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Systematic List GREAT SNIPE Gallinago media Accidental. 2003 Addition Covehithe: Sep. 13th 2003 (R.Wincup, J.A.Brown, A.Easton and R.Wilton;. This record has now been accepted by the BBRC. It was found exactly a year to the day since the previous record at Corton on 13th September 2002 (and by the same fortunate team of observers). EURASIAN W O O D C O C K Scolopax rusticĂłla Uncommon resident. Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The dramatic and rapid decline since the late 1990s in the Eurasian Woodcock's coastal breeding population showed no signs of abating in 2004. The only indication of possible breeding was the presence of single roding males at two separate North Warren sites on two dates in June. Despite extensive survey work, no roding males have been located in the Dunwich Forest/ Walberswick area since 1999. A more encouraging situation was reported from the Suffolk Breck. At least six roding males were present at Woodcock Peter Beeson avenham Heath in ^'ay and on June 28th there were "several" roding in The King's Forest. Reports from the Suffolk section of Thetford Forest were of "good numbers throughout the year". Observers reported this species from only 14 localities in the first winter period - the equivalent figures for 2003 and 2002 were 35 and 19 respectively. The principal totals in January were 12 Westleton Common, 13th and eight, Fressingfield, 8th. Evidence of continued immigration in January was provided by one in over the sea at Thorpeness, 4th and singles at Landguard, 2nd and 26th (dead). February's largest gathering was of 18 at Minsmere on 10th. Elsewhere in February, an unexpected sight was of one south close inshore at Kessingland, 13th, while one at Landguard, 27th, was considered to be an early s Pring migrant. Coastal spring p a s s a g e in M a r c h w a s r e p o r t e d f r o m only three sites; singles w e r e at Kessingland, 6 t h a n d O r f o r d n e s s , 28th w h i l e a s m a n y as 2 2 w e r e f l u s h e d f r o m t h e w o o d s and heath land at M i n s m e r e o n 15th.

The first bird of the autumn passage occurred on October 8th at Landguard; singles were °ted at this well-watched site on 11 dates up to November 22nd and three on October 31st and November 1st. The only other October records, all involving singles, were from Orfordness, 10th, 13th and 14th and Lowestoft, 28th.



Suffolk Birci Report


Reports were from 13 sites in November. The most unexpected sightings were from Ipswich, at the New Cemetery, 1st and Chesterton Close, 21st; the latter bird was feeding amongst leaves on an area of grass outside some flats. The best site in November was Orfordness, with peaks of seven, 21st and three, 6th and 7th and three in over the sea, 20th. Singles were also seen to fly in over the sea on three dates between 12th and 19th in the Kessingland-Covehithe area. Of the 13 sites to report birds in December, eight were inland. There was a minor influx in the last eight days of the month when totals included six, Shotley, 29th; four. Bourne Park, Ipswich, 24th; three Cosford Hall, Kersey, 26th and three, Minsmere, 29th. B L A C K - T A I L E D G O D W I T Limosa limosa Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Formerly bred. Red list. There was no proven breeding but a limosa male displayed at a coastal site between Aiiril 18th and mid-June. Close observation of this bird's plumage characteristics has shown that this same male has now held territory at this site for seven successive breeding seasons (and he was back on site in 2005). What is equally interesting is that the islándico females that also frequent this site completely ignore the advances of this limosa male (B.J.Small, pers. comm.). Counts at the principal coastal sites were:

Blytb Estuary Mlnsmcre* Alde/Ore Estuary Orfordness* Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

Jan 50 -

254 19 258 292 928

Feb 224 19 667 67 256 185 339

Mar 291 84 384 76 187 140 891

Apr -

100 -










13 170







1 1725

35 210 2 221 235 1352

19 261 25 305 50 161

Dec 253 14 195 54 289 121 161

* monthly maxima

Seafield Bay, on the Stour Estuary, was again the principal single site during January to March with maxima of 942, January 1 Oth (non-WeBS count) and 891, March 21 st. Regular reports from Town Marshes, Southwold, peaked at 360, February 25th. Recent years have witnessed previously-unheard-of totals at inland sites; i m p r e s s i v e totals at Giffords Park, Shelley/Stoke-by-Nayland early in the year involved 54, January 18th and 70, February 8th. Spring passage totals, during March to early May, were considerably lower than usual at several sites. Additional spring counts on the coast included up to 206, Trimley Marshes in April; 120, Snape, April 1 lth; 74, Blyth Estuary, April 14th and 25 north off KessinglandApril 27th. Fifteen islándico were identified at Southwold, March 13th. Spring passage was recorded at three inland sites: Lakenheath: 69 east, May lst. Livermere Lake: Apr.l4th; Apr.26th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, 23 islándico, Mar.l7th; seven, Apr.l8th. The mid-summer population was again impressive with the following máximum totalsThese oversummering individuáis are conMav Jun Jul sidered to be almost exclusively non-breeding Minsniere 141 128 155 islándico birds. For an unknown reason, S0I1K Orfordness 40 47 81 islándico birds, which are assumed to be capabk Trimley Marshes 160 101 164 of breeding, decide not to migrate back to Icela" but remain on their wintering grounds (B.J.Small,pers.comm.). At least five colour-ring ct 90



islándico birds were amongst an oversummering group on the Blyth Estuary, which totalled 41, July 18th and 89, August 2nd. However, not all birds in Suffolk in July were oversummering. Passage was in evidence with sightings at ten coastal and five inland sites. The maximum totals were again on the Stour Estuary where, at Holbrook Bay, counts increased from 58, June 29th to 337, July 31st. Reports from elsewhere in the coastal region in July included 100, Havergate, 26th; 70 south offThorpeness, 16th and 39 north over Sotterley, 25th. Inland reports in July were from Mickle Mere (nine, 12th), Livermere Lake (max. six, 12th), Lackford Lakes (five, 24th), Stoke-by-Nayland (three, 31st) and Redgrave (23rd). Adult limosa are now considered to be very scarce in Suffolk, so it is encouraging to report two sightings in July. These involved a colour-ringed bird from the Ouse Washes at Trimley Marshes, 15th and a non-breeding individual at Minsmere, 22nd. The Trimley bird was definitely ringed on the Ouse Washes but full details are not known because some of the ring colours were difficult to determine accurately. August witnessed a massive arrival, presumably of Icelandic birds, on the Stour Estuary where the WeBS count of 1045 included 949 in Seafield Bay. Nearby on the Orwell l.stuary, 526 were at Trimley Marshes, Aug.26th. The only other three-figure total in August was of 215, Havergate Island, 24th. Inland sightings in August were from Livermere Lake, 4th (two) and 21st and Mickle Mere (3rd to 9th). A juvenile limosa was on the Blyth Estuary, Aug. 2nd and the first juvenile islandica of the year to be subspecifically identified was at Benacre Broad, Aug. 18th. The excellent WeBS totals on the Stour in September and October (see above table) included 1696 and 1300 respectively at the Seafield Bay roost. A count of 250 islandica was made on the Blyth Estuary, October 22nd. There is no obvious reason for the massive decline in the Stour's totals in November and December. The highest non-WeBS count in 'he tinal two months involved 443 on Havergate Island, November 26th. An informative article by Brian Small entitled "The Status of the Black-tailed Godwit m Suffolk" was published in SOG Bulletin No. 140, pages 2-6. The article gives a fascinating insight into the identification features of limosa and islandica and the current status of the two subspecies in Suffolk. B

AR-TAILED G O D W I T Limosa lapponica Fairly common passage migrant and locally common winter visitor. Amber list. was another good year on the favoured Stour Estuary, although peak totals were slightly lower than in 2003. Counts at Erwarton Bay RSPB reserve, included in the Stour WeBS totals, were 185 in January, 340 in February and 92 in November. It is also encouraging to Sl c t 1 e " ' excellent Aide/Ore figure for January which included 29 on Orfordness. Bar-tailed Godwit movements are alwa s

y s a highlight Pring in Suffolk.

Passage peaked


WeBS counts on the principal estuaries were: Jan Feb Mar Apr Aide/Ore 84 15 0 1 Deben 0 4 23 344 17 Stour 6 185

Sep gs -,

Oct 3 3 7

Nov 20 0 93

Dee 24 14 15

2 . April when Maximum counts included 120 flying northeast high over Eastbridge, 30th; 90, Benacre 3nC any ' ' ^ s o u t ' 1 P a s t Landguard, 27th. A group of nine remained on the golf course Far _ 'P m> Lowestoft, April 25th to 30th. Coastal passage declined sharply in May with r •-ports from only five sites and maxima of 19, Orfordness, 16th and ten, Minsmere, 4th. no ' lrin ® P a s s a S e ' s generally the best time to see this godwit at inland sites and 2004 was exception. At Livermere Lake, up to four were recorded between April 21st and May la,e


Suffolk Birci Report


1st and an unhurried individual, May 18th to 27th. Lakenheath Fen attracted the larg st inland total with nine on May 1st. Elsewhere, Mickle Mere had three on May 1st and fi ur next day and one was at Lackford Lakes, April 25th. What are likely to have been the last birds of the spring were three at Benacre Bro id, June 15th. There then followed a 12-day gap before the first "autumn" birds on June 27th, at Thorpeness (three south), Landguard (two south) and Levington. Autumn passage had been considered very poor in 2003 but it was even worse in 20 '4. Only three sites reported this species in July, with a maximum of 16 south off Thorpem >s, 11th. The autumn's highest totals were in August, but the maxima were only 29 south, Southwold, 18th; 25 south, Thorpeness, 28th; 14, Orfordness, 12th and 13 south, La idguard, 10th. September's only double-figure total was of 18 south off Thorpeness, 2nd. The principal counts in late autumn and early winter were much lower than in the early months, as shown in the above table. Given the close proximity of Erwarton Bay, it is perhaps surprising that the Orwell's largest gathering of the year was of only 14 on Shotley Marshes, Decern ier 6th. W H I M B R E L Numenius phaeopus Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. As in 2003, the first of the year was recorded at an inland site in March, with one seen and heard in flight over West Stow CP on 29th. The first coastal records were at Minsmere, April 1 st and Kirton on 2nd. There was an excellent spring passage with even higher totals than in 2003. A general arrival from mid-April was followed by a very pronounced peak late in the month, which included; Blyth Estuary: 60, Apr.30th. Minsmere: 27, Apr.28th. Orfordness: 33, Apr.24th. Deben Estuary: 36, Apr.25th. Stour Estuary: 22, Apr.25th. Inland April records involved four, Lackford Lakes, 18th and one over Wangford Warren, 25th. Persistent seawatching in May resulted in some very impressive totals. The northerly passage off Kessingland totalled 305 during the month, peaking at 44 on 8th. while further south at Thorpeness the equivalent figures were 207 and 66 on 8th. Other noteworthy totals in May involved: Minsmere: 28, May 5th. Orfordness: 65, May 1st; 69 north, May 2nd and 63, May 9th. Landguard: 41 north, May 1st. Levington: 23 north-west, May 9th. Passage continued through inland sites in May; reports were from Cavenham Pits, 8th (two); Livermere Lake, 10th (two) and 26th and Lakenheath, 1st. Birds were noted on the coast up to May 31st (Landguard) and an isolated report involved one at Orfordness, JUIU 13th. The first "autumn" birds flew south off Landguard, June 19th and Thorpeness, JUIU' 26th. Autumn passage totals were noticeably lower than in the spring and it was again the county'^ seawatchers who recorded the season's maximum counts: Kessingland: 133 south July, max. 23 on 27th; 87 south August, max. 60 on 2nd. Minsmere: 14 south, Jul.26th. Thorpeness: 81 south, 11 north, July, max. 21 south on 15th; 22 south, August, max. ten on 2nd. Landguard: 52 south, Jun.l9th to Aug.31st. In July, the largest feeding group by far was of 50, Blythburgh, 14th. Double-fig ure 92



gatherings in August involved 23, Minsmere, 3rd; 16, Benacre Broad, 10th and 13, < rfordness, 8th. Relatively few were noted after mid-August. Only five September reports were received, with a maximum of nine on Orfordness, 5th. The only October record involved one on Havergate Island, 19th, which was probably the final bird of autumn passage. What is likely to have been the same sick or injured bird was noted at Holbrook Bay on the Stour Estuary on November 7th (E.W.Patrick), December 5th (D.and K Roberts) and December 12th (J.Steadman). i I RASIAN C U R L E W Numenius arquatu ( iimmon winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Amber list. As in 2003, the maximum accumulated WeBS total occurred in January; in 2003 the combined figure for the five estuaries was just under 2900, whereas in 2004 the total was just over 3050. There is undoubtedly much interchange between the Orwell and Stour Estuaries; totals on the Suffolk shore of the Stour Estuary are also probably dependent on the levels of disturbance on both sides of the river. The first "spring" The principal coastal and estuarine counts were; arrival was back in Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec the Suffolk Breck as Blvth Estuary 183 93 81 89 early as February Mlnsmere* 24 21 9 27 17 27 6th Although there North Warren* 36 26 27 27 26 2 3 was no proven Aide/Ore Estuary 824 801 340 602 575 573 " breeding, birds were Orfordness* 368 162 47 148 13 29 28 35 591 444 378 466 300 625 73 present at a mini- Deben Estuary 604 537 637 368 568 762 mum of ten Orwell Estuary 500 300 300 600 500 350 potential / traditional Colton Creek 474 866 749 18 394 1125 308 790 breeding sites in the Stour Estuary Erwarton Bay 518 480 376 12 285 515 62 6 Suffolk Breck. A Seafield Bay 207 230 343 0 101 239 430 183 realistic assessment *monthly maxima of the data received (The Colton Creek totals are included in those for the Orwell Estuary and the Erwarton indicates a popula- Bay and Seafield Bay total are included in those for the Stour Estuary.) 'ion of about 15 Pairs, which was also the 2003 figure. In addition, passage birds were recorded at five sites m west Suffolk between February and May. The maximum totals were 13, Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, February 25th and four, Livermere Lake, May 21st. Well away from the traditional sites one was noted at Stradishall Airfield, March 3rd. A light northerly passage was noted off Landguard from March 2nd onwards into early May with totals of 22 in March, 36 in April and four in May. Southerly return movement was seen off Landguard from as early as June 2nd. Although estuarine totals remained relatively low in June and July, these months witnessed the maximum offshore southerly passage. The overall totals for June and July and the peak day-total at the principal sea-watching sites were: Kessingland: 440, June and 164, July, max. 128, Jun.27th. Thorpeness: 433, June and 253, July, max. 214, Jun.27th. '-andguard: 266, June and 200, July, max. 131, Jul. 13th. ° n the estuaries, the maximum total in June was of 40 in Holbrook Bay, 29th, while in Juil». *L 'y there were 161 in Holbrook Bay, 31st and 80 at North Warren, 9th. I lAugust ~ — witnessed increased gatherings on the estuaries, including 161 on Havergate not d • 8 t h ' U P t 0 1 4 8 0 n ° r f o r d n e s s d u r i n g t h e m o n t h a n d 1 0 0 ' Blythburgh, 28th. Two were e inland at Lakenheath Fen, August 22nd. The estuary totals for September-December 93

Suffolk Birci Report


in the above table far exeeeded ali other counts. Of interest elsewhere were 43 south off Landguard in October; 40 Burgh Castle, October 24th and one inland at Weybread CIP, November 19th. S P O T T E D R E D S H A N K Tringa erythropus Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber list. Dingle Marshes and sites on the Aide/Ore Estuary (principally Havergate Island and Orfordness) and Deben Estuary (principally in the area of Martlesham Creek) had been favoured by this wader in December 2003 and this trend continued into 2004. The sites mentioned above were the only localities from where Spotted Redshanks were reported in January, with at least four and probably six, on the Aide/Ore, three at Dingle Marshes and two on the Deben. On February 22nd the - WeBS counters recorded Spotted Redshank Su Gough

six on the D e b e n Estuary,

four on the Aide/Ore Estuary and one on the Blyth Estuary. There was evidence of birds arriving in the county from mid-February with singles at Minsmere from 1 lth to 29th and Trimley Marshes from 23rd onwards into March. The latter month saw few reports, with only three on the Deben Estuary, two on the Aide/Ore Estuary, two at Minsmere and the Trimley Marshes bird. which was present to lOth. Birds became more widespread in Aprii with reports from seven coastal sites and maxima of five, Trimley Marshes, 16th and three, Minsmere, 23rd. The final birds of the spring were three, Minsmere, May lst. The first "autumn" bird was noted on June 15th on Orfordness, where two were p r e s e n t by the month's end. Additional June reports were of eight, Minsmere, 24th; five, Benacre Broad, 30th and one south offThorpeness, 23rd. Minsmere was, by a considerable margin, the principal autumn site in 2004. Doublefigure totals were reported regularly from there from mid-July until at least early O c t o b e r . with monthly maxima of 31, July 26th; 38, August 13th (the county's largest gathering ' n 2004 but 20 less than the peak figure in 2003); 37, September 1 lth and 29, October 7th Reports from Benacre Broad also featured prominentiy in July and August with up to nine in July and an August peak of 15 on 19th. Away from Minsmere and Benacre, the only double-figure gatherings were Dunwich/Dingle Marshes with 17, July 1 lth and 18, September 29th. Coastal site* reporting this wader totalled seven in July, six in August and five in September. SpottLl Redshanks are scarce in Suffolk away from the coastal regiรณn; the only non-coas sighting this year was one at Livermere Lake, August 4th to 8th. 94



Away from Minsmere, the only October record was of one on the Aide/Ore Estuary late in the month. Birds arrived at the traditional wintering sites in November with six on the Aide/Ore Estuary, 14th and three, Martlesham Creek, 15th. There were also November sightings at Benacre (five on 6th) and Minsmere (two on 18th). Sightings in December were restricted to the Aide/Ore Estuary (max. six on 12th) and Deben Estuary (max. three, Martlesham Creek, 14th). COMMON R E D S H A N K Trìnga totanus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Declining resident. Amber list. lt is encouraging to report what appears to be a stable breeding population. The 2004 figures of an overall total of up to 105 pairs at seven coastal and six inland sites compare closely with those of 103 pairs at ten coastal and four inland sites in 2003. The Birds of Suffolk (Piotrowski 2003) indicates that the county total could be up to 600 pairs, but that figure now appears somewhat optimistic. The principal totals of breeding pairs (followed by the 2003 figures in brackets, where available) were: Blyth Estuary: 11 Walherswick-Dunwich shoreline: 17 (30 in 1999). Minsmere: 11 (nine). North Warren: 20 (23). Orfordness: 22 (20). Trimley Marshes: 12 (14). A total of 24 juveniles was located on Orfordness but there was significant prédation by a second summer Lesser Black-backed Gull. All of the 20 pairs at North Warren failed be ause of heavy rain in early May. Inland breeding was noted at Lakenheath (three), Lackford Lakes (two), Mickle Mere 11 -I, Thetford, Livermere Lake and Gifford's Park, Shelley/Stoke-by-Nayland. There had been nine pairs at Lakenheath in 2003. Additional inland sightings involved up to five at C ave'nham, May 2nd in an area where breeding has occurred in recent years and three in the Waveney Valley at Flixton GP, June 6th. Scp -

17 -

234 -


679 420

Oct -

16 1727 191 1466 850 72 200 48

Nov -

31 1957 513 1296 1400 341 412 243

Dee 1058 47 1627 363 1139 oo OJ

Principal totals on the coasts and estuaries were: Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug Blyth Estuary Si: _ 1152 892 1245 ; _ 28 Minsmere* 28 18 — Aide/Ore Estuary 1731 1486 787 Orfordness* 119 301 286 68 Deben Estuary 1762 1869 999 182 Orwell Estuary 1290 1664 921 Ipswich Docks 483 452 150 Stour Estuary 707 147 244 561 896 Seafield Bay 260 204 309 588 39 *raonthly maxima

228 559 323

j h e Ipswich Docks and Seafield Bay figures are included in the totals for the Orwell Stour Estuaries respectively. | Additional site-totals in the first winter period included 332, Holbrook Bay, January " • 2 2 7 , Freston, January 6th; 177, Shotley Marshes, January 1 Ith; 152, Trimley ®rehes> January 9th and 117, Havergate Island, March 25th. and s'ghtings in the first two months involved significantly lower totals than in the same Jan ' ) e r i o c ' m 2003; they were from Long Melford, January 4th and Lakenheath (five, Uary 6 t h and eight, February 20th). Birds arrived from March 13th onwards at inland 95

Suffolk Birci Report


breeding sites where passage reports peaked at eight, Livermere Lake, April 12th and seven, Mickle Mere, March 18th and included an intriguing record of one heard in flight over Stowmarket, 03.30 hrs, May 30th. Totais increased rapidly in July as birds arrived in the coastal región from Iceland and Continental breeding grounds. Principal reports in July and August involved: Kessingland: 127 south, August. Blyth Estuary: 770, Aug.2nd. Thorpeness: 44 south, July and 118 south, August. Havergate Island: eight, Jul.Bth increasing to 418, Jul.26th: 88, Aug.l2th increasing to 231, Aug.22nd. Landguard: 98 south, July and 83 south, August. Erwarton Bay: 900, Jul.28th; 929, Aug.l2th. The principal coastal totals during September to December are listed in the table. Additional individual site-totals included 226, Iken, November 1 Ith; 212, Holbrook, December 12th and 150, Kirton, November 25th. Lakenheath has attracted double-figure totals in each late autumn/early winter period since 2001; this year the site hosted 19, November 4th and 27, December 7th. C O M M O N G R E E N S H A N K Tringa nebularia Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Overwintering by one or two Greenshank was noted every year in Suffolk between 1977 and 1991 but became somewhat erratic between 1992 and 1998. However, since 1999 it has become a regular feature again, particularly on the Deben and Aide/Ore Estuaries. Given this species' site-fidelity and expected longevity, it seems likely that the same individuáis have been involved each winter. This year there were singles in the Havergate Island/Orfordness area and on the upper Deben Estuary during January to March; in addition one was noted in Holbrook Bay on the Stour Estuary, January 25th. The first spring birds were singles on April 1 Ith on the coast at Snape and inland at Cavenham. April was the peak spring month, with sightings at ten coastal and five inland localities. The highest totals occurred in the fourth week, with four at Lackford Lakes, 26th and 16 and 11 on the Deben and Stour Estuaries respectively on 25th. Additional inland reports in April carne from Livermere Lake, Cavenham, Lakenheath and the Mickle Mere. May was relatively quiet. Birds FIELD NOTE were located at only six coastal and The remarkable sight of one singing and displaying at two inland sites with a maximum North Warren RSPB reserve on April 25th, brings to of six at each of Minsmere, Ist; mind the 2003 record of a Wood Sandpiper in song Orfordness, 3rd and üifford's Park, flight at Lackford Bridge, May 18th (Suffolk Birds 3rd. Late spring migrants were 2003:91). noted at three sites in early June up Steve Abbott to 1 Ith (Orfordness). There then followed only an eight-day gap before what is assumed to have been the first returning adult flew south off Landguard, 19th. During the remainder of June birds were at three coastal localities and inland at Thetford, 25th. July and August witnessed a strong passage, mainly on the coasts and estuaries, with reports from 18 coastal and five inland sites. Passage birds in July are generally considered to be adults and are augmented by juveniles in August (BWP). Double-figure gatherings in July were of 16 at each of Seafield Bay, Brantham, 19th and Havergate Island, 3Ist; 15, Minsmere, 23rd and up to ten at Trimley Marshes during the month. Inland reports in July were from Flixton GP, 14th to 28th and Livermere Lake, with singles on five dates and four on 8th.


Kestrel: a welcome upturn in numbers.

Alan Tate

3. Citrine Wagtail: at East Lane, Bawdsey in May.


4. Wryneck: at Landguard Common, September. BUI Bastรณn

Andrew Easton

15. Hoopoe: at South Cove in Aprii. Clive Naunton

16. Swallows: a delightful aerial ballet.

17. House Martins: gathering mud for nest-building

Mark Bullimori



Observers recorded a particularly strong passage during the second week of August, with the highlights being: Benacre Broad: 47, Aug. 10th. Orfordness: 12, Aug.llth. Havergate Island: 14, Aug.lOth. Trimley Marshes: 21, Aug.l 1th. Stour Estuary: 17, Seafield Bay, Aug. 11 th. The total of 47 is the highest in the county in 2004. It is also the largest gathering ever noted at Benacre, exceeding the flock of 40 there during August 19th to 21st 1991. Inland maxima were of four, Livermere Lake, August 9th and three, Mickle Mere, 9th and 10th. Flixton GP featured again with one on 4th. After the hectic pace of August, events were much quieter in September. The WeBS counts were significantly lower than in most recent Septembers but individual site-totals did include 20, Orfordness, 5th (including 17 south); 16, Trimley Marshes, 2nd and 13, Seafield Bay, 8th. The only inland reports were from Lackford Lakes, 1 st and Lakenheath, 20th and two at Weybread GP, 23rd. In October, the maximum totals were of just nine, Deben Estuary, 11th and eight, Aide/ Ore Estuary, 17th and the final inland sighting was from Lakenheath on 2nd. In November, one was on the Aide Estuary at Iken, 11th while on 14th the WeBS counters found singles on Trimley Marshes and the upper Deben Estuary and two on Orfordness. Finally, December saw singles lingering once again in the Orfordness area and on the upper Deben Estuary. GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers overwinter. Amber list. There were fewer in the period to early March than we have come to expect in recent years. During this period singles were at seven widely-scattered localities and two at Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, February 18th. Spring passage became evident from the third week of March and continued to May 10th (Minsmere). April was the peak month with reports from 12 sites - four coastal, eight inland - but the maximum was only two, at Sizewell, 13th; Cavenham, 17th and Lackford Lakes, 2nd and 22nd. Apart from the Minsmere bird, the only other May sighting was at Gifford's Park on 3 rd. The first birds of what was to be an excellent autumn passage were noted in early June at Lackford Lakes, 3rd; Minsmere, 7th and Nunnery Lakes, 9th. Overall there were Green Sandpipers at three coastal and six inland sites in June with maxima of eight, Orfordness, 26th and three, Lackford Lakes, 22nd. An abundance of sightings was reported in the peak period of July and August. During these two months, birds were found at 14 coastal and ten inland sites and a summary of the double-figure counts is as follows: Minsmere: 15, Aug.l4th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, ten, Aug.lOth. Orford: Orfordness, double-figure totals on four dates in July, max. 19 on 24th and on nine dates in August, max. 21 on 11 th. Trimley Marshes: 15, Jul.31st. Flixton: Flixton GP, 11, Jul.27th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, 13, Aug.9th. The count of 21 on Orfordness, August 11th is the highest in Suffolk since August 26th 1988, when 25 were present at Suffolk W.P., Bramford. It is interesting to note that August 11th was also the peak date for Greenshank at Orfordness. Additional notable inland groups involved six, Livermere Lake, August 9th; six, Gifford's Park, August 7th and five, 97

Suffolk Birci Report


Lackford Lakes, July 24th to 31st. Totals declined sharply after mid-August although figures late in that month included eight, Orfordness, 29th and up to seven, Walberswick, to 28th. Only three coastal sites reported this wader in September but they did include Orfordness, where there were sightings on 16 dates with a maximum of four on 5th and 12th. One flew west over Landguard, September 26th. Reports came from five inland sites during September with a maximum of just three, Flixton GP, 2nd. No more than two were at five widely scattered sites in October, but in the last two months, generally from mid-November, single wintering birds were in the coastal region at Minsmere, Melton (Wilford Bridge), Staverton Lakes and Brantham, in the central region at Fressingfield, Bramford and Barking and in the west at Barton Mere, Cavenham, Lackford Lakes and Lakenheath. W O O D SANDPIPER Tringa glareola Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. Spring passage was poor with only five birds located. Two at Minsmere, April 24th to 27th were followed in May by one at Boyton, 13th to 15th and two at Minsmere, 15th. After such a disappointing spring, the events of the autumn came as a surprise. The autumn passage was undoubtedly amongst the best ever recorded in Suffolk and commenced with early arrivals in late June at Gifford's Park, 26th and Minsmere, 29th. Reports in July were exclusively coastal. Two frequented Minsmere between 7th and 30th and Trimley Marshes hosted one on 14th. Orfordness was the main site, however, with sightings on six dates and maxima of four on 27th and three on 24th. The dam really burst in August when there were sightings at nine coastal and four inland sites. A summary of the main coastal reports in August is as follows: Brevdon Water: south wall, eight, 15th. Walberswick NNR: Point Marsh, double-figure totals on 11th (14), 12th (22) and 15th (15). Minsmere: recorded daily, maximum of six on 11th. Orfordness: recorded on most days, maxima of 11 on 10th and 26th and nine on 14th, 22nd and 29th.

Havergate Island: four, 26th. Trimley Marshes: present on most days between 6th and 15th, maxima of seven on 12th and six on 10th and 11th.

The count of 22 at Walberswick NNR on August 12th would appear to be the highest site-total in Suffolk since the "Great Fall" on September 3rd 1965 when 30 were at Minsmere. One or two were also noted on the coast in August at Benacre Broad, Southwold and Shingle Street. Wood Sandpipers also occurred at inland sites in August; there were sightings at Flixton GP, Livermere Lake, Lackford Lakes and Mickle Mere. The maximum was two at Lackford Lakes, 8th and Mickle Mere, 10th. The birds noted in August evidently soon moved on elsewhere. Only two were found in September, at Orfordness, 4th to 7th and Minsmere, 24th to 30th. This latter bird remained at Minsmere until October 7th. C O M M O N SANDPIPER Ac titis hypoleucos Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. The Wilford Bridge area of the upper Deben Estuary has been a regular overwintering site for at least one Common Sandpiper for several years. One had been located at this site on December 30th 2003 and what must surely have been the same bird was present there to at least February 16th and was joined by a second bird on February 14th. One was seen on the Blyth Estuary on January 11th and February 7th and another at Lake Lothing, Lowestoft, February 27th. 98



The first birds in a generally light spring passage were noted in Aprii, inland at Livermere Lake, 16th and Flixton GP, 19th. Common Sandpipers were also noted inland in April at Weybread GP (max. three, 22nd), Cavenham and Lackford. On the coast, one or two were reported at Trimley Marshes from 26th. May witnessed the main spring movement, but the numbers involved were lower than in recent years, with no double-figure counts. Reports came from six coastal and nine inland sites and as in 2003, Livermere Lake was the top locality with six on May 19th. On the coast the maximum was only four, at Shotley Marshes, May 20th. The final birds of the spring were singles at Livermere Lake, May 27th and Lackford Lakes, May 28th. There were then three records in late June, between 17th and 30th, at Lackford Lakes, Livermere Lake and Nunnery Lakes, probably relating to early returning birds. After such a poor spring it is pleasing to report a moderate autumn movement, although the totals were lower than in autumn 2003. Records came from ten coastal and five inland sites in July, although few were seen until the second half of the month when maxima were 15, Trimley Marshes, 30th and 11, Minsmere, 31 st on the coast and seven, Livermere Lake, 28th, inland. With more juveniles arriving in the county, totals increased further in August, when there were reports from 16 coastal and six inland localities. The principal counts were: Benacre Broad: 25,Aug.l0th; 17, Aug.l3th. Minsmere: 13,Aug.9th. Trimley Marshes: 11, Aug.9th and lOth; ten, Aug.l Ith. Stour Estuarv: August WeBS count of 19, including 12 in Erwarton Bay. Flixton GP: eight, Aug.l6th. Livermere Lake: up to seven daily in August, max. eight, 13th. Totals decreased markedly across the county from mid-August onwards. Although stili widespread in September (ten coastal and four inland sites), the maxima were only five, Weybread GP, 6th and four, Walberswick, 19th. The final inland sighting was at Mickle Mere, October 9th, while in the coastal rĂŠgion the only October report was of possibly the same bird on the Stour Estuary at Cattawade, 4th and Erwarton Bay, 17th. A wintering bird was noted back at Wilford Bridge, Melton/Bromeswell, November 14th and December 28th. The only other November record was at Seafield Bay, Stour Estuary, 14th and 15th, which might have been the same as that present on the Stour in October. This is the first instance of possible wintering on the Stour since 1994 (February 13th, Fiatford, East Bergholt). RLIDDY T U R N S T O N E Arenaria interpres Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Counts at the principal coastal sites were:

Deben Estuary Landguard* Orwell Estuary Ipswich Dock Stour Estuary Erwarton Bay Holbrook Bay

Jan 36 21 183 119 171 144 22

Feb 39 24 106 67 242 140 85

Mar 18 16 122 33 255 148 100

Apr 11 20 -

345 103 175

Aug -

Sep -






49 36 0


426 135 275

Oct 79 20 96 29 214 50 120

Nov 59 14 217 84 274 113 118

Dec 59 7 303 197 225 165 41

"monthly maxima

The Ipswich Docks roost totals are included in those for the Orwell Estuary and the Erwarton Bay and Holbrook Bay totals in those for the Stour Estuary. Additional records 99

Suffolk Birci Report


of interest in the first winter included 30 south off Thorpeness, January 1st; 27 roosting at Alton Water, January 25th and 23, Ness Point, Lowestoft, January 17th. The impressive spring passage recorded on the Stour Estuary was not mirrored elsewhere, as the highest total away from the Stour in April was of 50, Freston, Orwell Estuary, 22nd. Ruddy Turnstones are scarce inland, so three at Mickle Mere and two at Livermere Lake, both on May 10th, are noteworthy. On the coast in May, seawatchers noted 17 flying north off Thorpeness, 10th and 15 north off Kessingland, 8th. A scattering of birds was recorded on the coast in June, including nine, Minsmere, 17th. Very few were seen in July, during which month 21 flew south off Thorpeness. August witnessed significant arrivals on the Stour Estuary, with non-WeBS counts at Holbrook Bay of 130 on 1st and 125 on 22nd. Southerly passage totals for August off Landguard and Thorpeness were 97 and 26 respectively; the peak day off Landguard was 14th, when 38 were noted. Of the 11 at Benacre Broad, August 5th, eight were identified as being juveniles. On Havergate Island, 34 were present, August 10th. Apart from the WeBS counts, few significant totals were recorded during the last four months. However, they did include 30, Havergate Island, November 26th; 30, Aide/Ore Estuary, December 12th; 29, Ness Point, November 2nd and 20, Aldeburgh, December 7th. The impressive count of 197 at the Ipswich Docks roost on December 12th is the highest ever recorded at this site. RED-NECKED PHALAROPE Phalaropus lobatus Scarce passage migrant. Red list. None was recorded in 2003, but this year one was present on typical dates at a previously much-favoured coastal site. Havergate Island: Aug. 10th and 12th (I.Paradine). This bird is the first at Havergate Island since one on August 27th 1999. Spring records are now becoming increasingly scarce in Suffolk; the last to be recorded here were two in June 1999, at Minsmere and Trimley Marshes. GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicarius Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. This year's total of three, all in late autumn, is the same as that in 2003. Lowestoft: Hamilton Dock, Oct.28th. Dunvvich: south offshore, Oct.28th (R.Drew). Landguard: Nov.24th (J.Zantboer). Stratton Hall: Levington Marina, Nov.5th (J.Zantboer). The Lowestoft bird was present in Hamilton Dock for only five minutes before flying out to sea - it is assumed to have been the same bird as that seen off Dunwich on the same date. POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus Uncommon passage migrant. A few overwinter. A reasonable year for this species, with most of the submitted reports again coming from the regularly watched sites of Kessingland and Thorpeness. Credit is due to both Paul Read and Dave Thurlow, who are providing a good picture of yearly seabird passage off the Suffolk coast. The 88 records for the year were distributed as follows and this will inevitably include a degree of overlap in the sightings. Jan 1


Mar 1

Apr 2

Stay 7

Jun 1

Jul -


Aug 6

Sep 17

Oct 47

Nov 6




Winter records involved a first-winter north off Thorpeness, January 1st and one off Landguard, March 1st. Nine individuals were noted on spring passage northward between April 26th and May 28th, including four pale phase adults north together off Kessingland, May 11th. The species has indeed been proved to occur regularly off Suffolk in spring, mainly in early Pomarine Skua Peter Beeson May, the peak time at traditional sites such as Dungeness, Kent. An unusual midsummer record came from Thorpeness on June 23rd. A strong autumn passage was noted from August 3rd to November 29th, totalling 76 birds (57 in 2002, 59 in 2003), including a peak of 15 off Thorpeness, October 9th. ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Another good year with a total of 419 birds reported. The monthly distribution was as follows and the usual caveat applies that this will include an unknown degree of overlap in the sightings. Jan 7

Feb 1


Apr 12

May 15

Jun 1

Jul 95

Aug 71

Sep 124

Oct 89

Nov 3

Dec 1

An interesting set of January records came from Thorpeness, with six different individuals noted including an intermediate-type first-winter bird which lingered all month. Inland, three were seen at the RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen, May 11th. This is the first record of Arctic Skua in west Suffolk since one at Lakenheath Warren on May 29th 1984. Coastal spring passage produced 24 birds, mainly in late April/early May. A protracted autumn passage lasted from June 15th to November 19th and peaked at 22 off Southwold, September 23rd. The last of the year was noted off Thorpeness on December 30th. LONG-TAILED SKUA Stercorarius longicaudus Uncommon passage migrant. This species continued its upward trend of sightings with about 30 birds reported, further establishing its regular presence off Suffolk. The bird at Kessingland on June 10th is only the third-ever spring record for the county. All records are as follows: Corton: juv, south, Sep.23rd. Lowestoft: Ness Point, juv lingering offshore for 15 mins, Sep.24th. Kessingland: full adult north, 200 metres offshore, Jun.lOth; juv, south, Sep.รณth; juv, north, Sep.7th; juv, south, Sep.23rd and two juvs, south, Oct. 10th. Reydon: Easton Bavents, south, Oct.lOth; north, Oct.l 1th. Southwold: juv, south, Sep.9th; juv, lingering, Sep. 10th; juv, south, Sep.23rd; north, Oct.lOth and juv, north, Oct.l 1th. Sizewell: grey juv lingering off rigs from 16.30-17.10 pm, Aug.31st. Thorpeness: four north, Oct.2nd; individuals south on Oct.9th, 17th and 28th (all un-aged). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, south, Sep. 10th and 25th; north, Oct.l 1th; five north, Oct.21st and south Oct.28th. GREAT SKUA Stercorarius skua Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber list. An average year with 130 birds reported, down from the 185 in 2003, which is the county record. 101

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 The monthly distribution of sightings was as follows: Jan 3

Feb - -


Apr 5

May 5

Jun 5

Jul 39

Aug 45

Sep 86

Oct 23

Nov 4


There were three January records offThorpeness and then 12 spring records from April 27th to June 1st, including three north off Kessingland, April 27th. A standard autumn passage peaked at 16 off Southwold, September 23rd. At Kessingland, the peak was nine, August 14th and September 25th and at Thorpeness it was seven, August 22nd and September 26th. Passage lasted until November 13th, when the last of the year was noted off Landguard. MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Rare breeder. Amber list. "â&#x20AC;˘"his gull is now noted very regularly in Suffolk, especially along the coast, breeding again took place at the regular site, with a count of nine pairs made on May 15th, in addition to 15 unpaired firstsummer birds. This total of 33 is the largest gathering ever recorded in Suffolk. Eight to ten juveniles were fledged between June 20th and July 10th. They were present in a cluster in the middle /{â&#x20AC;˘L-jnvk: of a large Black-headed Gull colony. Some nests succumbed due to early-June flooding. Away from the breeding area, the most regular sites were again Lowestofl/Pakefield Mediterranean Gull Mark Cornish (maximum nine), Minsmere (maximum 11 ) and Landguard (maximum 11 ). The species can be seen in any month of the year, but there is a build up of first-summers in May. Inland, four were seen regularly at Lackford Lakes in January (two adults, a secondwinter and a first-winter), one of which lingered until March 12th. Adults were present at Weybread GP on January 5th, April 3rd and October 29th and 30th. LITTLE GULL Larus minutus Fairly common passage migrant. Regularly oversummers. Small numbers overwinter. For the second year running there was a heavy offshore passage on the first day of the New Year. A remarkable 1002 birds flew south past Thorpeness in strong north-easterlies on January 1st and another 429 passed Kessingland the next day. The January 1st figure easily becomes Suffolk's highest-ever count; the previous record was 506 off North Warren on November 7th 1999. Few were seen during the rest of the winter period. There was a good inland passage between April 2nd and 25th, with Livermere Lake holding 11 birds on 16th and another 11 at Lakenheath Washes on the same day. The large midsummer gatherings now seem to have moved from Benacre to Minsmere, where 54, July 26th, rose to 69, August 3rd and a peak of 73, August 19th. The peak at Benacre was just 12, August 10th. 102



Autumn passage off Thorpeness was strong, as shown in the table, with a peak of 136 (101 north, 35 south), September 27th. Smaller numbers were seen elsewhere off the north-east Suffolk coast, while Landguard reported a total of 17 north, 50 south, three east and 29 offshore between August 24th and November 24th.

Thorpeness July August September October November Totals

North 90 108 439 75 19 731

South 12 14 114 130 3 273

S A B I N E ' S G U L L Larus sabini Rare passage migrant. A good year for this high-arctic gull with five records as follows: Southwold: juv, north, Sep.25th (L.G.Woods, R.Marsh); juv, north, Oct.8th (B.J.Small) and juv, north, Oct.lOth (B.J.Small). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, juv, Oct.2nd (M.James, N.Odin, P.Oldfield et at) and juv, Oct.27th (P.J.Holmes, P.Oldfield). 2003 Correction Southwold: Oct.lOth (Suffolk Birds 2003: 96) - correct date was Oct. 13th. B L A C K - H E A D E D G U L L Larus ridibundus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. No less than 5000 were counted in early May at the Blyth Estuary colony and despite a couple of high tides early in June, breeding appeared to be very successful, with many hundreds of newly fledged juveniles noted later in the summer. At Minsmere, 126 pairs bred, a further decrease on recent years, but this is no bad thing as far as the Pied Avocets are concerned. Inland, 13 pairs attempted to nest at the Mickle Mere and at Livermere Lake, 28 nests were counted, June 5th and there were 26 juveniles present, July 8th. FIELD NOTE

At the Mickle Mere, Pakenham, 13 pairs of Black-headed Gull built ground nests around the edge of the Mere. Two days of heavy rain over 4-6th May caused the water level to rise rapidly and the birds made frantic efforts to build up their nests, but they were all washed out. Water levels remained high and four pairs attempted to nest again in trees. One nest was two metres above the ground in a pollarded willow and the other three nests were in the large tree in the centre of the Mere; at three, six and seven metres above the ground. One of the high nests contained large young, which may have fledged Tree nesting is unusual in this species. Malcolm Wright Early in the year the Lackford roost again held large numbers, with a maximum of 27000 on January 28th. However, in mid-November the large overnight roost suddenly ceased, after which no gulls at all used the sailing lake! The reasons are unclear, but the desertion might have been precipitated by illegal, overnight disturbance caused by fishermen attempting to poach the record large pike this lake is reputed to hold. This was the largest inland roost site in Suffolk and had been present from September to February for at least 17 years. A count of 2000 on nearby Livermere Lake in December may account for some of these birds. There were the usual large numbers in winter on the coast and this included an offshore roost of 2106 at Bawdsey, October 8th and 1755 coasting south off Thorpeness, early morning on November 5th. 103

Suffolk Birci Report


RING-BILLED G U L L Larus delawarensis Very rare vagrant. Lackford Lakes: adult, at least Jan.9th to 11th (L.Gregory el at). The sixth county record for this Nearctic gull and the second for west Suffolk. MEW ( C O M M O N ) GULL Larus canus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant; scarce breeding species. Amber list. Seven pairs nested at two sites, an encouraging increase on recent years, but it is not known if any young were fledged. Counts of 104 at Minsmere, May 10th, 383 at Benacre Broad, May 11th and 187 (reported as "largely first-summers") at the latter site, May 13th, were very probably composed of immature, non-breeding birds. As usual, there were far more present in mid-winter. An impressive 6040 roosted on Orfordness, January 18th and 6000 roosted on Lackford Lakes, January 28th but again, as with Black-headed Gulls, they were almost completely absent in the second winter period. Another notable count was 1500 off Landguard, November 27th. LESSER BLACK-BACKED G U L L Larus fuscus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Increasing numbers overwinter. Amber list. The main breeding colony, at the northern end of Orfordness, held at least 6000 pairs and newly isolated small sections enjoyed high fledging success. Elsewhere on the reserve, Fox prĂŠdation was very evident. Small numbers nested on warehouse rooftops in Lowestoft and Ipswich, e.g. "pair with two large, downy young on the roof of Focus DIY Warehouse, Ipswich, July 1st". Rock 2005 (British Birds, Vol. 98, p.343) records "887 pairs of large gulls - Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls - in the Port of Felixstowe in 2004, the latter colony having increased by 41.3% since 2003", so there is clearly a rapidly expanding colony of roof-nesting and ground-nesting gulls within the Felixstowe Docks area. Breeding attempts at Minsmere were again controlled, to protect rare breeding species. In the west, the peak summer gathering was 4400 at the Livermere Lake roost, August 22nd. At least 2100 roosted at Lackford Lakes, October 22nd and 750, December 1st, so it appears that this species did not desert the site, unlike Black-headed and Mew Gulls. There were also substantial numbers still on the coast in mid-winter, with 260 on Orfordness in January. HERRING GULL Larus argentatus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The principal breeding colony on Orfordness held just under 1000 pairs, which were notably more successful on the bare areas in the newly protected part of the northern colony. Small numbers also nested on warehouse rooftops in Lowestoft and Ipswich. At the Port of Felixstowe, there is an expanding colony of large gulls nesting on the ground and rooftops, which numbered 887 pairs in 2004. See note under Lesser Black-backed Gull above. This species is seriously under-recorded in most areas, with the peak count for the west of the county being only 190, at Stanton, September 19th and the peak in the north-east just 116 at North Warren, January 9th. Counts were higher in the south-east, with 1970 going to roost on Orfordness, January 18th, 449 at Havergate Island, November 26th and 450 at Landguard, November 27th. 104



Yellow-legged Gull L.a.michahellis Five adults were roosting on Lackford Lakes on January 1 st and birds were recorded in the gull roosts there until March 14th (a first-winter), with small numbers at other sites. There was a trickle of records through the spring and then the usual late-summer build-up, peaking at 48 on the Blyth Estuary, September 4th. Up to six were present at Livermere Lake in August and five roosted at Weybread GP in September. This gull is more frequently reported than nominate Herring Gull, with records coming from most parts of the county. Caspian Gull L.a.cachinnans All confirmed reports are as follows. Observers are reminded that this subspecies is a county rarity for which full supporting notes are required. Southwold: first-winter ringed in Ukraine, Jan.20th and the same bird, Oct.31st (B.J.Small). BIythburgh: adult, Jan.l3th (B.J.Small); third-winter, Aug.26th (B.J.Small); adult with a limp, Aug.29th to Oct.2nd (B.J.Small); adult with a green ring, Aug.29th to Sep. 13th (B.J.Small); secondwinter, Aug.30th (B.J.Small); two sub-adults, Sep. 18th and 19th (B.J.Small); third-winter, Oct.24th (B.J.Small); third-winter, Oct.27th (B.J.Small); Minsmere: first-winter, Oct.31st (J.A.Rowlands). At least eight individuals were noted in the Blyth estuary/Southwold area, including the regular limping adult and a green-ringed adult. Also a first-winter bearing a Kiev ring was noted at Southwold, January 20th and this bird returned later in the year for a second winter. ICELAND GULL Larus glaucoides Scarce winter visitor. In the first third of the year, there were many sightings in the north-east of the county, possibly most involving the same first-winter. It was regularly present in the Minsmere/ Sizewell area from January 1st to April 7th (RSPB, many observers). A different firstwinter was at Minsmere from March 13th to April 13th (D.A.Fairhurst, R.Drew). Presumably it was one of these birds which visited the Lowestoft/Kessingland area in late April (J.A.Brown, R.Fairhead). In the second winter period, an adult was offshore at Southwold, October 9th (B.J.Small) and an adult was off Landguard, October 15th and 28th and November 24th (J.Zantboer, A.Thompson, et al). Finally,a first-winter was at Sizewell, November 13th (D.A.Fairhurst). GLAUCOUS GULL Larus hyperboreus Scarce winter visitor. An average year with possibly five individuals noted. Minsmere: first-winter, Mar. 14th and April 4th and 5th (RSPB). Weybread GP: first-winter roosted intermittently, Jan. 15th to Feb. 17th (A.Green, P.Vincent). Landguard: first-winter south. Mar. 16th (N.Odin, J.Zantboer). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, first-summer, Apr.23rd (W.J.Brame). Trimley Marshes: first-winter, Apr. 14th. GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer and has recently bred. Three pairs bred on Orfordness, maintaining the species' tenuous hold as a breeding species in the county. It was reported that no young were seen. This species is somewhat under-recorded, with the peak counts being 25 at North Warren, January 25th, 75 on Orfordness during January, 70 at Landguard, November 27th and 61 at Lackford Lakes, February 13th. 105

Suffolk Birci Report


BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla Very common passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers breed. Amber list. The Kittiwakes nesting on the "wall" and around the harbour at Lowestoft built a total of 115 nests and raised about 80 young, giving an overall success rate of 0.7 chicks per nest, which is lower than the previous two years. The birds nesting on the offshore rigs at Sizewell built approximately 200 nests. Some of the nests were on the seaward side of the rigs and some inside the structures, so it was difficult to get an accurate count. Quite a lot of the nests were washed off by heavy seas in June, but other nests fledged their young. Substantial numbers were seen offshore on several dates. At least 1000 were off Orfordness, January 4th and 506 (262 north, 244 south) were counted at Kessingland, January 16th, followed by 2000 off Thorpeness, February 1st. During July, 300 were logged north off Kessingland with 389 south, while the equivalent figures for Thorpeness were 639 north and 276 south; some of these would have been the local breeding birds. On November 21 st, 1500 flew south and 250 north off Thorpeness and on December 18th, 500 were offshore at Orfordness. Inland, two adults were at Livermere Lake, March 13th and another (un-aged) there on April 13 th. SANDWICH TERN Sterna sandvicensis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first sighting came from Minsmere, March 21st but there were no further reports until two at Havergate Island, April 4th. The highest spring counts were of 100 at Minsmere, April 30th, rising to 150 at this site, May 5th. The following table gives monthly counts from three well-watched coastal sites and shows a clear north-south divide, with the greatest numbers seen north of Aldeburgh. Kessingland Thorpeness Landguard

Apr 92N

Mav 406N 83S



406N 34N

233N 127S 19N 8S

5N 7S


July 1454N 2064S 1096N 435S 33N 8S




46N 120S

196N 167S 18N 25S

66N 202S IN 44S

Impressive mid-summer counts came from the following sites: Kessingland: 471 (209 north, 262 south), Jul. 18th. Benacre Broad: 220, Jul. 13th and 320, Jul. 17th. Minsmere: 141, Jul.9th. Thorpeness: 192 north, Jul. 13th. There were no reports of breeding this year and the only juveniles noted were a single at Benacre Broad, July 1st, five there, July 13th and one with an adult at Lackford Lakes, August 2nd. Further sightings from the west of the county were two flying north, very high and calling, over Livermere Lake, July 28th, a single at Nunnery Lakes on the same date and then nine at Livermere Lake, August 13th, which circled the lake in poor weather and then flew south. About 20 were recorded during October up to 27th and the last of the year was a lone bird flying the wrong way (north!) up the coast past Kessingland, November 4th. ROSEATE TERN Sterna dougalli Scarce passage migrant. Red list. There were no spring records but typically three of these elegant terns appeared in midsummer. Benacre Broad: two adults, Jul.21st (R.Wilton et al). Minsmere: adult, Jul.9th to 19th (RSPB, D.A.Fairhurst, J.H.Grant et at). It regularly roosted in front of the South Hide and commuted to feed around the rigs at Sizewell. 106



C O M M O N TERN Sterna hirundo Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Spring passage was initiated by reports from inland sites with a single at Weybread gravel pits, April 3rd and two at Livermere Lake on the same date. The first on the coast was one off Kessingland, April 11 th and this site then logged a further 83 north to the end of the month. The highest daily count of the spring came from Thorpeness, with 330 north. May 23rd. Monthly totals from three well-watched coastal sites were as follows. Kessingland Thorpeness Landguard

Apr 84N 61 12N 5S

Mav 443N 124S 1073N 86N 49S


July -

238N 159S IN 8S

Aug -

1144N 1924S 2280N 3095S 7N 18S 162N 408S

Sept 103N 302S 189N 542S 6N 69S

Thorpeness provided some impressive daily counts, with 421, July 23rd and no less than 806 (122 north, 684 south), August 25th. Breeding and displaying birds were reported from the following sites: Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, nine pairs on the same roof-top site used in the previous two years, Jun.6th, rising to 24 adults plus a seven-day-old chick, Jun.26th, with four adults still incubating alongside six large chicks, Jul.7th. Minsmere: 31 pairs nested, which is a significant drop from 54 pairs in 2003 and 67 pairs in 2002. This was offset by "good numbers" reported to have fledged. Trimley Marshes: present from April 28th to at least August 18th. 21 pairs nested and nine chicks were seen, Jul.26th and 11 chicks, Aug.9th. Alton Water: a disappointing season, although 35 pairs were present. PrĂŠdation on eggs and young by Mink resulted in only four chicks fledging. Weybread GP: ten pairs reported as failed, Jul.21st. Livermere Lake: pair courtship feeding. May 25th. Coddenham: Sharmford Mere, pair at this traditional breeding site. May 14th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, two pairs in potential breeding habitat, May 31st. There was a trickle of records throughout October, with the final bird at East Lane, Bawdsey on 30th. ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally breeds. Amber list. Singles at Melton and Lackford Lakes, April 18th, signalled the start of the spring migration, while coastal watchpoints had to wait until May 3rd (three north, Landguard), before any were seen. On the coast, these were followed by one north, May 4th and four south, May 5th, at Landguard; seven north at Ness Point, Lowestoft, May 8th; two over the R.Deben at Felixstowe Ferry, May 14th and two at Thorpeness, May 22nd. Other inland records during spring came from: Weybread GP: 17, May 4th. Mickle Mere: two, May 8th (first site record). Livermere Lake: four, Apr.27th. Lackford Lakes: three, May 10th. Autumn passage began with ten south off Thorpeness, July 21 st and small numbers then became regular off the north-east coast, mostly at Minsmere and around the rigs off Sizewell. The only other double-figure count in this area was another ten south off Thorpeness, July 30th. Records continued through into October, when Landguard logged 11 south on 2nd and a late bird was seen offshore at Kessingland, November 7th, the latest in Suffolk since 1998. 107

Suffolk Birci Report


LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Somewhat surprisingly, for a species normally restricted to the coast, the earliest seen were two inland at Weybread gravel pits, April 16th. This was followed by a single at Minsmere, April 18th but few were seen before 28th, when 12 flew north off Kessingland. Düring May, Thorpeness reported a total of 160 north, with a peak of 32 on 2nd. Breeding records were received from: Benacre Broad: at least 37 pairs on nests, Jun.l4th. Walberswick NNR: three pairs on territory, late May at Corporation Marsh and two pairs displaying on Reedland Marsh. Some of thèse may have nested but ail had disappeared by mid-June. Minsmere: nested for the first time since 2001 (two pairs, unsuccessful) and ca.20 young fledged, making this the first successful breeding since 1997 (29 pairs raised 13 young). Ali were within the fenced enclosure on the beach. Orfordness: no attempt at breeding throughout the NNR. Landguard: one pair laid eggs but the nest failed. The highest counts during the summer were 80 at Benacre Broad, May 29th and 78 there, July 16th; 100 at Minsmere, July 27th; 170 north offshore at Thorpeness, July 3Ist; 56 at Orfordness, August 7th and 60 at Landguard, May 3Ist. During July, Thorpeness reported high totals of 530 north and 183 south. As is normal, this species departed early and the final bird was a single at Landguard, September 16th. BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger Fairly common passage migrant. A light spring passage commenced with singles at Weybread gravel pits and Livermere Lake, April 26th. This was followed in May by three at Lakenheath Fen and Washes on 1 st; one south off Landguard on 5th; two at Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, on lOth; another at Lakenheath Washes on lOth and singles at Lackford Lakes on 1 Ith and 15th. Later in May, there were two at Minsmere on 20th and eight at Weybread GP on 24th. After none in June, a few were seen in late July from 22nd and there was then a tremendous influx to the mid-coastal région in the second week of August. This peaked on lOth and the main counts came from: Benacre Broad: 53, Aug. lOth. Minsmere: 32, Aug.9th; 30, Aug.lOth and 40, Aug,19th. Sizewell: 45, Aug.9th increased to 140 by the evening of Aug.lOth; 70, Aug.20th; 25, Aug.30th and ten, Sep.2nd. Mainly feeding around the offshore rigs. The 140 at Sizewell on August lOth has only ever been bettered on the coast by the 150 at Minsmere during the "Great Fall" of September 3rd 1965. Inland, there was a count of 149 at Lackford Lakes, May 3rd 1990 (Piotrowski 2003). Twenty flew south off Thorpeness, September 3rd, with 17 south off Kessingland on the same day and a further 15 south at the latter site on 5th. The last two of the year were offshore at Sizewell, September 20th. W H I T E - W I N G E D (BLACK) TERN Chlidonias leucopterus Rare passage migrant. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness, adult summer, north offshore, May 23rd (D.Thurlow). The 29th Suffolk record. These records involve no less than 47 individuals, although the gatherings involving more than two birds were all at Breydon Water in the period 1871-1901. C O M M O N GUILLEMOT Uria aalge Common passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. Numbers reported from sea-watching at Thorpeness far exceeded those from any other site 108



and the following table gives a good picture of the annual pattern at this location (Dave Thurlow). North South

Jan 972 5648

Feb 270 1071

Mar 122 9

Apr 6 1

Mas 55 3

Jun 11 29

Jul 2 2

Aug 2 0

Sep 77 1

Oct 181 17

Nov 1024 724

Dec 601 856

The peak days at Thorpeness were 1245 south, January 9th; 660 south, February 1st and 375 north, December 20th. Elsewhere on the north-east coast, smaller numbers were reported, but the only three-figure count was 100 north at Kessingland, March 11th (and 99 north there on 12th). Very few were noted south of Aldeburgh, although Guillemots were "seen regularly in January and February" off Orfordness. Landguard recorded a total of 11 between August 28th and November 6th, with birds found dead on the beach, September 10th and December 28th. It is very pleasing to record that no oiling incidents occurred in 2004. RAZORBILL Alca torda Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. In all, a total of 36 live and one dead Razorbill was reported from the Suffolk coast in 2004 but, unusually, these records came from just the following three sites. Kessingland: on the sea, Nov.22nd. Southwold: freshly dead on beach, Feb.24th; south, Sep.9th and three north, Oct. 10th. Thorpeness: nine during January; one, February; two north. May 20th; six, June; two September; one, October and nine north, one south during November. Thankfully, no reports of oiled birds were received. As usual, there were undoubtedly a few more among the reports of distant "unidentified auk sp." received. LITTLE AUK Alle alle Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. There were none at all during the first winter period, but a good showing late in the year, when a total of 204 was reported between October 18th and December 22nd, with a clear peak on November 14th. There may, of course, be some duplication in the sightings. Lowestoft: Ness Point, Nov. 14th. Kessingland: south over the beach, Oct. 19th; 44 north and ten south during November, with a peak of 17 north, Nov. 14th. Southwold: three north, Nov.2nd; north, Nov. 10th and two north, Dec.22nd. Dunwich: five north, Nov. 14th; north, Nov. 19th; offshore, Nov.20th and north, Nov.30th. Minsmere: south, Oct. 18th; offshore, Oct.28th; two north, Nov. 1st; three north, Nov. 14th and north, Nov. 15th. Thorpeness: 94 north and two south during November, with a peak of 85 north, one south on 14th. Orfordness: north, Oct.27th; 14 south and six north, Nov.l4th and north, Nov.21st. One that landed on the Chantry reed bed path, Nov. 14th, swam out to sea after being ringed. R.Dcben: Falkenham, Nov.21st. Felixstowe: Brackenbury Cliffs, on sea, Nov. 19th. Landguard: singles, Nov. 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 20th and Dec.9th. ATLANTIC PUFFIN Fratercula arctica Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Covehithe: Nov. 14th (A.M.Gregory, D.F.Walsh). Southwold: north, Aug.30th (L.G.Woods, R.Marsh). Thorpeness: eight offshore during January, including two on 17th and another, Feb. 1st (D.Thurlow). Observers are reminded that this scarce species is still classed as a county rarity and full supporting notes are required for publication in this Report. 109

Suffolk Birci Report


ROCK PIGEON (DOVE) Columba livia. Very common resident from feral stock. Categories A, C and E. The flock at Ipswich Dock Cliff Quay grain terminal was present throughout the year and was by far the largest in the county. There were counts of 1000, January 25th; 1800, February 22nd; 2200, March 21st; 1500, October 17th; 3500, November 14th (a county record) and 2500, December 12th (John Walshe). Elsewhere counts were thin, with 100 at Covehithe, November 10th, 33 in Whapload Road, Lowestoft, September 19th and 11 at Long Melford churchyard, November 28th, most of note. On Orfordness, up to four were seen on six days between January and November, while at Landguard the small resident group peaked at 21 on five dates from October to December. STOCK PIGEON (DOVE) Columba oenas Fairly common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. Records came from 29 sites (26 in 2003). The first winter period produced no large flocks and the highest count was 32 at Orfordness, February Ist. A light spring passage was noted at Landguard from March 2Ist to May 30th and consisted of four north and 16 south. The Breeding Birds Survey (BBS) found birds in 44% of the 41 squares surveyed (62% in 1995, 50% in 2000), with a combined total of 72 birds. On the coast there appears to have been an increase in the population. At North Warren and Aldringham Walks, three pairs in 2000 had increased to ten pairs in 2004 and at Minsmere the 2004 survey produced 18 territories (one in 1996, six in 1993). The nine territories at Walberswick NNR/Dingle Marshes were similar to the 1999 total. In the west, a pair nested under the roof of the cafĂŠ at West Stow country park. In autumn, at Landguard one FlELD NOTE south, September 19th, preceded a At least 47 pairs of Stock Pigeons nested on total of one north and 32 south, Orfordness but prĂŠdation on those nesting under the October 18th to November 5th, the bridges was practically total, although those nesting maximum being 17 south, October in buildings probably had average success. 26th. At Minsmere, 120 flew south Dave Cormack on October 26th. Late in the year, 60 were noted at Sutton Walks, November l l t h and 50 roosted in a poplar plantation at Lakenheath Fen, December 7th. C O M M O N W O O D PIGEON Columba palumbus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. There were some impressive counts from the first winter period, including 310 at Aldringham Walks, January 8th, rising to 1000, April 3rd; 700 at Shotley Marshes, February 13th; 800 at Bourne Park, Ipswich, February 1st; 2000 at Northfield Wood, Onehouse, January 20th and 1200 at Brettenham, January 31st. Spring passage was most obvious at Landguard, with a total of 2208 south between March 2nd and June 13th; the maximum was 686, April 5th. The BBS found Wood Pigeons in 100% of the 41 squares surveyed (100% in 1995, 100% in 2000), with a combined total of 1664 birds. Of the twelve pairs at Landguard, breeding success was said to be poor, but of the ten nests visited on Orfordness, breeding success was average. There were some large autumn movements, the pick of which were: 110



Minsmere: 10000 south, Oct.26th (see Stock Pigeon). Sizewell: 4500 south, Oct.26th. Landguard: 15900 south, Oct.26th and 4680 south, Nov.5th. The highest second winter period counts consisted of 2000 on winter wheat at Gunton, November 30th and 800 at Long Melford, December 12th. EURASIAN COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decaocto Common resident. The Breeding Birds Survey found Collared Doves in 63% of the 41 squares surveyed (54% in 1995, 57% in 2000), with a combined total of 96 birds. At Landguard, the first bird was on eggs on the extremely early date of January 5th and at least five pairs reared several broods. The population at North Warren dipped to 21 pairs (27 pairs in 2003). The year's highest count was of 138 feeding on barley stubble at Kessingland, August 29th, with 110 there, October 7th. Sixty were with the feral Rock Pigeons at Ipswich Docks Cliff Quay grain terminal on October 17th and the highest autumn flocks from the west of the county were 41 at Great Livermere, November 14th and 46 at Wixoe, November 15th. EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia turtur Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. The first of the year was reported from Beccles, April 11th, followed by reports from a further 21 sites by the month's end. Migration at Landguard produced a total of 25 during the spring from April 22nd onwards, with a small peak of five south, May 19th. Records came from a total of 71 sites (55 in 2003, 44 in 2002), while the BBS recorded Turtle Doves in 54% of the 41 squares surveyed (54% in 1995, 42% in 2000), with a combined total of 47 birds. There appears to have been an increase in the breeding population on the coast. Minsmere held 24 pairs, a big increase from the six singing males of last year, although this may in part be due to better coverage. The Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest area held 32 territories, almost double that of 1999 and there were three pairs on Dunwich Heath, the most for several years, The North Warren/Aldringham Walks population was said to be stable at 20 pairs, but still well below the recent peak of 42 pairs in 1998. Three or four pairs nested at Over Hall Farm, Shotley, the same as in 2003. In the west of the county, two pairs were present on Cavenham Heath. At Pakenham, a juvenile came into a garden with Collared Doves to feed on seed, September 20th. The final birds of the year were reported from East Lane, Bawdsey, September 28th and Minsmere, October 8th. ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri Scarce resident. Categories C and E. After a blank year in 2003 there were two reports: Ipswich: Aug.24th. Stanton: Wyken Hall, July through to November. COMMON CUCKOO Cuculus canorus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The year's first report came on April 8th from Sudbury Common, followed by one on the Sizewell Estate on 13th, then a mini-influx on 17th, with birds recorded from eight sites on this date. By the end of April, birds had been reported from a further 15 sites. The decline in the breeding population appears to be well charted by the Breeding Birds Survey, which found Cuckoos on 24% of the 41 squares surveyed (49% in 1995, 42% in 2000), with a combined total of 14 birds. There were four males present at Minsmere and 111

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 5-8 calling males in the Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest area, less than half the estimate of the 1999 survey. At North Warren, there were 12 calling males, about average for recent years, although four up on 2003. From Combs Lane WM came the comment "a population crash here and generally in mid-Suffolk, where now an uncommon bird". In the west, "good numbers" were reported throughout Thetford Forest, there were 1-2 birds heard calling at Lackford Lakes from April 21st to July 8th and at Pakenham at least two calling males through May and June. Also at Pakenham, there was an unusual record of a bird calling constantly for 20 minutes at 00.45 hours on May 16th and also heard on subsequent nights. In July, a juvenile was present at Landguard from 24th to 27th and three were noted moving south there on 15th. In August, outgoing juveniles were reported from Orfordness on 4th and 11th, Minsmere on 15th, Flixton and Trimley Marshes on 18th and Erwarton Ness on 21st. The last bird of the year was reported from Trimley, September 4th. BARN OWL Tytoalba Fairly common resident. Amber list. Categories A and E. Birds were reported from 68 localities, a very similar number to the previous two years (69 in 2003, 65 in 2002). Twenty-seven of these localities were in the north-east recording area, 18 in the south-east and 23 in the west. Breeding was confirmed or suspected at twelve sites (nine in 2003 and eight in 2002). Three pairs bred in the Flixton area and two pairs bred at Hinderclay. A pair at Theberton was observed feeding four young in an old chicken barn, June 1st. A pair was present at Lakenheath Fen all year and a bird of the dark-breasted race "guttata" was reported from there, January 26th. Roadside casualties were reported from the A14 at Haughley Bends, February 27th and the A134 Long Melford Barn Owl Mark Ferris

^ " P 2 5 5 ' D e c e m b e r 5th.

LITTLE OWL Athene nottua Fairly common resident. The number of sites from which this species was recorded increased substantially to 92 (56 in 2003). The regional split was 20 sites in the north-east, 38 in the south-east and 34 in the west. Most of the increase came in the south-east, which only had records from 11 sites in 2003; this is probably a quirk in the recording, rather than a genuine increase. The Breeding Birds Survey found Little Owls in 7% of the 41 squares surveyed (13% in 1995, 13% in 2000), with a combined total of three birds. It is very likely that a survey of this kind would under-record nocturnal species, such as owls. Breeding was confirmed at 13 localities. A pair at Flixton raised two young successfully and this site also has breeding Barn Owls. A pair on Orfordness also raised two young, which were ringed and five pairs were found at Over Hall Farm, Shotley (six pairs in 2003). There were considered to be "at least six pairs around Westleton village and approach roads". A bird at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford was observed dropping down to catch a large moth and two birds at Troston were seen hunting earthworms in a freshly-ploughed field. 112



TAWNY OWL Strix aluco Common resident. Reported from a total of 56 sites (43 in 2003), with 12 of these sites in the north-east, 23 in the south-east and 21 in the west. A high percentage of records were calling birds, as you would expect of this strictlynocturnal species. Breeding data came from 16 sites and totalled 40 pairs. Eleven territories were located at the North Warren/Aldringham Walks reserve, which is a high concentration. However, the fiveyear survey in the Walberswick area found just two territories on the Walberswick N N R and the comment "recorded at only six sites in Dunwich Forest - apparently much scarcer than in 1999". There were three pairs at Over Hall Farm, Shotley, two pairs at Melton and three pairs J




_ , â&#x20AC;&#x17E; ,


Tawny Owl Peter Beeson


at Combs Lane WM, but no young fledged at the latter site. Juveniles were heard food-begging at Cosford Hall. A road casualty was taken into care at Sudbury Common Lands on 6th June but later died. LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. The first winter period saw the continued presence of up to five roosting in small oak trees in the reedbed at Lower Holbrook and they showed well to delighted birders during January and February, with a single also there, May 29th. One was reported from Felixstowe Docks, January 9th and there was another winter roost in woodland near Stowmarket in January, which contained four on 9th, two on 15th and one last seen on the 23rd. Pellets collected from this roost contained rat, mouse and the bones of four small birds. There were no confirmed breeding pairs this year, but a juvenile at Botany Bay, Lakenheath, June 6th, probably meant that breeding took place close by. A bird which flew across a clearfell at the south end of The King's Forest on June 11th, was mobbed by three Nightjars. The late-autumn period saw the following records: Gunton: along the disused railway line, Oct. 19th. Lowestoft: roosting in Sparrows Nest Park, 0ct.20th. Boyton: 0ct.30th. Trimley Marshes: Nov.27th. Lavenham: during November. Lackford: along the Lackford-Cavenham road, Oct.29th: Lackford Lakes, Oct.31st. SHORT-EARED OWL Asio


Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. Amber list. The first winter period saw records from seven coastal locations (29 in 2003, which was an exceptional year), with two birds at Levington Creek and Holbrook Creek. Apart from Minsmere, the other six sites were around the marshes of the south-eastern estuaries. Spring records were reported from eight sites and involved wintering birds moving through the county. One on Orfordness, from April 22nd, lingered well into May, before departing on 18th. The sole June record came from Minsmere, where a bird was seen on 113

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 19th, but in August records came from seven sites. Landguard and North Warren saw birds in over the sea on the same day, August 14th and two were seen at Fisher's Marshes, Breydon, August 26th. The other August records were from Havergate Island, 7th; Orfordness, 16th to 31st and Shingle Street and Flixton GP on 31st. In autumn, September records came from Minsmere, Orfordness, Havergate Island, Shingle Street and Boyton on the coast and also Cavenham Heath in the west. October produced migrating birds in over the sea at Southwold, 10th and Landguard, 28th and 29th and three flying south offshore at Thorpeness on 9th and two more on 10th. In November, birds were recorded from seven sites, with four being in the west of the county, at Great Barton, Knettishall, Brandon and Santon Downham. By December, wintering birds had settled in at Havergate Island, Shingle Street (two) and Levington. EUROPEAN NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus europaeus Locally fairly common summer visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Red list. An exceptionally early bird was seen at Boyton Marshes during a moth trapping visit on April 17th (D.K.Underwood). This constitutes the earliest 20th or 21st century record and is the third-earliest-ever for Suffolk. The two earlier dates are of birds at Blaxhall, 16th April 1865 and 8th April 1876. There was a national breeding survey of this species in 2004, based on records of churring males. The results of this show that the total Suffolk population was 284 males, with 123 of these in the Sandlings (167 in 1992) and 161 in Suffolk Breckland (150 in 1992). The total Breckland population, including the Norfolk section, was 351 males. At the previous national census in 1992, 317 males were found in Suffolk, so the population has actually dropped by 11 % in the intervening years. This is probably due to the effects of the October 1987 hurricane, which felled many trees in the Sandlings and created temporary habitat which has now gone. Nationally the UK population has increased from 3400 males in 1992 to 4131 males in 2004, an increase of 21% in 12 years. In the Sandlings, there were 14 males in the Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest/ Westleton Heath area (21 in 2003), five males on Dunwich Heath, 22 males at Minsmere and a stable 13 territories at North Warren/Aldringham Walks. Further south, there were 21 males at Tunstall, 23 in Rendlesham Forest and nine on Sutton and Hollesley Commons. None was reported after two on Dunwich Heath, July 23rd. COMMON SWIFT Apus apus Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year were six at Beccles on April 11th, the third earliest since 1990, followed by a further 31 records by the month's end. This included high counts of up to 1000 north over Minsmere and Dingle on 29th and 600 at Trimley Marshes on 30th. On May 1st, there were 350 at Lakenheath Fen. There were no large summer congregations, with 300 at Trimley Marshes, June 5th and 300 at Lackford Lakes, June 20th, being the most reported. Landguard logged movements, probably weather-related, of 1095 south, June 17th and 372 south, July 15th. The BBS found Common Swifts in 51% of the 41 squares surveyed (43% in 1995, 47% in 2000), with a combined count of 234 birds. Otherwise, breeding was hardly recorded. On the coast, a report indicated that "a substantial breeding population exists in Thorpeness and Aldeburgh" and from the west "a minimum of 30 pairs in Pakenham parish". There was an early departure from the breeding areas in 2004. At Pakenham, birds were very prominent and noisy in the evenings until July 25th, after which few were seen. In West Ipswich, "noticeable decrease in numbers by July 28th and practically all gone by August 1st". 114



On August 9th, 3000 passed south over Minsmere in one and a half hours and Orfordness logged 418 south, August 13th and 480 south the next day. There was then the usual trickle of late birds through to the end of September but the only October record came, unusually, inland at Nunnery Lakes on 13th. P A L L I D S W I F T A pus pail id us

Accidental. A number of autumn records, including a well-watched and photographed bird at Bawdsey on October 21st, have been submitted to BBRC and are currently under consideration. A L P I N E S W I F T A pu s


Very rare passage migrant. Minsmere: over the hill south of the canopy hide, 17.15 to 18.40 hours, Apr.4th (RSPB, J.A.Brown, N.Loth et al). The second year in a row at Minsmere and the 24th for Suffolk. This is the earliest-ever Alpine Swift in the county; the previous earliest was at Minsmere, April 18th 1987. This record requires ratification by BBRC. 2003 correction Aldringham: Apr.26th (Suffolk Birds 2003 108); correct date is April 27th. C O M M O N KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis Fairly common resident. Amber list. Records were received from 65 sites across the county (77 in 2003). Surprisingly, only nine of the sites were in the north-east, with the south-east and west recording birds from 30 and 26 sites respectively. Breeding was confirmed or strongly suspected at eleven localities and recently-fledged juveniles were FIELD NOTE noted at Stowmarket, Creeting St At Sudbury Common Lands on January 26th, a Mary, Sudbury Common Lands and Common Kingfisher was mobbed by ca.50 BlackNunnery Lakes, Thetford. Two pairs headed Gulls after it caught a surprisingly large fish. were present on Lakenheath Fen. At After escaping the gulls, it took several minutes to Alton Water, a bird was seen subdue its prey and then 20 minutes quietly digging a tunnel, but it was never recovering after swallowing it. completed. A.Walters On Orfordness, 1-2 were seen regularly up to March 7th and again from July 31 st to the year's end, with a peak of three, September 1 Ith. A bird at Landguard, July 3 Ist, was the site's only record of the year. EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster Rare passage migrant. All three records in 2004 were brief. Southwold: south over caravan park at 14:50, May 19th (B.J.Small). Landguard: calling in flight, May 2nd. (J.Zantboer). The second site record. Felixstowe: Jun.l2th (P.and T.Oldfield). HOOPOE Upupa epops Scarce passage migrant. Categories A and E. Just two records this year, but one showed well in Minsmere's north bushes. South Cove: Apr. 19th (C.Naunton). Minsmere: May 7th to 11th (RSPB, many observers). 115

Suffolk Birci Report


EURASIAN WRYNECK Jynx torquiUa Uncommon passage migrant. Red list. One at Westleton Common, April 18th, was the sole spring record (R.Drew). There were eight birds reported in the autumn from seven sites as follows. The latest-ever county record is from Benacre, November 6th to 8th 1986. Dingle Marsh: Sep.lOth (D.J.Pearson). Dunwich Heath: two, Sep.3rd (R.Drew). Minsmere: Aug.27th and Sep.lst (RSPB, D.A.Fairhurst et al). Landguard: Sep.7th to 13th (S.Abbott, G.J.Jobson et al). Whepstead: Nov.5th and 6th (S Theakes). The second-latest for Suffolk. Coney Weston: Sep.3rd (D.E.Balmer). Newmarket: Aug.l8th (per C.J.Jakes).

Wryneck Peter Beeson

GREEN W O O D P E C K E R Picus viridis Common resident. Amber list. The Breeding Birds Survey found Green Woodpeckers in 46% of the 41 squares surveyed (30% in 1995, 58% in 2000), with a combined total of 30 birds. Across the county, it was reported from 106 sites (84 in 2003, 51 in 2002), with 14 of those sites in the north-east (clearly under-recorded), 56 in the south-east and 36 in the west. How well this species is currently doing in Suffolk can be judged from four localities on the coast. The five-year survey of the Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest area found 18 territories and the comment "widespread and now very common, with numbers perhaps even higher than in 1999". Dunwich Heath held five territories and a survey at Minsmere found no less than 36 territories, "a substantial increase since the last survey in 1997, which produced 11-12 pairs". A survey at North Warren and Aldringham Walks found "a record number of 34 pairs located across the woodland areas, with a dense Cluster of six pairs in the wet aider woodland at the west end of the reedbed". Many juveniles were reported and birds frequently visited gardens. They were even seen in the middle of Ipswich - on February 2nd one was watched feeding on grass outside 116



Crown House, beside the very busy Crown Street. On a less fortunate note, a road casualty was found outside West Stow CP, July 3rd and two juveniles were killed flying into windows at the same location, July 16th. On Orfordness, up to three were noted in every month apart from April and June. At Landguard, singles were seen on 11 days from July 13th to August 9th and two, August 8th and later singles, November 14th and 24th. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos major Common resident. Scarce passage migrant. This is another woodpecker which is currently undergoing a population expansion within Suffolk. The BBS found Great Spotted Woodpeckers in 41% of the 41 squares surveyed (27% in 1995, 39% in 2000), with a combined total of 25 birds. It was reported from a total of 79 sites, with 46 in the south-east and 22 in the west but only 11 in the north-east. A survey at Minsmere in 1997 found a total of eight pairs; a survey in 2004 located no less than 31 territories, with 12 nest holes with young mapped. At North Warren and Aldringham Walks, 26 pairs were found, up from 15 pairs in 2000. Dunwich Heath held three pairs and there were 13 territories on the Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest/Dingle Marshes/Hen Reedbeds complex, "rather fewer than in 1999". There were at least six territories in Bradfield Woods, the "best-ever count in ten years of spring visits". Pairs also nested in all the parks and cemeteries within Ipswich. At West Stow CP, four visited a feeding station from July to December, but one was killed there by a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk, October 2nd. Singles were seen on Orfordness, October 30th and November 7th and Landguard recorded singles on 20 dates, June 22nd to November 16th, with two on June 29th and October 7th. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos minor Uncommon resident. Red list. In contrast with the two larger species, this tiny woodpecker continues to decline. In 2004, it was reported from just 18 sites (25 in 2003, 30 in 2002), with just two of the sites in the north-east, five in the south-east and 11 in the west. It has recently been suggested that its decline might be related in some way to the expansion in the Great Spotted Woodpecker population. The larger species has been known to excavate the nesting holes of Lesser Spotted and predate the young. In the north-east, there were three February records from Sotterley Park and one at Snape, April 5th. The only drumming bird reported was at Stowmarket, March 30th and other south-east records came from Cotton, Barking, Sutton and Coddenham, all on single dates. At Hadleigh, a female was seen on several days in July in gardens in Castle Road and other records in the south of the county came from Long Melford and Sudbury Common Lands. Near Bury St. Edmunds, there were reports from Hardwick Heath and in Breckland from Lackford Lakes (several), Nunnery Lakes, Thetford and two pairs along the river at Santon Downham through the spring. On the fen edge, birds were seen at Botany Bay and Lakenheath Fen. Late in the year, there were reports of one in gardens at Pakenham, October to December, including a bird visiting a peanut feeder. WOOD LARK Lullula arborea Fairly common breeding species. Scarce on passage and in winter. Red list. The total Sandlings site count of singing males was 143, up from 135 in 2003 but still well down on the 202 reported in 2000. North Warren and Aldringham Common held the most 117

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with 37 singing males, less than half the 85 singing males there in 2000. At nearby Snape Warren, ten territories were located. Minsmere reported 17 territories, up from the nine in 2003 and a pair was also present on Churchlands, an area purchased by the RSPB after the breeding season. The five-year survey of the Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest/Westleton Heath area reported a total of 16 territories and the comment "numbers in the forest have decreased steadily from a peak in the mid-1990s as open areas have been lost". The total count of singing males in the Breckland forest areas (Norfolk and Suffolk) was 286. In the Suffolk section of the Breckland Wood Lark at North Warren and Aldringham forest, 139 singing males were located, down Common - singing males in different habitats from 153 in 2003. The cumulative decrease Acid Grassland 15 40% Calluna dominated heath 5 13% for the whole forest since the peak year of Mixed plantation woodland 7 19% 2000 is now 43%. The largest decrease in the Arable/heath interface 4 11% Suffolk section was in The King's Forest, Arable land 6 17% down 11 to 35 singing males. From 25 nests, Total 37 100% 52 pulii were colour-ringed but prĂŠdation continues to be a major factor in nest failure, with nine (36%) of the nests failing in this way. As in several recent years, there was no survey on the heathland and farmland areas of Breckland, but it is known that there was a substantial population on these habitats. Cavenham Heath, for instance, held up to eight singing males. In the first winter period, three males were in song at Mayday Farm, near Brandon, by January 25th and an interesting record late in the year was of nine on setaside at Eastbridge throughout December. Landguard logged migrants on March 31st (south), April 27th and October 16th (two south). SKY LARK Alauda arvensis Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Red list. The largest flock found during the year was 210 at Shelland, January 29th. Only two more flocks of over 100 were reported, both in November; 150 at Knettishall on 21st and 120 at Fressingfield on 23rd. A further 19 sightings of flocks in double figures were reported and the largest of these was 80 at Coney Weston, November 8th. The maximum farmland bird count at Wyken Hall, Stanton, during January to March was 132. The Breeding Birds Survey found Sky Larks on 80% of the 41 squares surveyed (92% in 1995, 92% in 2000), with a combined total of 201 birds. A total of 243 breeding pairs or territories was recorded and the largest of these was 144 at North Warren followed by 77 at Minsmere. The five-year survey of the Walberswick NNR, Dingle Marshes and Westleton Heath Breeding territories at established sites: area located 64 terri1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 North Warren 162 165 170 144 172 166 151 tories, "a distinct reDunwich Heath 4 7 8 7 7 6 6 6 duction since 1999". Most birds there were found on the shore and grazing marshes. The reduction has been noted especially on arable fields, heath and set-aside. At Cosford Hall, one was killed by colliding with a barn window, March 2nd. Landguard logged 300 south during October and 60 south in November, with a peak of 52, October 27th. H O R N E D (SHORE) LARK Eremophita alpestris Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. A quiet year for this attractive lark with just ten birds located at three sites. Kessingland: on the beach, three, Jan.27th. Orfordness: on the sea defences, five, Feb. 22nd to March 28th. Landguard: Oct. 16th and Nov. 23rd. 118



SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Records during March included Sand Martin Breeding Colonies: three at Lackford Lakes on 15th, 2004 2003 2002 four days earlier than 2003, with 7 Corton 20 another six on 17th and 24 on 18th. f Covehithe/Benacre 419 842 Minsmere with nine and Suffolk Easton Bavents 9 Water Park with two, also recorded Dunwich 150 380 400 incoming birds on 17th. An Minsmere 132 112 121 additional 64 were reported by the Thorpencss Common 24 end of March, from six sites. Aldeburgh Marshes 20 Chillesford Crag Pit 220 holes, most in use The BBS found Sand Martins in 2 Outney Common 10 12% of the 41 squares surveyed Flixton 2 (5% in 1995, 10% in 2000), with a Mendham 1 combined total of 36 birds. No Great Blakenham Pit 125 breeding records were received Alton Water 12 from two well-established sites, ? Layham Pits 90 Benacre to Covehithe cliffs and Cavenham Pits 50 60 Corton. Totals 985 953 1263 The highest counts during the year comprised 300 at each of Lackford Lakes, April 18th, Minsmere, April 28th, Lakenheath Washes, May 3rd and Loompit Lake, July 9th, and 500 at Trimley Marshes, May 11th. On outward passage, 322 flew south past Cobbold's Point, Felixstowe, on August 24th. Landguard recorded a total of 902 south between June 5th and September 28th, with an early peak of 111 south, July 11th. The last birds of the year were at Lackford Lakes, October 7th. BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. There were four March records and the first was a very early bird at Minsmere, flying north along the dunes on 8th. The only earlier records are one on March 6th 1922 (Ticehurst 1932) and one at Hopton-on-Sea, March 7th 2002. This pioneer was followed by singles at Lackford Lakes, 23rd and 24th and Cavenham Heath on 30th. Number were slow to build up during April but by 28th there were 300 at Livermere Lake and on 29th, 100 at Minsmere and 500 at Lackford Lakes. Breeding numbers remain on the low side. The large area of Walberswick NNR/Dingle Marshes/Dunwich Forest and Hen Reedbeds held only five pairs, although Minsmere managed eight pairs and North Warren ten pairs. The BBS recorded Barn Swallows in 75% of the 41 squares surveyed (78% in 1995, 79% in 2000). Out on Orfordness, "seven pairs were located in the darkest, draught-free areas of the buildings and under the quay". Seven pairs nested on farm buildings at Over Hall Farm, Shotley (six pairs in 2003) and there were "good numbers" in old barns at Canada Farm, Icklingham. At West Stow country park three of the five nests failed and there was only FIELD NOTE one second brood. At least eight pairs were breeding in At Cobbold's Point, Felixstowe, 891 flew south, August 26th and 600 roosted at the Mickle Mere, huts alongside the railway line Pakenham, August 29th, with 200 still in that between Oulton and Somerleyton. area, September 4th. Southerly passage past C.Ayers 119

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Landguard totalled 1847 in August, 7249 in September, 500 in October and 37 in November, with the peak days of 1200 and 2200 on September 27th and 28th respectively. Landguard also recorded the final bird on November lOth. RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Hirundo titanica Rare visitor. These three take the total of Suffolk records to 21, involving 25 individuals. Falkenham: King's Fleet, three, May lst (W.J.Brame et al). HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbicum Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The trend since 2000 for this species to arrive in House Martin - Reported Breeding Pairs March did not matĂŠrialisĂŠ this year, with the Blythburgh Water Tower 16 first two not appearing until Aprii 3rd at Walberswick Ferry 22 Lackford Lakes. Small numbers were reported Dunwich Bridge Farm 7 throughout the month up to Aprii 30th, when North Warren & A.W. 45 57 110 were at Lackford Lakes and 130 at Trimley Orfordness 2 Over Hall Farm, Shotley Marshes. 9 9 14 Combs Lane WM 18 The BBS found House Martins in 54% of the Burv St Edmunds 60 41 squares surveyed (51% in 1995, 42% in Pakenham Water Mill 4 2000), with a combined total of 111 birds. Other Icklingham 12 reported breeding pairs are shown in the table. At North Warren the population has risen from seven pairs in 1998 and the 60 pairs in Bury St Edmunds were in a colony on modem houses on the Moreton Hall estate, while the 12 nests at Icklingham were on one house at Canada Farm. Notable autumn movements during September included 840 south at Covehithe on 19th, 300 at Nunnery Lakes, 20th, then 300 at Minsmere and 500 at Southwold, 22nd and 672 south at Orfordness, 24th. Landguard noted southerly passage of 55 in August, 6462 in September and 986 in October, with a peak of 1920, September 28th. There were stili 200 at Lackford Lakes on October 3rd and the last bird flew past Landguard on October 25th. RICHARD'S PIPIT Anthus novaeseelandiae Rare visitor. These two records take the county total to 53. Shingle Street: Oct.l8th and 19th (L.G.Woods, D.F.Walsh). Stratton Hall: Levington Marina, Oct.26th. (W.J.Brame, J.Zantboer). TAWNY PIPIT Anthus campestris Rare visitor. The first since one at Bawdsey Manor on October 15th 1998. This takes the county total to 38. Orfordness: Jun.5th (M.C.Marsh, G.Stannard). TREE PIPIT Anthus


Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. As in 2003, there was an exceptionally early report, this time from Cavenham Heath, March 30th, followed by one at Santon Downham, Aprii 3rd. In Breckland, birds were widespread by mid-Aprii and a survey there suggests there has been little change in the population since the late 1990s. "Numbers peak in 3-5 year old re-stocks and are significantly higher in the areas of continuous forest, compared with forest fragments" (R.Hoblyn). 120

Systematic List By contrast, the situation in the Sandlings is little short of disastrous. The large Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest/Westleton Heath complex held just one pair, with a second singing male just outside the boundary. The surveyor (D.J.Pearson) commented, "a drastic decrease since 1999, with the departure of the last birds from Dunwich Forest and the loss of the few odd birds on Walberswick NNR". The North Warren and Aldringham Walks reserve failed to record a single bird where, as recently as 2000, there were 12 pairs. Minsmere did hold three singing males, way down on the 15 in 1999 and there were five pairs on Dunwich Heath. The BBS found Tree Pipits on 2% of the 41 squares surveyed (3% in 1995, 3% in 2000), with a combined total of five birds. Passage was light in both seasons. Landguard reported spring singles on seven dates between April 26th and May 12th and four, May 2nd. In autumn, there were seven singles at Landguard between August 15th and September 25th. There were then two exceptionally late birds; at Southwold, October 13th (B.J.Small) and at Landguard, November 2nd (D.Langlois, N.Odin et al). This latter bird is the latest-ever Suffolk record by nine days. MEADOW PIPIT An thus pratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Flocks were widespread in the first winter period, the most notable being 52 at Shotley Marshes, February 27th, 80 on Orfordness, February 29th, 100 at Holbrook, January 23rd and 110 at Snape Warren, March 28th. The BBS found Meadow Pipits in 12% of the 41 squares surveyed (8% in 1995, 10% in 2000), with a combined total of 13 birds. Other breeding records came from seven, mainly coastal, sites. The five-year survey of Walberswick NNR/Dingle Marshes/Hen Reedbeds located 27 territories, "confined to the shore marshes and Dingle and Tinker's grazing marshes, numbers lower than in 1999". Dunwich Heath held ten territories and North Warren and Aldringham Common 20 pairs, "a FIELD NOTE very good recovery from a low point of six pairs At Haverhill a few pairs were noted in 2001". At Orfordness, 16 nests were located, nesting with Sky Larks on a set-aside almost all of which were successful. Six pairs field on May 23rd, but by the end of nested at Landguard and three pairs around the the month the field had been sprayed edge of Alton Water. and was lifeless. A total of 490 flew south at Covehithe, S.Jarvis September 19th and Landguard noted autumn passage from July 26th to November 27th. This included 99 in August, 4677 in September, 1314 in October and 233 in November. The peak counts were 1537 south, September 16th and 1456 south, September 22nd. ROCK PIPIT Anthuspetrosus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few were present at many coastal locations during the first winter period, but the only double-figure counts were 21 on the Dunwich shore pools, January 9th and 40 on Orfordness, January 25th. The next highest count was six at Slaughden, February 28th. After one at Landguard, April 13th, none was seen until a bird returned to Orfordness, September 26th. The highest counts late in the year came from Orfordness, with 18 on November 28th and 15 on December 12th, while Landguard reported a total of 33 south between October 3rd and November 27th. An unusual inland record came from Pakenham, October 3rd, when one was watched at close quarters on a farm reservoir in the Blackbourne valley (M.Wright). 121

Suffolk Birci Report


WATER PIPIT A it thus spinoletta Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. As usual, Minsmere was the best site for Water Pipits, with up to five in January, six in February, three in March and then a peak of ten, April 2nd, as migrants passed through. Elsewhere on the coast, two were at Southwold Town Marshes, February 26th and Trimley Marshes, January 15th and a few singles at other sites. Inland, up to four were on Lakenheath Fen/Washes throughout January and February and a single was on the Slough at Lackford Lakes, March 21st. One at Trimley Marshes, April 28th, was the last of the spring and the next was a returning bird at Minsmere, October 23rd. Minsmere reported three, October 30th and up to four returned to Lakenheath FenAVashes in November and December, with singles also seen at North Warren, Orfordness, East Lane, Shingle Street, Trimley Marshes and Wherstead Strand. YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava flavissima Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The earliest ever Suffolk report is from Woodbridge on February 27th 1942 and other early records include one at Flempton, March 8th 1990 and another at Felixstowe Ferry, March 14th 1991, so the one by the Deben Estuary on March 21st is indeed another early record. Numbers built up during April, with the first double-figure report of 11 coming from Boyton on 14th, then 22 were noted at Felixstowe Ferry on 17th, 50 at Kessingland Sewage works on 22nd and 62 at Covehithe, May 3rd. Breeding reports were rather sparse. The BBS found Yellow Wagtails in just 5% of the 41 squares surveyed (8% in 1995, 8% in 2000), with a combined total of three birds. In the Breck, two pairs were found nesting on farmland near Berner's Heath, one in a carrot field, the other in a potato field. Out in the Fens, three pairs nested in a potato field at Kenny Hill and at Alton Water four pairs nested in adjacent fields but used the reservoir to feed. On the R.Ore and at Nayland, pairs were noted with juveniles and at Worlington in June, a pair was seen carrying food. There was an excellent, late-summer roost at Burgh Castle with 202 counted, July 25th and 426, August 26th. Large, reedbed roosts have been seen at this site before, notably up to 800 on August 31st 1990 (Piotrowski 2003). Other pre-migration gatherings were 60 at Orfordness, August 29th and 110 there, September 5th, while inland 50 were at Cavenham Heath, September 4th and 28 there on 5th. There was a good autumn passage, with 62 flying south past Cobbold's Point, Felixstowe on August 26th and Landguard recorded a total of 295 south between July 13th and October 9th, with a peak of 51, August 21 St. The final bird of the year flew south over Thorpeness Common, October 31 st. Blue-headed Wagtail M.f. flava This uncommon migrant was noted at six sites: Kessingland: sewage works, Apr. 12th and 13th; three, Apr.22nd. Covehithe: five, May 3rd. Felixstowe Ferry: male, Apr. 17th and May 14th. Falkenham: King's Fleet, Apr.l6th and 28th; May 10th and male carrying food, Jul.24th. Bawdsey: East Lane, male, May 2nd and 22nd. Lakenheath Washes: Apr.25th. CITRINE WAGTAIL Motacilla citreola Accidental Bawdsey: East Lane lagoons, first-summer female, May 9th and 10th (P.Hobbs, J.Zantboer et al). This is just the fourth county record of this eastern wagtail. A full account of the occurrence can be found on page 176. 122

Systematic GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla



Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. This wagtail is thinly distributed across the county in ones and twos. The best site early in the year was Long Melford sewage works, where five were reported, February 22nd and seven, March 7th, with three over Stowmarket, January 21st, the next highest count. The BBS found Grey Wagtails in just 2% of the 41 squares surveyed (5% in 1995, 3% in 2000), with a combined total of two birds. Of the 24 sites where breeding was probable or confirmed, just one was in the north-east region, seven in the south-east and 16 in the west, mainly along the river valleys. There were four pairs again in the Sudbury Common Lands area, two pairs along the river at Brandon and a pair at Boxford raised two broods. Landguard logged 88 south between August 6th and November 7th, with a peak of ten, September 15th and 16th. At Bury St Edmunds on June 24th, one was watched feeding from the roofs of parked cars, while at Pakenham, October 1 st, two were fly-catching on the roof of a bungalow. PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Very common resident, passage migrant and winter and summer visitor. The highest counts in the first winter period came from: Minsmere: 125 on the newly ploughed chapel field, Mar.l4th. Redgrave and Lopham Fen: 90 roosting, Jan.27th. Stowmarket: 60 overflying to roost, Feb.7th. Cornard Mere: 93 roosted, Jan.25th. Long Melford: sewage works, 93, Feb. 15th. The BBS found Pied Wagtails in 51% of the 41 squares surveyed (51% in 1995, 60% in 2000), with a combined total of 44 birds. There were six territories in the Walberswick NNR/Dingle Marshes/Dunwich Forest area and 13 pairs on North Warren and Aldringham Walks. Three nests were located out on Orfordness and at Landguard, a pair nested successfully at the dock edge. On August 29th, 61 were roosting in reeds at the Southwold boating lake. Landguard noted a total of 506 flying south between July 23rd and November 9th, with a peak of 45, September 27th. Late in the year the best counts came from: Bromeswell: 80, Dec. 19th. Stowmarket: roosting in supermarket shrubbery, 170, Sep. 12th; 400, Oct. 17th; 230, Dec.28th. Needham Market: 140 roosting birds flushed by hunting male Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Nov.7th. Long Melford: sewage works, 73, Dec. 18th. Mickle Mere: 50, Oct.6th. White Wagtail M. a. alba As in most years, sightings were mainly in spring and from the coastal belt. Five were on chapel field, Minsmere, on March 16th and the only other March records came from North Warren, with a single on 20th and 12 on 26th. Up to three were seen at four coastal sites during April and there was an inland record from Livermere Lake, April 23rd. Six were at Covehithe, May 3rd and these were seen with 62 Yellow Wagtails and five Blue-headed Wagtails. There were another five singles on the coast during May. Mid-summer, there were singles on Havergate Island July 14th and 24th and then a late record of two at the same site, October 17th. 123

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BOHEMIAN WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Bohemian Waxwings were scarce in the first winter period, when the biggest counts came from: Blythburgh: 40 south, Jan.23rd. Martlesham: BT laboratory complex, 63, Mar.4th. Ipswich: 36, Jan.รณth; 43, Mar.5th. Hadleigh: 17, Feb.7th. There was a very large irruption into FIELD NOTE At Christchurch Park on December 4th, one Scotland and northern England during bird was seen to feed a rowan berry to another late-autumn, but East Anglia did not receive the really large numbers that in mid-air. Was this an adult feeding a juvenile occurred in some areas. The biggest or part of a courtship display? flocks were around Ipswich; smaller Anne Beaufoy flocks were widely scattered in the northeast but the west missed out almost completely, with 20 flying south-west past Weather Heath, Elveden, November 10th, being the most seen. Oulton Broad: 32, Nov. 10th and 38, Nov. 18th. Thorpeness: ten in over the sea, Oct.24th; 29 in over the sea, Oct.29th; 33, Nov. 13th. Martlesham Heath: 104, Nov.27th; 100, Nov.28th and Dec.lst. Ipswich: Christchurch Park, 96, Dec.3rd; Ipswich Hospital, 112, Dec.10th; 120, Dec.l7th; 80, Dec.24th. Landguard: 45 south, Nov.3rd. WINTER W R E N Troglodytes troglodytes Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. The Winter Wren remains a very common bird across the county and the BBS found them in 95 % of the 41 squares surveyed (89% in 1995, 89% in 2000), with a combined total of 273 birds. The CES ringing scheme at Lackford revealed a better breeding season, for the local birds at least, with ten adults and 18 juveniles trapped (seven adults and five juveniles in 2003). On Dunwich Heath, breeding numbers had been relatively static from 1992 until 2002, with an average of 16 to 17 pairs; this increased to 40 pairs in 2003 and 42 pairs in 2004. W inter Wren at North Warren and Aldringham Common Singing Males 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 215 304 318 332 379 350 311 Two broods were reared out on Orfordness and two pairs bred at Landguard but no young were reared. At Wyken Hall, Stanton, the farmland bird study recorded 54 territories and at Pakenham a pair fledged young from a nest in a trellis only 50cm from the observer's bedroom window. HEDGE ACCENTOR (DUNNOCK) Prunella modularis Very common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. The BBS located Dunnocks in 76% of the 41 squares surveyed (81% in 1995, 74% in 2000), with a combined total of 95 birds. It was clear, from CES ringing at Lackford Lakes, that they enjoyed a productive breeding season in 2004; the 14 adults and 51 juveniles trapped compare well with the site's five-year average of 16 adults and 23 juveniles; the number of juveniles is the highest return in 13 years of ringing at Lackford Lakes, the 124



previous best being 43 juveniles in 1993. At Wyken Hall, Stanton, 51 territories were recorded on the farmland bird study and there were 17 territories on Dunwich Heath. At least ten pairs nested at Landguard. Hedge Accentors at North Warren/Aldringham Walks Breeding Pairs 1998














There was a noticeable movement at Southwold on October 13th, with an estimated 250 and the comment "large numbers around town". The maximum autumn count at Landguard was 30, September 25th. EUROPEAN ROBIN Erithacus rubecula Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Ten birds successfully overwintered at Landguard and Orfordness recorded a maximum of five during January and six in February and March. A count of 17 came from Cotton, February 3rd. The BBS recorded Robins in 95% of the 41 squares surveyed (95% in 1995, 89% in 2000), with a combined total of 194 birds. At Lackford Lakes, the CES ringing total of four adults and 16 juveniles was close to the five-year average of five adults and 19 juveniles. At Wyken Hall, Stanton, the farmland bird study recorded 65 territories and there were six pairs on Dunwich Heath. At North Warren, the bulk of the substantial population of 252 pairs was centred on the wetter, wooded areas of the reserve on the Warren. European Robins at North Warren/Aldringhani Walks Breeding Pairs 1998














An interesting record of an individual with a black face came from an Ipswich garden, seen on just one day, April 28th. Autumn passage was noted at Landguard from August 4th to November 27th, with a maximum of 70, October 20th; at least eight were wintering there at the year's end. C O M M O N NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Minsmere recorded the first of the year on April 5th, with North Warren and Parham reporting the next sightings on April 11th. Inland, the first bird reached Lackford, April 12th and by 17th ten were singing at Minsmere. The BBS found Common Nightingales on 17% of the 41 squares surveyed (8% in 1995, 13% in 2000), with a combined total of 12 birds. The total number of territories in the county probably exceeded 200, which maintains Suffolk as a stronghold for this species, although some decline was reported at a few sites, in both the east and west of the county. The five-year survey of Walberswick NNR/Dingle Marshes/Dunwich Forest located 53 territories, "well down on the 1999 count, although numbers were similar to those found in 2002 and 2003 and earlier, in the mid-1990s". There were 24 singing males at Minsmere, 32 territories at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (down from 52 in 2001), 16 territories around Alton Water, 11 singing males at Creeting St Mary on May 14th and six singing males at Lackford Lakes. At Creeting St Mary, a ringed individual was retrapped for the fourth year running. It is 125

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likely, therefore, that this particular bird has travelled at least 40000kms (25000 miles) on migration. There was the usual, inconspicuous autumn departure. Single birds were on Orfordness, July 28th and August 7th and at Landguard, July 26th and 27th and August 7th, while the last report from the breeding grounds was at Lackford Lakes, August 29th. BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Landguard: first-winter male, Oct. 1st (D.Fairhurst, E.Marsh et al). The latest in Suffolk since 1993, when one was at Fagbury Cliff, October 3rd. BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus oehruros Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. Amber List. Sizewell was the only site to report overwintering, with singles noted on January 9th and 29th and February 9th. Spring migration was recorded at six coastal sites with the earliest at Landguard, March 16th. Landguard then noted singles on 14 dates up to June 8th, while Orfordness recorded passage between March 22nd and May 31st including two, March 28th and three, April 4th. Inland, a single was seen at On May 3rd a Black Redstart was seen flying in over the Great Cornard, April 13th. sea at Benacre. It was attacked by a Herring Gull, which Breeding was confirmed only knocked the redstart into the sea twice, but on each at Sizewell Estate, where a male occasion it rose from the waves and eventually made it and juvenile were seen on June safely to the beach. 30th. Elsewhere, a male was in Steve Bishop song at Lowestoft, April 23rd and a female in Hamilton Road, also Lowestoft, May 3rd, but this former breeding site failed for the second year running. FIELD NOTE

During the late summer, juveniles appeared at Landguard, where up to two were present between August 10th and 14th. In total, seven sites recorded passage with multiple records from: Dunwich Heath: Coastguard Cottages, two, Oct.22nd to 24th. Sizewell: three, Oct. 15th and two, Nov.7th. Orfordness: passage from Oct. 16th including three, Oct.24th and 28th and one or two until Nov.3rd. Shingle Street: two (one first-winter), Oct.23rd and 24th. Landguard: passage from Oct.l6th to Nov.l3th, with a maximum of five, Oct.28th and 29th. C O M M O N REDSTART Phoenicurusphoenicurus Uncommon summer visitor and common passage migrant. Amber list. The first sighting came from Landguard on a typical date of April 5th, with up to three reported from there on seven dates to May 21st. There was a sprinkling of April and early May records from seven more coastal sites, all of 1-2 birds. The breeding status of this species continues to be precarious, with territories located at Walberswick NNR (one), Minsmere (six), one other Sandlings site and probably five territories in the Suffolk Breck. The total of 13 territories is four up on 2003, but two down on the 2002 total. Late-summer provided sightings of passage birds from Southwold, August 15th; Minsmere, two, August 5th to 18th; Havergate Island, August 10th and Landguard, August 2nd. The main passage took place during early September, with ten coastal sites recording birds and peak counts from Minsmere, two, September 10th and Landguard, three. 126



September 9th. Orfordness recorded singles on six dates from September 4th to 29th. The last inland record came from Lakenheath Warren on September 19th and the final coastal report was from Landguard, October 22nd. WHINCHAT SaxĂ­cola rubetra Common passage migrant and uncommon summer visitor. The first record of this declining species came from Lakenheath Fen, April 20th. Landguard noted singles on seven dates between April 30th and May 15th and Orfordness recorded up to two between May 1st and May 23rd. Elsewhere, a male was seen at Livermere Lake, May 2nd, a female was in a garden at Brettenham, May 3rd, two were at Sedge Fen, May 29th and singles were at Cavenham Heath, May 9th, and Foxhole Heath in June. Breeding was confirmed at just one Breckland site, where a pair was seen with a juvenile on August 27th, although birds were seen at two other Breck sites during the summer. The first round of autumn records came in early to mid-August with 1 -2 seen at seven coastal sites and six at Shingle Street on 8th. A strong autumn passage continued with the peak of records during the second week of September and maxima from: Westleton Heath: seven, Sep. 11th. North Warren: six, Sep.4th. Orfordness: five, Aug.28th; 16, Sep.4th; 16, Sep. 11th; ten, Sep. 12th; seven, Sep. 19th and ten, Sep.25th. Boyton: 11, Sep. 15th. Shingle Street: seven, Sep. 15th. A late inland report came from Lakenheath Fen of two, September 19th, with the last coastal records from Minsmere, October 6th; Landguard, October 11th and Orfordness, October 17th. STONECHAT Saxicola torquatus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. This is one species which is currently doing well in Suffolk and shows clear signs of an increasing population. No doubt it is being helped by the current, long run of mild winters, without any prolonged spells of snow. During the first winter period, records came from nine coastal sites with maximum counts of seven, Orfordness, January 25th and four on the Deben Estuary on the same day. The Breck had a wintering population of about ten birds; there was a male at Haverhill, January 26th and 27th and three at Lakenheath Fen, January 26th. Inland migration probably accounted for individuals at Fressingfield, February 15th and 16th and a male at Harleston, March 16th. The number of breeding pairs probably exceeded 72 (46 in 2002), with 49 in the coastal belt and 23 in stonechat MarkFems Breckland. On the coast there were four pairs in the Walberswick NNR/Dingle Marshes/Westleton Heath area and Minsmere held 20 pairs (19 pairs in 2003, 14 pairs in 2002). A pair nested on Orfordness and fledged at least two young. 127

Suffolk Birci Report

Dunwich Heath North Warren


Stonechat - Breeding Pairs/Territories 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 14 18 19 10 12 1 2 2 5

2002 23 5

2003 14 2

2004 18 4

In Breckland (including Norfolk), 24 pairs were found in clearfell areas within the Thetford Forest (R.Hoblyn and J.Secker). Sixteen of these pairs were in Suffolk and a further seven pairs were found on the Breck heaths, giving a minimum Suffolk Breck population of 23 pairs. Notable post-breeding gatherings came from: North Warren: nine, Oct. 1st. Orfordness: four, Aug. 1st and 8th and Sep.25th. Shingle Street: seven, Sep.l5th. Lakenheath Fen: eight during October. In the second winter period at least 17 sites recorded this species, which is a significant increase on the 11 sites where Stonechats were noted during the second winter period of 2003. The highest counts were seven at Orfordness, October 31st; four at Sizewell, November 7th; eight at Weather and Horn Heaths, November 14th and nine at Berner's Heath, December 10th. NORTHERN WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe Common passage migrant. Uncommon summer visitor. The first record of spring, as in most years, came from Cavenham Heath on the typical date of March 14th, followed by Nunnery Lakes, March 16th. On the coast, Gunton and Minsmere received the first sightings on 17th and by the end of March many coastal sites had recorded birds, with peak counts from Kessingland (eight, March 28th), North Warren (five, March 28th) and Orfordness (three, March 18th and 28th). A fortunate observer in Melton recorded a single in his garden, March 22nd. The late-March flourish heralded one of the best spring passages for many years, with a substantial number of birds passing through the county. On the coast on April 22nd, there were counts of ten at Westleton Heath, 17 at Minsmere, 13 at North Warren and 69 at Landguard. A second wave passed through on May 1st and 2nd, when there were counts of nine at Corton, 14 at Benacre, six at Thorpeness, 12 at Orfordness and 50 at Landguard. Earlier inland, six at Bury St Edmunds golf course, April 16th were of note and there were three at Stoke-by-Nayland, April 22nd. The last passage of such numbers occurred in 1998 on similar dates, but the Landguard count of 69 is the highest spring-passage total in Suffolk since May 10th 1981, when this site recorded 70. A good proportion of this passage was probably of the Greenland race O.o.leucorhoa. Orfordness increased its breeding population from three pairs (2003) to five pairs with four pairs seen with, or feeding, fledged young. In Breckland, breeding was confirmed at just one site. An interesting conundrum was raised by a juvenile still with down seen at Sizewell, June 16th. It was not thought to be locally-bred but might have wandered up the coast from Orfordness. Autumn passage got under way in August when the peak counts came from: North Warren: ten, Aug.8th. Orfordness: four, Aug. 1st; eight, Aug. 14th; 14, Aug.20th; 30, Aug.21st and 20, Aug.22nd. Trimley Marshes: eight, Aug. 18th. Inland, a notable record came from Fornham All Saints, where ten were present on a harvested field, August 16th. Migration continued well into September, with a notable peak early on, when Orfordness recorded 25 on 4th; 20 on 5th; 24 on 8th and 12 on 12th. 128



Landguard reported 14 on September 7th. Inland, there were five at the disused Great Waldingfield airfield on 14th, two at Pipps Ford on 15th and two at Cavenham Heath on 17th. Cavenham reported the last inland record on October 10th. Late individuals were noted at the Trimley retreat, October 14th; Minsmere, October 23rd; North Warren, October 26th and Thorpeness, October 30th. RING OUZEL TurdH s torquatus Fairly common passage migrant. Red list. There was a reasonable spring passage involving more than 25 individuals from 13 sites. The first sighting came from North Warren on March 29th, followed by one in The King's Forest, April 17th. All records involving multiple sightings are listed: Kessingland: five, Apr.22nd. Benacre: Beach Farm, three males and a female, May 1st. Pits, three, May 1 st and two, May 2nd. South Cove: three, Apr. 17th. Orfordness: two, May 1st; four, May 8th and 9th; three, May 10th. Landguard: two, May 2nd. Brandon: pair, Apr.28th and 29th. The last spring migrant was at Dunwich, May 23rd. Autumn passage was low-key with 12 coastal sites recording 1-3 birds. The first of the autumn were two at Landguard on September 29th, . 1 with a singleton at Shingle Street the same day. Most of the records came between October 7th and 21st and the final reports were three at Landguard, October t 31 st and a single there, November 4th. Ring 0 u z e l S u G o u g h C O M M O N BLACKBIRD Turdus merula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. During the first winter period, the biggest gatherings were 29 at Landguard, January 7th, 58 at Holbrook, January 10th and 26 at Cotton, February 3rd. Landguard recorded passage from February 22nd to May 27th, with a peak of 50 on March 29th. The BBS found Common Blackbirds on 95% of the 41 squares surveyed (97% in 1995, 100% in 2000), with a combined total of 337 birds. CES ringing at Lackford suggested that it was not a very productive breeding season there for this species, as the 15 adults and ten juveniles trapped compare unfavourably with this site's five-year average of eight adults and 12 juveniles. The Walberswick NNR/Dingle Marshes/Dunwich Forest/Hen Reedbeds survey produced a total of 65 territories (much the same as in 1999) and the survey of North Warren and Aldringham Walks mapped 178 territories ( 197 in 2003). The farmland bird study at Wyken Hall, Stanton, found 91 territories and there were at FIELD NOTE A total of 212 Blackbirds was mist-netted In a least 16 in Bradfield Woods. A male Common Blackbird was strawberry field at Creeting St. Mary during the summer, while feasting on the farmer's crop. The seen taking a smooth newt from a peak day was June 20th, with 95 trapped. garden pond in Trimley on June John Walshe 4th. 129

Suffolk Birci Report


Autumn migration was mainly recorded from just two sites. Orfordness reported peaks of 32, October 20th and 70, November 9th and 14th. At L'andguard, the first migrants appeared from September 30th, with peaks of 70, October 20th and 100, November 1st. The only second winter concentration was reported from Stowmarket, where 74 roosted, December 10th. FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Fieldfares were quite numerous in the first winter period and in January the largest flocks were 200 at Long Melford on 10th and 200 at Harleston on 19th. Numbers appeared to increase during February, with flocks of 300 at Fressingfield on 5th, 200 at Cavenham Heath on 16th and 500 at Minsmere on 22nd. Flocks were clearly moving through the county in March, when large counts came from: Minsmere: 200, Mar.9th; 250, Mar.l 1th and 16th. Waldringfield: 410, Mar. 17th. Landguard: 190, Mar. 18th. Alton Water: 250, Mar.l4th. Naughton: 250, Mar.22nd Long Melford: 350 flying north, Mar.28th. Lavenham: 600 (mixed flock with Redwing) Mar.30th. Cavenham Heath: 300, Mar. 18th; 360, Mar.30th.

Fieldfare Mark Cornish

April saw some significant movement at Long Melford, with 252, April 2nd (at the Sewage Works), 300 on April 9th and 250 on April 13th. Also on 9th, 400 were seen at Rumburgh, near Halesworth. A late flock of 30 was at Minsmere, April 26th and later individuals occurred on Orfordness, May 1st, with two there, May 2nd. There were two June records; singles at South Cove on 6th and Minsmere on 15th. The latter was noted from the Bittern Hide. The first report of returning birds in the autumn came from Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, where two were present from September 27th to 29th. Landguard reported migration from October 3rd onwards, with the major influx occurring around October 12th, with maxima from Thorpeness Common, 600; Westleton, 100; Boyton, 170 and Landguard, 74. Bawdsey 130



also reported 130 on October 13th. Inland flocks were noted from Lackford Lakes, 100, October 8th; Coney Weston, 150, October 24th and Cavenham Heath, 550, October 29th. A second smaller influx was seen at Fressingfield, 75, November 22nd and Minsmere, 100, November 24th. A Fieldfare was taken by a Great Black-backed Gull at North Denes, Lowestoft, November 7th. Few birds remained into the second winter period in the coastal belt, the exception being 150 at Sudbourne, December 4th and 80 at Minsmere, December 5th. Inland, Cavenham Heath hosted 160, December 6th. SONG T H R U S H Turdus philomelos Fairly common resident. Winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. There were few gatherings of note during the first winter period, although up to six were on Orfordness from January to March, five at Kedington, February 23rd and eight at Wyken Hall, Stanton. Singing males were first noted at Bury St. Edmunds, January 12th and at Snape Warren and Leiston, January 23rd. A light spring passage was seen at Landguard from March 1st to May 1st, with a maximum of six, April 2nd. There are some encouraging signs that this species may be slightly increasing its numbers, after a serious decline. The BBS recorded Song Thrushes on 71% of the 41 squares surveyed (73% in 1995, 63% in 2000), with a combined total of 48 birds. The fiveyear survey of Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest located 12 territories and the comment, "numbers appear to be higher than a few years ago". Minsmere logged 13 territories (six in 2003, six in 2001) and the pairs found at North Warren and Aldringham Walks in the past seven years are shown in the table. Song Thrush at North Warren and Aldringham Walks Breeding Pairs 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 20 30 24 37 33 28 43 In the west, a pair had completed nest-building at Newmarket by March 10th and 12 territories were located in Bradfield Woods (11 in 2003). In Breckland, it was reported as "common in thicket stage pine crops in Thetford Forest". There was an interesting report of 17 feeding among raspberry bushes at Creeting St. Mary, June 27th and 20 were feeding on fruiting yew trees at Stowmarket, October 3rd. Autumn passage was recorded at Orfordness from September 26th, with peak monthly counts of 20, September 29th; 12, October 20th and 12, November 8th. At Landguard, numbers peaked at 51, September 29th and 40, October 20th. At least ten flew west over Ipswich Old Cemetery, October 15th. An early singing individual was heard in Trimley on October 11 th, with another at Brettenham in full song throughout December. REDWING Turdus iliacus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. There were few sizeable first winter period flocks of note. However, 29 were at Stowmarket, January 21st and 80 at Long Melford, January 10th. During the next month little changed and peak counts were 75 at Chelmondiston, February 23rd and 30 at Combs Lane Water Meadows, February 18th. Larger flocks were reported during March as outward migration got underway, with peak counts of 100 at North Cove on 15th, 90 at Minsmere on 18th, 105 north-east at Northfield Wood, Onehouse, on 18th, 150 at Cavenham Heath on 18th and 100 at Nunnery Lakes on 16th. 131

Suffolk Birci Report


The highest counts in April were 62 at Cotton on 5th, 50 at West Stow CP on 1 st and 12 at Trimley on 17th. A late individual lingered on at Landguard, May 10th to 12th. An early returning bird was heard calling at night over Lowestoft, September 8th and another was ringed at Sizewell Estate, September 12th. The main movement came during mid-October with maximum counts from: Carlton Marshes: 300, Nov.25th. Minsmere: 80, Oct. 15th Landguard: passage from Sep.28th to Dec.l 1th, with peak of 155, Oct. 18th. Alton Water: 1200 to 1500 passed over flying north-west during Oct.8th and 9th. Ipswich: Christchurch Park, 700 flew over at 07.30 hrs, Oct.26th. Lackford Lakes: steady westward passage throughout the day, with flocks of up to 100, Oct.9th. There were 40 roosting at Gibbon's Farm, November 23rd and 40 at Staverton Woods, December 7th, these being the only remaining flocks noted. MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. A few winter groups were noted, with four at Chelmondiston, February 23rd, six at Cavenham Heath, February 3rd and five in The King's Forest, March 17th. The Breeding Birds Survey found Mistle Thrushes in 34% of the 41 squares surveyed (51% in 1995, 58% in 2000), with a combined total of 29 birds. This appears to indicate a recent decline and this is reinforced by figures from Minsmere, where just four territories were mapped (11 in 2001, 16 in 1991). However, the six territories found at Walberswick NNR/Dunwich Forest were "much the same as in 1999" and the 24 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks were about average for the past few years. A post-breeding flock of 31 at North Warren, June 19th, indicated a good breeding season on the reserve and there were flocks of 11 at Holbrook Bay, July 31st and 11 at Cavenham Heath, June 11th. Autumn concentrations were seen at North Warren, 13, October 24th; Stowlangtoft, 18, September 19th; Flixton, 14, October 6th and West Stow, seven, October 3rd. One flew in over the sea at Corton, October 13th and Landguard noted a light autumn passage of 18 birds between October 1 st and November 22nd, with a maximum of four, November 3rd. An individual had recommenced singing in Ipswich Old Cemetery by November 9th. CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. As is normally the case, numbers reported during the first two months of the year were relatively low, with the 22 recorded at Minsmere, February 1st certainly the exception. One was located inland at Lakenheath Fen, January 25th (second site record). The continuing run of relatively mild winters has, no doubt, enabled this species to consolidate its position within the county. Records came from at least 18 sites during the breeding season, all of which were along the immediate coast, apart from one that took up temporary residence at Temple Bridge, Icklingham, between April 20th and 22nd. Overall a total of 54+ singing birds was located in Suffolk this year. The main populations are listed: Lowestoft area: Carlton Marshes, five, Apr.22nd; Castle Marsh, Apr. 19th; Oulton Broad two, Apr.22nd. Walberswick/Dunwich Forest: six singing males. Reydon: Hen Reedbeds, two singing males. Minsmere: a maximum of at least 27 singing males recorded, Apr.24th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe/Aldeburgh: North Warren, two singing males. A further noteworthy observation involved a bird that was singing regularly along 132

Systematic List Waveney Road in the centre of Lowestoft on April 1 st - hardly ideal habitat, but this record recalls that of one singing in a hawthorn bush in central Lowestoft, December 17th 1980. Post-breeding dispersal was again witnessed at Dingle, where 16 birds were trapped between September 9th and October 26th. This included two birds that had previously been ringed two kilometres to the south at Dunwich. Elsewhere, one appeared at the Nunnery Lakes on July 30th, remaining until August 19th, whilst one that arrived at Redgrave and Lopham Fens remained from October through to December (the first Redgrave record since 1981). COMMON GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locuste/la naevia Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. A bird at Minsmere, April 2nd, was a particularly early arrival (equals the county's secondearliest record) and almost a week ahead of the second, which was at Trimley Marshes on 8th. A more general arrival occurred from around April 17th to the month's end, when records were received from a further ten sites, including six at Lakenheath Washes on 25th, four along the River Lark between Lackford and Icklingham on 25th and three at Carlton Marshes on 22nd and 26th. These records also included an obvious passage bird at Landguard Point, April 21st. Breeding season reports showed a quite dramatic increase in numbers, compared with those for 2003. A total of 45 reeling males was located at 12 widespread sites (28 at 11 sites last year). A large proportion of this increase related to the breeding population at Minsmere, where there was a spectacular rise from four singing males in 2003 to 17 in 2004, although at least part of this increase was put down to better coverage of the reserve. Elsewhere, there were five territories at Walberswick, five at Dingle Marshes (seven in 2003), three at Hen Reedbeds, two at North Warren (where the breeding population has been in slow decline since its peak of seven pairs in 1999 and 2000), two in The King's Forest, two at Lackford Lakes (one in 2003) and six at Lakenheath Fen (also one in 2003). During the autumn period, an excellent total of 17 birds was trapped and ringed at Dingle between July 30th and September 4th (a very similar total to the 19 birds there over a similar period during autumn 2003), whilst a late 'reeler' was reported at Carlton Marshes, August 5th. Migrants were trapped and ringed at Landguard Point, September 3rd and Orfordness, September 16th. SAVI'S WARBLER Locustella luscinioides Rare summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. Minsmere: singing male in the p.m. of Jun.9th and early on 10th (D.A.Fairhurst, B.J.Small et al). Orford: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, Apr.27th (J.Askins, D.Cormack). The above two records are the first in the county since the singing male at Minsmere in April and May 1998. As both were all-too-brief, another long-staying, accessible bird would be most welcome. SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Although March records have been something of a feature of recent years, there were no such occurrences in 2004. Indeed, it was April 3rd when the first of the year was reported from the RSPB's Minsmere reserve. After further reports from Kirton, 6th; Trimley Marshes (three) and Lackford Lakes, 8th and Lakenheath, 9th, there was a noticeable influx mid-month. Numbers had increased to 13 birds at Trimley Marshes by April 17th, whilst five were at Cavenham Heath on the same date. Further evidence of this broad-front arrival came from North Warren, where a single on 13th had been joined by four others on 133

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 17th, whilst many other sites had recorded their first birds by this time. Landguard Point again received a very light passage of spring birds with singles, April 29th and 30th, and two. May 1st and 2nd. Overall, 2004 appears to have been quite a good year for the county's breeding population with numbers either increasing or, at least, remaining stable at most sites. The BBS recorded this species in 24% of the 41 squares surveyed (5% in 1995, 13% in 2000), with a combined total of 57 birds. A dramatic increase in numbers was reported from Minsmere, where 181 singing males were located, compared with 81 in 2003, although, as with Common Grasshopper Warbler, at least some of this increase was attributed to improved coverage of the reserve. At other sites reporting breeding totals, there were 69 territories at Walberswick; 31 at Dingle Marshes; 77 at the Hen Reedbeds; 164 at Lakenheath Fen (141 in 2003); ten at Cavenham Sedge Warbler Mark Ferris Heath; 15 at Lackford Lakes (where CES returns indicate that the population has been stable, but at a low level, over the last two years); seven at Creeting St Mary (same as 2003) and 15 at King's Fleet. There was a small decrease in breeding numbers at North Warren, where 117 pairs were located (down from the all-time maximum of 128 in 2003), but the numbers are still well above those of six years ago (70 in 1998). Finally, positive news was also received from Orfordness, where 'many' returning adults are thought to have resulted from high rates of winter survival. This species seems to have a habit of 'slipping away' after it has finished its breeding activities and this is normally reflected in the generally small numbers reported during the autumn. This year there were just two August reports (Southwold on 29th and three there, 31st), although numbers appeared to increase during September. During the month, singles were found at Weybread, 2nd; Landguard, 3rd (the only bird of the autumn for the site) and North Warren, 5th, plus a run of seven birds on four dates on Orfordness. The last two reports of the year were from Minsmere, October 5th and Dingle, October 15th. MARSH WARBLER Acrocephatus palustris Scarce migrant. Red list. Carlton Colville: Carlton Marshes, male present throughout with a possible female seen on several occasions, Jun.5th to 29th (R.Fairhead et al). Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, trapped and ringed, Aug.31st (D.J.Pearson et al). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, Jun.29th and 30th (R.Cope et al). The Carlton Marshes records are most intriguing and, again, raise the possibility of future breeding within the county. Although late-spring records are now of annual occurrence in Suffolk, autumn migrants continue to be real rarities in our county. EURASIAN REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A bird found at Minsmere, April 12th, heralded the return of this species from its subSaharan wintering grounds and was quite quickly followed by singletons at Lackford Lakes, 16th and Stowmarket, 17th (the latter being the earliest-ever site record), plus a 134



further seven widespread sites before the end of the month. Numbers built up quickly in the west at Lackford Lakes, where there were 11 singing males present, April 30th, before some eastern sites had even received their first sightings. Spring passage through Landguard Point consisted of up to two birds present on 12 dates between April 23rd and July 1 st, with a peak of four, May 2nd. The BBS recorded Reed Warblers in 22% of the 41 squares surveyed (5% in 1995, 10% in 2000), with a combined total of 30 birds. Breeding numbers dipped slightly at North Warren ( c f . Sedge Warbler), but remained at a very respectable 155 territories (down from 168 in 2003), whilst at Lakenheath Fen there was another significant increase to a total of 640 territories (from 406 in 2003). This is the highest total of breeding pairs ever recorded at a single site in Suffolk. The CES returns from Lackford Lakes suggested a stable population over the last two years (again, cf. Sedge Warbler), whilst the species was considered 'abundant' at Walberswick, where an estimated 350 territories were located. Nearby, around 70 males held territory at Dingle Marshes with another 85 at the Hen Reedbeds reserve. Additional reports came from Aldeburgh Marshes, where there were 19 singing males and Trimley Marshes, where there were 14. Autumn passage was recorded from Orfordness between September 16th (four birds) and October 23rd (max. seven, September 25th), whilst other late-season reports came from Dunwich, September 29th; South wold, October 13th; Minsmere, two, October 13 th and Dingle, October 15th. Finally, Landguard Point movements consisted of nine birds between July 27th and October 20th. The above-mentioned Orfordness record for October 23rd was the latest recorded this year. ICTERINE WARBLER Hippolais icterina Scarce passage migrant. Bungay: Outney Common, singing male, May 31st to Jul.3rd (S.VHowell et al). Orford: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, May 31st (J.Askins, D.Cormack et al). Two records this year, both being spring birds, rather than the more-usual autumn arrivals. The Outney Common bird proved popular, although it could be elusive at times. It is by far the longest-staying spring occurrence. BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapiUa Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. The first-winter period provided an increase in the number of wintering birds reported, compared with the same period for 2003. Sightings were received from a total of nine sites and included a maximum of four (two males and two females) that frequented various gardens around Westleton during January and February. Other reports involved two birds in a garden on the Moreton Hall Estate in Bury St Edmunds and singles at Kessingland, Minsmere, Martlesham, Woodbridge, Ipswich, 135

MwuCftiFAJ* 09

Blackcap Mark Ferris

Suffolk Birci Report


Boxford and Brettenham. The latter bird (a female) was seen visiting a bird table to feed on wholemeal bread. As is normally the case, a small number of presumed migrants were located during the second half of March, before a more general arrival in April (especially during the first half of the month). At Landguard Point, spring passage was observed from April 9th and continued to May 20th. The peak arrival occurred on May 2nd (a day on which a significant "fall" of warblers was observed in the south-east of the county), when 20 birds were present on the site. On the same date, 20 were also recorded at nearby Fagbury Cliff and 15 were on Orfordness. The BBS recorded Blackcaps in 78% of the squares surveyed (84% in 1995, 79% in 2000), with a combined total of 107 birds. The North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks complex reported a good breeding season (or, perhaps, the results of the one that went before it), with a total of 122 territories located, just short of the site's record total of 124 in 1998. At Lackford Lakes, the breeding population was considered to have remained fairly constant over recent years. The total number of birds trapped during the Constant Effort Site ringing activities there was 14 adults and 59 juveniles, which compares well with the sites five-year-average of 17 adults and 51 juveniles. Elsewhere, a count of 24 singing males came from Bradfield Woods, April 24th, whilst there were totals of 52 territories at Westleton, eight at Dingle Marshes, 66 at Dunwich Forest, eight at Cavenham Heath and 34 at Wyken Hall, near Stanton (during a BTO Farmland Bird Study). Autumn passage was, generally, very light, involving no obvious falls or movements, other than small peaks on September 29th and October 12th/ 13th (see below). At Landguard Point, passage began on August 28th and continued until a very late arrival of one on December 3rd, which remained until 5th. The maximum day-count for the site was 15 birds on both September 29th and October 12th; the former coincided with the peak autumn day-count of eight birds on Orfordness (which was equalled on October 13th), whilst the latter occurred on the same date that saw six birds at Southwold and five at Thorpeness. Other sightings during the last two months of the year involved singles at Minsmere, November 1st to 15th and December 5th; Ipswich, December 30th; Hadleigh, December 27th (feeding on garden Guelder Rose berries) and Lavenham Railway Walk, November 15 th. G A R D E N WARBLER Sylvia borin Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first bird to return from its African winter quarters was found at Minsmere, April 15th. This was followed by one at Theberton, April 17th and a further five sites before the month's end. These included Landguard Point, where a light spring passage (involving a total of sixteen birds) continued until May 19th (max. five, May 2nd). On Orfordness, six singletons were recorded between May 1st and June 16th. The BBS recorded this species in 15% of the squares surveyed (40% in 1995, 34% in 2000), with a combined total of nine birds. Yet another record breeding season was reported from the North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks complex, where the total number of territories rose to an impressive 165 'pairs', up from 152 in 2003 - a 9% increase on the year and more than doubling the 1998 total for the site of 81 territories. Contrasting reports came from West Stow Country Park, where the species was described as 'scarce ' this year and nearby Lackford Lakes, where the CES ringing efforts produced just four adults and six juveniles during the breeding season; this is the lowest adult catch 136



in the 13 years of study there, although at least some of the decrease may be related to changes in habitat structure. Reports from other sites around the county included 30 territories at Walberswick, 13 at Dingle Marshes, 46 in Dunwich Forest and four at Wyken Hall, near Stanton; however, most sites recorded just one or two pairs. Autumn passage commenced around mid-August when birds began moving through Landguard Point and Orfordness, but movements were extremely light. The only exception involved a report of ten birds at Minsmere, August 10th, although at least some of these could have related to locally-bred birds. Most birds appear to have departed by late August and other than Landguard Point and Orfordness, the only additional site to record a September bird was Gunton, where one was present on 11 th. There were equally few October sightings, with one present on Orfordness on 1st and Landguard recording its last bird on 10th. These low numbers are, presumably, an indication that very few continental drift migrants passed our way this autumn. With so few birds present, the individual located at Minsmere on the very late date of November 9th seems quite exceptional. The latest-ever recorded in the county are singles at Lowestoft and Minsmere on November 13th in 1988 and 2000 respectively. BARRED WARBLER Sylvia nisoria Scarce passage migrant. Orford: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, Sep.4th. (D.Cormack et al). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, Sep.2nd (R.Cope, N.Odin, J.Zantboer, et al) and Sep.24th (N.Odin). An increase on last year's total of two, but still a little below the recent annual average. LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Singles found at both Landguard Point and North Warren on April 15th were the first spring records. Other 'early' reports came from Minsmere, 19th; Lowestoft and Combs Lane Water Meadows, 23rd (equal-earliest-ever for the latter site) and Dunwich, Orfordness and Cavenham Heath, 24th, with numerous other sites reporting their first sightings by the end of the month. Early May saw the peak of arrivals, with a small fall of birds in the south-east of the county. The largest "fall" occurred at Fagbury Cliff, where between 30 and 50 were recorded, May 2nd, whilst, at nearby Landguard Point, there were ten, May 1st and 20, May 2nd. This arrival was also evident further up the coast, with 15 on Orfordness on both May 1st and 2nd ( c f . other warbler species). Although widespread and 'common' across much of the county, this species' preference for taller and thicker hedges, especially those of Blackthorn, means that it is often patchily distributed and does not often occur in concentrations - the preponderance of low, heavily flailed hedgerows across our countryside has not helped the Lesser Whitethroat's cause. One exception to this is the North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks complex, which has consistently held a good population. Although numbers were down on those of 2003, the 46 territories found in 2004 is still the peak site-total located in Suffolk. Further up the coast, a survey of the Walberswick, Dingle Marshes and Dunwich Forest areas produced a total of 24 territories - an increase of more than 50% since a corresponding survey in 1999. Most other breeding reports related to just one or two pairs (from around 30 widespread sites), although seven territories were located during a BTO farmland birds count at Wyken Hall, near Stanton. Numbers remained low at Lackford Lakes, where just a single adult and two juveniles were trapped during the CES ringing visits. The BBS recorded this species in 24% of the 41 squares surveyed (32% in 1995, 18% in 2000), with a combined total of 17 birds. 137

Suffolk Birci Report


The presence of local breeders and their offspring obscured the start of the return migration through Landguard Point, but ran from around mid-July to September 19th, with a maximum count of five, July 30th (although this included some "locals"). On Orfordness, passage ran from August 15th to October 17th (max. two, August 29th and September 12th). Higher numbers came from Minsmere, where ten were present, August 10th and 12, September 3rd. Additional October records came from Fagbury Cliff, 5th (two birds - see below); Dingle, 9th and Thorpeness, 15th. Three of the later reports listed above involved individuals reported as being of/possibly of the eastern race(s) S.c. blythi/halimodendri; Landguard Point, September 9th to 19th (considered either blythi or halimodendri)-, Orfordness, September 29th (considered either blythi or halimodendri) and one of the two birds at Fagbury Cliff, October 5th (considered possible blythi).

C O M M O N WHITETHROAT Sylvia communis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A bird discovered at Sizewell on April 4th was the first recorded during 2004 (D. and M.Carter); it is the earliest arrival in Suffolk since the county's earliest-ever on April 1st 1959. What was assumed to be the same individual was still present there on 6th and was followed by other early arrivals at Minsmere, 8th, North Warren, 11th and Kirton, 12th. Numbers increased noticeably from around April 21st and 22nd with migrants starting to pass through both Landguard Point and Orfordness at this time. An obvious influx was also noted inland at Long Melford, where ten were present on 23rd. A significant "fall" of birds was noted in the south-east corner of the county throughout May 1 st and 2nd. At least 25 were at Landguard Point on 1 st, when 12 were recorded on Orfordness. Numbers really picked up on 2nd when a significant "fall" produced counts of 100 at Landguard Point, 75 on Orfordness and up to 120 at Fagbury Cliff. The BBS recorded this species in 78% of the 41 squares surveyed (81% in 1995, 79% in 2000), with a combined total of 142 birds. The North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks area experienced a welcome recovery in its breeding population this year, with an excellent total of 413 territories counted, the third-highest total ever at this site. A repeat survey of the Walberswick, Dingle Marshes and Dunwich Forest areas revealed that this species has experienced differing fortunes since the previous study in 1999. At the first site, numbers had increased considerably from 43 territories in 1999 to 71 in 2004, whereas numbers around Dunwich Forest had declined greatly from 52 territories to just 18; this decline is attributed to the planted conifers having grown up during the intervening period, thus making the habitat less suitable for Common Whitethroats. Interestingly, the Dingle Marshes population was found to have remained stable at 20 territories. Elsewhere, the Lackford Lakes CES ringing survey reported an almost stable breeding population with eight adults and seven juveniles trapped over the course of the breeding season (very close to the site's five-year average of seven adults and six juveniles). Seventy-four breeding territories were reported from Lakenheath Fen, 13 singing males were found at Creeting St Mary (same as in 2003) and 64 territories were counted at Wyken Hall, near Stanton, during a BTO farmland birds survey. Autumn passage lacked the "falls" of spring, but did include 20 birds at Minsmere on August 10th. On Orfordness, migrants were detected from late July through to September 16th (max. 15, September 5th), whilst at Landguard Point, passage began in mid-July and continued to September 24th (max. of just three, August 26th), this being the final report of the year. 138



DARTFORD WARBLER Sylvia undata Uncommon local resident. Scarce visitor. Amber list. This species continues to increase its population along the Suffolk coast with a total of 91 pairs located in 2004, compared with 77 in 2003 - a rise of 18%. Of the sites for which comparative data were submitted, the North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks population increased from six pairs to seven, that at Minsmere increased from 18 to 24 pairs, whilst the Westleton Heath total increased from eight to 12 pairs. No doubt, if the species continues to increase complete breeding coverage will become increasingly difficult. Happily, the Breckland records continued this year, with at least one bird present at a single site, although there was no confirmation of breeding. Away from the immediate breeding areas, there was an obvious post-breeding dispersal of birds during October, with birds being reported from Gunton, 26th; Covehithe, 30th; Southwold, 5th; Dingle, two first year males, October 8th to November 1 st; Minsmere, up to two along the dunes between 1st and 31st and two by West Hide, 31st; Sizewell Dunes, 15th and Landguard Point, 3rd (the second site record). GREENISH WARBLER Phylloscopus Very rare visitor. The ninth record for the county. Hopton-on-Sea: Aug. 11th (I.N.Smith).


PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus proregulus Rare visitor. Although fewer were located than during the autumn of 2003, the 14 or more found this year is still a very good annual total for Suffolk. The bird at Southwold on October 10th is the earliest-ever arrival in Suffolk. Lowestoft: Flycatcher Lane behind Denes Oval, Oct.28th and 29th (R.Wincup et at). Easton Bavents: 0ct.30th (R.Drew). Southwold: Golf course, Oct.lOth and 11th (D.Holman, R.Drew et at); Oct.l9th (B.J.Small) with possibly a second bird present on the latter date. Dunwich Heath: near NT toilets then Dowcras ditch, 0ct.30th (P.Green, D.Sutton, RSPB et al)). Thorpeness: Thorpeness Common, 0ct.20th to 23rd with a second bird 0ct.20th to 26th (I.Barthorpe, D.Thurlow, L.G.Woods et al) Bawdsey: churchyard, Oct.22nd (M.Cornish et al). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, Oct. 16th to 18th (J.Zantboer et at); trapped and ringed, 0ct.20th and 21st (R.Cope, N.Odin, S.Pimm); trapped and ringed, Oct.28th (R.Cope, G.Hammond, P.J.Holmes); two trapped and ringed, Nov.lst (G.Hammond, M.C.Marsh et al) - five birds in total. Felixstowe Docks, Nov.28th and 29th (P.Oldfield). YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus inornatus Scarce visitor. Gorleston-on-Sea: Oct.2nd (LL). Lowestoft: two, Oct. 1st to 4th and possibly three on 2nd and 3rd (R.Fairhead, N.Skinner); Oct.lOth (LL); Oct. 13th (R.Fiarhead); Oct. 17th (LL); Oct.21st; Oct.24th; Oct.28th (LL). Minsmere: Sep.29th and 30th; two, sluice bushes, Oct. 1st to 3rd (RSPB). Sizewell: in Sycamores by Sizewell 'A' Power Station, Oct.3rd (R.Drew). Orford: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, Sep.29th (D.Cormack et al). Felixstowe: Oct.lOth (T.C.Nicholson); Felixstowe Ferry/Golf Course, Oct.9th (W.J.Brame, J.Zantboer); Landguard Point, Oct.9th (R.A.Duncan, M.James and 13th (R.Cope, M.C.Marsh et al). Another excellent showing with perhaps as many as 16 birds located; the majority occurred in the peak period of very late September to mid-October, plus a few later birds. 139

Suffolk Birci Report


RADDE'S WARBLER Phylloscopus schwarzi Very rare visitor. Orford: Orfordness, trapped and ringed, Oct. 1st (J.R.Askins, S.Piotrowski, G.Stannard). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, Oct.27th (P.J.Holmes, N.Odin, P.OIdfield et at). The fourteenth and fifteenth county records, the Landguard record being the third for the site. Both were typically short-stayers. DUSKY WARBLER Phylloscopus fuscatus Very rare visitor. The twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth county records. Kessingland: Dec.2nd to 31st and into 2005 (P.Read, R.Wincup et al). Bawdsey: East Lane, Dec. 15th to 18th (J.and P.Kennerley, G.J.Jobson et al). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, trapped and ringed, 0ct.20th to Nov.4th (R.Cope, S.E.Pimm, N.Odin et al). The Kessingland record still requires acceptance by BBRC. Another wintering bird at Kessingland (following close behind the one there during December 2002 and January 2003) and a winter record at Bawdsey, continue the national trend, but where did the latter end up? The Landguard bird becomes the third record for the site, although it would have probably been counted as two different birds if it had not been ringed, as it was not seen between October 20th and 31 st. This species seems to be going from strength to strength in the county (and elsewhere) and one has to wonder if it will one day be as 'common' as the likes of Yellow-browed and Pallas's Leaf Warblers? W O O D WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. Amber list. The following constitute a light but fairly typical spring passage. The birds concerned all moved on quickly after arrival. Lowestoft: cemetery, singing male, Apr.30th. Southwold: male, May 3rd and 4th. Minsmere: singing males, Apr.26th and May 11th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Common and Walks, singing male, Apr.26th. Sadly, there was no repeat of last year's breeding success at Elveden. Autumn passage was non-existent, bar the singleton recorded at Landguard, August 13th. This is the poorest autumn showing since the single bird recorded at the same site in the autumn of 1982. C O M M O N CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. The first-winter period produced records of up to 13 birds at five widespread sites, more than double the number of birds recorded during the same period last year. An impressive total of seven birds was present at Kessingland sewage works, January 11th (decreasing to three, January 20th and two from February 9th into March), whilst probably three different birds were found ranging between West Stow sewage works. West Stow Country Park and Lackford Lakes throughout the period. A wintering bird at Long Melford sewage works was present between January 11th and February 14th, one was trapped and ringed at Stowmarket, January 10th and one was seen at Minsmere, January 23rd. As can be seen from the above records, this species' close association with sewage works continues and a survey of such sites would, no doubt, reveal more wintering across the county. A few sites reported the arrival of singing birds in early March, but the first real influx 140

in 30 being trapped during that month at Fagbury and the last bird was reported from Peewit Hill, Felixstowe, Nov. 1st.

ICTERINE WARBLER Hippolais icterina Uncommon passage migrant. Another bumper year for Icterine Warblers, including the County's ninth spring sighting: Southwold: St Edmund's churchyard, Sept. 20th (LT). Minsmere: Sluice Bushes, in song, May 21st (SJL el al. ); Sept. 8th (MLC). Felixstowe: Landguard, ad, Aug. 22nd; single juvs Aug. 29th; Sept. 14th; Sept. 18th (MM, NO et al. ). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, Aug. 24th; two Aug. 28th; Sept. 6th; daily Sept. 17th to 20th; Sept. 24th; daily Sept. 30th to Oct. 3rd (MDC, DCM, SHP et al.). (At least nine birds involved). Fagbury Cliff must now be one of the best places in the whole country to see this species. The adult trapped at Landguard is of interest as, of all the trapped birds that have been aged, it is the first adult to appear in the County during the autumn. It occurred on the same date as a Norwegian-ringed Pied Flycatcher at Landguard, which may give some indication as to its place of origin.

DARTFORD WARBLER Sylvia undata Very rare passage migrant. Formerly bred. Dunwich: Dunwich Heath, cr holding territory, from 1992 to at least July 20th (many obs.). Westleton: St. Helena, Sept 4th (NPo). The St Helena record by a visiting birder is interesting, but was considered to involve the Dunwich Heath bird which by then had not been seen for some time. The activities of this bird in the County will long be remembered by local observers who made regular pilgrimages to watch him. Much of the winter was spent in association with a resident pair of Stonechats, behaviour which often made him easy to locate. Having failed to attract a mate during the spring, he resorted to helping a pair of Stonechats with their family and was seen to feed the young both in and out of the nest. On at least one occasion he was also seen removing a faecal sac. Winter association with Stonechats has been well-documented (e.g. BWP vol.4) but the summer feeding activities do appear to be very unusual. However, a parallel may perhaps be drawn with frequent observations of Blue and Great Tits feeding each other's young. This behaviour may be associated with the loss of the individual's own young, or may be an inherent response to calling young by unpaired birds.

SUBALPINE WARBLER Sylvia cantillans Very rare visitor. Weybread: Weybread G.P., cr Apr. 24th and 25th (AGr, PJV el al.). Felixstowe: Landguard, two 9 9 trapped. May 28th (NO el al.). Trimley St Mary: Fagbury Cliff, first-year cr in song. May 16th to 22nd. trapped 16th (MDC, GM, SHP et al.). With only five previous County records (and all but one at Landguard), four in one year is remarkable. Despite this glut of birds, however, some observers may still have failed to connect with one as the Fagbury bird proved very elusive and the Landguard birds were not seen in the field. The Weybread bird was a remarkable find by an observer diligently working his local patch. Although the County's first record (in 1986) occurred in the autumn, all subsequent sightings have involved spring birds. 151

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 made landfall in the south-east of the county, including a total of ten Willow Warblers at Fagbury Cliff. As this species has been in steady decline nationally since the mid-1990s, news of a successful breeding season at Lackford Lakes was welcome. The CES ringing activities there recorded a total of six adults and 15 juveniles trapped over the summer, compared with the five-year average of five adults and six juveniles. However, the generally negative reports, from elsewhere across the county, were somewhat more expected. The BBS recorded Willow Warblers in just 41% of the squares surveyed, a decline from 78% in 1995 and 58% in 2000, with a combined total of 48 birds. The North Warren and Aldringham Common and Walks complex recorded a 28% decline in numbers with 48 territories being found, compared with 67 in 2003 (a new record low and less than half the 101 territories reported in 2001). Just up the coast, at Minsmere, the 40 singing males recorded was well down on the 55 found during the last complete survey there in 2001. A survey of Walberswick and Dunwich Forest found totals of 44 and 35 territories at these two sites respectively (well down on the total of 120 territories across both sites in 2003). The decline in this area is illustrated by the fact that, during the mid-1990s, Willow Warbler outnumbered Chiffchaff by 2:1, whereas now, it is outnumbered by that species by 3:2. Numbers in the south-west of the county appear to be particularly low, with several observers reporting comments such as 'very scarce in the area' (Long Melford), 'now infrequent on the riverside' (Sudbury Common Lands) and 'only two males located' (Boxford). Of the remaining breeding season reports received, there were 17 singing males in The King's Forest, 14 territories at Cavenham Heath, 12 at Bradfield Woods, six at Wyken Hall, near Stanton and five at Creeting St Mary (where three nests containing 19 young were found). Two birds on Orfordness, July 24th, were the first of the autumn passage, which continued there until October 1 st (max. 24, August 1 st). At Landguard Point passage began slightly later, on July 26th and lasted until October 23rd. Apart from the above records, there were very few autumn reports other than 13 at Fagbury Cliff, August 9th and singles at Southwold, September 13th; East Lane, Bawdsey, September 17th and Lavenham Railway Walk, October 2nd. A bird showing characteristics of the northern race 'acredula ' was present at Landguard Point, October 9th. GOLDCREST Regulus regulus Very common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. After a small number of winter reports, the first observations of real note came from the coastal watchpoints when the spring migration got underway. The first birds were seen at both Orfordness and Landguard Point on March 17th. At the former site, passage was generally light and lasted until May 2nd (max. 15 on March 28th), whilst at the latter, a similarly light passage continued until May 9th (with a peak of ten birds on March 24th and 28th). The BBS recorded Goldcrests in 34% of the squares surveyed (30% in 1995, 24% in 2000), with a combined total of 56 birds. At Minsmere, an increase in breeding numbers was recorded with 43 singing males being found, compared with the 36 there during the 2002 survey. Likewise, the 40 territories located around the Walberswick/Dunwich Forest area were considered a small increase on the 1999 survey. Numbers decreased at the North Warren/Aldringham Common and Walks complex, where 44 territories were counted, down from the record total of 62 territories last year (but this was still the second-best showing on record). Goldcrests were particularly numerous around the areas of Alexander Wood and the River Hundred at the Warren, with most pairs being associated with areas of 142



conifers, as expected. Other reports of confirmed/probable breeding were received from Cosford Hall, Pakenham (three recently-fledged young seen being fed by an adult, which was in heavy moult), North Stow (pair seen with fledged young), West Stow Country Park (juvenile seen), Cavenham Heath, Lackford Lakes, Wyken Hall, near Stanton (five pairs) and Boxford (four singing males). The commencement of the autumn passage was almost as well synchronised as that of spring. The first birds appeared on Orfordness, September 4th and at Landguard Point, September 5th. Although there was no obvious, concentrated fall down the length of the coast, several sites reported some quite high counts during October, which were, at least, indicative of localised arrivals. These are summarised below: Southwold: Town Marshes, 20, Oct. 10th. Minsmere: 30, Oct. 15th. Snape: Snape Warren, 40, 0ct.30th. Thorpeness: 60, Oct. 12th and 30, Oct.27th. Orford: Orfordness, 20, Oct.9th; 12, Oct.lOth; 14, Oct.l3th; 30, Oct.l7th; 15, Oct. 23rd and ten, Oct. 26th. Felixstowe: Landguard Point, 70, 0ct.20th. The last of the "autumn" was recorded on Orfordness, December 5th, whilst two birds lingered at Landguard Point until the year's end. Two late counts were received from Kenton Hills, Sizewell towards the end of the year - 60, November 7th (which probably contained a good number of migrants) and 30, December 28th. FIRECREST Regulus ignicapillus Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters irregularly. Amber list. Records were received from Kessingland sewage works, Dunwich, Minsmere, North Warren, Nacton and Lackford during the first-winter period, all involving singles, apart from two at Kessingland, February 28th (at least one of which had been present since January). After a couple of early-March sightings, spring passage appeared to commence on March 18th when both Landguard Point and Orfordness logged their first birds of the year (which coincided with the first Goldcrest arrivals). Both sites then recorded ones and twos intermittently until early to mid-May, although four were on Orfordness, April 2nd. Spring sightings were received from a further ten sites, several of which related to singing birds, all of which moved on quickly after arrival. The only inland sighting at this time was of a bird at Great Livermere, April 3rd. Although there were no records of confirmed breeding during 2004, up to five singing males were reported from one Breckland location early in the season, and singletons were recorded from Santon Downham on a handful of occasions. The only September report came from Thorpeness Common, where an unexpectedly high count of ten birds was obtained on 13th. There was a concentrated period of arrival between October 10th and 13th (peaking on 12th), which included counts of 11 at Dingle Marshes, 12th; nine at Southwold, 12th; four at Minsmere, 13th; nine at Thorpeness, 12th and ten at Landguard Point, 12th, followed by a much smaller arrival around October 20th. Birds continued to move through Landguard until November 2nd, with one bird lingering on the site until December 14th. Likewise, on Orfordness, a bird which arrived on November 3rd, remained until December 5th. The only other late-season report involved a singleton at Pipps Ford, Barking, December 11th. SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata Fairly common but declining summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. The first report of 2004 involved two birds present on Orfordness, May 1st. These were 143

Suffolk Birci Report


around a week earlier than most of the next reports, which came from Christchurch Park, Ipswich, 5th; Brettenham, 7th; Great Cornard (two), 8th and Dunwich, 9th. Passage did not begin at Landguard Point until May 15th, when the spring maximum day-total of three birds was recorded, and continued, with birds present on a further five dates, until June 12th. Migration through Orfordness was equally light, with a further five birds present on four dates until June 27th. Sadly, the number of breeding reports fell again this year; probable or confirmed breeding was noted at just 16 sites, compared with 24 sites in 2003. There were reports of birds at a further 11 sites during June and July, which might have related to breeding birds. On the negative side, the species was thought likely to have been lost as a breeding bird in the Walberswick/Dunwich Forest area and none bred at Minsmere for at least the second year in succession. More positive reports came from Brettenham (where at least three pairs bred successfully in the village), Santon Downham (three pairs), Stowmarket (two pairs), North Warren (two pairs) and Cavenham Heath (1-2 pairs). All other successful reports involved just single pairs at each site (most being in the west of the county). Breeding reports are now becoming very rare on the coast. A migrant on Orfordness, August 15th, was the only autumn sighting there, whilst, down the coast at Landguard Point, passage commenced on August 31st; a total of 11 birds was recorded passing through the site during the autumn. After a sprinkling of September reports (from Minsmere, Sizewell, Christchurch Park in Ipswich, Pakenham, Great Livermere and Lackford Lakes), there were October records from three widespread sites; Hadleigh on 2nd (seen in gardens after overnight rain), Sizewell on 15th and Landguard Point, where the autumn peak of three birds occurred on the surprisingly late date of October 1 st and were followed by the last of the year on 17th, the latest in Suffolk since 1997. RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Ficedula parva Rare passage migrant. The following brace brings the county total to 54. Southwold: Golf Course, Oct. 10th to 12th (R.Drew, S.Mason et al). Felixstowe: Peewit Hill, Oct.9th to 11th (P.J.Holmes, J.Zantboer et al). PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant. Spring passage was very light this year, consisting of just two sightings; a male at Minsmere, May 15th and a female at Landguard, June 12th. As is to be expected, numbers were greater during the autumn passage, which began with birds at Orfordness (two) and Landguard, August 1st. Although there was no great "fall" of birds, there was a small, noticeable arrival on August 10th and several sites experienced light but extended passage during the period. This can be seen from the selected listing below. Southwold: Aug.29th; two, Sep.4th; Sep.7th and three, Sep.9th. Minsmere: Aug.7th; ten, Aug. 10th; two, Aug.l 1th; Sep.6th and two, Sep. 10th. Sizewell: Aug. 10th and Sep. 12th. Thorpeness: Aug. 10th and Aug. 15th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Common and Walks, three, Sep.8th; two, Sep.l 1th; Sep. 12th. Orford: Orfordness, 17 recorded during August (max. three on 2nd 6th and 7th) and five between Sep.5th and 28th (max. three, Sep.รถth); Havergate Island six, Aug. 10th. Felixstowe: three, Oct. 1st; Landguard Point, passage between Aug. 1st and Sep. 10th (max. four, Aug. 10th). Away from the coast, one was located in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, August 23rd. / 144

20. Blackbird: found in 95% of BBS squares.

Bill Bastor

21. Icterine Warbler: the long-staying bird at Outney Common, June.

Alan Tate



BEARDED TIT Panurus hiarmicus Uncommon resident. Amber list. Favourable winter weather ensured that numbers of this species remained healthy and Suffolk continues to be a stronghold of this delightful bird. It is pleasing to report that, as predicted last year, and for the first time in living memory, birds bred in the west of the county. High, late-summer, juvenile numbers at several sites in the north-east of the county suggested much better productivity than in 2003. Minsmere held a minimum of 45 pairs (54 in 2003, 51 in 2002, 23 in 2001); North Warren had 18 pairs (14 in 2003, 20 in 2002, 14 in 2001) and the Hen Reedbeds 12 pairs (12 in 2003, 12 in 2002, 3 in 2001). Despite apparent poor breeding success in 2003, Walberswick NNR held 40-45 pairs (about average for this site) and five pairs bred in the reeds along the southern edge of the Blyth Estuary. Another 45-50 pairs were found on Benacre Broad NNR, which includes the large reedbed between Easton Broad and Cove Bottom. At Lakenheath Fen, the RSPB's hard work recreating reedbeds paid off superbly. Three pairs are known to have bred, with at least three juveniles present on May 28th and up to 20 birds were present throughout the year. Breeding last occurred in the Mildenhall Fen area at the end of the 19th century and also nearby on the River Lark up to 1900 (Piotrowski 2003). In the first winter period up to four birds were present during January on Orfordness, with two there, February 15th and a single, March 7th. Two birds were seen at Buss Creek, Southwold, March 29th and one was heard calling in the reedbed at Bourne Park, Ipswich, February 15th. In the west a female was present at Nunnery Lakes from January 7th (trapped and ringed on 18th) through to March 13th and this bird spent part of its stay in a bed of willow herb at nearby Barnhamcross Common. Lackford Lakes played host to a bird from January 17th to February 26th, with a second bird present, February 2nd. Post-breeding movement included two flying south over the beach at Gunton, October 26th, 12 at Sizewell Estate, October 7th and six at Thorpeness, October 16th. Orfordness saw movement throughout October, birds being recorded on eleven dates, including a maximum of 15 on 26th. Reports for the second winter period included records from Orfordness throughout November, with a maximum count of seven on 7th, four remained there to the month's end, then two to December 5th. Six were at Kenton Hills, Sizewell on November 7th and at North Warren birds were heard calling from reeds from mid-December to 24th. LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. One of the events of the year was the discovery of five white-headed birds of the northern/eastern race caudatus at Westleton Heath on January 25th. Five were present at this site until February 20th, and although at times wide-ranging and elusive, proved extremely popular with visiting birders. From February 22nd four remained at Westleton Heath until at least March 7th and presumably the same four birds were then recorded at nearby Minsmere from March 20th to April 3rd. The only previous record of this race in Suffolk is of one trapped at Rendlesham on March 13th 1983. The BBS recorded this species in 51% of the 41 squares surveyed (64% in 1995 and 57% in 2000) with a combined total of 21 birds. North Warren maintained a high number of breeding pairs at 59 (64 in 2003,48 in 2002, 55 in 2001 ), with an almost-completed nest found as early as March 8th. Dunwich Heath held seven pairs (11 in 2003), and Bradfield Woods six pairs (16 in 2003). The breeding season seems to have been successful, with 25

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 out of 33 trapped and ringed at Stowmarket on June 12th being juveniles and a flock of 30 in a Pakenham garden, June 25th. Lackford Lakes reported the first fledged young on May 14th, with three family groups there, June 22nd and it was reported as 'common and enjoyed a good year' at Sudbury Common Lands. Large flocks included a remarkable 80 at Kenton Hills, Sizewell, November 7th; 30 at Groton, July 17th; 27 at Holbrook, September 8th and 26 at Hazelwood Marshes, January 6th, whilst 12 were together on a feeder at Melton, November 9th. Passage birds were recorded at Landguard with two, March 15th, three, March 25th, a single, April 15th and two on 17th. Of these latter two, one was thought to be of the Continental race A.c.europaeus, with the other being intermediate between A..c.europaeus and the British race A.c. rosaceus. Autumn passage at Landguard in October saw ten, 30th and three, 31st then in November ten, 1st, eight, 5th, seven, 7th, six, 8th and 19 on 11th. MARSH TIT Parus palustris Fairly common resident. Red list. Reports came from 36 countywide sites (32 in 2003) with pairs seen at 25 of these (21 in 2003) during the breeding season. However, 25 of these sites are in west Suffolk, where it appears to be still quite well distributed; there were only five reports from the north-east region and six from the south-east. The BBS reported Marsh Tits in only 7% of the 41 squares surveyed (19% in 1995, 13% in 2000) with a combined total of four birds. The best site was Minsmere, where an excellent total of 27 pairs was recorded (14 in 2003, 15 in 2002) and three pairs bred at the nearby Dingle Marshes. At North Warren the welcome recovery, after several barren years, was continued with five pairs (five in 2003, four in 2002), all breeding in wet woodland surrounding the reedbed. At Lackford Lakes two males were in song on February 2nd and during CES ringing studies one juvenile was ringed (three in 2003). Bradfield Woods held five territories (three in 2003) and at Combs Lane Water Meadows a pair with five fledged young was seen on June 10th, the first success in three years. At Lavenham a pair was feeding fledged young on May 31st. WILLOW TIT Parus montanus Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. Red list. Birds were found at seven localities (six in 2003) and all but one of these sites are in the west of the county. Breeding was not definitely confirmed at any site and this remains a difficult bird to see within Suffolk. None of the BBS squares surveyed contained this species. A male in song at Nunnery Lakes during April and May with birds present there all year, suggests that breeding occurred at this site. At Lackford Lakes, although there were records through the year, these may have related to just one individual which frequented bushes around the silt pond reedbed and came to a feeder at the Centre in the second winter period. The other western sites, where single birds were seen, were at Great Livermere, Barnhamcross Common, in The King's Forest at North Stow and Cavenham Heath. At Fressingfield in the north-east area, a pair was present all year but breeding was not definitely confirmed. COAL TIT Parus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. As usual this species remains vastly under-recorded with reports received from just 16 countywide sites. The BBS noted Coal Tits in 15% of squares (30% in 1995, 23% in 2000) 146



with a combined total of 44 birds. North Warren and Aldringham Walks saw a 21% increase to 58 pairs (48 in 2003, 42 in 2002). At this site a bird was in song on the early date of December 6th and just one pair (as last year) used a nest box, raising nine young from nine eggs. Dunwich Heath held four pairs (eight in 2003), five pairs bred at Hollesley, six males were singing at Bradfield Woods on April 24th and three were heard in song at Long Melford on February 13th. At West Stow CP a pair nested in the roof of the Visitor Centre and juveniles were noted from July 23rd. At Kenton Hills eight were present on December 28th. At Landguard Bird observatory, passage birds of the Continental nominate race P.a.ater were noted as follows: one, March 30th, two, March 31st, then in April three on 4th, one, 7th, two, 15th and one, 26th. In June the same site recorded single birds of the British race P.a.britannicus on 8th, 14th and 22nd and two on 9th. A nominate race bird was trapped and ringed at Corton on March 27th and a Continental race bird was also noted at East Lane, Bawdsey on March 26th. BLUE TIT Parus caeruleus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. As is normally the case, records of this species, along with others of this genus, do not accurately reflect its true status, with reports coming from only ten sites. However, the BBS recorded the species in 97% of the 41 squares surveyed (92% in 1995, 92% in 2000) with a combined total of 262 birds. At North Warren and Aldringham Walks breeding numbers remained high, with 195 pairs present (205 in 2003); 31 nest-boxes were utilised at this site, with 195 young fledging from 293 eggs laid. At Cosford Hall five nest-boxes were used to fledge 44 young, whilst at West Stow CP at least ten pairs used boxes. A pair using a box in an Ipswich garden had nine eggs on May 17th, then young were seen leaving on May 29th. Sadly, two soon fell prey to a Magpie and two more were later found dead in the box. At Wyken Hall, Stanton, 72 were recorded from April to June on the BTO Farmland Bird Study and at Combs Lane WM 50 were in a mixed flock on September 30th. On Orfordness, this species remains scarce, with only about 11 birds recorded all year. As last year, Landguard held birds throughout the year, one pair bred and passage birds were present in spring from March 16th to May 15th, with a maximum of ten, April 5th. Dispersing juveniles were noted from June 16th, with passage continuing to November 3rd and a peak of 13, September 16th. GREAT TIT Parus major Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Records from just eleven widespread sites obviously do not accurately represent the county's population of this very familiar bird. The BBS reported Great Tits in 85% of squares (92% in 1995, 84% in 2000) with a combined total of 179 birds. FIELD NOTE North Warren and Aldringham Walks At Rede, a village near Bury St Edmunds, a pair of Great Tits built a nest In a post box. To their credit, supported a record 210 pairs (178 in the Royal Mail closed down the box and asked 2003), an 18% increase and from a people not to use it while the birds were nesting; total of 46 pairs using boxes, 230 fortunately there is another post box in the village. young fledged from 360 eggs. At The story featured in the EADT of May 27th Dunwich Heath ten pairs bred, five East Anglian Daily Times pairs nested in boxes at Cosford Hall and fledged 29 young and at West Stow CP ten pairs also used nest-boxes. At Wyken Hall, Stanton, 58 were recorded, from April to June, during the BTO Farmland Bird Study.


Suffolk Birci Report


Landguard held birds all year with two pairs breeding. One of these pairs proved successful and a few extra juveniles moved in during June and July. Spring passage extended from March 1st to May 14th, with a maximum of 15 on March 17th and 23rd. Autumn movement was noted from September 3rd until October 31st, maximum of eight, October 1st. In contrast with 2003, Orfordness saw passage in spring, with single birds present on February 15th, March 18th and 22nd and three, April 4th. W O O D NUTHATCH Sitta europaea Fairly common resident. Reported from just 17 woodland sites, which is about average for this species but underrates its true status. Birds were seen at 14 of these sites during the breeding season. The BBS recorded the species in only 2% of squares surveyed (5% in 1995, 8% in 2000) with a combined total of just one bird. Wood Nuthatches are fairly sedentary, so birds seen in established arboreal habitat almost certainly means breeding occurred in that area. Remarkably, this species had not bred at Minsmere since 1993, so it is pleasing to report that breeding was confirmed by one pair in 2004. Successful breeding was also confirmed at West Stow CP with one pair and at North Stow a pair was seen with fledged young. Santon Downham again held a minimum of six pairs, at Nowton Park at least two pairs were present and Christchurch Park, Ipswich also played host to two pairs. The highest counts involved parties of four at The Kings Forest, May 3rd, Ickworth Park, November 14th and North Stow, also on November 14th. EURASIAN T R E E C R E E P E R Certhia familiaris Common resident. This unobtrusive species must occur at many more than the 35 sites from where it was reported, 26 of those noting birds during the breeding season. The BBS recorded Eurasian Treecreepers in just 7% of 41 squares surveyed (16% in 1995, 16% in 2000) with a combined total of three FIELD NOTE birds. At North Warren and Did Eurasian Treecreepers undergo a serious decline in Aldringham Walks there was some areas during 2003/04? The Ipswich Old/New an extraordinary 60% increase Cemetery complex held up to six pairs in 2003 but none in breeding pairs, to 16 (ten in was found in 2004 until November 2nd. A decline was also 2003), most breeding in the suspected at Sluice Wood, near Martlesham, where in wet woodlands of the Warren. 2003 birds were seen regularly during almost-daily dog Dunwich Heath held only one walks but again no birds were seen until November. pair (three in 2003), one pair Philip Murphy/Keith Bennett bred at Alton Water and a male was in song at Bosmere Lake, Creeting St. Mary on April 11th. Bradfield Woods held at least three pairs with a pair nest-building on April 6th, at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford a family party of five was seen on June 6th and at West Stow CP a pair bred in a nest-box. Landguard noted its seventh record for this species, with a single on June 26th. EURASIAN PENDULINE TIT Remiz pendulinus Very rare visitor. Orfordness: three males, trapped and ringed, Feb. 15th (D.Cormack, M.C.Marsh, G.Stannard). As in 2003, Orfordness provided the years only record and the county's eleventh. This is the sites second record, following on from a juvenile last year ( S u f f o l k Birds 2003: 141), which has been accepted by BBRC. See the Ringing Report for details of an astonishing control of this juvenile in southern France. 148



EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus orio! us Scarce summer resident and passage migrant. Amber list. A male in song at Dunwich Forest on May 26th and a single bird at Santon Downham on May 27th were the only passage birds reported this year. At Lakenheath Fen the first spring arrival was on April 26th, with an early singing male on April 29th. Two pairs nested successfully at this site. RED-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius collurio Scarce passage migrant; formerly bred. Red list. A total of six birds (three in 2003) with two in the spring and all from the coast. Carlton Marshes: male, Jun.5th. Minsmere: male 500m. south of sluice, May 12th. Autumn passage was noted as follows: Sizewell: immature near Sizewell Hall, Sep. 11th. Bawdsey: male, Oct. 19th to 23rd. Landguard: female, Aug. 2nd and an adult male, Aug. 14th. 2002 Correction Sudbourne: Sudbourne Marshes, Nov. 11th 2002. The correct date is Nov. 16th, the second-latest ever record in Suffolk (G.J.Jobson). GREAT GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubitor Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. A better year produced four birds, including a long-staying winter bird and a spring migrant: Dingle Marshes: this bird was seen to hover whilst hunting over reeds, Oct. 13th. Westleton Heath: seen to eat and impale lizards, Apr. 1st to 11th. Levington Creek: Oct. 26th. In the west the 2003 bird remained into 2004 and what is presumed to be the same bird returned to Breckland for the second winter period. Elveden: Weather Heath, Jan.lst to Mar.28th and Oct.27th to Dec.31st. Barton Mills: probably the same bird as at Elveden, Mar.30th. EURASIAN JAY Garrulus glandarius Common resident and scarce passage migrant. The Breeding Birds Survey found this species in 37% of the 41 squares surveyed (24% in 1995, 29% in 2000), with a combined total of 26 birds. The breeding population at North Warren and Aldringham Walks remained stable at a high level of 26 pairs (27 in 2003), with the majority of the population showing a preference for the wetter woodland areas. FIELD NOTE A survey of Bradfield Woods on April 24th A Eurasian Jay, which visited a bird table located nine birds and a probable seven daily during the winter in a garden at territories. The only other counts of note Pakenham, was seen several times to were ten at North Stow, July 4th and ten at collect peanuts in its crop and then bury Ipswich Old Cemetery, November 3rd. them in the garden soil 20-30 metres away. Reports from Sudbury Common Lands Malcolm Wright indicate that the species has become "very abundant" there in recent years, which further suggests that this species has adapted well to current land use in Suffolk. Just two singles occurred at Landguard, on April 25th and September 29th. 149

Suffolk Birci Report


BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE Pica pica Very common resident. The BBS recorded this species in 66% of the 41 squares surveyed (68% in 1995, 55% in 2000), with a combined total of 59 birds. At the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex, a stable situation of 54 pairs was recorded, maintaining the high levels experienced in recent years. As in previous years, no particular preference was shown for wet or dry habitats. At Orfordness, at least nine pairs were found, including one pair with a successful brood of seven young. At Landguard, maxima noted on the reserve peaked at seven, March 15th and 16th and ten, October 7th. High roost counts were reported from across the county as follows: Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 26, Jan. 18th. Ipswich: Bourne Park, 80, Feb.lst and 60 in blackthorn scrub, Nov.22nd. Redgrave: Redgrave and Lopham Fen, 95, Jan.27th. Old Newton: 32, Jan.2nd. Barking: Pipp's Ford, 57, Mar.28th. Stowmarket: Combs Lane WM, 25, Feb. 18th and 18, Nov.28th. Lackford Lakes: 46, Jan.3rd; 79, Feb. 17th and 53, Nov.26th. EURASIAN JACKDAW Corvus monĂŠdala Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Only three high counts of note were received and these involved 500 roosting at Bourne Park, Ipswich, November 22nd; 1250 at Giffords Park, December 29th and 4500 mixed Rooks and Jackdaws roosting in poplars at Lakenheath Fen, December 7th. Breeding records included a highest-ever population of 31 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks and 20 pairs below the rookery at Alton Water. The BBS recorded this species in 73% of the 41 squares surveyed (68% in 1995, 66% in 2000), with a combined total of 337 birds. A complete albino was seen at Aspal Close, Beck Row, near Mildenhall, in April and large groups were noted feeding in the gull colony at Orfordness in June and July. At Landguard there was a spring peak of ten north, March 15th, but in autumn just eight south between September 19th and December 3rd. This species is not normally noted in Ipswich Old Cemetery but southerly movements of 45 and 30 were noted there on November 3rd and 9th respectively. ROOK Corvus frugilegus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Roost counts were received from a number of locations as follows: Flixton: Flixton Decoy Wood, 3000, Mar.30th. Redgrave: Redgrave and Lopham Fen, 10000 mixed Rooks and Jackdaws flying to roost, Jan.27th. Bealings: 1878, January. Culpho: 1200, Jan.28th. Shelland: Shelland Wood, 1200 mixed Rooks and Jackdaws, Dec.9th. Shelley: Giffords Park, 1250, Dec.29th. Tim worth: 1000 feeding in fields, Oct.9th. Lakenheath Fen: 4500 mixed Rooks and Jackdaws roosting in poplars, Dec.7th. The BBS found Rooks in 71% of the 41 squares surveyed (59% in 1995, 68% in 2000), with a combined total of 527 birds. Breeding reports included 87 nests at Somerleyton railway station, March 30th; 153 nests at Alton Water; 74 nests at Felixstowe, March 2nd; 145 nests at Stowmarket, April 19th and 170 birds at a rookery in Risby, March 4th. 150



At Landguard, spring passage was noted from March 9th to April 15th, maximum nine north, March 9th and in autumn from September 19th to December 5th, peaking at 17 south on September 19th. CARRION CROW Corvus corone Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. A series of large flocks was reported from across the county including the second highestever total in Suffolk, of 560 at Shetland Wood, January 29th. The previous highest was also at this site; 709 in January 2001. Redgrave: Redgrave and Lopham Fen, 550 roosting, Jan.27th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: 180 in and around pig units on Aldringham Walks, Jan. 18th. Shelland: Shetland Wood, 560, Jan.29th; 300, Dec.9th. Ipswich: Bourne Park, 380, Feb. 1st; 220, Nov.22nd; 315, Dec.24th; Bramford/Claydon: Paper Mill Lane, 245 roosting, Nov.30th. Stratton Hall: Levington Marina, 117, July 17th. Trimley St. Martin: Thorpe Bay, 2000, mixed Carrion Crow and Jackdaw flock, Nov.30th. Troston: 130, Dec.5th. Eriswell: Foxhole Heath, 250, Feb. 18th; 185, Oct.27th. Lakenheath Fen: 100 roosting in poplars, Dec.7th. The BBS reported Carrion Crows in 90% o f t h e 41 squares surveyed (81% in 1995, 87% in 2000), with a combined total of 226 birds. A population of 20 pairs was reported from North Warren and Aldringham Walks. The site maximum is 29 pairs recorded in 1999. Recorded throughout the year at Landguard, with a significant spring passage of 15 north, 34 south and six in off the sea from March 13th to May 18th, maximum of 25, April 3rd and 13 south, March 17th. Visible movements at Landguard in the autumn involved 31 south, September 19th to October 26th, maximum ten south, October 16th. An individual with "oily" white panels on both sides of the centre of the wings was at Thorpe Bay, December 28th. COMMON RAVEN Corvus corax Very rare visitor. The largest of the corvid family is increasing its range throughout the UK and it now seems a possibility that re-colonisation might occur, in time, in Suffolk. There were three sightings this year, probably the highest annual total in Suffolk since breeding ceased in 1870. Minsmere: over Saunders Hill, Mar. 16th (J.H.Grant). Felixstowe: Felixstowe Ferry, flew north at 10.05 hrs, May 24th (W.J.Brame). Great Blakenham: Apr.2nd (R.Marsh). COMMON STARLING Sturnus vulgaris Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red List. A number of roost and other counts were reported from across the county, peaking at 30000 in early winter at Lakenheath Fen. Blundeston: Blundeston Marshes, 2000, Mar.31st. Minsmere: 10000 roosting in reedbed throughout January. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 2000, Oct. 12th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 5000, Feb.5th; 3000, Mar.3rd; 6000, Dec.7th. Levington: 3500 in pig fields, Feb. 1st. Trimley St Mary: Thorpe Bay, 3000 going to roost, Jan.4th. Stratton Cliff: 10-12000 in two huge flocks, Nov.5th. Lackford Lakes: 8000, Oct.22nd; 16000, Nov.2nd and Dec. 1st. 151

Suffolk Birci Report


Barnhamcross Common: 10000 at pre-roost gathering, Dec. 15th. Lakenheath Fen: early winter roost of 30000. The BBS found this species in 56% of the 41 squares surveyed (81% in 1995, 76% in 2000), with a combined total of 340 birds. This clearly points to a declining species. Otherwise, breeding reports were thin on the ground, but included a record 11 pairs at Aldringham Walks and 12 pairs at Landguard, with the first juveniles noted on May 17th. Autumn passage at Landguard occurred from September 19th to November 20th, with a mediocre total of only 2255 coming in off the sea or flying south, maximum 355, October 13th. The autumn pre-roost gathering at Landguard peaked at 2500, October 20th. HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus Common but declining resident. Red List. A number of sizeable flocks were reported, although most of these came from the east of the county. Peak counts were: Corton: 200, Mar. 15th and throughout most of the winter at the old sewage works. Eastbridge: Eastbridge Farm, 40, Sep.20th. Trimley: 60+ in garden flock, Jan.lst; 50+, Aug.lOth and 100, Aug.30th. Felixstowe: 47, Jan.2nd; Felixstowe Docks, 162, Jan.30th and 94, Feb.20th. Landguard: 115, Nov.27th and 66, Dec.22nd. Shotley: Over Hall Farm, 70, in late July/August; the majority were juveniles. Haverhill: up to 40 at feeding station at East Town Park throughout both winter periods. The BBS located House Sparrows in 58% of the 41 squares surveyed (73% in 1995, 66% in 2000), with a combined total of 180 birds. Thirty-three pairs were reported at Aldringham Walks, maintaining the recovery shown in 2003 and 20 pairs at Landguard. EURASIAN TREE SPARROW Passer montanus Uncommon and declining resident. Scarce passage migrant. Red List. There is still no evidence of any improvement in the fortunes of this species, with reports from just seven coastal and seven inland sites. The BBS found this species in just 2% of the 41 squares surveyed (8% in 1995, 3% in 2000), with a combined total of two birds. All records are listed as follows: Benacre: Benacre Broad, Sep.20th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: one flew north over the Haven, Jun.5th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, four in coastal scrub. May 17th. Sudbourne: five, Feb. 13th. Orford: Orfordness, single flew south, May 15th; Sep.4th and three. Sep. 19th; Havergate Island, two, Aug.20th. Bawdsey: East Lane, five, 0ct.30th. Timworth: Timworth Green, pair in early May. Ampton: 12, Jan.lst; 45, Jan.11th; 20 on sugar beet, Jan.l8th; two, Feb.21st; four, Mar.l3th; six, Nov.28th; 12, Dec.5th; ten, Dec. 10th. Wordwell: two pairs bred in nestboxes in a garden. West Stow CP: two, 0ct.30th; four throughout November to Dec.20th; eight, Dec.24th and 27th. Lackford: two in a finch flock, Dec.4th. Cavenham: in game cover strips, two, Nov. 16th, a few, Dec.4th and 24, Dec. 12th. Mildenhall Fen: present all year on a farm, with peak counts of ca.24 in March/April. Two pairs nested in boxes provided for them. For the first time in the Observatory's history, there were no reports of this oncecommon passage migrant at Landguard. 152



CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories A and E. Sizeable flocks of this widespread and abundant species were reported from just eight sites across the county as follows: Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 110, Jan. 18th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, 60, Nov.28th. Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, up to 80 with Bramblings, Jan.27th. Stowmarket: Combs Lane WM, 92, Jan.24th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood pheasant pens, 146, Jan.20th; 150, Feb.23rd; 80, Mar.7th; 220, Oct.25th; 227, Dec.20th. Stowlangtoft: 50, Sep. 19th. Stanton: Wyken Hall, a peak of 153 between April and June. Icklingham: 140 on newly-drilled field. Mar. 13th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, 240, Dec. 17th. The BBS found Chaffinches in 95% of the 41 squares surveyed (97% in 1995, 97% in 2000), with a combined total of 488 birds. Breeding reports included a significant decline to 31 pairs at Dunwich Heath (45 in 2003) and a small decline to 376 territories at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (409 in 2003, 348 in 2002). At Landguard spring passage was noted from March 1st to June 15th with visible movements of one north and 78 south between March 20th and April 24th. Autumn passage at Landguard occurred from September 15th to November 30th, involving 1056 south/in off the sea, maximum 219 on October 7th. BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Relatively scarce in the first part of the year, with three-figure counts received from only two locations, at Loompit Lake and Santon Downham. Peak counts were: Trimley St. Martin: Loompit Lake, 30 throughout January; 100, Feb.2nd and 26th; 200, Feb.13th; 100, Mar. 11th and 18th; 60, Mar.31st. Levington: Levington Creek, 40, Jan.7th and 20+, Jan. 14th. Ingham: 50, Mar.29th. Icklingham: 20, Mar. 11th. Eriswell: 40, Mar.l7th; Foxhole Heath, 30, Mar.l4th. Brandon: Mayday Farm, 20, Apr. 12th. Santon Downham: 100 throughout January. Small parties were recorded throughout April, with late birds at Aldringham Walks, April 16th and West Stow CP, April 22nd. At Landguard, spring passage was noted on ten dates from March 29th to April 30th, maximum of five on April 10th. Autumn passage at Landguard occurred from September 29th to November 12th, involving 69 birds, maximum 17 south and one on site, October 18th. Other September records involved three at Minsmere and Orfordness, September 29th, then one at Sizewell, September 30th. A good showing in the second winter period was largely concentrated in the west of the county, with high counts from Elveden, The King's Forest and Icklingham. Peak counts were: Dunwich: Dunwich Forest, 20, Dec.21st. Eastbridge: 20, Dec.31st. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Thorpeness Common, 20, Oct. 18th. Wordwell: 50, Nov.28th. Icklingham: 200 on beechmast, Dec.23rd. Elveden: 500 on beechmast, Dec. 17th. The King's Forest: 300, Dec.26th. 153

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 EUROPEAN SERIN Serinus serinus Rare migrant. Amber list. A single record of this little finch, which was watched for ten minutes before it flew inland. Thorpeness: Caravan Park, Oct.29th (L.G.Woods). EUROPEAN GREENFINCH Carduelis ehloris Very common resident and passage migrant. Categories A and E. Sizeable flocks were reported from just eight localities, evenly split between the coast and the west of the county. Peak counts were: Kessingland: 100 on the beach, Nov.7th. Minsmere: 200, Nov. 1st. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 100, Feb.l2th; 150, Oct.l6th and 250, Dec.9th. Stutton: Stutton Mill, 125+, Dec.8th. Old Newton: 550 roosting in leylandii, Jan. 14th. Long Melford: 50, Dec.4th. Stanton: Wyken Hall, 77 from April to June. Barnhamcross Common: 90, Jan.l2th. The BBS found this species in 90% of the 41 squares surveyed (76% in 1995, 79% in 2000), with a combined total of 186 birds. North Warren and Aldringham Walks recorded a 21% increase on 2003, to a record 75 pairs. At Landguard, spring passage involved 50 south from April 5th to May 15th, with the highest site count 15, April 15th. In autumn an impressive total of 5939 was recorded flying south from August 25th to November 27th with maxima of 920 October 7th; 565 October 13th and 595 October 26th. On October 16th, 100 were on site and 70 were there throughout November. EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Relatively small flocks were reported from a number of sites, but these were dwarfed by 600 at Lakenheath Fen in February. Flocks of more than 50 were seen at: Aldeburgh: North Warren, 60, Oct. 1st. Orfordness: 90, Oct.2nd; 80 south, Oct.4th. Felixstowe: 61, Jan.2nd. Stowmarket: Combs Lane WM, 80 on alders, Dec.7th. Long Melford: 55, Oct.3rd. Lackford: Lackford Lane, 65, Mar. 10th. West Stow CP: 80 in alder carr, Nov.7th. Lakenheath Fen: up to 600, February. Cavenham Heath: 60, Oct.31st. The BBS found this species on 58% of the 41 squares surveyed (49% in 1995, 63% in 2000), with a combined total of 66 birds. At the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex, 31 breeding pairs represented the second-highest count at the site (27 pairs in 2003,42 in 2001). At Landguard, spring passage was noted from April 3rd to June 9th, involving 827 south, with a maximum of 198 south, May 2nd. In autumn, passage movements totalling 5577 south, August 22nd to November 27th, were logged, with a maximum of 639 south, October 15th. EURASIAN SISKIN Carduelis spinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Several large flocks were reported from the west of the county in the first-winter period. 154



but numbers were low on the coast, apart from 150 at Holbrook in January and 100 at Minsmere in February. Peak counts were: Minsmere: 100, Feb.27th; 45, Mar. 18th. Freston: 60, Feb. 11th. Holbrook: Lower Holbrook, 150, Jan.23rd. West Stow: 250, Jan.22nd. Lackford Lakes: 70, Jan.5th and 19th; 100, Feb.6th and 50, Feb.27th. Cavenham Heath: 100, Jan.lOth. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, 60, Jan. 14th. The BBS found this species in 2% of the 41 squares surveyed (5% in 1995, 0% in 2000), with a combined total of two birds. Breeding reports on the coast were confined to possible single pairs at Dunwich Forest in early May and on May 31 st. In Breckland four were noted in The King's Forest, May 31st. At Landguard, spring passage totalled 14 birds, ten south and four on site, from March 17th to April 24th. In autumn, just one flew south on October 17th and 11 on 18th. Very scarce throughout in the second-winter period with peak counts of just 20, Minsmere, October 30th; 16, Staverton, December 7th; 40, West Stow CP in December and 20, Santon Downham, December 21 st. The very low autumn passage and second-winter totals perhaps reflect a poor breeding season. 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 across the county. Flocks numbering 100 or more came from North Warren, 100, April 25th; Loompit Lake, 200, April 13th; Levington Marina, 130, January 29th; Bramford, 130, January 31st; Holbrook, 150, January 18th and Stowmarket, 200, February 7th. At Landguard, spring passage involved 842 south from April 5th to May 15th, with a maximum of 149 south, May 2nd. The BBS reported Common Linnets from 61% of the 41 squares surveyed (65% in 1995, 55% in 2000), with a combined total of 124 birds. A further recovery in the breeding population was reported from the North Warren and Aldringham Walks complex to 85 pairs (70 in 2003). Other breeding reports included 80 pairs in the Walberswick/Dunwich Forest area (similar results to those found in 1999), 18 pairs at Dunwich Heath, 44 pairs at Minsmere (47 in 2003) and 30+ pairs at Landguard, with the first juveniles noted on May 23rd. Autumn passage at Landguard involved 3232 south from August 25th to November 17th, with a peak of 519 south, October 5th. A good showing in the latter half of the year with the following peak counts recorded: Benacre: 100 in stubble, Dec.30th. Blythburgh: Hinton, 275 in stubble, Dec.lst. Havergate Island: 90, Sep. 19th and 121, Oct. 17th. Orfordness: 100, Aug.l4th; 80, Sep.l2th; 100, Oct.l6th. Sudbourne: 150, Dec.4th. Stowmarket: 150 on weedy field, Dec.28th. Troston: 80, Oct. 18th. Coney Weston: 80, Nov.8th. TWITE Carduelis flavirostris Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. Reported from eleven localities on the coast with just two three-figure counts, from Southwold Town Marshes and Holbrook. 155

Suffolk Birci Report


Kessingland: four, Nov. 12th. Southwold: Town Marshes, 64, Feb.29th; 103, Mar. 1st; 85, Mar.3rd; 42, Mar.รณth. Walberswick: 50, Jan. 17th; 30, Nov.28th. Dunwich: shore pools, 50, Jan.6th; Dingle marshes, 52, Dec.5th. Orfordness: south, Oct.31st; two, Nov. 14th. Sudbourne: 13, Dec.4th. Waldringfield: 15, Nov.22nd; 30, Nov.27th; 19, Dec.29th. Falkenham: 42, Nov.21st. Landguard: two south, Oct.26th. Trimley Marshes: Nov.5th. Holbrook: 100, Jan. 18th. At least 16 colour-ringed birds were located on Southwold Town Marshes on February 29th and March 3rd. See Ringing Report for details of where they were ringed. LESSER REDPOLL Carduelis cabaret Uncommon and declining resident. Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The scarcity of recent years continued in 2004 with few large flocks reported. Peak counts were: North Cove: 50, Jan.24th. Martlesham Heath: 22, Jan. 15th. Alton Water: 60, Mar.28th. Lackford: 20, Feb.2nd. West Stow CP: 30, Dec.24th. Cavenham Heath: 35, Dec.27th. The King's Forest: 60, Apr. 17th. Breeding reports were almost non-existent and involved two singing males at Aldringham Walks in early May, a singing male at Sizewell on April 13th and six singing males at Stowmarket throughout the summer. At Landguard, just single birds in spring on April 25th and 26th. In autumn, 149 were recorded from September 27th to November 14th, maximum 40, October 26th. MEALY ( C O M M O N ) REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Mealy Redpolls (Carduelis flammea flammea) were reported from just three locations: Blvthburgh: Fen Covert, 30, Mar.23rd. Minsmere: Apr.21st. Landguard: in May, single birds on six dates from May 8th to 31st. C O M M O N CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra Locally common resident and irruptive visitor. An extremely poor year was confirmed by reports from the west of the county ("generally a poor year in Breckland" - R.Hoblyn) and very scarce on the coast. Peak counts were: Lowestoft: Sussex Road, ten west, Jul.20th. Walberswick: Westwood Lodge, 12 west, Jul. 13th. Minsmere: 11 south, Jul.8th. Elveden: ten, Jan.27th. Thetford Warren: ten, Mar.30th. Santon Downham: 40, Feb.8th. The only breeding reports were of a pair at Tangham, Capei St. Andrew, March 22nd and five juveniles with three adult birds in Thetford Forest, May 24th. 156



COMMON ROSEFINCH Carpodacus erythrinus Rare passage migrant. Bred in 1992. Amber List. One at Landguard in August represents the 25th county record. Landguard: adult male, Aug. 14th (M.James, B.Mackie et al) COMMON BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Common but declining resident. Red list. A stable population of 34 pairs was recorded at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (34 in 2004). Other breeding reports included a 44% increase to 26 pairs at Minsmere, 18 pairs in the Dunwich Forest/Walberswick area (numbers have held up and perhaps increased slightly since 1999) and six pairs at Bradfield Woods. The BBS found this species on 12% of the 41 squares surveyed (30% in 1995, 16% in 2000), with a combined total of eight birds. Few counts were received during the year, but these did include 11, Bradfield Woods April 6th, and 11, Moreton Hall, Bury St. Edmunds in October. At Lackford Lakes, the CES ringing project noted some signs of a decrease in numbers after a peak in 1997/98, with just four adults and five juveniles trapped between May and October. At Landguard, sightings involved a male, May 7th, one north, July 23rd, two, November 3rd and two south, November 4th. There was an invasion of northern race birds (P.p.pyrrhula) during the late autumn and they were reported from the following sites; a single at Kessingland, October 18th; up to three at Thorpeness Common between October 18th and 27th; up to eight (two males) at Minsmere between December 12th and 25th and five on Westleton Heath, December 22nd. HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. Amber list. This elusive finch continues to be regularly recorded at Sotterley Park, but was only reported from five other locations: Sotterley Park: peak monthly counts were six, Jan.2nd; ten, Feb.22nd, one on three dates in March and one on Nov.21st and 28th. Minsmere: Oct. 14th. Landguard: Apr.2nd. Hengrave: Apr. 1st. Barnhamcross Common: up to eight in January, four Feb. 10th and one Dec.21st. Brandon: Apr.l7th. LAPLAND LONGSPUR Calcarius lapponicus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. All reports came from the latter part of the year and from seven locations as follows: Covehithe: south, Sep. 19th. Southwold: juvenile around the seawatching shelter, Sep.30th. Minsmere: single birds, Oct.2nd, Oct.3rd and Nov.5th. Sizewell: south, Oct.26th. Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, south, Nov.4th; Nov. 15th. Bawdsey: East Lane, north, 0ct.30th. Landguard: two south, Oct.27th. SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Reported from Lowestoft to Felixstowe in the first-winter period, with Kessingland and Orfordness holding excellent numbers. Peak counts were: 157

Suffolk Birci Report


Kcssingland: 100, Jan.lst; 97, Jan.lOth; 86, Jan.20th; 100, Feb.lst to 8th; 50, Feb.20th; 24, Mar.2nd. Aldeburgh: 29, Jan.2nd and 11th; 30, Jan.21st; Slaughden, 30, Jan.l4th and Feb.l4th. Orfordncss: 150, Jan.lOth; 66, Jan. 18th; 50, Feb. 12th and 29th. A single at Minsmere on March 31st appeared to be the last bird of the spring, but a lingering summer-plumaged male was seen at Sizewell, May 15th (the latest in Suffolk since 1968, when a male oversummered at Aldeburgh). Singles at Minsmere on 25th and Orfordness on 29th were the only September records. Numbers then increased along the coast, with Kessingland and Orfordness continuing to attract the highest counts. Kessingland: 110, Nov.6th; 300, Nov.l3th: 200, Nov.l4th; 100, Nov.23rd and Dec.7th. Benacre: 42, Nov.6th. Covehithe: 34, Nov.21st. Dunwich: shore pools, 80, Nov. 14th. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, 44, Nov.28th. Orfordness: 74, Nov. 17th; 42, Dec. 12th and 18th. Havergate Island: 30, Nov.30th. Shingle Street: 95, Dec.30th. Bawdsey: East Lane, 40, Nov. 16th; 60, Nov. 13th and 90, Nov.20th. Landguard: 51, Nov.23rd. The 300 at Kessingland in November is the highest total in Suffolk since the count of 326 at Slaughden, December 11th 1988. These high totals reverse the trend towards smaller gatherings in recent winters. An unusual inland record involved a first-winter male at Knettishall airfield from November 3rd to 11th (C.Gregory). Y E L L O W H A M M E R Emberiza citrinella Common resident and passage migrant. Red list. Sizeable flocks were reported from just eight localities, with Northfield Wood once again attracting the largest numbers. Peak counts were: Aldringham-cum-Thorpe: Aldringham Walks, 42 on wheat stubble, Jan. 18th. Fressingfield: 53, Nov.27th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood, 200, Feb.23rd; 170, Mar.7th; 268, Dec.20th. Boxford: 25, Feb.8th. Acton: 50 Mar. 17th. Kedington: 27 at feeding station, Dec. 16th. Risby: 80, Dec.24th. Stanton: Wyken Hall, 79, from April to June. The BBS found Yellowhammers on 63% of the 41 squares surveyed (76% in 1995, 71% in 2000), with a combined total of 127 birds. A further decline in the breeding population was reported from North Warren and Aldringham Walks to just 74 pairs, a 42% decline from the peak of 127 pairs in 2001. Interestingly, Minsmere reported a 110% increase in numbers to 40 pairs (19 in 2003) and 66 pairs were found in the Walberswick/Dunwich Forest area, "maintaining its locally common status in the area" (D.J.Pearson). A small autumn passage was detected at Landguard involving seven south, plus seven on site between October 16th and November 16th, then a later bird south on December 3rd. REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus Common resident and passage migrant. Red List. The RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen maintained its status as Suffolk's premier breeding site with 161 pairs recorded (163 in 2003 and 87 in 2002). Elsewhere, 65 pairs were located in the Walberswick/Dingle Marshes area, 60 pairs were found at Minsmere, North Warren equalled last year's record total with 38 pairs and 20+ pairs were reported from

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Orfordness, where fledging success was thought to be high. The BBS found Reed Buntings on 17% of the 41 squares surveyed (13% in 1995, 11% in 2000), with a combined total of 18 birds. A singing maie was reported from an oil-seed rape field at Great Bradley on July lOth. Wintering flocks were reported from a number of localities, but were dominated by three-figure counts at Onehouse and Lackford Lakes. Peak counts were: Rcdgrave and Lopham Fcn: 30, Jan.27th. Eastbridge: 30, Feb.28th. Orfordness: 40 in spring; 35, Oct.l7th. Stowmarket: 40, Feb.5th; 41, Nov.l7th; 54, Dec.28th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood pheasant pens, peak winter count 372, Jan.20th (J.Walshe). Cornard Mere: 70, Jan.25th. Lackford Lakes: 70, Feb.l7th; 60, Oct.23rd and Nov.2nd; 200 from Nov.9th to Dec.25th. Lakenheath Fen: 32, Dec.7th. The flock of 372 at Northfield Wood in January is the largest gathering ever recorded in Suffolk. Autumn passage at Landguard involved 70 birds (59 south and 11 on site) from September 25th to November 12th, maximum 13 south, October 26th. CORN BUNTING Emberiza calandra Locally common resident. Red list. This once-common resident was reported from just 24 localities in the south and west of the county in 2004. Peak counts were: Bawdsey: 15, Feb.l3th; East Lane, 20, Mar.26th. Chelmondiston: 50, Jan.21st; 34, Feb.l5th; 97, Dec.31st. Harkstead: Nether Hall, 12, Mar.7th. Holbrook: Lower Holbrook reedbed, 30, Dec.3rd. Great Waldingfield: 28, Feb.6th. Lakenheath: Sedge Fen, 90, Jan.23rd. The only reports from the north-east of the county involved two at Carlton Colville, May 2nd and a singing male beside the A12 between Yoxford and Blythburgh, June 26th. The BBS found Corn Buntings in just 2% of the 41 squares surveyed (8% in 1995, 5% in 2000), with a combined total of two birds. Breeding reports in the south and west came from nine localities and included single pairs at Alton Water, Hemley, Livermere Lake, Kenny Hill and Lakenheath. There were reports of seven pairs at Chelmondiston, two singing maies at Erwarton, March 5th and Great Waldingfield, May 18th and three singing maies at Kedington, May 7th. Breeding season reports were also received from Shingle Street, Trimley Marshes, Levington Creek, Stoke-by-Clare, Icklingham and Sedge Fen.


Suffolk Birci Report


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. SAKER FALCON Falco cherrug Breeds locally from eastern Europe to Tibetan plateau. European breeders winter in northeast Africa, while much of Asian population is resident, although some move south, outside breeding season, to southern China. Categories D and E. Minsmerc: south over the levels, lacking jesses, Oct.lóth. Landguard: Oct.28th. First record for this site.

APPENDIX II - CATEGORY E SPECIES Species that have been recorded as introductions, transportées or escapees from captivity, and whose breeding populations (if any) are thought not to be self-sustaining. Where a species is also placed in other categories of the British List, this is indicated in the species' summary. BLACK SWAN Cygnus atratus Throughout Australia and Tasmania. Boyton: Marshes, Apr.6th and 0ct.30th. Felixstowe: King's Fleet, Apr. 14th. Bungay: St Peter's Hall, two, Jul.4th. Shelley/Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifiord's Park, two, Jan. 18th. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser erythropus Forest bogs of northern Scandinavia, east to eastern Siberia. Netherlands to eastern China. Categories A and E. West Stow: country park, Jan.29th. Lackford Lakes: Aug.23rd.

Winters locally from

BAR-HEADED GOOSE Anser indicus Breeds by lakes in central Asia from Mongolia to the Tibetan plateau. the Indian subcontinent and Myanmar (Burma). Orfordness: Oct.31st. Boyton: Marshes, Jan.24th and 0ct.30th. Hollesley: Dec.20th. Alton Water: Sep.3rd. Livermere Lake: intermittently from Jul.28th to Sep.4th. Lackford Lakes: Jun.óth.




Pakenham: Mickle Mere, intermittently from Mar. 18th to May 8th. SNOW GOOSE Chen


Breeds on tundra of northeast Siberia, Alaska and Canada to northwest Greenland. Winters from California to Texas and locally on Atlantic seaboard of eastern USA. Categories A and E. Alton Water: Sep.3rd. 160



Livermerc Lake: intermittently Jul.28th to Sep.4th. Lackford Lakes: Dec.4th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, Nov.26th. Thetford: Nunnery Lakes, Jan.9th. ROSS'S GOOSE Chen rossii Breeds on tundra of arctic Canada. Winters in southern Erwarton: Dec. 10th. Feral bird with Greylag Geese.


Lackford Lakes: blue morph individual returning for its third winter, Dec.4th. EMPEROR GOOSE Chen canagica Breeds on tundra of northeast Siberia and western Alaska. Winters from southern to northern California. Livermere Lake: May 25th and Aug. 1st. Lackford Lakes: May 9th, and again between October and December. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, Oct.31st.


RED-BREASTED GOOSE Branta ruficolUs Breeds Taimyr Peninsula. The 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. One record of a returning adult associating with presumed feral Barnacle Geese and an inland record at Lakenheath Fen. Easton Bavents: Easton Broad, Aug.29th. Presumed same as the Southwold and Minsmere bird. Southwold: adult, intermittently with Barnacle Geese, Nov.30th to Dec.30th. Presumed same as the Easton Bavents and Minsmere bird. Minsmere: adult, regularly roosting with Barnacle Geese on The Scrape, Jan.6th to Mar.30th. Presumably same bird returning, Aug.รณth, then intermittently until year's end, again roosting with Barnacle Geese. Lakenheath: Botany Bay, Feb. 4th. 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. Bungay: Outney Common, 0ct.30th. Minsmere: two, intermittently from Mar. 1st to 9th. Aldeburgh: North Warren, two, Jul.5th. Orfordness: two, Jul.รณth. Flixton: Flixton GP, female, Aug. 19th to Aug.28th. Lackford Lakes: Aug. 19th, Sep.5th to 28th, and Oct.4th. Livermere Lake: Sep.26th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, Sep.21st to 25th, presumed same as Lackford and Livermere bird. CAPE SHELDUCK Tadorna cuna Breeds in southern Africa. Boy ton: Marshes, adult, Feb.28th. WOOD DUCK Aix sponsa Breeds from southern Canada, through USA to northern Mexico, Cuba and Northern breeders winter in southern USA and northern Mexico. Lackford Lakes: Female or immature, Aug.4th to 30th. 161


Suffolk Birci Report


MUSCOVY DUCK Cairina moschata Breeds from southern Mexico to northern Argentina and Brazil. Beccles: Feb. 4th. Thorpeness: Jan Ist. CHILOË WIGEON Anas sibilatrix Breeds southern South America to Falkland Islands. Some winter southeast Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street reservoir, female, Dec.26th.


CHESTNUT TEAL Anas castanea Breeds southern Australia and Tasmania. River Orwell: pair, Dec.29th. W H I T E - C H E E K E D PINTAIL Anas hahamensis Breeds throughout the West Indies, south to southern Galapagos Islands. Livermere Lake: Sep.9th.

Brazil, Argentina,

Chile and the

WHITE-HEADED DUCK Oxyura leucocepftala Highly fragmented breeding range across steppe région of southern Palearctic from southern Spain to eastern Kazakhstan and northwestern China. Asian breeders migratory, wintering locally on wetlands to south of breeding range from Israel to Iran and Pakistan. Livermere Lake: adult female with pinioned right wing, Apr.27th to May lOth; male, May 17th to 21st, presumed same as Barton Mere individuai. Barton Mere: male, Jun.22nd to Aug.Ist. ARGENTINE BLUE-BILL Oxyura vittata Breeds southern South America, with southernmost populations dispersing northwards after breeding season to Paraguay and southeastern Brazil. Livermere Lake: male, Apr.3rd to Jul.20th. Returning bird summering, intermittently, at this site since 1993. Seen displaying to a female Ruddy Duck, Apr.22nd. Barton Mere: male, Apr.l4th, Jun.30th and Aug.lst. Same individuai as at Livermere Lake. LANNER FALCON Falco biarmicus Largely resident in arid régions of the southern Palearctic and throughout much of Africa. In Europe breeds in Italy and the Balkans, but more widespread in northern Africa from Morocco south to Mauritania and east to southern Iraq. Lound: Jan 2nd. Orfordness: singles, Jul.24th, Aug.l7th, Sep.5th and Oct.l7th. BARBARY DOVE Streptopelia risoria Domestic hybrid. Landguard: Oct 13th. Apricot colour variant. BUDGERIGAR Melopsittacus Drier régions of Australia.


Landguard: singles, Apr.26th, Jun.l4th and 15th and Sep.l5th. AFRICAN GREY PARROT Psittacus


Breeds throughout equatorial Africa from Guinea and Sierra Leone east to Kenya and Tanzania. Landguard: Aug.9th. 162



SCARLET MACAW Ara macao South America. Landguard: south, Oct.26th. HILL MYNA Gracula religiosa India and southeast Asia. Landguard: Apr.25th. 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. Landguard: male, Jun.20th and 21 st.


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. 2003 Report Little Shearwater: Aldringham-cum-Thorpe, Sep.21st. 2004 Reports Cory's Shearwater: Orfordness, Sep.l2th; Balearie Shearwater: Thorpeness, Oct.2nd; Goshawk: North Warren, Mar.23rd; Goshawk: Sotterley Wood, Aug.30th; Gyr Falcon: Butley, Mar.l3th; Ringbilled Gull: Trimley Lake, Feb.l5th; Caspian Gull: Minsmere, Nov.lst; Caspian Gull: North Warren, Nov.20th; Black Guillemot: Covehithe, Apr.5th; Pallid Swift: Thorpeness, Oct.24th; Redbreasted Flyeateher: Minsmere, Oct. 1 Oth.

References Cramp, S. (ed) 1985. The Birds ofthe 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 ofSuffolk. Christopher Helm.


Suffolk Birci Report 2004

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 acknowledged, please accept my sincere apologies. S.Abbott, J.Askins, R.Attenborrow, C.G.Ayers. S.Babbs, D.E.Balmer, T.Bamber, S.Banks, I.Barthorpe, B.Baston, D.R.Beamish, J.Bedford, K.Bennett, R.Biddle, Birdguides, S.Bishop, W.J.Brame, J.A.Brown, T.Brown, BTO Thetford, A.Bull, A.Burrows, N.H.K.Burton. O.Campbell, N.Cant, Sir Kenneth Carlisle, C.Carter, D.& M.Carter, M.Carter, N.Carter, D.Cawdron, G.J.Conway, R.Cope, D.Cormack, M.L.Cornish, T.Cowan, D.Crawshaw, C.G.D.Curtis, J.Davidson, L.Davies, J.Davis, R.Diaper, P.Dickinson, Dingle Bird Club, R.Drew, C.J.Dunn. A.C.Easton, English Nature, P.Etheridge. R.Fairhead, D.A.Fairhurst, M.G.Ferris, A.C.Frost, S.Fryett, C.Fulcher, D.F.Fuller. J. & K.Garrod, N.Gibbons, R.Gilbert, J.A.Glazebrook, S.Goddard, J.H.Grant, A.Green, P.D.Green, C.Gregory, L.Gregory, A.Gretton. P.Hamling, B.Harrington, B.& M.Hart, R.Harvey, I.Hawkins, I.G.Henderson, P.Hobbs, R.Hoblyn, D.Holman, P.J.Holmes, C.A.Holt, M.Hopton, S.Howell, C.Hudson, T.Humpage, C.Hurrell. C.A.Jacobs, C.J.Jakes, M.James, S.Jarvis, G.J.Jobson, R.Johnson. J.Kennerley, P.Kennerley, T.Kerridge, S.Kingdon, C.A.E.Kirtland. P.C.Lack, Lackford Lakes Log, Lackford Ringing Group, G.Lahore, Landguard Bird Observatory, S.Leadsom, M.Linsey, N.Loth, Lowestoft Lounge Lizards. R.Macklin, J.H.Marchant, M.& O.Marks, D.Marsh, E.Marsh, M.C.Marsh, N.Marsh, R.Marsh, S.Marginson, N.Mason, S.Mason, C.McIntyre, Mickle Mere Log, A.Millar, G.Millins, Minsmere RSPB. D.R.Moore, P.W.Murphy. C.Naunton, D.Newton, T.C.Nicholson, S.Nixon, P.Noaks, S.Noble. N.Odin, P.Oldfield, Orfordness NNR. M.Packard, l.Paradine, E.W.Patrick, D.J.Pearson, S.Piotrowski, B.Pleasance, R.Plowman, C.Powell. 164

List of Contributors R.Rafe, P.Ransome, M.J.Raven, P.Read, J.Reed, G.Reeder, B.E.Ridout, D.Riley, D.& K. Roberts, P.Rowe, A.Rowlands, RSPB. R.E.Scott, J.Seeker, I.C.Sillett, N.Sills, N.Skinner, B.J.Small, I.Smith, P.Smith, G.Stannard, R.G.Stewart, T.I.Stopher, A.Stuart, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, D.Sutton, M.Swindells. A.Tate, M.Taylor, D.Thurlow, Trimley Marshes SWT. D.K.Underwood P.Vincent C.Waller, D.F.Walsh, J.Walshe, R.Walsh, A.Walters, L.H.Weeks, G.Welch, J.West, R.West, C.T.Williams, P.Wilson, P.M.Wilson, I.Whitaker, P.Whittaker, R.Wilton, G.Woodard, L.G.Woods, B.Woodhouse, M.T.Wright, M.& R.Wright, J.Wright. J Zantboer

Blackbird Peter Beeson


Suffolk Bird Report


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 Common Aldringham Walks Alton Water Ampton Water Barham Pits Barnhamcross Common Barsham Marshes Barton Mere Belle Vue Gardens, Lowestoft Benacre Broad Benacre Pits Bentley Berner's Heath Blundeston Marshes 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 Cobbold's Point Combs Lane Water Meadows Cornard Mere Corton railway line Corton sewage works Cosford Hall, Hadleigh Cove Bottom Covehithe Broad Deben Estuary Dingle Marshes Dunwich Heath Eastbridge East Lane, Bawdsey

TM450560 TM3957-4450 TM458606 TM4661 TM1436 TL8770 TM1251 TL8681 TM4090 TL910668 TM550944 TM530828 TM535842 TM120385 TL7976 TM5095 TM4575-4776 TL675854 TM3946 TM3946 TM322360 TL943480 TM4706-5107 TM3050 TM4991 TM475915 TM0932 TL755725 TL763715 TM164454 TM315349 TM043581 TL887391 TM537579 TM539982 TMO13446 TM4979 TM524808 TM2850-3238 TM4872 TM4768 TM452660 TM354401

Easton Broad Elveden Erwarton Bay Euston Lake/Park Fagbury Cliff" Falkenham Marshes Felixstowe Ferry Fisher Row Flixton GP Foxhole Heath Fressingfield Fritton Decoy/Lake 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 Common Holywells Park, Ipswich Homersfield Gravel Pits Icklingham Plains Ilketshall St Margaret Ipswich Golf Course Ipswich Wet Dock Kedington Kentwell Hall, Long Melford Kessingland Levels Kessingland sewage works King's Fleet King's Forest, The

/ 166

TM518794 TL8279 TM2333 TL9079 TM270346 TM3138 TM3237 TM507927 TM3187 TL735776 TM260775 TM4800 TM4781 TM410480 TMO 137 TM075625 TL8348 TL9642 TM5495 TL854625 TM000620 TM4147 TM435573 TM824686 TM470770 TM468977 TM468977 TM350734 TM025788 TM1733 TM330474 TM 175435 TM287855 TL7573 TM3585 TM207433 TM 169439 TL7046 TL863479 TM530850 TM533857 TM310379 TL8173

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

TM292417 TL952804 TL800710 TM5392 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

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


TL818878 TM0338 TM365425 TM248350 TM3043 TM4763 TM464555 TM5177 TM460850 TM510769 TM500754 TM292428 TM3650 TM3961 TM 1359 TM 1032-2433 TM254388 TM 133330 TM4553 TM 120485 TM3247 TM308478 TM355485 TL758728 TM438652 TL845800 TM012352 TM475604 TM4659 TM012352 TM484760 TM2635 TL693651 TL7472 TM 1948 TM300525 TL6981 TM453646 TM4674 TL8943 TM274438 TM3674 TL758842 TM4569 TL800713 TM465737 TM4773 TM0062 TM2481 TM 173408 TM291501 TM055440 TL828720

Suffolk B i r c i Report



Garganey Osprey Hobby Stone Curlew Little (Ringed) Plover Whimbrel Wood Sandpiper Sandwich Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Little Tern Black Tern Turtle Dove Cuckoo Nightjar Swift Wryneck Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail Nightingale Redstart Whinchat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Common Whitethroat Garden Warbler Wood Warbler Willow Warbler Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher

Date Mar.6th Apr.3rd Apr. 10th Mar. 15th Mar. 13th Mar.29th Apr.24th Mar.21st Apr.3rd Apr. 18 th Apr. 16th Apr.26th Apr. 11th Apr.8th Apr. 17th Apr. 11th Apr. 18th Mar. 15 th Mar.8th Apr.3rd Mar.30th Mar.21 st Apr. 5 th Apr. 5 th Apr.20th Mar. 14th Mar.29th Apr.2nd Apr.3rd Apr. 12 th Apr. 15th Apr.4th Apr. 15 th Apr.26th Mar.28th May 1st May 15 th

ARRIVALS Locality North Warren Minsmere Trimley Marshes Lowestoft Minsmere West Stow Minsmere Minsmere Weybread /Livermere L. Melton/Lackford Lakes Weybread GP Weybread/Livermere L. Beccles Sudbury Common Boyton Beccles Westleton Lackford Lakes Minsmere Lackford Lakes Cavenham Heath River Deben Minsmere Landguard Lakenheath Fen Cavenham Heath North Warren Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Landguard/N. Warren Sizewell Minsmere Minsmere/Aldringham Trimley Marshes Orfordness Minsmere


Date 0ct.20th Sep.20th Oct.25th Nov.9th Sep.29th Oct. 19th Oct. 7th Nov.4th 0ct.30 Nov.7th Sep. 16th Sep.20th Oct.8th Sep.4th No Reports Oct. 13 th Nov.6th Oct.7th Nov. 10th Oct.25th Nov.2nd Oct.31st Aug.29th Oct.22nd Oct. 17th Oct. 30th Nov.4th Sep. 16th Oct. 15 th Oct.23rd Oct. 17th Sep.24th Nov.9th Aug. 13 th Oct.23rd Oct. 17th Oct. 1st

DEPARTURES Locality Minsmere Lakenheath Fen Minsmere Breckland Minsmere Havergate Island Minsmere Kessingland Bawdsey Kessingland Landguard Sizewell Minsmere Trimley Nunnery Lakes Whepstead Lackford Lakes Landguard Landguard Landguard Thorpeness Lackford Lakes Landguard Orfordness Thorpeness Landguard Orfordness Dingle Marshes Orfordness Orfordness Landguard Minsmere Landguard Landguard Landguard Felixstowe

Suffolk Birci Report 2004

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 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. 169

Suffolk Birci Report


A list of records which have not been accepted for publication can be found in the appendices and includes those which have been circulated to the respective committees but were considered unacceptable due to either the identification not being fully established or, more rarely, a genuine mistake having been made. It also includes records that have been previously published in the bulletins of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group, British Birds and/or the populär birding press for which further détails were not forthcoming. It does not include records still under considération. Guide to 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. Note that Lesser White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Pacific Golden Piover, Sharptailed Sandpiper, Pacific Swift and American Robin have been removed from the Suffolk List for various reasons. A full explanation will be given in an article in "The Harrier". Mute Swan 4 Tundra (Bewick's) Swan 3 Whooper Swan 3 Bean Goose Tundra 3 2 Taiga Pink-footed Goose 3 Greater White-fronted Goose 3 Greylag Goose 4 4 Canada Goose Barnacle Goose 3 Brent Goose Dark-bellied 4 Pale-bellied 3 Black Brant 1 1 Red-breasted Goose Egyptian Goose 3 1 Ruddy Shelduck * Common Shelduck 4 Mandarin Duck 4 Eurasian Wigeon 4 American Wigeon 2 Gadwall 4 Eurasian Teal 4 Green-winged Teal 2 4 Mallard Northern Pintail 4 Garganey 3 1 Blue-winged Teal 4 Northern Shoveler Red-crested Pochard 3 Common Pochard 3 Ring-necked Duck 2 1 Ferruginous Duck 4 Tufted Duck

Greater Scaup Lesser Scaup Common Eider Long-tailed Duck Common Scoter Velvet Scoter Butflehead 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 Slavonian Grebe Black-necked Grebe Northern Fulmar Cory's Shearwater Great Shearwater Sooty Shearwater Manx Shearwater Balearic Shearwater European Storm-petrel


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

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 K.ite Red Kite White-tailed Eagle Eurasian Marsh Harrier Hen Harrier Pallid Harrier Montagu's Harrier Northern Goshawk Eurasian Sparrowhawk Common Buzzard Rough-legged Buzzard Greater Spotted Eagle Osprey Common Kestrel Red-footed Falcon

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

A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Merlin Eurasian Hobby Eleonora's Falcon Gyr Falcon Peregrine Falcon Water Rail Spotted Crake Little Crake Baillons Crake* Corn Crake Common Moorhen Allen's Gallinule* Common Coot Common 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 Ringed Plover Ringed Plover Kentish Plover Greater Sand Plover Eurasian Dotterel American Golden Plover European Golden Plover Grey Plover Sociable Lapwing Northern Lapwing Red Knot Sanderling Semipalmated Sandpiper Little Stint Temminck's Stint White-rumped Sandpiper Baird's Sandpiper Pectoral Sandpiper Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Broad-billed Sandpiper Stilt Sandpiper Buff-breasted Sandpiper RufT Jack Snipe Common Snipe Great Snipe Long-billed Dowitcher Eurasian Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit

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

Bar-tailed Godwit Eskimo Curlew* Whimbrel Eurasian Curlew Upland Sandpiper Spotted Redshank Common Redshank Marsh Sandpiper Common Greenshank Greater Yellowlegs Lesser Yellowlegs Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Terek Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Spotted Sandpiper Ruddy Turnstone Wilson's Phalarope Red-necked Phalarope Grey Phalarope Pomarine Skua Arctic Skua Long-tailed Skua Great Skua Mediterranean Gull Laughing Gull Franklin's Gull Little Gull Sabine's Gull Black-headed Gull Slender-billed Gull Ring-billed Gull Mew (Common) Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Yellow-legged Gull Caspian Gull Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Great Black-backed Gull Black-legged Kittiwake Ivory Gull Gull-billed Tern Caspian Tern Lesser Crested Tern Sandwich Tern Roseate Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Sooty Tern Little Tern Whiskered Tern Black Tern White-winged Black Tern Common Guillemot Razorbill


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 3 1 4 1 3 1 3 3

Black Guillemot Little Auk Atlantic Puffin Pallas's Sandgrouse* Feral Pigeon Stock Pigeon Common Wood Pigeon Eurasian Collared Dove European Turtle Dove Rose-ringed Parakeet Great Spotted Cuckoo Common Cuckoo Yellow-billed Cuckoo Barn Owl Eurasian Scops Owl* Snowy Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Short-eared Owl Tengmalm's Owl* European Nightjar Common Swift Pallid Swift Alpine Swift Common Kingfisher European Bee-eater European Roller Hoopoe Eurasian Wryneck Green Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Greater Short-toed Lark Crested Lark Wood Lark Sky Lark Horned (Shore) Lark Sand Martin Barn Swallow Red-rumped Swallow House Martin Richard's Pipit Blyth's Pipit Tawny Pipit Olive-backed Pipit Tree Pipit Pechora Pipit Meadow Pipit Red-throated Pipit Rock Pipit Water Pipit Yellow Wagtail Blue-headed Wagtail Grey-headed Wagtail Black-headed Wagtail

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

Suffolk Birci Report Ashy-headed Wagtail Citrine Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail White Wagtail Bohemian Waxwing White-throated Dipper Winter Wren Hedge Aeeentor Alpine Aeeentor European Robin Thrush Nightingale Common Nightingale Bluethroat Red-flanked Bluetail Siberian Blue Robin Black Redstart Common Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Siberian Stonechat Isabelline Wheatear Northern Wheatear Pied Wheatear Desert Wheatear White-tailed Wheatear White's Thrush Ring Ouzel Common Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Certi's Warbier Lanceolated Warbier Common Grasshopper Warbier River Warbier Savi's Warbier Aquatic Warbier Sedge Warbier Paddyfield Warbier Blyth's Reed Warbier Marsh Warbier Eurasian Reed Warbier Great Reed Warbier Olivaceous Warbier Booted Warbier

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 4 1 1 1


Icterine Warbier Melodious Warbier Marmora's Warbier Dartford Warbier Spectacled Warbier Subalpine Warbier Sardinian Warbier Barred Warbier Lesser Whitethroat Common Whitethroat Garden Warbier Blackcap Greenish Warbier Arctic Warbier Pallas' Leaf Warbier Yellow-browed Warbier Hume's Leaf Warbier Radde's Warbier Dusky Warbier Western Bonelli's Warbier Wood Warbier Common Chiffchaff Siberian Chiffchaff Willow Warbier 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 Great Grey Shrike Southern Grey Shrike Woodchat Shrike

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 3 1 2

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

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

* not recorded as wild sinee at least 1949 Key: 1 National Rarity - detailed description required. 2 County Rarity - notes detailing observation will always be required. 3 All records requested - supporting notes may be requested. 4 Specific records - records of breeding, large counts, earliest/latest dates, unusual inland records or migration/weather-related movements requested.



Suffolk Birci Report 2004

Rare Birds in Suffolk 2004 David Walsh Summary There were plenty of rarities to enjoy in 2004. Frustratingly, the only addition to the Suffolk list, a Lesser Scaup at Bramford in March, disappeared before the majority of birders were able to see it. However, many other individuate, such as the fine Citrine Wagtail at Bawdsey in May, stayed long enough for most birders to see them. Early on, Black Brants gave a good showing at various sites between the Orwell and Deben rivers. In addition, the long staying Ferruginous Duck at Minsmere was available well into the year. The three male Penduline Tits trapped on the same day on Orfordness in February were one of the highlights of the year. The seemingly annual sightings of a Great White Egret and another Alpine Swift, both at Minsmere, heralded the start of spring, whilst no fewer than three Red-rumped Swallows were located on a muggy May day at King's Fleet. Other than the two species mentioned at the start, the best bird of the first half of the year was probably the male Red-footed Falcon at Minsmere which showed splendidly for a week, whilst a singing Savi's Warbler at the same site also gave much pleasure, but for just one evening. Midsummer brought a Glossy Ibis to Minsmere, and those who missed it there had numerous chances to catch up with it in Watsonian Suffolk as it ventured across from Berney Marshes to Burgh Castle. Responding to Minsmere's string of successes, Trimley produced the first of several White-rumped Sandpipers and a long-staying Blue-winged Teal. After a quiet period, Minsmere returned to form in mid-September with Baird's and White-rumped Sandpipers on show together - and at a weekend! Landguard carne up trumps in a relatively uneventful October with both Radde's and Dusky Warblers trapped. Towards the end of the month there were several reports of Pallid Swifts, one of which, at Bawdsey, stayed long enough to be studied by many birders. A Ferruginous Duck at Bawdsey in late November was mobile - it was to visit Alton Water and Trimley early in 2005. Dusky Warblers at Bawdsey and Kessingland were more obliging, the latter staying well into the New Year.

Accepted BBRC Records 2004 Black Brant: Kirton/Levington/Trimley/Shotley, two, January lst to 17th; a single, February 9th to 28th and March 13th (W. J. Brame, J. and P. Kennerley, J. Zantboer et al). Falkenham, January 6th (J. Zantboer), considered to be a different bird from those listed above. Red-breasted Goose: Southwold, first-winter, November 2nd (B. J. Small). Blue-winged Teal: Trimley Marshes, female, probably first-summer, July 13th to 3lst (W. J. Brame et al). Ferruginous Duck: Minsmere, male November 3rd 2003 intermittently to March 2lst (R. Drew, D. Fairhurst et al). Bawdsey, female November 27th and December l l t h (P. Hobbs, J. and P. Kennerley). Lesser Scaup: Suffolk Water Park, Bramford, first-year male, March 16th (G. J. Jobson, R. Marsh, L. G. Woods et al). Great White Egret: Minsmere, March 3lst to Aprii 3rd (I. Hawkins, R. Drew et al). Landguard/Trimley Marshes, June 4th (N. Odin, J. Zantboer). 173

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 Glossy Ibis: Minsmere, July 2nd and 3rd, August 3rd, October 8th and 9th (C. Mclntyre, J. Zantboer et a!); same, Burgh Castle/Breydon Water South Shore, July 4th intermittently to November 21st and into 2005 (J.A.Brown, P.Ransome et al). Red-footed Falcon: Minsmere, first-summer male. May 31st to June 6th (P. Noaks, J. Zantboer et al). White-rumped Sandpiper: Trimley Marshes, adult, July 15th (W. J. Brame et al). Minsmere, juvenile, September 18th and 19th (D.Fairhurst et al). Minsmere, juvenile, October 13th to 24th (R. Drew et at). Minsmere, juvenile, second bird (wearing a ring), October 14th (N. Odin). Baird's Sandpiper: Minsmere, juvenile, September 19th to October 8th (D.Fairhurst et al). White-winged Black Tern: Thorpeness, north offshore, May 23rd (D. Thurlow). Red-rumped Swallow: King's Fleet, Felixstowe, three, May 1st (W. J. Brame et al). Citrine Wagtail: East Lane Lagoons, Bawdsey, first-summer female, May 9th and 10th (P. Hobbs, J.Zantboer et al). Savi's Warbler: Orfordness, trapped April 27th (J. Askins, D. Cormack). Minsmere, June 9th and 10th (D. Fairhurst, B. J. Small et al). Greenish Warbler: Hopton-on-Sea, August 11th (I.N.Smith). Radde's Warbler: Orfordness, trapped October 1st (J. Askins, G. Stannard, S. H. Piotrowski). Landguard, trapped October 27th (P. J. Holmes, N. Odin, P. Oldfield et al). Dusky Warbler: Landguard, trapped October 20th and again October 31 st to November 4th (R. Cope, N. Odin, S. Pimm et al). Bawdsey, December 15th to 18th (J. and P. Kennerley et al). Penduline Tit: Orfordness, three trapped, February 15th (M. C. Marsh, G. Stannard). The following records were multi-observed but have yet to be formally accepted by BBRC: Alpine Swift: Dunwich Heath/Minsmere, April 4th (J.A. Brown, N. Loth et al). Pallid Swift: Bawdsey, October 21st (M. Cornish, L. G. Woods et al). Dusky Warbler: Kessingland, December 2nd to April 18th 2005 (P. Read, R. Wincup et at). Late acceptances 2003 Ferruginous Duck: Minsmere, November 3rd intermittently to March 21st 2004 (R. Drew, D. Fairhurst et al). Benacre, November 4th (R. Drew). Great White Egret: Minsmere, July 24th (I. Barthorpe, R. Drew, G. R. Welch et al). Semi-palmated Sandpiper: Breydon Water South Shore, juvenile/first-winter, September 26th (P.R.Allard). Great Snipe: Covehithe, September 13th (J. Brown, A. Easton, R. Wilton, R. Wincup). Penduline Tit: Orfordness, juvenile trapped and ringed, November 4th (J. R. Askins, D. Cormack). LESSER SCAUP - first for Suffolk Circumstances On Tuesday, March 16th 2004, I visited the Suffolk Water Park in Bramford during my lunch break, as 1 had done for most of the winter. The area consists of a number of pits, all of which are private fishing lakes. The manager kindly permits myself and a small number of other birders to view the front pit from the car park, although the remaining pits are strictly out of bounds. 174

Rare Birds in Suffolk 2004 Arriving at about 12:35 pm I thought it looked particularly busy, with 300 Black-headed Gulls present along with 50 Common Gulls and 10 Great Crested Grebes. As I started to work my way through the ducks, I spotted what initially appeared to be a pair of Scaup asleep in with 34Tufted Ducks and three Pochards. Knowing that the Scaup was apparently the first at the site for several years, I called Lee Woods as he too works locally. In turn he called Justin Zantboer and Nathanial Cant before setting off. By now the time was about 12:50 pm and I went back to the birds to see if they had awoken.The female was now awake and made the drake look quite small in comparison, which alarmed me. I laughed to myself and thought I'd better check it out for Lesser Scaup. At this point, Lee swung into the car park to find me, book in hand. Looking through my scope, Lee said, "look at the head on that." Taking into account the other characteristics, we soon agreed that this was looking like a Lesser Scaup. A few more calls were made and text messages sent to a number of local birders to come and look at it. Obviously with the nature of wildfowl, the risk of hybrids had to be ruled out, and, with the time now at 1:00pm, Lee and 1 had to leave the site, passing Nathanial at the entrance and leaving him with the bird. From this moment a steady flow of birders arrived, with Justin along with Gerald Jobson being quickly on the scene. There were several birders throughout the afternoon effectively "staking it out." 1 returned later at 4:50pm and remained till dusk; a number of us watched and observed the bird, which was stili spending the majority of the time asleep. We were ail hoping for a flight view to confirm the wing pattern, but unfortunately this did not happen, although it did flap its wings briefly about three times throughout the day and evening. No white was observed in the primaries, but it was noted in the secondaries which is correct for this species. It was with this latest view/flap, along with the other clinching characteristics, that we confirmed its identity and news was put out to the paging services at approximately 5pm. I managed to secure several minutes of video footage of the bird, as did Lee Gregory. Unfortunately, despite much searching, the bird could not be found the following day. Description General impressions: The overall impression was that it was clearly smaller in size than the Greater Scaup alongside it and it was also smaller than the Tufted Ducks, which it associated with. When viewing with binoculars, it was quite clearly grey across the back, rather than black like the Tufted Ducks Head: It had a quite obvious bump to the rear of the head and what appeared to be a narrower head than the Tufted Ducks it was with. In certain positions and when the light was better, it also gave an appearance of hints of a purple sheen to the head. The bird also appeared to have a duller eye than that of a full adult. Bill: The bill was a consistently blue-grey colour and only a very small black nail to the tip of the bill, which was only noticeable on close inspection and in good light, as the bird spent most of the observed time asleep. Back: It gave an overall appearance of a grey colour, with binoculars, but under closer investigation with a telescope it showed quite clearly that it was vermiculated and moving towards the back of the bird it became coarser. As you worked your way further down the back, it appeared to merge into a browner colouration, which led us to conclude that it was likely to be a first winter drake. Flanks: The flanks appeared solid white with binoculars but, using a telescope and in the correct light, they were seen to be very finely vermiculated, almost giving them very fine shading, especially at the front of the bird, rather than the rear. 175

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 Tail: The tail area and the under tail coverts and also the breast area were very dark, almost black. Wing Pattern: The bird spent the majority of its short stay asleep, so did not give us an opportunity to film the details on a fly-by. However, the bird was seen to flap its wings several times throughout the day and although there was white in the secondary section of the wing, this did not extend into the primaries. Roy Marsh

CITRINE WAGTAIL - fourth for Suffolk Circumstances Having almost completed the refurbishment of my house, and having spent the previous day making an impressive cupboard door, I decided to spend Sunday, May 9th, birding. As I approached the car park at East Lane, Bawdsey, my expectations were pretty low. It was cold and gloomy, unlike the previous weekend when, in bright sunshine, the beach had been covered in Yellow Wagtails and Wheatears. However, after checking the trees and bushes near the car park I began to walk towards the gun emplacements, when I noticed a wagtail feeding around a puddle some distance off. It quickly disappeared, but initial impressions were something of a cross between a Grey and Yellow Wagtail. When it reappeared and perched on the side of a bunker, the penny began to drop that I was probably looking at a female Citrine Wagtail.


ne h)Ar,rniu. Knmrpsfy



Citrine Wagtail Mark Cornisti

It flew towards the tamarisk bushes at the back of the sea wall, from where it was continually flushed (along with two Yellow Wagtails) by an obliging Whitethroat. After obtaining superb views through my telescope at d o s e quarters and taking down a page of notes, I left the bird to make a telephone cali, keen to get other birders to confirm my identification. Shortly after my arrivai back at the site, I was joined by Justin Zantboer and Lee Woods who eventually obtained good views of the bird. It showed well for the remainder of the day and was also seen for a while the following morning, but it was not seen after around 9.0am, despite much searching. Personally, I considered a Citrine Wagtail to be a very pleasing trade-off for the cupboard door! 176

Rare Birds in Suffolk 2004 Description Overall impression: Longer-tailed than Yellow Wagtail and also longer-legged. Two white wing bars were prominent in flight. Upperparts: Head had a greenish tinge to darker cap, nape and ear-coverts recalling the colouration of a male flavissima. Yellow of supercilium extending around and under earcoverts. Mantle and back grey with no hint of a dark band (leading me to rule out firstsummer male). Underparts: Yellow on breast extending down from head and continuing onto belly becoming paler to the rear, until reaching very white undertail coverts. Grey flanks matching tone of mantle and back. Evidence of greyish "V" across upper breast formed by mottling. Wings: Wing feathers black with white edges, forming distinctive pattern. White tips to greater and median coverts, making two pronounced wing bars. Tail: Black with white edges; length looked intermediate between Yellow and Grey Wagtails. Bare Parts: Legs appeared quite long. Legs and bill black. Voice: Called several times both in flight and when perched, sounding very similar to Yellow Wagtail. Peter Hobbs


Suffolk Birci Report 2004

2003 Régional Review Adam Gretton Cambridgeshire The peak eount of Bewick's Swans was 5177 on the entire Ouse Washes in February, with 2635 Whooper Swans in December (both down on 2002 totals). The maximum number of potential breeding pairs of the scarcer ducks were as follows: Wigeon: four; Teal: 36; Pintail: two; Garganey: seven, and Pochard: seven. Rarer visitors included the county's eighth American Wigeon and two Green-winged Teal. BBS data (from only 25-30 squares) showed a réduction in the range of Grey Partridge from 29% of squares in 95/96 to 16% in 02/03. Red-necked Grebe summered at three sites, including a private site where successful breeding (as yet unconfirmed) was reported from 2002 - if confirmed this would be a county first. A Manx Shearwater spent a record three weeks at Grafham Water from midJuly, associating closely with Common Terns. There were 198 occupied Great Cormorani nests at two sites, up from 151 the previous year; a coordinated roost count in January revealed a total of 682 in the county, including 362 at Paxton Pits. A recently fledged Bittern was seen at one site and nesting may have occurred at two other sites (the last confirmed nesting in the county was in 1938). A presumed wild Night Héron in early May was the first since 1992, and there were two records of Great Egret, taking the county total to ten (ail but one in the last seven years, in line with the general increase of this species in the région). The long-staying White Stork in the Cottenham area was unfortunately found dead in early January 2004, having been seen with a broken leg the preceding June. Whilst visiting the Nene Washes in Aprii, it had been chased by a particularly ambitious Peregrine! A single Black Kite was the county's third, and there were summer records of Red Kite from 14 sites, but with no reported evidence of nesting. There were at least 14 paired female Marsh Harriers at seven sites (with no information received from three more known sites). A field note reports that a pair of Sparrowhawks, unfortunately, specialised in catching displaying Lapwings in the spring. Single pairs of Common Buzzard nested at 3-12 sites; a female Buzzard paired with a maie Red-tailed Hawk, produced two hybrid young that will doubtless pose future identification problems. Two Red-footed Falcons were reported and Hobby nested at 9-16 sites. There were two spring records of Redfooted Falcon. There were two calling, male Spotted Crakes at the Nene Washes, but none at the Ouse Washes for the first time since 1976. There were no records of wild Corncrake, but the widely reported reintroduction project on the Nene Washes continued with the release of 52 chicks (see British Birds 97: 548). A party of Common Crânes were tracked across the county, covering about 12 miles in half an hour. There were only two night records of over-flying Stone Curlew; the last confirmed breeding record in the county was in 1999. For a fifth successive year a Dotterei was seen in mid-winter, with Golden Piover. Another American Golden Piover, in almost full breeding plumage, took the county total to four (since the first in October 2001). There was only one pair of Black-tailed Godwit on the Ouse Washes, but the 32 pairs at the Nene Washes fledged 27 young. Breeding Ruff, unfortunately, seem to be a thing of the past, with the last confirmed nesting in 1991. The two Washes held exactly the same number of Snipe as in 2002, with 388 drummers, (plus just eight at five other sites). There 178

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were an impressive 650+ pairs of Lapwing at 37 sites and at least 512 pairs of Redshank in the county (94% of which were on the two Washes). An adult Buff-breasted Sandpiper, at Wicken Fen in mid-May, was seen to display - apparently the first time this has been noted in the UK. A county record 27 Jack Snipe were at Fletton near Peterborough in early January. Two Ring-billed Gulls were only the second and third for Cambs. Lesser Black-backed Gulls nested on warehouse/factory roofs (in Peterborough) for the first time and Herring Gulls were seen displaying. Caspian Gulls were seen at 12 sites in the second winter period, and the peak count of Yellow-Iegged Gulls was 19 in mid-July. There were 6-11 pairs < Long-eared Owl, whi wintering Short-eared O numbers at the Nene Washes dropped back to six, from the record 2002 peak of 60 birds. Only five pairs of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker were confirmed or suspected, though there were , „ , .. ° , , , Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Peter Beeson breeding season records at 14 further sites; there were two interesting observations of this species being harassed by Great Spotted Woodpecker. There were again more records of both Rock Pipit (20) and Water Pipit (e.g. 13 birds on the Ouse Washes in November) than Tree Pipit (only ten passage records, but including one in song in late June). At least 173 pairs of Yellow Wagtail were reported, with 121 of these at the Ouse and Nene Washes. Breeding Black Redstarts were reported from three sites, at one of which two broods were fledged. Recently fledged Common Redstart and Wheatear (at différent sites) suggested breeding may have occurred in the county for the first time since 1987. Partial albino Blackbird, Song Thrush, Fieldfare and Redwing were all noted during the year. A Dartford Warbier in December was the county's third, while two Yellow-browed Warbiers were the fourth and fifth. At least 69 pairs of Spotted Flycatcher were reported. Willow Tits were not confirmed to have bred at any site, but were present in the breeding season at four sites; in contrast there were at least 115 pairs of Marsh Tits (compare the respective numbers for Norfolk, below). There was just one record of Golden Oriole, on the county boundary. Two Ravens were the county's fourth and fifth since 1900. At least nineteen pairs of Tree Sparrows were reported from seven sites, all in fenland; the biggest winter flock was 75 in game cover at the year's end. Lesser Redpoll was reported from six sites during the breeding season, and a Serin flew over Cambridge (the county's fifth). At least 347 Reed Bunting territories were reported, with the species found in 56% of BBS squares; the same figures for Corn Bunting were 219 and 38% respectively. The report also includes a number of useful papers, including one on Caspian Gull identification by Dick Newell and a report on a 2003 survey of Willow Tit, Marsh Tit and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. 179

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 Norfolk Bewick's Swan numbers peaked at Welney in January with 4707, whilst Whooper Swan numbers reached a peak of 2376 in February. The Pink-footed Goose count of 112830, in late December, was a record (up a staggering 21000 on the previous year's record!), and represents almost half of the world population. A count of 80000 from Scolt Head is the highest ever total from a single site in the county. At least four Black Brants were present in the first winter period (but only one in the second) and up to 18 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were in the Stiffkey area. Rarer ducks included single Ring-necked Duck and Surf Scoter. An impressive 375 pairs of Grey Partridge on the West Barsham estate represented the highest density in the UK. Less expected was the Quail, flushed in snow at Sheringham on February 1st; II calling birds were present at six sites in summer for extended periods. Golden Pheasants were recorded at 12 sites, with a maximum of 7-8 birds at Wayland Wood and Wolferton. There were an exceptional 13 Slavonian Grebes at Titchwell in late November. An exciting 2002 addition, recorded on the last day of the year at Mundesley, was the county's first Black-browed Albatross (the first in the region since an exhausted bird was found at Linton, Cambs, in 1897). There was a single Cory's Shearwater at Caister. Fifty-five pairs of Cormorants at Holkham fledged an impressive 165 young. Between 13 and 16 booming Bitterns were present, mostly in the Broads, but with one on the north coast. Little Egret increased rapidly, from eight pairs in 2002 to 21 pairs at two sites in 2003, fledging at least 57 young, whilst the roost at Holkham held up to 123 birds in December. At least four Honey Buzzards, including two females, were at the usual sites during the breeding season, with one pair fledging two young. The very well-watched juvenile female Pallid Harrier, from late 2002, continued to roost at Warham Greens until March 22nd (the first wintering record from northern Europe). Remarkably, a second Pallid Harrier (a different bird) was seen at Blakeney Point in mid-May. A pair of Montagu's Harrier successfully fledged four young (the most successful nest in the UK). Data was incomplete, but 59 Marsh Harrier nests produced at least 107 young. Displaying Goshawks were seen at eight sites (of which only two were in Breckland); interestingly, display was noted at one site in mid-October, and at another in mid-December. The Common Buzzard success story continues, with 17-33 pairs producing at least 20 young; as recently as 1995 there were only 1-2 pairs in the county. At least four Red-footed Falcons were at Hickling in early June, with up to 12 Hobbies, whilst an immature Whitetailed Eagle flew over Hunstanton in late October. Two pairs of Common Crane nested, producing three fledged young between them; there were up to 17 adults and the three juveniles present in the second winter period. The Titchwell Black-winged Stilt remained for its eleventh year. Breydon again reported record numbers of Avocet, with 1069 in August, in large part a result of the record 397 pairs at 14 sites in the county. A Pacific Golden Plover, at Breydon in mid-October, was the county's third, whilst a Semipalmated Sandpiper at the same site in September was Norfolk's fifth; other scarce waders included two White-rumped Sandpipers and one Baird's Sandpiper. In the Norfolk Brecks, 95 pairs of Stone Curlew fledged 84 young, and there were a further eight pairs "north of the Brecks". A total of 835 pairs of Lapwing were recorded from 30 sites, but fledging success was generally poor. The report links this to fox prĂŠdation, citing an important experiment at Berney Marshes RSPB reserve - when fox control was introduced, the number of nesting Lapwing rose from 55 to 129 but, when it 180

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ceased, Lapwing numbers dropped to 68 in three years. Common Snipe again increased with 111 drummers (71 at Welney), but from only ten sites (cf. 19 in 2002). Three pairs of Black-tailed Godwit produced six young, and 22 pairs of Curlew were on the Stanford Training Area, with 11 further pairs elsewhere. A Bonaparte's Gull at Hickling in May was Norfolk's third, but the first to be seen by (considerably) more than one observer. Six pairs of Mediterranean Gull failed to produce any young, but there were a record 46 birds at Breydon in late August. A total of 3800 pairs of Sandwich Tern at three sites fledged at least 3050 chicks (mostly from Blakeney Point, with Scolt Head having a poor season). Little Tern had a good year, with 585 pairs fledging at least 601 young (at least 450 of which were at Winterton - the largest number fledged at a single British or Irish colony since recording began in 1969!). In contrast, 20 pairs of Arctic Tern fledged only four young. The rarer terns were represented by two White-winged Black Terns. At least 20 Puffins were reported dead or dying in January and February (other auks appeared largely unaffected, however); more encouragingly an impressive 26 were seen from Scolt Head on a single day in early October. There were four autumn records of Black Guillemot. Barn Owls were reported from 285 sites (up from 235 the year before), compared to 69 sites for Suffolk. Long-eared Owl was confirmed nesting at two sites, but there was no indication of Short-eared Owl nesting. Two Alpine Swifts on April 27th, at Holme and Mundesley, were presumed to be diffĂŠrent birds. Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were reported from 50 sites (the highest number for a decade) - though breeding was not confirmed, it was thought likely at most of these sites. There were two spring records of Short-toed Lark, one of which stayed for two weeks in June and was heard singing several times. It was a very good year for rare pipits with five Tawny Pipits, two Red-throated Pipits and a single Olive-backed Pipit found. Only 19 pairs of Tree Pipit were reported, and Yellow Wagtails were confirmed nesting at just six sites (but presumed breeding at five others), with most of the pairs (42 out of 48, down from 94 in 2002) at Welney. The county's fourth Citrine Wagtail was a juvenile at Kelling in late-August. The Pied Wagtail roost peaked at 1850 at Norwich Thickthorn Services at the end of November, whilst Waxwings were widespread in both winter periods. with the highest count being 56 at Thetford in March. A Red-flanked Bluetail, seen briefly at Caister on October 27th, was the county's third, whilst the eighth Thrush Nightingale was at Blakeney in mid-May. Mwoc. Only one pair of Black Redstart was reported, and only two pairs of Wheatear. Rare wheatears were better represented, with two Pied Wheatears and two Desert Wheatears. The Sykes's Warbier, from Sheringham in Cetti's Warbler Mark FerrĂŹs 181

Suffolk Birci Report 2004 August 2002, was belatedly accepted: the first for Norfolk and sixth nationally. A Booted Warbler was the county's fourth and there were three Sardinian and three Greenish Warblers. It was an exceptional year for rare 'Phylloscs', with a single Radde's, but seven Dusky, eight Hume's, a record 60 Pallas's and some 115 Yellow-browed Warblers (contrast this with only 16 records of Wood Warbler!). An impressive 165 singing Cetti's Warblers were noted, but this was described as a considerable underestimate. There were six singing Marsh Warblers and five Dartford Warblers. Breeding pairs of Spotted Flycatcher increased to 66 from 41 in 2002 and a record of Collared Flycatcher from 1985 was finally accepted, having originally been thought a hybrid. Willow Tits were recorded at 45 sites and Marsh Tits at 62. Two pairs of Golden Orioles bred and there were single Isabelline and Lesser Grey Shrikes, the latter at Acle in late June. A very encouraging 115 pairs of Tree Sparrows were reported, up from 27 the year before, with no less than 28 pairs at Fulmodeston, where particular efforts have been made to help this species - perhaps an example of what could be done in Suffolk? Arguably the event of the year was the first ever nesting of Serin in Norfolk; a pair at Holkham produced two young, and, remarkably, another pair nested on the edge of Norwich (a paper gives the full exciting details, without mentioning global warming once). Only six pairs of Lesser Redpoll were reported. An impressive 1800 Brambling were at St Helen's picnic site, Santon Downham, in January, and 1868 passed Hunstanton in 6.5 hours on October 27th. In Holkham Bay, Twite peaked at 130 in November, and Snow Bunting at 180 the same month (Shore Lark had peaked at 85 in early January). There were an impressive 54 Lapland Buntings at Holme in January and two Little Buntings, one on the unusual date of June 1 st, whilst the other stayed at Walsey Hills for six weeks in autumn. Essex Brent Goose numbers were well down from the 25295 in January 2002, with the highest WeBS count being 17862 in January. Ruddy Shelduck is included in the main body of the report, with a note 'status under review'; 3-4 birds were seen during the year. The American Wigeon was again seen at Cattawade, on the Suffolk border, in April. Langenhoe Ranges again did well for scarcer nesting ducks, with a brood of Teal and a breeding pair of Wigeon. Pochard produced 53 broods at 18 sites. Rarer ducks included Essex's first Lesser Scaup in March and a Green-winged Teal. Twenty broods of Ruddy Duck were reported from 15 sites; the peak count of 780 at Abberton in October was a county record (exceeding the previous record, set in 2002, by almost 290 - not exactly encouraging for those wanting to see its numbers reduced!). Black-necked Grebes were not proved nesting, but pairs were present at three sites. On February 20th there were 15 Slavonian Grebes on the Blackwater. After the exceptional numbers in 2002, 11 Sooty Shearwaters and seven Manx Shearwaters were seen. The numbers of Cormorant nests increased from 618 in 2002 to at least 680, with Walthamstow reservoir overtaking Abberton for the first time, but the total number of birds in the December roost count fell to 1196 (from 1553 in 2002). Access restrictions prevented a count at the main Little Egret colony, but at a second colony, in the east of the county, two pairs fledged three young. The September WeBS total was 515 (283 in 2002), with 166 at the St Osyth roost at the end of August. A Great Egret at Abberton in late July was the fourth for Essex, and the first to be easily seen. A series of records (including a juvenile at one point) suggest that Honey Buzzard may have nested in the county - if so, this would be the first nesting in Essex since 1847! With 182

2003 Regional


at least 22 Red Kite records, the report speculates that 'there could be (breeding) hope on the horizon'. Nine Marsh Harrier nests, at three sites in the north-east of the county, fledged at least 14 young, with breeding activity at four other sites. 12-15 pairs of Common Buzzard were reported, but successful breeding was only confirmed at one site. Hen Harriers peaked at 26 in January. Pairs of Peregrine nesting in London hunted over the county boundary, but there was no confirmed breeding within the county. Goshawks showing breeding behaviour were noted in three diffĂŠrent areas, but this species is yet to be confirmed nesting in Essex. There were only two pairs of Snipe reported, from Langenhoe Ranges and the numbers of Lapwing and Redshank were lower than in 2002, with 194 and 152 pairs respectively (the latter known to exclude a stronghold, however). The 76 pairs of Avocet from seven areas was also down on 2002 and there were 21 pairs of Little Ringed Piover at 13 sites. It was a rather poor year for rare waders, with a single Kentish Piover and at least five juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers. There were two Ring-billed Gulls, including the long-stayer ("Rossi") at Westcliff-onSea. A total of 5-6 pairs of Mediterranean Gull were at three sites, but produced no young; despite this, a record count of 65 in the Southend-Westcliff area at the start of July (reported by SOG!) was almost double the previous record. A Gull-billed Tern in early July was the county's seventh.

Barn Owls were noted at 86 sites, at 27 of which 38 pairs nested. Long-eared Owl bred at six sites; there was no evidence of nesting Short-eared Owl, but the county's wintering population peaked at 66 in January [correction to last year's regional review: there had been 87 birds present in November 2002]. There were only seven records of Wood Lark and four of Shore Lark, whilst Tree Pipit territories feil to seven at four sites (all in Epping Forest). A single Alpine Swift was seen, but a fortunate observer saw 3-4 Red-rumped Swallows at Ardleigh in early May. Only three territorial male Black Redstarts were reported, at two sites, and 14 pairs of Stonechat. Cetti's Warbler sang at nine sites, with up to 16 maies involved. A Blvth's Reed Warbler at Fishers Green in mid-June was the first for Essex - its identification was 183

Suffolk Blrd Report 2004 apparently clinched by an 11 minute recording of its song. There were no reports of Marsh or Wood Warbier (despite the fact that the former was thought to have nested at two sites in south-west Essex in 2002). There were five winter Dartford Warbiers, three Barred Warbiers in autumn and one bird showing characteristics of Siberian Chiffchaff (tristis). Only two Firecrest territories were reported, at two sites. Willow Tits were reported from just two sites (with only one record during the breeding season), but there was a slight increase to at least 11 Marsh Tit territories. Again there were no breeding records of Tree Sparrow. An adult Rose-coloured Starling was reported, and a single Serin at Rainham Marshes. There were an encouraging 12 Hawfinches at Braxted Park in mid-February, but just one record of a single bird elsewhere. Exceptionally, a total of four immature Ortolan Buntings were at one inland site (Sewardstone) in September and early October. The papers in the report include a detailed assessment of Mediterranean Gull in the Southend area and interesting updates from Bradwell Bird Observatory and the RSPB reserves at Old Hall and Rainham Marshes (where there have been exciting developments, as hinted at last year, see for dĂŠtails).

Waxwings Peter Beeson


Suffolk Birci Report 2004

Ringing Report 2004 Peter Lack The ringing total for Suffolk for 2004 was, by some margin, the highest ever at 52683. This is, perhaps, partly due to more ringers communicating their totals, but most of the individuals and groups who have contributed have done so for several years. The total represents an increase of about a third on a revised 2003 total. As usual there were some substantial differences 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' in the following year. However, this year there were some specific groups which contributed a lot to the overall increase. The total of Swallow, Sand Martin and House Martin nearly doubled, with Sand Martin especially returning to more normal levels, after a very low total in 2003. Warblers, overall, increased by 75%, especially Chiffchaffs, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler. Noticeably, Willow Warbler only increased by a small amount (18%). The only relatively large decline was of Meadow Pipit (down 36%). It was another rather poor year for ringing rarities. A Radde's Warbler, two Dusky Warblers and three Penduline Tits were nice, as was a Merlin and three Hobbies. Another year, too, with no Willow Tits. 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: Steve Abbott, Graham Austin, Sid Batty, Jez Blackburn, Kevan Brett, Richard Bufton, Colin Carter, Peter Catchpole and his associates, Nigel Clark, Greg Conway and Elizabeth Langley, Dingle Bird Club (James Cracknell, Tony Howe, David Pearson and others), Rob Duncan, Simon Evans, Nicola Hedges, Chas Holt, Tony Hurrell and Clive Watts, Lackford Ringing Group (Colin Jakes, Malcolm Wright and Peter Lack), Landguard Bird Observatory (Mike Marsh and others), Market Weston Ringing Group (Nigel and Jacquie Clark and others), Paul Newton and Mick Wright, Ron Pomroy and Brian Thompson, and with apologies to anyone I have inadvertently missed out.. Selected Recoveries I have listed here a personal selection of 'interesting' recoveries which have been reported during 2004 and which involve Suffolk, either as the ringing place or the finding place. There are a few recoveries from earlier years, but most of these have only recently been reported, or the 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 bird at ringing is noted according to the EURING codes: 185

Suffolk Birci Report 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 Spoonbill 8044183

1 Field records Field record Field record Field record

28. 05.2003 Terschelling, The Netherlands 53°25'N 5°28'E 14 times June to 04.09.2003 in The Netherlands 07.09.2003 Marqueterre, France 14. 07.2004 Havergate Island 14.08.2004 Orfordness


1 Field records Field records Field records Field record Field records Field records Field records Field record

12.5.2003 Onderdijk, The Netherlands 52°46'N 5°7'E six times 28.05.2003 to 28.06.2003 in The Netherlands 17.07.2003 to 20.07.2003 Orfordness and R. Stour 20.07.2003 to 31.08.2003 Lauwersmeer, The Netherlands 06.09.2003 Orfordness 25.09.2003 and 26.09.2003 Carmarthenshire six times May 2004 Breydon Water and Orfordness July 2004 Havergate Island 14.08.2004 Orfordness


1 Field records Field records Field records Field records

15.5.2003 Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands 53°29'N 6°9'E twice to 12.07.2003 in The Netherlands 19.07.2003 to 06.09.2003 Orfordness 25.09.2003 and 26.09.2003 Carmarthenshire four times May 2004 Breydon Water and Orfordness

Great Cormorant 5211956 1 Fresh dead

03.06.2003 26.05.2004

Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin 51 °59'N 1° 17'E Darwell Reservoir, Robertsbridge, Sussex 50°58'N 0°27'E 127 km SSW Yderste Holm, Denmark Weybread Gravel Pits

1M Long dead 1 Found dead 1 Long dead

25.05.2003 04.02.2004 07.06.2003 12.02.2004 06.06.2003 22.04.2004

Isle of May, Fife 56°11'N 2°34'W Lowestoft 52°28'N 1°45'E 499 km SE Isle of May, Fife 56°11'N 2°34'W Lowestoft 52°28'N 1°45'E 499 km SE Isle of May, Fife 56°11'N 2°34'W Aldeburgh Marshes 52°8'N 1°35'E 525 km SSE

1 Fresh dead

28.07.1984 21.03.2004

Linga, Blue Mull Sound, Shetland 60°40'N 0°59'W beach N of Southwold 52°20'N 1°41'E 941 km S


1 Field record This bird is of race sinensis.

16.05.2000 20.01.2004

Shag 1388905 1389718 1389549 Fulmar FR68336


Ringing Report Canada Goose 5207463 1 Field record


Needham Lake, Needham Market 52°9'N 1°3'E Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, Essex 51 °48'N 0°49'E 43 km SSW It was also at Abberton 28.01.2001, 04.02.2003 and 03.03.2003 and is one of only a few ringed as a pullus at Needham Lake. There seems to be a fair amount of exchange between Needham Lake and Abberton Reservoir. Pochard GF79479

1 Shot or killed

01.07.1999 06.01.2004

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Frise, Somme, France 49°56'N 2°49'E 255 km SSE Note that this bird was ringed as a pullus from the small breeding population in Suffolk. Marsh Harrier FP52244 1 Found dead FP52249 1 Fresh dead

11.07.2004 01.11.2004

21.06.2004 c. 15.09.2004 03.7.2004 10.10.2004

Easton Broad, Easton 52021'N 1°40'E Hagnaby Lock, Lines 53°7'N 0° 1 'W 142 km NW Westwood Marshes, Walberswick 52°18'N 1°37'E Bringolo, Cotes-du-Nord, France 48°34'N 3°0'W 528 km SW

Sparrowhawk DB81026 3M 03.11.2004 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 °56'N 1°19'E Fresh dead (08.01.2005) Harrietsham, Kent 51°14'N 0°41'E 90 km SSW This is the longest distance reported during the year. Kestrel 7174317

1 Control

Oystercatcher FR82610 6 Long dead

22.06.2004 24.09.2004

Grasmyr, Vasterbotten, Sweden 63°45'N 19°40'E Dunwich 52°16'N 1°37'E 1654 km SW

Port of Felixstowe, Felixstowe 51 °57'N 1°19'E Holme next the Sea, Norfolk 52°58'N 0°33'E 125 km NNW This is the oldest reported this year at 6622 days (just over 18 years). Avocet ER215

23.02.1986 11.04.2004

09.07.1998 27.04.2003

Trimley Marshes, near Felixstowe 51°58'N 1°16'E Vreugderijkerwaard, Zwolle, Overijssel, The Netherlands 52°31'N 6°1'E 329 km E

Stone-Curlew ET44583 1 Shot or killed

18.08.2004 28.10.2004

Elveden Estate, Thetford 52°23'N 0°40'E Quintana del Castillo, Leon, Spain 42°39'N 6°2'W 1192 km SSW

Ringed Plover 3363551 3 Control=M

17.08.1990 14.08.2000

1 Field record

Nidingen, Halland, Sweden 57°17'N 11°54'E River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge: 52°2'N 1°20'E 3650 days 895 km SW 8237803 3 29.08.2002 Tarevika, Karmoy: 59°13'N 5°1 l'E (Rogaland) Norway XF 02.12.2003 Walberswick, Suffolk: 52° 18'N 1°38'E 800 km SSW Details of both these birds have only recently been reported.


Suffolk Birci Report Grey Plover DB60512 : Fresh dead Lapwing 6356184 Dunlin NT 10028

Hazelwood, near Ham Creek 52°9'N 1°33'E Cailla, Barbatre, Vendee, France 46°57'N 2°10'W 637 km SSW

1 01.05.1997 Field record=M 27. 3.2005

Husum-Porrenkoog, Denmark 54°28'N 9°1'E Minsmere 52°9'N1°21'E 571 km WSW

5 Control

Falkenham Creek, Falkenham 52°1'N 1°21'E Ottenby, Oland, Sweden 56°12'N 16°24'E 1084 km ENE River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge 52°2'N 1°20'E Iwik, Mauretania 19°53'N 16°16'W 3890 km SSW


3 Control This is of the race schinzii. 8899089 3 Control Black-tailed Godwit EF90838 3 Field record Curlew FR85290

09.10.1999 29.02.2004


17.03.2000 22.07.2004 05.09.2002 29.11.2002 22.08.2003 26.08.2003

24.10.1977 26.04.2000

02.11.1986 29.04.2004



Butley 52°6'N 1°30'E Pollengi, Tungufell, Hreppar, Arnés, Iceland 64°17'N 20°4'W 1842 km NW

Kingsfleet, Felixstowe 51°58'N 1°18'E Manninen, Ypaja, Hame, Finland 60°47'N 23°12'E 6388 days 1660 km NE Note both the age (17.5 years, although it was 'long dead') and distance travelled by this bird. Redshank DB60045

3F Long dead

Revtangen, Klepp, Rogaland, Norway 58°45'N 5°30'E River Deben, near Ramsholt Lodge: 52°2'N 1°20'E 791 km SSW

Levington (lagoon), on River Orwell 52°0'N 1°15'E Found dead 11.09.2004 Sallenelles, Calvados, France 49°20'N 0° 15'W 315 km SSW There were also two birds controlled within Suffolk, which were ringed as young in 1992. Common Sandpiper 8713720 3 Long dead Mediterranean Gull 377418 1

09.08.2003 09.09.2004 24.06.2003

Field record 07.04.2004 A major movement from Eastern Europe. Black-headed Gull EN22600 6 Found dead 6174180 HV06933 EG89990

6 Field record 1 Fresh dead 3

11.02.1985 07.06.2003 05.04.2003 12.01.2004 15.06.2003 16.02.2004 16.12.2003

Randoya, Kristiansand, Vest-agder, Norway 58°5'N 8°7'E Lowestoft 52°28'N 1°45'E 743 km SSW Szeged, Feher-to, Csongrad, Hungary 46°20'N 20°5'E Minsmere 52°15'N 1°37'E 1489kmWNW

Ipswich 52°4'N 1°10'E Assalaid, Paatsalu Bay, Parnu, Estonia 58°31'N 23°40'E 1591 km ENE Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway 59°56'N 10°43'E Needham Lake 52°9'N 1°3'E 1052 km SW Nemuno Salos, Prienai, Lithuania 54°39'N 23°59'E Weybread 52°23'N 1°18'E 1519 km W near Castle Hill, Ipswich 52°4'N 1°8'E


Ringing Report Found dead



Alajoki, Ilmajoki, Vaasa, Finland 62°48'N 22°40'E 1747 km NE ER21034 11.11.1989 Bramford Landfill 52°6'N 1°5'E 18.04.2004 Utterslev Mose I, Copenhagen, Denmark 55°42'N Field record 12°29'E 5272 days 847 km ENE ST232071 1 23.06.2003 Kalvia, Vaasa, Finland 63°57'N 23°18'E 01.01.2004 Lackford Pits 52°18'N 0°38'E 1846 km SW Long dead ST197313 15.05.1999 Kuopio: 62°50'N 27°33'E (Kuopio) Finland 5 03.04.2002 near Ellingham Mill, River Waveney 52°28'N Found dead 1°29'E 1921 km SW 6118773 5 04.06.1990 Pildammsparken, Malmo, Sweden 55°35'N 13°0'E Field record 08.02.1998 Southwold: 52°19'N 1°40'E 825 km WSW Détails of some of these birds have only recently been received. Lesser Black-backed Gull There were reports to or from The Netherlands, France, Spain, Moroeco (2 listed below), Belgium and Portugal. Also listed is the oldest reported. GK38437 1 09.07.1983 Orfordness 52°7'N 1°33'E Field record 10.08.2004 Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 50°44'N 1°35'E 154 km S This is the oldest reported this year GA37830 1 13.07.2003 Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Field record 26.05.2004 Agadir, Morocco 30°30'N 9°40'W 2570 km SSW GA37998 1 10.07.2004 Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Fresh dead 23.02.2005 Casablanca, Morocco 33°35'N 7°36'W 2184 km SSW Herring Gull GG40508 7 Fresh dead

05.12.1987 02.10.2004

Foxhall Tip, near Ipswich 52°3'N 1°16'E Jachthaven, Vlieland, The Netherlands 53°18'N 5°6'E 294 km ENE 6146 days

Caspian Gull LOO1802 1 Field record Field record

03.06.2003 20.01.2004 31.10.2004

Kapivska GES, Ukraine 49°46'N 31°28'E Southwold 52°19'N 1°41'E 2103km ditto

Sandwich Tern 6T33449 1 Field record

29.05.1997 15.07.2004

Zeebrugge, Belgium 51°20'N 3°11'E North Beach, Lowestoft 52°29'N 1°45'E 162 km NW

Common Tern SVI 8287 1


Alton Water Reservoir, near Tattingstone 51 °59'N 1°7'E at sea, Dakar, Senegal 14°43'N 17°28'W 4464 km SSW

Note the age of this bird.

Field record


This is one of only three ringed there! Razorbill K08494 Barn Owl GN52659

1 Fresh dead

20.06.2004 13.10.2004

Sanda Island, Kintyre, Strathclyde 55°16'N 5°35'W Felixstowe 51°59'N 1°23'E 587 km SE



Long dead


Knook Castle, Salisbury Plain, Wilts 51°12'N 2°3'W Bury St Edmunds 52°14'N 0°45'E 225 km ENE


Suffolk Birci Report Kingfisher SB20784 3 Found dead


07.08.2004 19.10.2004

Manor Farm, Titchwell, Norfolk 52°57'N 0°36'E Oxley Marshes 52°2'N 1°26'E 117kmSSE

3 Control

04.09.2004 15.09.2004

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Canal Veil, Deltebre, Tarragona, Spain 40°47'N 0°44'E 1258 km S





Two-bob-a-day, Bloemfontein, OFS, South Africa 29°2'S 26°25'E near Charity Farm, Shotley 51°59'N 1°15'E 9336 km NNW

Sand Martin P687839 4F Control

07.07.2003 06.04.2004

nr. Nacton 5 2 T N 1°H'E Isolino, Verbania, Italy 45°55'N 8°29'E 274 days 862km SE

Meadow Pipit P940672 3 Shot or killed

01.09.2004 06.02.2005

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Khouribga, Morocco 32°53'N 6°54'W 2241 km SSW

Yellow Wagtail P940556 3 Control

28.08.2004 05.09.2004

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Conchemarche, Mortagne-sur-Gironde, France 45°29'N 0°47'W 754km SSW

Swallow P940788


Nightingale R785299 5M Control R243340 3 Retrap Nightingales are only passage

23.04.2004 Kilnsea, Humberside 53°37'N 0°8'E 29.04.2004 Melton 52°6'N 1°19'E 187kmSSE 30.07.2003 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E 22.06.2004 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E migrants at Landguard so a retrap is unusual.

Blackbird RP09637

3F 19.10.1996 Found dead 16.03.2004 This is older than most Blackbirds. Song Thrush RT08621 4


Shot or killed



3 Shot or killed

02.10.2002 04.01.2004


3 Shot or killed

03.10.2003 27.11.2003

Redwing RS46113

Rushmere St Andrew 52°4'N 1°11'E Ipswich 52°4'N 1°10'E 2kmW

Alton Water Reservoir, near Tattingstone 51 °59'N 1°7'E Trandeiras, Minho, Portugal 41°30'N 8°25'W 1371 km SSW Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E Freixeda, Mirandela, Beira Alta, Portugal 41°25'N 7°6'W 1332 km SSW Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E Monsanto, Santarem, Ribatejo, Portugal 39°27'N 8°44'W 1605 km SSW

Tangham Farm, Boyton 52°5'N 1°26'E Apatity, Murmansk, USSR 67°33'N 33°23'E 2451 km NE This bird is relatively old and went farther than most Redwings. Long dead

25.10.1997 c.15.08.2004


Ringing Report Cetti's Warbler P992887 3M Control

12.07.2003 15.04.2004


Pitsea Marshes, Basildon, Essex 51°32'N 0°30'E Kirton Creek, Kirton 52°l'N 1°19'E 78 km NE

Sedge Warbier There were reports from France, Belgium and Spain. Reed Warbier R898827 3 26.08.2004 Icklesham, Sussex 50°54'N 0°40'E Control 28.08.2004 Walberswick 52°I8'N 1°38'E 170 km NNE Note that this bird was going north in August. There were also reports from France, Belgium and the North Sea. Lesser Whitethroat R865104 3 19.09.2003 Walberswick 52°18'N 1°38'E Control 12.07.2004 Korverskooi, Texel, The Netherlands 53°7'N 4°48'E 232 km ENE Garden Warbier 1E92459 2 Control

Randoya, Kristiansand, Norway 58°5'N 8°7'E Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 °56'N 1°19'E 809 km SSW This bird took eight days to get from Norway to Landguard but the report took four years to reach us! Blackcap P935772

12.09.2001 20.09.2001

3F Long dead

25.10.2003 (23. 3.2004)


12.04.2004 27.09.2004

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Knoldeflod, Varde, Jylland, Denmark 55°36'N 8°34'E 603 km NE The recovery date, although long dead is interesting. R245183 3F 04.10.2004 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E Control 16.10.2004 Utsira, Rogaland, Norway 59° 18'N 4°53'E 849 km NNE This bird was moving north in October. Foxhall, near Ipswich 52°2'N 1°14'E R403358 3 20.07.2004 Zapata, Alhaurin de la Torre, Malaga, Spain Control=M 12.10.2004 36°39'N 4°34'W 1770 km SSW This is more typical, at least of a British breeding bird. Goldcrest 7U0815

Control XV94988

Firecrest ATT581

3F Control

3F Fresh dead

08.10.2003 25.10.2003

03.11.2004 16.11.2004

Calf of Man, Isle of Man 54°3'N 4°49'W Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51 °56'N i°19'E 473 km ESE Ventes Ragas, Silute, Lithuania 55°21'N 21°13'E Sizewell Belts, Sizewell 52°13'N 1°36'E 1334 km WSW Kessingland, Lowestoft 52°24'N 1°43'E Bourne End, Bucks 51°34'N 0°43'W 191 km WSW

Long-tailed Tit Seven juveniles, 8G6398, 8G6399, 7W2609, 7W2611, 7W2612, 7W2625 and 7W2626 were ringed at Rockland Broad, Norfolk 52°35'N 1°26'E on 06.08.2004 or 07.08.2004 and were controlled at Landguard on 11.11.2004. Clearly a flock moved the 73 km south together.


Suffolk Birci Report Great Tit P410071

3 Control=F

19.08.2000 19.01.2004

Penduline Tit P935852 3 Control=M

04.11.2003 02.11.2004

Tree Sparrow P145372 3 Control

02.09.2002 30.03.2004


Thetford Lodge Farm 52°26'N 0°41'E Markshall, Coggeshall, Essex 51°54'N 0°40'E 60 km S The age and distance travelled by this bird are larger than usual.

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Vigueirat, Aries, Bouches-du-Rhone, France 43°40'N 4°38'E 963 km SSE A remarkable control of a bird that is a very rare visitor to Suffolk.

TA83579 TA74104

1 Control 1

04.07.2003 09.02.2004 15.05.2003


Control 4

05.01.2004 21.03.2003

Control 08.01.2004 A surprising series of controls of a bird that

Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E Snail's Pit Farm, near Swaffham, Norfolk 52°38'N 0°40'E 90 km NNW near Broad Hinton, Wilts 51°28'N 1°50'W Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0°26'E 185 km ENE Bowmansgreen Farm, London Colney, Herts 51°43'N 0°17'W Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0°26'E 88 km NE Melton Spinney, Melton Mowbray, Leics & Rutland 52°47'N 0°52'W Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0°26'E lOOkmESE is now very scarce in Suffolk.

Chaffinch K088212

3M 27.11.1996 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E Retrap 31.12.1999 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E Retrap 13.12.2004 Landguard Point, Felixstowe 51°56'N 1°19'E This bird is now (2004) just over 8 years old. Its long wing (96mm) also suggests it is of Continental origin and comes in to winter in the UK each year. E594255 6M 03.04.1997 Austad, Flekkefjord, Vest-agder, Norway 58°18'N 6°42'E Control 28.10.2003 Landguard Point, Felixstowe: 51°56'N 1°19'E 786 km SSW Brambling R164770

6M Control

12.02.2003 07.12.2003





Greenfinch TB84480 6F Control TA73739 5F Control

10.03.2004 27.04.2004 06.02.2003 22.05.2004



3F Control

19.10.2003 31.01.2004

Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0°26'E Craigearn, near Kemnay, Grampian Region 57°13'N 2°28'W 570 km NNW Nes, Bjugn, Sor-Trondelag, Norway 63°46'N 9°35'E Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0°26'E 1374 km SSW

Stowmarket 52°11'N 0°58'E Fair Isle, Shetland 59°32'N 1°38'W 833 km N Mildenhall Fen 52°22'N 0°26'E Swarland, near Alnwick, Northumberland 55°19'N 1°45'W 358 km NNW Fiatford Mill, East Bergholt 51°57'N 1°1'E Landeda, Finisterre, France 48°35'N 4°34'W 545 km SW


Ringing Report Goldfinch R718540

3 Control=M

31.07.2003 02.05.2004


Cauldwell Hall Farm, Hollesley 52°3'N 1°27'E De Panne, West-vlaanderen, Belgium 51°6'N 2°35'E 132 km SE

Siskin There were reports from The Netherlands, Scotland, Norway, Sweden as well as northern England. The Swedish control is noted in full. R447550 6F 08.03.2003 Brandon 52°26'N 0°36'E Control 16.04.2004 Fagernas, Boden, Norrbotten, Sweden 65°50'N 21°44'E 1904 km NE Twite 16 birds with colour rings were noted at Southwold on 29.02.2004. Not all were definitely identifiable to individuals (some were colour ringed as cohorts of birds) but details indicate: Seven birds were ringed at Hazzles Reservoir, Calderdale, in September-October 2003. One was ringed at Clough Reservoir, Lancashire August - October 2003. One was ringed at Clough Reservoir, Lancashire March - May 2003. One was a juvenile ringed at Clough Reservoir on 26.07.2003. One was ringed as a pullus in Rishworth Moor, Calderdale as one of six nestlings. The others are likely to be part of the same Derbyshire study and most were probablyringedat Clough Reservoir. Lesser Redpoll P941657 3 Control

17.10.2004 06.11.2004






Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Nat. Pk Groote Peel, Roerdompven, Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands 51°21'N 5°48'E 303 km ESE Copeland Bird Observatory, Co. Down 54°41 'N 5°32'W Orfordness: 52°5'N 1°34'E 552 km ESE

Snow Bunting TB90413 2M Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk 52°39'N 29.11.2003 Control 17.01.2004 Kessingland, Lowestoft 52°24'N TB90456 2F Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk 52°39'N 29.11.2003 Kessingland, Lowestoft 52°24'N Control 17.01.2004 TB90457 3M Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk 52°39'N 29.11.2003 17.01.2004 Kessingland, Lowestoft 52°24'N Control Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk 52°39'N TB90472 3M 29.11.2003 Kessingland, Lowestoft 52°24'N 17.01.2004 Control Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk 52°39'N TB90439 3F 29.11.2003 Kessingland, Lowestoft 52°24'N Control 01.02.2004 Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk 52°39'N 20.11.2004 TC36147 3F Kessingland, Lowestoft 52°24'N 19.12.2004 Control An interesting series of recoveries, albeit not a great distance or time span. Reed Bunting K11412 3F Fresh dead

22.10.2000 28.02.2004

I°43'E 1°43'E 28 km S 1°43'E l°43'E 28 km S 1°43'E 1°43'E 28 km S 1°43'E 1°43'E 28 km S l°43'E 1°43'E 28 km S 1°43'E 1°43'E 28 km S

Orfordness 52°5'N 1°34'E Foulsham, Dereham, Norfolk 52°46'N 1°2'E 85 km NNW 1224 days


Suffolk Birci Report


Ringing Totais in Suffolk in 2004 (and revised totals for 2003) 2003 25

Little Grebe Storm Petrel Grey Heron Mute Swan Greylag Goose Canada Goose Shelduck Wigeon Gadwall Teal Mallard Shoveller Pochard Tufted Duck Marsh Harrier Sparrowhawk Kestrel Merlin Hobby Water Rail Corncrake Moorhen Coot Stone Curlew Oystercatcher Avocet Little Ringed Piover Ringed Piover Golden Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Knot Little Stint Curlew Sandpiper Dunlin Jack Snipe Snipe Woodcock Ruff Purple Sandpiper Black-tailed Godwlt Bar-tailed Godwit Curlew Whimbrel Curlew Sandpiper Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Turnstone Common Gull Black-headed Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull

5 2 3 8 29 10 1 37 12 1 8 1 14 79 19

2 1 0 1 11 16 1 23 7 4 38 6 1 1 323 1 17 2 2 1 6 1

22 315 19 7 13 2 3 39 399 77 194

2004 16 2 0 5 0 20 38 16 1 13 13 1 2 1 27 89 22 1 3 5 0 4 0 43 30 15 0 16 10 5 49 20 0 1 450 1 5 3 2 0 27 0 16 1 0 172 9 2 4 18 0 34 405 117

Ringing Report

2004 2003 2

Great Black-backed Gull Kittiwake Common Tern Little Tern Little Auk Stock Dove Woodpigeon Collared Dove Turtle Dove Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Nightjar Kingfisher Swift Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Green Woodpecker Wryneck Woodlark Skylark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Rock Pipit Water Pipit Yellow Wgtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Waxwing Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbier Grasshopper Warbier Savi's Warbier Sedge Warbier Reed Warbier Aquatic Warbier

37 1 59 108 92 3 2 12 13 11 2 7 37 1 82 0 44 0 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 1307 2192 2


2004 0 21 6 0 1 79 111 40 4 2 11 15 6 0 8 50 1 84 0 54 2 29 17 790 1911 205 3 976 2 1 69 24 120 0 811 1204 1377 54 11 28 26 9 60 11 3376 16 658 182 16 37 27 1 3015 3685 0

Suffolk Birci Report

Marsh Warbier Icterine Warbier Dartford Warbier Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbier Blackcap Barred Warbier Wood Warbier Willow Warbier Chiffchaff Yellow-browed Warbier Pallas's Warbier Radde's Warbier Dusky Warbier Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flyctacher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Penduline Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Jay Magpie Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Common Redpoll Lesser Redpoll Redpoll species Common Rosetinch Crossbill Bullfinch Hawfinch Yellowhammer Reed Bunting Snow Bunting Com Bunting TOTALS 210


2003 2 1 338 938 237 2272 1 6 612 838 1 2

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

2004 2 1 3 552 1758 349 3358 3 3 722 1871 4 4 1 2 1651 70 42 44 216 855 3 164 0 303 3458 2352 14 85 36 34 34 5 7 976 1103 35 1814 580 4011 1012 934 1241 1 259 17 1 2 230 2 247 963 268 1 52683

SUFFOLK NATURALISTS' SOCIETY Founded in 1929 by Claude Morley (1874-1951), the Suffolk Naturalists' Society pioneered the study and recording of the County's flora, fauna and geology, to promote a wider interest in natural history. Recording the natural history of Suffolk is still one of the Society's primary objects, and members' observations are fed to a network of specialist recorders for possible publication, and deposited in the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, jointly managed with Ipswich Museums. Suffolk Natural History, a review of the County's wildlife, and Suffolk Birds, the County bird report, are two high quality annual publications issued free to members. The Society also publishes a quarterly newsletter and organises an interesting programme of field excursions and winter lectures at venues throughout the County. The Suffolk Naturalists' Society offers a joint membership with the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group at a reduced subscription. This entitles joint members to receive literature and attend the meetings of both organisations. If you are not yet a member of the Society but would like to join, contact Mrs J. Hardingham, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. M E M B E R S H I P CATEGORIES: Individual Family Corporate

SNS £14 £16 £16

Joint membership SNS/SOG £24 £28

CONTENTS Page Editorial Malcolm Wright Review of the Year Malcolm Wright A Study of Sparrowhawks in Suffolk RegWoodard

5 7 16

Wood Larks in Breckland 1971-2004 Ron Hoblyn


Wood Larks on the Suffolk Coast 1998-2004 Rob Macklin


Great Cormorants on the Orwell Estuary Mick Wright


Nesting Bearded Tits in the W. Suffolk Fens Norman Sills


The 2004 Suffolk Bird Report: Introduction


Systematic List




List of Contributors




Earliest and Latest Dates of Summer Migrants


A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk


Rare Birds in Suffolk 2004 David Walsh


Regional Review Adam Gretton


Suffolk Ringing Report 2004 Peter Lack




Suffolk Birds 2004 Part 2  

Volume 54

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