Page 1

Systematic

List

The 2002 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 European Shag Hérons to geese Ducks Raptors Game birds to crânes Oystercatcher to Ruff Snipes to phalaropes Skuas to gulls

Adam Gretton Peter Kennerley Malcolm Wright Chris Gregory John Davies John Grant Philip Murphy James Brown

Terns to auks Pigeons to woodpeckers Larks to Hedge Accentor Chats to thrushes Warblers to flycatchers Tits to shrikes Crows to buntings Appendices

Neville Skinner Matthew Deans Richard Smith Steve Fryett Darren Underwood Tony Howe Rob Macklin Peter Kennerley

The 'officiai' British list is maintained by the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU). Species are included in various catégories according to their status, as follows: • Category A - species which have been recorded in an apparently natural state at least once since January 1 st 1950; • Category B - species that would otherwise be in Category A but have not been recorded since December 3Ist 1949; • Category C - species that, although originally introduced by man, either deliberately or accidentally, have established self-sustaining breeding populations; • Category D - species that would otherwise appear in Catégories A or B except that there is doubt that they have ever occurred in a natural state; • Category E - species that have been recorded as introductions, transportées or escapees from captivity, and whose breeding populations are not thought to be self-sustaining. The main part of the species accounts consists of species that occurred in Suffolk in 2002 which fall into Catégories A and C. Where a species is included in multiple catégories, this is shown in the initial status summary. Catégories D and E do not form part of either the British or Suffolk lists. Species from these Catégories that occurred in Suffolk in 2002 are included as appendices to the main list. The order and nomenclature follow Dr K H Voous's List of Recent Holarctic Bird Species (BOU, 1997). English names are as in 'Checklist of the Birds of Britain and Ireland' (BOU, Sixth Edition, 1992). Subspecies are listed under the main species' heading, which includes the scientific name. The records for each species are listed mostly 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 151 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 29


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 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 Aide/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. 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. 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. The following dĂŠfinitions 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. Accidentai: Less than three records in past 30 years. Included in the status description is a note if the species is included in either the Red or the Amber List of 'Birds of Conservation Concern '. This is a paper jointly produced by the leading bird conservation organisations in the UK. See Suffolk Bird Report Vol.47:6-10 for further dĂŠtails. The following abbreviations are used in the systematic list: ad. = adult GP imm. = immature GC juv. = juvenile Ind. Est. = FMD = Foot & Mouth Disease NNR = N. = bird(s) flying north R S. bird(s) flying south res. = WM = Water Meadow WP CP = Country Park WR sw = Sewage Works

30

gravel pit Golf Course industriai estate National Nature Reserve River reservoir Water Park Wildfowl Reserve


Systematic

List

RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Numbers recorded returned to approximately those seen in 1999, after the exceptional counts in 2000 and 2001, with most observations again coming from stalwart observers at Thorpeness and Kessingland. Assessment of the numbers is complicated by variation in observer effort from year to year, as well as the extent of day to day duplication, as a result of local movements. Nevertheless the peak day count of 2843 at Thorpeness (December 30th) is equivalent to the entire UK breeding population of 1425 pairs (New Atlas, 19881991)! This is the second highest day count from Suffolk, with Sole Bay now thought to support the highest concentrations of this species ever recorded in Europe (Piotrowski 2003). Kessingland Thorpeness Other sites

Jan 2294 (255) 502

Feb Mar 1369 228 2085 508 135 10

Apr 9 1

May 1 6

Jun 1 2

Jul .1 -

-

Aug 3 ••>

Sep 110 6 32

Oct 211 98 129

Nov 1356 7042 661

Dec Total 3319 8901 4878 14882 1223 2692

Selected records are given below: Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, two (oiled), Nov.23rd. Kessingland: monthly totals above, including one, Jun.lst. Benacre: Broad, five, and six just offshore (most oiled), Nov.30th. Southwold: 650, Dec. 19th. Dunwieh: 400 north in one hour, Dec.30th. Minsmere: two oiled birds at Island Mere, Dec.6th. Thorpeness: recorded in every month, apart from August (see table); summer singles on Jun. 1 st and 2nd and Jul.2nd. Orford: Orfordness, 126, Jan.25th. Felixstowe: Landguard 54 north and 110 south, Nov.23rd and 24th. The following were recorded away from the sea: Weybread: GP, one, oiled, Dec.5th. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, Dec.8th. Levington: Marina, Dec. 11th. Ipswich: Docks, two, Dec.21st to 27th. FIELD N O T E

This species may have been significantly affected by an oil spill in November, with observations of oiled birds between Lowestoft and Minsmere from November 16th to December 8th involving 20 birds specifically reported, plus the exceptional inland record at Weybread Gravel Pits. At Thorpeness on November 23rd about 7% of the birds that were close enough to check were oiled (D. Thurlow). The decrease in the number of birds recorded in December, compared with the 2001 figures, may be related to this, particularly since this decrease followed generally increased totals up to December. At Thorpeness, the November total was 31% up on the year before, but the following month was down by 62%, with more than half the monthly total seen on December 30th. Adam Gretton

BLACK-THROATED DIVER Gavia arctica Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Another new record total, with up to 54 birds (apparently with little overlap), 27 of which were seen from Kessingland. Unlike last year, there were no summer records. Despite these numbers, there were again no records from the Stour or Orwell Estuaries, or Alton Water. Only selected records are given below. 31


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Lowestoft and Corton: Sep.22nd, the first autumn bird, seen at separate sites ten minutes apart. Kessingland: last of spring, Mar.31st; 19 between Oct.2nd and Dec.17th , including an oiled bird close inshore on Nov.23rd. Thorpeness: a total of seven in October and November. Felixstowe: Landguard, north, Feb. 18th. In autumn three in October, five November and three December. Heveningham: Heveningham Hall Lake, Dec. 15th. Only the ninth ever inland record (Piotrowski 2003) and the first since one at Lackford Lakes in January 1995. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Gavia immer Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The total of at least 31 individuals easily exceeds last year's record of 17 and continues the increase in records of this species over the last decade. Selected records only are listed. Lowestoft: Ness Point, the first of the autumn, Sep.23rd. Covehithe: May 6th; only the eighth May record for Suffolk. Southwold: Jul. 1st (possibly the same bird seen from Thorpeness the following day). Thorpeness: Jul.2nd. Deben Estuary: Dec.8th. Alton Water: Jan. 13th. Stour Estuary: Dec.8th Felixstowe: Landguard, four south and one north between Oct.3rd and Nov.20th. The July records are the first ever for that month in Suffolk. LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A stable population was reported with 52 pairs at 17 sites this year, compared with 51 pairs at 11 sites in 2001. North Warren reported a record 16 pairs (up from 13 in 2001), Lakenheath Fen six pairs and the Hen Reedbeds and Barton Mere five pairs each. There were four pairs at Trimley, three pairs at Benacre Broad, two pairs at Sizewell and Livermere Lake and single pairs at nine other sites. No detailed breeding reports were received from Minsmere (which held 21 pairs in 2001), Walberswick or Lackford Lakes. The estimate of 80-100 pairs in Suffolk (Piotrowski 2003) would appear realistic. Observers are requested to submit ail records of breeding pairs. The highest winter count was 73 on the Deben Estuary, November 17th. Also on the Deben, at Wilford Bridge, there was an interesting report of 27 birds together in one group, January 2nd. A rare record on the sea came from Kessingland, November 12th, with the bird apparently untroubled by waves whipped up by a force 5 wind. A bird at Combs Lane WM, Stowmarket on February 28th is only the second from this well-watched site.

Great Crested Grebe Peter Beeson

GREAT CRESTED GREBE Podiceps cristatus Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A total of 31 pairs was recorded from 13 sites, including eight pairs at Suffolk WP, Bramford, four pairs at Trimley, three pairs at Benacre Broad, Thorpeness Meare and Lakenheath Washes and two pairs at Lackford Lakes and Livermere Lake (but no confirmed breeding again at Alton Water). The lack of data from the latter site makes it hard to assess if the county estimate of over a hundred pairs (Piotrowski 2003) still holds 32


Systematic

List

true. It would be helpful to ascertain whether there has been a real decline, or whether there is continued major under-reporting of such a striking breeding species. Encouragingly, young were reported from eight sites. Generally fewer wintering offshore than in recent years, but conversely higher counts from Alton Water and the Stour Estuary. Kessingland: recorded in every month, with maxima of 222 in Jan., 113 in Feb. and 84 in Nov.; no more than 22 in any other month. Minsmere: 400 offshore, Jan.25th; 180, Dec.21st. Thorpeness: 305, Nov. 17th. Alton Water: 84, Sep.8th; 110, Oct.6th; 81, Nov,17th and 58, Dec.8th. Stour Estuary: the highest WeBS counts were 111, Sep.8th and 109, Apr. 14th. Felixstowe: Landguard 20 south, Nov.21st to 24th. RED-NECKED GREBE Podiceps grisegena Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. With 19-21 individuals, all but three in the second winter period, close to the recent average. Lowestoft: Ness Point, Sep. 1 st, the first of autumn. Kessingland: north, Sep.2nd and Oct. 10th. Easton Bavents: Sep.21st to 28th. Southwold: Sep.2nd and 24th (probably the same as above). Dunwich: Oct.8th. Thorpeness: Feb.3rd; two, Oct.31st; four singles, Nov.23rd to Dec.21st. Orford: Orfordness, Jan.lOth and 13th. Felixstowe: Landguard, three south, Nov.3rd and a single Nov.24th. Wherstead: Orwell Estuary, Dec.21st. SLAVONIAN GREBE Podiceps auritus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. A welcome improvement on the single record last year, and similar to 1998 to 2000, with six records. Southwold: Nov. 13th and Dec. 19th. Minsmere: Feb.3rd and 10th. Shotley: Marshes, Jan.7th and Dec.22nd. BLACK-NECKED GREBE Podiceps nigricollis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. As with the preceding species, a striking increase to 15-16 individuals, from the four seen in 2001. The records of summer adults, and two to three August juveniles (the first since 1998) are of interest, particularly in the context of Essex's first successful nesting by this species in 2001, repeated in 2002 (see Regional Review). Although these exciting events were at the "wrong end" of Essex, in the Thames valley, is it too much to hope that this species might at last nest successfully in Suffolk? Kessingland: juv., drifting north, Aug.9th. Benacre: Broad, Mar.llth to 19th, Apr.l4th (summer adult), Dec.20th to 31st. Waldrlngfield: Deben Estuary, Dec.21st. Felixstowe: Landguard, Aug. 11th (summer adult). Trimley St Martin: Orwell Estuary, Oct.7th. Holbrook: Holbrook Bay, two, Dec. 12th. Lakenheath Washes: Mar. 17th and May 6th. Livermere Lake: juv., Aug. 13th. Lackford Lakes: Sailing lake. Mar. 18th to 26th; two, Jul.27th; juv., Aug.20th and 21 st (possibly the same bird as at Livermere?). 33


Suffolk Blrd Report 2002 NORTHERN FULMAR Fulmarus

glacialis

Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Formerly bred. Amber list. Once again most records resulted from intensive year-round sea-watching efforts at Kessingland and Thorpeness. Overall numbers were only 38% of the 2001 total, with apparently similar levels of observer effort, according to D. Thurlow. As always, there is a distinct possibility of overlap between diffĂŠrent observers (e.g. on September 3rd, 21 north from Southwold and 20 north from Thorpeness). In contrast with 2001, when there was a clear April peak, numbers in 2002 were highest in May. The August-September totals were also higher than the preceding year; 28% of all 2002 records came from these two months, compared with only 6% the year before. All submitted day counts of 15 or more are listed below. Kessingland Thorpeness Other sites

Jan 21 47 2

Feb 15 32 2

Mar 33 72 1

Apr May 227 341 235: 160 5 99

Jun 169 92 7

Jul 38: 43 3

Aug 128 100 57

Scp 141 60 146

Oct 3 -

1

Nov 2

Dec Total 1118 3 844 323 -

Lowestoft: Ness Point, 30 north, Sep.2nd. Southwold: 21 north, Sep.3rd; 38, Sep.9th; 15, Sep.l5th. Thorpeness: 46, Jan.Ist (an exceptional winter-day count); 28, Mar.lOth; 54 north, Apr.lOth; 42, May 6th; 16, Jul.3rd; 24 north, Aug.26th; 25 north, Aug.28th; 26, Sep.3rd. Orford: Orfordness, 96 north, May 6th. There were no inland records and no records from the former breeding site at Bawdsey. CORY'S SHEARWATER Calonectris diomedea Rare passage migrant. The three records below show impressive tracking of the same individuals, clocking a speed of c. 30-40 kph (20-25 mph). Pakefield: two north, Sep.3rd (09.50; C.Darby et al.). Covehithe: two north, Sep.3rd (09.37; L.Woods). Southwold: two north, Sep.3rd (09.19-09.31; J H Grant et al). In addition a large shearwater, either Cory's or Great, flew north offThorpeness on July 2Ist and a large shearwater, "almost certainly" this species, was seen distantly off Southwold on September 23rd. GREAT SHEARWATER Puffinus gravis Very rare passage migrant. This is only the seventh Suffolk record and the first since 1992. The Southwold bird was almost certainly seen again from Corton, 50 minutes later. Southwold: north, Oct.9th (B.J.Small). SOOTY SHEARWATER Puffinus griseus Uncommon passage migrant. A totally unprecedented year, with over 700 birds recorded in September alone, most of these in the first three days (double the Fulmar total for the same month!). Passage started quite late, with the first two birds on August 25th. A minimum of 340 passed north offshore on September Ist, seen exclusively between Orfordness and Ness Point, followed by a further 224 during the next two days. A single bird on November 23rd was followed by five or six in December (see below). There had apparently only been a Single previous December record in Suffolk (Dare, Suffolk Birds Vol. 48). All going north unless specified, and all records of 20 or more listed: Lowestoft: Ness Point, 253, Sep.lst; 91, Sep.2nd; 76, Sep.3rd. 34


Systematic

List

Kessingland: 59, Sep.lst; 51, Sep.2nd; 33, Sep.3rd; 32, Sep.23rd; 23, Oct.l5th; two, Dec.l Ith; one, Dec.l3th. Southwold: 240, Sep.lst; 101, Sep.2nd; 59, Sep.3rd; 33, Sep.9th; 49, Sep.23rd; 48, Oct.6th; 20, Oct. 15th; one, Dec.l9th (the latest ever in Suffolk). Dunwich: 26, Sep.lst. Minsmere: 25, Aug.31st; 26, Sep.lst. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, 25, Sep.lst. Thorpeness: 180, Sep.lst; 49 (inc. four south), Sep.2nd; singles south, Nov.23rd and Dec.l5th. Orford: Orfordness, 45, Sep.lst; 31, Sep.23rd. Bawdsey: single, Dec.l Ith. The previous best yearly total for Suffolk was 106 in 1989. The movement in early September was heavily concentrated in the northern half of the county. Landguard's tally for the year was nine north on September 2nd, two north on September 3rd and two north on October 5th.

Sooty Shearwaters Mark Cornish MANX SHEARWATER Puffmus pufĂ&#x;nus Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. Having increased in the previous three years (to the record 2001 total of 335 birds), this year's total was a more modest 115 - nevertheless a better showing than any year prior to 1999. The first bird (or two) was seen on April 27th ( from Thorpeness and Landguard), and the last on October 9th, at Kessingland. The previously recognised September peak (Dare, Suffolk Birds, Voi .48) was re-established in 2002, with almost half of the total seen in September. The only double-figure count was 12 at Thorpeness on July 3rd, with only five other observations of more than three birds. North South (unspee.) total

April 1 1 1-2

May 2 9 1 12

June 10

July 7 24

August 5

10

31

5

Sept. 24 22 9 55

Oct 1

1

BALEARIC SHEARWATER Puffmus mauretanicus Rare passage migrant. An exceptional year for this species, with at least 14 individuals. The previous grand total for Suffolk was nine. 35


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Lowestoft: Ness Point, Sep. 1st, at least nine north, (one party of four, another group of two and the rest singles). (A.Easton, J.Brown, R.Wilton et at.). Kessingland: six north, Sep. 1 st, four of which were seen ten minutes later from Ness Point (P.Read). Southwold: south, Sep.2nd (B.J.Small, J.H.Grant); north, Sep.3rd (D.F.Walsh) and north, Oct.6th (B.J.Small). Thorpeness: Nov. 15th and 16th , possibly the same dark bird lingering (D.Thurlow). Orford: Orfordness, north, Aug.3rd (M.C.Marsh, J.Askins). EUROPEAN STORM-PETREL Hydrobatespelagicus Rare passage migrant. Amber list. The nine birds seen exceeded the total from the previous decade, confirming just what an exceptional seabird year 2002 was. Kessingland: north, Sep.9th (P.Read). Southwold: five north in two groups within two minutes of each other, Aug.25th (B.J.Small); two north, Sep.9th (B.J.Small); Sep,22nd (D.and R.Marsh). Orford: Orfordness, Sep.Ist (L.Woods, J.Zantboer et al.). LEACH'S STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma leueorhoa Rare passage migrant. Amber list. Between 11 and 19 birds seen, depending on the degree of overlap in same-day records, almost rivalling the 23 reported in 1997. The Kessingland bird on September 3rd was seen within 30 metres of the beach in the early afternoon - who says sea-watching is always hard work? Lowestoft: Ness Point, Sep.2nd (J.Brown, R.Wincup, J.Wylson). Kessingland: two north, Sep.2nd (one same as Lowestoft); north, Sep.3rd and Oct.8th (P.Read). Easton Bavents: north, Sep. 12th (C.R.Naunton). Southwold: five north, Sep.2nd; singles on Sep.3rd, 7th, 9th, 12th and 23rd (B.J.Small, J.H.Grant et al.). Dunwich: south, Sep.9th (M.L.Cornish). Minsmere: Sep.3rd (R.Drew). Thorpeness: north, Sep.2nd and Oct.8th (D.Thurlow). NORTHERN GANNET Morus bassanus Common passage migrant. Amber list. Numbers were well down on 2001 's record-breaking year, but nevertheless higher than any year prior to that, again due to exceptional sea-watching efforts at two sites. There is likely to be significant overlap in the counts at the main two sites, so these figures cannot meaningfully be added together. The amount of overlap between all other sites and the main two sites is unknown, but adding all "other sites" to the Kessingland figure gives a total of 9120. North Kessingland Thorpeness Other South Kessingland Thorpeness Other Unspec.

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May Jim

66 3 -0

221 66 0

365 521 1

164 189 0

348 309 88

1298 1662 510 1067 1326 158 14 170 83

9 2 0 2

6 3 0 2

4 4 0 20

13 10 0 t

73 167 0 3

115 278 0 4

Jul

135 328 39 3

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

1272 485 447 320 847 354

33 1:5 0

38 3 8

6462 4424 1565

8 7 0 0

12 0 0 3

648 1042 77 368

66 148 63 37 3 35 V: 215

59 143 0 108

Dec Total

The proportion of birds recorded going south varied considerably between sites (9% at Kessingland and 19% at Thorpeness, but only 4.7% at other sites). The high September 36


Systematic

List

counts from other sites (in comparison to the two FIELD N O T E best-watched sites) would appear to be largely due to Perhaps surprisingly, the only the exceptional seabird watching early in the month report of an oiled bird came tempting more observers out than usual. Numbers at indirectly, with Maggi Hambling (in the two main sites peaked in June and July, returning the flier for "North Sea Paintings 2002-3") referring to an oil-soaked to the pattern seen in 2000. The following daily totals over 150 were recorded: gannet found dead on Thorpeness beach on Boxing Day 2002. Lowestoft: Ness Point, 203, Sep.2nd. Kessingland: 196, Jun.29th; 195, Jul. 14th; 213, Sep.3rd; Adam Gretton 160, Sep.23rd. South wold: 183, Sep. 1st; 160, Sep.3rd; 330, Oct.öth. Thorpeness: 228, Mar.9th; 301, Jun.29th; 345, Jun.30th; 275, Jul. 1 st; 273, Jul.l4th; 244, Oct.6th. GREAT

CORMORANT

Common winter visitor and passage migrant; has nested since 1998. Amber list. The monthly maxima for the well-watched sites are given in the table below. Other notable totals included 124 at Corton, January 25th, 374 at Covehithe, February 9th and 444 at Southwold the following day. A continuous movement totalling 430 birds took about four minutes to pass Kessingland on January 30th. There were 85 at the Sizewell roost on November 16th, and 114 at Havergate on January 8th. The October maximum (below) at Lackford Lakes is a new site record. Sea-watching at Thorpeness produced peak day counts of 150 on January 1st and 121 on November 30th. The nesting colony at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin contained 66 nests this year, very close to the 64 recorded in 2001. They had a very successful season, fledging a large number of young. Jan Minsmere 60 North Warren : 8 Aide/Ore. Estuary 16 Beben Estuarv 20 Orwell Estuary 36 V®§f Loompit Lake Stour Estuary 24 Alton Water 23 Lackford Lakes 8

Feb 7 7 68 11 10 -

48 3 73

Mar 1 16 53 43 169

Apr 3 3

-

-

50 3 41

47

-

May 5 3 - © 8 ®

34 109

Jun 7 5 -

Jul 11 10 J

_

-

177

ii

-

_

_

_

_

-

-

21

67

/Vug 12 n -

Sep Oct 12 18 15 18 3SMÌI 72

yss® 156 80 116 1 9 55 90 -

Nov 5 13 is-

Dec 15 18 60

87 so 33 162 11881 180 71 119 53 23 23 23 137 127 107

EUROPEAN SHAG Phalacrocorax aristotelis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. A roughly average year, with at least 14 birds in the first winter period, and at least another 14 in the second. As usual, most records came from the Lowestoft area. There were single records each month (listed below) from April through to July. Lowestoft: (Lake Lothing, Leathes Ham and Hamilton Dock) up to four, Jan. 1st to 18th, then nine, Feb.2nd; four, Feb.l6th; one, May 11th; first autumn bird Oct.3rd (roosting with Great Cormorants), with a peak of five, Nov.28th. Oulton Broad: two, Jan.12th and Feb.l4th. Southwold: single, Nov.24th. Minsmere: singles, Jan. 12th, Oct.25th to 28th and Nov.24th and 25th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, Sep. 10th and Dec.30th. Orford: Orfordness, Apr.l4th; Jun.l6th; Oct.l9th and 26th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Jul. 11th; Nov.27th and 28th and Dec.28th. Levington: Marina, first-winter, Jan.21st and Feb. 14th. Wherstead: Strand, four, Jan.5th. Ipswich: Dock, up to two birds, Dec.8th to 26th. 37


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 GREAT BITTERN Botaurus stellaris Slowly increasing breeding population, scarce resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Category A. Red List. SufFolk remains an important county for Great Bitterns throughout the year, and holds a significant percentage of the UK's breeding population. In 2002, a total of 18 booming males was recorded from six coastal locations, pointing to a slow but steady increase in numbers. A single booming male was present at Benacre Broad from March 23 rd, but there is no indication that breeding occurred here. At nearby Easton Broad, two booming males were present and five nests were located, all of which were believed to be successful. The extensive Phragmites reedbeds at Walberswick held four booming males, and three nests were located. Single birds at Dingle Marshes on April 13th, September 8th and December 20th, may have come from nearby Walberswick. The recent improvements to the Hen Reedbeds have proved attractive to Great Bitterns, with two booming males present from April 1 st until at least June 30th, and sightings continuing until July lOth, although there was no indication that breeding occurred here. Small numbers over-wintered at Minsmere, with up to three birds present throughout January and February, and at least two present in November and December. With the onset of the breeding season, numbers increased to six on February 25th. Thereafter, sightings became regulär, with territorial disputes being highly visible as this population continues to Great Bittern Peter Beeson expand into all areas of suitable reedbed. Numbers breeding at Minsmere in 2002 were slightly up on 2001, with seven différent booming males recorded and eight nests located. This year, in order to minimise disturbance, no nests were investigateci, so the breeding success is unknown. A bird flew out to sea on September 16th, suggesting post-breeding dispersion from the breeding area. At North Warren, at least one bird wintered in the main reedbed, being seen on a couple of occasions during January and February. From March onwards, activity increased, with at least two males present and regulär sightings throughout the month. The first territorial booming male was heard on March 17th, and thereafter two males were heard regularly. Although one male certainly remained throughout the breeding season, the other male only boomed irregularly, and may have not have remained on site throughout the entire breeding season. Building upon the recent successful breeding attempts here, two nests were located and both are believed to have been successful. In the latter part of the year, the only sighting was of one on December 3rd. Away from the traditional locations, a bird in flight over Reydon on June 20th was unusual, although this may have been a bird from a nearby breeding site commuting to feeding grounds on the Southwold Town Marshes. Outside the breeding season, records away from the breeding areas increased over 2001. These included a single at Snape on 38


Systematic

List

November 24th, while at Ipswich Golf Club, a FIELD N O T E bird present on February 8th was perhaps the At North Warren RSPB reserve on same individuai reported here in 2001. A bird at March 18th, at least 30 dead Barham pits was seen intermittently between Common Toads Bufo bufo were January 27th and February 20th, while one, at disoovered, apparently having been Long Melford on January 12th, was seen to fly speared, but not eaten, by a Great Bittern. across the River Stour from the Essex side, and Rob Mackiin may have been over-wintering in the area. Other unexpected reports came from Thorington Street Reservoir on January 15th and Wyken Hall on December 14th. In the west of the county, the number of reports has increased over the previous year. Not surprisingly, Lackford Lakes was the most attractive site with single birds present on February 1 Ith, March 5th, August 4th and September 2nd to 9th, followed by a bird that spent much of November and December on the reserve, and remained into 2003. Elsewhere in the west, singles were reported from Bamham on January 8th, the newly-created Lakenheath Fen on March 23rd, and the Nunnery Lakes NR from February 12th to 16th. LITTLE E G R E T Egretta ganetta Uncommon, but increasing resident and passage migrant. Category A. Amber List. The expansion of this dainty heron into the county continues unabated, with more records than ever before being submitted this year. Most importantly, however, comes the muchanticipated first nesting in Sufifolk, with pairs being reported from two sites. At the first site two pairs nested and at least two young were fledged. At the second site a pair built a nest and attempted to breed but were not successful. Birds were also present at a third site during the spring and may have attempted to breed. Inevitably, records from coastal sites predominated with only a couple of reports coming from the west of the county. As the number of birds present in the county continues to increase, and with them an expansion of the temporal spread of records, it is becoming increasingly difficult to establish any clear pattern of occurrence. During the first five months of the year, the estuaries from the Blyth south to the Stour supported a fairly stable population of just under 20 birds, compared with ten in January 2001. During this period, the Aide/Ore river complex, including Orfordness and Havergate Island, held the largest population, with a peak count of 11 birds at Havergate Island on March 25th. Surprisingly, giving its important position during 2001, there was a relatively poor showing at Loompit Lake during this period, with just a single bird present in January and Aprii. It was notable that numbers did not show a significant fall in March, when birds would normally be expected to return to breeding colonies. Following the well-established pattern, from late June onwards, there was a significant increase in the number of birds in the county, with widespread records from Benacre south to the Stour estuary. This increase mcluded both adult and juvenile birds, suggesting a post-breeding influx from outside the county. In the north, numbers in the Benacre/Covehithe area increased to 17 in July, although some may have been drawn from the Blyth Estuary. Throughout the county as a whole, August proved to be the peak month, with an estimated 118 birds present. The Orfordness and Havergate Island population peaked in July and August, with up to 14 individuals throughout this period. As in previous years, however, the north shore of the Orwell estuary was the prime location during the second half of the year, with many birds feeding on the nearby Trimley Marshes NR., where numbers peaked at 22 on August 25th. As in previous years, Loompit Lake was the single 39


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 most important site within the county, with numbers roosting during the second half of the year increasing to peak at 50 individuals on October Ist (W.J. Brame), a new county record for a single locality. By October, however, numbers elsewhere in the county declined, in particular at sites north of the Alde/Orr complex. An interesting aspect of the Loompit Lake roost is that the numbers gathering here far exceed the known population present on Suffolk's southern estuaries. It is, therefore, possible that this important site may also be attracting birds that spend the day at feeding sites in neighbouring Essex. Several small groups were noted during March and April, suggesting migrants departing for breeding areas. These included three flying west over Dunwich on April 28th and six flying south over Landguard on March 3Ist, followed by one south there the following day. In the west of the county, only two records were reported. These involved two birds at Hadleigh on May 16th and one southwest over Hardwick Heath on May 27th, which may also have been migrants. There may be some duplication in the figures in the following table: Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jus Aug Jul 1 Benacre Broad 1 f 7 2 38' " I f g . Covehithe Broad 12 10 13 Blyth Estuary 1 4 6 1 2 ! 8 Walberswick/ Dingle Marshes 4 3 2 2 2 10 I S s 5 Minsmere I 5 5 2 3 3' sul North Warren 1 1 8 g 1 1 Orfordness/ Havcrgate Island 3 11 6 3 I l S p i l l ' ö ® " 14 14 Deben F.shiary 2 4 4 2 Ti ffisii1- : Trimley Marshes N.R. 2 1 4 liti» 1 2 6 22 Loompit Lake (roost counts) I 1 1 4 18 37 Stour Estuary 0. l l s i l i l ® 0 2 0 14 Totals 17 19 11 18 18 39 65 118

Sep 1 4 4 3 1

Oct 3

Nov

-

-

1

Dec

l

-

3 4 1 1 ¡¡¡jlj

1

7

5

2

3

4 5 2

4 6 3

30 11 68

50 22 89

29 10 55

24 5 44

~

-

GREAT EGRET Ardea alba Rare visitor. CategoryA. Minsmere: a bird with orange, red and yellow colour rings on its left leg appeared in front of the Island Mere hide, Aug.30th (P. and S.Green et al. ). This bird had been ringed in western France (see Ringing Report). A différent individuai was seen intermittently from Sep.7th to 27th (R.Drew, RSPB). This may well have been Suffolk's best ever year for this attractive, large egret. Unfortunately at least a further five records have not been submitted to BBRC for assessment. GRE Y HERON Ardea cinerea Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Category A. This widespread and common resident was recorded throughout the county during 2002, although it remained most numerous along the coastal strip, with regulär reports from favoured sites extending from Benacre Broad south to the Stour estuary. Although present at many sites throughout the year, numbers rarely exceeded single figures. Sample peak counts reported included eight at Minsmere on September 8th, eight at North Warren on April 19th, seven at Sizewell on September 9th and eight at Hazelwood Marshes on June 4th. 40


1. R e d - t h r o a t e d D i v e r : l a r g e n u m b e r s i n S o l e B a y . Robin Chittenden

(www.hariequinpictures.co.uk)


3. Black-necked Grebe: two summer plumaged birds seen.

Derek Moon


6. Great Egret: two birds seen at Minsmere.

Derek Moon1


Systematic

List

The resuit of a selective survey of , active heronries in 2002 is tabulated , IJr / below, along with comparative numbers \ j / f i/,-; breeding in the previous two years. The \ \t only new breeding site located was at • \ y \ \.f v Sizewell Belts, where one pair nestcd for \ \ ji il/' the first time. Al J / A ']f Outside the breeding season, the V* y f t i ß i estuaries in the south of the county \1 proved to be more attractive and '\ìJr — generally held the largest numbers. Jg MÊg&Jj Orfordness, adjacent to the Aide, held ten jm Èmsem , 0 birds on July 13th. As in 2001, the Deben M | & estuary was the single most important j Ê f t ^ "V* - ¡fjMi'ßffiwffí' site for wintering Grey Hérons, with •wfi Ä Ä ' ÜmeFi-'- i monthly counts made during the WeBS íi* !¡ f ' surveys revealing ten on January 13th, 14 * ) t ^ l y y / Z / J f ''' on February lOth, 29 on March 3rd and G H e r o ., S u G h 27 on April 14th. Ones and twos were present at Alton Water throughout the year, with a peak of three birds in November. Numbers present along the Suffolk side of the Stour Estuary remained low throughout the year, with most Niimber of Grey Hérons breeding in Suffolk 2000-2002 counts failing to make double 2000 2001 2002 figures, and peaking at 21 birds Barsham 0 n.d. n.d. during the WebS count on Wild Carr, Woriingham n.d. n.d. n.d. Benacre/Covehitlit/Easton 6 3-4 - 3 - October 6th. In the west of the county, most sightings came Henham 10-13 8-12 15 from Lackford Lakes with Sizewell Belts 0 0 1 of birds present Sudbourne 6 n.d. reports n.d. Black Heath, Fristen A A 5-7 throughout the year, peaking at Methersgate, Sufton 20-25 A n.d. seven on March 3rd and Ramsholt 8 5-7 5 September 30th, and eight on Woolverstone A 16 A March lOth. At nearby LiverKiln Spinney, Stutton 17 14-17 16 mere Lake, a count of five on Tendring Hall, Stoke-bj-NavIand A 5-8 n.d. November 7th was the highest Stanstead A A A count for the year. Euston 7 n.d. n.d. Reports of apparent migrants The King's Forest 18 n.d n.d. include a group of 20 birds Brandon Fen, Lakenheath 30 n.d. n.d. Great Thurlow n.d. Aying south in V-formation over n.d. n.d. Wangford, near Southwold on Key: n.d, = no data September 9th, and eight Aying A = known to be active on E = extinet Data supplied by Mick Wright south over Landguard September 23rd. FIELD N O T E

At Lackford Lakes on April 21 st a Grey Heran was Seen to fly onto the Slough carrying what was either a large duckling, or possibly a Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis. It carried the bird to the water's edge, killed it, dipped it in the water and then swallowed it, but only with great dlfficulty. Colin Jakes

41


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 PURPLE HERON Ardea purpurea Scarce passage migrant. Category A. The single record in 2002 represents a below par showing for this elusive heron. Minsmere: A bird in first summer plumage from Jun.lBth until Aug. 4th (RSPB). Although initially elusive, it eventually settled into the reedbed in the North Marsh and became readily visible from the hilltop adjacent to Dunwich Heath NT car park.

Purple Heron Mark Ferris

BLACK STORK Ciconia nigra Very rare visitor. Bury St Edmunds: Hawstead, May Ist (J.R. and Mrs C.Carr et al.). This bird was seen perched for an hour during the evening on top of a 10 metre high pine tree in a large garden on the edge of Hawstead village. It had a ring on each leg, above the knee. It may have been the same bird as the one seen near Fakenham, Norfolk in late May. The first since the long-stayer on the coast in 1998 and only the eighth in the past thirty years. WHITE STORK Ciconia ciconia Rare visitor. Categories A and E. Bungay: One at Outney Meadows on Mar.30th at 11:30 hrs, remained for just five minutes before flying off to the east (Mrs E.Webb). Sternfield: One south over the fishing lakes at Marsh Farm, 15:15 hrs, May 7th (C.A. Jacobs). Felixstowe: One south-west over the town and docks, 11.40 hrs, Jun.24th (J.Zantboer, W.J.Brame). EURASIAN SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodia Uncommon passage migrant. Now increasingly oversummers; has overwintered. Category A. Amber List. Unprecedented numbers occurred in Suffolk during 2002, with the largest ever recorded UK count being reported from Orfordness in August. With such a highly mobile and visible species, it is difficult to know just how much duplication occurred between birds 42


Systematic

List

that visited a number of coastal sites throughout the summer. Despite this, the spread of reports and numbers involved certainly exceeded that recorded in previous years. At one local nature reserve a group of up to 19 birds built and tended no less than ten nests, but again no fledging took place. Corton: A juvenile in flight, September 29th with two Grey Herons Ardea cinerea was the final sighting of the year in the county. Lowestoft: Two flew west over Holly Road, Oulton Broad at 09:55 hrs on June 3rd and another in flight over Pakefield on September 29th (see Corton, above). Kessingland: Three flew south on June 2nd, and one flew north on September 29th (see Lowestoft and Corton above). Benacre: One seen intermittently at Benacre Broad between June 16th and October 9th, two there between August 9th and 11th and three on June 20th. Covehithe: Singles at Covehithe Broad from August 21st to 25th and another on September 29th. Dunwich: A party of six flew in off the sea then north over Dunwich Heath on April 28th. Subsequently, one at Dingle Marshes on May 13th, two on May 23rd and four on June 19th. Minsmere: An early bird appeared at Minsmere on February 26th, followed by two on March 1st. There were no further reports until April 8th, when a colour-ringed bird from the Dutch population arrived and remained until April 14th, followed by a party of six flying north on April 28th (see Dunwich, above). Sightings in May remained erratic, with one on 11th, two on 19th, one on 22nd and five on 23rd, but in June, birds were present most days between 13th and 21st, with a high of five on 17th, followed by a party of six flying north on 27th. Subsequently, the only records involved two on July 2nd, five on July 19th and one on August 18th. Aldeburgh: Singles at North Warren on February 26th and May 11th. Orford: In recent years, Orfordness has become the premier site for summering Eurasian Spoonbills within the UK. During 2002, following early reports of single birds on March 10th and April 6th, 7th, 20th and 21st, numbers began to increase from mid-May, with birds then continuously present until the end of August. Within this period, monthly peaks included ten on May 25th, 12 on June 29th and 30th and 19 on July 6th, 20th and 25th. Numbers exceeded 20 throughout much of August, peaking at 28 birds on 21 st, a recent British record high count. By the end of the month, however, numbers decreased to 15, and thereafter declined rapidly to just seven on September 14th, the last record from the site (all records D. Cormack). Birds from the Orfordness group occasionally visited nearby Havergate Island, where there was a high count of 22 on August 26th. MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor Common resident. Categories A and C. Amber List. Reports of breeding came from several sites in the north and east of the county during 2002, including Outney Common, Bungay, Carlton Marshes, Kessingland, Benacre Broad, Covehithe Broad, Dingle Marshes, Sizewell, Thorpeness Meare, North Warren and Boyton Marshes. Of these, six pairs attempted to breed at Minsmere, three of which were successful. Four pairs were present at North Warren from mid January onwards; of these, three pairs attempted to breed, two of which were successful and raised broods of five and six cygnets to fledging. Of the other two pairs, one failed to settle down, while the second pair constructed a nest but abandoned it before egg laying. In the west, successful breeding occurred at Barton Mere, where a pair with six recently hatched youngsters was seen on May 26th, and all survived until at least August. Pairs at Clare Castle Country Park, Gilford's Park, Pakenham Fen and Nunnery Lakes also attempted to breed. At West Stow C.P., two pairs nested while at the adjacent Lackford Lakes, three pairs attempted to breed with varying success, and nine cygnets were noted in June. Three pairs also nested at Sudbury Common Lands, with 20 cygnets present in June, while in nearby Sudbury two pairs were seen with young in June, along with 35 nonbreeding birds. The paper by Mick Wright on the 2002 Mute Swan Survey (in this Report) gives further details. 43


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 As in previous years, congregations of Mute Swans occurred at several locations. These included both non-breeding birds during the summer months, and larger concentrations outside the breeding season. The highest site counts are detailed below. Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jim Jul Outney Common, Bungay ^ 29 14 Minsmere 12 23 6 11 18 16 Sizewell 17 21 18 .V'-iV' . ì i H North Warren 6 8 26 34 8 It 23 - : u s t i Deben Estuary 140 143 92 83 96 19 94 Orwell Estuary 68 mi 4 Alton Water 4 7 19 S i s Stour Estuary 10 16 16 9 ; - Sudbury 58 Lackford Lakes 22 12 i H I 17 Lakenheath Washes 45 57 •• -

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

i 22 9 . 8 11 21 10 19 40 24 33 33 139 137 145 121 123 123 118 24 6 18 32 48 21 6 10 18818 61 25 -: 35 m m -

26 32

22 62 28

13

-

-

-

-

Mute Swan has recently been added to the Amber List of Birds of Conservation Concern on the basis that the UK breeding population is of international importance. TUNDRA (BEWICK'S) SWAN Cygnus (columbianus) bewickii Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Category A. Amber List. There was a scattering of reports during the first three months of the year. These included two at Minsmere until January 2nd, three at Benacre Broad on January 5th and three at Shingle Street the same day, two at North Warren on January 27th to 29th, increasing to four between January 31st and February 12th. A long-staying first-winter bird at Eastbridge remained through the first three months of the year and was last seen on April 21st. Presumed migrants returning early to the Continent included 55 east over Oulton Broad, Lowestoft on February 13th, followed by flocks of six on February 18th and nine on February 24th. Autumn passage commenced on October 13th, with one in off the sea at Kessingland and five at Minsmere. These were followed by seven at Minsmere on October 20th, five in off the sea at Landguard on October 28th, 16 over Lowestoft on October 30th, 13 over Kessingland on October 31st and 11 at Minsmere the same day, which declined to three on November 1 st. Surprisingly, the only other November records were of three at Havergate Island on 11th, and ten adults plus a juvenile at Lakenheath Washes on 17th. December reports were equally few and far between. The eight which flew low across the sailing lake at Lackford on 22nd and the five adults and three juveniles at Livermere Lake on 24th were probably the same birds. WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. In the first half of the year, a pair frequented the Island Mere at Minsmere throughout January and much of February, being last noted there on Feb. 25th. Elsewhere, very few were reported, with one at Shingle Street on January 5th being the only other bird in the east of the county. In the west, a juvenile was at the Nunnery Lakes NR. on Jan. 27th, followed by eight at Lakenheath Fen on March 2nd and 11 on March 10th, which were presumably returning migrants. In the autumn, there were more reports than usual, with four at Lakenheath Fen on 44


Systematic

List

October 6th being the first record. These were followed by four at Lackford Lakes on October 13th. There then came a widespread scattering of records throughout the county from Oct. 19th until the end of the year, including seven adults at Livermere Lake on October 19th. Also on October 19th, two adults flew over Landguard, and presumably these same two individuals appeared at Trimley Marshes NR. later the same day. The following day, two adults were noted south over Shingle Street during the morning, and what seems likely to have been the same birds were located later that day at nearby Boyton Marshes. Two adults and three juveniles were at Lantern Marshes, Orfordness, on October 26th, and on Oct. 31st, one arrived at Minsmere, with what was possibly the same individual reported flying north over Westleton Heath. In November, two arrived at Minsmere on 13th and remained until 20th, with one or two birds then being seen there intermittently until the end of the year and into 2003. One west over Oulton Broad on Nov. 16th was the only record from the north of the county. A small influx was noted in early December, with a party of 17 that flew north along the coast on 5th, being reported from Thorpeness, Minsmere and Dunwich Heath. This was followed by 15 adults flying inland over Iken on 8th and 18 during the WeBS count on the River Deben the same day, the largest party reported within the county during 2002. The following day seven were at Boyton. BEAN GOOSE Anserfabalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. The small flock of Tundra Bean Geese A. f . rossicus/A. serrirostris present on the Minsmere Levels at the end of 2001 increased to seven birds on January 1st, and nine on 5th. Numbers fell back to seven again on January 9th, when the flock moved to North Warren, where nine appeared on January 12th. There were no further records in January, but singles reappeared at North Warren on February 5th, and Minsmere on February 11th, followed by three at North Warren from February 26th to 28th. In March, one appeared at North Warren on 1 st, followed by three there on 8th, while at Minsmere one remained from March 15th to 19th. A bird at Minsmere on August 5th and September 29th was extremely early for a wild bird and was presumably of captive origin. The only other autumn record refers to a party of 13 in flight over Landguard on October 19th (J. Zantboer). PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. During the first three months of the year, there was a scattering of records from the coastal parishes. Most concerned singles or small parties, but a flock of 20 in flight over Fritton Marshes on February 14th was noteworthy. Elsewhere, one in flight over Boyton Marshes on January 1st, was followed by another at Covehithe the next day. Three birds on Minsmere Levels, also on January 2nd, were associating with Greater White-fronted Geese A. albifrons, and Bean Geese A. fabalis. Numbers here increased to four on January 4th, but just one remained on 10th and none was reported thereafter. Two birds at nearby North Warren on January 12th may have come from Minsmere, and another remained there from February 28th until March 3rd. Records suggestive of departing birds came from Landguard, with two north on March 16th, and two south on March 23rd, and from Livermere Lake where three were present on March 12th and two on March 14th. However, five at Livermere Lake from April 2nd until May 6th almost certainly originated from a captive source. A bird at Lackford Lakes on April 18th may have been from Livermere Lake. Return passage was exceptionally good, with numerous records coming from Minsmere 45


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Levels and North Warren, and occasional records from several other localities. Numbers were generally well above average compared with recent years, and the flock of 500 that flew in off the sea at Covehithe on October 24th, and continued inland, is the largest recorded in the county for probably over 50 years (C.R. Naunton). Autumn passage was first noted on September 23rd when four flew north past Minsmere. These were followed by six at Havergate Island on October 6th, and what may have been the same individuals were noted at Orfordness on October 30th and again on November 30th. At Minsmere, a flock of 13 appeared on October 18th but quickly departed for nearby North Warren, There was, however, some movement between these sites as 23 reappeared at Minsmere on October 26th. Eventually, most birds settled at North Warren, with 15 on October 18th, increasing to 50 the next day. Following further intermittent appearances, a flock of 14 was at North Warren on November 26th and remained there until the end of the year. The appearance of a flock of 38 at the Nunnery Lakes NR, Thetford on November 30th was the only inland record during the autumn. GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser atbifrons Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. As in previous years, the Minsmere Levels and North Warren remain nationally important wintering areas for this attractive goose. Both sites held substantial wintering populations and monthly peak counts are summarised below Minsmere: 292, Jan. 5th; 105, Feb. 13th, 92, March 13th; one, Oct. 17th; 14, Nov. 20th; 40, Dec. 20th. North Warren: 230, Jan. 29th; 245, Feb. 21st; 250, March 3rd; 40, Nov. 14th; 90, Dec. 28th. Frequently, the entire flock left the Minsmere Levels to feed in the carrot fields at Upper Abbey Farm near Leiston where, for example, 254 were noted on January 5th. Away from these two main wintering areas, Southwold Town Marshes held 12 on January 8th and 18 on January 12th, six were at Boyton Marshes on January 1st and Trimley Marshes NR held up to five between January 4th and 17th. During January and February, occasional reports of small parties commuting along the coast came from several locations, but presumably involved the local wintering birds. Numbers declined rapidly during the first half of March, as wintering birds departed for Continental Europe. A flock of 99 at Orfordness on March 3rd was presumably part of this movement. The last spring record came from Minsmere on March 19th. Unseasonably early returning birds included singles at the Nunnery Lakes NR, Thetford, between September 5th and 19th, and Minsmere on October 17th, but these may not relate to wild birds. The first records of undoubtedly wild returning birds were a flock of 25 in flight over the Nunnery Lakes on October 24th and four on Orfordness on October 27th and 28th but it was not until November that the wintering birds returned to coastal haunts, when 40 were present at North Warren on 14th. Singles at Trimley Marshes NR on 16th and in flight over Brackenbury Cliffs on 23rd were the only other November records. In December, however, there were reports from several locations including five on Southwold Town Marshes on 5th, three at Boyton Marshes on 14th, six in fields bordering Martlesham Creek on 8th, six at Trimley Marshes NR on 20th and two there on 30th, and six at Shotley Marshes on 24th. GREYLAG GOOSE Anser anser Common resident from feral stock. Amber List. Categories A, C and E. Numbers continue to increase throughout the county, possibly at the expense of Canada Goose Branta canadensis. This is particularly marked in the west where a new site record count of 870 birds was made at Lackford Lakes on September 1 Ith. Even this was eclipsed by a peak of 912 at Livermere Lake on July 8th, and an estimated 1000 in flight over West 46


Systematic

List

Stow C.P. on October 18th, heading in the direction of Lackford Lakes, while 520 at Mickle Mere on December 2nd was noteworthy. Counts in the east were generally much lower than in the west, although, with a greater number of sites to choose from, the overall numbers may exceed those in the west. The table below illustrates the peak monthly counts made at selected sites throughout the county. Many of the higher counts were made on an ad-hoc basis, when observers considered the numbers present appeared unusually high. For many sites, therefore, the data presented are incomplete, but, as a whole, the table presents an overall picture of numbers increasing after the breeding season, remaining high throughout the winter and falling again the following spring, but with a substantial resident population remaining throughout the summer. Just how much interchange occurs between sites remains open to speculation, and as yet there are no data available to suggest that populations move large distances between sites, or whether such movements are typical. Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Benacre Broad Covehithe Broad Dingle Marshes Minsmere North Warren Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Alton Water Stour Estuary Livermere Lake Lackford Lakes Mickle Mere Nunnery Lakes

Jan 1 jg 65 i 15! 138 329 486 277. ...

Feb -

-

69 2 67 52 56 373 231 65

34 181 38 55 9 264 223 29

20

16

..

...

- -

-

150

Mar

Apr H ü -

-

May .;

-

Jun Jul ¿JKT " V -

-•

130 16 54

29 54 : 10 - ' / j 85 84 - i 21 à güg iäJÜi! -

M 70 80

-

Sep Aug 407 308 .- f ü j Y:: - /.. 180 162 159 360 54 408 y: 31

¡g iM : 912 500 53

-

267 12 -."--.

191 284

...

340 28

870

Nov Oct 147 4 30.0 u s ® 38 266 120 13 340 392 168 130 67 572 577 168 12 1 800 m

...

-

350

470

Dec 300

151 367 1 374 170 3 800 -

520 350

Despite increasing numbers being reported, reports of breeding remain few and largely confined to nature reserves and similar protected areas. Furthermore, the number of breeding attempts reported would seem insufficient to support the increasing population of non-breeding birds, and it is likely that some breeding attempts are going unrecorded. Alternatively, the county receives a substantial influx of birds outside the breeding season. Supporting this idea is a bird with a blue neck collar bearing the letters VDR reported at Loompit Lake on April 10th, suggesting some wild birds may be occurring. Interestingly, this same individual was noted at Sizewell on December 3rd, 2001 and probably originated from northern Norway. Reports of breeding in the east came from Benacre Broad, Dingle Marshes, Hen Reedbed and North Warren, while in the west seven pairs raised 46 juveniles at Livermere Lake, six pairs raised 33 young at Lackford Lakes and six pairs produced 35 young at the Mickle Mere. CANADA GOOSE Bran ta canadensis Common resident. Categories A, C and E. A common breeding bird at most wetlands throughout the county, although generally less numerous than Greylag Goose A. unser, with which it often associates. Peak numbers were generally similar to, or slightly lower than, those reported in 2001. High counts made during 2001 at both North Warren and Lackford Lakes were not matched in 2002. 47


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul • Outney Common 240 220 85 Benacrc Broad tópfl ; 156 Dingte Marshes ¡¡IS ; Illls |jjlI 47 30 7 Minsmere 48 61 36 28 North Warren 10 40 16 20 22 18 32 Deben Estuary 160 179 117 n llt8i Orwell Estuar} 100 147 237 214 |ssll Alton Water 14 14 12 2 Mll Stour Estuary 633 621 327 150 Slif Micklc Mere WM. m'iiä'i; - l i 441 Lackford Lakes 248 172 159 i i l f i p West Stow C.P. 90 Nunnery Lakes ; -

Aug 16 159 5 117

| 60 37 272 235

Sep

Oct 170 62 f i l i l i 1 Ulf — 50 107 100 378 167 240 278 85 106 178 -

420

-

250

Nov 150 52 60 63 265 149 560 4 15

Dcc 360 -

:

76 126 44 5 79 813 -

-

88

I

-

-

-

-

250

273 V

-

A bird of the race B. c. minima was present at Reydon and Southwold Town Marshes from October 17th until the end of the year (B.J. Small et al.), its arrivai coinciding with an influx of Barnacle Geese B. leucopsis. This dark-breasted individuai showed a narrow but conspicuous white collar at the base of the neck sock, and was dwarfed by the Barnacle Geese with which it associated. It is possible this was the same bird that occurred at Minsmere in January 2001. BARNACLE GOOSE Branta leucopsis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant; increasingly common feral resident. Amber List. Categories A and E. As noted in previous years, the number of wintering birds in the northeast continues to increase, suggesting at least some may be of wild origin. Düring the first three months of the year, there were numerous reports from locations throughout the northeast of the county. Covehithe Broad was, however, the preferred haunt, where the flock was regularly noted throughout much of January in the field above Covehithe Broad. Typically, numbers fluctuated around 300 for much of January and February, but increased to a new Suffolk peak count of 780 during a period of harsh weather in January (D.J. Pearson). This flock diminished to just 30 by March 7th and the last noteworthy counts made during the first part of the year were of 50 at Benacre Broad on March 19th and 80 at Lound Waterworks on March 22nd. The over-summering Sotterley Park flock increased to 30 by April 14th and reached a peak of 50 adults on June 2nd. In addition, the only report of breeding also carne from Sotterley Park, where 12 downy young were seen on the island in the lake, also on June 2nd . It is, however, believed that feral birds are regularly breeding at other sites within the county. Surprisingly, the importance of Lound Waterworks as the favoured arrivai site in late summer evaporated in 2002, and there were no reports from this site during the second half of the year. The first returning birds occurred at Minsmere on the typically early date of August 5th, when a flock of 23 appeared. These were followed by 47 at Benacre Broad on August 6th, which increased to 136 by August 25th. Numbers then increased rapidly, reaching 400 at Reydon Marshes on September 1 Ith. In the last three months of the year, Reydon Marshes and nearby Southwold Town Marshes proved to be the preferred feeding area, and the flock was frequently divided between these two sites. Peak counts included 271 on October 17th, 288 on November Ist and 390 on December 2Ist, but it is unclear whether these numbers include counts from both Southwold and Reydon. A count of both 48


Systematic

List

sites on December 18th revealed an estimated 600 birds. One bird at Southwold was fitted with an orange colour ring, but its origin is unknown. Numbers wintering on the levels at Minsmere were higher than usual, although these birds were frequently absent, and were presumably part of the flock wintering at Southwold. Peak monthly counts at Minsmere included 75 on September 29th, four on October 4th, 141 on November 30th and 172 on December 1st. A party of 31 at North Warren on November 25th was unusual for that location, but may have been part of the Southwold flock. Coastal records to the south of Minsmere were of smaller flocks or single individuals, and generally rather transient in nature, inevitably leading to questions as to the origin of these birds. These included a party at Trimley Marshes NR in January of 27 on 12th, and 16 on 17th, which may have been of wild origin. There were no further reports from Trimley Marshes until the autumn, when ten appeared on August 12th, a rather early date for wild birds, followed by singles on September 3rd, October 5th, November 9th to 16th and December 31st, plus a party of four there on December 15 th. Elsewhere in the south, five at Boyton Marshes on September 15th and one at Shotley Marshes on December 24th and 26th were unlikely to be of wild origin, although the Boyton birds were particularly wary, and took flight at a distance of 250 metres when the accompanying Canada Geese B. canadensis took little notice of people on the footpath. Other unseasonable records of feral birds or birds presumed to be of captive origin were noted at several sites throughout the county, particularly in the west. These included 22 in flight over Elveden on January 3rd, up to eight at Mickle Mere in January and six there throughout February and March, but declining to five by late April and with just one remaining on May 2nd. A party of five at Livermere Lake on April 26th increased to seven on May 6th, which remained until May 26th, while at nearby Lackford Lakes, two birds were present throughout much of July, followed by an immature there on November 1st. Parties of four immature birds at the Nunnery Lakes on October 3rd and three at Thorington Street Reservoir on March 22nd are most likely to be of feral origin. It is difficult to know what to make of a group of five birds past Orfordness on the late date of May 18th, as even feral breeders should have returned to their breeding areas by this late date. (DARK-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Branta bermela bermela Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. In addition to the wintering population on the southern estuaries, there were widespread sightings of migrants and wandering birds along the coast, except for the period from early May to late August. Overall, the numbers recorded during both spring and autumn migration were well down on those reported during 2001, and peaked during the second week in October. The southern estuaries again proved to be an important wintering area, and counts made at these sites are detailed below. Although the overall wintering population remained largely unchanged, the importance of the Deben diminished. In contrast, numbers on the Orwell, and in particular on the Trimley Marshes NR were higher than in previous years, perhaps reflecting the preference for this protected site, rather than the plantings of winter wheat along the Deben, from which they are routinely disturbed. The numbers wintering on the Aide, including Havergate Island, peaked at 50 on January 18th, but with the increasing attraction of nearby Oxley Marshes at Shingle Street, at least some of the Aide population may now be wintering there. Spring passage was light and patchy, with no significant movements reported. Similarly, autumn migration was poor, commencing with an exceptionally early party of 14 birds that flew south past Landguard on August 31st, which may have been birds that had 49


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 over-summered in Europe. Other early records included 12 -north at Lowestoft and 0 0 850 17 north at Benacre 35 350 Pits on September 240 560 15 th, but it was not 1 713 569 until September 23rd that the first substantial movement of migrants was noted, with 212 north past Southwold, 11 past Minsmere and 35 at Trimley Marshes NR, followed by 200 north at Corton on September 27th. Coastal movements were noted throughout October, although overall numbers were much lower than in 2001. Migration was most conspicuous between October 6th and 12th, and peaked on October 8th, with 638 moving south and 74 north past Kessingland, 1100 south past Dunwich Heath in three hours, 500 south at Southwold in one hour, 475 past Minsmere, 1150 south and 20 north past Thorpeness, 458 south past Orfordness and 1024 south past Landguard. Other high counts included 787 north past Corton and 271 north past Southwold on October 6th, 640 south past Aldeburgh in two hours on October 7th, 140 south past Southwold on October 12th, 682 south past Landguard on November 10th, 549 past Minsmere and 722 south off Landguard on November 20th, while on December 8th, 61 flew south past Minsmere and 253 passed south over Landguard. During 2002, the only systematic count of migrants was made at Thorpeness and the results are detailed below. Thorpeness: monthly counts: Apr., 15 south; May one north on 7th; Oct., 1375 south, 459 north with peak of 1150 south and 20 north on 8th; Nov., 893 south and five north; Dec., 225 south and three north. Inland records and occurrences in the west are always noteworthy. Unusually, small parties were noted at Alton Water during the February and March WeBS counts, with 31 in February and 43 during the March survey. In the west, only one bird was reported, this being at Livermere Lake on April 13th and 14th. Peak monthly counts at preferred Jan Feb Aide/Ore Estuary' 37 0 3$ Oxley Marshes Deben Estuary 1666 1348 Trimley Marsh 700 800 Orwell Estuary 147 237 Stour Estuary 1125 1343

localities: Mar Apr Aug 0 Sil: _ 99 22 500 5 214 100 1368 1412 2

Sep

Oct 61

Nov 46

Dec 420 104 800 500 - 5 33

(PALE-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Branta bernicla hrota Uncommon winter visitor. During January, there was a small influx into the county. One at East Lane, Bawdsey on January 5th was followed by a party of six adults and one juvenile which took up residence in roadside fields beside Wherstead Strand near the Orwell Bridge on January 8th and remained until 21st (L. Woods et al.). Unusually, these birds remained together as a small party, despite the lack of Dark-bellied Brent Geese in their preferred field. This group was followed by two adults at Oxley Marshes, Shingle Street from January 24th to 26th, this time more typically associating with Dark-bellied Brent Geese. The only other report during the first three months of the year was of one at Aldeburgh on February 5th. In the autumn, two at Kirton Creek on the Deben Estuary on November 23rd were followed by one at Slaughden on November 25th, associating with seven Dark-bellied Brent Geese. During December, two adults and a juvenile were located with Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Oxley Marshes, Shingle Street, and remained to the year's end, while in a winter wheat field, adjacent to the Deben Estuary at The King's Fleet, an adult and juvenile were present on December 21st. The final report from 2002 concerned one south at Thorpeness on December 31st. 50


Systematic

List

BLACK BRANT Branta bermela nigricans Very rare visitor. The following records have been accepted by BBRC: Trimley Marshes: Feb.21st (P.Beeson, N.Odin). Felixstowe: Deben Estuary, King's Fleet, adult, Dec.21st to Jan.3rd 2003 (J.and P.Kennerley, M.Ferris). In addition there is a currently pending record of another adult at Shotley Marshes, beside the R.Orwell, from December 24th to January 11th 2003 (multi-observers), which is believed to be different to the R.Deben bird above. The Trimley Marshes bird was apparently widely reported in the first three months of the year. It frequented the Levington Creek area during January, but moved to Trimley Marshes NR from February 17th until March 23rd, when the Brent Goose flock started feeding there regularly. This individual was last noted at Levington Creek on March 25th. EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiacus Locally fairly common resident. Categories C and E. Widespread reports came from several suitable locations throughout the north and west of the county. Although there was no extension of the breeding range, the numbers recorded at several sites exceeded the peak counts made during 2001, and two at Minsmere in March and May, and singles at North Warren in March and April suggest expansion to the south may occur in future years. The only report from the south of the county was of one in the Gipping Valley at Pipps Ford on March 3rd. Peak counts included: Bungay: Outney Common, nine, Apr.20th. Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, 26, Jan.4th. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, 27, Nov.28th; 35, Dec.27th. Lackford Lakes: 33, Sep.20th; 34, Oct. 11th Livermere Lake: 20, Jul.8th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, 42, Sep. 19th. Breeding was reported from Lound Water Treatment Works, Weybread GPs, Heveningham Hall Lake, Barton Mere, Livermere Lake, Hengrave Hall, Mickle Mere, Lackford Lakes and the Nunnery Lakes. COMMON SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Breeding reports from the Monthly counts from some key sites: coast were distinctly sparse Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec this year and this appears to Blyth Estuarj * 77 402 409 383 582 428 334 be due to under-reporting Aide/Ore Estuary 374 617 873 929 691 419 rather than any sudden Deben Estuary 41 354 378 642 676 638 454 65 decrease in the population. Orwell Estuary 123 184 642 228 : Ĺ“ 15 353 522 1411 1314 1278 743 99 125 280 505 Many pairs present in Stour Estuary 4 8 35 35 141 226 210 10 140 spring appear not to have Trimley Marshes l,ÂĄvernieri' Lake* 194 V 63 38 45 attempted to breed. At 23 0 3 6 32 North Warren, for instance, Lackford Lakes* there were 16 pairs present * monthly maxims in April and six pairs still prospecting the heath on May 27th. No young were seen and it was unclear if any breeding attempts were made. At least five pairs were thought to have bred at Landguard in rabbit burrows, "but as usual remained elusive, probably taking their offspring from the natal area under the cover of darkness". 51


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

Inland breeding was reported from: FIELD N O T E Shelley: Gifford's Park, two broods in May/June. One day in May a pair of Shelduck were Pakenham: Mickle Mere, up to 21 adults in the seen to fly onto the heath at Lakenheath spring. Broods of 11 and seven young on May Warren. The female disappeared down a 21 st. The site dried out rapidly during June and rabbit burrow, where it was presumably only three young were still surviving on nesting or at least prospecting. Jun.23rd. Lakenheath Warren is one of the driest Livermere Lake: 194 adults on Mar.29th. 39 parts of the Breck and the nearest water is young seen in seven broods. nearly four kilometres away. Lackford Lakes: Broods of eight on the Slough C.A.E.Kirtland and eight and two on Long Reach. With mild weather in both winter periods, there were no large offshore movements. Off Thorpeness, 70 flew south during October, 76 in November and 214 in December. The peak day was Dec.8th, when 140 moved south off Thorpeness and 80 were reported off Southwold. Off Landguard, 154 flew south between November 20th and 24th and 278 south on December 8th. MANDARIN D U C K Aix galericulata Uncommon visitor. Categories C and E. Lound: Waterworks, male, May 11th. Oulton Broad: a male between Jan.2nd and Feb. 10th and again on Jun.รถth. Ipswich : Christchurch Park, pair, Apr. 1 st; three males, Apr. 17th and ten adults and one newly hatched duckling, Jul.6th. Alton Water: female, Dec.22nd. Livermere Lake: male, May 26th. At least some of the above records may refer to birds recently escaped from captivity. EURASIAN W I G E O N Anas penelope Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Amber list. Categories A and E. The figures in the table indicate that at the peak in January a minimum of 16,000 Wigeon was wintering in the county Monthly counts from some key sites: and the actual total is Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec probably closer to 20,000. 1240 830 Blyth Estuary* 765 165 26 1040 Other counts of note Minsmere* 36 279 800 960 730 730. 1000 402 included 170 on the Dingle 2540 2570 1950 4 280 1100 1750 2400 North Warren* Marshes on December 7th; Aide/Ore Estuary 5516 4177 4296 I J s i 2903 2809 4768 350 at Sizewell, January Deben Estuary 1157 484 407 1 H H f 141 833 536 Orwell Estuary 12 1561 1691 1512 631 1197 1272 14th; 600, Lakenheath Trimley Marshes 1450 1600 900 40 250 400 950 1000 Washes, March 5th and 276, 76 490 .37 Alton Water 300 172 176 93 November 17th and 140, Stour Estuary 38 327 1304 1484 917 2701 2186 1838 Mickle Mere, March 21st : > 4 24 56 Livermere Lake 17 and 171, November 20th. Lackford Lakes 2 14 J i l t 213 201 fenSThere was the usual *monthly maxima scatter of summer records at coastal sites and this included up to four at Minsmere and ten at another reserve on June 1st, but nothing to indicate that a serious breeding attempt had taken place. The best counts made on autumn passage were: Southwold: 188 south, Sep. 12th and 237, Dec.8th. Thorpeness: 147 south during September, 715 in November and 402 in December. The peak day was Dec,8th, when 285 flew south. 52


Systematic

List

Kessingland: 119 south, Nov.20th. Landguard: 466, Sep. 12th; 258, Oct.31st; 347, Nov.3rd; 374, Nov.20th and 929, Dec.8th, all flying south. AMERICAN WIGEON Anas americana Very rare visitor. Minsmere: male from Apr. 12th to Jun.l7th. It was joined by a female between May 30th and Jun.l4th (R.Drew, RSPB). Brantham: Stour Estuary, Cattawade, male between Mar.2nd and 28th (L.Woods, G.Jobson et al.). These are the 11th to 13th individuals recorded in the county. GADWALL Anas streperà Common resident and winter visitor. Amber list. Categories A and C. The count of 432 at Lack- Monthly counts from some key sites: ford Lakes on September Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec 30th is a new site and Minsraerc* 65 92 108 63 115 99 81 130 77 51 40 84 71 18 20 46 county record. Another North Warren* 72 9 87 26 . •• -, , 277 136 very high count of 384 was Aide/Ore Estuary 40 32 12 25 40 110 42 51 obtained at Loompit Lake, Trimley Marshes* 53 189 328 36 i ' S ü 10 53 33 Trimley St Martin on Orwell Estuary Alton Water 6 64 72 149 207 3 268 28 December 11 th, which i Lackford Lakes* 13 432 240 151 7 19 exceeded the previous * monthly maxima county record (375 at Lackford Lakes in December 1999). Other counts of note include 263, Orfordness, December 12th; 59, Sizewell, September 9th; 67, Livermere Lake, June 23rd and 98 at the Mickle Mere, November 28th. Just 24 broods were reported from seven sites (mostly in West Suffolk), with 103 ducklings seen. Many more broods must surely have gone unreported? The most productive sites were Barton Mere, near Great Barton, where there were 43 ducklings in five broods on June 23rd and Ampton Water with 22 young in six broods on July 8th. EURASIAN TEAL Anas crecca Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Amber list. The January count totals in the table indicate a Monthly counts from some key sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec minimum of 12,500 birds 42 110 279 388 20 394 73 Benacre Broad* wintering in the county. 18 256 260 191 Blyth Estuary Î S P r : 236 Other counts of note Dingle Marshes 305 440 382 219 344 386 213 include 109, Sizewell, Miasmere* 2000 1000 328 144 1461 2189 2000 1631 March 3rd; 200, Laken- North Warren* 8 120 1250 1550 790 1780 750 360 1415 1660 2372 heath Fen, January 21st and Aide/Ore Estuary 3694 1871 631 34 196 247 38 88 528 255 159 215 at the Mickle Mere, Deben Estuary 39 l i s 300 728 281 623 480 171 Orwell Estuary November 28th. 450 Breeding season reports Trimley Marshes* 850 670 200 101 562 450 1600 37 77 1 48 115 10 -58 17 Alton Water came from Dingle Marshes 37 290 946 35 134 Stour Estuary 1806 524 433 (one pair); Minsmere, 35, 308 12 98 256 19 Lackford Lakes* 220 21 June 9th and 56, July 14th; * monthly maxima North Warren (four pairs); Sizewell (one pair) and Lackford Lakes (two pairs). No young were seen at any of these sites. 53


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Notable autumn passage was recorded from the following sites: Southwold: 350 north, Sep.3rd. Thorpeness: 107 south and 66 north during August; 796 south and 16 north in September; 126 south in November and 186 south and 27 north in December. The peak day-count was 225 south on September 2nd. Landguard: 361 south Sep.2nd and 499 south, Dec.8th. MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Several sites in the table Monthly counts from some key sites: recorded their highest Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec numbers of the year in Benacre Broad4 10 66 66 6 123 58 19 November. This is most Dingle Marshes 44 204 125 108 84 43 336 200 probably explained by an Minsmere 277 106 73 215 173 88 285 170 immigration of wintering North Warren* 260 300 190 260 300 154 177 311 84 229 288 442 372 260 birds from the Continent, Aide/Ore Estuary 134 79 104 120 233 156 157 - 144 which quickly moved on. Deben Estuary 276 127 94 200 180 141 161 Apart from the table, the Orwell Estuary 40 20 26 30 27 55 only counts over 100 came Trimley Marshes* 229 170 Alton Water 193 30 74 50 221 244 266 94 from: Stour Estuary 381 243 260 107 214 186 555 186 Blyth Estuary: 110, Feb.5th. Lackford Lakes* 206 61 242 127 341 278 107 Sizewell: 113, Dec.8th. * monthly maxima Pakenham: MickleMere, 120, Nov. 7th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, 129, Nov.l 1th. The highest count recorded from Lackford Lakes during the year was 364 on July 5th. During late summer there were at least 2,000 on Livermere Lake and doubtless many more on Ampton Water, but these were birds bred for shooting. Breeding season reports were rather patchy, but included 22 pairs at the Dingle Marshes, 40 breeding pairs at Sizewell and a massive 151 pairs at North Warren. In the west there were 89 young in 13 broods on Ampton Water, another five broods on Livermere Lake and at least nine broods at Lackford Lakes. NORTHERN PINTAIL Anas acuta Fairly common winter visitor and passage Categories A and E.

migrant; a few oversummer. Amber

list.

At North Warren up to 21 were present in January, 29 in February and 32 in December. Inland records — came from: 0 2 Higham: (near Hadleigh), 0 eight, Mar.22nd. 4 30 Pakenham: Mickle Mere, 41 2 male, Jan. 1st and Feb. 11th. Livermere Lake: Oct.5th. Lackford Lakes: two pairs, Mar.l5th; juvenile on the sailing lake, Jul.29th; female or juvenile, Aug.23rd and on Sep.27th 14 flew over with a flock of Eurasian Wigeon. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, female, Jan.29th. Lakenheath: Fen and Washes, 13, Mar.lOth; ten Mar.l7th; pair, Apr.l4th; five juveniles, Aug.28th and two, Oct.6th. Monthly counts from some key sites: Jan Feb Mar Blyth Estuary* 150 289 45 Minsmere* 35 15 16 Aide/Ore Estuary 150 705 401 Deben Estuary 266 190 51 Orwell Estuary 21 12 22 Trimley Marshes* 94 14 63 Stour Estuary 278 369 202 * monthly maxima

Apr It 8

Sep 26 13

Oct 50 7 114 6 3 70 193

54

Nov 212 25 403 6 39 163 235

Dec HI 113 341 122 64 274 92


Systematic

List

The early date of the juvenile at Lackford on July 29th and the five juveniles seen at Lakenheath Washes in August suggest that a couple of pairs may have bred successfully somewhere in East Anglia. A pair was at Minsmere as late as May 10th but there was nothing to indicate a breeding attempt on the coast. Offshore passage was reported from: Kessingland: 61 south between Nov.lst and 24th, with a peak of 30 on 20th. Thorpeness: 21 south Feb.3rd; 78 south during November and 17 south and three north in December. Landguard: 20 south Nov.3rd and 32 south Dec.8th. GARGANEY Anas querquedula Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first record of the year was of a pair at Lackford Bridge on March 26th and it was then recorded at the following 16 sites until the final single at Minsmere on October 6th. Juveniles were again seen at two sites, which may well have been bred in Suffolk. Benacre Broad: male, Jul. 16th and 22nd. Covehithe: pair, May 4th. Reydon: pair, Apr. 15th. Hen Reedbeds: up to two pairs present throughout the spring. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, pair, Apr.27th. Minsmere: regularly recorded from Apr.2nd to Sep.8th, then two, Oct.3rd and singles 4th and 6th. Maximum of seven on Jul.30th and a juvenile on Jul.31st. North Warren: male, Apr.5th and 25th and May 18th. Orfordness: male, Mar.30th and May 9th. Boyton Marshes: male from Apr.28th to May 18th and two on May 2nd. Trimley Marshes: two, May 19th, then a single occasionally until Aug.26th. Loompit Lake: recorded from Jul.6th to Sep.4th, with a maximum of six on Jul.30th/31st. Up to two juveniles were seen in late July and are likely to have been bred locally. Landguard: one north, May 7th. Lackford Bridge: pair, Mar.26th. Lackford Lakes: pair on the Slough, Apr.6th. Lakenheath Fen: one pair present and may have attempted to nest. Lakenheath Washes: recorded intermittently between Apr. 18th and Aug.28th, with a maximum of two males and one female. NORTHERN SHOVELER Monthly counts from some key sites: Anas clypeata Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Common winter visitor Minsmere* 73 10 56 123 81 and passage migrant. North Warren4 8 71 3 90 121 Uncommon resident. Amber Aide/Ore Estuary 225 257 59 list. 19 21 64 Orwell Estuary 18 4 58 96 50 58 51 In addition to the table Trimley Marshes 12 2 62 8 33 counts above 20 came Lackford Lakes * monthly maxima from: Lake Lothing: Leathes Ham, 24, Nov.24th. Dingle Marshes: 28, Mar.3rd. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, 31, Nov.28th. Great Barton: Barton Mere, 42, Sep. 13th, 23, Oct.31st and 35, Dec. 17th. Livermere Lake: 70, Dec. 17th. Lakenheath Fen: 30, Mar. 12th. Lakenheath Washes: 44, Mar.29th.

Oct 184 18 72 35 60 36

Nov 158 96 141 23 60 49

Dec 169 114 205 17 72 -

Breeding reports were rather sparse, comprising one pair at Dingle Marshes, four pairs at North Warren and "three breeding pairs" at Lakenheath Fen, but no young were reported 55


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 from these sites. However, a pair at Barton Mere did exceptionally well, fledging nine young from a brood of ten (J.Walshe). There was a slight passage in November. Off Kessingland, five flew south on 3rd and three south on 6th and 2Ist, while off Thorpeness 11 flew south during the month. Landguard reported 32 south on December 8th, on which date a notable wildfowl passage, involving several species, was noted. RED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta ruftna Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Catégories A and E. Loompit Lake: iemale, Aug,18th. Alton Water: female, Jan. Ist to Feb.5th; Nov.l7th.

Thorington Street: Reservoir, male, Jan. 1 st. Lackford Lakes: female, Aug.23rd to 28th.

This attractive duck is frequently kept in wildfowl collections and some of the above records may refer to escapees. COMMON POCHARD Aythya ferina Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Amber list. Catégories A and E. Lakenheath Fen enters the Monthly counts from some key sites: table for the first time with Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee some good counts. This Minsmere* 14 28 10 13 3 1 8 15 new RSPB reserve is stili Aide/Ore Estuary 46 31 30 13 17. 28 being developed and it can Orwell Estuary 194 39 4 spi 29 20 62 33 21 0 30 6 70 144 be expected to feature Trimlej Marshes* 170 104 400 34 13 1 : 5 87 62 2 27 prominently for a number Alton Water 18 65 83 6 34 90 -Vof species in future reports. Lackford Lakes* ; 60 120 80 30 No other counts exceeding Lakenheath Fcn* * monthly maxima 50 were received. Confirmed breeding carne from three coastal and four inland sites. At the coastal sites broods of four, six and eight ducklings were seen. At the four inland sites five broods were reported totalling just 13 ducklings. Off Thorpeness 29 flew south on January 5th and eight on July 9th, while off Kessingland 18 flew south between November 6th and 27th and off Landguard ten flew south on November 21 st. RING-NECKED DUCK Aythya collarìs Very rare visitor. 2000/2001 Addition: Homersfield: Gravel Pits, male, Dec.31st 2000 to Jan.lst 2001 (S.VHowell). Including the published 2001 Bawdsey record (Suffolk Birds 51:36) there have now been eight Suffolk records of this North American duck involving ten individuals. Suffolk's first Ring-necked Duck was also at Homersfield G.P., in January 1974. FERRUGINOUS DUCK Aythya nyroca Rare winter visitor and passage migrant.. Minsmere: the male from Oct.l4th 2001remained until at least Feb.l2th and what was considered to be the same bird returned from Oct.23rd to Dec.31st (W.J.Brame, R.Drew, J.and P.Kennerley et al). A second male was present from Jan.9th to 21 st (W.J.Brame, R.Drew) and a third male on Jan. 1 Ith and 12th (R.Drew).

56


Systematic

List

TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Apart from the table the Monthly counts from some keysites: only counts to exceed 50 Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec fkr 54 came from: 4 10 9 8 23 • 39 Minsmere* Weybread GP: 66, Feb.21st. r- 86 113 101 123 103 43 Aide/Ore Estuar) Loompit Lake: 57, Sep.4th. 7 32 20 31 0 Deben Estuary 20 11 Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, 75, Orwell Estuary 4 103 106 91 60 69 79 Dec. 10th. 54 43 42 53 66 65 56 40 Trimley Marsbes* A total of only 35 breed- Alton Water 589 524 501 148 815 552 763 732 165 95 148 171 120 146 153 ing pairs was reported from Lackford Lakes* 11 sites, with a minimum of * monthly maxima 107 young seen. Many pairs undoubtedly went unreported but it may be that this duck is declining as a breeding species. One possibility is that they are being adversely effected by feral mink, which are now quite widespread in the county. Thirty-two young in seven broods were seen on the Island Mere, Minsmere on July 19th and at least nine broods were noted at Lackford Lakes. Ten flew south of Thorpeness on January 5 th, eight south off South wold on September 17th and three south off Kessingland on November 3rd. Aythya hybrids Birds presumed to have the following parentage were seen as follows: Benacre Broad: a male "Aythya hybrid", Apr. 16th and a "Tufted Duck x Scaup", Dec.28th. Lackford Lakes: "Lesser Scaup type", Mar.26th.

GREATER SCAUP Aythya marila Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. With the weather staying mild in both winter periods, only small numbers were seen. Records in the first winter period came from: Benacre Broad: present from Jan. 1st (three) until Apr.30th (three), with a peak of eight on Jan. 12th. Benacre Pits: two females, Mar.7th.

Orfordness: female, Jan. 13th to Feb. 1st. Havergate Island: Jan.6th. Deben Estuary: Waldringfield, Feb. 17th. Trimley Marshes: Mar. 12th and two females, Apr.2nd. Alton Water: Jan.3rd and 11th. Livermere Lake: up to two males and two females between Mar. 12th and Apr. 1 st and a single female on Apr. 13th and 14th. The only West Suffolk records this year. In the s e c o n d w i n t e r p e r i o d r e p o r t s c a m e f r o m : Kessingland: two Dec.29th and a male and three females, Dec.30th. Benacre Broad: Dec.22nd and three, Dec.27th.

Benacre Pits: three, Nov.26th. Easton Bavents: Oct. 19th. Minsmere: Oct.8th. Thorpeness: two south Nov.3rd and six south, Dec. 14th. Deben Estuary: Kirton Creek, Dec.27th. Trimley Marshes: Aug. 11th, a very early date.

Alton Water: two, Dec.22nd to 24th. COMMON EIDER Somateria mollissima Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Has bred. Amber list. There was a familiar pattern of records with birds seen fairly frequently in the winter 57


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 periods from Ness Point, Lowestoft down to Aldeburgh and fewer in the southern half of the county. All the records came from the sea and estuaries and there were, as usual, a few reports in the summer. Regular sea-watching from Kessingland and Thorpeness produced the following counts for the final quarter of the year. The largest December November October day-count of North South North South North South the year was 44 56 309 12 Kessingland 53 3 160 north off 14 21 Thorpeness 32 6 10 74 Kessingland on December 5th, included in the table. The only other reports in the northern sector of 20 or more came from: Corton: 45 north, Sep.21st.

Ness Point: 26 north, Nov.21st. Kessingland: 24 north, Jan. 11th. Benacre: 24 north, Nov.26th. Soiitliwold: 24, Dec.9th.

Minsmere: 20, Oct.31st. Aldeburgh: 25 south, Dec.8th. S o u t h of A l d e b u r g h r e c o r d s w e r e received f r o m : Orfordness: 20 south, Nov.25th.

Shingle Street: Dec.24th. Bawdsey: East Lane, four, Dec. 11th.

Felixstowe Ferry: Nov.25th. Deben Estuary: Falkenham, Dec.27th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, three, Oct.lst. R.Orwell: Levington, nine, Dec.8th; two Dec. 11th and four, Dec.28th; The Strand, Dec.23rd and Fox's Marina, Wherstead, Dec.30th. Felixstowe: Brackenbury Cliffs, 13 south, Nov.23rd. Landguard: In spring seven south Apr.7th; two south, Apr.21st and three north. May 5th. Four north Aug.2nd and then scattered records of small numbers until the end of November. Higher numbers in December, with 39 north, 58 south and 11 offshore between 5th and 23rd.

LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. With mild weather in both winter periods there were just four records in the first period and five in the second. Benacre Broad: female, Jan. 1st to 5th and two, Jan. 12th to Apr. 14th. Easton Bavents: immature, Oct.5th to 25th.

Minsmere: Jan.5th. Sizewell: male, Feb.20th to Apr.20th with two, Mar.26th and 27th. Landguard: north, 0ct.30th; south, Nov.6th and 14th and an immature south, Dec.8th.

BLACK (COMMON) SCOTER Melanina nigra Common non-breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. Keen sea-watching by Paul Read at Kessingland and Dave Thurlow at Thorpeness has produced the accumulated monthly totals in the table. Kessingland Thorpeness

Jan 739 33

Feb 116 430

Mar 196 388

Apr 325 84

May 445 106

Jan 676 194

Jul 1137 636

Aug 282 92

Sep 348 23

Oct 643 504

Nov 211 222

Dec 368 51

Most of these birds were moving north or south offshore, while some were on the sea. For instance, the July total at Kessingland is made up of 403 north, 592 south and 142 on the sea. The degree of overlap in the counts is, of course, unknown. 58


Systematic List Up to 130 were present in Sole Bay off Sizewell during January and February and this rose to 350 on March 21st. However, that was the last notable count of the year for this location and there were no reports of any flocks in Sole Bay during the summer. South of Orfordness there were relatively few records, with 55 south on July 7th and 65 north on Oct.29th (both off Landguard), the most notable. A single was in the vicinity of Loompit Lake on five dates between Aug. 1st and Nov. 10th and one was on the managed retreat at Trimley Marshes on Aug.29th. There were no inland records this year. VELVET SCOTER Melanina fusca Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. The majority of records came early in the year and this was mainly due to a small flock which wintered off Sizewell. Reports in the first winter period came from: Lowestoft: Ness Point, male south, Jan.5th. Kessingland: two on sea and eight north in January; one north and one south, February and one north, April. Minsmere: Jan.lst; one south, Jan.5th and a single, Jan.l9th. Sizewell: four, Jan. 12th and then reported regularly up to a final single Apr. 14th, with a peak of seven on March 24th and 25th. Thorpeness: four north, Jan.5th; one north, Mar.7th and three north, Apr. 1 st. Landguard: two south, Apr.21st.

These two off Landguard were the last of the winter and none was then seen until three offshore from Minsmere on October 4th. Records in the second winter period came from: Kessingland: eight north and 15 south October: 12 north and three south, November and four north and two south, December. Southwold: south, Oct.6th; three north, Dec. 18th and three south, Dec. 19th. Minsmere: three Oct.4th; five Oct.24th and singles Nov.20th and Dec.30th.

Sizewell: two north, Oct. 11th. Thorpeness: three south, 0ct.20th; six south during November and two south and one north,

December. Havergate Island: Nov.l3th and 17th. Landguard: a total of 19 south between 0ct.20th and Nov.l9th and one south, Dec.8th.

COMMON GOLDENEYE Bucephala clangala Fairly common winter visitor and Monthly counts from some key sites: passage migrant. Amber list. Jan Feb Mar Except for those in the table, no Benacre Broad* 24 16 16 other count exceeded ten, apart Minsmere* 10 7 6 from 18 at Loompit Lake on Aide/Ore Estuary 34 21 4 March 10th and 26 there on Deben Estuary 44 14 18 24 47 31 March 21st. All the counts from Orwell Estuary 13 25 15 the west came from Lackford Alton Water 61 95 114 Lakes, except for a single male at Stour Estuary 27 22 Lackford Lakes* 9 Livermere Lake on Nov.20th. An immature male remained at * monthly maxima

Apr 1 0 -

0 0 0 0 7

Oct 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3

Nov 4 6 11 0 2 3 0 12

Dec 6 11 31 1 13 17 0 12

Lackford until April 16th and none was then seen until an early arrival flew south past Southwold on September 23rd. Off Kessingland nine flew south in the last three days of October, followed by 16 more between November 3rd and 13th. Offshore from Thorpeness 18 flew south during November and three south and four north in December, while Landguard reported 34 south between October 19th and December 8th. 59


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

S M E W Mergellus albellus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Records in the first winter period came from: Easton Broad: male, Jan.รณth. Minsmere: three, Jan.4th, then up to four daily through January, February and March, until a final single on March 28th. Ali were redheads. Alton Water: up to five redheads and a male seen intermittently in January and up to four redheads and a male in early February up to the lOth. A redhead on Mar.2nd and two, Mar.3rd.

None was seen from March 28th until December 7th. Reports late in the year came from: Benacre Broad: redhead, Dec.20th to 31st. Reydon: Dec.24th. Minsmere: Dec.7th to 19th, 1-2 redheads daily. Alton Water: redheads, Dec.l4th and 24th.

A reasonable year, given that there were no spells of really hard weather. There were no records from the west of the county. Good as it is for many species, Lackford Lakes appears to be a bit of a blind spot for Smew. RED-BREASTED M E R G A N S E R Mergus serrator Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. The Stour estuary remains easily the premier site in Suffolk for mergansers. Although quite widely reported from the coast Records from well-monitored sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Oct Nov Dec and estuaries, no other counts .Minsmere* 0 : 3 0 0 5 3 reached double figures apart 0 Deben Estuary 0 0 0 0 0 0 i 1 from the birds on passage given 9 Orwell Estuary 15 0 1 0 0 5 below. The last of the spring was Stour Estuary 65 32 50 41 0 70 33 two south off Thorpeness on May * monthly maxima 6th and the first of the autumn was one north off Southwold and Kessingland on September 15th. However, there was also a mid-summer record of four south off Thorpeness on July 5th. Off Kessingland, 36 flew south during October, with a peak day count of 20 on the 31 st; 90 flew south in November (including a high count of 50 on 20th) and 22 flew south in December. Off Thorpeness 26 flew south in October (with 24 of these on 3 Ist) and 20 flew south in November, while Landguard logged 96 south and six north on 23 days between October 16th and December 2Ist. G O O S A N D E R Mergus merganser Locaily fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Aside from the table, records in the first winter period came from: Kessingland: two south, Mar.lOth, one in off the sea, Mar.24th and a maie on a fish pond, Mar.26th. Covehithe: female south, Jan.9th. Hengrave Hall: two on several days in January Monthly counts from some key sites: Jan Feb Mar Nev Dec and two maies and two females, Feb.7th. 1 1 0 0 0 West Stow: Country Park, five on the angling Benacre Broad Minsmere 0 0 1 S3 0 lake, Feb.25th and a single, Mar.23rd. 0 I 0 0 0 R.Lark: Cavenham Heath NNR, Temple Bridge, Alton Water Lackford Lakes !5 1S 11 15 18 two, Mar.24th. Nunnery Lakes 2 17 10 - 1 18 R.Lark: Barton Mills, three, Jan.5th. Little Ouse R.: Santon Downham, two, Mar.8th.

The last of the spring was two at Lackford Lakes and a single at Nunnery Lakes on March 29th and the next bird seen was a single flying south past Dunwich Heath on October 2nd. Other records late in the year came from: 60


Systematic

List

Southwold: south, Nov. 10th and a female south, FIELD NOTE Dec. 8 th. While Smew are fairly regular at Alton Thorpeness: two south, Nov. 1 st. Water but rarely appear at Lackford Lakes, Deben Estuary: Martlesham Creek, male, exactly the reverse is true of Goosander, 0ct.30th. which are surprisingly uncommon at Alton Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, female, Water. Perhaps the answer lies in the Nov.24thtoDec.10th. different prey species of fish present at Landguard: Oct.31st, two Nov.2nd and singles on these waters? Nov.3rd and 14th, all south. Malcolm Wright West Stow: Country Park, seven on the angling lake, Nov.l5th and 18 on Dec.6th. These are birds from the adjacent Lackford Lakes. Nunnery Lakes has become an excellent site for this species in the past few years. RUDDY DUCK Oxyura jamaicensis Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories C and E. Birds are invariably dispersed from Livermere Lake during the shooting season, from September 1st to January 31st. At least four pairs produced young during the summer. Records, other than those shown in the table, came from: Oulton Broad: two females, Jan.3rd and 5th. Covehithe Broad: male, May 22nd. Records from well-monitored sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec Southwold: two, Oct.14th; 7 6 20 14 19 20 26 46 female on the boating lake, Trimley Marshes 14 2 -V ft 5 6 8 Loompit Lakes Oct. 19th and 20th. 0 0 0 3 .:- 3 5 9 e Revdon: Hen Reedbeds, pair Alton Water throughout the spring. Two Livermere Lake 6 8 2 '— males Jun.22nd. Minsmere: May 10th to 31st; three from Jun.9th to Jul.25th and a single, Sep.21st. Boyton Marshes: male, May 18th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake: up to three ducklings in August. Thorington Street: Reservoir, Nov. 1 st and two, Nov.30th. Redgrave Lake: male and a female/immature, Oct.4th. Barton Mere: five males and two females, Jul.26th; four young fledged from a brood first seen on this date. Livermere Lake: up to five males and four females during spring and summer; brood of eight, Jun.lOth. Ampton Water: female and two ducklings, Jul.8th. Lackford Lakes: Aug.30th and Oct.28th. EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD Pernis apivorus Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Gunton: north, Oct. 13th (B.Harrington, M.Packard). Benacre/Covehithe: Jul.21st (J.H.Grant, S.H.Piotrowski et at.). Felixtowe: over observer's garden, Apr.20th (W.J.Brame). The first April record for Suffolk. Wetherden: juvenile, Sep. 17th. (S.H.Piotrowski). The Felixstowe bird is Suffolk's earliest-ever by a considerable margin, eclipsing the previous earliest (May 1st 1995, North Warren) by eleven days. The bird at Benacre/ Covehithe in July was seen during a SOG field trip. Several others were claimed during the year but observers failed to submit a description to SORC. Observers need to seriously get their act together, with regard to this species. 61


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

BLACK KITE Milvus migrans Rare passage migrant. There was just one report of this species in 2002, which probably related to the wide ranging bird that was also seen in Norfolk on two dates in May. This brings the county total to 25. Tuddenham St Martin: J u n . l l t h . (S.Abbott, Mr.and Mrs M.Ambrose)

RED KITE Milvus

milvus

Uncommon but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. Has bred in recent years. Amber list. The number of sightings of this species in 2002 was slightly down on recent years. Reports were received from 16 sites across the county, compared with 24 in 2001, and mostly involved records from the spring period. The year started off well with a single bird at Chelmondiston on New Year's Day; undoubtedly the same bird that had been seen in the area on several dates towards the end of 2001. However, this proved to be the only record from the first winter period. After a long gap there was an influx of birds in spring starting with one near Ipswich on April 6th, followed by three other sightings of single birds across the county during April. The four reports from May included an individual in west Suffolk which put in appearances at two sites during May and another two sites in June.

Red Kite mobbed by Rough-legged Buzzards Mark Cornish

Autumn passage was remarkable in that it apparently involved just one bird which was tracked as it journeyed south along the coast on October 19th. It was logged at no fewer than five sites between Southwold and Shingle Street during the day (see also Roughlegged Buzzard). There were no records from the second winter period. Benacre Broad: Apr.l6th. Southwold: south, Oct.l9th.(Westleton/ Minsmere bird) Westleton: one with prey. May 24th.

Westleton Heath: south at 12.10 hrs., Oct. 19th. Minsmere: Apr. 10th and Oct. 19th. 62


Systematic

List

Walpole: May 15th. Orford: south at 16.30hrs„ May 14th. Orfordness: Oct.l9th. Shingle Street: one being mobbed by four Short-eared Owls, Oct. 19th. Chelmondiston: Jan. 1st. Tuddenham St Martin: Apr.6th. Stanstead: Apr. 13th. Thurston: Jun.lOth. Lackford Lakes: Jun.l 1th. West Stow CP: one seen twice (p.m.), May 14th. Cavenham: a wing-tagged bird flew north-west, May 19th. EURASIAN MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosa Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber list. Records received from 14 coastal sites during the first winter period suggest that about 30 birds were present, 50% more than in 2001. Maximum roost counts in January included eight at Potters Bridge and three at Walberswick, while in February there were up to five at Minsmere, two at Westwood Lodge and four on Orfordness. Spring migration was noted at Benacre Broad, where a male flew in off the sea on April 29th, and at Landguard on both April 14th and 15th. By May the number of pre-breeding birds gathering at Minsmere and at Orfordness had risen to seven. It was quite a successful breeding season with high productivity at most of the traditional locations. A minimum of 34 pairs nested at seven coastal sites and fledged at least 84 young. This included Minsmere, where seven females and five males were present and 22 young fledged from their various nests. Two other sites each produced a minimum of 24 young from ten nests. Inland, no less than four pairs nested at the new RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen, two of which were successful and two other nests failed. August saw the start of some movement, but autumn passage became more pronounced from early September. At Ness Point one was seen offshore on September 1 st and migrants were seen at Kessingland on September 15th and 21st. Meanwhile, inland, singles were seen at Shelley, Lackford and Great Livermere. There were further reports in October from Ness Point, Thorpeness and Landguard. A minimum of 20 birds was recorded at seven coastal locations during the second winter period, a slight reduction on numbers in 2001. Roost counts F I E L D N O T E during this time included a At Minsmere on January 5th a Marsh Harrier was seen to drop down on and kill an Eurasian Teal on Island maximum of five at Minsmere Mere. Unable to lift it's prey, the bird plucked and ate it in November and three at on a fallen trunk. Nearby at North Warren in May a Potters Bridge in December. female was seen attacking a Great Bittern which had Other sightings of note probably predated a young nestling. included an adult female with a C.A.Jacobs/Rob Macklin green wing-tag at North Warren from late February until the end of the year and another wing-tagged bird at Orfordness on April 20th. HEN HARRIER Circus cyuneus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. Reports were received from 59 sites during 2002, a significantly higher number than the 27 in 2001. This was largely due to the high number of overwintering birds during the early Part of the year. 63


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 The first winter period produced reports from 27 coastal sites. An estimated 30 to 35 birds were present, more than twiee the number present in recent years. The total included about a dozen males alone. Up to six roosted during January at Walberswick NNR. Spring passage mostly occurred during April; ringtails were seen at six sites and included a long-staying bird on Orfordness which was last seen on April 2Ist. The only May record carne from Dingle Marshes where two ringtails flew north on the 3rd. Coincidentally, the first returning autumn migrant also occurred at Dingle Marshes on October 6th. This was followed by singles during October at Ness Point, Southwold, Dunwich Heath, Sizewell, Havergate Island and Landguard. Finally, up to two were seen at Minsmere on ten dates in October. The number of birds present during the second winter period was similar to last year with about a dozen reported from 18 sites. The only roost count came from Walberswick, where four birds were present on December 23rd. Once again there was a real paucity of inland records; a ringtail at Lakenheath Fen on November 20th was the only report. MONTAGU'S HARRIER Circus pygargus Uncommon passage migrant Formerly bred. Amber list. It was a good year for this species with about nine coastal reports and one inland. Single ringtails were seen at Orfordness on May 19th and 25th. Further up the coast at Minsmere singles were present on May 17th and 20th and the next day a pair was seen both here and nearby at Sizewell. However, any hopes of breeding were short-lived as the birds quickly departed. Elsewhere, reports of single ringtails came from three sites in the south-east during May and June and one from Breckland. Autumn passage was rather quiet but a juvenile in the Benacre area during the second week of August provided d o s e views for the lucky observers. Benacrc Broad: juvenile, Aug.7th to lOth seen down to c.lOm. (B J Small, J H Grant, J.Brown eia/.); Minsmere: May 17th (RSPB); May 20th (RSPB); two May 21st (R Drew, RSPB) Sizewell: pair, May 21st, the same as at Minsmere (A Riseborough). Orfordness: "ringtail", May 19th (M.C.Marsh); "ringtail", May 25th (M.C.Marsh, J.Askins).

Boyton Marshes: May 13th (P.Beeson). Hollesley Common: "ringtail", Jun.2nd (N Mason). Falkenham/Kings Fleet: Ist summer female, May 25th to 30th (M.C.Marsh, J Zantboer et al.). Elveden: "ringtail", Jun.30th (C.A.E.Kirtland).

2001 Addition Erwarton: adult male, Jul.l8th (R.Vonk).

NORTHERN GOSHAWK Ac cipter gentilis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant, uncommon resident. There was a significant increase in the number of reports of this species in 2002. As expected the majority came from the west of the county, but there was some indication that the population in this area is beginning to expand out from its more traditional forest sites. All but five of the 27 reports carne from the Brecks and most were during spring. The first report of the year was of a male at West Stow CP on January 14th and the same bird was also seen at Lackford Lakes in February. Also that month two were seen at Elveden and at Mayday Farm and by March pairs were displaying at three forest sites and singles were seen at a further six locations, including four non-forest sites. A female which flew past a Pakenham garden on March 9th was well away from any known breeding areas. In April a male was seen on two dates near Cavenham village and another was seen at North Stow on the 23rd. In the north-east of the county a male was seen over Ashby Woods on April 2Ist and one was seen at Minsmere on two dates in April. 64


Systematic

List

Despite the abundance of spring records from the west of the county there were no reports of breeding success. Indeed the only summer reports came from the south-east at Trimley Marshes where one was seen on June 1 Ith and three were present on June 20th. The oniy other records were of a male mobbing a Common Buzzard at Herringswell on September 27th and one at Thetford Warren on November Ist. EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The gradual decline of this species continued in 2002 as reports were received from only 52 sites, compared with 91 last year and 118 in 2000. Though it was regularly recorded at ten locations, at other sites, such as Lavenham Railway Walks, sightings continue to decrease. Displaying birds were observed at five sites, breeding was confirmed at four and suspected at a further seven. Along the coastal margin three pairs bred on the Sizewell Estate, but the combined total FIELD N O T E of six pairs at North Warren and Observations of Eurasian Sparrowhawk hunting Aldringham Common and behaviour included a temale attacking a Pied Wagtail at Walks illustrâtes the continued Kessingland Sewage Works on March 7th and another decline in numbers in recent temale chasing and catching a Common Linnet at years. In the west of the county Benacre Pits on the same day. Inland, a temale was at least two pairs nested in the seen hunting Barn Swallows over West Stow Country Park and at Nowton Park a temale unsuccessfully King's Forest. Spring migrants were noted chased a Green Woodpecker, both on August 6th, Various observers at Havergate and Landguard during Aprii. Autumn migrants were also logged at Landguard on three dates in September and one in October. Other noteworthy records included a group of six together at Mayday Farm on February 16th. COMMON BUZZARD Buteo buteo Fairly common and increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer; has bred recently. The number of reports of this species continues to increase, particularly those relating to sightings outside the main migration periods. In fact both spring and autumn passages were relatively quiet in 2002. For some reason, most spring records came from the north-east while most records from late summer and autumn came from the south-east. In the west of the county reports were received from every month except December and often involved more than one bird. At least one pair also bred in this area for the third successive year. At the beginning of the year at least four birds were present along the coastal strip, including two at Minsmere on February 18th. Inland, one was seen in the Stoke-byNayland area on January 1 st and in the Breck there were three sightings in January and ten in February. A large proportion of the latter involved three or more birds, notably a total of 15 diffÊrent birds in three seperate groups seen by one observer on the morning of February 13th. These included five at Tuddenham St Mary, three at Cavenham and seven in The King's Forest (Chris Gregory). Spring passage was rather quiet and protracted with migrants noted at ten coastal sites during March and April. They included three at Oulton Broad on April 28th; four at Cove Bottom on April 17th; seven at Benacre Broad on April 19th and six at Minsmere on March 20th. In the south, single birds at Tendring Park, Stoke-by-Nayland on April 12th and Lavenham Railway Walks on May 1 st were also likely to be passage migrants. Late spring/early summer saw singles in the Minsmere area on three dates in May and 65


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 on two dates in June. In the south-east one flew north-west at Kett's Walk on July 1 Oth and there were reports from a further three sites during August, including two birds together at Kett's Walk on 2nd. Later in August another two were seen at Chelmondiston. In the west of the county, five were seen over The King's Forest on March 16th and four were over Cavenham Heath the same day. Nearby at Barton Mills, six were present on April 2nd. Regular sightings continued in Breckland at several sites during the summer months, including sightings of up to four on a number of dates around the Lackford area. Once again the only evidence of breeding also came from the West, where pairs were seen displaying at two sites in April and a pair was seen copulating at a third site in May. Despite all these activities breeding was only confirmed at one site where two fledged juveniles were heard food-begging in August. However, it seems likely that other pairs bred or attempted to breed in the area. Autumn passage was patchy. Singles were logged at four coastal sites during September and there were two at Felixtowe Ferry on September 2nd. There appears to have been very little movement during October; the only records were of singles at North Warren and Westleton Heath. In November singles were present at Lackford Lakes on 11th and at Newton Green on 24th. Finally, during December records from Minsmere, Chelmondiston, Trimley Marshes and Alton Water all possibly relate to one roving individual. ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD Buteo lagopus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The only record from the first winter period related to the long-staying Norfolk bird, which briefly strayed across the border near Herringfleet in late January. During autumn one bird, a juvenile, was seen at two locations on October 19th as it moved south along the coast (see also entry under Red Kite). Up to three birds, including two juveniles, wintered in the Sudbourne Marshes/ Orfordness area from October 16th until the end of the year. Herringfleet: long-staying Norfolk bird seen to cross into Suffolk, Jan.29th. Easton Broad: juvenile south-west, Oct. 19th. Dingle Marshes: one south-west mobbed by two Marsh Harriers, Oct. 19th. Sudbourne Marshes: three, including two juveniles, 0ct.20th: two between Oct.24th and 30th; two over from Orfordness, Nov.24th; two juveniles into the roost, Dec.27th; one Dec.31st. Orfordness: single, Oct. 16th; three from Oct. 18th to Dec.31st. and two of these on Lantern Marshes from Nov.l3th to Dec.31st.

OSPREY Pandion haliaetus Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. There were 18 reports this year (compared with 29 in 2001 ), the lowest number since 1993. Records were received from just 13 sites and involved an estimated total of 13 to 15 birds. Spring passage was rather poor. Early returning birds were seen at Minsmere and Trimley Marshes on April 8th, but there were only three other reports in April and one in May. A radio-tagged bird, thought to have originated from Rutland Water, was seen in the Walberswick area in July. Tinker's Marshes: Jul.30th. Walberswick: radio-tagged bird, Jul.27th Minsmere: Apr.8th.; May 11th.; Jun.23rd.

North Warren: one north Apr.20th. Orfordness: Apr.24th. Trimley Marshes: Apr.8th. Ipswich: one west at 15.50hrs., Apr.l4th.

In late summer single birds were seen on the Blyth Estuary and at North Warren on two dates in August, while inland singles put in brief appearances at Shelley and Lackford 66


Systematic List Lakes ยกn early August. The only lingering bird was at Lakenheath Washes where one remained for about a month. If spring passage was poor autumn passage was virtually non-existent. There were just two September records, both from the north-east of the county, and none from October. The last report was of a late bird passing over Orfordness on November 1 lth. Oulton Broad: Sep.lOth. Corton: south offshore, Sep.23rd. Blvth Estuary: Aug.lst; one on a post eating a fish for over an hour, Aug.9th. NorthWarren: south, Aug.23rd.; south, Aug.29th.

Orfordness: Nov.l lth. Lackford Lakes: Aug.3rd. Lakenheath Fen: one present late August/early September.

Shelley: Aug.25th. 2001 Addition Erwarton: Stour Estuary, Aug. 17th. C O M M O N K E S T R E L Falco

tinnunculus

Common resident. Amber list. Reports were received from about 50 sites, compared with 57 in 2001, continuing a gradual reduction in numbers in recent years. Breeding was confirmed at seven sites, including four pairs at both North Warren and Aldringham Walks, which represents a slight increase on the seven pairs located there in 2001. Elsewhere along the coast, two pairs bred at the Hen Reedbeds and on the Sizewell estรกte, while a family group was seen at Reydon. Inland three pairs bred at Boxford, a pair raised five young in a nest-box at Haughley and a pair attempted to breed at Cosford, near Kersey. Migratory birds were evident at four locations during autumn. In the north-east three were present on Blundeston Marshes on September 16th and one flew in off the sea at Benacre Pits the previous day. Further south, four birds were seen at both Reydon and Minsmere on September 14th and 18th, respectively. Other records of note included an emaciated bird found at West Stow C.P that was taken into care by the RSPCA in January. At Long Melford one was seen hawking for insects on August lOth and a juvenile was found dead on the road at Great Livermere, also on August lOth. RED-FOOTED FALCON Falco vespertinus Rare visitor. The two records for 2002 both involved females and both were on single dates. Oulton Dyke: lst summer female, Aug.29th , also noted across the county border in Norfolk at Burgh St Peter. (G.J.Etherington). Orfordness: female, May 17th. (D. Cormack, J.Askins).

In addition a third record, for July, awaits adjudication by BBRC. MERLIN Falco columbarius Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. It was a good year for this species; the 28 reports received from the first winter period indicated that up to seven birds were present compared with the three or four present in 2001. At least one bird frequented the Minsmere/ North Warren area in January and February while at least three birds were present in the south-east of the County. The 14 reports received from this area included singles at Sudbourne Marshes, Havergate Island, Bawdsey and at Chelmondiston in January. In February two were seen on Orfordness and in the west of the County two, possibly three, were seen around the Lackford/Mildenhall 67


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 area during January and February. A female/immature was also seen chasing Skylarks at Lavenham on January 12th. Obvious signs of spring migration were noted at Fisher Row, where a female passed through on March 29th and at Thorpeness where one flew south offshore on April 1st. The final spring sighting involved a female at Lakenheath Warren on May 11th. Autumn arrivals commenced in August with singles at Havergate Island, 13th, King's Fleet, Falkenham, 15th and Minsmere, 23rd. In September, one was at Minsmere on 6th and two females at Blundeston Marshes on 15th. A male and a female were present on Orfordness on September 29th and again on October 9th. Other October records included a female in off the sea at Corton on 6th, and one was seen to snatch a Common Linnet at Corton sewage works on 9th. Elsewhere, during October one flew south at Lowestoft and singles were seen at Westleton Heath, Dunwich Heath and Minsmere. Landguard logged eight singles between September 13th and November 2nd. On November 2nd one flew in off the sea at Westleton and in the west one was at Lackford on October 20th. There were fewer birds present during the second winter period. Reports suggested that three or four birds were wintering, a similar number to last year. These included one in the Minsmere area and at least one in the Sudbourne/ Boyton area. EURASIAN HOBBY Falco subbuteo Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Reports were received from more than 80 sites across the County, which represents an increase on the 60 reports in 2001, and a similar number to the previous two years. The first returning bird was seen at Thorpeness on April 16th and this was followed by a further eight reports during April. Spring gatherings included 12 at Lakenheath Fen on May 1st; five at North Warren on May 3rd and seven at the same site (a site record) on May 21st. Around mid-June six birds were present on three dates at Minsmere; nearby four were at North Warren on June 23rd and there were five there on July 2nd. Reports of confirmed breeding came from two sites, including two pairs at North Warren, though neither was thought to have been successful. Elsewhere, breeding was suspected at a further three sites. At Benacre Broad three juveniles were seen roosting on the beach on September 21 st. The lack of any late-summer gatherings of note was perhaps an indication of a poor breeding year. As usual there were widespread sightings during September as birds prepared to depart. These dwindled to just nine reports in October and the last bird was seen at Mutford on October 10th. Interesting observations included two chasing a Dunlin at Tinker's Marshes on August 13th; one hawking for Banded Agrions over the River Stour at Long Melford on June 3rd and one mobbing a Common Buzzard near Cavenham on September 15th. A bird with damaged primaries was seen grappling with a Common Kestrel at Lackford Lakes on May 29th. PEREGRINE Falco peregrinus Uncommon but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Categories A and E. This was another good year for this species, especially during the first winter period, which produced a remarkable 46 records from 18 sites across the county. It seems likely that up to eight birds were present (six in 2001 ) and favoured sites, such as Minsmere and Orfordness, hosted lorg-staying birds. At Minsmere an adult female was seen on several dates between mid-January and March and the same bird also visited the Blyth Estuary, North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks during this period. On February 24th it was seen with an 68


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immature female, then with an adult male on two dates in early March. On February 20th one bird was seen possibly going to roost on Sizewell 'A' Power Station. Further south at Orfordness a male, seen during the second week of January, was joined by a female on January 13th. The pair was subsequently seen together on three further dates between mid-February and midMarch. The birds were also seen at Havergate Island in early March and records of single birds at Boyton and Shingle Street also probably relate to these birds. One was seen on the Orwell Bridge on New Year's Day, then again on two other dates in January. Single birds were also seen at Trimley Marshes on one date in January and four dates in February and two were seen there on March 10th. In the west of the county, an adult was at Redgrave and Lopham Fen on February 3 rd and one was seen over Mildenhall Woods on February 17th. Movement during spring was mostly centred around the Havergate/Orfordness area, as lingering winter birds were joined by migrants. There were reports of three birds at Havergate/Orfordness on March 24th and 25th and this figure rose to four the following day. A pair was Peregrine Su Gough still present there on March 31st. A sighting of a single over Wantisden Church also probably relates to one of these birds. Orfordness also produced the only early-summer records when two were present on May 18th and 21st. There were also several reports of single birds at other sites along the coast m late summer, involving one, maybe two, birds including a juvenile at Tinker's Marshes on July 30th, which was seen to kill a Northern Lapwing. At Minsmere one was seen on July 20th and August 6th and there were also sightings of single birds at Trimley Marshes on August 4th and Levington Creek on August 15th. Autumn reports from early September included singles at Friston, Tinker's Marshes and Minsmere. On September 24th a pair was seen at Orfordness accompanied by a presumed escaped Lanner Falcon and two immature females were seen there the next day. Further south singles were also observed at Felixtowe Ferry on September 11th and Landguard two days later. October produced a further six reports from six different coastal sites, including singles at Westleton Heath, Shingle Street and Felixtowe Ferry. At Orfordness two were seen on October 2nd and there were reports of single birds at both Sudbourne and Shingle Street on October 20th. The second winter period was a lot quieter. Reports from just seven sites indicate that two, possibly three, birds were present, compared with a maximum of five last year. Once again Minsmere proved a favourite site; singles were seen there on a number of dates between October 3rd and December 30th. During November there were sightings F I E L D N O T E at North Warren, Havergate Island, According to Ticehurst, Peregrines formerly nested in the steeple of Corton Church. Each Orfordness, the Orwell Bridge and year the eyasses were taken for hawking Landguard and in December there were and the parish clerk was paid a retainer to reports from the Hen Reedbeds, Trimley ensure the birds were not disturbed Marshes and the Orwell Bridge. Chris Gregory 69


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Alectoris rufa Common resident. Catégories C and E Only 12 reports were received for this species, which is most certainly under-recorded. Large numbers are, of course, bred and released for shooting. Breeding was confirmed at five sites, with only one, Lackford Lakes, being away from the coast. At Landguard "four pairs attempted to breed but there was a 100% pullus mortality rate and non-existent second broods". The largest gatherings seen were at Blyford (34 on February 7th), Blythburgh (32 on February 16th), Brantham (30 on November 30th) and Long Melford Sewage Works (20 on November 1 Oth). GREY PARTRIDGE PerdLxperdix Formerly common resident, now localised. Red List. Catégories A, C and E This species was recorded from 33 différent locations with young birds being reported from only three sites, these being Minsmere, the Sizewell Estate and Manor Farm, Bawdsey. The largest coveys were reported from: Corton: 12, Sep.29th. Alton Water: 12, Jan 3Ist; 18, Sep. 25th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, 23, Jan.Ist on adjacent arable land. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, 18, Dec.l8th.

COMMON QUAIL CoturnLx coturnìx Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. Red List. Only six reports were received for this secretive species in 2002 and no confirmation of breeding was received. The records came from: Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, Apr.22nd. Aldringham Walks: male holding territory in potato field. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes, male calling, May 27th.

Livermere Lake: Jun.l5th. Lakenheath Fen: two, Jun.29th. Market Weston: one feeding by the roadside, Jun.l Ith.

COMMON PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus Very common resident; numbers augmented by releases. Catégories C and E. Reported from only seven sites, this extremely common species is clearly under-recorded. Judging by the frequency of corpses on the road, it must occur in just about every parish in Suffolk. The largest count, of 57 pairs, was made at North Warren between April 1 st and June 30th. Breeding was reported from a further four sites, namely at Ditchingham, the Sizewell Estate, Lackford Lakes and Long Melford Sewage Works. GOLDEN PHEASANT Chrysolophus pictus Scarce resident. Catégories C and E. Only five reports were received for this species, two of which were in the east of the county. One was seen walking through a garden in Blythburgh on May 3rd and a male was seen at Greyfriars, Dunwich on January 4th. In the west of the county, two males were seen at Bamham on January 28th and single males were reported from Thetford Heath on April 2nd and Mayday Farm, Brandon on April 7th. 70


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WATER RAIL Rullus aquaticus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. This species was recorded at 28 sites, a slight reduction on last year's total of 31. Breeding was recorded at five sites i.e., the Hen Reedbed (minimum of five territories), Minsmere (40 pairs), Sizewell Belts (one pair), North Warren (35 territories), and Lakenheath Fen (ten pairs). An unknown number of pairs presumably also bred at other coastal reed beds. Winter records, mainly of ones or twos, were widely dispersed throughout the county with high counts being recorded at Minsmere, (12 on November 18th) and Lakenheath Fen (eight on October 19th). SPOTTED CRAKE Porzana porzana Rare passage migrant; rarely over-summers. Amber List. Only three reports were received of this elusive species. One of these related to a bird calling on a few dates between May 5th and June 21 st in good habitat at a site in West Suffolk. It was noted as aggressive towards a Water Rail and considered to have "probably bred". The other reports were: Aldeburgh: North Warren, male calling in reedbed, May 31st (R.N.Macklin). Minsmere: Sep. 17th (I.Hawkins). COMMON M O O R H E N Gallínula chloropus Very common resident, winter visitor Some counts from regularly monitored sites: and passage migrant. Jan Feb Sep Oct Nov Dec This common species was seen at North Warren 50 50 60 60 70 70 suitable wetland sites throughout the Vide/Ore Estuary 16 H 28 29 23 42 46 38 county and at all times of the year. Orwell Estuarv 15 59 7 16 11 34 34 33 Breeding records were received from Stour Estuary only ten sites, which certainly underrecords the true population. A record total of 112 breeding pairs was recorded at North Warren, the highest in the county and at least 28 pairs nested on the F I E L D N O T E new reserve at Lakenheath Fen. At Brettenham village, near Lavenham, in January a Common Moorhen was observed in an appiè tree in a Outside the breeding season large garden, along with a Fieldfare and a Green congregations of 30 or more birds Woodpecker, eating the remnants of last year's fruit. were recorded at Minsmere, David and Margaret Carter North Warren, Sotterley Park, Livermere Lake, Lackford Lakes and the Mickle Mere. COMMON COOT Fúlica atra Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant Breeding records were received from Counts from key sites: °nly 11 sites, which is certainly well Jan Feb Sep short of the true total. A further nesting Aide/Ore Estuary 137 225 area was thought to have failed, owing Deben Estuary 58 106 54 t0 the site drying out in June. The Orwell Estuary 253 118 2112 693 1418 largest breeding population was again Alton Water 244 166 508 at North Warren where 46 pairs where Lackford Lakes recorded, many of which were occupying their breeding territories by mid-February. At least 41 pairs nested at 71

Oct Nov Dec 68 52 26 47 44 31 586 388 400 2086 2222 2491 498 353 298 Lakenheath Fen.


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 As in previous years, Alton Water was the most important site in the County for overwintering birds, the peak of 2491 being recorded on December 8th. Other notable sites included Lackford Lakes (maximum count 508 birds on September 30th), Redgrave Lake (300 on October 4th) and Thorington Street Reservoir (205 on November 30th). COMMON CRANE Grus grus Scarce passage migrant. Amber List. An exceptionally good spring, with multiple sightings. Clearly there is some overlap in the records, but possibly about 15 different birds were involved. Some further sightings were sent in to Bird-line and the internet but were not submitted to the recorders and so are not included here. Fritton Lake: two, Aug.l7th (C.Mutimer). Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, south, May Ist (D.Pearson). Walberswick/Dunwich Heath/Minsmere/Orfordness: two south, Mar.21st (many observers). Dunwich Heath/Minsmere: south, Mar.lOth (many observers). Minsmere: three south, Mar.l7th; two, Apr.4th; a single, May 2nd and five, May 31st (RSPB et al.). Aldeburgh: North Warren, three south, Mar.l7th (same birds as Minsmere) and one over south marsh, Mar.22nd (RSPB). Orford: Orfordness, in March, singles on lOth, 22nd and 29/30th (M.Marsh, D.Cormack et al.). Falkenham: King's Fleet, five circled then flew south, May 3Ist (same birds as Minsmere) (G.Jobson). Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, two flew over, Apr.lOth (BTO).

There was just one autumn record: Landguard: six Aying south, Sep.l2th (P.Oldfield P.Collins). EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. Amber list. WeBS counts illustrate the importance of the River Stour estuary for this species: In addition to the tabuJan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee lated counts, the largest Blyth Estuary 190 113 46 46 29 \Ä rM 183 gathering reported was 600 — Alde/Ore Estuarv 45 371 273 18 9 33 at Levington Creek, August Deben Estuarv 109 . 193 131 219 61 123 106 82 4th. The Blyth Estuary hosts Orwell Estuary 1192 1227 1257 568 1705 804 942 Stour Estuar; 1785 1598 1523 527 810 1015 723 625 a substantial non-breeding, over-summering flock which this year peaked at 106 on July 22nd. A total of just 17 breeding pairs was reported from the coast and five more from inland Suffolk. This is way below the 478 breeding pairs recorded by a full census in 1988/89. No reports were received this year from Orfordness or Havergate Island, which are significant sites, but it does appear that this species is in decline, in common with other species that nest on beaches and shingle. August produced the most marked movement. The Levington Creek assembly noted above presumably involved migrants moving through and the month's total of 71 moving south off Thorpeness included a peak of 24 on 3rd. Off Landguard, 236 flew south between July 20th and August 18th. BLACK-WINGED STILT Himantopus Rare visitor

himantopus

Lakenheath Fen: A pair, May 8th to 1 Ith (I. Barton, D.Balmer, et al.)

The first Suffolk record of this exotic and elegant species since the flurry of sightings in 1993. These two birds were found on the RSPB reserve but moved across the county 72


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boundary into Norfolk on the evening of the 8th to the nearby Washes. They returned to the reserve on both 9th and lOth to feed in various pools and were last seen in the area on 1 Ith. PIED AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta Fairly common resident, summer visitor and passage migrant on the coast. Amber list. The expected spring build-up at the breeding sites was well illustrated at Minsmere where the site-total jumped from a maximum of four in January to 134 in February and 190 in March. A total of 105 pairs used this site and "plenty of young" were said to have hatched. However, prédation by Black-headed Gulls largely accounted for the total absence of any young which reached the fledging stage. At Havergate Island 54 pairs nested but here again no young were fledged. The culprits here were large gulls, Lesser Black-backeds and Herring Gulls, which also breed on the island. Prédation was also a problem at another coastal site, where five pairs hatched young but none of the chicks survived for more than three days. The picture was more positive at three other coastal sites. At the first, there were 12 nests and at least 14 young were reared. At the second there were three nests, although only one chick fledged, and at the third there were 15 nests and a total of 11 fledged young. At another reserve area to the south at least 23 pairs nested but they "fared poorly, with only four chicks fledging". West Suffolk notched up its first records since 1999 with the following sightings: Livermere Lake: Jun. 5th Lackford Lakes: Mar. 24th Feh Mar Sep Oct NOY Dec Jan Lakenheath Washes: two, Mar. 24th, Blyth Estnarj 163 269 365 82 M f t W 516 one Apr.7th. Aide/Ore Estuarv 746 1053 651 644 730 629 The following counts were 197 Deben Estuar} 39 20 33 3 115 102 made on the estuaries:

STONE-CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus Locally fairly common summer visitor. Red list. The first returning Breckland birds were noted on March 16th. A minimum of 156 pairs was proven to have bred in Breckland (Suffolk and Norfolk combined) and the total for the Suffolk Breck was 71 pairs. The minimum number of young fledged overall in Breckland was 90, which is 0.58 fledgling per pair, a little below the rate calculated as necessary (0.7 per pair) to sustain the population. Several m a j o r estâtes and landowners in the Breck have withdrawn co-operation with the RSPB/EN Stone Curlew monitoring team and refused them entry to their land, as a resuit of a Stone Curlew Su Gough dispute about a proposed SSSI désignation. The estâtes have made private arrangements for monitoring and the results of these are included in the above figures. Nonetheless, the figures given above should be qualified, as ît is likely that some pairs have been missed and the full picture is less clear than usual. After 15 years of working together and slowly re-building the Breck Stone Curlews, this withdrawal of co-operation by landowners is an extremely regrettable development. One Breckland site attracted post-breeding gatherings of 32 on August 14th and 29 on 73


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2002

October 5th. Another Breckland site held 29 on September 30th and a third held 18 on August 18th. The species was last noted in Breckland on October 19th. Away from Breckland, four pairs and a singleton were monitored. One pair successfully raised a chick, which was caught to protect it from agricultural opérations on two occasions. Another pair lost their eggs, probably to a small predator such as a stoat, weasel, hedgehog or rat, and did not re-lay. A third pair lost their first chick and then hatched two more which were also lost. The fourth pair FIELD N O T E Several years ago I was watching a Stone Curlew nest on a raised one chick and Breckland site through a telescope from distance when the lost another in its first sitting bird rose and approached a Stoat Mustela erminea, ten day s. which had been running across a slope towards the nest. The At least one bird was bired raised itself up on its toes, fully opened both wings and present in another area stretched up its neck, clearly attempting to make itself appear as large as possible. The Stoat stopped and they eyed each other for at least six dates in up intently for perhaps 20 seconds, from a distance of about two late April and there métrés, each making little threatening movements. The Stoat were other reports from blinked first and ran off down the slope away from the nest. another area which Malcolm Wright raised suspicions of possible breeding. LITTLE (RINGED) PLOVER Charadrius dubius Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year was a single at Livermere Lake on March 23rd. The traditionally very marked westerly bias in the county's records was again apparent with breeding suspected or proven at a total of at least four sites involving up to seven pairs. This, however, is probably something of an under-estimate.The last record from the west of the county was one at Lackford Lakes on September 6th. It was a poor year for the species in coastal Suffolk, with breeding not even suspected and precious few migrants reported. Only four coastal sites managed to attract a spring migrant, with the maximum being three at Cattawade on April lOth. Autumn passage is usually more marked but this year it was remarkably light, peaking at just five, on Orfordness on July 13th. Evidence of passage in action came from Landguard, where three flew south on August 6th. The last report of the year was of a single at Trimley Marshes on September 13th. RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Once again a decline in numbers was apparent, with few three-figure counts received, as illustrated in the table: In 2001 the largest count Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee was 381 but this year North Warren 50 17 19 120 68 15 66 no counts even remotely Aide/Ore Estuarv 17 23 39 13 . 52 13 •P: approached such a level. 2 Deben Estuar} 85 102 27 63 34 63 This gives cause for conOrwell Estuar} 102 38 48 23 0 18 139 cern, particularly as the Alton Water 147 54 11 0 157 91 152 138 other counts made during Stour Estuar} 56 31 55 130 145 14 26 8 2002 were relatively modest. Somewhat surprisingly, there were no records of birds showing characteristics of the tundra race, C.h.tundrae. Small passage parties are usually observed at coastal localities during May. 74


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A meagre total of just 31 nests or pairs was reported from seven sites, with only one of these in West Suffolk. Breeding success again appeared to be poor. At Landguard, for instance, six pairs attempted to breed but "there was a high pullus mortality rate". EURASIAN DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Landguard: Aug. 16th (N.Odin, P.Collins). The sole record this year and present all too briefly. EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list In the first quarter of the year twelve four-figure counts were received. They were as follows: Blyth Estuary: 2960, Feb.l2th Alton Water: 2000, Feb 13th Stour Estuary: 4167, Feb.lOth and 1366, Mar.3rd. (both WeBS counts) Newmarket Heath: 1500, Feb.5th Lakenheath Fen: 1200, Mar.l 1th Gt Barton: 2500, Jan.27th Risby: 1500, Apr. 16th Walsham-le-Willows: 2000, Mar.6th Mickle Mere: 4000, Jan. 17th Long Melford: 1500, Mar 24th Waldingfield Aerodrome: 1100, regularly in Jan. and Feb. The bulk of these birds had departed by the end of March and, as is often the case, there was scant evidence of spring passage through the county. Returning birds were noted from mid-July, the first being two north offThorpeness on 13 th. Generally, only small passage parties were observed, the largest of which was 280 at Levington Creek on August 20th. In the fourth quarter of the year only six four-figure counts were received. They were as follows: Bungay: Outney Common, 1700, Dec.23rd Blyth Estuary: 1180, Dec 27th Deben Estuary: 1056, Nov.l7th (WeBS count) King's Fleet: 1000, Dec.27th Brettenham: 2500, Oct. 13th Stowupland: 3000, Nov.22nd GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The Stour Estuary remains easily the most important area for this species within Suffolk. Jan Feb Mar Sep Oct Nov Dec The annual dearth of records 74 46 41 Blyth Estuary relating to spring migrants 44 45 Aide/Ore Estuary 56 30 13 48 continued with the season's 334 61 Deben Estuary 243 197 501 402 peak being a mere 11 at Dingle 114 83 551 120 62 6 Orwell Estuary Marshes on May 17th. How- Stour Estuary 3084 623 1612 599 1551 579 1556 ever, spring produced West Suffolk's only record of the year, with two at Mickle Mere on May 13th. Autumn passage surely had to be more pronounced and so it proved to be. Return was noted from July 5th when a southward-bound individual passed Thorpeness. The season's peak appears to have occurred during September with a strong movement noted

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75


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 on 9th. Counts on this day included 200 off Southwold and Dunwich Heath, 95 off Thorpeness and 62 off Landguard. A total of 610 was amassed at Holbrook Bay on September 26th. NORTHERN LAPWING Vanellus vanellus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Declining as a breeding species. Amber list. Four-figure counts received in the first winter period included the following: Southwold Town Marshes: 1050, Feb.28th. North Warren: 2860, Jan. 27th. Orfordness: 2000, Jan.29th. Havergate Island: 1700, Feb. 5th. Deben Estuary: 2372, Jan. 13th and 2046, Feb. 10th. Stour Estuary: 1529, Jan. 13th and 4641, Feb.lOth. Cavenham: 1000, Mar.5th. Breeding records in the coastal strip indicated nine pairs with at least three young fledged at Dingle Marshes, nine pairs and two fledged young at Walberswick, 11 pairs at Minsmere - where only one young is known to have fledged - and 16 pairs with at least 13 chicks at North Warren. A slightly encouraging picture emerged in the west of the county where it seems likely that about 50 pairs at least attempted to breed, the highest concentrations being the ten displaying males at Livermere Lake and the 11 chicks located at Gifford's Park, Shelley. In the second winter period, the highest counts received were: Blyth Estuary: 1330, Nov.24th and 2050, Dec.27th. Southwold Town Marshes: 1200, Dec.31st. North Warren: 2040, Dec.28th. Deben Estuary: 1677, Dec.8th. Ingham: 1000, Dec. 17th RED KNOT CalidrĂ­s canutas Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The Stour's maximum count of 3302 topped the previous January's, which was in itself the estuary's largest gathering since 1996. WeBS counts and monthly maxima were as follows: One at Livermere Lake on Jan Feb Mar Sep Oct Nov Dec December 17th was the year's . V 243 Blyth Estuary 184 only record from the west of the Aide/Ore Estuary 17 9 43 0 61 192 county. Deben Estuarv 4 0 285 15 0 3 : In contrast with the Stour Orwell Estuarv 20 739 0 2000 200 151 Estuary's large congregations, Stour Estuary 3302 340 160 291 244 2996 960 only very small parties were noted elsewhere in a customarily light spring passage which continued from early April until at least June 3rd, when two were at Minsmere and peaked at only eight at Minsmere on May 18th. The first autumn arrival was probably the singleton at Minsmere on June 25th but the peak of an unexceptional southward passage came later in two waves. The first was in late July and August, when the peak was nine at Minsmere on July 31 st. The second came in October when the peak was 13 on 8th. In between 40 flew south off Landguard on September 1st. A number of weather-induced movements were reported subsequently and included 33 south at Kessingland on November 6th and 15 at Minsmere on December 10th. 76


Systematic List SANDERLING Calidris alba Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. First winter period counts were dominated by the total of 40 at the species' traditional Suffolk HQ of Lowestoft on January 13th. Rather surprisingly, only two other counts in this period reached double figures; these were ten at Benacre Broad on February 10th and 11 there, March 23rd. Spring passage was condensed into the period from May 11th to 25th, dates on which there were two at Benacre Broad. Sandwiched in between was a run of records which included a total of six birds at Minsmere between May 13th and 16th, and four south off East Lane, Bawdsey, May 13th. This period also saw the year's only record for the west of the county - one in summer plumage at the Mickle Mere on May 13th and 14th. Return passage commenced on July 6th with one at Minsmere. August 8th saw a pulse of movement with eight at Benacre Broad and two at Southwold but the largest autumn migrant group noted was ten heading south off Dunwich, September 9th. Only meagre tallies were scored in the second winter period when the highest counts received were 11 at Easton Broad on December 7th and, unexpectedly for the Orwell Estuary, nine at Shotley Marshes on December 14th. LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta Uncommon passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. January records involved singles at Minsmere on 23rd and North Warren on 12th and 18th. These could conceivably relate to just one individual. One at North Warren on February 10th could also have been this bird but the single there on March 30th could equally have been an early passage migrant. There were three April records - an early party of three at Orfordness from 7th to 9th, a single on Havergate Island on 5th and two at the latter site on 24th. Surprisingly, April records outnumbered those of May, there being only singles at Havergate Island on May 14th and Trimley Marshes on May 15th. One at Hazelwood Marshes on June 4th was probably a tardy spring migrant. A single at Minsmere on July 24th and 25th appears to have been the first autumn passage bird. Few multiple occurrences were noted in this movement, the peak being ten at Minsmere on August 1st and four there on August 19th and 20th. There was a sequence of sightings at North Warren in November, including two on 26th and 30th, and a single there on December 3rd, but none subsequently. TEMMINCK'S STINT Calidris temminckii Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. There were just four records, all during spring passage. The one on Orfordness in April is Suffolk's earliest-ever record. Orfordness: Apr. 21st and 22nd (M.C.Marsh, J.Askins); two, May 11th and 12th (M.C.Marsh, J.Askins). Bawdsey: East Lane, May 18th (S.Babbs). Pakenham: Mickle Mere, May 7th to 9th (T.Stopher et al.). PECTORAL SANDPIPER Calidris melanotos Scarce passage migrant. Covehithe Broad: juvenile, suffering from an injury to its left leg, Oct. 6th to 14th (J.Wright, S.VHowell, et al.) Shelley: Gifford's Park, Sep. 24th to Oct. 1st (J.Oxford) The latter bird is only the fourth record for inland Suffolk. 2001 Addition Minsmere: Aug.5th to 7th (Suffolk Birds 51:56) remained to Aug. 10th. 77


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 CURLEW SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea Uncommon passage migrant. The first of the year was a single on Orfordness on April 21 st; the earliest in Suffolk since one at Minsmere on April 15th 1984. There followed a light spring passage in which records only came from Minsmere and were condensed into the period from May 5th to 12th, peaking at five on 10th. Autumn passage, as usual, was a more widespread and prolonged affair and commenced with a single at Trimley Marshes on July 19th. The total of 26 on Havergate Island on July 31st would, in most years, have been Suffolk's peak count, but 73 adults literally dropped into Minsmere on August 1 st. This group was grounded on the south Scrape area during a heavy rainstorm around mid-day and quickly moved on as conditions improved. This is the largest flock in Suffolk since 1988, when 104 were at Minsmere on September 1st. Orfordness weighed in with the two other largest counts of the year - groups of nine on August 25th and 14 on September 1st. The passage was virtually finished by the end of September and the final records were four at Minsmere on October 3rd and a single at Covehithe Broad on October 13th. PURPLE SANDPIPER Calidris maritima Fairly common winter visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. The monthly maxima during the first winter period at Lowestoft were six in January, nine in February and ten in March. Elsewhere, the only first winter period records were from Southwold, where a single was present on March 17th; Minsmere, where three were present on January 1st and singles on January 21st, 23rd and 30th and Landguard, with one on March 13th. One at Lowestoft on April 24th represented the only evidence of spring passage and there was an out-of-season record of one at Landguard on July 10th. The first returning birds were noted at Lowestoft, with three on September 13th. There was a spate of records at Minsmere between September 25th and 30th, peaking at two on 29th, and another passage bird frequented Southwold on September 22nd. A single at Lowestoft on 6th and two there on 7th were the only October records. In November there was more of a geographical spread of records than we have come to expect in recent years. Lowestoft's records peaked at four on 19th and 23rd and Minsmere's peaked at two on 3rd. Further south, however, there was an interesting run of records from areas not usually associated with the species. Orfordness and Havergate Island held singles on 17th and 23rd respectively and on the former date singles were also noted at Boyton Marshes and East Lane lagoons, Bawdsey. The latter bird was also seen on 20th. The only December records were singles at Lowestoft on 28th, Southwold on 26th and Landguard on 31 st. DUNLIN Calidris alpina Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Spring passage became WeBS and other major counts were as fellows; apparent in West Suffolk in Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec March with up to three at Bljth Estuary - 2990 1150 14 312 2105 3540 several sites and a peak of Aide/Ore Estuarv 3223 1645 1923 272 1862 3959 seven at Lakenheath North Warren 1760 650 80 1000 1200 30 ' t Washes on 17th. Inland Deben Estuary 3745 3394 2014 179 243 189 2539 1664 sites continued to attract the Orwell Estuary 1100 2544 3106 50 36 411 711 13026 9337 11211 1317 90 3210 2546 4646 species, albeit in smaller Stour Estuary 78


Systematic

List

numbers, in Aprii and May, the peak counts being two at Livermere Lake on Aprii 25th and six at the Mickle Mere on May 21 st. Counts at Minsmere illustrated coastal spring migration, the peaks being 75 on Aprii 29th and 43 on May 13th. Return passage became evident on the coast from July, when the highest count was 266 on Orfordness on 25th. Autumn migration through West Suffolk was not as marked as the spring movement, with only four sites recording a total of five birds from August 2nd to October 22nd. At a time of year when our estuaries are of a special importance for the species, four chose to frequent Livermere Lake from December 13th to 17th. RUFF Philomachus pugnax Common passage migrant. A few oversummer and overwinter. Amber list. The trend of small numbers overwintering in Suifolk, first noted in the 1950s, continued with several coastal records in January and February. Counts during this period peaked at 17 at Minsmere on Jan. 30th. March and Aprii saw spring migration at its strongest, and notable counts at this time included 15 at Southwold on March 29th, 40 at Minsmere on March 24th and 41 on Orfordness, also on March 24th. May's totals were lower, the peak being only 19 at Minsmere on 3rd and 4th. Smaller numbers lingered at Minsmere during June. Once again there were no reports of lekking and no suggestion of breeding in the county. Autumn passage commenced in July, gathering apace as the month progressed and peaking at 41 at Minsmere on 27th. August's peak counts were 30 at Minsmere on 3rd and 26th, and the same number at Trimley Marshes on 20th. The peak count for September was 28 at Trimley Marshes on 5th. Numbers declined markedly during October and the only reports for November and December carne from Minsmere and North Warren. At the former site, five were present on November 23rd and December 8th, and six were counted on December 30th. At the latter site a single was noted on December 3rd. JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. This unobtrusive species proved particularly difficult to find in the first winter period. As in previous years, Levington (Orwell Estuary) and Minsmere were favoured sites, with up to four at both localities in January. Overall, in the period up to mid-March, there were sightings at five coastal and four (Boxford, Lakenheath, Moulton and Thetford) inland sites. Up until the mid-1990s, spring passage Jack Snipe were regularly recorded at many of Suffolk's wetland sites - unfortunately this is not the case nowadays. This year the only spring records were of singles at Minsmere, March 17th and Trimley Marshes, Aprii lst and two at Livermere Lake, March 17th; Levington, March 26th and Lakenheath Fen, Aprii 10th. The latter sighting was the last of the spring. Unlike the spring, autumn passage was well marked. Early arrivals were noted in September at seven sites; these included two at Minsmere on 7th (earliest in Suffolk since 1993 - September 2nd, Hazelwood Marshes), one on the Deben Estuary WeBS count, 8th and two well inland at Lakenheath Fen, 17th. Autumn passage was particularly prominent in October with reports from seven coastal and three inland sites. Perhaps surprisingly, the largest gatherings were inland, with as many as six at Lakenheath Fen, 8th and Shelley, 18th. On the coast, Orfordness was the Principal site with five on 6th. 79


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 It was evident that many of October's birds quickly moved on, with relatively few remaining into, or arriving during, November and December. There were sightings at only one inland site (three, Livermere Lake, November 1st) and six coastal sites (maximum two, Deben Estuary, November 17th and December 8th). An unexpected report was of one flushed from bracken at Aldringham, December 17th. COMMON SNIPE Gallinago gallinago Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Small numbers breed. Amber list. Counts at the principal sites were: Minsmere was the only Counts at the principal sites were: coastal site to report any Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec indication of breeding Dingle Marshes 7 87 39 2 " - 31 4 activity with four "drum17 14 29 21 Minsmere* 25 5 6 55 ming" males in April. North Warren* 24 16 15 12 10 60 40 ' 3 Elsewhere "drummers" i. Aide/Ore Estuary 37 10 15 49 45 48 41 Deben Estuary 44 31 11 18 37 0 15 were at Lackford (up to ~< 0 Orwell Estuary 8 2 1 three) and Lakenheath Fen 9 14 (one) in April and a 4 Stour Estuary 22 11 7 10 46 87 5 "chipping" male at NunMickle Mere* â&#x20AC;˘ 85 25 39 40 ^monthly maxima nery Lakes, Thetford, March 19th. Breeding definitely did not take place at North Warren, but it is encouraging to report that three were still present at the Mickle Mere as late as May 15th, which offers hope for the future. The table clearly illustrates a widespread increase in February; other notable totals in February included 65 Orfordness, 24th; 19 Sizewell, 11th and 12, Combs Lane WM, Stowmarket, 10th. Passage birds were well in evidence at inland wetland sites in March and April; as well as the Mickle Mere totals there were 21, Shelley, March 7th; 16, Lackford Bridge, March 20th; 15, Lakenheath Fen, March 2nd and 20 there, April 14th and 14, Livermere Lake, March 17th. The first autumn passage bird was at North Warren, July 7th and this site hosted the largest late-summer gathering with 15 on July 30th. During September the species became more numerous and widespread with impressive maxima of 50 inland at Shelley, 24th and 48 on Trimley Marshes, 30th. Inland sites continued to attract large gatherings in October, peaking at 40 at Shelley, 18th and Mickle Mere, 31st. The maximum coastal total in October was 55 at Trimley Marshes, 4th. Counts at inland sites decreased sharply in November and December when the principal coastal totals were those in the above table and also 23, Oulton Broad, December 30th. GREAT SNIPE Gallinago media Accidental. Breeding in Scandinavia and from Poland eastwards to western Siberia, there had been no records of this wader in Suffolk since 1972 (September 14th, Benacre). Corton: sewage works, Sep.l3th (J.Brown, A.Easton, R.Fairhead et al.). East Anglia was certainly favoured by this vagrant in autumn 2002. As well as the Suffolk bird there were also singles in Norfolk at Sheringham, September 8th and Blakeney Point, September 12th (Birding World, 15:515). Let us hope that we do not have to wait another 30 years before one is found again in Suffolk and also that it chooses to show itself to more observers than did the above. 80


Bufflehead: the temale at Layham Pits in September.

Bill Bastรณn


11. Pectoral Sandpiper: the bird at Gifford's Park in September. Bill Baston

12. C o m m o n Snipe: continued decline in b r e e d i n g n u m b e r s . Robin Chittenden (www. harlequinpictures. co. iw


Little Owl: five pairs found at Benacre and North Warren.


10. Long-eared Owl: four autumn migrants reported. Robin Chittenden

(www.harlequinpictures.co.uk)


Systematic

List

WOODCOCK Scolopax rusticรณla Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The reported breeding population remained at an alarmingly low level. Roding males were reported in the west of the county only at West Stow (three), Cavenham Heath (four) and Mayday Farm, Brandon (four) and in the coastal region at Hollesley Heath (two) and North Warren. Hopefully this relative lack of reports is solely due to under-recording and that the BTO Eurasian Woodcock survey in 2003 will result in a more accurate assessment of the Suffolk breeding population. Birds were noted at 19 sites in January and February with a maximum of only three at Lackford, January 1st; Sutton Heath, January 18th and Combs Lane WM, Stowmarket, February 3 rd. Spring migrants were at 13, almost exclusively coastal, localities in March. Most sites held up to three birds but more impressive totals were of 20, Minsmere, 20th and ten, Sizewell, 26th. Singles were at Landguard, March 9th and 26th. The first autumn arrivals were in October, at Shingle Street, 8th and Thorpeness, 18th. A well-marked coastal arrival occurred on October 19th with birds at six sites and a maximum of seven on Orfordness. During November and December birds were at 17 sites (only four non-coastal) with a maximum of six at Minsmere, November 24th; Aldringham, December 13th and Lackford, December 28th.

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BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Formerly bred. Red list. Another excellent year for Counts from the principal coastal sites: this species in Suffolk, Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec although the only indica- Blyth Estuar;* ... 191 370 2 289 165 119 111 tion of possible breeding Minsmere4 44 58 114 516 44 4? 38 70 271 activity was a single bird Aide/Ore Estuary 113 20 120 405 247 360 335 25 319 76 148 98 87 displaying at a coastal site, Deben Estuary 48 194 235 418 43 Orwell Estuary 28 April 20th to 28th. 84 418 552 683 523 2477 1809 1506 A major highlight of Stour Estuary *monthly maxima the year was the totals recorded on the Stour Estuary between February and April. The total o f 2 4 7 7 in February would appear to be the highest ever recorded in Suffolk. Remarkably, the majority of these roosting godwits occurred at just one site - Seafield Bay, Brantham. This locality's share of the tabulated totals was 2420 (February), 1688 (March) and 1375 (April). Away from the Stour Estuary, the best coastal site to observe this species on spring passage was Minsmere, where totals in April included 516 (17th), 490 (13th), 433 (11th) and 369 (23rd). The status of this species at inland sites has changed dramatically in the last two years. After the unprecedented events of 2001, Black-tailed Godwits were again well in evidence in the west of Suffolk with a total of 28 records from five sites. An impressive inland spring passage between April 15th and May 19th included 33 Lakenheath, April 18th; 20 Livermere Lake, April 15th and 20 Mickle Mere, April 16th. Oversummering gatherings in the first half of June included 100, Trimley Marshes, 8th; 30 Hazelwood Marshes, 4th and 17, Minsmere, 13th. Autumn migrants were noted from June 21st when three were inland at Shelley. Inland autumn passage was recorded up to September 28th and dominated by the totals at Shelley in July which peaked at 108 on 18th; 93 on 9th and 48 on 20th. 81


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 The only eoastal three-figure gathering in July was of 124 at Wherstead Strand on the Orwell Estuary, 18th. Totais increased significantly in August peaking at 722, Stour Estuary, 1 Ith; 500 Levington, Orwell Estuary, 4th; 246, Blythburgh, 3Ist and 207, Havergate Island. 22nd. From September onwards the maximum totals were those recorded by the WeBS counters, as detailed in the above table. This clearly shows that the Stour Estuary was again the principal site, although totals were much lower than in the first winter period. The highest non-WeBS count received was of 337, Freston, Orwell Estuary, September 19th. BAR-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica Fairly common passage migrant and locally common winter visitor. Amber list. The gathering of 205 on the Counts from the principal coastal sites: Stour Estuary in February Sep Oet Nov Dee Jan Feh Mar Apr (lOth) is the largest 4 17 Aide/Ore Estuari 2 0 25 10 recorded in Suffolk since «R Orfordness* 4 11 1 22 lß the 518 on the Aide/Ore 58 17 Stour Estnarv 5 205 40 8 0 52 Estuary in March 1995. "monthly maxima These Stour birds were all in Erwarton Bay where impressive totals of Bar-tailed Godwits were also noted in January and February 2000 ( S u f f o l k Birds 50:77). This part of the Stour Estuary is becoming much sandier, thus attracting more Bar-tailed Godwits (R.Vonk pers comm). Totals recorded by the WeBS counters at Erwarton Bay also included 38 in March, 28 in April and 42 in December. Düring the first winter period there were also 43 on the Deben Estuary , January 13th. Individual site totals on the Aide/Ore Estuary in January included 29, Slaughden, 12th and 25, Havergate Island, 16th. Typically, spring passage was most evident in May. The largest feeding gathering was an impressive 98 on Orfordness, 9th; elsewhere there were 20, Minsmere, 1 Ith and 12 at Southwold, 14th and Snape, 23rd. Offshore passage peaked at 18 north off Landguard, 7th. Inland, two were at Lackford Lakes, 1 Ith. Passage continued into the first week of June and included nine, Minsmere, 1 st and one inland at Lackford Lakes, 2nd. The first birds of the autumn are likely to have been the six which flew south off Thorpeness, June 30th. The only double-figure gatherings in July and August involved 45, Minsmere, August 19th; 42, Erwarton Bay, August 1 Ith and 21, Orfordness, July 7th. Autumn passage peaked in September, principally offshore. A total of 43 flew south off Landguard during 2nd to 9th with a maximum of 20 on 9th, on which date there was a movement of 180 south off Southwold. Later in the autumn/early winter, southerly passage occurred on November lOth (30, Landguard and 25, Thorpeness) and December 8th (16 off Southwold - see Spotted Redshank and Common Redshank). Additional feeding gatherings included 25, Havergate Island, December 7th; 20 Deben Estuary, September 8th and October 6th and 13, Benacre Broad, September 6th. WHIMBREL Numenius phaeopus Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. Remarkably the Deben Estuary hosted single birds in both winter periods; these were on February lOth (N.Mason) and December 2Ist (J.Zantboer) There were no March reports. The first spring bird was on April 13th at Orfordness, 82


Systematic List where 12 were present by Aprii 28th; the only other double-figure gathering in Aprii was of 16 at Benacre Broad, 23rd. The first inland arrivai was noted at the Mickle Mere, Aprii 18th and was followed by four at Lackford Lakes, Aprii 23rd. May totals were generally disappointing. Notable exceptions were 82 on Orfordness, 6th, 21 north at Landguard, 1 lth and 18 at Boyton, 1 lth. Totals of birds flying north during May included 84 at Kessingland and 36 at Thorpeness. The only inland sightings in May were of six, Eriswell, 7th and one, Elveden, 15th. Spring passage extended up to June 7th (Landguard) and the first bird of what was to be a generally disappointing autumn passage flew south off Thorpeness, June 22nd. An early arrivai at Lakenheath Fen, June 29th, was the only inland autumn record. Only eight sites reported Whimbrel in July; southerly passage totals for the month off Kessingland and Thorpeness were 96 and 25 respectively. The largest feeding group in July was only nine at Minsmere, 31 st. Kessingland and Thorpeness also dominated the monthly offshore southerly passage totals in August with 132 off Kessingland and 17 off Thorpeness. Feeding totals in August, as in July, peaked at only nine, at Bawdsey, 28th; Havergate Island, 28th and Minsmere, lst, 2nd and 18th. Passage was mainly over by mid-September with maxima of nine south off Southwold, 7th and eight on the Stour Estuary, 8th. The final birds of the autumn were singles at Minsmere in October on lst and 6th. EURASIAN CURLEW Numenius arquata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Amber list. An optimistic assessment of the breeding season data Counts from principal coastal sites: Sep Oct Nov Dee Jan Feb Mar Apr submitted from the Suffolk 81 97 145 131 78 33 73 Breck indicates that six Biyth Estuar)* 478 635 739 sites supported an overall Aide/Ore Estuar) 591 1017 359 I P ÂŽ _ 645 521 403 617 245 886 730 Deben Estuary total of up to 12 pairs.. 612 301 506 450 362 256 582 First winter period Stour Orwell Estuary 411 1021 238 597 691 1430 1344 101 Stour Estuar) Estuary WeBS totals in the "monthly maxima above table included 479, Seafield Bay, January 13th; 532, Seafield Bay and 440 Erwarton Bay, February lOth and 782, Erwarton Bay, March 3rd. Elsewhere, 418 were on Orfordness, February 17th and 125 flew north off Landguard, Aprii 14th. Southerly offshore autumn passage commenced as early as June 2nd (Thorpeness). Passage totals off Kessingland and Thorpeness totalled 265 and 119 respectively in June and 673 and 148 in July. The largest day-totals occurred on July 5th when 366 moved south off Kessingland and 65 south off Thorpeness. Feeding totals in June peaked at 33, Blythburgh, 15th and 30, Minsmere, 18th and in July at 216, Blythburgh, 27th. Few were noted offshore in August, e.g. only 11 off Kessingland, but 53 flew south off Landguard between August 3rd and 5th. Estuary totals increased noticeably with a maximum of 486 on the Stour Estuary, 1 lth. Principal totals during the final four months of the year were those obtained by the WeBS counters, as detailed in the table. Erwarton Bay was the main site on the Stour Estuary with maximum counts of 375, September 8th and 656, October 6th. SPOTTED REDSHANK Tringa erythropus Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. An excellent year for this species got off to a good start with birds noted in the period up 83


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

to early March at Dingle Marshes (two), Havergate Island/Orfordness (two), Deben Estuary, Minsmere and Trimley Marshes. Spring passage commenced in mid-March and reports for that month included four Trimley Marshes, 27th and one inland at Lakenheath Fen, 18th. April sightings were from seven sites, all on the coast, with a maximum of four at Minsmere, 25th. Passage continued in May up to 10th (two, Trimley Marshes) and included three, Southwold, 1st. None was then recorded until early "autumn" arrivals on June 2nd (Minsmere) and June 8th (three, Trimley Marshes and two, Orfordness). Double-figure gatherings in June involved 15, Minsmere, 27th and 11, Dunwich, 25th. Inland in June, singles were at Shelley, 15th and Lakenheath Washes, 26th. A wealth of information was submitted relating to the period from July through to October. The largest gatherings were reported from four coastal sites: Additional coastal totals included 21, Dingle Jul Aug Sep Oct Marshes, October 19th and six, Trimley Marshes, Benacre Broad 33 25 12 3 July 29th. Inland sightings were submitted from Covehithe Broad 17 40 Shelley (two, July 9th and four, July 18th) and Blyth Estuary 8 21 : Lakenheath Fen (August 6th and September 16th). Minsmere 28 27 32 5 Spotted Redshanks were reported from a minimum of seven sites in November. These included as many as nine at Trimley Marshes, 9th and one inland at Lackford Lakes, 3rd. One of the most unexpected sightings of the year was of two flying south off Southwold, December 8th (see Bar-tailed Godwit and Common Redshank). Overall the species was recorded at seven coastal sites in December; in addition to those at Southwold, singles were at Dingle Marshes, North Warren, Woodbridge and Havergate Island, two at Walberswick, 20th and as many as seven at Martlesham Creek, 8th. C O M M O N REDSHANK Tringa totanus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Breeding data were received from only seven coastal sites but information was not submitted from some important areas where Common Redshank are assumed still to breed. Pairs were recorded at North Warren (19), Dingle Marshes (15), Minsmere (ten), Walberswick (seven), Sizewell (one) and the Hen Reedbed SWT reserve (one). Adults harassing gulls and crows in mid-summer at Dingle Marshes and North Warren indicated probable breeding success at both sites. Common Redshanks were well in evidence during the breeding season at Suffolk's noncoastal wetland sites. Pairs were located at Higham/Shelley (six), Lakenheath Fen (three), Mickle Mere (two), Livermere Lake (one) and Lackford Lakes (one). The only known breeding success was at Lackford, where a pair reared three juveniles. The first inland bird of the year was at Lackford Counts from principal coastal sites: Lakes, March 4th. A proJan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec nounced spring pasage at Blvth Estuary ft-c 1680 1850 1074 1110 1170 1320 1335 inland sites included 28, Aide/Ore Estuary 1094 588 1182 n/c n/c 1376 1334 1296 Deben Estuary Lakenheath Washes, March 1560 1226 1999 914 1551 1751 1654 1644 Orwell Estuary 796 1255 1461 630 tfc 1097 863 748 17th; 13, Lackford Bridge, Stour Estuary 437 349 735 370 666 807 515 509 April 7th and eight, Mickle Mere, April 26th. The Blyth Estuary dominated totals in late summer with maxima of 1105, July 27th and 1170, August 3rd. The Stour WeBS count on August 11th resulted in 998 being 84


Systematic List located at the Suffolk shoreline roosts, including 577 in Seafield Bay. Common Redshank are scarce at inland sites in the winter months, so 14 at Lakenheath in November was exceptional. The best offshore passage of the year occurred as late as December 8th when 61 flew south off Southwold (see Bar-tailed Godwit and Spotted Redshank). COMMON GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia Common passage migrant. Regularly overwinters. Amber list. An impressive year for this vociferous wader commenced with what may have been the same bird at Orfordness, January 13th, Havergate Island, January 18th to March 24th and Minsmere, March 29/30th. A strong spring passage commenced on April 14th (three, Deben Estuary) and extended to June 6th (Trimley Marshes). Reports were from 12 localities in April (two inland) and 13 in May (five inland). April's peak coastal count was four at Havergate Island, 25th, while in May all other totals were eclipsed by an outstanding 30 on Orfordness, 11th. This latter date also witnessed the spring's maximum inland count at Lakenheath Washes, where six were present. The first returning bird was at Benacre Broad, June 21 st and other arrivals in late June were at Lakenheath Fen, 28th; Minsmere, 29/30th and Shelley, 30th. Autumn passage was fairly low key until a notable peak in late July and early August when maximum totals involved: Benacre: Broad, 12, Aug.2nd. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, 15, July 31st. Minsmere: 18 south, Jul.31st. Orford: Havergate Island, 96, Aug. 1st. Kirton: 32 south, Aug.lst. The gathering of 96 on Havergate Island on August 1st is the largest site-total in Suffolk since August 17th 1979, when ca.100 were present at the same, much-favoured site. WeBS totals in late summer/early autumn involved 18, Stour Estuary, August 11th and 25, Deben Estuary and 18, Stour Estuary, both on September 8th. October reports were more widespread and numerous than normal. These came from ten sites including Lakenheath Washes where one was present on 5th. The peak October coastal totals were recorded from the estuaries during the WeBS counts on 6th and involved 14 on the Deben and 34 on the Stour's Suffolk shoreline. This latter figure was part of the total Stour Estuary count of 81, a high figure for October. These October birds obviously moved on quickly as the only November records were of singles on Orfordness, 3rd and at Minsmere, 4th. Finally, one was in the vicinity of the Woodbridge Tide Mill on December 27th, where it remained into 2003. GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers overwinter. Observers located wintering birds at up to ten widely-scattered sites in the period up to early March. Typically, most reports were of single birds but two were at Lakenheath Fen, Fritton, Wilford Bridge (Melton/Bromeswell) and Cattawade. An above-average spring passage from mid-March peaked in the first half of April and produced sightings at five sites in March and 17 in April. The maximum spring gathering was of seven at Claydon in the Gipping Valley, April 4th; totals elsewhere included four, Lackford Bridge, April 17th and three at Cavenham, March 13th; Rendlesham, April 2nd; North Warren, April 12th and Lakenheath Washes, April 18th. 85


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Few were noted after April 18th. The only May sightings were of late birds at the Mickle Mere on 11th and two at Shelley on 19th. The first returning bird of what was to be an excellent autumn passage was at North Warren, June 3rd. At least ten sites (six inland, four coastal) reported birds in June, with as many as 16 at Lakenheath Fen, 27th and seven at Shelley, 30th. J u l y r e p o r t s w e r e f r o m 12 sites a n d this i n c r e a s e d t o 19 in A u g u s t . T h e r e w a s a n i s o l a t e d p e a k o f 16 at Shelley, July 18th b u t it w a s late J u l y a n d e a r l y A u g u s t w h e n t h e a u t u m n ' s m a x i m u m t o t a l s w e r e r e c o r d e d , viz: Benacre: Broad, nine, Aug.2nd. Covehithe: Broad, 12,Aug.3rd. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, seven, Jul.31st.

Minsmere: 19, Aug.6th. North Warren: 13, Aug.lst. Orford: Orfordness, 14, Aug.3rd.

Shelley: ten, Jul.31st. Lakenheath: Fen, ten, Aug.9th. Totals declined rapidly after mid-August. September's maximum was seven on Orfordness, 1st and in October it was only three at Cattawade (6th) and Minsmere, (20th). Assumed overwintering birds were noted at 12 sites (six coastal, six inland) during the period from mid-November to the year's end. All were of single birds and included reports from the rarely-mentioned parishes of Hinderclay, Boxford, Grundisburgh, and Carlton Colville. WOOD SANDPIPER

Tringa

glareola

Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. A poor spring passage with only four reports, all in May: Southwold: May 11th to 14th. Orford: Orfordness, May 8th. Bovton: May 10th to 12th. Lakenheath: Fen, May 15th. There were no June records and none in July until 16th (North Warren). Overall, autumn birds were noted at 12 coastal sites and as with Green Sandpiper totals peaked in late July and early August: Covehithe: Broad, four, Aug.4th. Southwold: five, Aug.4th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, three, Aug.3rd. Minsmere: four, Jul.27th; up to five on 12 dates in August and six, 2nd and 6th. Trimley Marshes: two. Jul.31st increasing to nine, Aug.4th - still three, Aug.9th.

Additional coastal sightings in August included three on Orfordness, 21st and 27th and one south over Landguard on 7th. The only inland autumn records were from Lakenheath Fen (July 27th and three, August 2nd) and Shelley (two, July 31 st and August 1 st). The last sightings of the year were in September: singles at Orfordness, 11 th and Trimley Marshes, 10th and 19th. COMMON SANDPIPER

Tringa

hypoleucos

Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. During an excellent start to the year, singles were present during January at Wilford Bridge (Melton/Bromeswell), Ipswich Docks, Blyth Estuary and Lowestoft Docks/Oulton Broad. An isolated report in February involved one inland at Lackford Lakes on 13th. Presumed returning birds were noted in December at Ipswich Docks, Wilford Bridge and 86


Systematic

List

Lowestoft Docks/Oulton Broad; two were at the latter site in late November. The first bird in what was to be a light spring passage was at Lackford Lakes, April 18th. Only seven sites recorded Common Sandpipers in April and this increased to 12 (six coastal, six inland) in May. The coastal maximum was only four at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, May 8th, but inland there was a gathering of 13 at Lakenheath Washes, May 17th. No obvious spring migrants were noted after May 30th. The only June record referred to one at North Warren on 17th - the migratory status of this bird is open to speculation. Returning birds were noted from early July. The first significant gatherings of the autumn occurred in July and were of 21, North Warren, 30th and 15, Havergate Island, 17th. As usual, August was the best month of the year. Minsmere enjoyed a good autumn for regularly-occurring passage waders and this was exemplified by the site recording August's and the year's peak count of 45 on 22nd. This is the largest site total in Suffolk since August 23rd 1998, when 50 were on Havergate Island. Trimley Marshes also attracted notable numbers in August with 22 on 2nd and 4th, 15 on 25th and 13 on 12th. The Stour Estuary WeBS counters recorded 14 on August 11th but no other site recorded double figures. Inland, the maximum count was eight at Lakenheath Fen, August 6th. Passage declined in September, although 24 were noted on the Deben Estuary WeBS count on 8th and 14 on sea defence groynes at Corton on 10th. The final passage birds were seen on October 6th, when there were five still on the Deben Estuary and one on Havergate Island. R U D D Y T U R N S T O N E ArenarĂ­a

interpres

Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. During the first winter period the Stour WeBS WeBS counts from the principal sites; Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr counts included totals at 47 79 31 IS 19 58 22 56 Deben Estuary Erwarton Bay of 126, 114 32 164 153 96 143 76 Orwell Estuary February 10th and 208, Alton Water 23 39 20 17 24 lililĂ­ March 3rd. Elsewhere on Stour Estuary 417 373 388 192 153 291 343 103 the coast, 17 were on Orfordness, February 10th. Spring passage went almost unnoticed but did include the year's only inland record, at Livermere Lake, May 8th. Autumn passage produced more significant totals. The WeBS count on August 11th resulted in 300 being located on the Stour Estuary; the majority of these birds were at Holbrook Bay (170) and Erwarton Bay (102). Coastal counts in August included 31, Minsmere, 1 st; 28, Havergate Island, 22nd and ten, Ness Point, Lowestoft, 26th. The peak Erwarton Bay count involved in the above Stour Estuary WeBS totals was of 286, November 17th and at Holbrook Bay of 228, September 8th. Seawatchers at Thorpeness in October witnessed the year's only significant offshore passage with 35 south, 25th and 25 south, 31st. Notable observations in the Lowestoft area during late autumn and the second winter period involved 41, Ness Point, October 19th; 40, Oulton Broad, December 19th and ten around a quayside grain silo, December 31 st. R E D - N E C K E D P H A L A R O P E Phalaropus

lobatus

Scarce passage migrant. Red list. Two autumn juveniles graced the county, including one well inland. Orford: Orfordness, juvenile, Aug.30th (D.Crawshaw, J.Askins). Lakenheath: Fen, juvenile, Aug. 12th (I.Barton).

87


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 G R E Y P H A L A R O P E Phalaropus

fuUcarius

Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. An excellent year with five autumn records and the first to be noted in March since the Lowestoft bird of December 1993 to March 1994. Five were recorded by seawatchers and the sixth was at an inaccessible coastal site. Minsmere: Sep.9th (C.A.E.Kirtland) Orford: Orfordness, Nov.23rd (M.C.Marsh). Felixstowe: Mar. 18th (J.Zantboer); Brackenbury Cliffs, south, Sep.9th (W.J.Brame); Landguard south, Nov. 10th (J.Zantboer) and south, Nov.24th (J.Zantboer). P O M A R I N E S K U A Stercorarius

pomarinus

Uncommon passage migrant. A few overwinter. There were 25 individual sightings in the first-winter period from January to March, probably involving no more than three individuals lingering off the north-east coast of the county between Lowestoft and Thorpeness. There was again a light spring passage of birds moving north, with a total of five birds noted in late April-early May off Kessingland (2), Thorpeness (2) and Landguard. There were no June sightings, the only blank month of the year. Return passage commenced in late July with two off Kessingland and there were seven August records. Numbers built up in September with 18 reports, ten of which were noted from Kessingland. Numbers peaked, as usual, in October, with 25 records including seven off Thorpeness on 6th. There were five sightings in both November and December, indicating that there was not to be a return to the exceptional wintering numbers present in 2000. A R C T I C S K U A Stercorarius

parasiticus

Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. A good year for this boisterous species, reflecting the current popularity of seawatching off Suffolk. The monthly totals of individual reports are tabulated below. Naturally this may include some duplication. Jan 1

Feb 3

Mar 1

Apr 6

May 16

Jim 6

Jul 51

Aug 91

Sep 248

Oct 53

NOT 2

Dec 2

The vast majority of the records came from the north-east coast of the county between Lowestoft and Thorpeness. Of the year's total of 480 records, no less than 163 were contributed by Paul Read at Kessingland, who sea-watches daily from his home there, and a further 74 came from Dave Thurlow at Thorpeness. Passage peaked in September, with a notable count of 55 past Southwold on 23rd. As with Pomarine Skua the species can now be expected on spring passage, mainly in early May. The good autumn showing was one of the best on record, though this is probably due to the regular counting off Lowestoft, Kessingland, Southwold and Thorpeness, rather than a genuine increase in numbers. L O N G - T A I L E D S K U A Stercorarius

longicaudus

Uncommon passage migrant. An exceptional year for the species with no less than 40 birds reported. Allowing for duplication it appears that about 30 birds were involved, making 2002 the best year for this species in Suffolk since 1991, when at least 37 were recorded. Most were seen in September when birders were also treated to an almost constant procession of Sooty Shearwaters and other generally scarce pelagic species as part of an excellent autumn for seabirds in the North Sea. All records are as follows: 88


Systematic List Corton: three pale juvs.(one north, two south), Sep.22nd. Lowestoft: Ness Point, two juvs. north, Sep.23rd. Pakefield: juv. north, Sep.23rd. kessingland: two juvs. south, Sep. 12th; juv. north, Sep,23rd; and juv. south, Oct.7th. Southwold: juv. north, Aug.27th; juv. north, Aug.28th; two juvs. south, Sep.9th; pale juv. north, Sep.l4th; juv. south, Sep.22nd; eight south including flock of seven, Sep.23rd; two north, Sep.24th; juv. north, Oct.6th. Dunwich: two north, Aug.25th; two juvs. north, Sep.Ist; juv. north, Sep.23rd. Minsmere: Aug.24th; two north, Sep.Ist. Thorpeness: juv. north, Sep.24th. Orfordness: juv. north, Sep.Ist. Shingle Street: juv. flew inland, Oct.l5th. Felixstowe: Landguard Point, juv. south, Sep.l5th; two juvs. south, Oct.รถth. G R E A T S K U A Cathamcta

skua

Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber list. An ahove average year for the 'Bonxie', boosted by a strong run of records in September, coinciding withMar other seabirds. Monthly are detailed tableOct below. Nov Dec Jan Sep Juntotals Jul Aug in the Feb Apr May 2

0

2

2

2

6

1

10

99

20

i

0

January records came from Kessingland and Dunwich; at the latter site one was seen down to 15 metres eating a Common Guillemot on the 4th. Spring passage was somewhat disappointing compared with last year (when Kessingland recorded 13 birds in April alone). The peak day was September 9th when 13 were noted off Southwold, nine off Dunwich and six off Kessingland. M E D I T E R R A N E A N G U L L Larus

melanocephalus

Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This species is now regularly noted in Suffolk at all times of the year. Peaks at the favoured sites include eight on the Blyth Estuary on December 27th, three at Minsmere on March 3rd, four at Trimley Marshes on August 25th and eight at Landguard on November 5th. Birds were also noted throughout the year in the Lowestoft area. Most coastal localities recorded at least one bird during the year. There was the usual build-up of firstsummer birds in May and three pairs nested at one site and laid eggs. Two nests were lost to a high tide and the third pair also probably failed to fledge any young. The site fidelity of the species was highlighted once more by a bird ringed as a juvenile in the Netherlands in 1997 (2IN), which again spent both winter periods in Lowestoft. Inland records are as follows: Weybread GP: adult, Apr.4th.

Alton Water: adult, Sep.21st. Lackford Lakes: second-winter, Jan.8th; first-winter, Nov.30th and what was probably the same bird roosted for much of December.

89


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 L I T T L E G U L L Larus

minutus

Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers oversummer and overwinter. There was a small offshore passage in early January resulting in 12 past Benacre on 4th, six offThorpeness on 5th and 17 past Kessingland during the month. Spring passage was poor, with only a few sightings, mostly at Minsmere. The expected inland spring passage only resulted in seven at Livermere Lake, March 29th, an adult at the same site, April 19th and a second-summer bird at Suffolk WP, Bramford from May 7th to 9th. Other inland sightings during the year were of a first-winter at Livermere Lake, September 23rd and one at Shelley, August 30th. The regular mid-summer build up on the coast between Lowestoft and Sizewell led to counts of 109 at Sizewell, August 31st, 63 at Benacre Broad, July 27th, 54 at Minsmere, August 17th and 50+ lingering off Lowestoft North Beach throughout August. There was a strong northerly offshore passage in October resulting in 110 on 8th and 100 on 29th, on both days past Kessingland. Numbers then dwindled to a wintering population of no more than five in December. S A B I N E ' S G U L L Larus

sabini

Rare passage migrant. A below-average year with just one individual seen from two adjacent parts of the coast. Easton Bavents: adult north, Sep.9th (C.R.Naunton). Southwold: adult north at 15:41, Sep.9th, same as above (B.J.Small). B L A C K - H E A D E D G U L L Larus

ridibundus

Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. There were only three reports received from breeding colonies. Once again there was no report from the county's largest colony, at Blythburgh, where 2500 pairs nested in 1999. At Minsmere, 571 pairs bred with at least 319 young fledged. At Livermere Lake 30 nests on the island in the lake only produced four fledged young. Nearby at Mickle Mere there were 24 active nests but all of these failed when the mere dried up in June. Inland, impressive numbers again roosted at Lackford Lakes in the winter, peaking at c. 15000 birds on February 22nd. The regular leucistic bird was noted at Lackford in January, along with another which had all-white primaries. On the coast the largest winter gathering was of 6000 at Minsmere, January 3rd. Another big inland count was of 7500 at Pipps Ford, in the Gipping Valley, November 23rd. The largest count of offshore passage was 1021 moving south off Orfordness, October 27th. R I N G - B I L L E D G U L L Larus

delawarensis

Very rare vagrant. The long-staying bird from 2001 returned second-year plumage. It was noted regularly again it could often be found hunting for Budgens supermarket car park. The bird at Suffolk and the first to be found inland.

to the Woodbridge town centre, now in its from January through to April 18th and once bread from lamp posts in the Woodbridge Livermere in January is the fifth record for

Woodbridge: Jan.5th to Apr.l8th (many observers). Livermere Lake: third-winter/adult, Jan. 13th (D.E.Balmer, P.M.Wilson). M E W ( C O M M O N ) G U L L Larus

canus

Very common winter visitor and passage migrant; scarce breeding species. Amber list. No breeding reports were received. Large numbers gathered in the Minsmere/Sizewell area in January with a maximum o f 4 0 0 0 on January 3rd. These numbers presumably coincided 90


Systematic

List

with the large numbers of sprats in that area at the time. At Lackford Lakes numbers also peaked in January, when ca. 2000 were present at the winter roost. The only report of offshore passage was of 140 north off Thorpeness on May 6th. These were virtually all first-summer birds. Up to 200 were present offshore from Landguard on February 6th and 9th and again on December 19th. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larusfuscus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Increasing numbers overwinter. Amber list. About 1000 were roosting at Lackford Lakes on January 1 st, with up to 700 there during February. An interesting spring movement was 2000 coasting south off Thorpeness on the early morning of April 26th. The main breeding colony at Orfordness held about 6000 nesting pairs and enjoyed only a very moderate season. The northern colony suffered quite heavy fox prĂŠdation and the southern colony was disturbed by fishermen and day trippers landing from boats. Six pairs nested on the roof of Compair Reavell's factory in Ipswich. The roost at Livermere Lake on August 29th contained 4750 birds. On September 6th, "450 at the roost were disturbed by shooting and two birds seen to be shot". By October 27th, ca. 5000 were roosting at Lackford, quite probably birds displaced from Livermere by the frequent shooting there. On October 5th and 6th, 1500 were resting on a freshly ploughed field at Pakenham and 1100 roosted at Benacre Broad on October 5th. Thereafter numbers declined to a lower winter level. HERRING GULL Larus argentatus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The principal breeding record received was of ca.2000 pairs at Orfordness. Only 17 pulii were ringed and this low number is due to heavy prĂŠdation by foxes. This gull again bred on factory roofs at Lake Lothing, Lowestoft and Ipswich but no estimate of numbers was received. The usual winter influx of the northern race argentatus occurred, with 50 of this race roosting at Lackford Lakes, January 8th, with higher numbers on the coast. The largest counts received were of 750 at Sizewell, January 1st and 1800 off Landguard, December 19th. A partially leucistic bird, vaguely resembling a Thayer's Gull, was present on Benacre Broad in April (J. H.Grant, J.Brown, J.Wylson et al.). Yellow-legged Gull L.a.michahellis Far more reports were received of this subspecies than of nominate Herring Gulls, reflecting the current interest in this potential split. Most reports were received from the Blyth Estuary and Benacre Broad, where this gull is virtually guaranteed during the JulyOctober peak. Records from these sites during this period are tabulated below. The peak day-count was of a phenomenal 36 birds on the Blyth Estuary on August 6th (B. J.Small). This constitutes a record Suffolk total. Elsewhere birds were regularly noted at Jul Aug Sep Oct Minsmere, Carlton Colville, Lackford 19 8 29 36 Blyth Estuar; Lakes and Livermere Lake with records Benacre 24 3 14 16 from all months of the year. The annuallyreturning adult again oversummered on Lowestoft North Beach. A pair was noted displaying at Blythburgh on April 14th. Caspian Gull L.a.cachinnans This form is being increasingly identified in Suffolk. In fact this county is currently one of the best places to find them in Britain. A Suffolk record count of five together was made 91


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 at Carlton Colville on February 2nd - four adults and a third-winter (B.J.Small). A fourthwinter bird seen the previous day meant that no less than six birds were in the area at the time. All records claimed are listed, although many were not supported by a detailed description. Observers are reminded that this sub-species is a county rarity. Carlton Colville: Burnthill Lane, adult, January, usual bird from previous winter (B.J.Small, J.Brown et al.); three (two adults and a fourth-winter), Feb. 1st (B.J.Small); five, (four adults and a thirdwinter), Feb.2nd (B.J.Small); adult, Feb.3rd (R.Drew). Benacre Broad: two, Jul.5th and 6th (B.J.Small); first-winter, Sep.8th (B.J.Small); second-winter, Sep. 17th (B.J.Small); third-winter, Oct.2nd (B.J.Small); two, third-winters, Oct.9th, one until Oct. 15th (B.J.Small, R.Drew); third-winter, Nov.2nd (B.J.Small); adult, Dec.26th and 27th (B.J.Small, J.Zantboer). Blythburgh: two adults, Jul. 9th (B.J.Small): adult, Jul.30th (B.J.Small); adult, Oct.28th (B.J.Small); adult, Nov.2nd (B.J.Small); two adults, Dec.22nd to 24th (B.J.Small, R.Drew). Minsmere: Island Mere, third-winter, Mar. 10th (J.H.Grant). Orfordness: adult, Aug.26th (D.Cormack); adult, Nov. 17th (D Cormack). Levington Marina: adult, Dec.l 1th (J.Zantboer). Felixstowe: Docks, Nov.26th (W.Brame). Barking: Pipp's Ford, Nov.23rd (S.Piotrowski). Lackford Lakes: two (fourth-winter and adult), Jan.8th (L.Gregory). ICELAND GULL Larus glaucoides Scarce winter visitor. It was a reasonable year for this species with six records as follows: Oulton Broad: first-winter, Jan. 1st to 3rd (J.Brown, R.Fairhead et al.). Minsmere: first-summer, Mar.28th (R.Drew). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, adult followed a ship out to sea, Mar.8th (J.Zantboer). Haughley: second-winter, Jan. 14th (L.Woods) Redgrave Lake: first-winter, Mar.5th and 6th (C.J.Jakes); first-winter, Mar. 12th to 14th (RBA). GLAUCOUS GULL Larus hyperboreus Scarce winter visitor. A long-staying first-winter bird frequented the Lowestoft Harbour area from January to March, being seen by many observers. A different first-winter bird was present nearby at Carlton Colville for most of Febuary. Yet another first-winter was reported regularly between Dunwich and North Warren from January 7th to March 9th, so it appears that three different birds were present in the first-winter period. The only record in the second half of the year was of another first-winter flying north past Kessingland on December 10th. GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Has recently bred Four pairs nested on Orfordness but no young were fledged due to prĂŠdation by foxes. The species was again most numerous in the winter, with high counts including 750 at Pipps Ford, November 23rd, 210 at Lackford Lakes, January 12th, 147 at Orfordness, November 17th and 100 at Sizewell, January 1st. BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE Rissa trĂŹdactyla Very common passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers breed. Amber list. Breeding data from the Lowestoft colony are as follows: Kittiwake Wall: 104 nests, 75 successful, raising 102 young. Hoarding around the harbour: 51 nests, 32 successful, raising 45 young. Claremont Pier: four nests, the first time the species has used this site. 92


Systematic

List

This gives a Lowestoft total of 159 nests, which compares closely to the 157 nests of last year. At Sizewell 164 visible nests were counted on the rigs from the beach, leading to an estimated 218-232 nests in all. Notable winter counts included 500 offshore from Orfordness on February 10th and 300 at the Sizewell rigs on January 1st. No large offshore passages were noted this year, with the peak count from the daily observations at Kessingland being just 110 north on October 8th. Landguard logged 500 offshore, February 6th. Inland, a first-winter bird and an adult were noted at Lackford Lakes on October 27th following severe gales (J.Walshe). CASPIAN TERN Sterna caspia Rare visitor. There are about 43 Suffolk records of this very large tern, including the first British record, shot on Breydon Water on October 4th 1825. Aldeburgh: North Warren, north pools from 10.00 to 10.15 hrs then flew off north, May 12th (D Thurlow). Havergate Island: Aug.7th (D.Short, I. Paradine). In addition there is a record of one present on the Lakenheath Washes, Norfolk from 26th to 29th June and seen on the Suffolk side of the Little Ouse River on 29th (L.Woods). The original submission of this was lost in the post and it has only recently been resubmitted to BBRC. SANDWICH TERN Sterna sandvicensis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first sighting of the year was a single bird flying north off Kessingland on March 22nd, followed by sightings in the first few days of April at a number of other coastal sites. Thereafter sea-watchers logged mainly low three-figure numbers each month until October, often with no clear trend between northerly and southerly movement. Kessingland: records between Mar.22nd and 0ct.30thâ&#x20AC;&#x17E; with a total of 2718 birds (1463 north, 1255 south). Peak monthly counts 567 north, 568 south, July. Benacre Broad: maximum number reported 148, Jul.27th; also 30, Aug. 6th.. Southwold: late record of eight north, Oct. 14th. Minsmere: monthly maxima 20, Apr.30th; 50, May 5th; 45, Jul.24th; low single-figure counts thereafter until Oct.6th. Thorpeness: the largest monthly totals were 189 in May and 223 in Jul. Last record was one north, Nov. 1st. Havergate Island: numbers built up from the first arrival, Apr.2nd to 191 on Apr.30th. Two pairs bred on the island and reared two young. Deben Estuary: one, Sep. 8th. Felixstowe: Landguard, recorded from Apr.5th to Oct.8th. 53 north between May 4th and 19th and 29 south between Aug. 16th and 24th were the peak passage totals. Only an average year for this tern, with numbers down significantly from those of last year. There were no reports from inland waters in the west of the county. ROSEATE TERN Sterna dougallii Scarce passage migrant. Red list. After a run of three good years Roseate Tern records 1993-2002 the reporting level returned to 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2 3 5 1 3 4 7 6 9 2 that of the early 1990s, with probably just two separate birds observed. Benacre Broad: Jul.27th (R.C.Smith, C.Mutimer); Jul.28th (R.Walden). Minsmere: Jun.30th (RSPB, J. and P.Kennerley). 93


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C O M M O N TERN Sterna hirundo Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first arrivals reported were singles inland at Weybread gravel pits, April 4th, and on the coast at Kessingland, April 6th. Passage built up during the next few weeks to 34 at Minsmere, April 25th, 60 at Sizewell, April 29th, 48 north at Landguard, May 7th, and a monthly maximum of 57 north, one south, at Thorpeness, May 6th. In the west of the county, mainly ones or twos were noted at Livermere Lake (earliest April 15th), Mickle Mere, Lakenheath Washes and Lackford Lakes in late April/ May. Successful breeding was recorded at three locations:Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, eight active nests on the same factory roof as last year; 15 chicks present, Jul.6th. It is likely that there were a few more nests on an unobservable section of the roof. Minsmere: Scrape, 67 pairs fledged 37 young. Alton Water: 50 nests, over 60 young fledged (55 ringed, 41 colour-banded). 14 young found dead.

In addition ten adults were at Weybread Common Terns Su Gough

GP, M a y 5 t h , b u t t h e r e w e r e n o r e p o r t s

either way concerning breeding. Off-shore movements associated with post-breeding dispersal and return passage peaked in August when monthly totals were 1612 (593 north, 1019 south), at Kessingland, and 838 (433 north, 405 south) at Thorpeness. The latest report was of two south at Kessingland, October 14th. ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally breeds. Amber list. Typically spring passage was well-observed on inland waters with four at Livermere Lake, April 27th, followed by further records there of four, May 5th and three, May 11th. Three were seen flying north at Lakenheath Washes, May 11th. At Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, two were present May 7th, and again on May 14th. The earliest coastal report was of one at Southwold, April 26th. Sparse May records comprised two north, Dunwich Heath, on 4th, two at Sizewell on 8th, one at Minsmere on 5th and two north, Orfordness, also on 5th. At Thorpeness one was reported, June 2nd. There were no reports of breeding in the county this year. Offshore movements associated with post-breeding dispersal and return passage were observed at the following coastal sites:Corton: adult, Sep.22nd. Lowestoft: Ness Point, juvenile north, Sep. 14th and again, Sep. 15th. Oulton Broad: juvenile three kilometres inland, Sep.9th. Benacre: single juveniles, Aug.2nd and 8th. Southwold: south, Jul.9th, then scattered records of ones and twos until early Aug. Peak movement Aug.25th to late Sep., with 15, Sep 9th and the last report, Sep 29th.

94


Systematic List Minsmere: Jun.27th; juvenile on the Scrape, Jul.31 st to Aug. 1 St.; Aug.21 st. Leiston-eum-Sizewell: Sizewell offshore rig, ones or twos, including juveniles on many days, Aug.4th to Oct. 16th. Felixstowe: Landguard, singles south, Sep.lst and 5th and two, 22nd; five south, Sep.9th. In October, south 6th; north 8th and offshore, 17th. Brackenbury Cliffs, flock of five south, Sep.9th. In all, an average year for this tern. LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first spring record was one at Minsmere, April 18th, and only single-figure numbers were recorded there throughout the summer. Other early records were of four north, Kessingland, April 19th, two at Thorpeness, April 26th and two each at Havergate Island and Landguard April 30th. There were 14 at Trimley Marshes Reserve, May 15th. Breeding was attempted at seven sites, (see Table). The colony on the sand-bar at Benacre Broad, re-established last year after a gap of many years, had another good season and may have been augmented by birds displaced by vandalism at the Great Yarmouth colony. No. of Breeding site pairs Kessingland 10 Benacre Broad c.80 Covehithe Broad 2 Easton Bavents nil Walberswick nil Dingle/Corporation Marshes nil Minsmete nil Havergate island nil Orford colony 1 The Crouch 14 colony 2 17 Shotley nil Felixstowe Landguard Docks 2 c6 Totals C.131

Fledged young 0 c.100 0

Remarks failed failed

not known not known

2 young ringed, disturbance by fishermen 2 young ringed, disturbance by fishermen

0 not known c.100

much disturbance by fishermen and dog walkers

(nb Data for this table were compiled by Mick Wright) The importance of Benacre Broad as a post-breeding assembly area prior to southerly migration was reinforced this year. Some late-summer statistics follow:Kessingland: monthly counts, (almost equal numbers north and south). 21, Apr. 19th to 30th; 1139, May; 948, Jun.; 450, Jul.; 1438, Aug.lst to 15th. Benacre Broad: 418 (259 adults, 159 juveniles), Jul. 14th; ca200, Jul.27th; 70, Aug.3rd; 111, Aug.6th; 72, Aug. 13 th. Southwold: 13 south, Aug.8th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, three, Aug.27th. Thorpeness: 15 south, Jul.27th; eight north, Jul.30th; 66 in Aug. with peaks of 18 south, Aug.9th, 11 north. Aug. 15th; two north, Sep.2nd. Felixstowe: Landguard, 13 south, Jul.27th; 19, Aug.3rd; 21, Aug.9th; two south and three on the river, Aug 25th; two south, Sep.9th. Stour Estuary: WeBS counts, 27, Jul. 14th; three, Aug. 11th. There were no reports this year from inland waters in the west of the county. WHISKERED TERN Chlidonias hybridus v ery rare visitor. Lakenheath: Washes, an adult in summer plumage on the Suffolk side of the river on May 16th (L.Woods). 95


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This is only the sixth for Suffolk, previous records being at Shingle Street, September 16th and 17th 1910; mouth of the River Yare, June 27th 1987; Minsmere, May 26th 1988; Landguard, June 12th 1995 and Breydon Water, June 15th 1995. BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger Fairly common passage migrant. Unusually, spring migration was more in evidence at coastal sites than on inland waters. All records fell between May 4th and May 13th. Lowestoft: Ness Point, ten north, May 8th. Leiston-cum Sizewell: Sizewell, May 11th. Felixstowe: Landguard six north. May 4th; two south, May 19th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, two, May 13th. Lakenheath Washes: May 7th. A mainly light return passage was observed at coastal sites between July 28th and late September, with a broad maximum around September 10th. Lowestoft: Ness Point, five lingering offshore, Sep. 11th. Kessingland: Beach, north, Aug.8th; two south Sep.9th . Covehithe: two north, Sep.3rd. Southwold: 16 south, Sep.9th; juvenile south, Sept.22nd. Dunwich: six south, Sep.9th. Minsmere: ones and twos on seven days between Jul.30th and Aug.26th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, mainly singles at the outfall on many days, Aug.8th to Sep. 17th. Thorpeness,: singles south, Jul.31st; Aug.8th and 9th. Havergate Island: nine, Aug. 19th. Boyton: Marshes, adult, Jul.31st. Orfordness: singles on four days, Jul.28th to Sep.23rd. Felixstowe: Landguard, Aug.21st; three south, Sep.9th. There were inland records from Alton Water of two, September 8th, and from Lackford Lakes, September 9th. In all, an average year for this species. W H I T E - W I N G E D B L A C K T E R N Chlidonias

leucopterus

Rare passage migrant. Dunwich: juvenile, Sep.9th (M.L.Cornish). This takes the Suffolk total to 28 records, involving no less than 46 individuals. C O M M O N GUILLEMOT Uria aalge Common passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. The prolific winter movements noted offshore on the north Suffolk coast in November and December 2001 continued into the first two months of the new year, but fell sharply from March onwards. Kessingland: beach, monthly totals, 4222 (1203 north, 2952 south, 67 F I E L D N O T E on sea), Jan. with sharp peak, An oil slick three kilometres long off Sizewell in late Jan.22nd when 1865 south and 69 November resulted in large numbers of live and dead north. 1752, (1115 north, 589 auks, mainly Guillemots, being washed up on the shore between Lowestoft and Minsmere. Local south, 48 on sea), Feb.; 35, Mar. beaches were contaminated with what appeared to be Minsmere: 263, Feb. 10th. Thorpeness: auk species, 100 north, a heavy fuel oil. From a special survey, and other Jan. 1st; monthly total 4071 (2494 sources, the RSPB estimated a minimum of 341 dead north, 15^7 south) Feb.; 218, birds of which 207 were Guillemots. The RSPCA took in some 700 live oiled birds, mostly Guillemots. mainly north, Mar. Neville Skinner Orfordness: 503 north, Feb. 10th. 96


Systematic List Monthly totals at the two main sea-watching sites, Kessingland and Thorpeness, remained generally well below 100 until October when numbers increased to only moderate levels in the region of 500. Movements showed a north-bound bias for most of the year, offset by occasional days with southerly movement, for example, 1865 south, 69 north at Kessingland on January 22nd and 507 south, 79 north at Thorpeness, November 30th. Reports from the south-east Suffolk coast and estuaries were mainly of single birds. Common Guillemot - oiled Peter Beeson RAZORBILL Alca tarda Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. DĂźring the first winter period three singles were reported: at Lowestoft, February 3rd; Southwold, February 2nd and Minsmere, January 30th. Spring records comprised one summer-plumaged adult close inshore, Ness Point, Lowestoft, May 6th, and one at Orfordness, April 14th. Later records were mainly confined to the last four months of the year. Oil was a Problem on the north Suffolk coast in late November. Corton: north, then on sea, Oct.5th. Lowestoft: Ness Point, a sick bird, Dec.llth. Kessingland: on sea, Oct.5th; oiled, Nov.23rd; Nov.29th; on sea, Dec.l5th. Southwold: Sep.l5th; two north, Sep.23rd; four north, Oct.6th; Oct.8th; two north, Oct.9th; south, Dec.8th; two north, Dec,19th.

Dunwich: Sep.9th. Thorpeness: south, Oct.5th; drifting south, Nov.23rd; on sea, Dec.l5th. Orfordness: singles, Aug.25th, Sep.23rd, Oct.6th and Nov.23rd. Shingle Street: oiled bird on the beach, Dec.31st. Bawdsey: East Lane, close inshore, Dec.l4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, south, Nov.6th; north, Nov.22nd ; two south, Nov.27th and two juveniles south, Dec.lst.

In all, about 40 live Razorbills were positively identified. As usual, to this total should be added an unknown but probably small proportion of the "unidentified Auk sp." logged by some sea-watchers. LITTLE AUK Alle alle Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. There was only one report in the first-winter period, of a Single bird at Minsmere, January 1 st. The wind pattern was not conducive to a good autumn passage off the Suffolk coast. Low, single-figure numbers were logged at several coastal locations between October 6th and December 19th, with a total of 25 birds. Lowestoft: Ness Point, north, Nov.l2th; north, Nov.20th; north, settling on sea twice, Nov.24th Kessingland: singles north close inshore, Nov.8th, 12th and 25th; south, Nov.23rd; five north, Dec.l7th; north, Dec.l8th. Southwold: two north, Oct.6th; three north, Dec.l9th.

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Minsmere: north, Dec.4th. Thorpeness: south, Nov.23rd; two south, Nov.24th. Orfordness: north, Oct.6th; Nov.24th. Felixstowe: Landguard, south, Oct.29th.

The main movements were thus November 23rd to 25th, and December 17th to 19th, but the scale was down by an order of magnitude compared with the excellent autumn passage of 2001. ATLANTIC PUFFIN Fratercula arctica Scarce passage migrant. Amber List. With a minimum of 10 birds logged, the year's total ends a lean decade of annual singlefigure counts. Was it just a single bird on September 23rd, followed all the way up the coast from Orfordness to Kessingland? Corton: north with two Common Guillemots, Oct.รถth (J.Brown, A.C.Easton, R.Wincup et at.). Kessingland: singles north, May 6th and 31st; north with single Common Guillemot, alternating leadership, Sep.23rd; north, Sep.24th; singles north, Dec.15th and 17th (P.Read). South wold: north at 17.05 hrs, Sep.23rd (J.H.Grant, L.Woods); Oct.6th B.J.Small). Minsmere: freshly dead on beach, Nov.27th (RSPB). Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, north, Sep. 1st (W.J.Brame). Orfordness: north, Sep 23rd (D.Cormack, M.C.Marsh).

The Kessingland records are just reward for long hours of dedicated sea-watching put in by one observer. ROCK PIGEON (DOVE) Columba livia Very common resident from feral stock. Categories A, C and E. The only count from the north of the county was of 85, Covehithe Church, October 13th. Surprisingly no records were received from the south-east area, where large congregations normally occur around Ipswich Docks. In the west, the population at Long Melford Churchyard peaked at 11 birds on October 10th - matching last year's total, whilst the breeding population was considered to have died out. A considerable population still inhabits the centre of Bury St Edmunds, nesting on old churches, shops, houses and other buildings. STOCK PIGEON (DOVE) Columba oenas Fairly common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. Records were received from 21 widespread localities this year (31 in 2001). A large flock was present in the Covehithe/South Cove area during the first-winter period peaking at 150, March 10th. A similar-sized flock of 138 frequented Minsmere on January 13th. In the west the largest flock reported was of 31, Long Melford, April 14th. Breeding data from the coastal reserves included seven pairs at North Warren/ Aldringham Walks (same as last year) and five breeding pairs at Sizewell. In the Hadleigh area six pairs were located - with post-breeding flocks of up to 40 birds present in July. Autumn passage was light with 15 south, Southwold, October 24th and nine south, North Warren, November 24th, while Landguard reported 63 south between October 28th and November 9th, with a peak of 22 on November 8th. The only notable count in the second winter was of 52 at Stowupland, November 22nd, feeding on a brassica game crop. C O M M O N W O O D PIGEON Columba palumbus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Reports of large flocks were well down during the first-winter period compared with last 98


Systematic

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year. At Trimley Marshes reserve 500 were present on January 27th, increasing to 1000 by March 13th. A total of 400, Minsmere, March 2nd, was the only other noteworthy count. At North Warren/Aldringham Walks a breeding survey was not undertaken, although a count of 280 on arable land there on April 19th indicated a thriving local population. This species often breeds late and one was reported sitting on a nest in Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft on September 16th. An average autumn passage included the following counts: Southwold: 750 south, Oct. 24th. Minsmere: 1830, Oct. 28th. Snape: 1000, Nov. 1st. Felixstowe: Landguard, 29716 south between Oct. 18th and Nov. 5th with a peaks of 14350 south, Oct.28th and 8652 south, November 4th.

Boxford: 1000, Oct. 22nd. Noteworthy counts during the closing months of the year included 450, Trimley Marshes reserve, December 22nd and 1200, Livermere Lake, December 30th. EURASIAN C O L L A R E D DOVE Streptopelia decaocto Common resident. There was a general lack of submissions this year with records from a mere 12 sites (28 in 2001). Only three flocks in excess of 50 birds were noted: Kirton Creek: 160, Nov. 1st. Hadleigh: ca.200, feeding on stubble, during Aug.

Great Livermere: 56, Dec. 30th. Twenty five pairs bred at North Warren/Aldringham Walks, a decrease from the 31 pairs there last year. Elsewhere ten territories were found in Bungay town and five pairs bred at Hengrave Hall. There were at least eight breeding pairs at Landguard, with young noted in the nest as early as February 19th. EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia turtur Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. A continued decline with sightings confined to 44 localities this year (54 in 2001). The earliest migrant noted was a singing male at Great Welnetham, April 18th, followed by records from nine other, mainly coastal, sites by the month's end. Nowadays, numbers are at such a low density that visible migration rarely involves more than a handful of birds. At North Warren/Aldringham Walks 17 territories were located, a substantial reduction on the previous year's 24 pairs - with no discernible change in habitat. A decline was also noted at Sizewell with just two territories this year (six territories in 2001), while 14 singing males were reported from Minsmere. Two pairs were present at Benacre - a site which hosted ten pairs in 2000 and at Walberswick/Dunwich Forest 18 territories were identified. Autumn counts of post-breeding birds were well down with no double-figure counts. All reports above five are listed: Shingle Street: seven, Aug. 28th. Hadleigh: nine, Sep. 7th. The final records of the year came from Iken, October 3rd and Corton, October 6th. ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri Scarce resident. Categories C and E. A poor year with only two reports, both in September. Southwold: at the caravan park, Sep. 25th. Ipswich: Rope Walk. Sep, 6th.

99


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 COMMON CUCKOO Cuculus canorus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. The first reports came from Sizewell, Aldringham Walks, Snape and Peewit Hill, Felixstowe, all on April 16th. By the end of April this species had been noted at 14 localities - the same as in 2001. Breeding data included 15 territories at North Warren/Aldringham Walks (14 territories in 2001). At this site one bird was singing pre-dawn at 03.26 hrs on May 16th. Nearby at Sizewell, two breeding pairs were found, which was the same number as in 2001. It was a different picture in the west of the county with observers at Brent Eleigh commenting that 'for the first time, none was heard at all' and at Hadleigh there were 'fewer records of calling birds this year'. An interesting report concerned a bird in water meadows at Long Melford on June 12th which was mobbed by two Grey Wagtails. Records in July came only from Benacre - where an early juvenile was seen on 17th and Hadleigh. During August reports were received from five sites. Five September reports involved singles at Felixstowe Ferry and Cavenham on 7th. Landguard on 15th, Eastbridge, 17th and the final bird of the year at Minsmere on 19th. BARN OWL Tytoalba Fairly common resident. Amber list. Categories A and E. Numbers appear to be stabilising with submissions from 65 sites this year (63 in 2001). Analysis of the countywide spread indicates some 55% of the population inhabits the north-east area and 25% the south east, with the remaining 20% in the west of the county. Breeding was reported from only about eight sites, with maybe two pairs at one coastal site. A dark-breasted Continental bird, probably of the race guttata, was reported from Blythburgh on February 3rd (B.J.Small). This is the first record since the bird trapped and ringed at Landguard on June 11th 1997 and represents the ninth county record. LITTLE OWL Athene noctua Fairly common resident. Records from 55 sites this year is a 17% decline on the 66 sites noted last year. This species is not suspected of being in decline; more probably it is not reported so often nowadays. It is a species prone to fluctuations in the county as declines were noted in the 1950s through to the mid1960s, so it is certainly worth recording all sightings. Breeding data were scant with records from seven sites (12 in 2001). Four juveniles fledged from a nest box at Stonham Aspal. Five pairs were located at both Benacre and North Warren/Aldringham Walks. Sadly road casualties were found at Wasses Marshes, near Thorington Street (a juvenile) and Lineage Wood, Lavenham.

100

Little Owl Mark Ferris


Systematic

List

TAWNY OWL Strix aluco Common resident There was a 29% reduction in reports this year, from 51 sites in 2001 to just 36 sites in 2002. Nocturnal surveying at North Warren/Aldringham Walks was instrumental in locating an impressive 14 territories (six territories in 2001 ). A few other pairs were noted, with fledged juveniles found at Nunnery Lakes and Lackford Lakes. An interesting report concerned two birds discovered roosting in a shed within Felixstowe Docks on December 2nd. Three birds calling in Long Melford Churchyard must have created an eerie sensation and reports from Gunton and Ilketshall St. Margaret also concerned birds in churchyards. Unfortunately a road casualty was found at Oulton Broad on July 6th. LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. First-winter reports came from Parham, Trimley Marshes and Levington during February and March. At this latter site, the observer was fortunate enough to see one Long-eared and two Short-eared Owls on the same day. The only spring sightings were singles on Orfordness during April and May and at Minsmere on May 1 st. Two breeding season reports were received from the west of the county, one concerning a recently-fledged juvenile in May. Just four birds were noted during the autumn/second winter: Lowestoft: Sparrows Nest, Oct. 18th. Southwold: Caravan park, Nov. 1st.

Shingle Street: roosting in allotments, Dec. 4th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Nov.20th and 21st and 23rd.

SHORT-EARED OWL Asio flammeus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Amber list. The first-winter period produced records from 12 mainly coastal localities (ten in 2001). All records were of singletons apart from two birds at both Blythburgh and Levington Creek. Spring records were sparse with most records relating to lingering, overwintering birds. April sightings came from seven localities, with May records from Carlton Marshes, Blyth Estuary, Minsmere and Orfordness. Over the past 15 years there has only been one confirmed instance of breeding in the county - this was at Havergate Island in 1999. This year the sole mid-summer record was at Minsmere on June 22nd. A bird on Havergate Island on August 19th could have been an early returning autumn passage bird or one that had over-summered somewhere on the coast. Six September records were received, the first at Landguard on September 9th with further sightings on 12th, 14th, 22nd and 24th. October reports came from 12 sites, with a superb show by at least five well-watched and photographed birds at Shingle Street during the month. November produced sightings from 11 localities including five birds at Trimley Marshes reserve on the 5th. Two birds at Lakenheath Fen on December 19th was a good inland find, with the species only reported from a further seven sites this month. EUROPEAN NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus Locally fairly common summer visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Red list. The first 'churring' male was heard on Westleton Heath on May 14th. Reports came from 11 sites, with the following breeding data submitted from the north-east area (numbers of 'churring' males): 101


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Walberswick/Dunwich Forest: 20 (last data available 37 in 1999).

Minsmere: 13 (16 in 2001). Aldringham: Common and Walks 12 (ten in 2001).

In Dunwich Forest the birds were confined to one area of young growth, illustrating how important open clearings and young plantations are to the species. At Aldringham Walks, one nest was found containing a single egg on June 18th. The 12 pairs at this site were split 50/50 between open heath and plantations. The only reports from the south-east area came from Hollesley Common in June. In the west a good count was of eight 'churring' birds at Wangford Warren on July 26th. The last of the year was at Theberton on September 8th. COMMON SWIFT Apus apus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first sighting of the year was a singleton at North Warren on April 19th. Eight further April reports followed with a maximum of seven birds at Lackford Lakes on 25th. This was in complete contrast to last year when 300 had gathered at this site by April 29th. The first week in May saw a sizeable flock of 100 at Lackford Lakes on 2nd, building to 400 by 29th. The last week in May produced other large flocks including 100, Minsmere on 31st and 300, Livermere Lake on 26th. In the south-east of the county, Trimley Marshes recorded the year's biggest congregation, with 600 birds on June 10th. Visible migration was observed at Sizewell where 86 flew south, June 22nd and at Landguard with 77 south, June 3rd and 46 south, July 11th. The only breeding report concerned three pairs at Hengrave Hall. All the Common Swifts had departed from Bungay by August 10th and a general exodus was noted at Pakenham between August 6th and 8th. Forty-two flew south over Landguard on September 10th and the final bird of the year was seen there on September 18th. ALPINE SWIFT Apus melba Very rare passage migrant. Felixstowe: Landguard, north, Jun.6th (N.Odin).

The second record for Landguard and the 22nd for Suffolk. COMMON KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis Fairly common resident. Amber list Numbers reported decreased yet again with reports from 55 localities (70 in 2001). The opening months of the year produced peaks of four. Combs Lane WM, January 19th and three, Lackford Lakes, March 3rd. Breeding was confirmed or suspected at the Hen Reedbeds, North Warren (two pairs), Sizewell, Levington Creek, Sudbury Common Lands, Cosford Hall, West Stow CP and Lackford Lakes. A displaying pair was observed at Glemsford Pits, April 3rd. WeBS counts on the Deben produced excellent totals of nine on September 8th and five on December 12th. EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster Rare passage migrant. An excellent year for the species, although unfortunately none lingered long enough to be enjoyed by the masses: Kessingland: uVer observer's garden at 12.40pm, Jul. 4th (P.Read). Walberswick: Dingle Marshes, south, Jun 19th (A.Miller) and south, Jul. 9th (P.D.Green); Westwood Marshes, Jul. 13th (P.Whitaker).

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Minsmere: Jun. 29th; five, south over visitor centre, Jul. 9th (G.R.Welch, RSPB). Felixstowe: heard calling three times over observer's garden, Jun. 2nd (W.J.Brame). Felixstowe: Landguard, one flew south, then north, Jul.21st (P.OIdfield). First Landguard record. It is difficult to assess the numbers involved but probably in the region of six to ten individuals. The mobile individuals in the north-east could have been part of the flock of five splitting up. The Felixstowe bird was likely to have been different. The species bred in the UK this year in Co. Durham, with two young fledged successfully, so it is certainly a potential breeder in Suffolk. The flock of five at Minsmere is the largest in Suffolk since that of seven at Orford from June 2nd to 5th 1955. HOOPOE Upupa epops Scarce passage migrant. Categories A and E. There were four sightings this year involving three birds: Lowestoft: Gunton, Church Lane, Aug. 31st (R.Wincup); Gunton Drive, observers garden, Sep. 8th, 9th and 17th (N.J.Skinner). Pakefield: Apr.8th (C.Darby). Hollesley Common: Apr.29th and 30th and May 1st (many observers). The Hollesley bird was well received by the many observers that gathered to watch it feeding in paddocks there. The autumn Gunton bird was involved in a confrontation with a female Great Spotted Woodpecker on its final day. EURASIAN WRYNECK Jynx torquilla Uncommon passage migrant. Red list. After a blank spring last year, just one bird was recorded in 2002, at Thorpeness Common on the exceptionally early date of March 29th (D.Thurlow). This is the earliest to be located in Suffolk since at least 1950 and possibly since the 19th century. The autumn produced a total of nine birds as follows: Lowestoft: Gunton, along old railway line, Sep. 6th. Dunwich: Aug.24th; near Little Dingle, Sep. 12th; Dunwich Heath, Sep. 18th to 21st. Minsmere: partial albino, Aug. 22nd; Sep. 25th. Aldringham: Dower House, Sep. 12th. Boyton: observer's garden and adjacent hedges, Aug. 25th and 26th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Sep. 13th. GREEN W O O D P E C K E R Picus viridis Common resident. Amber list. Reports came from just 51 sites this year (103 sites in 2001), which represents an apparent 50% decrease. However, this species apparently remains common in most areas of Suffolk, especially Breckland and the Sandlings, and many sightings are clearly going un-reported. A slight fall in numbers was noted at North Warren and Aldringham Walks to 32 breeding pairs (37 in 2001). Four breeding pairs were present at Benacre and three pairs at Sizewell. Many juveniles were noted during the period July to September, indicating a healthy breeding season. Adults with FIELD NOTE three juveniles were reported from A Green Woodpecker was observed in the totally Oulton Broad and Boxford. treeless environment of Havergate Island The largest gathering was of five between January 2nd and 8th. They do, of birds at Tuddenham Heath on May course, feed frequently on the ground, on ants 12th. Landguard recorded "dispersing nests especially, but where did this one go to birds" on nine dates between July 11th roost? I.Paradine and August 7th. 103


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos major Common resident. Scarce passage migrant. There was another reduction in submissions this year, with data from 43 localities (71 localities in 2001). Drumming was reported as early as January 30th at Ilketshall St. Margaret and February 17th at Thorpeness sewage farm. A good first-winter count was made at Combs Lane WM where six birds were noted on January 6th. Breeding numbers remained fairly stable with 16 pairs at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex (18 pairs in 2001) and six pairs were recorded at Sizewell. Two pairs were at Benacre and single pairs were widely reported across the county. An adult and juvenile trapped at Lackford Lakes provided proof of successful breeding. Sadly, the youngster was subsequently killed, after a collision with a window in Lackford village. A possible Continental migrant was reported from Thorpeness Common on November 2nd. An additional sighting from the same site of four birds, October 13th, may well have referred to migrants. After the first sighting of this species last year on Orfordness, four further observations of a single were made between September 19th and October 24th. At Landguard, birds were recorded on 15 dates between September l l t h and November lst (two on October 4th) and six new birds were ringed during this period. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos minor Uncommon resident. Red list. There was an encouraging increase in reports this year to 30 localities (20 in 2001). Interestingly, 57% of sightings were made in the west of the county, 33% from the southeast and the remaining 10% on the north-east coastal belt. During the first winter, one resorted to feeding on nut bags by the Canopy hide at Minsmere. The only drumming reported during the spring was at Lackford Lakes, March 3rd, in oaks by the golf course. The only instance of confirmed breeding was from Santon Downham, where a juvenile was seen on August 26th. A pair at Long Melford excavated the start of a nest-hole but it was never completed. The only other report of more than a single bird involved a pair at Hollesley Common, June 2nd. WOOD LARK Lullula arborea Fairly common breeding species. Scarce on passage and in winter. Red list. The only January records of Wood Lark comprised one in song over Hazelwood Marshes car park on 12th, a single, intermittently, at Minsmere from 13th, nine at Sizewell on 14th and eight that were back in breeding areas at Aldringham on 19th. There were two quite intriguing February reports of singing birds over the town of Southwold; at North Parade on 17th and St Edmund's churchyard on 24th; do these refer to the same bird or different individuals en route to more traditional breeding locations? The previous year's slight decline in breeding numbers continued into 2002. In the whole of Breckland (Norfolk and Suffolk combined), for the first time in three decades, a significant decrease has occurred in the forest population, with 361 singing males recorded, compared with 456 in 2000, a reduction of 21% (no survey in 2001, because of foot and mouth disease restrictions). The figure for the Suffolk Breck is 156 males, down from 207 in 2000. The Breck heaths were not surveyed this year, but the indications are that they stili contain a sizeable population. In the Sandlings there was a similar picture, with a total of 192 singing males located at 19 sites, downfrom a peak of 219 in 1999 (202 in 2000, 198 in 2001). The reasons for the decline are believed to be linked to the recent run of wetter seasons. Between 1989 and 1996 there was a sequence of warm, dry years, which led to shorter vegetation growth on 104


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the light soils of Breckland and the Sandlings and the Wood Lark populations prospered. From about 1998 onwards there has been a run of wet years, water table levels have risen, vegetation growth has increased dramatically and Wood Lark populations are in decline (Ron Hoblyn/Malcolm Wright). Stone Curlew and European Nightjar may also be affected by the same sequence. This may not be the full picture, as a shortage of clear-felling in certain areas of Breckland may be partly responsible for the current declines in the forest. If this is the case, then birds may be displaced onto more marginal habitats, where they are harder to survey and their breeding success may be lower (Ron Hoblyn). The dynamic changes in the breedWood Larks at North Warren/Aldringham Walks ing numbers at North Warren make 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 interesting reading, with 2002 having 26 40 60 62 83 85 73 58 the lowest total since 1996. We often associate Wood Larks with being highly habitat-specific breeders, but analysis of the sites used at North Warren/Aldringham reveal how adaptable this species can be. Unlike most recent years there were no reports of Wood Larks in the county after late October.

Breeding Habitat Acid grassland Calluna-dominated heath Bracken-dominated heath Mixed plantation woodiand Arable/heath interface Arable land

Singing Maies 25 6 4 8 13 2

FIELD N O T E

One of the highlights of the year in the Breck was the discovery of a pair which used the same nest on two occasions, behaviour which as far as is known has not been previously documented in Wood Lark literature. Even more remarkable was the speed at which events took place; within five days of the fledging of the first brood, the nest had been relined and three eggs laid. Ron Hoblyn

SKY L A R K Alauda arvensis Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Red list. There were no really significant flocks noted during the first-winter period; indeed the largest was one totalling only 93 at Sizewell on February 1 Ith. At Minsmere, breeding activity seems to be declining, with a rĂŠduction in territories being noted for the third consecutive year. At North Warren/Aldringham, however, this species seems to have enjoyed a remarkably stable population for the past five years. Here, a high proportion, almost half of the singing maies, (79 out of 166 individuals), frequented the grazing marshes. There were at least 15 pairs at Breeding records of Sky Larks at principal sites Benacre, 12 at Dingle Marshes 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 and three on Outney Common, Minsmere 103 116 99 90 75 Bungay. North Warren 162 165 172 170 166 Landguard logged 482 south between October 7th and November 15th, with a peak of 149 on October 30th. During the second-winter period there were again no records of Sky Lark flocks exceeding 100. This does seem to support fears that this once-ubiquitous species is no longer one that we can take for granted as being a perennial feature of our countryside. 105


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

H O R N E D (SHORE) LARK EremophUa alpestris Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. 2001 ended with very few Horned Larks present in the county and predictably this picture changed little into the New Year. Five were noted at Trimley Marshes reserve on January 7th and, those apart, the only other favoured locality was, as is often the case, Orfordness. Here there were monthly maxima of two in January, three in February and four in March. Surprisingly, none returned to Orfordness in the second-winter period, which although it did feature more birds, did little to take Horned Lark out of the 'decidedly scarce' category that it has slipped into in recent winters. All the records listed below show that the birds appeared around the same time in mid-October and that they all seemed to depart our county soon afterwards. Lowestoft: four, Oct.21st, six Oct.23rd. Easton Bavents: three, Oct. 17th, two, Oct. 19th and 20th. Southwold: two, Oct. 16th, three, Oct. 18th, two, Oct. 19th. Minsmere: four, Oct. 14th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Oct. 11th. Felixstowe: Landguard, Oct. 10th to 16th. SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first birds of the spring arrived this year on March 10th, with something of a spurt; a single was over Loompit Lake whilst two groups of five and four graced the often-favoured lakes at Lackford. A week passed before the next two birds were found at Minsmere and it wasn't until the end of the month that there were any more multiple arrivals. Breeding records came from: Covehithe: 842 nests were sited in the cliffs between Covehithe Broad and Benacre Broad, a huge increase on the 200 recorded at this site in 2001, although this may in part be attributable to a more complete survey. Minsmere: 121 burrows, in a cliff face improved during the previous winter, an increase, assuming they were all occupied, of over 90 pairs. Cavenham: 60 pairs in the pits. Lavham: 90 breeding pairs. Autumn passage peaked at Landguard on September 7th, when 131 flew south. Late birds were recorded at North Warren on September 26th and Landguard on October 2nd and, having claimed the first Sand Martins of the year, Lackford Lakes also chipped in with the last; two on October 17th. BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first birds appeared on March 25th with three at both Minsmere and Lackford, followed by numerous, mainly coastal, records up to the month's end. Spring passage was generally light, typified by the fact that the largest spring count at Livermere Lake totalled just 24 birds. Several observers continue to express concerns for the Barn Swallow's status as a breeding species. At Pakenham, the local population continues to decline and here no autumn gatherings were noted. However, at Barn Swallow Su Gough Hadleigh a flock of 200 on July 13th included 106


Systematic List a good proportion of juveniles, indicative of successful local breeding. Other records included a pair at Leavenheath, two at Hengrave Hall, and six at West Stow that raised 40 young from 11 broods. There was a slight increase in the breeding population at North Warren from nine to 13 pairs. Interestingly, the nests here were mostly sited in outbuildings occupied by livestock. Unoccupied buildings were not used, presumably due to the lack of available invertebrate food. The only significant records of autumn passage came from Landguard where 455 moved south on August 30th, 602 on August 31st, 625 on September 5th and 435 on September 6th. Light passage continued through October on the coast and there were more than 20 November records, with the final single south past Landguard on 21st. RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Hirundo daurica Rare visitor A welcome return for this delightful hirundine, after four blank years; these three birds bring the county total to 19 records involving 21 individuals, all of which have occurred since 1987. Southwold: April 11th. (B.J.Small) Flixton: (near Lowestoft) two, May 19th (C.and J.Ayres, C.A.Jacobs, I.Levett). HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The trend for more March arrivals of House Martins continued in 2002 with two very early birds at Lackford Lakes on 10th and then a single on 27th at Nunnery Lakes. The birds at Lackford are the earliest-ever March records in Suffolk, but there were February sightings in 1990 and 1998. Birds continued to trickle through in early and mid-April but it wasn't until late in the month that most arrivals occurred. As last year, few breeding records were received and those that were did not provide much encouragement concerning the species' status. At the North Warren/Aldringham complex, there was an increase from 20 to 33 pairs, although much of this can be ascribed to more intensive survey work being carried out. Elsewhere, four pairs nested at Westleton and at Hadleigh there were 13 occupied nests, continuing the "sharp decline" over the past ten years. A similar story was recounted from Pakenham. September concentrations were again noted at Hadleigh, with 200 on 18th. Other autumn gatherings centred on Livermere Lake, with 150 on August 19th; Cavenham Heath NNR, where there were 300 on August 28th; Foxhall, 180, September 17th and Lackford Lakes, 150 on August 26th and again on September 14th. There were also some significant coastal movements in late September, when 1169 came in off the sea at Landguard on 22nd and 1791 moved south over Corton on 29th. As is usually the case, a number of House Martins lingered into November, when sightings comprised one at Lowestoft on 1 st and two at Thorpeness on 3rd and the final sighting of 2002 at Lackford Lakes on 27th. TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Often the first sightings of Tree Pipit are of birds which have already made it back into their breeding territories. This year, however, the earliest record came away from such sites when a single was noted at Landguard on April 2nd. Elsewhere, the first breeding birds returned to Elveden on April 13th, Dunwich Heath and The King's Forest on 14th, Minsmere on 17th and Aldringham on 23rd. 107


Suffolk Bird Report 2002 Mid-summer records would seem to indicate that this species is at something of a low ebb in the county; Minsmere's three pairs is the lowest total there for the last five years. Similarly, the Walberswick/Dunwich complex held seven pairs, reduced from 16 in 1999. Aldringham Walks did manage to double its population to four, but this is still well down on the 12 pairs present there in both 1999 and 2000. Four pairs bred on Westleton Heath. Other presumed breeding occurred at Three Hills, Icklingham, where there were three singing males and Knettishall Heath, which was graced by just a single pair. Despite the low numbers of Tree Pipits breeding in the county, there was quite a significant autumn passage. Landguard logged 17 passing through and 24 on the reserve during September and it was the middle of this month that saw the bulk of records along the rest of the coast. The Corton and Lowestoft area did especially well with 43 birds being recorded between 9th and 15th, including 22 on 10th, making it one of the best passages for many years. Also on 10th, five birds were at Sizewell, three at Thorpeness and singles at Gunton, Easton Bavents and Southwold. Interestingly, just away from the coast, at Oulton Broad, birds were noted flying westwards on August 27th (one) and September 11 th and 13th (two on both occasions). The last birds of the year were inland at Lackford on September 20th and on the coast at Easton Bavents on 21 st. MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Gatherings of Meadow Pipits during the first three months of the year failed to exceed the 70 seen at Pipp's Ford on January 2nd, indicative of a fairly low winter population in the county. Survey work undertaken as part of the Upper Abbey Farm Winter Bird Count at Sizewell makes interesting reading; from 56 in January, there was a decline to 38 in February and just ten in March. Presumably these results are caused by the birds leaving winter feeding sites to return to their breeding areas. Breeding records of this fairly widespread species were received from just four sites. There were seven singing males at Minsmere and six at Sizewell. At North Warren, Meadow Pipits recovered well from last year's low of just six pairs, to 13, but this is still some way down on the 21 pairs recorded in 1999. Landguard reported seven breeding pairs in their recording area. Autumn coastal birding would not be quite the same without large arrivals or movements of this species and 2002 proved to be no exception. In September, 223 were noted at Felixstowe Ferry on 16th; around 400 were grounded at Corton on 17th, whilst 100 moved north over Southwold on 25th; the following day, 500 were at Dunwich Heath and 108 were at Minsmere on 30th. Peak numbers occurred at Landguard at the beginning of October, with 221 south there on 1st and 302 south on 2nd. Later on in the month, a further 106 moved south on 13th. Away from the coast, a very impressive total of 1155 was recorded at Cavenham Heath on September 30th. No large flocks were located during the second-winter period. The largest reported was just 42 at Long Melford in December. ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. During the first three months of the year, Rock Pipits were noted along the whole length of the Suffolk coast. As usual, many of these records involved single birds, but there were more concentrated populations in certain favoured localities; seven at Havergate Island on January 18th, 15 along Levington Creek on January 27th and 25 on Orfordness on the 13th


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of that month. The only inland record for 2002 concerned an individual at Livermere Lake on March 31st. The last bird of the first-winter period was one that lingered around Lowestoft's North Denes until the end of April. The first returning birds arrived on September 14th at Landguard and 15th at both Ness Point, Lowestoft and Kessingland, three days earlier than last year. The first arrival at Southwold was just one day later, on 16th, showing a remarkable consistency of timing. Again, many records during this period were of single birds, but four were at both Southwold (October 17th) and Ness Point, Lowestoft (November 23rd) and six were on the River Ore on November 13th. The most favoured locality was Orford, where 13 were found on October 24th. WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Whilst there were slightly more Water Pipits noted during 2002 than there had been in 2001, this species remained scarce throughout both winter periods. During the first months of the year single birds graced Covehithe, Southwold, Havergate, Orfordness and Trimley Marshes. Two were at Cattawade on the Stour Estuary on March 3rd and two at Easton Broad on March 17th. Minsmere held at least one Water Pipit until March 21st and a maximum of three on March 5th. Lakenheath Washes again proved to be the principal inland site for this species with a single present on March 24th. This thin scattering of birds was repeated towards the end of the year with many of the above localities being favoured again. Covehithe saw the first bird of this period with a single on October 13th and another on the 23rd. Minsmere's first bird turned up on October 23rd and one or two were present here until the year's end, except on November 22nd when six were seen. Single birds also frequented Shingle Street, in November and December, and Trimley Marshes towards the end of the year. Lakenheath Washes maintained its reputation for Water Pipits, with four birds present on November 11th. YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava flavissima Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first Yellow Wagtail of 2002 was at Minsmere on March 31st, quickly followed by another on April 1st at Trimley Marshes. These two early arrivals did not, however, signal the beginning of any significant influx, as it wasn't until the middle of April that the next birds were noted, with two at Alton Water on 11th and two more at Minsmere on 14th. Larger numbers only graced the county in the last week of April when ten were at Dunwich Heath on 23rd, 23 on Southwold Town Marshes on the same date and 20 at Lowestoft's North Denes the following day. In the west of the county, 30 roosted at Lakenheath Fen on April 30th. There were more encouraging reports during the breeding season this year, at least as far as potential breeding pairs were concerned. Confirmed pairs were at Hadleigh, Shelley and Worlington, where a pair was feeding two fledged 109

Yellow Wagtail Su Gough


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 young and two further pairs were present on 50 hectares of mixed farmland. Other probable breeding sites were Corton, where a male 'blue-headed' wagtail was apparently paired with one of three female 'yellows', Boyton Marshes, Haverhill, Barton Mills, Knettishall, and Undley, near Lakenheath. The autumn passage this year was a great improvement on the poor showing of 2001. Typical records included 40+ around the cattle on Dingle Marshes throughout August, 30 at Minsmere on both August 18th and 24th, 32 at Dunwich also on the latter date and 35 at North Warren on September 1st, these latter birds also in association with cattle. The most impressive total came from well away from the coastal belt, when 54 were on Cavenham Heath NNR on August 28th. The last birds of the year were singles at Aldringham on September 24th and Lowestoft's North Denes on October 5th, and two birds at Kessingland on October 7th. Blue-headed Wagtail M.f. flava The spring passage for this race totalled only 13 birds, all in either singles or twos and all on, or near, the coast. This figure represents less than half the number seen in 2001. The earliest was at Reydon on April 15th; the latest at Minsmere on May 15th. In addition a male bird was apparently paired with a 'yellow' wagtail at Stirrup's Lane, Corton. Grey-headed Wagtail M.f.

thunbergi

O f t h e 50 or so r e c o r d s o f this race, this is only t h e f o u r t h a u t u m n o c c u r r e n c e . Felixstowe: Ferry, September 9th to 11th. (W.J.Brame, L.Woods)

GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. This species was recorded from over 60 sites in the county. Whilst these records were distributed roughly equally between the east and west of Suffolk, the breeding distribution shows a distinctly westerly bias. Of the 13 confirmed breeding pairs, the only one in the east of the county was adjacent to the ICI works at Stowmarket, where it brought off five young. However, breeding probably took place at a minimum of two additional sites in the Gipping Valley. In the west of Suffolk, breeding pairs were at Boxford, Cosford Hall, Hengrave Hall, Kedington Hall, Little Cornard, Long Melford, Mickle Mere, Thorington Street and Sudbury Common Lands, where four pairs fledged at least four broods. Grey Wagtails appear to be increasing as autumnal passage birds, with again a steady trickle passing along the coast. Typical records were received from Dunwich Heath where 16 went south between September 16th and 30th; Lowestoft where at least 15 moved through in September and Landguard, which reported an impressive total of 83 south between September 9th and October 8th. PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Very common resident, passage migrant and winter and summer visitor. Sewage beds again proved an attractive, if not vital, food source for this species. Long Melford held a maximum of 81 birds on February 3rd, whilst 50 were at Little Cornard during both January and February. These figures were both well down on those for comparable months in 2001 and, interestingly, there were no reports of significant roosts during this first-winter period. As usual for this widespread species, few breeding records were received. Only eight pairs bred at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks complex, a reduction to just half the number there in 1999. Elsewhere, two pairs nested at Hengrave Hall, one, possibly 110


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two, in the Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow Country Park and one pair on the Sizewell Estate. A post-breeding roost developed in late July at the Ipswich Asda store with 140 residing there in early August, and this was to prove to be the largest roost of the year, with no repeat of the previous year's larger gatherings. The F I E L D N O T E only other three-figure For several years Pied Wagtails have roosted in a small tree total concerned 140 at outside the Dorothy Perkins store in the shopping precinct at Minsmere on November Lowestoft. This year 20 were present in November but by midDecember they had moved into the town's Christmas tree, no 11th. Landguard logged doubt adding their own particular decorative and audible 196 south between sparkle. September 25th and Robert Wincup October 7th. White Wagtail M. a. alba Numbers of the nominate race were very low with only 22 birds recorded in spring, between March 16th, at Minsmere and June 16th, again at Minsmere. Just one of these records was from the west of the county; a single at Long Melford Sewage Works from April 13th to 16th. Another bird was at Benacre Broad on the unusual date of July 19th; one can only wonder in which direction this bird was travelling, or had it bred locally? To maintain the pattern of low numbers this year, there was just one autumn record; a single at Minsmere on October 14th. BOHEMIAN WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. In contrast with the opening months of 2001, very few Bohemian Waxwings were present in Suffolk early in 2002. Indeed the only records were from the Lowestoft area, with various reports of up to ten birds present. It seems very likely that most, if not all, of the records listed below refer to the same wandering group of birds. Lowestoft: four, Jan.6th, eight, Mar. 13th. Oulton Broad: ten, Jan.5th, eight, Jan.27th eight, Mar. 15th. Pakefield: seven, Jan.2nd, ten, Jan.4th, six, Jan.28th. Carlton Colville: eight, Jan.27th. In the second-winter period, just a single individual was noted: Hazelwood Marshes: Nov.23rd. WINTER W R E N Troglodytes troglodytes Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. This widespread species seems to be benefiting from the recent run of mild winters. Results from the Lackford Constant Effort Site were typical, with nine adults and 17 juveniles ringed, slightly above the ten-year average of seven adults and 14 juveniles. Breeding records came from the Bungay area where there were 13 territories around the town itself, six on nearby Outney Common and a further five singing males nearby at Ilketshall St. Margaret, and from the Sizewell Estate which held 136 pairs, an increase of H on the 2001 figure. The North Warren/Aldringham/River Hundred Winter Wrens at North Warren/Aldringham Rived Hundred (breeding pairs) complex population improved yet 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 again to 379 pairs, representing an 215 304 318 332 379 increase of 76% since 1998. 111


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 During October, Landguard Observatory ringed 28 new birds up to the 23rd, indicative of birds moving through the site. HEDGE ACCENTOR (DUNNOCK) Prunella modularis Very common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. Very few records were received of this ubiquitous species, although an albino bird present during January at Halesworth was an interesting observation. During the spring and summer, 37 pairs bred on the Sizewell Estate and eight breeding territories were held around the town of Bungay. The Lackford Constant Effort Site revealed a fairly healthy population, with 20 adults and 27 juveniles trapped and ringed in the quite small area of scrub in which the ringing activities are concentrated. This compares with Lackford's ten-year average of 15 adults and 27 juveniles. In contrast with the previous species, the Hedge Accentor population at North Warren appears to be fairly stable over the five-year period. Hedge Accentors at North Warren/Aldringham The only significant record of River Hundred (breeding pairs) autumn passage came from Thorpe1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 229 300 264 265 236 ness Common, where an impressive 300 birds were present on October 13th. Landguard Observatory ringed 43 new birds during September and October. ALPINE ACCENTOR Prunella collaris Accidental After a wait of over a century for this species to return to the county, it now takes on the status of a number 29 bus, with two inside two years. This bird originally favoured the sluice at Minsmere, before transferring to the ruined abbey on the Levels, paralleling the 2000 Corton bird's liking for ecclesiastical buildings. It was much-admired during its fourday stay. Minsmere: Levels, March 16th to 19th. (RSPB, R.Connor et al.)

EUROPEAN ROBIN Erithacus rubecula Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor The continuing run of mild winters is probably 1998 1999 2000 2002 helping this species to increase its numbers 2001 229 297 285 356 380 within the county. This is graphically illustrated by the table, which shows the numbers of territorial birds found during five-years' census work at North Warren. The SWT Estate at Sizewell held a total of 84 territories and 28 juveniles were trapped during Constant Effort Site (CES) ringing at Lackford Lakes, which is well above the ten-year average of 18 juveniles and probably indicates a good breeding season locally. An unusual record came from Minsmere, where three Robins were seen mobbing a Muntjac Deer in wet woodland near the visitor centre on February 24th. Signs of autumnal migration were evident at Lowestoft in October when "large numbers arrived early month and seemed to be everywhere on 12th", and at Thorpeness Common where 200 were present on October 13th. The monthly ringing totals at Landguard suggest a sizeable movement of birds through the site, with 35 new birds ringed in September, 98 in October and 16 in November. The highest-day counts at Landguard were 45 on October 10th and 40 on 21st. 112


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COMMON NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. Amber list. The first singing birds were reported jointly at Dunwich and Minsmere on April 3rd, which equals the earliest-ever recorded in Suffolk, which was on April 3rd 1991 at Market Weston. The next record came from Layham on April 6th with the main influx occurring during mid to late April. Confirmation of successful breeding was hard-to-come-by, with the only certain record from Reydon, where a pair raised two young. At Lackford Lakes there were indications of a successful season. Nightingale territories were widely reported within the county from 25 sites with some of the major strongholds listed below: Walberswick: 60 territorial males, down from 100 in 1999 but still well up on numbers in the mid19908. Minsmere: 22 singing males.

North Warren: 48 territories. Hadleigh Railway Walk: nine singing males. Lackford Lakes: six singing males on May 2nd. Long Melford: five singing males on May 5th.

Post-breeding, this shy and elusive bird was last reported at Lackford Lakes on July 27th. At Landguard a juvenile was trapped on July 31 st and additional singles were present there on August 16th and September 12th. BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. These five records constitute another above-average year for this species. The first bird reported from Orfordness on March 16th was of the white-spotted race cyanecula and equals the earliest-ever recorded in Suffolk (March 16th 1985, Barton Mills - also cyanecula). The second bird seen in May was of an undetermined race. Orfordness: Mar. 16th. (J.R.Askins); May 18th (D.Cormack).

Felixstowe Ferry: immature, Sep. 11th. (W.J.Brame). Landguard: singles on May 13th and Sep. 10th (Landguard B.O.).

BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus ochruros Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. Amber list. First-winter period reports came from Lake Lothing where a male was present January 2nd and again February 16th. Sizewell reported a female January 30th and February 2nd. Spring migration was light with records from Blythburgh, a female March 16th; Sizewell three females March 29th;Easton Bavents, a male March 29th and Landguard, where birds were recorded on 14 dates between March 12th and April 25th, with a maximum of four on March 16th. Breeding was proven at Sizewell where three females were noted, March 24th and three juveniles seen, July 21st and Landguard, where a juvenile was present July 25th. It is also possible that breeding took place at Lowestoft where a pair was noted May 12th. Males were also seen and heard at Oulton Broad May 31st, Gisleham May 20th, Minsmere April 5th and Ipswich Wet Dock May 6th. Outside of the recognised breeding areas reports came from Minsmere July 27th, August 26th and 28th, which may relate to birds from the nearby Sizewell site. Autumn dispersion and migration saw records from Kirkley Cemetery, Lowestoft, October 13th and Shingle Street September 23rd and October 31st. Landguard reported birds on ten dates between October 3rd and November 7th, with a peak count of three on October 31 st and November 2nd. 113


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 During the second-winter period reports came from Lowestoft North Denes between November 1st and 3rd, with a pair present at Shingle Street November 21st. A report also came from Woodhall, Shottisham, November 3rd with the final report of the year from Felixstowe Dock, December 4th. COMMON REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus Uncommon summer visitor and common passage migrant. Amber list. Spring migration was recorded during April in the coastal belt with the first noted at Dunwich Heath on April 1 st. Landguard logged birds on nine dates between April 20th and May 20th. Breeding territories were located at Walberswick (4), Minsmere (6) and Hollesley (3) with possible territories in the Breck at Berner's Heath and Lakenheath Warren. Autumn migration was first noted at Landguard, August 7th, followed by two at Southwold, August 27th and two at Thorpeness, August 31 st, with the main, rather light, autumnal movement recorded in September with peak counts from: Corton: six, Sep. 10th. Southwold: two, Sep.21st and 22nd. Aldringham: three, Sep. 11th. Orfordness: two, Sep.lOth. Felixstowe Ferry: five, Sep.9th. Landguard reported passage on 30 dates from August 7th through to October 18th, but with no more than three birds on any day. A late individual was recorded well inland at Thetford Heath, September 19th and the last sightings of the year came from Landguard and Thorpeness Common on October 18th. WHINCHAT SaxĂ­cola rubetra Common passage migrant and uncommon summer visitor. A rather light spring influx was reported with the first bird noted at Dunwich Heath, April 12th, followed by two at Havergate Island on 17th, Landguard and Aldringham on 23rd and Walberswick and Minsmere on 24th. Inland only one bird was reported, at Lakenheath Fen, April 28th. There was a small peak of passage along the coast in the first two weeks of May, but no site recorded more than two. There were no confirmed reports of breeding within the county, but there was a summer record from Carlton Marshes, where a female was present June 2nd, and an early dispersing juvenile at Landguard on July 13th may have been bred in Suffolk. There was a trickle of migration down the coast in mid-August and then came an outstanding count of 39 from Orfordness on August 26th, which is the highest count in Suffolk since 1997 (43 at Dunwich, August 23rd). The following counts were logged during the main passage period to mid-September: Corton: ten, Sep.9th and 15, Sep.lOth. Gunton: four, Aug.26th. Southwold: ten, Sep. 11th. North Warren: five, Aug.28th. Orfordness: 39, Aug.26th and eight, Sep. 1st. Shingle Street: ten, Sep. 11th. Bawdsey: East Lane Lagoons, four, Sep.9th. Felixstowe Ferry: ten, Sep. 11th. Landguard: seven, Aug.29th; four, Sep.lOth. The final report of the year came from Dunwich Heath on October 6th. 114


Systematic List STONECHAT SaxĂ­cola torquata Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. This species was reported through the first-winter period from 12 sites within the coastal belt. Trimley Marshes Reserve was the best locality, recording four, January 2nd, three, February 2nd and six, March 6th. In the same period the Breck reported singles from seven sites with a maximum of three at Cavenham Heath NNR on March 11th. During the spring at least 40 pairs were located at eight coastal sites, with a further six pairs found at three sites in Breckland. Productivity seemed to be quite good; four of the five pairs at North Warren were successful and the two pairs at Dingle Marshes raised a minimum of three young per nest. Dispersing juveniles were found at Landguard on August 1 st and Lavenham on September 21 st. P o s t - b r e e d i n g g a t h e r i n g s w e r e n o t e d at t h e f o l l o w i n g sites: Corton: four, Aug.29th. Gunton: four, Aug.28th. Lowestoft: North Denes, four, Aug.29th.

Dunwich Heath: ten, Oct. 18th. Sizewell: nine, Aug.27th.

Aldeburgh: seven, Oct. 10th. Felixstowe Ferry: four, Sep.5th. Two females were present at Long Melford on October 17th and the best counts from the second-winter period came from Orfordness, nine, November 24th; Felixstowe Ferry, four, November 2nd, Trimley Marshes, six, December 28th and inland at Lakenheath Fen, ten, November 24th. NORTHERN WHEATEAR

Oenanthe

oenanthe

Common passage migrant. Uncommon summer visitor. The first of the spring came from Breckland at Cavenham Heath NNR, March 12th, with a pair seen at the same site, March 17th. The first reports from the coast were of two at Orfordness and a single at Landguard on March 16th, followed a week later by a male at Kessingland on 23rd. Migration continued on the coast in small numbers until the end of May. Landguard's main passage was from April 24th to May 8th, with a total of 237 bird/days logged during this period and peak counts of 32 on May 1st and 3rd. Data collected by ringers at Landguard indicated that the majority of birds trapped from April 20th onwards were of the Greenland race O.o.leucorhoa. Other noteworthy counts were from Southwold 11, May 1st and Aldringham, nine, May 3rd. The last spring migrant was noted at Minsmere, May 29th. There were no reports of breeding within the coastal belt although a juvenile seen at North Warren Beach on July 1st might have been of local origin. In the Breck, an adult and juvenile were seen at Tuddenham Heath, August 14th. A trickle of migration appeared during the second and third week of August with peak counts of ten at Southwold August 10th and seven at Shingle Street, August 20th. There was then a strong passage from early to mid-September, particularly in the north-east of the county, when the following counts were logged: Corton: The cumulative total for counts between Corton and Lowestoft from Sep. 1 st to 29th was 412, with peaks of 78, Sep. 12th and 112, Sep. 13th (R.Wincup).

Lowestoft: 25, Sep. 12th. Kessingland: 20, Sep. 15th. Sizewell: 18, Sep.lOthand 11th and 13, Sep.l3th.

Thorpeness: 12, Sep. 14th. Felixstowe Ferry: 19, Sep.5th. 115


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2002

Landguard: Recorded from July 24th to Oct. 14th, with a total of 238 bird/days during this period. The peak day-count was 18 on Sep. 1 Oth. A late inland record came from Foxhole Heath on October 5th, with the final reports of the year coming from Minsmere, October 23rd and Orfordness, October 26th. RING OUZEL Turdus torquatus Fairly common passage migrant. Red list. A male seen on Dunwich Heath on March 18th is the earliest in Suffolk since one at Landguard on March 18th 1991 and heralded a good spring for this species with a total of about 17 individuals. Other early reports included one at Landguard, March 24th; a male at Southwold, April 3rd; two males at Minsmere, April 4th and a male at Sizewell, April 3rd. There were two more at Dunwich, April 1 Ith and Minsmere recorded another two males from April 26th to 28th. Santon Downham provided the only inland sighting with two on April 18th and the last spring record came from Minsmere, May 25th.

Ring Ouzels and Thrushes on Dunwich Heath Mark Cornish

Autumn migration got underway with a single bird at Landguard, September 12th, with the rest of the records all coming in October and coinciding with falls of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes. Recorded from 12 sites and the peak observations came from: Gunton: four, Oct.lรณth. Southwold: five, Oct.lรณth. FIELD N O T E Dunwich Heath: ten, Oct.l6th. A male Ring Ouzel was seen in flight with a flock of 40 Orfordness: six, Oct.l7th. Fieldfares over Ashby on April 21 st. Was this a migrant heading back across the North Sea to Scandinavia? The final record came from Ricky Fairhead Landguard on October 30th. C O M M O N BLACKBIRD Turdus merula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Notable gatherings during the first-winter period were reported from Holton, 100, February 4th and Combs Lane WM, 112, January 6th. Five-year breeding season survey results of territories from North Warren RSPB reserve 116


Systematic List indicate a fluctuating, but probably fairly 1999 2000 2001 2002 1998 stable, population. 159 228 194 196 179 Thirty territories were counted around the town of Bungay and there were at least 37 breeding pairs on the SWT Sizewell Estate. Few other breeding records were submitted. Late a u t u m n saw the expected influx o f Continental birds along the coast f r o m m i d October o n w a r d s with peak counts c o m i n g from:

Gunton: 67, Nov. 11th. Sizewell Common: 40, Oct. 18th. Thorpeness Common: 100, Oct.l3th and 200, Nov.l 1th. Orfordness: 75, Oct. 19th. Felixstowe: Peewit Hill, 30, Oct. 12th. Landguard: 224 new birds ringed during October and 267 in November. The peak day-count was 120, Nov. 1st.

The only noteworthy flock during the second-winter period came from Stonham Aspel on December 30th, when 50 were seen feeding on apples. FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. It was pleasing to find large flocks still in the coastal belt during the first-winter period, with peak counts from Westleton, 1000, January 2nd and Sudbourne, 1400, January 12th. Inland concentrations were from Euston Park, 300, February 24th; Pipps Ford, 1205, March 9th; Kentwell Hall, 336, February 24th and 1500 in orchards at Holton, February 4th. Pre-migration flocks were noted from Westleton, 250, March 8th; Sizewell, 100, March 26th; Euston Park, 220, March 30th and Long Melford, 120, March 16th. During April the last remnants of the winter period were well recorded with maxima noted at Ashby, 40, April 21st; Minsmere, 120, April 13th and 128, April 15th and Foxhole Heath, 60, April 2nd. The last record came from Great Livermere on April 23rd. The first returning birds were reported from Landguard September 9th and Minsmere September 26th. Autumn migration was unusually low-key with few reports of flocks of any notable size. At Landguard the maximum count for the autumn was only 63 south and 12 present at the reserve on November 1st. During the second-winter period the highest counts came from: Felixstowe Ferry: 133, Nov.9th. Holbrook Bay: 114, Oct.25th. Stowupland: 106, Nov.22nd. Stonham Aspal: 1000 feeding on fallen apples, Dec.8th (see Common Blackbird).

Long Melford: 224, Dec.28th. West Stow: 250, Nov.9th. SONG THRUSH

Turdus

philomelos

Common but declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. The results of five years' survey work at North Warren are encouraging and show an increase in the population over this period. Note that there is approximately one Song Thrush territory for every six Common Blackbird territories at this site. Other reports of breeding activity included 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 at least five pairs in Bungay, 22 pairs in the 20 30 24 37 33 Walberswick/Dunwich Forest area (23 pairs in 1999), three pairs on the SWT Sizewell Estate and five pairs at Boxford. 117


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2002

Inland at Lackford Lakes ten new birds were trapped and ringed on September 28th. During October a steady passage took place with a number of coastal sites recording high numbers. These falls also coincided with a large influx of Redwing in mid-October. The highest counts were received from: Lowestoft: 150, Oct. 10th. Southwold: 100, Oct.7th. Thorpeness Common: 150, Oct.l3th. Orfordness: 122, Oct 16th. Shingle Street: 35, Oct. 14th. Landguard: the main period of passage was from Oct.6th to 22nd with 211 bird/days recorded and 80 new birds ringed. REDWING Tardus iliacus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. There were few reports of any sizeable flocks in the first winter period other than 60 at Westleton, January 2nd, 50 at Holton, February 4th, 200 at Shottisham Creek, January 21st and 100 at Shelterhouse Corner, January 17th. On February 14th a male Redwing was in full song in Sotterley Park (S.Howell). Pre-migration flocks faired a little better with maximum counts from Sizewall, 60, March 26th, Pipps Ford, 300, March 16th, Combs Lane W M , 180, March 13th, Kentwell Hall, 224, February 24th and Lackford Lakes, 50, March 13th. A sprinkling of records came during April with five at Dunwich, April 11th, nine at Minsmere, April 13th and singles at Peewit Hill, April 9th and Long Melford April 13th. The last sighting of the spring came from Reydon, with four on April 18th. The first birds of the autumn were two at Landguard on September 10th, but no more were reported until early October. Strong migration was evident by the second week of October and this peaked on the Suffolk coast on 16th, when the sites listed recorded a substantial influx: Southwold: "thousands flying west". F I E L D N O T E An adult Redwing trapped and ringed at Dunwich on Dunwich Heath: 2500 south in 1.5 July 27th was in full moult and was thought to have hours. over-summered in the county (Sir A.Hurrell). This is North Warren: 1500 south. the first July record in Suffolk since 1978 (Minsmere), Shingle Street: 300 but the only proven record of over-summering in the Landguard: 900 in off the sea. county occurred in 1977, when an injured bird was A second influx was noted in present in Christchurch Park, Ipswich between May late October and early November 17th and September 9th, in the southern coastal belt with Philip Murphy maximum counts from Woodhall, Shottisham, 100, November 3rd, Felixstowe Ferry, 133, November 9th, Landguard, 154, November 1st and Holbrook Bay, 83, October 25th. MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. Birds were noted singing in several areas at the very beginning of the year. At Hengrave Hall four pairs bred, with the first young being fed as early as late March. There were three pairs at Outney Common and three also on the SWT Sizewell Estate. At the North Warren reserve there were 31 pairs and the population there has almost doubled from the 16 pairs found on the 1998 survey. In Brettenham village a pair fledged two broods from the same nest in a pyracantha. The first brood in May was fed on worms and insects. The second brood hatched in late June 118


Systematic

List

during a dry spell and the parents commuted 400 metres to collect cherries to feed the young. Over 300 discarded cherry stones were counted over a three-day period (D.and M.Carter). Post-breeding flocks were noted from: Mlnsmere: 23, Jun.l3th. North Warren: 25, Jun.l5th. Foxhole Heath: 16, Aug.28th. Long Melford: 12, Aug. 1st. Landguard detected a slight autumn movement, with totals of four south, six present on the reserve and three in off the sea between October 7th and November 11th. FIELD NOTE On July 26th in a Pakenham garden, a flock of eight Mistle Thrushes descended on a large Rowan tree with ample fruit and stripped off every berry by July 29th. This tree has orange berries which mature early. Later on, a second Rowan in the same garden, which has red fruits which mature later, and a Holly tree 20 metres away, were defended by a single Mistle Thrush from early October onwards. It dashed between the two trees, chasing off any thrush species which came near and had cleared both of berries by mid-December. Malcolm Wright CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. North Cove: Jun.2nd. Oulton: Dec. 1st; Fisher Row/Oulton Marshes, seven, Mar.29th. Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, Mar. 13th Carlton Colville: two, Mar.31st; Carlton Marshes, three Apr.21st; four, May 9th; five, Jun.2nd; two, Jun.23rd; four, Nov.28th; Dec.27th; White Cast Marshes, three, Jun.2nd. South Cove: Cove Bottom, May.20th. Frostenden: several dates in April. Reydon: Mar.31st to May 15th. Walberswick: Hoist Covert, Mar.31st to May 31st. Dingle Marshes: seven trapped and ringed between August and October; first-winter, Aug.29th; first-winter, Sep. 11th; adult, Sep. 17th; first-winter, Sep. 19th; adult, Sep.28th; first-winter, Sep.30th; first-winter, Oct.31st. Minsmere: Present throughout the year with monthly maxima as follows; two in January, three in February, six in March, up to 14 breeding birds (five males and nine females) between April and June, three in August and September, five in October and November and seven in December. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell SWT Estate, Mar.25th; four breeding pairs between April and June. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe/Aldeburgh: North Warren, Mar.21st; Sluice Cottage, Feb.8th; The former is the first reserve record since the 1980s. Snape: Abbey Farm, Nov.26th. Martlesham: Martlesham Heath, Apr. 16th to Jun.25th. Singing near the "BT roundabout". Trimley Marshes: Apr.24th. After last year's slightly disappointing totals, it is good to be able to report the above improved figures, which show about 33 regularly-singing males. The numbers present in the north-east of the county are much improved, as are those at the other main area of concentration between Dunwich and Sizewell. COMMON GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella naevia Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. A early arrival at Minsmere on April 3rd was the first to be reported in 2002. It was followed by singles in the west at Stradishall Airfield on 7th and Cavenham Heath on 14th. By April 16th there were six 'reeling' birds at Minsmere, plus one at Dunwich Heath, with 119


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 others found at North Warren (19th), Lackford Bridge (21st), Sizewell and Butley Creek (24th) and Market Weston Fen (26th). It is pleasing to report that the number of territorial birds noted during May and June was considerably better than in 2001, and more like the numbers observed in 2000. In total, 30 different 'reeling' males were reported from ten widespread sites, including increased totals for the west. Minsmere recorded a small increase in the breeding population with nine territories found, compared with eight in 2001. Numbers were stable at North Warren where there were four territories. Additionally, five territories were found in the Walberswick and Dunwich Forest area, three at Lakenheath Washes, two at Market Weston Fen and three along the River Lark near Temple Bridge, Icklingham/Cavenham Heath. Later in the year there were August records from Orfordness (10th) and Cavenham (11th), then finally, birds noted in September at Minsmere (8th) and Landguard (12th and 13th). S E D G E W A R B L E R Acrocephalus

schoenobaenus

Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The county's earliest-ever bird was found at Minsmere on March 22nd, beating the previous earliest-ever, which occurred on March 24th, 1990, also at Minsmere. Numbers there then increased to three by 31 st. Into April, and, as expected, records began to increase during the first week or so. Birds at Lackford Lakes and the Nunnery Lakes, Thetford on 3rd, three at Trimley Marshes on 5th, Carlton Marshes on 6th and Levington Creek and North Warren on 8th being some of the earlier 'first dates'. Yet again, the breeding season reports were highly conflicting. Just 89 singing males were found at Minsmere, which would seem to indicate a disastrous drop in numbers when compared with the 142 found there in 2001. North Warren, however, reported its highest breeding population ever with 126 territories (up from 112 in 2001)! Elsewhere, 135 territories were present at Walberswick/Dunwich Forest (down a little when compared with the last available total of 141 in 1999), 35 at the Sizewell Estate (down from 41 in 2001) and an impressive 144 pairs located at the RSPB's new Lakenheath Fen reserve. Twentynine singing males were present at Lackford Lakes on May 2nd, which would appear to indicate a decent population, although the figures recorded during the CES ringing sessions told a different story; a poor year, probably related to habitat change in the catching area, but possibly suggesting an overall decline in numbers returning to the site. An interesting observation came from Boxford where two singing birds were found after an absence of ten years. There were a number of September records this year; two at North Warren on 7th, Landguard on 8th, Trimley Marshes on 14th, one trapped and ringed at the Nunnery Lakes, Thetford on 17th and, the last of the year, at Minsmere on 20th. M A R S H W A R B L E R Acrocephalus

palustris

Rare migrant. Red list. After several encouraging years, 2002 proved a disappointment for this species in Suffolk, with just a single singing bird present at Thorpeness on May 10th, the earliest-ever recorded in the county (R.Marsh & L.Woods). Let us hope that this is a temporary 'blip' and that numbers continue to increase in future years. E U R A S I A N R E E D W A R B L E R Acrocephalus

scirpaceus

Common sumiher visitor and passage migrant. Minsmere again hosted the first bird of the year, with an early arrival on April 8th. Other 120


Systematic

List

April reports followed from Lackford Lakes on 19th (and 26th), North Warren on 21st and Walberswick on 22nd, before the more-usual May arrivals. All the well-monitored sites in the east of the county recorded (generally) small decreases in their breeding populations during 2002. Whether these reductions were the result of unsuitable climatic conditions during the summer months, or other more general factors is unknown. Although 145 territories were located at North Warren, numbers there have declined by 22% since 1998, and although the species is still widespread across the main wetland areas of the site, numbers have dropped dramatically along the grazing marsh dykes. At Minsmere, a total of 479 singing males was recorded, down on the 507 last year, but still well up on the 346 in 2000. At the nearby Sizewell Estate, 25 breeding pairs were found, down on the 33 in 2001. In the west of the county, Lackford Lakes reported a significant increase in breeding numbers in line with the increase in suitable reedbed habitat on the reserve, the numbers trapped and ringed suggesting a very good breeding season. Not far away, the RSPB's Lakenheath Fen reserve held an excellent total of 355 breeding pairs, showing what a difference a change in habitat management can make. Birds appeared to have timed their departures a little later than usual this year (or perhaps they were coming in from the east!), with records during October coming from 14 widespread locations (most occurring between 1 Oth to 14th). The last of these was one seen at Corton on October 16th. A bird found at Felixstowe Ferry on September 27th was considered to be showing characteristics of the race 'fuscus', now often commonly known as Caspian Reed Warbler (W.J.Brame). This race breeds from Turkey eastwards and may merit specific status. With large numbers breeding in relatively cióse proximity to our región, it may well turn up on our east coast at frequent intervals and is worth considering during periods of easterly winds during the autumn. ICTERINE WARBLER Hippolais Scarce passage migrant. Amber list.

icterina

Lowestoft: Belle Vue Park, Sep.l4th and 15th (J.Wylson, R.Fairhead. et al.). Blythburgh: Blythburgh Heath, male singing for one hour, May 30th (D.J.Pearson). Dunwieh: trapped and ringed, Jun.óth (Sir A.Hurrell). Sizewell: Sep.lOth (M.L.Cornish). Thorpeness: Sep.8th (D.Walsh et al.) Boyton: present in observers' garden, Aug.l7th (G.Lowe, B.Williamson).

Shingle Street: Sep.23rd (N.Mason). Felixstowe: Landguard, trapped and ringed, Jun.7th (J.Zantboer).

The best year since 1995, when there were also eight records. The three spring birds are the first since those of 1994 and are most welcome. DARTFORD WARBLER Sylvia undata Uncommon local resident. Scarce visitor Amber list. The year 2002 saw this species continué its increase in both numbers of breeding pairs and sites used. As can be seen from the table below, the main concentration is still very much centred on the core area of Dunwieh and Westleton Heaths, although the small outlying population on the southern heaths around Hollesley and Sutton both managed increases, and the Walberswick area was colonised by new breeding pairs. This spread is most encouraging and will hopefully result in the species eventually inhabiting all suitable areas along the coastal strip, thus reducing its dependence on any one location. 121


Suffolk Birci Report

Site Dunwich Heath, NT Minsmere, RSPB Westleton Heath, RSPB Westleton Heath NNR, EN Aldringham Walks, RSPB North Warren RSPB Walberswick Common SWT Walberswick Common EN Walberswick NNR EN Sutton Common, SWT Hollesley Common, SWT Totais

2002

Breeding Pairs (Unattached males) 2002 2001 20(1) 17 4 5 12 II 6 6 4 4(1) 1 0 2 2 1 0 0 4 1 2 2 4 61 (1) 47(1)

Away from the breeding sites, there were reports from Corton MOD compound (October 13th), Gunton beach (September 28th to November 9th), Southwold (juvenile, September 4th to 11th; male, September 5th and 6th) and Sizewell beach (February 17th to March 9th and a male, September 28th). The Gunton bird is of particular interest, being the first seen in the Lowestoft area since 1884! BARRED WARBLER Sylvia nisoria Scarce passage migrant. With perhaps as many as seven different birds located during the early-autumn period, this was another good year for Barred Warblers in Suffolk, although not quite up to last year's record-breaking total. Gorleston-on-Sea: Golf Course, Sep.4th (I.Smith). Dingle Marshes: Little Dingle Hill, first-winter, trapped and ringed, Aug.21st to 24th (A.Howe, D.J.Pearson). Minsmere: Aug.31st to Sep.2nd (RSPB, R.Drew); Sep.8th (RSPB); Sep.23rd (RSPB, G.Welch). A probable 'immature' reported on Aug.30th was, most likely, the first bird listed. Orfordness: Aug.26th and 29th (M.Marsh, J.Askins, D.Cormack). Shingle Street: Oxley Marshes, first-winter, Sep.22nd (J Walshe).

The bird at Dingle Marshes had managed to increase its weight by more than 19%, from 26g to 3 lg, during its short stay, illustrating just how much the body weights of small migrants can change during these high energy-demanding periods of their lives. LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. A bird found at Trimley Lake on April 6th was the first of the year by some distance and the earliest in Suffolk since the county's earliest-ever on April 4th 1959. The next was found at Dunwich Heath on April 16th, before others followed at Minsmere and the Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, both on 19th. After a few other isolated April records, a small number of May sightings were reported. The North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks complex was again the most important site in the county for this species during the breeding season, with an impressive 51 territories (down on the 60 last year, but comparable to the 49 in 1999). The population was reported to be well-spread across the reserve. Other breeding reports came from Minsmere, with eight singing males found in a partial survey, Walberswick, with 16 territorial males (18 during the last reported survey of 1999) and Hadleigh, where 122


Systematic

List

numbers were reported to be 'higher than last year', with 20 territories being found at various sites around the town. Although there are relatively few comparable data, numbers appeared fairly stable. This may not have resulted in good productivity though, as shown at Lackford Lakes where, for the first time in 11 years, no juveniles were caught during CES ringing. Some impressive autumn numbers were reported from coastal sites during the first half of September with, for example, 20 at Aldringham Common and Walks on 1st, followed by 30 there on 11th, 25 on Dunwich Heath on 8th and ten each at both Sizewell and Thorpeness on 10th. Smaller numbers were recorded at various widespread sites throughout the month. A total of six birds was found in October; Orfordness on 3rd, Minsmere on 5th, Landguard on 7th, 11th and 13th and Dunwich Heath on 13th. COMMON WHITETHROAT Sylvia communis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A bird found at Aldringham Common and Walks on April 12th led this year's spring influx. The next was not noted until 18th, when one was located at Minsmere. This was the start of the main arrival, with singles being reported from both Dingle Marshes and Long Melford on 19th, before there were numerous and widespread records over the following week. Quite high numbers must have moved in during this time as shown by the six present at Long Melford on 22nd (just three days after the first there) and six singing males at Lowestoft North Denes on 28th. The numbers of breeding reports received would appear to indicate that the species continues to do quite well in the county (or at least on the monitored sites!). North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks again held very good numbers with 426 territories (down on the high of 452 last year, but still well up on previous totals). The Walberswick and Dunwich Forest area also did well with 162 territories, an increase on the last reported total of 143 in 1999. The Sizewell Estate held 28 pairs, whilst at nearby Minsmere, 41 singing males were found, which is well down on the 62 found in 2001, but perhaps a result of a partial survey. A minimum of 92 pairs were found at Lakenheath Fen. The only high count of the autumn was of 30 at Benacre F I E L D N O T E On June 8th, a male at Long Melford was seen singing Denes on August 30th. After this, 20 metres into a crop of beans and was thought to be numbers appeared to decrease breeding there. Perhaps this species can use this crop rapidly with sightings coming in the way that it (and other species) sometimes uses from just six sites in September oilseed rape crops in which to breed. (all in the east, apart from one at D.K.Underwood Lackford Lakes on 3rd), and including ten at Sizewell on 10th and the last of the year, at Landguard on 27th. GARDEN WARBLER Sylvia borin Common summer visitor and passage migrant. After last year's near-miss, a bird found at Alton Water on the extraordinarily early date of April 3rd, overtook the one at Walsham-le-Willows on April 4th, 1974 to become the earliest ever county record (L.Woods). As with last year's first arrival, this bird was way ahead of anything that followed it, the next sighting not occurring until one was found at Barnhamcross Common on April 15th. Even this bird was still well in front of most others, the majority of sites not reporting birds until the final third of the month, or else into early May. North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks continued to dominate the position 123


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 of number one area in Suffolk for breeding Garden Warblers, with an excellent 154 territories found during the summer; an increase on the 143 there last year. However, this appeared to be one of the very few pieces of good news for this species during the year. Although Wolves Wood recorded a small increase in breeding numbers with nine singing maies, compared with eight in 2001, everywhere else reported very gloomy figures or comments. For example, at Minsmere, 24 singing maies were found in a partial survey (down from 33 last year), the Walberswick and Dunwich Woods area held 59 territories (well down on the last recorded total of 85 there in 1999) and disaster struck at the Sizewell Estate, where just eight breeding pairs were found, compared with 23 in 2001. The west fared no better with Lackford Lakes recording their worst-ever figures during the CES ringing there; just eight adults and four juveniles were trapped, compared with the site's ten-year averages of 14 adults and 13 juveniles. An observer at nearby West Stow also reported a 'poor year for this Sylvia'. Perhaps the report of up to 11 singing birds found around Layham, near Hadleigh might indicate that the species is faring better in the wider countryside, although this would seem unlikely as large tracts of Suffolk appear quite unsuitable for it. After the customary scattering of September sightings (including six at Southwold on 14th), three were seen in October (Gorleston on 21st, Aldringham Common and Walks on 13th and Orfordness on 20th), before one was found at Shingle Street on the very late date of November 3rd. Even though this species may, at present, be struggling with its breeding fortunes, it does seem to be doing its utmost to remain with us for as much of the year as possible! BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Reports of overwintering birds were very few and far between during the first two months of the year with records coming from just the following five sites, ali in the east of the county: Beccles: Jan.26th to Mar. I3th, maie feeding on fat ball in observer's garden. Oulton: Fisher Row, Jan.30th. Woodbridge: Jan.21st. Alton Water: two, Feb.21st, Trimley St Mary: Jan.29th, female in observer's garden. Single birds at Stoke-by-Nayland on March 4th and Long Melford on March 10th were possibly early migrants or locally-wintering birds. The first 'real' spring migrants appeared to arrive around the last week of March and the first week of Aprii, a period when many widespread sites recorded their first birds of the year. Monitoring studies during the summer months showed some conflicting evidence for the species' breeding populations in the county. At the North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks complex a fairly stable total of 105 territories was found, compared with 113 in 2001, with the moist woodland around the main reedbed proving particularly attractive. The Walberswick and Dunwich Forest area, where the largest monitoredpopulation exists, held a total of 161 territories (compared with the last reported total of 173 in 2000), whilst nearby, a partial survey of Minsmere found 30 singing maies (a large decrease on the 46 found in 2001 - possibly an artefact of differing survey areas?). Elsewhere, the Sizewell Estate contained 31 breeding pairs (a large increase on the 19 there in 2001), 16 were present in Wolves Wood and 14 were along the Hadleigh Railway Walk. An interĂŤsting insight came from Lackford Lakes where the CES ringing produced perhaps the most telling report of the breeding season; a total of 20 adults and 43 124


Systematic

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juveniles was trapped and ringed, compared with the ten-year average of 16 adults and 58 juveniles. Interestingly, there was no sign of any late-season influx of juveniles there. Autumn passage was again very light to almost non-existent. A small movement was evident during the second week of October, peaking with ten at Corton on 13th and five at both Thorpeness Common (9th) and Dunwich Heath (12th). Otherwise, just twos and threes were the 'norm'. The few November reports may just relate to late migrants rather than birds intending to overwinter. There were just four reports as follows; two at Lowestoft on 3rd and a single male there on 20th, Thorpeness on 2nd and two (male and female) at Landguard on 25th. There were no reports during December. This relative lack of sightings during both winter periods is curious as milder winter temperatures might be thought to be conducive to higher winter numbers. PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus Rare visitor.

proregulus

Just two in 2 0 0 2 and both were 'one-dayers'. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, Oct.21st (M.L.Cornish).

Shingle Street: Nov. 1st (J.and P.Kennerley). YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus inornatus Scarce visitor.

V JL

J' f

lÂťJh

A respectable nine records for 2 0 0 2 are listed { as follows: y Corton: Sep.21st (A.Easton, J.Brown, J,Wright). C Lowestoft: Hubbard's Lane, Gunton, A \f Sep. 16th (J.Wright); Sep.26th (J.Brown, R.Fairhead); Gunton, Oct.7th (J.Brown). Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, Oct. 11th and 12th (D.Sutton, M.Cornish). Thorpeness: Common, Oct.23rd (D.Walsh etal.).

/

A %

T]1P| q S 1 wk. i

| * .A

Shingle Street: Oct. 19th and 20th (J.and P.Kennerley).

Felixstowe:

Oct.9th

and

10th

(P.Oldfield) a different bird, Landguard, Oct.8th to 10th and again on 12th (P.Collins, J.Zantboer et at.). The bird present in Hubbard's Lane, G u n t o n on September 16th is the earliest-ever for the Lowestoft area by one day and the earliest in the county since 1993.

Yellow-browed Warbler Mark Cornish

RADDES'S WARBLER Phylloscopus schwarzi Very rare visitor. The eleventh and twelfth county records. Orford: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, Oct.l2th and 13th (J.Askins, D.Cormack, M.C.Marsh); another trapped and ringed, 0ct.30th (J.Askins, D.Cormack, S.Piotrowski).

These two were late submissions to BBRC and are still subject to ratification. 125


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 DUSKY WARBLER Phylloscopus fuscatus Very rare visitor. The eighth to eleventh county records. Kessingland: Sewage works, Dec.30th to Jan.6th 2003 (D.Holman, J.Zantboer et al.). Thorpeness: Thorpeness Common, Oct. 10th (A.Botwright, P.Clack, R.Drew); Nov. 1st to 4th (D.Fairhurst, P.Kennerley et al.). Hollesley: Hollesley Bay, trapped and ringed Nov. 16th (P.Catchpole, R.Duncan).

The well-watched bird at Kessingland in December was a late submission to BBRC and is still subject to acceptance. After the two found last year, four this year means that more than half of the county's total records for Dusky Warbler have occurred in just two years. Either this species has suddenly become more common in Suffolk, or the county's birders are getting a lot better at finding them (or a bit of both). The annual occurrences for this species have been as follows: 1987 1

1991 1

1992 1

1997 1

1999 1

2001 2

2002 4

WOOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. Amber list. A respectable spring showing with the following eight records received: Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, singing, Apr.25th.

Benacre: singing. May 3rd. Easton: singing, May 22nd. Southwold: singing, Apr.24th.

Minsmere: Apr.24th and May 12th. Wolves Wood: May 14th West Stow: Country Park, singing, Apr.27th.

A bird found at Landguard on July 25th was an early return migrant. In a poor autumn just three later passage birds were found: Corton: two, Sep.21st and 22nd.

Easton: Sep. 10th. COMMON CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. In contrast with the 17 or more reported during the first two months of last year, there were just two reports from the same period this year; singles at Minsmere on February 16th and Beccles on February 23rd. There was a very obvious period of spring arrivals during mid-March this year, especially noticeable from 10th to 18th, when many sites recorded their first birds of the year. Although there were no sizeable 'falls' recorded during this time (the largest gathering being just seven on Orfordness on March 16th), this is not unexpected as birds generally seem to arrive over a wide front during spring movements. During the breeding season, reports were received from several of the larger reserves, mainly suggesting fairly stable populations, but with some fluctuations. The North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks complex held a total of 134 territories (similar to the 137 there in 2001). There were 23 singing males at Minsmere during a partial survey (40 in 2001 ), 52 breeding pairs were found on the Sizewell Estate (a large increase from the 25 there last year) and 150 territories were located in the Walberswick/Dunwich Forest area (very similar to the 147 there during 1999 - the last year for which figures are available). In addition, some very positive comments came from Lackford Lakes, where 126


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the CES ringing produced the highest-ever breeding season totals during the 11 years that the scheme has been in operation. A total of 14 adults and 57 juveniles was trapped, compared with 11 adults and 19 juveniles last year and the previous highest total of 42 juveniles in 1998. During late summer/early autumn, some sizeable post-breeding concentrations were reported from the west of the county with 50 at Lackford Lakes on August 23rd, 50 there again on August 26th and 70 there on September 3rd, along with a count of 25 at the Nunnery Lakes, Thetford on September 10th. The birds at Lackford Lakes on August 26th were part of a sudden "fall" of this species during the onset of mid-morning drizzle and low cloud, 28 of these being trapped and ringed. As with the spring migration, there was no obvious period of autumn migration on the coast, 11 at Landguard on September 12th being the highest single site-count. The last two months of the year produced a total of 16 reports from nine sites, including two birds at Lowestoft on November 3rd (including one 'eastern' bird - see below), two at North Warren on November 26th and three at Kessingland on December 30th. The only reports from the west of the county came from Long Melford where one was seen on December 7th, with this or another at the sewage works on December 15th and 24th. The following birds were reported as showing characteristics of one or more of the eastern races; Lowestoft: Flycatcher Lane, November 3rd; Warrenhouse Wood, Gunton, May 15th.

Shingle Street: Oct. 18th. Felixstowe: Landguard, two trapped and ringed May 8th.

WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Two sites recorded March arrivals this year; Minsmere on 29th, increasing to three there on 30th, and Knettishall Heath, also on 29th. Barnhamcross Common, Lackford Lakes and Haverhill floodpark then recorded birds on April 1st before migrants became more numerous and widespread. However, there did not appear to be any main period of influx. Some sites had recorded several birds before others had even received their first - e.g. nine were present at Elveden Warren on April 13th, whilst nearby West Stow Country Park did not receive its first migrant until April 14th. One thing that all sites shared in common with each other this year was the very poor numbers present throughout the breeding season. This general consensus of opinion is summed up by comments such as 'scarce this year' (Kedington), 'incredibly scarce, only a single male heard all spring' (Pakenham) and 'no longer common, and very late returning this year' (Sudbury Common Lands). More evidence of a poor season came from the breeding survey results from the well-monitored reserves where some dramatic declines were reported. For instance, at North Warren the number of territories located dropped from 101 in 2001 to 76 in 2002; 130 territories were found around the Walberswick and Dunwich Forest area (well down on the last reported total of 212 in 1999); just 23 singing males were present at Minsmere during a partial survey of the reserve (compared to 55 in 2001), whilst eight breeding pairs on the Sizewell Estate were also well down on the 14 there in 2001. The CES ringing results from Lackford Lakes were described as the 'worstever season' since the survey began, with just four adults and three juveniles trapped, compared with the ten year average of 12 adults and 17 juveniles. An additional breeding report concerned 14 territories at Outney Common. During early August, a 'fall' of birds occurred at a number of sites along the south coast of the county, with 30 at Havergate Island on 7th, 18 at Shingle Street on 8th and 40 at 127


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Landguard, also on 7th. Apart from 15 at Landguard on September 10th, this was the only period of notable migration, no other obvious passage being observed, and just a few sightings in September. Finally, one in Lowestoft Cemetery on November 4th (R.Wincup), is the latest in Suffolk since 1994 (November 16th, Fagbury Cliff). GOLDCREST Regulus regulus Very common resident and passage migrant. Very limited data were received on this species during 2002, which hopefully represents stability within the population, rather than a lack of birds to report. However, one observer at Lowestoft commented that they were 'not as regular these days'. There was no spring passage reported this year. The only record of note at this time referred to 17 birds at Elveden Warren on April 13 th. An unexpected reduction in the breeding numbers at North Warren resulted in just 22 territories being recorded, compared with 24 in 2002. In contrast, Minsmere recorded an increase in breeding numbers, a total of 36 singing males Goldcrest Mark Cornish being found, compared with 25 in 2002. The only other reports of confirmed breeding received related to a recently-fledged juvenile trapped and ringed at Lackford Lakes on June 7th and a family group in Lineage Wood, Long Melford on August 4th. Autumn passage would have been as uneventful as that in the Spring, were it not for the record of 50 birds at Thorpeness on October 13th. FIRECREST Regulus ignicapilla Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters irregularly. Amber list. A bird that was present at Sizewell from January to March, was reported to have been present all winter and was the only one found during the early part of the year. A marked spring passage then commenced from early to mid-March, peaking in the last week of that month with five at Minsmere on 28th. At least six were recorded on passage at Sizewell and five at Dunwich Heath. Spring records came from at least 14 sites (nearly all relating to singletons, although there appeared to be much changeover of birds) and continued until early May. Last year's good sequence of breeding-season records continued in 2002 with reports from four sites, three of which were in Breckland (Lackford Lakes, Mayday Farm and two at Santon Downham). Although all were short-stayers and there was no sign of breeding, it may have taken place undetected. In contrast with the previous autumn, a considerable autumn passage was witnessed. This began as early as August with small numbers recorded from the end of that month and throughout September. Numbers peaked around October 10th to 15th and movements continued during November. The peak numbers reported were as follows: Gorleston-on-Sea: five, Oct.l4th. Corton: five, Oct. 13th. Lowestoft: sevan in a single tree in Belle Vue Park, Oct. 15th; three, Oct. 12th and 14th; Gunton,

128


3. C o m m o n S w i f t : a n u n u s u a l s h o t o f o n e a t r e s t . Robin Chittenden (www.harlequinpictures.co.uk)

17

- A l p i n e A c c e n t o r : p h o t o g r a p h e d o n t h e o l d c h a p e l r u i n s at M i n s m e r e l e v e l s in March Mike Maipass


2 2 . S n o w B u n t i n g : a b i r d a t F e l i x s t o w e F e r r y in J a n u a r y .

BUI Bastai


Systematic

List

three, Oct. 12th.

Easton

Bavents:

three,

Oct. 13 th.

Southwold: 15, Oct. 13th,

\

including a group of nine in the Caravan Park. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, ten, Oct. 10th; seven, Oct. 12th; five, Oct. 13th.

\

Minsmere: three, Oct.9th; four, Oct. 10th and 11th.

Thorpeness: four, Oct. 12th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Common Walks, four, Oct. 12th.

: | % ||

i;ìì ;|â and

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Orfordness: eight, Oct. 11th. Havergate Island: five, Oct. 10th. Boyton: Boyton Oct.28th.

Marshes,

fj : Firecrest Mark Ferris

six,

Shingle Street: four, Oct. 11th; five, Oct. 12th; four, Oct. 13th. Felixstowe: seven, Oct.l2th; 11 around the Customs House, Oct.l3th; L a n d g u a r d six, Oct.lOth; seven, Oct. 12th; five, Oct. 13th and five, Oct. 18th. The Observatory ringed 17 birds during October.

Following these high autumn numbers, there were three sightings in December; a female at Minsmere on 27th and one at Sotterley Park on 14th and 27th. SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata Fairly common but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. A single bird at Minsmere on May 12th was the first reported in 2002 - a late arrival date by recent standards. This (or others) were also seen on May 16th, 17th, 22nd, 29th and 31 st. Other 'early' records involved one at Brettenham on May 16th, three at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford on 16th, two at Landguard on 18th and one at Orfordness on 18th. Several others were then found towards the end of the month. This appears to have been another good breeding season for Spotted Flycatchers with another increase in the number of sites reporting probable or confirmed breeding; 25, compared with 18 in 2001 and just 12 in 2000. Of these, Hengrave Hall experienced a 'good recovery' with the five nesting pairs there being the highest single-site total. Only three years ago (in 1999), this site held just one (failed) pair. Elsewhere, three family groups, totalling 11 birds, were found at Long Melford whilst two pairs were found at Boxford Cosford Hall, Hardwick Heath and Walberswick/Dunwich Forest. However, not all sites reported good news. At Walberswick/Dunwich Forest, the two pairs located were still only half of the four pairs there during 1999 and the species was said to have 'practically disappeared' from both Pakenham and Lavenham, with no breeding birds being found at either site. A total of 11 sites recorded birds on autumn passage during September, the largest count being of four at Lackford Lakes on 3rd. Migrants were logged between Corton and Lowestoft from September 1st to 21st, with a cumulative day-total of 14 birds, peaking at three on 10th. There was a late bird at Fagbury Cliff on September 29th and then the final records came from Landguard with singles on October 5th and 15 th. 129


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Ficedula parva Rare passage migrant. Three more records in 2002 bring the county total for this delightful species to 48. Lowestoft: Belle Vue Park, Sep. 14th (A.Easton, J.Brown et.al). Felixstowe: Landguard, Sep.lOth (L.Woods et al.)\ Sep. 15th (E.Marsh, J.Zantboer et al), to be different individuals.

considered

w i w

Red-breasted Flycatcher Mark Ferris

PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant. Following a non-existent spring passage in which no birds were recorded, a first-summer male was found at Brandon in June. It remained in the area for two or more weeks, but unfortunately did not manage to attract a mate. Autumn passage began quite lightly with a singleton at Havergate on August 3rd, followed by reports of ones and twos from 11 widespread coastal sites during the remainder of August. These peaked with three at Minsmere on 20th, 21st and 23rd, and three at Southwold on 29th. An interesting observation on August 25th involved a male feeding on rotten apples in a garden inland at Badingham. Although small numbers continued to be recorded along the length of the coast during September (reports coming from 16 sites), numbers increased very dramatically in the north of the county on September 10th, when a large 'fall' of birds occurred. The higher counts from this time are listed below: Hopton-on-Sea: 30, Potters Holiday Camp, Sep.lOth. Lowestoft: counts between Corton and Lowestoft peaked at 76 on Sep.lOth, dropping to 12 on

130


Systematic

List

Sep.l Ith and 11 on Sep.l2th (R.Wincup). Many more were thought to probably be present on lOth as not ail sites were searched. Southwold: nine, Sep.lOth.

Aldringham-cum-Thorpe/Aldeburgh: four, Sep. 12th. As is obvious, even from the small number of sites listed, the large numbers appeared simultaneously on a small length of coastline. Many birds were also recorded up into Norfolk and along the North Norfolk coast and Common Redstarts were also involved in the "fall". The counts of September lOth are the highest in Suffolk since the "Great Fall" of September 1965. In addition to the above, there was an unexpected count of seven from Freston on the Orwell Estuary on September 4th, at a time when few others were recorded in the south of the county. BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus Uncommon resident. Amber list. Another winter with no prolonged cold spells saw numbers of this reedbed specialist again increase. A total of 51 pairs bred at Minsmere (23 pairs in 2001, 35 in 2000, 32 in 1999). Walberswick NNR held its usuai 40-50 pairs and there were another 30-35 pairs on Benacre Broad NNR. North Warren again recorded a rise in breeding pairs to a new siterecord of 20 (14 in 2001, ten in 2000, six in 1999). The Hen Reedbeds also saw a very good rise to 12 pairs (three in 2001). An intriguing record of a pair with three young at Southwold boating lake on June 6th probably meant that breeding occurred at this busy site. In the first-winter period during January, five birds were at Ramsholt, two males were at Fisher Row in reeds by the R.Waveney, Minsmere held at least four birds and 12 were at Snape. A notable inland record came from Lakenheath Fen where a pair was seen on February 15th, which is an encouraging sign for the future.

Bearded Tit Mark Ferris

131


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Post-breeding records included 30 at Southwold on September 26th, 32 at Minsmere on September 28th, 40 at North Warren on October 17th and 15 on Orfordness on October 4th. Second-winter period records featured small groups at several coastal sites, including two birds at Easton Bavents feeding among bracken in a wood. The most notable seasonal records came from the west of the county, where eight were at Lakenheath Fen during November and December and a male at Lackford Lakes from October 24th to November 24th. Will birds be breeding in the expanding reedbeds in the west in the not-too-distant future? LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Breeding numbers at North Warren/Aldringham Walks dropped slightly to 48 pairs (55 pairs in 2001, 52 in 2000, 62 in 1999). Minsmere held 64 pairs and ten pairs were recorded at Sizewell Belts. This species regularly nests early and at Kessingland a complete, lined nest was built in brambles at the sewage works by March 26th and a bird was incubating on April 4th. Large flocks included a remarkable 80 at Dunwich Heath on October 12th, 30 at Weybread GP on December 5th and 22 at Crabtree Wood on January 13th. At West Stow a flock of up to 15 regularly visited a garden birdbath in late summer and autumn, while 11 reached Landguard Observatory on November 5th. MARSH TIT Parus palustris Fairly common resident. Red list. Records came from 27 sites across the county (31 in 2001). Pairs were present at 17 of these locations (17 in 2001) during the nesting period. At Sizewell Belts seven pairs bred and there were 15 pairs at nearby Minsmere (only five pairs in 2001). North Warren saw a welcome return of birds, with four pairs breeding after several years with no records. At Lackford Lakes one was singing on January 13th and a pair was watched nest building on April 3rd. There was thought to be a total of four pairs on the site. Later an adult and three juveniles were trapped during CES ringing in less-than-optimum scrub habitat (an above-average catch), which suggests the possibility of a good breeding season for this nationally declining species. At Knettishall Heath it was noted as "still common at this site" and at West Stow CP birds regularly came to the feeders. WILLOW TIT Parus montanus Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. Red list. This scarce species is easiest to find in the west of the county, where it was recorded from a total of nine sites during 2002. There were just three records from East Suffolk as follows: Walberswick NNR: two, Apr.7th. Minsmere: Oct. 17th. Sizewell: singing male, May 22nd.

It appears that a tiny population is still hanging on in the east. At Lackford Lakes males were singing at two different locations in March and April and breeding was confirmed when a juvenile was trapped during CES ringing operations on June 27th. Knettishall Heath CP recorded "several sightings" through the year. 132


Systematic

List

COAL TIT Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. As usual with this family group, the low number of just 12 (15 in 2001) countywide sites recording this species hugely underrepresents its true status. North Warren and Aldringham Walks saw a small decline to 42 pairs (55 in 2001). The majority of birds were located almost exclusively in coniferous areas of the reserves, with two pairs at Aldringham Walks using nestboxes to rear a total of 18 young. At Minsmere, 51 territories were recorded and Sizewell Belts held five pairs .The largest single site-count occurred at Elveden Warren, where 35 were present on April 13 th. The species Coal Tit Mark Cornish remains very common at all seasons throughout the coniferous forests of Breckland and the Sandlings. Two birds of the nominate Continental race Pa.ater were noted at Landguard on April 9th (Landguard B.O.).

BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. This species remains seriously under-recorded. Minsmere logged no less than 234 territories and Sizewell Belts had 32 breeding pairs. North Warren/Aldringham Walks held 140 pairs (170 in 2001), with 152 young fledging from 238 eggs in 24 nestboxes used. At Hengrave Hall, 28 young fledged from five nest boxes and at East Town Park, Haverhill, a high occupancy of boxes was noted, including one clutch of 13 eggs where all 13 young subsequently fledged. At Cosford Hall an abandoned chick that fell from a nest box was fostered into a brood of Great Tits and fledged successfully (A.Gretton). The only large flock reported was 50 at Dunwich Heath on October 12th. GREAT TIT Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant Breeding reports received from the usual small number of sites seem to show that this species is faring well. Minsmere recorded a total of 205 pairs and North Warren/ Aldringham Walks held a total of 165 pairs (176 in 2001). At this latter site 50 nest-boxes were used, with 410 eggs laid and 249 young fledged. Sizewell Belts breeding pairs totalled 42 and 13 territories were noted in Bungay. At Nowton Park, 115 young fledged from 18 nest-boxes; Hengrave Hall had seven occupied boxes resulting in 33 fledglings and at West Stow CP seven nest-boxes and a bat-box were used, while another pair nested in the side of the visitor centre. Some immigration was noted at Landguard in March, when ten new birds were ringed and there was an unusual movement of 12 south on 21st. Twenty-two new birds were also ringed at Landguard during September and October. 133


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

W O O D NUTHATCH Sitta europaea Fairly common resident. Reports came from 13 woodland locations with birds present at 11 of these sites during the breeding season. Nesting was confirmed at Hengrave Hall and West Stow CP with two pairs at each site. At West Stow CP one pair again nested in a box, with the other pair in a hole in a willow tree. The highest counts involved five at Sotterley Park (December 14th), three at Long Melford (October lOth) and three at West Stow CP (January 19th). Single birds present at Minsmere, August 25th and 26th and December 7th to 13th, were noteworthy and one at Leavenheath is the first in the area since 1995. EURASIAN TREECREEPER Certhiafamiliaris Common resident. Records were received from 20 sites throughout the county, with 16 of these recording birds in the breeding season. This c o m m o n but unobtrusive bird is certainly under-recorded. A male was in song on January 27th at North Warren where eight pairs bred (nine in 2001). Minsmere held 15 territories (13 in 2001) and Sizewell Belts four pairs (three in 2001). A good breeding season was suggested at Lackford Lakes, where four juveniles were trapped during CES ringing studies in less-than-optimum scrub habitat. Another bird in unfamiliar habitat was the one seen on Orfordness on September 16th, while one at Landguard on June 25th is only the fifth site record and the first since September 1997. r '' Treecreeper Mark Cornish

ELRASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus oriolus Rare summer resident and passage migrant. Amber list. The only records from the coast concerned two birds at Minsmere on June 12th, a iemale and a first-summer male. This is a late date for birds on passage but equally there is no suggestion that they were breeding. Birds were recorded in the poplar plantations at Lakenheath Fen from May 6th (a singing maie) onwards, with two pairs there into July (RSPB), which are believed to have bred. IISABELLINE SHRIKE Lantus isabellinus Accidentai. The following record has been re-assessed by BBRC and is now considered inadequately documented. Benacrc: Pits, immature, Aug.30th 1976-1 RED-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius collurio Scarce passage migrant; formerly bred. Red list. A total of ten records (nine in 2001 ), with just one in spring. Minsmere: female, Jun.5th. Autumn passage was noted as follows: Corton: MOD station, Sep.9th to 12th. Gunton: disused railway, juv., Aug.23rd. Southwold: adult female. Sep. 11 th. Minsmere: juvenile. Sep. 13th to 20th; juv., Sep.28th to Oct.3rd.

/ 134


Systematic List Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, juv., Sep. 10th to 12th. Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, Nov. 11th. The third latest ever in Suffolk. Bawdsey: Shingle Street, juv., Aug.27th to Sep. 1st. Landguard: adult female, Aug. 11th and 12th.

2001 Addition/Correction Lowestoft: Lake Lothing juv., Dec. 1st (Suffolk Birds 51:114) had been present since Nov.25th.

GREAT GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubitor Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. Five records make this the best annual total since 1998, but again involved no overwintering birds. Gunton: old railway, Oct. 12th and also seen around the golf course and cliff tops. This bird had three small but distinct black streaks on the fore crown. Westleton: Westleton Heath, Oct.24th to 26th. Minsmere: Levels, Oct. 10th to 12th; Heath, Oct. 24th to 26th (the same bird as on Westleton Heath); anotherNov 24th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, Oct. 9th to 12th (the same bird as at Minsmere Levels). Bawdsey: Shingle Street, Oct. 14th to 17th.

EURASIAN JAY Garrulus glandarius Common resident and scarce passage migrant. The breeding population at North Warren and Aldringham Walks continued its recovery to 21 pairs (20 in 2001 and just 14 in 2000). The only count in double figures involved 12 at Minsmere on October 18th. The sole report of immigration involved three in off the sea at Dunwich Heath on October 1 st, although other autumnal movements included eight at Corton on October 6th and eight at Gunton on October 7th flying north over the old railway track. At West Stow CP one was heard to mimic a Common Buzzard on September 15th, emphasising the latter's increased presence in the Breck. BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE Pica pica Very common resident. The highest counts received were: Lackford Lakes: 48, Mar.5th; 72, Dec.28th. Westleton: 60 on the heath, Feb.8th; 57, Oct.28th; 53, Dec.30th.

Minsmere: 57, Oct.29th. North Warren: 58, Jan.l4th; 61, Dec.l7th. Barking: Pipp's Ford, 76 roosting in a hedge, Feb.28th. Old Newton: 39 at Bridge Farm, Nov.5th.

There was a welcome decline in the breeding population to 45 pairs at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex from 54 pairs in 2001. Six pairs nested on the SWT Sizewell Estate. EURASIAN JACKDAW Corvus monedula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Several three-figure counts were reported but the only large count this year came from Ingham. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 320 on pig fields at Aldringham Walks, Dec.7th. Aldeburgh: 180 on the marshes at North Warren, Apr.lst. Cavenham Heath NNR: 550 in a pre-roost flock, May 29th. Ingham: 4000 with Rooks over pig fields, Aug.6th.

135


Suffolk Bird Report 2002 Breeding reports included a small increase at the North Warren and Aldringham complex to 30 pairs, including a recovery to 19 pairs at North Warren. One showing the characteristics of the eastern race (C.m.monedula) was at Carlton Colville on February 2nd (B.J.Small). ROOK Corvus frugilegus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The only counts of any note involved c.500 at Foxhole Heath on June 16th and c.1000 at a landfill site at Lackford on July 18th. Would observers please send in any counts of nests at rookeries or any counts of winter roosts. CARRION CROW Corvus corone Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A number of large flocks were reported across the county as follows: Minsmere: 100, Nov.5th; 170, Dec.27th.

Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 160, Oct.28th; Nov. 16th. Aldeburgh: North Warren 180, Jan.21st; 152, Mar.21st; 100, Apr.4th.

Livermere Lake: 73, Dec.30th. The North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex reported a stable breeding population of 21 pairs. A Carrion/Hooded Crow hybrid was at Benacre Broad on many dates between January 4th and September 15th. HOODED CROW Corvus cornix Scarce winter visitor Lowestoft: Valley Farm, in a ploughed beet field, Mar.4th.

Wilford Bridge: Feb.28th. Bromeswell: Apr. 13th. COMMON RAVEN Corvus corax Very rare visitor. Ipswich: flew over observer's house, Jun.2nd (J.Zantboer).

The first since one at Landguard on March 5th 1996.

Raven Peter Beeson

136


Systematic

List

C O M M O N STARLING Sturnus vulgaris Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. Many large gatherings were reported from across the county, although all were overshadowed by the large roosts at Hen Reedbeds and Lackford at the end of the year. Southwold: 1100+, Nov.Uth; 1000 on the Town Marshes, Dec.31st. Reydon: Hen Reedbeds 5000, June 22nd; 25000, Oct.28th; 30000, Nov.27th and Dec.28th. Orfordness: 2000, Oct.9th. Trimley Marshes: 3000, Aug. 17th; 2000, Aug.24th and Nov.30th. Landguard: 1500 in off the sea and 2025 south, Oct.31st. Lackford Lakes: 7000, Oct.lรณth; 8200, Oct.l7th; 9000, Oct.28th; 13000, Oct.31st and 20000 throughout November/December At Stonham Aspal on December 8th, 300 were feeding on fallen apples in an orchard. ROSY STARLING Sturnus roseus Rare visitor. Categories A and E. The 25th record for Suffolk involved one at Benacre Pits in mid-summer. Benacre Pits: adult, Jul. 28th (R.Waiden). HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus Common but declining resident. Red list. The largest flocks came mostly from the south of the county. Could all observers make a determined effort to locate and report any large flocks within the county. Peak counts were: Ilketshall St.Margaret: 25, Jan.9th. Covehithe: c.60 at Covehithe Church, Feb. 14th; 40 in pig fields, Sep.24th. Felixstowe: 120 at the Docks, Mar.6th; 71 at Felixstowe Ferry, July 22nd. Landguard: 37, Aug. 1st. Stratton Hall: 150 at the rail crossing, Sep.21st. Freston: 100, Apr.24th. Ipswich: Maidenhall, 100 at the allotments, July 20th. Glemsford: regular spring garden-flock of 40, increased to 60 after the breeding season. Hadleigh: up to 50 visiting garden throughout the year, including good numbers of juveniles in summer. Long Melford: 20, Aug.3rd and Dec.21st. A stable situation at Aldringham Walks with 20 pairs located (22 in 2001 and 25 in 2000). EURASIAN TREE SPARROW Passer montanus Uncommon and declining resident. Scarce passage migrant. Red list. The paucity of records reflects the precarious state of this species within the county. Records were received from just 16 sites and from only one locality were double-figure counts obtained. Gunton: Nov.2nd. Benacre: three with Chaffinches, Feb.2nd; five, Feb.5th. Covehithe: monthly peaks of four, Jan.27th, seven, Feb. 10th; six, Mar. 19th. Dunwich Heath: two, Oct. 13th. FIELD NOTE Minsmere: Aug.21st. The 1981 Suffolk Bird Report notes that there Aldringham: Walks, Sep.l3th. was a flock of ca.1000 Tree Sparrows at Orfordness: two, Sep.22nd. Aldeburgh in January/February and ca.500 at Sudbourne Marshes: two, Jan. 19th and Walberswick in December, while peak passage one, Nov. 13th. day at Landguard saw 1100 passing over on Butley Creek: two, Jan. 1st. October 12th. Comparison with this year's figures Shingle Street: Oxley Marshes, Sep. 1st. shows just what we have lost in the past twenty Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, three, years. Apr. 17th. Rob Macktin Felixstowe Ferry: three, Oct.21st. 137


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

Landguard: singles, Apr. 14th and 20th. In autumn recorded from Aug. 15th to Oct.31st on 16 dates with totals of seven south and 23 present. Maximum day-count of six south on 0ct.20th. Ampton: monthly peaks of 25, Jan. 1st, 60, Feb.23rd and 40, Mar. 16th.

Livermere Lake: Dec.31st. Mayday Farm: three, Apr.7th. CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories A and E. Only five three-figure flocks were reported in the first-winter period. These involved 300 at Sudbourne Marshes, January 11th, c. 100 at Ampton, February 10th, 100 in pig fields at Aldringham Walks, February 22nd, 100 at Euston Park, February 24th and 300 at Trinity Hall Farm, Moulton in February. Breeding reports included a relatively stable population of 348 territories at North Warren and Aldringham Walks and 140 pairs at the SWT Sizewell Estate reserve. Concern was expressed at Lackford Lakes, where the small population of three pairs on the CES site has produced just one juvenile trapped in three seasons. Autumn passage included 200 north over Thorpeness Common on October 13th, a mixed flock of 500 with Bramblings flying south over North Warren on October 16th and 35 in off the sea at Landguard on October 12th. Also at Landguard in October 134 flew south on 13th, 157 on 18th and 283 on 28th. No large flocks were reported in the second-winter period. The highest counts were just 50 at Long Melford SF, October 13th, 40 at Aldringham Walks, December 7th, 40 at Boxford, November 9th and 50 at Lackford Lakes, December 4th. BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Somewhat scarce in the first part of the year with peak counts of just 37 at Butley Creek, January 1st; 40 at Raydon, January 6th; 28 at Trinity Hall Farm, Moulton in February; 150 at Eriswell, March 18th; 50 at Thetford Lodge Farm, March 27th and up to 24 at West Stow CP in March. Reported from 11, mainly western, locations in April, with the only May record coming from Landguard on May 6th. One at Orfordness on September 12th preceded a reasonable second-winter period with the following peak counts: Dunwich Heath: 20, Oct. 13th; 350, Oct. 16th. Thorpeness: 65, Oct. 13th (50 north and 15 in centre of village).

Butley Creek: 37, Oct. 1st. Sutton Heath: 60, Nov. 17th. Felixstowe: Peewit Hill, 23, Oct. 12th. Landguard: 19 south, Oct. 18th; 27 south Oct.28th.

Elveden: 80, Oct. 19th. EUROPEAN SERIN Serinus Rare migrant. Amber list.

serinus

Thorpeness: one on the common, Mar.21st and 30th (R.Drew, P.Kennerley) and one flew over the country club calling continuously, Apr.4th (J.H.Grant).

Probably just the one bird involved in these three sightings. 138

Serin Su Gough


Systematic List EUROPEAN GREENFINCH Carduelis Moris Very common resident and passage migrant. Categories A and E. An extraordinary situation in the first-winter period with just one flock of note reported, that of 60 at Long Melford on January 26th. At North Warren and Aldringham Walks a further decline in the breeding population to 54 pairs was reported, a considerable fall after the high of 74 pairs in 2000 and the lowest number for five years., In the west, reports from Lackford Lakes suggested a good breeding season, which was mirrored from other sites in the west. Autumn movements at Landguard in October included 206 south on 4th, followed by 403 on 18th, 310 on 24th and 487 on 28th. An improvement in the latter part of the year with the following peak counts: Minsmere: 70, Sep.l9th; 50, Nov,18th; 120 at feeders by visitor centre, Dec.8th; 70 around feeders, Dec. 16th.

Aldringham Walks: 30, Sep. 14th; 60, Oct.28th. Old Newton: 127 at Bridge Farm, Nov.5th.

Boxford: 100 in October. EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Thin on the ground in the first part of the year with peak counts of just 30 at Ampton, January 2nd, 40 at Aldringham Walks, January 23rd and 70 on February 9th, 50 at North Warren, January 22nd, 30 at Lackford Lakes on February 22nd and 40 at Benacre Broad, April 1st. Breeding reports included 29 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks, a return to normal after the record high of 42 pairs in 2001. During the autumn, 202 flew south over Landguard in September, followed by 3666 in October and 1218 in November. The peak day-count was 489 on October 28th. Orfordness logged 200 on October 5th. Otherwise scarce in the second half of the year with just 30 at Kedington, August 25th; 50 at Haverhill Floodpark, September 16th; 30 at Minsmere, September 8th and October 16th and 32 at North Warren, October 7th. EURASIAN SISKIN Carduelis spinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Categories A and E. A reasonable showing in the first-winter period with the highest numbers recorded in the west of the county: Middleton: 40, Jan.5th and 80, Jan. 13th. Minsmere: 100, Jan.l7th; 50, Feb.7th; 40, Mar.20th. Tangham: 120, Jan.29th and 30, Mar.22nd.

Ramsholt: 100, Jan.2nd. Lackford Lakes: 80, Jan.l3th ; 30, Mar.l 1th and 13th. Leavenheath: 40, Mar. 16th. Long Melford: 45, Jan.l3th and 30, Feb.lOth. West Stow: 60, Jan. 11th. North Stow: 70, Mar.24th. Nunnery Lakes: 80, Jan.3rd; 150, Jan.8th; 200, Jan. 18th; Thetford: 60, Lodge Farm, Mar. 10th.

There were very few breeding reports although two juveniles were reported from Hadleigh on June 1st and July 5th. Mid-summer records included three at Minsmere, June 19th and one at Long Melford, June 23rd. The only counts of note in the latter part of the year were 60 at Minsmere, November 1st; 50 at Lackford Lakes November 3rd; 60 at Ketts Walk, November 17th; 100 at 139


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Nunnery Lakes, November 26th; 45 at Oulton Broad, December 13th; 150 at Livermere Lake, December 17th and 100 at Somerleyton and 80 at West Stow CP, December 21st. COMMON LINNET Carduelis cannabina Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Red list. The only flock of any consequence in the first two months of the year was 65 at Sizewell on February 11th. Spring passage got underway in March with peak counts of 50 at Nunnery Lakes NR, March 12th; 40 at Kedington, March 24th and April 7th; 40 at Boxford, April 2nd; 100 at Dunwich on April 11th and 60 at North Warren on April 25th. Breeding reports included just 67 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (99 pairs in 2001 and 107 in 2000 ), 33 pairs at Minsmere and seven pairs at Sizewell. Post-breeding gatherings included 20 at Haverhill, July 12th; 48 at Havergate Island, August 28th; 100 at North Warren, September 24th and 120 at Aldringham Walks, September 28th. Landguard logged 1648 flying south during October, with a peak count of 301 on 28th. The only gatherings of note in the second-winter period involved 50 at Bawdsey Manor, October 24th; 45 at Barton Mere, December 17th; 350 at Creeting Road, Stowmarket, December 21st and 150 at Covehithe, December 28th increasing to 200, December 31st. TWITE Carduelis flavirostris Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. An encouraging picture with reports received from 11 sites along the coastal strip. Lowestoft: one at North Denes campsite with Meadow Pipits, Nov.23rd. Covehithe: seven, Oct.5th.

SouthÂŤold: Nov. 1st. Walberswick: 20, Jan. 11th. Dingle Marshes: 30, Mar.3rd; 25, Oct. 19th. Dunwich: 35, Jan.lOth; 42, Jan.l7th; 12, Jan.27th; 22, Nov.20th. Minsmere: two, Oct.26th; 15, Oct.28th; Nov.2nd.

Orfordness: 20, Nov.2nd. Havergate Island: 13, 0ct.30th. Deben Estuary: 20, Nov. 17th. Trimley Marshes: three, Oct.5th. LESSER REDPOLL Carduelis cabaret Uncommon and declining resident. Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Very low numbers were reported in the first half of the year, especially from the coastal area. Peak counts were 160 at Tuddenham Heath, March 5th; 50 at Lackford Lakes, March 13th and 60 at Minsmere, April 15th. The only possible hint of breeding was a female with a brood patch, trapped at Lackford Lakes during CES ringing on May 11th. Autumn passage at Landguard involved a total of 172 south between September 27th and November 25th. The peak day-count was 37 on November 4th. Very scarce throughout the county in the second-winter period with peak counts of just 37 at Minsmere, October 2nd and 60 at Dunwich Heath, October 13th. 140


Systematic

List

COMMON REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Mealy Redpolls (C. f . flammea) were reported from eight locations as follows: Westleton Heath: Apr.2nd and 3rd with eight Lesser Redpolls.

Minsmere: Jan. 1st. Middleton: two, Jan.l3th. Felixstowe: HM Customs, Oct. 13th. Landguard: singles, Oct. 13th and Nov.l5th. Laekford Lakes: four, Feb. 10th; three, Feb. 13th; male, Mar.3rd. West Stow CP: up to three visiting bird bath between Mar.8th and 28th.

Mayday Farm: five, Apr. 14th. COMMON CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra Locally common resident and irruptive visitor. Very scarce in the first half of the year with birds reported from just ten locations across the county. Peak counts were 16 at Aldringham Walks, April 12th with 25 there, June 17th, 12 at Elveden, January 3rd and 12 at North Stow, March 24th. A n irruption of this species into t h e U K o c c u r r e d in late s u m m e r a n d peak c o u n t s in the s e c o n d p a r t o f the year w e r e as follows:

Dunwich Forest: 49, Aug.27th and 40, Sep. 12th. Dunwich Heath: up to 100 in August. Minsmere: 49, Aug.27th and 20, Aug.28th.

Tangham: 27, Nov.24th. Lackford Lakes: 20, Sep.20th. West Stow CP: 20 in Nov. and 35, Dec.7th. Santon Downham: 70, Aug.24th; 152, Aug.31st; 100, Sep.llth. Thetford: 18, Aug.27th and 35 at Lodge Farm, Oct.31st.

Autumn movements at Landguard included 14 (three north, 11 south), Aug.6th, two, Aug.31st and singles south on Sep. 12th and north on Sep.22nd. COMMON ROSEFINCH Carpodacus erythrinus Rare passage migrant. Bred in 1992. Amber list. The 24th county record. Landguard: immature, trapped and ringed, Sep. 12th (P.Collins, J.Zantboer et al).

COMMON BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Common but declining resident. Red list. An extraordinary situation at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex where the breeding population increased to a very healthy 34 pairs, a 48% increase in numbers over the 23 pairs in 2001. This increase is at odds with the national picture, where this species has now found its way onto the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern after a 50% decline in the breeding population over the past 25 years. Another healthy increase was noted at Minsmere where 21 pairs were reported (13 in 2001 and seven in 2000). At Lackford Lakes eight adults and nine juveniles were caught at the CES ringing site, which is the best-ever catch after two poor breeding seasons there. The only other counts of note were 15 at Lineage Wood on February 9th and eight at Boxford on November 9th. What was considered to be a male of the bright northern race Rp.pyrrhula was at Thorpeness Common on November 1 Ith (R.Thomas per RSPB) and another bird thought to be of this race was present at Landguard from November 7th to 9th (Landguard B.O.). 141


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. Amber list. T h i s elusive species w a s r e p o r t e d f r o m j u s t f i v e locations a r o u n d the c o u n t y as f o l l o w s : Sotterley Park: up to three in January; two in February; five in March; eight, Apr.7th and four, April 14th. Singles Dec. 14th and 27th. Southwold: two near the seafront shelter on Nov. 14th, then flew south. Barnhamcross Common: up to five in January; two, Feb.6th; up to three in November; four by the pumping station, Dec.4th and a single on 18th. Hadleigh: two adults briefly in a garden at 06.30 hrs, visiting cherry and hawthorn trees before flying off high to the south-east, Jul. 17th. Wolves Wood: calling birds reported in June and July.

LAPLAND LONGSPUR Calcarius lapponicus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. A very good autumn for this rare but annual visitor with reports received from ten locations as follows: Corton: Sep.21st, Oct.3rd, Oct.5th and Oct.7th. Gunton: north along beach, Oct.l3th.

Covehithe: Sep. 19th. Dunwich Heath: Sep. 16th and 17th. Minsmere: Sep. 15th to 17th. Aldringham Walks: north over Ness House, Sep.27th. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes, Oct.5th.

Sudbourne Marshes: Nov. 13th. Shingle Street: two, Nov.7th. Landguard: singles south, Oct.2nd and Oct. 13th.

SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The second year in succession with no three-figure flocks reported! Peak counts were: Kessingland: 18, Nov.20th; 35, Nov.24th; up to 25 until the year's end.

Benacre: 22, Dec.20th. Sizewell: ten south, Nov.24th. Aldeburgh: 14, Jan.l8th and Feb.lst. Slaughden: 16, Jan.lst; 12, Jan.l2th.

Orfordness: 63, Jan. 17th. Shingle Street: 58, Jan.lst; 50, Jan.5th; 60, Jan. 13th; 28, Dec. 18th. Bawdsey: 40, East Lane Lagoons, Nov.30th.

Felixstowe Ferry: 24, Jan.5th; 14, Feb. 10th; Landguard: 13, Feb.8th. Holbrook Bay: ten, Dec. 12th. The only report away from the immediate vicinity of the coast.

The last sightings of the spring were one at Benacre, March 2nd, 14 at Felixstowe Ferry, March 5th and three at Kessingland, March 17th. The first autumn arrivals were all in Ocober and included singles at Minsmere, October 3rd; Lowestoft, October 19th and Landguard, October 28th. YELLOWHAMMER Emberiza citrinella Common resident and passage migrant. Red list. Several large flocks were reported through the year, although still rather scarce in the north-east of the county. Peak counts were: Onehouse: Northfield Wood 300, Jan. 13th and 448, Dec.22nd (J.Walshe). Stowmarket: Combs Lane WM, 38, Mar.2nd. Ampton: 100 in game strip, Jan.2nd; 52, Mar.24th.

Boxford: 58, Feb.l7th. 142


Systematic List Brettenham: 70, Dec. 1st. Kedington: ten, Jan.29th; 20, Mar. 10th. Miekle Mere: 100, Jan. 17th. Breeding reports included an impressive 102 pairs at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex. The majority of these were located on the open areas of heath on the Walks. Minsmere reported a stable situation of 28 singing males (29 in 2001 ), Benacre had at least 17 pairs while the Walberswick/Dunwich Forest area registered a small decline to 62 pairs (79 in 1999). BLACK-HEADED BUNTING Emberiza Accidental.

melanocephata

Gunton: a juvenile moulting into first-winter plumage, associating with Yellowhammers on the

disused railway track on Sep.24th, re-located on 25th (J.Brown, J.Wright et al). The only previous Suffolk record was a male at Trimley St Mary on June 4th 1992. The record of a male at Oulton on May 30th 1993 has been re-assessed by BBRC and is no longer considered acceptable. REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus Common resident and passage migrant. Red list. Few large gatherings were reported with the best counts coming from Lackford Lakes. Peak counts were: Benacre: ten, Aug.30th. Minsmere: ll,Jun,10th. Havergate Island: 20, Jan. 18th. Trimley Marshes: 15, Feb.24th; 11, Aug. 17th; 12, Dec. 15th. Stowmarket: 33, Creeting Road, Dec.21st.

Ampton: 20, Jan. 1st. Lackford Lakes: 50, Mar.21st; 150 roosting in reeds in silt bed, Oct.l7th; 120, Nov.3rd.

Breeding reports included a record 36 pairs at North Warren (29 in 2001 and 32 in 2000), a large increase to 38 pairs at Minsmere (26 in 2001 and 24 in 2000), six pairs at Hen Reedbeds (five in 2001) and five pairs at Dingle Marshes but just seven pairs at the SWT Sizewell Estate (12 in 2001). In the west of the county, the RSPB wetland creation project at Lakenheath Fen produced a stunning 87 breeding pairs and in the process became the best Suffolk site for this species. CORN BUNTING Miliaria calandra Locally common resident. Red list. Recorded from 21 localities comprising fourteen on the coast and just seven in the west of the county. Most reports involved just single birds; all multiple records are listed: Carlton Colville: four, Low Farm Drive, Dec.23rd. Carlton Marshes: 14 on power cables, Nov.28th.

Boyton Marshes: two, Mar.23rd. Shingle Street: four, Jan.5th; five, 0ct.20th.

Sutton Heath: 38, Feb.24th. Ramsholt: five, Mar. 19th. Bawdsey: East Lane Lagoons, two, Mar.31st, 18, Apr. 1st; two, Aug.3rd.

Trimley Marshes: four, Apr.20th. Chelmondiston: six, Lings Lane, Jan.1st and eight, Jan.7th. Felixstowe Ferry: 20, Feb.20th; two, Sep. 16th; three, Sep.28th; two, Nov.9th; five, Nov.25th.

Great Waldingfield: Aerodrome, 16, Jan.26th. Cavenham: two singing males, Jun.l6th.

Breeding reports were few and far between but did include singing males at Gisleham, Newton, Stoke-by-Clare and Lakenheath. 143


Suffolk Birci Report 2002

Appendix I - Category D Species Species that would otherwise appear in Catégories A or B except that there is reasonable doubt that they have ever occurred in Britain in a natural state. FALCATED DUCK Anas falcata Breeds eastern Siberia to northern Japan and northern China. Winters throughout eastern China and Japan, and occasionally in small numbers in northeast India, east to northern Thailand. Catégories D and E. Minsmere: male on the Scrape, May 20th to Jun.lOth (W.Miles, RSPB).

Following hot on the heals of Baikal Teal A. formosa and Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris, yet another controversial duck to add to Minsmere's ever-expanding list of waterfowl of dubious origin. If they did not appear quite so regularly, perhaps some occurrences would be taken more seriously. As it is, all rare waterfowl gracing Suffolk's wetlands are tainted by the possibility of escape. BUFFLEHEAD Bucephala albeola Breeds throughout much of interior Canada and a few northern states of the USA. Winters on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America south to Mexico. Livermere Lake: female, Jun.l Ith to 20th and July 7th to 9th. (R.Thewlis, et al.) Hadleigh: Layham Pits, female, Sep.22nd to 29th. (B.Baston, et al.)

This is presumed to be the same bird at both locations. At Livermere Lake it was seen investigating holes in old trees. The original description apparently went missing in the post, so it has been re-submitted to BBRC and is still subject to acceptance and catégorisation. See photo facing page 80. GREATER FLAMINGO Phoenicopterus roseus Breeds locally in Spain, France and Sardinia, east to northern India, and south throughout much of Africa. Small ferai population breeding in northern Germany, and occasionally hybridising with Chilean Flamingo P. chilensis. Catégories D and E. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, adult, Sep.30th.

Although British occurrences may originate from the breeding populations in the Camargue, France, or from one of the Spanish colonies, it is also possible they may have escaped from captivity or originate from the ferai population that is becoming established in northern Germany. At this site, in Nordrhein-Westfalen, a small breeding group became established in the early 1980s. Numbers remain small, but several pairs of Chilean Flamingo P. chilensis, also breed there and occasionally interbreed with the Greater Flamingos.

Appendix II - Category E Species Species that have been recorded as introductions, transportées or escapees from captivity, and whose breeding populations (if any) are thought not to be self-sustaining. Where a species is also placed in other catégories of the British List, this is indicated in the species' summary. BLACK SWAN Cygnus atratus Throughout Australia and Tasmania. Category E. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness Mere, Aug.23rd to 25th.

144


Systematic List Aldeburgh: North Warren, Aug. 15th, presumably the same individual recorded from Thorpeness Mere a few days later. Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street Reservoir, Nov.30th.

BEAN G O O S E Anserfabalis Breeds widely across northern Eurasia from Norway to eastern Siberia. Winters locally from British Isles east to Japan. Categories A and E. Southwold: The ringed individual of the nominate form, known as Taiga Bean Goose, was at Southwold, Oct. 17th. Minsmere: Dec.1st to 2nd. Assumed to refer to the Southwold bird.

Both these records presumably refer to the same individual that has wintered in the north-east of the county during the previous two winters. LESSER W H I T E - F R O N T E D GOOSE Anser erythropus Forest bogs of northern Scandinavia east to eastern Siberia. Winters locally from the Netherlands to eastern China. Categories A and E. Needham Market: One at Needham Lake with Canada Geese, Jun.l 1th, almost certainly originated from a captive waterfowl collection.

BAR-HEADED G O O S E Anser indicus Breeds by lakes in central Asia from Mongolia to the Tibetan plateau. Winters throughout the Indian subcontinent and Myanmar (Burma). Category E. Minsmere: Nov.30th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, juvenile, Dec.30th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, single birds, perhaps the same individual, Oct.31st and Dec.2nd. Livermere Lake: Dec.30th, probably the same as the Mickle Mere individual.

SNOW G O O S E Chen caerulescens Breeds on tundra of northeast Siberia, Alaska and Canada to northwest Greenland. Winters from California to Texas and on Atlantic seaboard of eastern USA. Categories A and E. Lound: Two, white morph, adults in flight over the water treatment plant, Mar.4th.

Lowestoft: Two, Mar.4th.

ROSS'S G O O S E Chen rossii Breeds on tundra of arctic Canada. Winters in southern USA. Category E. Trimley Marshes: An adult, presumably the same individual, from Jan.5th to 30th, May 4th, Aug. 1st to 28th and Sep.7th to 15th. Trimley St. Martin: Thorpe Bay, adult, Aug.28th (same as at Trimley Marshes).

E M P E R O R G O O S E Chen canagica Breeds on tundra of northeast Siberia and western Alaska. Winters from southern Alaska to northern California. Category E. Somerleyton: Marshes, Jan.27th Livermere Lake: A bird first noted on May 2nd, remained in the area until late July, with two present, Jul.8th (presumed same as at Lackford Lakes). Lackford Lakes: Jan.l3th, Feb.lOth, Sep.3rd and 30th and Oct. 27th and two, Aug.23rd.

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2002

BARNACLE GOOSE Branta leucopsis Breeds Greenland, Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya, with new and rapidly population in Baltic Sea. Categories A and E. Birds of presumed captive or feral origin were noted as follows: Orfordness: five, May 18th. Boyton: Marshes, five, Sep. 15th.

increasing

Trimley Marshes: ten, Aug.l2th, four, Dec.15th and singles on Sep.3rd, Oct.5th, Nov.9th to 16th and Dec. 31st. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, Oct.7th. Shotley: Marshes, Dec.24th to 26th.

RED-BREASTED GOOSE Branta ruficollis Breeds Taimyr Peninsula, majority winter on western shores of Black Sea in Bulgaria and Romania, with small and slowly-increasing numbers annual in the Netherlands. Categories A and E. An adult, presumably the same individual that toured several sites in the northeastern part of the county in 2001, was noted again as follows: Sotterley Park: Apr. 14th. Covehithe Broad: Jan. 1st. Southwold: Feb.2nd. Minsmere: Jan. 13th to 26th, and May 29th.

RUDDY SHELDUCK

Tadornaferruginea

Breeds from Morocco and Turkey east through Central Asia to Tibetan plateau. Winters to south of breeding range, with majority in Indian subcontinent. Feral population breeds in northern Europe. Categories B and E. Lound: Water Treatment Plant, adult female, Mar.4th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, pair, Feb.25th.

AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK Tadorna tadornoides Breeds throughout eastern Australia and Tasmania. Category E. Benacre Broad: Sep.6th. Shelley/Stoke-by-Nayland: Gilford's Park, May 27th to Jun.2nd.

MUSCOVY DUCK Cairina moschata Breeds from southern Mexico to northern Argentina and Brazil. Category E. Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, Jan.2nd and 27th.

CHILOE WIGEON Anas sibilatrix Breeds southern South America to Falkland Category E.

Islands.

Some winter southeast

Brazil.

Minsmere: Jul.9th.

SPECKLED TEAL Anas flavirostris Breeds throughout South America. Category E. Shelley/Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Park, Jun.30th.

WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL Anas bahamensis Breeds throughout the West Indies, south to southern Galapagos Islands. Category E. Dunwich: Shore Pools, Nov.8th and 17th.

146

Brazil, Argentina,

Chile and the


Systematic List SAKER Falco cherrug Breeds locally from eastern Europe across the Palearctic to the Tibetan plateau. European breeders winter in north-east Africa, while much of Asian population is resident. Catégories D and E. Sudbourne: Cowton Marshes, May 6th. Lackford Lakes: May 22nd. A large falcon, which unsuccessfully stooped at a Common Wood Pigeon, was considered to be this species.

LANNER FALCON Falco biarmicus Largely resident in arid régions of the southern Palearctic and throughout much of Africa. In Europe, breeds in Italy and the Balkans, but more widespread in North Africa from Morocco, south to Mauritania and east to southern Iraq. Category E. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Dec.20th. Orfordness: Sep.lst; one with a male and female Peregrine Falcon, Sep.24th. Levington: one, probably an adult male, flew south and was seen to catch a Common Redshank, Apr.2nd. It was not wearing jesses.

BLACKSMITH PLOVER Vanellus armatus Breeds throughout eastern and southern Africa. Category E. Shelley/Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Park in August. Redlingfield: Sep.5th (presumed same as at Gifford's Park).

LAUGHING DOVE Streptopelia senegalensis Throughout Africa, the Arabian peninsula and northern India. Category E. Copdock: Jun.22nd (may have been present for up to two weeks prior to this).

DIAMOND DOVE Geopelia cuneata Breeds throughout the arid interior of Australia. Category E. Gunton: Sep.l3th. AFRICAN GREY PARROT Psittacus erithacus Breeds throughout equatorial Africa from Guinea and Sierra Leone east to Kenya and Tanzania. Category E. Leiston: Goose Hill Pines, Sep.25th.

ARABIAN GOLDEN SPARROW Passer euchlorus Breeds in the Arabian peninsula, from southwest Saudi Arabia to Yemen, and adjacent régions of Ethiopa and northern Somalia. Covehithe: singing male in the pig fields, Jul.lOth.

Appendix III - Schedule Of Non-accepted Records The following list consists of reports that were not accepted, either by the BBRC (national rarities) or SORC (county rarities). It must be emphasised that in the vast majority of cases the record was not accepted because the relevant Committee was not convinced, on the evidence submitted, that the identification had been fiilly established. In only a very few cases were the Committees satisfied that a mistake had been made. 147


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 2002 Reports Great Shearwater: Sizewell, Sep. 1st; Balearic Shearwater: Felixstowe, Sep.9th; Storm Petrel: R.Stour, Stutton, Nov. 17th; Double-crested Cormorant: Alton Water, Feb.3rd; Great Egret: Sudbury, May 4th; Black Kite: Aldringham, Jun.4th; Red-footed Falcon: Dunwich, Apr.24th; Gyr Falcon: Landguard, Oct.29th; Great Snipe: Trimley Marshes, Sep. 10th; Great Snipe: Westleton Heath, Oct.22nd; Long-tailed Skua: R.Orwell, Trimley, Nov.2nd: Ross's Gull: Minsmere, Jun.7th; Caspian Tern: Landguard, Aug.26th; Shorttoed Lark: Minsmere, May 25th; Yellow-browed Warbler: Thorpeness, Sep. 14th; Siberian Chiffchaff: Shingle Street, Oct. 18th. References Cramp, S. (ed) 1985. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. OUP. Grant, P.J., Mullarney, K., Svensson, L. and Zetterstrom, D. 1999. Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. Collins. Piotrowski, S., 2003. The Birds of Suffolk. Christopher Helm.

148


List of Contributors

List of Contributors Whilst every effort has been made to make this list as comprehensive as possible, some names may have been inadvertently omitted. If your contribution has not been acknowledged, please accept my sincere apologies. S.Abbott, P.Aldous, J.Arnold, J.Askins, C.& J.Ayres. S.Babbs, D.E.Balmer, T.Bamber, l.Barton, B.Baston, S.Batty, D.R.Beamish, J.Bedford, P.Beeson, K.Bennett, R.Biddle, S.Bishop, W.J.Brame, J.A.Brown, R.M.Brown, T.M.Brown, J.Brydson, BTO, P.Bullett, A.Burrows. K.Carlisle, D. & M. Carter, P.Catchpole, M.Chapman, Dr. P.Clack, P.Collins, R.Conner, G.J.Conway, D.Cormack, M.L.Cornish, D.Crawshaw, C.G.D.Curtis, N.Crouch. P.T.Dann, J.Davidson, J.A.Davies, J.Davis, L.F.Davis, T. Dean, C.Derby, D.W.Digby, R.Drew, R.Duncan. A.C.Easton, D.Eaton, English Nature, P.Etheridge, G.J.Etherington. I.Fair, R.Fairhead, D.Fairhurst, M.G.Ferris, A.C.Frost, S.J.Fryett. J. & K.Garrod, D.Gawin, J.A.Glazebrook, S.R.Goddard, A.Gooding, J.H.Grant, P.D.Green, C.Gregory, L.Gregory, A.Gretton. D.Hall, P.Hamling, B.Harding, B.Harrington, M. & B.Hart, l.Hawkins, I.Henderson, K.Heron, C.Hewson, P.Hobbs, R.Hoblyn, S.J.Holloway, M.Hopton, A.Howe, S.V.Howell, T.Humpage, Sir A.Hurrell. P.Jackson, C.A.Jacobs, C.J.Jakes, L.R.Jarrett, S.Jarvis, G.J.Jobson, J.Jones. R.Kaye, J. & P.Kennerley, T.P.Kerridge, S.Kingdon, C.A.E.Kirtland. P.Lack, Lackford Lakes, Landguard B.O., I.Levett, G.Lowe. R.N.Macklin, J.H.Marchant, S.Marginson, S.Marington, O. & M.Marks, D.Marsh, M.C.Marsh, R.Marsh, N.Mason, A.Miller, G.Millins, A.Mockley, P.W.Murphy, A.J.Musgrove, C.T.Mutimer. A.Nairn, P.Napthine, C.R.Naunton, S.Newson, D.Newton, T.Nightingale, S.D.Noble. N.Odin, P.Oldfield, J.Oxford. M.Packard, I.Paradine, M.Parker, M.Parsons, R.M.Patient, D.J.Pearson, S.H.Piotrowski, C.R.Poole, C.Powell, R.Powell. P.Ransome, Rare Bird Alert, M.Raven, N.D.Rawlings, P.D.Read, G.Reeder, M.Rehfisch, A.Richards, G.A.Riley, A.Riseborough, D.& K.Roberts, RSPB. 149


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 I.Sillett, N.Sills, G.M.Siriwardena, N.Sherman, D.Short, N.J.Skinner, B.J.Small, I.Smith, R.C.Smith, R.Stewart, D.Stinson, T.Stopher, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, D.Sutton. A.Tate, R.M.Thewlis, R.Thomas, D.Thurlow, D.K.Toomer. D.K.Underwood. N.Vipond, R.Vonk. R.Walden, D.F.Walsh, J.Walsh, J.Walshe, A.Walters, R.B.Warren, E.Webb, L.H.Weeks, G.R.Welch, l.Whittaker, P.Whittaker, B.Williamson, P.M.Wilson, R.Wincup, R.Witton, R.Wood, L.G.Woods, B.Woodhouse, G.Woodward, J.Wright, M.& R.Wright, M.T.Wright, J.Wylson. J.Zantboer.

150


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2002

Gazetteer T h i s g a z e t t e e r gives locations f o r sites listed in the m a i n checklist section of this issue of Suffolk Birds. T h e intention is t o m a k e it easier f o r n e w c o m e r s to b i r d w a t c h i n g or those less familiar w i t h the C o u n t y to b e able to locate sites. S p e c i f i c sites are given a s i x - f i g u r e r e f e r e n c e w h e r e appropriate; larger sites are given a f o u r - f i g u r e r e f e r e n c e for the 1km s q u a r e in w h i c h they are situated. W h i l s t a c o m p l e t e list of all sites w o u l d obviously b e of m o s t use, it would, o f necessity, be v e r y long. T h e r e f o r e , it d o e s not contain parish n a m e s w h i c h are easily located by r e f e r e n c e to a standard r o a d m a p . Aldeburgh Town Marshes Aide Estuary Aldringham Common Aldringham Walks Alton Water Ampton Water Barham Pits Barnham Cross Common Barsham Marshes Barton Mere Belle Vue Gardens, Lowestoft Benacre Broad Benacre Pits Berner's Heath Blundeston Marshes Blyth Estuary Botany Bay Boyton Marshes Boxford Brackenbury Cliff, Felixstowe Breydon Water Bromeswell Carlton Marshes Castle Marshes Cattawade Marshes Cavenham Heath Cavenham Pits Christchurch Park, Ipswich Combs Lane Water Meadows Cornard Mere Corton railway line Corton sewage works Cosford Hall, Hadleigh Cove Bottom Covehithe Broad Deben Estuary Dingle Marshes Dunwich Heath Eastbridge East Lane, Bawdsey Easton Broad Elveden Erwarton Bay

TM450560 TM3957-4450 TM458606 TM4661 TM1436 TL8770 TM1251 TL8681 TM4090 TL910668 TM550944 TM530828 TM535842 TL7976 TM5095 TM4575-4776 TL675854 TM3946 TL9640 TM322360 TM4706-5107 TM3050 TM4991 TM475915 TM0932 TL755725 TL763715 TM164454 TM043581 TL887391 TM537579 TM539982 TMO13446 TM4979 TM524808 TM2850-3238 TM4872 TM4768 TM452660 TM3 54401 TM518794 TL8279 TM2333

Euston Lake Fagbury Cliff Falkenham Marshes Felixstowe Ferry Fisher Row Flixton GP Foxhole Heath Fritton Decoy/Lake Frostenden Gedgrave Marshes Gilford's Hall Park Gipping Great Wood Gunton Warren Hardwick Heath Haughley Park Havergate Island Hazelwood Marshes Hengrave Hall Hen Reedbeds Herringfleet Marshes Herringswell Heveningham Hall Hinderclay Fen Holbrook Bay Hollesley Common Holywells Park, Ipswich Icklingham Plains Ilketshall St Margaret Ipswich Golf Course Ipswich Wet Dock Kedington Kentwell Hall, Long Melford Kessingland Levels Kessingland sewage works King's Fleet King's Forest, The Kirton Creek Knettishall Heath Lackford Lakes Lake Lothing Lakenheath Fen Lakenheath Warren Lakenheath Washes 151

TL897784 TM270346 TM3138 TM3237 TM507927 TM3187 TL735776 TM4800 TM4781 TM410480 TM0137 TM075625 TM5495 TL854625 TM000620 TM4147 TM435573 TM824686 TM470770 TM468977 TL7169 TM350734 TM025788 TM1733 TM330474 TM 175435 TL7573 TM3585 TM207433 TM 169439 TL7046 TL863479 TM530850 TM533857 TM310379 TL8173 TM292417 TL952804 TL800710 TM5392 TL7085 TL7580 TL7085


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Landguard Lavenham railway walk Layham Pits Leathes Ham Leiston Abbey Levington Creek Levington Marina Lineage Wood, Lavenham Livermere Lake Long Melford churchyard Long Melford sewage works Loompit Lake Lound Waterworks Lowestoft Harbour Market Weston Fen Martlesham Creek Mayday Farm Mickle Mere, Pakenham Middleton Minsmere Minsmere Levels Minsmere Sluice Needham Market Lake Ness Point North Denes, Lowestoft Northfield Wood North Warren Nowton Park Nunnery Lakes Old Newton Orfordness Orwell Bridge Orwell Estuary Outney Common, Bungay Oulton Broad Oxley Marshes Pakefield Beach Pakenham Fen Peewit Hill Pipp's Ford Potter's Bridge Ramsholt Marshes Redgrave and Lopham Fen Redgrave Lake Reydon Marshes Shelley Shingle Street

TM2831 TL9049 TM021402 TM530933 TM444643 TM237383 TM246380 TM890485 TL882716 TL868468 TL855459 TM255377 TG501007 TM5592 TL980787 TM2647 TL7983 TL937699 TM4267 TM4766 TM4667 TM478662 TM094548 TM555936 TM551951 TM024600 TM4658 TL866615 TL872815 TM0562 TM4654-3743 TM175413 TM 1641-2534 TM3290 TM5192 TM3 70435 TM5389 TL930680 TM289338 TM108538 TM509791 TM298423 TM046797 TM055767 TM485766 TM0338 TM365425

Shotley Marshes Shottisham Creek Sizewell Beach Slaughden Sole Bay Sotterley Park Southwold Boating Lake Southwold Town Marshes Staverton Thicks Sternfield Stonham Aspal Stour Estuary Stratton Hall Sudbourne Marshes Suffolk Water Park Sutton Common Sutton Heath Tangham Temple Bridge, Cavenham Theberton Grange Thetford Heath Thorington Street Reservoir Thorpeness Common Thorpeness Meare Thorington Street Reservoir Tinker's Marshes Trimley Marshes Trinity Hall Farm, Moulton Tuddenham Heath Tuddenham St Martin Undley Upper Abbey Farm, Leiston Walberswick NNR Waldingfield airfield Waldringfield Pit Walpole Wangford Warren Westleton Heath West Stow Country Park Westwood Lodge Westwood Marshes Wetherden Weybread GPs Wherstead Strand Wilford Bridge Wolves Wood

152

TM248350 TM3043 TM4763 TM464555 TM5177 TM460850 TM510769 TM500754 TM3650 TM3961 TM1359 TM1032-2433 TM254388 TM4553 TM 120485 TM3247 TM308478 TM355485 TL758728 TM438652 TL845800 TM012352 TM475604 TM4659 TM012352 TM484760 TM2635 TL693651 TL7472 TM1948 TL6981 TM453646 TM4674 TL8943 TM274438 TM3674 TL758842 TM4569 TL800713 TM465737 TM4773 TM0062 TM2481 TM 173408 TM291501 TM055440


Suffolk Birci Report 2002

EARLIEST AND LATEST DATES OF SUMMER MIGRANTS

Garganey Osprey Eurasian Hobby Stone Curlew Little (Ringed) Piover Whimbrel Wood Sandpiper Sandwich Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern

ARRIVALS Date Locality

DEPARTURES Date Locality

Mar.26th Apr.8th Apr. 16th Mar. 16th

Oct.óth Nov. 11 th Oct. 1 Oth Oct.l9th Sep.l3th Oct.óth Sep.l9th Nov. 1 st Oct.l4th Oct. 17th Sep.9th

Sand Martin Barn Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail Common Nightingale Common Redstart

May 14th Apr.l9th Mar.29th Mar. 1 Oth Mar.25th Mar. 1 Oth Apr.2nd Mar.31 st Apr.3rd Apr. 1 st

Lackford Bridge Minsmere/Trimley Thorpeness Breckland Livermere Lake Orfordness Orfordness Kessingland Weybread GP Southwold Minsmere Landguard Great Welnetham Four sites - see text Westleton Heath North Warren Thorpeness Loompit/Lackford Lakes Minsmere/Lackford Lakes Lackford Lakes Landguard Minsmere Dunwich/Minsmere Dunwich Heath

Nov.21st Nov.27th Sep.21 st Oct.7th Sep. 12th Oct. 18th

Whinchat Northern Wheatear Ring Ouzel

Apr. 12th Mar. 12th Mar. 18th

Dunwich Heath Cavenham Heath Dunwich Heath

Oct.óth Oct.26th 0ct.30th

Common Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Eurasian Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat

Apr.3rd Mar.22nd Apr.8th Apr.óth

Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Loompit Lake

Sep.l3th Sep.20th Oct. 1 óth Oct.l3th

Common Whitethroat Garden Warbler Wood Warbler Willow Warbler

Apr. 12th Apr.3rd Apr.24th Mar.29th

Aldringham

Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher

May 12th

Sep.27th Nov.3rd Sep.22nd Nov.4th Oct. 15th Oct.l4th

Little Tern Black Tern European Turtle Dove Common Cuckoo European Nightjar Common Swift Eurasian Wryneck

Mar.23rd Apr. 13th May 8th Mar.22nd Apr.4th Apr.26th Apr. 18th May 4th Apr. 18th Apr. 16th

Alton Water Minsmere/Southwold Minsmere/Knettishall H. Minsmere No records

153

Sep.23rd Oct.óth Sep. 19th Sep.8th Sep.18th Sep.25th Oct. 17th

Minsmere Orfordness Mutford Breckland Trimley Marshes Minsmere Trimley Marshes Thorpeness Kessingland Landguard Landguard Orfordness Corton Minsmere Theberton Landguard Minsmere Lackford Lakes Landguard Lackford Lakes Easton Kessingland Landguard Landguard/ Thorpeness Dunwich Heath Orfordness Landguard Landguard Minsmere Corton Dunwich/ Landguard Landguard Shingle Street Corton Lowestoft Landguard Gorleston


Suffolk Birci Report 2002

A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Introduction The foundation stone of any report is the data upon which it is based. Unless we all submit our records diligently, and in a usable form, then the Suffolk Bird Report will not be a comprehensive account of the birds recorded in Suffolk.

The system The recording of the County's avifauna is the responsibility of the Suffolk Naturalists' Society, working in close co-operation with the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group. The linchpins of the system are the Recorders, who are the initial point of contact for all 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. Observers are reminded that Suffolk works to Watsonian vice-county boundaries, taking in areas that are now administered as Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Essex. The most significant area affected is that of Lothingland, the northern limits of which follow the River Yare and include the south side of Breydon Water. We have retained these originai boundaries as we feel that sensible comparison of data can only be made from year to year if the recording area is kept constant.

Submission of records All observers are requested to submit their records monthly. We also suggest that the following format be followed: (a) Location (precise place name from the Ordnance Survey map plus parish if ambiguous). OS grid reference should be added if in any doubt or if reporting breeding locations. (b) Species (c) Date (d) Name and address of observer (e) Sex/age - male, iemale, juvenile etc. (f) Abundance - count numbers, frequency, etc. (g) Type of record - dead, ringed, etc. (h) Other comments considered relevant - behaviour etc. In particular see the list below for particular information required for each species. Ail claims of national rarities should, of course, be accompanied by a full description. The Recorder will automatically forward this to the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC). 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 come under the scrutiny of the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee (SORC) and for rare or scarce species, vérification is sought - i.e. photographs, field sketches, witnesses, sound recordings (for calling or singing birds) and (most importantly) written descriptions. The SORC's policy for vagrants, classified as national rarities, is clear; records should be channelled through the County Recorder to be considered by the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC). Its décisions are accepted by SORC with few exceptions. A full list of species that are considered by the SORC follows. The committee 154


A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk may also request further détails regarding any other speeies that, in the opinion of the committee, is out of context in terms of season, habitat or numbers. A list of records which have not been accepted for publication can be found in the appendices and includes those which have been circulated to the respective committees but were considered unacceptable due to either the identification not being fully established or, more rarely, a genuine mistake having been made. It also includes records that have been previously published in the bulletins of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, British Birds and/or the populär birding press for which further détails were not forthcoming. It does not include records still under considération.

Guide to speeies The following list shows ali the speeies recorded in the County and thus this is also a checklist for Suffolk. For any speeies not listed, a full description will be required. The list shows those speeies accepted into Catégories A, B and C, as per the British Ornithologists' Union (see the Introduction to the Systematic List for more détails). Note that a large number of speeies included can also fall into Catégories D and E (basically as escapees); a description of such a bird may be requested but will be essential if it is believed that the bird is of wild origin. Following a review by SORC of the list of speeies included in category 2 of the Suffolk list, it was decided that the following speeies, with effect from Ist January 2003, would be placed into category 3 (supporting notes may be requested), due to their more regulär occurrence. Leach's Storm Petrel Common Crâne Temminck's Stint Grey Phalarope Long-tailed Skua Hoopoe Barred Warbier Yellow-browed Warbler Red-throated Diver Black-throated Diver Great Northern Diver Yellow-billed Diver Little Grebe Great Crested Grebe Red-necked Grebe Slavonian Grebe Black-necked Grebe Northern Fulmar Cory's Shearwater Great Shearwater Sooty Shearwater Manx Shearwater Balearic Shearwater European Storm-petrel Leach's Storm-petrel Northern Gannet Great Cormorant European Shag Great Bittern Little Bittern Black-crowned Night-heron Squacco Heron* Cattle Egret Little Egret Great Egret Grey Heron

3 3 3 1 4 4 3 3 3 4 2 2 3 3 2 2 3 3 4 3 3 1 2 1 1 3 1 4

Little Stint Temminck's Stint White-rumped Sandpiper Baird's Sandpiper Pectoral Sandpiper Sharp-tailed Sandpiper* Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Broad-billed Sandpiper Stilt Sandpiper Buff-breasted Sandpiper Ruff Jack Snipe Common Snipe Great Snipe Long-billed Dowitcher Eurasian Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Eskimo Curlew* Whimbrel Eurasian Curlew Upland Sandpiper Spotted Redshank Common Redshank Marsh Sandpiper Common Greenshank

155

3 3 1 1 2 1 3 3 4 1 1 2 3 3 4 1 1 3 4 3 1 4 4 1 3 4 1 3

Bohemian Waxwing White-throated Dipper Winter Wren Hedge Accentor Alpine Accentor European Robin Thrush Nightingale Common Nightingale Bluethroat Red-flanked Bluetail Siberian Blue Robin Black Redstart Common Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Siberian Stonechat Isabelline Wheatear Northern Wheatear Pied Wheatear Desert Wheatear White-tailed Wheatear White's Thrush Ring Ouzel Common Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush

3 2 4 4 1 4 1 4 2 1 1 3 3 3 3 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 3 4 4 4 4 4


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 Purple Heron 2 Black Stork 1 White Stork 2 Glossy Ibis 1 Eurasian Spoonbill 3 Mute Swan 4 Tundra (Bewick's) Swan 3 Whooper Swan 3 Bean Goose Tundra 3 Taiga 2 Pink-footed Goose 3 Greater White-fronted Goose 3 Lesser White-fronted Goose 1 Greylag Goose 4 Snow Goose** 1 Canada Goose 4 Barnacle Goose 3 Brent Goose Dark-bellied 4 Pale-bellied 3 Black Brant 1 Red-breasted Goose** 1 Egyptian Goose 3 Ruddy Shelduck */** 1 Common Shelduck 4 Mandarin Duck 4 Eurasian Wigeon 4 American Wigeon 2 Gadwall 4 Eurasian Teal 4 Green-winged Teal 2 Mallard 4 Northern Pintail 4 Garganey 3 Blue-winged Teal 1 Northern Shoveler 4 Red-crested Pochard 3 Common Pochard 3 Ring-necked Duck 2 Ferruginous Duck 1 Tufted Duck 4 Greater Scaup 3 Common Eider 3 Long-tailed Duck 3 Black (Common) Scoter 3 Velvet Scoter 3 Bufflehead 1 Common Goldeneye 4 Smew 3 Red-breasted Merganser 3 Goosander 3 Ruddy Duck 3 European Honey-buzzard 2 Black Kite 1 Red Kite 3 White-tailed Eagle 2 Eurasian Marsh Harrier 3 Hen Harrier 3 Pallid Harrier 1 Montagu's Harrier 2

Greater Yellowlegs Lesser Yellowlegs Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Terek Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Spotted Sandpiper Ruddy Turnstone Wilson's Phalarope Red-necked Phalarope Grey Phalarope Pomarine Skua Arctic Skua Long-tailed Skua Great Skua Mediterranean Gull Laughing Gull Franklin's Gull Little Gull Sabine's Gull Black-headed Gull Slender-billed Gull Ring-billed Gull Mew (Common) Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Yellow-legged Gull Caspian Gull Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Great Black-backed Gull Black-legged Kittiwake Ivory Gull Gull-billed Tern Caspian Tern Lesser Crested Tern Sandwich Tern Roseate Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Sooty Tern Little Tern Whiskered Tern Black Tern White-winged Tern Common Guillemot Razorbill Black Guillemot Little Auk Atlantic Puffin Pallas's Sandgrouse* Feral Pigeon Stock Pigeon Common Wood Pigeon Eurasian Collared Dove European Turtle Dove Rose-ringed Parakeet Great Spotted Cuckoo Common Cuckoo

156

1 1 3 3 1 3 1 4 1 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 1 1 3 2 4 1 2 4 4 4 3 2 3 3 4 4 1 1 1 1 4 2 4 3 1 4 1 3 1 3 3 2 3 2 1 4 4 4 4 4 3 1 3

Cetti's Warbler 3 Lanceolated Warbler 1 Common Grasshopper Warbler 3 River Warbler 1 Savi's Warbler 1 Aquatic Warbler 2 Sedge Warbler 4 Paddyfield Warbler 1 Blyth's Reed Warbler 1 Marsh Warbler 2 Eurasian Reed Warbler 4 Great Reed Warbler 1 Olivaceous Warbler 1 Booted Warbler 1 Icterine Warbler 2 Melodious Warbler 2 Marmora's Warbler 1 Dartford Warbler 3 Spectacled Warbler 1 Subalpine Warbler 1 Sardinian Warbler 1 Barred Warbler 3 Lesser Whitethroat 4 Common Whitethroat 4 Garden Warbler 4 4 Blackcap Greenish Warbler 1 Arctic Warbler 1 Pallas' Leaf Warbler 2 Yellow-browed Warbler 3 Radde's Warbler 1 Dusky Warbler 1 Western Bonelli's Warbler 1 Wood Warbler 3 4 Common Chiffchaff Siberian Chiffchaff 2 4 Willow Warbler Goldcrest 4 Firecrest 3 4 Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher 2 1 Collared Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher 3 Bearded Tit 3 4 Long-tailed Tit 4 Marsh Tit Willow Tit 3 2 Crested Tit 4 Coal Tit 4 Blue Tit 4 Great Tit 3 Wood Nuthatch 3 Eurasian Treecreeper 1 Eurasian Penduline Tit 3 Eurasian Golden Oriole 1 Isabelline Shrike 3 Red-backed Shrike 1 Lesser Grey Shrike 3 Great Grey Shrike


A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Northern Goshawk Eurasian Sparrowhawk Common Buzzard Rough-legged Buzzard Greater Spotted Eagle Osprey Common Kestrel Red-footed Falcon Merlin Eurasian Hobby Gyr Falcon Peregrine Falcon Red-legged Partridge Grey Partridge Common Quail Common Pheasant Golden Pheasant Water Rail Spotted Crake Little Crake Baillons Crake* Corn Crake Common Moorhen Allen's Gallinule* Common Coot Common Crâne Little Bustard Macqueen's Bustard Great Bustard Eurasian Oystercatcher Black-winged Stilt Pied Avocet Stone-curlew Cream-coloured Courser* Collared Pratincole Oriental Pratincole Black-winged Pratincole Little Piover Ringed Piover Kentish Piover Greater Sand Piover Eurasian Dotterei European Golden Piover Grey Piover Sociable Lapwing Northern Lapwing Red Knot Sanderling Semipalmated Sandpiper

2

3 3 3 1 3 4 1 3 3 1 3 4 3 3 4 3 3 2

1 1 2

4 1 4 3 1 1 1 4 1 3 3 1 1 1 1 3 4 2

1 2

4 4 1 4 4 3 1

Yellow-billed Cuckoo Barn Owl Eurasian Scops Owl* Snowy Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Short-eared Owl Tengmalm's Owl* European Nightjar Common Swift Pallid Swift Alpine Swift Common Kingfisher European Bee-eater European Roller Hoopoe Eurasian Wryneck Green Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Greater Short-toed Lark Crested Lark Wood Lark Sky Lark Horned (Shore) Lark Sand Martin Barn Swallow Red-rumped Swallow House Martin Richard's Pipit Blyth's Pipit Tawny Pipit Olive-backed Pipit Tree Pipit Pechora Pipit Meadow Pipit Red-throated Pipit Rock Pipit Water Pipit Yellow Wagtail Blue-headed Wagtail Grey-headed Wagtail Black-headed Wagtail Ashy-headed Wagtail Citrine Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail White Wagtail

* not recorded as wild since at least 1949

1 3 1 1 3 3 3 3 1 3 4 1 1 3 2

1 3 3 4 4 3 2

1 4 4 3 4 4 1 4 2

1 2

1 3 1 4 1 3 3 4 3 3 1 2

1 3 4 3

Southern Grey Shrike Woodchat Shrike Eurasian Jay Black-billed Magpie Spotted Nutcracker Red-billed Chough* Eurasian Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Hooded Crow Common Raven Common Starling Rosy Starling House Sparrow Eurasian Tree Sparrow Red-eyed Vireo Chaffinch Brambling European Serin European Greenfinch European Goldfinch Eurasian Siskin Common Linnet Twite Lesser Redpoll Common Redpoll Arctic Redpoll Two-barred Crossbill Common Crossbill Parrot Crossbill Trumpeter Finch Common Rosefinch Common Bullfinch Hawfinch Lark Sparrow White-throated Sparrow Lapland Longspur Snow Bunting Pine Bunting Yellowhammer Ciri Bunting Ortolan Bunting Rustie Bunting Little Bunting Yellow-breasted Bunting Reed Bunting Black-headed Bunting Com Bunting

1 2

4 4 1 2

4 4 4 3 2

4 2

4 3 1 4 3 2

4 4 4 4 3 3 3 1 1 3 1 1 2

3 3 1 1 3 3 1 4 2 2

1 2

1 4 1 4

** origins uncertain

Key: 1 2 3 4

National Rarity - detailed description required. County Rarity - notes detailing observation will always be required. Ail records requested - supporting notes may be requested. Specific records - records of breeding, large counts, earliest/latest dates, unusual inland records or migration/weather-related movements requested. Acknowledgements: Thanks to Richard Rafe for compiling the list.

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Suffolk Birci Report 2002

Rare Birds in Suffolk 2002 Brian Small

Summary During a relatively quiet year for rare birds in Suffolk, those listed below constitute records accepted by the BBRC. The three highlights were: the Alpine Accentor at Minsmere, which unfortunately has not been formally described and so was accepted on the basis of the photographs taken at the time; the Great Snipe at Corton, which performed well to a lucky few (another strong claim from Trimley was not accepted); and the Black-headed Bunting at Gunton, which was well-received as it removed a 'blocker' for many of the Suffolk 'biglisters'. The snipe and the bunting came from what is quickly becoming the rarity hotspot in Suffolk, and were just rewards for the hard-working Lowestoft birders. Further to the above, two Caspian Terns in a year is exceptional, three Ferruginous Ducks at Minsmere at the same time, likewise. The ringed Great Egret came from a scheme in France and was also seen in Ireland and Gloucestershire. The provenance of the ringed Black Stork is less certain, though there are schemes in Germany where metal rings have been fitted to both legs. The female Red-footed Falcon at Oulton Dyke, Burgh St. Peter, was the same as the long-stayer at Hickling, Norfolk. Three Dusky Warblers (plus another well-watched at Kessingland sewage works, which has only just been submitted) were a substantial part of the country-wide total of only four; two Radde's Warblers on Orfordness were also late submissions and await ratification, but a record from 2001 has now been accepted. Great Egret - Minsmere, 30th August (P. Green, S. Green et al.), colour-ringed on left leg. A different bird, Dunwich and Minsmere, 7th-27th September (R. Drew). Black Stork - Hawstead, Bury St Edmunds, 1st May, photo (J. R. R. Carr, Mrs C. Carr et al.), one metal ring on each leg. Black Brant - Trimley Marsh, 21st February (P. Beeson, N. Odin), presumed returning bird. King's Fleet, Felixstowe, 21st December (J. Kennerley, P. Kennerley). Ferruginous Duck - Minsmere, male, 1st January to at least 12th February; a second male, 9th-21st January (W. J. Brame, R. Drew et al.); a third male, 11 th-12th January (R. Drew); male, 23rd October to 30th December (J. and P. Wright et al.), presumed returning bird. Black Kite - Tuddenham St Martin, 11th June (S. Abbott, Mr & Mrs M. Ambrose). Red-footed Falcon - Orfordness, female, 17th May (J. Askins, D. Cormack). Oulton Dyke, 29th August (G. J. Etherington). Great Snipe - Corton, Lowestoft, 13th September, photo (J. Brown et al.). Caspian Tern - North Warren, 12th May (D. Thurlow). Havergate Island, 7th August (D. Short). White-winged Black Tern - Dunwich, juvenile, 9th September (M. L. Cornish). Alpine Swift - Landguard Point, 6th June (N. Odin). Red-rumped Swallow - Southwold, 11th April (B. J. Small). Flixton, two 19th May (C. & J. Ayers, C. A. Jacobs, I. Levett et al.). Alpine Accentor - Minsmere, 16th-19th March, photo (J. Wylson et al.). Dusky Warbler - Thorpeness, 10th October (A. Botwright, P. Clack, R. Drew); lst-4th November (D. Fairhurst et al.). Hollesley Bay, 16th November, trapped (P. Catchpole, R. A. Duncan). Black-headed Bunting - Gunton, Lowestoft, 1st winter, 24th & 25th September, photo (J. Brown, J. Wright et al.). 158


Rare Birds in Suffolk 2002 Late acceptances or re-assessments Black Brant - 2001 Shotley, Stour Estuary, 29th March (L. Woods). Ferruginous Duck - 2001 Minsmere, male, 14th October to at least 12th February 2002 (W. J. Brame, R. Drew). Olive-backed Pipit - 2001 Corton, Lowestoft, 30th September (J. Brown, A. Easton et al.). Radde's Warbler - 2001 Sizewell, 13th October (R. Fairhead et al.). Ilsabelline Shrike - 1976 Benacre, immature, 30th August, now considered inadequately documented). [Black-headed Bunting - 1993 Oulton, Hall Lane, male, 30th May. No longer considered acceptable). ALPINE ACCENTOR - fourth for Suffolk (2nd since 1900) This record was never formally submitted, so the only record of it remains the photographs published at the time (e.g. British Birds 95: p.270; Birding World 15: p.517 and see photo no. 17 opposite page 128). The finder must have been somewhat dismayed by the incredulous response to his original report of the bird on the sluice at Minsmere. Luckily it was re-located on the ruins on the levels by others. Most observers had to make do with poor views as it showed distantly on the stone walls of the old chapel, but it did visit the sluice walls again on occasion and was seen well by a few. The images showed it to be a very smart bird, clearly an accentor Prunella in shape and proportions, but chunkier and more muscular than a Dunnock. It showed the grey head, beady black eye, speckled with black on the throat and a triangular white patch on the lower throat; the mantle and scapulars were streaked with black - with some warmth on the outer scapulars. The wing-coverts were black with neat triangles of white at the tips the greater coverts in particular showing as a solid black panel across the wing; the primary coverts were also black with neat white tips. The remiges were notable for a long primary projection and pale emarginations. The underparts were marked on the flanks with three broad chestnut streaks that coalesced near the breast, forming a solid patch. The under-tail coverts had neat black arrowheads. The bill was distinctly marked with a largely black upper mandible and black tip to the lower, but yellow at the base of the upper and threequarters of the lower; the legs were pinkish. BLACK-HEADED BUNTING - second for Suffolk Circumstances (James Brown) With promising conditions with winds from the E-NE, I decided to book the day off work and look for migrants on my local patch. I arrived at Gunton disused railtrack at around 9 am and bumped into James Wright, a birder who works the railtrack almost daily. James told me that he had just seen an unusual looking bunting with a group ofYellowhammers. Although he suspected it may have been only a pale young Yellowhammer, he was concerned enough about it to tell me. We both decided to try to relocate the bird and I quickly picked up his bird sitting out in a hawthorn bush. It appeared very pale and unstreaked on the underside, in the brief head-on view I had before it flew into the bordering stubble to join feeding Yellowhammers. We decided that it looked unusual enough to follow it up to see if we could hear it call just to confirm that this was no dodgy Yellowhammer. As we approached, three buntings flew up, two Yellowhammers and a significantly larger, bulkier and paler bunting with a very plainbacked appearance and importantly, no clear rusty rump or white tail sides. We were now getting very excited and panic set in when it began to call - a longish 159


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 'prrrrt' - quite different to any Yellowhammer. We were clearly now looking at a rare bunting. The question was which one. My thoughts were turning towards Black-headed Bunting, due to its bulk and plain underparts, but I knew several other species might be possible - including the dreaded escapes. With this in mind, I left James watching the bird while I raced home to get the Collins field guide. On my return, James had been watching the bird in the open for ten minutes and we both agreed it had to be a Black-headed or Redheaded Bunting. Over the mobile I spoke to Andrew Raine of Rare Bird Alert and also to Lee Evans; both agreed on the description that it had to be one of these species, though we were all swaying towards Black-headed. The news was promptly broadcast. During the next few hours a steady stream of birders arrived and obtained good views including Brian Small, Pete Milford and Lee Evans. All of the watchers became confident that it was a Black-headed Bunting based on a combination of features (see below). See photograph on page 129. I managed to take some video footage of the bird and several photographers including Robert Wincup and Tim Brown, obtained excellent digital images. These were particularly useful in counting the diagnostic seven primary tips. The bird seemed to be in fresh plumage, suggesting a 1 st winter, though perhaps an adult female cannot be entirely ruled out, especially considering the very white wing edgings and small amount of wear on the fringes of some tertials. Therefore these had not been moulted yet, unlike the other fresh primaries. However, this is probably a typical state of moult for a first winter bird. The bird remained the next day but became more and more flighty and elusive, often flying high for a large distance before returning. It became less vocal throughout its stay. It could not be found on the 26th , but had been seen by well over 100 people during its two day stay. Description (James Wright and James Brown) Size/jizz: A typical rounded bunting jizz. In flight, appeared to be slightly larger than the two Yellowhammers accompanying it, ruling out Red-headed Bunting, which would have been smaller. Upperparts: Head: crown was dark grey with obvious black speckling / streaking from above the lores and eye extending to behind the eye to the nape. A faint, incomplete eyering was visible. The chin was white, the cheek and nape darker than chin, but not as dark as crown; slightly darker ear coverts. Mantle: pale grey with brown chestnut streaks (some digital images showed a faint rusty wash). Scapulars were buff with chestnut streaking; the back was grey with slight chestnut streaking, which wasn't as strong as the mantle streaks. Rump: pale brown with hint of yellow patch, but generally concolourous with the mantle. Underparts: Chest: pale off-white, unstreaked, extending to belly; vent: lemon yellow; tail: forked, brown, with white fringes to feathers. In flight showed no white outer-tail feathers. Wings: Lesser coverts: brown with white fringing. Median and greater coverts: two median and greater coverts had moulted into adult feathers, which were brown with buff fringes, otherwise the remaining juvenile coverts were brown with white fringes. Alula: dark brown with white fringing. Primaries: the seven feathers extending beyond the tertials eliminated Red-headed (which show just five), they were brown with white edging, once again indicating juvenile plumage. Bare parts: Bill: large, long and robust, pale off-white darkening towards tip; legs: pink; eye: black. Voice: Disyllabic 'zurrrip' or 'turrup' was heard in flight occasionally and also whilst perched in hawthorn bushes. BS comments: This, a second 'blockbuster' in September for Lowestoft, was an admirable find for JW. Caution is always called for when identifying this tricky species and once the 160


Rare Birds in Suffolk 2002 two observers agreed on the identification, the news was phoned out. Good photographs were obtained, which aided the identification process immensely - the subtle détails of moult showed that it was a juvenile moulting into first-winter plumage. In good close views, the dark mantle streaks themselves were chestnut-toned, leaving observers in no doubt that it was a Black-headed Bunting, and would not therefore be relegated to the indeterminate Red-headed/Black-headed bin. GREAT SNIPE - sixth for Suffolk since 1900 (at least 35 pre-1900) Late in the afternoon on Friday the 13th of September, I decided to search for migrants on my local patch at Corton, Suffolk. The wind was blowing from the north-east and the presence of 28 Wheatears in a single clifftop field indicated that migrants were around. I decided to work the perimeter of a large grassy field just north of the church. Two migrant Redstarts, one of which was a nice male, were present in the stunted roadside willows. This was flushed into bushes bisecting the middle of the grassy field, an area I was not intending to look at. However, as it's always nice to look at maie Redstarts I walked up through the long grass to its position. It was shortly after 6 pm when I suddenly flushed a large, silent snipe from the long grass at my feet. It flew very low with a rather lumbering flight, recalling Woodcock, and dived back down into the long grass about 20 métrés away. Realising that it had a strong chance of being a Great Snipe, I scanned the long grass thoroughly. Fortunately, I soon located the bird with its head showing above the grass (giving an indication of its large size). The bird appeared to have a large bulky head and pale latéral crown stripe - eliminating Woodcock. I was now convinced it had to be a Great Snipe but realised that I needed to flush it to see the outer tail, flank barring and covert edges. I decided to ring a few locals before flushing the bird in case it flew off, never to be seen again. Within 15 minutes Andrew Easton, Robert Wilton, Ricky Fairhead, Jack Wylson and Derek Beamish had joined me and ail agreed that the bulk of the head looked very interesting indeed. At about 6.45 pm we ail got into position as Robert Wilton approached the bird to flush it. We were very close before it flew and were able to note the broad white tail sides and heavily barred underparts. We had now secured Suffolk's first multi-observed Great Snipe. The bird flew to the northern perimeter of the old sewage works. Ricky Fairhead, amazingly, picked it out feeding completely in the open - a very rare sight in Britain. We ail enjoyed phénoménal views in the next 15 minutes and were increasingly joined by ecstatic local birders. On these views, it was possible to note the heavily-marked breast and flanks and the pale white edges to the greater coverts forming distinctive bars. The proportionately shorter and thicker bill than Common Snipe was also evident. Ail these features are displayed in the excellent digital photograph, taken by Andrew Easton in the fading light. Then, without provocation, it flew back towards us, over our heads and pitched down once again in its favoured grassy field. By now the news had been spread via the pagers and the local grapevine, so people were arriving ali the time. In order for these latecomers to see the bird, it was flushed again, with observers at least noting the diagnostic white tail sides and the quiet low croak cali when close to. In ali the bird was seen by around 20 people, including Brian Small and Tim Brown, when the bird very fortunately flew past them as they entered the field at dusk. On this occasion the bird flew off high to the west. It could not be relocated next day, despite an organised search of the inland fields. James Brown

161


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2002

2001 REGIONAL REVIEW Adam

Gretton

The intention of this article is to look at events in neighbouring counties, both as a matter of interest and because of the possible implications for Suffolk. The information is based upon the latest published Bird Report, relating to 2001, except where stated otherwise.

Cambridgeshire The single Red-necked Grebe summered at the usual site (its fifteenth year!). A Manx Shearwater was at Grafham Water in September, and there was a record four Fulmars in early March. There were 187 occupied Cormorant nests at three sites. The report suggests that a record of a colour-ringed Night Heron may not relate to a wild bird, though accepted by BBRC. Little Egrets displayed at one site, but nesting was not confirmed. An apparently wild White Stork in August was the county's ninth. e peak count of Bewick's Swans was >93 on the entire Ouse Washes in January, whilst the equivalent peak for W h o o p e r Swans was a record 2,479 in December. The county's first confirmed Greenland White-fronted Geese, eight in late February, divided their time between Cambs and Norfolk. There were six records of Brent Geese (see comment for Norfolk below). The numbers of potential breeding pairs of the scarcer ducks were as follows: Wigeon: 7-11; Teal: six; Pintail: two; Garganey: 14, and Treecreeper Mark Ferris Pochard: ten. Rarer visitors included the county's 17th & 18th Green-winged Teal and the 12th Ring-necked Duck (often seen displaying to Tufted Ducks). The reintroduction of Red Kites in the Midlands, from 1995, has had dramatic effects in Cambs, with the 1-2 records a year in the early 1990s swelling to 34 in 2000 and 36 in 2001. Marsh Harriers are also doing very well, with 18 paired females at seven sites fledging at least 32 young (exceeding the 16 pairs fledging 28 young reported in Suffolk in the same year). Single pairs of Buzzard nested at 4-10 sites, and Hobby at 4-13 sites. A female Red-footed Falcon was at Wicken Fen in May. There were 7-10 calling Spotted Crakes at the Nene and Ouse Washes, and 20 calling Quail (various sites). A single Corncrake called for two days at the Ouse Washes; will plans to reintroduce this species to the Nene Washes, after an absence of at least half a century, bear fruit? The only record of Stone Curlew was one heard calling over Cambridge; for the first time on record none were seen in the south of the county. Two separate American Golden Plover, the first for Cambs, were at Swaffham Prior Fen in early October (remarkably on the same fields that the county's first Pacific Golden Plover had frequented five years earlier!). These excellent records were only surpassed by the Red-necked Stint at 7/

162


2001 Regional Review Somersham in late September (Britain's sixth record), which drew the crowds. Black-tailed Godwits continue to battle the floods at the Ouse Washes, with just seven pairs, but there were 28 pairs at Nene Washes. The two Washes continue to support most of the région's Snipe, with 212 drummers (plus a further 27 at six other sites in Cambs). There were 490 pairs of Lapwing in the county and c. 285 pairs of Redshank (the latter down from 500 in 2000), with the great majority of both species nesting on the Ouse and Nene Washes. Lesser Black-backed Gull has nested in the county since 1996; in 2001 there were 4-5 pairs at three sites. There were 12 records of Caspian Gull in 2001 and single Whitewinged Black Terns in both 2000 and 2001. Single pairs of Long-eared Owl were present at 2-3 sites (a continued decline), whilst the only Short-eared Owl in the breeding season was seen for just five days. A Redrumped Swallow at Welches Dam was only the county's third, whilst two Richard's Pipits brought the county total to 13 records. A singing Marsh Warbier was heard on three days in late May. A remarkable record of a Dartford Warbier in a Cherry Hinton garden on February 4th was the first record for the county since 1870. A Yellow-browed Warbier at Woodwalton was only the third for Cambs, whilst the Red-breasted Flycatcher at Wicken in late September was a county first. As few as six breeding pairs of Willow Tit were confirmed at four sites, but the species was also present in the breeding season at three other sites. Golden Orioles were thought to have bred at three sites, but were not confirmed. Only ten pairs of Tree Sparrow were reported, but 25-35 pairs had been present at another site in 2000. Lesser Redpoll was confirmed breeding at just one site (present at five others in season); an Arctic Redpoll at Woodwalton was the second record for the county.

Norfolk A White-billed Diver at Titchwell on January 14th was the sixth for the county, and there was an exceptional count of ten Slavonian Grebes at the same site in mid-November. Unseasonal Sooty Shearwater records at Sheringham included one on February 2nd and three on June 2nd. Two spring Leach's Petrels were the first April records since 1997. Fifty pairs of Cormorants at Holkham fledged 120 young. A radio-tagged Bittern, fledged at Minsmere, was recorded at Cley in early August. Little Egrets have not yet nested in Norfolk, but 45 were present at Titchwell in October. A long-staying Squacco Héron, in the Horsey-Waxham area between late September and mid-December, was the second in Norfolk since 1966. Whooper Swan numbers at the end of the year reached record levels, with 1,607 at Welney and 2,894 in the whole of Norfolk and Cambs. The Pink-footed Goose count of 82,100 at the start of the year was also a record. A first winter Ross's Goose and two 'vagrant' Canada Geese (parvipes / interior) in the autumn caused considérable interest and debate. A maie Black Brant, paired with a female Dark-bellied Brent Goose, was accompanied by four hybrid young at Burnham Deepdale from early January until May. Inland feeding by the latter species has been an increasing feature, with 1,000 at Langham in January. A Surf Scoter between Winterton and Holkham in December was the ninth county record. A brood of three Pintail at Cley was the first confirmed nesting since 1993; young Teal were only seen at two sites, but there was a record count of 6,487 Teal at Breydon/Berney in December. A female Garganey at Berney on February lOth was only the second wintering record in the last fifty years; the species was recorded at 15 sites in June/July, with a brood of seven seen at Horsey. 163


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

There was some positive news of breeding raptors, with 106 Marsh Harrier nests producing a record 189 young; ten pairs of Common Buzzard producing at least 12 young, and between one and four pairs of Honey Buzzard. For the second year running, however, no Montagu's Harrier nested in the county, with the previous breeding birds having apparently moved into Lincolnshire (possibly prompted by an increase in numbers of Marsh Harrier and Barn Owl at the traditional Norfolk site). Lucky observers saw a displaying pair of Peregrines at Pensthorpe on a single date in late March (but with no further breeding observations).

Redwing Mark Ferris

Grey Partridge were recorded from 37% of tetrads surveyed in 2000 and 2001 (Norfolk Bird Atlas), but the numbers on Scolt Head in the same two seasons dropped ffom six pairs to one. Golden Pheasants were recorded at six sites, with a mรกximum of 14 birds at Wayland Wood. Possible breeding Spotted Crake were heard at five sites (in contrast to 1999 when there was just a single record). Two pairs of Common Crane were successful, producing two fledged young each; all but one survived to the end of the year. A total of at least 359 pairs of Avocet bred at 16 sites. There were two winter records of Stone Curlew in the Breck, and an autumn flock of 97 birds. A record 13,280 Golden Plover were at Breydon in February. Despite FMD restrictions, an impressive total of 743 pairs of Lapwing were recorded (948 in 2000), of which almost half were at Holkham, showing just what can be achieved when management is right. Common Snipe increased with 89 drummers at 20 sites (compared with only six from four sites in Suffolk). The first successful nesting by Black-tailed Godwit since 1995 produced two young. Rarer waders included two White-rumped Sandpipers, three Lesser Yellowlegs, and a single Terek Sandpiper. Two spring records of Long-tailed Skua were the first ever for Norfolk. A record 32 Mediterranean Gulls were roosting at Breydon on August 22nd, and an impressive 44 Yellow-legged Gulls were at Saddlebow two days before. Up to 18 Caspian Gulls were recorded during the year, with winter and late summer peaks. A record total of 12 pairs of Common Gull nested at three sites. The well-watched Gull-billed Tern at Titchwell from November 16th to 26th, is almost certainly the latest British record. An excellent total of 164


2001 Regional Review 4,000 pairs of Sandwich Terns at Scolt Head fledged 4,000 chicks, but in contrast the 261 pairs of Little Tern at Great Yarmouth (over half the county total) lost a staggering 450 chicks to Kestrels. Stoats were the main predators on the pulii of the 21 pairs of Arctic Tern (at three sites), but at least 20 young still fledged. For the first year since 1995, Roseate Tern did not attempt to nest. Very high numbers of Guillemot were present off North Norfolk from December 2000 to February 2001, with a peak estimate of 20,000 in early January. The two Black Guillemots in autumn were 'average' (compare the Suffolk all-time total of six!). A most fortunate inland Little Auk at North Creake was rescued from a Sparrowhawk! The Pallid Swift at West Runton and Cromer (the tenth for Norfolk) was seen just two days after Essex's first (see below) - possibly the same bird? There were two records of Short-toed Lark and the first Red-rumped Swallow since 1997. A belated addition from September 1999 was the county's second Blyth's Pipit, at Happisburgh, whilst a staggering 55 Richard's Pipits in 2001 exceeded Suffolk's all time total. An Olive-backed Pipit at Holkham was the county's first since 1996. Yellow Wagtails were only confirmed nesting at six sites, with most of the pairs (37) at Welney. A record count of 2,213 roosting Pied Wagtails came from Norwich in January. 2001 produced two fine warblers, with Norfolk's first Marmora's Warbler at Scolt Head on 12th and 18th May (fourth for Britain, with the same or another seen soon after at Sizewell), and the county's second Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler at Blakeney Point in late September. The total of 103 pairs of Cetti's Warbler was down on the 135 of the previous year, but still impressive by Suffolk standards. A female Marsh Warbler was at the 1999 nesting site, but unfortunately the only singing male reported was at another site on just a single day. There was only a single record of Dartford Warbler, but that was in suitable breeding habitat at Cromer cliffs in late March. Willow Tits were recorded from 32 sites, but with some Broadland sites deserted since 2000. Golden Orioles nested at only 1-2 sites, but with no confirmed success. At least 57 pairs of Tree Sparrow were reported, with an impressive 24 at Fulmodeston, where feeding efforts are apparently maintained year-round, and nestboxes provided. Singing males or paired Lesser Redpoll were at nine sites, but with young only seen at two of these (cf. a single confirmed breeding record in Cambs, none in Essex and six in Suffolk in 2001).

Essex After several 'near misses' in recent years, Black-necked Grebe finally nested successfully in Metropolitan Essex, rearing two young [they returned in 2002 and again fledged two young]. This is the first confirmed nesting by this species in Essex. On the last day of the year 20 Slavonian Grebes were on the Blackwater. A single Manx Shearwater at Canvey was the only shearwater reported in Essex in 2001, in contrast to the situation in Suffolk. The numbers of nesting Cormorant declined at Abberton, but the species also nested at three other sites, giving a county total of 627 pairs (623 in 2000); the total number of birds in the December census was 1,615. Little Egret first bred in 2000 in south Essex, when seven pairs reared at least 14 young. The colony grew rapidly, with 20 pairs in 2001 fledging 45 young. There were thought to be at least 200 birds in the county in the autumn, with 118 at a single roost in December. The peak in Brent Goose numbers was 31,308 in January, with a total of 8-10 birds remaining throughout the summer, at three sites. In 2000, three pairs of Wigeon nested, and a record 178-181 pairs of Tufted Duck. In 2001 there was just a single confirmed brood of Teal, two broods of Shoveler (down from 12 the preceding year), and three broods of Garganey at two sites (with pairs at three others in May). Rarer ducks included 165


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 both Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal (the latter the fourth for Essex), Canvasback at Abberton (the same male first reported in November 1997), and a Ring-necked Duck at Hanningfield. Three Velvet Scoters were at the same site for almost two weeks in November. The total number of Honey Buzzards passing through Essex in autumn 2000 is thought to have been 212, but the four birds in 2001 was a return to normal. Despite an increase from 2000, large raptors remain scarce nesters in Essex, with Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzard each fledging young (nine and six respectively) from two to three sites. The first Red-footed Falcon since 1997 was seen near Stansted airport in late May, whilst Merlin reached a peak of 17 in November. Two to three pairs of Peregrine nested close to the county boundary, following their first confirmed nesting in Essex in 1998. Only 27-32 pairs of Grey Partridge (about half the 2000 total) were reported, perhaps partly due to FMD access restrictions. A Quail at Rainham Marshes in mid-November was unusual, and three separate Cranes were reported. A 2000 survey of Woodcock in Epping Forest revealed an encouraging 31 roding males; in contrast there were only 6-7 pairs of Snipe reported in Essex in 2001, and this was "the most successful year for many years". Lapwing and Redshank did a little better, with 158 and 179 pairs respectively. Record wader counts in February included 950 Avocet at East Tilbury, and almost 16,000 Golden Plover on the Blackwater.

Rare waders at Old Hall Marshes included Essex's second Pacific Golden Plover in May 2000; the county's third Sociable Plover in February 2001 (just after FMD had closed access to the reserve), and the fifth Wilson's Phalarope. A Spotted Sandpiper at Hanningfield (the county's fourth) had a close shave with a Sparrowhawk and a Lesser Yellowlegs was at Cattawade in mid-October, close to the Suffolk border. Unusually there were no records of Stone Curlew or Dotterel. The total of 24 Long-tailed Skua was the highest since 1991, and included 16 at Canvey on September 8th. Essex's first Franklin's Gull was at Barking Bay in April, followed by another (or the same well-travelled bird?) at Southend at the year end. There were three Ring-billed Gulls, including the long-stayer at Westcliff-on-Sea. A total of nine pairs of Mediterranean Gull nested at four sites. Both Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls are increasing as breeding birds, with both using town centre locations, such as the roofs of Clacton railway station and Chelmsford bus garage. At least 184 pairs of Little Tern nested in the county, but their success was not recorded in the report. The count of 455 Black Terns in August was the highest monthly total since 1994. The Forster's Tern, originally found in November 1998, was last seen on 1st September 2000. A Roseate Tern in Barking Bay in September 2001 was an excellent 166


2001 Regional Review record so far up the Thames. A Little Auk also ventured inland, spending three days in November on the river and mill pond at Borley, near Sudbury. A single pair of Long-eared Owls nested in Metropolitan Essex, but there were no reports of breeding Short-eared Owls, although the county's wintering population peaked at 30 in December. The Pallid Swift, at Cudmore Grove in mid-October, was a long-awaited first for Essex, while an Alpine Swift, at Lee Valley in the same week. was the first since 1995. As usuai, the Naze was the site for rarer passerines, with a Bee-eater, four Wrynecks, a Richardis Pipit, a Melodious Warbier, one to two Common Rosefinch, and an Ortolan Bunting. Gunners Park did well in late March, however, with a Bluethroat and Serin in quick succession. As in other counties, it was the best year for Waxwings since 1996, with up to 460 birds reported in the first winter period. There were only seven records of Wood Lark and four of Shore Lark, whilst Tree Pipit territories feil to 10-11 at seven sites (a decline of 80% since 1990). Six pairs of Black Redstart nested, and a single pair of Wheatear at Holland Häven. Cetti's Warbier sang at three sites, with two territories at one, whilst singing Marsh Warbiers were at two sites in Metropolitan Essex, raising two young at one. There were two winter Dartford Warbiers, a single Barred Warbier (for the third year in a row) and two birds showing characteristics of Siberian Chiffchaff. In 2000, the county's first Radde's Warbier was found by a local patch-worker at Fairlop. Willow Tits were only reported from three sites, and there were only 11 records of Tree Sparrow (and no more than two birds seen at any site); neither of these two sadly depleted species were reported nesting. As the Essex report notes, the Red-backed Shrike near Fiatford on September 2nd and 3rd actually spent most of its time in Suffolk (despite being south of the river), but was apparently not reported to the Suffolk recorders.

167


Suffolk Birci Report 2002

Ringing Report 2002 Peter Lack A grand total of 32753 birds was ringed in Suffolk by those ringers who contacted me. This is about 17% up on 2001 and brings numbers back into approximate line with the longer term average. It is quite clear that the restrictions to access caused by the Foot and Mouth outbreak of early 2001 was one of the main factors which led to the low numbers ringed in 2001. In 2002 numbers have bounced back and it is almost all due to passerine numbers (the low numbers of 2001 were due largely to particularly low numbers of passerines). Individually long-distance migrants seem to have done rather well in 2002. Sand Martin numbers were up by 67%, Swallow by 74% (and House Martin more than doubled, but only 291 were ringed); Sedge Warbler was up 25%, Reed Warbler by 21%, Lesser Whitethroat by 74%, Whitethroat by 41%, Blackcap by 38%, Willow Warbler by 38% and Chiffchaff by 44% (and 2002 was also the second year in which Chiffchaff numbers were higher than those of Willow Warbler). In contrast, Garden Warbler numbers remained more or less the same and Spotted Flycatchers decreased from 63 to just 17, confirming their general scarcity. Of resident and shorter distance migrants Meadow Pipit increased by 56%; Wren by 30%; Greenfinch by 23%; Goldfinch by 59%; Bullfinch nearly doubled and Reed Bunting was up by 49%. However Robin numbers declined by 23% and Linnet by 34%. There are no obviously consistent patterns in these figures which may well be due to chance, especially as some of these species showing large changes also appeared last year in a similar list. Rarities are always top of a ringer's list just as they are for the ordinary birdwatcher. This year brought a Dusky Warbler for Peter Catchpole's group and two Radde's Warblers (on Orfordness) and a Red-breasted Flycatcher (at Landguard itself) for the Landguard Bird Observatory ringers. I am well aware that this report only covers the totals of those ringers who responded to my request for information. We should all try to make this report as complete as possible and I do urge all ringers who have ringed birds in Suffolk to report on their activities. I am grateful to the ringers in Suffolk who responded to my requests; the British Trust for Ornithology for allowing me to extract data and to Mike Marsh for comments and suggestions. The following ringers provided information for this report: Graham Austin, Jez Blackburn, Peter Catchpole and ringing partners, Greg Conway, Dingle Bird Club, Simon Evans, Sir Anthony Hurrell, Lackford Ringing Group, Landguard Bird Observatory, Market Weston Ringing Group, Paul Newton and Mick Wright, Ron Pomroy and Brian Thompson. My apologies if I have inadvertently missed anyone off this list. If you do ring birds in Suffolk and are not on this list, please make yourself known and send me your data. Selected Recoveries I have listed here a personal selection of 'interesting' recoveries which have been reported during 2002 and which involve Suffolk either as the ringing place or the finding place. (There are a few from earlier years but most of these have only recently been reported, or for which details have only recently been obtained). These are by definition often the more unusual reports of birds, either because of where they were found or because they were very much older than usual. Notes of these were from individual ringers and from the files held by the British Trust for Ornithology. 168


Ringing Report 2002 Recoveries are listed in species order with ringing détails on the first line: Ring Number, Age and/or Sex (see below for codes), date of ringing, place of ringing with latitude and longitude coordinates; and report détails on the second line: the means of the recovery (control means caught and released by another ringer, field record is normally a record of a colour ring being read in the field), date of report, place of report with latitude and longitude, and then distance (in kilométrés) and direction where these are available. The âge of the birds at ringing are noted according to the EUR1NG codes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

nestling or chick fully grown, year of hatching quite unknown hatched during calendar year of ringing (3J is one still in juvenile plumage) hatched before calendar year of ringing but exact year unknown hatched in previous calendar year hatched before previous calendar year but exact year unknown hatched two calendar years before ringing date hatched more than two years before year of ringing hatched three calendar years before ringing hatched more than three years before year of ringing

Also M = Maie, F = Female RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata 1274551

1 fresh dead

18.07.1992 29.11.2002

South Unst, Shetland 60°44TM 0°56'W Kessingland 52°24'N 1 °43'E 940km S

GREAT CORMORANT Phalacrocorax 5194636

1 sick, released

30.06.1999 12.01.2002

EUROPEAN SHAG Phalacrocorax 1380954

1 dead

29.06.2001 16.03.2002

carbo Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin 51 °59TM 1 ° 17'E Yalding, Kent 51°13TM 0°26'E 103km SW

aristotelis Isle of May, Fife 56° 11 TM 2°34'W Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E 528km SSE

GREAT EGRET Egretta alba CA60503

1

14.05.2002

Lac de Grand Lieu, Loire-Atlantique, France 47°6'N 1 °40'W field record 30.08.2002 Minsmere 52°14TM 1 °37'E 617km NNE This species is itself unusual but having it colour-ringed as well was a bonus.

EURASIAN SPOONBILL Platalea 8043702

1

leucorodia

30.05.2001

4e Slenk, Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands 53°29'N 6°16'E field record 25.05.2002 Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E 352km WSW 8044098 1 31.07.2001 Paal 21, Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands 53°29'N 6°15'E field record 06.07.2002 Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E 351km WSW 8042674 1 29.07.1999 De Schorren, Texel, Netherlands 53°8'N 4°54'E field record 06.07.2002 Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E 253km WSW 8041598 1 16.05.1998 Terschelling, Netherlands 53°25'N 5°28'E field record 13.04.2002 Minsmere 52° 14^1 1 °37'E 290km WSW It is becoming quite obvious where the increasing numbers of Spoonbills seen along the east coast of Britain are Coming from.

169


Suffolk Birci Report EURASIAN W I G E O N Anas FP35092

5M shot

FP22479

6M

FP49176

shot 3M shot

2002

penelope

13.01.2002

28.11.2002 03.01.2002 28.09.2002 13.10.2001 13.12.2001

EURASIAN TEAL Anas

crecca

J16719

4M

29.12.2001

field record

23.10.2002

Iken Marsh, near Iken 52°9'N 1°34'E Marais Vernier, Eure, France 49°25'N 0°30'E 313km SSW Longman, Inverness, Highland 57029TM 4°12'W Friston 52° 1 l'N 1°31'E 693km SSE River Deben, nr Ramsholt Lodge 52°2TM 1°20'E Saint-Philbert de Grand Lieu, Loire-Atlantique, France 47°2'N 1°38'W 595km SSW

Res. Nat. das Dünas Sao Jacinto, Aviero, Beira Litoral, Portugal 40°40'N 8°45'W Minsmere 52°15'N 1°36'E 1509km NNE

EURASIAN MARSH HARRIER Circus

aeruginosus

IF 29.07.2001 Seaside Dyke, Errol, Tayside 56023TM 3° 11'W field record 17.10.2002 Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E 568km SSE This is possibly the same wing-tagged individual that wintered at Orfordness in 2001/2002. This bird also had a green wing-tag but the number could not be read to identify the individual involved. FA64927

EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK Accipiter ER22630

3F sick

nisus

29.08.2002 04.09.2002

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 ^ 1°19'E Meppershall. Bedfordshire 52° 1 'N 0°21 'W 114km W Note that this bird moved inland very quickly and, given the time of year, it was perhaps a Continental bird. Correction to 2001 report: 6322489 was reported as found on 22 Oct 2000. This should read 22 Oct 2001.

PIED AVOCET Recurvirostra

avosetta

A colour-ringed Avocet ringed asapullus atTrimley Marshes (51°58'N 1°16'E) in 1997 was a surprise visitor to the Pool of Virkie, Shetland (59°53'N 1 ° 17'W) on 11.04.2002. It was one of a group of three Avocets seen there and is almost certainly the same group which was also seen at the Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire on 06.04.2002. These were the first Avocets to be seen in Shetland since 1992. We cannot be certain of the exact individual involved but it was certainly one of 16 pulli Avocets colour-ringed at Trimley Marshes between 11.06.1997 and 10.08.1997.

RINGED PLOVER Charadrius NV90765

4 control

DUNLIN Calidrìs

hiaticula

19.08.1998 27.05.2002

River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge 52=2^1 1 °20'E Waterfoot, Annan, Dumfries & Galloway 54°58'N 3°16'W 446km NW

Waterfoot, Annan, Dumfries & Galloway 54°58'N 3°16'W Iken Marsh, near Iken 52°9'N 1°34'E 44km SE Revtangen, KJepp, Rogaland, Norway S S ^ T M 5°30'E Iken Marsh, near Iken 52°9'N 1°34'E 774km SSW

alpina

NS39967

5

06.05.2000

8830122

control 3

28.07.2002 18.08.2001

control

14.09.2001

C O M M O N REDSHANK Tringa 628029

totanus

15.07.2001 fresh dead

06.01.2002

Saudanes, Langanes, Nordur-Thingeyjar, Iceland 66°14'N 15°16'W River Stour, near Shotley 51 " 5 7 ^ 1 ° 15'E 1837km SSE

170


Ringing Report 2002 BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa DK82930

4 shot

06.09.1994 03.01.2002

Stutton Mill, near Brantham 51°57'N 1 °6'E Baie des Veys, Manche, France 49°20'N 1 ° 10'W 332km SSW ES74712 4 16.11.1998 Farlington Marsh, Portsmouth, Hampshire 50°50'N 1°2'W field record 29.09.2002 Pin Mill, Orwell Estuary 52°0'N 1 ° 12'E 202km NE DK 14673 4 28.08.1992 River Butley, nr Butley Corner 52°5TM 1°29'E field record 04.07.2001 Seljatunga, Floi, Arnes, Iceland 63°51'N 20°53'W 1846km NW There are at least two other colour ring sightings in Suffolk of birds which had originally been ringed on the Wash and were subsequently sighted in various places including Iceland. One was reported in

The Harrier. GREAT SKUA Stercorarius HT94155

1 freshdead

skua

14.07.2002 24.11.2002

Hermaness, Unst, Shetland 60°50TM 0°54'W Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E 984km S

MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus 1 29.05.1997 Volkerakmeer, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands 51°42'N

white 42N

4°22'E field record 30.09.2002 Landguard Point, Suffolk 51 " 5 6 ^ 1°19'E field record 25.12.2002 Gijon, Oviedo, Spain 43°32'N 5°38'W Hossegor, Landes, France 43°40'N 1°25'W field record 11.01.2003 This bird is a Landguard regulär. It has been seen every autumn from 1997 to 2002, but never after early November. The excellent life-history provided by the co-ordinator of this colour-ringing scheme has solved the mystery of where this bird goes. Nearly every January from 1999 to 2003 it has been seen at Hossegor on the Biscay coast of France and in December 2002 it was also seen on the north coast of Spain. In recent summers it has regularly been seen in a breeding colony in Belgium. Will it be back at Landguard in 2003?

BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ET78153

6 dead

ridibundus

03.03.2001 18.06.2002

Ipswich 52°4'N 1°1 l'E near Repino, Gulf of Finland, St Petersburg, Russia. ÖO^OTM 29°52'E 1984km ENE Other foreign reports (either to or from) came from Belgium (1), Netherlands (2), Denmark (2), Sweden (3), and Finland (2).

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus Saltholm, Sjaelland, Denmark 55°38'N 12°46'E Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E 850km WSW red DSB Orfordness 52°5'N 1 o34'E Gijon, Oviedo, Spain 43°32TM 5°38'W 1090km SSW field record 18.04.2002 Orfordness 52°5TM 1 °34'E Note that the latter bird came back to Suffolk from Spain (ca 1100 km) in 8 days. In all, pulii ringed on Orfordness were reported as follows: Belgium (27), Netherlands (26), Germany (2), France (17), Spain (32), Portugal (25) and Mauretania (2), the majority being sightings of colour rings; and there were 14 birds ringed in the Netherlands seen in Suffolk and 14 from Norway as well as the Danish bird noted above. yellow VA57

1 field record 1 field record

03.07.2000 27.07.2002 19.07.1997 10.04.2002

HERRING GULL Larus

argentatus

white 276V

30.05.2002

1

Plane Island, Riou archipelago, Marseille, France 43°11 TM 5°23'E

171


Suffolk Birci Report

2002

field record 07.12.2002 Pipp's Ford, nr Needham Market 52°8'N 1 °5'H 1 15.07.2001 Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E field record 11.11.2002 Pipp's Ford, nr Needham Market 52°8'N 1°5'E field record 27.11.2002 Westkapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands 51 °32TM 3°26'E field record 27.12.2002 Pipp's Ford, nr Needham Market 5 2 = 8 » 1°5'E The first of these was a 'michahellis ' from the south of France, which gives us an indication of where the increasing number of Yellow-legged Gulls occurring in the county are originating. The latter shows that birds do move around and across the North Sea in late autumn/early winter.Foreign colour ring sightings from birds ringed as pulii on Orfordness were as follows: Belgium (1), Netherlands (7) and France (4). red KJY

C O M M O N GUILLEMOT Uria aalge X99199

6

19.06.1999

Lunga, Treshnish Isles, Strathclyde 56°29TM

Ó^Ó'W dead

16.02.2002

STOCK PIGEON (DOVE) Columba ER22402

1 shot

Shingle Street, near Woodbridge 5 2 - 1 » 1°26'E 712km SE

oenas

26.05.2001 01.05.2002

C O M M O N W O O D PIGEON Columba FP04545

BARN OWL GN22485

1 shot

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Needham, Norfolk 52°23'N 1°16'E 39km NNW

palumbus

30.05.2002 02.08.2002

Sefton Park, Merseyside 53°22'N 2°57'W Newbourne 52°2TM 1°18'E 322km ESE

16.06.2002 23.12.2002

Foulness Island, Essex 51 " 3 6 ^ 0°55'E Stoke Ash, near Ipswich 52°17'N 1°6'E 77km N

Tytoalba 1 dead

SAND MARTIN Riparia

riparia

P555363

28.08.2000 02.04.2002

3 control

Dunwich 52° 1 6 » l°37'E Laguna de San Juan, Chinchon, Madrid Spain 40°8'N 3°26'W 1402km SSW K182331 10.09.1995 Dunwich 52016TM 1°37'E 3 08.09.2002 Las Minas, San Martin de la Vega, Madrid, Spain control 40° 1 4 » 3 - 3 3 ^ 1394km SSW 22.07.2002 Benacre 52°23'N 1°43'E R286400 3 31.08.2002 Las Minas, San Martin de la Vega, Madrid, Spain control 40°14TM 3°33'W 1408km SSW 30.08.2002 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 5I°56'N 1°19'E P145366 3 15.09.2002 Las Minas, San Martin de la Vega, Madrid Spain control 40° 1 4 » 1352km SSW 12.08.1995 Dunwich 52° 16TM 1°37'E J770936 3 16.07.2002 Benacre 52°23'N 1°43'E 2530d 15km NNE control 28.08.2000 Dunwich 52° 16TM 1 °37'E P555363 3 02.04.2002 Laguna de San Juan, Chinchon, Madrid, Spain control 40°8'N 3°26'W 1402km SSW 09.08.1998 Longueil-Sante-Marie, Oise, France 49°20'N 4326661 2°42'E control 20.07.2000 Alton Water Reservoir, near Tattingstone 51°59TM 1°7'E 315km NNW All foreign recoveries for 2002 noted. J770936 and K182331 were seven years old when recaptured. P145366 was the only Sand Martin caught at Landguard in 2002 and was the first one caught there since 1993. Some people have all the luck!

172


Ringing Report 2002 BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica 1 30.06.2002

P697896

Rothiesholm Head. Stronsay, Orkney 59°4'N 2°42'W control 18.09.2002 near Hollesley Heath 52°3'N 1°26'E 821km SSE GA42239 Universitas, Bloemfontein, OFS, South Africa 4M 05.04.2002 29°7'S 26°10'E control 16.06.2002 Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E 9400km NNW N955590 3 22.08.2001 Levington, Suffolk 52o0TM 1°15'E control 16.11.2001 Chôma, Zambia 16°37'S 26°59'E 8028km SSE It is good to have two southern African recoveries within a year.

MEADOW PIPIT Anthus P480462

3 control

pratensis 18.09.2000 01.10.2002

Shingle Street 52°1'N 1°26'E Sinaai, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium 51°9TM 4°3'E 205km ESE

WINTER WREN Troglodytes troglodytes 4G0495

3 ffesh dead

27.06.2002 27.09.2002

EUROPEAN ROBIN Erithacus P144713

5 control

Lackford Pits 52° 18TM 0°38'E Bradwell on Sea, Essex 51°43'N 0°55'E 68km SSE

rubecula

21.03.2002 11.04.2002

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56TM 1°19'E Jurmo, Korppoo, Turku-Pori, Finland 59°50'N 21°37'E 1535km NE Dunwich 52°16'N 1°37'E P830402 25.09.2001 3 Hamburg-Nienstedten, Hamburg, Germany 53°33'N fresh dead 29.10.2002 9°49'E 568km ENE PI44713 was a fairly fast spring recovery to Finland, and Finland is a relatively unusual location for our Robins.

COMMON BLACKBIRD Turdus merula CF25065

3F fresh dead

11.11.1998 02.05.2002

RR49424

3M fresh dead

30.10.1996 26.04.2002

RR55574

4F dead

17.12.2000 08.07.2002

CF08696

4F

20.12.2001

control

25.10.2002 02.11.2001 c.00.04.2002

CF37286

4F dead

LI 74278

4M

09.11.2001

L149172

control 4F

03.03.2002 07.10.2001

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E Karmansbo, Kolsva, Vastmanland, Sweden 59°42'N l S ^ ^ 1229km NE Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E near Arnes, Afjord Kommune, Sor-Trondelag, Norway 63°58'N 10°14'E 1434km NNE Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E near Coesfeld, Munster, Germany 51 " 5 7 » 7°10'E 383km E Alton Water Reservoir, near Tattingstone 51 °59'N 1°7'E Korverskooi, Texel, Netherlands 5 3 ° ? ^ 4°48'E 279km ENE Dunwich 52°16'N 1°37'E Os-Samnanger, Samnanger, Hordaland, Norway 60°25TM 5°35'E 938km NNE Kroon's Polders, Vlieland, Netherlands 53°15TM 4°57'E Stowmarket 52° 11TM 0°58'E 293km WSW Vinkenbaan Kroonspolders, Vlieland, Netherlands S S ^ T M 4°57'E

173


Suffolk Birci Report

7446633

fresh dead

28.02.2002

2F control

17.10.2002 07.11.2002

2002

Dallinghoo, Woodbridge 5 2 ° 9 » 1°18'E 274km WSW Hodne, Klepp, Rogaland, Norway 58°47'N 5°33'E Trimley Marshes, Trimley St Mary 51°58'N 1°17'E 804km SSW

All foreign ones reported are noted.

SONG THRUSH Turdus RS52320

3 shot

philomelos 18.09.1995 c.20.02.2002

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 5 1 ° 5 6 » 1°19'E Montilla, Cordoba, Spain 3 7 ° 3 6 » 4°39'W 1659km SSW RW04400 3 12.10.2002 Orfordness: 5 2 ° 5 » 1°34'E shot 16.11.2002 Bayonne, Pyrenees-Atlantiques, France 4 3 c 2 9 » 1°29'W 982km SSW RS52076 3 11.10.1994 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 ° 5 6 » 1°19'E fresh dead 17.10.1997 Begadan, Gironde, France 4 5 ° 2 1 » 0°53'W 749km SSW Report of RS52076 has only recently been received.

REDWING Tufdus

iliacus

RS40221

3 fresh dead

18.11.2001 30.03.2002

7X76373

3

17.10.2001

control

31.03.2002

Nether Button, Holm, Orkney 5 8 ° 5 5 » 2°56'W near Fristen, Saxmundham 52° 1 2 » 1°32'E 797km SSE Ingooigem, Oost-Viaanderen, Belgium 5 0 ° 4 9 » 3°26'E Dunwich 52° 1 6 » 1°37'E 204km NW

CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti R321415

3F control

11.08.2002 11.09.2002

SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus R286138

3 control 3 control

18.07.2002 28.07.2002 30.07.2002 23.08.2002

R138521

3 control

20.08.2002 23.08.2002

R286612

3

05.08.2002 20.08.2002

Kl 18866

control P944830

3

P944262

control

R286746

3 control 3 control

7182929

28.08.2002 14.09.2002 29.06.2002 31.07.2002 13.08.2002 31.08.2002 14.08.2000

Filsham, Hastings, Sussex 5 0 ° 5 1 » 0°31'E Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 5 2 ° 3 » 1°27'E 148km NNE

schoenobaenus Walberswick 52° 1 8 » 1°38'E Ubersyren, Luxembourg 4 9 ° 3 8 » 6°16'E 439km SE Orfordness 5 2 ° 5 » 1 °34'E Mortagne-sur-Gironde, Charente-Maritime, France 4 5 ° 2 9 » 0°47'W 753km SSW near Hollesley Heath 5 2 ° 3 » 1°26'E Floirac, Charente-Maritime, France 4 5 ° 2 8 » 0°44'W 748km SSW Walberswick 52° 1 8 » 1°38'E Floirac, Charente-Maritime, France 4 5 ° 2 8 » 0°44'W 779km SSW near Charity Farm, Shotley 5 1 ° 5 9 » 1°15'E Trunvel, Treogat, Finistère, France 4 7 ° 5 5 » 4° 19'W 602km SW near Charity Farm, Shotley 51 °59'N 1°15'E Le Massereau, Frossay, Loire-Atlantique, France 47° 1 4 » ^ 5 5 ^ 575km SSW Walberswick 52° 1 8 » 1°38'E Assenede, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium 51 ° 1 4 » 3°45'E 188km SE Veurne, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium 5 1 ° 4 » 2°40'E

174


Ringing Report control (=M)

2002

02.06.2002

Hazelwood, near Ham Creek 52°9'N 1°33'E 143km NNW 4334271 3 29.07.1999 Le Massereau, Frossay, Loire-Atlantique, France 47°14'N 1°55'W control 11.06.2000 Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1 °27'E 587km NNE AU foreign reports noted. R286138 was a quick one and rather to the south-east of their normal route, R138521 averaged 250 km per day.

EURASIAN REED WARBLER Acrocephalus P607894

3 unknown

27.07.2001 14.08.2002

R141076

3 control 3

30.07.2002 23.08.2002 23.08.2001 14.08.2002

P929192

control K280313

28.07.2000 4F fresh dead (cat) 28.04.2001

L562738

3

06.10.2001

control

14.07.2002

LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia P270068

4F control

curruca

24.06.2000 24.04.2002

C O M M O N WHITETHROAT Sylvia R138169

3 dead

17.07.2002 26.09.2002

GARDEN WARBLER Sylvia

scirpaceus

Walberswick 52° ÎS'N 1°38'E Vitoris-Gasteiz, Alava, Spain 42°51'N 2°41'W 1098km SSW Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E Flone, Liege, Belgium 50°34'N 5°20'E 316km ESE Walberswick 52°18'N 1°38'E Lagoa de Santo Andre, Baixo Alentejo, Portugal 38°5'N 8°47'W 1775km SSW Shotley Marshes 51°58'N 1°16'E Saint Etienne d'Orthe, Landes, France 43°35'N 1°10'W 949 km SSW Zapata, Alhaurin de la Torre, Malaga, Spain 36°39'N 4°34'W Levington, near River Orwell 52o0TM 1°15'E 1766km NNE

The Hague, Renishaw, Derbyshire 53° 17TM 1 °20'W Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 » 1 ° 19'E 233km SE

communis near Hollesley Heath 52°3'N 1°26'E Ferreiras, Faro, Algarve, Portugal 37°6'N 8°14'W 1826km SSW

borin

near Hollesley Heath 52°3'N 1°26'E Traibuenas, Navarra, Spain 42°20TM 1°35'W 1103km SSW 10.08.2002 Lackford Pits 52° 18H 0°38'E P867196 3 28.08.2002 Llantwit Fardre, Pontypridd, Glamorgan 51 °33'N fresh dead 3°20'W 284km WSW What P867196 was doing going to Wales is anyone's guess. R138164

3 control

17.07.2002 23.08.2002

BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla K777384 3M 18.09.1997 control 12.04.2002

Lackford Pits 52°18'N 0°38'E Priory Country Park, Bedford, Bedfordshire 52°8'N 0°26'W 75 km WSW (also 08.05.1998, 02.07.1998, 01.05.1999, 23.06.2001) 7970516 3M 29.09.2001 St Huibrechts Hern, Limburg, Belgium 50°50'N 5°26'E control 12.10.2001 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 ^ 1°19'E 310km, WSW The intriguing thing about K777384 is why it was caught at Lackford in its first year as it has always returned to Bedfordshire subsequently.

175


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 GOLDCREST Regulus

regains

6U3023

3M control

27.10.2001 24.11.2002

8Z3440

3M control

07.10.2000 10.02.2002

LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos 8U3618

2 control

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E Radlith, Pontesbury, Shropshire 52°38'N 2°52'W 300km WNW Iken Marsh, near Iken 52°9'N 1°34'E Cheddington, Buckinghamshire 51 0 51'N 0°40'W 156km WSW

caudatus

07.10.2001 21.12.2002

Dunwich 52°16TM l ^ ' E Sheringham, Norfolk 52°56'N 1°12'E 79km NNW

05.03.2002 23.03.2002

Wortwell, Harleston, Norfolk 52°24'N 1 °20'E Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 ^ 1°19'E 52km S

GREAT TIT Parus major P858134

5M control

COMMON STARLING Sturnus

vulgaris

RP21631

3M long dead

08.07.1997 29.03.2002

RK54306

6M dead

06.01.1994 28.08.2002

RP22103

2F fresh dead 3 fresh dead

CF14341

14.10.1997 c.08.08.2002 03.07.1999 13.07.2002

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56TS1 1°19'E Westwoud, Noord-Holland, Netherlands 52°41'N 5°9'E 273 km ENE Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 ^ 1°19'E Lissewege, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium 51°18'N S - l l ' E 147km ESE Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E Schwerin, Germany 53°38TM 11°23'E 702km ENE King's Marshes, Orfordness 52°5'N 1°33'E Minnertsga, Friedland Netherlands 53°15'N 5°35'E 301 km ENE

CHAFFINCH FringiUa coelebs P387165

6M fresh dead

07.02.2002 19.05.2002

V12168

5F

18.01.2001

control

24.02.2002

BRAMBLING

Mildenhall Fen 52°22TM 0°26'E Outerma, Vaala, Oulu, Finland 64°39'N 27°l'È 2046km NE Lelystad Ijsselmeerpolders, Netherlands 52°31'N 5°27'E Stowmarket 52°11'N 0°58'E 307km W

Fringilla montifringiUa

P410430

5M control

06.03.2001 18.10.2001

2E48446

4M control

05.10.2001 14.04.2002

Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26TM 0°41'E Oosthoven, Antwerp, Belgium 51 " 2 0 ^ 4°58'E 318kmESE Hodne, Klepp, Rogaland, Norway 58°47'N 5°33'E Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E 768km SSW

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH Carduelis

carduelis

K112791

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Carr House, Green Common, Inskip, Lancashire 53°49TM 2°48'W 350km WNW

3 control

23.09.2000 13.07.2002

EURASIAN SISKIN Carduelis spinus R098046

6F control

09.03.2002 24.04.2002

Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E Nordfjordeid, Eid, Sogn Og Fjordane, Norway 61°54'N 6°0'E 1099km NNE

176


Ringing Report 2002 P855771

5F fresh dead

30.03.2002 15.04.2002

P987193

5M fresh dead

24.03.2002 28.04.2002

P426775

6M control 2M

24.02.2002 28.03.2002 20.10.2001

control

08.03.2002

H002598

5M

10.05.2001

AB52570

control 3F

01.04.2002 30.09.2000

control

19.03.2002

AC76966

LESSER REDPOLL Carduelis R281975

3 control (=M)

Dunwich 52°16'N 1°37'E Soltau, Niederbayern, West Germany 52°59'N 9°50'E 560km E near Chillesford 52°6TM 1°28'E Clynder, Helensburgh, Strathclyde 56°0'N 4°49'W 596km NW Wilmslow, Cheshire 53°19'N 2°14'W Tangham Farm, Boyton 52°5TM 1°26'E 282km ESE De Bunker, Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands 53°29'N 6°11'E Tangham Farm, Boyton 52°5'N 1°26'E 355km WSW Giljastolen, Gjesdal, Rogaland, Norway 58°50'N 6°18'E Tangham Farm, Boyton 52°5TM 1°26'E 810km SSW De Bunker, Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands 53°29TM 6°1l'E near Hollesley Heath 52°3TM 1°26'E 357km WSW

cabaret

20.07.2002 24.10.2002

Loinnbuie, Loch Eye, Highland 57°47'N 3°59'W Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E 725km SSE

Ringing Totals in Suffolk in 2002 (and for 2001 for comparison) 2002 12 10 16 1 50 25 3 7 6 2 3 17 49 15 4 3 23 3 16 11 4 36 6 1 4 411 0

Little Grebe Mute Swan Greylag Goose Canada Goose Common Shelduck Eurasian Wigeon Gadwall Eurasian Teal Mallard Tufted Duck Pochard Eurasian Marsh Harrier Eurasian Sparrowhawk Common Kestrel Water Rail Common Moorhen Eurasian Oystercatcher Pied Avocet Ringed Plover European Golden Plover Grey Plover Northern Lapwing Red Knot Little Stint Curlew Sandpiper Dunlin Ruff

177

2001 7 0 0 0 16 33 2 2 8 0 0 19 52 16 2 6 32 11 24 5 4 33 2 0 6 489 1


Suffolk Birci Report 2002 2002 5 12 7 21 0 0 5 220 10 3 2 3 1 60 0 0 355 56 55 4 0 91 46 75 3 0 18 7 10 1 2 7 27 19 1 0 72 35 19 11 1157 1243 291 6 1747 2 51 20 106 675 826 888 25

Jack Snipe Common Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Eurasian Curlew C o m m o n Redshank Common Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper C o m m o n Sandpiper Ruddy Turnstone Black-headed Gull Mediterranean Gull Mew Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Common Tern Little Tern Little Auk Stock Pigeon Common Wood Pigeon Eurasian Collared Dove European Turtle Dove Common Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Short-eared Owl Long-eared Owl European Nightjar Common Kingfisher C o m m o n Swift Wryneck Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Green Woodpecker Wood Lark Sky Lark Sand Martin Barn Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Winter Wren Hedge Accentor European Robin Common Nightingale

178

2001 3 4 5 11 1 1 10 227 18 10 0 1 3 36 1 1 350 42 42 34 1 88 52 62 3 2 3 10 1 0 1 18 19 26 0 1 79 39 11 5 693 714 141 1 1119 4 7 11 87 516 728 1157 51


Ringing Report 2002 2002 0 9 20 33 31 91 0 3 1881 40 536 201 3 9 14 1291 2061 0 2 2 287 953 191 1284 2 1 1 1 722 676 2 366 79 17 1 38 205 505 32 2 324 1710 1189 14 53 1 15 29 3 16 5 843 451

Bluethroat Black Redstart Common Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Northern Wheatear Isabelline Wheatear Ring Ouzel Common Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbier Grasshopper Warbier Sedge Warbier Eurasian Reed Warbier Melodious Warbier Icterine Warbier Dartford Warbier Lesser Whitethroat Common Whitethroat Garden Warbier Blackcap Barred Warbier Yellow-browed Warbier Dusky Warbier Wood Warbier Common Chiffchaff Willow Warbier Radde's Warbier Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Wood Nuthatch Eurasian Treecreeper Red-backed Shrike Eurasian Jay Black-billed Magpie Rook Eurasian Jackdaw Carrion Crow Common Starling House Sparrow

179

2001 1 13 29 29 21 72 1 4 1890 19 480 117 35 3 6 1031 1708 1 0 0 165 675 196 926 1 1 0 3 500 489 0 490 45 63 0 16 134 571 28 2 351 1702 1440 22 37 1 15 10 1 4 0 961 501


Suffolk B i r c i Report

2002 2002 28 0 1428 327 2916 625 675 414 31 42 9 1 313 36 624 1 32753

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Hybrid House x Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling European Greenfinch European Goldfinch Eurasian Siskin Common Linnet Lesser Redpoll Common Redpoll Common Crossbill Common Rosefinch Common Bullfinch Yellowhammer Reed Bunting Com Bunting TOTALS

Peter Lack, British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU

180

2001 6 2 1282 186 2363 392 273 629 154 0 0 0 109 40 418 0 27884


SUFFOLK NATURALISTS' SOCIETY Founded in 1929 by Claude Morley (1874-1951), the Suffolk Naturalists' Society pioneered the study and recording of the County's flora, fauna and geology, to promote a wider interest in natural history. Recording the natural history of Suffolk is still one of the Society's primary objects, and members' observations are fed to a network of specialist recorders for possible publication, and deposited in the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, jointly managed with Ipswich Museums. Suffolk Natural

History,

a review of the County's wildlife, and Suffolk Birds, the

County bird report, are two high quality annual publications issued free to members. The Society also publishes a quarterly newsletter and organises an interesting programme of field excursions and winter lectures at venues throughout the County. The Suffolk Naturalists' Society offers a joint membership with the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group at a reduced subscription. This entitles joint members to receive literature and attend the meetings of both organisations. If you are not yet a member of the Society but would like to join, contact Mrs J. Hardingham, c/oThe Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES: Individual Family Corporate

SNS £14 £16 £16

Joint membership SNS/SOG £24 £28


CONTENTS Page Editorial Malcolm Wright Review of the Year Malcolm Wright

5 7

Mute Swans in Suffolk 2002 Mick Wright

14

Breeding Waders of Wet Meadows Survey 2002 Mick Wright

19

Snow Buntings Wintering in the Felixstowe Area Nigel Odin

24

Roosting Behaviour of Common Swift Malcolm Wright

26

The 2002 Suffolk Bird Report: Introduction

29

Systematic List

31

Appendices

144

List of Contributors

149

Gazetteer

151

Earliest and Latest Dates of Summer Migrants

153

A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk

154

Rare Birds in Suffolk 2002 Brian Small

158

Regional Review Adam Gretton

162

Suffolk Ringing Report 2002 Peter Lack

168

PRICE

ÂŁ7.50

Suffolk Birds 2002 Part 2  

Volume 52 Systematic List

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