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Suffolk Birci Report 2003 PEREGRINE Falcoperegrinus Uncommon but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. Last year's impressive tally of 70 records was surpassed by an unprecedented 85 sightings in 2003. As usual the vast majority of records came from the east, and the wide-ranging habits of some birds meant that reports were received from no fewer than 39 coastal sites. A maximum of 10 birds was thought to be present during the first-winter period when reports were received from numerous locations between Fritton, in the far north and Brantham, on the Essex border. Two birds were present at Carlton Marshes in January and two different birds were seen at Benacre Broad in February. Further down the coast, up to three were present on Orfordness during January and February, and these no doubt accounted for the reports of two birds seen in the Sudbourne/Havergate Island area during the same period. Elsewhere, two were present at Trimley Marshes and singles were seen at a further five coastal sites during January and February and at two sites in March. There were also four reports from the west of the county during January and February. Lowestoft: over the cemetery, Apr.20th. Carlton Marshes: two, Jan.4th. Fritton Marshes: on a pylon, Jan. 10th.

Benacre Broad: Jan.5th; immature, Feb.3rd; adult present all morning, Feb.20th. Covehithe: Mar. 17th.

Blvth Estuary: male, Feb.3rd. Dunwich Heath: Mar.7th; May 1st.

Minsmere: Jan. 1st; Jan. 21st; singles on four dates from Mar.6th to 30th, with two on 6th and 30th; female, Apr.9th; north. May 1st; May 7th. North Warren: flew out to sea. May 5th.

Aldringham Common & Walks: stooping at Common Starlings, Mar. 16th. Little Glemham: over the A12, Jan.2nd. Sudbourne Marshes: two, Jan. 18th.

Orfordness: one was present throughout the year; up to three, January and February; two, Apr.20th. Havergate Island: Jan.14th; two, Feb.l6th; Apr.6th. Boyton Marshes: Jan.2nd; Apr. 15th. Hollesley Common: Feb.2nd. Felixstowe Ferry: Apr. 11th. Kirton Creek: Jan.31st; Feb. 1st.

Woodhridge: Jan.4th. Trimley Marshes: two, Jan. 15th; Feb.26th; two, Mar.8th; Mar.30th. Orwell Bridge: Feb. 1st; Feb.7th and Feb. 14th.

Ipswich: Docks, Mar.23rd; Millenium Cemetery, Mar.25th. Brantham: Seafield Bay, Jan.7th. Wetherden: Feb. 14th.

Lackford Lakes: attacking a pre-roost gathering of Common Starlings, Jan. 11th. Lakenheath Fen: Jan.9th and Feb.25th. There were six records in April, including one over Lowestoft cemetery, April 20th and two on Orfordness the same day. The final spring record came from Minsmere, May 7th. Autumn records were more widespread and involved more birds. Early sightings came from King's Fleet, August 11 th and Benacre Broad, August 21 st. In the Breck, an immature bird was seen unsuccessfully attacking two Stone Curlews at a day roost, September 15th. Records suggest that there were eight or nine birds present during the second winter period, favouring Benacre Broad, the Minsmere area, Orfordness and Trimley Marshes. The two birds first seen on Orfordness on November 13th remained there until the end of the year. One was seen hunting pigeons around Sizewell power stations, before stooping at gulls over the sea, in November. 70


Systematic List Benacre Broad: Aug.21st; Sep.l5th; Oct.31st; male, Nov.l5th. Hen Reedbeds: Nov.30th to Dec.4th. Minsmere: Sep.2nd and Dec. 14th. Sizewell: Nov.28th and Dec. 18th. North Warren: Sep.2nd; Dec.6th; immature, Dec.8th; Dec.24th. Orfordness: two, Sep.7th; two from Nov.l3th until end of year. Havergate Island: Sep.23rd and an adult, Oct.28th. Bovton Marshes: Nov.30th. Shingle Street: two, Sep. 10th.

Felixstowe: Ferry, Sep.9th; Brackenbury Cliffs, Oct. 15th. Falkenham: Nov.l6th; King's Fleet: Aug.llth. Landguard: north, Sep.9th and south Sep.21st. Trimley Marshes: Sep.5th; Oct. 13th until late November, then up to two until the end of the year. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, Sep. 15th and 18th. Erwarton Bay: Oct. 10th. Lackford Lakes: Nov. 19th.

Cavenham Heath: immature, Dec.27th. Breckland site: one attacking Stone Curlews, Sep. 15th. WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List Recorded at 33 sites, an increase on last year's total of 28. Reports of breeding were received from only eight of these sites. However, its secretive nature, allied to its largely nocturnal breeding activity, would account for some under-recording. The sites with the largest breeding populations were Dingle Marshes (31 territories), Minsmere (61 pairs), North Warren (57 territories), and Lakenheath Fen (21 pairs); the latter three sites all reported increases in 2003. The RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen doubled its numbers over 2002 (ten pairs) and this population has been built up from nothing in just five or six years. Winter records were widely dispersed throughout the county with the highest counts being recorded at Minsmere, (12, January 11th) and Redgrave and Lopham Fen (eight, March 18th). At Lackford Lakes, up to three birds regularly fed out in the open on seed spilt from the bird table by the Visitor Centre during January and February and one bird fed in the same spot in the last two months of the year. Orfordness recorded a single on six dates between September 6th and December 14th, with two on November 16th, while Landguard logged one, November 22nd. SPOTTED CRAKE Porzana porzana Rare passage migrant; rarely over-summers. Amber List. Only four reports of this shy and elusive species were received, involving at least three and possibly as many as five individuals. There was no confirmation of breeding in 2003. South Cove: Cove Bottom, two calling, Apr.24th (D.J.Pearson). Easton Broad: calling. May 7th (J.and P.Kennerley). Reydon: calling, May 11th (G.J.Jobson). Minsmere: singles in July calling from reedbed (8th), Levels (9th) and Island Mere (14th) (RSPB). CORNCRAKE Crex crex Very rare passage migrant. Formerly bred. Red List. Nowadays the sighting of a Corn Crake in Suffolk is a very unusual experience, therefore the two reports received are exceptional. One was trapped and ringed at Dunwich in late August, then a different unringed bird was seen at close quarters in a mist-net ride at Dingle Marshes the following day. Dunwich: trapped and ringed, Aug.25th (Sir.A.Hurrell et al). Dingle Marshes: Aug.26th (D.J.Pearson). 71


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 COMMON MOORHEN GallĂ­nula chloropus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This very common species Counts from regularly monitored sites: continĂşes to be reported Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec 4 19 9 6 28 11 from suitable wetland sites Minsmere 40 60 70 70 60 60 60 throughout the county and North Warren 18 53 45 14 25 25 at all times of the year. A Aide/Ore Estuary 39 65 25 34 27 29 32 38 total of 96 breeding pairs Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary 11 37 72 69 31 37 29 31 was recorded at North - -- 21 MM. 45 Alton Water Warren, this being the Lackford Lakes 48 53 29 21 38 22 highest for the county. Minsmere, Lakenheath Fen and the Sizewell Estate also recorded high breeding numbers, with 64, 53 and 36 territories respectively. Outside the breeding season, a high count of 72 birds was received from Livermere Lake, March 9th. The results of winter counts at regularly-monitored sites are shown above.

Moorhens Mark Cornish

COMMON COOT Fulica atra Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The lack of records during the breeding season (only 14 reports totalling some 274 breeding pairs) continues to provide an incomplete picture of the abundance of this species. The largest breeding population was recorded at Lakenheath Fen with 136 breeding pairs, a huge Countsfromregularly monitored sites: increase on the previous Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec year's count of 41 pairs. 51 36 61 Minsmere 32 165 53 Wintering numbers were North Warren 16 34 77 62 138 159 143 generally quite low, 99 116 116 Aide/Ore Estuary 67 114 69 particularly at Alton Water, Deben Estuary 55 92 34 27 89 178 77 100 possibly reflecting the lack Orwell Estuary 277 149 86 528 996 53 658 424 437 Alton Water 949 419 246 133 576 649 of any prolonged severe Lackford Lakes 267 167 61 488 600 463 368 weather. However, Alton Water did have the largest over-wintering population of 949 birds on January 5th (but still much lower than the 2002 peak of 2491 in December) and 996 were logged on the R.Orwell WeBS count in September. Counts of 343 at Redgrave Lake, February 6th and 600 at Lackford Lakes in October were also notable. 72


Systematic List COMMON CRANE Grus grus Scarce passage migrant. Amber List. A further good year with 15 sightings, which appear to relate to a total of about 14 birds. At least one individual spent the second half of March in the Eastbridge/Minsmere area. Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, flew south. Mar. 16th. Bungay: Outney Common, Feb.2nd. Benacre: circling over Benacre Hall, 11.00am, Apr.30th. Covehithe: flew south. Mar. 16th. W'rentham: Field Farm, three flew north-west, 10.00am, Apr.30th. Westleton/Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, three, Nov.3rd. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, two north, Mar.6th and a single south, Apr.30th. Eastbridge: Mar. 15th to Mar.31st. Minsmere: two, Mar.6th and Mar. 17th and a single Mar.24th and Mar.30th. Leiston: Upper Abbey Farm, arable fields, Mar.l6th to Mar.22nd. Lavenham: three circled and flew west, 07.30am, Oct. 14th.

EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. Amber List. Given that this is a noisy, obtrusive species, it attracts surprisingly little attention from most observers. Reports of casual observations are few and far between in the records submitted, so it is as well that there is a wealth of data supplied by WeBS counters and reserve/ observatory wardens. WeBS counts and other monthly maxima are as follows: The Orwell Nov Dec Jan Apr Aug Sep Oct Feb Mar Estuary is clearly 155 261 186 53 " Î s â ' : ' ' 3 37 a very important Blvth Estuary 106 49 42 Aide/Ore Estuan 57 122 431 wintering ground 156 224 147 101 67 Dcbcn Estuarv 140 263 153 for this species Orwell Estuary 1581 1268 362 439 172 500 1063 703 and in addition to Stour Estuar} 1045 774 1104 886 631 302 755 736 236 the above counts a series of low-water counts emphasises its predominance. These were as follows: 1217 in January, 1199 in February, 1597 in November and 1564 in December.

Oystercatchers including Common Sandpiper and Shelduck Mark Cornish

73


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Either the breeding fortunes of this species are in disastrous decline or observers a e simply fading to take any notice of breeding attempts. Away from Orfordness, which ;s traditionally the species' main breeding site in the county, only 16 pairs were reported fro n a total of seven coastal sites. Apparently none of these attempts was successful. Inland, tv o sites were occupied with three pairs raising a total of seven young. At Orfordness, at lea t 27 pairs were said to have nested but "very few" young were seen. Tellingly, a Fox was se<. n taking eggs from one nest. Considering that the full census of 1988/89 amassed a total of 478 breeding paii . the current situation seems to be grim indeed. We are left to hope that the coun y population is not as low as the records suggest and that many pairs are not beii g reported. Concerted efforts to monitor visible migration at Kessingland, Thorpeness ai 1 Landguard show that spring passage peaked in May. At the former site, the monthly tot I of passage birds was 77, with a peak of two north and 12 south on 8th. At Thorpeness, tl : monthly total of 102 involved a peak day-count of 16 north and eight south on 9th. / t Landguard, the month's total was 76, of which 57 flew south on 5th. July and August saw the main southerly passage along the coast. At Thorpeness, U5 passed by in July, with the heaviest movement noted on 29th when 68 flew south. In Augu t at this site the monthly total was 207, with a peak of 33 south on Ist. At Landguard tl e southerly passage totalled 154 in July and 54 in August. PIED AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta Fairly common resident, summer visitor and passage migrant on the coast. Amber List. In an echo of the unusual behaviour noted at Minsmere on March 17th 2001, when ca.4) repeatedly settled on the sea ( S u f f o l k Birds, Voi. 51), a single bird settled on the sea o f Kessingland on March Ist. (P.Read) It was first seen flying south and after pitching dow i on the waves, it continued its journey with the help of the tide. This incident came at a time when the annual build-up at breeding sites was taking place. For example, at Minsmere the March influx took numbers from seven on 6th to 181 on 20th. The spring movement also involved two records from the west of the county, following on from 2002's run of sightings, which were the first in the west since 1999. Two were present at Lakenheath Washes, Aprii 6th and one was at Lackford Lakes, Aprii 12th. The age-old problem of prĂŠdation was again responsible for poor breeding results at each colony for which records are available. At Minsmere, 42 pairs and 78 nesting attempts were reported but the results were said by reserve staff to be "abysmal", due to prĂŠdation by a Fox and Black-headed Gulls. Only ten young were seen and none survived to fledge. Havergate fared a little better but the island's 88 pairs could only raise ten young to fledging. Nearby, at Orfordness, the picture was a little rosier, with 51 pairs raising 17 young to fledgling stage. At Walberswick, there were 16 pairs and at Benacre the total was 13, but success rates were not reported at either site. At another coastal site, up to 25 pairs were present but their success rate did not appear to be great with just 11 juveniles being seen. Breeding records from two other coastal sites were similarly less than encouraging. At one, ten pairs were present but all young produced were predated. At the other, only two pairs were present and their success rate was unknown. However, at each of two additional coastal sites, where breeding had not previously been recorded, a pair raised two chicks. 74


Systematic List The following counts were made on the estuaries: Bljth Estuary Aide/Ore Estuary Deben Estuary

Jan 430 1089 170

Feb 520 956 154

Mar 16 509 14

Apr -

10

Sep -

706 72

Nov 430 835 141

Dec 721 972 142

S ONE-CURLEW Burhinus oedicnemus L cally fairly common summer visitor. Red List. 1 lie date-span of this species' stay in Suffolk was notable, given that the first returning bird v. ".s seen in Breckland on the early date of March 3rd and the final sightings of the year concerned tardy singles at a coastal site on November 10th and in the west, a sick i dividual picked up at Great Barton on November 13th (see The Harrier 136 pg. 21-22). lis is the latest record in Suffolk since one on November 16th 1972. In Breckland as a whole (Norfolk and Suffolk combined), a minimum of 165 pairs was and and these pairs fledged at least 129 young, an average of 0.78 young per pair, which ! a little above the 0.70 per pair that is calculated as necessary to sustain the population SPB/EN). Within the Suffolk Breck, a minimum of 79 pairs was known to have nested id 51 of these pairs fledged at least 34 young. Young Stone-Curlews take at least six -eks to fledge and they become increasingly mobile, sometimes moving as much as half kilometre from the nest site. It is often difficult, therefore, to prove fledging and the tual figure may be a little higher than that given above. As in 2002, there were certain estates where the RSPB monitoring team was refused cess. On the main areas, private monitoring was arranged by the estates and the results that are included above. Some minor areas were not covered, however, and a few pairs re likely to have been missed. Away from the west of the county, birds were noted at two sites. Up to three birds were present at one site from March 22nd. At the second site, one was present April 26th to 29th. i ive pairs nested in this area but overall success was known to have been low. The largest post-breeding gathering concerned 60 at a Breckland site, September 29th. 1 his far exceeded any other count. Double-figure tallies were noted at only two other lireckland sites. At one, the highest count was 15 on July 11th and at the other 16 were noted on September 20th. LITTLE (RINGED) PLOVER Charadrius dubius ' "common summer visitor and passage migrant. This species is often noted back on its breeding sites in the west of the county before it is encountered as a migrant on the coast. So it was this year with the county's first record being three at Livermere Lake on March 23rd. The coast was not lagging too far behind, however, as one called in at Minsmere on March 26th and 27th. It was another sparse year for breeding records away from the west of the county. At least tw o potential breeding sites were frequented in April and May in the south-east of the county but no suggestion of even attempted nesting emerged from the submitted data. Nevertheless, there was one cause for celebration in the east as a pair raised four young to light stage at a totally unexpected location in the Lowestoft area. Reference was made to nesting or attempted nesting at four sites in the west, involving MX a P irs and perhaps four young were raised. This is possibly not a complete picture and, °nce again, it is probable that some pairs have escaped the attentions of observers. Having recorded the first birds of the year, Livermere Lake also hosted west Suffolk's st w ' 'th a single, August 18th. 75


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Migrants, mainly juveniles, appeared on the coast from as early as June 23rd, when single was observed at the Hen Reedbeds. Only two double-figure counts were made. Te were seen at Stutton Mill, Stour Estuary, July 15th, and 13 were at Minsmere, July 21s The nine counted at Minsmere, August 14th came close. The final report of the year als > came from Minsmere on September 18th. RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. This species appears to be suffering a catastrophic décliné in the county, both in i . wintering population and in its breeding population. The crash appears most marked in tl c number of breeding pairs. Nesting attempts appear to have been made at only six site . down from seven in 2002 and only about 28 pairs were involved. Eight breeding pairs we e located at Orfordness but only six young were seen and observers reported that it w; s "unlikely any of these fledged." Seven pairs were noted at Landguard. It seems that th s species is struggling to raise many chicks to fledgling stage in Suffolk. One factor which is almost certainly to blâme for this sad state of affaire is the increased disturbance on o r coast - these days there simply does not seem to be any area which escapes the summ r influx of the human hordes. Landguard's importance for this species was also underlined in the winter records. T e count of 320 there on January 3rd is by far the highest made anywhere in the county duri g the year - none of the WeBs counts could match it. Another noteworthy count of 170 was made there on December 4th. North Warren weighed in with a beach roost of 100, September 18th but these will ha e included at least some passage birds and subséquent gatherings there peaked at ( 4, November 24th. The best WeBS count on the Stour Estuary was 140 in August. Other WeBS counts were as follows: For the second sucJan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec cessive year there were no _ Blvth Estuary 0 5 reports of birds showing — Alde/Ore Estuary 38 46 39 35 — 18 33 characteristics of the tundra lichen Estuary 56 35 79 30 79 165 129 73 race C.h.tundrae. Small 234 Orwell Estuary 65 19 21 137 130 239 83 passage parties are someStour Estuary 34 55 40 2 13 100 15 58 times seen at coastal localities in May. KENTISH PLOVER Charadrius alexandrinus Rare passage migrant. The chances of encountering this species in Suffolk continue to be slim. Benacrc Broad/Easton Broad: female/immature Jun.28th (J.Bedford, J.Nisbett, D.Fairhurst). EURASIAN DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus Scarce passage migrant. Amber List. A typically confiding bird attracted much attention and admiration during its stay. Kessingland: beach, juvenile Aug.31 st to Sep. 5th (R.Wincup et al). AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis dominica Accidentai. A long-overdue addition to the county list and one which rekindled the "old c h e s t n u t about county boundaries. For much of its stay (from October 12th to 20th) this birJ frequented the vast expanses of inter-tidal mud on Breydon Water and was, indeed a 76


Systematic List Norfolk bird. At times, however, the tide would push our 'Yankee' friend to the southern inges of the estuary and, as if by magic, it was also attracted to grazing marshes and fields 1 v the south wall, well to the south of the Watsonian county boundary. Henee, it became, nndeniably, a Suffolk bird and was enjoyed by many observers. This record awaits itification by BBRC. i-reydon Water: moulting adult seen in Suffolk Oct.lรณth to 20th (B.J.Small, D.Fairhurst, E.Marsh ef

al).

UROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Common winter visitor and passage migrant. he Blyth Estuary maintained its status as the home of the county's largest wintering flock. < ounts there peaked at 2850 on January 25th. Only three other four-figure counts were ceived for the first quarter of the year; 2000 at Seafield Bay, Brantham, February 27th d 1500, both at Alton Water, February 4th and Risby, March 6th. A near-miss , however, as the 900 counted near Great Livermere, March lOth. Very few were noted as spring migrants and the first birds of the autumn passage were single flying south at Orfordness, July 5th and a single at Gifford's Park, Stoke-bylyland the following day. August witnessed the peak autumn passage, which was not very rioticeable. A total of 80 was recorded on the month's Stour WeBS count and visible migration was noted on 30th when 26 flew south off Southwold. Only two four-figure counts were received for the fourth quarter of the year. At Risby, a regular haunt of some of the county's largest wintering flocks, a total of 1200 was noted, N ivember 17th and a flock of 1000 had assembled at Seafield Bay, Brantham, November 1 Oth. CREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola 1 ommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. ร ounts made on the Stour Estuary dwarfed most others, except the December count on the ( ยกrwell, and again emphasised the importance of this area for this species. We have come to expect only very light spring passage along our coast and this again was the case. Observers Jan Sep Oct Feb Mar Nov Dee at Orfordness reported 19 21 59 19 26 "some suggestion of a Blyth Estuary 44 89 28 72 73 14 small passage in May" Aide/Ore Estuary 344 290 209 252 247 317 256 wth the peak counts being Deben Estuarv 45 200 710 1230 Orwell Estuary 443 61 18 25 on both 4th and 5th. 2145

Stour Estuary

1254

2668

745

2038

1673

1917

Autumn passage commenced with a single off Thorpeness, June 30th and gathered momentum in late July, a P<-riod when 32 passed south off Thorpeness in the last ten days of the month, peaking at 14 on 3Oth. This passage continued into August. Regular watching at Thorpeness revealed a monthly total of 91 south, peaking at 51 on lst. By September, passage here was less noticeable, w 'th a monthly total of 31 south, peaking at 22 on 6th. nere were two reports from the west of the county. One was at Lakenheath Washes, ar ch 15th and another flew over Rattlesden, November 12th.

Grey Piovere Peter Beeson

77


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 NORTHERN LAPWING Vanellus vanellus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Declining as a breeding species. Ambei list. Four-figure counts received for the first winter period were as follows: Southwold Town Marshes: 1400, Jan.27th. Blvth Estuary: 1030, Jan. 18th. Minsmere: 1120, Feb.20th. North Warren: 2880, Jan.23rd and 1321, Feb. 12th. Havergate: 1520, Jan.23rd. Felixstowe Ferry: 1232, Jan.22nd. Deben

Estuary:

1183,

Jan.5th

and

1000,

Feb. 16th. Stour Estuary: 1544, Jan.5th and 1279, Feb. 16th.

FIELD N O T E

A leucistic Northern Lapwing, seen nea Great Livermere on March 6th, was a striking sight. It was all white, apart froi dark grey flight feathers, crest, lores an eye stripe and chesnut on scapulars an undertail coverts. John Walshe

The highest counts in the west of the county during this period were 800 roosting on the frozen Livermere Lake, February 15th and March 2nd, 640 at the Mickle Mere, March 2nd and 516 at Lackford Lakes, January 31st. A note of optimism was sounded at Boxford where winter feedin flocks were noted "for the first time in several years". A spectacular increase in breeding territories at North Warren indicates what can b achieved by habitat management. From the previous August to November, the grazin marshes were grazed and topped and foot-drains were cleared. The result was an increas in breeding Northern Lapwing territories from 16 in 2002 to 24 in 2003, although it wa unclear how many chicks were reared. Elsewhere in the coastal strip, breeding territories were noted at six other sites. Th biggest concentration was noted at Walberswick where there were 31 pairs, although ther : was no reference to success rates in the records received. Five pairs were present at Benacre and at Dingle Marshes ten pairs were recorded but only two chicks were seen. At Minsmere, 12 pairs were located but only about four chicks were subsequently seen and at a third site one pair attempted to breed but suffered from prĂŠdation. At Orfordness, 12 pairs nested with 18 chicks fledged, which is a reasonable success rate. In the west of the county, the encouraging trend referred to in Suffolk Birds 200continued. A total of about 60 pairs at ten sites represented an increase from the previous year's total of about 50 pairs. However, we must hope that the total of only about four chicks seen is an underestimate of breeding success. In the second winter period there were few four-figure counts and those which were made came from the estuaries. These were as follows: Deben Estuary: 1482, Dec.l4th Orwell Estuary: 1230, Dec.l4th Stour Estuary: 1673 in November and 1237 in December.

Away from the estuaries, the highest counts for this period were from North Warren, where 380 had gathered, November 11th, rising to 660, December 14th. RED KNOT Calidris canutus Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Counts on the Stour Estuary failed to top the previous year's maximum of 3302, but the 2664 there in November was the county's largest gathering by far. 78


Systematic List WeBS counts and monthly maxima were as follows: In addition, a count of Jan Feb Mar Sep Oct Nov Dec 1400 at Freston, January Blvth Estuar} 522 720 84 87 0 11 th is somewhat sur- Aide/Ore Estuary r178 370 261 119 105 36 prising as it is more than Deben Estuar} 103 98 1 31 7 18 771 double the total reported Orwell Estuarv 542 131 174 0 80 501 0 .m the January Orwell Stour Estuarv 500 850 0 122 2664 1002 40 WeBS count. A managed retreat area on Orfordness attracted relatively large numbers, with 160 in lanuary, 254 in February and 111 in March being the monthly maxima. Spring passage is rarely well marked and this year it was predictably light. A party of 17 at Minsmere, March 31st was followed by five there, Aprii 3rd. Apart from a single at Minsmere, May 5th and four there, June 17th , there were no other records from this site. < )nly Thorpeness and Orfordness weighed in with additional spring records. At the former ite a single was noted, June 1 lth and at the latter there were seven birds in May and three n June. The eight at Thorpeness on June 29th were probably the first of the autumn passage, *hich was unusually sparse. It was overshadowed even by the spring passage and the lighest count in addition to the first birds referred to at Thorpeness was only eight at ienacre Broad, September 14th This species appears quick to react to adverse weather conditions in winter. The record t 180 flying south off Landguard, December 24th was thought to relate to a weathermduced dispersai from wintering grounds elsewhere. The only record from the west of the county was of a singleton at Livermere Lake, )ctober 12th. ANDERLING Calidris alba 'airly common winter visitor and passage migrant. he 27 at Kessingland on February 22nd was the year's largest reported gathering. owestoft, the species' traditional Suffolk HQ, could only notch up a maximum total of 11, January 25th. riiree which arrived at Orfordness on Aprii 26th were clearly on spring migration. The largest groups which can also be placed in this category, were 18 at Southwold, May 20th, ton at Orfordness, May 3 lst and eight at Minsmere, May 9th. Return passage commenced on July 12th when four flew south at Thorpeness. The l; irgest passage flocks reported in this movement were 16 at Benacre Broad, August 27th, 1 at ' Covehithe, August 25th and 12 at Benacre Broad, September lst and Minsmere, August 25th. Very few were reported in the second winter period. The largest gathering at this time w as a paltry six at Benacre Broad, December 21 st. There were no records from the west of the county in 2003. h

LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta ncommon passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. verwintering is now a regular occurrence in Suffolk. Two were on Southwold Town on Januar Y lst and singles were at Minsmere, January 7th and February 3rd and r

Spring passage was detected from as early as Aprii 6th, when one was present at ordness. Most Aprii records, however, came later in the month with a concentration of 79


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 reports in the period from 15th to 26th. At this time, a maximum of seven birds was n ted at a total of four sites and included one at Livermere Lake on 18th and two at Seafield Bay. Brantham, on 20th and 24th. In May, the species was seen at only three sites: Minsmere held singles from 7th to 1 )th. two on 18th and one on 19th; Orfordness held singles on 1 st, 4th, 16th, 17th, 29th and Oth and Seafield Bay, Brantham, held one on 6th. Singles on June 2nd and 9th at Orfordness were probably tardy spring migrants. but one there on July 2nd was possibly the first of the autumn passage birds. This moven ent was especially light with the two largest groups counted being only seven, coincider illy both on September 16th, at Benacre Broad and Erwarton Bay. With no Novembe or December records, a single at Covehithe Broad, October 3 lst was the final report ot the year. TEMMINCK'S STINT Calidris temminckii Scarce passage migrarti. Amber list. The year's total was six. Four typically dated spring migrants and one a little on the t; rdy side, were as follows: Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, May 1 lth (J.A.Brown et at). Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, May 19th (A.Millar). Minsmere: May 13th (G.Welch). Orfordness: Airfield, June 14th (M.C.Marsh). Brantham: Seafield Bay, May 6th (T. Nicholson).

There was only one report of an autumn passage bird: Minsmere: July 24th to 26th (J.A.Brown, G.Welch et al).

PECTORAL SANDPIPER Calidris melanotos Scarce passage migrant. There were two interesting reports from the west of the county, which might have rei ited to just one individuai, the fifth record for West Suffoik. Lakenheath Washes: juvenile, Sep.l3th to 22nd. Although this bird spent much of its stay on the Norfolk side of the Little Ouse river, it was seen to fly across to the Suffolk side on Sep. 15th at ieast (T.Humphage). Livermere Lake: juvenile, Sep.30th to Oct. 12th (L.Gregory, S. Bishop, T. Bamber et al).

There was one coastal record: Bawdsey: Hast Lane lagoons, Sep. 25th to 29th (P.Hobbs et al).

CURLEW SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea Uticommon passage migrant. There were only two Aprii records and both carne from Minsmere. A single was present from 2lst to 30th. It was joined by a second bird on the latter date. There was a run of May records at Orfordness with singles on 4th and 5th and 22nd and 23rd and twos on 7th and 8th, 12th and 2lst. Elsewhere, the only May records were singles at Tinker's Marsh, Walberswick, on 4th, 1 lth and 12th, Havergate on 6th and Minsmere on lst, with two at the latter site on 16th. A single at Minsmere on June I3th was probably lagging behind on its journey north One at Trimley Marshes on July 24th was the first of an autumn passage which was remarkably light, as was the case with Little Stint. The largest group reported was just six. at Covehithe Broad, September 7th. There were no October records, the final birds of th1-' year being seen on September 20th, when there were two at Covehithe Broad and a single at Minsmere. 80


Systematic List PI KPLE SANDPIPER Calidris maritima Fai ly common winter visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Thr party of ten at Ness Point, Lowestoft, January 4th was the largest group reported all ye. Apart from this group, the monthly maxima in the first winter period at this tr;< tionally favoured site were eight in February and two in March. The six there on April Is nay have been passage migrants. sewhere, very few were reported in the first winter period. Two were at Old Felixstowe or anuary 5th and 12th. Singles were present at Kessingland Sluice, January 10th and L.. iguard, January 29th and March 18th Singles at the latter site on April 28th and May 5th were certainly passage migrants. n out-of-season bird was reported at North Beach, Lowestoft, July 22nd, echoing the pr ious year's record of one at Landguard on July 10th. \utumn passage birds were noted at Corton, August 24th, Minsmere, August 15th and L; Jguard, August 11th , September 13th and October 13th. On the latter date, one took up residence at Minsmere and was present until October 31st. A single at Benacre Broad, October 31st and November 1st, was possibly still on its sc thward passage, but there were precious few birds wintering in November or FIELD N O T E D member. Singles at Minsmere on A Purple Sandpiper, an autumn migrant at N ember 5th, 6th and 14th and Landguard, Southwold on October 14th, was reported November 19th were the only records for to have landed on the sea. The species 'hi month. The only December records scientific name is C.maritima, admittedly, «ere two at Felixstowe Ferry on 7th and but this individual was surely taking things - th. Somewhat surprisingly, there were no a little too far. November or December records from Brian Small Lowestoft. DUNLIN Calidris alpina ' crv common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. WeBS and other major counts were as follows: An additional count of 1 Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec 253 in Holbrook Bay, 1890 400 115 430 722 Blyth Estuar; 3020 January 16th, was also 1 50 117 North Warren 900 90 100 35 0 impressive. The importance Aide/Ore Estuary 3262 4600 550 • 1037 3437 2624 to this species of the Aide/ 4371 2551 240 252 188 228 2704 2061 Deben Estuary °re, Deben, Orwell and Orwell Estuary 60 11 100 429 827 1082 1311 171 s tour estuaries in winter is Stour Estuary 4310 1780 3041 717 355 2796 7349 4930 clearly illustrated by the figures in the table above, although the Stour totals in the first quarter were much lower than in the same period in 2002. Occurrences of this species in West Suffolk are good indicators that its migration is under way. For example, singles at Livermere Lake, March 8th, 12th, 24th and 29th showed that the species was starting its spring movements. So too did the singles at Lackford Lakes, March 13th and 17th and Nunnery Lakes on March 20th. There were two other records of spring migrants at Lackford Lakes, on April 24th and May 21st. Evidence of migration on the coast was provided by monthly maxima at Minsmere of l4 5 in March, 122 in April and 75 in May. Return passage was noted on the coast from July and gained strength in August, when Minsmere's monthly maximum was 159 on 31st. In September, Minsmere's highest count 81


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 was 155 on 4th. It was in this month that migrants again started to be noted in West Suffolk; two called in at Lakenheath Washes on 10th and a single was there from 14th to 15th. Also, two were at Livermere Lake on September 30th. RUFF Philomachus pugnax Common passage migrant. A few oversummer and overwinter. Amber list. Minsmere held a monopoly of the records in January, with ten on 18th and 19th. This figure crept up to 11 on February 9th and 11th and then migrants started to be noticed elsewhere in small numbers. In March the species was more in evidence passing through the county. A clear example of movement around this time was provided at Livermere Lake on 17th. Observers noted a flock of 22 circling the lake at about 0700hrs and the birds departed without landing. On the coast, late March saw migration gaining strength with Minsmere's monthly maximum of 27 occurring on 25th. It continued in April with the spring's largest flock, numbering 30, being counted at Sizewell on 25th. Thereafter, numbers declined sharply through May. There were no reports of any birds "lekking" during the spring. Late June saw the commencement of the return passage and July's highest count was 28 at Trimley Marshes on 27th. In August, the highest total was also achieved on this reserve, with 36 on 29th and 31st narrowly beating the 35 at Benacre Broad on 23rd. September gave Trimley Marshes a hat-trick of the county's highest autumnal counts. The flock of 40 that graced the marshes on September 10th was the largest to be reported anywhere in the county during the year. The final reports of the year came from West Suffolk, with four at Lakenheath Washes. October 2nd. JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. It is encouraging to be able to record that this diminutive snipe was reported from at least 13 coastal sites in the first winter period (only five coastal sites in the same period in 2002). However, the majority of sightings were at only two localities - Minsmere and Shingle Street. At least one was noted by several observers at the latter site, particularly ir February and early March. The largest gathering was of six at Whitecast Marshes, Oulton. January 4th. On December 17th 2002 one had been flushed from an area of bracken ai Aldringham (Suffolk Birds 2002:80) where similar observations occurred on January 27th and March 10th - was this the same bird on all three occasions? Spring passage was evident from mid-March but on a very limited scale. However, it did result in West Suffolk's only sighting in the first half of the year, with one at Livermere Lake, March 30th. Elsewhere, two were at both Minsmere and Shingle Street in late March. Observations continued into April with one at North Warren, 16th, as many as three at Minsmere, 20th and singles at Shingle Street, 5th and 21st. 2002 had witnessed autumn arrivals at seven sites in September, but this year the only report for the month was from Orfordness on 17th. In October there were sightings at only five coastal and two inland sites. On 9th two were watching arriving from over the sea at Landguard and they landed on the reserve. The year's largest gathering occurred on October 21st, when 11 were at Minsmere. The inland sightings in October involved up to two at Lakenheath Fen, 21st to 24th and two at Livermere Lake, 27th. It was evident that October's birds did not linger in Suffolk. The only sites from where Jack Snipe were reported in November and December were the Deben Estuary, Mutford. Dingle Marshes, Orfordness, Minsmere and North Warren, with a maximum of only two at the latter locality, November 17th. 82


Systematic List COMMON SNIPE Gallinago gallinago Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Very small numbers breed. Amber list. This species is verging on extinction as a Suffolk breeding species. The only confirmed instance of nesting this year occurred at Darsham but the nest was robbed by Black-billcd Magpies Pica pica. Single drumming males were at Lackford Lakes (three in 2002) and Minsmere (four in 2002) but there was no evidence of breeding at either site. Single birds were at North Warren on two dates in June and present at Sudbury and Orfordness into early May. A comparison with the Counts from the principal wetland sites were: totals recorded in DecemJan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec ber 2002 (Suffolk Birds Dingle Marshes 4 11 3 13 35 3 15 24 113 120 20 21 30 12 20 2002: 80) would tend to Minsmere* 70 26 6 32 35 15 5 11 indicate that a considerable North Warren* 14 23 16 43 25 s f e influx had occurred by the Aide/Ore Estuary 227 206 Orfordness 40 15 5 5. 7 19 6 time of the January 2003 Deben Estuary 61 14 9 9 13 2 10 10 counts. The excellent totals Orwell Estuary 54 6 4 0 0 4 8 2 at Orfordness and the Aide/ Trimley Marshes* 70 45 22 /Sv* Ore Estuary in January are Stour Estuary 61 3 2 1 1 9 25 25 the highest in Suffolk Mickle Mere* 12 12 45 since a gathering of ca.200 Lakenheath Fen 117 38 51 20 43 3 3 was located on Barsham 'monthly maximum Marshes, near Beccles, on November 23rd 1998. Additional site totals in the early months included 56, Southwold, February 1st, 36, Shotley Marshes, January 10th and 32, Bungay, March 2nd. Single spring migrants were at Landguard, March 21st and April 6th. After the excellent totals during the first winter period, the figures recorded during autumn passage and the second winter period were very poor - perhaps indicative of a poor breeding season elsewhere? The only double figure total in late summer was of 11 at Minsmere, August 9th and 10th. There were no significant counts during the second winter away from the sites listed in the above tables. EURASIAN WOODCOCK Scolopax rusticรณla Uncommon resident. Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. According to the reports that were received, this species failed to breed in the coastal region of Suffolk in 2003. There are no obvious reasons for this dramatic and disturbing decline in the breeding population. The only hint of possible breeding along the coast was of at least one bird regularly noted (but not roding) at Workhouse Wood, Oulton throughout April. In addition, a roding bird was seen at Beach Farm Marshes, Benacre on the remarkably late date of September 21st; BWP (Vol.3, page 450) states that roding is noted exceptionally to mid-August. The breeding situation was more encouraging in Breckland, where up to two roding males were at three sites in The King's Forest area (roding first noted on February 26th). In addition, two were roding at Barnham, June 14th, while survey workers studying Breckland species in Thetford Forest reported " good breeding numbers within the Suffolk section of the forest". The randomly selected Suffolk squares that were chosen for the national 2003 Woodcock survey contained little habitat that is suitable for the species. Accordingly, very few were located by survey workers in Suffolk, despite 100% coverage. There was a very encouraging situation in the first winter period with sightings at up 83


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 to 35 localities in January and February (19 in the same period in 2002). Impressi e maxima were of 13, Flixton Decoy, January 12th; eight, Minsmere, January 22nd a id seven, Holbrook Creek, January 5th. Additional sightings, indicating immigration ,n January, were of singles at Landguard, 4th and flying along the main street in Kessingland, 5th. Spring passage in March and April was relatively poor. Reports in March included fo ir, Minsmere, 25th; three singles, Landguard during 23rd to 30th and one in from over the s> a, Thorpeness, 8th. Six coastal sites logged this species in April but with no more than t o at any one locality. An unexpected sighting was of one in the Ipswich Millenni m Cemetery, April 7th. Autumn passage from September 28th was very poor. There were reports from oi ly six localities in October and three in November. Three singles were at Landguard dun lg the period from October 27th to November 8th and three at Orfordness during October 17th to 27th. All other sightings related to singles apart from eight at Minsmc e, November 27th; these were seen to fly out from the South Belt at dusk to feed on te Levels. Perhaps these low autumn numbers are indicative of a poor breeding season >n the Continent? December witnessed more widespread sightings, particularly from mid-month. Repi rts came from seven coastal and three inland sites but with no more than two at any one site. Up to two were noted by observers who visited Holbrook Creek reedbed to view the Lo igeared Owl Asio otus roost in the last two weeks of the year. BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa Common winter visitor Counts at the principal coastal sites were: and passage migrant. Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug Sep Oct Nov I) : Formerly bred. Red list. Blyth Estuary -- 35 1 > 1 Despite an apparent abun- Minsmere* 34 14 7 21 28 18 48 283 4 5 338 446 dance of suitable habitat, Aide/Ore Estuary 149 343 211 34 466 334 136 92 304 111 the only evidence of Deben Estuary 84 Ă&#x2030;Z - 768 352 251 | 2 . S 80 25 212 breeding activity was of a Orwell Estuary R " 74 116 273 871 876 Trim ley Marshes* single bird dis-playing on BIB: May 5th at the coastal site Stour Estuary 1901 608 872 1131 970 1312 1358 781 "monthly maxima where similar behaviour was noted in 2002. The table clearly demonstrates, yet again, the dominance in both winters of the Stour Estuary, a Site of International Importance for this species. The highest counts at the principal Stour roosting sites were: Brantham: Seafield Bay, 1900, Jan.5th; 960, April 20th and 1163, Sep.4th.

Erwarton Bay: 800, Oct. 12th. Additional sightings in January and February included a group of 22 south off Ness Point, Lowestoft, January 20th. There was evidence of some overland movement on February 23rd when a flock of 150 was on Barsham Marshes, near Beccles and one at Gifford's Park, Stoke-by Nayland. Spring passage in March and April included sightings inland at Lakenheath, Livermere Lake and Gifford's Park; the latter two sites attracted no more than two but at L a k e n h e a t h there were 15, March 30th and 25, April 30th. As the table clearly illustrates there were some spectacular gatherings on the coast. Additional sightings included groups flying over Dunwich Heath in April on 14th (135) and 15th (23). Although Black-tailed Godwits did not breed in Suffolk, the species was far from absent 84


Systematic List li the mid-summer months. Maximum site totals Jun May Jul at the principal coastal sites during May-July are Minsmere 78 30 41 gr en in the table: North Warren 152 100 101 It is likely that some of the May totals include Orfordness 256 44 117 spring passage birds; 17 were inland at the Mickle Trimley Marshes 220 83 260 Mere, Pakenham, May 12th. The June gatherings pr siimably relate to non-breeding, oversummering individuals. Return passage was underway by early July; five flew south off Landguard on 6th. i !and sites attracted autumn birds during July through to September; up to two were at L ackford Lakes and the Mickle Mere in July and double-figure totals were of ten, Gifford's P ;rk, July 20th and 11 Lakenheath Fen, August 23rd. August witnessed some impressive gatherings. There was a non-WeBS count of 1000 in S 'afield Bay, 31st and on the R.Deben, 300 were at Woodbridge (an excellent site for i Vise-range views of this species) on 26th. As the table illustrates, September and October so witnessed large passage totals on the estuaries. Totals declined in late autumn as the p. -sage birds moved on, leaving the wintering population. Away from the Stour, the l¡ iiest site total was of 290 on Havergate Island, December 14th. An isolated sighting was oí one inland at Gifford's Park, December 14th. A leucistic individual was at Trimley Marshes, April 27th. B \R-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica n'ly common passage migrant and locally common winter visitor. Amber list. nother excellent year on the Stour Estuary, especially in the first winter period and in 1 rwarton Bay. Totals were even higher than in 2002 at this latter site, which is now and away the best locality in Suffolk for wintering Bar-tailed Godwits (see Suffolk Birds 2002: 82). Maximum monthly totals at the principal estuarine/coastal sites are given below. The f ' warton Bay totals are Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec included in the overall Orfordness 1 2 8 1 21 3 8 0 figure for the Suffolk shore i ® : 22 Havergate Island 74 20 2 ot the Stour Estuary. 4 150 Stour Estuarv 173 419 50 12 0 113 Sightings in January Ertvarton Bay 4 36 8 0 150 110 163 380 also included 21 south off »rpeness on 1st and 40, Hemley (Deben Estuary), 18th, while in February reports also involved 24, Blyth Estuary, 3rd, 31, Deben Estuary WeBS, 16th and 36 at Holbrook Bay (Stour Estuary), also 16th. March and April were exceptionally warm and this appeared to produce an earlier spring passage than we have come to expect. In addition to the Stour Estuary totals, there were also double-figure counts in March of 52, Iken (Aide Estuary), 16th; 20, Blyth Estuary, 20th and 18, Trimley Marshes, 28th. April was to witness the peak of spring passage with reports from at least ten coastal ocalities and the year's only inland occurrence - three, Lakenheath Fen, 18th. The largest group was of 32 south off Landguard, 27th; elsewhere double-figure totals were of 21, Minsmere, 19th and those in the above table. May usually sees the peak of spring passage but, as indicated, that occurred in April in • The only double-figure total in May was of up to 12 on Orfordness; single-figure gatherings were at five additional coastal sites. Five coastal sites also reported this species 'n June. Autumn passage was very poor (indicative of a poor breeding season in Siberia?) and 85


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 peaked in July. The largest feeding group was of only 12 at Trimley Marshes, 7th. Also in July, seawatchers recorded 61 south offThorpeness during the month and 56 flew south ff Landguard, 24th to 30th. The peak day was on 29th, when southerly passage totalled 52 ff Landguard and 23 offThorpeness. Very few were recorded during August to October either on the estuaries or on southc ly passage. During these three months there were sightings at 11 coastal or estuarine sites, I ut a maximum of only 13 on the Stour Estuary at Seafield Bay, Brantham, September 13 h. Southerly passage offThorpeness totalled 14 in August. Totals in November and December were dominated by those on the Stour Estuary ( Âże table), just as they were at the beginning of 2003. WHIMBREL Numetiiusphaeopus Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. Unlike 2002 there were no winter records in 2003. However, there were two Ma ;h sightings and both were at inland sites - Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, 18th and south o er West Stow CP, 24th. As with the Bar-tailed Godwit, coastal spring passage peaked in April rather thar in May. Overall there were coastal reports from at least 18 sites, commencing with e ie, Kessingland, April 1st. The main movement started on April 13th when 12 were >n Orfordness. Maximum coastal counts in April were impressive and included: Minsmere: 23, Apr.26th. Sizewell: 14 north-east, Apr.28th. Orfordness: 51, Apr. 16th; 46, Apr.26th and 39, Apr.27th. Orford: Havergate Island, 30, Apr.24th. Felixstowe: Landguard, 16, Apr.23rd. The only inland sightings in April were singles over Lakenheath, 13th and Lavenh: n, 16th and in May of singles over Shelley, 1 st and Boxford, 3rd. Coastal reports in May v\ re from only nine sites peaking at 30 north over Dunwich Heath, 17th, 25 on Orfordness, th and 16 at North Warren, 4th. Overall Landguard recorded 58 between April 13th and N ay 25th. The final birds of the spring were two north over Thorpeness on June 14th and there was then a gap of only 11 days before the first presumed autumn arrivals on June 25th al Thorpeness (two), North Warren and Lowestoft. The maximum autumn totals in July and August were recorded by coastal watchers noting southerly passage either overhead or offshore. Maximum totals of southerly passage were: Benacre: 22, Jul.20th. Minsmere: 63, Aug. 13th. Thorpeness: 83 during July, max.22 on 28th; 77 during August, max.23 on 23rd. Felixstowe: Ferry, 11, Jul. 1 st; Landguard, 25, Jul.5th to Aug.30th. The only inland autumn record involved "several" calling in flight at night over 'West Stow CP, July 18th. Feeding groups were much smaller than those recorded on southerly passage; maxima were 18 and 16 at Minsmere on July 29th and August 1 st respectively and 11 at Orfordness, August 1 st. Reports were from only five sites, all coastal, in September with a maximum of three on the Deben Estuary, 14th and the final bird of the year at North Warren, 19th. EURASIAN CURLEW Numenius arquata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Amber list. Birds were noted at traditional Breckland breeding sites from February 21st to July 111'1 86


Systematic List

Ut oo UJ

TI re was no proof of breeding but it seems likely that the nine localities where Eurasian C lews were found supported an overall population of about 15 pairs. Of considérable in rest was a report of two pairs in a set-aside field beside the Little Ouse near Hopton, Aprii 13th. In addition to the table, low water counts of feeding birds on the Orwell Estuary were 6( H, January lOth; 670, February lOth; 615, November 18th and 714, December 17th. Ibtals on the Suffolk shore of the Stour Estuary were noticeably lower than in 2002, but tli Stour/Orwell Estuary complex stili qualifies as a Site of National Importance for this sp cies. The Stour Estuary ci int in January included The principal coastal and :stuarine counts were: Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee 4. 'I in Erwarton Bay and 54 149 147 118 214 135 3 i in Seafield Bay, Blvth Estuary 4 Minsmere* 6 8 2 8 33 31 Brantham. 24 20 26 North Warren* 30 80 42 34 31 The first indication of Aide/Ore Estuary 827 841 703 473 362 718 sf mg passage occurred Orfordness* 164 185 53 8 23 58: 136 al Landguard as early Deben Estuary 532 601 657 348 535 752 707 376 a- February 12th. Singles Orwell Estuary 626 457 2 220 522 482 520 w-re noted inland at Stour Estuary 778 536 223 249 38 411 223 452 N ittnery Lakes, Thetford in *monthly maxima M re h on 5th, 20th and 2- h and two, April 8th. April was the peak time for ci stai passage; 178 flew north off Landguard during ti. month, including 155 on 21st. Also on 21 st there w a gathering of 136 on Orfordness which were c< nsidered to be passage birds. There were 470 at S (tley Marshes on 7th and 181 in Seafield Bay, 20th. fhe largest flock in May was of 70 at Waldringfield on the R.Deben on 4th and oi June Ist the first of the "autumn" Passed south off Landguard. Southerly Eurasian Curlew Mark Ferris passage off Thorpeness and Landguard during June totalled 137 and 54 respectively. Seawatchers also recorded the maximum lotals in July, with 148 and 34 south off Thorpeness and Landguard respectively during the month.

In August, 111 were recorded on the Suffolk shore of the Stour Estuary; 57 passed south olì Thorpeness and 82 were present on Havergate Island, 14th. Düring the last four months of the year the principal totals were those detailed in the table. Notable site-totals included 295, Erwarton Bay, October 12th and 234, Seafield Bay, December 14th. An unexpected inland winter record involved two at Lackford Lakes, November 8th. SPOTTED REDSHANK Tringa erythropus airly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber list. J P to seven were found overwintering on the coast during January to early March. The wintering sites were the Hen Reedbed SWT reserve, Orfordness/Sudbourne/Havergate ^sland, Martlesham Creek/Woodbridge, Trimley Marshes and Erwarton Bay. The only site record more than one was Martlesham Creek, with two or three noted regularly through th e period. 87


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 There was evidence of a typically low-key spring passage from March 12th, when Minsmere's first-of-the-year was noted. This movement became more obvious in Aprii with reports from eight sites, ali of them coastal, including five, Minsmere, 14th; ti ee, Orfordness, 20th and two at Burgh Castle, 17th, Walberswick, 29th and Sizewell, 25th. The final bird of the spring was at Minsmere, May 15th. The first "returning" bird was at Dingle Marshes on June 3rd. Five other coastal ites reported June birds, including Minsmere with an impressive peak of 33 on 30th. In 'uly the only double-figure gathering was of 58 at Minsmere on 20th - this is Suffolk's lai >est site-total since August 1998. Elsewhere in July, the most prominent groups were of ! ine. Dingle Marshes, 4th and six, Trimley Marshes, 20th. Away from Minsmere, it was becoming a poor autumn passage and only nine ites reported Spotted Redshanks in August. However, this month did witness the first in and sightings of the year, at Lakenheath, 25th (four) and Lackford Lakes, 17th. On the c ast. Minsmere's peak count of 39 on 18th was well in excess of the only other double-fi ,ure count, which was 14 at Benacre Broad, 15th. At this latter site, the first juvenile o the autumn was present on August 8th. By September, the peak of the passage had passed with, for example, a maximui ì of only four at Minsmere, 24th and 25th. Further up the coast, at the relatively under-wai lied Covehithe Broad, there were peaks of 15 on Ist and seven on 25th. Inland, three we e at Lakenheath, 9th. The only October reports were from three coastal sites, but six localities reported irds in November, with maxima of six, Dingle Marshes, 28th and five, Covehithe Broad. 6th. The year ended on a good note with three multiple occurrences in December - four, D; ìgle Marshes, 30th; three, Havergate Island, 14th and four, Martlesham Creek, 21st. On on Orfordness, on 20th was presumably one of the Havergate birds. COMMON REDSHANK Tringa totanus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Declining resident. Amber list. Data were received from ten coastal and four inland sites indicating an overall tot. 1 of 103 breeding pairs (66 pairs from a revised total of six coastal and five inland -ites in 2002). The principal totals of breeding pairs Principal totals on the coasts and estuaries were: Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug Sep Oct No» Dee (followed by 2002 figures 752 ¡319 Blyth Estuary* 1540 1220 1590 139 in brackets, where avail5 7 Minsmere* 7 8 22 30 11 7 71 able) were: 1529 ¡400 Dingle Marshes: 12(15).

Minsmere: nine (10). Aldeburgh: North Warren, 23 (19). Orfordness: 20. Trimley Marshes: 14.

Aide/Ore Estuary Orfordness* Havergate Island* Deben Estuar) Orwell Estuar) Ipswich Docks Stour Estuar)' Lakenheath Fen*

1196 210 -

2027 1098 635 606 24

961 181 84 1035 827 411 256 25

1184 282 fti!

"US 116

1670 1064 241 331 28

605 253 14 152

-

1380 84 206 257 52 336 188 200 139 131 1063 1633 1033 1020 421 987 445 ó90 Vi 694 427 887 773 548 15

Lakenheath Fen: nine (3). At least 35 juveniles "monthly maxima were noted on Orfordness, indicating high fledging success. The figure of 103 pairs is less than a fifth of the total et 533 pairs located on the Suffolk coast during a survey carried out in 1988/89 ( S u f f o l k Birds 1992: 19-25). Only a full repeat survey will reveal the current true status. The Ipswich Docks totals in the table are included in those for the Orwell Estuary. The impressive first winter totals on the Deben Estuary included 605 at Kirton in January am ' 474 at Sutton in March. 88


Systematic List T1 annual maximum site totals averaged over the last five years qualify ail of our five estu ries (Blyth, Alde/Ore, Deben, Orwell and Stour) as Sites of International Importance for ommon Redshank (M.T.Wright pers. comm.). A: the table illustrâtes, a small wintering population became established inland at Lak îheath Fen in the first three months of the year and 15 were there in November. Con mon Redshanks were also noted inland at Lackford Lakes from January 31st to Aprii 15t¡ max. six on March 28th but conditions at this site were not suitable for breeding in 20i Elsewhere, it was generally the fourth week of February that birds started to arrive bai at inland sites; reports included 30 at Barsham Marshes, February 23rd. The main phase of autumn passage commenced in mid-July and by 28th as many as 690 vere in Erwarton Bay. Offshore, southerly passage peaked in August; totals for the mo: th off Thorpeness and Landguard were 108 (max.95 on 23rd) and 96 (max.34 on 27th respectively. Benacre Broad hosted 120 feeding birds on August 23rd and 135 flew sou ' there on August 14th. The August Stour WeBS count included 370 in Erwarton Ba> varton continued to attract significant totals in the early autumn with non-WeBS courts there of 750, September 8th and 587, October 6th. The Deben autumn figures were ag:; impressive and the WeBS counts included 664 and 668 at Hemley in September and Oc¡ >ber respectively. iere were no significant influxes in the final two months of the year, but the La nheath Fen total in November offers promise that this species will become a regular fear.ire of the winter months at this inland site. MARSH SANDPIPER Tringa stagnatilis Ven rare visitor Sufíblk's sixth record of this east European and Asiatic wader is one of the more remarkable ornithological events of 2003. Livermere I.ake: Aprii 17th (M.Wright and Mrs R.Wright). !l s stay was ail too brief, as it was watched for just 40 minutes in the late afternoon in the south-west bay of the lake. This is the second-earliest ever Marsh Sandpiper recorded Britain, the first Suffolk spring record since 1947 (three Southwold, May 5th and 6th) and the first inland occurrence. Suffolk's only long-staying Marsh Sandpiper remained at Minsmere between July 14th and 23rd in 1981 - another is overdue and would be much appreciated.

GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia Common passage migrant. Regularly overwinters. ^rwintering on our south-eastern estuaries is now a regular feature of the ornithological year. The individuai that was located on the Deben Estuary, in the vicinity of the ^oodbridge Tide Mill on December 27th 2002, remained in that area until at least March • Elsewhere, singles were at Seafield Bay on the Stour Estuary, February 16th and on Wordness, January 5th to February 9th. As with several other passage waders, the peak of the spring movement occurred in Aprii J er than in May. Aprii reports were from 13 coastal and six inland sites but in May there Wue s 'ghtings at only eight coastal and one inland localities. Impressive peak coastal totals A nl w e r e P 18, Deben Estuary, 20th and 11, Cattawade (Stour Estuary), 26th. Inland sites a S teatured - ? well in Aprii with the first being at Lackford Lakes, 14th and maxima of • l g ''Thorington Street Reservoir and seven, Lakenheath on 24th. Totals were much lower 1 ay with the only double-figure counts being of ten on Orfordness, 29th and 31 st; no 89


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 other site recorded more than four. The only inland report in May was of one at the Mickle Mere, Pakenham on 4th. Several birds stayed through the summer on the coast with a peak of five at Orfordness on June lst. In July, birds were seen at ten coastal and three inland sites and the maximum count for the month occurred as early as 8th, when 21 were atTrimley Marshes. At Benacre Broad, 18 were present on 19th and 22nd. Seven flew south offLandguard on 19th and the inland peak in July was of three at the Mickle Mere on 6th. At least 18 coastal and eight inland sites recorded this species during August and maximum counts carne from the south-eastern estuaries and their adjacent wetlands: Orfordness: 12, Aug.9th; 13, Aug.llth. Melton: 17, Aug.7th. Trimley Marshes: 21, Aug.27th to 30th. Stour Estuarv: 35, August WeBS count (17th) included 15, Seafield Bay and 11, Cattawade. The maximum inland gathering in August was of five at Lakenheath, 28th. Interesting inland reports were of two east over Hadleigh, August 18th and one at the rarely mentioned Arger Fen, near Assington, August 14th. As in recent years, totals in September and October were dominated by those recorded by the WeBS counters (on 14th and 12th respectively) on the south-eastern estuaries. Deben: 11, October (nine in the Woodbridge area). Orwell: 31, September (26 at Trimley Marshes). Stour: 15, September (13 in Seafield Bay); 15, October (12 in Seafield Bay). Trimley Marshes recorded 27 on September 24th and the final inland sighting of the year occurred at Lackford Lakes, October 9th. Five coastal sites recorded this wader in November: Covehithe: 6th.

Minsmere: singles on five dates between lst and 27th. Orfordness: 9th, 16th and 23rd - overwintering in this area? Woodbridge: four, 15th. Brantham: Seafield Bay, 16th. The sole December record involved four on the Stour Estuary, 14th - one at Seafield Bay and three at Holbrook Bay. GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers overwinter. Amber list. The year got off to an excel lent start with reports from as many as 20 sites in the period to early March (ten sites in the same period in 2002). Typically, most sightings were of single birds but three localities recorded two; reports from the traditional Wilford Bridge wintering site peaked at three, January 28th and as many as four were in the Gipping Valley at Pipps Ford, Barking, January 4th. This was followed by an impressive spring passage from mid-March. Up to ten widespread sites recorded the species in late March; ali reports were of single birds apart from four, Cavenham GP, 3lst and three, Wilford Bridge, Melton, 27th. This passage intensified in Aprii, when at least 19 localities reported Green Sandpipers. Movements peaked during the third week when the maximum totals were more reminiscent of those in autumn - eight, Lakenheath, 2lst, seven, Cavenham GP, 18th and five, Long Melford, 17th. Passage basically ceased after Aprii 27th. The only report during the first three weeks of May was of one at Lackford Bridge, 18th; another was at Minsmere on 30th. There were reports from at least eight sites in June, after the first at Lackford Lakes on 8th. Totals in late June peaked at five, Wilford Bridge, 27th and four at North Warren, 29th and Orfordness, 21 st. 90


Systematic List July and August, traditionally, see the largest gatherings of the year and 2003 was no exception. There was no obvious pattern to the occurrence of the maximum totals which were: Benacre Broad: seven, Jul.19th to 29th; nine, Aug.l7th. Minsmere: ten, Jul.24th; 12, Aug. 13th and 18th. Orfordness: seven, Jul.l4th; eight, Jul. 19th and Aug.lOth. Trimley Marshes: six, Jul.24th; up to six throughout August. Stoke-byNayland/Shelley: Gifford's Park, five, Jul.รถth. Lackford Lakes: up to five throughout August. Totals declined in September, particularly after mid-month, but nevertheless there were reports from as many as 18 sites. The peak site-total occurred inland at Lakenheath, where eight were present on 14th. The coastal maximum was five at Orfordness, 6th and Seafield Bay, Brantham, 14th. One flew south over Landguard, September 29th. There were reports from only five sites in each of October, November and December. In each month, the maximum count came from Alton Water - four, October 3rd and 12th, five, November 16th and two, December 24th. A fortunate observer at Brent Eleigh added this species to his garden list on August 9th, when one was feeding at his garden pond. WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. Spring passage got off to a good start with Suffolk's first April records since 1998 at Minsmere, 25th and 26th and Lakenheath, 30th. At least nine were recorded during a FIELD N O T E light passage in May, of which only three An unusual observation at Lackford Bridge were on the coast: ori May 18th, was of a Wood Sandpiper in Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, May 4th. song flight. This is normally only seen on the breeding grounds. Wood Sandpipers Orfordness: May 24th and 25th; May 30th. breed across Scandinavia and northern Lakenheath Fen: May 17th. Lackford: Lackford Bridge, May 17th to 22nd Russia and they also occasionally nest in the highlands of Scotland. and a second bird on 22nd. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, May 5th to 12th; two Peter Lack May 29th and one to 30th. There were no records between May 30th and July 6th. Whereas inland sites had received most of the spring migrants, the majority of autumn birds occurred on the coast. In fact, the only inland autumn records were from Lakenheath, July 6th and the Mickle Mere, July 13th. The first coastal autumn sighting was of four at Minsmere, July 17th; no more than two were also noted in July at Benacre Broad, North Warren, Orfordness and Trimley Marshes. As we have come to expect, August was the best month of the year for this wader in Suffolk. However, totals were well below average with reports from only nine coastal sites. Most localities recorded no more than two; the exception was the Hen Reedbed SWT reserve, where a maximum of four was noted. Only Minsmere and Covehithe Broad noted this species in September. A maximum of three was at Minsmere, 7th and the final bird of the year was at Covehithe Broad, 16th. COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Single birds had been present in December 2002 in the Lowestoft Harbour area, at Wilford Bridge (Melton) and Ipswich Docks. These birds remained into the early months of 2003. The Lowestoft bird remained in the Lake Lothing area until at least February 8th, while 91


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 one remained in the Wilford Bridge area until at least March 23rd and two were noted there on January 18th and March 23rd. What is assumed to have been the Ipswich Docks bird was seen at Wherstead, January 11th. As in 2002, there was an inland first winter period record; what may have been the same individual was at Lackford Lakes, February 19th and Livermere Lake, March 2nd. What might have been one of the wintering birds was at Wilford Bridge, April 15th, but the first definite spring arrivals were on April 17th at Cattawade (four) and Minsmere. Although spring passage was generally light, there were reports from as many as 14 sites in April (five inland) and 12 in May (three inland). The Cattawade group on 17th was the largest gathering in April and the first inland spring sighting was at Lackford Lakes on April 18th. The first week in May witnessed the largest spring gatherings with ten, Livermere Lake, 2nd; five, Lackford Lakes, 2nd and three, Minsmere, 1st and 3rd. None was noted in May after 22nd but one was at Trimley Marshes, June 2nd. An excellent autumn passage commenced on July 1st (Trimley Marshes). There were 13 site reports (only three inland) in July and totals peaked towards the end of the month: Minsmere: 11, Jul. 18th.

Orfordness: nine, Jul. 19th. Trimley Marshes: 20, Jul.27th. Alton Water: ten, Jul.27th. Livermere Lake: nine, Jul. 17th.

August saw the peak of autumn passage with sightings at 18 localities (four inland). The maximum totals occurred during the first week of the month, including a new record county site-total, but impressive counts were reported right up to the fourth week: Benacre: Broad, 15, Aug.2nd. Blyth Estuary: Wolsey Creek, 12, Aug.24th. Minsmere: 28, Aug.5th. Orford: Havergate Island, 55, Aug.2nd. Trimley Marshes: up to 18 throughout August. Stour Estuary: 19,Aug.l7th.

The gathering of 55 on Havergate Island is the highest site-total ever recorded in Suffolk (excluding Breydon Water totals). Away from the traditional inland sites, two were at Arger Fen, near Assington, August 14th and one at Boxford, August 30th. Totals declined sharply in September with maxima of six on the Stour Estuary, 14th and four inland at Lackford Lakes, 2nd and 3rd. Most sites recorded their final sightings of the year in September; the only October record involved one on 12th on the Deben Estuary, where two were present on November 16th. The only November report, away from the Deben, was of one on the Blyth Estuary, 15th. One of the two reported December sightings was, not unexpectedly, at Wilford Bridge (30th). The other was on 14th at Alton Water, where Common Sandpipers have overwintered in previous years. RUDDY TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The Ipswich Docks roost totals are included in the Orwell figures, as are the Erwarton Bay and Hoi brook Bay totals in the Stour figures. Combined totals for the Essex and Suffolk shores of the Stour qualify the estuary as a Site of International Importance for Ruddy Turnstone. Although totals were dominated by those on the above three estuaries, significant groups were noted elsewhere, principally in the Lowestoft area. Figures from the latter locality, in 92


Systematic List the first winter, included 25, Principal WeBS counts on the estuaries were: Lowestoft, January 13th; Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 25, Gorleston, March 10th; Deben Estuary 74 28 56 33 21 28 51 18 41, Ness Point, Lowestoft, Orwell Estuary 123 161 194 148 30 19 18 148 0 76 129 101 44 ;H > 0 0 96 March 27th and 50 south off Ipswich Docks 385 138 342 267 377 250 248 417 270 Kessingland, March 5th. Stour Estuary 305 68 80 171 92 26 166 360 145 Low water counts on the Erwarton Bay 42 56 145 82 283 196 81 13 115 Orwell Estuary were of 169 Holbrook Bay on both January 10th and February 10th and the March Stour WeBS count also included 117 at Seafield Bay, Brantham. Spring passage was light and included the only inland record of the year, at Livermere Lake, May 2nd. April sightings on the coast included 15, Kessingland, 6th and ten, Minsmere, 25th and 26th. Seafield Bay was the principal site in May with 25 on 6th; elsewhere in May, maxima were nine on Orfordness, 4th and nine north off Kessingland, 21st. The peak June sighting was of four on Orfordness, 2nd. The majority of July sightings involved southerly passage off Thorpeness, where 65 were recorded between 18th and 31st. The Stour WeBS counts in August (see table) far exceeded all other totals; southerly passage in August included 40 off Thorpeness during the month and 15 off Covehithe, 25th. The maximum non-WeBS count in September was of 193, Erwarton, 8th. The Lowestoft area recorded the principal non-estuarine totals during the final three months with 17, Ness Point, October 4th; 21, Pakefield, November 16th and 28, Hamilton Dock, Lowestoft, December 6th. The Alton Water wader roost included 26, December 14th and low water counts on the Orwell Estuary involved 116, November 18th and 186, December 17th. GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicarius Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. The total of three records is half the six recorded in 2002. The Bawdsey bird was very popular with observers during its stay of three and a half weeks. Southwold: offshore, Sept.23rd (B.J.Small) and Oct. 12th (B.J.Small et at). Bawdsey: East Lane Lagoons, Oct. 12th to Nov.5th (many observers). POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus Uncommon passage migrant. A few overwinter. In the first winter period, a dark phase bird attacked Mew Gulls off Kessingland, January 2nd and 3rd. Birds were also reported in January off Minsmere on 4th and Thorpeness on 5th, with two on 25th. A light spring passage of about seven birds was noted, including an unusual record of an adult with "spoons" flying low inland over Dunwich Heath, May 4th, before being seen near the A12 at Blythburgh later in the day. Other northbound individuals in spring were birds off Kessingland, April 27th, May 2nd and May 24th; Minsmere, May 4th; Thorpeness, April 14th and May 2nd and Landguard, May 4th. The first returning bird was noted off Kessingland, July 11th, followed by a further record off Thorpeness, July 24th. Numbers picked up in August with 18 records, including three off Thorpeness on 30th and three off Kessingland on 31st. September produced 25 records including another three off Kessingland on 24th. The 13 October records included four off Southwold on 11th. The only November record was of one north off Thorpeness on 29th and December birds consisted of two off Kessingland on 13th and two off Thorpeness on 31 st. 93


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Another prolific year for this parasitic species. The monthly totals of individual reports are tabulated below. Naturally, this may include some duplication. JAN 2

FEB 0

MAR 0

APR 11

MAY 17

JUN 3

JUL 72

AUG 255

SEP 103

OCT 74

NOV 3-

DEC 1

Winter records consisted of birds off Thorpeness, January 1 st and 19th and one off Kessingland, December 1 st. A moderate northward spring passage was noted in April and May and included a good count of six at Thorpeness, May 10th. Autumn passage peaked in August (September last year) and included 26 offThorpeness on 24th. Other good autumn counts were 18 off Lowestoft, September 23rd and 19 off Landguard, October 12th during one of the sites best ever seawatching spells, with Leach's Petrels and Cory's Shearwater also noted in the strong east-south-east wind.

Arctic Skua Mark Cornish

LONG-TAILED SKUA Stercorarius longicaudus Uncommon passage migrant. Again it was a good year for this species with a total of about 35 birds recorded, second only to the record 37 in 1991. All records are as follows: Corton: j u v s noted in August on 15th and 27th and two, 24th. Lowestoft: Ness Pt, juv, north, Aug.31st and juv, south, Sep.23rd. Pakcfield: juv, north, Aug.31st (same as at Ness Pt). Kessingland: north, Jul.4th; north, Aug.27th; north, Aug.3 Ist; north, Sep. 1 Oth and a juv on sea, Oct.รถth. Covehithe: juv, south, Aug.25th. Southwold:juv, Aug.l7th; lingering, Aug.25th; north, Aug.29th; juv, south, Aug.30th; juv, S e p . l s t a n d an adult north, Oct.2nd (lacking tail streamers). Minsmere: south, Aug.25th. Thorpeness: north. Aug.21 st; juv, south, Aug.23rd; juv, south, Aug.24th; south, Aug.25th; juv, south, Aug.29th; adult, north and two juvs south, Aug.30th (chased by Arctic Skua); south, Aug.3 Ist; south, Sep.3rd; adult, south, Sep.6th;juv, north, Sep.รถth; adult, north, Sep.7th; juv, north, Sep.21st and an exceptionally late juv south, Dec.20th (D.Thurlow). Felixstowe: Landguard, north, Aug.l7th and north, Nov 20th.

The bird offThorpeness on December 20th is the latest-ever in Suffolk, exceeding the previous latest (December 13th 2000) by a week. When will there be a mid-winter record? 94


Systematic List GREAT SKUA Catharacta skua Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber list. Another excellent year for this species. The total for the year of up to 185 is the highest ever recorded in Suffolk. All records are as follows: JAN 5

FEB 1

MAR 0

APR 5

MAY 4

JUN 5

JUL 10

AUG 44

SEP

OCT

NOV

22

86

3

DEC 0

Winter birds were noted past Kessingland, January 4th, Dunwich/Minsmere, January 1st, two offThorpeness, January 1st and one off Minsmere, February 1st. There was a light spring passage, mainly past the well-watched sites of Kessingland and Thorpeness. Autumn passage peaked in October when many of the county's birders were seawatching in favourable conditions. The best day was October 7th when eight passed Kessingland and seven were logged off Southwold. MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Rare breeder. Amber list. Once again noted throughout the year at many sites. Breeding was again attempted with six to eight pairs on the Blyth estuary and two pairs at Minsmere. Breeding success was apparent from the six juveniles present on the Blyth estuary in August. A spring build up of first-summer birds was again noted with a maximum of five at Tinker's Marshes, April 19th. Favoured sites, where birds were present in nearly all months, included Benacre, Lowestoft, Minsmere, Blyth Estuary and Landguard. A second-winter was seen following the plough at Mutford, January 16th. The maximum count was of nine on Pakefield beach, December 14th, where hopefully numbers will continue to increase to rival the nearby Great Yarmouth (Norfolk) congregations. Ringed birds included a Czech-ringed secondwinter at Corton, October 11th and the Dutch-ringed adult present at Lowestoft all year. Inland records are as follows: Lackford Lakes: first-winter throughout January and February; adult, Feb.4th and up to two firstwinters in December. Livermere Lake: first-winter, Jan. 1st and an adult and a juvenile, Jul.26th.

Redgrave Lake: two adults, Feb.8th. LITTLE GULL Larus minutus Fairly common passage migrant. Regularly oversummers. Small numbers overwinter. There was a large offshore passage, January 1st when 226 passed Thorpeness and 166 passed Orfordness, with smaller numbers noted at many coastal sites. These are the county's highest-ever mid-winter totals. Occasional sightings were recorded in the rest of January and February. There was a strong inland passage in April, peaking on 16th, when 64 were at Lackford Lakes (the highest recorded inland gathering in Suffolk) and 23 at Livermere Lake. There were eight first-summers at Minsmere, May 29th, the largest coastal spring gathering, with smaller numbers on Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick. This year, Minsmere held the largest summer gatherings, peaking at 111 on August 22nd, with smaller concentrations on Lowestoft north beach and Benacre Broad. Autumn coastal passage peaked in mid-October, when 100 passed Southwold and 70 passed Lowestoft on 12th. The last records of the year were 15 offThorpeness, November 8th and six north past Kessingland, December 21st. SABINE'S GULL Larus sabini Rare passage migrant. One of the undoubted highlights of the year was the presence of a summer-plumaged adult 95


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 throughout much of the summer in the Lowestoft harbour area. It was first found on May 31st and remained until August 26th, enabling hundreds of birdwatchers to see it. It was surely one of the most widely photographed birds of all time, as it came down to under two metres to feed on chips! All records are as follows: Lowestoft: Harbour, adult, May 31st to Aug.26th (J.A.Brown, A.C.Easton et at); Ness Pt, juv, lingering then south, Sep.21st (J.A.Brown, R.Fairhead, B.J.Small et al) Southwold: juv, south at 08.45 then north at 09.15, Oct.lOth (B.J.Small, J.H.Grant).

BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Breeding was reported from four sites. At Minsmere, 183 pairs bred, a dramatic decrease since 2002, when 571 pairs were noted. This was due to disturbance from a Fox present on the Scrape and the continued prĂŠdation by Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls. On Orfordness, 41 pairs nested, fledging only five young. In the west, five fledged young were noted at Livermere Lake and 15 fledged young were found at the Mickle Mere. The highest count was an impressive 22000 . , _ at the Lackford Lakes roost, February 4th. On Black-headed Gulls Mark Ferns . . , , , . , the coast, high numbers were present in January, when the largest gathering was 7000 roosting on the sea off Dunwich Heath, January 28th. There were also 5000 at Blythburgh, January 13th and 5000 flew south olf Thorpeness, January 19th. Inland, 3500 were roosting at Redgrave Lake, February 7th. By December, the winter roost at Lackford Lakes had built up again to 15000 by the 11th. MEW (COMMON) GULL Larus canus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant; scarce breeding species. Amber list. As expected, the only breeding report was from Orfordness, where three pairs nested but none was successful. One of these breeding adults was trapped and found to have been ringed as a pullus at the same site in 1990. As usual, numbers peaked in midwinter with relatively few summer reports. The largest gathering was 12000 on the Blyth Estuary, January 4th, while 5000 were noted roosting on the sea off Dunwich Heath, January 28th The highest counts inland were 4000 at the Lackford Lakes roost, February 4th and 2500 roosting at Redgrave Lake, February 7th. By December 27th, the Lackford Lakes roost was back up to 1800. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larusfuscus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Increasing numbers overwinter. Amber list. An impressive 6000 pairs bred on Orfordness with reasonable success due to less prĂŠdation from Foxes. The one serious nesting attempt at Minsmere was controlled by nest destruction, to protect Pied Avocets and other breeding birds on the Scrape. Good numbers again attempted to nest on the large warehouse roofs alongside Lake Lothing in Lowestoft with about 200 chicks noted on June 27th. The species again bred on industrial/retail units in Ipswich. Numbers peaked in the summer months, with 4600 at Livermere Lake, August 11th the highest count. Small numbers of the intermedius race were again noted with up to eight at Livermere Lake in late summer. Early morning southerly coasting movements were noted off Thorpeness, with a maximum of 312, July 17th. 96


13. Sabine's Gull: the long-staying bird at Lowestoft Harbour.

14. Common Cuckoo: pullus in a Dunnock's nest, Pakenham, July.

Alan at

Malcolm Wr


Alpine Swift: over the reedbed at Minsmere, May.

Alan Tate

M

í

Alpine Swift: roosting on Sizewell Nuclear Power Station.

Alan Tate


17. White Wagtail: a migrant at Felixstowe, April.

18. Green Woodpecker: common in the Sandlings and in Breckland. BiliBaston

Lee GreÂŁ w

19. Winter Wren: 350 pairs at North Warren/Aldringham Walks. Bill Bast


Systematic List HERRING GULL Larus argentatus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Around 2000 pairs bred on Orfordness, having a better year, with less predation. The one pair at Minsmere was controlled by nest destruction. Small numbers bred on warehouse roofs alongside Lake Lothing, Lowestoft and on industrial/retail units in Ipswich. Good numbers noted at other sites included an impressive 3500 at Landguard, December 22nd, 142 at Minsmere, February 16th and 100 at Redgrave Lake, February 7th. Small numbers of the larger nominate, northern race argentatus were noted, mainly in the winter months. A very pale leucistic bird, resembling an Iceland Gull, was noted in Lowestoft Harbour on April 5th. Yellow-legged Gull L.a.michahellis Again this subspecies was widely reported with well over 100 individuals noted during the year, with the favoured sites being Benacre Broad, the Blyth Estuary, Minsmere and Lackford Lakes. There was the usual large build up on the coast in late summer. An exceptional count of 66 birds was made at Blythburgh, August 21st, smashing the Suffolk record count by some considerable margin (B.J.Small). Inland sightings peaked later in the year and there were frequent winter sightings at favoured sites such as Lackford Lakes (maximum five, January 6th). The regular adult on Lowestoft north beach returned for its seventh consecutive summer. Caspian Gull L.a.cachinnans It was another good year for this popular subspecies in the county. All reports are as follows: Benacre Broad: adult, Jan.3rd (J.A.Brown, P.Milford et al); first-winter, Feb.2nd (B.J.Small); adult and juv, Aug.21st (B.J.Small). Wangford: adult, Jan.24th (B.J.Small). Blythburgh: adult, Jan.4th (L.G.Woods); third-winter, Jan.1st and 10th (B.J.Small); two, Feb.lst (R.Drew); two adults and first-winter, Feb. 1 st (B.J.Small); first-summer, Aug.22nd (B.J.Small, J.and P.Kennerley); adult, A u g . 2 6 t h (J.and P.Kennerley); adult and t w o f i r s t - s u m m e r s , A u g . 3 1 s t (B.J.Small et al). A n u m b e r of sightings related to the long returning, limping adult. Southwold: Town Marshes, adult, Jan.25th (B.J.Small). Minsmere: adult, Sep. 12th (R.Drew). Lackford Lakes: adult, F e b . l s t (L.Gregory). Llvermere Lake: j u v moulting to first-winter plumage, Aug.26th (P.Wilson).

2002 additions Blythburgh: second-summer to third-winter, Aug.28th to Nov. 16th (B.J.Small, L.G.Woods, et al). Westleton: second-winter, Sep.21st (B.J.Small).

ICELAND GULL Larus glaucoides Scarce winter visitor. An average year with probably four individuals accounting for the following records: Lowestoft: Harbour, first-winter, Nov.23rd (J.A.Brown, A.C.Easton et al). Dunwich: second-winter, Jan.21st and 27th (R.Drew, M.L.Cornish). Sizewell: first-winter, Dec 28th to 31st (R.Drew et al). Thorpeness: first-winter, Nov 8th and 10th ( R S P B et al) Bawdsey: East Lane lagoons, Mar.8th (I.Sillett).

GLAUCOUS GULL Larus hyperboreus Scarce winter visitor. A rather poor year which fortunately included a long staying and easily accessible bird in the north of the county. 97


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 A first-winter bird was present in the Lowestoft Harbour area from January 15th to April 20th and was also noted at nearby Kessingland, Pakefield and Flixton. A first-winter at Minsmere, January 26th and February 1st, was probably a different individual. Two firstwinter birds were noted roosting on Redgrave Lake, February 7th, which had been feeding by day on chicken farm waste at East Harling, Norfolk. GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer and has recently bred Three pairs nested on Orfordness but no young were fledged. A pure white, probably leucistic bird, oversummered in Lowestoft Harbour and was reported by several observers as a Glaucous Gull. High counts included 458 on the Blyth Estuary, January 8th, 350 at Landguard, December 22nd, 140 at Lackford Lakes, February 1st and 93 at Carlton Marshes, January 3rd. On September 23rd, 80 were noted roosting on the sea off Southwold harbour. BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla Very common passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers breed. Amber list. The table summarizes the breeding data for birds nesting in Lowestoft Harbour. The productivity Productivity No. Young No. Nests Successful of the nests in Site in Harbour Kittiwake Wall 67 81 105 1.30 Lowestoft Harbour Under the wall 11 7 1.00 11 increased signifi- Fish Market 4 1.25 3 - -5' â&#x20AC;˘ cantly in 2003 to Totals 96 77 121 1.26 1.26 chicks per nest, compared with a productivity of 0.95 chicks per nest in 2002. 80% of nests were successful, with an average of 1.57 chicks per successful nest and two nests raised three young each, which has not occurred for several years (per Tim Brown). At Sizewell 237 nests (similar to 2002) were counted on the rigs, with each nest fledging one to two chicks. Large offshore congregations were noted in January, peaking at 3600 north off Thorpeness on 11th. A good autumn passage of 700 birds passed north off Ness Point, Lowestoft, October 12th and a high count of 2500 was noted off Landguard, December 22nd. As in 2002, there was a record from West Suffolk. This involved a first-winter which flew over Berner's Heath, Icklingham, November 16th, an unexpected locality to see this normally maritime species. CASPIAN TERN Sterna caspia Rare visitor. 2002 Addition Lakenheath Washes: One present on the Washes, Jun. 26th to 29th was seen on the Suffolk side of the Little Ouse River on 26th (not 29th, as stated in SBR 2002) (L.G.Woods et al). This record has now been accepted by BBRC. SANDWICH TERN Sterna sandvicensis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first sighting of the year was of two north off Kessingland on March 29th, followed by arrivals in the first few days of April at Minsmere, Sizewell and Thorpeness. The largest spring daily counts were 200, Minsmere, May 3rd and 110, Havergate Island, May 6th. 98


fe

Systematic List The following table of monthly counts at three sea-watching sites gives a good picture of the distribution and movements of this tern through the season. Site

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Kessingland

77N 9S

273N 50S

306N 139S

454N 685S

Thorpeness

56N 7S 12N US

337N 46S 33N 15S

246N 89S 13N 5S

430N 240S 30N 14S

123N 421S 96 feeding 383N 419S 18N Ă&#x17D;3S

Landguard

Sept

48N 203S 123 feeding 29N 249S 16N US

The swing to predominantly southerly movement occurs in late July and early August and the comparatively low counts from Landguard compared with the more northerly sites is noteworthy. The peak day count from Thorpeness in the autumn was 103 south on August 23rd. The only report of breeding was from Havergate Island where 15 pairs fledged three young. PrĂŠdation by Lesser Black-backed Gulls was the main problem. The only report from the west of the county was of a single at Lakenheath Washes, May 5th. Late records were four north, Southwold, Oct.l3th; two south offshore, Minsmere, Oct.24th and one north, two south, Orfordness, October 12th. ROSEATE TERN Sterna dougallii Scarce passage migrant. Red list. The only spring record was of two, Cattawade, in the Stour estuary, May 4th (T.C.Nicholson). This is the earliest in Suffolk since one on the Deben Estuary at Kirton Creek, Aprii 2Ist 1981. The remaining reports were clustered in a ten-day period, from June 28th to July 7th. Benacre Broad: Jul.2nd (B.J.Small). Minsmere: Jun.28th and 29th (RSPB); adult, Jul.2nd (G.Welch, D.Fairhurst, I.Barthorpe). Boyton: Marshes, two, Jul.7th (R.Johnson, B.Harrington). The total of six (or possibly seven) individuals represents a better than average year. 1994 3

1995 5

RoseateTern records 1994-2003 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 1 3 4 7 6 9

2002 2

2003 6

COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo Common summer visitor and passage migrant The first reported arrivais inland were 19 at Lackford Lakes on April 4th, the same day that several were first noted at Kessingland and Thorpeness on the coast. At Lackford, there was a maximum of 107 in the early evening of April 16th and possibly many more passed through during the day. The largest daily spring count at Minsmere was 180, May 3rd. Subsequent movements are displayed well by the sea-watching statistics below. Monthly Totais North (N), South (S) and Feeding at Three Sites Site Kessingland Thorpeness Landguard

Apr

May

June

46N 4S (from 4th) 51K 13S (from 4th) 60N 13S (from 1 Ith)

197N 80S 150N 84S

170N 175S 29 feeding 288N 169S

ION 21S

ON 10S

July

Aug

405N 970S 642N 2025S 19 feeding 432 feeding 948N 1279S 2506N 4180S ON IS

68N 153S

Sept

31N 215S 240 feeding 574N 527S 32N 85S

99

i


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 The maximum daily count at Thorpeness in July was 300 south on the 24th and in August it was an impressive 826 south on the 2nd. Breeding, or attempted breeding, was recorded at the following locations:Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, at least eight active nests on the same factory roof as last year; five family groups of 1-3 chicks, Jun.28th. It is likely that there was a similar number of pairs on an unobservable section of the roof. Minsmere: Scrape, 54 pairs. However, due to a Fox on the Scrape no young fledged. Havcrgate Island: 68 pairs fledged 27 young. PrĂŠdation by Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Trimley Marshes: one breeding pair on tern rafts, June. Alton Water: 50 nests, ca. 40 young fledged (of which 37 were ringed and 28 colour banded). 35 young died before fledging due to prĂŠdation by mink and possibly a Tawny Owl. Weybread: gravel pits, five adults, May 7th. No reports of breeding, either way. Small numbers lingered into October and the latest report was of one fishing in the yacht basin of Lowestoft Harbour on November 7th.

ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally breeds. Amber list. Two at Lackford Lakes, April 6th, remaining on the sailing lake until evening, equals the previous earliest record for the county. Other spring records were widely distributed. Southwold: north, Apr. 19th Dunwich: north, Apr.28th; south, May 4th; two south, May 5th. Minsmere: May 18th.

Thorpeness: two south, May 14th. Felixstowe: King's Fleet, two, Apr.22nd; Landguard, two south, Apr.28th, two May 4th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, three, Apr. 15th, two, Apr. 16th. Livermere Lake: singles, Apr. 15th and Apr.27th. Lackford Lakes: two, Apr.6th.

There were no reports of breeding in the county this year. Movements associated with return passage were observed at coastal sites between Lowestoft and Landguard between July 2nd and October 12th, with a broad peak in late August/early September. Records were all of single-figure totals except for ten (three adults, seven juveniles) at Sizewell, September 1st.

LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first spring records were of one north at Landguard, April 15th and from April 16th at Minsmere, where numbers reached 27 by April 28th. Breeding was attempted at five sites (see table). After two excellent years, the colony on the sand-bar at Benacre Broad failed. About 60 were present at Benacre on May 17th and many were settling onto nest scrapes but all had deserted by mid-June, due to disturbance by the public and low-flying helicopters. There was also encroachment by a flock of Canada Geese on to the sand-bar. The usual post-breeding build-up in the Kessingland/Benacre area was noted in August. For example, 256 (including only about 40 adults) were recorded at Benacre Broad, August 8th and sea-watching at Kessingland produced an August total of 1064, with a high proportion of local feeders. There were no reports this year from inland waters in the west of the county. The final report of the year was one north at Thorpeness, September 13th. 100


Systematic List No. of Pairs

Breeding Site

0 7

0 0

Covehithe Broad Easton Broad Walberswick Dingle/Corporation Marshes Minsmere Havergate Island Orford colony 1 Slaughden

0 0 0 0 0 0 28

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

colony 2 Shingle St.

6

2 or 3

fl 2

0 0

Shotley

3

0

Totals

46

2 or

Kessingland Benacre Broad

Deben Felixstowe Landguard

Remarks

Fledged young

a few birds at first but none stayed maximum count of 78 adults; disturbance by public and low-flying helicopters.

a few chicks ringed but none fledged; disturbance by fishermen. up to 40 pairs prospecting/displaying but moved on; some disturbance by helicopters. 56 birds prospecting until Bank Holiday, when much disturbance by fishermen, dog walkers, 3 pairs in area through the summer; display noted but nesting not confirmed.

3

(Data for this table were compiled by Mick Wright) BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger Fairly common passage migrant. The spring passage was sparse and early this year and was observed only in the south-east and west of the county. It was over by May 4th, except for a late single at Lackford Lakes, May 28th. D e b e n E s t u a r y : W e B S count, Apr.20th; Melton, Apr.20th. Perhaps the s a m e bird? Felixstowe: Landguard, north. May 2nd.

Trimley Marshes: Apr. 16th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, three, May 4t Bramford: Suffolk water park, Apr. 19th.

Livermere Lake: three, Apr. 15th; single, Apr. 16th; two, Apr.25th; Apr.30th. Lackford Lakes: two, Apr. 18th; M a y 28th.

J 111

â&#x20AC;˘ B lack

. fyq Tern Su Gough

Lakenheath Washes: two, Apr. 15th. Return migration was noted mainly in the north-east of the county and was equally thin. Corton: south, Aug.7th; north, A u g . l 1th. Lowestoft: N o r t h Beach, moulting adult on groyne, Jul.23rd, Jul.27th and Aug.2nd; Ness Point, south, Aug. 18th. Kessingland: Beach, eight on sea, Aug.4th. FIELD N O T E

Benacre Broad: singles, Aug. 1st, 6th and 14th;

two, Aug.4th. Covehithe: t w o north, Aug.25th. Southwold: south, Aug.26th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, J u n . l 7 t h . M i n s m e r e : f o u r south, t w o on the S c r a p e , Aug.8th.

101

Looking like a little flotilla of paper boats with their wings and tails pointing upwards, a group of eight Black Terns drifted south on the sea off Kessingland beach at 14.25 hours on August 4th. Paul Read


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Sizewell: outfall, singles and twos on six days between Aug.7th and Sep.25th. Thorpeness: two south, Aug.5th; singles north, Aug.Ust and 26th; two south, Aug.5th and 25th; one north, three south, Sep.6th; south Sep.8th. Orfordness: two, Jun.29th. COMMON GUILLEMOT Una aalge Common passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. The year began with prolific movements observed in the north-east. Kessingland: monthly totals, 1273 (546 north, 707 south, 20 on the sea), January; 1052 (914 north, 129 south, nine on the sea), February. Southwold: 120 north, Feb.6th. Minsmere: 120, Jan.29th was the largest daily count of the month. Thorpeness: auk species, monthly total 16199 (10438 north, 5761 south) January, with peak daily count of 3135 on 16th; 3828 (2738 north, 1090 south), February. Monthly totals at the two main sea-watching sites, Kessingland and Thorpeness, decreased rapidly after March but picked up again in September to moderate three-figure totals. In December, the monthly count at Thorpeness increased to 1423, with a strong southerly emphasis. Reports from the south-east Suffolk coast and estuaries were mainly of single birds, many of which were oiled and either moribund or dead. For example: Felixstowe: Landguard, oiled Feb.2nd; singles dead Feb.22nd and 27th; north, Sep.30th; moribund Oct.3rd; north, Oct.8th and oiled dead, Dec.27th. However, there was no evidence of widespread oiling on the scale of that of November 2002. RAZORBILL Alca torda Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. The sequence of reports in the second winter period of 2002 continued into January and February. Unusually there were also several sightings in May and June. Most of the autumn reports were from the northeast of the county in September. A full list of sightings is given below. Lowestoft: Ness Point, south, Feb.5th; north, Sep.28th. Kessingland: on sea about 100m. from shore, drifting north, Jun.2nd; on sea, then flying north, Jun.22nd; on sea, a few metres out, Sep.5th. Covehithe: dead on beach, Feb.20th. Easton Bavents: dead on beach, oiled, Feb.24th. Southwold: south, Feb.6th; three north, Jun.6th; north, Aug.30th. Dunwich: two, Jan.28th. Thorpeness: singles south, Jan. 18th and 25th; singles north, Jan.26th and 28th; one north, three south, Feb. 1st; south, Feb.8th; north, May 12th; south, Jun.lOth; north, Jun.27th; north, Sep.21st; south, Sep. 1st and 2nd; south, Dec. 12th. Slaughden: south, Feb.9th. Orfordness: the following were all found dead on the tideline:- Feb.9th; four, Mar.23rd; Apr.24th. Havergate Island: Jan.21st.

Bawdsey: East Lane lagoons, Jan. 10th. Felixstowe: Landguard, north, Jan.31st; dead on beach, Feb.27th. In all, 32 live and nine dead Razorbills were positively identified. As usual, to this total should be added an unknown but probably small proportion of the "undifferentiated auk sp." logged by some sea-watchers. 102


Systematic List LITTLE AUK Alle alle Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Reports this year were almost evenly divided between the first and second winter periods. Some of the birds of February 5th were probably noted at several of the observation points. Lowestoft: Ness Point, north, Feb.4th; south, Feb.5th. Kessingland: south, Jan.31st; five north, two south, Feb.5th. Southwold: eleven north, Feb.รณth. Dunwich Heath: five offshore, Feb.5th. Minsmere: three, Feb.5th.

With very little north wind in the autumn, movement was seen only on a few isolated days. Kessingland: singles north, close inshore, Oct.24th and Nov.4th. Covehithe: close inshore, Nov. 11th. Southwold: four north, Sep.23rd. Thorpeness: south, Nov. 17th; eight north, Nov. 19th; seven north, two south, Nov.20th.

Another poor year for this species and, as usual, all records were from the north-east of the county.

Little Auks Mark Cornish

ATLANTIC PUFFIN Fratercula arctica Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. This was another good year for this popular auk, with a total of 16 reports. Lowestoft: Ness Point, north, Sep.23rd (J.A.Brown). Kessingland: singles north, Sep.23rd (same bird as Ness Point), Oct.8th and Dec.6th (P.Read). Easton Bavents: freshly dead on beach, Feb.24th (N.J.Skinner). Southwold: north, May 20th (B.J.Small), north, Sep.22nd (R.Drew). Dunwich Heath: singles offshore, Jan.22nd and 26th; Feb.6th (M.L.Cornish). Minsmere: Jan. 18th (G.Welch), south, Feb.รณth (R.Drew). Thorpeness: south, Mar.9th; north, Jul.3rd; two south, Nov. 13th, south, Nov.22nd (D.Thurlow).

ROCK PIGEON (DOVE) Cohimba livia Very common resident from feral stock. Categories A, C and E. There was an increase in submissions this year, with the following counts from the northeast area. Somerleyton: 188, feeding on silage in farmyard, Jan.4th. Lowestoft: 125 roosting on rooftops, Bevan Street, Nov. 15th; 126, at grain silo, Dec.6th. Covehithe: 78, at the Church, Jan.7th.

However, these counts were dwarfed by the ca. 1000 reported from Cliff Quay in the Ipswich Docks, January 25th and the ca.1800 at the same site, February 22nd. At Orfordness the species was reported as 'surprisingly scarce' with just seven seen throughout the year and five of these were on October 12th. A small flock, first noted in 103


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 November 1993, was present for most of the year at Landguard and peaked at 18 birds on several dates. The Long Melford population saw a slight increase to 15 birds on October 18th (11 were present in October 2002). S T O C K P I G E O N ( D O V E ) CoĂŹumha

oenas

Fairly common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. Records came in from 26 sites (20 in 2002). No large flocks were noted during the first winter period and the highest numbers were present in the west of the county; 26 at Redgrave Lake, March 18th and 44 at Livermere Lake, February 1 Ith. Breeding was confirmed at seven localities, with an increase at North Warren/ Aldringham Walks to nine pairs (seven in 2001 and 2002). Stock Doves are surprisingly common out on the shingle ridge of Orfordness, but the total of 41 nests found this year is a rĂŠduction from the 50 found in 2002. At Somerleyton, several pairs nested in the pump house out on the marshes. There were some reasonable late-summer/autumn flocks reported: Flixton: Marshes, 40, Sep.26th. Walberswick: 25, Nov.Ist. Sizewell: 28, Oct.l3th. Trimley Marshes: 45, Oct.28th. Stoke-by-Nayland: GifTords Park, 39, Oct.5th. Long Melford: 22, Aug.lst.

Landguard logged a total of three north and 23 south during a very light passage between October 24th and November 28th. C O M M O N W O O D PIGEON

Columba

palumbus

Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. The first winter period produced some impressive counts including 3000 at Abbey Farm, Snape, February 9th; 1000 at Bawdsey, February 17th; 1200 at Brettenham, February 2nd; 2000 at Northfield Wood, Onehouse, January 20th and 2000 at Groton, March 3rd. At Great Livermere, in March, a leucistic bird FIELD N O T E One of the Common Wood Pigeons was noted on 28th; it exhibited cream-white breeding out on Orfordness was trapped upperparts, with some light grey on the head and found to have been ringed there as an and wings, and normal rosy pink below. adult in 1993, so it was at least 11 years Spring passage was best observed at old. Landguard, where the total was 1181 south on Orfordness Annual Report 12 dates between March 8th and June 1 Ith, with the peak 338 south on March 25th. Another high count was of 1000 at North Warren, May Ist, moving south over the marshes. At least ten pairs nested on Orfordness and their Report states that this was "probably well below the true figure as we know some birds nest on the ground and would have gone undetected". The main autumnal movement concentrated around the overall total of 7500 birds at Landguard on five dates between October 25th and November 9th, with the maximum daily count of 3590 on November 6th. E U R A S I A N C O L L A R E D D O V E Streptopelia

decaoeto

Common resident. New Year's Day provided the highest count of the year, which was 94 at Great Livermere in the village farmyard. The only other count in excess of 50 birds was of 70 at Kessingland. September 1 Ith. 104


Systematic List Düring the breeding season, 13 territories were identified at Bungay and 27 pairs located at North Warren/Aldringham Walks (25 in 2002). The sedentary nature of this species is highlighted by the Orfordness Report. They recorded just six on five dates between February 23rd and May 13th and commented "that it is a rare bird there considering the proximity of Orford village." Birds were present all year at Landguard, with at least five pairs rearing several broods. An autumn roost there peaked at 40, October 24th. EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia turtur Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. As the species becomes rarer, observers seem to be submitting ali records. Reports carne from 55 localities (43 in 2002). The forerunner of the year was at Great Livermere on April 17th, with nearby Lackford Lakes hosting one the following day. Birds were seen at a further nine sites by the close of the month. Visible migration at Landguard logged 13 between Aprii 26th and May 30th. Breeding numbers remained constant at Walberswick/Dunwich Forest, with 18 pairs present as last year. A slight recovery in breeding numbers was noted at North Warren/ Aldringham Walks with 20 territories this year (17 in 2002). However, a significant decline was evident at Minsmere - down to six pairs (from 14 in 2002). At Sizewell, six pairs were found, an improvement on the two territories last year. In the west of the county, for the first time ever recorded, no birds were present at Cosford Hall, a former regulär breeding site. On the credit side, four juveniles were found at nearby Gifford's Park, August 17th. A noteworthy count of 15 at Long Melford on July 26th was the only double-figure count received. It was also the highest locai count in that area since 1996. September reports came from six sites and included seven at Orford, September 7th. The sole October record and latest of the year, came from Landguard, October 2nd. [ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET Pslttacula krameri Scarce resident. Catégories C and E. There were no records for this species during the year. This is the first blank year since at least the late 1970s when a breeding pair became established at Aldham Church.j COMMON CUCKOO Cuculus canorus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. One heard at Ipswich Millennium Cemetery, March 17th (J Walshe), constitutes Suffolk's earliest record since 1990 when three were recorded between March 14th and 17th. This heralded a much earlier arrivai F I E L D N O T E general ly with the At Pakenham, a Common Cuckoo was regularly seen in gardens next birds arriving along Fen Road and Grimstone End during May and June. About June 20th, a large pullus Common Cuckoo was found in a at Minsmere, April Dunnock's nest in a garden off Fen Road. The nest was about a 14th and Beccles, metre off the ground in a dense, clipped conifer hedge. In early July, Thornham Estate a second pullus Common Cuckoo was found in another Dunnock's and Pakenham, nest in a garden about 300 metres away in Grimstone End. This April 15th. By the nest was also about a metre above the ground but in a very open end of April, birds hawthorn hedge which had recently been clipped. Both pullus were had been recorded thought to have fledged. The same temale was probably at an impressive 29 responsive for both young. Malcolm Wright sites. 105


Suffolk Bird Report 2003 Five calling males were present at Dingle Marshes and there were eight territiories at North Warren/Aldringham Walks (15 in 2002). Just a single territory was reported from Sizewell. At Pakenham 1-2 were seen and heard daily between April 15th and the end of June. At Orfordness, two birds were killed by a Eurasian Sparrowhawk in May. Several juveniles were reported during the period July to October, with the last of the year at Sizewell, October 2nd, the third October record in the last four years. BARN OWL Tyto alba Fairly common resident. Amber list. Categories A and E. Sightings were reported from a total of 69 localities this year (65 in 2002). Thirty-three of these localities were in the north-east recording area, 15 in the south-east and 21 in the west. Breeding was confirmed or suspected at nine sites. At Flixton, a pair bred within 100 metres of pairs of both Little Owl and Common Kestrel. On Orfordness, up to five birds were seen hunting during the day from January to May. Three pairs nested in the old buildings, but only three or four young birds were subsequently seen. The most regular observations were made at Carlton Marshes, Minsmere, Eastbridge, Orfordness, Havergate Island, Boyton Marshes, Shingle Street and Lakenheath Fen. One was reported as a road casualty on the A14 at the Haughley Bends, February 27th. LITTLE OWL Athene nottua Fairly common resident. Widely reported from around the county from a total of 56 localities (55 in 2002). However, while the Barn Owl is clearly most common in the north-east recording area, the majority of Little Owl reports came from the west. The split was north-east 16, south-east 11 and west 29. All the owl species can be elusive. The Little Owl is no exception and is very probably under-recorded. At North Warren/Aldringham Walks, five pairs bred and two, or possibly three, pairs were at Westleton - where the observer reported the species to be in decline. On Orfordness, one pair nested and reared at least two young, while at Landguard one pair bred successfully and there was probably a second pair. High counts were made of six at Nacton, May 31st and five at Seckford Hall, Martlesham, May 28th. A bird at Brettenham on August 11th was mobbed by House Martins. Finally, a rather grim report concerned a dead individual which had apparently been shot - following an organised game shoot at Cosford Hall, Kersey in November. TAWNY OWL Strix aluco Common resident. This owl is the most nocturnal of our resident species and is also clearly under-reported. Records came from a total of 43 localities (16 north-east, six south-east and 21 from the west). Breeding data were scant, with North Warren/Aldringham Walks recording nine territories (14 in 2002) and confirmed breeding at Oulton Broad, Dunwich Heath, Minsmere and Lineage Wood, Long Melford. There were four calling birds at Long Melford on January 31st and at least four territories within Pakenham village, which is well wooded. Sadly, there were a number of road casualties reported this year; from Brandon and Brent Eleigh and two at Whepstead. This may be explained partly by the owl's tendency to feed regularly on road kills - two separate individuals were seen feeding on dead rabbits on the road at Chadacre Park and Shimpling on November 30th.


Systematic List LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. During the first winter period, one bird showed particularly well at Shottisham in an ivy-clad hedge. Other reports came from Trimley Marshes (two in January), Levington and Thorington Street. A winter roost of four birds (three males) was found in scrub at Harleston, three kms. north-west of Stowmarket, February 9th. Possible spring passage birds were noted at Thorpeness, May 1st and over the Levels at Minsmere, May 7th, while a single was seen at Trimley Marshes at intervals through the spring and even as late as June 22nd. On Orfordness, a single was seen on eight dates between April 18th and July 28th, which raises the possibility of a breeding pair somewhere in that vicinity. Breeding was confirmed at one site in the east where a juvenile was heard calling on two dates. In Thetford Forest, fledged ; young were located at two sites in the Elveden block and at West Stow a juvenile was found drowned in a water butt on August 13th, which presumably indicates that breeding took place in the adjacent King's Forest. Autumn passage birds were noted in October at Southwold on 13th (south offshore), Landguard on 19th and Minsmere on 27th (in o f f the sea).

Long-eared Owl Su Gough

The highlight of the second winter period was the discovery of up to five of these beautiful owls at a roost in small oak trees in the reedbed at Holbrook Creek. They performed to all-comers from December 14th onwards into 2003. SHORT-EARED OWL Asio flammeus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Amber list. Birds were reported from 29 sites during the first three months of the year, mostly in the east of the county. This was a large increase on the same period last year (12 sites), due to good numbers of overwintering individuals lingering from last autumn. Favoured sites included Carlton Marshes, Minsmere, Shingle Street, Trimley Marshes and Levington Creek. In the west of the county, a peak of four birds was noted at Lakenheath Fen on February 5th and an individual hunting over set-a-side at Wordwell on January 19th is a noteworthy record. Sightings of spring passage birds came from 12 localities in April and May. The most frequent reports came from Orfordness, where birds lingered into June with one sighting on July 5th. Observations at this site suggested that a pair may have attempted to breed but were unsuccessful. The only other summer sighting involved a bird at King's Fleet, Falkenham, August 1 Ith. Autumn passage was poor with just three reported in September: at Minsmere on 27th, Orfordness on 27th and King's Fleet on 22nd. The six sightings in October came from Minsmere, Sizewell, North Warren, Orfordness, Trimley Marshes and Felixstowe Ferry. During the closing two months of the year, the species was reported infrequently, with just five birds noted in November at Corton on 3rd, Minsmere on 28th, North Warren on 27th, Orfordness on 4th and Levington Creek on 5th. The only December reports also came from Levington Creek, a single on 18th and two on 30th. EUROPEAN NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus Locally fairly common summer visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Red list. There were several early May reports, with the first "churring" male heard at Santon 107


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Downham on 4th. Other early May reports came from Minsmere (5th), North Warren/ Aldringham Walks (6th), Hollesley Common (9th) and West Stow (8th). Breeding data from the favoured sites were encouraging, with a marked increase noted at Minsmere. This was attributed to habitat improvement, "with areas clear-felled in the preceding winter proving popular" (RSPB). Walberswick/Dunwich Forest: 21 churring males (20 in 2002). Minsmere: 22 churring males (13 in 2002). Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Common and Walks. 12 churring males (same as 2002). The King's Forest: West Stow, 5-6 churring males in one large clearing. An unusual record involved one "churring" at Aldringham Walks in broad daylight at 10.00 hrs on June 17th. The final bird heard "churring" was at Dunwich Heath on August 9th and none were reported after that. COMMON SWIFT Apus apus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Six early birds at Oulton Broad on April lOth were the first of the year in the county. This record and the bird at Landguard on April 8th 2001, are the earliest in Suffolk since 1990 (March 2Ist, Minsmere). These were followed by a further 25 sightings by the month's end. Interestingly, most of these reports came from the west. High counts during the month included 100 at Lakenheath Washes, Aprii 27th and 400 at Trimley Marshes, Aprii 30th. Some sizeable flocks observed during May consisted of 500 at North Warren, May 4th; 500 at Lackford Lakes, May 14th and 400, at Botany Bay, Lakenheath, May 5th. Visible movement, probably caused by the weather, was witnessed at Landguard where 260 passed south. June 19th. Another probable weather-related movement was noted at Aldringham Common and Walks, where a minimum of 3000 flew south in the early evening of July 1 st. Breeding information was only provided from Pakenham, where at least 25 to 30 pairs were nesting in the roofs of older houses within the village. The usuai late July/early August mass departure was evident. At Long Melford, 220 were feeding low over fields by the R.Stour on July 26th and the locai birds departed during the first week of August. At Pakenham, the locai birds departed on the night of July 3 Ist in advance of bad weather which came in on August 1 st. Few were seen inland after this. There were six September sightings and the final two laggards flew south past Landguard on October 5th. ALPINE SWIFT Apus melba Very rare passage migrant. Probably the highlight of the spring was the long-staying Alpine Swift, which was seen in the Minsmere area for ten days. The sightings were as follows: Dunwich Heath: high in off the sea then south, Apr.27th (M.L.Cornish). Minsmere: Around the reserve daily Apr.27th until May 5th, favouring the Island Mere area and roosting nightly on the Sizewell A Nuclear Power Station (RSPB, many observers). Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Common and Walks, Apr.26th (D.Thurlow). This bird was a Suffolk 'tick' for many birders and one which so often passes over the county in just a flash. It is the 23rd county record. COMMON KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis Fairly common resident. Amber list. Records were received from 77 widespread sites across the county. The split was 23 from the north-east, 34 from the south-east and 20 from the west. This was an increase on the 108


Systematic List 54 sites reported in 2002 and a return to the numbers of two years ago, when reports came from 70 sites. There were only about six instances of confirmed or suspected breeding but undoubtedly many attempts would go un-noticed. Three juveniles were noted at Ufford in July. On Orfordness, one was recorded between January 5th and 26th, but no more were seen until one on August 30th; then eight were trapped and ringed between that date and September 20th. The WeBS recorders provided some of the highest counts of the year, with six on the Deben WeBS, January 5th and seven there on September 14th. During September, up to four birds were noted at Lackford - always a favoured locality. EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Mcrops apiaster Rare passage migrant. Dingle Marshes: Jul.28th, north over Sandymount Covert and Dingle Hills (D.J.Pearson) and

independently reported the same day (P.D.Green). There was also a report of a bird over the Minsmere Levels on July 27th and this would almost certainly have related to the same individual. HOOPOE Upupa epops Scarce passage migrant. Categories A and E. There were just two records this year, in contrast with the four sightings in 2002: Easton (nr.Wickham Market): around the Old Abbey, May 4th to 7th (P.D.). Brent Eleigh: in the observer's garden, Apr.25th (J.Brydson).

EURASIAN WRYNECK Jynx torquilla Uncommon passage migrant. Red list. There was one spring record this year, at Minsmere, April 27th (RSPB). During autumn passage there were reports from five sites, including three inland sightings from the west of the county: Minsmere: single reported on five dates between Sep. 14th and 24th (RSPB). Thorpeness: north of the Common, Sep. 14th and 15th (C.A.Holt, D.de Palacio). Brettenham: Aug.29th to 31st (D.and M.Carter). Thorpe Morieux: Sep.4th to 8th (D.and M.Carter). Woolpit: one feeding alongside a juvenile Green Woodpecker in observer's garden, Aug.20th to 25th (Mr and Mrs Wright).

GREEN WOODPECKER Picus viridis Common resident. Amber list. Recorded from 84 localities around the county. Twenty-three of these came from the south-east, with 28 reports from the north-east and 33 from the west. There were indications of breeding from 16 of these sites, but this is a very resident species and breeding probably took place at almost all of the 84 localities and doubtless many more. The North Warren reserve reported a phenomenal 31 territories (14 on North Warren and 17 on Aldringham Common and Walks), which gives some idea of how common this species Green Woodpecker Su Gough 109


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 can be on the light, sandy soils of the Sandlings and Breckland. There were eight pairs on Benacre NNR, six pairs on Walberswick NNR, six nests on the Dingle Marshes reserve and three pairs each on Dunwich Heath, the Sizewell SWT Estate and at Wolves Wood. Juveniles were seen at several places and one became a road casualty in Bull Lane, Long Melford. A family party of two adults and three juveniles depleted the editor's lawn at Pakenham of many thousands of ants throughout August. On Orfordness, two frequented the "village" in January and February and one remained until April 18th. There were seven autumn records of a single bird at Orfordness. Landguard noted a single on 12 dates between June 29th and August 22nd, with two, July 26th. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos major Common resident. Scarce passage migrant. This species is doing well in the county and was often reported as common. Reports came from 31 localities in the north-east and 27 in the west but just 12 in the south-east (70 in total). There was suspected or confirmed breeding at 16 of these sites. A sharp increase in breeding numbers was reported from North Warren and Aldringham Walks, where 24 pairs were found (16 in 2002). There were four nests at the Dingle Marshes, two pairs at Dunwich Heath and five pairs on the SWT Sizewell Estate. In the west there were three pairs each in Ramsey and Wolves Woods. Five birds were at Bradfield Woods on March 29th, where the observer noted that it was probably increasing at this site. The sole Orfordness record was on September 26th, but Landguard had birds in April (two on 5th and one on 25th) and a total of 18 singles in autumn between July 10th and November 13th. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos minor Uncommon resident. Red list. In contrast with the two larger woodpeckers, this species has been declining for a number of years and is now hard to find in the county. There was a total of 39 reports this year from 25 localities, split as 12 from the west, eight from the south-east and just five in the northeast, where it seems particularly scarce. Analysing the reports further, 30 came in the winter or spring up to April 30th and just nine between May 1 st and October 31 st - once the leaves are out on the trees this canopy loving species becomes even harder to find! The best time to look for it is on fine mornings in February and March, when it can sometimes be found calling and drumming on the topmost branches. A pair was displaying at Sotterley Park during March and at least two pairs were at Santon Downham throughout the spring. Another pair was at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, April 26th and two drumming birds were at Sudbury Common Lands in the spring. All other reports related to singletons. For the second successive year no territories were located at Minsmere, although one bird was seen there on March 9th. At Cosford Hall, one on a peanut feeder, December 28th, is the first site record for more than six years. GREATER SHORT- TOED LARK Calandrella brachydactyla Rare visitor. This bird takes the total records for Suffolk to 14. North Warren: beach, Sep. 18th (D.Thurlow, D.Gawin). 110


Systematic List WOOD LARK Lullula arborea Fairly common breeding species. Scarce on passage and in winter. Red list. January records included five at Sizewell on 6th, five in The King's Forest, 18th and seven at Aldringham Walks on the east side of Alexander's Wood on 2Ist, including a singing male. The only other singing birds for the month were recorded from Mayday Farm, where three were in song on 25th. The highest count for February was ten on 27th at Cavenham Heath NNR. For the fourth year running, the breeding populations in both the Sandlings and Breckland Wood Lark Su Gough have shown a decline. After continuous increases throughout the 1990s and a clear peak about 1999, numbers are now well down. In the Sandlings, the annual survey found 135 singing males/pairs, down from 192 singing males/pairs in 2002, a decline of almost 30%. In Breckland, Norfolk and Suffolk combined, a survey of Thetford Forest found a decline of about 10%, 325 singing males/ pairs, down from 361 singing males/pairs in 2002. The Suffolk decline here was quite small, down just three singing males/pairs to 153. The Breckland heaths were not surveyed in 2003 but also held a number of pairs. The rĂŠduction at Minsmere was greater than anywhere eise - just nine breeding pairs were located, down from 22 pairs in 2002. The

box illustrâtes the breeding figures for North Warren and Aldringham Walks and shows a 48% decline in the past three years. Corvids were thought to be one of the reasons for the decline at North Warren, with up to 210 counted on the Common on June 6th. A bird on passage was at Landguard, October 25th. Late records for the year involved one found with finches, FIELD NOTE November 1 Ith on An alarming feature of the breeding season in Breckland was Cavenham Heath and the high incidence of nest failures. Of the 65 nests found, 32 seven at Icklingham on (49%) were predated, the highest level recorded since surveys November 2Ist and the began in 1973. On the brighter side, however, a minimum of 101 last record of the year young was reared from the 33 successful nests, an average of was one in The King's 3.1 young per nest. Ron Hoblyn Forest, December 6th. SKY LARK Alauda arvensis Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Red list. No flocks exceeding 100 were reported during 2002, but early 2003 managed to produce two, with reports of 108 at Stowupland, January 14th, and 120 at Southwold, February Ist. At the end of the year, two more large flocks were recorded, namely 108 at Sizewell, November 17th and 100 at Carlton Marshes, December 27th. The Stowupland and Sizewell flocks were recorded during winter farmland bird counts; larger flocks could be out there but maybe they are not being located. At North Warren and Minsmere, breeding counts were down by 15 pairs and nine pairs respectively. The main reason for the decline at Aldringham Walks appears to be the increase in vegetable production. On the brighter side, at Sudbury Common beneficiai changes to sward resulted in an improvement to four pairs and at Undley, Lakenheath, 111


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Reported breeding pairs Dingle Marshes Dunwich Heath Minsmere Sizewell North Warren Orfordness Outney Common Lakenheath Fen Sudbury Common Kedington Pakenham (Puttock's Hill)

13 8 66 19 151 6 1 '' 5 4 1 4

set-aside in that area is now supporting a "healthy population". Orfordness had a good breeding season; eight broods of young were ringed, totalling 29 birds, including two broods of five. The passage at Landguard of 350 birds during October and November was 27% down on the 2002 count of 482. HORNED (SHORE) LARK Eremophila alpestris Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Six records involving 15 individuals, mostly from Orfordness. Minsmere: 0ct.20th.

Orfordness: Jan.4th; three, Apr.l8th to 21st; Apr.27th; eight, Nov.l4th to 15th and 26th. Cattawade: Stour Estuary, Oct. 14th.

SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first recorded arrivals were a single at Dunwich Heath and two at Lackford Lakes, March 19th. A further seven were recorded from Suffolk Water Park, March 24th and north Suffolk recorded its first arrivals on 29th. Numbers picked up during April, with birds being noted across the county and peak counts of 75 at Minsmere on 26th and 200 at Lackford Lakes on 19th. May produced the highest spring count with 300 over Lackford Lakes, May 2nd. Breeding records came from: Corton: 20 nest holes by old radar site. Benacre: 419 nest holes in the cliffs. Dunwich Heath: 400+ pairs in the cliffs. Minsmere: 112 active holes in the well-watched sandy cliff (121 in 2002). Bungay: Outney Common, two pairs. The first breeding record for this site.

Lingering birds were recorded at Covehithe, October 5th and at Lackford Lakes, where six were noted, October 8th. The last birds of the year were at Minsmere, a group of 20, October 9th. BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first report came from Lackford Lakes, March 22nd, just three days after the first Sand Martins, followed two days later by arrivals at Minsmere and East Lane Lagoons, Bawdsey; these are the only records for the month. The only notable count up to the end of April was 200 at Trimley Reserve, April 30th. Reported breeding was low, with the highest count from North Warren and Aldringham Walks with ten pairs. At West Stow Country Park, six pairs were recorded, with two being double brooded. Four pairs were at Orfordness and single reports came from Dingle Marshes, Boxford and Cosford Hall. From llketshall St Margaret and Leavenheath came reports of two nesting pairs and on Sudbury Common an observer reported three pairs nesting under Wardmans Bridge. At Pakenham, numbers remained low and there was little sign of a recovery in the local population. It had been proposed to commence a ÂŁ675,000 contract to reconstruct Mendham Bridge, across the River Waveney, in July. However, this was postponed for three weeks to allow a 112


Systematic List pair of Barn Swallows, nesting under the existing structure, to finish rearing their brood. Congratulations to whoever took the decision! (report in East Anglian Daily Times). Larger gatherings were noted from July onwards with the most notable being 100, July 30th and 300, August 27th, both at Trimley Marshes, a pre-roost total of 650 from Long Melford, September 3rd and 132 at Minsmere, October 9th. At Orfordness, a large roost was reported in the reed beds during August and September, with 111 being caught and ringed on September 2nd. Landguard's peak month for this species was September with a total count of 2562 and the highest one-day count was 448 on 15th. A total of 22 was recorded during November with the final bird of the year at Minsmere on 27th. RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Hirundo dauricci Rare visitor. This record takes the county total to 20, involving 22 individuals. On the 29th it appeared for just two minutes but it was seen again on 30th and on May 2nd it entertained in front of the Island Mere hide for an hour and a half in the evening. Minsmere: April 29th, presumed same April 30th and May 2nd (RSPB, R.Harvey et al). HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbicum Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. March this year produced three records; the first at Nunnery Lakes, Thetford on 26th. Three days later one was noted at Trimley and Lackford Lakes' first record came on 30th. The peak spring counts of 100 came from Trimley Marshes, April 25th and Lackford Lakes, May 14th. The only record of breeding came from North Warren and Aldringham Walks, where pairs had increased from 33 in 2002 to 57. The population jump is attributed to a large number of nests on Dower House. An observer in Sudbury commented that few birds seemed to be nesting in the town and another observer reported a pair nest-building in Kessingland on the side of a house but before it was finished the occupiers destroyed it (this is an illegal act and the perpetrators could be prosecuted - Editor). Autumn gatherings were reported across the county, with high counts of 200 at West Stow Country Park, August 1 st, 203 passing Landguard, September 9th, 300 at Lavenham, September 12th and 200 at Benacre, September 18th. At least 250 were observed over Orfordness, September 21st. The last report of the year was of two birds at Fressingfield, November 24th. RICHARD'S PIPIT Anthus novaeseelandiae Rare visitor Five reports involving four individuals at coastal sites. These four bring the county total to 51. Lowestoft: Sep.28th (B.J.Small), presumed same at Ness Point, Birds Eye compound, Sep.28th (J.A.Brown, R.Walden, D.F.Walsh). Kessingland: sewage works, Nov.9th (J.A.Brown). Southwold: Paddocks, Nov.9th (B.J.Small). Falkenham: King's Fleet, Apr.22nd (W.J.Brame), presumed same, Apr.24th (J.Zantboer). The above bird is the third county spring record. A large pipit moving south on November 13th (R.Cope, N.Gates, N.Odin) at Landguard was probably of this species. TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first of the year were two at Kessingland sewage works, March 29th and 30th. Piotrowski (2003) states that there are only seven March records, for Suffolk, with one at 113


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Walberswick on March 21 st 1968 the earliest. In the Breck, a pair was found in The King's Forest, April 8th and the next record on the coast was from Dunwich Heath, April 14th. Ten were reported from The King's Forest, April 23rd. In the Sandlings, there were just seven reports of breeding involving 17 pairs. Seven of these came from the Walberswick/Dunwich Forest area, four from Dunwich Heath, two from Dunwich Forest and another two from Westleton Heath. Single pairs were reported from Minsmere and Walberswick NNR. This is a sad decline for Minsmere, because as recently as four years ago there were 15 pairs. North Warren and Aldringham Walks had no singing males and the only bird found was feeding in dense Calluna on the edge of Alexander's Wood, May 3rd. In Breckland, the population still appears to be quite strong, with good numbers reported on territory and singing in Thetford Forest, The King's Forest and at Elveden. Unlike last year, the autumn passage was light, with single reports coming from Woodbridge, August 12th, Minsmere, August 23rd and two at Shingle Street, August 31st. There were reports from Landguard of eight between August 23rd and September 11th and the last of the year was at Covehithe, September 14th. MEADOW PIPIT Anthuspratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. There were widespread reports in the first quarter, but numbers were generally low, with 50 at Minsmere, January 11th, 40 at North Warren, March 23rd and 51 at Long Melford, March 2nd being the largest flocks found. It was a "very good breeding season" at Orfordness, where 22 broods were located and a total of 93 pulii was ringed. Most of the first broods had four young, whilst most of the second broods had five. Breeding was also reported from four other sites; Dunwich Heath (14 pairs), North Warren (12 pairs on the grazing marshes), Landguard (nine pairs) and inland at Haverhill Floodpark (three pairs). The latter part of the year was much better, with 500 passage migrants over Aldringham Walks on September 21st and on the same date 500 were noted at Ness Point, Lowestoft. In the north of the county, another large gathering, of 230, was recorded at Covehithe, September 25th. At Orfordness, this pipit was the most frequently-ringed species in 2003, with a year-total of 867, including 557 during September when passage was at its height. RED-THROATED PIPIT Anthus cervinus Very rare visitor 2001 Addition Minsmere: Oct. 14th 2001 (C.Dunn). Only the fourth Suffolk record and seen by only one observer. The previous records were in 1982, 1992 and 2000 and all four have been brief. ROCK PIPIT Anthuspetrosus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. The first winter period produced a count of 26 at Orfordness, January 12th and during the winter months this pipit was a regular at this location with a further record of 12, February 27th. There were 19 on the Deben Estuary, January 5th, 12 at Havergate also on 5th and five lingering at both Ness Point, Lowestoft until March 29th and at King's Fleet until April 22nd. The last observation for the spring period was of an individual at Landguard, April 24th. Reports were received from nine coastal sites during the latter part of the year, with only 114


Systematic List two notable counts; ten at Orfordness during November and six at Havergate Island, November 27th. Three at the Hen Reedbeds, October 16th, were a little further from the sea than is usually the case with this species. Landguard recorded a total of 23 moving south during the period September 28th to November 16th. Two were recorded at Ness Point, Lowestoft, throughout December. WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. At Minsmere, there were reports of one or two throughout the first three months of the year, with four, January 11th and five, March 26th and 27th. On the latter date, one was noted as coming into summer plumage. In April, there was a single at Minsmere up to 8th, then five on 13th. Inland, up to four were seen at Lakenheath Fen and Washes during February and March, with two there on April 13th. A bird discovered at Landguard, April 17th, is only the second record for this well-watched site, the first being 25 years earlier. The final report of the spring was from King's Fleet, April 23rd. The first report of a returning bird came from Southwold on September 26th and then another was at Minsmere on 29th. These are the county's first-ever September records; however, one was at Minsmere on August 27th 1989. Mostly singles were reported from coastal sites during October and November, but between one and three were watched at Covehithe Broad from November 6th to 16th, seven were at Minsmere, November 27th and four at Sizewell, December 9th. YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava flavissima Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first of the year was one at Livermere Lake on March 27th, followed by two at Benacre Broad on 29th, the same day that two Tree Pipits arrived at Kessingland. A lone bird was on Dunwich Heath on April 1 st, then single-figure counts were reported up to April 15th, when 20 were on Boyton Marshes. Thirty were reported on Southwold Town marshes April 27th and 44 at North Warren, May 10th. A male, showing the features of Syke's Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava beema, was seen at Kessingland sewage works, April 20th (J.A.Brown). This race breeds on the N.Kirghiz steppes. Piotrowski (2003) states that "despite the distinctive plumage characteristics, records of Syke's types almost certainly relate to hybrids between M.f.flava x flavissima ". There were no definite reports of breeding, although on Orfordness up to three were seen on the airfields in June and one was watched carrying food on 10th. At Bures a juvenile was seen in a sugar beet field with an adult, August 14th. Autumn passage was up on 2002, with Sudbury Common reporting a good autumn passage over eight weeks, with feeding flocks of up to 50 birds; up to 50 were also reported on Dingle Marshes, feeding with cattle throughout August. The largest gathering of the year was 75 at North Warren, September 2nd, also feeding with cattle. Twenty were reported at Felixstowe Ferry, August 24th and 27 at the Hen Reedbeds, September 5th. Landguard logged a total of only 49 south between July 5th and October 3rd, with a peak of six south, August 30th. There were three late departing individuals; one lingering at Corton until October 13th, another at Thorpeness, October 18th and an exceptionally late bird was on Orfordness, November 16th. There are six previous November records of flavissima in Suffolk, but they are all early in the month, so this becomes the latest-ever record of this race. There is also a mid-winter record of a bird at Holbrook Bay Sewage Farm from December 27th 1986 to January 4th 1987. 115


Suffolk Birci Report

2003

Blue-headed Wagtail M.f. flava Only six reports were received for the nominate, continental race of the Yellow Wagtail. Kessingland: sewage works, Apr.21st. Southwold: Town Marshes, three Apr.27th and one, Apr.29th. Orl'ordness: airfield, two, May 26th. Felixstowe Ferry: Sep.l 1th.

Falkenham: Kings Fleet, May 15th. Grey-headed Wagtail M.f. thunbergi 2002 correction Felixstowe: Ferry, Sep.9th to 11th. The finder of this bird was M.Ferris. Spanish Wagtail M.f.iberiae Accidental. 1998 addition North Warren: Apr.25th (B.J.Small). The first record for Suffolk of this race of Yellow Wagtail, which breeds in the Iberian peninsular. GREY WAGTAIL Motaeilla cinerea Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Widely reported in small numbers. The majority of the reports were of single birds and many of the remainder were of pairs. As with Pied Wagtail, sewage farms are a favoured haunt of this species and Long Melford sewage works provided the peak counts in 2003, with four in March and April and again on December 6th. Possible or confirmed breeding was reported from a total of 27 localities. Only two of these were in the north-east area and five were in the south-east. In central Suffolk, a minimum of four pairs was located in the Gipping Valley. At least 20 pairs were in the west, well scattered and largely along the river valleys of the upper Stour, Linnet, Lark, Blackbourne and Little Ouse. Of especial note was the breeding of a record four pairs in the Sudbury Common Lands area. Many of the coastal records were reports of ones and twos flying south down the coast in September and October. Minsmere logged six south between October 2nd and 28th and three were trapped and ringed at Dunwich in the same period. Landguard reported totals of 49 south, two north and four singles on site between September 6th and November 24th, with a maximum of five south, October 8th. PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba yarrellii Very common resident, passage migrant and winter and summer visitor. Widespread throughout the county, although reports of breeding only came from ten sites. The highest figure was ten pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks, which is slightly up on last year. At West Stow Country Park, a pair nested in the thatched roof of one of the re-constructed Anglo-Saxon houses. Notable gatherings in the first winter period were: Kessingland: sewage works, 30, Feb.22nd. Fressingfield: 87, Mar. 1st.

Mendlesham: 80, Mar.4th. Needham Market: sewage works, 100, Feb.2nd. Lackford Lakes: 88, Mar.31st.

Sudbury: pre-roost gathering of 300, Feb. 17th. 116


Systematic List Glemsford: Jan. 16th.

sewage

works,

80,

Long Melford: sewage works, 53, Jan. 31st.

This species' liking for sewage works during the winter months is clearly evident once again. The highest counts received during the second half of the year came from: Orfordness: 40, Aug.3rd.

FIELD N O T E

A pair reared two broods from a nest in the small back yard/garden of the Olivia Benn fashion shop on Angel Hilt, in the centre of Bury St Edmunds. The nest was on the ground. Five young from the first brood fledged in early June and by 14th the female was sitting on a fresh clutch of four eggs. Three more young fledged in mid-July. Perhaps the reason for the successful nest was that no cats had access to the garden, which is surrounded by high walls. Carole Hurrell

Felixstowe Ferry: 40, Sep. 16th. North Warren: 80 at a reedbed roost, Nov.7th. Stowmarket: up to 730 roosting in a shrubbery by the Teseo supermarket during October. Long Melford: sewage works, 37, Oct.8th and up to 106 during December.

Kedington: 30, Oct.l9th.

White Wagtail M. a. alba In March, a total of 26 birds was reported from ten sites. Kessingland sewage works was the prime site, with the first on March 8th, then twos and threes noted on four dates and a maximum of four on March 16th. During April, 22 birds were reported from six sites, with Landguard and again Kessingland sewage works the prime locations. A single May record came from Boyton Marshes on 5th. On return passage, records were confined to September, with 12 observations from three sites, all coastal. The first was at Landguard on 3rd and the last at Shingle Street on 26th. BOHEMIAN WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. There was an influx during January and flocks were then widely distributed throughout the county, with the largest numbers noted in Ipswich, where up to 113 were seen around the Asda supermarket. Notable flocks in the first winter period came from: Lowestoft: 32, Jan.22nd. Dunwlch Heath: 19 flying west, Jan.12th. Ipswich: PC World, 16, J a n . l 8 t h ; A s d a supermarket, 113, F e b . l 9 t h ; Bucklesham Road, 27, Feb.26th.

Sudbourne Marshes: ten, Jan. 18th. Melton: ten, Mar. 19th. Kirton Lodge: 17, Jan. 13th. Thetford: 54, Mar. 10th to 14th. Barton Mills: A l 1 Fiveways roundabout, up to 15, January 26th to M a r c h 1st.

KettsWalk: 15, Jan. 18th. Haverhill: up to 13. Jan.4th to M a r . l s t .

The last of the spring were 26 in Thetford, April 11th and the first returning birds were singles seen on October 24th at Corton and in St Edmund's churchyard, Southwold. Flocks then became quite widespread again and the most notable were: Voxford: 16, Dec. 13th Thorpeness: 16, Nov.2nd. Ipswich: Heath Road, 50, Dec.25th. Wherstead: 17, Dec.30th Martlesham Heath: 12, Nov.26th. Shottisham: 43, Nov.28th and 60, Nov.30th. Great Livermere: 20, Nov.26th. 117


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 WINTER WREN Troglodytes troglodytes Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. This species maintained its high numbers, with most reports coming from nature reserves. North Warren and Aldringham Walks recorded a total of 350 breeding pairs, with 214 on North Warren, 105 on Aldringham Walks and a further 31 pairs off the reserves. Even out on the bare shingle at Orfordness, small numbers were present wherever suitable habitat existed; two pairs nested and during the year a total of 53 was ringed,. Further breeding records came from Bungay (16 territories), Dunwich Heath (53 territories), Ilketshall St Margaret (four territories) and Outney Common (six territories), and at Sizewell 132 territories were located on the estate. Lackford Lakes CES had a quiet season, with only seven adults and five juveniles ringed, compared with nine and 17 in 2002. At Landguard, autumn passage was noted from September 25th to November 7th, with a peak of ten on November 6th. At least six birds remained on the site during December. HEDGE ACCENTOR (DUNNOCK) Prunella /nodularis Very common resident and passage migrant. Amber list At Lackford Lakes, breeding productivity, as measured by the Constant Effort Site (CES) ringing, was the poorest since 1998, with only 17 adults and 15 juveniles trapped (20 and 27 respectively in 2002). On Orfordness, small numbers were reported in the village near the World Service building; the highest count was six on March 16th and two or three nesting pairs were recorded. Wolves Wood had 12 singing males between April and July and at Ramsey Wood during the same period, three pairs were noted. Breeding records came from a further four sites, with the highest total, of 266 pairs, coming from the North Warren and Aldringham Walks reserves. At Pakenham, two village garden nests were parasitized, probably by the same female Common Cuckoo (see field note under Common Cuckoo). Hedge Accentors at North Warren/Aldringham Walks/ River Hundred (breeding pairs) 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

229

300

264

265

236

266

A bird at Dunwich Heath on March 30th was considered by the observer to be possibly of the continental race P.m. modularis. At Landguard, many dispersing juveniles turned up on site from June onwards and later a total of 19 flew south between September 24th and October 11th. EUROPEAN ROBIN Erithacus rubecula Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Up to six European Robins spent the winter out on the shingle of Orfordness, while Landguard reported that ten birds successfully over-wintered. Ten singing males were noted at Weybread GP on January 27th. A light spring passage was recorded from Landguard between February 28th and May 1st, with a maximum of 12, April 15th. North Warren and Aldringham Walks maintained their high breeding numbers of recent years, as shown in the table. 1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

229

297

285

356

380

372

There were reports of a further 84 territories at the Sizewell Estate, 19 on Dunwich 118


Systematic List Heath and 18 in Bungay. However, the CES ringing survey at Lackford Lakes had a "poor season", with only nine juveniles trapped, compared with 28 in 2002. Coastal passage was clearly evident on October 18th, when 50 were noted at Thorpeness Common and Orfordness recorded its autumn peak of 15. At Landguard passage was logged from August 16th October 2nd and 3rd.

FIELD N O T E

At Flixton a European Robin was seen attacking its own reflection in a car mirror over a period of several weeks. Sadly, on January 27th it was found dead beside the car. C.Ayres to November 16th, with a maximum of 25,

COMMON NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. Amber list. The first sighting was reported from Minsmere on April 10th, a full week later than in 2002. This was followed by birds at Alton Water and Pinmill on 15th and the first in the west at Barnhamcross Common and The King's Forest on 16th. By the third week of April, most of the regular sites were recording singing birds in ones and twos. The number of sites in 2003 reporting Common Nightingales (41), was well up on the 25 sites from which reports came in 2002, but there was no indication of an overall rise in the population. A total of about 144 singing males/territories was reported and the major sites were: Benacre: ten territories. Walberswick N N R : 21 territories. Walberswick/Dunwich Forest: 43 territories. North Warren and Aldringham Walks: 41 territories. Hadleigh Railway Walk: nine singing males. Wolves Wood: four singing males. Long Melford: three singing males. Lackford Lakes: seven singing males.

It was the best-ever season for the Lackford Lakes CES survey, with a total of eight adults and two recently-fledged juveniles trapped during May, June and July. Breeding figures from Minsmere suggest that their population has been fairly stable over the past six

1998 28

Common Nightingales at Minsmere Singing Males 1999 2000 2001 2002 29 23 33 22

2003 23

Elsewhere, confirmed breeding was sparse but a pair was seen carrying food at Rampart's Field, June 9th. Late singing males were recorded from Aldringham Walks, two, June 17th, Wolves Wood up to July and Lackford, July 11th. Nightingles are scarce on passage in Suffolk, so one in the sand dunes at Sizewell, August 8th is notable. Other passage birds came from Orfordness, August 15th and Landguard, where singles were noted August 12th, 13th and 20th. A very late individual was trapped on Orfordness, October 24th. BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus ochruros Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. Amber list.. The only winter report came from Lowestoft on January 15th, when a male was seen feeding in a builder's yard in Stanley Street. Another male, seen on the Kessingland sea wall, February 27th, may have been an early spring migrant. However, the lack of winter 119


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 records was soon compensated by a good spring passage in the northern coastal belt. All March records are listed: Corton: male, Mar. 14th. Carlton Colville: Mar.8th. Lowestoft: up to three, Mar. 17th and Mar. 18th; two, Mar.29th. Kessingland: male on the sea wall, Feb.27th and Mar.3rd, also on allotments Mar. 18th. Walberswick: female in observer's garden, Mar. 1st. Dunwich Heath: female, Mar.29th to 31st. Minsmere: pair, Mar.5th, then one or two most days up to Mar.31st. Sizewell: Mar. 1st. North Warren: male singing, Haven House, Mar.22nd to Mar 26th. Orfordness: Mar.23rd and 30th. Bawdsey: Mar.25th. Landguard: from Mar.20th, with maximum of three, Mar.27th and 29th.

April saw Orfordness records on four dates with a maximum of two, April 20th. Landguard also recorded birds on four days in April and three in May. Other singletons were seen at: Lowestoft Oval: female, Apr.29th. Dunwich Heath: female, Apr.20th. Minsmere: female, Apr.4th, Apr.22nd and May 19th. Aldringham: Apr.l 1th and May 5th. Inland, a first summer male was seen at Lackford, April 22nd, with a female reported from Santon Downham, April 17th. Breeding was confirmed only from Sizewell, where one or more pairs bred successfully. Juveniles were seen at Landguard, July 19th and 20th and August 10th, but their origin is uncertain. Autumn passage was very light this year and was mainly seen at Orfordness (three, October 21st and one, November 2nd) and Landguard (October 15th to November 6th, with a maximum of two, October 16th). C O M M O N REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus Uncommon summer visitor and common passage migrant. Amber list. The first record of a light spring passage came from Thorpeness, April 14th, followed by reports fromTangham Forest on 15th, Minsmere on 16th, Carlton Marsh on 21st, Elveden on 24th and Orfordness on 25th, all involving singles. Landguard B.O. logged singles on eight dates between April 15th and May 23rd. Singing males were reported from Walberswick, Minsmere (five), Staverton Park, Elveden and Lakenheath Warren. At three of these sites breeding was confirmed. The total of nine territories is lower than 2002, when 15 territories were located and shows this species is still declining in Suffolk. Autumn passage was apparent from about August 8th, when one was at Felixstowe Ferry, followed by singles in the next six days at Southwold, Dunwich Heath, Westleton Common and Shingle Street. Two were at Gunton, August 25th. More were seen in the first week of September, with records coming from eight coastal sites, with maxima of two at Minsmere September 4th, three at Orfordness, September 2nd and four at Landguard, also on 2nd. There were scattered records for the rest of September and seven singles in October, with the final birds at Minsmere on 23rd, Corton on 24th and Thorpeness on 25th. WHINCHAT Saxicola rubetra Common passage migrant and uncommon summer visitor. Amber list. Landguard reported the first three on the rather early date of April 10th, the earliest since one at Westleton on the same date in 1995. The next was a single at Minsmere, April 17th 120


Systematic List and a fairly light spring passage ensued, with a further ten singles at nine coastal sites up to May 26th. Birds were recorded in Breckland from April 20th. At least four pairs are known to have nested and at least one of these, at Elveden, fledged young. Nonetheless, this species continues to teeter on the edge of extinction as a Suffolk breeding bird. Autumn passage was in evidence from the first week of August and was much stronger than in the spring. On Orfordness, birds were recorded throughout August and September, with peaks of 17, August 28th and 20, September 6th. A total of 55 was trapped and ringed during this period. Other counts of five or above came from: Lowestoft: Gunton, five, Aug.28th. Southwold: six, Aug. 12th. Westleton Heath: six, Aug.31st. North Warren: six, Aug.27th; five, Sep.9th. Boyton Marshes: eight, Aug.31st; ten, Sep. 4th; eight, Sep.7th and 9th. Shingle Street: five, Sep. 15th. Felixstowe Ferry: five, Sep. 1st. Inland, migrants were reported from Long Melford, August 24th and Boxford, August 31 st, with two at Glemsford in September. Another at Glemsford, October 4th, was quite late for an inland record. A further seven were seen on the coast in October, with the last on Orfordness on 25th. STONECHAT SaxĂ­cola torquata Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list.. Widely reported from 12 sites along the coastal belt during the first winter period, with peak counts from Boyton Marshes, three, January 2nd; Sutton Common, six, March 8th; River Deben WeBS count, nine, January 5th and Trimley Marshes, three, January 26th. Reports from the west came from Elveden, three, February 24th, Haverhill, one, February 1st, Weather Heath, two, January 27th and Lakenheath Fen, four, January 24th. Migration was in evidence at Great Livermere, with an immature male, March 9th and an adult male, March 21st. After the population crash in the 1980s, 1988 saw a total of just 13 to 15 pairs nesting in Suffolk. Since then there has been a continuous, upward trend and 2003 saw the number of breeding pairs increase to about 65 (from 46 in 2002), representing a 30% improvement. This may well be an under-estimate of the true figure, especially in the Breck, where heathland re-creation areas have proved attractive. They are also now breeding in clearfell areas in Thetford Forest and The King's Forest. On the debit side, Aldringham Walks reported no breeding pairs for the first time for "a number of years". High numbers of territorial males/breeding pairs were reported from Benacre Broad NNR (four), Dunwich Heath (14), Minsmere (19), Sizewell Estate (three), Berner's Heath (seven) and Thetford Forest (14 in total - eight in Norfolk and six in Suffolk). Post breeding gatherings of note came from: Lowestoft: Gunton, five, Aug.25th. Southwold: six, Aug. 12th. Westleton Heath: ten, Aug. 13th; six, Aug.31st. Minsmere: 12, Sep.1st. In central Suffolk, at Debenham, one was present on farmland, October 5th. During the second winter period, 11 sites, mainly coastal, reported wintering birds. At least six were present on Orfordness during November and December and eight were on Trimley Marshes, November 18th. Inland reports came from Weather Heath with two, October 18th and Pakenham Fen, a pair, November 11th. 121


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Siberian Stonechat Very rare visitor.

S.t.maura/stejnegeri

Thorpeness: first-winter female, Sep. 14th (C.A.Holt, D.de Palacio et al).

The 9th record of maura/stejnegeri for Suffolk and the earliest by some two weeks. The first eight records all occurred in the period from 29th September to 26th October and between 1977 and 1991. One of the eastern race variegata was at Landguard, September 11th 1993. NORTHERN WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe Common passage migrant. Uncommon summer visitor. The Breck once again provided the first sighting of the spring at Cavenham Heath NNR, with a male on March 8th, the earliest since 1997. By March 16th, there were five present at this site. The first record from the coastal belt was from Minsmere, March 17th and then small numbers were widely seen through into late May, with maximum counts from Lowestoft, six, April 27th, Minsmere, six, April 30th, Orfordness, six, April 27th and Landguard, 12, April 26th and eight, May 4th. A run of surprisingly late spring records was noted in the coastal belt from Lake Lothing, female, June 5th and 6th; Covehithe, male, June 12th; Southwold, May 26th; Minsmere June 4th andTrimley Marshes, May 26th. The recent barren years for breeding records in the coastal belt came to an end, with three pairs nesting on Orfordness. Breckland held possibly up to five pairs, although breeding was only confirmed at one site, where two juveniles were seen. Ten at Orfordness, August 9th and ten at Shingle Street on August 10th Wheatear P e f haps refer to the local successful breeding birds. Autumn movement was Su Gough m o s t evident from the last week of August through to mid-September, when peak counts came from: Lowestoft: Gunton, six,Aug.25th; Ness Point, seven, Aug.28th. Minsmere: six, Aug.30th. Orfordness: seven, Aug.24th; eight, Aug.25th and 12, Sep.รณth. Shingle Street: nine, Aug.31st. Felixstowe Ferry: six, Aug.29th; 21, Sep.8th; eight, Sep. 15th and 11 Sep. 16th. Landguard: 12, Aug.25th and seven, Sep.7th.

The rest of September fizzled out to just a few coastal reports, while inland the last record came from Foxhole Heath, September 20th. A total of nine was reported from eight coastal sites during October and the last record came from Shingle Street on the late date of November 5th. RING OUZEL Turdus torquatus Fairly common passage migrant. Red list. There was an excellent spring passage, widely reported from the coastal belt, with the first coming from the unlikely staging post of Bentley Riding Stables on March 6th (R.Smith). This is the earliest-ever recorded in Suffolk and the next report, from Landguard, March 11th, also beats the previous record (Icklingham, March 14th 1976). During the third week of April, a major influx was seen and overall, spring reports refer to some 30 individuals from more than 20 sites. Multiple sightings are listed: Belton Marsh: two, Apr.22nd.

Benacre: two, Apr.20th and 21st. Kessingland Levels: two, Apr.23rd.

122


Systematic List Westleton Heath: six, Apr.24th; five, Apr.25th. Minsmere: six Apr. 17th; six, Apr.24th; five, Apr.25th and 26th. Holbrook Creek: three, Apr.20th. Bungay: Outney Common, two, Apr.21st. Inland records came from Foxhole Heath, April 13th, Cavenham Heath, pair, April 26th and 27th and Lakenheath Washes, April 18th and 21st. The final spring record came from Minsmere, with a female on May 21st. Autumn passage was very weak and consisted of just nine individuals at six coastal sites between September 28th (Landguard, two) and October 17th (Breydon). In addition, the last record of the year was reported from Old Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin, on the late date of November 16th. This is the fourth November record in the last six years. COMMON BLACKBIRD Turdus merula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant.. An early bird was in song at Oulton Broad, January 2nd but generally this ubiquitous species is much under-recorded, particularly outside of the well-known sites. During the first winter period, gatherings were reported of 22 at Ilketshall St. Margaret, January 14th; 60 in orchards at Holton, January 9th; 14 at Sizewell, February 17th and 16 in a Brettenham garden, February 2nd. Landguard reported spring migration from February 24th to May 16th, with a maximum of 25, March 26th. A pair was seen nest building in Thetford on the early date of February 17th. Lackford Lakes CES reported that almost 100% of early nesters failed due to the hot and dry weather. However, later broods fared much better. Localities reporting 20 or more territories/pairs were Bungay (25), Sizewell SWT Estate (37), Aldringham Walks (124), North Warren (73), Wolves Wood (20) and Bradfield Woods (26). Late autumn saw an influx during the latter part of October into the second week of November, with peak counts of 200 at Gunton, October 23rd; 25 at Orfordness, October 14th and 70, November 1st and 25 at Landguard, October 26th and 40, November 8th. FIELDFARE Tardus pilaris Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list An excellent start to the year considering that the tail end of 2002 was so poor for this species. Flocks of 250 or more were reported from: Flixton: 250, Mar.9th. Holton: 2000 in orchards, Jan. 1st. Fressingfield: 850, Jan.20th. Sudbourne: Lantern Marshes, 406, Jan.5th. Sutton Heath: 300, Jan.llth. Stonham Aspal: 2000 feeding on apples, Feb. 1 st. Croton: 300, Mar.3rd. Cavenham Heath: 250, Feb.27th Widely reported in April with peak counts of 200 at Thelnetham on 1st; 110 at Elveden on 9th and 120 at Beccles on 20th. Last recorded inland at Tuddenham Heath, April 29th, but a lost and lonely individual was present at Landguard from May 17th to June 1 st, when it was last seen in Adastral Close; this is the first June record in Suffolk since 1976. The first returning autumn bird was recorded at West Stow CP, where one was seen with Redwings, September 30th. The influx was light at first, with Landguard noting passage on October 7th and five at Cavenham, October 14th. The last third of October saw a significant increase in passage, with peak counts of 150 at Aldringham, October 20th; 70 at Landguard and 90 at West Stow, October 24th and 350 at Brettenham, October 26th. 123


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Late in the year, the highest counts were 500 at Brettenham, November 29th; 240 at Long Melford, December 12th; 130 at Euston Park, December 28th and 400 at Polstead, December 29th. SONG THRUSH Turdus philomelos Common but declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. During the first winter period, the only gatherings of note were from Long Melford, where seven were seen feeding on a cricket pitch, January 5th and Lakenheath Fen, where more than 20 were reported during January. Spring migration was noted at Orfordness from April 1 st to 25th, with a maximum of four, April 18th. Landguard fared a little better, with passage logged from February 17th to May 7th, with a maximum of five, April 15th and 25th. Once again breeding territories were widely reported in the county and although still a red data species, the numbers breeding in Suffolk appear to be increasing again. In Thetford Forest, Song Thrushes were reported as "common in the thicket stage pine crops" and it would be very useful to quantify this population. The Sizewell SWT Estate recorded a remarkable increase from three territories in 2002 to 37 this year. Other sites reporting territories or pairs were Dingle Marshes (five), Bungay (five), Minsmere (six), Aldringham Walks (19), North Warren (nine), Wolves Wood (11) and Bradfield Woods (11). Confirmed breeding is often a different matter and reports of fledglings are still recorded in very low numbers compared with the number of territories. However, the Lackford Lakes CES survey trapped a total of 12 juveniles, the best return in their 12 years of operation. At Landguard "at least seven dispersing juveniles turned up between May 24th and July 10th". Autumn passage generally coincided with other thrush movements. Orfordness recorded passage between September 27th and November 29th with peak counts of 12, September 28th, 50, October 5th and ten, October 10th. Landguard noted movement between September 30th and November 29th, with a maximum of 16, October 2nd and 20 were on Thorpeness Common, October 18th. Three or four over-wintered on Orfordness. REDWING Turdus Hiatus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The largest flocks reported in the first winter period were 200 at Levington Creek, January 1st; 185 at Kersey, January 5th; 160 at Redgrave and Lopham Fen, January 9th; 247 at Long Melford Churchyard, January 18th and 224 at Lakenheath Fen, January 1 st. There was clearly movement during March and early April when the main reports came from: Dunwich Heath: 300 moving west, Mar.23rd. Ipswich: Millennium Cemetery, 250, Mar.3rd.

Cavenham Heath NNR: 150, Mar.รณth. Santon Downham: 200, Mar.28th and 300, Apr.4th.

West Stow: 100,Apr.3rd. Smaller groups were widely reported in early to mid April and a flock of 140 was noted at Minsmere as late as April 21st but the final reports of the spring came on April 26th, when three were on Cavenham Heath and a single at Dunwich. The first returning birds of the autumn were reported on September 29th, with four at Minsmere and a single at West Stow. There was then a marked arrival during the first week of October, with peak counts of 28 at Aldeburgh on 5th, 63 at Orfordness on 5th, 33 at Euston on 5th, 50 at Corton on 8th, 60 at Landguard on 12th and 60 at the Ipswich Millennium Cemetery on 12th. Landguard recorded migration from October 2nd to December 6th. 124


Systematic List A second influx was seen during late October and early November, with peak counts of 100 at Trimley Marshes, October 26th, 120 at Orfordness, November 1st and 80 at Landguard, November 5th. As the year came to a close, the only report of note came from Euston Park, where 240 were present, December 28th. MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list.. There were few reports early in the year, with eight at North Warren, January 19th, being the largest flock. Two visited Landguard, February 1 st and 2nd and on Orfordness, where they are rarely seen, two were present from April 18th to 29th and singles on May 4th and 18th. A single chick fledged from a nest in the top of a large hawthorn in a Pakenham garden as early as April 14th. Four nests were reported from the Dingle Marshes reserve and three territories at the Sizewell Estate reserve. The total of 27 territories at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex is noteworthy. On Orfordness, one was seen collecting food. May 18th and then flying back across the river to Orford village, where, presumably, it was nesting. Post-breeding flocks were widely reported and the highest counts came from: Flixton: 20, Aug.20th. Aldringham Walks: ten, Jun,17th. North Warren: 30, Jun.24th. Barking: Pipps Ford, 55, Aug.31st. FIELD N O T E A Mistle Thrush at Cavenham on March Brettenham: 14, Aug.lOth. 23rd had two lucky escapes within Cavenham Heath: 25, Aug.8th. Autumn passage saw a single at Land- seconds. After narrowly avoiding a guard, September 4th and then a total of 12 Common Kestrel while feeding on the recorded there between October 4th and ground, it flew up into a tree, where it was November 8th. Late in the year, flocks were almost snatched by a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk. noted from Hunston, 27 on November 30th Chris Gregory and Euston Park, 11 on December 28th. CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. 2003 saw another welcome upsurge in numbers of this species, no doubt helped by relatively kind winter weather. Birds were reported from 24 widespread sites along the coastal strip and two in the west of the county. Very few were reported during the first two months of the year (eight at Minsmere, January 1st and six there, January 22nd being the exception), but numbers soon picked up from March onwards, when birds became much more vocal. During the breeding season, singing birds were reported from 22 sites, although breeding was only confirmed at a few of these. The main sites are listed. Lowestoft area: Carlton Marshes, f i v e birds, Apr.23rd; Castle M a r s h , two territories, Jun.30th; Fisher Row, four singing males, Apr.21st; Oulton Broad, singing male, Apr. 16th to M a y 30th and Oulton Marshes, f o u r singing males, Mar.25th.

Benacre: two pairs. W a l b e r s w i c k / D u n w i c h Forest: f o u r territories (three within the N N R ) . Dunwich: D o w r a ' s Ditch, two singing males, M a y 11th; D u n w i c h Heath, pair seen feeding y o u n g at a nest in a small honeysuckle. Minsmere: an impressive 20 singing m a l e s and 31 f e m a l e s with ca. 160 young f l e d g e d (six m a l e s and nine f e m a l e s in 2002). Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell S W T Estate, f o u r territories ( s a m e as 2002). A l d r i n g h a m - c u m - T h o r p e / A l d e b u r g h : N o r t h Warren, a singing m a l e f r o m Apr. 1st to early June is

125


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 only the third reserve record in over 15 years. Although breeding was not proven, it was thought very likely to have occurred.

Although the species is normally considered to be mainly sedentary, the degree of postbreeding dispersal was clearly demonstrated at Dingle, where 20 birds were trapped and ringed between September 8th and November 9th. All but two of these were first-winters and 16 of the 20 were females. The numbers trapped and ringed at Dingle illustrate the recent upsurge in the population. One was caught in each year from 1998 to 2000, five in 2001, seven in 2002 and then 20 in 2003. As stated above, two sites in West Suffolk reported birds, the first in the vice county since singles at Haverhill and Market Weston in 1988. One was found in a reedy ditch at Lakenheath Fen on January 1 st (a good New Years Day find) and one was present in a reedbed at Lackford Lakes, June 28th and what was assumed to be the same bird, August 2nd - the first reserve records. COMMON GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella naevia Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. A bird at Minsmere on April 9th was the first of the year and well ahead of the next, which was at West Stow Country Park on 17th. These two were followed by reports from a further ten widespread sites before the end of that month. The number of territorial males located during May and June was slightly down on last year, with 28 birds found at 11 sites (30 at ten sites in 2002). There was a considerable decrease in numbers at Minsmere, where only four territories were found, compared with nine in 2002. Elsewhere, most other sites held fairly stable populations, with five territories at Walberswick/Dunwich Forest (same as 2002), seven at Dingle Marshes and three at North Warren (four in 2002). Three pairs were found at Benacre, whilst single singing birds were present at Beccles, Dunwich, Trimley Marshes, Lakenheath Fen, Market Weston Fen (two in 2002) and Lackford Lakes. Later reports came from Minsmere (where one was heard 'reeling' on August 2nd), Orfordness (trapped and ringed, August 18th) and Market Weston Fen (trapped and ringed, August 23rd). An excellent run of 19 birds was trapped and ringed at Dingle between August 7th and September 11th, all of which were juveniles. [For the fifth successive year there were no sightings of Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides in Suffolk, where the last report was in 1998 at Minsmere from April 11th to May 30th.1 AQUATIC WARBLER Acrocephalus Very rare passage migrant. Red list.

paludicola

Orfordness: adult, trapped and ringed, Aug. 14th (J.Askins); juvenile, trapped and ringed, Aug. 15th (J.Askins, S.Piotrowski).

The 6th and 7th county records and the first since one at Lowestoft North Denes in August 1987. All have been between August 13th and September 7th. SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The trend for March sightings continued in 2003, with singles at Minsmere on 28th and Trimley Marshes on 29th being the earliest of the year. Somewhat surprisingly, there were no more reported until one was found on Orfordness on April 6th. After one at Boyton Marshes on April 8th, there was a more general arrival noted (both on the coast and inland) from 16th onwards. A very light spring passage was observed at Landguard, where six birds were logged between April 16th and May 25th. 126


Systematic List During the breeding season, North Warren again recorded its highest ever breeding population with 128 pairs found, a small increase on the previous record total of 126 pairs set in 2002. Lakenheath Fen also had a good season with 141 territories, compared with 144 the previous year; an excellent example of what newly-created habitats can achieve for species that are able to exploit them. The species was thought to have had a 'very good' breeding season on Orfordness. However, all was not so rosy at Minsmere, where another decline was reported - 81 pairs, down from 89 in 2002. The table below shows the fluctuating breeding fortunes of this species on Minsmere over the last ten years. Year: Pairs:

1994 127

1995 235

1996

1997 156

1998 182

1999 126

2000 149

2001 142

2002 89

2003 81

Elsewhere, declines were also noted on the Sizewell SWT Estate (29 territories, down from 35 in 2002) and Lackford Lakes, where, for the first time in 12 years of recording, no juveniles were trapped at the CES ringing site. Late-season birds were recorded from four sites during August (Landguard on 5th, plus four on 8th; three at Sizewell on 8th; two at Lackford Lakes on 21st and an amazing total of 245 trapped and ringed on Orfordness during the month). Two sites reported birds in September (North Warren on 11th and Thorpeness on 14th) and, finally, one was on Orfordness, October 4th. MARSH WARBLER Acrocephalus palustris Rare migrant. Red list. Orford: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, May 31st (J.Askins, D.Crawshaw et al); trapped and ringed, Jun.27th (J.Askins, M.Swindells). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, Jun.2nd (M. Marsh, J. Zantboer et al). Three records in a year is about average for the county; presumably all were on spring passage, although the second Orfordness bird was very late if this was the case. The Orfordness records are the first for the site. EURASIAN REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A bird at Minsmere on April 9th proved to be the first recorded this year, although it was closely followed by birds at Oulton Broad on 10th (two), Lackford Lakes on 15th (two), Boyton and Long Melford on 16th and North Warren on 17th (two). Birds were widespread and present in numbers from the last week of the month. For example, there were ten singing males at Lackford Lakes, April 24th and 18 at Castle Marsh, May 5th. A very light spring passage, totalling just nine birds, was observed at Landguard between May 2nd and June 29th. As is often the case, breeding season reports revealed something of a mixed picture, with some sites showing quite good increases and others reporting decreases. Of those reporting increases, North Warren's population recovered from three years of declines to 168 territories (compared with 145 in 2002), there were 29 territories at Sizewell (25 in 2002), whilst Lakenheath Fen held 406 territories (well up on the 355 in 2002). On the negative side, Minsmere's breeding numbers decreased from 479 territories in 2002 to 427 in 2003. Lackford Lakes CES results were also poor with no juveniles trapped around the car park scrub area for the first time in 12 seasons (see also Sedge Warbler). Orfordness had a 'poor ' breeding season, thought, possibly, to be due to a lack of aphids in the reeds. Later in the season, autumn passage was considered down on Orfordness, with 250 trapped and ringed during the season, compared with 405 in 2002. Twelve singles were recorded passing through Landguard between August 9th and October 3rd, whilst 127


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 September records came from just four other sites (Kessingland, North Warren, Lackford Lakes and Long Melford). Finally, other October sightings were made at Minsmere (3rd), Sizewell (4th), Orfordness (4th) and, lastly, Thorpeness on 14th. BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. The first two months of the year produced records of over-wintering birds at just three widespread sites; Minsmere (January 24th, February 3rd and 28th), Hollesley (female, February 18th) and Brettenham (January 11th). These low numbers would appear to be at odds with the recent trend of mild winters, conditions which ought to suit this species. The lack of records from gardens in the larger towns is also surprising. A sudden increase in records during March (especially the last ten days) would appear to indicate returning breeding birds, especially as several of the records related to singing males. Interestingly, of the 13 sites reporting new birds during this month, 12 were in the west of the county. Arrivals continued through April, as expected, with the usual very light spring passage being observed at Landguard from 6th of that month up until June 7th (maximum of six birds, April 22nd and 26th). The breeding population at Walberswick/Dunwich Forest showed a decrease in numbers during 2003; a total of 150 territories was located, compared with 161 in 2002. In contrast, the North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks area recorded a 13% increase in numbers, up to 119 territories from 105 in 2002. However, the largest percentage change was recorded at the Sizewell SWT Estate, where the breeding population crashed dramatically from 31 territories in 2002, down to just 14 in 2003 (although this total is more in line with the figure of 19 territories there in 2001). Meanwhile, Lackford Lakes and Wolves Wood reported stable populations. At the former site, CES ringing produced totals of 20 adults and 44 juveniles during the season (very similar to last year), whilst at the latter site, 15 territories were found, just one down on last year's total. In addition to the above, reports of eight territories came from Dunwich Heath and ten territories from Ramsey Wood. Autumn passage passed by almost unnoticed, with five at Corton, October 24th being the highest count received! On Orfordness, migrant birds were logged moving through from August 31st to November 1st, peaking with just two, September 24th and October 25th. Landguard fared little better, passage being recorded from September 2nd to November 15th, peaking with four on October 3rd. Other than those birds previously mentioned above which were still on obvious autumn passage, there were sightings from three sites during the final two months of the year; Dunwich, December 2nd, Minsmere, November 19th and Boxford, November 21st. GARDEN WARBLER Sylvia borin Common summer visitor and passage migrant. An early arrival at Minsmere on April 12th was the first report of the year and arrived nine days before the next to be found, which was at Long Melford sewage works on 21st. A more pronounced arrival occurred from this time onwards, with an obvious peak on 24th of the month, when many sites recorded their first arrivals. Passage was almost nil along the coast with Landguard logging a total of just six birds between April 24th and May 16th, whilst Orfordness received singles on April 24th and May 6th. The total number of territories remained remarkably stable at North Warren/ Aldringham Common and Walks, with 152 recorded, compared with 154 in 2002 but still representing a remarkable increase on the 81 territories there just five years ago in 1998. 128


Systematic List Just up the coast, at Walberswick and Dunwich Forest, there was what seemed to be a surprising reversal of fortunes, with a total of 95 territories being located, way up on the 59 found last year. The Sizewell SWT Estate also recorded an increase in breeding numbers, albeit a somewhat more modest improvement from eight territories to ten. Lackford Lakes also recorded 'good numbers ' of returning adults ( 13 trapped during CES work), but only a single juvenile was trapped, indicating poor breeding success on the site. The only site with comparative data that reported a population decline was Wolves Wood, where six territories were found, compared with nine in 2002. Elsewhere, Dunwich Heath held ten breeding territories. After a small number of August sightings, there were reports from West Stow Country Park, September 12th, two at North Warren, September 13th and a scattering of birds at Landguard, before the last of the year was found there, October 12th. BARRED WARBLER Sylvia nisoria Scarce passage migrant. Westleton: Dingle, trapped and ringed, Oct. 10th, retrapped, Oct. 11th (D.J.Pearson et al). Thorpeness: C o m m o n , Sep.29th (R.Drew, RSPB).

Just two autumn birds were found this year, and both towards the end of their expected period of arrival. LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. After the first of the year at Leathes Ham, Lowestoft on April 17th, there was an obvious, but relatively small, arrival across the county between 22nd and 26th, when records came from a further 16 sites. It was no surprise that spring passage was considered 'light', with singles recorded on Orfordness on seven dates between April 25th and May 27th, whilst at Landguard, "small" numbers were logged between April 25th and June 12th, peaking with seven on May 7th. As with previous years, the North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks complex held the largest recorded breeding population, with a stable total of 52 territories (51 in 2002). Although there were few other data to compare with last year, 22 territories were located at Walberswick/Dunwich Forest ( 16 at Walberswick in 2002), whilst there were seven territories at Dingle Marshes, four on Dunwich Heath and three on the Sizewell SWT Estate. Lackford Lakes again had a poor season, with one pair breeding and just a single juvenile trapped and ringed during the CES work there. Autumn passage was, essentially, non-existent, with the only site recording any notable movements being Orfordness, where singles were recorded on August 31 st and four dates in September up to 21 st. Other September sightings came from North Warren, Thorpeness, Landguard and Pakenham. The last two birds of the year were also at Thorpeness on October 5th and October 13th and 14th. The latter of the two Thorpeness birds above, showed very brown upperparts and strikingly white underparts and was thought to be, possibly, a member of one of the eastern races. COMMON WHITETHROAT Sylvia communis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The two birds found at Sizewell on April 13th were the forerunners of a widespread, but generally light, arrival that occurred between 15th and 18th of that month, with reports coming from at least 16 sites across the county. The highest totals during this period were small, just three at both Lackford Lakes ( 15th) and Outney Common ( 1 ยงth). After this, a 129


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 'small influx'was noted at Long Melford, April 2Ist, 15 were present at Landguard, April 25th, a 'signifĂŹcant arrivai ' occurred at Minsmere, Aprii 30th and a 'notable influx ' (of 15 birds) was observed at Dunwich Heath, May 2nd. Several breeding season reports indicated that the monitored populations may have deelined during 2003. The North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks complex reported a decrease from 426 territories in 2002 to 395 in 2003 (although this is still well up on the 2000 total of 364). Elsewhere, the Walberswick and Dunwich Forest area held 137 territories (down from 162 in 2002), the Sizewell SWT Estate held 20 territories (28 in 2002), there were 84 territories at Lakenheath Fen (92 in 2002) and 14 territories were found on Dunwich Heath. The Lackford Lakes CES scheme reported its lowest numbers in 12 seasons of monitoring. An interesting report concerned a bird singing from an oilseed rape crop at Sibton Park, May 5th. There was little sign of any significant autumn movements, with generally small numbers recorded during August. These included eight seen feeding on butterflies around a garden buddleia in Sibton on 4th, plus a total of 20 at Covehithe on 15th; the latter being the largest number recorded during the period. These were followed by records from four sites in September (North Warren, Orfordness, Landguard and Lackford Lakes), before singles at Southwold, October 2nd and Thorpeness, November 4th. The Thorpeness bird is the first November report since one at Fagbury Cliff, November 18th 1994 and the tenth county record for that month. DARTFORD WARBLER Sylvia undula Uncommon local resident. Scarce visitor. Amber list. This exciting little species continued Breeding Pairs (Unattached Maies) to increase its breeding population Site 2003 this year, as shown in the table. The Walberswick Common SWT 2 numbers are generally minimum Walberswick Common EN 4 totals and include probable non4 Walberswick NNR, EN breeding males in brackets. These Westleton Heath NNR, EN 8 continued increases reflect, not only Westleton Heath RSPB 13 the species' own breeding efforts, Dunwich Heath NT 23 but the excellent ongoing manage- Minsmere RSPB 5 ment of the Suffolk heathland Aldringham Walks, RSPB 5 North Warren RSPB 1 10+ Hollesley Common SWT 2(1) Sutton Common SWT Totals 77+(1)

Dartford Warbler Peter Beeson

2002 2 1 4 6 12 20(1) 5 4 1 4 2 61 (1)

habitats that this species requires to be able to flourish! In a dramatic development, a pair very probably bred at a confidential Suffolk Breckland site; a male was seen in February and a male with two juveniletype birds in October - tantalising stuff. These are probably the first-ever records for the Suffolk Breck, there being no apparent evidence that the species frequented the area in the past (Piotrowski, 2003). Perhaps they read the comment in Suffolk Birds 1999? 130


Systematic List FIELD N O T E

It Is intriguing that there is not a single old record of Dartford Warblers in Breckland. Bill Payn, the author of the 1962 avifauna, had a theory that the "continental type" weather pattern of Breckland had prevented their colonisation in the past. The light, sandy soils lose their heat quite rapidly and this makes the area prone to sharp, late frosts; annually in May and early June and sometimes even in mid-summer. The "weather" effect in the Sandlings is not so great, because of the ameliorating influence of the nearby sea. For the same reason, mid-winter frosts are sharper in the Breck than on the coast. It will be fascinating to see if Dartford Warblers can colonise Breckland in the next few years. Perhaps a warming climate will enable them to gain a foothold. Derek Moore There were reports from just two sites away from the breeding areas this year, these being singles at Kessingland Sluice, February 21st and Sizewell, September 29th, October 2nd and October 19th. SARDINIAN WARBLER Sylvia melanocephata Accidental. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, male, Jul.12th (M.L.Cornish, R.Drew, P.Clack et al). Only the second Suffolk record, following the one at Landguard Point, Felixstowe on May 20th 1994. Unfortunately, it was only available to the finder and a lucky few before it disappeared. GREENISH WARBLER Phylloscopus trochiloides Very rare visitor. Lowestoft: Gunton, Aug.25th and 26th (J.A.Brown, A.C.Easton, J.Wright et al). The eighth Suffolk record and the first since 1997. A very good find and the third for the Lowestoft area. PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus proregulus Rare visitor. A much better autumn showing this year with at least 18 birds located (the second highest annual total after the 22 found during the 1994 influx and equalling the 18 in 1996). One can only guess at the true total of Pallas's Leaf Warblers passing through Suffolk in late autumn 2003. These fast moving little sprites can be quite elusive and any bird making landfall more than a few hundred metres inland is very unlikely to have been located. Corton: Nov.6th (R.Fairhead). Lowestoft: Warrenhouse Wood, Oct.22nd, 23rd and 25th (J.ABrown, R.Fairhead); presumed same, Kensington Gardens, Oct.24th (M.and S.Ellis); Sparrow's Nest Park, Nov. 1st (J.A.Brown, R.Fairhead); Gunton, Nov.2nd and 3rd (A.C.Easton, R.Wincup et al). Southwold: St Edmund's churchyard, two, Oct.24th to 26th (B.J.Small, J.H.Grant, R.Drew et al). Westleton: Dingle Marshes, Oct.21st (P.and S.Green, R.Harvey et al). Dunwich: trapped and ringed, Oct.31st (Sir A.Hurrell et a/); Greyfriars Wood, Nov.7th (R.Drew). Minsmere: Canopy Hide, Nov.5th (R.Drew). Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, two, Oct.26th (J.Dean, S.Nixon). Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Common and Walks, Nov.7th to 9th (D.Gawin, D.Thurlow, R.N.Macklin). Aldeburgh: Church Farm Caravan Park, two, Oct. 16th and 17th (P.J.Merchant). Orford: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, Oct.21st (J.Askins et al). Bawdsey: Bawdsey Manor/Quay, Oct.24th to Nov.5th (P.Hobbs, P.Whittaker et al). Felixstowe: The Grove, Oct.24th to 26th (W.J.Brame et al). 131


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Birds were present along the entire length of the coastal strip. The individual present in Warrenhouse Wood, Lowestoft on October 25th was seen perched alongside a Yellowbrowed Warbler, which must have been a fine sight. YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus Scarce visitor.

inornatus

Corton: Sep.27th (J.A.Brown); Sep.29th to Oct.2nd, with a second bird present on Oct.2nd (G.J.Jobson, J.A.Brown); Oct.27th (J.A.Brown). Lowestoft: Sparrow's Nest Park, Oct.4th (D.F.Walsh); Lowestoft Cemetery, two (one singing), Oct. 19th to 25th, one remaining to Oct.27th (J.A.Brown, R.Fairhead); Warrenhouse Wood, Oct.25th (R.Fairhead); Nov.lst (J.A.Brown); Gunton, singing male, Sep.30th (N.J.Skinner); two, Oct.23rd to 25th (J.A.Brown, R.Fairhead); Nov.2nd (R.Fairhead); Warren Lane, Gorleston, Oct. 19th (per J.A.Brown) Benacre: Beach Farm, Sep.29th (J.A.Brown). Minsmere: Oct.3rd (RSPB); Nov.24th (I.Barton). Thorpeness: Thorpeness Common, Sep.28th (J.Dean, S.Nixon); Sep.30th (RSPB). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, Oct.3rd to 6th (A. Gregory, N. Odin, J. Zantboer).

As with the previous species, the above listing represents an excellent autumnal showing for Suffolk. Although there is possibly a small amount of duplication within records, it would seem fair to surmise that around 20 birds were located within the county, including no less than 14 different birds in the Corton/Lowestofl area. The singing birds in Lowestoft are of interest, as is the November bird at Minsmere (on 24th), which becomes the latest recorded in Suffolk.

Yellow-browed Warbler Su Gough

HUME'S LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus humei Accidental. Southwold: St Edmund's churchyard, 0ct.20th to 27th (J.H.Grant, B.J.Small, T.Brown et

al).

Sizewell: Dower House, Oct. 18th to 23rd (R.Harvey, R.Coombes, P.D.Green et al). T h e first and second county records of this long-expected close congener ofYellow-browed Warbler, heralding f r o m the m o n t a n e forest z o n e of the central-east Palearctic. N o t e the arrival d a t e s , w h i c h a r e t y p i c a l l y l a t e r t h a n t h o s e o f Y e l l o w - b r o w e d a n d m o r e in l i n e w i t h those expected for D u s k y Warbler.

RADDE'S WARBLER Phylloscopus Very rare visitor.

schtvarzi

Lowestoft: cemetery, Oct.l3th (J.A.Brown, R.Fairhead).

The thirteenth county record. The records of two on Orfordness in 2002, on October 12th and 13th and a different bird, October 30th, have now been accepted by BBRC. DUSKY WARBLER Phylloscopus Very rare visitor.

fuscatus

Kessingland: sewage works, Dec.30th 2002 to Jan.6th 2003 (D.Holman, J.Zantboer

132

et.al.).


Systematic List The eleventh county record, previously reported in Suffolk Birds 2002, and now accepted by the BBRC. The record mirrors closely those found wintering in the southwest of England in recent years. WOOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. Amber list. A light spring passage produced the following four reports; Wrentham: Apr.20th. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, May 3rd. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe/Aldeburgh: North Warren, singing male, May 5th. Newbourne: Newbourne Springs, two, May 4th. The Wrentham bird is the earliest in the county since one at Minsmere on April 13th 1995. A highlight of the year was, undoubtedly, the breeding pair which was found at Elveden; adults with two fledged juveniles were seen there on August 5th. This is the first confirmed breeding in the county since two pairs bred in Breckland in 1990. A typical autumn movement resulted in another six records, showing an expected date range. Westleton: Dingle Marshes, trapped and ringed, Aug.30th. Dunwich: trapped and ringed, Aug. 15th. Felixstowe: Landguard Point, two, Jul.31st; Aug.2nd and 7th. COMMON CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. A total of seven birds was found wintering at six sites during the first two months of the year; Kessingland sewage works (up to two birds throughout the period), Minsmere (February 13th), Fox's Marina, Wherstead, River Orwell (January 11th), Nowton Park (January 4th), Glemsford sewage works (January 19th) and Haverhill sewage works (during January). As can be seen, sewage works were again the favoured habitat; their allyear supply of food no doubt helps this insectivorous species to make it through any hard spells. Reports from across the county revealed a notable influx during the first half of March, with many sites recording their first birds of the year at that time. However, numbers really began to pick up from the third week onwards. For example, 20 were present at Minsmere on March 20th, over 20 were found around the northern half of Long Melford on 23rd, numbers had increased to 15 singing males at Lackford Lakes by 26th and 27 singing males were counted at Bradfield Woods on 29th. Coastal passage was logged at Landguard from March 11th to June 27th (peaks of four birds on three dates) and on Orfordness between March 20th and June 8th. Unlike some of the other warbler species, all sites for which comparative data were available reported increases in breeding numbers during 2003. The Walberswick/ Dunwich Forest area reported a total of 218 territories (150 in 2002), the North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks complex held 171 territories in what was described as an 'exceptional year' (numbers well up on the 134 in 2002 and reaching an all-time-high on the site), whilst the population on the Sizewell SWT Estate reached 62 territories, up from the 52 in 2002 and 25 in 2001. Inland, good news also came from Lackford Lakes, where the CES ringing logged record numbers of returning adults (20) and the second-highest numbers of juveniles (39) in 12 years of monitoring. Elsewhere, there were 27 breeding territories found at Dingle Marshes, 11 territories at Dunwich Heath, 12 at Ramsey Wood and 23 at nearby Wolves Wood. A very positive season in all. 133


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 With no weather systems conducive to "fall" conditions during the autumn, seemed to slip away almost unnoticed, with just very small numbers being reported coastal stations. Landguard received birds between September 2nd and October (maximum of seven, October 4th), whilst on Orfordness, migrants were recorded September 13th to November 5th.

birds from 30th from

The final two months of the year produced a total of ten 'wintering' birds at eight widespread sites. All involved singletons, apart from three at Lackford Lakes, December 9th. A probable Willow Warbler x Chiffchaff hybrid was seen (and heard) in Lineage Wood, Long Melford, May 25th (see under Willow Warbler for details). The following birds were reported as being of the race 'abietinus ': Corton: Oct.24th. Southwold: St Edmund's churchyard, Oct.26th. Felixstowe: Landguard Point, Oct.5th to 8th; Oct. 19th.

The following birds were reported as being of the race 'tristis ': Corton: Nov.8th. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, Apr.4th to 12th (in song on 9th); presumed same, Apr.21st. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Nov.lรณth to 30th (trapped and examined in the hand but not heard to call). W I L L O W W A R B L E R Phylloscopus

trochilus

Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. As often seems to happen with this species, spring arrivals appeared over a relatively short space of time during late March and early April. The first confirmed reports of the year came from three sites, all on March 29th; Kessingland sewage works, Outney Common and Cavenham Heath. There were then additional March reports from Trimley Marshes, Lackford Lakes and Haverhill Railway Walk, before a further 14 sites recorded new birds during the first five days of April, including five singing males in The King's Forest, April 5th. At the coastal watchpoints, spring passage occurred between April 12th and May 29th at Landguard (maximum of 15, April 29th), whilst a sudden arrival of eight on Orfordness on April 13th was the first of a small run which peaked with 11, April 25th. Despite the positive start to the year, breeding season reports were consistently depressing; all of the main sites reported declines on last year's already-low numbers. The largest population surveyed was at Walberswick/Dunwich Forest, where 120 territories were located, down from 130 in 2002. Monitoring at the North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks complex showed similar results, with the number of territories there dropping from 76 to 67 (the lowest-ever site total). Eight territories were found at Outney Common, Bungay (14 in 2002) and just five territories were located at the Sizewell SWT Estate (eight in 2002). There was no sign of improvement at the Lackford Lakes CES survey area, where numbers have failed to recover since the slump during the late 1990s. Comments from other recorders told similar stories with birds being described as 'scarce' at Kedington, whilst there were 'no singing males this year' at Brent Eleigh. Additional reports of breeding territories involved 13 at Dingle Marshes, 15 at Dunwich Heath and ten at Wolves Wood. FIELD N O T E

On May 25th a singing phylloscopus warbler was seen In the top of a conifer tree in Lineage Wood, Long Melford. during a visit by the Suffolk Moth Group. Its song was most unusual; it began as perfect Chiffchaff and ended with a perfect Willow Warbler flourish. The plumage (and what structural features could be seen) mostly resembled the latter and it was considered to be probably a hybrid between the two species. Darren Underwood

134


Systematic List There were several small counts at coastal sites during August as birds began to move through. Of these, ten at Sizewell and ten at Shingle Street, both on 8th, and 16 at Trimley Marshes on 12th were the most significant. Passage was noted on Orfordness between July 23rd and September 16th (maximum of 15, August 3rd and 8th). At Landguard, an unseasonally early bird on July 3rd preceded the main autumn passage, which ran from July 23rd (same date as the first bird on Orfordness) to September 30th (maximum of 40, August 8th). The only other September report involved a singleton at Hinderclay on 7th. GOLDCREST Regulus regulus Very common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. The first 2003 records of note related to a very light spring passage of birds through both Landguard and Orfordness. Movements at Landguard began on March 6th and continued to April 23rd, peaking with eight birds, March 17th, whilst Orfordness logged five birds between March 2nd and April 1 st. Breeding survey work revealed a phenomenal increase in numbers at the North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks complex, where the population almost trebled from 22 territories in 2002 to 62. The reasons for such an increase are unclear, although recent mild winters would, no doubt, have helped. Elsewhere on the monitored reserves, there were six breeding pairs at Dunwich Heath, three territories at the Sizewell SWT Estate and seven singing males at Ramsey Wood. Proof of breeding also came from Nowton Park, Pakenham (with two or three recently fledged juveniles being fed in the observer's garden), Ipswich New Cemetery (brood of at least five newly-fledged juveniles, May 30th), Livermere Lake (female seen nest-building) and Long Melford (adult seen with a recently fledged juvenile). Comments such as 'fairly common resident ' at Brent Eleigh suggest that this widespread species probably bred at many other sites - no doubt in some numbers in the Sandlings and Breckland conifer plantations. Autumn passage at Landguard lasted from September 7th to November 13th peaking with 15 birds on October 17th and 21st. Migration through Orfordness covered a similar period (September 16th to November 10th) and peaked around the same time as at Landguard, with eight, October 18th. These peak counts coincided with high counts of ten at Corton and 100 at Thorpeness, both on October 18th (ten were also at the latter site on the earlier date of October 12th). The only count of note away from the coast, during the latter part of the year, was of 14 at Euston, December 28th. FIRECREST Regulus ignicapilla Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters irregularly. Amber list. Birds reported from Dunwich, Westleton and Minsmere were the only ones recorded during January and February, before numbers increased from mid-March, as passage birds began moving through the county. In what was a fairly light spring movement, birds were logged at Landguard from March 24th to May 21st, (peaking with three, March 17th), whilst on Orfordness, migrants were noted between March 9th and April 17th (maximum of two, April 16th). Elsewhere, reports came from 16 other, mainly coastal, sites between March and early May, all relating to ones and twos, apart from three at Dunwich Heath, April 16th. Early breeding season reports are a little confused by late migrants that were found singing in potentially suitable habitat, but which did not appear to linger. Such sightings included a bird at Dunwich Forest between May 10th and 12th. Of the several singing 135


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 males on nearby Dunwich Heath throughout April and May, one did remain and hold a territory into June. At North Warren, one definite territory was observed in an area where the species has successfully bred in recent years. Other potential breeders included a male found in Tunstall Forest, June 6th, a male at High Lodge, Brandon, May 18th and up to three singing males at Mayday Farm, May 5th. Certain breeding was, however, only confirmed at Santon Downham, where two juveniles were seen in the observer's garden on August 17th. There was, again, quite a reasonable showing of migrants along the coastal region during the autumn. The following lists the main sites and numbers and clearly shows an arrival of birds peaking Firecrest Mark Ferris around October 15th to 18th, with a smaller influx between October 23rd and 25th. Corton: recorded between Sep.27th and Nov.8th with peaks of three, Oct. 13th and 18th. Lowestoft: ones and twos recorded widely in the area between Sep. 14th and Nov.9th. Southwold: recorded between Oct.4th and 27th, peaks of six, Oct. 14th and 17th, three Oct.20th and 23rd and four, Oct.24th. Westleton: Dingle, nine trapped and ringed between Oct. 15th and 18th, six of which were on Oct. 16th; Dingle Marshes, Sep.9th to Nov.28th, peaking with six, Oct. 15th. Dunwich: total of ten trapped and ringed between Oct. 18th and Nov.30th. Minsmcre: three, Oct. 15th and 16th, dropping to two on 17th and 18th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, five, Oct.l8th; three, Oct.l9th. Thorpeness: peaks of four, Oct. 18th and two, Nov.8th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Common and Walks, ten between Sizewell Hall and Thorpeness Common, Oct. 15th; four, Nov.8th. Orford: Orfordness, passage from Sep.25th to Oct.27th with peaks of seven, Oct. 18th and four, Oct.25th. Bawdsey: Bawdsey Manor, two, Oct. 18th; six, Oct.24th; five, 0ct.30th and four, Nov.5th. Felixstowe: Landguard Point, passage noted between Sep.25th and Nov. 12th with a peak of four, Oct. 15th and 18th; The Grove, three, Oct.23rd and 25th. Trimley Marshes: four, Oct. 17th.

After these good autumn numbers, it was, perhaps, somewhat surprising that the only bird reported staying on into December was at Santon Downham on 14th. SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata Fairly common but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. As in 2002, Minsmere reported the first returning bird of the year, with one on May 4th. Most of the following 'early' migrants then came from the west of the county during the first part of May and included singles at Boxford on 6th, Brettenham on 8th, Melton and Long Melford on 9th and Cosford Hall on 10th. As expected nowadays, coastal spring passage was a very low-key affair, lasting from May 11 th to June 13th and peaking with three birds on May 25th at Landguard, whilst just one bird was noted on Orfordness during this period (on May 26th). There was only a slight reduction in the number of sites reporting confirmed or probable breeding this year (24 compared with 25 in 2002), with smaller village sites and gardens apparently doing 'better' than the larger reserves. Of these sites, three pairs were successful at Brettenham, with the same number present at Kedington, Pakenham and Santon 136


Systematic List Downham, whilst two pairs bred at Long Melford. All other sites reported single pairs. Although the three pairs at Pakenham were thought to represent 'a better year ' after the recent declines there, most reports had a more negative slant and were, perhaps, typified by the comment from Santon Downham, where the three pairs found were described as being 'the lowest-ever recorded total '. The populations on the coastal reserves seem to be faring particularly badly; there were just single pairs at both Benacre and Walberswick, whilst none bred at North Warren for the second year in succession and none bred at Minsmere. Surely, when a reserve of the size and quality of Minsmere cannot support even a single breeding pair of this species, there must be something very wrong with our countryside? There were several reports of small groups of birds during August, including eight in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 24th, six at West Stow Country Park, 9th (and four there, 21 st), five at Dunwich Heath, 9th and four at Gunton, 25th. Although some of these birds may have been 'early' migrants, others are likely to relate to locally-bred birds. Genuine migration was certainly underway at Landguard from August 8th and lasted there until September 21st (with maximum day-counts of two on September 7th and 8th). A bird on Orfordness, September 7th was the only one recorded there during the autumn, whilst other September reports came from West Stow Country Park (on 1st), Fagbury Cliff (a high count of nine on 5th), Minsmere (4th to 8th) and, the final sighting of the year, at Ness Point, Lowestoft on 28th. RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Ficedula parva Rare passage migrant. Corton: first-winter, Sep.28th to Oct. 1 st (J.A.Brown, G.J.Jobson et al). Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, Oct. 12th (many observers). Bawdsey/Hollesley: Shingle Street, Oct.2nd and 3rd (D.F. Walsh, P.Kennerley et al). Felixstowe: The Grove, Oct.23rd (W. J.Brame, M.Ferris et al). A good autumn for this species with these four birds bringing the county total to 52. PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant. A light spring passage was an improvement on none recorded during this period last year and consisted of the following sightings. The Dunwich birds are the earliest since 1996 (April 10th, Stonham Aspal). Dunwich: two, Apr.l4th; Dunwich Heath, Apr.l4th. Minsmere: female, Apr. 16th Felixstowe: Landguard Point, May 10th. Autumn passage commenced with one at Corton, August 2nd and was followed by reports from a further 14 sites, all of which were along the coastal strip, apart from a single in gardens at Hadleigh from August 24th to 26th. Details of the sites covering the main movements are listed. Corton/Lowestoft/Kessingland area: recorded between Aug.2nd and Sep. 14th with a peak of at least 22 birds in the area, Aug.25th, including nine along the disused railway line at Hopton-on-Sea. Dunwich: four trapped and ringed between Aug. 11th and 24th; Dunwich Heath, three, Aug.9th and 10th. Pied Flycatcher Mark Cornish 137


Suffolk Bird Report 2003 Minsmere: four, A u g . l ith; A u g . l 3 t h ; S e p . l s t ; Sep.8th. Leiston-cum-Sizewell: Sizewell, Aug.9th, 11th and 24th; Sep.2nd; Sizewell C o m m o n , Aug.26th. Orford: Orfordness, passage recorded f r o m Aug.3rd to Sep. 14th, including 15, Aug.9th and four,

Aug. 1 Oth and 11 th. Described as 'a very good year for this species '. Shingle Street: A u g . l 1th and 19th; two, Aug.25th; Sep.2nd; Oct.2nd. Felixstowe: Landguard Point, passage f r o m Aug.3rd to Oct. 10th with a peak of three, Aug.25th; Felixstowe Ferry, Aug. 17th and 26th.

The two October records detailed above are the only two for that month, the Landguard individual being the last of the year. BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus Uncommon resident. Amber list The succession of mild winters experienced in recent years has seen survival rates and hence populations of this acrobatic reedbed dweller, increase. Minsmere held 54 pairs (51 pairs in 2002, 23 in 2001, 35 in 2000), North Warren had 14 pairs (20 in 2002, 14 in 2001, ten in 2000) and the Hen Reedbeds 12 pairs (12 in 2002, three in 2001). Walberswick NNR held 40 pairs, about average for this site, but breeding success here was low, possibly due to wet weather in spring, with only small parties of juveniles seen in late summer and numbers ringed by the Dingle Bird Club were the lowest for many years. About another 30 pairs were found at Benacre Broad NNR, which includes the extensive reedbed between Easton Broad and Cove Bottom. At Southwold boating lake, a female on May 22nd suggests that, as last year, nesting took place at this site and a juvenile in marshland at Somerleyton on June 24th implies possible breeding at yet another venue. A southerly spread of potential breeding birds saw two pairs at Aldeburgh Marshes during April, whilst Trimley Marshes held birds in every month of the year, with a group of five on June 7th suggesting successful breeding. During the first winter period in January, four birds were present at the Hen Reedbeds, ten at Westwood Marshes and seven at the nearby Dingle Marshes. More notably, in the west a single bird was at Redgrave and Lopham Fen on January 9th, two remained at Lakenheath Fen into February and Lackford Lakes hosted a bird from February 15th to 26th. Post-breeding dispersal saw ten flying south over Orfordness during October and eight at Havergate Island, October 28th. More birds were actually reported to the recorders, in the second winter period, from the west of the county than from the east. Three were at Livermere Lake, October 27th, followed by two birds at Lackford Lakes from November 5th to 21st, with at least one remaining to the year's end, and then two at Lakenheath Fen, December 18th. Surely it will not be too long before birds stay to breed in the west? LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant North Warren saw a notable 33% rise in breeding pairs to a new site record of 64 (48 in 2002, 55 in 2001, 52 in 2000). Dunwich Heath held 11 pairs, Sizewell Belts seven pairs (ten in 2002) and Bradfield Woods 16 pairs. Good-sized flocks included 30 at Trimley Marshes, July 9th; 30 at Long Melford, December 13th and 27 at Brettenham, June 26th. An individual with an almost all white head was at Covehithe, March 21st, whilst large parties at peanut feeders included 18 at West Stow, September 21st and 11 at Ilketshall St Margaret, January 21st. At Felixstowe in February and March, a pair regularly fed on bread at a garden bird-table.


Systematic List Passage birds were recorded at Orfordness with one, October 25th, ten, October 26th and 11, November 4th. At Landguard three were present, April 6th and seven, October 24th to 26th. MARSH TIT Parus palustris Fairly common resident. Red list. This nationally declining woodland specialist was reported from 32 countywide sites (27 in 2002), with pairs seen at 21 of these ( 17 in 2002) during the breeding season. Three pairs bred at Dingle Marshes and 14 pairs at Minsmere (15 in 2002), while at Sizewell just three territories were recorded (seven in 2002) and, for the first time in ten years at this site, no birds were ringed. At North Warren, last year's recovery, after several barren years, was Consolidated with five pairs (four in 2002) breeding in wet Aider or Willow woodland. At Lackford Lakes, a male was singing on January 16th and a total of three pairs bred (four in 2002). During CES ringing studies at Lackford Lakes, one adult and three juveniles were ringed, the same as last year, and Marsh Tits appear to be maintaining their numbers at this site. Wolves Wood held 11 pairs, Ramsey Wood 12 pairs, Lineage Wood two singing males, Cosford Hall two pairs and West Stow CP two singing males. Although three pairs bred at Bradfield Woods, this was still considered part of a decline noted at the site since 1999. WILLOW TIT Parus montanus Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. Red list This species continues to decline and unless the situation is reversed in the very near future, it appears to face extinction within Suffolk. In 2003, birds were found at only six sites (nine in 2002) in the species' former stronghold of West Suffolk. A male was noted singing from scrub on the edge of the Lackford Lakes reserve. Aprii 3rd, but no birds were trapped during CES ringing there during the summer. Perhaps a remnant population remains in the Little Ouse valley, where reports came from Santon Downham, January 14th; Nunnery Lakes N.R. (a singing male), March 19th; Bamham (a pair), April 17th andThetford, November 20th. West Stow CP, usually a reliable site, had no confirmed sightings this year. Further east there were just two records; a pair present throughout the year at Fressingfield probably bred and two were at Tangham on February 12th. COALTIT Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant As last year, just ten widespread sites reported this under-recorded species. North Warren and Aldringham Walks saw a slight increase to 48 pairs (42 in 2002, 55 in 2001). At this site only one pair used a nest box, fiedging ten young from ten eggs. Dunwich Heath held eight pairs, as did Sizewell Belts. At Long Melford, three pairs bred and an adult with three young were seen on June 8th. The largest flock recorded was a remarkable 42 at Tangham, February 12th. A light autumn passage was noted at Landguard with one on September 27th and single nominate Continental race birds P.a.ater seen October 15th, 17th to 18th and 20th (Landguard BO). BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant Reports from only twelve sites obviously do not give a true picture of this familiar species. Dunwich Heath held 12 pairs, Sizewell Belts 44 pairs (32 in 2002) and at St Edmunds 139


Suffolk Bird Report 2003 churchyard, Southwold, a pair nested in a hole in the wall of the church one metre from the ground. At North Warren and Aldringham Walks, a site record of 205 pairs bred (140 in 2002); 26 nest-boxes were used with 256 eggs, resulting in 149 fledged young. At Cosford Hall, nine pairs used nest-boxes and four pairs fledged 18 young; two nests failed at the egg stage and three broods died. At Hengrave Hall, three nest box broods only fledged ten young. Observers on Orfordness consider this a rare species. Singles on February 23rd and September 24th provided the only records in 2003. At Landguard, birds were present throughout the year. One pair bred and passage birds were noted in spring from February 28th to March 30th, with a maximum of six on the latter date. In autumn, passage continued until October 26th, with a maximum of eight, September 4th. GREAT TIT Parus major Very common resident and scarce passage migrant This woefully under-recorded species appears, from breeding records, to be maintaining a healthy population. Dunwich Heath held 23 pairs and here five pairs used nest-boxes, fledging 18 young. At Sizewell Belts, 49 pairs bred (42 in 2002) and eight territories were noted at Bungay. North Warren and Aldringham Walks recorded a stable population with 178 pairs (165 in 2002); 50 pairs used boxes, fledging 281 young from 383 eggs. At Cosford Hall, six pairs used nest-boxes, four of which fledged 15 young, while one nest failed at the egg stage and one brood died. Hengrave Hall reported 11 pairs breeding in boxes, resulting in 53 fledged young. At Lackford Lakes, 12 juveniles ringed during CES ringing was the best total since 1998, suggesting that at this site, at least, this species had fared better than Blue Tit in 2003. Landguard held birds all year, but two singing males failed to attract mates. Spring passage ran from February 22nd to May 22nd, with maxima of 12 on March 2nd and 6th. Autumn passage was recorded from September 3rd to October 25th, with a highest count of 12, October 18th. On Orfordness, autumn passage saw birds present from October 16th to November 11th, with a maximum of four, October 18th. Nine birds caught during the October movement were the first to be ringed at the site and two birds seen on December 14th possibly attempted to winter. WOOD NUTHATCH Sitta europaea Fairly common resident. This under-recorded woodland specialist was noted at 19 sites, with 12 of these reporting birds in the breeding season. Breeding was confirmed at six sites including two singing males at Lackford Lakes, March 23rd, a pair feeding young at the nest-hole at Kentwell Hall, May 17th and a family party at Marmansgrave Wood, Elveden. A minimum of six pairs bred at Santon Downham, three pairs nested at Ramsey Wood and Nowton Park held two or three pairs. Several sightings were made from Minsmere's Canopy Hide and breeding may have occurred in the oak woods there. The largest group was five at Euston Park, December 28th. Four were at North Stow, December 6th, and parties of three were seen at Kentwell Hall, January 1st and Sotterley Park, December 29th. EURASIAN TREECREEPER Certhlafamiliaris Common resident. Reports from just 27 countywide sites are not a true measure of this rather quiet and elusive species status. Birds were present at 20 of these sites during the nesting period. Woodland


Systematic List habitat at Dunwich Heath held four pairs, including one enterprising pair that nested in a bat box. At North Warren, a site record ten pairs bred (eight in 2002) and Sizewell Belts logged five pairs (four in 2002). Bradfield Woods recorded eight territories during March, while at Croton Wood two singing males were heard during May and Ramsey Wood held seven pairs. A juvenile, trapped during CES ringing studies at Lackford Lakes, indicated successful local breeding and at nearby West Stow CP, a pair were seen visiting a nest in a hole in a dead willow tree. A bird showing characteristics of the nominate race C. f . familiaris, trapped at Landguard, October 18th, is the sixth record for the site, but the first of this race (Landguard BO). This is only the second county record of the nominate race, the first having been at Martlesham as long ago as March 18th 1941 (Piotrowski 2003). Another bird, showing 'mixed features', ringed at Corton, October 31st, was considered to be probably of continental origin. EURASIAN PENDULINE TIT Remizpendulinus Very rare visitor. The tenth Suffolk record and the first for this site. Orfordness: juvenile, trapped and ringed, Nov.4th (J.Askins, D.Cormack). EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus oriolus Scarce summer resident and passage migrant. Amber list. Passage birds were recorded in the east of the county, with single males in song at Frostenden, April 25th and Minsmere, April 30th. These were followed by a male seen flying over Minsmere's South Belt, May 5th. The traditional breeding site at Lakenheath Fen recorded its first bird of the year in the poplar woods on May 10th. Two singing males were noted on May 21 st and 26th and two pairs subsequently nested, both fledging young (RSPB). m RED-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius collurio Scarce passage migrant; formerly bred. Red list. Penduline Tit Su Gough A poor year with only three birds (11 records in 2002), all recorded in a five-day period during August. 2003 and 1999, both with just three reports, are Suffolk's worst-ever recorded years for this species.

Southwold: juvenile, Aug. 18th. Minsmere: juvenile, Aug. 17th and 18th. Sizewell: juvenile, Aug. 18th and 19th (the same bird as at Minsmere)

Felixstowe Ferry: Aug. 14th. GREAT GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubltor Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. What is presumed to be the same bird was seen at several heathland sites in Breckland during both winter periods. Elveden: Weather Heath, Jan.24th to Mar.24th and Oct. 10th to Nov.l7th. It also occasionally showed on Horn Heath, south of the A l 1. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, Nov.lรณth.

Cavenham Heath: Nov.24th to 27th. 141


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 WOODCHAT SHRIKE Lanius senator Very rare passage migrant. This is Suffolk's 27th record and the first since 2000. Minsmere: first summer, Whin Hill, May 29th (RSPB). EURASIAN JAY Garrulus glandarius Common resident and scarce passage migrant. An excellent breeding season at North Warren and Aldringham Walks, with 27 pairs being the highest-ever total recorded at the site (21 pairs in 2002). Widely distributed around the reserve, with a particular preference for the wet woodlands bordering the reedbeds. The only counts of note were eight at the Ipswich Millennium Cemetery, April 11th and ten there on September 18th, then 11 at Euston Park on December 28th and nine at Redgrave and Lopham Fen on December 29th. On October 31st, one was watched attempting to catch flying insects in Ipswich Old Cemetery, using a gravestone as a base. Landguard reported just three sightings, singles on April 17th and 20th, then August 31st. BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE Pica pica Very common resident. Several roost counts were received, with the peak of 122 at Pipps Ford, Barking, January 20th. This is the highest total in Suffolk since 1947, when 600-700 were at a winter roost at Sotterley. Aldeburgh: 91 at North Warren, Dec.31st roosting in blackthorn scrub. Redgrave and Lopham Fen: 50, Jan.9th; 72, Feb.6th, 87, Mar. 18th and 46, Dec.29th - also roosting in blackthorn scrub. Old Newton: 40 roosting in blackthorn at Bridge Farm, Nov.23rd. Lackford Lakes: 73, Jan.l3th; 47, Feb.l5th and 46, Nov.30th. Lakenheath Fen: 35, Dec.22nd.

Passage through Landguard peaked at nine, March 27th, then a record 28, September 7th and Black-billed Magpie Su Gough 28th. A recovery in the breeding population at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex to 56 pairs after just 45 in 2002. Widespread across the whole site with no particular preference shown for wet or dry habitats. EURASIAN JACKDAW Corvus monedula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Only four large counts were received, with the largest total involving a combined corvid roost at Lakenheath Fen. Blyth Estuary: 2000 with Rooks flying north to roost, Feb.3rd. Sibton: a pre-roost flock of 1500 with Rooks, Dec.6th. Redgrave and Lopham Fen: 2000, Jan.9th; 5000, Feb.6th; 1000, Mar. 18th. Lakenheath Fen: 13,000 birds, mostly Eurasian Jackdaws, in a combined corvid roost in a poplar plantation, Jan.21st.

Breeding reports included a stable breeding population of 30 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks, 11 pairs at the Sizewell Estate and five successful nests at West Stow CP. 142


Systematic List ROOK Corvus frugilegus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Only six large counts were received, with the peak total from a combined corvid roost at Lakenheath Fen. Blyford: 600, Jan.l6th. Sibton: a mixed pre-roost flock of 1500 with Eurasian Jackdaws, Dec.6th.

Redgrave and Lopham Fen: 500, Jan.9th and 2500, Feb.처th.

FIELD N O T E

Glpping Great Wood: 1800 roosting, Nov.23rd. Bury St. E d m u n d s : 2000 over A 1 3 4 , Sep.24th. L a k e n h e a t h Fen: 10,000 i n c l u d i n g E u r a s i a n J a c k d a w s a n d Carrion Crows, Feb.5th and 6000, Mar.lOth.

At Layham on December 14th, the rookery was already active, with adults attending 15 almost-complete nests, although no birds were yet sitting. Adam Gretton

Breeding reports included 70 pairs at Boxford and a scattered rookery of perhaps 200 pairs at Fornham St.Genevieve. Spring passage at Landguard involved 13 north, 19 south and six in off the sea from February 13th to May 27th, with the highest day counts of one north and five south on March 17th, then six north and one south on Apr.29th. In autumn just seven south on October 25th. CARRION CROW Corvus corone Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant Several large flocks were reported, with almost ali of these from the northern section of the county. The count of 534 at Redgrave and Lopham Fen is the second highest-ever total in Suffolk. The highest is 709 at Shelland in January 2001. A l d r i n g h a m - c u m - T h o r p e : w o o d l a n d roost in Square Covert p e a k e d at 100, Feb.28th and 160, M a y 9th. Aldeburgh M a r s h e s : dusk counts peaked at 133, Feb.26th and 200, D e c . I s t . Trimley S t . M a r t i n : T h o r p e Bay, 4 0 0 , Dec.3rd. Redgrave and L o p h a m Fen: w o o d l a n d roost counts p e a k e d at 450, Jan.9th; 250, Feb.처th; 350, Mar. 18th a n d 534, Dec.29th.

Gipping Great Wood: 80 roosting, Dec.처th. The North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex reported a relatively stable breeding population of 20 pairs, though still well below the maximum of 29 pairs in 1999. At Landguard, spring passage involved 66 south and six in off the sea from March 3rd to May 6th, maximum 19 south, March lOth. Visible movements in autumn involved 22 south between September 21 st and November 6th, maximum seven south, October 8th. Up to four Carrion/Hooded Crow hybrids were in the Benacre/Covehithe area in the early part of the year until at least April 21 st. HOODED CROW Corvus cornix Scarce winter visitor Just two records, involving one on the Denes at Kessingland, January 7th and one at Walberswick, November 1 st. COMMON RAVEN Corvus corax Very rare visitor There were two sightings of this magnificent corvid during the year, involving three individuals. W e s t l e t o n / D u n w i c h : Dingle Marshes, two circling north, high overhead, M a y 13th (P.D.Green). Aldeburgh: N o r t h Warren, one in o f f the sea at T h e H채ven, N o v . l 5 t h , then south (J.Davies).

143


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 COMMON STARLING Sturnus vulgaris Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. A large number of roost and other counts were reported from across the county, but all were dwarfed by the massive 250000 counted at Hen Reedbeds in mid-October. This is probably the largest roost in Suffolk since 1977, when a winter roost at Combs Wood, near Stowmarket, was estimated to contain up to 500000 birds. Peak counts were: Flixton: 3000 north, Mar.23rd. Blyth Estuary: 25000 north-east to roost, Feb.3rd. Walberswick: 2000 at Fen Covert, Oct.28th. Reydon: 20000 at Hen Reedbeds, Jan. 13th; in October a maximum of 250000 roosting in mid-month reduced to 80000 by the month's end. The roost flattened 200 square metres of reedbed. Minsmere: 2000 at roost behind south hide on Dec.23rd. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 2000 south past Ness House on Feb.22nd; 1500 at pig units, Mar. 16th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 1200, Oct.l3th; 5000 at reedbed roost, Dec.18th. Orford: Havergate Island, 2500, Mar.23rd. Bawdsey/Hollesley: Shingle Street, 3000, Mar. 18th. Levington Creek: 3500, Dec.7th. Trimley St.Martin: Thorpe Bay, 3000, Feb. 19th; 1000, Oct.27th and 6000, Dec.4th. Trimley Marshes: 5000 roosting from October to December. Lackford Lakes: 20000, Jan.l 1th and 10000, Jan.24th.

At Landguard the mid-summer peak count was 2000 on July 20th. A below-average autumn passage occurred from September 26th to November 7th, with a total of 2746 noted coming in off the sea or flying south, maximum 1295 in/south on October 25th. In late autumn the Landguard roost peaked at 2000, November 28th. ROSY STARLING Sturnus roseus Rare visitor. Categories A and E. Three records involved single birds at Minsmere,Felixstowe and Landguard, with the latter the 30th record for Suffolk. Minsmere: adult on wires between Westleton and Minsmere, Jun.l Ith (RSPB) and again over the scrape at 07.27 hrs, Jun.l5th (G.Welch). Felixstowe: Golf Road, Old Felixstowe, Jun.l4th (L.G.Woods et al); juvenile, Landguard Sep.28th (J.Zantboer, R.Cope, B.Mackie et al) - the fourth record for the site.

HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus Common but declining resident. Red list. Several large flocks were reported this year, but it would be invaluable if observers could make a concerted effort to locate any large flocks, especially in more under-reported areas. Peak counts were: Corton: 200 in wheat field at Corton Cliffs, July 4th, then at the sewage farm, Aug.lst. Kessingland: 95, Sep.l 1th. Ilketshall St.Margaret: 31 attracted to feeding station, Jan. 15th. South Elmham: 32, Feb. 17th. Snape: 40, Rookery Farm, Sep.2nd. Felixstowe Ferry: 31, May 19th; 120, Aug.26th and 71, Sep. 12th. Landguard: 120, Aug. 18th and 50, Nov.24th. Trimley St.Mary: Old Kirton Road, 70, Jan. 1st; 60, July 23rd; 80, Aug.27th and 60, Dec.28th. Trimley Marshes: 73, Aug.24th. Long Melford: SO in fields and gardens, Westgate Street, Aug.24th. Glemsford: peak of 55 by end of breeding season.

Breeding reports included something of a recovery to 33 pairs at Aldringham Walks (20 in 2002), a speculated 20 pairs at Landguard and 23 pairs at Boxford, with at least four of these producing fledged young. 144


21. Hume's Leaf Warbler: the second Suffolk record, Southwold, October. Tim Brown


22. Pallas's Leaf Warbler: St. Edmund's Churchyard, Southwold, October, bui

Bastรณn


3. Radde's Warbler: at Lowestoft cemetery, October.

24. Bearded Tits: a flock at Easton Broad, February.

Tim Brown

ciive Naunton


Systematic List EURASIAN TREE SPARROW Passer montanus Uncommon and declining resident. Scarce passage migrant. Red list. This once-widespread species continues to decline right across the county, with only Ampton reporting reasonable numbers. Records came from just seven sites: Covehithe: Mar.21st and Aug. 15th. Westleton/Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, Nov.4th.

Eastbridge: Jan.5th. Minsmere: Jan.22nd and Aug.9th. Sudbourne: Ferry Farm buildings, two, Jun.23rd. Landguard: single birds noted on six dates f r o m Sep. 1st to Sep.20th; three south, Sep.l 1th and one, Nov. 17th. A m p t o n : peak monthly counts in a g a m e strip were 40, Jan.26th; 35, Feb.5th and 20, Mar.lst and 14th. (M.Wright, D.K.Underwood, G.J.Jobson).

CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories A and E. Few large flocks were reported from across the county with peak counts as follows: Eastbridge: 100 in game cover, Jan.l 1th. Sizewell: 212, Jan.6th and 50, Nov. 17th. A l d r i n g h a m - c u m - T h o r p e : 130 on outdoor pig units, Aldringham Walks, Feb.20th; 2 0 0 north, Thorpeness C o m m o n , Oct. 18th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood, 100, Jan.26th.

Boxford: 130, Nov.6th. Santon Downham: 50, Apr. 18th. Breeding reports included 45 territories at Dunwich Heath, 366 territories at Minsmere, 136 territories at the Sizewell Estate (140 in 2002) and a recovery to 409 territories at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (348 in 2002). At Lackford Lakes six adults and eight juveniles were trapped at the Constant Effort Site, which is the best return since 1996. Autumn passage at Landguard involved 544 flying south/in off the sea between September 8th and November 28th, (1531 in autumn 2000) maximum 105 south, November 4th. BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Good numbers were reported from the west of the county in the first-winter period, although birds were scarce on the coast. Peak counts were: Iken: 20, Iken Hall, Jan.4th and 20, Iken Cliff, Jan.24th.

Elveden: 400, Jan. 17th. West Stow: N o r t h Stow, 40, Feb.21st.

Shelterhouse Corner: 200, Jan.25th. Santon Downham: 200, Jan. 17th and 250, Feb.2nd. Still widespread in April, with peak counts of 40 at Brandon CP, April 12th, 54 at Santon Downham, April 18th and 40 at Hollesley Common, April 21st. Two singing males were reported from Dunwich Heath in April, with the last bird there on 26th. Autumn passage began in late September and Landguard recorded 139 south and one in off the sea from September 25th to November 25th, maximum 103 south plus six on site, November 4th. The only other September record involved one at Corton on 29th. October marked the main passage through the county as follows: Corton: 20, Oct.27th. L o w e s t o f t : Normanston Cemetary, 22, Oct.23rd; Gunton, 100, Oct.23rd. S o u t h w o l d : 2 0 south, Oct.23rd.

145


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Sizewell: 20 south, Oct. 19th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness Common, 70 north, Oct. 18th. Aldcburgh: North Warren, 20 in off the sea, Nov.lรณth.

The only counts of note in the latter two months of the year were 32 at the King's Forest, December 6th and 30 at Levington Creek from December 27th to 30th. EUROPEAN SERIN Serinus serinus Rare migrant. Amber list. A single spring record of this delightful south European finch was reported from the coast. Remarkably, it is the first site record. Minsmere: May 5th (G.Welch). EUROPEAN GREENFINCH Carduelis clitoris Very common resident and passage migrant. Categories A and E. The only flocks of note reported in the first-winter period were 109 at Minsmere, January 6th, 200 at Polstead, January 17th, 80 at Lackford Lakes, January 24th and 224 at Old Newton, March 22nd. The only breeding reports of any significance involved a recovering population of 62 pairs at North Warren (54 in 2002 and 61 in 2001) and 34 territories at Minsmere. At Landguard, visible migration was noted in autumn with 3018 south from August 27th to November 19th, maximum 319 south on October 11th with 80 on the site the same day and 119 south on November 6th. Several flocks were reported in the second-winter period with the following peaks: Pakefield: 88 on the beach, Nov.lรณth. Eastbridge: 100 on fallow land, Dec.29th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 60, Aug.9th; 220, Sep.23rd; 300, Oct.2nd and 200, Nov. 13th. All were feeding on weedy pea stubbles. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 120 roosting on edge of reedbed Dec.27th. Lakenheath Fen: 100, Dec.l5th.

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Thin on the ground in the first-winter period with just four flocks of any significance; 100 at Westleton, January 29th, 55 at Minsmere, January 6th, 80 at Lackford Lakes, January 11th and 50 at Lakenheath Fen, February 5th. Spring migration at Landguard involved 723 south from March 3rd to June 12th, maximum 104, April 22nd. Significant breeding reports included a stable population of 27 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (29 in 2002) and 14 territories at Minsmere. A flock of 80 at Stradishall Airfield on August 31st included a good proportion of juveniles. Landguard reported visible autumn migration totalling 4000 south (5086 in 2002) from September 3rd to November 28th, maximum 658 on October 10th. A better showing in the second half of the year with several large flocks reported as follows: Minsmere: 120, Oct.3rd. Sizewell: 75 south, Sep.29th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: North Warren, 55 on thistles, Aug.24th. Euston Park: 120, Dec.28th. Giffords Park: 125, Sep.21st. Glemsford: 80 in December.

146


Systematic List EURASIAN SISKIN Carduelis spinas Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Categories A and E. A very good showing in the first-winter period with several large flocks reported as follows: Oulton: Holly Road, peak of 128, Feb.4th. Kessingland: 86 over Coopers Lane, Feb. 1st.

Dunwich Heath: 100 from Mar.l4th to 17th. Minsmere: 80 in alders, J a n . l 8 t h , 120 in alders, Feb.2nd then 50, Mar.26th and Apr.4th. A l d r i n g h a m - c u m - T h o r p e : North Warren, 60, Jan.4th then 50, Feb.2nd and 7th. Snape: Church C o m m o n , 50 throughout January and February. Brent Eleigh: up to 50 f r o m January to March.

Lackford Lakes: 200, Jan.26th and 29th. Cavenham Heath: 130, Jan,12th. Santon Downham: 55, Apr. 18th Landguard reported a small spring passage of four north and eight south plus 18 on site from March 6th to May 11th; a juvenile was present on June 15th. Coastal breeding reports are usually few and far between but this year a pair was present at Dunwich Heath from April to June, a pair was reported from Minsmere and juveniles were located in July at Theberton and Eastbridge. The only breeding season report from the west involved a singing male at Nunnery Lakes NR, May 13th. Autumn passage at Landguard involved ten north, 126 south and six birds on site from September 17th to November 16th, maximum 18 south, October 10th. Other movements included 70 north at Thorpeness Common, October 18th and 100 south at Sizewell, October 19th. Somewhat scarcer in the second-winter period with peak counts of just 60 at Minsmere, December 12th, 65 at Newbourne Springs, December 30th, 50 at Lineage Wood, Lavenham, December 28th, 114 at West Stow, December 6th and 150 at Thetford, December 30th. COMMON LINNET Carduelis cannabina Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Red list. A reasonable showing in the first four months of the year with several large flocks reported from right across the county: Covehithe: 172 on weedy fields, Jan.5th and 400, Feb.3rd; 300 on outdoor pig units, Mar.8th.

Minsmere: 75, Jan.4th. Friston: 300 on fallow l a n d Apr.lOth, and 150, Apr.28th.

Shingle Street: 70, Jan. 10th. Waldringfield: 200, Jan.l3th. Creeting St.Peter: Sheepcote Hall, 400, Mar.2nd. Stowupland: 82 on weedy cereal stubble, Jan. 14th and 149 on set-aside stubble, Feb.24th. Stowmarket: Creeting Road, 250, Jan.5th.

Barton Mere: 80, Feb. 15th. Mildenhall Fen: 60, Jan. 18th. Late spring flocks included 70 at North Warren, May 24th and 50 at Orfordness, May 5th. Spring passage at Landguard involved 152 south from April 22nd to May 17th, maximum 102 south on Apr.22nd and up to 120 were present on site in late June. A slight recovery in the breeding population at North Warren and Aldringham Walks to 70 pairs (67 in 2002, 99 in 2001 and 107 in 2000), while Minsmere also noted an increase to 47 pairs (33 in 2002). At Dunwich Heath 20 pairs were located, while 30 pairs were reported from Landguard. Autumn passage at Landguard began with five south on August 21st, then a total of 2042 south from September 20th to November 25th, maximum 566 south on October 8th. 147


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Relatively scarce in the last part of the year with the only flocks of consequence being 110 at Benacre Broad, September 22nd, 300 at Covehithe, September 18th, 200 at North Warren, October 10th, 70 at Trimley Marshes, August 1st and 100 at Holbrook Creek, December 17th. TWITE Carduelisflavirostris Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. This often-overlooked, small, brown finch was only reported from eight locations but in reasonable numbers. All records are reported as follows: Covehithe: "several" birds noted in large finch flock, Feb.2nd; two, Covehithe Broad, Oct. 15th. Reydon: 40, Feb.l6th and 50, Hen Reedbed, Dec.5th. Walberswick: 40, Jan.6th.. Dunwich: beach car park, 15, Feb.8th and four, Feb. 18th. Minsmere: eight north, Jan.24th. Deben Estuary: on the WeBS counts 45, Jan.5th; ten, Feb. 16th; 28, Nov. 16th and seven, Dec. 14th. Waldringfield: 45, Jan 9th.. Hemley: 54, Spinny Marshes, Jan. 12th, including one taken by a Merlin.

LESSER REDPOLL Carduelis cabaret Uncommon and declining resident. Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Very scarce in 2003 and this species appears to be undergoing a substantial decline throughout the county. No three figure-flocks were reported, with peak counts of just 30 at Corton, October 27th, 40 at Southwold, October 27th, 20 at Middleton, January 14th, 55 at Minsmere, October 24th, 47 north at Thorpeness, November 1st, 70 at North Warren, December 2nd and 40 at Santon Downham, March 21 st. The only breeding records received came from Dunwich Heath, where two pairs were reported from April through to June. Autumn passage at Landguard totalled 266 birds ( 172 in autumn 2002) from October 4th to November 25th, with a peak movement of 60, November 4th. MEALY (COMMON) REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Mealy Redpolls (Carduelis flammea flammea) were reported from just six locations as follows: Corton: Oct.24th. Southwold: Oct.27th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, one ringed, Nov.l6th. Landguard: seven, Nov.4th; one, Nov.รณth; three, Nov. 15th and two, Nov. 16th. Brent Eleigh: male, Dec.28th. Brandon: Mayday Farm, Mar.20th.

COMMON CROSSBILL Loxia cun'irostra Locally common resident and irruptive visitor. The irruption in the second half of 2002 meant that good numbers of birds were reported in the first half of 2003. Peak counts were: Benacre: 40, Apr.7th. Blythburgh: Westwood Lodge, 25, June 18th. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, 40 in March peaking at 50, May 11th and up to 40 throughout June and into July; Dunwich Forest, 25 from May 10th to 14th. Westleton Heath: 25, May 21st. Minsmere: up to 40 throughout April, then a maximum of 120, May 13th.

148


Systematic List Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, up to 23 daily in April peaking at 50, Jun.l6th.

Tunstall Forest: 20, Apr. 18th. Capei St Andrew: Tangham, 25, Mar.25th Mildenhall: High Lodge, 40, Jun.4th.

The King's Forest: 22, Mar.29th. Santon Downham: 30, Jan. 14th; 50, Mar.27th and 50, Apr.25th. Thetford: Lodge Farm, 26, May 18th.

Most of these birds had dispersed by late summer and the only count of note later in the year involved 30 at West Stow CP, December 5th. COMMON BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Common but declining resident. Red list. The increase in numbers reported at North Warren and Aldringham Walks in 2002 was maintained in 2003 with 33 pairs located (34 in 2002 and 23 in 2001). Minsmere reported a slight decline to 18 pairs (21 in 2002) but numbers were reported to be significantly higher than a few years ago. Other breeding reports included four pairs at both Dingle Marshes and Dunwich Heath, seven pairs at the Wolves/Ramsey Woods complex and seven pairs at Bradfield Woods. The only counts of note during the year were nine at Sizewell, January 6th and nine at Polstead, December 29th. At East Town Park, Haverhill, ten new birds were ringed during the year, including seven first-winter birds. Males of the bright northern race (P.p.pyrrhula) were reported from Minsmere on January 11th and Thorpeness Common on November 8th. HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. Amber list. This striking finch continues to be very scarce, being reported from just seven locations as follows: Sotterley Park: single birds, Jan.6th, Jan. 18th and Mar.26th; two, Feb. 13th and Mar.9th and three, Dec. 29 th. Woodbridge: one overhead, May 26th. 'ÂżiĂ&#x; : Lackford: one over Flempton golf course, Jan. 1st. Bamhamcross Common: up to nine on many dates Hawfinch Mark Cornish in January, up to 17 on several dates in February, two, Mar. 11th, then a peak of five in November and nine in late December.

Hardwick Heath: Mar. 14th. Santon Downham: two, Jan. 14th and one, Jan. 19th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, three, Jan.28th and up to eight between Mar.3rd and Mar.5th.

LAPLAND LONGSPUR Calcarius Uncommon winter visitor and passage All reports came from the latter part between Minsmere and Orfordness as

lapponicus migrant. of the year and were confined to an area of coast follows:

Minsmere: on north wall, Oct. 17th and 18th; one, Nov. 13th and 15th; south, Dec.29th (RSPB, D.F.Walsh). Sizewell: two on the beach, Sep.28th (RSPB). Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: south over the country club at Thorpeness, 0ct.30th (J.H.Grant); over the beach, D e c . l 3 t h (RSPB). Aldeburgh: North Warren, west over the beach, Nov.l3th (D.Thurlow) and three south at The Haven, Nov.30th (S.Abbot).

149


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Widespread along the coast in both winter periods but still in relatively low numbers. It seems that a run of mild winters has tempted this species to remain in more northerly latitudes. Peak counts were: Lowestoft: North Beach, 16, Nov.29th. Kessingland: 25 almost daily in January with max.of 28, Jan.7th; in February peak counts of 28 on 5th and 8th; in March ten from 4th to 8th, nine on 9th. Westlcton/Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, 82 on the beach, Nov. 19th. Minsmere: 18, Nov.l7th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 80, Nov.30th; Slaughden, 35, Dec.30th. Orfordness: monthly peaks were ten, Oct.26th; 85, Nov.23rd and 32, Dec. 14th. Shingle Street: 58, Jan. 1st, 55, Jan.6th; 50, Feb.Ist; 15, Mar.9th and 70, Nov.30th. Felixstowe Ferry: 24, Jan.6th and 12, Jan.22nd.

The last sightings of the winter involved four at Covehithe, March 13th, then one at Sizewell on September 28th marked the return to Suffolk for the second-winter period. YELLOWHAMMER Emberiza citrinella Common resident and passage migrant. Red list. The breeding population at the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex continued to decline, although the site still supported a healthy 84 pairs (102 in 2002 and 127 in 2001). Minsmere also reported a decline to 19 pairs (after 28 in 2002) while other breeding reports included six pairs at Dunwich Heath and five pairs at Sizewell Estate. Reported as a common breeding species in Thetford Forest, although some idea of numbers would be very useful as this species seems to be in decline across the county. O n l y o n e flock o f n o t e w a s r e p o r t e d , f r o m t h e u s u a l site at N o r t h f i e l d W o o d , O n e h o u s e , a l t h o u g h s e v e r a l s m a l l flocks w e r e a l s o n o t e d . P e a k c o u n t s w e r e : Covehithe: 25 on stubble, Jan.7th. Henstead: Hulver, 20, Feb.9th. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes, 50, Feb.l6th. Bovton: Boyton Marshes, 45, Jan.l 1th. Levington: 25 at roost, Feb.25th. Trimlev Marshes: 25, Feb.25th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood, 600, Jan.26th (J.Walshe). Boxford: 33, Mar.2nd. Acton: 20, Jan.23rd. Long Melford: 22 at the sewage works, Feb.22nd. Glemsford: 20, Mar. 13th and in December. Brettenham: 90 in January.

ORTOLAN BUNTING Emberiza hortulana Rare passage migrant. This is the first county record since three at Landguard in autumn 1997. Landguard: Sep.3rd and 4th (many observers). REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus Common resident and passage migrant. Red list. The new RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen has now established itself as by far the best breeding site for this species in the county with 163 breeding territories reported (87 in 2002). Other reports included a record 38 pairs at North Warren (36 in 2002 and 29 in 2002), a decline at Minsmere to 31 territories (38 in 2002), 21 pairs at Dingle Marshes, 16 pairs at Hen Reedbeds, nine pairs at Sizewell Estate and 20+ pairs at Orfordness. 150


Systematic List Very few flocks were reported with just 12 at Sizewell, September 10th, 47 at Havergate Island, October 24th, 23 at Trimley Marshes, December 21st, 47 at Creeting Road, Stowmarket, February 23rd, 30 at Lackford Lakes, January 24th and 27 there on February 24th. Autumn passage at Landguard involved a total of 25 south and 19 birds on site from September 24th to November 28th, maximum four on three dates. At Orfordness, a total of 249 birds was ringed during the year, with 206 of these from September to November. CORN BUNTING Emberiza calandra Locally common resident. Red list. Recorded from 25 sites with the majority of the records coming from the south and the west of the county. Peak counts were: Carlton Colville: 12, Mar.6th and five, Mar.8th. Bawdsey: East Lane Lagoons, ten, Oct.31st. Chelmondiston: Lings Lane, 18, Jan.25th and 30, Dec. 17th.

Holbrook Creek: 14, Dec. 18th. Acton: 30, Jan.23rd. Chilton: 60 at a grain store, Jan. 13th.

Haverhill: 35, Mar.30th.

At Landguard, three spring records involved single birds flying south, March 24th and April 26th, and one on site, April 5th. The Orfordness Report stated that "one on April 13th was the only record for this now scarce bird". The only breeding reports involved two singing males at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath. Please send in all breeding records for this scarce and declining species.

APPENDIX I - CATEGORY D SPECIES Species that would otherwise appear in Categories A or B except that there is reasonable doubt that they have ever occurred in Britain in a natural state. No Category D species were reported from Suffolk during 2003

2002 additions The following two species were reported in Suffolk Birds 2002 but have now been accepted by BBRC and placed in Category D. Note the revised dates for both species. 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 north-east India, east to northern Thailand. Categories D and E. Minsmere: male on the Scrape, May 14th to Jun.lOth 2002 (W.Miles, R S P B et al).

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 1th to 20th and Jul.7th to 9th 2002 (R.Thewlis, S.E.Newson et al). Hadleigh: Layham Pits, female, Sep.22nd to 29th and Oct.8th and 9th 2002 (B.Baston, J.Oxford

et al). 151


Suffolk Birci Report 2003

APPENDIX II - CATEGORY E SPECIES Species that have been recorded as introductions, transportĂŠes 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 categories of the British List, this is indicated in the species' summary. BLACK SWAN Cygnus atratus Throughout Australia and Tasmania. Category E. Aldcburgh: North Warren, Dec.Ăłth. Lackford Lakes: Apr. 16th. Santon Downham: Jun.26th.

BEAN GOOSE Anserfahalis Breeds widely across northern Eurasia from Norway to eastern Siberia. Winters locally from British Isles east to Japan. Categories A and E. Lound: Lound Water Treatment Plant, Sep. 17th. Easton Bavents/Covehithe: Easton Broad, Feb.2nd. Southwold: Town Marshes, Feb.8th, ring noted on left leg. Minsmere: regularly noted during first winter period, often with Barnacle Geese. Dates include Jan. 16th, Mar.6th to 30th and Apr. 14th to 18th. Ring seen on left leg on Mar. 14th. Trimley Marshes: Aug. 27th. Livermere Lake: one considered to be of the race A. f . rossicus, Apr. 1 st.

It is believed that just one bird was involved in all the northern coastal sightings. It seems likely that this was the same ringed individual of the nominate form that has frequented several sites in the north of the county during the last three winters. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser erythropus Forest bogs of northern Scandinavia east to eastern Siberia. Winters locally from the Netherlands to eastern China. Categories A and E. Several inland records from the west probably refer to a single individual. Icklingham: Adult with Greylag Geese near Cavenham Heath N N R , Mar.22nd, presumed same Icklingham, Apr. 18th and at Temple Bridge, May 8th. Lackford Lakes: Jan. 13th and Feb. 15th.

BAR-HEADED GOOSE Anser indicus Breeds by lakes in central Asia from Mongolia to the Tibetan plateau. Winters throughout the Indian subcontinent and Myanmar (Burma). Category E. Lound: Water Treatment Plant, Sep. 17th. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Feb.20th. Minsmere: Jan.6th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Dec.6th. Boyton: Boyton Marshes, Dec.27th. Livermere Lake: Jan. 1st and Mar.24th. Lackford Lakes: Jan.31st, Feb.l5th and 26th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, Sep. 15th

SNOW GOOSE Chen caerulescens Breeds on tundra of northeast Siberia, Alaska and Canada to NW Greenland. Winters from California to Texas and locally on Atlantic seaboard of eastern USA. Categories A and E. Lackford Lakes: Dec. 14th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, blue morph, Jan.28th.

152


Systematic List ROSS'S GOOSE Chen rossii Breeds on tundra of arctic Canada. Winters in southern USA. Category E. Fritton Lake: with 100 Barnacle Geese, Mar.7th. Livermere Lake: see Lackford Lakes below. Lackford Lakes: blue morph individual, with the Greylag Goose flock, present between October and December, also regularly appeared at Livermere Lake.

EMPEROR GOOSE Chen canagica Breeds on tundra of northeast Siberia and western Alaska. Winters from southern Alaska to northern California. Category E. Easton Bavents/Covehithe: Easton Marshes, Feb.2nd. Livermere Lake: singles, Jan. 1st and again in March.

Lackford Lakes: two, Jan. 13th; singles Feb. 15th and Apr. 16th. CANADA GOOSE Branta canadensis Breeds North America. Categories A, C and E Southwold: the adult of the small, dark-breasted form B. c. minima that was present in late 2002 was noted again on several dates including Feb.8th.

BARNACLE GOOSE Branta leucopsis Breeds Greenland, Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya, with new and rapidly increasing population in Baltic Sea. Categories A and E. The number of Barnacle Goose records continues to increase and with regular breeding believed to be occurring at several sites in the region, it is no longer possible to separate records of presumed escapees from presumed feral birds during the period between early August and early April. The numbers wintering in the northeast of the county continue to increase, and these are discussed in the main section of the report. Records outside this period, or of birds more likely to be of captive origin, are very few and are detailed below. Minsmere: seven, May 4th. Sibton: Sibton Park, flock of 16, May 18th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, four, May 6th, five in off the sea, May 17th. Boyton: three, Jan.5th. Bawdsey: three south, Feb.9th.

Trimley Marshes: three, Jan. 10th; one, Jan.27th and two, May 4th. Shelley/Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Park, two, May 23rd to Jun.lst.

Lackford Lakes: four, May 5th. Elveden: 25 on a farm reservoir, Apr.20th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, Feb.7th.

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. Benacre: Benacre Broad, Nov.24th. Minsmere: Minsmere, Nov.9th and 10th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, Aug.29th.

RUDDY SHELDUCK Tadorna ferruginea 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. Although there are a large number of reports of this species in 2003, it seems likely that all 153


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 relate to one, or perhaps two, birds that took up residence in the southern part of the county and made occasional appearances at well-watched sites. Orford: Orfordness, Mar.2nd and 9th, and again, Jun. 14th. At nearby Havergate Island Jul.3rd, 5th and 29th, and again Aug. 15th. Bawdsey/Hollesley: Shingle Street, seen most days between Mar. 14th and 28th, Apr. 15th and 2 2 n d and again, May 10th. Bawdsey: East Lane lagoons. Mar. 11th. Bawdsey Manor, Mar.23rd. What was presumably this same bird was also reported on the River Deben between Bawdsey and Ramsholt, also Mar.23rd. Trimley Marshes: intermittently between Jul.20th and the end of the month, with occasional sightings until Sep. 17th, and again Nov.9th. What is believed to be the same individual then moved to Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, where it was recorded on most days throughout August and again, Oct. 19th. Alton Water: Oct. 10th.

CAPE SH EL DUCK Tadorna cana Breeds in southern Africa. Category E. Lound: Lound Water Treatment Plant, female, Sep. 17th.

AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK Tadorna tadornoides Breeds throughout eastern Australia and Tasmania. Category E. Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, female, Jun.22nd.

WOOD DUCK Aix sponsa Breeds from southern Canada through USA to northern Mexico, Cuba and Bahamas. Northern breeders winter in southern USA and northern Mexico. Category E. Parham: two males, Feb. 1st.

CHILOĂ&#x2039; WIGEON Anas sibilatrix Breeds southern South America to Falkland Islands. Some winter southeast Category E.

Brazil.

Minsmere: Feb.9th.

CHESTNUT TEAL Anas castanea Breeds southern Australia and Tasmania. Category E. Shelley/Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Park, May 18th to Jun. Ist.

RED-TAILED HAWK Buteo jamaicensis Widespread throughout temperate North America south to Costa Rica and West Indies. Category E. Elveden: Feb.26th, presumably the Mayday Farm bird, below. Brandon/Wangford: Mayday Farm, one seen intermittently between Jan.25th and May 22nd.

LANNER FALCON Falco biarmicus Largely resident in arid regions 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. Orford: Orfordness, one showing the characters of the north African form F. b. erlangen throughout the year and appeared to be paired with a female Peregrine Falcon.

was present

INDIAN PEAFOWL l'avo cristatus Breeds throughout the Indian subcontinent from eastern Pakistan south to Sri Lanka. Category E. Benacre: Benacre Broad, male, Aug.22nd. Flixton: A female on a house roof, Aug. 10th.

154


Systematic List SOUTHERN LAPWING Vanellus chilensis Breeds throughout much of South America from southern Argentina and Chile north to Venezuela and Colombia. Minsmere: Mar. 11th. COCKATIEL Nymphicus hollandicus Widespread throughout interior Australia. Category E. L o w e s t o f t : in a garden in Oxford Road, Jul. 1 Oth.

BUDGERIGAR Melopsittacus undulatus Drier regions of Australia. Category E. Felixstowe: Landguard, flew south, Jan.23rd.

EURASIAN EAGLE OWL Bubo bubo Breeds throughout much of Europe, north Africa and northern Asia. Largely resident. Category E. B r a n d o n : adult found dead in road, early August. Not ringed or wearing jesses.

TACAZZE SUNBIRD Nectarinia tacazze Breeds in the mountains of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, south to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Felixstowe: Landguard, female, M a y 11th, 26th and 28th. Trapped on latter date and found to be in immaculate condition. A salutary warning - not all cagebirds show signs of captivity.

SUDAN GOLDEN SPARROW Passer luteus Breeding range extends across the arid regions of the southern Sahara from and Senegal east to Sudan and northern Ethiopia. Eastbridge: Sep. 1st to 5th.

Mauritania

ISLAND CANARY Serinus canaria Resident on Madeira, Azores and western Canary Islands. Category E. Felixstowe: Landguard, Jun.4th.

YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY Serinus mozambicus Breeds throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal east to Ethiopia and south to South Africa. Category E. K e t t l e b a s t o n : visiting a garden feeder, Sep. 23rd to 25th.

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Suffolk Birci Report 2003

Appendix III - Schedule of Non-Accepted Records The following list consists of records 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 fully established. In only a very few cases were the Committees satisfied that a mistake had been made.

1985 Report Little Shearwater: Minsmere, Nov.3rd.

2001 Report Dusky Warbler: Sizewell, Oct. 13th.

2003 Reports A m e r i c a n Wigeon: Minsmere, Nov.5th; Ferruginous Duck: Minsmere, Jul.5th; Goshawk: Minsmere, March 3rd and 5th; Eleonora's Falcon: Covehithe, May 28th; Gull-billed Tern: Landguard, May 2nd; Buff-bellied Pipit: Levington, Nov.4th and 5th; Red-throated Thrush: Lavenham, Jan.30th; C o m m o n Raven: Lowestoft, Aug.20th.

Withdrawn Record 1999 American Herring Gull: Southwold, Apr.23rd 1999. Record withdrawn by observer. 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.

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List of Contributors Whilst every effort has been made to make this list as comprehensive as possible, some observers names may have been inadvertently omitted. If your contribution has not been ackowledged, please accept my sincere apologies. S.Abbott, P.Aldous, D.Archer, J.Askins, C.& J.Ayers. S.Babbs, D.E.Balmer, T.Bamber, Barn Owl Trust, I.Barton, 1.Barthorpe, B.Baston, R.E.Batty, D.R.Beamish, J.Bedford, P.Beeson, K.Bennett, R.Biddle, Birdguides, S.Bishop, W.J.Brame, J.Brydson, J.A.Brown, R.M.Brown, T.M.Brown, J.Brydson, BTO Thetford, A.Bull, P.Bullett. A.Burrows. N.B.Cant, D.& M.Carter, N.Carter, C.Chapman, J.W.Chapman, P.Clack, N.& J.Clark, P.Collins, G.Conway, R.Coombes, R.Cope, D.Cormack, M.L.Cornish, D.Crawshaw, N.Crouch, C.G.D.Curtis. P.T.Dann, J.A.Davies, J.Davidson, J.Davis, L.F.Davis, J.Dean, P.Denny, Dingle Bird Club, R.Drew, S.Dumican. A.C.Easton, G.Elliot, M.Ellis, Mrs.S.Ellis, English Nature, P.Etheridge. R.Fairhead, D.Fairhurst, M.G.Ferris, A.C.Frost, S.Fryett, D.Fuller. D.Gawin, J.& K.Garrod, N.Gates, J.Glazebrook, J.H.Grant, S.Goddard, S.Gough, A.Green, P.D.Green, A.Gregory, C.Gregory, L.Gregory, A.Gretton. P.Hamling, B.Harrington, M.& B.Hart, R.Hartley, R.Harvey, I.Hawkins, I.Henderson, C.Hewson, J.Higgott, P.Hobbs, R.Hoblyn, S.J.Holloway, P.J.Holmes, C.A.Holt, M.Hopton, A.Howe, S.V Howell, C.Hudson, R.Hughes, T.Humpage, Sir A.Hurrell, C.Hurrell. C.A.Jacobs, C.J.Jakes, S.Jarvis, G.J.Jobson, R.Johnson. J.Kennerley, P.Kennerley, T.P.Kerridge, P.Kilner, C.A.E.Kirtland. P.Lack, Lackford Lakes, Lackford Ringing Group, Landguard Bird Observatory, W.Last, Lavenham Bird Club, S.Leadsom, G.Lowe, E.Lucking, B.Lumb. B.Mackie, R.N.Macklin, J.H.Marchant, S.Marginson, S.Marington, 0.& M.Marks, E.Marsh, M.C.Marsh, R.Marsh, N.Mason, G.Maybury, B.McCarthy, J.McLeod, D.Meldrum, P.Merchant, A.Millar, G.Millins, J.Minihane, Minsmere RSPB, D.R.Moore, M.Morley, P.W.Murphy, A.Musgrove. A.Nairn, P.Napthine, S.Newson, T.C.Nicholson, J.Nisbett, S.Nixon, S.Noble, P.J.Norfolk, M.Nowers. N.Odin, P.Oldfield, J.Oxford. D.de Palacio, I.Paradine, O.B.Parker, D.J.Pearson, G.Piper, S.H.Piotrowski, C.R.Powell. 157


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 I.Quarton. R.Rafe, P.Ransome, M.Raven, N.Rawlings, J.Rayment, P.Read, G.Reeder, A.Richards, P.Richmond, G.A.Riley, A.Riseborough, D.& K.Roberts, I.Robinson, RSPB. I.Salkeld, R.E.Scott, J.Secker, N.Sherman, N.Sibbett, N.Sills, I.Sillett, G.I.Sirwardena, N.J.Skinner, B.J.Small, A.J.Smith, P.Smith, R.C.Smith, R.Stewart, T.Stopher, A.Stuart, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, D.Sutton, M.Swindells. L.Tarver, A.Tate, R.M.Thewliss, M.Thomas, B.Thompson, D.Thurlow, D.K.Toomer, Trimley Marshes SWT. D.K.Underwood. H.Vaughan, P.J.Vincent, N.Vipond. A.H.Wadsworth, R.Walden, C.Waller, D.F.Walsh, J.Walshe, A.Walters, L.H.Weeks, G.R.Welch, J.Welch, J.West, I.Whitaker, P.Whittaker, P.M.Wilson, Peter Wilson, R.Wilton, R.Wincup, G.Woodard, L.G.Woods, S.J.Woods, R.Woodward, M.& R.Wright, M.T.Wright, J.Wright. J.Zantboer.

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Gazetteer This gazetteer gives locations for sites listed in the main checklist section of this issue of Suffolk Birds. The intention is to make it easier for newcomers to birdwatching or those less familiar with the county to be able to locate sites. Specific sites are given a six-figure reference where appropriate; larger sites are given a four-figure reference for the 1km square in which they are situated. Whilst a complete list of all sites would obviously be of most use, it would of necessity, be very long. Therefore, it does not contain parish names which are easily located by reference to a standard road map. Aldeburgh Town Marshes Aide Estuary Aldringham C o m m o n Aldringham Walks Alton Water A m p t o n Water Barham Pits Barnhamcross C o m m o n Barsham M a r s h e s Barton Mere Belle Vue Gardens, Lowestoft Benacre Broad Benacre Pits Bentley Berner's Heath Blundeston M a r s h e s Blyth Estuary Botany Bay Boyton Marshes Boxford Brackenbury Cliff, Felixstowe Brent Eleigh Breydon Water Bromeswell Carlton Marshes Castle Marshes Cattawade Marshes Cavenham Heath Cavenham Pits Christchurch Park, Ipswich C o m b s Lane Water Meadows Cornard Mere Cortรณn railway line Corton sewage works Cosford Hall, Hadleigh Cove Bottom Covehithe Broad Deben Estuary Dingle M a r s h e s Dunwich Heath Eastbridge East Lane, Bawdsey Easton Broad Elveden

TM450560 TM3957-4450 TM458606 TM4661 TM1436 TL8770 TM1251 TL8681 TM4090 TL910668 TM550944 TM530828 TM535842 TM120385 TL7976 TM5095 TM4575-4776 TL675854 TM3946 TL9640 TM322360 TL943480 TM4706-5107 TM3050 TM4991 TM475915 TM0932 TL755725 TL763715 TM164454 TM043581 TL887391 TM537579 TM539982 TMO13446 TM4979 TM524808 TM2850-3238 TM4872 TM4768 TM452660 TM354401 TM518794 TL8279

Erwarton Bay Euston Lake/Park Fagbury Cliff Falkenham Marshes Felixstowe Ferry Fisher Row Flixton G P Foxhole Heath Fressingfield Frostenden Gedgrave Marshes Gifford's Hall Park Gipping Great Wood Glemsford Groton Gunton Warren Hardwick Heath Haughley Park Havergate Island Hazelwood Marshes Hengrave Hall Hen Reedbeds Herringfleet Marshes Herringswell Heveningham Hall Hinderclay Fen Holbrook Bay Hollesley C o m m o n Holywells Park, Ipswich H o m e r s f i e l d Gravel Pits Icklingham Plains Ilketshall St Margaret Ipswich Golf Course Ipswich Wet Dock Kedington Kentwell Hall, L o n g Melford Kessingland Levels Kessingland sewage works King's Fleet King's Forest, The Kirton Creek Knettishall Heath Lackford Lakes Lake Lothing

159

TM2333 TL9079 TM270346 TM3138 TM3237 TM507927 TM3187 TL735776 TM260775 TM4781 TM410480 TM0137 TM075625 TL8348 TL9642 TM5495 TL854625 TM000620 TM4147 TM435573 TM824686 TM470770 TM468977 TL7169 TM350734 TM025788 TM1733 TM330474 T M 175435 TM287855 TL7573 TM3585 TM207433 T M 169439 TL7046 TL863479 TM530850 TM533857 TM310379 TL8173 TM292417 TL952804 TL800710 TM5392


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Lakenheath Fen Lakenheath Warren Lakenheath Washes Landguard Lavenham railway walk Layham Pits Leathes H a m Leiston Abbey Levington Creek Levington Marina Lineage Wood, Lavenham Livermere Lake L o n g Melford churchyard Long Melford sewage works L o o m p i t Lake L o u n d Waterworks Lowestoft Harbour M a r k e t Weston Fen Martlesham Creek Mayday Farm Mickle Mere Middleton Minsmere M i n s m e r e Levels M i n s m e r e Sluice Mutford N e e d h a m Market Lake N e s s Point N o r t h Denes, Lowestoft N o r t h f i e l d Wood N o r t h Warren N o w t o n Park N u n n e r y Lakes Old Newton Orfordness Orwell Bridge Orwell Estuary Outney C o m m o n , Bungay Oulton Broad Oxley M a r s h e s Pakefield Beach P a k e n h a m Fen Peewit Hill Pipp's Ford Potter's Bridge R a m s e y Wood Ramsholt Marshes Redgrave and Lopham Fen Redgrave Lake Reydon Marshes Santon D o w n h a m Shelley

TL7085 TL7580 TL7085 TM2831 TL9049 TM021402 TM530933 TM444643 TM237383 TM246380 TM890485 TL882716 TL868468 TL855459 TM255377 TG501007 TM5592 TL980787 TM2647 TL7983 TL937699 TM4267 TM4766 TM4667 TM478662 TM4988 TM094548 TM555936 TM551951 TM024600 TM4658 TL866615 TL872815 TM0562 TM4654-3743 TM175413 TM1641-2534 TM3290 TM5192 TM370435 TM5389 TL930680 TM289338 TM108538 TM509791 TM065430 TM298423 TM046797 TM055767 TM485766 TL818878 TM0338

Shingle Street Shotley Marshes Shottisham Creek Sizewell Beach Slaughden Sole Bay Sotterley Park Southwold Boating Lake Southwold Town M a r s h e s Spinny Marsh Staverton Thicks Sternfield Stonham Aspal Stour Estuary Stratton Hall Stutton Mill Sudbourne Marshes Suffolk Water Park Sutton C o m m o n Sutton Heath Tangham Temple Bridge, Cavenham Theberton Grange T h e t f o r d Heath Thorington Street Reservoir Thorpeness Common T h o r p e n e s s Meare Thorington Street Reservoir Tinker's Marshes Trimley Marshes Trinity Hall Farm, Moulton T u d d e n h a m Heath Tuddenham St Martin Ufford Undley U p p e r Abbey Farm, Leiston Walberswick N N R Waldingfield airfield Waldringfield Pit Walpole W a n g f o r d Warren Westleton Heath West Stow Country Park Westwood Lodge Westwood Marshes Wetherden Weybread G P s Wherstead Strand Wilford Bridge Wolves Wood Wordwell

160

TM365425 TM248350 TM3043 TM4763 TM464555 TM5177 TM460850 TM510769 TM500754 TM292428 TM3650 TM3961 TM1359 TM1032-2433 TM254388 TM133330 TM4553 T M 120485 TM3247 TM308478 TM355485 TL758728 TM438652 TL845800 TM012352 TM475604 TM4659 TMO12352 TM484760 TM2635 TL693651 TL7472 T M 1948 TM300525 TL6981 TM453646 TM4674 TL8943 TM274438 TM3674 TL758842 TM4569 TL800713 TM465737 TM4773 TM0062 TM2481 T M 173408 TM291501 TM055440 TL828720


Suffolk Birci Report 2003

EARLIEST AND LATEST DATES OF SUMMER MIGRANTS ARRIVALS

DEPARTURES

Garganey Osprey Eurasian Hobby Stone Curlew Little (Ringed) Plover Whimbrel Wood Sandpiper Sandwich Tern C o m m o n Tern

Date Mar. 24 th Apr.24th Apr. 14th Mar.3rd Mar.23rd Mar. 18th Apr.25th Mar.29th Apr.4th

Locality Minsmere Orfordness Dunwich/Minsmere Breckland Livermere Lake Thetford Minsmere Kessingland Three sites - see text

Date Nov. 1 st Sep. 15th Oct.29th Nov. 10th Sep. 18th Sep. 19th Sep. 16th Oct.24th Nov.7th

Arctic Tern

Apr.รณth

Lackford Lakes

Oct. 12th

Little Tern Black Tern European Turtle Dove Common Cuckoo European Nightjar C o m m o n Swift Eurasian W r y n e c k Sand Martin Barn Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail C o m m o n Nightingale C o m m o n Redstart Whinchat Northern W h e a t e a r Ring Ouzel C o m m o n Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Eurasian Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat C o m m o n Whitethroat Garden Warbler Wood Warbler Willow Warbler Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher

Apr. 15 th Apr. 15th Apr. 17th Mar. 17th May 4th Apr. 10th Apr.27th Mar. 19th Mar.22nd Mar.26th Mar.29th Mar.27th Apr. 10 th Apr. 14th Apr. 10th Mar. 8th Mar. 6th

Landguard Livermere L./Lakenheath Great Livermere Ipswich Santon Downham Oulton Broad Minsmere Dunwich/Lackford Lakes Lackford Lakes Thetford Kessingland Livermere Lake Minsmere Thorpeness Landguard Cavenham Heath Bentley

Sep. 13th Sep.25th Oct.2nd Oct.2nd Aug.9th Oct.5th Sep.24th Oct.9th Nov.27th Nov.24th Sep. 14th Nov. 16th Oct.24th Oct.25th Oct.25th Nov.5th Nov. 16th

Locality Minsmere Lakenheath Fen Bawdsey Minsmere Minsmere North Warren Covehithe Broad Minsmere Lowestoft Harbour Ness Point/ Minsmere Thorpeness Sizewell Landguard Sizewell Dunwich Heath Landguard Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Fressingfield Covehithe Orfordness Orfordness Thorpeness Orfordness Shingle Street Trimley

Apr.9th Mar.28th Apr. 9 th Apr. 17th Apr. 13 th Apr. 12th Apr.20th Mar.29th May 4th Apr. 14th

Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Leathes H a m Sizewell Minsmere Wrentham Three sites-see text Minsmere Dunwich

Sep. 11th Oct.4th Oct. 14th Oct. 14th Nov.4th Oct. 12th Aug.30th Sep.30th Sep.28th Oct. 10th

Dingle Marshes Orfordness Thorpeness Thorpeness Thorpeness Landguard Dingle Marshes Landguard Lowestoft Landguard

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A GUIDE TO RECORDING BIRDS IN SUFFOLK Introduction The foundation stone of any report is the data upon which it is based. Unless we ail submit our records diligently, and in a usable form, then the Suffolk Bird Report will not be a 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 ali records. Because of the volume of records in Suffolk the county has been divided into three areas. See the inside front cover for a map and addresses. 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 Ali 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, female, 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 162


A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk may also request further détails regarding any other species that, in the opinion of the committee, is out of context in terms of season, habitat or numbers. A list of records which have not been accepted for publication can be found in the appendices and includes those which have been circulated to the respective committees but were considered unacceptable due to either the identification not being fully established or, more rarely, a genuine mistake having been made. It also includes records that have been previously published in the bulletins of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, British Birds and/or the popular birding press for which further détails were not forthcoming. It does not include records still under considération. Guide to species The following list shows all the species recorded in the county and thus this is also a checklist for Suffolk. For any species not listed, a full description will be required. The list shows those species 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 species 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 species included in category 2 of the Suffolk list, it was decided that the following species, with effect from Ist January 2003, would be placed into category 3 (supporting notes may be requested), due to their more regular occurrence. Leach's Storm Petrel Grey Phalarope Barred Warbier Mute Swan 4 Tundra (Bewick's) Swan 3 Whooper Swan 3 Bean Goose Tundra 3 2 Taiga 3 Pink-footed Goose Greater White-fronted Goose 3 Lesser White-fronted Goose 1 4 Greylag Goose 1 Snow Goose** 4 Canada Goose Barnacle Goose 3 Brent Goose Dark-bellied 4 Pale-bellied 3 1 Black Brant 1 Red-breasted Goose** 3 Egyptian Goose 1 Ruddy Shelduck */** 4 Common Shelduck 4 Mandarin Duck 4 Eurasian Wigeon 2 American Wigeon 4 Gadwall 4 Eurasian Teal 2 Green-winged Teal 4 Mallard 4 Northern Pintail 3 Garganey 1 Blue-winged Teal

Common Crane Long-tailed Skua Yellow-browed Warbler Northern Shoveler Red-crested Pochard Common Pochard Ring-necked Duck Ferruginous Duck Tufted Duck Greater Scaup Common Eider Long-tailed Duck Black (Common) Scoter Velvet Scoter Bufflehead Common Goldeneye Smew Red-breasted Merganser Goosander Ruddy Duck Red-legged Partridge Grey Partridge Common Quail Common Pheasant Golden Pheasant Red-throated Diver Black-throated Diver Great Northern Diver Yellow-billed Diver Little Grebe Great Crested Grebe Red-necked Grebe 163

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

Temminck's Stint Hoopoe 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 Purple Heron Black Stork White Stork Glossy Ibis Eurasian Spoonbill European Honey-buzzard Black Kite Red Kite

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


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 White-tailed Eagle Eurasian Marsh Harrier Hen Harrier Pallid Harrier Montagu's Harrier N o r t h e r n Goshawk Eurasian Sparrowhawk C o m m o n Buzzard Rough-legged Buzzard Greater Spotted Eagle Osprey C o m m o n Kestrel Red-footed Falcon Merlin Eurasian Hobby Eleonora's Falcon G y r Falcon Peregrine Falcon Water Rail Spotted Crake Little Crake Baillons Crake* C o r n Crake C o m m o n Moorhen Allen's Gallinule* C o m m o n Coot C o m m o n Crane 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 Plover Ringed Plover Kentish Plover Greater Sand Plover Eurasian Dotterel American Golden Plover European Golden Plover Grey Plover Sociable L a p w i n g Northern Lapwing Red Knot Sanderling Semipalmated Sandpiper Little Stint Temminck's Stint W h i t e - r u m p e d Sandpiper Baird's Sandpiper Pectoral Sandpiper Sharp-tailed Sandpiper* C u r l e w Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper

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

Dunlin Broad-billed Sandpiper Stilt Sandpiper Buff-breasted Sandpiper Ruff Jack Snipe C o m m o n Snipe Great Snipe Long-billed Dowitcher Eurasian Woodcock Black-tailed G o d w i t Bar-tailed Godwit E s k i m o Curlew* Whimbrel Eurasian Curlew Upland Sandpiper Spotted Redshank C o m m o n Redshank M a r s h Sandpiper C o m m o n Greenshank Greater Yellowlegs Lesser Yellowlegs Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Terek Sandpiper C o m m o n Sandpiper Spotted Sandpiper R u d d y 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 M e w ( C o m m o n ) Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull H e r r i n g Gull Yellow-legged Gull Caspian Gull Iceland Gull G l a u c o u s Gull Great Black-backed Gull Black-legged Kittiwake Ivory Gull Gull-billed Tern Caspian Tern Lesser Crested Tern S a n d w i c h Tern Roseate Tern C o m m o n Tern

164

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

Arctic Tern Sooty Tern Little Tern Whiskered Tern Black Tern White-winged Black Tern C o m m o n Guillemot Razorbill Black Guillemot Little A u k Atlantic P u f f i n Pallas's Sandgrouse* Feral Pigeon Stock Pigeon C o m m o n Wood Pigeon Eurasian Collared Dove European Turtle Dove Rose-ringed Parakeet Great Spotted C u c k o o C o m m o n Cuckoo Yellow-billed C u c k o o Barn Owl Eurasian Scops O w l * Snowy Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Short-eared Owl Tengmalm's Owl* European Nightjar C o m m o n Swift Pallid Swift Alpine Swift C o m m o n Kingfisher European Bee-eater European Roller Hoopoe Eurasian W r y n e c k 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 R e d - r u m p e d Swallow House Martin Richard's Pipit Blyth's Pipit Tawny Pipit Olive-backed Pipit Tree Pipit Pechora Pipit M e a d o w Pipit Red-throated Pipit Rock Pipit

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


A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Water Pipit Yellow Wagtail Blue-headed Wagtail Grey-headed Wagtail Black-headed Wagtail Ashy-headed Wagtail Citrine Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail White Wagtail Bohemian W a x w i n g White-throated Dipper Winter W r e n Hedge Accentor Alpine Accentor European Robin Thrush Nightingale C o m m o n Nightingale Bluethroat Red-flanked Bluetail Siberian Blue Robin Black Redstart C o m m o n Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Siberian Stonechat Isabelline W h e a t e a r Northern W h e a t e a r Pied Wheatear Desert W h e a t e a r White-tailed Wheatear White's T h r u s h Ring Ouzel C o m m o n Blackbird Fieldfare Song T h r u s h Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbler Lanceolated Warbler C o m m o n Grasshopper Warbler River Warbler Savi's Warbler Aquatic Warbler Sedge Warbler Paddyfield Warbler Blyth's R e e d Warbler Marsh Warbler

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

Eurasian Reed Warbler Great Reed Warbler Olivaceous Warbler Booted Warbler Icterine Warbler Melodious Warbler Marmora's Warbler Dartford Warbler Spectacled Warbler Subalpine Warbler Sardinian Warbler Barred Warbler Lesser Whitethroat C o m m o n Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Greenish Warbler Arctic Warbler Pallas' Leaf Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler Hume's Leaf Warbler Radde's Warbler Dusky Warbler Western Bonelli's Warbler Wood Warbler C o m m o n Chiffchaff Siberian Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Collared Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Crested Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Wood Nuthatch Eurasian Treecreeper Eurasian Penduline Tit Eurasian Golden Oriole Isabelline Shrike Red-backed Shrike Lesser Grey Shrike

* not recorded as wild since at least 1949

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

Great Grey Shrike Southern Grey Shrike Woodchat Shrike Eurasian Jay Black-billed Magpie Spotted Nutcracker Red-billed Chough* Eurasian Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Hooded Crow C o m m o n Raven C o m m o n Starling Rosy Starling House Sparrow Eurasian Tree Sparrow Red-eyed Vireo Chaffinch Brambling European Serin European Greenfinch European Goldfinch Eurasian Siskin C o m m o n Linnet Twite Lesser Redpoll C o m m o n Redpoll Arctic Redpoll Two-barred Crossbill C o m m o n Crossbill Parrot Crossbill Trumpeter Finch C o m m o n Rosefinch C o m m o n 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 C o m Bunting

3 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 migrationAveather-related movements requested. Acknowledgements: Thanks to Richard Rafe for compiling the original list.

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Rare Birds in Suffolk 2003 Brian Small Summary After the relatively quiet previous year, 2003 in Suffolk, with three new species for the county, all in October, was certainly a lot busier for the rarity-conscious birder. The highlights for many will have been the two well-watched and long-overdue, first records of Hume's Leaf Warbler. The first, at Sizewell from October 18th to 23rd, was commendably found by Robin Harvey and attracted quite a crowd during its stay, and it was joined by a Pallas's Warbler. The second was found by John Grant in Southwold churchyard and it stayed from October 20th to 27th. It was equally popular and was joined by two Pallas's Warblers on one day at least. Another overdue new species was the American Golden Plover at Breydon Water, which for most of its stay was on the north (Norfolk) side of the river, but between October 16th and 20th was found in fields south of the river and therefore within the old Watsonian boundary of Suffolk. Finally, an Eleonora's Falcon was seen well for a few minutes at Reydon on October 3rd, before it drifted off eastwards, and then it was probably at Benacre Broad mid-afternoon. There was much in the way of a supporting cast. The Dusky Warbler at Kessingland remained from 2002, until January 6th; Ferruginous Duck is now annual at Minsmere it seems (with at least two records there in 2003), and one stayed from 2002 into February; a Black Kite at Westleton and Minsmere was well-observed in April, and was joined by a long-staying Alpine Swift, which roosted on Sizewell power station from April 27th to May 5th. It was in turn accompanied by a Red-rumped Swallow on May 2nd. An inland Marsh Sandpiper found by Malcolm Wright at Great Livermere Lake was also in April, but unfortunately did not stay long. The Sardinian Warbler at Dunwich Heath on July 12th also disappeared rather quickly, as did the Siberian Stonechat at Thorpeness on September 14th. Though no longer national rarities, in Suffolk terms the two Aquatics Warblers on Orfordness were probably amongst the best birds of the year - oh for an easily accessible one of these beauties in the county. It was, of course, a just reward for those who persist with the ringing programme there, as was a Penduline Tit at the same site on November 4th. Despite not hosting a Hume's Leaf Warbler, Lowestoft continued to rule the Phylloscopus roost, with a Greenish Warbler at Gunton, found by James Wright, and a Radde's Warbler, found by Ricky Fairhead. These were supported by numerous Yellowbrowed and Pallas's Warblers. Accepted BBRC Records 2003 Black Brant: King's Fleet/Falkenham, from 2002 to January 3rd (J.and P. Kennerley, M.Ferris et al). Shotley Marshes/Trimley Marshes, from 2002 intermittently to March 27th (N.C.Crouch, N.Odin et at). Ferruginous Duck: Minsmere, from 2002 to February 28th (RSPB, J.and P.Kennerley et al). Black Kite: Minsmere, Westleton and Dunwich, April 29th and 30th (RSPB, R.Drew, M.L.Cornish et al). Eleonora's Falcon: Reydon, adult, October 3rd (B.J.Small). Marsh Sandpiper: Great Livermere Lake, April 17th (Mr and Mrs M.Wright). Alpine Swift: Aldringham, Dunwich, Minsmere and Sizewell, April 27th to May 5th (D.Thurlow, M.L.Cornish, D.F.Walsh et al). Red-rumped Swallow: Minsmere, April 29th and 30th and May 2nd (RSPB, R.Harvey et al). 166


1 Rare Birds in Suffolk 2003

Alpine Swift with Common Swifts and hirundines Mark Cornish

Siberian Stonechat: Thorpeness, first winter female, September 14th, (C.A.Holt, D.de Palacio et al). Sardinian Warbler: Dunwich Heath, July 12th (M.L.Cornish, R.Drew, P.Clack). Greenish Warbler: Gunton, August 25th and 26th (J.A.Brown, A.Easton, J.Wright et al ). Hume's Leaf Warbler: Sizewell, October 18th to 23rd (R.Harvey et al). Southwold, October 20th to 27th (J.H.Grant et al). Radde's Warbler: Lowestoft, October 13th (J.A.Brown, R.Fairhead et al). Dusky Warbler: Kessingland, from December 30th 2002 to January 6th 2003 ( D.Holman, J.Zantboer et al). The following records were multi-observed and have been submitted to BBRC but still await ratification. Great Egret: Minsmere, July 24th (G.Welch, I.Barthorpe, R.Drew et al). Ferruginous Duck: Minsmere, November 3rd to December 31st (RSPB, R.Drew et al). Also at Benacre Broad, November 4th (R.Drew). American Golden Plover: Breydon Water, October 16th to 20th (B.J.Small, D.Fairhurst, E.Marsh et al). Penduline Tit: Orfordness, juvenile trapped and ringed, November 4th (J.R.Askins, D.Cormack). Late Acceptances 1998 "Spanish" Wagtail M.f.iberiae: North Warren, April 25th (B.J.Small). 2001 Red-throated Pipit: Minsmere, October 14th (C.Dunn). 2002 Great Egret: Minsmere, May 20th and North Warren, May 21st (R.Drew et al). Waldringfield, June 19th (T.Gray). 167


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Black Brant: Shotley Marshes/Trimley Marshes, December 24th 2002 to January l l t h 2003, (N.C.Crouch, N.Odin et al). Falcated Duck: Category D. Minsmere, maie, May 14th to June lOth (RSPB, W.Miles et al). Bufflehead: Category D. Great Livermere Lake, female, June 1 lth to 20th and July 7th to 9th (R.M.Thewlis, S.E.Newson et al). Presumed same bird, Lower Layham Pits, September 22nd to 29th and October 8th and 9th (B.Baston, J.Oxford et al). Red-footed Falcon: North Warren, female, July lOth (R.N.Macklin). Radde's Warbler: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, October 12th and 13th (M.C.Marsh, J.Askins, D.Cormack). Orfordness, trapped and ringed, October 30th (S.Piotrowski, J.Askins, D.Cormack). HUME'S LEAF WARBLER - first for Suffolk Circumstances On Saturday, October 18th 2003,1 decided to search the area of trees and scrub around the Sizewell Hall road end. At about 09.00 hrs and within a couple of minutes of leaving the car, 1 had found three Firecrests and a rather dull looking "Yellow-browed Warbler" in the area around the wardens' gate. I quickly summoned R.Coombes, who was scanning through a "crest" flock a short distance away. The "Yellow-browed" had disappeared by this time but was soon refound. 1 was again struck by the dull appearance of the bird and by the cali, which was rather Chiffchaff like and not at ail like any Yellow-browed Warbler I had heard before. After about thirty minutes, with more prolonged views and after hearing more bursts of calling, 1 was confident I was looking at a Hume's Leaf Warbler. 1 rang Peter Green, who informed David Pearson, Richard Drew, Brian Small and David Fairhurst before making his way to Sizewell. P.G. arrived at about 10.30 hrs and had good, though brief, views. By 11.00 hrs, however, the bird had become very elusive and had moved deeper into the woodland nearby, although it could stili be heard calling on occasions. As more birders began to gather RC and I left for a short walk along the coastal path, finding another two Firecrests. When we returned an hour or so later, ali the birders mentioned above, plus a good number of others, had seen the bird and ail those spoken to agreed with the identification. It was also seen by Peter Kennerley, who knows this species very well from India and the Far East and he was able to directly compare a tape recording of a Hume's Leaf Warbler's cali, with the cali of this bird. The bird remained in the same area until October 23rd (I saw it again on 21st) and, although it could be elusive at times, it was enjoyed by many observers. Description General Impressions: A small warbler identical in size and structure to Yellow-browed. Very active and restless, never stili. Skulking at times. Easily located by cali but could disappear for periods when silent. Head: Dull greyish green. Long supercilia rather buff before eye and creamy behind (lacking strong yellow tinge of Yellow-browed) slightly kinked up at rear and meeting across top of bill. Blackish eye stripe. Ear coverts off white, mottled grey green. Whitish eye ring, dark eye. Upperparts: Mantle and scapulars dull grey green. Wing pattern less contrasty than Yellow-browed: two wing bars formed by pale off white tips to dark grey median and greater coverts but upper bar very indistinct and barely visible at any distance. Secondaries and primaries dark grey green with off white tips and olive edges but feather bases (on secondaries) not as dark as on Yellow-browed, producing less contrast with the adjacent 168


Rare Birds in Suffolk 2003 greater covert wing bar. Tertials dark greenish grey with olive fringes and off white tips (again paler and less contrasty than eorresponding feathers on Yellow-browed). Rump grey green as mantle. Rectrices darker grey green with paler edges. Underparts: Dirty white with buffy suffusion at wing bend and grey wash to flanks slightly 'dirtier' looking than Yellow-browed. Bare Parts: Bill appeared all dark at any range with perhaps a hint of pink or horn colouration at the base of the lower mandible at ciĂłse range. Legs dark brownish black. Calis: Three calis were heard. The most frequently uttered was a loud disyllabic "tsweeeoot", with a distinct downward inflection on the second syllable rather reminiscent of a juvenile Chiffchaff. The second type of cali was a "svoooeeet", rather more like an adult Chiffchaff. The most infrequently uttered cali was a slightly more piercing "chveet". RobĂ­n Harvey HUME'S LEAF WARBLER - second for Suffolk Circumstances Having endured a rather fruitless seawatch early on October 20th 2003 at the shelter on Southwold Promenade, Dave Richardson and I decided to search for passerines in the nearby St Edmund's churchyard and arrived there at about 10.00 hrs. The weather was good, with bright sunshine giving excellent light and a fresh easterly wind, which had been blowing persistently for more than a week. At about 10.15 hrs I noticed a "Yellow-browed" type Phylloscopus warbler in the lower branches of a crabapple tree, consorting with a Firecrest and at least one Goldcrest. The bird immediately struck me as being rather pallid and washed-out, having none of the vivid contrast in its plumage that I associated with Yellow-browed Warbler. Only the day before I had seen and heard the Hume's Leaf Warbler at Sizewell and this bird struck me as being remarkably similar in plumage detail. I called out to D.R. and we watched the bird for the next few minutes as it hyperactively flitted through trees and dense holly. After further sightings I soon became convinced that this was a Hume's Leaf Warbler. However, I knew that hearing the cali is essential to clinch identification, particularly as some Yellow-browed Warblers can appear rather grey and washed out. This bird was frustratingly silent. Other birders were alerted and Brian Small eventually heard the bird cali during the afternoon and was convinced of its identity. On the next day, the 21 st, the bird showed very well at times in a small sycamore and myself and others heard it cali many times. The bird was present up to October 27th and often showed very well, although it could also be extremely elusive. Sometimes it fed high in the canopy of several tall sycamores in the eastern half of the churchyard, where it could be very difficult to see. It was seen and heard by scores of observers and I know of none who disagreed with the identification. It was also photographed by several people. I had previously seen a number of Hume's Leaf Warblers in northern India in 1999 and also in China in 2002. Description The essential features which indicated that this was a Hume's Leaf Warbler rather than a Yellow-browed were as follows: Very dull grey green tones in plumage, with none of the sharply defined contrasts seen in P.inornatus. The tertials were dull ashen-grey with ill-defined off-white edging, not the crisp blackish colour of P.inornatus and without the clear white edgings of that species. 169


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 The only well-defined wing-bars were formed by the edges of the greater coverts. Second wing-bars did exist, formed by about three of each wing's median coverts but these were very poorly defined and, indeed, at times were barely discernable. The face of the bird appeared extremely pale, with largely piain, pale ear coverts rather than the darker ear coverts of P.inornatus. The bill appeared completely black, as did the legs and feet. Although the bird appeared to be a similar size to P.inornatus it consistently appeared to be dumpy and bull-necked or, at times, even neckless. Call: This was a crucial aspect of identification and many observers paid particular attention to the bird's vocalisations. In general the bird uttered a quite loud, distinctly disyllabic but short and clipped call, which was repeated in energetic bursts. I transcribed it in my notes on the second day of observation, when the wind had eased and the bird was calling frequently, as "Ch-woo" or "Ts-oo". The first syllable being uttered with greater intensity and force than the second. On several occasions this was reduced to a monosyllabic "Choo" or "Tsoo", which was even more clipped and intense. On no occasion did the bird give a call remotely resembling P.inornatus, which to my ears has a bright, cheerful and optimistic character, probably as a resuit of its upward inflections. The Southwold bird's call was much lower pitched than P.inornatus, having none of the character of Coal Tit exhibited by P.inornatus. If anything it had a sparrowlike quality. John Grant AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER - first for Suffolk Circumstances At midday on October I6th I received a call from Justin Zantboer with the news that the American Golden Piover present on Breydon Water from October 12th had been reported in fields south of the estuary. This put a sense of urgency into my desire to see it, as it was now within the old Watsonian boundary of Suffolk. I set out and arrived by early afternoon, but with nobody seemingly watching it and the sun in the south, a distant flock of roosting Golden Plovers in the fields probably held the bird but were hard to observe in any detail. After 50 minutes or so on my own, and still trying to find a small dark piover amongst the flock (with a number of false alarms caused by a bored imagination), David Fairhurst and Eddie Marsh arrived. Luckily for my ego, they couldn't find it either, but finally when the whole flock suddenly took flight, David and I exclaimed at the same time - though I stili believe I was first! that we could see the dark underwings and axillaries of 'the bird'. Even in flight, it was notable for its small size, slim wings, largely black belly, and legs that just protruded beyond the tail tip. Once the flock had landed, it was much easier to pick the bird out as it fed amongst the more active flock. We enjoyed fairly distant but still good views for the next hour and soon a heavily-breathing John Grant arrived. With the piover stili present he was soon able to smile. The bird was present around Breydon Water up to October 20th and was seen by many observers during its stay. Description Smaller and neater in build than the Eurasian Golden Plovers alongside, with an attenuated rear end caused by long primaries projecting beyond the tail. It was in truth darker than the other plovers, spangled with larger faded golden notches to the coverts and tertials in particular. A pale white supercilium ran back over the eye, down the neck side, then blotchily along the flanks - where moult was breaking up the black of the underparts. 170


Rare Birds in Suffolk 2003 Subtleties such as the tertial/tail/primary tip relationship were not discernable at this distance, but we were in no doubt as to its identity. Brian Small ELEONORA'S FALCON - first for Suffolk Circumstances This was pure jam! Having completed an important batch for the BBRC, at 13.00hrs on October 3rd I stepped out the front door of our house in Reydon armed with the file and my bins - there had been Redwings, redpolls and Swallows moving throughout the day. Immediately, I could hear the 'Hobby alarm' of Swallows' and looked up to see a falcon gliding slowly over my house. Thinking Hobby, I lifted my bins, and my puise began to race at the sight of black underwings, gingery body, lithe shape, with long tail and long wings. It was surely a pale phase Eleonora's Falcon and I called Janet out to see it. For the next five minutes it drifted amongst the Swallows, with half-hearted, but stili fabulous, easy flight as it seemed to almost play with them. Luckily the Swallows stayed over a field opposite my house and I watched the Eleonora's for ca.5 minutes, allowing me time to make sure that I had ali of the features noted in my book - the sketches were very scruffy, as my hand was shaking. I hardly had time to really enjoy it. Eventually, the group of Swallows drifted off back east over my house towards the coast, ca. lkm away. I put the news out to local birders and went to a reedbed nearby in the hope it would be there. John Grant arrived, but despite a number of Swallows moving through, I did not see it again. Then at 15.40hrs Richard Drew rang and asked if my bird was a pale phase. My answer, "yes", was followed by, "well I think I've got it, at Benacre". Upon arrivai the bird, which had been over the distant reedbed to the west of the beach hide, had been lost - probably moving off south. Before I discussed my notes with Richard I asked him to describe 'his' bird. Dark brown upperparts; black underwing contrasting with the body; brownish body; larger than Hobby (also present) and much more impressive flight. It had to be the bird, but it had gone! Description - straight from notes Shape and behaviour: a medium to large falcon, a 'size up' from Hobby and Kestrel. Distinctive shape: long wings, but 'quite broad-based'; long, quite slim tail, with protruding central tail feathers forming rounder tip - actually quite like Kestrel, but broader. I also noted: a slim, almost cuckoo-like head: deep, wings swept back at a great angle when picking up speed:, a straight trailing edge to the wings when soaring. It seemed larger when soaring, more like a Peregrine Falcon. It's flight was pure Eleonora's: at times deep paddle-like wing beats, then wings swept back at an amazing angle to pick up speed. It could stop or turn in an instant. Plumage: overall, and initially, it appeared quite dark - black underwings, dark gingery body. The head, from below, had an obvious (cream-) whitish chin and throat, a black crown, ear coverts and moustache (noted as 'pointed'?). The black of the ear coverts curved back to meet the breast sides with no hint of a white 'collar' behind the ear coverts as on Hobby. The upperparts, were noted as dark sooty brown-black. The underparts were seen to be, on the body and ventral area as 'gingery' or washed 'brown', with neat black streaks - 'even ginger with streaks', which appeared almost to coalesce on upper breast to form a darker area - at some distance seemed almost solidly dark and contrasting sharply with whitish throat. Very obvious black underwing coverts contrasted with the body and the remiges were also blackish, with darker black trailing edge and wing tips. Initially noted 171


Suffolk Birci Report 2003

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Rare Birds in Suffolk 2003 as 'unbarred', on a better soaring view I thought I could see some restricted barring at base of primaries. Tail noted as 'translucent' and paler than rest of body; with close barring at base, merging to a more solid dark area subterminally. Bare parts: Bill dark. Legs not noted. Discussion Though extremely rare in Britain, with the black underwing coverts and gingery body not a diffïcult species to identify. Watching a juvenile Hobby at Benacre later in the afternoon illustrated how différent they are in shape, flight and plumage. The Hobby had almost slate-black upperparts - blueish - with neat cream-brown crescents. The underwing was clearly paler, with obvious barring across the whole underwing coverts and underside of the remiges; the body was creamy white with black streaks; the tail was square tipped. The flight was never as 'classy' or as easy as the Eleonora's. The solidly black underwing coverts and lack (or virtual lack) of barring on the remiges would mean this was an adult. Being on the BBRC has it's rewards after ail! MARSH SANDPIPER - sixth for Suffolk Circumstances Late in the afternoon of Aprii 17th we decided to go up to Livermere Lake to look for migrants as the weather seemed ideal and we had heard that numbers of Little Gulls had been seen there and at Lackford Lakes nearby. The weather was fine, warm and sunny. It was exceptionally warm for the time of year, with the temperature about 23°C. The wind was south-east, force 3-4. Arriving at about 17.00hrs, we first checked the lake shore nearest to the bridge and found a Redshank or two, two male Ruff, a Little Ringed Piover and two Yellow Wagtails. We then looked out over the lake and noted six Little Gulls and four Common Terns. At about 17.15hrs I looked back to the nearby lake shore and noticed a very pale wader feeding along the shoreline about 120 métrés away. 1 switched quickly to a telescope (32x Kowa) to get a better view and was immediately struck by the long legs, stender form and long, straight, fine bill of the wader. For a second or two my mind froze - "what am I looking at" - (probably shock) and then the penny dropped - "bloody hell, it's a Marsh Sandpiper"! I had previously seen over 80 Marsh Sandpipers in seven différent countries from Gambia to Australia and even one in New Zealand (and Rosemary had seen over 50 of these) so it was not a difficult identification. The light was brilliant and just in the right place, over my left shoulder. I watched it for another minute or two as it fed along the shoreline, then it turned and walked away from me and eventually disappeared behind a low bank edge. 1 took in the pale yellow legs and the plumage, which was, put simply, largely grey above and white below. While this was going on, Rosemary was about 20 métrés away, talking to two neighbours from Pakenham who were out walking their dog. I then called her over and we waited for the bird to reappear. After about 10 minutes we refound it in the bay to our left (west) but now about 300 métrés away. It had probably walked there under the cover of the low bank edge, but may have taken a short low flight. It soon went out of view again, so we moved across to the east bank of the lake, from where we had a clear view of the south-west bay, but we were a little further away from the bird. We then watched the bird in the bay there from about 17.35 to 17.55hrs, through the telescope and binoculars. It was feeding along the shoreline, where its very pale plumage stood out and also its long-legged, almost stilt-like proportions. It was once seen to fly a few mètres, when I clearly saw the almost white tail and the long wedge of white up the rump and back. The wings were ali dark grey/brown above and there were no wing bars. 173


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 Three times it passed close to a feeding Redshank and each time the Redshank lunged at it and it half flew and ran to get out of the way. The body size appeared to be a little smaller than a Redshank (not as bulky, more slender) but it stood a little taller because of its long legs. The bird was clearly in non-breeding plumage but it was not possible to attempt to âge it on the views obtained. Not heard to call. We had to leave at about 17.55hrs. Local birders were alerted as soon as possible and one or two of them reached the lake by 18.45hrs, but it had evidently flown off in the meantime and we failed to find it again, either that evening or the next day, in spite of extensive searching of all likely sites in the area. I subsequently learned that Dawn Balmer and Steve Holloway had visited the lake at lunchtime and there was no sign of the bird then, so its stay was indeed brief. Description: Jizz : a medium sized, attractive, elegant wader with a slender, tapering body, a long neck, a long, straight, fine bill and long legs. Upperparts: Top of head, nape, mantle, back and wings a soft grey, lightly streaked brown on the head and neck. Slightly darker and browner on the wing coverts and primary edges and tips. Some pale feather edges visible on the back and wings but not prominent. A whitish supercilium was visible above the eye, but not very striking. In flight the tail, rump and a long wedge up the back were white, contrasting sharply with the dark wings which lacked any wing bar. Underparts: Pure white from chin to vent, except for some slight greyish streaking at the sides of the breast. Soft Parts: Legs, very long, pale, dull yellow. Bill, long, straight and fine, all dark grey/black. Eye, dark. Discussion This is in fact the second earliest ever record of Marsh Sandpiper in Britain. The earliest was found in Dorset on April lOth 2000 and there are 12 other April records for the UK. It was a good spring for this species in north-west Europe. There were three other spring records claimed in the UK after this one and about eight were in the Netherlands during April (Birdwatch, 132, p.62), mostly in the second half of the month. There are five previous records for the county but only one has been a "long-stayer". The first was the remarkable record of three together in Buss Creek, Southwold on May 5th and 6th 1947. There were singles at Benacre, September 14th 1977 and at Minsmere from July 14th to 23rd 1981. The next flew south past Landguard on September 19th 1998 and the fifth was on Trimley Marshes, August 3 Ist 1999. Malcolm Wright

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2002 Regional Review Adam Grettori 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 Reports, relating to 2002, except where stated otherwise.

Cambridgeshire The regular Red-necked Grebe summered for the sixteenth year at the usual site. An exhausted Gannet, found outside Cambridge Zoology museum in early July, died the next day. There were 151 occupied Cormorant nests at two sites, and the peak winter count was 427 at Paxton Pits. A paper in the report on the status of Cormorant in the county illustrates that the numbers nesting are now declining, from a peak in 1996. A colour-ringed Night Heron seen in early autumn was thought to be an escapee. There were three records of Great Egret, taking the county total to eight (all but one in the last six years, in line with the general increase of this species in the region). A Glossy Ibis, on the border with Norfolk, was the fifth for Cambridgeshire, and there were three White Stork records. The peak count of Bewick's Swans was 5735 on the entire Ouse Washes in January, with 2710 Whooper Swans in the same month. An unusually aggressive Mute Swan at Paxton Pits drowned both a juvenile and adult Greylag Goose. The number of potential breeding pairs of the scarcer ducks were as follows:- Wigeon: 18; Teal: 15-17; Pintail: 2; Garganey: 13-14, and Pochard: 7. Rarer visitors included the county's seventh American Wigeon and a Green-winged Teal. Red Kites may have nested at two sites in the west of the county - the start of the hoped for spread of this species into the region? There were 20 paired female Marsh Harriers at ten sites, fledging at least 34 young from seven of the sites. Single pairs of Common Buzzard nested at 7-12 sites (a very encouraging increase from the 1-2 pairs as recently as 1999), and Hobby at 9-17 sites. There were two spring records of Red-footed Falcon. There were five calling male Spotted Crakes at the Nene and Ouse Washes, and 16 calling Quail at various sites; two broods of the latter species were seen at the Ouse Washes. There were apparently no records of wild Corn Crake, but the widely reported release of captive-bred chicks on the Nene Washes began the first attempt to reintroduce this species to England. A family party of Common Cranes in early December was thought to be the same as that seen in Devon and Cornwall R e d Kite ten days later. ^ UBS%r The only record of Stone-Curlew was one heard calling ^ ^ r ^ Su Gough over Cottenham; the last confirmed breeding record in the county was in 1999. The largest 'trip' of Dotterel consisted of 32 birds at Tick Fen on May 4th. The report suggests that the American Golden Plover, seen at two sites in the autumn, might have been one of the 2001 birds returning. Avocet, which only nested in the county for the first time in 1998, built up to eight pairs at five sites. There were only two pairs of Black-tailed Godwit on the Ouse Washes, but the 29 pairs at the Nene Washes fledged at least 28 young. The two Washes did very well for Snipe, with 388 drummers, up from 212 the year before, (plus a further 23 at five other 175


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 sites). There were an impressive 627 pairs of Lapwing at 34 sites and at least 466 pairs of Redshank in the county (90% of which were on the two Washes). A county record 26 Jack Snipe were at a site near Peterborough in mid-December. A lone adult Mediterranean Gull defended a nest site for almost two months. There were 13 winter records of Caspian Gull and a single White-winged Black Tern in late September. Long-eared Owl was confirmed breeding at eight sites (an encouraging increase on the 2-3 in 2001). Short-eared Owl may have bred at the Nene Washes, where there was a record autumn influx of 60 birds in November, apparently coinciding with unprecedented numbers of voles. Two Bee-eaters were seen in May, doubling the previous county total. Only 4-5 pairs of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker were confirmed or suspected, though there were breeding season records at eight further sites. There were more records of both Rock Pipit (13) and Water Pipit (at least 18) than Tree Pipit (only 5-6 passage records). At least 202 pairs of Yellow Wagtail were reported, with the species found in 46% of BBS squares. A single Icterine Warbler in late May was the county's sixth. Firecrest was thought to have nested in the south-east of the county (20 years since the last breeding record). Only a single pair of Willow Tit was confirmed, but the species was also present in the breeding season at three other sites. Golden Orioles were thought to have bred at two sites, but were not confirmed. Just over 20000 occupied Rook nests were surveyed, the highest population level since the 1940s; a Raven was only the third for the county since 1900. Eighteen pairs of Tree Sparrow were reported from five sites, with a winter flock of 150 located. Lesser Redpoll was confirmed breeding at two sites. At least 413 Reed Bunting territories were reported, with the species found in 58% of BBS squares; the same figures for Corn Bunting were 239 and 41% respectively. Finally, a twenty page paper provides a comprehensive review of the exciting wetland creation project at Kingfisher's Bridge near Wicken, in which Roger Beecroft has played a key part.

Norfolk Two autumn records of White-billed Diver were the seventh and eighth for the county, and there was a remarkable count of nine Red-necked Grebes at Holkham Bay in early January. Fulmar breeding data from Hunstanton was incomplete, but there were 191 occupied ledges in late March. There was a single Cory's Shearwater record at Sheringham in September. Forty five pairs of Cormorants at Holkham fledged at least 100 young. Eight booming Bitterns were present, all in the Broads. Little Egret nested for the first time in Norfolk, with eight pairs at two sites. A Black Stork was seen in late May, and there was an exceptional total of five Glossy Ibis in September. Bewick's Swan numbers peaked at Welney in January with 4697, whilst Whooper Swan numbers reached a peak of 1962 in November. The Pink-footed Goose count of 91740 in late November was a record, and represents over a third of the world population. A count of 68000 from Scolt Head was a single site record. There were ten records of Greenland White-fronted Goose, including a family party of seven. Inland feeding by Dark-bellied Brent Goose continued to increase with 3000 at Langham in November. A record 296 Egyptian Geese were on Holkham Park Lake in June. A long-staying King Eider was the fifth county record (but only the second since 1900), and there were two Surf Scoters, including a male in June. As well as the very well-watched juvenile Pallid Harrier at Warham Greens at the end of the year (the first for the county and apparently the first wintering record from Western 176


2002 Regional Review Europe), Hen Harrier also produced a surprise with a probable nesting attempt! A pair was seen in full sky-dancing display during April and May, with the male seen carrying nest material; the last recorded nesting in Norfolk was at Horsey in 1861. Unfortunately, the attempt failed for unknown reasons. Although down on last year's record year, 70 Marsh Harrier nests produced at least 115 young (a paper in the report reviews the progress of this species in Norfolk since the single pair that returned in 1967). Common Buzzard seems to be making a similar resurgence, with up to 24 pairs producing at least 15 young. One to three pairs of Honey Buzzard nested at the usuai sites, but for the third year running no Montagu's Harrier nested in the county. Golden Pheasants were recorded at ten sites, with a maximum of 11 birds at Wayland Wood and ten in Hockham Woods (in autumn). There were three calling male Spotted Crakes at Strumpshaw, with maies also heard at three other sites. Two pairs of Common Crâne nested, one of which produced two fledged young; the other nest failed. A pair of Black-winged Stilt was at Hockwold Washes in mid-May. Breydon reported record numbers of Avocet, with 1,027 in early September. Two records of Pacific Golden Piover were the county's sixth and seventh. A total of 730 pairs of Lapwing were recorded from 28 sites, with the Norfolk Bird Atlas (NBA) encouragingly recording the species from 49% of tetrads, with an average of five pairs per occupied tetrad. Common Snipe again increased with 102 drummers at 19 sites (57 drummers at Welney alone). Three pairs of Black-tailed Godwit produced five young, and 15 pairs of Curlew were on the Stanford Training Area. Rarer waders included three White-rumped Sandpipers, two Broadbilled Sandpipers, a Lesser Yellowlegs and three Great Snipe. Two Arctic Skuas were seen catching and eating Starlings at Scolt Head. Four pairs of Mediterranean Gull produced six young, and there were 16 pairs of Common Gull on the north coast. A total of 4600 pairs of Sandwich Tern at three sites fledged at least 4000 chicks, but in contrast up to 540 pairs of Little Tern fledged no more than 115 young; at Great Yarmouth vandals l ripped up the fence causing almost total failure of 98 nests. Of the rarer terns, there were three Caspian Terns, two White-winged Black Terns and a Whiskered Tern (the first since 1999). In Black Terns Mark Ferris contrast to its rarity in Suffolk, there were three double-figure counts (12-15) of Puffin in September. Turtle Dove was recorded from 61% of NBA tetrads, but with only two pairs per occupied tetrad. Barn Owls were reported from 235 sites (up 16% from 2001 ), almost four times the figure for Suffolk. Long-eared Owl was confirmed nesting at four sites, with Short-eared Owl probably nesting at Scolt Head. Nine records of Bee-eater involved up to 17 birds, including a party of six. There were three records of Short-toed Lark and two Red-rumped Swallows. A well-watched Olive-backed Pipit, at Lynford for three weeks in February, was the county's first wintering record. Only 17 pairs of Tree Pipit were reported, but Yellow Wagtails were confirmed nesting at eight sites, with most of the pairs (62 out of 94 in all) at Welney. A Thrush Nightingale, the county's seventh, was ringed at Weybourne, but not seen in the field. Only two to three pairs of Black Redstart were reported, and only two pairs of Wheatear. An impressive 161 singing Cetti's Warbiers were noted, more than five times 177


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 the 2002 Suffolk total. There were single records of Savi's, Marsh and Dartford Warblers (the latter prompting envious comments from our Norfolk colleagues!). There were also single records of Sardinian, Hume's and Radde's Warblers, the first of which stayed at Hunstanton for almost three weeks. It was the best year since 1984 for Red-breasted Flycatcher, with up to 22 birds seen. Willow Tits were recorded from 47 sites, compared to 42 sites for Marsh Tit! Two pairs of Golden Oriole produced 1-2 young (the lowest number since 1985). Only 27 pairs of Tree Sparrow were reported, down from 57 the year before; the biggest flock was 119 at Flitcham in the second winter period. In summer, potentially nesting Lesser Redpoll were at 12 sites, but with limited breeding evidence at only four of these, and no young seen. In Holkham Bay, Twite peaked at 160 in November, and Snow Bunting at 200 the following month. A female Two-barred Crossbill was the county's eighth and a Yellow-breasted Bunting the fifth. An escaped Blacksmith Plover, first seen at Merton (near Watton) on September 24th, was presumably the same as that seen earlier in Suffolk (last at Redlingfield, September 5th). It was last seen at Winterton in mid-October. The report also contains a number of interesting papers, including a review of the changes in Norfolk's breeding birds over the last fifty years, and a history of the Norfolk Bird Report over the same period.

Essex Black-necked Grebe again nested successfully in Metropolitan Essex, rearing two young. During March there were 22 Slavonian Grebes on the Blackwater. At least 65 Sooty Shearwaters and 20 Manx Shearwaters were seen, in contrast to 2001 when just a single Manx was reported. The numbers of nesting Cormorant again declined at Abberton, but the species also nested at four other sites, giving a county total of 618 pairs (627 in 2001); the total number of birds in the December census was 1,553 (1615 in 2001). Little Egret continued to consolidate its breeding population, with the south Essex colony producing 46 young from 32 pairs. The September WeBS total was 283, with 110 at the St Osyth roost in October. Three Great Egrets at the Naze in May were the first recorded in Essex, and a Black Stork, soon after, was the county's seventh. Brent Goose numbers peaked at 25295 in January, with 11 birds remaining through summer at 4-6 sites. The count of 118 Mandarin Duck, on just five Epping Forest ponds in December, was a county record. The American Wigeon at Cattawade, on the Suffolk border, in March was only the second wild record for Essex. Langenhoe Ranges did well for scarcer nesting duck, with two broods of Teal and Pintail, and single broods of Wigeon and Garganey. There was an unusual record of the latter species from the River Lee in early January. Pochard did well, with 98 pairs at 18 sites. Rarer ducks included Greenwinged Teal and two Ring-necked Ducks. Twenty nine broods of Ruddy Duck were reported from 14 sites; the peak count of 493 at Abberton in November was a county record. Although Marsh Harrier breeding behaviour was noted at six sites, only four nests (at two sites) were successful, fledging nine young. Ten pairs of Common Buzzard were reported, but breeding was only confirmed at three sites. Hen Harriers peaked at 34 in January, with at least 18 Merlin in the same month. Two pairs of Peregrine nested close to the county boundary, and another pair was suspected elsewhere within the county. There were only 2-3 pairs of Snipe reported, but Lapwing and Redshank did better than in 2001, with 206 and 348 pairs respectively. The 1200 Avocet at East Tilbury at the end of January was a county record. Rare waders included Essex's third Terek Sandpiper at Maldon in August, the seventh Lesser Yellowlegs and eighth Marsh Sandpiper (both 178


2002 Regional Review at Old Hall). The latter site also had two White-rumped Sandpipers, taking the county total to seven. Hanningfield Reservoir sported both Grey and Red-necked Phalarope on a single October day. There were three Ring-billed Gulls, including the long-stayer at Westcliff-on-Sea. A total of six pairs of Mediterranean Gull nested at three sites, and there was a record count of 33 at Southend Pier at the start of September. Two adult Roseate Terns, at the confluence of the Thames and the Lee, ventured into Essex in mid-May. A single Little Auk ventured inland to Abberton in late January; there were only four coastal records. The only Puffin recorded, at Bradwell, unfortunately fell victim to gulls. Barn Owls were noted at some 75 sites, at 19 of which 37 pairs were successful, with 100 chicks ringed. A dark-breasted Barn Owl (guttata) was the county's eighth. There were 5-7 pairs of Long-eared Owl, but no confirmed breeding Short-eared Owls; the county's wintering population of the latter peaked at 33 in January. There were only four records of both Woodlark and Shorelark, whilst Tree Pipit territories fell to nine at five sites. Single Alpine Swift and Red-rumped Swallow were reported. Ten pairs of Black Redstart nested, and 12 pairs of Stonechat. Cetti's Warblers sang at eight sites, up from three in 2001, whilst Marsh Warbler was thought to have nested at two sites in south-west Essex, just maintaining the toehold of this species in the region. There were three winter Dartford Warblers, four Barred Warblers and two birds showing characteristics of Siberian Chiffchaff (tristis). Singing Firecrest were at seven sites, with at ,f least four pairs confirmed, and a , ""t^te*" brood seen at one site. Willow Tits were reported from five sites (but with only two records during the breeding Northern Wheatear Mark Ferris season), and there were only seven confirmed Marsh Tit territories. Again there were no breeding records of Tree Sparrow. Two Rosecoloured Starlings were reported, and a single Serin. The report comments that Hawfinch seems to have reached an all-time low in Essex, with only three records. More encouragingly, some 130 Corn Bunting territories were reported, mainly from the coastal strongholds. Finally, Colne Point produced the county's first Yellow-breasted Bunting in early September. The papers in the report include interesting updates from the RSPB reserves at Old Hall and Rainham, and an exciting reference to future possibilities: "we have big plans for new landholdings in Essex, and when we say big we mean huge!" Nice to end on a positive note, with further details hoped for in the next report.

179


Suffolk Bird Report 2003

Ringing Report 2003 Peter Lack The ringing total for Suffolk for 2003 was the third highest ever at 39650, the only two higher years being 1993 and 1994, which were inflated by the very high numbers caught at Fagbury Cliff while the port floodlights were so attractive. The total represents an increase of 2797 or 7.6% on a revised total for 2002. This revision was caused by receiving notification of an extra 4000 or so birds which had been ringed, mainly by Rob Duncan, which had not been included in the 2002 report. These extra birds obviously made some différences to the totals but do not affect in a major way the comments made in the 2002 report. As usuai there were some substantial différences in totals ringed between the two years, but looking back over the years it is clear that many of these are chance, with increases or decreases one year often countered by a 'return to normal' the following one. Bearing this in mind, the biggest change from 2002 to 2003 involved Sand Martin, which was down by almost 75%, with Tony Hurrell (down from 651 to 18), and Dingle Bird Club (down from 425 to 72), being the main contributors. Even this low total is not quite as exceptional as some people seem to have remembered. Over the last ten years the Sand Martin total has varied from 289 in 1996 and 446 in 1998, to 1747 in 2000. Another large change was for Blackcap. Numbers in 2003 were higher than in any year, except for three 'Fagbury years', with an increase of 55% on 2002, with Peter Catchpole's group and Brian Thompson contributing the greatest changes (427 to 672 and 89 to 337 respectively). Other large decreases involved Swallow (down 22%), House Martin (down from 302 to 110, - 64%), Whitethroat (down 21%), Willow Warbler (down another 16%) and Starling (down 26%). In contrast Blue Tit and Great Tit were way up (33% and 53% respectively), as were House Sparrow (up 61%) and Greenfinch (up 31%). Numbers of Nightingale, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Sparrow, Linnet and Yellowhammer more or less doubled, and those of Redpoll (ali forms combined) quadrupled, although the actual total ringed of several of these species was quite low. (Note that not ali ringers distinguish the différent forms of Redpoll and there is a recent paper which suggests they are ali the same species anyway.) It is often the activities of one or two individuai ringers which can influence these totals. In addition to the above, most of the Swallow réduction can be attributed to Rob Duncan and most of the House Martin drop to Landguard BO's activities on Orfordness, whilst Landguard BO ring almost ali the Wheatears. Half the Goldcrest increase of 473 was contributed by Peter Catchpole's group, and the Yellow Wagtail decrease from 51 to 25 can be attributed in good part to Peter Newton and Mick Wright not ringing any in 2003, whereas they had caught 30 in 2002. In a slightly différent vein, the total number of Blackbirds ringed in the two years was almost identical (2240 to 2273) but that hides the fact that Landguard's total halved, from 879 to 423. Much of this was countered by Brian Thompson who doubled his number, 267 to 552. Similarly the total for Sedge Warbler was more or less the same in the two years but in this case each individuai ringer or group's total was more or less the same as well. What do ringing totals mean therefore? Over the longer term, e.g. the continued decrease of Willow Warbler and relative increase of Chiffchaff, they follow the fortunes of the species in this country, but clearly in the case of many short-term changes between years, chance can play a large part (particularly for a relatively small area with only rather few active ringers and groups). 2003 was a rather poor year for ringing rarities. The Penduline Tit, two Aquatic and two


Ringirtg Report 2003 Marsh Warblers, all at Orfordness, constitute the only true rarities. It was sad to note that no Willow Tits were ringed this year. I am grateful to the British Trust for Ornithology for allowing me to extract data and to Mike Marsh for comments and suggestions.The following ringers, partnerships and groups supplied information, mostly without any particular request or reminder: Graham Austin, Jez Blackburn, Niall Burton, Colin Carter, Peter Catchpole and his associates, Nigel Clark, Greg Conway, Dingle Bird Club, Rob Duncan, Christopher Dunn, Simon Evans, Ron Hoblyn, Colin Hudson, Sir Anthony Hurrell, Lackford Ringing Group, Landguard Bird Observatory, Market Weston Ringing Group, Peter Newton and Mick Wright partnership, Ron Pomroy and Brian Thompson. My apologies if anyone is missing from this list. Selected Recoveries 1 have listed here a personal selection of 'interesting' recoveries which have been reported during 2003 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 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 of being very much older than usual. Notes of these were from individual ringers and from the files held by the British Trust for Ornithology. Recoveries are listed in species order with ringing details 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 details 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 kilometres) and direction where these are available. The age of the birds at ringing are noted according to the EURING 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 = Male, F = Female GREAT CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo 5211956

1 freshly dead

16.05.2000 20.01.2004

WHITE STORK Ciconia ciconia M5638 8M 15.04.2002 field record 23.04.2003 An unusual bird in Suffolk proving that

Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin 51°59'N 1 0 1 7 ' E Darwell Res, Robertsbridge, Sussex 50°58TM 0 ° 2 7 ' E 127km S S W

Mechelen, Antwerp, Belgium S P O ' N 4°31'E Alton Water, near Ipswich 51°59'N 1°7'E 260km W N W

ne at least are not escapes! However, although 181


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 it was ringed as a free flying bird it also had a blue 'chicken ring', so it had clearly escaped from an illegal bird keeper at some stage in its existence. EURASIAN SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodia 8044664 1 15.05.2003 Schiermonnikoog, Oosterkwelder, Netherlands field field field field field field

record record record record record record

24.05.2003 12.07.2003 19.07.2003 20.07.2003 06.09.2003 25&26.09.2003

53°29'N 6°9'E ditto Den Oever, Het Schor, Netherlands River Stour Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E 358km ditto Carmarthenshire

It was also seen on Breydon Water and Orfordness during May 2004. 1 12.05.2003 Onderdijk, Vooroever, Netherlands

8044816

field field field field field field field field field

record record record record record record record record record

several dates to 28.06.2003 17.07.2003 19.07.2003 20.07.2003 20.07.2003 24&31.08.2003 06.-09.2003 25&26.09.2003

52°46'N 5°7'E 24.06.2003 ditto Den Oever, Het Schor, Netherlands Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E 263km River Stour Orfordness Lauwersmeer, Ezmakeeg, Netherlands ditto Orfordness Carmarthenshire

This bird was also seen on Breydon Water and Orfordness in May 2004. Note the back and forth movements between East Anglia and Netherlands and then Wales from June to September. 8044861

1

13.06.2003

field record

31.08.2003

EURASIAN TEAL Anas

eretta

J6046 (Bill tag CO) 5F field record

09.02.2002 04.10.2003

Markiezaat, Spuitkop, Netherlands 5 1 = 2 7 ^ 4°16'E Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe 51°58TS1 1°16'E 214km

S. Jacinto, Portugal 40°40'N 8°45'W Minsmere 52°14'N 1°36'E

EURASIAN WIGEON Anas penelope FP56651

5M shot

27.01.2002 29.01.2003

FS31154

5M

12.02.2000

shot

18.10.2003 27.02.1999

FP00924

5F 14.11.2003

Iken Marsh, near Iken 52°9'N 1°34'E Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland 53°25'N 7°56'W 654km W N W Bredons Hardwick, Hereford & Worcester 52°1'N 2°9'W Friston 52° 11 'N 1 °31 'E 251 km E Bredons Hardwick, Hereford & Worcester 52°1'N 2°9'W Friston 52° 11 TM 1°31 'E 251 km E

shot

RUDDY DUCK Oxyura GF64951

4M control

'

jamaicensis 08.05.1997 23.07.2003

Abberton Res, near Colchester, Essex 51 °48'N 0°49'E Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe S l ^ » 1°16'E 36km ENE

182


Ringirtg Report 2003 RED KITE Milvus milvus GN28589 1 11.06.2001

field record

25.01.2003

Hostage Wood, near Blatherwycke, Northants 52°32'N 0°32'W Great Livermere 52° 18'N 0°45'E 91 km ESE

COMMON KESTREL Falco tinnunculus EP69422 1 15.06.2003 Highdown House, Herts 51 "57^ 0°20'W freshly dead c. 15.01.2004 near Lowestoft 52°3l'N 1 °43'E 154km ENE MERLIN Falco columbarius ET60454 IF 17.06.2002 Site confidential, near Skipton, N Yorks 53°58'N 2 T W long dead 28.01.2003 Gedgrave Marshes, near Orford 52°5'N 1°30'E 315km SE ET58429 IF 22.06.2003 Faggergill Moss, Durham 54°28'N 2 T W control 16.09.2003 Orfordness 52=5^ 1°34'E 357km SE Note that both these birds were ringed as chicks in northern England PIED AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta 3386580 4 02.06.1986 freshly dead

22.01.2003

Holwerd-oost, Friesland, Netherlands 53°22'N 5°54'E River Orwell 51 °58'N 1 ° 12'E 353km WSW

EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus FR85089 6 23.02.1986 Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, near Felixstowe 51°57'N 1 ° 17'E control 02.02.2003 Snettisham, Norfolk 52°53'N 0°27'E 118km NNW Note the age of this bird, 6188 days (almost 17 years) FR85147 8 23.02.1986 Fagbury, Trimley St Mary, near Felixstowe 51°57'N 1 ° 17'E field record 05.05.2003 Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E 23km NE Note also the age of this one, 6280 days (just over 17 years!) DUNLIN Calidris alpina 11.09.1996 NR99818 3

River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge 52°2'N 1°20'E 01.02.2003 Admiral's Farm, Terrington Marsh, Norfolk control 52°48'N 0°19'E 110km NW 05.09.2002 River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge NT42604 52=2^ 1°20'E 20.06.2003 Lyrawa Hill, Hoy, Orkney 58°52'N 3°14'W control 812km NNW The second one, of the race schinzii, is the second bird in Suffolk of the small breeding population (25 pairs) on Hoy. The previous one was controlled at Iken on 17.08.2001. EURASIAN WOODCOCK Scalopax rusticóla 4 24.10.1997 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E EP74713 shot 07.05.2003 Allazi, Riga, Latvia 57=2^ 24°50'E 1618km ENE ET83725 4 04.11.2002 Fair Isle, Shetland 59°32'N 1 °38'W freshly dead 07.01.2003 Flixton 52°25'N 1°24'E 813km SSE 183


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa YO RO

4F field record

24.06.2003 02.11.2003

Langhus, Fljot, Iceland 6 6 ° 3 ' N 19°7'W M i n s m e r e 52°14'N 1°36'E

COMMON REDSHANK Tringa totanus DB45515

3 freshly dead

27.08.2000 c.15.08.2003

River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge 5 2 ° 2 ' N 1°20'E Grindavik, Gullbringu, Iceland 63°50'N 2 2 ° 2 6 ' W 1909km N W

COMMON GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia DB60573

4 Sick

04.08.2002 16.01.2003

Iken Marsh, near Iken 5 2 ° 9 ' N I °34'E N e m b e , Bayelsa, Nigeria 4 ° 2 5 ' N 6° 15'W 5353km S

One of rather few found south of the Sahara (only four previous British ringed birds up to 2001) and the first in Nigeria. MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melaiiocephalus 1 05.06.2001 Zandvliet, Antwerp, E900152 field record

19.02.2002

field record field record

02.01.2003 12.02.2003

Belgium 51 " 2 2 ^ 4° 18'E Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 °56'N 1° 19'E 216km W N W ditto ditto

BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus In all 5 went to or carne from Netherlands, 3 to Denmark, 3 to Sweden, 3 to Poland, 1 to Estonia and I to Russia, some of which are detailed below. field record

31.12.1996 31.03.2003

field record

28.01.1996 10.03.2003

field record

31.12.1996 28.02.2003

EJ85118

ES99847

ES38759

13.10.1990

EP74163

ER85881

field record 4 control

11.03.2003 30.12.1995 17.05.2003

near Castle Hill, Ipswich 5 2 ° 4 ' N 1°8'E Utterslev M o s e I, C o p e n h a g e n , Sjaelland Mon, Denmark 55°43TM 12°29'E 847km E N E near Castle Hill, Ipswich 5 2 ° 4 ' N 1°8'E Christianshavns Vold, C o p e n h a g e n , Sjaelland Mon, Denmark S S ' W N 1 2 ° ^ 8 5 1 k m E N E near Castle Hill, Ipswich 5 2 ° 4 ' N 1°8'E Svanemollebugten, Copenhagen, Sjaelland Mon, Denmark i S ^ ' N 12°35'E 8 5 2 k m E N E Bramford Landfill, Little Blakenham, Ipswich 5 2 ° 5 ' N 1°5'E Konin, Poland 52°12'N 18°12'E 1168km E near Castle Hill, Ipswich 5 2 ° 4 ' N 1°8'E Wilkow, Opole, Poland 5 1 ° 1 3 ' N 2 1 ° 4 8 ' E 1428km E

Controlied with two eggs in nest. 05.10.1991

EP74495 control

01.05.2003 17.12.1988

EP28581 shot

06.05.2003 05.10.1991

EP74495 freshly dead

31.07.2003

Bramford Landfill, Little Blakenham, Ipswich 5 2 ° 5 ' N 1°5'E Pildammsparken, M a l m o , Sweden 5 5 ° 3 5 ' N 13°0'E 8 7 2 k m E N E B r a m f o r d Landfill, Little Blakenham, Ipswich 5 2 ° 5 ' N 1°5'E Shoshinskiy ples Ivankovskogo, Kozlovo, Kalinin, Russia S Ó ^ C N 3 6 ° 1 7 ' E 2 3 3 2 k m E N E Bramford Landfill, Little Blakenham, Ipswich 5 2 ° 5 ' N 1°5'E N o r r a H a m n e n , M a l m o , Sweden 5 5 ° 3 8 ' N 13°0'E 875km E N E

184


Ringirtg Report 2003 EB85426

EN22600

6199674 FN27994

1 dead

26.06.1976 Blythburgh 52° 19'N 1°36'E 22.03.2003 South wold 52° 19'N 1°40'E 5km E o f t h i s b i r d at n e a r l y 2 7 y e a r s . 6 11.02.1985 Ipswich 52°4'N 1°10'E dead 07.06.2003 Assalaid, Paatsalu Bay, Parnu, Estonia 58°31'N 2 3 ° 4 0 ' E 1591km ENE 1 04.06.2001 Oljehamnen, Malmo, Sweden 55°38'N 13°2'E freshly dead 06.01.2003 Ipswich Docks 52°2'N 1°9'E 875km W S W 6 28.03.2001 Gdynia-Skwer Kosciuszki, Gdansk, Poland 54°31'N 18°33'E field record 05.10.2003 Lowestoft 52°28'N 1°44'E 1135km W

MEW (COMMON GULL) Larus canus EP44590

8 control

11.02.1989 09.01.2003

B r a m f o r d Landfill 52°6'N 1°5'E near Castle Hill, Ipswich 52°4TM 1 °8'E 5km SE

B o t h tarsi m i s s i n g , s t u m p s healed; u s i n g w i n g s to balance. EP70560 6 13.02.1991 Bylam Farm, near Chelmondiston S l ^ ' N 1°1 l ' E freshly dead 20.02.2003 De Hors, Texel, Netherlands SS^TM 4 ° 4 5 ' E 266km ENE

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus J125

1

16.07.1996

Rauna, Farsund, Vest-Agder, Norway 58°3'N 6°40'E

field record

03.04.2003

Wetherden 52°13TM 0 ° 5 5 ' E

Birds ringed as chicks in Suffolk (mostly at Orfordness, but a few at Felixstowe and Ipswich) were recovered in: France (18), Belgium (6), Netherlands (9), Spain (26), Portugal (19) and Morocco (21 ). Some interesting multiple ones follow. RedDSY

1

19.07.1997

field record

06.12.2003

field record

14.12.2003

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Lower Farm GP, Newbury, Berks 51°23TM I c 17'W Carino, La Coruna, Spain 43°45'N 7°52'W

Note the quick movement from England to northern Spain. Red F D Z 1 19.07.1998 Orfordness 52°5TM field record field record field record Red Y U V

field record

13.03.2002 29.03.2003 10.11.2003 22.07.2000 29.04.2003

field record

03.05.2003

1

1°34'E Gijon, Oviedo, Spain 4 3 ° 3 2 ' N 5°39'W Wetherden 52°13'N 0 ° 5 5 ' E El Musei, Oviedo, Spain 43°33'N 5°41'W Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Ijmuiden, Noord-Holland, Netherlands 52°27'N 4°35'E Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E

HERRING GULL Larus argentatus GG97508

1 sight record

05.07.1993 24.01.2003

Skomer Island, Dyfed 51 "44'N 5° 18'W Pipps Ford, Needham Market 52°8'N 1 °4'E 439km E

Birds ringed as chicks in Suffolk were recovered in: France (2), Belgium (1), Netherlands (5) and Norway (1). The most interesting of these are: Red K.CY

1

22.07.2000

Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E

field record

29.04.2003

Skeie, Klepp, Rogaland, Norway 58°42'N 5°32'E

This is a remarkable record as Suffolk-bred Herring Gulls rarely move more than 200km, whereas this is nearer 800km. Red K F F Red Z C V

1 field record 1

16.07.2000 21.10.2003 03.07.2002

Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E Cricqueboeuf, Calvados, France 49°24'N 0°08'E Port of Felixstowe 5 1 = 5 7 ^ \ ° \ T E

185


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 field record field record

06.02.2003 20.02.2003

field record

27.09.2003

Pipp's Ford, nearNeedham Market 52°8'N 1°5'E Oostende, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium SFIS'N 2°55'E and there regularly until 25.08.2003 Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk 52°57'N 1°3'E

GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus 389710 (J8K0) 1 21.06.2003 Havren indre, Mandai, Vest-Agder, Norway 57°59'N 7°27'E field record 30.12.2003 Sizewell 52°12'N 1°37'E COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo SVI 8259 1 09.07.2003 control 13.12.2003 COMMON GUILLEMOT Uria aalge R03342 I 17.06.2003 freshly dead 03.10.2003 DA240491 4 19.03.2003 09.06.2003 dead T86441 14.01.1991 1 30.09.2002 dead RAZORBILL Alca torda M71502 1 14.07.1991 dead

13.01.2003

Alton Water Res, near Tattingstone 51 "59^ 1°7'E Fata, Senegal 14°6'N 16°47'W 4507km SSW

Isle of May, Fife 56° 11TM 2°34'W Lowestoft 52°27'N 1°44'E 500km SSE Dunkerque, Nord, France 51 " 2 ^ 2°22'E Corton, near Lowestoft 52°31'N 1°45'E 171km NNW Isle of May, Fife 56° 1 l'N 2°34'W Walberswick 52018TM 1°39'E 511km SSE

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Unst, Shetland 60°49'N 0°54'W South wold 52°191^ 1°41'E 957km S

ATLANTIC PUFFIN Fratercula arctica EN96311 6 20.07.1989 Isle of May, Fife 56011TS12°33'W freshly dead 17.02.2003 Minsmere 52°14'N 1°37'E 515km SSE EB94349 6 08.07.1977 Isle of May, Fife 56°1 l'N 2°34'W long dead 18.02.2003 Pakefield 52°26'N 1 °42'E 500km SE The age of this bird is considerable although it was noted as long dead when found. It had been ringed as an adult nearly 26 years previously. BARN OWL Tytoalba The three which travelled furthest are listed GH29065 1 29.06.2002 Orby Marsh, Skegness, Lines 53°1 l'N 0°16'E freshly dead 27.01.2003 Eriswell 52°22'N 0°32'E 92km S GF92986 3F 23.07.2000 Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E freshly dead 16.12.2003 Salthouse, Norfolk 52°57'N 1 °5'E 102km NNW GN52860 1 01.07.2003 near Oxenwood, Wilts 51°19'N 1°34'W freshly dead c.20.11.2003 near Cockfield 52°10'N 0°46'E 187km ENE GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopus major CF85767 3F 31.10.2002 Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E freshly dead 05.05.2003 Barkway, Royston, Herts 52°0'N 0°1'E 67km SW CF63780 3 23.08.2003 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56TM 1°19'E control 18.09.2003 Sheringham, Norfolk 52°56'N 1°12'E 112km N 186


Ringirtg Report 2003 SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia N816285

4M

09.07.1999

Waldringfield Sand Pit, near Waldringfield

dead

01.05.2003

52°3TM 1°17'E El Bibane area, Tunisia 33°30'N 11°15'W 2295km SSW

There are only seven previous records of British ringed Sand Martins in Tunisia, as most go through North Africa further to the west (e.g. 21 records from Algeria and only two from Libya). P929948

3 control

29.06.2002 28.06.2003

R407235

control 4F control

27.07.2003 28.06.2003 16.09.2003

R234184

1

29.05.2003

control

22.08.2003

Covehithe 52°22'N 1°42'E Almington Sand Pit, near Market Drayton, Staffs 52°54'N 2°27'W 287km W N W ditto Covehithe 5 2 = 2 2 ^ 1°42'E Las Minas, San Martin de la Vega, Madrid, Spain 40°14'N 3°33'W 1407km S S W Applegarthtown, Lockerbie, D u m f r i e s & Galloway 55°8'N 3 ° 2 5 ' W Hazelwood, near Ham Creek 52°9'N 1°33'E 4 6 6 k m SE

Note that this was ringed as a pullus. MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis N345473

3 freshly dead

27.09.1997 19.03.2003

Shingle Street 52° l ' N 1°26'E off Norfolk coast, North Sea 52°53'N 2°0'E 104km N N E

Presumably this bird was en route to Scandinavia. DUNNOCK Prunella /nodularis R242871

5 control

25.04.2003 03.05.2003

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 ^ 1°19'E Rye Meads, Hoddesdon, Herts 51 <>46» 0°0'E 93km W

EUROPEAN ROBIN Erithacus rubecula P921471

3 freshly dead

12.10.2001 05.05.2003

AE73904

3

18.10.2002

control

19.10.2003

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E Solleftea, Vasternorrland, Sweden ó S ' ^ ' N 17° 15'E 1546km N E Roptazijl Put Ifg, Friesland, Netherlands 53° 13TM 5°26'E Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E 299km W S W

COMMON BLACKBIRD Turdus merula RR55839

3M dead

17.10.2002 16.03.2003

CF63231

3F freshly dead

22.10.2002 19.03.2003

CL74252

5F control

23.02.2003 24.03.2003

CF36724

3F freshly dead

26.09.2000 21.03.2003

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Kristiansand, Aust-Agder, Norway 58°8'N 8°1'E 787km N N E Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 ^ 1°19'E Sint Kruis, Zeeland, Netherlands 51°16'N 3°30'E 168km E S E Ipswich 52°4'N 1°11'E Kalldall, Uddevalla, Goteborg Och Bohus, Sweden 5 8 ° 2 1 ' N 11°51'E 971 km N E Bawdsey Manor 51'°59TM 1°24'E Diepholz, Hanover, G e r m a n y 52°36'N 8°22'E 479km E

187


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 RP70473

6F freshly dead

06.01.2001 26.11.2003

L161213

3F

12.10.2002

control

30.10.2002

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E F1NO 1 Platform, 6 0 k m N of Borkum, N o r t h Sea 54°0'N 6°35'E 4 2 1 k m E N E Berkeplas Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands 53°29'N 6°1 l ' E Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E 371km W S W

FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris CF21599

5F freshly dead

16.02.2003 28.05.2003

High House Farm, Sudbourne 5 2 T N 1°33'E Pera-Rusko, Tampere, H a m e , Finland 61 " 2 6 ^ 2 3 ° 5 4 ' E 1703km N E

SONG THRUSH Turdus philomelos RW04406

3 freshly dead

13.10.2002 07.05.2003

Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E N u m m e l a , Vihti, Uusimaa, Finland 6 0 ° 2 0 ' N 24° 19'E 1673km E N E

This is only the fourth British ringed Song Thrush in Finland. Ten have gone to Sweden and Norway and 21 others have come from there. RW94067

3 shot

03.10.2003 27.11.2003

Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E Monsanto, Santarem, Estremadura, Portugal 3 9 ° 2 7 ' N 8 ° 4 4 ' W 1605km S S W

4

18.10.2002

dead

13.11.2003

H a m m e Sint Anna, Oost-vlaanderen, Belgium 51°6'N 4°9'E Lowestoft 52°27'N 1°44'E 2 2 4 k m N W

REDWING Turdus iliacus 7X75580

CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti P991776

3M control

27.07.2002 10.04.2003

Pitsea Marshes, Basildon, Essex 51 " 3 2 ^ 0 ° 3 0 ' E Flatford Mill, East Bergholt S l ^ T i 1°1'E 59km N E

SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Six birds went to Belgium/Netherlands and four to France. The fastest is noted in full. P934131

3 control

05.08.2003 11.08.2003

Orfordness: 5 2 ° 5 ' N ? ° 3 4 ' E Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe, Sieperdaschor, Netherlands: 51°21'N 4 ° 1 3 ' E 2 0 0 k m E S E

EURASIAN REED WARBLER Acrocephalus P932418

3 control

21. 9.2002 24.06.2003

R865063

3 control

18.09.2003 03.10.2003

scirpaceus

Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E De Haan, West-vlaanderen, Belgium 51 ° 17'N 3°2'E 135km SE Walberswick 52° 18TM 1 °38'E Plaiaundi-Irun, Guipuzcoa, Spain 4 3 ° 2 0 ' N 1°47'W 1029km S S W

BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla R346548

3F sick

13.09.2002 29.09.2003

R858010

3M control

14.09.2003 04.10.2003

Walberswick 5 2 ° 1 8 ' N 1 ° 3 8 ' E Urduliz, Algorta, Vizcaya, Spain 4 3 ° 2 0 ' N 3 ° 0 ' W 1055km S S W Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E U s k m o u t h , Newport, Gwent 51°32TM 2 ° 5 8 ' W 309km W

188


Ringing Report 2003 R242886

5F control

25.04.2003 25.09.2003

R766I24

3 freshly dead

05.08.2003 02.10.2003

J037835

3M Dead, ring found in pellet

02.10.1992 13.02.1993

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 » 1°19'E Filey Brigg Country Park, N Yorks 54°13'N 0 ° 1 8 ' W 276km N N W Walberswick 52°18'N 1°38'E Bazoches-sur-Hoene, O m e , France 4 8 ° 3 3 ' N 0 ° 2 8 ' E 425km SSW Shingle Street 52° 1 TM 1°26'E Iwik, Banc d'Arguin, Mauretania 19°23'N 16°32'W 3953km SSW

The report of J037835 has only recently been received. This is only the second British ringed Blackcap in Mauretania and there have only previously been 15 to or from south of the Sahara. COMMON CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita M83598

2

06.09.2003

control

01.11.2003

WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus ADY304

3 control

31.08.2003 11.09.2003

Driehoek, Castricum, Noord-Holland, Netherlands 52°33TM 4°37'E The Häven, Thorpeness 52° 10'N 1°36'E 2 1 0 k m W

trochilus West End, Carstairs, Strathclyde 55°42'N 3°39'W Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E 528km SE

GOLDCREST Regulus regulus ARW073

3M control

18.10.2003 01.11.2003

Walberswick 52° 1 8 » 1°38'E Thorpe Marsh, Doncaster, S Yorks 53°34'N 1°7'W 232km N W

FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus 7U7731

3F control

24.10.2003 04.11.2003

Dungeness, Kent 50°55'N 0°57'E Landguard Point, Felixstowe S l ^ ó T s l 1°19'E 116km N N E

PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca P864144

1 dead

01.06.2003 23.07.2003

near Llanfair Talhaiarn, Clwyd 53°12'N 3 ° 3 8 ' W Sutton Hall Estate, near Woodbridge 52°3'N 1°21'E 360km ESE

This is a very early date for a Pied Flycatcher to be seen in Suffolk. Also the majority of migrants are thought to originate in Scandinavia rather than the population in western Britain. 9L91627

3F

19.08.2003

1H91653

control 1

06.09.2003 26.06.2003

control

18.08.2003

Christianso, Ertholmene, Bornholm, Denmark S S " ^ » 15°12'E Walberswick 52° 18'N 1 °38'F. 951 km W S W Finset, Hemsedal, Buskerud, Norway 60°53'N 8°31'E Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3TM 1°27'E 1072km S S W

BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus R865569

2M

18.10.2003 26.10.2003

freshly dead

R000403

3M control

13.07.2002 18.10.2003

Walberswick 52° 18'N 1°38'E Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex 51 " 3 8 » 0°48'E 94km S W Hazelwood, near Ham Creek 52°9'N 1°33'E Nagden Marsh, Faversham, Kent 51°20'N 0°54'E 102km S S W

189


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus ACK001 2 08.09.2002 Ipswich 52°4'N T l l ' E control 12.01.2003 Sheringham. Norfolk 52°56'N 1°12'E 96km N AAW561 3 12.06.2002 Ipswich 52°4'N 1°1 l'E control 31.01.2003 Sheringham, Norfolk 52°56'N 1°12'E 96km N BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus N227976 1 24.05.1998 freshly dead 09.03.2003 Note this bird was nearly 5 years old.

Great Glemham, Saxmundham 52°12'N 1°25'E Rendham, Saxmundham 52°14'N 1°26'E 4km NNE

GREAT TIT Parus major 1 23.05.2002 VT56236 control 09.03.2003

near Decoy Farm, Crowland, Lines 52°41 'N 0°9'W Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 °56'N 1°19'E 130km SE 5F 22.03.2002 Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk 52°58'N 0°41'E P706497 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 "56^ 1°19'E control 24.03.2003 123km SSE 5F near Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk 52°58'N 0°33'E R598007 15.04.2003 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 "56^ 1°19'E control 24.04.2003 126km SSE Landguard seems to get more than its fair share of longer distance Great Tit recoveries! WOOD NUTHATCH Sitta europaea BR11955 3M 26.09.2001 Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°4l'E freshly dead 01.06.2003 Mildenhall 52°21'N 0°31'E 15km SW It is rare for Nuthatches to travel more than 5km or so. BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE Pica pica ER22397 5 05.03.2002 freshly dead 13.05.2003

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 "561^ 1°I9'E Highfield Stile, Braintree, Essex 51°53'N 0°33'E 53km W

It is rare for Magpies to move this far. COMMON STARLING Sturnus vulgaris RJ69697 3M 11.08.2001 Bridge of Don, near Aberdeen, Grampian 57°11TM 2°7'W freshly dead 15.08.2003 Falkenham, near Felixstowe 51 "59^ 1°20'E 619km SSE 7276692 1 30.05.1961 Spiekeroog, Ostfriesische Inseln, Germany 53°46'N 7°42'E dead 29.01.2003 near Felixstowe Ferry 51 °59'N 1 °23'E 468km WSW Note that although the dates given above for 7276692 are correct, the bird was found long dead in a box of books. It is not, therefore, a longevity record. Presumably the bird had come down a chimney and died in a house. RP23632 2M 17.12.1997 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 "56^ 1 ° 19'E sick 22.11.2003 Warmond. Zuid-Holland, Netherlands 52° 12'N 4°34'E 224km E CF14341 3 03.07.1999 Orfordness 52=5^ 1°33'E freshly dead 13.07.2002 Minnertsga, Friesland, Netherlands 53°15'N 5°35'E 301km NE 190


Ringirtg Report 2003 EURASIAN TREE SPARROW Passer montanus P394231 TA74104

TA83579

2 control 1

24.09.2002 24.02.2003 15.05.2003

control 1 control

25.11.2003 04.07.2003 09.12.2003

Kilnsea, Humberside 53°37'N 0°8'E Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0 ° 2 6 ' E 140km S Bowmansgreen Farm, London Colney, Herts 51 °43TM 0° 17'W Mildenhall Fen 52=22^1 0 ° 2 6 ' E 88km N E near Broad Hinton, Wilts 51 " 2 8 ^ 1°50'W Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0 ° 2 6 ' E 185km ENE

C l e a r l y t h i s s p e c i e s is still m o v i n g a r o u n d d e s p i t e i t s o v e r a l l s c a r c i t y .

CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelehs R204894

3 control

07.10.2002 01.11.2003

Dunwich 52°16'N 1°37'E Hilton, Inverness, Highland 57°27'N 4 ° 1 3 ' W 686km N N W

BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla R447132

5F control

01.02.2003 15.09.2003

R093246

5F

10.03.2002

control 3F control 5F control

15.02.2003 19.09.2001 06.02.2003 04.03.2002 17.10.2003

E686308 P387458

EUROPEAN GREENFINCH Carduelis VF91121

3M freshly dead

02.09.2003 06.12.2003

VF54147

2 control

02.10.2002 04.02.2003

Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E Barstadvik, Orsta, More og Romsdal, Norway 62°22TM 6°12'E 1152km N N E Blackburn, near Aberdeen, Grampian 57° 1 2 ^ 2°18'W Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E 563km SSE Lauvik, Vagan, Nordland, Norway 68°23TM 14°25'E Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0 ° 2 6 ' E 1931km S S W Mildenhall Fen 5 2 = 2 2 ^ 0 ° 2 6 ' E Ingooigem, West-vlaanderen, Belgium 50°49'N 3°26'E 2 7 0 k m SE

Moris near Chillesford 52°6'N 1°28'E Lepers, Ypres, Hainaut, Belgium 50°41 'N 4 ° 1 ' E 2 3 7 k m SE Kilnsea, Humberside 53°37'N 0°8'E Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0 ° 2 6 ' E 40km S

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis R062646

3 control

30.06.2002 21.04.2003

PI 42777

4F control

31.10.2000 27.10.2003

Ipswich 52°4'N T l l ' E Middelkerke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium 51°1 l ' N 2°50'E 151km SE Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 ^ 1°19'E Bourne, Lines 52°46'N 0 ° 2 2 ' W 148km N W

EURASIAIN[ SISKIN Carduelis splnus P410488

6M control

14.03.2001 10.02.2003

R098040

6F control

04.03.2002 15.03.2003

5M

12.03.2002 13.04.2003 04.03.2003 13.04.2003

R098137

control R447973

5M control

Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E Alphington, Exeter, Devon 50°42'N 3 ° 3 3 ' W 350km W S W Brandon 52°26'N 0°36'E Hen's Wood, near Marlborough, Wilts 51°25'N 1°38'W 190km S W Brandon 52°26TM 0°36'E Dingwall, Highland 57°36'N 4 ° 2 6 ' W 6 5 8 k m N N W Brandon 52°26'N 0°36'E Hastaby, Hudiksvall, Halland, Sweden 61°43'N !7°5'E 1429km N E

191


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 R545025

5M control

17.02.2003 31.03.2003

R479092

5F control

27.02.2003 16.03.2003

R098216

6M control 6F control

16.03.2002 14.02.2003 24.03.2002 08.05.2003

R447580

5M control

22.03.2003 27.04.2003

R447710

6F control

13.02.2003 08.05.2003

7940798

3M control 5M

14.10.2001 08.03.2003 09.03.2002

control 5M control

25.02.2003 02.03.2003 21.10.2003

P995386

8044065

R447966

Tangham Farm, Boyton 52°5'N 1°26'E Tongeren, Gelderland, Netherlands 52°23'N 5°55'E 307km E near Hollesley Heath 52°3'N 1°26'E W h i c k h a m , Tyne & Wear 54°56'N 1 ° 4 I ' W 381km N N W Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E Chilworth, Surrey S r O ' N 0 ° 3 2 ' W 159km S S W Tangham Farm, Boyton 52°5'N 1 °26'E Lognavatn, Aseral, Vest-Agder, Norway 58°45'N 7°19'E 8 2 8 k m N N E Thetford Lodge Farm 5 2 ° 2 6 ' N 0°41'E Sangvik, Sogne, Vest-Agder, Norway 5 8 ° 5 ' N 7°48'E 7 7 3 k m N E Brandon 52°26TM 0°36'E Onich, Lochaber, Highland 56°42'N 5 ° I 4 ' W 605km N W Willebroek, Antwerp, Belgium 51°4'N 4 ° 2 2 ' E Brandon 52°26'N 0°36'E 3 0 1 k m W N W Harelbeke, West-Viaanderen, Belgium 5 0 = 5 1 ^ 3°19'E Brandon 52°26TM 0°36'E 2 5 7 k m N W Brandon 52°26TM 0 ° 3 6 ' E Loppem, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium S l ^ T M 3°12'E 229km SE

Reiterates that several of the birds appearing in Suffolk in winter breed in Scotland and Scandinavia. COMMON LINNET Carduelis cannabina R243251

3M dead

16.07.2003 25.10.2003

Landguard Point, Felixstowe S l ^ T M 1°19'E Bazas, Gironde, France 4 4 ° 2 6 ' N 0 ° 1 2 ' W 8 4 1 k m

LESSER REDPOLL Carduelis cabaret R540116

6F control

15.03.2003 28.10.2003

R784436

4M control

04.11.2003 16.11.2003

R882118

3F control

27.10.2003 11.11.2003

R776795

3M

11.10.2003

R367658

control 5 control

30.10.2003 31.01.2003 25.10.2003

REED BUNTING Emberiza P933028

3F control

Haw Park, Wakefield, W Yorks 53°38'N 1°27'W Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E 263km SE Kilnsea, Humberside 53°37TM 0°8'E Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E 196km S S E Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E Ingooigem, West-vlaanderen, Belgium 50°49'N 3°26'E 195km SE Copeland Bird Observatory, Co. Down 54°41 TV 5°32'W Orfordness 52°5TM 1°34'E 5 5 2 k m E S E Haw Park, Wakefield, W Yorks 53°38'N 1°27'W Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 " 5 6 ^ l ° 1 9 ' E 2 6 5 k m SE

schoeniclus

02.10.2002 04.04.2003

Orfordness 52°5'N 1 °34'E Kingsnorth Power Station, H o o St Werburgh, Kent 51 " 2 5 ^ 0 ° 3 5 ' E 101 k m S W

192


Ringirtg Report 2003

Ringing Totals in Suffolk in 2003 (and revised totals for 2002) 2002 12 0 10 16 1 50 25 3 7 6 2 3 17 59 15 4 0 3 0 23 3 0 16 11 4 36 6 1 4 411 0 0 5 12 7 21 0 5 220 10 3 2 3 1 65 1 356 56 0 55 4 91

Little Grebe Grey Heron Mute Swan Greylag Goose Canada Goose Common Shelduck Eurasian Wigeon Gadwall Common Teal Mallard Tufted Duck Pochard Eurasian Marsh Harrier Eurasian Sparrowhawk Common Kestrel Water Rail Spotted Crake Common Moorhen Coot Eurasian Oystercatcher Pied Avocet Little Ringed Piover Ringed Piover European Golden Piover Grey Piover Northern Lapwing Red Knot Little Stint Curlew Sandpiper Dunlin Purple Sandpiper Ruff Jack Snipe Common Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Eurasian Curlew Common Redshank Common Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Ruddy Turnstone Black-headed Gull Mew (Common) Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Great Black-backed Gull Common Tern Little Tern Stock Pigeon 193

2003 2 5 2 3 8 29 10 1 37 12 1 8 14 79 19 2 1 0 1 11 16 1 23 7 4 38 6 1 1 323 1 2 1 17 2 6 1 22 315 19 7 0 13 2 39 3 399 77 2 37 1 59


Suffolk Birci Report 2003 2002 64 96 3 1 18 7 10 1 2 13 27 19 1 83 41 19 11 1157 1477 302 7 1781 2 51 20 110 0 764 945 999 27 9 20 33 31 91 3 2240 40 579 225 4 9 14 0 0 1359 2391 2 330 1110 206 1470

Common Woodpigeon Eurasian Collared Dove Eurasian Turtle Dove Common Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Short-eared Owl Long-eared Owl European Nightjar Common Kingfisher Common Swift Wryneck Oreat Spotted Woodpecker Green Woodpecker Woodlark Skylark Sand Martin Barn Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit. Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Waxwing Winter Wren Hedge Accentar European Robin Common Nightingale Black Redstart Common Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Northern Wheatear Ring Ouzel Common Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbier Grasshopper Warbier Aquatic Warbier Marsh Warbier Sedge Warbier Eurasian Reed Warbier Dartford Warbier Lesser Whitethroat Common Whitethroat Garden Warbier Blackcap 194

2003 108 92 3 2 12 13 11 0 2 7 37 1 0 82 44 33 32 298 1147 110 8 1533 2 25 5 103 2 765 976 1065 48 9 33 55 27 36 1 2273 18 515 251 11 33 26 2 2 1307 2192 1 338 938 237 2272


Ringirtg Report 2003 2002 2 1 1 2 766 729 2 0 0 430 80 17 1 38 205 606 37 2 348 1960 1355 0 14 56 1 17 31 3 16 5 933 644 28 1837 334 3464 779 723 419 31 50 0 9 1 313 0 47 624 0 1 36853

Barred Warbier Yellow-browed Warbier Dusky Warbier Wood Warbier Common ChiffchafF Willow Warbier Radde's Warbier Pallas's Warbier Yellow-browed 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 Penduline Tit Wood Nuthatch Eurasian Treecreeper Red-backed Shrike Eurasian Jay Black-billed Magpie Rook Eurasian Jackdaw Carrion Crow Common Starling House Sparrow Eurasian Tree Sparrow ChafFinch Brambling European Greenfinch European Goldfinch Eurasian Siskin Common Linnet Lesser Redpoll Common Redpoll Redpoll species Common Crossbill Common Rosefinch Common Bullfinch Hawfinch Yellowhammer Reed Bunting Snow Bunting Com Bunting TOTALS

Peter Lack, British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, 1P24 2PU 195

2003 1 0 0 6 838 612 0 2 1 903 101 36 0 41 48 666 32 0 247 2606 2068 1 21 74 0 23 37 1 20 7 692 1039 63 1733 447 4549 701 978 803 387 21 18 2 0 201 1 108 633 9 0 39650


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 o f Suffolk is still one o f 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 o f the County's wildlife, and Suffolk Birds, the County bird report, are two high quality annual publications issued free to members. The Society also publishes a quarterly newsletter and organises an interesting programme of field excursions and winter lectures at venues throughout the County. The Suffolk Naturalists' Society offers a joint membership with the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group at a reduced subscription. This entitles joint members to receive literature and attend the meetings of both organisations. If you are not yet a member of the Society but would like to join, contact Mrs J. Hardingham, c / o T h e 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 Obituaries: Bob Warren Dick Briggs

5 Philip Murphy Derek Moore

Review of the Year Malcolm Wright

7 9 11

The Laekford Lakes Constant Effort Site Colin Jakes, Peter Lack and Malcolm Wright

20

The 2003 Suffolk Bird Report: Introduction

29

Systematic List

31

Appendices

151

List of Contributors

157

Gazetteer

159

Earliest and Latest Dates of Summer Migrants

161

A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk

162

Rare Birds in Suffolk 2003 Brian Small

166

Régional Review Adam Gretton

175

Suffolk Ringing Report 2003 Peter Lack

180

PRICE

£7.50

Suffolk Birds 2003 Part 2  

Volume 53

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