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Suffolk Birci Report 2008

The 2008 Suffolk Bird Report Systematic List Introduction The list and its appendices have been written using data supplied by the county's birdwatchers and conservation organisations. The raw data have been coilated and interpreted by the following: Swans Geese Ducks Game birds, rails to Crâne Divers to Spoonbill Raptors Oystercatcher to Ruff Snipes to phalaropes

John Grant, Skuas to gulls Phil Whittaker, Terns to auks Nick Mason, Gi Grieco Pigeons to woodpeckers Andrew Green Larks to Hedge Accentor John Davies Chats to thrushes John Grant Warbiers to flycatchers Chris Gregory Tits to shrikes Mark Nowers Crows to buntings Philip Murphy Appendices

James Wright Andrew Easton Malcolm Wright Derek Beamish Steve Fryett James Brown Phil Whittaker Rob Macklin Peter Kennerley

The 'officiai' British list is maintained by the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU). Species are included in various catégories according to their status, as follows: • Category A - species which have been recorded in an apparently natural state at least once since January Ist 1950; • Category B - species that would otherwise be in Category A but have not been recorded since December31st 1949; • Category C - species that, although originally introduced by man, either deliberately or accidentally, have established self-sustaining breeding populations; • Category D - species that would otherwise appear in Catégories A or B except that there is doubt that they have ever occurred in a naturai state; • Category E - species that have been recorded as introductions, transportées or escapees from captivity, and whose breeding populations are not thought to be self-sustaining. The main part of the species accounts consists of species that occurred in Suffolk in 2007, which fall into Catégories A and C. Where a species is included in multiple catégories, this is shown in the initial status summary. Catégories D and E do not form part of either the British or Suffolk lists. Species from these Catégories that occurred in Suffolk in 2007 are included as appendices to the main list. The order and nomenclature follow the latest published for The British List by the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU 2006). This list can be accessed on their web site at English names follow the same list. Subspecies are listed under the main species' heading, which includes the scientific name. The records for each species are listed mostly under the parish where the bird occurred, sometimes followed by a more precise location if known. The exception to this is at the river estuaries and larger, well-known sites criss-crossed by several parish boundaries e.g. Walberswick NNR, Minsmere, Orfordness, Alton Water etc. The gazetteer on page 161 gives locations for those sites not easily located on a standard road map. The order of records is north to south down the coastal région, working round the estuaries, then inland from the northeast to the southwest of the county. To minimise any Potential threats to site security, some records of rare breeding birds are published anonymously and under a vague site heading. As much use as possible is made of systematic monitoring schemes such as the WeBS counts. Using such co-ordinated data instead of maximum counts gives a better idea of the populations of each species wintering in the county on a given date. However, fluctuations in numbers due to changing weather patterns will affect totals and higher counts are given 38

Systematic List in the text after the table where appropriate. Counts from North Warren include Thorpeness Meare, Church Farm Marshes and the shoreline between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh; the Aide/Ore Estuary includes the complex of the Aide, Ore and Butley rivers as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave reservoir and Havergate Island; and the Orwell includes Trimley Marshes, Loompit Lake and Bourne Park Water Meadows. Counts from the Stour ali refer solely to the Suffolk side of the estuary. The larger part of the report, particularly for the more common species, is based upon ad hoc records. Data of that type are influenced by the distribution of birdwatchers, the weather and other factors that result in imperfections. We are nonetheless indebted to those observers who have persevered with other studies, such as Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), Constant Effort Sites (CES) and transect counts and for making the results available for use. A summary of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is given for ali those species for which meaningful data are available. See A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk' elsewhere in this Report for information on submission of records. The following définitions are intended as a guide to the relative status of each species: Very common: Occurs in large numbers in suitable habitat and season. Common: Occurs regularly or widely distributed in suitable habitat. Fairly common: Occurs in small numbers in suitable habitat and season. Uncommon: Occurs annually in small numbers. Scarce: One or two records each year or restricted to spécifié habitats. Rare: Occurs less than annually. Very rare: Less than 15 records in past 30 years. Accidentai: Less than three records in past 30 years. Included in the status description is a note if the species is included in either the Red or the Amber List of Birds of Consen'ation Concerti '. This is a paper jointly produced by the leading bird conservation organisations in the UK. See Suffolk Bird Report \o\.41: 6-10 for further détails. The following abbreviations are sometimes used in the systematic list:= Ad adult = Golf Course GC Ad = adult = Golf Course GC BBS = Breeding Bird Survey GP = gravel pit CES = Constant Effort Site Imm = immature CP = Country Park Juv = juvenile Ind. E = industriai estate NNR = National Nature Reserve N = = River bird(s) flying north R S = = reservoir bird(s) flying south res WM = Water Meadow WP = Water Park SW = WR = Wildfowl Reserve sewage works


Suffolk Birci Report 2008 MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor Common resident. Categories A and C. It would appear that even a conspicuous species such as this can be under- recorded. The year's total of 58 pairs, reported from a total of 31 sites, compares favourably with the previous year's total of 40 records of successful breeding but still probably fails to reflect the species' true breeding population. Observers reports referred to a total of 77 cygnets, but only a small proportion of breeding records were accompanied by details of the number of young raised from each nest. The importance of the environs of the Deben Estuary for this species, especially the vast fields adjacent to the river's lower reaches, has long been acknowledged and is once again clearly illustrated in the table below. In addition to the counts below, notable herds were reported as follows: 50, Reydon Marshes, April 5th, 52, Peak monthly counts fromselected sites: Boyton Marshes, May Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec 7th and 72, Lakenheath, Minsmere 21 21 43 tĂ­ 25 12. : 12 September 12th. Sudbury North Warren 47 29 24 32 - 30 47 16 Common Lands is clearly Deben 145 176 181 156 112 123 148 162 important too, as can been Orwell 35 46 128 132 -seen from the records of herds of 100 on January 9th, 88 on November 14th and 72 on December 29th. A gathering of 22 at Loompit Lake, Trimley St. Martin on June 26th included at least one "Polish morph" individual - this was the only reference in observers records to a bird showing such characteristics. TUNDRA (BEWICK'S) SWAN Cygnus columbianus bewickii Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. In the first winter period a well-watched herd entertained many observers in the Westleton/Minsmere area during January and part of February, feeding in roadside fields during the day and roosting on the reserve's Scrape in hours of darkness. On January 1 st the herd numbered 14, increasing to 16 on January 13th and 17 on January 19th. The total had risen to 24 on February 6th and peaked at 28 on February 10th. The last report of this herd in the first winter period came on February 20th when it numbered 13. Elsewhere in the north-east recording area during this period two were on Beccles Marshes on January 2nd, two were at Shipmeadow, between Beccles and Bungay, on February 24th and Reydon Marshes held three on January 23rd and four on February 13 th. A herd of 32 flying out to sea over Kessingland on February 6th probably involved birds that were at least making a start on the long journey back to their breeding grounds, and the 67 amassed at Bradwell on February 22nd may well have involved transitory birds from wintering areas further to the west. In the west of the county, counts at Sedge Fen, Lakenheath/Mildenhall of 130 on January 6th and 149 on February 3rd almost certainly involved birds from the Cambridgeshire Fens wintering population. It is tempting to speculate that this large Fenland wintering population is made up in part of birds that once wintered on the Suffolk coast. They may well have been lured further to the west by the temptation of supplementary food provided on nature reserves and the prospect of social interaction with so many of their kind. No October records were received, the first returning birds being the five forming the vanguard of the Minsmere/Westleton area herd which arrived on November 9th. There appears to have been a fairly widespread arrival in the subsequent days of November, with the Minsmere/Westleton herd building up to a peak of 28 on November 25th. At Outney Common, Bungay, 24 flew west on November 13th, eight had assembled in Holbrook Bay on November 20th and 26 flew in off the sea over Lowestoft on November 24th, a day on 40

3. Great Egret.

4. Female Goosander.

Sean Nixi n

Stuart Read

5. Little Grebe in April.

Alan Tate

7. Osprey mobbed by Rooks at Gipping Valley in October.

8. Red-footed Falcon at Lakenheath o n M a y 12th.

Alan Tate

BUI Basta

9. Peregrine chicks at Orwell Bridge on 20th May 2008. BMBaston



which six flew west over Pakenham. On the following day, 19 flew in off the sea over Benacre Broad. By the year's end, the Minsmere/Westleton herd was consistently numbering 25. Movement appears to have been much reduced in December, with the only records of transient birds being six south over Covehithe, December 6th and five north over Aldeburgh, December 14th. In addition, two made a brief visit to Thorington Street, Stoke-by-Nayland on December 15th where they fed in a sugar beet field south of the reservoir. WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. A party of five birds, including three first-winters, was present in the Minsmere area from January 1 st to February 8th.Elsewhere the only reports in the first winter period involved one at Lackford Lakes on January 26th and six with their smaller wild cousins at Sedge Fen on January 6th. Two flying north at Thorpeness on March 7th were presumably passage birds which had wintered elsewhere. In contrast with the previous species, October arrivals were noted. Five, including three first-winters, were on the sea off Minsmere on October 21st. A singleton flew over Minsmere on October 27th; what was probably the same individual was seen at nearby North Warren on the same day and it was also possibly the bird noted at Boyton Marshes on the same date. A singleton was noted at Minsmere on November 2nd. The largest group reported during the year was the seven flying over Benacre Broad on November 6th but the only other November record related to two flying north over Minsmere on 25th. In December, the only reports received involved singletons at Covehithe, December 6th, and Dunwich, December 30th, four at the latter site on December 31st, and a group of five flying south at Landguard, December 15th, which constitutes only the site's sixth record of the species. BEAN GOOSE Anserfabalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. In the early winter, North Warren grazing marshes was the favoured area with the highest count often on January 4th. All records relate to Tundra Bean Goose A.f. rossicus except a single bird at Reydon Marshes of the race Taiga, A.f. fabilis, January 28th to February 23rd (B J Small et al.), the first Taiga in Suffolk since at least 1994. Bean Geese were reported during the first winter period as follows:Ashby: Market Lane, Jan 13th and 15th. Herringfleet: Feb 19th. Trimley Marshes: Jan 5th and 6th. River Orwell: Orwell Bridge area and Wherstead Strand, Feb 11th to 13th, 17th, 24th and 25th; bird with damaged leg, Mar 5th, 8th and 27th. Mickle Mere: two, considered to be wild birds, Jan 9th, 11th, 12th and 18th. Fewer birds recorded in the second winter period:Benacre: three, on Benacre Broad, then flew north, Oct 23rd. North Warren: grazing marshes, Nov 16th and Dec 4th, 18th, 21st and 23rd; two, Dec 30th. Bawdsey: East Lane, two, Nov 12th. Trimley St Martin: Old Kirton Road, five flew east identified by call, Oct 24th. PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. Categories A and E. In recent years in the north-east of the county the rise in numbers of this winter goose has continued, with the Suffolk record broken twice in 2008 with a flock of 10000 at Ashby Market Lane, January 13th and 14th, and then in late winter with a count of 14140 at Bradwell on December 20th! 41

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 Allowing that there was a lot of overlap, other records came from:Burgh Castle: 3000 flew east, Dec 14th. Fritton Marshes: 248, Oct 21st. Flixton: 700 north-west, Oct 17th; 1000 north, Oct 21st; 1000 west, Dec 22nd. Blundeston Marshes: 2000 overhead. Jan 15th; 300 south-east, Nov 25th. Somerleyton Marshes: 5000 south, Jan 30th; 1000, Feb 1st; 1000 Feb 23rd. Ashby: Market Lane, 5000, Jan 19th; 2000, Oct 8th. Belton: by Cherry Lane garden centre, 3000, Dec 22nd; 5000, Dec 23rd; 4000, Dec 25th; 3000 Dec 26th. Bradwell: 4000, Dec 16th; 3210, Dec 17th; 6100, Dec 18th; 3500, Dec 24th. Lowestoft: Ness Point, 120 flew out to sea, Nov 6th. Oulton: 750 south-west, Jan 9th; Oulton Marsh, 500 flying west, Nov 27th. Kessingland: 700 flew high south-east, Oct 14th. South wold: three, Dec 13th, 17th to 19th and 26th. Reydon Marshes: 14, Feb 7th and Feb 10th to 18th. Henham: Buleamp Marshes, 130, Oct 19th. Minsmere: two adults and three juveniles on Island Mere, Sep 23rd; 17 on levels, Sep 28th; 11 north, Oct 2nd; 20 south, Oct 11th. North Warren: ten, Jan 2nd; one, Dec 23rd; two, Dec 24th; four, Dec 26th. Boyton Marshes: eight, Jan 17th. Deben Estuary: WeBS, 35, Jan 13th. Landguard: 36 south, Jan 22nd; two, Jan 26th; eight north, Oct 23rd. Alton Water: WeBS, Oct 19th. In south-east Suffolk, a single Pink-footed Goose was present at Loompit Lake January 23rd and Trimley Marshes hosted six, April 27th and eight, May 4th. There were singles at Trimley Marshes on November 22nd and December 12th. In the Gipping Valley an escaped bird first seen in February 2005 was present at Barham Pits, January 5th, at Great Blakenham chalk pit on March 31st and nearby at Baylham Mill, June 5th. Two further regular birds at Mickle Mere, Pakenham and Livermere, often associating with feral Greylag Geese were seen throughout the year. G R E A T E R W H I T E - F R O N T E D G O O S E An ser albifrons Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories A and E. North Warren was again the favoured site with an increase on previous years, while there were fewer in number at Minsmere with a maximum of 20, January 6th on the Scrape, 98 on the levels, February 18th and 50, December 31st. In the west of the county at Mickle Mere, a flock of 31 was on a field of winter cereal, December 28th to the end of the year, with 34 noted on 30th. The Peak monthly counts at the principal site: same birds were also noted Jan Feb Mar Oct Nov Dec at Ixworth with 31, DecemNorth Warren 444 350 293 59 138 ber 31st. There were no October records; the first birds of the second winter period were at Easton Bavents where 29 flew south in fog on November 3rd. Other records were as follows:Ashby: four, Jan 15th; three, Jan 19th. Herringfleet Marshes: three, Feb 19th and 23rd; six, Nov 8th. Carlton Colville: 21 flew east, Jan 5th. Kessingland Levels: 13, Jan 1st and 4th. Southwold: Town Marshes, ten, Jan 1st; 37, Jan 2nd. Thorpeness: nine south offshore, Jan 26th. Aide Estuary: WeBS, 58, Feb 1st; 206, Nov 16th. Orfordness: 49 south, Jan 5th; 35 north, Feb 3rd; 220 down river, Feb 23rd, presumably same birds as present at Sudbourne; Airfields, two adults and four juveniles, Nov 15th to Dec 14th. Sudbourne Marshes: 210, Feb 14th; 15, Nov 11th. Boyton Marshes: seven, Nov 16th. 42



Dcben Estuary: WeBS, 30, Jan 13th. Landguard: 11 in off sea and north. Mar 11th. Trimley Marshes: nine, Feb 17th and 28th and Mar 6th. Loompit Lake: Feb 10th and 14th. Stour Estuary: WeBS, two, Feb 10th; three, Mar 9th. GREYLAG GOOSE Anser unser Common resident from feral stock. Amber List. Categories A, C and E. Greylag Goose maintains its status as a common feral breeding bird with breeding records coming from 24 sites. The highest counts came as usual from the north-west, although these were considerably lower than in 2007. The BBS found this species in 27% of 48 surveyed squares. At Loompit Lake, breeding totals were 'probably' 50 young in ten broods and at Baylham Mill a flock of 65 contained a 'creche' of 52 young, June 5th. At Great Livermere, a group of 21 young was seen in three broods. May 2nd. Large flocks were seen, away from the above sites; 375 at Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin, August 28th, 240 at Higham, near Hadleigh, August 9th, 223 at Barton Mere, September 29th, and 300 at Flempton, October Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec 21st. A large flock 250 154 192 200 87 188 195 99 Minsmere frequented Alton 240 24 24 132 265 251 52 North Warren 112 Water throughout the 44 214 30 286 85 11 Orfordness 150 13 year with a maxi0;---y. 257 141 361 Aide/Ore Estuary mum of 613, 120 232 168 21 43 13 173 Deben 12 October 9th. 114 173 Orwell Estuary HVV 300 416 On Orfordness, Orwell Estuary LW 224 146 94 209 birds were seen in Stour Estuary . 1 16 137 10 16 19 27 15 both winter periods, Redgrave 114 55 114 63 101 with a large flock Livermere Lake 800 720 520 26 600 474 129 present on the Airfields reaching a peak of 286 on December 21 st. One pair bred and produced a brood of five goslings there, May 10th. At Landguard one flew north on January 24th and local wanderers were noted on 13 dates between March 6th and June 24th. Eight flew south on August 8th and 17 south on September 28th. GREATER CANADA GOOSE Branta canadensis Common resident. Categories A, C and E. Breeding was confirmed at 17 sites and the BBS found this species in 10% of 48 surveyed squares. At North Warren Peak counts at selected sites: Dec Sep Oct Nov Jan Feb Mar Apr this species has 4 16 6 22 59 59 13 18 declined, with ten Minsmere 122 210 115 18 13 20 16 21 breeding pairs pre- North Warren 150 182 13 40 159 22 42 11 sent, yet only two Orfordness 1248 1026 Aide/Ore Estuary 704 ¡ I f ! ® 591 young seen. At Oeben 139 156 55 53 244 128 187 532 Loompit Lake there 72 Orwell Estuary HW 200 109 73 were seven broods 129 Orwell Estuary LW 167 211 66 producing about 30 272 Stour Estuary 263 242 201 123 150 172 337 young. At Boxford, 203 Redgrave 200 Ö B S 240 40 •6 goslings were Livermere Lake ÉîaiSïiK 75 produced from three broods and 22 from three broods were seen at Great Livermere, May 2nd. The above table and county-wide records throughout the year suggest frequent inter-site 43

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 movements. Away from the above areas sightings included a flock of 135 at Barham Pits, January 1 lth. At Higham, near Hadleigh, 200 were recorded, December 12th and Alton Water held large flocks ali year with a maximum count of 133, November 16th. On Orfordness, birds were present in both winter periods, mainly on the Airfields. The maximum count was 222, January 5th. A minimum of four pairs bred with broods of young seen. At Landguard, one flew south January 9th, and the species was then noted on eight dates between March 8th and May 18th with a maximum of six south, Aprii 26th. Thirtytwo were sat on the River Orwell off Landguard on June lOth. A Canada Goose x Greylag Goose was present at Loompit Lake and had 'possibly been present for 4-5 years '. BARNACLE GOOSE Branta leucopsis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant; iitcreasingly common ferai resident. Amber List. Catégories A and E. Sightings came from 17 sites and those outside of the species' north-eastern stronghold were mainly single-figure records. Spéculation as to the status of birds seen in the county in the winter months continues and the distribution figures show, once again, that in the spring and summer month's numbers are considerably reduced at ail sites. The BBS found this species in 2% of 48 surveyed squares. A minimum of 23 pairs 'attempted' to breed on the Scrape at Minsmere. In the first winter Peak monthly counts at threed sites: period, 60 were Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee present at Shingle •.'i. Southwuid 60 6 400 Street, February 9th Minsmere 115 600 300 185 200 318 300 65 and 30 were at BenNorth Warren 170 150 147 7 220 250 250 -acre, February 17th. The roost of 600 at Minsmere, February 2 lst is a reserve record and the largest group recorded in the county in 2008. At Mickle Mere a single bird was present throughout most of the year and at Livermere Lake, 14 were present, May 20th. In the second winter period 60 were at Thorpeness on November 1 st. In February, on Orfordness, 13 were on the Airfields on 3rd, 70 flew south on 9th and 46 were present on 24th. A single bird was seen intermittently with Greylags from November 15th to December 28th. At Landguard, 56 passed south on February 8th, 94 south on February 9th, and nine south on March 3rd, eight south, March 12th, five south, March 13th, six south, May 4th and 15 north on July 28th. BRENT GOOSE Branta bermela (DARK-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Branta bermela bermela Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red List. Categories A and E. In both winter periods records carne from a total of 30 coastal sites. At both Kessingland and Thorpeness single and double-figure counts were recorded in every month from January to June 5th and from September 7th to the year's end. At Shotley in Peak counts at selected localities: February the flock of Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee 830 included 56 Aide/Ore Estuarv 187 1 142 61 (7%) first-winter Deben Estuar) 1409 638 670 1 14 293 734 birds. Other doubleOrwell EstuaryHW 1097 1601 218 406 408 569 figure sightings in Stour Estuary 1007 797 1275 661 2 . 158 475 1263 the first winter Trimlev Marshes 800 600 90 6 HO 370 period were 45, Shotley Marshes 812 830 477 Aldeburgh, January 14th, 37, Kessingland, February 14th and 19 north offThorpeness on March 26th. 44



There were many autumn movements along the coastal strip. The most significant southerly movement took place on October 30th with 3840 off Thorpeness, 1500 off Minsmere and 1295 off Lowestoft. A total of 194 also flew north on this date past the above sites (see Orfordness and Landguard on same date below). Amongst 477 birds at Shotley Marshes, only five (1%) first-winter birds were noted, December 8th compared with 27% of a flock of 118 birds in November 2007 and 46% of a flock of 166 in November 2004. Birds were still present in late spring including 140 in Holbrook Bay, May 6th. On Orfordness, small numbers were present throughout the winter months with a peak count of 123 in February. Birds were frequently seen passing over the site, with a maximum of 220 south on February 17th. A few birds lingered into April, with single birds seen on various dates in June. The first returning birds were 18 south on September 2nd, then regularly seen, with 152 south October 15th and 91 south on 25th. On October 30th a major passage was seen totalling 5700 flying south. In November 129 flew south on 1st. At Landguard, the last noted were on June 2nd and a later bird south, 26th. The first autumn record was 12 north, September 13th. Peak passage took place as at other sites on October 30th with a spectacular movement of 12890 birds recorded flying south, approaching the record counts of "16,000 off Landguard Point on 11th November, 1983 "(Piotrowski 2003). A monthly total of 1370 was recorded south in November. (PALE-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Branta bermela hrota Uncommon winter visitor. All of the records in 2008 were of single birds. In the first winter period, at Orfordness, possibly the same bird was seen flying south down river with Dark-bellied Brent Geese on January 26th, on the saltmarsh, February 10th and on the airfield seven days later. Lowestoft: north, Sep 7th (Lounge Lizards); south with four Dark-bellied Brents, Nov 2nd (S Abbott). Kessingland: south, Sep 7th, possibly same bird as above (P Read). Southwold: Dec 20th (B J Small). Orfordness: south down river, Jan 26th; saltmarsh, Feb 10th; airfield, Feb 17th; airfield, flew to Sudbourne Marshes, Dec 28th (all Orfordness Bird Report). BLACK BRANT Branta bermela nigricans Scarce visitor. Records of Black Brant only came from the Trimley and Shotley area and in the first winter period in a similar pattern to the previous year. Robin Biddle submitted most of the records between the first day of January and April 4th. He recorded two at Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin on February 2nd and two at Crane's Hill, Shotley on March 19th. It was probable that there had been two in the area at the end of 2007. There were no records of Black Brant in the second winter period. EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiaca Locally fairly common resident. Categories C and E. This species is becoming more widespread with each year that passes. Proving the point, there were as many as seven records received from the south-east, including three at East Lane, Bawdsey, March 3rd. The highest numbers came from the west with a maximum of up to 52 counted at the Livermere Lake complex, August 12th. In 2007 there were 24 individuals counted in six BBS squares but in 2008 the figure dropped to eight birds in three squares. Breeding reports were received from Hopton-on-Sea, Lound, Herringfleet Marshes, Burgh Castle, Oulton Broad, Leathes Ham, Hulver Street, Beccles Quay, Weybread GP, Flixton GP, Benacre Park, Hen Reedbeds, the River Deben at Easton, Shrubland Park, West Stow Country Park, Barton Mere and Livermere Lake. 45

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 COMMON SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna Locally corninoti resident, winter visitor andpassage Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Mar Apr May Feb 794 364 61 Blyth Estuary 370 843 1120 • 735 Aide/Ore Estuary 754 470 570 532 Deben Estuary 411 439 262 180 Orwell Estuary HW 344 Orwell Estuary LW 591 618 - 404 1122 1752 605 Stour Estuary 214 268 Livermere Lake* 117 210 135 * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW Low Water

migrant. Amber list. Jun

" -Vv 173 -


Sep 236 44 32 11 •4 123 1

Oct 283 162 147 47 340 10

Nov 383 537 304 600 325 1074 61

Dec 325 619 428 198 516 1353 88

There were some particularly high counts during the first winter period. The January WeBS count on the Blyth Estuary is the highest count made there since one of 852 in November 1990, likewise the February WeBS count on the Stour Estuary is the highest count there since one of 1963 in December 1994, and Livermere Lake recorded its highest numbers since 273 were present in March 1999. Breeding success was good at the principal sites, with a minimum of 19 broods totalling 143 ducklings at Orfordness (the best since 2004) and at least seven broods totalling 76 ducklings at Livermere Lake (the best since 2005). At North Warren 18 pairs were present, April 3rd and at least 12 pairs were prospecting at Landguard during the spring. Elsewhere, there were four pairs at Snape Warren, 'several' pairs were noted breeding in The King's Forest, three pairs bred successfully at Mickle Mere and two pairs at Gifford's Park, while single pairs were reported from Burgh Castle, Hen Reedbeds, Dingle Marshes, Minsmere, Flixton GP, Thorington, Great Bealings, Ipswich (River Gipping) and Barton Mere. Significant offshore movements were recorded on three days, with 51 (two north and 49 south) off Ness Point, Lowestoft and 82 (two north and 80 south) off Landguard, October 30th; 58 (35 north and 23 south) offThorpeness, November 17th and 153 south off Landguard, December 14th. MANDARIN DUCK Aix galericulata Uncommon feral visitor. A small breeding colony is establishing. Categories C and E. Breeding was again confirmed in Ipswich with two broods located. Elsewhere small numbers were as usual widely reported, but most, if not all, of these birds were probably recent escapees from captivity. Oulton Broad: female, May 18th. Dingle Marshes: male, June 10th. Minsmere: female, Mar 18th. Melton: Park, pair, Apr 13th. Ipswich: Christchurch Park, recorded throughout the year with peak count of eight, Dec 18th; one pair bred raising two ducklings; Holywells Park, one pair bred, but their three ducklings were soon lost. Sotterley Park: three (one male), Jan 18th to Feb 25th. Weybread GP: male, Apr 7th. Bures: River Stour, two, Apr 15th. EURASIAN WIGEON Anas penelope Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Amber list. Categories A and E. The non-WeBS count of 4000 at North Warren, January 27th is a site record, exceeding the count of 3720 made there in January 2003. Aside from the table, other notable counts came from Dingle Marshes, 115, February 9th; Botany Farm, Farnham, 600, December 6th and Shelley, 235, January 4th. 46


Monthly counts from the key sites: Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep 197 25 424 342 Blvth Estuary 146 5 223 1087 714 494 269 241 294 461 Minsmere 607 190 352 1280 North Warren* 4000 2240 552 38 60 100 Aide/Ore Estuary 6120 4405 310 240 1463 3930 4668 474 900 447 79 129 Deben Estuary 577 402 23 844 56 679 832 Orwell Estuary HW 792 726 618 473 1034 •• » Orwell Estuary LW 1263 1615 46 44 86 105 15 Alton Water 33 38 720 -2582 1235 Stour Estuary 1437 1640 647 137 851 •• 50 49 130 Ä S i t i 253 208 111 Redgrave Lake 108 116 146 63 Miekle Mere4 62 18 i S | § f 34 95 4 50 77 Livermere Lake" 120 99 85 150 ® § n Gifford's Hall4 290 390 11 17 40 250 Thorington Street Res 4 56 12 108 210 * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water OO

There was no evidence of breeding, although there was the usual scattering of mid-summer records from five coastal sites, including a count of eight at Minsmere, July 11 th and one south offKessingland, July 13th.


Offshore passage peaked in mid-September and again in late October and early November, with the following notable counts logged:Lowestoft: Ness Point, 221 south, Sep 11th; 100 south, Sep 14th. Kessingland: 30 north and 103 south, Sep 13th; 162 south, Oct 30th; 117 south, Dec 14th. Minsmere: 150 south, Sep 11th; 200 south, Sep 13th; 250 south, Oct 30th. Thorpeness: 145 south, Sep 13th; 110 south, Oct 31st; 125 south, Nov 1st; 212 south, Nov 2nd; 295 south, Nov 9th. Landguard: 260 south, Nov 2nd. GADWALL Anas streperà Common resident and winter visitor. Amber list. Categories A and C. Monthly counts from the key sites: Jun Jul Aug Jan Feb Mar Apr May Minsmere4 441 97 112 388 65 128 78 113 North Warren4 84 10 10 10 12 208 218 22 ... »i ; / Aide/Ore Estuar) 4 64 221 39 Orwell EstaaryHW 4 4 109 268 117 5 7 - 5 ... Orwell Estuary LW Ä ? ' . .... 244 195 Siisi Alton Water 4 109 6 2 2 _ Redgrave Lake* '(iiSiii 57 20 Mickle Mere* 47 71 56 16 96 22" 43 ... Lackford Lakes4 fsfSSsi 119 I'hormgton Street Res4 ... 44 85 37 * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW - Low Water

Oct 243 4 87 198

Sep 272 18 9 51



24 159

17 63 -;

96 54

_ 90

Nov 335 72 144 496 159 119 197 114



Unlike the previous two years the County record total was not broken, although the highest count of the year, the low-water WeBS count of 499 on the Orwell Estuary, December 8th, is a new site record. The WeBS count of 388 at Minsmere, July 21st is notable for being unseasonably high. Apart from those in the table, other counts of note were 111, Leathes Ham, Lowestoft, December 24th; 55, Dingle Marshes, February 9th; 104, Thorpeness Meare, November 11th and 108, Lakenheath Washes, September 12th. Breeding numbers were well down, but this is most likely due to a lack of reporting rather than an actual decline. On the coast six sites held 102 breeding pairs, with 73 of these at Minsmere (an increase of ten on the previous year), while inland a total of 13 broods was located at seven sites, with Mickle Mere, Livermere Lake and Barton Mere each supporting three.


Suffolk Birci Report 2008 EURASIAN TEAL Anas crecca Common winter visitor andpassage migrant. Scarce resident. Amber list. The highest count of the year, the WeBS count of 3961 on the Aide/Ore Estuary, December 14th, is the Monthly sitesfromthe key sites: highest count made Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee in Suffolk since 595 136 260 6 236 Benacre Broad* 605 400 January 1956 when 0 Blvth Estuary 709 200 8 399 410 944 395 6000 were recorded _ ' 175 Dingle Marshes 570 1054 • on Havergate Island. 1019 448 469 192 421 924 681 684 Minsmere There were two high 4 500 789 560 226 110 130 450 250 North Warren counts in August, 248 1914 2020 3961 2266 1010 897 Alde/Ore Estuary namely 210 on the 422 124 217 148 Deben Estuary 369 320 166 28 54 32 396 370 73 Butley River on 2Ist Orwell Estuary IIW 732 288 240 v:\. 4' 466 940 and 225 at Minsmere Orwell Estuar?' LW 616 606 '«vSfi : 156 128 178 498 281 the following day. Stour Estuary 512 481 470 Aside from the 184 132 125 200 179 Miekle Mere* 165 61 231 300 sites covered in the 278 117 69 Laektbrd Lakes* table, three-figure ä' 176 Gifford's Hall4 90 68 30 43 counts carne from * monthly maxima HW- High water LW = Low Water Sizewell Estate, 117, January 20th; Abbey Farm, Snape, 250, December 6th; Lakenheath Washes, 147, February 17th and 130, December 15th and Great Blakenham Chalk Pit, 110, December 23rd. For the first time since 2004 breeding was confirmed in the County when a female was observed accompanying two half-grown ducklings in a dyke on Orfordness, August 3rd. In addition, Minsmere supported a possible 13 pairs, although it was difficult to eliminate passage birds, while single pairs possibly bred at Hen Reedbeds, Sizewell Estate and North Warren. Offshore passage included the following notable movements:Lowestoft: 183 south, Sep 1 Ith; north and 180 south, Sep 14th. Kessingland: 150 south, Jan 4th; 50 north and 724 south, September; 36 north and 293 south, November. The peak day-count was of one north and 132 south, Sep lOth. Southwold: 190 south, Aug 24th; 109 south, Nov 30th. Minsmere: 100 south, Sep 13th; 100 south, Oct 30th; 120 south, Oct 3Ist. Thorpeness: two north and 110 south, Aug 30th; 19 north and 398 south, Nov. The peak day-count was of 160 south, Nov 2nd. Landguard: 291 south, Aug; seven north and 209 south, September; 143 south, Oct 30th and 32 north and 328 south during November. ä

Eurasian Teal Anas crecca x Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis hybrid The male from last year remained on the Scrape at Minsmere until January 17th. GREEN-WINGED TEAL Anas carolinensis Rare visitor. Gifford's Park: male, Nov 15th, believed to be the returning individuai first recorded in 2006 (A Gretton). 2007 Addition: Gifford's Park: male, Nov 15th to 18th (A Gretton) - assumed to be the returning individuai first recorded in 2006. MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. In addition to those in the table, three-figure counts were received from Dingle Marshes, 48



155, January 13th; Minsmere, 188, June 22nd and 114, July 21st; East Lane, Bawdsey, 150, December 23rd; Mickle Mere, 115, June 28th; Livermere Lake, 650, December 22nd and Lakenheath, 170, August 24th and 100, November 16th. Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug 83 22 30 H i 59 Blyth Estuary 65 130 51 392 158 Minsmere* 65 66 185 North Warren* 416 381 266 .. Aldc/Ore Estuary 145 - 74 61 ; V 155 Deben Estuary 54 11 140 205 92 Orwell Estuar) HW 348 :— ÌÉII 324 Orwell Estuary LW 69 55 37 42 Alton Water 101 40 50 25 - 14 141 Stour Estuary 85 42 Mickle Mere* 148 292 74 Thorington Street Res.* * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water

Sep 38 75 81 38 73 80 -

36 32

Oct 177 300 93 396 49 162 102 65





Nov 199 473 2)9 534 125 93 342 116 125 273 .


Dec 73 356 8) 530 115 150 274 107 75 109 275

Although widely reported from 26 sites, breeding numbers were well down, with 237 pairs recorded (337 in 2007). Minsmere, with 80 pairs, and North Warren, with 27, held the highest numbers, but both these well-monitored sites have seen a continuing decline over the past four years. NORTHERN PINTAIL Anas acuta Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant; a few oversummer. Amber list. Categories A and E. Monthly countsfromthe key sites: For the second Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec consecutive year the Blyth Estuary 156 264 102 0 ." 5 34 0 143 highest count in North Warren* 80 28 39 117 45 0 0 the County was the Aide/Ore Estuary* 447 247 218 9 153 236 8 102 January WeBS count Deben Estuary 89 10 97 0 0 5 116 HI on the Aide/Ore Orwell Estuary HW 128 62 98 0 38 57 2 25 Estuary complex, the Orwell Estuary LW 192 47 125 129 MMhighest there for Stour Estuary 147 83 0 17 40 17 27 15 six years. The WeBS * monthly maxima HW =»High water LW = Low Water count of 117 at North Warren, February 8th is a site record. Aside from the table, the only other notable gathering was of 118 at Trimley Marshes, January 19th. There was an unprecedented glut of summer records comprising at least 17 individuals at eight sites, but many of these could refer to wandering birds of captive origin. At Flixton GP, where 40 were released in 2006, a pair bred raising three young. Four juveniles were present at Livermere Lake, July 20th, with one remaining until August 10th, although these were thought to have fledged elsewhere. Inland records, omitting known escapees, were received from:Livermere Lake: male, Jan 2nd and 9th and Mar 22nd; four juvs, July 20th; two adults, July 26th; three juvs, July 29th to Aug 2nd; two juvs, Aug 3rd; juv, Aug 10th; three males, Oct 31 st. Lackford Lakes: male, Jan 1st; two males, Jan 4th; male, Jan 8th; two, Jan 28th; one, Feb 22nd; three, Aug 13th; Oct 6th; two males, Oct 7th. Long Melford: four, Jan 19th. Gifford's Park: female, Oct 18th; male, Nov 6th; two females, Nov 13th. Thorington Street: reservoir, two, Feb 5th; four, Apr 1st to 2nd; female, Aug 27th and Sep 7th; three, Nov 13th; 24, Nov 17th. Higham (near Hadleigh): seven, Mar 18th; male, Nov 13th.



Suffolk Birci Report


Pintail Su Gough

Coastal passage was recorded as follows, with a notable peak on October 30th:Kessingland: 11 south in Jan; south. Mar 31st; four south in Sep; 44 south in Oct (including 18, Oct 30th); five north and 18 south, Nov; three north and five south, Dec. Minsmere: 30 in off the sea, Oct 30th. Thorpeness: 15 south, Jan; south, Sep 1st; two north, Sep 22nd; two south, Oct 30th; 11 south, Nov; six north, Dec 1 st. Landguard: recorded between Sep 2nd and Nov 10th, with two north and five south, Sep, 45 south, Oct (including 44, Oct 30th); 13 south, Nov. G A R G A N E Y Anas querquedula Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Minsmere again proved to be the best site to see this well-recorded, although uncommon summer visitor, with birds regularly seen between the first, a male on the Scrape, March 18th and the last, again a male on the Scrape, October 14th. Two pairs probably bred on the reserve, and although breeding was not confirmed in the County, juveniles were seen at five sites during August and September. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, one to four recorded daily from Sep 8th to 14th; four, Sep 18th; three, Sep 19th to 20th; Sep 28th. Southwold: Town Marshes, three, Mar 30th and 31st; pair offshore, May 25th. Dingle Marshes: male, Apr 28th and May 9th, 13th and 14th. Minsmere: male, Mar 18th, then one or two regularly until Oct 14th. Maximum counts of five, Aug 1st; four, Apr 2nd and July 29th and three, June 3rd, 20th and 21st. Orfordness: July 31st; Aug 4th. Boyton Marshes: two males, Mar 31st. Falkenham: King's Fleet, pair, May 20th; male, Aug 28th. Trimley Marshes: three (two males), Apr 25th; pair, May 31st; male, July 6th; July 22nd; female, July 25th; male, Aug 20th; two, Aug 23rd. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, female, Aug 15th; Aug 24th and juv, Aug 30th to Sep 6th. North Cove: Castle Marsh, Apr 26th; two, May 17th; female, June 14th. Mickle Mere: pair, Apr 18th to 23rd; two males, May 5th. Ampton Water: pair, Apr 17th. Barton Mere: two juveniles, Aug 19th and 27th; juv, Sep 2nd. Lackford Lakes: pair, Apr 3rd to 5th; pair, Apr 27th; male, May 28th; three juvs, Aug 9th. Lakenheath Fen/Washes: three (two males), Apr 11th; two pairs, Apr 19th; two, Apr 20th; two pairs, Apr 25th; three males, May 4th; male, May 5th; two males, May 11 th and 13th; May 20th; male, Aug 24th. 50



Little Cornard: Cornard Mere, pair, Apr 4th. Gifford's Park: juv, Aug. Thorington Street: Reservoir, juv, Sep lst (presumed same as Gifford's Park).

NORTHERN SHOVELER Anas clypeata Common winter visitor andpassage migrant. Uncommon resident. Amber list. Monthly counts ftom the key sites; Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug 70 7 20 68 22 - 64 Lowestoft Leathes Ham* 14 157 71 99 154 135 134 90 56 - 22 Minsmere 210 37 44 115 171 76 North Warren4 83 8 194 260 206 246 150 iî-iyi 10 230 Aide/Ore Estuary 0 81 39 26 17 .39 62 38 4 Orwell Estuary HW 34 61 -87 82 H S i 1 Orwell Estuary LW HÄs 12 1 : 25 0 16 34 0 2 12 Stour Estuary -• 60 39 26 32 26 Mickle Mere* 28 44 64 114 39 32 Livermere Lake* 62 1 20 10 35 1 Barton Mere* 9 11 u n 41 13 1 ¡1 ü : 28 34 67 Lackford Lakes4 Water * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW Wintering numbers were generally down on last year, although there was a definite peak in late December, with non-WeBS counts of 210 at North Warren, December 24th and 204 at Orfordness, December 28th. Otherwise, counts of 30 or more, aside from those in the table, were made as follows:Dingle Marshes: 36, Feb 8th. Minsmere: 55, June 22nd; 30, July 21st. Gifford's Park: 30, Nov 17th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, 38, Nov 20th. Reported breeding numbers were much lower than the previous season, with a total of 37 pairs at five sites. On the coast 23 territories were located at Minsmere (36 in 2007), although no young were seen, six pairs bred at Dingle Marshes, three pairs at North Warren and three pairs were seen with young at Boyton Marshes in early May. In Breckland two pairs again bred successfully at Mickle Mere. RED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta rufina Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories A and E. The following records could all relate to birds of Continental origin, as they occurred on typical dates and at sites in the east of the County. There appears to have been a small influx on December 14th, including the first site record for Orfordness. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, two females, Jan Ist (first seen December 2007). Benacre Pits: female, Dec 14th. Orfordness: male, Dec 14th. Bawdsey: East Lane, male, Nov 29th to Dec 31st. Alton Water: two males, Dec 14th. COMMON P O C H A R D Aythya ferina Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Amber list. Categories A and E. With no count reaching three figures in the east of the County, wintering numbers were at their lowest level since 1991, probably due to the continuing run of mild conditions. Following the pattern of the previous two years, there was a notable early-autumn peak at two sites in the west. For the third consecutive year Lackford Lakes recorded the highest count of the year with 300, October 20th, and the 147 at Cavenham Pits, September 15th is


Suffolk Birci Report 2008

Sep Oct Nov 0 28 48 24 0 17 P ¡ S i 1 38 18 300 79 141 88


Dec 42 18 76 oo

Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug 6 2 74 31 Aide/Ore Estuary* 20 36 0 29 50 Orwell Estuary HW 93 — 87 Orwell Estuary LW 88 SSSI Lackford Lakes* 51 J f . 46 104 20 Cavenham Pits* * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water


the highest number there since a count of 181 in December 1987. No additional counts exceeding 50 were received. Breeding was confirmed at two coastal sites in the south-east and one site in Breckland, with a total of ten broods located. In addition, four pairs probably bred at two coastal sites in the north-east, although broods were not seen at either of them. TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Monthly countsfromthe key sites: Jan Feb Mar Apr Minsmere* 29 45 38 55 34 68 Aide/Ore Estuary* 99 25 Orwell Estuary HW 99 52 47 79 Orwell Estuary LW 90 58 Alton Water 167 39 662 606 146 Lackford Lakes* Ifüs Cavenham Pits* 40 Thorington Street Res.* 31 41 * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water

Aug 8 0 0

Sep 1 2 18

421 184 113






Oct II 9 44

166 146 68 45

Nov 13 42 67 38 377

Dec 25 29 57 92 308 -




There was an exceptionally high non-WeBS count of 450 on the River Orwell at Freston, January 21 st, the highest number on the river since February 3rd 1996 when 770 were off Wherstead Strand. Late-staying birds on the River Orwell led to unseasonably high WeBS counts of 80, May 18th and 67, June 22nd. Other counts exceeding 50 came from:Melton: Fishing Lakes, 51, Jan 15th. Coddenham: Sharmford Mere, 59, Feb 11th. Livermere Lake: 63, Apr 20th. Shelley: Priory Farm, 76, Oct 12th. Breeding was reported from 14 sites (18 in 2007) involving a total of 55 broods or pairs (103 in 2007), with Minsmere accounting for 26 of these. A brood of seven recentlyhatched ducklings at Livermere Lake, July 5th contained two which had pale cheeks with a dark horizontal band under the eye (the other five were the normal uniform dark brown). A nearby male Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis displayed when the female and ducklings came into view, which raises the possibility that this may have been a hybrid brood (D Cawdron). Small offshore movements were recorded in every month and included three north off Kessingland in June and one north and 17 south logged from four sites in July. The largest movement of the year was of 32 south off Lowestoft, August 17th, the largest offshore movement since 1993, when 48 flew south off Landguard, November 21 st. Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula x Greater Scaup Aythya marita hybrid The male hybrid at Shelley, first seen on December 17th last year, was still present on January 4th. 52

Systematic List GREATER SCAUP Aythya murila Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Transferred from Amber to Red list. Numbers in the first winter period, although still low, were an improvement on last year, with two regular freshwater sites being particularly well-favoured. Benacre Pits: first-winter male, adult and first-winter female, Jan 1 st to 3rd; six, Jan 5th; three, Jan 6th to 12th; four (one male), Jan 16th to 26th; Jan 29th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, male, Jan 1st to 28th. Wherstead: River Orwell, first-winter male and female, Jan 1st; female, Jan 2nd. Freston: River Orwell, female, Jan 5th - possibly same as Wherstead bird. Alton Water: male, Jan 1st to 25th; two males, Jan 26th; male, Jan 27th to Feb 1st; four, Feb 2nd and 3rd; Feb 13th; three, Feb 19th; four, Feb 22nd; Feb 24th; three, Mar 2nd. Stour Estuary: three, Jan 1st; four, Jan 13th (WeBS count); two, Jan 25th. Three were recorded during the summer months, with one south off Thorpeness, May 30th, a male on the Scrape, Minsmere, July 8th and another south off Thorpeness, August 2nd. There was a poor showing during the second winter period. Lowestoft: Ness Point, south, Nov 2nd. Thorpeness: four south, Oct 24th; south, Nov 2nd and 4th; two south, Nov 9th; south, Nov. 10th. Bawdsey: East Lane, two, Sep 21st to 29th. Deben Estuary: five, Dec 14th (WeBS count). Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, male, Nov 30th to Dec 4th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, Oct 30th, the only inland record of the year. COMMON EIDER Somateria mollissima Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Has bred. Amber list. Continuing the trend of recent years numbers were once again low during the first winter period, with 46 reported from eight sites, including one seen on the Deben Estuary during the WeBS counts on January 13th and February 10th. The sole April record concerned one north off Kessingland, April 21st, and the only summer records involved five north off Thorpeness, June 2nd and two off Minsmere, June 9th. Autumn passage began with one south off Thorpeness, August 30th and small numbers continued to be seen offshore until the end of the year, including a notable peak passage on November 1st. All day-counts exceeding 20 are listed below:Gorleston: 12 north and 19 south, Nov 30th. Lowestoft: Ness Point, 53 north and one south, Nov 1st; 41, Nov 24th. Pakefield: 30 north, Oct 30th. Kessingland: 19 north and 22 on the sea, Nov 5th; 30 north, Nov 25th; three north and 18 south, Dec 26th. Southwold: 36, Nov 1st; 26 north, Nov 25th. Thorpeness: 18 north and 30 south, Nov 1st; 18 north and three south, Nov 2nd; 43 north, Dec 16th. Orfordness: three north and 40 south, Nov 1st. Landguard: three north and 30 south, Nov 1st, presumably mostly the same birds. A female was present on the River Orwell ranging between the A14 Orwell Bridge and Trimley, November 27th to December 23rd. 53

Suffolk Birci Report


LONG-TAILED D U C K Clangula hyemalis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The additional records (below) brings last year's total to an impressive 18 and this year follows closely behind with 15, including one south off Landguard on the unexpected date o f M a y 25th. Minsmere: adult female, Feb 4th. Thorpeness: singles south, Apr 17th, Nov 1 st and 23rd. Bawdsey: East Lane, Dec 14th; offshore Dec 19th. Landguard: south, May 25th; south, Nov 30th; two south, Dec 15th. Stutton: River Stour, Nov 20th; two, Dec 6th to 15th; three, Dec 16th to 23rd; two, Dec 27th to 29th. North Cove: River Waveney, Nov 1 st. Alton Water: first-winter male, Jan 23rd and 24th; Feb 18th; Mar 5th. 2007 Additions: Gorleston: Mar 6th. Hopton-on-Sea: Mar 24th; offshore, Oct 14th.

Kessingland North South Thorpeness North South Landguard North South













155 OO

C O M M O N SCOTER Melanitta nigra Declining non-breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list.

64 91

167 42

46 43

106 22

234 75

161 135

31 289

47 140

146 172

123 165

66 33

82 290

199 49

20 24

152 11

40 23

42 49

166 411

69 555

26 58

31 144

202 767

226 331

16 15

0 0

105 ; 3

15 0

28 4

0 0

12 20

6 644

12 4

4 54

111 1940

1 7

Accumulated monthly totals from Kessingland (Paul Read), Thorpeness (Dave Thurlow) and Landguard Bird Observatory are shown in the table. There was a strong southerly passage during fresh south-easterly winds on August 17th, including 193 off Kessingland and 589 off Landguard, as well as the counts detailed below. The greatest numbers were logged off Orfordness, with the 1084 recorded there being the highest Suffolk day-count since March 2 Ist 1992, when a flock of 1100 was off Kessingland. Unusually numbers did not peak off Thorpeness until November, where 30 flew north and 400 south on November 2nd. In the same month Landguard Bird Observatory logged it's best-ever passage, peaking when 29 flew north and 1008 south, November 17th. The following additional counts of 50 or more were received:Lowestoft: 65 north, Feb lOth; 207 south, Aug 17th; 76 north, Sep 25th; 78 south, Oct 7th; 91 south and six on the sea, Nov 2nd. Kessingland: 80 on the sea, Feb 28th. Southwold: 177 south, July 5th; 575 south between 5:45am and 8:10am, Aug 17th. Minsmere: 80 offshore, Mar 5th; 70 offshore, Mar 14th; 100 offshore, Mar 31 st; 60 south, June 4th; 100 offshore, July 8th; 50 offshore, July 22nd; 100 offshore, Dec 22nd. Sizewell: 55 offshore, Mar 25th. Thorpeness: 475 south between 7am and 9am, Aug 17th. Orfordness: 1084 south, Aug 17th and 12 north and 76 south, Nov Ist. The following were noted away from the immediate coast, including an impressive count of 18 at Lackford Lakes, March 27th, the largest inland flock ever recorded in the County:Oulton Broad: male, Mar 20th. Trimley St Martin: Thorpe Bay, two females, Nov 14th to 22nd; three females, Nov 24th to Dec Ist; female, Dec 5th and 6th; four, Dec 7th; two females, Dec 15th. 54



Wherstead: River Orwell, female, Nov 27th. Lower Holbrook: Holbrook Bay, two, Nov 16th (WeBS count); female, Nov 20th. Lackford Lakes: 12 males and six females, Mar 27th (J H Marchant); male, Apr 16th. VELVET SCOTER Melanina fusca Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Apart from a scattering of records at the beginning of the year, there was a very poor showing during the first winter period : Mmsmere: south, Jan 6th. Southwold: offshore, Jan 5th. Thorpeness: south, Jan 1st; one north and one south, Jan 12th; south, Feb 7th. Felixstowe: two south, Jan 2nd. Stour Estuary: Jan 1st. Unusually there were two July records. A male flew south off Slaughden, July 6th and it, or another male, flew north off Thorpeness and Sizewell, July 21st. Numbers were slightly higher during the second winter period:Kessingland: north, Oct 21st; offshore, Oct 30th; one north and one south, Nov 6th; south, Nov 13th; two north, Nov 20th; five north, Nov 21st; north, Nov 24th; south, Dec 11th. Southwold: six south, Oct 31st; offshore, Nov 5th and 7th; north, Nov 25th; three offshore, Dec 13th. Minsmere: two south, Nov 13th. Thorpeness: south, Oct 21st; three south, Nov 30th; four north and one south, Dec 16th; two north, Dec 17th; two south, Dec 22nd. Orfordness: south, Oct 15th. Landguard: south, Oct 15th. Wherstead: River Orwell, Dec 11th. Lower Holbrook: Holbrook Bay, two, Nov 16th (WeBS count). COMMON G O L D E N E Y E Bucepliala clangula Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Monthly counts from the key sites: The WeBS count of 136 on the Feb Mar Apr Nov Jan Stour Estuary, December 14th is Aide/Ore Estuary 7 24 4 3 the highest in the County since Deben Estuary* 0 0 2 7 11 0 0 January 2003 when 287 were on Orwell Estuary HW 20 15 9 1 59 25 - • the same estuary, while Alton Orwell Estuary LW É 4 4 14 17 2 37 Water registered its highest WeBS Alton Water 58 47 11 1 31 count (37, February 10th) since 50 Stour Estuary 14 1 20 5 were present in March 1995. The Lackford Lakes* 4 monthly maxima H W > High Water LW = Low Water last record of the spring was of two at Alton Water, April 15th. Autumn passage, which began early with two south past Gorleston and Ness Point, Lowestoft, September 24th, was more pronounced than usual. An impressive total of 55 was logged off Thorpeness between October 16th and December 12th, including 14 south, October 30th and 12 south, November 1st. Elsewhere, double-figure day-counts were recorded offMinsmere with 11 south on October 30th and Gorleston, ten south on November 1st. SMEW Mergellus albellus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Although there was a slight increase in numbers, this was a second consecutive poor year for this popular sawbill. 55


Dec 14 1 20 37 13 136 14

if i*"

Smew Su Gough

Suffolk Birci Report


Minsmere: male, Jan 4th to Feb 25th; redhead, Feb 27th to Mar 14th. Alton Water: two males, Jan 23rd to 27th; three males, Jan 30th. Fritton: Decoy, redhead, Dec 4th. R E D - B R E A S T E D MERGANSER Mergus serrator Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Maximum counts from the Stour Estuary, the main wintering site, are summarized in the table. The only other Jan Feb Mar Apr Oct Nov Dec significant inshore count 39 30 70 Stour Estuary 1 54 37 43 was of 20 on the River Orwell o f f W h e r s t e a d Strand, December 28th. The last record of the spring, two north off Thorpeness, April 20th, was followed by two unexpected summer records involving one south off Thorpeness, July 23rd and one south off Landguard, August 17th. Autumn passage, which began with one north off Kessingland, September 22nd, was widely recorded, with Landguard logging the highest total with seven north and 52 south between September 24th and December 14th. Numbers peaked on October 30th, with counts of ten off Kessingland, 14 off Benacre, ten off Dunwich, 11 off Thorpeness and 25 off Landguard. G O O S A N D E R Mergus merganser Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. First nested 2006. Maximum counts from the main wintering roost site at Lackford are summarized in the table. Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dec A first-year Lackford Lakes 17 0 0 6 7 13 3 1 male, first seen in October 2007, spent the whole year at Sudbury Common Lands, being joined by a firstwinter male from the autumn onwards. Other records in the first winter period came f r o m : Minsmere: Feb 4th. Thorpeness: south, Jan 1st. Orfordness: Jan 13th. Felixstowe: two south, Mar 23rd. Trimley Marshes: two males, May 6th. Landguard: two north, Mar 23rd. Fritton: Decoy, Feb 10th. Weybread GP: redhead, Apr 1st to 7th. Alton Water: female, Jan 1st to Mar 22nd. Thetford: Little Ouse, two in January; two, Feb 29th; three redheads, Mar 17th. Santon Downham: Little Ouse, four, Feb 10th; five, Feb 29th; two redheads, Mar 6th. Sudbury: River Stour, redhead. Mar 5th. Continuing the remarkable series of breeding records from the north-west of the County, a pair again bred along the Little Ouse River at Bamham raising four young. Records in the second winter period were received f r o m : Gorleston: redhead north, Nov 22nd. Lowestoft: Ness Point, south, Nov 24th. Oulton Broad: male flew west, Nov 22nd. Kessingland: redhead south, Oct 9th; male south, Nov 2nd; two north and one south, Nov 21st. Southwold: three south, Oct 25th. Minsmere: redhead in off the sea, Dec 3rd; Dec 15th. Thorpeness: north, Nov 18th. Bawdsey: East Lane, south, Dec 31 st. Trimley Marshes: redhead, Nov 23rd. Landguard: south, Nov 7th and 12th; two south, Nov 17th; south, Nov 21st. Bungay: Outney Common, two flew west, Nov 17th. Weybread GP: three redheads, Nov 16th to 18th; two redheads, Nov 19th; three redheads, Dec 8th; redhead, Dec 9th, 12th and 17th. 56



Creeting St Mary: redhead flew north-west, Nov 26th. Barking: Pipps Ford, five, Oct 24th. Thetford: Little Ouse, redhead, Nov 17th. Lakenheath Fen: Nov 20th and 30th. Long Melford: River Stour, two, Dec 1 Ith. Thorington Street: Reservoir, redhead, Oct 24th; redhead, Nov 9th. RUDDY DUCK Oxyura jamaicensis Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories C and E. Livermere Lake

Jan -



Apr 7

May 4

Jtin 3

Jul 4

Aug 6

Sep 1

Oct 1

Nov -

Dcc -

There was a further sharp fall in numbers, with none at all reported in March and December. Maximum counts from Livermere Lake, which remains the best site in the county, are shown in the table. These include three juveniles which were seen there in early August and were probably fledged locally. The only additional records were as follows:Hen Reedbeds: male, June 29th. Minsmere: pair, Apr 3rd to 1 Ith, then one regularly until Aug 22nd. Bawdsey: East Lane, pair, Apr 14th. Orwell Estuary: Nov 16th (WeBS count). Redgrave Fen: pair, May 2Ist. Lackford Lakes: female/immature, Jan Ist to 19th; two, Feb 24th. RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Aleetoris rufa Resident. Categories C and E With reports received from only 19 sites in the County, this widespread species remains under-recorded and therefore it is virtually impossible to establish an accurate picture of distribution or trends in populations. Only eight records of breeding were submitted with two of these confirmed and the largest count of 68 was made at Timworth on December 2nd. Two birds were recorded at Landguard throughout the year although no breeding occurred. GREY PARTRIDGE Perdix perdix Fonnerly common resident, now localised. Red List. Categories A, C and E Records of this declining species remain low indicating that it remains scarce. In total 60 records were received from 30 sites with probable or possible breeding reported from only four sites. The highest count of 14 was received from Little Cornard on November 19th. COMMON QUAIL Coturnix coturnix Scarce summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. As in 2007 nine reports were received but from only four sites this year. Up to two male birds were calling at Shingle Street in the first fortnight of June and up to two at Minsmere from June 1 Ith to 23rd; however no evidence of breeding was forthcoming. A tarne bird seen at Hopton-on-Sea in mid-July was thought possibly to be of captive origin. Hopton-on-Sea: July 17th. Minsmere: male on the Levels, June 1 Ith to 23rd, second male, June 13th. Shingle Street: male calling, May 3 Ist to June 13th (D Carr etal.)\ two calling, June 1 Ith (S Goddard). Hollesley: two, July 18th to 27th (R Duncan, P Martin, O Slessor). Lakenheath Fen: male, June 2Ist. COMMON P H E A S A N T Phasianus colchicus Very common resident, numbers augmented by releases. Categories C and E. Only 13 reports of this extremely common species were submitted during the year from a total of ten sites. Breeding or probable breeding was reported from seven of these sites. 57

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 The highest count was of 72 males at North Warren, January 1st, with numbers staying high all year. GOLDEN PHEASANT Chrysolophuspictus Scarce resident. Categories C and E. Only two records were received for this species, involving three males at two sites in the west of the county. No reports confirming breeding were received. RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Inshore populations of small fish in the southern North Sea were reportedly of glut proportions for much of 2008 and this species appeared to make the most of the available feast, particularly in the second winter period. In January there were healthy numbers in the species' traditional, and internationally significant, wintering area approximately between Lowestoft and Aldeburgh, with three four-figure counts from Thorpeness: 1527, January 1st, 2726, January 12th and 1898, January 26th. When 2007's county peak day-total of a relatively paltry 862 is taken into account, the bounce-back in numbers during 2008 can be fully appreciated. Numbers dropped in February, with 775 passing Thorpeness on 2nd being the month's highest day count. The thinning out continued, as would be expected, during March, when the month's peak count was 640 off Thorpeness on 24th and April, when the corresponding count was 189 off the same location on 6th. It was during April that the year's only nonmaritime record occurred with a presumed spring migrant calling in at Alton Water between 6th and 16th. Singles off Kessingland, Thorpeness and Orfordness on six dates in May were presumably tardy spring travellers but, in common with other recent summers, there was again a somewhat surprising run of records, with five singles in June and five in July. More conventional was the autumn's first record of a single tracked off Corton and Lowestoft on August 30th. A steady arrival was noted through September, when the peak day-count was 33 off Lowestoft on 24th, and October, when the peak day-count was 18 off Kessingland on 4th. The first three-figure count of the second winter period came on November 22nd when 100 were off Kessingland, followed by a sizeable 868 off Thorpeness on 29th which hinted at what was to come. There were no less than 22 three-figure day counts reported in December, mostly from those indefatigable observers Paul Read at Kessingland and David Thurlow at Thorpeness. The peak count of the month, and indeed the year, was made at the latter locality on 22nd when 3294 were recorded - 2854 moving north, the rest heading south. This is the highest day-count in the county since 4710 were seen off Thorpeness on January 4th 2004. Another noteworthy count from this site, which dwarfed the intervening years' peaks, was 2415 on December 2nd. BLACK-THROATED DIVER Gavia arctica Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Even considering the fact that there may be an element of over-enthusiasm, or overconfidence, creeping in to the reporting of this species, particularly, dare it be said, on seawatches, there is no doubt that Black-throated Diver has become a more numerous Suffolk visitor in recent years. In 2007 it was estimated that more than 100 were reported and in 2008 the figure was only slightly lower. Long-stayers were at either end of the county in January. A well-watched individual stayed in the Lowestoft Docks/Lake Lothing area from January 1st to March 24th and at least two roamed the River Orwell between Wherstead Strand and Woolverstone from 1st to 26th 58



during which time one may have wandered to Alton Water where one was seen on 13th. Two were also reported from an unspecified site on the estuary of the River Stour, January Ist. The monthly totals reported on seawatches were as follows:The highest day-counts ail referred Mar Apr Jan Feb Sep Oet Nov Dec to three individuals seen on sea14 8 5 15 16 7 2 25 watches as follows: Kessingland, March 18th, April 6th and December 22nd, Thorpeness, December 7th and East Lane, Bawdsey, December 9th. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Cavia immer Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The spectacular total of about 50 recorded in 2007 was not matched, but the year's approximate tally of about 40 would have been considered exceptional just a few years ago. As can be seen from the table of monthly totals reported on seawatches, November once again proved to be the most productive month, its reports no doubt involving some individuals heading to wintering areas south of Suffolk as well as those intending to linger with us:Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jan Oct Nov Dee The spring passage of four 2 2 2 I 4 ! S 15 8 in May was noteworthy, as was the rather unseasonal, but not unprecedented, singleton flying north off Thorpeness, June 2nd. The now-expected run of lingering winter birds was not exceptional by some recent years' standards. A juvenile stayed at Weybread Pits from December 8th to 17th. This was the first non-maritime record since 2002 when one was on Alton Water, January 13th. One or possibly two ranged widely on the River Orwell between the Orwell Bridge and Trimley St Martin, November 15th to December 14th at least. LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruflcollis Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The reports of breeding from a total of just 19 sites, compared with 17 in 2007, once again probably represent a poor reflection of this species' true status in the county. Surely there must be more than five sites in the whole of our north-east recording area at which this tiny grebe procreates? As it stands, our west recording area weighed in with at least 17 pairs at 12 sites, the north-east's tally was about 60 pairs at four sites and the south-east's was four pairs at two sites. Such reports must be regarded, at best, as sketchy, but the total of 81 pairs was slightly down on the previous year's estimate of about 94. Minsmere remains the most important breeding site. The total of 35 pairs this year is the reserve's highest-ever and represents an increase of seven pairs over the previous year's total. Reserve staff reported that young were not seen until "fairly late" in the breeding season, suggesting that many early nests were lost in poor weather. "Reasonable numbers" were said to have fledged later in the year. 'Hotspots' in the west included Lakenheath Washes, where 17 adults and 11 juveniles were observed on August 24th, and Barton Mere, where 11 adults and eight juveniles were observed on September 2nd. Elsewhere, notable breeding concentrations included six pairs at the Hen Reedbeds - although this was a drop from 13 pairs there in 2007 3t 2007^ ^ a r r e n ' a n encouraging increase from the six pairs reported in The estuaries of the rivers Deben and Orwell are traditionally the most important for this species in winter and, once again, the highest winter counts came from these localities and were made during co-ordinated WeBS work. The former's highest counts came in October (60), February (47) and March (42). On the Orwell estuary the highest count was made in December (59) and January (39).


Suffolk Birci Report


GREAT C R E S T E D GREBE Podiceps cristatus Locally common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The count of 1210 off Minsmere on January 6th dwarfed all others for the year and was not far short of Suffolk's record gathering - that of 1439 in Sole Bay in April 2000. It is baffling to note that such a high count should be made in the first winter period, when there were significant but far from spectacular numbers of Red-throated Divers in the Minsmere area, whereas in the second winter period, when the diver numbers rose so sharply, Great Crested Grebes were relatively uncommon. Indeed, there were only two three-figure counts off the favoured Minsmere area during the entire second winter period and they came on the same day, December 22nd, and so undoubtedly related to the same birds. They were submitted by different observers who came up with the remarkably similar totals of 347 and 357. Alton Water retained its position as the county's key breeding site. The ever-vigilant and diligent John Glazebrook reported a successful season there, with 16 pairs breeding and an August total of 35 young, including one relatively unusual feature - a brood of four chicks all surviving to the fledging stage. Elsewhere, breeding records came from 17 sites, involving 30 pairs, a decrease from the previous year's 21 sites and 36 pairs. R E D - N E C K E D GREBE Podiceps grisegena Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Another poor showing, with just nine reports involving ten individuals, perhaps with some duplication on November 1st. This species is becoming progressively less common, along with other formerly more numerous winter species such as Long-tailed Duck - a result of climate change, perhaps? All records are listed:— Southwold: two south, Nov 1st. Thorpeness: south Jan 17th, Oct 17th and Nov 2nd, north, Nov 10th, Dec 17th and Dec 22nd. Landguard: south, Jan 23rd and Nov 1st. SLAVONIAN G R E B E Podiceps auritus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. In the first winter period, the county's traditional stronghold for the species - the Stour Estuary/Alton Water area - produced the majority of the records. Three were on the estuary on January 1st, three were reported on several dates on the reservoir from January 4th to March 20th, although there were six there on February 18th, and three were in Holbrook Bay, February 24th. There may well have been some interchange involving these birds, of course. The only other first winter period records came from Minsmere, where a singleton was reported on Island Mere on February 3rd, and Orfordness, where another lone bird was present on the River Ore, January 5th. There were fewer records in the second winter period. A singleton first noted on Oulton Broad on November 29th was probably the individual reported from Lowestoft on November 30th and again December 7th to 9th. Up to three were reported from Holbrook Bay on several days during the period November 1 st to 26th, after which date none were seen in the county. 2007 Addition Gorleston: south, Jan 13th. BLACK-NECKED GREBE Podiceps nigrieollis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Previous editions of Suffolk Birds have referred to this species' "yo-yo" effect - the 60



tendency for its records to fluctuate markedly from year to year. By recent standards, 2008 was a slightly above-average year, with all records listed:— Lowestoft: Sep 25th. Pakefield: Mar 31st. Minsmere: four drifting south on sea. Mar 26th, two, Apr 5th, singles, July 28th and Aug 15th. Bawdsey: East Lane: Sep 9th. Stour Estuary: unspecified sites, Jan 1st and Jan 22nd to 27th. Stutton Mill: Aug 17th and Nov 21st. Alton Water: Jan 27th. Cavenham Pits: Aug 15th. 2007 Addition Gorleston: Aug 19th - same as at Hopton-on Sea, below. Hopton-on Sea: Aug 19th - same as Gorleston, above. NORTHERN F U L M A R Fulmarus glacialis Fairly common summer visitor andpassage migrant. Formerly bred. Amber Jan 77

Feb 49

Mar 117

Apr 258

May 1045

Jun 146

Jul 40

Aug 39

Sep 29

Oct 3

list. Nov 43

Dec 17

The above figures should only be taken as a guide to the temporal pattern for this species, but they clearly show that May maintains its dominance over all other months. On the face of it, May's total seems impressive but it should be borne in mind that Suffolk's annual totals for this species have been in decline in recent years. As recently as 2001, for example, the annual total was 6019, and 2008 certainly could not match that. By far the largest movement was noted on May 25th, when 268 moved north off Orfordness and 100 were noted off Southwold. Several reports of "blue" morph birds and intermediates were received, although not all were backed up with descriptions to SORC. Indeed, the only ones for which full notes were received were three "blues" and six intermediates off Orfordness, May 25th (MC Marsh et al.) and a singleton off Southwold on May 26th (S Mayson, N Andrews, LG Woods). Other references to these morphs in the totals submitted involved "blues" off Southwold on May 25th and Lowestoft, June 7th. CORY'S SHEARWATER Calonectris diomedea Rare passage migrant. Only two fully substantiated records were received, but that it is two more than the blank previous year. In addition to the records below, two records were not supported by descriptions, although one related to the Dunwich bird being reported a few minutes later off Minsmere. Southwold: north, July 5th (S Mayson et al.) Dunwich: south, Sep 5th (R Drew) SOOTY SHEARWATER Puffinus griseus Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. This impressive globetrotter was first recorded off Suffolk this year on August 13th, off Landguard. The county's last reports for the year were off Kessingland and Orfordness, October 4th. The figures below indicate a marked preponderance of records in September, although, as always with seabirds, there is undoubtedly some duplication of individuals being tracked along our c o a s t Sep Oct Within the September glut came the year's largest single movement. Aug 31 274 8 On 24th, 54 sheared and banked north off Lowestoft, while 27 did the same off Kessingland and ten did so off Orfordness. 61

Suffolk Birci Report


M A N X SHEARWATER Puffinus puffinus Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. In recent years June has become the month in which the largest numbers of this species have been recorded, but in 2008 it was just pipped by July. The accumulated total for the year - 98 - was below the 109 in 2008, but still beat the totals of each year back to 2002, when 115 were recorded. However, it was well down on the 335 in 2001 and 246 in 2000. No daytotal for 2008 reached double figures, the highest "score" being six, noted on several occasions. Monthly totals, with a small degree of possible duplication within them, were as follows:May 5

Jun 27

Jul 31

Aug 2

Sep 28

Oct 3

Nov 2

BALEARIC SHEARWATER Puffinus mauretanicus Rare, but nearly annual, passage migrant. Critically Endangered. Red list. The first individuai of this species to be seen off Suffolk occurred as recently as 1998. Although it is now firmly established on the seawatching agenda in the south-west of England, this shearwater is Europe's only Critically Endangered seabird with a known breeding population of only 2,000 - 2,500 pairs restricted to the Balearic Islands. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that it remains highly sought-after off our coast. Increasing numbers recorded off north-west European coasts from the mid to late 1990s onwards possibly were a resuit of increasing sea-surface temperatures and the subsĂŠquent changes in distribution of the species' prey fish. The decline in European Anchovies in the Bay of Biscay may well have contributed to increasing numbers dispersing further north. A combination of these factors is probably at work and by the end of 2007 the species had amassed a respectable 36 Suffolk records. However, observers should take note that descriptions are still very much required by SORC. Eight records involving ten birds have been fully documented, and are as follows:Southwold: three, Aug 8th (R Drew); Aug 17th (BJ Small); Aug 19th (R Drew); Sep 5th (BJ Small); north, Sep 23rd. (J H Grant); north, Sep 25th (WJ Brame) Minsmere: south, Aug 2nd (J H Grant). Orfordness: south, Aug 17th (M Marsh, D Crawshaw). The individuai seen off Minsmere was, somewhat surprisingly, given the records over the years just to the north and south, the first ever to be seen from the reserve. This year's total of ten Balearic Shearwaters makes it the best year since 2002 when 14 were recorded. EUROPEAN S T O R M - P E T R E L Hydrobatespelagicus Rare passage migrant. Amber list. After the surge of records in 2006 and 2007, when somewhat surprising May and .lune "Stormie" activity off our coast raised many an eyebrow, there was a return to the more traditional scarcity of the species. However, the dates of two of the four acceptable reports still managed to surprise:Southwold: May 28th (B J Small); Sep 3rd (N Andrews). Thorpeness: July 2Ist (S Mayson). Orfordness: Aug 13th (C Fulcher, N Vipond). LEACH'S STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma leucorhoa Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. It was a case of a paucity of petrels in Suffolk in 2008. As with the previous species, Leach's was very much a scarcity, with only three records:Kessingland: south, Oet 4th (P Read), south, Oct 20th (P Read). Thorpeness: south. Sep 26th (D Thurlow). 62



Addition 2007 Gorleston: Sep 18th. NORTHERN G A N N E T Morus bassanus Common passage migrant. Amber list. Some high counts probably reflected the richness of small-fish stocks in the southern North Sea throughout much of the year. The figures below appear to suggest a marked northerly passage in March and April with, as has become the trend in recent years, big feeding movements from the breeding grounds during June, July and August, followed by a marked southerly passage in autumn. It must be stressed that the table should only be used as a form of guidance and inevitably contains much duplication:Combined Peak day

Jan 557 205

Feb 854 146

Mar 4002 768

Apr 1089 166

May Jun 403 -2744 412 42

Jul 2227 28)

Aug 2333 400

Oct Sep 817 .2750 75 381

Nov 1518 336

Dec 246 72

In addition to the above figures, observers at Landguard submitted the following figures and table. Monthly totals, with directions of flight, were as follows:North South

Jan 20 36

Feb 33 0

Mar 92 0

Apr 17 0

Mav 47 57

Jun 69 28

Jul 37 31

Aug 56 97

Sep 143 5

Oct 100 0

Nov 1 0

Dee 0 0

As would be expected of such a maritime species, occurrences in our west recording area are few and far between. Therefore, the two sub-adults which flew along the Little Ouse at the RSPB's Lakenheath Fen reserve on October 12th (K Puttick) must have given the observer an almighty shock. They are the first to be seen in the west since one at Risby on November 27th 1995, which in turn was the first record from the west since 1992. GREAT C O R M O R A N T Phalacrocorax carbo Common winter visitor and passage migrant: has nested since 1998. Following on from 2007's first west Suffolk breeding record at the RSPB's Lakenheath Fen reserve, one pair was again reported to be nesting at the site, although, as was the case in 2007, no information was received regarding the pair's success or failure. The tree-nesting colony at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, which was established in 1998, contained 61 nests, although no estimation of its productivity was received. This colony appears to be experiencing a decline as its peak - clOO nests in 2003 - has not subsequently been matched. There were several large roost counts made at Loompit Lake outside the breeding season, including monthly peaks of 120 in January, 142 in September, 120 in October, c 180 in November and 233 in December. Sharp-eyed R Biddle noted a Danish-ringed individual which frequented the site from October 1st to December 23rd and Abberton-ringed birds March 13th and December 19th to 23rd. The year's largest count was 312 and came, as in 2007, from Gorleston. Again it probably referred to birds that had been roosting at nearby Fritton Lake. The largest flock seen on the sea numbered 104 off Southwold, November 25th. EUROPEAN SHAG Phalacrocorax aristotelis Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. This species appears to be occurring in increased numbers and with a greater temporal spread as the years go by. Recent issues of Suffolk Birds have referred to eye-catching summer records and there was yet another in 2008 - south and on the sea off Lowestoft, June 14th. 63

Suffolk Birci Report


Once again, Lowestoft produced the bulk of the year's records. Its monthly peaks in the first winter period were two in January, February and March. Up to three were seen on several dates in April although none appeared to linger into May. After June's individual, singles were seen on August 20th, 23rd and 26th, and September 7th, 13th and 23rd, with other September records in our north-east recording area coming from Gorleston, two on September 9th, Southwold, 11th and Sizewell, 9th. In October, up to two were seen at Lowestoft on nine dates and the town's November peak was three on 2nd. Thereafter, Lowestoft's records referred to singles on five dates in December. Also of note in the second winter period was a juvenile, well inland, at Weybread Pits on November 6th. The year's highest count came from our south-east recording area, with five adults and three immatures at Stutton Ness on the Stour Estuary, November 21st. Elsewhere in this recording area the River Orwell, particularly between Freston and Ipswich Docks, accounted for most of the records in both winter periods although there were fewer reports than may have been expected and most referred to single birds. There were, however, four first-winter birds at Wherstead Strand, February 24th. Records away from the Lowestoft and River Orwell areas do seem to be increasing. Nevertheless, the rivers Ore and Deben do not often feature in this species' annual accounts so singles at Orfordness Quay, December 13th, and Woodbridge, November 7th, are noteworthy. There was also an above-average run of records Jan Sep Nov Dec from Landguard, which can be tabulated as follows:5 1 5 1 GREAT BITTERN Botaurus stellaris Slowly increasing breeding population, scarce resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Red list. The RSPB's sterling efforts on behalf of this ornithological icon of Suffolk go on apace and the society submitted the following report on this species on the Suffolk coast for the year under review - "On the Suffolk coast in 2008 there were 24 booming males, the highest recorded total since the monitoring programme began. This is the first time in four years that there has been an increase on the Suffolk coast. There was confirmed breeding at a new site this year and no sites suffered a decline in calling males." The report adds that despite further salt incursions at one site there was an increase to three booming males, "although the males started calling much later here than usual." Additional to the report's details, and to the south of the species' core area on the coast, came two intriguing records which could be interpreted as a hint of breeding, or at least prospecting. Singles were seen at two locations in very close proximity to each other, on June 29th and August 16th and we await further developments here in subsequent years. Hopes that the species will breed at the RSPB's Lakenheath Fen reserve are still Bittern Su Gouah high, although we will have to wait a little longer before we can be certain that it has taken place. Staff there recorded the species in every month of 2008, with two birds noted on September 17th and December 28th. Booming was heard but there was no confirmation of breeding. The male's curious "grunting", a precursor to "booming", is a feature that reserve staff at 64



Minsmere are becoming more expert at detecting and in 2008 it was first noted here on January 27th - Suffolk's earliest-ever date for such an occurrence and equalling Britain's earliest-ever date. Display flights involving males chasing females in aerial antics certainly thrill anyone lucky enough to witness them. The highest number seen to be indulging in such behaviour this year was seven over Minsmere's reedbeds, May 19th. Evidence of immigration into Suffolk was provided by a singleton flying in off the sea at Gunton at 12.30pm, November 14th (N Blacker). Other reports outside the breeding season and beyond the known breeding haunts were as follows: Sizewell: Mar 16th. Boyton: flushed from ditch, Nov 29th. Hollesley: Sep 28th. Kirton Creek: Jan 20th. Falkenham: Kingsfleet, Sep 14th. Lackford Lakes: two, Jan 27th to Feb 16th at least, one Nov 23rd. BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON Nycticorax nycticorax Very rare passage migrant and winter visitor. A first-summer bird was found atTrimley Marshes on 13th May (J Zantboer). This is the first in the county since one visited Minsmere briefly on June 23rd, 2005. An adult summer bird was at Eastbridge on June 11th (S Abbott et al.). LITTLE E G R E T Egretta garzetta Locally common and increasing resident and passage migrant. Amber list. The veritable deluge of records received clearly indicates that this species is still very much on the increase in the county, as it has been for several years. Conversely, only one reference in the numerous observers' records related to breeding - that of 12 pairs at a site where there had been eight in 2007. This is clearly far from a complete picture - indeed, it is tempting to speculate when this species will overtake the Grey Heron in terms of its Suffolk breeding population. Our river estuaries and coastal wetlands are, unsurprisingly, visited by the largest numbers but the western recording area enjoyed a bumper year with widespread reports of singles and small groups, peaking at nine at Redgrave Fen, July 30th, and Mickle Mere, July 8th, although the six at Bures Green, March 30th were not far behind. Monthly maxima at selected sites:-

Minsmere North Warren Orfordness Deben

Jan 6 4 12 , 11

Feb 6 9 15 9

Mar 5 12 14 11

Apr 15 8 18 I

Mav 24 4 19 -

Jun 18 3 27


Jul Aug 22 8 6 10 44 55 1 :- : ••

Sep 9 - 7 30 -

Oct 4 5 35 32

Nov 7 5 13 26

Dec 2 3 12 18

Interestingly, a colour-ringed bird on Orfordness, July 27th to August 3rd was from a breeding colony in Kent and was later seen in The Netherlands. An additional noteworthy count came from Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, where 24 on September 20th was the site's highest total since October 2006. At Landguard, observers recorded a total of 31 birds, with a clear peak in July, when the month's total was 21 and the site's largest flock - eight north on 13th - was noted. These records presumably relate to post-breeding dispersal and it is noticeable that in the table above July, and August, also feature some high counts, undoubtedly for the same reason. A couple of curiosities appear in the observers' notes - a bird said to be "remarkably tame " overwintered in Haverhill town centre and one strutted about the village football field

Suffolk Birci Report


in the heart of Stonham Aspal, February 2nd. The observer concerned with the latter record failed to inform us if there was a football match taking place at the time of his sighting! GREAT (WHITE) EGRET Ardea alba Rare, but increasing, visitor. This imposing egret is being encountered with some regularity in Suffolk nowadays - dare we speculate that it may one day honour us by breeding in the county? Numerous references of casual observations of unknown provenance on the various bird information services make any assessment of the numbers involved something of a game of chance. It would appear that at least the following records are acceptable, although there were a few other reports for which the observers could not be established and so the situation is somewhat blurred:Minsmere/North Warren: intermittently between the two sites, Jan 1st to Feb 24th, found 31st Dec 2007 (M Gregory et al.). Minsmere: Sep 20th to 28th (multi-observer ringed bird); second bird Sep 26th to 30th (multi-observer unringed bird). North Warren: Apr 5th to 15th (multi-observer), June 4th to 8th (S Mayson, N Andrews et al.), Sep 21st (S Abbott). Rendlesham: two adults in flight, June 28th. The above records suggest a minimum of eight individuals, eclipsing 2007's total of at least five, which was itself a record annual figure for the county. The second bird to appear at Minsmere in September gave us an intriguing insight into this species' wanderings. It was ringed as a chick in France at Lac de Grand-lieu, Loire Atlantique, on May 12th, 2008. Remarkably, this was the second individual of this species to have occurred at Minsmere after having been ringed at the French location. A bird ringed there on May 14th, 2002, was seen at Minsmere, which is 617km north-north-east, on August 30th, 2002. GREY HERON Ardea cinerea Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The only heronry from which nest totals were submitted was the one at the Hen Reedbeds where the 12 nests represented an increase



'Grey Heron Su w jfc. Gough WÂŁJ yk t

over the site's nine in 2007. Confirmed breeding also took place at Fritton, Sizewell, The Tips ( i n the parish of Sutton) on the Deben, Woolverstone Wood, Little Wratting, Tendring Hall (Stoke-by-Nayland) and The King's Forest. 66 Migration was observed on several occasions in August and September. On August 24th was clearly a south movement been Lowestoft taking Minsmere. the was over Orfordness September included observers recorded sea Kessingland the place trio over atand remarked On peak 7th -there least seen three on August four Benacre count four and the coming some that came that Southwold same headed 31 of were st, the Sluice local these in inday, 15 off tracked year, off came birds. may the the may although and also sea south inhave past the On 15, off at

Systematic List Thorpeness and six passed Landguard on the same day. Six came in off the sea at Southwold on September 12th and groups of seven and four were seen coming in off the sea at Lowestoft on September 13th. PURPLE HERON Ardea purpurea Scarce passage migrant. There was nothing as spectacular in 2008's reports as 2007's displaying threesome at Minsmere and the tenuous hopes of breeding still remain unfulfilled. There was, however, a run of records from this site, with a single April 9th and 10th, one on May 29th to 31st and a different individual there on 30th. At least one autumn report from Minsmere awaits any form of observer's notes. In addition, an adult was seen at Trimley Marshes, April 23rd and this or another individual was seen at Martlesham Creek and Kirton Creek, May 9th. The total of up to five makes this the best year for this species since 2000 when five were also recorded. WHITE STORK Ciconia ciconia Very rare passage migrant. Just squeezing into Watsonian Suffolk in the extreme north, this record will also undoubtedly be claimed by our Norfolk neighbours! Bradwell: Apr 12th (J Wright et at.). EURASIAN SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodia Uncommon passage migrant. Now increasingly oversummers; has overwintered. Amber List. Although nest-building and even egg-laying has been recorded in recent years there was no reference to such activity in the reports for 2008. However, Orfordness and Havergate Island again held impressive numbers, with the year's peak being 20 at the latter site on August 21st, during a time in which immigrants from The Netherlands were probably visiting. An early returning adult was present on Orfordness, February 23rd and 24th. Thereafter the site recorded one, March 12th to 16th, two, March 17th to 27th and four, March 29th to 31 st. Up to four were present April 4th to 20th with one present April 30th. In May one was present on 23rd, rising to two, 24th to 27th. In June, singles were on site on 7th, 18th and 19th. Numbers began to rise on Orfordness and Havergate in July. After one on Orfordness on 5th, there were four on 6th, six on 12th, nine on 13th, 11 on 15th, 13 on 19th and one on 31st. In August, Orfordness held four on 3rd, six on 15th and up to seven to the month's end, although there were 13 on 21st. Up to eight were present on the 'Ness in September, dwindling to seven on October 2nd, one on October 4th, two October 9th to 11 th and a singleton October 25th to November 8th. With the usual caveat that there is much interchange between the 'Ness and Havergate, the island's monthly peaks were:Sep Jul Aug Apr Mar Jun The island's last report was ten on 20 14 19 1 6 2 September 14th. After four called in at Minsmere April 22nd, the site hosted singles on April 24th and 27th and May 13th and 21st. In June, two were present 12th, one on 13th, two on 15th and singles on 26th and 28th. In common with Orfordness and Havergate Island, Minsmere saw a distinct rise in records during July, with singles during the first week increasing thereafter to a peak of six on 21st, 22nd and 26th. The site's records for the year were completed by two, August 30th, singles on September 1st and 6th and two September 19th. Away from these three sites, the following records were received:Burgh Castle: May 3rd (a first-summer bird, ringed in The Netherlands: it had wintered in Devon). Breydon South Wall: Aug 12th. 67

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 Kessingland: south, Apr 27th, north, May 22nd. North Warren: July 26th. Landguard: two juveniles north, Sep 23rd - the sixth site record. EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD Pernis apivorus Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. 2008 was another remarkable year for this species, as the UK experienced its second major autumn influx of the century (see details below). Conversely spring passage was very quiet with just one report involving a single bird at Theberton in May. The autumn influx of 2008 was on a smaller scale than the largest-ever-recorded influx in 2000, but still involved an estimated 700 to 800 birds nationally. It was caused when large number of birds (mostly juveniles), about to embark on their long journey to Africa, were delayed by adverse weather conditions in Scandinavia. When they did finally set off, easterly winds forced them to drift across the North Sea and hundreds poured into the UK. A large percentage of these misplaced migrants passed down the eastern side of England; between 250 and 270 were reported in East Anglia (about half the number estimated in 2000). Other species also involved in this major passage movement included Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Osprey and Kestrel. The first migrants arrived in north-east Suffolk on September 13th. At least 25 individuals were recorded that day, including two single birds seen flying in off the sea at Corton and at Lowestoft. Birds were reported from numerous coastal sites as they made their way south and, inevitably, there was some duplication of records. Records indicate that as many as 50 birds passed through the county, many flying straight through, but a few did linger en route. These included up to four birds (two adults and two juveniles), which remained in the Gunton/Corton area for several days. There were many reports of multiple sightings, particularly on September 13th, when 18 passed over Minsmere prior to 13:30hrs. Elsewhere that day, nine were seen at Southwold and five flew south at Landguard. More birds continued to pass south the following day, including six at Boyton, two at Landguard and three inland over Thetford. Fewer birds were reported between the 15th and 19th, but four flew over Bawdsey on September 20th and up to four flew past Landguard on September 28th. Single birds were still evident towards the end of the month. The last records were of singles at Brettenham, October 3rd and Hollesley, October 4th. Although there were sitings at other locations, not mentioned above, for brevity only the records outside the main period of the autumn influx are listed below:Theberton: May 1 Ith (M Radford). Dunwich: south, close inshore, Aug 20th (N J Andrews). Hollesley: Oct 4th (R Duncan). Brettenham: Oct 3rd (M and D Carr). F I E L D


A raptor found dead on railway lines near Ipswich, Suffolk, in August 2008 turned out to be a Honey Buzzard. The bird had been ringed as a pullus in the Drenthe region of The Netherlands in July 2006. It is only the third foreign-ringed Honey Buzzard to be found in the UK. The others were ringed in Germany (injured hitting wires in Kent in July 1973) and Sweden (killed hitting wires in South Yorkshire in October 1976). Local Press BLACK KITE Milvus migrans Rare passage migrant. After a blank year last year, 2008 proved to be quite a memorable one for this species. In April two birds lingered for several days, generating a total of 21 reports, some of which were not submitted, from seven coastal sites. 68

Systematic List The first sighting came from Boyton Marshes in early April, where a bird remained in the area for two days. Remarkably later the same month, two different birds were discovered in the county. In the north-east of the region one bird was seen at several sites between April 26th and 28th again with some not submitted to SORC. A second bird was present in the south-east from April 9th to 28th. Observers' photographs show that the bird in the northeast was the same individual that was present in the Boyton area earlier in the month. The second bird, although favouring a similar area as the earlier bird in the south-east, was in fact a different individual. The arrival of these birds coincided with the news that four Black Kites had escaped from London Zoo. However, photographic evidence seems to confirm that the Suffolk birds were unringed, ruling out the possibility of escapees. Interestingly, there was also a report of a possible hybrid Black Kite over Aldeby tip on April 26th. For a full report on the Black Kite "saga" see page 27. Herringfleet: 13.30hrs, Apr 26th, same as first Boyton bird below (R C Smith, A C Easton, R Wilton). Ashby: 15.55hrs, Apr 26th (J A Brown), probably same as above. Oulton Marshes: 09.15hrs, Apr 26th (R C Smith). North Cove/Castle Marshes: 1 l.OOhrs, Apr 26th (A C Easton). Boyton Marshes/Gedgrave Wood: adult, Apr 8th to 1 Oth (D Pearsons, K Freeman, S Abbott et al. ); Apr 9th to 28th (P Hobbs et al.). RED KITE Milvus milvus Uncommon but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. Has bred in recent years. Amber list. The number of reports of this species continues to fluctuate. The 54 reports received in 2008 represent a marked decrease compared with 82 in 2007 and 69 in 2006 but there were only 20 in 2003 and 24 in 2004. There was a distinct westerly bias to the reports, and it is perhaps encouraging that the majority of these were from the summer period. However, there was no suggestion of breeding, although there are grounds for optimism given that the number of breeding pairs is increasing markedly in neighbouring counties to the west, according to BBS surveys. In the north-east 17 reports came from 13 sites, and just three reports were received from the south-east. In the west a total of 34 reports was received from 19 sites, largely as a result of a maximum of three birds roaming the region during the mid-summer period. There were very few birds present at the beginning of the year and this was reflected by just two sightings in January and one in February. Reports increased slightly in March and included sightings of birds at three sites in the north-east, including two birds seen together at Covehithe. Elsewhere, one was at Lackford Lakes in mid-March. April produced a mere seven reports; these included four from the north-east where single birds were seen on several dates. The two birds seen at Herringfleet on April 26th were presumably the same two birds which passed over Minsmere two days later. Inland single birds were seen at Brettenham and Cavenham Heath mid-month. In May singles were logged at ten sites across the county, including two records from the south-east at Ipswich and Chelmondiston. June provided the highest number of reports; all but two of the 16 came from sites in the west of the county, where three wide-ranging birds were logged at nine sites. Records show that one favoured the Lavenham area, where it was seen on four dates between June 6th and 19th, and again at Leavenheath on June 27th. Up to two birds frequented sites in the Breckland area throughout June; two were seen flying north at Cavenham Heath, and presumably the same birds were at Lakenheath Fen a week or so later. There were also four sightings of single birds at the latter site in June. The other records for June involved singles at Minsmere and at Ipswich. There was a dearth of reports in the second half of the year. An immature bird was seen 69

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 flying overThetford early in July, and a single bird was seen at Hadleigh later in the month. There were no reports from August, and the only reports from September came from Brettenham and from nearThetford. The sole report from October involved a single bird seen at Mutford. In November one was seen at Barsham mid-month and single birds were seen at two sites in the west. Finally, one was seen at Dalham Hall on December 20th and presumably the same bird visited Lakenheath Fen the following day. There were no reports of wing-tagged birds this year, possibly due to the fact that the rapid increase in the breeding population in other counties has meant that many pulii are fledging without being ringed. EURASIAN MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosus Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Increasing numbers overwinter. Amber List. This species continues to be widely reported across the county and the number of wintering birds increased significantly for the second year running. This calculation was undoubtedly helped by the results of co-ordinated roost counts in mid-January, which produced a new record total of 103 wintering birds. This represents another significant rise compared with the totals of 86 in 2007 and 34 in 2006. The counts were made at 18 sites and of those sexed and aged 12 were males, 22 females and five firstwinter birds. Westwood Marshes hosted the highest number with a total of 37 birds, a significant increase on the ten there last year. Other notable counts included 19 at North Warren and 17 at Minsmere. Another four were counted on the WeBS visit along the Deben in mid-January, so the total number overwintering in the first winter period may have been well in excess of 103 birds. Likely spring migrants included one south at Lowestoft on April 27th and another south at Landguard two days later. It was a reasonably successful breeding season, although the data were by no means comprehensive. Breeding was confirmed at just five sites, and suspected at a further two. On the Walberswick NNR, on Westwood Marsh eight successful nests produced 16 young while at Easton/Cove Bottom nine successful nests produced 22 young. There were no successful nests at Potter's Bridge. There were three nests at Hen Reedbeds, half the total there in 2007. Numbers were also down at Minsmere, where 23 young fledged from 15 nests (four of which failed), compared with 38 young from 14 nests in 2007. Nearby at North Warren two young fledged from two nests, a similar number to last year. At Lakenheath Fen 17 young fledged from eight nests, which was a considerable improvement on the seven young from nine nests in 2007. Autumn passage started early with one in off the sea at Landguard on July 28th. This was followed by one south on August 20th and three south three days later. Other singles were logged flying south at Landguard on four dates in September, and four passed south on September 13th. It was a similar picture at Orfordness, where ten were seen on September 13th and 21st, some of which were clearly moving south as part of the wider raptor movement at this time. Also at Orfordness, singles were seen flying offshore on two dates in October and three were seen on October 11 th. There were comparatively few records from the second winter period, so it is difficult to calculate numbers. Roost counts were received from just three sites and involved ten at North Warren, 23 at Minsmere and five at Lakenheath Fen. Elsewhere, seven birds were on Orfordness on December 20th giving a provisional county total of 45 birds, compared with 79 in 2007. HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Red List. The status of this species continues to cause concern. There was a total of 134 reports from 70



42 sites in 2008 (exeluding 20 records from Birdguides). These reports indicate that a minimum ten birds were present in the first winter period, compared with six in 2007. Encouraging as this appears, a look at the table will reveal that it is only a small fraction of the number of birds present in the county only five years ago. The number of sites where the birds occurred was considerably down on 2007, 22 compared with 37 in 2007. Roost counts came from two locations in January; there was a maximum of four at Walberswick, and in Breckland three ringtails roosted on the Elveden Estate. Another two birds were located on the Deben WeBS count on January 13th. Passage birds included a maie at Somerleyton on Aprii 30th and another maie at Cavenham Heath on Aprii 14th. Single birds were at Minsmere on May lst and 1 lth. The second-summer male seen at Hemley, 27th Aprii was probably the same bird seen nearby at King's Fleet on May 8th. With several unsubmitted reports from locals, this bird may well have summered in the area. Records suggest fewer birds overwintered towards the end of the year; it is likely that at least six birds were present, one fewer than last year. Reports came from 25 sites, one more than in 2007. A maie and two ringtails were recorded in the north-east, a male and a ringtail in the south-east and two ringtails were present by the end of the year in the west. Vear lst winter period 2nd winter period

2000 14 12

2001 15 13

2002 33 12

2003 32 14

2004 19 12

2005 8 6

2006 7 4

2007 6 7

2008 10 6

Table showing estimated total number of wintering Hen Harriers between 2000 and 2008.




4k Ci

Hen Harrier Su Gough

MONTAGU'S HARRIER Circuspygargus Uncommon passage migrant. Formerly bred. Amber List. 2008 was a reasonable year for this species, producing a total of six reports. Given that some of the June birds were seen at différent sites, and allowing for duplication, there were at least four birds present in the county over the year. Walberswick: ringtail, June lOth (D Fairhurst). Minsmere: ringtail, June lOth, same bird as above (R Harvey). Orfordness: second-summer male, Apr 26th; first-summer male, June 1 st; ringtail, June 7th and 8th (M Marsh et al.). Shingle Street: juvenile, Sep 14th (S Goddard). 71

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 2007 Correction The record of a pair in the Waldringfield area on May 27th 2007 has not been accepted by SORC. No proof of a carcass was produced and no description was forthcoming. NORTHERN GOSHAWK Acciptergentilis Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant; uncommon resident Many of the reports of this species were either not submitted or not accepted and if they had been allowed to stand may well have given a misleading idea of the true status of Goshawks in the county. Large female Sparrowhawks can be easily misidentified when seen briefly. Typically, Breckland produced the majority of records although a female was seen over Minsmere on February 4th and another over Ipswich, March 9th. In the west of the county, displaying males were noted at two sites. Two males were seen in the The King's Forest in mid-April, and a single male was seen at nearby West Stow Country Park on April 27th. Meanwhile, three pairs were holding territories at traditional sites in Thetford Forest; one pair nested in Suffolk and their two chicks were ringed. It is worth remembering that the well-watched site at Olley's Farm is right on the Suffolk-Norfolk border. EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Reports were received from 156 sites across the County compared with 142 in 2007 and 129 in 2004. This represents the highest-ever total and is a strong indication that the population has started increasing again after levelling off in recent years, possibly as a result of interspecific competition. Sparrowhawks were recorded in seven of the 48 BBS squares. Sparrowhawks were recorded on almost 42% of the visits to Lavenham Railway Walks. Breeding was confirmed at 15 locations, including five pairs at North Warren, and three pairs on the Sizewell Estate. In Ipswich a pair successfully raised young in Christchurch Park for the fourth successive year. A pair fledged four chicks on the southern edge of The King's Forest, but unfortunately one was killed on a nearby road. Breeding was also suspected at a further four sites. Evidence of spring migration was sparse but activity was more evident in late summer. At Landguard six were seen on August 23rd, then four on September 13th and three on October 11th. There was also a noticeable increase in numbers in September on Orfordness, including three on 7th, seven on 21st and three drifting south on 28th. Elsewhere, four were at Corton on September 13 th and one flew in off the sea at Gunton on October 25 th. Prey items included one catching a Green Woodpecker at Carlton Marshes on December 6th, a juvenile female unsuccessfully chasing a Green Woodpecker at Cavenham Heath on August 31st, and a male seen attacking roosting Linnets at Creeting St Mary on December 12th. COMMON BUZZARD Buteo buteo Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant; increasing breeding population. There are now very few places in Suffolk where Buzzards are absent. There was another substantial increase in the number of reports of this species in 2008. The 497 reports represent the largest number of reports ever received for any raptor species in Suffolk, and is a 49% increase on the 334 reports in 2007. The 213 sites at which this species was recorded in 2008 is a 73% increase on the 123 sites in 2007 and provides a more accurate picture of the Buzzard's distribution across the county. There is strong evidence of a real increase in number in the north-east and south-east, though with 50% of the records, and according to BBS, the west continues to be this species' stronghold. 72



Despite the large number of reports, evidence of breeding was sketchy; breeding was confirmed at just 19 sites and suspected at a further seven at least. ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD Buteo lagopus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. 2008 was rather a quiet year for this species. The following records came from the first half of the year, and there were no long-staying individuals. Single birds were seen at four sites in the coastal region : Oulton Broad: May 5th (R C Smith). Minsmere: May 6th (R Harvey); May 17th (J A Brown). Darsham: Apr 5th (I Barthorpe). Freston: Freston Park, Feb 16th (A Stuart). 2007 Addition A Rough-legged Buzzard was present in the Bradwell area from 18th to 28th November 2007. OSPREY Pandion haliaetus Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. 2008 was another record-breaking year for this species. The 80 submitted reports received easily surpass the previously highest number of 51 in 2006. It also represents a welcome upturn following last year's rather poor total of 27. Ospreys were seen at 46 sites across the county, the majority of the sightings were in autumn. The first submitted arrival of the year was seen fishing over private lakes at East Bergholt on April 17th. This was closely followed by one in off the sea at Landguard three days later. Spring passage was fairly quiet after that, with just eight reports from seven sites in May and two reports from two sites in June. Records from the summer months came from Lakenheath Fen, July Ist; Lackford Lakes, August 13th and nearby over The King's Forest on August 29th. Autumn passage was much more pronounced and apparently involved many Scandinavian migrants moving south, with Honey Buzzards and other raptor species. September produced no fewer than 45 reports and the vast majority of these were from coastal locations. Notable movements included three south at Minsmere on September 13th and five south at Landguard the same day. Other multiple counts included two at Breydon South Wall on September 13th and two at Herringfleet on September 22nd. Lingering birds were logged at several sites in late summer and autumn, although the situation was complicated somewhat by the higher-than-normal number of migrants passing through at this time. Single birds were at Minsmere between August 5th and 9th, Lackford Lakes from September 1st to at least 25th, and at Needham Market Lake from October 10th to 19th. A late bird was present in the Stoke-by-Nayland area from November 6th to 9th. The only other November report came from Glemsford Pits on November 3rd. As with other species we heard of reports of other Ospreys in 2008, including earlier and later dates, but they were not submitted. COMMON KESTREL Falco tinnuneulus Common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. There was an increase in the number of reports for the second year running. A total of 279 reports was received compared with 239 in 2007. Reports came from 103 sites, again a slight increase on the 90 in 2007. Kestrels were recorded in 14 of the 48 BBS squares, compared with 20 in 2007, the lowest number since the six in 2001. Confirmation of breeding came from 20 sites including five pairs at North Warren, and breeding was suspected at another four. The species was recorded on about 41% of visits to 73

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 Lavenham Railway Walks, a big drop on the 58% in 2007. Otherwise, numbers were generally good; nine birds were located beside the Deben Estuary during a WeBS count on March 9th and eight birds were recorded on the count there on October 19th. On Orfordness peak numbers in summer included seven in June, six in July and seven again in August. Up to ten were present in September, then a maximum of four in November and just two in December. F I E L D


Orfordness clearly attracts a good number of Kestrels in the summer months, presumably as a result of dispersing juveniles, but it remains a mystery as to why so few birds visit the site in winter.

Orfordness Bird Report Passage birds were noted at four coastal locations in autumn: on September 9th three flew in off the sea at Kessingland and one flew in off the sea at Lowestoft. At Thorpeness, singles flew south offshore on October 18th and 23 rd. At Landguard a maximum of seven was logged flying south on September 13th, and another 11 either in off the sea or flew south there between mid-September and mid-November. Elsewhere, five seen together at Great Cornard on October 6th may have been migrants. Records of hunting behaviour included one bird trying to carry off a rabbit at Pakenham on July 3rd, and another unsuccessfully stooping at a bat at Woolpit on November 11th. A juvenile was a road casualty killed at West Stow, yards away from where a young Sparrowhawk was also killed. RED-FOOTED FALCON Falco vespertinus Rare visitor. There were four records of this species in 2008, a significant increase on the single record in 2007. All the reports were from May. Two different birds were seen at Minsmere during the second half of the month. In the west an adult male and a first-summer female were located amongst the numerous Hobbies at Lakenheath Fen on May 12th and were subsequently seen on two other dates in May. The female was still being reported until the end of May. Minsmere: female. May 15th (T Sykes, T Collett); female, May 31st (D Fairhurst, D Holman) Lakenheath Fen: male, May 12th to 18th at least; female, May 12th to 16th (T Stopher et al.). MERLIN Falco columbarius Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. A total of 99 reports came from 35 sites in 2008, compared with the 99 from 37 in 2007. It is likely that four or five birds were present in the first winter period, a similar number to last year. About two thirds of the reports came from traditional wintering sites such as Orfordness. In January single birds were reported from 12 sites across the county, including two on Orfordness on January 5th. Unusually, there were just two reports from February; a female was at Levington on 25th and a male was seen on Icklingham Plains on 23rd. In March singles were seen at five sites, including one that remained at Landguard for the whole month. The only April records came from Landguard, where a single bird was recorded until 23rd and from Levington where a female was seen on 2nd. Spring records included single birds on Orfordness on May 17th and at Minsmere on May 27th. The first returning bird was seen on Orfordness on July 27th and another was seen at Breydon South Wall on August 12th. Autumn migrants were noted flying offshore at Lowestoft and Thorpeness during September and singles were recorded at another six coastal locations during the month. 74

Systematic List Reports of single birds carne from five coastal sites in October, including two on Orfordness. Inland one was seen at Lakenheath Fen on October 19th. An estimated five or six birds were present during the second winter period, a similar number to last year. Singles were reported from nine sites in November, including the two birds that continued to frequent Orfordness. By December the number of birds had peaked at a máximum of six, including up to two in the north-east, a minimum of three in the southeast, and one in the west. EURASIAN HOBBY Falco subbuteo Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Reports were received from 110 sites across Suffolk in 2008, compared with 99 sites in 2007. Just over 300 reports were received, a similar number to 2007, which perhaps reflects a levelling off of the population across the UK. The first returning birds were logged at 19 sites in April, the earliest being at Pipps Ford on April 13th. By April 28th a total of six birds had gathered at North Warren. Numbers continued to build up in May and resulted in some impressive counts at some sites. Lakenheath Fen hosted a minimum of 32 birds on May 5th, although there may have been as many as 50 birds present. Elsewhere, 20 were seen at North Warren on May lOth. Breeding was confirmed at seven sites and suspected at another. The Forestry Commission located 29 nests in Thetford Forest (two more than in 2007), eight of which were in Suffolk. A total of 14 pulli was ringed, bringing the total number ringed to 50 since 2005. The average success rate per nest was calculated as 1.9, which represents a slight increase on last year. This figure may have been an under-estimate given the difficulty in finding fledged birds within the forest. There were 13 reports from September, including múltiple counts of six at Ashby on 14th, 12 at Minsmere on 13th and seven at Redgrave and Lopham Fen on lOth. The last bird of the year was seen at Flixton Decoy on October 19th. 2007 Correction The latest-ever recorded date for Eurasian Hobby in Suffolk is November 20th, at Knettishall Heath in 1983. This corrects the statement on page 82 of Suffolk Birds 2007. PEREGRINE FALCON Falco peregrinus Vncommon but increasing winter visitor and passage migrant. Has bred in recent years. CategoriesA and E. 2008 was a landmark year for this species, which bred in Suffolk for the first time in 200 years. A pair successfully fledged three chicks in a nest-box on the Orwell Bridge (see article on Page 29 for further details). The success story is a testament to the years of campaigning by SOG to get the box erected on the bridge. The chicks were first seen perched on the front of the box on May 22nd and once fledged remained in the vicinity for several weeks. There was a total of 140 reports from across the county, a slight decrease on last year's total of 155. The reports carne from 43 sites, one fewer than in 2007. As always with such a mobile species, calculating how many birds overwintered in the county was problematic. However, reports suggest that between eight and ten birds were present in the first winter period, a similar number to 2007. These included birds at favoured coastal locations, such as Orfordness, where up to two birds were present, and Landguard where a male remained throughout January and February. At least one bird, a juvenile, frequented the Minsmere área during January. Up to three birds were present in the west of the county; the increase in reports from this región was undoubtedly as a result of the presence of at least two birds roosting at the Bury Beet Factory. Likely spring passage birds were noted at Pakefield on May 2nd and at Orfordness on May ' 7th. There were several reports from the summer, some of which obviously referred to the 75

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 breeding pair on the Orwell Bridge. Elsewhere, a singleton was seen at Barsham on July Ist. On Orfordness the first returning birds arrived on August 7th, and one was present at Landguard on August 25th. Over in the west of the county an immature bird was seen at Great Livermere on August lOth, and a juvenile bird was seen at a confidential site on several dates in late August. Local knowledge indicated that there were also adults present at the site, but there was insufficient evidence to confirm that there had been any breeding attempt. Possible autumn migrants included a single bird south at Kessingland on August 1 Oth, and one north at Corton on August 17th. The following month one flew close inshore off Thorpeness on September 23rd and a male flew north-west over Melton Park on September 18th. A report of an adult and a juvenile menacing gulls at Bawdsey Cliff on September 15th may have involved migrants given the date, but could also have been birds from the Orwell Bridge. There are likely to have been 10-13 birds present in the second winter period, twice as many as last year's estimate. Orfordness played host to two adults in November and December and these were joined briefly by a third in mid-November. A male returned to Landguard in September and was still present at the end of the year. At least three birds were present in the west of the county between October and December. Birds were again seen roosting at Bury Beet Factory, and were also regularly logged at other sites in the vicinity. At Puttock's Hill, Pakenham a pair was seen in a ploughed field sitting out a heavy rain shower in October. Also in October, an immature female was seen fending off Carrion Crows from a fresh kill near Lackford. An immature male was seen at Lackford Lakes on December 2Ist and a single bird was seen at Timworth Heath on three dates in December. F I E L D


Peregrines contĂŹnue to be persecuted. Individuais involved with pigeon fancying are believed to be responsible for the failure of some nests, partĂŹcularly in South Wales and Northern Ireland. This is despite several separate studies showing that birds of prey are responsible for only a small proportion of racing pigeon losses compared with other factors such as straying, exhaustion and collisions. RSPB

WATER RAIL RaUus aquaticus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This species was recorded at 34 sites, an increase of one on last year's total. Reports of breeding or probable breeding were received from only five of these sites, with the largest populations at North Warren (56 pairs) and Minsmere (41 pairs). Winter records were widespread throughout the County with high counts being recorded at Barsham Marshes, 12, December 6th and Lakenheath Fen, eight, December 20th. No records of any migrant Water Rails were received. SPOTTED CRAKE Porzana porzana Rare passage migrant; rarely Oversummers. Amber List. With three or possibly four singing maies present at three sites this was a good year for this elusive species. There was, however, no confirmation of breeding. Eastbridge: singing maie, JunelOth. Minsmere: singing male (probably the bird from Eastbridge), June 13th to 16th, two singing maies, June 17th to 20th. Lakenheath Fen: possible breeding, May 8th (K Puttic). 76



CORNCRAKE Crex crex Very rare passage migrant. Red list. The only record of the year was a bird flushed during a WeBS count, September 14th, between Ramsholt and Bawdsey on the Deben Estuary (B Harrington). COMMON M O O R H E N Gallínula ehloropus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This common but under-recorded wetland species continúes to be reported from suitable habitat throughout the county at Oct Nov Dee Jan Feb Mar ali times of the year. Breeding or 34 18 25 65 45 11 Alde/Ore Estuary probable breeding was reported Deben Estuarv 22 26 20 30 11 13 from 21 sites. With a total of 61 Orwell Estuary 34 37 16 21 -63 2t pairs, North Warren had the largest breeding population, an increase of five on the previous year. Elsewhere, high breeding numbers were recorded at Mickle Mere (51 adults) and the Sizewell Estate (45 adults). The results of winter counts at regularly monitored site are shown above. COMMON COOT Fúlica atra Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. The highest wintering counts for this species were recorded on the Orwell Estuary. Other high counts were received from Oct Nov Dee Jan Feb Mar Minsmere, 266 on July 2Ist and 44 , 32 64 5t 21 22 Alde/Ore Estuarv Lackford Lakes, 230 on August 2 3 Deben Estuarv TO 12 8 lOth. Breeding records were 367 246 257 103 95 25 Orwell Estuary received from only 17 sites, which is certainly an under-estimate. Counts from the southern estuaries are shown above. COMMON C R A N E Grus grus Rare passage migrant. Amber List. For a second year there was attempted breeding at the Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve. Unfortunately again this was unsuccessful, but up to four birds were present throughout the year. A total of 12 reports was submitted from other sites. All records are included below:-

Common Cranes Peter Beeson Carlton Marshes: three overhead then drifted southeast, Oct 17th. Westleton Heath: seven north, same as at Minsmere, Nov 24th. Minsmere: south over Island Mere, Mar 17th; south, Apr 5th; south Apr 28th; three south, Oct 27th; seven north, same as at Westleton, Nov 24th. Aldringham: Aug 23rd. 77

Suffolk Birci Report


North Warren: single bird on the grazing marshes probably the same bird as at Minsmere, Mar 17th. Little Livermere: two, April 6th. Lakenheath Fen: up to four present throughout 2008, but six, Dec 28th. Eriswell: four flying over, June 18th. E U R A S I A N O Y S T E R C A T C H E R Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. Amber list. Breeding records were received from nineteen sites across the county. Orfordness had an estimated 30-40 pairs; the other eighteen sites accounted for 28 breeding attempts, seven of which were at Minsmere. There were thirteen confirmed breeding records, three of which were on roof-tops - two in Ipswich industrial estates and another in Lowestoft. WeBS counts were as follows:Blyth Estuary Aide/Ore Estuary Deben Estuarv Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuary

Jan 156 93 125 1021 793

Feb 204 204 189 210 749

Mar 41 333 272 273. 733


Aug -


219 75 333


44 426

Sep 35 8 187 820 460

Oct 30 16 104 898 858

Nov 24 11 99 801 808

Dec 30 24 114 627 525

The highest autumn passage movements were noted at Landguard with 70 south on August 8th and 70 south past Orfordness on August 10th. PIED AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta Fairly common resident, summer visitor and passage migrant on the coast. Amber list. Despite a continued increase in numbers at Minsmere, bad weather and egg prĂŠdation by Black-headed Gulls continued to blight breeding success at this site with only four young fledged from 130 pairs. Other pairs were at Dunwich (8), Benacre (1), Orfordness (5+) and Mickle Mere (2). From these only the pair at Benacre reared young with three seen on July 12th. The Mickle Mere breeding records follow a record of a pair mating at this site on April 25 th 2007, the first instance of breeding activity at an inland site. All of the Suffolk estuaries can now be considered to hold regular wintering flocks as indicated by W e B S : Blyth Estuary Aide/Ore Estuarv Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

Jan 540 1465 224 113 94

Feb 332 833 219 -

Mar 120 925 96 24

Apr -

Aug ft'


37 21 2


31 -

Sep 4 301 48 26 -

Oct 22 551 151 43 86

Nov 363 604 342 161 111

Dec 290 765 333 110 102

Other significant counts came from Havergate, with 846 on August 17th and 800 at Boyton on September 14th. S T O N E - C U R L E W Burhinus oedicnemus Locally fairly common summer visitor. Transferred from Red to Amber List. The first spring record was two birds at a coastal site on March 20th. The number of pairs was up slightly on 2007 with 89 pairs in the Brecks and eight on the coast. Productivity was low, with just 59 birds fledged. The last bird of the autumn was again from the coast on November 10th, although an interesting record of three birds Stone Curlew Peter Beeson overwintering in the Brecks came on December 5th. 78



LITTLE (RINGED) PLOVER Charadrìus duhius Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Spring passage was late with the first record coming from Flixton Gravel Pits on March 30th. Single birds were found at Layham Pits and Lackford Lakes the following day and the first coastal record carne from Landguard on April 1 st. Other early records came from Cavenham on April 2nd and Great Livermere on April 4th. Only five confirmed breeding records were received, ali from sites in the west of the county with one location having three birds incubating on July 13th. Probable breeding was reported at two additional inland sites. Seven other locations had birds on site during May and may have related to possible breeding attempts. Autumn passage was unremarkable. Sightings of four birds, including three juveniles, were at Minsmere up until September 7th with the last record coming from here on September 12th. The final record of the year, the latest-ever Suffolk record, came from Trimley Marshes on November 17th (G J Jobson), the previous latest having been at Minsmere, October 21 st 1984.

RINGED P L O V E R Charadrìus hiaticula Declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Seventeen pairs were reported from seven sites:Kessingland: two pairs fledged young. Dingle Marshes: three pairs. Minsmere: four pairs, one young fledged. North Warren: one pair. Orfordness: two pairs, with one rearing three young. Landguard: four pairs, with one rearing three young. Mickle Mere: one pair, female incubating, July 7th. The most significant non-WeBS counts in the first period came from Landguard with 304 on February 5th. Complete WeBS coverage in August would reveal a greater number of passage birds across the county, as 172 at Melton on August 21 st and the 272 on the Stour August WeBS count serve to indicate. WeBS data were as follows:-

Blyth Estuar} Aide/Ore Estuary Deben Estuar) Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuarv

Jan 47 23 58 73 88

Feb Mar 0 2 29 63 5. 19 121 38 102 33

Oct 44 ... 23 •V-V'+vS 111 120 10 5 172 150 20 272 115 ; 73


Aug -

Sep 5

Nov 16 13 25 283 6

Dee 4 16 47 182 91

Three-figure autumn counts were reported from Thorpeness, with 195 past on September 19th and 200 at Trimley Marshes on September 25th. In the second winter period, Landguard hosted the highest non-WeBS aggregation, with 250 on November lOth. 'Tundra' Ringed Piover C.h.tundrae Ali records came from Minsmere starting with 17 on May 9th, peaking at 40 on May 15th, with the final spring record being four on June 4th.

KENTISH P L O V E R Charadrìus alexandrinus Scarce passage migrant. Minsmere: juv, Aug 25th (J A Rowlands, J H Grant et al.). 79

Suffolk Birci Report


EURASIAN DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus Scarcepassage migrant. Amber list. There was only one record of Dotterei in 2008. A male was present, and photographed, at Landguard on May 25th. Landguard: male, May 25th (R Q Skeen et al.). PACIFIC G O L D E N PLOVER Pluvialisfulva Accidental. Havergate: Aug 3rd (D Fairhurst et al.). This was Suffolk's second county record. EUROPEAN G O L D E N PLOVER Pluvialis apricaria Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Four-figure counts were well down from 2007 figures. The highest non-WeBS counts in the first winter period were:Kessingland: 700, Jan 6th. Benacre Broad: 470, Jan 6th. Sudbourne: 500, Jan 12th; 1200, Jan 16th. Orfordness: 950, Feb 23rd; 700, Feb 24th. Levington Creek: 2000, Jan 6th. Erwarton: 500, Jan 17th; 450, Feb 15th. Mendham Marshes: 500, Feb 2nd. Brettenham: 400, Feb 2nd. Great Barton: 500, Mar 26th. The last significant flock in the spring was 140 at Pakenham on April 20th, but the last bird of the season was an individuai flying north at Kessingland on May 24th. A single bird at Minsmere on June lOth probably represented the first autumn record, with another individuai there on June 17th, sandwiching a single bird at Orford on June 15th. The first three-figure autumn flock was 120 at Havergate on August 4th. Sizeable flocks in the second winter period carne f r o m : Mutford: 480, Oct 20th. Orfordness: 525, Oct 18th. Erwarton: 1100, Nov 7th. Rumburgh: 700, Nov 29th. Redgrave Lake: 950, Oct 3Ist; 620, Nov Ist; 483, Nov 17th. WeBS data was as follows:Blyth Estuary Aide/Ore Estuarv Deben Estuarv Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuar)'

Jan 470 6873 2073 1800 320

Feb 1210 1601 1466 500 1052

Mar 310 1064 42 202 15



Oct 520 374 830 335 - 137

Nov 1161 777 2718 2200 1371

Dee 3235 1872 2012 800 71

Sep Oct . v-;: 1 6 473 196 338 61 129 '2 372 476 672

Nov 4 73 271 316 982

Dee 30 49 413 506 534



# 35 0 500




225 22 703 .12

GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. WeBS provided the highest figures throughout the year:Blyth Estuar) Aide/Ore Estuar) Deben Estuar) Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuarv

Jan 20 86 574 51 347

Feb 45 75 410 72 470

Mar 21 23 483 110 34

Apr -

238 3 662 80

Aug -

0. Dotterei at Landguard on 13th September.

โ€ข Purple Sandpiper at Southwold in November.

Bill Bastรณn

Sean Nixon

. Little Gull at Minsmere in jptember. Sean Nixon

15. Glaucous Gull

Nightjar at West Stow in August.

Peter Ransome

Bill Bastรณn

17. Barn Owl hovering at Waldringfield.

18. Short-eared Owl at Trimley Marshes in October.

Chris Mayne

Bill Bai on

19. The celebrity Tawny Owl in Christchurch Park. BiiiBaston



Peak non-WeBS counts in the first period carne from the following sites: Levington Creek: 200, Feb 2nd; 150, Feb 16th. Erwarton Bay: 445, Jan 2Ist; 200, Mar 5th. Holbrook Bay: 75, Apr 8th. Minsmere again provided records for the last birds in spring, with three on June 5th and one on 6th. Autumn passage began with a single bird at North Warren on July 5th and two south past Landguard the following day. Passage became more noticeable in August with the following records:Thorpeness: 61 south, Aug 7th; 85 south, Aug 17th. Orfordness: 53 south, Aug 16th; 313 south, Aug 17th. Landguard: 140 south, Aug 12th. A total of 451 south during the month. Erwarton Bay: 248, Aug 14th at high tide roost. The only other notable flocks, outside WeBS counts, in the second winter period carne from the Stour Estuary, with 400 at Erwarton on October 13th and 180 in Holbrook Bay on October 31st. NORTHERN LAPWING Vanellus vanellus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Declining as a breeding species. Transferred from Amber to Red list. Four-figure counts were recorded at the following locations in the first winter period:Dingle Marshes: 1280, Mar 25th. Minsmere: 1260, Jan 13th; 1700, Jan 18th 1500, Jan 2Ist; 1300, Jan 26th; 2077, Jan 22nd. Levington Creek: 2200, Jan 13th; 2000, Jan 18th. Livermere Lake: 1000, Jan 2Ist. Cavenham Heath: 1500, Feb 22nd. Identical breeding figures were returned this year as in 2007, with breeding attempts reported at 22 sites, comprising 105-109 pairs. The most significant sites were on the coast: Dingle Marshes: three pairs, with two success- ' fui second broods, the Lapwing Peter Beeson first predated by gulls. Minsmere: 38 pairs, with only six young fledged. North Warren: 13 pairs. Orfordness: est. 9-12 pairs. Herringtleet Marshes: eight pairs. However, nesting success fared better in the west of the county, with four broods hatching from six nests at Mickle Mere and three broods raised from six pairs at Livermere Lakes. WeBS data:Blyth Estuarv Aide/Ore Estuarv Deben Estuarv Orwell Estuarv Stour Estuary

Jan 4312 7322 5392 2671 944

Feb 1624 3412 1803 2298 1682





219 96 58 782

Aug -

20 U 45 81


58 295

Sep 50 89 531 64 253

Oct 63 1059 1050 1224 314

Nov 797 2847 1906 1370 1549

Dec 2584 5462 3135 1160 1460

Suffolk Birci Report


Autumn flocks of note were 250 at Benacre Broad on July 12th and 198 at Minsmere on August 22nd. It was not until the latter-half of December, that four-figure counts were recorded:Minsmere: 1120, Dec 21st. Melton: 1200, Dec 23rd. Orfordness: 1350, Dec 21st. RED KNOT Calidris canutus Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. WeBS data provided the bulk of significant records:Jan Blyth Estuary 908 Aide/Ore Estuary 23 Deben Estuarv " . •: 17 Orwell Estuarv 490 Stour Estuary 2341

Feb 740 80 17 636 1915

Mar 297 20 10 14 136


Sep 5 5Bs 3 7 51 Ă?*; '' 16 10 35: 48 61 3 -


Oct 2 6 24 62 3050

Nov 44 37 6 670 6050

Dec 303 103 10 2515 4082

The November Stour count is the highest in Suffolk since the record counts of 6210 and 6840 on the Stour in November and December 2004 respectively. There were only two other four-figure counts in the first winter period, both from the Levington Creek high tide roost, of 1000 on January 17th and 2000 on February 16th. Birds were present at Minsmere throughout spring, with monthly maxima of 25 on May 16th and 12 on June 13th, blurring the line between spring departure and autumn arrival. Seven at Orfordness on June 14th were considered to be returning birds. Passage became more significant into July with Southwold records showing 18 south on July 29th and 80 south on August 12th. The highest non-WeBS count in the second winter period was 400 at Trimley Marshes on December 27th. SANDERLING Calidris alba Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Only two double-figure counts were received in the first winter period, with 20 at Lowestoft South Beach on January 13th and 11 at Benacre on March 6th. Ten at Benacre on April 27th were presumed to be migrants, with the year's only inland record being a single at Livermere on April 20th. Consistent passage was evident at Minsmere with birds present on fifteen days during May, the highest count being 12 on 16th. Orfordness held 21 birds on May 17th. Five coastal sites had birds present during June:Lowestoft: North Beach, two, 1st; four, 3rd. Benacre: five, 15th. Minsmere: two, 6th; three, 9th; 17th. Thorpeness: beach, two, 2nd. Orfordness: 7th; three, 8th. Minsmere provided the first autumn record on July 14th, with 18 present there the following day and 18 on August 2nd. Further double-figure counts in the autumn included 18 south past Orfordness on August 2nd, ten at Ness Point, Lowestoft on August 17th and 18 south past Landguard on September 12th. The highest count in the second winter period was nine at Pakefield Beach on December 23rd. SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER Calidris pusilla Very rare visitor. Minsmere: July 18th (D A Fairhurst, R Harvey et al.) Present for just under three hours in the morning before flying north. This is the fifth 82



record for Suffolk, previous occurrences having been in 1982/83, 1986, 1993 and 2003. This record awaits formal acceptance by BBRC. LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta Uncommon passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. An early record came from Southwold on March 30th. More typical spring passage commenced on May 5th with a single bird on Orfordness. The next record came from Trimley Marshes on May 7th with another bird there on May 15th. At Minsmere, one on May 9th was followed by records on a further fourteen days up io May 27th, with a peak of four on May 15th. Orfordness had further birds with three on Vlay 17th, two on May 18th and a single from May 24th to 26th. The first birds of the autumn were two at Orfordness on July 31st, with four there on \ugust 1st and 2nd. Passage was evident there on fourteen more days up to September 28th, when three were present. At Minsmere, passage was noted on 24 days between August 7th and October 23rd. Peak jounts were nine on August 28th, six on September 12th, six on October 2nd and five on )ctober 14th. Other coastal reports were two at Stutton Mill, on the Stour Estuary, on August 17th and ive at Dingle Marshes on October 14th. The only inland record came from Livermere Lake, with one on September 17th. A juvenile was at Melton between October 16th and 24th. What was considered to be the ame bird was present on November 20th and then seen throughout the rest of the year and m into 2009. fEMMINCK'S STINT Calidris temminckii Scarce passage migrant. Transferred from Amber to Red list. There was a good spring passage, with Orfordness being particularly productive. It was, owever, a quiet autumn, vlinsmere: May 14th to 17th; May 27th. >rfordness: two, May 10th; five, May 13th; May 24th; 25th and 26th (different bird), rimley Marshes: May 7th; May 15th. The five birds on Orfordness was the largest group in Suffolk since 1977 when up to five vere at Minsmere, August 22nd to 27th. The only autumn record was a single on July 19th at Orfordness. VHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER Calidris fuscicollis tare passage migrant. The only record of the year is the thirty-third for the county:Minsmere: adult, July 13th to 20th (multi-observer). ÂťAIRD'S SANDPIPER Calidris bairdii 2006 Additions BBRC has finally accepted these two records, both on Orfordness:liaird's Sandpiper: juvenile, Orfordness, August 26th to September 3rd (D Crawshaw, M C Marsh, G Stannard); juvenile, Orfordness, October 1st and 7th (D Crawshaw, M C Marsh, S Piotrowski et al.). These are the seventh and eighth county records, the sixth having been at Minsmere in 2004 and the fifth was back in 1990. PECTORAL SANDPIPER Calidris melanotos Scarce passage migrant. An excellent run of records from Minsmere:Minsmere: adult, July 17th and 18th (S Mayson, R Harvey); another or the same bird, July 23rd (G J Jobson et al.)- juv, Sep 8th and 9th (R Harvey, N Andrews); juv, Sep 20th (R Harvey); Sep 23rd to Oct 1st, probably same bird (L G Woods). 83

Suffolk Birci Report


Trimley Marshes: July 20th (P Oldfield, P J Holmes). Levington Creek: adult, July 23rd, probably same as above (J Zantboer); Oct 4th (W J Brame). C U R L E W SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea Uncommon passage migrant. The only spring records were from Dingle Marshes and Minsmere:Dingle Marshes: May 6th. Minsmere: three, Apr 27th; two, Apr 28th to 30th; May 5th and 6th; May 9th and 1 Oth; May 12th to 18th Minsmere recorded birds on fifteen days between July 2Ist and October 6th, with peaki of eight on July 23rd, five on July 27th and eight on September 12th. Greater numbers were on Orfordness with a single on July 23rd preceding records on < further 23 days up to October 15th. Impressive figures were 23 on July 24th, 42 on Augus' 2nd and 49 on August 17th. There were a further fourteen records from eight locations:Breydon: two, Sep 13th; two, Sep 27th. Walberswick: July 28th. Thorpeness: Sep 6th. Woodbridge: two, Sep 9th and lOth. Bawdsey: Sep 8th. Levington Creek: Oct 3rd. Lower Holbrook: Aug 20th. There was a late winter record from Melton on December 31 st (G Grieco) the first winte record in Suffolk since 1957 when one was at Reydon in January and March. PURPLE SANDPIPER Calidris maritima Fairly common winter visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Small numbers were at Lowestoft throughout both winter periods, with records receivei from eight other coastal localities. In the first half of the year counts were as follows:Lowestoft: (monthly maxima): ten, Jan 20th; nine, Feb 1 Oth; nine, Mar 6th; nine, Apr 1 st; one, May 5th Thorpeness: Jan 3Ist. Minsmere: May 17th to 27th. Orfordness: Feb lOth. Bawdsey: East Lane, three, Feb 18th; three, Mar 18th; three, Mar 31 st. Erwarton Bay: Jan 2Ist. Numbers were slightly lower in the second half of the year. The first record was not unti August 28th at Thorpeness with the next record from the same locality on September 6th The remaining records were as follows:Lowestoft: (monthly maxima): one, Oct 25th; six, Nov 21 st; ten, Dee 19th. Easton Bavents: two, Nov 9th to 1 Ith. Southwold: Oct 7th; Oct 19th; Oct 25th; Nov 7th to 9th; two, Dee 3Ist. Minsmere: Nov 5th. Orford: Oct 15th. Bawdsey: East Lane, two, Oct 12th; four, Nov 1 Ith; three, Nov 12th; Dee 20th. Landguard: two, Oct 20th; Oct 2Ist and 22nd; Oct 28th; killed by a Peregrine, Nov 12th; Nov 18th. DUNLIN Calidris alpina Very' common winter visitor and passage migrant. Transferred to Red from Amber WeBS data:Blyth Estuary Alde/Ore Estuarv Deben Estuarv Orwell Estuary Stour Estuar)

Jan 6130 5380 4245 3055 1600

Feb 2510 2605 1832 333 3656

Mar 996 1054 2586 386 563







284 -

1155 84


Sep 51 9 296 14 612

Oct 496 473 525 323 2965

Nov 2304 661 1244 1140 2360

Dee 2715 479 2462 2020 1738




The highest counts in the first winter period, apart from WeBS counts, were as follows:orth Warren: 450, Jan 6th. elton: 700, Jan 12th; 600, Feb 6th. ¡•vington Creek: 800, Feb 1st; 3000 at high tide roost, Feb 16th. herstead: 1500, Jan 4th. A good spring passage was evident on the coast. There were 228 at Orfordness on April ; 7th, 198 on May 13th and their last spring bird was on June 1st. At Minsmere, there were er 100 birds present throughout May, with the highest figure being 135 on May 15th. -rds were present throughout June, with 20 still present on June 8th. Inland, the highest count was five at Lakenheath RSPB on May 18th, with singles reported i several dates, during April and May, from Livermere Lake and Mickle Mere. A Dunlin at Orfordness on June 15th was considered to be an autumn bird and good issage was noted there for the rest of the autumn. These and other significant records are follows:insmere: 55, July 18th; 33, Aug 22nd; 134, Sep 12th; 185 south in 40 minutes, Oct 30th. lorpeness: 356 south, Oct 30th. orth Warren: 150,Oct 14th; 100,Oct 26th. rfordness: 732 south, July 19th; 660 south, July 20th; 500 south, July 23rd; 400, Aug 28th. Inland autumn records came from Livermere Lake, with one on July 7th, two at jkenheath RSPB on July 11th and a single bird at Livermere Lake on September 14th. There were 1700 at the Erwarton Bay roost on October 13th and the Stour also provided nter records of 500 at Holbrook on October 31 st and 750 at Cattawade on December 1 st. The only inland record in the second winter period was a single bird at Great Waldingfield rfield on November 17th. UFF-BREASTED S A N D P I P E R Tryngites subruficollis ire visitor. The only record of the year was a juvenile on Orfordness. This is the tenth record for the unty and the third for Orfordness, which also hosted Suffolk's eighth and ninth records in >05 and 2006. ¡•fordness: Airfield, juv, Sept 3rd (D Crawshaw, D Kent). UFF



mmon passage migrant. Small numbers overwinter. Transferred from Amber to Red list. WeBS records were patchy, with the Orwell providing the best return:Jan Feb Mar Apr Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Aide/Ore Complex 4 8 Deben Estuary 1 Orwell Estuary 1 4 9 2 2 In the first winter period, apart from WeBS, the following records were received:urgh Castle Flats: Jan 1st. -orth Warren: six, Jan 13th; eight, Jan 26th; two, Feb 16th. Orfordness: two, Jan 20th. Birds were present at Minsmere in all months, bar October. Monthly maxima there were:H

•lan 4

Feb 11

Mar 17

Apr 10

May 8

Jun 2

Jul 8

Aug 9

Sep 4

Oct 0

Nov 4

Dec 1

Spring passage was noted at Orfordness in April with one on 12th, 15 on 26th and four 27th. There were singles recorded on three days in May, with the last on 18th. Minsmere hosted the first bird of the autumn on June 16th, with the next at Orfordness °n June 22nd. Orfordness had a continued passage of birds in the autumn, with monthly



Suffolk Birci Report


maxima of 13 on July 27th, ten on August 5th, six on September 14th and four on O c t o k r 25th. Inland, two at Mickle Mere on July 6th were followed by one on July 15th and 16t! . Flixton Gravel Pits also hosted single birds on July 5th and 13th. All bar one record in the second winter period came from the c o a s t Burgh Castle Flats: 62, Dec 20th. Carlton Colville: two, Dec 25th. Southwold: Town Marshes, three. Dec 6th; three, Dec 19th; seven, Dec 29th. Aldeburgh Marshes: four, Nov 16th. Orfordness: Nov 8th; seven, Nov 15th; two, Nov 16th; Nov 22nd. Erwarton Bay: two, Nov 7th. Mickle Mere: Dec 29th. The 62 birds recorded at the Burgh Castle Flats is a remarkable mid-winter count and i , in fact, the highest winter count ever recorded in Suffolk. JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Articles were published in the June 2007 issue of The Harrier relating to Jack Snipe beir > located on damp areas of Hollesley Commons and in an arable field at Mutford. Sue i observations continued in the early months of 2008 with reports from arable fields at Barnb . January 2nd and Mutford, January 11th (two), and as many as six flushed from an area ( f heather on Tunstall Common, January 24th. Elsewhere during the first three months there were reports from nine coastal and f h e inland sites. These include maxima on Orfordness of five, January 13th, six, February 10 i and four, March 9th. The annual report from Orfordness says of this unobtrusive wader th; : "... Given the amount of suitable habitat on site this is probably a very much under-reporh / species..." Well away from the expected localities, one was noted at Otley, March 20th. None was located between April 28th (Minsmere) and October 9th (Gunton Warren). T1 s only other October reports were of singles at Minsmere, 10th and 30th. November and December witnessed sightings inland at Lackford Lakes and at 11 coast I sites: these included a maximum of three at Minsmere, December 17th, one or two en Orfordness from November 16th onwards, one north past Ness Point, Lowestoft, Novemb r 2nd and one on a stubble field, Mutford, December 11th (see above). C O M M O N SNIPE Gallinago gallinago Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Verging on extinction as a breeding specie Amber list. Unlike 2007, there was no confirmed breeding in 2008. The only indications of possible breeding were of single birds present in potential breeding habitat in June at Minsmere, 14th and 21st, Castle Marsh, North Cove, 14th and Botany Bay, Lakenheath, 6th. Counts from the principal estuarine and wetland sites were:Southwold Town Marshes Jan Feb Mar Sep Oct Nov Dec had attracted 500 Common 40 42: 84 25 80 16 E 27 Snipe in December 2007, Minsmere* 24 57 North Warren* 17 6 25 13 32 and this site continued to 41 50 19 Aide/Ore 28 21 82 attract high totals in the 28 Orfordness* 25 25 23 11 15 , 41 early months of 2008 with 30 50 Deben 12 43 g1 6 35 peaks of 200, January 6th; 39 39 Orwell 17 37 19 0 7 250, February 9th and 80, Stour 56 92 29 101 0 23 19 March 23rd. * monthly maxima Maximum totals at inland sites in the early months involved 33, Nunnery Floods, Thetford, February 2nd and


Systematic List up to 17, Livermere Lake; 15, Sudbury Common Lands; 11, Lackford Lakes and ten, 1 ¡kenheath Fen. There was little evidence of spring passage. Landguard recorded one on March 17th and t o on April 22nd. Auturan migrants were noted from July 6th, but relatively few were noted during July ,d August, the only double-figure total being of up to 15 on Orfordness in the latter month. least 12 migrants were recorded at Landguard during the period August 7th to November 23rd. Notable autumn and early-winter totals in addition to those in the table above included 35, 1 ikenheath Fen, October 23rd; 30, Worlingham, November 21st and 24th and 45, Carlton ( olville, December 7th. I URASIAN WOODCOCK Scolopax rusticóla ' icommon resident. Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The solé breeding season report from the coastal región was of three in the Waveney -rest at Fritton, June 14th which oífers hope that breeding continúes in that región. Over Breckland, a general comment was of a reduced breeding population in The King's Forest i >m where at least nine roding males were reported. Elsewhere in Breckland roding males \ re located at Cavenham Heath (four), Mayday Farm, Brandon (three) and Thetford Warren ( ne). Few had been located in December 2007 but the number of sightings increased mificantly in the early months of 2008 with reports from 30 sites across the county. The hest site total was 11 in the Westhorpe area, January 22nd and there were reported to be ood numbers" in The King's Forest during the winter months. Despite these impressive winter totals, very few were noted on spring passage. Ones and t' os were present between late March and late April at Minsmere and North Warren and in t! Lowestoft area, but none was recorded at either Landguard or Orfordness during this r riod. Autumn passage did not commence until October 25th (Gunton Warren), and continued l. oughout November during which month there were widespread reports from at least 16 c «tal and 13 inland sites. Eleven were recorded at Landguard during the period October st to November 25th with a peak of three on November 13th. Two were present on October 30th on Orfordness where in November singles flew in from offshore on lst and 23rd and tí. o were present on 16th. This wader also featured strongly in December with sightings at ten coastal and 14 inland s¡íes. Evidence of continuing immigration was preved by one in from offshore, Kessingland, Peak totals involved ten flushed during the course of a shoot at Framsden, 20th and six, Lakenheath Fen, 8th. BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa ' I• islandica: Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. limosa: Scarce visitor. Formerly bred. Red list. Back on the Suffolk coast for its eleventh successive spring and summer, the persistent male limosa was present, and frequently noted displaying, either at Minsmere or at another coastal wetland site between March 19th and June 19th. On one occasion it was noted displaying to a female islandica and "nest scraping", but to n o avail. It is encouraging to report that a pair displayed at a third coastal wetland site on April 22nd. Additional reports of limosa involved up to two between April 26th and May 2nd at rimley Marshes where one was also present on August 20th. A flock of 230 Black-tailed odwits at Minsmere, July 22nd contained at least one juvenile limosa. 87

Suffolk Birci Report


WeBS counts and monthly maxima at the principal sites were:Jan Feb Mar Apr Aug Sep Oct 77 Blyth 12 319 304 349 538 Minsmere* 91 95 247 115 : 85 105 168 Aide/Ore ! 78 390 565 ' V X â&#x20AC;˘ 840 34 Orfordness* 3 66 21 196 : 65 310 504 Deben 342 217 628 948 1026 73 57 â&#x20AC;˘ 409 Orwell HW 276 .. M. Orwell LW 741 307 910 1865 Stour 232 394 1235 955 1377 ' monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water

Nov 13 15 659 50 86 507 813 1100

Dee 5 12 305 44. 356 92 486 540

A good year on the estuaries with the autumn totals probably indicating that islandica had an excellent breeding season. The October count on the Deben is the highest ever on that estuary while the figure of 1026 on the Orwell in September is the site's highest since a Low Water count of 1444 in October 1991. Additional reports in the first winter period included 300, Butley River, January 20th and four inland at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, February 9th. Spring passage in Aprii produced some notable gatherings; in addition to those in the table above, 332 were at Burgh Castle, Breydon Water, Aprii 13th and 340 at Melton, Deben Estuary, Aprii 22nd. This passage was also reflected at inland sites in late Aprii with 12, Lakenheath Fen, 27th; four, Gifford's Hall, 21 st and one, Higham (Stour), 25th. Totals increased noticeably in late June with 110, Minsmere, 25th; 82, Trimley Marshes, 28th and 42 inland at Mickle Mere, Pakenham, 27th. Inland sites also featured prominently in July and August with sightings at Gifford's Hall, Higham (Stour), Lackford Lakes, Livermere Lake, Lakenheath Fen and Mickle Mere, Pakenham; peak totals were 58, Gifford's Hall, August 4th; 41, Mickle Mere, July 8th and 24, Higham, July 19th. On the coast, the Stour WeBS August total far exceeded ali other late-summer figures; gatherings elsewhere included 230, Minsmere, July 22nd; 276, Butley River, August 21st; 120, Melton, August 25th and 103, Trimley Marshes, 19th. The majority of the county's principal totals during September to December are in the table above. Site figures at Cattawade on the Stour Estuary included 1070, October 19th and 650, December lst. Away front the coast, Beccles Marshes in the Waveney Valley featured prominently in late November with as many as 476 on 23rd. In west Suffolk, Gifford's Hall again featured well with 52, December 9th - this well watched site recorded Black-tailed Godwits in six months during 2008. B A R - T A I L E D G O D W I T Limosa lapponica Fairly common passage migrant and locally common winter visitor. Amber list As in most years during the last decade, Erwarton Bay on the Stour Estuary was the county's principal site in the winter months with Nov Dee Jan Keb Mar Oct the following monthly m a x i m a : 230 150 145 180 79 219 Smaller gatherings were recorded by the WeBS counters on the Aide/Ore and Deben Estuaries:The highest additional count on Dee Mar Oct Nov Jan Feb the estuaries in the first winter 4 14 0 8 Aide/Ore 6 12 period was 30 on Havergate 0 187 15 130 Stour 66 0 Island, March 18th. Spring passage was light with most reports being of single-figure groups. Larger gatherings included 41 north-east over Mettingham, between Beccles and Bungay, Aprii 20th; up to 28 in Erwarton Bay in Aprii and a peak of 15, Orfordness, May 4th. 88

Systematic List What is likely to have been the first autumn passage bird flew south offThorpeness, June 24th. Southerly passage totals in July off Kessingland and Thorpeness were 20 and 43 respectively. Offshore passage peaked in August and particularly on 17th with 31, Ness Point, Lowestoft; 32, Thorpeness; 187, Orfordness and 71, Landguard. Autumn movements off Landguard totalled 108 between July 5th and November 10th. Few were noted during October to December away from the Aide/Ore, Deben and Stour Estuaries. The December WeBS count revealed an overall total of 280 on the Stour Estuary and 11 on the Orwell Estuary. There were no reports from west Suffolk this year. WHIMBREL Numenius phaeopus Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. Red list. An overwintering bird was found on the Deben Estuary, February 10th (G Whatley) the first county record for that month since 2002. One at Wherstead Strand on the Orwell Estuary, March 21st is likely to have been an early spring migrant. The first April arrivals were on 5th (Minsmere and Southwold) and an early peak was of 39 over Havergate Island, 10th. April was the peak month for spring passage with reports from 13 coastal sites, five in the Waveney Valley and three in the west of Suffolk. Passage totals peaked in the fourth week of April with 46, Orfordness, 26th and 44, Minsmere, 27th - these figures exceed those of 2007. The three west Suffolk sites were Lakenheath Fen, Livermere Lake and Lackford Lakes with a maximum of three at the latter site 20th. May witnessed smaller gatherings than in April, with maxima of 21, Orfordness, 5th and 17, Minsmere, 2nd. Seawatching totals were much lower than in May 2007 with peaks of only ten north, Kessingland, 7th and eight north, Landguard, 1st. Singles were noted inland in May at Lakenheath Fen, 12th; Kersey, 18th and Cavenham, 21st. Mid-June sightings, perhaps of over-summering birds, involved three, Boyton, 17th and one, Minsmere, 13th. A distinct southerly return movement was noted from June 22nd with sightings at seven coastal sites by the month's end. As happens most years, seawatchers recorded the highest autumn passage totals. The principal sites to record this southerly movement were:Kessingland: 53, July and 58, Aug; max 20, Aug 6th. Thorpeness: 147, July and 26, Aug; max 43, July 10th and 37, July 29th. Landguard: 79, Jun. 29th to Sep 7th; max 13, Aug 9th and 16th. Elsewhere, the largest groups involved 20, Orfordness, July 27th and 12 there, August 4th; 11, Boyton Marshes, July 27th and ten, Havergate Island, August 2nd. Away from the coast, singles were at Lakenheath Fen, July 8th and 13th and nocturnal passage was heard over Framlingham, August 3rd. Few were noted after mid-August. Maxima in September were five, Breydon South Flats, 13th and five on Orfordness up to 21st. The only October records were singles south off Landguard, 4th and Thorpeness, 18th. F I E L D


A flock of passage birds was noted April 23rd to May 5th, feeding with corvids and pigeons on the pastures above the Wang valley, off the Wangford/Uggeshall road, with a maximum count of 62 on April 27th. David Pearson E U RASI AN C L RLE W Numenius arquata Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few pairs breed. Amber list. Breeding season reports from six sites in north-west Suffolk indicated the presence of no 89

Suffolk Birci Report


more than ten pairs overall - hopefully others went undetected. Birds were noted back at the breeding sites from February 25th. Counts at the principal sites were:Spring passage Mar Nov Jan Feb Apr Oct Dec Sep was observed off 88 17 24 316 71 20 17 90 Blyth Landguard bet; -. Alde/Ore 746 307 340 407 678 391 ween March 8th 414 106 37 Orfordness* 88 79 25 20 158 and May 9th; Aprii Deben 1098 768 548 576 372 479 320 was the peak •• Orwell HW 549 49 502 138 391 398 59 month with an Orwell LW 440 521 685 458 overall total of 118 Stour 1434 684 456 608 222 415 382 732 moving north in- * monthly maxima HW « High Water LW = I.ow Water cluding a maxim u m of 93 on 23rd. The obvious peak on the Stour Estuary in March perhaps relates to the presence of passage birds but this was not reflected on the other estuaries. Offshore return passage from June 3rd was well documented at three seawatching sites:— Kessingland: 208, June; 172, July; 11, Aug; max 85, June 29th. Thorpeness: 180, June; 95, July; seven, Aug; max 66, June 29th. Landguard: 412, June; 122, July; 32, Aug; max 173, June 29th. These seawatching totals are well below those of 2007 perhaps indicating a poor breeding season. Away from the coast, an unexpected sight was of two over Boxford, June lOth. Feeding groups in late summer included 193, Stour Estuary, August 17th; 150, Butley River, August 17th and 61, Havergate Island, July 27th. Few were noted away from the estuaries during the period September to December. Apart from on the Stour, estuarine totals at the year's end were noticeably lower than in the period January to March. SPOTTED REDSHANK Tringa erythropus Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber List. A much better year for this wader when compared with 2007. Minsmere and Orfordness were the principal sites in 2008 with the following monthly m a x i m a : Minsmere Orfordness

Jan 0 1

Feb 3 1

Mar 2 4

Apr 11 3

May 5 2

Jun Jul 14 47 ,j, y 3

Aug 30 5

Sep Oct 15 25 • 5.' 3

Nov 1 2

Dec 1 2

There were also reports in January and February from the Melton/ Martlesham Creek area (two), Burgh Castle and the Levington Creek/Trimley Marshes area. A general increase was noted in March with sightings at five coastal sites, including four, Orfordness, 21st and three, Burgh Castle, 8th. Six sites, ail coastal, hosted the species in Aprii but only Minsmere and Orfordness recorded more than one; Minsmere's peak dates were 5th (7), 25th (10) and 29th (11). Spotted Redshanks were noted in May at Burgh Castle, Benacre Broad, Southwold, Minsmere and Orfordness; a peak of five was at Minsmere, 2nd and 6th. None was recorded in May after 18th (Minsmere). The first returning bird was on Havergate Island, June 2nd followed by one at Minsmere, June 8th. Totals at Minsmere in June increased to four on 18th, seven on 2 lst, nine on 25th and a maximum of 14 on 28th. July was easily the peak month in 2008, but it was only at Minsmere that significant totals were present. Weekly maxima at Minsmere in July were:The peak of 47 occurred on 1st-7th 8th-l4th 15th-21st 22nd-28th 29th-31st 2 l s t . Additional totals in the 47 12 25 Maï total 12 13 third week of July included 38 90



on 18th and 19 on 19th. Only three other sites recorded Spotted Redshanks in July but the species was more widespread in August with sightings at seven coastal localities. Minsmere was easily the best site with the following weekly maxima:No other locality recorded Ist-7th 8th-14th 15th-21st 22nd-28th 29th-31st more than five in August Max total 30 13 6 7 12 (Orfordness 27th). Minsmere's dominance continued into September, although this month did witness the year's only inland record- one at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, 1st. Minsmere recorded six double-figure gatherings with the maxima occurring on 3rd (20), 7th (25) and 23rd (17). The highest total elsewhere was five, Orfordness, 7th. Reports in October were only from Minsmere, Orfordness and Havergate Island. Minsmere's maxima were on 2nd ( 15), 21st (10) and 23rd (10). None was noted at Minsmere between October 30th (6) and November 18th ( 1), this latter bird remaining into December. Additional wintering birds were located at the year's end at Burgh Castle, Walberswick, Dunwich (2), Orfordness (2), Havergate Island and Waldringfield. COMMON REDSHANK Tringa totanus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Declining resident. Amber list. Breeding data were received from only eight coastal sites (11 in 2007, 15 in 2006) indicating a population of 78- 81 pairs (98 in 2007, 144 in 2006). The only breeding success occurred at Minsmere Scrape, where six of the 11 pairs raised young, and at Orfordness where ten juveniles fledged. The totals of pairs at the principal coastal sites were as follows with the 2007 figures, where available, in brackets for comparison:Dingle Marshes: ten (10). Minsmere Scrape: 11 (ten). Minsmere Level: 19 (22). North Warren: 18. Orfordness: 15-18 (14). Single pairs were present in the breeding season inland at Lakenheath Fen, Lackford Lakes, Livermere Lake, Mickle Mere, Gifford's Hall (Stoke-by-Nayland) and Higham St.Mary, but there was no indication of successful breeding at any of these sites. Counts at the principal sites were:The table illustrates the Oct Nov Dec Feb Mar Sep Jan continuing, and vital, im667 894 1012 1005 Blyth 1558 1086 1001 portance of our estuaries 7 . â&#x20AC;˘> : : 117 910 969 Aide/Ore for this wader in the winter 163 216 205 189 209 Orfordness* 333 280 months. As in 2007 there 966 1856 1298 1210 1492 2080 1457 Deben were some considerable 703 1653 1908 1003 Orwell HW 407 1207 589 differences between the ... 1392 1318 1178 1131 Orwell LW high -water and low-water 876 539 665 623 279 920 Stour 413 counts on the Orwell* monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water would such counts reveal similar differences on the other estuaries? Autumn passage was recorded off Landguard between June 30th and November 20th, involving 115 birds and a maximum of 37 in both July and August. Southerly passage totals off Kessingland and Thorpeness in August were 42 and 25 respectively. Impressive late-summer gatherings on the coast Aug July included:307 110 The only inland record in the first winter was at Orfordness 209 115 Cavenham GP, January 8th but in December there Havergate Island 250 300 were singles at Cavenham and Sudbury and up to Melton 867 353 eight at Gifford's Hall. The Common Redshank is, Erwarton (Stour) 91

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 rather surprisingly, a rare visitor to the Gipping Valley, so the presence of one at Pipps Ford, December 24th and 25th is particularly noteworthy. COMMON GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia Common passage migrant. A few overwĂŹnter. The four birds present in December 2007, at Dunwich, Melton and the lower Orwell Estuary (2), probably ali remained into January, although what is assumed to have been the Dunwich bird had moved slightly further north to Southwold Town Marshes, January 22nd. In addition, a second bird was located on the Deben Estuary, at Ramsholt, January lst. The Stour Estuary's only first winter record was noted on March 9th. Spring passage was recorded between Aprii 12th (Minsmere) and June lst (Havergate Island). Reports were from 11 coastal and five inland sites, but totals were lower than in spring 2007; the highest counts were 13, Melton, Aprii 22nd and ten at each of Melton, Aprii 27th, Minsmere, May 8th and 16th and Orfordness, May 13th. Inland spring reports were from Gifford's Hall (Stoke-by-Nayland), Livermere Lake, Lackford Lakes, Mickle Mere and Thorington St. Reservoir, with maxima of four, Gifford's Hall, May 13th and three, Livermere Lake, Aprii 20th. The first autumn birds were noted in late June at Minsmere, 25th and Orfordness, 28th and 29th (2). The main phase of autumn passage occurred between early July and midSeptember during which time reports were from at least 20 coastal and nine inland localities. Maxima were as follows:Minsmere: 12Aug lst Orfordness: 16, July 5th; 24, July 6th; 16, Aug 3rd; 15, Aug 4th. Havergate: 40, Sep 12th. Melton: 13,Aug4th. Stour Estuary: 60, Aug 17th; 28, Sep 14th. The total of 60 on the Stour Estuary in August is the highest in Suffolk since August lst 2002 when 96 were on Havergate Island. Away from the coast and estuaries the largest gatherings were six, Flixton GP, July 5th; four, Mickle Mere, July 8th and up to three at Gifford's Hall in August. None was recorded inland after August 27th. In some recent years, passage has been strong well into October, but this was not the case in 2008, with maxima of only six, Deben Estuary, 19th and three at both Hazelwood Marshes on the Aide Estuary, 17th and the Blyth Estuary, 19th. Seawatching in November revealed singles off Landguard, 7th and Kessingland, 21 st. In early November one was on the Deben Estuary at Melton, 6th while the WeBS count on November 16th produced two on both the Aide and Orwell Estuaries. In December the WeBS count on 14th revealed two on the Deben Estuary and one on the Stour Estuary, but none on the Aide and Orwell Estuaries. LESSER YELLOWLEGS Tringaflavipes Very rare visitor. The bird from 2007, Suffolk's ninth record and the first to overwinter in our county, remained at Southwold until at least February 9th - it also visited Walberswick on February 2nd. Remarkably, what is considered to have been the overwintering bird was noted at three coastal sites in the spring and summer. There was then a gap of almost five months before what is again considered to have been the same bird was back in December at Southwold in which area it remained into 2009. Details of the sighting of this bird are as follows:Southwold: Town Marshes, juvenile moulting to first-winter, from Dee 21st 2007 until Feb 9th (B J Small et al. ); considered same, Buss Creek, first-summer, July 12th and 13th; considered same. Town Marshes, first-summer, Dee 5th onwards into 2009 (B J Small et al.). Walberswick: Feb 2nd. 92



Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, first-summer. May 6th to 14th (D Fairhurst, P Green et al.). Minsmere: first-summer, June 15th, June 27th and 28th (D Fairhurst, P Green et al.). 2007 Addition All three records (Suffolk Birds 2007: 100) are considered by BBRC to relate to the same individual, Suffolk's ninth record and the first to overwinter in our county. GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus Fairly common passage migrant. Small numbers overwinter. Amber list. There was a good start to the year during January to March with up to four at Cavenham GP in January, two at Kirkley, Lowestoft, January 27th, North Cove, February 17th and Flixton GP, March 30th and singles at an additional six inland and four coastal sites. Spring passage birds were only in evidence in April and, although reports were widespread from 13 inland and seven coastal sites, totals were low with no more than three (Cavenham GP, 1st and 2nd and Shelley, 20th) at any one site. Orfordness had its poorest spring passage on record with only one sighting - a single bird on April 19th. None was noted in April after 24th and there were no May records. The poor spring was followed, surprisingly, by an excellent autumn with the first returning migrant at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, June 5th. Orfordness was to be the principal site this autumn and totals there in June increased from three on 8th to eight on 28th. Green Sandpipers featured well at several sites across the county in July and August, during which months there were reports from 15 inland and ten coastal locations. A summary of double-figure gatherings is as follows:Orfordness: ten, Aug 2nd; 24, Aug 5th; 18, Aug 16th; 18, Aug 21 st; ten, Aug 25th. Flixton GP: 16, July 5th; 11, July 7th; 14, July 13th. Lackford Lakes: ten, Aug 17th. The total of 24 on Orfordness, August 5th is the highest in Suffolk since July 27th 2006 when 28 were at Flixton GP. Minsmere's largest gathering was of nine, August 1 st, and three flew south off Landguard, July 26th. Additional reports from inland sites during July and August included up to seven at Redgrave, Mickle Mere and Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland; well away from the wellwatched inland wader sites, the total of seven at Greeting St. Mary, August 8th was particularly noteworthy. September witnessed a rapid decline with sightings at only nine sites and a peak of only four at Orfordness, 6th and Ramsholt, 8th. There was a minor resurgence in October with reports from eight inland and three coastal localities while in November there were three at Flixton GP on 2nd and singles at four additional sites. Finally, in December, Cavenham GP was the principal site, as in January, with three on 28th, and up to two were located at an additional four coastal and four inland sites. WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. An excellent spring passage commenced in April with three on the south side of Breydon Water, 26th and one at Minsmere, 30th. May witnessed this graceful wader at seven coastal and two inland sites, involving an overall total of 20-25 birds. The largest gathering was as many as seven, Southwold Town Marshes, 7th - three remained there to 9th. All other coastal sightings in May were of singles apart from three, Minsmere, 8th and two, Orfordness, 4th and 5th. Inland sightings in May involved singles at Livermere Lake, 8th and 9th and Mickle Mere, 2nd with two at the latter site, 15th to 18th. None was noted in May after 19th. The sole June record involved one on Orfordness, 20th to 22nd, which was either an oversummering bird or an early autumn arrival. No more 93

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 were noted until July 12th when one was on the much-favoured Orfordness wader pools. There was then a gap of two weeks before singles on Orfordness, 26th and 27th, and 30th and 3 lst and at Minsmere, 30th; the autumn's only inland bird was at Redgrave, also on 30th. Five coastal sites recorded this wader in August; at least 12 birds were involved overall, but the only multiple sighting was of three, Trimley Marshes, 8th. Sightings on Orfordness in August involved at least three birds - 2nd to 4th, 7th and 29th. Passage continued strongly into September during which month an overall total of 13 birds was reported from six coastal sites. Reports included the year's highest autumn total - five, Orfordness, 14th. The year's final sightings were on September 20th when singles were at North Warren and on Orfordness. F I E L D


One of the two Wood Sandpipers on Orfordness, May 4th, was seen and heard singing and display flighting over the site's disused airfields. This is the third occasion that such behaviour has been noted in Suffolk, the previous two having been at Minsmere, May 10th 1967 and inland at Lackford, May 18th 2003. Orfordness Recorder C O M M O N SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos Common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber list Single Common Sandpipers had been noted in December 2007 at Orfordness and Trimley Marshes but neither of them was located in the early months of 2008. None was reported until singles in March at Minsmere, 9th, Stour Estuary, 9th and Cavenham GP, 23rd. Coincidentally, Minsmere and Cavenham recorded the only March sightings in 2007. In addition, the only reports in the first half of Aprii this year were also from Minsmere (7th) and Cavenham GP (12th). It is possible that these early-April sightings refer to the same birds as those involved in the March records at these two sites. The main phase of spring passage commenced in the fourth week of Aprii and by the month's end there had been singles at seven coastal and two inland sites. May witnessed the peak of spring passage. Reports were widespread with sightings at 15 coastal and seven inland sites. As in spring 2007, there were no double-figure gatherings; maxima on the coast were nine at both Landguard, 16th and Minsmere, 27th and five, Corton, 8th. Inland peaks involved five at both Livermere Lake, 4th and Lackford Lakes, 4th and four, Mickle Mere, 16th. The last of the spring were singles in early June at Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, 5th and Carlton Marshes, 8th. There was then a gap of almost three weeks before two were at Landguard, June 28th and one at Minsmere, 29th. Autumn passage peaked between mid-July and mid-September with reports from as many as 20 coastal and 14 inland sites. Although the species was widespread, totals were not as high as in 2007. Maxima were:Gorleston: Harbour, six, Aug 29th. Minsmere: ten, Sep 2nd. Orfordness: 11, July 27th; 11 Aug 3rd; ten, Aug 4th. Havergate Island: eight, Aug 3rd. Melton: Wilford Bridge, eight, Aug 7th. Trimley Marshes: nine, July 25th. Stour Estuary: 18, Aug 17th. Flixton GP: six, Aug 23rd. Livermere Lake: seven, Aug 8th; six, Sep 17th. Relatively few were noted after mid-September and the only October records were of singles at Livermere Lake, 1 st, Kessingland, 1 Oth and Boyton, 19th. Surprisingly, the Boyton






bird was the year's final record - none was located in either November or December for the first time since 1992. RUDDY TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Counts at the principal estuarine and coastal sites were:Feb Mar Apr Aug Sep Jan Lowestoft* 41 40 55 19 29 Aide/Ore 34 4 31 Debcn 33 37 43 -- -- ' i." 35 Orwell HW 51 16 100 33 / Orwell LW 150 140 Stour 87 -221 309 1207 219 149 * monthly maxima HW = High Water LW = Low Water

Oct 55 2 52 17 -



Dec :

30 58 134 156 236


39 40 75 104 265

Lowestoft's sea defences attracted higher totals of Ruddy Turnstones than in 2007- this was also the case for the Deben Estuary. The Orwell's High Water and Low Water totals were significantly lower than in 2007 and there was also a big difference between the High Water and Low Water counts in January and February. The Stour remains the principal estuary in Suffolk for this species. Spring passage peaked prominently on the Stour in April (see table above). In May, site totals of migrants included 18, Orfordness, 17th and 12, Minsmere, 15th and 27th; 40 were still at Lowestoft, May 1st. In early June, birds flew north off Kessingland on 6th (12) and 7th (5). Seawatchers recorded this wader moving south offshore during July to S e p t e m b e r An additional count on the Stour in August involved July Aug Sep 255 in Holbrook Bay, 31st - this site had also attracted Kessingland 25 27 32 149 on October 31st. Thorpeness 31 31 7 Movements were also recorded off Kessingland in 2 25 8 November (32 south, 14th) and December (18 north, Landguard 1st). i nere were two sightings in tne west ot surtout tnis year- singles at Lackford Lakes, May 9th and Livermere Lake, August 3rd. RED-NECKED PHALAROPE Phalaropus lobatus Rare passage migrant. Red list. Minsmere: Levels, May 27th (D Fairhurst). This is the first spring record in Suffolk since 1999, the first at Minsmere since 1999, the first May record since 1994 and the earliest arrival in Suffolk since at least 1977. GREY PHALAROPE Phalaropus fuliearius Scarce passage migrant and rare winter visitor. Three autumn records : Lowestoft: South Beach, Oct 11th; presumed same, Harbour, Oct 12th to 16th (A C Easton et al.). Thorpeness: south, Oct 30th (D Thurlow). Landguard: south, Sep 6th (M James, P Merchant, J Zantboer). This is the fifth successive year that this species has been recorded at Landguard. POMARINE SKUA Stercorarius pomarinus Uncommon passage migrant. A few overwinter. Following on from the second winter period of 2007, there were good numbers of this species recorded offshore during January. Eight were seen off Thorpeness, January 1st, and 95

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up to six were seen for most of the month with three remaining on 25th. Two immatures were off Felixstowe Undercliff, January 2nd. Further north smaller numbers, mostly singletons, were noted with a peak of three seen off Kessingland, January 17th and 25th. Spring passage in May was first marked by a sighting of six which flew north past Thorpeness, May 3rd and the only other notable sighting was three north past Kessingland, May 16th. Overall spring passage was similar to 2007 and poor compared with previous years. Return passage was just as unspectacular with peak counts being noted from the usual coastal locations. Three flew south past Kessingland, September 13th, and were part of a monthly total of eight. The following month saw seven past the same location with no more than two recorded at once on any one day for Kessingland and Thorpeness. Into the winter period, one was seen to fly north past Kessingland at 09:15 hours, December 26th and ten minutes later the same bird was seen flying north off Ness Point, Lowestoft. The only other record from December was one that flew south past Thorpeness on 16th. A R C T I C SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus Decreasing passage migrant. A few overwinter. Transferred to Red List from Green list. This was a typical year for the species both in terms of when it was seen and in what numbers. Spring passage was very light, with records of Pomarine Skuas being more plentiful than those of Arctic Skuas. Maximum day-counts noted included three past Kessingland and Thorpeness, May 17th and 21 st respectively. Autumn passage appeared to start in mid-July with eight noted off Minsmere Beach, July 15th and another eight off Kessingland the following day. The July peak came from Southwold where 24 were noted past in a 90 minute spell on the afternoon of 21st. The next doublefigure count was also made from Southwold with 11 noted, August 8th and on the following day 21 were off Thorpeness and 16 were off Kessingland. Other peak autumn counts included 16 off Landguard, August 18th and 24 offThorpeness and other single figure counts around the coast, August 30th. Sixteen were seen from Kessingland and Thorpeness, September 7th and the last notable count was 11 offThorpeness, October 3rd. On most other days during the autumn period, single-figure observations were made along the coast. Comparing year on year it can be seen that day-counts were generally lower than in 2007 but the largely passive autumn 2008 weather most probably had some effect on lowering these figures. The last sighting of the year involved a single flying north past Lowestoft Ness, December 13th. L O N G - T A I L E D SKUA

Stercorarius longicaudus Uncommon passage migrant.

A less plentiful year for this elegant skua but in fairness 2007 was a hard year to beat. There were two spring sightings most probably of the same bird, with the others typically being seen from late August onwards. There was a two-day period from October 3rd when the majority of observations were made. Sightings were as follows:Lowestoft: Ness Point, juv, north, 09:18, Oct 4th (A Easton et al). Long-tailed Skua Peter Beeson Kessingland: north. 96



possibly same as Southwold bird, Aug 24th (P Read); two un-aged flew south, Aug 30th (Lowestoft Bird Club); adult south, Sep 4th (C Darby); dark juv, south, 15:09, Oct 3rd (P Read); juv north past during afternoon, Oct 4th (P Read); north and south, both un-aged, Oct 5th (P Read). Southwold: north, 08:50, Aug 24th (W Brame); Sep 6th, (R Marsh); adult, Sep 1 Ith (C Fulcher); juv, north, 15:40, Sep 24th (J Grant). Thorpeness: un-aged, south, Sep 7th (P Whittaker); two un-aged, south, Oct 3rd (D Thurlow); un-aged, south, Nov 2nd (D Thurlow). Orfordness: adult with full tail, north, probably same as Landguard bird, May 25th (M Marsh, D Crawshaw). Landguard: north, May 25th (E Patrick, R Skeen et at.); offshore, Nov 30th (E Patrick, N Odin). GREAT SKUA Stercorarius skua Fairly common passage migrant. A few overwinter. Amber list. It was a year of two halves for this species. One sighting was made in January and one in February and spring passage was quiet with most of the records received involved singletons noted heading north, mostly during mid-April. The highest day-counts were made from Kessingland with two, north, April 18th and another two, north, off Thorpeness, April 20th. Return passage in July started just as slowly and continued into August, when there were peak-counts of three past Lowestoft Ness, August 10th and two past Southwold, August 24th. The main bulk of the autumn sightings coincided with a flurry of Arctic Skua records between October 3rd and 5th. The most notable count was of 23 south past Thorpeness, October 3rd with 12 seen heading back north from there the day after. Interestingly other coastal watch-points didn't fare as well as Thorpeness with only three south past Kessingland, October 3rd. The following day four were seen off Kessingland along with two past Southwold. In the last week of October a steady stream of sightings was reported from Kessingland and Lowestoft involving two to three a day. Later 12 were noted past Thorpeness, November 4th and thereon after, only singletons were noted past the usual coastal watch-points up until the end of the month. There were no sightings in December. SABINE'S G U L L Xema sabini Rare passage migrant. The sheer number of sightings made in 2007 naturally gave 2008 a hard act to follow but the year certainly didn't disappoint with up to four sightings, all being juveniles:Southwold: juv south, 16:29, Sep 13th (B Small); juv north, 09:20, Sep 24th, (J Grant). Thorpeness: north, 07:08, Nov 1st, (S Mayson, N Andrews). Landguard: juv north, 08:30, Nov 1 st (L Woods et al.) - ninth site record. BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla Very common passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers breed. Amber list. This species was recorded in very good numbers heading north and south at the beginning of the year. At Landguard observations were regularly made up to February 21 st. The highest day-count was 750, January 15th. Further north along the coast, an impressive 950 were seen off Thorpeness, January 12th. These plentiful counts didn't appear to extend as far north as Kessingland, where the highest day-count in January made was 72 on 14th. Numbers at this latter site did pick up later with 427 seen, February 3rd. Later in February overall numbers seen tailed-off quickly with most individuals still present seen heading

north. During the summer a total of 374 nesting pairs was noted on the offshore Sizewell Rigs but with no indication of their success. Further up the coast at Lowestoft there was nesting activity on the Kittiwake wall and on the Claremont Pier but again no information on the breeding success rate was received. 97

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In the autumn and second winter period offshore movements were low key with dayeounts from the usuai coastal watch-points rarely going into double figures, the most notable count being 43 off Thorpeness, November 29th. An interesting southward movement was noted offshore with 200 off Landguard, 133 offThorpeness and 105 offKessingland, all on December 13th. BLACK-HEADED G U L L Chroicocephalus ridibundus Very common resident, winter visitor andpassage migrant. Amber list. At the start of the year in the west of the county, roost numbers were 2300 at Livermere Lake, January 9th, 1050 at Lakenheath Washes, February 17th and 1100 were at Lackford Lakes, March 8th. These totals are much lower than those of the same period in 2007. On the coast there wasn't a repeat of the exceptional numbers seen on the Aide/Ore complex in January 2007. Coastal sites generally experienced much lower year-on-year counts although 2750 were counted on the Blyth, January 24th, 1472 on Alton Water, February lOth and 586 at North Warren, January 26th. There were 758 at Minsmere on January Ist. WeBS survey results are shown below:Breeding sucJan Mar Apr Nov Dee Feb Sep Oct cess at Mickle Blvth n/a 2750 1492 3971 2603 48 n/a n/a Mere was limited 14 600 850 400 Aide* 561 n/a 80 143 due to high water 490 Heben 1303 1146 1108 928 1476 632 941 levels although ten 442 Stour 1915 3354 1880 599 795 827 1261 nests were seen * monthly maxima and a total of 16 juveniles noted, July 5th. Three hundred young were counted on Minsmere Scrape, down on recent years. Orfordness had a much better year for breeding success with 36 pairs producing at least 41 juveniles. No other breeding information was received for the other traditional sites. Autumn passage past Landguard included 404 south, October 25th with another 100 and 177 south, October 27th and 28th respectively. In the second winter period, there was no repeat of the exceptional numbers seen on the Aide in December 2007, although twice the number were seen on the Stour in the final three months as during the same period in 2007. Away from the main estuaries, 1874 were noted on Alton Water, November 16th. At the main roost sites in the west of the county, the highest count was 8000 at Lackford sailing lake, December lOth. These numbers are 50% down on the same time the previous year, when up to 16000 were seen. LITTLE G U L L Hydrocoleus minutus Fairly common passage migrant. Regularly oversummers. Small numbers overwinter. Transferred from Green to Amber list. On the whole a poor year for sightings of this species. Once again, as in 2007, very few sightings were made in the first four months, with mostly sightings of singletons offshore. In the west of the county spring migration was limited to disappointing single-figure counts. The highest count at Lackford Lakes was of six, April 20th and on the same day two were at Lakenheath Washes. The coastal summer build-up was more substantial; numbers started to increase from the middle of June with 17 counted on Minsmere Scrape, June 17th increasing to 25, July 2nd. Throughout July there continued to be a rapid build-up at Minsmere with 70 on the beach, July 22nd. Up until then other coastal sites had reported mostly single-figure totals passing offshore but at Kessingland passage peaked at 70, July 19th. In August numbers declined but picked up again later in the month with 94 south past Thorpeness, August 30th. A week later, 135 were off Sizewell, September 9th. The largest count of the year was reserved for Thorpeness where 233 were noted offshore, 98



November 2nd. The day before this, other sightings were made further north along the coast with up to 28 south past Kessingland, suggesting some southward passage was occurring over this short spell. Final sighting of the year was of two past Kessingland, December 2nd, four weeks later than the final record of 2007. MEDITERRANEAN GULL Larus melanocephalus Uncommon resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Rare breeder. Amber list. Breeding at Minsmere was apparently unsuccessful with one pair raising young but they didn't fledge. Elsewhere along the coast at one site there were six or seven incubating birds and at least two nests were successful; three large chicks were ringed and at least two smaller ones were subsequently seen. At Landguard this species was present all year round with an early-year peak of 11, January 24th and later in the year 15, October 13th. This species continues to be scarce inland but two were at Lackford Lakes, December 7th. A bird was also present at Lackford in mid-July which is an unexpected date for this species to occur inland. Singles were also noted inland at Hadleigh, November 6th and Lakenheath Washes, February 17th and March 30th. Towards the coast, 23 roosted on Minsmere Scrape, April 3rd. From mid-July onwards coastal congregations remained in single figures at the main sites such as Gorleston-on-sea, Lowestoft, Pakefield, Southwold and Minsmere. The same trend was noted in the south-east of the county. The exception was Trimley Marshes where, during the summer, counts included 25, July 27th and 14, August 16th. Winter gatherings included 14 at Pakefield Beach, January 3rd and an impressive 30 at Gorleston, January 26th, which may have included some of the wintering birds from Great Yarmouth beach. At Shotley there were 14 on December 8th, four of which were secondwinter birds. At most other locations along the coast single-figure observations were made during both winter periods. Countywide, numbers in general outside the summer months were down compared with 2007. MEW (COMMON) GULL Larus canus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce breeding species. Amber list. During the first winter period 500 were noted at Cavenham Pits, 7th January, including a leucistic bird. Elsewhere in the west of the county, 200 were at Long Melford Sewage works with a further 304 nearby at Withindale Mill, also at Long Melford, January 19th. At the coast 350 were at Orfordness, February 10th. At Landguard 3000 were recorded, January 10th but otherwise noted from here on passage only in small numbers. A gathering of 395 was counted at Alton Water during a WeBS survey, February 10th and another 321 were there, February 13th. On passage at Thorpeness, 59 were counted flying north, May 9th and on return, 50 flew south, October 30th. Over the summer a pair attempted to nest at the traditional coastal site but the outcome is unknown and two other pairs held territory there but didn't nest. In the second winter period 750 were inland at Lackford sailing lake, December 10th. Another leucistic bird, possibly returning from 2007, was with 70 at Lackford, November 22nd. At least 1250 were at Landguard, December 25th. WeBS counts show good numbers on the Stour estuary, where in 2007 they struggled to get into double Dec Nov Apr Sep Oct .Jan Feb Mar figures. On the n/a n/a n/a 57 37 47 32 228 flip side much Blyth 110 2 64 n/a Aide* 154 328 16 n/a smaller numbers 4 14 2 14 37 10 7 38 were noted on the Deben 134 44 37 27 187 Stour 399 92 95 Aide, especially * monthly maxima <n March during which month 2290 had been present in 2 0 0 7 : 99

Suffolk Birci Report 2008 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL


Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Increasing numbers overwinter. Amber list. Wintering numbers were highest at inland sites with smaller flocks at most coastal sites. Peak counts from the first winter period included 1500 at Lakenheath Washes, February 3rd and 200, Lackford Lakes, January 4th. Five hundred were at Wangford Fen, February 10th. On passage 227 were counted at Mickle Mere, May 15th. In the second winter period the most notable count was 1500 at Lackford Lakes, December 2nd. WeBS survey results, below, show a much quieter year for the Blyth and higher numbers on the Stour than Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Dec Nov in 2007:Blyth 7 0 39 17 2 . n/a n/a n/a On Orfordness, 374 na Aide* 453 298 477 193 61 29 reserve wardens Deben 9 3 3 2 15 15 6 ' 2 noted that the Stour 84 55 33 31 4 25 83 . 51 majority of the * monthly maxima breeding gulls in 2008 were in the Lantern Marsh colony. Although breeding numbers here had declined, the number of young fledged showed an improvement on the last two years. It is estimated that at least 100 young fledged. Many dead gull chicks were found in mid-July and many of these showed evidence of fox predation and at least one fox had been seen in the colony previously. At Landguard the species was 'very common' and nested extensively in the adjoining docks but no figures on the numbers of successfully-fledged young are available. In the north of the county residential rooftop nesting birds made newspaper headlines at Lowestoft with their 'anti social' early morning wake-up calls to local human residents! Successfully fledged birds were seen here but it was difficult to ascertain the exact numbers of these. There was a small summer build-up at some coastal sites, not on the same scale as in 2007 but 250 were counted on Minsmere Scrape, September 5th and 110 were at North Warren the following day. There were good counts inland at Livermere Lake with 1650, July 29th rising to 5260, September 16th. Early in the summer around 500 were on a recently harvested field near Fornham St. Martin, June 24th. F I E L D


A disturbing development that came to light in 2008 was that adult gulls were being shot during the breeding season on the nearby pig-fields at Iken, supposedly as "pig-feed protection". Some of the gulls shot were ringed and known to be breeding in the colony on Orfordness. Some young would have starved if one or both of the parent birds had been killed. Orfordness Wardens Larus argentatus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Transferred to Red list. Inland, 150 were at Lakenheath Washes, February 3rd. Elsewhere, winter roosting numbers were thin on the ground. It is only by using WeBS survey work that we can form an idea of the winter status of Dec Jan Feb Mar Oct Apr Sep Nov n/a this usually under- Blyth 30 17 17 40 31 n/a n/a 202 recorded species. Aide* 219 244 10 17 167 298 ita 37 51 58 72 66 84 Ă­ 73 28 In addition to Deben 33 82 28 18 143 60 54 33 the WeBS data in Stour the table, other * monthly maxima HERRING GULL


Systematic List notable counts were of 50 at low water on the Orwell, January 17th, 576 on Havergate Island, January 13th and 2500 at Landguard, January 18th. Breeding fortunes were very similar to the Lesser Black-backed Gull with the Herring Gull being 'common' at Landguard and nested extensively in the adjoining docks with no indications of the numbers of young successfully fledged from there. At Lowestoft, rooftop nesting on residential houses and warehouses around Lake Lothing was widespread but like at Landguard, there are no exact numbers of successfully fledged birds available. On Orfordness, breeding pairs continue to decline and in 2008 the population was estimated at only 200 pairs on Lantern Marsh with only a few others at 'The Point'. According to notes made by reserve wardens, breeding gulls in general at 'The Point' have suffered badly from fox prĂŠdation and some human disturbance. YELLOW-LEGGED GULL



Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Small numbers oversummer. Amber list. Records for this species were generally down on 2007. Again the highest gatherings were in the west of the county, ironically as far as you can get from the coast! At Lakenheath Washes 23 were present, February 3rd, which included 17 third-winters and two adults. Twelve, including seven third-winters, were at Wangford Fen, February 9th. At the same time towards the coast, numbers generally were in single figures. An adult and third-winter were seen at the Burnt Hill Lane roost, Carlton Colville, January 4th. An adult and at least one second-winter were on the Minsmere Scrape throughout January and February until numbers increased to ten by March 10th; six remained here a couple of days later, which included four second-winter birds. In fact, generally on the coast, Minsmere was the main site where sightings were made between January and July. Spring and summer records included four at Mickle Mere, May 20th. Later on, ten were noted at Great Livermere, July 24th, which included five second-summer birds and two adults. The Blyth estuary saw a peak of just eight, August 21st. Overall the late-summer build-up was less substantial than the previous year, although the regular adult still returned to Lowestoft North Beach, July 10th. This bird is now at least 16 years-old based on how many times it has wintered here. During the second winter period, six were at Livermere Lake, October 31st, including four first-winters and at Lackford Lakes eight roosted, November 8th, which were four firstwinters and four adults. Two were still at Weybread Pits, November 6th and two were at Blythburgh, November 9th. CASPIAN GULL Larus Cachinnans Scarce winter visitor. It was an average year of occurrences for this gull. In the first winter period up to five were at Lakenheath Washes, February 3rd (P Wilson). An observer commented that six different birds were in the area during January and February; these included three second-winters, a fourth-winter and at least one adult. Elsewhere two were at North Warren, January 13th (R Macklin) and four were at Minsmere, March 3rd (RSPB), which included three second-winter and a first-winter bird. Two first-winters were at Minsmere throughout March, one described as being 'more advanced' than the other (R Harvey, D Fairhurst, B Small et al.). Throughout the breeding season a non-breeding first-summer frequented the Scrape at Minsmere, as well as a secondsummer that was seen only occasionally (D Fairhurst, J Grant A Rowlands et al.). On Orfordness, two different Polish-ringed birds were seen, one second-calendar-year bird, February 23rd, and an adult, July 20th (M Marsh, D Crawshaw). At the end of the year, this species was much less numerous and historically tends to arrive in the first winter period. An un-aged bird was seen at North Warren, November 16th


Suffolk Birci Report


(D Thurlow). A second-winter was at Southwold harbour, December 5th (B J Small) and a Ukrainian-ringed first-winter was there, December 12th (B J Small). An adult was on Minsmere Scrape, December 1st and 13th (R Harvey, M Cartwright) and a second-winter and third-winter were together there, December 5th (B Small, B Wainwright). Three firstwinters were at Landguard, December 8th (N Odin). Over the whole year up to nine different birds were seen at Landguard. ICELAND GULL Larus glaucoides Scarce winter visitor. Transferred from Green to Amber list. Another quiet year for this arctic species and going by the patterns of sightings there may have been four birds involved. A widely-seen first-winter was at Lowestoft at the end of the year. An adult at the start of the year probably ranged between Landguard and Orfordness and another was present at Minsmere where a first-winter had been found in January. Lowestoft: first-winter roosted in fish market, Dec 14th and left following morning (A Easton); firstwinter seen again in harbour area, Dec 19th and 21st (Lowestoft Bird Club et at.); first winter also seen at Leathes Ham, 13:40, Dec 31st, probably same bird previously seen at harbour (A Easton). Kessingland: first-winter north, 09:25, Dec 8th (P Read); first-winter south, 09:15, Dec 10th, probably same bird later seen at Lowestoft (P Read). Minsmere: first-winter, Jan 10th (M Cartwright); adult, Apr 14th (R Drew, S Mayson). Orfordness: adult on Dump Road then flew south, Jan 20th (M Marsh). Landguard: adult, Jan 23rd (J Zantboer).

G L A U C O U S G U L L Larus hyperboreus Scarce winter visitor. Transferred from Green to Amber list. A reasonable year for this species, once again outnumbering Iceland Gulls. The greenringed first-winter bird seen in December proved a useful illustration of how far the birds can range up and down the coast as they overwinter. At the start of the year a second-winter individual was observed at the gull roost off Burnt Hill Lane, Carlton Colville, making a change from the first-winters one would expect to see. It's difficult to ascertain how many individuals there were in the first four months of the year but up to four may have been present including the second-winter bird. First winter period sightings are as follows:Gorleston-on-sea: first-winter often by lifeboat station Mar 12th to Apr 4th (Lowestoft Bird Club et al.). Carlton Colville: second-winter seen on field at Burnt Hill Lane, Jan 1st and 5th (P Ransome et al.). Benacre Broad: first-winter, Mar 6th (N Skinner). Minsmere: first-winter on Scrape briefly, Jan 10th (M Cartwright); first-winter seen on Scrape Mar 14th and 17th (M Breaks, R Harvey); first-summer on scrape Apr 10th and 15th (R Drew, R Harvey). Orfordness: first-winter on lagoon and near pagodas, Jan 19th (M Marsh); first-winter feeding offshore, Mar 21st (M Marsh, D Crawshaw). Landguard: first-winter, Jan 10th (M Marsh, N Odin). In the second winter period, a wide ranging first-winter bird with a green colour-ring inscribed with the letters ' L E ' made the Suffolk coast its winter home after being ringed as a chick on Bear Island, Svalbard, Norway, 18th July 2008. Judging by the pattern of sightings, two or maybe three birds were seen during this period:Breydon: south flats, un-aged, Nov 20th (P Allard). Lowestoft: Harbour, first-winter with green colour-ring roosted from 15:30, Dec 21st until following morning (A Easton); Pakefield Beach, first-winter, Dec 27th (Lowestoft Bird Club). Easton Bavents: first-winter with green colour-ring on beach, Dec 27th (R Wilton). Southwold: first-winter in harbour with green colour-ring with letters 'LE', Dec 7th and 9th (J Higgott, S Nixon). Dunwich: first-winter, Dec 16th (R Drew). Minsmere: first-winter on Scrape with green colour-ring, Dec 12th and 15th (R Drew, A Rowlands). Slaughden: first/vinter north, 14:30, Nov 23rd (S Abbott). 102






Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer and has recently bred. Transferred from Green to Amber list. Wintering roosts included 28 at Lackford Lakes, January 30th. This was substantially down from the peak of 130 recorded in January 2007. On the coast numbers recorded in WeBS data during the first winter period were generally slightly lower than in 2007. The Carlton Colville gull roost contained 156, January 15th and 150 were at Landguard, January lOth and 29th and February 6th. In the second winter period a peak of 52 was noted on The Slough at Lackford Lakes, December 13th. Towards the coast numbers in the south-east of the county, most notably on the Stour, were much higher than they were in 2007 and further north, 84 were on Minsmere Scrape, December 22nd. There was a flurry of passage migrant records during both February and September on Orfordness with birds either flying past or resting on the lagoons. This included 80 on the February WeBS count and 105, of which 25 were on site and 80 flying south, on September 7th. WeBS data:Jan Feb Mar Apr Sep Oct Nov Dee Sadly there was 25 8 0 41 n/a 15 n/a n/a again no sign of Blyth ; 25 80 12 n/a 105 18 37 23 breeding activity Aide* 2 1 4 0 3 2 1 3 on Orfordness. Deben 7 1 4 30 31 29 7 Ă? 15 After the first Stuur * monthly maxima breeding in 1999, and reaching a peak of four pairs, this species now appears lost as a breeding species at this site. Two immatures were seen at Livermere Lake on August 25th. Sternuta albifrons Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first individuĂĄis of the year were two seen at Minsmere on April 16th (a week earlier than in 2007), with the next being one at Bawdsey on 2Ist, followed by five at Minsmere and two at Kessingland on 28th. Numbers arriving, or passing through, rose through to midMay, with a noticeable peak between 9th and 12th. A total of 33 young was fledged at Minsmere; 30 from 38 pairs using the fenced off section of beach, and three from three pairs nesting on the new cockleshell islands on The Scrape. Two pairs again failed at the egg stage at Dingle Marshes. Stili, this is a great improvement on recent years. LITTLE TERN

Breeding Site Kessingland Benacre Dingle Marshes Minsmere Slaughden Landguard

No. of Pairs 0 ?

2 41 0 0

Fledged Young 0 0 0 33 0 0

Remarks AJI attempts failed Failed at egg stage No nesting attempt.

Large numbers of post-breeding birds once again gathered on The Scrape at Minsmere during July, with the peak count of 150 on 18th. Numbers tailed off considerably after midAugust, and most had left by the end of the month. The easterly winds in early September produced a few more records with one past Landguard on 5th, one at Minsmere and six past Orfordness on 6th, and a final flourish on l l t h with two past Ness Point, four past Kessingland and two at Minsmere. The only one reported inland during the year was noted passing westward at Livermere Lake on May 16th. 103

Suffolk Birci Report


BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. There was only one Aprii record this year, of a single individuai at Lakenheath Washes on 22nd (a week later than the first birds in 2006 and 2007). A s ever spring records carne largely from inland sites. During May and June Black Terns were recorded from the following sites:â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Minsmere: May 7th and 8th; May 16th; June 2nd. Sizewell: six, May 8th. Landguard: five, May 4th; May 1 lth; two, May 14th; May 15th. Trimley Marshes: two, May 7th. Cavenham: Pits, five, May 7th; two, May 14th. Livermere Lake: May 4th; six, May 7th; eight, May 8th; six, May 9th. Lakenheath Washes: two, May 4th; five, May 7th; two May 13th. Flixton G.P.: May 8th. Weybread G.P.: three, May 5th; two, May 7th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, May 4th. Gifford's Hall: May 13th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, May 16th. Laekford Lakes: June 21 st. Sudbury: Common Lands, June 18th. During the second half of the year Black Terns were noted between July 7th and September 13th; easterly winds in September saw a late boost in numbers at the end of their passage period. Ali reports received for this period are listed below:Lowestoft: south, Aug 17th; north, Aug 23rd; 15 south together, Sep 1 lth; 19 south, Sep 12th. Southwold: 18, Aug 17th; two, Aug 30th; 17, Sep 1 lth; six, Sep 13th. Minsmere: July 7th; July 8th and 9th; two, July lOth; July 1 lth; July 24th; July 29th; Aug lst; Aug 4th; Aug 15th. Sizewell: two, Aug 21 st; three, Aug 25th; two, Aug 26th; two, Aug 30th; two, Sep 7th; single remained on 8th; Sep 12th and 13th. Thorpeness: two, July 27th; two, Aug 8th; four, Aug 17th; four, Aug 2lst; Aug 22nd; two, Aug 28th; four, Sep 7th; six, Sep 13th. Orfordness: Aug lOth; 17, Aug 17th. Havergate: Aug 16th. Landguard: two, Aug 13th; three, Aug 17th; Sep lst; Sep 1 lth; five, Sep 12th. Trimley Marshes: 12, July 3lst. Lower Holbrook: four, Aug 4th; two, Aug 7th. Laekford Lakes was the only inland site visited by this species during the autumn passage with single birds recorded on August 2nd, 3rd and 29th and September 1 lth.

SANDWICH TERN Sterna sandvicensis Common passage migrant. Declining summer visitor. Amber list. The first of the year were two at Minsmere on March 25th, but after that no more arrived until Aprii 14th, when six were present at Minsmere. This marked the beginning of a steady spring passage, though of very small numbers, throughout the remainder of Aprii and May. Numbers present along our coast began to pick up from the last couple of days of May onwards, marking the changeover from northbound birds on passage to those prepari ng to summer locally in East Anglia. The table below shows monthly movements past three well-watched coastal sites:Kessingland Thorpeness Landguard

Apr 15N3S 10N2S IN OS

May Jun 58N 14S 262N214S 35N 7S 58N21S 23N1S 17N2S

Jul 507N 1076S 435N720S 22N 24S

Aug 283N 381S 398N 1605S 43N 92S

Sep 30N 74S 11N92S 3N37S

Oct 5N 8S 2N6S ONOS

There werje clearly many more Sandwich Terns around this year than in 2007, as the 104



comparable figures from Kessingland and Thorpeness for that year only reached the low hundreds. The only breeding attempt was made by one pair at Minsmere in early July; they hatched one chick but unfortunately it disappeared after a few days. Given the increased numbers present this year, the post-breeding summer gatherings reported were, not surprisingly, also higher tlian last year. There were 180 at Benacre Broad on July 12th, 200 at Minsmere on July 12th and 240 at Havergate Island on August lst. Autumn passage was prolonged, with good numbers passing throughout the whole of August. Greatly reduced numbers then continued to be seen all the way through until October 8th. The last of the year were three flying south at Kessingland on October 13th. There were four reports from inland sites during the year. In the spring single birds were seen at Lakenheath Washes on April 22nd and at Lackford Lakes on April 27th. Autumn sightings carne from Creeting St. Mary where a flock of nine flew over high heading northwestward on August 30th and from Groton on the same date, where four flew over eastward. Sterna hirundo Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first one of the year was at Minsmere on April 1 st, narrowly beating the two that were inland at Weybread Gravel Pits on 2nd. No more arrived until one flew north past Kessingland on April 13th. In the west of the County Common Terns were first noted at both Livermere Lake (one) and Mickle Mere (five) on April 20th. The peak of the spring passage along the coast was between May 16th and 20th, with the highest day-count being 155 north and five south past Thorpeness on 17th. Counts at well-watched coastal sites are detailed below, and as with Sandwich Tern it is clear that many more Common Terns were off the Suffolk coast this year compared with 2007:COMMON TERN

Kessingland Thorpeness Landguard

May Jul Apr Jun IN IS 204N33S 269N94S 355N828S 467N27S 91N29S 833N3339S 4N40S 10N3S 480N 12S 35N US

Aug Sep Oct 1874N 1951S 242N 803S 1N9S 3229N7565S 166N 1363S 5N6S 154N 402S 26N327S ON IS

Breeding information was patchy. At Minsmere there were 86 broods on June 21 st, rising to 101 on July 6th some of which were probably failed nesters from elsewhere. The assessment of numbers of fledged young at Minsmere was near impossible with such a protracted season and fledging occurring between late June and early August. It was, however, considered a successful year. The incomplete breeding information received is summarized below:Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, 30 pairs on factory roof, success not known. The roof and walls of this building were removed late in the year pending redevelopment of the site. Dingle Marshes: no details. Minsmere: fledging success was good. Havergate Island: no details. Trimley Marshes: no details. Alton Water: breeding confirmed (no details). Needham Market: Lake, no details. Weybread G.P.: no details. Lackford Lakes: pair on territory in June. The largest post-breeding summer gatherings were again noted at Minsmere, with 200 there on three dates around the middle of July. The peak day-count for the autumn migration period was 1632 (9 N, 1623S) at Thorpeness on August 4th, just two days earlier than the equivalent peak passage last year at the same site. Good numbers were still passing south up to mid-September and smaller numbers continued to be seen up to 24th. After a short lull there was a further light passage of birds 105

Suffolk Birci Report


between October 1 st and 1 Oth. Subsequently only three more birds were noted, one at Shotley on the 12th, another at Kessingland on 16th and the final individual north past Thorpeness on October 28th. ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea Fairly common passage migrant. Occasionally breeds. Amber list. The first of the year was, typically, inland, at Lackford Lakes on April 18th. Spring passage was even lighter than in 2007, and all the inland spring records are listed below:Lackford Lakes: Apr 18th; Apr 20th; Apr 22nd; two, Apr 23rd. Mickle Mere: Apr 20th. Weybread GP: four, May 5th; three, May 7th. Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, two, May 4th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, two, Apr 30th. The numbers of this species passing along the coast were also very much down on the totals for 2007. The first coastal spring migrant was noted at Minsmere on April 28th, and between then and June 7th, which appeared from the reports received to mark the end of general passage, a total of 34 was noted along the coast. Up to five were noted at Minsmere throughout June and July, and it was here that the only breeding attempt of the year was made. A displaying and mating pair sat for four days before disappearing, but no eggs were subsequently seen in their nest scrape. Autumn passage was also very light this year, and there were no double-digit counts from any sites this year; six south past Thorpeness on August 24th was the highest daycount received. Most had passed through by September 13th, although after a two and a half week lull a further 13 birds subsequently passed along the coast between October 2nd and 11th. After another break in proceedings there was then a final run of records at the end of October, with single southbound birds seen at Minsmere and Landguard on 30th, one south past Thorpeness on 31 st and the last of the year south past Ness Point, Lowestoft on November 1st. ROSEATE TERN Sterna dougallii Scarce passage migrant. Red list.


Another very good year for this species in Suffolk, possibly the best since 1966, with several even taking up semiresidence at Minsmere for much of the summer. The first of the year was one seen at Minsmere on May 9th (P Ransome), with the only other May records coming from Southwold on 16th (T Stopher) and Landguard on 17th (N Cant, M James, D Pearsons et al.). From June 4th through to July 30th this species then became a very regular visitor to the Scrape at Minsmere, usually in ones and twos although as there was a mixture of birds with no leg-rings, one leg-ring or rings on both legs, all present from very early on in this period, it is clear that at least three were present in the area throughout most of the summer. The


mm mm11'''

fe Roseate Tern Su





maximum seen at one time was four birds on July 9th (D Fairhurst). Away from Minsmere RoseateTerns were recorded as follows during the summer:Lowestoft: Ness Point, north, June 7th (A Easton); Gunton Beach, on groynes, Julyl9th (A Easton). Kessingland: south, July 16th (P Read). Benacre Broad: July lOth (C Buttle); July 19th (D Beamish). Dunwich Beach: south, July 29th (R Drew). Thorpeness: south, July 20th and 21 st (DThurlow). Many of these sighting are quite likely to have involved the birds that were visiting Minsmere, so it is impossible to make any meaningful guess as to how many individuals may have visited Suffolk this year. One at Minsmere on July 30th was the final sighting of the year. Uria aalge Common passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. After the bumper numbers seen in December 2007, when Thorpeness alone recorded 3572 (54 north, 3518 south) on December 7th, it became clear in early 2008 that most had continued moving on and very few birds were wintering off our coast. A southbound movement of 717 distant unidentified auks off Orfordness on January 13th would no doubt have included many Common Guillemots, although this was the same date on which high numbers of Razorbills were noted offshore from Minsmere and Thorpeness. However, as with the birds in December 2007 these unidentified auks also moved on and didn't linger off our coast. Numbers remained rather low throughout February, March and Aprii and even the midsummer reports were well down on their usuai levels. Then came what can only be described as a disastrous start to the second winter period, with totals that were even lower than normal summer counts. Even adding in unidentified auks the combined total for the three months of October, November and December would barely reach 250. The monthly totals at Thorpeness were as follows and well illustrate the crash in numbers:COMMON GUILLEMOT

North South

Jan 26 142

Feb 135 9

Mar 38 1


May 2

Jun 1

Jul 4 3

Aug 1


Oet 3 -

Nov 11

Dee 7 4

There can be little doubt that lack of food was the driving force behind the mass movement away from our coast in late 2007. Whilst most seabird species in the Shetland Isles had a disastrous breeding season in 2008 (except Northern Gannet and Great Skua which did well), those farther south in the Farne Islands had a very good breeding season with high productivity. So the relative absence of auks from our coastal waters during the second winter period is unlikely to be due entirely to a lower than normal post-breeding population. They may simply have bypassed us and headed straight to where they found food last winter. Hopefully their absence will be short lived. Alca torda Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. Amber list. Paradoxically whilst 2008 was one of the worst years on record for the Common Guillemot in the County, in purely numerical terms it was probably the best year ever for the Razorbill. The 341 live birds reported during 2008 comfortably eclipsed the 53 seen in 2007, and is probably the highest annual total of live birds ever recorded in Suffolk. The vast majority, 305, occurred during January alone and most of those were recorded in the south of the RAZORBILL


Suffolk Birci Report


County during a southbound passage on a single date, January 13th. A total of 208 was recorded off Minsmere and 46 were seen off Thorpeness (though if the times overlapped there may have been a degree of duplication). As mentioned in the Common Guillemot entry, on this same date there was a southbound passage of 717 distant unidentified auks off Orfordness which would no doubt have included some Razorbills. The previous highest day-count for the County was of 35, recorded twice; first northbound offshore from Benacre on October 13th 1963 and later on January 28th 1994 when at least 35 were with Common Guillemots on the sea offshore from Minsmere. Totals of live Razorbills reported 2000-2008: 2000 28

2001 28

2002 40

2003 32

2004 36

2005 48

2006 23

2007 53

2008 341

Clearly these birds continued moving on, as only five were recorded during February and none at all was seen in March. Quite why the exodus of Razorbills past the Suffolk coast took place five weeks later than that of the Common Guillemots is an interesting puzzle. Could it be that these Razorbills were wintering farther north and so took longer to get here? Or maybe they were feeding on diffĂŠrent species of fish whose stocks were higher and lasted longer?

Jan 305

Feb 5

Mar Apr 2

Monthly totals oflive Razorbills in 2008 May Jun Jul Aug Sep 2 6 5 2 7

Oct 3

Nov 2

Dec 2

The remaining 36 records, which itself is around the recent annual average total, were then fairly evenly spread throughout the remaining months of the year. However, in the second winter period a mere four were recorded in the last two months of the year, thus mirroring the crash in Common Guillemot numbers.

Alle aile Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. In contrast with the several hundred recorded in 2007, just twelve were reported in 2008, and ali occurred in the second winter period, between October 29th and November 26th. Ail the records are listed below:Kessingland: south, Oct 29th; south, Oct 30th; north, Nov 24th. Benacre Broad: south offshore, Nov 25th. Southwold: two, Nov 7th; Nov 22nd. Dunwich: Nov 9th. Minsmere: Nov 26th. Thorpeness: north, Nov 17th; south, Nov 23rd. Aldeburgh: south, Nov 23rd. LITTLE AUK

ATLANTIC PUFFIN Fratercula arctica Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. As with the other auks, numbers were down this year with just eight reported, compared with 20 in 2007. Kessingland: singles were noted heading north, Sep 24th and Oct 3rd (P Read). Southwold: north, June 15th (S Mayson). Thorpeness: two south, June 7th (D Thurlow); south, Sep 7th (P Whittaker); north, Oct 18th (D Thurlow). Bawdsey: East Lane, Apr 2nd (S Abbott). Unusually none was seen during the winter months.






Very common resident from feral stock. Categories A, C and E. Oulton Broad: 12 nests noted on beams under Mutford Bridge. Carlton Colville: 87, Jan 1st. Orfordness: peak of 27 on Jan 13th and Nov 15th. Nested on the Merlin Communications building. Shingle Street: 20 around the southern Martello Tower, Nov 17th. Ipswich: Cliff Quay, 700, Dec 14th (J L Walshe). Landguard: peak of 23, Nov 4th. Long Melford: Sewage Works, 29, Jan 13th. STOCK PIGEON (DOVE)



Fairly common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. Records came from 50 locations during 2008 (42 in 2007). The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) found Stock Pigeons in 37% of the 48 squares surveyed (36% in 1998, 50% in 2003), with a combined total of 60 birds. The highest counts were 36 at Rumburgh in the north-east, 70 at Sutton in the south-east, 80 at Brewery Farm, Earl Stonham in central Suffolk and 30 at Cavenham Heath, Cornard Mere, Hargrave and Sudbury in the west. A total of 41 pairs was noted nesting out on Orfordness, compared with 52 pairs in 2001 and there was a peak count of 70, May 5th. The provision of Barn Owl nesting boxes is probably boosting the Stock Pigeon population. Of four freshly erected boxes in Pakenham, two were immediately adopted by Stock Pigeons and used for nesting. A strong autumn passage was recorded at Landguard, where a total of 711 flew south between November 9th and 19th, with a maximum of 260 on 12th. Columba palumbus Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Early in the year there were large flocks of 1100 at Long Melford sewage works, January 13th, 1000 at Old Newton, January 14th, 4500 at Edwardstone, February 3rd and 3300 at Gipping Great Wood, February 4th. The BBS found Wood Pigeons in 100% of the 48 squares surveyed (100% in 1998, 100% in 2003), with a combined total of 3063 birds. A minimum of 15 pairs nested on Orfordness and there was a peak there of 80 in early May, while about five pairs nested at Landguard. The almost white leucistic bird again frequented the Mickle Mere and Blackbourne valley area of Pakenham throughout the year. During autumn passage at Landguard a total of 29104 was logged flying south between September 29th and November 19th, with a peak day-count of 15621 on October 28th. The largest flocks in the second winter period were 1000 at Minsmere, October 22nd, 1000 at East Lane, Bawdsey, November 15th, 3000 at Great Waldingfield during November, 734 at Northfield Wood, Onehouse, December 24th and 1000 at Old Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin, December 28th. COMMON WOOD PIGEON


Suffolk Birci Report 2008 EURASIAN COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decaocto Common resident. Rather few records were submitted this year and the maximum counts were well down in all areas. The highest count in the north-east was 51 at Southwold, January 6th and in central Suffolk, 33 at Pound Farm, Milden, January 22nd and also 33 were at Brewery Farm, Earl Stonham, December 23rd. In the west the best count was 41 at Westley, December 21 st. The BBS found Collared Doves in 67% of the 48 squares surveyed (45% in 1998, 67% in 2003), with a combined total of 149 birds. The Orfordness report commented on how rare Collared Doves are on the site, "considering how common this bird is on the other side of the river ". The only record for the year was two flying south over the Labs, June 1st. During the past three years the number of breeding pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks has almost halved, as the table shows. Is this just a local decline? EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia turtur Declining summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. A report of the 2008 SWT survey is on page 30. The first bird in on the coast was one at Minsmere on April 16th, while inland the vanguard appeared at Icklingham Plains and Lackford Lakes, both on April 22nd. Landguard reported a light spring passage of 14 between May 7th and June 17th, with a maximum of four south, May 31st. Reports came from exactly 100 locations in 2008, an increase over the 71 sites recorded in 2007. However, the decline in breeding numbers clearly continued. The BBS found Turtle Doves in 25% of the 48 squares surveyed (43% in 1998,47% in 2003), with a combined total of 20 birds. At Minsmere only seven pairs were recorded on territory, down from 15 pairs in 2007 and 16 pairs in 2006, while at Lackford Lakes there was just a single pair, rather than the 2-3 pairs of previous years. An observer at Cosford Hall, near Hadleigh noted single birds on just two days, where previously a pair had regularly nested until two years ago. The same picture came from North Warren and Aldringham Walks, where the census figures for the past 11 years tell a sorry tale of the scale of the losses:North Warren and Aldringham Walks - Breeding Pairs

Year The only flock of note all year was of 17 feeding together on a weedy field at Flixton Gravel Pits, May 18th. Otherwise, no congregations exceeded the four found at Long Melford, June 29th, at Groton Wood, August 2nd and at Minsmere, August 25th. This 110



species appears to be in serious trouble, with the population close to collapse. Very few were seen after the end of July but three were at Thorpeness, September 15th and Landguard logged outgoing singles on September 14th and 20th. ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri Scarce resident, Categories C and E. Lowestoft: A single bird arrived in the area, Aug 16th and was then regularly seen until the year's end. It was seen as far south as Kessingland and as far north as Gunton and sometimes flew over the town centre. Southwold: flying south, Nov 8th. Thorpeness: flying south, June 8th. Possibly only a single bird was involved in all the above records.




Declining summer visitor and passage migrant. Transferred from Amber to Red list. The first of the year was well inland nearThetford on April 10th, followed by birds on the coast at Orfordness on 13th and Minsmere and Levington Creek on 16th. Landguard reported a light spring passage of birds on just six dates between May 23rd and June 10th. Records came from a total of 81 localities, with 30 of these in the north-east, 25 in the south-east and 26 in the west. The BBS found Cuckoos in 29% of the 48 squares surveyed (40% in 1998, 27% in 2003), with a combined total of 19 birds. The highest multiple counts of five came from Lakenheath Fen, May 5th, Long Melford, May 11th and Orfordness, June 14th. Breeding almost certainly took place at the latter site, "with Meadow Pipit and Reed Warbler the likely hosts ". There were just five calling males at North Warren and Aldringham Walks, where there were 18 as recently as 2000. An hepatic bird frequented Minsmere throughout May. The last singing male was reported from Lackford, July 6th and an adult was seen on Elveden estate on the late date of July 18th. The only juveniles noted were two on Sutton Common, July 25th and August 7th and one at West Stow, August 1st. After outgoing birds at Bawdsey on August 26th and at Lowestoft on September 10th, there was a gap of six weeks to a very late bird on Orfordness, October 27th (D Crawshaw, S Piotrowski, G Stannard). This is Suffolk's latest-ever Cuckoo, surpassing one at Sizewell in 2006 by six days. BARN OWL Tyto alba Fairly common resident. Amber list. Categories A and E. Barn Owls were reported from about 155 locations in 2008, well up on the 103 locations reported in 2007. Records came from 62 sites in the north-east, 36 in the south-east and 57 in the west. The widespread provision of nestboxes under the SCBOP scheme is clearly helping this species and the Breeding Bird Survey found Bam Owls in 10% of the 48 squares surveyed (2% in 1998, 7% in 2003), with a combined total of six birds. One observer (John Walshe) monitored at least 12 breeding sites in central and west Suffolk. On Orfordness the annual report noted that Barn Owls were seen on almost every visit, with frequent multiple counts and a maximum of eight, October 26th. Three pairs nested in the old MoD buildings and two of the pairs fledged at least six young with the success of the third pair unknown. Elsewhere, the maximum count of adult birds at any one site was three at Shingle Street, April 22nd and three at Boyton, November 12th.

Athene noctua Fairly common resident. Reports came from a total of 117 localities this year, well up on the 64 sites reported in 2007. Of these sites, 27 were in the north-east recording area and 45 each from the LITTLE O W L


Suffolk Birci Report 2008 south-east and west. Breeding was eonfirmed at 12 sites, with a further five noted as "breeding probable" in the west. As with all owls these figures under-represent the true situation. The BBS found Little Owls in 8% of the 48 squares surveyed (5% in 1998, 7% in 2003), with a combined total of four birds. For the second year running none nested on North Warren and Aldringham Walks, where there were as many as five pairs in 2003. Up to two pairs were present on Orfordness but breeding was not eonfirmed. A pair probably nested at Landguard but failed and singles were found dead there in April and June. Dispersing juveniles arrived at Landguard on September 28th and October 22nd.

Little Owl SuGough F I E L D


At College Farm, Creeting St Mary, one small downy young was in a barn nestbox on June 4th, wbile at Kettlebaston, four juveniles were recently fledged from a SCBOP nestbox on June 12th. John Walshe TAWNY OWL Strix aluco Common resident. Records came from a total of 95 sites during 2008, which is a near 100% increase on the 51 sites reported in 2007. Twenty-six of these sites were in the north-east, 23 in the southeast and 46 in the west and breeding was eonfirmed at 15 sites, with nine of these confirmations Coming from the west and five from the south-east. At Northfield Wood, near Stowmarket, broods of three, two and two were recorded in nestboxes and two juveniles fledged from a nestbox at Combs Lane Water Meadows. The breeding population at North Warren and Aldringham Walks recovered from a low of five pairs in 2007 to eight pairs, which is close to the eleven-year average (1998-2008) of 8.6 pairs on this 600 ha (1482 acre) reserve. One was found roosting high in a tree in a position which was readily observed in Christchurch Park, Ipswich in October and seen by many observers through into 2009, even featuring in the national news media! Asio otus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Scarce resident. There was an upsurge in breeding records from Breckland in 2008. Long-eared Owls were recorded from eight sites during the breeding season and breeding was eonfirmed at five of these, four in The King's Forest and one inThetford Forest. Juveniles were seen at all five sites. There were also mid-winter records from two additional Breckland sites, Olley's Farm near Thetford and West Stow road, Icklingham. Other records came from:North Cove: Castle Marsh, June 16th. LONG-EARED OWL




Thorndon: Lampits Farm, Dec 27th. Orfordness: single birds on May 3rd and 10th, July 26th and Oct 9th. Landguard: two, Oct 30th. An Asio owl flying south offshore on Oct 29th may well have been of this species. Kirton: fishing lakes, Apr 28th and 29th. Earl Stonham: Brewery Farm, Feb 11th and 23rd. Great Cornard: May 2nd. Lackford: Lakes, Feb 25th; Clamps Heath, hunting at dusk, Dec 25th. Lakenheath Fen: June 1st. Asio flammeus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Rare resident. Amber list. Fairly frequent in the north-east early in the year, when it was reported from 12 coastal sites between January 4th and May 19th. All were singles apart from two at Carlton Marshes, April 24th. During the same period records came from four south-east coastal sites, Orfordness, Havergate Island, Shingle Street and Felixstowe Ferry, but only on single dates, except for Orfordness. Over in the west there were regular records at Puttock's Hill, Pakenham from January 1st to March 6th, with three on February 9th and 10th and a late record, April 11th. There was also one on Cavenham Heath, January 9th and a late spring record at Minsmere Levels, May 29th. Orfordness recorded birds in every month apart from December but their report commented that "this is a species that seems to be getting much scarcer here ". There was just a single record in January on 27th, then three, February 17th but a good spring passage saw a peak of six on April 6th. There were up to two during May, one until June 7th and a single on July 17th and 18th, but no indication of breeding. The autumn passage was very poor, with just one on October 19th and two, Novemberlรณth. Elsewhere, autumn records came from 11 coastal sites in the north-east between August 12th and November 16th. Autumn south-east records came from Boyton Marshes, Shingle Street, East Lane and Trimley Marshes but in the west the only report was one at Great Waldingfield airfield. October 31st. Surprisingly it seems that none stayed to winter. The only December record anywhere was a single at Trimley Marshes on 6th. SHORT-EARED OWL




Locally fairly common summer visitor. Scarce passage migrant. Red List. The first reported was one at North Stow in The King's Forest, May 4th but none was found in the Sandlings until one was heard at Minsmere, May 19th. The report from North Warren and Aldringham Walks commented "a late start to the season due to poor weather and very few birds located in May " (Rob Macklin). Minsmere reported 13 churring males (14 in 2007) and in Breckland both West Stow heath and Lakenheath Warren hosted four churring males. Unusually, one at Upper Hollesley Common on June 14th was churring in mid-afternoon. The census figures from North Warren and Aldringham Walks indicate that the population there may have recently gone into decline - is this a temporary retreat confined to this site or a more general decline?

1998 13

Nightjars at North Warren and Aldringham Walks - Churring Males 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 13 14 10 12 12 13 10 8 8

2008 7

Two males were still churring on Tunstall Common, August 7th. There were no later records apart from an unusual one of a bird over gardens in Whitehouse Road, Ipswich between 20:45 and 21:00 hours on October 6th (J Zantboer). There are nine previous October records and the latest ever was one at Worlingham, November 1st 1957. 113

Suffolk Birci Report


Apus opus Very common summer visitor andpassage migrant. Amber list. The first report was of one at Trimley Marshes, April 23rd followed by singles at Minsmere and inland at Lackford Lakes the following day. On April 28th, 100 passed through Lakenheath Fen. The BBS found Swifts in 48% of the 48 squares surveyed (45% in 1998, 55% in 2003), with a combined total of 158 birds. Observers' comments included "50+ breeding in the village of Grundisburgh " and "still apparently common in Leiston, Thorpeness and Aldeburgh". Significant numbers during the summer included 200 at both Minsmere Levels, May 30th and Lackford Lakes, July 6th. At Orfordness, 450 flew south on July 12th while 100 at Mildenhall airfield, August 7th, had been brought down low by storms. At Landguard Swifts were noted from April 27th to September 28th. The largest movements were 1882 south, June 27th and 2008 south, July 12tb. COMMON SWIFT

In/North South

Monthly Movements of Common Swifts at Landguard May Jun Apr Jul Aug Sep 0 130 69 34 0 2 l 19 3527 2937 1662 20


Oct 0 0

The departure of breeding birds was well synchronized this year. The local birds at Pakenham had departed by August 1 st and observers at Trimley St Martin, SW Ipswich and Long Melford reported their birds had left by the following day. At Woodbridge the last breeder had gone by August 7th. After that there was the usual scatter of records through August, with 82 reported south at Orfordness on 17th. The last inland bird was one at Lakenheath Fen, September 4th and then there were a few records along the coast, with the final singles at Dip Farm, Gunton and Kessingland Denes on October Ist. A very late "swift" at Landguard, November 2nd, was either of this species or, more probably, a Pal lid Swift Apus pallidus but views were not conclusive. COMMON KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis Fairly common resident. Amber list. Reports in 2008 carne from a total of 101 localities (80 in 2007), with 40 of these in the north-east recording area, 33 in the south-east and 28 in the west. The BBS found Kingfishers in 8% of the 48 squares surveyed (2% in 1998, 7% in 2003), with a combined total of five birds. Breeding was confirmed at nine sites, with six of these in the west, but undoubtedly took place at a number of others where birds were seen in the spring and summer. The highest count was six at Lackford Lakes in late summer, after a brood there had fledged. On Orfordness, up to two were seen on a few dates, January to March, then none until two on August 16th. Up to three were present in the second half of September but after records on tour days in October there was none for the rest of the year. Landguard again had just a single record, on September 28th. EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster Rare passage migrant. Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, May 21 st (P D Green); Dunwich Cliffs, June 8th (M Bonfield, P J Ransome et al.). Minsmere: June 14th (S Mayson). Boyton Marshes: flew north-west, July 8th (S and B Abbott). Landguard: one for several hours, July 9th. Fourth site record (R Q Skeen et al.). The run of annual occurrences since the last blank year in 1999 continĂşes.




HOOPOE Upupa epops Scarce passage migrant. Categories A and E. Hollesley: on the primary school playing fields, Apr. 17th to 19th (N J Mason et al.). Euston: feeding on a ploughed field, Nov 11th (Mrs J Lambert, A Moss). Pakenham: in a garden at Grimstone End, Nov 17th (Mrs L Lovegrove). The late records are interesting. They occurred shortly after a Desert Wheatear on the coast near Southwold and had possibly come in on the same weather system. Hoopoes have been recorded in Suffolk in every month except January and there have been at least three previous November records (Piotrowski 2003).

EURASIAN WRYNECK Hoopoe Peter Beeson Jynx torquilla Uncommon passage migrant. Red list. A strong autumn influx of at least ten birds, with just one inland. Hopton-on-Sea: on cliff face, Sep 9th to 11th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards). Corton: Radar Lodge, Sep 16th (J A Brown); Sewage Works, Sep 17th (J A Brown) and 28th (A Riseborough). Lowestoft: North Denes, Sep 15th (A C Easton). Dunwich: Beach, Sep 28th (B J Small). Minsmere: Sluice, Sep 14th (P Kightley). Shingle Street: near Oxley Marshes, Sep 14th (P and J Kennerley). Felixstowe Ferry: flew south over the River Deben, Sep 22nd (W Brame). Landguard: Aug 22nd. Lawshall: in a garden, Sep 14th (per C Jakes). GREEN W O O D P E C K E R Picus viridis Common resident. Amber list. Among all the declining farmland birds and summer visitors, it's a relief to report on one species which is clearly doing well. The BBS found Green Woodpeckers in 65% of the 48 squares surveyed (48% in 1998, 62% in 2003), with a combined total of 60 birds. Reports came from a total of 109 localities (the same as in 2007) but only eight of these were in the north-east, where it was clearly under-reported in 2008. The census data from North Warren and Aldringham Walks show a steady increase in the considerable population there over the past eleven years. Their report commented that the species "is widely distributed across the whole site (600 ha) but the wetter woodland areas around the reedbeds proved particularly attractive ".

1998 27

Green Woodpeckers at North Warren and Aldringham Walks- Breeding Pairs 2008 1999 20(1Âť 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 42 40 39 31 31 37 32 31 34 38

An observer in the Stour valley found no less than 34 males/pairs between Long Melford and Higham (M F Peers) and of eight counted in a cemetery at Hadleigh on July 15th, at least five were juveniles. Orfordness reported that it was seen often during January to March and again November 115

Suffolk Bird Report


and December, with a few scattered records in the spring and summer. Landguard logged two, July 22nd and a single on five dates, July 26th to August 31 st. GREAT SPOTTED W O O D P E C K E R Dendrocopos major Common resident. Scarce passage migrant. This woodpecker is also doing well and was recorded from 96 localities in 2008 (82 in 2007). The BBS found the species in 52% of the 48 squares surveyed (33% in 1998, 30% in 2003), with a combined total of 37 birds. There were 20 breeding pairs on North Warren and Aldringham Walks (the same as in 2007), five probable territories in Bradfield Woods and an observer found three family parties on Sutton and Hollesley Commons on June 29th. The ranger at East Town Park, Haverhill commented that "local birds do much damage to the park 's nestboxes". Landguard reported one, May 7th and singletons on 17 dates from July 1st to October 18th but on Orfordness the sole record was of one trapped and ringed, October 4th. LESSER SPOTTED W O O D P E C K E R Dendrocopos minor Uncommon resident. Red list. In contrast with the two common woodpeckers, records of this species are dwindling year by year. There were reports from only 11 sites in 2008, compared with 15 sites in 2007 and 20 sites in 2006. The south-east provided most records, with eight from seven sites:North Cove: SWT reserve, Feb 21st. Staverton Park: Feb 28th. Melton Park: Mar 27th. Ipswich: Ash Carr, Jan 1st. Freston Wood: two, Apr 12th and 13th; Dec 27th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, Apr 20th. Barham Pits: calling, Feb 9th. Barking: Swingens Wood, Nov 27th. Polstead: Sep 29th. Bury St Edmunds: Holywater Meadows, Apr 3rd. Santon Downham: at least one pair still along the Little Ouse river valley. W O O D LARK Lullula arborea Fairly common breeding species. Scarce on passage and in winter. Transferred from Red to Amber list. The transfer of Wood Lark from the Red to Amber list is the product of targeted conservation action and shows how the fortunes of some birds can be turned round. Breeding was confirmed at eight sites compared with four in 2007. Minsmere: 22 pairs. Sizewell: pair. North Warren: 25 singing males, same as 2007. No family parties observed, indicating a poor breeding year. Sutton Common: ten males holding territory, one pair fledged four young. Upper and Lower Hollesley Commons: up to 17 territorial males. North Stow: The King's Forest, pair and nest with young. Thetford Forest: 106 singing males compared with 118 in 2007. Cavenham Heath: pair feeding young, observer noted that possibly five pairs bred. Other sites where singing males or pairs were recorded include West Stow C.P, Icklingham Plains and Westleton Heath. Autumn migration along the coast was noted at Minsmere with a single bird, October 13th; a single bird was at Gunton Warren, October 11 th and at Landguard singles passed through on September 3rd and October 4th and 16th. The last report of the year was at Upper Hollesley Common, November 2nd when the bird was heard to give a short winter song burst. No winter gatherings were reported.

// 116



SKY LARK Alauda arvensis Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. Red list. The largest flock of the year was 200 located at Great Waldingfield Airfield, January 2nd. Three further flocks totalling over one hundred birds came from: North Warren 195, January 1 st; Beach Farm, Benacre 120, January 6th and in the latter part of the year 100 were noted again at Great Waldingfield Airfield, October 8th. There were a further thirteen reports of flocks between 50 and 82 birds, seven in the first two months of the year and six in November and December. During October, 217 were counted at Landguard moving south, with the highest one-day-count of 40, October 30th. On Orfordness there was an estimated total of 60 pairs of which 40 were along "The Point". Observations suggest, as in 2007, that breeding success was poor with very few adults seen carrying food. Breeding records:Hen Reedbeds: one pair, same as 2007. Dunwieh: Dingle Marshes, 11 pairs held territories. Sizewell: 15 pairs. North Warren: breeding confirmed with 195 singing males. (168 in 2007). Snape Warren: 14 pairs. Snape: Abbey Farm, 12 pairs. Orfordness: breeding estimated at 60 pairs. Bentley: Old Farm, five pairs, considered an average year. Sudbury: Common Lands, one pair remaining. Great Cornard: eight males singing. Barrow: one pair thought to have bred. HORNED (SHORE) LARK Eremophila alpestris Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list.. The Shore Lark's recent scarcity continues. This was the worst year in Suffolk for this species since 1959 when there was also only one record of a single bird. Breydon: south wall, Nov 20th and 21st (P Allard). SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. As with 2007 the first arrivals were in March at Lackford Lakes, with three on 8th. It was six days later that a further individual was noted at Lakenheath Fen, March 14th. Numbers built up during March and April with high counts at Minsmere of 200, April 5th, 250, April 7th and 300, April 28th. There were 200 at Loompit Lake, April 14th and 200 in a roost at Lakenheath Fen, early April. Breeding records received were as follows:Corton: 203 occupied nest burrows in the cliff. Kessingland: 141 occupied nests burrows in the cliffs. Minsmere: 182 pairs in occupied burrows in old car park. Thorpeness: Ness House, 111 breeding pairs (130 in 2007). Pipps Ford: nesting on new gravel works, destruction of nests reported to the police. There were no records submitted for Benacre NNR (400 in 2007) and Thorpe Cliff ( 130 in 2007). There were 14 reports of birds lingering into September and two for October. In Lowestoft at Leathes Ham a single bird was noted, October 3 rd and 15 at Lackford Lake, October 4th. BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. There was a total of seven March records, the first a single noted at Island Mere, Minsmere, 27th; on the same date an individual was noted at Lackford Lakes. Further singles were noted again at Minsmere on 30th and 31st and at Orfordness, 31st. Five passed 117

Suffolk Bird Report

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Landguard during the month, four north and one south. Reports and numbers built up during April with a count of 70 at Great Livermere, April 30th. The only three-figure count of the spring came from Minsmere with 100, April 15th. Early-summer counts peaked with 200 at East Lane, Bawdsey on June 22nd. There were eight reports of probable breeding and ten reports of confirmed breeding, the principal counts being seven pairs at Orfordness, several pairs at Sudbury Common Lands and five pairs at Little Cornard. From August onwards there were several counts of 50 plus with three-






Street, 100, August 28th, Minsmere, 100, September 13th and Lowestoft North Denes, 200 moving south, September 8th. Southerly passage at Landguard included 3226 in August and 3121 in September with a maximum 1297 on August 23rd. During the latter part of the year 44 birds were noted during October at twelve sites; in addition, 331 were recorded going south at Landguard during the month. The same site recorded 19 birds moving south during November and a further 15 birds were noted at eight more sites. The last birds reported came from Pakefield and Sizewell with singles on November 17th. RED-RUMPED SWALLOW



Rare visitor. This individual takes the county total to 27 involving 30 birds. It is the earliest-ever arrival in Suffolk. Minsmere: Island Mere: April 7th (P and J Kennerley). Delictum urbicum Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first arrival came three days later than the Barn Swallow with three birds noted, two in the north-east of the county at Kessingland, March 30th and on the same day an individual was observed at Minsmere. Ones and twos were noted at the start of April with 25 on 6th flying low north past Flixton into a blinding snow storm hardly able to make headway. Numbers built up into May with a peak of 100 at Cavenham Heath, on 26th, feeding along a wood edge in very windy conditions and 120 near Sheepcote Hall, Stowmarket, 27th. At Capel St Mary two breeding pairs were found and one pair was noted at Trimley St Mary. Breeding was confirmed in central Sudbury but there was evidence of several nests having been destroyed by residents and several nests were observed on buildings at Great Barton. North Warren recorded 34 breeding pairs, eight down on the 42 in 2007. After the declining breeding population noted during 2007 came further evidence of reduced numbers when no breeding was noted at Santon Downham. Several high autumn counts were observed during August and September but the most significant was 1000 flying around Sizewell A power station, September 13th. Southerly passage at Landguard included 557 in September with a maximum 247 on 11th. Four birds lingered into November, one at Thorpeness, 8th, two at Ashby Dell, 9th and the last bird of the year at Shingle Street, 15th. HOUSE MARTIN





House Martins Peter Beeson

RICHARD'S PIPIT Anthus riehardi Rare visitor. Six reports were received involving a single bird present at Shingle Street, January 6th to 23rd. This is Suffolk's first January record of Richard's Pipit. It is assumed to be the same bird as that present on Orfordness in December 2007. Shingle Street: Jan 6th to 23rd (P and J Kennerley et al.). At Landguard a large pipit flying south was probably this species. TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. Transferred from Amber to Red list. The population near the coast continues to decline while anecdotal evidence from The Brecks suggests that Tree Pipits are doing well there. Two were reported from Warren Wood, Lowestoft, March 29th, these being the only birds for that month. A further eight sites reported sightings during April with three at Cavenham Heath, April 25th. At Landguard during the spring a total of nine was noted between April 20th and June 4th, three being recorded, May 27th. There were two confirmed breeding sites. At Thetford Forest 33 nests were found with 80 pulii ringed (this includes Suffolk and Norfolk totals). At Sutton Common, three males were holding territory and one pair fledged young. On Lower Hollesley Common, however, there was no breeding for the first time. Probable breeding reports came from North Stow and Chalk Lane, both in The Kings Forest, Mayday Farm and Cavenham Heath. In the north-east of the county between Lowestoft and Corion 30 were reported with an influx of Northern Wheatears and Common Redstarts between September 12th and 20th with a peak one-day-count of six at Corton Sewage Works, September 18th. Further south along the coast in the same month 15 were noted in the Thorpeness area. At Landguard, during the autumn passage, 53 were noted between August 20th and October 11th with a peak one-day-count of seven, September 18th. 119

Suffolk Bird Report 2008 MEADOW PIPIT A nth us pratensis Common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. There were no three-figure counts from January to April; the highest counts were of 50 at three sites: Cavenham Heath, January 16th, El veden, January 28th and Long Melford, February 17th feeding in a small set-aside field. In September there was considerable movement with Thorpeness having 100 in a two-hour period, 25th and Orfordness 300 on 13th and 250 on 20th. Landguard recorded 840 moving south during September with a peak one-day-count of 150 on 24th; this site recorded 348 in October before numbers declined rapidly. This was also mirrored at Orfordness where ringing illustrated this pattern with 68 birds ringed in August, 381 in September and 45 in October and then only one in November. Confirmation of breeding was sparse with Orfordness reporting 70 pairs of which 30 were along the "Point"; success of the first brood was thought to be good but most second broods failed. On the grazing marshes at North Warren 22 breeding pairs were noted, the same as 2007 but five down on 2006. The Dingle Marshes at Dunwich had five pairs holding territories, also the same as 2007. At Landguard six pairs raised several broods and at Sizewell only a single pair was noted. ROCK PIPIT Anthus petrosus Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. During the first winter period birds were scattered along the coast with double-figure counts of 35 at Orfordness, February 10th, 12 at Slaughden Martello Tower, January 8th and ten at Melton Sewage Works, January 24th. The last birds noted in this period were a single at Orfordness April 6th, and another individual at Landguard, April 11th. An early returning bird was also at this latter site, F I E L D N O T E August 29th. At Orfordness the first returning A bird at Thorpe Bay, Trimley, bird was on September 24th. Numbers built December 28th had an upper breast up at Orfordness and by October 19th 25 were pattern similar to a Tawny Pipit Anthus back wintering. campestrĂŹs, with orangy buff spots Double-figure counts during the second with a white breast. winter period again came from Slaughden Robin Biddle with ten, November 6th and 12, November 23rd. Most reports came from the north-east of the county with 28 observations coming from the north of Lowestoft with the highest count being six, October 15th. Fifteen reports came from Thorpe Bay, Trimley St Martin involving one or two birds. WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list.. Minsmere and Southwold had the lion's share of this species in the first winter period, with Minsmere recording a record reserve count of 27, February 28th. At the same site doublefigure counts were also made of 14 on March 9th and ten on March 28th. At Southwold 16 were recorded, January 1st, 19 on January 21 st and 17 on January 23rd. The last departure of the first winter period was at Minsmere, April 15 th. Three summerplumage individuals were noted with one at East Lane, Bawdsey feeding on the beach on April 14th, one at Boyton, April 1st and an individual moulting into summer plumage at Minsmere, March 21st. In the second half of the year the first returning bird was at Minsmere, October 16th. Most of the records received to the end of the year came from this site with peak counts of seven, November 8th and December 12th and nine on December 14th. 120

20. Ring Ouzel at Landguard on 2nd

21. Robin changing nest site at



Bill Bastan

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26- Black Redstart at Minsmere in March.

Sean Nixon



YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava flavissima Rapidi'y declining summer visitor andpassage migrant. Transferredfrom Amber to Red list. On the early date of March 24th a single bird was noted at The Häven, Thorpeness. Ones and twos were noted arriving up to April 18th. Numbers slowly built up with eight at Boyton Marshes, Aprii 20th and ten at East Lane, Bawdsey, Aprii 28th, this being the only doublefigure count of the spring. There were no confirmed breeding records this year but four sites reported probable breeding: Pakenham, Hares Creek in Shotley, Alton Water and Tuddenham St Mary to the west of Bury. A possibility of breeding carne from just two sites: Higham and Great Waldingfield Airfield. No notable counts were noted during the autumn, the only double-figure records coming from Minsmere where ten to twelve birds were noted during September 1 Ith to 13th. At Orfordness, July saw the start of returning birds with a peak one-day-count of ten, August 25th. Passage was noted at Landguard from July 13th to October Ist with 72 birds passing through and maxima of 15 on site July 13th and 13 flying south, August 27th. Blue-headed Wagtail M.f. flava Uncommon passage migrant. Amber list. This attractive sub-species was only seen at one site during 2008. Minsmere: Levels, two, May 27th. Grey-headed Wagtail M.f. thunbergi Scarce passage migrant. Amber list. As last year a bird was present for one day in the expected month. Corton: cliff path, male, May 8th. (P J Ransome, R Fairhead). CITRINE WAGTAIL Motacilla Accidental. This is the fifth record for the county and the first for this wellwatched site. Landguard: adult, Aug 29th (P J Holmes, P Oldfield et al.).


GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. This species is seen regularly Citrine Wagtail Nick Andrews throughout the county and is almost guaranteed to be available at various sewage works in the county. At Long Melford SW there were eight reports with a peak of seven, March 23rd. At Kessingland SW there were 36 reports in ali with a peak in the first winter period of five, March 30th and in the second, six on September 19th. At Corton SW no reports carne until September when there was a peak of five on 28th. The year's highest counts carne from Thorpeness with 12, September 20th and Landguard where 12 also moved south, September 2Ist. At this latter site, from August to November, 110 passed south with six on site. Reports of probable breeding carne from six sites with a further eight pairs potentially breeding on the River Stour between Melford sewage works and Nayland weir. Breeding pairs were recorded from ten sites, with two pairs raising two broods at Kedington. A juvenile with no adults present was seen in a car park at Fornham St Martin, July lOth. 121

Suffolk Bird Report


During November, at Kessingland Sewage Works, four were present; three were trapped of which two had been trapped there in the winter of 2006.

PIED WAGTAIL Motacilla alba Very common resident, passage migrant and winter and summer visitor. As with 2007, reports of breeding were low with North Warren confirming 12 breeding pairs, one up on the 11 in 2007. Breeding was also confirmed at Landguard and Orfordness with single pairs. At Oulton Broad there was a pair feeding two recently-fledged young and at Earl Stonham a pair was watched feeding six young at Brewery Farm. Sizewell had two pairs. In the BTO Atlas tetrad survey, breeding was noted at Bradfield Woods and Barrow. Food carrying by adults was observed at Mickle Mere, Livermere Lake and Pakenham where breeding was considered probable. Notable counts between January and April were:Gisleham: 200, Jan 8th to Feb 22nd; 293, Mar 12th; 176, Mar 26th. Ncedham Market: 250, Jan 21st. Woodbridge: Station, 150, Apr 2nd. The Gisleham roost was in the Morrison's car park with at least 200 present from January 8th to February 22nd. Numbers remained high until the end of March peaking at 293, March 12th. During the autumn a pre-roost flock of 200 was at Mendlesham Airfield, August 29th Notable counts between October and December:Minsmere: Scrape, 120, Oct 22nd. Redgrave and Lopham Fen: partly in Norfolk, 90, Oct 25th. Barsham Marshes: 100, Oct 11th. Long Melford: sewage works, 75, Nov 29th. Stow market: Cedar's Park, 150, Nov 9th. At Landguard during the autumn passage 232 passed south between September 22nd and November 15th with a peak one-day-count of 28, October 9th.

White Wagtail M.a. alba There were 29 birds of this nominate race reported in March involving 13 sites. In the north-east of the county birds were reported from Kessingland, Kessingland Sewage Works and Lowestoft, where eight were counted, March 31st. Further along the coast birds were reported from Minsmere, Shingle Street, North Warren and Westleton where an individual was observed feeding on the ground beneath six Red Deer on March 31 st. At Landguard 15 passed through between March 20th and May 2nd. The last report of the year was also at this latter site on September 11th.

B O H E M I A N WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. No visitors were present in the first winter period, the first observation being towards the end of the year with four birds being located at Carlton Colville, October 17th. Reports came from a scattering of locations with Minsmere, Rendlesham and the Lowestoft area having the lion's share of days when birds were present. The birds at Rendlesham proved quite an attraction and were enjoyed by birders and non-birders alike. Significant counts were:Gunton: Dip Farm, 18, Nov 8th; Warren, 17, Dec 17th. Minsmere: 40, Nov 7th. Beccles: 20, Nov 8th. Rendlesham: 23, Nov 14th; 26, Dec 13th; 43, Dec 14th and 22, Dec 28th. A colour-ringed bird observed at Rendlesham on December 14th and 28th had been trapped and ringed on November 13th 2008 at the Marriot Hotel in Aberdeen. 122



WINTER W R E N Troglodytes troglodytes Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. The Winter Wren was reported from 14 widespread locations throughout the county. Most records involved between one and four birds outside the breeding season, the exception being 15 at Landguard, November 5th with at least eight birds attempting to overwinter. At Orfordness a total of 34 was ringed between September and November which suggests that there was probably an autumn passage through this site. Breeding records received:Hen Reedbeds: ten pairs, (11 in 2007). Thorington: Church Farm, 12 pairs. Sizewell: 147 pairs. North Warren: 242 singing males (324 in 2007). Orfordness: six pairs. Landguard: three pairs. Wren Su Gough West Stow CP: pair feeding young. Lackford Lakes: average year reported with six adults and ten juveniles trapped. Brettenham: pair, six young fledged. Bury St Edmunds: BTO Atlas tetrad survey, breeding was confirmed. HEDGE ACCENTOR (DUNNOCK) Prunella modularis Very common resident and fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. With the low number of reports it is difficult to establish the true population for the county. Migration was noted during the spring and autumn. Principal counts of movements were at Landguard where 30 moved through, September 26th and 14 were counted between Corton and Gunton, September 16th. Inland at Moorbridge Farm, Harleston 29 were trapped and ringed during the year. Breeding reports came f r o m : Hen Reedbeds: two pairs. Thorington: Church Farm, six pairs. Sizewell: 29 pairs. North Warren: 204 pairs, the lowest total on record (278 in 2007). Orfordness: five pairs. Landguard: 12 pairs, with many juveniles turning up on site from June to August. Lackford Lakes: lowest-ever productivity with eight juveniles caught compared with a 17-year average of 25. EUROPEAN ROBIN Erithacus rubecula Very common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor. The only concentration of note during the first winter period was at Landguard where nine were present. The first signs of spring migration were seen at Orfordness where an excellent passage was noted with six, March 15th, 25, March 16th and 25, April 14th Landguard's passage peaked at 15, March 17th. Breeding data were scarce but North Warren reported 280 pairs which is a 10% fall compared with 312 in 2007. 123



Autumn passage was evident from Shingle Street with 20 noted there September 26th. 15 were noted at Thorpeness Common, November 2nd and 11 were present at Pettaugh, December 23rd. THRUSH N I G H T I N G A L E Luscinia luscinia Very rare visitor. A male was found at Minsmere. Suffolk's sixth record was a bird in song in Tamarisk below Dunwich Heath adjacent to North Marsh. Minsmere: male, Jun 5th to 8th (D Brougham, I Levett, J A Rowlands et al.). C O M M O N N I G H T I N G A L E Luscinia megarhynchos Fairly common summer visitor and scarce passage migrant. Amber list. Typically this species was first noted during the second week in April with the first from Minsmere where two were reported April 12th followed by Pipps Ford, April 13th and Bromeswell, April 14th. Further inland Lackford first noted returning birds from April 18th. Data from within the county suggest this species maintained a level similar to 2007 following a decline in 2006. The locations with most birds recorded were:Minsmere: 24 (24 in 2007). North Warren: 39 (40 in 2007). Bromeswell Heath: 12. Foxhall Heath: nine. Pipps Ford: six. Cavenham Heath: five. Autumn passage was noted with individuals at Minsmere, August 8th and Landguard, July 30th, August 2nd and August 13th. BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica Rare passage migrant, Amber list. This was a typical year after no records during 2007. Shingle Street: probable first-winter male, Sep 29th (S Jarvis, D Richardson). White-spotted L. s. cyanecula Minsmere: male, Mar 27th to 30th (M Cox et al.). Red-spotted L. s. svecica Dingle Marshes: trapped and ringed, Sep 18th (D J Pearson). Shingle Street: May 28th and 29th (P and J Kennerley et al.). R E D - F L A N K E D BLUETAIL Tarsiger cyanurus Very rare visitor. The only accepted record of the year was a first-winter bird that was trapped and photographed at Hollesley in early November. Hollesley: first-winter, Nov 2nd (RA Duncan et al.). BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus ochruros Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Occasionally overwinters. Amber list. Overwintering birds were located at Lowestoft where a first-winter male was present February 21st and Shingle Street with two February 18th. There was an excellent spring passage recorded from at least 20 coastal sites with Orfordness noting falls of eight, March 16th and March 30th. The best counts elsewhere on the coast were of six, Minsmere, March 17th, four, Shingle Street, March 17th and four, Landguard, March 27th. Landguard reported a late passage of singletons from May 30th to June 5th with two 124



present, May 31 st. The only inland record came from Lakenheath Fen, May 31 st. The only confirmed breeding came from Sizewell where one pair was successful. During the autumn this species was widely reported in the north-east coastal belt from September mainly involving singles but two, possibly breeding birds, were noted at Sizewell September 1 st and two at Beach Farm, Benacre, October 31 st with another two regularly seen in Southwold Churchyard from October 31st to November 7th with one remaining until November 9th. In the south-east, Orfordness recorded three, October 27th, Bawdsey, two, November 4th and Landguard, two, October 30th and 31st. There was a late sighting of an individual possibly overwintering at Sizewell, November 11th with another single noted from the sheep pens at Easton Bavents from December 29th to 31 st. 2007 Addition A pair of Black Redstarts bred in Gorleston in 2007. C O M M O N R E D S T A R T Pheonicurus phoenicurus Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. Overall it was a poor spring passage but an early record of a male at Holywater Meadows, Bury St Edmunds on April 2nd is noteworthy. Elsewhere reports came from only six sites with all other records shown:Minsmere: Apr 15th and two Apr 16th. Shingle Street: two, Apr 20th. Landguard: passage noted from May 16th to May 27th with a maximum of five, May 27th. Berners Heath: male, Apr 15th. Breeding was only confirmed from Minsmere with two pairs and from Upper Hollesley Common with three pairs and three more in private woodland nearby. This is a 50% fall from 2006 and may be just a fluctuation in breeding data rather than a trend similar to the Whinchat. Migration in early autumn was first seen inland at Brettenham where an adult was noted July 28th with the next record, several weeks later, from Minsmere August 26th. It was the best passage for many years particularly in the north-east with several doublefigure counts from coastal sites. A significant "fall" occurred between September 14th and 16th and produced the highest counts since September 1995, although it is possible some records may be duplicated as birds moved around. The highest counts were logged at:â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Gorleston: 13, Sep 15th. Hopton: disused railway, nine, Sep 15th. Corton: eight, Sep 14th and 26, Sep 16th. Gunton: Dip Farm, ten, Sep 15th and 15, Sep 16th. Lowestoft: seven, Sep 15th. Minsmere: five, Aug 28th, seven, Sep 15th and six, Sep 16th. Thorpeness: eight, Sep 15th. Orfordness: eight, Sep 14th, 22, Sep 16th, 13, Sept 17th. Landguard: ten, Sep 18th and ten, Sep 25th. Orfordness ringed a total 27 individuals during the year which is a site record. There were late reports from Landguard, October 8th and Gunton, October 30th. W H I N C H A T Saxicola rubetra Fairly common passage migrant. Formerly bred. Amber list. The first spring migrant was reported from Landguard, April 25th followed by a pair at Minsmere, April 27th. Only a handful of other records were reported f r o m : Gunton: May 27th. Beccles Marshes: May 27th. Minsmere: two, May 28th. Orfordness: May 17th and 18th. Shingle Street: two, April 29th and one, May 7th. 125



Landguard: singles from April 25th to May 31st and two, May 2nd. Inland the only record came from Great Livermere, May 4th. As with recent years there was no evidence of potential breeding in the county. A late record came from Shingle Street, June 6th. Autumn passage was down on recent years, which is surprising in view of good reports from similar species such as Northern Wheatear and Common Redstart. This surely underlines a further decline of the species. Peak counts during August came f r o m : Gunton: five, Aug 31st. Benacre: four, Aug 30th. Lowestoft: North Denes, eight, Aug 31st. Orfordness: 14, Aug 22nd, eight, Aug 25th and eight, Aug 27th. Shingle Street: eight, Aug 25th. Landguard: five, Aug 31st. During September peaks counts came f r o m : Corton: eight, Sep 16th. Lowestoft: North Denes, seven, Sep 15th. Easton Bavents: 12, Sep 17th. North Warren: six, Sep 11th. Thorpeness: six, Sep 12th. Orfordness: 16, Sep 7th, seven, Sep 14th and seven, Sep 16th. East Lane, Bawdsey: five, Sep 12th. Landguard: five, Sep 11th. During October there were probably just four individuals noted with the last from Minsmere, October 8th and 12th. S T O N E C H A T Saxicola torquatus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. This species was widely reported during the first winter period. In the north-east 24 sites reported sightings with peak counts of five, Carlton Marshes, January 1st and January 28th and seven, February 5th. Dunwich Heath reported a maximum of four, January 27th. In the south-east, records came from 12 sites including ten, Orfordness, February 10th, four Shingle Street, January 6th, four, East Lane, Bawdsey, January 2nd and six, Shotley, February 15th. In the west Stonechats were recorded from nine sites with maxima of ten, Cavenham, January 6th and six, January 16th. Spring passage was noted at Orfordness in abundance with five early migrants arriving February 24th followed by six, March 15th and eight, March 16th. There were eight on March 21st, 11, March 23rd and 31, March 24th with just seven left on March 30th. Landguard reported its best spring passage from February 27th to March 27th with a maximum of eight on March 17th. Inland there was a record of 15 at Elveden March 3rd which is the highest concentration ever recorded away from the coast. The report of 31 at Orfordness is the largest site total in one day that the county has ever recorded and beats the record of 15 set at this site last year. Breeding territories were also widely reported with the major stronghold in the Brecks. The key breeding sites were Thetford Forest, 33, Elveden, six, Snape Warren, four and Sutton and Hollesley Commons, 14. Minsmere recorded a party of three males, one female and four juveniles on June 8th During the autumn larger gatherings were noted at:â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Carlton Marshes: 12, Oct 17th. Minsmere: ten, Sep 26th. Orfordness: eight, Sep 27th and 12, Sep 28th. Shingle Street: six, Oct 22nd. East Lane, Bawdsey: five, Oct 6th. Shotley Marshes: five, Oct 7th. Great Waldingfield: Airfield, four, Sep 27th. 126

Systematic List It is interesting to note the fluctuating movements at Orfordness during the final three months of the year with eight birds present during October and a maximum of ten, October 27th. November's totals varied from one to a maximum of nine, November 16th with just four remaining during December. Inland, Lakenheath Fen recorded six birds during December. NORTHERN WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe Common passage migrant and uncommon summer visitor. Amber list. The coast provided the first record of the year with a singleton at Benacre Pits, March 13th followed by reports from Gunton, Orfordness and Landguard all on March 15th. Towards the end of March many sites had recorded this species with the best counts from Lowestoft with four, March 30th and Orfordness, five, March 30th. There were very few inland records this year with the first noted at Cavenham March 31st. Compared with recent years this was a poor spring passage with no double-figure counts. A small influx occurred during mid to late April with the best counts from Lowestoft, four, April 20th, Minsmere, five, April 21st and eight, April 29th and East Lane, Bawdsey, five, April 28th. The run continued into early May with notable counts from Kessingland, nine, May 9th, Benacre, five, May 5th and Havergate, May 7th. The final surge came late May in the north-east with five at Gunton, May 27th and four, Lowestoft, May 28th. There were two very late records of a male at Landguard June 15 th and of a male singing in suitable breeding habitat at Upper Hollesley Common, June 29th. Breeding took place at Orfordness where nesting improved from two pairs in 2007 to five pairs, fledging nine young. There was no proof of breeding within the Brecks. F I E L D


All five pairs were in the usual area between the Black Beacon and the Pagodas. Nest sites included a hole between concrete slabs on the Helipad and, most bizarre of all, under a dustbin lid on the shingle between the Black Beacon and Lab 1.

Orfordness Bird Report Early passage birds were noted at Minsmere Sluice, July 22nd, Shingle Street, July 21st and Landguard, July 26th. Early August saw just a trickle of records from coastal sites but by mid-month things improved with some notable counts from Orfordness including 12, August 16th, 40, August 20th, 25, August 21st and 23, August 25th. Elsewhere, towards the end of the month, peaks counts were from Lowestoft Denes, ten, August 31 st, Benacre, six, August 30th and Minsmere, eight, August 22nd. A significant influx occurred in the northeast of the county on September 15th and 16th with a considerable number of birds involved and may well have been the largest concentration since the "Great Fall" of September 1965. Peak counts came from:Gorleston: 30, Sep 16th. Hopton on Sea: 73, Sep 15th and 23 Sep 17th. Corton: 87, Sep 15th and 120, Sep 16th. Gunton: Dip Farm, 25, Sep 15th; Warren, 21, Sep 16th. Lowestoft: North Denes, 50, Sep 15th, 98, Sep 16th and 64, Sep 17th; Lake Lothing, 18, Sep 15th. Easton Bavents: 20, Sep 17th. Further south, on the coast, Orfordness reported good numbers with 35, September 7th, 54, September 16th and 30 the next day. In the south-east the numbers were lower, although by normal standards they were good counts. Landguard peaked at 42 on September 17th. Good numbers continued to be noted in the north-east sector into the third week of September with the highest count of 25 at Lowestoft North Denes, September 22nd. During October the best count came from East Lane, Bawdsey with six on October 6th. Also during 127



the autumn period two were noted at Melton riverside on September 22nd. The last sightings of the year came from Shingle Street, October 31st and Lowestoft, North Denes where one was present from October 31 st to November 2nd. DESERT WHEATEAR Very rare vagrant.


deserti A maie was present at Easton Bavents from November 4th to 1 Oth. This rather lonely first-winter maie stayed for eight days in some poor weather conditions, often being seen amongst the sea defences on the beach at the end of Southwold promenade. This is Suffolk's third record with the last, interestingly, occurring at exactly the same location from November 29th to December 4th 1990. Easton Bavents: first-winter male, Nov 4th to 10th (B Buffrey, J and J Geeson, T McGeever et al. ).

Desert Wheatear Nick Andrews

RING OUZEL Turdus torquatus Fairly common passage migrant. Red list. A poor spring passage with only 12 sites reporting this species. The first was noted at Minsmere on April 4th with the only multiple records coming from Whin Hill, Minsmere, two, April 17th, Orfordness, two, April 20th, Shingle Street pumping station, two males and one female, April 20th, seven at Landguard, April 20th and two there, April 21st. Just three records came from inland with a male at Berners Heath, April 15th, a female, Cavenham, April 20th and a male, Mayday Farm, Brandon, April 23rd. Autumn was extremely poor with records from only nine sites. Single birds were noted at Landguard, September 25th and 26th with a late run of four there on November 2nd and one, November 4th. Elsewhere there was a single bird at Minsmere on October 2nd; Orfordness reported only a single record of an individual November 1 st, and further singles at Adastral Close, Felixstowe, November 2nd, Bawdsey, November 4th and the last record from Shingle Street, November 11th. BLACKBIRD Tardus merula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. There were very few gatherings of note during the first winter period except for an unexpected count of 14 on Havergate January 17th and a notable count of 76 at Witnesham, February 14th. Breeding data were not available for many key sites for this common species but the following did report breeding pairs:Landguard: 15. Witnesham: 28. Sudbury: 116 males noted. Barrow: 43. During the autumn the first significant influx occurred between the October 30th and November 2nd with the highest counts f r o m : Lowestoft: Kirk ley, 60, Oct 31st. Kessingland: 68, Oct 12th. 128



Thorpeness: 100, Nov 1st. Orfordness: 200. Oct 30th, 60, Nov F I E L D N O T E 1st and 55, Nov 23rd. A female, at Trimley, was seen to collect wet pond Landguard: 50, Oct 30th, 50, Oct weed for use as nesting material on May 5th 31st and 100, Nov 23rd. followed by a second bird doing exactly the same Stradishall Airfield: 64, Nov 2nd. May 24th During the second winter Robin Biddle period flocks of note were reported from Post Mill Gardens, Grundisburgh with 22 being the maximum count towards the end of December, Pettaugh, 51, December 23rd, Flint Hall, Creeting St Peter, 20, December 8th and Westley, 20, December 21st. FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. There were some noteworthy flocks during January particularly within the north-east area of the county of which the best counts were seen at:Carlton Colville: 250, Jan 25th. Beccles Marshes: 150, Jan 2nd. St Margaret South Elmham: 474, Jan 2nd. Shadingfield: 200, Jan 22nd. Henstead: 150, Jan 27th. Higham: 120, Jan 1st. Brettenham: 100, Jan 25th. Long Melford: 200, Jan 23rd and 190, Jan 20th. Lakenheath Fen: 200, Jan 24th. During February the best counts came from:Shadingfield: 200, Feb 6th. Minsmere: 250, Feb 20th. Brettenham: 200, Feb 24th. During March and April pre-migration flocks were noted from:Minsmere: 200, Mar 14th. Chediston: 180, Mar 24th. Long Melford: 260, Mar 18th. Brettenham: 500, Mar 21st. Newton: 150, Mar 29th. Thorpe Morieux: 100, Apr 7th. Lakenheath: Undley, 300, Apr 10th. Tuddenham: 300, Apr 13th. The final records of spring were noted from Belton, April 29th, Carlton Marshes, three, April 28th and Minsmere, two, April 29th. Autumn saw the first returning bird at Minsmere, September 17th, flying in off the sea at Lowestoft, September 24th and Landguard, September 25th. The most significant influx of the autumn occurred on October 17th when many sites recorded their best counts:Brampton: Street: 200. Henham: 40. Aldeburgh: 40. Hazelwood Marshes: 150. Woodbridge: 80. Cavenham Heath: 100. Later during the autumn, peak counts were noted at: Landguard: 91, Oct 28th. Swilland: 396, Dec 21st. Pettaugh: 180, Dec 23rd. Creeting St Peter: 91, Dec 8th. 129

Suffolk Bird Report


Cornard Mere: 140, Dec 3rd. Great Waldingfield: Airfield, 100, Dec 1st. Redgrave Lake: 70, Oct 30th and 285 Nov 1st. Livermere Lake: 101, Oct 31st. SONG THRUSH Turdus philomelos Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. A first winter gathering of nine at Arger Fen was the only record before spring passage began on Orfordness, Mar 15th when two individuals arrived with eight the following day and 12, April 20th. Landguard recorded passage from February 14th to April 28th with a maximum of 10 on April 20th. The most notable breeding season reports were from North Warren, 40 pairs, Snape Valley Farm, four, Gibbons Farm, Battisford, eight, Sudbury, 20 and East Town Park, Haverhill with five pairs. During the autumn, passage was seen from late September with the highest records from Corton, 20, September 25th, Orfordness, 35, September 24th with 30 the following day and Landguard, 70, September 25th. Smaller flocks were noted on passage later from Thorpeness, 20, November 11th and Coney Weston, 25, October 15th. REDWING Turdus iliacus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red list. Typically there were few flocks during the first winter period but peak counts came from:Herringfleet: 60, Jan 20th. Minsmere: 80, Jan 3rd. Baylham: Mill Lane, 200, Jan 5th. Higham: 70, Jan 4th. Kentwell Hall: 80, Feb 2nd. Leavenheath: 90, Feb 19th. Passage started in early March w i t h : Minsmere: 60, Mar 7th and 200, Mar 11th. North Warren: 60, Mar 9th. Trimley St Martin: Gosling Farm, 250, Mar 9th. Landguard: 100, Mar 9th. Pakenham: 120, Mar 19th. Kersey: 60, Mar 9th. Only a few records continued into April with the last records from Lowestoft Denes, April 18th, Orfordness, April 20th and a factory in Sudbury, April 23rd. Redwings were first reported in the autumn from Orfordness with four, September 24th, three, Lavenham, the same day and 20 at Corton, September 25th. The best of the passage was seen on October 16th and 17th from a number of sites with more than 6000 logged on the 17th alone. The count of 4000 from Brampton Street is the largest in Suffolk since Landguard recorded 6000 on October 20th, 2000. The best counts were f r o m : Carlton Marshes: 286, Oct 25th and 87, Oct 28th. St Olaves: 400, Oct 24th. Brampton Street: 4000, flying west 11.00 to 16.00 hours Oct 17th. Westleton Heath: 300, Oct 17th. Henham: 870, Oct 17th. Minsmere: 200, Oct 2nd and 200, Oct 18th. Thorpeness: 100, Oct 18th. Aldeburgh: 350, Oct 17th. Hazebvood Marshes: 800, Oct 17th. Bawdsey: 200, Oct 16th. Landguard: 65, Oct 28th.





Ipswich: Ivry Street, 50, Oct 16th. Stradishall: Airfield, 125, Nov 2nd. Lakenheath Fen: 100, Oct 16th. Towards the year end further flocks were noted from Farnham, 80, December 20th, Minsmere, 70, December 23rd and Kentwell Hall, Long Melford 100, December 31st. MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus Fairly common resident and scarce passage migrant. Amber list. The only winter flocks both came from North Warren where there were 12 on February 2nd and 15, February 16th. A rare sight was one flying over the laboratory at Orfordness, March 16th which was the site's only record of the year. There was little breeding data to provide any meaningful status for this species in the county although two sites both recorded a downturn in breeding pairs: North Warren reported 27, down from 37 in 2007 and Sudbury where just four were noted compared with eight in 2007. Post-breeding flocks usually give some indication of breeding success and 2008 was no exception with maximum flocks noted at:Ashby Church: 21, Jul 28th. Minsmere: 20, Sept 17th. North Warren: ten, Jul 19th. Groton: 21, Aug 31 st. Thetford: Nunnery floods, 18, Jul 22nd. Wissington: 34, Jul 23rd. Autumn passage was reported at Landguard with one or two noted on ten dates between September 8th and November 12th. CETTE S WARBLER Cettia cetti Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. The song of this species is now a very familiar sound at suitable sites in the county. What a difference from just ten years or so ago when they were decidedly scarce. A series of mild winters appears to have aided their progress. A superb total of 83 singing males was recorded at Minsmere (60 in 2007), a remarkable increase from just two singing males in 1998. Nearby, North Warren logged 38 singing males. Other sites in the north-east stronghold also fared well with the Waveney valley again being particularly productive with at least 20 singing males in the Carlton Marshes/Fisher Row area. Kessingland sewage works held three males during the spring and numerous other north-east sites reported sightings. The species is scarcer in the south-east of the county but numerous singles were reported and Ramsholt, Trimley Marshes, Kirton Creek and Newbourne water works marsh each held at least two birds. In the west one to three were noted at Lakenheath Fen, Lackford and BTO Thetford with breeding proven at Lakenheath. Remarkably the only records from Orfordness were of five trapped during a two-day period in late September, three on 27th and two on 28th, probably indicative of passage/ dispersal. C O M M O N GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella naevia Uncommon summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. There appears to have been somewhat of a decline in this species, particularly in the formerly productive areas of Minsmere and Walberswick. However the Carlton Marshes / Fisher Row area retains a healthy population, keeping its position as the best site to see the species in the county in recent years. 131



The first arrival of the year was noted at Lakenheath Fen on the early date of April 4th followed by two at Carlton Marshes on April 10th. There was a more widespread arrival in mid to late April. Migrants away from breeding habitat were noted at Thorpeness Caravan Park and Landguard on April 20th. Breeding data included just five reeling males logged at Minsmere (down from 22 just ten years ago, in 1998). No data were received from Walberswick or North Warren where it appears they are now decidedly scarce. One breeding pair was reported from Hen Reedbeds. Five singing males were recorded at Carlton Marshes with an additional five reeling at nearby Fisher Row, Oulton. In the west of the county seven singing males were recorded at Lakenheath Fen and five were logged in The King's Forest area. Additionally, three males were recorded at both Temple Bridge and Cavenham Heath. On Orfordness two birds held territory in the Chantry reedbed, the first time that reeling birds have been present for more than two days raising hopes of possible breeding. On autumn passage a bird was noted on Lowestoft North Denes on September 24th. Birds were logged at Landguard on August 27th and September 12th. Orfordness recorded five autumn migrants between August 31 st and September 21 st. SEDGE WARBLER Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Common summer visitor and passage migrant. There was a multiple arrival on March 31st in the north-east of the county with birds noted at North Warren, Minsmere (three), Barsham and Thorpeness. The main arrival occurred from late April with a few sites noting a rather late first arrival date, eg April 13th at Orfordness. Seven birds were noted on spring passage at Landguard, April 5th to June 3rd. Breeding data included 93 singing males at Minsmere, 102 males at North Warren, 50 breeding pairs at Hen Reedbeds, 23 pairs at Abbey Farm, Snape, between 12 and 15 pairs at Orfordness and 12 birds at Boyton Marshes. No data were received from Lakenheath Fen though it is assumed a healthy breeding population is still present. The C E S at Lackford reported adult numbers as low, with poor breeding success. Only 163 were ringed at Orfordness, a very poor year compared with the 923 trapped in 2007. This indicates that breeding success in 2008 was low. Autumn passage at Landguard consisted of only seven singles, August 15th to September 22nd. MARSH WARBLER Acrocephalus palustris Scarce migrant. Red list. An excellent year with seven records including a very Sedge Warbler Peter Beeson encouraging report of probable breeding. This was the second-best year ever only exceeded in 1994 when 11 were recorded. Site A: adult female trapped and ringed, June 17th. This bird had a brood patch which makes it highly likely it was breeding on site or nearby. Westleton: Dingle Hills, first-winter trapped and ringed Aug 15th (D Pearson). Minsmere: Sluice bushes, singing male, May 29th (K and S Milson et al.). Landguard: singles, May 30th (N Odin et al.)\ May 31st (C Courtney et al.); June 3rd (N Odin, R Q Skeen, J Zantboer et al.); June 8th (P J Holmes et al.). 132



EURASIAN REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year was noted at Lakenheath Fen on April 11th followed by one at Minsmere on April 16th and a widespread arrival later in the month. Spring passage at Landguard consisted of two, May 2nd, seven, May 27th then up to two noted on seven dates between May 28th and June 21st. Breeding data included 243 singing males at Minsmere but only 101 males at North Warren, the lowest number of territories in recorded history (122 in 2007). Fifty-eight breeding pairs were located at Hen Reedbeds and 19 were found at Abbey Farm, Snape. An estimated 12-15 pairs bred on Orfordness. There was again presumably a thriving population at Lakenheath Fen though again no breeding data were received. The CES at Lackford recorded productivity as below average. Two hundred and ten birds were ringed on Orfordness, slightly down on the five-year average. Autumn passage at Landguard produced singles on six dates between July 27th and September 25th plus two on August 15th. GREAT R E E D WARBLER Acrocephalus arundinaceus Rare visitor. Both the birds in 2008 were seen and then disappeared before resurfacing. In the case of the Lakenheath bird it was nearly a month before it was heard again. Minsmere: Sluice bushes, singing male, May 17th and 18th(PEele, J A Rowlands et al. ); believed same bird sang from reedbed 800m west of Sluice, May 29th and 30th (D Fairhurst et al.). Lakenheath Fen: May 11th (L Gregory et al.); singing male, believed same, June 8th and 9th (L Gregory, D F Walsh et al.). ICTERINE WARBLER Hippolais icterina Scarce passage migrant. A good year with four records. In late May productive north-easterly winds produced a major influx of this species onto the east coast of Britain including many in Norfolk and an amazing 13 at Spurn, Yorkshire on 28th. Suffolk disappointingly only received three at this time. Corton: disused railway line, singing male. May 28th (J A Brown, R Wilton et al.). Minsmere: Sluice bushes, singing male, May 27th and 28th (R Joliffe et al.). Felixstowe: Manor Park, May 31st and June 1st (E Marsh et al.). Landguard: Aug 7th (N Odin, R Q Skeen et al.). MELODIOUS WARBLER Hippolais polyglotta Rare passage migrant. The discovery of this very scarce Suffolk species was much appreciated by those able to get to the bird in time before it disappeared. Sizewell: on bank in front of Sizewell A power station, Aug 26th (B J Small et al. ). BLACKCAP



Common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Wintering birds were noted at Mutford (February), Oulton Broad (November and December), Stonham Aspal (November 2nd) and Lackford (November). During the breeding season 117 territories were located at North Warren (133 in 2007); the species was, again, outnumbered by Garden Warblers at the site. No breeding data were received from Minsmere, usually a productive site. Seven pairs were logged at Snape and six males were present at Beccles Common during April. Eleven were located at Barrow during Atlas work and the CES at Lackford logged 23 adults and 26 juveniles trapped. Autumn passage at Landguard was between August 21st and November 21st with a maximum of ten on September 25th. 133



G A R D E N WARBLER Sylvia borin Common summer visitor and passage migrant. The first of the year was noted at Minsmere on April 25th followed by birds at six sites on April 27th and a widespread arrival late in the month. Spring passage at Landguard was from April 30th to June 1st but peaking at only two birds on a few dates. During the breeding season 128 males were located at North Warren, well down on the peak of 175 territories in 2007, although still a figure of national importance. Minsmere recorded 22 singing males. Elsewhere 13 pairs were recorded at Snape and four birds were noted at Thorington Street Reservoir with other single breeding pairs noted at numerous sites. The CES at Lackford recorded an increase in adult birds, back to 2003 levels, but few juveniles seen. This species was represented in small numbers in the fall of migrants in the north-east of the county in September with 17 birds being noted in the Lowestoft recording area. Autumn passage at Landguard was from August 29th to September 27th with a max of three on September 25th. The last of the year was at Kessingland on September 29th. L E S S E R WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca Fairly common summer visitor and passage migrant. First noted at Landguard on April 12th, a particularly early date. The next arrived at Cornard Mere on April 18th and was followed by a widespread arrival from April 20th. Spring passage at Landguard was between April 12th and June 4th with a maximum of 12 on May 1st. Only three were noted on Orfordness during spring passage. Only 23 males were located at North Warren during the breeding season, the lowest total on record at this formerly very productive site (43 in 2007). Minsmere produced 13 pairs while Snape produced five breeding pairs. Odd pairs were noted elsewhere with two at Groton Wood and a pair just outside the Landguard recording area. Lackford noted the species as scarce this year and it didn't breed on site. Autumn passage was more productive with peaks of eight at Minsmere on August 29th and eight on Orfordness, September 17th at a time when other common migrants were plentiful. The last record was at Minsmere on October 27th. C O M M O N WHITETHROAT Sylvia communis Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. This species was first noted at North Warren on April 15th followed by birds at Mutford and Cornard Mere on April 18th and a widespread arrival in late April although the species was rather late in arriving at many sites. Spring passage at Landguard was from April 20th to June 10th with a maximum of ten on April 23rd and 28th. Only 224 territories were located at North Warren during the breeding season (265 in 2007) continuing the downward trend at the site and countywide. Twenty-six pairs were located at Snape. No data were received of breeding numbers at Minsmere, usually a productive site. In the west 11 breeding pairs were located at Barrow and 20 males were noted at Hadleigh during an Atlas survey on May 5th. Numbers were down this year at Lackford. Importance must be stressed on Constant Effort Sites such as Lackford and North Warren for monitoring common species' fortunes as variable observer coverage at other sites clouds ideas on true trends. Autumn passage was productive with eight being recorded at Lowestoft on September 16th at a time when many other common migrants had arrived in "fall" conditions. Autumn passage at Landguard was obscured by the three breeding pairs but lasted until September 27th with a maximum of five on August 13th. The last of the year was at Minsmere on October 2nd. 134



SPECTACLED WARBLER Sylvia conspicillata Accidental. Suffolk's second record of this species and "bird of the year", was found during a bird count in May and was enjoyed by many in the evening. The sole previous record was at Landguard in April 1997. This is the fifth British record. See description on Page 169. Westleton Heath: singing adult male, May 10th (D Beamish, R Joliffe, B J Small, J Warnes et al.). DARTFORD WARBLER Sylvia undata Uncommon local resident. Scarce visitor. Amber list. Numbers remain stable although a detailed survey was not carried out this year. For example there were no data from Westleton Heath which is one of the best spots to locate this species in the county. Breeding data received included: 18 pairs at Minsmere; six pairs at North Warren; six pairs at Snape and up to 42 pairs on the Sutton and Hollesley Commons and Heaths complex, where numbers are still increasing. In the Brecks there was disappointingly only a single record this year, at High Lodge, Thetford on October 30th. A migrant at Landguard on October 22nd is only the third site record. Another migrant was at Easton Bavents on October 31 st. SUBALPINE WARBLE R Sylvia cantillans. Rare passage migrant. One at Landguard in the spring is the sixth site record and was enjoyed by many. It is the first record at Landguard since 1993. The six site records involve seven individuals. It is the first in Suffolk since 2000. Landguard: first-summer male, May 29th and 30th (R Q Skeen et al.). PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus proregulus Rare, but almost annual, visitor. An average number of records going by the standards of recent years with three records. However, it is well below the totals of 2003 (18) and 2004 (14):Lowestoft: Ness Point, Oct 31 st to Nov 2nd (R Smith, J Brown et al.). Bawdsey: cliffs, Nov 3rd (T Stopher, M Cornish). Felixstowe: Landguard Point, Nov 2nd and 3rd (E Patrick et at.). YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus inornatus Annual visitor. This was another good year with 34 records. Reports of this species have increased significantly in the last few years. The Lakenheath records are particularly noteworthy. Burgh Castle: Sep 17th (P Noakes); Oct 30th (P Noakes); Nov 2nd (P Noakes). Gorleston: Herbert Barnes Riverside Park, Sep 27th. Corton: disused railway line, two, Sep 25th to 27th with one remaining on 28th (A Easton, R Wilton, J Brown et al.). Gunton: Warren, Sep 25th (N Blacker); Hubbards Loke, Oct 24th (N Blacker). Lowestoft: Ness Point, Oct 6th (C Jacobs); Ness Point, Oct 31 st to Nov 2nd (R Wilton, J Brown et al.); Sparrows Nest Park, Oct 31st; Arnolds Walk, Nov 10th and 11th (R Wilton et al.); Kensington Gardens, Nov 13th (L Townsend). Kessingland: Sewage works, trapped, Sep 24th remaining to 25th (C Carter). Easton Bavents: Sep 24th (B J Small). Southwold: Oct 8th (B J Small). Blythburgh: White Hart, Oct 11th (B J Small). Thorpeness: Caravan Park, Oct 6th (S Mayson); Oct 24th (S Mayson, D Thurlow et al.). Shingle Street: Oct 8th (S Goddard, J and P Kennerley); Oxley Dairy, Nov 12th and 13th (J and P Kennerley). Bawdsey: Point, Sept 24th; Quay, Sept 29th (D Craven); Quay, Oct 11th (S Abbott). Woodbridge: trapped at private site, Sep 23rd. 135



Felixstowe: Old Felixstowe, Sept 21st; Adastral Close, Oct 31st, two, Nov 2nd (E Marsh et al.); Landguard Point, two, Oct 13th and 14th (N Odin, R Q Skeen et al.); Oct 18th (M James). Lakenheath Fen: Sep 27th; Oct 14th (K Puttick). 2007 Addition Cavenham Heath: Nov 5th (M Myles). RADDE'S WARBLER Phylloscopus schwärzt Very rare visitor. A bird was trapped in September and eventually watched by many. This is the 17th county record. Shingle Street: first-winter, trapped and ringed, Sep 26th to 28th (M Miller, N Mason et al.). W O O D WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds irregularly. Transferred to Red List. An extremely poor year with just four records as follows:Minsmere: May 13th (R Drew). North Warren: Sept 20th (R Macklin). Landguard: Aug 4th (LBO). Horringer: Ickworth Park, singing male, May 5th (Mr Taylor). C O M M O N C H I F F C H A F F Phylloscopus coUybita Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. A few overwinter. Up to three wintered at Kessingland sewage works in both winter periods, the most reliable spot to find wintering birds in the county. Other wintering birds were noted at Thorpeness (up to three), Minsmere (one or two), Belton Common, Gorleston, Benacre, Aldeburgh, Melton sewage works (one or two), West Stow, Thetford and Long Melford sewage works; this latter bird showed characteristics of Siberian race tristis (D K Underwood). Spring passage commenced in mid-March and built steadily through the month. There was a high early count of 30 at Landguard on March 15th with 28 on Orfordness the same day. There was another high count of 40 on Orfordness on April 20th. Selected breeding data for this common visitor included: 170 males at North Warren (153 in 2007); 12 singing males at Snape Warren; five pairs at Hen Reedbeds (two in 2007); ten pairs at Bradfield woods; ten pairs at Cavenham Heath and eight males at Witnesham in May. The CES at Lackford recorded the species in numbers similar to the last two years but well down on the numbers in the period 2000-2004. Autumn passage was productive with Landguard logging its best ever day-count of 75 on September 3rd. There was an influx in mid-September, along with a "fall" of other species, which included 30 at Sizewell on 13th and eight at Corton on 16th. A later influx included nine along the Lowestoft cycle track on November 9th. Birds showing characteristics of the Siberian race tristis were noted at Lowestoft cycle track between November 9th and 16th, Thorpeness between January and March, Southwold on October 31 st, one or two at Pipps Ford in December and winterers at West Stow and Long Melford sewage works. Two trapped at Thorpeness on November 15th showed characteristics of the Scandinavian race abientinus. 2007 Addition A bird showing characteristics of Siberian race tristis was at Long Melford sewage works from December 25th onwards into 2008. WILLOW WARBLER Phylloscopus trochilus Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Amber list. The first arrival of the year was noted at Minsmere on March 29th followed by birds at 136



Orfordness (two) and Landguard, March 30th. There was a widespread arrival in early to mid-April. Spring passage at Landguard spanned March 30th to June 2nd with a maximum of 20 on April 20th. Birds showing characters of Northern Willow Warbler acredula were noted at Landguard on May 17th, 26th (two) and June 16th. Selected breeding data included: 60 males at North Warren (58 in 2007), 47 pairs at Minsmere, six males at Snape Warren, ten at Belton Common in May; four at Cornard Mere in April and ten at Sutton Heath in May. The CES at Lackford reported no signs of a recovery to numbers of a decade ago. This year showed an impressive autumn passage heralded by 30 at Landguard on August 20th. More unusually there was a rather late influx in mid-September concentrated in the north-east of the county. An impressive count of 53 was made in the Lowestoft recording area on September 16th. It was thought that a good number of these birds were of the Scandinavian race acredula with evidence coming from a bird trapped at Thorpeness on September 14th being of this race. Indeed a high percentage of the Lowestoft birds had a very cold grey wash with little evidence of the strong yellow tones noted on usual autumn juvenile Willow Warblers. The last of the year was at Gunton on October 31st. G O L D C R E S T Regulus regulus Very common resident and passage migrant. This species is still under-recorded. Fifty-four pairs bred at North Warren (73 in 2007) and nine singing males were noted at Sudbury but no notable breeding records were noted elsewhere, as usual. Spring passage at Landguard was recorded from March 1st to April 23rd with a maximum of six on March

¿^J^l m*. àjMtjT Jì J jktÉ&ÊÊj^Jf^y '-t\ MKjÎÊÊ^J^' 1 Jfâjjjja^^

There were two notable influxes in fflÎÊF j J L * .,<- i r the autumn, one in late September and KOÈK/ W ^ l ^ F one in late October and early NovemfSKE \ \ j^'jàifâÊS' ber. At Landguard about 50 were noted WA between September 26th and 28th. "WL^Ê^W^S^/ There were 60 on Orfordness on jBrnmOmXi^^^^ September 27th. On October 31st at Jp'M/flffl^/ IR least 150 birds were present in the m ^ J K ^ / -^m Corton area with 30 being trapped and ^^fyaj/ ^ ringed and many were noted in the tamarisks by Ness Point, Lowestoft, Goldcrest Su Gough which were also harbouring Pallas's and Yellow-browed Warblers and Firecrest providing wonderful photographic opportunities. F I R E C R E S T Regulus ignicapilla Uncommon passage migrant. Breeds and overwinters irregularly. Amber list. Wintering birds were noted at Minsmere (two), Corton Woods (two), Kessingland sewage works, Greyfriars Wood in Dunwich, Thorpeness (two), Landguard and Santon Downham. There was the usual spring passage in late March to early April including four at Kessingland sewage works, March 30th and three at Bawdsey on April 1st. Spring passage at Landguard was from March 11th until June 4th with a maximum of seven on March 30th. Nine were also on Orfordness on March 30th. During the breeding season at Minsmere, encouragingly, seven males held territories. Probable breeding also occurred at North Warren where a breeding pair was joined by an 137

SuffolkRingingReport 2008 additional male in a territorial dispute. In the Brecks a single male was noted at Kentford Heath in April with breeding possible but there were no reports from the productive area of last year. A singing male was located in an area of suitable breeding habitat in Ipswich, May 28th. There was another strong autumn passage late in the season peaking at 12+ at Adastral Close, Felixstowe on November 2nd. Other notable counts included four at Thorpeness on October 30th and seven on Orfordness, October 30th. Autumn passage at Landguard was from September 21 st until November 3rd. SPOTTED FLYCATCHER



Declining summer visitor and passage migrant. Red list. The first of the year was noted at Beccles on May 1st followed by the main passage from mid-May. Spring passage at Landguard was from May 10th to June 4th with a maximum of ten on May 27th. Breeding records came from 36 sites with numbers highest in the west of the county although surveys in that area seem more thorough. Indeed, unusually, no data were recorded from North Warren this year. There were no records of more than one pair at any given site. There was a strong autumn passage, peaking in mid-September during a "fall" of Scandinavian migrants. There were 14 in the Lowestoft area on September 15th, nine at Corton on September 16th and eight on Orfordness on September 16th, a record total. Autumn passage at Landguard was from August 5th to September 27th with a maximum of five on September 15th and 17th. RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER

Rare visitor A poor year with only one record. Shingle Street: first-winter, Oct 7th and 8th (N Mason et al.).

Ficedula parva F I E L D


This bird was in the same immediate area as at least two previous records; September 22nd, 1992 and October 2nd, 2003. N Mason

PIED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hypoleuca Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. Spring records came from Orfordness with a male on May 26th and a female at Landguard on May 26th and two females from May 27th to 30th. There were no potential breeding records once again but there was a bumper autumn passage during a "fall" of Scandinavian migrants in mid-September. There was a scattering of usual late August records. There were at least 41 in the Lowestoft area on September 16th, 16 at Easton Bavents on September 17th, 12 on Orfordness on September 16th and good numbers also recorded at sites such as Thorpeness and Minsmere during this time. Autumn passage at Landguard was from July 31st to September 24th with a maximum of six on September 15th and 16th. The last of the year was at Lowestoft on October 22nd, the latest in Suffolk since 1990 (October 23rd, Southwold).

BEARDED TIT Panurus biarmicus Uncommon but increasing resident. Scarce passage migrant. Amber List. This most attractive inhabitant of Suffolk's reedbeds continues to maintain a significant presence and records came from 29 sites. There was, however, a slight decrease in breeding numbers at some sites. Surveys at Walberswick NNR produced 40-45 pairs (60 in 2007) on Westwood Marshes and seven pairs each at Delacroix and Tinker's Marshes. On Blyth Marshes two pairs held territories. Breeding evidence also came from the Minsmere reedbeds, where numbers 138

Systematic List peaked with 50 'erupting' birds on September 26th. Nine pairs bred at North Warren ( 11 in 2007) and nine pairs, Hen Reedbeds ( 18 in 2007). At Lakenheath Fen, however, the newly established population continues to thrive and develop, with a sizeable increase, to 65-75 breeding pairs (35 in 2007). Successful breeding was confirmed at this site with groups of up to 30 birds present at the western end of the reserve during September. This is a significant conservation success story as the first birds noted at this site were in 2004, when the first three pairs bred. During the first winter period, records came again from Bourne Park Meadows, Ipswich, where two birds were seen on three dates in January, three birds having been seen in December 2007. In the autumn, post-breeding birds were present at Carlton Marshes, from September to October with a maximum of eight on October 4th. At Southwold Boating Lake 14 were present on September 26th. On Boyton Marshes RSPB, 23 were present on October 19th and five were seen flying across the River Orwell, near Loompit Lake, on November 4th. A family party was seen at Redgrave Fen on July 25th and at least two birds were still present there on October 25th. F I E L D


A bird trapped and ringed on Orfordness on November 2nd was most unusual as it had black rather than the normal yellow eyes. Orfordness Report On Orfordness one was seen on January 12th and two on 27th. The usual October movement took place with small numbers present throughout the month, peaking at 15 on 27th. In November numbers rose to 20 on 2nd and at least 15 were present throughout the month. At the end of the year, 20 were recorded on a number of dates with 25 on December 14th. There is still scope for deriving further evidence of this species' distribution and, in particular, breeding status in suitable habitats across Suffolk. No records this year came from reedbed sites such as Aldeburgh, Snape and Benacre Broad. Aegithalos caudatus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Reports came from 44 sites but breeding was confirmed at only ten. Sizewell Belts held 21 breeding pairs which is a return to the 2006 total after a disappointing 12 in 2007. At North Warren RSPB breeding numbers continued to increase, with a site-record total of 85 breeding pairs (51 in 2007). At Bradfield Woods seven 'probable' territories were recorded, on April 17th. The BBS recorded Long-tailed Tit in 48% of the 48 squares surveyed (53% in 2007) with a combined total of 79 birds (103 in 2007). The highest count of this charming species in the east was at Minsmere with 35 present on January 2nd. Other sites held large flocks at various times during the year; Aldringham Walks, 23 on September 26th, Carlton Marshes, 20 on October 24th and 21 at North Warren, November 2nd. Higher counts came from the west of the county with 40 at Lackford Lakes on September 17th and 44 at Mickle Mere, July 3rd. Forty-nine were trapped and ringed at Sheepcote Hall, Stowmarket, May 29th. In the south-east, high counts came from Sutton Common with 52 on June 2nd and 50 at Bawdsey on November 4th. In Ipswich at Christchurch Park a group of at least 25 was seen on December 18th. On Orfordness, wandering single birds were present on March 15th and 24th and another appeared on November 8th. In December, eight moved south through "the village", on Orfordness on 21 st. LONG-TAILED TIT


SuffolkRingingReport 2008 It was a record year, and the best for this species since 1983, at Landguard. In spring a total of 42 birds passed through on eleven dates between February 26th and April 3rd, with a maximum of 15 on March 6th. In autumn an arrival of eight on September 26th preceded a total of 115 on ten dates between October 17th and November 17th with a maximum of 23 on October 29th. Five birds were recorded December 22nd. BLUE TIT Cyanistes caeruleus Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Reports of this ubiquitous bird have increased this year, but it is still an under-recorded species in some areas of Suffolk and reports came from only 20 sites (ten in 2007). Sizewell Belts SWT saw an increase in breeding pairs up to 61 (50 in 2007) while 178 pairs were recorded at North Warren (223 in 2007) the lowest total since 2002 when there were 149 pairs. The BBS found Blue Tits in 95% of 48 squares surveyed (95% in 2007) with a combined total of 267 birds. Outside of the breeding season 20 were seen at North Warren grazing marshes on November 2nd. A total of 17 was recorded during an Atlas tetrad count on May 9th in the Witnesham and Swilland area. In central Suffolk, 31 were ringed at Creeting St Mary on October 19th with a further 17 trapped and ringed at a feeding station in the village, February 14th. Other large flocks were seen at West Stow with 20 on February 24th. Blue Tits were present all year at Landguard, but, surprisingly, did not breed. Spring passage was from February 20th to April 16th with a maximum of five, March 14th and April 4th. Dispersing juveniles appeared on site, July 17th and 31st. Autumn passage was very light, from September 3rd to October 30th, with a maximum of nine, September 21st. GREAT TIT Parus major Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Once again this widespread species was under-reported with a slightly better total of records coming from 23 sites (16 in 2007). As with the previous species breeding numbers of this familiar bird were down on previous years at North Warren where 172 breeding pairs (188 in 2007) were recorded, the lowest total since 2002 when 165 bred. Sizewell Belts SWT also saw a decrease in breeding pairs down 19% to 41 territories (51 in 2007). The BBS recorded Great Tits in 98% of the 48 squares surveyed (90% in 2007) with a combined total of 229 birds. Large flocks were present at Creeting St Mary with 22 trapped and ringed October 19th. and a flock of another 22 at East Town Park, Haverhill on October 9th. A total of 17, February 14th was recorded during an Atlas tetrad count in the Witnesham and Swilland area. On Orfordness, there was just one sighting of four on March 16th. These birds were part of a small fall of migrants, mainly Robins and Goldcrests. One was trapped and its body weight suggested that it may have been a returning continental bird rather than a wandering local. At Landguard this species was present all year with two pairs breeding. Spring passage ran from February 26th to April 13th with a maximum of 16 on April 2nd. Late birds were present on May 15th and 27th. Dispersing juveniles arrived on site from July 3rd to 27th. Autumn passage ran from August 30th to October 17th, with a maximum of 12, August 31st. COAL TIT Periparus ater Very common resident and scarce passage migrant. Coal Tit records came from 24 sites across the county with 66% of these coming from the 140

Systematic List north-west. Evidence of breeding came from only ten sites (seven in 2007) showing that this common species is clearly perpetually under-recorded. At North Warren, 58 breeding pairs were present (46 in 2007), Sizewell Belts held 15 pairs (13 in 2007) and breeding was confirmed at Bradfield Woods. The BBS recorded this species in 10% out of the 48 squares ( 12% in 2007); the combined total was 22 (59 in 2007). A mixed-age group of seven was seen at Brettenham, June 1st and four family groups were at Assington, July 28th. The largest group seen was 14 at Santon Downham, March 6th. Continental Coal Tit Periparus ater ater Singles were recorded at Landguard on April 23rd and September 25th. A bird heard singing at Landguard on September 10th was also probably this race. A Coal Tit associating with Long-tailed tits on October 23rd along the north wall at Minsmere showed characteristics of this race; "it had an RAF-blue back and appeared very big-headed and bull-necked". WILLOW TIT Poecile montana Uncommon resident and scarce passage migrant. Red List. In the north-east of the county a record of a single bird came from Fressingfield, January 20th. In the north-west this species continues to have a tenuous foothold as a breeding bird and records came from 11 sites (seven in 2007, seven in 2004) all in the Thetford and Lakenheath areas. Three of these records were of singing males and one pair was recorded as being "on territory " on March 25th. Breeding was not conclusively confirmed at any of these sites. Occasional birds were again seen in one observer's garden throughout the year at Santon Downham (R Hoblyn). This species was found in one BBS square (a single bird). MARSH TIT Poecile palustris Fairly common resident. Red list. Records of this species once again present a continuing picture of decline as a breeding bird and although records came from 74 locations across the county (64 in 2007) the numbers present were quite low being mainly singles or pairs of birds. North Warren held two breeding pairs (four in 2007) and at Sizewell Belts two pairs bred (same as in 2007). At Bradfield Woods six 'probable' territories were located and at least eight birds were present, April 17th. Marsh Tits were only found in 4% of the 48 BBS squares surveyed (23% in 1996, 7% in 2001, 0% in 2007). The combined total of these was only three birds. In the north-east single bird sightings came from a number of sites but there were three at Carlton Colville, October 31 st. Further south, three were at Campsea Ashe, February 15th and inland at Stowlangtoft, five were present, December 3rd. In the Belstead section of Old Hall Wood a single bird, seen by one observer, was the first in four years of visits. WOOD NUTHATCH Sitta europaea Fairly common resident. Records came from 35 woodland sites, with breeding confirmed at only three. Five were north-eastern sites. There was a maximum of three birds at Minsmere on April 3rd. Breeding was probable at this site, a pair being seen by a nest hole near the Canopy Hide on April 8th. In the south-east sightings of one or two birds came from only three sites. This is probably not fully representative of this species' complete distribution, when considering the extent of suitable woodland sites across the county. One pair was present in Christchurch Park, Ipswich on March 29th and a bird had been calling there on March 14th. The majority of sightings came from the north-west. However, breeding was only 141



confirmed at two sites and 'probable' breeding at another. Singing or calling birds were noted in spring at most of these sites. Yet again this species was not found in any of the BBS squares surveyed (5% in 1995, 8% in 2000, 0% in 2007). EURASIAN T R E E C R E E P E R Certhia familiaris Common resident. This tiny woodland specialist was recorded mainly in ones and twos from 90 sites across the county (55 in 2007) with birds present and many singing maies in the breeding season at most of these locations. The BBS reported this species as present in only 8% of the 48 squares surveyed ( 16% in 1995, 16% in 2000, 6% in 2007) with a combined total of six birds. At Sizewell two pairs were present in the breeding season. At North Warren and Aldringham Walks, 12 breeding pairs were recorded (14 in 2007). In Bradfield Woods, on Aprii 17th, four maies sang and six 'probable territories' were located. Singing maies were noted at Needham Market Lake, March 24th and at Baylham Mill, February 11 th. Christchurch Park held two pairs, March 29th. The highest single count came from, Kentwell Hall, Long Melford on July 19th when six newly-fledged young birds were seen huddled on the side of a tree. EURASIAN PENDULINE TIT Remi:, pendulinus Very rare visitor. A very good year and sightings continue to increase of this fascinating, rare and elusive species. There were records in February, March and Aprii of two individuรกis thought to be an adult male and a juvenile maie. Oulton Broad: two, Apr 4th (D Moore). Carlton Marshes: two, Apr 8th (M Gooch). Minsmere: two, Feb 3rd intermittently until Aprii 2nd (N Sherman, D Fairhurst et al.). These records await formal acceptance by BBRC. EURASIAN G O L D E N O R I O L E Oriolus oriolus Scarce summer resident and passage migrant. Red list. There were four sightings of this nationally important and enigmatic species outside of its usual breeding area, the same as in 2007. Hinton (Thorington): male singing early morning. June 17th (J H Grant). Cove Bottom: singing, June 2nd. Minsmere: maie singing, June 17th (A Howe). Landguard: June 3rd, fifth site record, (N Odin, R Q Skeen, L G Woods et al.). Golden Oriole has bred in the county at Lakenheath since 1967 and breeding numbers rose to 15 pairs during the 1970s and 80s but since 1998 only 2-3 pairs have been present. At Lakenheath Fen in 2008, the first male appeared on Aprii 26th and three maies were noted there on May 5th. Breeding was confirmed with at least one young fledged. RED-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius collurio Scarce passage migrant. Formerly bred. Red List. A very good year with records coming from nine sites of 13 individual birds. A bird at El veden was the first forThetford Forest since 1990. Gorleston: female, Cobholm Island, May 28th; Beacon Park, Sept 9th (Lounge Lizards). Hopton-on-Sea: Golf course, juv, Sept 14th (I N Smith). Benacre: Sluice, juv, Aug 30th (J A Brown). Minsmere: North Marsh, male, May 29th (S Abbott, J Grant, M Cartwright); North Bushes, female, June 3rd (I Barthorpe). Thorpeness: male, briefly before moving inland, May 28th; juv, on cliff edge, Aug 27th (S Mayson). 142



North Warren: Grazing Marshes, male, June 4th (RSPB). Shingle Street: May 29th (P and J Kennerley); female, June Ist (S Abbott, N Mason). Landguard: male, June 4th; juv, Aug 25th to 28th (Landguard Report). Elveden: female, June 29th (R Hoblyn). GREAT G R E Y SHRIKE Lcinius excubitor Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. A relatively good year for this species and single birds were reported from five sites. A bird at Lakenheath Fen bird was often in the car park area and was seen by many, although it could be elusive. Only two of the sites were coastal:Brampton: a fortunate observer had views of one briefly in his garden, afternoon, Sep 27th. (G Eves). Minsmere: Sept 27th (RSPB). Dunwieh Heath: Oct 12th (R E Hammond). Brandon C.P.: Oct 19th (D I Leech). Lakenheath Fen: Dec 4th to the year's end (J L Walshe et al.). There were also various records from Santon Downham, by the Suffolk/Norfolk border, which came via Bird Information services between March 1st and 30th and also on October 27th. EURASIAN JAY Garrulus glandarius Common resident and scarce passage migrant. The breeding population at North Warren and Aldringham Walks increased by 25% to 20 pairs with the majority of the population centred on the wet woodlands at the Warren. The only counts of note were six, Ickworth Park, March 4th, eight, Aldringham Walks, September 26th, eight, Northfield Wood, November 6th and seven, Pakenham, November 27th. BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE Pica pica Very common resident. Very few flocks or roost counts were reported in 2008 with peak counts as follows:Redgrave & Lopham Fen: 28, Oct 25th. Aldringham: Walks, 33, Jan 23rd; 22, Feb 10th; 48, Sep 26th. North Warren: 40, roosting in Blackthorn scrub, Feb 14th. Ipswich: Bourne Park, 22, Nov 13th, in Blackthorn scrub. There was yet another increase in the population at North Warren and Aldringham Walks to a record 64 pairs, almost certainly taking full advantage of the huge year-round availability of food at the outdoor pig units. It was widespread and common across the site and showed no preferences for wet or dry habitats. At least ten pairs were found breeding at Orfordness. EURASIAN JACKDAW Corvus monedula Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Large roosting flocks were only reported from three localities with the highest numbers at Lakenheath Fen. Redgrave & Lopham Fen: 3000, Oct 25th, mixed flocks with rooks flying east to roost. Gipping: Chapel Farm, 2000, Oct.23rd, mixed flock with rooks. Lakenheath Fen: 1500, Aug 24th, in Poplar wood; 11000, Dec 4th, mixed flock with rooks in Poplar wood. The only other counts of note were from the pig units at Aldringham Walks where there were 320, January 23rd, 355, March 24th and 306, December 21st and 400, Cavenham Heath, September 15th. Breeding reports were few and far between but included an-all-time high of 47 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (reflecting all-year-round food availability at the outdoor pig units) and 15 pairs at Orfordness using the laboratories and coastguard buildings around the lighthouse. 143



Spring passage at Landguard involved a total of three north and 20 south from March 8th to June 3rd with a maximum of five south on May 2nd and 3rd. In the autumn at Landguard 21 flew south on eight dates between September 14th and November 15th with a maximum of nine south on Novemberl3th. ROOK Corvus frugilegus Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Only five large flocks were reported, all in the latter half of the year, as follows:Flixton: 5000, November 1st. Redgrave and Lopham Fen: 3000, Oct 25th, mixed flocks with jackdaws flying east to roost. Gipping: Chapel Farm, 2000, Oct 23rd, mixed flock with jackdaws. Lakenheath Fen: 11000, Dec 4th, mixed flock with jackdaws in Poplar wood. Timworth: 2000, Dec 2nd, with jackdaws on pig fields. Breeding records included 119 nests at Munton and Fisons factory, Stowmarket (145 in 2007), 85 nests at Ash Plantation, Gipping, an amazing 1025 nests in 26 rookeries within a six-mile radius of Hadleigh (A Gretton) and 42 nests at Lakenheath Fen. Spring passage at Landguard involved just eight going south on six dates between April 3rd and June 9th with a maximum of three south on May 5th. In the autumn, at Landguard, there were just single birds moving south on October 15th and 28th. CARRION CROW Conus corone Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Several large gatherings were reported, mainly from the west of the county, with three sites in the east recording large numbers, again associated with outdoor pig units:Aldringham : 211, Jan 23rd; 262, Feb 10th; 230, Mar 24th; 261, Apr 17th; 217, May 30th and June 19th; 137, Sep 26th; 254, Dec 21st - all around outdoor pig units at Aldringham Walks. Farnham: Botany Farm, 60, Nov 18th. Wherstead: Braky Wood, 204, Nov 13th. Gipping: Great Wood, 200, Oct 23rd. Stowupland: Stonebridge Lane, 53, on tilled ground, May 3rd. Harleston: Moorbridge Farm, 84, Nov 23rd. Berner's Heath: 153, Jan 12th; 85, flying SW to roost, Dec 27th. Livermere Lake: 60, Jan 2nd. Redgrave and Lopham Fen: 150, Sep 10th; 380, Oct 25th.

White-tailed Sea Eagle and Crows Peter


Spring movements at Landguard involved 76 south on 14 dates between March 3rd and May 5th with a maximum of 19 south on April 28th. At Lowestoft Harbour 22 came in off 144

Systematic List the sea on April 28th and another seven in off the sea at Gunton on the same day. Autumn movements at Landguard involved 50 south on seven dates between October 3rd and 27th with a maximum of 21 south on 13th. F I E L D


As I was waiting for an Osprey to appear over Shrubland Park Wood, Coddenham on October 28th I witnessed very strange behaviour by a Carrion Crow. The bird was flying erratically over the wood with an object in its beak. It frequently dropped the object which looked like a small bird, but I was not sure if it was an inanimate object. It swooped down after each drop, about 4-6 m to catch it. It continued this playful display for about eight minutes, catching and clasping it with its claws and at times with its beak. I have never witnessed this type of behaviour before. Perhaps this is fairly common behaviour which I have missed? PA Whittaker Breeding reports included a record 35 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks after 26 pairs in 2007 and 29 pairs in 1999. Hybrid "carrion/hooded crows" were at Hopton on February 9th and Ashby on February 10th. A leucistic bird was at Thetford on February 16th. HOODED CROW Corvus comix Scarce winter visitor. The only record of the year comprised one flying north at Minsmere on February 11th. Minsmere: north, Feb 1 Ith (R Drew). 2007 Addition Gorleston: three, Oct 14th. COMMON RAVEN Corvus corax Very rare visitor. Formerly bred. Following a blank year in 2007 there were a remarkable four sightings seeming to lend weight to the continued re-colonisation of its former range by this species in the UK. This is the highest annual total in Suffolk since at least 1870 when breeding ceased in the county. St Olaves: May 30th (R Murray). Minsmere: south over levels, 07:1 Ohrs, May 7th (R Harvey); in off the sea. May 31st (J Grant). Lakenheath Fen: July 8th (S Evans, M Robinson). COMMON STARLING Sturnus vulgaris Very common but declining resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Red List. Large flocks were reported throughout the county although the greatest concentrations came from the major wetland reserves at Minsmere, North Warren, Lackford Lakes and Lakenheath. Peak counts were:Kessingland: 1160, Mar 19th; 2000, Mar 27th. Blythburgh: Poplar Farm, 5000, Feb 4th, on outdoor pig units. Minsmere: 40000, Jan 1st; 10000, Jan 3rd; 5000 Feb 16th; 2000, Mar 9th. Theberton: 5000, Nov 11th. North Warren: 17000, Jan 4th; 30000, Jan 9th; 23000, Jan 12th; 30000, Feb 4th; 20000, Feb 11th; 15000, Dec 9th. Livermere: 4000, Jan 4th; 3000, Feb 2nd. Lackford Lakes: 30000, Jan 1st; 18000, Jan 9th; 7000, Jan 16th; 1500, Dec 12th; 5200, Dec 21st. Lakenheath Fen: 6000, Dec 4th; 40000, Dec 20th. Timworth: 10000, Dec 17th and 18th. At Landguard they were present all year with three pairs nesting. The spring maxima at Landguard were 200, March 15th and 175 south and 45 on site on April 1st. There was a 145



mid-summer peak of 1000, August 8th. Visible movements in autumn were recorded from October 9th to November 25th with a total of 8661 noted coming in off the sea or flying south. There was a maximum day-count of 3560 in/south on October 30th. In autumn birds attempted to roost on the dock lights peaking at 700, October 23rd. ROSY STARLING Pastor roseus Rare visitor. Categories A & E. The 35th Suffolk record came from Benacre where a bird was photographed on September 13th. Benacre Sluice: juv, Sep 13th (S Reeves). HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus Common but declining resident. Red List. This species appears to be regularly under-recorded with sizeable flocks reported from just seven locations as follows:Pakefield Beach: 40, Oct 25th. Oulton: Camps Heath, 40, July 13th. Badingham: 60, Aug 20th. Landguard: 50, Aug 15th and Sep 8th. Woodbridge: Barrack Road, 65, Sep 20th. Trimley: Old Kirton Road, 30, Aug 8th; 50, Aug. 14th. Long Melford: 45, Sep 6th. Breeding reports included a substantial 295 pairs at Sudbury (310 in 2007), 15 pairs at Lower Abbey Farm, Sizewell and an increase to 32 pairs at Aldringham Walks (27 in 2007 and 39 in 2006). EURASIAN T R E E SPARROW Passer montanus Uncommon and declining resident. Scarce passage migrant. Red List. Tree Sparrows were recorded from 22 localities (only 17 in 2007) although numbers in the west of the county were well down on recent years. The geographical range involved seven sites in the north-east area, four in the south-east and five in the west. Peak counts were:Benacre: Beach Farm, 100, Jan 1st; 122, Jan 6th; 15, Oct 29th and 31 st; ten, Nov 16th; 14, Dec 18th; 20, Dec 29th. Sudbourne: ten, Jan 12th. Tirmvorth: 11, Oct 28th; 20, Nov 22nd; 30, Dec 1st; 14, Dec 11th (flocks associated with outdoor pig units). Ampton: The Barracks, 20, in game cover, Dec 18th. Tuddenham St Mary: 14, Jan 27th. Mildenhall Fen: 40, Jan 29th. At Landguard 12 flew south on April 4th then in the autumn one south, July 23 rd then 14 on nine dates from August 31st to October 28th with a maximum of four on August 31st. C H A F F I N C H Fringilla coelebs Very common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Categories A and E. A strong showing in the first half of the year with large flocks reported from a number of localities as follows:Benacre: Beach Farm, 400, Jan 6th. Eastbridge: 500, Mar 19th. North Warren: 150, Feb 2nd and 50, Feb 16th, in horse paddocks. Butley River: 150, Jan 20th. Hadleigh: 120, in game strip, Feb 18th. Berner's Heath: 100, Mar 2nd. At Landguard spring passage was recorded from February 21st to June 4th with a 146



maximum 120 in off the sea or going south on April 1st and 36 grounded birds on March 19th. At Lowestoft, North Denes 315 flew south on April 1 st. Breeding reports included a relatively stable population of 392 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (437 in 2007 and 370 in 2006) and an equally stable situation of 141 pairs at the Sizewell Estate (138 in 2007 and 161 in 2006) and 76 territories at Sudbury (74 in 2007). Autumn passage at Landguard was noted from September 1st to November 19th with a total of 1849 south or in off the sea during this period. There was a maximum day-count of 458 south on October 25th and 25 grounded birds on November 6th. At Minsmere 117 flew south in the early afternoon of October 18th, 50 came in off the sea at Orfordness, October 18th and 150 in off the sea at Orfordness on October 25th. Widely reported in the second winter period but in generally smaller numbers as follows: Fritton: 70, Nov 17th, in maize strip. Flixton: 100, Aug 6th, in weedy sugar beet. Westleton: King's Farm, 70, Dec 26th. Aldringham: The Walks, 80, on fallow land, Dec 1st. Pettaugh: 75, Dec 23rd. Hadleigh: 60 between Higham and Hadleigh, Dec 12th. Harleston: Moorbridge Farm, 107, Oct 10th; 139, Nov 6th; 144, Nov 23rd; 137, Dec 5th - all around pheasant pens. Timworth: 70, Dec 18th. BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant This species was widespread in the first winter period but only in relatively low numbers. Peak counts were:Benacre: Beach Farm, 50, Jan 1st; 20, Jan 6th. Westleton: 75, Mar 20th. Eastbridge: 60, Mar 19th. Haverhill: Great Wilsey Farm, 25, Feb 14th. Mayday Farm: 30, Feb 16th; 14, Mar 6th. Thetford: High Lodge, 60, Jan 24th; 30, Feb 28th and Apr 19th. The last sighting in the west of the county involved two at Great Livermere on April 22nd while on the coast a male was at Old Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin on May 1st. Spring passage at Landguard was noted from March 15 th to April 29th with a peak of just three on March 29th. Autumn passage involved 12 in off the sea or moving south and 30 on site October 6th to November 26th with a maximum of six, October 29th. One at Flixton on September 24th heralded the first autumn arrival but Bramblings were extremely scarce in the second winter period with only one double-figure count, ten, at The Barracks, Ampton on December 8th. EUROPEAN SERIN Serums serinus Rare migrant. Amber List. There were two Suffolk records for this scarce summer visitor as follows:Reydon: briefly in a garden at Wangford Road, Aug 23rd (B J Small). Dunwich Heath: male, Aug 20th (R Drew). EUROPEAN GREENFINCH Carduelis chloris Very common resident and passage migrant. Categories A and E. Very scarce in the first winter period with just four flocks reported involving 300, Hopton January 17th, 50, Kessingland Denes, January 5th, 67, Aldringham Walks, January 23rd and 50, North Warren, February 2nd. Another very successful year for this species at North Warren and Aldringham Walks 147



reaching an all-time record high of 108 pairs (101 in 2007 and 89 in 2006). The majority of the breeding population was located around human habitations particularly large gardens backing on to the reserve. At Sudbury 107 territories were located, a slight drop on 116 in 2007. Autumn passage at Landguard involved 3522 south from September 28th to November 1st, with a maximum of 556 south, October 13th and up to 60 on site throughout October and November. More abundant in the second half of the year with peak counts as follows:Gunton Warren: 53, Dec 18th. Flixton: 300, Aug 6th. Carlton Marshes: 80, Oct 28th. Carlton Colville: Burnt Hill, 60, Nov 3rd. Pakefield: beach, 80, Oct 25th; 60, Oct 26th. Orfordness: 60, Oct 25th. Shingle Street: 150, Nov 4th. Weybread GP: 57, Dec 24th. Creeting St. Mary: Flordon Road 53, Oct 13th. Harleston: Moorbridge Farm, 57, Oct 24th; 101, Nov 23rd. Chilton: 50, Dec 27th. E U R O P E A N G O L D F I N C H Carduelis carduelis Very common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Scarce in the first-half of the year with just five flocks reported as follows:North Warren: 100, Feb 2nd, in horse paddocks. Hadleigh: 70 between Higham and Hadleigh, Jan 4th. Great Waldingfield: Airfield 70, Jan 2nd. Onehouse: Northfield Wood 70, Jan 1st, at garden feeding station. Livermere Lake: 70, Apr 21st, on weedy field. Spring passage at Landguard involved three north and 46 south from April 4th to June 26th with a maximum of 14 south on April 23rd. Breeding reports included 36 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks, the secondhighest count on record (32 in 2007 and 27 in 2006) and particularly associated with human habitations and large gardens. At Sudbury 56 territories were located after 45 in 2007. Autumn passage included 100 north at Minsmere, September 25th then 150, September 30th and October 2nd, 120 south at Orfordness on October 4th while Landguard reported 5752 south between August 13th and November 27th with a maximum of 893 south, October 13th and a peak of 40 grounded birds on October 7th and 22nd. A further seven flocks from the centre and west of the county were reported in the second half of the year as follows:Creeting St Mary: Flordon Road, 70, Nov 26th, mixed flock with Eurasian Siskins. Stowmarket: St Mary's Road, 50, Sep 16th. Great Waldingfield: Airfield, 100, Sep 27th; 150, Oct 8th. Onehouse: Northfield Wood, 40, Nov 6th. Stradishall: Airfield, 100, Sep. 17th, ine many juvs. Lakenheath Fen: 130, Dec 20th, feeding on burdock. EURASIAN SISKIN Carduelis spinus Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Uncommon resident. Siskins were relatively widespread and abundant in the first half of the year with the following peak counts:Belton: Wild Duck Holiday Park, 200, Mar 18th. Lowestoft: North Denes, 130 south, Apr 1st; 47 north, Apr 6th. Dunwich Forest: 80, Feb 17th; 100, Mar 1st. Westleton Heath: 80, Mar 19th. 148



Minsmere: 100, Jan 19th; 90 Mar 18th. North Warren: 60, Jan 2nd; 40 Apr 20th. Bromeswell Green: 40, Jan 9th; 100 Jan 18th. Needham Market: Lake, 90, Jan 12th. Little Cornard: 50, Jan 22nd. Livermere Lake: 120, Jan 23rd. West Stow CP: 120, Feb Ist. Cavenham Heath: 60, Jan 16th. Thetford: High Lodge, 180, Feb 28th. Spring passage at Landguard involved a total of seven north and 108 south between March 9th and May 9th with a maximum of 66 south, April 1 st. There were late spring and summer records from Landguard of six south, May 30th and singles south, June 4th and 23rd and July 4th. There was a heavy passage at Lowestoft, shown in the figures above, with 130 south on April Ist. A heavy autumn passage was recorded along the coast. September 25th stands out as a day with major movements with 300 north at Corton, 915 north at Minsmere and 900 north at Thorpeness being the highest day-counts:Corton: 52, Sep 15th; 300 north, Sep 25th; 100 north, Sep 26th; 60, Nov 4th. Lowestoft: North Denes, 45 north, Sep 19th. Kessingland: 60, Nov 4th. Minsmere: 50 north, Sep 16th; 200 north, Sep 19th; 300 north, Sep 20th; 60, Sep 2Ist; 915 north, Sep 25th; 70 north, Sep 26th; 100, Oct 23rd; 300, Oct 26th; 70, Oct 30th; 85, Oct 3Ist. Thorpeness: 50 south, Sep 8th; 43 south, Sep 15th; 300 north, Sep 20th; 100 north, Sep 21 st; 54 north, Sep 22nd; 900 north, Sep 25th; 80, Oct 1 Ith. Landguard: 39 north, 783 south or in off the sea from Sep 7th to Nov 17th, max day-count 98 south, Oct 1 Ith. There were still reasonable numbers, particularly in the west of the county, in the second winter period with peak counts of 80, North Cove, December 27th; 151, Pipp's Ford, December 12th; 100, Assington, November 18th; 100, Lackford Lakes, October 2Ist and 300, Thetford, December 16th. C O M M O N LINNET Carduetis cannabina Common summer visitor and passage migrant. Overwinters in small numbers. Red List. A reasonable showing in the first winter period with numbers augmented by spring arrivals as follows: Benacre: Beach Farm, 50, Jan 6th; 200, Apr 6th. Westleton: 60, Mar 23rd. Minsmere: 70, June 5th. Orfordness: 60, Jan 17th. Bromeswell: 90, Jan 4th. Martlesham: 100, feeding on groundsel, Feb I5th. Earl Stonham: Brewery Farm, 60, Feb.lรถth; 50, on set-aside, Apr 5th. Creeting St Mary: Flordon Road, 110, Feb 14th. Stowmarket: Creeting Road, 100, Jan 26th. Harleston: Moorbridge Farm, 60, Feb 15th; 120, Feb 17th. Kedlngton: 70, Apr 6th. Mickle Mere: 50, Jan 9th; 80, Apr 18th. Livermere Lake: 100, Apr 17th. Great Livermere: 60, Feb 22nd; 125, Apr 6th. Breeding reports included a continued decline at North Warren and Aldringham Walks to just 63 pairs (69 in 2007), a significant fall of 40% since 107 pairs in 2000. Snape Warren held 14 pairs, 15-20 pairs were found at Orfordness while Landguard reported 30-40 pairs and the first juveniles on May 18th. At Landguard up to 100 were regularly on site between the end of April and September with occasional higher counts peaking at 150 on August 3rd. Autumn passage involved 582 149

Suffolk Bird Report


south, from September 28th to November 12th with a maximum of 115 south, October 13th. They were still relatively widespread in the second winter period with peak counts o f : Westleton: 100, Nov 13th; 300, Dec 12th. Thorpeness: Common, 60, Dec 23rd. Playford: Fynn Valley, 50, Nov 15th; 100, Dec 15th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Marsh Farm, 100, Dec 12th. Croton: 70, Dec 30th. Creeting St Mary: Flordon Road, 95, Nov 29th; 110, Dec 6th; 204, Dec 11th; 150, Dec 29th. Tlmworth: 60, Oct 22nd. T W I T E Carduelis flavirostris Locally fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Red List. Recorded from just eight coastal localities involving considerable overlap in the Walberswick/Dunwich area. Walberswick: 35, Jan 4th; 44, Jan 27th; 42, Jan 29th; 40, Feb 7th; 30, Feb 13th; 25, Dec 18th; 41, Dec 25th. Dunwich: Dingle Beach, 20, Jan 20th and Feb 3rd; 42, Feb 18th; 30, Mar 9th; 25, Oct 27th; five, Nov 18th; 40, Dec 6th; 35, Dec 9th; 40, Dec 27th. Minsmere: dunes, flew south, Oct 18th. Slaughden: five, Jan 13th and 14th. Shingle Street: 11, Oct 31st, ine colour-ringed bird, ringed at Deer Hill reservoir near Marsden, Huddersfield between Aug and Sep 2008. Bawdsey: East Lane, seven, Oct 27th, ine two colour-ringed birds; ten, Nov 9th. Falkenham Creek: 60, Dec 14th. Kirton: Corporation Farm, 22, Jan 29th. LESSER REDPOLL Carduelis cabaret Declining winter visitor and passage migrant. Red List. Lesser Redpolls were rather scarce in the first winter period with peak counts of just 20, Sudbourne, January 12th, 20, Newbourne, January 26th, 20, B a m h a m Cross Common, January 1st and 15, High Lodge, Thetford, February 28th. Spring passage at Landguard involved two south, April 27th, a single bird south, May 3rd, two north, May 27th and one north, May 29th - the timing of these late spring birds during easterly winds suggest that they might have been Common or Mealy Redpolls! No reports of breeding were received from anywhere in the county. Redpolls were much more obvious in the second half of the year with a significant autumn passage along the coast, but still very few late-winter flocks:Corton: 30, Oct 14th; 25, Nov 4th - on disused railway track. Gunton: Dip Farm, 20 north, Sep 25th. Lowestoft: Warren Wood, 80, Apr 9th - not identified to species. Kessingland SW: 20, Sep 29th. Westleton: 30, Oct 11th; Heath, 30, Nov 3rd; 20, Nov 17th. Minsmere: 20, Sep 1st; 120 north, Sep 25th; 40, Sep 26th; 20 north, Oct 2nd; 20, Oct 23rd. Thorpeness: 92 north, Sep 25th; 120 south, Sep 27th; 40, Oct 11th. Orfordness: 40, Sep 27th; 45, Sep 28th; 50, Oct 11th; 35, Oct 25th. Landguard: south, July 31 st -preceded autumn passage of 1520, Sep 20th to Nov 25th, max 310 south, Oct 16th. Bentley: Old Hall, 30, Sep 24th; 20, Oct 17th. West Stow CP: 30, Nov 21st. Assington: Spouses Grove, 28, Nov 18th. MEALY ( C O M M O N ) REDPOLL Carduelis flammea Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. The less common of the two regular redpoll species was reported from ten localities as follows:150 V



Corton: two ringed on disused railway line, Nov 4th. Kessingland SW:ringed,Nov 17th. Westleton Heath: Nov 14th. Thorpeness: Haven Fen,ringed,Sep 27th. Alton Water: two, Nov 19th. Bradfield Woods: Dec 28th. Timworth: Jan 17th and 18th. Lackford Lakes: Oct 6th, Dec 9th; two, Dec 22nd. Tuddenham: Jan 27th. Thetford: High Lodge, two, Apr 19th. C O M M O N CROSSBILL Loxin curvirostra Locally common resident and irruptive visitor. Almost non-existent in the first winter period but an influx into the county occurred from early spring into summer, particularly along the coast. Peak counts were:Belton Common: 23, Aug 9th. Fritton: Waveney Forest, 37, May 23rd; 40, May 24th and 31 st; 47, June 4th; 30, June 6th. Westleton Heath: 24, June 9th; 15, Oct 27th. Minsmere: 50 north, May 13th; 68 north, May 15th; 50, June 13th; 61, June 15th; 30, June 21st; 22, June 29th; 30, July 17th; 25, Oct 19th. Leiston SW: 40, June 20th. Hazelwood Marshes: 40, May 25th. Upper Hollesley Common: 24, May 28th; 120, June 10th and 11th; 60, June 14th; 50, Jun 17th; 37, June 20th. Landguard: three south. Mar 6th; then 222 from May 28th to Sep 3rd, max 30 south, June 23rd; nine south, Oct 2nd. Lackford Lakes: 20, Oct 2nd. Berner's Heath: 30, July 11th. The only count of note in the second winter period was 15 at Kenton Hills, Sizewell on December 28th. C O M M O N ROSEFINCH Carpodacus erythrinus Rare passage migrant. Bred in 1992. The only sighting involved one at Landguard in June. This is the seventh acceptable site record. Landguard: first-summer male, June 4th (C Fulcher). C O M M O N BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula Common but declining resident. Transferred from Red to Amber List. An increase in flocks and gatherings reported this year with peak counts as follows:Carlton Marshes: eight, Nov 9th. Thorpeness: 12, Oct 1st. Westhorpe: eight, Apr 16th. Stoke-by-Clare: eight, Dec 30th. Denston: seven, Nov 30th. Dalham: Dalham Hall, 12, Dec 28th, feeding on ash keys. Lackford Lakes: ten, Jan 23rd. Stanton: nine, Nov 4th. Breeding reports included a small decline of 14% to 32 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (37 in 2007 and 33 in 2006) with most pairs located in tall, thick scrub along the woodland edges. Other reports included three pairs at the new RSPB reserve at Abbey Farm, Snape, four pairs at Sudbury (six in 2007) and four pairs at East Town Park, Haverhill. 151



HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes Uncommon resident and rare passage migrant. Red List. This uncommon and usually unobtrusive finch was reported from just eight localities, all from the east of the county:Sotterley Park: Feb 25th in churchyard; Nov 27th; Dec 16th. Oulton Broad: Sandy Lane, Sep 9th. Minsmere: Sep 25th: Oct 2nd. Thorpeness: Apr 16th, by House in the Clouds. Orfordness: Mar 16th, circling over Holm Oaks before landing, the first site record. Landguard: temale, Apr 20th; May 29th. Lower Holbrook: iemale, Nov 25th and 26th, in car park. Ipswich: Holywells Park, Nov 8th. LAPLAND LONGSPUR Calcarius lapponieus Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber List. As in 2007, this species was extremely scarce in 2008 with just five sightings from coastal locations:Burgh Castle Marshes: Jan Ist. Orfordness: Lantern Marsh, Feb 17th. Orford: south, Oct 25th. Trimley Marshes: Nov 29th, flew over reserve calling (J Zantboer). Landguard: south, Oct 6th (D Langlois, N Odin). SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis Locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. Amber list Very thin on the ground in the first winter period with just two flocks reported involving 12, Walberswick, January 4th with 11 on January 27th and 31, Orfordness, January 27th. The last sighting was at Landguard on March 29th. The first autumn arrivais were at Orfordness on October 4th and Minsmere on October 5th followed by a better second winter period showing, dominated by the flock at Kessingland. It would appear that the Trimley birds relocated across the Orwell Estuary to Shotley Point. The peak counts were:Kessingland: 46, Nov 15th; 55, Nov 18th; 60, Nov 19th and 26th; 60, Dee 5th and 9th; 70, Dee 17th to 2Ist; 60, Dec 28th. Orfordness: 40, Nov 29th; 20, Dee 6th. Shingle Street: 25, Nov 16th; 18, Dee 2nd; 22, Dee 14th. Trimley Marshes: 24, Nov 22nd; 29, Nov 29th. Shotley Point: 24, Dec 8th; 22, Dec lOth and 1 Ith; 20, Dec 13th. Y E L L O W H A M M E R EmberĂŹza citrinella Common resident and passage migrant. Amber List. A large number of flocks were reported throughout the county during the year with the highest number of birds Coming from the west as follows:Mutford: 100, Jan 20th. knodishall: Peartree Farm, 40, Dee 22nd. Sutton: 50, Jan 23rd. Trimley St Martin: Gosling's Farm, 45, Mar 3rd. Great Bealings: 40, Apr 16th. Pettaugh: 70, Dee 23rd. Earl Stonham: Brewery Farm, 50, Feb 16th; 94, Feb 28th; 92, Mar 9th; 44, Apr 9th; 65, Apr 16th; 34, Dee 3Ist. Harleston: Moorbridge Farm, 198, Jan 8th; 241. Jan 27th; 40, Feb 17th; 57, Mar 23rd; 47, Apr 4th; 36, Apr 13th; 42, Nov 6th; 130, Nov 23rd; 76, Dec 5th; 175, Dec 24th. Westhorpe: 50, Jan 2nd; 100, Apr 3rd; 70, Nov 30th. 152



Groton: 50, Jan 5th; 30, Dec 30th. Great Waldingfield: Airfield, 56, Jan 2nd; 200, Jan 24th; 50, Feb 21st; 60, Mar 27th; 22, Apr 22nd; 54, Dec 11th. Great Cornard: 45, Feb 24th; 24, Oct 13th. Breeding reports included yet another decline to just 52 pairs at North Warren and Aldringham Walks (70 in 2007 and 76 in 2006) continuing the trend over recent years. The only other breeding reports involved 15 pairs at Snape Warren and 35 pairs at Sutton and Hollesley Commons. Breeding pairs of Yellowhammers at North Warren and Aldringham Walks 140











Year ORTOLAN BUNTING Emberiza hortulana Rare passage migrant. There were two sightings in 2008, from Minsmere in the spring and Landguard in the autumn. Minsmere: Sluice, May 4th (J Brown et al.). Landguard: south, Sep 19th (J Zantboer). RUSTIC BUNTING Emberiza rustica Accidental. This extremely rare vagrant provided Landguard s second site record and Suffolk's fourth record in September. The bird, a first-winter, was ringed and photographed. Landguard: Sep 23rd and 24th (R Q Skeen et al.). REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus Common resident and passage migrant. Amber list. There were very few flocks reported across the county throughout the year with almost all records coming from the west. Peak counts were:Benacre: Beach Farm, 46, Jan 6th. Bawdsev: East Lane, 15, Mar 18th. Lackford Lakes: 68, Jan 5th; 67, Jan 19th; 28, Mar 8th; 82, Oct 27th; 79, Dec 2nd; 74, Dec 21st. Lakenheath Fen: 40, Dec 20th. Breeding reports included a record 73 pairs at Minsmere (69 in 2007) while numbers at North Warren recovered to 41 pairs (35 in 2007 and 41 in 2006). The population at Hen Reedbeds remained relatively stable at 12 pairs while Orfordness estimated 30 to 40 pairs but with low breeding success. Spring passage at Landguard in March involved singles on 8th and 12th, four south, 13th 153



and one on 16th. In autumn, at Landguard, there was a total of 16 flying south and four on site between September 15th and October 18th with a maximum of five south, October 9th. CORN BUNTING Emberiza calandra Locally common resident, but generally declining. Red List. Corn Buntings were reported from an encouraging ten sites in the south-east of the county but just three sites in the west and, as in 2007, none in the north-east. Peak counts were:Trimley Marshes: 20, Feb 21st. Stratton Hall: ten, Jan 5th, Nov 23rd and Nov 25th. Chelmondiston: Lings Lane, 21, Nov 1st; ten, Nov 7th. Wherstead: 32, Jan 7th. Great Waldingfield: Airfield, 23, Feb 24th; 20, Apr 22nd; 22, Sep 27th; 15, Nov 4th; 32, Dec 1 Ith. Lakenheath Fen: 25, Jan 14th; 40, Feb 10th. Breeding reports came from just four sites; three territories between East Lane, Bawdsey and Alderton, two singing males at Ness Farm, Erwarton, two singing males at Chelmondiston and a minimum six pairs at Great Waldingfield Airfield.

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. ROSS'S GOOSE Anser rossii Breeds on tundra of arctic Canada. Winters in southern USA. Categories D and E. This bird is the same as that seen in Norfolk with Pink-footed Goose flocks which has been accepted into Category D by BBRC. Herrlngfleet/Somerleyton/Ashby: adult, Jan 13th and 14th (P J Ransome). Burgh Castle: adult white morph, Dec 14th, flew east with 3000 Pink-footed Geese at 07:55 (P R Allard). Belton: Cherry Lane, adult with Pink-footed Geese, Dec 23rd (R Fairhead). SAKER FALCON Falco cherrug Correction 2007 The Saker Falcon, Landguard, September 10th, 2007, was not accepted by BBRC and was published prematurely in Appendix 1 in the Suffolk Bird Report 2007.

A P P E N D I X II - C A T E G O R Y E S P E C I E S Species that have been recorded as introductions, transportĂŠes or escapees from captivity, and whose breeding populations (if any) are thought not to be self-sustaining. Where a species is also placed in other categories of the British List, this is indicated in the species' summary. BLACK SWAN Cygnus atratus Throughout Australia and Tasmania. Category E. Woodbridge: River Deben, May 3rd. Martlesham: Martlesham Creek, Mar 5th. River Deben: Mar 9th. Landguard: two juveniles, Apr 5th. Alton Water: Nov 16th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Hall Flood, pair attempted to breed from Mar 8th onwards but failed after flooding. 154



BEAN G O O S E Anserfabalis Breeds widely across northern Eurasia from Norway to eastern Siberia. Winters loeallv from British Isles east to Japan. Catégories A and E. Weybread: Gravel pits, Mar 26th to Apr lOth. Believed to be of the nominate form (Taiga Bean Goose). PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Anser brachyrhynchus Breeds Greenland, Iceland and Spitsbergen. Winters Britain and Denmark to Belgium. Catégories A and E. Livermere Lake: adult, May 27th; Jun 4th, 14th, 2Ist and 26th; two, July Ist: Jul 5th; Aug 12th and 22nd; Sep 16th; Oct 7th; Nov 12th and 24th; Dee 29th. Pakenham: Miekle Mere, adult, May 17th; adult on an agricultural reservoir, Aug 1 Ith. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser erythropus Forest bogs of northern Scandinavia east to eastern Siberia. Winters locally from the Netherlands to eastern China. Catégories A and E. Flixton: Gravel-pits, single noted throughout the year, joined by a second bird on Aug 24th. Bungay: Outney Common, three, Oct 14th; Nov 4th and 17th; Dee lOth. BAR-HEADED GOOSE Anser indicus Breeds by lakes in centrai Asia from Mongolia to the Tibetan plateau. Winters throughout the Indian subcontinent and Myanmar (Burma) Category E. Flixton: Gravel-pits, eight including one first-winter, Jan Ist. Oulton: White Cast Marshes, six, May 6th. Minsmere: Aug 25th. SNOW G O O S E Anser caerulescens Breeds on tundra of north-eastern Siberia, Alaska and Canada to NW Greenland. Winters from California to Texas and locally on Atlantic seaboard of eastern USA. Catégories A and E. Ashby: adult with Pink-footed Geese, Jan 14th (B J Small). This same individuai spent several months in Norfolk in winter 2007/08 with wintering Pink-footed Geese. Livermere Lake: adult, July 25th and 29th; Aug 7th, 12th, 22nd and 3Ist; Sep 16th and 2Ist. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, adult, Jan Ist to 24th; Feb 2nd, 7th and 25th; Apr 7th; Nov 12th, 20th and 24th; Dee lOth, 18thand29th. EMPEROR GOOSE Chen canagica Breeds north-eastern Siberia and western Alaska. Winters from southern Alaska to northern California. Category E. Livermere Lake: adult, Feb 16th; June 24th; July Ist, 5th, lOth 14th and 29th. BARNACLE GOOSE

Bran ta leucopsis

Breeds Greenland, Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya, with new and rapidly increasing population in Baltic Sea and the Netherlands. Catégories A and E. The number of Barnacle Goose records continues to increase, and with regulär breeding occurring at several sites in the région, it is no longer possible to separate records of presumed escapees from presumed ferai birds during the period between early August and early Aprii. The numbers wintering in the north-east of the county continues to increase, and these are discussed in the main section of the report. Records outside this period, or of birds more likely to be of captive origin, are very few and are detailed below:Livermere: 14, May 20th. Pakenham: Mickle Mere, singles noted intermittently throughout Jan to June. Minsmere: 12, June 22nd. 155



RED-BREASTED GOOSE Branla ruflcollis Breeds Taimyr Peninsula in arctic Siberia. The majority winter on western shores of Black Sea in Bulgaria and Romania, with small numbers annual in the Netherlands. Categories A and E. North Cove: Castle Marshes, adult, Jan 24th; Oct 28th; Dec 11th. Kaston Bavents: adult, Sep 24th. Southwold: Town Marshes, adult, Jan 13th. Minsmere: adult, Jan 1st and 11th; Feb 13th and 21st; Jun 6th; Aug 24th; Nov 16th and 22nd. North Warren: adult, Jan 2nd, 5th and 6th; Mar 9th. Also present throughout December with Barnacle Geese. Orfordness: one flew south down the river and over the Airfields with 46 Barnacle Geese on Feb 24th. Trimley Marshes: two adults, Feb 16th to 18th, one with yellow ring on left leg. Shotley: Marshes, two adults, Feb 15th, one with yellow ring on left leg. RUDDY SHELDUCK Tadorna ferruginea 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. Gorleston: three south offshore, Aug 16th. Flixton: Gravel-pits, Feb 24th; May 10th. Bungay: Outney Common, Sep 27th. AUSTRALIAN S H E L D U C K Tadorna tadornoides Breeds throughout eastern Australia and Tasmania. Category E. Burgh Castle: May 11th. MUSCOVY DUCK Cairina moschata Southern Mexico to northern Argentina and Brazil. Category E. Lound: Apr 6th and 29th. Beccles: Quay, 18, May 5th; 25, Oct 28th. Weybread: Sep 23rd to 26th. Thorpeness: Thorpeness Meare, Jan 8th. Woodbridge: River Deben, one present throughout the year. Stutton: Stutton Mill Pond, 17, Dec 23rd. W O O D DUCK Aix sponsa Canada to northern Mexico, Cuba and Bahamas. Category E. Flixton: Gravel Pits, male, Aug 29th. Blundeston: Decoy Farm, pair, Jan 29th. Lowestoft: Oulton Broad, male, Sep 10th; Leathes Ham, Aug 29th. Ipswich: Holywells Park, pair, Mar 31st; Christchurch Park, male. May 30th. CHILOĂ&#x2039; W I G E O N Anas sibilatrix Southern South America to Falkland Islands. Some winter south-eastern Brazil. Category E. Minsmere: one, Jan 13th. RED-CRESTED P O C H A R D Netta rufina Breeds western Europe to central China. Winters to south of breeding range. Categories A, C and E. Flixton: Gravel Pits, female, Oct 9th. FERRUGINOUS DUCK Aythya nyroca Southern Spain, andfrom eastern Europe to Caspian Sea, and east through Kazakhstan and western Mongolia to Tibetan Plateau. Winters eastern Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas, north-eastern Africa & Indian subcontinent. Categories A and E. Flixton: Gravel Pits, two, May 10th and 18th; July 13th. 156



WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL Anas bahamensis West Indies, and south to southern Brazil, Argentina, Chile and the Galapagos Islands. Category E. Orfordness: one was on the Airfields associating with Northern Pintail and Northern Shoveler from May 3rd to 18th. Presumably the same bird was present July 5th and 6th and again on Oct 15th. ARGENTINE BLUEBILL Oxyura vinata Central Chile and northern Argentina south to Tierra del Fuego. Livermere: Livermere Lake, Ampton Water and Long Water, male, May 18th to Jul 26th. Associating with one or two Ruddy Ducks throughout. REEVES PHEASANT Syrmaticus reevesii Forests of central China. Category E. Capel St Andrew: Tangham Forest, female. May 24th. Cockfield: adult, Jan 14th. SACRED IBIS Threskiornis aethiopicus Breeds widely in sub-Saharan Africa. Feral breeding population expanding in SW France. Category E. Burgh Castle: unringed bird, Mar 19th. RED-TAILED HAWK



Widespread throughout temperate North America south to Costa Rica and West Indies. Category E. Thetford Forest: the long-staying individual was still present during the first quarter of the year at least. HARRIS'S HAWK Parabuteo unicinctus South-western USA south through Central and South America to southern Argentina and Chile. Category E. Lound: Water Works, Dec 21st to 23rd. Benacre: seen between February and late April. Landguard: singles, Mar 14th; Apr 25th; Aug 23rd; Sep 13th, 15th and 29th; Oct 13th. First site records. Believed to be a bird from a nearby housing estate, used for falconry. BUDGERIGAR Melopsittacus undulatus Drier regions of Australia. Category E. Lavenham: Sep 21st. COCKATIEL Nymphicus hollandicus Widespread throughout interior Australia. Category E. Landguard: south, June 17th. EASTERN ROSELLA Platycercus eximius Eastern Australia from southern Queensland to Tasmania. Kessingland: July 25th. ROSY-FACED LOVEBIRD Agapornis rosiecollis Southern Africa from south-western Angola to NW Cape Province, South Africa. E. Lowestoft: Denes, Aug 31 st. ZEBRA FINCH Taeniopygia guttata Australia and the eastern Lesser Sundas in Indonesia. Category E. Lowestoft: Ness Point, Aug 31st; North Denes, Sep 20th. 157




Y E L L O W - C R O W N E D B I S H O P Euplectes afer Sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia, and south to South Africa. Kessingland: Sep I3th. Landguard: Sep 27th (N Odin, R Q Skeen, J Zantboer et al.). First site record.

APPENDIX III - Schedule of Non-accepted Records The following list consists of records that were not accepted, eitherby the BBRC (national rarities) or SORC (county rarities). In the 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 few cases were the Committee satisfied that a mistake had been made. Non-accepted records 2008 Corncrake: Fordley, Aug 30th. Honey Buzzard: Glemham, May 27th. Goshawk: Aldeburgh, Sep 13th. Dotterei: Lower Holbrook, Mar 6th. Alpine Swift: Combs Ford, Apr 29th. Pacific Swift: Landguard, Apr 26th. Bee-eater: Landguard, May 6th. Red-throated Pipit: Minsmere, Sep lOth. Red-flanked Bluetail: Tangham, Jan 6th. Non-accepted records 2007 Saker: Landguard, adult, Sep 1 Oth. Snowy Owl: Bawdsey and Ramsholt, Nov lOth and 18th.


SuffolkRingingReport 2008

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 & B Abbott, D Adelson, A Aldous, P R Allard, L Allen, N Andrews, J Arnold, J R Askins, R Attenborrow, C Ayers, R Axten. S Babbs, D Backhouse, D E Balmer, T Bamber, M F M Bamford, C Bannister, P Barker, 1 Barthorpe, B Baston, P Batchelor, S Batty, D R Beamish, A Beaumont, K Bennett, R Berry, R Biddle, A Bimpson, BINS, Birdline East Anglia, Birdguides, S Bishop, N C Blacker, K Bliss, K Blowers, M Bonfield, A Botwright, W J Brame, M Breaks, K Brett, J A Brown, R M Brown, J Brydson, BTO Thetford, B Buffery, A Bull, M Bunn, A Burrows, C Burton, C A Buttle. N Calbrade, O Campbell, N Cant, D Carr, M Carr, C Carter, D & M Carter, M T Cartwright, I Castle, P Catchpole, M Cavanagh, D Cawdron, A Chapman, R Chittenden (Birdline East Anglia), J Clarke, K Coates, J Coleman, T Collett, G J Conway, M Cook, R Coombes, D Cormack, C Courtney, T Cowan, J Cracknell, D Craven, D Crawshaw. C Darby, P J Dare, J Davidson, J Davies, J Davis, S Dean, M Deans, R Diaper, P Dickinson, R Drew, R Duncan. S Edwards, A C Easton, M Elliott, P Etheridge, S Evans. I & B Fair, R Fairhead, D Fairhurst, Forest Enterprise, D Finch, L Forsyth, K Freeman, S Fryett, C Fulcher, D F Fuller. A Gardner, J and K Garrod, J Gaskell, D Gawin, N Gibbons, J Gibbs, R Gilbert, J Glazebrook, S Goddard, M Gooch, D Gowen, P Gowen, J H Grant, A Green, P D Green, J Greenwood, A M Gregory, C Gregory, L Gregory, G Grieco, A Gretton, M Gurney. P Hamling, W Hancock, B Harrington, R Harris, B and M Hart, R Hartley, R Harvey, I Hawkins, J Higgott, P Hobbs, R Hoblyn, C Holden, S J Holloway, D Holman, P J Holmes, M Hopton, A Howe, S Howell, R Hughes, T J Humpage, A Hurrell. M Jackson, C Jacobs, C J Jakes, M James, S Jarvis, G J Jobson, R Johnson. M Kemp, P and J.Kennerley, T Kerridge, S Kingdon, J C King. P C Lack, Lackford Lakes Log, Lackford Ringing Group, Landguard Bird Observatory, D Langlois, J Lansdell, Lavenham Bird Club, S Leadsom, I Levett, K Lewis, M Linsley, C Lodge, N Loth, L Lovegrove, D Lowe, G Lowe, Lowestoft Lounge Lizards. R Macklin, P Manners, J H Marchant, S Marginson, O & M Marks, D Marsh, E Marsh, M Marsh, N Marsh, R Marsh, N Mason, S Mayson, B McCarthy, C Mclntyre, T Melhuish, P Merchant, C Michette, Mickle Mere Log, W Miles, A Miller, M Miller, G Millins, R Milner, K and S Milson, Minsmere RSPB, P W Murphy, R Murray, C Mutimer, M Muttit, M My les. 159



A Nairn, P Napthine, National Trust Orfordness, Natural England, C Naunton, A Needle, S Newby, D Newton, P Newton, T C Nicholson, P Noakes, R Noble, S Noble, P Norfolk, North Warren RSPB, M.Nowers. N Odin, C Oliver, P Oldfield, D Owen, J Oxford. M Packard, I Paradine, P Parker, E Patrick, S Paterson, J Patterson, D J Pearson, D Pearsons, M F Peers, S Piotrowski, B Pleasance, R Plowman, A Plumb, C Powell, G Price. M Radford, R Rate, A Raine, B Ranner, P Ransome, M J Raven, P Read, S Read, G Reeder, S Reeves, D Richardson, Mr and Mrs Ridout, A Riseborough, D and K Roberts, M Robinson, D Rothery, N Rowbottom, P Rowe, J A Rowlands, RSPB, C Ruffles. I Salkeld, J Secker, T Schofield, P Scotcher, N Sills, R Q Skeen, N Skinner, O Slessor, B J Small, I N Smith, P Smith, R C Smith, G Stannard, R Stewart, W Stone, T Stopher, A Stuart, D Sutton, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, M Swindells, T Sykes. M Taylor, R Thomas, D Thurlow, D Tomlinson, L Townsend, Trimley Marshes SWT. D K Underwood. N Vipond. P J Vincent, R Vonk. R Waiden, C S Waller, D F Walsh, 1 R Walsh, J Walsh, R Walsh, J Walshe, A Walters, J Warnes, K Warrington, G Webb, L H Weeks, A Wells, D West, R West, I Whitaker, P Whittaker, W Whybrow, P Wilson, R Wilton, R Wincup, D Woodhead, L G Woods, M Woolgar, J Wright, K Wright, M T Wright, M and R.Wright. J Zantboer.

Avocet (Minsmere) Peter Beeson 160

30. Radde's Warbler at Shingle Street at end of September.

BUI Bastรณn

34. Corri Bunting.

Stuart Read



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 1 km 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, in general, contain parish names, which are easily located by reference to a standard road map. Aldeburgh Town Marshes 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 Bowbeck Boxford Boyton Marshes Brackenbury Cliff, Felixstowe Brent Eleigh Breydon Water Bromeswell Carlton Marshes Campsea Ashe 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

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East Lane, Bawdsey 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 Gipping Great Wood Glemsford Groton Gunton Warren Hardwick Heath Hare's Creek, Shotley Haughley Park Havergate Island Hazelwood Marshes Hengrave Hall Hen Reedbeds Herringfleet Marshes Herringswell Hinderclay Fen Holbrook Bay Hollesley Commons Holywells Park, Ipswich Homersfield Gravel Pits Icklingham Plains Ilketshall St Lawrence Ipswich Golf Course Ipswich Wet Dock Kedington Kentwell Hall, Long Melford Kessingland Levels Kessingland sewage works King's Fleet King's Forest, The Kirton Creek 161

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SuffolkRingingReport Knettishall Heath Laekford 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 Mutford Needham Market Lake Ness Point North Denes, Lowestoft Northfield Wood North Warren Nowton Park Nunnery Lakes Old Newton Olley's Farm Orfordness Orwell Bridge Orwell Estuary Outney Common, Bungay Oulton Broad Oxley Marshes Pakefield Beach Pakenham Fen Peewit Hill Pipps Ford Potter's Bridge Ramsey Wood Ramsholt Marshes Redgrave and Lopham Fen Redgrave Lake Reydon Marshes Santรณn Downham

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Sedge Fen, Lakenheath 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 Stradishall Airfield 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


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Garganey Osprey Hobby Stone-curlew Little (Ringed) Plover Whimbrel Wood Sandpiper

ARRIVALS Date Locality Mar 8th Minsmere Apr 17th East Bergholt Apr 13th Pipps Ford Mar 20th Coastal site* Mar 30th Flixton GP Apr 5th Minsmere/Southwold* Apr 26th Breydon Water

Little Tern

Apr 16th


Black Tern

Apr 22nd

Lakenheath Washes

Sandwich Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Turtle Dove Cuckoo Nightjar Swift

Mar 25th Apr 1st Apr 18th Apr 16th Apr 10th May 4th Apr 23rd

Minsmere Minsmere Lackford Lakes Minsmere Thetford North Stow Trimley Marshes

Wryneck Sand Martin Swallow

Mar 8th Mar 27th

Lackford Lakes Minsmere

Kessingland/Minsmere Lowestoft Thorpeness Minsmere Bury St Edmunds Landguard Benacre Minsmere Lakenheath Fen Barsham/Minsmere/ N Warren/Thorpeness Lakenheath Fen Apr 11th Reed Warbler Minsmere Garden Warbler Apr 25th Lesser Whitethroat Apr 12 th Landguard North Warren Common Whitethroat Apr 15 th Wood Warbler May 13 th Minsmere Mar 29th Minsmere Willow Warbler May 1st Beccles Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher May 26th Orfordness/Landguard * Ignores overwintering birds ** NB Swift species at Landguard, Nov 2nd

House Martin Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail Nightingale Redstart Whinchat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler

Mar 30th Mar 29th Mar 24th Apr 12th Apr 2nd Apr 25th Mar 13 th Apr 4th Apr 4th Mar 31st


DEPARTURES Date Locality Nov 4th Minsmere Nov 9th Stoke-by Nayland Oct 19th Flixton Decoy Oct 10th Coast* Nov 17th Trimley Marshes Oct 18th Thorpeness Sep 20th North Warren/ Orfordness Sep 11th Lowestoft, Kessingland and Minsmere Sep 13th Southwold, Sizewell and Thorpeness Oct 13th Kessingland Oct 28th Thorpeness Nov 1 st Lowestoft Sep 20th Landguard Oct 27th Orfordness Oct 6th Ipswich Oct 1st Gunton/ Kessingland** Sep 28th Corton and Dunwich Oct 4th Lackford Lakes Nov 7th Pakefield and Sizewell Nov 15th Shingle Street Oct 11th Landguard Oct 1st Landguard Aug 13 th Landguard Gunton Oct 30th Oct 12 th Minsmere Lowestoft Nov 2nd Shingle Street Nov 11th Lowestoft Sep 24th Sep 22nd Sep 25th Sep 29th Oct 27th Oct 2nd Sep 20th Oct 31st Sep 27th Oct 22nd

Landguard Landguard Kessingland Minsmere Minsmere North Warren Gunton Landguard Lowestoft

SuffolkRingingReport 2008

A GUIDE TO RECORDING BIRDS IN SUFFOLK Introduction The foundation stone of any report is the data upon which it is based. Unless we all submit our records diligently, and in a usable form, then the Suffolk Bird Report will not be a comprehensive account of the birds recorded in Suffolk. The system The recording of the county's avifauna is the responsibility of the Suffolk Naturalists' Society, working in close co-operation with the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group. The linchpins of the system are the Recorders, who are the initial point of contact for all records. Because of the volume of records in Suffolk the county has been divided into three areas. See the inside front cover for a map and addresses. Observers are reminded that Suffolk works to Watsonian vice-county boundaries, taking in areas that are now administered as Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Essex. The most significant area affected is that of Lothingland, the northern limits of which follow the River Yare and include the south side of Breydon Water. We have retained these originai boundaries as we feel that sensible comparison of data can only be made from year to year if the recording area is kept constant. Submission of records All observers are requested to submit their records monthly. We also suggest that the following format be followed: (a) Location (precise place name from the Ordnance Survey map plus parish if ambiguous). OS grid reference should be added if in any doubt or if reporting breeding locations. (b) Species (c) Date (d) Name and address of observer (e) Sex/age - male, 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! A spreadsheet is available for submitting records and can be downloaded from the SOG website. This can be sent electronically to the Recorders and is a much easier and quicker method for them. Whilst this is not essential, we would encourage ail those who can to use this method of submitting their records. 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), whose décisions are accepted by SORC. A full list of species that are considered by the SORC follows. The committee may also request further




A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk détails regarding any other species that, in the opinion of the committee, is out of context in ternis of season, habitat or numbers. A list of records which have not been accepted for publication can be found in Appendix III 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 does not include records still under considération. G u i d e to species The following list shows ali 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. There are only two changes to catégories of birds in Suffolk this year. Both White-billed Diver and Cattle Egret are no longer national rarities. They become county rarities, Category 2, so detailed descriptions will still be necessary. There were no changes to the Suffolk list in 2008. 4 Mute Swan Tundra (Bewick's) Swan 3 Whooper Swan 3 Bean Goose Tundra 3 Taiga 2 3 Pink-footed Goose Greater White-fronted Goose 3 4 Greylag Goose Greater Canada Goose 4 3 Barnacle Goose Brent Goose Dark-bellied 4 Pale-bellied 3 Black Brant 2 1 Red-breasted Goose Egyptian Goose 3 1 Ruddy Shelduck * 4 Common Shelduck 4 Mandarin Duck 4 Eurasian Wigeon American Wigeon 2 4 Gadwall 4 Eurasian Teal 2 Green-winged Teal Mallard 4 4 Northern Pintail Garganey 3 1 Blue-winged Teal Northern Shoveler 4 Red-crested Pochard 3 Common Pochard 3 Ring-necked Duck 2 Ferruginous Duck 2 4 Tufted Duck Greater Scaup 3 1 Lesser Scaup

Common Eider Long-tailed Duck Common Scoter Velvet Scoter Bufflehead Common Goldeneye Smew Red-breasted Merganser Goosander Ruddy Duck Red-legged Partridge Grey Partridge Common Quail Common Pheasant Golden Pheasant Red-throated Diver Black-throated Diver Great Northern Diver Yellow-billed Diver Little Grebe Great Crested Grebe Red-necked Grebe Slavonian Grebe Black-necked Grebe Northern Fulmar Cory's Shearwater Great Shearwater Sooty Shearwater Manx Shearwater Balearic Shearwater European Storm-petrel Leach's Storm-petrel Northern Gannet Great Cormorant European Shag 165

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

Great Bittern Little Bittern Black-crowned Night-heron Squacco Heron Cattle Egret Little Egret Great Egret Grey Heron Purple Heron Black Stork White Stork Glossy Ibis Eurasian Spoonbill European Honey-buzzard Black Kite Red Kite 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 Merlin Eurasian Hobby Eleonora's Falcon Gyr Falcon Peregrine Falcon Water Rail

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

SuffolkRingingReport 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 Oystereateher Black-winged Stilt Pied Avocet Stone-curlew Cream-coloured Courser* Collared Pratincole Oriental Pratincole Black-winged Pratincole Little Ringed Plover Ringed Plover Killdeer Kentish Plover Greater Sand Plover Eurasian Dotterel American Golden Plover Pacific 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 Ruff Jack Snipe Common Snipe Great Snipe Long-billed Dowitcher Eurasian Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Eskimo Curlew* Whimbrel Eurasian Curlew Spotted Redshank Common Redshank

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


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 Ivory Gull Sabine's Gull Kittiwake Slender-billed Gull Black-headed Gull Little Gull Ross's Gull Laughing Gull Franklin's Gull Mediterranean Gull Common Gull Ring-billed Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Yellow-legged Gull Caspian Gull Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Great Black-backed Gull Sooty Tern Little Tern Gull-billed Tern Caspian Tern Whiskered Tern Black Tern White-winged Black Tern Sandwich Tern Lesser Crested Tern Common Tern Arctic Tern Roseate Tern Common Guillemot Razorbill Black Guillemot Little Auk Atlantic Puffin Pallas's Sandgrouse* Feral Pigeon Stock Pigeon Common Wood Pigeon Eurasian Collared Dove 166

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

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 House Martin Red-rumped Swallow Richard's Pipit Blyth's Pipit Tawny Pipit Olive-backed Pipit Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Red-throated Pipit Rock Pipit Water Pipit Yellow Wagtail Blue-headed Wagtail Grey-headed Wagtail Black-headed Wagtail Ashy-headed Wagtail Citrine Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail White Wagtail Bohemian Waxwing White-throated Dipper Winter Wren Hedge Accentor Alpine Accentor European Robin

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

A Guide to Recording 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 Cetti's Warbler Lanceolated Warbler Common Grasshopper Warbler River Warbler Savi's Warbler Aquatic Warbler Sedge Warbler Paddyfield Warbler Blyth's Reed Warbler Marsh Warbler Eurasian Reed Warbler Great Reed Warbler Olivaceous Warbler Booted Warbler Icterine Warbler Melodious Warbler Blackcap Garden Warbler Barred Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Common Whitethroat

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 2 2 4 4 3 4 4

Birds in Suffolk

Spectacled Warbler Dartford Warbler Marmora's Warbler Subalpine Warbler Sardinian Warbler Greenish Warbler Arctic Warbler Pallas' Leaf Warbler Yellow-browed Warbler Hume's Leaf Warbler Radde's Warbler Dusky Warbler Western Bonelli's Warbler Wood Warbler Common Chiffchaff Siberian Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Collared Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Crested Tit Coal Tit Willow Tit Marsh 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 Eurasian Jay Black-billed Magpie Spotted Nutcracker

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

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

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

* not recorded as wild since at least 1949

Key: 1 2 3 4

National Rarity - detailed description required. County Rarity - notes detailing observation will always be required. Ail records requested - supporting notes may be requested. Specific records - records of breeding, large counts, earliest/latest dates, unusual inland records or migration/weather-related movements requested.




Rare Birds in Suffolk 2008 David Walsh Summary The obliging Lesser Yellowlegs at Southwold meant that at least one BB rarity was on offer from the very start of the year. In addition, the Norfolk Ross's Goose made a welcome visit south of the border for a couple of days in January. This bird, however, is currently in Category D of the BOU list. Two Penduline Tits*, first found at Minsmere in February, were long stayers if rather elusive at times. The Lesser Yellowlegs reappeared in early summer at Dingle Marshes, but from the middle of May into early June rare passerines were predominant. The singing male Spectacled Warbler at Westleton was the highlight, although it was only on offer for a few hours on a hot Saturday afternoon. Great Reed Warblers were found at Lakenheath Fen and Minsmere, whilst a singing Thrush Nightingale entertained many along the southern edge of Dunwich Heath. Three rarities livened up mid-summer, but you had to be in the right place at the right time to catch up with the Semipalmated Sandpiper* at Minsmere, the Pacific Golden Piover on Havergate or the Citrine Wagtail at Landguard. September and October were, disappointingly, rarity free but at least early November brought a Red-flanked Bluetail (for the third successive year) and a well-watched Desert Wheatear at Easton Bavents. The Lesser Yellowlegs was found again at Southwold in mid-December, as was the Ross's Goose in the north-east of the county, to ensure that the year finished as it had started! * = yet to be formallv accepted by BBRC.

Accepted BBRC Records 2008 Pacific Golden Piover Pluvialis fulva: adult, Havergate, August 3rd (D Fairhurst et al.). Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes: first-winter, Southwold, from December 21 st 2007 to February 9th (B J Small et al.); same, Walberswick, February 2nd (per Birding Services); same, first-summer, Dingle Marshes, May 6thl4th (D Fairhurst, P Green et al.); same, Minsmere, June 15th and June 27th to 28th (D Fairhurst, P Green et al.); same, Southwold, July 12th to 13th (per Birding Services); same, Southwold and Walberswick, December 5th intermittently to February 16th 2009 at least (B J Small et al.). Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola: adult, probably male, Landguard, August 29th (P J Holmes et al.). Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia: Minsmere, June 5th to 8th (D Brougham, I Levett, J A Rowlands et al.). Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus: first-winter, trapped, Hollesley, November 2nd (R A Duncan et al.). Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti: first-winter male, Easton Bavents, Southwold, November 4th to 1 Oth (B Buffery, J and J Geeson, T McGeever et al. ). Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus: male, Lakenheath Fen, May 11 th ( L Gregory et al. ); perhaps same, Lakenheath Fen, June 8th to 9th (L Gregory, D F Walsh et al.); male, Minsmere, May 17th to 18th (P Eele, J A Rowlands et al. ); perhaps same, Minsmere, May 29th to 30th (D Fairhurst et al.). Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata: adult male, Westleton Heath, May 1 Oth (D Beamish, R Joliffe, J Warnes et al.).

Accepted BBRC records 2006 Baird's Sandpiper: juvenile, Orfordness, August 26th to September 3rd (D Crawshaw, M C Marsh, G Stannard); juvenile, Orfordness, October lst and 7th (D Crawshaw, M C Marsh, S Piotrowski et al.).

/ V


Rare Birds in Suffolk


S P E C T A C L E D W A R B L E R Sylvia conspicillata - second for Suffolk. John Warnes and I have seen numerous Spectacled and Subalpine Warblers across southern Europe, and indeed on visits to the Canaries the Spectacled was common. We also both saw the first Spectacled Warbler for Suffolk in 1997. So neither of us ever thought that if we found either species in spring we would make a mistake with the identification; however, that is what happened on Westleton Heath on May lOth whilst we were looking for Dartford Warblers as part of a bird count. At about 1 pm, John pointed out a small warbler flying across the gorse and then disappearing into a low busti. It was seen again in flight twice, and John commented how rufous the wings looked. He suggested that it could be a Spectacled Warbler, but on the views we had, Subalpine Warbler could not be ruled out. It was then seen, or more accurately parts of it were seen, on two occasions over the next ten to fifteen minutes. Each time a moustachial stripe seemed to be evident. From this we somehow managed to identify it as a Subalpine, ignoring the wings, white throat, dark area around the eye and small size evident in flight, and put it out on BINS as such. As the bird was not showing after about thirty minutes we decided to leave and visit Minsmere. Walking around, we started to question our initial identification, the wing colouration being the sticking point, so we visited the Minsmere bookshop to consult the books available. From these we concluded we had made a mistake: we had almost certainly seen a Spectacled Warbler. What a dilemma! We needed to ring BINS and put our mistake right. However, the issue was then further clouded when a text message came to say that the bird had been heard in song and identified as a male Subalpine Warbler. We decided to revisit the site. I saw the bird again briefly at a distance and commented to John that the bird was too bright for Subalpine. John in the meantime was talking to other birders, and he commented to them that we now thought the bird was a Spectacled Warbler; however, with the second identification apparently confirming the bird as a Subalpine, and the group of birders gathered also only having brief views and no one having a différent opinion, we decided to head for home. Then, in the early evening, news from BINS came through to confirm that the bird had been captured on video by Brian Small and was, as we suspected, an adult male Spectacled Warbler. Derek Beamish

Description A small Sylvia warbler, with a fine bilí, small and short wings; longish tail like the Dartfords in flight but shorter. Crown sometimes raised when singing, or depressed giving a squarish head shape. In flight the dark Dartfords could be separated from it by their longer tails, though in fact it was equally small. Head: generally slate-grey (hluish hue), but charcoal black on lores and onto sides of head, but not on forehead; this highlighted the broken white eye-ring (broken in front of and behind eye); rear of head paler blue-grey which extended onto mande. Underparts: palé, with soft pink (or sometimes greyish pink when singing) wash across breast, extending slightly and lightly onto throat and very palely along upper flanks. A hint of a white malar apparent, but pretty indistinct or not visible in most lights. Wing: most important was the colour, a bright clean orange panel, made up of the tertial edges, secondaries and greater coverts - I could not make out any dark centres to the greater coverts or the tertials, but the bird always seemed to sit facing obliquely towards us. The primaries were edged a very palé creamy white. Tail: not really seen properly, but seemed blackish in flight and when sinking into cover; from below seemed totally white apart from black at the base of the outer rectrices. Bare parts: eye bright red - perhaps the source of the red orbital ring; bilí thin and black with small pinkish yellow area at the base of the lower mandible; legs were bright straw orange. 169



Song: distinct rapid series of quite sweet notes, tripping along like stones on the bottoni of a stream and a little like the sweet sections of Dartford song but without the wheezy sections. Call: a harsh 'trrrrt', a little Wren-like and sometimes preceding the song. Ageing: the bright red eye, lack of dark centres to the greater coverts, the fresh creamy white edges of the primaries and the general brightness of the bird would age it as an adult. Brian Small

PACIFIC G O L D E N PLOVER Pluvialis fulva - second for Suffolk. Circumstances At around 9:30am on 3rd August 2008, Katie Bliss and I located a Pacific Golden Piover loosely associating with about 80 European Golden Plovers (from now on referred to as EGP) from Belphers Hide on Havergate Island. We watched the bird for nearly five hours at ranges between 50m and 100m. Apart from 15 minutes feeding, it spent the entire time roosting on the edge of the EGP flock. DĂźring a huge thunderstorm at 2:20pm the bird flew off to the north (all the EGPs had left 10 minutes earlier). Description It was obviously a 'Lesser' Golden Piover, being noticeably smaller bodied than EGP (c 15% at least), with striking black and white plumage and far less gold than EGP. Bill - larger, longer and with mandibles more 'parallel' than all the 'spikey-billed' EGPs. Head - smaller headed than EGP, with striking pure-white forehead deepest above the bill and extending above the eye, around the ear coverts and down the neck and then bulging in front of the Shoulder. The crown was dark brown (near black) with many feathers tinged gold. Legs - dark greyish in colour and much longer than EGP especially the tibia. The bird appeared much taller than EGP and seemed to stand more erect at times. Wing tips - short primary projection, with two primaries extending beyond the tertials and just beyond the tip of the tail (much shorter than all the accompanying EGPs). Wing coverts - black/white/grey; I didn't see any golden feathers. Mantle - far less gold than EGP, but the golden edges to the scapulars that it did have were much broader and bolder than EGP. David Fairhurst


SuffolkRingingReport 2008

Suffolk Ringing Report 2008 Andrew Gregory Information about ringing activities in 2008 and news concerning earlier years and subsequent events has been collected from various sources and summarised here in numbers and words. Providers have made comments about various species and totals, but a major difficulty arises in attempting to summarise the cumulative information because many ringing locations are not specified. The Landguard consortium traps most of its birds at migration sites such as its eponymous Felixstowe home and Orfordness, whereas the prolific Catchpole group clearly covers many different habitats, and is hence better qualified to remark on the outcome of the breeding season, although they did also snaffle rarities such as Red-flanked Bluetail and Radde's Warbler in 2008. Peter Catchpole described 2008 as a poor breeding season based on the trapping of over 9000 birds, but is optimistic about 2009 from results this year. Mike Marsh on behalf of Landguard reported an increase of birds ringed at the Fort with just under half of the group's total of about 7500, whilst Orfordness produced just over 2700 involving 79 species to Landguard's 67. Noteworthy were a Rustic Bunting, Subalpine Warbler, two Marsh Warblers, Icterine Warbler, Pallas's Leaf Warbler and two Hawfinches at Landguard and two Merlins at Orfordness. At Flatford a low total of 916 birds of 46 species was trapped. Brian Thompson and Nicola Hedges caught over 1600 birds in the Ipswich area in rural sites, whilst, mainly in the undergrowth off the Aldeburgh- Thorpeness Road, the Abbott group ensnared nearly 1000 including 23 Cetti's Warblers. Newton and his men had 18 young out of their total of 26 Cetti's and amongst their wader bags were 80 Black-tailed Godwits. Colin Carter ringed 92 Kittiwake pulli, presumably on the wall at Lowestoft and not on Sizewell Rigs, plus some 1500 other more-normally-trapped species. Doing much of his Suffolk ringing in the Thornham area, R E Batty ringed seven of the 15 Marsh Tits and 18 of the 42 Yellowhammers in the county. In the west of the county Simon Evans caught nearly 2000 birds of which about 10% were Bramblings and 30% Siskins. Ringing totals in Suffolk 2008 and the mean totals for the seven years 2000 to 2007:â&#x20AC;&#x201D; * Means correct to the nearest whole number. Bracketed (number) indicates total ringed in the period. These totals do not include figures from the Barn Owl project (see below). Species Mute Swan Greylag Goose Canada Goose Shelduck Wigeon Gadwall Teal Mallard Shoveler Pochard Tufted Duck Little Grebe Storm Petrel

Annual Means 2 3 3 6 25 12 2 16 9 (1) (2) 1 10 (1)

2008 1 0 9 12 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 171

Suffolk Bird Report 2008 Species Cormorant Grey Heron Marsh Harrier Kestrel Water Rail Spotted Crake Corncrake Moorhen Coot Oystercatcher Avocet Stone Curlew Little Ringed Piover Dotterei Ringed Piover Golden Piover Grey Piover Lapwing Red Knot Sanderling Little Stint Curlew Sandpiper Purple Sandpiper Dunlin Ruff Jack Snipe Common Snipe Woodcock Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Whimbrel Curlew Spotted Redshank Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Ruddy Turnstone Red-necked Phalarope Black-headed Gull Common Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Great Black-backed Gull Kittiwake Common Tern Little Tern Little Auk Stock Pigeon Wood Pigeon 7

2008 0 0 8 4 1 0

Annual Means 2000 to 2007* 2 6 20 24 3 (1)



6 0 5 6

4 2 18 15





1 34 9 5 31 71 0 0 2 0 579 4 0 11 5 100 4 1 23

(1) 21 12 5 33 22 (2) 1 6 (1) 453 1 2 9 5 28 2 1 8



323 5 0 0 6 4 0 103 0 161 20 2 95 102 0 0 59 78

255 16 5 (3) 7 9 (1) 66 1 341 62 1 37 52 7 (4) 83 89 172

Suffolk Ringing Report 2008 Species Collared Dove Turtle Dove Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Long-eared Owl Nightjar Swift Kingfisher Wryneck Green Woodpecker Gt. Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Woodlark Skylark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Red-throated Pipit Rock Pipit Water Pipit Richard's Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Wren Dunnock Robin Nightingale Bluethroat Red-flanked Bluetail Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Isabelline Wheatear Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Cetti's Warbler Grasshopper Warbler Aquatic Warbler Sedge Warbler Reed Warbler

2008 19 1 1 12 8 5 2 4 1 19 0 22 32 0 12 3 74 237 20 9 1106 0 10 2 0 3 51 124 425 516 1084 18 0 1 20 60 19 43 0 33 1 1192 10 306 121 4 122 16 0 1318 1840

Annual Means 2000 to 2007* 64 6 3 57 15 11 2 9 7 34 1 46 76 (2) 27 21 759 1731 161 8 1364 (1) 3 2 (1) 31 15 125 700 995 972 47

(3) (0) 11 27 31 35 (2) 52 6 2389 20 563 176 16 41 21

(2) 1854 2701 173

SuffolkRingingReport 2008 Species Great Reed Warbler Marsh Warbler Icterine Warbler Melodious Warbler Subalpine Warbler Dartford Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Barred Warbler Wood Warbler Willow Warbler Chiffchaff Yellow-browed Warbler Pallas's Warbler Radde's Warbler Dusky Warbler Golderest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher Red-breasted Flycatcher Bearded Tit Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Great Grey Shrike Red-backed Shrike Jay Magpie Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Starling House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Twite Common Redpoll* Lesser Redpoll*

2008 0 4 1 0 1 24 247 458 124 818 0 2 397 740 4 1 1 0 1140 66 49 27 0 84 539 15 0 187 1233 1435 13 30 0 0 10 9 49 0 0 306 47 50 998 317 1275 458 1614 320 17 25 1532

Annual Means 2000 to 2007* (1) 1 (3) (3) (0) 10 378 1048 268 2050 1 3 715 915 3 2 (4) 1 953 62 38 29 (2) 143 644 54 1 269 2314 1984 16 61 (1) (2) 22 26 33 2 3 727 601 38 1566 330 3258 833 835 729 6 14 415 174

Suffolk Ringing Report


Species 2008 Annual Means 2 Arctic Redpoll* 0 (D Redpoll species* 0 7 Crossbill 17 25 Bullfinch 64 200 Hawfinch 2 1 Yellowhammer 42 221 Reed Bunting 309 645 Corn Bunting 0 (2) Rustic Bunting 1 (0) Little Bunting 1 (1) Snow Bunting 4 65 Lapland Bunting 0 (1) * Redpoll ringing records may need to be reviewed by some interested expert. Total number of birds ringed for each of the years 2000 to 2008 according to submitted data. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

32617 27884 36853 39650 52683 49933 47334 36044 25185

(Mean 2000-2007 was 40375)

Ringing reports have been received from the following groups: - B Thompson and N Hedges; Landguard Bird Observatory; Dingle Bird Club; S Abbott, P Kennerley and M Swindells; P Newton, M Wright, D Backhouse; S Evans; P Catchpole, 1 Peters, J Glazebrook, R West, A Miller, M Miller, M Pratt, C Powell; R Duncan; R E Batty; C Carter; Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project; other information has corne from Minsmere and overseas scientists.

"i'SSr Barn Owl Su Gough 175



The Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project The following table shows ringing information from Barn Owl boxes monitored during the year:Full grown Kestrel








Stock Dove





Barn Owl





Little Owl





Tawny Owl










Selected recoveries and reports. Little Egret A bird of the year made its way from its nest site near Faversham-Oare Marshes where it was ringed on May 20th 2008 to be located on Orfordness on July 27th 2008. It stayed awhile before moving on to the Netherlands at Slijk-Ewijk in August 2008. Spoonbill The first to be seen in Suffolk from a German colony was noted on Orfordness on June 16th 2008 having been ringed at the nest in Schleswig-Holstein in June 2006. European Honey-buzzard In August 2008 a bird that had been ringed in July 2006 in Drenthe in the Netherlands was found dead on railway lines near Ipswich. It proved to be only the third foreign-ringed Honey Buzzard to be recovered in the UK. Merlin Two Merlins were trapped on Orfordness in 2008, the first birds of this species to be caught in Suffolk this Century. One had been ringed as a chick in North Yorkshire in June 2005 and appeared in the nets on November 2nd 2008. Dunlin A bird ringed at Heist in Belgium on July 2nd 2007 moved west to Orfordness by August 27th that year obviously unaware that milder winters should be halting this type of movement. Black-tailed Godwit As usual several of the species which have been colour-ringed were seen at home and abroad. YO-RO which was ringed in Iceland in 2003 appeared on Orfordness on July 3Ist 2008 having been seen at Minsmere the previous year as it returned from the Iberian Peninsular. Y-WR/W, at least 13 years old, also favoured Orfordness in 2008. A locally-reared bird from a confidential site, and hence not related to others reported, YBBB, appeared on Orfordness in both 2007 and 2008. Turnstone Ringed as a chick on June 29th 2008 at Hamina in Finland, near the nest scrape, a Turnstone was controlled 49 days later on Orfordness having moved 1835 km on 240 degrees. 176

Suffolk Ringing Report 2008 Lesser Black-backed Gull In 2008 birds ringed as pulii in Suffolk were recovered in Belgium ( 17), France (15), Spain (76), Portugal (19), Netherlands ( 12), Germany (1), and Morocco (3). The longest movement involved a Havergate Island bird, ringed on July 13th 2008 that was noted at Kartung, The Gambia on December 30th having moved 4636km. A bird that was at least three years old when first ringed at Foxhall on July 19th 1986 reappeared aged 25 or more at Orfordness on Aprii 6th 2008. Herring Gull In 2008 birds ringed as pulii in Suffolk were recovered in France (4), Belgium (2) and The Netherlands (4). Caspian Gull Two birds, one ringed as a chick on May 18th 2007 and the other as an adult on Aprii 28th 2004, both at Jankowice in Poland, were identified on February 23rd and July 20th 2008 respectively by ever eager-eyes on Orfordness. Glaucous Gull Jeff Higgott photographed a colour-ringed bird at Southwold on December 7th 2008. It had been one of three chicks in the same nest ringed on Bear Island, Svalbard on July 18th 2008. For those keen to look for the bird this winter it had a metal ring on the right leg and a single green ring inscribed "LE" on the left. Great Black-backed Gull Red CZD and CZF, from a brood ringed on Orfordness on July 13th 2008, were both separately reported near Boulogne in northern France in late autumn 2008. Sandwich Tern Ringed as a chick on Lady's Island in County Wexford, Eire on June 20th 2005 this bird was retrapped on Orfordness on Julyl9th 2008. Did it return to Suffolk with several hundred friends in 2009? Grey Wagtail Only the second UK ringed bird to be found in The Netherlands was caught at Landguard on September 9th 2008 before moving to Zandvoort Duinen by October 9th the same year. Stonechat Some have suggested that the increase in numbers of this species is a result of incoming Continental birds. However, a young bird ringed as a chick at Lothwaite in Cumbria on Aprii 30th 2006 and controlied at Landguard on February 27th 2008, involving a south-easterly movement of 427km, shows that other sources are possible. Blackbird A bird ringed at Landguard on October 26th 2007 was controlied in Hietama, Finland on August 6th 2008 some 1800km in a roughly north-east direction. Song Thrush A young bird trapped at Landguard on September 17th 2008 continued south-westwards for nearly 1600km only to be shot at Alburitel in Portugal on December 18th the same year. Sedge Warbler Three young birds ringed at Dingle Hills late July and early August 2008 were controlied in 177

SuffolkRingingReport 2008 France in August of the same year with two of them caught at Tour-aux-Moutons in LoireAtlantique having moved 614km SSW. A bird of the previous year from Dingle Hills was with them. A bird ringed at the same French site in August 2005 was controlled at Thorpeness in May 2007. Marsh Warbler Ringed and seen by a few at Landguard on June 3rd 2008, after which it doubtless sang to many from the bushes without ever showing, this bird moved to West-Vlaanderen in Belgium by July 23rd becoming the first-ever UK-ringed of the species to be recovered in Belgium. Reed Warbler Birds ringed at Dingle Hills in August in various years have been recovered in central and south-western France and the Coto Donana in Spain. Blackcap The first of this species ringed in the UK to be recovered in Liberia was found by the road side only to be eaten by the finder, who according to the BTO 'print o f f ' was from Norwich, suggesting the ring was passed on to a foreign worker. Can't blame Delia for this one! The bird had travelled about 5000km almost due south, presumably losing several of the 20grams that it weighed in at Orfordness on September 18th 2008, to be a minor protein source on November 29th. Firecrest Colin Carter ringed a bird at Kessingland on March 26th 2008 which was controlled on April 9th 2008 on Heligoland 456km ENE of Suffolk. Blue Tit Having ringed a Blue Tit as an adult male on April 17th, 2005, R E Batty has controlled the bird three times. On October 30th 2008 it was at least five and a half years old. Brambling A first-year Brambling trapped at Corton on October 18th 2006 was controlled at Nordland in Norway some 1781km just east of north from Suffolk on September 9th 2007. Greenfinch Evidence of east-west movement came in the shape of a bird trapped at Land's End in December 2006 appearing on Orfordness in April 2007 and a young bird ringed at Flatford on July 28th 2007 being found dead in County Tipperary, Eire on January 10th 2008. Goldfinch Birds ringed at Flatford or Orfordness were controlled in Hartlepool, Dumfries and Galloway and the Ardennes in France illustrating how the species disperses. Twite In 2007 birds ringed near Manchester were reported from Walberswick whereas in 2008 the northern sites linked to Dingle were Deer Hill near Huddersfield, Rishworth in West Yorkshire and Heysham Harbour in Lancashire. Lesser Redpoll Ringed on Orfordness on October 22nd 2005 an individual was caught by a bird trapper in Belgium almost two years later and probably spent the rest of its life behind bars. Another more fortunate bird ringed in County Waterford in Eire on October 10th 2007 was released alive on Orfordness some 600km east of the ringing site on October 25th 2008. 178



2007 Regional Review Adam Gretton This review is intended as a summary of some of the more notable records and events from the three counties adjoining Suffolk, for those that may not have ready access to each county's report. The information is taken from the latest published bird reports for 2007; it is hoped that tabulating some of the information this year makes it more readily accessible. For further information and full détails, direct référencé should be made to the relevant report. Table 1 : Selected 2007 breeding bird totals (ail numbers refer to pairs or territories as appropriate, unless where stated, with the increase/decrease référencés ail comparing to 2006). [Units etc on left-hand edge for ease of reading whole table]. Cambridgeshire Teal Pintail Garganey Pochard Grey Partridge Cormorant Grey Héron Little Egret Bittern Red Kite Marsh Harrier Common Buzzard Hobby Peregrine Avocet Stone Curlew Little Ringed Piover Lapwing Common Snipe Redshank Little Tern Turtle Dove Long-eared Owl Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Yellow Wagtail Cetti's Warbler Spotted Flycatcher Bearded Tit Willow Tit Tree Sparrow Corn Bunting


1 1 1 82+ 242 (2 sites) 179 (16 sites) 11 4 nests 3-8 (5 sites) 17 paired females 21-41 7-16 1 29 (5 sites) 1-3 13 (7 sites) 512(22 sites 301 (8 sites) 438 (8 sites)

Norfolk 3 -





90+paired females c. 30 27+

20 nests 28-35 22 7 53 (9 sites)

52+ nests 12-19 36-43


4-6 (2 sites)


30 (5 sites) 91+

100+ (up from 46) 26++(17 sites)

0-3 112+ (up from 61) 16(8 sites) 40 (down from 53)


1-2 4-8 36 sites 93 77+ 30+ 14 nests


92+ (up from 59+) 4-6

Suffolk 5 pairs

3 71 47 75(1 site) 265 (29 sites) 128 (6 sites) 6 nests (4 sites)

465 (17 sites) 129(131 in 2006) 18-19 (12 sites) 675 (37 sites) 86 (12 sites) 536 (15 sites) 547+ (261 young) [35 BBS records] 2 Recorded 24 sites, No breed. records 21+(3-5 sites) 230+ 28-39 (68 in 2006) 136


Essex 2 1 -

108 24-25 596 197 43


16 (10 sites) 178 (28 sites) 3 211 (11 sites) 25 (no young) 105 1 10 87 (17 sites) 84 16 14 -




162 (5-6 sites) 90 12-13(7 sites) 109(22 sites) 1-2 90-96 (7+sites) 19 (no young) 71 sites -

4-5+ 9+ 140+ 52-153 (SWT survey) 169-179++ 7 sites -

103 (15 sites)




Cambridgeshire The peak count of 5341 Bewick's Swans on the entire Ouse Washes in December was slightly up on the previous year, and there were again more Whooper Swans than Bewick's, with 5470 at the year end. Four pairs of Bittern nested at Kingfishers Bridge, with three fiedging young, a remarkable development after the one possible nest last year. A Squacco HÊron stayed for ten days in August, the county's sixth. Red Kites appear to be colonising rapidly, with up to eight pairs nesting in the west (up from two possible last year), following 2004's first confirmed nesting since 1848. A pair of Peregrines nested on Peterborough Power Station, apparently the first ever nesting in the county. There were five calling male Spotted Crakes at two sites, and five calling Corncrake on the Nene Washes. Noting the four Common Crânes, a caption reads 'surely breeding cannot be thatfar away'. Stone-curlew nested for the first time since 1999. A Semi-palmated Sandpiper at Ouse Fen in May was the county's first, and the full-summer female Wilson's Phalarope in May was the first since 1991. Again there were no nesting Black-tailed Godwit on the Ouse Washes, but 41 pairs (down from 48) were at the Nene Washes, fiedging at least 20 young. Numbers of drumming Snipe at the two Washes were down, with 292 (cf. 390 in 2006), but with only nine at six other sites. Lapwing and Redshank had a better year (up to 439 and 420 pairs respectively at the two Washes).

Short-eared Owl Peter Beeson

Lesser Black-backed Gull nested at 4+ sites, and there was inter-specific courtship with Yellow-legged Gull at two sites. Following the county's first Laughing Gull in 2006, there were two further records. Short-eared Owls peaked at 17 on the Nene Washes in December. Two Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nest holes at Monks Wood were taken over by Marsh Tits; there were further breeding season records at nine other sites, with suspected nesting at two of these. There was an an apparently encouraging increase in reported Yellow Wagtail to 112 pairs, but with BBS occupancy falling from 61% to 20% in the last 11 years, and the number per square falling from 2.7 to 0.9 (in combination this suggests a nine-fold decrease). Also a male Blue-headed Wagtail paired with a Yellow Wagtail at the Nene Washes. A pair of Stonechat nested (unsuccessfully) near Ouse Washes, the first nesting in the county since 1962. Paxton Pits reported an impressive 61 Garden Warbier and 62 Blackcap 180

2007 Regional


territories. Willow Tit was declared possibly extinct in the county, with no records (and full descriptions needed in future). Three Raven records brought the county total to 12 since 1900 (all but two since 2001). Reporting of Tree Sparrow was incomplete, but 12 pairs at Farcet Fen reared at least 72 young and there was a flock of 150 at Witcham in January. Papers include a breeding owl survey 2004-06, a report of the successful reedbed creation at Kingfishers Bridge, an analysis of nest recording in the county (described as a 'declining discipline') and an interesting review of harsh winters and their effects on bird populations. Norfolk Numbers of Bewick's Swan at Welney were down early in the year, but there were 2664 in December, whilst Whooper Swan numbers were well up with 4232 in November. Pinkfooted Geese numbers dropped, with a peak count of 87024 in December (down from 112777 in January 2006); main declines were in the north, with Broads totals increasing. Rare ducks included a Green-winged Teal at Hickling for its sixth winter, and a Surf Scoter at three sites. Lagging a year behind Suffolk (the 2006 nesting at Barnham, as reported in last year's report), Norfolk's first brood of Goosander was seen in Thetford. An over-wintering Quail was seen twice in January. Golden Pheasants were recorded at six sites, with two territories at Dersingham Bog NNR. There were 131 pairs of Fulmar at Hunstanton, up from 107 in 2006. Unprecedented numbers of Great Shearwater were seen on September 10th, with 15 east at Sheringham alone and up to 17 birds elsewhere (albeit with probable overlap); prior to this there had only been 14 county records! There were two Little Bitterns at Titchwell, including a booming male for nine days in June. Eight pairs of Common Crane produced only one fledged young; there were up to 33 birds present in the first winter period. There was no evidence of Honey Buzzards breeding in the usual area, despite a male and female both being present. There was better news for Montagu's Harrier with six pairs (the highest number for a decade) fledging at least seven young in all. Displaying Goshawks were at three sites in north-west Norfolk, as well as in the Brecks, but no information on nesting success. There were 207 pairs of Ringed Plover at 12 sites; five pairs of Black-tailed Godwit failed to fledged any young. Scarce waders included two Kentish Plover at Blakeney, a Broad-billed Sandpiper at Breydon in May, 1-2 Buff-breasted Sandpipers, and a Great Snipe at Blakeney Point in August. A pair of Little Gull nested and laid two eggs, which were predated, at Titchwell, only the fifth nesting attempt in the UK. Two Bonaparte's Gulls were the county's fourth and fifth. A jump to 14 pairs of Mediterranean Gull producing 11 young at four sites. A total of 3600 pairs of Sandwich Tern at two sites fledged 1400 chicks, all from Blakeney, none from Scolt Head, the first total failure there for a decade. At least 547 pairs of Little Tern at 13 sites fledged 261 young, 157 from Yarmouth north beach, with increased predation following the suspension of diversionary feeding of the local Kestrels. Sixteen pairs of Arctic Tern fledged just 1-2 young. Barn Owls were reported from an impressive 299 sites, and 957 were ringed, including one group ringing 630 chicks from c. 200 pairs using boxes. Reports of 78 churring Nightjars were doubtless incomplete, with only five from the Brecks. A survey of Woodlark in Thetford Forest recorded 270 singing males, of which 152 were in Norfolk; 36 further pairs were reported elsewhere in the county. Only 24 pairs of Tree Pipit were reported (down from 34 in 2006), and there was an Olive-backed Pipit at Holkham at the end of October. A Red-flanked Bluetail ringed at Weybourne in late September was Norfolk's fourth. Stanford training area held only 2-3 pairs of Wheatear, and the county had at least 50 pairs of Stonechat (the highest total for a century). 181

SuffolkRingingReport 2008 A Savi's Warbler sang at Hickling for two weeks in late May, and there were two Myth's Reed Warbler (the county's second and third) and two Booted Warbler (sixth and seventh). Dartford Warbler nested for the first time in Norfolk, with two pairs at Kelling Heath each fledging six young (two broods); a pair was also present at a second site, with further colonisation predicted. An unprecedented fall of at least 30 Greenish Warblers occurred in the second half of August, plus an excellent 133 Yellow-browed Warblers in the autumn, with probably just two Pallas's and one Hume's Warbler. A long-staying Iberian Chiffchaff on the edge of Norwich was an addition to the county list, and the 14th nationally. There were up to 19 singing Firecrest on the Holt-Cromer ridge, plus up to 24 in the Norfolk Brecks, and seven elsewhere. There were no confirmed records of Willow Tit, despite there having been reports from 35 sites in 2006 (down from 53 in 2004); caution was urged when submitting future records, with all those that were checked found to be Marsh Tit. This latter species was found at 130 localities, a major increase. There were three Woodchat Shrikes, a single Lesser Grey Shrike and at least 30 Great Grey Shrikes passing through in autumn. Remarkably two Dark-eyed Juncos appeared on the same day in mid-July (one at Langham and the other at Terrington St Clement), a new species for the county. Hawfinch peaked at an impressive 47 at Lynford in early February, and there were 40 Lapland Buntings at Cley/Salthouse in November. The report includes papers on visible passerine migration in East Norfolk and an entertaining review of fifty years of Norfolk birding by Giles Dunmore, who is stepping down as report editor after ten years. Essex The peak Brent Goose WeBS count was down a little on 2006, with 25891 in February. A record six pairs of Egyptian Goose nested, in line with the general spread of this species. Twenty pairs of Mandarins were reported, with all but two in Epping Forest. At least four pairs of Red-crested Pochard were at Hanningfield, with a post-breeding flock of 23. Gadwall and Shoveler were both confirmed to have bred at five sites (for other scarce nesting duck, see table above). Sawbills reached the following winter maxima: Smew, 23, Red-breasted Merganser, 192, and Goosander, 92. There were 26 broods of Ruddy Duck reported from 15 sites; the winter peak count was 296 at Hanningfield Reservoir; at Abberton the peak was only 78, down from 500 the previous year, presumably as a result of culling efforts. There was a peak of 30 Black-necked Grebes at Girling reservoir (Lee Valley) in midSeptember (but with no nesting reports in the county), and Slavonian Grebe peaked at 15 on the Blackwater in December. The egret expansion continued, with three records of Cattle Egret, and four records of Great White Egret. Hen Harrier numbers were down, with just 11 in December; a female was on Rushley Island for one day in late June. All seven pairs of Peregrine nested within sight of the Thames, raising at least five chicks between them. A long-staying Long-billed Dowitcher at Mistley in spring was the tenth for Essex, and also ventured onto the Suffolk side of the Stour. The long-staying Ring-billed Gull, 'Rossi' was back at Westcliff-on-Sea for its ninth winter. At least 11 pairs of Mediterranean Gull again nested, and the 25 pairs of Little Tern reported at four sites (down from 92 in 2006) did not give the full picture, with no information from some sites. The very worrying decrease in the number of Turtle Doves continued, with 105 territories at 38 sites (down from 216 territories in 2005 and 161 in 2006). Two autumn reports of 50 Ring-necked Parakeet near Rainham more than doubled the previous Essex record flock. Barn Owls were noted at 100 sites, with some 66 pairs nesting (six more than 2006). The 2006 nesting of Short-eared Owl was not repeated; the wintering population peaked at 26 in November. There was an encouraging report of a Nightjar at a central Essex site for the first three weeks of June. Under-recording of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was 182

2007 Regional


suspected, with just ten territories noted at nine sites (down from 35 in 2006). Only one Tree Pipit territory was reported, in central Essex, down from five in 2006. Only two singing Black Redstarts were reported, both at Dagenham; 12 pairs of Stonechat were reported - down from 28 the previous year. Some 11-13 reeling Grasshopper Warbiers were at four sites. A Radde's Warbier at the Naze in early October was only the second for Essex. There were nine Dartford Warbiers, but no summer records. Singing Firecrest were at four sites, but with no confirmed breeding, and Spotted Flycatcher decreased drastically from 51 to 16 territories reported. There were again no confirmed records of Willow Tit (leaving Suffolk as the only county in the rĂŠgion recording the species in 2007), and there was a decrease to 17 Marsh Tit territories (from 29 in 2005). Penduline Tit peaked at three in January at Rainham Marshes, but with a single present until late March. Again there were no breeding records of Tree Sparrow, and there was only one double-figure flock. There were two Hawfinch reports in June. Interestingly 308 Reed Bunting and 103 Com Bunting (down from 201 in 2006) territories were reported, but only 81 Yellowhammer territories! The report includes a report of a tetrad-based survey of breeding Com Buntings, with the results suggesting that Essex holds between 1313 and 1554 singing males, or c.15% of the UK population. Three coastal tetrads held over 20 males, and there were few records more than 2km from the coast. Nick Green has stepped down as editor of the report, after a remarkable association of 20 years. To conclude many will have seen the landmark county avifauna 'The Birds of Essex' by Simon Wood (A&C Black) that was published in 2007.


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

SNS £15 £17 £17

Joint membership SNS/SOG £26


CONTENTS Page Editorial and Review of the Year: Nick Masón


Red-throated Divers Gavia stellata: Wintering Red-throated Divers, Thorpeness, Suffolk 2000/01-2008/09 David Thurlow


North Warren RSPB Reserve: management and wildlife review through 2008: Rob Macklin, Dave Thurlow


Black Kites Milvus migrans: The Black Kites in Suffolk 2008 - the füll story: Will Brame Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus: Back breeding at last: Rod Plowman

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Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur: Report on the 2008 SWT Survey: Steve Piotrowski


Common Buzzard Buteo buteo: colonising the north-east of the county: Peter Daré


Tony Marshall: a fond farewell Derek Moore


The 2008 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 2008: David Walsh


Suffolk Ringing Report 2008: Andrew Gregory


Regional Review: Adam Gretton




Suffolk Birds 2008 Part 2  

Volume 58 Systematic List

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