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West Area Recorder: Colin Jakes, 7 Maltward Avenue, BURY ST. EDMUNDS, IP33 3XN Tel: 01284 702215

North-East Area Recorder: Richard Waiden, 21 Kilbrack, BECCLES NR349SH Tel: 01502 713521

South-East Area Recorder: Brian Thompson, 42 Dover Road, IPSWICH IP3 8JQ Tel: 01473 726771


SUFFOLK BIRDS VOL. 47 Incorporating a review of birds in Suffolk in 1997

Editor G Lowe

Published by SUFFOLK NATURALISTS ' SOCIETY 1998


Published by The Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH Š The Suffolk Naturalists' Society 1998 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the Copyright owners.

The SNS is a Registered Charity No. 206084

ISSN 0264-5793

Printed by Healeys Printers Ltd, Unit 10, The Sterling Complex, Farthing Road. Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 5AP 2


CONTENTS Page Editorial Gary Lowe The Conservation Status of Birds in Suffolk Richard Rafe The Breeding Bird Survey - an update Mike Crewe Seabird Movements and Abundance off Covehithe, Suffolk, 1994-96 2. Little Gull and Terns Peter Dare The 1997 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: Hummingbird at Henley Gary Lowe Desert Lark at Minsmere Gary Lowe Quail Breeding in West Suffolk Peter Bullett Rarities in Suffolk in 1997: Spectacled Warbler, Landguard Mike Marsh Lanceolated Warbler, Landguard Andy Mitchell Bufflehead, Heveningham Hall Lake Tony Howe Isabelline Shrike, Boyton Marshes Eric Patrick Thrush Nightingale, Hollesley Steve Piotrowski Thrush Nightingale, Landguard Steve Babbs Dusky Warbler, Corton Carl Buttle Stilt Sandpiper, Minsmere Brian Small Blue-winged Teal, Pipp's Ford Phil Whittaker American/Pacific Golden Plover, Tinker's Marshes Cliff Waller A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Landguard Bird Observatory, 1997 Michael James Suffolk Ringing Report Tony Hurrell & Mike Marsh

5 6 11 16 27 27 28 135 136 138 139 141 143 144 144 144 145 147 147 148 149 150 151 151 152 153 155 155 157 160 168

List of Plates Plate No. 1. Little G r e b e Alan Tate 2. F u l m a r Alan Tate 3. S m e w Alan Tate 4 . W i g e o n Alan Tate 5. B u f f l e h e a d Robin Chittenden 6. Q u a i l ' s n e s t Peter Bullett 7. C u r l e w Stan Dumican 8. C o o t Alan Tate 9 . Dotterel Alan Tate 10. R u f f Alan Tate 11. C o m m o n Sandpiper Alan Tate 12. B l a c k - t a i l e d G o d w i t s Alan Tate 13. Mediterranean Gull Rob Wilson 14. G l a u c o u s Gull Alan Tate 15. Nightjar John Holmes 16. N i g h t j a r c l a w John Holmes

Facing Page 30 30 30 31 31 42 42 42 43 43 66 66 67 67 86 86

Plate No. 17. Little O w l Stan Dumican 18. G r e e n W o o d p e c k e r Stan Dumican S h o r t t o e d Lark Rob Wilson 19. 2 0 . Barn O w l Paul Holmes 2 1 . W o o d l a r k Martin Turner 2 2 . L a n c e o l a t e d Warbler Paul Holmes 2 3 . S p e c t a c l e d Warbler Rob Wilson 2 4 . G r e e n i s h Warbler Rob Wilson 2 5 . Firecrest Alan Tate 2 6 . S p o t t e d Flycatcher Alan Tate 2 7 . W i l l o w Tit Alan Tate 2 8 . W o o d c h a t Shrike Alan Tate Wilson 2 9 . I s a b e l l i n e Shrike Rob 3 0 . B r a m b l i n g Alan Tate Turner 3 1 . G r e e n f i n c h Martin

T h e c o p y r i g h t r e m a i n s that o f the p h o t o g r a p h e r s .

3

Facing Page 86 87 87 87 104 104 105 105 105 128 128 128 129 129 129


Notice to Contributors Suffolk Birds is an annual publication of records, notes and papers on all aspects of Suffolk ornithology. Except for records and field descriptions submitted through the county recorders, all material should be original. It should not have been published elsewhere or offered complete or in part to any other journal. Authors should carefully study this issue and follow the style of presentation, especially in relation to references and tables. Where relevant, nomenclature (English and scientific) and order should follow Dr K. H. Voous's List of Recent Holarctic Bird Species. If typed, manuscripts should be double-spaced, with wide margins, on one side of the paper only. They must be in the final form for publication: proofs of longer papers are returned to authors, but alterations must be confined to corrections of printer's errors. The cost of any other alterations may be charged to the author. It is possible for papers to be submitted on computer disk; contact the Editor initially for advice. Photographs and line drawings are required to complement each issue. Suitable photographs of birds, preferably taken in Suffolk, should ideally be in the form of 35mm transparencies. A payment of ÂŁ10 will be made to the photographer for each photograph published and ÂŁ5 for each drawing. Every possible effort will be made to take care of the original photographs and artwork. However, photographers and artists are reminded that neither the Editor nor the SNS can be held responsible in the unlikely event that loss or damage occur. Authors may wish to illustrate their papers, but this will be subject to the illustrations being of the standard required by the Editor and the decision on such matters will rest with him or her. Material submitted for publication should be sent to the Editor no later than March 1st of each year. Authors of main papers may request up to five free copies of the journal. Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee: Chair: John Cawston Area County Recorders'. Colin Jakes, Richard Waiden, Brian Thompson Secretary: David Walsh Other Committee Members: Ricky Fairhead, Trevor Kerridge, Stuart Ling, Gary Lowe, Mike Marsh, Derek Moore, David Pearson, Steve Piotrowski, Richard Rafe, Malcolm Wright. ADDRESSES Papers, notes, drawings and photographs: The Editor ( S u f f o l k Birds), The Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. Records'. See inside front cover. Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee - correspondence: The Secretary, SORC, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH.

4


EDITORIAL This report not only documents the ornithological records from Suffolk in 1997, it is also intended to be a célébration of the events and the birds involved. These range from the often overlooked and always under-recorded common species, as detailed in the Breeding Bird Survey report, to the extraordinary occurrence of a hummingbird in Henley. In between there is the Species Account, with notes on 267 species (including two new to Suffolk), another excellent paper by Dr.Dare on seabirds off Covehithe, an extremely useful référencé paper on the legal protection and conservation status of birds by Richard Rafe and the always interesting Ringing Report by Mike Marsh and Tony Hurrell. The basis of ail these items is observations, whether the dedicated work of one individuai, the detailed notes on a discovered rarity or the casual sightings from a day's birdwatching. The Suffolk Bird Report is really a two-way process. Without a solid base of information it will amount to nothing. I know there are a number of experienced and knowledgeable birdwatchers who do not send in any records and do not particípate in any survey work. We particularly need their help if this Report is to be a comprehensive account of the birds of Suffolk. We should ail be helping in three différent ways. Firstly, we need to diligently send in our recorded sightings to the Recorders. Unfortunately, your casual sightings do not give enough information to allow the status of common birds to be assessed. Therefore we also need to particípate in more intensive monitoring schemes. This could be WeBS counts or Common Bird Census Work. However, we should ali consider the small amount of extra effort involved in taking part in the Breeding Bird Survey. Détails of how to do so are included in the paper in this Report on that subject. Finally, we should be participating in at least some of the occasionai special surveys that take place. Hopefully, reading this Report will inspire you ail to go out and marvel at the birds that we are lucky enough to have here in Suffolk. The possibilities are very wide. But remember, whatever you see, please share it with us. Acknowledgements This report would not have been possible without the work of a large number of people. The editor would like to thank ail those involved with the production of this report for that work. These include the section authors of the Species Account (listed at the beginning of the Species Account), Trevor Kerridge for helping with the photographs, Mike Crewe, Peter Dare, Steve Piotrowski, David Walsh, Mike Marsh, Nigel Odin, Richard Rafe, Martin Sanford, Reg Clarke for his assistance with the tables, the three Recorders, Mike Gaydon at Healeys, and in particular to Philip Murphy. Especial thanks to my partner, Brenda Williamson, for her help and advice. Thanks are also due to the RSPB, SWT and EN reserve wardens for making data available from their reserves, in particular détails of commoner species. Finally, I am indebted to ail those in the List of Contributors for taking the time to submit their sightings and particularly to those that submitted more detailed reports.

Lanceolated Warbler 5


Birds with legai protection, and birds of conservation concern Richard Rafe IINTRODUCTION The différences between legai protection and non-statutory lists of threatened or rare species of birds are often poorly understood. This article briefly examines the various measures, particularly in the context of Suffolk. STATUTORY PROTECTION Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 - schedule 1 The Wildlife and Countryside Act is the main legislative measure affecting wildlife in Britain. Under Part I ali wild birds, their nests and eggs, are legally protected. It is an offence to kill, injure or take any wild bird, or take, damage, or destroy the nest of any wild bird whilst the nest is in use or being built, or take or destroy an egg of any wild bird. There are exceptions whereby authorised persons may kill or take certain birds, or take or destroy nests or eggs of such birds - gamebirds, certain wildfowl or pest species. For certain species, those included in Schedule 1 of the Act, any offence is liable to special penalties. Similarly, the disturbance of any wild bird listed in Schedule 1 whilst it is building a nest or is in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young, or disturbing dépendent young of such a species, is an offence and liable to special penalties. Schedule 1 is, in general, a list of birds that are very rare breeding species in Britain. Some are relatively common as winter visitors or on passage; the special protection applies particularly to them as breeding birds. Schedule 1 also includes a few species, which although not rare as breeding birds, are susceptible to human activity; e.g. Kingfisher. Birds on Schedule 1 which are characteristic Suffolk species include Avocet, Bittern, Stone-Curlew, Goshawk, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Kingfisher, Golden Oriole, Barn Owl, Little Ringed Piover, Black Redstart, Red-backed Shrike, Little Tern, Bearded Tit, and Woodlark. POLICY MEASURES Birds of Conservation Concern - red and amber lists In 1996, the UK's leading non-governmental bird conservation organisations (fronted by the RSPB) agreed and published a list of the priorities for bird conservation, after reviewing the status of ali bird species in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The list is divided into three sections: red, amber, and green. The red list species are of greatest conservation concern and deserve urgent, effective conservation action. Amber list species are of medium conservation concern. Green list species require monitoring for future changes. The list of Birds of Conservation Concern updates previous work, notably the 1990 publication 'Red Data Birds in Britain'. Criteria for inclusion on the red list are: • major decline (50% or greater) in UK breeding population or range over the previous 25 years, • historical population decline in the UK between 1800-1995, • species of global conservation concern. Characteristic Suffolk species which feature on the red list include Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Grey Partridge, Stone-Curlew, Turtle Dove, Nightjar, Woodlark, Skylark, 6


Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike Tree Sparrow, Linnet, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting and Com Bunting. Although several red-list species also feature in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, the bulk of the lists are fundamentally différent, and the two lists serve very différent purposes. Schedule 1 lists, in general, birds which are very rare as breeding species in Britain; many of these have always been rare, and the populations in Britain are not of great conservation importance on an international scale, so that they do not feature as birds of conservation importance. In contrast, many red-list birds are apparently common and widespread species, but are of particular conservation concern because of recent, dramatic and worrying déclinés in their populations. Criteria for inclusion in the amber list are: *r • moderate decline (25^19%) in UK breeding population or range over the last 25 years, Grey Partridge • rare as a breeding species in UK (< 300 pairs annually), • species with 20% or more of their European breeding population in the UK, • species with 20% or more of their European non-breeding population in the UK, • species which are not rare (as defined above) as a breeding species, but where 50% or more of the UK breeding population is found in 10 or fewer sites, • species where 50% or more of the non-breeding population is found in 10 or fewer sites, • species with an unfavourable conservation status in Europe. The amber list is extensive and includes many species characteristic of Suffolk, both as breeding, wintering or passage species. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan - BAP 'priority species' The UK became a signatory to the Biodiversity Convention at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. As part of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, there is a commitment to produce action plans for a selection of habitats and species. Three lists of species were produced: short, middle, and long. The short and middle lists contained species which are either globally threatened or are rapidly declining in the UK (i.e. by more than 50% in the last 25 years). The short list was merely a subset of the middle list, where action plans for those species were prepared as examples within the initial BAP process. The short and middle lists have now been amalgamated into 'priority species'. Action plans have been prepared for ail priority species. These action plans contain information on current status, factors causing loss or decline, current conservation action, action plan objectives and targets, and proposed action with lead organisations identified. Targets are generally expressed as maintaining the status and range or improving these where possible. The long list contains species that meet the following criteria: • threatened endemie and globally threatened species, • species where the UK has more than 25% of the world or appropriate biogeographical population, • species where numbers or range have declined by more than 25% in the last 25 years, • in some instances where the species is found in fewer than 15 ten km squares in the UK, 7


â&#x20AC;˘ species which are listed in the EC Birds Directive, the Bern, Bonn or CITES Conventions, or under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. The populations of long list species should be monitored where possible. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and similar BAPs being prepared at locai level (the Suffolk BAP was launched this year) provide the framework for conservation action into the next millennium. Species action plans are just one component within BAPs, but provide clearly identified objectives and actions for some of the most criticai species. The 'priority species' for which action plans have been published include the following birds characteristic of Suffolk: Bittern, Stone-Curlew, Grey Partridge, Turtle Dove, Nightjar, Skylark, Woodlark, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow and Bullfinch.

Song Thrushes Special Protection Areas for Birds As the UK is a member of the European Community, the government is bound by the European Communities Council Directive of April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds (the Birds Directive). Member states are required to take special measures to conserve the habitat of two categories of birds: these categories are certain listed rare or vulnerable species, and regularly occurring migratory species. Member states are required to classify the most suitable areas for these species as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and to ensure favourable conservation management of these areas. Birds listed under the Directive are not protected per se, but the major sites where they occur receive protection. Sites in Suffolk classified as SPAs, or proposed as SPAs, include many of the estuaries (for breeding and wintering waders, Brent Geese, and breeding terns), the Minsmere-Walberswick and Benacre heaths and marshes (for breeding species such as Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Little Tern and Nightjar, and wintering Hen Harriers) and Breckland (for breeding Stone-Curlews, Woodlark and Nightjar). Thanks to Andy Brown (English Nature sĂŠnior ornithologist) for constructive comment on a draft of this paper.


The following table identifies those species within the following schedules or lists: • Wildlife & Countryside Schedule 1 : birds which are protected by special penalties (part I) at ali times, and (part II) during the close season only (Column 1). • Birds of Conservation Concern - red and amber lists (Column 2). • Biodiversity Action Pian - priority species, and long list (Column 3). • Birds Directive - article 4.1: listed rare or vulnerable species at a European scale (Column 4). 1.

Red-throated Diver Black-throated Diver Great Northern Diver Red-necked Grebe Slavonian Grebe Black-necked Grebe Manx Shearwater Storm Petrel Leach's Petrel Gannet Cormorani Shag Bittern Little Bittern Little Egret Purple Heron Spoonbill Mute Swan Bewick's Swan Whooper Swan Bean Goose Pink-footed Goose White-fronted Goose Greylag Goose Barnacle Goose Brent Goose Shelduck Wigeon Gadwall Teal Mallard Pintail Garganey Shoveler Pochard Tufted Duck Scaup Common Eider Long-tailed Duck Common Scoter Velvet Scoter Goldeneye Smew Red-breasted Merganser Goosander Honey Buzzard Red Kite White-tailed Eagle Marsh Harrier Hen Harrier Montagu's Harrier Goshawk Sparrowhawk

I I I I I

I

I I

2. amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber red

I I I I

II

II I

I I I I

n

i i i i i i i

amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber amber red red amber

amber red red red red amber

3. long long long long long long long long long long long long priority long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long priority priority long long long long long long long long long long long long

4. # #

Common Buzzard Golden Eagle Osprey Kestrel Merlin Hobby Gyr Falcon Peregrine Black Grouse Capercaillie Grey Partridge Quail Water Rail Spotted Crake Corncrake Common Crane Oystercatcher Black-winged Stilt Avocet Stone Curlew Little Ringed Piover Ringed Piover Kentish Piover Dotterei Golden Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Knot Sanderling Little Stint Temminck's Stint Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Ruff Jack Snipe Common Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew Spotted Redshank Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Turnstone Red-necked Phalarope Arctic Skua Great Skua Mediterranean Gull Little Gull

# #

# #

#

# #

# #

# # # # # #

9

1.

2.

I I

amber red amber red

I I I I

I I I

I I I I

amber red red red red amber amber red amber amber amber amber red amber

I I

amber amber amber amber amber

amber I I

I I

I I I

amber amber amber amber amber amber red amber amber amber amber amber

I

amber amber red

I I

amber amber amber

3. long long long long long long

4.

long long priority priority long long long priority long

#

# # #

#

# #

long long # priority # long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long priority long long long long

# #

#

# #

#


1. Common Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Sandwich Tern Roseate Tem Common Tern Arctic Tem Little Tem Black Tern Guillemot Razorbill Black Guillemot Puffin Stock Dove Turtle Dove Barn Owl Snowy Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Short-eared Owl Nightjar Kingfisher Bee-eater Hoopoe Wryneck Green Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Woodlark Skylark Shore Lark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Waxwing Dipper Wren . . . Fair Isle race Dunnock Nightingale Bluethroat Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Northern Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush

I

1 I

I I

I I I I

I

2. amber amber amber amber red amber amber amber amber amber amber amber red amber

amber red amber

red amber

red red

I amber amber

amber amber I I

amber amber amber

I

amber amber amber red

3. long long long priority long long long long

4. Redwing Cetti's Warbier Grasshopper Warbier Savi's Warbler Aquatic Warbler Marsh Warbler Reed Warbler Icterine Warbler Dartford Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Common Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Crested Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Short-toed Treecreeper Golden Oriole Red-backed Shrike Chough Starling Tree Sparrow Brambling Serin Greenfinch Siskin Goldfinch Linnet Twite Redpoll Crossbill Scottish Crossbill Parrot Crossbill Common Rosefinch Bullfinch Hawfinch Lapland Bunting Snow Bunting Yellowhammer Ciri Bunting Reed Bunting Com Bunting

# # # # # #

long long long priority long long long long long priority long

#

* # #

priority long long long priority # priority long long long long long long long long long long long long long # long long long long long long long long long priority

Richard Rafe, c/o English Nature, Bury St. Edmunds.

10

1. 1 1

I

2. amber amber amber amber red red

I

amber red

I

I

amber red

1

amber amber amber amber

1

I I I I

I I

amber red amber amber red amber amber

amber red red I 1 1 1

I I I

red amber amber red amber amber red red red

3. 4. long long long long priority priority long long # long long long long long long long long long priority long long long long long long long long long long long long priority # long # priority long long long long long priority long long long priority # long long priority long long long long priority priority priority


The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey in Suffolk in 1996 Mike Crewe 1. Introduction It will have been noticed that there was no Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) review in Suffolk Birds 46. The deadline schedules for the BBS and production of the annual bird report are such that obtaining data and producing an article in time for the bird report is difficult. Thus we shall be reviewing the BBS results for one year prior to that which had been originally intended. Although this will mean that the data will be less up-todate, this will not be a drawback as the intention is not to produce an up-to-the-minute review of the County's breeding birds, rather to present the results of the ongoing annual survey with the intention of (eventually) highlighting any long term trends. This review begins to compare the distribution and abundance of the more common species, those recorded in more than 10 squares in each of the survey years. Following this the 1996 data are compared with the national results. 2.1996 fieldwork The continued increase in interest in the Breeding Bird Survey, and the associated increase in the number of squares covered, was reflected in Suffolk where an extra five survey squares were completed. However, there was a net loss in overall coverage as eight squares that had been covered in 1994 or 1995 were not surveyed in 1996. The total number of squares covered in 1996 was 33, the same as 1995 and four more than in 1994. Location of BBS squares in Suffolk*

in Essex and the north-east corner of the county will fall under the jurisdiction of the SE Norfolk RR. However, these anomalies do not affect the overall results.

11


3. Results from Suffolk squares In ail, 105 species were recorded in Suffolk squares during 1996. Instead of a comprehensive list, as has been previously produced (see Suffolk Birds 45), the following table compares the most commonly recorded species over the three years of the survey; that is, species which have occurred in more than 10 squares each year. The distribution is examined in terms of the percentage of the squares surveyed in which each species was found. The abundance is expressed as the mean, which has been calculated by dividing the total number of birds recorded of each species by the number of squares in which that species occurred. A more straightforward analysis of the abundance by comparison of the total numbers of each species recorded across ail squares is not possible in view of the diffĂŠrent number and location of the squares surveyed in each of the years.

Species

Distribution % of squares 1996 1994 1995

Mallard Red-legged Partridge Pheasant Moorhen Lesser Black-backed Gull Stock Dove Wood Pigeon Collared Dove Turtle Dove Cuckoo Swift Skylark Swallow House Martin Pied Wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Blackbird Song Thrush Mistle Thrush Whitethroat Blackcap Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Long-tailed Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Magpie Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Starling House Sparrow Chaffinch Greenfinch Goldfinch Linnet Yellowhammer

65 73 88 54 42 50 100 58 62 69 62 100 88 69 42 92 81 92 100 85 54 35 69 69 77 54 99 92 58 62 58 92 88 77 92 77 73 69 77

58 81 88 50 38 58 100 42 54 50 38 100 77 50 50 88 77 92 100 81 42 77 88 62 81 58 88 88 73 62 62 85 81 73 100 73 46 69 77

12

76 73 94 52 55 52 100 61 67 48 45 88 82 58 55 94 88 91 97 70 52 85 67 67 73 39 94 91 61 61 61 91 79 85 97 79 73 70 91

Abundance Mean 1994 1995 1996 3.76 4.68 6.91 2 5.73 2.38 29.61 4.87 2.25 1.39 9.5 8.15 5.61 5.17 1.55 6.92 3.09 4.58 8.54 2.77 1.93 1 2.72 3.22 3.6 2.36 4.87 3.96 1.73 7.81 27.6 3.75 13.78 10.45 8.96 5.05 5.05 7.78 5.95

4.47 2.9 7.43 1.92 10.1 2.73 24.19 4.91 1.86 1.46 6.3 8.19 4.7 6.31 2.08 7.43 2.75 5.67 8.88 2.19 5.27 4.1 2.39 2.44 3.29 3.67 6.26 4.17 2.37 11.44 18.81 3.14 15 12.58 9.23 4.05 4.5 5.61 5.25

4.72 4.79 7.26 2.24 15.78 7.18 30.42 3.8 2.64 2.06 5.07 10.45 5.04 5.42 1.94 4.45 3.34 5.57 9.72 2.65 2.23 4.54 3.14 2.41 3.75 2.23 7.81 5.1 2.3 9.45 35.25 4.57 14.62 8.39 11.44 4.42 4.29 4.52 5.3


Even in the case of such relatively common species, the small sample size and short period means caution must be exercised in interpreting the results. 4. Comparison with National Results As before, figures showing the distribution and abundance of species in BBS squares are presented here alongside national figures for comparison. National data are taken from the BTO's second annual BBS report. The top 20 most widespread species in BBS squares Suffolk

National Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Species Wood Pigeon Chaffinch Blackbird Wren Robin Carrion Crow Blue Tit Great Tit Starling Dunnock Skylark Swallow Song Thrush Magpie Willow Warbier Greenfinch House Sparrow Pheasant Jackdaw Whitethroat

percentage of squares occupied

Species

percentage of squares occupied

89 87 87 84 82 82 81 72 72 71 70 69 67 67 62 61 60 59 55 51

Wood Pigeon Chaffinch Blackbird Blue Tit Pheasant Wren Robin Yellowhammer Great Tit Carrion Crow Skylark Dunnock House Sparrow Whitethroat Swallow Starling Greenfinch Mallard Red-legged Partridge Goldfinch

100 97 97 94 94 94 91 91 91 91 88 88 85 85 82 79 79 76 73 73

Once again, arable farmland species showed a wider spread in Suffolk than in the UK as a whole, notably Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge, Yellowhammer and Whitethroat. However, Skylark has declined locally, while the continued absence of Magpie will perhaps surprise many. It is worth noting that the figures for the percent-age of squares occupied for each species are generally higher locally than nationally. This is because the Suffolk squares do not cover such a wide cross-section of habitats as the national squares do, being particularly poor along the immediate coast and in woodland. However, this is a reflection of the Overall habitat cover of the County, although it may mean that, despite a super-abundance of arable farmland in Suffolk, species typical of such habitat may be over-represented. 13

Skylark


The top 20 most abundant species in BBS squares The ranking is based upon the total number of birds of each species recorded in ali the squares surveyed. The average count, or mean, is shown for interest. A higher average count reflects the greater density of a particular species in certain squares, such as water-birds at a lake, for example. Suffolk

National Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Species Starling Wood Pigeon Rook House Sparrow Chaffinch Blackbird Carrion Crow Blue Tit Jackdaw Wren Robin Skylark Swallow Meadow Pipit Ferai Pigeon Swift Greenfinch Magpie Great Tit Herring Gull

Species

Av. count

Wood Pigeon Rook Starling Chaffinch Blackbird Skylark Lesser Black-back Blue Tit House Sparrow Pheasant Jackdaw Robin Yellowhammer Great Tit Wren Carrion Crow Swallow Whitethroat Stock Dove Mallard

28 20 25 18 11 II 10 9 11 7 7 8 6 13 15 9 6 5 5 15

Av. count 35 30 15 11 10 10 16 8 8 7 9 6 5 5 4 5 5 4 7 5

Again, the small sample size has boosted the ranking of species that habitually occur in concentrated numbers at a few localities, such as Lesser Black-backed Gull and Mallard. Rooks are interesting, being unplaced in the National rankings last year but now appearing at third place, whilst the County position has also improved. As might be expected, coastal and rural species appear higher in the Suffolk ranking than the national figures and urban species (most notably House Sparrow) appear lower in the ranking locally. 5. More squares, better results Once again, it cannot be stressed enough that the greater the coverage, the more accurate the results. We need to have around 100 squares covered each year to have confidence in any analysis of the data. Survey squares will always be available for new surveyors; the map following shows squares currently vacant. Contact either Suffolk's 14

Swift


BTO Regional Representative, Mick Wright (tel.01473 710032), or Richard Bashford at the BTO (The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU) for further details. It may be necessary to travel a short distance to participate but Suffolk ornithology, the BTO and ultimately the birds will benefit from your efforts.

Acknowledgements Thanks are due to the following 1996 participants of the BBS, without whom there would be no survey and no results: K Aveling, A Banister, A Buckingham, S Carmichael, P Chappell, P Cloke, D Davison, J Dustow, J Garstang, S Gillings, J Glazebrook, R Glazebrook, S Gough, T Gray, R Gregory, P Hamling, B Henson, Dr G Hewson, T Oliver, G Oram, D Palmer, W Patrick, T Spall, A Stocker, J Turner, P Vincent, J Walshe, A Wilson. Mike Crewe, West Runton, Norfolk

15


Seabird Movements and Abundance off North Suffolk, 1994-96. II. Little Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common/Arctic Terns and Little Tern P.J.Dare Introduction Little Gulls (Larus minutus) and sea-terns (Sterna spp.) are familiar to coastal birdwatchers in Suffolk mainly as passage migrants although small colonies of Sandwich Tern (S. sandvicensis), Common Tern (5. hirundo) and Little Tern (S. albifrons) also breed annually in the County (Payn 1978, Suffolk Bird Reports). However, the seasonal patterns and scale of their movements have not been described. These species were included in a three-year study of seabird movements seen from the clifftops at Covehithe; the observations on five other species (Fulmar, Gannet, Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill) have already been presented in the Suffolk Bird Report (Dare 1998) This paper summarises the records of Little Gulls and sea-terns counted off Covehithe between January 1994 and December 1996, and then interprets their local status in the wider context of these species' populations and movements elsewhere in the southern North Sea. Methods The observations were made during 625 early morning sea-watches (1,565 hours) and 69 afternoon watches (104 hours). Full dĂŠtails of recording methods and ambient weather conditions were given in the previous Suffolk Bird Report (Dare 1998). For the present analysis, as before, most data are presented as mean monthly values so as to show overall seasonal patterns more clearly by smoothing out short-term variability caused by irregular weather fluctuations and other factors. To correct for varying levels of observational effort, abundances are expressed also as numbers of birds seen per hour. Their frequency of occurrence in each month is given by the percentage of days on which each species was observed. The Covehithe data are then compared with records published in recent (generally 1983-95) annual bird reports for Kent (KBRs), Norfolk (NBRs), Suffolk (SBRs), Yorkshire (YBRs) and of the Dungeness Bird Observatory (DBORs). Wind data relating to these county records were extracted from synoptic weather maps published in Weather Log (Meteorological Society). (i) Little Gull Larus minutus This dainty gull was common on autumn passage at Covehithe where 985 were seen during 1994-96 (Fig. la) and between 230 and 450 in each year. First birds arrived each summer during the period July 6th to 16th. It was most frequent from late July into mid-November (Figs.la, b) and occurred almost daily in August (Fig. lc). Its appearances became more sporadic during autumn. Although seen in all months except March and June, Little Gulls were rather rare throughout winter and notably so in spring and early summer. The age-classes of 560 birds recently arrived in July and August were assessed (Grant 1986). Most (89%) were first- and second-year immatures, in the ratio of 3-5:1, 3% were adults in breeding plumage, 1% were adults or subadults in non-breeding plumage, and only 6% were juveniles. In September, a smaller sample (n=69) compriseli 70% immatures, 4% adults (all in non-breeding plumage) and 26% juveniles. Similar age compositions were observed (1996) at the nearby roost on Benacre Broad. In summer, early on fine mornings with little or no wind, Little Gulls were often seen Aying in. singly or in twos and threes, from far out to sea to the E or NE (sometimes 16


Figure 1. The annual and seasonal abundance of Little Gulls at Covehithe, 1994-96: (a) numbers seen in each month and year Little Gull, 1994-96 number 600 500 400

200 100 F

J

M

A

lì Î

M

J

l

A

S

Q O

l N

D

month ^1994

01996

•1996

(b) average numbers passing per hour and direction of flight Little Gull, 1994-96 no./hr 3-0

2-0

1*0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J (Iìli! J

S

0

N

D

month

J J north

[X] south

(c) average frequeney of occurrence

(d) the numbers seen in coastal Suffolk during 1983-93 (from Suffolk Bird Reports) Little Gull'.Suffolk,1983-93 number 1000

Jan

Feb

Mar

Âpr

May

Jin

JJ

Aug

Sep

Od

Nov

Dec

month

17


SE), presumably arriving from the Continent. When about '/2 mile offshore, some gulls would turn either north or south to follow the coast, while others might pause to feed, particularly along tidal streaks or discontinuities on the calm sea surface. At this season, too, a daily roost of Little Gulls formed at Benacre Broad, presumably from coasting or incoming birds. In August 1996 numbers would build up in the early mornings, to a maximum of 46, before most birds departed in mid-morning to sea. Some then coasted south in small parties past Covehithe while others apparently headed north towards Lowestoft. Little Gulls also gathered on the broad on some afternoons. A few afternoon movements were noted in summer totalling 21 birds (77% heading north). Some of these were probably heading to the roost on the broad after foraging to the south off Sizewell where several often feed in this season (SBRs). Autumn passage peaked annually in August, although in 1994 almost as many gulls were seen in July (Fig. la). Six morning movements of 20-43 Little Gulls were noted in August, some involving birds that had left the roost ] h mile to the north. Four movements headed south, three of them in light SW-SSW winds and one with a slight easterly breeze, while two were northerly in light NNE winds. Late autumn movements, in October and November, were all to the north and into light to fresh winds from between NNW and NE. The two biggest were of 40 gulls on October 10th 1996 and 82 in seven hours on November 4th 1995. Their passage effectively was over by mid-November. In winter, the highest day count in each month was two in December, 12 in January and one in February. All the January birds were flying north on January 12th 1996 into a fresh NNW wind. Spring passage was barely detectable, just seven single gulls (one adult in full breeding plumage and six immatures) scattered between April 1st and May 22nd (Fig. la,c). These Covehithe observations conform to the general pattern of coastal Suffolk records of Little Gulls (Fig. Id). During 1983-92 some 100-300 birds were listed each year, and over 550 in 1993 (SBRs). However, the apparently later timing (September-October) of the peak in autumn passage in the earlier period may be an artefact reflecting the bias by sea-watchers towards the autumn. The SBRs show individual maxima in early September and in late October, with 11 movements of 30-90 Little Gulls plus an exceptional southerly passage of 267 gulls at Southwold on September 13th 1993 during an onshore E-SE gale. All these movements took place with fresh to strong or gale force winds, and the birds tended to fly into the wind. Thus, five of eight southerly movements coincided with winds from between ESE and SW (the others with W-NW) while three of the four northerly movements were heading into NE-NW winds (the other with a SE tail wind). In winter during 1983-93, Little Gulls were of erratic occurrence in Suffolk; unusually high counts then were of 21 south at Kessingland in January and of 11 feeding off Sizewell in February. In spring they were even scarcer on the coast (Fig. Id) where only occasional single gulls were recorded. In this season, rather more birds pass through at inland waters in Suffolk, as they do also in neighbouring counties. Elsewhere in East Anglia and in the Thames area, the annual coastal pattern of Little Gull appearances is broadly similar to that in Suffolk except that the autumn peak is normally not until late October in Essex or late October/early November in north Kent and Norfolk (EBRs, KBRs, NBRs). In addition, summer roosts, similar in size to the Benacre roost, are not formed in these three other Counties. The Benacre summer assembly is apparently the most southerly on the east coast; some very large gatherings occur in August between the Humber and Firth of Tay (Table 1). Along the Suffolk coast, Little Gulls are more plentiful than in Essex (some 50-250 annually) but less numerous than on other coasts in the region. In north Kent, where peak-day counts of 100-200 gulls have occurred several times in recent years, a record 384 flew 18


east on November 23rd 1990. On the north coast of Norfolk, 500-900 are seen most years and autumn movements of 100-200 Little Gulls in a day are not unusual. Exceptionally, 400 and 600 have been counted there in a day and a total of over 1,700 Little Gulls passed in the record year of 1992. Footnote: In 1997-98, the summer roosts of Little Gulls on Benacre Broad attained the peaks of 95 birds on August 26th 1997 and 50-59 during the period August 12th to 16th 1998.

(ii) Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis This tern shows both spring and autumn passages separated by a period when summering non-breeders are present (Figs. 2a,b ). A total of 3,584 birds was recorded between extreme dates of April Ist and October 22nd. Spring passage, when 95% of birds headed north, was generally very light, few terns being seen before mid-April. Largest movements were in May with peaks of 59 north on May 1 Ith 1996 (3'At hr) and 45 north on May 20th 1994 (3>/4hr) in light NE and N winds respectively. During June-July increasing numbers fished to and fro on most days. These were presumably non-breeding birds which roosted at Minsmere or Benacre Broad. The nearest breeding colony is 22 miles to the south at Havergate (300 pairs, 200 juveniles in 1994). From May through to September, birds were seen on >75% of mornings (Fig.2c) and every day during August, when return passage peaked later in that month (Fig. 2d). Purposeful southerly movements were seen most often on bright, clear mornings with light winds when couples and small diffuse parties flew S-SSE in direct steady flight and often well offshore at 50-100 ft. height. During the period August 18th to 29th 1996,485 headed south in this manner including 91 in 3'/2 hr on August 22nd. Migration was most evident within 1-3 hours of sunrise. More often, a 'trickle' passage or southerly drift occurred with birds fishing en route, and this could extend into the afternoon. Figure 2. The annual and seasonal abundance of Sandwich Terns at Covehithe, 1994-96: (a) numbers seen in each month and year Sandwich Tern, 1994-96 number 1800 1500

iaÂť

Jä.

Oll

E"

(b) average numbers seen per hour Sandwich Tern no./hr 8-0 6-0 4-0

i 2-0

J

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. 1 A

l M

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1S . O

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(c) average frequency of occurrence Sandwich Tern % days

month

(d) autumn passage by half-month periods, July to November (total of 2,440 terns in distinct southerly movements) Sandwich Tern:autumn p a s s a g e number 600 500 400 300

200 100 Jy1

Jy2

A1

• A2

S1

1 . S2

Ol

02

N1

N2

month

In August and early September, temporary roosts of up to 75 terns formed early each morning at Benacre Broad. Many adults would 'park' their juveniles there while they fished offshore before ali departed south later in the morning. Passage rates feil quickly through September until birds became rather scarce in early October (Fig. 2b). In autumn, 26% of birds were flying north, perhaps on local fishing trips from nearby overnight roosts. The 1994-96 observations conform to the fragmentary record in SBRs. The latter also indicate a light spring passage (maximum 46 north at Southwold on May 6th 1991) but stronger autumn movements, though these seldom reached 100 birds in a day; an exceptional 450 flew south off Southwold on September Ist 1982 in a light W-NW wind. Very late stragglers have occurred into November: three on November 7th 1994 at Southwold and eight on November 20th 1991 off Minsmere. (iii) Common/Arctic Terns Sterna hirundo/paradisaea These two species were not separable under prevailing study conditions but probably >95% of the 5,030 'Commic' Terns recorded would have been Common; only 434 Arctic Terns are listed in the SBRs for 1982-94. The migratory behaviour and seasonal movement patterns at Covehithe (Figs. 3a-c) were similar to those of Sandwich Terns. Extreme dates during 1994-96 were April 12th and November 3rd. A light spring passage peaked in May though few passed north in 1995 or 1996. In late May 1994, however, prominent passage occurred in very light N and NNW breezes on May 20th (112 north in 2'/2 hours) and on May 27th (146 north in 3'/4 hours). Early on both these mornings the terns, in compact flocks of 10-20 birds, flew rapidly and well offshore. The late dates suggest that they were most likely Arctic Terns heading north. Late passage of Arctics through June has been recorded (SBRs) in earlier years at Covehithe and Southwold. 20


Figure 3. The annual and seasonal abundance of Common/Arctic Terns at Covehithe, 1994-96 (a) numbers seen in each month and year 'Commie' Terns, 1994-96 number 4000

2000

1000

J

F

M

-

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B M

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. 1!

1 S

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(b) average numbers seen per hour on passage or foraging to and fro •Commic'Terns, 1994-96 no./hr 15 12 I 9 i 6 3 l J

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i J

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(c) average frequency of occurrence 'Commic'Terns, 1994-96 % days

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(d) autumn passage by half-month periods, July to November ( total of 2,440 terns in distinct southerly movements) 'Commic'Terns:autumn p a s s a g e number

21


During June and July a few 'Commie' Terns , presumably non-breeders, fished to and fro at Covehithe. The nearest breeding colonies, 5-10 miles away at Lowestoft and Minsmere, are both very small (six to seven pairs each in 1994). Autumn passage began early, even by late July in 1994 when 97 flew rapidly south on 30th to 31st, and soon built to a peak during August (Figs. 3a,d). The largest morning movement was of 390 south in hot and calm weather on August 12th 1995 (3'/2 hours). Days of large 'Commie' and of Sandwich Tern movements were seldom synchronised even though both species roosted together on Benacre Broad. By mid-September few 'Commie' Terns were passing but stragglers occurred in October each year. In autumn 1995 at least 2,100 'Commies' passed south in the mornings; a slight 'trickle' passage occurred in the afternoons. The Covehithe observations are consistent with the anecdotal SBR records in confirming the lightness of spring passage; a count of 210 north at Landguard on May 2nd 1990 was considered unusual. Likewise, autumn movements of >200 'Commies' in a day have been noted only between August 19th and September 1st, with maxima of 442 south on August 19th 1982 at Southwold and 839 south on August 20th 1987 at Landguard. The largest passage of Arctic Terns specifically identified was of 100 flying south on August 10th 1987 at Southwold. In 1949, an exceptional gathering of at least 3,000 'Commie' Terns was observed on August 23rd off Walberswick (Payn, 1978). Latest county dates are November 7th for Common Tern and December 16th for Arctic. However, one Common Tern over-wintered off Size well in 1974/75 until February 26th (Payn, 1978). (iv) Little Tern Sterna albifrons At Covehithe, during 1994-96, Little Terns arrived later and departed much earlier than Sandwich and 'Commie' Terns, their dates and duration of stay coincidentally resembling those of the Swift (Apus apus). Little Tern migrations were often difficult to distinguish from the daily foraging movements close inshore of breeding birds from the small colony close by at Covehithe Broad. There, 18 pairs nested in 1994 and fledged 10 young while 10-15 pairs bred in 1995-96 (SBRs). Spring arrivals were during the period April 22nd to 24th each year and breeding numbers then built up rapidly. Spring passage was slight and was discernible only in late April as small groups flew swiftly north within two hours of sunrise; thus, 13 on April 24th 1996 and 20 on April 26th 1996. During May-July, up to 25 birds at a time fished daily, the numbers being highest later in the nesting season when broods were being fed. Autumn passage was also inconspicuous, being evident only during the first three weeks of August, and totalled 108 birds. It included movements on five days each of 13 to 18 terns travelling south fast in small compact groups and usually beyond the fishing zone of the nesting colony. Such passage occurred early on clear bright mornings with light winds. The local breeders also departed early in August. Last passage birds usually were seen during the period August 18th to 22nd each summer except for singles on September 1st 1996 and October 2nd 1994. The SBRs contain no records of spring passage and few of autumn movements. The latter, however, include 35 south at Landguard on August 9th 1990, 27 south there on September 8th 1994, and an exceptional 300 south on July 4th 1988 at Covehithe. The latest Little Tern records for the county refer to single birds on October 31st 1980 near Southwold and on November 18th 1973 at Lowestoft (Payn 1978). DISCUSSION (i) Little Gull The status of this species has changed dramatically since the early 1950s both nationally (Hutchinson and Neath 1978) and within Suffolk (Payn 1978). Formerly 22


very scarce visitors almost everywhere, and mainly in autumn, Little Gulls increased rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s, apparently the result of an (undetected) increase in the main breeding population east of the Baltic in north-west Russia (Hutchinson and Neath 1978). Currently, some 30,000-45,000 pairs breed in this region (Skov et al. 1995), many migrating westwards through the Baltic, North Sea and English Channel to their main wintering areas off the Atlantic coasts of mainland Europe (Cramp and Simmons 1983). However, increasing numbers (probably 3,000-5,000 birds) nowadays stay to winter along the southern coasts of the North Sea, most of them off the Voordelta of southern Holland and Belgium ( Camphuysen and Leopold 1994, Skov et al. 1995). Some 150-350 gulls are thought to stay off the east coasts of England and Scotland (Hutchinson 1986). In Suffolk, by the mid-1970s, Little Gulls were appearing regularly in fair numbers on autumn passage and, though still rather irregular in winter, they had become more frequent visitors in spring and early summer (Payn 1978). Similar increases occurred also along the north coasts of both Norfolk and Kent (Hutchinson and Neath 1978). Little Gulls are nowadays very numerous in autumn on parts of the east coast of England, as recent samples of counts from key locations show (Table 1). The main influxes occur from north Norfolk northwards and several massive coasting movements (in both north and south directions) have been observed off Flamborough Head, as well as impressive gatherings on nearby Hornsea Mere, in recent autumns. However, the onward route from Yorkshire taken by these large flocks is quite unknown. In addition, a large passage stream, involving at least 15,000 gulls (Camphuysen and Leopold 1994), moves down the Continental coasts and through the Dover Strait with numbers reaching Kent en route (KBRs, Oliver 1977, Hutchinson 1986). Given the scale of these movements it seems surprising that not more Little Gulls appear off the Suffolk and Essex coasts. Table 1. Autumn passage of Little Gulls on the North Sea coast of Britain in recent years Firths of Tay and Fรถrth ( 1 9 6 3 - 7 3 ) Flamborough Head ( 1 9 8 4 - 9 6 ) Hornsea Mere ( 1 9 8 4 - 9 6 ) North Norfolk ( 1 9 8 3 - 9 4 ) Suffolk ( 1 9 8 3 - 9 3 ) Essex ( 1 9 8 7 - 9 4 ) North Kent ( 1 9 9 0 - 9 3 )

Notes:

Annual Totals (range) ?

M a x i m u m Count in a Day 500+

1.000-16,000

4,100(21.9.95) 2 , 0 0 0 (5.9.94) 600(11.10.92) 267(13.9.93) 176 ( 2 5 . 1 0 . 9 0 ) 384(23.10.90)

250-350 200-1,700 50-600 50-250 150-1,250

Peak Period August Mid-September - late October Late August - late September Mid-October - mid-November Early September/late October Late October Mid-October - early N o v e m b e r

1. Annual totals based on individual day-counts published in county reports. 2. Scottish data from Hutchinson and Neath (1978).

In autumn. Little Gulls reach the east coast in two main 'waves' or arrival periods (Hutchinson and Neath 1978). First arrivals are in late July or early August, and numbers peak in late August and early September - notably at Hornsea Mere and the Firths of Forth and Tay (Table 1) - where perhaps some undergo moult. At Covehithe, a comparable early arrival was noted in summer 1994 (Fig. la) and Suffolk's highest count occurred in mid-September 1993 (Table 1). At other British east coast sites, as on the Dutch coast (Camphuysen and Leopold 1994), passage is rather light in these months. However, there was an exceptional passage of some 12,500 Little Gulls past Flamborough during the period September 14th to 23rd 1995. More usually, their peak numbers are recorded later, between mid-October and mid-November (Table 1), which corresponds to the second arrival 'wave' identified by Hutchinson and Neath (1978) and to the heaviest passage (of at least 14,000 birds) along the Dutch coast 23


(Camphuysen and Leopold 1994). In Suffolk, during 198393, there was a secondary peak in late October (SBRs) but at Covehithe during 1994-96 only sporadic passages were seen then (Fig. la). Thus, autumn passage of Little Gulls in Suffolk misses the main streams of birds the relative extent to which early and late movements are represented each year. The tendency of Little Gulls to fly into the wind off our coast is evident from both the Covehithe and earlier SBR records, as noted previously. Similar behaviour was reported from Yorkshire (Hutchinson and Neath 1978) and it Little Gull also occurs in north Norfolk (Dare, pers. obs., NBRs and Met. Society Weather Log wind data analyses). At Covehithe, however, whereas the early arrivals appeared in light winds or calm conditions, all the October and November movements were linked to fresh or strong winds, as were many of the larger Suffolk movements during 1983-93. In Norfolk and Yorkshire large passages are often associated with strong or gale force onshore winds (NBRs, YBR/Met. Soc. data analyses). In winter, a few Little Gulls appear sporadically off Suffolk, as elsewhere on the east coast. Sightings in early December, such as 55 between Lowestoft and Southwold on December 9th 1959 (Payn 1978), probably refer to late autumn stragglers (Hutchinson and Neath 1978). Leaving these aside, the highest single winter counts between late December and the end of February for each county in recent years (to 1995) were: Yorkshire 20, Norfolk 62, Suffolk 21, Essex 32 and (north) Kent 28. The Suffolk and Essex influxes coincided with, respectively, fresh SE and strong easterly winds, which suggests movements across from the Dutch coastal wintering population. Other sightings, more especially those in Norfolk and Yorkshire, might relate to the few gulls that winter in the western North Sea and which come close to land only during onshore gales (Hutchinson 1986). In spring, as to be expected, virtually all Little Gulls return east along the Continental coast. In the Netherlands, the passage peaks around May 1st and can attain rates of 700-900 gulls in an hour (Camphuysen and van Dijk 1983). Around 10,000 gulls are counted passing in a typical spring, and up to 30,000 have been estimated to pass in the best years (Camphuysen and Leopold 1994). Each spring, several hundred Little Gulls are deflected across onto the English south coast by southerly winds between early April and mid-May. They then pass Dungeness where 1,014 were counted in the best year (1990) and 200-355 have occurred in a day on several occasions (DBORs, Davenport 1990). By contrast, spring passage of Little Gulls is scarcely discernible on the coasts of Suffolk and of other eastern counties of England. (ii) Terns Tern passage along the Suffolk and neighbouring coasts has not been well documented, perhaps due to the confounding presence of large breeding colonies with their complex local foraging and post-breeding dispersal movements. Spring passage of all the sea-terns at Covehithe was surprisingly light during the morning watches, and apparently also in the afternoons, considering the large 24


numbers breeding in East Anglia and the scale of easterly migration past Dungeness. Thus, in north Norfolk some 3,400 pairs of Sandwich Terns, 800 pairs of Common Terns and 575 pairs of Little Terns bred in 1994; while in Suffolk the corresponding populations were 300, 135 and 140 pairs (NBRs, SBRs). Passage periods at Covehithe in 1994-96 conformed to those reported previously in Suffolk and at Dungeness. At the latter watch-point some 3,000-6,000 Sandwich Terns, 7,00020,000 'Commic' Terns and 200-900 Little Terns are recorded each spring; and on peak-days up to 1,400 Sandwich, 6,000 'Commic', 400 Arctic and 200 Little Terns (DBORs, Davenport 1990). These movements, however, doubtless involve Continental as well as British east coast terns. That many of the latter must stay well offshore when passing Suffolk in spring is suggested also by the many sightings at sea throughout the Southern Bight during Aprii - June (Tasker et al. 1987). Although large passages of 'Commic' Terns can occur late in the afternoon at Dungeness, under certain weather conditions (Davenport 1990), no such movements seem to ha ve been reported in Suffolk. Autumn passage of Sandwich and Little Terns at Covehithe in the morning was also small in proportion to the size of régional breeding populations and their annual production of juveniles (about one fledgling per pair). Although some terns pass later in the day there are no spécifié reports of large afternoon movements off Suffolk (SBRs). The relative scarcity of Sandwich Terns at Covehithe, despite my observations covering 71% of dates between July and September, could reflect this tern's post-breeding behaviour. This entails the dispersai of families to traditional feeding grounds in late June before they start on their southerly migration (Cramp 1985). Some British-bred juveniles move north initially and some cross to the Dutch coast (Cramp 1985). Whatever the mechanism involved, most of the 10,000 post-breeding Sandwich Terns from Norfolk clearly avoid the Suffolk coast on their way south. Indeed, few appear to move down the east Norfolk coast either (NBRs). Little Terns also undertake a post-breeding dispersai, by families and individuals, starting sometimes in the first half of July (Cramp 1985). At Covehithe such early movements would have been masked by the daily foraging flights of the local colony. Autumn passage generally is unobtrusive elsewhere in Suffolk (SBRs) suggesting that many Little Terns also pass south well offshore. The autumn passage of 'Commic' Terns at Covehithe probably was comprised of >90% Common Terns and <10% Arctic Terns, judging from records in the SBRs. Up to 2,100 'Commics' were counted per autumn flying south past Covehithe during autumn morning watches, and much smaller numbers in the afternoons. This was a much higher proportion relative to East Anglian breeding numbers than was found for the other species, though possibly some birds from north of the Wash could also have been involved in southbound movements off Covehithe. References Camphuysen, C.J. & van Dijk, J. 1983. Seabirds and estuary birds along the Netherlands coast, 1974-79. Limosa, 56: 83-230. Camphuysen, C.J. & Leopold, M.F. 1994. Atlas of Seabirds in the Southern North Sea. IBN Research Report 94/6, NIOZ-Report 1994-8, Institute for Forestry and Nature Research, Dutch Seabird Group and Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel, 1 -126 pp. Cramp, S. & Simmons, K.E.L. 1983. Handbook of Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol.3. Oxford. Cramp, S. 1985. Handbook of Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol.4. Oxford. Dare, P.J. 1998 . Seabird movements and abundance off north Suffolk, 1994-96. I. Fulmar, Gannet, Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill. Suffolk Birds, 46: 16-36. 25


Davenport, D. 1990. Spring seabird, wildfowl and wader passage at Dungeness. Annual Report of Dungeness Bird Observatory, 1990 : 36-40. Grant, P.J. 1986. Gulls: A Guide to Identification. T.& A.D.Poyser, Calton. Hutchinson, C.D. 1986. Little Gull. pp. 230-231, in Lack, P. (ed.). The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T.&.A.D.Poyser, Calton. Hutchinson, C.D. & Neath, B. 1978. Little Gulls in Britain and Ireland. British Birds, 71: 563-582. Oliver, P.J. 1977. Autumn passage of Little Gulls at Cap Gris Nez. Alauda, 45: 191-196. Payn, W.H. 1978. The Birds of Suffolk. Ipswich. Skov, H., Durinck, J., Leopold, M.F. & Tasker, M.L. 1995. Important Bird Areas for Seabirds in the North Sea. BirdLife International, Cambridge. Tasker, M.L., Webb, A., Hall, A.J., Pienkowski, M.W. & Langslow, D.R. 1987. Seabirds in the North Sea. Nature Conservancy Council, Peterborough. 336pp. Dr. Peter J. Dare, Glebe House, Toad Row, Henstead, Beccles, Suffolk. NR34 7LG

26


The 1997 Suffolk Bird Report Systematic List Introduction The list and its appendices have been written using data supplied by the county's birdwatchers and conservation organisations. The raw data have been collated and interpreted by the following: Divers to Shag Hérons to geese Ducks Raptors Game birds to crânes Oystercatcher to Ruff Snipe to phalaropes Skuas to gulls Terns to auks

Gary Lowe Andrew Easton Malcolm Wright Ricky Fairhead Chris Gregory Stuart Ling Andrew Gregory Brian Small Neville Skinner

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

Darren Underwood Richard Rafe Steve Fryett David Walsh Tony Howe Rob Macklin Rob Macklin Mike Crewe

The order and nomenclature follow the Birding World Complete List of The Birds of the Western Palearctic, which in turn follows Dr K H Voous's List of Recent Holarctic Bird Species with any more recent altérations. Subspecies are listed under the main species' heading, which includes the scientific name. The records for each species are listed under the parish where the bird occurred, sometimes followed by a more precise location if known. The exception to this is at the river estuaries and larger, well-known sites criss-crossed by several parish boundaries e.g. Walberswick NNR, Minsmere, Orfordness, Alton Water etc. The gazetteer on page 141 gives locations for those sites not easily located on a standard road map. The order of records is north to south down the coastal région, working round the estuaries, then inland from the northeast to the southwest of the County. To minimise any potential threats to site security, some records of rare breeding birds are published anonymously and under a vague site heading. As much use as possible is made of systematic monitoring schemes such as the WeBS counts. Using such co-ordinated data instead of maximum counts gives a better idea of the populations of each species wintering in the county on a given date. However, fluctuations in numbers due to changing weather patterns will affect totals and higher counts are given in the text after the table where appropriate. Counts from North Warren include Thorpeness Meare, Church Farm Marshes and the shoreline between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh; the Alde/Ore includes the complex of the Aide, Ore and Butley rivers as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave reservoir and Havergate Island; and the Orwell includes Trimley Marshes, Loompit Lake and Bourne Park Water Meadows. Counts from the Stour all refer solely to the Suffolk side of the estuary. Unfortunately such scientifically based records are rare. The larger part of the report, particularly for the more common species, is based upon ad hoc records. Data of that type are influenced by the distribution of birdwatchers, the weather and other factors that resuit in imperfections. In this respect the Breeding Bird Survey is particularly important, as explained in the paper elsewhere in this Report. We are nonetheless indebted to those observers who have persevered with other studies such as Common Bird Census, Constant Effort Sites and transect counts and for making the results available for use. See 'A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk' elsewhere in this Report for information on submission of records. 27


The following abbreviations are used in the systematic list: ad. = adult GP = gravel pit imm. = immature Ind. Est. = industrial 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 definitions are intended as a guide to the relative status of each species: Very common: 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. Accidental: Less than three records in past 30 years. RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata Common winter visitor and passage migrant The pattern of occurrence of this species off the Suffolk coast has been well documented (Dare, Suffolk Birds, Vol. 46). The reports for 1997 were typical. The highest counts in the first half of the year were at the two most well-watched sites; those over 250 are listed: Covehithe: 530, Jan.21st; c.675, Jan.30th; 1735 north (including 715 in 17 minutes), Feb.5th. Minsmere: 400, Jan.21st; 400, Feb.8th; 300, Feb.22nd.

Additionally, 300 were off Walberswick on February 2nd. In comparison, the highest count to the south of the County was c.60 off Shingle Street on February 11th. The last bird of the spring had appeared to be one off East Lane, Bawdsey on May 11th until one was noted off Minsmere on June 14th. This is the first mid-summer record since a bird in full summer plumage was seen off Walberswick/Dunwich on July 27th 1990. The highest counts in the second half of the year were 472 off Covehithe on December 27th and 250 off Dunwich on December 2nd. These were both dwarfed by the 1500 noted off Minsmere on December 13th (when over 600 passed north in one hour). Away from the sea the following birds were recorded: Orford: Havergate Island, up to four between Dec.9th and 18th. Butley: Butley Creek, Jan. 18th. Orwell: Jan. 13th and 27th; Mar.9th. Ipswich: Ipswich Dock, Apr. 11th. Alton Water: Dec.29th. Long Melford: Dec. 16th to 21st.

The Long Melford bird is the second consecutive annual record for West Suffolk after an 11-year gap. It was found in a back garden, apparently uninjured and healthy, and was released onto the River Stour. BLACK-THROATED DIVER Gavia arctica Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A relatively poor year with a likely total of only five birds recorded. This is below the average annual total of 12-13 birds over the past ten years and the lowest total since the early 1980s. 28

4


Reported nos. of Black-throated Diver: 1988-97

88

89

90 91

92

93

94

95

96

97

All records are shown. The total of five allows for the possibility that the bird drifting south off Southwold was seen off Walberswick three days later. Benacre: north, Apr.l9th. Southwold: drifting south, Feb.20th; adult, summer plumage, drifting north, Sep.20th. Walberswick: Jan. 13th; Feb.23rd. Felixstowe: Landguard, north, Jan.7th.

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Gavia immer Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Although lower than the totals for the past two years, the figure of eight birds in 1997 is around the average for the past ten years. However, it is against the recent trend of a steady increase in records for this species. Reported nos. of Great Northern Diver: 1988-97 15 -,

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

97

All records are listed: Southwold: south, Nov.4th; adult summer north, Nov. 10th. Minsmere: two on Feb.5th; Feb.8th and 15th; Nov. 17th. Aldeburgh: River Aide, Feb.2nd; immature, Dec. 15th. Orwell: series of reports, mainly from the Trimley area, between Mar.2nd and 26th.

It is assumed that all of the Orwell records relate to a single bird. Similarly, the February records from Minsmere are assumed to relate to a maximum of two birds as the 8th and 15th were both Saturdays, with the possibility of the birds going unrecorded during the week. LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The number of recorded breeding sites continued to decline, from 21 in 1995 and 18 in 1996 to 12 in 1997. North Warren RSPB Reserve reflected this trend with a further decline to six pairs, compared with eight in 1996 and 16 in 1995. On the other hand, c.35 juveniles were seen and the number of reported pairs increased from 39 in 1996 to 42 in 1997. The Deben remains the most important wintering site followed by the Orwell. The peak count from the Deben was 78 in December. The graph below shows the numbers on the Deben, from WeBS data, to have been remarkably consistent over the past two years. 29


River Deben: Nos. of Little Grebe

9/

m * 1997 -•••-••199«

&

%

Jan Feb Mar Apr

Sep Oct Nov Dec

GREAT CRESTED GREBE Podiceps cristatus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Encouragingly, a number of juveniles were reported in 1997 compared with none in 1996. Indeed, most of the reported breeding sites noted some degree of success. However, the number of confirmed breeding sites has again declined. There were only 11 pairs reported from seven sites compared with 26 pairs at 11 sites in 1996. Hopefully breeding attempts are merely going unrecorded. Numbers offshore in the first winter period showed an improvement on 1996, although numbers were still far short of the peak count of 636 in 1995. Covehithe: 346, Jan.30th. Minsmere: 250, Jan.29th; 220, Feb.8th; 250, Feb.22nd.

WeBS counts were as follows: Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour

Jan

Feb

0 12 80 1 20

n/c 13 12 n/c 31

Mar n/c 14 4 12 13

Apr n/c 29 17 14 51

Sep 0 2 n/c 71 71

Oct 7 14 35 43 109

Nov

Dec

n/c 34 42 53 91

10 10 39 72 96

In addition, there was a count of 93 at Alton Water on October 4th. RED-NECKED GREBE Podiceps grisegena Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Another good year for this species with a likely total of 18 birds recorded. This follows the 26 recorded in 1996. First w i n t e r p e r i o d r e c o r d s : Minsmere: Mar.7th to 18th. Trimley Marshes: Jan. 11th and 13th. Wherstead: two on Jan.25th. Ipswich: Ipswich Docks, Mar.3rd. Orwell: Feb. 16th; Mar.9th.

The records from the Orwell area are assumed to refer to a maximum of two birds. Records from the second winter period: Southwold: south, Nov.4th. Minsmere: Nov.3rd. Orford: Havergate Island, five on Dec. 14th. Waldringfield: Dec.29th. Deben Estuary: Dec. 14th. Felixstowe: Landguard, north, Sep.26th; Dec.6th. Wherstead: Fox's Marina, Dec.29th and 30th. Stour Estuary: Dec. 14th. Alton Water: one or two reported between Oct.26th and Dec.28th; three on Oct.27th.

The group at Havergate Island is the largest gathering since seven were present at Benacre in February 1979, during the severe weather of that winter. It is assumed that the Waldringfield and Deben records refer to one bird lingering on the river. 30


1. LITTLE GREBE, TRIMLEY MARSHES: Continued decline in recorded breeding s 'ltes. Alan Täte

2. FULMAR: A disappointing year in Suffolk. Alan Täte

3. SMEW: An influx in Januars'. Alan Täte


5. BUFFLEHEAD, HEVENINGHAM: The first accepted record this century for this Striking duck. Robin Chittenden


SLAVONIAN GREBE Podiceps auritus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Allowing for possible duplication, a minimum of 17 birds was recorded. Although below last year's high total, there does appear to be an upward trend in annual totals: Reported nos. of Slavonian Grebe: 1988-97 25 20

15 10

5 0 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 In c o n t r a s t w i t h R e d - n e c k e d G r e b e t h e b e s t n u m b e r s w e r e r e c o r d e d in t h e winter period, with a possible nine birds. Beccles: Beccles Marsh, Mar.2nd to 6th. Lowestoft: Oulton Broad/Lake Lothing, Jan. 11th and 12th. Minsmere: Jan.21st; Feb. 8th. Waldringfield: Jan. 1st and 5th. Deben Estuary: Jan. 12th; Mar.9th. Orwell: two on Jan. 12th and Feb.9th. Alton Water: Mar.รณth; two on Mar.25th.

first

Second winter period records: Benacre: Benacre Broad, Dec.20th to 31st. Covehithe: Dec.22nd. Southwold: Boating Lake, Oct.5th. Deben Estuary: two on Oct. 19th. Trimley Marshes: Dec.27th and 30th. Chelmondiston: River Orwell, Dec.28th. Stour Estuary: Dec. 14th. Alton Water: Dec.28th.

There was clearly a passage movement in early October and an influx of wintering birds in mid-December. BLACK-NECKED GREBE Podiceps nigricollis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A probable total of eight birds is near the average for the past ten years. The majority of the records came in the first winter period with only two in the second half of the year and both of those were passage birds. All records are shown: Southwold: Feb.20th; Sep.20th. Falkenham: Falkenham Creek, Feb.9th. Orwell: series of records from Thorpe Bay to Fox's Marina between Jan.5th and 21st, including two at Pinmill on Jan. 19th. Ipswich: River Gipping, Jan.22nd and 23rd. Livermere Lake: adult summer, Mar.29th to 31st. Lackford WR: juvenile, Sep.8th to 18th.

The Orwell and Gipping records are assumed to relate to a maximum of two birds. In August 1995 a juvenile was seen at Thorington Street reservoir, Stoke-by-Nayland. In neither that instance nor in the case of the Lackford juvenile is breeding suspected. FULMAR Fulmarus glacialis Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Although recorded in every month apart from January, numbers reported were well down on those in recent years. The only double-figure counts were as follows: 31


I Covehithe: 41, Apr.l7th; 38, Apr.l9th; 39, Jun.27th; 33, Oct.27th. Southwold: 25, Jun.27th; 23, Sep. 20th; 30, Sep. 21st; 12, Sep. 22nd; 11, Nov.4th. Aldeburgh: 11 on both Aug.27th and 28th.

As usual, most of the reports are of birds heading north. Together with the lack of any reported breeding attempt, 1997 was a fairly disappointing year for this species in Suffolk. Away from the sea, a bird was reported, apparently injured, on the Orwell off Trimley Marshes on May 5th. Hopefully it recovered and was the bird seen at Loompit Lake on May 18th. SOOTY SHEARWATER Puffinus griseus Uncommon passage migrant. Records indicate a total of 57 birds, allowing for possible double recording. This makes 1997 the best year since the 106 recorded in 1989. Reported nos. of Sooty Shearwater: 1988-97 125 100

75 50 25 0 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97

All records are shown. Except where noted the direction of travel was north. Lowestoft: Sep.29th. Kessingland: Sep.21st. Covehithe: Sep. 10th; 21 on Oct.3rd; singles on Oct.23rd and 27th. Southwold: singles on Sep. 18th, Oct. 15th and 20th; 18 on Oct.21st; singles on Nov.3rd and 4th. Minsmere: offshore, Nov.3rd. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, south, Sep. 19th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness, Sep.24th. Aldeburgh: south, Aug.27th; 0ct.20th; Nov.3rd; six on Nov.4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, south, Aug.27th.

MANX SHEARWATER Puffinus puffinus Uncommon passage migrant. The minimum of 23 birds is low but not exceptionally so, as with such pelagic birds numbers can vary greatly from year to year. All records are shown. Except where stated, the direction of travel was north. Corion: Sep.20th. Covehithe: Jun.27th; Sep. 19th and 21st; seven, Oct.3rd; Oct. 14th. Southwold: Sep.l9th; three, Sep.20th; Sep.21st; Oct.l5th; Nov.4th. Minsmere: May 4th. Aldeburgh: south, Jun. 11 th; three, Aug. 11 th; Nov.3rd. Felixstowe: Landguard, south, Aug.31st; Sep.20th; Nov.3rd.

STORM PETREL Hydrobates pelagicus Rare passage migrant. The three sightings in 1997 are the first recorded in Suffolk since 1991. Conceivably all the records could refer to a single bird patrolling up and down the coast. Southwold: south, Sep. 18th (J H Grant, G Lowe); north, Sep.22nd (NVipond). Minsmere: south close inshore, Oct.6th (I Rowlands).

32

4


With only 18 sightings in the past 40 years this is an elusive species in Suffolk. 1t is interesting to note that Ticehurst (1932) and Payn (1978) in their respective 'Birds of Suffolk' refer to it being much more plentiful last Century, when hundreds could be recorded following, appropriately, a storm. L E A C H ' S P E T R E L Oceanodroma leucorhoa Rare passage migrant. With 23 reports representing a likely total of 21 birds, 1997 was by far the best year for this species so far recorded. This is in sharp contrast to the previous three years. Reported nos. of Leach's Petrel: 1988-97

30 20

1 _ 1

I

10

. 1 . 1 I M

88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 All records are shown: Kessingland: north, Sep.21st. Covehithe: north, Sep.21st; north, Oct.7th. Southwold: south, Sep.l8th; five north, Sep.l9th; seven north, Sep.20th; three north, Sep.21st; two north, Oct.21st; north, Nov.4th. Minsmere: feeding close inshore by Sluice, then flew directly out to sea, Oct.รณth.

The details submitted for the first two records make it likely that a single bird was involved. It apparently takes 21 minutes for a Leach's Petrel to fly from Covehithe to Kessingland! In addition to the above records a probable Leach's Petrel was glimpsed on rough sea off Covehithe on September 19th. The reasons for the dramatic increase are not clear. Certainly there were high numbers recorded from nearby counties during the same peak period, such as the 14 off Foreness, Kent, on September 20th. GANNET Morus bassanus Common passage migrant. The raw data, unadjusted for any possible duplication, indicate a total of 2270, the lowest recorded since 1993. However, this is probably due to a changed pattern of recording rather than a decline. Indeed, as P.J.Dare has curtailed his systematic watching off Covehithe and he alone reported nearly 6,000 fewer Gannets in 1997, this would account for the shortfall in the annual total by itself. The table below shows the extent of the drop in recorded numbers. It would also appear that the peak return movement took place a little later than in 1996: Comparison of Gannets recorded: 1996 and 1997 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0

ยง 1 .c <2 s

ยง 1 <

ยง

รถ 1996 01997

i .H.H.

n v/ 0

I I

s 33

S I I


All t h r e e - f i g u r e c o u n t s a r e s h o w n b e l o w : Covehithe: 101 north, Mar.20th; 170 north, Sep.lOth; 194 north, 14 south, Oct.3rd; 103 north, Oct.l4th; 135 north, Oct.27th.

In Ipswich, a juvenile flew north just above roof-top level along Lindbergh Road on September 7th. A Gannet flew low over a school in Felixstowe on November 18th. At Walberswick on November 4th, a fourth-year bird had to be rescued from a net on the beach. Obviously none the worse for its ordeal, it flew off strongly northwards. CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Less common in summer. The complex pattern of behaviour and large amount of time spent in flight make the Cormorant a difficult species to count. However, a very crude analysis of records shows a distinct annual pattern of a predominantly wintering population, a light spring passage, a low number of over-summering birds and a heavier return passage in the autumn. A more detailed examination of records from a particular site confirms this pattern. Taking Lackford WR as an example gives the table below: Peak monthly counts of Cormorant at Lackford WR, 1997

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Highest counts were largely towards the south of the County. The peak at Alton Water was 157 on July 28th. There were 125 at Loompit Lake on December 6th, 63 at Havergate Island on August 21st and c.60 at Sizewell Rig on March 29th. The peak count in the west of the County was the 58 at Lackford WR on September 11th. A number of birds bearing orange rings, originating from the breeding colony at Abberton Reservoir, Essex, were noted at Alton Water and Loompit Lake, Trimley, in the autumn. A bird from Abberton returned to winter at Oulton Broad as it has every winter since ringed as a fledgling in 1991. SHAG Phalacrocorax aristotelis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. In the first winter period the number of reports was low although relatively widespread, without the usual concentration in Lowestoft and Ipswich. There were at least two birds at each of those sites. Others included a bird on the River Aide at Aldeburgh on January 18th, another was reported at North Warren on January 20th and there was a bird on an unfrozen stretch of the River Stour at Sudbury from January 7th to 9th. The only passage bird reported was seen going north off Landguard on May 20th. A first-summer bird may have over-summered on the Orwell, being reported on July 19th and September 16th in the Wet Dock area. A probable passage bird was on groynes off Southwold on September 21st. Reported numbers were even lower in the second-winter period with probably only two birds in the County. One was at Minsmere on December 2nd. The other was reported on the Orwell from Wherstead and Chelmondiston on December 30th and Ipswich Wet Dock on December 27th. 34


BITTERN Botaurus stellaris Scarce and decreasing resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Although only two booming males were recorded at Minsmere an encouraging total of nine juveniles was fledged. The monitoring of this species via radio tracking of tagged birds continues at Minsmere and at neighbouring sites following postbreeding dispersai. The only other records of booming males came from Walberswick, where up to two were reported. Bittern Landguard recorded its first sighting of this species on September 23rd; it was flushed from the Common and departed southwards. Winter records away from traditional breeding sites came from Lackford WR, January 3rd; Barsham Marshes, January 7th; and Falkenham Marshes, March 2nd. LITTLE EGRET Egretta garzetta Scarce visitor. None was reported until March 20th when one arrived on the Orwell Estuary at Trimley. Another was noted at Blythburgh and Minsmere on March 22nd. Frequent interchange between sites means we can only say a minimum of five birds was involved in the records detailed below, although it is likely there were at least 10 birds. Benacre: Benacre Broad, two Jun.9th; one Jun.l3th. Blythburgh: Mar.22nd. Southwold: same as Dunwich, Dec.31st. Dunwich: a confiding individuai frequented the beach pools between Dunwich and Walberswick, Mar.28th; then again from Jun.l4th on and off into 1998. Minsmere: one from Mar.22nd sporadically until Nov.l9th; with two occasionally between May 7th and 3Ist. One or both of these birds would frequently fly south to North Warren. Sizewell: flying south towards North Warren, May 17th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, after the first on Apr.3rd and 4th, one or two were seen between Apr.29th and Jun.22nd, with two again on Aug. 1 Ith. Orford: Havergate Island, Sep.4th. Orfordness, three, Jul.5th to 19th; five from Aug. 16th to 24th and two remaining to Sep.l4th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, singles May 18th and Jun.lOth. Trimley Marshes: Mar.20th to 26th; May 9th to 1 Ith; Jul.23rd; Aug.2nd to 19th; and Sep.3rd and 20th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, Sep.l8th and 22nd. Shotley: May 8th, later flew across estuary to Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin. Levington: Mar.26th. Same as Trimley individuai on same date. Thetford: Nunnery Lake NR, Jun.l Ith. The only record away from the immediate vicinity of the coast.

35


GREY HERON Ardea cinerea Common resident, winter visitor and passage Number of occupied nests:

migrant.

1997 0 18-21 10-12

SITE North Cove Henham Blackheath, Friston Methersgate, Sutton Ramsholt Stutton Stanstead Thurlow West Stow Barsham

-

5-7 12-14 8-9 7 14 1

1996 0 16 11-13 36-42 5 14

-

-

-

4

4

-

-

1

1995 0 26 38-40 -

16

1

The large heronry at Methersgate was active this year but no count was received, hence the blank in the table above. In addition, no figures were received from Wild Carr at Worlingham, Sudbourne, Woolverstone, Stoke-by-Nayland, Little Wratting, Little Livermere, Euston, Brandon and Long Melford. The largest single count was of 41 on the Deben Estuary on March 9th, with similar counts in the autumn there of 40, September 21st and 35, October 19th. The regular roost at Wherstead Strand held 24 birds on October 5th and there were 13 on the Orwell Estuary on December 14th. The only other double-figure counts also occurred during October when there were 10 on the Stour on the 19th and 11 on the Blyth on the 28th. Migrants arriving off the sea were noted at Aldringham Common, four, June 29th; Sizewell, two, September 19th; Aldringham Common, October 26th and two, Covehithe, October 27th. Against seasonal expectations one was watched flying out to sea at Southwold on October 24th. Landguard logged single northbound birds on March 8th and May 26th; and southbound ones on June 10th, June 23rd, September 30th and October 11th. PURPLE HERON Ardea purpurea Scarce passage migrant. One adult was seen in the main reedbed at North Warren on May 1 Ith (D Thurlow). What was presumed to be the same bird was seen for five minutes in the early afternoon at Darsham Marshes on June 3rd (N Marsh), after which it flew towards Minsmere RSPB Reserve. It was seen again on June 5th when it flew to Eastbridge from Sizewell at 17:00 and disappeared into the reedbed, apparently in the Island Mere area (P D Green). WHITE STORK Ciconia ciconia Rare visitor. After much initial excitement one or sometimes two individuals seen in flight around the Lowestoft area in June eventually proved to be free flying birds from the Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park at Gunton. One of unknown origin was first seen in flight over Stowmarket October 12th, then at Nowton next day, finally settled at Kenny Hill, Mildenhall, from the 14th to 17th. SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodia Uncommon passage migrant. Now increasingly oversummers; has overwintered. Numbers were down on last year's record totals, but a good year nonetheless with at least 11 being recorded. As last year, the Minsmere birds could be frustratingly elusive, remaining hidden in the reedbed for long periods. 36


Walberswick: one was watched circling over the reedbed Apr.22nd, before it flew south to settle at Minsmere. Minsmere: the first, as mentioned above, arrived Apr.22nd before moving to North Warren. One returned Apr.30th with the second bird from North Warren joining it May 1st. A further eight arrived May 25th bringing the total to 10. Between two and eight birds were then present until Sep.7th; during this period many of these birds continued to make short excursions to North Warren and the Orfordness area. Aldeburgh: North Warren, the first arrived from Minsmere Apr.24th and was joined by a second Apr.26th, both then moved to Minsmere, but both did return briefly, May 7th. Orfordness: four Jul. 12th to 19th; five Aug. 16th and 11 Aug. 19th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, two flying

Spoonbill Jul. 10th.

MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor Common resident. Around 28 breeding pairs were reported, with seven or eight pairs at Minsmere being the largest count from one site. Apart from estuary counts, several sizeable herds or site totals were reported, as follows: Oulton: Peto's Marsh, 88, Jan. 13th. Minsmere: 32, Feb.9th. Thorpeness: Thorpeness Meare, 44, Aug. 18th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, 50, Jan. 18th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, 66, Jul.6th. Wherstead: Wherstead Strand, 60, Jan.2nd. Alton Water: 85, Nov.27th. Lackford W.R.: 32, Oct.23rd.

The count of 85 at Alton Water is a record for the site. BEWICK'S SWAN Cygnus columbianus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. In the west of the County up to 1350 from the Ouse Washes were roosting on a reservoir at Kenny Hill near Mildenhall in January. More typically, several small family groups of 2-10 were reported along the coastal belt in the first winter period. The area around Aldeburgh Marshes and North Warren again proved the exception with numbers well into double figures, the peak being 70 on March 2nd. A flock of 64 was noted departing out to sea at Benacre on March 16th. The first returning birds of the autumn were 13 seen arriving from the sea at Minsmere on October 19th and 15 passing south along the coast at Dunwich on October 31st. Numbers were generally lower in the second winter period with the highest counts being 30 at Boyton Marshes, November 23rd, and 21 at North Warren, 37


December 3rd although these may have been part of the same herd. New arrivals were noted on December 13th at both Fritton and Benacre when 13 and 17 respectively arrived and continued heading inland, probably to the Ouse Washes. The only report from the west of the County at this time was of five or six at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath, in early December. WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The first winter provided a fairly typical spread of single figure counts along the coastal belt. Oulton: Peto's Marsh, two, Mar.30th. Kessingland: Kessingland Level, two, Jan.12th; four, Jan.18th and 24th; two, Feb.17th and four again Mar. 1st. Blythburgh: two to three in fields by the water tower, Jan. 14th to Feb.8th, with four, Feb.2nd. Two of these may have come from Kessingland. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Jan. 13th. Sudbourne: three adults, Jan.5th to 15th, all with blue Finnish neck collars. Falkenham: King's Fleet, five adults, Jan.23rd and Feb. 11th; three, Feb.20th to Mar.7th, one with a blue Finnish neck collar marked 6S13. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, two west, Jan. 1st.

The second winter period, in contrast, produced records away from the coast and an exceptional flock, by Suffolk standards, at Havergate Island. Minsmere: one flew in from the sea and settled on the Scrape, Dec.3rd. Havergate Island: 61. Dec. 14th, with 60 still present Dec.30th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, four, Dec.20th, one with a blue neck collar, again of Finnish origin. Falkenham Marshes: one, 0ct.30th. Alton Water: one, Nov.l8th; and Dec.8th, 12th and 14th. Thetford: 11 flew south, Nov. 18th. Ingham: 11 in fields beside the A134, Nov.20th, no doubt the same flock seen over Thetford two days previously. Great Livermere: 16, Dec. 14th.

BEAN GOOSE Anserfabalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Confusion still reigns regarding this species in the County, with the regular flock at North Warren being reported by some observers to be all of the race rossicus and by others as consisting of just one rossicus bird with the remainder being fabalis. The situation urgently needs clarifying as the drive towards splitting the two forms into separate species is gaining ground rapidly with fabalis becoming Taiga Bean Goose and rossicus becoming Tundra Bean Goose A. serrirostris. During the first winter period reported as follows: Minsmere: after a single bird on Jan. 15th, fluctuating numbers between one and 20 were present until Mar.29th. They regularly commuted between here and North Warren. All were reported to be rossicus. Aldeburgh/Friston: Hazlewood Marshes, one, Jan.24th, before flying to North Warren. Reported to be rossicus. Aldeburgh: North Warren, after two on Jan.2nd, the next record was of 23 from Jan. 13th to 31st. There were 26 from Feb. 1st increasing to 36 from Feb.7th until they were last seen on the 9th. As noted above the (sub) specific identity of this flock still causes problems. T h e second w i n t e r p r o v i d e d typically l o w e r counts, with n o n e r e c o r d e d until December: Aldeburgh: North Warren, seven, Dec.26th, having moved from Boyton. All reported to be rossicus. Orford: Havergate Island, four, Dec. 15th.

38


Boyton: Boyton Marshes, seven, Dec.23rd to 25th. All reported to be rossicus. Trimley Marshes: three, Dec.8th. Brantham: 13, Dec.l4th. Lackford W.R.: Dec.20th. Considered to be an escaped fabalis individual.

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. No influx this year, but the migrants noted in the west of the County in both winter periods were noteworthy, and perhaps indicate that the singletons and small groups seen annually at Lackford and Livermere and dismissed as escapees or feral birds may not be such. Recorded during the early part of the year as follows: Kessingland: Kessingland Level, 20, Jan.25th; one, Feb.2nd. Blyth Estuary: three, Feb. 10th. Minsmere: up to three during Jan., six during Feb., eight during Mar. with seven remaining to Apr. 15th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two to four in Jan., up to eight during Feb., with five staying until Mar.2nd. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, Jan. 11th; two, Feb. 1st. Trimley Marshes: 34, Jan.5th; four, Jan. 13th. Brandon: heard calling at night Jan.27th. Thetford: heard calling at night Jan.27th. Lackford W.R.: one roosted, Jan. 12th. Livermere Lake: one Mar. 12th to 27th and Apr.26th.

One at Minsmere May 1st to 10th, and presumably the same bird at Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick, May 11th, might possibly have been a late returning bird. On the other hand the bird at Minsmere from August 8th to 20th may have been the same bird reappearing after summering locally. The second winter period produced a similar spread of sightings. Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, first winter, Dec.14th into 1998. Benacre: one in the Benacre and Covehithe area Nov.29th to Dec.7th. Minsmere: 10, 0ct.20th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Dec.7th to 9th. Perhaps this was the bird from Benacre. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, Oct. 9th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 11, Dec. 10th. Deben Estuary: Oct. 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 35 south, Oct.27th; 25 south, Nov.3rd; one north, Nov. 14th. Trimley Marshes: seven, Oct. 12th; three, Oct. 18th. Thetford: 30 south-east, Oct.2nd; 230 south, Dec. 18th. Lackford W.R.: Dec.20th and 26th. Livermere Lake: one throughout Nov. and Dec.

The immature at Oulton Broad having apparently become separated from its flock joined up with the first grey geese it found which happened to be the feral Greylag Geese at Oulton Broad. Although it allowed observers to approach very closely it remained rather suspicious of any bread it was offered, much preferring to eat the grass, unlike the Greylags! WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser albifrons Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Minsmere and North Warren again proved to be the main stronghold for this species in the county, with Kessingland being the only other site to hold sizeable numbers regularly. Kessingland: 50, Jan. 18th; 150, Feb.2nd; dropping to 107, Feb. 16th, back up to 182 by Mar. 1 st. Blyth Estuary: 23, Feb. 10th.

39


Southwold: four, Mar. 12th to 15th. Minsmere: 150, J a n . B t h ; 215, Feb.9th; 370, Feb.28th; 150, Mar.l5th, and finally one Mar.29th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 100, Jan.2nd; 120, Jan.24th; 235, Jan.25th; 260, Jan.29th; 275, Feb.6th; 302, Feb.9th; 281, Mar.5th, and finally two, Mar.22nd. Aldeburgh/Friston: Hazlewood Marshes, 120, Jan.24th, moving to North Warren later. Felixstowe: Landguard, 84 north, Jan.30th. Trimley Marshes: 37, Jan. 13th. Kirton: Kirton Marshes, 37, Jan.5th. Lackford W.R.: 38, Jan.3rd; 39, Jan.4th and 11th, increasing to 48 on the 12th and 13th. Livermere Lake: 51, Jan. 15th. Santon Downham: three in flight, Jan. 15th. O n e injured bird w a s present at Trimley M a r s h e s t h r o u g h o u t m o s t of J u n e , and o n e seen at L i v e r m e r e L a k e on A u g u s t 14th m a y h a v e been a sick bird rather than an escapee. R e p o r t e d in m u c h smaller n u m b e r s in the s e c o n d winter period as f o l l o w s : Kessingland: 30, Nov.l8th; 13, Dec.31st. Benacre: one, Oct.8th; five, Oct.21st and 17, Dec.21st. Covehithe: three, Oct.23rd; six, Nov.7th and 23rd. Southwold: six, Oct. 24th; three, Dec. 21st. Minsmere: five, Nov. 10th; 32, Dec. 13th; 153, Dec.23rd and 192, Dec.26th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 11, Nov. 13th, 15th and Dec.6th; 100, Dec.20th. Livermere Lake: eight, Dec.26th. G R E Y L A G G O O S E Anser anser Common resident from feral stock. Alton Water p r o d u c e d the highest counts f o r the year, although both S o u t h w o l d , T r i m l e y and L i v e r m e r e L a k e held f l o c k s of o v e r 400. Benacre: 300, Aug.23rd; 303, Nov.23rd. Southwold: 400, Dec.31st. Minsmere: 100, J a n . l l t h ; 133, Feb.9th; 130, Dec.7th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 100, Jan.2nd; 200, Oct.26th. Size well: 150, Sep.24th. Trimley Marshes: 108, Mar.3rd; 330, Sep.l6th; 300, Oct.l8th; 400, Dec.8th. Alton Water: 495, Jan.l3th; 515, Aug.24th; 647, Oct.l9th; 597, Nov.lรณth; 505, Dec.l4th. Livermere Lake: 260, Jan.l6th; 306, Feb.25th; 333, Jul.l5th; 404, Aug.l4th; 436, Sep.20th; 502, Nov. 11th. Lackford W.R.: 308, Jan. 12th; 400, Sep. 19th; 300, Nov.22nd; 260, Dec.26th. L i v e r m e r e L a k e p r o d u c e d a c o u n t of 167 j u v e n i l e s on July 3rd, a n d n e a r b y L a c k f o r d W.R. held seven b r o o d s totalling 30 y o u n g , T h i s species s h o w s n o sign of slowing d o w n its spread a n d the scope f o r f u r t h e r increases is well illustrated b y the three pairs that m o v e d in to L e a t h e s H a m , L o w e s t o f t , after the local pair of M u t e S w a n s did not return to breed this year. C A N A D A G O O S E Branta canadensis Very common resident. Originally from feral stock. T h e Breck and Trimley M a r s h e s p r o d u c e d the highest counts. E l s e w h e r e the coast M i n s m e r e held at least 18 pairs, and a m i n i m u m of six of these bred. T h e highest c o u n t s received are listed b e l o w : Benacre: 175, Jul.11th. Easton Broad: 300, Jun.9th. Southwold: 259, Oct.5th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 360, Dec. 14th. Trimley Marshes: 400, Aug. 18th; 789, Sep. 16th; 700, Oct.27th. Alton Water: 320, Jan. 13th; 486, Aug.24th; 350, Oct.4th. 40


Livermere Lake: 285, Jan.lรถth; 280, Feb.25th; 460, Aug.l4th; 750, Sep.l Ith; 367, Oct.7th. Lackford W.R.: 328, Jan.lรถth; 232, Feb.25th; 243, Aug.l4th; 398, Oct.7th; 570, Dec.26th.

Coastal migration was noted at Landguard in September, where two flew south on the 7th and 10 flew south on the 13th. CANADA GOOSE x GREYLAG GOOSE One hybrid present throughout the year at Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad, paired with a Greylag Goose; fortunately no further hybrids have resulted so far. BARNACLE GOOSE Branta leucopsis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant; increasingly common feral resident. Havergate Island held the largest single flock of the year when 130 birds were counted there, March lOth. Elsewhere early in the year there were 21 at Alton Water, February 1 st; up to 70 were commuting between Fritton Lake and Lound Waterworks during February and 60 were wandering between the Kessingland Level and Covehithe Broad, also in February. Breeding was recorded at Ixworth Thorpe, where one pair with a single gosling was noted on May 12th, and at Sotterley Park where a flock of sixteen included one pair with four goslings. Other summering birds included one at Havergate Island until July 13th, and 13 at Benacre Broad in June. Landguard also logged two northbound migrants on May 26th. The Kessingland-Covehithe flock peaked at 91 birds on October 22nd. At Southwold 11 rather wary birds which had apparently roosted overnight at the Boating Lake departed to the north at dawn on October 24th. On the same date 36 equally wary birds were present nearby on Southwold Town Marshes, with 30 remaining to November 8th. By the end of November the Kessingland-Covehithe flock had further increased to around 125 and remained at this level to the year's end. The increase of at least 30 is perhaps attributable to the Southwold flock moving north. Maximum counts in December at Minsmere and North Warren were 11 on 16th and 30 on 17th respectively. While numbers reported in late summer are quite high, the number of breeding attempts reported is, in comparison, very low. (DARK-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Branta bermela Common winter visitor and passage migrant. WeBS counts were as follows: Blyth Orwell Aide/Ore Deben Stour

Jan 2 524 1180 2427 389

Feb 1 961 n/c 3302 636

Mar 0 368 n/c 328 999

Apr n/c 3 n/c 2 444

Sep n/c n/c 0 1 5

bermela

Oct 0 160 77 135 313

Nov 0 214 n/c 587 385

Dee 0 447 203 1435 528

Early in the year the Deben proved to be the premier site in the County for this species, but in March and Aprii the Stour proved more to its liking. As usuai, many remained into May, with 147 at Holbrook Bay on 9th and 300 at Shotley on 18th being the highest site counts received. Landguard logged 211 northbound migrants during May with 98 of these on 19th. Two stragglers were at Trimley on May 26th, with one stili present on June Ist. Also around the end of the month one was at Minsmere on May 3Ist, moving south to North Warren next day, and presumably the same bird was on Havergate Island on June 12th. The flock of 12 at Trimley Marshes, on July lOth was particularly late (or early). 41


The first returning birds were two at Levington Creek on September 9th, with the next being 25 south past Landguard on the 19th. There was a very good passage during October with Landguard logging 15742 south and 87 north during the month, with peak southbound counts of 4857 on 16th, 7634 on 20th and 1477 on 27th. At Covehithe the total for the month was 4265 south and 570 north, with peaks of 760 south on 16th, 2330 south in just 3-5 hours on 17th, and 800 south on 27th. Minsmere noted a slightly lower total of 4159 during October. Counts from other sites on October 20th were 1460 at Lowestoft; 1825 in two hours at Southwold and 3500 at North Warren. November passage was much lighter, with 7585 south and 72 north past Landguard, most of them passing south in just two consecutive days early in the month, 3363 on 3rd and 2004 on 4th. November also produced the only record from the West of the County, with one at Lackford W.R. on 5th and the same bird at Livermere Lake on 6th. (Pale-bellied) Brent Goose Branta bermela hrota Southwold: Town Marshes, 12, Jan. 18th; two, Jan.24th. Minsmere: 28, Jan.6th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, five, Jan.24th. Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, three Dec.29th. Hollesley: Hollesley Marshes, four Feb. 15th; two Feb.23rd. Falkenham: King's Fleet, three, Feb. 1st with at least two to Feb.21st. Felixstowe: Landguard, one north Jan. 14th; one south Nov.3rd.

A return to more typical levels after last year's influx. Black Brant Branta bermela

nigricans

Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes and Cowton, adult Dec.26th into 1998 (J H Grant et al.). Falkenham: Falkenham Marshes, adult, Jan.23rd (D Low) and Feb. 1st to 25th (M C Marsh et al.).

It is possible that both records refer to the same adult that has been recorded at both sites in previous winters.

EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiacus Locally fairly common resident. The following double-figure counts were reported: Blundeston: 14, Dec. 10th. Corton: 26 north, 0ct.30th. Oulton Broad: 16, J u n . l l t h increasing to 33, Jun.l8th. Carlton Marshes: 45, Aug. 14th. Livermere Lake: 18, Jul. 15th. B r e e d i n g w a s r e c o r d e d at the f o l l o w i n g sites: Lound Waterworks: pair with four young, Mar.28th. Blundeston: pair with young, May 8th. Sotterley Park: pair with seven young. May 26th. Weybread G.P.: pair with five young, May 26th. Livermere Lake: pair with nine young, Apr. 10th. Ixworth: Micklemere, pair with one young, May 3rd. Ixworth Thorpe: pair with eight young, Mar.24th.

Reports of up to nine came from about 20 further sites throughout the year. Most were noted in the north-east of the county, but several records from the south-east area, including Wickham Market, Needham Market, Parham, Pipp's Ford (Barking), Trimley and Wherstead, suggest the species may be breeding undetected somewhere in these areas. 42


6. QUAIL NEST: See later note. Peter Bullett

7. CURLEW: Breeds in low numbers in the Breck. Stan Dumican


10. RUFF: A poor autumn passage.

Alan Tate


SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from some key sites are tabulateci. Minsmere* Blyth Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Stour Livermere Lake* Lackford WR* â&#x20AC;˘monthly maxima

Jan 15 379 264 675 465 555 44 16

Feb 50 442 n/c 824 1033 1200 76 7

Mar 24 338 n/c 693 426 854 168 22

Apr 20 70 122 586 270 643 134 15

Sep n/c 100 961 79 n/c 148 0 0

Oct n/c 602 702 185 34 729 0 0

Nov n/c 619 238 493 168 1190 0 13

Dec n/c 757 1251 569 396 972 58 31

Among the coastal breeding records were 20 pairs at North Warren reserve and eight pairs at Minsmere. Inland breeding was confirmed from: Weybread: Gravel Pits, pair with six young, May 26th. Livermere Lake: 121 juveniles, Jun.5th. Lackford WR: four broods of young seen. Cavenham Pits: five young, Jun.3rd. From the records submitted it appears that the best current breeding site in the county is inland at Livermere Lake. Autumn passage off Landguard was mainly in October and November with 115 south, October 16th; 41 south October 20th and 216 south, November 20th. MANDARIN Aix galericulata Uncommon visitor. From feral stock. Lound: female on village pond, Jun.l5th and Jul. 1st. Probably an escapee. Hasketon: four males and a female, Feb. 16th. Ipswich: Holy wells Park and canal, a pair, Jan.2nd, two females and a male, Jan.9th and a pair May 26th. Livermere Lake: male, Nov.2nd. Long Melford: male, Apr.9th to May 11th. An escapee with a plastic ring on right leg.

WIGEON Anas penelope Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Apr Nov Febare tabulated: Mar Sep Oct Monthly counts fromJan key sites Blyth Minsmere* North Warren* Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Livermere Lake* *monthly maxima

1296 400 2100 8181 1072 1436 543 1855 263

671 500 1870 550 1336 1195 362 901 21

164 500 1750 n/c 473 551 251 585 48

0 12 14 n/c 23 18 0 14 0

0 145 200 1414 53 n/c 175 184 22

42 290 700 3852 318 566 1600 485 0

1363 330 2355 2134 1345 521 1000 1341 0

Dec 1973 800 2700 3797 1451 1121 594 1667 37

Among other high counts were 2500 on Castle Marshes, North Cove, on February 2nd and on Trimley Marshes 1200 on February lOth, 650 on November 24th and 1200 on December 8th. There was the usuai scattering of mid-summer records along the coast, including 11 at Minsmere on June 29th, but no suggestion of breeding anywhere. A good autumn passage off Landguard began with four south on August 27th. 43


In September 115 flew south on 19th, followed by 351 and 249 on 20th and 21st. In October 223 flew south on 16th, 229 on 17th and 188 on 27th and in November 374 south on 4th. GADWALL Anas streperĂ Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key estuaries and sites are tabulated. Minsmere* Aide/Ore North Warren* Orwell Alton Water Lackford WR* *monthly maxima

Jan 16 32 54 0 30 78

Feb 23 n/c 61 12 35 13

Mar 37 n/c 141 2 31 29

Apr 12 n/c 22 17 16 8

Sep n/c 10 20 n/c 108 79

Oct n/c 1 54 18 225 124

Nov 165 4 26 59 355 106

Dec 104 10 84 21 312 190

The count of 3 5 5 at Alton Water in November is a County record. T h e previous highest was 3 2 0 at Lackford W R in January 1990. The only other counts o f 5 0 or more received were from: Minsmere: 72 on Jun. 18th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, 50 on Aug. 19th. Barton Mills: R.Lark, 50 on Jan. 11th.

Breeding season records were widespread and included 16 pairs at Minsmere, 11 pairs at North Warren, four broods of young at Trimley Marshes, 30 young from six broods at Livermere Lake and five broods at Lackford WR. As always with this species, offshore movement was minimal. Off Landguard four flew south, March 17th, one south on August 31st, five south on September 25th, three south on October 16th and a total of 16 south during November. TEAL Anas crecca Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated: Blyth Minsmere* North Warren* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Trimley Marshes* Alton Water Stour Lackford WR* *monthly maxima

Jan 845 419 700 1793 251 258 800 374 145 23

Feb 223 800 580 231 180 210 250 120 80 21

Mar 16 n/c 400 n/c 34 115 200 197 17 27

Apr n/c 20 210 n/c 14 25 80 15 68 16

Sep n/c n/c 150 750 9 n/c 120 57 83 45

Oct 502 2330 222 1129 n/c 263 300 208 73 112

Nov 671 n/c 860 1464 23 833 900 347 71 200

Dec N/c 409 1100 1462 85 368 800 406 40 56

Other notable high counts included 730 at Benacre Broad on December 13th, 120 at Loompit Lake on December 14th and 200 at Lakenheath Washes, March 13 th. Pairs or birds were present at a number of sites through the summer, including seven pairs at North Warren, but no young were reported. The main period of autumn passage off Landguard was between September 19th and 28th, when a total of 473 flew south, with 233 on 20th and 103 on 21st. In October 167 flew south between 11th and 27th and a further 115 south during November. Off Aldeburgh, 200 flew south in two hours on November 4th. 44


Green-winged Teal An individual of the North American race A.c.carolinensis was present at Benacre Broad from March 20th to April 21st (C A Buttle, A Riseborough, R Waiden et al). Perhaps the same bird as that at Benacre between April 13th and 24th 1996. MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated: Blyth Minsmere* North Warren* Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Livermere Lake* Lackford WR* *monthly maxima

Jan 209 363 43 319 379 437 186 138 1600 515

Feb 11 100 n/c n/c 138 275 67 120 290 126

Mar 26 n/c n/c n/c 104 188 163 55 112 86

Apr n/c 30 26 n/c 61 52 81 57 66 50

migrant. Sep n/c n/c n/c 366 70 n/c 337 25 n/c 167

Oct 34 n/c 148 219 121 176 370 49 n/c 224

Nov 43 n/c 85 106 249 249 325 102 n/c 247

Dee 89 165 275 449 324 324 273 122 700 343

A count of 2800 at Livermere Lake on August 28th included many birds from a rearing scheme released prior to the shooting season. Other high counts were 349 at Loompit Lake, August 19th, 210 at Trimley Marshes, August 22nd and 150 at Lakenheath Washes, February 23rd. Breeding season records were many and included 17 broods at Minsmere, 53 pairs at North Warren, 145 young from 21 broods at Livermere Lake, 12 broods at Hardwick Heath, near Bury St Edmunds and 19 broods at Lackford WR. The first brood was seen at Lackford on March 30th and a female with four ducklings was on the River Lark at West Stow Country Park on the late date of November 16th. PINTAIL Anas acuta Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few Monthly counts from the key sites are tabulated: Blyth Minsmere* Alde/Ore Deben Orwell Trimley Marshes* Stour *monthly maxima

Jan 14 27 132 158 148 II 106

Feb 98 30 57 127 214 20 163

Mar 35 9 84 0 10 12 5

Apr 0 0 0 0 3 5 0

oversummer. Sep 0 13 20 0 n/c 44 19

Oct 34 37 92 0 26 100 89

Nov 65 14 87 5 59 100 54

Dee 127 22 217 112 89 100 106

Other high counts were 127 at Alton Water on January 13th and 95 there on October 4th. Well inland, records carne only from Livermere Lake (up to four in January; six, September 25th; up to two in October); Lackford WR (four, January 12th; 1-2 regularly to March 13th; one, December 26th) and Lakenheath Washes (two, February 26th). There were a few summer records from coastal sites but nothing to indicate breeding. DĂźring autumn passage Landguard logged monthly day peaks of 12 south, August 30th; 18 south, September 3rd; 14 south, October 17th; 38 south, November 19th and six south, December 17th. Elsewhere 65 south off Covehithe on November 20th was the highest count. 45


GARGANEY Anas querquedula Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Both the earliest and the latest records came from Minsmere. Two birds were seen on March 18th and the final report was on the late date of October 20th. Nesting may well have taken place this year, as an immature was seen at one site in July. Benacre Broad: male, May 5th. Southwold: Town Marshes, female and male, May 16th. Minsmere: regularly reGarganey corded from Mar. 18th (two) to Aug. 11th, then one Sep.7th, Oct.6th to 10th and finally on 20th. Up to five seen in May and "possibly bred on the reserve but no chicks seen" (RSPB). Aldeburgh: North Warren, male, May 3rd; female and male in the main reedbed, Jun.8th. Felixstowe: Landguard, male and female flying south on May 4th. Trimley Marshes: regularly seen from May 1st to August 24th, often a single male, sometimes a pair. On July 27th an immature was seen accompanying a pair and this might have been locally bred. Alton Water: July 28th. 1996 a d d i t i o n : Cavenham: Cavenham Pits, male on Jun.21st.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL Anas discors Accidentai. Barking: Pipp's Ford, female, Sep.23rd into 1998 (P Whittaker et al.).

Initially dismissed as an escapee this bird has been accepted as a genuine vagrant by the British Birds Rarities Committee. The fourth record for Suffolk. See also the Ratifies Report on page 155. SHOVELER Anas clypeata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon Monthly counts from the key sites are tabulated: Minsmere* North Warren* Alde/Ore Orwell Trimley Marshes* Livermere Lake* LackfordWR* *monthly maxima

Jan 10 45 41 20 14 1 60

Feb 50 72 27 20 32 18 22

Mar 35 108 45 14 50 20 13

Apr 30 12 10 15 45 12 n/c

Sep n/c 8 10 n/c 23 n/c 64

resident. Oct n/c 14 49 6 4 n/c 87

Nov n/c 30 61 26 40 n/c 114

Dec 85 90 131 45 35 38 102

The only other counts above 20 were 23 at Loompit Lake on August 19th, with 50 there on December 5th; 40 at Pinmill on January 19th and up to 43 at Alton Water during October. Mid-summer reports came from several sites, including six pairs at North Warren, but the only sightings of young came from Minsmere, where three broods were seen. 46


The only autumn passage of note was 64 south off Aldeburgh in one and a half hours on November 17th. RED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta rufina Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Benacre Broad: male from Mar.20th to 22nd. Minsmere: female, Feb.8th. Alton Water: one or often two males seen from Aug.24th to Dec.28th, and three on Oct. 19th. One on Dec.8th noted as having "leucistic characteristics". Bramford: Suffolk WP, female, Aug.22nd to 30th. Ickworth: Ickworth Park, female, Aug.9th. Lackford WR: female, Sep. 19th to Nov.30th. Cavenham: Cavenham Pits, two, Sep.5th, with one still present on Sep. 11th.

POCHARD Aythya ferina Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Oct Febare tabulated: Mar Apr Sep Monthly counts fromJan key sites Minsmere* Aide/Ore Orwell Trimley Marshes* Alton Water Lackford WR* *monthly maxima

54 8 229 24 370 80

25 n/c 149 62 102 58

n/c n/c 6 4 n/c 9

n/c n/c 8 32 48 49

n/c 0 n/c 1 12 40

n/c 0 12 11 23 49

Nov n/c n/c 59 80 120 92

Dec n/c 0 107 30 101 59

Following a sudden cold snap at the start of the year 140 were in Ipswich Docks on January 4th, 100 on Oulton Broad, also on 4th and 220 in the inner harbour at Lowestoft on 9th. Other notable counts were 100 on Havergate Island, January 30th, 400 at Wherstead Strand, January 25th and 180 at Loompit Lake, February 3rd. At least 11 pairs nested at five sites, both coastal and inland. Ducklings were seen at all these sites, a total of 65, but probably only a handful of these survived to fledge. Off Aldeburgh, 50 flew south on November 4th and 95 on November 17th, while off Landguard 165 flew south on November 19th. TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from key sites are tabulated: Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Trimley Marshes* Alton Water Lackford WR* โ€ข"monthly maxima

Jan 80 42 182 124 1536 120

Feb n/c 37 178 130 1570 137

Mar n/c 45 97 75 950 141

Apr 15 0 152 94 77 117

Sep 12 17 n/c 40 340 162

Oct 18 35 66 15 450 155

Nov 40 49 58 50 637 173

Dec 31 79 108 70 729 222

After the cold snap at the beginning of the year, there were up to 220 on the Oulton Broad/Lake Lothing/Lowestoft Harbour complex between January 1st and 12th and 100 in Ipswich Docks on 4th. The only other counts of 50 or more came from: Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, 200, Feb.3rd; 150, Feb. 17th; 129, Aug. 19th; 130, Nov.7th. Barking: Pipp's Ford, 52, Dec.28th. Bramford: Suffolk WP, up to 97 during Jan.;91, Feb.lรณth; 55, Dec.l4th. Livermere Lake: 69, Apr. 10th.

47


Breeding was reported from a total of 12 sites, but doubtless occurred at a number of others. Among the broods seen were three at Minsmere, six at Livermere Lake (30 young) and five at Lackford. Offshore passage, as usual, was minimal: 20 south off Aldeburgh on November 4th; 20 south off Aldeburgh on November 17th and 19 south off Landguard on November 19th were the only reports in double figures. SCAUP Aythya mania Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. An average year for this marine equivalent of the Tufted Duck. Highest monthly counts from the most regular haunts are tabulated. Oulton Broad Benacre Broad Minsmere Aide/Ore Orwell Alton Water

Jan 11 2 0 5 41 0

Feb 0 1 0 0 1 23

Mar 0 1 0 0 0 5

Oct 0 0 0 0 0 0

Nov 0 0 1 0 0 0

Dec 0 0 0 0 2 8

Most widespread during January when other records involved 14 at Lake Lothing on 11th, four on the Blyth estuary on 14th, three at Hazlewood Marshes on 24th and two at Aldeburgh on 18th. Ten passed Landguard on January 10th with a further four on 12th and a number of singles were scattered elsewhere along the coast. Inland records c a m e f r o m : Ipswich: Constantine Weir, female, Jan.28th to 31st. Bramford: Suffolk WP, female, Jan. 12th. Livermere Lake: female, Mar.30th. Lackford WR: male from Jul.25th to Aug.2nd.

Apart from the table the only records in the second winter period came from: Southwold: female north, Oct. 12th. Aldeburgh: 30 south in two hours, Nov.4th; three south, Nov. 17th Felixstowe: Landguard, four south, Nov.6th and one south, Nov. 19th.

EIDER Somateria mollissima Fairly common winter and passage migrant. Has bred. After last year's first successful Suffolk nest, there was nothing to indicate a breeding attempt in 1997 and relatively few mid-summer records. All the reports came from the coast, with a definite concentration in the northern half of the County. Only a handful reached the estuaries, with two in Ipswich Docks on January 2nd and 4th and one there February 1 st being the furthest from the open sea. The only double-figure counts reported came from: Kessingland: 14 north, Dec.5th. Covehithe: 30 south, 0ct.20th. Total of 132 south during Nov. with 70 on 17th, 19 on 18th and 21 on 20th. 38 south during Dec. Southwold: 17 north, Oct.21st. Minsmere: 32 south, Nov. 19th, 37 south, Nov.20th and 35, south Dec. 16th. Aldeburgh: 17 south, Nov. 18th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 16 north, Jan.9th, 14 north, Jan.11th and 42 north. Jan.28th. In Nov., 10 south on 15th, 44 south on 19th, and 17th north on 23rd. 14 north, Dec.20th.

Smaller numbers were fairly widespread. LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A second successive quiet year with just five records. 48


Lowestoft: male in the Harbour, Dec.24th. Southwold: female/immature at the Harbour entrance, Jan.24th. Dunwich: male offshore, Apr.2nd. River Orwell: Shotley, Jan. 1st and Ipswich, Jan.24th.

COMMON SCOTER Melanina nigra Common non-breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Widely reported offshore but mainly from the northern half of the county. Accumulated monthly totals of birds flying past the two most regularly watched localities are given below, although Covehithe was only watched during the last four months of the year. There may be some duplication of individual birds. Common Scoter passage 1997

HLandguard 0 Covehithe

600

1

400 200 m

0

, ,-

.m,

J F M A M J

i

I 1

J A S O N D

Other notable passage reported was 100 south off Southwold September 20th; 105 south in one hour off Aldeburgh on November 3rd; 309 south in two hours off Aldeburgh on November 4th and 127 off Landguard on November 4th. Flocks seen offshore on the sea are now smaller than in former years, the largest being 100 off Walberswick, January 1st and 100 off Dunwich, March 15th. A flock of up to 50 inhabited the sea off Dunwich/Minsmere during May and June. Unusually there were no inland records this year. VELVET SCOTER Melanina fusca Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. R e c o r d s in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d c a m e f r o m : Walberswick: four north, Jan. 1st; two offshore, Feb.2nd; male offshore, Feb.8th. Minsmere: three offshore, Jan.21st; female, Jan.25th. Aldeburgh: two offshore, Jan.11th; Feb.lst; male close inshore, Feb.9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, male north, Jan.7th.

There were no reports between February 9th and September 19th. Records in the second winter period were received from: Kessingland: south, Nov.20th. Covehithe: three south, S e p . l 9 t h ; four north, Oct.l5th; five south, Oct.lรณth; two south, Nov.รณth. Southwold: two north, Nov.4th. Minsmere: Sep.20th; two, Sep.27th; Oct. 10th and six south, Nov.23rd. Sizewell: south, Dec. 11th. Felixstowe: Landguard, two north, Oct. 13th; north, Oct.27th; nine south, Nov.4th.

The records from Landguard are the only ones from the southern half of the county. BUFFLEHEAD Bucephala Accidental.

albeola.

Heveningham/Huntingfield: Heveningham Hall Lake, male, Nov.29th to Dec.6th (A Howe, B J Small et al.).

This represents the second County record but will probably be an addition to many County lists bearing in mind the first was at Breydon Water in 1830 (Ticehurst). A further record of one 'near Woodbridge' in 1884 is no longer accepted (Babington). See also the Rarities Report on page 149. 49


GOLDENEYE Bucephala clangula Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from the key sites are tabulated: Benacre Broad* Minsmere* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour Lackford WR* ""monthly maxima

Jan 7 8 4 62 57 19 29 13

Feb 12 16 n/c 64 71 26 76 13

Mar 14 20 n/c 5 6 27 29 17

Apr 1 1 n/c 0 0 4 0 1

Oct 2 6 0 3 0 1 7 2

Nov 3 7 n/c 4 3 5 29 7

Dec 15 9 16 26 37 10 55 16

One of the highest counts of the year was 74 at Wherstead Strand on the R.Orwell on January 18th. There were widespread reports of small numbers but no other counts exceeded 10 apart from 20 at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin on February 16th. The last of the spring was a female at Loompit Lake, May 11th and none was then seen until four off Shingle Street on September 14th. In the west of the County, a female was on a farm reservoir in Tuddenham St. Mary on April 10th. Autumn passage, as usual, was light but 16 south off Kessingland on November 17th were noteworthy and 11 flew south off Landguard on October 27th. SMEW Mergellus albellus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. There was a sizeable influx in January after the cold snap at the start of the year. Allowing for some overlap of records, it seems likely that at least 50 birds were involved, of which approximately one-third were adult males and the remainder females or immatures. Lound: up to four males and five redheads between Jan. 12th and Feb.23rd. Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, two redheads from Jan.5th to 13th; male, Jan. 14th; two redheads Feb.llth.Oulton Broad, three males and two redheads, Jan. 1st; two redheads, Jan. 11th to 19th. Waveney Forest: R.Waveney, three males, Jan.5th; three males and three redheads, Jan. 18th.

Smew 50


Southwold: redhead on the Boating Lake, Jan.8th. Blyth Estuary: Jan. 14th. Dunwich: two redheads on the shore pools behind the seawall, Jan. 16th. Minsmere: regular records from Jan. 1st to Mar.7th, with a peak of three males and four redheads on Jan. 14th. Sizewell: redhead, Jan. 10th. Orford: Havergate Island, eight redheads, Jan. 12th. Deben Estuary: up to four redheads and a male at various points on the estuary up to Melton (including Martlesham Creek) between Jan. 1st and 24th. Freston: male, Jan. 13th. Ipswich: Docks,up to three redheads between Jan.2nd and 19th. Felixstowe: Landguard, male north, Jan.9th. Weybread: Gravel Pits, redhead Feb.22nd and from Mar. 1st to 12th. Lackford WR: male, Jan. 12th; redhead, Jan. 16th; five redheads, Jan. 18th and 19th; redhead, J an.24th to Feb.2nd. West Stow: Country Park, two redheads on the R.Lark, Jan. 18th. N o n e w a s seen after the bird on W e y b r e a d G P on M a r c h 12th until o n e f l e w south past L a n d g u a r d on N o v e m b e r 4th. T h e only other records late in the year c a m e f r o m : Minsmere: up to two males and three redheads between Dec. 17th and 29th. Trimley Marshes: redhead, Dec.29th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, redhead, Dec.22nd. 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. Monthly c o u n t s f r o m key sites are tabulated: Mar Apr Jan Feb Benacre Broad* 0 0 1 0 n/c Aide/Ore 0 n/c n/c Deben 0 2 0 0 Orwell 23 12 0 0 Stour 24 18 7 28 "monthly maxima

Oct 0 0 0 0 9

Nov 1 n/c 0 2 8

Dec 2 0 0 2 49

Widely reported f r o m the coast in small n u m b e r s but no other c o u n t e x c e e d e d 10 apart f r o m those on a u t u m n p a s s a g e listed below. A total of 14 in Ipswich Wet D o c k on January 12th overlaps with the January Orwell c o u n t . A u t u m n passage c o u n t s came from: Kessingland: 23 south, Nov. 17th. Covehithe: 41 south during Nov., with maximum of 21 on 17th. Southwold: 28 north, one south on Nov.4th. Aldeburgh: 18 south, Oct.27th; 12 south, Nov.4th; 19 south, Nov.l7th. Felixstowe: Landguard, a total of 72 south during Oct., with 41 south on 27th and 27 south on 16th. A total of 55 south during Nov., with 14 on 20th the maximum day count. There is an interesting o v e r l a p of records, with the possibility of the s a m e birds being seen f r o m three points on the coast on N o v e m b e r 17th. T h e o n l y non-coastal or estuarine record of the year w a s a male at Alton Water D e c e m b e r 29th. G O O S A N D E R Mergus merganser Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage R e c o r d s f r o m the principal county sites were: Jan Feb 2 Minsmere 18 0 Alton Water 1 4 Suffolk Water Park 5 24 Lackford WR 31 51

migrant. Mar 0 0 2 16

Nov 1 0 0 8

Dec 2 1 0 24


There was clearly some movement at the start of the year, induced by the sudden cold weather. Landguard recorded 23 south on January 2nd. Thirteen males and five redheads appeared at Minsmere on 3rd. Small numbers were then widespread on freshwaters until early March, but no other counts reached 10, apart from a report of up to 10 feeding on the lake at Hengrave Hall daily between March 4th and 14th. The last of the spring was a male at Benacre Broad on April 12th and none was then seen until a bird arrived back at Minsmere on the early date of September 25th. Very few came in before December, but an interesting record late in the year was 20 flying northwest over Stowupland on December 12th. RUDDY DUCK Oxyura jamaicensis Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded from 10 sites and successful breeding was proven again at Livermere Lake. Oulton Broad: male and two females, Jan. 1st. Southwold: two females on the boating lake, Oct. 18th. Minsmere: female and two males between Jan.5th and 24th; up to three females and two males between Mar. 13th and Jun.30th. Trimley Marshes: two males, Apr. 12th and 15th; female, May 3rd; two, May 9th; male, May 17th; three, Jul.4th; two, Jul.9th; Jul. 14th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, two pairs, Jul.24th; pair, Aug. 1st to 31st; female, Oct.26th. Ipswich: Docks, female and two males, Jan.3rd. Alton Water: Mar. 1st; Sep.21st; two, Oct.8th. Ixworth Thorpe: pair, May 12th. Livermere Lake: regularly recorded from Feb.25th to Oct.7th (seven), with a maximum of five females and nine males on Apr. 1st. A total of eight young was seen from two broods. Lackford WR: irregular records of one or two from Jan. 18th to Dec.31 st involved at least two males and two females. Three together Oct.3rd. Birds often fly to Lackford when disturbed by shooting at Livermere Lake.

HONEY BUZZARD Pernis apivorus Scarce passage migrant. After a blank year in 1996 three accepted records are welcome. This is a typical number compared with past years, discounting the large single-day movements which

Honey Buzzard 52


took place in 1993 (11 over Minsmere on September 16th) and 1995 (five over North Warren on May 1st). Minsmere: two on Sep. 13th (R Drew, P Clack, A V Moon, P Naylor). Boyton: over Banter's Barn, Sep. 10th (G Lowe); over village, Sep. 12th (B V Williamson).

By comparison of notes by the observers, the Boyton records were thought likely to refer to the same individual. Reported nos. of Honey Buzzard: 1988-97

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

97

BLACK KITE Milvus migrans Rare passage migrant. A very early spring migrant was noted as follows: Lowestoft: drifting north over town, Mar. 16th at 9.10am (N J Skinner). Benacre: flying north towards Kessingland Level, Mar. 16th at 7.55-8.30am (C A Buttle, A Riseborough).

It would be most surprising if the two reports did not relate to the same bird. Two accepted records is just above the average over the past ten years. Occurrences remain unpredictable and this species is still missing from many observers' County lists. RED KITE Milvus milvus Scarce but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. Recently established breeding population. Whilst numbers of such widely ranging birds are very difficult to estimate, it is probable there were at least 13 Red Kites in Suffolk in 1997. The breeding pair remained in the north-east of the County throughout the year. They again bred successfully, raising three young that were marked with individual red wing-tags. A number of birds were seen in north-east Suffolk in March and early April. Some fresh migrants were obviously included from the numbers and one was seen to come in off the sea at Lowestoft on March 15th. One of the two young birds from last year's brood, identified by a yellow wing-tag marked with a '?', was near the nest site on April 16th. There were other sightings of yellow wing-tagged birds but, as all other tagged juvenile birds in southern Britain were so marked, without more details it is unclear whether these sightings referred to last year's juveniles. The sightings included one at Benacre on various dates in March and April and two at Dunwich on March 28th. Two were seen in the company of two adults doing a tour taking in Pakefield, Kessingland, Benacre and South Cove on March 16th. Further reports of two birds together came from Gisleham and Kessingland on March 28th (and thought by the same observer to be four different birds and from Minsmere on March 25th and April 4th. Sightings in the west of the County were at Elveden on March 21st, near Risby on May 5th, at Fornham All Saints on November 24th and at another site where a bird was reported to have been present throughout the summer. There were no reports further south than North Warren, where one was reported on April 12th. 1996 additions: Risby: May 29th. Lackford: an untagged bird on April 26th.

53


MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosa Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. During the first winter period birds were noted at five sites with four at Minsmere being the highest count. There were two spring records at Landguard, on May 10th and June 7th. Other records came from Levington on April 7th, Darsham on April 22nd and Alton Water on May 8th. A bird was noted at Ashby Warren on April 19th. In the west of the County, a female was seen at Herringswell and Elveden on April 18th. By May there were 17 birds at Minsmere and the breeding population there appears stable; at least 17 young were raised. Breeding took place at a number of other sites. Return migration began early with a record from Boxford on July 31st. Other interesting records came from Worlingworth on September 5th, Darsham on September 8th and Henham on September 25th. Birds were noted at Livermere Lake on August 14th (a juvenile), and September 3rd (a male). As in the spring Landguard managed two records, on July 30th and August 9th. Havergate Island did better with five on August 26th. What appears to have been a departing family group, consisting of a male, a female and a juvenile, was watched going south at Shingle Street on September 7th. A similar group was seen at Ramsholt on September 21st. The second winter period saw a wider spread of reports, coming from ten sites. Westwood Marshes was most favoured, with five on November 24th. HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. There was a wide scattering of records during the first winter period. The highest counts, of three, were was achieved at Dunwich, Minsmere, Slaughden and Berner's Heath. Late sightings involved a male at Leiston on May 14th, one at Havergate Island on May 24th and, finally, a female at Aldringham Common on June 7th. A crude analysis of the raw data shows that there were roughly half the sightings in the second winter period compared with the first. The earliest bird was a male at Easton Broad on September 29th. The highest counts came from Westwood Marshes where five went to roost on December 22nd, with four there on December 7th and 15th. Four were also at Ramsholt, on November 16th, and three at Fritton Marshes and Havergate Island. MONTAGU'S HARRIER Circus pygargus Scarce passage migrant. Minsmere: dark morph male reported on May 10th (G R Welch, C Anderson), 11th (B J Small), and 16th (G R Welch, C Anderson). 'Ringtail', Jun.l8th (D Fairhurst).

Melanistic Montagu's Harrier 54


Orford: Orfordness, first-sumnier male, May 24th (M C Marsh, S Piotrowski). Trimley Marshes: ring-tail, 'mobbed by Black-tailed Godwits', Jun.4th (M C Marsh). Icklingham: Berner's Heath, male 'over fields', May 27th(D R Collins).

Assuming, fairly confidently, that ali the dark morph male reports at Minsmere refer to the same bird, then five is a fair showing and certainly an improvement on 1996, when, for the first time on record, there were no records of this species in the County. Reported nos. of Montagu's Harrier: 1988-97

ikftix.ll 88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

! 96

97

Harrier sp Ringtail at Benacre on May 7th; also seen at Kessingland Level (C A Buttle, A Riseborough). GOSHAWK Accipter gentilis Rare winter visitor and passage migrant, uncommon resident. Encouragingly, four displaying pairs were reported at separate sites in the northeast of the County although nowhere was breeding confirmed. Birds were also reported at ten other sites along the coastal belt. This exceeded the traditional stronghold of the Breck where Goshawks were reported at eight sites. Displaying was only noted at one site in the Brecks although pairs were present at two others. A likely minimum of 23 birds was recorded in the County during the year. Species of prey taken this year included Magpie and Redshank. Identification Problems still cloud the true distribution of this species. SPARROWHAWK Accipter nisus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The distribution of records shows a distinct coastal bias with a scattering of records from the remainder of the County.

55


This, of course, may merely be a reflection of the distribution of observers. There were proportionally more reports of breeding from the west of the County. If Nowton Park is typical then the breeding population may be reaching a plateau after years of increase - there were three pairs there in both 1996 and 1997. Firm conclusions are impossible without more comprehensive and systematic recording. Other breeding reports included 10 pairs in the North Warren/Aldringham Walks NR, four pairs at Minsmere and three at Benacre. There was an increase in records during both migration periods. Landguard saw peaks in late March/ April and September. There were seven birds at Covehithe during the second half of March and six at Minsmere on March 29th. In the autumn six were noted at North Warren on October 2nd. Species of prey recorded as being taken included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dunlin, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Kestrel, House Sparrow and Blackbird. COMMON BUZZARD Buteo buteo Fairly common, and increasing, winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. With records in every month it is difficult to distinguish between wintering and passage birds. The difficulty in assessing total numbers is exacerbated by the wideranging nature of these birds. This is exemplified by the observation that a bird seen at Snape on March 30th had a pattern of missing wing feathers matching that of a bird seen at Benacre two weeks previously (D Marsh). During the first-winter period single birds were reported from a number of widely spaced sites, although the coastal strip and the Breck were most favoured. Two were reported from Ashby Warren, February 22nd and March 2nd, and from North Stow and The King's Forest on February 8th. There was a definite increase in records corresponding with spring passage in March and April. During this period 10 were at Benacre on March 20th, with five there on March 25th and five, again, on April 16th. North Warren had four on March 23rd and numbers at Ashby Warren peaked at three on April 19th and 20th. Elsewhere there were three at Kessingland Level on March 16th and the same number at Minsmere on March 29th. Summer records included singles at Minsmere on July 9th and August 21st; at Alton Water on July 14th; Loompit Lake on August 29th; Livermere Lake on July 30th; near Icklingham on August 8th and Moulton on August 31st. There were no reports of breeding although display was noted at one site, which holds promise for the future. Birds seen at Ashby Warren on June 3rd, over Beccles on June 15th, and at Cavenham Heath on June 1 st may have been late migrants. Autumn passage was less well marked than in the spring. The only multiple counts were three birds at Benacre on September 14th, two at Havergate Island on September 6th and two at Icklingham on September 23rd. There were fewer records in the second-winter period than in the first. Two birds were recorded at both Ashby Warren and at Lound on November 1st. Elsewhere singles were recorded at four sites compared with twelve in the first-winter period, although there was undoubtedly duplication in the records. 1996 addition: Icklingham: three together on a date in September.

ROUGH LEGGED BUZZARD Buteo lagopus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A rather poor year compared with 1996 when there had been two birds in the first part of the year (although none in the second) and a healthy spring passage. The only 56


settled bird in the first winter period of 1997 was reported from Ashby Warren on January 12th and 13th (R Fairhead), and February 9th and 13th (P J Ransome). A bird was also reported at Minsmere on February 7th (RSPB). There was little indication of spring movement, the only records being from Ashby Warren on April 7th (A Riseborough), 10th (C A Buttle, N J Skinner, A Riseborough) and 16th (R Fairhead). This may have been the overwintering bird. If passage was non-existent compared with 1996 then the second winter period saw an improvement, albeit slight: a single record of a bird at Walberswick on November 2nd (D R Moore). There were no records from the west of the County and Walberswick was the most southerly record in the coastal belt. The Ashby/Fritton area now appears to be the best site in the County to see this species, and indeed, for most Suffolk species of raptor. OSPREY Pandion haliaetus Uncommon passage migrant. Spring passage resulted in a likely total of 10 records, a similar total to 1996. The Westleton Heath bird was involved in an interaction with a passing Red Kite. It is also the equal earliest recorded in Suffolk, along with a bird at Tunstall Common on March 29th 1986. All records are listed: Fritton Lake: May 10th. Blyth Estuary: singles Apr. 13th, May 13th and 21st, with two on 24th. Westleton Heath: early arrival on Mar.29th. Minsmere: Mar.31st and Apr.25th. Holton: singles May 9th, 17th, 20th and 23rd. Shotley: Marshes, May 9th. Felixstowe: Landguard, one landed on the beach and was seen eating a Garfish Belone

bellone, May 8th. Trimley Marshes: May 9th. Lackford: Apr.20th. Freckenham: Red Lodge Warren, May 6th.

Autumn passage was an improvement on 1996: seven birds were recorded compared with three or four that year. Benacre: Broad, Aug.28th. Minsmere: Aug.28th; juvenile, Sep.2nd, 3rd and 7th; two Sep.4th and singles on 5th to 8th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, Sep.7th. Thorpeness Meare, Sep. 16th and 22nd, Oct.2nd and 8th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, Sep. 8th, 9th and 12th; singles, Sep. 13th and 28th, Oct.2nd, 4th and 8th. Orford: Orfordness, Sep. 14th. Havergate Island, three, Sep. 14th. Livermere Lake: Sep.25th. Lackford: Sep.25th.

The three at Havergate is the largest multiple sighting since three were seen at Minsmere on August 14th 1989. KESTREL Falco tinnunculus Very common resident. Breeding records were only received from seven sites. Of these North Warren/ Aldringham Walks recorded 13 pairs and Minsmere, six pairs. This compares with 1995 figures for the two reserves of six pairs at North Warren and four at Minsmere. For the first time in many years Kestrels failed to breed in the area around Landguard. The maximum count received was of 11 at North Warren on October 2nd, not surprising in view of the large breeding population there. In addition six were at Minsmere on May 19th, at Levington on September 14th and at North Warren on March 15 th. 57


There was no evidence of any significant movements although Landguard noted an upturn in records in September, recording this species on 22 dates in September compared with six in August and 11 in October. One at North Warren was seen to catch a Great Green Bush-Cricket Tettigonia viridissima on August 29th. At Culford Park Lake the remains of a juvenile were found on August 17th, apparently killed by a Sparrowhawk. RED-FOOTED FALCON Falco Rare visitor.

vespertinus

Herringfleet: first summer male, May 14th (P R Allard). Westleton: Westleton Heath, second summer male, May l l t h (J C Eaton). Minsmere: first summer male, May 14th to 18th (G R Welch et al.). Female, May 30th (P D Green); 31st (G R Welch).

There would appear to have been at least four birds in the County. This is by far the best showing since the major influx in 1992 when there were at least 10 in Suffolk. To give an idea of its usual rarity, there have been no records in five out of the past 10 years. Of the 20 birds that have been recorded in that period 10 occurred in 1992. MERLIN Falco columbarius Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. This small falcon was recorded at 27 locations and in every month except July. All records were of single birds apart from two at Fritton Marshes on October 26th and two at Orfordness, November 23rd. The majority of records were received from the Breck and the coastal strip. Favoured localities within these areas were Havergate Island, Minsmere and Moulton. At each of these sites Merlin was recorded in five months of the year. Unseasonable records involved one at Havergate Island on June 19th and 21 st; Butley Creek on August 9th; at both Landguard and Corton on August 29th and an immature at Moulton on September 8th. HOBBY Falco subbuteo Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. This species is always very secretive during the breeding season and this year was no exception.Very few definite breeding successes were reported. Although there was a high number of juveniles seen in late summer these may have included passage birds. Thus it is difficult to quantify the breeding population in Suffolk. The first sighting of the spring was at Ipswich on April lOth, followed by singles at Minsmere on April 12th and Levington Creek on April 14th. Records were then widely scattered across the County during the summer, although the coastal area and the Breck were most favoured. Mรกximum counts during the year involved five at Minsmere on May 15th and four at the same site on June 4th.The last of autumn was recorded at Shingle Street, Bawdsey on October 19th.

Hobby

PEREGRINE Falco peregrinus Uncommon but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. There appears to have been at least four birds in the County in the first winter period. One at Fritton Marshes was seen on various dates in January but not after 25th. A bird was then seen on various dates 58


in February and March at Minsmere and North Warren. Meanwhile, two were reported regularly from the Orwell Bridge and surrounding area up until March 30th, on which date they were seen displaying. The male was present to at least May 15th. One or other of these probably accounts for the other sightings of the period: at Havergate Island on February 23rd, Boyton Marshes on January 14th and Trimley Marshes on January 11th. There w a s a slight increase in records reflecting spring passage: Covehithe: male, Mar.20th. Blyth Estuary: May 23rd. Dunwich: Mar.28th. Minsmere: two, Apr.5th; singles, Apr.8th, 23rd, 27th and 28th. Eastbridge: Apr.7th. Boyton: Apr.26th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Mar.3rd. Levington: May 5th.

Some duplication in the records is apparent. They may also have involved wintering birds undertaking the peregrinations for which this species is named. A pair displaying at a site near the coast in late April is encouraging but there were no reports of breeding. There were reports of a bird having returned to the Orwell Bridge from July 9th. Other unseasonable records involved an unaged bird at Trimley Marshes on July 6th and an immature there on August 2nd and a juvenile at Benacre on August 9th. September records include individuals at Benacre on 9th; at Havergate Island on the 16th; Minsmere on 7th and 18th and juveniles at Landguard on 11th and 16th. During the second winter period there were again reports from Fritton Marshes with a single on October 5th and two on December 27th. Two birds were also reported on the Orwell Bridge from September 19th to 21st. That was the only report of two in that area but there were widespread reports of singles from various sites including Levington and Fox's Marina on the Orwell, Landguard and a series of reports from Trimley Marshes from September 8th to December 27th. There were also reports from Minsmere during October and November that may relate to another wintering bird. As before the wide-ranging habits of the Peregrine make it difficult to assess numbers. The other records, from Havergate Island, Ramsholt, Shingle Street and North Warren, are probably accounted for by one of the above wintering birds. The only record from the west of the County was of one at Lackford WR on May 5th which was thought to be a falconer's bird from the nearby landfill site. Undoubtedly the best Peregrine moment of the year was the altercation over Minsmere on April 28th between a Peregrine and a Lanner Falco biarmicus over a pigeon that the Lanner had killed (N Skinner, A Kennedy). RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Alectoris rufa Resident. This species continues to be under-recorded and this, combined with the lack of detailed observations, makes it difficult to assess the true status of pure-bred birds in the County. Red-legged x Chukar Alectoris chukar hybrids are obviously still evident amongst the population; however, the only two reports were of 11 at Stowupland on January 29th and one in The King's Forest on June 9th. Records were received from a total of 13 sites across the County. The largest concentrations were 30 at Aldringham Common, January 11th; 19 at Trimley Marshes, February 2nd; 17 at Blythburgh on January 18th and peak counts at Landguard of 17 in January, February and November. During the breeding season a total of 15 pairs was reported from North Warren and up to four broods were raised at Landguard. 59


GREY PARTRIDGE Perdix perdix Formerly common resident, now localised. Records were received from 49 sites, the same number as in 1996. Birds were recorded throughout the year, though the majority were seen in January, December, May and June. Once again the covey sizes were generally small with just ftve double-figure records in the autumn, perhaps reflecting the nature of the breeding season. These included 35 at Great Barton, October 23rd and 30 at Theberton Grange, October 6th. Other notable counts included 16 at Trimley Marshes, January 3rd and 10 at Ingham on January 31 st. Despite the very wet weather during June Trinity Hall Farm at Moulton recorded a very successful breeding season. Five broods were raised, including one pair with an exceptional 16 juveniles. Elsewhere an adult with 12 juveniles was present at Boyton Marshes on October 1 Ith and breeding was also confirmed at Sotterley, Minsmere and Alton Water. QUAIL Coturnix coturnix Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. 1997 was the best year for this species since the exceptional 'Quail year' of 1987. Although it did not quite match up to the 35 records of that year, 13 reports involving 30 calling maies were received. The first report was at Carlton Colville on the very early date of May 4th. Elsewhere birds were noted across the County from the second week of May and continued to arrive well into July.

at least 10 adults plus 19 juveniles were seen, deriving from broods of nine, five and five. A further nest containing 10 eggs was found during combining, but was subsequently deserted. (See article on page 145 and Plate 6.) 1996 addition: Brandon: calling bird in July.

PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus Very common resident; numbers augmented by releases. Reported from only a handful of sites. Notable records included 200 at Livermere Lake, May 4th and 25 females apparently going to roost in a reedbed at North Warren, February 25th. Pure white birds were observed at Sotterley and Dunwich. 60


GOLDEN PHEASANT Chrysolophus pictus Scarce resident. Most of the records received were from the traditional Breckland sites, including a male in the Knettishall area for the second year running. No records were received from Mayday Farm, but a male was seen alongside the A l l at Elveden. A census of The King's Forest found only six males, confirming the c o n tinuing gradual decline there. A traditional roost site in The King's Forest appeared " ' "v 11 to hold only two males at the end of the year. Golden Pheasant The only record away from the Breck involved an escaped female, which frequented the feeding station and playground at Causton Junior School, Felixstowe, between October 6th and 23rd. WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Recorded from 26 sites across the County, which compares with 35 in 1996. A large proportion of the reports relate to wintering birds. Most involved single birds, occasionally two, notable exceptions including six at Minsmere, January 4th and four there on September 12th. Other interesting winter records include reports of birds being taken by a cats at Pakefield on January 1st and Felixstowe on January 6th. A single bird was calling from a reedbed next to Stowmarket railway station on February 21st, with two calling at the same site on December 21st. Breeding was confirmed at North Warren (six pairs); Minsmere (25 territories) and Lackford WR, where a juvenile was seen on July 3rd. MOORHEN Gallinula chloropus Very common resident, winter visitor, and passage Monthly WeBS figures were as follows: North Warren* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Alton Water Stour (Suffolk) Livermere Lake Lackford WR * monthly maxima

Jan 60 93 23 10 8 24 58 15

Feb 72 n/c 25 21 n/c 59 79 14

Mar 55 n/c 27 8 20 38 81 18

Apr n/c n/c 33 11 12 24 44 n/c

migrant. Sep 31 41 30 n/c 24 20 67 21

Oct 45 43 39 36 38 9 n/c 23

Nov 40 n/c 37 20 57 5 65 25

Dec 60 38 35 21 46 18 n/c 24

Numbers on the estuaries were generally down on recent years. Other notable counts included 51 at Combs Lane Water Meadows, April 12th and 32 at Pipp's Ford, December 28th. 61


An estimated 64 pairs were present at North Warren and a minimum of 26 pairs at Minsmere. Records of breeding also came from five other sites: Suffolk WP, Livermere Lake, Hengrave Hall, Lackford WR and West Stow CP. At the latter site a pair with small chicks had an anxious time as a mink swam amongst them in the River Lark. Fortunately it was more intent on catching signal Crayfish Pacifastacus lenuisculus at the time! At Livermere Lake 23 young were counted, compared with only seven in 1996. COOT Fúlica atra Very common resident, winter visitor and passage WeBS figures were as follows: Blyth North Warren* Aide/Ore Deben Trimley Marshes* Orwell Alton Water* Stour Bramford WP* Livermere Lake* Lackford WR* •monthly maxima

Jan 2 114 21 224 170 392 1051 1 420 61 320

Feb 12 223 n/c 149 230 188 377 13 169 72 174

Mar 32 87 n/c 79 120 66 260 50 n/c 94 76

Apr n/c n/c n/c 76 53 108 162 54 n/c 46 33

migrant. Sep n/c 60 59 39 50 n/c 709 9 n/c n/c 307

Oct 0 88 117 91 11 71 1126 12 189 n/c 462

Nov 0 82 n/c 72 40 89 2068 9 210 n/c 516

Dec 0 111 63 83 19 83 213Í 9 281 8 553

Alton Water continued to attract exceptionally high numbers of Coot (see last year's Report), particularly during the latter months of the year. Notable counts from other sites included 210 at Oulton Broad, January 18th; 337 at Ipswich Docks, January 1st; 490 at Loompit Lake, August 19th and 770 at Redgrave Lake, August 7th. Breeding records were received from seven sites including North Warren (30 pairs); Minsmere (minimum of 39 pairs); Suffolk WP (two pairs) and Livermere Lake (eight broods). Finally, one unusual observation was made during a WeBS count when an individual was seen on the rock groynes and on the sea off Lowestoft on August 8th. COMMON CRANE Grus grus Rare passage migrant. After last year's encouraging series of records, 1997 was disappointing with just one sighting. Stowmarket: Combs Lane W.M., Mar.25th (J Walshe).

OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. Blyth* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour •monthly maxima

Jan 81 86 229 519 301

Feb 140 n/c 399 235 400

Mar 198 n/c 337 578 1019

Apr n/c n/c 382 82 429

Sep n/c 34 148 n/c 855

Oct 25 20 308 1067 1628

Nov 17 n/c 176 1110 798

Dec 17 2 178 872 1162

In addition to the WeBS figures tabulated above, there were several notable counts from individual sites on the River Orwell during the course of the year. The high tide roost at Trimley Marshes produced regular three-figure counts between May and October with peaks of 700 on August 19th and 500 on September 3rd and October 62


18th. There were also counts of 400 at Pinmill on January 19th; 320 at Woolverstone on November 10th and 274 at Freston on November 11th. The highest counts from other sites included 129 at Havergate Island on June 22nd; 114 at Holbrook Bay on July 14th and 100 at Iken on December 28th. The bulk of breeding reports came from the coastal belt, with seven pairs at Minsmere, rearing 10 young; two pairs at North Warren and a single pair at Landguard that reared two young. In the west of the County a pair bred successfully at Lackford WR, rearing one chick, the first for the site. Further pairs may have gone unrecorded, as there were regular sightings during June and July at Hinderclay, Market Weston Fen, Moulton, Cavenham, Bamham and Nunnery Lakes, Thetford. Spring movement past Landguard was light, with the bulk of the passage between March 15th and May 5th, culminating in totals of 39 north, 122 south and one west. Autumn passage at the same site peaked during August with totals of 10 north, 234 south and eight west during the month with a daily maximum of 58 south on 27th. 1996 addition: Breckland: likely that 12 pairs bred in the Suffolk Breck, additional to those listed in the 1996 Report.

AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta Common resident, summer visitor, winter visitor and passage migrant on the coast. WeBS counts were as follows: Jan 201 258 62

Blyth Aide/Ore Deben

Feb 242 n/c 65

Mar 230 n/c 21

Apr 74 n/c 8

Sep -

736 -

Nov 300 n/c 74

Oct 110 762 32

Dec 412 884 75

Monthly maxima at the three principal breeding sites were: Minsmere Havergate I. Trimley

J 1 187 0

F 0 232 0

M 118 271 27

A 188 182 35

M J 200 167 136 140 30 31

J 139 144 40

A 10 371 83

S 1 906 40

O 0 n/c n/c

N 6 496 n/c

D 0 492 n/c

Additional counts of note included 630 at Iken on February 15th; 231 on the Butley Creek on August 9th; 180 at Hazlewood Marshes on October 18th; 110 at Boyton on October 9th; 76 at Falkenham Creek on November 1 st and 70 at Bawdsey on February 15th. Breeding data were received from Minsmere, where 97 pairs reared a total of 17 young (an improvement on 1996 when 91 pairs failed to rear any young) and Havergate, where 81 pairs raised three young (86 pairs raised 16 young there in 1996). Once again chick prĂŠdation appears to have hit both sC-d-': populations hard. STONE-CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus Locally fairly common summer visitor. The first sighting of the spring was of three birds at a Breckland site on the early date of March 9th. RSPB survey work in Suffolk Breckland showed that the population continues to do well with a total of 65 pairs rearing a minimum of 45 juveniles. The species maintains its tenuous 63

Stone Curlew


foothold in the coastal beh where it was thought that two pairs might possibly have bred. A migrant male near Benacre Pits on Aprii 7th had been colour-ringed in Breckland in 1991 and had bred there in 1996. Further coastal reports concerned two birds at Minsmere on July 5th and 16th, the seventh year running that sightings have been made at this location. Autumn gatherings in Breckland were logged at three sites, with peaks at each of 16 on September 21 st; 53 on August 31st and 77 in September. The latter count is the highest recorded since the early 1950s. COLLARED PRATINCOLE Glareola pratĂ­ncola Very rare. There were two sightings during the year; although in neither case did the bird linger long enough to be widely appreciated. Burgh Castle: May 15th (D J Holman, B W Jarvis). Corton/Blundeston: Sep.29th (P J Ransome).

The individual at Burgh Castle was seen to fly over the Suffolk bank of the River Waveney and was the same individual as at Berney Marshes and several other sites in Norfolk during late May. This individual has returned annually to Britain since 1994, settling for the most part in Norfolk, although it has previously ventured to Suffolk, in 1996, when it was seen at Dunwich and Minsmere on June 8th and 9th. The Blundeston individual was only present for ten minutes and could conceivably have been the same individual that settled at Felbrigg in Norfolk during midOctober. LITTLE RINGED PLOVER Charadrius dubius Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Suffolk's earliest ever was reported at Trimley Marshes on March 3rd (M Wright). This was followed by singles at Lackford WR on 13th and Alton Water on 15th. Further arrivals in the last week of the month were made at Minsmere, Landguard, Weybread GP and Ixworth. Reports were received from a mixture of coastal and inland sites during Aprii and May with peaks of four at Southwold on Aprii 20th and May 17th. Counts of three carne from Alton Water on May lst; Ixworth on Aprii 5th and 8th and Lackford WR regularly between Aprii 5th and May 9th. Breeding reports were very sparse with two pairs at Minsmere and single pairs at Suffolk WP, Lackford WR, Tuddenham St. Mary and Alton Water, where the first two juveniles were seen on June 2nd. Singles at Livermere Lake on June 3rd and 17th may possibly have indicated breeding in the vicinity. Two early returning autumn birds were at Trimley Marshes on June 15th and 29th. Sightings became regular there during July with a peak of three on 30th. Away from Trimley, the only location with regular sightings was Minsmere where there were monthly peaks of six on July 14th and 15th and 10 on August 8th. Elsewhere, records were very sparse, the only notable counts being four at Suffolk WP on August 3rd and 14th and three at Lackford WR on August 12th. Also in the west, a juvenile was at Depden on July 5th. The final sighting in an uninspiring autumn carne from Trimley Marshes on September llth. 64


RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula Common resident, winter visitor and passage Jan 14 27 6 1 65 100

Blyth* North Warren* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Landguard* Alton Water* Stour *monthly maxima

Feb 15 n/c 22 210 251

Mar 17 10 n/c 8 13 45

-

-

-

14

180

2

-

migrant. Apr n/c -

n/c 2 9 20 2 13

Sep n/c 68 187 44

Oct 11 -

18

59 50 38 320

-

-

157

2

-

Nov 3 90 n/c 40 40 "130 79 n/c

Dec 0 -

6 44 30 406 194 24

The table above shows generally low numbers on the estuaries during the year, the only additional counts of note being 200 at Holbrook Bay on September 5th; 170 at Levington on August 19th and 60 at Woolverstone on November 10th. Double-figure counts were regular at Havergate Island during the year with a peak count of 82 on August 24th. The high tide roost at Landguard, although erratic in occurrence due to disturbance, continues to grow in size, producing the highest counts from anywhere in the County during the two winter periods. Breeding reports included 13 pairs at Landguard, eight pairs at Minsmere, four pairs at Shotley, two pairs at North Warren and singles at Trimley Marshes, Alton Water, Cavenham and Lackford WR. Passage birds were recorded at several sites in the west of the County during the spring with peak counts of four recorded at Ixworth on March 15th, Livermere Lake on May 4th and Lackford WR on May 10th. Birds of the tundra race C.h.tundrae were noted as follows: 43 at Felixstowe Ferry on May 16th; 15 at Orfordness on June 8th and seven 'probables' at Lackford WR on May 15th and 16th. Offshore passage went virtually unnoticed during the year, the highest count being 30 south off Landguard on November 13th. Birds with orange dyed breasts noted at Levington on February 9th, March 23rd, April 14th (two) and April 28th were part of a total of 320 ringed and marked on Canvey Island, Essex on October 4th 1996 as part of the UEA Thames Estuary Enquiry. 1996 addition: Risby: two pairs present, one proved to breed.

DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus Rare passage migrant. It was an above-average year for this species in Suffolk with five reports concerning eight birds. Dotterel - Spring and Autumn records, 1988-97

H Autumn HSpring

10 8

â&#x20AC;˘

6

1

-

S?

4 2

1

1

0

1

1

^

ET

^

W

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997

65


Benacre: Beach Farm, Apr. 13th to 20th (C A Buttle et al.). Felixstowe: Landguard. juv. Sep.24th (M C Marsh, A Mitchell, N Odin). Elveden: pair on Apr.9th (RSPB). Cavenham: Cavenham Heath, two, Apr.29th (M Wright et al.). Tuddenham St. Mary: two flushed from a set-aside field, Aug. 13th (RSPB). T h e individual at E l v e d e n is the earliest e v e r spring arrival in the C o u n t y .

AMERICAN/PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis Accidental.

dominica/fulva

Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, first-summer. May 26th (C S Waller).

This individual could not be specifically identified which is unfortunate since it would have been a new Suffolk record for either species. See also the Rarities Report on page 155. GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Common winter visitor and passage migrant. D u r i n g t h e first q u a r t e r of the year counts of 150 or m o r e w e r e m a d e f r o m the f o l l o w i n g localities: Ellough: 270, Feb.2nd. Blyth Estuary: 768, Feb. 10th; 830, Mar. 18th. Southwold: 350, Mar. 12th. Trimley Marshes: 200, Jan.25th. Levington: 200, Mar. 16th. Walsham-le-Willows: 150, Mar. 1st. Ixworth: 1790, Mar. 15th. Great Livermere: 2000, Mar. 13th.

The wintering population in the County appeared to decline following a cold spell of weather in January and most records related to birds on spring passage during March. Birds were still evident at several sites during April including 380 at Ixworth on 4th; 300 at Troston on 6th and 80 at Havergate Island on 2nd. The final sightings of the spring came from Havergate Island on May 14th and Minsmere on May 19th. Once again Havergate Island played host to oversummering birds in June, with records on 16th and 17th (two). The first returning birds began to appear in July with three at North Warren on 15th; two at Benacre Broad on 26th and 12 at Havergate Island on 28th. Numbers gradually increased during August, including 175 at Havergate Island on 20th and 100 at Levington on 19th. During September numbers began to appear in the west and central regions of the County with 387 at Worlingworth on 7th and 180 at Pakenham on 21st. Birds were more widespread in the final quarter than at the start of the year and flock sizes were correspondingly larger. The following counts of 500 or more were made: Ellough: 500, Nov.8th. Blyth Estuary: 1200, Nov.l8th; 1500, Dec.22nd. Stour Estuary: 545, Dec. 14th. Tannington: peak of 2150, Nov.9th. Acton: 700 during Dec. Chedburgh: 700, Oct.24th. Great Barton: peak of 1300, Nov.23rd. Great Livermere: 2200, Nov.22nd. Palgrave: 2500, Dec. 15th. Risby: 800, Dec. 11th.

66


12. BLACK-TAILKD GODYVITS: Several large flocks in the autumn.

Alan Tate


13. M E D I T E R R A N E A N GULL: A continued increase in numbers

14. GLAUCOUS GULL, ALDEBURGH: Backfor its second winter.

Rob Wilson

Alan Tate


GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Blyth Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour *monthly maxima

Jan 69 120 168 253 1164

Feb 50 n/c 132 130 2823

Mar 1 n/c 93 142 567

Apr n/c n/c 32 2 250

Sep n/c 15 346 n/c 1573

Oct 15 45 20 41 1578

Nov 30 n/c 39 32 308

Dee 28 35 156 0 420

A light spring passage on the coast produced peak counts of 134 at Holbrook Bay on March 23rd; 20 on Orfordness on May 24th; 12 at Benacre Broad on May 15th and eight at Minsmere on June 4th. Southerly movements at Landguard peaked at 20 on March 23rd and 19 on April 9th. Autumn passage was quiet until August when there were counts of 440 on the River Stour on 24th; 105 at Levington on 17th and 30 at Havergate Island on lOth. Offshore passage was recorded at a few sites between August and October with Landguard logging daily maxima of 66 south on August 27th and 42 south on October 16th. The maximum count from elsewhere was 55 south off Covehithe on September Ist. In line with several other wader species there was then a further southerly movement in midNovember with peaks of 57 off Minsmere on 20th; 26 off Aldeburgh on 17th; 20 off Covehithe on 17th and 16 off Minsmere, 15th. Düring the course of the year inland records were received from Lackford WR on April 14th; Livermere Lake on August 9th and Palgrave on December 15th. 1996 addition: Elveden: single, May 12th. LAPWING Vanellus vanellus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Declining as a breeding species. Blyth* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour *monthly maxima

Jan 11 107 251 28 6

Feb 819 n/c 1805 287 979

Mar 51 n/c 246 22 60

Apr n/c n/c 15 52 38

Sep n/c 986 744 n/c 480

Oct 111 1502 1441 244 1413

Nov 554 n/c 1412 611 915

Dee 173 5005 3210 998 3847

A cold speli during January caused a temporary exodus of birds from the County although numbers soon began arriving back during February and early March. The following flocks of 150 or more were noted during the period: Benacre: Benacre Broad, 315, Feb.9th. Rey don: 200, Feb.l5th. Southwold: 280, Mar.Ist. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 660, Feb.20th. Trimley Marshes: 400, Feb.lóth.

Flempton: 159, Feb.óth. Breeding reports were received from 11 widely scattered sites. The highest concentrations of pairs were 48 at North Warren (a decrease from 58 in 1996); 19 at Minsmere; 17 at Trimley Marshes; 10 at Lackford WR and eight at both Berner's Heath and at Great Livermere. Post-breeding gatherings had already reached three figures by mid-June with 126 at Great Ashfield on 14th and 105 at Livermere Lake on 17th. Similar counts were received from a few other sites during July and August. During September the highest count was 720 at Worlingworth on 5th. 67


Late-autumn arrivals soon swelled the County's population and during the final quarter of the year the following counts of 500 or more were made: Burgh Castle: 5250, Dec.7th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, 502, Dec. 13th. Southwold: 1000, Dec.31st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 2500, Dec. 14th. Orford: Havergate Island, 1635, Dec. 14th. Trimley Marshes: 600, Dec.20th. Levington: 2000, Nov. 14th. Freston: 879, Dec.8th. Wherstead: 846, Nov.6th. Great Livermere: 1300, Nov.22nd and 23rd.

KNOT Calidris canutus Locally common winter visitor and passage Blyth* Aide/Ore Deben Orwell Stour "monthly maxima

Jan 330 4 74 3 2230

Feb 0 n/c 10 3 1366

Mar 8 n/c 0 0 68

migrant. Apr n/c n/c 0 0 17

Sep n/c 16 12 n/c 24

Oct 6 4 7 0 n/c

Nov 12 n/c 0 0 164

Dec 4 2 3 0 25

Other than the counts from the River Stour at the beginning of the year, the table above would seem to indicate that this species was virtually absent from Suffolk's estuaries during 1997. Although numbers were indeed very low, additional counts during the winter periods included 384 at Holbrook Bay on March 23rd; 383 at Brantham on January 3rd; 300 at Chelmondiston on December 23rd; 221 at Freston on December 8th and 130 on the Deben Estuary on January 11th. Southerly passage in the first quarter of the year produced a peak at Landguard of 60 on March 22nd and 15 flew south at Southwold on February 20th. Spring passage on the coast passed almost unnoticed apart from 16 north past Landguard on May 16th; six at Minsmere on May 3rd and five at Havergate Island on April 2nd. A similar situation prevailed during the autumn, the only counts of note involving birds passing south offshore with peaks of 62 off Landguard and 55 off Covehithe, both on October 16th. A group of three north off Landguard on October 20th included a completely white bird. SANDERLING Calidris alba Regular winter visitor and passage migrant in small numbers. The beaches in the north of the County remained the stronghold for this species with 110 at Kessingland on January 3rd. At nearby Lowestoft the peak count was 62 on March 3rd but numbers fluctuated regularly at both sites so it seems likely that birds frequently commuted between the two localities. Further sightings in the north of the County included regular counts from Benacre Broad, where there were peaks of eight on January 1st and nine on March 24th, and Easton Broad, where 11 were present on February 15th. Further south, additional first winter records came from Minsmere on January 14th (three); North Warren on January 1st (two) and 10th; Deben Estuary on January 10th (three) and Trimley Marshes on February 3rd (three). At Landguard occasional sightings of one or two were made in the first three months of the year, with higher counts of four on January 25th and three on February 15th. Spring passage was most pronounced during May with peaks of 15 at Minsmere on 68


30th and seven at Benacre Broad on 4th. Away from the coast one was at Lackford WR on May 16th. Autumn passage began in late July with five at Minsmere on 20th; four at Covehithe on 28th and five at Landguard on 27th. Odd birds appeared at a handful of sites during August and September with peak counts of five at Minsmere on August 8th and five south off Landguard on August 27th. During the second winter period notable counts were again made in the north of the County including 63 at Lowestoft on December 26th and 26 at Kessingland on December 24th. Further reports came from Benacre Broad on December 28th (14); Minsmere on November 19th (six) and Landguard on November 29th and 30th and December 21st (two) and 23rd (two). LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. The presence of overwintering birds in the County continued during 1997 with one at Trimley Marshes on four dates between February 15th and 22nd. A further sighting there on March 26th was either the same bird or a very early spring migrant. More typically dated spring migrants were reported from Minsmere on April 29th, May 3rd (three) and June 2nd to 5th (up to two); Trimley Marshes on April 11th, 19th and 28th and May 10th; Dunwich on May 17th; Southwold on May 3rd; Havergate Island on May 22nd (two) and Felixstowe Ferry on May 16th. Autumn passage was very light, commencing during July with birds at Benacre Broad on 12th; Minsmere on 15th to 31st; Trimley Marshes on 19th; Westwood Marshes, Walberswick on 19th and Havergate Island on 27th and 29th (two). The highest counts of the autumn came during August with peaks of 13 at Minsmere on 11th and five at Havergate Island on 26th. Away from these two sites the only further August records came from Trimley Marshes on 17th and 18th; East Lane, Bawdsey on 18th; Alton Water on 24th and Lackford WR on 20th. September sightings were logged at Minsmere on 7th and 8th; Blyth Estuary on 8th (three); Havergate Island on 2nd (two) and East Lane, Bawdsey on 27th. The final sightings of the year came in October with records from Minsmere on 9th and Bawdsey on 19th (two). TEMMINCK'S STINT Calidris Uncommon passage migrant.

temminckii

A n a v e r a g e y e a r w i t h a total of five b i r d s , t h r e e in t h e s p r i n g a n d t w o in t h e a u t u m n . Southwold: Boating Lake, two, May 19th (L J Townsend). Minsmere: Sep. 11th to 13th (J & K Garrod et al). Aldeburgh: North Warren, M a y 11th (D Thurlow). Trimley Marshes: Aug.23rd (N Odin). Temminck's Stint: Comparison of Spring and Autumn Records, 1988-97

B Autumn ยก2 sorine

20 15 10 5 0 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997

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CURLEW SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea Regular passage migrant in varying numbers. Spring passage was typically light with singles at M i n s m e r e on April 27th, M a y 7th and J u n e 8th and 12th and at Southwold on May 4th. A s expected, autumn passage was more pronounced with sightings f r o m a total of 13 sites. T h e first returning birds arrived back in early July with singles at M i n s m e r e on 1st; Trimley Marshes f r o m 6th to 8th and Havergate Island on 9th. T h e r e then followed a brief g a p before t w o were again at M i n s m e r e f r o m 21st and f o u r were at Holbrook Bay on 29th. During August the principal site w a s Havergate Island w h e r e n u m b e r s increased f r o m three on 16th to reach a peak of 2 3 on 29th. Further August records c a m e f r o m Shingle Street on 30th; Benacre Broad on 26th (five) and M i n s m e r e w h e r e there w a s a peak of three on 28th. Records were m o r e widespread during S e p t e m b e r although n u m b e r s were generally lower with peak counts of 10 at Havergate Island on 1st; seven at Breydon Water on 4th and twos at Butley C r e e k on 4th; D e b e n Estuary on 21st; Blyth Estuary on 23rd and Minsmere on 10th. During October, singles w e r e at Iken Cliff on 2nd and Shingle Street on 19th.

PURPLE SANDPIPER Calidris maritima Regular but local winter visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Ness Point, L o w e s t o f t , remains by far the best site for this species in S u f f o l k . T h e peak count in the first-winter period w a s 17 on January 10th, m a t c h i n g that for the corresponding period in 1996. U p to two at L a n d g u a r d between January 1st and 25th w a s the only other early-winter record. In the spring the final record at Ness Point w a s of t w o on M a y 10th. A passage bird passed through Landguard on M a y 16th. Return passage was noteworthy. T h e first report w a s of t w o on A u g u s t 27th at Landguard. N u m b e r s there peaked at three on O c t o b e r 15th and 16th. Other records were of two birds at each of the following sites: Southwold, August 30th; Sizewell, O c t o b e r 27th and East Lane, Bawdsey, S e p t e m b e r 27th. In the second winter period up to t w o birds w e r e noted on various dates in N o v e m b e r at L a n d g u a r d , with a single bird noted on t w o dates there in December. A single bird by the Orwell Bridge, Wherstead, on D e c e m b e r 18th w a s a good record. M e a n w h i l e , b a c k at Ness Point, the first report of the winter w a s of five on O c t o b e r 7th. Recorded n u m b e r s there peaked at 14 on D e c e m b e r 4th.

DUNLIN Calidris alpina Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec â&#x20AC;&#x201D; _ Benacre Broad* n/c n/c 36 28 11 10 Blyth 5830 1259 431 n/c 25 1076 964 2893 Aide/Ore 2050 n/c n/c n/c 2033 1047 n/c 3698 Havergate I* 436 767 n/c 459 588 Deben 1274 2792 491 94 252 143 1697 2061 Orwell 4109 6580 1024 6 n/c 1230 3210 3090 Stour 2755 11556 1538 1409 1926 10996 5740 8690 â&#x20AC;˘monthly maxima T h e highest c o u n t s at individual localities in the first winter period included 1841 at Freston on January 19th; 1470 at Holbrook Bay on January 1st; 1274 at B r a n t h a m on January 3rd; 5 0 0 at W h e r s t e a d Strand on January 2nd, 13th and 26th and 3 0 0 at Felixstowe Ferry on January 25th. Inland sightings in the first winter period c a m e f r o m Brockley. C a v e n h a m Pits, Livermere Lake. Haverhill, Ixworth, L a c k f o r d W R and Weybread GP.

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Spring passage on the coast produced peaks of 2 5 0 at Snape Warren on April 1 st; 150 at Havergate Island on M a y 17th; 120 at Felixstowe Ferry on May 16th and 30 at Minsmere on April 4th. Inland, singles were at L a c k f o r d W R on six dates during April and May. Away f r o m the sites tabulated above, a u t u m n passage on the coast w a s generally rather light until O c t o b e r w h e n there w e r e notable counts of 371 at M i n s m e r e on 16th and 142 at Alton Water on 19th. T h e first significant o f f s h o r e passage involved 858 south past L a n d g u a r d on O c t o b e r 16th. T h i s w a s f o l l o w e d by a heavier m o v e m e n t b e t w e e n N o v e m b e r 15th and 20th w h e n the following counts of birds moving south w e r e m a d e ; Kessingland, ' h u n d r e d s ' on 20th; Covehithe, 4 5 0 between 17th and 20th with a peak of 2 0 0 on 17th; Minsmere, 229 on 17th; 9 0 on 18th; 2 7 3 on 19th and 6 7 0 on 20th; Aldeburgh, 2 5 0 on 17th and Landguard, 362 on 15th. Site totals of note during the second winter period included 2 5 0 0 at C h u r c h Farm Marshes, A l d e b u r g h on D e c e m b e r 30th; 1400 at North Warren on D e c e m b e r 12th; 2 0 0 0 at H a m C r e e k , River Aide on N o v e m b e r 11th; 2 0 0 0 at Levington on D e c e m b e r 30th and 2 2 1 4 at Freston on D e c e m b e r 22nd. Away f r o m the coast, seven were at S u f f o l k W P on N o v e m b e r 21 st and one w a s at L a c k f o r d W R on D e c e m b e r 16th.

STILT SANDPIPER Micropalama Very rare.

himantopus

Minsmere: moulting adult, Sep.7th to 13th (D Eaton, E W Patrick, M Morley, B J Small

el al). This well watched bird represents the 27th record for Britain and Ireland and is the fourth record for Suffolk. Records in previous years were from M i n s m e r e in July 1969 and M a y 1985 and Trimley M a r s h e s in August 1990. See also the Rarities Report on page 153.

BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER Tryngites subruficollis Accidental. Orford: Havergate Island, Aug. 16th to 19th (S H Piotrowski et al). The long o v e r d u e r e a p p e a r a n c e of this species in S u f f o l k provided a red-letter day for participants on a S u f f o l k Ornithologists' Group field t r i p w h e n it Buff-breasted Sandpiper was discovered by the leader. U n f o r t u n a tely the bird's location w a s not widely accessible to large n u m b e r s of visiting birdwatchers. This remains a very rare bird in Suffolk with only three previous records; at Minsmere in July 1961, Walberswick during August and September 1975 and at Breydon in S e p t e m b e r 1843.

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RUFF Philomachus pugnax Common passage migrant. A few oversummer and winter. During the first winter period up to six were regularly noted at M i n s m e r e b e t w e e n January 5th and February 22nd and three were at North Warren f r o m January 24th to February 2nd. In addition, a very tame male was at T h o r p e n e s s M e a r e f r o m January 1st to 30th where it was o f t e n seen feeding on bread c r u m b s and porridge oats amongst the gulls and tame d u c k s in the car park by the Meare. Spring passage began in early March with three at Ixworth on 3rd and one at Livermere Lake on 9th. A mini-peak at the end of the month produced counts of 16 at M i n s m e r e ; 15 at North Warren and five at Trimley Marshes, all on the 30th. Reports were more widespread during April and early May with several locations holding double figures, although there were no distinct m o v e m e n t s . Peak c o u n t s at individual sites were: Southwold: 24, Apr. 19th. Minsmere: 20, Apr. 10th; seven. May 1st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 47, Apr. 1st; 45, May 2nd. Orford: Havergate Island, nine, Apr.9th. Trimley Marshes: 20, Apr. 18th; 40, May 3rd. In the w e s t of the county occasional birds dropped in at L a c k f o r d W R . C a v e n h a m , Ixworth and L i v e r m e r e Lake, with a peak count of five at the latter site, April 14th. Six lekking m a l e s at a coastal site provided evidence of potential b r e e d i n g behaviour on April 26th although no attempts at nesting were made. In c o m p a r i s o n with the n u m b e r s seen during the spring, autumn passage w a s very poor with only t w o sites recording double figures. T h e first returning bird w a s at Trimley M a r s h e s on June 28th and the site then hosted a regular run of sightings u p to S e p t e m b e r 20th with monthly peaks of nine on July 26th; 14 on A u g u s t 13th and nine on S e p t e m b e r 3rd. The only other site to hold regular sightings w a s M i n s m e r e where passage w a s similar to that at Trimley M a r s h e s with peaks of seven on July 3rd; 29 on August 28th and 11 on S e p t e m b e r 3rd. Away f r o m these t w o sites reports only c a m e f r o m a further five coastal localities including six on the Blyth Estuary on S e p t e m b e r 8th and five south past L a n d g u a r d on S e p t e m b e r 1st. Inland records c a m e f r o m L i v e r m e r e Lake on A u g u s t 28th (two), S e p t e m b e r 17th and O c t o b e r 10th (five). Several reports were received in the second winter period, most notably f r o m North Warren, w h e r e there were regular sightings f r o m N o v e m b e r 19th until the end of the year with a peak count of 11 on D e c e m b e r 26th. Further reports in D e c e m b e r c a m e f r o m M i n s m e r e on 17th (two) and 23rd; S u d b o u r n e on 30th; Trimley M a r s h e s on 20th (three) and S u f f o l k W P on 26th.

JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. In spite of its s u m m a r y status. Jack Snipe is not an easy bird to see in Suffolk. In early January there w e r e u p to f o u r at Pakefield and a singleton at L a c k f o r d WR. Spring brought reports of o n e s and t w o s at M i n s m e r e f r o m M a r c h 19th to April 22nd. In M a r c h reports of single birds c a m e f r o m Havergate Island on 11th; Martlesham C r e e k on 22nd and Orwell High School, Felixstowe on 20th. However, the highest count of that month w a s of f o u r at Levington L a g o o n on 29th. T h e only a u t u m n records w e r e of single birds at M i n s m e r e on O c t o b e r 5th and 20th and on N o v e m b e r 8th.

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S N I P E Gallinago

gallinago

Common winter visitor and passage migrant.Small numbers breed. M a x i m u m monthly counts f r o m estuaries: Jan Feb Mar Apr Blyth 9 0 6 n/c 14 Alde/Ore n/c n/c n/c 1 Deben 6 5 15 11 26 1 Orwell 3 Stour 2 1 5 6

Sep n/c 9 3 n/c n/c

Oct 0 13 5 2 n/c

Nov 2 n/c 7 1 14

Dee 0 8 8 2 2

Early in the year, d o u b l e - f i g u r e counts c a m e only f r o m N e w Reach River, with 3 3 on January lst, and Trimley M a r s h e s N R , w h i c h held 12 on February 12th.However, f o u r coming in off the sea at L a n d g u a r d on January 3rd were perhaps an indication of weather-induced movement. It was reported to be the worst e v e r winter f o r S n i p e at C o m b s L a ñ e Water M e a d o w s , Stowmarket w h e r e six w e r e present on M a r c h Snipe 24th. T h e p e a k count in March w a s 2 8 on 30th at North Warren. T h e s a m e m o n t h saw 16 at M i n s m e r e on 29th. The peak count in April w a s also at North Warren, 4 8 on 18th. Trimley M a r s h e s saw a peak of 35 on April 19th. D o u b l e - f i g u r e counts at Ixworth occurred f r o m M a r c h l l t h until April 15th with the most present being 4 3 on M a r c h 30th. Totals at L a c k f o r d peaked at seven on April 13th. T h e B T O reported u p to 18 at the N u n n e r y L a k e s between February and April. Breeding activity w a s reported f r o m M i n s m e r e in the form of three males; North Warren, o n e pair; Icklingham, o n e ' c h i p p i n g ' on M a r c h 21 st and Market Weston Fen held a ' d r u m m e r ' on M a r c h 20th. Trimley M a r s h e s reported birds on several dates in M a y and June, but never more than three at once, followed by an early a u t u m n m á x i m u m of 10 on A u g u s t lOth, repeated on August 23rd and S e p t e m b e r l l t h . There were occasional records through these m o n t h s at various sites including five on O r f o r d n e s s on S e p t e m b e r 14th. The only notable gathering late in the year w a s 30 at North Warren on N o v e m b e r 30th. WOODCOCK

Scolopax

rusticóla

Fairly common resident, winter resident and passage migrant. Reports c a m e f r o m m o r e than 7 0 different sites. Early in January, M i n s m e r e held up to 15 birds with some remaining until early February. A count of six w a s m a d e at North Warren on January lOth with the s a m e n u m b e r at A l d r i n g h a m on January 28th and nine w e r e at L a c k f o r d on January 4th. L a n d g u a r d reported the species on t w o d a y s in March. S u m m e r sightings, presumably of roding birds, started at L a c k f o r d W R on M a y 7th. Reports also c a m e f r o m D u n w i c h Forest, Hollesley Heath, Bradfield Woods, West Stow and North Stow. T h e latest roding date w a s July 7th in T h e K i n g ' s Forest.

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Second winter birds usually appeared alone with one probable m i g r a n t e n m e s h i n g itself in a chain-link fence at L o w e s t o f t on N o v e m b e r 18th - it w a s rescued by the observer. G a r d e n sightings in urban areas c a m e f r o m I p s w i c h in January and M a r c h and Felixstowe in January and October.

BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. M a x i m u m monthly counts f r o m the estuaries: Apr Mar Feb Jan 200 20 44 77 Blyth n/c n/c n/c 9 Alde/Ore 188 145 n/c 193 Deben 56 16 113 458 Orwell 313 959 578 536 Stour

Sep n/c 206 200 n/c 927

Oct 406 52 227 280 1174

Nov 215 n/c 110 91 1893

Dec 157 29 125 148 687

Spring m o v e m e n t f r o m m i d - M a r c h w a s excellent. T h e highest count w a s of 2 8 0 at Iken on April 20th. In addition, there were 138 at M i n s m e r e on M a r c h 30th and high counts continued there through April and M a y : 6 0 on April 19th, 4 4 o n M a y 16th and 4 9 f r o m June 1st onwards. North Warren's peak total w a s 80 on M a y 14th whilst S o u t h w o l d held d o u b l e figures throughout May after the highest count of 30 on M a y 2nd. T h e r e were 55 at Havergate on March 27th. The first a u t u m n migrants appeared in July with eye-catching reports f r o m L e v i n g ton of 130 on July 16th and 4 5 0 on August 13th. T h e latter flock w a s feeding in a stubble field. Trimley M a r s h e s held a m a x i m u m of 78 during August. Other notable counts were 6 6 at Burgh Castle on August 17th and 2 0 0 at H a z l e w o o d M a r s h e s on August 3rd. Inland a f l o c k of 10 flew through east at Lackford on August 28th a n d two w e r e at Lakenheath on D e c e m b e r 1st - a sign of things to c o m e p e r h a p s ?

BAR-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica Fairly common passage migrant and locally fairly common winter visitor. M a x i m u m monthly counts f r o m the estuaries: Jan Feb Mar Apr Nov Dee Sep Oct Blvth 22 23 1 n/c 0 5 5 13 Aide/Ore 5 n/c n/c n/c 20 9 n/c 70 Deben 21 25 187 1 4 20 n/c n/c Orwell 0 0 52 5 n/c 3 74 4 Stour 2 27 30 n/c 74 4 52 3 Breydoners used to call M a y 12th " G o d w i t D a y " but it is very m u c h an average date for birds going north as illustrated by the peaks, all in May, of 24 at B e n a c r e Broad on 2nd, 15 at M i n s m e r e on 3rd, 12 at T i n k e r ' s M a r s h e s on 4th and 15 at H a v e r gate on Ist. Autumn return m o v e m e n t s were unexceptional although L a n d g u a r d recorded 35 flying south on August 27th and there were 12 at Havergate on S e p t e m b e r 2 I s t . There were inland records of singles at Livermere Lake on M a y Ist and at C a v e n h a m Pits on M a y lOth.

WHIMBREL Numenius phaeopus Common passage migrant. W h i m b r e l s only overwinter rarely so the record of one at Havergate on February 28th is notable. Spring passage was heralded by a singleton at North Warren on M a r c h 29th. T h e largest flock reported in April w a s 18 at Worlingham M a r s h e s on April 22nd and 23rd.

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A flock of at least 88 w a s a notable n u m b e r at Beccles M a r s h e s on M a y 8th whilst other d o u b l e - f i g u r e counts in the m o n t h c a m e f r o m M i n s m e r e with 15 on M a y 1st; North Warren with 22 on M a y 5th and Havergate with 10 on M a y 13th. Presumed returning birds appeared on J u n e 17th with four at Havergate. This locality was m u c h favoured throughout with a peak of 70 on August 21st. T h e monthly m a x i m u m at M i n s m e r e w a s 21 on A u g u s t 28th. S e p t e m b e r reports f r o m North Warren included f o u r on 22nd and six on 27th. L a n d g u a r d reported a peak of 27, south on August 28th. Late single birds were at North Warren on O c t o b e r 7th and N o v e m b e r 3rd with another at Slaughden on the latter date. Inland at Hadleigh there were seven on April 30th. Lackford reported singles on June 19th and August 7th, o n e w a s at F o x h o l e Heath on April 23rd and two were near Icklingham on M a y 4th.

CURLEW Numenius arquata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. M a x i m u m monthly counts f r o m the estuaries: Nov Jan Mar Apr Sep Oct Dec Feb 41 Blyth 104 n/c 170 86 37 59 23 804 664 n/c 679 Aide/Ore n/c n/c n/c 135 Deben 622 990 1351 329 317 256 977 339 707 Orwell 318 641 431 0 n/c 700 525 Stour 167 918 750 980 384 592 1009 352 Apart f r o m the estuary counts above, notable reports early in the year included 34 at A l d r i n g h a m on January 31st; 35 at North Warren on February 9th and 4 2 at Havergate on February 23rd. At L a n d g u a r d 4 9 birds passed south on each of J u n e 21st and 28th. There w e r e f o u r breeding pairs at B e r n e r ' s Heath in July and t w o pairs at F o x h o l e Heath. Further reports in the breeding season c a m e f r o m C a v e n h a m , Elveden, Euston, The K i n g ' s Forest and North Stow. A report of one flying over L o n g M e l f o r d on April 27th is the first for the site. N o large gatherings w e r e reported f r o m the west in the autumn.

SPOTTED REDSHANK Tringa erythropus Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. First winter period records included u p to three at both the Blyth Estuary (on January 14th) and D u n w i c h (on January 31st). M a r t l e s h a m Creek held t w o in midJanuary whilst in the s a m e month singletons w e r e reported f r o m Walberswick, Minsmere, Felixstowe Ferry and the Orwell. The only February reports c a m e f r o m M a r t l e s h a m Creek, with a m a x i m u m of three on 28th; Levington, two on 9th and Trimley M a r s h e s held one throughout the m o n t h and all of March. Spring passage w a s sparse, with the highest counts being five on the Blyth Estuary on M a y 4th and also at M i n s m e r e on various dates. O t h e r w i s e only ones and t w o s were seen, including one inland at Ixworth, April 3rd. M i n s m e r e claimed the first returning bird on the not-unexpected date of J u n e 12th, followed by 21 on the Blyth Estuary on J u n e 24th. M i n s m e r e held birds for the rest of the s u m m e r with monthly m a x i m a of six in June, 16 in July, 11 in August and 14 in September. Benacre had a notable eight on S e p t e m b e r 8th and 12 on O c t o b e r 7th. There w e r e eight at H a z l e w o o d M a r s h e s on August 3rd and seven at Havergate Island on August 24th. Inland, o n e w a s at L a c k f o r d W R on August 31 st.

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Later in the year, a bird was seen at Havergate on various D e c e m b e r dates. F o u r were at Martlesham Creek on D e c e m b e r 30th. T h e only other D e c e m b e r record w a s of two at Dunwich on 29th.

REDSHANK Tringa totanus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. M a x i m u m monthly counts f r o m the estuaries: Apr Mar Jan Feb 684 200 667 960 Blvth n/c n/c n/c Alde/Ore 251 1379 1251 Deben 939 1919 70 1747 802 893 Orwell 1314 1153 Stour 506 573

Sep 350 2322 1376 n/c 1469

Oct 978 1003 1968 1562 477

Nov 675 1000 2704 1009 341

Dec 631 2664 1757 1598 301

Breeding information included 28 pairs at North Warren and 24 to 29 pairs at Minsmere producing at least 2 0 young. At Lackford breeding w a s suspected whilst at the impressively named Norah Hanbury-Kelk MĂŠmorial M e a d o w s a pair with y o u n g w a s seen on June lst.

Redshanks Landguard reported visible southerly migration in the period July to early O c t o b e r with a m a x i m u m daily count of 24 on July 30th. A total of 9 5 0 counted at Ipswich Dock on D e c e m b e r 14th e m p h a s i s e s the importance of this urban roost.

GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia Common passage migrant. Occasionaliy

overwinters.

A single bird on the Stour Estuary on January 12th appears to have b e e n the sole winter record. T w o at Benacre Broad on Aprii 2nd heralded spring passage. Further birds were seen on the Stour Estuary, at Suffolk WP, on the Deben Estuary and at Benacre, ail on Aprii 6th. T h e largest spring flock consisted of five birds at Benacre Broad on M a y 2nd. Isolated reports in June could possibly be attributed to late spring migrants. A u t u m n return passage w a s in full swing by mid-July with u p to eight at Benacre

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Broad on July 29th; 15 at M i n s m e r e , July 19th; five at North Warren, July 24th and eight at H a v e r g a t e on July 17th and 25th. A u t u m n passage at L a c k f o r d W R began on July 18th and e n d e d on S e p t e m b e r 19th. T h e m a x i m u m count there w a s five on August 28th. T h e r e were also five at C a v e n h a m Pits on August 7th, with o n e there on August 11 th, and o n e flew over T u d d e n h a m St. Mary on July 22nd. Passage continued into O c t o b e r with a noteworthy five on the Stour Estuary on 19th and singleton there in early N o v e m b e r . Another bird was at Benacre in N o v e m b e r with the final record, of two, f r o m there on N o v e m b e r 7th.

GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Fairly common passage migrant with small numbers

overwintering.

Early in the year wintering birds were reported f r o m at least eight sites with the only multiple count being three on the Deben Estuary on January 12th. Notable spring records were f o u r at M i n s m e r e on April 9th and six at North Warren on M a y 5th. Presumably in the vanguard of returners w a s a bird at Trimley M a r s h e s on J u n e U t h . This w a s followed by a bird at L a c k f o r d on J u n e 17th. Subsequent counts at Lackford during the autumn o f t e n exceeded those f r o m the coast, with a peak of 11 on August 17th. Other a u t u m n peaks were five at Benacre Broad on August 4th; 15 at M i n s m e r e , July 19th; f o u r at Havergate, July 12th and six at Shingle Street, August 31st, with the s a m e n u m b e r at Trimley M a r s h e s on August 15th. In N o v e m b e r and D e c e m b e r birds were reported f r o m seven sites, usually singletons but with three at Alton Water on various dates.

WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola Fairly common passage migrant. Whilst duplication of records and transfer between sites makes a definitive total impossible to assess, it is apparent f r o m the records that a large n u m b e r of birds passed through the County, particularly in the autumn. All records are shown and are of single birds unless stated otherwise: Spring: Southwold: May 15th and 16th; 24th and 26th. Buss Creek, May 14th and 28th. Minsmere: May 1st; two on 2nd; 3rd; 14th; 26th; and 29th; Jun.2nd and 3rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, six on May 3rd; two on 4th; three on 5th. Trimley Marshes: Jun.l 1th. Lackford: Lackford WR. May 7th to 9th. Autumn: Dunwich: two on Aug. 16th. Minsmere: birds were seen on 18 days between Jul. 1st and Sep. 12th with a notable nine on Aug. 12th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Jul. 13th. Orford: Havergate Island, Aug.15th; two on 17th; five on Sep.l 1th. Felixstowe: one flew over Queen's Road at 0245hrs, Jul.30th (N Odin). Trimley Marshes: birds present from Jun.28th (two) to Sep.3rd (two), with peak counts of nine on Aug. 14th, seven on 18th and five on 13th, 19th and 20th. Brantham: Aug. 18th. Bramford: Suffolk WP, Jun.29th.

COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos Common passage migrant. A few occasionally overwinter. N o reports in the first winter period. Spring p a s s a g e began with an early arrival on March 22nd at Martlesham Creek. O n e s and t w o s w e r e the main order but higher n u m b e r s recorded were f o u r at Blundeston, on the village pond, on M a y 18th; six at

77


C o v e h i t h e Broad on May 18th and four at East Lane, Bawdsey, on M a y 3rd. In the west, the first bird of the year w a s at L a c k f o r d W R on April 26th. Inland passage continued until M a y 18th with a peak count of eight at L a c k f o r d W R on M a y 5th. T h e latest spring passage record was of two at L o o m p i t Lake on J u n e 3rd. A good autumn passage began on June 28th with two birds at M i n s m e r e and o n e at Livermere Lake. Records of 10 or m o r e are as follows: Benacre: 20, Aug.4th. Minsmere: 10, Aug.28th. Orford: Havergate Island, 15, Jul.27th; 10, Aug.24th and 31st. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, 10, Sep.4th. Trimley Marshes: birds present Jul. 12th to Sep.20th with double-figure counts on eight days, max. 12 on Jul.30th. Alton Water: 20, Jul.29th; 18 Aug.24th. T h e largest flock in the west w a s f o u r at L a c k f o r d W R on A u g u s t 17th. Late birds in N o v e m b e r were at Alton Water on 9th and at M i n s m e r e on 12th. A p r e s u m e d wintering bird w a s at Lake Lothing f r o m D e c e m b e r 17th to 23rd and again on 29th.

TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly m a x i m u m counts f r o m the estuaries: Jan Feb Mar Apr Aide/Ore 6 n/c n/c n/c Deben 44 32 19 63 Orwell 154 48 73 21 Stour 168 204 164 259

Nov Dec Oct 34 0 n/c 28 49 31 163 39 119 402 570 200 There was a count of 85 at Lowestoft on January 15th (remarkably the s a m e n u m b e r were there on January 14th 1996); the peak there w a s 114 on M a r c h 5th. Double-figure counts elsewhere in January included 11 on ice at Oulton B r o a d on 12th; 18 on Pakefield Beach on 24th; 11 at North Warren on 10th; 12 at A l d e b u r g h on 22nd; 16 at Landguard on January 7th and 25 at Felixstowe Ferry on 25th. Passage is difficult to assess but L a n d g u a r d reported m u c h m o r e m o v e m e n t in January (possibly weather induced) and May. Sep 5 18 n/c 418

GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicarius Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. A typical showing of three or f o u r birds. Lowestoft: Lowestoft Harbour. 1st winter, Oct.l3th to 19th (A C Easton, R C Smith, N J Skinner). Benacre: Benacre Pits, just offshore, Nov. 15th (P Napthine). South wold: 1st winter going north, Oct.8th (B J Small); close inshore going north, Nov. 15th (J H Grant).

POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus Uncommon passage migrant. A few overwinter. Another relatively poor year for this species in Suffolk, with a total of only 10 records accepted. The true status of this species in S u f f o l k is being c l o u d e d by identification problems. Observers are reminded that, as a C o u n t y rarity, descriptions should a c c o m p a n y records. T h e r e were no spring reports at all. The first record of the year w a s of a bird standing on the mud at Benacre Broad on August 22nd, later seen over the pits. S e p t e m b e r produced three reports, including t w o at Southwold on 18th. Unusually, October, w h e n late adults and the bulk of immatures pass south through the North Sea. produced only t w o records, both f r o m Landguard; south on 26th and north on

78


Pomanne Skua: 1997 records by month

â&#x20AC;˘ III. 2 7 t h . T h e r e w e r e a f u r t h e r t h r e e r e c o r d s in N o v e m b e r w i t h singles n o r t h at S o u t h w o l d o n 4 t h a n d at L a n d g u a r d o n 3rd a n d 9th. S a v i n g t h e b e s t f o r last, an adult c o m p l e t e with ' s p o o n s ' f l e w o v e r the S c r a p e at M i n s m e r e t h e n o v e r S i z e w e l l L e v e l s o n D e c e m b e r 11th.

ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. It w a s a p o o r e a r l y y e a r p e r i o d w i t h o n l y three spring r e c o r d s of s i n g l e birds: a d a r k p h a s e north at Covehithe on April 26th; Ness Point, Lowestoft on M a y 4th a n d at M i n s m e r e on J u n e 19th. A u t u m n p a s s a g e w a s fairly strong. B i r d s w e r e seen a l o n g the coast in s m a l l but r e g u l a r n u m b e r s . T h e first r e c o r d w a s o n J u l y 17th at B e n a c r e , f o l l o w e d b y f o u r o t h e r r e c o r d s in t h e m o n t h . A u g u s t m a r k e d the b e g i n n i n g of larger m o v e m e n t s , with a total of 4 4 birds largely n o t e d at key s e a - w a t c h i n g sites: C o v e h i t h e r e c o r d e d eight; L a n d g u a r d , 15 a n d N o r t h W a r r e n , 12. S o u t h w o l d , u n c h a r a c teristically, o n l y three. S e p t e m b e r w a s the best m o n t h of the y e a r w i t h 7 6 birds r e c o r d e d , all b e t w e e n 10th a n d 2 6 t h . A c o n c e r t e d e f f o r t b y J G r a n t at S o u t h w o l d p r o d u c e d a g o o d run of 4 4 b i r d s b e t w e e n 16th a n d 21st; P D a r e at C o v e h i t h e n o t e d 2 0 b i r d s . T h e a u t u m n ' s m a x i m u m d a y - r e c o r d w a s 2 5 on S e p t e m b e r 2 1 s t at S o u t h w o l d . O c t o b e r w a s relatively g o o d . T h e m a j o r i t y of the 5 8 b i r d s w e r e c o n c e n t r a t e d at three sites: C o v e h i t h e , 18 ( m a x i m u m of s e v e n o n 12th); S o u t h w o l d , 18 ( m a x i m u m of s e v e n on 12th) a n d L a n d g u a r d , 10 ( m a x i m u m five o n 2 7 t h ) . A slightly oiled adult w a s p e r c h e d on r o c k s at N e s s Point, L o w e s t o f t o n O c t o b e r 18th. N o v e m b e r p r o d u c e d a total of j u s t six. T h e o n l y D e c e m b e r r e c o r d w a s o n e off C o v e h i t h e o n 1 st. Arctic Skua: 1997 records by month 80 60

ill.

40 20 J

F

M A

M J

79

J A S O N D

H

A

Arctic Skua


LONG-TAILED SKUA Stercorarius Uncommon passage migrant.

longicaudus

The following records were accepted: Kaston Bavents: adult, on ground in sheep pens, flew out to sea, Sep. 19th (LTownsend). S o u t h w o l d : adult, south on Sep.3rd (J H Grant); five juveniles, south on Sep. 16th (J H Grant, B J Small). L a n d g u a r d : juvenile, over observatory before flying out to sea, Sep.29th (N Odin). W i t h a total of eight birds, 1997 p r o v e d to b e a g o o d year. T h e p r i m e site, as u s u a l , w a s S o u t h w o l d . T h e first, an adult, w a s d e s c r i b e d in ' t a i l - q u i v e r i n g ' d e t a i l , but w a s b e t t e r e d by the adult at E a s t o n B a v e n t s in t h e s h e e p p e n s f o r fifteen m i n u t e s b e f o r e f l y i n g out to sea.

GREAT SKUA Catharacta skua Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. T h e r e w e r e n o r e c o r d s of this s p e c i e s until A u g u s t 4th a n d n o n e a f t e r N o v e m b e r 4 t h , but the total of 41 i n d i v i d u a l s is a b o u t a v e r a g e . Great Skua: 1997 records by month

15 10

5 0 Jul

III. Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

T h e m a j o r i t y of r e c o r d s ( 2 8 ) c a m e f r o m C o v e h i t h e . T h e earliest r e c o r d w a s a s i n g l e o f f C o v e h i t h e o n A u g u s t 4 t h . P a s s a g e did not really b e g i n in e a r n e s t until A u g u s t 2 7 t h w h e n f o u r p a s s e d north at the s a m e site. M o v e m e n t w a s m a d e u p of l o w n u m b e r s p a s s i n g at r e g u l a r intervals. S e p t e m b e r , u s u a l l y o n e of the p r i m e m o n t h s , p r o d u c e d j u s t 13 r e c o r d s , w i t h eight at C o v e h i t h e o n 10th b e i n g the m a x i m u m d a y - c o u n t of t h e year. It is interesting to n o t e that the e f f o r t s at S o u t h w o l d d u r i n g S e p t e m b e r f a i l e d t o p r o d u c e any b i r d s . In O c t o b e r , t h e total of 13 w a s s c a t t e r e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h : a f t e r five at C o v e h i t h e on 3rd, all r e p o r t s w e r e of s i n g l e s t o t a l l i n g t w o at S o u t h w o l d , three at M i n s m e r e a n d o n e at S i z e w e l l . All five r e c o r d s in N o v e m b e r w e r e o n 4 t h , w i t h f o u r at S o u t h w o l d .

MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. B i r d e r s h a v e an a f f e c t i o n f o r this c h a r i s m a t i c gull. C o n s e q u e n t l y , it is very w e l l r e p o r t e d , with the p r e s e n c e of m a n y i n d i v i d u a l s or g r o u p s well d o c u m e n t e d . N o n e t h e less. a s s e s s m e n t of the total n u m b e r s p r e s e n t at any o n e t i m e or w i t h i n o n e m o n t h p r o v e s to be d i f f i c u l t . H o w e v e r , it is c l e a r that it is n o w p o s s i b l e to visit o n e of p e r h a p s three sites - L o w e s t o f t , M i n s m e r e a n d L a n d g u a r d - a l m o s t at a n y t i m e of t h e year, a n d see M e d i t e r r a n e a n G u l l s . In the w i n t e r m o n t h s of J a n u a r y and F e b r u a r y . M i n s m e r e held the largest g r o u p of four, three a d u l t s and a s e c o n d - w i n t e r ; L o w e s t o f t had its r e g u l a r l y w i n t e r i n g a d u l t ; L a n d g u a r d h a d three a d u l t s - o n e of w h i c h s t r a y e d to T r i m l e y . S i n g l e s w e r e a l s o r e p o r t e d at S o u t h w o l d . S i z e w e l l , S u f f o l k WP. L a c k f o r d , T h e t f o r d N u n n e r y L a k e s a n d B a m h a m Cross. M a r c h a n d A p r i l s a w a slight i n c r e a s e in n u m b e r s , p o s s i b l y i n d i c a t i v e of p a s s a g e .

80


Estimated nos. of Mediterranean Gull in Suffolk, 1997

15 10

5 0 J

F M A M J

J

A S

O N D

M i n s m e r e a n d L a n d g u a r d b o t h held g r o u p s of f i v e c o n t a i n i n g d i s p l a y i n g adults. S i n g l e a d u l t s w e r e a l s o n o t e d at B e n a c r e , S o u t h w o l d , W a l b e r s w i c k , N o r t h W a r r e n , T r i m l e y a n d S u f f o l k WP. H a v e r g a t e I s l a n d held three a d u l t s on April 9th - a d a t e w h e n there w e r e 10 a d u l t s a l o n g the S u f f o l k coast. N u m b e r s of a d u l t s d e c r e a s e d in M a y , p r e s u m a b l y as they m a d e their w a y to b r e e d i n g l o c a t i o n s . M i n s m e r e s a w an i n c r e a s e in f i r s t - s u m m e r s to four, but the t w o a d u l t s that r a i s e d h o p e s of b r e e d i n g failed to deliver, a l t h o u g h they did stay until the e n d of J u n e . L a n d g u a r d h a d t h r e e a d u l t s a n d a f i r s t - s u m m e r in M a y a n d t w o of t h e a d u l t s s t a y e d t h r o u g h o u t the s u m m e r . H a v e r g a t e h a d t w o b i r d s on M a y 14th and 18th. R u m o u r s that this s p e c i e s b r e d h a v e not b e e n v e r i f i e d . J u l y a n d A u g u s t w e r e g e n e r a l l y quiet m o n t h s . A n e w adult a n d a r e c e n t l y f l e d g e d j u v e n i l e j o i n e d the t w o a d u l t s at L a n d g u a r d o n J u l y 17th. O n J u l y 31st a n o t h e r j u v e n i l e b e a r i n g a w h i t e ( D u t c h ) ring a r r i v e d a n d then on A u g u s t 3rd a n o t h e r j u v e n i l e with a B e l g i a n ring. O n this d a t e there w e r e six (three a d u l t s and t h r e e j u v e n i l e s ) at L a n d g u a r d . T h e adult a n d first j u v e n i l e w e r e n o t e d at T r i m l e y o n A u g u s t 10th. A f u r t h e r j u v e n i l e w a s n o t e d at L o w e s t o f t o n A u g u s t 18th a n d 25th. F r o m S e p t e m b e r until the e n d of t h e y e a r r e c o r d s i n c r e a s e d to m o n t h l y m a x i m a of 15 in O c t o b e r a n d D e c e m b e r , but the n u m b e r of i n d i v i d u a l s is m o s t likely to h a v e b e e n a b o u t 2 2 . G r o u p s of a d u l t s w e r e r e p o r t e d at a n u m b e r of sites: L o w e s t o f t , m a x i m u m of t h r e e ; L a n d g u a r d , m a x i m u m of f o u r o n N o v e m b e r 6 t h . S c a t t e r e d r e c o r d s of s i n g l e b i r d s c a m e f r o m K e s s i n g l a n d s e w a g e w o r k s , W e t h e r d e n a n d L a c k f o r d . All ringed b i r d s n o t e d t h r o u g h o u t this p e r i o d w e r e in t h e L o w e s t o f t area. A B e l g i a n ringed adult, first n o t e d late last year, w a s p r e s e n t f r o m S e p t e m b e r 30th until t h e y e a r ' s e n d . A ' c o l o u r - r i n g e d ' first-winter w a s r e c o r d e d f r o m S e p t e m b e r 19th until O c t o b e r 2 3 r d . T h i s m a y h a v e b e e n the ringed first-winter at P a k e f i e l d on D e c e m b e r 3rd w e a r i n g a w h i t e plastic r i n g ( 2 I N ) .

LITTLE GULL Larus minutus Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers oversummer and overwinter. In c o m p a r i s o n with 1996 it w a s a p o o r e a r l y - y e a r p e r i o d , with s i n g l e s at B a w d s e y , J a n u a r y 4 t h ; at N e s s Point, L o w e s t o f t , J a n u a r y 5th a n d at C o v e h i t h e , F e b r u a r y 2 5 t h . Little Gull: 1997 records by month

250 . 200

150 100

50 0 J

F M A M J

J A S 81

O N D


A rather light spring passage began on March 11th with four adults at Lackford and lasted until the end of May. Lackford also produced the highest count of the season, 17 on April 13th. Smaller groups were noted at Benacre Broad, three on March 22nd; Li vermere Lake, four on March 31 st and Alton Water, four on April 12th (two lingered until 20th). Ones or twos were also noted at Trimley, Levington Marina, Loompit Lake, Landguard, Minsmere, Havergate Island and Southwold. A first-summer at Minsmere was present from May 28th to June 30th. Other June records were of a first-summer at Alton Water on 11th and 12th and at Havergate on 4th. By June 28th there were two at Minsmere and autumn movements got underway. July to September produced some interesting gatherings at Benacre, Minsmere and Sizewell. At Benacre, the first report came on July 17th, 20 adults in summer plumage. This number rose to 35 adults by July 29th and 40 on August 9th, before falling to nine on August 23rd. However, by August 24th the group's size had risen to 60, including 16 juveniles, and rose still further to 95, including 27 juveniles, on 26th. Numbers fell away fairly quickly, to 41 on August 31st, 20 by September 1st, nine by September 7th, and finally to six on September 19th. The numbers at Minsmere peaked earlier at 71 on July 28th, decreasing to 35 there on August 9th (16 adults, 17 first-summers and two juveniles). Numbers at Sizewell peaked at two in July, 13 in August (10 adults, one first-summer and two juveniles on 3rd) and 24 on September 20th. The only other sizeable group for the period was 25 at Ness Point, Lowestoft on August 30th. Following a poor October, when just 31 were reported in total, a second phase of passage occurred in November, concentrated around 3rd and 4th. On November 3rd 10 passed Southwold and four passed Aldeburgh. On November 4th 27 passed Southwold, whilst the 140 south in two hours at Aldeburgh was the maximum for any site during the year. The last record for the year was 12 adults at Covehithe on November 26th. SABINE'S GULL Larus sabini Rare passage migrant.

M Sabine's Gull 1997 was a good year nationally for this attractive gull, but Suffolk could only contribute two records, both at the prime site, Southwold. Southwold: Sep. 17th. juvenile north (J H Grant); Sep.27th, juvenile north (B J Small). 82


Recorded nos. of Sabine's Gull 1988-97

10 -]

8 6 4 2 0

88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 About 230 were reported for September in Britain and Ireland (Birding World, volume 10, number 9) however, few were noted in the western North Sea. In Norway clOO were seen, with seven in Germany and 10 in Belgium. Juveniles were in the majority. BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The largest counts for the early year occurred mainly on the coast: 3000, Minsmere, January 11th, with 500 there on February 8th and 800 on March 18th; 1982, Blyth Estuary, January 4th and 900, Trimley, March 28th. There were also high inland counts: 800 at Livermere Lake, January 16th, and 440 there on February 6th. This shows the widespread distribution of this gull throughout Suffolk in winter. Disappointingly, breeding records were received from just two sites. At Minsmere 240 pairs raised only 47 juveniles, whilst at the new inland colony at Livermere Lake numbers rose to 17 pairs with 15 young counted on July 15th. Second winter period numbers were lower than in 1996, just as the early period numbers had been. Compare the maximum count of 8000 at Lackford with the 14000 in 1996; the 1766 on the Deben Estuary with 3184 in 1996 and 1200 at Suffolk WP with 2000 in 1996. Speculation could be that breeding success was low - although at Minsmere it was higher than usual - or that climatic change is forcing the species to change its habits, birds being wider spread across inland sites. The following table shows monthly counts at a number of locations: J Blyth 168 Minsmere* 3000 North Warren* 280 Aide/Ore 73 Havergate* 47 Deben 1143 Trimley Marshes* 250 Orwell 2424 Alton Water 508 ("monthly maxima)

F 434 500 320 n/c -

1625 100 643 -

M 1932 800 200 n/c 1900 1049 900 446 140

A n/c 400

M n/c 500

J n/c

J n/c

A n/c

S n/c

O 224

N 230

D 208

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

n/c 680 n/c 52 n/c 5

n/c 341 n/c 100 n/c 25

250 n/c 178 n/c 587 n/c 138

-

n/c 900 1284 540 812 201

130 n/c 123 n/c 646 n/c

173 617

9 560 n/c 459 24 30 1214 1766 300 200 260 375 627 796

-

2415 348 1800 150 n/c 103

-

1528 200 366 383

Aside from the WeBS data for the Orwell there were also counts of 4840 at Freston on December 8th and 2107 at Wherstead Strand on November 6th. Field reports of ringed birds from the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Estonia were noted at Lowestoft in October to December. At least three of these birds were returning from the previous winter or even earlier. C O M M O N GULL Larus canus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Occasionally breeds. Anyone driving across Suffolk during winter will see many Common Gulls feeding with Black-headed Gulls in ploughed fields. They appear, from the records received, 83


to rarely congregate in large numbers, with only small flocks noted along the coast. However, it is apparent that with the increase in free-range pig farms, larger numbers are beginning to be recorded at these sites. Westleton and Blythburgh are prime sites, with over 2000 at the latter. The 1800 at Minsmere on January 11th were almost certainly roosting birds from Westleton pig farms. At Blythburgh, where the pig farms have quite large drinking pools, the gulls tend to drink and bathe on site rather than going to the nearby estuary. The largest numbers were recorded at Lackford WR, where a record number of c.5000 roosted on January 16th, with c.2500 there on January 21st. This is a very under-recorded species with only 24 records from the north-west region of the County. The following monthly counts were received from various sites: Blyth Aide/Ore Havergate* Diluii Landguard* Trimley MarshesÂť Orwell Alton Water

J 315 0 8 49 -

45 158 272

F 353

M 18

A

M

J

J

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

0

O 38 3

-

55 49 400 20 2 65

35 20

4

8

4

4

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5 4

3 1

-

4 9

18 5 9

-

-

-

400

95

37 32 11 2 117

22 500 23 6 -

10 6 1

10

S

N 23 -

2 16 -

9 24 249

D 17 32 4 73 75 II 26 160

(â&#x20AC;˘monthly maxima). The only clear pattern from this is that Common Gulls are rarely seen in the summer and quite common in the winter, leaving swiftly during March and arriving back during August to October. A near-albino was noted at Suffolk WP on November llth.This bird showed only smudges of grey on its mantle and wings. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. As expected, few records were received for January; the maximum counts for January came from Minsmere, five on 12th; Alton Water, six on 17th and North Warren, three on 13th. In February and March numbers increased as early birds returned from wintering grounds in Iberia and North Africa. Figures rose rapidly with, for example, 328 at Minsmere on March 14th and 500 by March 27th. In late March and early April '1000s' were reported flying east over Lackford. Compare this with only 23 south on March 17th at Landguard and 32 north on April 15th, and it appears as though a large number may have arrived at breeding grounds via an overland route. As migration continued larger numbers were reported from more widespread locations: 425, Suffolk WP, April 13th; 500 Aldringham Common (around pig farms), April 27th; 162, Pipps Ford, April 7th and 200, Sutton, April 14th. Although there were no data about the total number of pairs at the main Suffolk colony on Orfordness, the 'Orfordness Gull Report' offers detailed information on the ringing programme. For the first year coloured rings (red with white writing) were Fitted onto Lesser Black-back pulii at the colony. A total of 419 young was ringed, bringing the total actually ringed at the colony to 6396 since 1984. Site records from France, Portugal. Spain and Morocco show the value of the efforts put in by the dedicated ringers. In addition, breeding was noted in Lowestoft with 20 pairs at Brooke Shipyard. Lake Lothing and 20 adults at the Boulton and Paul factory behaved strongly like breeding birds. One pair at Minsmere raised one young. Autumn passage, which lasts well into November, was light and poorly recorded. The exception to this was Lackford WR where 3000 were recorded in the roost on September 84


13th, with 700 there on November 20th. Very few other counts over 50 were received with 100 at Wetherden, November 22nd, being the highest. As would be expected December records were few, but 28 were at Woolverstone on December 28th and around 10 were noted at Trimley and Havergate indicating that a few still overwinter. Interestingly, following last year's remarks about the unlikelihood of 'fiiscus' having been proven to occur in Suffolk on anything but the very rarest occasion, no reports were received. With the growth in the interest in gull identification, and 'fuscus' being awarded full specific status in the Netherlands (as 'Baltic Gull'), this gull becomes rarer - an anomalous but pertinent fact! HERRING GULL Larus argentatus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. There was a significant difference between the counts during the early-year period and those received for 1996 with only five counts in three figures: 110, Suffolk WP, January 5th; 130, North Warren, January 13th; 227, Deben Estuary, February 9th; 489, Blyth Estuary, March 18th and 100, Minsmere, March 29th. The Blyth Estuary count was the second highest reported count for any date throughout the year. There was no evidence of passage at any locality. Breeding reports came from three sites. At Orfordness, 67 pulii were ringed, but the total number of pairs, and therefore success rate, was not reported. At Lowestoft, five pairs were on the Brooke Shipyard roof and 20 adults, with behaviour suggestive of breeding, were on the Boulton and Paul factory roof (cf Lesser Black-backed Gull). At Minsmere, one pair raised two young, fed on a diet of Black-headed Gull chicks, which were swallowed whole. In many ways the late year period reflected the earlier paucity of records. Very few counts indicated passage, although there were some sizeable post-breeding gatherings: 181, Holbrook Bay, July 21st; 131, Felixstowe Ferry, September 26th and 109, Trimley, August 6th. Winter produced three-figure counts of 509 Combs Water Meadow, Stowmarket, on December 30th; 350 at Landguard on December 3rd and 174, North Warren, December 14th. YELLOW-LEGGED GULL As observers become increasingly aware of the identifiable plumage features, records of this (sub) species continues to grow.The lack of recognition by the BOU of this species may still be hindering the recording process. All reports are listed below: Lowestoft: adult, 'michahellis'. North Beach, Ness Point and Birds Eye Factory, Sep.lOth to Dec. 14th; juvenile/first winter 'michahellis'. North Beach and Ness Point Sep.21st. Benacre: adult on Mar.23rd, 'michahellis'. Southwold: second-winter, 'michahellis', Sep.27th. Minsmere: nine, second-summer Jun.lst to 30th, daily in evening from south hide; adult, Nov.25th. Walberswick: two adult 'michahellis' south along the beach, considered to be a pair. Wetherden: at least 10 individuals were noted between Sep.6th and Nov.29th. Maximum day counts of six on Oct. 17th and four Nov.2nd. All were considered to be of the race 'michahellis' apart from single first-winters of the nominate 'cachinnans' noted on seven dates from Sep. 14th to Nov.29th, at least two birds being involved (M C Marsh, S Piotrowski). The latter records are currently pending consideration by SORC as the first of that race recorded in the County.

Almost certainly the best year as far as numbers are concerned with 25 individuals, but records came from fewer sites.The concentrations at Wetherden and Minsmere are noteworthy. The 'cachinnans ' birds at Wetherden would constitute the first records of this (sub) species for Suffolk. Indeed they are given full specific status, as 'Pontic Gull', in the Netherlands. 85


ICELAND GULL Larus glaucoides Scarce winter visitor. Only two reports continues the poor run for this species - w e are due an influx. Felixstowe: Landguard, second-winter, Mar.21st (M C Marsh) and April 3rd (N Odin, G Lowe). Lackford WR: second-winter, Feb.Hth and 15th (LWR). 1996 a d d i t i o n s : Benacre: adult, Sep.4th (A Kennedy, N Sherwen). Minsmere: adult of the race kumlieni, Dec. 28th (B Robson, I Simms, C A Buttle). T h e s e recently accepted records from 1996 represent the earliest ever, in the bird at Benacre, and the second of the North American race of Iceland Gull, in the bird at Minsmere.

GLAUCOUS GULL Iuirus hyperboreus Scarce winter visitor. A conservative figure of five to seven birds w a s recorded, all of which are listed below: Lowestoft: first-winter, Jan.2nd (D B Sivyer). Kessingland: first-winter, Jan.3rd (R C Smith). Southwold: 'immature', Sep.21st (E W Patrick). Minsmere: first-winter, Feb.23rd; second summer. May 7th (I Hawkins). Si/.ewell: first-winter, Feb.23rd (R Fairhead). Aldeburgh: Slaughden, first-winter from 1996 to Apr. 13th; returning as second-winter from Nov. 12th (many obs). North Warren, two first-winters Jan. 11th and Feb.9th (R N Macklin). Bawdsey: first-winter, Jan.4th (P Hobbs). Bramford: first-winter, Jan.4th (J Zantboer). Lackford: first-winter, roosting intermittently from Jan.11th to Feb. 14th (D E Balmer). Exactly how many birds were involved is difficult to assess. The splendid bird remained very faithful to the beach near the Martello Tower at Aldeburgh, occasionally roosting at North Warren, where joined by another bird on January 11th and February 9th. This second bird is assumed to be the bird seen at M i n s m e r e and other coastal locations in January and February. T h e Aldeburgh first-winter w a s last reported on April 13th, when moulting into first-summer plumage, but w a s back by N o v e m b e r 12th for its second winter, having been absent for seven m o n t h s . T h e t w o inland records at B r a m f o r d and L a c k f o r d are treated as different birds, but could easily be the same.

GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. T h i s h a n d s o m e brute of a species is seemingly under-recorded. Despite being seen in all m o n t h s of the year, reports hardly reflect its true status in Suffolk. In the first half of the year the highest counts were 80 at North Warren, January 22nd; 57, L a n d g u a r d . February 8th; 50, Felixstowe Ferry. January 25th and 35 Lackford, March 18th (mainly first-winters). N u m b e r s dropped off after M a r c h , but n o passage w a s noted at any coastal site. A f t e r t w o adults at Trimley M a r s h e s in July, n u m b e r s in the late year began to pick up; slowly through August, then relatively quickly from S e p t e m b e r to the y e a r ' s end. Monthly m a x i m a counts were as follows: September, 75 at Trimley on 20th and 56, Havergate Island on 10th. In October, 75 were at Landguard on 13th and 35 at North Warren on 19th. In N o v e m b e r . 175 were reported in Lowestoft Harbour on 12th (the highest count for the year) and 100 at North Warren on 17th. D e c e m b e r saw 70 at North Warren on 23rd and 57 at Minsmere on 7th. North Warren is clearly an important site for this species (and other large gulls) d u r i n g the winter months.

86


16. NIGHTJAR: The comb-claw used to clean bristles around the gape. John Holmes

17. LITTLE OWL: Recorded at 96 sites. Stan Dumican


Population may be in decline.

19. SHORT-TOED LARK, ALDEBURGH: Also seen at Southwold.

Stan Dumican

HAKIN UWL, LANDGUARD: .4 bird of the commentai trapped and ringed in June.

Rob Wilson

race

'guttata' Paul

j


KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla Very common passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers breed. Unlike last year there were f e w large counts in the early months of the year, the only exception b e i n g 515 at Southwold on January 20th. and spring passage was very uneventful. Lowestoft and Sizewell breeding birds began to arrive in late February and early March, with 5 0 being recorded at L o w e s t o f t on March 1st and 50 at Sizewell on March 29th. Breeding at L o w e s t o f t decreased further with the breakdown of numbers as follows (per BJ Brown): SITE No. of nests No. successful No. of young Wall 101 63 83 Wall (inside) 9 6 9 Wall at Quay 25 14 21 Fish Market Quay 6 3 5 Hamilton Dock Quav 8 2 2 SCP Sheds 2 2 2 Claremont Pier 1 1 1 152 91 123 TOTALS At Sizewell an effort w a s m a d e to determine the true numbers on the offshore rigs: Alan Miller f o u n d that f r o m 84 nests a m i n i m u m of 71 young was raised. This brings the S u f f o l k total to 2 3 6 nests producing 194 young. There were only f o u r counts of over 100 during autumn passage: 289, Covehithe in October; 160, Aldeburgh and North Warren, N o v e m b e r 3rd and 270, Covehithe in December.

GULL-BILLED TERN Sterna nilotica Very rare passage migrant. Felixstowe: Landguard, two adults in summer plumage south, May 1st (N Odin). The seventeenth record for Suffolk (involving 2 3 individuals) and the first since 1991.

CASPIAN TERN Sterna caspia Rare visitor. Breydon Water: Jul.30th, seen morning and evening roosting on the humps at the eastern end of Breydon on the Norfolk side. At 0845 the bird was seen by T Cochran to fly towards Burgh Castle on the Suffolk side of the estuary (M Matheson, T Cochran, S Smith). This record follows the t w o birds seen at M i n s m e r e in 1996.

SANDWICH TERN Sterna sandvicensis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Six birds at Havergate on March 24th were the first reported for the year. N u m b e r s there built u p to 31 by the end of the month, 100 on April 19th and 5 5 0 on May 2nd. At M i n s m e r e , m a x i m u m monthly counts in the spring period were 57 on April 29th and 25 on M a y 6th. It w a s another disastrous year for breeding of this species in the County. At Havergate, prĂŠdation problems prevented egg-laying, and at Minsmere, although some birds displayed and lingered awhile, no breeding took place. There w a s a light southerly passage in August and September with a m a x i m u m of 35 at S o u t h w o l d on August 26th. Late records were of t w o at Southwold on October 12th, North Warren on O c t o b e r 19th and Aldeburgh on N o v e m b e r 4th. The last report w a s of o n e at Wherstead Strand on N o v e m b e r 7th.

87


ROSEATE TERN Sterna dougallii Rare passage migrant. S i n g l e birds w e r e reported at M i n s m e r e , o f t e n r o o s t i n g w i t h S a n d w i c h T e r n s o n t h e S c r a p e , o n the f o l l o w i n g dates: J u n e 28th, J u l y Ist, 2 n d , 17th a n d 28th ( D F a i r h u r s t , G R W e l c h et al). O n e w a s also at S i z e w e l l R i g s on A u g u s t 13th ( D T h u r l o w ) . A n a v e r a g e y e a r with p e r h a p s three d i f f e r e n t birds i n v o l v e d . Reported nos. of Roteale lern: 1988-97

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

97

1996 a d d i t i o n : Minsmere: May 1 Ith (RSPB).

COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo Common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first r e p o r t of the y e a r w a s of o n e at L a c k f o r d o n April 12th. A light s p r i n g p a s s a g e c o n t i n u e d there u p to M a y 24th, w i t h a m a x i m u m c o u n t of n i n e o n M a y 2 I s t . I n l a n d p a s s a g e w a s also r e p o r t e d at W e y b r e a d G P with 2 4 o n M a y 16th. C o a s t a l m i g r a t i o n w a s first n o t e d at L a n d g u a r d Point w h e r e t w o f l e w north o n A p r i l 15th. N u m b e r s had built u p to 6 4 at H a v e r g a t e by J u n e 8th and 9 5 at M i n s m e r e o n J u l y 1 st. B r e e d i n g w a s r e p o r t e d f r o m the f o l l o w i n g f o u r sites: Lowestoft: Lake Lothing. Brooke Shipyard roof, 12 pairs. Unfortunately high winds and torrential rain between Jun.26th and 28th flushed many of the young chicks down the corrugations and only about six young are estimated to have fledged this year. The roof is now also a nesting site for several pairs of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls and the year-by-year build-up of their numbers may well affect the lern colony in the future. Southwold: a pair was seen feeding two chicks at the boating lake on Jul.l9th. Minsmere: 51 pairs raised 60 young. Havergate: 53 pairs raised 28 young. T h e r e w a s a p o s t - b r e e d i n g b u i l d - u p of n u m b e r s at several sites as b i r d s b e g a n to m o v e s o u t h . F o r e x a m p l e . 157 (101 j u v e n i l e s , 5 6 adults) w e r e n o t e d at S o u t h w o l d o n S e p t e m b e r 16th; 100 at N o r t h W a r r e n , S e p t e m b e r Ist; 5 5 at S i z e w e l l R i g s , A u g u s t 3 0 t h ; 2 7 o n t h e S t o u r Estuary, A u g u s t 28th a n d 12 at Alton Water, S e p t e m b e r 16th. O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , a northerly m o v e m e n t of 8 8 ' C o m m i c T e r n s ' w a s l o g g e d at C o v e h i t h e c l i f f s o n S e p t e m b e r lOth. L a t e s t r a g g l e r s w e r e singles at S i z e w e l l R i g s o n O c t o b e r 2 4 t h a n d 2 6 t h . a n d o n e at L a k e L o t h i n g o n N o v e m b e r 3rd.

ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionali

breeds.

T h i s w a s a very quiet y e a r i n d e e d for this t e m . A s in o t h e r y e a r s , the first report of t h e y e a r w a s f r o m inland with a s i n g l e at L a c k f o r d o n April 12th. Eight w e r e there o n A p r i l 15th and 11 o n April 2 2 n d . O n e w a s at W e y b r e a d G r a v e l Pits on A p r i l 26th. O n the c o a s t there w a s o n e o f f s h o r e at L a n d g u a r d o n April 27th a n d t w o at H a v e r g a t e o n M a y 14th a n d 15th. O n c e a g a i n t h e only b r e e d i n g r e p o r t e d w a s at H a v e r g a t e w h e r e t w o p a i r s raised o n e chick. S o u t h e r l y m o v e m e n t b e g a n with o n e al M i n s m e r e o n J u l y 3rd a n d t w o a d u l t s w i t h an i m m a t u r e t h e r e o n J u l y 26th. It w a s a p o o r p a s s a g e with n o d o u b l e - f i g u r e c o u n t s 88


in August and September, m a x i m u m n u m b e r s being f o u r juveniles at Sizewell Rig, September 13th, and f o u r at King's Fleet (Falkenham) on August 13th. Late reports were of t w o in T h o r p e Bay (Trimley St Martin) on O c t o b e r 2Ist and one juvenile at Sizewell Rigs on O c t o b e r 24th. L I T T L E T E R N Sterna

albifrons

Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Early arrivais were singles at Havergate on April I3th; Minsmere. April 22nd and Trimley Marshes, April 27th. By early May n u m b e r s had increased to 16 at Benacre on 3rd, 13 at Covehithe on Ist, 82 at Minsmere, 15 at Havergate on 5th and 4 0 at Trimley M a r s h e s on 9th. Breeding success w a s extremely poor due to a combination of prĂŠdation problems and harsh weather during the incubation period. PAIRS FLEDGED YOUNG Kessingland 0 0 Benacre 0 0 19 Covehithe/Easton Bavents 0 Walberswick 2 0 Minsmere 29 13 Havergate 2 2 Orfordness (1) 22 0 (failed at egg stage) Orfordness (2) 43 10 (minimum) Felixstowe Ferry 30 0 (at least five chicks hatched) Shotley 3 0 Trimley /Fagbury 0 0 Landguard 7 0 (failed al egg stage due to thunderstorm) TOTALS 157 25 (minimum) There were post-breeding build-ups of 89 at Covehithe (mainly adults); 80 at Havergate, July 27th and 72 at Landguard, July 18th. The m a x i m u m daily count at M i n s m e r e in July w a s 112. These probably represent breeding failures elsewhere along the east coast. Last date at Landguard was September 1 st. B L A C K T E R N Chlidonias

niger

Fairly common passage migrant. An average year for this species. S p r i n g p a s s a g e . A s usuai, the earliest and most prolific spring migration was observed inland with the first birds at Lackford W R on April 25th and at Livermere Lake on April 26th. The peak count w a s a splendid 89 at Livermere Lake on May 3rd. but there were only single-figure counts at Lackford, where birds were observed until June 3rd. At Weybread G P there were 18 on May 3rd. Nearer the coast the largest counts were 12 at both Trimley Marshes and Landguard on May 3rd, with only singles at M i n s m e r e on M a y 3rd, 19th and 29th. O n e adult w a s also reported from Covehithe Cliffs on J u n e 28th. A u t u m n p a s s a g e . At M i n s m e r e one or two birds were present consistently f r o m August 8th until the end of the month. Nearby, at Sizewell Rigs, there were reports of birds present August 23rd to September 18th. with 15 on August 27th and nine on September 6th. Seven flew south past Landguard on August 27th. The only autumn passage reported inland w a s at Lackford W R with singles on August 7th and 3 I s t and S e p t e m b e r 2nd, and an adult with one juvenile on August 6th. G U I L L E M O T Uria

aalge

Common passage migrant and winter visitor. During the first winter period at least 4 0 oiled birds were seen on beaches between

89


L o w e s t o f t and S i z e w e l l b e t w e e n J a n u a r y 1st a n d 26th, p o s s i b l y the r e s u l t of a s i n g l e oil spill. T h e m a x i m u m c o u n t w a s 10 oiled birds at S o u t h w o l d o n J a n u a r y 12th. T h e o n l y large m o v e m e n t of auk sp. o f f s h o r e w a s a report f r o m C o v e h i t h e C l i f f s of 125 north o n F e b r u a r y 5th, i n c l u d i n g several G u i l l e m o t s in b r e e d i n g p l u m a g e . T h e r e w e r e e s t u a r y s i g h t i n g s of single birds at several sites on t h e O r w e l l in e a r l y J a n u a r y a n d a l s o f r o m the D e b e n and L a k e L o t h i n g . In the a u t u m n , single birds at B e n a c r e , S e p t e m b e r 19th a n d M i n s m e r e , S e p t e m b e r 2 0 t h , w e r e the first reports. M a i n l y northerly m o v e m e n t t o o k p l a c e b e t w e e n O c t o b e r 1 st and N o v e m b e r 4th. R e g u l a r c o u n t s at C o v e h i t h e C l i f f s l o g g e d 4 0 4 a u k sp. ( G u i l l e m o t s / R a z o r b i l l s ) in O c t o b e r with 3 9 7 north and s e v e n s o u t h . T h e largest daily c o u n t w a s 9 0 north o n O c t o b e r 14th. T h e c o r r e s p o n d i n g total in D e c e m b e r at the s a m e site w a s 77. At S o u t h w o l d , 3 8 w e r e logged o n N o v e m b e r 4th a n d off A l d e b u r g h , 2 3 o n O c t o b e r 12th. D e c e m b e r r e c o r d s included t w o south at L a n d g u a r d on 6th a n d a s i n g l e oiled bird at B e n a c r e o n 20th a n d 24th. R A Z O R B I L L Alca

tarda

Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. A n o t h e r p o o r y e a r for this species, b e l y i n g the status label a b o v e , w i t h f e w e r t h a n 3 0 sightings. H o w e v e r , b e c a u s e of the d i f f i c u l t y of s e p a r a t i n g this s p e c i e s f r o m G u i l l e m o t in distant s e a - w a t c h i n g , this bird is possibly u n d e r - r e c o r d e d . T h e only r e c o r d s f r o m the south of the C o u n t y w e r e of o n e at the m o u t h of the O r w e l l E s t u a r y o n J a n u a r y 9th a n d of an oiled bird at T h o r p e B a y ( T r i m l e y St M a r t i n ) on December 20th. D u r i n g the first w i n t e r p e r i o d seven singles w e r e r e p o r t e d f r o m n o r t h e r n seaw a t c h i n g p o i n t s in the c o u n t y b e t w e e n J a n u a r y 2nd and F e b r u a r y 15th. T h e r e w e r e 18 a u t u m n r e c o r d s , m a i n l y f r o m S o u t h w o l d , with a m a x i m u m d a i l y c o u n t of five north o n O c t o b e r 2 4 t h . O n e bird w a s reported f r o m L a k e L o t h i n g o n A u g u s t 15th.

LITTLE AUK A lie alle Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor. N o reports w e r e r e c e i v e d f o r t h e first w i n t e r period. T h e a u t u m n p a s s a g e w a s very light, mainly b e t w e e n m i d - O c t o b e r and N o v e m b e r 4th. M o s t reports w e r e of single birds. Largest daily totals w e r e 12 south at C o v e h i t h e C l i f f s o n O c t o b e r 14th and 10 (seven north, three south) at S o u t h w o l d on O c t o b e r 24th. Late singles were seen at C o v e h i t h e o n N o v e m b e r 30th and D e c e m b e r 22nd. At I p s w i c h , o n e w a s s w i m m i n g and f e e d i n g u n d e r the O r w e l l Bridge on O c t o b e r 29th. O n e bird w a s " w r e c k e d " in the s h e e p p a d d o c k s at Easton Bavents, O c t o b e r 24th. At L o w e s t o f t , three w e r e seen in the e n t r a n c e to the H a r b o u r on O c t o b e r 24th, with o n e there o n 26th. T h e total r e p o r t e d n u m b e r f o r the c o u n t y w a s a b o u t 8 0 birds. P U F F I N Fratercula

arctica

Scarce passage migrant. T h e r e w e r e n o r e p o r t e d s i g h t i n g s in 1997. Totals f o r the last d e c a d e s h o w a d e c l i n i n g n u m b e r of r e c o r d s in r e c e n t y e a r s . Reported nos. of Puffin: 1988-97

^ . t l . l III. 88

89

90

Âť1

92

93

90

94

95

96

97


ROCK DOVE Columba livia Very common resident from feral stock. There w a s a slight increase in the n u m b e r of records received this year, although sightings c a m e f r o m only six sites. Breeding w a s confirmed at just two of these; Covehithe, where seven occupied nests were located on the church, and Bury St. Edmunds, w h e r e an adult w a s seen feeding nestlings. The largest gatherings recorded were as follows: in Lowestoft 360 were seen collecting grit and/or salt on South Beach, O c t o b e r 15th and 750 were seen around the grain silo in C o m m e r c i a l Road, N o v e m b e r 6th. In Ipswich c.500 were present at Cliff Quay, N o v e m b e r 16th and c . 1 8 0 0 were in the Bath Street area of the docks, D e c e m b e r 14th. This latter flock w a s being 'controlled' by shotgun fire and c.50 dead birds were found on the quayside.

STOCK DOVE Columba oenas Fairly common resident and passage migrant. Records were received f r o m a total of 4 0 widespread sites, most of which related to small g r o u p s of birds. Breeding w a s reported f r o m just four sites, including three pairs at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex and one pair that reared two young in a nest box at C o m b s Lane Water M e a d o w s , Stowmarket. As expected, the largest flocks mostly occurred during the two winter periods and included 50. Boyton Marshes, September 16th; 300, Wherstead Strand. January 11th; 50, The C l a m p , C h e l m o n d i s t o n , D e c e m b e r 28th; c.170, Worlingworth. D e c e m b e r 15th; 92, Great Livermere. October 17th with 152 there, D e c e m b e r 11th and 75, Lakenheath, February 23rd. Visible migration w a s virtually non-existent this year. L a n d g u a r d recorded southerly m o v e m e n t s on eight dates during the spring between February 23rd and May 5th (a total of 21 birds with a m a x i m u m of seven on March 2nd), and just four dates during the autumn between August 25th and N o v e m b e r 22nd (a total of seven birds with a m a x i m u m of t w o on three dates).

WOOD PIGEON Columba palumbus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. S o m e large flocks were recorded during the first-winter and spring periods, the most notable of which were 1000, Aldringham C o m m o n and Walks, February 9th; 1845, M i n s m e r e , February 2nd; 1500, in an oilseed rape crop at Stowupland, January 31st; c.1000, Trimley Marshes, April 15th and c.4000, Lakenheath, February 23rd. A flock at Trimley M a r s h e s on March 25th was particularly interesting as it contained an albino bird. A light spring passage w a s recorded at Landguard during March. M o v e m e n t s were noted f r o m 3rd, when 38 flew south, and peaked on 16th, when 55 flew the same way. A s usual, very few breeding reports were received, but included an estimated 15 pairs at L a n d g u a r d (same as in 1996). A pair at Trimley Marshes had a nest with a juvenile and an egg on a shingle island during August. In the absence of suitable trees or bushes this species will often nest on the ground, normally amongst dense herbage, behaviour which has previously been recorded f r o m Orfordness (see Suffolk Birds Vol.42; 92). A u t u m n passage w a s m o r e noteworthy and is summarised as follows; Lowestoft: 230 south at 07.30, Nov. 10th. Felixstowe: Causton Junior School. 130 north. Oct.14th; 142 north. Oct.24th and 2061 south in one hour between 07.30 and 08.30, Nov. 13th. Landguard. 43 south. Oct.30th was the only visible movement that month. Numbers increased during November with a total of 901 noted flying south on seven dates, the largest of which were 200 on 13th; 376 on 21st and 198 on 23rd. The final movement was of 50 south on Dec.27th. 91


T h e only s i z e a b l e c o u n t s of the s e c o n d - w i n t e r p e r i o d w e r e of c . 3 0 0 , C h e l m o n d i s t o n , N o v e m b e r 24th; c.1300, Worlingworth, for about 10 d a y s d u r i n g D e c e m b e r and 3 0 0 0 seen flying to roost in w a v e s at G i p p i n g Great Wood, N o v e m b e r 21st.

COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia Common resident.

decaocto

Reports were received f r o m just 18 sites, a severe reduction c o m p a r e d with 1996 (with 28 sites). S o m e impressive numbers were reported though, the largest of which are detailed below; Middleton: 100, roosting in a tree, Nov.7th. Trimley St. Mary: Searson's Farm, 140, Sept. 15th with c.200 there on 22nd and c.60 on 27th. Stowupland: 44 at grain silo on Poplar Farm. Dec.29th. Great l.ivermere: 50. Dec. 11th and 65, Dec. 15th. N o counts were received f r o m Lowestoft where large n u m b e r s have been recorded at the C o m m e r c i a l Road grain silos in recent years. Breeding w a s c o n f i r m e d at just five sites including 13 territories at North Warren (10 in 1996), three pairs at Landguard (two in 1996) and 'several pairs' on the Hengrave Hall Estate. T w o records demonstrated the potential length of this species' breeding season. An early pullus was found dead under a Leylandii h e d g e in S t o w upland on March 28th and in Bury St.Edmunds a late nesting pair hatched e g g s on O c t o b e r 7th. T h e young were fledged on O c t o b e r 29th, by which time the small tree holding the nest w a s leafless.

TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia turtur Widespread but decreasing summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e distribution of reports received is contrary to the results of the B B S survey, in w h i c h Turtle D o v e has consistently been found in over half of the squares surveyed in the period 1994-96 (although a direct comparison is obviously impossible until the 1997 B B S data are available).

birds at 11 other sites before the end of the month. The only reports of active spring migration c a m e f r o m Landguard. where o n e w a s noted flying north and six south during May ( m a x . four south on 26th), and o n e flew north on J u n e 11th. 92


Breeding w a s c o n f i r m e d at just the following three sites: North Warren (a total of 32 territories w a s found), M i n s m e r e (15 territories) and Lackford W.R. (two pairs). Post-breeding gatherings appeared more n u m e r o u s than in 1996, with six sites reporting g r o u p s reaching double figures. Worlingworth: 20, Sep.5th. Butley: Butley Creek, 11, Aug.9th. Great Finborough: 41. Aug.25th. Lakenheath: 13, Jul.5th. Tuddenham St. Mary: 15 during Jun. Long Melford: 10, on overhead wires behind Bush Boake Allen works, Aug.25th. Birds w e r e reported f r o m a total of nine sites d u r i n g S e p t e m b e r and o n e in October - the final record of the year at L a n d g u a r d on 7th.

RING-NECKED PARAKEET Psittacula Scarce resident.

krameri

Another poor year with j u s t two sightings reported. Nacton: Bridge Wood. Oct. 17th (B G Thompson). Lavenham: Lavenham Railway Walk, three flying south. May 3rd (R Hartley). The L a v e n h a m record is of particular interest being the first multiple sighting since 1991. Had these birds wandered f r o m the species' stronghold in London and the Home C o u n t i e s or were their origins more local? Perhaps there are isolated pairs still at large in underwatched areas.

CUCKOO Cuculus canorus Fairly common summer visitor and passage

migrant.

The first of the year w a s recorded at Minsmere on April 14th. This was followed by records f r o m a further 17 sites during the month. During the period April to June records were received f r o m a total of 42 sites which is an increase on last year and comparable to 1995 (i.e. 35 in 1996 and just over 4 0 in 1995). As is usual, reports of c o n f i r m e d breeding were few, and juveniles were noted at just six sites. T h e s e included two at Long Melford on August 3rd and one being fed by a D u n n o c k in Martlesham Churchyard. July 11th. Despite this, n u m b e r s appeared generally high and 13 singing males were recorded at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks c o m p l e x , whilst C a v e n h a m Heath held 'good numbers' during June with three or f o u r often being seen together. Parasitism of a Skylark nest was noted at Stansfield, an u n c o m m o n choice of host. S e p t e m b e r records c a m e f r o m just five sites, o n e at Minsmere on 29th being the final report.

BARN OWL Tytoalba Fairly common resident. This species showed a reasonable recovery in numbers reported, with records coming from a total of 78 sites (69 in 1996). Birds were again very scarce in the west of the County, with just 12 of the above sites coming from there and all the records involving just single day sightings apart from one probable breeding report from Denston. Reports c a m e from 23 sites during the breeding season, but unfortunately, there were no c o n f i r m e d nesting records. There were two reported road casualties this year, one on the A 1 2 at W i c k h a m Market and one at Bramfield. The latter bird w a s found on May 18th with a dead mouse still clutched in its talons. If it was one of a breeding pair, the young would almost certainly have been d o o m e d . A j u v e n i l e bird of the Continental race guttata, which has prominent buff

93


underparts, w a s trapped and ringed at L a n d g u a r d on J u n e 11th (see Plate 20). Although it is normally a s s u m e d that these birds occur in Britain in small n u m b e r s during the winter, m i d - s u m m e r records are not u n k n o w n . T h a t s o m e are genuine migrants can be shown by one that was f o u n d in Strathclyde in July 1994 that had been ringed in the Detmold area of G e r m a n y the previous J u n e (Clark et .al., 1996).

LITTLE OWL Athene noctua Fairly common resident. N u m b e r s reported during 1997 were closer to the recent annual average than last y e a r ' s high total, with records c o m i n g f r o m a total of 9 6 sites (cf. 110 in 1996). Breeding w a s c o n f i r m e d at five of these sites, including a concentration of t w o or three pairs in the C a v e n h a m Heath and Icklingham Plains area. Of the birds found dead this year, two were road casualties - f r o m D a r s h a m and Mickfield - and, more alarmingly, one long-dead bird discovered in a Larsen trap at Northfield Wood, O n e h o u s e . The bird had, apparently, been left to starve to death and, although the police were informed of the incident, no action w a s taken. Post-breeding dispersal w a s again evidenced at Landguard where a single bird w a s present, O c t o b e r to December.

TAWNY OWL Strix aluco Common resident. Reported f r o m 73 localities during 1997 (74 in 1996) with breeding noted at 10 sites (a considerable reduction on the 19 c o n f i r m e d sites during 1996). T h i s included 15 territories at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex (seven in 1996), 10-11 at Minsmere, four pairs at Hardwick Heath, Bury St. E d m u n d s and three pairs at N o w t o n Park. In addition, a pair was f o u n d utilising an old c r o w s ' nest in T h e King's Forest. T h e r e were five road casualties reported this year - f r o m Southwold, Nacton, S t o w u p l a n d , Ingham and Cockfield.

LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. T h e only record in the first winter period w a s of a bird flushed f r o m a roost at Stansfield on February 22nd. A light spring passage w a s again evident on the coast with birds recorded as follows; Minsmere: two, Mar.28th; Mar.29th and Mar.31st. Felixstowe: Landguard, two. Mar. 16th and 17th, one remaining to 22nd; Apr.20th. In addition, o n e w a s seen hunting inland at Boxford, M a r c h 29th. Breeding season reports c a m e f r o m just t w o sites: Marlesford, June 12th and P i p p ' s Ford, Barking, M a y 8th to 12th. A u t u m n passage w a s again rather poor with six birds reported f r o m five sites; Covehithe: in off the sea at 08.30, Oct. 14th; north offshore between 08.15 and 08.25, Oct.27th. Minsmere: Oct. 18th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: in off the sea, 0ct.20th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Common and Walks, in bracken on the beach, Oct.22nd. Felixstowe: Landguard. Nov. 19th and 20th. O n e seen at Rattlesden on O c t o b e r 7th w a s either a local resident or an early migrant. A f t e r the near-total absence of records during the first-winter period, the secondwinter period w a s almost as disappointing with just two records received - S o m e r leyton, D e c e m b e r 8th and L a c k f o r d W.R., N o v e m b e r 2nd. 1996 a d d i t i o n : A pair bred successfully in the south-east of the County, raising five y o u n g .

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S H O R T - E A R E D O W L Asio

flammeus

Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Numbers were very low during the first-winter period with singles reported from just four sites during January to February - M i n s m e r e (three dates); Landguard. flying north on January 12th; Pinmill, January 19th and Hare's Creek. Shotley. January 14th. Numbers decreased slightly during March with records coming from just Minsmere, Trimley Marshes and Stradishall before a rather late spring migration. This peaked during April and M a y when eight sites recorded birds. Most were singletons on lone dates, but also included were three birds at Minsmere on April 30th with two there on M a y 1st and t w o at T i n k e r ' s Marshes, Walberswick on April 13th.

Short-eared Owl There w a s just one m i d - s u m m e r report - f r o m Sizewell Levels, where one was seen on June 13th. In the west reports c a m e only from Stradishall. In addition to the March record, a b o v e , there w a s also a bird reported f r o m April 6th to 14th. Birds appeared slightly m o r e n u m e r o u s during autumn and the second-winter periods with records c o m i n g f r o m nine coastal sites. The first returning birds were noted during early S e p t e m b e r with singles seen at Boyton Marshes on 4th and Havergate Island on 6th being the earliest. Migrants were seen flying in off the sea at Gunton, O c t o b e r 16th; Southwold, O c t o b e r 24th and Minsmere, September 29th. An owl seen flying in off the sea at Southwold on N o v e m b e r 8th was either this species or Long-eared Owl. The only multiple sightings at this time involved two on Havergate Island, on and off throughout N o v e m b e r and December, and five on Orfordness, D e c e m b e r 31st. N I G H T J A R Caprimulgus

europaeus

Locally fairly common summer visitor. Scarce passage migrant. T h e first record of the year involved a bird seen at Minsmere on May 7th (an average date for recent years) and w a s soon followed by birds at Hollesley Heath, May 8th and Lackford W.R., May 14th. Birds w e r e recorded f r o m a total of 15 sites during the year with numbers probably stable. Breeding surveys at the well-monitored reserves produced totals of 23 territories at M i n s m e r e and 10 at Aldringham Walks. An unusual m i d - s u m m e r record w a s that of an adult male found dead in Corton Road, Lowestoft on June 22nd (see Plates 15 and 16). C o u l d it have been a failed breeder f r o m the Sandlings searching the coast for an alternative breeding site?

95


After birds cease 'churring' they b e c o m e very much harder to locate and only five reports were received during August. For the first time since 1991, no S e p t e m b e r records were received, t w o birds seen at M i n s m e r e on August 19th being the latest of the year. S W I F T Apus

apus

Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e r e were j u s t two sites recording this species during April. T h e first of the year w a s at Lackford W R on 21st (with 20 there on 29th), followed by another at Minsmere on 24th. However, as is usual, birds soon m o v e d in once M a y arrived, and n u m b e r s built up quickly at s o m e sites e.g. at L a c k f o r d W R , c.270 w e r e already present on 4th, with 300 there on 10th and c . 1 0 0 0 on 21st. Other good early totals included c.250, Trimley Marshes, May 7th with 2 0 0 there, M a y 18th; c.100, Martles h a m . May 12th and c.100, Livermere Lake, May 4th. Most sites appeared to hold good numbers by the end of May. Active migration w a s observed at M i n s m e r e on M a y 9th when ' w a v e s ' were seen coming in off the sea in front of bad weather. At Landguard, 4 7 flew north and nine south during May (with a peak of 42 north on 16th) and 106 flew north, 248 south and six west during June (max of 17 north and 160 south on 14th). By far the largest gathering of the m i d - s u m m e r period w a s at Trimley M a r s h e s on J u n e 22nd, w h e n 1600 were present. Other counts there during June included 200 on five dates and c . 1 2 0 on 21st. Elsewhere, 150 were at Havergate Island, July 13th; 3 0 0 at Alton Water, J u n e 26th; c.175, S u f f o l k W R June 9th; 160, L i v e r m e r e Lake, July 31st and 600, L a c k f o r d W R , J u n e 1st (with 2 0 0 there. J u n e 5th). Despite the a b o v e figures, breeding behaviour was noted at just three sites. Birds w e r e recorded nesting in the roof of a modern house (built in 1987) at S t o w m a r k e t , t w o pairs bred at Hengrave Hall where the species has decreased greatly over recent years and at L o n g Melford six birds were seen visiting nest holes in the eaves of the Working M e n ' s Club. An early departure of birds was well recorded at L a n d g u a r d f r o m July 11th o n w a r d s . Total m o v e m e n t s for that month were 177 north and 1436 south. T h e main southward m o v e m e n t s were f r o m 25th with 385 on this date, plus 4 3 4 on 27th and 4 4 0 on 31st. N u m b e r s dropped sharply during August with o n e north and 192 south being the total recorded m o v e m e n t s at L a n d g u a r d for the month. Inland, a rapid departure w a s noted at L o n g M e l f o r d up to August 11th and a general departure w a s witnessed at P a k e n h a m early in the month. Reports c a m e f r o m 14 sites during September, mostly small numbers, but including 4 0 south at North Warren on 3rd, c.40 at S o u t h w o l d on 7th, c . 5 0 at Havergate Island on 6th (with c . 1 0 0 there on 7th) and 42 south at Landguard on 6th. Eight singletons were reported f r o m six sites during October, but the final bird of 1997 recorded in Suffolk w a s seen at Alton Water on N o v e m b e r 7th (J A G l a z e b r o o k ) ; the second N o v e m b e r record in the last 10 years. K I N G F I S H E R Alcedo

atthis

Fairly common resident. This year s a w another (small) d r o p in the n u m b e r of localities reporting this species, d o w n to 70, c o m p a r e d with 72 in 1996 and 100 in 1995. T h e n u m b e r of sites recording birds during April to July also declined f r o m 27 in 1996 to just 12 this year. Breeding was c o n f i r m e d at North Warren ( t w o pairs); Burstall (where a pair w a s seen displaying and nest building); Lackford W R (one pair bred in a Sand Martin c o l o n y ; at least one juvenile seen, J u n e 18th and a pair with t w o

96


juveniles, plus a third adult seen carrying food, June 28th) and Long Melford, where birds were seen carrying food on May 3rd and 5th. Whether this species is actually declining within the County or whether the fluctuating numbers being reported are due to observer effort remains to be seen. B E E - E A T E R Merops

Very rare passage

apiaster

migrant.

Britain received an unprecedented influx of this species during May 1997 wilh about 65 recorded, including a flock of 18 in Oxfordshire (Brit. Birds 91: 49). Unfortunately, Suffolk received just a single, short-staying bird; Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Common and Walks. Seen on wires by Ness House. May 3()th (R N Macklin, D Thurlow). H O O P O E Upupa

Scarte passage

epops

migrant.

Aldeburgh: North Warren, Apr.29th (R N Macklin). Iken: on river wall, Apr. 15th (S Hadley). Capei St. Andrew: May 15th (R Davies). Little ßradley: Jun.l7th (C Chapman). Three spring sightings, and ail on single dates only, is fairly typical for recent years. It is possible that the Aldeburgh and Iken records relate to the same elusive individuai. The s u m m e r record at Little Bradley is most intriguing as it had reputedly been present for several weeks and was seen carrying sticks. 1996 a d d i t i o n : Elveden: one near Elveden on May 3Ist (RSPB). W R Y N E C K Jynx

torquilla

Uncommon passage migrant. Formerly bred. A very poor year with just four records submitted, two during the spring (which is about average for recent years) and two during the autumn (which is extremely poor - and neither of them were on the coast!). Walberswick: May 3rd (R Drew). Boy ton: Apr.29th (G Lowe). Ipswich: killed by a cat in Corder Road, Sep.28th (D Bums per A. Wilson). Great Barton: one spent 3-4 minutes in a garden, feeding around the Hoopoe base of a newly erected bird table, Jul.27th (L H Weeks). The Great Barton record is particularly interesting. Was it a very early migrant or could it have oversummered? G R E E N W O O D P E C K E R Ficus

viridis

Common resident. Another réduction in the number of localities reporting birds (110, compared with 120 during 1996). This species appears, genuinely, to be experiencing a réduction in numbers following the peak totals of recent years. Having said this, breeding season figures were good. with 50 sites recording birds between April and July, breeding being confirmed at 18 of these. A total of 23 territories was found around Ihe North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex, 12 territories were found at Minsmere and at least 10 pairs were located in The King's Forest. Landguard had a good year with one spring sighting (March 27th) and records from a total of nine dates during July and August, including two on July 23rd.

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GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos Common resident. Scarce passage migrant.

major

The total n u m b e r of sites reporting this species fell for the third year running, d o w n to 9 6 f r o m 107 in 1996 and about 120 in 1995. A total of 53 localities recorded birds during the period f r o m April to July, breeding being c o n f i r m e d at 13 of these. N u m b e r s appeared healthy with a total of 19 territories discovered at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks c o m p l e x , eight territories at M i n s m e r e and a m i n i m u m of 14 territories in T h e King's Forest. Woodpeckers are not generally thought to be at great risk f r o m traffic, but one had a lucky escape in March. It w a s found stunned in the road at L o n g M e l f o r d and w a s rescued and kept in an airing cupboard for several hours. O n release, it f l e w up into a tree and promptly fell out! It had to be returned to the cupboard overnight b e f o r e it could be successfully released the next morning (D and M Carter). An interesting sighting involved a female at Corton on N o v e m b e r 1st w h i c h lacked the black band between the moustachial stripe and nape and so resembled Syrian Woodpecker D. syriacus (A C Easton). This is a species that has spread markedly into Eastern Europe and the f o r m e r Soviet Union over the last century, but which is extremely unlikely to reach Britain. A female w a s at Landguard on April 2nd and was followed by birds on July 7th, 13th (a juvenile) and 20th, September 24th and October 5th.

LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos Uncommon resident.

minor

In all, birds w e r e reported f r o m a total of 4 5 sites, a small increase on last y e a r ' s total of 42, but still well d o w n on the total of 62 reported during 1995. A s is usual, most records related to ' o n e - o f f ' sightings, f e w sites recording birds regularly. By far the most reliable site w a s Sotterley Park where birds were reported on a total of 12 dates during the First half of the year (including a m a x i m u m of t w o f e m a l e s and one male on February 23rd). Breeding w a s c o n f i r m e d at three sites - L o w e s t o f t , where a juvenile w a s seen on a peanut feeder in the o b s e r v e r ' s garden, July 10th; Woolverstone, w h e r e a pair successfully f l e d g e d two young and Santon D o w n h a m , where t w o nests were f o u n d by the river. Elsewhere, t w o territories were located at North Warren and d r u m m i n g or displaying birds were noted at Beccles, T h e King's Forest, Long M e l f o r d ( t w o different males), Polstead and Stoke Tye, Stoke-by-Nayland.

SHORT-TOED LARK Calandrella Very rare visitor.

brachydactyla

Walberswick: on river wall. May 25th(G Burfield, N Burfield, el al). Southwold: Town Marshes, on the golf practice green. May 26th to 30th (G Burfield. N Burfield. el at) (same bird as at Walberswick). Felixstowe: Landguard, Jun.29th to Jul. 1st (M C Marsh el al). T h e tenth and eleventh records for Suffolk. T h e spring record follows the t w o in spring last year, and falls within the traditional May peak (together with S e p t e m b e r / O c t o b e r ) for British records; the June/July record is unseasonable.

WOODLARK Lullula arborea Fairly common breeding species; scarce on passage and in winter. T h e second national census, carried out during the spring, revealed S u f f o l k to be the p r e m i e r C o u n t y for breeding Woodlarks. A total of around 1500 pairs of Woodlark w a s recorded in the U K , f r o m 16 counties. S u f f o l k held between 4 0 3 and 4 5 7 breeding pairs, m o r e than any other county and around 3 0 % of the total U K population. T h e

98


population is fairly evenly split between the Breck and the Sandlings, with the latter just holding the greater number. Some birds were back on breeding territories by the end of January. Around 198 singing m a l e s were located in Suffolk Breckland, an increase of 38% on 1996; numbers w e r e up both within forest clearings and on heathland. Wood larks are now spread throughout T h e t f o r d Forest, with n u m b e r s peaking on 'clearfells' two-three years after replanting. Breeding success w a s again excellent, including only the third ever clutch of six e g g s recorded in the Brecks, the first in Suffolk. Around 230 territories were located in the Sandlings, f r o m the Deben Estuary north to Benacre. Breeding n u m b e r s are still on an upward trend, with the results for 1997 showing an overall increase of 2 9 % on 1996 figures. N u m b e r s of breeding birds within the forest areas appear to have levelled off, and remain remarkably constant on some of the traditional heathland sites, whilst others showed dramatic increases. The recent tendency t o w a r d s winter records continues. In Breckland, there was an overwintering flock near Icklingham, numbering 14 on January 1st and declining to five by February 8th. There were 11 at Minsmere on January 12th, and 13 at Sudbourne on January 29th. Evidence of migration w a s provided by three flying west at Pakenham Fen on September 26th, seven south at Bawdsey M a n o r on O c t o b e r 18th, and 21 in coastal fields at Sizewell. plus three in off the sea, on October 27th. Landguard logged one north and 10 south during October. Birds continued to be recorded into N o v e m b e r with 20 at North Warren on N o v e m b e r 9th and four at Sizewell on N o v e m b e r 15th. There w e r e no D e c e m b e r records. Ringing returns f r o m the Breckland population included birds that turned up in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, East Suffolk, North Norfolk and Kent. A leucistic bird was seen at Aldringham Walks in October and N o v e m b e r and at Sizewell in October, where it w a s photographed (see Plate 21). S K Y L A R K Alauda

arvensis

Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Skylark populations are not well monitored by the casual observations of S u f f o l k ' s birdwatchers, with records throughout 1997 f r o m only about 10% of parishes (46). The m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i v e surveys during 1987-1992, leading to the 'Provisional Breeding A t l a s ' , recorded Skylarks in 8 0 % of Suffolk tetrads. Early winter concentrations included 130 at Moulton in January, 110 at Snape Warren o n January 3rd and 2 7 3 on farmland at Aldringham Walks on January 13th, with 135 there on January 31st and 110 on February 9th. Birds were recorded singing by late January. Again there w a s no noticeable spring passage, with just ones and twos through L a n d g u a r d . and a m a x i m u m of just eight there on March 12th. There w e r e very f e w breeding records. ' G o o d n u m b e r s ' were reported breeding on all suitable clear fells in T h e King's Forest. A nest with f o u r eggs at Stansfield on June 29th w a s later parasitised by a C u c k o o . O n reserves, 74 singing birds were located at North Warren (67 in 1996), and 113 at M i n s m e r e . In contrast, although a singing male was present at Landguard for much of the early spring, no breeding was thought to have taken place. However, the records received give no indication of the status of Skylarks throughout the f a r m e d countryside of the C o u n t y - Skylark is on the 'red list' as o n e of several c o m m o n , but rapidly declining farmland birds. A u t u m n migration w a s evidenced by birds in off the sea at Sizewell and Southwold between O c t o b e r 12th and N o v e m b e r 4th. A total of 2 6 3 was observed passing over Stowupland, mostly southwest, between September 29th and N o v e m b e r 24th, with a m a x i m u m of 4 4 on O c t o b e r 17th. Several hundred m o v e d south-east over Stradishall airfield on O c t o b e r 19th. T h e r e w a s also visible migration along the Lark Valley at

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West Stow in early October, peaking on O c t o b e r 12th. L a n d g u a r d logged visible Skylark passage S e p t e m b e r 24th to D e c e m b e r 14th, with a c c u m u l a t e d m o v e m e n t s of 12 north, 888 south and 170 in off the sea. Larger concentrations of birds during this period included 2 0 0 at Great Livermere on O c t o b e r 17th and 23rd. Concentrations during the second winter period included 130 at L e v i n g t o n L a g o o n on D e c e m b e r 2 2 n d . S H O R K L A R K Eremophila

alpestris

Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant Records during December 1 9 % comprised Shorelarks at Walberswick (six), Orfordness (39) and Fagbury Flats (five); the latter two groups were still present in the early months of 1997. In addition there was a small influx of birds in late winter. Kaston BavenLs: seven, Mar.28th; two, Apr. 10th. Southwold: boating lake, four, Mar.30th. Dun wich: Dunwich Heath, with Skylarks in old car park, Mar.21st. Minsmere: Mar.2lst (presumed same as Dunwich). Orfordness: 37 on January 3rd and 28 on 4th. Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Flats, five, Jan.l Ith and Feb.lst; six, Feb.9th; two, Feb.8th; five. Mar.8th and 15th. A few birds w e r e present along the coast in early N o v e m b e r , with a sizeable flock in the C o v e h i t h e area f r o m then to the year-end. Corton: Oct.29th and three, Nov. I st. Kessingland: beach, 15, Dec.5th, presumed to be the Covehithe flock. Benacre: Pits and Broad, three. Nov. 1st, then eight 13th and 15th, and nine. 17th. declining to two on 23rd, and one on 30th. Covehithe: Broad and Cliffs, 21 on Nov.9th, increasing to 26 on 13th, and then 15-18 regularly recorded Nov.23rd to Dec.29th, including one colour-ringed bird. Walberswick: five, Nov.8th. Minsmere: one. Nov. 1st, two on 7th and four on 10th. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, two, Nov. 10th. S A N D M A R T I N RiparĂŹa

riparia

Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Early records were singles at C a v e n h a m Heath on March 9th; L a c k f o r d on 13th. with t w o there on 26th; M i n s m e r e on 22nd, with six there on 31st; B e n a c r e on 25th and three at L i v e r m e r e Lake on 27th. N u m b e r s remained low in early April with 6 0 at L a c k f o r d W.R. on 4th and 4 0 at North Warren on 4th being the only notable n u m b e r s . By m i d - m o n t h n u m b e r s had built up, with 200 at L a c k f o r d W.R. on 11th, 100 at Alton Water on 18th and 200 at Livermere Lake on 26th. A remarkable 1000 w e r e at Lackford W.R. on April 25th during misty and drizzly weather. Breeding w a s reported f r o m j u s t six sites. T h e r e were 17 occupied nests (30 nest holes; 4 0 in 1996) at S u f f o l k W P ; 110 nest holes in use at Chillesford (65 in 1996), about 9 0 breeding pairs (in three colonies) at Lackford W R (51 in 1996) and at least o n e pair at Nayland. N u m b e r s w e r e low in the colonies in the coastal cliffs at Benacre and Covehithe, w h e r e 25 and 10. respectively, were reported. Visible migration w a s noted at Landguard f r o m June 29th, and continued through August with a c c u m u l a t e d totals for that month of ten north and 100 south. S e p t e m b e r provided 'the best passage seen at Landguard for many years' with a c c u m u l a t e d m o v e m e n t s of t w o north, seven west and 1178 south, the m a x i m u m daily count being 3 7 2 south on 8th. T h e r e were about 4 0 0 at Havergate Island on S e p t e m b e r 8th, and about 2 0 0 flew south at C o v e h i t h e Cliffs during the early morning of S e p t e m b e r 19th. L a n d g u a r d logged just three singles south in October. Late records were one at Southwold on N o v e m b e r 8th, and two at M i n s m e r e / Eastbridge on 11th (the latest record since o n e at Benacre. N o v e m b e r 16th 1985).

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SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Verx common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the y e a r were singles at Minsmere and C l o p t o n Green on March 30th, a n d B e n a c r e , Long M e l f o r d and P a k e n h a m o n 3 Ist. Small n u m b e r s w e r e then recorded from early April o n w a r d s , with for example 2 0 at L a c k f o r d W.R. on April l l t h b u i l d i n g to about 100 on the 22nd. About 200 were at Alton

Swallow

Water on April 18th. Just seven records of breeding were received. At West Stow Country Park, eight pairs bred (10 in 1996), of which seven were double brooded. Just two pairs bred at Minsmere. one at North Warren. and four at the Aldringham Walks reserve, with none in the Observatory c o m p o u n d at Landguard, but possibly f o u r pairs in the fort c o m p l e x . C o m m e n t from one observer at Henstead indicated ' n u m b e r s down sharply this y e a r ' , but it is not possible to give any o v e r v i e w on breeding n u m b e r s or success within the County. N o late s u m m e r roost counts were received. At West Stow, flocking began in early August, with most birds having left by mid-September, although there was still one pair with d ĂŠ p e n d e n t young on September 20th. Visible migration was recorded at Landguard throughout the late summer, building f r o m accumulated m o v e m e n t s of 111 south in August to 11 north and 6905 south in September. Peak passage was deemed to be f r o m S e p t e m b e r 5th to 9th, with a m a x i m u m daily count of 1908 south on 8th. October produced 599 south, dropping to just five south in November. Elsewhere migration w a s evidenced by 7 0 moving south at Covehithe Cliffs during the early morning of S e p t e m b e r 2nd. A single at Rattlesden on O c t o b e r 22nd w a s the last record for the west of the County, but there were 13 records (total 20 birds) in N o v e m b e r f r o m the coast, and then a very late bird inland at Pipps Ford, Barking, on D e c e m b e r 14th (P Whittaker).

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Hirundo daurica Rare passage visitor. Livermere Lake: May 8th and 9th (J Walshe et al.). This m u c h - a d m i r e d individuai constitutes the C o u n t y ' s 17th record (18 birds). Ail records have been since 1987, with only t w o blank years since then. Favoured months are M a y and late October/November.

HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Typically later to arrive than Swallow and Sand Martin, there were no March records in 1997. The first of the year w a s one at Lackford W.R. and 10 at Trimley

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M a r s h e s NR on April 5th, followed by one at L o n g M e l f o r d on April 10th, 25 at L a c k f o r d on 11th and low n u m b e r s at 10 other sites during the rest of the m o n t h . T h e only sizeable count for April w a s 200 at Sudbury C o m m o n Lands on 26th. N u m b e r s built up in early May, peaking at m a x i m u m spring counts of 3 0 0 at L a c k f o r d on 8th, and 300 at Suffolk W P on 10th. Breeding information w a s sparse but not e n c o u r a g i n g with c o m m e n t s such as ' n u m b e r s d o w n in village' (Henstead), 'very scarce, not at usual b r e e d i n g sites' ( L o w e s t o f t ) and 'decreasing, only one pair b r e d ' ( H e n g r a v e Hall). Possibly coincident with the above comments about breeding, the Landguard records include the c o m m e n t 'considering the numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins, House Martin numbers were dismal'. Passage at Landguard peaked in September, with an accumulated movement of 1351 south, and a m a x i m u m day count of 4 9 0 south on 17th. There were 'hundreds going south' at Boyton Marshes on September 13th, and a passage of 68 south at Causton Junior School, Felixstowe on October 2nd. Counts in September included 250 at Lackford on 1 st, 4 0 0 at Havergate Island on 8th, 500 over an irrigated potato field at Nacton on 20th and a massive 2000 at Aldringham C o m m o n and Walks on 7th. Most places recorded their last birds in mid-October. There were 10 records, involving 2 3 birds, in N o v e m b e r , with the last being singles at S a x m u n d h a m and Landguard on 12th. Ironically, the Landguard bird w a s flying north.

RICHARD'S PIPIT Anthus richardi Rare visitor. Aldeburgh: North Warren reserve, May 5th and 6th (R Thomas, R N Macklin). Richard's Pipit has a p r o n o u n c e d peak of occurrence in U K during S e p t e m b e r to N o v e m b e r , and spring records are unusual.This is S u f f o l k ' s 40th record but only the second in spring. T h e first w a s at M i n s m e r e on M a y 2nd 1977.

TAWNY PIPIT Anthus campestris Rare passage migrant. Felixstowe: Landguard, Aug.6th (N Odin). Only present for a short period, this brings the C o u n t y total to 36.

TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first for the year w a s a bird in The King's Forest on April 6th. Spring migrants were present at Kessingland beach on April 12th and L a n d g u a r d on April 14th, 27th and 30th, and M a y 16th to 17th. Birds were widespread in T h e K i n g ' s Forest by mid-April. Records of birds pres u m a b l y on territory c a m e f r o m the three traditional areas of heathland and forestry: in Breckland, the Sutton-Hollesley-Rendlesham area and the coastal Sandlings f r o m A l d r i n g h a m north to Walberswick. This mirrors the main concentrations in the 1993 'Provisional Atlas of Breeding Birds'. Additionally there were breeding season records f r o m Alton Water and Holbrook Bay. M i n s m e r e held 11 singing m a l e s (23 in 1995), the A l d r i n g h a m Walks area held 10, and 5 2 territories were located in T h e K i n g ' s Forest. It is not possible f r o m the records available to ascertain population trends within the County. T h e last record f r o m Breckland w a s at West S t o w Country Park on S e p t e m b e r 14th. A u t u m n passage w a s very low key. Landguard recorded passage birds on August 24th (two) and 26th to 27th, S e p t e m b e r 22nd and 29th (two), and O c t o b e r 1st (two). M i g r a n t s were a l s o at T h o r p e n e s s on September 30th and L o w e s t o f t on the very late date of O c t o b e r 17th.

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MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. N u m b e r s in the first winter period were low with few records and m a x i m u m counts of 45 at North Warren on February 5th and 30 at Sizewell beach on February 1 st. Spring passage at L a n d g u a r d took place f r o m March 1 st to April 26th. with maxima of 31 in off the sea on both March 20th and 23rd. During March 3rd to 28th. 50 were recorded flying north at Stowupland. with a m a x i m u m count of 20 on 26th. Breeding w a s recorded f r o m just five sites (presumably a gross under-estimate). including 15 pairs at North Warren (21 in 1996), 34 pairs at Minsmere (21 in 1995) and four pairs at Landguard (three in 1996). Autumn passage w a s recorded f r o m as early as July 24th at Landguard, increased into S e p t e m b e r with accumulated m o v e m e n t s of 634 south, and a m a x i m u m daily count of 171 south on 29th, and peaked in O c t o b e r with accumulated m o v e m e n t s of 1109 south, including a day count of 257 south on 11th.Visible migration continued into N o v e m b e r with accumulated m o v e m e n t s of one north and 4 9 8 south. During this period, m o v e m e n t s were also evident elsewhere in the County: 20 flew south at Livermere L a k e on S e p t e m b e r 25th; 100 flew over at Sizewell on September 28th and 208 were recorded, mostly flying south, at Stowupland between September 15th and October 27th. In the west of the County, the first returning birds of the autumn were recorded at West Stow Country Park and Long Melford on September 13th and 21st respectively. T h e r e were s o m e impressive autumn flocks, with 140 in weedy stubble at Aldringham on S e p t e m b e r 17th, 125 at C a v e n h a m Heath on September 25th, 300 at Easton Bavents on S e p t e m b e r 28th and 250 at Thorpeness on September 28th. In December, L a n d g u a r d recorded singletons on five dates. Elsewhere there were some large gatherings, with 140 at Aldringham C o m m o n and Walks on D e c e m b e r 21st, 100 at Boxford on 23rd and 101 at Chelmondiston on 28th.

ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Rock Pipits were recorded f r o m many parishes throughout the length of the coast and along the Deben and Orwell Estuaries. Favoured sites with a series of records during both winter periods were L o w e s t o f t Harbour and Ness Point, Landguard and Slaughden. T h e r e were no inland records. Reports were received f r o m 18 sites during the first winter period, mostly just ones or twos apart f r o m about 15 along the banks of the River Aide at Aldeburgh on January 18th. The last sightings of the winter were three at Trimley Marshes reserve on March 20th, o n e at Minsmere on March 21st and singles at Landguard on March 22nd and 30th. There w a s n o evidence of spring passage other than Landguard recording singles south on February 8th, March 11th and 13th. The first record of the autumn w a s one at Shotley Marshes on September 15th followed by birds at Landguard, Benacre, and Shingle Street. Landguard recorded singles flying south on September 28th and 29th. Accumulated totals there were t w o north and 4 0 south in O c t o b e r (with the main passage in the first half of the m o n t h ) and seven south in N o v e m b e r . Birds were recorded at 17 sites during the second winter period, again mostly just ones or twos, but with 10 on Orfordness on N o v e m b e r 23rd, f o u r at L o w e s t o f t Harbour on O c t o b e r 22nd and D e c e m b e r 4th; five at D u n w i c h shore pools on N o v e m b e r 2nd and five at Slaughden, Aldeburgh, on N o v e m b e r 4th and D e c e m b e r 5th. T h e c o n s e n s u s of opinion, based upon ringing records and observations, is that the wintering birds in S u f f o l k are of the Scandinavian race A. p. littoralis. One of that race was specifically identified at Minsmere on January 4th and another w a s on O r f o r d n e s s on April 13th.


WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Away f r o m M i n s m e r e there were just six records, all of singles, at W e s t w o o d M a r s h e s on January 2nd, Trimley Marshes reserve on January 15th, Easton Broad on February 15th, Carlton M a r s h e s on March 31st, C h u r c h Farm M a r s h e s (North Warren) on O c t o b e r 22nd, and Covehithe Broad on N o v e m b e r 13th. T w o were on O r f o r d n e s s on April 13th. At Minsmere, birds were recorded from January to May and again f r o m October to the year-end. Birds were present, mostly around the Scrape, throughout January to March: m a x i m u m numbers were 20 on January 4th, 17 on February 1st and 12 on February 10th, falling to a m a x i m u m of four in March on 29th. There were then isolated records of singles on April 20th and May 14th. The first returning bird of the autumn was on October 31st, and birds were then present through November and December, with monthly maxima of four on November 10th and nine on December 14th.

YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava Common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first of the year w a s a male at Alton Water on April 6th, building u p to eight there on 9th. T h e r e were 12 at Trimley M a r s h e s reserve on 9th. T h e first in West S u f f o l k w a s at L a c k f o r d W R on 10th. The main passage through the C o u n t y was in late April and early May, illustrated by m a x i m u m counts at Landguard of 2 3 on April 29th and 21 on 30th, with seven on May 13th.There continued to be s o m e high counts of passage birds towards the end of May with 10 at Shingle Street on 21st, 14 at Alton Water on 22nd, nine at Boyton M a r s h e s on 24th, six at M i n s m e r e on 25th and 10 at F a l k e n h a m C r e e k on 26th. Breeding records were scarce, with proven or probable breeding f r o m C h u r c h Farm M a r s h e s reserve (Aldeburgh), Trimley Marshes reserve, Creeting St Peter, and Arger Fen, Assington.There were several other m i d - s u m m e r records, f r o m , for e x a m p l e , S u f f o l k WP, Havergate Island, Sudbourne Marshes and Holbrook Bay, but since passage w a s underway again by mid-July it is difficult to separate breeding f r o m passage birds. Autumn passage was evident from mid-July through to late September, but the peak period was mid-August. Compared with recent years, the highest counts recorded were low, with maxima of about 30 at Trimley Marshes on August 9th and 14th, 28 at Shingle Street on August 20th, 20 on Havergate Island on August 25th, 4 0 at Trimley Marshes on September 3rd and 25 at Shingle Street on September 17th. Landguard recorded accumulated totals for visible migration of one north and 65 south in August, with daily maxima of 16 south on 24th and 14 south on 31st; and two north and 52 south in September, with a daily m a x i m u m of two north and 15 south on 6th. The last of the year, and the only October records, were singles south at Landguard on October 3rd and 6th. Records of races other than M. f . flavissima were as follows:

Blue-headed Wagtail M. f . flava A series of records f r o m the coastal zone during mid-April to early J u n e . Covehithe: Cliffs. May 1st and 17th. Southwold: Town Marshes, Apr. 12th. Aldcburgh: North Warren. May 4th (two). May 7th (two). Triniley Marshes: Apr. 19th and 26th, May 5th and 17th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, May 22nd and Jun.3rd (two).

Grey-headed Wagtail M. f . thunbergi Covehithe: Cliffs: male. May 17th, in cliff top fields with Blue-headed Wagtail and Yellow Wagtails (C A Buttle, et ai). Minsmere: May 20th (G R Welch). 104


21. WOODLARK, SIZEWELL: A leucistic individual seen in October. Manin Turner

22. LANCEOLATED WARBLER: An addition to the County list hut typically Paul Holmc elusive. "


23. SPECTACLED WARBLER: Another addition to the County list, fortunately seen by many birdwatchers. Rob wikon

24. GREENISH WARBLER: Heard in song. Rub Wilson

25. F I R E C R E S T : later in the year.

Good

numbers Alan Tate


G R E Y W A G T A I L Motacilla

cinerea

Fairly common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Grey Wagtails are characteristic of fast f l o w i n g upland streams; they breed on suitable watercourses in the lowlands, more sparsely distributed, seeking out millstreams and weirs. Proven or likely breeding took place in the County at 11 sites (very similar to the last f e w years), with t w o pairs recorded at two sites. All breeding localities were in west or mid-Suffolk. As last year, there w a s an u n s e a s o n a b l e m i d - s u m m e r record f r o m L a n d g u a r d . with o n e f l y i n g south on J u n e 28th. A u t u m n p a s s a g e at L a n d g u a r d was low key, peaking in S e p t e m b e r , with a c c u m u l a t e d m o v e m e n t s of one north and seven south between the 2nd a n d 25th; with six south in October, between 3rd and 15th; and a single south on N o v e m b e r ISth.There w a s little e v i d e n c e of passage e l s e w h e r e , but birds w e r e m o r e w i d e s p r e a d throughout the County, with m a x i m u m c o u n t s of three at C o m b s L a n e Water M e a d o w s , O c t o b e r 18th and four at Ipswich D o c k s on October 19th. Grey Wagtails were widespread in the two winter periods, with records f r o m 26 sites including the coast and estuaries, as well as s e w a g e works, streams/rivers, lakes/ ponds, grazing marsh and gardens. There were no records of c o m m u n a l roosts; nearly all records were of singles, the m a x i m u m count being four at L o n g Melford sewage works on January 1st. P I E D W A G T A I L Motacilla

alba

Very common resident, passage migrant, and summer and winter visitor. The Pied Wagtail is p r e s u m e d to be a c o m m o n and widespread breeding bird in Suffolk, but just six records of breeding were received. One observer reported that Pied Wagtails bred at seven sites in the Boxford area. This gives an indication of the abundance of the species. Three big winter roosts were recorded, with the following m a x i m u m counts: Bury St E d m u n d s : two town-centre trees, adorned with Christmas tree lights, held 350 on Dec. 13th. Stowmarket: supermarket shrubbery, 256 on Nov.7th. Thetford: industrial site, 300 on Jan.26th. Other notable winter c o u n t s included monthly m a x i m a at L o n g Melford sewage works of 5 6 in January and 71 in February. Any spring passage went almost unnoticed, with accumulated m o v e m e n t s at Landguard of just f o u r south and two north in March and two south on April 9th. This coincided with m a x i m u m spring counts elsewhere of 2 3 at North Warren on March 5th and 19 at Lackford on March 15th. The March monthly m a x i m u m at Long Melford s e w a g e w o r k s w a s 38. In a u t u m n , Landguard recorded singles south on four dates in August, and then accumulated m o v e m e n t s of 62 south in September, three north and 304 south in October and 17 south in N o v e m b e r . High counts elsewhere included 20 at Dunwich on A u g u s t 15th and then in September, 80 at Martlesham Creek on 8th, 6 9 at Holbrook Bay on 24th and 28 at Felixstowe Ferry on 26th. October counts included 6 3 at Pipps Ford on 2nd, 21 at Great Livermere on 7th, 52 at Thurleston School, Ipswich on 13th, and 38 on a newly ploughed area at Alton Water on 14th; and then about 3 0 at Loompit Lake on N o v e m b e r 3rd. W h i t e W a g t a i l , M. a. alba, was recorded on spring passage at 23 sites along the length of the coast. T h e earliest were one at North Warren and three in Manor Terrace, Felixstowe on March 3rd. Passage was recorded throughout M a r c h , peaking around the 22nd to 26th, and continued into April. There w e r e just f o u r May records. T h e m a x i m u m count w a s five at North Warren on March 30th. Away f r o m the immediate

105


coast, there were t w o records at Alton Water and t w o at R a y d o n golf c o u r s e on M a y 7th. T h e r e was an unusual m i d - s u m m e r record of four at M i n s m e r e on July 15th. T h e only autumn record w a s at Southwold boating lake on S e p t e m b e r 7th. W A X W I N G Bombycilla

garrulus

Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor.

Waxwings T h e r e were several small groups of Wax wings in the C o u n t y at the e n d of 1996. S o m e of these were still present in early 1997 with 13 in L o n d o n Road, Kessingland on January 1st and 2nd; 13 in Harvest Drive, Pakefield on January 2nd, and 12 there on 4th and five at Moreton Hall. Bury St E d m u n d s , January 1st. T h e rest of January and February saw small numbers recorded f r o m 11 sites across the County, but nearly all were highly mobile and did not settle. D u r i n g January, W a x w i n g s w e r e recorded along the coast as follows: six at S u d b o u r n e and 2 9 at Tunstall on 5th; one at M i n s m e r e on 8th (Scott's Hall) and 12th; one at North Warren on 14th and t w o at Little G l e m h a m on 20th. February records w e r e 17 at W o o d b r i d g e on 4th; six in Yarmouth Road, L o w e s t o f t on 2nd to 10th and f o u r at R o m a n Hill Middle School, L o w e s t o f t on 14th. Later there were 16 at Melton on M a r c h 4th and one in Ipswich on April 19th. In the west of the County, the only notable flock of the first winter period built up in the Gloucester Road area of Bury St Edmunds in January, with 45 on 10th, 32 on 12th, 6 9 on 18th and 2 0 on 19th. Other January records from the west of the County were one at Lackford W.R. on 12th and 18th, 10 at Stanton on 20th, three at Sudbury on 24th and one at Ingham on 25th. A single bird was seen in Thetford on February 12th. T h e r e were f e w e r records in the second winter period. Again they w e r e highly mobile, none settled for any length of time and no large flocks developed. D u r i n g December, one w a s at Brettenham on 3rd, t w o at L o w e s t o f t on 4th, o n e at Kessingland on 9th, t w o at M a r t l e s h a m Heath on 5th to 12th, six at Pakefield on 13th and f o u r in L o w e s t o f t on 29th. W R E N Troglodytes

troglodytes

Very common resident. T h e W r e n is o n e of our most abundant, widespread, and ubiquitous species, f a v o u r i n g w o o d l a n d , but also f o u n d within a wide variety of other s c r u b b y habitats.

106


Being a tiny b i r d t h e W r e n chills r e l a t i v e l y r a p i d l y a n d h a s little potential f o r storing fat, a n d is v u l n e r a b l e to c o l d or c o n d i t i o n s w h i c h p r e v e n t f e e d i n g . O w i n g to this vulnerability a n d its high b r e e d i n g p o t e n t i a l , its n u m b e r s vary m o r e b e t w e e n y e a r s than t h o s e of a n y o t h e r s p e c i e s m o n i t o r e d by t h e C o m m o n Bird C e n s u s ( M a r c h a n t , in L a c k , 1986). T h e n u m b e r of territories l o c a t e d at N o r t h W a r r e n r e s e r v e in the 1990s d e m o n s t r a t e s this: Wren: Territories at North Warren, 1*90-97 160

120 80 40 0 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 L a c k f o r d W.R. r e p o r t e d o n l y a small increase in n u m b e r s this y e a r f o l l o w i n g last y e a r ' s p o p u l a t i o n c r a s h . S o m e of the h i g h e r c o u n t s f r o m a r o u n d the C o u n t y w e r e 4 6 at C o m b s L a n e W a t e r M e a d o w s on D e c e m b e r 20th, 2 0 at B e n a c r e B r o a d o n M a r c h 2 2 n d and 2 0 at M i n s m e r e on April 19th. M o s t W r e n s are r e s i d e n t and m o v e only short distances. E v i d e n c e of s o m e m o v e m e n t is p r o v i d e d by a p e a k in n u m b e r s at L a n d g u a r d in M a r c h (daily m a x i m u m of f i v e o n 4 t h ) , O c t o b e r (daily m a x i m u m of eight o n 29th) and N o v e m b e r (daily m a x i m u m of six o n 4 t h ) . D U N N O C K Prunella

ยกnodularis

Very common resident and passage migrant. T h e D u n n o c k is a w i d e s p r e a d b r e e d i n g s p e c i e s , c a t h o l i c in its taste of habitat, o c c u r r i n g w h e r e v e r t h e r e is low, t h i c k v e g e t a t i o n . At N o r t h W a r r e n r e s e r v e t h e r e w e r e 104 t e r r i t o r i e s ( 9 5 in 1996, a n d 100 in 1995), with a f u r t h e r 9 7 territories o n the A l d r i n g h a m W a l k s r e s e r v e . At L a c k f o r d W . R . ' a d u l t n u m b e r s w e r e still l o w in s p r i n g , b u t it w a s a g o o d b r e e d i n g s e a s o n , particularly t h e early broods." At L a n d g u a r d , 15 p a i r s h e l d territory a n d 2 8 a d u l t s w e r e r e t r a p p e d f r o m p r e v i o u s y e a r s d u r i n g t h e b r e e d i n g s e a s o n , d e m o n s t r a t i n g the s e d e n t a r y nature of British Dunnocks. S p r i n g p a s s a g e at L a n d g u a r d w a s , typically, light. In the a u t u m n a peak c o u n t of 35 w a s n o t e d o n several d a t e s f r o m the e n d of S e p t e m b e r to early O c t o b e r . T h e r e w e r e very f e w r e c o r d s of birds o n visible m i g r a t i o n with a m a x i m u m of eight s o u t h o n S e p t e m b e r 5th. R O B I N Erithacus

rubecula

Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. O n c e a g a i n very f e w r e c o r d s w e r e r e c e i v e d a w a y f r o m t h e usual sites. S p r i n g p a s s a g e t h r o u g h L a n d g u a r d d u r i n g M a r c h and April w a s fairly light. If t h e d a t a f r o m N o r t h W a r r e n are typical then the b r e e d i n g status of the R o b i n in S u f f o l k is healthy. Territories there i n c r e a s e d to 2 0 0 in 1997 f r o m 119 in 1996. O t h e r r e c o r d s i n c l u d e d 18 at Priestley W o o d o n M a y 20th. S e v e n w e r e in Christc h u r c h P a r k . I p s w i c h , on M a y 31st w h e r e 14 had b e e n recorded on F e b r u a r y 25th, an interesting report b e a r i n g in m i n d that both m a l e a n d f e m a l e R o b i n s hold territory in the winter.

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Robin: Territories at North Warren Reserve 1990-97 200 ISO . JU I 00

m

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n

i

I

l

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 D u r i n g a u t u m n m i g r a t i o n 3 0 w e r e at T h o r p e n e s s on S e p t e m b e r 4 t h . L a n d g u a r d r e c o r d e d a s t e a d y p a s s a g e of birds t h r o u g h o u t S e p t e m b e r , p e a k c o u n t of 2 9 on 2 5 t h , a n d O c t o b e r , p e a k of 18 o n 2 9 t h . C o m b s L a n e W a t e r M e a d o w s a l s o held g o o d n u m b e r s with a m a x i m u m of 4 6 o n O c t o b e r 11th. A p u r e w h i t e bird, with j u s t a f e w d a r k f e a t h e r s o n the h e a d , w a s r e p o r t e d f r o m a g a r d e n in M a n c h e s t e r R o a d , I p s w i c h , o n O c t o b e r 23rd. A n interesting w i n t e r report f r o m C o m b s L a n e W a t e r M e a d o w s w a s of 3 6 o n D e c e m b e r 12th.

THRUSH NIGHTINGALE Luscinia luscinia Very rare. Hollesley: singing male. May 26th to Jun.lst (P R Catchpole, R West. S H Piotrowski). Felixstowe: Landguard, Sep.28th and 29th (S Babbs, S J Ling, J Dixon, et al.). S u f f o l k ' s t h i r d r e c o r d o f this c e n t r a l E u r o p e a n s p e c i e s w a s in s u i t a b l e b r e e d i n g h a b i t a t at a s e n s i t i v e l o c a t i o n a n d its p r e s e n c e c o u l d not b e m a d e k n o w n . T h e f o u r t h b i r d s t a y e d f o r a c o n s i d e r a b l y s h o r t e r p e r i o d , a n d w a s m u c h m o r e e l u s i v e t h a n its p r e d e c e s s o r at L a n d g u a r d in 1995. S e e a l s o the R a r i t i e s R e p o r t o n p a g e 151.

Thrush Nightingale NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. T h e earliest b i r d s r e c o r d e d w e r e at N o r t h W a r r e n , R e n d l e s h a m and L o n g M e l f o r d o n the typical d a t e of April 10th. T h e f o l l o w i n g d a y reports c a m e f r o m L a n d g u a r d a n d I p s w i c h G o l f C o u r s e a n d t h e r e a f t e r f r o m m o s t of the u s u a l sites by m i d - A p r i l . A n u n u s u a l report c a m e f r o m L a n d g u a r d o n J u n e 15th. p r e s u m a b l y a late p a s s a g e bird o r a w a n d e r i n g f a i l e d breeder. N i g h t i n g a l e s h a v e b e e n d e c l i n i n g in the British Isles d u r i n g the p a s t d e c a d e 108


although the trend in S u f f o l k is not clear. However, reports in 1997 only came from 42 locations against the 52 in 1996. The picture at Minsmere is optimistic, with 38 singing males c o m p a r e d with 21 in 1996. Elsewhere, the North Warren complex saw an increase f r o m 30 in 1996 to 35 in 1997 and Hoist Covert, Walberswick, recorded an increase f r o m six in 1996 to seven in 1997. It would appear that the Nightingale is becoming m o r e localised in its distribution. Post-breeding sightings w e r e predictably scarce, c o m i n g from Dunwich on August 12th and 22nd, Lackford W R on August 11 th and 28th and the latest record from C o m b s Lane, Stowmarket, on September 18th. B L A C K R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus

ochruros

Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Overwintering birds were reported at Sizewell on February 9th and 16th and at Slaughden on February 2nd. Early spring migrants were noted at Landguard from March 6th with a peak of Five on site on March 20th. Away from the recognised sites, birds appeared at W o o d b r i d g e on March 18th; Gisleham on March 12th; three at Kirkley H a m on March 25th and three at Staverton Park on May 3rd. The only records from the west of the County c a m e f r o m Holywater M e a d o w s , Bury St.Edmunds, from March 31st to April 5th, Elveden on April 18th and a female at Wickhambrook on April 20th. Breeding w a s c o n f i r m e d to have taken place only at Lowestoft, where a pair raised three y o u n g in two broods, but was also suspected at Sizewell and Felixstowe Dock. Breeding m a y also have occurred at Minsmere, where a female w a s reported from May 31st to J u n e 12th and a first s u m m e r male w a s at Scott's Hall on June 6th. A u t u m n records c a m e f r o m seven sites. Six were at Lowestoft on September 27th; Sizewell held f o u r on O c t o b e r 10th. increasing to five by October 22nd and Landguard had a m a x i m u m of three on October 21 st. T h e highest count c a m e f r o m Fagbury where there were eight on August 30th. Other records involved a bird in Duke Street, Ipswich, on S e p t e m b e r 9th and presumably birds preparing to overwinter on Havergate Island during N o v e m b e r / D e c e m b e r and at Ness Point, Lowestoft, on D e c e m b e r 12th. C O M M O N R E D S T A R T Phoenicurus

phoenicurus

Uncommon summer visitor and common passage migrant. S u f f o l k ' s earliest ever sighting c a m e f r o m Landguard where a male was present on March 15th (S J Fryett). It w a s almost four w e e k s before another record, again at Landguard. on April 11th. Spring passage was light with Landguard reporting birds on eight dates in April and three dates in May up until 13th. Few early reports c a m e f r o m inland although a male was at Santon D o w n h a m on April 19th. T h e well-monitored breeding sites seemed to have mixed fortunes (the 1996 position is shown in brackets); Minsmere 8 (at least one singing male) Hollesley Heath I (2) Aldringham Walks 2 ( 1 ) The King's Forest I (two singing males) Sutton Heath 1 (3) Other breeding reports included t w o pairs at D u n w i c h ; three in Staverton Park; and three at B e r n e r ' s Heath. A s usual, the bulk of the records c a m e during late s u m m e r and early a u t u m n f r o m coastal sites. T h e highest c o u n t s were 11 at T h o r p e n e s s on S e p t e m b e r 27th; 10 at L a n d g u a r d on S e p t e m b e r 24th; five at Corton on S e p t e m b e r 27th and four at Minsm e r e on O c t o b e r 2nd. A m a l e w a s seen in Ipswich f r o m S e p t e m b e r 29th to O c t o b e r 2nd. T h e last report of the year w a s f r o m C o w p a s t u r e allotments. Felixstowe on October 22nd.

109


W H I N C H A T Saxicola

rubelra

Common passage migrant and uncommon breeder. S p r i n g p a s s a g e w a s generally light. T h e first record of the y e a r c a m e f r o m M i n s m e r e o n the typical d a t e of April 19th. N u m b e r s increased d u r i n g the period b e t w e e n April 26th and M a y 4 t h . O n the f o r m e r date the B r e c k had birds at G r e a t L i v e r m e r e a n d G r e a t Barton and there w e r e t w o birds at L a n d g u a r d . By the 27th there w e r e a l s o t w o birds at M i n s m e r e a n d a single at T h o r p e n e s s . O t h e r reports d u r i n g the p e r i o d c a m e f r o m B e n a c r e , D u n w i c h , Sizewell, N o r t h Warren, Stradishall and B o u r n e Park, I p s w i c h . T h e b r e e d i n g p o p u l a t i o n in t h e B r e c k r e m a i n s at a l o w level. T h r e e s i n g i n g m a l e s h e l d territory at B e r n e r ' s H e a t h , with s i n g l e b i r d s at W o r d w e l l , E l v e d e n a n d T h e K i n g ' s Forest. T h a t birds m a y well h a v e b e e n b r e e d i n g u n d e t e c t e d in t h e e x t e n s i v e a r e a of suitable habitat in the B r e c k w a s d e m o n s t r a t e d b y the 9 - 1 2 t e r r i t o r y - h o l d i n g m a l e s f o u n d in a s u r v e y of L a k e n h e a t h W a r r e n . T h e t a b l e b e l o w s h o w s the b r e e d i n g status of W h i n c h a t o v e r t h e past d e c a d e . Territories w e r e last f o u n d w i t h i n the c o a s t a l belt in 1987. Whinchat: Territories in Suffolk, 1987-97 20 15 10 5 0

-,

87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 B y t h e s e c o n d half of A u g u s t return m i g r a t i o n w a s in full s w i n g . S o m e n o t a b l e c o u n t s w e r e r e c o r d e d , i n c l u d i n g t h e largest g a t h e r i n g s i n c e the " f a l l " of 1965 w i t h 4 3 at D u n w i c h o n A u g u s t 2 3 r d . T h e r e w e r e 12 t h e r e t h e p r e c e d i n g d a y a n d 2 5 r e m a i n i n g t w o d a y s later. E l s e w h e r e 11 w e r e at T r i m l e y M a r s h e s N R o n A u g u s t 2 3 r d and n i n e at B o y t o n M a r s h e s o n A u g u s t 17th. D u r i n g S e p t e m b e r r e c o r d s tailed off slightly, a l t h o u g h L a n d g u a r d r e p o r t e d five o n b o t h 2 5 t h and 3 0 t h . F i v e w e r e a l s o r e p o r t e d inland at Stradishall airfield o n S e p t e m b e r 14th. M i n s m e r e h a d f o u r o n 16th as did R e y d o n M a r s h o n 29th a n d C h e l m o n d i s t o n o n 2 n d . A w a y f r o m c o a s t a l sites t h e r e w e r e t w o at A l t o n W a t e r o n S e p t e m b e r 16th a n d an u n u s u a l s i g h t i n g of a bird in W o r l i n g w o r t h o n A u g u s t 2 0 t h . F i v e sites r e c o r d e d s i n g l e s in O c t o b e r , the last b e i n g a very late i n d i v i d u a l at S t . O l a v e s b e t w e e n O c t o b e r 26th a n d N o v e m b e r 11th. S T O N E C H A T Saxicola

torquata

Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e r e w e r e o n l y three reports, all c o a s t a l , in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d . T h e s e c a m e from Minsmere, Walberswick and Martlesham Creek. R e c o r d s i n c r e a s e d in M a r c h a n d A p r i l a l t h o u g h it is d i f f i c u l t to d i f f e r e n t i a t e b e t w e e n p a s s a g e a n d b r e e d i n g birds. T h e o n l y j u v e n i l e s r e c o r d e d w e r e t w o at W e s t l e t o n H e a t h o n M a y 10th. M i n s m e r e r e p o r t e d s e v e n pairs, u p f r o m t h r e e in 1 9 9 6 a n d six in 1995 but not m a t c h i n g the 10 in 1994. T h e R e n d l e s h a m p o p u l a t i o n w o u l d a p p e a r to b e s t a b l e if t h e f o u r n o t e d t h e r e o n A p r i l 1st r e p r e s e n t t w o p a i r s , t h e s a m e n u m b e r as in t h e p r e v i o u s t w o y e a r s . In t h e w e s t t h e r e w e r e t w o p a i r s at B e m e r ' s H e a t h ( o n e p a i r in 1996), a p a i r at S a n t o n D o w n h a m a n d o n e or t w o p a i r s at E l v e d e n . 110


There w a s another flush of records in September and October representing return passage. Highest count w a s three, at Easton Bavents on September 27th. Fritton Marshes on O c t o b e r 26th and Sizewell on September 11 th. Reports w e r e more widespread in the second-winter period but still confined to the coastal strip. Highest count w a s four at St.Olaves on N o v e m b e r 1st. W H E A T E A R Oenanthe

oenanthe

Common passage migrant. Uncommon breeder. The first record of the year c a m e f r o m North Denes. Lowestoft, on March 7th. Once again C a v e n h a m Heath had early returning birds, f r o m March 9th. By the middle of March, the first w a v e of birds was seen at coastal locations, with highest counts of 15 at Landguard and 14 at North Warren on March 18th and seven at Sizewell on March 19th. A second influx took place in early April with Landguard reporting a m a x i m u m of eight on 6th. A third w a v e , and the largest m o v e m e n t , c a m e towards the end of the third week of April. Reports of high counts c a m e from Dunwich, 35 on April 25th; North Warren, 27 on 24th; Landguard, 24 on 27th; and Moulton where there were 15 on 25th. T h i s pattern continued until about the first week of M a y when migration began to tail off. In addition to the Moulton sighting, noteworthy inland records were four at Stradishall on April 6th, three at Raydon on May 7th; two at Long Melford on April 11th; and a single at Redgrave on April 26th. Breeding did not take place in the coastal belt, the first time for several years. Three successful pairs at C a v e n h a m w a s the only breeding report. The breeding status of Wheatear r e m a i n s critical. A u t u m n migration started in July, with a f e w isolated reports. The first sizeable counts c a m e in August with 19 at Landguard and 15 at Trimley Marshes NR on 23rd; ten at Sizewell on 24th; eight at Shingle Street on 20th and seven at Dunwich on 28th. M a n y other sites recorded birds on the 23rd when a sizeable movement took place; in fact, August accounted for the bulk of the autumn migration records. During September a steady trickle of birds moved through the County. This peaked towards the last week with counts of 11 at Landguard on 30th; seven at Felixstowe Ferry on 26th; six at T h o r p e n e s s on 30th and five each at Easton Bavents on 28th and Shingle Street on 30th. O c t o b e r records c a m e f r o m a n u m b e r of coastal sites. The latest inland record c a m e f r o m Moulton on 17th. The trend for N o v e m b e r records continued and singles were noted at Corton on the 2nd and, finally, at Minsmere on 10th. The only specific record of the Greenland race leucorhoa was of a male at Sizewell on September 13th although almost all spring migrants f r o m the third week of April are ' G r e e n l a n d ' . R I N G O U Z E L Turdus

torquatus

Fairly common passage migrant. There w a s a reasonable spring passage starting with a male at Minsmere on March 23rd. It w a s followed by singles at Landguard on April 1st and 12th. All other spring records are listed: Benacre: male, Apr. 19th and 20th. Minsmere: two, Apr. 19th; three. Apr.23rd; one. Apr.25th; male and two females. Apr.26th to 29th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, female,Apr. 17th; male Apr. 18th. Chillesford: Apr.27th. Stow m a r k e t : Combs Lane Water Meadows, female. May 1st. Dalham: male Apr. 13th. A u t u m n passage w a s slightly better but no m a j o r gatherings occurred. It began with a very early bird at Corton on August 27th. All other records are listed: 111


Corton: Aug. 27th; male in winter plumage, Sep. 27th and 28th. Lowestoft: Cemetery, October 16th and 18th. Southwold: male, Oct. 22nd; two, Oct. 24th; male, Oct. 23rd to 25th. Minsmere: male, Oct. 3rd to 5th; male Oct. 8th; male Oct. 16th to 18th. Thorpeness: two males, Sep. 28th; male Sep. 30th; Oct. 15th to 18th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, Sep. 28th. Bawdsey: Oct. 18th. Felixstowe: Causton School, Oct. 16th; Landguard, Sep. 24th and 26th; Oct.2nd; two, Oct. 12th; Oct.20th. B L A C K B I R D Turdus

merula

Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Recent evidence indicates a decline in the national population of Blackbird by as m u c h as 5 8 % between 1981 and 1997. The situation in S u f f o l k is difficult to assess d u e to the lack of systematic records, as is o f t e n the case with species perceived to be c o m m o n . It w o u l d appear that the Blackbird is b e c o m i n g m o r e urbanised, even in Suffolk. Flocks in the first winter period were reported at Shottisham and H e n g r a v e Hall, with 5 0 present at each site on January 1st. March saw an increase in n u m b e r s at L a n d g u a r d with 4 0 on 8th; 25 on 12th and 4 0 on 16th. Breeding status is difficult to ascertain but it seems, on the scant e v i d e n c e , to h a v e been a reasonable year. North Warren reported a remarkable increase to 163 territories c o m p a r e d with 62 in 1996. Early autumn counts included 67 at C o m b s Lane M e a d o w s , S t o w m a r k e t on September 18th. There was a significant influx of birds during October, with counts of 146 at Landguard on 12th, 100 at C o m b s Lane M e a d o w s on 16th and 6 0 at Thorpeness on 15th. Other interesting reports included 44 flying west at Causton School, Felixstowe, in one hour on October 16th and 79 in off the sea at Landguard on O c t o b e r 26th. During the second winter period reports included 7 6 at C o m b s Lane M e a d o w s on D e c e m b e r 9th, 4 5 seen going to roost in Stowmarket on N o v e m b e r 2nd and 30 at Pin Mill on N o v e m b e r 23rd. T h e r e w a s a m a x i m u m of 35 at L a n d g u a r d during N o v e m b e r and December. F I E L D F A R E Turdus

pilaris

Common winter visitor and passage migrant. N u m b e r s w e r e somewhat lower in the first winter period c o m p a r e d with the s a m e period in 1996. T h e highest counts were as follows: Westleton: 400, Jan. 17th. Eyke: 500, Jan. 1st. Gipping: 300, Jan. 1st. Long Melford: 400, Feb.22nd. Hengrave: 300, Jan.27th. Barrow : 300. Jan. 1st. T h e r e were pre-migration flocks of 177 at Great Barton on March 13th, 100 at Sotterley Wood on March 1st, 8 0 at R e n d l e s h a m on March 18th and 5 0 at Beccles M a r s h on April 15th. N u m b e r s dropped off quickly during April. T h e r e were 31 at M i n s m e r e on 25th, eight at North Warren on 26th and the last reports c a m e f r o m B e n a c r e and L a n d g u a r d on April 30th. T h e first returning birds were at C a v e n h a m Heath on S e p t e m b e r 21 st and M i n s m e r e on the 28th. Migration w a s steady during O c t o b e r but picked u p in early N o v e m b e r although n u m b e r s were still lower than in 1996. Highest counts were as follows: Beccles: Beccles Marsh. 200. Dec.25th. Leiston: 200 on Nov.24th; 296 on Dec.23rd. 112


Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 170 on Oct.22nd. Falkenham: King's Fleet, 300 on Nov. 10th.

Woolverstone: 150 on Nov. 10th. Stowupland: 750 flew west, Nov.7th; 440 on Nov. 12th; 255 from Dec. 15th to 19th. Long Melford: 191 on Dec. 12th. Elmsett: 250 on Dec.9th. Great Livermere: 102 on Nov.9th. Stradishall: 600 on Nov.29th.

SONG THRUSH Turdus philomelos Very common but declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Reports of early m o v e m e n t s of migrants c a m e f r o m Landguard from late February, with a spring peak of six on March 8th, which coincided with a fall of Blackbirds. Few records c a m e f r o m any other coastal sites indicating a very poor spring passage. Reports of breeding w e r e scarce. North Warren held 20 territories compared with 11 in 1996, although 17 were found in 1995. Only 15 other sites held breeding birds, highlighting either the continued decline of this species or gross under-recording. Autumnal counts included 18 at C o m b s Lane M e a d o w s , Stowmarket, on September 27th with 14 there on O c t o b e r 16th. Landguard reported 16 on October 12th and 10 on 21st. M a n y were observed c o m i n g in off the sea at Lowestoft on October 12th coinciding with a m o v e m e n t of Redwings. One interesting report c a m e from Santon D o w n h a m where eight w e r e observed at a garden pond on November 11th. R E D W I N G Turdus

iliacus

Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Reports for the first winter period were relatively sparse with the largest concentrations noted at L a n g h a m , 81 on January 23rd; Nunnery Lakes NR. Thetford. 80 on January 21st; Sizewell beach, 60 on January 9th and Aldringham Walks, 6 0 on January 21st. S o m e larger, pre-migration flocks appeared in March: 903 at Stowupland on 17th; 250 at C a v e n h a m on 20th; 220 at Pipp's Ford on 5th and 110 at Lackford on 13th. Late departing birds were noted at Minsmere on April 3rd, a g r o u p of three at Santon D o w n h a m on April 12th and the latest report of the winter was of two at Melton on April 21st. This is the earliest final date since at least 1979 although only just - dates of April 22nd were noted in 1992 and 1995. The first returning birds were a g r o u p of five at D a r s h a m on September 7th, which is also the earliest date since at least 1979! They were followed by f o u r at Landguard on S e p t e m b e r 24th and eight at Aldringham Walks on September 29th. A huge passage took place f r o m O c t o b e r 12th to 15th, both during daylight hours and at night. M a x i m u m counts were: Minsmere: 5000, Oct. 12th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 700, Oct. 14th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 826, Oct. 12th; Causton School, 607 in one hour, Oct. 14th. The M i n s m e r e count is the largest recorded passage since 1984 when the same number passed through Landguard on October 6th. This major influx appears to have been passing through as f e w records were received for the remainder of the year. The only three-figure flock recorded was 100 at Horringer on December 27th.

MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. First winter reports were very few. During April there were counts of 15 at Snape Warren on 1st, six at Melton on 21st and five at Pakenham on 13th. Breeding w a s c o n f i r m e d at very few sites. North Warren held 12 territories and there were three at Pin Mill, Boxford and H e n g r a v e Hall. At West Stow a pair fledged two broods. There 113


w e r e 11 j u v e n i l e s in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, on M a y 31st. Under-recording m a k e s the true status of the breeding population difficult to ascertain. Post-breeding gatherings were as follows: Dunwich: 18, Aug.22nd. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 17, Jun.lรณth. Stow market: Combs Lane Meadows, 14, Sep.30th. Boxford: 20, Aug. 15th. Lackford: 30, Sep.28th. Cavenham: 22, Aug.24th. A small passage of birds through Landguard in O c t o b e r constituted the only sign of m o v e m e n t during the autumn. T h e onset of winter produced few records, although there were 20 at Woolverstone on N o v e m b e r 11th.

CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti Scarce resident and very rare passage migrant. T h e slow recovery as a breeding species continues. E v e n allowing for s o m e duplication, there appears to h a v e been a m i n i m u m of five singing m a l e s . P e r h a p s i m m i g r a n t s h a v e aided the re-colonisation: there have n o w been r e c o r d s f r o m the L a n d g u a r d / T r i m l e y area in three consecutive years. Oulton: one at Fisher Row on Mar. 17th; one east of Ivy Farm on Dec. 14th. Carlton Colville: in and around Carlton Marshes, three singing on Mar.30th with at least two still present on May 4th and one heard on May 17th. Barsham: one singing from May Uth until mid-June, and again on Oct.22nd. Kessingland: one singing in a small reedbed near the sewage farm from Apr.รณth to 12th. Minsmere: one singing intermittently between Feb. 15th and the end of the year. Felixstowe: Landguard, May 16th to 19th.

LANCEOLATED WARBLER Locustella Accidental.

lanceolata

S u f f o l k ' s first record of this elusive species w a s one of the ornithological highlights of 1997. A f t e r being released in the w a r d e n ' s garden, the bird showed very well on and off for the rest of the day, delighting m a n y birders f r o m in and out of the County. Felixstowe: Landguard, trapped and ringed on Sep.26th (A Mitchell, M C Marsh, N Odin et al.). S e e also the Rarities Report on page 148.

GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella naevia Widespread but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e earliest of the year w a s at M i n s m e r e on April 9th, the s a m e first date as in 1996. Subsequently a very encouraging total of 3 3 pairs bred on the reserve. T h e r e w e r e reports f r o m a total of 16 sites. A s usual, most were near the coast, including six pairs at North Warren. Inland records were f r o m S u f f o l k WP, B r a m f o r d and P i p p ' s Ford, Barking (both in the G i p p i n g valley) as well as L o n g M e l f o r d sewage w o r k s , Market Weston Fen (two), Santon D o w n h a m (two) and the Nunnery Lakes N R . T h e r e w e r e three pairs at Stradishall airfield but unfortunately they suffered disturbance f r o m illegal motorcycling. At L a n d g u a r d , singles were present on April 26th, 28th and 30th as well as August 10th (the earliest autumn record for the site) and 31st (which w a s the latest record for S u f f o l k in 1997).

SAVI'S WARBLER Locustella luscinioides Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. It is pleasing to report the presence of a singing bird in the county a f t e r an absence of t w o years. Oulton: one on Whitecast Marsh from Apr.29th until at least May 25th (A C Easton. R Fairhead, P J Ransome, R Wilton). 114


SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e e a r l i e s t r e c o r d of t h e y e a r c a m e f r o m A l t o n W a t e r on April 4th. Birds w e r e present at m o s t of the m a i n sites by the m i d d l e of t h e m o n t h . It is d i f f i c u l t to a s s e s s w h e t h e r there has b e e n a n y significant c h a n g e in status of this s p e c i e s in recent years, as reports are c o n f l i c t i n g . T h e highest c o u n t c a m e f r o m M i n s m e r e w h e r e a total of 156 pairs b r e d . H o w e v e r , 7 9 pairs at N o r t h Warren represented a d e c l i n e f r o m 9 0 in 1996 and 120 in 1995. N u m b e r s w e r e also d o w n at L a c k ford W R w h e r e t h e b r e e d i n g season w a s reported to h a v e been very poor with f e w j u v e n i l e s ringed. Very f e w m i g r a n t s w e r e r e p o r t e d in the a u t u m n with, for e x a m p l e , only six sightings at L a n d g u a r d b e t w e e n A u g u s t 4 t h and S e p t e m b e r 8th. T h e last report c a m e f r o m L a c k f o r d W R o n S e p t e m b e r 19th.

MARSH WARBLER Acrocephalus Rare migrant.

palustris

Felixstowe: singing male. Landguard, Jun.5th (P Holmes, A Mitchell). T h e i n l a n d r e c o r d w a s of a bird in suitable b r e e d i n g habitat, but d i s a p p o i n t i n g l y its stay w a s all t o o brief. Trimley Marshes: one in song, Jun.4th to 28th (P J Holmes et al.). Stowmarket: one in song at Combs Lane Water Meadows on May 18th (J Walshe).

REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. T h e first r e c o r d of the y e a r c a m e f r o m T r i m l e y M a r s h e s with an early individual on April 8th. T h i s w a s f o l l o w e d by t w o at M i n s m e r e on April 16th a n d a m o r e general arrival in t h e last w e e k of t h e m o n t h . B r e e d i n g r e p o r t s i n c l u d e d 2 9 5 pairs at M i n s m e r e , 180 pairs at N o r t h Warren ( 2 0 8 in 1996) a n d 2 3 pairs at L a c k f o r d W R (35 in 1996). At C a v e n h a m H e a t h , a g o o d p o p u l a t i o n of 12-15 pairs is n o w e s t a b l i s h e d in the r e e d b e d s b o r d e r i n g the R i v e r Lark. S p r i n g m i g r a t i o n at L a n d g u a r d i n v o l v e d singles on 11 d a t e s b e t w e e n M a y 4th and J u n e 13th. At H a v e r h i l l , a m i g r a n t s i n g i n g in the E a s t T o w n c a r p a r k on J u n e 9th w a s f a r f r o m a n y s u i t a b l e habitat. In the a u t u m n reports w e r e f e w and f a r b e t w e e n , but o n e at M i n s m e r e o n N o v e m b e r 2 2 n d ( D F a i r h u r s t ) w a s significantly later than any other.

ICTERINE WARBLER Hippolais icterina Uncommon passage migrant. A typical set of r e c o r d s b o t h in t e r m s of n u m b e r s a n d dates. Lowestoft: Belle Vue Park, Sep.7th (P Ransome, R Fairhead, R Wilton). Benacre: one in the area around the pits on Sep.5th (C A Buttle). Dunwich: singles trapped and ringed on Aug.8th and Sep.4lh (Sir A Hurrell). Minsmere: one in the sluice bushes on Sep.รณth (B J Small, D Fairhurst). Felixstowe: Landguard, singles on Aug.9th (trapped and ringed)(P Oldfield et al.) and Aug.30th to Sep.7th (P Holmes et al.). Reported nos. of Icterine Warbler: 1988-97 16 12 8

4 0

Ltrflttfi 88

89

90

91

92 93 94

115

9S 96 97


M E L O D I O U S W A R B L E R Hippolais polyglotta Very rare passage migrant. T h e tenth f o r t h e C o u n t y a n d the fourth f o r L a n d g u a r d c o n t i n u e s the r e c e n t t r e n d of brief s p r i n g visits. Felixstowe: Landguard, one singing on Jun.l4th (N Odin, G J Jobson et al.). D A R T F O R I ) W A R B L E R Sylvia undata Rare visitor. Formerly bred, and recently has begun recolonisation. Westleton: a male present from Mar. 15th until at least Jul.6th with a second male on Mar.31 st, but only one report of a possible female, also on Mar.31st. Dunwich: three pairs bred, two having two broods, the other a single brood. A total of 12-24 young was present on the Heath. Nearby, a male was present on the reserve at Minsmere. T h e spread to W e s t l e t o n H e a t h is e n c o u r a g i n g . O b s e r v e r s are a g a i n r e q u e s t e d to k e e p t o the e s t a b l i s h e d p a t h s w h e n l o o k i n g f o r this s p e c i e s , particularly d u r i n g the breeding season. SPECTACLED WARBLER Sylvia conspicillata Accidental. T h e first r e c o r d f o r S u f f o l k led to the County's biggest t w i t c h of t h e year. Felixstowe: Landguard, male, trapped and ringed, Apr.26th to May2nd (M C Marsh et al.). See also the Rarities Spectacled

Warbler

R e p o r t o n p a g e 147.

B A R R E D W A R B L E R Sylvia nisoria Scarce passage migrant. A typical year, apart f r o m o n e relatively late i n d i v i d u a l . Minsmere: singles from Aug.30th to Sep. 1st and on Sep.27th. Felixstowe: Landguard. juveniles from Aug.21st to 25th and on Oct. 16th. Reported nos. of Barred Warbler: 1988-97

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

97

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. T h e first, at F o x h a l l o n A p r i l 10th, w a s very early a n d n e a r l y a f o r t n i g h t a h e a d of t h e s e c o n d , at M i n s m e r e o n A p r i l 23rd. M o s t b r e e d i n g arrivals w e r e in t h e s e c o n d w e e k of May, c o i n c i d i n g with the p e a k p a s s a g e at L a n d g u a r d w h e r e there w e r e e i g h t o n 8th, six o n 10th a n d 14th a n d 10 o n 15th. 116


Breeding n u m b e r s included 18 pairs at Aldringham Walks, 12 pairs at Minsmere. 11 pairs at North Warren (22 in 1996) and two pairs at Lackford W R . There were spring records f r o m a total of 28 sites (13 in 1996), but perhaps this reflects more comprehensive reporting rather than a genuine increase. In the a u t u m n passage w a s prolonged if rather sparse with the notable exception of Thorpeness. Fifty were recorded there on September 2nd, with 10 on September 24th and 15 on S e p t e m b e r 28th. Elsewhere the highest counts were six at Lackford on August 2 2 n d . five at M i n s m e r e on August 30th and four at Chelmondiston on August 27th. The last of the year w a s a single in the sluice bushes at North Warren on November 1st, only the fourth N o v e m b e r record for Suffolk. W H I T E T H R O A T Sylvia

communis

Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first report was f r o m Great Bealings on April 11th, followed by singles at North Warren, Alton Water and Boyton the following day. Arrivals peaked in the last week of the month, with eight at Landguard on 24th being the highest spring count there. At well-monitored reserves, breeding totals of 152 pairs at Aldringham Walks, 148 pairs at North Warren (the same figure as 1996) and 72 pairs at Minsmere were reported. S o m e observers in the west of the county considered that, although numbers were d o w n , breeding success was good. Autumn passage was protracted with no substantial falls. The highest count came from T h o r p e n e s s , where 30 were recorded on September 2nd. The only other notable count w a s the 2 0 at Lackford W R on August 28th. The last two were singles at Landguard on O c t o b e r 1 st and L a c k f o r d W R on October 2nd. G A R D E N W A R B L E R Sylvia

borin

Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. After the first reports f r o m M i n s m e r e on April 19th and Melton on April 21st there was a m o r e general arrival on April 26th and 27th. This continued into the first week of M a y w h e n five were present at Landguard on 4th. Forty-two pairs at North Warren (46 in 1996), 39 pairs at Aldringham Walks, 34 pairs at M i n s m e r e and 20 pairs at Bradfield Woods were the highest totals reported. It seems likely that this species remains under-recorded. Encouragingly, Lackford W R reported its best breeding season since 1994 and n u m b e r s were also up at nearby West Stow CP. A s with the other Sylvia warblers, autumn reports c a m e in ones and t w o s over an extended period, rather than being concentrated, with the species present on 18 dates at L a n d g u a r d in A u g u s t / S e p t e m b e r but n o more than t w o present at any time. O c t o b e r records involved singles at Fagbury on 6th and at Landguard on 1st, 5th and 8th. B L A C K C A P Sylvia

atricapilla

Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. During the first winter period there were reports from Lowestoft, Kessingland sewage f a r m , Haiesworth. Holton and Ipswich. M o s t were in gardens with at least one bird making regular visits to a bird table. Birds in song were reported from a number of sites in the last ten days of March, suggesting an influx of spring migrants at this time. Breeding records included 4 8 pairs at North Warren (53 in 1996), 38 pairs at M i n s m e r e and 2 3 pairs at Aldringham Walks. At L a c k f o r d W R . good breeding success w a s reported, with a strong passage of juveniles in late August and early September. 117


At L a n d g u a r d , the m a x i m u m daily c o u n t in the a u t u m n w a s j u s t six o n S e p t e m b e r 3 0 t h . R e l a t i v e l y late s i n g l e s w e r e p r e s e n t there o n N o v e m b e r 3rd, 13th, 2 0 t h a n d 2 1 s t . R e p o r t s in D e c e m b e r c a m e f r o m L o w e s t o f t a n d O u l t o n . T h e o n l y D e c e m b e r r e c o r d in t h e s o u t h of t h e C o u n t y w a s o n e at P i n m i l l o n 2 2 n d .

GREENISH WARBLER Phylloscopus Very rare.

trochiloides

T h e s e v e n t h f o r S u f f o l k a n d the s e c o n d f o r L a n d g u a r d . Felixstowe: Landguard, male in song then trapped and ringed, Jul.8th (P J Holmes, N Odin, M C Marsh el al.).

PALLAS'S WARBLER Phylloscopus Rare visitor.

proregulus

A l t h o u g h t h e r e w a s n o r e p e a t of the n u m b e r s p r e s e n t in 1996, this s p e c i e s w a s a g a i n f o u n d in m a n y of t h e u s u a l spots. Corton: Corton Woods, Oct. 18th (R Wilton, R Fairhead, A C Easton); derelict holiday camp, Oct.22nd (A Riseborough el al.). Lowestoft: Warrenhouse Wood, Oct.23rd and 24th (B J Brown, R Walden); Waveney Drive, O c t . 3 1 s t ( R C Smith). Minsmere: South Belt, associating with Long-tailed Tits, Oct.26th (P D Green). Sizewell: Oct. 17th and 18th (DThurlow el al.). Reported nos. of Pallas'* Warbler: 1988-97 25 -I 20 -U

1

. . . 88

89

90

• M i l 91

92

93

94

YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus Scarce visitor.

95

96

97

inornatus

A relatively p o o r s h o w i n g this year, w i t h f e w s t a y i n g l o n g e r than a d a y . Gorleston: Golf Course, Sep.29th (D Jupp). Southwold: Churchyard, Sep.29th (M Forbes el al.). Walberswick: Oct. 18th (A Lancaster). Felixstowe: Custom House. View Point Road. Sep.27th; 28th; two. 29th (LBO, S Babbs); Adastral Close, Sep.30th, Oct.2nd (P J Holmes el al. ); another in the town, Oct.5th (S Babbs). Trimley St. Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Sep.30th (P Oldfield). Reported nos. of Yellow-browed Warbler: 1988-97 25 -1 15 t-J-

-

~~

~~

ll.l.lllii 88

89

90

91

92

93

118

94

95

96

97


DUSKY WARBLER Phylloscopus Very rare.

fuscatus

The fourth for Suffolk: although typically elusive, it showed very well at times. Corton: one along the disused railway track on Oct.23rd and 24th (C A Buttle, R Walden,

et at.). See also the Rarities Report on page 152.

WOOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. A typical set of spring reports, all of birds in song. None stayed for long. Gunton: Gunton Woods, Jun.8th. Lowestoft: Bonds Meadow, May 3rd. Walberswick: Hoist Covert, May 4th. Minsmere: May 20th. In a u t u m n r e c o r d s w e r e as f o l l o w s : Lowestoft: Kirkley Cemetery, Aug.22nd. Dunwich: Aug. 18th. Felixstowe: Landguard, singles on Jul.20th to 21st, Aug.2nd, 13th and 24th. West Stow: associating with a large mixed passerine flock, Aug.24th.

CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. January reports were received f r o m Lowestoft on 5th, Haverhill on 17th and Minsmere on 23rd (where two w e r e heard singing on February 14th). O n e at Long Melford sewage w o r k s on March 1st was most likely to have been overwintering although Landguard recorded the First spring migrant for the site on that date. The n u m b e r of reports, f r o m 16 sites, during the period f r o m March 6th to 11th, suggests that these birds were the first spring migrants. At D u n w i c h a good passage w a s reported, with the first bird seen on March 17th and 15 trapped in the following t w o weeks. Breeding season records were generally encouraging. Sixty-five pairs bred at North Warren (55 in 1996), with 4 4 pairs at Aldringham Walks and 25 pairs in The King's Forest. At Lackford, constant effort ringing recorded the highest-ever numbers of both adults and juveniles. A u t u m n passage was uneventful. Although the species was present at Landguard on most d a y s in September and October, the m a x i m u m monthly counts were just five on S e p t e m b e r 30th and five on O c t o b e r 5th. Singles were seen there in N o v e m b e r on 19th, 21st and 23rd. In December, one or t w o were reported f r o m the Waveney Forest, Lowestoft, Benacre, M i n s m e r e , Eastbridge, Thorpeness, North Warren, Alton Water and Haverhill. These records were eclipsed by the very impressive total of 10 seen at Kessingland sewage f a r m on 30th.

WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. T w o very early arrivals were in song at M i n s m e r e on March 17th. The next reports were a fortnight later, on 31st, f r o m Lackford W R . Flempton and Dunwich. N u m b e r s really began to pick up in the first half of April with singing birds present throughout the County. At Landguard, the first migrant w a s seen on April 11th and there were impressive falls of 70 on 24th, 4 3 on 27th and 21 on 30th. Passage there in May w a s lighter and w a s largely over by 15th. Breeding records included 4 5 pairs at Aldringham Walks, 44 pairs at North Warren (39 in 1996) and 39 pairs in T h e K i n g ' s Forest. At Lackford W R , ringing showed that the n u m b e r of adults w a s up, and juvenile n u m b e r s were at their highest level since 1992.

119


A strong passage w a s reported f r o m D u n w i c h in m i d - A u g u s t , with 19 ringed on 15th and 18 on 17th. Around this time, good n u m b e r s were reported f r o m other coastal sites, including 27 at Hollesley Bay on 16th, and also f r o m the west of the C o u n t y with a notable influx at West Stow on 22nd. In an otherwise u n r e m a r k a b l e autumn passage at Landguard, a small fall of 25 on August 15th w a s noteworthy with 2 0 on S e p t e m b e r 6th being the second highest count. T h e last record of the year c a m e f r o m Landguard on S e p t e m b e r 26th. G O L D C R E S T Regulus

regulus

Very common resident and passage migrant. T h e r e were few reports f r o m early in the year. However, such breeding figures as were received suggested that this species had held its o w n through the winter, with 14 pairs at A l d r i n g h a m Walks, 12 pairs at North Warren (11 in 1996) and eight pairs in N o w t o n Park. L a n d g u a r d reported a very poor spring for this species. After an early migrant at Landguard on August 26th, passage there was slow in S e p t e m b e r with the only double-figure count being 27 on 29th. Twenty at Sizewell and 2 0 at T h o r p e n e s s , both on 28th, indicated that there w a s a small fall along the coast at this time. As expected, arrivals at Landguard w e r e more f r e q u e n t in October, the m a x i m u m counts being 2 4 on 1st, 29 on 20th and 17 on 21st. O t h e r notable late autumn records included 30 in Sparrows Nest Gardens, L o w e s t o f t on O c t o b e r 1st and one on the end of L o w e s t o f t South Pier on O c t o b e r 18th! F I R E C R E S T Regulus

ignicapillus

Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters

irregularly.

D u r i n g the first winter period the only reports c a m e f r o m North Warren where a single w a s seen on January 21st and February 9th. At L a n d g u a r d , u p to t w o were recorded on 13 dates f r o m M a r c h 5th to 29th, w h i l e at M i n s m e r e u p to t w o were seen on seven d a t e s f r o m M a r c h 16th to April 7th. O t h e r sightings d u r i n g the s a m e period c a m e f r o m Kessingland s e w a g e f a r m on March 22nd, D u n w i c h on M a r c h 23rd and April 8th, a n d Nacton on April 16th. T h e r e w a s then a five w e e k g a p before the only t w o other spring reports, singles b e i n g seen at D u n w i c h on M a y 10th a n d L a n d g u a r d on M a y 21st. S u m m e r records c a m e f r o m the west of the County. O n e in a garden in Troston on July 12th and a pair was seen in c o n i f e r s near Elveden. T h e male w a s in song. At Landguard a u t u m n passage f r o m S e p t e m b e r 20th to Firecrest 30th peaked at three on 21st. During the s a m e period individuals were seen at Corton on 22nd. Shingle Street on 26th, L o w e s t o f t on 28th, M i n s m e r e from 28th to 29th and Felixstowe Ferry on 21st. T h e only early O c t o b e r record w a s of one at L o w e s t o f t on 5th. From late O c t o b e r to m i d - N o v e m b e r there w a s another small arrival, as follows: Corton: two on three dates between Oct.22nd and 29th: one. Nov.5th. Lowestoft: Sparrow's Nest Gardens. Oct. 22nd; Belle Vue Gardens, Oct.22nd, 27th and Nov. 6th; Normanston Park, Nov. 6th. Benacre: two, Oct.21st. Covehithe: Easton Wood. Nov.9th. 120


Felixstowe: Landguard, one from Oct.28th to 31st, then singles on six dates to Nov.Sth; two on 9th. It is difficult to assess exactly when the autumn passage finished, but it is likely that most if not all subsequent records involved overwintering birds. Four at Belle Vue Gardens, L o w e s t o f t on N o v e m b e r 23rd w a s exceptional but one or two were present there f r o m then on until the end of the year. At M i n s m e r e up to three were seen on 11 dates between O c t o b e r 30th and the y e a r ' s end. O n e at Greyfriars Wood, Dunwich on D e c e m b e r 31st w a s ringed and one w a s found at Kessingland sewage farm the same day. S P O T T E D F L Y C A T C H E R Muscicapa

striata

Widespread but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. In the first f e w days of M a y there were individuals at Lowestoft and Minsmere on 1st, Barking on 5th and Woodbridge on 8th. M o r e widespread reports were received during the second half of the month. Spring passage at Landguard started on May 8th, with a m a x i m u m of three on May 20th. Again, several observers noted a decline in breeding numbers, particularly in the west of the County. For example, a poor year w a s reported at Hengrave Hall ("only t w o nests, both deserted, normally several pairs"), in Bury St E d m u n d s ("remained very scarce in t o w n g a r d e n s " ) and at Stansfield where only a single pair could b e f o u n d . M o r e promisingly, 12 pairs were recorded in the Boxford/Stoke-byNayland area. At the well-monitored sites there were f o u r pairs at Minsmere and a total of three pairs in the A l d r i n g h a m Walks area, but there were no breeding reports at North Warren w h e r e there had been two pairs in 1996 and three the previous year. In a u t u m n there were f e w significant reports of passage along the coast. However, there w a s a n u m b e r of interesting records from further inland. At Hadleigh, there w a s unusually heavy passage along the Brett valley in early September, with over 30 birds on a n u m b e r of d a y s and an impressive 74 reported on 3rd. At C a v e n h a m Heath, there was a notable influx of o v e r 20 into the birch w o o d on September 7th. After a single at L a n d g u a r d on October 1st and 2nd, the last of the year w a s reported f r o m Adastral Close, Felixstowe on O c t o b e r 21st, the third latest date for Suffolk. P I E D F L Y C A T C H E R Ficedula

hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant.

"^^jjH

k ^

There w e r e few spring reports this year. In April, a male appeared at Landguard on 27th with o n e at M i n s m e r e the following I day. M a y sightings began with a female at Benacre on 10th. A pair w a s seen in the Abbey G a r d e n s , Bury St E d m u n d s on 14th, a further t w o passed through Trimley Marshes on 16th and finally another w a s seen at L a n d g u a r d from 16th to 17th. Autumn passage was considerably heavier, as usual, and c a m e in t w o main waves. T h e first sighting at Landguard was on August 6th. Birds were then present there most d a y s in the month, the main passage lasting until 22nd with small falls on 13th

121

Pied

Flycatcher


(10) and 21st (nine). T h e r e w a s a scattering of sightings f r o m seven sites along the coast mirroring the dates at Landguard but in m u c h smaller numbers, three at Kirkley on 22nd being the peak number. In the west of the C o u n t y there w e r e three August reports: one at West Stow C P on 14th with another there on 24th to 25th and one at B o x f o r d on 25th. T h e r e followed only isolated records until the second half of S e p t e m b e r w h e n birds w e r e present daily at Landguard f r o m 18th to 30th with f o u r there on 28th. Arrivals f u r t h e r up the coast, f r o m nine sites, were again in line with the L a n d g u a r d pattern of dates. However, this time the north-east of the County had greater n u m b e r s , including five at Corton on 22nd, while on 28th there were eight at Thorpeness, six at Sizewell, three at L o w e s t o f t and three at Corton. Singles at Felixstowe and S o u t h w o l d on O c t o b e r 1 st and at Sizewell the following day were the last of the year.

BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus Uncommon resident. T h e 13 pairs that bred at M i n s m e r e w a s the lowest total since 1993 ( 1 9 in 1996, 21 in 1995) and e n d s a run of steadily increasing breeding success for this site. H o p e f u l l y this is only a short-term reverse as recent mild winters have helped to keep the population of this species at a healthy level. Reports f r o m the first winter period included five at the Blyth Estuary on January 14th, 30 at M i n s m e r e on January 10th, five at Butley Mills on January 26th and 12 at Wolsey Bridge on February 2nd. Post-breeding m o v e m e n t during autumn resulted in 57 at M i n s m e r e on S e p t e m b e r 15th and 17 at Trimley M a r s h e s on August 22nd. Second winter period records, as in 1996, all involved coastal marsh sites with the highest count being four at Benacre Broad on O c t o b e r 19th.

LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalo Very common resident.

scaudatus

Widely recorded in g o o d numbers, this species is o n e of several benefiting f r o m w a r m e r winters and garden feeding stations. U p to 10 at o n c e were noted on a peanut f e e d e r in a Brettenham garden. Flocks of o v e r 20 w e r e reported f r o m 12 sites t h r o u g h o u t the C o u n t y including 4 8 in a m i x e d tit flock at L a c k f o r d W R on N o v e m b e r 20th; 41 at C h r i s t c h u r c h Park, Ipswich, January 26th; 37 at Hollesley Heath, O c t o b e r 19th; 3 6 at C o m b s L a n e Water M e a d o w s , S e p t e m b e r 2nd and 35 at R e d g r a v e and L o p h a m Fen on J u n e 29th. Nest building w a s first reported at H e n g r a v e Hall on March 7th. A pair with fledged y o u n g was at L a c k f o r d W R on M a y 7th and at North Warren a total of 21 territories w a s recorded. At L a n d g u a r d birds w e r e only present on three dates: three on March 15th, three on O c t o b e r 22nd and eight on O c t o b e r 25th.

MARSH TIT Parus palustris Fairly common resident. Reports f r o m 25 widespread sites (26 in 1996) is around normal for this species; birds were present at 16 of these sites during the breeding season. T h e highest recorded n u m b e r of pairs w a s three at N o w t o n Park ( f o u r in 1996), with three singing m a l e s at Bradfield Woods (13 in 1996) and t w o pairs at North Warren (five in 1996).

122


WILLOW TIT Parus montanus Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. As in 1996 the bulk of the records c a m e f r o m the west of the County, with a highest count of f o u r birds at North Stow on March 22nd. Reports c a m e f r o m 15 sites in all (20 in 1996). Breeding w a s c o n f i r m e d at Redgrave and L o p h a m Fen, Market Weston Fen and Santon D o w n h a m with birds seen at four other sites during the nesting season.

COAL TIT Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Reports c a m e f r o m 21 widespread sites (11 in 1996) with breeding confirmed at only t w o sites: Pages C o m m o n , Chelmondiston and L o n g Melford. Seven pairs were recorded at North Warren. Birds were present at several other sites throughout the year but this species, like m a n y other c o m m o n ones, is very under-recorded. High counts included 10 at M i n s m e r e on February 8th, 14 at Hollesley Heath on October 19th and 12 at M a y d a y Farm, Brandon on April 5th. At L a n d g u a r d spring passage birds of the continental race P.a.ater were noted in March with three on 20th and a single on 26th. During autumn a light passage of nominate P.a.ater birds at Landguard resulted in t w o on October 21st (with a further report of three birds in Adastral Close, Felixstowe on the same date) and one on N o v e m b e r 10th.

BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Limited breeding information w a s received but 77 pairs were located at North Warren, 10 pairs used nestboxes at Hengrave Hall Estate and a pair nested at Barham behind the stonework of a railway bridge. At Nowton Park m e m b e r s of the public were able to follow the progress of one pair, which fledged 10 young, via a live camera link. U n l i k e 1996, this year a p p e a r s to have been a good breeding season with several large second winter period flocks which included: 50, Sizewell, N o v e m b e r 6th; 90. C o m b s Lane Water M e a d o w s , D e c e m b e r 6th and 30, L a c k f o r d W R . N o v e m b e r 20th.

123


GREAT TIT Parus major Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Although f e w records of breeding were received, e v i d e n c e of a healthy population c a m e f r o m North Warren where 95 territories were found. At H e n g r a v e Hall Estate 10 pairs used b o x e s and at Nunnery Lakes Reserve, T h e t f o r d an enterprising pair nested in a box intended for Little Owls. Flocks of 2 0 plus were reported f r o m f o u r sites on seven dates in both winter periods including two very impressive counts; 4 5 at Bridge Wood, Nacton on January 2 I s t and 4 8 at C o m b s Lane Water M e a d o w s on D e c e m b e r 23rd.

NUTHATCH Sitta europaea Fairly common resident. Reports f r o m 33 sites represents a slight decline (38 in 1996) but is still near the average for this species, and numbers in suitable woodland sites seem stable. For example, four pairs bred at Nowton Park as in 1996 and 1995. Breeding was conf i r m e d at eight sites but w a s suspected at others and without d o u b t o c c u r r e d at most p l a c e s where this mainly sedentary but attractive species w a s seen. Twelve pairs were recorded at The King's Forest, a pair at West Stow Country Park supplemented their nestlings' diet with peanuts and a juvenile w a s seen at Eastbridge. At N o r t h W a r r e n , a bird o n N o v e m b e r 23rd is o n l y the second record for the reserve.

Nuthatch TREECREEPER Certhia familiaris Common resident.

Evidence of a healthy population was evident with reports from 63 widespread sites (54 in 1996). Presence at 4 0 of these sites during the breeding season, with confirmation of breeding at 12, also suggests this diminutive resident is doing well. At N o w t o n Park seven pairs bred (six in 1996) and at North Warren six territories w e r e recorded (10 in 1996). At Bradfield W o o d s six maies were in song during late March. T h e largest gathering w a s five together on an oak tree near West Hide, M i n s m e r e , on March 20th. A single bird on September 14th and 15th is the only record at Landguard; perhaps one day this site will attract Suffolk's first Short-toed Treecreeper C. brachydactyla.

PENDULINE TIT Remit Verv rare visitor.

pendulinus

Trimley Marshes: two, Jan.l2th; Mar.l8th and 26th (M T Wright. N Odin). T h e s e t w o birds, first found in N o v e m b e r 1996, remained extremely elusive throughout their stay. T h e latter date encourages hopes of possible breeding attempts in the future. 124


G O L D E N O R I O L E Oriolus oriolus Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. Birds w e r e present at the usual sites during the breeding season with two males singing at Lakenheath in M a y and a pair seen in J u n e (D F Walsh, D K Underwood et al.). T h e recent report of nest robbing underlines the importance of discretion when discussing such rare breeding species. Migrant birds were again reported only during spring and involved a male and two females at M i n s m e r e on May 22nd (C Anderson, R S P B ) and a single bird at Foxhall on May 31st ( P Newton). I S A B E L L I N E S H R I K E Lanius isabellinus Accidental. Bovton: Boyton Marshes: first winter, Nov.23rd (M Morley. E W Patrick, et al.). This is the second County record of this species. The first was at Benacre on August 30th 1976. See also the Rarities Report on page 150 and Plate 29. R E D - B A C K E D S H R I K E Lanius collurio Rare summer visitor and uncommon passage migrant. Spring passage w a s noted at eight sites (three in 1996); Lowestoft: male, May 25th. Kessingland: male, May 29th. Kaston Bavents: female. May 27th. Westleton: Westleton Heath, female Jun.l5th. Minsmere: male, May 17th; female, Jun.l5th; female. Jun.l9th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, male, Jun.llth and 12th; Hazlewood Marshes, male in song. Jun. 15 th. Felixstowe: Landguard, female present May 19th to 22nd. A u t u m n return migrants w e r e much less in evidence with just two coastal records, possibly referring to the s a m e bird: Southwold: Southwold Common, juvenile, Sep.21st. Minsmere: female/juvenile, Sep.21st. N O R T H E R N G R E Y S H R I K E Lanius excubitor Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Unfortunately the unimaginable event, referred to in last y e a r ' s Report, actually c a m e about as no records were received for this species. W O O D C H A T S H R I K E Lanius senator Very rare passage migrant. Aldeburgh: Hazlewood Marshes, male May 28th and 29th (K Camithers. D J Holman. et al.). This tailless individual is the C o u n t y ' s 22nd record for this species. It follows recent sightings of one bird in 1995 and t w o in 1994. J A Y Garrulus glandarius Common resident and scarce passage migrant. A significant m o v e m e n t in spring included eight in off the sea al Gunton cliffs on M a y 10th, 13 at Benacre on M a y 15th, eight at Covehithe cliffs on May 18th, 11 at N e w b o u r n e Springs on April 7th and an unprecedented observation of two at Brackenbury Cliff, Felixstowe on April 30th. T h e North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex reported a relatively stable breeding population of 19 pairs c o m p a r e d with 24 in 1996 and 16 in 1995. T h e only count of any significance in the second part of the year w a s 13 at Hollesley Heath on O c t o b e r 19th. 125


MAGPIE Pica pica Common resident. Peak counts in the first-winter period mainly involved birds going to roost and included 4 6 at Old N e w t o n on January 13th, 58 at North Warren on January 10th and 3 3 at Lackford W.R. on January 3rd. T h e breeding population at North Warren and A l d r i n g h a m Walks reached an alltime high of 4 9 pairs (40 in 1996 and 46 in 1995). T h e second part of the year closely mirrored the first with peak c o u n t s of 33 at Old N e w t o n on O c t o b e r 24th, 34 at Aldringham Walks on D e c e m b e r 22nd, 9 3 at North Warren on D e c e m b e r 30th, 21 at C o m b s Lane Water M e a d o w s on O c t o b e r 28th and 39 at L a c k f o r d W.R. on D e c e m b e r 26th.

JACKDAW Corvus monedula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A number of roosts and flocks were located across the County as follows: Darsham: Darsham Marshes, 430, Dec.5th. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes. 160, Sep. 12th. Shelland: c.1000 at Shelland Wood, Jan.20th. (tipping: mixed flock with Rooks of 6300, Jan. 17th; c.2500, Oct.31st; c.3000, Nov.28th. Hessett: mixed flock with Rooks of 1000. Jul.31st. Cavenham: Cavenham Heath. 200, Sep.25th. Very few breeding reports were received although m o r e than 20 pairs bred at H e n g r a v e Hall Estate and 15 pairs were located at North Warren (12 in 1996). An all-white bird w a s at Moulton on August 28th. A pied bird at Belstead on D e c e m b e r 13th looked similar to a Daurian Jackdaw C. dauuricus.

ROOK Corvus frugilegus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. T h e G i p p i n g area again produced the highest counts with a mixed f l o c k of 6 3 0 0 with J a c k d a w s on January 17th, 2 7 0 0 with 2 5 0 0 J a c k d a w s on O c t o b e r 31st and 3 5 0 0 with 3 0 0 0 J a c k d a w s on N o v e m b e r 28th. Other counts of note included: Reydon: Reydon Marshes. 200, Sep.29th. Trimley Marshes: 400, Aug. 18th Wherstead: Wherstead Strand, 428, Oct.21st. Holbrook: 221, Sep.24th. Lackford: Lackford W.R.. 400. Mar. 15th with 1000, Jun.24th. Hengrave: Hengrave Hall Estate. 600, Jan. 17th. Brettenham: 300 in Sep. with 500 in Dec. Breeding records included four colonies totalling 241 nests at Boxford, 4 7 nests at Kentwell Hall, L o n g Melford and four pairs on electricity pylons at Belstead.

CARRION CROW Corvus corone Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Trimley M a r s h e s produced a series of impressive counts with p e a k s of 6 0 on January 4th, c . 2 0 0 on February 9th, 100 on March 22nd and 7 0 on August 23rd. O t h e r high counts included 5 0 at Redgrave and L o p h a m Fen on June 29th and 61 at W h e r s t e a d Strand on O c t o b e r 21 st. Spring m o v e m e n t s at Landguard included 18 south on March 20th and 19 south, o n e north on April 9th. North Warren and A l d r i n g h a m Walks recorded a 50% increase in the breeding population to 18 pairs, which seems to be increasing the pressure on breeding L a p w i n g s on the reserve. A Carrion/Hooded c r o w hybrid was at Benacre throughout the year and what w a s probably the same bird was seen at Burgh Castle on July 21st and Lound on August 3rd. 126


Hooded C r o w Corvus corone cornix One w a s at Benacre on M a r c h 31st and two at Minsmere on N o v e m b e r 1st. S T A R L I N G Sturnus vulgaris Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Peak counts in the first half of the year all c a m e f r o m the coastal area. This included 1000 at S o u t h w o l d Town M a r s h e s on February 20th. 1000 north at Aldringham Walks on March 17th, 2 0 0 0 at Havergate Island on February 23rd and 5 0 0 0 at Landguard on March 3rd and again on J u n e 22nd and 23rd. Very f e w breeding data were received except for seven pairs that were located around the fort c o m p l e x at Landguard. During the second part of the year huge numbers moved into coastal areas culminating in a massive 5 0 0 0 0 at Minsmere on O c t o b e r 30th. Peak counts were as follows: Lowestoft: c.20000 roosting at the Harbour throughout Dec. Minsmere: 2000, Jul.l2th; 4000, Sep.28th; 15000, Oct.26th; 10000. Oct.28th; 50000. Oct.30th. I<eiston-cum-Size well : Sizewell Belts, 12000, Oct.22nd, 1000 on pig fields, Oct.29th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 2000, Oct.2nd and 3000. Dec.30lh; Aldeburgh Marshes. 1000. Oct.22nd. Boyton: c.3000, Oct. 18th. Falkenham: Falkenham Marshes, 2000, 0ct.30th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 5000, Jul.l7th and 23rd; 2500. Aug.8th; 2500, Oct.l7th and 22nd; 3500, Nov.28th; 4000, Dec.27th. In contrast, the peak count in the west of the County was only 350 at Great Livermere on A u g u s t 14th. H O U S E S P A R R O W Passer domesticus Very common resident. Many m o r e records were received for this species this year. Please continue to report large flocks and breeding attempts! Very f e w sizeable flocks were reported in the first winter period with peak counts of only 30 at Kessingland and Covehithe on January 4th, 30 at Minsmere on March 29th, 30 at T h o r p e n e s s C o m m o n on March 17th, 50 at Alton Water on February 23rd, 120 at Landguard on January 1st and 2nd and 86 at Suffolk Water Park on February 16th. Breeding reports included a stable 16 pairs at Aldringham Walks (15 in 1996) and 20 to 25 pairs with good success around the fort at Landguard. Post-breeding counts were reported f r o m right across the County with the following peaks: Trimley Marshes: 91 on Jul.23rd; 117 on Sep.lรณth; c.65 on Oct.8th Felixstowe: Landguard, c.250 on Aug.23rd and 24th; c.150 on Sep.8th; 98 on Oct. 18th; c.60 on Oct.26th. Bramford: 84, Suffolk Water Park on Jun.9th. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Water Meadows, 160 in two roosts in Aug.; 70 on Oct.16th and Dec. 16th. Hitcham: 50 in hedge by wheat stubble at Causeway House Farm, Aug.25th. Great Barton: 110 on wheat stubble, Aug.28th. Little Waldingfield: c.70 in hedge by wheat stubble. Aug.25th. Preston S t Mary: 70, Oct. 12th. T R E E S P A R R O W Passer montanus Uncommon and declining resident. Scarce passage migrant. T h e fortunes of this species remain at a low e b b within the County. The situation was perfectly illustrated by peak first-winter period counts of only eight at Covehilhe 127


on January 31st, c.25 at S u d b o u r n e M a r s h e s on January 5th, 14 at A m p t o n on February 9th and c.20 at Great Livermere on January 1st. At Mildenhall Fen, 38 adults were trapped and ringed between January and April. Spring passage at Landguard involved two south on April 29th, singles on May 13th, 14th, and 17th, four south on May 23rd and three north on M a y 24th. Breeding reports were very few and far between and included o n e male and two f e m a l e s prospecting at Covehithe on April 6th, four at a k n o w n breeding site at Old N e w t o n on J u n e 5th and "several pairs" using nestboxes at Mildenhall Fen with 21 pulii colour ringed. Landguard recorded a small autumn passage with f o u r on S e p t e m b e r 1st, three on September 2nd, one on October 12th, f o u r south on O c t o b e r 14th, three on O c t o b e r 23rd and one south on O c t o b e r 30th. T h e only records of note in the second winter period were c.12 at C o v e h i t h e on S e p t e m b e r 25th (one of which was taken by a S p a r r o w h a w k ) , with six there on O c t o b e r 23rd, one at Stradishall airfield on September 27th and seven at A m p t o n on D e c e m b e r 7th. C H A F F I N C H Fringilla

coelebs

Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Several flocks were reported in east S u f f o l k in the first-winter period. Peak c o u n t s w e r e 250 at Blythburgh on M a r c h 6th, 70 at Aldringham Walks on M a r c h 3rd, 110 at North Warren on February 4th, 130 at Snape Warren on March 3rd, c . 3 5 0 at Bridge Wood, Nacton on January 21st and 9 0 at S u f f o l k W P on January 5th. T h e only count of any significance in the west of the county w a s 70 at T i m w o r t h on February 9th. A slight decrease in the breeding population w a s detected at North Warren and A l d r i n g h a m Walks with 280 territories recorded (309 in 1996). Notable immigration took place on O c t o b e r 16th with 34 in off the sea at N e s s Point, L o w e s t o f t and c . 5 0 in off the sea at Southwold. A u t u m n passage at L a n d g u a r d w a s recorded f r o m S e p t e m b e r 13th to at least D e c e m b e r 5th with peak counts of 80 on O c t o b e r 11th, 82 in off the sea on O c t o b e r 16th, 88 on O c t o b e r 18th, 3 3 on N o v e m b e r 11th and 57 on N o v e m b e r 16th. Flocks were s o m e w h a t thin on the ground in the second-winter period with p e a k s of only 100 at Aldringham Walks on D e c e m b e r 22nd, c.100 at Shingle Street on O c t o b e r 11th, 100 at S u d b o u r n e on N o v e m b e r 22nd and 70 at Northfield Wood, O n e h o u s e on N o v e m b e r 9th. B R A M B L I N G Fringilla

montifringilla

Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A very poor s h o w i n g in the first winter period with only five flocks of any size reported: 20 at M i n s m e r e on February 8th with 18 there on March 23rd; 2 0 at Elveden on March 17th; c . 1 2 0 at Santon D o w n h a m on April 12th and c.50 at Temple Bridge. C a v e n h a m Heath on January 28th. T h e last of the spring w a s at M i n s m e r e on M a y 3rd. T h e first a u t u m n arrival w a s at Landguard on S e p t e m b e r 20th with birds recorded through to D e c e m b e r 5th. T h e s e included 14 on O c t o b e r 12th, 11 on O c t o b e r 14th and 14 on O c t o b e r 21st. Higher n u m b e r s were recorded during the second-winter period, with the f o l l o w i n g peaks: Dunwich: c.30 at Dunwich Heath on Nov.7th. Kastbridge: c.150 on Dec.30th; 40 on Dec.3lst. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Upper Abbey Farm. 22, Nov. 14th: 90. Dec.8th. rising to 340. Dec.27th, feeding on uncut oilseed rape. 128


-

26.

SPOTTEL)

FLYCATCHER:

Evidence of a decline.

Alan Taie

27. W I L L O W TIT: More common in

the west of the County.

28. W O O D C H A T S H R I K E . A L D E B U R G H : Sadly lacking a tau.

Alan Taie


29.

ISABELLINE

BOYTON: Suffolk.

Only

the

SHRIKE,

secami

far

30. BRAMBLING, MILDENHALL More common in late winter.

Rnb Wilson

31. GREENFINCH: Some largeflocks late in the winter.

Martin Tumer

Martin Turner


West Stow: 24 at the Country Park on Oct. 1st and Nov. 1st. Klveden: c.20 on Nov.l4th. The King's Forest: c.100 on Oct.26th. Knettishall Heath: 80 from Nov. 18th to 29th. S E R I N Serinus

serinus

Very rare migrant. The singing male at T h o r p e n e s s is the earliest recorded. The previous earliest was at Southwold on April 6th 1994. The total of records in the County now stands at 26. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: by the old windmill on Mar.27th (J A Davies, D Thurlow). Felixstowe: Landguard, south, Apr.27th; Apr.29th (LBO). G R E E N F I N C H Carduelis

chloris

Very common resident and passage migrant. Old N e w t o n held the only flock of note in the first-winter period with 450 on January 22nd and 3 5 0 on February 24th. Breeding reports included five pairs at Landguard with reasonable success; 10 singing males at Boxford on April 6th and 60 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (45 in 1996). A considerable m o v e m e n t w a s detected through Landguard in late summer with 129 new birds ringed during July and a peak count of 4 0 on July 1st. Up to 4 0 were recorded throughout August and into early September with southerly movements recorded during October, with a m a x i m u m of 131 on October l l t h , 86 on October 17th and 2 8 7 on October 18th. N u m b e r s then fell away in November, when the m a x i m u m count w a s 86 south on 21st. A m u c h better showing in the second half of the year with the following peaks: Kessingland: c.110 on the beach, Dec.5th. Westleton: 200 in pig fields, Nov.7th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 350 on Sep.27th and 100 on Dec. 14th. Sudbourne: 100 on Nov.22nd. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Meadows, 196 on Sep. 1st. Old Newton: 180 on Dec.5th. I.ackford WR: 100 on Nov. 1st. Long Melford: 180 feeding on borage. Oct. 14th. G O L D F I N C H Carduelis

carduelis

Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Only six flocks of note w e r e reported in the first-winter period as follows: 70 at North Warren on February 9th, c.60 at Orfordness on January 4th. 60 at Boyton on January 14th, 72 at Trimley Marshes on March 3rd, 150 at Lakenheath on March 13th and 110 at C o m b s Lane Water M e a d o w s , Stowmarket on March 7th. Spring passage at Landguard peaked at 4 8 south on April 28th and 58 south on May 1st. Breeding reports were f e w and far between but included 19 pairs at North Warren and A l d r i n g h a m Walks including a stable seven pairs at the WarTen. A successful breeding season w a s indicated by 47, mostly juveniles, feeding on thistles at Old Newton on July 30th. A u t u m n passage at Landguard included 70 on August 30th, 80 on September Ist, 70 on S e p t e m b e r 2nd and 138 on September 29th. October saw 3382 south up to the 19th. T h i s included 521 on the 10th. 4 9 9 on the I Ith and 774 on the 18th. November saw 4 4 9 south, with 9 6 on the 12th and 116 on the 1 Ith. The second half of the year saw a large n u m b e r of flocks recorded across the County with the following peaks: 129


Aldeburgh: North Warren, 80 on Aug.30th and 70 on Sep.30th. Harham: 90 on Aug.3lst. Kamsholt: c.80 on Aug. 19th. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, 250, Sep.7th; 200, Sep. 17th; 100, Sep.30th and c.1500 on Oct. 11th. Felixstowe: Causton Junior School, 120 on Oct.8th. Cavenham: c.100 in alders on Dec.4th.

SISKIN Carduelis spinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. A reasonable showing in the first-winter period with several large flocks reported: Fritton/Ashby: Waveney Forest, 100 on Jan.27th. Dunwich: Dunwich Forest, 100 Apr.2nd; Dunwich Heath, 200 on Apr.3rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 100 on Mar.5th. Brandon: Mayday Farm, c. 100 on Apr. 1st. West Stow: Country Park, 100 on Feb.7th. Lackford WR: 120 on Jan. 12th. Breeding reports were c o n f i n e d to the west of the C o u n t y with records f r o m Brandon CP, T h e King's Forest, Santon D o w n h a m , North Stow and West S t o w CP. Southerly autumn passage at Landguard peaked at 106 on O c t o b e r 11th, 132 on October 18th. 9 5 on N o v e m b e r 9th and 9 4 on N o v e m b e r 12th. Several larger counts were reported in the second-winter period, including the following: Corton: 100 N, Oct.24th. Minsmere: 100, Dec.l9th. Middleton: c.200 on Dec.30th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell Belts, 120 on Dec.26th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness, 120 on Oct.3rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 150 on Dec.20th. Foxhall: Brookhill Woods, c.120 on Dec.25th. Cavenham: c.100 on Dec.4th. Assington: Spouse's Grove, c.100 on Dec. 6th.

LINNET Carduelis cannabina Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. For the second successive year several large flocks were reported in the first-winter period: Minsmere: 100 on Feb.28th; 120 in a weedy field on Mar.2nd; 250 on Mar.4th. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes, 120 on Jan.4th with 70 there on Jan. 10th. Snape: Snape Warren. 150 on Mar.6th. Icklingham: c.300 in a kale field on Jan. 10th. Moulton: Trinity Hall Farm, c.450 throughout Jan/Feb. Spring passage at Landguard w a s recorded f r o m February 15th with monthly peak counts of 2 0 on March 22nd and 28th. 149 on April 11th and 21 on M a y 1st. Flocks were still being reported well into s u m m e r with 6 0 at North Warren on J u n e 6th followed by gatherings of 150 at Landguard on July 16th and 220 on August 29th. Breeding reports included a stable population of 77 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (74 in 1996), 35 pairs at M i n s m e r e and c.50 pairs at L a n d g u a r d with reasonable success particularly with second broods. A u t u m n passage at L a n d g u a r d involved 3 5 3 south in S e p t e m b e r (including 121 on 1st and 106 on 29th) and 5 2 5 7 south in O c t o b e r (with 4 5 0 on 2nd, 9 4 0 on 14th and 1822 on 18th). M o v e m e n t s continued into N o v e m b e r with 265 south during the month. During the second half of the year a large n u m b e r of flocks m o v e d into or through the County, particularly along the coast: Kastbridge: Lower Abbey Farm. 130 on Nov. 14th.

130


Leiston-cum-Sizewell: c.100 on Dec.22nd. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 100, Sep.5th; 300, Sep.27th; 350, Dec.6th; 150, Dec.Mth; 4(X). Dec.22nd. Sudbourne: 150on Nov.22nd. Bawdsey: East Lane, c.350 on Sep.28th; Shingle Street, 140 on Sep.29th and 300 on Oct. 11th. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, c.95 on Aug.31st and 150 on Sep.4th. Lavenham: c.200 on recently ploughed stubble on Sep.20th. Lakenheath: Sedge Fen, c.100 on Dec.20th.

TWITE Carduelis flavirostris Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. This species was recorded along the coastal strip until March 18th with the following peak counts: Blythburgh: 90 along the estuary. Jan.Uth and 24 on Mar.lKth. Walberswick: c.50, Jan.2nd; c.60, Jan.lSth and Feb.l5th; c.100. Feb.l9th; 50. Feb.23rd. Dunwich: 30, Jan.31st. Minsmere: 25, Feb.l5th. Aldeburgh: c.30, Feb.2nd. Orford: Orfordness, 45, Jan.3rd; c.30. Jan.4th. Havergate Island. 30 in Jan.; 10, Feb.2nd; 15. Feb.9th. Five at Shingle Street on October 14th were the first returning birds of the winter followed by m a n y sizeable flocks along the coast. Peak counts were: Walberswick: c.70, Nov.Ist; 60. Nov.2nd; c.50, Nov.รถth. I5th and Dec.31st. Dunwich: c.100, Nov.22nd; 200, Nov.23rd, Dec.4th and 5th; c.150, Dec.l8th: c.200. Dec.20th; c.150, Dec.22nd; 50, Dec.28th. Minsmere: 96, Oct.lรถth. Orford: Havergate Island, monthly max. of 40, Nov.lOth and 34. Dec.Uth.

REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Very scarce in the first-winter period with peak counts of only c.20 at Alton Water on February 7th, 16 at T h e King's Forest on March 20th and 20 at Lackford W R on January Ist with 70 there on February 15th. Very f e w breeding records were received. Three pairs were at North Warren (three in 1996), several pairs were located in Thetford Forest on May 28th and breeding possibly took place at Bury St.Edmunds. Boxford and Nayland. The breeding population of 5 - 1 0 years ago at C a v e n h a m was reported to have disappeared! A u t u m n migration at Landguard produced monthly peaks of five south on September 17th, 10 south on O c t o b e r 23rd and 16 south on November 9th. Higher n u m b e r s were recorded in the second-winter period. although still relatively low. Peak counts were: Westleton: c.50 on Dec.29th. Minsmere: 19 on Sep.27th. Stowmarket: Combs Lane Meadows. 16 on Dec.20th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood. 13 on Nov.9th. West Stow: Country Park, 15 on Sep.29th. Long Melford: nine on Oct.5th (the first here for three years) Mealy Redpolls C.f.รŸammea were recorded at Lackford W.R., where "several" were with a flock of Lesser Redpolls on January Ist, and singles at Minsmere on February 27th and Westleton on D e c e m b e r 29th.

COMMON CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra Locally common resident and irruptive visitor. Eight f e m a l e s at M i n s m e r e . followed by three on April 25th and four on May 3rd. and one at Hollesley Heath on March 2nd were the only early-year coastal records. 131


" S e v e r a l " b i r d s w e r e a l s o r e p o r t e d f r o m T h e K i n g ' s F o r e s t , E l v e d e n and M a y d a y F a r m in t h e B r e c k . T h i s p r e c e d e d a h u g e i n f l u x into t h e C o u n t y in J u n e that w a s perfectly illustrated b y a r e c o r d d a y c o u n t of 3 3 0 at L a n d g u a r d o n J u n e 2 8 t h . P e a k counts were: Lound: 26, July 2nd and 21, July 6th. Dunwich: 41, Jun.8th; 51, Jun.28th; 20, Oct.3lst; 22, Dec.27th. Minsmere: monthly max: 81, Jun.28th; 34, Ju!.27th; nine, Sep.20th; 63, 0ct.30th; three, Nov.2nd; 12, Dec. 14th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 30, Jun.29th; 31, Jul.6th; 45, Jul. 28th; 30, Nov.23rd. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 40, Jun.24th with 15, Oct.24th. Boyton: 40, Jun.28th. Tunstall: Tunstall Forest, 32, Jul.5th with 20, Aug.2nd and 28. Nov. 15th. Capei St. Andrew: Tangham, 50, Jun.l5th and 28th; 40. Jul.20th; 28, Jul.31st. Purdis Farm/Rushmere St. Andrew: Ipswich Golf Course, 38, Jun.28th and 13, Jul. 18th. Elveden: Elveden Warren, c.70, Nov. 11th. I.avenham: Lineage Wood, c.30, Jul. 1st. Santon Downham: 60, July 8th and c. 15, Dec. 11th. West Stow: Country Park. 24. Jun.26th; 20 in Jul./Aug.; 25, Sep. 11th; 16, Nov.8th; c.40 in Dec.

COMMON ROSEFINCH Carpodacus Very rare passage migrant.

erythrinus

Aldeburgh: singing male at sluice cottage at RSPB North Warren on May 29th.(R N Macklin). Felixstowe: imm./female at Landguard on July 21st and July 24th.(N Odin). T h e 17th a n d 18th r e c o r d s f o r the c o u n t y i n c l u d e d y e t a n o t h e r red m a l e , albeit f o r o n l y o n e day.

BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Common resident. A stable b r e e d i n g p o p u l a t i o n of 16 pairs w a s r e c o r d e d at N o r t h W a r r e n and A l d r i n g h a m W a l k s w h i l e M i n s m e r e r e p o r t e d a m i n i m u m of f i v e pairs, and six pairs w e r e at Bradfield Woods. T h e o n l y n u m b e r s of n o t e w e r e 10 at N o r t h W a r r e n o n J a n u a r y 13th a n d S e p t e m b e r 2 2 n d , 10 at A l t o n W a t e r o n D e c e m b e r 4th, 14 at B r a d f i e l d W o o d s on M a r c h 30th a n d 11 at C o m b s L a n e W a t e r M e a d o w s , S t o w m a r k e t o n S e p t e m b e r 27th. T h i s c o n t r a s t s with a report f r o m S t o w u p l a n d b y a local fruit f a r m e r that f l o c k s of u p to 4 0 b i r d s w e r e c o m m o n p l a c e at P a l g r a v e F a r m o n l y 15-20 y e a r s a g o ! ( p e r J Walshe).

HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. T h i s s p e c i e s r e m a i n s s c a r c e in the C o u n t y a n d w a s r e p o r t e d f r o m o n l y 15 localities as f o l l o w s : Lowestoft: female on nine dates in garden in Gunton Drive from Mar.9th to Mar.20th. Minsmere: singles on Oct. 12th. Nov.25th and Nov.26th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, Apr.28th. I'unstall: male. Feb.2nd. Felixstowe: Cowpasture Allotments. May 17th. Landguard. male trapped. Apr.26th; J u n . l l t h . B a m h a m : Bamham Cross Common, peak counts of 13 on Jan. 13th; 35 to 40 on Feb. 19th; 20 in early Mar.; up to four in Apr. (inc.singing male); one on May 2nd; nine on Nov.24th; 14 on Dec.24th. Boxford: two on Sep.8th. Hengrave: Hengrave Hall, early year peak of 18 on Feb. 17th. Knettishall: Knettishall Heath, two on Dec.29th. Nowton: Nowton Park, two on Mar.23rd and one on Apr.Sth.

132


Thetford: singles on "several" dates in Apr. West Stow: two from Jan. to Mar. then one on Apr. 14th. Up to six were located throughout the year at a possible breeding site in the north of the County.

L A P L A N D B U N T I N G Calcarius lapponicus Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. A very p o o r year for this species with reports from only four localities. Corton: three, Oct. 16th and two. Oct.29th. Walberswick: on beach, Nov. 15th. Minsmere: Benthills, Feb. 1st. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: one in paddocks at Ness House on Nov.30th. S N O W B U N T I N G Plectrophenax nivalis Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Many large flocks were reported in the first-winter period, as follows: Kessingland: 120, Jan.4th: c.80, Feb. 14th. Benacre: 37, Jan.26th. Walberswick: 20, Jan. I st. Minsmere: 45, Jan.29th. I.eiston-cum-Sizewell: 25, Jan.25th; 28, Feb.2nd. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: c.28, Feb.4th. Aldeburgh: beach, 40 on Jan. 18th. 22 on Jan.2nd and 19, Jan. 19th. O r f o r d : Orfordness, 100, Jan.3rd and 4th. Bawdsey: East Lane. 65, Feb.8th and 38, Feb. 16th. Shingle Street 25, Jan. 14th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, c.75, Jan. 16th. 77, Jan.23rd. 85, Jan.25th. c.100. Feb. 15th. 110, Feb.l9th, 33, Mar. 1 st. The last birds of the winter were two at L a n d g u a r d on March 6th. Snow Buntings 133


O n e at M i n s m e r e on S e p t e m b e r 20th heralded the return of this species to our shores. Several large flocks were then reported: Kessingland: 45, Nov. 13th; 29, Dec.5th. Benacre: 27, Nov.22nd; 60, Dec. 15th; 47, Dec.20th; 56, Dec.28th. Covehithe: c.40, Dec.22nd and 200, Dec.24th. Dunwich: c.60, Dec. 13th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 41, Nov.29th; 30, Dec.9th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 59, Nov. 18th. Bawdsey: East Lane, c.20, Nov.29th and 80, Dec. 11th. Shingle Street, 32, Dec. 13th. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, c.50, Dec.28th. Landguard, max. 66, Dec.27th.

Y E L L O W H A M M E R Emberiza citrinella Common resident and passage migrant. Several flocks of reasonable size were reported in the first-winter period as follows: Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 20, Feb.22nd and 24, Mar.3rd. Chillesford: 22. Mar.2nd. Shottisham: 30, Jan.26th. Falkenham: King's Fleet, c.30, Mar.29th. Rushmere St. Andrew: Villa Farm, 40, Mar. 19th. Ipswich: Belstead Brook, c.80. Mar. 11th. Mellis: 20. Mar.9th. Stowupland: 74, Jan.17th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood, 120 at a game-feeding area, Jan.20th with 50, Apr. 13th. Breeding reports included 13 singing males at Boxford in May, 4 3 pairs at Minsmere (29 in 1995) and 87 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (67 in 1996). S o m e w h a t scarce in the second-winter period with peak counts of 4 8 at S t o w u p l a n d on N o v e m b e r 17th, 116 at Northfield Wood, O n e h o u s e on N o v e m b e r 9th with 123 there on D e c e m b e r 14th, c.80 at L a v e n h a m on D e c e m b e r 6th and 6 4 at L o n g M e l f o r d on N o v e m b e r 16th.

ORTOLAN BUNTING Emberiza hortulana Rare passage migrant. An i m p r o v e m e n t on recent years. Although there were no spring sightings there w e r e three a u t u m n birds, all at Landguard. Felixstowe: Landguard. two, Aug.29th (N Odin); Aug.30th (P Oldfield); south. Sep.6th (POldfield. A Mitchell).

REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus Common resident and passage migrant. A reasonable s h o w i n g in the first-winter period with several small flocks reported: Southwold: Town Marshes, 14 on Mar. 1st. Walberswick: Westwood Marshes, 10 on May 10th. Minsmere: 14 on Jan.22nd: 10 on Mar.29th. Orford: Havergate Island, at least 25 in January. Trimley Marshes: c.28 on Mar. 18th. Stow market: 18 at a reedbed roost on Feb.21st. Tint worth: 18 on Feb.9th. I.akenheath: 25 on Feb.23rd. Breeding reports f r o m well-monitored sites included 31 pairs at North Warren (22 in 1996) and 22 pairs at M i n s m e r e (40 in 1995 and 29 in 1994). Southerly m o v e m e n t s were noted at Landguard from S e p t e m b e r to N o v e m b e r , with a m a x i m u m of eight on O c t o b e r 11th. Very few reports in the second-winter period with peak counts of c.40 at Southwold D e n e s on O c t o b e r 25th. 20 at Havergate Island on November 22nd, 20 at Hare's Creek, Shotley on D e c e m b e r 21st and 36 at a reedbed roost at Stowmarket on D e c e m b e r 21st. 134


C O R N B U N T I N G Miliaria

calandra

Locally common resident. A large n u m b e r of records w a s received for this species and there was a particularly encouraging n u m b e r of flocks recorded in the First half of the year. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes. 12 on March 18th. inc. two singing males. Aldeburgh: 24 on Jan.26th. Falkenham: 41, Feb.3rd. Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, 15 on Jan.23rd. Trimley Marshes: c.30 on Apr.20th; 21 on Apr. 16th; c.30 on May 3rd. Levington: Levington Creek, 25 on Jan. 11th. Holbrook: Lower Holbrook. c.20 on Jan. 1st. Sudbury: 26 on Feb.22nd. I a ken heath: 33 on May 20th. Stradishall: Stradishall Airfield, 22 on April 6th. During the breeding season reports were received f r o m 17 localities with confirmed/probable breeding at Aldringham Walks, Shingle Street, Felixstowe, Trimley Marshes, Great Barton, Great Livermere and Little Livermere. Very scarce in the second winter period with the only flocks of note being 35 at Chelmondiston on N o v e m b e r 22nd and 10 there on D e c e m b e r 31st.

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. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Apr. 13th. Livermere Lake: Nov.22nd. The visitor to North Warren was the adult of u n k n o w n origin that winters at Cliffe. Kent, m a k i n g its annual spring excursion along the east coast. T h e Livermere Lake record is m o r e unexpected, the Cliffe bird being well settled in its winter quarters at the time. B A R - H E A D E D G O O S E Anser

indicus

Alpine lakes in central Asia; winters to India and Burma. Ramsholt: two, possibly a breeding pair. May 21st to Jun.2nd. Trimley St. Martin: Trimley Marshes NR: one on Sep.l9th,Oct.4th and 18th and Nov. 12th and 15th. Loompit Lake: two. Mar.9th and 10th; one Dec.13th. Alton Water: one noted between Jun.22nd and Aug.24th, and again on Dec. 14th. Livermere Lake: Apr.26th and 29th, May 9th and Sep. 1 Ith. Ixworth Thorpe: Apr.8th and May 12th. Lackford W R : Apr. 13th. All sightings are presumed to relate to several long-staying individuals. M U S C O V Y D U C K Cairina

moschata

Lowlands of s Mexico to Argentina and Brazil. Reports f r o m Oulton Broad were fewer this year and there were no details of broods. C o u n t s received included 12 on January 12th, 3 0 on June 11th and 5 3 on O c t o b e r 17th. 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. Ixiund: village pond, two females, one male, Jun.lSth and 23rd and Jul. 1st. Alton Water: Jan. 13th.

135


A P P E N D I X II -

ESCAPEES

W H I T E S T O R K Ciconia ciconia Breeds w Palearctic; winters to s Africa, India and SE Asia. A free-flying individual f r o m Pleasurewoods Hills w a s variously reported in the L o w e s t o f t / C o r t o n / G u n t o n area during June and July. B L A C K S W A N Cygnus atratus Australia and Tasmania. O n l y one reported, at Ipswich Wet Dock, January 1 st to 6th. 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. Alton Water: Jun.9th and 22nd. Presumably the same long-staying individual as recent years. 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 Livermere Lake: Mar. 13th, Aug.28th and Nov.23rd. Lackford WR: Mar.27th intermittently to end of year. All records refer to the s a m e individual.

California.

R U D D Y S H E L D U C K Tordorna ferruginea S. Mediterranean basin to e. Asia. Some records considered genuine vagrants. T h e following record is considered to relate to an escaped or feral bird. Livermere Lake: Sep.21st. [ C A P E S H E L D U C K Tadorna cana] Karoo of southern Africa Trimley Marshes: Sep. 11th. T h i s record is in square brackets as the observer w a s not 100% certain of the identity of this bird. R E D - B I L L E D T E A L Anas erythrorhyncha Locally in e and s Africa and Madagascar Minsntere: male. Feb.8th. Mar.8th, 15th and 25th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, male. May 3rd. A single bird w a s presumably involved. L a r g e Falcons A n u m b e r of large falcons w a s reported f r o m sites around the C o u n t y but, with no details supplied, their identity can only be considered speculative. T h e increasing trend for keeping these magnificent birds in c o n f i n e m e n t and, even m o r e appalling, for deliberately crossing a w h o l e range of different species is long-overdue for tighter g o v e r n m e n t control. The problem of identifying these birds can be illustrated by the fact that in 1997 alone, a m i n i m u m of 32 hybrid falcons w a s lost (reported f i g u r e s only) and 7 5 0 hybrids were registered with the Department of the Environment (Wilkinson et al.. Binding World 11: 113). Blyth Kstuary : May 4th. Reported as a Saker Falco cherrug. Minsmere: Apr.6th and 27th. Reported as a Lanner Falco biarmicus. Trimley Marshes: Sep. I Ith. 12th and 20th. Reported as a large hybrid. Lackford W R : Oct. Ist. Considered to be a female Saker and still wearing jesses. S u c h a sudden upsurge in sightings implies either a mass breakout or, m o r e likely, just o n e or p e r h a p s two individuals with all coastal reports probably involving a single far-wandering individual. 136


B U D G E R I G A R Melopsittacus undulatus Abundant throughout drier parts of Australia. Lowestoft: Oct. 1st. Woolverstone: Woolverstone Marina, Sep. 12th. A F R I C A N G R E Y P A R R O T Psittacus erithacus Savanna and humid forests of w and central Africa. Ipswich: Brickfield Close, Aug.22nd. This w a s apparently a very talkative individual - a pity it hadn't been taught its name and address! N A N D AY P A R R O T Nandayus nenday Panfanai of n Argentina, Paraguay and sw Brazil. Cavenham/Icklingham: four, Jan.26th and 28th; three. May 27th and Sep.7th. The g r o u p of five f r o m 1996 seems to be gradually dwindling away. C O C K A T I E L Nymphicus hollandicus Widespread and abundant in interior of Australia. Corton: Oct. 18th. Great Bealings: Jun.8th. Unidentified parakeets Singles w e r e reported f r o m Icklingham and Lackford on August 14th and West Stow on A u g u s t 10th and N o v e m b e r 10th. Perhaps all involved distant Nandays! H u m m i n g b i r d species A quite extraordinary report involved that of a h u m m i n g b i r d reported feeding f r o m fuchsias in a Henley, Ipswich garden on 1st to 3rd November. Immediate thoughts turn to H u m m i n g b i r d H a w k - m o t h Macroglossum stellatarum (indeed the tail pattern of the moth is identical to that of m a n y hummingbirds!) but the description and sketch supplied by the observer are most convincing. Identity of such an individual is nigh on impossible, although the description of green above and rufous below with a blacktipped, red bill does neatly fit Buff-bellied H u m m i n g b i r d Amazilia yucatanensis but there are other very similar species. That the bird should have survived at least three days in N o v e m b e r is remarkable; these are extremely difficult birds to keep and are very rare in captivity. See the article on page 144. R E D - B I L L E D L E I O T H R I X Leiothrix lutea Mountains of n India, se Tibet, s China, Myanmar and n Tonkin. Lavenham: Blight's Farm, male in song, Aug.4th to 6th. West Stow: West Stow Country Park, male in song, Aug. 16th and 17th. Although the two sites are not close to each other, it is tempting to assume that both records involve the same lonely individual. P U R P L E G L O S S Y S T A R L I N G Ijimprotornis purpureus Savanna of Senegal to s Sudan, Uganda and nw Kenya. Minsmere: Sep.6th. A notoriously difficult g r o u p to identify. Purple Glossy Starling is perhaps one of the easier Lamprotomis species, being purple over the whole of the head as well as being structurally different to most other species, with stouter bill giving largerheaded appearance. C O M M O N W A X B I L L Estrilda astrild Grasslands of Africa s of Sahara. Benacre: Jul.28th. S o small the observer did well to see it, let alone identify it! 137


A P P E N D I X III - S C H E D U L E O F N O N - A C C E P T E D

RECORDS

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 e m p h a s i s e d that in the vast majority of cases the record w a s not accepted because the C o m m i t t e e m e m b e r s w e r e not convinced, on the evidence submitted, that the identification w a s fully established; in only a very few cases were the C o m m i t t e e s satisfied that a mistake had been made. 1997 reports: Bittern: B r a n t h a m , Nov. 13th. Night H e r o n : C h a t t i s h a m , M a y 20th. H o n e y B u z z a r d : Walberswick, M a y 3rd; North Warren, Aug. 14th. Black Kite: C o v e Bottom, Mar. 29th. G o s h a w k : Chelmondiston, Jul. 9th. B l a c k - w i n g e d Stilt: Trimley, Aug. 18th. P o m a r i n e S k u a : Sizewell (two), S e p 22nd; C o v e h i t h e (14), Oct. 27th; Aldeburgh, Nov. 3rd and 4th. Savi's Warbler: Barsham Marshes, M a y 1st to 14th. M a r s h Warbler: Lowestoft, M a y 31st. Western Bonelli's Warbler: Sizewell, Oct. 24th. Red- b a c k e d Shrike: Kenton, Mar. 31st. Serin: T h o r p e n e s s , Jun. 4th. 1996 reports: R i c h a r d ' s Pipit: Benacre, Nov. 8th. REFERENCES: Clark, J.A. et al. 1996. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1994. Ringing and Migration 17:71. C l e m e n t s , J. 1991. Birds of the World: A Checklist. Ibis, California. C r a m p , S. (ed.) 1985. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. OUP. Lack, R C . 1986. The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, L o n d o n . Payn, W.H. 1978. The Birds of Suffolk. Ancient House Publishing, Ipswich.

138


List of Contributors We have e n d e a v o u r e d to a c k n o w l e d g e all contributors to Suffolk Birds and to the best of our k n o w l e d g e this list is complete. If by some mischance we have failed to include your contribution please accept our sincere apologies. Eds. S Abbott, P Aldous, B Allen, C. Allen, G Allen, C Anderson, D Archer, J Archer, J Arnold, J Askins, R Attenbrow. S S P P J C

Babbs, D E Balmer, Dr M B a m f o r d , S Banks, R Barras, K Barrett, R I Bashford. Batty, A B e a c h a m , D G Beamish, J Bedford, R G Beech, R & M Beecroft, M Beeson, A Benton, F Berry, M Biddle, R Biddle, Birdline East Anglia, S Bishop. C Boon, W J Brame, M Brandon, Dr A Brenchley, BTO, B J Brown, R M Brown. Brydson, P Bullett, G Burfield, N Burfield, D Burns, H M Butcher, G Butt, A Buttle.

K Carruthers, D & M Carter, N Carter, S Cass, P R Catchpole, J Cawston, J E C a w s t o n , J M C a w s t o n , C C h a p m a n , A Charles, J - P Charteris, P Clack, N A Clark, A E C o b b , T Cochran, D R Collins, R Connors, J Cook, M Cook, R J Cooper. M L C o m i s h , W R Cornish, P J Coslett, D P Cotton, D Craven. M D Crewe. G Crouch, N Crouch, R Crozier, C G D Curtis J Danieli, P T Dann, Dr P J Dare, J A Davies, R Davies, D Davison, T R Dean, J Debell, S J Denny, S Dixon, P Dodds, P Dolton, R Drew, S P Dudley, R A Duncan. A C Easton, D Eaton, J C Eaton, A Edwards, J Eley, G Elliott, M Elliott, P Etheridge, R D Evans, S Evans. I Fair, R Fairhead, D Fairhurst, M Farrow, M Forbes, J & R Foster, A C Frost, S J Fryett, D Fuller, R J Fuller. K & J G a r r o d , J Garstang, S Gillings, J A Glazebrook, S R Goddard, I Goodall, A G o o d i n g , M J G o o d w i n , S Graham, J H Grant, M Grantham, P D Green, C Gregory, L Gregory. S Hadley, P Hamling, D Harlow, D C Harper, B Harrington, R G Harris, A R Harriss, B Hart, M Hart, R Hartley, C J Hawes, I Hawkins, L Hayward, P Hobbs. M Hodges. S J Holloway, D J Holman, P J Holmes, D Hopkins, A Howe, S Howell. Sir A Hurrell. P Jackson, R Jackson, C A Jacobs, C J Jakes, M J James, A G Jamieson. B Jarvis, G J Jobson, D P Johnson, R Johnson, M Jowett, D Jupp. J A Kay, E F Keeble, M K e m p , A S Kennedy, D Keightley, D King, C A Kirtland. P Kitchener, C Knott, A K n o x . P C Lack, L a c k f o r d W R , P Lambert, A A Lancaster, Landguard BO. R Lanston, A J Last, L a v e n h a m BC, R Leavett, D J Leonard. B Leport, S J Ling. W Livingstone. D Low, B G L o w e , G L o w e , R J L o w e . R N Macklin, J Mallord, A Malone, J H Marchant, S Marginson, D Marsh, M Marsh, N Marsh, N Mason, P M a s o n , M Matheson. C Michette, R Michette. A Miller. N & S Minns, A Mitchell, A V M o o n , D R Moore, M R Morley. C E Morris, J D Morris, C T Mortimer, P Mudd, P W Murphy, A J Musgrove, K Musgrove. 139


P Napthine, P Naylor, D Nevitt, D N e w t o n , J N e w t o n , M N e w t o n , P N e w t o n , T Nightingale, R Noble, S D Noble. D Ockleton, N Odin, P Oldfield, G Oram, J O x f o r d . M Packard, A J Parr, E W Patrick, Dr D J Pearson, S Pearson, R Perkins, S Pinder, S Piotrowski, G Piper, R P l o w m a n , A Plumb, R A Pomroy, C R Poole, C R Powell, G J Price. D J Radford, B Ranner. P J R a n s o m e , N D Rawlings, P Reed, G Reeder, A P Richards, B E Ridout, D A Riley, G A Riley, A Riseborough, D & K Roberts, B Robson, B S Rose, I Rowlands, R S P B , C Ruffles, E Ruffles. K B R T

Sayer, R E Scott, N Sherman, N Sherwen, P Shott, P Silburn, I S i m m s , D S i m p s o n , Sivyer, D B Sivyer, Dr N J Skinner, M Slaymaker, B J Small, J Smith, M Smith, C Smith, S Smith, R Stace, E & D Steel, P Steggall, R Stewart, D Stinson, Stopher.

R J Taylor, R T h o m a s , R D T h o m a s , B G T h o m p s o n , M T h o m p s o n , D Thurlow, C Todd, L J T o w n s e n d , R B Tozer, Trimley M a r s h e s NR, M Turner, G A Tyler. D K Underwood. H Vaughan, R Viccars, P G Vincent, N Vipond, R Vonk. R B P B

Waiden, C S Waller, D F Walsh, J Walshe, G Warren, R B Warren, A Watters. Way, L Webb, M Webber, L H Weeks, G R Welch, H Welch, J West, R West, Whittaker, B V Williamson, A M Wilson, P Wilson, R Wilton, G Woodard. Woodhouse, B Wright, M T Wright.

S Youell. J Zantboer.

140


Gazetteer This gazetteer gives locations for sites listed in the main checklist section of this issue of Suffolk Birds. The intention is to make it easier for newcomers to birdwatching or those less familiar with the county to be able to locate sites. Specific sites are given a six figure reference where appropriate; larger sites are given a four-figure reference for the 1km square in which they are situated. Whilst a complete list of all sites would obviously be of most use, it would of necessity, be very long. Therefore, it does not contain parish n a m e s or street names which are easily located by reference to a standard road map. Abbey Gardens, Bury St. Edmunds Adastral Close, Felixstowe Aldeburgh Town Marshes Aide Estuary Aldringham C o m m o n Aldringham Walks Alton Water Arger Fen Ashby Warren Banter's B a m . Boyton Bamham Cross C o m m o n Barsham Marshes Barton Mills Beach Farm. Benacre Beccles C o m m o n Belle Vue Gardens. Lowestoft Benacre Broad Benacre Pits Berner s Heath Blyth Estuary Bond's Meadow, Lowestoft Bourne Park Boyton Marshes Brackenbury Cliff, Felixstowe Bradfield Woods Brandon C P Breydon Water Bridge Wood. Nacton Burgh Castle Buss Creek Butley Mills Butley Creek Carlton Marshes Castle Marshes Causeway Farm. Hitcham Cavenham Heath Cavenham Pits Christchurch Park. Ipswich Cliff Quay, Ipswich Combs Lane Water Meadows Cotton railway line Cotton Woods Covehithe Broad Covehithe Cliffs Cowpasture Allotments, Felixstowe Cowton Culford Park Lake Custom House. Felixstowe Darsham Marshes Deben Estuary Decoy Fen. Lakenheath Dunwich Forest Dunwich Heath

TM858643 TM287328 TM450560 TM3957-4450 TM458606 TM4661 TM1436 TL933355 TM490004 TM387474 TL8681 TM4090 TL7173 TM532839 TM435906 TM550944 TM530828 TM535842 TL7976 TM4575-4776 TM5293 TM 155420 TM3946 TM322360 TL935581 TL786855 TM4706-5107 TM 186406 TG4805 TM495759 TM388517 TM3851-3947 TM499I TM475915 TL9952 TL755725 TL760710 TM 164454 TM 170415 TM04358I TM537579 TM545966 TM524808 TM527815 TM298358 TM442550 TL8270 TM287326 TM420691 TM2850-3238 TL6685 TM4Ă&#x201C;7I TM4768

Dunwich Shore Pools Eastbridge East Lane. Bawdsey East Lane Lagoons Easton Bavents Easton Broad Easton Wood. Covehithe Fagbury Rats Falkenham Creek Falkenham Marshes Felixstowe Ferry Fisher Row Foxhole Heath Fox's Marina Fritton Decoy/Lake Fritton Marshes Gipping Great Wood Gorleston Golf Course Greyfriars Wood Gunton Woods Hardwick Heath Hare's Creek. Shotley Hengrave Hall Heveningham Hall Hoist Covert Holbrook Bay Hollesley Bay Colony Hollesley Heath Hollesley Marshes Holywater Meadows. B.S.E. Holywells Park, Ipswich Icklingham Plains Ickworth Park Iken Cliff Ipswich Wet Dock Ipswich Golf Course Island Mere Kenny Hill. Mildenhall Kentwell Hall. Long Melford Kessingland Level Kessingland sewage works King's Fleet King's Forest. The Kirkley Cemetery. Lowestoft Knettishall Heath Lackford WR Lake Lothing Lakenheath Warren Lakenheath Washes Land guard Leathes Ham Levington Creek Levington Lagoon

141

TM485724 TM452660 TM35440I TM357403 TM515780 TM518794 TM518803 TM260347 TM333403 TM305405 TM3237 TM507927 TL735776 TMI644I8 TM4800 TM455005 TM075625 TG532012 TM478702 TM542960 TL854625 TM232374 TM824686 TM350734 TM485743 TM1733 TM375447 TM3546 TM378452 TM853634 TM 175435 TL7573 TL816I TM400563 TM 169439 TM207433 TM463668 TL670797 TL863479 TM530850 TM533857 TM 3 1 0 3 7 9 TL8I73 TM537913 TL952804 TL8007I0 TM5392 TL7580 TL7085 TM283I TM530933 TM 237383 TM240385


Lineage Wood, Lavenham Livermere Lake Long Melford sewage works Loompit Lake Lound Waterworks Lower Abbey Farm Marshes Lower Holbrook Lowestoft Cemetery Lowestoft Harbour Market Weslon Fen Martlesham Churchyard Martlesham Creek Martlesham Heath Mayday Farm Micklemere, Ixworth Mildenhall Fen Minsmere N e s s Point N e w b o u m e Springs N e w Reach River Nicholas Eventi Park. Oulton Norah Hanbury-Kelk Meadow Normanston Park, Lowestoft Northfield Wood North Warren N o w t o n Park Nunnery Lakes Orfordness Orwell Bridge Orwell Estuary Oulton Broad Page's Common, Chelmondiston Pakefield Heath Pakenham Fen Palgrave Farm, Stowupland Peto's Marsh Pinmill Pipp's Ford Redgrave Lake Red Lodge Wanen Reydon Marches Searson's Farm, Trimley Sedge Fen, Lakenheath Shetland Wood

TM890485 TL882716 TL855459 TM255377 TM501007 TM467655 TM178348 TM539935 TM5592 TL980787 TM262469 TM2647 TM2445 TL7983 TL937699 TL6678 TM4766 TM555936 TM273433 TM392773 TM518924 TL713740 TM533933 TM024600 TM4658 TL866615 TL872815 TM4654-3743 TM175413 TM 1641-2534 TM5192 TM200378 TM5388 TL930680 TM090630 TM497935 TM206380 TM 108538 TM055767 TL696700 TM485766 TM277357 TL660844 TL0061

Shingle Street Shotley Marshes Sizewell Belts Sizewell Levels Sizewell outfall/rig Slaughden Snape Warren Sotterley Park South Belt, Minsmere Southwold Boating Lake Southwold Churchyard Southwold C o m m o n Southwold Denes Southwold Harbour Southwold Town Marshes Sparrow's Nest Spouse's Grove, Assington Staverton Park Stradishall airfield Stour Estuary Sudboume Marshes Sudbury C o m m o n Lands Sulfolk Water Park Sutton Heath Theberton Grange Thorington Street Reservoir Thorpe Bay Thorpeness C o m m o n Thorpeness Meare Tinker's Marshes Trimley Marshes Trinity Hall Farm, Moulton Tuddenham Heath Tunstall Forest Upper Abbey Farm, Leiston Warrenhouse Wood, Lowestoft Waveney Forest Westleton Heath West Stow Country Park Westwood Marshes Wild Carr, Worlingham Wilford Bridge Wolsey Bridge Worlingham Marshes

142

TM365425 TM248350 TM460638 TM4765 TM478630 TM464555 TM4057 TM460850 TM469668 TM510769 TM507764 1 M500763 TM507753 TM504748 TM500754 TM55I944 TM934362 TM355510 TL7251 TM1032-2433 TM4553 TL867416 TM 120485 TM308478 TM438652 TM012352 TM253375 TM475604 TM4659 TM484760 TM2635 TL693651 TL7472 TM3954 TM453646 TM548954 TG460005 TM4569 TL800713 TM4773 TM444909 TM291501 TM472768 TM445915


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 Date

ARRIVALS Locality

Garganey

Mar. 18th

Osprey

Mar. 29th

Hobby Stone-curlew

Apr. 10th Mar. 9th

Little Ringed Plover Whimbrel

Mar. 3rd

Wood Sandpiper Sandwich Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Little Tern Black Tem Turtle Dove Cuckoo Nightjar Swift Wryneck Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail

Oct. 20th Oct. 8th

Ipswich

Oct. 19th

Minsmere North Warren Shingle Street

Breckland site Trimley Marshes NR

Oct. 18th Sep. 11th Nov. 3rd

Breckland site Trimley Marches North Warren/Slaughdcn

Sep. 12th Nov. 7th Nov. 3rd

Minsmere Wherstead Strand Lake Lothing

Oct. 24th Sep. 1st

Sizewell Landguard Sizewell Landguard

Havergate Island Minsmere

Apr 12th

Lackford WR Lackford WR Havergate Island

Apr. 25th Apr. 21st Apr. 14th May 7th Apr. 21st Apr. 29th Mar. 9th Mar. 30th Apr. 5th Apr. 6th Apr. 6th

DEPARTURES Ixicality

Minsmere Westleton Heath

Feb. 28th May 1st Mar. 24th Apr. 12th Apr. 13th

Date

Havergate Island

Lackford WR

Sep. 18th Oct. 7th Sep 29th Aug.19th Nov. 7th

Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Lackford WR Boyton

Sep. 28th Nov. l l t h

Ipswich Minsmere/East Bridge

Dec. 14th Nov. 12th

Pipp's Ford Saxmundham/Landguard

Alton Water

Oct. 17th Oct. 6th

Lowestoft Landguard Combs Lane Meadows. Stowmarket

Cavenham Heath Minsmere/Clopton Green Lackford WR/Trimley Marshes NR The King's Forest

Nightingale

Apr. 10th

Multiple sites (see text)

Sep. 18th

Redstart

Mar. 15th

Landguard

Oct. 22nd

Whinchat Wheatear Ring Ouzel

Apr. 19th Mar. 7th

Minsmere

Nov. l l t h Nov. 10th

Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Wood Warbler Willow Warbler Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher

Mar. 23rd Apr. 9th

Minsmere Minsmere Alton Water

North Denes. Lowestoft Minsmere Minsmere Alton Water

Oct. 25th Aug. 31st Sep. 19th Nov. 22nd

Cowpasture Allotments. Felixstowe St.Olaves Minsmere Southwold Landguard

Oct. 2nd

Apr. 19th May 3rd

Great Bealings Minsmere Lowestoft

Lackford WR Minsmere North Warren Lackford WR

Oct. 8th Aug 24th

Landguard Landguard/West Stow

Mar. 17th May Ist

Minsmere Minsmere/Lowestoft

Landguard Felixstowe

Apr. 27th

Landguard

Sep. 26th Oct. 21st Oct. 2nd

Apr. 4th Apr. 8th Apr. 10th Apr. l l t h

Trimley Marches NR Foxhall

143

Nov. 1st

Sizewell


NOTES H U M M I N G B I R D AT H E N L E Y Hummingbirds have been reported before in Suffolk but have invariably been dismissed as a mis-identified Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum). A report of a hummingbird at Henley, north of Ipswich, would probably have gone the same way but for the excellent description and sketch provided by the observer. This is an abridged version of the description: "On Saturday afternoon (November 1st) something flew by me to some hardy fuchsias about 1.5 metres away. I saw a very small bird hovering and putting its bill into the flowers. It flew away and returned to the same bushes on two further visits. On the Sunday this small bird with a very long thin bill returned to the same bushes and also to another group of different hardy fuchsias. We could clearly see its gingery brown underparts and tail. The head and upper body seemed to be a blue-green colour. The wings were beating so fast that the colour could not be seen (leaves on the ground were being moved). T h e bill, about 2.5cm long, was orange with a small black tip. It did settle briefly on one of the bushes and seemed to have very short legs, like a House Martin (Delichon urbica). The bird returned on the Monday a couple of times but we have not seen it since." T h e observer, Mr P. Crowson, was originally referred to the BTO. Their tentative identification was that the bird was either a Rufous-tailed (Amazilia tzacatl), or more likely, a Cinnamon Hummingbird (A. rutila). The author of the 'escapes' section of the Species Account, Mike Crewe, is of the opinion that it may be a Buff-bellied Hummingbird (A. yucatanensis). These species originate from the New World as do all members of this family. Enquiries have been made of local caged bird societies. They know of nobody in the Henley area that keeps hummingbirds. They are, not surprisingly, a difficult family to keep in captivity. Hummingbirds have a very high metabolic rate and need to feed frequently. The weather over the period of the observations was fair with light winds and m a x i m u m temperatures of 11 to 13°C (52 to 55°F). It is something of a mystery how the bird managed to find enough sustenance to keep alive for the three days it was reported. Undoubtedly it would have gone into a semi-torpid state at night and would have then been easy to capture. Its origins remain a mystery. Gary Lowe, Boyton, Suffolk.

D E S E R T L A R K AT M I N S M E R E On April 2nd 1997, Paul Green and Colin Todd found the corpse of a Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti) on the tide line south of Minsmere sluice. It was taken to Minsmere staff w h o immediately posted it to the Natural History M u s e u m at Tring. T h e specimen w a s in poor condition, flattened and considerably damaged. There was enough evidence to confirm its identity as a Desert Lark, possibly of the race payni. Tide line corpses of exotic origin are not unknown in Suffolk. Perhaps the most f a m o u s example was the Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethercus) found at Felixstowe in 1993. However, before Desert Lark could be added to any category of the British List, a number of anomalies had to be explained. First was the complete absence of sand. Corpses on a beach invariably have some amongst the plumage. 144


W h e n f o u n d t h e b o d y w a s c o v e r e d by j e t s a m and s h o u l d h a v e b e e n there f o r s o m e time. It s e e m s s t r a n g e it h a d not picked u p s o m e s a n d in that time. S e c o n d l y , t h e p l u m a g e l a c k e d the w e t and m a t t e d a p p e a r a n c e of a typical tide line casualty. H i l a r y Welch had r e m a r k e d o n first seeing the b o d y that it did not look like it had e v e r b e e n in the sea. Thirdly, there w a s the n a t u r e of t h e d a m a g e to the s p e c i m e n . T h e e x t e n s i v e c r u s h i n g w a s not c o m p l e t e , as o n e w o u l d e x p e c t if it had b e e n run o v e r by a vehicle. T h e tip of t h e bill a n d the f e e t w e r e a l m o s t intact. Yet the f o r c e m u s t h a v e been quite substantial to l e a v e the rest of the b o d y 1 3 - 1 4 m m thick. It s e e m s unlikely m e r e l y being t r o d d e n u p o n c a u s e d s u c h d a m a g e . T h e r e w a s a l s o the date to c o n s i d e r a l t h o u g h it w a s not actually f o u n d on Aprii Ist. But a g a i n s t this the b o d y w a s f o u n d in a place not regularly visited. If it w a s a hoax it d o e s not a p p e a r to h a v e b e e n very well p l a n n e d . T h e r e is t h e possibility that it originated f r o m a p a s s i n g s h i p . H o w e v e r , it is d i f f i c u l t to c o m e u p with a plausible sériés of e v e n t s that w o u l d e x p l a i n ali the c i r c u m s t a n c e s . P e r h a p s it w a s c r u s h e d on a ship ( a l t h o u g h there is n o indication of soiling) a n d carried f r o m the ship to the b e a c h by a s c a v e n g e r , s u c h as a g u l l ? B e c a u s e of t h e d o u b t s that exist the B O U R C d e c i d e d that the bird could not b e a c c e p t e d into any c a t e g o r y of the British List. A n o t h e r o n e that got a w a y ! Gary Lowe, Boyton, Suffolk. A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s : A l a n K n o x , G e o f f and Hilary Welch, the staff at the Naturai History M u s é u m .

QUAIL BREEDING IN W E S T SUFFOLK M y w o r k at Trinity Hall F a r m , M o u l t o n , a l l o w s m e to o b s e r v e the bird life a r o u n d the f a r m . M i g r a n t s h a v e i n c l u d e d N o r t h e r n W h e a t e a r and W h i n c h a t whilst p a s s a g e M a r s h H a r r i e r s a n d C o m m o n B u z z a r d are regularly noted. A trip of 10 Dotterei in the s p r i n g of 1994, f o l l o w e d b y t w o birds in 1995, w e r e w e l c o m e finds, as w a s a S h o r e l a r k w h i c h stayed f o r f i v e d a y s in O c t o b e r 1994, the first inland r e c o r d f o r Suffolk. D u r i n g t h e a f t e r n o o n a n d e v e n i n g of J u n e 24th 1997, three Quail w e r e heard calling f r o m fields of barley. T h i s w a s a n e w bird on the f a r m f o r m e a n d a p p a r e n t l y f o r Mr. S a l t m a r s h , w h o has f a r m e d t h e land f o r 5 0 years. T h e birds w e r e h e a r d o n s u b s é q u e n t d a y s , with n u m b e r s a p p e a r i n g to increase. B y J u l y 20th at least s e v e n m a i e s had b e e n located. C a l l i n g w a s noted regularly to A u g u s t 15th. W h i l s t c o m b i n i n g a b a r l e y field o n A u g u s t 7th a f e m a l e Quail w a s f l u s h e d . O n i n s p e c t i o n a nest c o n t a i n i n g 10 e g g s w a s f o u n d . A patch of u n c u t cereal w a s left a r o u n d the nest. Sadly, a l t h o u g h the f e m a l e r e m a i n e d in the vicinity she did not return to t h e n e s t . S u b s é q u e n t e x a m i n a t i o n of the e g g s s h o w e d t h e m to be c l o s e to h a t c h i n g .

Birds of the Western Palearctic describes the nest as a "shallow scrape sparsely lined with available végétation ". In fact, this particular nest w a s relatively well c o n s t r u c t e d , the d e e p c u p b e i n g a d e q u a t e l y lined with g r a s s e s a n d barley straw. O n A u g u s t 14th a pair w i t h nine y o u n g w a s f l u s h e d . A s the j u v e n i l e s w e r e not s t r o n g fliers I collected t w o and m o v e d t h e m o u t of the w a y of the c o m b i n e . O n A u g u s t 18th a pair with five y o u n g w a s seen. In this c a s e the y o u n g a p p e a r e d wellg r o w n a n d fiew strongly. A third pair w a s f o u n d o n A u g u s t 2 I s t , a c c o m p a n i e d by five h a l f - g r o w n y o u n g . T h e s e o n l y f i e w a short d i s t a n c e and o n e had t o be m o v e d b y h a n d a f t e r it t o o k r e f u g e u n d e r t h e c u t Straw. A l t h o u g h w e l l - f e a t h e r e d a b o v e , the u n d e r p a r t s

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were still downy. T h r o u g h o u t this period the adults a f f o r d e d excellent views, often d o w n to a few yards. Arrivai of this trans-Saharan migrant is usually in late M a y to early June. In this particular case, with incubation lasting 17-20 days and chicks able to fly w e a k l y f r o m 11 d a y s old, the presence of fledged young in mid-August suggests that the first eggs were laid in the first week of July. It would appear the overall breeding success of this g r o u p of Quail w a s good. Coincidentally, the local G r e y Partridges also fared well. H o p e f u l l y we will not have to wait another 5 0 years for a repeat p e r f o r m a n c e . P. Bullett, Moulton, S u f f o l k .

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RARITIES IN SUFFOLK, 1997 S P E C T A C L E D WARBLER - FIRST FOR SUFFOLK Having left the Observatory at midday on April 26th, I decided to return for a Aying visit in the evening. Unfortunately there had not been a large arrivai and 1 only caught two birds. However, as these were a Grasshopper Warbier and a 'control' British Willow Warbier I was pleased with my efforts. Whilst packing up I approached the second last net to find I had caught another warbler. From a distance it looked like a Whitethroat. However, on reaching the net it was immediately obvious (hat it was no ordinary Whitethroat! It w a s far too small and the slate-grey head with contrasting black lores, white eye-ring and pure white throat immediately suggested one thing male Spectacled Warbler. The bird w a s carefully extracted f r o m the mist-net and taken to the ringing room. A full in-hand description and a n u m b e r of photographs were taken. In view of the lateness, not wishing to hold the bird for an excessive amount of time. only a basic wing f o r m u l a w a s taken. W h e n released it was heard to call - a harsh rattling churr. The f o l l o w i n g day it w a s seen by hundreds of observers even though viewing conditions were difficult. The bird had chosen to feed in an inaccessible area. Over the next few d a y s it b e c a m e m u c h more obliging and showed extremely well to many hundreds of observers on rough ground along the front of the Observatory c o m p o u n d . It stayed a total of seven days, being last seen on May 2nd.

Description: Head: f o r e h e a d , c r o w n and ear coverts slate-grey with bluish tinge; lores black. extending to j u s t above and below the eye, contrasting with grey of forehead and crown; b r o k e n eye-ring, broader above the eye. Upperparts: the slate-grey of the head merged into grey-brown on nape; the mantle and back were a w a r m e r b r o w n b e c o m i n g paler grey on rump and upper tail-coverts; scapulars, b r o w n with slight rufous tinge. Wings: primaries blackish-brown, outer webs ftnely edged with pale orange-brown; primary tips worn; secondaries as primaries but outer w e b s with broad orange-brown fringes, narrowing towards the tip; first tertial (nearest secondaries) rufous-orange with broad, rounded, sharply contrasting blackish-brown centre; other two tertials, worn, a slightly paler rufous-orange with narrower, pointed, blackish-brown centres; primary coverts, dark b r o w n edged with pale rufous brown; greater coverts with r u f o u s - b r o w n outer w e b s and blackish-brown inner w e b s broadly tipped with rufousbrown; m e d i a n coverts, pale rufous-brown with slightly darker centres; lesser coverts, pale greyish-brown with dark brown centres; feathers of alula blackish-brown, outer webs narrowly edged off-white, inner w e b s more broadly edged with very pale rufous brown. Underparts: chin and throat pure white sharply contrasting with greyish-pink upperbreast; white throat feathers, grey at base; breast, flanks, under-wing coverts and axillaries greyish-pink; centre of belly slightly paler than breast and flanks; under-tail coverts white. Tail: outer tail feathers white with blackish-brown w e d g e starting on inner w e b 15mm f r o m tip, cutting across outer web; second outermost tail feathers blackish-brown with white w e d g e at tip extending 10mm up shaft, distal portion of outer web edged with white; third outermost tail feathers blackish-brown with 5 m m white wedge at tip; other tail feathers blackish-brown with fine pale brown edges. Bare parts: upper mandible black with proximal three-quarters of cutting edge pale pink; lower mandible pale pink with black tip; gape flange pale yellow; inside of the 147


upper mandible bright yellow with dark grey tip; tarsus and feet bright o r a n g e - b r o w n with soles slightly paler; claws blackish-brown; iris bright o r a n g e - b r o w n . Biometrics: primaries numbered ascendently: 59mm wing length emarginations 3, 4 , 5 3,4 wing point 6/7 2nd primary weight 8.5 g m s 1 fat score (0-8) pectoral muscle score (0-3) 1 M i k e Marsh, Felixstowe, S u f f o l k . (Brian Small also submitted an excellent description and sketches based upon observations.)

field

L A N C E O L A T E D WARBLER - FIRST FOR S U F F O L K A f t e r a reasonable n u m b e r of migrants had appeared o v e r the previous days, S e p t e m b e r 26th d a w n e d with s o m e expectation. However, the first net r o u n d s prod u c e d few new birds. By 11.00 only nine birds had been ringed and I d r e w the short straw to trudge round the e m p t y nets at 11.30. T h e wind had increased and w e had had to close all but o n e sheltered net on the east bank of the ringing area. A s I approached 1 saw a bird in the net s h o w i n g the long undertail coverts of a Locustella warbler. Back in the ringing r o o m I told M i k e M a r s h and Nigel O d i n that I thought I had a Lanceolated Warbler and as soon as I took the bird out of the bag N O w a s certain. I took the relevant m e a s u r e m e n t s and then got d o w n to taking a description with M M whilst N O got on the telephone.

Description: Upperparts: f o r e h e a d , c r o w n , back and uppertail coverts olive-brown with black centres to feathers - slightly greyer on head. Lores and ear-coverts greyish oliveb r o w n . Supercilium greyish-buff, fairly broad but narrower a b o v e the eye. Underparts: chin and throat white, streaked brown; malar stripe dark grey; m o u s tachial stripe dull cream. Fine blackish-brown streaks starting on the throat, extending d o w n on to the breast, b e c o m i n g broader and more d i f f u s e towards the breast. Breast white with dark feather centres giving indistinct streaking. Flanks olive-brown, broad, black feather centres to the rear. Belly and vent off-white. Undertail coverts buff with blackish-brown central streaks to feathers. T h e longest undertail covert with a black streak reaching nearly to the tip. Wings: Primaries, secondaries and primary coverts all fresh, blackish-brown narrowly fringed w a r m b r o w n . Tertials brown-black neatly fringed pale olive-brown, the fringe going right round the tip on all the tertials. Alula slightly d a r k e r than primary coverts with a paler fringe. All w i n g coverts blackish-brown centred with fairly broad pale olive-brown fringes. U n d e r w i n g coverts and axillaries white with faint yellowishb r o w n tinge. Tail: Pointed feathers, slightly worn, blackish-brown and just paler than the centres of tertials. Second retrice on right half of tail only 3/4 grown and rounded. Bare parts: U p p e r mandible blackish-brown with a fine pink cutting e d g e . L o w e r m a n d i b l e dull pink, yellower at base. Iris m u d d y b r o w n ; lower half of orbital ring pale straw. Tarsi, soles, toes and c l a w s pink.

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Other: Emargination on P 3 only. PI = P C s . Wing point = 3. P2 = P4. Notch length on P 2 = 6 . 5 m m . Distance between longest and shortest rectrix= 14.1mm. Aged as first year on fresh condition of remiges, per Svensson 1992. The bird w a s in good condition and w e decided to release it into the nearby cottage garden of Paul Holmes, the reserve warden. The habitat w a s suitable and we feit not only would birders have a better c h a n c e of seeing it but that it would be easier to marshal people. It also meant the normal activity of the Observatory could continue. Many people did see the bird that day but it was not found the following day. Andy Mitchell, c/o Landguard Bird Observatory. BUFFLEHEAD - SECOND FOR SUFFOLK On N o v e m b e r 29th I checked H e v e n i n g h a m Hall Lake, as I do when passing. 1 was checking through the normal group of Mallards when a small black and white bird flew into view. As soon as it landed I realised it w a s a drake Bufflehead. The Lake had undergone m a j o r dredging and extensive works during the preceding months. N o exotic w i l d f o w l are kept there. Description: Size: smaller than Goldeneye, larger than Teal. Head: f o r e h e a d to mid-crown to chin behind eye and f r o m bill level to hindneck and d o w n to breast level, black. Rest of head white, giving striking steep-headed appearance.

Bufflehead Upperparts: mantle, scapulars and visible wing (tertials, primaries and tail), black. Rest of upperparts (breast-flanks, r u m p and uppertail coverts). white. Underparts: white (seen w h e n preening). Bare parts: eye, dark; bill, short and dark grey. Legs, flesh-pink and unringed. Behaviour: constantly active, diving and s w i m m i n g around Lake. It appeared quite nervous and flew repeatedly, showing both wings to be full length and fully feathered. At times it flew high. It loosely attached itself to a group of Mallard but fed on ils own. A. H o w e , Bury S t . E d m u n d s . Suffolk. NOTE: whilst the identification of this bird was never disputed. its origins were, as would be expected, hotly disputed. Brian Small, who also submitted a description, spent a total of 12 hours studying the bird. His work helped to establish that it was both unringed and wary. Doubtless this was a factor in the BBRC dĂŠcision. Editor. 149


I S A B E L L I N E S H R I K E - S E C O N D FOR S U F F O L K O n N o v e m b e r 23rd Mike Morley and I decided to try the Butley/Boyton area for possible raptors. We arrived at Boyton Marshes at around 08.30. A mixed finch/ bunting flock w a s feeding around Banter's Barn. It appeared to mainly comprise Chaffinches, Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings. We moved to the sunnier side of the adjoining hawthorn hedge where the birds were much bolder, more active and easier to 'scope. Almost immediately M M called out that he had a shrike. I focused my 'scope on the bird and realised it was an Isabelline Shrike. Together M M and I took a description. As the day warmed further the bird b e c a m e more and more active, dashing after insects like a flycatcher. It was easy to spot against the hedge as it w a s so pale and because the finches and buntings followed it around. It stayed in the general area all day, often showing very well. It was seen by at least 2 0 0 people. Unfortunately it could not be relocated the next day.

Description: Size and shape: as Red-backed Shrike but appeared proportionally longer tailed. Upperparts: mantle, sandy grey/pale buff tinged rusty on lower r u m p and uppertail coverts. Underparts.creamy white with slight scalloping, most prominent around undertail coverts/vent and on upper breast with a slight rusty wash to sides of neck and across throat. Head: as mantle but crown with slight rufous tinge especially when seen head on. Narrow dark-brown m a s k on ear coverts surrounded by thin creamy-white line, which continued over lores to join u p over the bill. Tail: rusty-red in colour. Long, appeared square-ended when seen f r o m below. Wings: dark b l a c k i s h - b r o w n , broadly edged with white, especially prominent on the tertials. Coverts similar but greater coverts showed broader white tips giving the suggestion of a wing-bar. An obvious white patch at the base of o u t e r primaries. P r i m a r y p r o j e c t i o n appeared short when seen from behind but this Isabelline Shrike was not so apparent from other angles. Eye: large and dark with broad white eye-ring, especially o b v i o u s behind the eye, appearing as white spot/comma between dark of eye and ear coverts. Bill: longish. Narrowly based but sharply tapering with hook at tip and slight gonys. Appeared pinkish-horn with dark tip but close views revealed it to have a dark culmen ridge with flesh pink lower mandible. There also appeared to be a dark spot halfway along the bill on the left-hand side, the origin of which is u n k n o w n . Legs: blackish with grey wash. Feet black. Behaviour: fed mainly by watching for prey f r o m a perch and dashing out to take prey either in the air or on the ground. Also seen to hover. Flight typical of shrike, with wings held below horizontal.

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Age and race: scaling on underparts and broad pale edges to tertials suggest the bird to be first winter. T h e rufous tinge to the crown and prominent white patch at the base of dark w i n g s suggest it to of the race phoenicuroides. Eric Patrick, Ipswich, S u f f o l k .

T H R U S H N I G H T I N G A L E - T H I R D FOR SUFFOLK On M a y 31st I received a telephone call from Peter Catchpole, w h o informed me that he had heard a Thrush Nightingale singing at his ringing site at Hollesley. His description of the song perfectly matched my recollections of birds I had heard singing in Rybatchy, Russia, the previous spring and in Poland in other years. T h e bird was holding territory in a particularly d a m p part of an osier plantation. Neither PRC, nor his fellow ringer, Rodney West, had been able to obtain views of the bird. I b o r r o w e d s o m e recording equipment and the following morning went with P R C and RW to locate the bird. Despite a strong east wind I managed to record the song. On playback the bird sat up in view for s o m e 20 seconds in dappled sunlight. The bird w a s nightingale size but duller, lacking the rufous tones. The ringing site w a s on private land and news had to be suppressed both because of the possibility of breeding and because a mass visitation of birders could have jeopardised P R C ' s position with the owners.

Description: Head: olive-brown with hint of greyish-white malar stripe. Upperparts: back, mantle, lesser coverts and r u m p were dark brown with greyish cast. Tertials, dark b r o w n finely edged greyish buff. Other wing feathers, brown. Tail, dark brown with r u f o u s tones, but not so obvious as in Nightingale. Underparts: breast, greyish with fine mottling. Throat and chin, white faintly speckled brownish-grey. Belly, white with grey-brown wash. Undertail coverts, greyish-white with reddish tinge. Vent, dull off-white with greyish wash. Bare parts: eye, black iris with pale beige orbital ring. Legs, greyish black. Upper mandible, dark horn. L o w e r mandible, dark horn with fleshier tone at base. Mouthparts, yellowish gape line. Song: strident and Nightingale-like, but less harsh. More flutey notes, although these were regularly followed by rattling, machine-gun-like sequences. Lacked crescendo phrases of a Nightingale. (A tape-recording w a s enclosed with the description). Steve Piotrowski, Ipswich, S u f f o l k .

T H R U S H N I G H T I N G A L E - FOURTH FOR SUFFOLK On S e p t e m b e r 28th I w a s searching for migrants in the coastal cover of Felixstowe with Stuart Ling. A f t e r a slow start w e had m o v e d to the area around the C u s t o m s House and Adastral Close. At around 12.00 we were approached by John Dixon, a visiting birder f r o m Hampshire, w h o i n f o r m e d us that he had just obtained brief views of a nightingale species. He had only seen the bird for a few seconds but he described it as rather b r o w n , with dull underparts. A f t e r about half an hour w e located a chat or small thrush hopping along a low, o v e r g r o w n bank. T h e views were frustratingly brief and we were unable to identify the bird b e f o r e it darted back into cover. This was repeated several more times before

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the bird finally c a m e out into the open, cocked its tail and revealed itself to indeed be a nightingale species. Eventually the bird b e c a m e m o r e obliging and was seen quite well out in the open. This revealed distinctly grey-brown upperparts, lacking any rufous tinges, and grey underparts. It s h o w e d a distinct malar stripe and a clearly mottled breast. By now w e were sure w e w e r e looking at a Thrush Nightingale. M a n y people saw the bird b e f o r e it went missing a c o u p l e of hours b e f o r e dusk. T h e following day it w a s relocated in the evening, further along the road t o w a r d s L a n d guard. There were no subsequent sightings.

Description: Structure/Jizz: clearly a nightingale sp. but no obvious d i f f é r e n c e s f r o m C o m m o n Nightingale. T h e diagnostic first primary w a s looked for w h e n the bird w a s perched and it did not appear to extend beyond the greater primary coverts, but this w a s extremely difficult to ascertain. T h e lack of prominent pale fringes to the primaries m a d e counting the spacing of these feathers impossible. W h e n the tail w a s c o c k e d the undertail coverts were seen to be very long. Behaviour: generally very skulking and shy. O n c e the bird w a s pinned d o w n in an isolated area of cover it would remain in o n e position f o r s o m e time, occasionally running into view, raising its tail and drooping its wings u p o n stopping. Plumage: c r o w n , mantle, scapulars, rump, and uppertail coverts earth-brown with n o hint of any r u f o u s tones. T h e supercilium w a s very weak, appearing n o m o r e than a shade paler than the c r o w n . The eye-ring w a s very fine and inconspicuous, far less prominent than that of the Landguard bird of 1995. The ear coverts s h o w e d a mottled effect, rather a noticeable feature. T h e grey sides to the neck, o f t e n shown by C o m m o n Nightingale, were absent. The tail w a s rufous b r o w n contrasting with the earth-brown r u m p and uppertail coverts. T h e wings looked to be fairly u n i f o r m and c o n c o l o r o u s with the rest of the upperparts, showing no significant contrast b e t w e e n the feather centres and fringes. G r e y malar stripe w a s quite prominent, creating a paler sub-moustachial area. Throat paler than breast. Rest of underparts dull greyish-white with a darker, slightly warmer, w a s h on the flanks. T h e w h o l e of the breast w a s prominently mottled, extending slightly onto the flanks. T h e prominence of the flank streaking appeared to alter with c h a n g e s in posture and light. The vent a n d undertail coverts were cleaner, whiter looking, than the rest of the underparts. N o mottling w a s seen on the undertail coverts. Bare Parts: bill, dark greyish upper mandible and tip to lower mandible. Base of lower m a n d i b l e paler, dull fleshy-orange. G a p e line yeliow and very obvious, reminiscent of a y o u n g bird. Exact leg colour difficult to determine but they did not appear to be particularly brìght, best described as dull fleshy-yellow/grey. Cali: called o n c e w h e n accidentally flushed, a rather typical thrush-like 'tak' o r

'tchak'. S. Babbs. Ipswich, S u f f o l k .

D U S K Y WARBLER - FOURTH FOR SUFFOLK At the a b a n d o n e d holiday c a m p near C o r t o n on O c t o b e r 23rd I saw a very interesting warbler with a prominent supercilium sitting low in a bush. Fortunately it s h o w e d well, d o w n to about two métrés, as it foraged low d o w n in the b u s h e s and b r a m b l e s . It kept calling with a persistent tack, tack, tack'. A f t e r 30 m i n u t e s of study I w a s c o n v i n c e d it w a s a Dusky Warbler. I lost it at about 11.00 and it had not been r e f o u n d when I had to leave an hour later. T h a n k f u l l y it w a s refound later and seen by several people.

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Description: General behaviour: looked like a typical Phylloscopus warbler and fed very aclively, at times out in the open, although it could vanish for lengthy periods inside brambles. The second day it spent a lot of time in the higher canopy. It liked to feed off the underside of leaves by stretching its neck and picking off insects but could also charge about. At times it called very persistently. It flicked its short wings constantly for periods of time and also raised and flicked its tail. Size and shape: very similar in size to Chiffchaff but a totally diffĂŠrent shape with a short-necked appearance. T h e short primary projection made the rear end and tail look longer. It also had a more horizontal stance than C h i f f c h a f f , looking fiat backed with a rounded belly. Plumage: upperparts were a uniform darkish brown as were the wings, rump and uppertail. T h e underparts were a light buff colour, darker along the flanks (some observers said they could see an orange-rusty wash in the flanks in certain lights). The throat w a s a little paler as w a s the centre of the belly, being a dull off-white. The undertail coverts were a light buff colour similar to the colour of the flanks. Tail: quite rounded; s o m e t i m e s a distinct notch could be seen in the middle. Not long, although it appeared so because of the shortness of the wings. Head and face pattern: head pattern w a s striking when seen close with dark eye-stripe f r o m the lores to behind the eye; prominent supercilium, paler buff than the flanks and probably nearer the colour of the belly; no noticeable dark stripe above the supercilium. T h e c r o w n was m o r e or less the same colour as the rest of the upperparts. The e y e w a s dark with half an eye-ring, o f f - w h i t e on the lower part of the eye. Cheek w a s dark/buffish. F r o m m e m o r y the supercilium did not appear as long as on a R a d d e ' s Warbler. Bill: long and fine with a darkish upper mandible and a dark tip to the lower mandible. The rest of the lower mandible was a yellowish colour. Legs: s e e m e d longish for the size of the bird. Pale fleshy colour; appeared lo have a yellow/orange wash in bright sunlight. Not as robust as Radde's Warbler. Cali: a sharp 'tack, tack, t a c k ' , often given repeatedly and for lengthy periods. The cali w a s quieter and more subdued the first day, the second day it seemed louder and at times it w a s easy to track the bird by its cali. Cari Buttle, Beccles, Suffolk.

STILT SANDPIPER - FOURTH FOR SUFFOLK On the morning of September 7th I had a message that Derek Eaton had had poor views of a possible Stilt Sandpiper at Minsmere. When I arrived the bird was not visible. I eventually located the bird, which was asleep. The obvious breast and flank barring w a s the only feature visible. T h e bird flew and showed well. but distantly. and the visible p l u m a g e features left me in no doubt about its identity. A nagging doubt surrounded the bird's shape and posture - at that time it seemed plump. short-necked and rather like a Curlew Sandpiper ( t w o of which were present. often alongside). A f t e r making several sketches and detailed notes David Fairhurst and I went to check b o o k s at the Reserve centre. Comparison of the t w o made the identification positive.

Description: Size and structure: at a distance it appeared, initially at least, similar to Curlew Sandpiper, with down-curved medium length bill, bulky body, slim neck and head, and longish legs. Tended to prefer deeper water. As the bird became more settled and upon closer views it w a s distinctly diffĂŠrent f r o m Curlew Sandpiper in the following w a y s : -

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Slightly larger with a longer neck. T h e bill w a s distinctly shaped, being straight but d o w n - t u r n e d near the tip; broad based. A less r o u n d e d h e a d , with a sloping f o r e h e a d , on a longer neck. A slightly, but notably, m o r e u p r i g h t stance when feeding. Rather than a horizontal action it â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201D; ~ probed more deeply f r o m a higher starting point. L o n g e r l e g g e d a b o v e the ' k n e e ' joint, with the feet projecting well b e y o n d the tip in flight.

Still Sandpiper

Plumage:

Head: forehead and c r o w n grey with fine dark streaks generally u n i f o r m in appearance. W h i t e supercilia, most p r o m i n e n t in front of the eye, but finely streaked (diagonally) behind the eye; a dark loral line a d d e d to the contrast in front of the eye, and lightly streaked grey ear coverts to the lack of contrast behind. Sides of neck and hindneck grey streaked darker, m o r e prominently than the head and b e c o m i n g quite heavily m a r k e d with black near the mantle. Oddly, there appeared to be s o m e reddish orange on the bill or around the bill base; personally I feit it w a s staining of feathering. Upperparts: mantle streaked with black feathers narrowly edged white, generally appearing black (as a continuation of the hindneck markings); a narrow white line separated the mantle f r o m the scapulars. Scapulars w e r e a mixture of old and n e w feathers, the u p p e r row being predominantly black, f o r m i n g a narrow line, but the lower r o w s largely new grey feathers, a d m i x e d were a f e w black feathers with white notches (largely to the rear). U p p e r w i n g coverts were a w o m sepia-grey, contrasting with the new grey scapulars; on the greater coverts were o n e or two black-centred and white-notched feathers. Tertials w e r e w o m sepia-grey, as coverts, but with a n a r r o w c r e a m edge. T h e r e w a s a distinct primary projection, beyond the tertials and the tail. In flight there w a s a notable absence of any w i n g bar, instead the u p p e r w i n g surface appeared an e v e n sepia-grey. A l s o in flight, the r u m p w a s clearly not white, usually s e e m i n g grey, but in closer views seen to h a v e distinct dark marks. T h e tail w a s grey. Underparts: white with black barring of variable width and density; the f l a n k s b e i n g less barred, the lower neck sides, the breast and belly being quite heavily barred. T h e undertail coverts were m a r k e d with black chevrons. Bare parts: bill dark (black) and distinctly shaped. L e g s appeared long and variable in colour, noted as ' y e l l o w / g r e e n - g r e y ' or ' o c h r e - g r e y ' depending on the light conditions. Discussion: interestingly, there was uncertainty at the initial identification of this bird, but no other wader could possess the structure and plumage features of this bird at this time of year. T h e wing coverts were a dark sepia-grey with occasionai black feathers, but it appears that Stilt Sandpiper has a variable moult of these feathers with, in summer, some appearing black, others old and worn - unless this is a sign of age. Brian Small, Worlingworth, S u f f o l k . 154


BLUE-WINGED TEAL - FOURTH FOR SUFFOLK On the e v e n i n g of S e p t e m b e r 23rd I noticed a small duck resembling a Teal feeding on s o m e sunken w e e d at P i p p ' s Ford GP, Barking. However, the jizz was différent and I resolved to return again in better light conditions. Unfortunately, I could not return unti] early October when I saw the duck in the c o m p a n y of three Teal. On a brief comparison I became convinced that the duck was a Blue-winged Teal. T h e head shape w a s more round and there was a distinctive light area at the base of the bill. In N o v e m b e r I saw the duck flying free with Teals. I clearly saw the light blue f o r e w i n g through my 'scope, which confirmed my initial suspicion of Blue-winged Teal.

Description: Size and structure: similar to female Teal, possibly slightly larger and with noticeably différent head shape. Plumage: slightly lighter in tone than Teal, but generally mottled greyish-buff with darker centres to feathers, giving an overall contrasting appearance. Chin and throat appeared lighter in tone. Wings, blue forewing and double, white bar in front of spéculum. Head: buffish-grey, very slight mottling. Cap, dark and prominent. Supercilium, dark with p r o m i n e n t eye-stripe. Light greyish area at base of bill, clearly visible at a considérable distance. Bare parts: bill, dark grey; possibly yellowish, certainly lighter, at base of lower mandible; slightly heavier than Teal and more spatulate in form. Legs, yellowishbrown. Behaviour: did not appear to up-end; dabbled for food. Flew off strongly if disturbed, often quite high. P. A. Whittaker, P i p p ' s Ford, Barking, S u f f o l k .

A M E R I C A N / P A C I F I C G O L D E N PLOVER At about 17.30 hours on May 26th, while visiting Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick N N R , I noticed a G o l d e n Piover in non-breeding plumage which, f r o m its greyness and small size, I suspected might be either an American or a Pacific Golden Piover. Unfortunately it disappeared before I could set up my telescope. After ten minutes it reappeared and I noted its long neck and small head. Its legs were long, thin and black. It was chased off by a Lapwing, clearly showing a uniform dusky-grey underwing, axillaries and primaries in flight. The upper wing also showed as quite grey with no noticeable wing-bar or white flashing on the primaries. T h e primaries contrasted with the mantle which showed s o m e golden flecking. The legs appeared to just reach the tail with no particularly noticeable extension beyond, while the w i n g s s h o w e d as long and narrow. On the ground it s h o w e d a fine black bill and the wings extended well beyond the tail. T h e only gold in the p l u m a g e w a s on the mantle with none visible on the wing coverts w h i c h were flecked with brownish grey. The crown appeared darkened but this may h a v e been caused by the contrast against the noticeably pale yellowish-white supercilium. T h e r e w a s also a pale area around the base of the bill. T h e neck and breast appeared greyish because of the pale grey mottling, while the flanks were also matted and greyish. The undertail area was paler. off-white, with no noticeable markings. Surprisingly, at a distance the bird had a slight yellowish appearance.

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A f t e r a short This meant that bird w a s either Piover P. fulva,

while the bird w a s again chased off by L a p w i n g s but did not return. a full detailed description was not possible. I have no d o u b t that the an American G o l d e n Piover Pluvialis dominica or a Pacific G o l d e n almost certainly the former.

Cliff Waller, c/o English Nature. Note: This record was accepted by B B R C but could not be specifically identified as either American or Pacific G o l d e n Piover. Either would have been an addition to the C o u n t y list. Editor.

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A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Introduction The foundation stone of any report is the data upon which it is based. Unless we ail submit our records diligently, and in a usable form, then the Suffolk Bird Report will not be a c o m p r e h e n s i v e account of the birds recorded in Suffolk.

The system T h e recording of the C o u n t y ' s avifauna is the responsibility of the Suffolk Naturalists' Society, working in close co-operation with the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group. T h e linchpins of the system are the Recorders, who are the initial point of contact for ali records. Because of the volume of records in Suffolk the County has been divided into three areas. See the inside front cover for a map and addresses. O b s e r v e r s 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 originai boundaries as we feel that sensible comparison of data can only be m a d e f r o m year to year if the recording area is kept constant.

Submission of records Ali observers are requested to submit their records monthly. We also suggest that the f o l l o w i n g format be followed: (a) Location (precise place name f r o m the O r d n a n c e Survey m a p plus parish if a m b i g u o u s ) . O S grid référencé should be added if in any doubt or if reporting breeding locations. (b) Species (c) Date (d) N a m e and address of observer (e) Sex/age - male, female, juvenile etc.

(0

Abundance - count numbers, frequency, etc.

(g) Type of record - dead, ringed, etc. (h) O t h e r c o m m e n t s considered relevant - behaviour etc. In particular see the list b e l o w for particular information required for each species. AU claims of national rarities should, of course, be accompanied by a full description. The Recorder will automatically f o r w a r d this to the British Birds Rarities Committee ( B B R C ) . If submitting a list of records for one particular site, please put ail détails at the top of the list and annotate with sex and/or frequency. Remember, if in any doubt as to the value of any record, please send it in!

Assessment of records Ail records c o m e under the scrutiny of the Suffolk Ornithological Records C o m mittee ( S O R C ) 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 S O R C ' s policy for vagrants, classified as national rarities, is clear; records should be channelled through the County Recorder to be considered by the British Birds Rarities C o m m i t t e e ( B B R C ) . Its décisions are accepted by S O R C with f e w exceptions. A full list of species that are considered by the S O R C follows. 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

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fully established or, m o r e rarely, a genuine mistake having been made. It also includes records that have been previously published in the bulletins of the S u f f o l k Ornithologists' G r o u p , British Birds and/or the populär birding press for w h i c h f u r t h e r détails were not f o r t h c o m i n g . It does not include records still under considération.

Guide to species A s a guide to the submission of sightings, the following list of species, ail previously recorded in the C o u n t y has been annotated with c o d e s that act as a guide to the records that the C o u n t y Recorders require. T h e c o d e s are explained in the following key:

Recording Code Key A B C D E I IN M N W

Ail records required Birds c o n f i r m e d breeding or holding territory C o u n t s of roosts, flocks or m o v e m e n t s Detailed description required to substantiate claim ( f o r m s available f r o m C o u n t y Recorders) Earliest and latest dates (for s u m m e r and winter migrants) Inland records required Notes required to support inland claims Migration or weather-related m o v e m e n t s Brief notes required (how bird was identified, view, distance, etc.) Ail winter records required

Red-throated Diver Black-throated Diver Great Northern Diver Little Grebe Great Crested Grebe Red-necked Grebe Slavonian Grebe Btack-necked Grebe Fulmar Cory's Shearwater Great Shearwater Sooty Shearwater Mail* Shearwater Storni Pétrel Leach's Pétrel Gannet Cormorani Shag Bittern Litde Egrct Grey Héron Purple Héron White Stork Spoonbill Mute Swan Bewick's Swan Whooper Swan Bean G o o s e Pink-footed G o o s e White-fronted G o o s e Greylag G o o s e Canada G o o s e Ramacle G o o s e Brent G o o s e Egyptian G o o s e Shelduck Mandarin

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 CM1 A BCI N

Wigeon Gadwall Teal Mallard Pintail Garganey Shoveler Red-crested Pochard Pochard Ring-necked Duck Fermginous Duck Tufted Duck Scaup Eider Long-tailed Duck C o m m o n Scoter Velvet Scoter Goldeneye Smew Red-breasted Merganser Goosander Ruddy Duck Honey Buzzard Red Kite Marsh Harrier Hen Harrier Montagu's Harrier Goshawk Sparrowhawk Buzzard Rough-Iegged Buzzard Osprey Kestrel Merlin Hobby Peregrine Red-Iegged Paxtridge

158

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 A N A BCM A A A B

Grey Partridge Quail Pheasant Golden Pheasant Water Rail Spotted Crake Comcrake Moorhen Coot Crâne Oystercatcher Avocet Stone-curlew Little Ringed Piover Ringed Piover Kentish Piover Dotterei Golden Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Knot Sanderling Litde Stint Temminck's Stint Pectoral Sandpiper Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Buff-breasted Sandpiper Ruft lack Snipe Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew

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


Spotted Redshank Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper C o m m o n Sandpiper Turnstone Red-necked Phalarope Grey Phalarope Pomarine Skua Arctic Skua Long-tailed Skua Great Skua Mediterranean Guil Little Gull Sabine's Gull Black-headed Gull Ring-billed Gull C o m m o n Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Great Black-backed Gull Kittiwake Sandwich T e m Roseate T e m C o m m o n Tern Arctic Tem Little Tem Black T e m Guillemot Razorbill Black Guillemot Little Auk Puffin Ferai Pigeon Stock D o v e Wood Pigeon Collared D o v e Turtle D o v e Ring-necked Parakeet Cuckoo BamOwl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared O w l Short-eared Owl Nightjar Swift Kingfisher Bee-eater Hoopoe Wryneck Green Woodpecker

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

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

159

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 BCE BCE D D N BCW

Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tu Willow Tit Crested Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tu Nulhatch Trcecreeper Golden Oriole Red-back ed Shrike Great Grey Shrike Woodchat Shrike Jay Magpie Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Raven Sterling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Serin Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Twite Redpoll Crossbill Common Rosefinch Bullfinch Hawftnch Lapland Bunting Snow Bunting Yellowhammer Ciri Bunting Ortolan Bunting Linie Bunting Reed Bunting C o m Bunting Ortolan Bunting Linie Bunting Reed Bunting Com Bunting

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 D D BCM A


Landguard Bird Observatory, 1997 Michael

James

•lanuarv S n o w feil o n N e w Y e a r ' s Day, d r i v e n on n o r t h - e a s t e r l y w i n d s , c a u s i n g d r i f t s a c r o s s L a n d g u a r d ' s d i p s and h o l l o w s . D ü r i n g t h e first 10 d a y s of t h e m o n t h t h e d a y t i m e t e m p e r a t u r e s r o s e a b o v e f r e e z i n g by a d e g r e e or t w o o n j u s t three o c c a s i o n s , a n d n i g h t - t i m e f i g u r e s p l u n g e d well b e l o w z e r o . O u t in the d i s t u r b e d grey w a t e r s of t h e s h i p p i n g Channel, the c o n c e n t r a t i o n of C o r m o r a n t s c o n t i n u e d to s w e l l d u r i n g t h e s e first t w o w e e k s , r e a c h i n g a total of 4 6 o n lOth. G r e a t C r e s t e d G r e b e s a l s o f e a t u r e d in this f e e d i n g activity, a total of e i g h t o n 2 n d b e i n g a n o t a b l e ' s i t e ' r e c o r d . A m o n g s t t h e r e g u l ä r i n v e s t i g a t i n g Laridae w e r e t h r e e adult M e d i t e r r a n e a n G u l l s . F r o z e n w a t e r e l s e w h e r e f o r c e d birds to m o v e . T w e n t y - t h r e e G o o s a n d e r s f l e w s o u t h o n 2 n d , a n d five S c a u p s a l s o h e a d e d s o u t h o n 9th w h e n a d r a k e S m e w w e n t n o r t h . S i n g l e r e c o r d s of Velvet S c o t e r a n d B l a c k - t h r o a t e d D i v e r a l s o c o i n c i d e d w i t h this bitterly c o l d speli, but g e n e r a l l y t h e r e w e r e n o large-scale m o v e m e n t s of w i l d f o w l . S m a l l n u m b e r s of W i g e o n s . T u f t e d D u c k s a n d P o c h a r d s p a s s e d b y w i t h a few Red-breasted Mergansers, Goldeneyes, C o m m o n Scoters and Eiders (with f o u r of t h e last lingering o f f s h o r e all m o n t h ) . Sadly, a f e w oiled G u i l l e m o t s w e r e e v i d e n t as t h e y h a u l e d t h e m s e l v e s o n t o the b e a c h . W a d e r s w e r e r e p r e s e n t e d in s m a l l n u m b e r s . A S n i p e w a s s e e n in t h e f i r s t t w o d a y s , a n d f o u r f l e w in off t h e sea o n 3rd. O c c a s i o n a i G o l d e n a n d G r e y P l o v e r s m a d e f l e e t i n g Visits, a l o n g w i t h a L a p w i n g in t h e c o l d speli, but a c o u p l e of P u r p l e S a n d p i p e r s a n d S a n d e r l i n g s s t a y e d longer, as d i d a d o z e n T u r n s t o n e s a n d a d e v e l o p i n g R i n g e d P i o v e r roost w h i c h r e a c h e d 100 in the last w e e k . A f e w K n o t s , C u r l e w s a n d Bar-tailed G o d w i t s passed by offshore. At t h e e n d of the s e c o n d w e e k the w i n d s f i n a l l y d e v i a t e d a l l o w i n g m i l d e r c o n d i tions, a n d a peri o d of light w i n d s , p e p p e r e d w i t h d r i z z l e a n d s o m e f o g g y d a y s . C o u n t s r e v e a l e d that t h e local W r e n s , R o b i n s a n d D u n n o c k s h a d m a n a g e d t o s u r v i v e their icy o r d e a l . A S k y l a r k r e t u r n e d to territory a f t e r the c o l d speli, a n d a f e w L i n n e t s a p p e a r e d at the s a m e t i m e , but d i d not linger. E i g h t S n o w B u n t i n g s (9th), a C o m m o n B u z z a r d ( 2 7 t h ) a n d a s k e i n of 84 W h i t e - f r o n t e d G e e s e ( 3 0 t h ) a d d e d f u r t h e r v a r i e t y to the daily logs. I n s i d e the o b s e r v a t o r y c o m p o u n d m e a n w h i l e , stories of rare b i r d s a n d n e a r m i s s e s w e r e s w a p p e d as k n o t s w e r e u n r a v e l l e d , p o s t s w e r e r e m o v e d a n d n e t t i n g w a s t a k e n o u t . A w o r k i n g p a r t y d i s m a n t l e d t h e old ' O d d i e ' t r a p a n d r e p i a c e d it w i t h a s i n g l e net. Februarv T e m p e r a t u r e s w e r e g e n e r a l l y a f e w d e g r e e s a b o v e a v e r a g e e a c h d a y as a result of t h e p e r s i s t e n t s o u t h - w e s t e r l y w i n d s , d r i v e n o n b y a s e r i e s of A t l a n t i c d é p r e s s i o n s . D a y s w h e n rain fell h o w e v e r , as o p p o s e d to d r i z z l e , c o u l d b e c o u n t e d o n t h e fingers of o n e h a n d . M u c h of t h e o b s e r v a t o r y activity w a s c e n t r e d o n t r a p p i n g S n o w B u n t i n g s a n d S t a r l i n g s . A r e c o r d F e b r u a r y total of 9 0 7 b i r d s ringed w a s largely d u e to t h e c a t c h e s of t h e latter. L a t e a f t e r n o o n s f o l l o w e d a f a m i l i a r pattern of u p to 4 0 0 0 S t a r l i n g s g a t h e r i n g a r o u n d the site a n d d o c k s b e f o r e r o o s t i n g . M a n y b i r d s c o u l d n o t resist t h e t e m p t i n g s e l e c t i o n of b r e a d s a n d p a s t r i e s left out f o r t h e m a n d the r é s u l t a n t w h o o s h net p u l l s and H e l i g o l a n d p u s h e s p r o d u c e d large c a t c h e s . D u t c h a n d B e l g i a n c o n t r o i s w e r e a m o n g s t t h e s e . S u c h a c o n c e n t r a t i o n of b i r d s a t t r a c t e d the a t t e n t i o n s of p r e d a t o r e , a n d t h e o c c a s i o n a i p r e s e n c e of a S p a r r o w h a w k w o u l d m a k e t h e S t a r l i n g s s o m e w h a t reluctant to settle in t h e o b s e r v a t o r y H o l m O a k s . 160


Further along the beach towards Felixstowe Ferry an area baited with millet produced three successful catches of S n o w Buntings, totalling 114 birds. The vast majority of these proved to be of the Icelandic race, Plectrophenax nivalis insulae. A r o u n d the reserve and o f f s h o r e the weather conditions meant there was little in the way of surprise or m o v e m e n t . The high concentration of C o r m o r a n t s slowly dropped during the m o n t h to the regular three or four loitering off the point. and the month total of B r e n t Geese was a modest 6 4 north and 51 south. Even smaller numbers of S h e l d u c k s , Teals, Mallards. Eiders and Red-breasted Mergansers were logged, while the other ' r e g u l a r ' w i l d f o w l were not seen at ali. T h e R i n g e d Piover roost peaked at 251 on 15th. while a flock of 107 Lapwings m o v i n g south on 8th provided the only other sizeable wader count. Along the beach there w e r e up to 10 1\irnstones, three Sanderlings and a handful of Dunlins. The first L e s s e r B l a c k - b a c k e d Gulls of the year appeared from 9th, and other signs of Spring carne in the form of a few Linnets. M e a d o w Pipits and Skylarks venturing back to size u p their territorial options. March The run of dry weather continued. The month was punctuated by a period of thick fog, 9th to 13th, and a thundery and wet 18th. Winds began in the south-west again. b e f o r e switching to the east and south-east until 12th, and then veered back to a milder south-west direction ensuring temperatures remained above the seasonal norm. This allowed the first of the more robust migrants f r o m the south to swap places with those heading north-east. A m o n g s t the latter, winter thrushes were few. although light w i n d s on 8th did see an influx of 4 0 Blackbirds. 23 Redwings. and six Song T h r u s h e s . Sixty R e d w i n g s on I6th coincided with a final Blackbird peak of 40. Both S o n g T h r u s h and Fieldfare numbers were low, reaching six and four at best respectively. Further departures were evident in the form of single Woodcocks on 1 Ith and 19th and the sudden decline of a 5000-strong Starling roost to less than 100 after the m i d d l e of the month. Three B r a m b l i n g s on 13th were the first of the year. C h a f f i n c h n u m b e r s rose to peak at 35 on the 12th. O n e or two Long-eared O w l s and fi ve continental Coal Tits were recorded in the last 10 days of the month. The first C h i f f c h a f f appeared on the first day of the month. Their peak count of five occurred in the d o w n p o u r of 18th, when the first Wheatears arri ved - 15 were grounded by the heavy thundery rain, along with a Grey Wagtail. The first Black Redstart appeared on 6th, the start of a run of records that peaked at five on 20th. An early Firecrest carne on 5th, one of at least four, outnumbering the three Goldcrests recorded. O f f s h o r e seabird, wildfowl and wader records continued in the same uneventful vein, although the first F u l m a r (14th) along with four Avocets north (17th) were additions to the y e a r ' s species list. T w o G o o s a n d e r s passed south on 7th. Other such additions w e r e the Peregrine south (7th) and the second-winter Iceland Gull ( 2 I s t ) which passed through ali too quickly. By now up to five Mediterranean Gulls paraded themselves in immaculate s u m m e r attire. A light southerly passage of corvids included 18 Carrion C r o w s on 20th, while a few Yellowhammers. Reed Buntings and Siskins were also on the move. Linnets continued to arrive and settle in. April Apart f r o m a brief spell of south-easterly winds, during 7th to 9th. the first three w e e k s of the month produced unhelpful, if light. north-westerlies. This was followed by a short period of stronger southerlies. and then moderating south-eastcrlies, which c o m b i n e d with showery rain and murky, swirling mist on 26th to memorable effect. T h e d a y began well e n o u g h with the first G a r d e n Warbler of the year, a number 161


of Willow Warblers and a fine male Hawfinch, but ended famously with Britain's second Spectacled Warbler, a male, caught in the early evening. After the description and a few photographs were taken in failing light the bird flew to bushes in the compound, and allowed a few birders brief views before it went to roost. A s this news broke many people up and down the country made plans to be in Felixstowe by first light! Fortunately the bird remained (until May 2nd) and was admired by a couple of thousand travelling birdwatchers. The last week of the month produced good numbers of Willow Warblers, with 70 on 24th, 4 3 on 27th and 21 on 30th. The first Whitethroats appeared, eight of them, with the first of these Willow Warbler surges - and turned out to be the peak total for the spring. Both Lesser Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler failed to appear, and there was just one Pied Flycatcher (on 27th) which was a 'control' from Cumbria. The first Blackcaps arrived on 1st, with two more the next day, then there were fitful arrivals before a more larger arrival in the last week. As would be expected, ChiffchafTs performed the reverse trick with a stronger number at the start of the month - six was the best day count. First dates for many migrants were collected. A Ring Ouzel on 1st arrived with the first Swallow, followed by a Sand Martin the next day. A Yellow Wagtail announced its presence on 9th, and two days later c a m e Redstart and Nightingale. Other birds duly arrived - Sandwich Tern (12th), Whimbrel (13th), Tree Pipit (14th), C o m m o n Tern (15th) House Martin. Whinchat and Greenshank (24th) and Little Tern (29th). Amongst the foreseen came a few less expected birds that merited 'pager' messages. A second-winter Iceland Gull on 3rd was very likely the individual seen the previous month. A male H e n Harrier drifted across the reserve towards Essex (23rd) and seven more continental Coal Tits appeared. A run of Jay sightings fitted in with reports f r o m elsewhere. Grasshopper Warbler records (26th, 28th and 30th) dovetailed with another Landguard scarcity, Serin (27th and 29th). A Long-eared Owl (20th) and fly-by C o m Buntings (29th and 30th) added further interest to an intriguing month. May T h e first half of the month produced mostly south to south-westerly winds with very little in the way of disruptive weather fronts. Lightish winds from the right-hand side of the compass did little to change the situation in the second half of the month. Despite this, t w o nationally rare species were present on the first of the month. The Spectacled Warbler remained, continuing to please a regular turn-over of visitors. Two Gull-billed Terns flying south along the beach line were much less obliging they coasted into Essex behind the backs of the assembled warbler watchers. Despite a lack of c o m m o n migrants there was plenty of interest. A Corn Bunting was equally brief as it too flew south, coinciding with a light passage of Goldfinches. A pair of Garganey, only Landguard's fourth record of this species, were seen on 4th as they c a m e low inshore before heading around the point and into the Orwell. Twelve Black Terns (3rd), an Osprey (8th) and a Marsh Harrier (10th) were pleasing rewards for sea-watchers whose fare was predictably quite meagre. Other records included Little Gull (7th), Avocet (2nd), the first Gannet of the year (4th), a total of 239 Brent Geese, a couple of late Red-breasted Mergansers (5th) and a late Shag (20th). Following on f r o m Landguard's second Cetti's Warbler in the previous autumn, the third was found inside the observatory compound, remaining for a four-day period f r o m 16th. Just as noteworthy was a Red-backed Shrike - a female hunting from the bramble tops around the Butts (19th to 22nd). 162


Further minor milestones in the y e a r ' s recording were notched up with the first

Swift and Lesser Whitethroat (3rd), Reed Warbler and Turtle Dove (4th) and Spotted Flycatcher and C u c k o o (8th), but the low numbers of c o m m o n migrants were reflected in a monthly ringing total of just 370. Willow Warbiers (48) topped the list, their peak days coinciding with south-westerlies on 4th and 8th. The best W h e a t e a r day w a s 7th when 18 were spread out on the C o m m o n , but daily numbers gradually decreased to a single male at the end of the month. A Firecrest made a brief appearance on 2 I s t , by w h i c h time the spring migration had all but petered out. The unusual run of Jay sightings continued however with a spread of 10 records, along with another two continental Coal Tits.

•lune The Spring ' r u s h ' may have passed its peak by the time June comes around. but there w e r e several quality birds and much of interest in this wet and generally unsettled month. The l l t h w a s marked by a moderate easterly wind with torrential m i d - m o r n i n g rain, clearing to leave sultry conditions. Inside the compound were two thoroughly entertaining birds. A beady-eyed H a w f ì n c h bombed around amongst the poplars, but managed to avoid the nets, whilst a more leisurely dark-breasted Barn Owl Tyto alba guttata w a s the subject of much debate on its origins. Continental birds dropped in either side of these two individuáis. A Melodious W a r b l e r (14th) sang f r o m the Tamarisk Tamarix gallica bushes on the Icky Ridge. giving g o o d views to a Saturday crowd. The same place held a singing Marsh W a r b l e r (5th) which w a s typically less obliging. This period was also marked by a run of Black Redstart sightings - four were trapped. one of which wore a Heligoland ring. T h e bulk of L a n d g u a r d ' s 702 rings this month were put on Starlings. A roost, which contained a few hundred at the start of June, developed into a 5000-strong spectacle by the third week. The 'prize' ring, however, went on a Hobby that dashed d o w n the Icky Ridge and into the 'rarity' net. T h e month w a s also notable for a remarkable passage of irruptive Crossbills through the site. The ' l o g ' on the m o m i n g of 28th recorded frequent groups of 30-40, eventually totalling an impressive 330 birds heading south. On the following day three more Crossbills were seen, while diligent searching of the c o m m o n produced a Short-toed Lark in the company of Linnets - it stayed for three d a y s . Another M a r s h Harrier (6th) and a Brent G o o s e (7th) along with three Siskins and a Grey Wagtail (28th) maintained the interest.

•lulv E v e n in the middle of the s u m m e r hiatus, Landguard can throw in the unexpected. This time it carne in the unlikely combination of a helicopter, a hot air balloon and a singing Greenish W a r b l e r that conspired to make the 8th a memorable day. The bird provided good views for all-comers on the sunny side of the observatory until the e v e n i n g , despite the c l a m o u r from above as the low-flying aircraft, with film crew, continually circled the B B C balloon as it floated serenely over the docks and fort. Apart f r o m a brief speli of light easterlies during 8th to 13th, the month w a s marked by westerly winds, with little rain. T h e Short-toed Lark w a s still to be seen on the o p e n i n g day, and three more Crossbills flew south on 2nd. The discovery of a f e m a l e / i m m a t u r e C o m m o n Rosefìnch on 21st (and again on 24th) w a s one of the f e w unpredicted records of the month. T h e southbound passage of Curlews that had started in the middle of the previous month continued with a total of 5 3 by this m o n t h ' s end. A few W h i m b r e l s were noted with them. along with stili

fewer Bar-tailed Godwits. Greenshanks and Common Sandpipcrs. 163


F r o m the end of the third w e e k warblers began to reappear. W i l l o w W a r b l e r s were the most evident, with daily records of u p to four birds m a r k i n g their return passage. Similarly, y o u n g Blackcaps, Reed Warblers, G a r d e n W a r b l e r s and a W h i t e t h r o a t m a d e investigatory pre-migration m o v e m e n t s . S a n d M a r t i n s , too, began to appear with s o m e f r e q u e n c y on the daily log sheets. A N i g h t i n g a l e skulking in the c o m p o u n d (23rd and 24th), Yellow Wagtails scurrying over the c o m m o n and the final C u c k o o of the year provided further evidence of the y e a r ' s progress. T h e M e d i t e r r a n e a n G u l l s were continually monitored, and a m o n g s t the usuai adults there appeared a juvenile (17th). Juvenile gulls were the target of L a n d g u a r d ringers this month in the continuing study of Lesser B l a c k - b a c k e d G u l l s and H e r r i n g Gulls on Orfordness. T h e two-mile trek across shingle into the f a m o u s colony in s u m m e r heat is tiring, smelly and thirsty work, but definitely worth it! C o l o u r rings used for the first time in 1996 produced an immediate increase in the reporting/recovery rate, and an interesting and complex picture of their m o v e m e n t s across Europe and northern A f r i c a is emerging.

August High pressure dominated the weather m a p s for m o s t of this m o n t h producing generally light and variable winds. O n c e again there w a s little significant rain, and there were m a n y cloudless, baking hot d a y s - fine for h o l i d a y m a k e r s and visitors to the reserve, but it ali left the observatory staff twiddling their thumbs. S o m u c h so that the Heligoland trap w a s finally rebuilt. Migrant passerines were especially sparse. Sedge W a r b l e r s were recorded on j u s t f o u r dates involving single birds, and there were no R e e d W a r b l e r s at ali! Single Lesser W h i t e t h r o a t s were recorded on t w o dates, B l a c k c a p s on three dates, one or t w o G a r d e n W a r b l e r s were noted on seven dates, and up to five W h i t e t h r o a t s appeared on 17 dates. Willow W a r b l e r s and Pied Flycatchers helped to redress the balance a little. T h e best W i l l o w Warbler ' f a l l ' w a s j u s t 25 (on a foggy 15th), with smaller n u m b e r s logged on most days. Pied Flycatchers were on site f r o m 6th, with a m a x i m u m of 10 on 13th. T h e r e were m a n y blank net rounds, and the result w a s a ringing total of a mere 5 4 6 birds - the lowest August tally in the o b s e r v a t o r y ' s history and 148 of these were H o u s e S p a r r o w s ! T h e pages of the ringing log did h o w e v e r detail the arrivai of s o m e sought-after birds - three W o o d Warblers. a N i g h t i n g a l e (ringed the previous m o n t h in Norfolk) a n d f o u r Black Redstarts. T w o Icterine W a r b l e r s were caught (9th and 30th) and a Barred W a r b l e r trapped early in the c o m p o u n d on 2 I s t m o v e d to its chosen b r a m b l e bush on the c o m m o n until 25th. T w o O r t o l a n B u n t i n g s (29th), with one on the following day, were good f i n d s on the c o m m o n , but w e r e brief in their stay, as w a s the T a w n y Pipit (6th). T w o G r a s s h o p p e r W a r b l e r s and a Coal Tit were also seen. A fresh to strong south-easterly on 27th restricted the n u m b e r of nets to a sheltered few on the fort side of the c o m p o u n d , and attention w a s largely focused on the sea f o r the first notable seawatch of the autumn. A Sooty S h e a r w a t e r wheeled its w a y through a g a n g of Lesser B l a c k - b a c k e d G u l l s in the w a k e of a small fishing boat as seven Black Terns. 135 C o m m o n Terns, 6 6 Grey Piovere, 35 Bar-tailed G o d w i t s . 27 W h i m b r e l s and five G a n n e t s headed south. A M a n x S h e a r w a t e r flew south on 3 I s t w h e n seven Arctic S k u a s were logged. Waders passed o f f s h o r e in small numbers. T h e choicest a m o n g s t them w a s probably the Little R i n g e d Piover ( 18th), but the list also included seven G r e e n s h a n k s (30th). Spotted R e d s h a n k (2nd), single Ruffe. a f e w G o l d e n Plovers and the arrivai of t w o Purple S a n d p i p e r s . O t h e r birds m o v i n g through the site included an early Merlin (29th), H o b b y (3rd 164


and 16th), a M a r s h H a r r i e r (9th), and totals of 65 Yellow Wagtails. four Tree Pipits. 111 S w a l l o w s and a similar number of Sand Martins. Two Bullfinches on 8th was the first of t w o records this year, and towards the end of the month Linnet and Goldfinch n u m b e r s increased to 220 and 70 respectively as plants began to seed around the parched c o m m o n . Further scrutiny of the M e d i t e r r a n e a n Gulls revealed three juveniles, two of which w e r e colour-ringed. Investigations revealed these carne from Holland and Belgium. At least six birds were present throughout the month. September Winds carne mostly f r o m the west and south-west in the first half of this dry, warm month b e f o r e this Atlantic influence was replaced by a high-pressure system over the North Sea. This resulted in a straight about-turn in the winds. T h e mainly light to moderate east and north-east winds after 17th were just what was wanted. T h o u g h t s initially turned to the arrivai of Wryneck or possibly Red-backed Shrike. In fact neither of these w a s seen this month. Certainly not predicted was the Bittcrn disturbed on the c o m m o n early on 23rd. A Dotterei on the next day was equally brief. T w o d a y s later, however, carne this a u t u m n ' s obscure object of desire - a Lanceolated Warbler. Initially found in the pond net, it was released into the rank grasses of the R a n g e r ' s garden. T h e startling news of the discovery of this wanted species had people heading for L a n d g u a r d once again. The almost comical, rectangular concentration of birders, standing on tiptoe, peering over the fence, was eventually rewarded as the bird crept through the Vegetation. Unfortunately, that evening's performance w a s all the bird had in mind; it had gone by the next morning, a Saturday. Several hundred disappointed birders gradually conceded this and drifted off slowly . . . but m a n y returned the next day for a Thrush Nightingale. Unlike the last one. this individuai w a s not easy to see as it lurked under its selected bit of cover during the afternoon of 28th and 29th. Other scarce birds aroused interest. A Pheasant (28th and 29th) w a s a 'Landguard tick' for m a n y people, as was the Treecreeper (14th and 15th). Just as prized was another brief Ortolan Bunting (6th), and a stay-over Icterine Warbler (present to 7th). The first half of the month saw the bulk of the a u t u m n ' s hirundine passage. Totals of 1908 S w a l l o w s and 372 S a n d Martins were the peak day-counts (8th); the m o n t h ' s totals were 6 9 4 5 and 1178 respectively. House Martin numbers were low this year; the monthly total only just surpassed that of its d o s e cousin. The finch passage slowly gathered m o m e n t u m , especially towards the end. Siskins were well represented with 164 southbound, along with totals of 353 Linnets and 327 G o l d f i n c h e s . The first B r a m h l i n g arrived on 20th when a few C h a f f i n c h e s began to reappear. Warblers were poorly represented again and the lack of them contributed to the O b s e r v a t o r y ' s lowest September ringing total of just 4 9 6 birds. Foremost in this figure were 5 3 Robins. An influx of 20 occurred on 24th when. significantly. the peak n u m b e r of 10 Redstarts was present along with three Pied Flycatchers and the first R e d w i n g s . Ring Ouzel and S o n g T h r u s h of the period. The next day saw the peak autumn R o b i n count of 29, along with five W h i n c h a t s Wagtails continued to pass through . . . 52 Yellow Wagtails w a s less than last month. but a similar count of Pied Wagtails w a s the forerunners of O c t o b e r ' s passage. A handful of Grey Wagtails was picked out amongst them. O f f s h o r e the story largely concerned the southerly movement of the usuai wildfowl. The first Brent G e e s e were noted on 19th, and a moderate north-easterly on the next day p r o d u c e d 351 W i g e o n s and 233 Teals. A M a n x Shearwater flew north d o s e


inshore that day. T h e first Red-throated D i v e r since Aprii followed on 21 st. A L o n g tailed S k u a (29th) and a R e d - n e c k e d G r e b e (26th) w e r e good rewards for persistent scanning of the sea. October Birders h o p i n g for a continuation of the eastern rarity t h e m e w e r e disappointed with only a brief speli of appropriate winds (16th to 21st). T h e month w a s d o m i n a t e d by south-westerlies and then north-westerlies. T h e ringing total, however, w a s more respectable at 1896, the m a j o r i t y of which were Starlings (611), B l a c k b i r d s (456) and C h a f f i n c h e s ( 129), and g a v e a hint of the passage of birds through the site. Although S o n g T h r u s h n u m b e r s w e r e perhaps below average, R e d w i n g s and Blackbirds were very m u c h in evidence. A heavy, low cloud base on 12th forced i n c o m i n g thrushes, mostly R e d w i n g s . to d r o p on site, in groups of 100 or so, while stragglers were watched m a k i n g their way o v e r the waves, eyed by the locai gulls. O v e r a hundred Blackbirds also carne in off the sea, and t w o R i n g Ouzels were f o u n d . A similar n u m b e r of B l a c k b i r d s w a s present on 16th when 355 Starlings and 82 C h a f f i n c h e s carne in off the sea. O n the best migration m o r n i n g s birds were m o v i n g through at such a rate that the log writers had difficulty in keeping up. T h e morning of 18th w a s typical w h e n g r o u p s and singles totalling 1822 Linnets, 744 G o l d f i n c h e s . 132 Siskins, 287 G r e e n f i n c h e s , 6 6 Pied Wagtails and 88 C h a f f i n c h e s were entered. In ali, 304 Pied Wagtails passed through this m o n t h , along with 1109 M e a d o w Pipits, 4 0 R o c k Pipits a n d eight G r e y Wagtails. S k y l a r k s featured in notable counts with 6 8 8 logged. Sharp eyes and ears picked out 11 W o o d l a r k s a m o n g s t them, as well as 2 0 Crossbills. T h e parade of finches continued throughout, and Siskins kept a p p e a r i n g in good numbers, so that a further 7 2 0 were counted. The 6 0 Linnets f e e d i n g on site at the start of the month gradually dwindled, so that only a h a n d f u l r e m a i n e d by the last week. In addition, 4 4 5 7 passed through during the month. C a u g h t up in this m o v e m e n t w e r e 4 5 Redpolls, a Bullfinch, 20 Reed B u n t i n g s and several Yellowhammers. T h e onset of the easterly w i n d s in the third week eventually rewarded the patience of those seeking the unusual. A Barred W a r b l e r w a s f o u n d on 16th, and an elusive Pallas's W a r b l e r toyed with observers in the Tamarisks on the Icky Ridge on the f o l l o w i n g day. T h e first of these dates saw g o o d sea passage involving 4 8 5 7 Brent Geese, 27 Redbreasted M e r g a n s e r s , 115 S h e l d u c k s and 858 Dunlins. A n o t h e r large m o v e m e n t of Brent G e e s e occurred on 20th when 7 6 3 4 flew south. Seawatching also produced records of H e n H a r r i e r ( l l t h ) , three Velvet Scoters, six Little A u k s . a skein of 35 Pink-footed G e e s e (27th), t w o P o m a r i n e Skuas. an Arctic Tern and nine Arctic Skuas. S u m m e r migrants put in their final appearances, mostly within the first w e e k ; the only notably late birds were single S w i f t s on 12th and 13th. A Little O w l took u p residence on this latter date, while a Short-eared O w l (25th) w a s the second record of the year. Novรงmber T e m p e r a t u r e s remained consistently a b o v e the average in this dull month that b e c a m e wet in the last week. T h i s N o v e m b e r ranked with the mildest of the century. W i n d s were largely f r o m directions just either side of south, reaching f o r c e seven on 8th and 18th. Such winds whistling through the bare Poplars and the n e w Heligoland trap g a v e the place a bleak, e x p o s e d feel. T h e winding d o w n of the a u t u m n ' s activities w a s apparent despite the temperatures. 166


Finches continued to pass through in the first half of the month with Goldfinches. Siskins and Linnets totalling 449, 384 and 269 respectively, along with 194 Skylarks. T h e last of the f e w Redpolls. Reed Buntings. Corn Buntings and Yellowh a m m e r s were also noted on early morning migration counts. Meadow Pipit m o v e m e n t s followed a trend similar to the c o m m o n finches, with a further 499 noted. T h r u s h , Starling and W o o d p i g e o n influxes failed to materialise, but seawalchers were otherwise rewarded with 7784 Brent Geese, with a pale-bellied bird amongst them. Fresh onshore winds on 3rd produced this record along with a Manx Shearwater, 4 6 Gannets, two Little Auks, 25 Pink-footed Geese and a Pomarine Skua. S m e w , Velvet Scoter. S c a u p and Bewick's S w a n s were also good finds for the patient. O b s e r v a t o r y litter pickers continued their monthly tasks of making the beach more respectable after the tide, fishermen and visitors. Confiding Mediterranean Gulls m a k e this j o b m o r e interesting, but distressingly, one was seen with a fishing hook and line stuck in its throat. O n e or two S n o w Buntings rummaged around the shingle, a couple of Purple S a n d p i p e r s were on the jetty at times and 130 k i n g e d Plovers roosted on the beach. December T w o very brief cold snaps produced a little sleety snow, but temperatures were still above the norm for the time of year. Such conditions meant that the year ended quietly. T h e c o m i n g s and goings of a flock of S n o w Buntings that peaked at 6 6 just after Christmas enlivened walks around the reserve however. The regular Mediterranean G u l l s kept up their presence, and the Ringed Plover roost had built up to 4 0 6 by midmonth. A R e d - n e c k e d G r e b e w a s the only highlight offshore as the expected w i l d f o w l were noted in modest numbers, but a Peregrine (23rd) c a m e in off the sea and continued its journey inland. Mike James,

296 High Street, Walton, Felixstowe

167

1P11 9EB.


1997 SUFFOLK RINGING REPORT Mike Marsh and Tony

Hurrell

M a n y species appeared to h a v e e n j o y e d a much better breeding season in 1997 than they did in 1996.This w a s undoubtedly o n e of the factors w h i c h helped to increase the n u m b e r of birds ringed in the C o u n t y in 1 9 9 7 - 3 3 , 0 2 0 c o m p a r e d to 2 9 , 1 7 8 in 1996. T h i s 1997 total is just a b o v e the average for the last ten years. However, with there b e i n g a substantial increase in the cost of rings in 1998 (for instance, rings for G r e e n f i n c h e s increased in price by 7 7 % to 23.5p each and those for Lesser Blackbacked Gulls rose by 8 6 % to 71 p each) it will be interesting to see if this average is maintained in the future. It is a l w a y s interesting to c o m p a r e the ringing totals f r o m o n e year to the next and there are often striking d i f f e r e n c e s in the fortunes of individuai species. T h e C o u n t y ringing totals for 1996 and 1997 are set out in the table at the end of this report. T h e m o s t o b v i o u s d i f f e r e n c e s between the t w o years are as f o l l o w s : N u m b e r r i n g e d in S u f f o l k Species 1996 1997 % change 96/97 Sparrowhawk 60 36 -40 Dunlin 1045 357 -66 Redshank 340 191 ^14 Black-headed Gull 343 111 -68 Sand Martin 289 1195 +313 Blackbird 2561 1802 -30 Song Thrush 506 292 -Al Redwing 428 150 -65 Blackcap 687 1069 +56 Goldcrest 202 947 +369 Starling 1984 3484 +76 Siskin 94 929 +888 Linnet 811 526 -35 Yellowhammer 65 309 +375 Reed Bunting 158 80 -A9 T h e n u m b e r of S p a r r o w h a w k s ringed has been increasing steadily since 1989 reaching an ali time high in 1996. It will be interesting to see whether the 1997 figure is an aberration or the b e g i n n i n g of a decline. T h e d r o p in the n u m b e r of w a d e r s ringed w a s not d u e to a c h a n g e in effort but to smaller n u m b e r s of juveniles, p r e s u m ably as a result of a poor breeding year. Following a very poor year in 1996 the n u m b e r of S a n d Martins ringed recovered to the s a m e level as for 1993-1995, but w a s stili less than 5 0 % of the 1992 total. T h e fall in the n u m b e r of thrushes ringed w a s mainly due to a poor a u t u m n immigration whilst the increase in Goldcrests w a s the opposite. T h e n u m b e r of warblers ringed increased f r o m 4 , 8 5 3 to 5,487 with Blackcap. Willow Warbler and C h i f f c h a f f s h o w i n g the most noticeable g a i n s and Sedge Warbler an o b v i o u s decline. Regular c a t c h e s of Starlings at the large roost at Landguard w a s responsible for the increase s h o w n for this species. The h u g e increase in Siskins - the n u m b e r ringed in 1997 w a s m o r e than three quarters of the total ringed in the previous 10 years - w a s partly d u e to a very large increase in the n u m b e r of Siskins feeding in gardens in the early m o n t h s of the year. Special ringing efforts helped to boost the n u m b e r of Y e l l o w h a m m e r s caught while the fall in Linnet and R e e d Bunting n u m b e r s probably reflect a fall in their population levels. Rarities ringed in the C o u n t y in 1997 included a Spectacled Warbler (the first one e v e r ringed in the U.K.), a Lanceolated Warbler (the first to be ringed in S u f f o l k ) and a G r e e n i s h Warbler. 168


Highlights of the recoveries detailed in this report are four W h o o p e r Swans from the Finnish breeding population, an Oystercatcher found dead on the Isle of Man. a G r e e n s h a n k caught in G h a n a , a Garden Warbler f r o m Gibraltar and Greenfinch and Siskin to Norway. SELECTED LIST OF RECOVERIES This part of the report is a selection of ringing recoveries received in, or relating to. 1997. Recoveries are arranged in species' order with ringing details shown on the first line - ring number/age and sex/date/locality, and recovery details on the second line - m a n n e r of recovery/date/locality with distance and direction of movement. The f o l l o w i n g codes have been used: A g e when ringed: this is given according to the E U R I N G codes and the figures do not represent years.

Sex:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10

pullus (= nestling or chick) fully grown, year of hatching quite unknown hatched during calendar year of ringing hatched b e f o r e calendar year of ringing, but exact year unknown hatched during previous calendar year hatched b e f o r e previous calendar year, but exact year unknown definitely hatched t w o calendar years before year of ringing hatched m o r e than two calendar years before year of ringing hatched m o r e than three calendar years before year of ringing

M F

= male = female

In the recovery data, the term 'controlled' refers to a ringed bird which has been c a u g h t by a ringer a w a y f r o m the locality where it w a s originally ringed. Also, where the d a t e of recovery is not k n o w n , the date of the reporting letter is shown in brackets. C O R M O R A N T Phalacrocorax orange YT 1 29.04.95 field record 19.06.97

orange S 3

field record

24.08.97

1 field record

07.05.95 15.06.97

field record

16.09.97

carbo Abberton Reservoir, Essex (51°49'N 00°50'E) Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (Sl-SS'N 01°16'E) - 33km NE Boulogne Harbour. Pas-de-Calais. FRANCE (50°45'N 01 "WE) - 131km SSE Abberton Reservoir. Essex (5I°49'N 00°50'E) Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (5I°58'N01I6'E)- 33km NE Den Oever Harbour, Noord-Holland. NETHERLANDS (52°56'N OS'TO'E) - 318km NE

Linie Paxton. Cambridgeshire (52°I5'N 00°15'W) Seal Sands, Cleveland (54°37'N 0I°1 l'W) 255km NNW field record 08.10.95 Oulton Broad. Suffolk (52°28'N 0I°23'E) 131km ENE Several colour-ringed C o r m o r a n t s f r o m the Abberton colony were seen in S u f f o l k in 1997. It is interesting to see that t w o of these birds, which were present at T r i m l e y M a r s h e s in June, w e r e subsequently seen on the Continent in August/ September. blue A\F

1 field record

08.05.95 29.07.95

169


BEWICK'S SWAN Cygnus blue 090P

blue 113P

columbianus

4

05.08.92

field record

05.01.97

4F

09.08.92

field record

25.12.96

field record

05.01.97

blue 765P 4F

10.08.96

field record

17.10.96

field record field record field record

06.01.97 30.01.97 16.03.97

white TLV 4F field record

28.12.79 05.01.97

Sanin Island, Korovinskaya Bay, RUSSIA (68°22'N 53°40'E) Falkenham, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°22'E) - present to 20.02.97. Srednii Gulf, Korovinskaya Bay, RUSSIA (68°22'N 53°42'E) Gennerbroek, Genne, Overijssel, N E T H E R L A N D S (52°34'N 06°09'E) Falkenham, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°22'E) - present to 20.02.97. NW of Yangutei River, Russkii Zavarot, RUSSIA (68°33'N 53°43'E) Vlinderbalg, Groningen, NETHERLANDS (53°22'N 06°14'E) - present to 23.10.96. Sudboume, Suffolk (52°08'N 01°34'E) Paglesham, Essex (51°33'N 00°41'E) Kreis Hagenow, Mecklenburg, G E R M A N Y (53°15TM 10°58'N) - present in area to 20.03.97.

Slimbridge, Gloucestershire (51°44'N 02°25'W) Falkenham, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°22'E) - present to 20.02.97. T h e first three birds, all ringed on the breeding g r o u n d s in Arctic Russia, were fitted with n u m b e r e d neck-collars. O v e r the last f e w winters impressive life histories have been built up for 0 9 0 P and 113P, both birds having been seen at several sites in the Netherlands, G e r m a n y and Estonia during the winter m o n t h s and passage periods.

WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus blue 4S51

blue 6S13

1 field record

11.08.95 24.11.95

field record

08.04.96

field record

15.10.96

field record

05.01.97

1 field record

29.08.95 01.01.96

Ylojarvi, Hame. FINLAND (61°40'N 23°32'E) Catfield, Norfolk (52°43TM 01°33'E) - present to 06.02.96. Nokia, Hame, FINLAND (61028TM 23°22'E) present in area to 18.05.96. Kirkkosalmi, Hailuoto, Oulu, FINLAND (65o00TM 24°45'E) - present to 26.10.%. Sudboume, Suffolk (52°06'N 01°33'E) - present to 15.01.97.

Kiikoinen, Turku-Pori, FINLAND (61°56'N 22°35'E) Catfield, Norfolk (52043TM 0I°33'E) - present to 18.02.%. field record 27.10.96 Meitoinen, Turku-Pori, FINLAND (60°38'N 21°51'E) - a l s o seen03.11.%. field record 23.01.97 Falkenham. near Felixstowe, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°22'E) - present to 07.03.97. T h e s e recoveries s h o w that at least s o m e of the W h o o p e r S w a n s which o c c u r in the C o u n t y originate f r o m the Finnish breeding population. 4 S 5 1 w a s ringed as one of a brood of six cygnets and w a s present at S u d b o u r n e with t w o of its siblings, 4 S 5 4 and 4 S 5 5 . It is interesting to note that all four of the ringed birds seen in S u f f o l k in January 1997 had spent the previous winter in the Broadland area of N o r f o l k .

BRENT GOOSE Brama bernicla green J/ green 2

4

04.08.93

field record

15.02.97

Lidia Bay, Pyasina Delta. Taymyr. RUSSIA (74°07'N 86°52'E) Shotley Marshes. Suffolk (5PSS'N o r i ó ' E ) 170


white 3/ blue =

orange D/ yellow-

white 2/ blue =

5

02.05.89

field record

10.11.96

field record

01.02.97

field record

22.02.97

5

16.01.86

field record

28.09.96

field record

01.02.97

field record

27.03.97

5

06.05.83

Oude Beweide Kwelder, Schiermonnikoog. NETHERLANDS (53°29'N 06° 13'E) Schiermonnikoog. NETHERLANDS -present to 14.12.96. Falkenham, near Felixstowe. Suffolk (52°00'N 01°23'E) Schiermonnikoog. NETHERI.ANDS - present in area to 24.05.97. Westerveld, Vlieland. NETHERLANDS (53°17'N05°03'E) Westerveld. Vlieland. NETHERLANDS - present to 17.11.96. Falkenham, near Felixstowe, Suffolk (52°00'N 0I°23'E) Westerveld, Vlieland. NETHERLANDS - present to 11.05.97.

Nordstrand-Nord, Schleswig-Holstein. GERMANY (54°31'N 08°52'E) field record 15.02.97 Shotley Marshes, Suffolk (5I°58TM 01°16'E) field record 07.04.97 Uelvesbuell, Schleswig-Holstein. GERMANY (54°25'N 08°55'E) - present in area to 02.05.97. C a r e f u l checking of the Brent G o o s e flocks on the Orwell and Deben estuaries in the 1996/97 winter proved to be very rewarding with a total of 10 colour-ringed birds being found. Of these, f o u r had been ringed in Siberia on the Taymyr Peninsula, four in the Netherlands and t w o in Germany. T E A L Anas crecca ES52076 4M shot

EH36073

4M shot

24.01.97 21.08.97

Bury St. Edmunds. Suffolk (52°I5'N 00°43'E) Saavanjoki. Myllylahti, Soumussalmi. Oulu. FINLAND (65°02'N 2918'E) - 21°62km NE

04.02.96 23.01.97

Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk (52°15'N 00°43'E) Bembridge, Isle of Wight (50°4I'N OI'W'W) 215km SW

T U F T E D D U C K Aythya fuligula FS85241 4F 07.02.96 Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk (52° 15'N 00°43'E) shot 06.10.96 Ozero, Semenovskiyn District. Novgorod. RUSSIA (56°57'N 44°41'E) - 2874km E T h i s bird, shot about 4 0 0 k m east of Moscow, w a s one of only two Tufted Ducks ringed in S u f f o l k in 1996. S P A R R O W H A W K Accipiter nisus EC89527 3F 15.08.96 Burgh Castle, Suffolk (52°35'N 0l o 40'E) controlled 18.08.96 Landguard Point. Felixstowe. Suffolk (51 "56'N 01°19'E) - 76km SSW COOT GA08465

Fulicaatra 1

10.08.97

Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe. Suffolk (51°58'N0I°16'E) controlled 26.10.97 Icklesham, Sussex (50°54'N 00°40'E) - 126km SSW It is possible that this Suffolk-bred Coot w a s en-route to the Continent when controlled in Sussex.

171


OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus FR85452

6

06.12.87

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) found dead 15.03.97 Rue Point, Isle of Man (54°24'N 04°28'W) - 469km NW O v e r 5 0 0 Oystercatchers were ringed at Fagbury in 1986/87 and several recoveries h a v e resulted, including m o v e m e n t s to northern France, N o r w a y and the Netherlands, as well as several to the Wash and elsewhere in East Anglia. This is, however, the first of these birds to be recovered in the Irish Sea area.

RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula NV19402

1 breeding

15.06.86 07.05.97

Sizewell, Suffolk (52°13'N 01°37'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 38km SSW A total of 23 breeding Ringed Plovers were nest-trapped at Landguard in 1997. Seven of these w e r e found to be already ringed including the eleven year old bird s h o w n above. T h e other six had all been ringed locally, at either Landguard or Fagbury beach, and included two nine year old birds which had been ringed as pulli in 1988. Ringed Plovers which had been ringed and colour-dyed on the River T h a m e s at Canvey Point, Essex on Oct.24th, 1996 were subsequently seen at Landguard on Feb.9th, 1997 and on the River Orwell at Levington between Feb.9th and Apr.28th, 1997.

LAPWING Vanellus vanellus DK91384

5M shot

17.01.96 10.02.97

River Orwell, Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°15'E) Brevand, Manche, FRANCE (49°20'N O l ' l l ' W ) 342km SSW

DN32574

1

19.05.88

found dead

01.12.97

Hazlewood Marsh, Aldeburgh, Suffolk (52°10'N 01°34'E) Aveley, Essex (51°30'N 00°15'E) - 117km SW

DUNLIN Calidris alpina JN64535

NS90274

NT04595

3

20.09.94

controlled

11.12.96

5

11.01.92

controlled

21.08.97

3 controlled

26.09.% 04.08.97

Ujscie Wisly K Swibna, Gdansk, POLAND (54°22'N 18°56'E) River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge, Suffolk (52°02'N 01°20'E) - 1199km WSW Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary. Felixstowe, Suffolk (Sl^TM OriTE) Richel, Friesland, NETHERLANDS (53° 1 7 ^ 05°08'E) - 299km ENE River Orwell, Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°15'E) Oosterkwelder, Schiermonnikoog. N E T H E R L A N D S (53°29'N 06° 151;) - 368km ENE

Wolferton, King's Lynn, Norfolk (52°50'N 00°26'E) River Orwell, Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N O P I S ' E ) 108km SSE N o t e that N S 3 3 6 8 6 w a s caught on the River Orwell 12 winters after b e i n g originally ringed on the Wash.

NS33686

3 controlled

05.11.83 23.02.96

WOODCOCK Scolopax rusticóla EP74764

3

27.12.96

shot

18.01.97

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01 o 19'E) Pleumeur-Bodou, Cotes-du-Nord, F R A N C E (48046TM 03°31'W) - 491km SW

172


ER21742

3

02.11.95

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) shot 25.01.97 Sotterley, near Halesworth. Suffolk (52°26'N 01 °36'E) - 59km NNE E P 7 4 7 6 4 w a s ringed at L a n d g u a r d during a spell of cold weather in late December. It quickly m o v e d on, being shot in north-west France three weeks later.

B L A C K - T A I L E D G O D W I T Limosa limosa EJ72885 4 30.09.82 Butley, Suffolk (52°06'N 01 °30'E) shot 30.09.89 Baie de Somme, Somme, FRANCE (50°15'N 01°35'E) - 206km S R E D S H A N K ringa totanus DK77227 4 16.09.93 found dead 19.10.95

GREENSHANK DK95632 3 caught DK95024

River Orwell, Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°15'E) Druridge Bay, Northumberland (55°15'N 01°33'W) 405km NNW

Tringa nebularia 11.09.96 River Orwell, Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01° 15'E) 01.01.97 Keta, GHANA (05°59'N O I W E ) - 5113km S

3 shot

23.08.97 29.08.97

River Orwell, Levington, Suffolk (52°00'N 01°15'E) Neuilly la Foret, Manche, FRANCE (49°17'N 01°05'W) - 344km SSW This is only the fourth British-ringed G r e e n s h a n k to be recovered south of the Sahara. T h e r e has been o n e other in G h a n a as well as singles in Sierra L e o n e and Mali. N o t e the quick m o v e m e n t to France of D K 9 5 0 2 4 .

T U R N S T O N E Arenaria interpres 04.08.96 Alert, Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories, 1313-59187 4M CANADA - (82°30'N 62°20'W) Felixstowe Ferry, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°59'N field record 09.01.97 01 ^ ' E ) - 4 0 8 0 k m SE 25.08.95

K905980 Arnhem field record

14.01.96

field record

07.02.97

Vlieland, NETHERLANDS (53°17'N 05°00'E) Lowestoft, Suffolk (52°28'N 01°45'E) - 235km WSW - present to 19.04.96. Lowestoft, Suffolk - present to 06.03.97.

Heacham, Norfolk (52°54'N 00°28'E) 10.03.96 4 field record 07.03.97 Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°23'E) - 121km SSE A n o t h e r Dutch-ringed Turnstone w a s seen at L o w e s t o f t on 14.02.97 - unfortunately the full ring n u m b e r w a s not read but there w a s enough information to c o n f i r m that it had also been ringed at Vlieland, s o m e t i m e in 1994/95. XR77059

M E D I T E R R A N E A N G U L L Larus melanocephalus Volkerakmeer, Hellegatsplaten, Zuid-Holland. white 42N 1 29.05.97 NETHERLANDS (51°42'N 04°22'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk field record 01.08.97 (51°56'N 01°19'E) - present to at least 26.10.97. white 4IC

1

01.06.97

field record 04.08.97

Kwaadmechelen, Limburg, BELGIUM (51°05'N 05° 10^) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk ( S ^ H 01°19'E) - present to at least 08.08.97.

173


white 21N 1

02.06.97

field record white 72Y 1

19.09.97

Kreekrak Oost, Natuurbouw, Zeeland, NETHERLANDS (51°27'N 04°14'E) Lowestoft, Suffolk (52°28'N 01°45'E) - present to at least 26.12.97.

05.06.96

Lillo, Höge Maey, Antwerpen, B E L G I U M (51 " 2 0 ^ 04°20'E) field record 17.09.96 Lowestoft, Suffolk (52°28'N 01 °45'E) T h e n u m b e r of Mediterranean Gulls occurring in S u f f o l k has increased greatly o v e r the last f e w years. T h e s e recoveries listed a b o v e show that m a n y of these originate f r o m the breeding population in the L o w Countries. S o m e birds d o h o w e v e r c o m e f r o m m u c h further afield as s h o w n by a bird seen at M i n s m e r e on 22.05.97 which had been ringed as a pullus in H u n g a r y in 1996. Its origin w a s c o n f i r m e d by the presence of a red colour-ring but, unfortunately, the inscription could not b e read so its exact ringing details could not be c o n f i r m e d .

BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus EB18447

6 field record

04.01.76 04.07.97

639761 Kalo

1

13.06.95

Ipswich, Suffolk (52°04'N 01°10'E) Hakaniementori, Helsinki, Uusimaa, FINLAND (60°1 l'N 24°58'E) - 1722km ENE

Orum So, Jylland, DENMARK (56°48'N 08°19'E) field record 29.07.96 Felixstowe, Suffolk (SPSSTM 01°23'E) - 699km SW present to 12.03.97. field record 03.07.97 Felixstowe, Suffolk - present to 19.03.98. A total of 38 foreign recoveries w e r e reported in 1997 involving m o v e m e n t s to or f r o m B e l g i u m (1), Netherlands (5), G e r m a n y (5), D e n m a r k (5), N o r w a y (2), S w e d e n (4), Finland (12), Lithuania (1) and Estonia (3). S o m e of the records were of returning wintering birds w h i c h had been seen in previous winters. E B 18447, had been ringed as an adult, so w h e n sighted in Finland it m u s t have been at least 2 3 years old. N o t e that in 1997 the Danish-ringed bird had returned to its F e l i x s t o w e wintering site by early July.

COMMON GULL Larus canus 579925 Stavanger

1

02.07.86

Vikedal, Vindafjord, Rogaland, NORWAY (59°30'N 05°55'E) field record 28.11.88 Lowestoft, Suffolk (52°30'N 01 ^ ' E ) - 819km SSW field record 21.01.90 Lowestoft, Suffolk field record 30.11.97 Lowestoft, Suffolk Although not reported b e t w e e n January 1990 and N o v e m b e r 1997 it is likely that this bird had spent all of the intervening winters in the L o w e s t o f t area a n d gone undetected.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus red ANN

red CCX

1 field record

13.07.96 29.06.97

field

17.10.97

record

1 field record

Orfordness, Suffolk Stapelbecken, Nordrhein-Westfalen, G E R M A N Y (50o51TM 06°50'E) - 389km ESE Wetherden, near Stowmarket, Suffolk - 47km WNW

14.07.96 16.08.97

Orfordness, Suffolk Rees-Haffen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, G E R M A N Y (51 °45'N 07°39'E) - 336km E field record 20.08.97 Rieselfelder Munster, Nordrhein-Westfalen, G E R M A N Y (52°02'N 07°39'E) - 416km E - also seen at two nearby sites up to 10.09.97. field record 0 4 . 0 8 . 9 7Wetherden. near Stowmarket. Suffolk - 47km WNW

174


red AXZ

1 field record

13.07.96 15.09.97

Orfordness, Suffolk Laayoune Port, W E S T E R N SAHARA (27°08'N 13°25'W) - 3044km SSW

red CDP

1 field record

14.07.96 22.06.97

Orfordness, Suffolk Oued Souss, M O R O C C O (30°25'N 09°3TW) 2577km SSW

red ACS

1 field record

06.07.96 28.08.97

field record

06.10.97

field record

29.11.97

Orfordness, Suffolk Blaringhem, Nord. FRANCE (50°41'N 02°24'E)166km SSE Aveiro, Beira Litoral, PORTUGAL (40°30'N 08°55'W) Villaneuva de la Serena, Badajoz, SPAIN (39°00'N 05°45'W) - 1560km SSW

1

12.07.97

field record

23.09.97

3

19.11.95

blue J384

orange N060

Rauna, Farsund, Vest-Agder, NORWAY (58°03'N 06°40'E) Wetherden, near Stowmarket, Suffolk (52° 1 3 ^ 00°55'E) - 800km SSW

Villaneuva de la Serena, Badajoz, SPAIN (39°00'N 05°45'W) field record 12.10.97 Blythburgh, Suffolk (52°19'N 0I°35'E) - 1585km NNE T h e use of colour-rings at O r f o r d n e s s since 1996 has resulted in a dramatic increase in the n u m b e r of recoveries received for this species, especially those f r o m abroad. In 1997 the n u m b e r of colour-ringed individuals reported in each country was:- Portugal (39), Spain (18), France (13), M o r o c c o (10), G e r m a n y (2), C h a n n e l Islands (1) a n d Western S a h a r a (1). T h e reports in G e r m a n y were u n e x p e c t e d and are the most easterly recoveries to date of O r f o r d n e s s - r i n g e d pulii. Interestingly, both of these birds w e r e seen b a c k in S u f f o l k in September/October. Included in the recoveries listed a b o v e is a record of a first-year bird apparently o v e r - s u m m e r i n g in Morocco. Recoveries of birds ringed in earlier years with j u s t metal rings c a m e f r o m : - the Netherlands (8), Belgium (4), France (1), Portugal (1) and M o r o c c o (1). T h e reports in the Netherlands and B e l g i u m included some birds which were c o n f i r m e d to be breeding. A s a resuit of the O r f o r d n e s s colour-ringing project the C o u n t y ' s gull flocks have c o m e under closer scrutiny and this has led to a surprising n u m b e r of foreign colourringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls also being found. A total of 28 were located in 1997 and their origins were traced to the Netherlands (23), southern N o r w a y (4) and Spain (1). All of the Dutch and N o r w e g i a n birds had been ringed as pulii and one of the D u t c h birds w a s f o u n d breeding in the O r f o r d n e s s colony. H E R R I N G G U L L Larus argentatus Egholm, Bago, Fyn, DENMARK yellow 1 17.06.95 (55°20'N 09°48'E) VC50 Lowestoft, Suffolk (52°28'N 01°45'E) - 615km field record 26.02.97

GA04797

1

10.07.96

field record 04.08.97

Isle of May, Fife Region, SCOTLAND (56°1 l'N 02°34'W) Wetherden, near Stowmarket, Suffolk (52°13'N 00°55'E) - 495km SSE

175


KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla T h e ringing locations of t w o colour-ringed Kittiwakes seen at L o w e s t o f t h a v e recently been c o n f i r m e d but unfortunately the exact ringing dates could not b e given. T h e first bird, yellow G 5 , seen on 2 9 & 30.07.94 and again 12.07.95 had b e e n ringed as a pullus at North Shields, N o r t h u m b e r l a n d , probably in 1986. The other, yellow H 4 6 , present between 0 2 . 0 7 . 9 6 and 05.09.96 and again on 0 6 . 0 6 . 9 7 had been ringed as a pullus at D u n m o r e East, Waterford, Eire in 1988 or 1989.

GUILLEMOT X37623

Uriaaalge

8 oil victim

10.07.96 05.01.97

Skomer Island, Dyfed, WALES (51°44'N 05° 18"W) Dunwich, Suffolk (52° 16TM 01°3TE) - 477km E

RAZORBILL Alca torda M72363

1

20.06.90

Badbea, Highland Region, SCOTLAND (58°09'N 03°34'W)

oil victim

11.01.97

Minsmere, Suffolk (52°14'N 01°37'E) - 735km SSE

WOODPIGEON Columba FR85747

1

palumbus

02.09.94

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01 o 19'E) found dead 20.11.97 Driffield, Humberside (54°00'N 00°27'W) - 258km NNW Recoveries of British-ringed W o o d p i g e o n rarely exceed a distance of 100km.

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos

major

RK22140

3 02.07.95 Garboldisham, near Diss, Norfolk (52°23'N 00°56'E) field record 30.04.97 East Bergholt, Suffolk (51°58'N 01°01'E) - 47km S M o v e m e n t s of British Great Spotted W o o d p e c k e r s over 3 0 k m are unusual. This bird had been visiting a nut-feeder in an East Bergholt garden for at least three w e e k s b e f o r e the o b s e r v e r finally succeeded in reading the c o m p l e t e ring number.

WOODLARK Lullula arborea VV20410

1 13.05.96 Thetford Forest, Suffolk field record 03.03.97 Clipstone Forest, Nottinghamshire - 160km NW T h i s is the second Woodlark f r o m the S u f f o l k part of T h e t f o r d Forest to b e f o u n d in Clipstone Forest in recent years.

SHORELARK Eremophila

alpestris

K952121

2F 04.12.96 Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire tfS'WN 00°20'E) field record 23.11.97 Benacre, Suffolk (52°24'N 01°44'E) - 120km SE In order to gain a better understanding of the m o v e m e n t s of this species a n u m b e r h a v e been colour-ringed on the Lincolnshire and S u f f o l k coasts in recent winters. T h i s bird, red ring o v e r metal on left leg and white over blue on the right, spent the whole of the 96/97 winter at Gibraltar Point, being last reported there on Apr.26th.

SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia N191935

3 01.09.97 Dunwich, Suffolk (52°ló'N O l ^ ^ ) controlled 02.09.97 Icklesham, Sussex (50°54'N 00°40'E) - 165km SSW N o n e of the recoveries of this species in 1997 exceeded a distance of 2 0 0 k m . A s usual, several S u f f o l k - r i n g e d Sand Martins were controlled at Icklesham including N 1 9 1 9 3 5 w h i c h w a s caught the day after it had been ringed at D u n w i c h .

176


MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis K089279

3

01.10.97

controlled

31.10.97

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) Dungeness, Kent (50°55'N 00°57'E) 116km SSW

NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos N153280

3 controlled

26.07.97 22.08.97

near Didlington, Norfolk (52°31 'N 00°37'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E)-80km SE

BLACKBIRD Turdus merula RK21887

4F

04.11.95

taken by cat

24.06.96

8932605 5F Copenhagen controlled

16.11.96

RJ61340

6M

26.01.96

controlled

31.10.97

4M

13.11.96

RR49858

11.04.95

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Kjerrgarden, Askoy, Hordaland, NORWAY (60°30'N 05°06'E) - 978km NNE Christianso, Bomholm. DENMARK (55°19'N l S " ^ ) near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°26'E) 975km WSW Benhall Low Street, near Saxmundham, Suffolk (52°12'N 01°26'E) Texel, NETHERLANDS (53°07'N 04°48'E) - 249km ENE

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) found dead 27.11.97 Holy Island, Northumberland (55°40'N 01 °49'W) 463km NNW Other recoveries within Britain included m o v e m e n t s to Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and Norfolk.

REDWING Turdus iliacus RW04185

3

17.10.96

controlled

02.06.97

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17 / E) Stora Fjaderagg, Holmon, Vasterbotten, SWEDEN (63°49'N 21 W E ) - 1751km NE

Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) taken by owl 13.04.97 Suderholm, Heine, Schleswig-Holstein, GERMANY (54°12'N 09°07'E) - 579km ENE R W 0 4 1 8 5 w a s p r e s u m a b l y on its breeding g r o u n d s when caught in S w e d e n , whereas the other bird, w h i c h w a s killed by a Long-eared Owl, would have been on passage w h e n recovered. RW04229

4

08.11.96

SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus

schoenobaenus

K225563

3 controlled

26.08.96 04.05.97

Icklesham, Sussex (50°54'N 00°40'E) Dunwich, Suffolk (52°I6'N 01°37'E) - 165km NNE

K750906

3

19.07.97

controlled

12.08.97

Levington, near River Orwell, Suffolk (52°00'N01°15'E) Dungeness, Kent (50°55'N 00°55'E) - 123km S

177


REED WARBLER Acrocephalus

scirpaceus

B088387

3 taken by cat

02.09.89 05.09.97

Hollesley, Suffolk (5203'N 0126'E) Vigny, Eure-et-Loire, F R A N C E (48°39'N 01°22'E) 378km S

K459366

3

17.08.96

controlled

29.07.97

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N 01°27'E) Jambes, Namur, B E L G I U M (50°28'N 04°52'E) 296km SE

3

12.08.96

K446472

Alton Water, near Tattingstone, Suffolk (51°59'N 01 W E ) found dead 15.06.97 off Rotterdam, N O R T H SEA ( 5 2 W N 03°50'E) 186km E N o t e that B 0 8 8 3 8 7 w a s eight years old when recovered - this is however, still well short of the longevity record for a British-ringed Reed Warbler w h i c h stands at nearly 13 years. K 4 4 6 4 7 2 w a s f o u n d dead on a North Sea p l a t f o r m off Rotterdam.

GARDEN WARBLER Sylvia borin J077696

4 controlled

29.04.93 29.05.97

Jews Gate, GIBRALTAR ^ " O S ' N 05°21 'W) Tangham Farm, Boyton, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°26'E) 1851km NNE

K987399

3 controlled

05.07.97 02.08.97

Lily Broad, Rollesby, Norfolk (52°40'N 01°37'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 "56^1 01°19'E) - 84km SSW

near Didlington, Norfolk (52 0 3nM 00°37'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 " 5 6 ^ 01°19'E) - 80km SE T h e first bird w a s wearing a British ring so it w a s a m a j o r surprise w h e n it w a s discovered that it had been ringed in Gibraltar. K153188

4F controlled

14.07.96 08.05.97

BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla H484533

J862227

K088433

3

18.07.93

caught

30.09.96

3

19.07.97

controlled

05.09.97

4M

14.04.97

road casualty 21.05.97

K944031

3M

Bylam Farm, near Chelmondiston, Suffolk (51 o 59TM01 o ll'E) Chabet el Ameur, Azzouza, ALGERIA (36°38'N 03°42'E) - 1717km S near Pwllcrochan, Dyfed, WALES (51°41'N05°01'W) Dunwich, Suffolk (52°16'N 01°37'E) - 459km E Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01 o 19'E) Upper Woodford, Salisbury, Wiltshire (51o08TM 01°50'W) - 235km WSW

11.11.97

Bawdsey Manor, Bawdsey, Suffolk (51°59'N01 o 24'E) controlled 22.12.97 near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03TM 01°26'E) 8km NNE N o t e the winter recovery of the last bird. In addition to the recoveries listed a b o v e there w e r e also m o v e m e n t s to or f r o m Sussex (2), Kent and B u c k i n g h a m s h i r e .

178


CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus 9B5492

3 controlled

collybita

10.08.97 25.09.97

Sizewel! Belts, Sizewell, Suffolk (52°I3'N 01°36'E) Icklesham, Sussex (50°54'N 00°40'E) - 160km SSW

WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus 9X8981

3L9853

2W0560

1

28.06.95

controlled

24.04.97

3

24.08.96

found dead

18.05.97

3

08.08.94

controlled

01.06.97

trochilus

Wester Aikengall, Lothian Region, SCOTLAND (55°55'N 02°29'W) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51 °56'N O P l ^ E ) - 507km SSE Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk (52°03'N01°27'E) Bridekirk, Cockermouth, Cumbria (54°41'N 03°23'W) - 434km Fagbury, Trimley St. Mary, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°57'N01°17'E) Portland Bill, Dorset (50°31'N 02°27'W) - 305km WSW

GOLDCREST Regulus regulus 0L5634

0L5745

OL5818

3F

29.09.97

controlled

30.10.97

3M

15.10.97

controlled

01.11.97

controlled

20.12.97

3M

23.10.97

controlled

02.11.97

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Dungeness, Kent (50°55'N 00°57'E) - 116km SSW Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01 o 19'E) Rye Meads, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire (51°46TM O O W W ) - 92km WSW Rye Meads Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) Shimpling, near Diss, Norfolk (52°24'N 01°10'E) 53km N

PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca K413301

1

Whelpside, near Forest Hall, Selside, Cumbria (54°23'N 02°42'W) controlled 27.04.97 Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk ( 5 I ° 5 6 ' N 0 1 ° 1 9 ' E ) - 382km SE This is the second British-ringed Pied Flycatcher to be controlled at Landguard on spring migration. T h e other, caught in April 1993, had also been ringed as a nestling in north-west England - in Lancashire in 1990.

STARLING Stumus 17Z1866 Bruxelles

RP20345

13.06.96

vulgaris

5F

14.03.96

controlled

18.02.97

4M

09.02.97

found dead

23.02.97

Rocourt, Liege, BELGIUM (50°41'N 05°33'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56TM 01° 1 9 ^ ) - 325km WNW Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) Alkmaar, Noord-Holland, NETHERLANDS (52°38'N 04°44'E) - 245km ENE

179


RR48910

3F

26.08.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) found dead 13.01.97 Speke, near Liverpool, Merseyside (53°20'N 02 o 50'W) - 320km WNW A total of seven Suffolk-ringed Starlings were recovered abroad in 1997, six in the Netherlands and o n e in Belgium. O n e of these, R P 2 0 3 4 5 , s h o w e d a very early return to the Continent, being recovered there b e f o r e the end of February just t w o w e e k s after being ringed. Starlings appear to be popular prey items for o w l s - of the six recoveries in the Netherlands, t w o rings were f o u n d in L o n g - e a r e d O w l pellets and another w a s f o u n d in a T a w n y O w l ' s nest.

CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs 9B54654 4M Copenhagen controlled

19.04.90 11.11.96

BRAMBLING Fringilla

Skagen, Jylland, DENMARK (57°44'N 10°36'E) Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N 01°19'E) - 876km SW

montifringilla

K409407

3F controlled

29.12.95 07.02.97

Aiston Hall, Lancashire (53°48'N 02°36'W) West Row, near Mildenhall, Suffolk (52°21'N 00°27'E) - 260km SE

J526667

6M

19.03.94

controlled

22.10.96

near Thorpe Salvin, South Yorkshire (53°19'N01°13'W) near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01 °26'E) 227km SE

GREENFINCH Carduelis chloris VR05907

6M controlled

12.02.95 09.10.97

VV36056

6M

16.04.97

Hollytree Farm, Theberton, Suffolk (52°14'N 01°34'E) Kuassas, Sokndal, Rogaland, NORWAY (58°21'N 06°18'E) - 742km NNE

Benhall Low Street, near Saxmundham, Suffolk (52°12'N01°26'E) found dead 15.12.97 Upper Weston, near Bath, Avon (5r24TM 02°24'W) 278km WSW T h e r e have now been six m o v e m e n t s between S u f f o l k and Norway, all since 1991. Of the recoveries within Britain in 1997, only three e x c e e d e d a distance of 100km. By far the most distant of these w a s that of V V 3 6 0 5 6 , the others being to Surrey and Sussex.

GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis 5504126 Bruxelles

J588728

5F

10.05.95

controlled

11.01.97

5M controlled

13.04.96 11.05.96

Nieuwpoort. West Vlaanderen, BELGIUM (51 °08TSI 02°45'E) Stowmarket, Suffolk (52° 11 'N 00°59'E) - 169km NW

East Newlands, Foulness, Essex ( 5 1 - 3 6 ^ 00°56'E) near Hollesley Heath, Suffolk (52°03'N 01 ^ ô ' E ) 61km NE N o t e that the Belgian-ringed bird w a s controlled in S u f f o l k in mid-winter.

SISKIN Carduelis spinus C487604

5M taken by cat

29.03.97 17.07.97

Tangham Farm, Boyton, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°26'E) Selbu, Sor-Trondelag, NORWAY (63°13'N 11°02'E) 1360km NNE 180


C4B7901

6F caught

28.03.97 20.04.97

N278390

2M controlled

31.10.97 12.11.97

Tangham Farm, Boyton, Suffolk (52°05'N 01 ^ ö ' E ) Tongeren, Gelderland, NETHERLANDS (52°23'N 05°55'E) - 307km E

Tangham Farm, Boyton, Suffolk (52°05'N 01°26'E) Oud Turnhout, Antwerpen, B E L G I L M (51°19'N 04°59'E) - 259km ESE T h e first bird was presumably on its breeding grounds when recovered in Norway. Other recoveries reported included m o v e m e n t s to or f r o m Derbyshire, Hampshire, Norfolk (6) and Surrey. L I N N E T Carduelis J683480 4M

cannabina 06.05.96

Landguard Point, Felixstowe, Suffolk (51°56'N01°19'E) controlled 11.06.97 Stamford, Cambridgeshire (52°38'N 00°25'W) 141km WNW Since 1983 over 8,000 Linnets have been ringed at Landguard. Recoveries of these birds within Britain have mostly involved m o v e m e n t s of under 2 5 k m with only t w o exceeding 100km. R E D P O L L Carduelis J738043 3 controlled

flammea 31.12.94 16.03.97

S N O W B U N T I N G Plectrophenax VB73068 5M 01.02.97 controlled 05.12.97

VR98574

3F field record

Ickburgh, Norfolk (52°31'N 00°39'E) Tangham Farm, Boyton, Suffolk (52°05'N 01 °26'E) 72km SE nivalis Felixstowe Ferry, Suffolk (51°59'N 01°23'E) near Salthouse, Norfolk (52°57'N 0 l T O ^ ) 109km N

05.12.97 22.12.97

near Salthouse, Norfolk (52°57'N O l ' W E ) Covehithe, Suffolk (52°21'N 01 °4YE) - 78km SSE There is obviously s o m e interchange between the wintering S n o w Bunting flocks in N o r f o l k and Suffolk. In 1997 efforts were m a d e to study those wintering in the Felixstowe area and a total of 114 were caught and ringed in February with a further 74 in D e c e m b e r . Most birds proved to be of the Icelandic race P.n.insulae with smaller n u m b e r s of the nominate race P.n.nivalis. Surprisingly, none of the February birds were retrapped in the D e c e m b e r catches. Acknowledgements: Special thanks to the f o l l o w i n g ringers/ringing g r o u p s w h o supplied information upon w h i c h the bulk of this report is based; Dr. G r a h a m Austin, Sid Batty, Rex B e e c r o f t , J e r e m y Blackburn, B T O N u n n e r y R i n g i n g G r o u p , Ian Carter, Peter C a t c h p o l e , M a l c o l m C a v a n a g h , Dingle Bird C l u b , R o b D u n c a n , John G l a z e b r o o k , Tony Harris, Peter H a y m a n . Ian H e n d e r s o n , Ron Hoblyn, Sir A n t h o n y Hurrell, L a c k f o r d Ringing G r o u p , L a n d g u a r d Bird Observatory, Alan Leitch, Market Weston Ringing G r o u p , Alan Miller, N e w t o n & Wright Ringing G r o u p , Adrian Parr, Ian Peters. R o y Thatcher, A n d r e w T h o m p s o n , Brian T h o m p s o n , Glen Tyler, Cliff Waller, Colin W e a r n e , Lyn W e b b and R o d n e y West. We should also like to thank the British Trust for O r n i t h o l o g y and the Regional C o u n t y Recorders for f o r w a r d i n g information f r o m their files and to the m a n y non-ringers w h o h a v e supplied recovery details.

181


References: A p p l e t o n , G.F., A d a m s , S.A., Clark, J.A., Simons, J.R. & Peach, W.J. 1997. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1995. Ring. & Migr. 18: 113-158. Clark, J.A., A d a m s , S.Y., Peach, W.J. & Simons, J.R. 1996. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1994. Ring. & Migr. 17: 36-79. M e a d , C.J. & Clark, J.A. 1993. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1991. Ring. & Migr. 14: 1-72. M e a d , C.J., Clark, J.A. & Peach, W.J. 1993. Report on Bird Ringing in Britain and Ireland for 1992. Ring. & Migr. 14: 152-200. M e a d , 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 IP 11 9SS

182


â&#x20AC;¢ S Y S T E M A T I C LIST O F S P E C I E S A N D TOTALS O F BIRDS R I N G E D IN S U F F O L K IN 1996 A N D 1997 Species Bittern Grey Heron Mute Swan Greylag Goose Canada Goose Shelduck Gadwall Teal Mallard Pochard Tufted Duck Red Kite Marsh Harrier Sparrowhawk Kestrel Hobby Golden Pheasant Water Rail Moorhen Coot Oystercatcher Avocet Stone-Curlew Little Ringed Piover Ringed Piover Golden Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Knot Little Stint Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Ruff Jack Snipe Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Curlew Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Turnstone Mediterranean Gull Black-headed Gull

1996 2 4 12 -

11 6 -

50 18 -

2 2 31 60 15 -

2 1 5 3 16 3 85 8 55 1 24 120 8 4 22 4 1045 2 6 15 4 4 1 23 340 6 3 1 33 1 2 343

1997 10 1 10 2 28 24 1 53 21 4 2 3 39 36 24 1

Species Common Gull Lesser Blacked-backed Gull Herring Gull Little Tern Stock Dove Woodpigeon Collared Dove Turtle Dove Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Nightjar Swift Kingfisher Green Woodpecker Great Sp. Woodpecker Lesser Sp. Woodpecker Woodlark Skylark Shore Lark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Waxwing Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbier

-

1 23 4 7 25 69 6 57 4 7 49 13 -

1 2 357 -

1 10 7 7 -

14 191 4 5 -

31 -

III

183

19% 75 420 71 81 8 77 49 7 6 3 6 3 4 25 36 10 24 20 -

63 4 -

289 1056 237 36 422 -

36 6 68 15 378 577 839 32 18 70 5 4 26 9 2561 118 506 428 22 1

1997 35 674 163 16 26 78 41 5 2 9 11 3 2 10 44 10 37 45 1 100 5 4 1195 857 311 25 698 3 32 2 77 -

392 670 765 55 21 51 8 -

19 3 1802 27 292 150 27 1


Species Lanceolated Warbler Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Icterine Warbler Melodius Warbler Spectacled Warbler Barred Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Greenish Warbler Pallas's Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler Western Bonelli's Warbler Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit

1996 -

648 991 3 1 -

2 207 824 249 687 -

6 1 1 4 421 797 202 37 72 28 126 422 50 9 205 2648

1997 1 1 459 935 4 -

1 2 175 816 274 1069 1 -

7 640 1094 947 22 60 57 55 475 45 6 172 2626

184

Species Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Red-backed Shrike Jay Magpie Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Redpoll Crossbill Common Rosefinch Bullfinch Hawfinch Snow Bunting Yellowhammer Ortolan Bunting Reed Bunting Corn Bunting

1996 1560 20 71 3 37 10 10 5 2 1984 633 7 1166 47 2107 370 94 811 50

GRAND TOTAL NO. OF SPECIES

29178 139

-

1 161 -

65 1 158 -

1997 1864 6 67 1 25 13 10 3 1 3484 724 63 1403 199 2337 400 929 526 145 20 -

192 1 188 309 -

80 10 33020 138


SUFFOLK NATUR ALISTS ' 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 Muséums. 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 Muséum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES: SNS Individual £12.00 Family £14.00 Junior (under 18) £7.00

Joint membership SNS/SOG

£22.00 £26.00 £10.00


CONTENTS Page Editorìa! Gary Lowe The Conservation Status of Birds in Suffolk Richard Rafe The Breeding Bird Survey - an update Mike Crewe Seabird Movements and Abundance off Covehithe, Suffolk, 1994-96 2. Little Gull and Tems Peter Dare The 1997 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: Hummingbird at Henley Gary Lowe Desert Lark at Minsmere Gary Lowe Quail Breeding in West SuffoÌk Peter Bullett Rarities in Suffolk in 1997: Spectacled Warbler, Landguard Mike Marsh Lanceolated Warbler, Landguard Andy Mitchell Bufflehead, Heveningham Hall Lake Tony Howe Isabelline Shrike, Boyton Marshes Eric Patrick Thrush Nightingale, Hollesley Steve Piotrowski Thrush Nightingale, Landguard Steve Babbs Dusky Warbler, Corton Cari Buttle Stilt Sandpiper, Minsmere Brian Small Blue-winged Teal, Pipp's Ford Phil Whittaker American/Pacific Golden Piover, Tinker's Marshes Cliff Walter A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Landguard Bird Observatory, 1997 Michael James Suffolk Ringing Report Tony Hurrell & Mike Marsh

5 6 11 16 27 27 28 135 136 138 139 141 143 144 144 144 145 147 147 148 149 150 151 151 152 153 155 155 157 160 168

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£7.50 -or V

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Suffolk Birds 1997  

Volume 47 Bird Report 1997

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