December 8th. A partial albino was seen at Benacre Broad on April 23rd. HERRING GULL La rus argentatus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage

migrant.

WeBS counts produced totals as follows:J F M A M Blyth 176 22 208 97 22 Aide/Ore 211 734 98 n/c n/c Deben 141 68 n/c 73 109 Orwell n/c n/c n/c n/c n/c

D A N S O 26 n/c 60 n/c 77 n/c 157 164 589 1666 4 127 n/c 203 251 7 12 n/c 5 35 This species remains very poorly recorded. Other than the counts tabulated above, the only figures of any note recorded during the year were 150, Landguard on January 27th, (with 50 south at the same site on October 23rd being the largest movement recorded during the year); 138 at Freston, August 1st; 137, Wherstead, November 1st; 89, Havergate Island, November 19th; a maximum of 90 roosting at Lackford during March and a spring peak of 71 at Trimley Marshes, June 5th. Away from the Orfordness colony, from which no data has been received, there were two other instances of breeding. Three pairs made an attempt at Havergate Island, but were unsuccessful and five pairs nested at Lowestoft Harbour, although their success is unknown. A first-summer female seen at Lowestoft on May 25th had been ringed at Bristol in June 1994 and at the same site, an odd looking first-summer seen on April 14th and 15th was either a Glaucous Gull x Herring Gull hybrid or a leucistic Herring Gull. There was a wealth of reports of birds showing characters of one of the yellowlegged races, but most of these were submitted without descriptions to back up the claim. Although adults of the Mediterranean race L.a.michahellis are readily identifiable, certain immature plumages, particularly first-winters, are difficult to determine with certainty. The SORC would like to make a further plea to observers to submit notes with their sightings until a regular pattern of occurrence has been identified. Reports of Yellow-legged Gulls were as follows: Lowestoft: 2nd-winter, Feb. 15th; 3rd-summer, Jul. 5th and 11th and Aug. 9th, 17th and 20th; 2nd-summer, Jul. 16th; ad. Aug. 23rd; un-aged, Aug. 13th, Sep. 6th and Nov. 24th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, ad., Aug. 8th. Minsmere: 3rd-winter, Mar. 15th; 2nd-summer, Jul. 6th; 3rd-summer, Jul. 30th; ad., Dec. 2nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, un-aged, Aug. 28th and three, Nov. 7th. Assuming these reports to be correct, they do follow the national trend of a build up of birds in the late summer/early autumn, post breeding period. 92


1994 Two late records of Yellow-legged Gulls: Corton: Aug. 11th. Be,acre: Sep. 9th. ICELAND G U L L Larus glaucoides Scarce winter visitor An excellent year for this species with as many as ten individuals seen - seven or eight during the first winter period and two in the second. Most reports related to a long-staying adult at a number of sites in the north of the County between January and April. TTie inland records at Haughley and Lackford are particularly noteworthy as this remains a very rare species away from the coast. Gi'rleston: Gorleston harbour, ad., Apr. 2nd (N J Skinner). Lowestoft: Lowestoft harbour, ad., Jan. 23rd (B J Small); first-winter, Feb. 8th and 28th (D B Sivyer, R C Smith); third-summer, Mar. 31st (R Wincup). Carlton ColvUle: ad., Feb. 13th (R Fairhead). Benacre: ad. N., Apr. 2nd (R Waiden). Presumed same as Gorleston bird. Covehithe: second -winter, March 30th (P J Dare). Southwold: ad., Jan. 30th, Feb. 7th, Mar. 22nd, 25th and 30th (many obs.). W'berswick: ad. S., Jan. 24th and 28th (D C Marsh, M C Marsh). Blythburgh: ad. W. over A12, Mar. 26th (M C Marsh, S H Piotrowski). Mmsmere: ad. Jan. 26th, 27th and 29th, Feb. 3rd, Mar. 25th and Apr. 8th (RSPB); secondsummer, May 8th (A J Leitch). Leiston cum Sizewell: Sizewell, ad., Feb. 5th (M D Crewe, D C Marsh, E W Patrick). HĂźvergate Island: second or third-winter, Oct. 14th (S J Denny). Felixstowe: Landguard, ad., Dec. 1 Ith (S Marginson). Haughley Park: ad., Jan. 8th to 17th (T Stopher et al.). Lackford WR: first-winter, Jan. 29th; ad., Mar. 18th. GLAUCOUS G U L L Larus hyperboreus Scarce winter visitor. Once again this species remained very elusive in the County, with all records involving one-day sightings. The presence of un-aged birds makes it difficult to determine the number of individuals involved but it is possible that only one bird was responsible for all the first winter and spring sightings. Lowestoft: Lowestoft Harbour, first-winter, Jan. 4th (J M Cawston, E W Patrick); un-aged, Jan. 11th (H R Beecroft); first-summer, Apr. 13th (R Fairhead). Southwold: First-summer N., Apr. 14th (J M Cawston, S J Ling, E W Patrick). Minsmere: Un-aged, Apr. 21st (RSPB); first-summer, May 8th (RSPB). GREAT B L A C K - B A C K E D G U L L Larus marinus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. WeBS counts are tabulated:O N D M A S M A J F Blyth 62 18 1 n/c n/c 73 15 38 26 13 Aide/Ore 111 n/c 7 223 408 11 n/c n/c 97 46 Deben 1 6 27 n/c 0 4 1 n/c 17 5 Orwell 50 n/c n/c 6 13 0 n/c n/c n/c n/c Once again the Aide/Ore complex played host to the largest gatherings of wintering birds in the County. Further counts of wintering birds included 98, Havergate Island, November 12th; 75, Southwold, January 8th; 50, Landguard, January 24th and 40 there, November 27th; 49, Wherstead Strand, November 11th and 23, North Warren, January 19th. 93


Spring passage was rather poor with, for instance, no more than six recorded at Landguard on any one date. Higher counts were 50 at Trimley Marshes, May 2nd and 25, Havergate Island, May 4th. Trimley Marshes continued to host non-breeding birds throughout the summer months with maximum counts of 17, June 10th and 27, Jily 23rd. Elsewhere, up top four were recorded at Landguard during July and several adults were at Havergate Island on July 13th and 14th. Autumn passage was well under way during early August with 57 at Frestcn, August 1st and 60 at Trimley Marshes, August 30th. At Havergate Island, numb rs built up from 25 on August 30th to reach an autumn peak of 68 on September 10 h. Small numbers were observed passing Landguard during the early autumn reachin; a peak during October when there were counts of 11 south on 22nd and 22 south in 23rd. KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla Very common passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers breed. The breeding colony at Lowestoft had another record-breaking year with a total of 201 successful nests. The species nested for the first time on Claremont Pier. Equa iy impressive was the discovery of a second colony in the county on the rigs at Sizewell, where 22 nests were counted. Location

Total nests

Kittiwake Wall Wall (inside) Quay under wall Fish market quay Containers Harbour mouth Claremont Pier TOTAL

Successful nests

young

98 2 51 13 79 15 1

70 2 35 13 68 12 1

114 2 48 19 100 18 2

259

201

303

During the first winter period large numbers were present offshore, particularly in the north of the county. At Covehithe there were peak counts in January of 1100 south, 20th; 1900 north, 26th and 795 south, 31st, whilst at Southwold, 500 were offshore, January 22nd and 1200 flew north there, January 26th. Further south, a maximum of 150 were observed feeding offshore at Landguard, January 27th and 773 flew south there, January 21st. From then onwards this species remained in very low numbers offshore until the autumn, when passage got underway in force. A total of 407 were counted off Covehithe during September, with higher counts of 1690 north, October 21st and 665 north, November 4th. A similar pattern emerged at Southwold where there were peaks of 550 north, September 20th; 2510 north, October 21st and 5000 north, November 4th. The only other counts of note received were 100 north, Benacre on October 21st and 40 offshore at Landguard, November 21st. There were no high counts offshore during the second winter period. The only record away from the immediate vicinity of the coast was a single at Trimley Marshes on January 24th. One at Corton on October 29th was considered to be an albino. CASPIAN T E R N Sterna caspia Rare visitor. 1988 Lowestoft: Ness Point, Apr. 29th (R Wincup). This bird is assumed to be the same as one seen at Breydon Water on the same date 94


ar perhaps that which appeared on two dates at Minsmere in May and July. 1988 was a : >od year for the species with 20 accepted records nationally to date, although this is a highly mobile species and the number of individuals involved will remain unknown. SANDWICH T E R N Sterna sandvicensis A common summer visitor and passage migrant. A single on Havergate Island on March 18th constituted the first report of the year, closely followed by another single at Minsmere on March 22nd. A sharp increase by th month's end saw 140 on Havergate by 31st. April saw numbers at Havergate increase from 370 on 8th to 800 on 27th, whilst Minsmere held 162 on 24th. Coastal spring passage was only reported from Covehithe where a total of 87 birds was recorded passing north during April. The breeding season proved disastrous for the species with 263 nests at Havergate producing no young at all after severe prédation and a colony of 23 pairs at Minsmere met a similar fate. No large southerly movements were reported in the autumn with just a light passage in August and September resulting in a peak day count of 35 south at Landguard on August 22nd. But for one at Havergate on 1st and five at Minsmere on 5th, October sightings were confined to Landguard with nine birds logged, the last being three south on 17th. A particularly interesting observation involved the appearance of six Sandwich Terns on September 13th which tumbled down from high up to fly around L -rmere Lake during a brief but heavy rain storm (small compensation for those that missed the Sabine's Gull!) ROSEATE T E R N Sterna dougallii A rare summer visitor and passage migrant An above average showing with a total of five birds being recorded from the coast. S< h wold: first summer S., Jul. 12th (J M Cawston, E W Patrick); ad. S„ Aug. 30th (J M Cawston, J H Grant, E W Patrick). Minsmere: May 5th (R Barras); two ads. Jun. 8th to 18th, presumed same Jul. 1st and 12th (per RSPB). Siïewell: Jun. 15th to 18th. Presumed same as one of Minsmere birds (G Lowe, N Marsh). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 0 2 1 2 4 2 3 2 3 5 As this species enters a period of improved fortunes in the British Isles, we can only hope that sightings will increase, although Suffolk is not ideally placed to receive too many of these delightful birds. COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo ( ommon summer visitor and passage migrant. The first bird of the year was reported from Covehithe on April 5th and was soon followed by a good run of sightings. Inland reports included counts of up to six pairs at Weybread GPs during April rising to eight on May 4th whilst Lackford WR had a hght spring passage from April 7th to June 4th with the highest count involving ten birds on May 1 st. Two adults were present at the Suffolk Water Park, Bramford from May 8th to the end of June. Interestingly, the latter two birds were seen to feed a juvenile Black-headed Gull on June 30th (J Zantboer). Also of interest was the report °f an adult mobbing a Sparrowhawk at Alton Water on Aug 6th (P W Murphy). 95


Breeding was confirmed at only five sites with six pairs at Lake Lothing during June, 20 pairs at Minsmere, 84 pairs at Havergate Island (rearing 80 young) and 32 pairs at Trimley Marshes. A single pair reared three young in the Gipping Valley at Sharmford Mere, Coddenham. A bird from the Trimley Marshes colony was perhaps responsible for the report of an adult collecting nesting material at Shotley. Autumn passage peaked from late August to early September with the highest counts coming from Sizewell. At that site, counts around the outfall rig included 250 on August 28th, 310 on September 4th and 110 on September 7th. The final report of the year involved a singleton south off Southwold on October 14th. ARCTIC T E R N Sterna A fairly common passage

paradisaea migrant.

This species often makes overland movements during the spring so it is not surprising that the first report of the year came from Lackford WR on April 13th. Passage birds continued to be noted there until May 25th with a peak of 22 on April 15 th, he highest total for the spring. The only other spring counts of note involved four at Livermere Lake on May 3rd (with two there, April 30th) and four north off Southwnld on May 13th. The only breeding season report came, typically, from Havergate Island when a single pair remained until June 9th when the first brood was lost. Two pairs attempted again in July and a single juvenile was observed. Autumn passage was rather poor with only three double-figure counts received, these being 30 at Sizewell outfall on August 31st and ten at the same site on August 29th and September 3rd. There were only two October sightings, involving nine south off Southwold on 1st and one south off Landguard on 14th. LITTLE T E R N Sterna albifrons Common summer visitor and passage

migrant.

Little Terns continue to suffer poor breeding success in the County for a variety of reasons, mostly due to predation and human disturbance. Although information is incomplete for a number of sites where small numbers may have been breeding (e.g. Orfordness and Woodbridge Haven), the situation remains worrying with, for example, just five young fledging from 26 pairs in the well-monitored colony at Minsmere. No pairs were found nesting at Shotley this year and at Aldeburgh all nests were predated by an unknown predator. In total, 104-105 pairs were located during the breeding season with the best success rate coming from Covehithe where 19 pairs fledged 21 young. The first spring birds were reported from Landguard on April 23rd and Trimley Marshes on April 29th with the species becoming widespread soon afterwards. Despite the very poor breeding season, good numbers of birds were noted from sites along the whole of the coast. Highest counts included 59 at Covehithe on July 25th, 190 at Minsmere on May 8th, 50 at Shingle Street on June 14th and 30 at Trimley Marshes on August 2nd. At Landguard, up to 30 were regularly present from May 25th to June 4th with 42 on June 8th. Two adults at Havergate Island on September 10th and three on the Stour on the same date constituted the latest reports of the year. Exceptionally, one was noted at Lackford WR on May 5th. W H I S K E R E D TERN Chlidonias hybridus Accidental. Felixstowe: Landguard, offshore, June 12th (P Oldfield). An unexpected find, this individual chose to show itself to one lucky observer 96


before moving off. This is only the third for Suffolk so a long-stayer is eagerly awaited. Previous records involved singles at Shingle Street, September 16th and 17th 1910 and Minsmere, May 26th 1988.

BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger Fairly common passage migrant. An average year for this species with no large gatherings reported. Records began with one at Weybread pits on April 28th and the latest spring bird passed Landguard on June 3rd. Spring passage at the main sites can be summarised as follows: Weybread GPs: Apr, 28th to May 4th, peaking at 13, May 3rd and five, May 4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, June 3rd. Trimley Marshes: noted May 1st to 25th, peaking at 10, May 10th. Alton Water: one, May 18th. Lackford WR: light spring passage, May 3rd to 26th involving no more than three birds on any one day. Livermere Lake: 16, May 3rd; 12, May 4th. Autumn produced more birds with summaries as follows: Lowestoft: six, Sept. 7th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, four, Sep. 6th. Covehithe: one south, Oct. 15th. Southwold: nine south, Oct. 1st. Sizewell: present Aug. 5th to Sep. 9th, max. 14, Aug. 27th and six, Sep. 3rd. Havergate: singles, Aug. 28th and Sep. 4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, one Nâ&#x20AC;&#x17E; one S., Sep. 7th; four S., Sep. 27th; two S., Oct. 1st. Alton Water: noted between Aug. 30th and Sep. 5th with max. of two birds, Aug. 30th. Bawdsey: East Lane, singles Aug. 31st and Nov. 3rd. Trimley Marshes: one, July 31st. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, juv., Aug. 18th to 20th. The Bawdsey individual on Nov. 3rd is the latest in the County since one at Havergate on November 6th 1962 (which remains the latest ever in Suffolk).

GUILLEMOT Uria aalge Common passage migrant and winter visitor. During the first winter period highest counts came from Minsmere with 250 offshore on January 23rd and 350 on February 3rd. During the same period, high numbers were recorded from Southwold where 50 were noted on January 29th and 50 flew north on February 8th. Elsewhere, 30 flew north past Aldeburgh on February 5th. Birds found in the tidal estuaries included one on the River Ore at Hollesley on December 28th and at least one on the Orwell, ranging from Levington to Freston from January 5th to 27th. Mercifully, very few reports of tideline corpses were received and very few of oiled birds. The few corpses that were reported were all in the south-east of the County, between Felixstowe Ferry and Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin, although as all these reports came from a single observer it is likely that such sightings went unrecorded elsewhere. During the autumn period, the first returning birds were noted off Southwold with two on July 28th. However, no more were noted until 25 flew north passed the same site on November 3rd. Subsequent reports were few and the last sighting of the year came from Havergate Island on December 16th. 97


RAZORBILL Alca tordo Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. Somewhat contradictory to the status comment above, this species had a rather poor year in the County with no double-figure counts received. Considering the interest in sea-watching generated by the occurrence of large numbers of Little Auks, it is perhaps surprising that so few were located. During the first winter period, the species was observed on seven dates between January 1st and February 26th with the largest gathering being four off Minsmere on February 5th. Dead or oiled birds at Lowestoft on two dates in early December proved to be tne only casualties of the year reported. Numbers in the second winter period echoed those in the early part of the year and Southwold was the only site producing multiple sightings with five flying north on November 3rd and two north on November 17th. December produced just four more reports of singletons, the last being noted off Dun wich on 17th. LITTLE AUK Alle alle Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. After an absence in 1994, this diminutive auk returned to Suffolk with a vengeance. Typically, however, the first winter period was quiet for the species with singles noted flying south off Lowestoft on January 2nd, and Minsmere on January 11th, followed by two south off Minsmere on January 23rd and two offshore there on February 5th and one south off Landguard on January 24th. During the second winter period, the flood gates opened and a remarkable total of some 1450 Little Auks was reported (no doubt involving some duplication however) with the main passage falling within a very short period of time from November 2nd to 4th (with an apparent second peak on November 18th). Sightings began with two south off Landguard on October 22nd and three off Shingle Street on October 28th and the last report involved one off Minsmere on December 14th. Sightings were almost exclusively confined to the coast north of Aldeburgh and during the main movement in November, numbers peaked with the following: Lowestoft: 146 north, Nov. 2nd; 51 north, Nov. 3rd. Covehithe: 641 north (county record), Nov. 2nd; 40 north, Nov. 4th; 67 north, Nov. 18th. Southwold: 62 north, Nov. 3rd; 80 north, Nov. 4th. Walberswick: 92 north, Nov. 2nd; 18 north, Nov. 18th. Aldeburgh: 84 north, Nov. 2nd; 28 north, Nov. 3rd; 28 north, Nov. 5th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 13 north, seven south and nine on sea, Nov. 2nd. As is usual with this species when large movements occur, there was a sprinkling of reports away from the immediate coast (as well as up to five on Benacre Broad). These included singles at Lake Lothing, Lowestoft on November 4th, Levington Marina on November 5th and an oiled bird which settled in Ipswich Docks from November 25th to December 1st. In addition, one was picked up in a garden in Palmcroft Road, Ipswich and later released at Clacton and the most intrepid individual made an incursion as far west as West Stow Country Park on November 2nd. PUFFIN Fratercula arctica Scarce passage migrant. This species remains a prize for the most ardent seawatcher with just four records in 1995 involving five birds. Covehithe: two north, Nov. 3rd (P J Dare); north, Nov. 18th (P J Dare). Southwold: north, Nov. 3rd (E W Patrick); north, Nov. 4th (B J Small). 98


Totals over the last 10 years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 5 0 9 12 19 7 17 8 7 5 After a flurry at the turn of the decade, the species has returned to its former scarcity. ROCK DOVE Columba livia Very common resident from feral stock. Once again there was a paucity of records of this species with counts received from just three sites. A maximum of 49 were roosting at Long Melford church in November and a resident flock in Bury St Edmunds town centre numbered 50 on February 13th. At Landguard, birds were present throughout the year peaking at 20 during November and December. STOCKDOVE Columba oenas Fairly common resident and passage

migrant.

Records were received from about 25 sites across the County, compared to 30 sites in 1994. One observer at Felixstowe reported seeing the highest numbers since 1987. Breeding was noted at several sites including Combs Lane Water Meadows where a pair raised two broods in an owl box; five pairs held territory at North Warren and single pairs were reported from Boyton Marshes and Tuddenham Road, Ipswich. Tie largest flocks occurred during the second part of the winter and included 250 feeding in a field near Cavenham on November 2nd; 85 on Sudbourne Marshes on December 16th and 52 at Little Livermere on December 4th. The only notable early winter count was 72 at Benacre on February 11th. Following last year's impressive numbers of passage birds, movements in 1995 were virtually non-existent. The highest spring counts involved a lowly 20 at Fagbury Cliff on April 8th and eight flying south off Landguard on March 24th. There were no specific records of autumn movements. WOODPIGEON Columba palumbus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Large flocks were recorded at 11 sites during the first winter period, the highest counts being 1500 at Harleston on March 9th and 1350 at Stowupland on March 1st. Flocks of about 1000 birds were observed at Alderton on January 13th and Härtest on February 26th. Regular counts of flocks at Trimley Marshes produced peaks of 700 on February 5th, 1000 on March 4th and 600 on April 1st. Other notable counts during January included 800 at Lidgate on 25th, 600 at Gazeley on 15th and 500 at Butley on 27th. Spring movements, all involving birds flying south, were observed at Landguard from late March into June with peaks of 154 on March 24th, 81 on March 26th, 72 on April 2nd, 38 on April 11th, 42 on May 3rd, 78 on May 26th and 16 on June 18th. A slight influx was also noted during May at Fagbury Cliff where 26 flew west on the 15 th. Breeding records were received from only five sites; these included detailed counts involving 160 pairs at North Warren & Aldringham Walks and 12 pairs at Boyton Marshes. Breeding was described as "widespread!' in Stansfield whilst Landguard reported a disastrous season for the resident population with many young dying shortly after fledging in July. Hardly any juveniles were present there during August but the reason for their demise is unknown. An adult feeding a juvenile at Tuddenham 99


Road, Ipswich on November 4th illustrated the species' ability to breed year-round as long as conditions are right. Autumn passage was very light compared to 1994, migration only being noted at three sites between October and November. Peak counts included 35 south at Fagbury on October 5th and 727 flying west/south-west on three dates in November over Stowmarket. Regular observations at Landguard provided peaks of 50 south on November 12th and 52 south on November 18th. Late winter counts included 1,000 at Stansfield on November 4th; 695 at Friston on November 26th and finally, 300 going to roost at Shelley on December 18th. COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia Common resident.

decaocto

Records of this species were received from only 17 sites in 1995, a slight decrease from the 1994 total of 21 sites. There was an increase in the number of flocks involving 30 or more birds, all from the second winter period. The most notable were: Oui ton: 150, Oct. 16th Lowestoft: Commercial Rd grain silo, 120, Oct. to Dec. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, 114, Nov. 4th; 103, Oct. 29th. Stowupland: 90, Dec. 1st. Battisford: 60, Dec. 14th.

There were a further four records from across the County involving flocks of between 50 and 60 birds. The only detailed breeding records came from Landgua d where seven pairs nested but all suffered a similar fate to the Wood Pigeons and very few juveniles survived. There were no reports of any passage movements during the year. A partially albino bird was seen at Lowestoft on June 6th, it had a white head, chest and mantle. TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia turtur Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Records were received from 57 sites, a slight increase on 1994. The first spring arrival was reported from Leiston on April 20th, followed by a bird at Great Livermere the next day. Only seven other sightings were reported during April, the main influx of migrants not arriving until early May. Spring passage was noted from April 24th to June 3rd at Landguard with a maximum day count of 11 south on May 8th. Few flocks of any size were noted in spring with 40 at Snape on May 23rd being the largest number reported. Breeding records were fairly sparse and confirmed breeding was reported from only five sites. A total of 17 territories was located at Minsmere, 22 at North Warren and seven in Dunwich Forest. A pair was seen nest-building at Fagbury in July following an absence there last year and at Combs Lane Water Meadows a pair successfully raised a second brood. A significant decline in numbers was noted at Felixstowe and in the Fynn Valley. Counts of post-breeding gatherings included 44 at Cavenham on August 11th with 51 there on September 9th, 30 at Icklingham on August 13th and 20 at Trimley Marshes on August 1st and 16 at Long Melford on July 15th. Most birds had departed by mid-September with records from the second half of the month involving 11 a t Cavenham Pits on 11th; singles at Combs Lane Water Meadows and Sedge Fen, Lakenheath on 23rd and two adults at Long Melford on 24th. The last record was of a bird at Landguard on October 10th. 100


RING-NECKED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri Scarce resident. Continuing the recent decline of this species there was only one record during 1995. Brightwell: Apr. 25th (G J Price) Any spread that may be taking place from the British ferai population is certainly not heading our way. It is interesting to note that this is the second time in recent years that this species has been noted at Brightwell. CUCKOO Cuculus canorus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first returning Cuckoo was recorded at Raydon on April 13th, there was then a scattering of records from a further 12 sites during the rest of the month. The main influx of birds arrived during the first half of May. Birds were recorded at just over 40 sites from April to June, compared with the 1994 total of 60. Two observers from the south-east of the county reported a decline in numbers but the estimated 10 territories at North Warren continued the upward trend noted there in recent years. Other breeding records came from Combs Lane Water Meadows, where there were two instances of juveniles being fed by Dunnock parents. At Landguard, juveniles were noted on three dates in July but were considered to be passage birds. Juvenile birds were also recorded at four sites in September, the last being at Landguard on the 23rd. BARNOWL Tytoalba Fairly common resident. Records were received from about 89 sites during the year, a significant rĂŠduction fforn the 100 sites in 1994. Once again sightings were predominantly from coastal sites (over 80%), with four from mid-Suffolk and two from West Suffolk where this species is now very scarce. Pairs were reported from nine locations and although breeding was suspected at three of these there were no confirmed reports. A pair was apparently released without licence at Onehouse in spring. Limited movement was indicated by the appearance of a Barn Owl at Landguard on August Ist. On a brighter note the only fatality reported during the year was one found dead at Beccles Marshes railway crossing on October 9th - although it may just be that there arenit many to find dead now. LITTLE O W L Athene noctua Fairly common resident. Birds were reported from 112 sites, an increase on the 1994 total of 95. Although many pairs were recorded, breeding was confirmed in only nine cases, with a further four suspected of breeding. Detailed counts included four pairs at Minsmere; two (breeding) pairs at Cavenham Heath and two pairs at Shotley. Records of single pairs were received from 26 sites across the County. Once again Landguard produced the only evidence of postbreeding dispersai with a single bird present from October to mid-November. Road fatalities were reported from ^ near Otley where two were found dead and from Cavenham and Fornham St Martin in West Suffolk where s >ngles were found. 101


TAWNY O W L Strix aluco Common resident. Observations came from about 91 sites compared with 95 in 1994. It appears to have been a successful year for this species with numerous reports of breeding pairs and juveniles. Detailed counts included eight pairs at North Warren; five pairs at Shotley and four pairs at Minsmere. Landguard had a favourable year with one there on March 21st and another individual on three dates in August. The only reports of road fatalities came from the Seven Hills Roundabout, Nacton, the A134 at Ingham and on a minor road at Little Livermere. The latter report was intriguing as the bird was found on open land with not even a hedge within several hundred yards. LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce

resident.

Records of this rather elusive species were received from about 15 sites, about half of these concerning passage or overwintering birds. During the first winter period single birds were observed at Erwarton, Haughley Green, Battisford and Alton Water, the majority likely to be wintering birds. On January 30th two males were heard calling, in the presence of a female, at Rendi sham Forest in suitable breeding habitat. Spring records were received from several sites including Corton, Felixsto ve Docks, Lackford WR and Holywell Row, Mildenhall. A pair was present at High, m (Stour) during April. The coastal records at least are likely to refer to outgoing i n t rants. The only breeding records came from Rendlesham Forest, where two juveni es were heard calling on June 23rd, Mayday Farm, where two young were reported between June 18th and July 3rd and near Honington where a pair was seen feedi ig young on May 20th and two young were out of the nest on June 2nd. Intriguingl} a single bird was ringed at Fagbury Cliff on August 6th, too early for a confinen al arrival; was it a local bird? Autumn passage was poor compared to 1994; singles were recorded on typical dates at Landguard on October 22nd and 30th and Ness House, Aldringham-cumThorpe on October 31st. At Covehithe a bird thought to be either this species or a Short-eared Owl was seen on October 31st. Records during the second winter period were almost non-existent, but three hunting in the evening over Berner's Heath on December 17th presented a fine sight. The only road casualty during the year was at Capel Hall Lane, Trimley St Martin on March 19th. SHORT-EARED OWL Asio flammeus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce

resident.

Once again a poor year for this species. During the first winter period birds were reported from only five sites including Fisher Row, Oulton where there was a single bird seen on several dates during January and February, and two birds on March 12th. Elsewhere singles were present at Oulton Marshes on February 23rd; Southwold Denes, February 24th; Levington, January 22nd and Hare's Creek on January 29th. A similar number of birds was reported in spring from six sites; Southwold Town Marshes and Tinker's Marshes, May 14th; Walberswick, April 29th; Minsmere, April 27th; Sizewell, April 8th; Havergate Island, April 14th to 22nd and Trimley Marshes where one bird was present for most of April. The only report during summer came from Minsmere where a bird was seen on July 19th. 102


Passage birds were noted at Landguard on three dates in October and three in November, all sightings involving single birds. Elsewhere, there were three typical autumn records, all involving single birds, at Havergate Island on September 29th, North Warren, October 10th to 28th and Southwold on October 11th. At least nine birds were present at seven coastal sites during the second winter period. Singles were seen in the Covehithe/Kessingland area, November 2nd and December 17th; Southwold on November 18th and December 22nd; Havergate Island throughout November and December; Waldringfield, December 9th; Falkenham, Nov. 18th; Trimley Marshes, December 19th and Shotley, December 27th. The highest counts involved three birds at Beccles during November and December and Fisher Row, Oulton on December 19th. NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus Uncommon summer visitor and passage

migrant.

Records were received from about 19 traditional sites and detailed counts from some of these sites indicate that the breeding population across the County is currently fairly stable. These included Minsmere where 23 pairs held territories (24 in 1994); Dunwich Forest/Westleton Heath, 30 churring males (32 in 1994) Tunstall Forest, 35 churring males (29 in 1994) and Rendlesham Forest where there were 58 churring males (55 in 1994). Numbers in Thetford Forest were slightly higher than in 1994 however, with some pairs reportedly nesting in sub-optimal habitats and others re-colonising heathland sites; the population here may be approaching saturation point. The first spring arrival was at Minsmere, on May 6th. The following day males were heard churring at Tangham and Blaxhall Heath and another bird was found at Hollesley. The long, warm summer ensured a good breeding season for this species; m Thetford Forest nesting began in early June and continued well into August. It also resulted in a number of late calling birds across the county including one at The King's Forest on August 7th and another in the Rendleshani/Butley area on August l5[ h. The last sighting was a late bird at Ferry Road allotments, Felixstowe on 103


October 8th. This bird looked rather incongruous lying lengthways on some discarded Brussels Sprout stems! Although late, it does not approach the bird located at Worlingham on November 1st 1957. SWIFT Apus apus Very common summer visitor and passage

migrant.

The first returning bird was reported from Alton Water on the exceptionally early date of April 11th, however, there are a number of March records, most notably in 1983 and 1990. This early arrival was followed by five more records during the month (mostly from 22nd) prior to the main influx of migrants which arrived during May. Several large gatherings were noted in May and June including 1500 at Lackford WR, May 11th and 12th; 1000 at Havergate Island, June 8th to 17th; 400 at Minsmere, May 8th and 400 at Trimley Marshes, May 21st. Spring passage movements at Landguard included a total of 627 north and 107 south during May, with 276 north on the 17th and 300 north on the 19th; a total of 107 birds flew south during the same period. In June the main passage occurred between the 7th and 14th, including northerly movements of 242 on the 7th; 170 on the 9th and 187 on the 12th. On the 17th a southerly movement involving 408 birds also took place. Records of confirmed breeding came from only two sites; Stansfield and Hengrave where there were four pairs although the species is clearly widespread. Mid-summer gatherings were noted at Felixstowe where there was a heavy south-westerly/westerly passage during the first three weeks of July. Passage movements at Landguard during July resulted in totals of 873 south, 71 west and 32 north. There were two main peaks the first, from the 4th to 8th, including 150 south on the 7th, the second between the 15th and the 19th with 144 south on the 16th and 100 south the next day. Other July counts included 400 at Trimley Marshes; 240 at Combs Lane Water Meadows and 140 at Boyton. A lighter passage followed during August with Landguard logging a maximum day count of 235 north on 7th. Autumn passage was noted at Boyton where nine flew south on September 9th, and at Southwold where 19 passed south the following day. All in all there were over 30 reports for September compared with 15 in 1994, a reflection perhaps of the summery conditions which prevailed through September and into October. Indeed, Landguard logged a notable 139 south on September 11th. Other September records included one at Lackford W R on 18th; two at Sizewell and six at Havergate Island on the 24th and a single at Felixstowe on the 27th. Finally, there were two October sightings, one at Walberswick on the 19th and one south at Landguard on the 27th. KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis Fairly common resident. Birds were recorded at about 100 sites, a significant increase on 1994's total of 80. A total of 23 pairs was reported from across the county with seven cases of confirmed breeding. Once again the favoured locations included the Orwell estuary around Trimley Marshes, Loompit Lake and Levington lagoon. Other sites with regular sightings included Minsmere, Havergate Island, Alton Water, Bramford WP, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Martlesham Creek, Livermere Lake, Timworth and Lackford WR. The spread of reports strongly suggests observer bias and the species no doubt remains far more widespread, as evidenced by casual sightings from Ashfield-cum-Thorpe, Bixley Heath, Braiseworth, Brent Eleigh, Creeting St Mary, Cretingham, Flowton. Hawkedon, Hopton, Knettishall, Moulton, Oakley, Outney, Peasenhall, Shimpling and 104


Winston. The highest concentration of birds was once again along the Deben where seven were counted during a WeBS count on September 10th. In addition, up to four were on Havergate Island and three at Lackford WR. Evidence of post-breeding dispersal was noted at Landguard where a first-year bird was trapped on September 18th. BEE-EATER Merops apiaster A very rare passage migrant. Another disappointing year for those people still trying to get this species on their county list; the only record was of a bird in flight seen by one lucky observer, unfortunately a typical sighting. Walberswick: May 6th (D. Davison). HOOPOE Upupa epops Scarce passage migrant. There was a total of five records for 1995, two involving the same bird. The latter, an unexpected find in mid-December, was considered to be in poor health but flew off when approached and was not relocated. H nstead with Hulver Street: Apr. 4th and 5th (P J Dare). Benacre: Benacre Pits, Sep. 16th (R C Smith, G Tyler). Miiismere: Apr. 24th (per RSPB). Risby: Dec. 10th (D King) (same as Westley bird). Westley: A14 roundabout, Dec. 11th (many obs.). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 3 6 8 6 7 5 6 3 3 4 WRYNECK Jynx torquilla Uncommon passage migrant. Formerly bred. A very poor spring with, for the second year running, no reports. A great improvement in the autumn saw at least 15 birds at nine sites, with the bulk of the reports occurring during September. Gunton: Sep. 18th to 23rd. Lowestoft: The Oval, Sep. 19th to 24th; old railway line, Sep. 23rd to 25th. Southwold: Denes, Sep. 13th to 19th with two on 13th; horse paddocks, Sep 13th; tennis courts, two, Sep 20th to 24th. Minsmere: Aug. 20th and 25th; Sep 4th and 5th. Oiford: Orfordness, Sep. 10th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Sep. 16th; trapped, Sep. 21st. Felixstowe: Landguard, 21 dates from Sep. 2nd to 28th, max. three on 19th. At least five birds involved, two of which were trapped. Bures St Mary: injured bird, Sep. 1st. "alsham-le-Willows: Oct. 3rd. Fressingfield: Whittingham Hall, Sep. 22nd. This species seems to be popular with cats with the Walsham bird having to be rescued from a moggie's jaws; the Bures bird was picked up as a road casualty. GREEN W O O D P E C K E R Picus viridis Common resident. 1

Records were received from some 146 sites compared with 150 in 1994. The recent "crease in the number of records of this species seems to have reached a plateau, 105


however, detailed local counts seem to indicate a continued rise in population. At North Warren there were 13 pairs (4 in 1994); Minsmere held 17 pairs (14 in 1994) and at Aldringham Walks there were four pairs. There was also a noticeable increase, to three pairs, near Shotley. During the breeding season 33 pairs were reported, 12 of which were proved to have bred. The largest gathering during the year was of eight on the short turf at North Warn n on October 8th. Groups of five birds were seen at Freston on October 28th and Fagbury Cliff on July 15th and four were present at Playford on September 23rd. At Landguard, singles were noted on seven dates between July 23rd and August 6th and two were ringed at Fagbury Cliff during the autumn. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos major Common resident. This widespread species was reported from about 120 sites during the year, a similar figure to 1993 but slightly down on the 150 sites in 1994. Of the 33 pairs recorded across the County breeding was confirmed at 10 sites, including Minsmere where there was 12 pairs (14 in 1994) and North Warren, four pairs (four in 1994). Elsewhere four pairs were seen at Long Melford and several pairs were reported from Thornham Magna. It was described as declining in the Felixstowe area. Post-breeding dispersal was noted at Landguard where one flew south on September 10th, singles south on October 3rd and 5th and one present on October 6th. Nearby at Fagbury Cliff a single was ringed on October 10th. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos minor Uncommon resident. Records of this species were received from about 62 sites, a similar figure to 1994, indicating a fairly stable population in the County. The distribution of this elusive species is always difficult to ascertain, however, over half the records came from south-east Suffolk which remains a stronghold. Even here some observers noted a local decline in numbers at some sites, notably Shotley and Felixstowe where no birds were found. The Lark Valley in West Suffolk also appears to be a good area for the species with regular reports from Lackford, Cavenham, West Stow and Culford. Elsewhere, reports from less regularly watched locations included Benhall, Boxford, Brandeston, Foxhall, Friston, Great Glemham, Groton Wood, Knettishall, Knodishall, Lakenheath, Offton, Playford, Rede, Santon Downham and Timworth. During the breeding season three pairs nested at Minsmere, the same number being maintained since 1992. Elsewhere another nine pairs were noted, including Combs Lane Water Meadows, Hazel Wood (Sproughton), Martlesham, North Warren and Wolves Wood. Displaying and drumming were recorded at a further five sites. Evidence of post-breeding dispersal occurred at Fagbury Cliff where a bird was present from September 1st to 14th. WOODLARK Lullula arborea Uncommon breeding species and scarce passage migrant. Mid-winter records of this species are no longer the great rarity they used to be, with January records coming from four sites in the coastal Sandlings. The highest count being six at Friston, January 19th. Some birds were already back on territory and singing by the last week in January. Although the slow range expansion continues, the rapid increase in breeding numbers in recent years came to an abrupt halt in 1995, as the following yearly census totals of singing males/territories show: 106


Breckland Sandlings Totals 39 (2) 1991 59-65 (16-18) 98-104 (18-20) 1992 76 (NIL) 106-113 (34) 182-189 (34) 1993 94 (5) 118-131 (48-50) 212-225 (53-55) 1994 112(17) 151-161 (60-61) 263-273 (77-78) 1995 115 (17) 151-155 (65-67) 266-270 (82-84) The figures in brackets refer to the number of territories found in heathland areas as opposed to woodland. Several forested areas showed small declines in the numbers of birds using stands of pines planted immediately after the "hurricane" of 1987, with corresponding increases noted in adjacent heathland areas. Evidence of continuing range expansion was provided by records of singing males at five new heathland sites in the coastal Sandlings. At one of these sites, in the Fritton Lake area, a singing male in March, and a pair there in May, represent a very welcome return to a former breeding area in this northernmost corner of the coastal belt. Landguard noted single migrants April 18th, and October 15th and 30th, in addition one flew north over Fagbury October 8th. The largest gathering reported during the second winter period was of 17 leaving a roost in The King's Forest, October 28th. November records came from North Warren with six on the 1st, and Tuddenham Heath, one, on the 2nd, and on December 8th there were seven at Minsmere. SKYLARK Alauda arvensis Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A flock of 200 at Risby, January 1st, was the only three-figure count received for the first winter period whilst spring passage went equally un-noticed, although Landguard recorded a peak of 20 on March 14th. Very few breeding records were received but the healthy increases to 51 pairs at Minsmere (20 in 1994) and 73 pairs North Warren (52 in 1994) are very encouraging. We can but hope that such increases are not confined to nature reserves. Adjacent to North Warren a further 63 territories were located in the Aldringham Walks area. In addition Stradishall airfield held a respectable 50 pairs. Autumn passage got underway at Landguard from mid-September when five flew south on the 11th, but as usual peaked in October when 732 were noted moving south from the 9th. The highest day total was 291 on the 22nd (just one day earlier than the 1994 peak count). In addition to those moving south, 117 arrived off the sea October 29th. November passage was much lighter with the main migration period being between the 2nd and 13th during which time 87 flew south. A few were still moving in December with 31 south, 8th, and six on the 9th. Away from Landguard 71 flew south past Southwold, October 11th; 22 south at Shingle Street, October 22nd, and 28 were moving west over Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, November 4th with a much larger movement of 200 birds over the latter site on December 11th. More three-figure counts were received from the second winter period than last year:Carlton Colville: 120, Dec. 30th. Minsmere: 300, Dec. 8th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 200, Dec. 7th. Bawdsey: East Lane/Shingle Street, 120, Oct. 28th. Needham Market: Needham Street, 170, November. Âťtowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, 200 in flight, Dec. 11th. Harleston: 100, Dec. 22nd. Lavenham: 100, Dec. 12th. The British Trust for Ornithology has recently announced that its Common Birds Census figures show a dramatic decline for this species of 58% over the last 25 years. 107


They estimate that there are 3 million fewer Skylarks in the UK now than there were in 1969. Bearing these figures in mind observers might like to tell us if this specie is decreasing, stable or increasing in their locai areas. The breeding figures mentioned above do give some hope that this species fortunes may have begun to take a turn for the better. However, given the close proximity to the coast of a number of the sites holding large winter numbers, there is a strong possibility that many of these birds were of continental origin. SHORE LARK Eremophila alpestris Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. The sizeable group present at Minsmere at the end of 1994 remained into 1995, but became more mobile, tending to favour the area to the south at Sizewell. They were not reported between January 2nd and 23rd, but were probably lurking unobtrusively somewhere between Minsmere and Sizewell. Minsmere: 17, Jan. lst (24, Dee. 31st 1994); 14, Jan. 25th; 14, Mar. 14th and 15th. Leiston cum Sizewell: Sizewell, up to 16 from Jan. 24th; up to 13 in Feb.; up to 12 throughout Mar., nine, Apr.lst; 13, Apr. 28th. In the second winter period the species regrettably returned to its usuai scarcity with a maximum of only four individuรกis present in the county. Walberswick: two, Nov. 2nd to 9th. Minsmere: Oct. 27th and Nov. 3rd. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Nov. llth. SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia Very common summer visitor and passage

migrant.

The first for the year was at Lackford WR, March 15th, where by the month's end 50 were present. The next report was of two at Alton Water, March 19th, with another five sites recording their first birds from the 22nd. Large spring gatherings were again noted at Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin with 300 Aprii 29th and 500 May 17th. However Minsmere topped this with a count of 800 May 8th. In the west, 120 were at Livermere Lake on Aprii 17th. From the small number of breeding colony counts received it seems that a healthy increase has occurred since last year:Benacre: sea cliffs, 120 nest holes. Minsmere: 100 pairs (87 in 1994). Trimley St. Martin: Thorpe Bay, 27 nest holes (five in 1994). Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, 25 nest holes. Lackford WR: 81 nest holes (45+ pairs in 1994). No large autumn groups were reported this year. Landguard again noted passage birds during July, August and September, with most moving south. Though even as late as September 19th 80 were noted flying north. October records came from seven sites, mostly of small groups of one to four but there were 50 at West Stow CP, 5th and 6th. The final report of the year was of two at Lackford WR, October 7th. An ali white individuai was seen over Dunwich Heath, July 25th. Could it be the same as that reported at Dunwich, August 4th 1992? SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Very common summer visitor and passage

migrant.

Unlike the two martin species the Swallow arrived earlier than last year, though only by three days, when one was at Trimley Marshes, March 23rd. The next were seen on the 26th at Kessingland, where there were two, and Minsmere RSPB reserve. 108


The main arrivai seems to have started from March 30th as the species was then recorded daily from several sites spread across the whole County. Numbers picked up in early May, with Landguard noting a peak in visible migration May 8th when 131 flew south, one flew north and five carne in off the sea. Counts of 200 at Trimley Marshes, Aprii 20th; 100+ at Lackford WR, May 12th and 500 at Minsmere, May 8th were the only three figure spring counts received. Small numbers were on the move at the end of July, building up from mid-August, but September was definitely the best month. Landguard recorded 868 north, 11,210 south and 61 in off the sea during September, the peak counts being 1100, 6th and 9th, 2100, lOth, 1080, l l t h , 1360, 13th and 1150, 14th. Several observers at other sites noted a peak around the 9th and lOth. Although the counts duplicate each other to a certain extent they do serve to show that the passage was along the whole length of the coast and not a localised event: Cov hithe: 1600 south, 9th, 1700 south, lOth. Southwold: 2000 south lOth. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 2500 south, lOth. Two roost counts were received from Levington during the migration period, they were 2000, September 9th and 3000 on the 21 st. October passage was very light, with only 1142 recorded at Landguard up to the 27th, 1068 of these occurring up to the 9th. Only two were seen in November, at Landguard, lst and the last for the year at Aldeburgh on the 17th. Like the Sand Martin one ali white bird was seen this year, at Ringshall, July 27th. 1994 The report of a small group at Flempton in December 1994 in Suffolk Birds 44 should be deleted.

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Hirundo daurĂŹca Very rare passage visitor. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, May 18th, 19th and 23rd (J Zantboer et al.). This bird was found in the company of House Martins on overhead wires. 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 6 0 2 2 1 1 0 3 1 The 15th record (16 individuals) for the County, not a bad total considering there were no records prior to 1987.

109


HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbica Very common summer visitor and passage

migrant.

Only two records were received for March, two were at Aldeburgh/North Warren, 29th, with possibly the same two there on the 31st. The next ones were noted at Benhall and Felixstowe, April 1st. Reports then came from a further ten sites in the first half of April as opposed to only three in 1995. Only three high counts were received for May, 350 at North Warren, 7th; 700 at Lackford WR, 12th and 200 over Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin, 17th. A pair at Henstead had their third brood leave the nest on 10th October, the same day the main October passage was noted as easing off at Landguard. The main autumn passage seems to have begun around mid-August and started to tail off from October 10th. Landguard counted 1750 migrating during September with 1383 of these occurring in the first 14 days of the month, but October proved to be the peak month there with 2280 recorded, 2255 of them up to the 10th. Counts away from Landguard matched these peaks well, with 650 south past Covehithe on September 9th and 800 south there on October 2nd and hundreds passing Benacre on October 9th. At least 500 were over Stowmarket on October 8th. However, North Warren surpassed even Landguard when 3000 flew south on October 1st, then again the next day when a further 5500 flew south. The peak count at Landguard was just 496 south on October 1st. Where did the other 2500 go, not to mention 5000+ the next day? Did they strike out to sea from Orfordness to north Kent, did they head inland and pass to the west of Landguard or did they gain height and pass over undetected? Although the peak this year was in October (September in 1994), the passage was much more rapid and this species left the County much earlier than last year. After four at Butley, October 20th, and singles at Felixstowe Ferry and Landguard (possibly the same bird), 27th, only one record was received for November of one at Sizewell on the 16th. An interesting method of feeding was noted at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, September 21st, where a flock of 100 were observed foraging around a hot air balloon as it passed over. Sufficiently large numbers of insects are presumably attracted by the artificial thermals surrounding these multi-coloured "clouds" to make this a worthwhile activity for a sizeable flock. Also of interest was the report of a bird at Lower Raydon which entered through a bedroom window, completed a circuit of the room and flew back out again.

RICHARD'S PIPIT Anthus Rare visitor.

novaeseelandiae

Benacre: Benacre Denes, Nov. 3rd to 6th (S Belfield, C A Buttle, R Waiden). Covehithe: Covehithe Broad, Nov. 6th (D R Moore) (same as Benacre bird). Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, Sep. 19th (J A Brown). Minsmere: Singles south, Oct. 10th and 30th (per G Welch). Dunwich: Nov. 15th (J M Cawston, S J Ling, E W Patrick). Another very good year for this species taking the county total to 34, catching up with Tawny Pipit. Five in one year is the second highest annual tally for Suffolk, only the nine recorded last year beating it. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 0 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 9 5 110


TAWNY PIPIT Anthus campestris Rare passage migrant. Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, first-winter, Sep. 20th (J M Cawston, S J Ling, E W Patrick). TVimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, Oct. 7th to 9th (per M T Wright). In another very good year for large pipits the County total rises to 34. Will 1996 be the year Richard's Pipit overtakes Tawny? Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 0 0 1 2 0 3 2 1 1 2 TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first for the year was at Martlesham, March 31st. The next ones arrived from the end of the first week in April, with singles at The King's Forest, 7th and at Westleton. 10th. Unusually Landguard was only visited by one bird this spring, on April 19th, and Fagbury only attracted two, one April 30th the other May 6th. The number of breeding pairs at Minsmere RSPB reserve increased again to 23 (19 in 1994). Other breeding reports were few but singing birds were noted at Thetford Warren and Barnhamcross Common (three). Autumn passage was noted from August 20th, although numbers during the month were low, with just one at Fagbury, on the 23rd, and only four at Landguard, three on the 21st and one on the 24th. September numbers were more respectable, with 79 recorded at Landguard on 14 dates up to the 22nd, with the main passage occurring there from the 10th, when 19 flew south. Another peak occurred around September 18th to 23rd, with 17 seen at Landguard and seven at Fagbury, 19th; three in Lowestoft Cemetery, 22nd; two at Gunton, 19th; two at Southwold and one at Fressingfield, 23rd. Only four more birds were recorded after this date, one ringed at Hollesley, September 29th; one south, Landguard, October 5th; one, Bourne Park, Ipswich, October 8th, and the last bird flew south at Landguard, October 10th. MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A few large counts were received from the first winter period, the biggest concentrations involving 100 on Southwold Town Marshes, January 28th and 100 at North Warren, February 20th. A very light spring passage was noted from mid-March to early April, but also included a count of 200 on Cavenham Heath on March 23rd. At Landguard, 15 arrived from off the sea on April 4th. Whilst Minsmere noted an increase to 21 breeding pairs (11 in 1994), North Warren recorded a decrease to 22 (30 in 1994), although there were a further four pairs in the Aldringham Walks area. Havergate reported a successili 1 breeding season with 30 pairs present, many of which raised second broods whilst nearby Boyton Marshes held 23 pairs. Autumn passage birds were widespread from early September, and during the month Landguard recorded 50 north, 126 in off the sea and 894 south. On the 17th 50 flew north and 90 flew west, part of a general movement through the region with passage also noted as beginning on this date at Long Melford. There were 200 at Boxted on the 23rd, the day after the peak count at Landguard when 114 flew south and 120 were on the reserve. These totals were easily beaten by a count of 720 flying south over Aldringham Common/Thorpeness G.C. on the 27th, whilst 200 also passed south at Southwold on this date. October saw a continuing, almost exclusively, southward 111


passage, Landguard logging 1024 south and seven in off the sea during the month. North Warren produced the highest day count with 405 flying south on the 5th. A much smaller passage continued at Landguard until mid-November, although 15 southbound birds were noted in December, seven of these on the 7th. As last year, second winter period counts were rather low, the highest being 30 at Trimley Marshes, December 30th and 26 at Suffolk Water Park, December 2nd although this group had dwindled to two by 31 st. ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus Fairly common winter visitor and passage

migrant.

Reported from 12 coastal sites during the first winter period, with two or th/ee at most of them. With no reports received from the prime site on the Aide estuary saltings, the highest count was of six on part of the Deben estuary noted du-mg a WeBS count. Ness Point at Lowestoft held five, January 23rd. There was no marked spring passage or large groups reported, and the latest bird was one at Minsmere RSPB reserve on the exceptional date of May 14th. Numbers were up slightly in the second winter period, but again there were no reports from the saltings at Slaughden Quay or Friston on the Aide. Whether this is through lack of birds or lack of coverage is not known. The first returning bird was seen flying south past Southwold September 20th; several more were seen '.n the following two weeks, including another four south past Southwold October 1st. Landguard noted 61 southbound migrants in October, with 42 of them occurring from the 20th and a further nine passed south in November. The highest counts from the second winter period were ten at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, November 12th; even south at Landguard, October 22nd and five at Trimley Marshes, October 11th. In the west of the County, the only report involved an individual of the race littoralis in full breeding plumage at Lackford WR on April 1st. WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta Uncommon winter visitor and passage

migrant.

After the record-equalling 26 present at Minsmere RSPB reserve in December 1994, eight there on January 8th marked a fairly rapid return to more typical levels. Other records for the first winter period were received from the following sites: Benacre: Mar. 12th. Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, Jan. 1st and 28th. Reydon: Potter's Bridge, Jan. 22nd. Southwold: Town Marshes, Jan. 26th to 29th. Walberswick: Town Marshes, Mar. 4th. Minsmere: eight, Jan. 8th; Six, Mar. 2nd; two, Apr. 2nd and 3rd. North Warren: four, Feb. 26th; one Mar. 13th to 25th. Trimley Marshes: four, Mar. 1st; one Apr. 20th and 22nd. Lakenheath: Joist Fen, two, Jan. 28th. The Lakenheath record is the first for West Suffolk since a run of observations in the same parish ended in 1985. Perhaps better coverage would indicate a regular wintering population in the area. The first record for the second winter period came from Easton Broad on October 19th, with possibly the same bird there on November 5th. Otherwise only r e c o r d e d from two sites; the species favoured locality Minsmere, where there were two, October 28th, and ten, November 13th and 27th; and at North Warren, three, November 26th. Rather surprisingly none were reported in December. 112


YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava Common summer visitor and passage migrant. For the second year running none were recorded in March, the first two arriving April 3rd at Alton Water, two days later than last year. April numbers were rather higher this year. Alton Water certainly seemed to be a favoured site, with 45, April 11th and 52, April 19th. The only other site with large numbers was Trimley Marshes, with 26, April 15th and 22, May 12th. No high counts were received from the west of the County this year and Lackford WR recorded only five birds from April 15th to May 9th. This period closely matches the main passage dates recorded on the coast at Landguard of April 19th to May 6th with the overall spring passage period there lasting from April 5th to May 29th. With only three breeding records received we cannot even speculate as to the present fortunes of this species. Southerly passage was underway by mid July, though not in large numbers until a month later. During August high counts came from Shingle Street with 110, August 28th, Havergate Island with 25 on 22nd and North Warren with 85 on 26th. A roost in poplar trees in the observatory compound at Landguard peaked at 26, August 14th. During September at Landguard 2 flew north, 97 flew south and 10 flew west, the main passage occurring between 9th and 19th. Elsewhere, highest counts were 30 at Alton Water on 5th and 28 at Shotley Marshes on 1st. October saw seven records of 14 individuals, six at Landguard on dates up to the 8th; two at Lackford WR and five, Havergate Island, 14th; and the last at Sudbourne Marshes, 15th. The same date as last year. Birds showing characteristics of races other than flavissima were recorded as follows: Blue headed Wagtail M.f.flava. Only 11 reported this year (at least 19 in 1994), with three of them being females. Claims of females are here taken as acceptable but in reality, extreme caution is necessary and it is debatable whether it is safe to assign such birds to a particular race: Lound: Apr. 23rd.

South wold: Sep. 10th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, May 2nd. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 16th; male, Aug. 11th; pair, Sep. 6th; male, Sep. 9th. Alton Water: Female, May 21st. Livermere Lake: Male, Apr. 20th. Long Melford: Female collecting food with a male flavissima, Jun. 11th. The Long Melford report is particularly interesting, in view of recent discussions over the taxonomy of this group. However, hybridisation between Yellow and Blueheaded Wagtails is relatively frequent, but only in the absence of equal populations which allows the two to breed sympatrically (in northern France for example). Such pairings are thought to produce the birds showing characteristics similar to the eastern race beema (Sykes's Wagtail) which are occasionally claimed in Britain. Grey-headed Wagtail M.f.thunbergi Two were recorded this year (three in 1994), a spring male at Cavenham, May -2nd, and an autumn male at Landguard, September 17th and 18th. 1994 44

The report of 56 Yellow Wagtails at Hopton-on-sea, May 28th in Suffolk Birds should have read April 28th. 113


CITRINE WAGTAIL Motacilla citreola Very rare passage migrant. Minsmere: male, May 10th (D Urquhart, G Welch, Mrs H Welch et al.). This bird, which was found in the evening, represents the third record for Suffolk. The previous two involved autumn records of first winter birds, both also at Minsmere, one from October 17th to November 26th 1964 and the other October 10th and 11th 1967. With records on the increase nationally as the species expands its breeding range westwards let us hope we do not have to wait 28 years for the next one! A longer stay wouldn't go amiss either. GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea Fairly common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Another good crop of records, which are remarkably consistent with those received last year. Again recorded at around 76 well spread sites, with breeding confirmed at seven of these, one of which held two pairs. At one site a pair managed to rear two broods. Pairs were present during the summer months at another four localities, with singles at a further four. It was encouraging to see that three of the confirmed breeding pairs were in the east of the County; as in the Provisional Atlas of Breeding Birds in Suffolk, based on records from 1987-1992, all the breeding records, and the vast majority of summer records came from mid or west Suffolk. Autumn migrants were noted from around the second week of September through to mid-October. During September Landguard recorded four north, 15 south and two west; a further 15 southbound birds were noted there in October. Elsewhere nine were seen flying south in the Thorpeness/North Warren area between September 25th and October 13th.The highest site counts, other than pairs with young, were up to three, Lackford WR during both winter periods; three, Long Melford sewage works, October 15th and five, Bramford, March 2nd. PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Very common resident, passage migrant and summer and winter visitor. Highest counts received during the first winter period were of 61, Barsham Marshes, January 17th; 48 Long Melford sewage works, January 7th, and 47, Kessingland sewage works, January 1st. In addition, 50 flying north at Iken on February 6th may well have been on their way to a local roost site. Roost counts came from Sizewell, 200 birds, January 15th; inland at Lackford maximum of 61 in January, falling to a maximum of 23 by March; and from Otley College where there were at least 70 during the first winter period. Increasing numbers of migrants were noted in March and April, with the latter month producing the largest counts, but none were as high as the same period last year. There were 12 at Alton Water, March 27th, with 32 there, April 11th. Inland at Mickle Mere there were 19, April 29th. As usual very few breeding records came in. There were again three pairs located at North Warren. In addition a further eight territories were found in the neighbouring Aldringham Walks area. Passage birds were noted from early September, with higher numbers in October then tailing off in early November. Numbers were not particularly high, but there were 49 at North Warren, October 9th, and 79, Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket, October 25th. In contrast the roost counts received during the second winter period were very good, 200, Iken, October 15th; 200 at the A140/A14 Service Station, Coddenham, November 9th and 150, Martlesham Creek, September 30th and December 22nd. However, Stowmarket Railway Station proved to be the favoured site, with 550, 114


October 16th, 650, October 19th, and 510, November 20th. Inland at Lackford WR there were a maximum of 50 roosting throughout the period. December numbers were perhaps slightly less than for January, with 20, Trimley Marshes, 23rd; 44, Elmswell, 22nd and 53, Long Melford sewage works, 3rd. As in another Continental overshoot the Blue-headed Wagtail, numbers of the nominate White Wagtail M.a.alba were down on last year, although there were many more in the autumn this year. Allowing for some duplication there were around 60 individuals recorded, with 40 in the spring between March 10th and May 19th, and 20 in the autumn from September 6th to October 15th. Most, as expected, were at coastal sites, with inland records coming from Needham Market, April 8th; Lackford WR, March 23rd and April 14th; five, Wortham Ling, September 24th, and one Long Melford sewage works, October 1st. No large gatherings were seen this year, the highest counts being eight, Sizewell, September 6th, and six, North Warren, March 11th. The last for the year were at least four at the Iken roost mentioned above, October 15th. WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. The two recorded this year only just made it into 1995 thereby avoiding two blank years in a row. Lowestoft: Gunton Drive, Dec. 25th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Dec. 17th. This meagre showing gave no hint of what was to come in early 1996! DIPPER Cinclus cinclus Rare winter visitor and passage

migrant.

The "Black-bellied" bird first located at Mildenhall, December 26th 1994, remained on the River Lark for the first two weeks of the year. Ca iiham/Icklingham: Temple Bridge, River Lark, Jan. 1st (M D Crewe, A Howe, C J Jakes). Mildenhall: River Lark, Jan. 2nd to 14th (many obs.). Same as Cavenham bird, â&#x20AC;˘ftiddenham St. Martin/Playford: River Fynn, Feb. 22nd to Mar. 2nd (K Davis et al.). It is interesting to speculate that the Dipper at Playford was the same as that at Mildenhall, fattening up near the coast prior to undertaking the long sea crossing home. However, it is more likely that others are going unnoticed, appearing as they do in unlikely spots where few birders venture. The River Fynn bird was found by an allround naturalist looking for plants! This species has now graced a waterway somewhere in Suffolk for five years in a row. W REN Troglodytes troglodytes Very common resident. Again few reports of breeding numbers were received, but there were two sites with comparative data available from last year. Twenty singing males were recorded at Combs Lane Water Meadows (15 territories in 1994) and North Warren recorded a good recovery to 159 pairs (104 in 1994, 123 in 1993). While one observer in Felixstowe noted a decrease in the Dellwood Avenue area, he nevertheless found them to he on the increase at The Grove. On the whole this species still seems to be increasing and barring any severe winters must surely soon reach the maximum levels its habitats can sustain. Presumed winter immigrants seemed to be on their way home from late March; at Landguard a total of 15 birds were ringed from March 24th to May 10th, giving an 115


idea of the timing of spring movements. Autumn movements at Landguard were rather more noticeable between mid-September and the beginning of November with a peak count of 16 on October 28th. A total of 38 Wrens were ringed during this period at Landguard, although the highest total for any one day was only five. DUNNOCK Prunella modularis Very common resident and passage migrant. Reported from six sites in the breeding season, only three of which have comparative data available. At Combs Lane Water Meadows there were 16 singing males (15 in 1993 and 1994), North Warren recorded 100 territories (76 in 1994), and at Landguard the 20 individuals present presumably equate to the 10 "pairs" there in 1993 and 1994. Also at Felixstowe one observer reported this species to be declining in the northern part of the town, but remaining static in the Dellwood Avenue area. Although based on a very small sample, the general picture appears to be of a fairly stable population. Spring passage at Landguard produced a total of 11 birds ringed between March 11th and April 6th with two later birds ringed April 19th and 30th. Autumn migration was again noted from early September until early Novembe After the peak count at Landguard of 50+ birds (involving the local breeding popul; ti on) on September 6th, a marked arrival/passage occurred from September 10th when 12 new birds were ringed at Landguard, and seven were observed flying south through the denes at Southwold. Birds were still moving on the 14th, with 13 south at Landguard and six noted at Fagbury and there were other peaks at the month end, with five ringed at Fagbury on 30th. In October, the peak movement at Landguard mirrored September with a maximum of 50 birds on 10th. ROBIN Erithacus rubecula Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Early year records included up to 16 at Combs Lane Water Meadows on Februarv 2nd and 30 singing at North Warren on February 7th. In spring, a light passage was evident at Landguard from April 11th to 26th with the largest numbers noted from 23rd to 25th, coinciding with a peak of 10 at nearby Fagbury Cliff on April 23rd. An increase in breeding numbers was reported with 100 singing males at North Warren (76 in 1994) and 10 at Combs Lane Water Meadows (five in 1994). In addition to the North Warren count, 50 territories were recorded at the nearby Aldringham Walks, now part of this expanding RSPB reserve. In autumn, increased numbers along the coast were evident at Fagbury from September 12th and Landguard from 5th with peaks of 40+ at the latter site on September 19th and 20th. High numbers were also noted around this time at Gosling's Farm, Trimley St Mary with 20 on 26th and in the Fynn Valley at Tuddenham where 25 were located on 30th. Mini 'falls' of migrant Robins were noted in October at Shingle Street, Landguard and Fagbury during the periods October 8th to 9th and 21st to 23rd with peaks of 36 at Landguard on 9th and 30 at Fagbury on 22nd. At least 50 were found at Aldringham on October 12th. THRUSH NIGHTINGALE Luscinia luscinia Accidental. Felixstowe: Landguard,first-year,Aug. 27th to Sep. 15th (trapped on Aug. 27th) (R A Duncan, P J Holmes et al.). This individual proved to be extremely popular as not only did it stay for a lengthy period, it also obliged observers with excellent views as it frequently fed in the open 116


on short turf - remarkable for such a notorious skulker! Only the second county record, the other also being at Landguard, on May 13th and 14th 1984. N I G H T I N G A L E Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage

migrant.

The earliest bird of the year was at Minsmere on April 10th and was soon followed by records from Higham and Chadbrook, Long Melford both on April 13th, Lackford on 14th, Lakenheath on 15th and Bonny Wood on 16th. By the month's end, records had been received from 26 sites, spread throughout the County and this figure increased to 60 sites by the end of spring. Encouragingly, some reports came from new sites with one singing at Old Hall Grove, Shotley being the observer's first record there since 1963. Breeding season counts of singing males showed some encouraging increases, although a reduction was noted at the traditional Wolves Wood site: Walberswick NNR 48 (mean of 35.7 over three years 1992-94) Minsmere 28 (21 in 1994) North Warren 15 (17 in 1994) Aldringham Walks 5 (no previous counts available) Wolves Wood 5 (12 in 1994) Typically, records for late summer and early autumn were sparse but singles were noted at Havergate Island on September 13th and at Fagbury on September 16th. A Nightingale ringed at Bawdsey in 1988 was again retrapped on site in 1995, an excellent longevity record. BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica Scarce passage migrant. A rather poor year with just two records. Idringham cum Thorpe: Haven House, female, May 1st (D Fairhurst). Felixstowe: Landguard, male, Sep. 17th (P Kitchener). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 Spring 0 2 1 0 2 1 1 1 Autumn 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 BLACK R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus ochruros Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. A few

1994 6 0

1995 1 1

overwinter.

Records were received for every month of the year and include four sightings in January, involving a pair at Ness Point, Lowestoft and singles at Great Glemham on January 15th to February 1st, Princes Street, Ipswich, January 17th and Bury St Edmunds Sugar Beet factory on January 30th. February reports involved similar sightings, together with the first of the year at Landguard on February 6th and two at Sizewell Power Station. A few March coastal records indicated that a light spring passage took place. Breeding records included the following: Lowestoft: Birds Eye Factory, female and juv., May 15th. Commercial Road, a pair with young noted in June. Another pair probably bred in the Riverside Road area. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell Power Station, pair present, Apr.; noted again with a juv. in Aug. lelixstowe: Docks, at least three singing males, Apr. and Jun.; juvs present from Jun. Landguard, recorded almost daily, Apr. to Oct.; first juv. noted Jun. 14th. Six juvs ringed, June/ July. Ipswich: pair noted in the Portman Walk area in July. 117


Few records were received for August and September other than from the Felixstowe area, although a female/immature bird at Long Melford on August 28th is intriguing. At Landguard, birds were recorded on most dates in August and September with maxima of four, August 8th, eight, September 6th and seven, September 9th and 14th. Up to three birds were present in Felixstowe Docks to at least September 25th. A light coastal movement was evident in October from 12th with ones and twos, mostly on single dates, at various sites from Lowestoft to Bawdsey. At Landguard, October birds were present on 26 dates with a maximum of five on 18th and 19th and at Adastral Close, Felixstowe up to three were present from October 10th to 27th. Two were at Fagbury on October 18th and a pair were found at the Cat House, Woolverstone on October 27th and 28th. November saw a tail-off of birds, but included singles at Darsham on 14th and Kessingland Sewage Works on 27th. In December, a bird at Boyton on 3rd was the only report away from Felixstowe Docks where at least two males were residing. REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. The first reports of the year came from Tangham where two males were located on April 2nd, followed by singles at Landguard on 3rd, Minsmere on 11th and two at Staverton Park on 13th. At Landguard there was a light spring passage from April 8th to May 31st. Reports from breeding or potential breeding sites included: Walberswick NNR: three pairs. Minsmere: nine pairs (11 in 1994). Wantisden: Staverton Park, at least two pairs. Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, five pairs (four in 1994). Sutton: Sutton Heath, at least one pair. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, pair with two young, July 27th. Lakenheath: Lakenheath Warren, male in song, May 16th. Few records were received during August until an unexpected fall which produced at least 16 birds at North Warren on 31st. These appeared to be forerunners of an exceptional autumn passage which peaked on September 19th and 20th at a number of coastal sites from Southwold to Landguard. Maximum counts included 23 at North Warren on September 19th; 50, Southwold, September 20th and at Landguard over 60 were noted on 19th with 40 on 20th (55 were ringed there during the month). In the north-east of the county there were 25 at Gunton, 14 at Benacre and 12 at Corton, all on September 19th. Numbers at Fagbury peaked at over 30 on September 25th. In an unusual twist, the main arrival on 19th was foreseen by an observer aboard a ferry off Felixstowe on September 18th who counted 25 on board the vessel (R Burridge). By September 21st, Landguard numbers had dropped to 21 but 30 were at Kessingland. With so much coastal activity inland records were likely to follow and reports came from some out-of-the-way places such as Boxford (2), Chelmondiston (2), Stowmarket (2), Lavenham (4), Old Newton, Pakenham, Stowupland (2) and Wortham Ling (2). A few late stragglers were reported during October with the last bird of the year being on October 28th at Havergate Island. WHINCHAT Saxicola rubetra Common passage migrant, A few pairs still breed. An early bird was present at Westleton Heath on April 10th, otherwise the main light spring passage occurred from April 25th with a single at Mayday Farm and singles at Landguard on 29th and Cavenham Heath on 30th. A trickle of ones and twos 118


then followed at a number of sites up to May 8th. Away from the coast reports were received of one at Stansfield on May 3rd with another there on 19th and one at Tuddenham St Martin, May 21st. Later passage birds included singles at Thorpeness on May 29th and Landguard on June 8th. The breeding population remains at a critically low ebb with just four pairs reported from the Thetford Forest area. However, isolated pairs can be difficult to locate in some of the extensive tracts of suitable habitat in West Suffolk and it is possible that pairs were missed. Autumn migration was soon under way with an early bird at Benacre on July 8th, followed by two at Landguard on August 12th and 20th and three there on 21st. At Minsmere, 15 were present on August 13th and other good counts included five at Lowestoft on 20th and eight at North Warren on 26th. In the west of the county, one was at Lackford on August 20th. Numbers picked up well in September with four main peak periods on 2nd and 3rd, 8th to 10th, 13th and 14th and 19th and 20th, the latter coinciding with good numbers of the previous species. Highest numbers in the first half of the month included 17 at Shingle Street and seven at Havergate Island on 3rd, 20 at Southwold on 9th and an excellent 29 on Orfordness on 10th. A creditable inland record involved a party of eight at Icklingham on September 2nd. During the latter half of that month, highest counts included 19 at Southwold on 13th, 12 at Minsmere on 14th and 13 at Easton Bavents on 20th. Landguard held birds on most dates from September 3rd to 23rd with a peak of 25 on 19th. A few more birds were reported in October with a highest count of five at Shotley Marshes on 8th whilst an unusual find of one at Needham Market on 9th was the last of the year. STONECHAT Saxicola torquata Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage

migrant.

Overwintering and spring records were received from no less than 23 sites, the bulk being close to the coast. Less expected records included an overwintering bird at Mickle Mere and singles at Weybread, Gazeley and Lidgate during March. One at Landguard on March 4th and two on 11th indicate a small movement of birds at that time. Although breeding numbers at Minsmere dropped to six pairs (from ten in 1994), the county total of 20 pairs (21 in 1994) plus two males on territory continues the good numbers of recent years: Walberswick NNR: six pairs (mean of four in previous three years). Minsmere: six pairs (10 in 1994). Leiston-cum-SizeweU: Sizewell, one pair. Aidringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, two pairs. Orfordness: one pair. Rendlesham: two pairs. Tiinstall: two males. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, two pairs. Note that all but the last record involve sites in the coastal sandling heaths. Autumn and second winter records involved 20 areas, again mostly coastal or nearcoastal with October sightings predominating. At Landguard three were present on October 3rd and 10th with singles on October 4th, 18th and 28th, indicating light passage. Interesting counts in the latter part of the year included four at Carlton Marshes on October 21st and four at Benacre, November 8th whilst a less-expected bird turned up at Long Melford in mid-December. 1993 Felixstowe: Landguard, first-winter male of race variegata, Sep. 11th (J M Cawston, S J Ling ÂŤ al.). 119


This record not only constitutes one of the earliest autumn eastern Stonechats ever recorded in Britain, it is also only the second of the distinctive race variegata from Central Asia to be found here. The first was at Porthgwarra, Cornwall on October 1st to 4th 1985. WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe Common passage migrant. A few pairs

breed.

The first Wheatears were noted at Minsmere and Landguard on March 11th and were soon followed by a pair at Cavenham Heath the following day. Cavenham exercised its magnetic draw on the species with 10 there on March 16th. The net of coverage by the county's birdwatchers appears to be spreading with a Wheatear reported f r o m Bowbeck, Bardwell on March 15th, the first time that parish has appeared in the bird report! With the exception of Landguard, the remaining March records all relate to the second half of the month and mostly f r o m coastal sites from Kessingland to Trimley. At Landguard, birds were present daily from March 11th, increasing to nine on 29th and 12 by 31st. Peak passage at Landguard continued to April 8th with 22 present on 3rd and 15 on 6th. April 3rd also produced counts of 12 at Havergate and nine at Dunwich. A second push of birds at Landguard was logged from April 24th to May 9th with a maximum count of 15 on May 2nd. Many of these May birds showed characteristics of the Greenland race leucorhoa, as did birds at Sizewell and Thorpeness on April 30th. Breeding or possible breeding was noted at seven sites involving a probable 13 pairs: Benacre: one juvenile, July 8th. Minsmere: one pair bred but none fledged. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two pairs. Havergate: one pair bred; first since 1963. Felixstowe: Landguard, three pairs bred with the first juvenile noted on June 4th. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, five pairs, including one brood of six young. Barnham: Thetford Heath, one present during May at least. The Havergate pair and at least one Landguard pair were double-brooded. The three breeding males at Landguard were all trapped during the period and proved to be birds 120


15: Long-eared Owls remain elusive but regular breeders . . . Alan Tate

16: . . . but Tawny Owls can be found throughout the County. Stan Dumlcan


17: More information is needed to assess the décliné of House Martins.

s t a n r» imi<v>n

18: Treecreeper at nest.

Stan Dumican


that had had been ringed on site in previous years - one in 1993 as a first-summer bird, the other two as juveniles in 1993 and 1994. Autumn passage commenced during the second half of August with maximum counts at Landguard of 13 on 22nd and 11 on 24th. Early September records included 15 at Havergate on 3rd at least 32 on Orfordness on 10th and 11 at Shingle Street on 12th but the main passage period was clearly from September 18th to 23rd, coinciding with falls of other species. The highest count at this time involved an excellent 70 at The Oval, Lowestoft on 19th which was also the peak day at Landguard when 40 were present. Southwold held at least 59 the following day. High counts at other sites included 11 at North Warren and 40 at Benacre on 19th, 33 at Easton Bavents and 10 at Havergate on 20th, 20 at Lowestoft Cemetery on 22nd and 30 at Gunton Recreation Ground on 23rd. During October the species was present at Landguard on most dates up to 27th and on single dates, mostly during the first nine days, at eight other sites, including inland birds at Long Melford, Moulton and Tuddenham Heath. The last bird was noted at Southwold Denes on November 12th.

RING OUZEL Turdus torquatus Fairly common passage migrant. Spring passage ranged from the early date of March 26th to June 1st with the main movements occurring from April 16th to 29th. Lound: two males, Apr. 19th to 23rd; female, Apr. 21st. Gunton: Golf Course, May 1st. Lowestoft: The Oval, male, Apr. 16th to 21st. Benacre: male, Apr. 16th. Dunwich: Apr. 24th. Minsmere: male, Apr. 23rd to 29th; two, Apr. 27th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, two males, Apr. 26th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Common, May 2nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Jun. 1st. Boyton: Apr. 23rd. Felixstowe: Landguard, male, Apr. 22nd. Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, male, Apr. 22nd; Fagbury, May 2nd. Little Blakenham: male, Mar. 26th.

Rather fewer records were received for the autumn return movement with the first on September 16th and the last on November 26th, although this last bird was eclipsed by an unprecedented three records in the second half of December. Lowestoft: female, Nov. 26th; Lowestoft Cemetery, Oct. 21st. Southwold: Dec. 23rd to 31st. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, male, Dec. 28th to 30th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, female, Oct. 11th. Felixstowe: Landguard, singles Sep. 16th and Oct. 16th; two, Nov. 1st; one, Dec. 17th to 19th. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, Oct. 14th.

The December records are exceptional and constitute the first records for that month in the County. Presumably these birds arrived with the influx of Fieldfares, but where they came from and where they went will remain a mystery. A number of other Ring Ouzels appeared around Britain at this time with at least three in Norfolk and singles in Shetland, Lincolnshire, Shropshire and Scilly. 1994 Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Oct. 17th; two, Oct. 18th.

121


BLACKBIRD Turdus merula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. By far the largest movement of Blackbirds in the first half of the year was not d at Landguard from March 11th to 15th with at least 100 on 13th and 14th. Continental Blackbirds are known to arrive in the country around this time and such an orij n is implied by a bird bearing a Dutch ring being trapped on March 13th, whilst a Gen ĂŹanringed bird had been trapped in January at Eastbridge. Breeding numbers appeared to be stable or in some cases up on 1994; at well-ir.onitored sites, there were 64 territories at North Warren (60 in 1994), 34 at Minsmere and 15 at Combs Lane Water Meadows (11 in 1994). Seven pairs were also recorded the RSPB Boyton Marshes Reserve. Although numbers began to increase at Landguard during September, autumn assage was fairly slow up to the second half of October when day counts of 50+ vere noted at Fagbury on 22nd and 30th and at Landguard on the latter date also. How ver, these proved to be just the forerunners of the main movement of the auturri on November 1st when 350 were present at Landguard, reducing to 100 on 2nd, on v. liich date, Fagbury had a maximum count of over 300. Thereafter, numbers fell stea lily, although up to 75 were still at the latter site on 11th. Counts of 100 or more /ere also noted at other (mostly coastal) sites with 300 at South wold and 100 at Thorpeness on November 1st, 100 at Benacre on 5th and 150 at Bridge Wood, Nacton on 2nd. The potential hazards of migration were demonstrated by the unfortunate Blackbird that dropped into the sea and drowned just 300 yards from shore at Covehithe on September 21st.

FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Apart from 500 at Sudbourne on January 9th, most of the large flocks in the first winter period were recorded in West Suffolk. The highest monthly counts included 150 at Raydon on January 5th and Hengrave Hall on 6th, 700 at Ixworth, February 12th, 200 at Conyers Green, Great Barton, March 1st, 200 at Cavenham, March 9th and 327 at Long Melford, March 4th. By early April the large groups had mostly moved on but 120 were noted at Poslingford on 4th and 110 not far away at Denham on 15th. Late stragglers in May included singles at Great Livermere on 2nd, Fressmgfield on 3rd and Landguard on 2nd and 6th. The first birds to return in the autumn were singles at Landguard on September 23rd and at Aldeburgh three days later but few were noted and October was similarly quiet, although a flock of 100 was noted flying over Stowmarket on 14th. However, all changed in November with a massive count of 3000 flying west at Minsmere on the 1 st. Flocks of up to 240 birds were then noted at various inland sites up to November 5th but these all passed through the County quickly with few records for several weeks. But for a fall of 300 at Landguard on 5th, few December records were received until the latter half of that month when a large immigration occurred, most notably on 24th. Although reports were received from throughout the whole county, the largest numbers were observed near the coast with 1400 at North Warren on 17th, 1500 at Kessingland Levels, 500 at South Cove, 500 at Somerleyton and 540 at Felixstowe, all on 24th, 600 at Fressingfield on 26th and 750 at Eyke on 30th. Thousands wintered on the Shotley peninsula where one observer reported to have "never seen so many". 122


SO JG THRUSH Turdus philomelos Ver common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A small spring passage was noted at Landguard, peaking from March 11th to 16th, coinciding with the main spring Blackbird movement. Many of these birds showed the plu age characteristics of the nominate European race. Later, smaller movements wer; noted at Landguard on April 10th and 29th. Tire decline of Song Thrush numbers in Britain is of national concern and observers in Felixstowe, both Trimleys and Stansfield all reported continuing declines. Howeve breeding records from main monitoring sites showed some variation in trends. In t e North Warren/Aldringham area 28 territories were noted of which 17 were at the ' Jorth Warren Reserve (10 in 1994 and 1993) but at Combs Lane Water Meadows, thre pairs were recorded (five in 1994, seven in 1993). Minsmere recorded 16 pairs. A though small increases were noted at Landguard and Combs Lane from September 9th, the main movements occurred in October. Counts at Landguard peaked at ove 30 by October 12th, when 25 were also present at nearby Adastral Close, and 80 wei recorded at Aldringham. At Fagbury, peak counts involved 50 on October 21st and 22nd. A further peak of over 50 was noted at Landguard on November 1st after whi h numbers quickly fell, although 20 were still at Fagbury on November 12th. A rather humorous sight was provided by a Song Thrush which tried to smash open a snail on a tennis ball! RE 'WING Turdus iliacus Ver common winter visitor and passage migrant. F w records were received for early in the year but largest counts were of 54 at Lor>i Melford on January 7th and 111 at Landguard on February 17th. However, acti ity increased from mid-March when return migration was obviously under way wit!. 50 at Landguard on 14th, 250 at Long Melford on 18th, 50 at Bamhamcross Co: mon, March 17th and 94 flying north at Stowmarket on 19th. Another spate of mo ;ments on March 25th and 26th included 156 at Clopton on 25th and 100 at Tri:; ley St Martin on 26th. A handful of birds remained into April with the last being not d at Fagbury on 20th and three at Landguard on 22nd. Ii the autumn there were only two records of returning birds in September involving four at Cavenham Heath on 23rd and at least one flying north over Felixstowe on 28th. With the exception of 150 flying north at Pakenham on October 7th, numbers were generally low early in the month but by 21st, 100 were present at Fagbury with 200 there the next day. At Fressingfield 100 were noted on October 29th from which date a night passage of birds was noted at Barrow, continuing through to November 4th. A major immigration occurred on November 1st with a massive 3000 present at Landguard and 10( ) noted flying west over Minsmere the same day. In addition, 800 passed over Stowmarket on November 2nd and other sizeable flocks around this time included 400 at Southwold, 350 west at Otley and 150 at Havergate. These large numbers passed through the county quickly as there were few records after November 5th. At Landguard an overnight migration was noted on November 11th and 19 were seen coming in off the sea there on 13th. The species remained scarce throughout December with just small numbers reported, but for a count of 190 at Landguard on 18th. MlSTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Sizeable flocks in the early part of the year included 16 at Sizewell on February 2nd and 15 a t North Warren on January 28th. Few other records were then received until counts of post-breeding flocks were made. Such counts included 20 at North Warren, 123


June 5th and 18 in The King's Forest on June 11th whilst on July 17th, 15 were at Kenton and an impressive 50 were seen flying north at Higham. Later gatherings included 16 at Ringshall, August 1st, 18 at Stowupland, August 21st, 35 at Theberton. September 1st and 24 at Dunwich, September 14th. Breeding birds were poorly reported but the usual handful of thorough observers recorded 27 territories at North Warren/Aldringham, 15 at Minsmere and four pairs at both Benhall and Hengrave. Single pairs were reported from Corton Woods, The Oval. Lowestoft, Somerleyton Marshes, Hawkedon and Long Melford. Autumn passage is difficult to discern amongst resident species but at Landguard where this species is scarce, a scattering of sightings was logged from September 13th to mid-December. CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti Scarce resident and very rare passage migrant. T h e species still r e m a i n s at a low ebb, but dare w e s u g g e s t a p o s s i b l e u p turn in f o r t u n e with r e c o r d s f r o m t w o n e w l o c a t i o n s ? Oulton: Fisher Row, in song, Feb. 19th; Ivy Farm, October 8th. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, in song, Apr. 19th and May 8th. Beccles: Beccles Marshes, May 23rd. Trimley St Mary: Trimley Marshes, Oct. 23rd.

There is a suggestion that the species is beginning to re-colonise the Waveney Valley, although the October bird may just be a wandering non-breeder; however, such birds are the forerunners of new colonies. The bird on the river wall at Trimley is particularly interesting and lends hope perhaps for the future. GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella naevia Widespread but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. Reports began unexpectedly with an early bird reeling at Chillesford on April 1st, equalling the earliest ever for the County. Otherwise, a scattering of reports came in from April 21st with records for that month from Hazlewood Marshes (21st), Minsmere (24th), Nunnery Floods, Bamham (26th) and Lackford and Martlesham (30th). Only 38 reeling birds were reported with the coastal wetlands remaining very much the stronghold. Minsmere reported 21 birds (11 in 1994) and there were three at North Warren (two in 1994) whilst Walberswick NNR saw a drop to just eight reelers (15 in 1994). The increases at both Minsmere and North Warren may be a product of habitat management at these sites. Although the species is declining nationally and gives cause for concern, there are undoubtedly birds being missed as visits to less well-watched locales produced records from Framlingham Mere, Santon Downham and Boyton Marshes as well as a bird singing at West Stow Country Park. As ever, passage birds slipped away undetected during the autumn, but fine reward for local patchwork came in the discovery of one at Combs Lane Water Meadows. Stowmarket on August 12th. SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. First reported from Lackford on April 8th and Alton Water on 9th with reports becoming more frequent over the following week. Passage at Landguard spanned from April 24th to June 10th with numbers generally low and the April 24th bird being the only one for that month. 124


Breeding season reports were generally rather encouraging with comments even including 'abundant' at Alton Water and reports of successful multiple broods from a number of sites. At well-monitored sites, Minsmere held 235 territories (127 in 1994), North Warren 120 (78 in 1994), Walberswick 41 (43 in 1994), Combs Lane Water Meadows 14 and Martlesham Creek 15. During the autumn, Landguard hosted a slow but steady flow of Sedge Warblers from July 18th to September 14th, peaking during August with 25 ringed (13 from 21st to 26th) and a peak day count of eight on August 21st. Fagbury held birds from July 12th to September 3rd, peaking earlier than Landguard with six on July 23rd, although four were ringed on August 20th, coinciding closely with Landguardis peak date. A male ringed at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket in 1994 returned to the same site to be taken by a cat on April 19th. MARSH WARBLER Acrocephalus Rare migrant.

palustris

In contrast to other recent years, a rather poor year with just two records. Perhaps this represents a hiccup however, and there is no reason why we should not continue to see more of this species which may be colonising our region from the near Continent. Lowestoft: North Denes, in song, June 13th (R Fairhead et al.). Timworth: in song, trapped, June 22nd (M D Crewe et al.).

An obvious migrant at Lowestoft, but what of the latter bird? It remained all day in the observer's garden hedge adjacent to arable farmland and was a great surprise so soon after breakfast! Only the second record for West Suffolk, there was also a bird holding territory not too far away in Cambridgeshire, a suitable area for a new colony to expand undetected. REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Sadly records were rather sparse for this species, making rational comment difficult. The first of the year was reported from Holbrook on April 12th but typically, the general arrival was not until the end of the month. Spring passage at Landguard was noted from April 29th to June 28th and was generally light with no more than four birds on any one day. At nearby Fagbury, passage occurred from April 23rd to June 20th with peaks of ten on June 8th and 19th and 20 on June 16th. Breeding season counts indicated a relatively healthy population, at least in the coastal wetlands where Minsmere held 250 singing birds (207 in 1994), North Warren 182 (189 in 1994), Walberswick NNR 200, Martlesham Creek 24 and Shotley Marshes 22 (15 in 1994). Autumn passage at Landguard lasted from July 7th to October 18th with higher than average numbers recorded. Passage peaked during August with at least 20 birds on 21st and 15 on 22nd. Ringing totals on these two dates of 16 and 14 respectively easily beat the previous best day of eight on May 23rd 1994. At Fagbury, numbers did not mirror those of Landguard with passage from July 8th to October 9th with the highest numbers generally in the first week of August. Totals at Fagbury were well below those set in the previous four autumns and fears are that a change in light supply in Felixstowe Docks may be having a detrimental effect on the ringing effort at this site. 125


OLIVACEOUS WARBLER Hippolais pallida Accidental. Perhaps worthy of the accolade of surprise find of the year, this represent a welcome addition to the County list. Benacre: Beach Farm, Aug. 12th and 13th (C A Buttle et al.). Only the 16th for Britain and Ireland and the first British record since 1985, ie finder did well to coolly work through the options and identify this bird. The appi rance of the bird, and most notably its bill structure indicated that it was of the west n race opaca which breeds sparsely in Spain and north-west Africa. Rumours circula id about the bird's presence after the dates given above but no details have been receiv d. ICTERINE WARBLER Hippolais icterina Uncommon passage migrant. A typical year with no spring records and eight autumn birds, scattered along te coastal strip. Gunton: Sep. 19th-21st (R Fairhead, P J Ransome). South wold: Sep. 1st (J M Cawston, S J Ling, E W Patrick, L Townsend). Minsmere: Sep. 14th (J A Brown). Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, Sep. 19th (R N Macklin). Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Aug. 21st (S Babbs, M Price). Felixstowe: Landguard, trapped, Sep. 19th (P J Holmes, J M Reed et al.). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, trapped, Aug. 10th (LBO); trapped, Sep. 10th. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 3 5 6 7 0 5 9 16 7 8 These totals show the unpredictability of this species in the county, although in apparent general increase is no doubt due to greater observer coverage, particularly >y ringers. MELODIOUS WARBLER Hippolais polyglotta Very rare passage migrant. Felixstowe: Landguard, in song, trapped, May 31st (N Odin, M Wall et al.). The second record for Landguard but only the eighth for the County. With singles having appeared in two consecutive years, it is possible that we will see an increase in over-shooting spring Melodious Warblers as the species is currently extending :ts breeding range northwards on the near continent. DARTFORD WARBLER Sylvia undata Rare visitor. Formerly bred. Following a spell of relatively mild winters, the fortunes of this species continue to look good and records are increasing encouragingly. The origin of Suffolk's birds remains a mystery at present. Reports of birds in suitable breeding habitat came from three coastal sites, whilst the first record for Landguard suggests that more birds are still wandering into our area. This looks like being the success story of the 1990s. Walberswick: Walberswick Common, male, Jan. 28th to Mar. 4th, also May 8th, in song (many obs). 126


Dr nwich: Dunwich Heath, male holding territory, Mar. 29th to Jun. 18th, possibly bred (RSPB). Li ston cum Sizewell: Sizewell, from Dec. 1994 to early Jan. (many obs.). Al Iringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness Golf Course, male, Apr. 9th to Jun. 21st, in song, (J N Davis, R N Macklin et al.). Ff iixstowe: Landguard, male, trapped, May 16th (M Marsh, N Odin, P Oldfield). B RRED WARBLER Sylvia nisoria Si arce passage migrant. A typical set of records with all birds, as usual, appearing in the autumn months. M nsmere: Aug. 31st to Sep. 3rd; Sep. 17th (RSPB). Aldeburgh: North Warren, Sep. 10th (D Thurlow). F, ixstowe: Landguard, Sep. 6th (N Odin, P Oldfield, J M Reid); Sep. 19th (N Odin). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Sep. 25th to 28th (D J Pearson et al.). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 2 2 1 3 4 4 3 6 7 6 I 'SSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curucca Common summer visitor and passage migrant. First noted at Fagbury Cliff on April 24th with reports coming from several widely scattered localities from 28th. The main spring passage at Fagbury occurred from April 26th to May 16th with peak counts involving at least 30 present on May 5th and 6th, with Landguard's peak of eight on May 2nd. Although the species was reasonably well reported across the County, regular monitoring at coastal sites indicated a decline in numbers, in some cases worryingly so Counts of singing males gave just eight at Walberswick NNR (25 in 1994), 26 at Minsmere (28 in 1994), 22 at North Warren (26 in 1994) and 25 at Aldringham Walks. A regular observer also detected a fall in numbers in the Fynn Valley, Tuddenham. However, on the plus side, a pair bred at Landguard for the first time, at least in recent years. Autumn passage was noted at Landguard from August 11th to October 13th, with numbers ringed peaking between September 20th and 26th when seven were trapped, although the peak day count fell on September 14th when six were present. At Fagbury, birds were noted to October 8th with peak movements in the last week of August and between September 18th and 23rd. WHITETHROAT Sylvia communis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Spring birds began to appear during the first half of April with one at Bramford on April 9th and reports widespread from 12th. After the first on April 14th, the species was noted daily at Landguard from 19th with the main passage taking place between May 1st and 11th. Peak counts at this time included 30 on 2nd, 25 on 5th and 15 on 3rd and 6th. At Fagbury Cliff, the main passage period was a little more protracted w ith good numbers present from April 23rd and May 15th with a peak of at least 75 °n May 5th and 6th. The fortunes of this species continue to look rosy at present with numbers comparing well against those of 1994. Counts of singing males from well monitored sites included (1994 counts in brackets) 47 at Walberswick NNR (50), 33 at Dunwich Forest (29), 72 at Minsmere (67), 126 at North Warren (103), 144 at Aldringham Walks and 21 at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket. In addition, very encouraging reports came from a large number of sites with regular observers noting the 127


species as present in good numbers in Alderton, Alton Water, Chillesford, Felixstowe, Piper's Vale (near Ipswich), Ramsholt, Stansfield, Trimley St Martin, Tuddenham St Martin and Wortham. Autumn passage was noted at Landguard from July 12th to September 29th with peak day counts of eight on August 21st and September 19th. At Fagbury, smaller numbers were noted than in previous years, although as usual, higher numbers were logged than at nearby Landguard Point. Birds were present on most dates to October 10th with the main passage occurring in the first half of September and including peaks of 30 on 2nd, 40 on 10th and 20 on 12th. As with some other key species, lower numbers are considered to be due to the effects of a change of lights at Felixstowe Docks. GARDEN WARBLER Sylvia borin Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Unusually early birds were reported from Fagbury on April 13th and Martlesham the following day. A more general arrival was noted from April 24th. Passage at Landguard ran from April 29th to May 16th with the main movement between May 1st and 8th. Numbers were low with peak day counts of just three on 2nd, 7th and 8th; a late bird was present on June 13th. At Fagbury, passage spanned from April 27th to June 9th with peaks in May of 15 on 12th and 10 on 15th. Breeding season numbers were good with well-monitored sites reporting 30 at Walberswick (20 in 1994), 24 at Dunwich Forest (22), 39 at Minsmere (51), 39 at North Warren (34) and 16 at Aldringham Walks. Few other reports were received during the breeding season, although six singing at Wolves Wood and 12 at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket were encouraging and the species continues to do well in the west of the County. Autumn passage lasted from July 29th to October 3rd at Landguard with the largest numbers occurring between September 18th and 22nd, including six on 18th and 19th and 12 on 20th. At Fagbury, autumn day counts remained in single figures to September 21st with a late bird present on October 23rd. Few counts were received from the north of the County, but numbers appeared to peak at the same time as those at Landguard and Fagbury with a report of 20 at Southwold on September 20th. BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. At least 26 birds were recorded in the County during January and February, with the bulk occurring away from coastal sites. It is likely that many wintering birds go undiscovered as the spread of records appears to reflect the distribution of observers. Mild spells seemed to spur birds into action with males noted in song at Ipswich on January 31st and at Woodbridge from March 2nd. The earliest spring birds were obscured by the presence of wintering individuals but the main spring movement appeared to take place from April 8th. Passage began at Landguard with an early bird on March 12th, then from April 3rd to May 20th. Peak day counts included 11 on April 15th and 10 on 29th. At Fagbury Cliff, birds passed through from April 4th into June with peak day counts of 30 on April 16th and 23rd and 40 on April 29th. An unseasonable male was at Landguard on June 18th. Breeding season reports were few and far between, giving little indication of the status of this species. However, we are grateful for the work of staff on the Countyis reserves for reporting a good breeding season including 31 singing males at Walberswick (35 in 1994), 34 at Dunwich Forest (39), 53 at Minsmere (70), 67 at North Warren (39), 34 at Aldringham Walks, 12 at Combs Lane Water Meadows, and eight at Wolves Wood.

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Autumn passage at Landguard was protracted and, apart from two on July 12th, spanned from August 21st to November 11th with a late male on November 27th and 28th. A small fall occurred on September 10th when 12 were logged on site with nine present on 14th and eight on 20th. Octoberis peak spell was from 10th to 20th with highest day counts of seven on 10th and 12th. At Combs Lane Water Meadows, excellent numbers were considered to have passed through, peaking with a count of 21 on September 16th. At Fagbury, Blackcaps mirrored the behaviour of Whitethroats with the large numbers of the 1991 to 1994 autumns failing to materialise and no more than 10 birds were considered to be present on any one day. Early concerns are that the change of lights to low level sodium bulbs in Felixstowe Docks may have a major impact on their ability to draw birds into the area. Records during the latter winter period were few with birds noted at Lowestoft, North Warren and Witnesham. PALLAS'S WARBLER Phylloscopus proregulus Rare visitor. Although perhaps dampened by the extraordinary numbers of the previous year, 1995 nonetheless provided another opportunity to enjoy these Siberian sprites. Lowestoft: Normanston Cemetery, two, Nov. 12th (R Wincup); Belle Vue Park, Dec. 1 lth-13th (R Wincup et ai). Dunwich: Greyfriars Wood, two, Nov. 12th (B J Small, P Varney). Aldeburgh: North Warren, Nov. 22nd-26th (D Fairhurst). Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness, Oct. 29th-31st (D C Marsh, D Thurlow, P Varney). Hollesley: trapped, Oct. 29th (P Catchpole, J Glazebrook, P Newton). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 0 6 0 4 2 3 0 5 22 8 The December bird at Lowestoft is the second-latest for Suffolk, beaten only by one on December 23rd 1987, a bird which occurred in what was a classic year for the species. YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus inornatus Scarce visitor. A reasonable showing with eight autumn coastal records, although perhaps a disappointment after the previous two autumns. Lowestoft: Normanston Cemetery, Oct. 21st and 22nd (A C Easton). South wold: Southwold Common, Oct. 13th-15th (R Waiden et al.); Southwold Churchyard, Oct. 12th (L J Townsend). Dunwich: Greyfriars Wood, Oct. 29th (J Dustow). Minsmere: Oct. 25th (R Barras, RSPB). Aldeburgh: North Warren, Oct. 10th (R N Macklin, I Rowlands). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Singles, Oct. 21st-22nd; Oct. 23rd (LBO). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 7 4 23 9 4 8 3 8 20 8 RADDE'S WARBLER Phylloscopus schwarzi Very rare visitor. Felixstowe: Landguard, first-winter trapped, Oct. 15th (R A Duncan, P J Holmes, M C Marsh et al.). This endearing species remains a great rarity in the County, this being only the seventh to date, but the second for Landguard. 129


WOOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. A rather poor year with a single spring record of a bird at Minsmere on the rather early date of April 13th. During the breeding season, two males were heard singing at Brandon on May 16th. No further reports were received until the onset of autumn migration. Records then fell between August 5th and September 17th as follows: Lowestoft: Sparrow's Nest, Sep. 2nd. Belle Vue Park, Sep. 23rd. Dunwich: Aug. 8th.

Minsmere: Sep. 11th; Sep. 16th-17th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Aug. 22nd. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Aug. 5th; Aug. 24th. Hadleigh: Wolves Wood, Sep. 9th. Lackford: Lackford WR, Aug. 27th. CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. During January and February, at least 14 individuals were located at a total of ten sites. Sewage treatment plants continue to be good locations for this species in winter with up to three at both Kessingland and Long Melford Sewage Works. An unusual record involved one feeding on the river wall beside the Deben at Falkenham on January 7th. The earliest song was noted at Ipswich on March 7th, but the first migrants are masked by the presence of overwintering birds. Spring passage was noted at Landguard from March 10th and was more generally reported from March 12th. Peak movements at Landguard included counts of 10 on March 24th, 15 on April 2nd and 20 the following day. Smaller numbers continued to trickle through during May but counts were always in single figures. Breeding season counts of singing birds (1994 counts in brackets) included 32 at Walberswick NNR (41), 47 at Dunwich Forest (54), 69 at North Warren (55) and 33 at Aldringham Walks. Few other counts were received but general comment implied that the species is doing well in the County at present. Autumn passage at Landguard lasted from September 5th to November 13th with the main passage period from September 22nd to 30th and peak day counts of 14 on 26th and 11 on 27th. At Fagbury, passage was similarly protracted and included peak counts of 20 on September 25th, 25 on September 30th and 15 on October 1st and 5th. At Combs Lane Water Meadows, a record count of 33 was present on September 5th. December reports, presumably of wintering birds involved eight individuals at seven sites. A number of reports of individuals showing plumage characteristics of the eastern race tristis were received, although most were not accompanied by details. Such birds were reported from Lowestoft December 29th, Kessingland January 28th, Felixstowe March 6th and Long Melford January to March. WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A bird with a missing tail was present at Holbrook Sewage Works from January 7th to 20th and is the first winter record since 1990. The first spring record fell on the typical date of March 30th when one was at Alton Water and was followed by the advent of spring passage at Landguard on April 2nd and influxes at Southwold and Bawdsey on April 3rd. In the west of the county, one was in song at Barnhamcross Common on April 4th with six there on 6th. Passage at Landguard was generally un-noteworthy but for a fall of some 50 birds on April 10th. Passage at Fagbury was

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a little more protracted with peak counts spread throughout April and including 30 on 12th, 20 on 19th, 30 on 24th and 20 on 29th. In addition, up to 20 were at East Lane, Bawdsey on April 3rd. Breeding numbers at well-monitored sites were encouraging. Counts of singing males (1994 totals in brackets) included 131 at Walberswick NNR (118), 73 in Dunwich Forest (70), 41 at North Warren (33), 55 at Aldringham Walks and seven at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket. In autumn, passage at Landguard began on July 16th and was rather sparse, apart from a fall of 35 on September 19th. Indeed, August ringing totals there were the lowest since operations began and, although numbers picked up a little during September with that month's total beating August for the first time, August 21st and September 19th were the only dates when double-figure ringing totals were achieved. Hie total of 35 on September 19th was a high number indeed for that late in the autumn. Fagbury Cliff suffered a similar fate where the high numbers of the last three autumns were not repeated; however, some compensation came in the appearance of an individual wearing a Norwegian ring, September 19th. Peak counts elsewhere included 36 at Southwold on September 20th and 30 at Lowestoft Cemetery on September 22nd. Of particular interest is the report of 41 counted onboard a ferry five miles offshore approaching Felixstowe on September 18th. The final reports came from Adastral Close, Felixstowe and Landguard where singles were present on October 13 th. GOLDCREST Regulus regulus Very common resident and passage migrant. Reports during the first winter period were few, although the species appears to be benefiting from a series of relatively mild winters and counts of 30 at Hollesley and 11 at Staverton Park are indicative of a good population. Spring passage was recorded at Landguard from March 4th to May 5th with the bulk of the birds logged between March 21st and April 15th. Highest day counts involved 12 on April 5th and 10 on 11th and 13th. Breeding season reports of singing birds did nothing to help an assessment of the fortunes of the species. At well-monitored sites, there were three singing birds at Walberswick NNR, 10 in Dunwich Forest, 11 at North Warren and 11 at Aldringham Walks. Autumn passage was rather light. Movement at Landguard lasted from September 4th to November 23rd with the main movement taking place from October 14th to November 5th. Passage at Landguard was perhaps controlled by weather patterns with a number of peaks and troughs in the numbers present. Highest counts included 11 on September 22nd, 15 on September 24th, 25 on October 14th and 26 on October 21st. At nearby Adastral Close, Felixstowe, a peak was noticeable in the second half of October with up to 15 present on 23rd and 26th. At least 10 were also present in Wolves Wood on October 26th and at least 17 were at Lackford WR a the end of November. Two Finnish-ringed Goldcrests were controlled at Fagbury on October 22nd and 26th, for which we await details. Amongst the few winter reports, there were notable counts of 60 at Bridge Wood, Nacton on December 2nd and 41 at Hollesley on December 24th. FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters irregularly. Encouragingly, the species was reported in every month except June and July. One was present sporadically at Landguard in January and February (having been present 131


from the previous year) and there were other early-year reports from Henham on February 25th, Christchurch Park, Ipswich on March 5th and Staverton on March 12th. The Landguard bird was trapped in February and proved to have been ringed there in November 1994; it remained at least to the end of March. The first birds likely to be migrants were reported from Minsmere on March 23rd and Shingle Street on March 30th with passage at Landguard beginning the following day (with three present, including the wintering bird) and lasting to May 26th with a total of nine ringed. Records of single birds during the main passage period came from Lowestoft, Dunwich, Minsmere, North Warren and Tangham. At Fagbury, birds were present from April 1st to May 22nd with peak counts of six on April 29th and three on May 1st and 4th. A bird at Henham on the early date of August 6th is of interest and could suggest breeding in the locality as the species was present there in the spring to at least May 8th. In autumn, Landguard hosted singles on October 3rd and on ten days from October 24th to November 6th. Only two birds were ringed, representing the lowest autumn total since the Observatory was founded. Similarly, Fagbury managed just two on October 5th and one on October 23rd. Elsewhere, there were over 30 records from 11 coastal sites - mostly well-watched areas around Lowestoft, Dunwich, Southwold and Aldeburgh - and birds a little further inland at Martlesham on September 2nd and October 26th (two). The second winter period produced December sightings at Bridge Wood, Nacton on 2nd, North Warren on 8th and Lackford WR throughout the month. SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata Widespread but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. The first at Landguard was noted on May 2nd but elsewhere, the general immigration did not occur until after May 15th, coinciding with the main movement at Landguard from May 15th to 20th with a maximum of three on three dates during the period. In general, spring passage reflected the status of the bird as a breeding species with few individuals seen. This species, perhaps more than most, would benefit from a more concerted effort by birdwatchers to record numbers of breeding birds. Although anecdotal comments on the decline of the species were widespread, little data is available to allow an assessment of the number of birds lost. Whatever, this is most definitely a species in serious decline in the County at present and numbers from well-monitored sites reflect this with totals of just eight pairs located during a concerted effort in the Walberswick/Dunwich/Blythburgh area, three pairs at Minsmere and three at North Warren/Aldringham Walks. At Hengrave Hall, six pairs nested, but all were apparently predated by a single family of Magpies (5 pairs successful in 1994). Autumn passage was predictably light with Landguard logging birds from July 31st to October 8th, the bulk appearing between August 20th and September 30th with peak counts of eight on September 4th and 22nd. Numbers at Fagbury followed a similar pattern with peak counts of five on September 12th and 18th and the last on October 9th, on which date two were also present at Adastral Close, Felixstowe. The main migration period in September also produced counts of eight at Golf Road, Felixstowe on 23rd and 10 in Woolverstone Churchyard on 13th. RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Ficedula parva Rare migrant. The seventh spring record for the county. Felixstowe: Landguard, first-summer, June 12th (M Marsh, N Odin, P Oldfield). The species has always been predominantly an autumn bird in Britain but spring

/

132


records do seem to be on the increase, there having only been three in Suffolk prior to those tabled below. There has now been a total of 39 in the County. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 Spring 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 1 Autunni 1 1 3 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant. A rather meagre spring showing with just four individuals, all at well-watched coastal sites. Males were noted at Fagbury on April 10th and Landguard on May 1st and females at Minsmere on April 30th and Landguard on May 16th. In contrast, a substantial autumn passage at Landguard took place, beginning unusually early with one on July 30th (the first July record for the site) and lasting to September 25th with a late straggler on October 19th. A total of 68 were ringed, the main passage occurring from August 16th to 23rd with 40 ringed and from September 13th to 20th with 15 ringed. At nearby Fagbury Cliff, passage spanned from August 3rd to September 28th with a late bird on October 7th, although no more than two birds were noted on any one day. This passage was reflected elsewhere on the coast with peak counts of 11 at Lowestoft Cemetery on August 11th and 25 there on September 23rd, 12 at Southwold on September 19th, eight at Benacre on September 20th and five at Kessingland the following day. Birdwatchers away from the coast also enjoyed a good run of Pied Flycatchers with singles reported at West Stow Country Park on August 6th, Bures St Mary on August 21st, Woodbridge on August 25th, Stansfield on September 3rd and Lavenham Railway Walk on September 23rd. BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus Uncommon resident. Although the only detailed breeding records received were from Minsmere, where a total of 21 pairs raised an impressive 250 young (15 pairs in 1994), this species appears to be continuing its recent upsurge. There was no full breeding survey carried out at Walberswick this year but at least 29 pairs were located there (22 in 1994), with a further 10 pairs minimum being found at Easton Broad. During the first winter period numbers reported were rather low with six at Fritton Marshes, March 11th; two at North Warren, January 11th and 13th; one at Martlesham Creek, January 7th and two at Trimley Marshes, March 29th, being the only sightings. The usual scattering of autumn migrants was recorded as follows: Lowestoft: North Denes, male, Oct. 22nd. Southwold: two, Sep. 30th; Eight flying south, Oct. 15th. Hollesley: Oxley Dairy, Oct. 22nd. River Deben: Sep. 10th. Trimley Marshes: two, Nov. 8th. Shotley: Penny Marsh, two, Oct. 20th. f evington: three, Sep. 23rd. Numbers during the late-autumn and second winter period were higher in coastal reedbeds with 24, Benacre Broad, October 11th; 10, Martlesham, November 18th (with 14 there December 31st) and 11 at North Warren, December 6th. There were no reports of wandering birds in West Suffolk; hopefully, the RSPB's fenland re-creation project (including extensive reedbeds) on its newly acquired land at Lakenheath will eventually result in this species re-colonising and breeding within the vice county. 133


LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus Very common resident. With no periods of prolonged, severe winter weather, this species continues to thrive; indeed, one Felixstowe observer considered it to be "abundant" during 1995. The first nest building of the year was observed at Combs Lane Water Meadow s, Stowmarket on March 11th, but breeding was subsequently confirmed at only nine widespread sites, which is obviously a gross under representation of this speciesi trae breeding status in Suffolk, as indicated by the 44 pairs found at North Warren a significant increase on the 28 pairs found there in 1994. Some large post-breeding and second winter counts were received with flocks of 30 or more coming from 10 sites, the largest of which were; 80, Minsmere, December 18th; 50+, Fagbury Cliff, November 6th and 60, Combs Lane Water Meadows, August 8th. Landguard recorded 'passage' birds during March on 5th (10), 19th (six) and 23rd (two), plus a flock of 17 seen there on October 14th. MARSH TIT Parus palustris Fairly common resident. Marchant et al. (1990) recorded a long-term shallow decline in numbers for this species (possibly due to competition from Coal, Blue and Great Tits) which would certainly seem to be the case as far as Suffolk is concerned. Reported from 23 widespread localities during the year (19 in 1994), with breeding proven at three of these (including three pairs on the Hengrave Hall Estate). A further five territories were located at North Warren but, in general, breeding season reports were few and far between. However, counts of 12 around Sheepwash Common, North Warren on November 22nd and 13 at Bradfield Woods on March 20th seem to indicate that the species is doing better than the above suggests. WILLOW TIT Parus montanus Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. Reported from 24 localities during the year (21 in 1994), most of which were in the west of the County, but including singles at Bridge Wood, Nacton; Eastbridge; Framlingham and Martlesham (all on single dates). During the breeding season birds were found at nine sites with breeding proven at two, including two family parties (totalling 12 birds) seen at Santon Downham on June 6th. Comparison of data between Willow and Marsh Tits gives a false impression due to observer bias. Marsh Tits remain far more widespread and common than Willows, the latter species being better recorded due to its 'rarity value'. COAL TIT Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. This species continues to be very much under-recorded with records coming fror" just 16 widespread sites and breeding confirmed at four, including 16 pairs at Nort Warren, four pairs at Wolves Wood and one pair using a nestbox at Hengrave Hall. The largest counts received were 16, Hollesley Heath, July 31st; 20, Minsmere, December 19th and 10, West Stow Country Park, February 12th, all areas in e i t h e r t t i e coastal Sandlings or Breckland where the favoured coniferous habitat occurs. ^ only passage migrant of the year was one trapped and ringed at Fagbury Clin October 10th. 134

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An interesting reports was of a one-legged bird present at Brettenham between January Ist and March 30th. BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Little breeding data were received but 102 territories were located at North Warren and 15 broods raised in nestboxes at Great Glemham resulted in 120 juveniles being fledged, suggesting a good breeding season for this species. This seems to be confirmed by some large second winter groups which included; 40, Stratton Hall, December 17th; 51, Hollesley Heath, December 24th and 50, Long Melford, November 20th. Small numbers of birds were recorded at Landguard in every month of the year, with one pair breeding, an irregulär occurrence there. There was no pronounced spring passage at Landguard with monthly maxima being just six birds in both March and April and a total of 12 ringed, March 15th to April 14th. However, during the autumn, a light passage was observed with 38 birds ringed between August 3Ist and October 29th and a maximum count of 10 on October 9th. GREAT TIT Parus major Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. As with the previous species, little breeding data were received although 118 territories were found at North Warren, 18 broods in nestboxes at Great Glemham produced 124 juveniles and 10 pairs were present at Combs Lane Water Meadows. The largest concentration of the year involved 27 birds on Hollesley Heath on December 24th. A light spring passage was recorded at Landguard with 19 birds ringed, February 17th to April 6th including peak March day counts of 12 on 12th, six on 15th and seven on 20th. At Fagbury Cliff, 48 birds were ringed between April and November and at least four pairs are known to have bred in the orchard there. Autumn passage at Landguard was also light with 17 ringed, September 2Ist to November 7th. M THATCH Sitta europaea Fairly common resident. With records coming from 35 widespread sites (a slight increase on recent years) and one Thornham Magna observer reporting that the species was "more obvious than previous years", it is possible that the Nuthatch is enjoying a slight increase in numbers within Suffolk, as is 'he national trend, where it is increasing not only in numbers, but in range also (see Gibbons et al. 1993). Although breeding was only conhrmed from Kentwell Hall, Long Melwd (one pair) and Hengrave Hall (three Pairs, including one which fledged seven young from a nest box) it was suspected at Pjhers and no doubt took place at many more. At [•engrave Hall, a juvenile entered a greenouse during a thunderstorm and was later •"escued and released. 135


TREECREEPER Certhia Common resident.

familiaris

The limited comparative data received makes it very difficult to comment on this species' fortunes during 1995. However, with no prolonged cold winter spells, it seems unlikely that its status will have changed significantly from last year. The six territories discovered at North Warren is up on the five found there in 1994 which may indicate a slight increase in numbers (or a more successful breeding survey!). In all, reports were received from 20 sites during the breeding season (out of a total of 60 during the year), although breeding was confirmed at just two of these; Combs Lane Water Meadows, and Kentwell Hall, Long Melford. The largest concentration of the year was at Northfield Wood, Onehouse where seven were present on March 21st. GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus oriolus Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. Thanks are due to the Golden Oriole Group for information supplied from their extensive breeding season survey of this species, which has revealed birds at at least three potential breeding sites as follows: Lakenheath: Up to six males and two females recorded. Fens - Site 1: Singing male, June 27th and 28th and July 11th. Fens - Site 2: Singing male, June 27th. The above is a very welcome increase on the numbers thought to have been present during recent years. At least two pairs were at Lakenheath and, in addition, a visit on June 24th revealed at least four other males, apparently unmated, at the site. It is not known whether this implies a late arrival of birds, failed breeders on the move, or perhaps just an excess of young males looking for territories. Unusually, just two passage migrants were recorded; a male at Hinderclay Fen. Hinderclay on May 30th (N Woods) and a female/immature at Hollesley on August 29th (J A Glazebrook). RED-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius collurio Scarce passage migrant. Formerly bred. Sadly, for the first time (ever) no spring migrants were recorded in the County but seven autumn migrants were seen. Gunton: Sep. 19th. Lowestoft: Warrenhouse Wood, Sep. 18th. The Oval, Sep. 21st to 23rd. Minsmere: juv., Sep. 23rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, in beach scrub, Oct. 8th. Havergate Island: juv., Aug. 21st to 23rd. Shingle Street: juv., Sep. 3rd to 5th; presumed same, 10th and 16th. Despite the above poor showing, a male was again seen at the 1992 breeding site, albeit on just one date - July 16th. 1994 The entry for North Warren, April 28th in Suffolk Birds vol 44 should read May 28th. GREAT GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubitor Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. Another disappointing year for this species, with just two birds reported as follows. Westleton/Dunwich: Westleton and Dunwich Heaths, from 1994 to Apr. 9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, trapped, Oct. 12th. 136


With the apparent loss of a regular wintering individual at Westleton/Dunwich, Suffolk's birders may now struggle for an annual sighting of this excellent bird. WOODCHAT SHRIKE Lanius senator Rare visitor. Lowestoft: North Denes, female, Jun. 14th to 23rd (R Fairhead, R Wincup). Following hot on the heels of the two birds in 1994, the above constitutes the County's 21st record of this species. The relatively long stay of this bird enabled many observers to enjoy it and an equally obliging Rose-coloured Starling at the same time. JAY Garrulus glandarius Common resident and scarce passage migrant. Very little breeding data was received although the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex held 16 pairs including 10 at the Warren (11 in 1994 & 12 in 1993). Evidence of coastal passage in spring included singles at Fagbury Cliff on April 13th and 14th and May 6th plus singles at Landguard on May 3rd and 5th. Four flying high to the west over Rendlesham Forest on October 14th were thought to be migrants and a considerable increase in numbers was noted in this area in midOctober. Whilst immigration may have been involved, Jays generally become less secretive at this time of year and are very visible as they feed busily on acorns - and stash their winter hordes. MAGPIE Pica pica Very common resident. The roosting flock of 94 at North Warren on February 7th was by far the highest count received with other counts peaking with 29 at Sutton Heath on January 2nd, 30 at Iken on January 28th and up to 19 at Sudbourne Marshes in the second winter period. Anyone who continues to harbour dark thoughts against this species will take heart in the fact that one was taken by a Goshawk at Risby on November 23rd! The North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex supported 46 pairs which included a stable 20 pairs at the Warren. An observer who regularly travels between the farmland of High Suffolk and the coast commented on the greater scarcity of this species inland, where the dubious business of Pheasant-keeping has an effect on native bird populations. JACKDAW Corvus monedula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Several large flocks were reported throughout the year including 700, Long Melford on January 19th; 500 at a pig farm in Sutton on January 20th; 250, Harleston °n February 5th; 300, Bury St. Edmunds on June 30th; 200, Sudbourne on August 5th and at least 1000 on fields between Otley College and Grundisburgh on several dates. The latter counts presumably involve birds from the well-known but sadly 137


unmonitored Culpho roost. The largest gathering involved a mixed pre-roost flock of 6000 Rooks and Jackdaws at Gipping. Coastal passage at Landguard peaked in the spring with four north and two south on March 16th, 28 north on March 23rd, five south on April 2nd and four south on May 26th. There were fewer autumn movements with peaks of 37 in off the sea on October 28th and five in off the sea on November 2nd. An individual showing the characteristics of the nominate Scandinavian race C.m.monedula was at North Warren on the surprising date of May 16th. ROOK Corvus frugilegus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Counts of rookeries included 51 at Alton Water; 10 at Brook Lane, Felixstowe (16 in 1994); 22 at Needham Market; 40 at South Cove Church; 42 at The Grove, Felixstowe (41 in 1994) and 40 near Bawdsey Manor. The relatively new rookery in Brook Lane, Felixstowe seems to be flagging and presumably involves overspill from The Grove. Beside the A14 at Whitton near Ipswich, at least two pairs nested on the arms of a high voltage power pylon. Winter flocks peaked at 1000, Sutton on January 20th; 600, Gazeley on February 15th and 250, Harleston on February 5th whilst a post-breeding flock of 340 was at Combs Lane Water Meadows on August 31st. A mixed flock of 6000 Rooks and jackdaws was located at Gipping whilst 1000 with Carrion Crows were found at Great Bealings on Nov. 12th (part of the Culpho roost). Coastal movements at Landguard were poor, but included seven south and six north in March; four south on April 2nd; four in off the sea on October 29th and 17 in off the sea on November 4th. CARRION CROW Corvus corone Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Breeding reports were received from only four sites with a peak of nine pairs at the North Warren & Aldringham Walks complex which included a stable three pairs at North Warren. Post-breeding gatherings and winter parties were reported from several localities Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, 41, Sep. 3rd. Haughley: Haughley Park, 100 during Jan. Oakley: Oakley Park, 40, Aug. 4th. Wherstead: Wherstead Strand, 123, Nov. 1st. Spring movements at Landguard peaked at six south on March 9th, 18 south on March 15th, nine south on March 16th, 13 on April 1st and 10 south on April 2nd. Autumn movements included 13 on September 6th, 23 on October 8th and nine on October 3rd. The roof of a building in Felixstowe Docks (70 Shed) was adopted as a regular early-morning gathering point for up to 16 Carrion Crows during October. A leucistic bird was noted at Hadleigh. Hooded Crow Corvus corone cornix Recorded along the coastal strip in both winter periods with most involving single birds at Benacre, Blythburgh, Boyton, Covehithe, Havergate Island, H o p t o n - o n - S e a . Minsmere and Shingle Street. Four reports from Westwood Lodge included two on January 20th. One passed south at Landguard on April 12th. The Hooded Crow x Carrion Crow hybrid from 1994 was reported from Benacre throughout the yean Observers are reminded to check potential Hoodies carefully to ensure they are no hybrids. 138


STARLING Sturnus vulgaris Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A dearth of breeding information does not allow any meaningful conclusions to be inade although observers in Felixstowe and Stansfield reported a decline in breeding numbers. Winter flocks peaked with 600, Havergate Island on February 26th; 2000 flying north at North Warren on March 13th; up to 600 roosting at Lackford WR during October to December; 1000, Long Melford on October 7th; 2700, Combs Lane Water Meadows on October 26th and 1300, Thorpeness on November 5th. Landguard rsported a first-winter period roost count peak of 3500 on February 9th and 11th The summer roost at Landguard began to pick up with the appearance of fledged young in May and produced counts of 350 on the 16th, 500 on the 27th and 1000 by the month's end. The summer roost reached monthly maxima of 4000, June 26th; 5000 from July 4th; 5000 up to August 7th and 4000 up to September 8th. Peak autumnal counts at Landguard were 10,000 on October 15th; 6500 on October 20th and 4500 on October 22nd. A Starling was observed eating a Smooth Newt Triturus vulgaris at Southwold on May 3rd and one with a whitish rump and tail was at Long Melford on October 7th. ROSE-COLOURED STARLING Sturnus roseus Very rare visitor.

The 19th record of this species in Suffolk, this bird spent much of its time in less than salubrious surroundings rummaging around the local Bird's-eye factory. Lowestoft: North Denes area, adult, Jun. 17th to 27th. (A Crutchley, R Fairhead J Pilgrim et al.). 139


HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus Very common resident. Actual counts of House Sparrows still remain hard to come by but some figures are gained as a by-product of other survey work. Set-aside survey visits in February produced counts of 27 at Priory Farm, Darsham and 24 at Hill Farm, Farnham. The only other counts of note in the first winter period were 40 at Landguard on January 23rd and 60 in Old Kirton Road, Trimley St. Martin on February 19th. Breeding reports were very few but included 10 pairs at Aldringham Walks and, encouragingly, the species was reported as increasing by a Felixstowe correspondent. Post-breeding flocks included 90, Searson's Farm, Trimley St. Mary on July 3rd; 80, Cransford on August 24th; 90, Combs Lane Water Meadows on August 27th; 50, Brettenham in September and 80, Northfield Wood, Onehouse on October 27th. Counts at Landguard were irregular but included a maximum of 480 coming to roost on August 26th. Movements of House Sparrows at Landguard implied that the species is not as sedentary as may be thought with counts of birds moving south including 32 on September 28th and 18 south on October 8th. The peak count at the end of the year at Landguard was of 70 on December 6th. TREE SPARROW Passer montanus Uncommon and declining resident. Recorded from just nine sites in the first-winter period, mostly in small numbers and from the three regular areas around Timworth (peak of 81 on January 1st), Kessingland/Benacre/Covehithe (peak of seven on February 26th) and Sudbourne. In addition, up to 40 were at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath during the period and single figures were reported from Great Waldingfield, Hollesley, Pin Mill and Worlingworth. A flock of up to 11 at Northfield Wood, Onehouse in April and up to eight at Old Newton in the same month had presumably also wintered in the area. Spring passage was almost non-existent with Landguard logging just single birds on eight dates from April 30th to June 1st. Breeding season reports were woefully few with single figures noted at Bacton, Benacre, Gisleham, Holbrook and Ingham. Fifteen at Lakenheath on July 22nd and 20 there on August 14th imply that the species bred nearby. Autumn gatherings, probably involving birds on the move, were recorded in several coastal localities in very small numbers until October 28th with peaks of 40, Covehithe on August 16th and 11 south at Landguard on October 18th. The second winter period saw peak counts of only 10 at Beach Farm, Benacre on November 11th and 11 at Northfield Wood on November 26th but the Timworth flock had reached 80 by December 17th. Of great interest was the discovery of a hybrid Tree x House Sparrow in the Timworth flock, present on December 28th into the New Year. There is only one previous record of this hybrid which was noted at Bury St Edmunds over 100 years ago on January 13th 1894. RED-EYED VIREO Vireo olivaceus Accidental. Remarkably, two in one year, becoming the third and fourth records for Suffolk of this transatlantic vagrant. Surprisingly, Norfolk has yet to attract one. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Thorpeness Common, Oct. 12th to 15th (D Fairhurst, R N Macklin et al.). Southwold: St.Edmund's Churchyard, first-winter, Oct.l2th to Oct.l4th (R Walden et al). Lowestoft loses its County monopoly on this species. These two appeared in a 140


month when at least 22* Redeyed Vireos were reported in the British Isles, although these were the only two to reach the east coast. The similarity in the two dates ii quite remarkable. * Note that at the time of going to press, only ten have so far been accepted by British Birds Rarities Committee. CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Sizeable flocks were only reported from six locations in the first-winter period involving 150 at Eyke on January 2nd, 80 at Friston and 70 at Rookery Farm, Snape on January 19th, 80 at Aldringham Walks on March 4th, 50 at Pond Hall Farm, Ipswich on March 10th and 200 at Lackford WR during March. Very little breeding data was received although 267 territories were located at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex which included 111 at North Warren (83 in 1994). Autumn passage at Landguard was mediocre and included birds on 13 dates in September from the 13th with a maximum of 35 south on the 28th then on 27 dates in October with maxima of 50 on 15th, 39 on 22nd and 69 on 27th. Passage continued into November with 56 south on six dates, maximum 18 on 6th and 15 flew south on December 8th. At Fagbury Cliff, day counts peaked with 20 birds on several dates during the second half of October. Elsewhere, 90 were at Great Blakenham on October 24th. The second-winter period saw higher numbers arriving, inspiring observers to send in counts of 100 at Aldringham Walks on November 19th, 200 at Butley on November 1st, 100 at Hollesley on December 9th, and 60 in Christchurch Park, Ipswich on December 1st. BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. A good showing in the first part of the year with several large flocks reported. Blythburgh: 34, Jan. 22nd. Eyke: 40, Jan. 2nd. Lakenheath: 100, Jan. 2nd; Sedge Fen, 40, Jan. 6th and 150, Jan. 22nd. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, 30, Jan. 14th; 300. Feb. 20th. Elveden: Roper's Heath, 20, Feb. 2nd. April reports were received from thirteen localities with the last involving eight at West Stow Country Park on 21st, 10 at Tangham on 25th and 10 at Fagbury Cliff on 29th. A lingering individual was noted at Fagbury Cliff on May 1st. Autumn passage began late on the coast and the first report involved one at Landguard on October 5th. Numbers picked up during that month with peak counts of 274 (an exceptional number for Landguard) in off the sea at Landguard, 30 at Lowestoft Cemetery and 20 at Fagbury Cliff on October 21st and 10 at the latter site 141


the following day. Landguard also logged 28 in off the sea on October 29th and smaller numbers continued to pass through to November 12th. Autumn birds clearly passed straight through the County with few noted after mid November. Reports of single figures were received from Trimley St Martin and Westleton in the east and Kentford and nearby Moulton in the west. 1994 The flock of 4000 at Eriswell/Lakenheath on January 8th (Suffolk Birds 44) should be deleted. In fact, the figure was a cumulative total recorded on a single day in the general area. The two largest flocks in this figure were 1500 at Eriswell and 1000 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath. SERIN Serinus serinus Rare migrant. Another very good year for this species which brings the county total to 23. Easton Bavents: male, May 24th. (J M Cawston, S J Ling, E W Patrick) (Same as Southwold bird). Southwold: Ferry Road and Gun Hill area, singing male, May 23rd to 27th and Jun. 16th (S J Ling, E W Patrick, L J Townsend). Female/first-winter, Oct. 25th. (J M Cawston, E W Patrick). Felixstowe: Landguard, female, Apr. 28th (M Marsh, N Odin). Southwold does well for this species, but this must surely be due to observer bias the above-mentioned seem to have the knack of finding this often flighty species! Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 1 3 3 GREENFINCH Carduelis chloris Very common resident and passage migrant. Very scarce in the first-winter period with only three flocks of note, 100, Friston on January 19th; 100, Benacre on February 26th and 100, Aldringham Walks on March 142


19: Redstarts breed sparingly in Suffolk.

4U:

Fieldfares flock to enjoy Suffolk's Hawthorn

Stan Dumican

hedges.

Alan Tate


21 & 22: Although normally a shy, retiring species, this Thrush Nightinga showed well to admirers during its two-week stay at Landguard. Robin Chittend


4th. Spring passage at Landguard peaked at 35 on March 23rd, whilst up to 30 were present daily from May 24th to 26th as a result of the appearance of the year's first young. A total of 103 Greenfinches was ringed there in March and 94 in April with a peak day catch of 18 on March 23rd. Very few breeding reports were received although the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex held 29 pairs including a record 17 at the North Warren (16 in 1994). Landguard reported many juveniles visiting the feeders and ringed in June, suggesting a very successful breeding season. Autumn passage at Landguard peaked in October with notable counts of 110 south on 19th, 97 south on 20th and 88 south on 27th. The species became more scarce again later in the year, although peak counts included 380 at Aldringham Walks on November 18th and an impressive 1000 at Stallode Wash, Lakenheath on December 28th. GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in smaller numbers. Relatively scarce in the first-winter period with the following peak counts: Oulton: Fisher Row, 40, Feb.l9th. Chelmondiston: Edgell's Dip, 40, Mar. 16th. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, 75, Jan. 14th; 80 Feb.l8th & 21st. Hengrave: Hengrave Hall, 45 roosting throughout Feb. Lackford WR: up to 60 in Feb. and 200 in Mar. TUddenham St Mary: 120, Jan.6th. It is likely that the March figures represent early returning birds, as evidenced by the build up in numbers at Lackford at that time. Spring passage at Landguard peaked with 36 south on April 30th, 58 south on May 5th and 98 south on May 8th. Scanty breeding data included 20 pairs at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex including a stable six pairs at North Warren. Landguard reported an appalling breeding season and there is reason to suspect that the County population is in decline. Autumn passage was reasonable, indicating some success during the breeding season and peak counts were as follows: Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Walks: 278 S„ Oct. 2nd; 610 S„ Oct. 5th; 265 on Oct. 8th; 316 on Oct. 9th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, 70, Sep.9th; 60, Oct. 14th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 566 S., Oct. 5th; 1007 S„ Oct. 8th; 597 S., Oct. 9th; 540 S„ Oct. 16th; 459 S„ Oct. 19th. Trimley Marshes: 80, Sep. 3rd; 150, Oct. 9th. Lakenheath: Sedge Fen, 50, Sep. 23rd. Numbers at Landguard had tailed off considerably by November with peaks of 78 south on 7th and 17 south on 9th. Goldfinches were clearly very scarce in the secondwinter period with Combs Lane Water Meadows providing peak counts of 57 on November 25th and 74 on December 11th. Other reports included 30 at Higham, December 1st and 29, Long Melford, December 16th. SISKIN Carduelis spinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. A very good showing in the first-winter period with many large flocks reported: Somerleyton: 200, Jan. 15th. Barsham: Barsham Marshes, 350, Feb. 18th. «aydon: 125, Jan. 8th; 100, Jan. 22nd. Leiston cum Sizewell: Sizewell, 250, Feb. 27th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, peak monthly counts 100, Jan. 22nd; 200 in Feb.; 100, Mar. 1st; 60, Mar. 21st. 143


Capel St Andrew: Tangham, 220, Apr. 2nd. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, peak monthly counts 230, Jan. 19th; 500, Feb. 11th to 12th; 300, Feb. 27th; 250, Mar. 5th. Great Livermere: 100, Feb. 3rd. Lackford WR: 150 during Feb. West Stow: West Stow Country Park, 100, Jan. 14th. Icklingham: 150, Jan. 13th. Thetford: The Nunnery, up to 180 during Jan. and Feb. Very few records were received during the breeding season, although 150 at Santon Downham in June suggests that the Breckland population, at least, remains reasonably healthy. Other records came from Tangham, were juveniles were trapped by ringers; 20 including eight juveniles at Lackford W R on June 16th and a juvenile at West Stow Country Park in late June. Passage at Landguard included an unusual mid-summer movement involving 17 south on June 18th and six south on June 20th. In the autumn, Siskins were noted at Landguard from October 11th to November 13th with highest counts of 14 on October 16th and 21 north on November 1st. The second winter period produced few reports but 50 were in The King's Forest on November 22nd and 80 were in Alders at Somerleyton on December 24th. The dearth of reports at the end of the year suggest that the large numbers in the early part of the year involved passage birds from a more northerly breeding population. LINNET Carduelis cannabina Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters

in smaller

numbers.

Somewhat scarce in the first-winter period with only three flocks of note involving 100 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath on January 6th, 500 at Orford on February 4th and 100 at Iken on March 9th. Spring passage took place on a broad front across the County with a good scattering of reports: North Warren/Aldringham Walks: 75 Sâ&#x20AC;&#x17E; Apr. 5th; 175 Nâ&#x20AC;&#x17E; Apr. 6th; 140 N., Apr. 10th; 60, Apr. 14th; 55, May 23rd. Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, 200, Apr. 4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 41 S., Apr. 3rd; 85 S., Apr. 6th; 81 S, Apr. 10th; Trimley Marshes: 50, Apr. 15th. Onehouse: 93, Apr. 18th. Great Livermere: 67, Apr. 19th. Breeding reports included a healthy 77 pairs at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex including 35 at the Warren (31 in 1994), continuing the welcome increase over recent years. Minsmere reported a stable population of 29 pairs while Landguard recorded good numbers of juveniles in June. Autumn movements through Landguard produced two distinct passages during September, from 9th to 16th and from 27th to 30th with a peak count of 261 on 28th. Higher figures were logged in October with peaks of birds moving south including 570 on 8th, 363 on 19th and 414 on 20th. Fewer birds were noted in November, with a maximum day count of 57 south on 7th. Elsewhere, regular monitoring at Aldringham Walks produced peaks of 200 on September 22nd, 470 on September 30th, 480 on October 3rd, 155 south on October 5th and 200 on October 29th. Trimley Marshes held 250 on September 11th, 200 on September 18th and 150 on October 1st. In the west of the County, 220 were at Long Melford Sewage Works on October 1st. Small numbers in the second-winter period were widely reported with the only sizeable flocks being 150 at Aldringham Walks on November 18th and Dec.30th and 500 at Turf Fen, Lakenheath on December 28th. / 144


TWITE Carduelis flavirostris Declining winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded from only six sites in the first-winter period to April 22nd with the following peak counts: Blyth Estuary: 58, Feb. 19th. Walberswick: 50, Jan. 14th; 60, Jan. 28th; 50, Feb. 1st; 40, Feb. 5th; 60, Feb. 7th; 45, Mar. 4th. Aide Estuary: 36, Feb. 19th. Havergate Island: 23, Feb. 4th; 20, Feb. 26th; 30, Mar. 3rd & 14th; 25, Mar. 27th. Of particular interest is the report of one flying over Cavenham Heath on April 22nd, presumably a British bird returning northwards (A Wilson). This is the first inland record since one at Long Melford on February 10th 1985. Early October saw the first returning birds on the coast with 150 at Walberswick on October 3rd and 25 at Benacre Pits on October 5th. A total of 24 was reported flying south at Landguard on October 18th with three south on 8th, one on the reserve on 14th and five south on 20th being the only other autumn reports from that site. Peak counts in November and December included 70 at Dun wich on November 12th, 45 on Havergate on November 12th and 75 on December 7th, 55 on Orfordness on November 12th, 35 on the Deben estuary on December 10th and 100 on the beach at Walberswick on November 4th. The decline of this rather drab but likeable winter visitor continues, and still no hard evidence to suggest why, although a decline in the British breeding population is strongly implicated. REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Widespread but declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Extremely scarce in the first part of the year with reports from only 12 sites and peak counts of 20 at Belstead Brook, Ipswich on January 1st; 20 at Great Waldingfield on January 15th; 30 at Lineage Wood on March 25th and 60 at Tuddenham St Mary on January 29th. Very few breeding season reports were received with the North Warren/Aldringham -Valks complex only mustering four pairs, including just one at the Warren (six in 1994). The species remains at a very low ebb in the County with many 'traditional' breeding areas in Breckland and the Sandlings currently abandoned. Rather intriguingly however, there appears to be a resilient population in Ipswich with a number of reports from the Nacton Road and Wherstead Road areas. The second winter period saw a huge influx into the region with most records involving the northern Mealy Redpolls (C.f.flammea). Records were widespread, but mostly centred around extensive areas of birch. Peak counts were:Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, 250, Dec. 5th to 31st. loxhall: 40, Nov. 12th. Icklingham/West Stow: The King's Forest: 110, Nov. 19th; 150, Nov. 22nd. Martlesham: Martlesham Heath, 200, Dec. 12th; 96, Dec. 14th; 200, Dec. 25th. Minsmere: 300, Dec. 8th; 150, Dec. 17th; 200, Dec. 19th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: North Warren/Thorpeness, 50, Nov. 22nd; 300, Dec. 7th. Sutton/Hollesley Commons: 200, Nov. 21st. West Stow: West Stow Country Park, 120, Dec. 24th. The King's Forest: Queen Mary's Ave., 200, Nov. 20th and 21st. ARCTIC REDPOLL Carduelis hornemanni Ve ry rare winter visitor. Associated with the huge arrival of northern Redpolls into Britain came one of the lar gest influxes of Arctic Redpolls ever recorded. Suffolk received its share of these 145


frosty northern gems, but sadly, the standards of an element of today's birdwatching fraternity are such that an accurate record of occurrences is of little interest to them. As a result, a number of reports of this species have not been followed up with details to support claims of what remains a tricky species to identify. For now, the following records have been fully documented, but as yet we await notification of acceptance by British Birds Rarities Committee. Any birders with details of other records are urged to submit information as soon as possible and we hope that a full picture can be shown in the next Suffolk Birds. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, Nov. 5th. (D Fairhurst, D Thurlow). Aldeburgh: North Warren, adult, Dec. 5th; first-winter, Dec. 10th; adult, Dec. 11th, two, Dec. 16th; adult Dec. 29th; female, Dec. 30th. (D Fairhurst, D Thurlow). West Stow: West Stow Country Park, Dec. 24th (C Gregory).

CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra Localised resident and irruptive visitor. The low ebb of this irruptive bird continues but is in the nature of the species and higher numbers will no doubt return from the Continent in the future. Most reports came from the west of the county particularly the Brecks with peak counts from the following locations; West Stow: West Stow Country Park, 10, Jan. 14th and 27th.

Icklingham/West Stow: The King's Forest, 16, May 15th. Elveden: Mayday Farm, eight, Mar. 11th. Brandon: High Lodge, up to 50, inc. several juvs, Jun. 6th.

Away from the above regular sites, single figures were noted at Minsmere during March to June, Martlesham in March and Walberswick in May. Single figures were also reported from Santon Downham in March and May, part of the main Breckland population. The similarity in dates of the above records are interesting. March birds are likely to be post-breeding family parties on the move. COMMON ROSEFINCH Carpodacus erythrinus Rare but increasing passage migrant. Has bred. Two occurrences this year, including a singing bird which retains hopes that this species may yet become regular in the County. Reydon: Potter's Bridge, ad. male in song, Jul. 5th to 7th (M Forbes, D J Pearson). Felixstowe: Landguard, trapped, June 8th (M Marsh, N Odin).

The Landguard bird represents the long-awaited first record for the site. These represent the 14th and 15th records for the County, the breeding pairs (and young) being treated as one 'record' each. BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Very common but declining resident. Very few reports were received of this species, particularly during the breeding season and it may not be due to observer complacency, but to an actual decline in population. With the exception of 12 pairs at North Warren (12 in 1994 and eight in 1993) and 9 pairs at Minsmere (17 in 1993, 14 in 1992 and 36 in 1990 ), no other sites reported more than a single pair during the breeding season. Outside of the breeding season, the situation was little better, although the tendency of the species to form small parties during the winter perhaps makes them a little easier to find. No notable gatherings were found with maximum counts involving five at Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket in February and six there in November, five at Lineage Wood in January and six at North Warren in February. Records of birds 146


on passage at Landguard continue to decline with a single on June 4th being the only record of the year there. This once frequently seen species can now be difficult to find and observers are urged to submit all sightings in future to help build up a picture of the current status of this attractive bird. Of interest is the observational comment from John Walshe who has noticed that the species has declined at Combs Lane Water Meadows since earlier and more prolonged grazing has reduced the amount of Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria seed available. HAWFINCH Coccothraustes Uncommon resident.

coccothraustes

Reported from just eight sites with the bulk of records coming from just two locations: Walberswick: Nov. 3rd. Dunwich: Greyfriars, Jan. 11th and 29th. Minsmere: Mar. 12th. Wantisden: Staverton Park, up to three in Mar.; one, May 30th. Ipswich: Christchurch Park, Jan. 27th.

Great Waldingfield: Jan. 2nd. Hengrave: Hengrave Hall, up to seven in Jan.; one, Dec.

West Stow: "June'. Thetford: The Nunnery, March 13th, Apr. 5th and Sep. 13th.

Although this is a secretive species, the lack of observation gives cause for concern, particularly as those records that were received mostly involve singles. Perhaps a concerted effort is needed in old strongholds around Ipswich, Woodbridge and parts of central Suffolk. LAPLAND BUNTING Calcarius lapponicus Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Single birds were recorded from only six sites as follows :Benacre: one south, Dec. 25th.

Westleton: Dec. 17th. Minsmere: one south, Mar. 15th; Dec. 17th. Leiston cum Sizewell: Sizewell, Jan. 15th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, Nov. 1st and Dec. 28th.

Orford: Orfordness, Sep. 10th. Another species very much in decline in the County with no records at all from south of Orfordness; it is particularly noticeable that there was not a single report from well-watched Landguard. Regular sites for this species seem to be a thing of the past with three figure-counts being fond memories for older birders! SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis Regular winter visitor and passage migrant. A reasonable showing in the first winter period with peak counts at regular sites as follows:Pakefield: 22, Jan. 26th. Kessingland: 30, Jan. 7th; 40, Jan. 29th and Feb. 26th.

147


Aldeburgh/Thorpeness: 25, Jan. 29th; 36, Feb. 18th; 20, Mar. 3rd. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 27, Jan. 27th.

Very few were recorded in March with the last being eight at Lowestoft promenade on Mar. 11th. Four at Ness Point, Lowestoft were the only October records and led to the following peaks in the second winter period: Pakefield: 50, Nov. 2nd. Kessingland: 15-25 from Dec. 11th to 31st. Walberswick: 40, Nov. 25th. Minsmere: 70, Nov. 10th. Leiston cum Sizewell: Sizewell, 47, Nov. 11th; 30, Dec. 1st. Aldeburgh: 30, Dec. 2nd. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 40, Nov. 20th; 30, Nov. 28th; 37, Dec. 9th; 29, Dec. 12th.

Perhaps the most bizarre report of the year was of a male in summer plumage on November 1st at the Nacton Road end of Queensway, Ipswich (H Dennington). The bird could be approached to within five yards and the observer felt it may have escaped from captivity. However, the species can often be very tame so this birds origin remains open to speculation, although the aberrant plumage for the time of year may suggest a dubious source. PINE BUNTING Emberiza Accidental.

leucocephalos

Corton: male, Oct. 28th. (R Fairhead, R Wincup et al.).

After a 'near-miss' in April 1982 when a bird at Sizewell, thought to be a Pine Bunting, turned out to be a Pine Bunting x Yellowhammer hybrid, the species finally earns a place on the Suffolk list. YELLOWHAMMER Emberiza citrinella Very common resident and passage migrant. Most reports received during the winter periods involved parties of 10 to 20 birds. During the first-winter period, larger flocks were few and far between, but included 50, Stowmarket on January 20th; 55, Page's Common, Chelmondiston on January 27th; 36, Aldringham Walks on February 5th and 260, Northfield Wood, Onehouse on March 9th. Breeding data included 29 pairs at Minsmere (27 in 1994) while the Aldringham Walks/North Warren complex held 106 territories which included 27 on North Warren (24 in 1994) and 69 on the Walks. Comments as to the status of this species were mixed and declines . seem to be localised, at least at present. Whilst a Felixstowe observer reported declining numbers, an observer 148


at Stansfield considered the species to be abundant during the breeding season. The second-winter period saw even fewer birds around with the only gatherings of note being of 228 at Onehouse on December 26th and 65 at Carlton Colville on December 30th. On October 29th, a Yellowhammer came aboard a ferry heading for Felixstowe. It arrived 20-25 miles off Sizewell and was still on board three to five miles off Orfordness. ORTOLAN BUNTING Emberiza Rare passage migrant.

hortulana

A rather typical year with two singles, one in spring and one in autumn. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 2nd (N Odin); Sep. 13th (P J Holmes, M Marsh, N Odin et al.).

Typically, neither bird stayed for long. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: Spring Autumn

1986 0 1

1987 2 0

1988 1 0

1989 0 0

1990 3 4

1991 1 1

1992 2 0

1993

1994

1995

0

2

1

3

0

1

REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus Very common resident and passage migrant. Breeding reports received included encouraging reports of 40 pairs at Minsmere (29 in 1994), 22 pairs at North Warren (21 in 1994) and 33 pairs at Walberswick (31 in 1994). On the minus side, Boyton Marshes reported only two pairs after 13 pairs in 1994 (although a visiting birder found seven pairs there in July). Although widely reported during the winter months, flocks of note were few and included:- 30 at Trimley Marshes on January 15th; 40 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath on January 22nd; 37 at Lackford WR during March and 32 at Carlton Colville on December 28th. Autumn passage peaked in October, during which month Landguard logged birds on 14 dates with a maximum of 14 on 20th, 30 were at South wold Denes on 18 th and 33 were at Woodbridge on 20th. In addition, immigration was evident at Landguard when seven flew in off the sea on 21st. CORN BUNTING Miliaria calandra Local and declining resident. Encouragingly, an enormous number of records were received although very few large flocks were reported and many sightings involved single figures. Peak counts in the first half of the year were: Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, 20, Jan. 14th. Chelmondiston: 34, Apr. 10th. Holbrook: Holbrook Bay, 30, Jan. 1st; 85, Jan. 15th. Timworth: 20, Jan. 22nd. Lakenheath: Decoy Fen, 182, Jan. 6th; 100, Jan. 14th. The Lakenheath count is particularly welcome, suggesting that a reasonable population still survives in the open fens. Breeding reports were received from 21 sites across the County with peak numbers of singing males being three at Little Livermere in May, three at Glemsford and five at Risby. The Glemsford report is particularly encouraging, coming from an area that has previously produced only a single record in the period 1980-94. At regular stations, small numbers of singing males were reported from: Gisleham; Benacre; 149


Boyton Marshes/Shingle Street/Bawdsey; North Felixstowe/Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin/Trimley Marshes; Chelmondiston and Long Melford. Other pockets hang on at Sutton Heath, Ipswich Airport, Great Waldingfield, Poslingford, Pakenham, Tuddenham St Mary, Lakenheath and Knettishall. Evidence of coastal movement came from Landguard where one flew south on March 25th, one present on October 10th and one north on October 27th. The only flock of note in the second winter period involved 45 at Carlton Colville on December 27th.

APPENDIX I - CATEGORY D SPECIES GREATER FLAMINGO Phoenicopterus ruber S Palearctic, s Asia, Africa, Madagascar, Caribbean, Breydon Water: southern shore, May 15th and 21st.

Galapagos.

Minsmere: May 27th to July 31st.

Much discussion surrounded the potential origin of this bird which spent much of its time with an escaped Chilean Flamingo. Whilst the likelihood of it being an escape from captivity is high, the absence of a ring is intriguing and the appearance of the bird coincided with a northerly movement of flamingos from the drought-stricken south of Spain. At least two other Greater Flamingos were present in the British Isles at the same time. This particular individual had spent the winter months at Cliffe, Kent with the Chilean Flamingo before starting to wander in May. Both birds then appeared briefly in Essex before settling for a while at Breydon Water from May 15th to 25th. They then appeared to separate with the Greater summering at Minsmere and the Chilean on the Blyth estuary. The Greater was reported from Abberton Reservoir, Essex for much of August with brief sorties as far as Pagham, West Sussex before returning to Cliffe from August 24th where it remained with the Chilean to the yearis end. We shall perhaps never know the true origin of this bird but it certainly brightened up a dayis birding in Suffolk and we look forward to a repeat performance next year! BAR-HEADED GOOSE Anser indicus Alpine lakes in central Asia; winters to India and Burma. Barsham: May 7th. Fritton: Fritton Marshes, May 10th and 31st. Southwold: Town Marshes, Jan 8th and Feb. 22nd. Walberswick: Feb. 20th; Westwood Marshes, Feb. 7th. Trimley St Mary/St Martin: Trimley Marshes, Jan. 24th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, intermittently Jan. 15th to Mar. 11th.

Orwell Estuary: Nov. 2nd. Great/Little Livermere: Livermere Lake, May 8th and Sep. 12th at least.

Hengrave: May 9th. It is just possible that a single individual was responsible for all the East Suffolk records, although in reality, at least two birds may well have been involved. The Livermere bird has turned up intermittently in previous years. MUSCOVY DUCK Cairina moschata Lowlands of s Mexico to Argentina and Brazil. Somerleyton: three, May 20th. Oulton: Oulton Broad, present throughout the year with a max. count of 95. Lowestoft: Kirkley Fen Park, two, May 15th; Leathes Ham, two, May 27th.

150


Lound: Village pond, May 16th.

Trimley St Mary: May 25th. We are particularly indebted to S. Graham for regular counts of this species. Highest counts at Oulton Broad were made towards the end of the year when 54 adults and 36 juveniles were present on October 16th and 95 birds were noted on November 12th. In addition, an adult was located on a nest there on May 27th and on the same date, 32 adults were counted and there were 24 young from three broods present. WOOD DUCK Aix sponsa Inland waters of Canada to northern Mexico; Cuba and Bahamas. Trimley Marshes: up to four during September; two, Oct. 1st. Trimley St Martin: Gosling's Farm, pair Dec. 28th.

Birds are known to have been deliberately released on a farm pond in Trimley St Martin and no doubt account for all the current sightings.

APPENDIX II - ESCAPEES CHILEAN FLAMINGO Phoenicopterus chilensis Andes of s S America; pampas of s Brazil, Paraguay to s Argentina. Breydon Water: southern shore, May 15th and 21st. Blythburgh: Blyth Estuary, Jun. 14th to Aug. 27th.

BLACK SWAN Cygnus atratus Australia and Tasmania. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness, Sep. 9th. Barsham: Apr. 9th. Bawdsey: East Lane, Sep. 9th. Beccles: Beccles Marshes, Jan. 27th to Feb. 14th.

Benacre: two, Sep. 21st. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, May 26th. Felixstowe: Landguard, flying north, May 14th. Oulton: Oulton Broad, May 19th to 27th.

Trimley Marshes: up to two, Mar. 21st to Nov. 16th. Woodbridge: present during Sep.

Love them or hate them, a Black Swan in flight is a fine sight! LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser erythropus N Eurasia; winters to s Europe, India and China. Minsmere: June 7th. Alton Water: adult intermittently throughout the year.

The Alton Water bird is a long-stayer whilst the Minsmere bird has presumably jumped the wire recently. EMPEROR GOOSE Anser canagicus Tundra of ne Siberia to w Alaska; winters s Alaska to n California. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, Dec. 29th.

RINGED TEAL Callonetta leucophrys â&#x20AC;˘S Brazil to Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and ne Argentina. Needham Market: male, Feb. 18th. 151


COCKATIEL Nymphicus hollandicus Widespread and abundant in interior of Australia. Lowestoft: Ness Point, Aug. 14th. Beccles: Jul. 5th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, in off sea, Aug. 29th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Jul. 17th and 18th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury, Aug. 17th and 29th, Oct. 26th and Nov. 1st and 7th. Trimley Marshes: May 30th. Ipswich: Ipswich Docks, Jan. 22nd. This species appears to escape regularly but shows no sign of becoming established. PEACH-FACED LOVEBIRD Agapornis roseicollis Subdeserts of sw Angola to n Cape Province. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, Apr. 10th. BUDGERIGAR Melopsittacus undulatus Abundant throughout drier parts of Australia. Lowestoft: May 9th. Benacre: Beach Farm Marshes, Aug. 17th. Dunwich: Oct. 8th. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 30th; Jul. 21st. Trimley St Mary: Station Road, Nov. 15th. SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO Cacatua galerita New Guinea and adjacent islands to Australia and Tasmania. Trimley St Mary: Josselyn's Wood, Mar. 25th; Blofield, Sep. 3rd. Remarkably this species has now been recorded at large in the County in three successive years. LAUGHING DOVE Streptopelia senegalensis Africa s of the Sahara to India. Felixstowe: Walton, May. Although infrequently reported, this bird is known to have been in the area for some three years now. CANARY Serinus canaria Madeira, Azores and w Canary Islands. Appearance of captive birds much altered by selective breeding. Felixstowe: Cawston Junior School, Walton, Nov. 16th. It is perhaps surprising that there are so few records of this species, given its abundance as a cage bird. REFERENCES: Clements, J. 1991. Birds of the World: A Checklist. Ibis, California. Ekins, G. 1994. The Abberton Reservoir tree-nesting Cormorant Colony. The Essex Bird Report 1994, pp. 153-167. Gibbons, D.W., J.B. Reid and R.A. Chapman. 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. Marchant, J.H., R. Hudson, S.P. Carter and P. Whittington. 1990. Population Trends in British Breeding Birds. BTO, Tring. Payn, W. H. 1978. The Birds of Suffolk. Ancient House Publishing, Ipswich. Piotrowski, S.H. 1996. Why so many ducks on Alton Waterl The Harrier No. 107 pp. 8-11. 152


APPENDIX III - SCHEDULE OF NON-ACCEPTED REPORTS The following list consists of reports that were not accepted either by the BBRC (national rarities) or the SORC (county rarities). It must be emphasised that in the vast majority of cases the record was not accepted because the committee members were not convinced, on the evidence submitted, that the identification was fully established; in only a very few cases were the committees satisfied that a mistake had been made. 1995 reports: Black-throated Diver: Lowestoft, Oct. 17th. Black-necked Grebe: Four, Alton Water, Oct. 31st; Alton Water, Nov. 14th. Mediterranean Shearwater: Three, Covehithe, Aug. 26th. Black Kite: Butley, Jun. 24th. Goshawk: Melton, Dec. 12th. Temminck's Stint: Minsmere, Mar. 23rd. Long-tailed Skua: Southwold, Aug. 8th. Iceland Gull: Havergate Island, Oct. 14th.Gull-billed Tern: Covehithe, Sep. 28th. Alpine Swift: Minsmere, Apr. 5th. Tawny Pipit: North Warren, Oct. 15th. Siberian Stonechat: Dunwich, Jun. 20th. Greenish Warbler: Landguard, Aug. 20th. Bonelli's Warbler: Aldeburgh, Sep. 10th. 1994 reports: Ring-billed Gull: Two, Barnhamcross Common, Nov. 10th.

153


LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS We have endeavoured to acknowledge all contributors to Suffolk Birds and to the best of our knowledge this list is complete. If by some mischance we have failed to include your contribution please accept our sincere apologies - Eds. S Abbott, J Arnold, J Askins S Babbs, D B Baker, Miss D E Balmer, R Barras, R E Batty, D G Beamish, J Bedford, H R Beecroft, Mrs D Berry, M Biddle, R Biddle, Lt Col G D Birch, L T Bloomfield, W J Brame, Dr A Brenchley, M Brown, B J Brown, J A Brown, R M Brown, P Bullett, R Burridge, I Burrows, C A Buttle D & M Carter, D G Carter, Dr N Carter, J M Cawston, C Chapman, Mrs N G Chapman, K J Chittleborough, K Claydon, Mrs A E Cobb, Mrs M Cook, C Corrigan, D Craven, D Crawshaw, M D Crewe, N Crouch, R Crazier, C G D Curtis P T Dann, P J Dare, J A Davies, S I Davies, D Davison, T R Dean, H Dennington, S J Denny, J Dolman, P Dolton, Ms S Dow, S P Dudley, P Dugdale, S Dumican, R A Duncan, I Dunnett, J Dustow A C Easton, J C W Edwards. Mr S Edwards, M Elliott, G Elliott, S Evans R Fairhead, D Fairhurst, A Farthing, M S Forbes, R Ford, A C Frost, S J Fryett R G ailiers, R W H & Mrs H K Garner, Mrs J Garrod, K W Garrod, N Gibbons, J A Glazebrook, S Goddard, A Gooding, S J Gough, Mr Goymour, S A Graham, J H Grant, A Greengo, C Gregory P Hamling, B Harrington, B and Mrs M Hart, R F Hartley, P Harvey, G A Hawes, P V Hayman, P Hobbs, P I Holt, Sir A G Hurrell, E Huxley M Jackson, C A Jacobs, C J Jakes, M James, G J Jobson, D P Johnson, R Johnson, M Jowett J Kay, K Keeble, T Kerridge, N Kidd, Mr & Mrs F Kiddy, D Kightley, D King, P Kitchener Dr P C Lack, P Lambert, A A K Lancaster, A J Last, W Last, R Leavett, A J Leitch, S J Ling, D C Lowe, G Lowe P MacDonald, R N Macklin, A Malone, S Marginson, O & M Marks, D C Marsh, M C Marsh, N Marsh, N Mason, H McK.Butcher, G Mead, A Miller, N & S Minns, D R Moore, J L Moore, C E Morris, T Morris, P W Murphy P Napthine, S Newby, D Newton, P Newton, T Nightingale, S D Noble N Odin, G Oram, J Oxford A J Parr, E W Patrick, Dr D J Pearson, R Perkins, G Piper, R Plowman, C R Powell, G J Price

// 154


Mrs Rabin, Dr R Rafe, B Ranner, P J Ransome, G Reeder, B E Ridout, D A Riley, A Riseborough, Mrs P Rogers, B S Rose, RSPB (Havergate), RSPB (Minsmere), Mr Rudge J Scott, R E Scott, J Sharpe, N Sillet, D W Simpson, D B Sivyer, N J Skinner, B J Small, R C Smith, I Spence, J Stedman, P Steggall, R G Stewart, T Stopher, M D Sutton B G Thompson, D Thurlow, B Tickner, L J Townsend, G Tyler D K Underwood, P Utting J Vane, P Varney, P J Vincent, N Vipond G Wakeling, A J Waiden, M Waiden, R Waiden, D F Walsh, J Walshe, R B Warren, Rev. R G Warren, E H Webb, M Webber, G Welch, Mrs H Welch, Mrs J West, P Whittaker, Mrs B Williamson, A M Wilson, J D Wilson, R Wilton, R Wincup, N Woods, M Wright, M T Wright, Mrs R Wright, R M Wright J Zantboer

155


Gazetteer This gazetteer gives locations for sites listed in the main checklist section of this issue of Suffolk Birds. The intention is to make it easier for newcomers to birdwatching or those less familiar with the county to be able to locate sites. Specific sites are given a six figure reference where appropriate; larger sites are given a four-figure reference for the 1km square in which they are situated. Whilst a complete list of all sites would obviously be of most use, it would of necessity, be very long. Therefore, it does not contain parish names which are easily located by reference to a standard road map. Adastral Close, Felixstowe Aide Estuary Aldringham Common Aldringham Walks Alton Water Ampton Water Angel Marshes Atlas Aggregates, Bramford Barnhamcross Common Barsham Marshes Bawdsey Manor Beach Farm, Benacre Beach Farm Marshes Beccles Marshes Belle Vue Park Belstead Brook Benacre Broad Benacre Denes Benacre Park Benacre Pits Berner's Heath Bird's-eye Factory, Lowestoft Bixley Heath Blackheath Blackheath Comer Blaxhall Heath Blyth Estuary Bonny Wood Botany Bay Bourne Park Bowbeck, Bardwell Boyton Marshes Brackenbury Cliff Bradfield Woods Breydon Water Bridge Wood, Nacton Broke Hall, Nacton Bury St Eds sugar beet factory Butiey River Capel Hall Lane Carlton Marshes Cat House, The, Wolverstone Causeway Lake, Baylham Cavenham Heath Cavenham Pits Chadbrook, Long Melford Christchurch Park Combs Lane Water Meadows Commercial Road, Lowestoft Conyers Green Corton Woods Covehithe Broad Culford Lake

TM287328 TM3957-4450 TM458606 TM4661 TM1436 TL8770 TM455760 TM122482 TL8681 TM4090 TM335378 TM532839 TM530844 TM4391 TM550944 TM 144420 TM530828 TM537840 TM5084 TM536840 TL7976 TM554940 TM2043 TM425579 TM422598 TM383565 TM4575-4776 TM0751 TL675854 TM 155420 TL9475 TM3946 TM318355 TL9357 TM4706-5107 TM 186406 TM225391 TL860656 TM3851-3947 TM288375 TM4991 TM 196390 TM1152 TL755725 TL763715 TL868459 TM 164454 TM043581 TM542928 TL888682 TM545966 TM524808 TL8270

Culford Park Deben Estuary Decoy Fen, Lakenheath Dunwich Forest Dunwich Heath Eastbridge East Lane, Bawdsey Easton Broad Edgell's Dip, Chelmondiston Erwarton Bay Fagbury Cliff Fagbury Flats Falkenham Marshes Felixstowe Docks Felixstowe Ferry Ferry Road Allotments Fisher Row Fox's Marina Framlingham Mere Fritton Decoy/Lake Fritton Marshes Gedgrave Broom Golf Road, Felixstowe Gorleston Harbour Gosling's Farm Grange Farm, Kesgrave Great Blakenham Pits Greyfriars Wood Groton Wood Grove, The Gulpher Road, Felixstowe Gun Hill, Southwold Gunton Golf Course Gunton Recreation Ground Hare's Creek Haughley Park Havergate Island Hazel Wood, Sproughton Hazlewood Marshes Hengrave Hall High Lodge, Brandon Hill Farm, Farnham Hinderclay Fen Holbrook Bay Holbrook Gardens Holbrook sewage works Hollesley Heath Holywell Row Horn Heath Ickworth Park Ipswich airport Ipswich Wet Dock Ixworth Spinney, Euston

156

TL8270 TM2850-3238 TL6685 TM4671 TM4768 TM452660 TM354401 TM518794 TM205376 TM2333 TM270346 TM2634 TM3138 TM2833 TM3237 TM315363 TM507927 TM1644I8 TM285638 TM4800 TM455005 TM4049 TM318355 TM533038 TM264376 TM2245 TM1050 TM478702 TM97743 TM303358 TM3036 TM508757 TM545963 TM546958 TM232374 TM000620 TM4147 TM 127457 TM435573 TM824686 TL8185 TM365590 TM025788 TM1733 TM1736 TM 175350 TM3546 TL7077 TL784770 TL8161 TM194I TM 169439 TL878773


Josselyn's Wood Kenny Hill Kentwell Hall Kessingland Levels Kessingland sewage works King's Fleet King's Forest, The Kirkley Fen Kyson Point Lackford WR Lake Lothing Lakenheath Warren Landguard Langer Park Lavenham railway walk Leathes Ham Levington Creek Levington Lagoon Levington Marina Lineage Wood Livermere Lake Long Melford Churchyard Long Melford sewage works Loompit Lake Lound Waterworks Lowestoft Cemetery Lowestoft Harbour Market Weston Fen Martlesham Creek Martlesham Heath Mayday Farm Methersgate Mickle Mere Middle Wood, Offton Minsmere Needham Market Lake Needham Street Ness House Ness Point New Fen, Lakenheath Normanston Cemetery North Denes, Lowestoft Northfield Wood North Warren Nunnery, The Nunnery Flood Oakley Park Oldhall Grove Orfordness Orwell Estuary Otley College Oulton Broad Oulton Marshes Trimley Marshes Tuddenham Heath Tunstall Forest Turf Fen, Lakenheath Walberswick Common Walberswick NNR Walton Warrenhouse Wood Waveney Forest West Stow Country Park

TM281358 TL670800 TL864479 TM530850 TM533857 TM310379 TL8173 TM538921 TM271474 TL800710 TM5392 TL7580 TM2831 TM294336 TL9049 TM530933 TM237383 TM240385 TM246380 TL890485 TL882716 TL865468 TL855459 TM255377 TM501007 TM539935 TM5592 TL980787 TM2647 TM2445 TL7983 TM2846 TL937698 TM060500 TM4766 TM094548 TM0855 TM476612 TM555936 TL701859 TM539935 TM551951 TM024600 TM4658 TL873823 TL872815 TM173770 TM239355 TM4654-3743 TM 1641-2534 TM200540 TM5192 TM5094 TM2635 TL7472 TM3954 TL7082 TM490753 TM4674 TM2935 TM548955 TM4600 TL800713

Oval, The Oxley Dairy Oxley Marshes Page's Common, Chelmondiston Penny Marsh, Shotley Pinmill Piper's Vale Pipp's Ford Pond Hall Farm, Ipswich Potter's Bridge Potter's Point Priory Farm, Darsham Purdis Heath Rendlesham Forest Rookery Farm, Snape Roper's Heath Sedge Fen, Lakenheath Seven hills roundabout Sharmford Mere Shingle Street Shotley Marshes Sizewell Levels Sizewell outfall/rig Sizewell Power Station Slaughden Quay South Pier, Lowestoft Southwold Boating Lake Southwold Churchyard Southwold Common Southwold Denes Southwold Town Marshes Sparrow's Nest Stallode Wash, Lakenheath Staverton Park Stowmarket railway station Stradishall airfield Stratton Hall Stour Estuary Sudboume Marshes Suffolk Showground Suffolk Water Park Sutton Heath Tangham Temple Bridge Tendring Park Thetford Heath Thetford Warren Thorington Street Reservoir Thorpe Bay Thorpe Common Thorpeness Golf Course Thorpeness Meare Tinker's Marshes Westwood Lodge Westwood Marshes Weybread GPs Wherstead Strand Whittingham Hall Wild Carr, Worlingham Wolves Wood Woodbridge Haven Woolverstone Churchyard Wordwell Wortham Ling

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TM552946 TM368439 TM370435 TM 199379 TM245361 TM206380 TM177415 TM108538 TM180410 TM509791 TM213386 TM416705 TM214428 TM3349 TM402586 TL749727 TL660844 TM234413 TM 117526 TM365425 TM248350 TM4765 TM478630 TM4763 TM464555 TM550926 TM510769 TM507764 TM502762 TM507753 TM500754 TM551944 TL6884 TM355510 TM052588 TL7251 TM245388 TM 1032-2433 TM4553 TM212422 TM 120485 TM308478 TM355485 TL758728 TL9935 TL845800 TL8483 TM011351 TM253375 TM260375 TM465602 TM4659 TM484760 TM465737 TM4773 TM2481 TM 173408 TM279781 TM444909 TM055440 TM3337 TM 1903 86 TL8272 TM0979


EARLIEST AND LATEST DATES OF SUMMER MIGRANTS ARRIVALS Date Garganey Osprey Hobby Stone-curlew Little Ringed Plover Whimbrel Wood Sandpiper Sandwich Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Little Tem Black Tem Turtle Dove Cuckoo Nightjar Swift Wryneck Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail Nightingale Redstart Whinchat Wheatear Ring Ouzel* Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Wood Warbler Willow Warbler* Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher

DEPARTURES Date Locality

Locality

Mar. Apr. Apr. Mar. Mar. Mar. May Mar. Apr. Apr. Apr. Apr. Apr. Apr. May Apr.

22nd 23rd 23rd 10th 11th 10th 4th 18th 5th 13th 23rd 28th 20th 13th 6th 11th

Mar. Mar. Mar. Mar. Apr. Apr. Apr. Apr. Mar. Mar. Apr. Apr. Apr. Apr. Apr. Apr. Apr. Mar. May Apr.

15th 23rd 29th 31st 3rd 10th 2nd 10th 11th 26th 1st 8th 12th 24th 9th 13 th 13 th 30th 2nd 10th

-

Minsmere Boyton Southwold Breckland Lackford WR Benacre North Warren Havergate I. Covehithe Lackford WR Landguard Weybread GPs Leiston Raydon Minsmere Alton Water -

Lackford WR Trimley Marshes Aldeburgh Martlesham Alton Water Minsmere Tangham Westleton Minsmere/Landguard Little Blakenham Chillesford Lackford WR Holbrook Fagbury Bramford Fagbury Minsmere Alton Water Landguard Fagbury

Notes: * See checklist for details of winter birds

158

Oct. Oct. Oct. Nov. Sep. Nov. Sep. Oct. Oct. Oct. Sep. Nov Oct. Sep. Oct. Oct. Oct. Oct. Nov. Nov. Oct. Oct. Sep. Oct. Oct. Nov. Nov. Aug. Sep. Oct. Oct. Oct. Oct. Sep. Oct. Oct. Oct.

17th 8th 18th 2nd 18th 11th 17th 17th 14th 14th 10th 3rd 10th 23rd 8th 27th 3rd 7th 17th 16th 10th 15th 16th 28th 9th 12th 26th 12th 16th 18th 13th 10th 23rd 23rd 13th 9th 19th

Minsmere Timworth Needhan Market Breckland Trimley Marshes Havergate I. Loompit Lake Landguard Southwold Landguard Havergate I./Stour Bawdsey Landguard Landguard Felixstowe Landguard Walsham-le-Willows Lackford WR Aldeburgh Sizewell Landguard Sudbourne Fagbury Havergate I. Needham Market Southwold Lowestoft Stowmarket Stowmarket Landguard Landguard Fagbury Fagbury Lowestoft Felixstowe Fagbury/Felixstowe Landguard


NOTES Egg Theft by Carrion Crows Living close to Alton Water Reservoir, I spend a good deal of time birdwatching there and on numerous occasions I have noticed small parties of Carrion Crows patrolling the area for food. There are probably three or four pairs which breed regularly within the reservoir boundary. On May 19th 1995 I was Walking around the banks of the reservoir close to Larch Wood when I was surprised to find a large number of eggs, scattered over an area of around three square métrés. A thorough search revealed 34 eggs, ali of which had been clearly broken open by Carrion Crows and the contents eaten. I returned the next day and gathered the eggs closer together to photograph them (see piate 26), noting that a further seven eggs had appeared. The bulk were eggs of Pheasant, Wood Pigeon, Moorhen and Coot. On a later visit on June 1 Ith, I found a further 43 new eggs at the same location. It is difficult to know how many individuai birds were using the site for stolen eggs, but if one bird was responsible, the amount of egg prédation in the area is potentially enormous. However, In recent years the reservoir has suffered from falling water levels and a number of nests of Coot and Great Crested Grebe are abandoned as a result. The high number of eggs could in part be due to crows taking eggs from abandoned nests so the potential effect of Carrion Crow prédation on local bird populations may not be as high as would at first appear to be the case. As someone who takes part in nest recording schemes, I have found crows responsible for the prédation of eggs of such species as Whitethroat, Linnet and Goldfinch as well as the larger species noted above. Carrion Crows clearly have an effect on bird populations but the picture is not as clear cut as one might think. John Glazebrook,

61 Woodlands, Chelmondiston

1P9 1DU

Hybrid House x Tree Sparrow at Timworth Whilst living at Timworth, about four miles from Bury St Edmunds in West Suffolk, I was fortunate enough to have one of the last regular flocks of Tree Sparrows in the county regularly feeding in my garden. The Tree Sparrows were part of a mixed flock of birds which spent the winter of 1995-96 feeding from a game strip - a narrow belt of land sown with a crop to provide food and shelter for Pheasant and partridges. The strip at the back of our house was primarily of Sweet Corn Zea mays but had also been sown with Yellow Bristle-grass Setaria pumila and Common Millet Panicum miliacium and it is the latter two species that attracted the seed-eaters. The flock peaked at some 200 birds during the winter, of with the Tree Sparrows reaching a peak of 80. Whilst scanning through the birds from the bedroom window on December 28th 1995,1 noticed the grey central crown of a House Sparrow in the hedge, something which was memorable as House Sparrows were scarce in the village! Almost immediately the bird turned and I was surprised to see the solid black cheek patch typical of a Tree Sparrow. It was quickly apparent that the bird was a hybrid Tree Sparrow x House Sparrow and the following plumage features were noted: Crown chestnut with grey central blaze. The chestnut being somewhat rusty and more like the tone of Tree Sparrow than House Sparrow. The grey blaze was a little less extensive than on House Sparrow. Face like typical Tree Sparrow being clean white with a solid black cheek patch. Black bib a little larger and more smudged than Tree Sparrow. Upperparts typically streaked light buff-brown and dark blackishbrown, again being more like the shades of Tree Sparrow. Rump greyish, resembling House Sparrow's in colour. Wings with typical sparrow patterning and showing double white wing bar. Underparts off-white. 159


An illustration of a Tree x House Sparrow hybrid, taken from photographs of a bird in Somerset (Vinicombe 1990) differs from the Timworth bird in having a poorly defined cheek patch, white spot beside one eye and less grey on the crown and mantle. Such hybrids may appear more frequently with the Tree Sparrow population being at such a low ebb, making it difficult for the species to form pairs. This is only the second recorded instance of such a hybrid in the county, the first being at Bury St Edmunds over 100 years ago on January 13th 1894. Reference: Vinicombe, K. 1990. The Macmillan field guide to bird identification. London. Mike Crewe, 29A Quilter Road, Felixstowe IP 11 7JJ

160

Macmillan,


RARITIES IN SUFFOLK, 1995 LAUGHING GULL - FIRST FOR SUFFOLK On the evening of July 5th 1995,1 decided to skip a volleyball session and give the scrape at Minsmere a good grilling in the hope of finding something good. A quick scan revealed the regular pre-roosting flock of about 250 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and I set about looking through them. I had no sooner put my 'scope on the first few birds when I noticed a medium-sized black, drooping bill, the owner of which was concealed between two immature Lesser Black-backs. All I could see was the bill but I felt sure it must belong to a Laughing Gull! A further 10 seconds elapsed when a head, then body, emerged from between the larger gulls; it showed a smudged half hood, dark grey mantle, long wings, black legs and a black drooping bill. Yes! A firstsummer Laughing Gull! I set about getting the birder next to me in the hide onto the bird, a procedure which took longer than it should, due in part to the excitement affecting both my patience and my speech! Eventually he was on the bird and I was away, running flat out towards Geoff Welch's house. The sight of me thundering up his driveway soon had him at the door, anticipating news of a rare bird. The bird remained on the scrape until around 8.45pm, enabling some 40-50 birders to see it before its departure. Luckily for the rest, it spent the next few days commuting between Minsmere and Sizewell, often showing very well. It visited Lowestoft on July 8th and was last seen on July 11th. Description General appearance: A medium-sized gull with relatively long wings and legs and appearing very dark overall. Bill: Wholly black, relatively long and drooping. Longer and much more decurved than that of Mediterranean Gull. Head: Semi-hooded, i.e. dark grey on crown and nape, with very faint, paler streaks. Forehead obviously paler. Throat white, eye dark. Upperparts: Mantle dark grey with slight bluish tinge, somewhat similar to winterplumaged graellsii Lesser Black-backed Gull. Wing coverts a variety of browns, contrasting with the almost black secondaries in flight. Primaries appeared brown/ black but not as black as secondaries. Underparts: Breast very pale grey, almost smoky in appearance and contrasting with whiter throat. This paler grey gave way to a whiter belly, vent and under tail coverts (but not as white as throat). Pale grey of breast joined with pale grey collar on neck, forming continuous band which contrasted with darker head and mantle, especially in flight. Tail: White (purest white area on whole bird) with a wide black terminal band, broken by four or five, wholly white, central tail feathers. Legs: Long and black, in flight often held dangling in the manner of larger gulls. The combination of the above features gave the bird two appearances at a distance. Firstly, due to the lack of any obvious bright white in the plumage, it appeared very dark, especially in poor light. Secondly, due to its upperparts and tail coloration and mannerisms, it took the appearance of a miniature second-summer/third-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull. David Fairhurst, c/o Minsmere RSPB Reserve, Westleton, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 3BY This well-watched and entertaining bird often showed extremely well around the rig and on the beach at Sizewell. Long-overdue, this represents the first record for Suffolk, a previous bird having been rejected after review of the details by the British Birds Rarities Committee - Ed. 161


PINE BUNTING - FIRST FOR SUFFOLK On October 28th 1995, Robert Wilton and I visited the coastal fields at Corton, an area we had checked regularly throughout the autumn with surprisingly little success. At 11.25am we arrived at the MOD complex and decided to check through the local finch flock, partly to look for Corn Buntings which had been reported there. Our attention was quickly drawn to two buntings perched on the perimeter fence. One was a Yellowhammer but the other was more interesting. The brown face, white cheek patch and rufous upper breast meant that it could only be a male Pine Bunting. Mindful of the fact that the only previous record for Suffolk turned out to be a hybrid, I checked for abnormalities but couldn't find any. After five minutes the bird flew off and we initially failed to relocate it so we found a phone to put the news out in order to get more birders to the site. Fortunately the bird was soon found again and although it remained hidden for much of the time in the grassy fields, it showed well in early afternoon and was seen on and off until dusk. It was not seen subsequently. Interestingly, other birds of eastern origin were found at Great Yarmouth on October 29th, including two Pallas's Warblers and a Radde's Warbler. Description Bare parts: Bill - upper mandible slate grey, lower mandible pale grey. Eyes: black with a faint brown orbital ring. Legs: pink. Head: Face/chin pale chocolate brown, tinged grey with some fine white flecking. White cheek patch well-defined, bordered black at the rear. Supercilium faint, narrow, cold grey. Lateral crown stripes brown with black streaking. Median crown strip cream with light grey flecking, most obvious when seen from behind. At times it raised its crown feathers, displaying a slight crest. Upperparts: Nape/hind neck unstreaked cold grey. Mantle pale buff with heavy black streaking, forming obvious tram lines. Scapulars grey-brown with brighter brown edges. Median coverts dark grey, tipped pale cream to form an obvious wing bar. Greater coverts, secondaries and tertials dark grey with brown edges. Tips of greater coverts buff forming a faint wing bar. Primary coverts and alula dark grey; primaries dark grey edged white. Rump flecked rufous with chestnut centres. Underparts: Upper breast white. Warm rufous flecking was very noticeable on the breast, ending in an inverted V against the white belly. The rufous streaking continued along the flanks, although it stopped short of the vent. The undertail coverts were unstreaked, brilliant white. Tail: Dark grey, fringed brown with white outer tail feathers. Call: Identical to Yellowhammer. Ricky Fairhead, 8 Sharon Drive, Lowestoft NR32 4EE GREATER YELLOWLEGS - SECOND FOR SUFFOLK Saturday May 13th 1995 was cold, cloudy and showery, but I still spent the day walking around Southwold looking for migrants. On the flash of water south-west of the golf clubhouse there were a few waders, including Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, but the site looked like it might attract something good so I decided to visit again the next day, when the weather would hopefully be better. Early the next morning at about 7.30am, I approached the pools from the south and a quick glance revealed about ten Greenshank and what I immediately thought could be a Greater Yellowlegs - I had recently returned from the USA and my eye was in. In a state of excitement I set up my 'scope and sure enough the chrome-yellow legs and relatively plain upperparts on a Greenshank-sized and shaped bird confirmed the identification. 162


I rushed to the nearest téléphoné to put out the news, even though I had not seen the rump pattern. On return I settled to make a sériés of sketches and to take detailed notes, during which I was able to obtain excellent views. Düring the day quite a crowd gathered, and the bird showed very well until late afternoon when it flew off southwards. It put in a brief performance a while later, but was relocated near Burgh Castle on Breydon Water the next day where it remained (on and off) until May 25th. Identification Structure: Relatively straight forward and based upon a variety of characters. The general structure was subtly différent from Greenshank, albeit very similar; it had a rather bulky body and the wing tips feil equal to the tail tip. Plumage: The square-shaped head with steep forehead was heavily streaked black on the crown; the lores were marked with a black eyestripe; a prominent white supercilium in front of the eye and eye-ring were also very distinct. The neck was slender, and on the hind neck again streaked black - the streaking breaking up and becoming finer on to the front of the neck and the breast/flanks. With good views, neat dark chevrons could be seen on the flanks. The upperparts were more eventoned grey than Greenshank, lacking any indication of a dark mantle V and with smaller and neater white and black notehing. On the mantle the feathers were evenly grey, but on the scapulars they had neat, narrow white borders, lightly notehed with black. This pattern became increasingly obvious onto the wing coverts and was particularly notable on the greater coverts and tertials. The rump was white and produced a neat square white patch, contrasting with barred upper tail coverts and upper tail, in contrast to the white wedge up the rump of Greenshank. The bill was broad-based and slightly upturned, identical to Greenshank's, but had a yellowish base to the lower mandible. The legs were long (longer than Greenshank) and chrome-yellow (yellow with a hint of orange). Brian Small, 20 Willow Green, Worlingworth, Woodbridge, Suffolk 1P13 7LP

SPOTTED SANDPIPER - SECOND FOR SUFFOLK On May 18th 1995,1 spent an unsuccessful few hours searching for a Red-rumped Swallow at Suffolk Water Park, Bramford. Fed up with seeing nothing, Richard Tomlinson, Graham Button and myself decided to move further afield and try our luck around Southwold. At about 7pm we crossed the footbridge over the River Blyth at Southwold and decided to follow the footpath west along the southern bank. The tide was falling fast and after walking about 300 yards along the river wall we heard an unfamiliar cali coming from the muddy shoreline ahead. We had already heard Common Sandpipers calling, but this call stopped us in our tracks. I spotted a small wader running away from us and we set up our 'scopes to view the bird, which by now was facing us. As soon as we saw the bird we ali gasped together in amazement "Spotted Sandpiper"! The bird was in full summer plumage and after taking a few clinching notes, two of us dashed back to the car and drove to the nearest phone box. Description Size and structure: Slightly smaller than nearby Common Sandpiper, with a dumpier, more pear-shaped body, the legs appearing to be set further back, due to the shorter tail which projected only just beyond the primary tips. Upperparts: Grey-brown but brighter and more buff than Common Sandpiper. Dark eyestripe and whitish supercilium. 163


Underparts: Looked less clean white than Common Sandpiper. The large, blackish spots were heaviest on the central upper breast and extended only as far as the legs. The flanks and belly were much less densely marked. Bare parts: Legs pale straw yellow. Basal half of bill yellow, distal half darker, blackish, giving an obvious two-toned appearance. Calls: Odd piping call immediately drew our attention. Lower in pitch, less shrill with slower, more deliberate notes than Common Sandpiper. Call likened to that of Green Sandpiper. Flight: Appeared slightly smaller than Common Sandpiper, with a less obvious white wing bar, which appeared thinner and not extending to the base of the wing, but only onto the inner primaries. Up to 15 local birders managed to see the bird before it flew off upstream with seven Common Sandpipers at about 8pm, presumably to roost. Despite extensive searching from first light the next day, it was not seen again. Eric Patrick, Flat 2, Griffin Court, Brickfield Close, Ipswich IP2 8EP

THRUSH NIGHTINGALE - SECOND FOR SUFFOLK Whilst walking the shrubby slopes known as the 'Icky Ridge' at Landguard on the morning of August 27th 1995,1 noticed a small bird hopping on the path a few metres ahead of me. Seeing a slightly rufous tail and the thrush-like structure, I assumed I was watching a Nightingale. As it briefly turned sideways before disappearing into the brambles, I caught sight of a malar stripe and mottling on the breast - Thrush Nightingale came to mind! I waited for a further view but the bird did not reappear during the next twenty minutes, nor during the further hour I spent with other observers, having consulted the literature. Fortunately, the bird showed again to me at about 14.45hrs. I watched it for half an hour and was happy that it was indeed a Thrush Nightingale. The bird was trapped at about 15.40hrs and, despite initially disappearing in poor weather, it showed extremely well to a huge number of birders before its last sighting on September 15th. Description Head: Crown and nape dark brown with greyish cast; lores brown with very slight mottling; cheeks slightly darker and richer brown. Supercilium and rear edge to cheeks slightly greyer, causing them to stand out in some lights. Upperparts: Mantle and back dark brown (as crown); narrow pale fringes to feathers caused streaked effect in bright sunlight. Scapulars similar to mantle but with greyish edges in bright light. Rump and upper tail coverts as mantle but with gingery hint; tail brown-centred and rufous on outer feathers, especially base of 2nd/3rd; often cocked and appearing rounded at tip. Underparts: Chin/throat white with darker mottling; dark grey malar stripe; faint offwhite sub-moustachial stripe visible in some lights. Breast, flanks and upper belly looked off-white in dull light with grey-brown wash and light mottling. In bright light, looked whiter with dark mottling in neat lines, forming streaks. Belly and vent dull off-white; under tail coverts gingery. Bare parts: Eye large and dark with pale beige eye-ring; legs and feet greyish black; bill stubbier than Robin's, appearing quite blunt-tipped; dark grey with a paler fleshier tone to lower mandible; cutting edges paler with yellowish gape line to basal third. Paul Holmes, Landguard Bird Observatory, View Point Road, Felixstowe IP11 8TW 164


CITRINE WAGTAIL - THIRD FOR SUFFOLK Just after 8pm on May 10th 1995, Dougal Urquhart, a visitor to Minsmere, knocked on my door and said that he had found a Citrine Wagtail behind South Hide. I went to the area with Dougal and my wife, Hilary. The bird was still present, having been kept under observation by Dougal's friend, Mick Cock and we were soon joined by Ian Robinson and Iris Murdoch. The bird was feeding on an area of recently excavated reedbed, often disappearing for several minutes behind the exposed reed rhizomes and newly sprouting reed. It remained in a small area until 8.40pm when it suddenly became alert and flew off into the nearby reedbed, presumably to roost. Despite people being present from first light the following day, the bird was not seen again. Description Size: same as Yellow Wagtail (seen earlier in the day). Upperparts: head and rear neck bright sulphur yellow, contrasting markedly with smooth dove grey mantle, back, rump and wings. Nape black, forming distinct and prominent collar, extending across the nape and along the front edge of the closed wing. Upper and lower wing coverts very dark grey/black but with broad white tips and narrow white fringes forming conspicuous double wing bar. Primaries dark grey or black, again with white edging (wider than fringes on coverts) giving a very distinctive wing pattern. Tail black with white outer tail feathers, most conspicuous just before bird flew off to roost. Underparts: extremely bright sulphur yellow, much brighter than on male Yellow Wagtail. Undertail coverts pale yellow/white. Bare parts: bill, legs and eye jet black, contrasting with bright yellow plumage. Call: none given. Geoff Welch, Minsmere RSPB Reserve, Westleton, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP 17 3BY

WHISKERED TERN - THIRD FOR SUFFOLK On June 12th 1995,1 was scanning through the high tide feeding flock of terns off Landguard Point. I had counted about 40 Little and 10 Common Terns when I briefly caught sight of a very dark tern. About a minute later I picked up the tern again and within a few seconds identified it as an adult Whiskered Tern in summer plumage. Compared with the Little Terns, it appeared to be slightly bigger and more robust with noticeably broader wings, especially nearer the body. Description Bill: appeared dark. Head: black crown, white face. Upperparts: grey mantle and back. Underparts: breast/belly greyish black, slightly darker than mantle/back; demarcation between white face and greyish black breast very precise with no suffusion; vent white, strongly demarcated from belly. Tail: upper tail coverts and rump grey but appearing slightly paler; tail slightly forked. Upperwing: uniform greyish white wings, primary tips darker. Underwing: primaries/secondaries as upper wings; coverts appearing darker in some lights; paler than upper wing. Paul Oldfield, 20 Victoria Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk 165


RED-EYED VIREO - THIRD FOR SUFFOLK On October 12th 1995, having spent a couple of uneventful hours birding in Southwold, I visited St. Edmund's Churchyard to look for migrants. I was not particularly hopeful as the winds were westerly; this pessimism seemed at first to be justified as in twenty minutes of searching, all I saw was one Chiffchaff. Suddenly, a bird appeared from bushes to my right, landing briefly in an ornamental cherry tree, only a few mĂŠtrĂŠs from me. I was immediately able to identify it as a Red-eyed Vireo, but after about ten seconds it promptly disappeared. Fortunately it showed again about two hours later and continued to be present until dusk. It was reported briefly again on the following two days. By a remarkable coincidence, David Fairhurst found another at Thorpeness on the same day, that bird staying until 15th. Description Upperparts: Head strikingly patterned; crown slate-grey with black lateral crown stripe over a white supercilium. The supercilium started at the base of the bill, extending to rear of ear coverts where it was at its broadest. Black eye-stripe extended from base of bill to behind eye where it was at its broadest. Mantle and upperparts generally olive-green with very slightly darker centres to tertials, greater coverts, primaries and secondaries. Alula and inner webs of primary coverts black. Primary projection some 70% of visible tertial length with wing tips extending to just beyond upper tail coverts. Tail relatively short, obviously notched and olivegreen in colour. Underparts: almost wholly white with a yellowish wash to sides of breast and creamy-yellow vent and under tail coverts. Bare parts: Bill rather heavy and blunt-tipped. Upper mandible dark grey, lower mandible appeared to be flesh-coloured with darker tip. Legs and feet rather stout; bluegrey in colour. Iris colour difficult to discern but appeared brown. Size and structure: Comparable in size to Blackcap (female of which was present in the vicinity), though somewhat large-headed and rotund. Behaviour: Remained exclusively in trees and bushes where feeding was active. Occasionally somewhat lumbering and clumsy. Richard Waiden, 21 Kilbrack, Beccles NR34 9SH

'EASTERN' STONECHAT - FIRST OF RACE 'VARIEGATA' FOR SUFFOLK Towards late afternoon on September 1 Ith 1993, John Cawston and I were standing with a few other birders at the southern end of Landguard Common, searching through the large pre-roost gathering of Starlings for a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling that had been present for several days. At 18.35 hrs, JMC noticed a small chat flit from the ground to perch on one of the numerous concrete blocks that run the length of the beach. Although the bird was somewhat distant, he noted a pale rump and basal section to the tail, the latter marked with a prominent, black inverted T. Expecting the bird to be a Wheatear, he was somewhat surprised by the birds apparent small size and strongly contrasting upperparts. He brought the bird to my attention and we both studied it carefully. Despite the fact that the bird showed a rather wheatear-like rump and tail pattern, it possessed more Whinchat-like habitats and appearance. After a couple of minutes I suggested the possibility of Siberian Stonechat and after mentioning this idea to a couple of other birders nearby, we decided to try and get closer views. 166


In view of the fact that most birders were scanning through the large flock of Starlings, we carefully skirted the common and walked along the beach to where the mystery bird was feeding. DĂźring the short walk we discussed Siberian Stonechats and agreed that if this identification was correct, the presence of white bases to the tail feathers could take on a new significance. The bird was easily found again, feeding amongst dead weeds on the beach from where it frequently perched on dead stems and on top of the concrete blocks, affording excellent close views. We immediately identified the bird Stonechat of one of the eastern races by its overall pale coloration, bold supercilium and unmarked rump; Whinchat was easily eliminated on rump pattern alone. After taking a description of the bird, I ran to alert staff at the nearby Bird Observatory and the bird continued to give excellent views until darkness feil. The bird was left, still feeding, at 19.25hrs. The following morning we arrived early at the site and spent several hours in the company of other birders searching for the Stonechat, but unfortunately it was nowhere to be found. The following description was made at the time of the observations. Size and jizz In all respects, typical of British Stonechats. In comparison to Whinchat, the primary projection was clearly shorter and the typical round-headed appearance of Stonechat was evident. Plumage Head: crown light brown with quite prominent black streaktng creating a lightly capped effect. Pale supercilium prominent; narrow in front of eye, where it was continuous over the base of the bill, but flaring out behind the eye, extending to the rear of the ear coverts. Supercilium very pale buff, contrasting rather prominently with the darker crown. Ear coverts light buff, creating an overall pale-faced expression. Lores slightly darker than cheeks, merging into an indistinct smudge below the eye. Eyestripe behind the eye more prominent than loral stripe, being darker grey in colour. Upperparts: nape greyish-buff with indistinct streaking, creating a subtle but nevertheless distinct pale shawl around the neck, contrasting with the darker crown and mantle. Mantle dull golden brown in colour with darker brown/black centres to the feathers. Scapulars similar but showing more sharply defined blackish centres. Rump conspicuously pale, being an unmarked pale peachy-pink colour, contrasting with the darker, more patterned mantle and scapulars. The exact colour of the upper tail coverts could not be judged for certainty when the bird was perched, as the primary tips always managed to cloak the area. However, when the bird was initially seen in flight, at a distance they appeared to be very white-looking, although any colour that may have been present could have appeared burnt out. Tail: pattern very distinctive; at a distance showed a broad black terminal band contrasting with a white base. Central tail feathers more extensively black, creating the wheatear-like pattern. At close range, central tail feathers seen to be completely black, but the outer feathers on either side showed prominent clean white inner 167


webs which extended at least halfway down the tail. On the second innermost tail feathers, the white extended as much as three quarters of the way down. All tail feathers were tipped white beyond the sub-terminal black band. Wings: coverts with dark brown/black centres and narrow buffy edges. Pale tips to greater coverts formed a narrow peachy-buff wing bar. Tertials jet black with clean white edges. The middle tertial of the right wing showed the merest hint of peach coloration along its edge. Secondaries with clean white fringes, creating a noticeable pale panel in the wing, the prominence of which as affected by posture, being more evident when the wing was tightly closed. Primaries black with narrow buffish fringes. The fĂŻve or six primaries exposed beyond the tertials ail showed broad, clean white tips. Underparts: chin and throat off-white (SJL) or very lightly washed buff (JMC), enhancing the bird's pale-faced look. Breast quite rich peach-apricot, becoming more diluted on the belly and flanks. Lower flanks, belly and vent more grey-buff in colour. Bare parts: legs and bill black. Stuart Ling, 4 Oxford Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1NL This description has been reproduced almost in its entirety, partly because of the rarity of the bird, but also because it offers a fine example of a detailed and wellprepared description which is unlikely to give any assessing committee any problems. It is unfortunate that Stuart Ling's excellent original sketches were forwarded to British Birds and cannot be reproduced here - Ed.

OLIVACEOUS WARBLER - FIRST FOR SUFFOLK Description Size: similar to Whitethroat, in direct comparison. Head: long sloping forehead peaking just behind the eye. Distinct, very pale buff supercilium extending to just behind the eye. Lores piain, and just a shade darker buff than the supercilium. Indistinct pale buff eye-ring. Upperparts: entire upperparts pale sandy brown with a slight greyish wash, especially to nape, in some lights. Tertials darker brown with distinct pale fringes, with noticeable abrasion on the upper two. There was also some noticeable abrasion on the wing coverts. There was a pale wing panel, formed by pale edges to the secondaries and the primaries were dark brown with indistinct pale tips. The primary-projection was quite short and more like that of Melodious Warbler than the longer projection of Icterine Warbler. The alula was slightly darker than the wing coverts, with a narrow, pale fringe. Underparts: entire underparts very pale buff and just slightly paler still on the throat. Tail: looked quite long due to the short primary-projection. Most of the tail feathers were brown, very similar in tone to the tertials, and thus contrastingly darker than the rest of the upperparts, and pale edged. The outer tail feathers were off-white, although this was difficult to observe. The tail tip was slightly abraded. The under tail coverts extended to about half way down the tail. Bare parts: bill very strikingly long and fine. Upper mandible dark brownish-horn, lower mandible pale pinkish-yellow. Legs pale buffish-pink and feet similar, but slightly darker. The large-looking eye was dark. Voice: the frequently-given call was a hard, persistent 'tac', often given with a downwards 'pumping' motion of the tail. 168


25: Suffolk did very well to host two Red-eyed Thorpeness.

Vi reos in 1995, this one at Alan Tate

26: An assortment of eggs, predated by Carrion Crows at Alton Water (see p. 159) John Glazebrook


Behaviour: the bird's most noticeable habit was its tail pumping. At times, this could be seen with the naked eye as the bird moved about feeding. It fed very actively, although sometimes it just perched on the barbed wire fence along side the hedge and snapped insects out of the air with a flick of its head. It also indulged in flycatching sallies, just foraged through the bushes and also sometimes dropped to the ground to take insects. Occasionally, it raised its crown feathers, and once I observed it twisting its head in the manner of a Wryneck. Although the rarest bird. recorded in the County during the year, no dĂŠtails have been submittedfor publication in Suffolk Birds. A thorough report on thefinding ofthe bird appeared in Birding World (8:293-294). Here we reproduce thefinders description of the bird - Ed.


A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk As a guide to the submission of sightings, the following list of species, ail 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 E I IN M N W

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) Earliest and latest dates (for summer and winter migrants) Inland records required Notes required to support inland claims Migration or weather-related movements Brief notes required (how bird was identified, view, distance, etc.) 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 Bittern 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

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 BCIM BC BCM BC

Pintail Garganey Shoveler Red-crested Pochard Pochard Ring-necked Duck Ferruginous Duck Tufted Duck Scaup 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

170

BCIM A BC A BCM D D BCM A 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

Coot Crâne 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 Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew Spotted Redshank Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Tumstone Red-necked Phalarope Grey Phalarope Pomarine Skua Arctic Skua Long-tailed Skua

BC D BCI A A A BCI D N

C

CI BC CI A A N D A AIN CI D A A BC A BCI A A BC A BC A A A A CI D N N AIN D


Great Skua Mediterranean Gull Little Gull Sabine's Gull Black-headed Gull Ring-billed Gull Common Gull Lesser Blk-backed Gull Herring Gull Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Great Blk-backed Gull Kittiwake Sandwich Tern Roseate Teni Common Tern Arctic Tern Little Tern Black Tem 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 Swift Kingfisher Bee-eater Hoopoe Wryneck Green Woodpecker Grt Sp Woodpecker Lsr Sp Woodpecker Short-toed Lark Woodlark Skylark Shore Lark Sand Martin

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 BCE A D N A A A A D A BCM A BCE

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 Blackcap Pallas's Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler

171

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 CEM BC N A D D BCE D BCE D D D D BCE BCE BCE BCEW D D N BCW BCE

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 lay 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 Reed Bunting Corn Bunting

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 BCM A


Landguard Bird Observatory, 1995 Michael James January The relatively mild conditions of December 1994 continued and, with an absence of eventful weather, there was little in the way of offshore movement. A total of 237 Lapwings headed south on 2nd, associated with a brief cold speli and 773 Kittiwakes moved likewise as a result of stronger winds on 2Ist. A record number of Little Auks present in the North Sea during the middle of the month was largely seen off northeast coasts and Landguard's sole record was of one flying south on 24th. Other flybys included a trickle of Red-throated Divers, two Little Gulls south on 5th, 48 Common Scoter south on 19th and 14 Bewick's Swans south on 25th. Up to four Mediterranean Gulls were recorded throughout the month and an Arctic Skua was present for a while along the beach during the Kittiwake movement. The Chiffchaff that remained from November 1994 was last seen on 4th, but a Firecrest, also present at the same time, was more loyal and brightened many a day until the end of March. Along the beach a tidy Ringed Piover roost developed with 198 birds present on 30th, probably displaced by the dock extension at Fagbury Fiats. One or two Sanderlings were also occasionally recorded, mid-month and a couple of Purple Sandpipers picked their way through the jetty seaweed at the month's end. Two Snow Buntings put in an appearance on 4th whilst single Rock Pipits were noted on four dates. February Increased observer coverage at this time of year would no doubt result in an increase in the number of species and higher counts being logged. This was particularly evident on 9th when 264 Red-throated Divers flew north in one hour - who knows what the actual number might have been. Considerably smaller numbers were recorded throughout the month, the next highest count being eight south on 27th. The month continued in an unseemly mild vein with a consequential lack of avian surprises. Perhaps the single most spectacular sight was the 10,000 Starlings marauding over the common on 1 st. On the same day the Ringed Piover high tide roost peaked at 225. Single Purple Sandpiper, Sanderling and Rock Pipit continued to be encountered occasionally along the jetty and shore. Four Mediterranean GĂźlls were present on 8th and two days earlier, a male Black Redstart had put in a brief appearance and it, or another, was noted on 24th. Offshore there was a scattering of Guillemot sightings up to mid-month, the peak being six north on 8th. Eight White-fronted Geese flew south on 12th, 36 Wigeon headed south on 5th and a male Red-breasted Merganser went the same way on 22nd. That day also saw Landguard's second Arctic Skua of the year. At the month's end, eight Siskins flew south. March Fingers were crossed for some early bird-bringing weather this month, the crossover period of winter departure and spring arrivai. The Blackbird exodus was a feature of the middle of the month with 50 present on 12th and 100 on each of the next two days. One bird was controlied wearing a Dutch ring. Redwings were evident over the same period, the peak count being of 50 on 14th, when 11 Fieldfare were also present. The following day a small Carrion Crow movement was of note with 18 going south and four north. On 23rd a total of 28 Jackdaws was recorded heading north another significant movement for the site. Also on that day, 30 Meadow Pipits were present. Over the next three days there was a Wood Pigeon movement which 172


included 154 south on 24th whilst 148 Brent Geese flew north on 19th. The first newly-arrived Chiffchaff of the year turned up on lOth, when a smart White Wagtail was also present. Two more of these wagtails were seen the next day when the first, much anticipated, Wheatear was noted typically dashing across the common. An early Blackcap was the next arrivai on 12th, when 12 Great Tits were noted - prompting thoughts of last year's remarkable passage. The best Wheatear day was the last day of the month when 12 were present, along with three Firecrests and a Brambling. On the rarity front, a Great Northern Diver flew north on 4th, the same day that a Marsh Harrier headed in the same direction. The second Merlin of the year flashed through on 27th and three Stonechats were seen during the first third of the month. Aprii Expectations and the temperature rose hand in hand with warm south-westerlies at the start of the month. A particularly pleasing feature was the very respectable Willow Warbler numbers which ensured a good dispersai of Landguard rings. The first bird was noted on 2nd with a peak of 50 birds eight days later. In contrast, spring totals of Greenfinches were again down; recent annual ringing totals for this species illustrate this decline: 1986 2249

1987 2251

1988 1935

1989 1616

1990 1233

1991 900

1992 619

1993 707

1994 496

Two Firecrests appeared on lst with one to two present on several other dates. Landguard's earliest-ever Redstart was recorded on 3rd, coinciding with 22 Wheatears, the highest day count for the month. A Pink-footed Goose, also on this date, was a first for the site, although there was some debate over its origin as it lingered on the dock beach. The next day saw the first Swallow of the year, as well as the earliest ever Whimbrel. Twelve Goldcrests on 5th represented the apex of the spring passage and an early Whitethroat was on site on 1 lth. Shortly after dawn on 12th, a Hooded Crow was found strutting along the beach, but it soon headed off south in the company of five Carrion Crows. Further interesting passage birds occurred on 14th when a Blacknecked Grebe flew south just offshore and a Velvet Scoter flew out of the estuary, passing directly over the Observatory. Undeterred by the cooler temperatures in the second half of the month, migrants continued to pass through with Tree Pipit (19th), Nightingale (20th), Ring Ouzel (22nd - along with the last Redwings of the period), Common and Little Tern (23rd) and Turtle Dove, Whinchat and Sedge Warbler (24th). Like this latter species, only one Lesser Whitethroat was recorded ail month. Birds of prey were represented by single records of Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and another Merlin. There was a light southerly passage of Goldfinches most days with a peak of 36 on 30th. Linnets were recorded moving likewise in the first half of the month and an ail too brief appearance by a Serin was perhaps the pick of the scarcities. May The first Swift was noted on the first day of the month, perhaps less expected were the Grasshopper Warbler and Moorhen which were also on site on the same day. A light north-easterly with rolling sea-mist and fog on 2nd produced the peak counts of Whitethroat (30), Lesser Whitethroat (8), Chiffchaff (8), Willow Warbler (10) and Wheatear (22). Also caught up in these conditions were a disorientated Ortolan Bunting and the first Spotted Flycatcher. However, this was a disappointing month for the latter species - and for Garden Warblers - with a mere one to three of each species present on just a handful of dates. Similar numbers of Black Redstarts were seen 173


almost daily and Cuckoos were noted on 13 dates. The southerly Goldfinch passage continued with a total of 497 being logged, most of these in the first two weeks. Single Tree Sparrows were seen on six dates. Obvious departures were evident in the form of the final Fieldfare (6th) and the passage of Brent Geese with a total of 306 of the latter leaving locai estuaries and heading out to northerly latitudes between 25th and 30th. Other offshore movements included two Grey Herons going south (13th), an Arctic Tern flying north (15th), small numbers of Whimbrel and a group of 16 Knot (22nd). Along the beach, Little Tern numbers rose to 30 and up to four first-year Mediterranean Gulls could be encountered daily. A smart Blue-headed Wagtail arrived on 16th, an unseasonably cold day, but was perhaps overshadowed - at least by those who saw it - by Landguard's first Dartford Warbier, found in the Heligoland trapping area of the ringing compound on the same day. Equally brief in appearance was a Montagu's Harrier that drifted north over the reserve on 9th. Patience was required on the last day of the month when an elusive warbler in the Tamarisks was finally trapped and proved to be a Melodious Warbler. June Typically a month with long periods of migrational inactivity, June was punctuated by a few surprises. The biggest of these, quite literally, was the 30 foot long Humpback Whale which entered the river mouth on 3rd and travelled up the Stour as far as Holbrook. It was eventually coaxed back out to sea by coastguards. Sadly, the corpse of a whale seen being nudged along by the tide on an offshore shingle bank a few days later was almost certainly this rare cetacean. Little Terns peaked at 42 on 8th but had declined to single figures by the end of the month; breeding efforts were unsuccessful. There was a hint of return wader passage with a Greenshank (9th) and a trickle of Curlew after 13th. Common Scoter and Gannets featured in a count on lOth with 31 north and 24 south respectively. Late Brent Geese were again noted with records on two dates and there were single observations of Little Gull, Black Tern and Avocet. The Starling roost in the Holm Oaks built up to 4000 from the 400 present during the previous month reflecting, in part, their breeding success. The first young Wheatears were noted on 3rd and similarly, locai Black Redstarts brought their first brood onto the common on 14th. A Nightingale on lOth was the third (and final) record of the year and a Tree Sparrow was present the next day. A hat-trick of rarities put in an apopearance; a Common Rosefinch on 8th was followed by a Red-breasted Flycatcher on 12th with the latter date also producing an adult Whiskered Tern amongst the high tide feeding flock of Common and Little Terns. The observatory moth trap began to produce the goods this month with Bordered Straw on four dates and several additions to the site list including Small Elephant Hawk, Pale Oak Beauty and Shore Wainscot. July A ränge of returning waders held interest offshore with single Ruff (29th) and Black-tailed Godwit (17th) amongst the more expected Whimbrels, Curlews and Lapwings. Small numbers of Teal, Shoveler and Common Scoter were not untypical for the time of year, but the single Brent Geese on 4th and 12th were decidedly unseasonable. On the common, a handful of Yellow Wagtails began to appear after 6th and up to seven Black Redstarts were present. Wheatear numbers climbed gradually to 15 in the last week. Juvenile Cuckoos were noted on three dates passing through the site and a total of 217 Sand Martins also moved south, mostly in the third and fourth week. Warbiers were few generally, Willow Warbiers especially so. The 174


appearance of a Pied Flycatcher (30th) constituted the site's first July record and marked the start of a run of sightings. Moth trapping continued to reveal interesting species. Least Carpets were noted on four dates and a Waved Black was found on 29th. The migrant Diamond-backed Moth was especially numerous towards the month's end. August A great succession of visitors patiently lined the reserve's roadside margin in response to the first major crowd-puller of the year. A Thrush Nightingale was found on 27th, deep in the base of a bramble patch - the start of an unprecedented 20-day stay. Although not seen on 28th, it was subsequently watched at ciรณse quarters, giving many people the chance to study it's finer identification criteria. August was a hot, dry month with light winds. The best migration day occurred on 21st during a northeasterly breeze when the month's peak numbers of Reed Warbler (9), Whitethroat (11) and Willow Warbler (14) were counted. However, it was a very poor month for the latter species, a total of 51 ringed being the worst ever August total. That ringing figure was equalled by the number of Pied Flycatchers caught, 15 of which were present the day after the warbler 'fall'. A roost of up to 26 Yellow Wagtails in the observatory poplars spilled out onto the common at first light on several days. Ringing has shown that some of these birds undertake their moult on site before heading south. A less colourful roost of House Sparrows developed in the Holm Oaks which peaked at 482 on 26th; these birds followed the four to five thousand Starlings into town shortly before dawn as part of their daily routine this month. Observers on the common noted a single Stonechat on 12th, the same day that Whinchat also appeared. There were a few Redstarts after 16th and four Tree Pipits from 21st but the only Wood Warbler of the year was ringed on 23rd. As last month, there was no major Swift movement, but a total of 347 House Martins moved in off the sea and south on 28th. Sand Martins continued to coast through - 111 were logged - with a similar movement of Swallows. A movement of Common Terns peaked with 101 flying south on 12th and nine Arctic Skuas were logged, associated with the tern movement. Two Mediterranean Gulls reappeared from 16th after a short absence and waders were well represented offshore with site rarities including four Avocets on 21st and a Spotted Redshank. An early Brent Goose was the first of the season on 13th and a male Marsh Harrier coasted south offshore early on 26th. A Barn Owl drifted over the nets at dawn on lst and a Tawny Owl was recorded on three dates. With the prolonged hot weather, migration was equally evident on the insect front. Landguard had its share of the national dragonfly invasiรณn with nine Yellow-winged Darters recorded in the first 11 days. A Camberwell Beauty delighted many observers for two days. The prize moth was undoubtedly Oak Processionary, three of which were discovered in the first half of the month. [Fuli details of rare dragonfly, moth and butterfly records can be found in Suffolk Natural History 1996 (Vol 32) pp.6-27). - Ed.] September There were no major weather-induced movements in this showery month and winds came mostly from the left-hand side of the compass, apart from a brief period from 17th to 19th. At this time, the conflict of air masses caused conditions that delivered a memorable fall of Fenno-Scandinavian drift migrants and attention was switched to the bushes. On the first of these dates, a Bluethroat was found lurking under Gorse bushes, shortly after great banks of thundery rain had rolled in off the sea, pushed 175


along on moderate north-easterlies. A Grey-headed Wagtail was also located and the next day, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Robins and 24 Wheatears were logged. However, the best numbers occurred on 19th when 60 Redstarts, 40 Wheatears, 25 Whinchats, 40 Robins, 12 Pied Flycatchers and 35 Willow Warblers were recorded along with three Wrynecks, an Icterine Warbler and a Barred Warbler. The origin if these birds was clearly indicated when Fagbury ringers controlled a Norwegian-ringed Willow Warbler on this date. Visible migration was, as usual, a major feature of the month. Over 11,000 Swallows headed to warmer climes, the peak date being lOth when 2100 went south. House Martins and Sand Martins featured also with totals of 1569 (fewer than usual) and 513 respectively; Swifts were recorded on 16 dates. Over 800 Meadow Pipits passed south during the month, along with 61 Tree Pipits, 106 Yellow Wagtails and 15 Grey Wagtails. In the last week, passing Goldfinch and Linnet numbers picked up to total 774 and 932 respectively. The pick of the species mixed in with this movement included an Ortolan Bunting (13th), Ring Ouzel (16th), Kingfisher (18th) and the first Fieldfare and Rock Pipit (both 23rd). Numbers of the common warblers began to ebb away, coinciding with the appearance of small numbers of Chaffinches and Goldcrests. It was possible to see Wrynecks almost daily and bonuses included a Barred Warbler on 6th and two Peregrines on 30th. The offshore movement of wildfowl began to gather apace with Wigeon (462), Pintail (43) and Brent Geese (141) dominating. An easterly blow on 7th produced 33 Gannets within viewing distance and 100 Common Terns. Further interesting records included 16 Arctic Skuas, a Pomarine Skua (13th), Black-throated Diver (9th), two Velvet Scoter (17th) and Arctic Terns on three dates. October The first day of the month brought moderate southerly winds and resulted in the peak movements of Wigeon (1027), Dunlin (1033), Teal (72) and Pintail (34) whilst eight Little Auks were noteworthy in the last ten days of the month. The first of these coincided with interesting sea passage on 22nd when 1527 Brent Geese, 245 Shelduck, 47 Red-breasted Merganser, 115 Common Scoter, 43 Cormorants, 81 Grey Plover and single Pomarine Skua, Great Northern Diver and Avocet all moved in response to a southerly blow. A further 28 Avocets passed north on 28th and, whilst a handful of Gannets and Arctic Skuas were to be expected, a group of 12 Pink-footed Geese were certainly a surprise. The last of the summer migrants mostly drifted away within their expected dates but Tree Pipit (lOth), Whimbrel (12th), Pied Flycatcher (19th) and Swift (27th) were late. Meadow Pipits passed through at a fairly consistent rate, eventually totalling over a thousand. Rock Pipits totalled 61, along with 16 Grey Wagtails and the last of the year's Yellow Wagtails passed through on 7th. Thrush were noticeably absent; only one Ring Ouzel was found, a mere trickle of Redwings and not a single Fieldfare was seen. Song Thrush numbers were modest, as were Blackbirds until 55 of the latter were present on 30th. Similarly, Goldcrests peaked for the autumn with just 26 on 14th and the same number again with a new influx seven days later. Two Firecrests were included in these arrivals. Staring out to sea to pick up incoming migrants is a favoured activity amongst Landguard regulars and an impressive flock of 274 Bramblings bouncing in over the waves before making landfall was just one highlight. The arrival of owls, often being mobbed by gulls is also a memorable sight and three Short-eared and two Long-eared Owls were recorded on four dates. However, the vast legions of foreign Starlings that mark some autumn seawatches failed to materialise, but 37 Jackdaws 'in off' was unusual on 29th. Other migrants continued to follow the line of the coast, south-bound. Principal amongst these were finches with 5234 176


Goldfinches, 2740 Linnets, 681 Greenfmches and 292 Chaffmches. Amongst these carne 55 Reed Buntings in a 35-day period from 5th. Skylarks peaked on 22nd when 291 of the month's 732 passed south and two Woodlarks went with them. The last dates for Redstart and Wheatear were 16th and 27th respectively. A Great Grey Shrike was a brief visitor on 12th and three days later, a more obliging Radde's Warbler, initially found in the Ranger's garden, drew many admirers. November Thrushes finally appeared in force on the first day of the month as 3000 Redwings, 350 Blackbirds, 50 Song Thrushes and 25 Fieldfares were recorded along with two Ring Ouzels. On the same day, the final Swallow of the year was passed through and 21 Siskins, the only significant count of the autumn for this species, were also logged. Seawatchers were able to record a total of 29 Little Auks on 2nd (part of an even bigger influx than in January) and a Great Northern Diver on 4th was seen in the same field of view as an incoming Short-eared Owl. The first Woodcock of the autumn carne in on 2nd ad Landguard's undergrowth concealed at least eight others in the first two weeks of the month. Other offshore movements included totals of 46 Redbreasted Mergansers, one Arctic Skua, 12 Guillemots, 14 more Little Auks and two Shags. Wildfowl numbers were generally average with Brent Geese totalling 2270 for example. On the end of the jetty a Purple Sandpiper was occasionally seen and a few Sanderlings raced along the beach under the ever-watchful Mediterranean Gulls. Visible migration began to abate with Meadow Pipits and Skylarks decreasingly seen and a further nine Rock Pipits passed south. Similarly, finch passage petered out, although two Mealy Redpolls (11 th) were perhaps precursors of the winter's influx. Two Snow Buntings were present on l l t h and six more flew through on 23rd whilst a little less seasonal were the last Chiffchaff on 13th and one to two Blackcaps and a single Black Redstart which may have been stopping-put. A male Firecrest was seen on two dates whilst a Little Owl on 14th and Merlins on 3rd and 12th were good bonuses. December A much colder month than those experienced in recent years and the make-up of offshore species was in-keeping with the wintry scheme of things. Wildfowl figures included 80 Pochard south between 6th and 8th with 206 Eider on 7th. Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Scoter and Pintail occurred, but in smaller numbers than Brent Geese (588), Shelduck (361) and Wigeon (87). The Ringed Piover beach roost which began to assemble last month reached 220 on 19th and a Purple Sandpiper could stili be met with. The cold weather was no doubt responsible for the small number of Lapwings south in the first 11 days and a few Golden Piover were caught up with these. Despite thin coverage, resolute observers added Water Rail along with the occasionai Woodcock and Black Redstart. Landguard had one last surprise in the form of a very unseasonable male Ring Ouzel - one of at least eight in the country at the start of the winter. Fieldfares were more expected with 330 logged on 5th being the vanguard of an influx of wintry passerines just around the corner.

177


1995 Suffolk Ringing Report Mike Marsh Over the last few years Fagbury Cliff has established itself as one of the top sites in the country for ringing migrant passerines, especially warblers. The main reason for Fagbury's success is believed to be the fact that it is situated on the edge of the Port of Felixstowe dock complex where, at night, the container parks and quaysides are illuminated by powerful white floodlights. The glare from these lights is visible over a distance of several miles and is undoubtedly responsible for attracting large numbers of nocturnal migrants to the area. Well, that was the case until 1995. During 1995 the white lights were gradually replaced by more cost effective orange lights and the brilliant white night-time glare over the port changed to a dull yellowish-orange glow. The drop in the number of migrants occurring at Fagbury Cliff was striking and during the year just 3,068 birds were ringed, compared with 7,462 in 1993 and 8,253 in 1994. Catches did not suffer too badly in the spring when there were still several white lights being used, but by the autumn the changeover to orange lights was virtually complete and the decline in numbers was dramatic. This can be clearly seen in the following table which compares the number of warblers ringed at Fagbury in 1995 with those of 1994. Spring 1994 1995 Sedge Warbler 17 5 Reed Warbler 195 92 Lesser Whitethroat 152 113 Whitethroat 443 320 Garden Warbler 80 45 Blackcap 165 129 Chiffchaff 42 55 Willow Warbler 64 86 All warblers 882 1129

Autumn 1994 1995 145 38 610 82 214 59 441 165 275 35 1386 83 291 91 866 155 714 4255

% change 1994/95 Spring Autumn -74 -71 -87 -53 -72 -26 -63 -28 -87 -44 -94 +28 +31 -69 -82 +34 -83 -22

With such a large fall in the number of birds ringed at Fagbury Cliff it was not surprising that the County's annual ringing total also showed a decrease, the first time it had done so since 1991. The 1995 figure of 36,218, though still impressive, was 6,616 (15%) down on the previous year's total. The species which were caught in above average numbers in 1995 included Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Siskin and Redpoll. Over half of the Redstarts ringed were caught during the nine day period, September 17th to 25th, coinciding with a large fall of this species along the east coast from Yorkshire to East Anglia. Also, two ringing groups made efforts to catch Swifts in 1995 and were successful in ringing a total of 286. This is more than was ringed in the County in the seven previous years put together. It proved to be a disappointing year for wader ringers, their efforts often being frustrated by poor weather conditions. Dunlin numbers were particularly low, with just 277 ringed. This is the worst total since 1987 and well down on the figures of recent years where the annual catches have not fallen below 700. Highlights from the list of recoveries in this report include a Bewick's Swan from Russia, a Reed Warbler from Senegal, Garden Warbler and Pied Flycatcher to Germany and a Rook from Sweden. Also, two Greenfinches ringed in the County early in the year and controlled in Norway in April continues the recent trend of movements 178


of this species between Britain and Norway to involve East Anglia. This year's ringing report reaches the milestone of being the tenth to include the County's annual ringing totals, the first set of figures, those for 1986, having appeared in Suffolk Birds 1987. In order for these totals to be compared at a glance, this year's report includes a summary of ali the annual ringing totals for the years 1986 to 1995. Although efforts are always made to make the totals as complete as possible, it is likely that some birds have been ringed in the County but not submitted for inclusion in the reports. However, the numbers that have been omitted in this way are probably quite small but bearing this in mind the ringing totals given should be treated as minimum, rather than actual, figures. The number of ringers operating in the County and the amount of ringing effort has increased greatly over the period and this should be taken into considĂŠration when comparing figures. Even allowing for these factors some interesting trends are obvious including the sharply contrasting fortunes of two species, the Sparrowhawk and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Just 1-2 Sparrowhawks a year were ringed in the three years, 1986 to 1988, but since then its numbers have increased greatly with 45 ringed in both 1994 and 1995. In contrast, the figures for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker show a drastic decline. This is best shown by comparing its ringing totals with those for its larger cousin, the Great Spotted Woodpecker. In 1986 and 1987 the totals for the two species were almost identical, but since then the Great Spotted's totals have increased steadily, roughly in line with the increased ringing effort in the County, whereas those for the Lesser Spotted have dropped, with none at ail ringed in 1995. Is it coincidence that the start of this decline was the year after the 'hurricane' of October 1987, which devastated large areas of woodland habitat throughout the County, and if this event was a factor in the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker's demise why has its larger cousin not shown a similar decrease in numbers?

Selected List of Recoveries This part of the report is a selection of ringing recoveries received in, or 1995. Recoveries are arranged in species order with ringing dĂŠtails shown line - ring number / age and sex / date / locality, and recovery dĂŠtails on line - manner of recovery / date / locality with distance and direction of The following codes have been used:

relating to, on the first the second movement.

Age when ringed: this is given according to the EURING codes and the figures do not represent years. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 Sex:

pullus (= nestling or chick) fully grown, year of hatching quite unknown hatched during calendar year of ringing hatched before calendar year of ringing, but exact year unknown hatched during previous calendar year hatched before previous calendar year, but exact year unknown definitely hatched two calendar years before year of ringing hatched more than two calendar years before year of ringing hatched more than three calendar years before year of ringing M = male F = iemale

In the recovery data, the term 'controlied' refers to a ringed bird which has been caught by a ringer away from the locality where it was originally ringed. Also, where the date of recovery is not known, the date of the reporting letter is shown in brackets. 179


BEWICK'S SWAN V5228 Moscow

Cygnus columbianus 10.08.94

field record

04.02.95

Lake Huna-Vei, Khabuicka, Russkiy Zavorot, RUSSIA (68°34'N 53°40'E) Sudbourne Marshes, Suffolk (52°08'N 01°34'E) 3300km W S W

This bird, fitted with a blue neck-ring, number 528P, was ringed within the species' breeding range in Arctic Russia. Another individuai ringed in the same general area was seen in Suffolk in December 1993 (Suffolk Birds 43: 167). WIGEON 5283227 Arnhem

TEAL ER73615

ES25312

EN45998

ER73632

Anas penelope 2M

12.11.93

shot

11.02.95

Vlijmen, Nieuwe Kooi, Rijskampen, Noord-Brabant, N E T H E R L A N D S (51°41TSr 05°15'E) Martlesham Creek, Martlesham, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°18'E) - 274km W

Anas crecca 3F

12.11.94

shot

11.09.95

3F

06.11.94

shot

19.09.95

3M

14.12.86

shot

25.11.95

3F

19.11.94

shot

20.01.95

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03°'N 01°27°'E) Snedsted, Jylland, D E N M A R K (56°54'N 08°32'E) 706km NE Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) Loon Plage, Nord, F R A N C E (51°00'N 02°15'E) 129km S SE Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) Burscough, Lancashire (53°35'N 02°53'W) - 336km WNW Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) Hayling Island, Portsmouth, Hampshire (50°48'N 00°55'W) - 215km SW

ER73615 was probably on passage when shot in Denmark and is the second Hollesley-ringed Teal to be recovered in that country in recent years, the other being shot there in September 1992. RED KITE

Milvus milvus

A wing-tagged bird, green tag/white Z on each wing, present for several weeks in the Dallinghoo area in early 1995 was a male that had been released in southern England in July/August 1993 as part of the reintroduction programme. It remained in southern England throughout the following winter before moving away from the area in May 1994. MARSH HARRIER

Circus aeruginosus

FA25476

19.06.94 c. 15.06.95

1F found shot

site confidential, coastal Suffolk near Homsea Mere, Humberside (53°54'N 00° 10'W) c.240km NNW

This bird was taken into care after being found shot. 180


SPARROWHAWK DA69053

Accipiter

nisus

3M

08.11.94

freshly dead

11.05.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) Abyhoj, Jylland, D E N M A R K (56°09'N 10°10'E) 743km NE

This bird h a d a l m o s t certainly over-wintered in the Felixstowe area, having b e e n re trapped at L a n d g u a r d on February 14 th and April 6 th. OYSTERCATCHER FC72962

FR85184

Haematopus

8

30.01.95

freshly dead

24.05.95

5

23.03.86

controlled

13.03.95

ostralegus Stutton Mill, near Brantham, Suffolk (51°57'N01°06'E) Nieuwe Bildtdijk, Friesland, N E T H E R L A N D S (53°19'N 05°40'E) - 343km ENE Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01 o 17'E) Makkum, Zuidwaard, Friesland, N E T H E R L A N D S (53°03'N 05°24'E) - 311km ENE

T h e e s t u a r i e s of the O r w e l l and S t o u r hold the m a j o r i t y of the C o u n t y ' s wintering O y s t e r c a t c h e r s and m o v e m e n t s b e t w e e n this area and the N e t h e r l a n d s are regular. Since 1986, six birds r i n g e d on the Stour/Orwell h a v e b e e n recovered in the Netherlands and t w o D u t c h - r i n g e d birds have m o v e d in the opposite direction. AVOCET

Recurvirostra

L25 1 (colour-ring) field record STONE-CURLEW ED41923

1 freshly dead

avosetta Hellegatsplaten, Krammer-Volkerak, Zuid-Holland, N E T H E R L A N D S (51°42'N 04°22'E) Minsmere, Suffolk (52°14'N 01°37'E) - 200km WNW

26.05.93 01.05.95 Burhinus

oedicnemus

04.07.76 25.05.94

site confidential, Hampshire between Euston & Rushford, Suffolk (52°23'N 00°48'E) - c,196km NE

This bird set a n e w longevity r e c o r d f o r a British-ringed Stone-curlew, and its m o v e m e n t s h o w s that the B r e c k l a n d p o p u l a t i o n of this species is not isolated. T h e r e w a s a similar m o v e m e n t in the 1980s w h e n o n e ringed as a pullus on the Salisbury Plain in 1982 w a s f o u n d b r e e d i n g in the S u f f o l k B r e c k in 1985 and 1986 ( M e a d & Clark 1988). REDSHANK 1314387 Arnhem

Tringa

totanus

3

17.09.93

Holwerd Oost, Friesland, N E T H E R L A N D S (53°23'N 05°55'E)

controlled

09.04.94

Boyton Marshes, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°29'E) - 332km WSW

BLACK-HEADED GULL ST 148918 1 Helsinki field EP28313

4

record

Larus

ridibundus

05.07.92 18.02.95

Rantasalmi, Mikkeli, FINLAND (62°01'N 28°29'E) Thorpeness, Suffolk (52°10'N 01°37'E) - 1947km SW

19.12.87

Foxhall Landfill, near Ipswich, Suffolk (52°03TSI OrióTE) 181


field record

16.03.95

Dresden-Johannstadt, Dresden, G E R M A N Y (51°04'N 13°45'E) - 869km E

field record

13.02.95 18.08.95

Ipswich, Suffolk (52°03'N O l ' W E ) Boulogne, Pas-de-Calais, F R A N C E (50°44'N 01°34'E) - 149km SSE

ES25342

Black-headed Gull recoveries in 1995 involving Suffolk included movements to or from France (1), the Netherlands (2), Germany (6), Denmark (1), Poland (3), Estonia (2), Lithuania (3), Norway (1), Sweden (5) and Finland (8). Some of these were sightings of returning foreign-ringed birds which had also been seen in the County in previous years. One such individual, ringed in Germany in 1984, returned in December 1995 for its ninth successive winter on the same small stretch of promenade at Felixstowe. The three movements shown in full are the longest for the year, one to central Germany over 300km from the coast and one to France, a bird which had probably changed its wintering area. COMMON GULL ER21703

04.02.95

found dead

(26.06.95)

585039 Stavanger

EP28102

Larus canus

10

10.07.95 destroyed

30.12.95

8

10.02.91

found dead

c.15.07.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01 o 19'E) Norrkoping, Ostergotland, S W E D E N (58°36'N 16°1 l'E) - 1195km NE Sandholmane, Os, Hordaland, NORWAY (60°ll'N05o31/E) Ipswich Docks, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°09'E) - 945km SSW Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Roggesloot, Texel, N E T H E R L A N D S (53°09'N 04°51'E) - 274km ENE

These three recoveries show the origin of some of the Common Gulls wintering in Suffolk - 585039 was ringed as a pullus and the other two birds were probably on their breeding grounds when recovered. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL GA08301

1

Larus fuscus

caught

09.07.95 20.12.95

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01 °34'E) Agadir, M O R O C C O (30°30'N 09°40'W) - 2570km SSW

GG93446

1 bird found

09.07.94 (21.04.95)

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01 °34'E) at sea, off Larache, M O R O C C O (35°00'N 06°30'W) - 2004km SSW

GG56649

1 found dead

03.07.88 25.12.95

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) Marbella, Malaga, SPAIN (36°31'N 04°53'W) 1803km SSW

GG92678

1 destroyed

04.07.93 26.05.95

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) Vannes Port, Morbihan, F R A N C E (47°40'N 02°45'W) - 580km SSW

There were only four foreign recoveries in 1995 of birds ringed at the Orfordness colony, all of which are shown above. Other movements from Orfordness included birds to Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Sussex, Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire (2) and West Suffolk (3). 182


In addition, a colour-ringed bird seen at Minsmere on May 16th, 1995 was confirmed as having been marked as a pullus in a roof-nesting colony at Ijmuiden, the Netherlands on June 21st, 1993. GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL HT21161

8

24.10.92

found dead

c. 14.04.95

Larus marinus

Bramford Landfill, Little Blakenham, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°05'E) at sea, Fladen Grand, N O R T H SEA (58°00'N 02°00'E) - 660km N

This bird was found dead in a fishing net midway between Scotland and Norway. It is likely that it met its fate whilst en route to breeding grounds in Norway or Arctic Russia. BARN OWL GJ20622

Tyto alba

4 freshly dead

23.10.82 (14.03.95)

Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) Hollesley

An excellent example of longevity and site fidelity. WOODLARK VK71214

Lullula arborea

1 controlled

22.05.92 11.04.94

Thetford Forest, Suffolk (52°24'N 00°37'E) Clipstone Forest, Nottinghamshire (53°09'N 01°06'W) - 142km NW

Also, a Woodlark colour-ringed in the Suffolk part of Thetford Forest on April 23rd, 1994 was reported at Minley, Hampshire in June 1995. SAND MARTIN

Riparia riparia

3753286

3

08.08.91

Paris

controlled

29.06.94

controlled

22.07.94

3

24.08.94

controlled

24.06.95

controlled

11.07.88 08.08.95

J649648

E014844

Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, F R A N C E (45°56'N 00°59'W) Kesgrave Hall, near Kesgrave, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°15'E) - 701km NNE Kesgrave Hall near Charity Farm, Shotley, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°15'E) Morayhill, Inverness, Highland Région, SCOTLAND (57°31'N 04°05'W) - 703km NNW Congleton, Cheshire (53°09'N 02°15'W) near Charity Farm, Shotley, Suffolk (51°59'N 01 0 15'E) - 270km ESE

It is likely that 3753286 was on passage from Britain when ringed in western France. Note that E014844 was seven years old when controlled in Suffolk. Other recoveries of this species in 1995 included movements to or from Durham, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Lancashire (2), Worcestershire, Lincolnshire (2), Nottinghamshire, Norfolk (2), Kent and Sussex (2). SWALLOW J897826

Hirundo rustica

3

05.09.94

controlled

31.08.95

near Charity Farm, Shotley, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°15'E) Bitterlees, near Silloth, Cumbria (54°52'N 03°23'W) 443km NW

183


K365214

1 controlled

HOUSE MARTIN K322140

10.08.95 21.09.95

Gildingwells, South Yorkshire (53°21'N 01°10'W) River Orwell, near Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°15'E) - 221km SE

Delichon

1

17.08.95

controlled

26.09.95

urbica Glendevon Village, Tayside, S C O T L A N D (56°13'N 03°39'W) Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) - 556km SE

Is late S e p t e m b e r the p e a k t i m e f o r Scottish H o u s e M a r t i n s to p a s s through S u f f o l k ? O n e ringed at L a n d g u a r d o n S e p t e m b e r 26th, 1987 w a s f o u n d d e a d in Scotland the f o l l o w i n g s u m m e r ( S u f f o l k Birds 38: 141). GREY WAGTAIL J056954

Motacilla

cinerea

3F

28.09.94

controlled

29.04.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Hogsmill Sewage Works, Norbiton, Greater London (51°24'N 00°17'W) - 125km WSW

E a c h a u t u m n there is a small southerly p a s s a g e of G r e y Wagtails over L a n d g u a r d . In 1994 a special e f f o r t w a s m a d e to catch s o m e of these, a n d w i t h the assistance of a tape-lure a total of eight w e r e c a u g h t and ringed. WREN

Troglodytes

5L3279 found dead

troglodytes Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) Sheet, nr Petersfield, Hampshire (51°00'N 00°55'W) 180km SW

29.09.95 29.10.95

L o n g d i s t a n c e r e c o v e r i e s of this species are unusual. A similar southerly autumn m o v e m e n t w a s n o t e d in 1988 w h e n o n e ringed at W a l b e r s w i c k w a s r e c o v e r e d in S u s s e x , a southerly m o v e m e n t of 2 0 8 k m ( S u f f o l k Birds 3 8 : 142). ROBIN J597100

J056624

Erithacus

rubecula

1

08.06.94

found dead

17.10.94

3

04.09.94

road casualty 27.06.95

Boxbush Farm, Longhope, Gloucestershire (51°53TS102°28'W) Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°1 l'È) - 251km E Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01 o 19'E) Boston, Lincolnshire (52°58TM 00°00'E) - 145km NW

J 5 9 7 1 0 0 , ringed as a nestling, h a d m o v e d well a w a y f r o m its natal area. REDSTART J682355

Phoenicurus

3F

20.09.95

freshly dead

25.10.95

phoenicurus Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Beauzelle, Haute-Garonne, F R A N C E (43°40'N 01°22'E) - 918km S

T h i s bird w o u l d h a v e been o n p a s s a g e w h e n f o u n d in the south of F r a n c e . It had the m i s f o r t u n e of killing itself by hitting a w i n d o w whilst trying to e s c a p e f r o m a house it h a d e n t e r e d . 184


BLACKBIRD RK99497

Turdus

4M

merula 03.11.94

road casualty 08.07.95 RK21567

4F

06.11.94

road casualty 06.10.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Flurkmark, Vasterbotten, S W E D E N 63°59'N 20°15'E) - 1735km NE Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Bjorkvik, Sodermanland, S W E D E N (58°50'N 16°31'E) - 1226km NE

RK89081

3F found dead

12.10.94 12.06.95

Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) Kempen, St.Hubert, Dusseldorf, G E R M A N Y (51°22'N 06°25'E) - 410km E

RK84245

4M controlled

27.11.94 26.02.95

Croit-e-Caley, Colby, Isle of Man (54°05'N 04°43'W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N G r i g ' s ) - 469km ESE

Details w e r e received of seven foreign recoveries involving S u f f o l k in 1995. T h e s e c o m p r i s e d m o v e m e n t s to or f r o m the N e t h e r l a n d s (1), G e r m a n y (3), D e n m a r k (1) a n d S w e d e n (2). T h e t w o f u r t h e s t are s h o w n above, together with the only o n e involving West S u f f o l k . A l s o s h o w n is t h e intriguing recovery of a B l a c k b i r d ringed on t h e Isle of M a n in late N o v e m b e r a n d controlled in S u f f o l k the f o l l o w i n g February. C o u l d this possibly h a v e b e e n a C o n t i n e n t a l bird that h a d arrived in northern Britain and w a s leaving by a m o r e southerly r o u t e ? SONG THRUSH RS33361

RV99960

RS33654

RS33474

K932581 Arnhem

Turdus

philomelos

3

24.10.93

hunted

24.01.95

5

20.04.94

hunted

29.01.95

4

16.10.94

found dead

15.11.94

3

17.10.93

shot

c.15.11.94

3

11.10.95

controlled

12.10.95

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Badajoz, SPAIN (38°30'N 06°00'W) - 1598km SSW Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) Nisa, Alto Alentejo, P O R T U G A L (39°31'N 07°39'W) - 1543km SSW Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Auray, Morbihan, F R A N C E (47°35'N 02°56'W) 572km SSW Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Sammarcolles, near Loudun, Vienne, F R A N C E (47°02'N 00°09'E) - 552km S Kroonspolders, Vlieland, N E T H E R L A N D S (53°15'N 04°57'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 286km WSW

S i n c e 1 9 8 6 there h a v e b e e n eight recoveries of S u f f o l k - r i n g e d S o n g T h r u s h e s in Iberia, all b e t w e e n m i d - N o v e m b e r a n d January. T h e s e w e r e all ringed during the p e a k p a s s a g e p e r i o d s f o r this s p e c i e s in t h e C o u n t y - April (2), S e p t e m b e r (1) a n d O c t o b e r (7). It is p o s s i b l e that the t w o birds f o u n d in F r a n c e in m i d - N o v e m b e r w e r e o n p a s s a g e to Iberia w h e n recovered. 185


N o t e t h e s w i f t m o v e m e n t of K 9 3 2 5 8 1 w h i c h w a s controlied at L a n d g u a r d the day a f t e r it h a d b e e n r i n g e d in the N e t h e r l a n d s . REDWING RS67169

Turdus

3 hunted

RS33525 freshly dead

iliacus 19.11.94 22.12.95

Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk (52°13'N 00°43'E) Casseneuil, Lot-et-Garonne, F R A N C E (44°27'N 00°37'E) - 863kmS

26.09.94

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Cocumont, Lot-et-Garonne, F R A N C E (44°27'N 00°02'E) - 838km S

c.15.01.95

T w o w i n t e r r e c o v e r i e s in the s a m e area of France. It is likely that m o s t of the R e d w i n g s that o c c u r in S u f f o l k in a u t u m n d o not w i n t e r h e r e but are en route to w i n t e r i n g g r o u n d s f u r t h e r south. SEDGE WARBLER

Acrocephalus

K025194

3

08.08.95

controlled

23.08.95

3

13.08.95

K315121

killed by cat 05.09.95

REED WARBLER 3981663 Paris

K237538

Lochgelly, Fife Region, S C O T L A N D (56°0rN03°18'W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 554km SSE Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) New Park Farm, West Anstey, Devon (51°01'N 03°39'W) - 371km WSW scirpaceus

4

18.04.93

controlled

04.06.93

controlled

22.07.95

controlled

01.08.95 20.08.95

Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Villeton, Lot-et-Garonne, F R A N C E (44°21'N 00° 1 6 ^ ) - 885km S

3

13.08.95

controlled

20.08.95

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) Beerse, Antwerpen, B E L G I U M (51°19'N 04°52'E) 249km ESE

3 controlled

19.08.95 23.08.95

Playford Bog, Playford, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°13'E) St. Gillis, Dendermonde, B E L G I U M (51°01'N 04°07'E) - 233km ESE

19.07.95

near Charity Farm, Shotley, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°15'E) Zulte, Oost-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M (50°55'N 03°26'E) - 192km SE

J770134

K315063

Acrocephalus

schoenobaenus

J982893 controlled

20.08.95 30.08.94

J356393 controlled

26.05.95

Pare National du Djoudj, Fleuve, S E N E G A L (16°25'N 16°18'W) Redgrave and Lopham Fens, Suffolk/Norfolk (52°23'N 0 1 ° 0 1 ' E ) - 4279km NNE Redgrave and Lopham Fens

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Wetteren, Oost-Vlaanderen, B E L G I U M (51°00'N 03°53'E) - 209km ESE 186


The first bird would have been on passage from wintering grounds further south when ringed at Djoudj - a ringing study at this site has shown that British Reed Warblers do not winter there but occur as spring passage migrants with numbers peaking in April (Mead et al. 1995). Since 1992 there have been nine movements between Suffolk and Belgium. All but one of these have been either, ringed in Suffolk in July/August and recovered in Belgium in August of the same autumn, or ringed in Belgium in August/September and caught in Suffolk in May/June. This suggests that on autumn migration at least some of our Reed Warblers move out of the country by a southeasterly route into Belgium before heading southwestwards towards Iberia and West Africa. LESSER WHITETHROAT H878538

4

20.08.94

controlled

29.04.95

WHITETHROAT H529504

Sylvia curruca Rye Meads, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire (51°46'N 00°00'E) Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 90km ENE

Sylvia communis

5

28.05.93

found dead

11.06.95

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Parkstyle, Monymusk, Grampian Region, SCOTLAND (57°15'N 02°34'W) - 639km NNW

Over 2,000 Whitethroats have been ringed at Fagbury since 1991 and nineteen recoveries have resulted. The movement of H529504 was by far the most distant of these, the others have been to or from Suffolk (6), Norfolk (2), Cambridgeshire (2), Essex (4), Hertfordshire (1), Kent (1) and Sussex (2). GARDEN WARBLER J327416

J770364

Sylvia borin

3

19.09.93

found dead

c. 15.06.95

4 controlled

29.06.95 05.08.95

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01 o 17'E) Koserow, Usedom, Rostock, G E R M A N Y (54°03'N 14°00'E) - 881km ENE Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Icklesham, Sussex (50°54'N (X)°40'E) - 165km SSW

J327416 was presumably on its breeding grounds when recovered and had probably turned up in Suffolk as a drift migrant displaced westwards in its first autumn. The recovery location is in north-east Germany only about 20km from the Polish border. BLACKCAP J329127

J056908

J357543

Sylvia atricapilla

4F

28.04.94

caught

05.03.95

3F

26.09.94

freshly dead

07.03.95

3F

19.09.94

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Abdelmoumene, Alger, A L G E R I A (36°49'N 04°40'E) - 1702km S Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01 o 19'E) Aerdenhout, Noord-Holland, N E T H E R L A N D S (52°22'N 04°36'E) - 229km ENE Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E)

187


hit window

08.06.95

Seaton Delaval, Northumberland (55°04'N 01°31'W) 393km NNW

Note the early March recovery date in the Netherlands of J056908. Had it wintered there or had it done so in Britain and was on passage to its breeding grounds? J329127 is the third Suffolk-ringed Blackcap to be recovered in Algeria since 1992, the other two both being found there in October. A number of recoveries within Britain were also reported, the furthest of which is shown above. The others included movements to or from Norfolk (2), Lincolnshire (1), Kent (1) and Sussex (2). CHIFFCHAFF 2W2186

Phylloscopus

4

10.05.95

found dead

30.05.95

collybita Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) at sea, N O R T H SEA (59°21'N 01°34'E) - 822km N

This bird, found on a vessel between Scotland and Norway, was presumably heading for breeding grounds in Scandinavia. WILLOW WARBLER

Phylloscopus

trochilus

4T0927

3 controlied

27.06.94 12.04.95

Urlay Nook, near Yarm, Cleveland (54°31'N 01°23'W) Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) - 319km SE

9F1969

3M

19.09.95

controlied

25.09.95

Gibraltar Point, Skegness, Lincolnshire (53°06'N 00° 19'E) Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 144km SSE

GOLDCREST 9L0862

0L3593

Regulus regulus

3F

23.09.95

controlled

20.10.95

3F

16.10.94

controlled

04.04.95

Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, W A L E S (52°45'N 04°48'W) Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 " 5 7 ^ 01°17'E) - 422km ESE Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) Kilnsea, Humberside (53°37'N 00°08'E) - 203km NNW

October is the peak month for Goldcrest passage on the Suffolk coast, large falls often occurring. It is assumed that most of these are of Continental origin and birds ringed in Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands have been caught in Suffolk in recent years. The appearance in Suffolk in October of one ringed off the Welsh coast four weeks earlier is therefore surprising. PIED FLYCATCHER J055527

Ficedula hypoleuca

4F

24.05.94

controlled

23.05.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Helgoland, G E R M A N Y (54°11'N 07°55T2) - 507km ENE

This species is relatively scarce in Suffolk on spring migration. It is likely that many of those that do occur, especially the later birds, are drift migrants from the Continent. 188


LONG-TAILED TIT 2W1761

2

21.10.94

controlled

24.05.95

GREAT TIT J505073

Aegithalos

Parus

caudatus Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (5i ^ v n o r n ' E ) Lineage Wood, Lavenham, Suffolk (52°06'N 00°45'E) - 40km WNW

major

5F

26.02.94

controlled

22.04.94

Denford Mill, Hungerford, Berkshire (51°25'N 01°30'W) Newbourne Springs, Newbourne, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°18'E) - 205km ENE

A large m o v e m e n t of G r e a t Tits occurred on the S u f f o l k coast in the spring of 1994 and this b e l a t e d r e c o r d is t h e third m o v e m e n t over 1 0 0 k m f r o m this period. T h e r e is n o o b v i o u s pattern to the recoveries, the other two, b o t h ringed at B a w d s e y o n M a r c h 10th, w e r e r e c o v e r e d in north N o r f o l k and Sussex in M a r c h a n d M a y respectively (,Suffolk Birds 43: 174). ROOK

Corvus

frugilegus Torreberga, Staffanstorp, Malmohus, SWEDEN (55°37'N 13°13'E) Blundeston, Suffolk (52°31'N 01°42'E) - 826km WSW

08.06.94

8073908 4 Stockholm shot

26.01.94

T h e o n l y other S w e d i s h - r i n g e d R o o k to h a v e b e e n recovered in Britain w a s also in S u f f o l k - at C h e d i s t o n in 1973. In the past, birds ringed in the Netherlands, G e r m a n y and L a t v i a h a v e also b e e n f o u n d in the County. STARLING RK54159

RK55933

Sturnus

vulgaris Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01 o 19'E) Marum, Groningen, N E T H E R L A N D S (53°09'N 06°17'E) - 362km ENE

4F

28.11.93

found

22.03.95

3M

15.10.94

found dead

07.04.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Schiedam, Zuid-Holland, N E T H E R L A N D S (51°55'N 04°24'E) - 211km E

CHAFFINCH F414937 5M

Fringilla coelebs 13.03.93 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) road casualty 05.05.95 Vargarda, Alvsborg, SWEDEN (58°02'N I2°43'E) 996km NE

T h i s is t h e s e c o n d L a n d g u a r d - r i n g e d C h a f f i n c h to b e f o u n d in S w e d e n . T h e other, ringed in M a r c h 1991, w a s controlled in J u n e 1991 and again in M a r c h 1992 only about 5 0 k m f r o m the f i n d i n g p l a c e of this bird. GREENFINCH VN06451 controlled

5F

Carduelis

chloris

16.03.95 18.04.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk ( S ^ ó T - J 01°19'E) Skudeneshavn, Karmoy, Rogaland, NORWAY (59°10'N 05°16'E) - 841km NNE 189


VP96552

5M controlled

07.01.95 28.04.95

near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01 °26'E) Lista Fyr, Farsund, Vest-Agder, NORWAY ^ W N 06°34'E) - 747km NNE

T h e r e h a v e n o w b e e n f o u r G r e e n f i n c h recoveries b e t w e e n S u f f o l k and N o r w a y , the first h a v i n g b e e n in 1991. In the last f e w years there has b e e n a m a r k e d i n c r e a s e in the n u m b e r of r e c o r d e d m o v e m e n t s of this species b e t w e e n Britain a n d N o r w a y . Initially t h e s e m o v e m e n t s o n l y involved t h e north-east of Britain but recently they h a v e also started involving E a s t A n g l i a (Clark et al. 1996) Of t h e m o v e m e n t s within Britain in 1995 involving S u f f o l k , o n l y t w o o v e r 150km w e r e r e p o r t e d - N o r t h a m p t o n s h i r e to L a n d g u a r d Point ( 1 6 2 k m ) a n d L a c k f o r d Pits to Sussex (153km). GOLDFINCH F414784

Carduelis

carduelis

3F

17.10.92

caught

02.03.95

J355731

12.08.94 found dead

10.02.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Vitoria, Alava, SPAIN (42°51'N 02°40'W) - 1052km SSW Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Villeneuve-de-Marsan, Mont-de-Marsan, Landes, F R A N C E (43°54'N 00°18'W) - 902km S

S p a i n a n d F r a n c e a r e k n o w n w i n t e r i n g areas f o r British G o l d f i n c h e s . SISKIN

Carduelis

J961944

5F controlled

spinus 30.03.95 20.05.95

near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) near Golspie Tower Farm, Highland Region, S C O T L A N D (57°59'N 03°59'W) - 744km NNW

K035306

5M found dying

14.03.95 24.04.95

Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'NOO°38'E) Sutherland, Highland Region, S C O T L A N D 57°58'N 04°35'W) - 711km NNW

J891000

5F controlled

23.02.95 23.04.95

Stowmarket, Suffolk (52° 11 'N 00°59'E) Tain, Highland Region, S C O T L A N D (57°58'N 04°04'W) - 702km NNW

J961953

5M controlled

30.03.95 07.04.95

near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) Butteryhaugh, Northumberland (55° 14'N 02°35'W) 442km NW

T h e first three birds w e r e all r e c o v e r e d in the s a m e area of north S c o t l a n d in late April/May. LINNET J056055

J680798

Carduelis

cannabina

3M

26.07.94

freshly dead

c.15.11.94

5F

02.05.95

killed by cat (24.05.95)

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) El Rincon de la Victoria, Malaga, SPAIN (36°43'N 04°17'W) - 1747km SSW Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) Colehill, Wimborne, Dorset (50°48'N 01°57'W) 259km WSW 190


Since 1983 over 7,000 Linnets have been ringed at Landguard. Although five of these have now been found in Spain, only four of the recoveries within Britain have exceeded a distance of 25km. J680798 is by far the longest of these, the others being to Essex and Kent (2). The movement of this bird, from Suffolk to Dorset in May, is unexpected. R E E D BUNTING J822971

3M controlled

Emberiza 16.10.94 03.03.95

schoeniclus Reculver, Kent (51°22'N 01°1 l'E) Lackford Pits. Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) - 110km NNW

Acknowledgements : Special thanks to the following ringers/ringing groups who supplied 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, Ian Henderson, Ron Hoblyn, Sir Anthony Hurrell, Lackford Ringing Group, Landguard Bird Observatory, Alan Leitch, Dr. Peter McAnulty, Market Weston Ringing Group, Alan Miller, Derek Moore, 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 the British Trust for Ornithology, Ipswich Museum and the Regional County Recorders for forwarding information from their files and all non-ringers who have supplied recovery details. References: Clark, J. A., Adams, S. Y„ Peach, W. J. & Simons, J. R. 1996. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1994. Ringing & Migration 17: 36-79. Mead, C. J. & Clark, J. A. 1988. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1987. Ringing & Migration 9: 169-204. Mead, C. J., Clark, J. A. & Peach, W. J. 1995. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1993. Ringing & Migration 16: 16-64. Mike Marsh, 5 Ennerdale Close, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP 11 9SS

191


Systematic List of Species and Totals of Birds Ringed in Suffolk, 1986 to 1995 Species Little Grebe Fulmar Storm Petrel Leach's Petrel Shag Bittern Grey Heron Mute Swan Greylag Goose Canada Goose Shelduck Wigeon Teal Mallard Pintail Shoveler T\ifted Duck Marsh Harrier Sparrowhawk Kestrel Merlin Hobby Grey Partridge Water Rail Moorhen Coot Oystercatcher Avocet Stone-curlew Little Ringed Piover Ringed Piover Golden Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Knot Sanderling Little Stint Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Ruff Jack Snipe Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Turnstone

1986

1987 1988

-

-

5

6

_

1989

_ _

-

6

1990

_ _ _

1991 1

1992

_ _

1993

_ _ _ _ _

_ _ _

1994

_ _ _ _ _ _

-

_

_ _

_

-

-

-

-

-

-

_

-

_ 8

_ _

-

2

_

-

-

-

2 6 31 14

5 9 1 51 10

7 6 8 42 58

8 10 1 4 3 2 26 6

_

_ _ _

35 33 23

48 45 16

-

6

17 2

-

5 2

-

-

Ili 14

-

140 4

-

-

36 4

15 1 1

-

5 23 2 9

1

185 1 1 50 4

_

_ _

296 15 1 92 3 6

-

_ _ _

_

1 1

1

_

_

24

23 6

_ _

_

_ _

6

-

-

-

-

1 5

1 4

27 10 13

34 19 28

1 42 17 15

2 54 27 20

_

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1 12

-

3 4

1 10

-

2 24 9 22 14

1 14 3 11 15 65

-

-

437 19 53 -

58

-

3 1 122 28

-

-

32 46

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

77

51

42

30

10 39 16 4

17 29 1

13 35 2

-

-

148

_

-

-

-

10 65 -

24 95 8

-

-

-

1

_

-

_

-

-

4

-

-

178

-

753

3 125 1 2 7 25 107 4 6

1 12 35 6 9

-

-

1 2

-

-

-

-

-

706

3 55 2 5

-

2

1 15

-

-

-

_

826 1 18 30 3 1

1 94 6 2 2

23 59

2 2 22 6

23 83

16 38 3

1 549 1 2 28 1 7

_

_

-

-

19 109 6 2 1 17 5

10 99 -

8 1 9 14

-

_

_

_

_

_ _ -

751 1 7 35 2 3 3 2 10 71 5 10

_

_

20 1 15 57 2

_ 1

_ -

747 3 2 25 3 32 9 25 264 7 3

-

-

-

-

6 30

-

6

1

23

192

-

_

.

_

i 2 10 1 19 26 55

_

43

_

43 49 5 1 3 1 -

1238 2 11 29 3 3 1 4 18 375 18 3

_ 2 2

27 27 1 7 9

_

70 5

i 1 7 7 1 18 45 38 4 109

_

27 52 10

_ 7 3 -

808 2 7 11 7 7

_

2 11 122 3 12 1 23

_

G.TOTAL 1986-95 1 17 1 1 2 1 1 1 119 6 55 4 6 9 766 3 70 _ 13 5 418 3 108 _ 7 1 1 _ 14 48 311 45 200 19 152 2 2 _ 1 _ 2 22 5 89 3 22 5 715 9 313 31 288 77 8 4 590 12 _ 1 180 5 497 38 51 4 _ 5 _ 13 _ 23 _ 1 6833 277 _ 10 60 6 444 12 35 7 63 1 _ 6 _ 25 157 4 1365 124 55 6 _ 55 3 _ 68 3 76 _

1995

_ _ _ _ _


Species Mediterranean Gull Black-headed Gull Common Gull Lesser Blk-backed Gull Herring Gull Great Blk-backed Gull Common Tem Little Tem Guillemot Little Auk Stock Dove Wood Pigeon Collared Dove Turtle Dove Cuckoo Yellow-billed Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Short-eared Owl Nightjar Swift Kingfisher Wryneck Green Woodpecker Great Sp Woodpecker Lesser Sp Woodpecker Woodlark Skylark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Blyth's Pipit Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Thrush Nightingale Nightingale Bluethroat Red-flanked Bluetail Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Wheatear Pied Wheatear Desert Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare

1986 -

635 6 277 95 -

28 -

1987 1988 1 732 522 20 3 363 1352 221 557 6 2 6 9 48 49 -

_ _

_

1 2 16 10 11 8

5 8 21 1 2

11 90 24 9

-

-

_

6 1 4 2

7 1 3 5

10 94 2 3 2 9 10 40 8 841 1168 738

32 19 5 1 7 8 2 21 31 149 886 210

4 1 7 13 1 8 570 3 2 1 7 7 34 27 646 1406 185 -

1 50 1 148 2 239 173 419 322

_

-

13 189 1 14 -

-

-

25 35 1 5 -

92 67 293 670 514 817 737 1147

1989

1990

1036 25 816 242 23

348 8 777 238 21

_

_

20

_ _ _

21 22 5 1 1 5

_ 1 2

-

863 505 963 8 33 1 33 1 72 764 779 634

-

-

-

24

-

-

45 1

34 1

45 52 14 2 61

-

8

_ _ 3 1065 25

_ 69 41 25 3 101

_

_

_

_ 1 11 19 1322 1583 32 40

-

32

-

-

248 17 688 151 4 2 33

1993

1994 1 48 5 730 149

-

61 1 471 137 7 35 50

78 9 746 245

1995 -

412 14 568 236

-

-

-

56 23

8 16

39 2

1 3 34 22 9 1

G.TOTAL 1986-95 2 4120 108 6788 2271 63 155 301

1 1 5 36 17 11 4

-

75 12 11 3

4 107 16 8 2

8 100 58 4 4

6 70 40 6 2

33 478 308 90 36 1 43 22 42 49

_

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

1 3 4

8 4 6

3 2 7 1

7 1 7 11

7 6 3 2

50 1 13 3 12 15 6 26 50 1302 544 595

10 14 11 1 18 11 2 7 15 1194 880 262

40 1 12 3 13 20 2 37 2 2637 1482 590

24 36 22 2 27 22 5 53 81 1253 965 963

42 142 24 6 28 28 2 51 31 1105 1494 980

56 286 19 3 22 17

1

-

1

167 37

110 232

40 642

129 342

49 288

155 4 126 657 719 935

8 2 47 301 592 595

9 1 125 606 868 845

10 5 87 1043 1053 1738

44 8 66 756 911 1400

59 355 2 39 7 111 829 1000 1158

601 2203 6 465 30 1032 6092 7672 9511

-

-

1

1

42 -

45 -

369 3

4 1 3 3

-

-

48 74 10

-

1992

-

28 6 13 1 7 12 5 26

44 -

1991

-

-

-

16

21 1

48 -

-

-

1

-

1

27 58 10

14 31 23

16

36

20 48 17 3 70

17 84 14 2 36

55 151 14 2 38

36 82 14 5 37

36 147 3 2 30

367 768 144 19 433

5 1331 11

11 2148 27

-

_

_

50 -

-

57 5 1149 1173 975

300 1169 124 25 137 149 41 352 250 11139 10503 6461

1

-

1

_ 8 1180 5

1991 11

25 2416 26

18 2030 33

4 1700 12

104 16766 222


Species 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 Song Thrush 330 550 711 507 378 480 Redwing 21 44 189 68 87 121 Mistle Thrush 15 18 9 11 27 26 _ _ _ Cetti's Warbler 1 Grasshopper Warbler 7 15 13 6 10 1 Sedge Warbler 163 265 211 336 346 259 Paddyfield Warbler 1 Blyth's Reed Warbler _ Marsh Warbler 1 1 1 Reed Warbler 906 616 440 709 711 647 _ _ Icterine Warbler 2 3 3 1 _ _ _ _ Melodious Warbler Dartford Warbler Subalpine Warbler 1 1 1 2 _ — — Sardinian Warbler Barred Warbler 2 2 1 1 1 Lesser Whitethroat 199 146 185 293 214 199 Whitethroat 161 262 352 440 517 397 Garden Warbler 178 201 178 238 197 232 Blackcap 411 573 405 588 595 777 _ _ _ _ Greenish Warbler _ _ _ _ _ _ Arctic Warbler _ _ Pallas's Warbler 2 1 1 _ Yell.-browed Warbler 4 1 7 _ _ Radde's Warbler 2 Dusky Warbler 1 1 Wood Warbler 1 10 6 8 6 3 Chiffchaff 224 268 582 389 525 430 Willow Warbler 943 1012 1094 861 911 777 Goldcrest 60 113 388 542 1052 75 Firecrest 9 35 24 47 45 12 Spotted Flycatcher 68 155 175 188 152 112 Red-breast'd Flycatcher 1 1 Pied Flycatcher 46 28 29 36 17 12 Bearded Tit 52 1 92 200 458 5 Long-tailed Tit 73 129 205 320 434 364 Marsh Tit 21 41 31 40 40 46 Willow Tit 9 8 16 9 32 22 Coal Tit 84 107 77 84 85 85 Blue Tit 1121 1638 1312 1485 1461 1605 Great Tit 543 799 801 746 713 884 Nuthatch 20 27 19 25 21 8 Treecreeper 30 49 40 70 91 57 _ _ _ Golden Oriole _ Red-backed Shrike 1 1 3 2 _ _ Great Grey Shrike 1 1 Woodchat Shrike Jay 7 14 16 12 31 26 Magpie 1 2 10 11 8 Jackdaw 1 1 2 _ Rook 1 2 1 _ _ _ Carrion Crow Starling 2674 2308 1913 1520 754 1001 House Sparrow 148 577 503 460 273 240 Tree Sparrow 10 13 31 10 10 6 Chaffinch 326 383 356 410 493 816 Brambling 30 14 34 7 27 37

194

1992 672 137 42

1993 958 206 30

1994 846 333 34

1995 523 169 50

8 603

14 471

16 718

13 687

_

_

_

_

1 1450 4

2 1 1569 9

_ _

_

-

_

2 341 1083 463 2437 1

_ _ 1

_ _

_ _ —

_

5 2150 6 1

3

_

1 1562 3 1 1 1

3 829 1417 600 2884

1 1 616 1749 696 2717

433 1621 423 1529

1 3 2

12 5

_

_ _

_ _

16 836 1644 504 30 158 2 38 250 616 84 16 81 2543 1582 7 58

9 861 1763 1012 77 237 1 52 19 890 90 24 150 2900 2238 4 101

_

_

_ 4

_ _

_ _

14 936 1755 876 48 190 -

71 196 596 74 12 114 2811 2128 22 58 1

_ .

__ _

_ _ 1 2 1

_ 5 758 990 518 36 156 1 100 53 844 69 17 135 2787 1749 6 58

_ _

_ _

_ _

26 12 3

26 12 2

1 20 11 5

_

23 19 11 3

1438 303 5 1192 32

1659 187 15 1222 20

1 2602 388 8 1135 222

2388 773 2 1215 73

_ _

_ _

1

_

_

G.TOTAL 1986-95 5955 1375 262 1 103 4059 1 2 11 10760 31 2 1 9 1 13 3455 7999 3406 12916 1 1 20 22 3 2 78 5809 11750 5140 363 1591 6 429 1326 4471 536 165 1002 19663 12183 159 612 1 11 3 1 201 86 25 7 1 18257 3852 110 7548 496


Species Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Twite Redpoll Crossbill Common Rosefmch Bullfinch Hawfmch Lapland Bunting Snow Bunting Yellowhammer Ortolan Bunting Rustie Bunting Little Bunting Reed Bunting Corn Bunting GRAND TOTAL NO. OF SPECIES

1986 4305 176 358 486 4 596 9 -

192 -

131 -

1 163 5

1987 1988 3666 2850 281 271 29 20 418 682 7 78 119 2 -

205 -

3 2 121 1

-

237 2

1989 3641 288 212 532 -

74 -

253 2

1990 3289 417 23 846 8 132 10 -

286 1

1991 3030 455 12 1422 -

94 17 -

242

1992 3832 602 35 980 -

58 2 5 232

1993 2793 624 89 853 -

-

28

58 70

_ -

289

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

91

21 39

139

112

1994 3331 664 318 1285

-

-

-

39 1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

1 97 1

-

-

-

-

-

-

58

67

73

-

-

-

64 2

140 -

125

-

170 2

75 1

97

-

125 -

G.TOTAL 1986-95 33380 4279 1447 8369 19 159 1396 2 112 1 6 221 2327 7 3 23 94 988 2 1 2 75 937 9 -

1995 2643 501 351 865

23484 24121 25090 25819 25484 24390 37359 41517 42834 36218 128

133

128

123

125

195

128

129

136

140

133

306316 186


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 naturai history. Recording the naturai history of Suffolk is stili 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 Muséums. Suffolk Naturai 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 Muséum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES: SNS Individuai £12.00 Family £14.00 Junior (under 18) £7.00

Joint membership SNS/SOG £20.00 £24.00 £10.00

Ai s


CONTENTS Page Editorial Mike Crewe 5 The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey Mike Crewe 7 An Analysis of the occurrence of Wren, Dunnock and Reed Bunting at Landguard Point, Suffolk Nigel Odin 16 Weather trends and their effects on the County's avifauna, 1995 Adam Bimpson 22 The 1995 Suffolk Bird Report: 28 Introduction 28 Systematic List 30 Appendix I: Category D species 150 Appendix II: Escapees 151 Appendix III: List of non-accepted records 153 List of Contributors 154 Gazetteer 156 Earliest and latest dates of summer migrants 158 Notes: 159 Egg Theft by Carrion Crows John Glazebrook 159 Hybrid House x Tree Sparrow at Timworth Mike Crewe 159 Rarities in Suffolk in 1995: 161 Laughing Gull David Fairhurst 161 Pine Bunting Ricky Fairhead 162 Greater Yellowlegs Brian Small 162 Spotted Sandpiper Eric Patrick 163 Thrush Nightingale Paul Holmes 164 Citrine Wagtail Geoff Welch 165 Whiskered Tern Paul Oldfield 165 Red-eyed Vireo Dick Waiden 166 'Eastern'Stonechat Stuart Ling 166 Olivaceous Warbler Carl Buttle 168 A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk 170 Landguard Bird Observatory, 1995 Michael James 172 Suffolk Ringing Report Mike Marsh 178

PRICE

ÂŁ7.50

Suffolk Birds 1995 (Published 1996) Part 2  

Volume 45

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