Page 1

The 1996 Suffolk Bird Report Introduction to the systematic list T h e systematic list of species and its appendices have been written using data supplied by the c o u n t y ' s birdwatchers and entered into computers by the Area County Recorders. The collators of data for the checklist are as follows: Divers to Shag Herons to geese Ducks Raptors Game birds to cranes Oystercatcher to Ruff Snipe to phalaropes Skuas to gulls Terns to auks

Gary Lowe Andrew Easton Malcolm Wright Mike Crewe Richard Rafe Mike Crewe Mike Crewe Stuart Ling Mike Crewe

Pigeons to woodpeckers Larks to Dunnock Chats to thrushes Warblers to flycatchers Tits to shrikes Crows to Starling Sparrows to buntings Escapees

Darren Underwood Philip Murphy Mike Crewe Mike Crewe Tony Howe Rob Macklin Rob Macklin Mike Crewe

T h e order and nomenclature follow the Birding World Complete List of The Birds of the Western Palearctic, which in turn follows Dr K H Voous's List of Recent Holarctic Bird Species with any more recent alterations. All records refer to a single bird unless otherwise stated. Subspecies are listed under the main species' heading, which includes the scientific name. With scarcer species, all records are listed under the parish followed by a more exact location, if known. This exception to this is at the river estuaries and larger, well-known sites criss-crossed by several parish boundaries e.g. Walberswick N N R , Minsmere, Orfordness, Alton Water etc. To minimise any potential threats to site security, some records of rare breeding birds are published anonymously and under a vague site heading. Unless otherwise stated, the tabulated sets of counts for some waterfowl and waders are from the co-ordinated WeBS (formerly B o E E ) counts. Using such co-ordinated data instead of m a x i m u m counts gives a better idea of the populations of each species wintering in the county on a given date. However, fluctuations in n u m b e r s due to changing weather patterns will affect totals and higher counts are given in the text after the table where appropriate. Counts f r o m North Warren include T h o r p e n e s s Meare, Church Farm Marshes and the shoreline between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh; the Aide/Ore includes the complex of the Aide, Ore and Butley rivers as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave reservoir and Havergate Island; the Orwell includes Trimley Marshes, Loompit Lake and Bourne Park Water M e a d o w s and the Stour includes the Essex side of the estuary for completeness (although efforts are m a d e to show this separately). In the past we have been in the fortunate position of having data for a n u m b e r of years f r o m a cross-section of geographically well-spread sites throughout the county. It is to the credit of those observers w h o have persevered with such intense studies as the C o m m o n Bird C e n s u s (CBC), Constant Effort Site (CES) and transect counts, that this information is available for use. Such data are invaluable when monitoring any local population changes in c o m m o n species. However, the number of such sites remains small, and in fact appears to be falling, so it is of great relief that the Breeding Bird Survey has taken off so well, both locally and nationally. This scheme should provide an even better data base on the health - or otherwise - of the Nation's avifauna and we are indebted to the willingness of the British Trust for Ornithology to provide data f r o m this scheme.

48


1: Creation of the RSPB's new Lakenheath

reserve gathered pace in 1996. Mike Crewe

2 and 3: History in the making: Suffolk's

Red Kite chicks receive their ID tags. Ian Carter


The following abbreviations are used in the systematic list: ad. = adult GP = gravel pit imm. = immature Ind. Est. = industriai estate juv. = juvenile NNR = National Nature Reserve N. = bird(s) flying north R = River S. = bird(s) flying south res. = reservoir WP = Water Park WR = Wildfowl Reserve The following définitions are intended as a guide to the relative status of each species: Abundant: Occurs in large numbers in suitable habitat and season. Common: Occurs regularly or widely distributed in suitable habitat. Fairly common: Occurs in small numbers in suitable habitat and season. Uncommon: Occurs annually in small numbers. Scarce: One or two records each year or restricted to specific habitats. Rare: Occurs less than annually. Very rare: Less than 15 records in past 30 years. Accidentai: Less than three records in past 30 years. Submission and assessment of records All records come under the scrutiny of the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee (SORC) and for rare or scarce species, vérification is sought - i.e. photographs, field sketches, witnesses, sound recordings (for calling or singing birds) and (most importantly) written descriptions. The SORC's policy for vagrants, classified as national rarities, is clear; records should be channelled through the County Recorders to be considered by the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC). Its décisions are accepted by S O R C with few exceptions. For a full list of species which are considered by the SORC, see A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk in this issue of Suffolk Birds. The committee may also request further détails regarding any other species that, in the opinion of the committee, is out of context in terms of season, habitat or numbers. A list of records which have not been accepted for publication can be found in the appendices and includes those which have been circulated to the respective committees but were considered unacceptable due to either the identification not being fully established or, more rarely, a genuine mistake having been made. It also includes records which have been previously published in the bulletins of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, British Birds and/or the populär birding press for which further détails were not forthcoming. It does not include records still under considération. Observers are reminded that Suffolk works to Watsonian vice-county boundaries, taking in areas that are now administered as Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Essex. The most significant area affected is that of Lothingland, the northern limits of which follow the River Yare and include the south side of Breydon Water. We have retained these original boundaries as we feel that sensible comparison of data can only be made from year to year if the recording area is kept constant. Other variables, such as the greater number of observers now present in the field, are beyond our control, but we should at least try to record data as accurately as we are able. To aid the inputting of data onto computer by the County Recorders, we would request observers to submit their records monthly. We also suggest that the following format is followed: (a) Location (precise place name from the Ordnance Survey map plus parish if ambiguous). OS grid référencé should be added if reporting breeding locations. (b) Species 49


(c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h)

Date N a m e and address of observer Sex/age - male, female, juvenile etc. Abundance - count numbers, frequency, etc. Type of record - dead, ringed, etc. Other comments considered relevant - behaviour etc.

If submitting a list of records for one particular site, please put site details at the top and annotate the list of species with sex and/or frequency. The current system of three Area County Recorders may seem confusing but is straightforward if the m a p on the inside front cover of this report is referred to. If in any doubt, all records can be sent to a single recorder and will be sorted there (but please bear in mind that the Recorders are hard-pressed volunteers!) Acknowledgements The editor would again like to personally thank all those involved with the production of this report. Particular thanks go to the RSPB and S W T reserve wardens for making data available from their reserves, in particular details of c o m m o n e r species; to the section editors of the checklist for their hard work and to all those involved in the arduous task of proof reading and checking for errors. Thanks are also due to all those in the List of Contributors for taking the time to submit their findings.

SYSTEMATIC LIST R E D - T H R O A T E D D I V E R Gavia stellata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e trend over recent years has been for the numbers of birds on coastal waters to reach a peak in late winter and this was the case in 1996. T h e following are monthly counts from the most consistently watched sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Sep Oct Nov Dec Covehithe 705 1510 920 104 20 5 32 322 133 Southwold 1000 2000 413 1 1 Minsmere 30 176 300 8 600 In addition 500 were off North Warren on March 3rd. The last reported bird in the early part of the year was off Covehithe on May 25th and the first of the autumn was off Southwoid on September 7th. Away f r o m the immediate vicinity of the coast there was a scattering of records, mainly in the first part of the year. These included a corpse trapped in a gill net at Sudbourne on February 6th and a bird at West Town Park, Haverhill from M a r c h 30th to April 14th. This is the first West Suffolk record since one at Lakenheath on January 22nd 1985. B L A C K - T H R O A T E D D I V E R Gavia arctica Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Records indicate a total of 19 birds. With no obvious duplication this is the highest n u m b e r since 1987. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Dec. 7th. Covehithe: ad. summer north. Mar. 27th; south. Oct. 5th; south, Nov. 1st; two south Nov 27thnorth. Dec.7th. 50


Duiiwich: Mar. 24th. Minsmere: Jan. 10th. Orford: Havergate Island, Apr. 1st. Bawdsey: East Lane, Feb. 14th; north, Mar. 17th. Kirton: Kirton Creek, Feb. 18th. Felixstowe: north, Jan. 21st. Landguard, south, Jan. 22nd; one south with two Red-throats, all in summer plumage. May 1st. Trimley St Martin: River Orwell, Dec. 7th. Ipswich: Wet Dock, Dec. 11th. Stour Estuary: Nov. 17th. T h e second Landguard bird is the first to be recorded in May since a long-stayer at Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, up to May 6th 1991.

G R E A T N O R T H E R N D I V E R Gavia immer Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Assuming the records for Covehithe represent two birds then the total for 1996 is equal to that for 1995 at 12. Covehithe: north, Nov. 26th; north, Nov. 27th. Easton Bavents: south, Nov. 16th. Blyth Estuary: Jan. 22nd; Feb. 17th and 18th. Minsmere: Jan. 20th; Feb. 18th. Boyton: River Ore, Mar. 24th. Bawdsey: East Lane, north, May 17th. Ramsholt: Dec. 28th. Felixstowe: Landguard, south, Nov. 9th; south, Nov. 13th.

L I T T L E G R E B E Tachybaptus ruficollis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. There were records of 39 pairs f r o m 18 sites as compared with 49 pairs f r o m 21 sites in 1995. This may well represent a declining breeding population rather than under-recording since at North Warren the R S P B reported a 5 0 % decrease in their breeding numbers f r o m 16 pairs in 1995 to eight pairs in 1996. M o r e comprehensive recording of breeding pairs would clarify the situation. W e B S data show that the River Deben remains the most important estuary for winter birds: N D S 0 M A F J 63 55 5 18 32 8 Deben 23 49 16 7 16 n/c n/c Orwell 21 17 36 4 2 4 8 0 Alton Water 11 6 13 0 4 4 7 0 Stour (Suffolk) 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Stour (Essex) 1 0

G R E A T C R E S T E D G R E B E Podiceps cristatus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Signs are that the Great Crested Grebe is declining as a breeding species in Suffolk. Only 26 pairs were reported f r o m 11 sites as compared with 44 pairs f r o m 17 sites in 1995 and 60 pairs f r o m 26 sites in 1994. More worryingly, there were no reports of juveniles. N u m b e r s off-shore were significantly d o w n on 1995 with the largest gatherings being j u s t 70 off Covehithe in January and 60 off Minsmere in January and March. Last year 6 3 6 were off Southwold on February 25th. 51


WeBS counts were as follows: F J Deben 12 11 80 Orwell 72 Alton Water 106 31 Stour (Suffolk) 16 13 Stour (Essex) 17 12

A 20 n/c 19 69 13

M 11 24 17 25 9

S 8 n/c 109 154 107

0 8 27 109 71 97

N 12 52 57 45 59

D 21 78 29 44 28

R E D - N E C K E D G R E B E Podiceps grisegena Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A notable year with records in 11 months and a likely total of 26 birds. This is the highest since the influx of 36 birds in the harsh winter of 1978/79. Records from the first half of the year: Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, Feb. 27th to Apr. 1st. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Feb. 1st; adult in full summer plumage. May 20th. Minsmere: Jan. 4th to 6th. Aide Estuary: Feb. 4th. Freston: Mar. 17th. Woolverstone: Mar. 5th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, Feb. 3rd. Livermere Lake: full summer plumage, June 22nd. Lackford YVR: Feb. 16th to 27th. Whilst the Livermere bird was not thought to have bred and its timing w a s unusual for Suffolk, summering birds are now recorded annually in Britain. The species bred unsuccessfully in Cambridgeshire in 1988. Records from the second half of the year: Lowestoft: Oulton Broad. Dec. 28th. Covehithe: summer plumage, Aug. 27th to 31st. Southwold: north. Sep. 9th. Minsmere: Dec. 5th. Leiston: Sizewell, south. Aug. 23rd; south. Sep. 23rd. Bawdsey: East Lane Lagoons, juv., Aug. 31st. Felixstowe: two south, Oct. 18th; one south, Oct. 29th. Landguard, Sep. 28th; two, Oct. 26th; Oct. 29th; Dec. 25th; Dec. 27th, all flying south. Woolverstone: Dec. 14th. Stour Estuary: Nov. 17th. S L A V O N I A N G R E B E Podiceps auritus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A minimum of 21 birds was recorded, the highest ever total in a year. The previous best was the 15 to 20 birds recorded in 1978/79. Records for the first half of the year: Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, Feb. 10th to Mar. 5th; two on Mar. 23rd with one on Apr. 4th. Beccles: Beccles Marshes, Feb. 20th to Mar. 20th, two, Feb. 27th to Mar. 20th. Kessingland: Feb. 26th. Benacre: Benacre Broad. Feb. 25th; Mar. 1st to Apr. 1st. Covehithe: Covehithe Broad. Mar. 15th to Mar. 17th. Southwoid: Boating Lake. Feb. 22nd. Minsmere: Jan. 27th. Aldeburgh: Aide Estuary, Jan. 21st. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, Feb. 24th. Waldringfield: Feb. 29th. Felixstowe: two on sea. Mar. 10th. Wherstead: Wherstead Strand, Feb. 29th. Woolverstone: Jan. 3rd to Mar. 6th. 52


Harkstead: Holbrook Bay, adult summer. Apr. 26th. Alton Water: Jan. 1st to Jan. 13th. There were far fewer records for the second half of the year: Benacre: Benacre Broad, Oct. 6th. Aldeburgh: Hazlewood Marshes, juvenile, Sep. 26th. Ipswich: Wet Dock, Dec. 12th and 16th. Stour Estuary: two, Dec. 15th. 1995 addition: Aldeburgh: Jan. 21st. This late record adds to what was already a good year for the species in Suffolk. B L A C K - N E C K E D G R E B E Podiceps nigricollis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. In c o m m o n with the other over-wintering grebes, the Black-necked Grebe had a very good year with a minimum of 14 birds recorded. Records f r o m the first half of the year: Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, Jan. 6th to 10th. Woodbridge: Kyson Point, Feb.24th. Tide Mill, two. Mar. 10th. Felixstowe: Landguard, on sea, Apr. 7th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, Jan. 27th; Feb. 10th; three, Mar. 17th and 22nd. Freston: Mar. 10th. Woolverstone: three, Jan. 3rd to Feb. 8th. Erwarton: Erwarton Bay, three, April 30th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, summer plumage, Apr. 24th. As with Slavonian Grebe there were far fewer records in the second half of the year: Ipswich: River Orwell, two, Nov. 17th. Erwarton: Erwarton Bay, Nov. 17th. Alton Water: Oct. 11th. F U L M A R Fulmarus glacialis Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Once again Foxes put paid to breeding attempts at Bawdsey and the m a x i m u m count at the site was just five on April 9th. Other than that it was a good year with records in every month. Total monthly counts at the most well-watched sites were as follows: Sep May Jun Jul Aug Jan Feb Mar Apr 237 147 14 44 549 49 Covehithe 4 _ 1 132 156 6 61 Southwold 2 1 4 235 37 1 20 9 3 Minsmere 0 20 9 15 173 0 4 43 29 Landguard 0 The peak daily count in spring was 103 off Covehithe on May 11th and in autumn, 110 off Minsmere on August 13th. A corpse found at East Lane, Bawdsey on March 16th was found to have been ringed as a chick on the Orkneys on August 8th 1965, showing the longevity of this species. Finally, a probable blue-phase Fulmar passed north off Covehithe on December 20th (P J Dare). C O R Y ' S S H E A R W A T E R Calonectris

diomedea

Very rare passage migrant. A single bird on a typical date. This is the first away from Southwold since 1989. Orford: Orfordness, north, Sep. 18th (M Hodges). 53


A large shearwater off Covehithe on September 13th was believed to be either a C o r y ' s or Great Shearwater but was too distant to make a positive identification (P J Dare). Unfortunately, details of a bird off Sizewell in late September were incomplete. S O O T Y S H E A R W A T E R Puffinus griseus Uncommon passage migrant. A m i n i m u m of 34 individuals is a more typical annual count following the low numbers recorded in 1995. All records are listed: Corton: two north, Sep. 21st. Lowestoft: two north, Sep. 8th. Covehithe: singles north, Aug. 5th; 8th; Sep. 4th: 5th; 22nd; 23rd. Southwold: two, Sep. 4th; one, Sep. 5th; five, Sep. 13th; one, Sep. 18th; two, Sep. 20th, all north. Minsmere: five, Sep. 18th. Aldeburgh: three south, Aug. 23rd; one south, Aug. 24th; one north, Sep. 5th; one south, Sep. 8th; four north, Sep. 18th; two north, Sep. 19th. Orford: Orfordness, five north, Sep. 18th. It is interesting to note the distribution of these birds, all north of Orfordness, this being compatible with c o m m e n t s in the paper by Peter Dare elsewhere in this publication. 1987 94

1988 35

1989 106

1990 49

1991 26

1992 32

1993 47

1994 39

1995 17

1996 34

M A N X S H E A R W A T E R Puffinus puffinus Uncommon passage migrant. A m i n i m u m of 4 0 birds was recorded which is only just under the average over the past ten years. All records are listed: Lowestoft: Ness Point, two north, Aug. 10th; two north. Sep. 14th. Benacre: north, May 16th. Covehithe: singles north, Jul. 17th; Aug. 8th. Southwold: singles south, Aug. 13th and 29th; Oct. 18th; three south, Aug. 31st; single, Sep. 9th. Minsmere: two north, Jul. 25th and Sep. 18th. Aldeburgh: one south, Jun. 28th; two south, one north, Jun. 29th; 18 south, Jul. 4th. O n c e again the distribution of records mirrors that of Sooty Shearwater. Analysis of monthly totals shows the usual paucity of spring records but an early peak in the return passage, which usually occurs in September. May 1

Jun 4

Jul 21

Aug 8

Sep 5

Oct I

L E A C H ' S P E T R E L Oceanodroma leucorhoa Rare passage migrant. A f t e r two blank years a w e l c o m e return, albeit a single bird on a typical date. Southwold: north, Sep. 13th (J M Cawston). G A N N E T Morus bassanus Common passage migrant. T h e overall total of individual birds logged during the year was predictably lower than the exceptionally high counts for 1995:

54


1994 1995 1996

Jan Feb Mar Apr May 6 37 184 1686 653 50 175 628 569 155 37 50 1038 1789 2165

Jun 207 133 214

Jul 279 275 233

Aug 554 3623 1230

Sep 617 1575 1627

Oct 473 2156 404

Nov 73 315 135

Dec 28 7 17

Total 4797 9661 8939

However, we are again indebted to P J Dare for his regular sea-watching undertaken at Covehithe. His figures show a greater increase than was seen in the preceding year: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total 1994 6 23 99 1280 584 184 233 284 470 428 61 28 3680 1995 45 132 620 432 151 49 177 2409 835 252 159 4 5265 37 1996 38 911 1757 1860 113 156 793 892 382 88 12 7039 Covehithe day-counts exceeded 100 birds on 14 occasions. The highest were 441 north on April 5th; 259 north on May 7th and 215 north on April 30th. Southwold was the only other location to record over 100 birds in a day with 162 on September 5th and 120 on August 31st. There were no inland records. C O R M O R A N T Phalacrocorax carbo Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few over-summer. The highest counts recorded f r o m over-wintering sites were 169 at Alton Water on N o v e m b e r 17th; 111 in Holbrook Bay on September 18th; 105 on the Deben Estuary on October 13th; 100 at Havergate Island on March 10th and lower numbers at such regular sites as Suffolk Water Park; Cornard Mere; Livermere Lake and Pipp's Ford. The Cormorant was described as an increasingly c o m m o n winter visitor at Sudbury C o m m o n Lands. Something of a movement seems to have taken place late in January with 101 flying south off Lowestoft on January 19th; 109 south off Covehithe on January 21st and 97 off Orfordness on January 21 st. S H A G Phalacrocorax aristotelis Fairly common winter visitor and passage Monthly totals were as follows: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun 13 13 5 2 5 0

migrant. Jul 1

Aug 1

Sep 1

Oct 0

Nov 1

Dec 1

Reports of over-wintering birds came almost exclusively f r o m the two regular resorts of Lowestoft and Ipswich Docks. At the former site, numbers peaked in February with at least four birds present and two remained into March. U p to two were at Ipswich Wet Dock to March 6th. Other winter reports indicated a small influx of Shags in the early part of the year with eight flying south together off Lowestoft on January 13th, one at Minsmere on January 4th and four singles logged at Landguard during February. The same month saw two at Southwold Pier on 11th and one well inland at N e e d h a m Lake on 15th. An immature at Suffolk Water Park on March 22nd may have been the Needham Market bird heading back towards the coast. After one on the Orwell on March 5th, singles were seen flying north off Landguard on April 16th and 21st with May records there involving two north on 15th, one south on 21st and one north on 25th. With the addition of one north at Southwold on May 17th and one there on July 3rd, a handful of individuals appear to have been overs u m m e r i n g in the area. Records in the second half of the year were few with an immature at Landguard on August 27th being followed by a surprising report of one well inland at Livermere Lake on September 22nd. The only reports for the second winter period involved singles south off Landguard on November 13th and on the Orwell Estuary on December 16th. 55


B I T T E R N Botaurus stellaris Scarce and decreasing resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Reports during the breeding season involved two to four booming males at Walberswick and t w o booming males at Minsmere with a m a x i m u m of eight birds at the latter site during the summer. The only other breeding season report involved a male booming at Blythburgh in April. With the exception of a lingering bird at North Warren (where suitable breeding habitat is being created) all other records involved wandering winter birds: Holton: Holton Park Lake, Dec. 28th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Mar. 12th to Apr. 10th; Dec. 2nd. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, Dec. 1st. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, Jan. 27th to Feb. 3rd; Mar. 3rd. N I G H T H E R O N Nycticorax nycticorax Very rare visitor. Felixstowe: Landguard, sub-adult, Aug. 12th (J Askins). T h e fourteenth record for Suffolk since 1900, this bird flew over the site f r o m the neighbouring docks and was a pleasant surprise for the observer first thing in the morning! L I T T L E E G R E T Egretta garzetta Rare visitor. During the first winter period all records came f r o m the Aide and all were likely to refer to a single bird which appears to have met an untimely end: Snape: Feb. 23rd. Orford: Orfordness, Jan. 21st; found dead, Mar. 24th. Havergate I., Jan. 3rd and Mar. 10th. Later in the year there was a veritable wealth of sightings, although sorting out the n u m b e r of birds involved is virtually impossible as individuals wandered widely along the coastal strip. However, records at Minsmere alone indicate that this was the C o u n t y ' s best year for the species to date, although we still have a long way to go to match the triple-figure counts on the south coast! Breydon Water: Aug. 8th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Jun. 3rd to 5th, two on 6th; Aug. 18th to 21st. Blyth Estuary: May 22nd, 23rd and 26th and Jun. 4th. Minsmere: Apr. 17th; present May 23rd to Aug. 2nd with max. of seven, Jun. 11th, four Jul. 25th and three, Aug. 2nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, May 6th to 30th, three May 31st and Jun. 1st. one remaining to Jun. 3rd. Orford: Havergate I., Jul. 7th; Aug. 13th to 23rd. Levington: Jun. 4th; Nov. 5th. T h e Levington bird constituted the only sighting after the end of August. G R E Y H E R O N Ardea cinerea Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e table below gives monthly WeBS counts Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour (Suffolk) Stour (Essex)

J 8 15 3 3 6 1

F 0 11 4 8 5 0

M n/c 19 15 6 1 0

A 6 n/c 16 n/c 0 1 56

S 3 36 15 n/c 10 7

O 9 31 16 2 10 10

N 1 46 19 3 10 5

D 4 38 13 2 3 4


Gatherings at good feeding locations included 11 at Lackford W R on June 8th and 12 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath on July 12th. Given the dates, both these probably refer to post-breeding parties from local heronries. The B T O Heronries survey recorded a total of 87-95 occupied nests. Full dĂŠtails are given below: Site Wild Carr, Worlingham North Cove Henham Sudboume Blackheath, Friston Methersgate, Sutton Ramsholt Woolverstone Stutton Stoke-by-Nayland Stanstead Little Wratting Thurlow Little Livermere West Stow Euston Brandon Barsham Long Melford TOTALS

Number of occupied nests 1996 1995 -

0 16

0 26

-

11-13 36-42 5

1994 5-6

-

_ -

38-40 -

-

22-24

_

8-11 26-27 4-5 15-19 18

-

-

14

16

-

-

-

-

-

-

4

4

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

_ 1 -

-

4-5 -

-

1 -

87-95

85-87

12 11 17 1 0 146-159

Examination of f o o d remains below the West Stow heronry suggests that the introduced Signal Crayfish f o r m s a significant part of some birds' diets. One individual at Falkenham was seen attempting to swallow a somewhat less exotic but much more substantial meal in the f o r m of a Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus. P U R P L E H E R O N Ardea purpurea Scarce passage migrant. Minsmere: Jun. 9th to 11th; sub-ad., Jul. 7th to Aug. 26th (many obs.). Aldeburgh: North Warren, first-sum., Jun. 11th (R N Macklin, D Thurlow). The North Warren bird was seen circling overhead before descending to the reedbed and had presumably just arrived f r o m Minsmere, its appearance tying in with the dates there. It seems most likely that a single wandering individual, which finally settled at Minsmere, accounted for all the sightings. W H I T E S T O R K Ciconia ciconia. Rare visitor. Westleton: Apr. 18th (A Geach per RSPB). Blaxhall: Apr. 18th (C G D Curtis). There can be little doubt that these two observations relate to the same bird which was also considered to have been responsible for sightings in Lincolnshire and Norfolk. There was something of an influx nationally at the time with perhaps as many as seven birds involved, although at least some were found to be escapees due to the type of rings they carried. The Minsmere/Blaxhall bird was also reported to have been seen near Brandeston later the same day but unfortunately no details have been received of this sighting. 57


B I T T E R N Botaurus stellaris Scarce and decreasing resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Reports during the breeding season involved two to four booming males at Walberswick and t w o b o o m i n g males at Minsmere with a m a x i m u m of eight birds at the latter site during the summer. The only other breeding season report involved a male b o o m i n g at Blythburgh in April. With the exception of a lingering bird at North Warren (where suitable breeding habitat is being created) all other records involved wandering winter birds: Hoi ton: Holton Park Lake, Dec. 28th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Mar. 12th to Apr. 10th; Dec. 2nd. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, Dec. 1st. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, Jan. 27th to Feb. 3rd; Mar. 3rd. N I G H T H E R O N Nycticorax nycticorax Very rare visitor. Felixstowe: Landguard, sub-adult, Aug. 12th (J Askins). T h e fourteenth record for Suffolk since 1900, this bird flew over the site f r o m the neighbouring docks and was a pleasant surprise for the observer first thing in the morning ! L I T T L E E G R E T Egretta garzetta Rare visitor. During the first winter period all records came f r o m the Aide and all were likely to refer to a single bird which appears to have met an untimely end: Snape: Feb. 23rd. Orford: Orfordness, Jan. 21st; found dead, Mar. 24th. Havergate I., Jan. 3rd and Mar. 10th. Later in the year there was a veritable wealth of sightings, although sorting out the n u m b e r of birds involved is virtually impossible as individuals wandered widely along the coastal strip. However, records at Minsmere alone indicate that this w a s the C o u n t y ' s best year for the species to date, although we still have a long way to g o to match the triple-figure counts on the south coast! Breydon Water: Aug. 8th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Jun. 3rd to 5th, two on 6th; Aug. 18th to 21st. Blyth Estuary: May 22nd, 23rd and 26th and Jun. 4th. Minsmere: Apr. 17th; present May 23rd to Aug. 2nd with max. of seven, Jun. 11th, four Jul. 25th and three, Aug. 2nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two. May 6th to 30th, three May 31st and Jun. 1st, one remaining to Jun. 3rd. Orford: Havergate I., Jul. 7th; Aug. 13th to 23rd. Levington: Jun. 4th; Nov. 5th. T h e Levington bird constituted the only sighting after the end of August. G R E Y H E R O N Ardea cinerea Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e table below gives monthly WeBS counts J F M A 8 0 n/c 6 Blyth 11 n/c Aide/Ore 15 19 4 Deben 3 15 16 n/c 8 6 Orwell 3 1 0 6 5 Stour (Suffolk) 0 1 1 0 Stour (Essex) 56

S 3 36 15 n/c 10 7

0 9 31 16 2 10 10

N 1 46 19 3 10 5

D 4 38 13 2 3 4


Gatherings at good feeding locations included 11 at Lackford W R on June 8th and 12 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath on July 12th. Given the dates, both these probably refer to post-breeding parties from local heronries. T h e B T O Heronries survey recorded a total of 87-95 occupied nests. Full details are given below: Site Wild Carr, Worlingham North Cove Henham Sudbourne Blackheath, Friston Methersgate, Sutton Ramsholt Woolverstone Stutton Stoke-by-Nayland Stanstead Little Wratting Thurlow Little Livermere West Stow Euston Brandon Barsham Long Melford TOTALS

Number of occupied nests 1996 1995 -

-

0 16

0 26

-

-

11-13 36-42 5

-

38-40 -

1994 5-6 -

22-24 -

8-11 26-27 4-5 15-19 18

-

-

14

16

-

-

-

-

-

-

4

4

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

12 11 17 1 0

1 -

-

1 -

87-95

-

4-5

85-87

146-159

Examination of food remains below the West Stow heronry suggests that the introduced Signal Crayfish f o r m s a significant part of some birds' diets. One individual at Falkenham was seen attempting to swallow a somewhat less exotic but much m o r e substantial meal in the f o r m of a Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus. P U R P L E H E R O N Ardea purpurea Scarce passage migrant. Minsmere: Jun. 9th to 11th; sub-ad., Jul. 7th to Aug. 26th (many obs.). Aldeburgh: North Warren, first-sum., Jun. 11th (R N Macklin, D Thurlow). T h e North Warren bird was seen circling overhead before descending to the reedbed and had presumably just arrived f r o m Minsmere, its appearance tying in with the dates there. It seems most likely that a single wandering individual, which finally settled at Minsmere, accounted for all the sightings. W H I T E S T O R K Ciconia ciconia. Rare visitor. Westleton: Apr. 18th (A Geach per RSPB). Blaxhall: Apr. 18th (C G D Curtis). There can be little doubt that these two observations relate to the same bird which was also considered to have been responsible for sightings in Lincolnshire and Norfolk. There was something of an influx nationally at the time with perhaps as many as seven birds involved, although at least some were found to be escapees due to the type of rings they carried. The Minsmere/Blaxhall bird was also reported to have been seen near Brandeston later the same day but unfortunately no details have been received of this sighting. 57


B L A C K S T O R K Ciconia nigra Very rare migrant. Ipswich: Aug. 26th (G Mortimer). T h e 12th for the county and the first since 1992. S P O O N B I L L Platalea leucorodia Uncommon passage migrant. Now increasingly oversummers; has overwintered. There were no over-wintering birds but the summer produced a good crop of records with Minsmere producing the highest count ever recorded in the County since breeding ceased some three hundred years ago. Breydon Water: Aug. 17th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Apr. 21st; north, Apr. 26th. Southwold: Town Marshes, two, Apr. 20th and 26th and May 6th. Blythburgh: Tinker's Marshes, two, May 5th; one, May 27th. Dunwich: south, Jun. 11th. Minsmere: variously one to five, Apr. 20th to June 30th; ten, Jul. 1st to 7th; 12, Jul. 8th and 9th; 18, Jul. 10th to 12th; 19, Jul. 13th to 18th then dropping back to ten; up to 16 during Aug; eight, Sep. 1st to 3rd. Leiston: Sizewell Common, two north, Apr. 20th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, variously two to three intermittently, Apr. 19th to Oct. 1st. Hazle wood Marshes, Apr. 26 th; two to three intermittently, May 6th to Jul. 6th; six, Jul. 7th; 12, Aug. 25th; eight, Sep. 3rd; five, Sep. 4th. Orford: Orfordness, three, Apr. 21st; six, May 14th. Havergate I., May 9th; three, May 29th; two, June 3rd, one remaining to 5th. Spoonbills Trimley Marshes: Apr. 22nd; two, May 11th. T h e s e numbers are unprecedented in recent years but the opportunity to enjoy the birds was often hampered by their habit of sleeping all day in secluded corners of the Minsmere Reserve! O n e of the M a y birds at Trimley M a r s h e s bore colour rings: green on left leg and white above green on right leg.

M U T E S W A N Cygnus Common resident. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour (Suffolk) Stour (Essex)

J 3 179 99 88 0 7 219

olor F 0 142 25 54 2 11 173

M n/c 130 86 91 4 23 108

A 1 n/c 100 n/c 10 9 115

S 0 72 55 n/c 24 25 148

O 2 69 53 77 8 11 117

N 0 155 79 87 0 36 197

D 0 112 38 82 0 4 174

T h e highest n o n - W e B S counts received during the first winter period included 62 at Ramsholt on January 21st; 60 at Ipswich Wet Dock on January 28th and 44 at Peto's Marsh on January 13th. Counts during the second winter period were generally higher and included 9 8 at F a l k e n h a m Marshes on N o v e m b e r 16th; 56 at Loompit L a k e on N o v e m b e r 5th and 4 2 at Mettingham on N o v e m b e r 4th. 58


Only 15 nesting pairs were reported but this is clearly well below the total for the County. One pair hit the local headlines by nesting immediately adjacent to the Gipping bridge in West End Road, Ipswich and causing a four-week delay to the start of a ÂŁ500,000 reconstruction project. B E W I C K ' S SWAN Cygnus columbianus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e highest counts during the first winter period included 108 regularly at North Warren f r o m January 1st to March 31st with a peak of 164 on March 9th; 30 at Barsham Marshes on January 1st; 30 at Fritton Marshes on January 24th; 26 at Kessingland on March 24th and 24 at Hollesley f r o m January 13th to February 3rd. Although widespread along the coastal strip during this period, inland records only c a m e f r o m Lackford, involving five on January 1st and singles on February 10th and 16th and C a v e n h a m where a single was seen on March 31st. An unseasonable individual at Botany Bay, Lakenheath on July 9th was doubtless a sick or injured bird. The first reports of returning birds were of a singleton at Leiston/Minsmere on October 23rd, followed by 19 in off the sea at Minsmere and nine in off the sea at Southwold, all on October 30th. Several other small flocks were observed arriving at various points along the coast, mostly to mid-November, although one flock of 12 arrived at Lowestoft on D e c e m b e r 31st. The highest count for the second winter period was of 138 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath on D e c e m b e r 1st with 60 still there on D e c e m b e r 28th. Other counts included 20 at Mettingham on N o v e m b e r 4th; 20 at North Warren on N o v e m b e r 15th and 22 at Minsmere on N o v e m b e r 16th. W H O O P E R S W A N Cygnus cygnus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. N u m b e r s were m o r e typical this year after the higher figures of 1995 with no double-figure counts in the first winter period: Oulton: Peto's Marsh, three, Jan. 13th; two, Jan. 17th. Henstead: two, Jan. 29th. Kessingland: Kessingland Level, two, Feb. 1st to 14th. Benacre: two, Feb. 10th to Mar. 30th. Blythburgh: two, Feb. 27th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Feb. 6th. Aldeburgh Marshes, Feb. 3rd to 11th; Mar. 9th. Lackford WR: Apr. 18th. A m e a g r e showing with the records f r o m the first five localities all relating to a single pair. Rather m o r e were recorded in the second winter period, with the earliest being three at Lackford W R : Henstead: four west, Dec. 17th. Kessingland: Kessingland Level, four, Dec. 29th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, three, Nov. 23rd. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 12 in off sea, Nov. 10th. Falkenham: Falkenham Marshes, Dec. 5th; Dec. 15th. Hadleigh: flocks of eight and 17 flying north-west, Nov. 10th. Sudbury: Common Lands, four, Dec. 17th. Livermere Lake: three, Nov. 1st. Lackford WR: three, Oct. 30th; 12, Nov. 10th. Moulton: Trinity Hall Farm, north, Nov. 15th. There was clearly an influx of birds on N o v e m b e r 10th and it is tempting to suggest that the Bawdsey birds were the same as those at Lackford. Equally likely is that the Henstead and Sudbury birds were the same. T h e direction of travel of all these birds 59


suggests that they were arriving f r o m the Continental population rather than coming d o w n f r o m Iceland. B E A N G O O S E Anser fabalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e first winter period saw a good influx of the species into Suffolk, particularly in the first few days of February: Fritton: Fritton Marshes, Feb. 4th. Kessingland: Kessingland Level, three, Feb. 14th. Minsmere: intermittently, Jan. 24th to Feb. 12th and Mar. 26th and 27th; three, Feb. 14th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, present Jan. 13th to Mar. 11th, max. of 16, Jan 31st; 33 on Feb. 2nd and 3rd; 50 on Feb. 14th; 58 on Feb. 16th; 66 on Feb. 27th; 40, Mar. 10th; 35 out to sea, Mar. 11th. Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, six, Mar. 1st. Hollesley: Hollesley Marshes, 19, Feb. 3rd. Livermere Lake: Feb. 22nd to Mar. 10th. All birds that were subspecifically identified were of the smaller race A.f.rossicus. Indications that not all birds survive during such influxes c a m e f r o m the discovery of tideline corpses at Felixstowe on February 1st and Southwold on February 3rd. T h e dates of the Livermere bird suggest a wild origin but it may well have been the escapee which is k n o w n to have been in the area for some time and was at Lackford W R on April Ist. Another escapee was with Greylags at M i n s m e r e on August 17th. T h e second winter period produced a more typical crop of sightings: Leiston: Lower Abbey Farm Marshes, two, Oct. 23rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, Dec. 8th; one, Dec. 17th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, 12, Dec. 22nd; nine, Dec. 23rd to 25th. Lackford WR: two, Dec. 1st. T h e origin of the Lackford birds remains uncertain. P I N K - F O O T E D G O O S E Anser brachyrhynchus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A f t e r a quiet start to the year with the usual low numbers, a small influx occurred f r o m late January to early February, coinciding with the Bean Goose influx. Beccles: Beccles Marshes, two, Feb. 20th and 22nd. Kessingland: Kessingland Level, nine, Jan. 4th; seven, Jan. 8th; 30 south, Jan. 28th; three. Feb. 4th. Southwold: Town Marshes, five, Feb. 8th to 26th; six, Feb. 22nd and Mar. 6th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, three. Jan. 22nd; five, Feb. 11th; six. Feb. 20th (same as Southwold birds). Minsmere/Eastbridge: one. Jan. 1st to Feb. 21st and Mar. 28th to Apr. 2nd; two, Feb. 10th; 20, Jan. 20th. Aideburgh: North Warren, Jan. 14th; three, Jan. 16th; two, Jan. 20th; three, Feb. 4th; two, Feb. 6th; 30, Feb. 10th; six, Feb. 13th; two. Mar. 3rd to 23rd. Livermere Lake: five, Jan. 1st to 28th, four remaining to May 4th. Lackford WR: three, Apr. 1st; one, May 3rd. A tideline corpse w a s f o u n d at Sudbourne on February 6th. Whether all of these birds, particularly those in West Suffolk, were genuinely wild is impossible to tell. Similarly, the level of overlap between reports of Pink-footed Geese and the very similar rossicus Bean Geese is unknown. During the second winter period the species returned to its usual scarcity, although a run of reports f r o m the Felixstowe peninsula is particularly notable, the species being exceptionally rare there: 60


Minsmere: ten, Oct. 24th; two, Nov. 2nd and 7th; one, Nov. 24th; two, Nov. 26th; three, Dec. 9th; five, Dec. 15th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, three, Dec. 15th. Trimley Marshes: 20, Nov. 2nd and 6th; 23, Nov. 3rd and 5th; 40, Dec. 13th. The Trimley birds also ventured as far as Levington Creek during their stay. An immature at Occold on February 14th which had somehow become trapped between inner and outer security fencing around an industrial site was eventually persuaded to squeeze under the outer fence where there was a very small gap. A case of the grass being greener?

W H I T E - F R O N T E D G O O S E Anser albifrons Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. In line with the other grey geese, a substantial influx took place f r o m the end of January. T h e main concentrations were shared between Minsmere and North Warren, although several other sites held appreciable numbers to the end of March and reports of small parties came f r o m along the full length of the coastal strip. Highest counts only are given below plus the only West Suffolk record; Kessingland: Kessingland Level, 22, Jan. 28th; 51, Jan. 27th; 70, Feb. 14th. Benacre: 60 south, Mar. 16th. Southwold: Town Marshes, 122, Feb. 7th. Minsmere/Eastbridge: max counts of 84, Jan. 21st; 126, Feb. 21st; 150, Mar. 14th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, max counts of 171, Jan. 14th; 215, Jan. 18th; 520, Feb. 3rd; 535, Feb. 23rd; 450, Mar. 2nd; 225, Mar. 23rd. Iken: Iken Marshes, 300, Jan. 21st. Gedgrave: Gedgrave Marshes, 380, Feb. 15th. Stansfield: three, Apr. 15th. T h e three well inland at Stansfield are interesting and may have been stopping off during a return trip f r o m further west in Britain. The earliest returning bird was noted on N o v e m b e r 5th when one was seen at Hemley (although this may have been an escapee). Numbers were at m o r e expected levels with the highest counts coming in late D e c e m b e r and interestingly there was a good crop of reports f r o m West Suffolk. All reports received are as follows: Lowestoft: Kirkley Ham, 21 south, Dec. 26th. Beccles: 50, Dec. 26th. Kessingland: Kessingland Level, 16, Nov. 23rd; 55, Dec. 26th. Benacre: 34, Dec. 15th. Walberswick: one north, Dec. 29th. Westleton: three west, Dec. 8th. Minsmere: two, Nov. 13th to 23rd; nine on Nov. 19th; Dec. max. of 30 on 31st. Leiston: Lower Abbey Farm Marshes, 21, Dec. 28th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, five, Nov. 16th; three, Nov. 18th; Dec. max. of 85 on 17th. Hazlewood Marshes, 137, Dec. 30th. Orford: Havergate I., eight, Dec. 7th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, eight, Dec. 24th. Bawdsey: 11, Dec. 15th. Felixstowe: Landguard, two north, Nov. 15th. Livermere Lake: 49, Dec. 15th; 35, Dec. 25th. Lackford WR: 38, Dec. 26th. Reports of singles at Lackford and Livermere during the period are presumed to refer to a known escapee. 61


G R E Y L A G G O O S E Anser anser Common resident from feral stock. F M D J A S O N Blyth 140 0 3 n/c 0 183 0 196 North Warren* 200 n/c 150 n/c 20 117 118 118 Aide/Ore 63 24 49 n/c 21 51 143 56 Deben 9 0 27 17 10 40 61 49 Orwell 36 237 46 n/c n/c 166 440 176 304 Alton Water 302 183 122 60 318 2 465 14 Stour (Suffolk) 16 6 2 21 0 1 1 Stour (Essex) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Livermere Lake* 4 199 82 102 420 512 300 501 Lackford WR* n/c n/c 12 28 61 500 6 536 * monthly maxima T h e Breckland population, represented in the table by counts f r o m Lackford and Livermere, is b e c o m i n g very substantial. Other high counts included 4 2 0 at M i n s m e r e on January 28th; 153 at Benacre on September 8th; 150 at Covehithe B r o a d on N o v e m b e r 23rd and 2 5 0 at Trimley Marshes during November. Breeding records c a m e f r o m at least six sites; a count of 135 juveniles and 62 adults at Livermere Lake in June shows the importance of the site for the species, although breeding is encouraged here to provide more birds for the shooting fraternity. A total of 75 j u veniles f r o m around 15 pairs was noted at Alton Water whilst a further 13 pairs were noted elsewhere. C A N A D A G O O S E Branta canadensis Very common resident. D J F M A S O N Blyth 1 17 n/c 7 0 1 0 12 North Warren* 300 n/c 29 n/c 165 320 338 450 304 n/c 21 143 56 Aide/Ore 222 216 51 118 175 243 152 Deben 53 166 138 81 118 78 n/c n/c 203 11 78 Orwell 143 Alton Water 0 2 4 10 320 44 1 371 Stour (Suffolk) 868 488 567 159 117 222 94 179 Stour (Essex) 29 11 25 56 109 10 12 38 Long Melford* 54 44 23 n/c 65 66 n/c 78 1300 Livermere Lake* 59 321 100 35 520 280 210 137 272 169 550 Lackford WR* n/c 400 n/c n/c * monthly maxima Away f r o m WeBS counts and regularly monitored sites, highest counts included 4 0 2 at Bury St E d m u n d s Beet Factory on February 2nd; 425 at Benacre Broad on July 13th and 352 at Loompit Lake on August 4th. T h e species was poorly monitored during the summer with just 35 breeding pairs reported. B A R N A C L E G O O S E Branta leucopsis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant; Increasingly common feral resident. T h e Kessingland flock, which also wanders to Benacre and Covehithe Broads, had increased f r o m 110 at the end of 1995 to 150 by January 7th and by February 14th at least 170 were present. The timing of the increase matches the arrival of grey geese f r o m the Continent and this source is also indicated by parties of eight and 17 seen arriving off the sea at Lowestoft on January 21st. Other small groups were dotted along the coast at this time with the largest being 26 at Minsmere. 62


S u m m e r records c a m e from Kessingland Level (three) on May 8th and Minsmere (two) on July 2nd to 8th whilst breeding reports included two pairs at Kessingland Wildlife Park; a pair on an island at Weybread Pits and at least two pairs with young at Heveningham Hall. T h e presence of such birds clearly establishes the presence of an established feral population in the County, a situation still not recognised by the BOU when it decided not to give the species dual category A/C status. The size of the feral population is well demonstrated through observations by M D Crewe at Heveningham Hall during 1996. Counts f r o m there included up to 11 during March, 21 in April, 17 in July, 86 in September and 122 on October 15th. Even the latter figure is likely to be too early to involve wild birds, especially at a site so far from the coast. At least two pairs are known to have bred successfully (with four chicks seen) with possibly up to seven pairs attempting to breed. It would appear that a feral population exists in north Suffolk which gathers after the breeding season to moult before moving to the coast for the winter. The fact that the feral population often attracts wild birds has also been clearly shown in the past and again in 1996 this could be seen to be the case. Since 1975, colonists from the Novaya Zemlya population have been breeding in the Baltic. This group is centred around the Swedish island of Gotland, the traditional migration stopover area of their Russian parents. There were over 1400 pairs by 1991 and over 1500 by 1996. With increasing numbers from both groups competing for the same wintering grounds on the near-Continent, Suffolk may well see higher numbers arriving regularly in the future. During observations at Heveningham Hall, two Canada x Barnacle G o o s e hybrids were seen. This low number of hybrids suggests that Barnacles have no problem finding partners of their own species.

B R E N T G O O S E Branta bermela Common winter visitor and passage W e B S counts were as follows: Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour (Suffolk) Stour (Essex)

J 1 352 1438 632 765 318

F 117 972 2538 1290 1060 488

migrant.

M n/c 803 2042 612 1396 405

A 0 n/c 5 n/c 632 252

S 0 1 1 n/c 1 1

O 0 3 12 5 40 1402

N 0 6 635 201 270 1257

D 4 178 1022 12 987 307

As in previous years the Stour Estuary held the largest numbers of March and April birds with 150 in Holbrook Bay on April 19th and 28 still there on May 12th. Erwarton Bay held even higher numbers with 230 on March 30th and 61 on May 16th. In addition, late birds included 12 at Walberswick on May 25th whilst two at Havergate Island on June 2nd and one north and two south off Landguard on June 9th probably never left the country. Inland records included one at Lackford W R on March 23rd and an exceptional report of around 100 flying south over Lackford on the evening of April 7th. T h e first returning birds appeared on August 21 st when 20 flew past Felixstowe but there were no more until September 8th when 24 flew south off Landguard. However, on September 17th, 55 were at North Warren and Landguard reported an increase in activity. The main arrival started a f e w days later on September 21 st when 200 flew past Benacre and 241 passed Landguard. T h e largest southbound movement was in late October when 600 passed Southwold on 18th and 1719 passed Landguard the same day. Landguard logged 1262 and 1021 south on October 23rd and 24th respectively, with Covehithe amassing 895 and 6 5 0 respectively on the same two dates.


Pale-bellied Brent Branta bernicla hrota An exceptional influx of this distinctive race took place in the County in 1996, the odd singleton being typical in most years: Lowestoft: 14 south, Feb. 22nd. Gisleham: 59, Mar. 3rd. Benacre: 32, Feb. 23rd. Southwold: two, Feb. 8th to 15th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, 70, Feb. 18th; 30, Feb. 21st; 80, Feb. 23rd and 25th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness, two north, Jan. 2nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Jan. 14th; Mar. 3rd. Aldeburgh Marshes, 20, Feb. 3rd; 50, Feb. 6th and 7th; 30, Feb. 11th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, six, Mar. 9th. Hollesley : Hollesley Marshes, 32, Feb. 14th; 26, Mar. 6th; three, Mar. 21st; two, Mar. 24th. In addition, one at Minsmere on July 15th had presumably b e c o m e sick or injured and failed to return north after the influx. The second winter period produced a more typical batch of sightings with one at North Warren on N o v e m b e r 11th and t w o there on D e c e m b e r 17th. Black Brant Branta bernicla nigricans Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes, Feb. 3rd to 1 Ith. (M C Marsh et al.). Falkenham: Feb. 25th (M C Marsh). Presumably both records relate to the same individual. Remarkably the named observer has found every Black Brant in Suffolk to date! E G Y P T I A N G O O S E Alopochen aegyptiacus Locally fairly common resident. Double-figure counts reported were: Somerleyton: 12, Oct. 8th. Herringfleet: Herringfleet Marshes, 12, Oct. 21st and Nov. 14th. Kessingland: Kessingland Level, 12, Dec. 15th. Livermere Lake: max. of 28, Aug. 22nd. Reports of up to nine birds c a m e f r o m a further 28 localities. Breeding was noted f r o m the following sites: Ashby: Ashby Warren, female at nest hole in roadside oak. May 26th. Lound: pair with three young, Apr. 30th. Fritton: pair with six young, Apr. 4th. Kessingland: Suffolk Wildlife Park, pair with eleven young, Jul. 28th. Livermere Lake: up to two broods and eight juveniles reported. Redgrave: Redgrave Lake, pair with six young, May 23rd. S H E L D U C K Tadorna tadorna Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts f r o m s o m e key sites are tabulated: F M A S J 420 316 n/c 445 26 Blyth 153 82 42 12 0 Minsmere* 1074 537 973 n/c 274 Aide/Ore 838 728 950 835 59 Deben 1989 1752 1518 n/c n/c Orwell 844 1220 1265 625 341 Stour (Suffolk) 1077 588 753 178 52 Stour (Essex) 80 42 33 118 0 Livermere Lake* n/c 10 56 30 Lackford WR* 0 * monthly maxima 64

o 90 0 300 120 19 166 113 2 5

N 430 23 635 541 134 751 180 8 7

D 257 24 765 579 457 101 375 32 10


T h e D e c e m b e r counts for the Orwell and the Stour are sharply down on expected figures. Breeding was widespread in the vicinity of coasts and estuaries, e.g. 40 juveniles at Levington on July 15th and 146 young from 17 pairs at Havergate Island. Inland breeding was confirmed f r o m : Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street Reservoir, pair with eight young, Jun. 18th. Livermere Lake: 82 juveniles Jun. 8th. Lackford WR: one brood of eight young. West Stow: four pairs nested in a barn at Chimney Mills - three broods hatched, the fourth nest contained 25 eggs which failed to hatch. Weybread: Gravel Pits, one brood of eight young. Passage was only logged regularly off Landguard; 260 flew south during January and in the autumn 112 flew south in October (61 on 24th), 95 south in November (34 on 15th) and 98 south in December. M A N D A R I N Att galericulata Uncommon visitor. Lowestoft: Harbour, male, Apr. 28th. Hasketon: Grange Farm, three males, one female. Mar. 17th. Ipswich: Holywells Park, up to two males and two females, Jan. to Apr. at least; female, Jun. 14th (one of the males was an all-white bird). River Orwell, pair, Nov. 17th. A pair and eight young were picked up in the Cobbold Street car park. May 10th and released in Holywells Park. Alton Water: male, Jan. 1st to 9th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, male, Jan. 14th. Hadleigh: River Brett, pair, Feb. 9th to Mar. 11 th. Haughley: Jun. 4th - a known escapee. Hengrave: Hengrave Hall, Oct. 9th to 15th. Elveden: Center Pares, male, Oct. 25th. W I G E O N Anas penelope Very common winter visitor and passage migrant, M o n t h l y counts f r o m key sites are tabulated: M A J F 14 Blyth n/c 850 1096 Minsmere* 371 155 600 600 1024 Aide/Ore 3207 5827 3812 North Warren* 2775 300 3250 2300 Deben 842 15 1361 860 Orwell 1358 n/c 1495 1156 Alton Water 1 794 647 645 Stour (Suffolk) 7 1331 505 666 Stour (Essex) 48 742 627 807 50 Livermere Lake* 300 46 161 * monthly maxima

a few

oversummer. S 44 180 n/c 550 18 n/c 171 210 454 0

O 229 n/c 1775 962 843 513 66 62 647 53

N 627 454 4943 1600 1221 830 160 1030 810 55

D 1347 466 4334 1710 1490 2132 534 830 1753 57

T h e counts for the Aide/Ore complex are well up on normal, while those for the Stour have declined and the Orwell D e c e m b e r count is low. Other high counts were 600 at Southwold Town Marshes on M a r c h 21st and 500 at Loompit Lake on September 30th. Well inland 120 were at Lackford W R on February 8th whilst seven at H e v e n i n g h a m Hall Lake on Aprii 3rd were presumably returning to breeding grounds from wintering areas further west. O n e coastal site held up to four birds during June and six in July but there was no proof of nesting. A male at Benacre Broad on June lst and one at Lackford W R on July 13th complete the m i d - s u m m e r picture. 65


A u t u m n passage off Landguard involved 6 2 2 south on September 21st whilst in October 641 flew south on 15th, 171 on 24th and 161 on 25th. In N o v e m b e r 197 passed south and 52 north on 15th. A Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon hybrid was at Trimley Marshes f r o m at least March 19th to 24th. The bird caused great excitement when initially identified as a male American Wigeon, to which it bore a striking resemblance. A M E R I C A N W I G E O N Anas americana Very rare visitor. Levington: Levington Creek, male, Nov. 4th (P J Holmes et al). Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, male, Nov. 8th (J H Grant et al.). T h e s e t w o records relate to the s a m e bird which remained elusive during its stay. This is only the fourth record for the County, the last being a pair at M i n s m e r e on January 27th and 28th 1988. G A D W A L L Anas streperĂ Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts f r o m key estuaries and sites are tabulated: M J F A S 4 0 Blyth 0 n/c 18 137 Minsmere* 35 66 33 16 21 34 n/c 10 Aide/Ore 12 North Warren* 130 137 n/c 70 98 28 18 14 n/c n/c Orwell Alton Water 197 103 53 12 22 Lackford WR* n/c n/c n/c 13 99 * monthly maxima

O 12 n/c 13 5 34 15 135

N 0 180 17 40 135 29 148

D 0 27 24 43 75 80 88

T h e only other counts above 50 c a m e f r o m : Minsmere: 93, Jul. 28th. Orford: Havergate Island. 63, Feb. 4th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, 70, Sep. 1st; 60, Oct. 20th; 100, Oct. 29th and 60, Nov. 18th. Very f e w breeding season records were received but this is probably due to underreporting rather than a decline. Four pairs on Sizewell Marshes, 15 pairs at North Warren, one pair at Boyton Marshes and two pairs on Havergate Island were the only c o n f i r m e d records. N o offshore m o v e m e n t s were reported. T E A L A was crecca Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts f r o m key sites are tabulated: F M A J 90 Blyth 1092 85 n/c 724 76 n/c Minsmere* 900 468 n/c 1165 1250 Aide/Ore 486 120 North Warren* 820 325 132 142 12 Deben 147 64 227 n/c 465 Orwell 261 8 205 230 Alton Water 62 62 13 56 Stour (Suffolk) 32 23 0 147 Stour (Essex) n/c n/c n/c 35 Lackford WR* * monthly maxima 66

Scarce

resident. S n/c 779 669 315 12 n/c 34 64 78 53

O 383 n/c 422 375 31 35 98 39 123 68

N 12 621 1618 370 156 60 135 92 143 85

D 60 702 1024 405 136 636 574 30 76 21


Other counts of note included 4 7 0 at Benacre Broad on February 17th and 328 there on D e c e m b e r 15th; 340 at Trimley Marshes on February 13th; 170 at Suffolk Water Park on January 14th with 130 there on February 11th and 6 0 0 at Bury St Edmunds Sugar Factory on January 27th. Proof of nesting w a s scant, although four pairs were considered to have bred on the Sizewell Levels, eight pairs were at North Warren and 71 birds were at Minsmere on July 28th. O n September 5th, 242 flew south past Southwold and 390 south off Landguard. Also south off Landguard were 150 on October 25th (month m a x i m u m ) and 41 on N o v e m b e r 15th, a rather light passage. Green-winged Teal An individual of the North American race A.c.carolinensis Broad between April 13th and 24th (C A Buttle et al.). M A L L A R D Anas platyrhynchos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage Monthly counts f r o m key sites are tabulated: A J F M 27 Blyth 27 82 n/c 70 n/c Minsmere* 232 295 North Warren* n/c 200 n/c 233 486 170 n/c Aide/Ore 903 Deben 180 208 75 61 192 Orwell 591 429 n/c Alton Water 118 268 278 173 41 Stour (Suffolk) 55 213 111 Stour (Essex) 183 180 58 336 134 Livermere Lake* 330 72 118 n/c Lackford WR* n/c n/c n/c * monthly maxima

was present at Benacre

migrant. S 24 200 240 96 58 n/c 265 60 126 n/c 143

0 23 n/c n/c 175 116 327 236 46 210 700 353

N 28 300 222 598 129 363 246 251 146 170 404

D 74 124 121 506 168 589 187 83 154 1500 499

Other high counts away f r o m the above sites were 540 on a frozen Benacre Broad on February 3rd and 4 0 0 at the British Sugar Factory, Bury St E d m u n d s during January. An estimated 3000 were at Livermere Lake on August 17th but large numbers of birds are introduced there for shooting and doubtless many of these had been reared by man. Breeding season reports were widespread and included 4 8 pairs at North Warren; six pairs on Havergate Island; five pairs at Boyton Marshes; ten pairs at Shotley Marshes; six broods seen on Thurston End pond during May/June and 81 juveniles in 13 broods at Livermere Lake on June 8th. P I N T A I L Anas acuta Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few Monthly counts f r o m the key sites are tabulated: A F M J Blyth 44 n/c 18 178 Minsmere* 77 12 15 57 17 Aide/Ore 203 39 169 Deben 1 185 71 206 Orwell n/c 821 111 193 Stour (Suffolk) 1 71 83 78 Stour (Essex) 4 152 305 319 * monthly maxima 67

oversummer. S 0 7 2 0 n/c 28 78

0 8 n/c 60 1 24 34 137

N 29 8 145 46 102 42 224

D 37 11 147 44 169 14 403


Other counts of note included 150 at Breydon Water on January 21st and 300 at Levington on the River Orwell on October 23rd. Summering birds were seen at two coastal sites and at one site in May a pair were noted as 'possibly breeding'. Inland records w e r e confined to occasional records of up to three at Lackford W R and Livermere Lake and six at Lakenheath on August 14th. During autumn passage 34 f l e w south off Covehithe Cliffs on October 23rd whilst Landguard logged monthly day-peaks of 31 south on September 21st; 52 south on October 24th; 12 south on N o v e m b e r 13th and ten south on D e c e m b e r 21 st. G A R G A N E Y Anas querquedula Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first record was of a male at Raydon on March 18th and 19th on a small pond on the golf course. There was nothing to indicate nesting this year and the last record was on September 15th at Alton Water. Other records involved: Minsmere: male on six dates, May 17th to Sep. 5th; two males, Jun. 10th; female south offshore, Sep. 1st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two females, one male. Apr. 14th. Hazlewood Marshes, male. May 6th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, female, Apr. 4th. Trimley Marshes: male. May 23rd. Stour Estuary: Apr. 21st. Lackford WR: May 7th; two eclipse males, Aug. 24th. S H O V E L E R Anas clypeata Common winter visitor Uncommon Monthly counts f r o m and the passage key sites migrant. are tabulated: F 33 102 65 32 18 n/c

resident.

N D S O 37 80 Minsmere* n/c 86 57 48 100 North Warren* 15 48 20 120 Aide/Ore 91 n/c 15 6 15 Orwell Livermere Lake* n/c 18 42 n/c 134 Lackford WR* 114 127 105 * monthly maxima Away f r o m the above areas the only counts over 2 0 involved 30 at Lower Holbrook on January 1 st; 4 9 at Bury St E d m u n d s Sugar Factory during January and February and 6 0 at Loompit Lake on September 15th. Breeding season reports were received f r o m only seven sites and no juveniles were sighted. An unusual m i d - s u m m e r gathering of 30 at Loompit Lake was noted on June 2nd. A u t u m n passage off Landguard was sparse with monthly m a x i m a of just four south on October 14th and eight north on N o v e m b e r 3rd. J 51 70 112 43 24 12

A 49 41 120 n/c 32 n/c

M 56 201 76 48 13 n/c

R E D - C R E S T E D P O C H A R D Netta rufina Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Walberswick: male, Dec. 29th. Minsmere: male, Jan. 27th to Feb. 27th; male, Aug. 22nd. Orford: Havergate Island, male, Feb. 2nd to 10th. Boyton: Boyton Hall Reservoir, male, Feb. 14th and Mar. 6th. Wantisden: Staverton Lakes, male, Feb. 18th. Melton: Gravel Pits, two males, Jan. 2nd; male. May 18th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, noted from Sep. 10th to Dec. 7th, max. of four, Oct. 6th and 26th (two pairs). Alton Water: four males, Jan. 2nd to 25th; five, Jan. 7th and 21st; two, Nov. Ist. Lackford WR: May 26th. W h a t e v e r their origin, there was clearly an influx of birds in January and February. 68


P O C H A R D Aythya ferina Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce Monthly counts f r o m key sites are tabulated: J F M A Minsmere* 38 76 49 30 Orwell 157 364 615 n/c Loompit Lake* 40 n/c 180 n/c Alton Water 197 427 163 0 Lackford WR* n/c n/c n/c 12 * monthly maxima

resident. S 13 n/c n/c 4 48

O n/c 5 60 74 67

N 12 67 100 85 79

D 13 202 n/c 267 97

T h e build-up in numbers on the River Orwell in February and March was caused by a cold snap in late February which pushed birds off smaller, freshwater areas as they froze. On February 25th, 81 were in Ipswich Wet Dock and on 27th, 4 9 0 were counted between Wherstead and the Docks. Other counts of note included 200 at Oulton Broad on February 11th; 94 at Boyton Hall Reservoir on March 6th; 174 at Havergate Island on February 1st; 500 at Alton Water on January 6th and 64 at Thorington Street Reservoir on January 4th. Reports of birds in M a y and June came from just five sites but proof of breeding c a m e only f r o m Lackford W R , where two broods of well-grown young (of one and two ducklings) were seen on July 15th. Autumn passage south off Landguard consisted of monthly day-maxima of 12 on September 23rd, 23 on October 15th and 19 on D e c e m b e r 31st. Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrids were reported from Alton Water (two males) during most of January and February.

T U F T E D D U C K Aythya fuligula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts f r o m key sites are tabulated: M A J F Aide/Ore 46 56 n/c 47 Deben 68 55 37 57 104 Orwell 217 67 n/c Alton Water 767 887 595 329 n/c Lackford WR* n/c n/c n/c * monthly maxima

S 43 13 n/c 352 129

O 46 46 20 585 157

N 30 36 31 742 150

D 70 44 160 914 146

In addition to the above counts there were 770 at Wherstead Strand on February 3rd and 1300 on Alton Water on N o v e m b e r 24th. Other counts above 50 c a m e from: Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, 200, Feb. 10th: 113, Dec. 25th to 28th; 128, Dec 31st. Bungay: 100, Jan. 7th. Orford: Havergate Island, 168, Feb. 4th; 58, Dec. 15th. Trimley Marshes: 156, Feb. 13th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, 80, Jan. 9th; 230, Feb. 11th. Ipswich: Wet Dock, 101, Feb. 13th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, 82. Jan. 28th; 184, Feb. I Ith; 58, Mar. 9th; 52, Apr. 24th. Livermere Lake: 62, Apr. 23rd; 69, May 2nd. T h e breeding season was under-reported as records of confirmed nesting c a m e f r o m only eight sites. A total of 22 pairs was located at Lackford WR on May 15th and 22 young were divided a m o n g five broods at Livermere Lake on July 4th. Four broods were on Thorington Street Reservoir on August 1st and a large brood of 12 ducklings was at Stansfield on August 2nd. 69


S C A U P Aythya mania Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. An above-average year for this marine diving duck, with widespread records f r o m the coasts and estuaries during the cold spell in February. T h e latter end of the year was m o r e typical. Counts f r o m the key sites are tabulated: F J M O N D Oulton Broad* 14 3 7 n/c n/c 1 Benacre Broad* 14 10 6 2 n/c 1 Minsmere* 2 16 n/c 1 2 3 Aide/Ore 1 26 0 0 31 3 Orwell 20 65 0 0 0 0 Alton Water 7 0 62 0 0 1 * monthly maxima T h e WeBS counts on February 18th for the Rivers Deben and Stour were 33 and 77 respectively. Other counts of ten or more involved 12 off Sizewell on February 11th and ten at East Lane, Bawdsey on January 1st, the latter increasing to 17 by the 8th. T h e only inland records were as follows: Barsham: River Waveney, female, Jan. 8th. Beccles: River Waveney, male, Feb. 20th. Wey bread: Gravel Pits, female, Feb. 11th. Lackford WR: female, Jan. 26th; female, Dec. 22nd. E I D E R Somateria mollissima Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. O n e of the highlights of the ornithological year was Suffolk's first successful Eider nest. A f e m a l e laid eggs at a site near L o w e s t o f t Harbour and these hatched on or about June 3rd, when two ducklings were seen in the harbour. At least one of these is k n o w n to have fledged. A female Eider had apparently laid eggs at the same site in the previous three springs but none of these nests hatched, possibly because the female did not have a mate and the eggs were infertile. O v e r - s u m m e r i n g has increased in recent years and breeding may b e c o m e a regular feature. U p to 29 were at Lowestoft Harbour during June and up to 45 during July. There w a s also a late-summer flock of up to 36 moulting birds off Benacre/Covehithe during August/September, which may well have been the s a m e as the L o w e s t o f t birds. A s ever with this species, all the records c a m e f r o m saltwater and there w e r e many reports of up to 25 f r o m the coast and estuaries. T h e only larger flocks, apart f r o m those mentioned above, were as follows: Southwold: 32 north, Sep. 18th; 69 on the sea, Sep. 20th. Minsmere/Thorpeness: 30 on the sea, Jan. 3rd. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 30 north, Nov. 15th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 40 north, Oct. 18th. At Covehithe 110 were logged during October, of which 52% flew south. In N o v e m b e r the month total was 295, but 9 1 % were flying north; there was a peak of 86 north on 15th. In D e c e m b e r 285 were seen, with 259 of these during strong E N E winds between 20th and 23rd (per P J Dare). L O N G - T A I L E D D U C K Clangula hyemalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. An exceptionally quiet year for this beautiful little sea-duck. There were just four records: Kessingland: four north, Jan. 11th. 70


Covehithe: two north, Mar. 31st. Felixstowe: south, Jan. 25th. Ipswich: Wet Dock, two, Jan. 2nd to Mar. 14th and Apr. 7th and 8th. C O M M O N S C O T E R Melanitta nigra Common non-breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Widely reported offshore in all months of the year. Many records came f r o m two well-watched localities and their accumulated monthly totals of birds flying past can be summarised in the following table. There may well be some duplication of individual birds: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Covehithe 409 146 125 249 116 168 211 325 256 136 266 187 Landguard 94 25 6 42 172 1 8 268 82 71 64 0 There were no large movements reported this year, the biggest being 210 south off Covehithe on January 8th. A flock of 200 was offshore in the Walberswick/Dunwich area from January 2nd to 28th and 140 were on the sea off Walberswick on December 29th. T h e only inland records came f r o m Lackford WR. There was a good run of sightings there with one noted on February 26th, a pair on March 23rd and April 4th and a male on D e c e m b e r 10th. V E L V E T S C O T E R Melanitta fusca Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. In a fairly quiet year records in the first winter period c a m e from: Benacre: three south, Mar. 23rd. Covehithe: Jan. 8th; three, Feb. 21st; male, Apr. 18th, 25th and 30th. Dunwich: three males, Jan. 7th. Leiston: Sizewell, male, Feb. 3rd, 4th and 6th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness, three north, Feb. 20th. Aldeburgh: River Aide, Feb. 18th. Felixstowe: Landguard, male on sea then flew off south, Apr. 25th. Woolverstone: Jan. 13th. There were no sightings between April 30th and September 18th and then records in the second winter period came f r o m : Covehithe: north, Oct. 29th; two north, Oct. 30th; south, Nov. 6th; two south, Nov. 26th. Easton Bavents: four south, Oct. 26th. Southwold: two females, one male south, Oct. 27th: male south, Oct. 29th. Walberswick: six on the sea, Dec. 29th. Leiston: Sizewell, two south, Sep. 18th. T h e species continues to prefer the northern half of the County. G O L D E N E Y E Bucephala clangula Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts f r o m the key sites are tabulated: M A F J 13 6 15 Benacre Broad* 6 6 10 15 Minsmere* 8 n/c 8 3 Aide/Ore 19 42 0 Deben 42 66 n/c 101 Orwell 178 126 0 22 Alton Water 19 15 37 0 Stour (Suffolk) 128 38 0 Stour (Essex) 4 15 20 12 8 Lackford WR* 10 5

* monthly maxima 71

O 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

N 4 6 11 20 9 10 88 23 7

D 5 5 10 13 91 11 49 70 10


A s usual there were widespread reports of small numbers but the only other counts to exceed ten were 50 at Waldringfield on D e c e m b e r 28th; 17 at Freston on D e c e m b e r 24th; 15 at Loompit Lake on February 25th, building up to 60 by March 24th and 103 at Brantham on D e c e m b e r 15th. Apart f r o m a f e m a l e on Breydon Water between June 15th and August 16th and at Burgh Castle on J u n e 25th, none were recorded f r o m April 21 st (three females, Oulton Broad) until October 23rd (two south, Landguard). S M E W Mergellus (Melius Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A good year for this much sought-after sawbill with a m a j o r influx during the cold weather in January and February. Records in the first winter period involved: Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, four redheads, Feb. 10th; two redheads, Feb. 11th. Oulton: Fisher Row, male, Jan. 15th. Carlton Colville: redhead, Feb. 10th. Worlingham: Springlake Fishery, four redheads, Jan. 7th. Barsham: Barsham Marshes, two males, 11 redheads, Jan. 7th. Southwold: Boating Lake, two redheads, Feb. 8th to 11th, joined by a male 9th to 11th; one redhead to Mar. 6th. Minsmere: two redheads, one male, Jan. 1st, increasing to 24 on 2nd, then up to five redheads, three males present to 31st; Feb. max. of 25 on 18th; a few remained into March to 20th, max. four, Mar. 4th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness Meare, Jan. 21st; two, Feb. 14th and 19th; Mar. 3rd all redheads. Melton: Gravel Pits, redhead, Jan. 4th to Feb. 4th. Hemley: River Deben, male, two redheads, Jan. 27th. Trimley Marshes: redhead, Mar. 31 st to Apr. 4th at least. Ipswich: Wet Dock, Jan. 1st and 2nd. Alton Water: all redheads, Jan. 1st to 5th; three, Jan. 6th; five, Jan. 7th; two, Feb. 11th; three, Feb. 14th. Coddenham: Pipp's Ford, redhead, Jan. 6th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, pair, Jan. 28th. T h e Trimley Marshes bird w a s particularly late. R e c o r d s in the second winter period were f r o m : Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, redhead, Dec. 29th. Oulton Broad, four males, one redhead, Dec. 28th; three males, Dec. 31st. Minsmere: redhead, Nov. 30th to Dec. 29th. Leiston: Sizewell Belts, two redheads, Dec. 30th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, two redheads, Nov. 8th. R E D - B R E A S T E D M E R G A N S E R Mergus serrator Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. M o n t h l y counts from key sites are tabulated: D J F M A O N 3 n/c 2 1 n/c 1 n/c Benacre Broad* 0 1 2 2 n/c 0 1 Aide/Ore 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 Deben 63 51 20 n/c 0 0 11 Orwell 14 30 24 0 1 16 0 Stour (Suffolk) 11 5 1 1 14 38 22 Stour (Essex) * monthly maxima A s is often the case with this species there were no inland records but reports c a m e f r o m about 17 other coastal sites, mostly of birds flying north or south j u s t offshore. 72


6: Rumours of breeding Eiders finally proved correct with the appearance family

in Lowestoft

7: Lapwing numbers were generally

of this

Andrew Easton

Harbour.

relatively low in Suffolk during

1996. Robin Chittenden


8: Curlew Sandpipers patterns.

9: Black-tailed

were in short supply, perhaps

due to prevailing

Godwits remain a strong feature of Suffolk's

weather Alan

Tate

estuaries in winter. Alan Tate


Other interesting counts included 17 flying north off Walberswick on January 2nd and a series of reports f r o m Thorpe Bay included 11 on January 1st, 11 males and 16 redheads on January 24th, 13 on February 21st, ten on March 3rd, 14 on N o v e m b e r 28th and 12 on D e c e m b e r 28th. U p to 19 in Ipswich Wet Dock during February are included in the Orwell count above and 15 were at Woolverstone on D e c e m b e r 31st. Regular observing at Covehithe Cliffs produced 18 during October, with a peak of ten south on 23rd, and 17 during November (13 south and four north). G O O S A N D E R Mergus merganser Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Records f r o m the principal county sites were: J F M N D Minsmere* 16 n/c 29 n/c 3 4 Alton Water 17 5 n/c n/c 4 Suffolk WP 14 8 5 n/c 11 26 Lackford WR* 25 27 9 * monthly maxima There was a m a j o r influx at the beginning of the year. On January 2nd, 28 flew south off Landguard and five m o r e flew out of the estuary, while at North Warren, 43 were seen flying over the marshes and inland. On the same day there were six in Ipswich Wet Dock and a report of ca. 50 flying over in thick fog. Reports were then widespread for the rest of January and February and counts of more than five included six at Oulton Broad on February 10th and 11th and 13 on February 17th; six at H e n h a m Estate on January 7th; six at Lound Waterworks on February 17th; nine at Slaughden on January 28th; 14 at Ipswich Wet Dock from February 11th to 27th; seven at Livermere Lake on January 7th and seven at Weybread Gravel Pits on February 11th. In March, 12 were on Euston Lake on 10th with six still there on 20th. A f t e r two at M i n s m e r e on April 9th none were seen until one flew over Landguard on October 30th, except for one at Minsmere on the most unseasonable date of June 10th and two flying north over fields at Gunton on September 10th. There were far f e w e r records in the second winter period. Apart f r o m those in the table above, these c a m e f r o m : Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, male, Dec. 25th. Covehithe: three, Nov. 26th. Blyth Estuary: male flying over, Dec. 21st. Orford: two males, Dec. 12th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, male, Dec. 13th. Levington: two males, Dec. 16th. Long Melford: redhead, Nov. 10th to 17th; male, Dec. 27th. Sudbury: Common Lands, redhead, Dec. 27th. West Stow: Country Park, six, Dec. 23rd. R U D D Y D U C K Oxyura jamaicensis Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Records were received this year f r o m ten sites and breeding was proven again at the regular Livermere site where three juveniles were seen. Walberswick NNR: two females, one male, Apr. 21st; two, Apr. 28th. Minsmere: male, Jun. 24th; two, Jul. 25th. Deben Estuary: Feb. 18th (on WeBS count). Ramsholt: Ramsholt Marshes, male, May 21st. Melton: Gravel Pits, male, Jan. 27th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, female, Mar. 5th to Apr. 19th; male, May 6th; pair Jul. 2nd. Alton Water: female, two males, Jan. 17th to 21st; Nov. 16th. 73


Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, female/immature, Nov. 15th. Livermere Lake: records from Feb. 17th (four) until Sep. 4th (also four); maximum on any one day was 12 on June 5th but up to eight females (March 28th and April 27th) and ten males (June 5th) were seen during the spring; breeding was confirmed when three juveniles were seen on Jul. 28th. Lackford WR: not seen until a pair appeared on May 2nd but records of 1-2 were regular thereafter up to Dec. 14th; maximum day count of three, Jul. 9th and Nov. 14th. H O N E Y B U Z Z A R D Pernis apivorus Scarce passage migrant There were no reports of this species in 1996, making it the first blank year since 1990. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 0 2 4 0 3 4 20 5 10 0 B L A C K K I T E Milvus Rare passage migrant.

migrans

This species remains an enigmatic visitor to the County with visitations being unpredictable and often all too brief. Benacre/Covehithe: Mar. 23rd (C A Buttle, R Perkins, A Riseborough et al.). T h e a b o v e bird is exceptionally early and constitutes the earliest ever in the County. It was seen several times in the area between 11.10am and 1pm before drifting away. R E D K I T E Milvus milvus Scarce but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant, both from Continental and introduced British populations. There are few birds that can e v o k e such emotions as a Red Kite, hanging effortlessly on the wind. T h e sight is even more gratifying when it is in S u f f o l k and the events of 1996 will live long in the memories of those w h o enjoyed them. T h e first breeding of Red Kites since around 1835 took place in the County and t w o young fledged successfully; full details are given in the paper in this edition of Suffolk Birds. It remains to be seen whether breeding will continue. In addition to the breeding birds, there was an excellent run of coastal migrants with a n u m b e r of birds loitering for several days. However, it is perhaps likely that a n u m b e r of the observations involved either the Suffolk breeding birds or others from the English re-introduction programme. The following birds all occurred within the expected spring migration period: Fritton: Fritton Marshes, Apr. 1st. Benacre: two, Apr. 21st; singles, Mar. 23rd, Apr. 6th and 24th. Covehithe: Mar. 28th and 29th, Apr. 6th. South Cove: Apr. 13th. Frostenden: Apr. 9th. Walberswick: Apr. 5th. Darsham: Mar. 21st. Westleton: Mar. 11th; Dingle Great Hill, Apr. 5th. Dunwich: Dunwich Forest, three, Feb. 26th. Minsmere: singles intermittently. Mar. 11th to Apr. 28th; two on Apr. 20th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Apr. 15th. Sudbourne: Mar. 22nd. TĂźnstall: Mar. 20th. Wickham Market: Feb. 11th. Easton: Mar. 19th. 74


Woodbridge: Mar. 1st. Waldringfield: Apr. 9th. Woolverstone: Apr. 18th. Coddenham: Pipp's Ford, Feb. 17th. Boxford: Mar. 27th. Lavenham: Mar. 12th. Great Barton: Mar. 19th. King's Forest: Feb. 27th. With such mobile and highly visible birds it is difficult to know h o w many individuals were involved and there is likely to be much duplication, especially amongst the wealth of sightings in the north-east of the County. In addition, a run of sightings in the Lackford area f r o m March 23rd continued into April with an additional sighting on June 11 th. This latter date, at least, suggests that there may have been a bird semi-resident in the area. Such sightings are increasing as re-introduced birds continue to wander to Suffolk and the following records, all from later in the year, probably involve such individuals: Walberswick NNR: Aug. 1st. Minsmere: Sep. 21st. Great Bealings: June 1st. Bentley: May 31st. Bury St Edmunds: June 2nd. 1995 correction: The second (untagged) bird at Dallinghoo/Charsfield was present and displaying with the tagged bird f r o m February 16th not 21st as stated in Suffolk Birds 45 (per K W and Mrs J D Garrod). M A R S H H A R R I E R Circus aeruginosus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. During the first winter period, records c a m e f r o m the traditional coastal reedbeds with up to three at Benacre, three at Minsmere and singles at North Warren and in the Lothingland area. T h e appearance of additional birds in March marked the start of the spring influx with seven at Minsmere by the m o n t h ' s end and migrants noted over Stowmarket on 18th and at King's Fleet, Felixstowe on 25th, as well as at a number of sites on the immediate coast. Migration continued into M a y with Landguard logging singles on 4th, 13th and 18th. Pairs were displaying on the coast by March 30th and indications of a healthy breeding population c a m e f r o m the traditional sites where up to ten pairs were logged at M i n s m e r e whilst Walberswick birds produced 31 young f r o m ten nests. At least one pair bred in the north-west of the County again and there were m o r e reports f r o m the area to the east of Breckland. Records in the latter half of the year were relatively few and there does not appear to have been a noticeable autumn m o v e m e n t of birds through the County. T h e second winter period produced similar numbers to the start of the year with up to three at Benacre, four at Minsmere, one at North Warren and five at Westwood Marshes, although only t w o were reported from the latter site by the y e a r ' s end. H E N H A R R I E R Circus cyaneus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Although this species is subject to fluctuations in observer interest, the total of 13 coastal or near-coastal parishes from which records were received shows a dramatic drop when compared with the total of 30 parishes in 1995. However, such fluctuations in n u m b e r are typical for this species, whose appearance in the County can be affected 75


by weather conditions both here and on the Continent. In the west of the County, reports came from six sites, scattered in and around Breckland, including one on the fen edge at Freckenham and up to five at the Berner's Heath roost. At other regular roosts, up to four were noted at Minsmere and four at Walberswick. Spring passage was poor, but there was a good scattering of April birds, including an adult male at Stradishall Airfield on 5th. Other April sightings involved singles at Lackford W R on 3rd to 5th, North Stow on 9th, Sizewell Belts on 10th, Carlton Marshes and North Warren on 14th, Minsmere to 19th, Orfordness and Berner's Heath on 21st and Havergate Island to 24th. The first returning bird was reported from North Warren on September 2nd, followed by a male at Minsmere from 21st and a female there on 24th. Numbers built up slowly in October and during the second winter period, reports came from 15 coastal or near-coastal sites. The west of the County produced few observations with singles at Trinity Hall Farm, Moulton on November 20th and Berner's Heath on December 4th being the only records received. Coastal roost counts during this period were very low with no more than one noted at Westwood Marshes during December, although Minsmere hosted up to four birds. M O N T A G U ' S HARRIER Circus pygargus Scarce passage migrant No reports were received of this enigmatic species, making 1996 the first blank year on record. This is particularly disappointing after the encouraging increase in sightings in 1995 and continued breeding in neighbouring Norfolk. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1 1 5 3 2 2 1 3 5 0 G O S H A W K Accipiter gentilis Uncommon resident and rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Claims of this species continue to suffer from poor descriptions but the breeding population appears to be at least stable and perhaps consolidating itself. Although the species favours large conifer blocks in Suffolk, the presence of breeding birds in at least one neighbouring county in small, mixed woodland blocks in otherwise agricultural land, is encouraging for the future expansion of this superb species. Let us hope that profit f r o m Pheasant shooting does not continue to be considered more important than having Goshawks to enjoy. The bulk of reports came from breeding localities in Breckland. Circumstantial evidence suggests continued breeding in the north-east of the County. A male at North Warren on April 21st may well have been a migrant. S P A R R O W H A W K Accipiter nisus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The return of this species continues unabated, despite the efforts of those who prefer to believe circumstantial evidence to scientific fact! The pile of records received makes assessment difficult but the sheer volume of sightings is encouraging. The species now appears to be present in good numbers throughout the County. There is much evidence that the species is still consolidating its numbers, showing that local songbird populations can still withstand current Sparrowhawk levels adequately. At Stansfield, for example, one observer reported an 87% increase in observations compared with 1995. As observers become familiar with the species' distinctive feeding calls, reports of fledglings food-begging and males carrying food into breeding sites increase. At least 76


eight fledged young were reported from Nowton Park from three pairs and confirmed breeding was widely reported elsewhere. The range of species taken shows the flexibility of the species to adapt to locai food sources. Species taken in the County during the year included Dunlin, Mistle Thrush, Starling, Fieldfare and Wood Pigeon and an unsuccessful attack on a Green Woodpecker was witnessed. The highest counts came from the Benacre area and it is likely that such counts included migrants, both in spring and autumn. This is borne out by the observation of one arriving f r o m far out at sea off Covehithe Cliffs on October 29th. The bulk of Landguard's records feil during the two migration periods. The birds at Landguard were particularly attracted to finches and sparrows at the site's bird feeder. Sparrowhawks continued to patronise the site to the end of the year with D e c e m b e r observations involving singles on 11 dates being the highest bird-day total ever for that month for the site. C O M M O N B U Z Z A R D Buteo buteo Fairly common and increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. The scattering of records during the first winter period revealed f e w birds present. Indeed, allowing for duplication, it is possible that just three individuals were involved, one accounting for sightings around Aldringham, Friston and Iken, one in the M i n s m e r e and Westleton area and one around Cavenham. Additional singles, perhaps just passing through, were reported f r o m North Stow on February Ist and Stansfield on February 11 th. A dramatic increase was noted f r o m mid-March. Typically, the bulk of reports c a m e f r o m the north-east of the County. It would appear that birds drift northwards into Suffolk f r o m wintering grounds further south and/or west and gather on the coast before heading out to sea to breeding grounds in northern Europe/Scandinavia. Some birds probably loiter in the area, waiting for the best conditions for migration and thus some duplication may occur (and this also accounts for a f e w records of birds moving southwards). The following data attempt to summarise these spring movements: Beccles: Mar. 29th and Apr. 13th. Benacre: reported from Mar. 16th to May 6th, peaking between Mar. 23rd and 28th, max. of seven on 24th and 13 on 28th. Covehithe: singles, Mar. 25th, 29th and 30th. Minsmere: present from Mar. 14th to 28th, max. of five on 23rd. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: two, Apr. 30th; one May 3rd. Aldeburgh: noted from Mar. 16th to May 13th, max. of two on Mar. 27th and 30th. Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, Mar. 3Ist. Orford: Orfordness, Apr. 2Ist. Wickham Market: Mar. 24th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, Apr. 22nd. The 13 birds at Benacre on March 28th showed classic behaviour, spiralling up f r o m w o o d s south-west of the broad and heading out to sea, the largest party involving five birds together. All birds moved off between 09.30 and 10.15 in the morning (P J Dare pers comm). In addition to the birds detailed above, there was a scattering of reports f r o m Lothingland. However, any m o v e m e n t s were masked by apparently oversummering birds since sightings continued beyond the migration period and included a bird in heavy moult on August 4th. S u m m e r i n g obviously took place in Lothingland and odd sightings of summer individuals also c a m e from Minsmere, Lackford and Stradishall. Autumn m o v e m e n t s were predictably less pronounced and included a greater number in West Suffolk: 77


Kessingland: Aug. 2nd. Benacre: Aug. 27th. Wrentham: Aug. 13th. Dunwich: Oct. 22nd. Minsmere: singles, Sep. 1st and 24th; seven, Sep. 6th. Knodishail: Sep. 16th. Butley: Butley River, Aug. 18th. Hadleigh: Sep. 1st. Pakenham: Sep. 7th. Lackford: Aug. 1st, Sep. 27th and Oct. 27th. Cavenham: Oct. 1st. TUddenham St Mary: Oct. 1st. Moulton: Sep. 17th and 18th. There is little pattern in the records and several may involve wandering nonbreeders, especially in West Suffolk where reports continued into the second winter period around the Breckland edge. Few birds were observed in the second winter period and reports c a m e only f r o m Ashby Warren, Minsmere and Moulton. R O U G H - L E G G E D B U Z Z A R D H ut en lagopus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Just two wintering birds were reported, a well-watched individual at Fritton Marshes throughout January and one at Minsmere on January 21st. Migrants, often associated with m o v e m e n t s of C o m m o n Buzzards, were more widely reported along the coast as follows: Fritton: Fritton Lake, Apr. 1st; Fritton Marshes, Apr. 1st. Kessingland: Apr. 21st. Benacre: Mar. 23rd to 26th. Reydon: Potter's Bridge, Apr. 20th. Walberswick: three, Apr. 20th. Dunwich: Dunwich Forest, three, Apr. 28th. Minsmere: Mar. 29th. Sudbourne: Apr. 21st. The t w o sightings at Fritton were from the same observer and were considered to be different birds. There was clearly a passage of birds along the Suffolk coast in late April. There were no reports during the second half of the year.

Osprey

O S P R E Y Pandion haliaetus Uncommon passage migrant A typical year with records split between the two migration periods. Spring m o v e m e n t s were as follows: Lowestoft: north over town, May 19th. Wrentham: Apr. 22nd. Minsmere: Apr. 10th and 20th; May 25th and 26th; June 7th. Aldeburgh: Apr. 20th - also seen at North Warren. North Warren, May 13th and 14th. Orford: Havergate I., May 14th and 20th. Melton: River Deben, Apr. 20th. Lackford WR: Apr. 24th and May 10th. 78


Autumn reports were fewer with no lingerers: Lowestoft: Ness Point, south offshore. Aug. 30th. Minsmere: Aug. 28th to Sep. 1st. Aldeburgh: south, Sep. 1st. Livermere Lake: Sep. 26th. K E S T R E L Falco tinnunculus Very common resident. Rather patchily reported, although encouragingly many records involved breeding behaviour. At Stradishall Airfield, sightings were said to have shown a considerable increase with at least four birds present throughout the year and breeding proven. At Sizewell Belts, four pairs bred successfully and a pair with five fledged young was at Erwarton in July. U p to eight were on Orfordness during April, benefiting f r o m the rodent-rich grasslands, although such numbers do not bode well for the ground-nesting birds in the area. Casual observations included a report of t w o males fighting intensely on the ground in The King's Forest on N o v e m b e r 18th whilst an intriguing sighting involved a gathering of ten Kestrels on wires on July 30th at Benacre near Beach Farm. There was little evidence of migration, although Landguard logged a total of 13 south and three in off the sea from September 18th to N o v e m b e r 9th with a m a x i m u m of three south on October 1st. M E R L I N Falco columbarius Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Once again, this small falcon was difficult to catch up with in the County. T h e coastal marshes (now a sorry shadow of their f o r m e r selves) were the most reliable localities. The first winter period produced singles on the marshes at Aldeburgh, Snape, Havergate Island, Boyton, Hollesley and Falkenham with up to three at Westwood Marshes. Birds were also seen at Alton Water on February 10th and Dunwich Heath on February 22nd. A small increase in observations from mid-March coincided with the appearance of migrants and included an unusual report f r o m Kirkley Fen Park, Lowestoft on March 20th. Most migrants passed through in April whilst May birds involved one at Landguard on 1 st and one lingering at Havergate, being last seen on 30th. Autumn birds began to appear in September with singles at Minsmere on 1st, Covehithe on 14th and Aldeburgh on 19th and then more widespread, particularly along the coast. Landguard logged two on September 28th with a further six in October and one in November. Although a number of birds was still present in October, later records were very few and involved just singles at Boyton Marshes on D e c e m b e r 31st; Levington Marina on N o v e m b e r 5th; Minsmere throughout N o v e m b e r and Sudbourne Marshes on D e c e m b e r 1 st. In the west of the County sightings were few and far between and involved singles at Lackford W R on March 9th; Trinity Hall Farm. Moulton on January 8th and February 28th; Red Lodge Warren on October 14th; Ingham on D e c e m b e r 4th and Lakenheath on December 29th. H O B B Y Falco subbuteo Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Once again a large number of reports of this popular species was received and the presence of passage birds and perhaps first-year non-breeders, coupled with the species' secretive breeding habits, make it difficult to assess numbers. However, it is clear f r o m the reports that the species continues to do well in the County and there can 79


be f e w S u f f o l k birdwatchers w h o do not get annual sightings on their local patches. T h e first reports involved singles in April at Covehithe on 20th; S u f f o l k Water Park on 21st; B e n a c r e Broad, R a y d o n Great Wood (two) and L a n d g u a r d on 22nd and L a c k f o r d W R on 23rd with reports generally increasing thereafter. T w o at B e n a c r e on April 27th were soaring with five S p a r r o w h a w k s . During the summer, breeding birds often gathered at reliable f o o d sources, particularly open b o d i e s of water with good d r a g o n f l y populations and up to nine could be seen in the e v e n i n g s at L a c k f o r d W R during June. O t h e r observations included the taking of a Sand Martin in flight at Chillesford and a bird presumed by the observer to b e hunting bats as it f l e w along the e d g e of trees at dusk at M i n s m e r e - it could, however, have been catching moths. Breeding reports were f e w and undoubtedly understate the present population. Records of pairs c a m e f r o m just three locations but an assessment of the spread and timing of reports suggests that there could be up to 20 pairs now in the County. A m o r e accurate assessment (on a continued basis) is much needed. Fledged young swelled the population in late summer, although there were no significant gatherings and B e n a c r e ' s Sand Martins seem to have had a relatively peaceful year! Autumn migrants lingered well into September but, typically, October records were few, involving two at T h e K i n g ' s Forest on 1st and singles at Havergate Island and Moulton on 2nd; Chelmondiston on 7th and Stonham Aspal on 12th. A very late bird was seen at Bawdsey on N o v e m b e r 1st. P E R E G R I N E Falco peregriniti Uncommon but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. The status of the Peregrine in Suffolk appears to be changing in line with the British breeding population, their increases appearing to be occurring in parallel. Peregrines wander freely during the winter (hence the name!) and there is obviously some duplication but a number of sites were occupied throughout the period. In the first winter period, long-staying birds were present at Fritton Marshes (two), the Aide Estuary and the upper Orwell Estuary. Elsewhere, singles were at Minsmere on January 12th and Benacre on January 28th, the latter taking a Teal from the frozen broad. The latest dates of wintering birds are obscured by the appearance of passage birds as there was a slight increase in records during March and April. Reports at this time were as follows: Benacre: Apr. 7th. Covehithe: Apr. 10th. Minsmere: Mar. 6th and 15th; May 11th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Apr. 25th. Sudbourne: Ferry Farm, Mar. 31st. Orford: Havergate I., Apr. 1st and 7th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Mar. 23rd. Levington: May 11th. Ipswich: Apr. 15th. T h e t w o May records follow a recent trend for birds to loiter well into the year and hopefully bode well for the future. Apart f r o m one at Lakenheath on July 13th, which may well have been an escapee, there were no reports until the autumn. September sightings involved singles at Dunwich on 12th and Benacre on 22nd. October reports involved singles at Havergate on 2nd; Landguard on 10th and Southwold on 19th whilst t w o birds were back on the Orwell Estuary by 11th. Records in the second winter period again came mostly f r o m Fritton Marshes, the Aide Estuary and the Orwell Estuary. The only other reports involved singles at M i n s m e r e on N o v e m b e r 20th and Boyton Marshes on D e c e m b e r 13th. 80


R E D - L E G G E D P A R T R I D G E Alectoris Resident; pure birds scarce but increasing;

rufa hybrids common

and

widespread.

Figures f r o m the G a m e Conservancy indicate that the number of birds shot rose substantially in the early 1980s, but has stabilised in the last decade. T h e average bags in East Anglia are now around 50 birds per sq km. There was a substantial increase in the n u m b e r of birds reared and released during the 1970s, reaching average figures for East Anglia of around 80-90 birds released per sq km in the 1980s. T h e n u m b e r of birds put d o w n has now stabilised, and there is a strong m o v e on many of the more forward-looking estâtes towards wild-bred birds for shooting. However, no reports of breeding were submitted. Since the release of Chukars is now banned (to protect the resident wild population of Red-legs), hybrids should be on the decline, and pure Red-legs should be coming through in the population. Ten at Foxhole Heath on April 2nd 'appeared p u r e ' . The f e w records that were received (reflecting the low interest in this species amongst Suffolk birdwatchers) were mainly f r o m well-watched sites in Breckland and on the coast. The largest numbers reported were 51 at Maltings Farm, R o u g h a m , N o v e m b e r 28th; 29 at Boyton, N o v e m b e r 21st and 27 at Hopton, September 2 I s t . A total of 12 pairs was reported f r o m North Warren whilst Landguard's post breeding population peaked at 2 3 on October lOth.

G R E Y P A R T R I D G E Perdix perdix Formerly common resident, now localised. Records were received f r o m 49 sites (51 in 1995) in 4 2 parishes, scattered throughout the County. Records were numerous in January to May, dropped noticeably during the summer, and then rose again in the late autumn/winter, presumably reflecting observer interest early in the year and then an increase later with the release and/or dispersai of new birds. C o v e y sizes were generally small, with j u s t seven doublefigure records, including 38 in a single covey at Lower A b b e y Farm Marshes, Leiston, on N o v e m b e r 14th. There is a welcome m o v e towards the re-establishment of this species on sporting estâtes. T h e increase in unsprayed headlands and other sympathetic agricultural practices should also be of benefit. Nonetheless, there were just fi ve submitted records of confirmed breeding.

Q U A I L Coturnix coturnix Scarce summer visitor and passage

migrant.

1996 was not a great Quail year, with just five one-day records, and birds present for any length of time only on the Sizewell Levels and at Lakenheath. H o w e v e r it is encouraging to note the t w o records f r o m m i d - S u f f o l k , away f r o m the traditional areas of the coast and north-west Suffolk. Ail records were in J u n e and July, the peak period for calling birds. T h e bird calling in a forestry clearing w a s s o m e w h a t out of place. Covehithe: seen in flight, June 13th. Leiston: Sizewell Levels, birds calling Jun. 29th to Jul. 14th, max. of three, Jul. lOth and 1 Ith. Shotley: calling, Jun. 13th. Stonham Aspal: calling, Jun. 28th. Gipping: Hill Farm, calling, Jun. 26th. The King's Forest: calling in forestry clearing, Jun. 15th. Lakenheath: up to three calling during July. 81


P H E A S A N T Phasianus colchicus Very common resident; numbers augmented by releases. Figures f r o m the G a m e Conservancy indicate a steady increase in the n u m b e r of reared Pheasants released, with average figures for East Anglia of around 75 per sq k m in the 1960s rising to around 2 5 0 per sq km in the early 1990s. Nonetheless the levels of release are still substantially less than in some other parts of England with, for example, average figures of around 500 per sq km in South-east England. In contrast, the numbers shot have been more or less stable for s o m e time, with average bag returns of around 100 to 150 birds per sq km in the 1960s, compared with 130-160 birds per sq k m more recently. As with Red-legged Partridge, there is a move towards encouraging wild-bred birds, and not relying solely on rearing and release. There continues to b e a fashion for the rearing and release of imported breeds f r o m America and Scandinavia. T h e dearth of records f r o m birdwatchers in Suffolk makes it impossible to add to the general c o m m e n t s above, although North Warren reported a breeding population of 50 territories. G O L D E N P H E A S A N T Chrysolophus pictus Scarce resident. Records c a m e f r o m the two traditional Breckland areas, but numbers seemed to be d o w n on recent years. In The K i n g ' s Forest, birds were observed in February, April and D e c e m b e r with a m a x i m u m of three calling males on April 21st. At Mayday Farm, records were received for the period February to June with a m a x i m u m of two males and one f e m a l e reported. A male at Fressingfield on M a r c h 18th was no doubt either a recent release or escapee, but one at Hopton on April 21st suggests that a population still exists around Knettishall. W A T E R R A I L Rallus aquaticus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded f r o m 4 4 sites (30 parishes), across the County, but with a coastal bias. There were very f e w summer records, and no confirmed breeding, though there was suspected breeding at a handful of sites. This species is easily over-looked, but the breeding population is undoubtedly sparse throughout the county. Year-round records were received f r o m several well-watched reserves such as Minsmere, North Warren and Lackford, but the majority of records came f r o m the winter period, w h e n Water Rails are perhaps m o r e obvious, numerous and widespread. Most records were of singles, occasionally t w o or three, but with m a x i m u m counts of eight, Minsmere, January 20th, and six there, February 6th (monthly m a x i m a for the reserve); four at North Warren, February 18th and four on the River Lark at West Stow Country Park, D e c e m b e r 31st. Migrants were recorded at Landguard on September 22nd and 30th. S P O T T E D C R A K E Porzana porzana Rare passage migrant; rarely over-summers. Orford: Orfordness, Mar. 24th (B Harrington et al.). This migrant was a surprise find, sheltering amid brick rubble and rough ground on Orfordness. None were recorded f r o m more traditional areas. M O O R H E N Gallinula chloropus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. M o o r h e n s were recorded throughout the year f r o m across the county. T h e following table gives W e B S counts or monthly m a x i m a f r o m some regularly counted sites: 82


Alde/Ore North Warren* Deben Estuary Alton Water Stour (Suffolk) Stour (Essex) Livermere Lake* * monthly maxima

J 54 133 45 78 8 6 n/c

F 67 70 58 67 12 2 75

M 75 36 61 25 25 3 80

A n/c n/c 26 26 11 0 80

M n/c n/c n/c 19 n/c n/c 42

S 46 60 21 43 16 8 n/c

O 46 65 9 39 11 0 45

N 95 70 57 45 46 0 56

D 75 80 37 40 32 0 63

Breeding is presumed to be widespread, but very f e w records were received; five pairs were located on Boyton Marshes and 60 pairs were at North Warren. A nest with eggs was f o u n d in the flooded foundation of a disused cottage at Stansfield. C O O T Fulica atra Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The following table gives WeBS counts or monthly m a x i m a f r o m some regularly counted sites: J F M A M J J A S O N D Minsmere* 106 127 65 20 n/c 68 161 n/c 27 n/c 100 n/c North Warren*+ 263 270 277 134 n/c n/c n/c n/c n/c 110 126 120 Alde/Ore n/c n/c n/c n/c 84 309 297 213 n/c 78 191 164 Deben Estuary 98 186 139 135 48 62 70 116 Loompit Lake* 70 300 400 750 840 637 Alton Water 2003 1704 684 153 118 310 n/c n/c 882 1142 1019 628 Stour (Suffolk) 22 2 77 53 3 29 21 39 Stour (Essex) 4 4 0 0 10 0 0 0 Livermere Lake* 110 161 99 103 126 164 227 243 Lackford WR* 250 279 313 294 * monthly maxima + includes Thorpeness Meare The upper reaches of the Orwell produced some unusually high counts with 146 in Ipswich Wet D o c k on February 25th and 282 at Wherstead Strand on February 27th. These figures coincided with the record numbers at Alton Water (see also Suffolk Birds 45) which peaked in D e c e m b e r 1995 and began to tail off in early 1996. Düring the second winter period, the m a x i m u m count at Alton Water was of 1390 on N o v e m ber 3rd, lower than the end of year counts in 1995, but still retaining the impressive high counts of the past f e w years. Other site counts are typical of recent years. Breeding was recorded f r o m just six sites, presumably indicative of lack of interest f r o m birdwatchers, since breeding was confirmed in excess of 100 tetrads in the 'provisionai atlas' of 1993. C O M M O N C R A N E Grus grus Rare passage migrant. A good sériés of records, including two long-staying groups, giving optimistic hopes for the future. Worlingham: Worlingham Marshes, two, Apr. 20th to May 4th (C A Buttle, A Riseborough, R Waiden). Benacre: four flying north, May 12th (C A Buttle, A Riseborough, R Waiden). Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, imm., May 5th (M Forbes). Minsmere: one Ist summer, three 2nd summers, Apr. 26th to May 1 Ith (many obs); imm. north, May 4th (E W Patrick). Orford/Boyton: Havergate Island and Boyton Marshes, imm. May Ist to 3rd (S J Denny). Stoke-by-Nayland: May 15th (J Oxford). 83


Calculating numbers of such highly-mobile birds is difficult. However, the i m m a t u r e at Havergate, Minsmere and Walberswick is assumed to be the same bird and the four over Benacre were clearly the Minsmere birds. O Y S T E R C A T C H E R Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. N D M A S O J F 32 19 203 13 26 Blyth 0 223 n/c 18 34 58 Aide/Ore 14 338 360 n/c 29 43 223 178 270 Deben 189 329 358 360 515 n/c n/c 483 608 Orwell 570 306 1073 625 794 319 258 899 1191 Stour (Suffolk) 409 366 862 916 Stour (Essex) 1149 961 154 726 395 1215 Apart from totals on W e B S counts, few records were received. Some of the highest counts f r o m single sites came f r o m Erwarton Bay on the Stour where there were 417 on February 28th, 558 on M a r c h 31 st and 4 8 6 on October 31 st. Elsewhere, 4 0 0 were at Freston on December 12th; 2 0 0 at Methersgate on Aprii 28th and 179 at Wherstead Strand on January 14th. The highest count f r o m Oystercatcher the Trimley Marshes roost was of 2 7 6 on August 9th. An unusually high total of 4 2 was at Alton Water on June 4th. Breeding season data were f e w ; at Havergate Island, 22 pairs raised just five young due to heavy prĂŠdation by Foxes and gulls and elsewhere single pairs were at Landguard and Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin. Away f r o m coastal habitats t w o pairs bred at Weybread G P s and a pair bred in a field at Henstead. In West Suffolk birds were present during the breeding season at Lackford W R and Livermere Lake and at the latter site, a pair with three juveniles was present on June 8th. Spring m o v e m e n t s off Landguard were poor with monthly totals of 38 north and 66 south in March and 54 north and 96 south in Aprii with much of this activity probably involving locai m o v e m e n t between estuaries. Autumn m o v e m e n t s off Landguard were heavier with August producing a total of 301 south during the month. A V O C E T Recurvirostra Common resident, summer Blyth Aide/Ore Deben

J 332 247 93

avosetta visitor, winter visitor and passage migrant on the F M A S O N 400 n/c 63 5 0 69 744 260 n/c 866 290 437 106 99 22 2 14 80

Monthly m a x i m a at the three principal breeding sites were: J F M A M J J A S O Minsmere 0 5 124 271 233 47 67 13 5 n/c Havergate I. 150 252 351 94 120 190 236 637 872 340 Trimley 0 0 30 50 21 25 30 n/c n/c n/c 84

coast. D 154 432 100 N 1 n/c n/c

D 1 308 n/c


Minsmere Havergate I. Trimley

Breeding Pairs 1995 1996 141 91 80 86 30 17

Young Fledged 1995 1996 21

0

12

16

25

0

The Avocet continúes to suffer badly at established breeding colonies with predation by Foxes, Stoats and gulls becoming a major problem. The species appears to have a peculiar ecology which enables it to do well at new colonies but appears to be less successful once established. The smaller satellite colonies which continué to spread at sites away f r o m the w e l l - r e c o r d e d locations tabled a b o v e produce far more young per pair and do not appear to suffer such heavy predation. S T O N E - C U R L E W Burhinus oedicnemus Locally fairly common summer visitor. The Breckland population appears to be doing well at present with indications of a continued upward trend in fortunes. A single pair continúes to breed on the coast but as yet there is little sign of the species Avocets b e c o m i n g re-established there. H o w e v e r , singles at Minsmere on March 23rd, April 9th and 26th to 27th and May 6th indícate that wandering birds are visiting the area and one was heard calling after dark at Aldringham C o m m o n on March 21 st. The build-up of birds at traditional post-breeding gathering sites produced a siterecord count of 52 birds at one location on October 7th with other counts there of 4 6 on September 8th and 40 in August. A total of 18 birds was still there as late as October 15th. At a second site, 35 were present on September 4th. C O L L A R E D P R A T I N C O L E Glareola pratíncola Accidental. The second for the County and the first since one at Alton Water on May 30th to June 2nd 1977, this was a welcome addition to many birders' Suffolk lists. For many, it completed the trio of pratincoles - although it could have stayed a little longer! Dunwich: shore pools, June 8th (B J Small et al.). Minsmere: June 9th (B J Small et al.). Having located the bird on the shore pools at Dunwich on the Saturday, the same observer rounded off a good weekend by locating the same bird flying over T h e Scrape at Minsmere the next day! This bird was distinctive in having half of its tail missing. This feature made it readily identifiable in the field and threw some fascinating light onto the movements of such wandering individuáis. It was also reported f r o m Draycote Water, Warwickshire on May 12th and 13th and Summerleas Nature Reserve, Earls Barton, Northamptonshire on M a y 13th to 25th. It then appeared at Hornsea M e r e and later Beacon Ponds, Kilnsea (both East Yorkshire) on June 4th, Holkham Gap, Norfolk on June 5th and Cley N W T Reserve, Norfolk on June 5th to 8th. Thus it clearly flew f r o m Cley to Dunwich in one day and, after its brief visit to Suffolk, returned to Cley from June lOth to l l t h ! It then disappeared for a while before returning to Cley f r o m July 15th to 25th. 85


A s if this was not impressive enough, the bird was also seen in the Netherlands on M a y 29th to J u n e 2nd then again on June 14th to 16th and July 7th and 11th! Whilst pratincoles are known to be highly mobile birds, such m o v e m e n t s are quite extraordinary and give an insight into the activities of wandering, non-breeding individuals. They also pose serious questions about attempts to quantify the number of individuals that turn up when characters such as missing tails are not present. L I T T L E R I N G E D P L O V E R Charadrius dubius Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first birds did not put in an appearance until the end of March with reports of t w o at Lackford W R on 24th; two at Livermere Lake on 28th; two at Suffolk Water Park on 29th and singles at Shingle Street and Weybread G P s on 30th. The bulk of the early reports c a m e f r o m Lackford W R where ten were present by March 31st. Spring passage peaked at sites with suitably disturbed areas and highest counts included 11 at L a c k f o r d on April 2nd and up to four at Alton Water, S u f f o l k Water Park, Livermere Lake and Weybread GPs. Breeding got underway quickly and a pair at S u f f o l k Water Park chose to breed on the gravel of the water sports car park with four eggs already in the nest by April 30th. Occasional migrants dropped in to the larger coastal wetlands and elsewhere, birds were noted at Pipp's Ford on April 14th (with t w o on 22nd) and Barton M e r e on May 16th. One was heard calling as it passed over Barrow, late on the evening of April 3rd. Two at Buss Creek, Southwold were seen displaying in suitable breeding habitat during late May. A u t u m n numbers were uninspiring with the highest count involving j u s t four at M i n s m e r e on July 25th and no m o r e than two at other sites. September reports involved birds at Minsmere on 2nd and 3rd and Shingle Street and Havergate Island (two) on 4th. R I N G E D P L O V E R Charadrius hiaticula Common resident, winter visitor and passage F M J 34 2 Blyth n/c North Warren* 60 80 Aide/Ore 12 4 80 Deben 8 5 13 297 Orwell 163 31 100 Landguard* 200 75 Alton Water* Stour (Suffolk) 44 36 88 Stour (Essex) 91 82 218 * monthly maxima

migrant. A 71 20 n/c 8 n/c 40 -

33 38

S 4 104 167 32 n/c 30 -

202 80

O 86 79 80 36 6 200 225 52 358

N 8 80 33 2 158 230 240 139 458

D 10 80 23 34 226 250 -

115 125

T h e WeBS counts for the Deben are remarkably low and it would appear that the roost on the shingle bar at the river mouth is not being counted; at least 170 were using the site on October 12th making it one of the most important roosts in the County for this species. T h e breeding population at Landguard fared a little better than in the last f e w years with at least 11 pairs present. Nine young were ringed at the site. Conversely, Havergate birds failed completely with seven pairs rearing no young. The only other breeding data involved a pair on the disused Woodbridge Airbase and six pairs on Aldeburgh beach. In West Suffolk, passage produced a m a x i m u m of eight birds at Lackford W R on March 29th with up to two at Livermere Lake in April and May and one in September. Lackford held a m a x i m u m of four during September. Elsewhere, the only report w a s of one at Sudbury on September 2nd. 86


K E N T I S H P L O V E R Charadrius alexandrinus Rare passage migrant. Orford: Havergate Island, juveniles. Aug. 12th and 27th (S J Denny). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Spring 0 1 0 3 4 1 0 2 0 0 Autumn 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 2 No clear pattern emerges from the above table and catching up with the species in Suffolk appears to be a matter of luck. D O T T E R E L Charadrius morinellus Rare passage migrant. Bucking the recent bias to the west of the County, the sole bird of the year turned up on the coast, and in autumn. Corton: juvenile, Sep. 21st (J H Grant et al.). This is n o w a scarce bird in the County and records are too few for any clear pattern of occurrence to show. However, there is a tendency for spring records to involve small 'trips' in the west whilst autumn birds are often lone juveniles on the coast. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Spring 14 2 0 1 0 1 0 10 5 0 Autumn 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 G O L D E N P L O V E R Pluvialis apricaria Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Counts for 1996 were generally much lower than those for 1995 with even the regular locations producing smaller numbers. Counts of 250 or more during the first winter period were as follows: Ellough: 400, Feb. 14th. Blyth Estuary: 250, Mar. 6th. Trimley St Mary: Candlet, 350, Jan. 24th; Trimley Marshes, 270, Feb. 13th. Trimley St Martin: Kirton Road, 300, Jan. 22nd; 500, Feb. 28th. Erwarton: 420, Mar. 20th. Brantham: Cattawade, 450, Mar. 8th. Cotton: 548, Mar. 20th. Little Livermere: 490, Feb. 17th; 800, Mar. 10th. Troston: 330, Mar. 28th. The bulk of these reports fall in March and are likely to involve a build-up of passage birds; the wintering population had fallen when most birds were moved on by harsh weather in December 1995. Records for the second winter period involved a few larger gatherings with generally m o r e birds present: Metfield: 400, Dec. 1st. Bawdsey: 690, Dec. 15th. Falkenham: Falkenham Marshes, 375, Nov. 17th. Levington: 300, Sep. 4th; 250, Dec. 9th. Erwarton: 300, Aug. 31st; 259, Oct. 31st. Brantham: 271, Dec. 15th. Stowupland: 464, Sep. 27th to Nov. 27th; 750, Dec. 2nd. Depden: 300, Sep. 5th. Stansfield: 400. Nov. 16th. Ixworth: 300, Oct. 1st. Ingham: 369, Oct. 29th; 250, Nov. 16th. 87


Ampton: 300, Nov. 8th; 400, Dec. 4th. Little Livermere: 350, Sep. 26th; 400, Dec. 7th. N u m b e r s were rather low until the end of November/early D e c e m b e r when there appears to have been an influx of birds. G R E Y P L O V E R Pluvialis squatarola Common winter visitor and passage migrant. J F M A Blyth 28 49 n/c 2 Aide/Ore 85 46 56 n/c Deben 407 325 261 12 Orwell 204 255 333 n/c Stour (Suffolk) 1279 2736 1261 1014 Stour (Essex) 314 386 280 3

S 14 11 309 n/c 327 425

O 21 126 57 86 201 720

N 9 56 259 192 628 570

D 7 29 149 294 2247 99

F e w counts w e r e received other than for WeBS counts. T h e Stour clearly holds the most important population in the County with Erwarton Bay in particular being important, that site holding over 800 birds in March and Aprii and at least 1800 in December. Notable autumn counts at Landguard included 136 south on August 23rd and 103 south on October 15th. Inland passage was very light with only Lackford W R recording the species singles on January 4th, March lOth and October 7th and 14th. L A P W I N G Vanellus vanellus Very common winter visitor and passage Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour (Suffolk) Stour (Essex)

J 760 1384 1089 1744 542 1560

F 95 1477 1249 711 1093 159

migrant.

M n/c 3207 2289 638 2684 643

A 27 n/c 54 n/c 28 0

Declining S 202 906 700 n/c 897 459

as a breeding O 113 1016 1602 495 436 577

N 20 3120 2041 1151 2422 1562

species. D 506 3591 2041 1198 936 1398

N u m b e r s reflected those of Golden Piover in being generally lower than expected during the first winter period, although some coastal sites held good gatherings (see W e B S table). Flocks of 4 5 0 or more were reported as follows: Gisleham: 500, Jan. 14th. Blyth Estuary: 7000. Mar. 6th. Minsmere: 665, Mar. 5th. Aldeburgh: North Warren. 1480, Jan. 14th; 2150, Mar. 3rd; 700, Mar. lOth. Orford: Havergate I., 500, Mar. 7th. Marlesford: 1600 Aying over A12, Mar. 4th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, 1500, Jan. 12th. Morston Hall, 1000, Jan. 7th. Freston: 1940, Jan. 14th. Erwarton: 490, Mar. 3Ist. Brantham: Cattawade, 700,Mar. 8th. There was clearly a movement of birds in early-mid January, perhaps in response to the cold weather of D e c e m b e r 1995 (see also Golden Piover). M a r c h records involve a build-up of departing birds. T h e second winter period produced the following counts of 4 5 0 or more: Aldeburgh: North Warren, 794, Dec. 8th. Orford: Havergate I„ 619, Dee. 15th. Bawdsey: 600, Dee. 15th. Woodbridge: Deben, 530, Dec. 15th. Waldringfield: 738, Nov. 17th. 88


Falkenham: Falkenham Marshes, 918, Oct. 13th; 730, Nov. 17th. Trimley St Martin: 500, Oct. 26th. Freston: 490, Nov. 5th. Wherstead: Wherstead Strand, 786, Dec. 5th. Brantham: 1240, Dec. 15th. Ingham: 480, Oct. 29th. Little Livermere: 500, Dec. Lackford: 450, Sep. 1st; 2000, Oct. 29th; 800, Nov. 1st. Several observers c o m m e n t e d that birds had mostly abandoned the County between Christmas and the N e w Year with the onset of a cold snap. Breeding reports were encouraging with a scattering of observations f r o m sites across the County. Three broods were reported f r o m Barton Mere and several pairs were said to have bred at Livermere Lake. Seven pairs were on territory at Lackford W R and t w o pairs bred at the B T O ' s Nunnery Lakes Reserve. A pair raised three young at Sizewell Belts, constituting the first breeding there for six years. North Warren held an important total of 58 pairs. Routine checks by engineers at the top of the columns supporting the Orwell Bridge also led to the discovery of four dead Lapwings which had fallen prey to the local Peregrines. K N O T Calidris Locally common

canutus winter visitor and passage F M J Blyth 138 767 n/c Aide/Ore 27 0 37 84 Deben 111 112 1030 Orwell 68 950 2540 30 Stour (Suffolk) 3665 Stour (Essex) 502 315 1083

migrant. A 41 n/c 0 n/c 0 1

S 1 78 4 n/c 0 0

O 8 0 4 305 6 280

N 0 6 0 0 612 76

D 456 697 0 246 3405 884

The high count on the Blyth Estuary in February is noteworthy. Highest counts f r o m individual locations (all on the Orwell and Stour) included 1015 at Erwarton Bay on February 28th and 2000 there on D e c e m b e r 31 st; 889 at Holbrook Bay on February 18th and 1496 at Wherstead Strand on January 14th and 474 there on February 3rd. N u m b e r s during passage periods were generally low, although 38 were on Havergate Island on June 29th, a rather high figure of what were presumably early returning birds. A u t u m n passage peaked at Minsmere with 17 on August 10th and 36 were on Orfordness on September 15th whilst a count of 120 south off Landguard on August 23rd is noteworthy. The species remains very rare in West Suffolk and one at Livermere Lake on March 23rd is notable. S A N D E R L I N G Calidris alba Regular winter visitor and passage migrant in small numbers. T h e bulk of reports c a m e f r o m traditional locations in the north-east of the County with L o w e s t o f t ' s sandy beaches holding up to 4 0 in January and 75 in December. N u m b e r s at nearby Kessingland peaked at 74 on February 23rd and a colour-ringed bird was present there on M a r c h 24th. Reports elsewhere during the first winter period c a m e mostly in January and involved three at Aldeburgh on 7th; t w o at Felixstowe Ferry on 23rd; t w o at T h o r p e Bay on 25th and three at Benacre Broad on 28th. In February, up to four were in the high-tide roost at Landguard; three were at M i n s m e r e on 2nd and 3rd and six were on the beach near C o b b o l d ' s Point, Felixstowe on 17th. Spring passage saw a flurry of reports for M a y with totals peaking at 11 at Benacre 89


Broad on 19th; four north past Landguard on 4th and six at M i n s m e r e on 20th. A u t u m n m o v e m e n t s produced a peak of 13 at Minsmere on July 25th; ten south off Southwold on August 28th and singles at Benacre Broad throughout the period with t w o on September 7th. Landguard logged a slight peak in activity in October with three north on 22nd and two on the beach and five south on 29th. L I T T L E S T I N T Calidris minuta Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionali overwinters. Over-wintering in the County by this species seems to be on the increase with singles noted during both winter periods. O n e was at Alton Water on at least January Ist and 3rd. T w o at Trimley Marshes on March 24th were rather early and may well have wintered further north than most of the population. Spring passage is rarely impressive but in 1996 it was particularly poor with reports f r o m just two locations. O n e was at Benacre Broad on May 2 I s t with three later birds there on June 6th. At Minsmere, t w o were present on May 8th and three f r o m 16th to 18th. A u t u m n passage began quietly but built up to some unusually high numbers in September, although the triple-figure counts f r o m sites in neighbouring counties were not noted in Suffolk. July and August were quiet with the highest count involving four at M i n s m e r e on August 17th. S e p t e m b e r ' s exceptional m o v e m e n t began with the first reports on 14th when there w a s one at Livermere Lake and three at East Lane, Bawdsey - both unusual sites for the species. T h e following day saw seven at Alton Water, three at Havergate Island and three on the Deben at Melton whilst 15 had appeared at Trimley Marshes. N u m b e r s then reached a peak f r o m 20th to around 26th and counts for the period are given below (all dates refer to September): Southwold: Buss Creek, two on 22nd. Boating Lake, eight on 18th, 14 on 20th and eight on 29th. Minsmere: 18 on 24th and 56 on 26th. Aldeburgh: Hazlewood Marshes, four on 15th and 26th. North Warren, three on 16th, 17 on 23rd, 28 on 24th, 19 on 27th and ten on 28th. Orford: Orfordness, three on 15th. Havergate I., three on 15th. Melton: Deben Estuary, three on 15th. Bawdsey: East Lane, three on 15th, 20 on 22nd, seven on 27th and two on 28th. Trimley Marshes: 15 on 15th, five on 16th and five on 21st. Alton Water: seven on 15th. Lackford WR: one on 18th and two on 20th. Livermere Lake: one on 14th, 11 on 17th with six to 22nd and two to 24th. T h e count of 56 at Minsmere on September 26th involved a single flock which spent just ten minutes on the reserve before Splitting off into t w o flocks and flying off south. F e w remained into October, although up to four were at Benacre Broad, two at Havergate and singles at North Warren and Southwold Boating Lake but only the Benacre Broad birds remained past the first week. One was present at M i n s m e r e to at least N o v e m b e r 23rd and perhaps the same individual was at North Warren on D e c e m b e r 4th. T E M M I N C K ' S S T I N T Calidris temminckii Uncommon passage migrant. A very poor year with just a single record of t w o birds, reflecting recent trends. We are overdue another 1991! Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, May 15th (J M Cawston, E W Patrick). Totais over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 6 1 4 3 17 90

1993 1994 6 2 2

1995 6

1996 2


W H I T E - R U M P E D S A N D P I P E R Calidris fuscicollis Very rare passage migrant. A w e l c o m e return to the County. This species can be difficult to pick out amongst flocks of foraging Dunlin and Suffolk birders did well to locate up to three of these birds which shared their time between Suffolk and Norfolk. Breydon Water: one, July 23rd; two, July 29th; three, July 31st (B J Brown, R Fairhead et al.). The first in the County since 1990. Reports f r o m the Norfolk side, where the birds spent most of their time, showed that the first bird was found on July 16th with the last sighting of one on August 14th. Numbers peaked with four from July 30th to August 3rd and all were moulting adults. The individuals showed no affinity for each other and generally fed scattered amongst the Dunlin hordes. P E C T O R A L S A N D P I P E R Calidris melanotos Scarce passage migrant. There were no records of this species in 1996 which represents the first blank year in the County since 1980. C U R L E W S A N D P I P E R Calidris ferruginea Regular passage migrant in varying numbers. In stark contrast to the numbers of Little Stints, this species put on a poor showing in 1996 with only M i n s m e r e producing double figures. Spring was particularly poor with one at M i n s m e r e on M a y 5th being the only bird reported. A u t u m n m o v e m e n t s began with t w o at Minsmere on July 25th and t w o on Breydon Water f r o m July 29th. August produced the highest numbers, although reports c a m e f r o m just t w o locations. Havergate Island held two f r o m 17th, increasing to three on 23rd and four on 26th. The highest counts f r o m Minsmere involved 14 on 10th and 21 on 13th with most birds being adults. N u m b e r s decreased rapidly with only singles reported f r o m Minsmere after August 16th, but increasing to two there during September. Other September reports included nine at Benacre Broad on 7th; five at Havergate Island on 16th; two at Covehithe Broad on 14th and two at Orfordness on 15th. T h e only October record involved seven juveniles on Breydon Water on 2nd. In West Suffolk, Lackford W R held a monopoly with a juvenile f r o m September 24th to 26th being joined by a second on the latter date. P U R P L E S A N D P I P E R Calidris maritima Regular winter visitor at a few favoured localities. Scarce passage migrant. At Ness Point, L o w e s t o f t , up to 17 were present f r o m January through into March. Fluctuations in reports were perhaps due mostly to the inaccessibility of the site making counting difficult. U p to 15 were present to at least April 9th and two were still there on May 18th. Landguard held singles on a number of dates f r o m January through into April and one on May 6th was in full breeding plumage. The only other report in the early part of the year was of one at M i n s m e r e Sluice f r o m February 2nd to 21st. In the second half of the year, one had already returned to Ness Point by July 28th and three were there on August 29th. N u m b e r s increased slowly but had only peaked at eight by October 26th and nine by the end of December. Landguard's first appeared on September 10th and numbers were generally good for the site with up to four throughout November, peaking with five on 11th and up to three during December. Elsewhere, singles were at Minsmere Sluice on September 3rd and N o v e m b e r 3rd to 23rd and one was on the River Orwell at Ipswich on October 13th. 91


D U N L I N Calidris alpina Very common winter visitor J Benacre Broad* n/c Blyth 1327 Aide/Ore 6994 Havergate I* 1500 Deben 3244 Orwell 4956 Stour (Suffolk) 4900 Stour (Essex) 8676 * Monthly maxima

and passage migrant. M A F 13 n/c 33 n/c 534 1085 3684 3549 n/c 341 222 949 67 2430 1745 11377 n/c 11565 9361 6460 3039 3255 2023 77

S 245 291 1985 734 212 n/c 1105 420

O 20 293 1465 1500 567 300 3476 1717

N 200 977 3700 655 2623 6397 4487 8589

D n/c 2321 2984 94 2951 9576 6788 4698

Highest counts at single localities in the first winter period included 1700 at North Warren on January 10th and 1000 on February 17th; 2 9 5 0 at Erwarton Bay on January 31st, 3335 on February 28th and 4 8 2 0 on March 31st; 1500 on Havergate Island on January 7th; 5 4 5 0 at Holbrook Bay on February 3rd and 3241 at Wherstead Strand on January 14th with 4831 there on February 3rd. In the second winter period, counts f r o m individual sites included 2550 at B r a n t h a m on D e c e m b e r 15th; 3 8 1 0 at Erwarton Bay on N o v e m b e r 30th and 6 0 0 0 on D e c e m b e r 31st; 4 5 0 0 at Freston on D e c e m b e r 12th; 1500 at Havergate Island on October 5th; 1440 at Holbrook Bay on D e c e m b e r 3rd and 1610 at Wherstead Strand on D e c e m b e r 5th. Passage produced f e w counts but movements at Landguard peaked on October 18th when a total of 1082 was logged passing south. Reports f r o m West Suffolk were sparse but Lackford W R held birds in all months except February, June, October and D e c e m b e r with mostly singles but up to three in January and f o u r on March 30th. Elsewhere, 16 were at Bury St E d m u n d s Beet Factory on February 4th and Livermere Lake held birds intermittently f r o m February to M a y with a peak of 11 during March and three were there on D e c e m b e r 25th. R U F F Philomachus pugnax Common passage migrant. A few oversummer and overwinter. A handful of birds was present in the first winter period with four at M i n s m e r e in January increasing to seven in February and singles at Eastbridge on January 1st and Aldeburgh Marshes on February 3rd and 4th. U p to two were regularly reported f r o m North Warren during January and February and one flew over Lowestoft on January 28th. Passage birds began to appear in the second half of March but n u m b e r s remained low during the spring with peak counts of five at Livermere Lake on M a r c h 21st; nine at North Warren on March 23rd; six at Minsmere on April 15th and seven at Benacre Broad on April 23rd. There is no correlation in the dates and no obvious m o v e m e n t took place with five or less reported f r o m scattered sites along the coast throughout the period. A u t u m n passage was little better and, given that numbers are expected to be much higher in autumn than spring, was relatively poorer with only two sites reporting double figures. Peak counts involved 13 at Minsmere on July 23rd with ten there on August 12th and 14 at Trimley Marshes on August 22nd with eight there on S e p t e m b e r 16th. Elsewhere, numbers were very low with no reports received f r o m Benacre and only singles noted at North Warren, although five flew past Covehithe on September 14th. T h e only report f r o m West Suffolk during the period involved five at L i v e r m e r e Lake on September 15th. T h e second winter period saw a flurry of activity in N o v e m b e r with t w o at Mins92


mere and one at Lackford W R whilst December produced four at North Warren and two at Minsmere. Ruff are good opportunists which no doubt allows them to cope with British winters better than some waders and birds are often noted amongst flocks of Golden Plover and in some unexpected places. Reports in 1996 included one with a flock of 225 Starlings on a school playing field at Felixstowe on March 25th and one seen feeding on a muck heap at Decoy Fen, Lakenheath on December 29th. J A C K S N I P E Lymnocryptes minimus Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. During the first winter period reports c a m e f r o m 12 widely scattered locations, mostly involving singles but also including two at Suffolk Water Park on February 17th; four at Martlesham Creek on January 4th, with two there on a number of other dates and three at Orfordness on January 21st. Spring passage brought a small increase from late March with birds at 11 sites, mostly away f r o m regular winter areas. Most occurred between March 20th and April 8th and included two at Havergate Island on March 20th; two at Levington Lagoon on April 4th and up to two at Minsmere during the period. Singles were also reported from Kirkley Fen Park, Waldringfield, Thorpe Bay, Pinmill, Chelmondiston and Livermere Lake during this period. The only autumn migrants involved singles at Felixstowe on September 22nd and Long M e l f o r d on September 23rd and up to two at Minsmere after the first there on September 21st. Later records involved up to three at Minsmere during N o v e m b e r ; one at Martlesham Creek on N o v e m b e r 30th and a few December reports f r o m Framlingham M e r e (two) on 5th; Livermere Lake (two) on 7th; Lackford (two) and Burstall on 14th and Pakefield (three) on 31st. S N I P E Gallinago gallinago Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Small numbers breed. Monthly WeBS counts are tabulated below: F M A S O N D J Blyth 0 6 n/c 2 3 0 0 0 8 21 Aide /Ore 50 13 21 n/c 28 38 18 2 27 13 6 22 Deben 7 9 n/c n/c 11 14 16 Orwell 10 16 45 Stour (Suffolk) 27 0 11 2 8 17 3 13 1 2 Stour (Essex) 2 0 0 3 0 2 Although reports were widespread, numbers of this species during the first winter period were low. The largest counts involved 20 at Suffolk Water Park on February 17th; 30 at Framlingham Mere during January and February; 33 at Gorleston on January 14th and 4 0 at Minsmere during January and February. In contrast to these figures, u p to 150 were reported f r o m North Warren. An increase was discernible during March and April with the arrival of passage birds and M i n s m e r e ' s total rose to a m a x i m u m of 68 on March 5th whilst 70 were at Trimley Marshes on April 8th. Other site-totals included 25 at Livermere Lake on March 21st; 16 at Martlesham Creek on April 1st; 28 at Ramsholt on March 15th and 27 at North Warren on April 15th. S u m m e r reports indicate the scarcity of this species as a breeding bird with one d r u m m i n g at Market Weston Fen being the only report. Whilst m o r e birds were no doubt tucked away in unvisited corners, the breeding population looks in very bad shape. Small numbers began to filter back in August with Minsmere holding a peak of 4 2 on 30th. Elsewhere, numbers peaked in September and included 13 at Lackford W R 93


on 6th and 24 at North Warren on 16th. The second winter period produced f e w counts with peaks of 4 0 at Minsmere on N o v e m b e r 12th (with up to 20 in D e c e m b e r ) and 15 at North Warren on December 8th. Counts for the estuaries are additional to those given here and can be found in the table above. W O O D C O C K Scolopax rusticรณla Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e species w a s widely reported f r o m throughout the County, particularly during the winter periods. In the period January to March, reports carne f r o m 52 locations, spread across the whole County. There was no indication of any notable influx with mostly one to three birds reported, although one observer considered numbers at Hollesley and Sutton to be high. T h e highest counts during this period included ten at Aldringham Walks; nine at North Warren; seven at Minsmere and six at Tunstall Forest. Indications that a small movement was taking place c a m e f r o m Landguard w h e r e the species was noted on 14 dates in January, five dates in February and six in March, although no more than t w o birds were logged on any one day. It seems likely that the species was under-recorded during the breeding season as very f e w reports were received, even f r o m well-known locations. Records during M a y and June c a m e f r o m just four locations: Dunwich Forest, Minsmere, H e n g r a v e Hall and Wolves Wood but Woodcock remain a regular feature on 'Nightjar e v e n i n g s ' in Breckland and the Sandlings. Reports in the final three months of the year came from 30 well-scattered sites, but with an obvious bias towards coastal localities as migrants arrived f r o m abroad. Such observations included one flying in low over the sea at Covehithe on October 30th and one in off the sea which rested on the shingle beach at Walberswick on N o v e m b e r 8th. S o m e individuรกis did not receive a warm w e l c o m e with one seen being stalked by a cat in North Parade, Lowestoft on N o v e m b e r 8th! A later influx of birds resulted in a small peak in numbers during December. B L A C K - T A I L E D G O D W I T Limosa limosa Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few Monthly W e B S counts are tabulated below: J F M A Blyth 156 1 n/c 100 Alde/Ore 3 201 96 n/c Deben 150 51 267 91 Orwell 316 184 33 n/c Stour (Suffolk) 718 829 917 775 Stour (Essex) 3130 93 346 4

oversummer. S 62 128 197 n/c 285 41

O 48 223 261 733 577 382

N 18 236 202 165 976 666

D 8 254 354 127 69 141

As usual, the Stour and Orwell produced the highest counts with regular wintering birds being joined by migrants in April and May. At that time higher counts also c a m e f r o m sites further north in the County, including 20 at Benacre Broad on April 2 I s t ; 4 7 at North Warren on May 24th; 53 at Minsmere on May 26th and 64 at Buss Creek, Southwold on M a y 29th. Signs of breeding behaviour were again noted by a single pair at a regular coastal site but no evidence other than displaying was noted. Autumn passage produced a flurry of activity before numbers of wintering birds again built up on the southern estuaries. Migrants produced counts of 85 at Havergate Island on July lOth with 65 there on August Ist; 38 at Hazlewood Marshes on August 25th; 150 on the Deben at Melton on September 15th and 9 3 at Trimley Marshes on August 9th. At inland sites, spring migration brought birds to Livermere Lake f r o m M a r c h 30th 94


to April 20th with a peak of three on April 7th and at Lackford W R there was a singleton on April 2 I s t . In the autumn, Lackford W R attracted singles on August 8th and 22nd to 3 I s t with two on 25th and 26th. B A R - T A I L E D G O D W I T Limosa lapponica Fairly common passage migrant and locally fairly common winter visitor. Monthly W e B S counts are tabulated below: J F M A S O N D Blyth 3 12 n/c 0 0 2 0 0 Aide/Ore 42 21 11 n/c 16 19 1 71 Deben 18 12 0 76 1 7 17 0 Stour (Suffolk) 14 155 0 38 0 0 0 14 Stour (Essex) 57 87 16 0 0 6 0 1 A small passage of this wader took place during early January with observers noting 100 south off Thorpeness on 2nd and 25 south off Benacre and 50 south off Shingle Street on 6th. Such movements were probably responsible for unusually high numbers on the Aide at this time with 50 at Iken and 55 at Havergate Island on 7th and 32 on Orfordness on 21st. Spring passage produced no obvious peak period of movement with the highest counts falling between April 30th and May 17th. Totals included 4 3 at Benacre Broad on May 3rd; 45 at Havergate on April 30th; 42 north off Landguard on May 1st and 30 at Reydon on M a y 17th. M i n s m e r e ' s peak was of just ten on May 9th. Return movements were generally uneventful with few counts received. T h e exception fell on August 23rd when an enormous m o v e m e n t of 662 birds was logged passing south off Landguard. On the s a m e date, peak counts also occurred at other well-watched sites and included six at Benacre, 31 at Minsmere and 15 at Havergate Island. The only record f r o m West Suffolk involved one at Lackford W R on May 3rd. W H I M B R E L Numenius phaeopus Common passage migrant. The first for the year involved an advance party of seven flying south-east over Suffolk Water Park on April 5th. These were followed by four at Livermere Lake on 14th; two at Felixstowe on 15th; one past Landguard on 16th and ten at North Warren on 19th, after which there w a s a general arrival, notably on April 21st. Spring movements produced several significant counts, most notably at Worlingham Marshes where reports included totals of 130 on April 25th, 224 on April 29th, 170 on April 30th and 140 on M a y 2nd. Elsewhere, counts included an obvious movement on May 11th when there were 28 at Holbrook Bay, 67 north over Ipswich, 35 north over Minsmere and one well inland at Thurston. The following day produced 12 over Fressingfield, whilst 21 were on Orfordness on May 17th. Interestingly, at the two bestwatched West Suffolk sites, numbers peaked a little earlier than on the coast with Lackford W R holding four on April 21st and one on 24th and Livermere Lake producing four on April 14th and 23rd and four flying east on May 6th. Autumn m o v e m e n t s were rather protracted with the first at Havergate Island on July 6th and increasing to 25 there on 27th; double-figures were reported at the site throughout August with a peak of 45 on 3rd. Elsewhere, highest counts included 46 south off Landguard on July 28th; 47 at Minsmere on August 11th with 23 south there on 24th and 21 south at North Warren on 23rd. A scattering of birds lingered on the coast into the first week of September and included five at Boyton Marshes on 1st; 12 at Minsmere on 3rd and five at North Warren and one at Shingle Street on 7th. After that date the only reports were of one on the Deben estuary on 15th and two late individuals which remained at Havergate Island until October 9th. 95


C U R L E W Numenius arquata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Monthly WeBS counts are tabulateci below: O N D F M A S J 62 41 137 113 21 86 52 n/c Blyth 721 521 668 838 624 675 850 n/c Aide/Ore 972 744 655 793 1030 Deben 759 479 201 702 812 n/c n/c 507 513 Orwell 482 768 64 282 394 726 394 642 33 Stour (Suffolk) 179 530 182 5 177 639 140 761 Stour (Essex) 518 Apart f r o m the W e B S data above, f e w counts of Curlew were received, although in the first winter period, 166 were in a field at Reydon on February 15th, demonstrating the species' use of non-estuarine habitat. In West Suffolk gatherings at Elveden of 11 on February 29th and 30 on March 7th probably involved the arrivai of locai breeding birds. Although small, the breeding population is likely to be under-recorded with the only reports involving three pairs at Berner's Heath and t w o pairs at Foxhole Heath. However, an unusual gathering of 161 at Brandon on September 18th, which had been present for around t w o weeks, is unlikely to have consisted only of locally-bred birds. S P O T T E D R E D S H A N K Tringa erythropus Common passage migrant. A few occasionaliy overwinter. Small numbers again wintered in the County with January producing up to six on Ha vergate Island f r o m lOth, fi ve at Martlesham Creek, t w o at Walberswick and Waldringfield and one at Levington Creek. Spring passage was notable by its paucity with very f e w birds recorded. Highest counts included 12 at Snape on May 8th; six at M i n s m e r e on Aprii 22nd with four there on M a y 17th (both monthly maxima); four at D u n w i c h on Aprii 30th and three at Buss Creek, Southwold on M a y 1 st. Typically, autumn produced higher figures, although numbers were lower than usuai. It seems likely that weather trends either encouraged birds to keep moving through without stopping or pushed the main migration route further east or west. Migrants were noted f r o m mid-June and highest counts involved 11 on the Blyth Estuary on August 28th; seven at Hazlewood Marshes on July 7th and 33 at M i n s m e r e on June 29th with 41 there on August 13th (both monthly maxima). No other site held m o r e than three birds during the whole of the autumn migration period, although four were seen flying over Aldeburgh Golf Course on July 3rd. A late m o v e m e n t produced a sudden influx of nine birds briefly to Havergate Island on October 13th. T h e second winter period again produced a handful of wintering birds with up to three on the lower Deben Estuary in D e c e m b e r and three at Walberswick on D e c e m b e r 29th. Singles were present in N o v e m b e r at Levington Creek on 5th, M i n s m e r e on 7th, Havergate Island on 17th and North Warren on 18th, although none of these N o v e m b e r birds lingered into December. R E D S H A N K Tringa totanus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly WeBS counts are tabulated below: J F M A 1000 Blyth 259 n/c 772 2233 Aide/Ore 2181 1656 n/c 1558 1281 Deben 1317 961 1165 1146 Orwell 2002 n/c 116 262 Stour (Suffolk) 351 657 3276 807 Stour (Essex) 1032 177 96

S 833 1109 1586 n/c 1085 348

O 647 1370 2076 626 374 1073

N 782 2303 1804 638 745 991

D 1426 1738 2632 1022 373 2163


10: Record-breaking counts of Kittiwakes were made during January.

11: White-winged Southwold.

Black

Tern

off

Robin Chittenden

Robin Chittenden

12: Colour-ringing results.

of Lesser

Black-backed

Gulls at Orfordness

began to reap Andrew Easton


13: The downward trend appears Barn Owl in Suffolk. I

to be continuing for

the

Stan Dumican

14: Great Spotted Woodpeckers

remain

widespread. Stan Dumican


Counts f r o m individuai sites within the estuaries were sometimes impressive and the first winter period produced January counts of 120 at Erwarton Bay on 3Ist; 364 at Falkenham on 23rd; 170 at Havergate Island on lOth; 227 at Holbrook Bay on 22nd and 587 at Wherstead Strand on 8th. The latter site also held a total of 646 on February 27 th. Breeding data for the year are poor and involve reports of 17 pairs at Havergate, four on the Butley River, three at Boyton Marshes and 27 at North Warren. In addition a pair with young was at Lackford W R and ten pairs bred at Shotley Marshes. Autumn passage produced a number of good counts and included 628 at Havergate Island on September 8th; 595 at Freston on October 4th and 4 7 0 at Erwarton Bay on September 30th. The second winter period did not produce the large counts reported in January but there was still a scattering of sizeable gatherings in December including 750 at Freston on 12th; 378 at Wherstead Strand on 5th and 238 at Holbrook Bay on December 3rd. Records f r o m West Suffolk were uneventful and mostly confined to single-figure counts during the main migration periods. The exception was a report of one at West Stow on D e c e m b e r 30th, a very unusual species in the Lark Valley at this time of year. G R E E N S H A N K Tringa nebularia Common passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. An early bird arrived at Minsmere on March 23rd and remained throughout April. A party of seven was reported from Livermere Lake on April 14th, but there were no other reports until one off Landguard on 20th, followed by a more general arrivai f r o m 2Ist. Highest counts during spring included 14 at Benacre Broad on May 18th; seven at Livermere Lake on Aprii 23rd and seven at Lackford on Aprii 2 I s t (possibly the Livermere birds). Post-breeding birds arrived along the coast f r o m late June with t w o at Hazlewood Marshes on 22nd. A m o r e general arrivai took place in early July when six were already at Minsmere by 1 Ith and six at Martlesham Creek on 12th. N u m b e r s reached their peak during August with the largest gatherings involving 39 at Havergate Island on 1 Ith (with 15 there on 27th); 29 south at Landguard on 6th; 17 at Martlesham Creek on 1 Ith and 15 at Minsmere on 17th. Later counts included ten on Orfordness on September 15th; 16 at Erwarton Bay on September 30th and a total of 21 on the Deben Estuary on October 13th. A n u m b e r of birds remained throughout October whilst N o v e m b e r records included two at Havergate Island on 9th and two on the Stour Estuary on 17th. An individuai trapped at Levington Creek on August 17th had been ringed at the same site in 1987. This record shows not only the potential longevity of the species but also the remarkable ability to use the same stop-over locations on their long migration routes. L E S S E R Y E L L O W L E G S Tringa Accidental.

flavipes

1995 correction: The individuai present at North Warren and Minsmere in 1995 is the fifth County record, not the third as stated in Sujfolk Birds 45. G R E E N S A N D P I P E R Tringa ochropus Fairly common passage migrant with small numbers overwintering. The first winter period revealed Green Sandpipers at a m i n i m u m of 13 sites, mostly in the coastal area but observer bias probably affects the spread of records. Reports 97


were of singles except for t w o at each of Alton Water, Wilford Bridge area, Hadleigh and Lackford W R . Spring migrants were a little thin on the ground with reports f r o m just 11 localities between April 1st and May 18th with most records in mid-April and n o w h e r e holding more than two birds. Autumn passage was m o r e prolonged and involved m o r e birds. O n e at Havergate Island on June 9th provided the first evidence of return m o v e m e n t and was followed by one at Lackford on June 23rd. Autumn numbers peaked in August with highest counts involving 12 at Lackford W R on 17th (with ten there on 26th and nine on 24th); 11 at Minsmere on 12th and 19th; six at Trimley Marshes on 1st; six at Benacre Broad on 19th and five at Hazlewood Marshes on 25th. September totals were lower, but included ten at Lackford W R on 7th with six still there on 22nd. A scattering of birds remained well into October but N o v e m b e r and D e c e m b e r reports c a m e f r o m just six sites - Henstead, Martlesham Creek, Alton Water, Suffolk Water Park, Long M e l f o r d and Lackford W R . W O O D S A N D P I P E R Tringa glareola Fairly common passage migrant. A reasonably good year with a number of birds lingering in the County during August. A s usual spring numbers were lower: Southwold: Town Marshes, three, May 14th. Minsmere: singles May 5th and 18th; Jun. 6th and 7th; Jun. 25th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, May 12th to 24th with two on 24th. Hazlewood Marshes, May 6th. Trimley Marshes: two, May 18th. Livermere Lake: Jun. 10th. A u t u m n records are as follows: Benacre: Aug. 25th. Minsmere: one to two present Aug. 10th to 24th, five on 19th; singles Sep. 3rd and 18th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Aug. 8th. Hazlewood Marshes, Jul. 3rd. Orford: Havergate Island, 14, Aug. 12th; two on Aug. 13th to 16th with three on 14th; eight on 27th; one on 28th; singles, Sep. 6th, 8th and 28th and Oct. 5th. C O M M O N S A N D P I P E R Actitis hypoleucos Common passage migrant. A few occasionally overwinter. A n overwintering individual was reported at Alton Water on January 6th and 14th. O n e at Ipswich D o c k s on January 3rd and 4th m a y well have been the same bird. An individual at Nacton on M a r c h 17th m a y well have wintered locally. Spring m o v e m e n t s took place f r o m April 22nd when singles were at Suffolk Water Park and Trimley Marshes. Further records c a m e f r o m 25 sites spread across the County with the bulk of the reports falling in May. Numbers were low with peak m o v e m e n t s occurring in May and including five at Lackford W R on 5th (with seven there on 19th), S u f f o l k Water Park on 16th and Orfordness on 17th. Havergate Island produced the only June records with singles on 6th, 14th and 15th, the latter dates likely to refer to the first returning bird. Elsewhere, autumn passage began with the first returning birds in July but the bulk of birds passed through in August. Highest counts that month involved 25 at Havergate Island on 3rd (with 20 on 11th and 12 on 30th); 14 at Minsmere on 15th; 12 at Lackford W R on 26th and 11 at Trimley Marshes on 9th (with nine there on 22nd). Earlier peaks included eight at Martlesham Creek on July 28th. A flurry of activity in mid-September produced seven on the Deben Estuary, one at Suffolk Water Park (the only one of the month there), six at Alton Water on 15th and six at Lackford W R on 16th. This apparent influx in September can be attributed to observers carrying out WeBS counts and helps to show how little counting is done on other dates, as well as the value of co-ordinated counts! 98


Reports beyond the end of September were very few and involved two at Havergate Island on October 5th and a run of records from the Deben Estuary with singles noted on October 2nd and 13th and November 8th and 17th, perhaps all relating to a single individual. T U R N S T O N E Arenaria interpres Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly WeBS counts are tabulated below:F J M A Aide/Ore 7 9 0 n/c Deben 38 9 47 19 Orwell 150 75 39 n/c Stour (Suffolk) 163 236 191 277 Stour (Essex) 87 97 103 52

S 4 15 n/c 206 30

O 0 87 49 465 61

N 0 11 45 200 66

D 0 18 47 424 107

The Stour remains the most important site for this species in the County. Single-site counts during the first winter period included 90 at Erwarton Bay on February 28th but many high counts were away f r o m WeBS sites and included 85 at Lowestoft on January 14th and 100 at Shingle Street on January 20th. Passage birds produced some good counts during the spring with 60 at Erwarton Bay on April 30th and 24 at Methersgate on M a y 5th. A scattering of late spring birds remained into early June and the first returning migrants were present before the end of that month. A u t u m n m o v e m e n t s were generally rather uneventful, although there was an impressive count of 250 at Erwarton Bay on September 30th. Elsewhere on the Stour there were 76 at Holbrook Bay on September 18th and the Levington roost on the Orwell Estuary held 100 on August 25th. T h e second winter period continued the quiet year but again Erwarton Bay stood out with 266 present on D e c e m b e r 31st. Away f r o m the immediate coast records were f e w ; one was at Suffolk Water Park on M a y 21st whilst one at L a c k f o r d W R on May 4th was the only report f r o m West Suffolk during the year. R E D - N E C K E D P H A L A R O P E Phalaropus lobatus Rare passage migrant. Southwold: Town Marshes, Sep. 6th to 9th (C A Jacobs et al.). Trimley Marshes: Jun. 24th to 29th (D Marsh et al.). An average year by recent standards. Trimley is becoming a regular location for late spring/early returning birds. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1996 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1 Spring 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 I 1 Autumn 2 1 0 1 0 2 0 1 1 G R E Y P H A L A R O P E Phalaropus fulicarius Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Benacre: Benacre Broad, juv./lst winter, Oct. 11th (C A Buttle, R Waiden) Southwold: north offshore, Nov. 20th (J M Cawston, E W Patrick). Two birds, at typical locations. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 Jan-Jun Jul-Dec

1988 0 3

1989 2 5

1990 1991 1992 0 0 0 0 6 3 5 0 99

1993 0 2

1994 1 0

1995 0 2

1996 0 2


P O M A R I N E S K U A Stercorarius pomarinus Uncommon passage migrant. A few overwinter. It proved to be a rather disappointing year for this species, with no more than 25 individuals recorded. In contrast with the past five years, when there had been an increasing tendency for birds to overwinter off the coast, there was only one record during the winter months in 1996, an immature north past Southwold on January 8th. A s in 1995, spring records were also rather sparse, the only records concerning singles off Covehithe on April 19th and north past Southwold on May 1 st. A u t u m n passage c o m m e n c e d with an early adult north past Covehithe on August 4th f o l l o w e d by another adult off Walberswick on August 21st. T h e heaviest m o v e ment of the year occurred on A u g u s t 29th, coinciding with a large m o v e m e n t of Arctic Skuas, when there were counts of three north and three south off L o w e s t o f t and one north and t w o south off North Warren. Following singles north past L o w e s t o f t and Felixstowe on August 30th, five more were recorded in September: off C o v e h i t h e on 7th and 13th, North Warren on 17th and 18th and past S o u t h w o l d on 8th. T w o were recorded during October off Landguard, on 13th and 31st and finally there were three N o v e m b e r records: north past Covehithe on 18th and 30th and off M i n s m e r e on 26th. The monthly spread of records is as follows: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul 1 0 0 1 1 0 0

Aug 13

Sep

Oct 5

2

Nov 3

Dec 0

A R C T I C S K U A Stercorarius parasiticus Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. A s with Pomarine Skua there were very few sightings in the first winter period, the only records being singles off M i n s m e r e on January 7th and February 3rd. Spring passage produced a total of 11 birds moving north offshore between M a y 1st and June 1st, with Covehithe providing the bulk of the records, including three north on M a y 7th. There then followed a brief flurry of sightings in late June with records f r o m Covehithe on 21st and 22nd (two); Felixstowe on 21st and Minsmere on 23rd. A u t u m n passage c o m m e n c e d with singles north past Covehithe on July 16th and 17th, with an increase in numbers noted f r o m the last week of July, when eight were off Covehithe on 25th. Birds were recorded f r o m many sites during August but, with the exception of 29th, numbers were rather low, with a m a x i m u m of seven off North Warren on 23rd. However, on 29th north-westerly gales and heavy rain c o m b i n e d to produce the heaviest ever recorded passage of this species off the Suffolk coast. Notable counts were received f r o m the following sites: Lowestoft: Ness Pt, 77 north, 99 south. Covehithe: 204 south. Southwold: 234 south, 14 north. Minsmere: 30 offshore. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 15 north, 105 south. By c o m p a r i n g observation times it is clear that a m i n i m u m of 300 birds must have passed during the day, totally eclipsing the previous Suffolk record off 88 off Covehithe on August 27th 1987. However, the passage was to be short-lived, the only count of note on 30th being 12 south and a single north off Southwold. Typically, the south of the County faired poorly with Landguard logging just 11 birds on 29th - although this is a good total for the site! Passage birds were regularly recorded at a number of sites during September, but mostly in small numbers. Peak counts came f r o m North Warren, with 13 south on 100


12th, ten south on 18th and six south on 19th; South wold, with eight north and t w o south on 13th and Covehithe, with six north on 12th. Numbers tailed off quite dramatically during October, the only notable count being 11 south off Covehithe on 29th. The final sightings of the year came in November with singles off Covehithe and Landguard on 10th and Minsmere on 16th. The monthly totals are as follows: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 1 1 0 0 10 6 16 400+ 103 20 3 0 Away from the immediate coast, a juvenile was sitting on the river wall at Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin (and later seen on the adjacent Loompit Lake), on September 1st. It could be approached to some 20 metres but appeared healthy and could fly well. L O N G - T A I L E D S K U A Stercorarius longicaudus Scarce passage migrant. The total of three records during 1996 is about average for recent years. Lowestoft: Ness Pt, north, Aug. 29th (D G Beamish). Aldeburgh: offshore, Sept.l3th (B Harrington). Landguard: north, May 30th (A Bimpson, J M Cawston, P Oldfield et al.). The Landguard individual is only the second spring record for the county. It totally surprised observers w h o were searching for a Melodious Warbler on the inland side of the ringing c o m p o u n d as it flew low over the buildings. The autumn records follow the typical pattern of late August/early September records in recent years. The monthly spread of all records f r o m Suffolk this century is as follows: May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov 2 0 1 15 51 10 1 G R E A T S K U A Catharacta skua Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. It was another good year for this species with a total of 75 individuals recorded. During the first winter period there were two records from Thorpeness, possibly relating to the same individual. A lightly oiled bird flew south along the beach on January 8th and another or the same flew south over the beach and landed to feed on a carcass on February 11th. For the second successive year spring passage was rather poor, the only records coming from Covehithe where singles flew north on May 4th, 9th and 17th and June 22nd. The first of the autumn was an early bird north past Covehithe on July 16th, followed by one or two sightings in mid-August. The heaviest passage of the autumn occurred between August 29th and September 5th during which time there were notable counts f r o m the following sites: Lowestoft, three north, August 29th; Covehithe, two north and five south, August 30th and four north, September 5th and Southwold where there were counts of two north and three south, August 30th; five north and one south, September 4th and four north the following day. There was a further peak at Southwold of three north and two south on September 13th, followed by small numbers during the rest of the month and into October. T h e sole N o v e m b e r record was provided by a single south off Landguard on 10th but as the year came to a close, gale force E N E winds on D e c e m b e r 23rd produced four north and one south off Covehithe. Monthly totals are as follows: Jan Feb Mar Apr May 1 1 0 0 3

Jun 1

Jul 1 101

Aug 23

Sep 33

Oct 6

Nov 1

Dec 5


M E D I T E R R A N E A N G U L L Larus melanocephalus Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A s ever with this species it proved to be very difficult to estimate the county population at any given time due to the frequent interchange of individuals between sites. During the first two months of the year the best site was Minsmere w h e r e a total of eight individuals was recorded during January; three first-winters, three secondwinters and two adults. Other sites with regular records were Landguard, where t w o second-winters and an adult were present throughout; Lowestoft, where u p to two adults and a second-winter were seen regularly, the second-winter remaining all year; L a c k f o r d W R , w h e r e a second-winter roosted daily f r o m January 6th to February 18th and Oulton Broad, where a second-winter was present f r o m February 10th to 28th. Elsewhere, birds of all ages were seen occasionally at nine other sites. Sightings began increasing f r o m March through to May as spring passage birds began appearing, with records f r o m 19 locations. O n c e again Minsmere was a reliable site to see this species with peak counts of six individuals on April 13th and M a y 6th. At Landguard, n u m b e r s peaked during April when two adults, two second-summers and a first-summer were logged; the t w o second-summers were first seen in January and remained on site for the whole year. Further multiple sightings c a m e f r o m B e n a c r e Broad, with up to two adults, two first-summers and a s e c o n d - s u m m e r during April and May; A l d r i n g h a m C o m m o n , where two adults were present, April 21st; Felixstowe, with u p to three adults and a second-summer during March; Sudbourne, with t w o adults, April 22nd; Trimley Marshes where three adults and a seconds u m m e r were present, March 24th; Causton Junior School, Walton, with t w o seconds u m m e r s , May 20th and Havergate Island where up to three gathered in April. At the latter site a pair attempted to breed but their outcome is unknown. A f e w birds were seen during the summer months, mainly involving long-staying individuals, although four second-summers were at M i n s m e r e on June 3rd. F r o m late August sightings began to increase once again as birds c o m m e n c e d autumn passage, with an early peak of five individuals at Landguard during August. From October to the end of D e c e m b e r records b e c a m e more widespread as birds settled d o w n to winter in the county. Multiple sightings included three adults at Landguard throughout the period, with a first-winter present, N o v e m b e r 19th; three adults at L o w e s t o f t throughout, with a first-winter on several dates in October; Minsmere, w h e r e up to t w o adults, two second-winters and a first-winter were seen regularly in the period and T h o r p e n e s s Meare, where an adult and a second-winter were present at the close of the year. Inland records came f r o m Suffolk WP, where adults were seen, October 31st and D e c e m b e r 5th, with a first-winter, N o v e m b e r 3rd and Lackford W R , w h e r e t w o first-winters were present between D e c e m b e r 14th and 30th. A first-winter present at Lowestoft f r o m October to the end of D e c e m b e r bore a white plastic ring, fitted in either Holland or Belgium and an adult at the s a m e site at the same time bore a metal ring fitted in Belgium. The table below shows the maximum possible number of birds recorded in each month; long-staying birds are recorded for each month they were present: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 26 12 20 25 20 10 5 11 14 10 14 17 L I T T L E G U L L Larus minutus Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers oversummer and overwinter. In contrast with recent years there was a good showing in the first winter period with records f r o m about a dozen sites along the length of the coastal strip between January 1 st and February 28th. Most records related to single birds on one date only


but higher counts were made during January with 21 offshore between Sizewell and Thorpeness, 7th; seven south, Bawdsey, 8th; six, Minsmere, 5th; three, Thorpeness, 8th and two, Walberswick, 12th. A single at Minsmere on March 10th was either a lingering winter individual or an early spring passage migrant. Spring passage, which was generally rather light, occurred in two phases. The first, between April 4th and M a y 26th produced sightings at Benacre, April 4th and May 6th and 12th; Covehithe, April 3rd and May 26th; Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick, May 5th; Minsmere, April 14th and May 1st (eight); Havergate Island, April 16th (two), 17th and 18th; Landguard, May 1st (two); Loompit Lake, April 10th to 16th, with two on 11th; Trimley Marshes, May 18th and 28th; Suffolk Water Park, April 16th (six); Livermere Lake, April 16th (two) and Lackford W R , April 16th (seven) and 19th (two). T h e second phase lasted f r o m June 9th to 30th producing records f r o m Minsmere, 9th (two), 11th and 17th to 30th; Sizewell, 26th; North Warren, 27th; Hazlewood Marshes, 22nd and Landguard, 23rd. U p to four remained at Minsmere throughout July. N o sooner had the protracted spring passage finished than the autumn m o v e m e n t s commenced. Singles in early July off Sizewell on 2nd and 7th and off North Warren on 3rd heralded further arrivals during the month at Covehithe where there were three north on 16th and four north on 28th and Benacre where 13 were present on 30th. Numbers gradually began increasing during August with a peak late in the month and into early September. At Covehithe, 129 were logged in August and 20 in September with peaks in August of 22 south, 19th; 36 south, 21st and 33 south, 22nd. Elsewhere, 30 roosted on the Oval at Lowestoft on August 30th and a gathering off Ness Pt, Lowestoft in late August increased f r o m 20 on 28th to reach a peak of 35 on 30th. Passage at the latter site peaked with 41 north and 25 south, August 29th and 45 south, September 5th. Between one and four were also counted during the period at Benacre, Minsmere, Sizewell, North Warren, Orfordness, Havergate Island and Landguard. Heavy passage continued during October with totals of 17 north and 179 south at Landguard during the month and 86 off Covehithe where there were peaks of 18 north, 5th and 40 north, 10th. Twenty were at Easton Broad on 26th and smaller numbers were seen at Southwold, M i n s m e r e , Sizewell and Felixstowe Docks. During N o v e m b e r there was a total of 11 off Covehithe between 1st and 13th; eight off Sizewell, 10th and a single north past Southwold, 10th, followed by three north on 20th. D e c e m b e r records c a m e f r o m Sizewell on 29th (two) and North Warren on 31st. S A B I N E ' S G U L L Larus Rare passage migrant.

sabini

Southwold: first-winter north, Nov. 11th (J M Cawston). Minsmere: juv. Sept. 18th and 19th, found dead on the Scrape on the latter date (P Green et al.). Felixstowe: Landguard, juv., Sept. 19th (M James, G Mortimer, P Oldfield et al.). Three records is about average for the past ten years. The individual at Landguard flew in f r o m the north, landed on the beach for half an hour (sheltering behind the Sea Kale) and then flew inland into the estuary mouth. The first-winter at Southwold is the latest in the county since two were at Shingle Street on D e c e m b e r 3rd 1978. The skin of the Minsmere bird w a s retained by D Fairhurst. Annual totals for the past ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 3 9 2 1995 addition: Corton: Juv. south, Sep. 7th.

1990 1991 1992 1993 3 5 1 5 1

1994 7

1995 3

1996


B L A C K - H E A D E D G U L L Larus ridibundus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. During the first winter period there were many counts in three figures or above including 4500, Bury Beet Factory during January; 2000 between Sizewell and Thorpeness, January 20th; 2000, Suffolk Water Park, January 20th; 1897, Wherstead, January 8th; 750, Felixstowe Ferry, January 19th; 729, Havergate Island, March 22nd; 650, Landguard, February 21st; 441, Freston, March 29th and 400, Minsmere, February 21 st. At the breeding colonies, numbers began increasing from early March and throughout April, although the only direct evidence of passage was provided by 106 north past Landguard on April 6th. At Minsmere, 1331 were present on March 10th, increasing to 4500 by April 9th, although only 610 remained by May 6th. Breeding success at this site is unknown although 22 juveniles were counted on August 13th. At Havergate Island, numbers peaked at 1160 on May 5th, with 598 pairs settling down to breed but rearing just 75 young due to predation. Further breeding records of note came from Livermere Lake, where ten pairs nested, rearing at least two broods (the first nesting record for the site) and Barton Mere, where at least nine active nests were observed on May 16th, with one pair and young seen on June 8th. Away from the breeding sites there were few counts during the summer months apart from peaks at Landguard of 600 on June 27th and 500 on July 6th. Numbers began increasing around the county from late July onwards with early autumn counts of 2958, Freston, September 26th; 2250, Deben Estuary, September 15th; 1843, Trimley Marshes, August 9th; 474, Suffolk Water Park, September 27th; 333, Alton Water, September 15th and 250, Thurston, August 7th. As autumn progressed into winter, numbers began to swell at many sites with peak counts in the last three months of the year of 14000, Lackford WR, December 12th; 3184, Deben Estuary, December 15th; 2000, Suffolk Water Park, December 17th; 790, Felixstowe Docks, October 21st; 700, Landguard, December 27th and 651, Minsmere, December 15 th. An adult found dead at Lake Lothing on January 8th had been ringed as a nestling at Klaipeda, Lithuania on June 14th 1991, a distance of 1313 kilometres from the ringing site. C O M M O N G U L L Larus canus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Following the comments in last year's bird report regarding the lack of records for this species there was a wealth of reports in 1996. First winter counts were dominated by the total of 12000 offshore between Sizewell and Thorpeness on January 7th. the highest total ever recorded in Suffolk (D Fairhurst). Other notable counts included 4000, North Warren, January 8th; 1250, Landguard, January 11th; 1100, Minsmere, January 2nd; 400, Suffolk Water Park, January 20th; 400, Lackford WR, February 5th; 350, Bawdsey, January 6th; 300 north, Felixstowe, February 19th and 150, Felixstowe Ferry, January 19th. Visible spring migration included a total of 228 north past Covehithe during May; 125 north, Southwold, May 8th and a maximum of 13 north, Landguard, April 6th. The highest count during the spring was 600 at Benacre Broad on May 7th, 95% of which were immatures. Small numbers remained at several sites throughout the summer, but the only evidence of breeding came from Havergate Island where two pairs nested. Visible autumn migration was virtually non-existent and the first sign of a buildup in numbers was of 48 at Long Melford on July 21st, with counts gradually 104


increasing f r o m the end of September. The highest counts of wintering birds were 1000, M i n s m e r e , D e c e m b e r 25th; 700, Landguard, December 27th; 500, Lackford W R , D e c e m b e r 12th; 317, Alton Water, D e c e m b e r 15th and 122, Pipp's Ford, D e c e m b e r 25th. One at Oulton Broad on February 9th had been ringed in Estonia on June 13th 1995. LESSER B L A C K - B A C K E D GULL Very common summer visitor and passage

Larusfuscus migrant. A few

overwinter.

Several sites produced the odd overwintering bird in the first winter period with higher counts of 35, Bury Beet Factory during January; 30, Orfordness, February 2nd; 25 offshore between Sizewell and Thorpeness, January 7th; 29, Minsmere, February 9th; 17, S u f f o l k Water Park, February 24th; 12, Havergate Island, January 21st and six, Shingle Street, January 20th. The February totals probably included the first returning birds, as Landguard produced a total of 12 north during the month. Spring passage was well underway during March and April, although there was little evidence of visible migration in the records received. Peak counts included 340, Lackford W R , April 12th, with 120 there on May 13th; 104, Minsmere, March 10th; 64, S u f f o l k Water Park, April 23rd; 36, Pipp's Ford, April 4th and 34, Havergate Island, M a y 5th. During M a y there was a marked northerly passage of Continental birds past Covehithe. A total of 4 4 0 was counted, although counts were considered minimal, since only the closest inshore could be verified. Peak day counts were 100 on 10th and 90 on 17th. Most birds w e r e considered to be L.f.intermedius although a f e w were considered to possibly be L.f.fuscus**. Two of the latter were said to be present at the same site on June 10th. Further m o v e m e n t s of Continental birds occurred at Covehithe during July and August, peaking at 13 south on July 24th. The only other reports of Continental birds c a m e f r o m Benacre Broad on September 6th and Minsmere on June 18th, the latter bird considered to be a 'fuscus'**. There w e r e no reports f r o m the Orfordness breeding colony but three pairs reared a total of three y o u n g at Havergate Island. At L o w e s t o f t a m i n i m u m of 13 pairs reared at least 26 y o u n g on three factory roofs at Brooke Industrial Park, Lake Lothing. A u t u m n passage was underway by July, when there was a count of 1500 south at Landguard on 11th. During August and early September there were counts of 600, North Warren, August 28th; 203, Havergate Island, September 3rd; 200, Minsmere, September 13th; 118, Trimley Marshes, August 22nd; 67, Holbrook Bay, August 27th and 46, D e b e n Estuary, August 27th. T h e number of birds remaining in the county at the close of the year was far greater than during the first winter period with peak counts in D e c e m b e r of 1000, Lackford W R , 22nd; 55, North Warren, 1st; 11, Minsmere, 15th; seven, Havergate Island, 8th and five, Orfordness, 15th. A first-winter at Elmswell on October 5th had an orange ring on its left leg and a juvenile at Lowestoft between August 8th and October 15th had been colour-ringed at Orfordness. ** Note that the northern Scandinavian race L.f.fuscus migrates almost exclusively south-eastwards across mainland Europe, through the eastern Mediterranean, to winter in north-east and east Africa. Thus its appearance in Suffolk is highly unlikely, except as a very rare migrant. To date no details proving the existence of this race have been submitted, at least not in recent years and confusion perhaps arises from the fact that the near-Continental race L.f.intermedius had not been recognised when earlier works on the County's avifauna were written. 105


H E R R I N G G U L L Larus argentaius Very common resident, winter visitor and passage

migrant.

T h e first winter period produced several notable counts including 7 0 0 0 offshore between Sizewell and Thorpeness, January 7th; 4050, Orfordness, January 21st; 1000, North Warren, January 8th; 316, Felixstowe Ferry, January 23rd; 106 north, Landguard, March 15th and 105, North Warren, January 21st. Numbers tailed off rapidly during the spring, although Lackford produced peak monthly counts of 78 on April 12th and 40 on M a y 13th. Away from the Orfordness breeding colony (for which no data were supplied), a m i n i m u m of 3 3 pairs reared at least 62 young at Lowestoft, including at least t w o successful pairs on factory roofs at Brooke Industrial Park, Lake Lothing. A pair built a nest and laid three eggs at Landguard, the first documented breeding record for the site. At Havergate Island, f o u r pairs nested but were unsuccessful. A u t u m n passage c o m m e n c e d with a notable count of 427 at Trimley Marshes on August 22nd and was well underway by October when there were counts of 239, D e b e n Estuary, 13th; 149, Felixstowe Docks, 21st; 100, Orfordness, 13th and 73, North Warren, 13th. N u m b e r s in the second winter period were lower than at the turn of the year, with the following noteworthy counts: 800, Landguard, D e c e m b e r 27th; 378, North Warren, N o v e m b e r 17th; 291, Orfordness, D e c e m b e r 15th; 291, D e b e n Estuary, D e c e m b e r 15th; 83, Felixstowe, D e c e m b e r 12th and 50, Erwarton, D e c e m b e r 31st. A bird colour-ringed as a nestling in Bristol in 1994 was sighted at Corton on August 28th and Lowestoft between N o v e m b e r 1 st and 8th. W h a t was presumably the same individual had previously been seen at Lowestoft in May 1995. It was the best year on record for birds showing the characteristics of the Mediterranean race L.a.michahellis, with the following sightings (although f e w details have been submitted by observers): Breydon Water: ad. Aug. 29th. Ashby: ad. Sept. 29th. Oulton Broad: ad. Feb. 3rd. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham. 3rd-winter from 1995 to Feb. 3rd. Harbour, ads. Jan. 10th, Feb. 4th, Oct. 30th and Dec. 2nd to 31st (two). Southwold: ad. Jan. 2nd; 2nd-winter, Feb. 14th. Walberswick: ad. Nov. 11th. Minsmere: ads on 16 dates between Jan. 7th and Aug. 22nd, with two Jan. 6th and June 7th: 3rdsummer, Jan. 6th. Leiston: Sizewell, Nov. 16th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Mar. 3rd, Mar. 4th (two), July 28th and Oct. 26th. Felixstowe/Falkenham: King's Fleet, ad. Sept. 9th. Shottisham: Mar. 14th. Lackford WR: ad., Jan. 12th; landfill site, ad., Oct. 28th.

I C E L A N D G U L L Larus Scarce winter visitor.

glaucoides

It was a rather disappointing year for the nominate race with just t w o records of short-staying individuals: Minsmere: second-winter, Mar. 24th and 25th (per RSPB). Leiston: Sizewell, first-winter, Jan. 20th (R N Macklin). In addition, the first record of a bird of the North American race, L.g.kumleini, made for Suffolk. Minsmere: ad. offshore. Jan 7th (B J Small, M Smith, D F Walsh). 106

was


A report of another or, perhaps more likely, the same bird at Minsmere in D e c e m b e r awaits formal acceptance by British Birds Rarities Committee. Individuals of this race were unknown in Britain prior to 1979 but with a better understanding of the field characters a total of 52 had been identified up to the end of 1996.

G L A U C O U S G U L L Larus Scarce winter visitor.

hyperboreus

A total of three birds was recorded during the year, two one-day individuals in the first winter period and a long-staying but wide-ranging bird at the close of the year. Lowestoft: first-winter, Dec. 4th (A C Easton). Minsmere: first-winter, Dec. 5th (RSPB). Sizewell: first-winter, Dec. 7th (R N Macklin). Thorpeness: ad. north, Jan. 7th (D Fairhurst, R N Macklin); first-winter, Feb. 20th (R N Macklin). Aldeburgh: North Warren, Aldeburgh and Slaughden, first-winter intermittently, Nov. 30th to Dec. 28th (R N Macklin et al.). This species remains a difficult bird to get to grips with in Suffolk, unlike a f e w years ago when individuals could readily be found at places such as Lowestoft and Felixstowe Ferry. However, the Aldeburgh bird had returned to the same area in winter 1997/98.

G R E A T B L A C K - B A C K E D G U L L Larus marinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. During the first winter period records were dominated by a count of 800 offshore b e t w e e n Sizewell and Thorpeness on January 7th. Additional counts of note included 151, Orfordness, January 21st; 80, North Warren, M a r c h 7th; 43, W h e r stead, January 8th; 35, Felixstowe Ferry, January 19th and 23, Havergate Island, January 21st. Spring passage was almost non-existent, the only notable counts being 21 at Havergate Island and a m a x i m u m of 13 north past Landguard, both on May 1st. Few birds were reported during the summer months with, for instance, monthly peaks at Havergate Island of three, June 22nd and six, July 31st. During July and August a f e w more birds began turning u p at other sites, including 32, Benacre Broad, July 16th and 37, Trimley Marshes, A u g u s t 27th. Birds returning to winter in the county didn't really begin appearing in earnest until October and early N o v e m b e r when there were counts of 185, Orfordness, October 13th; 66, Havergate Island, October 13th; 30 south, Landguard, N o v e m b e r 4th; 13, Freston, October 16th and I I , Felixstowe Docks, October 21st. In the second winter period the highest counts were 125, Orfordness, D e c e m b e r 15th; 126, North Warren, D e c e m b e r 1st; 112, Landguard, D e c e m b e r 28th; up to 60 roosting at Lackford W R in D e c e m b e r and 50, Minsmere, N o v e m b e r 11th.

K I T T I W A K E Rissa Very common passage

tridactyla migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers

breed.

Breeding fortunes at L o w e s t o f t took a backward turn in 1996 with a significant drop f r o m 1995 totals. N o rig was under construction and the S L P containers were removed, so a large n u m b e r m o v e d to the fish market quay (per B J Brown). 107


Successful nests Young Location Total nests Kittiwake wall 97 76 109 Wall (inside) 5 3 3 Quay under wall 37 31 40 44 Fish market quay 37 28 Containers 9 8 12 Harbour mouth 6 6 8 1 Claremont Pier 1 1 TOTAL 192 153 217 T h e species again bred on the offshore rigs at Sizewell but the number of pairs was not reported. During the first winter period large numbers gathered offshore, particularly in the north of the county, resulting in a new county record gathering of 2 0 0 0 0 offshore between Sizewell and T h o r p e n e s s on January 7th (D Fairhurst, R N Macklin). The c o m b i n e d total of gulls along that particular stretch of coast on the day in question amounted to over 4 2 8 0 0 individuals of nine species! Other notable counts of Kittiw a k e s in the period included 6 0 0 0 south off Thorpeness in one hour on January 8th; 2 6 0 0 south, Southwold, January 8th; 2 0 0 0 offshore, Minsmere, January 7th; 2 0 0 0 north in one hour, Felixstowe, February 19th; 800 south, Covehithe, January 12th and 5 0 0 offshore, Aldeburgh, January 7th. In direct contrast, spring passage was very poor. At Landguard, only f o u r birds were noted in April and the m a x i m u m day count in M a y totalled nine birds. At Covehithe, one observer considered the species to be very scarce, with a monthly total of just 157 during April. A u t u m n passage began to produce counts of note f r o m late August and into early S e p t e m b e r when there were reports of 175 north, Southwold, August 29th; 59 north and 4 4 south, North Warren, August 29th, followed by 106 south there, September 12th and 63 offshore at M i n s m e r e , August 29th. However, the expected late-autumn passage failed to materialise and once again it was relatively scarce off Covehithe where there were monthly totals of 11 in October, 136 in N o v e m b e r and 149 in December. By far the largest passage recorded was 200 north, Minsmere, N o v e m b e r 13th. At the close of the year the only counts of note were 100 offshore at Landguard on D e c e m b e r 29th and 40 offshore at Minsmere on D e c e m b e r 1st. C A S P I A N T E R N Sterna caspia Rare visitor. A multiple occurrence of this impressive bird is always welcome. Minsmere: two, Jun. 3rd, one intermittently to Jun. 11th (D Rous, G R Welch et al.).

Caspian Tern

S A N D W I C H T E R N Sterna sandvicensis A common summer visitor and passage migrant. A s usual the first of the year c a m e f r o m Havergate Island where 23 were present on M a r c h 21st. T h e s e were closely followed by one at M i n s m e r e on 23rd and one north off Bawdsey on 24th. N u m b e r s at Havergate had already reached 175 by March 31st and 6 2 0 were present on April 9th. N u m b e r s at the site finally peaked with an impressive 1900 birds on M a y 3rd, although a large proportion of these were obviously 108


migrants as the breeding population settled at 104 pairs. Unfortunately, the colony only managed to fledge 30 young and 80 nests were apparently lost to Foxes in a single night. Maximum day counts at Minsmere peaked in May with 520 on 2nd but no breeding was reported from this site. Dispersal from breeding colonies was quick and the August peak at Havergate was just 42 on 7th. August saw peak counts at several coastal locations including 75 at Benacre Broad on 14th; 42 at Minsmere on 9th and 30 north off Southwold on 14th. Autumn movements at well-watched coastal sites produced 485 south in August and 186 south in September off Covehithe and 67 south in August and 41 south in September off Landguard. Daily peaks included 91 south on August 22nd and 45 south on September 12th, both off Covehithe. October produced a scattering of reports with six off Landguard on 11 th; four at Havergate on 3rd; two off Easton Bavents on 8th and Landguard on 15th and singles off Bawdsey on 12th and Covehithe on 24th. Inland sightings involved two adults and a juvenile at Lackford WR on September 6th. C O M M O N T E R N Sterna hirundo Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first arrival appeared at Benacre Broad on March 30th (the first March arrival in the county since 1982). There were no other reports until four at Havergate Island on April 9th and a more widespread arrival on April 16th when two were at Alton Water, six at Lackford WR and four at Loompit Lake. May produced the peak counts of spring migrants with 202 north off Landguard on 1st and 354 at Minsmere on 9th. Overland movements were poor with Lackford W R receiving peak counts of just six on April 16th and five on May 15th. Breeding season reports revealed 60 pairs at Havergate (fledging 50 young) and eight pairs at Weybread GPs. The Brooke Industrial Park roof-nesting colony at Lowestoft reached eight to 11 pairs which raised at least 16 young, despite the proximity of large gulls now sharing the site. August produced the peak offshore movements in the autumn with 715 south off Covehithe during the month peaking with 233 on 23rd. Other high counts of southerly passage during August included 200 off North Warren on 10th, with 220 off there on 23rd, and 340 off Landguard on the latter date. A handful of birds lingered into September whilst October records involved two at Havergate and two at Landguard on 2nd, four at Bawdsey on 5th, four at Shotley on 13th and singles at Landguard on 14th and 22nd. A R C T I C TERN Sterna paradisaea A fairly common passage migrant and scarce summer visitor. A fairly quiet year with most reports in April, May and September. First reports were of singles at Minsmere, Suffolk Water Park and Lackford WR on April 16th with other singles that month at Minsmere on 24th and 29th and Lackford on 17th and 23rd. May 1st produced the next flurry of activity with singles at Southwold Harbour and Minsmere, two off Felixstowe, four at North Warren, 14 north off Landguard and an impressive movement of 84 past Southwold, the latter all passing between 2.30 and 3.30pm. The only other spring reports were of singles at Minsmere and Trimley Marshes on May 4th. The only breeding attempt was made at Havergate where one pair was unsuccessful. Autumn movements were smaller with August producing three at Lackford WR on 109


16th; six south off Landguard on 23rd and three south off Southwold on 31st. September provided only singles at Minsmere on 1st; Southwold on 5th; Landguard on 5th and 7th and Sizewell Rig on 14th. L I T T L E T E R N Sterna albifrons Common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first of the year was reported f r o m Minsmere on April 15th and w a s promptly f o l l o w e d by an individual well inland at Lackford W R on 16th. A general arrival took place f r o m 20th with birds soon widespread along the coast. There w a s a notable passage of 60 north off Landguard on May 1st. However, the bulk of the birds passed through quickly and breeding numbers were low. Breeding birds at M i n s m e r e failed completely and a peak of 92 there on M a y 3rd had dropped to a June peak of just seven on 9th. On Havergate Island, one pair raised one y o u n g which constituted the first breeding there since 1954. At Landguard six pairs m a d e a total of eight nesting attempts and eggs were laid but all were taken by predators. 1995 1996 Pairs Fledged young Pairs Fledged young Kessingland 0 5 Benacre 0 0 4 Easton Broad 0 21 Covehithe 19 17 11 Walberswick 6 3 Blyth 0 2 Aldeburgh 15 1 ? Orfordness 25 78 80+ Minsmere 26 5 0 Havergate I. 1 1 Landguard 1 2 6 Fagbury 8-9 2 25 Trimley 0 0 Shotley 0 0 Total 104-105 30 138 92 Little Tern data from breeding colonies supplied by Mick Wright. With incomplete data available f r o m Orfordness, 1995 w a s probably not quite as abysmal as it seems in the table above. However, if it was not for the remoteness of this site, and the protection afforded the Covehithe colony, the species would be heading for imminent extinction in the county. A u t u m n passage passed almost unnoticed and f e w records were received. The only reports for September involved one north off Covehithe and 26 south off Landguard on 1st; t w o south off Landguard on 2nd; two at Havergate on 7th; one at L a c k f o r d W R on 18th and one at Erwarton Bay on 30th. B L A C K T E R N Chlidonias niger Fairly common passage migrant. An unremarkable year with a quiet spring but a reasonable run of reports in August. Spring records are as follows: Weybread: Weybread GPs, singles, May 13th and 26th. Felixstowe: Landguard, three north, May 1st. Alton Water: Apr. 26th. Livermere Lake: Apr. 20th. Lackford WR: eight, Apr. 16th, one, 19th, two 21st; singles May 11th and Jun. 8th. 110


Autumn produced a good crop of August sightings and there was clearly a movement of birds during August 22nd to 24th: Lowestoft: Ness Point, two. Aug. 29th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, three, Aug. 23rd; one, Aug. 27th. Covehithe: one north and 19 south between Aug. 22nd and 30th. Southwold: three north, Aug. 13th; (5 four south, Aug. 29th; two south, Sep. 5th. Minsmere: two, Aug. 13th; 11, Aug. 23rd. Aldeburgh: north, Aug. 4th; nine south, Aug. 23rd; two south, Aug. 24th. Orford: Havergate I., singles Jul. 28th, Aug. 1st and Sep. 17th. Felixstowe: 12 south, Aug. 23rd. Landguard, three Black Tern south, Aug. 10th and 13 south, Aug. 23rd. Lackford WR: singles, Aug. 6th and 10th and Sep. 18th to 20th. W H I T E - W I N G E D B L A C K T E R N Chlidonias leucopterus Very rare passage migrant. Three records relating to two individuals, the Southwold bird moving south to Trimley. Covehithe: adult summer, north offshore, July 16th (P J Dare). Southwold: adult summer, Jun. 26th (P Goldsmith, L J Townsend el al.). Trimley Marshes: adult summer, Jun. 27th to Jul. 2nd (K Barrett et al.). Unusually, the Southwold bird favoured the seafront, feeding close inshore and often resting on the groynes. At Trimley it spent much of its time rather distantly over the reservoir but often paid visits to the other lagoons and could be seen very close to the hides.

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White-winged 111

Black Tern


G U I L L E M O T Uria aalge Common passage migrant and winter visitor. Most reports during the first winter period involved single-figure counts off coastal resorts but regular counting off Covehithe produced totals of 211 during January and 92 during February. One was well up the Deben Estuary at Woodbridge on March 22nd and other lingerers included one at Landguard on April 7th and one at Southwold on May 1 st. There was an unexpected run of reports from Aldeburgh during June with 15 north off there on 22nd, two on 23rd, one on 25th and two on 28th. Two adults and an immature were off Benacre on the relatively early date of July 28th and one was off Ness Point, Lowestoft on August 28th. September provided singles at Orfordness on 18th and Shingle Street on 26th whilst the only October record involved one off Southwold on 8th. November saw a noticeable increase with one to three scattered along the coast but the only higher count was of seven north off Southwold on 13th. Up to 42 were reported on the sea off Minsmere during December and the month also produced up to two in Ipswich Docks. One off Aldeburgh on December 29th was reported to have had 'an abnormally long and slightly upturned bill'. R A Z O R B I L L Alca torda Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. Virtually all records fell in the first three months of the year with a noticeable peak in February and no report involved more than two birds. The scarcity of this species in the County is converse to the regularity with which it turns up as a tideline corpse. Singles were noted at Benacre, Minsmere, Sizewell, Thorpeness and Aldeburgh during January and at Lowestoft, Minsmere, Thorpeness, Felixstowe and Southwold in February. Later singles were off Lowestoft on March 10th, north off Landguard on March 26th, Minsmere on April 14th and north off Southwold on May 1st. T h e only reports at the back end of the year were of one off Landguard on October 31st and two north off Southwold on November 13th. An oiling incident off the Suffolk coast resulted in a number of corpses and a few live but unhealthy birds on the County's beaches during January and February. L I T T L E A U K A lie alle Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. A fairly quiet year with the bulk of reports coming from the north-east of the County and no 'wrecked' birds inland. A flurry of activity in February produced reports of eight off Minsmere on 6th and singles north off Southwold on 14th and Thorpeness on 21st. Autumn movements began with an early bird off Southwold on September 23rd. The main movement began, typically, in late October with one off Covehithe on 22nd and two there on 23rd. Landguard logged ten south during October (four of which were on 31st) and reports from other sites that month involved one north off Minsmere, one south off Southwold and 14 north and 11 south off Covehithe, all on 30th and two south off Southwold and one south off Covehithe on 31st. November produced peak movements mid-month with 13th providing 75 north off Covehithe, 12 north off Landguard (plus one heading inland), eight north off Southwold and four off Minsmere and 14th produced 134 north off Covehithe and four off Minsmere. To complete the picture, other November reports involved singles off Covehithe on 15th. 21st and 22nd; one off Minsmere on 12th and two there on 15th; one south off Felixstowe Ferry on 8th; singles south off Landguard on 8th and 9th and two off Aldeburgh on 27th. The only December report was of one north off Minsmere on 1st. 112


A live bird was seen on Slaughden beach on N o v e m b e r 14th and single corpses were f o u n d at Southwold on November 1st and Thorpe Bay on the Orwell Estuary on N o v e m b e r 17th. P U F F I N Fratercula arctica Scarce passage migrant. There were several claims during the course of the year but this remains a very rare bird in Suffolk and details of sightings were woefully inadequate in some cases. The report of one blown north close in at Aldeburgh near Slaughden Quay on D e c e m b e r 21st is currently the only acceptable record for the year. Details of any others would be gratefully received. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 0 9 12 19 7 17 8 7 5 1 R O C K D O V E Columba livia Very common resident from feral stock. Although only reported from six sites during 1996, this is an improvement on some recent years, but again highlights most observers' total indifference towards this species. Breeding was reported f r o m just two sites - five pairs at Covehithe Church (where about 50 birds were present) and three pairs at Orford Castle - which is obviously a gross under-representation of the true status. Large numbers of Feral Pigeons inhabit the C o u n t y ' s larger towns (e.g. a flock of c.60 was seen in Bury St. E d m u n d s town centre on January 10th and another of c.300 was recorded from London Road South, Lowestoft on October 14th) which must be maintained by considerable breeding populations within these towns. Landguard recorded birds throughout most of the year with a m a x i m u m of 47 on D e c e m b e r 3rd. S T O C K D O V E Columba oenas Fairly common resident and passage migrant. Records were received f r o m a total of 37 sites which is a small increase on recent years but hardly an accurate representation of the species' true status. Information regarding breeding was particularly sparse, c o m i n g f r o m just f o u r locations, including t w o pairs nesting in a barn at Stansfield. O n e was seen displaying to a Wood Pigeon at Felixstowe on February 23rd, behaviour that was also noted there in 1995. The majority of the reports received related to small gatherings of birds with 27 sites holding flocks of between ten and fifty birds. T h e largest gatherings involved 100, Trinity Hall Farm, Moulton, March 10th (and 96 there, February 29th); 227, Great Livermere, October 29th (and 100 there, September 26th and 115, N o v e m b e r 28th) and 139 (in flocks of 80 and 59), Lidgate, April 16th. A marked southerly passage was observed during late autumn which peaked around N o v e m b e r 6th and included the following: Southwold: 346 in two hours, Nov. 6th. Minsmere: ten, Nov. 1st; 160, Nov. 6th; 354, Nov. 7th; 100, Nov. 8th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 16, Nov. 7th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 252 between 09.00 and 10.30, Oct. 24th. Felixstowe: Landguard, total of 750 south, Oct. 25th-Nov. 14th; max. 154, Oct. 30th and 400, Nov. 6th. 113


W O O D P I G E O N Columba palumbus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. During the first winter period and early spring, some notable counts were received (mostly f r o m the west of the C o u n t y ) with several flocks of over 500 birds noted as follows: 700, Trimley St Martin, April 15th; 1000, Old Newton, April 12th; 500, Great Livermere, March 16th; 2000, Thurston, February 24th; 500, Hengrave Hall, M a r c h 15th and 700, Chedburgh, February 18th. Landguard recorded spring passage on j u s t eight days with nine north and 259 south on M a r c h 29th being by far the most notable. W h e n it c o m e s to breeding records, the Columbidae is a family towards which observers are generally apathetic. Wood Pigeon suffered worst of all, with not a single record of c o n f i r m e d breeding being received away f r o m Landguard where 15 pairs bred. Late autumn again produced a heavy southerly passage of birds (though not as pronounced as the record-breaking passage of 1994), with large counts received f r o m several coastal sites as follows: Lowestoft: 270, Nov. 7th. Covehithe: 400, Nov. 6th. Southwold: 2600 in two hours, Nov. 6th. Minsmere: 368, Nov. 1st; 1300, Nov. 6th; 5078, Nov. 7th: 3800, Nov. 8th and 180, Nov. 23rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 2700, Nov. 6th and 4200, Nov. 7th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 2500 between 09.00 and 10.30, Oct. 24th. Felixstowe: 3000 between 06.55 and 07.10, Nov. 1st. Landguard, 13,145, Oct. 30th; 1395, Nov. 1st; 3260, Nov. 6th; 4700, Nov. 7th and 9140, Nov. 8th. Continual monitoring at Landguard produced a grand total of 32,222 logged passing south f r o m October 20th to N o v e m b e r 23rd. T h e only noteworthy flocks recorded during the second winter period were 920, Stowupland, October 25th (seen flying f r o m roost in early morning); 2000, Risby, D e c e m b e r 28th and 720, Flempton, D e c e m b e r 10th. C O L L A R E D D O V E Streptopelia decaocto Common resident. This species was reported f r o m 28 widespread sites - a significant increase on recent years (cf. 17 in 1995 and 21 in 1994). Most records related to small flocks, with ten sites managing groups of 30 or more, the largest of which are detailed below: Lowestoft: Commercial Road grain silo. 100, Nov. 11th. Stowupland: 90 on grain barn. Jan. 9th. Ixworth: 85, Feb. 15th. Poslingford: 66, Nov. 17th and 56. Dec. 8th. Thetford: 63 at a roost site, Sept. 26th. Breeding was c o n f i r m e d f r o m just four sites, including t w o pairs at Landguard and ten pairs at North Warren. There were no reports of any coastal movements. Of particular interest were two adults seen eating seaweed at Ness Point, L o w e s t o f t on July 28th (A C Easton). BWP makes no mention of seaweed in the diet of Collared Dove, although it is mentioned for Wood Pigeon and suggests that it is possibly taken for the salt, as that species has also been recorded pecking at salt licks for cattle and drinking brackish and salt water. T U R T L E D O V E Streptopelia turtur Widespread but decreasing summer visitor and passage migrant. A bird at Haughley on April 20th was the first record of the year. It w a s quickly followed by birds f r o m other sites the following day and another nine sites by the 114


month's end. A s is usual with this species, the majority of birds returned f r o m their sub-Saharan wintering grounds between mid-May and early June, during which time (mainly southerly) passage was reported from Benacre, where groups of ten and six flew south-west, May 20th; North Warren, with seven north and four south-east. May 13th and Landguard, where 13 flew south, May 26th, 11 flew south, May 30th and two headed north and 14 south, June 1st. During this period, 15 were noted at North Warren, M a y 31st; about 2 0 were seen feeding around farm buildings at Reydon Hall Farm, Reydon, May 18th and 44 were counted at Ingham, May 18th. Breeding was confirmed at just six sites including three pairs at Lackford W R and four pairs at Long Melford. At Brent Eleigh, one observer reported 'more records this year'\ however, the species was thought to be scarcer at Fisher Row and an observer at Freston recorded just three birds during May and June. Only t w o sites recorded post-breeding gatherings that managed to reach double figures; P i p p ' s Ford, where 22 were present, July 15th, increasing to 53, July 17th and Long Melford, where 26 were counted, July 28th. Most birds appear to have departed by late August and only four sites managed September records. There w a s only one October sighting - at Landguard on 2nd. R I N G - N E C K E D P A R A K E E T Psittacula krameri Scarce resident. There was a marked increase in the number of sightings of this species, although most (and perhaps all) probably refer to a single coastal bird. Walberswick: Westwood Marshes, south, May 25th. Minsmere: May 25th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Jun. 30th and Jul. 1st. Bawdsey: south along cliffs, May 25th. C U C K O O Cuculus canorus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year w a s found at Pipp's Ford on April 9th and was followed by records f r o m a further eight sites by 19th. A noticeable influx occurred on 20th, after which sightings became widespread and numerous. Visible migration was observed at Southwold, where one was seen flying south, well offshore, on May 29th, and Walberswick, with t w o seen flying in off the sea, May 1st. T h e n u m b e r of sites reporting birds during the period April-June dropped to 35 this year (from just over 40 in 1995 and 60 in 1994), indicating that the species is on the decline within the County. Breeding data were scant with juveniles being recorded from just f o u r sites, including one being fed by Wrens in The K i n g ' s Forest on August 24th. A male was still in full song at N e w Fen, Lakenheath, July 13th. Records quickly tailed off after males ceased singing with just six birds reported during July, five in August and three in September at Livermere Lake, 1 st; Bawdsey, 18th and the last of the year at Landguard on 21 st. B A R N O W L Tyto alba Fairly common resident. This year saw another considerable drop in the number of sites recording birds, with reports being received f r o m a total of 69 localities (about 89 in 1995 and 100 in 1994). Of these, just ten related to West Suffolk. T h e paucity of birds in the intensely agricultural central and western parts of the County is probably attributable to a lack of suitable rough grassland supporting high enough densities of small rodent prey on which this species is dependent. This, combined with a loss of breeding sites through 115


conversion of farm buildings into housing, or replacement with modern barns, and the ever-increasing urbanisation of the countryside and increased traffic levels, make these areas rather hostile to the Barn Owl. A glance at the Provisional Breeding Atlas (Sanford, 1993) shows just how striking an increase there is in the density of birds in the coastal third of the County. Birds were reported from 20 sites during the breeding season, although breeding was confirmed at just six of these, including a pair at Darsham with a brood of six young. Thankfully, no road casualties were reported this year. L I T T L E O W L Athene noctua Fairly common resident. Records were received from 110 widely scattered sites which is just above the previous five-year average of 91, but slightly down on last year's total of 112. This may be an indication that the species is increasing in Suffolk, but is more likely a result of better recording during the ongoing SOG Breeding Raptor Survey. Breeding was confirmed from 13 sites which included two pairs at Sizewell (where one was witnessed dragging a dead juvenile Blackbird across a bridleway); two pairs on Cavenham Heath (where they bred in Rabbit burrows) and three pairs at Gazeley. During October, noted on nine dates at Landguard with at least three birds involved, suggesting some local movements were taking place, presumably of juveniles in search of vacant territories. Although no road causalities were reported, a bird was found injured at The Grove, Felixstowe on November 5th which, sadly, died the next day. TAWNY O W L Strix aluco Common resident. Although there was a considerable drop in the number of sites/parishes reporting birds this year (74 compared with about 91 in 1995), this species remains common and widespread and, in reality, could probably be found in every parish in the County. Breeding was confirmed at 19 widespread locations, including seven territories at North Warren and two pairs each at Westhorpe, Walsham-le-Willows and Stansfield. Landguard's recent run of records finally came to an end with none recorded there this year. Four road casualties were reported; singles at Trimley St. Martin, Thwaite, Stowupland and Lackford. L O N G - E A R E D OWL Asio otus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. During the first winter period, birds were only reported f r o m The King's Forest and Old Newton. At the latter site, a pair was heard calling in suitable breeding habitat, February 7th, but were not recorded subsequently and were thought to have been present during the winter only. Landguard recorded the only spring migrants, with one on April 9th (which remained until the next day) and one seen flying in off the sea, April 28th. Three pairs were confirmed as breeding within the County; a juvenile in the Sluice Bushes at Minsmere on July 1st (before being flushed by a photographer when it proceeded to fly out to sea and head south); two juveniles heard calling at Lakenheath Warren, June 15th and a pair with two juveniles at Berner's Heath, June 15th. Additionally, a bird was reported at Poors Heath, Risby, June 3rd. Autumn passage was light and brief with just six birds occurring at four sites between October 14th and 24th as follows: 116


Lowestoft: disused railway line by Cemetery, Oct. 24th. Minsmere: roosting in coastal bushes. Oct. 24th. Felixstowe: October 24th. Landguard, Oct. 14th, 15th and 21st. The highlight of the second winter period was a roost at Stradishall Airfield which c o m m e n c e d on November 9th with a single bird and had increased to seven by D e c e m b e r 1st. Unfortunately, the birds were seen to be disturbed by dog walkers and motorcyclists on several occasions and a check on D e c e m b e r 15th f o u n d only one bird in the roost. Singles were also found at Minsmere, November 11th and Aldham, N o v e m b e r 17 th. S H O R T - E A R E D O W L Asio flammeus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Reports showed a great improvement in numbers compared with the previous two years. A total of 17 birds was reported f r o m ten coastal sites during January and February, including four on Orfordness, January 21st. Numbers increased during March as passage birds began the m o v e back to their northern breeding grounds; 22 were reported, including an outstanding count of ten on Orfordness, March 24th. A s expected, numbers decreased rapidly during April and singles present on Orfordness, May 14th and at Stradishall Airfield, May 21st were the only reports for that month. During the summer just three were located - Hopton, August 27th; Minsmere, July 11th and Stradishall Airfield, July 8th. Over recent years, numbers have been very low during this period and breeding has not been proven within the County since 1987, when two pairs successfully raised young. T h e first autumn report c a m e from Minsmere, where one was present f r o m September 28th to 30th. This was followed by sightings f r o m eight sites during October, including the following four birds seen flying in off the sea; Kessingland, 26th (being mobbed by gulls before reaching the beach where it landed to rest); Covehithe, 10th; North Warren, 13th and Landguard, 23rd. N u m b e r s were lower during the second winter period with nine reported f r o m eight sites, including one in West Suffolk at Stradishall Airfield which was seen being m o b b e d by a Kestrel on D e c e m b e r 29th. N I G H T J A R Caprimulgus europaeus Locally fairly common summer visitor. Scarce passage migrant. T h e first of the year was at Minsmere on the fairly typical date of May 12th. N o n e was then reported until 27th (four 'churring' males on Hollesley Heath), which is probably m o r e due to observer coverage as opposed to birds returning late with most observers preferring to wait until they know birds will be back on territory before going ' N i g h t j a r r i n g ' . Few breeding data were received (e.g. only four 'churring' males reported f r o m Breckland where 150 were found during the 1992 Breeding Survey) making meaningful c o m m e n t impossible. T h e Walberswick/Dunwich area held 35 'churring' birds. Unusually, one was heard 'churring' on Dunwich Heath at three o ' c l o c k in the afternoon on June 5th. Only t w o birds were reported during August (from Aldringham and Minsmere), with the last of the year occurring at Landguard on September 6th and 7th. S W I F T Apus apus Very common summer

visitor and passage

migrant.

April 23rd saw the first returning migrants with a notable and widespread influx, birds being noted at Lowestoft, Landguard, Fagbury Cliff, Beccles C o m m o n (two), N e w b o u r n e (two), Suffolk Water Park (four) and Lackford W R (15). Seven other sites 117


recorded birds during April. The main influx occurred in May, when several threefigure counts were received, including groups of 500 at Lackford W R , 26th and Pipp's Ford, 30th. Landguard recorded impressive figures during spring and early s u m m e r with M a y totals of 262 north and 935 south and 200 in off the sea (peaking at 564 south on 3 I s t ) and June totals of 4 3 5 north and 550 south with 3209 in off the sea (peaking at 3050 in off the sea on 29th). At nearby Walton, 4 3 0 were counted flying west inland between 08.00 and 09.00 on June 12th. Although a very c o m m o n breeder, the species' habit of nesting in private, inaccessible buildings m a k e s assessment of its breeding status difficult. Indeed, the only confirmed case of breeding c a m e f r o m Middleton, where there were 'several nesting in houses along Rectory Road'. A s is usuai, the largest gatherings of the year were reported during m i d - s u m m e r (normally a resuit of birds concentrating to feed over water during wet or overcast conditions) with 800 at Minsmere, June 12th; 1000, Loompit Lake, June 20th and 24th and 100, Lackford W R , July 9th. A u t u m n passage went generally unrecorded, the only significant m o v e m e n t being 322 south over Landguard on August lOth. Just seven birds were logged f r o m six sites during September, the last of which w a s at M i n s m e r e on 30th. An aberrant individuai with a pale, mottled belly and pale feathering on the r u m p was observed at Southwold Town Marshes on M a y 12th. K I N G F I S H E R Alcedo atthis Fairly common resident. Reports were received f r o m a total of 72 widespread parishes and sites, a considérable réduction on 1995's total of about 100. At least part of the reason for this may be related to the harsh winter conditions that prevailed during late January and February. Although there was no prolonged freeze of open waters, birds certainly left s o m e sites during this period, including Lackford W R , although they remained at others. Breeding was confirmed at just three sites (Lackford W R , Long Melford and Brent Eleigh), but with records coming f r o m 27 other locations during April to July, it must have taken place, unnoticed, at many more. An unusual report involved one flying along the middle of Hall Street, Long M e l f o r d on the morning of August 15th, which was, presumably, tàking a short eut to s o m e nearby water body. A bird seen flying along the beach at Sizewell on July 3 I s t had, apparently, c o m e f r o m the Sizewell 'A' Power Station offshore rigs, indicating that it had probably been exploiting the concentrations of marine fish that f o r m in the w a r m waters there. Although Kingfishers are frequently found feeding in brackish estuaries and broads, this would, surprisingly, appear to be the first County report of one feeding on the immediate coast. H O O P O E Upupa epops Scarce passage migrant. Just a single was found, making this the worst year for this species since 1982 when also only one was located. Lound: Waterworks, May 9th (B J Brown , R Fairhead, P J Ransome, et al.). A Hoopoe was almost certainly heard calling in the Trimley St Martin area on June 13th but unfortunately could not be tracked down by the finden Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Spring 3 6 4 6 4 2 0 2 2 1 Autumn 3 2 2 1 1 4 3 1 2 0 (Autumn totals include December birds.) 118


W R Y N E C K Jynx torquilla Uncommon passage migrant. Formerly bred. There were three spring sightings, one of which was f r o m the west of the County: Aldeburgh: North Warren, disused railway line, May 12th. Holton: on garden lawn, May 11th. Bury St. Edmunds: Glastonbury Road, dead on road, Apr. 18th. The condition of the Bury St E d m u n d s ' bird suggested that it had been dead for two or three days prior to its discovery. As usual, the majority of reports c a m e f r o m the autumn period with at least 11 birds found at six locations, including two very early migrants in the Lowestoft area on the last day of July. Lowestoft: North Denes, Jul. 31st; Sept. 1st to 3rd and Sept. 30th; Arnold's Walk, Aug. 30th; Gunton, Jul. 31st; two, Aug. 30th, one remaining to 31st. Minsmere: two, Aug. 31st to Sept. 2nd, one remaining to 3rd. Felixstowe: Landguard, Sept. 17th and 18th. Ipswich: Sept. 5th. West Stow: West Stow Country Park, Sept. 8th to 13th. G R E E N W O O D P E C K E R Pic us viridis Common resident. With reports coming from about 120 localities, compared with 146 in 1995, 1996 saw a considerable drop in numbers. This is probably a result of observer effort, rather than a real population decline, as the species continues to be c o m m o n and widespread. Indeed, birds were recorded f r o m a total of 58 sites during the breeding season, with breeding confirmed at ten of these. However, being mainly reliant on invertebrate ground prey, it is worth noting that this species is far more susceptible to periods of prolonged cold or snowy weather than the other two British woodpeckers. The fairly severe weather during the first winter period may have been responsible for s o m e local reductions. Landguard recorded singles on April 4th, July 29th and August 1 st whilst at nearby Fagbury Cliff singles were found on January 28th and April 28th. This y e a r ' s largest gatherings were of seven birds at Aldringham C o m m o n on October 6th and The Grove, Felixstowe, July 28th, whilst six were located at Minsmere on two dates in March; five were on Hollesley Heath, April 6th and five were on C a v e n h a m Heath, May 11th. An interesting report was of one at West Stow Country Park which pecked several holes in the Heathland Hide in order to use it as a roost site. Repairs were of no avail as the bird simply pecked new holes elsewhere, so, eventually, a policy of non-intervention was adopted. G R E A T S P O T T E D W O O D P E C K E R Dendrocopos major Common resident. Although the number of localities reporting this species fell for the second consecutive year (to 107 f r o m about 120 in 1995 and 150 in 1994), the population probably remains stable. It was considered to be 'common' at Brent Eleigh and 'very common' on the Sudbury C o m m o n Lands, c o m m e n t s which would, no doubt, be appropriate for many of the C o u n t y ' s sites. Eight sites managed to c o n f i r m positive breeding, including three pairs at N o w t o n Park and t w o pairs at Wolves Wood. A further 36 sites reported birds during April to July. The only reported cases of post-breeding dispersal c a m e from Landguard where singles were noted on July 21st, August 2nd and October 7th. 119


L E S S E R S P O T T E D W O O D P E C K E R Dendrocopos minor Uncommon resident. T h e small size and generally unobtrusive m a n n e r of this species m e a n s that it is probably overlooked far m o r e than the previous t w o woodpeckers, although those that are f o u n d are well reported. Records were received f r o m a total of 42 widespread sites, a considerable reduction on the 62 of 1995. Of these, breeding w a s c o n f i r m e d at just two; Old N e w t o n , where t w o males and a juvenile w e r e seen on J u n e 26th and North Stow in T h e King's Forest, where a family was seen at a nest hole on J u n e 14th. Although many reports related to ' o n e - o f f ' sightings, several sites reported birds on multiple dates, the following seven sites contributing over 5 2 % of all records received: Sotterley: Sotterley Park, regular sightings, Mar. and Apr. inc. two females and a male, Mar. 10th and 17th. Minsmere: peak of four, Feb. 28th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Feb. 14th; Mar. 23rd and 24th; Jun. 29th and regularly throughout Dec. Ipswich: Christchurch Park, Mar. 1st; Apr. 2nd; two, Aug. 19th; two, Oct. 24th. West Stow: singles throughout year, majority of sightings during Oct. and Dec. Lackford WR: regular between Mar. and Jul.; three drumming. May 5th; two with a mixed tit flock, Jul. 26th. Hengrave: several sightings during spring and group of three (two females and a male) seen, Aug. 30th. At H e n g r a v e Hall, a f e m a l e was seen at a peanut feeder on M a r c h 29th. S H O R T - T O E D L A R K Calandrella brachydactyla Very rare visitor. Benacre: Beach Farm, May 31st (C A Buttle) Felixstowe: Landguard, May 21st and 22nd (P J Holmes, G J Jobson, P Oldfield et al.). T h e seventh and eighth records for Suffolk and the first in spring since one at M i n s m e r e in May 1969. These birds represent the second site record for the species at both localities. C R E S T E D L A R K Galerida cristata Accidental. Felixstowe: Landguard, Oct. 2nd and presumed same, Oct. 9th (M Grantham, P Holmes, N Odin et al.). T h e first Suffolk record of this widespread Eurasian species. This is the first British record since one on Bardsey, G w y n e d d on June 5th and 6th 1982 and the first to b e 'twitchable' in Britain since one at Dungeness, Kent f r o m September 28th to October 1st 1975. Few would have predicted that this species was a likely candidate for addition to the County list and its occurrence was the rarity highlight of 1996 in Suffolk. A n article with accompanying photographs has been published in Birding World 9: 392-393. W O O D L A R K Lullula arborea Uncommon breeding species and scarce passage migrant. T h e Breckland breeding population was surveyed for the 23rd consecutive year and the coastal (Sandlings) population for the eighth consecutive year. A f t e r several years of increase in the b r e e d i n g population, 1995 had witnessed a p p a r e n t stabilisation but in 1996 there were further substantial increases both in Breckland and the Sandlings: 120


15: One of the more unexpected

events of the year: Suffolk's first Crested

Lark.

Robin Chittenden

16: The nadir for Short-eared small

increase

in 1996.

Owls may have been reached as numbers showed a Alan Tate


17: 1996 was generally

a poor year for Black Redstarts in the County. Robin Chittenden

18: Song Thrush numbers

remain worryingly

low throughout

Suffolk.

Alan Tate


1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Figures in brackets

Breckland Sandlings 39 (2) 59-65 (16-18) 76(0) 106-113(34) 94(5) 118-131 (48-50) 112(17) 151-161 (60-61) 115 (17) 151-155 (65-67) 144 (23) 192 (83) show the numbers of territories on

Totals 98-104(18-20) 182-189 (34) 212-225 (53-55) 263-273 (77-78) 266-270(82-84) 336(106) heathland

The figures in brackets show that almost one third of the located territories were on heathland. A s an example of an increase on heathland, 15 pairs were present at Minsmere where only four pairs had been found in 1995. Birds were noted back on the Breckland breeding sites f r o m January 14th and on the coast f r o m January 10th. An encouraging sign for the future was of a pair breeding on a set-aside field at Leiston. Spring migrants in March involved singles at Thorington Street Reservoir on 24th and east over Hadleigh on 23rd. An exceptional mid-summer gathering of 50 was located in T h e King's Forest on July 25th with most of the birds being in moult. Autumn m o v e m e n t s and gatherings were noted from late September when one was seen well away f r o m k n o w n breeding sites at Horringer on 21st and 18 were at West Stow on 22nd. October witnessed unprecedented totals on the coast with a m a x i m u m of 70 at Aldringham on 20th. Elsewhere during October two flew south at Southwold on 16th and 11 flew south (with one on the reserve) at Landguard during the course of the month, a record total for the site. Inland, a flock of 17 was located near Icklingham on 4th and three singing males were present near Woodbridge on 8th. During N o v e m b e r and December, groups were located at one Breckland and two coastal sites. From N o v e m b e r 21st to the year's end up to 15 were present at Icklingham. Five were located at Aldringham, including two singing males, on N o v e m b e r 1 st and up to 18 were at this site in December. At Minsmere, eight were present in late N o v e m b e r and up to 15 in early December. S K Y L A R K Alauda arvensis Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. There were far fewer reports of this species than there were for the rarer Woodlark. However, s o m e observers continue to monitor Skylark populations on their local patches and during the first winter period three-figure counts included 200 at Great Livermere, February 15th and 102 at Hollesley on February 3rd. The only reported coastal m o v e m e n t involved 82 south at Landguard on January 27th during harsh weather conditions. Typically spring passage passed almost unnoticed with the sole report involving 30 north over Landguard on March 18th. There were very few breeding season reports despite extensive media coverage of the species' recent dramatic decline. At Brent Eleigh, Skylarks were considered to b e c o m m o n e r than in 1995. Elsewhere, 34 pairs were located at Havergate Island and 67 pairs at North Warren but only three males at Landguard (with poor productivity) and three singing males at Sudbury C o m m o n Lands. It is disappointing to report that the ploughing of a set-aside field at Long Melford in mid-June resulted in the loss of 'several' nests. Autumn m o v e m e n t s were meticulously logged at Landguard and Stowupland. At the latter site 155 flew south-west between September 25th and N o v e m b e r 15th with a m a x i m u m of 36 on October 7th. Monthly totals of birds in off the sea or flying south at Landguard peaked at 7 4 0 in October and 147 in November. Three-figure flocks were recorded at several sites across the County from mid-November. The highest totals involved 4 1 0 at Aldringham, N o v e m b e r 28th; 300 at Sudbourne, D e c e m b e r 1st;


2 0 0 at Icklingham, N o v e m b e r 24th; 140 at Great Livermere, N o v e m b e r 14th and 125 at Moulton in December. At least 85 were present at Long M e l f o r d on D e c e m b e r 27th but all had dispersed following snow showers on D e c e m b e r 30th. S H O R E L A R K Eremophila alpestris Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. N o n e had been present in the County in D e c e m b e r 1995 so it is perhaps not too surprising that there were no reports of the species during the early months of 1996. However, it is pleasing to report that this situation changed in the autumn and second winter period. Between early October and the year's end birds were reported f r o m 11 coastal sites: Corton: two, Oct. 19th; nine, Oct. 20th. Lowestoft: three, Oct. 4th; six, Oct. 14th. Kessingland: Oct. 12th; nine, Nov. 3rd. Benacre: south, Nov. 9th. Southwold: up to four, Oct. 30th to Nov. 1st; south, Nov. 13th. Walberswick: three, Oct. 30th; 13, Nov. 8th; eight, Dec. 21st; six, Dec. 29th. Minsmere: birds present Nov. 6th to 16th. max. 12 on Nov. 8th. Leiston: Sizewell, Oct. 11th to 13th; six, Dec. 4th. Orford: Orfordness, 39, Dec. 14th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Oct. 9th and 10th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Flats, five from Oct. into 1997. T h e Orfordness flock is the largest in the County since February 1979 when up to 4 0 were at Benacre/Covehithe. S A N D M A R T I N Riparia riparia Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first reports were of single birds on March 19th at Trimley Marshes, Landguard and Lackford W R . By the end of March there had been reports f r o m eight sites including 20 at Lackford on 31st. U p to 5 0 0 were at Alton Water by April 13th and there was a m a j o r arrival in the fourth w e e k of April with peak totals of 500 at North Warren on 28th, 5 0 0 at Loompit Lake on 22nd and 300 at Lackford W R on 24th. Impressive numbers continued to be recorded in May with m a x i m u m counts of 4 0 0 at Suffolk Water Park on 9th, 4 0 0 at Loompit Lake on 3rd and 200 at both Livermere Lake and L a c k f o r d W R on 2nd. Surveys of nest holes were received f r o m Chillesford (65), Lackford W R (51) and S u f f o l k Water Park (40). In 1995 the latter two sites recorded 81 and 25 nests respectively. Active nest holes were also reported f r o m Levington Marina and Wenhaston and at least three colonies were located in the cliffs between Covehithe and Benacre Broad. The largest mid-summer gathering involved 1000 at Minsmere on July 13th. A u t u m n passage was principally recorded f r o m Landguard where 736 w e r e logged flying south f r o m July 21st to October 14th with a m a x i m u m of 159 on September 15th. October reports were received f r o m only three sites and three very late birds were noted at Benacre and Kessingland on N o v e m b e r 3rd, constituting the first observations for that month in the County since 1986. S W A L L O W Hirundo rustica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first recorded bird of the spring was in the Gipping Valley at Barking on March 25th. March birds were also reported from Baylham, Tattingstone and L a c k f o r d W R (two on 28th). M a n y sites saw their first Swallows arrive during the first half of April. A s with the Sand Martin, there was a major arrival in the fourth week of April with 122


Swallows m a x i m u m totals of 300 at Havergate Island and 150 at Livermere Lake on 23rd and 250 at Lackford W R on 24th. Typically, most spring passage reports from Landguard were of birds moving south - monthly totals at this site involved 2 5 0 in April and 277 in May. N u m b e r s in M a y were generally lower with a m a x i m u m site day-total of 150 at Long M e l f o r d on 26th. Breeding season numbers were reported as being lower than in recent years at Trimley St Martin, Felixstowe and Hengrave. U p to four pairs bred at Havergate Island. Detailed observations of the ten pairs that bred at West Stow Country Park revealed that all were double-brooded and an overall total of up to 65 juveniles was reared. It was noted that second-brood nests were lined with m o r e feathers than is normal - could this have been in response to cooler weather conditions at that time? N o four-figure roost counts were reported in late summer, the largest gathering being of 200 at Holbrook Bay on August 23rd. Southerly passage was well documented at Landguard with monthly totals of 5654 in September (11210 in September 1995) and 4 8 3 in October (1142 in October 1995). Coastal totals elsewhere were very low with m a x i m a of only 300 at M i n s m e r e on September 25th and 250 at Trimley Marshes on September 26th. At inland sites 250 were in the Gipping Valley at Barking on September 28th and 224 moved south down the Black Bourn Valley at Sapiston on September 21st. N o v e m b e r birds were reported f r o m six coastal sites up to 16th (North Warren) and included 20 m o v i n g south at Landguard during the first two weeks of the month. R E D - R U M P E D S W A L L O W Hirundo daurica Very rare passage visitor. Lowestoft: Sparrow's Nest Gardens, south, Oct. 28th (D G Beamish) This typically late bird constitutes the C o u n t y ' s 16th record (17 individuals) and the ninth so far this decade. H O U S E M A R T I N Delichon urbica Very common summer visitor and passage

migrant.

Typically the last of the hirundines to arrive, the sole March sighting was of one at Lackford W R on 30th and 31st. T h e species was not generally involved in the mass arrival of hirundines in the fourth w e e k of April, although 150 were at Alton Water on 23rd. T h e only other three-figure gathering in April involved 100 at Lackford W R on 18th. This latter site witnessed the highest totals in M a y with a peak of 500 on 3rd. Gatherings elsewhere in M a y included 250 at Sutton Heath and 200 at Long Melford, both on 27th. Southerly passage at Landguard involved 266 in M a y and 48 in June. 123


Breeding reports were generally discouraging. Substantial decreases w e r e recorded at Felixstowe and Hengrave and only four pairs bred on a house at Henstead w h e r e 12 pairs had bred in 1995. N o n e bred in B r a m f o r d Lane, Ipswich for the first time in at least ten years but on a slightly m o r e encouraging note, two pairs at L o n g Melford were triple-brooded. In 1995, autumn passage had peaked in October but this year m a x i m u m totals were recorded in September. Southerly passage at Landguard totalled 2932 during that month and impressive m o v e m e n t s at Covehithe involved 1600 south in 45 minutes on 27th and 1150 south in 75 minutes on 28th. Totals elsewhere in September included 116 south at Sapiston on 21st (see Swallow); 200 at North Warren on 6th; 2 0 0 at Trimley St Martin on 21st; 150 at Lackford W R on 12th and 100 at Barking on 28th. Passage had decreased dramatically by early October; southerly m o v e m e n t s during the month totalled only 111 at Landguard. N o v e m b e r reports totalling eight birds c a m e f r o m four coastal sites up to 15th when three were at Minsmere. R I C H A R D ' S P I P I T Anthus richardi Rare visitor. Felixstowe: Landguard, south, Oct. 30th (N Odin). T h e single record above is the only one for which details were received. R u m o u r s of at least three other birds on the Felixstowe peninsula during the autumn have never been followed up with details. Totals for the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 9 5 1 1994 correction: T h e bird at Lowestoft was present on October 15th and 16th not N o v e m b e r 15th and 16 th. T A W N Y P I P I T Anthus campestris Rare passage migrant. For the first time since 1990 there were no records of this species in the County. 1994 addition: Minsmere: May 25th (R Moore, D Newton). This late 1994 record brings the County total to 35. T R E E P I P I T Anthus trivialis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A s in 1995, the first spring migrant was discovered on March 31st; sharp eyes located this year's bird with Meadow Pipits at Southwold. Five were noted at Landguard between April 15th and May 2nd and two were at Fagbury Cliff on April 28th. Although incomplete, breeding season reports were received f r o m 16 Breckland and coastal sites. U p to 11 singing males were recorded at each of Hollesley Heath, North Warren and The K i n g ' s Forest, 27 at Walberswick/Dunwich and four at C a v e n h a m Heath. A u t u m n passage was recorded f r o m August 28th (Landguard) but w a s on a much smaller scale than in 1995. M o v e m e n t s peaked in the fourth w e e k of S e p t e m b e r with reports f r o m seven coastal sites. The principal totals were six at L a n d g u a r d on September 23rd and 17 there the next day and three at M i n s m e r e on S e p t e m b e r 23rd. O n September 22nd, Felixstowe produced four at Langer Park and two at Peewit Hill. Inland, one flew over Horringer on September 21st. The only October reports were of singles at Landguard on 1 st and two on 2nd and one at D u n w i c h on 8th. 124


M E A D O W PIPIT Anthus pratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Several observers meticulously counted flocks of Meadow Pipits on their local patches during the first winter period. The largest gatherings were 70 at Martlesham Creek on January 28th; 45 at Shingle Street on February 23rd and 43 at Landguard on February 13th. Observers at Landguard recorded 90 flying south during harsh weather conditions on January 27th (see Skylark). As in 1995, spring passage was principally recorded between mid-March and early April. Passage flocks were noted across the County and peaked at 100 at Stradishall Airfield on March 24th and 70 at Boyton on March 30th. Breeding reports were received from only six sites but these did include 27 pairs on Havergate Island (30 in 1995), 30 pairs at Stradishall Airfield, 21 pairs at North Warren and 11 pairs at Boyton Marshes. Elsewhere, seven pairs were located at Haverhill and three pairs at Landguard. At the latter site, the continued loss of breeding habitat is particularly having a devastating effect on this species and Skylark. The peak period for autumn passage was during the second half of September. Movements and flocks were mainly coastal and included 1100 south at Covehithe during 26th to 30th; 400 at Aldringham on 22nd; 300 at Trimley Marshes on 15th; 200 south at Shingle Street on 26th; 200 at Corion on 24th; 150 south at Bawdsey on 28th; 150 at Lowestoft on 24th and 121 south at Stowupland on 30th. Southerly passage at Landguard in September totalled 2944 (894 in September 1995). Relatively few reports were received for October; the principal totals were of 125 at Southwold Denes on 16th and 2437 south at Landguard during the month (1024 in October 1995). Passage continued into November at Landguard where 183 flew south during the month. Totals dwindled dramatically during December. Up to 20 were at three coastal sites and up to 15 at three localities in West Suffolk. ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Observers located this species at 12 coastal or estuarine sites in January and February. Most of these sites hosted up to three birds but higher totals involved ten at Minsmere on January 27th; ten at Martlesham Creek on January 28th and five at Minsmere on February 21st. Spring passage migrants were noted between March 22nd and April 22nd at eight sites. A maximum of three was recorded at Boyton and Trimley St Martin and singles were noted away from the coast at Suffolk Water Park on March 30th and Lound on April 4th. As in 1995 there was an unseasonable individual in May (of the race A.p.littoralis) with one at North Warren on 4th. An early autumn bird was at Lowestoft on September 5th with a more general arrival from September 20th (Southwold) and two at Landguard the next day. October witnessed the main phase of passage at Landguard with totals for the month of 59 south and six north (61 south in October 1995). Elsewhere, four were at Lowestoft on October 9th. Up to four were at five coastal/estuarine sites in November and in December reports were received from seven sites including 12 on Orfordness on 29th and seven on the Deben Estuary on 15th. WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Reports were dominated by those from Minsmere where the species was noted on most dates from January to the third week of April. Peak monthly totals at Minsmere 125


were eight in January (29th), 21 in February (17th), f o u r in March (19th) and t w o in April on several dates to 20th. Reports f r o m elsewhere during the s a m e period were as follows: Walberswick: Apr. 5th and 6th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, Feb. 17th. Trimley Marshes: Mar. 31st; two, Apr. 4th. Shotley: Shotley Marshes, Apr. 21st. T h e first birds of the autumn were at North Warren on October 3rd and Minsmere on October 24th. Subsequent monthly m a x i m a at Minsmere were three in N o v e m b e r on several dates and 15 in December (17th). None were recorded away f r o m M i n s m e r e in D e c e m b e r but in N o v e m b e r additional reports were: Benacre: Nov. 1st. Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, four, Nov. 16th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Nov. 17th. Alton Water: two, Nov. 1st. Y E L L O W W A G T A I L Motacilla flava Common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first March record since 1993 involved one at North Warren on 31st. The bulk of regular locations received their first Yellow Wagtails during April 3rd to 10th. A significant passage was recorded at coastal sites in the third and fourth w e e k s of April; m a x i m u m counts included 34 at Dunwich on 22nd; 34 at Felixstowe Ferry on 25th; 30 at North Warren on 21st; 26 at Trimley Marshes on 19th; 24 south at Landguard on 25th and 20 at Falkenham on 20th. It would appear that the breeding fortunes of this species in Suffolk are at a very low e b b at present. There were no reports of c o n f i r m e d breeding although single pairs were located at Boyton Marshes and North Warren; presumably s o m e pairs are still attempting to breed with us. T h e total of 37 birds at Alton Water on J u n e 26th h o p e f u l l y indicates that there is still a healthy breeding population at the reservoir. A u t u m n passage peaked in late August and early September, principally at coastal sites. Peak counts included 50 at Alton Water on September 2nd; 50 at Levington on August 26th; 30 at Havergate Island on August 27th and 30 at Shingle Street on August 28th. Southerly passage at Landguard peaked at 38 on September 9th and 27 on August 27th. Inland, 38 were present at Mildenhall Fen on August 25th. At least ten were noted in October including the final sighting of the year involving two south at Landguard on 19th. Birds showing characteristics of races other than M.f.flavissima were recorded as follows: Blue-headed Wagtail M.f.flava Benacre: male, Apr. 20th to 28th; female, Apr. 21st. Dunwich: male, Apr. 22nd (with 34 Yellow Wagtails). Aldeburgh: North Warren, male, Apr. 15th to 20th; male, Apr. 28th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, male, Apr. 16th; male, Apr. 20th. Trimley St Martin: male. May 7th to 17th. Levington: male, May 11th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, May 12th. A fairly typical sprinkling of spring records. A flava wagtail at L o o m p i t Lake on May 8th and 10th appeared to be a hybrid, showing s o m e characteristics of Blueheaded Wagtail. 126


GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea Fairly common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. There were slightly fewer reports of this species in 1996 with sightings at 65 sites (76 in 1995). The list of sightings in 1996 almost amounts to a gazetteer of sewage works in the County with reports from such locations as Corton, Great Bealings, Holbrook. Kessingland, Levington, Long Melford, Martlesham, Melton, Needham Market and Southwold. Reports included maxima of five at Long Melford sewage works on January 27th and February 18th. Birds were located at 11 sites containing suitable breeding habitat in the midsummer months. Although breeding was confirmed at only one site, it seems likely that it occurred at most, if not all, of the 11 sites. Unseasonable mid-summer reports involved singles, well away from known breeding areas, at Levington sewage works on June 16th; Christchurch Park, Ipswich on June 20th and south over Landguard on June 13th. Autumn passage commenced in August with one north over Southwold on 14th but peaked in September with reports of birds over-flying five coastal sites. The only incidence involving more than one bird was of 15 south at Landguard during 26th and three north at Corton on 24th. Southerly passage continued into October at Landguard with 14 being noted during the month. During the second winter period, one was seen feeding on the beach at Felixstowe sea front on December 9th.

PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Very common resident, passage migrant and summer and winter

visitor.

Gatherings of this species attracted much attention during both winter periods. Feeding flocks during January and February included 73 at Long Melford sewage works on February 24th; 70 at Great Bealings sewage works on January 2nd; 60 at Kessingland sewage works on January 4th and 36 foraging on ice at Lackford WR on February 10th. Roost totals were lower than those recorded during late 1995. The highest counts were of 210 at Stowmarket Railway Station on January 19th; 114 adjacent to the A14/A140 Beacon Hill service station, Coddenham on February 14th and 62 at Tesco's Superstore, Martlesham Heath on February 24th. There was evidence of spring passage early in March, particularly on 3rd when there were reports of 100 at Martlesham Creek, 87 at Long Melford sewage works and 30 at Cornard Mere. Additional spring passage reports included 35 at Lackford WR on April 8th; 33 at Minsmere on March 14th and 20 at North Warren on April 5th. Breeding reports were received only from Hengrave (three pairs), Stansfield (two pairs) and West Stow Country Park. At the latter site a pair nested in a thatched building in the reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village. Late summer roosts included 60 at Livermere Lake on August 17th and 21 at Holbrook Bay on August 23rd. Autumn passage was noted at several sites in September when the peak totals were 47 at Felixstowe Docks on 30th; 31 at Suffolk Water Park on 27th and 22 at Lowestoft Denes on 10th. Southerly passage peaked at Landguard in October when 239 were logged flying south. During November, 13 flew south at Landguard and 70 were at Minsmere on 16th and 17th. During December, there were counts of up to 100 at Lackford WR and 61 at Long Melford sewage works on 31st. A small roost was located in a London Plane Platanus x hybridus outside Woolworth's in Bury St Edmunds early in December even the addition of Christmas lights to the tree did not deter the birds from roosting there! 127


White Wagtail M.a.alba It was a poor year for the nominate White Wagtail with only 21 reported on spring passage between March 27th and May 12th (40 in spring 1995). T h e largest gathering was of eight at North Warren on April 5th whilst away f r o m the coastal region singles were at Suffolk Water Park on March 27th and Cavenham on April 16th. In early June singles were at Benacre Broad on 5th and Long Melford sewage works on 8 th. During autumn 1995 at least 20 were noted but this year's sole autumn record involved one at Lowestoft on September 24th. W A X W I N G Bombycilla garrulus Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. For many, one of the ornithological highlights of the year - and perhaps of the decade so far - was the spectacular invasion of Waxwings into Britain in the first winter period which involved many Suffolk parishes. This was the first major irruption of the species since 1970-71 and perhaps the largest ever recorded. There had been singles in December 1995 at North Warren on 17th and Lowestoft on 25th and events in January began similarly with three at Minsmere on 3rd. However, the pace quickened on 7th with reports from five sites in the coastal region which included 70 at Aldringham/Aldeburgh and 38 at Middleton. Up to 14th there were sightings at ten sites in the coastal region with maxima of 50 at Woodbridge on 11th; 43 at Felixstowe on 12th and 26 at Leiston on 14th. Many of these birds must have moved on quickly as a temporary lull in sightings occurred during the third week of January, apart from 20 at Trimley St Mary on 16th. More arrivals occurred f r o m January 20th onwards, again principally in the coastal region. Lowestoft began to feature prominently with a maximum of 93 on 28th and elsewhere notable totals included 55 at Eastbridge on 28th; up to 40 in south-east Waxwings Ipswich from 26th into February; 39 at Trimley St Mary on 22nd and 33 at North Warren on 27th. The only reports from West Suffolk in January involved singles at Boxford on 21st and Thetford Heath on 27th. February produced the main phase of the invasion with three-figure totals at both coastal and inland sites. Three-figure flocks entertained birdwatchers and 128


non-birdwatchers alike in the Lowestoft/Carlton Colville area from 3rd to 14th with a m a x i m u m single-flock count of 321 at Lowestoft on 13th, although on 9th there were counts of 300 at Lowestoft and 200 at Carlton Colville - it seems likely that there was much interchange between the two sites. Further south up to 200 were located at Woodbridge on 8th to 10th and then, just further west at Kesgrave, up to 250 were present on 11th to 13th and 453 - the largest gathering ever recorded in Suffolk - on 14th. By 16th 'only' 100 remained at Kesgrave but at least 2 0 0 were in Ipswich, increasing to 275 by 21st. In West Suffolk, the first sighting at Bury St E d m u n d s was of two on February 11th, increasing to 30 on 16th and 200 on 19th then peaking at 300 on 20th. Although somewhat overshadowed by the events detailed above, significant totals elsewhere in February included maxima of 66 at Beccles on 5th; 6 0 at Halesworth on 6th with 80 there on 7th; 5 0 at Felixstowe on 8th; 50 at Hadleigh on 12th to 24th and 48 at Mildenhall on 19th. Totals were generally lower in March, although still widespread across the County. An isolated report of 200 at Carlton Colville on 4th was the largest flock and further south there were regular sightings throughout the month in the Melton/Woodbridge area with a m a x i m u m of 75 on 14th. Reports f r o m Ipswich came f r o m right across the town throughout the month with a peak of 160 on 7th. Elsewhere maxima included 61 at L o w e s t o f t on 19th; 50 at Beccles on 24th; 37 at Aldeburgh on 3rd; 35 at Knettishall on 4th and 25 at Leiston on 30th. It seems likely that some, if not all, of these sightings in the second half of March involved birds moving b a c k eastwards and this is assumed to b e the case with the April sightings. There were reports in April up to 20th and significant flocks up to 16th. T h e largest gatherings were in Ipswich with reports of 130 on 7th and 8th, 98 on 16th and 85 on 12th. Reports f r o m Mildenhall also featured at this time with a maxim u m of 68 on 12th and a final report of 12 on 20th. Regular sightings occurred in the Melton/Woodbridge area up to 16th with a m a x i m u m of 58 on 3rd. T h e final sighting of this extraordinary invasion involved t w o at Woodbridge on May 5th, the latest ever recorded date in Suffolk. An article by S J Ling, setting out events in Suffolk in their historical and national context and including a detailed siteby-site list of occurrences has been published in The Harrier 109: 2-9. Any observer w h o did somehow manage to miss the species during the first winter period w a s able to have another attempt later in the year when a relatively minor influx occurred f r o m N o v e m b e r 12th, principally in the coastal region: Pakefield: three, Dec. 9th, increasing to 13, Dec. 31st. Kessingland: Wildlife Park, ten, Dec. 29th. Westleton: 25, Dec. 8th; six, Dec. 16th. Darsham: two, Dec. 17th. Minsmere: 25, Nov. 25th; seven, Dec. 4th. Leiston: Sizewell, three, Nov. 12th. Boyton: two, Nov. 30th. Newbourne: Dec. 27th. Timworth: churchyard, Dec. 15th. Bury St Edmunds: Moreton Hall Estate, nine, Dec. 11th to 13th; seven, Dec. 14th and 15th; 11, Dec. 27th. The invasion in the early part of the year was so large that w e can only hope to include the highlights here. Many m o r e reports of smaller numbers were received from parishes across the whole County and there can be few active birdwatchers w h o did not get the species onto their garden lists. We are indebted to all those w h o submitted their sightings, but many more, particularly f r o m the general public, of these eye-catching and confiding birds will remain unrecorded. 129


D I P P E R Cinclus cinclus Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Barham: River Gipping, January 30th (A P Richards) This individual showed characteristics of the Black-bellied race C.c.cinclus. The species has now been recorded in Suffolk for six consecutive years, although this individual did not remain for the masses to e n j o y and was a good find for the fortunate sole observer. W R E N Troglodytes troglodytes Very common resident. Very few reports were received of this ubiquitous species with the bulk of information coming f r o m Landguard. At that site, spring passage was recorded f r o m March to May 6th, peaking with four on April 10th. Late spring birds were noted on M a y 22nd and 23rd and June 5th. One on September 6th preceded a light autumn passage f r o m September 26th, peaking with four on each of October 17th, 21st and 22nd. T h e only breeding reports were of a 5 0 % reduction in the population at Lackford W R to 12 pairs following F e b r u a r y ' s harsh weather and 101 territories at North Warren (159 in 1995). In addition, breeding success at Lackford was poor with very f e w young being fledged. D U N N O C K Prunella modularis Very common resident and passage migrant. Coastal passage was only recorded at Landguard where a light spring passage w a s noted f r o m M a r c h 2nd to M a y 5th. Autumn passage was recorded f r o m September 15th to N o v e m b e r 8th with a m a x i m u m of 4 0 on September 23rd; visible migration totalled 30 south f r o m September 14th to October 30th. At least 11 singing males were located at Wolves Wood on April 17th and North Warren held 95 territories (100 in 1995). T h e resident population at L a c k f o r d W R was decimated by February's harsh weather. T h e breeding success of those birds that did survive the winter was poor because of cold weather in early s u m m e r and f e w juveniles were fledged. R O B I N Erithacus rubecula Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Records were predictably sparse but a f e w attempts at quantifying populations indicated reasonable numbers present; 20 w e r e in song at Walberswick N N R on M a y 25th and 14 in Christchurch Park, Ipswich on February 25th. North Warren held 119 territories (100 in 1995). Robins are well k n o w n for their nocturnal singing, particularly where street lights are plentiful, but a m o r e unusual report involved a Robin seen foraging on the River Orwell towpath. Princes Street, Ipswich, an hour and a half after dark on February 6th. At Landguard the species w a s present all year with u p to ten in January and at least six of these survived the cold spell. Spring passage was logged f r o m M a r c h 16th to M a y 5th with a m a x i m u m of eight on April 8th. A pair bred successfully on their second attempt. A u t u m n passage was noted f r o m August 16th to N o v e m b e r 16th with a m a x i m u m of 90 on September 25th. U p to 15 were still present into D e c e m b e r and were presumably attempting to overwinter. N I G H T I N G A L E Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. The first report of the year c a m e from Minsmere where one was singing on April 130


9th and was quickly followed by others at Somersham on 10th, Dunwich Forest on 11th and L a y h a m and Thorpeness on 12th. Reports then came f r o m across the County and M i n s m e r e reported 21 singing males by April 21st. The County's population appears to remain strong with reports f r o m 52 locations, mostly in the coastal belt and along the Stour Valley. Highest counts of singing males (in addition to the Minsmere total above) included 51 at Walberswick/Dunwich; 30 at North Warren/Aldringham; five at Alton Water; five at Methersgate; five at Wolves Wood and six at Hoist Covert, Walberswick. The latter was presumably also included in the count of eight received for the Walberswick N N R . In the west of the County, highest counts involved four at Market Weston Fen and four at C a v e n h a m Heath. It is encouraging that birds continue to patronise the tiny scraps of good habitat which have so far escaped the developers' clutches around the Ipswich area and birds were singing at Foxhall, Purdis Heath and well within the town in the Princes Street/ West End Road area. The on-going saga of the continued retrapping of a bird at Bawdsey (see recent editions of Suffolk Birds), initially ringed there in 1988, reached greater significance when its reappearance in 1996 set a new British longevity record - eight years of flying to A f r i c a and back is a lot of miles! The skulking behaviour of the species makes it difficult to find once singing stops, but it is perhaps surprising that there appears to have been no sightings after two at Lackford W R on July 28th. B L U E T H R O A T Luscinia svecica Scarce passage migrant. A poor year, although the record involves an individual of the White-spotted race cyanecula which is much rarer in the County than Scandinavian Red-spotted birds, despite the former breeding in the Netherlands. Westleton: Dingle Great Hill, male, Apr. 4th to 6th at least (D Davison). Appearing on a typical date, the bird was heard in sub-song on 6th and was thought to have been heard on 7th. Totals (of all races) over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Spring 2 1 0 2 1 1 1 6 1 1 Autumn 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 B L A C K R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus ochruros Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Reports of wintering birds came f r o m several coastal sites, most of them being in traditional areas. During January, up to two were reported from Kessingland Sewage Works with one at Kessingland Beach on January 13th. One was regularly visiting a bird table in Lowestoft during January and February and another was reported from Southwold Boating Lake on January 21st. Spring passage began in the second half of March with two at Landguard on 18th and one at Aldringham C o m m o n on 21st. This was soon followed by a widespread appearance of birds along the length of the coast over the following week, including at least three at Benacre and four at Sizewell. Passage continued well into April when birds also began to appear inland. N u m b e r s were generally good with birds reported from at least 30 locations across the County at this time. Away from coastal areas there were birds at Occold (up to three) on 2nd to 10th; Mildenhall Speedway Stadium on 3rd; Stowmarket (two) on 3rd and 4th; Hadleigh (four) on 5th; Martlesham on 11th to 13th; D a l h a m on 15th and H a w k e d o n on 30th to May 1st. Landguard reported a 131


maximum day count of ten on April 7th and 10th with the main passage taking place before 15th. There were no breeding season reports from Ipswich and those from Felixstowe Docks were sparse, but the species is likely to have bred at the latter site at least. Elsewhere, a minimum of three pairs bred at Sizewell Power Stations but the best population now appears to be at Lowestoft where at least five different males were reported in song, centred mostly around the Inner Harbour area, and a pair was seen feeding well-fledged young on June 23rd. A pair was believed to have bred at Lakenheath, where a female was still present on July 4th. One trapped at Nowton Park on July 12th had been ringed as a nestling in Kent on May 27th (see Ringing Report). Autumn passage was very poor with just three September birds, at Landguard on 12th and 14th; Havergate Island on 20th and Corton on 25th. Three in Felixstowe Docks on September 27th were probably of local origin. Records at Landguard ran from October 12th to 31st with a maximum day count of five on 21st. There were few other reports away from areas likely to be holding lingering breeding birds. Reports involved singles at Stowmarket on October 18th, Aldringham Common on October 28th to 31st and Trimley Marshes on November 20th. One was found dead at Aldringham Walks on December 16th in a tree guard where it had presumably got trapped and was unable to escape. R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus phoenicurus Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. The season started with the first at Minsmere on April 11th and was followed by singles at Landguard on April 16th and at Dunwich Forest on April 17th. There was a second wave along the coast during May, and observations at this time included a small influx on 19th with nine at Fagbury Cliff, three at Benacre and singles at Lowestoft, Corton, Lound and Shingle Street. One to two were at Landguard on eight dates between May 12th and 29th. Territorial birds were widespread from April 20th. Regular sites included one at Aldringham Walks, two at Hollesley Common, at least one at Minsmere, three at Sutton Heath and four at Walberswick NNR. The only birds reported on territory in the west of the County were two males in The King's Forest. However, the population here is rather fragmented and much of the land is of difficult access. Of interest was the scattering of other birds at less-expected locations. Singles were reported from Blaxhall Heath on May 1st (in song); Melton on May 5th and Pinmill on May 31st. In addition, single pairs were found breeding at Leiston and at Sizewell Belts. A female at Gipping on April 22nd was likely to have been a migrant but it is encouraging to receive records from such under-recorded areas. As usual the bulk of the year's reports involved autumn migrants and a steady trickle of birds filtered through, mostly in September and predominantly along the immediate coastal strip. Most notably there was clearly a fall of birds along the whole length of the Suffolk coast on September 21st and that date produced six at Hoptonon-sea, 12 at Corton, five at Kessingland, four at Easton Bavents, four at Minsmere, 15 at Thorpeness and eight at Landguard. Birds were noted at other sites not visited on 21 st over the following few days including four at Benacre, five at Southwold and five at Thorpeness Common on 22nd; three at Shingle Street on 23rd and three at Bawdsey on 24th. A few birds had been around before this influx with, for example, five at Corton f r o m 18th (with seven on 19th and 12 on 24th); four at Covehithe on 14th; three at Gunton from 8th; eight at Havergate Island from 16th and three at Lowestoft Cemetery from 19th. Few birds penetrated beyond the coast and sightings 132


of singles at Lackford WR on July 4th and Hengrave Hall on August 15th are likely to have been locally-bred birds. October records were few and mostly involved a scattering of coastal singles during the first week of the month, the latest being singles at Havergate Island, Bawdsey and Adastral Close, Felixstowe on 5th; two at Landguard on 8th and singles at the latter site on 9th and 12th. A late individual was found at Long Melford on October 29th. Of two trapped at Fagbury Cliff for ringing on September 21 st, one male showed an obvious wing panel, formed by pure white edges to the tertials and inner secondaries (M D Crewe). However, the extent of these pale edges was considered not enough for the bird to be of the eastern race P.p.samamisicus, although it could perhaps have been from the broad intergrade zone that exists between the races. WHINCHAT Saxicola rubetra Common passage migrant. A few pairs still breed. Spring passage was poor, the first bird being noted at Landguard on April 23rd with one at Livermere Lake the same day, the latter perhaps being from the small Breckland population. Singles at North Warren on 28th and Landguard and Corion on 30th were the only other April reports. During May, singles were reported from seven coastal sites with the only higher counts involving two at Lowestoft North Denes on 11th, two at Easton Bavents on 18th and two at Shingle Street on 19th. However, North Warren reported up to five from May 4th to 6th, two on 19th and one on 24th. Landguard hosted singles on five dates from 13th to 29th. The breeding population remains at a low ebb with reports of one in suitable breeding habitat on May 11 th (which could easily have been a migrant) and a pair on July 11th at a second site but not seen subsequently. Three were at a third site on June 15th. Some of Whinchat the breeding sites are so remote that sightings are few and a special effort would be useful to confirm the presence of breeding birds. Autumn passage was far better and included some double-figure counts with birds mostly occurring in three main waves. The first took place in late August and included 12 at Minsmere on 25th with six there on 26th; three at Levington on 26th with four there on 27th; eight at Shingle Street on 26th and nine at Aldringham Walks and seven at North Warren on 31 st. The second wave in early September produced peaks of ten at Aldringham Walks, six at Minsmere, six at Bawdsey and eight at Chelmondiston on 1st; ten at Minsmere on 2nd with 12 there on 8th; six at Southwold on 4th to 7th; six at Shingle Street on 5th and three at Landguard on 7th. The last wave occurred in late September with peaks of 17 at Trimley Marshes, eight at Corion and five at Aldringham Walks all on 21st and four at Shingle Street on 26th. October reports included four at Benacre on 1st and two at Havergate Island on 2nd. 133


West Suffolk was well represented during September with reports involving singles at Hadleigh on 4th; West Stow Country Park on 7th; Stradishall Airfield on 8th to 15th; Berner's Heath on 15th; Livermere Lake on 17th and Long Melford on 26th. Two birds were present at Stradishall Airfield on September 15th. S T O N E C H A T Saxicola torquata Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. In the first winter period there was a scattering of birds along the coast with reports received during January and February from Oulton, Benacre/Kessingland (up to five), Reydon Marshes, Minsmere (two), Thorpeness, Butley River, Hollesley Common (two) and Levington Creek (two). In addition, one was at Long Melford on January 21st. Spring passage and the arrival of breeding birds produced a flurry of reports during March to May. Movement began in March with the first birds at Aldringham Walks on 11th; Stansfield on 16th (two); Stradishall Airfield and Gosland Green on 17th and Landguard on 18th (two). The West Suffolk records are interesting and show an overland passage which could be easily missed without well-placed observers watching their local patches. Numbers at breeding sites were encouraging with good numbers along the Sandlings including six pairs at Walberswick/Dunwich, three pairs at Minsmere, six pairs at Hollesley/Sutton Commons and single pairs reported at North Warren and in the Rendlesham Forest area. The latter site records could all relate to a single pair or involve up to three pairs. In Breckland there was a number of reports of breeding or potentially breeding birds from four sites involving single males at Wangford Warren and The King's Forest, three males and a female at Berner's Heath (with juveniles seen later) and confirmed breeding from a site where the species has not bred for a number of years. Autumn passage was poor with breeding birds moving out swiftly to leave a scattering of individuals attempting to over-winter. November and December records involved two at Benacre/Kessingland on November 9th with one on 23rd; four at Felixstowe Ferry on November 23rd; two at Minsmere on December 4th (with a peak of seven in the area on 15th); two at Levington on December 9th and one at Walberswick on December 29th. The only West Suffolk report at this time involved a female at Temple Bridge on December 4th. W H E A T E A R Oenanthe oenanthe Common passage migrant. A few pairs breed. This harbinger of spring always generates a lot of interest and sifting through the wealth of reports can be difficult. The first birds of the year appeared rather late and the species was clearly held up by adverse weather conditions as there was a sudden rush of records on March 23rd with reports from Lowestoft South Denes (five), Easton Bavents (five), Southwold, Minsmere (four). North Warren (five), Havergate Island, Shingle Street (four), Landguard (four) and Long Melford. The species was soon widespread along the coast with a handful of reports from Breckland sites. Higher numbers during April, all at coastal sites, included 24 at Aldeburgh Beach on 12th; 13 at Benacre on 20th and 17 at Landguard on 19th and 25th with 13 there on 28th. Four at Wortham Ling on April 20th are also noteworthy. At least some of the April records will have been of the Greenland race leucorhoa and another later movement in May probably involved all Greenland birds; reports included four at Gunton and 15 at Aldeburgh Beach on 19th; six at Southwold on 11th; nine at Benacre on 12th and ten at Landguard on 27th. 134


Breeding season reports were few and particularly disappointing after the good numbers in 1995 but lack of observer coverage is likely to have been responsible and some pairs were doubtless unrecorded. The species still holds on with four pairs at C a v e n h a m Heath and single pairs at Blythburgh and Felixstowe. T h e pair at Blythburgh is particularly of interest as this is the first breeding there for at least 30 years (D J Pearson pers. com.). Four birds at Berner's Heath and two in T h e King's Forest may indicate breeding in the area but there remain large areas of suitable habitat in both Breckland and the Sandlings without Wheatears. At Landguard, four males held territory with at least three males paired but by mid-June only a single male remained. Autumn saw the usual continuous trickle of birds from July right through into October with trends obscured by the timing of observations and randomness of reporting. Peak numbers in August included 13 at Aldringham Walks, 20 at Havergate Island and 18 at Landguard all on 26th and eight at Southwold on 28th. September peaks included 20 at Benacre, eight at Aldringham Walks, ten at Trimley Marshes and 15 at Landguard all on 21st; 12 at Easton Bavents and ten at Minsmere on 22nd; 2 3 at North Warren on 24th and 20 at Shingle Street on 26th. Birds were quick to move on and the only October records after the first half of the month involved singles at Sizewell on 20th, Felixstowe Ferry on 21st and a few laggards at Landguard where the last bird was seen on 30th. One exceptionally late bird was reported from Minsmere on N o v e m b e r 8th. RING O U Z E L Turdus torquatus Fairly common passage migrant. One of the three birds reported in December 1995 (see Suffolk Birds 45) remained into the N e w Year, with the Southwold bird noted on January 1st when it was in a garden in N o r t h R o a d . W h e t h e r the bird then succumbed to the weather or moved out of the County is not known. Interestingly, however, there was clearly some movement taking place as Landguard hosted a male on January 2nd to 4th which was different to the one present there in D e c e m b e r 1995. Spring passage produced a scattering of records along the coast and two well inland: Hopton-on-sea: male, Apr. 15th. Lound: female, May 9th and 19th. Lowestoft: Kirkley, male, Apr. 10th. Kessingland/Benacre: two, Apr. 11th to 14th. Dunwich: female, Apr. 20th. Minsmere: Apr. 7th; May 4th; two. May 6th; male. May 11th to 17th with two on 18th and one to 20th.; female, May 17th to 18th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, Apr. 9th. Sudbourne: Ferry Farm, female, Apr. 22nd. Felixstowe: Landguard, male, Apr. 11th. Ipswich: Alexandra Park, male, Mar. 21st. Raydon: female, Apr. 10th to 13th. Rin Moulton: Trinity Hall Farm, male, Mar. 26th. 8 0uzel The King's Forest: May 20th. Autumn records produced no notable gatherings with no more than three birds reported together: Corton: two, Sep. 20th and 21st. 135


Lowestoft: Normanston Cemetery, Oct. 25th. Southwold: two, Oct. 8th to 15th; one, Oct. 20th. Dunwich: female, Sep. 23rd. Minsmere: Sep. 2nd and 25th. Aldringham cum Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, male, Sep. 24th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Sep. 22nd. Boyton: female, Oct. 30th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Oct. 20th. Felixstowe: female, Oct. 28th. Landguard, singles on 11 dates, Sep. 20th to Oct. 23rd; three, Sep. 21st; two, Oct. 30th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Sep. 21st. B L A C K B I R D Turdus merula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e first winter period produced an unusual mid-winter influx with a count of 66 at M i n s m e r e on January 14th and Landguard reported a fall which produced 60 birds there on 1st with 74 reported independently on 3rd. Several observers also felt moved to report counts f r o m the Ipswich area, suggesting that numbers were generally higher than expected. Spring passage produced a few good m o v e m e n t s through Landguard with falls of 80 on March 18th; 75 on M a r c h 24th and 150 on April 9th. Elsewhere, m o v e m e n t s produced 110 at Southwold, 100 at Aldringham Walks and 100 at North Warren all on April 10th and 60 at Benacre on April 11th. Other anecdotal reports included a 'large passage' at D u n w i c h on April 10th and the sight of small groups spiralling up above Southwold on April 9th and heading north-east out to sea after 19.00hrs. Breeding season reports were sparse but a fledged juvenile was noted at Gazeley on April 9th, suggesting a laying date of at least early March. North Warren reported 62 territories (64 in 1995). A u t u m n passage was reported from several coastal localities with the bulk of information c o m i n g f r o m Landguard where the largest fall c a m e on October 30th when at least 4 0 0 birds were logged. Another influx on N o v e m b e r 11 th produced 250 birds there. October 30th also produced reports of falls at Lowestoft and Covehithe; a bird at the latter site was chased by two Herring Gulls as it c a m e close to the coast and w a s caught w h e n it hit a wave. A similar fate befell a second bird at the same site on N o v e m b e r 13th which was being chased by five (!) Herring Gulls, one of which eventually caught it. F I E L D F A R E Turdus pilaris Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Fieldfares w e r e present in the County in very good numbers during the early part of the year with the high numbers making it difficult to be sure when passage through the County began. Indeed, there is not a clear distinction between wintering and passage as there was clearly a large influx of birds in January with s o m e evidence to suggest that the birds were arriving f r o m the Continent rather than m o v i n g back f r o m elsewhere in Britain. Highest counts of wintering and passage birds during the period f r o m January to April are given below: Lound: 500, Jan. 2nd. Shipmeadow: 1000. Jan. 7th (two flocks of 500). Beccles: Beccles Marshes, 500, Apr. 10th. Westleton: Sewage Works, 2000, Mar. 21st to 31st. Minsmere: 1200, Jan. 8th. Darsham: 500, Jan. 6th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 700, Jan. 7th. 136


Sudbourne: Ferry Farm, 1000, Jan. 24th. Felixstowe: 1873 passed SW in one hour, Jan. 10th. Chelmondiston: 1000, Feb. 1st to 10th (sum of several flocks in village). Shotley: 1000+ making landfall and moving inland, Jan.11th. Hasketon: Grange Farm, 3000, Feb. 6th. Coddenham: Pipp's Ford, 857, Feb. 17th. Long Melford: 600, Feb. 10th. Cavendish: Wales End, 500, Jan. 20th. Barrow: 500, Jan. 26th. In addition, counts of between 75 and 450 were received from a further 53 sites, spread across the whole county, indicating the scale of the influx. A regular Felixstowe recorder logged the highest numbers locally since the winter of 1982/3 whilst regular monitoring by school children at Causton Junior School, Felixstowe produced birds on 53 out of 57 school days f r o m January to March. This compares with no birds logged during the same period in 1995. The usual crop of May lingerers was reported with the latest birds being singles at Aldringham Walks on 14th and Hazlewood Marshes on 18th and three at Lound on 19th. O n e of the latter birds remained to at least June 5th and another was at Minsmere on June 17th. Perhaps not surprisingly, counts in the latter part of the year were lower. Reports of immigrants began with September birds at Benacre on 10th; Moulton on 18th (two) and Gunton on 19th and were followed by a small influx soon afterwards. Reports from October to the end of the year were widespread but numbers were much lower than early in the year with the largest numbers generally involving birds passing through rather than settling: Covehithe: 400 in off the sea during the day, Oct. 30th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 220, Oct. 30th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 672, Oct. 30th. Trimley Marshes: 550 passing over, Oct. 29th. Stowupland: 620 west, Oct. 30th. Brettenham: 100 during Dec. Great Barton: 100, Nov. 28th. Great Livermere: 150 passing west, Nov. 14th. Barrow: 500, Dec. 23rd; 700, Dec. 30th. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, 300, Dec. 2nd. There was clearly a m a j o r influx at the end of October but few remained to winter in the County. S O N G T H R U S H Turdus philomelos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e decline of our breeding population appears to b e continuing with reports of 'a significant decline in n u m b e r s ' at Hengrave Hall, 'the decline continues' at Felixstowe and 'an estimated 6 0 % reduction in breeding n u m b e r s ' at Lackford W R (the latter decline being attributed by the observer to harsh weather in February). T h e situation seems so bad in some areas that observers felt m o v e d to report the finding of nests. One Felixstowe observer reported two on D e c e m b e r 30th as 'the first seen for several months'. At North Warren, 11 territories were located (17 in 1995) which does not compare at all well with figures for the sympatric Blackbird. Continental birds produced a few reports early in the year, most notably a count of 120 at Moreton Hall Estate, Bury St E d m u n d s on February 20th. At Landguard, numbers were considerably lower with peak day counts of 12 on March 24th and ten on April 11th, associated with larger m o v e m e n t s of Blackbirds. 137


A u t u m n immigrants produced few counts of note except for a total of 96 logged at L a n d g u a r d on October 9th. Other counts there included monthly m a x i m a of 25 on S e p t e m b e r 20th and 25th and ten on N o v e m b e r 11th. Elsewhere numbers were even lower with the largest counts involving ten at Thorpeness on September 21st and six at Corton on September 23rd. It is worth noting that no Song Thrushes bred at Landguard for the first time since records began there in 1983. Another sad loss for the site. R E D W I N G Turdus iliacus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Although there were one or t w o impressive flocks around during the early part of the year, Redwings did not appear in such large numbers as Fieldfares and there was no obvious January influx. The largest numbers generally occurred in March and April and probably involved flocks gathering before the return to breeding quarters. Highest counts at this time occurred in early April and included 5 0 0 at Levington and 4 5 0 at Landguard on 9th; 1000 at Beccles Marshes on 9th and 10th and 300 at Covehithe on 10th. A movement of 500 north over Stowupland on March 29th was also reported. T h e usual spring stragglers were reported, although the species is less prone to lingering than Fieldfare and the only May record involved three at D u n wich on 14th. T h e first a u t u m n arrivals appeared in September with reports of singles at M i n s mere on 19th, Landguard on 20th, Southwold and Felixstowe on 22nd and five at Corton and six at North Warren on 23rd. Highest numbers appeared during October with Landguard logging peaks of 4 6 0 on October 9th and 2 6 7 0 on 30th. Other m o v e ments during October included 300 at R e y d o n on 9th and 150 at Covehithe on 30th. T h e second winter period produced little notable activity and the only three-figure counts involved 150 at Hengrave on N o v e m b e r 29th; 2 0 0 at Staverton P a r k on D e c e m b e r 15th and 300 at Sapiston on D e c e m b e r 29th. M I S T L E T H R U S H Turdus viscivorus Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. T h e song of Mistle Thrushes brightened many February mornings and the species was reported widely, appearing not to be suffering in the s a m e way as many of our o n c e - c o m m o n species. Little to indicate m o v e m e n t was reported, although L a n d g u a r d saw a slight p e a k in occurrences during M a r c h and April. A s usual, most records involved the post-breeding gatherings typical of the species. These peaked with a count of 83 at Moulton on September 18th. Other counts included 50 at Aldeburgh Golf Course on July 3rd; 31 at T h e King's Forest on August 18th; 40 at Pettistree on A u g u s t 30th and 25 at Blowers C o m m o n , Wenhaston on September 18th A n indication of autumn m o v e m e n t s c a m e f r o m Landguard where a total of 17 was noted on 12 dates f r o m October 2nd to N o v e m b e r 9th. A male at T h e K i n g ' s Forest on February 29th was observed singing in flight. C E T T I ' S W A R B L E R Cettia cetti Scarce resident and very rare passage migrant. Following last y e a r ' s Trimley bird, there w a s further evidence of re-colonisation by a small number of wandering birds, probably from the Continent. Oulton: Fisher Row, Feb. 28th to May 13th at least. Whitecast Marsh, two, May 16th. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, Apr. 16th to Jun. 16th at least. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, up to two, Apr. 14th to Sep. 17th. Rookery Golf Course, April 30th. Minsmere: Dec. 1st. Felixstowe: Landguard. trapped, Oct. 9th. 138


G R A S S H O P P E R W A R B L E R Locustella naevia Widespread but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. Typically, the first spring birds arrived in April with reports from Minsmere on 9th; Dunwich and Market Weston Fen on 16th and Alton Water on 20th. During the course of the breeding season, reports came from 13 locations with the bulk involving prolonged singing in suitable breeding habitat. Highest counts involved 12 at Walberswick N N R , four at Wortham Ling and three at Market Weston Fen and Fisher Row. The species' strongholds remain the coastal freshmarshes and the Waveney Valley but up to four reeling at Stradishall Airfield is encouraging. At the latter site, one singing male appeared to be reacting to the sound of an R A F helicopter. Landguard recorded a better-than-average year with singles on M a y 24th (singing), August 28th and September 17th and 18th. SAVI'S W A R B L E R Locustella luscinioides Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. After a blank year in 1995, a welcome return to the County, albeit of two brief passage birds. Southwold: Ferry Road footpath, Apr. 28th (Ms S Pearson, M Thompson). Dunwich: Reedland Marshes, Jun. 11th (E W Patrick). S E D G E W A R B L E R Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year was reported from M i n s m e r e on April 9th and was shortly followed by birds at Loompit Lake on 11th and Martlesham Creek (six) on 13th. The species continues to do reasonably well in the County with highest counts of singing males in suitable breeding habitat of 90 at North Warren (120 in 1995), 82 at Walbersw i c k N N R (41 in 1995), 30 at Lackford W R , 20 at Suffolk Water Park and 1 8 a t Alton Water whilst an estimate of some 200 males was made along the Waveney f r o m Oulton B r o a d to Beccles. T h e increase at Walberswick is particularly encouraging. However, such figures are tempered by c o m m e n t s f r o m Lackford where the total of 30 is d o w n on the 40 pairs in 1995 and very f e w juveniles were seen later in the year. The n u m b e r of migrants at Landguard was very low with singles noted on ten dates from August 7th to October 4th and two on September 14th. It should be noted that weather patterns may well have played a part here and such low numbers are not necessarily indicative of a poor breeding season. M A R S H W A R B L E R Acrocephalus palustris Rare migrant. A single report of a migrant on a typical date. Lowestoft: Arnold's Walk, in song, May 31st (R Fairhead, R Wilton). 1995 addition: Minsmere: Sep. 25th (D R Newton). R E E D W A R B L E R Acrocephalus scirpaceus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Early arrivals were noted at North Warren on April 15th and Landguard on April 16th, the latter constituting the earliest record for the site. Elsewhere, April arrivals were noted at Holbrook on 19th and King's Fleet on 20th and a general arrival was reported f r o m 21st onwards. Breeding reports c a m e f r o m across the County, generally of small numbers but in most areas of suitable habitat. Well-monitored sites reported 17 pairs at Butley River, 139


208 pairs at North Warren (182 in 1995) and six pairs at Boyton Marshes. Few data were received f r o m the larger sites, although Lackford W R reported about 35 pairs present but with 'poor breeding success following an exceptional year in 1995'. O n e at Haughley w a s found holding territory in a rape field, well away f r o m any suitable wetland, although the date of June 2nd was still early enough for it to h a v e been a late migrant. After a p o o r spring migration, autumn m o v e m e n t s at Landguard w e r e negligible and the large falls at Fagbury Cliff appear, at least at the present, to be a thing of the past. A scattering of birds remained into September but the only October report involved one trapped by ringers at Walberswick on 22nd. B O O T E D W A R B L E R Hippolais Accidental.

caligata

After a couple of 'near-misses', this endearing warbler finally makes it on to the County list. However, it is perhaps still a little contentious as the individual concerned chose to appear in part of what is now administratively Norfolk, but within the Watsonian vice-county of East Suffolk! Gorleston-on-sea: Sep. 3rd and 4th (D Jupp). I C T E R I N E W A R B L E R Hippolais Uncommon passage migrant.

icterina

Although six birds is a reasonable total, most birds m o v e d on quickly, making it difficult to catch up with the species this year. Corton: Sep. 15th (J H Grant, P J Ransome, R Wilton et al.)\ considered same, Sep. 21st (C A Buttle, S J Fryett, R C Smith). Southwold: St Edmund's Churchyard, Sep. 22nd to 24th (E W Patrick, L J Townsend). Dunwich: Aug. 16th, trapped, (Sir A Hurrell); Aug. 22nd (Sir A Hurrell). Leiston: Sizewell, Sep. 21st (D Thurlow). Felixstowe: Landguard, adult, trapped, Aug. 6th (R A Duncan, M James, N Odin et al.). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 5 6 7 0 5 9 16 7 8 6

M E L O D I O U S W A R B L E R Hippolais Very rare passage migrant.

polyglotta

The ninth for the County and the third for Landguard. Range expansion on the Continent continues to supply us with brief spring visits. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 30th (R A Duncan, D Keightley et al.). D A R T F O R D W A R B L E R Sylvia undata Rare visitor. Formerly bred, and recently has begun recolonisation. Colonisation continues with consolidation at established sites, although there w a s no noticeable expansion this year. Dunwich: up to two pairs present and both likely to have bred. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: male in song. Apr. 20th and 21st. Although a n u m b e r of sightings were submitted as confidential, the location of these birds is well-known already. Observers are requested to keep to the established paths when looking for these birds, particularly during the breeding season. 140


S U B A L P I N E W A R B L E R Sylvia cantillans Very rare visitor. 1995 addition: Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, female, trapped. May 31st (E Marsh, G Mortimer, S H Piotrowski). Late submission held up the acceptance of this record. B A R R E D W A R B L E R Sylvia nisoria Scarce passage migrant. The eight individuals reported made 1996 the best year ever in the County although few, if any, were 'twitchable'. Corton: Sep. 21st to 24th (R Fairhead, J H Grant, R Wilton et al.). Lowestoft: Gunton, Aug. 31st (P J Ransome, N J Skinner). North Denes. Sep. 2nd and 3rd (R Fairhead, D Jupp). Easton Bavents: Aug. 30th (J H Grant, B J Small et al.). Westleton: Dingle Great Hill, first winter, trapped, Sep. 11th (D J Pearson). Dunwich: Sep. 8th, trapped, (Sir A Hurrell). Minsmere: Sep. 1st (D Fairhurst). Felixstowe: Landguard, Sep. 21st (A Bimpson, M Grantham, M James). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 2 1 3 4 4 3 6 7 6 8 L E S S E R W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia curruca Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first reports involved singles at Aldringham C o m m o n on April 16th and Hadleigh on April 19th with the species generally reported from April 25th. Reports were woefully f e w and the species currently appears to be at a low ebb in the County. Sightings during May and June came f r o m just 13 locations, although good counts included ten in song at Haverhill on May 7th and 12 at Walberswick N N R on May 25th. Reports f r o m well-monitored sites included 25 at North Warren (22 in 1995) and 25 at Walberswick N N R . T h e Walberswick figure is particularly interesting as 25 singing males in 1994 had crashed to just eight in 1995. Elsewhere, two breeding pairs were located at Lackford W R and up to three pairs at Stradishall Airfield. Coastal migrants produced a rush of sightings in late September, mostly from the north-east of the County and included ten at Corton on 21st whilst four were still at Benacre on October 1st. Surprisingly, the last of the year was reported well inland at Pipp's Ford on October 8th. W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia communis Very common summer visitor and passage

migrant.

After the first April arrivals at Landguard on 11 th, Layham on 12th and Minsmere on 14th, there was a general arrival f r o m 18th and the species was widespread and well reported by 21st. The ups and d o w n s of the species' fortunes have resulted in a little more interest than is the case for other breeding warblers and Whitethroats were recorded widely across the whole County. Counts were at times fairly high, although in most instances the size of the recording area was not specified so the numbers are impossible to interpret. However, although good numbers were present, data f r o m C E S ringing sites showed that the breeding season was poor with f e w juveniles trapped. Numbers from well-monitored sites included 148 territories at North Warren (126 in 1995), 85 at Walberswick N N R (47 in 1995) and 53 in Dunwich Forest. 141


Migrants were rather scarce in the autumn and Landguard logged peak day-counts of just four in August (27th), four in September (23rd, 24th and 30th) and five in October (1st). A peak count of 16 at Corton on September 21st coincided with a small fall of other migrants. October reports included five at Benacre on 1st and singles at Corton and Landguard on 2nd. G A R D E N WARBLER Sylvia borin Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first reports came from inland locations with birds noted at Hardwick Heath on April 20th, Raydon Great Wood on April 22nd and Porter's Wood, Woodbridge on April 24th. These were soon followed by a scattering of sightings across the County and a general arrival produced ten at Minsmere on April 25th. The species was very poorly reported with records received from just 20 sites. This is a grossly poor impression of the species' status and it surely remains plentiful, particularly in the scrub areas of Breckland and the Fenland edge. Five singing males were located in the 12-acre Holly Grove Wood, Covehithe and Lackford CES site showed a good adult survival from 1995 but a poor breeding season. Reports f r o m well-monitored sites included 27 territories at Walberswick NNR (30 in 1995), 30 at Dunwich Forest (24 in 1995) and 46 at North Warren (39 in 1995). Autumn migrants peaked with the fall of other species at Corton where four were located on September 21st and ten on 24th. At Landguard autumn movements were logged from August 3rd to October 8th with a maximum of six on September 5th and one was at nearby Adastral Close on October 4th. B L A C K C A P Sylvia atricapilla Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. The year began with the usual run of wintering reports, mostly from suburban gardens. During January and February reports came from 17 locations spread throughout most of the County and, typically, the bulk of the reports came from the Ipswich area. An insight into the numbers involved and movements of the birds can be gleaned from ringing activities in an Ipswich garden. During February three females and two males were ringed, showing that observations do not always involve the same individual. In addition, a suggestion that some birds are fairly site faithful during the winter period (at least where enough food is available) is given by the fact that a male trapped in the garden on February 21st had been ringed there on December 12th 1995. Spring arrivals were masked by wintering birds but there appeared to be a general arrival from about April 10th when birds were noted in song. Reports from wellmonitored sites included 53 at North Warren (67 in 1995), 31 at Walberswick NNR (31 in 1995) and 45 at Dunwich Forest (34 in 1995). Breeding season data from Lackford W R CES site showed that the number of breeding adults was substantially down with a cold spell causing heavy losses from first broods; the usual influx of juveniles to local Elders Sambucus nigra did not happen. Coastal migrants were similarly notable by their absence with Landguard logging birds from August 31st to November 17th with a maximum of nine on September 28th. Migration at inland sites is often difficult to observe and quantify but one observer noticed a general influx around Thurston on October 8th with 'loose groups of up to ten birds seen'. Most had gone the following day. Typically there were fewer reports at the end of the year with just eight December birds, only two of which were in Ipswich. Do birds move into the County early in the year from wintering sites further west, or is there observer bias as year lists are started up in January?! 142


A R C T I C W A R B L E R Phylloscopus borealis Accidental. The second for Suffolk, following relatively soon after the first at Fagbury in 1993. The old railway line south of Stirrups Lane is building up a reputation for producing good birds! Corton: Sep. 16th to 18th (J K Archer, B J Brown et al.) P A L L A S ' S W A R B L E R Phylloscopus proregulus Rare visitor. This wonderful Siberian sprite shows no intention of returning to its former rarity; long may they continue to visit! Hopton-on-sea: golf course, Nov. 14th (D Jupp). Lowestoft: Cemetery, Oct. 24th, two on 25th (R Fairhead). Railway cutting, Oct. 25th (N J Skinner). Sparrow's Nest, three, Oct. 25th (R Fairhead, A Riseborough). Flycatcher Alley, two, Nov. 13th, at least one to 18th (N J Skinner et al.); Nov. 17th to 24th (R Fairhead, P J Ransome). Southwold: Skillmans Hill, Oct. 18th and 19th (R Walden et al.). St Edmund's Churchyard, Nov. 13th (J M Cawston, E W Patrick) Dunwich: trapped, Nov. 23rd (Sir A Hurrell). Felixstowe: The Grove, Oct. 20th to 23rd (M C Marsh et al.). Landguard, Oct. 17th to 20th; Oct. 22nd to 26th; Oct. 24th to 26th (M Grantham, M C Marsh, P J Holmes et al.); Nov. 10th to 14th (R A Duncan, M James et al.). At least 18 birds appear to have been present with six found in Lowestoft on October 25th alone. Given that an enormous amount of good habitat exists in gardens and other private areas, one can only speculate as to how many may have turned up at this time. Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 6 0 4 2 3 0 5 22 8 18 1995 correction: The individual at Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft was present on N o v e m b e r 11th to 13th not D e c e m b e r 11th to 13th. Y E L L O W - B R O W E D W A R B L E R Phylloscopus inornatus Scarce visitor. Rather a poor showing compared with Pallas's Warbler and no lingerers. Corton: railway line, Oct. 2nd (R Fairhead); Nov. 14th (N J Skinner). Lowestoft: Flycatcher Alley, Nov. 13th and 14th (B J Brown, R Fairhead). Minsmere: Nov. 16th (M Hodges). Leiston: Sizewell Belts, trapped, Oct. 11th. (A Miller). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 4 23 9 4 8 3 8 20 8 5 R A D D E ' S W A R B L E R Phylloscopus Very rare visitor.

schwani

The eighth for the County and on a typical date. Lowestoft: Sparrow's Nest, Oct. 12th and 13th (D G Beamish. J Harris, R C Smith et al.). W E S T E R N B O N E L L I ' S W A R B L E R Phylloscopus bonelli Accidental. The second record for Landguard, this individual arrived on the same day as the farless obliging Crested Lark and many visitors were able to add both to their lists. 143


Bonelli's Warbler has recently been split into two species with a geographical split in central Europe. Of the four Suffolk records to date, B B R C have accepted the 1996 Landguard bird and one at Walberswick (April 29th 1961) as being of the present species. Details of individuals at Minsmere (May 6th 1970) and Landguard (September 13th 1981) were considered insufficient to assign them to one or other species n o w that eastern and western populations have been split and they remain indeterminate.. Felixstowe: Landguard, first-winter, trapped, Oct. 2nd to 25th (M Grantham et al.). T h e lengthy stay of this individual was rather atypical but although it was elusive at times its long stay was very welcome. W O O D W A R B L E R Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. An uneventful year which began with migrants pausing to sing at Wolves Wood on April 25th; C r a g Pit Wood, Melton on May 6th and Fen Covert, Walberswick on May 25th. Autumn records are as follows: Corton: Sep. 15th to 22nd. Felixstowe: Landguard, three, Aug. 15th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Aug. 12th. L a n d g u a r d ' s multiple arrival coincided with a large fall of Willow Warblers. C H I F F C H A F F Phylloscopus collybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Wintering birds were noted at six sites, all in coastal Suffolk and all involving one to t w o birds with the exception of four at Kessingland S e w a g e Works. These low numbers did not interfere with the general pattern of arriving spring migrants and the first in song were reported f r o m Pipp's Ford and Landguard on March 18th and Lackford on March 19th with a more general arrival f r o m 24th. Breeding data were scant, but details f r o m Lackford W R C E S site implied a good season with good numbers of adults trapped and the number of juveniles up 80% on 1995. Breeding data f r o m well-monitored sites included 55 at North Warren (69 in 1995), 27 at Walberswick N N R (32 in 1995) and 47 at Dunwich Forest (47 in 1995). A u t u m n m o v e m e n t s produced no notable reports, although one observer reported a ' f l o c k ' of 20 at North Warren on September 21st and 20 were at Landguard on October 2nd. Several birds lingered well into N o v e m b e r and reports continued to c o m e in f r o m a n u m b e r of coastal locations as well as f r o m Ipswich on 7th and Temple Bridge, C a v e n h a m on 14th. D e c e m b e r reports involved singles at Landguard on three dates; Polstead on 5th; L o w e s t o f t on 14th and Minsmere on 6th and 29th. T h e plethora of unsubstantiated claims of birds of the eastern race, P.c.tristis seems to have slowed up, although there was a claim of one at North Warren on M a y 25th and 26th. Without hearing the call of this race (with which many British observers are unfamiliar) it is not k n o w n whether such birds can be identified safely in the field, based solely on subjective j u d g e m e n t s of plumage tones. W I L L O W W A R B L E R Phylloscopus trochilus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. This harbinger of spring was first reported f r o m five sites in late M a r c h with the first being singles at Suffolk Water Park on 24th and K i n g ' s Fleet on 25th. A general arrival took place f r o m April 10th. Spring passage was uneventful with L a n d g u a r d ' s highest day-counts involving nine on April 27th and 15 on M a y 13th. 144


19: Although season.

Whitethroat

20: The fortunes

numbers continue to recover, 1996 was a poor

breeding Alan Tate

of Reed Warblers mirrored those of Whitethroats

in 1996. Alan Tate


21: Another star turn for Landguard,

a Western Bonelli's

Warbler in October. Alan Tate

22: The enigmatic Booted Warbler finally got a toe on the Suffolk list in

September. Alan Tate


The breeding season appeared to have been good, at least in West Suffolk where the Lackford CES site produced double the number of juveniles as that trapped in 1995. Reports from well-monitored sites included 39 at North Warren (41 in 1995), 127 at Walberswick NNR (131 in 1995) and 64 at Dunwich Forest (73 in 1995). Autumn movements were typically heavier than spring reports with Landguard's peak day-count involving a fall of around 100 birds on August 15th (coinciding with a multiple arrival of Wood Warblers) and 20 were at Fagbury Cliff on August 16th. No significant numbers of migrants were noted elsewhere. October reports came from just four sites with three at Landguard on 1 st, singles at Corton on 3rd and Wortham Ling on 4th and four at Bawdsey on 5th. G O L D C R E S T Regulus regulus Very common resident and passage migrant. There were few records early in the year. Whilst at Brent Eleigh the species was said to be 'fairly common' in January, greater insight came from Sudbury where the species was said to be 'unusually common' in January but completely absent after the onset of cold weather in February. Spring passage at Landguard was reasonable with the first appearing relatively early on March 6th. Further birds followed from March 21st and April produced a peak day-count of eight on 14th with the main passage occurring from 16th. Singles were also noted on four dates in May to 9th. No comments on the breeding season were received but ten territories were located at North Warren (11 in 1995). At Landguard, autumn passage was rather poor with birds present from September 22nd to November 24th with a maximum day-count of just six on September 24ih and 25th. FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters irregularly. In the first winter period, singles were reported from Minsmere on several dates in January; North Warren on January 1st and Lackford from January 1st to February 3rd. The first spring migrants appeared in March. With the exception of one at Minsmere on 27th, all reports in March came from the north-east of the County with one at Corton Woods on 23rd and up to two at Beach Farm, Benacre from the same date into April. Reports in April were more widespread with migrants at seven locations, all being on the immediate coast with the exception of one at Combs Lane Water Meadows on April 18th. Spring passage at Landguard spanned from April 8th to May 2nd with a maximum of two on three dates. The male from May 2nd lingered to June 27th and was often in song. With the exception of the Landguard bird and one at Dunwich on May 18th, there were no reports after the April rush until migrants began to appear in September, the first being at Landguard on 16th. There then followed a very good run of records with the 17th alone producing six at Landguard, two at Minsmere and singles at Dunwich and Bawdsey. Landguard trapped eight individuals during September with further records of up to three on 16 dates in October, up to two on six dates in November and. exceptionally, one lingering into December. A notable influx took place along the coast between September 17th and 24th, with peak numbers on 21st (coinciding with a bumper arrival of other migrants). Highest counts at this time included 20 at North Warren/Thorpeness on 21st (with seven there on 22nd); ten at Minsmere on 21st; eight at Bawdsey on 21st; seven at Aldringham Common on 20th; five at Corton on 23rd; four at Oxley Marshes on 21 st and three at Shingle Street on 21st. One to two were at a host of other coastal locations during the same period. October reports were far fewer and came from just 12 sites, all on the 145


immediate coast with the exception of one at Staverton Park on 13th. The vast majority of reports fell between October 20th and 25th, suggesting that another, smaller, influx took place at this time. Away from Landguard, November reports involved four at Minsmere on 16th and one at Lowestoft on 20th whilst Dunwich held a small population which produced singles ringed on 11th and 16th and two at Greyfriars Wood on 24th. December saw a third bird ringed at Dunwich on 8th and one in The King's Forest on 5th. S P O T T E D FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata Widespread but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year appeared on May 2nd at Chantry Park, Ipswich with other reports of singles at Minsmere on 4th, Sutton Heath on 5th and Landguard on 13th. Such is the low ebb of the population that we have even reached the stage where very few 'firsts for the year' are reported. Comments from observers all followed a depressing trend of negative reports. A pair in one observer's Ipswich garden produced his only sightings for the whole of May and June; another observer recorded a single sighting in Ipswich as his only May record and a third observer's only sighting of the whole year was of one in The Grove, Felixstowe on June 21st. Reports from well-monitored sites included two pairs at North Warren (three in 1995) and just six pairs in the Walberswick/Dunwich/Blythburgh area (eight in 1995). There was a flurry of reports in mid-September, corresponding with high numbers of other migrants. Sightings included seven at Shingle Street on 17th; six at Aldringham Common on 21st; five at Bawdsey on 30th and four at Landguard on 22nd. Prior to this, an interesting report was of 17 in Christchurch Park, Ipswich on August 19th. The only October reports came from Felixstowe where Landguard held three on 1 st and one on 2nd and one was at Adastral Close on 5th. PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant. The year began rather unusually with singles at Stonham Aspal on April 10th and Westbury Road, Ipswich on April 14th, both stealing the limelight f r o m coastal migration watchpoints. Another individual was at North Warren on April 26th. There was a scattering of May reports with Landguard attracting one to three on seven dates between 17th and 29th and singles at Leathes Ham on 4th, Corton Woods on 19th, Minsmere on 21st and Lowestoft Cemetery on 20th and 28th. However, again there were unusual inland reports with singles at Holton on 4th and Thurston on 24th whilst a T u d d e n h a m Road, Ipswich garden attracted a pair on May 9th with the male remaining to 11th. Most unexpectedly, a male was in song at Minsmere on June 6th. Autumn movements began in August with reports from ten sites from 7th when singles were at Minsmere and Fagbury Cliff. T h e highest count was of three at Landguard on 23rd whilst a surprise find involved one at Witnesham on 15th. September saw the peak of activity with highest counts (as with Pied Flycatcher other migrants this year) centred 146


around September 21st to 25th. Highest counts at this time involved ten at Corton on 24th (with six on 21st); eight at North Warren on 21st; six at Aldringham C o m m o n on 20th and four at Southwold Churchyard on 22nd. The latter site had bucked the trend by holding a peak of six a little earlier on September 7th and the same period also produced four at Peewit Hill, Felixstowe on September 5th and seven at nearby Adastral Close on 8th. Oddly, there were fewer birds at Landguard during September with birds present on 16 dates during the month but with a m a x i m u m day-count of just two. October produced few records, but once again inland sites saw some of the action with singles at Hadleigh on 6th and one trapped and ringed at North Stow on 8th. Elsewhere, the only reports involved one at Corton on 2nd and 5th and a straggler at Landguard on 14th. B E A R D E D T I T Panurus biarmicus Uncommon resident. A total of 19 pairs bred at Minsmere (21 in 1995, 15 in 1994) so this species' population remains low but still higher than the extremely low levels of a f e w years ago. At Walberswick N N R , 30-35 pairs were present but poor first-brood success was reported after atrocious M a y weather. The bulk of birds ringed at nearby Dingle Hill were trapped later, indicating more success f r o m later broods. Hopefully the run of recent mild winters has had a positive effect on the population. Reports during the first winter period involved 24 at Minsmere on January 2nd; 12 at North Warren on January 25th and at least eight at Martlesham Creek during January. T w o of the latter birds were ringed, one bearing a colour ring which identified it as an individual that had been ringed at Walberswick in 1994. Post-breeding dispersal produced a wealth of sightings in the autumn as follows: Herringfleet: Herringfleet Marshes, up to 15 in Oct. and ten in Nov. Somerleyton: Somerleyton Marshes, two, Oct 8th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, two, Oct 20th. Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, 30, Oct 8th. Reydon: Reydon Marshes, two, Oct 8th. Leiston: Sizewell, 13, Sept 25th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, three, Oct 10th. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, five, Sept 25th. Trimley Marshes: two, Oct 19th. Shotley: Shotley Marshes, Oct 13th. Second winter period reports came f r o m five coastal reed bed sites and included a highest count of 25 at Minsmere on N o v e m b e r 16th with at least 16 birds present there on D e c e m b e r 8th. L O N G - T A I L E D T I T Aegithalos caudatus Very common resident. As with most of the tit family, f e w breeding data for this species were received. However, reasonably large flocks recorded throughout the county seem to suggest that the species is still faring well. Flock counts of 20 or more were received f r o m ten sites including 4 4 at Chillesford on January 14th; 40 at L o w e r Holbrook on January 1st and 30 at Cornard Mere on March 3rd. Good numbers in roving flocks indicated a successful breeding season with, for example, 31 at Hollesley Heath on May 3rd; 33 at Thurston on July 16th and 2 0 at West Stow Country Park on August 9th. Landguard recorded 'passage' birds in late March with one on 29th and t w o on 30th, nine on Oct 8th and eight on N o v e m b e r 1st. Several observers reported birds feeding on peanuts and fat-feeders, some for the 147


first time. This is known to be a relatively recent phenomenon which still appears to be spreading to new areas. M A R S H TIT Parus palustris Fairly common resident. Records were received from 26 sites across the County (23 in 1995, 19 in 1994) with breeding being confirmed at just nine of these. The highest number of breeding pairs at any one site was the five at North Warren (five in 1995) whilst four pairs were reported at Nowton Country Park. The largest group seen was a family party of six at Old Newton. A very unusual report involved a pair which nested in a hole in a beam over the doorway of a cottage at Purton Green, Stansfield. W I L L O W TIT Parus montanus Uncommon resident and scarce migrant. Reports from 20 localities (24 in 1995) is about average for this species. Evidence of breeding activity came from Knettishall Heath and Redgrave Fen with birds also present at four other sites during the nesting period. The bulk of the records came from the west of the County, particularly the Lark valley with up to four birds being present at West Stow Country Park throughout the year. C O A L TIT Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Reports from just eleven widespread sites does not accurately reflect the status of this species. Breeding was confirmed only at Long Melford but birds were present during the summer at a minimum of four other sites. Outside the breeding season highest counts included 39 ringed at North Stow on January 15th; nine at Hollesley Heath on May 3rd and reported as very common at Brent Eleigh during winter. An exceptional passage of birds of the nominate race P.a. ater from Continental Europe was noted on the coast in September and October. Initial sightings were from Shingle Street on September 19th and Bawdsey (15) and Adastral Close, Felixstowe (two) on September 22nd. During September, Landguard held six on 20th, eight on 21st and 22nd, five on 23rd and singles on 24th and 26th. October records all came from Landguard where one was present on 2nd, two on 14th and 19th and one on 20th. B L U E TIT Parus caeruleus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. In contrast with 1995, breeding success appeared to be very poor with wet and cold weather in late spring being mainly to blame. For example, at Lackford Wildfowl Reserve fewer nest boxes were occupied than usual, deserted clutches and dead chicks were found in nests and smaller broods than normal were recorded. Apart from 60 at Oxley Marshes on October 6th, no large groups were reported in the second winter period. At Nowton Country Park further evidence of a poor breeding season was apparent when in December only 28% of birds monitored at a feeding station were aged as first-winter in strong contrast with 75% in December 1995. At Landguard there was not a marked passage in spring with day-maxima of only three in March and four in April. However, autumn passage was more pronounced with month peaks of 14 on September 26th and 21 on October 1st. The run of reports continued into the winter with birds present on 21 dates in October, 22 dates in November and 25 dates in December. 148


G R E A T T I T Parus major Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Few breeding data were received: seven pairs raised 31 young at Hengrave Hall Estate; eight maies were in song at Wolves Wood in April; seven pairs bred at Dodds Wood and a pair raised two broods from a nest box on the visitor centre at West Stow Country Park. The largest concentration involved 38 birds at Bridge Wood on October 20th. At Landguard, birds were only noted during the main passage periods with maximum day-counts of up to four during March and three in April followed by seven in October and three in N o v e m b e r and December. N U T H A T C H Sitta europaea Fairly common resident. This species was reported from 38 widespread sites (35 in 1995) continuing the slight annual increase in County records which mirrors the national trend (Gibbons et al. 1993) of range and population expansion. However, there were a few losses too, with only a single sighting at Brent Eleigh and none seen ail year at Horringer, both normally regulär sites for the species. Breeding was confirmed at seven sites with parkland providing good habitat and opportunities to view this attractive species. At N o w t o n Country Park four pairs bred with one being found in a disused woodpeckers' hole. A similar site was used by a pair at Gipping Great Wood. T R E E C R E E P E R Certhia familiaris Common resident. Records came f r o m 54 sites throughout the County with presence at 31 sites during the breeding season suggesting that this species, perhaps due to recent mild winters, is maintaining a good population. At N o w t o n Country Park six pairs bred (as in 1995 and 1994) and ten territories were located at North Warren (six in 1995). T h e largest gatherings involved five at Broomgreen Covert, Heveningham on October 7th and six at Minsmere on D e c e m b e r 15th. P E N D U L I N E T I T Remiz pendulinus Very rare visitor. Trimley Marshes: two, Nov. 20th into 1997 (T Oliver, M T Wright et al.) These birds proved to be the stuff of nightmares for would-be admirers, spending weeks on end without putting in an appearance and then showing briefly for single observers before disappearing again! Although much of Trimley Marshes is difficult to access, their m o v e m e n t s are very difficult to explain and where they ventured to during their long periods of invisibility is a n y b o d y ' s guess. Despite a four-month stay, they were only seen by perhaps half-a-dozen lucky observers during the whole period! This represents the sixth county record, previous reports (1989, 1990, 1993 and 1994) ail involving birds at Minsmere. Perhaps there is a chance that this unobtrusive species will one day breed in Suffolk. G O L D E N O R I O L E Oriolus oriolus Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. Breeding records c a m e from t w o sites in the traditional area: Lakenheath: up to seven maies and four females, two pairs bred, one pair seen feeding three young (per M D Crewe and Golden Oriole Group). 149


Reports of passage birds were confined to the spring and involved a male at Aldringham C o m m o n on May 3rd (D Fairhurst), one at Pinmill on May 16th (Mrs B Way) and a male in song at Lackford Wildfowl Reserve on June 9th (A. Howe). R E D - B A C K E D S H R I K E Lanius collurio Scarce passage migrant. Formerly bred. Spring passage birds appeared at three sites: Benacre: male. Jun. 2nd. Dunwich: female, Jun. 8th. Minsmere: female, Jun. 15th to 18th. The female present at Minsmere for four days offers hope that the chance meeting of migrants may result in breeding (which last occurred in 1992) taking place again. c J^r Typically, autumn jr passage was confined t0 j i f e ÂŤ V the coastal belt and involved the following: Corton: juv., Sep. 8th to 27th. Westleton: Dingle Great Hill, juv., Sep. 8th. Dunwich: juv., trapped Sep. 30th. Minsmere: juv., Aug. 31st to Sep. 1st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, juv. Sep. 7th. Felixstowe: Landguard, juv., trapped, Sep. 4th; juv., trapped, Sep. 5th to 7th. Langer Park, juv. Sep. 22nd. Red-backed The weather during the period from August 31st to Shrike Jlr September 8th was clearly conducive to the arrival of this " species in the County. L E S S E R G R E Y S H R I K E Lanius minor Very rare visitor. Walberswick: Walberswick Common, May 25th (D J Pearson, L J Townsend et al.). The fifth County record and the first since the well-watched bird at Lound in September 1989, but this individual decided not to stay. G R E A T G R E Y S H R I K E Lanius excubitor Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. Lakenheath:Mar. 7th ( C A E Kirtland) Sadly, the prediction in last y e a r ' s report, that Suffolk's birders might find it difficult to see this much-admired species, was proven all too true. Only one record was received, marking the nadir of a steady decline in sightings over the last few years. It seems impossible to imagine a year when this species does not appear in Suffolk. JAY Garrulus glandarius Common resident and scarce passage migrant. A significant increase in the breeding population at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex was noted with 24 territories recorded compared with only 16 in 1995. A notable influx of birds occurred during October and reports included: Corton: Corton Cliffs, ten south in a single flock, Oct. 15th. Lowestoft: Waveney Drive, three. Oct. 4th; seven. Oct. 5th. 150


Benacre: six, Oct. 12th. Walberswick: five south in a single flock, Oct. 16th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, ten over marshes, Oct. 10th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, six, Oct. 7th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, five, Oct. 5th. Levington: eight, Oct. 1st. Coddenham: Pipp's Ford, six, Oct. 13th. Stowupland: six west. Oct. 2nd; eight south. Oct. 7th. Although the species becomes more visible at this time of year as parties gather acorns, there is a clear bias in the above records towards coastal sites and along the Gipping Valley. Many of the birds were also moving at a great height and not just wandering at tree-top level. M A G P I E Pica pica Very common resident. A roost of 72 by the River Gipping at Pipp's Ford on March 6th was by far the biggest flock recorded. Other gatherings included 30 at North Warren on February 5th and August 31st; 27 on a muck-heap at Old Newton on November 22nd; 24 at Lackford W R in December and 20 at Bourne Park on September 20th. There was a slight drop in the breeding population at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex to 4 0 pairs (46 in 1995) although numbers at the Warren rose from 20 pairs in 1995 to 23 pairs in 1996. One at Walberswick on June 20th knocked down a juvenile Greenfinch in flight before killing and plucking it; it was then mobbed by an adult Greenfinch and Blackbird as it carried it off. A pair nested successfully at Landguard for the first time, rearing one young. J A C K D A W Corvus monedula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Several large flocks were reported throughout the year as follows: Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 150, Feb. 1st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 300, Aug. 16th; 150. Aug. 31st; 140. Sep. 17th. Brantham: 260 west, Dec. 15th. Great Beatings: 150, July 1st. Gipping: 3500. Jan. Uth; 2000, Nov. 4th: 3000, Dec. 18th. Long Melford: 510 flying to roost, Jan. 14th; 150. June 22nd. Euston: 220, Jan. 21st. The bulk of the above reports refer to winter roosts which attract birds from a very wide catchment area. However, the post-breeding gatherings in June and July are likely to involve more local birds and imply a healthy breeding population in the region. Coastal movements included groups of up to nine flying out to sea at Southwold on April 17th and 24th and 19 in off the sea at the North Denes. Lowestoft on October 22nd. A leucistic individual, all light-grey apart from a small amount of black on the face, was at Wetherden on April 20th. R O O K Corvus frugilegus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. The highest counts for the year again came from the Gipping area involving several thousand birds flocking with Jackdaws on pasture. Peak counts were 3500 on January 11 th; 2000 on November 4th and 3000 on December 18th. Other high counts included 250 at Long Melford on January 14th: 192 at Shotley on February 3rd; 100 at North 151


Warren on August 16th; 184 at Freston on August 27th and 370 west at Brantham on December 15th (see Jackdaw). Seven rookeries were counted at Haverhill on April 23rd giving a total of 262 active nests which shows an increase of 12% compared with 1994. Coastal movements at Landguard were few and far between but included 13 south on April 25th, ten south in October and three north and seven south in November. C A R R I O N C R O W Corvus corone Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A significant 33% rise in the breeding population at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex to 12 pairs (nine in 1995) was noted. Winter parties and post-breeding gatherings were recorded from several localities: Benacre: Benacre Broad, 23, Sep. 22nd. Aldringham-eum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 22, Oct. 11th; 55, Dec. 13th. Trimley Marshes: 180, Jul. 1st; 30, Aug. 18th; 40, Sep. 7th; 100, Dec. 15th. Aspall: 25, Oct. 2nd. Coddenham: Pipp's Ford, 128, Aug. 4th. Stowupland: 55, Aug. 21st. A Carrion/Hooded Crow hybrid was at Benacre from April to the end of the year and paired with a Carrion Crow rearing three young. A leucistic bird was at Layham f r o m February to April and a bird with white primaries was at North Warren f r o m August to December. Coastal movements included five flying north-east out to sea at Covehithe on April 1st; 13 south at Landguard on April 25th and five south at the latter site on April 17th. Hooded Crow Corvus corone cornix One at Burgh Castle on June 25th showed a black vent and may have been a Carrion/Hooded C r o w hybrid. S T A R L I N G Sturnus vulgaris Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. A large number of flocks was reported and most of these came from the coastal area, involving both post-breeding gatherings and winter roosts. Peak counts were as follows: Lowestoft: Birds-Eye Factory, 2500, Dec. 14th. Minsmere: 2000, Jan. 30th; 3000, Feb. 1st; 500, Sep. 22nd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 440 north. Mar. 31st; 240, Sep. 24th; 5000 at dusk. Oct. 11th. Orford: Havergate Island. 450, Jun. 23rd; 750, Jul. 7th; 500, Aug. 10th; 700, Aug. 17th; 2000. Oct. 8th to 13th; 150 throughout Dec. Felixstowe: Landguard, 3000. Mar. 16th; regular roost, Jun. to Oct. peaked at 5500, Oct. 1st. Stowupland: 1500 west, Oct. 23rd. Old Newton: 5000 from Oct. 25th to 28th roosting in Leyland Cypresses. In addition, autumn movements logged at Landguard totalled 2551 in off the sea and 3641 south from September 25th to N o v e m b e r 18th with peak counts of 1222 south on October 22nd and 1160 in off the sea on N o v e m b e r 8th. At Ness Point, Lowestoft, 952 were counted coming in off the sea on October 18th and 4 7 8 on 22nd, the latter coinciding with Landguard's biggest recorded movement of the autumn. Unfortunately, no breeding data were received. H O U S E S P A R R O W Passer domesticus Very common resident. Very few early-year counts with maxima of 4 6 at Christchurch Park, Ipswich on February 25th; 62 at Landguard on March 21st and 41 at Landguard on May 11th. 152


Breeding reports were f e w and far between although 15 pairs at Aldringham Walks represents a 5 0 % increase on 1995. Rather worryingly, a regular observer reported that none was seen on the Hengrave Hall Estate during the whole of 1996 - how scarce does a species have to be before it is widely recorded by active birdwatchers? Post-breeding reports mostly involved flocks of less than 100 birds with the exception of 200 at Trimley St. Martin on August 30th and 100 at Gosland Green on August 31 st. Counts received from the second winter period involved only 35 at Brettenham in November; 27 at Felixstowe on December 22nd and 70 at Landguard in October/ N o v e m b e r with 120 there on December 31st. The Tree x House Sparrow hybrid at Timworth was present to at least January 7th (see Suffolk Birds 45.) T R E E S P A R R O W Passer montanus Uncommon and declining resident. Scarce passage migrant. The decline of this once-widespread species continued with reports received from only 21 sites. Peak counts, mostly from well-known locations, included: Sudbourne: Ferry Farm, 44, Feb. 11th; 25, Feb. 27th; 15. Mar. 1st to 14th; 20, Dec. 21st. Mellis: 13, Apr. 14th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood, 11, Apr. 24th. Timworth: c.30, Jan. 14th; four, Feb. 15th. Ampton: ten, Dec. 7th. The crash in numbers at the regular Timworth site is a little worrying, although the passerine flocks in that area are prone to localised movements according to the availability of food and may not have been located. The only breeding reports involved three at a regular site at Old Newton on May 6th; a singing male at Covehithe in late May and a pair with one juvenile at Beach Farm, Benacre on June 16th. Coastal movements logged at Landguard involved singles on April 21st, July 16th and four dates in August, the latter month also producing nine on 28th and eight south on 31st. September brought three south and two on the reserve on 1st and eight south on 15th. The largest movements of the year at Landguard then took place in October when a total of 22 birds was logged during the month. This should be compared with figures for previous Octobers at Landguard which include 4675 in 1983 (including 2000 on both 25th and 29th).

Tree Sparrows 153


C H A F F I N C H FrĂŹngilla coelebs Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Very few large flocks were reported in the first winter period with peaks of only 80 at Aldringham Walks on February 28th rising to 200 on April 1st; 50 at Hollesley on February 3rd; 7 0 at Trimley St. Martin on March U t h and 50 at North Stow on February 17th. Breeding reports included 309 territories at the Aldringham Walks/North Warren complex including 121 at the Warren (111 in 1995 & 83 in 1994). At Lackford W R all early nests failed due to a shortage of food although fledging rates were good f r o m second attempts. Autumn passage at Landguard spanned from September 9th to mid-November. Peak numbers of grounded migrants included 30 on September 20th and 21st. A total of 686 south and 122 in off the sea was logged from September 25th to November 15th with notable counts of 148 south on October 30th and 129 south on November 7th. More reports were received in the second winter period with the following peaks: Aldringham-cum Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 135, Oct. 17th; 76, Dec. 13th. Nacton: Bridge Wood, 200, Dec. 7th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, 230 feeding in a pig field, Dec. 15th. West Stow: 150, Dec. 15th. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, 200, Nov. 24th. A male with a deformed upper mandible at West Stow Country Park was seen to feed by picking up food with the side of the bill. An almost white individual showing only a pale-yellow wash on mantle and rump was at Ash Street in December. B R A M B L I N G FrĂŹngilla montifringilla Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. Recorded f r o m 22 sites in the first part of the year with peak counts of ten at Dunwich on January 2nd; 20 at Pinmill on March 17th and 21 at North Stow on February 17th. Late birds were located at Staverton Thicks on April 13th; Heveningham Hall on April 16th and Stowupland on April 19th although these were overshadowed by a male which remained at Minsmere until June 21st. The Heveningham Hall bird was fly-catching f r o m the tops of tall Alders by the lake. T h e first returning birds were noted at Corton and Landguard on September 20th and Sizewell C o m m o n on September 21st. There followed a more general arrival in October with peak counts of 90 in off the sea and 25 on the reserve at Landguard on 9th and 50 at Arnold's Walk, Lowestoft on 10th. Bramblings remained relatively scarce in the second winter period with peak counts of only 20 at Berner's Heath on N o v e m b e r 24th; 25 at Stallode Wash on D e c e m b e r 29th; 30 at Chediston on D e c e m b e r 31st and 30 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath and 35 at T u d d e n h a m St Mary in December. G R E E N F I N C H Carduelis chloris Very common resident and passage migrant. As in 1995, very scarce in the first winter period with peak counts of only 250 in stubble at Aldringham Walks on January 19th with 100 there on March 9th; 44 at Stowmarket on January 31st and 71 at Landguard on March 21st. Breeding reports were very few and far between although 45 pairs at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex included a record 24 pairs at the Warren (17 in 1995). Perhaps the recent habit of feeding on black sunflower seeds in local gardens in the North Warren area is having an effect on the population? A u t u m n visible migration at Landguard totalled 1628 south from September 16th to D e c e m b e r 5th with a m a x i m u m day-count of 287 south on October 16th. In addi154


tion, the species was more widely reported than in the early part of the year and whilst some autumn gatherings moved on, a few parties remained into the second winter period: Kessingland: 150, Nov. 9th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 90. Oct. 27th; 50, Dec. 13th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 80, Oct. 20th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 100, Nov. 1st. Stansfield: 150, Dec. 8th. Hadleigh: 80 feeding on seeding sunflowers, Oct. 13th. Brettenham: 40 in August; 200 in September; 150 in October. Old Newton: 160 roosting in Ley land Cypresses, Dec 13th. G O L D F I N C H Carduelis carduelis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Very low numbers in the first winter period with peak counts of only 50 at Brent Eleigh throughout January/February; 50 at Hengrave Hall on January 26th; 60 at Livermere Lake on February 15th; 100 at Hollesley on February 19th and 54 at Old Newton on February 27th. Spring passage was poorly recorded but at Landguard a total of 553 south from April 11th to June 11th included monthly maxima of 114 south on April 26th, 81 south on May 6th and 17 south on June 2nd. A stable breeding population of 22 pairs was recorded at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex, including seven at the Warren (six in 1995). Post-breeding flocks and autumnal movements peaked as follows: Minsmere: 60, Sep. 3rd to 8th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 150 feeding on thistle heads, Aug. 7th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street. 250, Sep. 26th. Trimley Marshes: 200, Sep. 26th. Levington: 70 , Sep.4th. Stowupland: flock from Aug.23rd to Sep.l6th,max.l20 on 16th. West Stow: Country Park, c.70 in September. In addition, at Landguard a total of 5432 was logged passing south from September 1st to D e c e m b e r 2nd with a maximum of 875 south on October 16th. The largest flock reported from the second winter period was of up to 4 5 0 at Suffolk Water Park on December 18th whilst the only other notable gathering was of 60 at Staverton Thicks on December 15th. S I S K I N Carduelis spinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Although a handful of reasonable-sized flocks was reported in the first winter period, the species was not very widespread and remained faithful to traditional localities. Peak counts included 100 at Hollesley C o m m o n on January 7th; 80 at Staverton Thicks on January 20th; 110 at Lackford W R on February 11th and 250 at West Stow Country Park on March 2nd. A party of 51 was still at Hollesley C o m m o n on May 3rd. During the breeding season birds were recorded at Dunwich Forest, Mayday Farm, Waveney Forest and West Stow Country Park but there were no reports of confirmed breeding. Autumn passage at Landguard produced a total of 30 north and 520 south from September 10th to N o v e m b e r 28th with a m a x i m u m day-count of 159 south on September 26th. In addition, 180 were seen passing south over nearby Langer Park on September 22nd. 155


Although there was a better showing in the second half of the year, numbers were still well down on previous years. M a x i m u m counts included: Lowestoft: Belle Vue Park, 50, Sep. 18th. Minsmere: 40, Sep. 23rd; 83, Nov. 12th; 40, Dec. 4th to 12th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell Belts, 96, Dec. Uth. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 50, Dec. 30th. Coddenham: Pipp's Ford, 26, Oct. 20th; 61, Nov. 25th. West Stow: 350, Sep. 22nd; West Stow Country Park, 200 in Dec. Horringer: 100, Sep. 21st. L I N N E T Carduelis cannabina Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. A much better showing in the first winter period than in recent years with peak gatherings of 2 5 0 at Aldringham Walks on January 27th; 200 at Moulton f r o m January to March; 204 at Stowmarket on February 2nd; 200 at Great Livermere on February 15th; 100 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath on February 17th; 200 at Hollesley on February 20th; 100 at Westleton Walks on February 28th and 135 at Beccles Marshes on March 9th. Spring passage was much in evidence from mid-March with flocks of 100 or more as follows: Minsmere: 250 from Apr. 24th to 26th; c.250 on May 4th. Saxmundham: 100, Apr. 17th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 200, Mar. 31st. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 100, Apr. 25th. Trimley St. Martin: 130, Mar. 31st; 300. Apr. 3rd. Stowupland: 160, May 1st. Poslingford: 100, Mar. 17th. Spring movements through Landguard saw a gradual build-up of birds from late February. April numbers peaked with up to 100 regularly on the site and a similar n u m b e r in May whilst passage produced peak counts of 4 8 south on April 25th and 88 south on April 26th. A stable breeding population of 74 pairs at the Aldringham Walks/North Warren complex included 37 at the Warren (35 in 1995 and 31 in 1994). A total of 20 pairs was located at Havergate Island but the breeding population at Lackford W R declined to only t w o pairs (four in 1995). An estimated 35 to 4 0 pairs nested at Landguard. A u t u m n passage at Landguard began with a build-up of post-breeding birds which peaked with 90 birds by July 20th and 180 on August 27th. Southerly passage there produced a peak of 564 on September 28th whilst a total of 3268 passed south during October with daily m a x i m a of 237 on 6th, 716 on 16th and 4 6 2 on 22nd. N o v e m b e r was quieter with a total of 792 south during the month and a daily m a x i m u m of 320 on 7th. These represent a good passage of birds but elsewhere m o v e m e n t s were, regrettably, not reported and the handful of counts peaked with 450 at Gipping on September 30th and 210 at Aldringham Walks on October 17th. Only four flocks of any consequence were noted in the second-winter period involving 300 at Moulton f r o m October into December; 150 at Trimley Marshes on N o v e m b e r 15th; 100 at Stansfield on December 15th and 200 at Sudbourne on D e c e m b e r 22nd. T W I T E Carduelis flavirostris Declining winter visitor and passage migrant. This scarce winter visitor was recorded from eight sites in the first winter period up to April 8th, including two well inland in March: 156


Walberswick: 80, Jan. 6th; 30. Feb. 11th. Tinker's Marshes. 76, Feb. 14th; 100. Feb. 21st. Dunwich: Corporation Marshes, 30, Jan. 7th. Minsmere: four, Mar. 15th to 28th; three. Apr. 1st to 8th. Orford: Orfordness, 35, Feb. 17th; 45, Mar. 13th. Havergate I., ten, Jan. 10th. Hollesley: Barthorp's Creek, 20, Jan. 6th. Livermere Lake: two. Mar. 20th (S Gillings). After the first arrival, inland at Bungay golf course on the early date of September 9th, autumn movements were rather meagre, although a party of 31 passing over central Felixstowe on October 21st was a surprise for the finder. Peak second winter counts involved 77 at Minsmere on November 1st; 40 at Dunwich beach on November 8th with 70 there on December 29th; 37 at Orfordness on November 17th with 30 there on December 14th and 80 at Walberswick on November 8th with 40 there on December 29th. R E D P O L L Carduelis flammea Widespread but declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The first winter period saw a continuation of the huge influx into the region with most records involving continental Mealy Redpolls ( C . f . flammea). The highest counts c a m e from the same areas as in late 1995, typically from the coastal Sandlings and Breckland where the largest birch woods occur and peak counts were: Oulton: 100, Feb. 10th. Minsmere: 90, Jan. 1st; 60, Feb. 1st to 3rd; 90, Mar. 17th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 200, Jan. 2nd; 100, Feb. 11th; 250, Mar. 2nd to Mar. 27th; 150. Apr. 2nd. Wantisden: Staverton Thicks, 200, Jan.20th. Sutton: Sutton Heath, 50, Jan. 14th; 60. Jan. 24th. Martlesham: 350, Jan. Ist; 300, Jan. 6th; 100, Jan. 29th and Feb. 8th; 50, Feb. 15th. West Stow: West Stow Country Park. 100, Mar. 3rd. North Stow, 300, Jan. 7th; 65. Feb. 1st. Tuddenham St Mary: Tuddenham Heath. 80. Mar. 7th. The breeding population of Lesser Redpolls (C.f.cabaret) at the Aldringham Walks/ North Warren complex fell to a meagre three pairs (four in 1995) and it would appear that the status of this species as a resident breeder is seriously under threat in the County. The species was extremely scarce in the latter part of the year, highlighting the unpredictable nature of arrivals of Mealy Redpolls. Just one individual of these frosty northerners was reported, from Thorpeness C o m m o n on November 10th. A flock of 50 in larches at Alton Water on November 24th was not sub-specifically identified, but 20 at Sutton Heath on October 11th were all Lessers. A R C T I C R E D P O L L Carduelis hornemanni Very rare winter visitor. Suffolk received its share of the national influx in late 1995 and early 1996 when over 200 Arctic Redpolls were recorded across the country; the previous best national total was in 1991 with 63 records. A number of claims from Sizewell. Aldringham, North Cove, Minsmere and Thorpeness have unfortunately not been followed up by written submissions but the following records have all been fully documented and published in British Birds: 1995 Minsmere: up to three, Dec. 29th into 1996 (B J Small et al.) The King's Forest: Nov. 19th (W J Brame) West Stow: Dec. 24th (C Gregory) 157


1996 Minsmere: up to three from 1995 to at least Mar. 10th (B J Small et al.). Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness, two, Jan. 14th, one to at least Mar. 10th; another two. Mar. 10th (B J Small et al.); presumed two of same. Mar. 28th, one to at least Apr. 5th (R Fairhead et al.). Martlesham: Martlesham Heath, photographed. Mar. 14th (D Marsh). T h e comments, and in particular the records, published in Suffolk Birds 45 are superseded by the details published here. C O M M O N C R O S S B I L L Loxia curvirostra Localised resident and irruptive visitor. A very quiet year for this species which remains at a very low ebb in the County with records from only 14 locations as follows: Dunwich: Dunwich Forest, three, Dec. 7th. Minsmere: seven, Jul. 26th; male, Nov. 16th. Tunstall: Tunstall Forest, two, Dec. 7th. Hollesley: Hollesley Heath, two, Apr. 8th and May 18th. Stowupland: one flying west, Oct. 7th. Lackford WR: male with Siskins, Feb. 11th; one. May 3rd. West Stow: West Stow Country Park, one, Aug. 9th; two, Aug. 13th; one, Sep. 1st; singing male, Sep. 30th. North Stow, one, Feb. 29th; two, Apr. 9th; two, Dec. 22nd. The King's Forest, two, Jan. 1st; 23, Jan. 5th; one, May 6th; two, May 20th. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, Nov. 24th. Elveden: Centerparcs, five, Oct. 25th. Brandon: Mayday Farm, four, Nov. 23rd. Santon Downham: one, Apr. 20th. Thetford Forest: one, Mar. 3rd. C O M M O N R O S E F I N C H Carpodacus erythrinus Rare passage migrant. Has bred. Felixstowe: Landguard, sub-ad. male, trapped, July 8th (M Marsh, P Oldfield et al.). The 16th record for the County. The hoped-for colonisation of Britain by this species seems to have been something of a d a m p squib so far! N o details have been received of an immature reportedly seen at Minsmere on July 6th - a date which ties in well with the Landguard bird. B U L L F I N C H Pyrrhula pyrrhula Widespread but declining resident. In spite of a request in the 1995 Suffolk Birds, very few reports were received for this species. The breeding population at the Aldringham Walks/North Warren complex remained stable at 16 pairs which included 12 at the Warren (the same as in 1994 and 1995). It was reported as more c o m m o n this year at Brent Eleigh although the breeding season at Lackford W R was described as dreadful and giving cause for concern with the population already at a low ebb locally; conversely, winter survival was described as good. Peak winter counts comprised ten at Minsmere on January 9th with 12 there on March 18th and ten at North Warren in a single flock on February 23rd. H A W F I N C H Coccothraustes coccothraustes Uncommon resident. Reports were received from eight localities as follows:Sotterley: up to four in Feb.; seven in Mar.; three in Apr.; one in Nov. and four in Dec. Aldeburgh: North Warren, one. Sep. 23rd. 158


VVantisden: Staverton Thicks, one, Feb. 17th. Nacton: two, Apr. 26th. Aldham/Hadleigh: Wolves Wood. one. Apr. 17th. West Stow: West Stow Country Park, one. Mar. 7th; up to seven in Dec. Hengrave: three. Jan. 31st and Sep. 20th; one, Sep. 26th and 27th; two, Nov. 21st; one, Nov. 29th. Santon Downham: female, Feb. 23rd. The North Warren bird represents the first record for the reserve. Observations of feeding behaviour revealed the West Stow birds feeding mostly on the seeds of Field Maple Acer campestre and also taking sloes Prunus spinosa (C Gregory) whilst two at Nacton were seen feeding on the ornamental fruits of London Plane Platanus x hybrida (M D Crewe). This species becomes even more enigmatic in the County. There may well be a genuine decrease in the population - particularly noticeable at the traditional Wantisden site. However, the species is grossly under-recorded with records from the Woodbridge area having stopped (where the species doubtless still occurs) and no reports f r o m the Thetford area where the species is known to have a stronghold. L A P L A N D B U N T I N G Calcarius lapponicus Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Another poor year for this species with records received from only nine localities and only three reports in the first winter period. Gisleham: one, Jan. 14th. Covehithe: one, Dec. 1st. Easton Bavents: one south, Oct. 8th. Southwold: Southwold Denes, three, Oct. 16th; two south. Nov. 6th. Minsmere: two, Apr. 8th; one, Nov. 13th. 21st and 30th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, two on wheat stubble. Jan. 2nd; four north, Feb. 17th. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh beach, Dec. 5th. Orford: Orfordness, one, Dec. 15th. Felixstowe: Landguard. one south, Oct. 20th; three south, Oct. 30th. S N O W B U N T I N G Plectrophenax nivalis Regular winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded on the coast in very low numbers in the first winter period with the following peak counts: Pakefield: 30, Feb. 11th. Kessingland: 20, Jan. 1st; 36, Jan. 14th: 31, Feb. 10th; 35, Mar. 3rd; five. Mar. 24th. Benacre: 30 bathing in the sluice channel, Feb. 8th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, variously 11 to 20 from Jan. 1st to Feb. 26th at least. A colour-ringed bird on Kessingland Beach on January 31st had been ringed at Salthouse, Norfolk on December 9th 1995. The last birds of the first winter period were three north at Dunwich beach on April 4th. One at Gunton on October 6th preceded a much better showing in the second winter period with the following peak counts: Lowestoft: Gunton. 56. Nov. 21st. Kessingland: 102. Nov. 9th; 100. Nov. 13th: 50, Dec. 1st. Benacre: 41, Dec. 22nd. Covehithe: 40. Dec. 4th; 30, Dec. 7th; 60. Dec. 22nd. Minsmere: 50, Nov. 30th. Aldeburgh: monthly max. of 75. Dec. 17th. Orfordness: 175, Dec. 14th; 115. Dec. 15th; 100. Dec. 29th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry. 25. Nov. 11th; 40. Nov. 17th: 39, Dec. 22nd: 25, Dec. 24th. 159


Y E L L O W H A M M E R Emberiza citrinella Very common resident and passage migrant. Very few reports of any sizeable flocks in the first half of the year with the highest reports being 369 around a Pheasant feeding area at Northfield Wood, Onehouse on March 6th; 100 at Depden on March 10th; 4 8 at Shottisham on March 17th and 68 at Pipp's Ford on April 11th. Yet another species where breeding data are almost non-existent although the Aldringham Walks/North Warren complex reported a significant fall in breeding numbers to 67 pairs (106 in 1995). This included only 16 pairs at the Warren after several years of increased numbers at this site (27 in 1995 and 24 in 1994). Northfield Wood again proved popular with this species in the second winter period with 333 at the Pheasant feeding area on D e c e m b e r 4th. T h e only other flock of note was 2 3 at Long Melford on D e c e m b e r 24th. O R T O L A N B U N T I N G Emberiza hortulana Rare passage migrant. A very similar year to 1995 with single birds in spring and autumn Dunwich: male trapped and ringed, Apr. 30th. (Sir A Hurrell). Felixstowe: Landguard, Sep. 20th (N Odin) and considered same, 22nd (M Grantham, M C Marsh). Totals over the last ten years are as follows: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Spring 2 1 0 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 1 1 Autumn 0 0 0 4 1 0 3 0 R U S T I C B U N T I N G Emberiza rustica Accidental. The third county record of this species involved an individual at Corton along the disused rail track and adjacent derelict holiday campsite. Corton: age and sex uncertain, Sep. 14th. (C Allen, R Fairhead et al.). R E E D B U N T I N G Emberiza schoeniclus Very common resident and passage migrant. A reasonable showing in the first winter period with several flocks reported including 50 in a g a m e strip at Fenstead End on January 13th; 25 at Carlton Col ville on January 19th; 20 at Hollesley on February 8th; 33 roosting at Stowmarket on March 3rd and 26 at Lackford W R on March 24th with 30 there on April 11th. Very few breeding records were received although North Warren reported a stable breeding population of 22 pairs and there were seven pairs at Butley River, six at Havergate and four at Boyton Marshes. Another survey revealed 33 singing males along the banks of the River Waveney between Oulton Broad and Beccles. Autumn m o v e m e n t s through Landguard totalled 46 south from September 15th to N o v e m b e r 16th with a m a x i m u m day-count of 24 south on October 30th. The only late-year flocks of note were at Southwold Denes with 55 on October 16th and 20 on N o v e m b e r 13th. C O R N B U N T I N G Miliaria calandra Local and declining resident. This declining species was recorded from 36 localities with peak counts in the first winter period as follows: Carlton Colville: 30, Jan. 17th; 26, Jan. 21st; 25, Mar. 3rd. 160


Sudbourne: 28, Feb. 6th; 23, Feb. 22nd. Gedgrave: 20, Feb. 18th. Hemley: 17, Jan.9th; 40, Feb. 10th. Chelmondiston: Hill Farm, 33, Jan.2nd; 24, Mar. 19th. Great Barton: Paltry Farm, 19, Mar. 28th. Singing males were reported from nine sites with a maximum of six pairs at Chelmondiston but with proven breeding only coming from Gosland Green in July. Very few flocks were reported in the latter part of the year with peak counts of 17 at Lower Holbrook on December 5th and 32 at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath on December 29th. One south at Landguard on January 4th was unexpected and perhaps the result of cold-weather movements.

APPENDIX I - CATEGORY D SPECIES G R E A T E R F L A M I N G O Phoenicopterus ruber S Palearctic, s Asia, Africa, Madagascar, Caribbean, Galapagos. Trimley Marshes: Mar. 23rd to 25th. Once again, having wintered in Kent intermittently to April 2nd, this bird moved up the east coast to summer quarters in Norfolk and passed briefly through Suffolk on the way. However, its last sighting in Norfolk appears to have been at Titchwell on May 4th, after which there were no reports until it reappeared back at Cliffe, Kent on December 23rd. The Chilean Flamingo appears to have made it as far as Titchwell then joined up with a second (unringed) Chilean during May and the two headed back to Cliffe during July. B A R - H E A D E D G O O S E Anser indicus Alpine lakes in central Asia; winters to India and Livermere Lake: Mar. 29th and Sep. 14th and 15th.

Burma.

M U S C O V Y D U C K Cairina moschata Lowlands of s Mexico to Argentina and Brazil. The species was present as usual at Oulton Broad where the highest count was of 99 birds on December 15th. Three broods of young were seen in February, three in September and two in November (per A C Easton). Other reports included counts of up to 89 birds during October and on October 14th, a female was seen with 12 newly hatched young. W O O D D U C K Aix sponsa Inland waters of Canada to northern Mexico; Cuba and Bahamas. The following records are all presumed to relate to escaped or feral birds. Lound: village pond, two adult males, one immature male, Oct. 21st. Beccles: Beccles Quay, adult male, Jul. 19th. Holbrook: Holbrook Gardens, male, Feb. 18th. Bury St Edmunds: Hardwick Heath, male, June to October. W H I T E - H E A D E D D U C K Oxyura leucocephala Patchily distributed Mediterranean basin to Central Asia. Minsmere: male, Apr. 18th (per RSPB). The identity of this bird has been accepted but its origin remains shrouded in mystery. This is a fairly frequent species in captivity, but this individual appeared at a time when the Spanish population was moving northwards, away from the drought 161


gripping the south of the country. This individuai had resided at Abberton Reservoir, Essex since January 2nd 1995, thus spending well over a year at the site before appearing briefly at Minsmere. At least two others appeared in Britain in 1995 and ail were unringed.

APPENDIX II - ESCAPEES C H I L E A N F L A M I N G O Phoenicopterus chilensis Andes of s S America; pampas of s Brazil, Paraguay to s Argentina. Trimley Marshes: Mar. 23rd to 25th. This bird was again in company with a Greater Flamingo of unknown origin. T h e Chilean was sporting a grey darvic ring with black lettering, BX. The origin of this bird remains unknown at present but is being researched and could give an insight into the origin of both birds. The Chilean appeared to abandon its larger cousin this year (see Greater Flamingo above). B L A C K SWAN Cygnus atratus Australia and Tasmania. Walberswick: two. Mar. 28th. Minsmere: May 4th. Ramsholt: Ramsholt Marshes, two, Apr. 7th. Falkenham: Falkenham Marshes, two, Apr. 6th. East Bergholt: Fiatford Mill, Mar. 3Ist. Livermere Lake: May 19th. R U D D Y S H E L D U C K Tadorna ferruginea S Mediterranean basin to e Asia. Some records considered genuine vagrants. The following records are ali considered to relate to escaped or ferai birds. Heveningham: Heveningham Hall, female. Apr. 3rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, Sep. 18th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, male, Mar. 19th. Livermere Lake: female, Jun. 8th and 9th. T h e female at H e v e n i n g h a m was wearing a colour-ring. L E S S E R W H I T E - F R O N T E D G O O S E Anser erythropus N Eurasia; winters to s Europe, India and China. Benacre: Benacre Broad, May 8th. Trimley St Martin: two, Jan. Ist. T h e t w o at Trimley are well established in the area, although they usually reside at Alton Water f r o m where no reports were received this year. S N O W G O O S E Anser caerulescens NE Siberia and n N America; winters to Mexico. Minsmere: two, Jan. 9th. T h e s e two were perhaps the same as those seen at nearby Middleton in 1995. E M P E R O R G O O S E Anser canagicus Tundra of ne Siberia to w Alaska; winters s Alaska to n Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, Jan. 27th to Mar. 13th. Coddenham: Pipp's Ford, Jan. 6th.

California.

It is likely that these two records refer to the same individuai. 162


S P E C K L E D T E A L Anas flavirostris Andes of Venezuela to Tierra del Fuego Stansfield: Sep. 29th to Oct. 25th. W H I T E - C H E E K E D PINTAIL Anas bahamensis Locally in S America, West Indies and Galapagos Islands Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, Feb. 11th. Minsmere: Nov. 17th. Wherstead: Fox's Marina, Jan. 13th. The Minsmere bird was of the leucistic form, c o m m o n l y kept in captivity. C O C K A T I E L Nymphicus hollandicus Widespread and abundant in interior of Australia. Worlingham: Apr. 8th. Lowestoft: Gunton Drive, Aug. 26th. Harbour, Sep. 30th. Benacre: May 5th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Sep. 6th and 7th. Ipswich: St Joseph's College, Feb. 16th. P E A C H - F A C E D L O V E B I R D Agapornis roseicollis Subdeserts of sw Angola to n Cape Province. Tattingstone: Aug. 27th. A L E X A N D R I N E P A R A K E E T Psittacula eupatria Indian subcontinent to SE Asia. Aldeburgh: male, Mar. 21st. This individual was happily feeding on Hawthorn berries beside the road at the golf club! N A N D A Y P A R R O T Nandayus nenday Pantanal of n Argentina, Paraguay and sw Brazil. Icklingham: five, Nov. 24th. T h e identity of these birds was unknown for some time before a chance telephone call and a bit of research pinned them d o w n ! S U D A N G O L D E N S P A R R O W Passer luteus Thornscrub of sub-Saharan Africa. Lowestoft: male, Apr. 25th. Felixstowe: Landguard, female, Aug. 4th; male, Aug. 13th and 14th.

APPENDIX III SCHEDULE OF NON-ACCEPTED REPORTS T h e following list consists of reports that were not accepted either by the B B R C (national rarities) or the S O R C (county rarities). It must be emphasised that in the vast majority of cases the record was not accepted because the committee m e m b e r s were not convinced, on the evidence submitted, that the identification w a s fully established; in only a very f e w cases were the committees satisfied that a mistake had been made. 163


1996 reports: Black-throated Diver: Covehithe, Apr. 5th. Red-necked Grebe: Covehithe, Sep. 12th. Cory's Shearwater: Sizewell, Sep. 30th. American Wigeon: North Warren, Jan. 13th. Western Sandpiper: Trimley St Martin, Aug. 19th. Grey Phalarope: Minsmere, Nov. 10th. Pomarine Skua: Covehithe, Sep. 7th; Sep. 13th. Long-tailed Skua: Sizewell, Sep. 12th. Ring-billed Gull: Aldeburgh, Jan. 1st; Dec. 15th (and several consecutive dates). Gull-billed Tern: Felixstowe, May 1st. Roseate Tern: Minsmere, May 11th. Puffin: Covehithe, Jun. 22nd; Jun. 23rd; Sep. 12th; Sep. 13th; Sep. 14th. Crested Lark: Kessingland, Oct. 16th. Richard's Pipit: Benacre, Nov. 8th; Siberian Stonechat: Minsmere, May 25th. Aquatic Warbler: Minsmere, Jun. 16th. 'Siberian' Lesser Whitethroat: Corton, Sep. 23rd. Greenish Warbler: Thorpeness, Sep. 24th. Yellow-breasted Bunting: Minsmere, Oct. 20th. 1995 reports: Goshawk: Rushmere, Jul. 9th. Iceland Gull: Lackford, Mar. 18th. Black-eared Wheatear: Trimley, Oct. 25th. Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler: Martlesham Creek, Sep. 30th to Oct. 2nd. Subalpine Warbler: Lowestoft, May 19th. Arctic Redpoll: Blythburgh, Nov. 19th to Dec. 24th; North Stow, Nov. 9th. 1994 reports: Black Kite: Bury St Edmunds, May 8th. Black Woodpecker: Benacre, Mar. 13th.

REFERENCES: Clements, J. 1991. Birds ofthe World: A Checklist. Ibis, California. Cramp, S. (ed.) 1985. The Birds ofthe Western Palearctic. Vol.4. O U P Gibbons, D. W„ Reid, J. B. and Chapman, R. A. 1993. The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-1991. Poyser, London. Lack, P. C. 1986. The atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. Marchant, J. H„ Hudson, R„ Carter, S. P. and Whittington, P. 1990. Population Trends in British Breeding Birds. BTO, Tring. Payn, W. H. 1978. The Birds of Suffolk. Ancient House Publishing, Ipswich. Sanford, M. 1993. Provisional Atlas of Breeding Birds in Suffolk. Suffolk Biological Records Centre, Ipswich.

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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, B Allan, C Allen, J K Archer, J Arnold, J Askins. S Babbs, Ms D Balmer, K Barrett, D G Beamish, J Bedford, R G Beech, H R Beecroft, Mrs M Beecroft, P Beeson, A Benton, M Biddle, R Biddle, A Bimpson, S Bishop, P C Boon, W J Brame, A Brenchley, B J Brown, R M Brown, J Brydson, P Bullett, H McK Butcher, C A Buttle. D & M Carter, Ms S Cass, J M Cawston, C Chapman, A Charles, J-P Charteris, D R Collins, Mrs J Cook, M Cook, R I Cooper, M L Cornish, W R Cornish, D P Cotton, D Craven, M D Crewe, N Crouch, R Crozier, C G D Curtis. J Danieli, P Dann, P J Dare, J A Davies, D Davison, T R Dean, Ms J Debell, S J Denny, P Dodds, P Dolton, R A Duncan. A C Easton, A Edwards, G Elliott, M Elliott, R D Evans, S Evans. I Fair, R Fairhead, D Fairhurst, M Forbes, J Foster. A C Frost, S J Fryett, D Fuller. Mrs J D Garrod , K W Garrod, S Gillings, J A Glazebrook, S Goddard, P Goldsmith, M J Goodwin, S Graham, J H Grant, M Grantham, P Green, C Gregory. P Hamling, B Harrington, J Harris, R Harris, A Harriss, B Hart, Mrs M Hart, C J Hawes, M Hodges, P J Holmes, A Howe, S Howell, Sir A Hurrell. R Jackson, C A Jacobs, C J Jakes, M James, A G Jamieson, G J Jobson, D Johnson, R Johnson, M Jowett, D Jupp. J A Kay, D Keightley, A S Kennedy, D King, C A E Kirtland, P Kitchener, C Knott. P Lack, Lackford Wildfowl Reserve, A A K Lancaster, Mr & Mrs R Langston, R Leavett, Ms B Leport. J Levene, S J Ling, G Lowe. R N Macklin, A Malone, S Marginson, D Marsh, E Marsh, M C Marsh, N Marsh, N Mason, Ms C Michette, A Miller, I Mills, N & S Minns, D R Moore, R Moore, Ms J Morris, G Mortimer, P W Murphy, A J Musgrove, K Musgrove, C Mutimer. D Nevitt, D R Newton, J Newton, M Newton, P Newton, T Nightingale, S D Noble. D Ockleton, N Odin, P Oldfield, T Oliver, G Oram, J Oxford. M Packard, A J Parr, E W Patrick, D J Pearson, Ms S Pearson, R Perkins, S H Piotrowski, R Plowman. Ms A Plumb, C Powell, G Price. D J Radford, B Ranner, P J Ransome. G Reeder, A P Richards, B Ridout, D Riley, A Riseborough, D & K Roberts, D Rothery, D Rous, RSPB Minsmere, C P S Ruffles.


R E Scott, N Sherman, P Silburn, B Sivyer, D B Sivyer, N J Skinner, B J Small, J Smith, M Smith, R C Smith, R Stace, P Steggall , R Stewart, D Stinson, T Stopher. R J Taylor, R Thomas, R D Thomas, B G Thompson, M Thompson, D Thurlow, L J Townsend, Trimley Marsh Reserve, M Turner, G Tyler. D K Underwood H Vaughan, P J Vincent, N Vipond. R Waiden, D F Walsh, J Walshe, A Walters, R B Warren, G Warren, Mrs B Way, E Webb, M Webber, L Weeks, G R Welch, Mrs J West, R West, P Whittaker, Ms B Williamson, R Wilton, B Woodhouse, B Wright, M Wright, M T Wright. S Youell. J Zantboer.

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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 l k m square in which they are situated. Adastral Close. Felixstowe TM287328 Aldeburgh Golf Course TM448578 Aldeburgh Town Marshes TM450560 Aide Estuary TM3957-4450 Aldringham Common TM458606 Aidringham Walks TM466I Alexandra Park, Ipswich TM173443 Alton Water TM1436 Arnold's Walk, Lowestoft TM551942 Ashby Warren TM490004 Ash Street. Semer TM0146 Barsham Marshes TM4090 TM373442 Barthorp's Creek, Hollesley TL910668 Barton Mere, Gt. Barton Beach Farm. Benacre TM532839 TM435906 Beccles Common Beccles Marshes TM4391 TM421913 Beccles Quay TM550944 Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft TM530828 Benacre Broad TL7976 Berner's Heath. Icklingham Bird's-Eye Factory, Lowestoft TM554940 TM383565 Blaxhall Heath TM435757 Blower's Common. Wenhaston Blyth Estuary TM4575-4776 TL675854 Botany Bay, Lakenheath TM 155420 Bourne Park. Ipswich TM384464 Boyton Hall Reservoir TM3946 Boyton Marshes TM4706-5107 Breydon Water TM186406 Bridge Wood, Nacton TM529929 Brooke Industrial Park, Lowestoft TM348745 Broomgreen Covert, Cookley TM325905 Bungay Golf Course TL860656 Bury St Edmunds sugar beet factory TM495759 Buss Creek, Southwold TM3851-3947 Butley River TM294367 Candlet, Felixstowe TM4991 Carlton Marshes, Carlton Colville TL755725 Cavenham Heath TL800805 Center Pares, Elveden TM 139439 Chantry Park, Ipswich TM 164454 Christchurch Park, Ipswich TM316349 Cobbold's Point, Felixstowe Combs Lane Water Meadows, Stowmarket TM043581 TM542928 Commercial Road. Lowestoft TL887391 Cornard Mere TM493735 Corporation Marshes, Dunwich TM537979 Corion railway line TM545966 Corion Woods TM524808 Covehithe Broad TM277520 Crag Pit Wood. Melton TM2850-3238 Deben Estuary

Decoy Fen. Lakenheath Dingle Great Hill, Westleton Dodd's Wood. Swefling Dunwich Forest Dunwich Heath Dunwich shore pools Eastbridge East Lane, Bawdsey East Lane Lagoons, Bawdsey Easton Broad Erwarton Bay Euston Lake Fagbury Cliff, Trimley St. Mary Falkenham Marshes Felixstowe Docks Felixstowe Ferry Fen Covert, Walberswick Fenstead End, Boxted Ferry Farm, Sudbourne Fisher Row, Oulton Flatford Mill, East Bergholt Flycatcher Alley, Lowestoft Foxhole Heath. Eriswell Fox's Marina, Wherstead Framlingham Mere Fritton Decoy/Lake Fritton Marshes Gedgrave Broom Gedgrave Marshes Gipping Great Wood Gosland Green. Poslingford Grange Farm, Hasketon Greyfriars Wood, Dunwich Grove, The, Felixstowe Hardwick Heath Havergate Island Hazlewood Marshes, Aldeburgh/Friston Hengrave Hall Henham Estate Herringfleet Marshes Heveningham Hall Hill Farm, Chelmondiston Hill Farm, Gipping Holbrook Bay Holbrook Gardens Hollesley Common Hollesley Heath Hollesley Marshes Holly Grove Wood, Covehithe Holton Park Lake Holywells Park, Ipswich Iken Marshes Ipswich Wet Dock

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TL6685 TM484731 TM3663 TM467I TM4768 TM485724 TM452660 TM35440I TM357403 TM518794 TM2333 TL897784 TM270346 TM3138 TM2833 TM3237 TM460728 TL805508 TM445543 TM507927 TM077333 TM551946 TL735776 TMI64418 TM285638 TM4800 TM455005 TM4049 TM410480 TM075625 TL768507 TM247497 TM478702 TM303358 TL854625 TM4147 TM435573 TM824686 TM4577 TM468977 TM350734 TM208374 TM082633 TM1733 TM1736 TM330474 TM3546 TM378452 TM512825 TM404782 TM 175435 TM420565 TM 169439


Kessingland Level Kessingland Sewage Works Kessingland Wildlife Park King's Fleet, Falkenham King's Forest, The Kirkley Fen, Lowestoft Kirkley Ham, Lowestoft Kirton Creek Kirton Road. Trimley St Martin Knettishall Heath Lackford WR Lake Lothing, Lowestoft Lakenheath Warren Landguard Langer Park, Felixstowe Leathes Ham, Lowestoft Levington Creek Levington Lagoon Levington Marina Livermere Lake Long Melford Sewage Works Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin Lound Waterworks Lower Abbey Farm Marshes, Eastbridge Lowestoft Cemetery Lowestoft Harbour Maltings Farm. Rougham Market Weston Fen Martlesham Creek Martlesham Heath Mayday Farm. Brandon Melton Gravel Pits Mildenhall Fen Mildenhall Speedway Stadium Minsmere Needham Market Lake Ness Point, Lowestoft New Fen, Lakenheath Normanston Cemetery, Lowestoft North Denes, Lowestoft Northfield Wood, Onehouse North Stow, King's Forest North Warren, Aldeburgh Nowton Park Nunnery Flood, Thetford Orford Castle Orfordness Orwell Bridge Orwell Estuary Oulton Broad Oval, The, Lowestoft Oxley Marshes, Hollesley Paltry Farm, Great Barton Peewit Hill, Felixstowe Peto's Marsh, Oulton Pinmill, Chelmondiston Pipp's Ford, Coddenham Porter's Wood. Woodbridge Potter's Bridge. Reydon Purdis Heath Ramsholt Marshes Raydon Great Wood Redgrave Lake Red Lodge Warren, Freckenham Reedland Marshes, Dunwich

TM530850 TM533857 TM520860 TM310379 TL8173 TM538921 TM539922 TM292417 TM275385 TL952804 TL800710 TM5392 TL7580 TM2831 TM294336 TM530933 TM237383 TM240385 TM246380 TL882716 TL855459 TM255377 TM501007 TM467655 TM539935 TM5592 TL895628 TL980787 TM2647 TM2445 TL7983 TM292503 TL6678 TL655733 TM4766 TM094548 TM555936 TL701859 TM539935 TM55I951 TM024600 TL820755 TM4658 TL8666I5 TL872815 TM419499 TM4654-3743 TM175413 TM 1641-2534 TM5I92 TM552946 TM370435 TL902691 TM289338 TM497935 TM206380 TM 108538 TM265483 TM509791 TM214428 TM298423 TM055405 TM055767 TL696700 TM483720

Reydon Hall Farm Reydon Marshes Riverside Farm GP, Barking Rookery Golf Course, Carlton Col Sedge Fen, Lakenheath Shingle Street Shotley Marshes Sizewell Belts Sizewell Common Sizewell Levels Sizewell outfall/rig Sizewell Power Station Skillman's Hill. Southwold Slaughden Quay, Aldeburgh Somerleyton Marshes Sotterley Park South Denes. Lowestoft Southwold Boating Lake Southwold Churchyard Southwold Denes Southwold Harbour Southwold Town Marshes Sparrow's Nest, Lowestoft Springlake Fishery, Worlingham Stallode Wash, Lakenheath Staverton Lakes. Wantisden Staverton Park, Wantisden Stradishall Airfield Stour Estuary Sudboume Marshes Sudbury Common Lands Suffolk Water Park, Bramford Sutton Heath Temple Bridge, Icklingham Thetford Heath Thorington Street Reservoir Thorpe Bay, Trimley St. Martin Thorpe Common, Trimley St. Martin Thorpeness Meare Thurston End Pond, Hawkeden Tinker's Marshes. WaJberswick Tide Mill, Woodbridge Trimley Marshes Trinity Hall Farm, Moulton Tuddenham Heath Tunstall Forest Walberswick NNR Walton, Felixstowe Wangford Warren Waveney Forest, Fritton Westleton Sewage Works Westleton Walks West Stow Country Park West Town Park. Haverhill Westwood Marshes, Walberswick Weybread GPs Wherstead Strand Whitecast Marsh, Oulton Wild CatT, Worlingham Wilford Bridge, Melton Wolves Wood. Hadleigh Woodbridge Airbase Worlingham Marshes Wortham Ling

168

TM481783 TM485766 TM 104542 TM498908 TL660844 TM365425 TM248350 TM460638 TM473619 TM4765 TM478630 TM4763 TM507759 TM464555 TM485960 TM460850 TM554943 TM510769 TM507764 TM507753 TM504748 TM500754 TM551944 TM439907 TL6884 TM357515 TM355510 TL7251 TM 1032-2433 TM4553 TL867416 TM 120485 TM308478 TL758728 TL845800 TM011351 TM253375 TM260375 TM4659 TL796514 TM484760 TM276487 TM2635 TL693651 TL7472 TM3954 TM4674 TM2935 TL758842 TG460005 TM442681 TM457679 TL800713 TL655468 TM4773 TM2481 TM 173408 TM508924 TM444909 TM291501 TM055440 TM3349 TM445915 TM0979


23: Pari of a nationwide grapher's

garden

invasimi,

this Arctic Redpoll

appeared

24: Witli Beech masi in short supply, Bramblings

in tlie

photo-

Derek Marsh

at Martlesham.

were hard tofind

in 1996. Stan Dumican


E A R L I E S T A N D LATEST DATES O F S U M M E R M I G R A N T S

Garganey Osprey Hobby Stone-curlew Little Ringed Plover

ARRIVALS Date Locality Mar. 18th Raydon Apr. 10th Minsmere Apr. 20th Covehithe Mar. 21st Aldringham cum Thorpe Mar. 24th Lackford WR

Whimbrel Wood Sandpiper Sandwich Tem Common Tern Arctic Tem Little Tem Black Tern 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

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

5th 5th 21st 30th 16th 15th 16th 20th 9th 12th 23rd 18th 19th 25th 30th 31st 31st 9th 11th 23rd 23rd 21st 9th 9th 15 th 16th 11th 20th 25th 24th 2nd 10th

Suffolk Water Park Minsmere Havergate I. Benacre Broad Multiple sites (see text) Minsmere Lackford WR Haughley Coddenham Minsmere Multiple sites (see text) Bury St Edmunds Multiple sites (see text) Barking Lackford WR Southwold North Warren Minsmere Minsmere Landguard Multiple sites (see text) Ipswich Minsmere Minsmere North Warren Aldringham C o m m o n Landguard Hardwick Heath Wolves Wood Suffolk Water Park Ipswich Stonham Aspal

Notes: * See checklist for details of winter bird(s)

169

DEPARTURES Date lxicality Sep. 15th Alton Water Sep. 26th Livermere Lake Nov. 1st Bawdsey Oct. 15 th Breckland Havergate l./Shingle Sep. 4th Street Havergate I. Oct. 9th Oct. 5th Havergate I. Oct. 24th Covehithe Landguard Oct. 22nd Sep. 14th Sizewell Erwarton Bay Sep. 30th Sep. 20th Lackford W R Landguard Oct. 2nd Sep. 21st Landguard Sep. 7th Landguard Minsmere Sep. 30th Sep. 30th Lowestoft Nov. 3rd Kessingland/Benacre Nov. 16th North Warren Nov. 15th Minsmere Dunwich Oct. 8th Oct. 19th Landguard Oct. Oct. Nov. Oct. Sep. Oct. Oct. Oct. Oct. Oct. Sep. Oct. Oct. Oct.

29th 2nd 8th 30th 18th 4th 22nd 8th 2nd 8th 22nd 5th 5th 14th

Long Melford Havergate I. Minsmere Boyton/Landguard Landguard Landguard Walberswick Pipp's Ford Corton/Landguard Landguard Cotton Bawdsey Felixstowe Landguard


NOTES Night migrants - a whole world to be discovered! Night migration is of course a well known phenomenon amongst birds but we seldom get a chance to witness it. Having spent the evening in the pub with a birding friend in Felixstowe, we were walking back to my house at well after 2300 hours on April 7th 1996 with thoughts on everything but birds. However, always attuned to the calls of birds, we soon picked up the distinctive contact call of Redwings, so often a feature of chilly evenings during migration periods. By the time we arrived at my house, we had also added Fieldfare, Blackbird and Black-headed Gull and after a short while we decided to make a concerted effort to record what was passing over. During a period of just one hour, from midnight to 0100 hrs, the passage of birds was nothing short of extraordinary and, based on the identification of calls, the following rough numbers were logged: Teal 1 call Redshank 5 calls Wigeon c.10 parties Black-headed Gull 50 calls Coot 10 calls Common Gull 10 calls Oystercatcher 1 call Herring/Lesser Black-backed Gull 3 calls Lapwing 3 calls Sandwich Tern 1 party Grey Plover 1 call Redwing constant waves Dunlin 2 calls Fieldfare constant waves Snipe 4 calls Blackbird 100 calls Curlew c.20 parties Song Thrush 50 calls The number of calls heard will only give a clue to the species passing over and, given that the birds are not likely to call constantly but intermittently, the actual number of individual birds passing over can only be guessed at but must have been enormous. Perhaps we would learn more about the nocturnal passage of birds through the County if more birdwatchers could be encouraged to stay late at the pub! Mike Crewe, 29A Quiller Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 7JJ. Collared Dove raping TĂšrtle Dove On the afternoon of September 15th, 1996 I was sitting on a grassy bank in a quiet, secluded corner at Shingle Street, Suffolk, watching a variety of migrants moving through an area of scrub. After a short while, my attention was drawn to the sound of frenzied action coming from the back of a line of bushes close by and I moved to investigate. Upon looking through a gap in the branches with my binoculars, I could see two birds copulating, after which they violently tore at each other's bills. The two birds alternated these two actions three or four more times as I watched and it quickly dawned on me that the birds were not of the same species; the male was a Collared Dove and the female a Turtle Dove. As soon as the Turtle Dove could make its escape it did so and rapidly flew away, its behaviour throughout suggesting that it was playing a somewhat reluctant role in the activity. The Collared Dove was left sitting on the branch, wings outstretched, staring into space as if in a trance. It remained in this position for some time, after which it eventually disappeared. 1 am of the opinion that the Turtle Dove was an unwilling participant and that it was raped by the Collared Dove. Mrs Jean Garrod, 769 Foxhall Road, Ipswich 1P4 5TJ. Hybrid Collared x Turtle Doves have been reported from time to time but it is exceptionally rare to witness such a coupling. What is intriguing is the timing; Collared Doves happily breed all year round if conditions are right but presumably the Turtle Dove was more interested in migrating in September! - Ed. 170


Rarities in Suffolk, 1996 C O L L A R E D PRATINCOLE - S E C O N D FOR SUFFOLK On Saturday, June 8th 1996 I decided to forego the pleasures of Euro 96 and walk north from Dunwich along the beach to the shore pools. I was pleased to find a female Red-backed Shrike and was back at the car park when I heard a Turnstone-like cali overhead which I recognised as a pratincole. I looked round and picked up the bird coming in off the sea at a fair height. It carne lower, passed directly overhead and flew north to settle on the pools from which I had just returned! Cursing, but excited, I quickly walked back up the beach and located it on the ground. Once 1 had got my telescope on it and confirmed it as a Collared - its wings and tail tips fell level - 1 rang Richard Millington at Birdline. He said that the Collared Pratincole recently present at Cley, Norfolk had in fact left earlier in the day, but that it had most of the right-hand side of the tail missing. I hadn't seen this, but finally the bird pumped its tail down revealing that it was the same bird. It showed well for much of the afternoon and evening and I saw it again briefly the following day over Minsmere RSPB reserve. Descríption Size, structure and behaviour: obviously a pratincole; in flight like a cross between a skua and a tern. On the ground about Knot-sized, with long wings and tail, the tips of which fell level, and a hunched neck posture - occasionally in alarm it would bob its head and pump its tail habitually. It did not feed in the air during the time I watched it, but it did run a few paces and pick at prey on the ground in a plover-like way. Plumage: crown, nape, hind-neck, mantle, scapulars, wing coverts and tertials a uniform, mid (olive-grey) brown; the crown, hind-neck and neck sides were distinctly paler and more ochreous. Rump and upper tail coverts white, forming a square patch in flight and also noted when preening. Remiges dark brown with the outer primary possessing a bright white feather shaft, again noted in flight and whilst preening; the white trailing edge to the wing was very worn and was only seen once when it landed on some brown earth. Rectrices black with white edge to outer feather, which was also long, forming a deep fork. Area around eye darker brown - with a small white crescent just visible on the lower rear side, and a dark (black) line ran down from the eye, outlining the yellow-cream chin and throat - the black line on the throat being very thin. The colour of the mantle extended onto the breast to form a sharply demarcated pectoral band, against puré white underparts. In flight, chestnut axillaries and under wing coverts contrasted with the dark remiges and white underbody. Bare parís: bilí short and slightly hooked - blunt-tipped - largely black, but with a crimson base to the lower mandible; eye dark; legs short and dull reddish brown/ black. Brían Small, 20 Willow Green, Worlingworth,

Woodbridge IP13 7LP.

A R C T I C WARBLER - S E C O N D FOR SUFFOLK On September 16th 1996 I was in Suffolk acting as a guide for two birders from Arizona and decided to walk south along the disused railway line from Stirrups Lane at Corton where there had been a number of good birds in recent days. We had gone about 100 métrés when a bird flew into a low Sycamore in front of us. It was the first bird we had seen and my first impression was that it was a medium-sized warbler or a flycatcher. I was therefore surprised to find that it was a Phylloscopus warbler and a brief glimpse revealed a long, prominent supercilium and an obvious wing-bar, suggesting Greenish or Arctic Warbler. A better view of the bill structure and face 171


pattern and orange legs confirmed that it was the latter. We watched the bird for about two minutes before it flew into trees on the left of the path and was lost. I telephoned Birdline East Anglia and set off to find Brian Brown and family who we had met earlier. Together we relocated the bird in nearby oaks and Sycamores about 25 minutes later. It was present until 18th, showing well on occasions but also proving elusive at other times. Description Structure and behaviour: a rather big-looking, bulky 'Phyllosc ' with a large head. Bill longish, heavy, broad-based, bluntish, dark grey with most of the lower mandible pale orange. Legs and feet quite bright orange (in excellent light conditions). Typical Phylloscopus movements and feeding action, with rapid movements and occasionai hovering. Upperparts: bright greeny-olive. Very obvious whitish wing-bar extending across most or ail greater covert tips. One or two median coverts also tipped pale, giving a hint of a second wing-bar. Tertials plain. Wings quite long, with primary projection over half the length of the exposed tertials, recalling Willow Warbler rather than Chiffchaff. Head pattern striking; supercilium very prominent, long, whitish, extending from the base of the lower mandible to the rear of the ear coverts, more or less even in width and tending to kink upwards at the rear in most postures. Prominent dark eye-stripe from the eye to the rear of the ear coverts. Ear coverts quite heavily blotched and speckled dark olive, especially towards the rear. Underparts: slightly dirty off-white, looking cleaner towards the rear, especially on under-tail coverts. John Archer, 2 Porson Court, Loampit Vale, London SEI3

7BJ.

B O O T E D WARBLER - FIRST FOR SUFFOLK On September 3rd 1996 I spent the morning following my usuai route around my locai patch, Gorleston Golf Course. There had been a run of scarcer migrants along the Norfolk and Suffolk coasts over the previous few days, including Wrynecks, Barred Warbiers and Red-backed Shrikes. Despite my initial optimism however, the patch was depressingly quiet. I still had one last area to check - the cliffs below the golf course - and I set off to do so with little enthusiasm. Half way along, two Whinchats appeared and, relieved to have a couple of new migrants, I decided to settle for that and head for home. As I began to walk away I got a brief glimpse of a very pale brown warbler, flying over the lupins that cover much of the cliffs. I quietly crouched down at the edge of the lupins and let the bird slowly come to me, not really sure what to expect. As it revealed itself, very close and in excellent light, I was surprised at what I saw. The most immediately obvious features were the clean, very pale brown upper parts, a pale pink bill and a pale supercilium. This, combined with the square-ended tail, short wings and a well-defined, thin, dark border to the top of the supercilium, had me nervously thinking Booted Warbler. I spent the next fifteen minutes watching the bird and checking the relevant features. Although obviously a Hippolais warbler, it was quite suggestive of a Phylloscopus in size and structure. However, the pinkish bill, with dark culmen and tip was more solid looking and the upper parts were very pale brown, fitting the 'milky tea' description perfectly. The exception to this was the rump which was a slightly warmer tone, and the darker tertial centres and alula. Unusually for a Hippolais, Booted Warbler's supercilium extends beyond the eye and in certain postures it flared wider behind the eye. Along the top edge of the supercilium was a thin but distinct dark line. There was also a thin dark eye-stripe. 172


Although not always easy to see, the outer tail feathers were off-white. Together with the short primary projection and pale pink legs, these features left me in no doubt of the bird's identification. I telephoned Birdline to say I was confident I had found a Booted Warbier and waited impatiently for people to arrive. Still present the next day, the bird showed well to many birders over the two dates. The third of a total of six in Britain during August and September, it feil within the Watsonian vice-county of East Suffolk and is the first record for the County. Dave Jupp

C R E S T E D LARK - FIRST FOR SUFFOLK At around lunch time on October 2nd 1996 a lark ran across the entrance road at Landguard in front of my car which I recognised as obviously a Crested or Thekla Lark. M Grantham and N Odin were on the scene within 30 seconds and we watched the bird down to about 20 metres until 4pm, although the bird was absent for a while during this time. Thekla Lark was ruled out on bill shape, extent of streaking and underwing and upperpart colour. Description Structure: a bulky lark, obviously larger than Skylark and approaching Song Thrush in size. Thick-set body, large bill, short tail and head with crest made for a distinctive jizz. Larger-headed than Skylark and with a longer neck than Woodlark. Primary projection, one of the first features checked, was very short with what looked like just one primary tip emerging from beneath the cloaking tertials. In flight, short tail, broad, rounded wings and heavy ehest gave it a Woodlark-like appearance. When alert, the bird would appear more slender. Behaviour: the bird fed on short turf and on tarmac around a car park and along a road. It would frequently run short distances, stop, look around and, if safe, would feed. Often it would settle in one place and would appear to be scraping the ground in a similar manner to a Blackbird in leaves. Whilst doing this it would stop and look around for danger. Quite a tame bird but flighty; it covered over 2km during observations. Calls: when flushed it made a soft, quiet two-note 'me-me' cali, similar in tone to Woodlark. Also gave a louder and fluty trisyllabic 'do-de-de ' cali, both from the ground and in flight; again quite Woodlark-like in quality. It was heard to give a snatch of sub-song from the ground on one occasion. This was more melodie than Skylark's song. I have heard Crested Larks give these calls many times before with the trisyllabic cali the most frequent. I have heard Theklas before but, to my ears, they sound almost identical to Crested. Bill: Bulkier than Skylark's; stout-based but going to a fine point. The culmen was curved throughout its length with the tip of the upper mandible forming a slight hook due to it being slightly longer than the lower mandible. Length between 1.5 and 2 times the loral length. In profile the lower edge was fairly straight but when viewed from behind it appeared slightly concave. When viewed from head-on there appeared to be a hint of a gonys. Dark grey upper mandible with a brownish-flesh cutting edge. Lower mandible brownish-flesh with diffuse, dark grey tip. Legs and feet: Dull flesh coloured. Quite thick and strong-looking and at times appeared short in proportion to the bird's bulk. Eye: Dark iris. Pale sandy eyering. Head: Forehead, crown and nape sandy grey brown with slightly darker grey flecking. Crest on rear crown consisted of only two or three longer feathers on left 173


side (others broken or moulted?). These were darker and browner in colour. The crest was always held depressed. Dark grey loral line and eyestripe, the latter fairly distinct. Dark buff supraloral spot with diffuse edges. Pale sandy supercilium merged with eyering and extended back from eye; very slightly upturned and pointed at rear. Upper edge of supercilium bordered with dark grey. Ear coverts pale sandy grey-brown and flecked with darker grey. Bold dark grey moustachial line extended down from lores with a dark grey line extending out from the moustachial on to the upper ear coverts, following the curve of the eyering and meeting the eye line behind the eye. Chin and throat contrastingly cleaner and whiter than rest of underparts. A bold, triangular, dark grey malar stripe appeared not to join the base of the bill. It stopped well short of the breast and, with the moustachial, formed the most prominent facial features. Underside: Washed pale tawny buff, darker on rear flanks. Breast boldly streaked/ spotted with diffuse dark grey blotches, forming a gorget enclosing the whiter chin and throat. Centre of breast a little more heavily marked than the sides with streaking finishing in a fairly neat pectoral band on the lower breast. Ill-defined brownish streaking on the flanks. Upperparts: Pale sandy grey-brown as head. Darker grey feather centres created a lightly streaked appearance to mantle, neck, sides of neck and rump. Upper tail coverts similar but perhaps a shade darker with more extensive grey feather centres but perhaps due to shadowing from wings. Scapulars with diffuse grey brown centres and broad, pale sandy grey-brown fringes, cloaking most of the lesser coverts. Wings: Appeared slightly darker and browner than mantle. Lesser coverts much as mantle with darker grey centres and pale, sandy grey-brown fringes. Median coverts darker and browner with bold, pale sandy tips, creating a weak wing bar. Greater coverts with diffuse darker centres with dull sandy fringes. Closed secondaries had sandy brown fringes and a single dark grey/black primary tip extended beyond the tertials. In flight the primaries and secondaries appeared to be fairly uniform grey brown with no white trailing edge to the secondaries. Dark brown centres to tertials with black shaft streaks, broad pale, sandy fringes to the tips and lower edge and a narrower, slightly warmer fringe to the upper edges. In some lights, the brown of the tertials appeared to have a hint of rufous towards the tip. Underwing appeared to have a warm brown or buff tone but was only visible briefly in flight. Tail: Only the central feathers visible at rest, these being dark grey/black with narrow, diffuse, paler grey-brown edges. In flight the central feathers contrasted with the paler, pinky-buff outer feathers. Tail quite short and appeared rounded at the tip in flight. Paul Holmes, The Bungalow, Landguard Point, View Point Road, Felixstowe IP 11 8TW

RUSTIC B U N T I N G - THIRD FOR SUFFOLK At about 3pm on September 14th 1996, Chris Allen found a Rustic Bunting along the disused rail track at Corton. I arrived at the site about three hours later and joined the small group of birders waiting for the bird to show. It eventually did so after about half an hour but it was well after 7pm when it finally gave good views in a hawthorn bush. It could easily be located by its call, which many present thought resembled that of a Song Thrush. It remained until dusk but after a clear night it couldn't be found the next morning. Description Bare parts: eyes black with a faint, pale grey eye-ring. Legs dark pink. Bill long, pale grey with a darker tip. 174


Upperparts: chin/throat off white, unstreaked. Malar stripe pale brown merging into rufous markings on lower end. Sub-moustachial stripe broad, pale yellow, reaching from bill to far down on nape then bending up to meet lower edge of supercilium behind eye. Moustachial stripe poorly marked towards bill but well-marked at rear of ear coverts, joining up with eye-stripe. Ear covert spot pale yellow framed black; rest of ear coverts brown. Eye-stripe blackish behind eye, lores unmarked. Supercilium broad, pale yellow; long, dropping down at the rear. Lateral crown stripe brown with darker flecking. Median crown stripe pale brown flecked grey. Mantle, wing coverts, tertials and remiges brown with dark grey centres. Median coverts edged white forming an obvious wing-bar. Tail brown. Nape unstreaked rusty brown. Underparts: rufous flecking extended down from malar stripes on to flanks in two obvious lines and also continued across breast to form a pectoral band. Belly, vent and undertail coverts white. Ricky Fairhead, 8 Sharon Drive, Lowestoft NR32

4EE.

W E S T E R N BONELLI'S WARBLER - SECOND* FOR SUFFOLK October 2nd 1996 was one of those mornings when everything happens all at once for no apparent reason! Paul Holmes had just found a Crested Lark, which had disappeared into the Felixstowe dock complex, and I was hastily furling nets in the bird observatory so that I could go and help in the search. As I reached the last net I saw a small Phylloscopus warbler in the bottom shelf. In a breathless state, and assuming it to be another Chiffchaff, I negotiated the steps to where the bird hung. It soon became apparent that this was no Chiffchaff, or Willow Warbler, as I was greeted with the brightest and cleanest underparts I had ever seen! As I picked the bird out of the net I thought to myself (disbelievingly) 'this is a Bonelli's' However, the thought of two major rarities on site simultaneously was surely too much to expect. I bagged the bird and took it back to the observatory for a more considered identification. After ringing the Brambling and Chiffchaff with which I had come back, I took the final bird out of the bag and its stunning looks hadn't changed at all - it was indeed a Bonelli's! I called PJH who was madly releasing news of the Crested Lark, and he promptly came into the ringing room and was equally amazed by what he saw. Nigel Odin phoned to say that the Crested Lark had been refound on the reserve but this was soon abandoned as others began to arrive to see the Bonelli's Warbler. By this time a hasty wing formula check had confirmed that the bird was a Western Bonelli's and the additional news was put out to the various birdlines. Due to the welcome reappearance of the lark and the warbler's meagre weight, it was quickly processed and a brief in-the-hand description taken; it was then released at the front of the observatory. In the hand the bright green fringing to the remiges was very evident, though less so on the tertials and immediately suggested a bird of the western species. This, along with a short (61mm), rounded (2nd primary=6/7th) wing and calls heard subsequently all served to eliminate Eastern Bonelli's Warbler P. orientalis to the satisfaction of all concerned. The bird was aged as a first-year by virtue of its very pointed tail feathers and their obvious growth bars. The tail feathers were similarly edged almost lime green. The rump was not as bright as expected, though still contrasted noticeably with the mantle, especially when the bird was seen to hover when leaf-gleaning. The face did not have a text-book 'open' expression but was nonetheless rather featureless. The supercilium was well-marked, though the very pale grey lores emphasised this more behind the eye. An unbroken eye-ring was obvious in the hand, less so in the field. The bill was decidedly long, noticeable even in the field, giving the bird a very flat, long-headed appearance. The lower mandible was wholly pale brown, as was the 175


cutting edge of the upper mandible with the remainder of the bill being dark brown. The legs were intermediate in colour between Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, being quite dark on the sides and dull yellow on the front and back. The legs were also remarkably long, looking very gangly in the field. The bird remained around the compound until October 25th, spending the majority of its time in the tamarisk and holm oaks along the seaward side of the area and being appreciated by many observers. During routine netting, it was retrapped several times, giving an interesting insight into its activity as it progressively laid down fat reserves, though mysteriously losing weight at the same time. In the field, the bird gave a jewellike appearance, almost glowing when in direct sunlight! On several mornings it was quite vocal, giving a 'hu-weet' call similar to Willow Warbler, though slightly harsher and less disyllabic, often being almost reminiscent of Greenfinch call. Occasionally, it was also heard to give a single 'tic' note, though this may have just been an odd contact call. Mark Grantham,

Landguard

Bird Observatory,

Viewpoint Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP 11 8TW.

* Although this is the fourth "Bonelli's Warbler" to be recorded in Suffolk, it is only the second to be accepted as Western Bonelli's Warbler - please see Systematic List for details - Ed.

176


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 Ail records required B Birds confirmed breeding or holding territory C Counts of roosts, flocks or movements D Detailed description required to substantiate claim (forms available from County Recorders) E Earliest and latest dates (for summer and winter migrants) I Inland records required IN Notes required to support inland claims M Migration or weather-related movements N Brief notes required (how bird was identified, view, distance, etc.) W Ail winter records required In addition, ail claims of National rarities should, of course, be accompanied by a full description, preferably submitted to the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC) via the County Recorder(s). The reason for this is to enable the Recorder(s) to be aware of what claims are being submitted, so as to keep ail county records in order. It is not the rôle of the County Recorder(s) to prejudge any records sent through them to BBRC. Remember, if in doubt as to the value of any record of any species, please send it in! Red-throated Diver Black-throated Diver Great Northern Diver Little Grebe Great Crested Grebe Red-necked Grebe Slavonian Grebe Black-necked Grebe Fulmar Cory's Shearwater Great Shearwater Sooty Shearwater Manx Shearwater Storm Pétrel Leach's Petrel Gannet Cormorani 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 Bamacle Goose

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

Brent Goose Egyptian Goose Shelduck Mandarin Wigeon Gadwall Teal Mallard Pintail Garganey Shoveler Red-crested Pochard Pochard Ring-necked Duck Fermginous 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

177

CMI A BCI N BCIM BC BCM BC 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

Buzzard Rough-legged Buzzard Osprey Kestrel Merlin Hobby Peregrine Red-legged Partridge Grey Partridge Quail Pheasant Golden Pheasant Water Rail Spotted Crake Corncrake Moorhen Coot Crâne Oystercalcher 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

A N A BCM A A A B A N B A A D D BC BC D BCI A A A BCI D N C CI BC CI A A N D


Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Buff-breasted Sandpiper Ruff Jack Snipe Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Gcxlwii Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew Spotted Redshank Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Turnstone Red-necked Phalarope Grey Phalarope Pomarine Skua Arctic Skua Long-tailed Skua Great Skua Mediterranean Gull Little Gull Sabine's Gull Black-headed Gull Ring-billed Gull Common Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Hemng Gull Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Great Black-backed Gull Kittiwake Sandwich Tem Roseate Tem Common Tern Arctic Tem Little Tem Black Tern Guillemot Razorbill Black Guillemot Little Auk Puffin Ferai Pigeon Stock Dove Wood Pigeon Collared Dove Turtle Dove Ring-necked Parakeet Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl

A AIN CI D A A BC A BCI A A BC A BC A A A A CI D N N AIN D AIN A A D BC D BC BC BC N N BC BCI BCEI D BCEI A BCEI A AIN AIN D AIN N BC BCM BCM BC BCE A BE A A A

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 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

178

A A A BCE A D N A A A A D A BCM A BCE BCE BCE D D A BCM AIN N BCE A BC A D BC BC BC BE D A A A A A A BMC CEM BCM CEM BC N A D D BCE D BCE D D D D BCE BCE

Garden Warbler Blackcap Pallas's Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Crested Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Golden Oriole Red-backed Shrike Great Grey Shrike Woodchat Shrike Jay Magpie Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Raven Starling House Sparrow Tree Span-ow 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 Com Bunting

BCE BCEW D D N BCW BCE BC A BCE D A A BC BC A D BC BC BC A A N A A D BCM BC BCM BCM BCM D BCM BCM A BCM A D BCM BCM BCM BCM AIN BCM A D BCM A N AIN BCM D D D BCM A


Landguard Bird Observatory, 1996 Michael

James

January The view from the top of the observatory's 36 steps on New Year's Day wasn't an improvement on any other area in south-east Suffolk as thick fog hampered the recording. Several such days marked the first half of the month, before strong northeasterlies set in, plunging daytime temperatures below freezing. Towards the month's end, Landguard was carpeted with thick snow and an influx of Fieldfares came just ahead of this cold weather. Over two thousand arrived off the sea in the Felixstowe area on 10th and, like Redwings, were present daily on site in small numbers for the next three months. Other cold-weather birds were evident during this wintry spell; twelve Snow Buntings were present on 20th whilst a Waxwing was trapped on 17th and four more flew south on 27th. Offshore, wildfowl movements were light, featuring modest numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Pintail and Pochard but 33 Goosander on 2nd, and a month total of 20 Scaup and 24 White-fronted Geese were noteworthy. Single Red-throated and Black-throated Divers were recorded also. Two Mediterranean Gulls were present throughout the month along the beach where the occasional Sanderling and Purple Sandpiper were to be noted. The only noteworthy movement was on 29th when 90 Meadow Pipits and 82 Skylarks passed south over the Landguard snow fields. In and around the ringing compound up to three Woodcock secreted themselves, as did a Ring Ouzel in the first few days of this month. February The cold relented after the first week but by then, the damage had been done to the Wren population - there was to be no breeding this year as a result. Temperatures dipped to bitterly cold briefly again from 19th to 22nd. On the first of these dates, which was marked by driving snow showers, large numbers of Kittiwakes headed into strong northerlies, along with a total of nine Red-throated Divers and the month's peak count of Wigeon (75). Single Guillemots were noted on two dates and two to three Red-breasted Mergansers were seen mid-month. The itinerant Ringed Plover roost was half of January's 200. Two Knot on 9th and a Shag added a little variety to the shoreline activity which was otherwise similar to last month. Predictably, small birds were few but single Brambling and Yellowhammer along with a couple of Siskins and Reed Buntings were logged. Meadow Pipits returned on 20th and Linnets also reappeared after 26th. March Cold northerly and easterly air flows dominated this month and held back the first intrepid migrants, along with the optimism of the ringers. However, light winds midway through the third week allowed some movement, notably on 18th when 80 Blackbirds, 20 Redwings, ten Song Thrushes, two Black Redstarts, two Stonechats and the first Chiffchaff of the year appeared. On the following day an early Sand Martin passed through but Goldcrests were few, and there were no Firecrests to brighten the proceedings. A mild, foggy day on 23rd produced the first Wheatears while another influx of thrushes on the next day included 75 Blackbirds and helped to boost the ringing total for the month. Linnet numbers continued to rise slowly, then steadily, in the last week. Offshore there was a light northerly passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Redthroated Divers (including ten on 15th) and a total of 923 Brent Geese. There were a 179


few oddities, a Bullfinch on 6th being the first of only two site records for the year and a Woodcock carne in off the sea on 5th. Aprii After the false promises of the previous month it was time for some serious speculation, and such hopes were fuelled by a pulse of warm air after the middle of the month. Some migrants returned early with Reed Warbler on 16th, Whitethroat on l l t h , Hobby on 22nd and Swift the next day. However, warbler numbers were generally low. The first Blackcap arrived on 7th, the first Willow Warbler two days later, but neither of these - nor Garden Warbler, Whitethroat or Lesser Whitethroat achieved double figures on any one day. The first Redstart was a fine male on 16th and a female followed on 23rd. Black Redstarts were seen almost daily, a peak count of ten being recorded twice in the first half of the month, while the highest Wheatear count of the spring was 17, on two dates in the second half of the month. Firecrests were seen on nine dates, and eight Goldcrests on 14th proved to be the spring peak for that species. In contrast, thrush numbers were unusually high for April. Light and variable winds on 9th saw 450 Redwings on the move with 150 Blackbirds on site. Two days later there were 125 Redwings and 50 Fieldfares, along with the only Ring Ouzel of the spring. Further 'firsts' passed through the site with typical urgency - Sandwich Tern (7th), Swallow and Yellow Wagtail (8th), Tree Pipit (15th), Whimbrel (16th), Common Tern (20th), House Martin (23rd), Turtle Dove (24th) and Little Tern the next day. Other movements were equally evident. A total of 413 Brent Geese headed north, 336 of them on 7th when a Black-necked Grebe was offshore. Long-eared Owls were seen on three dates and a Velvet Scoter flew south on 25th. The last Bramblings were seen on 1 Ith, and the only Tree Sparrow of the period was noted on 2Ist. May This cold month failed to produce the kind of weather that spontaneously generates good numbers of migrants and Landguard ringers could have been forgiven for thinking that the spring migrants were side-stepping them. However, chance favours the prepared and the patient. A Melodious Warbler, only Landguard's third, was trapped early on the morning of 30th as a pulse of warm air arrived from the southeast. Those who patrolled the common were also handsomely rewarded with the site's second Short-toed Lark on 21 st. A Grasshopper Warbler was grounded under the grey skies of a damp and drizzly 24th - the type of conditions that have ringers approaching each net with expectation. The overall picture though was one of few common migrants. Willow Warbler numbers peaked at 15 on 13th, and no other warbler approached that modest figure. The first Spotted Flycatcher appeared on 13th, and the first of a handful of Pied Flycatchers was seen on 17th. The last Fieldfare was recorded on the first day of the month, along with the last Red-throated Diver of the period. On May Ist, accompanied by light easterlies, the best sea passage took place. A total of 84 Gannets, 81 Common Scoters, 14 Arctic Terns, 202 Common Terns, 60 Little Terns and a Black-throated Diver headed north. There were other interesting sea-birds too - a Long-tailed Skua on 30th was the site's first ever spring record, whilst an Arctic Skua on 19th was the first of the year. Just offshore a lingering group of Eider rose to 11 before dispersing. The warm southerly air-flow that provided the Melodious Warbler at the month's end also produced the fore-runners of the unprecedented Painted Lady influx, 50 of which graced the reserve on 31 st. 180


June With the large high-pressure system toppling eastwards slowly over central Europe in the first week, the subsequent southerly winds pulled in further insects of interest. An impressive 1857 Diamond-back moths and 52 Silver-Y were counted in the moth traps inside the observatory compound on 8th, and over 90 Painted Ladies were recorded the following day. Three Clouded Yellow sightings coincided with this period too. However, there were no major surprises amongst the birds encountered. Wader movements were apparent on some dates, featuring small numbers of Lapwing and Curlew, with the occasionai Grey Piover. Redshank, and Bar-tailed Godwit; two Avocets were recorded on three dates. The final Brent Geese (3) passed by on 9th, and a Grey Wagtail flew south on 13th. A male Firecrest was present on 17 dates. The biggest single movement involved 3054 Swifts which carne in off the sea in the first few hours after dawn on 29th during a fresh north-westerly. Along the beach. Little Tern numbers declined from 25 at the start of the month to just two at the end, indicating another failed season. Breeding species on site experienced mixed fortunes; it was a good year for Ringed Plovers, which, unlike the Little Terns, avoided the attentions of the pair of Magpies that bred on site for the first time. Four Wheatears held territory, but only two juveniles were evident. Herring Gull was another addition to the list - but their two young failed to survive. July Opening the nets and ringing birds from dawn onwards in June and July is a necessary but generally fruitless and thankless task, and those 36 steps aren't tackled with the same anticipation as in subsequent months. In fact only two warblers were caught this month - a Whitethroat and a Willow Warbier. The reward for such persistence however carne in the form of a scarlet Common Rosefinch on 8th, feeding on the sunflower seeds in the Heligoland trapping area, amongst the House Sparrows. As the month wore on signs of the turn in the year became more apparent. A total of 57 Sand Martins headed south in the last ten days, and the first returning Yellow Wagtails scurried over the now parched plains of the common before moving on. Amongst these were a few Black Redstarts and Wheatears, including juveniles of each at the month's end. Offshore movement carried on in a similar vein to June with the addition of small numbers of Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and Turnstone along with 46 Whimbrel on 28th. Common Scoter also reappeared in small numbers including three lingerers around the jetty. An Arctic Skua, a couple of Gannets and a few Eiders, Teal and Shelduck compieteci the picture. Silver-Y continued to turn up in increasingly large numbers, especially in the last week when thousands could be seen dancing around the dock lighting towers before the sun rose. Maiden's Blush, Dotted Fan-foot and Miller were amongst the additions to the Landguard moth list as the light traps became busier still. August On the first day of the month a juvenile Marsh Harrier flew south over the common and received a volley of mobbings from the locai birds. Six Carrion Crows took up the pursuit, but their efforts were less impressive than those of the pair of Oystercatchers which were unyielding in the defence of their sole offspring. Another stranger that aroused the displeasure of the locai gulis was the Night Heron that flew over the reserve and out to sea on 12th. 181


A total of 1038 birds was ringed this month, and 170 Willow Warblers featured significantly in this figure. Most of these warblers were caught on 15th when at least 100 were present, gracing the Tamarisk bushes. Amongst them that day were the month's three Wood Warblers. Arriving in a short spell of easterly winds came an exceptionally early adult Icterine Warbler on 6th, a pleasing discovery on an otherwise quiet ringing day. A Grasshopper Warbler on 28th added further variety to the ringing totals. Several species were notable by their absence however, especially the Acrocephalus and Sylvia warblers. A mere four records of Sedge Warbler was poor, but worse still was the single Reed Warbler. There were no Cuckoos this month, and no Nightingales - all year! Happily, Pied Flycatchers played their part, and were recorded on 16 dates, with a maximum of three on 23rd. The latter date saw the best seawatch of the month. Strong south-easterly winds and heavy rain lashed the common on a thoroughly foul morning, and birds were passing, mostly close inshore, from first light. From the relative comfort of the somewhat damp observatory headquarters totals of 660 Bar-tailed Godwit, 340 Common Terns, six Arctic Terns, 13 Black Terns, 136 Grey Plover, 120 Knot and 21 Fulmar were logged heading south. Kinder conditions allowed the passage of less hardy migrants; totals of 848 Sand Martins, 416 House Martins, 109 Yellow Wagtails (with a maximum of 27 on 27th) and 690 Swifts were counted south-bound. With them went two Tree Pipits (28th), a Grey Wagtail (22nd) and an early Siskin (11th). Other movements offshore involved 152 Common Scoters and 29 Greenshank on 6th, and month totals of 73 Whimbrel, 299 Oystercatcher and 90 Little Terns. Arctic Skuas were recorded on six dates with a cluster of sightings just amounting to double figures as the month closed. Scarce Bordered Straw, Small Mottled Willow, Gem, Reed Dagger and Balsam Carpet were the prize finds amongst the moth traps. September Landguard's pageant of migrants continued to gather momentum in this dry month when winds were mostly light. Migration addicts enjoyed the spectacle of hirundines, finches, waders, wildfowl and seabirds passing through in varying numbers, and also witnessed the appearances of the hoped-for scarcities. A juvenile Sabine's Gull sheltered on the beach during the only brief period of strong (north-easterly) winds on 19th. On the following day an Ortolan Bunting was located, and it, or another, was seen on 22nd. A Barred Warbler was also present on this latter date, as was a Water Rail in the Heligoland trapping area. The week following these significant winds saw an influx of Robins, with 60 on 20th and 90 on 25th, and of continental Coal Tits, with a maximum of eight on 21st-22nd. The arrival of Siskins was also apparent in the last ten days when the bulk of the month's 456 bounced through. A mini-peak of six Goldcrests also fitted into this sequence of events. Six Firecrests were present during 17th-18th and some of these birds lingered. The influence of these winds was also apparent in the arrival of several other species. The first Redwing and Brambling appeared on 20th, along with the month peak of Chaffinches (30) and Song Thrushes (25) but the number of Redstarts was perhaps fewer than expected with a peak of eight whilst Wheatears peaked at 15. Earlier in the month two juvenile Red-backed Shrikes showed well, followed by a Wryneck which put in an appearance mid-month. Less expected was another Grasshopper Warbler present at the same time. Perhaps most unusual of all was the Nightjar seen over the reserve on two successive evenings (6th and 7th). As autumn continued to ferment itself, the peak numbers of Swallows headed south. In a month's total of 5687 the best day was 15th when 1721 were logged, along with the final Swift. House Martin and Sand Martin passage also climaxed this month 182


with 2932 and 380 respectively. Five sightings of Hobby were logged with the hirundines and both Hobby and Merlin occurred together on 28th, watching the variety of moving targets. Wagtails and pipits featured heavily on the daily log sheets. Tree Pipits were recorded on 14 dates, involving 33 birds. while the month total of 2911 Meadow Pipits included 960 on 30th. The first Rock Pipit appeared on 20th and a steady stream of wagtails resulted in totals of 79 Yellow, 35 Grey and 61 Pied. Movements of warblers through the site continued in an unspectacular trickle, while a total Linnet count of 1796 was easily the highest of the finch passage. Seawatchers monitoring offshore events were able to muster a Red-necked Grebe flying south on 28th, but the unremarkable winds meant that most records fell into the 'expected' category. Two Arctic Terns, 11 Arctic Skuas and two Little Gulls stood out, and the first returning Brent Geese passed by on 8th. The biggest movements occurred on 5th when 45 Gannets flew north and 390 Teal flew south, and on 21st when 622 Wigeon and 31 Pintail went south. The moth traps became less hectic, but interesting species continued to be lured. Red Sword-grass, Black Rustie, White Point and another Scarce Bordered Straw were the most notable. October Always a month with a bit of history to it, October lived up to its expectations right from the outset. Britain's first Crested Lark for 14 years was found running around the access road in front of the observatory on 2nd, and within the hour a Western Bonelli's Warbler was found just yards away inside the compound. The Crested Lark disappeared temporarily, to be relocated on the Manor Terrace car park. Hasty telephone calls went out to incredulous listeners, some of whom were able to get there in time. The lark thoroughly entertained its audience of 100 or so as it scurried around the tarmac and adjoining common before it flitted off towards the town. As the dust settled, and TV cameras arrived with the late-comers, the site was strewn with hundreds of birders experiencing the usuai range of emotions. The Western Bonelli's Warbler, however, must have made it on to everyone's particular list, as it daintily fed in the Tamarisk bushes on the southern end of the 'Icky' ridge in warm evening sunlight, staying until 25th. Exactly a week after the Crested Lark was first found, it turned up again, briefly, and was witnessed by a few observers - and a coachful of locai school children on a field trip! That evening saw the discovery of Landguard's second only Cetti's Warbler, which skulked and tantalised before revealing its identity. On the same day 460 Redwings, 90 Song Thrushes and 90 Bramblings arrived, along with a Shore Lark. The other end of the month also witnessed Landguard at its best. The 30th was a day of big movements with a staggering 13,145 Woodpigeons counted in huge, high flocks. As these passed south, thrushes also chose this day to make their move, and poured in off the sea some low over the water, most tumbling out of the sky and into the bushes around the observers. In ali, 2,670 Redwings, 672 Fieldfares and 400 Blackbirds were logged along with a Richard's Pipit, five Woodlark, seven Twite, 24 Reed Buntings, three Lapland Buntings, 369 Goldfinches and 148 Chaffinches. The last one of the autumn's few Ring Ouzels was also on site. An array of departure dates was finalised with the last of the 'common' warblers mostly logged in the first week, including a Sedge Warbler on 4th, which was late, whilst similarly tardy was a Pied Flycatcher on 14th. Other dates were: Turtle Dove, Spotted Flycatcher and Tree Pipit (2nd), Redstart (12th), Sand Martin (14th) and Yellow Wagtail (19th). A poor year for Goldcrests on site was confirmed with the sporadic appearances of one to three birds and numbers of Firecrests were similar. Goldfinch and Linnet numbers eventually totalled 4,219 and 3,268 respectively. 183


There was much finger-pointing towards the Tamarisk bushes as the winds switched to the south-east briefly on 17th, and the first of three Pallas's Warblers arrived in an eight-day speli. There were a further six records of continental Coal Tit - one had a Dutch ring! Other 'controls' included a Belgian Garden Warbler and a Swedish Starling as well as Dutch Robin and Blackbird. Three Long-eared Owls hid themselves typically, and a Short-eared Owl carne in off the sea on 23rd. Seawatching wasn't neglected during ali this activity. Totals of ten Little Auks, three Red-necked Grebes, a Peregrine and a Pomarine Skua were picked out amongst the month's 6,493 Brent Geese, 1,406 Wigeon, 173 Pintail, 38 Red-breasted Merganser, nine Red-throated Divers and 608 Teal. November Providing the chemistry in the sky is favourable, November has ampie time to produce special birds and mass avian movements. The first of these turned out to be an Asiatic stray in the form of another Pallas's Warbler - found after a morning of rain and light northerly winds on lOth. Prior to this the Woodpigeon migration continued, with a total of 18,934. Half of these were counted on 8th, as great flocks continued to drift south and mixed in this passage were 593 Stock Doves. Movements of finches tailed off slowly, with 821 Goldfinches, a similar number of Linnets, and progressively fewer Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Siskins. Small numbers of Bramblings, Redpolls, Reed Buntings and a single Yellowhammer were also caught up in the final throes of this migration. Six Snow Buntings flew south on 7th and two Twites were noted on 1 st. Crossing paths with the final Swallows (9th) and House Martins (13th) were a number of incoming migrants. A total of 2,336 Starlings carne in off the sea, along with four Woodcock, a Short-eared Owl, a total of 28 Bewick's Swans and a good sample of thrushes. The best date for these was on l l t h , a foggy day, when 250 Blackbirds, 110 Redwings and ten Song Thrushes were present. Two Great Northern Divers, 15 Little Auks, two White-fronted Geese and a good passage of Little Gulls (including 45 on 12th) added further interest to the daily log sheets, along with single records of Merlin and ringtail Hen Harrier. Light to moderate winds were the norm for this month, firstly from a mild and damp south-westerly direction, before a more northerly element began to nudge temperatures down. Wildfowl movements were, as a result, unspectacular but a few Goldeneye and Red-breasted Mergansers punctuated the regular Brent Geese, Teal, Wigeon and Shelduck. December The year ended with temperatures steadily dropping to freezing point and below. In particular the last eleven days saw biting northerly and easterly winds and forced the movement of some wildfowl. A total of 98 Shelduck headed south in this cold period, and movements of 145 Brent Geese (20th), ten Pintail, 23 Eider (21st), 17 Snipe (27th) and 19 Pochard were not unrelated to the harsh conditions. A gathering of 27 Cormorants on 27th was the highest of the year. A Red-necked Grebe flew south on Christmas Day, and another moved likewise three days later. Single records of Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and Gannet were logged along with an impressive Great Skua which followed a locai fishing boat inshore on lOth. Mediterranean Gulls continued their almost daily presence throughout the year with records of up to three adults during this month, but a range of ages during the previous eleven months gave ampie evidence of an interesting turnover of individuals. 184


The year began with one being caught amongst a gang of Black-headed Gulls, and another was ringed this month in similar circumstances. Hot tea from the kitchen kept observers warm, but there was little comfort for a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff (each seen on four dates), along with the occasional Woodcock, Snow Bunting, Fieldfare and Redwing as the cold tightened its grip. As the month drew to its close, hefty wintry showers rolled in off the sea, leaving Landguard under snow. Mike James, 296 Walton High Street, Felixstowe

Blackcap

185

IP 11 9EB


1996 Suffolk Ringing Report Mike Marsh and Tony Hurrell The cold weather in May greatly reduced the breeding success of most passerine species, and this was reflected by a greatly reduced ringing total for the County in 1996. Just over 29,000 birds were ringed which is about 7,000 (c.20%) down on the 1995 total and nearly 14,000 (c.33%) down on the figure for 1994 when ringing at Fagbury Cliff was at its peak. It was the first time since 1991 that the annual ringing total had fallen below 30,000 birds. Although the overall total was well down, it was not a bad year for all species. For instance, sixty Sparrowhawks were ringed, the highest number since the County's ringing totals were first published in 1986. In that year only two were ringed, followed by singletons in 1987 and 1988. It was also a much better year for wader ringing with the ringing totals for Dunlin and Redshank, 1,045 and 340 respectively, being well above average. Other wader catches worthy of note were 22 Curlew Sandpipers (only 23 had been ringed in total in the previous ten years), 33 Common Sandpipers and four Purple Sandpipers. In contrast, most passerine species were ringed in much lower numbers in 1996. Sand Martin numbers showed a dramatic decline with only 289 ringed which is just 25% of last year's total and only about 10% of that for 1992. This was despite the main ringers of this species reporting that their ringing efforts were much the same as in previous years. The growing importance of colour-ringing is illustrated in this report by sightings of a Turnstone from Canada, a Cormorant and four Spoonbills from the Netherlands, three Avocets from Germany, a Mediterranean Gull from Hungary or northern Slovenia and a Twite from Yorkshire. Also, a Woodlark colour-ringed in Suffolk Breckland was sighted in Devon in February, then back at its ringing site in May. Highlights of the other recoveries listed in this report are a Marsh Harrier to Eire; a Stone-curlew to Morocco; a Woodcock from Estonia; a Sand Martin to Switzerland; a Swallow to the Ivory Coast; a Reed Warbler to Senegal; two Goldcrests from Finland and a Coal Tit from the Netherlands. Finally, a Fulmar found dead more than 30 years after being ringed, a Shelduck after 15 years, an Avocet after 13 years, a Dunlin after 12 years, a Redshank controlied after nine years and a Nightingale retrapped after eight years ali show the importance of the ringing scheme in providing valuable information about the longevity of birds.

Selected List of Recoveries This part of the report is a selection of ringing recoveries received in, or relating to, 1996. Recoveries are arranged in species' order with ringing dÊtails shown on the first line - ring number / âge and sex / date / locality, and recovery dÊtails on the second line - manner of recovery / date / locality with distance and direction of movement. The following codes have been used: Age when ringed: this is given according to the EURING codes and the figures do not represent years. 1 2 3 4 5 6

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 186


7 8 10 Sex:

definitely hatched t w o 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 = female

In the recovery data, the term 'controlled' refers to a ringed bird which has been caught by a ringer away f r o m 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. F U L M A R Fulmarus SS36561

glacialis

1 08.08.65 freshly dead 16.03.96

Rousay, Orkney, SCOTLAND (59°09'N 03°02'W) Bawdsey, Suffolk (52°00'N 01 °25'E) - 842km SSE

This bird was more than 30 years old when found. The longevity record for a British-ringed Fulmar is nearly 41 years. C O R M O R A N T Phalacrocorax 9003269 Arnhem

L06997

1

19.06.95

field record

12.09.96

1 field record

07.06.92 21.03.93

field field field field

13.02.94 11.05.94 08.01.95 14.09.96

record record record record

carbo Oostvaardersplassen, Ijsselmeerpolders, NETHERLANDS (52°28'N 05°22'E) Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°17'E) Abberton Reservoir, Essex (51°49'N 00°5l'E) Romelaere Reserve, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE (50°45'N 02°15'E) Romelaere Reserve, FRANCE Abberton Reservoir, Essex Romelaere Reserve, FRANCE Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe, Suffolk

Both of these birds were colour-ringed. L06997 is the most interesting of a number of Abberton-ringed Cormorants seen in Suffolk in 1996. Only a selection of the sightings of this bird are shown; it had also been seen in Norfolk at Holkham Hall and Snettisham and in Essex at Hanningfield Reservoir as well as back at Abberton. S P O O N B I L L Platalea

leucorodia

colour-rings 1 field record

15.07.94 02.06.96

Terschelling, NETHERLANDS (53°25'N 05°30'E) Minsmere, Suffolk (52"15'N O l ^ S Ï ) (present intermittently to 03.09.96)

colour-rings 1 field record

17.06.92 02.06.96

Vlieland, NETHERLANDS (53°16'N 04°59'E) Minsmere, Suffolk (52°15'N 01°38'E) (present intermittently to 18.08.96)

colour-rings 1 field record

23.06.93 14.08.96

Vlieland, NETHERLANDS (53°16'N 04°59'E) Minsmere, Suffolk (52°15'N 01°38'E) (present to 20.08.96)

All of the above birds w e r e identifiable by their numbered colour-rings. Another colour-ringed bird was present at M i n s m e r e f r o m 22.07.96 to 03.09.96 but unfortunately the inscription of one of the rings could not be read. However, it w a s still possible to c o n f i r m that it had been ringed as a pullus in the Netherlands in 1994. 187


G R E Y L A G G O O S E Anser

anser

5163611

5F shot

02.07.90 28.11.92

Coate Water, Swindon, Wiltshire (51°32'N 0 1 = 4 5 ^ ) near Southwold Harbour, Southwold, Suffolk (52°20'N 01°40'E) - 250km ENE

5169373

5

19.01.94

shot

( 10.01.95)

Pensthorpe, near Fakenham, Norfolk (52°49'N 00°53'E) Reydon Marshes, Southwold, Suffolk (52°19'N 01°38'E) - 75km SE

T h e s e m o v e m e n t s show that the feral Greylag population is not as sedentary as may be thought. S H E L D U C K Tadorna GJ20601

3 hit wires

tadorna 25.09.81 25.04.96

Butley, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°30'E) Tenacre, Lynsted, Kent (51°19'N 00°48'E) - 98km SSW

This bird was in its fifteenth year. The British longevity record for this species is 20 years. T E A L Anas ES25322

crecca

3M

12.11.94

shot

20.08.96

ST 151791 4M Helsinki shot

29.06.93

M A L L A R D Anas GH47199

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) Sattajarvi, Rovaniemi, Lappi, FINLAND (66°28'N 26°45'E) - 2135km NE Siilinjarvi, Kuopio. FINLAND (63°09'N 27°42'E) Boyton Marshes, Boyton, Suffolk (52°04'N 0I°28'E) - 1977km SW

20.12.94

platyrhynchos

2M 31.12.91 freshly dead 11.02.96

Fiatford, Suffolk (51 °57'N 01 ^ ' E ) Sluizen, Ijmuiden. NETHERLANDS (52°28'N 04°35'E) - 248km ENE

R E D - C R E S T E D P O C H A R D Netta GH77985

4F long dead

26.10.89 (02.11.95)

M A R S H H A R R I E R Circus FA25477

1 found dead

19.06.94 24.09.96

rufina

Pensthorpe, Fakenham. Norfolk (52°49'N 00°52'E) Elveden, Suffolk (52°23'N 00°40'E) - 50km SSW

aeruginosus site confidential, coastal Suffolk Coolbarn, near Nenagh, Tipperary, EIRE (52°59'N 08°15'W) - 669km W

T h e Marsh Harrier became extinct as a breeding species in Ireland in 1917 (Cramp & S i m m o n s 1979). Could this bird have been a potential re-colonist? S P A R R O W H A W K Accipiter 3493733 Arnhem

1F

25.06.94

freshly dead 29.05.95

nisus Lochern, De Bellen, Gelderland, NETHERLANDS (52°08'N 06°22'E) Nacton, Suffolk (52°01'N 01°14'E) - 351km W

It is interesting that a Sparrowhawk reared in the Netherlands was in this country in late May considering that the Dutch breeding population is thought to be mainly resident ( C r a m p & S i m m o n s 1979). 188


A V O C E T Recurvirostra colour-rings

colour-rings

colour-rings

EJ94015

avosetta

1

20.06.92

nesting

01.05.96

1

21.06.92

field record

10.05.96

1

21.06.92

field record field record field record

02.05.93 17.09.93 21.04.96

4 18.10.83 freshly dead 29.07.96

Beltringharder Koog, near Husum, SchleswigHolstein, GERMANY (54°22'N 08°57'E) Minsmere, Suffolk (52°15'N 01°38'E) (present to 08.06.96) Beltringharder Koog, near Husum, SchleswigHolstein, GERMANY (54°22'N 08°57'E) Minsmere, Suffolk (52°I5'N 01°38'E) (also seen 14.05.96) Beltringharder Koog, near Husum, SchleswigHolstein, GERMANY (54°22'N 08°57'E) Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk Elisabeth-Aubengroden, Wilhemshaven, GERMANY Minsmere, Suffolk (52°15'N OrSS'E) Butley, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°30'E) Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) - 5km E

The three German-ringed birds, all seen at Minsmere, were identifiable by their colour-ring combinations. O n e of these nested and hatched a single chick, which unfortunately disappeared after just a day. EJ94015 was more than 13 years old when found. The British longevity record for this species is 16 years. S T O N E - C U R L E W Burhinus EP20599

1 recovered

03.06.87 (03.04.95)

oedicnemus site confidential, West Suffolk Monte Arruit, Nador, MOROCCO (35°01'N 03°01'W) - 1939km S

This is the second Suffolk-ringed Stone-curlew to be found in Morocco. The other recovered in N o v e m b e r 1986 had been ringed as a pullus in the Suffolk part of Breckland in 1985. R I N G E D P L O V E R Charadrius

hiaticula

NV57915

Shotley Marshes, Shotley, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°16'E) Canvey Point, Canvey Island, Essex (51°31'N 00°38'E) - 66km SW

1 controlled

10.07.92 24.10.96

G O L D E N P L O V E R Pluvialis 10.09.92 1278356 Arnhem freshly dead 09.12.94

D U N L I N Calidris KT41163 Helsinki

BX50029

alpina 24.07.95

controlled

22.11.95

3 controlled

16.10.75 21.11.79

freshly dead 01.08.87

apricaria Reitsum, Friesland, NETHERLANDS (53°19'N 05°54'E) Newmarket Heath, Newmarket, Suffolk (52°14'N 00°25'E) - 388km SSW

Siilinjarvi, Kuopio, FINLAND (63°08'N 27°42'E) River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°20'E) - 1985km SW Butley, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°30'E) Canvey Point, Canvey Island. Essex (51°31'N 00°38'E) Vensholm, Nakskov, Lolland, DENMARK (54°56'N 11°03'E) - 706km ENE 189


NR98728

3

22.09.94

found dead

16.03.96

Stutton Mili, near Brantham, Suffolk (51°57'N01°06'E) Strandpaviljoen, Camperduin, Noord-Holland, NETHERLANDS (52°43'N 04°38'E) - 255km ENE

Other recoveries received included birds controlied at Ramsholt in February 1996 which had been ringed in Poland in August 1993 and G e r m a n y in September 1992. B X 5 0 0 2 9 was 12 years old when found dead. T h e British longevity record for this species is nearly 19 years. S N I P E Gallinago 14Z97605 3 Bruxelles shot

gallinago 01.08.91 20.10.94

W O O D C O C K Scolopax U443763 Matsalu

Longchamps, Namur, BELGIUM (50°34'N 04°53'E) Beccles, Suffolk (52°28'N 01°34'E) - 312km NW

rusticóla

4

14.10.95

shot

30.12.95

Sadukula, Jogeva, ESTONIA (58°40'N 26°I8'E) Debenham, Suffolk (52° 13'N 01 °1 l'È) - 1734km WSW

T h e County's Woodcock population is supplemented by immigrants from the Continent in winter. It is likely that most of these originate from Scandinavia and eastern Europe. B L A C K - T A I L E D G O D W I T Limosa ES28112

4

18.09.93

freshly dead 04.01.95 R E D S H A N K Tringa

totanus

DK91389

5

19.01.96

found dead

01.07.96

5

06.02.93

shot

21.09.94

4 controlied

09.09.87 02.12.96

DK14719

DN51999

limosa

Holbeach St. Matthew, Lincolnshire (52°52'N 00°06'E) Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°15'E) - 124km SE

River Orwell, near Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°15'E) Niebull, Schleswig-Holstein, GERMANY (54°47'N 08°50'E) - 590km ENE Butley River, near Butley Corner, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°29'E) St. Vaast-la-Hougue. Manche, FRANCE (49°36'N OriS'W) - 336km SW Brantham, near Ipswich, Suffolk (51 °58'N 01 °03'E) Farlington Marsh, Portsmouth, Hampshire (50°50'N 01°02'W) - 192km SW

T h e recovery in G e r m a n y is noteworthy, especially as it had been ringed during the winter in Suffolk. D N 5 1 9 9 9 w a s ringed as an adult and was therefore at least ten years old when controlled. T h e longevity record for this species for the British ringing scheme presently stands at 18 years. G R E E N S H A N K Tringa DN64065

3 retrapped

nebularia

24.08.87 16.08.96

Levington, Suffolk (51 "59^ 01° 15'E) Levington, Suffolk

This is the second example in recent years of a Greenshank using a traditional stopover site on autumn migration. The other, also at Levington, was ringed on 05.09.87 and retrapped there on 27.07.91. 190


T U R N S T O N E Arenaria 1313-59127 3 Washington field record

interpres 14.08.94

03.03.95

Alert, Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories. CANADA (82°30'N 62°20'W) Gorleston-on-Sea, Suffolk (52°34'N 01 °44'E) 4023km SE

This appears to be only the fourth Canadian-ringed Turnstone to be found in this country. Not only was this individual identifiable by the combination of its colourrings but it was also confiding enough for the observer to read the number on the metal ring as well. M E D I T E R R A N E A N G U L L Larus

melanocephalus

A first year Mediterranean Gull with a red colour-ring was seen at Sizewell on Sep.2nd 1995. Another, or possibly the same bird, was then present at nearby Minsmere f r o m Apr. 18th to May 23rd, 1996. Unfortunately the ring inscriptions were not read, but the presence of the red colour-rings meant that they had been ringed as pulii in Hungary or at Vojvodina in northern Slovenia. The former is far more likely as 197 pulii were colour-ringed in Hungary against just three at Vojvodina in 1995 when these birds would have been ringed. B L A C K - H E A D E D G U L L Larus 14.01.95

IAO10466 Hiddensee field record

29.12.95

field record

04.12.96

6092445 3 Stockholm field record field record

18.07.94 19.11.95 05.02.96

ridibundus Leipzig-Mitte, Leipzig, GERMANY (51°18'N 12°20'E) Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°23'E) (present to 11.02.96)-759km W Felixstowe, Suffolk (present to 13.02.97) Ottenby, Oland, SWEDEN (56°12'N 16°24'E) Pakefield, near Lowestoft, Suffolk (52°27'N 01°43'E) Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°20'E) (present to 04.04.96) - 1089km WSW

The first bird apparently changed its wintering area from central Germany to Suffolk. 6 0 9 2 4 4 5 was seen at Pakefield and then relocated later the same winter about 6 0 k m down the coast at Felixstowe. In total, recovery details were received for movements to or f r o m Denmark (6), Estonia (3), Finland (7), Germany (3), Latvia (1), Lithuania (3), Netherlands (2), Poland (1) and Sweden (4). These included a number of returning, site-faithful birds seen in previous winters. C O M M O N G U L L Larus

controlled

30.12.95 10.07.95

5114678 Stavanger

red 8XM

canus

20.09.95

5129990 Stavanger

controlled

27.01.96

8

22.05.94

field record field record

29.08.95 26.11.96

Byparken. Bergen, Hordaland, NORWAY (60°23'N 05°20'E) near Castle Hill, Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°08'E) 959km SSW Falconbridge, Kristiansand, Vest-Agder, NORWAY (58°09'N 07°59'E) near Castle Hill, Ipswich. Suffolk (52°04'N 01°08'E) 803km SSW Hjarno, Juelsminde, Jylland, DENMARK (55°50'N 10°05'E) Southwold, Suffolk (52°19'N 01°41'E) - 670km SW Southwold. Suffolk (present to 23.02.97) 191


5093039 1 Copenhagen field record

01.07.95 28.01.96

Langli, Vadehavsoerne, Jylland, DENMARK (55°31'N 08° 19'E) Southwold, Suffolk (52°19'N 01°41'E) - 561 km SW

In addition to the above, two birds from the Netherlands were found dead in the County in 1996. T h e first, found at Shingle Street on 11.02.96 had been ringed on 03.03.95 and the other at Aldeburgh on 20.03.96 had been ringed on 27.01.96. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL

Larusfuscus

GG44940

1 bird taken

08.07.90 07.12.96

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) near Laayoune, WESTERN SAHARA (26°58'N 13°50'W) - 3077km SSW

red CBB

1 field record

13.07.96 21.09.96

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) Westkapelle, Walcheren, Zeeland, NETHERLANDS (51 °31'N 03°26'E) - 143km ESE

red CBZ

1 field record

13.07.96 14.08.96

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) Ijmuiden, Noord-Holland, NETHERLANDS (52°28'N 04°36'E) - 211 km ENE

breeding

06.07.91 28.05.96

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) Zeebrugge, West-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51°20'N 03°12'E) - 143km SE

1 breeding

12.07.92 28.05.96

Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) Zeebrugge, West-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51°20'N O S " ^ ) - 143km SE

GG75065

GG92814

Birds ringed as pulii at Orfordness were reported in Belgium (3), France (2), M o r o c c o (6), Netherlands (10), Portugal (18) and Western Sahara (1). T h e most southerly recovery is shown in full, together with two birds which crossed the North Sea in their first autumn. Also listed are the first known cases of Orfordness-bred Lesser Black-backed Gulls breeding in Belgium. Six of the ten recoveries in the Netherlands were of birds seen in breeding colonies and two were confirmed to be nesting. A colour-ringing study of this species was started at Orfordness in 1996 by Landguard Bird Observatory, and the eighteen recoveries in Portugal all involved sightings of these birds. The study is ongoing and the gulls are being marked with a red colour-ring hearing a white, three letter code on the left leg, and a metal ring on the right leg. All sightings of these birds are of great value and should be reported to Mike Marsh at the address shown at the end of this report. H E R R I N G G U L L Larus GH95043

argentatus

I

08.07.93

shot

c.01.06.96

GG93690

1 field record

01.07.95 12.11.96

GG93777

1 field record

01.07.95 22.11.96

Isle of May, Fife Region, SCOTLAND 56°H'N 02°34'W) near Eye, Suffolk (52°18'N 01°08'E) - 494km SSE Orfordness, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°34'E) Bergen op Zoom, Vuilstortplaats Kragge, NoordBrabant, NETHERLANDS (51°31'N 04°21'E) 201km ESE

Orfordness. Suffolk (52°05'N 01 °34'E) Calais, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE (50°57'N 01°50'E) 126km SSE Birds ringed at the Orfordness colony were also recovered in Norfolk (2), Essex (2) and Kent, the longest of these movements being 104km. 192


C O M M O N T E R N Sterna XR08092

hirundo

I

28.06.95

caught

20.04.96

Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°16'E) "on the open sea", GUINEA BISSAU (11°35'N 16°00'W)-4753km SSW

British-bred C o m m o n Terns predominantly spend their first summer and second winter in the northern tropical belt, 10°S-20°N (Cramp 1985). This bird was released after being caught, but unfortunately the ring was removed. GUILLEMOT G HO 1345

Uriaaalge

1

23.06.85

Nigg, North Sutor, Highland Region. SCOTLAND (57°42'N 04°00'W)

freshly dead 17.03.96 Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °58'N 01 °23'E) - 724km SSE A number of dead auks were washed up along the Suffolk coast in mid-March. Although not oiled, many were covered in a clear resin-type substance. R A Z O R B I L L Alca M62599

torda

1 22.06.89 freshly dead 16.03.96

W O O D P I G E O N Columba FR85878

FR85746

Fair Isle, Shetland, SCOTLAND (59°32'N 01 °37'W) Minsmere, Suffolk (52° 14'N 01 °37'E) - 836km SSE

palumbus

3

07.09.96

shot

11.12.96

3

01.09.94

shot

08.12.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) St. Gregoire, Ille-et-Vilaine, FRANCE (48°09'N 01°41'W) - 472km SSW Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Landivy, Mayenne, FRANCE (48°28'N 01 °02'W) 420km SSW

These two Woodpigeons, both ringed at Landguard, were shot within about 6 0 k m and three days of each other in north-west France. They were almost certainly locallybred birds, one being recently fledged and not fully grown when ringed. W O O D L A R K Lullula VP55798

1 field record field record

arborea 01.06.95 20.02.96 27.05.96

Elveden, Suffolk Dawlish, Devon - c.340km SW Elveden, Suffolk

Much is still to be f o u n d out about the wintering distribution of our breeding Woodlarks. Some obviously move to the south-west as demonstrated by this bird and also by one seen on the Isles of Scilly in October 1993 which had been ringed as a pullus in the Norfolk part of Breckland six months earlier (Mead et al. 1995). Both individuals were colour-ringed and individually identifiable by their c o l o u r combinations. S A N D M A R T I N Riparia J770822

3 controlled

riparia

28.07.95 13.04.96

Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) Bolle di Magadino, Ticino. SWITZERLAND (46°10'N 08°52'E) - 857km SE 193


Hl 14947

3 controlled

15.08.91 15.08.95

Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) Applegarthtown, Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway, SCOTLAND (55°08'N 03°25'W) - 459km NW

Other recovery details received involved movements to or f r o m Lincolnshire, Norfolk (5) and Sussex. J770822 is the first British-ringed Sand Martin to be recovered in Switzerland and was presumably on passage back to Britain when caught there. S W A L L O W Hirundo

rustica

F567435

1 found dead

04.08.92 10.02.95

Burgh Castle, Suffolk (52°35'N 01°40'E) Tabou, IVORY COAST (04°25'N 07°21'W) 5416km S

A77910 Jersey

3

31.08.94

controlled

10.08.95

Grouville Marsh, Jersey, CHANNEL ISLANDS (49°12'N 02o03"W) near Charity Farm, Shotley, Suffolk (51 °59'N 01 ° 15'E) - 387km NE

F 5 6 7 4 3 5 is the first recovery in the Ivory Coast of a British-ringed Swallow, although at least eight have been f o u n d in the neighbouring countries of Liberia and Ghana. H O U S E M A R T I N Delichon E715037

3 controlled

urbica

11.09.93 15.05.96

Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) Marston Sewage Farm, Grantham, Lincolnshire173km WNW

C o m p a r e d with Swallow and Sand Martin recoveries of this species are relatively scarce. R O B I N Erithacus F793686 Arnhem

J358028

J356490

rubecula

3

04.10.96

controlled

08.10.96

3

26.09.94

freshly dead

18.12.96

3

30.08.94

taken by cat 05.06.96 K036939

3

10.06.95

freshly dead 26.10.95

Oostkapelle, Zeeland, NETHERLANDS (51°35'N 03°33'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) (present to 19.01.97) 158km WNW Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Hooglede, West-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (50°58'N 03°05'E) - 166km SE Fagbury. Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Yoevil. Somerset (50°56'N 02°38'W) - 294km WSW Finningley Airfield, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire (53°28'N 01°01'W) Icklingham, near Bury St. Edmunds (52°19'N 00°39'E) - 168km SE

Note the quick recovery of F793686. It is also interesting to note that this individual remained to winter at Landguard. 194


N I G H T I N G A L E Luscinia E708818

3 retrapped

megarhynchos

16.06.88 14.05.96

Bawdsey, Suffolk (51 °59'N 01 °24'E) Bawdsey, Suffolk

This bird has set a new longevity record for a British-ringed Nightingale. It had also been retrapped at Bawdsey on 17.05.90, 25.06.92, 22.04.93 and 06.06.95.

B L A C K R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus J559355

1

27.05.96

controlled

12.07.96

ochruros Grain Power Station, Isle of Grain, Kent, (51 °26'N 00°42'E) Nowton Park, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk (52°13'N 00°43'E) - 87km N

Note the northerly post-juvenile dispersal of this individual.

B L A C K B I R D Turdus RJ48731

merula Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Hasslycke, Visseltofta, Kristianstad, SWEDEN (56°24'N 13°51'E) - 953km ENE

3M

23.10.93

found dead

02.03.96

XC16314

5F controlled

13.04.96 26.05.96

Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Falsterbo, Malmohus, SWEDEN (55°23'N I2°49'E) 812km ENE

RR48065

6F

18.03.96

controlled

28.03.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Helgoland, GERMANY (54°1 l'N 07°55'E) - 507km ENE

3M

09.10.95

found dead

25.03.96

3M

09.10.95

found dead

10.06.96

3F

18.10.94

controlled

09.04.96

3M

11.10.94

found dead

28.03.95

RR46624

RR46625

RJ65308

RE00063

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N0ri9'E) Brilon-Madfeld, Arnsberg, GERMANY (51 °26'N 08°44'E) - 514km E Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Bocholt, Munster, GERMANY (51°49'N 06°37'E) 364km E Fife Ness, Fife Region, SCOTLAND (56°16'N 02°36'W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 545km SSE Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, WALES (52°45'N 04°48'W) Hollesley, Suffolk (52°02'N 01 °26'E) - 430km E

R R 4 8 0 6 5 was controlled in Germany just ten days after being ringed in Suffolk. Also, note the birds ringed with consecutive ring numbers, two of just nine Blackbirds ringed at Landguard on 09.10.95, which were both recovered in Germany in 1996. In addition to the recoveries listed above there were also two m o v e m e n t s involving the Netherlands and another to Germany. 195


S O N G T H R U S H Turdus philomelos RV99666 3 04.10.93 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) road casualty 29.05.96 Bei Heyda, Ilm-Kreis, Sachsen & Turingen, GERMANY (50°44'N 10°56'E) - 681km E RS52375

3

12.10.95

shot

15.02.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Valpacos, Vila Real, Tras Os Montes, PORTUGAL (41°36'N 01°\1"W) - 1320km SSW

T h e recovery in central G e r m a n y of RV99666 is unexpected. The late May recovery date of this bird suggests that it was probably on its breeding grounds. R E D W I N G Turdus

iliacus

RW21379

5 controlled

23.03.96 19.04.96

Dunwich. Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Jurmo, Korppoo, Turku-Pod, FINLAND (59°50'N 21°37'E) - 1495km NE

RS27079

3 found dead

15.10.93 06.03.96

Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) Shere, Surrey (51°13'N 00°27'W) - 159km SW

It is possible that R W 2 1 3 7 9 was still on passage when caught in Finland. S E D G E W A R B L E R Acrocephalus K446265

3

15.07.96

controlled

18.08.96

schoenobaenus Alton Water, near Tattingstone, Suffolk (51°59'N 01 W E ) Trunvel, Treogat, Finistère, FRANCE (47°54'N 04°21'W) - 599km SW

R E E D W A R B L E R Acrocephalus BJ79593 3 Stockholm controlled

27.08.96

J325116

07.08.93 controlled

E454827

13.08.96

06.04.96 29.07.88

controlled

01.08.96

scirpaceus Stenungsund Industriangana, Goteborg Och Bohus, SWEDEN (58°05'N 11°50'E) Walberswick, Suffolk (52° 18'N 01 °38'E) - 910km WSW Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Djoudj. SENEGAL (16°25'N 16° 18'W) - 4247km SSW Redgrave & Lopham Fens, Norfolk/Suffolk (52°23'N 01°01'E) Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) - 28km WSW

Only ten Swedish-ringed Reed Warblers have previously been found in Britain, one of which was in Suffolk, at Fagbury in September 1992. Note that E 4 5 4 8 2 7 had reached an age of eight years. L E S S E R W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia Kl 10586

3

11.08.95

controlled

31.08.96

curruca Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire (52° 18'N 00°16'E) 80km WNW 196


W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia

communis

K403139

3 controlled

21.09.95 24.09.96

Snettisham, Norfolk (52°52'N 00°27'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 120km SSE

K48I968

4M controlled

11.05.96 07.09.96

Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) Snettisham, Norfolk (52°52'N 00°27'E) - 103km NW

Only t w o movements over 100km were reported and the same Norfolk locality was involved in both cases. G A R D E N W A R B L E R Sylvia 6028931 Bruxelles

J356912

3

18.09.96

controlled

08.10.96

3

07.09.94

controlled

28.06.96

borin Beerse. Antwerpen, BELGIUM (51°19'N 04°52'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 254km WNW Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) near Weybourne. Norfolk (52°56'N 01°07'E)110km N

A similar movement to that of 6028931 was noted in 1989 when one ringed in Belgium on 10.09.89 was controlled at Landguard on 02.10.89. Both birds had moved north-westwards in autumn and both were caught in Suffolk in October after the end of the main passage period for this species. B L A C K C A P Sylvia J327241

18.09.93

found dead

13.03.96 12.07.95

K110278

J357524

atricapilla

3F

found dead

02.03.96

3M

18.09.94

bird found

(15.02.96)

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Boghni, Alger, ALGERIA (36°32'N 03°57'E) 1726km S Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary. Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Tigrine, Tizi Ouzou, Alger, ALGERIA (36°51'N 04°34'E) - 1697km S Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) Casablanca, MOROCCO (33°39'N 07°35'W) 2155km SSW

Since 1992 there have been six recoveries of Suffolk-ringed Blackcaps in northwest Africa - five in Algeria and one in Morocco. C H I F F C H A F F Phylloscopus 06.05.96

1G2811

0L4437

controlled

29.05.96

3

26.09.95

found dead

04.05.96

collybita Bardsey Island, Gwynedd. WALES (52°45'N 04°48'W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °56'N 01 ° 19'E) - 425km ES E Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01° 19'E) Bishopsteignton. Devon (50°33'N 03°33'W) - 372km WSW 197


1L9470

3 controlled

09.07.95 22.09.95

Foxhall, near Ipswich, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°14'E) The Fiats, Wiggington, Hertfordshire (51 °46'N 00°38'W) - 131km WSW

T h e movement f r o m Bardsey to Suffolk in May is unexpected. W I L L O W W A R B L E R Phylloscopus trochilus 4T4150 3M 21.08.92 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) controlled 11.08.96 Westwick, near Bishop Monkton, North Yorkshire (54°05'N 01°29'W) - 303km NW G O L D C R E S T Regulus regulus 2491 IR 3M 17.09.95 Helsinki controlled 26.10.95 54980R Helsinki

3M

17.09.95

controlled

22.10.95

Tauvo, Siikajoki, Oulu, FINLAND (64°48'N 24°38'E) Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 1959km SW Kristiinakaup, Vaasa, FINLAND (62°07'N 21°18'E) Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary. Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N 01°17'E) - 1649km SW

Z13190 3M Stockholm taken by cat

19.10.95

7W3378

4M found dead

22.03.96 18.04.96

Dungeness, Kent (50°55'N 00°55'E) Exning, Suffolk (52° 1 6 ^ 00°22'E) - 154km N

0L4612

4F

04.11.95

controlled

07.01.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) near Hatton, Greater London (51°28'N 00°25'W) 130km WSW

17.04.96

Segerstad Lighthouse, Oland, SWEDEN (56°22'N 16°53'E) Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°22'E) - 1120km WSW

It is interesting that two birds ringed on the same day in Finland, at places about 3 0 0 k m apart, were both controlled at Fagbury within four days of each other. F I R E C R E S T Regulus 0L5023

ignicapillus

3M

18.09.96

controlled

08.10.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Portland Bill, Dorset (50°31 'N 02°27'W) - 306km WSW

Recoveries of this species over 100km are rare. There was a small influx of Firecrests at Landguard in mid-September, six being ringed there in the period 16th-18th. COAL TIT F807359 Arnhem

Parusater

3

28.09.96

controlled

14.10.96

Castricum Duinen, Noord-Holland, NETHERLANDS (52°33'N 04°37'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N O r ^ ) - 235km WSW

This bird was of the Continental race P.a.ater and part of a small influx of this subspecies into the County in the autumn of 1996. There have been no previous ringing recoveries involving m o v e m e n t s between the Netherlands and Britain. 198


JAY Garrulus DA69059 5

glandarius 05.05.95

shot

15.05.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Terling, Chelmsford, Essex (51 °44'N 00°28'E) - 62km WSW

Recoveries of this species over 50km are unusual.

S T A R L I N G Sturnus

vulgaris

RE40244

13.12.88 27.05.89

Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°10'E) Kerkkoo, Uusimaa, FINLAND (60°28'N 25°38'E) 1768km ENE

4321459 1 Stockholm controlled

02.06.91

Norrevang, Revinge, Malmohus, SWEDEN (55°42'N 13°32'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk - 903km WSW (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 903km WSW

RR48614

3M

19.06.96

found dead

03.11.96

4F found dead

10.10.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Aucey-la-Plaine, Manche, FRANCE (48°32'N 01°29'W) - 427km SSW

Note that 4321459 was ringed as a pullus in Sweden. The only other foreign m o v e ments reported were two birds ringed at Landguard in September/October 1994 which were recovered in the Netherlands in August and October 1996.

C H A F F I N C H Fringilla 5505007 Bruxelles

3F

coelebs 26.10.94

freshly dead 22.05.96

Lebbeke, Oost-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51 "OCN 04°08'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °56'N 01 ° 19'E) - 221 km WNW

G R E E N F I N C H Carduelis chloris 24.11.94 West Stow Country Park, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°37'E) VP33690 4F 25.03.95 Froyland, Sokndal, Rogaland, NORWAY controlled (58°21'N 06°18'E) - 762km NNE VP33516

6M found dead

35V43202 5F Bruxelles controlled VK42166

18.03.94 23.12.94

Lackford Pits, Suffolk (52°18'N 00°38'E) Oostvoorne, Zuid-Holland, NETHERLANDS (51°55'N04°04'E)-238km E

24.03.95

Middelkerke. West-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51°11'N 02°49'E) Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) - 146km NW

07.05.95

6M

21.01.94

controlled

09.08.96

Mullock, near Marloes, Dyfed, WALES (51°44'N 05°10'W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °56'N 01 ° 19'E) - 446km E

V P 3 3 6 9 0 is the fifth movement between Suffolk and Norway. Of the m o v e m e n t s within Britain V K 4 2 1 6 6 is the only one reported that was outside East Anglia. 199


S I S K I N Carduelis spinus J933I71 6M 07.03.95 controlled 04.11.95

J870276

6F controlled

TWITE J972947

08.04.95 24.03.96

Brandon, Suffolk (52°26'N 00°35'E) Polleur, Liege, BELGIUM (50°32'N 05°53'E) 423km ESE Tangham Farm, Boyton, Suffolk (52°05'N 01 °26'E) Killeam, Central Region, SCOTLAND (56°02'N 04°22'W) - 579km NW

Carduelisflavirostris 1

08.06.95

field record

12.11.95

Withens Clough Moor, West Yorkshire (53°40'N 02°02'W) Walberswick, Suffolk (52°17'N 01°38'E) - 289km ESE

Note that this bird was ringed as a nestling. It shows that at least s o m e of our wintering birds originate f r o m the Pennine breeding population R E E D B U N T I N G Emberiza J770851

3 controlled

30.07.95 21.04.96

schoeniclus Dun wich, Suffolk (52° 16'N 01 °37'E) University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk (52°37'N 01°I4'E) - 47km NW

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to the following ringers/ringing groups w h o supplied information upon which the bulk of this report is based: Dr. Graham Austin, Dawn Balmer, Sid Batty, Rex Beecroft, Jeremy Blackburn, Peter Catchpole, Malcolm Cavanagh, Dingle Bird Club, Rob Duncan, John Glazebrook, Tony Harris, Peter Hayman, Ian Henderson, Ron Hoblyn, Sir Anthony Hurrell, Edward Jackson, Lackford Ringing Group, Landguard Bird Observatory, Alan Leitch, Market Weston Ringing Group, Alan Miller, Derek Moore, Paul Newton, Adrian Parr, Ian Peters, Roy Thatcher, Brian T h o m p s o n , Wally Thrower, Glen Tyler, Cliff Waller, Lyn Webb, Rodney West and Mick Wright. We should also like to thank the British Trust for Ornithology and the Regional County Recorders for forwarding information f r o m their files and all nonringers 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. Ring. & Migr. 17: 36-79. C r a m p , S. and & S i m m o n s K. E. L. (eds.) 1979. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. II. O x f o r d University Press. C r a m p , S. (ed.) 1985. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. IV. Oxford University Press. Mead, C. J. & Clark, J. A. 1993. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1991. Ring. <£ Migr. 14: 1-72. Mead, C. J., Clark, J. A. & Peach. W. J. 1993. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1992. Ring. & Migr. 14: 152-200. Mead, C. J., Clark, J. A. & Peach, W. J. 1995. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1993. Ring. & Migr. 16: 16-64. Sir Anthony Hurrell, Lapwings, Dunwich, Suffolk IP 17 3DR Mike Marsh, 5 Ennerdale Close, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 9SS 200


SUFFOLK NATURALISTS' SOCIETY Founded in 1929 by Claude Morley (1874-1951), the Suffolk Naturalists' Society pioneered the study and recording of the County's flora, fauna and geology, to promote a wider interest in natural history. Recording the natural history of Suffolk is still one of the Society's primary objects, and members' observations are fed to a network of specialist recorders for possible publication, and deposited in the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, jointly managed with Ipswich Museums. Suffolk Natural History, a review of the County's wildlife, and Suffolk Birds, the County bird report, are two high quality annual publications issued free to members. The Society also publishes a quarterly newsletter and organises an interesting programme of 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 Mrs J. Hardingham, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. M E M B E R S H I P CATEGORIES: SNS Individuai £12.00 Family £14.00 Junior (under 18) £7.00

Joint membership SNS/SOG

£22.00 £26.00 £10.00


CONTENTS Page Editorial Mike Crewe The Changing Fortunes of the Red Kite in Suffolk Ian Carter Sawbill Movements at Landguard Point, Suffolk, 1983-96 Nigel Odin Seabird Movements and Abundance off Covehithe, Suffolk, 1994-96 1. Fulmar, Gannet, Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill Peter Dare Movements and Abundance of divers off Covehithe, Suffolk, 1994-96 Peter Dare The 1996 Suffolk Bird Report: Introduction Systematic List Appendix I: Category D species Appendix II: Escapees Appendix III: List of non-accepted records List of Contributors Gazetteer Earliest and latest dates of summer migrants Notes: Night migrants over Felixstowe Mike Crewe Collared Dove raping Turtle Dove Jean Garrod Rarities in Suffolk in 1996: Collared Pratincole Brian Small Arctic Warbler John Archer Booted Warbler Dave Jupp Crested Lark Paul Holmes Rustic Bunting Ricky Fairhead Western Bonelli's Warbler Mark Grantham A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Landguard Bird Observatory, 1996 Michael James Suffolk Ringing Report Tony Hurrell & Mike Marsh

PRICE

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5 6 11 16 37 48 48 50 161 162 163 165 167 169 170 170 170 171 171 171 172 173 174 175 177 179 186

Suffolk Birds 1996 Part 2  

Volume 46 Systematic List

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