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Inside front cover: Pacific Swift at Trimley Phil Jones Front cover: Pallas's Leaf Warbler Richard Allen

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SUFFOLK BIRDS VOL. 63 A r e v i e w o f b i r d s in S u f f o l k in 2 0 1 3

Editor Nick M a s o n

G r e a t l y a s s i s t e d by Philip M u r p h y ( S y s t e m a t i c List)

Bill B a s t o n ( P h o t o s ) Phil W h i t t a k e r ( A r t w o r k )

Published

by

SUFFOLK NATURALISTS' SOCIETY Compiled

by

SUFFOLK O R N I T H O L O G I S T ' S G R O U P 2014


Published by The Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c / o The M u s e u m , High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH Š The Suffolk Naturalists' Society 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or t r a n s m i t t e d in any f o r m or by any means, electronic, mechanical, p h o t o c o p y i n g , recording or o t h e r w i s e , w i t h o u t prior permission of t h e Copyright owners.

The SNS is a Registered Charity No. 206084.

ISSN 0264-5793

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

Front cover: Pallas's Leaf W a r b l e r - Richard

Allen

Inside back cover: Pacific Swift at Trimley - Phil Jones The c o p y r i g h t remains t h a t of t h e p h o t o g r a p h e r s and artists.

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CONTENTS Page Editorial: Nick Mason Weather report: Edward Jackson Review of scarce and rare birds in Suffolk in 2013: Lee Woods Work at Boyton and Hollesley Marshes, RSPB: Aaron Howe Stone-curlews in Breckland, 1985 - 2013: Malcolm Wright Red Kites breed again in Suffolk: Chris Gregory Pacific Swift 'second' for Suffolk: Jim Mountain/Jonny Rankin Parrot Crossbill irruption in Suffolk, 2013/2014: Peter Kennerley Two-barred Crossbills on Havergate, July 20th: David Fairhurst Mixed Pied/White Wagtail breeding at Shingle Street: James Kennerley/Peter Kennerley Siberian Stonechat at Trimley Marshes: Paul Holmes Eastern Subalpine Warbler at Landguard: Paul Holmes The 2013 Suffolk Bird Report Introduction Systematic List Appendices Suffolk Ringing Report 2013: Simon Evans List of Contributors Gazetteer Earliest and Latest Dates of Summer Migrants A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Rare Birds in Suffolk 2013: David Walsh Index of species:

5 7 9 20 22 24 28 33 37 38 39 41

43 45 155 158 183 185 187 188 192 193

The artwork in this Report is by Richard Allen, Peter Beeson, Phil Jones and Brian Small. List of Plates Plate No. 1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

Facing Page

Whooper Swans John Richardson Black Brant Will Brame Garganey Ian Clarke Long-tailed Duck Peter Ransome Great Northern Diver Peter Ransome Great White Egret Ian Clarke Spoonbill John Richardson Black-necked Grebe Chris Darby White-tailed Eagle John Richardson Red Kite John Richardson Common Buzzard Bill Boston Red-footed Falcon Chris Mayne Eurasian Hobby Ian Goodall Stone-curlew Liz Cutting Golden Plover Bill Boston Sanderling Peter Ransome Whimbrel Chris Mayne Woodcock Liz Cutting Grey Phalarope Chris Darby Roseate Tern Danny Porter Caspian Gull Sean Nixon Cuckoo Bill Boston Short-eared owl John Richardson Pacific Swift John Richardson

Facing Page

Plate No.

40 40 40 40 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 81 81 81 81 81 120

25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47.

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Wrynecks John Richardson Lesser Grey Shrike Chris Mayne Woodchat Shrike Chris Mayne Red-backed Shrike John Richardson Red-rumped Swallow Chris Darby Wood Warbler John Richardson Willow Warbler Kath Aggiss Subalpine Warbler Bill Boston Marsh Warbler Paul Oldfield Savi's Warbler Ian Goodall Waxwing Bill Boston Rosy Starling Chris Mayne Siberian Stonechat John Richardson Nightingale Liz Cutting Black Redstart John Richardson Red-breasted Flycatcher Chris Darby Pied Flycatcher Bill Boston White Wagtail James Kennerley Two-barred Crossbill Dave Fairhurst Parrot Crossbill James Kennerley Hawfinch John Richardson Corn Bunting Chris Mayne Snow Bunting Sean Nixon

120 120 120 120 121 121 121 121 121 121 144 144 144 144 144 144 144 145 145 145 145 145 145


Suffolk Bird Report 2013

Notice to Contributors Suffolk

Birds is an a n n u a l p u b l i c a t i o n o f records, notes and papers o n all aspects of Suffolk

o r n i t h o l o g y . Except f o r records and field descriptions s u b m i t t e d t h r o u g h t h e c o u n t y recorders, all m a t e r i a l should be original. It should not have been published elsewhere or offered c o m p l e t e or in p a r t t o any o t h e r j o u r n a l . A u t h o r s should carefully study this issue and f o l l o w t h e style of présentation, especially in relation t o references a n d tables. W h e r e relevant, n o m e n c l a t u r e and o r d e r s h o u l d f o l l o w t h e latest published f o r The British List by t h e British Ornithologist's Union and available o n t h e i r w e b site at w w w . b o u . o r g . u k . English names should f o l l o w t h e same list. C o n t r i b u t i o n s should, if possible, be s u b m i t t e d t o t h e editor by e-mail or on a CD/DVD and w r i t t e n in M i c r o s o f t W o r d . If t y p e d , manuscripts should be double-spaced, w i t h w i d e margins, o n one side o f t h e paper only. They must be in t h e final f o r m for publication: proofs of longer papers are r e t u r n e d t o authors, b u t altérations must be confined t o corrections of printer's errors. The cost of any o t h e r altérations may be charged t o t h e author. Photographs and line drawings are required t o c o m p l é m e n t each issue. Suitable p h o t o g r a p h s of birds, preferably taken in Suffolk, can be e l t h e r digital or in t h e f o r m of 3 5 m m transparencies. A r t w o r k is also r e q u i r e d t o c o m p l é m e n t each issue. A p a y m e n t of £12 will be m a d e t o t h e artist f o r each o r i g i n a l d r a w i n g . Every possible e f f o r t w i l l be m a d e t o take care o f t h e o r i g i n a l p h o t o g r a p h s a n d a r t w o r k . However, p h o t o g r a p h e r s a n d artists are r e m i n d e d t h a t n e i t h e r t h e e d i t o r nor t h e SNS can be held responsible in t h e unlikely event t h a t loss or damage occur. A u t h o r s may w i s h t o illustrate their papers, b u t this will be subject t o t h e illustrations being of t h e standard r e q u i r e d by t h e e d i t o r and t h e décision o n such matters w i l l rest w i t h h i m or her. M a t e r i a l s u b m i t t e d for p u b l i c a t i o n should be sent t o t h e e d i t o r no later t h a n M a r c h I s t of each year. A u t h o r s of m a i n papers may request up t o five f r e e copies o f t h e j o u r n a l . Any o p i n i o n s expressed in this Report are t h o s e of t h e c o n t r i b u t o r and are not necessarily t h o s e of t h e Suffolk Naturalists' Society or t h e Suffolk Ornithologists' Group.

Suffolk

Ornithological

Records

Committee:

Chair: Steve Abbott Area County Recorders:

Colin Jakes, Andrew Green, Scott Mayson

Bird Report Editor: Nick M a s o n (non-voting) Secretary:

Craig Fulcher ( c r a i g f u l c h e r @ b t i n t e r n e t . c o m )

Other Committee

Members:

BBRCcorrespondent:

Will Brame, Lee Woods, Dave Fairhurst, Lee Gregory, Brian Small.

Dave Walsh (non-voting)

ADDRESSES Papers,

notes,

drawings

and photographs:

The Editor (Suffolk

Birds),

The Suffolk Naturalists'

Society, c / o The M u s e u m , High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. Records: See inside back cover. Suffolk

Ornithological

Records

Committee

- correspondence:

The Secretary, SORC, c / o The

M u s e u m , High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH - or craigfulcher@btinternet.com.

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013

Editorial Nick

Mason

A l t h o u g h t h e w i n t e r of 2012-2013 was not as severe as in t h e previous t w o years, t h e spring was appalling. In April and part of May t h e w e a t h e r was atrocious as far as birds w e r e concerned. On t h e heaths, for instance, Stonechats died in significant n u m b e r s . On S u t t o n and Hollesley Commons t h e Stonechat p o p u l a t i o n fell f r o m 13 pairs in 2012 t o just one breeding pair. It was a similar story for Stone-curlews, especially inland w h e r e up t o 30 dead birds w e r e f o u n d . Dartford Warblers appeared t o survive t h e w e a t h e r presumably because t h e y w e r e established and had fed well e n o u g h t o see t h e m t h r o u g h . The summer, however, was mostly fine w i t h later migrants, as well as insects, doing well. The articles included in this report are varied. Lee Woods has put t o g e t h e r t h e review of t h e scarcer birds in 2013 and, o f course, c o n t i n u e s t h e excellent w o r k t h a t BINS does f o r t h o s e interested in rarities in t h e county. A s h o r t catch-up o n t h e Stone-curlews breeding in t h e w e s t of t h e county by Malcolm Wright is f o l l o w e d by a piece on t h e d e v e l o p m e n t s at Hollesley Marshes and Boyton Marshes by Aaron Howe. These areas have t h e p o t e n t i a l t o be fantastic f o r birds especially b r e e d i n g w a d e r s . Red Kites are b r e e d i n g again in t h e c o u n t y as described by Chris Gregory. The occurrence of t h e t w o vagrant crossbill species w h i c h w e r e expertly f o u n d by David Fairhurst and Peter Kennerley are described. Our thanks go t o these birders w h o f i n d such species allowing us m e r e mortals t o add t h e experience t o this w o n d e r f u l pastime/passion. The Pacific Swift was an interesting o n e ! Both Jim Mountain and Jonny Rankin have given us their r u n - d o w n on finding this bird. Peter and James Kennerley describe a 2012 e n c o u n t e r w i t h w h a t was most likely t o have been a Pied x W h i t e Wagtail hybridisation. Two o t h e r w e l c o m e rarities are described by Paul Holmes, t h e f i n d e r o f b o t h . The Siberian Stonechat is a relatively recent split and t h e Eastern Subalpine W a r b l e r likely t o be one soon. Both birds were really accessible giving excellent views for t h o s e w h o w a n t e d t o observe t h e i r f i n e detail. Thanks go t o all t h e above. M o s t of t h e section w r i t e r s are t h e same as for t h e previous year - volunteers all. As usual t h e y have done a fantastic j o b . Thankyou t o all of t h e m : Gi Grieco, Andrew Green, John Davies, John Grant, Chris Gregory, John Glazebrook, James Wright, A n d r e w Easton, Malcolm Wright, Phil Whittaker, Nathaniel Cant, Andrew Gregory, Richard Attenborrow, Steve Fryett, Paul G o w e n and Peter Kennerley w h o w r i t e s t h e Appendices. A special t h a n k y o u goes t o Ernie Lucking and Peter M e r c h a n t w h o f i l l e d in rather late in t h e day t o d o o n e o f t h e sections - and s h o w e d a natural a p t i t u d e for t h e task! The ringing r e p o r t has again been c o m p i l e d and w r i t t e n by Simon Evans. He has d o n e a n o t h e r fantastic j o b by piecing it all t o g e t h e r and p r o d u c i n g s o m e t h i n g of interest for ringers and non-ringers alike, w i t h some interesting c o m m e n t s along t h e way. The Rarities Report, on rare birds considered by t h e British Birds Rarities C o m m i t t e e , has, as usual, been p u t t o g e t h e r efficiently by David Walsh. Laurie Forsyth has proof-read m u c h of this r e p o r t and my t h a n k s go t o h i m yet again. Phil W h i t t a k e r has again s o r t e d o u t t h e a r t w o r k f o r this r e p o r t and Bill Baston, again, t h e photographs. The standard of both remains very high. Thankyou t o everyone w h o s u b m i t s e i t h e r a r t w o r k or p h o t o s even if they, o f t e n because of duplication, d o n o t get used. Once again t h e f o u n t of all knowledge, Philip Murphy, has been e x t r e m e l y helpful d u r i n g t h e p r e p a r a t i o n o f this r e p o r t . His k n o w l e d g e of, and interest in, t h e b i r d l i f e of Suffolk c o n t i n u e s unbounded. Studies o f t h e t a x o n o m y o f birds are c o n t i n u i n g apace at this present t i m e . S o m e t i m e s this involves m a j o r changes as in swans, geese and ducks being placed at t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e list. Other t i m e s it may simply be m o v i n g a species or small group of species - as w i t h t h e snipes n o w being just before phalaropes. These p h y l o g e n o m i c studies c o n c e n t r a t e o n w h e r e t h e fields of evolution and genes intersect. One of t h e latest changes, but long-expected, i s t h a t of t h e falcons. These are n o w placed b e t w e e n t h e w o o d p e c k e r s and parrots, almost in t h e passerines, and are

5


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 separate f r o m t h e A c c i p i t r i f o r m e s - t h e vultures, eagles, buzzards and hawks. That may make you t h i n k d i f f e r e n t l y a b o u t t h a t H o b b y majestically taking a dragonfly and r e m o v i n g its wings in midair! The list also n o w goes f r o m waders t o skuas, t h e n auks, terns and gulls. The c u r r e n t changes have been i n t r o d u c e d into this r e p o r t necessitating t h e overdue inclusion of an index at t h e back. The index was p u t t o g e t h e r by Edward Jackson and uses only t h e c o m m o n names o f species. For any exotics y o u w i l l have t o l o o k in t h e A p p e n d i c e s section. In t h e ringing r e p o r t most of t h e changes t o t h e o r d e r w i l l be seen in t h e 2014 report. The b i n o m i a l of t h e Ruff is n o w Calidris pugnax billed Sandpiper, n o w Calidris falcinellus

and n o longer Philomachus

pugnax.

and Buff-breasted Sandpiper, n o w Calidris

Broad-

subruficollis

have similarly been changed. There are o t h e r m i n o r changes t h a t have been taken o n board in this report. A n d w h i l e w e are at it, it's back t o Rock Dove a n d Stock Dove. M o s t of us never changed ! As usuai t h e r e is t h e a n n u a l request f o r p e o p l e t o s u b m i t t h e i r records, if n o t m o n t h l y or quarterly, t h e n p r o m p t l y at t h e end of t h e year. If not s u b m i t t e d t h e n t h e records, and n u m b e r s involved, are lost. Rarer birds d o need t o be s u b m i t t e d t o t h e relevant c o m m i t t e e and, nowadays, p h o t o s can help in t h a t submission. Thank y o u t o all of t h e photographers w h o sent in their pictures and apologies if t h e y were n o t included. That is merely d o w n t o t h e fact t h a t w e cannot use t h e m all. Thanks also t o those w h o have s u b m i t t e d a r t w o r k . The standard, as usuai, is excellent. A special thanks t o Richard Allen w h o did t h e f r o n t cover. The original did not fit t h e page and he had sold it, so w e requested a n e w o n e ! I w a n t e d t o include t h e a r t w o r k of t h e Pacific Swift a t T r i m l e y Marshes by Phil Jones and eventually have placed it inside t h e f r o n t cover - t o my m i n d a very atmospheric piece of w o r k . W h e r e sold t h e price of this Bird Report is n o w £10 - a m u c h delayed increase. It is perhaps w o r t h m e n t i o n i n g here t h a t a j o i n t m e m b e r s h i p of SOG and SNS is £28 and gives m e m b e r s t h e Suffolk Bird Report, t h e SNS Transactions and b o t h t h e Harrier and W h i t e A d m i r a i t h r o u g h o u t t h e year. Seems like a bargain t o m e ! W e h o p e t h a t y o u consider t h e new size an i m p r o v e m e n t - it has been c o m i n g for some t i m e . Apologies t o a n y b o d y w h o has t o use a d i f f é r e n t shelf!

Siberian Stonechat Brian Small


Suffolk's Weather in 2013

Suffolk's Weather in 2013 Edward

Jackson

W e a t h e r conditions locally, regionally and across t h e n o r t h e r n h e m i s p h e r e play a significant part in t h e w i n t e r survival of resident species and t h e arrival and d e p a r t u r e t i m e s of regular s u m m e r visitors. T e m p e r a t u r e and rainfall in p a r t i c u l a r affect b r e e d i n g success, w h i l e w i n d strength and direction o f t e n d e t e r m i n e t h e appearance and source areas of scarcities and rarities - t h e drift migrants t h a t can set pulses racing! This s h o r t review draws o n i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m a n u m b e r of w e a t h e r websites, including M e t Office data f o r East Anglia, t o give a feel for t h e w e a t h e r patterns experienced by Suffolk's birds in 2013. It f o l l o w s t h e M e t Office f o r m a t classifying December, January and February as ' w i n t e r ' ; March, April and May as 'spring'; June, July and August as ' s u m m e r ' and September, October and November as 'autumn'. M o n t h l y temperatures refer here t o the mean of all t h e daytime m a x i m u m readings. Comparisons w i t h 'average' t e m p e r a t u r e s and rainfall refer t h r o u g h o u t t o t h e 30-year long-term average. Winter: January and February January began fairly m i l d and settled, b u t it t u r n e d colder f r o m a r o u n d 11th, a situation t h a t c o n t i n u e d t o t h e end of t h e m o n t h . W a r m A t l a n t i c air masses c a m e up against m u c h colder easterly w i n d s f l o w i n g o u t of Scandinavia. This led t o several episodes of snowfall, leaving s n o w lying up t o 10cm d e e p in places. The m e a n m a x i m u m t e m p e r a t u r e across East Anglia was 5.7°C, 1.4°C b e l o w t h e l o n g - t e r m average. Rainfall of 4 7 m m , also across East Anglia, was a b o u t 10% b e l o w average. February continued the cold and unsettled theme. Snow falling on 11th and 12th was followed by a week of cold north-easterly winds m i d - m o n t h and then a final week that was grey, overcast and cold: just 20 hours of sunshine was recorded all m o n t h at Wattisham. The mean m a x i m u m temperature of 5.5°C was 1.9°C below the long-term average. Rainfall of 3 1 m m was 16% below average. A relatively the breeding

harsh start to the year, making

it challenging

for birds to gain condition

in time

for

season.

Spring: March, April and M a y March was as cold as t h e previous t w o months, creating an unusual 'extended winter'. For m u c h of t h e m o n t h , Suffolk's w e a t h e r was again d o m i n a t e d by easterly w i n d s blocking milder Atlantic air. It was t h e coldest M a r c h since 1962 and t h e second coldest in t h e past 100 years: t h e m e a n m a x i m u m t e m p e r a t u r e was 5.7°C (the same as January!) and a chilly 4.6 °C b e l o w average. However, rainfall of 5 3 m m was 22% above average. April s t a r t e d in m u c h t h e same w a y as M a r c h and it was n o t u n t i l 1 5 t h t h a t t e m p e r a t u r e s generally rose above 20.0°C, j u s t in t i m e for t h e main arrival of s u m m e r migrants. However, drier and cooler conditions t o o k over in t h e last w e e k of t h e m o n t h . The mean daily m a x i m u m o f 12.6°C was slightly above t h e l o n g - t e r m average; rainfall of 24 m m was half t h e average. M a y continued t h e run of challenging w e a t h e r for b o t h resident and migrant species w h i c h w e r e n o w well into their breeding cycle - it was t h e coldest May since 1996. After a calm start, t h e second w e e k saw s t r o n g w i n d s and rain r e t u r n ( c o n t r i b u t i n g t o a m o n t h l y t o t a l of 9 9 m m r e c o r d e d at Bredfield near Woodbridge). M o r e settled conditions w e r e re-established t o w a r d s t h e end of t h e m o n t h . The mean daily m a x i m u m climbed t o 15.5°C, but was still b e l o w t h e l o n g - t e r m average. A record-breaking

cold spring, which significantly affected the timing and success of breeding

attempts.

Summer: June, July and August June c o n d i t i o n s w e r e generally u n s e t t l e d f o r m u c h of t h e m o n t h , i n t e r s p e r s e d w i t h s h o r t periods of w a r m e r w e a t h e r u n t i l t e m p e r a t u r e s reached t h e high 20's in t h e last week. The m e a n


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 m a x i m u m t e m p e r a t u r e c l i m b e d t o 18.5°C, a l t h o u g h it was 1.1°C below average. Rainfall of 2 0 m m was significantly l o w e r at 60% of average. July saw Suffolk (and t h e UK generally) experience s o m e of t h e h o t t e s t and sunniest s u m m e r w e a t h e r since 2006. W i t h high pressure d o m i n a n t f o r m u c h of t h e first t h r e e weeks b o t h t e m p e r a t u r e s and sunshine hours were high, creating a 10 day heatwave of t e m p e r a t u r e s near o r above 30°C. The m e a n m a x i m u m t e m p e r a t u r e of 24.2°C was 2.0°C above average. Rainfall of 3 3 m m was significantly l o w e r at 63% of average. August saw m o r e record-breaking t e m p e r a t u r e s in t h e first week, f o l l o w e d by alternations of c a l m e r w i t h m o r e u n s e t t l e d c o n d i t i o n s , b u t by t h e e n d of t h e m o n t h t h e m e a n m a x i m u m t e m p e r a t u r e of 23.0°C was still 1.0°C above average. Rainfall of 5 2 m m was 93% of t h e average. The ninth warmest survival

summer

on record, with heatwaves

likely to have affected juvenile

and

adult

rates.

A u t u m n : September, October and November September was a generally m i l d m o n t h , a l t h o u g h in t h e first w e e k t e m p e r a t u r e s w e r e in excess of 32.0°C at Bredfield. Showers and w i n d characterised t h e m i d d l e weeks, before high pressure r e t u r n e d t o w a r d s t h e end of t h e m o n t h . The m e a n t e m p e r a t u r e of 18.8°C was near n o r m a l . Rainfall of 4 4 m m was 82% of t h e average. October was also a n o t h e r m i l d m o n t h , w i t h m a x i m u m t e m p e r a t u r e s 1.3°C a b o v e average. However, it was also generally unsettled w i t h periods of strong winds and heavy rain: S t o w m a r k e t recorded a rainfall intensity of 1 8 0 m m per h o u r on 20th. The vigorous l o w pressure system of t h e St Jude's s t o r m s w e p t t h r o u g h t h e c o u n t y o n 28th. Rainfall of 9 7 m m was significantly higher at 150% of t h e average. N o v e m b e r saw a succession of low and high pressure systems, giving a l t e r n a t i n g periods of u n s e t t l e d and calmer weather, a l t h o u g h overall it was t h e driest N o v e m b e r since 2004. The first frosts w e r e n o t n o t e d until t h e second half of t h e m o n t h . The m e a n m a x i m u m t e m p e r a t u r e of 9.5°C was near n o r m a l . Rainfall of 5 3 m m was 86% of average. A relatively

mild autumn

and a mild, wet and windy start to the next

winter...

Return t o Winter: December December was a m o n t h o f significant contrasts, pushing e x t r e m e s in b o t h t e m p e r a t u r e and rainfall. The m e a n d a y t i m e max f o r East Anglia of 9.3°C was 2.0°C above average, m a k i n g this t h e w a r m e s t D e c e m b e r since 1988. H o w e v e r a n o t h e r rapid succession of d e e p A t l a n t i c w e a t h e r systems (which caused m a j o r f l o o d i n g in t h e s o u t h - w e s t of England) p r o d u c e d rainfall across East Anglia 10% a b o v e average and a series of e x t r e m e l y w i n d y days, w i t h o n e being m e a s u r e d in W o o d b r i d g e over t h e 24 hours of 5th.

/

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Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2013

Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2013 Lee Woods January A first-winter Red-breasted Goose w h i c h was f o u n d on N o r t h W a r r e n d u r i n g t h e closing days of 2012, having previously spent a couple of days on Hollesley Marshes, r e m a i n e d t h e r e a m o n g s t a small flock of Greater White-fronted Geese. Surprisingly, a second f i r s t - w i n t e r Red-breasted Goose was t h e n f o u n d on N o r t h W a r r e n o n 4 t h and remained t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h along w i t h t h e four regular feral adult birds. W e shall probably never k n o w t h e t r u e origins of these y o u n g individuals b u t it has certainly been a t o p i c of conversation. Up to six Tundra Bean Geese ranged b e t w e e n W e s t l e t o n and M i n s m e r e RSPB t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h . A Great W h i t e Egret was r e p o r t e d over T h u r s t o n , 1 3 t h . A very c o n f i d i n g Red-necked Grebe was seen o n t h e Aide Estuary at A l d e b u r g h Marshes, 2 5 t h and 26th. A juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen close offshore at Aldeburgh, 6th and a n o t h e r s h o w e d up i n t e r m i t t e n t l y at O u l t o n Broad and Benacre Broad t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h and into February. A juvenile Great Northern Diver w h i c h was first seen in Hamilton Dock o n December 2 9 t h 2012 r e m a i n e d at L o w e s t o f t all m o n t h . A l t o n W a t e r p r o d u c e d b o t h Great N o r t h e r n Diver a n d a Slavonian Grebe o n several days a l t h o u g h w i l d f o w l n u m b e r s a p p e a r e d t o be w e l l d o w n o n previous years. Both t h e O r w e l l and Stour Estuaries w e r e productive t h r o u g h o u t t h e p e r i o d w i t h Great Northern Diver, Long-tailed Duck and Velvet Scoter being seen b e t w e e n Wherstead Strand and Woolverstone and up t o eight Slavonian Grebes in Holbrook Bay plus Velvet Scoter and Longtailed Duck o f f S t u t t o n Mill. A smart a d u l t Black Brant was picked o u t a m o n g s t 600 Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Shotley Marshes, 3rd and t h e n seen o n occasions t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h o n t h e O r w e l l Estuary at b o t h Collimer Point and Colton Creek. Further Black Brants w e r e also seen at Gedgrave Marshes and o n t h e saltings/marshes at Felixstowe Ferry on t h e Deben. An adult Lesser White-fronted Goose was found amongst a mixed Greylag/Tundra Bean Geese flock at Eastbridge, 19th, but soon departed only t o reappear in the Buss Creek area of Southwold, 27th. The peak c o u n t of Purple Sandpipers at Ness Point was 11 on January 12th. Three Lapland Buntings w e r e seen t o fly over East Lane, Bawdsey, 8 t h and carry o n inland. Up t o five Short-eared Owls w e r e seen at Puttockshill, Pakenham. A Black-bellied Dipper was seen on t h e border w i t h Norfolk o n t h e River Little Ouse at Thetford and proved very popular especially as it was so photogenic. February After being present for 54 days, t h e juvenile Great Northern Diver decided t o m o v e o n f r o m Hamilton Dock, 24th. The six Tundra Bean Geese c o n t i n u e d to c o m m u t e b e t w e e n W e s t l e t o n and M i n s m e r e w i t h a peak c o u n t of seven o n 22nd. There w e r e several flocks of Waxwings a r o u n d t h e county w i t h t h e highest c o u n t being 70 in Bury St. Edmunds early in t h e m o n t h . The v i e w i n g m o u n d at Waveney Forest c o n t i n u e d t o prove popular w i t h one, s o m e t i m e s t w o , Rough-legged Buzzards (in Norfolk) being seen regularly along w i t h a s u p p o r t i n g cast of Shorteared Owl, Merlin, Peregrine and Great W h i t e Egret. A juvenile Glaucous Gull was initially seen n o r t h offshore at Covehithe t h e n o n pig fields b e h i n d t h e Broad, 2nd; w h a t was presumably t h e same bird was seen briefly at Carlton Marshes, 1 6 t h and in flight over O u l t o n Broad, 20th. It, or another, juvenile Glaucous Gull was initially seen w e s t over t h e dock complex at Felixstowe before being w a t c h e d o u t t o sea f o l l o w i n g t h e ship

Qingdao

Tower o f f Landguard, 28th. T w e n t y - t w o Pink-footed and f o u r Tundra Bean Geese were seen o n Town Marshes, S o u t h w o l d and Reydon Marshes, w i t h t h e latter birds being seen o n Benacre Broad, 15th and 16th. A n o t a b l e

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013 c o u n t o f 40 Pink-footed Geese was o b s e r v e d at Gedgrave, 5 t h a n d counts of Greater W h i t e fronted Geese peaked at 305 at N o r t h W a r r e n , 10th. The Long-tailed Duck c o n t i n u e d t o be seen f r o m S t u t t o n Mill, Stour Estuary t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h and up t o t e n Slavonian Grebes w e r e seen nearby in Holbrook Bay, 17th. The only Greater Scaup of t h e p e r i o d concerned a y o u n g bird at Trimley Marshes SWT t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h . A single Hawfinch p u t in several appearances t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h at Sotterley, proving q u i t e p o p u l a r as this species was once a regular bird in n u m b e r s at this site. Up t o t h r e e Tree Sparrows w e r e seen f r e q u e n t i n g feeders at East Lane, Bawdsey. A Red-breasted Goose of u n k n o w n age was f o u n d o n 3rd amongst t h e Brent Goose flock o n S u d b o u r n e Marshes w h i c h also contained six Pale-bellied Brent Geese. Two Black Brants w e r e seen t o g e t h e r at Felixstowe Ferry, Deben Estuary f r o m 18th. The adult Black Brant was also seen i n t e r m i t t e n t l y t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h on t h e Orwell. A Great W h i t e Egret was seen on The M e a r e at Thorpeness, 6 t h t h e n spent t h e rest of t h e m o n t h c o m m u t i n g b e t w e e n t h e r e and nearby N o r t h W a r r e n . W h a t was t h o u g h t t o be a Great W h i t e Egret was seen over t h e A12 by t h e Seckford r o u n d a b o u t , W o o d b r i d g e , at dusk, 15th. Caspian Gulls w e r e n o t e d at Lackford ( t w o first-winters and a p r o b a b l e f o u r t h - w i n t e r ) 6 t h and single a d u l t birds w e r e seen at M i n s m e r e t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h . Jack Snipe were seen at Trimley Retreat (two) and Levington Lagoon, b o t h 9 t h . Great Northern Divers w e r e seen off b o t h Dunwich, 9 t h and Slaughden, 13th. Smew n u m b e r s at M i n s m e r e peaked m i d - m o n t h w i t h t e n birds ( t w o drakes) being present a r o u n d t h e reserve. Single Pomarine Skua sightings w e r e n o t e d o f f M i n s m e r e , 13th and t h e n over t h e Scrape, 2 0 t h . A 'Pom' was also seen o f f s h o r e f r o m Landguard also o n 20th, a n o t h e r was seen n o r t h offshore, 2 4 t h a n d w h a t was p r e s u m a b l y t h e same bird sat in t h e river m o u t h , 2 6 t h . An unseasonable Balearic Shearwater was seen o f f s h o r e at Landguard, 6 t h w h e r e up t o 6000 gulls w e r e seen f e e d i n g in t h e shipping channel some 6-8 kilometres o f f s h o r e ! The o n l y r e p o r t o f Snow Bunting was f r o m East Lane, Bawdsey w h e r e up t o nine w e r e seen o n t h e shingle beach j u s t n o r t h o f t h e lagoons. The only Shore Lark sighting of t h e m o n t h was of a single bird on Havergate Island RSPB. A f e m a l e Dartford Warbler was seen, away f r o m its usual haunts, at Levington Creek t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h t h o u g h it proved t o be very elusive. In t h e very w e s t of t h e county, f o u r Common Cranes w e r e present at Lakenheath Fen RSPB, 4th. This site also held at least t h r e e male Hen Harriers in t h e raptor roost. A r o u n d 100 Bramblings w e r e seen at Great Livermere, 2nd. A f i r s t - w i n t e r Ring-billed Gull was r e p o r t e d in t h e gull roost at Lackford SWT o n t h e evening of 23rd b u t n o t thereafter. A Great Grey Shrike was a n o t e w o r t h y f i n d at W r e n t h a m , 22nd and proved p o p u l a r until its a p p a r e n t d e p a r t u r e o n 25th. A flock of 38 Twite was seen along t h e f o o t p a t h 100 metres west of t h e Bailey Bridge, S o u t h w o l d t o w a r d s t h e m o n t h ' s end. March G o o d n u m b e r s of Bewick's Swans w e r e seen heading east back t o t h e near-Continent early in t h e m o n t h a f t e r s p e n d i n g t h e w i n t e r in t h e UK. B o t h t h e a d u l t a n d f i r s t - w i n t e r Black Brants r e m a i n e d at Felixstowe Ferry w i t h t h e latter still being present at least until 5th. Up t o eight Hawfinches w e r e seen in Sotterley Park o n 1st w h i c h proved p o p u l a r w i t h local birders and a l l o w e d t h e o p p o r t u n i t y f o r s o m e t o p h o t o g r a p h this n o r m a l l y secretive species. Two Rough-legged Buzzards c o n t i n u e d t o be seen f r o m t h e v i e w i n g m o u n d in t h e W a v e n e y Forest w h i c h also hosted t w o Short-eared Owls, Peregrine and Merlin! Tundra Bean Geese were noted w i t h six birds on the south marsh at North Warren, four on Reydon Marshes and six seen t o fly over Westleton all o n 1st (the latter birds presumably being t h e N o r t h W a r r e n individuals?). A Hooded Crow was seen at t h e pig fields near Covehithe Broad, 5th. A second calendar-year Caspian Gull was a n o t e w o r t h y find, away f r o m t h e usual haunts, at Felixstowe Ferry at t h e Deben river m o u t h , w i t h t h e same site hosting a Black-throated Diver o n 1st and 2nd w h i c h was t h e n seen t o fly upriver. Further Caspian Gulls (third- and f o u r t h - w i n t e r

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Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2013 birds) were n o t e d on t h e Levels at M i n s m e r e , 2nd. Also n o t e d on t h a t day w e r e eight Slavonian Grebes in Holbrook Bay, Stour Estuary and t h e long-staying Long-tailed Duck was still v i e w a b l e f r o m Stutton Ness. The first Sand M a r t i n of t h e year was r e p o r t e d at Lackford Lakes SWT o n 2nd w i t h surely m o r e t o f o l l o w as t h e m o n t h progressed and, m o r e i m p o r t a n t l y , if w e a t h e r conditions w e r e favourable. A f t e r going missing for five days, t h e W r e n t h a m Great Grey Shrike decided t o p u t in a n o t h e r appearance along Guildhall Lane, 3rd and s h o w e d w e l l . The small flock of Twite c o n t i n u e d t o show by t h e Bailey Bridge at Southwold. Three Snow Buntings w e r e seen just south of The Battery, Shingle Street, 3rd and t h e same site also held up t o t h r e e Water Pipits. Waxwings w e r e still being seen w i t h up t o 53 birds present in Bury St. Edmunds and 20 birds behind Waitrose in Saxmundham. A Great W h i t e Egret was seen in flight over Kessingland Levels, 6th, being m o b b e d by Herring Gulls t h e n ditching into a reedbed adjacent t o t h e A12! The first reports of Sandwich Terns w e r e received o n 10th w i t h t w o birds being seen n o r t h o f f Orfordness and a single bird was observed n o r t h o f f Ness Point. A male W h i t e Wagtail was also seen on 10th near Trimley Marshes SWT, and a Sand M a r t i n was also seen o n this day b a t t l i n g across t h e Stour Estuary in a n o r t h e r l y gale! Small n u m b e r s of Waxwings c o n t i n u e d t o be seen, especially a r o u n d Lowestoft and Ipswich, until 15th at least. A Pomarine Skua was seen o f f Felixstowe, 11th and nearby t w o Caspian Gulls (adult and t h i r d - w i n t e r ) w e r e seen o n t h e Point at Landguard at high tide, 14th w h e r e a Great Northern Diver was seen t o fly n o r t h o n t h e same a f t e r n o o n . The Great Grey Shrike was at W r e n t h a m again, 3rd and 17th and a Shore Lark was on Havergate Island RSPB, 27th. Highlights f r o m Landguard NR d u r i n g t h e m o n t h w e r e an adult Iceland Gull, 17th and a Long-eared Owl, 2 0 t h t o 22nd and several Black-throated Divers w e r e seen flying past t h e reserve d u r i n g t h e m o n t h . The Black-throated Diver was at Felixstowe Ferry until 2nd. A Little Auk was o f f Slaughden, 21st. Rough-legged Buzzards w e r e n o t e d over Barrow B o t t o m , 13th, Benacre, 15th, Trimley Marshes SWT, 18th and Freston Hill, 2 8 t h . A Hooded Crow was again at Covehithe, 5 t h and 21st and a n o t h e r at Lowestoft, 29th and 30th. The f o u r Tundra Bean Geese remained at Reydon until 3rd, w h i l e six f l e w over W e s t l e t o n , 3rd. On the Stour Estuary t h e r e w e r e up t o eight Slavonian Grebes regularly c o u n t e d and t h e single Long-tailed Duck. Three Slavonian Grebes w e r e o n A l t o n Water, 18th. S m e w n u m b e r s at M i n s m e r e RSPB peaked at 12 birds o n 2 6 t h and a g o o d c o u n t of eight Hawfinches was n o t e d at Sotterley Park, 1st. The icy w i n d s f r o m t h e C o n t i n e n t i m p e d e d t h e arrival of early s u m m e r migrants. Only small numbers managed t o battle t h r o u g h t h e rather unseasonal w e a t h e r t h a t w e w e r e experiencing at t h e t i m e . April 2013 An i m m a t u r e / s u b - a d u l t Great Bustard f r o m t h e Salisbury Plain project was p h o t o g r a p h e d at Lavenham o n 17th. This caused a f l u r r y of e x c i t e m e n t but u n f o r t u n a t e l y could n o t be f o u n d t h e next day. One of t h e principal highlights of t h e year for many was t h e discovery of an Eastern Subalpine Warbler at Landguard, 2 6 t h and 27th. This bird proved t o be very popular and a p h o t o g r a p h e r ' s d r e a m as it s h o w e d d o w n t o a f e w m e t r e s at t i m e s ! Also f r o m t h e M e d came a Red-rumped Swallow at Kessingland, 1 8 t h and 19th. A Serin was at Landguard briefly, 23rd, a f i r s t - s u m m e r Rose-coloured Starling at Orford, 23rd t o 28th and a Golden Oriole at Levington f r o m 28th, staying f o u r days a l t h o u g h proving t o be very m o b i l e and elusive. A Shore Lark was o n Havergate Island until 7th. A juvenile White-tailed Eagle f l e w f r o m Norfolk into Suffolk airspace o n 6 t h and was seen t o head south over several locations b e t w e e n M i n s m e r e and Butley, w h e r e it spent a f e w days before heading n o r t h and was r e p o r t e d f r o m w i t h i n t h e Benacre Estate, 1 0 t h and 11th. Two Honey

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013 Buzzards w e r e seen t o c o m e 'in o f f ' over Felixstowe, 2 9 t h . A p r e s u m e d escapee was a W h i t e Stork initially seen in Norfolk at Breydon W a t e r and later seen heading over Kessingland, 6th. Great W h i t e Egrets w e r e noted at N o r t h Warren RSPB f r o m 2 5 t h and t h e n t w o at M i n s m e r e f r o m 29th until M a y 2nd w i t h one remaining until 6th. A drake Greenwinged Teal was a one-day bird at North W a r r e n RSPB, 14th and a female Ferruginous Duck w h i c h was f o u n d o n pools behind South Hide at M i n s m e r e , 17th remained t h e r e until M a y 9th. Garganeys w e r e n o t e d at Hazlewood Marshes SWT w i t h six birds present, 7 t h . A Bluethroat w a s heard singing along t h e cliff face at G o r l e s t o n , 1 6 t h , b u t was never seen, a n d t h e r e was b e l a t e d news o f a Hoopoe w h i c h was p r e s e n t f o r t w o days ( 1 8 t h and 19th) at Barking near Needha m M a r k e t . A singing W o o d W a r b l e r was present f o r a f e w days in t h e South Belt at M i n s m e r e f r o m 2 7 t h . A Hawfinch f r e q u e n t e d feeders at Bawdsey Hall for f o u r days f r o m 29th. A Long-eared O w l was f o u n d roosting at G u n t o n , 5 t h b u t may have been a r o u n d since 1st and a n o t h e r was at Benacre, 13th. Ravens w e r e r e p o r t e d f r o m Orfordness NT, 10th, M i n s m e r e , 14th and Stoke-by-Nayland, 17th and 18th. A Hooded Crow was again seen at Lowestoft, 5th. T h r e e Black-throated Divers w e r e o f f Landguard NR, 1st and a s u m m e r - p l u m a g e d Blackthroated Diver was o f f Pakefield, 10th. May M a y has always been regarded as one of t h e b e t t e r b i r d i n g m o n t h s w i t h i n t h e year, and, as e x p e c t e d , s t a r t e d o f f in g o o d f o r m w i t h m a n y scarce species being seen a r o u n d t h e county. A Hooded Crow south over Easton Bavents, 1st, started t h e ball rolling. Two Black Storks were n o t e d s o u t h over t h e reserve at M i n s m e r e , 1st, and t h e same day provided t h e first sighting of t h e year of Purple Heron w h i c h was seen at Lakenheath Fen RSPB. Two Common Cranes w e r e seen t o fly s o u t h over Boyton Marshes, 2nd. An absolutely stunning adult male Red-footed Falcon was seen over Lakenheath Fen RSPB f r o m 3rd until 2 9 t h at least, and at t i m e s s h o w i n g impeccably well. Observers w a t c h i n g t h e ' R e d - f o o t ' w e r e also t r e a t e d t o a 'reeling' Savi's Warbler f r o m 2 5 t h t o 3 0 t h at least - this bird also s h o w i n g well o n occasions. Temminck's Stints w e r e seen at Boyton Marshes on b o t h 5 t h and 1 7 t h , M i n s m e r e on 14th and Trimley Marshes, 18th. M i n s m e r e had a purple spell a r o u n d m i d - m o n t h w i t h Purple Heron, 7 t h and 8 t h , Cattle Egret o n t h e Levels o n t h e m o r n i n g of 11th, Savi's Warbler 'reeling' f r o m t h e reedbed o n 12th, 23rd a n d again o n 2 9 t h , Common Crane over t h e Levels, 1 3 t h and finally t w o Caspian Gulls, an a d u l t o n 18th and a first-summer bird t h e f o l l o w i n g day. The Cattle Egret was t h e n seen o n South Marsh, N o r t h W a r r e n o n t h e a f t e r n o o n of 11th. Honey Buzzards sightings involved t w o over Lower Hollesley C o m m o n o n 8th. An unseasonable Hen Harrier was seen t o fly n o r t h over Thorpeness j u s t inland o f t h e disused caravan park o n 6th. A local ' m e g a ' at Landguard was discovered on t h e c o m m o n o n 8 t h in t h e f o r m of a Grey Partridge, t h e last sighting of t h e species at this site being way back in 1982 - so a w e l c o m e grip back f o r many regulars! Spoonbill n u m b e r s peaked at eight birds o n Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick, 1 7 t h t o 19th, up t o six at M i n s m e r e m i d - m o n t h and several singletons seen t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h up and d o w n t h e coast. A Montagu's Harrier was seen on Orfordness, 5 t h , a n d t h e same site also held a Pectoral Sandpiper w h i c h was seen briefly o n 12th before flying o f f south. The c o n t i n u e d w a t c h on Tinker's Marshes p r o d u c e d a juvenile Glaucous Gull o n 14th, a drake Garganey all m o n t h and a Little Stint on 20th. A Marsh Warbler was t r a p p e d at Landguard on 14th along w i t h a W o o d Warbler w h i c h was discovered in t h e same net o n t h e same net r o u n d ! A n o t h e r Wood Warbler was ringed o n 2 7 t h . O t h e r w i s e LBO was p r e t t y q u i e t given t h e t i m e of year! The first r e t u r n i n g Golden Oriole at Lakenheath Fen RSPB was h e a r d o n 1 6 t h and t h e n sporadically until t h e m o n t h ' s end. Also at this site a Montagu's Harrier was r e p o r t e d flying w e s t

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Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2013 on 9th. A f e m a l e Golden Oriole was r e p o r t e d f r o m M i n s m e r e by t h e Canopy Hide, 25th. On 18th t w o adult male Red-backed Shrikes arrived in t h e county, one at Landguard and t h e other on t h e Denes Oval, Lowestoft w h e r e the next day it was j o i n e d by an adult female Woodchat Shrike! Further male Red-backed Shrikes w e r e f o u n d by the sheep fields at S o u t h w o l d o n 2 5 t h and 26th and o n Orfordness and W e s t w o o d Marshes, Walberswick NNR, b o t h on 26th. Raven continued its good run of recent sightings w i t h a bird seen over Burrow Hill, Butley before d r i f t i n g over t o w a r d s Gedgrave on 18th. A f i r s t - s u m m e r male Montagu's Harrier was seen f r o m t h e south wall at Breydon o n several dates f r o m 18th until 22nd at least. Nearby, t w o Common Cranes w e r e seen, just n o r t h of N o r t h Cove, on Castle Marsh o n 23rd. An Osprey was seen t o fly w e s t up t h e Blyth Valley f r o m Mells Hamlet o n 25th t h e n , presumably t h e same individual, was seen later over Somerleyton. A Pacific Swift lingered o v e r t h e lagoons at East Lane, Bawdsey f o r j u s t 40 m i n u t e s o n 2 9 t h before d r i f t i n g off n o r t h m u c h t o t h e dismay of t h e arriving birders! Finally a Wryneck was seen by t h e f a r m buildings at Banter's Barn, Boyton on 29th, a l t h o u g h it was very elusive. June The m o n t h of June can always be a dark horse w h e n it comes t o t h e rarer birds and this year was no exception. The Savi's Warbler at Lakenheath remained until 7 t h , o f t e n s h o w i n g w e l l t o t h e hordes and t h e long-staying male Red-footed Falcon at t h e same site was last r e p o r t e d on 5th. The elusive Savi's Warbler w h i c h was first heard in April was still 'reeling' sporadically f r o m w i t h i n t h e r e e d b e d at M i n s m e r e b u t was never seen. Also at M i n s m e r e f i v e Spoonbills w e r e regularly seen on t h e Levels and a Great W h i t e Egret was n o t e d behind South Hide f r o m 1st t o 5th. Two Common Cranes w e r e n o t e d high over Benacre Broad, 2nd, and t w o Puffins f l e w n o r t h o f f Thorpeness t h e same day w i t h a f u r t h e r bird n o r t h t h e f o l l o w i n g day. An intriguing r e p o r t of an Iberian Chiffchaff f r o m Kensington Gardens, Lowestoft on 3rd had locals searching for w h a t w o u l d have been a c o u n t y first. There was no sign of t h e Chiffchaff b u t an i m m a t u r e / f e m a l e Red-breasted Flycatcher was discovered instead! T w o W h i t e Storks w e r e seen over Sizewell o n 3rd heading n o r t h at 13:30hrs. A little f l u r r y of Red-backed Shrikes o c c u r r e d early in t h e m o n t h , w i t h males being seen at M i n s m e r e ( W h i n Hill), 4 t h , Breydon W a t e r South Wall, 5th, and again at M i n s m e r e ( N o r t h Wall), 7 t h and t h e only female at G u n t o n Cliffs, 9 t h and 10th. Other birds of note a r o u n d this t i m e w e r e : Montagu's Harrier seen briefly over M i n s m e r e , 5 t h , Osprey n o r t h over t h e A12 at Blythburgh, 6 t h and an i m m a t u r e male Golden Oriole in T h e b e r t o n Woods. It was a relatively poor year for Marsh Warblers, w i t h o n l y o n e bird n o t e d d u r i n g June at S o u t h w o l d , 9 t h t o 11th. Quail sightings w e r e also w e l l d o w n o n previous years, w i t h only t w o birds r e p o r t e d , t h e first b e i n g a calling bird at B o w b e c k , Bardwell, t h e n o n e was f l u s h e d at Redgrave Fen. On a positive note, Red Kite sightings appear t o have shot t h r o u g h t h e roof, w i t h no f e w e r t h a n 72 birds r e p o r t e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h and t h r o u g h o u t t h e c o u n t y w i t h t h e highest c o u n t being 24 birds on 14th. Also t h e r e w e r e several reports of one or t w o Ravens in t h e Stour Valley over a six-week period, w h i c h may indicate t h a t breeding t o o k place, or was a t t e m p t e d , in t h e area. An adult female Red-necked Phalarope on t h e Scrape at M i n s m e r e for m u c h of t h e day o n 14th, and a n o t h e r phalarope (probably Red-necked) was seen on t h e sea at Felixstowe t h e very same evening.

Another

Red-necked

Phalarope

spent

the

evening

on

the

sea

at

Easton

Bavents/Southwold, 25th. No d o u b t bird of t h e year, n o t just for county birders but also f o r many f r o m f u r t h e r afield, was t h e discovery o f t h e r e t u r n i n g Pacific Swift at Trimley Marshes, 1 5 t h . The bird was f o u n d at 10:48hr over t h e reserve and miraculously stayed until 16:05hrs t h e f o l l o w i n g day a l l o w i n g m a n y hundreds t o add this 'mega' t o b o t h c o u n t y and life lists! Great W h i t e Egrets are n o w seen m o r e regularly in t h e county and this m o n t h was no exception

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013 w i t h birds n o t e d at Pipps Ford, Barking on t w o consecutive evenings, 18th and 19th, Butley Mills, 2 4 t h a n d Carlton Marshes SWT, 29th and 30th. Unseasonable sightings i n c l u d e d a ringtail Harrier over t h e fields at Kings Fleet, Falkenham w h i c h after being seen well was c o n f i r m e d as a Hen, 19th and 2 0 t h and a t h i r d - s u m m e r Glaucous Gull r e p o r t e d o n t h e sea j u s t n o r t h of Ness Point, L o w e s t o f t , 24th. Roseate Terns w e r e seen at b o t h M i n s m e r e and Landguard, 21st. An Osprey was seen t o c o m e 'in o f f ' at M i n s m e r e late m o r n i n g , 27th t h e n w h a t was p r e s u m e d t o be t h e same bird was seen later over Havergate Island. An u n e x p e c t e d sighting c o n c e r n e d a Nuthatch w h i c h was seen at Landguard, 2 6 t h , only t h e t h i r d site record for this species. Two Common Cranes w e r e n o t e d circling over Benacre Broad, 2 8 t h , a Pacific Golden Plover was present on Orfordness f o r five days f r o m 2 9 t h in an area of no general access. July The Great W h i t e Egret r e m a i n e d at Carlton Marshes until 5 t h before m o v i n g o n t o pastures new. A n o t h e r ringtail Hen Harrier was n o t e d b e t w e e n Kelsale and Sibton, 5th. A Roseate Tern was r e p o r t e d s o u t h past N o r t h Beach, Lowestoft, 7th. A Bittern was n o t e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h along t h e river w a l l of t h e D e b e n upriver f r o m Felixstowe Ferry. Little Gull numbers began t o build up d u r i n g t h e m o n t h w i t h up t o 54 birds being present at M i n s m e r e , 18th. Some g o o d birds w e r e n o t e d a r o u n d Breydon W a t e r w h i c h included; a male Red-backed Shrike viewable f r o m t h e ruins of Burgh Castle, 15th, Great W h i t e Egret seen b o t h 15th and 25th, Osprey, 1 3 t h and finally a staggering c o u n t of 310 Mediterranean Gulls o n Breydon Water, 27th. There was a small influx of Two-barred Crossbills i n t o East Anglia o n t h e a f t e r n o o n of 20th, and t w o i m m a t u r e / f e m a l e birds w e r e seen for j u s t eight m i n u t e s (15:15hr t o 15:23hr) by a lucky f e w w h o h a p p e n e d t o be on Havergate Island at t h e t i m e . Had t h e birds hung a r o u n d and been m o r e accessible t h e y w o u l d have proved very p o p u l a r as t h e last c o u n t y record was w a y back in 18941 S i n g l e t o n Spoonbill sightings came f r o m Trimley Marshes, 1 7 t h and Tinker's

Marshes,

Walberswick, 18th. A Pomarine Skua was n o t e d n o r t h o f f Thorpeness, 2 0 t h w i t h f u r t h e r 'Poms' ( t w o adults) seen m o v i n g s o u t h o f f Ness Point, 30th. A very unseasonable Great Northern Diver was observed h e a d i n g n o r t h f r o m Landguard, 25th, w h i l e nearby a Great W h i t e Egret was seen f o r an a f t e r n o o n o n l y on t h e reservoir at Trimley Marshes, 25th. A steady influx of returning waders began f r o m 23rd w h i c h included several Spotted Redshanks, Curlew Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers a n d Wood Sandpipers. August W a d e r n u m b e r s continued t o increase early in August w i t h a very n o t e w o r t h y c o u n t of 15 W o o d Sandpipers at M i n s m e r e , 2nd. An adult Roseate Tern was also seen t h a t same evening f r e q u e n t i n g South Scrape and it or a n o t h e r adult Roseate Tern was seen along Lowestoft N o r t h Beach o n 6 t h and 11th. A small g r o u p of u p t o seven Black Terns proved popular as t h e y fed o f f Links Hill, Lowestoft, 2nd t o 6th. The Little Gull n u m b e r s at M i n s m e r e peaked at 167 o n 5th. A j u v e n i l e Black-necked Grebe was present, 3rd t o 6 t h , on Livermere Lake, w h e r e a W o o d Sandpiper was also present. Seven Curlew Sandpipers w e r e on Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick, 2 0 t h . The first r e t u r n i n g passerine migrants of t h e a u t u m n started t o arrive early in t h e m o n t h w i t h a Pied Flycatcher w h i c h f o u n d t h e net at Landguard, 5 t h f o l l o w e d soon after by o n e at East Lane, Bawdsey, 6 t h and 7 t h , t h e n a 'small influx' occurred w i t h Pied Flys being n o t e d at East Lane (five) and Landguard (four) o n 19th. The first Whinchat of t h e a u t u m n was discovered in fields by t h e Old Sewage Works, Corton, 14th, w i t h o t h e r s f o l l o w i n g f r o m 2 0 t h . An impressive t o t a l of 180 Mediterranean Gulls was seen in Wolsey Creek, Reydon, 9 t h w h i c h also held 25 Yellow-legged Gulls. Spoonbills were seen over Carlton Marshes SWT, 10th (one circling

//

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Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2013 t h e reserve and then t w o birds over heading east) and up to 12 were on Havergate Island t h r o u g h o u t t h e month. A Great White Egret spent t w o days on Island Mere, Minsmere, l O t h t o 12th. T h e f i r s t Cory's Shearwater of t h e seawatching season was duly n o t e d south o f f Thorpeness, l l t h ; t h e s a m e site also saw a Roseate Tern go s o u t h , 13th w h i c h had earlier b e e n seen o f f Southwold. O t h e r notable seabirds d u r i n g t h e m o n t h included j u v e n i l e Long-tailed Skuas, w h i c h w e r e n o t e d o f f Lowestoft, 1 7 t h and 18th and Kessingland, 19th. Also a single Pomarine Skua and 2 1 Arctic Skuas w e r e seen f r o m L o w e s t o f t , 18th. Up t o 80 Little Gulls w e r e seen f r o m D o w e r House, Sizewell, 19th. However, probably t h e best seabird seen d u r i n g this p e r i o d was an adult Sabine's Gull w h i c h spent several minutes slowly d r i f t i n g n o r t h t h e n south o f f Bawdsey o n t h e evening of 19th. A smart W o o d Warbler was discovered at East LaĂąe, Bawdsey, 12th to 14th w i t h a n o t h e r being seen at Landguard, 19th. A Marsh Warbler was an unexpected f i n d in t h e nets at nearby Hollesley Marshes RSPB, 14th. An Osprey was seen i n t e r m i t t e n t l y t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h

around

Aldringham Walks. An Icterine Warbler was present on prĂ­vate land at Bawdsey, 19th w i t h a n o t h e r on Orfordness, 22nd. After several weeks w i t h o u t any news, t w o Ravens w e r e again seen in t h e Stour V a l l e y j u s t east of Dedham (Essex), 20th. A very s m a r t juvenile Caspian Gull was n o t e d at t h e harbour m o u t h , S o u t h w o l d t o w a r d s t h e l a t t e r part of t h e m o n t h w h i l e nearby a Great W h i t e Egret t o o k up residence in t h e reedbed at Dingle Marshes, 19th t o 23rd. Classic fall c o n d i t i o n s over t h e Bank Holiday w e e k e n d , 2 4 t h t o 2 6 t h , resulted in s o m e great birding along o u r coast. Highlights over these t h r e e days included a Greenish Warbler at Corton, 25th, no f e w e r t h a n f i f t e e n Wryneck r e p o r t e d w i t h five at Landguard alone, an Icterine Warbler t r a p p e d at Landguard, W o o d Warblers at Sizewell and Bawdsey plus good n u m b e r s of b o t h Pied Flycatcher and Whinchat and a f e w Common Redstarts t h r o w n in for good measure. Two Dotterel w e r e seen briefly on t h e C o m m o n at Landguard before heading o f f n o r t h , 2 4 t h . A Quail was flushed f r o m N o r t h Denes, L o w e s t o f t early m o r n i n g , 2 4 t h b u t w a s n ' t seen again. Seawatching was surprisingly quiet given t h e n o r t h - e a s t e r l y w i n d s d u r i n g t h e last w e e k of t h e m o n t h ; however, Pomarine Skuas w e r e n o t e d f r o m a n u m b e r of w a t c h points, also t w o probable Long-tailed Skuas w e r e seen m o v i n g south off Bawdsey, 24th. Ospreys w e r e seen over t h e Orwell Bridge and Lakenheath, 2 6 t h and t w e l v e Curlew Sandpipers w e r e seen t h e same a f t e r n o o n at Levington Creek. Two Red-backed Shrikes t o o k up t e m p o r a r y residence in t h e L o w e s t o f t area w i t h o n e bird present on N o r t h Denes, 27th t o 30th and t h e o t h e r in t h e grounds of t h e w i n d t u r b i n e c o m p o u n d , Ness Point, 2 8 t h t o 31st. Several sightings of interest occurred on 29th; it all kicked off w i t h a Barred Warbler w h i c h was seen all-too-briefly at Landguard. However, this wasn't t h e case for t h e Balearic Shearwater w h i c h was tracked f r o m n o r t h t o s o u t h and, t h e r e f o r e , was 'picked u p ' at Ness Point, Kessingland, Southwold and Sizewell. A Wood Warbler was t r a p p e d and ringed at a private site in Hollesley and finally several Ospreys w e r e r e p o r t e d w i t h birds being seen over S o u t h w o l d , M i n s m e r e , M a r t l e s h a m and Lakenheath. Long-tailed Skuas w e r e n o t e d offshore, 30th w i t h t w o being seen off Ness Point and t h r e e f r o m t h e beach at Sizewell, w h e r e 130 Little Gulls w e r e also present. A good selection of waders was present o n Havergate Island, 31st w i t h t h e u n d o u b t e d highlight being t h e a d u l t W h i t e - r u m p e d Sandpiper w h i c h was discovered as well as t w o juvenile Little Stints, 11 Curlew Sandpipers and 17 Spoonbills, a l t h o u g h t h e Corncrake w h i c h was flushed on Orfordness o n t h e same day w o u l d have proved popular had it been m o r e accessible. September Great W h i t e Egrets w e r e present at M i n s m e r e w i t h f o u r birds o n Island M e r e , M i n s m e r e , 3rd and 4 t h w h i c h is t h e county's largest gathering of this species at any one site, w i t h t h r e e birds remaining t h r o u g h o u t t h e rest of t h e m o n t h . Two birds w e r e seen west over Hazlewood Marshes,

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013 5 t h w h i c h w e r e p r e s u m e d t o be t w o f r o m M i n s m e r e and t h e single bird at Dingle M a r s h e s r e m a i n e d f r o m last m o n t h until 2nd. A Wryneck was seen at Bentley, 2nd w h i c h is a good inland record, feeding in stubble along Old Hall Lane, w h i l e others w e r e seen on t h e disused caravan site at Thorpeness o n t h e evening of 5 t h , Landguard, 1 3 t h t o 1 5 t h and Easton Bavents, 18th t o 22nd. Two Ospreys w e r e present o n t h e Blyth Estuary t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h , w i t h others being seen a r o u n d t h e county. The bar was raised in t e r m s of rarity w i t h t h e discovery of a smart first-winter Lesser Grey Shrike in horse paddocks o n A l d r i n g h a m Walks, 15th t o 23rd, t h e bird proving popular d u r i n g its eightday stay; this sighting is t h e n i n t h record f o r t h e c o u n t y w i t h t h e previous record being at Trimley Marshes o n S e p t e m b e r 14th 2009. Keeping w i t h t h e shrike t h e m e , a juvenile Red-backed Shrike was present along t h e cliff-face at Thorpeness, 15th t o 18th. The first Yellow-browed Warbler of t h e a u t u m n f o u n d t h e net o n Orfordness, 21st; this was soon f o l l o w e d by o t h e r individuals at t h e Bowling Green at Sparrows Nest, Lowestoft, 22nd, one by t h e Customs House, Felixstowe, 23rd and singles at Hubbards Loke, G u n t o n , 2 4 t h , Skillsman Hill, S o u t h w o l d , 2 4 t h and 2 5 t h , Landguard, 26th t o 28th, Felixstowe Ferry, 26th, Thorpeness, 2 7 t h t o 3 0 t h and finally Golf Road, Felixstowe, 2 8 t h t o 3 0 t h . A smart Pectoral Sandpiper was f o u n d o n Trimley Marshes late in t h e day on 21st and remained until 3 0 t h at least. A rather confiding Lapland Bunting was present o n t h e beach at Landguard, 2 2 n d t o 2 4 t h and a Red-rumped Swallow was seen t o go south at t h e latter site o n t h e a f t e r n o o n o f 2 6 t h . Nearby a Red-breasted Flycatcher was seen on Marcus Road, Felixstowe, 2 8 t h . At M i n s m e r e , a Raven was seen on n u m e r o u s occasions on 28th, and a Cattle Egret was present o n t h e Konik field before m o v i n g t o South Levels on 2 9 t h . O t h e r n o t a b l e birds f o u n d d u r i n g t h e m o n t h included; Grey-headed Wagtail at Landguard, 6 t h , j u v e n i l e Montagu's Harrier s o u t h over Trimley Marshes, 8 t h , Lapland Bunting, Trimley Marshes, 12th, a much-discussed Roseate Tern o f f t h e rigs at Sizewell, 9 t h t o 17th, Balearic Shearwater s o u t h o f f Thorpeness, 7th, Grey Phalarope south o f f Corton, 21st and finally several Long-tailed Skuas o f f our coast t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h . October The m o n t h got o f f t o a flyer w i t h the discovery of a Siberian Stonechat at Trimley Marshes f r o m 1st t o 7th; this is t h e first occurrence of this species since being a recognised 'split' by t h e relevant authorities. Also present on this day was a presumed Red-backed Shrike w h i c h was seen on t h e golf course at Felixstowe Ferry and t h e Red-breasted Flycatcher remained o n Marcus Road, Felixstowe. Yellow-browed Warblers w e r e being seen almost daily w i t h up t o 3 1 birds r e p o r t e d b e t w e e n 1st and 17th. The t h r e e Great W h i t e Egrets continued their stay on Island M e r e , M i n s m e r e whilst t h e Raven seen t h e previous m o n t h was again noted over Island Mere, 3rd as was a Hooded Crow, 24th. A f i r s t - w i n t e r Red-breasted Goose a m o n g W i g e o n at Abbey Farm Marsh, Snape o n 6 t h stayed u n t i l 8th. A Hawfinch at Landguard was also seen on 8 t h . A j u v e n i l e Rose-coloured Starling was seen o n t h e a f t e r n o o n of 7 t h by t h e sluice at Benacre. The first Great Grey Shrike of m a n y was also n o t e d o n 7 t h , o n W e s t l e t o n Heath and a p r o b a b l e / p o s s i b l e Baltic Gull (un-ringed) was n o t e d in pig fields at Great Livermere, also 7th. T w o Lapland Buntings f l e w over East Lane, Bawdsey 8 t h and o n 10th t h e r e was a huge influx of thrushes i n t o t h e c o u n t y w i t h a r e p o r t e d c. 10000 Redwing being seen at Landguard alone! Favourable s e a w a t c h i n g c o n d i t i o n s prevailed over a t w o - d a y p e r i o d , 11th a n d 1 2 t h w h i c h resulted in n u m e r o u s sightings of Leach's Petrel o f f s h o r e f r o m m a n y locations, along w i t h t h e occasional Long-tailed Skua, Puffin and Balearic Shearwater. W i t h a classic 'birdie' day o n 12th w i t h t h e east w i n d still blowing, s o m e great birding was t o be had. Highlights for t h e day included; a male Red-footed Falcon flying n o r t h at Shingle Street (this bird having possibly been seen earlier in t h e day over Bawdsey Cliffs), four Great Grey Shrikes, 72 Ring Ouzels (22 in t h e Bawdsey area alone), t h e first Pallas's W a r b l e r of t h e a u t u m n at S o u t h w o l d campsite and a very s h o w y f i r s t - w i n t e r Caspian Gull f e e d i n g o n chips at S o u t h w o l d !

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Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2013 Further Pallas's Warblers w e r e seen at Orford Quay, 13th, N o r t h Denes, Lowestoft, 17th and M i n s m e r e Sluice bushes, 18th. It t u r n e d o u t t o be a good year for this Asiatic g e m in t h e county. Additional Great Grey Shrikes were seen at Landguard, 12th to 21st (although it was very mobile), Sizewell, 15th t o 18th and M i n s m e r e , 17th t o 19th. Belated news of an Olive-backed Pipit at Thorpeness, 13th was not f o r t h c o m i n g until several days after t h e event, unlike t h e f i r s t - w i n t e r f e m a l e Red-flanked Bluetail w h i c h was present at Sizewell, 14th t o 17th, in t h e small copse by Dower House. A Glossy Ibis was also seen, 14th over Lakenheath Fen RSPB. A Rough-legged Buzzard was tracked d o w n t h e coast o n 1 5 t h being seen at S o u t h w o l d , M i n s m e r e and finally N o r t h W a r r e n . A n o t h e r Rough-legged Buzzard was seen over t h e Levels at M i n s m e r e t h e n south over Sizewell, 25th. A Raven was also seen over S o u t h w o l d , 15th. Parrot Crossbills had been e r u p t i n g in huge n u m b e r s o n t h e Continent and a large-billed crossbill s o u t h over Landguard, 15th could well have been of this species. A Radde's Warbler was f o u n d at Shingle Street, 16th but was elusive, as expected. Shore Larks w e r e seen at Corton w i t h t h r e e birds present, 17th and 18th and a single bird was at Landguard, 17th to 20th. A Rough-legged Buzzard t o o k up t e m p o r a r y residence o n Orfordness f r o m 19th. The first r e t u r n i n g Bewick's Swans of t h e a u t u m n w e r e six birds o n t h e Scrape at M i n s m e r e , 19th. A probable Pallid Swift was r e p o r t e d early m o r n i n g over Lower Abbey Marsh, Sizewell, 21st and it, or a n o t h e r swift species, was seen nearby over t h e west end of M i n s m e r e reedbed, 2 7 t h . This was f o l l o w e d by a late Common Swift w h i c h was seen t o f l y past Undercliffe, Felixstowe, 29th. Also o n 2 9 t h a Glossy Ibis f l e w south over t h e old caravan park at Thorpeness. Towards t h e end of t h e m o n t h a Great W h i t e Egret spent several days at Lakenheath Fen RSPB and 150 Tree Sparrows w e r e n o t e d in t h e village of A m p t o n . A late W i l l o w Warbler was t r a p p e d at Thorpeness, 3 0 t h . T w o Short-eared Owls w e r e at Shingle Street, and t h e Stour Estuary produced t w o Velvet Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck f r o m S t u t t o n Mill w h i c h w e r e still present in November along w i t h a Great Northern Diver. November A Glossy Ibis was n o t e d s o u t h over t h e reserve at M i n s m e r e , 1st and w h a t was presumably t h e same bird was later seen on t h e marshes at Hollesley w h e r e it r e m a i n e d until 9th. Further Glossy Ibises w e r e seen w i t h t w o birds south over t h e Scrape, M i n s m e r e late m o r n i n g , 7 t h t h e n a single bird south at t h e same location on 9 t h and 13th. The Rough-legged Buzzard c o n t i n u e d t o be seen o n Orfordness t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h and looked set t o overwinter. Single Lapland Buntings w e r e seen briefly o n t h e beach at Pakefield, 1st before flying s o u t h and on t h e beach at S o u t h w o l d 10th t o 12th and t h r e e w e r e recorded along t h e cliff face adjacent t o t h e Old Sewage Works at Corton, 19th w i t h a single bird still present, 24th. Small n u m b e r s of Snow Buntings began t o gather on our coast early in t h e m o n t h w i t h several sightings n o t e d , t h e highest being 30 seen t o c o m e in o f f at S o u t h w o l d , 6 t h and 50 o n t h e beach by t h e Cefas building, Pakefield, 21st. Shore Larks w e r e present along t h e p r o m e n a d e on N o r t h Denes, Lowestoft w i t h t h r e e birds o n 3rd, t w o w e r e n o t e d o n t h e beach at Pakefield, 6 t h and 7th, t h r e e individuals w e r e seen s o u t h along t h e beach at Landguard, 8th, t w o at S o u t h w o l d , 10th t o 14th and finally t w o birds n o r t h of t h e sluice at Benacre, 12th t o 21st. A late Arctic Tern was present in t h e dock basin at Felixstowe, 3rd; nearby a Glaucous Gull was n o t e d south o f f Landguard, 5 t h along w i t h t h r e e Sooty Shearwaters w h i c h travelled n o r t h and t w o Waxwings (the first of t h e early w i n t e r ) w e r e seen t o c o m e in off t h e sea. News of a Humpback W h a l e off Dunwich late in t h e day on 5 t h had observers scanning t h e sea t h e next m o r n i n g - t h e r e was no sign of t h e w h a l e b u t a Little Auk was seen t o c o m e in o f f w i t h Starlings. A Hooded Crow was seen t o c o m e in o f f at Benacre, 7 t h and t h e n settled on pig fields just south of t h e broad for t h e r e m a i n d e r of t h e day. Great Grey Shrikes w e r e present o n Berners Heath, Icklingham, 8 t h and along t h e S h o t t i s h a m

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013 - A l d e r t o n Road o n t h e a f t e r n o o n of 9 t h only. Offshore, a j u v e n i l e Glaucous Gull was seen south o f f Ness Point, Lowestoft early a f t e r n o o n , 1 0 t h , and w h a t was p r e s u m a b l y t h e same bird was present a n d s h o w i n g e x t r e m e l y w e l l in H a m i l t o n Dock f r o m 16th t o 24th. A Black Brant f l e w n o r t h o f f Hopton-on-Sea, 1 0 t h and t h e n t h e next day a n o t h e r or t h e same bird was seen south o f f S o u t h w o l d as well as a Grey Phalarope. A late Arctic Tern was seen s o u t h o f f S o u t h w o l d , 9 t h and w h a t was p r e s u m e d t o be t h e same bird was o f f D u n w i c h , 10th. Just one Great W h i t e Egret r e m a i n e d o n Island M e r e , M i n s m e r e by 9 t h w i t h a n o t h e r being seen i n t e r m i t t e n t l y at Lakenheath Fen RSPB m i d - m o n t h . Twite at D u n w i c h began t o gather w i t h a r o u n d 100 birds being n o t e d o n 2 6 t h by t h e shore pools. Both Little Auk and Red-necked Grebe w e r e r e p o r t e d o f f Thorpeness, 11th and t w o Red-necked Grebes w e r e seen o f f Landguard, 12th. A Raven was n o t e d n o r t h over Undercliffe, Felixstowe, 16th and w h a t was m o s t definitely t h e same bird was seen t h e next day on t h e Deben Estuary at Ramsholt. A d u l t Caspian Gulls w e r e n o t e d at b o t h Hollesley and M i n s m e r e , 17th. A count of at least f o u r Firecrests at G u n t o n Church was n o t e w o r t h y , 18th. The onset of cold n o r t h e r l y w i n d s f r o m 2 0 t h resulted in some interesting w i l d f o w l being seen o f f s h o r e including Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck and good n u m b e r s of Common Scoter and Eider. As w e l l as t h e g o o d w i l d f o w l o n offer t h r e e Pomarine Skuas w e r e n o t e d f r o m S o u t h w o l d , 21st w i t h several being r e p o r t e d f r o m Thorpeness t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h . W i t h o u t d o u b t , t h e most exciting event of t h e m o n t h was t h e discovery o f t e n Parrot Crossbills o n Tunstall C o m m o n on 23rd. The flock was probably present f r o m 16th b u t certain identification could n o t be ascertained d u e t o t h e flock being highly mobile. By 2 5 t h t h e flock had increased up t o as m a n y as 16 birds! This invasion of Parrot Crossbills is t h e first since 1990 so, t h e r e f o r e , a w e l c o m e 'grip back' f o r t h e m a j o r i t y of our younger generation of birders in t h e county. Finally, an adult Black Brant was seen amongst c500 Dark-bellied Brent Geese o n Colton Creek, S h o t l e y / C h e l m o n d i s t o n o n t h e O r w e l l Estuary at t h e m o n t h ' s end. December Despite going missing f o r nearly a w e e k , eight Parrot Crossbills w e r e again present on Tunstall C o m m o n a l t h o u g h proving very mobile. M o s t likely t h e same g r o u p of Parrot Crossbills was in t h e S u d b o u r n e area f r o m 2 2 n d . Further Parrot Crossbills w e r e t h e n discovered at Mayday Farm, Brandon w i t h t e n birds seen, 8 t h , rising t o 13 o n 12th, t h e n seen i n t e r m i t t e n t l y t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h peaking at a r o u n d 20 birds o n 2 8 t h . The w i n t e r i n g Rough-legged Buzzard c o n t i n u e d t o s h o w t h r o u g h o u t t h e p e r i o d o n Orfordness NT reserve v i e w a b l e a l o n g t h e river w a l l n o r t h of O r f o r d Quay. A n adult Black Brant was seen at Kings Fleet, Deben Estuary, 1st t h e n f u r t h e r upriver o n t h e s a m e day at Falkenham Creek. Long-tailed Ducks w e r e n o t e d o n t h e Ore Estuary, 1st t o 4 t h , C o v e h i t h e Broad, 2 n d t o 31st, Benacre, 4 t h t o 14th a n d f i n a l l y f o u r birds t o g e t h e r s o u t h o f f Landguard, 4th. Great Northern Divers were present o n t h e Stour Estuary at Harkstead and Deben Estuary f r o m W a l d r i n g f i e l d , b o t h on 1st. Slavonian Grebe n u m b e r s o n t h e Stour Estuary peaked at 12 birds o n 4 t h w i t h t h e occasional individual visiting A l t o n W a t e r t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h and a lone bird at Benacre, 2nd t o 4th. Small n u m b e r s o f Snow Buntings r e m a i n e d w i t h t h e most reliable flock being present o n t h e beach at Pakefield and a confiding Lapland Bunting was present in S o u t h w o l d Denes, 1 5 t h t o 17th. A late Swallow was present a r o u n d O r f o r d Quay, 1st and 2nd. Short-eared Owls were seen at b o t h Shingle Street and o n Orfordness. Offshore, Velvet Scoters w e r e n o t e d o f f Gorleston w i t h 12 birds being seen t h e r e o n 8 t h and t w o birds w e r e o f f Dunwich t h e f o l l o w i n g day; o t h e r n o t a b l e seabirds included Pomarine Skuas o f f b o t h M i n s m e r e , 3rd and Landguard, 5th. A combination of strong north-westerly winds and a spring tide during t h e evening and early hours of 5 t h / 6 t h created a s t o r m surge in t h e N o r t h Sea; this resulted in many locations along t h e Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk coasts suffering flood damage t o w h a t is an already vulnerable area.

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Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2013 A juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen on Benacre Broad, 4 t h t h e n flying south. Two Rough-legged Buzzards w e r e present o n Haddiscoe Island (Norfolk) b u t w e r e v i e w a b l e f r o m t h e m o u n d at Waveney Forest f r o m 7th. A Hooded Crow was present at Dingle Marshes o n 7 t h only and up t o 60 Twite w e r e in t h e same area. The Stour Estuary p r o d u c e d an a d u l t Black Brant seen in fields adjacent t o H o l b r o o k Creek d u r i n g t h e a f t e r n o o n of 7 t h , Great Northern Diver at E r w a r t o n Ness and Long-tailed Duck at Stutton Ness, b o t h 9 t h , and five Bewick's Swans at Stutton, 11th. A very c o n f i d i n g f i r s t - w i n t e r Grey Phalarope proved popular d u r i n g its nine-day stay, 9 t h t o 17th, at Walberswick w h e r e a single Waxwing f l e w over, 15th. Up t o t h r e e Greater Scaup w e r e present on t h e lagoons at East Lane, Bawdsey, 8 t h t o 21st. A d u l t Black Brants w e r e n o t e d o n f l o o d e d fields at Shingle Street, 10th and again o n t h e marshes at Falkenham, 15th. Three Tundra Bean Geese w e r e on f l o o d e d fields n o r t h of D u n w i c h Beach car park o n 20th. On t h e same day a Pale-bellied Brent Goose was on Boyton Marshes and a Great Grey Shrike o n Berners Heath, Icklingham. A Glossy Ibis w h i c h was seen briefly o n O u l t o n Marshes, 1 9 t h was t h e n again present a n d s h o w i n g w e l l f r o m 21st t o 31st. Several Waxwings w e r e r e p o r t e d in t h e g r o u n d s of Ipswich Hospital o n 16th only. A Black-throated Diver was seen o n A l t o n Water, 2 2 n d t o 31st at least. A Red-necked Grebe was n o t e d south off Landguard, 24th. An adult Black Brant was seen o n Shotley Marshes, 24th w h i c h was t h e n soon j o i n e d by a second adult bird, 29th o n nearby Hares Creek, Chelmondiston. A f i r s t - w i n t e r Iceland Gull was seen on Botany Marshes, Snape, 26th. A Hooded Crow was seen at Ash Farm, M u t f o r d , 28th. The influx of Glossy Ibis sightings in t h e UK c o n t i n u e d w i t h as many as t h r e e birds present in t h e county on 29th, t h e first being the long-staying juvenile on O u l t o n Marshes, t h e n a bird was seen west over N o r t h Quay Retail Park, Lowestoft and finally a bird was present o n Orfordness NT. Other notable birds d u r i n g t h e final f e w days of 2013 w e r e Garganey on t h e reservoir at Trimley Marshes SWT o n 29th, Great Northern Divers o f f Landguard, 3 0 t h and 31st and t w o birds o n t h e Stour Estuary f r o m Stutton Mill, 31st. Finally b o t h a Blue Fulmar and European Storm Petrel w e r e seen going n o r t h o f f Landguard on 31st.


Suffolk Bird Report 2013

RSPB South Aide-Ore Project Work at Boyton and Hollesley Marshes Aaron

Howe

In early 2013 t h e RSPB received t h e fantastic news t h a t w e had been successful In receiving a sizeable grant w i t h t h e alm o f u n d e r t a k i n g w e t l a n d e n h a n c e m e n t w o r k s at our Boyton Marshes and Hollesley Marshes reserves, and purchasing a r e p l a c e m e n t rotary ditcher. This project was imaglnatively e n t i t l e d t h e South Aide-Ore Estuary - Future for Coastal Wetlands Project, and was g e n e r o u s l y f u n d e d by WREN (Waste Recycling and E n v i r o n m e n t a l Limited) t h r o u g h t h e i r Biodiversity A c t i o n Fund. At B o y t o n w e i d e n t i f i e d several fields o n t h e reserve t h a t are higher and d r i e r w h i c h means t h e r e was an area of t h e reserve t h a t was n o t being used by birds. As part of t h e project w e w o u l d use t h e rotary ditcher t o create new w e t features such as low gutters w h i c h will provide t h e m u c h n e e d e d f e e d i n g habitat. We c o m m e n c e d w o r k at Boyton in January 2014 - t h e contractors were w o r k i n g for 12 weeks clearing o u t t h e ditches, expanding t h e "flash" and creating a n e t w o r k of f o o t drains and a n e w scrape t o t h e n o r t h - w e s t of t h e reserve. The works at Boyton w i l l enhance t h e reserve f o r t h e Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and Avocets Recurvirostra

avosetta which already do well o n the reserve.

At Hollesley Marshes w e had very f e w breeding and passage waders and t h e site sustained only t w o pairs of b r e e d i n g Lapwings annually. This, sadly, was n o t m e e t i n g o u r aspirations and targets f o r t h e reserve and it was t i m e w e made a change. The issues revolved a r o u n d t h e field system and t h e inability t o raise w a t e r high enough t o f l o o d t h e grassland t o provide b e t t e r feeding areas f o r waders. W e planned t o create a n e w 10-15ha f r e s h w a t e r coastal scrape system; this 'scrape' w o u l d have an u n d u l a t i n g bed (provided by t h e rotary ditcher). W e also planned t o target terns t h a t c u r r e n t l y use t h e Aide-Ore Estuary w h i c h w e feit could also use t h e reserve. The g r o u n d levels w o u l d be l o w e r e d t o create t h e d e p t h of w a t e r t o provide t h e h a b i t a t r e q u i r e m e n t s n e e d e d by t h e w a d i n g birds and terns. This w o u l d also involve creating n e w ditches, f o o t drains, scrapes, islands and pools, as well as installing n e w internai sluices. Some of t h e islands w o u l d be shinglecapped t o provide nesting conditions for t e r n species such as Little, Sandwich and C o m m o n . Once w e had f i n i s h e d t h e design w o r k f o r t h e n e w scrape w e t h o u g h t it w o u l d look very impressive f r o m t h e river w a l l / p i l l b o x , especially in t h e m o r n i n g w i t h t h e sun f r o m behind. Once ali of t h e consents w e needed t o progress w e r e granted w e started w o r k on t h e project In August 2013 at Hollesley Marshes. It t o o k t h e contractors 11 weeks of hard w o r k t o f o r m t h e scrape. The striking t h i n g a b o u t these e a r t h w o r k s projects is t h e sheer industriai scale of it and f r o m t h e o u t s e t of t h e build w e knew t h a t t h e lower Aide and Ore w o u l d never be t h e same again. The w o r k o n t h e scrape was u n d e r t a k e n by Barry Day and Sons Ltd and t h e y started by taking o f f an average of 20cm across t h e scrape and m o v i n g 1 6 0 0 0 m 3 of soil. This material was used t o f o r m a l o w bank a r o u n d t h e p e r i m e t e r of t h e site and t o build up a higher area t o t h e s o u t h of t h e field. Once t h e scrape was lowered w e t h e n set a b o u t creating ten kilomĂŠtrĂŠs of deeper features using t h e rotary ditcher. As part of t h e project t h e RSPB purchased a replacement rotary ditcher f r o m t h e USA. This specialist machine is p o w e r e d by a very large tractor and can create some fantastic features o n w e t grassland. In a d d i t i o n t o create t h e deeper features t h e machine produced a fine covering of loose soil w h i c h w o u l d generate a perfect scrape bed f o r invertebrates t o flourish. To create t h e islands for terns w e i m p o r t e d 1250 tonnes of s h i n g l e f r o m a quarry in Wangford. This was enough t o spread across one hectare of island. This was laid on geotextile material which should suppress the grass g r o w t h and keep it good for terns for some time. The idea for these discrete patches w i t h i n t h e larger islands came f r o m Visits t o Holland by RSPB reserves ecologists; t h e y had noticed t h a t our Dutch colleagues had had some success in attracting various terns to breed by creating a mosaic ofshingle, bare m u d and grass islands. W e have attempted t o replicate that in some way here.

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RSPB South Aide-Ore Project Work at Boyton and Hollesley Marshes The islands have very gently sloped edges w h i c h create lots of feeding habitat for young Avocets, Lapwings and Redshanks Trlnga totanus Oystercatchers Haematopus

and, hopefully, Ringed Plovers Charadrius

hiaticula

and

ostralegus. These edges should also prove popular w i t h passage waders.

The reserve is fed by a natural spring. To manage t h e water on t h e scrape w e installée! t w o sluices t o control w a t e r levels on t h e site. This is a very simple system of diverting w a t e r f r o m t h e current ditch, t h r o u g h t h e scrape and t h e n back into t h e same ditch system. This has w o r k e d very well and t h e water supply for t h e scrape is more than sufficient t o keep it nice and w e t even in a dry summer. To keep t h e grass and rush in check across t h e f r e s h w a t e r scrape w e shall be using our Konik ponies. This hardy Polish pony is at h o m e in t h e w a t e r and will graze t h e site every year t o keep it in g o o d c o n d i t i o n . W e use t h e m across our w e t l a n d reserves and t h e y have b e c o m e an indispensable t o o l in t h e m a n a g e m e n t of our sites. At t h e t i m e of w r i t i n g this article t h e r e is only one final task t o c o m p l e t e , w h i c h is t o instali t h e a n t i - p r e d a t o r f e n c e a r o u n d t h e edge of t h e scrapes t o prevent m a m m a l i a n prédation. This should n o w be up and running, and keeping o u t M r Fox (finished early Aprii 2014). Up to 1200 Eurasian Wigeon have been using the new scrape (1200 is not a huge count for Hollesley but it was t h e fact t h a t they were on the scrape). There was a peak of 11 Ruff in early March w i t h counts of 80 Northern Shoveler and 70 Shelduck using t h e scrape, b o t h of which are site records. There was a big passage of large gulls in March 2014, peaking at 300 Great Black-backed and 400 Herring, at least f o u r différent Caspian Gulls in t h e spring w i t h at least four différent birds d u r i n g the winter and a similar n u m b e r of Yellow-legged Gulls mixed in w i t h t h e m . A full summer-plumaged Water Pipit, up t o four W h i t e Wagtails and about 50 Pied Wagtails, W h i m b r e l and Little Ringed Piover are a few of t h e birds t h a t augur well for t h e rest of 2014. Breeding bird-wise early signs looked very e n c o u r a g i n g - j u s t o n t h e scrape there were 16 pairs of Lapwing (includingfive pairs on one island), six pairs of Ringed Piover and f o u r pairs of Redshank. Avocets have peaked at 32 birds. A quick recap; t h e scrape is essentially a shallow-flooded field w h i c h is very attractive t o a w i d e range of wildlife. This is due t o t h e w i d e range of niche habitats w h i c h are very attractive t o invertebrates and birds. The scrape will then be managed by a combination of winter grazingby ponies and brusheuttingand topping by tractor. M o s t o f this will be undertaken by RSPB staff and volunteers. It is t o o early t o say w h e t h e r t h e scrape will be successful in a t t r a c t i n g Lapwings, Avocets and terns t o breed b u t t h e first signs are very e n c o u r a g i n g w i t h a g o o d array of w i n t e r i n g species already using t h e scrape t o feed and roost. However, easily t h e star species t o t u r n up since t h e c o m p l e t i o n of t h e scrape is t h e rare Glossy Ibis w h i c h spent nearly a w e e k f e e d i n g and p o p p i n g o n t o t h e scrape. So far t h e c o m m e n t s w e have received back f r o m visitors have been universally positive w i t h many surprised by t h e sheer scale and size of t h e n e w w e t l a n d . W e d o n ' t plan t o build any fixed viewing points but you can get great views f r o m t h e river wall f o o t p a t h . We are looking into t r y i n g t o find t h e best s o l u t i o n for car parking o n t h e site so t h a t this w e t l a n d is accessible f o r ail. W e shall also be p u t t i n g up s o m e p e r m a n e n t signage t o p o i n t people in t h e right direction. For n o w those w h o wish t o visit this reserve should park in t h e car park at Shingle Street and f o l l o w t h e f o o t p a t h up t o t h e reserve. The car park is t h e first one o n t h e right, by t h e p u m p i n g station j u s t past t h e bridge. It is t h e n a s h o r t w a l k up t o t h e scrape. Best v i e w points are t h e pillbox, or by heading w e s t d o w n t h e f o o t p a t h o f f t h e seawall, w h e r e just past t h e d o u b l e w o o d e n gâtes is a viewing m o u n d created t o aid views across t h e scrape. It is n o w just a case of w a t c h this space for this n e w exciting w e t l a n d . We shall keep you abreast of any exciting d e v e l o p m e n t s . If you d o go d o w n t o visit t h e n please let us k n o w w h a t y o u see. @RSPB_S_SUFFOLK

Twitter

account,

RSPB

havergate.island@rspb.org.uk. Aaron Howe Senior Sites M a n a g e r RSPB South Suffolk Coast

21

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013

Stone-curlews in Breckland 1985 to 2013 M a Icol m

Wright

In t h e s p r i n g o f 1985 Dr Rhys Green a n d Chris B o w d e n , research biologists w i t h t h e RSPB, c o m m e n c e d an intensive t h r e e - y e a r s t u d y of t h e Breckland p o p u l a t i o n of Stone-curlews oedicnemus.

Burhinus

The study was begun because of concern at t h e state of t h e UK p o p u l a t i o n , w h i c h

had b e e n declining for years and was only j u s t over 100 pairs in t h e mid-1980s. Historically t h e p o p u l a t i o n had been e s t i m a t e d at b e t w e e n 1000 and 2000 pairs in t h e late 1930s (BWP). The aims o f t h e s t u d y w e r e t o p i n p o i n t t h e reasons f o r t h e decline a n d t o p r o p o s e c o n s e r v a t i o n measures t h a t could be i m p l e m e n t e d t o reverse t h e decline and increase t h e p o p u l a t i o n again t o a viable level. A l t h o u g h s o m e pairs w e r e nesting on heathland, it was k n o w n t h a t t h e m a j o r i t y of nests w e r e o n arable land, so d u r i n g t h e study t h e r e was considerable liaison w i t h l a n d o w n e r s and f a r m e r s and also c o n s e r v a t i o n bodies t h a t o w n e d / m a n a g e d land in Breckland. I came t o w o r k f o r English N a t u r e ( n o w Natural England) in May 1985 as reserves manager for t h e Breckland NNRs, so I had regular contact w i t h Rhys and Chris. The researchers set o u t t o f i n d as m a n y nests as possible and t h e nests w e r e t h e n f o l l o w e d t h r o u g h t h e nesting cycle. A long t e r m ringing study was begun and each pullus t h a t could be f o u n d was ringed and also colour-ringed w i t h t h r e e plastic rings. This a l l o w e d individuai birds t o be identified in t h e field at up t o 200 métrés w i t h the aid of a telescope. In t h e a u t u m n t h e post-breeding flocks were studied t o identify as many of these ringed individuáis as possible. A small n u m b e r of adults w e r e t r a p p e d and f i t t e d w i t h radio t r a n s m i t t e r s , so t h e y c o u l d be f o l l o w e d , a f t e r darkness fell, t o w h e r e v e r t h e y w e r e f e e d i n g . This revealed t h e i m p o r t a n c e of f a r m stock in Breckland, because t h e adults f r e q u e n t l y f l e w at dusk t o feed a m o n g sheep, cattle and especially pigs. One adult was tracked flying several miles f r o m its nest site t o a sports field s u r r o u n d e d by houses o n t h e outskirts o f Bury St Edmunds, w h e r e it was p r e s u m e d t o be f e e d i n g o n e a r t h w o r m s . Rhys Green's Citroen 2CV, t h a t had a very large radio aerial f i t t e d t o t h e roof, b e c a m e a f a m i l i a r sight a r o u n d villages such as Icklingham and T u d d e n h a m . This gave rise t o a s t r o n g r u m o u r t h a t an undercover TV d e t e c t i o n van was o p e r a t i n g in t h e area and this supposedly p r e c i p i t a t e d a rush t o t h e local Post Offices t o buy a licence! During t h e course of t h e study it became increasingly apparent t h a t t h e p r o b l e m s lay o n t h e arable land. The intensive n a t u r e of m o d e m arable f a r m i n g , w i t h its many o p é r a t i o n s such as drilling, spraying, hoeing, irrigating, etc., was destroying t h e m a j o r i t y of nests, eggs and pulii and f e w nests w e r e surviving t o fledge any young. The Lapwing Vanellus

vanellus

has u n d e r g o n e a

serious p o p u l a t i o n decline in Suffolk and elsewhere over t h e past 30 years, a l m o s t certainly f o r t h e same reason. Some arable fields may be sprayed as o f t e n as t w i c e a w e e k d u r i n g t h e g r o w i n g season. So a strategy was devised t o liaise w i t h t h e f a r m e r s / l a n d o w n e r s t o locate t h e nests. W h e n a f a r m i n g o p é r a t i o n was i m m i n e n t , conservation workers w o u l d visit, safeguard t h e eggs or y o u n g by l i f t i n g t h e m if necessary a n d t h e n replace t h e m once t h e o p é r a t i o n had passed by t h e nest site. This w o r k is c o m p l i c a t e d by t h e fact t h a t Stone-curlew chicks leave t h e nest w i t h i n 24 hours of hatching and can o f t e n m o v e considerable distances and t h e n be dlfficult t o f i n d . The pair f r o m o n e nest o n o n e of t h e reserves I managed m o v e d t h e i r chicks half a mile and I r e - f o u n d t h e m over a w e e k a f t e r I t h o u g h t t h e y had been lost. Prédation and o t h e r t h r e a t s w e r e also considered d u r i n g t h e study - for a g r o u n d nesting species like t h e Stone-curlew t h e Fox Vulpes vulpes is t h e m o s t significant t h r e a t , b u t corvids, Stoats Mustela

erminea,

Hedgehogs Erinaceus

europaeus,

Badgers Meles meles, t r a m p l i n g by f a r m stock and egg collectors ail cause nests t o be lost. At t h e e n d o f t h e t h r e e - y e a r study t h e RSPB f o r m e d t h e Breckland Stone C u r l e w t e a m , part f u n d e d by Natural England. A f o u r - m a n t e a m has o p e r a t e d f r o m a base in T h e t f o r d every year since, f r o m M a r c h t h r o u g h t o September, carrying o u t t h e conservation and p r o t e c t i o n w o r k . It was led initially by Paul Holness, t h e n by Peter Hayman and is c u r r e n t l y headed up by Tim Cowan. The task is very t i m e c o n s u m i n g and is certainly expensive b u t it has been made t o w o r k . A n o t h e r 7

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Stone-curlews in Breckland 1985 to 2013 t e a m was f o r m e d t o cover t h e o t h e r main breeding area in t h e UK, in t h e Wessex area (Wiltshire and Hampshire). Slowly t h e p o p u l a t i o n has recovered f r o m its nadir in t h e 1980s. Annual surveys revealed t h a t the total UK p o p u l a t i o n in 1990 was in t h e range of 139-149 pairs. By 2000 numbers had increased t o at least 253 pairs and by 2008 t h e species was j u d g e d t o have recovered sufficiently t o a l l o w it t o be u p g r a d e d f r o m t h e Red List t o t h e A m b e r List of endangered species. By 2010 n u m b e r s stood at a b o u t 375 pairs and this had increased f u r t h e r by 2012 t o ca.425 pairs. The ringing study has c o n t i n u e d t o this day, stili overseen by Rhys Green, w h o is n o w Professor of Conservation Science at Cambridge University, whilst stili Principal Research Biologist for t h e RSPB. M o r e t h a n 4000 chicks have been ringed and colour-ringed in Breckland t o date. Since 2004 I have been assisting w i t h m o n i t o r i n g on Elveden Estate and ringing t h e pulii and in t h e past 13 years 423 pulii have been ringed and c o l o u r - r i n g e d on t h a t estate alone. On O c t o b e r 3 r d 2012 a bird was controlied (caught alive and released), on Elveden, t h a t had been ringed j u s t a mile away as a pullus on June 2nd 1990, setting a n e w British longevity record of 22 years and 4 m o n t h s . And so w e c o m e t o 2013 w h e n t h e breeding season t u r n e d o u t t o be easily t h e w o r s t in t h e 28 years since t h e detailed m o n i t o r i n g began in 1985. The reason was t h e coldest spring in s o u t h e r n England since t h e early 1960s. Bitter cold easterly winds blew across East Anglia t h r o u g h o u t M a r c h and t h e first half of Aprii, w i t h snow and hard frosts at times. In Breckland and t h e o t h e r main breeding area in Wessex, a b o u t 30 Stone-curlews w e r e f o u n d d e a d in A p r i i and M a y and this w o u l d have been an u n k n o w n fraction of t h e t o t a l n u m b e r w h i c h died. These birds w e r e f o u n d lying dead o n fields and heathland but it is inĂŠvitable t h a t m o r e must have died w h i c h were never f o u n d or quickly consumed by scavengers. On Elveden a desiccated corpse was even b r o u g h t up in a potato harvester in late July. It appeared t h a t m a n y of the birds were unable t o f i n d sufficient food during t h e really bad spring w e a t h e r and s o m e had starved. M a n y o t h e r birds w e r e affected by this severe w e a t h e r but in Suffolk Stone-curlews and Barn Owls appeared t o be particularly badly caught out. The overall Breckland p o p u l a t i o n d r o p p e d f r o m 259 pairs in 2012 t o 202 pairs in 2013. The p r o d u c t i v i t y of 170 pairs t h a t w e r e closely m o n i t o r e d was a miserly 0.28 chicks f l e d g e d per breeding pair, way b e l o w t h e 0.70 w h i c h Rhys Green has e s t i m a t e d t o be necessary t o m a i n t a i n t h e p o p u l a t i o n . In t h e Suffolk Breckland 94 pairs w e r e located, d o w n f r o m 125 pairs in 2012. It is very likely t h a t some of t h e females w e r e in such p o o r c o n d i t i o n t h a t t h e y w e r e unable t o lay a clutch of eggs. There w e r e 13 pairs on t h e Suffolk coast (14 in 2012) and t h e y fledged eight y o u n g w i t h a b e t t e r p r o d u c t i v i t y o f 0.61. Nationally t h e p o p u l a t i o n d r o p p e d f r o m ca.425 pairs in 2012 t o ca.328 pairs in 2013, a decline of 23%. A f t e r 27 years of graduai i m p r o v e m e n t t h e r e is no d o u b t t h a t 2013 was a real set-back for Britain's Stone-curlew population and it is going t o take a n u m b e r of years t o make up t h e losses. References Cramp, S and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds.) (1983). The Birds of the Western

Palearctic.

Vol 3. O x f o r d

University Press. Spencer, R. (1993). Rare Breeding Birds in t h e UK in 1990. British Birds. Vol 86. p77. Ogilvie, M . (2002) Rare Breeding Birds in t h e United Kingdom in 2000. British Birds. Vol 95. p565. Holling, M. (2012). Rare Breeding Birds in t h e United Kingdom in 2010. British Birds. Vol 105. p386.

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013

Red Kites breed again in Suffolk Chris In 2013 a pair of Red Kites Milvus

milvus

Gregory

bred successfully in Suffolk for t h e first t i m e since

1997. They nested in a private w o o d o n a large estate in West Suffolk; t h e location was not m a d e public t o c o m p l y w i t h t h e wishes of t h e landowner. This success f o l l o w s suspicion t h a t Red Kites may have bred at a location in t h e n o r t h - w e s t of t h e c o u n t y in recent years, but access restrictions and t h e geography of t h e p r o b a b l e nest-site had f r u s t r a t e d a t t e m p t s t o prove b e y o n d d o u b t t h a t b r e e d i n g had taken place. Fortunately it was a m u c h easier task t o c o n f i r m b r e e d i n g at t h e n e w location. The changing status of the Red Kite in Suffolk This m a g n i f i c e n t raptor was virtually absent f r o m t h e Suffolk countryside d u r i n g t h e first half of t h e 2 0 t h century. Relentless persĂŠcution led t o its extinction in t h e c o u n t y by t h e end of t h e 1800s and, a p a r t f r o m a record of a single bird in 1 9 0 1 t h e r e w e r e no o t h e r records until 1958. There w e r e signs of a slow recovery in t h e 1960s w h e n small numbers, presumably migrants, w e r e r e p o r t e d and t h e n u m b e r of records gradually increased f r o m t h e n until t h e present century. M o s t r e p o r t s at this t i m e came f r o m coastal locations and mainly involved w i n t e r i n g or passage birds. The t a b l e b e l o w shows h o w t h e e s t i m a t e d n u m b e r of Red Kites has increased over t h e last six decades. The m o s t noticeable rise has occurred in t h e last t w o decades.

1950s 1

1960s 9

1970s 15

1980s 28

1990s 111

2000s 175

Estimated no. of Red Kites in Suffolk in last six decades So f r o m w h e r e d o these birds originate? It is t e m p t i n g t o t h i n k t h a t t h e increase in t h e n u m b e r s o f r e p o r t s of Red Kites seen in Suffolk f r o m t h e mid-1990s was due t o w a n d e r i n g birds f r o m t h e r e i n t r o d u c t i o n p r o g r a m m e w h i c h ran f r o m 1989 t o 1999. However, t h e m a j o r i t y of spring records in t h e eastern counties involve misplaced migrants f r o m n o r t h e r n , central and eastern Europe. In t h e UK most adults do not m o v e f r o m t h e i r breeding areas once t h e y have bred f o r t h e first t i m e and a l t h o u g h y o u n g birds d o disperse once t h e y have fledged, t h e y are m o r e likely t o be recorded in l a t e - s u m m e r or a u t u m n . However a wing-tagged bird was seen displaying w i t h an untagged o v e r w i n t e r i n g bird at Dallinghoo, n o r t h of W o o d b r i d g e in 1995. The former, hatched in Spain, was t h e n tagged and released as a juvenile in t h e Chilterns in 1993. Sadly breeding was n o t suspected. An exceptional spring passage the f o l l o w i n g year did resuit in a pair nesting in north-east Suffolk. The untagged pair, t h o u g h t t o be of European origin, raised t w o y o u n g in t h e first year and t h r e e y o u n g t h e f o l l o w i n g year. Ali five chicks w e r e wing-tagged and t h e subsĂŠquent sightings of f o u r of t h e o f f s p r i n g p r o v i d e d s o m e i n t e r e s t i n g insight i n t o Red Kite dispersai. One was seen at a c o m m u n a l roost site in t h e east Midlands t h e n it m o v e d t o t h e Norfolk Broads. A n o t h e r was seen at a c o m m u n a l roost site in t h e Chilterns. The o t h e r t w o w e r e initiaIly seen at a f e e d i n g station in w e s t Wales; o n e was subsequently seen in t h e Netherlands. U n f o r t u n a t e l y t h e pair did n o t nest again and it p r o v e d t o be a long interval before b r e e d i n g recurred in Suffolk. The g r a p h b e l o w shows t h e u p w a r d t r e n d in t h e n u m b e r of r e p o r t s of Red Kites received annually f r o m 1996 t o 2013 and h o w t h a t compares w i t h t h e n u m b e r o f individuals e s t i m a t e d t o be present in t h e c o u n t y each year.

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Red Kites breed again in Suffolk

N u m b e r of reports and e s t i m a t e d n u m b e r of Red Kites in Suffolk per year 1 9 9 6 - 2 0 1 3

Year

After t h e exceptional passage in 1996 t h e n u m b e r of birds recorded in Suffolk levelled o f f again (see t h e above graph). B e t w e e n 1997 and 2012 an average of a b o u t 17 birds was present each year. 2013 proved t o be an exceptional year because at least 4 0 d i f f é r e n t birds are t h o u g h t t o have been present across t h e c o u n t y d u r i n g t h e spring and early summer. It seems t h a t m o r e and more of these élégant birds are n o w starting t o grâce t h e Suffolk skies. The n u m b e r of reports sent in by observers b e t w e e n 1996 and 2003 was also fairly consistent, averaging at a b o u t 24 per year. But this n u m b e r started t o increase markedly in 2005 and, a p a r t f r o m 2008, has been rising annually ever since. In t h e last t e n years it has risen dramatically by over 1200%. W h a t is m o r e , t h e n u m b e r of reports has t r i p l e d in t h e last t h r e e years f r o m j u s t below 100 in 2010 t o almost 300 in 2013. How the story unfolded in 2013. The occurrence of Red Kites in spring and into s u m m e r has b e c o m e a regular feature in m a n y parts of Suffolk. As such a sériés of sightings on t h e edge of Breckland f r o m m i d - M a r c h Into Aprii was not considered t h a t unusual, especially as t h e r e had been an unusually high n u m b e r of birds present in t h e c o u n t y f r o m early Aprii. Sightings in t h e area a r o u n d t h e nest-site had been m o s t l y of single birds, a l t h o u g h t w o w e r e seen t o g e t h e r in late March and on t h r e e dates In Aprii and three on Aprii 7th. A l t h o u g h birds w e r e being seen fairly regularly d u r i n g this period t h e y w e r e quite secretive in t h e i r behaviour and it was n o t until one was seen carrying nest-material into a w o o d at t h e end of Aprii t h a t breeding became a possibility. A f t e r this, local birders m o n i t o r e d t h e birds' b e h a v i o u r m o r e closely and t h e presence of t w o untagged birds o v e r t h e w o o d strengthened t h e t h e o r y t h a t t h e y w e r e nesting. It was t h e n decided t h a t t h e l a n d o w n e r should be alerted t o t h e i r presence so a m e e t i n g w i t h t h e head keeper was arranged t o i n f o r m h i m of t h e s i t u a t i o n and t o discuss t h e possibility o f getting permission t o locate t h e nest. The estate was very co-operative and seemed fairly relaxed and even excited a b o u t t h e prospect of having a pair of kites nesting o n their land. They duly gave permission f o r a c o u p l e of local b i r d w a t c h e r s t o check for t h e nest u n d e r licence, b u t w e r e adamant t h e y did n o t w a n t t h e news t o be made public k n o w l e d g e .

25


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 The first visit t o t r y to locate t h e nest was made in mid-May. The pair of adult kites could clearly be seen f l y i n g l o w o v e r h e a d but despite a t h o r o u g h check n o t h i n g was f o u n d . Two m o r e visits also failed t o f i n d t h e nest so it was d e c i d e d no m o r e a t t e m p t s s h o u l d be m a d e t o avoid any f u r t h e r disturbance. Local birders c o n t i n u e d t o m o n i t o r t h e nest-site over t h e next f e w weeks and eventually t h e first f l e d g e d youngster was seen o n July 31st. A f e w days later t w o juveniles w e r e seen t o g e t h e r f o o d - b e g g i n g w i t h t h e f e m a l e in trees close t o t h e w o o d . Everything seemed to be going well until t h e news c a m e t h a t a Red Kite had b e e n f o u n d badly i n j u r e d o n a nearby road. The bird had extensive injuries t o b o t h its legs, probably as a resuit of a collision w i t h a vehicle. It is q u i t e likely t h e bird was hit w h i l s t t r y i n g t o eat or carry off a roadkill. The injured bird was taken into care at The Raptor Trust in Norfolk w h e r e it u n d e r w e n t a n u m b e r of o p é r a t i o n s t o repair t h e m u l t i p l e f r a c t u r e s . U n f o r t u n a t e l y t h e injuries w e r e so serious t h a t it was e x t r e m e l y unlikely t o make a c o m p l e t e recovery, so it was decided t h e kindest t h i n g t o d o was t o p u t it d o w n . It transpired t h a t t h e injured bird was t h e male of t h e breeding pair, b u t t h a n k f u l l y t h e offspring w e r e at a stage w h e r e t h e y w e r e fairly i n d e p e n d e n t and, despite t h e absence of t h e male, t h e f e m a l e and t w o juveniles c o n t i n u e d t o do well. As t h e i r strength and confidence grew, t h e y o u n g birds gradually became m o r e a d v e n t u r o u s flying f u r t h e r and f u r t h e r afield, b u t t h e y stili r e t u r n e d t o t h e natal area f o r t h e next f e w m o n t h s . The last sighting of t h e t h r e e t o g e t h e r was at t h e end o f O c t o b e r and at least o n e remained in t h e vicinity until t h e end o f t h e year. Red Kites n o r m a l l y pair f o r life so t h e d e a t h of t h e male was a real b l o w t o t h e hopes of a n o t h e r b r e e d i n g a t t e m p t in f u t u r e years. One can only h o p e t h a t w i t h m o r e and m o r e individuals o c c u r r i n g in Suffolk t h a t t h e female will f i n d a n o t h e r mate. The area in w h i c h t h e y b r e d Is fairly typical of t h e région consisting of an u n d u l a t i n g landscape w i t h a p a t c h w o r k of w o o d l a n d , o p e n fields and scattered h e d g e r o w s . The m a j o r i t y o f t h e s u r r o u n d i n g land is cultivated b u t u n c u l t i v a t e d margins exlst a r o u n d t h e edges of s o m e of t h e fields and t h e r e are scattered fallow fields as well as fields sown w i t h w i l d bird seed mixtures or g a m e cover crops. Consequently, t h e r e is a b u n d a n t prey t h r o u g h o u t t h e year, as well as a steady supply of carrion o n t h e nearby roads. W h a t does t h e future hold? Following t h e r e m a r k a b l e success of t h e r e i n t r o d u c t i o n p r o g r a m m e in t h e UK, o n e w o u l d have perhaps expected Red Kites t o recolonize eastern England at a m u c h faster rate t h a n t h e y have. So w h y has this n o t h a p p e n e d ? Evidence suggests t h a t t h e r e are t w o m a i n factors l i m i t i n g t h e range expansion of t h e Red Kite in t h e UK. Firstly, p e r s é c u t i o n stili c o n t i n u e s t o be a t h r e a t in s o m e régions a n d incidents of i n d i s c r i m i n a t e p o i s o n i n g stili h a p p e n far t o o o f t e n . The Red Kite is relatively fearless o f M a n c o m p a r e d w i t h o t h e r raptors and this, and its scavenging behaviour, makes it extremely vulnerable t o h u m a n persécution. Secondly t h e r e is an i n h e r e n t reluctance by UK-bred birds t o spread f r o m t h e i r natal area. There is a disparity b e t w e e n t h e site f i d e l i t y s h o w n by European migrants and t h o s e birds b o r n in t h e UK. This may be t h e key factor in f u t u r e recolonization. Since migrant Red Kites f r o m Europe display a m u c h l o w e r level of site faithfulness t h a n UK birds t h e y are t h e r e f o r e m u c h m o r e inclined t o breed at locations away f r o m t h e i r natal areas. A d u l t birds in t h e UK display a high degree of site f i d e l i t y and most d o n o t leave t h e i r b r e e d i n g areas once t h e y have bred. Even j u v e n i l e birds w h l c h , dispersed f r o m t h e i r natal area d u r i n g t h e i r first year, have a strong i m p u l s e t o r e t u r n t o w h e r e t h e y w e r e raised t o pair u p and breed once t h e y m a t u r e . Studies have s h o w n t h a t t h e p r o p e n s i t y f o r Red Kites t o r e m a i n in t h e i r natal area is so strong t h a t t h e y o f t e n s h o w n o i n c l i n a t i o n t o m o v e i n t o s u i t a b l e a d j o i n i n g u n o c c u p i e d habitats w h e r e t h e r e is no c o m p é t i t i o n for f o o d or nest-sites (Cross and Davis, 1998). This scenario has o c c u r r e d in s o u t h e r n England and is proving t o be d e t r i m e n t a l t o t h e b r e e d i n g p r o d u c t i v i t y of Red Kites in t h a t area (P Stevens in

litt.).

Therefore, if and w h e n t h e species does start t o recolonize Suffolk t o any e x t e n t it is m o r e likely

26


Red Kites breed again in Suffolk t o be as a resuit of European migrants setting up t e r r i t o r i e s rather t h a n UK birds f r o m t h e various release sites. This was almost certainly t h e case on t h e t w o occasions in recent years w h e n t h e species did breed successfully in Suffolk. The exceptionally high n u m b e r of passage birds m o v i n g t h r o u g h in t h e spring of t h o s e years also u n d o u b t e d l y i m p r o v e d t h e chances of t h a t happening. A n o t h e r i m p o r t a n t factor is t h e ability for a pair t o establish a p e r m a n e n t breeding t e r r i t o r y and breed t h e r e successfully f o r successive years. As lan Carter stated in his article "The Fortunes ofthe

Red Kite in Suffolk"

Changing

in Suffolk Birds 1996, a lot depends on t h a t core p o p u l a t i o n

becoming established. The gregarious nature of t h e species means t h a t a p o p u l a t i o n is m o r e likely to expand if m o r e birds colonise t h e area and f o r m a social group. There are certainly reasons t o be optimistic that a breeding population could become established in t h e county in t h e near f u t u r e . Ail it needs is a handful of birds t o take up territory. Hopefully w e have finally witnessed t h e start of a comeback of this elegant raptor as a breeding species in Suffolk. 2014 update - The female f r o m 2013 managed t o pair up w i t h a n e w maie and b o t h occupied the same t e r r i t o r y as last year. The adults w e r e again seen flying into t h e w o o d w i t h nest m a t e r i a l and later o n in t h e s u m m e r w i t h prey. Despite this t h e r e were no definitive signs of any y o u n g by mid-August. References:Carter. 1.1996. The Changing Fortunes of t h e Red Kite in Suffolk. Suffolk Birds 1996: 6-10. Carter. I. 2001. The Red Kite. A r l e q u i n Press. Essex. Cross. A. V. and Davis. P. E. The Red Kite of Wales. The Welsh Kite Trust, U a n d r i n d o d Wells. Piotrowski. P. 2003. The Birds of Suffolk. Christopher Helm, London.

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Suffolk Bird Report 2013

Pacific Swift Apus pacificus, 'second' for Suffolk Wednesday Saturday

May 29th,

2013 - East Lane -Jim

and Sunday June 15th and 16th - Trimley

Mountain

Marshes

-Jonny

Rankin

T h e r e w a s s o m e e x c i t e m e n t o n t h e a f t e r n o o n of M a y 2 9 t h w h e n a w h i t e - r u m p e d s w i f t Apus sp w a s f o u n d o v e r t h e w i n t e r Storage reservoirs at East Lane, Bawdsey. U n f o r t u n a t e l y t h e b i r d had ieft by t h e t i m e m o s t birders arrived. However, t h e bird w a s p h o t o g r a p h e d a n d seen by t h r e e p e o p l e . Later, o n June 1 5 t h a n o t h e r w h i t e - r u m p e d s w i f t a p p e a r e d at T r i m l e y M a r s h e s . This w a s f i r m l y i d e n t i f i e d as Pacific S w i f t . In b e t w e e n t h o s e t w o d a t e s a Pacific S w i f t had b e e n r e c o r d e d in east Yorkshire at S p u r n o n June 1 2 t h a n d l a t e r t h a t day at S a l t f l e e t b y in Lincolnshire ( w h e r e t h e o b s e r v e r w a i t e d seven h o u r s for t h e bird t o arrive!). H a v i n g v i e w e d t h e d e s c r i p t i o n s a n d w e i g h e d u p t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s t h e B r i t i s h Birds Rarities C o m m i t t e e d e c i d e d t h a t all t h r e e birds w e r e Pacific S w i f t s a n d t h a t , o n t h e b a l a n c e o f e v i d e n c e , w e r e all t h e s a m e b i r d . Jim M o u n t a i n gives his r e p o r t of t h e Bawdsey bird The swift w i t h a w h i t e rump/Pacific Swift. Wednesday May 29th 2013. M a y is a m o n t h f u l l of b a n k holidays a n d h a r d w o r k o n t h e n u r s e r y I r u n w i t h m y w i f e M a r i o n . W i t h m o s t o f t h e m o n t h b e h i n d us, a n d h a v i n g w o r k e d l o n g days o n t h e f i n a l Bank Holiday, it w a s t i m e t o g e t a w a y f r o m t h e n u r s e r y a n d h a v e a days g e n t l e b i r d i n g . A f t e r a l a t e a n d l e i s u r e l y b r e a k f a s t w e set o f f a n d m a d e o u r w a y s l o w l y via R a m s h o l t t o B a w d s e y f o r a q u i c k look o v e r t h e r i v e r b e f o r e a b r i e f s t o p a t East Lane. W e f e l t t h e w e a t h e r w a s u n d u l y c o l d f o r M a y w i t h a t e m p e r a t u r e o f a b o u t 12°C. T h e birds w e r e s i t t i n g t i g h t a n d w e w e r e stili w e a r y . N e v e r t h e l e s s , w e set o f f f o r East Lane a n d as t h e lane n e a r e d t h e f i r s t l a g o o n w e p u l l e d o f f t o have a l o o k o v e r it. T h e r e w a s n o t h i n g bar a G r e a t Crested G r e b e Podlceps fuligula.

cristatus

a n d a f e w T u f t e d Ducks

Aythya

A f e w h u n d r e d m e t r e s f u r t h e r o n , w e p a r k e d in t h e car park by t h e sea w a l l .

Of i n t e r e s t at East Lane a r e t h r e e w i n t e r Storage r e s e r v o i r s b u i l t t o s t o r e i r r i g a t i o n w a t e r . T h e y are r o u g h l y s q u a r e , a b o u t 1.6 hectares e a c h a n d s e p a r a t e d by a v e r y n a r r o w s t r i p of land. T h e lakes r u n p a r a l l e l t o t h e sea a n d are s e p a r a t e d f r o m it by a t r a c k , a high sea d e f e n c e b a n k , t h e lake s i d e o f w h i c h is grassy a n d s c r u b b y a n d w i t h h u g e b o u l d e r s o f N o r w e g i a n g r a n i t e o n t h e s e a w a r d side, p l a c e d t h e r e t o p r e v e n t coastal ĂŠ r o s i o n . A t t h e car p a r k e n d , t h e r e are t h e r e m a i n s o f s u b s t a n t i a l pili boxes a n d a c o n c r e t e t o w e r . W e c o u l d see t h a t a large a m o u n t o f t h e Tamarisk a n d H a w t h o r n w h i c h h a d p r o v i d e d s h e l t e r f o r m a n y b i r d s o n t h e sea d e f e n c e b a n k h a d b e e n r e m o v e d by t h e E n v i r o n m e n t Agency. W e w a l k e d a l o n g t h e sea w a l l a n d M a r i o n b r i e f l y saw a Yellow W a g t a i l Motacilla t h e r e w e r e g o o d n u m b e r s o f Barn S w a l l o w s Hirundo d e f e n c e s , as w e l l as a f e w H o u s e M a r t i n s Delichon

rustica

urbicum

flava.

As usuai,

w h i c h n e s t in t h e o l d w a r t i m e

a n d C o m m o n S w i f t s Apus apus.

We

w a l k e d as f a r as t h e t h i r d l a g o o n b e f o r e t u r n i n g back a n d calling it a day. It w a s c o l d a n d t h e sky grey. As w e passed t h e last lake nearest t h e car park, I t u r n e d again t o look t h r o u g h t h e h i r u n d i n e s . It h a d b e e n a b l a n k day a n d s o m e t h i n g m i g h t j u s t t u r n u p b u t I h a d n o e x p e c t a t i o n . M o r e C o m m o n S w i f t s h a d a r r i v e d a n d I w a s s u r p r i s e d t o see o n e w i t h a c l e a r l y - d e f i n e d w h i t e r u m p . By n o w , t h e r e s e e m e d t o be at least 5 0 o r m o r e C o m m o n Swifts f l y i n g o v e r t h e first a n d s e c o n d lagoons. T h e birds f l e w at b e t w e e n f o u r a n d t e n m e t r e s in h e i g h t a n d it w a s d i f f i c u l t t o t r a c k t h e m against t h e b a c k g r o u n d o f t h e l a n d s c a p e . V i e w s against t h e grey sky w e r e brief. I w a t c h e d t h r o u g h a pair of b i n o c u l a r s a n d a q u i c k a t t e m p i t o use m y s c o p e p r o v e d i m p r a c t i c a l w i t h such fast m o v i n g birds, a n d o n l y o n e in p a r t i c u l a r in w h i c h I w a s i n t e r e s t e d . I called t o M a r i o n w h o q u i c k l y a p p e a r e d a n d she h a d n o t r o u b l e in p i c k i n g u p t h e b i r d . T h e light w a s poor, t h e w i n d f r e s h a n d t h e birds w e r e f l y i n g quickly, t h o u g h t h e w h i t e r u m p e d s w i f t c i r c u i t e d in a l o o p f o r m u c h o f t h e t i m e . A n d t h e n t h e d i l e m m a s t a r t e d . This w a s a b i r d q u i t e u n f a m i l i a r t o us b o t h . M a r i o n h a d seen

28


Pacific Swift Apus pacificus, 'second'for

Suffolk

Alpine Swift Apus melba at Sizewell, and b o t h of us had seen Alpine Swift at B e m p t o n , b u t this bird had a clear w h i t e r u m p patch so was definitely n o t Alpine. M y instinct was t o observe as imuch as possible, but this was not easy. I had t o f i n d t h e bird w i t h binoculars and track Its erratic loops as it f l e w round, o f t e n at low level. The background was dark, consisting of water, scrubby grass and d i s t a n t w o o d l a n d w i t h a f e w houses and f a r m buildings w h i c h became p o i n t s of reference. W e dashed back t o t h e Land Rover and had a quick look t h r o u g h t h e swifts in Collins. Was this bird significant? Little Swift Apus affinus

was quickly discounted as our s w i f t was t h e

same size as ali t h e others. Could it be W h i t e - r u m p e d Swift Apus cafferl

In t h e t o p corner of t h a t

édition was a small d r a w i n g s h o w i n g partly-albinistic C o m m o n Swift for comparison. Our rarest find t o date had been a Glossy Ibis. W e d o n ' t t u r n up rarities and w e feit t h a t it was quite likely t o have been an albinistic f o r m . Nevertheless w e called it in t o BINS as others w o u l d probably k n o w better. We w e n t back t o observing t h e bird. If only w e had had a bit of brightness, and t h e flight was less fast. All t h e C o m m o n Swifts appeared very dark, almost black. I feit w e needed t o see how far t h e w h i t e e x t e n d e d u n d e r n e a t h t h e r u m p . But even t h a t was not easy. It was clearly n o t as sparkling w h i t e as on t h e t o p of t h e r u m p , b u t was it paler t h a n t h e black f e a t h e r i n g u n d e r n e a t h ? No, it s e e m e d t h e w h i t e e x t e n d e d partly d o w n t h e flank. T h e n t h e p h o n e w e n t . Marion's m u m . Oh! but she's OK. Then L e e f r o m BINS rang and Nick Mason arrived. T h e r e f o l l o w e d a fractured conversation, w h i c h I f o u n d difficult t o f o l l o w w i t h t h e w i n d in my ear. I passed t h e phone t o Nick w h o recounted his brief observation of t h e bird. By now, I feit t h e pressure of really trying t o sort o u t this bird, b u t conditions made it no easier. Perhaps if w e had m o v e d t o w a r d s t h e second lagoon, our bird m i g h t have gone over our heads. A n d t h e n suddenly, t h e w h o l e s h o w was over. All t h e swifts had gone. Nick, I t h i n k , t h o u g h t they had m o v e d t o w a r d s Shingle Street. Others arrived t o vlew, but t o o late. It was like w a t c h i n g a good f i l m cut short by a p o w e r cut. The bird had only been present for a r o u n d 30 minutes, b u t t h e t i m e had flashed by. A scan t o w a r d s the horizon indicated t h a t C o m m o n Swifts w e r e present over t h e village of Bawdsey so w e m a d e haste in t h a t direction and f o u n d a small g r o u p f e e d i n g over a w o o d e d area at t h e n o r t h e r n end of the village. No w h i t e r u m p was seen. And t h e n a brief post m o r t e m . The bird seemed u n i f o r m l y dark apart f r o m t h e w h i t e patch. Did t h e chin patch seem larger t h a n on C o m m o n Swift? Well, you c o u l d n ' t easily pick it o u t at ali o n C o m m o n Swift, let alone gauge its size. Was t h e tail deeply cut? I f o u n d it very hard t o make a comparative j u d g e m e n t . It's surprising h o w m u c h of a swift's f l i g h t t i m e is spent w i t h t h e tail feathers closed. Were t h e r e w h i t e patches or any w h i t e f e a t h e r i n g apart f r o m t h e w h i t e r u m p ? No, and t h e o n e t h i n g t h a t s t o o d o u t clearly was t h e contrast of w h i t e and black. Any o t h e r w h i t e patches w o u l d have been apparent. In size and flight behaviour, t h e r e was no différence b e t w e e n t h e w h i t e - r u m p e d bird and t h e C o m m o n Swifts. I w e n t back t h e f o l l o w i n g day and spent f r o m 11.30 t o 14.00 observing t h e occasionai 2-5 swifts t h a t w e r e present. The conditions w e r e similar to that of t h e previous day and I asked myself t h e same questions as t h o s e w h i c h had applied t o t h e w h i t e - r u m p e d bird. M y conclusions were similar. I was having problems g e t t i n g a g o o d fix o n t h e détails u n d e r t h o s e conditions. Worst of ali, t h e w h i t e - r u m p e d bird was n o w h e r e t o be seen. And my regrets: well, had I had my 5 0 0 m m lens w o u l d I have been able t o pick t h e bird up? This is a p r i m e lens, no autofocus, and it can be difficult t o pick up t h e t a r g e t bird. I had taken clear pictures of a Spoonbill Platalea

leucorodia

at t h e same site, but a large bird at a distance

and flying in a relatively straight line is m u c h easier. So, w o u l d I have wasted observation t i m e , in t h e f o r l o r n h o p e of g e t t i n g a passable in-focus picture? At least M a r i o n had managed t o get one shot w i t h a 1 0 0 m m lens. I m i g h t have been lucky, b u t even t h e t i m e I spent t r y i n g t o pick it up w i t h my 'scope I feit had n o t been useful and stuck w i t h binoculars. And if t h e r e is a next t i m e : devote ali y o u r p o w e r s t o o b s e r v a t i o n , o t h e r t h a n t o make o n e p h o n e call. Ignore all o t h e r distractions, apart f r o m directing others t o see t h e bird. M o r e eyes make m o r e observations and younger eyes see better. And in hindsight, w h a t was this bird? Well, t o o big f o r Little Swift. W h i t e - r u m p e d Swift has pale tips t o secondaries and t h e one t h i n g t h a t did stand o u t well was t h e contrast of w h i t e against

29


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 black in t h e prevailing light conditions. There appeared t o be no w h i t e tips t o t h e secondaries. As far as albinism goes, it w o u l d appear s o m e t h i n g of a remarkable coincidence if t h e w h i t e patch was t o be t h e same as t h a t of Pacific Swift. W h y was t h e d e l i n e a t i o n n o t m o r e ragged a r o u n d t h e patch and w h y was t h e r e no w h i t e on t h e head or elsewhere as w e l l as on t h e r u m p patch? A n d if it was an albinistic f o r m , h o w m u c h d o swifts m o v e a r o u n d in t h e breeding season? Surely, it w o u l d be b r e e d i n g at this t i m e of year and occupying a locality and t h e r e f o r e w i t h a reasonable chance of being seen in t h e area again? Or was it Pacific Swift, displaced and m o v i n g on n o t t o be seen in Suffolk again !? Nick Mason Receiving a r e p o r t of a s w i f t w i t h a w h i t e r u m p I quickly d r o v e t o East Lane, Bawdsey, five k i l o m é t r é s d o w n t h e road. I arrived and m o v e d straight up t o t h e sea wall w h e r e I could see t w o o t h e r birders (the finders Jim M o u n t a i n and his wife). As I reached t h e t o p of t h e wall I had t h e closest e n c o u n t e r w i t h t h e u n i d e n t i f i e d s w i f t as it a n d a C o m m o n S w i f t f l e w past at a b o u t f o u r m é t r é s distance. The undersides o f t h e t w o birds w e r e clearly d i f f é r e n t , t h e "Pacific" having a b r o w n i s h hue. This was t h e only t i m e t h a t I n o t i c e d t h a t t h e bird was ' b l o t c h y ' o n t h e underside of its body. This was t h e scaling t h a t I t r i e d t o pick up t h e rest of t h e t i m e I had w i t h t h e bird. U n f o r t u n a t e l y at t h a t first sighting I was c o n c e n t r a t i n g o n t h e w h i t e r u m p w h i c h was clearly visible as it f l e w past. I saw t h e bird f o r a b o u t six m i n u t e s , s o m e t i m e s d o w n t o a b o u t 20 métrés b u t m o s t l y m o r e distant as it f e d at speed over t h e w i n t e r Storage reservoirs. Because of t h e w e a t h e r , however, it was v e r y l o w and rarely c a m e up t o t h e height at w h i c h w e w e r e standing. M o s t of our views w e r e , t h e r e f o r e , f r o m above. There w e r e t w o C o m m o n Swifts w i t h it or a r o u n d t h e same area. The w h i t e r u m p was very clear. At t h e f r o n t edge was a distinct slightly curved line f r o m dark t o w h i t e . The rear edge of t h e r u m p had a slightly less distinct contrasting line (but still definite). The w h i t e w e n t halfway d o w n t h e side of t h e bird. There was no o t h e r w h i t e o n t h e bird at ali, w h i c h negated t h e possibility of albinism. I can stili clearly envisage t h e w h i t e r u m p now. The tail was w e l l - f o r k e d and occasionally t h e bird f l e w w i t h t h e tail closed. The size was t h e same as C o m m o n Swift b u t w i t h slightly longer wings and a c l e a r t h r o a t patch. K n o w i n g t h a t scaling o n t h e underside w o u l d probably clinch t h e bird I spent most of t h e rest o f t h e t i m e t r y i n g t o observe t h e underside. This proved very difficult w h a t w i t h t h e low flying of t h e bird and t h e dull w e a t h e r conditions. W e were o n t h e seawall above t h e bird. Was it d e f i n i t e l y a d i f f é r e n t species t o t h e C o m m o n Swifts? - At t i m e s , yes. The birds had been circling over t h e reservoirs b u t eventually w e n t f r o m sight t o t h e n o r t h . Jonny Rankin gives his report on the Trimley bird Saturday June 1 5 t h 2013 is a date n o w f i r m l y lodged in my m i n d . I d o n ' t suppose I shall f i n d such a celebrated bird again in my birding 'career' and I a m genuinely h e a r t e n e d t h a t so m a n y p e o p l e w e r e subsequently able t o connect w i t h t h e Pacific Swift d u r i n g its t w o day stay. At t h e t i m e of t h e Trimley sighting t h e r e had been o n l y six accepted records of Pacific Swift in Britain; as was p o i n t e d o u t t o m e o n t h e day by Landguard Bird Observatory w a r d e n Nigel Odin; ' i t is n o t o f t e n y o u ' l l f i n d a bird t h a t has o c c u r r e d less t h a n t e n t i m e s in Britain'. I had seen a Pacific S w i f t previously, a l b e i t m o r e t h a n 7 2 0 0 k i l o m é t r é s away o n a d i f f é r e n t c o n t i n e n t ! Perhaps having seen Pacific Swift d u r i n g my 2009 Eaglenest (Arunachal Pradesh, India) t o u r h e l p e d w i t h m y confidence in i d e n t i f y i n g t h e Trimley bird, b u t it was s h o w i n g e x t r e m e l y well w h e n initially located. That I had t o travel so far for my first Pacific Swift experience is telling as t h e species traditionally w i n t e r s a r o u n d s o u t h e r n Australia, r e t u r n i n g n o r t h and east in t h e spring t o a b r e e d i n g area t h a t stretches f r o m India in t h e w e s t t h r o u g h t o China and Siberia in t h e east. Normally t h e y ' d c o m p l e t e this j o u r n e y b e t w e e n Aprii and June, d e p e n d i n g h o w far n o r t h they w e r e travelling, so it is possible t h a t t h e Trimley bird had travelled f r o m t h e Far East earlier in 2013. A n o t h e r hypothesis is t h a t

30


Pacific Swift Apus pacificus, 'second'for

Suffolk

the individuai I f o u n d at Trimley is a r e t u r n i n g bird circulating w i t h ' o u r ' C o m m o n Swifts each year. This theory was aired in t h e n o w defunct Birding World (26 (6): 244-247) based on t h e 2005, 2008, 2 0 1 1 and 2 0 1 3 sightings at Spurn, East Yorkshire. Either way, t h e Pacific S w i f t m a d e a v e r y impressive cross-continental t r e k ! Given t h e sheer scale of t h e j o u r n e y and t h e flying prowess of swifts it is hard t o surmise t h a t weather could have caused it t o head n o r t h and west instead of n o r t h and east. However, stranger things have h a p p e n e d and w i l l c o n t i n u e t o happen in t h e avian w o r l d ! In a c o - a u t h o r e d article which I w r o t e w i t h A d a m Gretton (joint finder, w i t h M a r k Cocker, of t h e Harris W h i t e - t h r o a t e d Needletail Hirundapus

caudacutus)

about both t h e Pacific Swift and t h e needletail for 'The

Harrier'

(174:24-30) A d a m identified some p o t e n t i a l w e a t h e r events as follows: "What

I have been able to deduce from

exceptional in Kemerovo,

weather

information

in west Siberia in earlyJune

online

is that

2013. On 2ndJune

a city only 55°N, which is used to warm summers.

north, made the BBC weather

round-up

circumstance

strays westwards,

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in July and August,

continued

in combination

reduced

with huge fires followed

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4 Pacific Swift Brain Small 31

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Events in Nadym,

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reached 28° C, but just two days later an Arctic cold front snow. Could this very unusual

there

there was

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heavy

these

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Siberian Siberia."


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 An equally valid t h e o r y and some great research f r o m Adam. A l t h o u g h p u b l i s h e d o n l i n e , in Birdwatching

magazine and also t h e a f o r e m e n t i o n e d

Harrier

article, I include a brief s u m m a r y of my f i n d i n g of t h e Pacific Swift for completeness: W i t h my g i r l f r i e n d in Ipswich for t h e day I t o o k t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o do one of m y f a v o u r i t e walks in t h e c o u n t y : Levington M a r i n a t o Trimley Marshes SWT and back. There are always birds t o be seen and it's a great walk f o r b o t h t h e d o g and me. I t h i n k most Suffolk birders were o n 'Swift a l e r t ' at this t i m e f o l l o w i n g a record of a ' w h i t e - r u m p e d s w i f t ' at Bawdsey at t h e end of May; t h e r e s u l t i n g b l u r r e d p h o t o w a s inconclusive b u t c e r t a i n l y exciting! Some observers are n o w a p p a r e n t l y c o n f i d e n t t h a t t h e bird at Bawdsey was a Pacific Swift, having got b e t t e r views t h a n t h o s e c a p t u r e d o n t h e images. W h e t h e r t h e earlier bird was t h e real deal o r a c o n v i n c i n g a b e r r a t i o n it was r e w a r d i n g t o locate an unequivocal Pacific Swift a couple of weeks later. I had n o t long e n t e r e d t h e first hide (as y o u a p p r o a c h f r o m Levington) and o p e n e d t h e flap w h e n I n o t i c e d h u n d r e d s of C o m m o n Swifts h a w k i n g over t h e reed bed a n d scrapes. One i m m e d i a t e l y s t o o d o u t as having a w h i t e r u m p ! T h e r e a f t e r things m o v e d initially very quickly; v i e w s w e r e sufficiently g o o d t o see t h e breast scaling and t h e w h i t e r u m p l o o k e d far t o o w e l l d e f i n e d t o be a plumage a b e r r a t i o n - it was t h e real deal! C o n f i d e n t , I called t h e news in t o Bird I n f o r m a t i o n and also t w e e t e d t h e sighting. At this point, t i m e s e e m e d t o slow d o w n ! It t o o k an age for t h e next observers t o arrive, even t h o u g h t h e y had o n l y c o m e f r o m t h e o t h e r side of t h e dock complex at Landguard and Felixstowe! A f t e r a b o u t 45 m i n u t e s t h e hide filled up, p h o t o s w e r e taken and smiles a d o r n e d m a n y faces! W i t h t h e record secured, t h e h o u n d and I t o o k our leave and headed back t o w a r d s Trimley. It was an o d d walk; despite h o w peaceful it was I k n e w I had left chaos in my w a k e ! This was even r e p o r t e d by t h e mainstream press as police had to manage t h e assembling masses and abandoned cars in Trimley St M a r y ! So aside f r o m t h e elation of finding a t r u e mega, I have n o w had t i m e t o reflect m o r e w i d e l y o n t h e f i n d . Notably, of t h e literally hundreds of observers only 18 r e c o r d e d t h e bird directly i n t o BirdTrack; 1 1 o n t h e Saturday and seven o n t h e Sunday. I c a n n o t take t h e m o r a l high g r o u n d , h o w e v e r , because I w a s n ' t o n e of t h e m ! In my d e f e n c e I was, h o w e v e r , a l i t t l e f l u s t e r e d by proceedings and I d o r o u t i n e l y n o t i f y BirdTrack w h e n o n my patch. I've also p o n d e r e d w h e t h e r t h e Trimley Pacific Swift was one and t h e same as t h e bird logged in Spain. The rare birds Spain website states t h a t "one was reported at A Frouxeira

lagoon,

ValdoviĂąo,

and record-shot

A Coruna on 23rd June (Xabier Prieto)."

photographed

Eight days is m o r e t h a n

s u f f i c i e n t f o r a Pacific S w i f t t o travel f r o m Suffolk t o Spain. The ' S w i f t Geolocater Project' has s h o w n h o w a C o m m o n Swift ringed at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire o v e r n i g h t July 2 1 / 2 2 n d 2010 had reached central Spain by July 2 6 t h ! (BTO News). There is s o m e d e b a t e as t o w h e t h e r it was a first f o r Suffolk however, f o l l o w i n g an exhausted i n d i v i d u a l f o u n d o n a H a p p i s b u r g h ( N o r f o l k ) oilrig, 4 5 k m o f f H a p p i s b u r g h , a n d t h e n t a k e n by h e l i c o p t e r t o Beccles H e l i p o r t just t h e correct side o f t h e border. This was also a June bird, t h e 19th June 1 9 8 1 t o be precise, t h a t was released f r o m Beccles Heliport t o be seen t h e next day t o t h e s o u t h w e s t at Shadingfield. I am all f o r ship-assisted records b u t I feel this h u m a n i n t e r v e n t i o n is a step t o o far in t e r m s o f t h e bird naturally occurring in Suffolk airspace! This bird, however, was accepted as t h e first British and Suffolk record by t h e BOU !

/

32


Parrot Crossbills in Siffolk in 2013/14

Parrot Crossbills in Suffolk in 2013/14 Peter

Kennerley

From early October 2013 onwards, Falsterbo Bird Observatory in s o u t h e r n Sweden began t o record a b n o r m a l l y high n u m b e r s of Parrot Crossbills Loxio pytyopsittacus,

suggesting t h a t 2013

m i g h t be an i r r u p t i o n year f o r this species. W i t h i n days of t h e first r e p o r t s being received, it became clear t h a t b o t h Denmark and The Netherlands were experiencing an exceptional arrivai of Parrot Crossbills. Expectations w e r e high t h a t some w o u l d make it across t h e N o r t h Sea, and Britain w o u l d experience a long-overdue i r r u p t i o n , t h e first since 1991. Birders here did n o t have to w a i t long; f o u r arrived in Essex o n O c t o b e r 12th and t o o k up residence in Gunners Park at Shoeburyness f o r t w o days before m o v i n g on. This was f o l l o w e d by a group of five or more Parrots w i t h C o m m o n Crossbills L. curvirostra

and a single Two-barred Crossbill L. leucoptera

at Hemsted

Forest in Kent f r o m October 18th, which remalned into 2014. Closer t o h o m e , several u n c o n f i r m e d reports of likely-looking birds came f r o m coastal locations in Norfolk f r o m late October onwards, suggesting t h a t m o r e could be w a i t i n g t o be f o u n d , but it was n o t until N o v e m b e r l l t h t h a t a flock of up t o 12 birds was discovered at Holt Country Park, w h i c h also remained i n t o 2014. Events in Suffolk mirrored those in Norfolk. Reports of small groups of crossbills giving unfamiliar flight calls came f r o m several coastal locations f r o m late October onwards, b u t all c o n t i n u e d into the distance and remained u n i d e n t i f i e d , b u t Parrot Crossbills w e r e suspected. Coastal locations lacking pines w e r e clearly u n s u i t a b l e f o r crossbills. As m i g r a t i o n began t o w i n d d o w n in m i d November, birders t u r n e d t h e i r a t t e n t i o n t o t h e extensive forests of Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris,

in

particular in Rendlesham and Tunstall Forests, and t h e s o u t h e r n heaths at Sutton and Hollesley where ample suitable habitat was available. Sightings at Tunstall Common As C o m m o n Crossbills had been e x t r e m e l y scarce in t h e second half of 2013, t h e discovery of a small group of crossbills at Tunstall C o m m o n by David Fairhurst (DF) on N o v e m b e r 16th was of particular interest, particularly as he described t h e m as "sounding d i f f ĂŠ r e n t " t o t h e calls expected f r o m C o m m o n Crossbill (itself having several flight and excitement call types). However, t h e birds were extremely m o b i l e and he only managed t o see t h e m in flight; each t i m e t h e y landed o u t of view, and only r e m a i n e d for a f e w minutes before flying again. I visited Tunstall t h e f o l l o w i n g day and also heard t h e crossbill flock but, like DF, I was unable t o pin t h e m d o w n . A m o r e extensive search on 18th failed t o p r o d u c e any sightings. The w e a t h e r f o r t h e r e m a i n d e r of t h e w e e k was w e t and blustery and no f u r t h e r searches w e r e made. In the m o r n i n g of N o v e m b e r 23rd, a day of clear skies and little w i n d , DF r e t u m e d to Tunstall Common and almost immediately located t h e crossbill flock feeding in an isolated Scots Pine close to t h e road, w h i c h he believed to be Parrots! He t e x t e d me w i t h this news and I j o i n e d h i m 15 minutes later. Although t h e crossbills w e r e quite secretive and spent much of their t i m e o u t of sight within the canopy o f t h e tree, DF had obtained some excellent video footage of t h e birds, so he was extremely confident of their identification. Although t h e birds were not in view w h e n I arrived, one bird soon appeared on the e n d of a branch and snipped off a cone, revealing its abnormally large and bulbous bill; clearly these were quite diffĂŠrent f r o m t h e Common Crossbills which occur regularly in Suffolk. Shortly afterwards t h e flock f l e w out of t h e tree, some heading south across t h e road, others landing on nearby overhead p o w e r lines, revealing a flock of t e n birds, involving eight maies and t w o f e m a l e s . These unobstructed views revealed their distinctive bill and head structure. W i t h i n three minutes they again t o o k flight, f l e w west and were soon lost t o view. W i t h t h e news o u t on BINS, DF and I set a b o u t relocating t h e m and headed off in t h e d i r e c t i o n w e had last seen t h e m . A f t e r some 30 minutes of searching, t h e flight calls w e r e heard again and the flock f l e w in f r o m t h e w e s t and pitched d o w n in t h e c r o w n of a fairly o p e n pine. This t i m e they were m u c h m o r e settled and gave o u t s t a n d i n g views t o t h e g a t h e r i n g n u m b e r s of observers

33


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 including Steve A b b o t t , M a t t h e w Deans, Nick M a s o n and Robin Harvey. For t h e r e m a i n d e r of t h e day t h e y r e m a i n e d loyal t o this small area of Tunstall C o m m o n , and o f t e n came d o w n t o drink f r o m r a i n w a t e r pools in t h e ruts in t h e nearby track. Visiting birders and photographers o n this day and o n N o v e m b e r 2 4 t h and 2 5 t h w e r e t r e a t e d t o an o u t s t a n d i n g show. From 26th November onwards, as t h e pools began t o dry up, their behaviour changed.Their Visits t o Tunstall C o m m o n became increasingly i n f r e q u e n t and unpredictable, and many w o u l d - b e observers had t o return on several occasions before t h e y were able t o catch up w i t h t h e flock. They appeared t o have reverted t o their originai behaviour, being occasionally seen or heard in flight but rarely landing in view. For example, o n December 5 t h I w a t c h e d a g r o u p fly w e s t over Tunstall C o m m o n and disappear beyond t h e trees, n e v e r t o reappear, and this w a s t y p i c a l of t h e experience of many observers. On December 15th w e discovered w h y they w e r e behaving like this. On this day JAK and I w a t c h e d t h e flock flying west overhead and disappear behind a line of trees. W e f o l l o w e d t h e direction of t h e line of flight and emerged on t h e forest edge w h e r e , t o o u r amazement, w e observed t h e flock perched in t h e c r o w n of a bare oak Quercus sp. some 6 0 0 m distant, in o p e n agricultural land. Rushing round t o w h e r e they were, w e watched t h e m d r o p p i n g t o drink at pools in a field of w i n t e r w h e a t - clearly they w e r e responding t o t h e availability of w a t e r and feeding w h e r e v e r t h e fancy t o o k t h e m . The final sighting at Tunstall C o m m o n came on December 22nd, and despite weekly searches into February 2014, t h e r e w e r e no f u r t h e r sightings f r o m this area. T h r o u g h o u t m u c h of t h e period t h a t t h e Parrot Crossbills were at Tunstall, observers consistently r e p o r t e d a flock o f t e n birds: eight maies and t w o females. On N o v e m b e r 2 5 t h , however, s o m e observers r e p o r t e d t h a t 16 birds w e r e present a l t h o u g h this c o u n t was n o t repeated. N u m b e r s r e t u r n e d t o t e n birds, including on D e c e m b e r 5th and 15th, w h e n t h e flock was perched in a bare oak and t h e n u m b e r s and sex c o m p o s i t i o n w e r e unchanged f r o m N o v e m b e r 23rd. Sightings at Sudbourne Forest Very s h o r t l y after w h a t w o u l d prove t o be t h e final sighting at Tunstall C o m m o n , Mike Marsh ( M M ) received a report f r o m Sudbourne o n December 22nd of a group of eight crossbills perching o n o v e r h e a d wires. Rather distant photographs taken t h a t day revealed t h a t t h e y had chunky bills and a bull-necked appearance, suggesting Parrots. M M was able t o visit t h e area o n December 2 5 t h and located a small flock of u n d o u b t e d Parrot Crossbills in a belt of Scots Pines in S u d b o u r n e W o o d p l a n t a t i o n . He e s t i m a t e d t h a t b e t w e e n eight and t e n w e r e present, of w h i c h t h e m a j o r i t y w e r e males and t w o or perhaps t h r e e w e r e females. On a r e t u r n visit t h e next day, he relocated t h e m b u t f o u n d t h e m t o be m o b i l e and elusive. This p r o v e d t o be t y p i c a l o f t h e i r b e h a v i o u r t h r o u g h o u t t h e i r stay here. Like t h e Tunstall birds, t h e y w e r e erratic in t h e i r appearances, and elusive and m o s t l y silent w h e n feeding in t h e canopy, b u t w i t h patience and by making several visits, observers w e r e able t o catch up w i t h these birds. Estimâtes of t h e n u m b e r of Parrot Crossbills present varied, largely due t o t h e difficulty of seeing t h e birds in t h e canopy. M o s t observers r e p o r t e d seeing b e t w e e n eight and t e n birds ( m o s t f r e q u e n t l y nine birds, a n d m o s t l y males b u t also t w o females), a l t h o u g h DF saw 18 Parrot Crossbills o n January 16th 2014. Nine birds w e r e p h o t o g r a p h e d by JAK o n January 15th ( c o u n t e d w h e n t h e flock t o o k flight), these images f o r m i n g part of t h e submission t o SORC leading t o t h e i r acceptance. The last c o n f i r m e d sighting was o n February 9 t h 2014 w h e n Gill Stannard saw and p h o t o g r a p h e d a g r o u p of nine birds. The location at S u d b o u r n e lies a p p r o x i m a t e l y five kilométrés f r o m Tunstall C o m m o n , and t h e coincidence of dates and t h e c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e flock (mostly males) suggests t h a t t h e same g r o u p of birds may have been involved at b o t h locations. Description Structure Structure provides t h e best means of identifying Parrot Crossbill and separating it f r o m C o m m o n Crossbill. Overall, t h e Parrots s h o w e d a bulbous, lozenge-shaped bill, thick neck a n d bull-headed a p p e a r a n c e , and w e r e q u i t e d i f f é r e n t f r o m t h e lighter, s l i m - b i l l e d a p p e a r a n c e of C o m m o n Crossbill. The bill s t r u c t u r e of b o t h sexes was similar; c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e slighter bill of C o m m o n 34


Parrot Crossbills in Siffolk in 2013/14 Crossbill, it was deeper based and parallel sided, creating a strikingly heavy structure. Towards t h e tip, t h e l o w e r m a n d i b l e s h o w e d a slight d o w n w a r d bulge before c u r v i n g up, w h e r e a s t h e upper m a n d i b l e curved steeply d o w n w a r d s ; t h e effect was to render t h e crossed bill tips a l m o s t non-existent as t h e mandibles barely crossed w h e r e t h e y m e t . The bill colour was largely dark horn, but became paler, almost w h i t i s h along t h e c u t t i n g edges of b o t h mandibles. Depending o n t h e v i e w i n g angle, these birds could, at times, appear surprising slim billed. This appearance was entirely illusory due t o t h e foreshortening effect of looking at t h e bills f r o m below. W h e n t h e bill was v i e w e d in profile each of t h e birds at Tunstall and S u d b o u r n e displayed t h e characteristic bill shape, and this was c o n f i r m e d by photographs. Plumage The plumage of t h e Parrot Crossbills at b o t h localities closely resembled t h a t of C o m m o n Crossbill, w h i c h is not surprising as t h e r e are no k n o w n differences b e t w e e n t h e t w o species. The closed wings including t h e flight feathers and wing coverts of all birds of both sexes were dull b r o w n with paler edges and tips to t h e flight feathers and tertials. Some also showed conspicuous, n a r r o w pale tips t o t h e greater coverts, this being a feature of young birds w h i c h have not yet replaced their juvenile greater coverts. The tail was similar in colour t o t h e wings but t h e fringes w e r e either less obvious or absent. All birds also showed blackish undertail-coverts w i t h broad whitish fringes. Males d i f f e r e d f r o m females by v i r t u e of their bright, w a r m orange-red body c o n t o u r plumage. All males s h o w e d some greyish areas of variable e x t e n t mixed in a m o n g s t t h e red f e a t h e r i n g . Typically t h e loral area, ear-coverts and upper m a n t l e w e r e drab grey w i t h diffuse borders. Some males also s h o w e d paler areas ranging f r o m creamy-white t o pale yellow in t h e centre of t h e belly, but some also s h o w e d this across t h e base of t h e t h r o a t or r a n d o m l y scattered on t h e breast, flanks and belly; it is believed these may have been retained juvenile feathers. In contrast, females appeared essentially dull greyish-green, being dullest on t h e m a n t l e and brighter yellow-green on the flanks, w h i l e t h e c e n t r e of t h e belly t e n d e d t o be w h i t e r t h a n in t h e males. Vocalisations The Parrot Crossbills w e r e remarkably quiet w h e n feeding. For m u c h of t h e t i m e t h e y w o u l d make no sound whatsoever, hence t h e difficulty of locating t h e m . On rare occasions t h e y m a d e a barely-audible t w i t t e r i n g c o n t a c t call f r o m high w i t h i n t h e canopy, w h i c h w o u l d s o m e t i m e s increase in v o l u m e and presence t o m a t c h t h a t of t h e flight call. In fact, this build-up in v o l u m e was often t h e prelude t o t h e i r departure. The flight call itself was louder and had a m o r e ringing quality t h a n t h a t of C o m m o n Crossbill, and has been vaguely likened t o a 'small brass bell w i t h a more or less cracked edge' (Robb 2000). A p h o n e t i c t r a n s c r i p t i o n of t h e call w o u l d be a d e e p 'kuup' w h i c h , once heard, is p a r t i c u l a r l y distinctive and readily separable f r o m t h e higher frequency flight calls of C o m m o n Crossbill. However, w h e n all birds in a flock are calling in flight it becomes impossible t o focus on t h e call of any one individual, so a sound recording becomes essential t o c o n f i r m i n g t h e identity. Establishing the identification Few, if any, observers q u e s t i o n e d t h e identity of these birds; t h e bulbous bill, thick neck and bull-headed appearance w e r e quite d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h e rather ' w e e d y ' appearance of C o m m o n Crossbill, and m e t m o s t observers' expectations of t h e species. Some, however, consider t h a t Parrot Crossbill, along w i t h Scottish L scotica and t h e six vocal types of C o m m o n Crossbill w h i c h occur in w e s t e r n Europe can only be reliably separated by vocalisations, in particular by t h e flight and excitements calls. W i t h this in m i n d , a t t e m p t s w e r e made t o sound record t h e f l i g h t calls, something w h i c h proved t o be extremely t i m e - c o n s u m i n g and difficult t o achieve. Eventually, t w o sound recordings of t h e f l i g h t calls w e r e made, near Tunstall C o m m o n o n December 1 5 t h 2013 and at Sudbourne Forest o n January 8 t h 2014. A sonogram was m a d e of t h e Sudbourne recording (fig. a) using t h e Raven Lite s o f t w a r e program (Charif et al. 2006). The structure, f r e q u e n c y and duration of t h e flight calls w e r e c o m p a r e d w i t h sonograms and recordings of t h e flight calls of all 35


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 t h e European crossbill species and types published by Robb (2000). This revealed t h a t b o t h of t h e flight calls recorded sounded identical to, and showed a similar pattern to, those of Parrot Crossbill. In particular, t h e Suffolk recordings and t h o s e made and published by Robb (2000) revealed t h a t all s h o w e d an energy peak in t h e region of c. 3.7 kHz, lower t h a n t h a t given by t h e six C o m m o n t y p e s , w h e r e t h e peak lies b e t w e e n 4.0 and 4.5 kHz. V i e w i n g t h e s o n o g r a m s , t h e m o s t characteristic feature of Parrot Crossbill flight call is t h e shape of t h e pattern, w h i c h resembles a l o w e r case 'n', this c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o a r o u n d e d t o n e and a fairly long d u r a t i o n (Robb 2000). W i t h p h o t o g r a p h s , s o u n d recordings and sonograms t o s u p p o r t t h e identification, t h e Tunstall and S u d b o u r n e Parrot Crossbills have been accepted by SORC.

1

tifi*"-*

ilÂť H ' I t

t

1'

* > •

i f P t f f t

Fig a: James Kennerley Observations and behaviour M a n y observers c o m m e n t e d o n d i f f e r e n c e s in t h e f e e d i n g b e h a v i o u r b e t w e e n t h e Parrot Crossbills, and C o m m o n Crossbills previously o b s e r v e d e l s e w h e r e . In particular, t h e h a b i t of w a l k i n g along a branch t o t h e edge of t h e t r e e , snipping o f f a pine cone at t h e base, t h e n carrying it back t o extract t h e seeds under t h e cover of t h e canopy, o f t e n largely o u t of view, was observed many t i m e s and v i d e o e d . This is s o m e t h i n g t h a t C o m m o n Crossbills rarely do - instead t h e y feed o n t h e cone in-situ w i t h o u t snipping it o f f t h e branch. In fact, t h e s o u n d of t h e spent cones falling t o t h e g r o u n d was o f t e n t h e only indication t h a t t h e Parrot Crossbills w e r e present - t h e flock o b s e r v e d at S u d b o u r n e Forest o n January 14th r e m a i n e d almost entirely silent in t h e canopy for over t w o hours, w i t h only t h e falling cones revealing t h e i r presence. Interestingly, t h e location at Tunstall C o m m o n w h i c h t h e Parrot Crossbills f r e q u e n t e d lies w i t h i n a f e w h u n d r e d metres of t h e site w h e r e single pairs bred in 1984 and probably in 1985 (Piotrowski 2003). The arrivals in 2013 are t h e first records in Suffolk since t h e last irruption into Britain in 199091, w h e n up t o 12 were present in t h e Mayday Farm area, near Brandon f r o m N o v e m b e r 19th 1990 t o February 2nd 1 9 9 1 and a pair was suspected t o have bred in t h e area (Piotrowski 2003). Reports f r o m elsewhere in Suffolk In a d d i t i o n t o t h e s e t w o d o c u m e n t e d flocks, small groups of Parrot Crossbills w e r e regularly r e p o r t e d f r o m Mayday Farm (Spinks Lodge) f r o m December 8 t h (Lee Gregory, J Rankin et al.). Early 2014 saw reports of Parrot Crossbills f r o m t h e Waveney Forest area. These will be included in t h e 2014 Bird Report. Acknowledgements I s h o u l d like t o t h a n k David Fairhurst f o r f i n d i n g t h e birds at Tunstall and g e t t i n g t h e news o u t so quickly, e n a b l i n g m a n y observers t o enjoy this i n f r e q u e n t event. Thanks also t o M i k e Marsh f o r p r o v i d i n g a s u m m a r y of t h e S u d b o u r n e birds and t o Craig Fulcher f o r supplying details of t h e records o f Parrot Crossbill accepted by SORC, w h i c h f o r m t h e basis of this article. References Charif, R. A., Ponirakis, D. W. & Krein, T. P. 2006. Raven Lite 1.0 User's Guide. Cornell Laboratory o f Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Piotrowski, S. 2003. The Birds of Suffolk.

Helm, London.

Robb, M . S. 2000. I n t r o d u c t i o n t o vocalizations of crossbills in n o r t h - w e s t e r n Europe. Dutch 22: 61-107. 36

Birding


Two-barred Crossbills on Havergate -July

20th

Two-barred Crossbills Loxia leucoptera on Havergate - July 20th David

Fairhurst

The w e a t h e r o n Saturday July 20th 2013 was m o r e like late a u t u m n t h a n high-summer, t h e r e was a north-easterly w i n d blowing, l o w cloud and it was rather murky. I was leadlng a small g r o u p of visitors a r o u n d Havergate Island in t h e a f t e r n o o n looking at t h e various passage w a d e r s followed by a visit t o t h e area a r o u n d t h e warden's huts t o see t h e Brown Hares Lepus

europaeus.

DĂźring t h e a f t e r n o o n I had received t h e news of at least t h r e e Two-barred Crossbills ' n e w - i n ' on the n o r t h Norfolk coast and I had j o k e d t h a t Mike Marsh, w h o was just across t h e river o n Orfordness, was likely t o get one. As w e approached t h e area of gorse w h e r e t h e hares occur I noticed t w o small birds f l y i n g low over t h e bushes. They w e r e clearly n o t Linnets cannabina

Carduelis

( t h e r e is n o r m a l l y a pair or t w o in t h e gorse) and w i t h m y naked eye t h e i r jizz

(bulk/shape/flight) looked like t h a t of crossbills Loxia sp.. The birds had landed o n a gorse bush about 50m away and I quickly got t h e 'scope' on t o t h e m and was amazed t o be staring at t w o juvenile Two-barred Crossbills. I t h e n proceeded t o swear a lot and t r i e d t o explain t o t h e g r o u p (who t h o u g h t I was going m a d ) w h a t these birds w e r e , h o w far t h e y had j u s t f l o w n and h o w extremely rare t h e y are in Suffolk. I managed some very shaky video footage ( h t t p : / / v i m e o . c o m / 70695444) and just a couple of photos. A f t e r just five or six m i n u t e s t h e birds f l e w o f f t h e ÂĄsland and headed inland. Brief description Basically streaky b r o w n passerines, Chaffinch Fringilla

coelebs-sized

b u t slightly m o r e bulky,

w i t h conspicuous w h i t e w i n g bars ( f o r m e d by huge w h i t e tips t o t h e greater and median coverts) and large w h i t e V-shaped tips t o t h e tertials. Large greyish s e e d - c h o m p i n g bills crossed at tip. Suffolk birds in context of t h e invasion into Britain These birds w e r e some o f t h e first birds (the vanguard) t o arrive in w h a t became t h e largest Two-barred Crossbill invasion ever into England. In June up to 50000 birds w e r e reported irrupting f r o m their west Siberian forests. Vast n u m b e r s w e r e seen in Scandinavia and t h e n t h e y appeared in East Anglia. Eventually birds w e r e recorded ali across Britain. Two-barred Crossbills prefer ' s o f t e r ' pine cones - particularly European Larch Larix decidua

-

of which Suffolk d o e s n ' t seem t o have many. M a n y of t h e birds involved in this invasion w e r e found feeding o n such trees. Any larches inland of Havergate w e r e searched in hope! Unfortunately for Suffolk birders these t w o individuals were n o t seen again. M a n y had t o visit Lynford A r b o r e t u m (Norfolk!), or beyond, t o o b t a i n views of this charismatic species. This was n o t the first t i m e t h e y had been recorded at Lynford in t h e recent past. These Two-barred Crossbills are t h e first recorded in Suffolk since 1889 w h e n t w o were at Burgh Castle, September I s t . Looking t h r o u g h historical records (Piotrowski, 2003) it appears invasions of Two-barred Crossbills m i g h t have involved greater numbers in t h e 19th Century as folk w e r e s h o o t i n g / o b t a i n i n g small flocks at a t i m e - imagine t h e numbers t h e y must have missed ! Reference Piotrowski, S.H. 2003. The Birds of Suffolk.

Helm, London


Suffolk Bird Report 2013

Mixed Pied/White Wagtail pair breeding at Shingle Street, Suffolk James and Peter

Kennerley

On June 9 t h 2012 w e f o u n d a family g r o u p of 'alba' wagtails Motacilla

alba f e e d i n g in t h e road

at Shingle Street opposite t h e entrance t o Oxley Dairy. The group comprised t w o adults and at least t h r e e r e c e n t l y f l e d g e d chicks t h a t w e r e begging for f o o d f r o m t h e adults, w h i c h w e r e collecting insects f r o m t h e grass b o r d e r i n g t h e road. The plumage of t h e male was typical of Pied Wagtail M. a. yarrelli,

w i t h a solid black m a n t l e merging seamlessly w i t h t h e black nape and crown,

and back, r u m p and tail. The female, however, s h o w e d a pale ash-grey m a n t l e and r u m p , rather t h a n t h e e x p e c t e d dark grey m a n t l e and blackish r u m p typical o f f e m a l e Pied Wagtail. The flanks w e r e also w h i t e r w i t h l i m i t e d light grey smudging, q u i t e d i f f ĂŠ r e n t f r o m t h e extensive dark grey w a s h t o t h e flanks expected of a female Pied Wagtail. Essentialia t h e female a p p e a r e d t o be a t y p i c a l W h i t e Wagtail M. a. alba. The j u v e n i l e wagtails, t o all i n t e n t s and purposes, a p p e a r e d identical t o o t h e r recently fledged Pied Wagtail broods in t h e area. W e w a t c h e d t h e m feeding t h e fledglings for a f e w minutes, d u r i n g w h i c h t i m e JAK t o o k several photographs of t h e W h i t e Wagtail (see photograph in t h e colour section after page 148). Eventually, however, t h e g r o u p was disturbed by a passing car and f l e w back t o w a r d s t h e dairy. W e did n o t see t h e m again o n t h a t or subsĂŠquent days. Whilst provenance of t h e y o u n g was not proven, this observation strongly suggests t h a t a female W h i t e and maie Pied W a g t a i l had f o r m e d a pair and successfully raised a b r o o d of y o u n g t o fiedging. A l t h o u g h W h i t e Wagtail is a c o m m o n passage migrant in Suffolk, this is t h e first t i m e t h a t b r e e d i n g has been observed in t h e county. Elsewhere in Britain, W h i t e Wagtail occasionally breeds, w i t h m o s t records referring t o mixed pairings b e t w e e n Pied and W h i t e Wagtails - in 2 0 1 1 t h e r e w e r e j u s t f o u r b r e e d i n g a t t e m p t s (Holling et al. 2013). Of these, mixed pairs nested in East Glamorgan, N o r f o l k and Sussex, w h i l e in Shetland a pure pair of W h i t e Wagtails bred. A pure pair of W h i t e Wagtails bred at Cley, Norfolk in 1997 (Taylor et al. 1999). References Holling, M., and t h e Rare Breeding Birds Panel. 2013. Rare breeding birds in t h e U n i t e d Kingdom in 2011. Brit. Birds 106: 4 9 6 - 5 5 4 . Taylor, M., Seago, M., Allard, P, and Dorling, D. 1999. The Birds of Norfolk.

38

Pica Press, East Sussex.


Siberian Stonechat at Trimley Marshes

Siberian Stonechat at Trimley Marshes SWT Nature Reserve Paul

Holmes

On O c t o b e r I s t 2013, I raced o u t of w o r k o n t h e bell at 15:35hr and w e n t d o w n t o Trimley Marshes t o l o o k for t h e Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris

melanotos

w h i c h had b e e n r e f o u n d t h a t

a f t e r n o o n by Steve Piotrowski (this was my sixth a t t e m p i for this locai patch goody in 10 days). On arrivai at t h e main scrape hide, Steve i n f o r m e d me t h a t t h e "Pee" had been " s p o o k e d " and had left t h e p o o l on w h i c h it had been feeding, an all-too-familiar tale! Dejectedly, I t r u d g e d t o t h e w i n t e r f l o o d hide t o w i d e n t h e search. Scanning for t h e "Pee", I picked up w h a t I t h o u g h t was a distant N o r t h e r n W h e a t e a r Oenanthe

oenanthe

perched, face on,

some 200 metres away on a reed stem. Putting my telescope o n t h e bird, I quickly dismissed my assumption in favour of W h i n c h a t Saxícola rubetra

as it was clearly a very pale chat, at least o n

the underside. I w o u l d have left it t h e r e had it n o t sallied o u t t o catch an insect. Hovering close t o the ground, it revealed an unstreaked, pale peach-coloured r u m p and an all-black tail. I realised t h a t it must be a f e m a l e / f i r s t w i n t e r Siberian Stonechat Saxícola maurus.

It was n o w 17:20hr and

the light was beginning t o fade so I alerted others and, surprisingly quickly, Justin Zantboer and Will Brame j o i n e d m e in t h e hide w h e r e w e w a t c h e d t h e bird f o r 40 m i n u t e s as it f e d along a reed fringed ditch. This was t h e first S t o n e c h a t t h a t I had seen in t h e area since t h e previous w i n t e r so it was surprising t o t h e n see t h e Siberian j o i n up w i t h a pair of European Stonechats Saxícola

torquatus.

It was strikingly pale in comparison, especially as t h e light faded. The next evening and o n t h e morning of O c t o b e r 5th, I w a t c h e d and p h o t o g r a p h e d it d o w n t o t e n metres. It was last r e p o r t e d on October 8 t h . Size and shape: As European Stonechat. Plumage: Upperparts: Forehead, c r o w n and nape w e r e pale greyish b r o w n , t h e c r o w n had diffuse darker streaking. The ear coverts w e r e a similar t o n e b u t t h e lores and eye line w e r e darker. There was a hint of paler supercilia w h e n v i e w e d at some angles b u t this feature was subtle and inconsistent. Mantle and scapulars w e r e pale greyish-brown w i t h ill-defined, darker streaks. Rump and upper tail coverts w e r e pale peachy-orange and unstreaked. Underparts: Clean w h i t e chin and t h r o a t . Breast and upper flanks had f i n e pale orange d o t t i n g (feather centres) w h i c h a p p e a r e d as a peach-coloured wash at a distance. The belly was w h i t e r as were t h e under-tail coverts. Wings: Lesser and m e d i a n coverts w e r e pale s a n d y - b r o w n w i t h small blackish f e a t h e r centres. Greater coverts w e r e pale s a n d y - b r o w n w i t h n a r r o w blackish centres. The greater covert tips f o r m e d a pale w i n g bar. The p r i m a r y coverts w e r e blacker w i t h n a r r o w e r sand-coloured fringes. The alula was black w i t h neat pale sand-coloured fringes. The tertials w e r e black w i t h neat, w e l l - d e f i n e d , pale sand c o l o u r e d fringes. The closed secondaries produced a pale sand c o l o u r e d w i n g panel. Primaries w e r e dull black w i t h faint sand-coloured edgings at tips. Tail: Black, including base. N a r r o w w h i t i s h tips t o all tail feathers. Exposed parts Bill: All black. Thin, chat-like as European Stonechat. Legs: Jet black. Eye: Dark. Current taxonomy The bird has b e e n a c c e p t e d by BBRC. Stonechat t a x o n o m y seems t o be fairly f l u i d at t h e m o m e n t . Currently, all t h e Asian f o r m s are l u m p e d t o g e t h e r as o n e species, Siberian Stonechat 39


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 Saxicola maurus.

Some a u t h o r s have suggested a t h r e e - w a y split f o r t h e f o r m s w h i c h have so far

reached t h e UK; maurus

(Siberian), hemprichii/variegatus

and t h e darker eastern birds, stejnegeri

(birds w i t h w h i t e in t h e i r tail (Caspian))

(Stejneger's).

The Trimley bird closely resembled t h e n o m i n a t e f o r m w h o s e range extends w e s t into n o r t h e r n Russia, a l m o s t t o t h e W h i t e Sea. BBRC has stated o n buntings, however, t h a t individuals of maurus

http://www.bbrc.org.uk/waxwings-to-

and stejnegeri

c a n n o t be reliably separated in t h e

f i e l d and a c h e m i s t r y set is needed t o establish a t r u e i d e n t i t y ! This species was finally split f r o m European and African Stonechats in 2011. There have n o w b e e n 1 1 records o f Siberian S t o n e c h a t in Suffolk b u t this is t h e first since 2 0 0 3 (Thorpeness, S e p t e m b e r 14th). All w e r e considered t o be of either t h e race maurus o n e o f t h e race variegate, 11th 1993.

or stejnegeri

except for

colloquially k n o w n as Caspian Stonechat, at Landguard on S e p t e m b e r


1. Whooper S w a n s flying over Minsmere in March.

mmm

John Richardson

>

2- Black Brant juvenile with Brent Geese at Felixstowe Ferry in February.

Will Brame


'

5. Great Northern Diver remained at Lowestoft t h r o u g h o u t January.

6- Great White Egret an increasingly regular sight. Ian Clarke

Wl -

Chris Darby

7. Spoonbill at Eastbridge in March. John Richardson


8. B l a c k - n e c k e d Grebe at Kessingland in April. Chris Darby

9. W h i t e - t a i l e d Eagle s p e c t a c u l a r s i g h t i n g over B o y t o n in April. John Richards

10. R e d Kite see article o n b r e e d i n g in t h e county. John

Richardson

11. C o m m o n B u z z a r d n u m b e r s c o n t i n u e to grow. Bill Bastรณn


Eastern Subalpine Warbler at Landguard

Eastern Subalpine Warbler at Landguard Nature Reserve Paul

Holmes

I arrived at Landguard LNR at 15:35hr on April 2 6 t h 2013 in a desperate a t t e m p t t o catch up w i t h t h e long list of g r o u n d e d m i g r a n t s t h a t had b e e n t e x t e d t h r o u g h t o me ali day by o t h e r observers w h i l e I was at w o r k . A f t e r checking o u t a W i l l o w W a r b l e r Phylloscopus

trochilus

on the

"Icky Ridge" t h e next bird t h a t caught my a t t e n t i o n was instantly recognisable as a maie Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans.

I alerted others on site and t o g e t h e r w e w a t c h e d and p h o t o g r a p h e d

the bird for several hours and again t h e next m o r n i n g . It could n o t be relocated on April 2 8 t h . Size and shape: A small Sylvia w a r b l e r similar in shape t o a C o m m o n W h i t e t h r o a t S. communis.

It was smaller

than C o m m o n W h i t e t h r o a t in direct comparison. Plumage: Upperparts: Crown t o r u m p , including scapulars, w e r e a soft mid-grey w i t h a hint of a bluish tone. Ear coverts, especially l o w e r edge, a p p e a r e d darker at s o m e angles b u t this w a s n o t consistently. On some views this darker area seemed t o extend o n t o t h e f o r e h e a d . Underparts: Bold w h i t e sub-moustachial stripe t o rear of ear coverts. Deep-orange "Brick Red" chin, throat and upper breast. There w e r e some faint pale whitish tlps t o feathers. This was almost so neatly d e f i n e d as t o be described as a bib! Pale-salmon wash t o l o w e r breast and flanks. Belly, vent and under-tail coverts w e r e w h i t i s h . Wings: Coverts w e r e dull greyish, darker t h a n t h e m a n t l e w i t h a h i n t of b r o w n , w h i l e t h e primaries w e r e similar; b o t h coverts and primaries appeared a little w o r n . The tertials had darker centres and also a p p e a r e d w o r n . The alula was blacker w i t h a n a r r o w neat w h i t i s h f r i n g e and appeared q u i t e fresh. The p r i m a r y extension beyond t h e tertials was a b o u t 70% of t h e length of the exposed tertials. Tail: Dark grey w i t h extensive w h i t e o n o u t e r tail, especially o u t e r w e b and t i p . A w h i t e t i p extending t o f o r m a long w e d g e was visible on t h e o u t e r w e b of T5 in p h o t o g r a p h s as was a h i n t of a w h i t e t i p o n T4. It was evenly p r o p o r t i o n e d in length w i t h t h e body, m u c h as in C o m m o n Whitethroat. Exposed parts: Bill: Small and fairly fine b u t typical f o r a Sylvia warbler. Straw c o l o u r e d base and cutting edges w i t h a darker grey t i p and c u l m e n . Legs: Bright orange/flesh legs and feet. Eye: Irldes reddish. Bold red orbital ring was particularly striking. Calis: Heard t o give a " t c h a k " w h i c h was repeated several t i m e s in fairly quick succession. It was fuller sounding t h a n Lesser W h i t e t h r o a t ' s S. Curruca

"tuk".

Behaviour: Fed actively in low b r a m b l e , gorse and eider scrub and even v e n t u r e d o n t o shingle a m o n g s t Marram and Yellow-horned Poppy etc. The bird proved t o be very confiding, even flying t o w a r d s observers and landing in f r o n t of t h e m . It always exhibited a nervous energy and seemed t o be constantly active. It was very popular w i t h the crowds and some t r u l y stunning photographs of it w e r e taken although, sadly, n o t by m e ! Taxonomic Background: Until recently, male Subalpine Warbiers in spring w e r e simple t o i d e n t i f y b u t w i t h a t h r e e w a y split in t h e pipeline a little m o r e a t t e n t i o n t o detail is n o w required. This bird had a clearly d e f i n e d brick red bib and w h i t e belly w h i c h s h o u t e d "albistriata"

41

f r o m t h e Balkans and Turkey rather t h a n


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 "cantillans"

f r o m Iberia and s o u t h e r n France or "moltonii"

f r o m t h e west M e d i t e r r a n e a n islands

and n o r t h e r n Italy. The latter was qulckly e l l m i n a t e d as t h e bird's call was n o t h i n g like " M o l t o n i ' s " w r e n - l i k e rattle. W h e t h e r it had c o m e f r o m t h e east or west became m o r e and m o r e unclear as a small g r o u p of us searched t h e library at LBO and o n t h e i n t e r n e t at t h e "Obs". It most closely r e s e m b l e d an "Eastern" t r a p p e d at Portland, Dorset b u t w h a t a p p e a r e d t o be obvious Easterns w e r e labelled in s o m e texts as breeders in s o u t h e r n Italy and they, according t o t h e literature, w e r e Westerns. M o s t confusing! Fortunately, Lars Svensson p u b l i s h e d a paper in t h e N o v e m b e r 2013 ĂŠ d i t i o n of British Birds w h i c h seems t o clarify t h e situation, even r e n a m i n g and rearranging t h e taxa, w i t h t h o s e birds in s o u t h e r n Italy n o w b e i n g f i r m l y placed in t h e "Eastern" g r o u p ! The paper describesfeatures w h i c h clearly m a t c h t h e Landguard bird including t h e w h i t e w e d g e on t h e tips of t h e second o u t e r m o s t tail feathers, n o t t o m e n t i o n t h e colour and extent of red on t h e underparts. At t h e t l m e of w r i t i n g , June 2014, BOURC currently has only one "Subalpine W a r b i e r " species o n t h e British list and BBRC have " h e l d " all recent records of "Easterns" until, presumably, t h e p r o p o s e d t a x o n o m i c changes have been a d o p t e d and t h e identification criteria are established b e y o n d d o u b t . This seems sensible. There have n o w been 13 records of Subalpine Warbier in Suffolk involving 14 birds. The principal site has been Landguard w i t h seven records involving eight birds.

42


Systematic List

The 2013 Suffolk Bird Report Systematic List Introduction The list and its appendices have been w r i t t e n using data supplied by t h e county's birdwatchers and conservation organisations. The order has changed and follows t h e revised BOU list. The raw data have been collated and i n t e r p r e t e d by t h e f o l l o w i n g : -

Swans and geese

Gi Grieco

Shrikes, corvids, crests, tits

Phil Whittaker

Larks, hirundines

Nathaniel Cant

Game birds, rails to Crâne John Davies

Warblers, inc. Long-t Tit

A n d r e w Gregory

Divers to Spoonbill

W a x w i n g , Nuthatch,

Ducks

Andrew Green

John Grant

Treecreeper, Starling, Dipper, W r e n , t h r u s h e s Raptors (incl. falcons)

Chris Gregory

Oystercatcher t o Ruff

Nick Masón, Ernie

Richard Attenborrow

Spotted Fly, Robin, chats, wheatears, o t h e r flycatchers, Dunnock

Steve Fryett

Lucking, Peter Merchant Snipes t o phalaropes

John Glazebrook

Skuas to gulls

James Wright

Ternstoauks

A n d r e w Easton

Pigeons t o w o o d p e c k e r s

M a l c o l m Wright

Sparrows, wagtails, pipits, finches, buntings

Paul Gowen

Appendices

Peter Kennerley

The 'officiai' British list is m a i n t a i n e d by t h e British O r n i t h o l o g i s t s ' U n i o n (BOU). Species are included in various catégories according t o t h e i r status, as f o l l o w s : • Category A - species w h i c h have b e e n r e c o r d e d in an a p p a r e n t l y natural State at least once sinceJanuary I s t 1950; • Category B - species t h a t w o u l d o t h e r w i s e be in Category A b u t have n o t been recorded since December 31st 1949; • Category C - species t h a t , a l t h o u g h originally i n t r o d u c e d by m a n , e i t h e r d e l i b e r a t e l y or accidentally, have established self-sustaining b r e e d i n g populations; • Category D - species t h a t w o u l d o t h e r w i s e appear in Catégories A or B except t h a t t h e r e is d o u b t t h a t t h e y have ever occurred in a natural State; • Category E - species t h a t have been recorded as i n t r o d u c t i o n s , t r a n s p o r t é e s or escapees f r o m captivity, and w h o s e b r e e d i n g populations are n o t t h o u g h t t o be self-sustaining. The main part of t h e species accounts consists of species t h a t occurred in Suffolk in 2007, w h i c h fall into Catégories A and C. W h e r e a species is included in multiple catégories, this is shown in t h e initial status summary. Catégories D and E do not f o r m part of either t h e British or Suffolk lists. Species from these Catégories t h a t occurred in Suffolk in 2007 are included as appendices t o t h e main list. The o r d e r a n d n o m e n c l a t u r e f o l l o w t h e latest p u b l i s h e d f o r The British List by t h e British Ornithologists' U n i o n (BOU 2006). This list can be accessed o n t h e i r w e b site at w w w . b o u . o r g . u k

43


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 English ñames f o l l o w t h e same list. Subspecies are listed under t h e main species' heading, w h i c h includes t h e scientific n a m e . The records f o r each species are listed m o s t l y u n d e r t h e parish w h e r e t h e bird o c c u r r e d , s o m e t i m e s f o l l o w e d by a m o r e precise location if k n o w n . The e x c e p t i o n t o t h i s is at t h e river estuaries and larger, w e l l - k n o w n sites criss-crossed by several parish boundaries e.g. Walberswick NNR, M i n s m e r e , Orfordness, A l t o n W a t e r etc. The gazetteer on page 185 gives locations f o r those sites n o t easily located o n a standard road map. The order of records Is north t o south d o w n the coastal région, working round t h e estuaries, then inland f r o m t h e northeast t o t h e southwest of the county. To minimise any potential threats t o site security, some records of rare breeding birds are published anonymously and under a vague site heading. As m u c h use as possible is m a d e of systematic m o n i t o r i n g schemes such as t h e WeBS counts. Using such c o - o r d i n a t e d data instead of m a x i m u m counts gives a b e t t e r idea of t h e populations o f each species w i n t e r i n g in t h e c o u n t y o n a given date. However, f l u c t u a t i o n s in n u m b e r s due t o changing w e a t h e r patterns w i l l affect totals and higher counts are given in t h e t e x t after t h e table w h e r e a p p r o p r i a t e . Counts f r o m N o r t h W a r r e n include Thorpeness Meare, Church Farm Marshes and t h e shoreline b e t w e e n Thorpeness and Aldeburgh; t h e Aide/Ore Estuary includes t h e complex of t h e Aide, Ore and Butley rivers as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave reservoir and Havergate Island; and t h e O r w e l l includes Trimley Marshes, Loompit Lake and Bourne Park W a t e r M e a d o w s . Counts f r o m t h e Stour ali refer solely t o t h e Suffolk side of t h e estuary. The larger part of t h e r e p o r t , particularly for t h e m o r e c o m m o n species, is based u p o n ad hoc records. Data of t h a t t y p e are i n f l u e n c e d by t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of birdwatchers, t h e w e a t h e r and o t h e r factors t h a t result in i m p e r f e c t i o n s . W e are nonetheless i n d e b t e d t o t h o s e observers w h o have persevered w i t h o t h e r studies, such as Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), Constant Effort Sites (CES) and transect counts and for making t h e results available f o r use. A s u m m a r y of t h e Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is given f o r all t h o s e species for w h i c h m e a n i n g f u l data are available - f u r t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n can be f o u n d o n t h e BTO website. See 'A G u i d e t o Recording Birds in Suffolk' e l s e w h e r e in t h i s Report f o r i n f o r m a t i o n o n submission o f records. The f o l l o w i n g d é f i n i t i o n s are i n t e n d e d as a guide t o t h e relative status of each species: Very c o m m o n : Occurs in large n u m b e r s in suitable habitat and season. Common: Occurs regularly or w i d e l y d i s t r i b u t e d in suitable habitat. Fairly c o m m o n : Occurs in small n u m b e r s in suitable h a b i t a t and season. Uncommon: Occurs annually in small n u m b e r s . Scarce: One or t w o records each year or restricted t o specific habitats. Rare: Occurs less t h a n annually. Very rare: Less t h a n 15 records in past 30 years. Accidentai: Less t h a n t h r e e records in past 30 years. Included in t h e status d e s c r i p t i o n is a n o t e if t h e species is included in e i t h e r t h e Red or t h e A m b e r List of 'Birds of Conservation

Concern'.

This is a paper j o i n t l y p r o d u c e d by t h e leading bird

c o n s e r v a t i o n organisations in t h e UK. See Suffolk Bird Report Vol.47: 6-10 for f u r t h e r détails. The f o l l o w i n g a b b r e v i a t i o n s are s o m e t i m e s used in t h e systematic Iist:— ad = actult

N = bird(s) f l y i n g n o r t h

BBS = Breeding Bird Survey

NNR = National Nature Reserve

CES = Constant Effort Site

R = River

CP = C o u n t r y Park

res = reservoir

GC = Golf Course

S = bird(s) f l y i n g s o u t h

GP = gravel pit

SW = sewage w o r k s

imm = immature

W M = Water M e a d o w

Ind. Est. = industriai estate

WP = W a t e r Park

juv = juvenile

WR = W i l d f o w l Reserve 44


Systematic List MUTE SWAN

Cygnus olor

Common resident.

Amber

List. Categories

A and C.

M u t e Swans w e r e well-recorded and widespread t h r o u g h o u t t h e c o u n t y w i t h t h e south-east I

again having t h e most sites and sightings, a l t h o u g h t h e r e were still f e w breeding records f r o m t h e area w i t h just f o u r sites w i t h nesting records. The north-east and west have a comparable n u m b e r

I

of breeding sites t o bring t h e overall t o t a l t o 33. This species was only recorded in five of t h e 47 BBS squares w i t h 15 individuals counted, a significant d r o p f r o m 3 1 in 2012. The n u m b e r of breeding pairs was 55 w i t h 99 y o u n g recorded. The m a i n breeding sites include Minsmere, Castle Marsh at N o r t h Cove, O u l t o n Marshes and Orfordness w h e r e a l t h o u g h six pairs nested, only t w o y o u n g f l e d g e d , w i t h most failing at t h e egg stage. A s e l e c t i o n of o t h e r sites includes G u n t o n w h e r e a pair raised seven y o u n g o n a land drainage pit and L o o m p i t Lake w i t h a

:

brood of f o u r cygnets, t h e largest b r o o d n o t e d t h e r e since 1998. In t h e w e s t sites w i t h larger broods were Pakenham, b o t h at Nether Hall (seven young) and by t h e w a t e r m i l l (six young), Clare

I

Castle CP w h e r e eight cygnets w e r e c o u n t e d and Fornham St. Genevieve, w h e r e seven juveniles

I

were recorded. A nest at Lound Lakes was originally t h o u g h t t o have been p r e d a t e d b u t t h e f o u r

I

eggs were f o u n d f l o a t i n g in w a t e r after t h e nest was submerged by heavy rains. The largest h e r d of t h e year was 87 at Lakenheath Fen RSPB in September, w i t h o t h e r large herds of 74 at t h e Brundon area of Sudbury, 60 at Thorpeness, 52 at Reydon Marshes, 49 at Carlton Marshes, 47 at O u l t o n Marshes, 46 at Homersfield o n w i n t e r cereal, 44 at S t u t t o n Ness, 43 at Butley and 4 1 at W a l t o n Marshes, Felixstowe Ferry. Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Minsmere North Warren Orfordness Aide WeBS Deben WeBS Orwell Estuary HW * Stour WeBS

Jan 29 31 19 216 171 2 21

Feb 19 8 12 200 162 10 17

Mar 13 3 23 226 121 2 17

Apr 5

Sep 37

12

28 5

-

-

-

104 8 13

-

54 49

Oct 15 31 15 69 97 57 25

Nov 47 -

19 96 148 42 11

Dec 38 15 12 124 203 11 18

* HW = High Water Other n o t a b l e records i n c l u d e f o u r in O c t o b e r at B r e t t e n h a m regarded as an unusual local record, one d r i f t i n g south on t h e sea at Ness Point, Lowestoft o n S e p t e m b e r 21st, an adult o n t h e sea at Gorleston on O c t o b e r 2nd and later in t h e same m o n t h , at t h e same site, f o u r first-winters on t h e sea o n 2 9 t h . TUNDRA (BEWICK'S) SWAN Fairly common

winter

Cygnus columbianus

visitor and passage migrant.

bewickii Amber

List.

Good n u m b e r s w e r e present in 2013 particularly in t h e first part of t h e year w i t h Blythburgh, Minsmere and Eastbridge h o l d i n g a herd w h i c h peaked at 30. The first r e t u r n i n g birds w e r e t w o at M i n s m e r e o n O c t o b e r 3 0 t h , t h e species t h e n b e i n g regularly seen t h e r e d u r i n g N o v e m b e r and D e c e m b e r w i t h a peak of 30 o n t h e Scrape o n December 2 9 t h . Other records i n c l u d e : Breydon South Shore: 21, Feb 16th; 30, Feb 19th; 103, Feb 27th. Gorleston: Cobholm Island, 25 south-west, Jan 17th. Gunton: 60 north-north-east, Feb 19th. Oulton Broad: 20 west, Jan 12th. Mettingham Marshes: 21, including five first-winters, Feb 5th. Shipmeadow: 29, Feb 7th. Barsham Marshes: 29 south, then a further 70 east a little later, Feb 19th. Reydon Marshes: four, Feb 3rd; 24, Feb 18th; 50, Feb 24th; 30, Mar 1st.

45

A


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 Darsham: 11 west, Jan 6th. Orfordness: six south, Jan 26th; 50 out to sea, Mar 3rd. Snape: Abbey Farm, five, Feb 6th. In t h e same t i m e period smaller n u m b e r s w e r e seen at Orford and Gedgrave, Botany Farm in Farnham, Ramsholt, W a l t o n Marshes at Felixstowe Ferry and a single bird inland at Pipps Ford, Barking. Further w e s t a j u v e n i l e was o n a lagoon at S t o w m a r k e t sewage works o n January 25th, five f l e w o v e r Livermere Lake, January 1 3 t h and 28 w e r e at Lackford Lakes, o n February 28th. Small n u m b e r s w e r e at Lakenheath Fen and at nearby Sedge Fen but t h e r e was a large herd of 264 o n F e b r u a r y 2 0 t h at Sedge Fen. From early M a r c h a n o t a b l e exodus of t h e species w i t h excellent n u m b e r s recorded m o v i n g east including 288 at Breydon Water, 200 at Belton, 113 at Burgh Castle and 449 at Sotterley. A w a y f r o m t h e Breydon W a t e r area, this is t h e highest t o t a l ever r e c o r d e d in east Suffolk. Smaller n u m b e r s w e r e r e c o r d e d in t h e latter half of t h e year. M i n s m e r e was t h e principal location again w i t h 20 present on N o v e m b e r 27th. M o v e m e n t was n o t e d in N o v e m b e r w i t h 32 flying west at Westleton on 13th, t e n 'in o f f ' t h e sea at Slaughden, 13th and six 'in o f f ' at Lowestoft Ness Point o n 15th, six at Hollesley Marshes on 13th, t w o 'in o f f ' at Landguard Bird Observatory, 1 8 t h and 22, including six juveniles, in o f f and west over t h e village of Butley, 2 5 t h . In December up t o six w e r e at S t u t t o n Mill, 4 t h . In t h e w e s t at Lakenheath 11 w e r e present o n N o v e m b e r 10th and 30 at roost at t h e site o n December 4 t h . WHOOPER SWAN Uncommon

winter

Cygnus cygnus visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

List. Categories

A and E.

W h i l e t h e north-east has been t h e t r a d i t i o n a l location t o catch up w i t h this species, as in recent years large herds have o c c u r r e d in t h e w e s t and 2013 was no exception. In t h e first w i n t e r period t h e r e was a regular flock at M i n s m e r e , peaking at six o n February 13th, present until t h e e n d of M a r c h . Elsewhere in t h e area t h e r e were sightings at Eastbridge, Westleton, f o u r at W a d d i n g Lane, B l u n d e s t o n i n c l u d i n g t w o f i r s t - w i n t e r birds and also t w o at Barnby Marshes. On t h e A i d e / O r e Estuary complex six w e r e at Hazlewood Marshes in January, t w o at Butley in February and f o u r at Hollesley Marshes on t h e late date of M a y 2nd. In t h e west 20 w e r e at Lakenheath Fen o n January 1st, w i t h t h e injured bird still present f r o m 2012. This individual was last seen at t h e site on May 5th. There w e r e also 17 at Lakenheath Fen on January 19th and 18 at nearby Sedge Fen o n February 22nd. At Great Livermere t h e r e w e r e eight, involving f o u r adults and f o u r juveniles, o n January 4 t h and six f l e w over t h e site on January 13th. At Cavenham Pits 20 f l e w w e s t on January 19th and t h r e e were at Lackford Lakes t h r e e days later. The first birds o f t h e s e c o n d w i n t e r p e r i o d w e r e at O u l t o n Broad w h e n f i v e f l e w s o u t h on O c t o b e r 31st. Six f l e w w e s t at Bradwell o n N o v e m b e r 19th. Up t o t h r e e birds w e r e present at M i n s m e r e f r o m late N o v e m b e r until t h e e n d of t h e year. At Castle Marsh, N o r t h Cove o n Boxing Day t e n f l e w over w i t h s o m e of t h e flock also seen o v e r O u l t o n Marshes. In t h e south t h e r e were j u s t t w o sightings, t w o at Hollesley, N o v e m b e r 2 5 t h and nine at Cattawade o n D e c e m b e r 19th. By far t h e largest g r o u p of t h e year was 100 flying east at Lakenheath Fen o n N o v e m b e r 19th. TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE Uncommon

winter

Anser fabalis

rossicus

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

List. Categories

A and E.

Only single-figure flocks w e r e present d u r i n g t h e year w i t h t h r e e separate small gatherings along t h e coast. One of f o u r at Southwold Town Marshes and Reydon Marshes, last seen o n March 2nd, w h i c h was also at Benacre Broad and up t o six c o m m u t i n g b e t w e e n M i n s m e r e Levels and fields by t h e W e s t l e t o n t o Blythburgh road. A single bird was present at N o r t h W a r r e n b u t was m o s t likely j o i n e d by t h e six f r o m f u r t h e r u p t h e coast w h e n seven w e r e at N o r t h W a r r e n on February 15th and 16th. A f e w days later it was back t o one again at t h e site w i t h six at M i n s m e r e t h e n t h e f o l l o w i n g day all seven t o g e t h e r again briefly at W e s t l e t o n o n F e b r u a r y 2 2 n d . At Orfordness t h r e e f l e w s o u t h d o w n t h e river on January 2 6 t h and o n April 13th a bird f l e w south at Landguard Bird Observatory, t h e t e n t h record f o r t h e site and w h a t was a l m o s t certainly t h e 46


Systematic List same bird was at Trimley Marshes later t h a t day. The only second w i n t e r period birds w e r e t h r e e at M i n s m e r e o n December 17th and 19th and the same birds f u r t h e r up t h e coast at Dingle Marshes b e t w e e n D e c e m b e r 2 0 t h and 22nd. PINK-FOOTED GOOSE

Anser

Locally common

visitor and passage migrant.

winter

brachyrhynchus Amber

List. Categories

A and E.

Much smaller flocks w e r e recorded t h a n in recent years w i t h only t w o counts of four-figures, the largest of w h i c h was o n t h e first day of t h e year w h e n 2000 w e r e at Flixton. The o t h e r large skein was 1000 w h i c h f l e w n o r t h - w e s t over S o m e r l e y t o n Park o n N o v e m b e r 19th. A selection of I

other flocks f r o m north-east Suffolk w h e r e t h e species is more c o m m o n l y n o t e d is in t h e list below.

I

There were scattered records f r o m f u r t h e r d o w n t h e coast including up t o 22 a r o u n d S o u t h w o l d Town Marshes and Reydon Marshes in January and February and also one or t w o at North W a r r e n

I

up t o March 2 n d . The A i d e Estuary had a flock of u p t o 42 at v a r i o u s sites, m o s t regularly at Gedgrave Marshes. Late birds i n c l u d e d f o u r n o r t h o v e r Ipswich o n April 7 t h a n d six n o r t h at Landguard o n M a y 9th.

A selection of north-east first w i n t e r counts i n c l u d e : Bradwell: 500 south, Jan 3rd; 130 north-west at dusk, Jan 5th; 350 north at dusk, Feb 1st. j, Fritton: Waveney Forest, 600 north-east at dusk, Jan 4th. Ashby: 350 over, Jan 3rd. Blundeston: 600, Jan 25th; 800 north, Jan 26th. Flixton: 2000, Jan 1st; 70 south-west, Jan 6th; 200 north, Jan 9th. Oulton: Camps Heath, 300, Jan 1st; 300, Jan 6th. I Pakefield Cliffs: 120 north, Jan 10th. Almost all of t h e records in t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d came f r o m t h e n o r t h - e a s t . The initial I

sighting was of six s o u t h at C o r t o n o n S e p t e m b e r 2 9 t h . The m a i n counts f o r t h e area w e r e at Bradwell and Flixton; t h e f o r m e r site had 130 over south on N o v e m b e r 9 t h and 200 f l e w n o r t h

I

November 19th w h i l e at t h e latter site 350 f l e w n o r t h o n N o v e m b e r 24th, 100 n o r t h on December

I

1st and 200 n o r t h t w o days later. The o n l y records e l s e w h e r e w e r e 1 1 n o r t h at Landguard o n

I

November 16th and a single bird in Holbrook Bay o n t h e Stour Estuary on D e c e m b e r 7 t h and 8 t h . GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Fairly common

winter

Anser

albifrons

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

List. Categories

A and E.

As in previous years l o w e r n u m b e r s w e r e recorded w i t h N o r t h W a r r e n grazing marshes being I

t h e only f r e q u e n t l y used location o n t h e coast; t h e peak m o n t h l y counts at this site are in t h e

I

table below. Elsewhere in t h e north-east a single bird was w i t h Greylag Geese at O u l t o n Broad in early January and, w h a t was likely t o have been t h e same bird, again w i t h Greylag Geese, at Lound

I

Lakes m i d - j a n u a r y . At M i n s m e r e t h e r e w e r e f e w records, t h e highest c o u n t being of 180 in

I

February on t h e levels. At Breydon W a t e r south shore 88 f l e w n o r t h on February 9 t h and in t h e

I

same m o n t h 15 f l e w east o u t t o sea o n 17th at Thorpeness. Peak monthly counts at principal site: North Warren

Jan 230

Feb 325

Mar 186

Oct 11

Nov 105

Dec 130

There were f e w records f r o m t h e south-east; 66 at Gedgrave, smaller numbers nearby at Boyton ; and Sudbourne, 140 w h i c h f l e w d o w n s t r e a m at Orfordness on January 1 3 t h and 32 south d o w n I

ttle

I

Ferry on M a r c h 3rd and six o v e r Ipswich o n April 4 t h .

beach t h e r e on January 2 6 t h . Two notable sightings w e r e 300 at W a l t o n Marshes, Felixstowe

The first r e t u r n i n g birds w e r e 11, including seven juveniles, at N o r t h W a r r e n o n O c t o b e r 1st. I Numbers at N o r t h W a r r e n s l o w l y built up t h r o u g h o u t t h e r e m a i n d e r of t h e year reaching 130 o n I

December 15th. Other records came f r o m M i n s m e r e , w h e r e t w o f l e w in o f f t h e sea o n N o v e m b e r

I

18th, Orfordness, w h e r e 14 f l e w n o r t h o n N o v e m b e r 23rd and Trimley Marshes w h e r e t w o w e r e Present on December 29th.

47


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 GREYLAG GOOSE Common

Anser anser

resident from feral flock. Amber

List. Categories

A, C and E.

Greylags w e r e f o u n d t h r o u g h o u t t h e c o u n t y w i t h a continually increasing p o p u l a t i o n . As w i t h last year t h e r e w e r e m o r e regular flocks along t h e coastal strip, being generally m o r e prevalent in t h e first f o u r m o n t h s of t h e year, decreasing d u r i n g t h e summer, apart f r o m at M i n s m e r e , t h e n again increasing f r o m A u g u s t onwards. A l t h o u g h t h e r e w e r e f e w e r records f r o m t h e south-east, t h e area f o l l o w s a similar p a t t e r n whereas in t h e west n u m b e r s at certain sites t e n d t o stay high t h r o u g h o u t t h e year. They w e r e recorded f r o m 17 of t h e 47 BBS squares, t h e highest yet. Breeding records w e r e received f r o m j u s t 13 sites (19 in 2012) a l t h o u g h a slight increase in b r o o d s t o 4 1 was r e p o r t e d b u t only 25 y o u n g , w i t h m o s t records n o t specifying n u m b e r s . The m a i n b r e e d i n g sites w e r e Livermere Lake w i t h y o u n g in 14 broods, several broods w i t h y o u n g at Redgrave Lake and W e y b r e a d Gravel Pits w h e r e six pairs included one w i t h a b r o o d of 15. Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Feb Dunwich, Dingle Marshes 60 2 Minsmere 150 260 102 North Warren 155 Orfordness 380 55 572 764 Aide WeBS Deben WeBS 21 40 Orwell Estuary HW* 345 Stour WeBS 95 6 Alton Water 600 694 * HW = High Water

Mar

Apr

-

-

91

-

-

-

60 160 55 123 35 14

Sep 54 208 10

9

-

-

-

32 16 25 48

-

422 8 269

Oct 220 88 170 30 225 306 55 87 140

Nov 149 210 -

360 139 -

467 3 525

Dec 184 102 251 235 359 210 66 141 645

Regular peak counts at s o m e of t h e m a i n sites and f r o m WeBS counts are listed in t h e table a b o v e . T h e r e w a s a p a r t i c u l a r l y large f l o c k of 850 at Lound Lakes o n D e c e m b e r 2 2 n d and elsewhere large flocks w i t h triple-figure n u m b e r s w e r e at O u l t o n Broad, Carlton Marshes, Benacre Broad, Covehithe, Reydon Marshes, Dingle Marshes, Orfordness, Boyton Marshes, Kirton Creek, Trimley Marshes, L o o m p i t Lake, A l t o n Water, Barham Pits, Pipps Ford and Lackford. GREATER CANADA GOOSE Common

resident.

Categories

Branta

canadensis

A, C and E.

A w i d e s p r e a d and c o m m o n species t h r o u g h o u t t h e county, along rivers and marshes in t h e east and s o u t h and o n t h e lakes across t h e central and w e s t e r n areas. A higher n u m b e r of breeding sites t h a n in 2 0 1 2 , 1 7 in all, w i t h 93 pairs b u t only 32 young. The highest n u m b e r of pairs was on Orfordness w h e r e at least 12 nested and seven broods of y o u n g w e r e seen. O t h e r sites included Burgh Castle and W e y b r e a d Gravel Pits w i t h t w o pairs each, M i n s m e r e w i t h f o u r pairs, Redgrave Lake w i t h several broods of y o u n g and also Mickle M e r e , Culford Park and Lackford Lakes, w h e r e , at t h e latter site, a big gosling f r o m a b r o o d was seen t o be taken by a fox. Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Minsmere 70 Orfordness 20 Aide WeBS 2148 Deben WeBS 1 Orwell Estuary HW * 119 Stour WeBS 112 * HW = High Water

Feb 38 12 157 46 14 36

Mar 27 60 25 29 57 79

Apr 30 9 -

18 3 97

Sep 212 120 -

123 156

Oct 104 187 723 34 80 555

Nov 27 110 160 36 7 385

Dec 49 290 853 50 203 177

From t h e t a b l e above t h e A i d e / O r e is still t h e principal estuary f o r t h e species, w h i l e in t h e last

48


Systematic List couple of years n u m b e r s have been d o w n on t h e D e b e n b u t a significant increase has b e e n recorded o n t h e Stour. The t o t a l of 2148 o n t h e A i d e / O r e , above, in January is a county record. The largest gatherings in t h e north-east w e r e 104 at O u t n e y C o m m o n , Bungay and 500 at Benacre Broad; bigger flocks w e r e recorded in t h e south-east at a n u m b e r of sites w i t h 650 o n Havergate Island, 360 at Boyton Marshes, 127 at Trimley Marshes and 200 at nearby L o o m p i t Lake. The sites from f u r t h e r west w i t h triple-figure counts included 103 at Redgrave Fen, 190 at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, 120 at Mickle M e r e , 122 at Culford Park, 105 at Livermere Lake, 147 at Lackford Lakes and 453 at Higham, near Hadleigh. On October 2 0 t h 1994 t h e r e w e r e 1600 Canada Geese at Livermere Lake w h i l e nowadays t h e larger flocks appear on t h e estuaries by t h e coast. BARNACLE GOOSE Scarce winter

Branta

visitor

leucopsis

and passage

migrant;

increasingly

common

feral

resident.

Amber

List.

Categories A and E. The stretch of coast b e t w e e n Kessingland and N o r t h W a r r e n held t h e highest c o n c e n t r a t i o n s of this species d u r i n g t h e w i n t e r m o n t h s , p a r t i c u l a r l y in January w h e n 1 2 0 0 w e r e at Reydon Marshes on 2 0 t h , 1300 at Easton Bavents o n 2 7 t h and t h e same flock at A l d e b u r g h t h e f o l l o w i n g day when 1200 w e r e present. A sizeable flock of over 250 was at Gedgrave Marshes on January 25th. Lower n u m b e r s w e r e n o t e d in February w i t h up t o 600 birds c o m m u t i n g

between

Kessingland Levels, Covehithe, S o u t h w o l d Town Marshes and North Warren. Also during February, birds recorded flying south at Landguard t o t a l l e d 467, including 373 on 21st, a vast increase in records for t h e site. N u m b e r s d r o p p e d o f f in M a r c h and April, t h e only t h r e e - f i g u r e flocks being at Minsmere and N o r t h W a r r e n . It was n o t until O c t o b e r 1st at Robinson's Marshes, W a l b e r s w i c k that numbers picked up w i t h 495 at t h e site. There w e r e big flocks along t h a t part of t h e coast until t h e e n d o f t h e year, t h e largest being 4 2 0 at Benacre Broad, O c t o b e r 31st and 360 at Kessingland Levels, D e c e m b e r 27th. Peak regular monthly counts at t w o principal sites: Jan 21 580

Minsmere North Warren

Feb 4 400

Mar 105 400

Apr 96 -

Sep -

40

Oct 397

Nov

3

120

-

Dec 4 280

Apart f r o m at Landguard t h e r e w e r e generally only single-figure counts in t h e south-east d u r i n g t h e year except f o r 45 at East Lane, Bawdsey o n February 1st a n d 169 s o u t h at U n d e r c l i f f e , Felixstowe o n February 21st, presumably part of t h e flock seen at Landguard t h e same day. In t h e west up t o f o u r feral birds w e r e at a f e w localities, mainly at Livermere Lake and Mickle M e r e , where at t h e latter site a h y b r i d y o u n g Barnacle x Greylag Goose was seen in May. The only breeding records of t h e year came f r o m M i n s m e r e w i t h 28 b r e e d i n g pairs and at W e y b r e a d Gravel Pit w h e r e a pair raised five young. (DARK-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Branta bernicla

bernicla

Common

visitor

winter

Amber List. Categories

and passage

migrant.

A and E.

In the north-east birds w e r e n o t e d m o v i n g offshore in t h e first w i n t e r period, t h e principal sites being Thorpeness and Kessingland w h e r e 160 south o n January 2 0 t h and 106 s o u t h o n January 2 2 n d w e r e t h e i r

respective

highest

counts. Sizeable counts w e r e m a d e in January at Covehithe w i t h 370 in a field s o u t h of Church Farm on 5th and 300 in cliff-top fields at C o r t o n o n 11th. Inland, t h e r e was a single b i r d at Carlton

Brent Goose Richard Allen

49


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 Marshes in early April. The final birds i n t o spring on t h e coast in June w e r e a single at Orfordness o n 1st, 12 at Landguard up t o 10th and t w o w h i c h d r i f t e d n o r t h o n t h e sea at Thorpeness o n 2nd w h e r e at t h e same site o n e f l e w south, July 6th. On t h e estuaries of t h e south-east t h e highest counts w e r e o f 1000 at Sudbourne, February 2nd t o 5 t h , 680 at Hollesley Marshes, January 28th, 2000 at King's Fleet, February 9 t h and 1300 at S t u t t o n Mill on t h e late date of M a y 5th. A n o t h e r n o t a b l e inland record was of t w o over Ravenswood, Ipswich o n January 12th. Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Feb Orfordness 60 750 Deben WeBS 1434 1195 Orwell Estuary HW * 1359 715 * HW = High Water

Mar 280 896 660

Apr 9 5 234

Sep 2 -

Oct 18 125 571

Nov 1 931 727

Dec 110 1588 1264

A u t u m n passage began w i t h t w o o f f T h o r p e n e s s o n S e p t e m b e r 11th, f o l l o w e d by regular m o v e m e n t o f f s h o r e w i t h brief peaks at t h e end of S e p t e m b e r and beginning o f O c t o b e r w i t h 5 2 1 o f f O r f o r d n e s s , S e p t e m b e r 2 9 t h and 9 0 0 o f f Thorpeness, S e p t e m b e r 3 0 t h being t h e highest counts. The next wave was o n O c t o b e r 1 1 t h w h e n 2300 f l e w s o u t h o f f S o u t h w o l d b e t w e e n 08:30 and 14:30. A n i n t e r e s t i n g inland record at t h e s a m e t i m e was of 70 n o r t h o v e r M e l t o n Park, W o o d b r i d g e o n O c t o b e r 12th. At Landguard Bird Observatory t h e only f o u r - f i g u r e counts were 3155 s o u t h o n N o v e m b e r 5 t h and 1858 s o u t h on N o v e m b e r 1 1 t h and 1 3 0 1 w e r e recorded off Thorpeness also o n 11th. At S t u t t o n Ness 800 on N o v e m b e r 1st was t h e highest single-flock count f r o m t h e estuaries. At Shingle Street o n December 10th a flock of 120 was f e e d i n g in a f l o o d e d f i e l d f o l l o w i n g a seawall breach d u r i n g t h e t i d a l surge and, w h a t was likely t o have been t h e same flock of 120, at Boyton Marshes on D e c e m b e r 20th, contained a colour-ringed bird f r o m Siberia (PALE-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Uncommon

winter

Branta bernicla

hrota

visitor.

Smaller n u m b e r s w e r e r e c o r d e d t h a n in 2 0 1 1 a n d 2012. M o s t l y single-figure c o u n t s w e r e received f r o m a f e w sites and only one flock was in d o u b l e figures, t h a t of 12 at Holbrook Bay on t h e Stour Estuary o n O c t o b e r 5th. For t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d , sites o n b o t h t h e A i d e / O r e and Deben Estuaries held regular birds, m a i n l y at Hollesley Marshes, w i t h a m a x i m u m of six birds w h i c h included t w o juveniles, January 2 8 t h and Felixstowe Ferry and Falkenham w i t h a m a x i m u m o f five birds o n February 2nd. O t h e r records f o r t h e year i n c l u d e d : Lowestoft: Ness Point, two north, Jan 27th. Reydon Marshes: Jan 20th. Thorpeness: south, Nov 11th; two south, Dec 7th. Orfordness: three on river, Feb 16th; airfields, Feb 23rd; t w o south, Mar 2nd; airfields, Mar 5th; Dec 15th. Sudbourne: four adults, Feb 2nd. Boyton: juvenile, Feb 12th; adult, Dec 12th. Landguard Bird Observatory: two south, Nov 11th; south Nov 20th. Felixstowe: Walton Marshes, Jan 19th. Trimley Marshes: Feb 16th. BLACK BRANT Scarce

Branta bernicla

nigricans

visitor.

It was a g o o d year f o r this sub-species, seen in b o t h w i n t e r periods. The f i r s t - w i n t e r individual at Felixstowe Ferry, below, is t h e first c o u n t y record f o r t h a t age. Deben Estuary: adult, Feb 9th to Mar 1st (W J Brame); first-winter, Feb 18th to Mar 5th (W J Brame); Falkenham, Dec 1st until year end (W J Brame). Orwell Estuary: Chelmondiston area, Jan 3rd to Feb 20th (LG Woods); Shotley Marshes, Dec 24th until year end (N Crouch); different individual at Hare's Creek, Dec 29th until end of year (N Crouch).

50


Systematic List EGYPTIAN GOOSE Locally fairly common

Alopochen resident.

aegyptiaca Categories

C and E.

Typically more numerous In t h e north-east and west although f o u n d in small numbers in t h e south-east, where, as is usual for this species, they were quick t o colonize new areas and were seen regularly at t h e new RSPB reserves of Abbey Farm, Botany Farm and Hollesley Marshes. Breeding occurred in t h e county w i t h a total of 39 young counted at seven sites which were Lound, Carlton Marshes, O u l t o n Marshes, O u l t o n Broad, Gifford's Hall at Stoke-by-Nayland, Livermere Lake and Barton Mere. The pair at Lound were w i t h seven young on t h e village pond on March 31st w h i l e at Barton Mere a pair w i t h eight large juveniles was noted on July 4th. There was no breeding reported for t h e species in t h e south-east this year. The largest congregations in t h e north-east included maxima of 60 at Burgh Castle, 15 at Belton Marshes, 14 at Castle Marsh, North Cove and 50 at Beccles Quay. At Gorleston five flew over t h e town on October 6th. Mostly single-figure counts in t h e south-east were received; regular sites were Pipps Ford and t h e Stour Estuary where t h e highest count was 17 on December 11th. At Landguard Bird Observatory t w o south t h e n inland on April 19th and one south on September 13th are t h e site's f i f t h and sixth records. In t h e west t h e main site was Livermere Lake w i t h a maximum of 53 on August 27th. Other large counts in t h e west were of 26 at Hall Farm, Fornham St. Martin, September 4th, 50 at T i m w o r t h , October 31st, 24 at Lakenheath Fen, November 27th, 18 in a quarry at Flempton, December 29th and nine were all perched in t h e same tree at Culford Park, November 1st. COMMON SHELDUCK Tadorna Locally common

resident,

tadorna

winter visitor and passage migrant.

Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Blyth Estuary* 400 510 Aide/Ore Estuary 716 794 Deben Estuary 265 406 Orwell Estuary 176 135 Stour Estuary 701 730 Livermere Lake* 104 91 "monthly maxima

Mar 353 568 306 30 721 61

Apr

May

Amber

list.

Jun

Sep

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

370 249 336 43

-

171 -

117

22 -

128

6 105 -

Oct -

258 82 7 250 -

Nov -

393 225 113 478 27

Dec -

863 329 162 614 -

Nationally, w i n t e r i n g numbers of Shelduck have fallen steadily since 1996/97 and are n o w at their lowest for nearly 40 years, a l t h o u g h in Suffolk, over t h e same period, t h e n o n - b r e e d i n g population has remained largely stable. That is until this year, w h e n counts on t h e estuaries in both winter periods were low. In addition t o those in t h e table, t h e only o t h e r significant counts came from t h e Aide/Ore Estuary complex, involving a m a x i m u m of 139 at Orfordness in April and 110 at Snape Warren, June 1st. This species enjoyed a very good breeding season at Livermere Lake, w h e r e 86 y o u n g w e r e present in ten broods in early June. However on Orfordness, t h e o t h e r main breeding site in t h e county, only nine pairs bred, t h e lowest number In t h e past ten years. Furthermore, breeding was less-widely reported than usual, w i t h only four pairs at both Hen Reedbeds and Mickle Mere, t w o Pairs at b o t h Dingle Marshes and Lackford Lakes and single pairs at Havergate Island, Butley, Landguard and Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland. Offshore m o v e m e n t peaked In early January, w i t h 340 south and three n o r t h off Thorpeness and 313 south off Landguard both on 7th and 195 south off Landguard o n 11th. MANDARIN DUCK

Aix

galericulata

Uncommon feral visitor. Small breeding

population.

Categories

C and E.

For the sixth consecutive year breeding was c o n f i r m e d at Holywells Park, Ipswich, w h e r e t h r e e

51


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 recently fledged y o u n g w e r e present on July 11th, a l t h o u g h they w e r e not r e p o r t e d subsequently. This was t h e o n l y evidence of b r e e d i n g in t h e county, t h e poorest s h o w i n g for t e n years. Lound Lakes: pair, Mar 27th and 28th. Minsmere: female/eclipse male, Aug 10th. Ipswich: Christchurch Park, 11, Jan 15th; six, Mar 4th; seven, Aug 24th. Holywells Park, 16 (12 males), Jan 26th; 18 (12 males), Feb 22nd; 12 (seven males), Mar 16th; 11 (six males), Apr 13th; 13 males, May 31st; 11 (seven males), June 8th; three recently fledged young, July 11th. Purdis Farm: Ipswich Golf Club, 15, Feb 27th; five (one male), Mar 9th; five (four males), Apr 11th; two males, May 6th to 13th; seven (five males), Nov 24th; 14 (nine males), Dec 11th and 22nd. Belstead: Brook, two, May 17th. Mendham: Marshes, male, Feb 19th (same as at Weybread). Weybread GP: male, Jan 8th to 13th, Apr 30th, May 27th and June 18th. Brandon: three, Jan 26th and Mar 26th; pair, Dec 28th. Santon Downham: Little Ouse River, pair, Feb 19th and Mar 8th; two pairs, Apr 2nd and 14th; pair, May 1st.

EURASIAN WIGEON

Anas

penelope

Common winter visitor and passage migrant. A few oversummer. Amber Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Mar Feb Apr Sep Oulton Marshes* 470 600 600 2 Minsmere* 620 184 813 691 919 North Warren* 790 2300 2200 470 6 Farnham Botany Farm* 1100 200 Aide/Ore Estuary 4227 3373 3036 Deben Estuary 573 667 618 115 534 Orwell Estuary 356 79 42 271 Stour Estuary 1489 894 938 208 153 Gifford's Hall* 510 1150 620 340 *monthly maxima

list. Categories Oct -

793 70 100 1445 615 538 697 -

Nov 50 331 670 130 2057 728 419 828 120

A and E. Dec 300 764 159 680 2235 711 1287 1192 500

W i n t e r i n g n u m b e r s o n t h e estuaries w e r e low. I n d e e d , t h e m a x i m u m WeBS c o u n t at t h e A i d e / O r e Estuary of 4227, January 13th, t h e only site in t h e county regularly s u p p o r t i n g nationallyi m p o r t a n t n u m b e r s ( t h r e s h o l d of 4400), is t h e lowest annual m a x i m u m at this site since 1994. The second-highest c o u n t of t h e year, also m a d e d u r i n g t h e first half of January, was t h a t o f 4000 at H u m b e r s t o n e Marshes o n t h e south side of Breydon W a t e r o n 8 t h . O t h e r w i s e , aside f r o m sites included in t h e table, significant counts d u r i n g t h e first w i n t e r period included 4 0 0 flying east over O u l t o n Broad, M a r c h 3 r d ; a WeBS c o u n t of 100 at Dingle M a r s h e s , F e b r u a r y 9 t h ; 180 at Lakenheath Washes, February 19th; 1 1 1 at Livermere Lake, M a r c h 2 0 t h and 200 at Higham (near Hadleigh), February 13th. Non-WeBS counts along t h e A i d e / O r e Estuary in April included 750 at Hollesley Marshes o n 4 t h , 300 at Butley o n 7 t h , 1000 at Boyton Marshes on 1 5 t h and a m a x i m u m c o u n t of 609 o n Orfordness d u r i n g t h e m o n t h . In t h e s e c o n d w i n t e r p e r i o d a d d i t i o n a l significant c o u n t s i n c l u d e d 278 at Burgh Castle, N o v e m b e r 1 7 t h ; 100 at Benacre Broad, S e p t e m b e r 5 t h ; a WeBS c o u n t o f 210 at Dingle Marshes, N o v e m b e r 9 t h ; 293 at Orfordness, S e p t e m b e r 2 9 t h ; 100 at Gedgrave, S e p t e m b e r 1 3 t h ; 200 at Flixton Decoy, D e c e m b e r 1 8 t h ; 105 at M i c k l e M e r e , D e c e m b e r 2 9 t h ; 356 at T h o r i n g t o n Street Reservoir, O c t o b e r 2 6 t h and 276 at Shelley, O c t o b e r 2 6 t h . T h e r e was n o e v i d e n c e o f b r e e d i n g , a l t h o u g h s u m m e r i n g i n d i v i d u a l s w e r e r e c o r d e d at six coastal and o n e inland site, including d o u b l e - f i g u r e c o u n t s f r o m M i n s m e r e (14, July 11th) and Trimley Marshes (11, July 6 t h ) . Offshore passage included t w o unseasonable records involving t w o s o u t h o f f Landguard, May 1 6 t h and o n e s o u t h o f f Thorpeness, July 23rd. O t h e r w i s e all m o v e m e n t was r e c o r d e d up t o April 1 3 t h and again f r o m A u g u s t 23rd. The f o l l o w i n g significant c o u n t s w e r e logged, i n c l u d i n g 52


Systematic List p r o n o u n c e d peaks in J a n u a r y a n d again f r o m late S e p t e m b e r t o e a r l y D e c e m b e r : Lowestoft: 200 north, Jan 13th; 100 east, Mar 2nd; 80 north and 38 south, Sep 26th. Kessingland: 215 south, Jan 19th. Thorpeness: 119 north and 1072 south in January, including peak day-count of 602 south on 7th; 120 north and 914 south in September, including peak day-count of six north and 286 south on 30th; 164 north and 601 south in November, including peak day-count of 15 north and 448 south on l l t h ; 16 north, 32 south and 600 on the sea, Dee 2nd; t w o north and 144 south, Dee 21st. Landguard: 7 1 north and 847 south in January, including peak day-count of 253 south on 7th; ten north and 2780 south in September, including peak day-count of 1258 south on 25th; 61 north and 1348 south in October; 52 north and 1171 south in November.

GADWALL Common

Anas

streperĂ

resident

and winter

visitor. Amber

Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan 170 Lowestoft Leathes Ham* Minsmere* Aide/Ore Estuary

317 78

Orwell Estuary Lakenheath Fen/Washes *monthly maxima

35 127

list. Categories

A and C.

Feb 54

Mar 15

Sept 50

524 100 23

133 82

98

26 26

189 55

66

Oct 70 250

Nov 45 42 98

58 127 40

-

282 28

Dec 139 148 90 240 66

The h i g h e s t c o u n t o f t h e year, t h e F e b r u a r y W e B S c o u n t a t M i n s m e r e o f 5 2 4 o n

10th,

consolidated t h e RSPB reserve's p o s i t i o n as t h e p r i n c i p a l w i n t e r i n g site f o r t h i s species in S u f f o l k , i

M i n s m e r e also m a i n t a i n e d h i g h n u m b e r s t h r o u g h o u t t h e s p r i n g a n d e a r l y s u m m e r , w i t h c o u n t s

J of 249, April 1 4 t h , 109, M a y 1 2 t h a n d 112, June 2 8 t h . O t h e r w i s e , aside f r o m t h o s e in t h e t a b l e , t h e only o t h e r significant c o u n t w a s o f 119 at Lackford Lakes, J a n u a r y 1 8 t h . The b r e e d i n g p o p u l a t i o n a p p e a r s t o be stable, w i t h 126 pairs ( 1 2 3 pairs in 2 0 1 2 ) r e c o r d e d f r o m nine coastal a n d seven i n l a n d sites. Of t h e s e , M i n s m e r e h e l d 9 0 pairs (80 pairs in 2 0 1 2 ) , Dingle Marshes a n d N o r t h W a r r e n seven pairs each, w h i l e in t h e w e s t o f t h e c o u n t y M i c k l e M e r e , B a r t o n M e r e and T h o r i n g t o n S t r e e t Reservoir each s u p p o r t e d t h r e e pairs.

Gadwall Anas streperĂ

x Eurasian W i g e o n

Anas penelope

hybrid

The w i n t e r i n g m a l e h y b r i d , p r e s e n t o n O r f o r d n e s s d u r i n g D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 2 , r e m a i n e d u n t i l A p r i l 6 t h and t h e n r e t u r n e d t o t h e s a m e site f o r its f o u r t h w i n t e r o n N o v e m b e r 1 0 t h .

EURASIAN TEAL ,

Common

winter

Anas visitor

crecca and passage

migrant.

Scarce resident.

Amber

list.

Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Oct

Nov

Dec

Blyth Castle*

250

700

40

4

-

-

15

76

21

Blyth Estuary*

585 391

240 76

-

-

-

-

-

Dingle Marshes

800 406

-

-

20

590

422

590

Minsmere* North Warren*

1114

821 800

409 350

723 80

1666

1245

1250 442

Farnham Botany Farm*

715 500

100

Aide/Ore Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary

1660

2933

752 504

669 252

Trimley Marshes*

330

700

-

738 300

Aug

344 100

Sep

-

-

70

-

-

-

-

150

-

40

54

700

1517

2641 227

2254 821

2325

929

710 597

181

24

282

80

159

100

154

40

326

151

100

391

671

2247

967

"monthly maxima

-

continued...

53


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Stour Estuary 561 Lackford Lakes* 408 214 Culford Park* Mickle Mere* 124 Gifford's Hall* 400 Tendring Hall* 120 "monthly maxima

Feb 458 -

108 95 370 -

Mar 577 300 53 155 150 60

Apr 221

Aug 205

Sep 298 60

Oct 460

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

131 40 -

-

Nov 427 300

200

-

Dec 1017 333 136 163 -

175

Following t h e p a t t e r n of Shelduck and W i g e o n , w i n t e r i n g n u m b e r s w e r e generally low. Aside f r o m t h o s e in t h e table, f u r t h e r significant counts in t h e first w i n t e r period w e r e of 300 at Breydon South Shore, January 8 t h ; 2 0 0 0 at Hazlewood Marshes, January 2 6 t h ; 100 at Boyton Marshes, April 1st; 132 at Lakenheath Washes, February 23rd and 103 at Great Barton, February 9 t h . In t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d a d d i t i o n a l t h r e e - f i g u r e counts i n c l u d e d 100 at Benacre Broad, S e p t e m b e r 5 t h ; 100 at Hen Reedbeds, S e p t e m b e r 2 5 t h ; 210 at Orfordness, August 2 4 t h ; 130 at Redgrave Fen, S e p t e m b e r 11th; 410 at Cavenham Pits, December 21st and 110 at Higham (near Hadleigh), S e p t e m b e r 2 5 t h . Breeding was n o t c o n f i r m e d , a l t h o u g h a pair held t e r r i t o r y at a coastal site in t h e north-east of t h e c o u n t y and t h r e e o t h e r coastal sites held small n u m b e r s t h r o u g h o u t t h e b r e e d i n g season. The only significant o f f s h o r e c o u n t in t h e first w i n t e r period was of 150 o n t h e sea o f f Shingle Street o n February 1st. Return passage began early w i t h t w o o f f Thorpeness, June 5 t h and peaked o n N o v e m b e r 11th, w h e n 4 7 7 w e r e logged o f f Thorpeness and 4 5 9 o f f Landguard. The f o l l o w i n g significant m o v e m e n t s w e r e recorded d u r i n g t h e a u t u m n and second w i n t e r p e r i o d : Hopton-on-Sea: 100 on sea, Nov 11th. Lowestoft: 94 north and 12 south, Sep 11th; 180 on sea, Sep 25th. Kessingland: 49 south and 63 on sea, Sep 24th; 27 north, 51 south and 45 on sea, Sep 25th; 125 south, Nov 11th. Thorpeness: 203 north, Sep 11th; 84 north and 46 south, Sep 26th; 90 north and 387 south, Nov 11th; 110 north and 25 south, Nov 22nd; 108 north and 29 south, Dec 21st. Landguard: 38 north and 950 south in August; 160 north and 1227 south in September, including peak day-count of 448 south on 25th; three north and 959 south in November, including peak day-count of 459 south on 11th.

GREEN-WINGED TEAL

Anas

carolinensis

Rare visitor. North Warren: male, Apr 14th (D A Fairhurst). The 3 4 t h c o u n t y record.

MALLARD Very common

Anas

platyrhynchos

resident,

winter

visitor and passage migrant.

Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Lowestoft, Leathes Ham 228 Blyth Estuary* 268 Hen Reedbeds 88 Dingle Marshes 182 Minsmere* 405 Farnham Botany Farm* Aide/Ore Estuary 212 Orfordness* 169 Deben Estuary 138 *monthly maxima

Feb 104 105 12 302 265 -

93 194 135

Mar 90 44 5 200 90 -

97 51 50

54

Apr

Amber

Aug

-

-

-

-

-

112

-

146

-

-

-

-

235 55

-

list.

Sep 27 -

46 136 82 -

50 154

Oct 146 -

14 403 222 90 405 217 118

Nov 60 -

176 68 100 317 184

Dec 68 -

319 316 120 235

301 233 116 continued...


Systematic List Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan 82 Stour Estuary 107 Alton Water 139 Lakenheath Fen* 106 Culford Park* 165 Mickle Mere* Thorington Street Reservoir* 165

Feb 128 46 157 93

Mar 57 28

Apr 51 41

Sep 66 129 186 157

Aug 50 140

-

-

-

44

-

99

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Oct 105 166 151 130

-

110

Nov 62 131 114 132

-

-

-

-

Dec 108 114 142 213 131 100

*monthly maxima Numbers in b o t h w i n t e r periods w e r e low, again reflecting t h e p a t t e r n of o t h e r dabbling ducks. Indeed, on t h e A i d e / O r e Estuary, a t r a d i t i o n a l w i n t e r i n g s t r o n g h o l d w h e r e m a x i m u m c o u n t s exceeded 1000 every year b e t w e e n 1986 and 1992, t h e highest WeBS count was of 405 in October. This d o w n w a r d t r e n d is m i r r o r e d nationally, w h e r e w i n t e r i n g n u m b e r s are at t h e i r lowest overall levels since t h e mid-1960s. A p a r t f r o m t h o s e in t h e t a b l e , o t h e r significant c o u n t s in t h e f i r s t winter period included 120 at Burgh Castle, January 25th; 160 at Covehithe Broad, February 5 t h ; a WeBS count of 157 at N o r t h W a r r e n , February 8 t h ; 137 at Havergate Island, February 2 n d and 143 at Suffolk W a t e r Park, Bramford, April 8th. Minsmere held high numbers t h r o u g h o u t the summer, w i t h counts of 128, June 23rd and 317, July 22nd. Elsewhere, other notable counts during this period included 120 at Abbey Farm, Snape, August 31st; 143 at Redgrave Fen, August 15th; 118 at Culford Park, June 23rd and 137 at Great Barton, July 21st, while birds released for shooting accounted for the 2000 at Livermere Lake, July 21st. In t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d , a d d i t i o n a l t h r e e - f i g u r e counts i n c l u d e d 100 at Benacre Broad, September 5 t h ; a WeBS c o u n t of 109 o n t h e O r w e l l Estuary, O c t o b e r 2 0 t h ; 122 at Redgrave Fen, September 4 t h and 137 at Tendring Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, October 26th. The sizeable s u m m e r c o u n t s at M i n s m e r e w e r e t h e resuit of a g o o d b r e e d i n g season. A t o t a l of 98 pairs (114 pairs in 2012) bred o n t h e reserve, accounting for almost half of t h e county's 203 breeding pairs r e p o r t e d f r o m 43 sites (222 pairs at 28 sites in 2012). Hen Reedbeds w i t h 17 pairs and Orfordness w i t h 1 1 pairs were t h e only o t h e r sites w h e r e t h e n u m b e r of pairs reached d o u b l e figures, a l t h o u g h this clearly reflects under-recording. NORTHERN PINTAIL Anas acuta Fairly common winter visitor and passage and E.

migrant;

a few oversummer.

Amber

list. CatĂŠgories

A

Monthly counts from the key sites: Blyth Estuary* Minsmere* North Warren* Famham Botany Farm* Aide/Ore Estuary Orfordness* Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Trimley Marshes* Stour Estuary *monthly maxima

Jan 130 97 209 138 77 46 112 48 34 45

Feb 160 47 260 14 121 51 146 5 19 78

Mar 220 55 200

Oct -

10 3

-

-

26 71 71 2 8 60

77 8 35 47 29 43

Nov -

7 150 6 45 2 70 26 18 15

Dee -

9 70 122 86 72 64 73 83 31

Pintail is t h e UK's fastest-declining dabbling duck, t h e w i n t e r i n g p o p u l a t i o n having m o r e t h a n halved over t h e past seven years. Sadly, in 2013 t h e national t r e n d appeared t o be reflected in Suffolk and t h e high counts d u r i n g t h e first w i n t e r period of 2012 w e r e n o t repeated. This year's peak count, of 260 at N o r t h W a r r e n , February 15th, is t h e lowest c o u n t y annual m a x i m u m since

55


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 1997, w h i l e t h e February WeBS count o n t h e A i d e / O r e Estuary of 1 2 1 o n 10th is t h e lowest annual m a x i m u m at this site since 1992. Up t o five o v e r s u m m e r e d at t w o coastal sites, b u t breeding was n o t suspected. The f o l l o w i n g records w e r e received f r o m t h e w e s t of t h e c o u n t y : Lakenheath Fen/Washes: up to eight, February to mid-April, with 20, Mar 31st; female, Nov 10th. Lackford Lakes: two, Jan 1st to Apr 6th; Sep 11th; seven, Sep 21st; up to two, Nov 30th to Dec 19th. Livermere Lake: male, Feb 19th, Mar 31st and Apr 14th; Aug 21st. Cavenham Pits: female, Sep 7th. Culford Park: Oct 6th to Dec 15th. Mickle Mere: male, Jan 12th; two, Jan 29th; male, Feb 21st and Mar 28th and 31st. Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Hall, maxima of 17, January; 24, February; 17, March; 11, April; two, May and two, October. Higham (near Hadleigh): male, Feb 13th. Offshore passage was logged up t o M a r c h 22nd and again f r o m September 5 t h as f o l l o w s : Gorleston: three south, Jan 21st; three south, Sep 7th; four north and three south, Oct 12th. Hopton-on-Sea: on sea, Dec 7th. Lowestoft: four south, Jan 24th; 18 north, Mar 9th; 11 south, Sep 26th; five south, Nov 11th. Kessingland: eight north and 14 south in January; four north, Mar 9th; three north and seven south in September; 21 south in October; two north, Nov 28th; south, Dec 13th. Minsmere: south, Oct 22nd. Thorpeness: two north and 90 south in January, including peak day-count of 55 south on 20th; three north and 12 south in September; 11 south in October; ten north and 21 south in November; 19 south in December. Felixstowe: Ferry, 22 north, Mar 9th. Landguard: 12 north and 174 south in January, including peak day-count of 108 south on 21st; seven north in March; eight north and 65 south in September; ten north and 55 south in October; one north and 44 south in November; 62 south in December. GARGANEY Uncommon

Anas summer

querquedula visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

Spring m i g r a t i o n began w i t h a pair at M i n s m e r e o n M a r c h 25th. A pair r e m a i n e d at t h e reserve t h r o u g h o u t t h e spring and early s u m m e r and m a t i n g was observed at t h e end of May, although nesting was n o t s u b s e q u e n t l y proved. Elsewhere, a l t h o u g h single males w e r e recorded at eight sites d u r i n g t h e spring, o n l y t w o sites briefly held pairs. T h e r e w e r e records f r o m seven sites in S e p t e m b e r and o n e in October, an individual at Lakenheath Washes on 2 0 t h , f o l l o w e d by t h e first-ever D e c e m b e r record for t h e county, a firstw i n t e r male at Trimley Marshes on 2 9 t h (E Lucking). Are t w o m i d - w i n t e r records in t h e same year a f u r t h e r sign of global w a r m i n g or just coincidence? Carlton Marshes: male, Apr 22nd; July 6th; regularly July 23rd to 29th and again Aug 10th to 22nd. North Cove: Castle Marsh, male, Mar 31st. Kessingland: south offshore, Sep 14th. Hen Reedbeds: male, Apr 16th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, male, Apr 21st and May 1st to 6th and 20th. Minsmere: pair, Mar 25th and 27th to 30th; up to three (one male), Mar 31st to Apr 25th; up to three (two males), Apr 26th to 30th; up to t w o (one male), May; up to three (two males), June; t w o males, July 7th; July 9th; Aug 10th to Sep 5th; five, Aug 22nd; two, Aug 23rd. Sizewell: male, May 20th. North Warren: pair, Apr 6th

Garganey Peter Beeson 56


Systematic List

and 14th; male, May Ist. Hazlewood Marshes: Apr I s t ; six (three males), Apr 7th; four, Apr 14th. Snape: Abbey Farm, male, Apr 6th; two, Aug 25th. Trimley Marshes: two, Sep I s t and 7th to 9th; Sep 14th, 15th, 20th and 22nd; first-winter male, Dec 29th. Trimley St Martin: Loompit Lake, male, July 26th and 27th; Aug 15th and Sep Ist. Redgrave Fen: Aug 21st; Sep 5th and 6th. Sproughton: River Gipping, male, Jan 23rd. Lakenheath Fen/Washes: male, Apr 13th, 14th and 20th; Sep 13th and Oct 20th. Mickle Mere: male, Apr 16th to 21st. Thorington Street: Reservoir, Sep 18th. NORTHERN SHOVELER Common winter

visitor

Anas

clypeata

and passage

onthly counts from the key Jan sites: 56 186

awestoft Leathes Ham* Minsmere* North Warren* Alde/Ore Estuary Orfordness* Havergate Island* Orwell Estuary Trimley Marshes* ickford Lakes*

migrant.

Feb 32 205

94 119 40 40 37 14

70 32 81 111 24

-

Uncommon

Mar 23 64 122 39 58

resident.

Apr -

140 110

Oct

12 110 7

32 113 1

-

49

8 22

23

39

-

-

-

4

list.

Sep

-

3 46 26

-

Amber

26 52 143

175 36 36 2 67 66

Nov 8 212 35 151 76 -

39 118 -

Dec 27 143 95 18 159 -

21 55 50

monthly maxima M i n s m e r e m a i n t a i n e d h i g h n u m b e r s in b o t h w i n t e r p e r i o d s , p e a k i n g , as is t h e n o r m o f r e c e n t years, in N o v e m b e r w i t h a W e B S c o u n t o f 2 1 2 o n l O t h . T h e r e w a s also a n o t a b l e c o u n t a t t h e reserve of 4 0 , A u g u s t 1 5 t h . B e s i d e s t h o s e in t h e t a b l e , c o u n t s e x c e e d i n g 3 0 w e r e r e c e i v e d from:Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, peak of 35 in March. Lakenheath Washes: 55, Mar 31st. Livermere Lake: 33, Sep 24th and 36, Oct 20th. Cavenham Pits: 89, Sep 7th; 120, Oct 4th. Mickle Mere: 68, Jan 12th. Great Barton: 104, Sep 22nd. A l t h o u g h s i g n i f i c a n t l y d o w n o n last year, M i n s m e r e still s u p p o r t e d an i m p r e s s i v e b r e e d i n g population of 5 4 pairs ( 1 0 5 pairs in 2 0 1 2 ) . Elsewhere, C a r l t o n M a r s h e s a n d N o r t h W a r r e n e a c h held t w o pairs, w h i l e single pairs b r e d o n t h e coast at Hen Reedbeds, O r f o r d n e s s , Havergate Island and Hollesley M a r s h e s a n d in t h e w e s t o f t h e c o u n t y at L a k e n h e a t h Fen a n d M i c k l e M e r e . Landguard w i t n e s s e d a n o t a b l e o f f s h o r e passage o n N o v e m b e r 1 8 t h w h e n 75 f l e w s o u t h , t h e highest day-count r e c o r d e d at a single site since 87 f l e w s o u t h o f f T h o r p e n e s s , O c t o b e r 2 8 t h 2 0 0 4 . RED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta Scarce winter visitor and passage

rufina migrant.

CatĂŠgories

A and E.

All records of t h i s e x o t i c - l o o k i n g species c o m m o n l y k e p t in c a p t i v i t y m o s t likely r e l a t e t o birds of ferai o r i g i n . T h e l o n g - s t a y i n g p a i r a t L a c k f o r d Lakes p r o b a b l y a t t e m p t e d t o b r e e d , b u t t h i s remained u n p r o v e n . Orfordness: temale, Sep Bawdsey: two, Aug 27th.

15th.

Alton Water: Oct 20th WeybreadGP: pair, Jan 6th. Lackford Lakes: pair, Apr 9th t o Jun 7th.

57


Suffolk Bird Report 2013 C O M M O N POCHARD Common

winter

Aythya

ferina

visitor and passage migrant.

Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Minsmere* 12 Orwell Estuary 28 Trimley Marshes* 59 Alton Water* 14 *monthly maxima

Uncommon Feb 40 64 79 31

resident. Mar 42 0 38 3

Amber list. Categories

Oct 1 27 32 40

Nov 1 55 59 54

A and E.

Dec -

0 45 116

Both nationally and locally w i n t e r i n g n u m b e r s of this species c o n t i n u e t o decline f r o m a pe ik d u r i n g t h e w i n t e r of 1 9 9 5 / 9 6 . Indeed, this year's highest c o u n t , a WeBS c o u n t of 116 at Alton Water, D e c e m b e r 15th, is t h e lowest c o u n t y annual m a x i m u m since 1976. The o n l y o t h e r counts t o exceed 30 w e r e as f o l l o w s : Alde/Ore Estuary: 42, Jan 13th (WeBS count). Livermere Lake: 33, Mar 9th. Cavenham Pits: 45, Sep 21st. Pochard clings o n as a b r e e d i n g species in t h e county, w i t h single broods located at single sites in t h e south-east and t h e w e s t , w h i l e a pair held t e r r i t o r y at a coastal site in t h e north-east. FERRUGINOUS DUCK Rare winter

Aythya

visitor and passage

nyroca migrant.

Minsmere: female, Apr 17th to May 9th (R Drew et al). This bird was m o s t likely t o be t h e annually r e t u r n i n g individuai first seen at t h e reserve as a j u v e n i l e in August 2009. TUFTED DUCK Common

resident,

Aythya winter

fuligula visitor and passage migrant.

Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Aide/Ore Estuary 53 Orwell Estuary 20 Alton Water 367 Lackford Lakes* 90 ""monthly maxima

Feb 80 7 145 -

Amber Mar 53 0 110 -

list. Oct 49 25 195 75

Nov 2 39 330 -

Dec 41 24 313 110

Overall numbers in b o t h w i n t e r periods w e r e below t h e norms of recent years. The Orwell Estuary fared particularly badly w i t h t h e m a x i m u m count failing t o reach 50 for t h e first t i m e since 1984 In a d d i t i o n t o t h e counts in t h e table, A l t o n W a t e r held good numbers in August, w i t h a WeBS c o u n t of 118 o n 2 5 t h , o t h e r w i s e all counts of 50 and above are as f o l l o w s : Minsmere: 52, Sep 15th. Deben Estuary: 80, Feb 10th (WeBS count). Fiixton (nr. Lowestoft: Decoy, 53, Mar 26th. Flixton (nr. Bungay): Gravel Pits, 100, Mar 17th. Weybread GP: 64, Feb 9th. Redgrave Lake: 72, Jan 3rd. Lakenheath Fen: 51, Jan 13th; 77, Feb 18th. Livermere Lake: 69, Mar 27th; 50, Apr 2nd. Cavenham Pits: 97, Sep 28th. Great Barton: 67, Dec 17th. Thorington Street: Reservoir, 58, Apr 21st. The b r e e d i n g p o p u l a t i o n appears stable w i t h 74 pairs r e p o r t e d f r o m 16 sites (79 pairs at 17 sites in 2012), t h e m a j o r i t y of these at M i n s m e r e , w h i c h held 52 pairs (53 pairs in 2012).


Systematic List Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

x Greater Scaup

Aythya

marita

hybrid

A f e m a l e h y b r i d , p r e s u m e d t o be o f t h i s p a r e n t a g e , w a s p r e s e n t o n t h e r e s e r v o i r at Shelley Priory on February 1 3 t h a n d again o n O c t o b e r 2 6 t h . GREATER SCAUP Fairly common

Aythya

winter

marila

visitor

and passage

migrant.

Red list.

In t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d n u m b e r s w e r e m u c h i m p r o v e d o n t h e s a m e p e r i o d last year, a n d included a long-staying m a l e at T r i m l e y M a r s h e s a n d t w o Inland r e c o r d s . ¡'akefield: two south offshore, Jan 22nd. enacre Broad: first-wlnter male, Feb 3rd to 5th; Apr lOth. Covehithe Broad: male, Feb 28th to Mar 6th. Minsmere: flrst-winter male, Jan 28th and Feb 9th. Thorpeness: t w o south offshore, Jan 7th. Trimley Marshes: first-winter male, Jan 27th to Mar 19th. Stour Estuary: female, Jan 23rd and 28th; t w o females, Apr Ist. Alton Water: Feb lOth. Weybread GP: first-winter male, Jan 5th to 8th. Lakenheath Fen: female, Feb 20th. None was seen a f t e r A p r i l l O t h u n t i l S e p t e m b e r 6 t h , w h e n o n e f l e w s o u t h o f f Bawdsey. T h e r e followed a s i m i l a r n u m b e r o f records t o t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d , i n c l u d i n g t h r e e o n t h e lagoons at East Lane, Bawdsey o n t w o d a t e s in D e c e m b e r . Gorleston: on sea, Oct 5th. opton-on-Sea: on sea, Nov 4th; two, Nov 9th. -vessingland: t w o on sea, Sep 14th. •ìenacre Broad: female, Nov 14th t o Dee 4th. Thorpeness: south offshore, Nov l l t h . awdsey: East Lane, south offshore, Sep 6th; male, Sep 8th t o 15th; two, Nov 16th and Dee 8th; three, Dee 9th and 20th; male, Dee 26th t o 29th. Orwell Estuary: Dee I s t and 19th. Stour Estuary: two, Sep 13th to 24th; male, Nov l l t h . C O M M O N EIDER

Somateria

Jncommon

visitor

winter

moltissima

and passage

migrant.

Has bred. Amber

list.

Small n u m b e r s of Eiders w e r e r e g u l a r l y r e p o r t e d o f f s h o r e t h r o u g h o u t t h e f i r s t w i n t e r p e r i o d . A total of 95 was l o g g e d f r o m n i n e coastal sites u n t i l A p r i i 2 2 n d , a l t h o u g h t h e o n l y d a y - c o u n t t o reach d o u b l e f i g u r e s w a s o f 2 1 n o r t h a n d 19 s o u t h o f f L a n d g u a r d , J a n u a r y l l t h . A w a y f r o m t h e immediate coastline, f i v e w e r e p r e s e n t in H o l b r o o k Bay o n t h e S t o u r Estuary, J a n u a r y 5 t h . In M a y Singles w e r e seen o f f A l d e b u r g h o n 3 r d , O r f o r d n e s s o n 1 6 t h a n d M i n s m e r e o n 2 0 t h , a m a l e w a s on the sea o f f G o r l e s t o n , June 2 8 t h , w h i l e t w o w e r e n o t e d o f f C o r t o n a n d M i n s m e r e , A u g u s t 2 3 r d . There w e r e n o f u r t h e r records until O c t o b e r l l t h . As usuai records w e r e m o r e n u m e r o u s d u r i n g the second w i n t e r p e r i o d a n d p e a k e d d u r i n g t h e s e c o n d half o f N o v e m b e r . A l l d a y - c o u n t s exceeding 20 are listed b e l o w : Gorleston: 50 north, Nov 22nd. Lowestoft: 56 north, Nov 21st; 4 1 north, Nov 23rd. Southwold: 39, Nov 21st; 25, Nov 23rd. Thorpeness: 17 north and 30 south, Nov 23rd. Slaughden: 36 north, Nov 22nd. LONG-TAILED DUCK u

"common

winter

Clangula

visitor

hyemalis

and passage

migrant.

There w e r e t h r e e records in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d , i n c l u d i n g l o n g - s t a y i n g f e m a l e s (possibly t h e same individuai) o n t h e O r w e l l a n d S t o u r Estuaries. Sizewell: drifted south, Jan 25th.

59


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 Orwell Estuary: female ranging between Wherstead and Shotley, Jan 1st to 14th. Stour Estuary: Stutton, female, Jan 17th to Apr 7th. W i t h 30 individuals (possibly including some duplication), it was t h e best s h o w i n g in t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d f o r 25 years. F o l l o w i n g t w o n o r t h o n O c t o b e r 12th, passage o f f Landguard was particularly impressive and a f u r t h e r 1 1 had been logged past t h e observatory by December 24th. Short-staying individuals a p p e a r e d o n t h e Rivers Ore and Stour, w h i l e a f e m a l e s p e n t most o f D e c e m b e r in t h e B e n a c r e / C o v e h i t h e area. Gorleston: two north, Oct 13th; north, Nov 5th; north, Nov 22nd. Benacre Broad: female, Dec 7th to 14th. Covehithe Broad: female, Dec 2nd to 4th and Dec 17th to 31st - same as at Benacre, above. Southwold: three north, Nov 21st. Minsmere: Nov 19th; north, Dec 5th. Thorpeness: south, Nov 23rd. Orfordness: River Ore, Nov 27th to Dec 2nd and Dec 29th. Bawdsey: Dec 19th. Felixstowe: Ferry, north, Dec 9th. Landguard: t w o north, Oct 12th; south, Nov 11th; three south, Nov 20th; four south, Dec 4th; south, Dec 21st; t w o south, Dec 24th. Stour Estuary: Stutton, Oct 25th to Nov 1st; Dec 9th. 2012 Addition: Gorleston: south, Nov 23rd. C O M M O N SCOTER Declining

non-breeding

Melanitta resident,

nigra winter

Monthly counts from the key sites: Mar Jan Feb Kessingland North 202 99 146 South 62 39 9 Thorpeness North 29 63 36 South 254 8 21 Landguard 53 4 44 North South 208 0 23

visitor and passage migrant.

Red list.

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

1139 42

125 5

317 221

306 364

39 159

165 122

184 99

590 574

391 131

104 24

39 29

378 204

458 2972

150 435

153 299

93 97

288 1372

193 760

977 97

145 111

186 28

248 380

67 135

11 135

90 71

271 1413

115 311

There was a striking resurgence in n u m b e r s this year as illustrated by t h e a c c u m u l a t e d m o n t h l y totals f r o m Kessingland (Paul Read), Thorpeness (Dave T h u r l o w ) and Landguard Bird Observatory s h o w n in t h e table. The c u m u l a t i v e annual t o t a l o f f Kessingland is t h e highest logged t h e r e since 2001, w h i l e t h o s e o f f Thorpeness and Landguard are t h e highest-ever recorded at t h e s e t w o wellw a t c h e d sites. Spring m i g r a t i o n was recorded o n an u n p r e c e d e n t e d scale off t h e Suffolk coast, highlighted by 446 n o r t h o f f Kessingland, April 1 3 t h and 585 n o r t h off Landguard, April 2 4 t h . N u m b e r s began t o b u i l d again f r o m early June, w i t h up t o 300 o f f M i n s m e r e by early July, and p e a k i n g w h e n an incredible 1550 f l e w s o u t h past Thorpeness, July 23rd. A flock of 500 was present o n t h e sea o f f nearby A l d e b u r g h t h e f o l l o w i n g day. Further strong s o u t h e r l y passage was recorded in November, w i t h counts of 500 and above m a d e at Landguard and S o u t h w o l d o n 1 1 t h and 21st respectively, and a c u m u l a t i v e t o t a l of 1480 logged past L o w e s t o f t d u r i n g t h e m o n t h . In a f u r t h e r d e v e l o p m e n t in November, a large aggregation f o r m e d o f f Gorleston and H o p t o n on-Sea. The f l o c k was 4 5 0 s t r o n g w h e n first r e p o r t e d on 3rd, had increased t o 700 by t h e end of t h e m o n t h , and reached a m a x i m u m of 900, December 7 t h . This is t h e largest g a t h e r i n g recorded o f f t h e Suffolk coast since M a r c h 1992, w h e n 1100 w e r e o f f Kessingland. C o m m o n Scoters feed 60


Systematic List p r e d o m i n a n t l y o n bivalve molluscs and it is likely t h a t tidal surges o n O c t o b e r l O t h , and again on December 5 t h , s h i f t e d sands o n t h e seabed and h e l p e d create a new, a n d q u i c k l y - e x p l o i t e d , feeding resource. By December 21st t h e flock had reduced t o 120, p r o b a b l y a reflection t h a t t h e supply of bivalves was rapidly being depleted. Significant day-counts are s u m m a r i s e d b e l o w : Gorleston/Hopton -on-Sea: 180 on sea, June 8th; peak day-count in June of 47 north and 175 on sea on 29th and in July of 50 north and 60 on sea on 17th; 100 on sea, July 20th; 450 on sea, Nov 3rd; Nov peak of 700 on sea on 30th and Dec peak of 900 on sea on 3rd; 120 on sea, Dec 21st. Gunton: 100 south, May 4th. Lowestoft: peak day-count in July of 62 north and 53 south on 13th and in Nov of 195 north and 75 south on 23rd. Kessingland: peak day-count in Jan of 82 north, 14 south and 20 on sea on 5th; in Apr of 446 north on 13th; in June of 46 north and 130 south on lOth; in Nov of three north and 197 south on 12th and in Decof 170 north, 14 south and 25 on sea, Dec 17th. Southwold: 112 north, Oct l l t h ; 500 south, Nov 21st. Minsmere: peak day-count in June of 250 on 30th; in July of 300 on 3rd; in Sep of 210 on 25th and in Oct of 170 on 12th. Sizewell: 200, Sep 24th. Thorpeness: peak day-count in Jan o f f o u r north and 212 south on 7th; in June of 85 north and 60 south, June 26th; in July of five north and 1550 south on 23rd; in Aug of 15 north and 99 south on 2nd; in Nov of 68 north and 405 south on l l t h and in Dec of 46 north and 100 south on 2nd. Aldeburgh: 500 on sea, July 24th; Landguard: peak day-count in Apr of 585 north on 24th; in July of 65 north and 206 south on 3rd and in Nov of 507 south on l l t h . On t h e estuaries, Breydon W a t e r hosted t w o , April 5 t h and one, October 6th, one was recorded on t h e Orwell Estuary WeBS c o u n t in T h o r p e Bay, October 20th, w h i l e on t h e Stour Estuary, o n e was present, January 5th, w i t h up t o five at Stutton Ness in N o v e m b e r and up t o f o u r in December. VELVET SCOTER Uncommon

winter

Melanitta

fusca

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

All records in t h e first w i n t e r period, including one on t h e Stour Estuary o f f Stutton, o c c u r r e d during a f o u r - w e e k period b e t w e e n January 7th and February 5th. Gorleston: three on sea, Jan l l t h (same as Corton). Corton: three north, Jan l l t h . Pakefield: four north, Jan 7th. Kessingland: north, Jan 21st. Thorpeness: two south, Jan 7th. Landguard: two north, Jan 8th; south, Jan l l t h ; north, Feb 5th. Levington: River Orwell, Jan 12th and 15th. Stutton: Stour Estuary, Jan 29th. There w e r e t h r e e April records, t h e first since 2007, involving singles o f f G o r l e s t o n o n 8 t h , Landguard o n 16th and Kessingland o n 22nd. There was an excellent series of records in t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d along t h e c o m p l e t e l e n g t h of t h e coastline, beginning w i t h one o f f Gorleston on September l l t h and c o n t i n u i n g t o t h e e n d of t h e year. Careful scanning of t h e sizeable C o m m o n Scoter flock o f f G o r l e s t o n / H o p t o n - o n - S e a revealed a l m o s t daily sightings of this larger scoter f r o m N o v e m b e r 8 t h o n w a r d s , w i t h a peak count of 12, D e c e m b e r 8th. This is t h e first long-staying group t o reach d o u b l e figures since 1992, when up t o 63 w i n t e r e d o f f Kessingland b e t w e e n January 25th and April 4 t h . All records are listed below, including t w o o n t h e Stour Estuary o f f S t u t t o n in late October and early November. Gorleston/Hopton-on-Sea: Sep l l t h ; north, Oct 13th (same as Kessingland); three, Nov 8th (same as Gunton) and then regularly until 17th; eight, Nov 19th; seven, Nov 23rd; five, Nov 28th and then regularly until Dec 3Ist, with 12, Dec 8th, ten, Dec 13th, nine, Dec 3rd, 7th, 9th, lOth and 14th and seven, Dec 5th (all on sea except for Oct 13th). Corton: two north, Oct 12th; three, Nov 5th.

61


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 Gunton: three north, Nov 8th; t w o north, Nov 23rd. Lowestoft: south, Oct 12th; three north, Oct 18th; two south, Oct 20th and 25th; two north, Nov 21st; north, Nov 23rd; two north, Nov 24th and 30th. Kessingland: north, Oct 13th; t w o north, Nov 21st; south, Dec 24th; two north, Dec 27th. Southwold: north and three south, Nov 21st; Nov 23rd. Walberswick: Nov 28th. Dunwich: Sep 29th; two, Dec 6th. Minsmere: two north, Oct 12th; Oct 20th; seven, Nov 28th; five, Nov 29th; Dec 2nd; two south, Dec 5th. Sizewell: Sep 13th. Thorpeness: south, Nov 8th; north and two south, Nov 22nd; south, Nov 23rd and 24th; two, Dec Ist; three north, Dec 2nd; three south, Dec 8th; south, Dec 15th; two south, Dec 16th; seven south, Dec 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Slaughden: on sea, Nov 21st; two, Nov 24th. Bawdsey: on sea, Dec 8th; three, Dec 26th. Landguard: south, Oct 21st; south Oct 31st; north, Nov 3rd; south, Nov 5th; south Nov 20th; north, Dec 3rd and 6th; north and south, Dec 23rd; three north, Dec 27th. Stutton: Stour Estuary, two, Oct 24th to Nov 5th. C O M M O N GOLDENEYE Fairly common

winter

Bucephala

clangula

visitor and passage migrant.

Monthly counts from the key sites:Jan Benacre Broad* 10 Deben Estuary* 11 Orwell Estuary* 14 Alton Water* 17 Stour Estuary 67 Lackford Lakes* 4 *monthly maxima

Amber

Feb 14 10 3 23 44 15

Mar 1 0 2 15 69 12

list.

Apr -

0 0 8 1 11

Nov 1 0 2 11 70 7

Dec 1 2 17 10 63 5

Last year's high counts o n t h e Stour Estuary w e r e n o t repeated, indeed t h e year's peak count, t h e N o v e m b e r WeBS c o u n t of 70 o n this estuary, is t h e lowest c o u n t y annual m a x i m u m since 2004. Besides t h o s e in t h e t a b l e , no o t h e r onshore counts reached d o u b l e figures. The last of t h e spring, at A l t o n Water, April 25th, was f o l l o w e d by an unexpected June record, a i e m a l e at Lackford Lakes o n l l t h , w i t h no f u r t h e r records u n t i l one at Benacre Broad, September 2 7 t h . A u t u m n passage was m o r e p r o n o u n c e d t h a n usuai, w i t h a t o t a l of 6 1 logged f l y i n g south o f f Landguard b e t w e e n O c t o b e r 2 5 t h and t h e end of t h e year, and peaking o n N o v e m b e r l l t h w i t h 23 o f f Landguard and 20 o f f Thorpeness. SMEW

Mergellus

Uncommon

winter

albeilus visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

Sightings o f t h i s p o p u l ä r s a w b i l l o c c u r r e d v i r t u a l l y daily at M i n s m e r e u n t i l A p r i l 1 4 t h and included a m a x i m u m c o u n t o f 12, January 2 8 t h and 2 9 t h and again, M a r c h 26th and t h e county's highest-ever April c o u n t of t e n o n 2nd. As n o r m a l , adult drakes w e r e in t h e m i n o r i t y , peaking at t h r e e , at M i n s m e r e , o n M a r c h 2 6 t h . All records w e r e in t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d a n d refer t o redheads unless o t h e r w i s e stated. Benacre Broad: three, Jan 23rd; five, Jan 28th; three, Jan 30th; Feb 2nd and 3rd. Minsmere: up to eight (two males), Jan Ist to 16th; up to seven, Jan 23rd to Feb 13th, with ten, Jan 27th and Feb lOth and 12, Jan 28th and 29th; eight (two males), Feb 14th; up to nine, Feb 15th to 24th; up to nine (one male), Feb 25th to Mar 7th; up to ten (two males), Mar 8th to Apr lOth, with 12 (three males), Mar 26th and ten (two males), Apr 2nd; Apr l l t h t o l 4 t h . Havergate Island: two, Jan 23rd; five, Jan 26th; two, Feb 9th and lOth; Feb 16th. Gedgrave Marshes: two, Jan 24th.

62


Systematic List Bawdsey: East Lane, two, Jan 17th. Alton Water: Jan 7th and 8th; two, Jan 9th and 13th. Stutton: Stour Estuary, Jan 20th. RED-BREASTED MERGANSER Fairly common

winter

visitor

Mergus and passage Jan 67

Stour Estuary

senator migrant. Feb 21

Mar 94

Apr 14

Nov 45

Dec 15

WeBS c o u n t s f r o m t h e Stour Estuary, t h e m a i n w i n t e r i n g site, are p r e s e n t e d in t h e t a b l e . The year's peak of 94, M a r c h 10th, is Suffolk's highest c o u n t f o r t h a t m o n t h since 169 w e r e p r e s e n t o n the River O r w e l l , M a r c h 4 t h 1979. By stark contrast, t h e m a x i m u m n u m b e r o n t h e River O r w e l l this year was o n l y 13 o f f Levington, January 4 t h . Elsewhere, n o o t h e r site held n u m b e r s in d o u b l e figures. There w e r e f o u r records in M a y i n v o l v i n g birds o f f T h o r p e n e s s ( o n e s o u t h o n 1st), O r f o r d n e s s (three s o u t h o n 1 5 t h ) a n d L a n d g u a r d ( o n e n o r t h o n 1 4 t h and o n e s o u t h o n 1 9 t h ) . A u t u m n passage began w i t h singles s o u t h o f f T h o r p e n e s s a n d L a n d g u a r d , S e p t e m b e r 2 7 t h a n d peaked in t h e first half of N o v e m b e r w i t h t e n o f f M i n s m e r e o n 4 t h a n d t e n s o u t h o f f L a n d g u a r d on 11th. GOOSANDER Locally fairly

Mergus common

merganser winter

Lackford Lakes

visitor

and passage

Jan 15

Feb 16

migrant.

Mar 9

Apr

Oct

Nov

Dec

4

2

12

16

M a x i m u m c o u n t s f r o m t h e m a i n w i n t e r i n g site at Lackford are s u m m a r i z e d in t h e t a b l e . W i t h no p r o l o n g e d p e r i o d of cold w e a t h e r , t h e r e w a s no r e p e a t of last February's i n f l u x a n d t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d was u n r e m a r k a b l e f o r t h i s species. Breydon Water: redhead, Mar 5th. Burgh Castle: Jan 25th. Lound Lakes: redhead, Mar 26th to Apr 1st; male, Apr 13th and 14th. Fritton: River Waveney, male, Jan 21st. Oulton Broad: redhead, Jan 2nd. Kessingland: male north, Mar 10th. Benacre Broad: t w o (one male), Feb 2nd. Minsmere: male, Jan 5th and 29th; redhead, Feb 14th and 18th; male, Apr 5th. Landguard: male south, Jan 8th and 11th; male north, Feb 27th. Carlton Marshes: Feb 19th. Weybread GP: redhead, Jan 5th t o 20th. Santon Downham: two, Jan 21st; t w o Mar 21st to 25th. Thetford: Nunnery Floods, three, Jan 14th. Haverhill: Jan 1st. Higham (near Hadleigh): t w o males, Mar 19th. Nayland: River Stour, redhead, Jan 23rd; four, Feb 23rd; male, Apr 16th. A male f l e w n o r t h past Landguard on t h e late date of M a y 2 0 t h , o t h e r w i s e t h e r e w e r e n o f u r t h e r records u n t i l t w o (a f e m a l e a n d a j u v e n i l e ) at Lackford Lakes, O c t o b e r 1 3 t h . In t h e s e c o n d w i n t e r period t h e r e w a s a n o t a b l e o f f s h o r e passage in N o v e m b e r , p e a k i n g w i t h t e n s o u t h o f f L a n d g u a r d on 4th, b u t f e w i n l a n d records.

S o u h tw o d l: north and six in off the sea, Nov 21st; two, Nov W a b le r s w c ik : Dec 17th. M n is m e r e : Nov 12th and Dec 9th. T h o r p e n e s s : south, Nov 24th; t w o north, Dec 2nd and 7th. F e x ils o tw e : Ferry, six south, Oct 28th. LanH„..,. d; a || s o u t h

o f f s h o r e ) t W 0 j N o v 2nc|;

30th.

ten, Nov 4th; six, Nov 9th; Nov 12th; Nov 25th.

63


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 Alton Water: redhead, Dec 14th, 15th and 30th. Stour Estuary: two, Dec 10th. West Stow: Country Park, seven, Nov 25th; six, Nov 27th; six Dec 19th. Cavenham Pits: redhead, Oct 14th. There was no evidence o f breeding on t h e Little Ouse River in t h e T h e t f o r d area in 2013. RUDDY DUCK

Oxyura

Rapidly declining

jamaicensis

resident,

winter

visitor and passage migrant.

Categories

Cand E.

The UK Ruddy Duck p o p u l a t i o n is n o w t h o u g h t t o have fallen t o a r o u n d 40 birds; of these onl\ an e s t i m a t e d t e n are t h o u g h t t o be adult females, so a female at Lackford Lakes, M a r c h 13th was a surprise a d d i t i o n t o t h e 2013 Suffolk list. Under t h e Bern Convention, t h e UK g o v e r n m e n t is c o m m i t t e d t o t h e c o m p l e t e eradication of this species by t h e end of 2015. C O M M O N QUAIL Scarce summer

Coturnix

coturnix

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

List.

Only f o u r r e p o r t s w e r e received for this species in 2013, none of w h i c h included evidence of breeding. Lowestoft: North Denes, Aug 25th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards). Lakenheath Fen RSPB: male calling, July 25th (RSPB). Bardwell: Bowbeck, male calling, June 11th (D Tomlinson). Great Barton: male calling, July 12th (J Walshe). RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Common

resident;

Alectoris

numbers

rufa

augmented

by releases. Categories

C and E.

This widespread species was recorded f r o m 116 sites in t h e County, w i t h over 60% of t h e reports being received f r o m t h e n o r t h - e a s t recording area. Records of c o n f i r m e d breeding w e r e received f r o m only seven sites. The viability of t h e isolated coastal populations at Orfordness and Landguard c o n t i n u e s t o be in d o u b t . On Orfordness single birds w e r e r e p o r t e d o n several dates in M a r c h and M a y and t w o o n October 12th. At Landguard one 'elusive' bird was present f r o m January t o March and t w o r e c o r d e d o n M a r c h 14th. A r e p o r t of a single bird o n Havergate Island o n July 15th suggests t h a t t h e Orfordness p o p u l a t i o n may n o t be q u i t e so isolated. GREY PARTRIDGE

Perdix

Formerly

resident,

Categories

common

perdix now

localised.

Red

List.

A, C and E.

There was a f u r t h e r increase in records of this species, f r o m 9 1 in 2012 t o 108 in 2013. Birds w e r e recorded at 53 sites, again an increase o n t h e previous year, hopefully s i g n i f y i n g a small e x p a n s i o n in t h e p o p u l a t i o n . The highest c o u n t s w e r e received f r o m n o r t h - e a s t Suffolk w h e r e at Ellough 14 w e r e recorded o n January 1st and W i l l i n g h a m w h e r e 16 w e r e r e c o r d e d o n O c t o b e r 2 4 t h . No

confirmed

reports

of

breeding

were

received;

h o w e v e r at least 19 pairs of adults w e r e recorded d u r i n g t h e breeding season and could be considered as potential breeders. A single bird present at Landguard on May 8 t h was t h e first record for t h e reserve since O c t o b e r 1981. C O M M O N PHEASANT Very common Categories

resident;

Phasianus numbers

colchicus

augmented

by releases.

C and E.

Reports of this e x t r e m e l y c o m m o n species w e r e 64


Systematic List received f r o m 223 locations w i t h a m u c h higher level of recording taking place in t h e north-east and south-east of t h e county. Only seven records of c o n f i r m e d b r e e d i n g w e r e received, these oeing f r o m established nature reserves w i t h comprehensive m o n i t o r i n g p r o g r a m m e s in place. GOLDEN PHEASANT Scarce resident.

Chrysolophus

Catégories

pictus

C and E.

No records w e r e received for this species in 2013. 3ED-THROÄTED DIVER Common winter

Gavia

stellata

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

Suffolk's record day-count t o t a l of 5642 south and 27 n o r t h o f f Thorpeness o n t h e last day of 2011 remains intact. No c o u n t d u r i n g 2013 even came close to m a t c h i n g it, b u t t h e observer w h o amassed t h e county's record - David T h u r l o w - n o t c h e d up 2013's highest t o t a l , w h i c h was 3852 south and 43 n o r t h on December 7th. David's Herculean efforts at his Thorpeness cliff-top vantage point also achieved t h e year's second-highest t o t a l , 3316 south and 75 n o r t h , o n t h e f o l l o w i n g day. It should be n o t e d t h a t a l t h o u g h well short of t h e record, b o t h of these 2013 peak-day totals were considerably higher t h a n those reached in 2012. The county's north-east recording area again p r o d u c e d many m o r e records t h a n its south-east viounterpart, w i t h t h e f o l l o w i n g totals being selected peak-day counts. The dates on w h i c h t h e counts were m a d e are also g i v e n : Jan 16 2 Ist

Feb 577 4th

Mar 720 27th

Apr 1021 8th

Sep 22 30th

Oct 18 13th

Nov 700 30th

Dec 3895 7th

On Orfordness, t h e largest c o u n t in January was 170 n o r t h o n 2 6 t h and t h e largest c o u n t in rebruary was 73 on 23rd. There w e r e f o u r March counts f r o m t h e site w h i c h exceeded 200, t h e maximum being 269 n o r t h o n 9 t h ; t h e highest counts t h e r e in Aprii w e r e 103 n o r t h on 7 t h and 120 gathered o n t h e sea o n 17th, w i t h t h e last spring record being t h r e e o n May 5th. At Landguard the species was noted u p t o May 13th and f r o m O c t o b e r 4 t h , w i t h t h e m a x i m u m day counts being 278 n o r t h and eight south on March 31st and 108 n o r t h and 187 south on April I s t . íLACK-THROATED DIVER Jncommon

winter

Gavia

arctica

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list

The cautionary w o r d s relating t o this species in recent volumes of Suffolk Birds, particularly in 2012, may be having an effect. Observers w e r e r e m i n d e d t h a t t h e species is "notoriously O/se parate from Red-throated

under certain conditions"

tricky

to

and t h a t Black-throated Diver is currently

the subject of an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n / r e p o r t i n g review by t h e SORC. In 2013, even w h e n possible duplication of records is borne in m i n d , t h e r e w e r e only 20 or so individuáis r e p o r t e d f r o m t h e n o r t h - e a s t e r n recording area and a b o u t 25 f r o m t h e south-east both figures slightly d o w n on t h e previous year's tallies and little m o r e than half t h e totals r e p o r t e d in the peak years of 2008 and 2009. A particular f e a t u r e of t h e records concerned passage w h i c h was n o t e d in M a r c h and Aprii, w

¡ t h ten individuáis recorded in t h e f o r m e r m o n t h and nine in t h e latter. In this period, Landguard

Bird Observatory r e p o r t e d an "excellent

spring passage"

w i t h singles on M a r c h 2 6 t h and 27th,

three n o r t h on M a r c h 29th and four n o r t h o n April I s t . There was only one long-staying, w e l l - w a t c h e d individual r e p o r t e d , a c o n f i d i n g bird o n A l t o n Water f r o m December 2 2 n d t o t h e year's end. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Uncommon

winter

Gavia

immer

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

in contrast w i t h t h e Suffolk status of Red-throated Diver, w h i c h shows a m a r k e d preference for

65


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 t h e county's n o r t h - e a s t e r n recording area, this w e i g h t y w a n d e r e r f r o m t h e n o r t h clearly prefer t h e w a t e r s of our south-eastern area j u d g i n g by t h e records received in recent years. 2013 wa certainly no exception, w i t h a meagre t o t a l of just 12 reports f r o m t h e north-east o v e r w h e l m i n g ! o u t n u m b e r e d by a deluge o f reports f r o m t h e south-east. W h i l e t h e latter u n d o u b t e d l y contai m u c h duplication, involving long-staying individuals, it does seem s o m e w h a t surprising t h a t t h species is e n c o u n t e r e d so i n f r e q u e n t l y "further

up the Suffolk coast", as it w e r e .

At least o n e individual f r e q u e n t e d A l t o n W a t e r f r o m January 1st t o at least 1 8 t h and may hav also a c c o u n t e d f o r t h e several reports received f r o m various sites along t h e O r w e l l and StouEstuaries a r o u n d this t i m e . A series of reports f r o m Landguard Bird Observatory c o m m e n c e d w i t h a single o n M a r c h 14t a n d c o n t i n u e d w i t h a b i r d f l y i n g n o r t h o n M a y 2 5 t h . The m o s t surprising record f r o m t h o b s e r v a t o r y concerning this species was of a highly unseasonable individual f l y i n g n o r t h o n Jul 2 5 t h . This is Suffolk's second July record, t h e first having occurred in 2002 at S o u t h w o l d o n Jul / 1st and Thorpeness o n July 2nd - p r e s u m a b l y t h e same bird. M o r e conventional was t h e site' first record of t h e a u t u m n , a single w h i c h f l e w south and c o n t i n u e d w e s t up t h e Stour Estuary o O c t o b e r 2 2 n d , a n d t h e r e f o l l o w e d o t h e r r e p o r t s o f singletons o n N o v e m b e r 8 t h and 9 t h an I D e c e m b e r 8 t h , 3 0 t h and 31st. F o l l o w i n g t h e arrival in t h e Stour Estuary of t h e bird n o t e d at Landguard o n O c t o b e r 22nc reports of individuals came f r o m Levington Marina and several localities o n t h e Stour Estuary unt t h e year's e n d . These r e p o r t s c o n c e r n e d t h e S t u t t o n area, t h e H o l b r o o k area, Harkstead an E r w a r t o n and may well have referred t o t h e same w a n d e r i n g individual. In t h e n o r t h - e a s t recording area, t h e first r e p o r t of t h e year concerned a bird o f f Slaughden o February 13th. One f l e w n o r t h o f f Kessingland o n M a r c h 17th and t h e species was also n o t e d ac t h e latter site o n M a y 19th and 23rd. A bird flying south o f f Thorpeness o n S e p t e m b e r 2 8 t h wa t h e first r e t u r n i n g bird t o be n o t e d a n y w h e r e o f f t h e coast and was f o l l o w e d by o t h e r n o r t h eastern area r e p o r t s at Kessingland, O c t o b e r 6th, Thorpeness, N o v e m b e r 8 t h , S o u t h w o l d and Thorpeness, N o v e m b e r 12th, Thorpeness, N o v e m b e r 23rd and finally Kessingland, December 9th NORTHERN FULMAR Declining

Fulmarus

passage migrant.

glacialis

Formerly

bred. Amber

list.

It is s o b e r i n g t o t h i n k t h a t this species bred in t h e c o u n t y in t h e n o t - t o o - d i s t a n t past. N o w a d a y ; its f o r t u n e s seem t o be o n a d o w n w a r d spiral w i t h far f e w e r sightings recorded by even t h e mos: avid of our seawatchers. The t a b l e b e l o w presents t h e c o m b i n e d , and f o r t h e most p a r t d e s p e r a t e l y disappointing m o n t h l y totals for o u r n o r t h - e a s t and south-east recording areas. It shows t h e year's peak t o be in A p r i l , a m o n t h in w h i c h t h e t o t a l was b o o s t e d by t h e events o f j u s t one day of n o r t h e r l y m o v e m e n t - A p r i l 8th. On this latter date 104 recorded o f f Thorpeness was by far t h e largest day c o u n t of t h e year, 66 w e r e seen o f f Lowestoft and 2 1 o f f Kessingland. Jan 12

Feb 12

Mar 68

Apr 257

May 80

June 91

July 6

Aug 15

Sep 43

Oct 4

Nov 4

Dec 16

Comments f r o m observers based o n Orfordness illustrate t h e county's general dearth of records for this species, which w e can only hope is faring far better t o the north of us. The observers reported: "Again a very poor year for this species." Their notes referred t o just eight birds all year, w i t h none at all after June 9 t h - a state of affairs which w o u l d have been scarcely believable only a few years ago. The only reference t o a ' b l u e ' m o r p h individual concerned one f l y i n g south o f f Landguard Bird O b s e r v a t o r y o n D e c e m b e r 31st (P Oldfield). CORY'S SHEARWATER Rare passage

Calonectris

diomedea

migrant.

No d o u b t m u c h t o t h e d i s a p p o i n t m e n t o f t h e rest o f t h e c o u n t y ' s seawatchers, o n l y one 66


Systematic List ortunate o b s e r v e r c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h i s large, m u c h - s o u g h t - a f t e r , s h e a r w a t e r in Suffolk in 2 0 1 3 : fhorpeness: south, 07:50hr Aug 11th (S Mayson). The last y e a r in w h i c h t h i s s h e a r w a t e r w a s n o t r e c o r d e d in Suffolk w a s 2 0 0 7 . IOOTY S H E A R W A T E R

Uncommon

passage

Puffinus

migrant.

griseus

Amber

list.

The first Suffolk e n c o u n t e r w i t h t h i s exciting s e a b i r d f r o m t h e s o u t h e r n h e m i s p h e r e c a m e o n .ugust 1 3 t h w h e n a s i n g l e t o n s h e a r e d n o r t h o f f T h o r p e n e s s . T h e f i n a l S u f f o l k c o n n e c t i o n also ame f r o m t h i s site, i n d e e d , it was e n j o y e d by t h e s a m e observer, t h e i n d e f a t i g a b l e David T h u r l o w , n t h e r a t h e r late d a t e of D e c e m b e r 2 n d , w h e n t h r e e c a r e e r e d n o r t h . This is t h e first D e c e m b e r ecord since 2 0 0 7 w h e n o n e w a s o f f T h o r p e n e s s o n 1 5 t h . The h i g h e s t d a y - c o u n t s r e p o r t e d i n c l u d e d seven o f f T h o r p e n e s s o n S e p t e m b e r 1st a n d f i v e assed t h e s a m e l o c a l i t y o n S e p t e m b e r 1 2 t h . A n e s p e c i a l l y n o t i c e a b l e f e a t u r e o f t h e r e c o r d s eceived, h o w e v e r , w a s t h e r a t h e r late surge w h i c h t o o k place in O c t o b e r , p a r t i c u l a r l y o n 1 1 t h nd 12th. On t h e f o r m e r d a t e , t h e highest c o u n t s r e c e i v e d w e r e e i g h t o f f S o u t h w o l d a n d seven iff Thorpeness, a n d o n t h e l a t t e r d a t e t h e highest c o u n t s w e r e f o u r o f f L o w e s t o f t a n d f o u r o f f Kessingland. Bearing in m i n d t h e p r o b a b i l i t y of s o m e d u p l i c a t i o n in the records, t h e a c c u m u l a t e d m o n t h l y t o t a l s w e r e : VIANX S H E A R W A T E R

Jncommon

passage

Puffinus

migrant.

Aug 4

Sep 25

Oct

Nov

43

4

Dec 3

puffinus

Amber

list.

After a t o t a l o f five individuals r e p o r t e d o n a t o t a l of f o u r dates in May, June p r o d u c e d t h e year's nonthly "spike". The m o n t h ' s t o t a l was 46, of w h i c h 2 4 passed T h o r p e n e s s - all b u t o n e h e a d i n g o u t h - o n 2 4 t h . O n l y singles w e r e n o t e d in July, A u g u s t a n d S e p t e m b e r , b u t a m i n o r s u r g e ccurred in October, w i t h a t o t a l of 27 b e i n g logged. T h e m o n t h ' s peak c o u n t was t e n o f f M i n s m e r e each on 1 1 t h , a day w h e n e i g h t w e r e r e p o r t e d at n e a r b y Thorpeness, t h e r e clearly being a d e g r e e •f d u p l i c a t i o n b e t w e e n t h e t w o sites' t o t a l s . The o n l y N o v e m b e r r e c o r d c o n c e r n e d a s i n g l e t o n ying n o r t h o f f S o u t h w o l d o n 3 0 t h - t h e latest since o n e o f f S o u t h w o l d , D e c e m b e r 2 2 n d 2 0 0 4 . ALEARIC S H E A R W A T E R

ore, but nearly

annual,

Puffinus

passage

mauretanicus

migrant.

Critically

endangered.

Red list.

M o b i l e p h o n e s a n d social m e d i a m a y n o t be e v e r y o n e ' s cup of t e a , as t h e y say - especially f o r hose o f us w h o are l o n g e r in t h e t o o t h - b u t t h e r e can be n o d e n y i n g t h a t such m o d e r n ¡ a r a p h e m a l i a has t r a n s f o r m e d b i r d i n g . S o m e t i m e s a q u i c k l y b r o a d c a s t m e s s a g e r e g a r d i n g a Jassing seabird can g e t o b s e r v e r s d a s h i n g t o t h e coast. A message p u t o u t by m e m b e r s o f t h e o w e s t o f t L o u n g e Lizards g r o u p o n A u g u s t 2 9 t h c e r t a i n l y d i d j u s t t h a t , as t h e r e c o r d b e l o w lustrâtes, w i t h t h e b i r d in q u e s t i o n " t r a c k e d " by several q u i c k - o f f - t h e - m a r k o b s e r v e r s at v a r i o u s points a l o n g o u r c o a s t : -owestoft: Ness Point, south, Aug 29th, 17:25hr (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards), also seen at Kessingland, 17:32hr, Southwold, 18:05hr and later at Sizewell. This m u l t i - o b s e r v e r r e c o r d is t h e o n l y o n e of t h e year. This species r e m a i n s a key t a r g e t f o r t h e county's s e a w a t c h e r s , h a v i n g b e e n a d d e d t o t h e c o u n t y list as r e c e n t l y as 1 9 9 8 a n d w i t h n o y e a r so far m a t c h i n g 2002's t o t a l o f 14. LEACH'S STORM-PETREL Scarce passage

migrant.

Oceanodroma Amber

leucorhoa

list.

An exciting t h r e e - d a y p e r i o d in O c t o b e r p r o d u c e d t h e bulk o f t h e records in a r e l a t i v e l y g o o d showing f o r t h i s species in a Suffolk c o n t e x t . Bearing in m i n d an o b v i o u s d e g r e e of d u p l i c a t i o n , all records are listed:— Gorleston Pier: south, 08:25hr, north 08:40hr, both Oct 13th (R Fairhead). c

°rton Cliffs: four north, Oct 12th (G Grieco). 67


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 Gunton Beach: north, Oct 11th (J A Brown). Kessingland: two north, Oct 12th (P Read). Southwold: north, 07:40hr, Oct 11th (J H Grant); four north, prior to 09:00hr Oct 12th (BJ Small); north, 10:18 hrs and 12:56hrs, Oct 12th (S Dean). Minsmere Beach: north, 08:10hr, north 08:18hr, both Oct 12th (J H Grant, J A Rowlands). Sizewell Beach: three, Oct 12th (D Thurlow). Thorpeness: north, Sep 27th (D Thurlow); north, Oct 11th (D Thurlow); three north, Oct 12th (D Thurlovi ; north, Oct 12th (D F Walsh); north, Dec 2nd (D Thurlow). Bawdsey: two, Oct 12th (per Birdguides), north, 10:00hr (S Abbott). Landguard: six north, Oct 11th (P Oldfield); two north, Oct 12th (P Oldfield); north, Oct 12th (J Zantboer) This Landguard record is t h e highest day-count at any site in Suffolk since O c t o b e r 13th 2003 w h e n 11 f l e w n o r t h o f f S o u t h w o l d . NORTHERN GANNET Common

Morus

passage migrant.

bassanus

Amber

list.

A l t h o u g h t h e previous year's peak day-count of 2320, amassed by David T h u r l o w at Thorpene; s o n O c t o b e r 8 t h , was n o t equalled, t h e r e w e r e some remarkably high m o n t h l y totals, as t h e table b e l o w illustrates. During February, M a r c h and April, n o r t h b o u n d passage of adults r e t u r n i n g to n o r t h e r n b r e e d i n g colonies was especially marked, a n d a r e t u r n s o u t h e r l y m o v e m e n t w h i c l gained s t r e n g t h in August and S e p t e m b e r built up f u r t h e r In October and peaked in Novembe . As has been n o t e d in recent years, t h e s u m m e r m o n t h s - this t i m e especially June - accounted f o r some impressive counts and probably f e a t u r e d w i d e - r a n g i n g parents foraging o f f our coast to feed hungry chicks far t o t h e n o r t h . The table b e l o w shows t h e c o m b i n e d m o n t h l y totals for our north-east and south-east recording areas, and t h e peak day-counts ( b o t t o m row). It should be borne in m i n d t h a t m u c h duplication must surely exist w i t h i n t h e totals and t h e figures should best be t r e a t e d as simply an indication of t h e t e m p o r a l spread of reports r e c e i v e d : Jan 172 50

Feb 6258 1056

Mar 7693 665

GREAT CORMORANT Common

winter

Apr 2723 446

May 678 105

Phalacrocorax

June 1266 424

July 526 96

Aug 782 107

Sep 910 102

Oct 1818 256

Nov 2963 464

Dec 897 290

carbo

visitor and passage migrant:

has nested since

1998.

One colossal count stood o u t f r o m all t h e o t h e r references t o this species in t h e records received - a n e w Suffolk record day-total of 1650. The previous c o u n t y record of 787, on Havergate Island o n February 21st, 2011, was m o r e t h a n d o u b l e d in yet a n o t h e r illustration of t h e rapidly increasing n u m b e r s t h a t can be e n c o u n t e r e d in Suffolk nowadays, particularly in t h e w i n t e r m o n t h s . The record t o t a l , c o u n t e d at Gorleston, c o m p r i s e d 350 n o r t h and 1300 south, w i t h t h e presence of t h e n o w well-established and sizeable roost at nearby Fritton Lake probably a c c o u n t i n g for many, if n o t all, o f t h e s e birds. The table b e l o w records t h e peak m o n t h l y day-counts for selected m o n t h s f r o m t h e north-east and south-east recoding areas, w i t h Orfordness t r e a t e d separately as observers t h e r e submitted t h e i r o w n useful m o n t h l y t a b l e : -

North-east South-east Orfordness

Jan 1650 440 54

Feb 400 60 155

Mar 180 80 70

Apr 116 70 80

Aug 70 49 -

Sep -

128 8

Oct 150 82 60

Nov 237 200 95

Dec 160 272 110

Evidence o f a u t u m n a l i m m i g r a t i o n came f r o m Lowestoft w h e r e 67 came "in o f f " at Ness Point o n August 1 4 t h and 70 did likewise at t h e same location o n August 2 0 t h . N u m b e r s r e p o r t e d f r o m t h e west of t h e c o u n t y w e r e generally s o m e w h a t l o w e r t h a n might

68


Systematic List ave been e x p e c t e d , a l t h o u g h t h e peak t o t a l o f 108 at Lackford Lakes o n S e p t e m b e r 2 9 t h w a s ígnificantly h i g h e r t h a n t h e r e c o r d i n g area's 2 0 1 2 peak of 65, w h i c h was also r e c o r d e d at t h i s >uffolk W i l d l i f e Trust reserve. No data r e l a t i n g t o t h e t r e e - n e s t i n g c o l o n y at L o o m p i t Lake w e r e received, a l t h o u g h a n e c d o t a l l y there did n o t a p p e a r t o be any reason t o believe t h a t t h e p r e v i o u s year's t o t a l o f 112 nests w a s not at least m a t c h e d . UROPEAN SHAG Uncommon

winter

Phalacrocorax visitor

aristotelis

and passage

migrant.

Amber

list.

The g a t h e r i n g o f 16, i n c l u d i n g e i g h t a d u l t s , in Lake L o t h i n g , L o w e s t o f t , o n J a n u a r y 8 t h is t h e largest in Suffolk since M a y 6 t h t o 9 t h 1 9 8 8 w h e n 2 0 w e r e p r e s e n t also at L o w e s t o f t . The locality m w h i c h t h e s e birds h a d a s s e m b l e d , t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e n e i g h b o u r i n g H a m i l t o n Docks, is : raditionally o n e of t h e key Suffolk w i n t e r i n g sites f o r t h e species. The birds in t h i s g r o u p no d o u b t a c c o u n t e d f o r s u b s e q u e n t n o t e w o r t h y c o u n t s in t h e area, t h e highest b e i n g 1 1 o n J a n u a r y 1 2 t h , w h e n t w o w e r e in H a m i l t o n Docks a n d n i n e w e r e in Lake Lothing, a n d 14 o n J a n u a r y 2 3 r d , w h e n n u m b e r s w e r e e v e n l y s p l i t b e t w e e n t h e t w o sites. February's peak in t h e area w a s o n l y six, t h e c o u n t b e i n g m a d e o n 2 0 t h , b u t o n t h e first t w o days of t h e m o n t h a c o l o u r - r i n g e d b i r d was n o t e d a n d it w a s f o u n d t o have b e e n r i n g e d as a chick o n Brownsman, F a m e Islands, in June 2 0 0 9 . This is f u r t h e r e v i d e n c e t h a t t h e o r i g i n s of at least s o m e of " o u r " w i n t e r i n g birds are a l o n g t h e n o r t h e r n coasts o f e a s t e r n Britain as o t h e r c o l o u r - r i n g e d rds have c o m e f r o m e a s t e r n Scotland, p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e Isle of M a y . Predictably, n u m b e r s in t h e L o w e s t o f t area fell w i t h t h e o n s e t o f spring, a l t h o u g h f i v e w e r e in Lake Lothing o n April 2 8 t h , a n d , after t w o b e i n g n o t e d t h e r e on M a y 2nd, singles w e r e occasionally reported u n t i l t h e m o n t h ' s e n d . The r e c e n t t r e n d o f r e c o r d s of birds b e i n g e n c o u n t e r e d in m i d - s u m m e r c o n t i n u e d w i t h a singleton at Ness P o i n t , L o w e s t o f t , o n J u n e 2 5 t h a n d 2 6 t h a n d w h a t w a s p o s s i b l y t h e s a m e individual o f f t h e t o w n ' s N o r t h Beach o n July 1 2 t h . The first r e c o r d of t h e a u t u m n c o n c e r n e d a s i n g l e t o n o f f Sizewell o n S e p t e m b e r 1 1 t h a n d a sprinkling o f O c t o b e r records i n c l u d e d t h e e y e - c a t c h i n g r e p o r t o f 1 1 at L a n d g u a r d o n 1 6 t h . O n e in Lake L o t h i n g o n N o v e m b e r 2 n d w a s s u r p r i s i n g l y t h e o n l y r e c o r d f o r t h e m o n t h . A f t e r one at G u n t o n Beach o n D e c e m b e r 1 5 t h , t w o w e r e in Lake L o t h i n g at t h e y e a r ' s end. In t h e s o u t h o f t h e c o u n t y , singles w e r e n o t e d in t h e S t o u r Estuary o n December 2 n d , 6 t h , 7 t h a n d 1 0 t h a n d t h e f i n a l r e p o r t f o r o u r s o u t h eastern r e c o r d i n g area w a s o n e at L a n d g u a r d o n D e c e m b e r 1 5 t h . GREAT BITTERN

Botaurus

Slowly increasing

breeding

passage migrant

and winter

stellaris population, visitor.

scarce

resident,

Red list.

The Suffolk coast's l o n g - h e l d p o s i t i o n as t h e UK's m a i n stronghold f o r t h i s h i g h - p r o f i l e species a p p e a r s t o h a v e come t o an e n d . For t h e s e c o n d successive year, t h e area's n u m b e r o f b o o m i n g m a l e s w a s s u r p a s s e d by t h e t o t a l recorded o n S o m e r s e t ' s A v a l o n M a r s h e s - a f i n e t r i b u t e t o the habitat c r e a t i o n a n d m a n a g e m e n t w o r k u n d e r t a k e n by organisations i n c l u d i n g t h e RSPB, t h e S o m e r s e t W i l d l i f e Trust and N a t u r a l England. We are i n d e b t e d t o RSPB s é n i o r c o n s e r v a t i o n scientist Simón W o t t o n f o r s u p p l y i n g us w i t h a c o p y of his p a p e r Summary

of the 2013

Bittern

breeding

season",

for which

Suffolk Birds 2013 is g r a t e f u l , as t h i s a l l o w s us t o usefully set Suffolk's G r e a t B i t t e r n b r e e d i n g data in a UK c o n t e x t . M r

69

Bittern Peter Beeson


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 W o t t o n ' s r e p o r t states: "There booming

was another

maies in 2013, with a minimum

encouraging

increase

in the number

of 120 boomers recorded at 60sites,

53 sites in 2012. There was evidence of a range increase, with booming for the first time in severa! decades. Overall, there was confirmed "As in 2012, it was not possible monitored,

nesting

to monitor

was confirmed

2012, 44 nests were confirmed

reported from

booming

ali sites for nesting

of confirme 1

compared

to

two

106et countits

at nine new sites in 201 .

activity

in 2013. From the

at 22 sites in 2013, with a minimum

sitts

of 51 nests recorded.

in

at 20 sites."

Somerset t o p p e d t h e UK "league t a b l e " w i t h a m i n i m u m of 33 b o o m i n g males, and a maximui i o f 35, r e p r e s e n t i n g a 14% increase over its ĂŠquivalent figures f o r t h e previous year. The Suffolk coast was again pipped i n t o "second place" w i t h a m i n i m u m of 25 b o o m i n g mali s and a m a x i m u m o f 27 - precisely t h e same figures as w e r e recorded in 2012. In a d d i t i o n t o t h e impressive s i t u a t i o n in Somerset, M r W o t t o n also notes s o m e p r o m i s i r g figures f r o m closer t o h o m e . He states: "Booming wellfrom

the dip in 2012, with booming

since annual

monitoring

began in

reported

numbers from

in the Norfolk

(from 10 in 2012), although

overall

trend

appears

relatively

was an increase in number

male bitterns

recorc s

to a minimui n

this was likely due to the wet and cold spring weather

stable over recent years. Nesting

of confirmed

but only one nest was confirmed disappointing

recoverei

1990)."

At M i n s m e r e , t h e RSPB r e p o r t e d : "There was a slight dip in booming ofnine

Broads also

three new sites (with no previous

nesting attempts

successful

after the high proportion

up to seven (ali from diffĂŠrent

with the others apparentlyfailing

of nest success last

and ti e

was of mixed fortunes: rapidly,

theie femalesI,

which wi s

year."

At Lakenheath Fen, t h e society r e p o r t e d t h a t g r u n t i n g was first heard on February 16th and b o o m i n g c o m m e n c e d o n M a r c h 14th. There w e r e f o u r " c o n f i r m e d " nests at this i m p o r t a n t site for t h e species, w i t h RSPB staff assessing t h a t t h r e e w e r e "successful". This was an i m p r o v e m e i t o n t h e site's success rate in 2012, w h e n o n l y one of t h e f o u r " c o n f i r m e d " nests was said t o ha\s been "successful". Overall, in t h e w e s t of t h e c o u n t y t h e species was e n c o u n t e r e d d u r i n g t h e w i n t e r m o n t h s

t

f o u r sites in a d d i t i o n t o Lakenheath Fen. Up t o t w o f r e q u e n t e d t h e Suffolk WildlifeTrust's Lackfo d Lakes n a t u r e reserve until M a r c h 29th and t h e site's first r e t u r n i n g bird was n o t e d o n Septemb r 3 0 t h , w i t h o n l y singles n o t e d on several dates until t h e year's end. A n o t e w o r t h y record f r o m centrai Suffolk concerned an individual t h a t was said t o have bee n p h o t o g r a p h e d by a locai f a r m e r at The Fens, Creeting St Mary, o n February l O t h . In o u r n o r t h - e a s t recording area the species was noted at nine localities a w a y f r o m known breedir g sites during t h e w i n t e r months, t h e peak count being t h r e e at Lound Lakes on February 16th. The o n l y reference made t o this species in observers' notes f r o m t h e south-eastern recordirg area involved Orfordness. One was on t h e site's f o r m e r airfield o n January 2 6 t h and o n March 5 t h o n e f r e q u e n t e d Pig Pail, w i t h w h a t was p r e s u m e d t o have been t h e same bird also being seen t h e r e o n M a r c h 3 0 t h . These represented o n l y t h e site's second and t h i r d records. CATTLE EGRET

Bubulcus ibis

Very rare visitor. Minsmere: South Levels, May l l t h (S Satchell, N Murphy). This individuai was f o u n d at 10:50hr and seen by only a f o r t u n a t e handful of observers before it left t h e levels at l l : 4 5 h r . It was w a t c h e d flying at j u s t above t r e e - l i n e height j u s t west of the Sizewell p o w e r stations complex. It was later seen at N o r t h Warren, although no f o r m a i submission f r o m t h a t site appears t o have been made. This is Suffolk's t e n t h record, involving a t o t a l of 12 birds. LITTLE EGRET Locally common

Egretta

garzetta

and increasing

resident

and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

For t h e second year r u n n i n g breeding was proven t o have taken place in our w e s t e r n recording area. The diligent observer w h o recorded this notable event r e p o r t e d t h a t , on July 4 t h , t h e r e were 70


Systematic List tve recently fledged

juveniles

from

two successful

nests in a heronry."

This follows 2012's first

confirmed breeding in t h e w e s t e r n recording area, w h e n t w o active nests w e r e discovered in a aronry on M a y 29th. In 2012 breeding was also suspected at t w o o t h e r sites in t h e west b u t , in 013, the only reference in observers' notes t h a t raised any such suspicions concerned a singleton the vicinity of a n o t h e r h e r o n r y in June. Elsewhere in t h e county, breeding was proven again at t h e Hen Reedbeds, w h e r e t h e t o t a l of Ă? >/e nests r e p o r t e d equalled t h e previous year's t o t a l b u t was markedly below 2011's total of 14. Monthly m a x i m u m counts, excluding breeding records, w e r e as f o l l o w s : -

irth-east Jth-east est

Jan 5 9 14

Feb 7 7 9

Mar 7 8 4

Apr 15 8 4

May 14 12 2

Jun 26 9 1

Jul 32 51 3

Aug 15 80 5

Sep 16 100 10

Oct 14 29 8

Nov 23 13 12

Dec 3 6 4

The count of 100 in September came f r o m Seafield Bay on 2 9 t h and was b e l o w t h e previous iar's peak c o u n t of 122 at A l t o n W a t e r o n D e c e m b e r 16th. Nevertheless, t h e c o u n t helps t o nsolidate t h e Stour Estuary and its nearby waters as a key post-breeding gathering area f o r this ecies. There is a breeding colony nearby. GREAT (WHITE) EGRET h ore, but increasing,

Ardea

alba

visitor.

"he upsurge of records of this imposing and i m p e r i o u s m e m b e r of t h e h e r o n family w h i c h w e ive experienced in recent years shows no sign of abating. In fact, 2013 became a record year for ie species in Suffolk, w i t h a t o t a l of 64 reports f r o m observers. W h i l e this includes a great deal duplication and is an "all-in" figure w h i c h refers t o s o m e long-staying birds, such a t o t a l w o u l d obably have been u n t h i n k a b l e only a f e w years ago, and w o u l d certainly have been so at t h e t me of Suffolk's first record in 1984. in the north-east recording area, reports f r o m Fritton Lake, St Olaves and Barnby Marshes f r o m nuary 3rd t o 2 4 t h probably referred t o t h e same Individual. This bird may have also accounted r t h e reports f r o m t h e N o r t h W a r r e n area b e t w e e n February 6 t h and 2 6 t h , and Kessingland vels on M a r c h 6th. A spate of r e p o r t s came f r o m t h e N o r t h W a r r e n and M i n s m e r e areas tween April 2 5 t h and May 3rd, including references t o t w o at M i n s m e r e o n April 29th and May d. Singles strode t h e marshes at M i n s m e r e f r o m M a y 30th t o June 5 t h and Carlton Marshes om June 2 9 t h t o July 5 t h , w i t h t h e latter bird or a n o t h e r appearing at nearby O u l t o n Broad o n July 26th. Singles w e r e r e p o r t e d f r o m M i n s m e r e f r o m A u g u s t 1 0 t h t o 1 3 t h and Dingle Marshes f r o m August 19th t o 23rd. Two w e r e seen at M i n s m e r e f r o m September 1st t o 3rd increasing t o t h r e e on i n t e r m i t t e n t dates t o October 24th t h e n decreasing t o t w o u n t i l October 3 0 t h . The reserve's final sighting for t h e year came on N o v e m b e r 10th. O t h e r reports came f r o m Dingle Marshes o n

S e p e tm b e r 2 n d and 1 9 t h and O c t o b e r 1 5 t h and 19th. Two w e r e r e p o r t e d f r o m H a z l e w o o d M a s rh e s on S e p t e m b e r 5 t h and one f l e w south over N o r t h Denes, Lowestoft o n October 17th. In the south-east recording area, t h e year's first r e p o r t came f r o m Bawdsey M a n o r o n M a r c h 31st. There was t h e n a lengthy gap u n t i l o n e spent June 18th and 19th at Pipps Ford, Barking, with another r e p o r t c o m i n g f r o m Chillesford on June 24th. Finally f o r t h e south-east, at least o n e frequented Trimley Marshes o n July 25th. Records f r o m t h e w e s t came f r o m only t w o sites. One f l e w n o r t h over Grove Farm, N o r t o n , o n January 13th and at Lakenheath Fen singles w e r e observed on June 28th and O c t o b e r 18th, w i t h two being present t h e r e f r o m October 2 9 t h t o N o v e m b e r 3rd. GREY H E R O N

Ardea

Common resident,

winter

cinerea

visitor and passage

migrant.

Breeding was c o n f i r m e d at a mere five sites, c o m p a r e d w i t h t e n in 2012. This is surely n o t an

71


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 accurate reflection of this species' breeding p o p u l a t i o n in Suffolk and nesting at s o m e sites m ist certainly be u n r e p o r t e d . Ten nests w e r e r e p o r t e d at t h e Hen Reedbeds w h i l e at West Stow th re w e r e at least six active nests. At t h e l a t t e r site it was said t h a t "fewer following

their late return because of the cold spring."

pairs nested

this y or

At a n o t h e r heronry, t h e location of w h ch

m u s t r e m a i n confidential because of t h e presence w i t h i n it of breeding Little Egrets, a minim m of 1 1 youngsters fledged. Spring m o v e m e n t was indicated by singles flying n o r t h well o f f s h o r e at Thorpeness on Ma ch 31st and April 6th. A u t u m n a l m o v e m e n t was m o r e p r o n o u n c e d and c o m m e n c e d o n August 1 >th w i t h one flying s o u t h off Thorpeness. Two did likewise o f f Gorleston o n August 1 2 t h and anot er t w o f l e w n o r t h off Thorpeness o n August 31st. One f l e w in off t h e sea over Sizewell o n Septem >er 1 6 t h and a n o t h e r f l e w n o r t h offshore at Thorpeness o n S e p t e m b e r 2 6 t h . Three f l e w in off he sea at G u n t o n o n O c t o b e r 12th but t h e m o s t eye-catching of t h e m i g r a t o r y parties was the 11 w h i c h f l e w s o u t h - w e s t o v e r Benacre Sluice o n O c t o b e r 19th. The f i n a l reference t o visi ale m i g r a t i o n involved a singleton flying south distantly o f f Dunwich o n N o v e m b e r 5 t h . PURPLE HERON Scarce passage

Ardea

purpurea

migrant.

A f t e r f o u r successive blank years, t h e f o l l o w i n g series of reports was especially w e l c o m e : M i n s m e r e : South Levels and reedbed, M a y 7 t h and 8 t h ( M u l t i - o b s e r v e r ) . Lakenheath Fen: M a y 1st t o 6 t h (I Goodall et al). BLACK STORK

Ciconia

nigra

Very rare visitor. Westleton Heath: two adults flying south, 17:05hr May Ist (K D Offord). To see one Black Stork in Suffolk is quite something. To see t w o t o g e t h e r is astonishing. In fact, this is t h e first t i m e t h a t t w o birds of this species have been seen t o g e t h e r in t h e county and is by any measure, a truly remarkable record and t h e observer can count himself fortunate in the extret ĂŹe. WHITE STORK

Ciconia

ciconia

Very rare passage migrant. Cavenham Heath: Apr 25th and May 3rd, considered to be the same bird (M Taylor). If this individual was lurking u n r e p o r t e d in t h e Cavenham area on May 1st, w h i c h seems likely, b o t h W h i t e Stork and Black Stork w o u l d have been present in t h e c o u n t y on t h e same day - and t h e r e c a n n o t have been m a n y occasions in t h e past w h e n t h a t has been t h e case. GLOSSY IBIS

Plegadis fa lei nel I us

Rare but increasing visitor. Oulton Marshes: Dec 19th until Mar 11th 2014 (Multi-observed) Boyton Marshes/Hollesley Marshes: Oct 31st to Nov 9th (D Shepherd, Multi-observed). Orfordness: south over former airfield, Dec 29th (D Crawshaw, M Marsh). Lakenheath Fen: Oct 14th and 15th (K Puttick, N Rolph). This little cluster of late a u t u m n and w i n t e r records kept going t h e species' recent run of appearances in t h e county, a l t h o u g h by recent standards it was n o t a b u m p e r year. There w e r e suggestions f r o m some observers that more than o n e individual may have b e e n involved in t h e B o y t o n and Hollesley sequence. W h e t h e r o r n o t this was t h e case, and

Glossy Ibis Richard Allen 72


Systematic List whether the Orfordness bird was a second, or even t h i r d , individuai w i l l have t o remain a p o i n t of conjecture. EURASIAN SPOONBILL

Platalea

Uncommon passage migrant.

leucorodia

Now increasingly

Oversummers.

Has overwintered.

Amber

list.

In contrast w i t h t h e previous t h r e e years, t h e r e were no records in January or February and t h e first of 2013 was n o t e d on Orfordness on M a r c h 9th f o l l o w e d by t w o at M i n s m e r e on M a r c h 15th and a single t h e r e o n M a r c h 21st and 22nd. By and large, and save for a f e w scattered reports f r o m o t h e r sites, M i n s m e r e , Orfordness and Havergate Island d o m i n a t e d t h e records - t h e i r m o n t h l y maxima are as f o l l o w s : -

M mere Orfordness Hav rgate

Apr 2 2 0

May 6 4 3

June 7 6 13

July 2 6 7

Aug 0 14 17

Sep 5 18 11

Oct 0 10 0

Nov 0 0 0

Dec 1 0 0

The innovative action taken by RSPB staff t o encourage this species t o breed o n Havergate Island deserves a m e n t i o n even t h o u g h it has not paid off just yet. Several t w i g - c l u m p "nests" have been positioned on a " m i n i f o r e s t " of t r e e t r u n k s on t h e island, and some impressively accurate decoy spoonbill models have been positioned nearby - the latter o f t e n m o m e n t a r i l y foxing unsuspecting observers! Alas, t h e spoonbills have, for t h e most part, been u n m o v e d by such cunning, a l t h o u g h four spent several days o n t h e " n e s t " p l a t f o r m s during July. This species is a scarce straggler t o t h e w e s t of t h e c o u n t y a n d a single bird r e p o r t e d at Lakenheath Fen on April 4 t h , 5 t h and 8 t h is t h e area's first record since 2009. LITTLE GREBE

Tachybaptus

Locally common

resident,

ruficollis

winter

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

Breeding was suspected or c o n f i r m e d at a t o t a l of 16 sites, a slight increase o n t h e figure of 12 mentioned in Suffolk

Birds 2012 b u t still, surely, w e are left w i t h a w o e f u l l y i n c o m p l e t e picture.

For a bird that is n o t especially unobtrusive, particularly in spring w h e n it gives its delightful trilling cali, the number of records received is surprisingly low. For example, f r o m t h e w h o l e of t h e n o r t h east recording area, only 19 reports f r o m a meagre six localities w e r e received f o r t h e entire year. Minsmere again d o m i n a t e d t h e breeding returns, w i t h its 2 1 pairs being t h e site's same t o t a l as in 2 0 1 2 . WeBS counts f o r this species o n t h e Deben Estuary have dropped over recent years. The highest totals were 44 in January and 43 in N o v e m b e r but t h e highest t o t a l was 6 1 in December - these birds were mostly in t h e W o o d b r i d g e and M a r t l e s h a m Creek areas. The Stour Estuary and its environs are a key w i n t e r i n g area for this species and its highest counts were 28 at C a t t a w a d e o n D e c e m b e r 1 2 t h and 26 o n a WeBS c o u n t o n O c t o b e r 2 5 t h . WeBS volunteers on t h e River Aide n o t e d a t o t a l of 39 o n N o v e m b e r l O t h . Other n o t e w o r t h y counts included 17 on Orfordness, November 23rd, 17 near t h e Orwell Bridge °n January 2nd, 20 at T h o r i n g t o n Street Reservoir o n August 20th and October 15th and 15 at Tempie Bridge, Icklingham, on N o v e m b e r 23rd. GREAT CRESTED GREBE

Podiceps

Locally common

winter

resident,

cristatus

visitor and passage

migrant.

As with Little Grebe, t h e i n f o r m a t i o n received relating t o breeding was scant. Nesting t o o k place at

a m i n i m u m o f 13 sites, w i t h t h e highest n u m b e r of nests f r o m any o n e site being t h e five

reported at Lakenheath Fen. In to

the first winter period the highest counts were amassed by David Thurlow f r o m his favoured cliff-

P eyrie at Thorpeness, w i t h 131 o n February 3rd, 101 the next day, 97 on February 7th, 64 on February and 58 on February 25th. By March, as w o u l d be expected, numbers here decreased to a monthly

Peak of 25 on lOth. The 4 1 gathered at Weybread Gravel Pits on January 25th is w o r t h y of note.


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 In t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d numbers w e r e s o m e w h a t slow t o build until December, w h e n there was a noticeable increase in t h e Thorpeness area, including counts of 70 on December 2nd and 183 on December 8th. By far t h e year's highest count, however, came f r o m a little f u r t h e r north, w i t h 4 0 0 being n o t e d off D u n w i c h Cliffs on December 19th. RED-NECKED GREBE Uncommon

winter

Podiceps

grisegena

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

A n o t h e r relatively sparse series of records included o n e especially confiding bird in a ditch in t h e south-eastern corner o f A l d e b u r g h Marshes on January 25th and 26th. It f r e q u e n t e d a tiny ice-free stretch of w a t e r f o r t w o days and a l l o w e d several observers very close inspection of a species m o r e o f t e n seen passing by o f f s h o r e or distantly on an estuary. All records received are listed b e l o w : Lowestoft: North Beach, Nov 23rd. Thorpeness: Sep 3rd; Oct 29th; Nov 11th. Aldeburgh: Aldeburgh Marshes, Jan 25th and 26th. Landguard: two, Nov 12th; Dec 24th. SLAVONIAN GREBE Uncommon

winter

Podiceps

auritus

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

Records w e r e equalled and then beaten w i t h regards t o this species in Suffolk in 2013. The group of eight off Lower Holbrook o n the Stour Estuary on January 17th tied w i t h t h e previous highest count in t h e county and t h e t e n w h i c h graced the same locality on February 17th set a n e w benchmark w h i c h was p r o m p t l y beaten by t h e site's 11 o n March 2nd. However, a new c o u n t y record was established, again off Lower Holbrook, on December 4 t h w h e n 12 w e r e counted. It is clear t h a t t h e H o l b r o o k area is Suffolk's key g a t h e r i n g point f o r this species, w i t h nearby sites such as A l t o n Water and Erwarton Ness also featuring in t h e reports received, albeit in smaller n u m b e r s . W i n t e r i n g birds r e m a i n e d in this area up until M a r c h 18th and t h e first t o r e t u r n for the second w i n t e r period w e r e n o t e d o n N o v e m b e r 25th, w h e n six w e r e n o t e d off Lower Holbrook. In contrast w i t h t h e impressive n u m b e r s w h i c h can be f o u n d in t h e Holbrook area in winter, t h e species remains scarce in our n o r t h - e a s t recording area, w i t h only f o u r reports of t h e species being received. All relating t o single birds, t h e reports w e r e f r o m Breydon W a t e r ' s south shore o n January 2 2 n d , Ness Point, L o w e s t o f t o n January 21st, Pakefield Cliffs on January 18th and Covehithe o n January 23rd. BLACK-NECKED GREBE Uncommon

winter

Podiceps

nigricollis

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

A return to scarcity for this handsome grebe after better showings in some recent years, especially 2010 and 2011. Reference t o t h e marked fluctuations in t h e numbers of this species' records has been made in recent editions of Suffolk Birds and in 2013 it put in just three appearances, which are listed b e l o w t o g e t h e r w i t h t w o records w h i c h were o m i t t e d f r o m Suffolk Birds Benacre: Sluice, Apr 13th (A Riseborough). Bramford: Suffolk Water Park, Apr 29th (E W Patrick). Livermere Lake: Aug 3rd to 6th (J Rankin). 2012 Additions Cattawade: May 8th (E Keeble). Livermere Lake: two, May 18th (D and M Carter). EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD

Pernis

Scarce passage

list.

migrant.

Amber

apivorus

There w e r e o n l y t h r e e accepted reports o f this species in 2 0 1 3 : Lower Hollesley Common: two, May 8th (N Mason). 74

2012\-


Systematic List Landguard: two, Apr 29th (W Brame et al). F e l i x s t o w e : May 15th (W Brame). The t w o birds over Lower Hollesley C o m m o n w e r e seen t o display, b o t h birds clapping t h e i r wings and flying w i t h a butterfly-1 ike action. RED KITE

Milvus

milvus

Uncommon but increasing

winter visitor and passage migrant.

Has bred in recent years. Amber

list.

The steady u p w a r d t r e n d in t h e n u m b e r of reports of this species in Suffolk c o n t i n u e d in 2013. A total of 296 reports was received (plus 22 via Birdtrack) a marked increase on t h e 234 in 2012 and the highest ever total. Reports came f r o m 115 sites across t h e county, t h e same t o t a l as last year; sightings f r o m t h e north-east and west made up 85% of t h e t o t a l . The most significant event in 2013 was t h e first c o n f i r m e d breeding of a pair of Red Kites in Suffolk since 1997. The year got off t o a typically quiet start w i t h just a handful of sightings in January and February. Things picked up in March and by early April there was a significant influx of birds into t h e county, particularly in t h e north-east region. There were no f e w e r t h a n 58 reports in April, 13 of w h i c h involved sightings of more t h a n one bird. This was most pronounced in t h e first w e e k of April w h e n four were seen t o g e t h e r at O u l t o n Broad, t h r e e at Lake Lothing, t w o at Gunton, t h r e e at Westleton and two at M i n s m e r e on t w o days. Between April 10th and 14th reports of t w o birds also came from Benacre, Westleton and M i n s m e r e w i t h another f o u r present at Kessingland on April 14th. In the south-east of t h e county t h e r e were 13 reports in April all involving single birds except for t w o at Sutton Heath o n 10th and t w o at Bawdsey on 15th. There were 24 reports f r o m t h e west of t h e county during April including t w o at Cavenham on 1st and 10th and t w o at Dalham o n 5th. Birds were seen almost daily at Lackford Lakes including t h r e e on April 7th and t w o o n April 17th. At the end of April a bird was seen carrying nest-material into a w o o d in t h e w e s t of t h e c o u n t y which fuelled o p t i m i s m t h a t a b r e e d i n g a t t e m p t was t a k i n g place. Further surveillance soon proved that this was t h e case. The nest was in private w o o d l a n d and t h e pair successfully fledged two young, despite t h e male being badly injured by a vehicle (see article o n page 24). News of the event was n o t w i d e l y publicised in order t o c o m p l y w i t h t h e wishes of t h e landowner, w h o did not want t h e location t o be m a d e public knowledge. This landmark event was w e l c o m e news, as although it had been strongly suspected t h a t breeding had occurred at a n o t h e r site in w e s t Suffolk in recent years, it had n o t been possible t o get c o n f i r m a t i o n . A number of single birds w e r e seen in M a y at several locations in t h e north-east and south-east and t w o were seen at Boyton Marshes on 16th. A n o t h e r apparent m o v e m e n t of birds in mid-June resulted in 47 r e p o r t s f r o m across t h e county, t h e m a j o r i t y of w h i c h came f r o m t h e coastal margins. All involved single birds apart f r o m t h r e e at M i n s m e r e o n 1 4 t h and 16th, t w o at O u l t o n Broad on 16th and an impressive group of six at Cattawade, Brantham o n 14th. This c u r r e n t l y is the largest gathering ever recorded in Suffolk. The number of reports t h e n d w i n d l e d t o just 20 in July and 19 in August. The b r e e d i n g pair continued to be seen regularly d u r i n g this period and at t h e end of July t h e y fledged t w o young. ln

The number of reports d r o p p e d drastically after this w i t h single birds r e p o r t e d f r o m f o u r sites

S e p e tm b e r . The

13 reports in October w e r e all f r o m t h e west and mostly involved t h e f a m i l y

group, in N o v e m b e r reports came f r o m Chelmondiston, Shotley, Lackford and Brandon. Finally,

mD e c e m b e r single

birds w e r e seen at Tunstall, Chelmondiston and Lackford.

2004

No. of r e p o r s t WHITE-TAILED EAGLE Very rare winter

2005

24

48

Haliaeetus

2006

2007

69

2008

82

54

2009

89

2010

98

2011

217

2012

234

2013

296

albicilla

visitor. Red list. Categories

A and E.

't was almost a case of deja-vu w i t h this species as a first winter bird ventured south into the county for a c

brief period in April. This was an almost repeat performance of w h a t happened in 2012.

°vehithe/Minsmere/Boyton: first-winter, Apr 6th to 11th, (C Buttle, D Fairhurst et al). 75


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 The bird was first seen f l y i n g south over Burgh Castle o n April 6 t h and was subsequently seen by m a n y observers as it passed over Leiston, M i n s m e r e , Butley, Boyton Marshes and Gedgrave M a r s h e s all o n t h e same day. A f t e r d o i n g a d i s a p p e a r i n g act f o r a f e w days it reappeared at Benacre Broad on April 10th. WESTERN MARSH HARRIER Fairly common

summer

Circus

aeruginosus

visitor and passage migrant.

Increasing

numbers

overwinter.

Amber List.

This species continues to be widely reported along the coastal margins and there is growing evidence that the now well-established inland population at Lakenheath Fen has started to spread out into the surrounding area. The following winter roost counts were received:First winter period: Herringfleet: up to six flying towards St Olaves to roost, Feb 27th. Somerleyton: two, Jan 11th. Cove Bottom: ten, Jan 21st. Snape: two, Jan 6th. Butley River complex: five, Jan 27th. Orfordness: three, Jan 26th. Havergate Island: four, Jan 5th. Lakenheath Fen: 15, Jan 27th. Second w i n t e r p e r i o d : Burgh Castle: 24, Nov 24th. Dunwich: ten, Oct 17th. Minsmere: ten, Dec 22nd. North Warren: ten, Nov 14th. Orfordness: five, Nov 14th. Lakenheath Fen: 22, Dec 21st. Potential spring migrants w e r e seen at Thorpeness w h e r e singles f l e w n o r t h o f f s h o r e on April 1st and May 9 t h . A n o t h e r f l e w south o f f s h o r e t h e r e o n April 15th. At Landguard Bird Observatory single birds w e r e logged o n April 23rd and May 8th. A single bird was seen t o fly n o r t h on January 1st o f f Thorpeness. Reports of c o n f i r m e d b r e e d i n g came f r o m t e n sites; data o n p r o d u c t i v i t y came f r o m eight of these and t h e n u m b e r of f l e d g e d y o u n g was d o w n at all sites apart f r o m one. As w i t h many other species t h e unusually cold spring adversely affected productivity w h i c h resulted in 82 y o u n g being f l e d g e d c o m p a r e d w i t h 94 in 2012, a d r o p of a b o u t 12%. At Benacre t h e small n u m b e r of young p r o d u c e d per nest, single birds in many cases, was very apparent. M i n s m e r e had a mixed year; nesting began o n t i m e b u t p r o d u c t i v i t y was low c o m p a r e d w i t h recent years (see chart below). There was b e t t e r news f r o m Lakenheath Fen w h i c h bucked t h e t r e n d w i t h 42 y o u n g fledged c o m p a r e d w i t h 34 in 2012. The breeding data that were received is listed b e l o w : Benacre - three nests produced at least five young (two nests produced four young in 2012). Easton Bavents/South Cove - nine successful nests fledged 13 young (19 young fledged from nine nests in 2012). Westwood Marshes - four nests fledged just seven young (five produced nine young in 2012). Hen Reedbeds: two nests both successful. Minsmere: seven nests produced 15 young (ten nests, 24young in 2012); one nest failed and the outcome of another was unknown. North Warren: two nests (same as 2012). Orfordness: two nests, both failed (one young fledged from two nests in 2012). Lakenheath Fen: of 21 nests, 18 fledged 42 young (34 young in 2012). Breeding was also c o n f i r m e d at Herringfleet Marshes, Somerleyton, Hazlewood Marshes, Butley River complex, Boyton Marshes and Hollesley Marshes.

76


Systematic List

Marsh Harrier nests, young and productivity 1980-2013 Non-breeding birds were seen at a n u m b e r of sites in The Brecks t h r o u g h the spring and s u m m e r ; the most popular sites w e r e a r o u n d t h e Cavenham

Heath/Lackford

Lakes area and

the

Puttockshill/Livermere Lake area where several birds of various ages and sexes were recorded during the breeding season - at Puttockshill four were seen going t o roost in a w h e a t field on June 16th. Passage birds seen d u r i n g late s u m m e r and a u t u m n included one in off t h e sea at Corton Cliffs on October 9 t h and a n o t h e r flying south t h e r e on October 20th; one in o f f t h e sea o n August 12th at Lowestoft and o n e flying n o r t h t h e r e o n October 2 6 t h and one f l y i n g n o r t h at Kessingland o n August 15th. Further d o w n t h e coast at Thorpeness, singles w e r e seen offshore on August 6 t h , October 29th and December 9th. At Landguard Bird Observatory singles w e r e seen o n f o u r dates between August 11th and September 2nd; a t o t a l of six was n o t e d o n f o u r dates at Landguard between October 9 t h and N o v e m b e r 7th. Interesting h u n t i n g behaviour included an adult a t t e m p t i n g to catch newly-hatched ducklings off a pond at M u t f o r d , May 5th. T e female, originally w i n g - t a g g e d at Sculthorpe M o o r , Norfolk in spring 2012, w h i c h was se n at Boyton Marshes in 2012, paired up w i t h an i m m a t u r e male at M i n s m e r e in 2013 and tf

pair fledged t w o young.

HEN HARRIER.

RSPB

Circus cyaneus

Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant.

Red List.

The number of reports of this species fell for the second consecutive year. The total of 137 reports represents a 20% d r o p f r o m t h e 169 in 2012 and a 43% d r o p f r o m t h e 240 reports in 2011. The number of o v e r w i n t e r i n g birds was still t h o u g h t t o be in double figures b u t d o w n o n recent years. Reports indicate t h a t at least 13 birds w e r e present d u r i n g t h e early part of t h e year, c o m p a r e d with an estimated 2 1 in 2012. At least eight birds f r e q u e n t e d t h e length and b r e a d t h of t h e coastal m a

argins. The only m u l t i p l e counts were of t w o at Bawdsey on January 26th and February 16th

nd a male and a ringtail o n Orfordness t h r o u g h o u t M a r c h . In t h e n o r t h - w e s t of t h e c o u n t y t h e r e

Wa

$ a m a x i m u m c o u n t of four males and one ringtail at Lakenheath Fen in February and a single

bird roosted at Berner's Heath. In April single birds w e r e recorded at 1 1 coastal locations and at two sites in t h e n o r t h - w e s t .

R e p o s r t of 2

migrants included one flying n o r t h at M i n s m e r e before heading o u t t o sea o n April

l s t and one n o r t h at Thorpeness o n May 6th. The only o t h e r report in May came f r o m M i n s m e r e

the following day. A late bird was seen at Felixstowe o n June 19th and 20th and at King's Fleet the next day. The first r e t u r n i n g bird was seen at Kelsale and Sibton on July 5 t h f o l l o w e d by one at Leiston

A u g u s t 5th

b u t most birds did n o t start t o arrive back in t h e c o u n t y until mid-October. Visible

77


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 m i g r a t i o n i n c l u d e d a ringtail f l y i n g s o u t h o f f Kessingland o n O c t o b e r 1 8 t h , a n o t h e r in o f f t h e sea at Ness Point, L o w e s t o f t o n O c t o b e r 1 7 t h a n d a m a l e f l y i n g s o u t h at L a n d g u a r d o n O c t o b e r 25th. It is likely t h a t u p t o 15 b i r d s w e r e p r e s e n t d u r i n g t h e s e c o n d w i n t e r p e r i o d ; r e p o r t s suggest t h a t t h e n u m b e r o f males a n d ringtails was a b o u t t h e same. On t h e coast a m a l e a n d a ringtail w e r e p r e s e n t at M i n s m e r e o n D e c e m b e r 1 2 t h a n d o n O r f o r d n e s s o n D e c e m b e r 2 3 r d , otherwise all sightings i n v o l v e d single birds. In t h e n o r t h - w e s t n u m b e r s p e a k e d in N o v e m b e r a t Lakenheath Fen w h e r e seven birds, i n c l u d i n g f o u r males w e r e seen g o i n g t o r o o s t . A m a l e a n d a ringtail were at t h e t r a d i t i o n a l roost-site o n Berner's H e a t h m i d - D e c e m b e r . The t a b l e b e l o w s h o w s t h e e s t i m a t e d t o t a l n u m b e r o f w i n t e r i n g birds b e t w e e n 2 0 0 5 a n d 2013:Year 1st winter period 2nd winter period

2005 8 6

M O N T A G U ' S HARRIER Uncommon

passage

2006 7 4

Circus

migrant.

2007 6 7

2008 10 6

2009 6 6

2010 15 13

2011 22 10

2012 21 15

20 3 13 5

pygargus

Formerly

bred. Amber

List.

T h e r e w e r e f o u r a c c e p t e d r e p o r t s of t h i s species in 2 0 1 3 . Reports f r o m t h e s p r i n g included a c o u p l e o f birds; o n e t h a t l i n g e r e d a f e w days at B r e y d o n a n d o n e o n O r f o r d n e s s . Breydon South Wall: lst-summer, May 18th to 22nd (Multi-observer). Minsmere Levels: June 5th (H Read). Orfordness: ringtail, May 5th (D Crawshaw, M Marsh). Lakenheath Fen: ringtail, May 9th (S Patmore).

NORTHERN GOSHAWK

Scarce winter

visitor

Accipiter

and passage

gentilis

migrant.

Uncommon

resident

All t h e 18 r e p o r t s of t h i s species c a m e f r o m The Brecks w h e r e six pairs are k n o w n t o have bred. Of t h e s e , t h r e e pairs n e s t e d in Suffolk, all w e r e successful. At o n e o f t h e nests t h e t h r e e chicks w e r e r i n g e d u n d e r l i c e n c e ; t w o o f t h e m w e r e r e a s o n a b l y h e a l t h y b u t t h e t h i r d , a m a l e , was m a r k e d l y y o u n g e r a n d s m a l l e r t h a n its siblings; sadly it was f o u n d d e a d b e n e a t h t h e nest a few days l a t e r h a v i n g a p p a r e n t l y c h o k e d o n t h e leg of a Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis.

The other

t w o f l e d g e d successfully. D i s p l a y i n g birds w e r e n o t e d at M a y d a y Farm, B r a n d o n a n d Olleys Farm, T h e t f o r d in February a n d M a r c h . T h e r e w e r e also r e p o r t s f r o m f i v e o t h e r sites in t h e B r e c k l a n d area in t h e latter part o f t h e year. T h e s e m o s t l y i n v o l v e d j u v e n i l e birds d i s p e r s i n g f r o m t h e i r natal area a n d included o n e j u v e n i l e w h i c h was p h o t o g r a p h e d at L a k e n h e a t h Fen o n t w o occasions. EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK Common

resident,

winter

visitor

Accipiter

nisus

and passage

migrant.

A l t h o u g h n u m b e r s t e n d t o f l u c t u a t e s l i g h t l y f r o m y e a r t o year, t h i s species c o n t i n u e s t o be w i d e l y r e c o r d e d in S u f f o l k . In 2 0 1 3 t h e 4 4 5 r e p o r t s r e c e i v e d (plus a n o t h e r 2 4 9 s u b m i t t e d via B i r d t r a c k ) r e p r e s e n t an 18% increase o n t h e 3 6 5 in 2 0 1 2 . T h e n u m b e r o f sites increased t o 173 c o m p a r e d w i t h 1 5 4 in 2 0 1 2 . Displaying birds a n d c o n f i r m a t i o n o f b r e e d i n g c a m e f r o m several sites. N o t a b l e c o u n t s included f i v e at M i n s m e r e o n O c t o b e r 2 4 t h a n d f i v e at Lackford Lakes o n A p r i l 1 3 t h . Prey i t e m s i n c l u d e d Grey P a r t r i d g e Perdix perdix, M a r t i n Delichon Motacilla

urbicum

a n d F i e l d f a r e Turdus

Red-legged P a r t r i d g e Alectoris

pilaris.

rufa,

House

O n e w a s seen h u n t i n g Pied Wagtails

alba a t a r o o s t in a s u p e r m a r k e t car-park at S t o w m a r k e t a n d a n o t h e r unsuccessfully

c h a s e d a G r e e n W o o d p e c k e r Picus viridis S t a r l i n g Sturnus

vulgaris

at S t o n h a m Aspal. At Fressingfield a f e m a l e

c a u g h t

3

a n d a p p e a r e d t o t r y t o d r o w n it by d r a g g i n g its prey t o w a r d s a shallow

f l o o d e d area o f t h e garden. Also of interest, a f e m a l e w a s t r a p p e d a n d ringed a f t e r b e i n g attracted i n t o a n e t by a t a p e lure at a S w a l l o w Hirundo

rustica

r o o s t at N e e d h a m M a r k e t a n d a male was

t r a p p e d a n d r i n g e d at t h e N e e d h a m M a r k e t s e w a g e w o r k s .

78


Systematic List

FIELD NOTE Near Cornard M e r e a m a l e was seen h u n t i n g in t h e dark o n January 1 3 t h a p p a r e n t l y utilising the floodlights f r o m n e a r b y C o r n a r d Football Club t o locate prey. M Peers

COMMON BLIZZARD Fairly common

Buteo

resident,

winter

buteo visitor

and passage

migrant;

increasing

breeding

population.

Though still w i d e l y r e p o r t e d t h e n u m b e r of r e p o r t s of t h i s species was slightly d o w n o n last year. The 735 r e p o r t s (plus 234 s u b m i t t e d via Birdtrack) are 6% d o w n o n t h e 2 0 1 2 t o t a l of 7 7 1 and perhaps an i n d i c a t i o n t h a t t h e p o p u l a t i o n is s t a r t i n g t o level o f f in t h e County. Multiple gatherings are fairly c o m m o n p l a c e t h e s e days, b u t n o t a b l e c o u n t s early o n in t h e y e a r included 13 at L o u n d Lakes o n F e b r u a r y 1 6 t h ; t e n at S o m e r l e y t o n o n t h e s a m e day and 14 at Ampton on February 2 8 t h . There was a significant a m o u n t o f m o v e m e n t f r o m m i d - M a r c h t o M a y so m a n y o f t h e 'kettles' reported in April p r o b a b l y i n c l u d e d passage birds. O b s e r v a t i o n s d u r i n g A p r i l i n c l u d e d 1 1 n o r t h at Corton Sewage W o r k s , 6 t h ; 15 f l y i n g n o r t h at Beiton, also 6 t h ; nine at Carlton M a r s h e s , 7 t h ; t e n at Boyton, 6 t h ; 12 at Shingle Street, 2 0 t h a n d t e n at C a v e n h a m Pits, l O t h . Confirmation o f b r e e d i n g was r e p o r t e d f r o m t e n sites a n d b r e e d i n g was suspected at a n o t h e r six sites. Autumn passage started in early S e p t e m b e r a n d lasted f o r a b o u t five weeks. The largest c o u n t s in September c a m e f r o m Pipps Ford, Barking o n 1 2 t h w h e r e t h e r e w e r e 15, a n d t e n at Hen Reedbeds, 3rd. N u m b e r s increased into O c t o b e r and i n c l u d e d c o u n t s o f t e n p r o b a b l e m i g r a n t s drifting slowly w e s t at Flixton o n O c t o b e r 5 t h a n d at least 20 birds d r i f t i n g s o u t h in small g r o u p s at Bawdsey o n O c t o b e r 6 t h ; t h e s e n u m b e r s w e r e eclipsed by t h e u n p r e c e d e n t e d 3 1 birds w h i c h passed south o v e r M i n s m e r e in j u s t 30 m i n u t e s o n t h e s a m e day. Other interesting observations included t w o seen feeding o n a dead B r o w n Hare Lepus

europaeus

at Puttockshill, Pakenham and o n e flushed f r o m t h e carcass of a Barn O w l Tyto alba at Lackford. FIELD NOTE A Buzzard a n d Cockchafers I spent an e v e n i n g in June w a t c h i n g large n u m b e r s o f Cockchafers ( M a y Bugs) melolontha

Melolonthla

e m e r g i n g f l y i n g a r o u n d t r e e s in m y g a r d e n a n d a l o n g t h e riverside t r e e s o f t h e

adjacent River Gipping. As t h e i n t e n s i t y o f t h e s e hefty, c l u m s y l o o k i n g insects increased t h e y attracted m a n y Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus argentatus

ridibundus

a n d a f e w H e r r i n g Gulls Larus

w h i c h began t o q u i t e leisurely pick t h e m off. Soon t h e s e w e r e j o i n e d by t h r e e local

Hobbies Falco subbuteo.

N o n e o f this was surprising, b u t w h a t I d i d n o t expect w a s t h e arrivai

of a C o m m o n Buzzard w h i c h l a n d e d in riverside trees. It w a s d i f f i c u l t t o see this b i r d clearly in the growing g l o o m b u t it also j o i n e d in t h e great 'cockchafer h u n t ' at first a p p e a r i n g t o s t r i p cockchafers f r o m a p e r c h e d p o s i t i o n f r o m t h e leaves o f trees, b u t also m a k i n g occasionai forays ° u t t o i n t e r c e p t t h e f l y i n g insects. A l t h o u g h o b v i o u s l y n o t as a c c o m p l i s h e d at a e r i a l insect Prédation as t h e Hobby, it s e e m e d t o be q u i t e successful, a p p e a r i n g t o make m a n y catches something I have n o t seen b e f o r e . Phil

Whittaker

R O U G H L -E G G E D

BUZZARD

Ur

visitor

>common winter A

Buteo and passage

lagopus migrant.

total of 4 4 r e p o r t s was received of this species in 2013. Of t h e s e 32 w e r e a c c e p t e d a n d 29

e|

|. ated t o t h e long-staying i n d i v i d u a i o n O r f o r d n e s s in t h e l a t t e r p a r t o f t h e year.

5°uthwold: Harbour, south-west, 12.15hr, Oct 15th (G S Bowen et al). M n is m e e r: Oct 15th (same as Southwold bird); lst-winter flew low south, 11.45hr, Oct 25th (G S Bowen et 79

al).


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 North Warren: Oct 15th, same as above (multi-observer). Orfordness: two, Oct 16th near pagodas; one remained until the end of the year (D Crawshaw et al). Birds seen in t h e Haddiscoe/Waveney Forest area w e r e presumably in Norfolk. OSPREY Uncommon

Pandion

haliaetus

passage migrant.

Amber

list.

It was an average year f o r this species. Of t h e 58 reports received (including six s u b m i t t e d via Birdtrack) 20 w e r e in t h e spring and 38 in late s u m m e r / a u t u m n . The earliest bird was seen at Pipps Ford, Barking o n April 7 t h and during t h e f o l l o w i n g w e e k singles were seen at Lake Lothing and Lackford Lakes o n April 13th. Visual m i g r a t i o n included one bird flying high n o r t h off Kessingland m i d - M a y and singles in o f f t h e sea at M i n s m e r e on t w o dates in June. Somerleyton: perched in tree by the River Waveney, May 23rd. Lowestoft: Lake Lothing, north, Apr 13th. Worlingham: Apr 25th. Beccles Marshes: Apr 17th. Kessingland: high north, 1km offshore, May 15th. Blyth Estuary: west, Mells, May 23rd; June 6th. Holton: May 23rd. Dunwich Heath: north-west, Apr 24th. Minsmere: Apr 24th; May 31st; singles in off the sea, June 15th and 27th . Eastbridge: June 27th (same bird as above). Havergate Island: June 27th. Pipps Ford: Apr 7th; May 30th. Lackford Lakes: Apr 13th; June 2nd; June 6th. Osprey Peter Beeson An early d e p a r t i n g bird was seen flying high o u t t o sea at Easton Bavents o n August 18th. Inland at Lakenheath Fen t w o birds w e r e present in late August, o n e of w h i c h r e m a i n e d in t h e area f o r a f o r t n i g h t . The last r e p o r t s c a m e f r o m W e s t l e t o n and M i n s m e r e w h e r e , p r e s u m a b l y t h e same bird, was seen flying s o u t h o n October 2 n d . Breydon Water: Aug 31st. Beccles Marshes: Aug 8th. Easton Bavents: drifted high out to sea, Aug 18th. Blyth Estuary: Aug 31st to Sep 9th; two, Sep 3rd; Sep 12th; Sep 16th; Sep 18th; Sep 20th. Hen Reedbeds: Oct 2nd and 3rd. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, two, Sep 9th and 12th. Westleton Heath: south, Oct 2nd. Minsmere: north, Aug 29th; south, Sep 2nd; north Sep 9th; Oct 2nd. Aldringham: Aug 10th. Hazlewood Marshes: Aug 26th. Orfordness: Aug 10th; Aug 25th and 26th. Sudbourne: Sep 3rd. Martlesham: Heath, Sep 9th. Ipswich: Aug 26th. Landguard: Aug 22nd; Sep 30th. Chelmondiston: Sep 5th. Lower Holbrook: Aug 27th. Thorington Street: Sep 18th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Hall, Sep 16th. Lakenheath Fen: two, Aug 28th; juvenile remained until Sep 20th; two Sep 19th. Hopton: Sep 17th. * * FALCONS HAVE M O V E D - THEY N O W FOLLOW WOODPECKERS

80

**


12. F d-footed Falcon stunning male at L <enheath in May. Chris Mayne

Stone-curlew at Cavenham in August. See article. Liz Cutting

13. Eurasian Hobby also displaying well at Lakenheath in May. lari Goodall

15. Golden Piover h a n d s o m e visitor to Landguard in August. Bill Baston


16. S a n d e r l i n g at B e n a c r e in D e c e m b e r . Peter Ransome

17. W h i m b r e l at L e v i n g t o n in May. Chris Mayoe

LizCuttW


19. ( ay Phalarope confiding visitor to V ilberswick in December. Chris Darby

20. Roseate Tern d r o p p e d in at Minsmere in August. Danny Porter

â&#x20AC;˘ Caspian Gull first-winter at S o u t h w o l d in October.

Sean Nixon


22. C u c k o o s h o w e d well at Lakenheath in May.

Bill Ba fon

23. S h o r t - e a r e d owl one of t w o present at Shingle Street in the s e c o n d winter period. John Richardso"

%


Systematic List WATER RAIL

Rallus aquaticus

Fairly common resident,

winter visitor and passage

migrant.

This species was recorded at 55 sites, almost identical to the previous year. It remains widely distributed throughout the county, although the majority of records were received f r o m the northeast. Breeding was c o n f i r m e d at nine sites w i t h t h e largest populations being recorded at Minsmere (42 pairs), North Warren (37 pairs, an increase of just over 50% on t h e 2012 total) and Hen Reedbeds (17 pairs). RSPB Lakenheath and Lackford Lakes are t h e only sites in t h e west of the County w h e r e breeding was reported. There is little d o u b t that Water Rails are greatly under-recorded in Suffolk. CORN CRAKE

Crex crex

Very rare passage migrant.

Red List.

A record of a single bird at Orfordness is a first for site and t h e first for the County since a juvenile bird was found dead at Sutton Hall Farm, Sutton in late October 2010. The last sighting of a live bird was at Bawdsey in September 2008. Orfordness: King's Marshes, Aug 31st, (D Crawshaw, G J Jobson, M Marsh). SPOTTED CRAKE

Porzana

porzana

For the third successive year there were no reports of Spotted Crake in Suffolk. COMMON MOORHEN Very common resident,

Gallínula

chloropus

winter visitor and passage

migrant.

This remains a c o m m o n and widespread species occurring in suitable w e t l a n d habitat throughout the County at all times of the year. There may however be early indications of a decline in numbers as t h e highest w i n t e r site-total was of only 33 birds at Playford on February 16th. Moorhens were only recorded in 15 of the 47 BBS squares, comparing badly w i t h t h e 27 squares in 2009. Only t w o records were received f r o m Orfordness, on April 21st and June 2nd, suggesting that the small, elusive breeding population at this site may be o n t h e verge of disappearing. Elsewhere breeding or probable breeding was reported at 2 1 sites, an increase of three on t h e previous year, but still far fewer than were recorded for t h e Suffolk Bird Atlas 2008-11. The results of winter counts at all regularly-monitored sites are shown below. C nts from regularly monitored sites: M ismere Ai e/Ore Estuary D' en Estuary 0| ell Estuary Alton Water Stour Estuary tackford Lakes

COMMON COOT nd passage

Feb 2 7 8 0 8 11

Mar

_

_

_

resident,

winter

45 42 32

_

_

_

16 10 0 10 8

-

visitor

migrant.

Over 700 records of this c o m m o n species three of the 47 BBS squares in t h e county, °mpared w i t h 17 in 2008 and 14 in 2009, w i t h

just seven individuals counted. re

8 5 9 8

Oct 5 18 8 11 40 4

were received. They w e r e only recorded in c

Apr

-

Fulica atra

Common but declining a

Jan 1 31 9 6 27 20

B r e e d n ig or p r o b a b e l b r e e d n ig was o n y l r fo m 13 st ies. The r e s u t s l of w n it e r

Ported

81

Sep — -

Nov 5 16 7 8 53 32

Dec

10 6 10 37 9


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 counts at all r e g u l a r l y - m o n i t o r e d sites are s h o w n below. Counts from regularly-monitored sites Jan Feb Leathes Ham 18 30 Hen Reedbeds 14 Minsmere 23 62 Aide/Ore Estuary 0 0 Deben Estuary 7 20 Orwell Estuary 12 5 Stour Estuary 0 0 Alton Water 481 164 Lackford Lakes -

C O M M O N CRANE

Mar 37 28 37 12 5 6 0 100

Apr -

Sep 12

-

-

42

88

-

-

8 10 3 43

-

299 8 216

-

-

-

Oct 15 -

78 117 -

192 0 648 -

Nov 25

Dec 20

-

-

40

46 2

-

318 1 508 -

-

288 0 661 -

Grus grus

Scarce passage migrant.

Has bred since 2007. Amber

List

T w o pairs each m a d e t w o a t t e m p t s t o breed at Lakenheath RSPB Reserve in 2013 b u t u n f o r t u n a t e l y neither pair was successful. Up t o six birds (four adults and t w o i m m a t u r e birds) w e r e r e c o r d e d o n or a r o u n d t h e Lakenheath reserve during t h e year. A f u r t h e r 16 reports w e r e received f r o m 12 sites away f r o m t h e breeding area appearing t o relate t o up t o 13 individuals. All these records are included b e l o w : Belton Marshes: three, Aug 7th. North Cove: Castle Marsh, two, May 23rd; two, May 31st; two imm, June 2nd. Carlton Marshes: two imm, June 2nd, same as at North Cove. Barnby: north, June 30th. Kessingland: Levels, west, Apr 7th. Benacre: north, Apr 13th. Reydon: Marshes, Apr 13th. Minsmere: first-winter, Apr 3rd; four over reedbed, Apr 19th; May 13th. Saxmundham: Carlton Park, four north, Apr 19th, same as at Minsmere. Boyton Marshes: two on main flash then south, May 3rd. West Stow CP: over, May 3rd. Culford: Culford Park, circled and over, Apr 30th. 2012 Correction: Please note that at Lakenheath Fen RSPB the two breeding pairs each raised one young. GREAT BUSTARD

Otis

tarda

The record of t h e Great Bustard near Lavenham on April 17th is t o be f o u n d in t h e Appendices - Category E. STONE-CURLEW Locally fairly

Burhinus

common

summer

oedicnemus visitor. Occasionally

overwinters.

Amber

list.

The first bird r e p o r t e d was o n t h e rather late date of March 17th at Cavenham Heath, f o l l o w e d by six t h e r e o n 19th. The first record o n t h e coast was of t h r e e at Dunwich Heath on M a r c h 28th. The b r e e d i n g season t u r n e d o u t t o be easily t h e w o r s t in t h e 28 years since detailed m o n i t o r i n g o f this species began in 1985. For a m o r e detailed account see page 22. The overall Breckland p o p u l a t i o n d r o p p e d f r o m 259 pairs in 2012 t o 202 pairs in 2013 and few y o u n g w e r e fledged. In t h e Suffolk Breckland 9 4 pairs w e r e located, d o w n f r o m 125 pairs in 2012. There w e r e 13 pairs on t h e Suffolk coast (14 in 2012) and t h e y fledged eight young. An interesting record was of a bird calling near t h e visitor centre at Lakenheath Fen reserve on June 2nd and later seen o n t h e riverbank. There w e r e several post-breeding flocks recorded i n c l u d i n g : Dunwich: 25, Sep 11th; 28, Sep 16th; 20, Sep 18th; seven, Oct 3rd. 82


Systematic List Minsmere: 21, Sep Ist; 12, Oct 16th. Thetford Heath: 89, Sep 9th. Cavenham Heath: 70, Aug 12th and Aug 24th; 90, Sep 13th; 77, Sep 19th; 60, Sep 21st. A single was seen over Corton, September 24th and eight w e r e at Little Livermere, October 7th. On October 27th t h e r e was a single at Westleton Heath and four at Cavenham Heath and t h e final bird was heard calling in pig fields at Little Livermere, N o v e m b e r 16th. Correction: The 2012 Bird Report states t h a t " t h e r e w e r e 125 b r e e d i n g pairs recorded in t h e Suffolk Breck plus 52 pairs at Elveden Estate". It should have stated t h a t " t h e r e were 125 breeding pairs in t h e Suffolk Breck including

52 pairs at Elveden Estate".

EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus Very

ostralegus

common

winter

passage migrant. Amber As

visitor

Common

and

resident.

list. in

counts

most

years

the

highest

came

from

the

Orwell

Estuary, especially in t h e latter half of t h e year. In t h e first f o u r m o n t h s t h e Suffolk side of t h e Stour

Eurasian Oystercatchers Peter Beeson

Estuary

appears t o have been favoured by this species. On Orfordness, w h e r e Oystercatchers are relatively scarce, t h e m a x i m u m c o u n t was 3 1 on March l O t h . In t h e w e s t of t h e county Livermere Lake once again held t h e highest n u m b e r s w i t h 13 t h e r e on M a r c h 9 t h and 17 f o u r days later. Few a u t u m n m o v e m e n t s were recorded w i t h 55 south past Landguard o n August l O t h being t h e highest c o u n t t h e r e . 350 c o u n t e d at Trimley Marshes o n S e p t e m b e r 22nd, h o w e v e r , presumably comprised birds on t h e move. WeBS counts were as f o l l o w s : -

Blyth Estuary Alde/Ore Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

PIED AVOCET Fairly common

Jan 226 29 97 504 732

Recurvirostra resident,

summer

Feb 155 7 102 3 646

Mar 154 121 181 438 768

Apr -

154 231 338

Sep -

1 5 807 572

Oct -

23 22 1431 625

Nov -

35 55 1268 730

Dec -

32 16 1125 608

avosetta visitor and passage migrant

on the coast. Amber

list.

Avocets w e r e recorded w i d e l y f r o m t h e coastal belt w i t h g o o d n u m b e r s regularly n o t e d at Breydon South Fiats as well as t h e Suffolk estuaries. As in 2012 prĂŠdation was high at most breeding sites. At t h e Dingle Marshes t e n breeding pairs a t t e m p t e d b u t ail w e r e p r e d a t e d , at M i n s m e r e only t w o y o u n g f l e d g e d f r o m 97 nests and o n Orfordness t h r e e y o u n g f l e d g e d f r o m t h e 49 pairs a t t e m p t i n g t o breed. This was t h e highest n u m b e r of pairs on Orfordness since 5 1 in 2003. It was a diffĂŠrent story at Boyton Marshes w h e r e 19 pairs fledged 16 young, helped f r o m being predated in c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h Black-headed Gulls in their c o m m u n a l m o b b i n g of large gulls. On Hazlewood Marshes 50 were recorded on January 6 t h and 215 on April 4 t h . The i n u n d a t i o n in December w h e n t h e seawall was breached will alter this habitat, possibly f o r many decades. On Orfordness t h e r e w e r e large gatherings o n t h e Airfields w i t h 1 4 1 o n July 13th and 148 o n August I s t . There w e r e 110 still t h e r e on December 29th.

83


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 Only one c o u n t was received f r o m t h e Blyth Estuary in t h e latter part of t h e year, this being of 150 o n N o v e m b e r 19th. In t h e west t h e r e were only t w o records, a singleton at Lackford Lakes on April 13th and seven, t h e highest total ever t o be recorded inland in Suffolk, at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland on March 9th. WeBS counts w e r e as f o l l o w s : Jan 658 899 232 120 21

Blyth Estuary Alde/Ore Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

Feb 630 1680 356 0 25

Mar 676 559 12 6 85

Apr

Sep

-

-

45 71 46 0

-

16 14 8

Oct -

465 135 112 74

Nov -

957 328 112 70

Dec -

1425 242 97 14

On O u l t o n Broad t w o birds w e r e observed s w i m m i n g o n February 19th. Avocets can spend some t i m e o n t h e w a t e r and have been n o t e d roosting away f r o m the saltmarsh o n t h e Deben Estuary o n several occasions. There w e r e very f e w records f r o m t h e coast of birds on t h e move. LITTLE R I N G E D

Charadrius

PLOVER

dubius

Rapidly decllning passage The

summer

visitor andfairly

common

migrant. first

arrivai

was

on

March

18th

at

Cattawade, w i t h birds also seen at Pipps Ford and B o y t o n M a r s h e s d u r i n g t h e f o l l o w i n g week. Fifteen

birds

were

present

on

M i n s m e r e Scrape o n August 2nd w h i c h was t h e highest c o u n t o f t h e year. It is also t h e highest t o t a l in Suffolk since July 16th 1993 w h e n 15 w e r e at Suffolk W a t e r Park, B r a m f o r d .

Little Ringed Plovers Richard Allen

Breeding was c o n f i r m e d at o n l y o n e site, Pipps Ford, w i t h one y o u n g fledged; this w a d e r is verging o n extinction as a breeding species in Suffolk. The last record of t h e a u t u m n was a singleton at Flixton Gravel Pits on September 29th. R I N G E D PLOVER

Charadrius

Declining

winter

resident,

hiaticula

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

Non-WeBS Counts over 50 in t h e first w i n t e r / s p r i n g period w e r e : Breydon South Fiats: 53, Feb 9th. Sightings of birds considered t o be of t h e race tundrae Minsmere: June 9th. Lackford Lakes: June 8th; June lOth.

were:-

Breeding was again c o n f i r m e d at o n l y five sites:Kessingland: pair. Dingle Marshes: four pairs. Minsmere: two pairs - not known if any fledged. Orfordness: three pairs - none fledged. Landguard: three pairs - no chicks fledged. During t h e a u t u m n / s e c o n d w i n t e r period non-WeBS flocks over 50 were a t : Breydon South Wall: 51, Aug 17th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, 54, Aug 17th.

84


Systematic List Felixstowe Ferry: The Knolls, 63, Sep 7th. Deben Estuary: Melton, 80, Sep 14th. WeBS d a t a : Jan 16 14 37 24 23

Blyth Estuary Aide/Ore Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

E U R A S I A N DOTTEREL

Scarce passage migrant.

Feb 0 16 47 0 82

Charadrius

Amber

Mar 0 5 24 0 27

Apr

Sep

-

0 6 16 3

-

0 102 187 192

Oct -

12 22 121 100

Nov

Dec

-

-

32 31 71 70

0 58 73 42

morinellus

list.

As in 2012, t h e r e was j u s t a single a u t u m n sighting:— Landguard: two, Aug 24th (T Bagworth, J Zantboer, B Mackie) EUROPEAN G O L D E N PLOVER

Common

winter

Pluvialis

visitor and passage migrant.

apricaria

Amber

list.

Recorded in every m o n t h of the year except June (as in 2012), w i t h highest single c o u n t of t h e year being 3 2 0 0 at Felixstowe Ferry o n January 9th. Counts of 300 or m o r e were widespread on t h e coast, but only at one inland site:— Orfordness: 490, Oct 13th; 700, Nov.l7th; 1130, Dec ISth. Gedgrave: 600, Dec 29th. Ramsholt: 600, Dec 10th. Falkenham Creek: 1200+, Dec 1st. Felixstowe Ferry: 400, Apr 14th. Levington: 400, Nov.30th; 600, Decl2th. Erwarton Ness: 700, Dec 9th. Stutton Mill: 800, Jan 21st. Polstead Heath: 2000, Feb 25th. WeBS d a t a : Jan 48 1711 417 51 255

Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

Feb 300 878 487 221 0

GREY PLOVER

Pluvialis

Common

visitor and passage migrant.

winter

Mar 3 532 699 0 138

Apr 0 433 0 0

Amber

list.

Sep

-

-

0 269 440 801

Oct -

1250 1009 150 490

Nov -

745 1263 409 230

Dec -

0 2990 61 650

squatarola

Present in every m o n t h of t h e year, but only on coastal scrapes and estuarine sites. For the third successive year there were no inland reports. The Stour Estuary continued to give the highest numbers. Counts of over 50 f r o m individual sites w e r e : Boyton Marshes: 240, Dec 3rd. Levington Creek: 100, Jan 9th; 50, Mar 17th. Deben Estuary: King's Fleet, 206, Mar 10th; Kirton Creek, 100, Apr 13th Stutton Ness: 100, Nov 1st; 61, Nov 4th. WeBS d a t a : Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

Jan 28 26 429 312 581

Feb 65 22 412 0 390

Mar 25 30 633 353 656

85

Apr -

0 174 2 284

Sep -

0 236 224 1508

Oct -

56 426 255 2107

Nov -

38 326 473 785

Dec -

84 572 419 2770


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 NORTHERN LAPWING

Very common

winter

Vanellus

vanellus

visitor and passage migrant.

Declining

as a breeding

species. Red list.

Counts of 500 or m o r e in t h e first w i n t e r period w e r e : Great Livermere: 650, Jan Ist; 650, Jan 9th. Mickle Mere: 550, Jan 3rd. Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Hall, 675, Jan 4th; 500, Jan 5th; 650, Mar 9th; 530, Mar 16th. Breeding was c o n f i r m e d at; Sedge Fen, Lakenheath (three broods); Puttockshill, Pakenham; Great Livermere; Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland ( t w o pairs w i t h young); Bures; Higham, near Hadleigh (17 pairs); Pipps Ford and t h e Nunnery Floods, Thetford. The o n l y second w i n t e r flock of 500 or m o r e w a s : Great Livermere: 1500, Dec 15th. WeBS d a t a : Jan 15 4226 618 241 482

Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary RED KNOT

Calidris

Locally common

Feb 206 2301 802 100 683

Mar 25 3438 601 33 571

Apr

Sep

-

Oct

-

0 14 10 61

Nov

-

0 331 214 158

1363 733 321 454

Dee

-

-

1538 1063 356 659

2289 3223 1359 921

canutus

winter

visitor and passage migrant.

Amber

list.

As w o u l d be expected WeBS counts c o n t r i b u t e d t h e major records w i t h t h e Stour s h o w i n g a considĂŠrable increase in n u m b e r s : Jan Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary

-

3 12 2963 3280

Feb 16 6 114 68 3821

Mar 328

Apr

-

13 2620 1011

Sep

Oct

Nov

-

-

-

-

-

-

22 1

44 5

37

5 6

-

44

-

1145

-

Dee -

236 32 878 5555

-

1925

The 5555 c o u n t e d o n t h e Stour Estuary in December, above, is t h e highest estuarine t o t a l since N o v e m b e r 2008 w h e n 6 0 5 0 w e r e o n t h e Stour WeBS count. Birds were present in every month w i t h increased individuai counts in several areas over 2012 figures. Non-WeBS Counts, w i t h t h e Kessingland and M i n s m e r e totals being notable late-spring counts, o f 20 or m o r e w e r e : Lowestoft: Ness Point, 42, Sept l l t h ; 35, Oct 3rd. Kessingland: 70, June Ist. Minsmere: 41, June 9th; 32, June 19th. Thorpeness: 479, N o v l l t h ; 25, Apr Ist; 25, Aug 12th. Orfordness: single flocks, 126, Jan 26th; 55, Mar lOth; 38, Apr Ist. Landguard: southward passage day-max, 435, Nov l l t h . Holbrook Bay: 230, Jan 17th; 190, Dec 9th. Levington: 950, Jan 3rd. SANDERLING Locally common

Calidris winter

alba visitor and passage

migrant.

As in previous years all t h e sightings w e r e at coastal/estuarine sites, w i t h no inland reports for t h e f o u r t h successive year. The species was recorded in every m o n t h . M o n t h l y m a x i m a f r o m t h e nine most-regular sites w e r e : -

Gorleston Lowestoft Kessingland

Jan 1 16 -

Feb 3 8 -

Mar 2 5 10

Apr

May

Jun

5 -

86

Jul 3 2

-

-

-

Aug 3 7 -

Sep

Oct

-

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

4

_

-

4

Nov 4

_ 5

Dee 5

_ -


Systematic List Jan Benacre Minsmere Orfordness Landguard passage Felixstowe Beaches Deben

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun 7

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

4

-

9

-

-

-

-

-

1

2

-

-

5 3

2 7 6

4 4 1

28 8 1

-

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec 20

-

-

-

-

2 2 4 19

-

-

-

4

-

2 7 1

-

-

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

-

26 6

10 2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

7 3

-

7

Other records of n o t e : Lowestoft: Hamilton Dock 16, June 20th to 23rd. Thorpeness: 12, Aug 6th, 20, Dec 12th to 15th. LITTLE STINT Uncommon

Calidris

minuta

passage migrant.

Occasionally

overwinters.

There w e r e no inland birds r e p o r t e d for t h e t h i r d successive year. Early-winter single a t : Havergate: Jan 26th. Spring passage was recorded a t : Blyth Estuary: Tinker's Marshes, May 20th. Minsmere: four, June 1st. A u t u m n sightings were as f o l l o w s : Breydon South Flats: Sept 1st. Burgh Castle Flats: two, Sept 26th to 28th. Lowestoft: two, Sept 11th. Blyth Estuary: Tinker's Marshes, Aug 25th to 31st; four. Sept 5th; Sept 7th and 8th; three, Sept 12th; Dec 22nd. Minsmere: two, Aug 22nd to 28th ; three, Sept 5th. North Warren; Nov 9th. Orfordness; juveniles, Aug 25th; Aug 30th; two, Aug 31st; adults, Sept 1st; Sept 7th; three, Sept 14th; two Sept 15th; two, Sept 21st; two, Sept 29th. Havergate: Aug 31st; Sept 9th. Trimley Marshes: Sept 7th; two, Sept 14th; Oct 12th and 13th. T E M M I N C K ' S STINT

Calidris

Scarce passage migrant.

temminckii

Red list.

There w e r e f o u r spring sightings, all of single birds:â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Minsmere; May 14th. Boyton Marshes: May 5th; May 17th Trimley: May 18th. There have been no a u t u m n Temminck's Stints seen in Suffolk since 2008 w h e n one was present on Orfordness o n July 19th. PECTORAL S A N D P I P E R

Scarce passage

Calidris

melanotos

migrant.

There was a single record in May, t h e f o u r t h consecutive year t h a t this w a d e r has occurred in Suffolk in t h e s p r i n g : Orfordness: female, Mayl2th (D Crawshaw, M Marsh). The only a u t u m n sighting was a w e l l - w a t c h e d bird at Trimley M a r s h e s : Trimley Marshes; Sep 21st to Oct 6th (J Zantboer et al). CURLEW SANDPIPER

Uncommon

passage

Calidris

ferruginea

migrant

There w e r e no reports of o v e r w i n t e r i n g birds on t h e Deben at M e l t o n or elsewhere. The only spring sightings came f r o m : Minsmere: May 14th; June 16th. 87


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 A u t u m n records w e r e as follows, w i t h no inland sightings:â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Breydon South Flats: July 26th and 27th; two, July 29th; Aug 31st to Sep 2nd; two, Sep 20th; Oct 3rd; three, Oct 14th; Oct 22nd. Burgh Castle; two, Sep 12th; Sept ISth to 17th; three, Sep 19th; two, Sep 20th; Sep 27th; Oct 9th. Blyth Estuary: Sep 19th, Tinker's Marshes, Aug 11th to 18th; seven, Aug 20th; Aug 25th; Sep 1st; two, Sep 5th; four, Sep 7th; two, Sep 8th; Sep 12th. Minsmere: July 24th; two, July 25th; three, July 28th and 29th; four, July 30th; July 31st; two, Aug 1st; Aug 7th; Aug 14th; Aug 22nd to 26th; Sep 1st; Sep 25th. North Warren: Sep 4th. Orfordness: July 27th; July 31st and Aug 1st; two, Aug 7th; Aug 30th and 31st; eight, Sep 1st; Oct 14th. Havergate: 11, Aug 31st. Melton: Oct 15th. Landguard: Aug 13th. Levington: 12, Aug 26th. Stutton Mill; 15, Sep 6th. PURPLE S A N D P I P E R

Calidris

Fairly common

visitor. Scarce passage migrant.

winter

maritime

Amber

list.

Ness Point, Lowestoft and Felixstowe are t h e favoured locations for this species in Suffolk. The highest c o u n t at Lowestoft was 12 on April 1st during regular sightings f r o m January 1st t o April 2 7 t h . One was on t h e Felixstowe Promenade f r o m January 7th to March 1st and a single at Landguard, M a r c h 9 t h t o M a r c h 23rd. O t h e r observations d u r i n g t h e first w i n t e r period w e r e : Easton Bavents: Jan 4th; Jan 9th; Jan 28th to Feb 5th. Corton; Jan 22nd. In t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d records w e r e again d o m i n a t e d by Ness Point, L o w e s t o f t (and adjacent sites) b e t w e e n S e p t e m b e r 10th and December 31st w i t h 11 n o t e d o n December 26th. Landguard had up t o t h r e e in t h e t h r e e - m o n t h p e r i o d f r o m September 18th w h e n t h e species was r e c o r d e d o n 13 occasions. O t h e r records in t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d : Gorleston: Nov 5th. Corton: Oct 10th. Southwold: three, Oct 11th. Aldeburgh: Slaughden, Nov 22nd. Levington: N o v l l t h to 13th. DU N LI N

Calidris

Very common

winter

alpina visitor and passage migrant.

Red list.

In t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d reports came f r o m t h e f o l l o w i n g inland sites; Lackford Lakes, Mickle M e r e , Livermere Lake and Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland as well as t h e usual coastal ones. Three-or f o u r - f i g u r e counts d u r i n g this period, aside f r o m WeBS shown below, came f r o m t h e following locations:Orfordness: 1500, Jan 1st. Havergate: 400, Jan 26th; 236, Feb 2nd, Felixstowe Ferry: 550, Jan 9th. Landguard: 100, Apr 26th. Levington Creek: 600, Jan 3rd; 1000, Jan 2nd. Holbrook Bay: 162, Jan 17th. Cattawade: 1500, Jan 2nd. A flock o f 100 was recorded o n July 20th at Orfordness. During t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d t h r e e - or four-figure counts w e r e f r o m : Breydon South Flats: 200, Sep 8th; 124, Sep 20th; 450, Dec 1st. Burgh Castle Flats: .340, Sep 15th to 17th; 167, Sep 20th; 318, Sep 28th.

88


Systematic List Lowestoft: 368 south, Nov 11th. Blyth Estuary: 300, Sep 12th. Thorpeness: 2160 south, Nov 11th. Havergate: 260, Aug 28th; 350, Aug 31st; 812, Sep 11th; 600, Oct 3rd; 120 Dec 9th. Landguard: 1009, Nov 5th; 3206 south, Nov 11th; 805, Nov 20th. Stutton Ness: 225, Nov 4th. Cattawade: 300, Nov 21st. Clearly it can be seen in t h e figures above t h a t N o v e m b e r 1 1 t h was an i m p o r t a n t day f o r s o u t h w a r d m o v e m e n t of this apecies. WeBS d a t a : Jan 1898 5581 2640 1164 2365

Blyth Estuary Aide/Ore Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary RUFF

Feb 1250 2146 3025 70 2201

Calidris (was Philomachus)

Fairly common

passage migrant.

Mar 1160 486 2433 1272 2150

Apr

Sep

-

-

-

-

469 -

242

Oct -

811 736 414 2170

273 25 375

Nov -

1436 1541 1262 3732

Dec -

1150 2675 3068 3628

pugnax

Small numbers

overwinter.

Red list.

Birds w e r e recorded in every m o n t h of t h e year, except January. Reports w e r e received f r o m three inland sites: Livermere Lake w i t h one, t w o or t h r e e on several dates in October and early November, one at Gifford's Hall (Stoke-by-Nayland) on March 29th and Pipps Ford w i t h one or t w o in August. Numbers w e r e lower t h a n in 2012 w i t h counts of note b e i n g : Carlton Marshes: ten, Sep 1st. Minsmere: eight, Aug 8th. Orfordness: six, July 6th; 11, Aug 11th; eight, Oct 19th. Snape: Abbey Farm, eight, Aug 8th. Boyton: five, Apr 5th. Trimley Marshes: up to ten, Aug 11th to Sept 12th. BLACK-TAILED GODWIT L.l.islandica: L.I.limosa:

Common

Limosa

winter

limosa

visitor and passage migrant.

Scarce visitor. Formerly

Amber

list.

bred. Red list.

Records of t h e race limosa this year w e r e of a single bird at Carlton Marshes in late July and up t o f o u r at Trimley Marshes, June 17th t o July 21st. Coastal observers recorded a wealth of data d u r i n g t h e course o f WeBS and m o n t h l y c o u n t s : Mar Apr Aug Sep Jan Feb Oct Nov Dec Blyth 210 7 100 36 88 25 Minsmere* 2 10 27 17 23 Aide/Ore 9 120 40 700 631 1786 253 795 579 73 Orfordness* 8 8 9 2 5 4 297 20 Deben 307 311 132 229 293 196 231 213 Orwell 164 697 34 17 5 720 315 626 Stour 556 831 859 243 754 307 513 1358 530 *monthly maxima Notable sightings during t h e first w i n t e r period included 130 at Burgh Castle Flats on February 16th, w i t h 150 recorded t h e r e on M a r c h 1st. An impressive 700 w e r e at Botany Farm, Farnham, January 8th, w h i l e t h e west's best count of the year was just 48 at Giffords Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, January 5th. Spring passage during April included t h e following records; 200 at Burgh Castle Flats, 27th, 300 at Seafield Bay on the Stour Estuary, 7th and 160 at Melton, Deben Estuary, 17th. May and June records 89


Su ffolk Bird Report 2013 included 90 at Burgh Castle Fiats, May l O t h and 200 at Minsmere, June 8th. Inland passage saw nine birds at Mickle Mere, June 28th which were probably early-returning a u t u m n birds. Both M i n s m e r e and Trimley Marshes had substantial s u m m e r gatherings, presumably a m i x t u r e of o v e r s u m m e r i n g and r e t u r n i n g birds, d u r i n g July w i t h M i n s m e r e holding up t o 250 birds midm o n t h and Trimley peaked at 258 o n 21st, w h i l e 175 were present at S t u t t o n Mill on t h e Stour Estuary o n 23rd. High a u t u m n and late w i n t e r records away f r o m t h e table above came f r o m Breydon South Fiats, 471, S e p t e m b e r 20th and t h e RSPB sites at Hollesley Marshes, peaking at 285 on N o v e m b e r 13th and Botany Farm, Farnham w i t h 260, December 30th. BAR-TAILED GODWIT Fairiy common

Limosa

passage migrant

lapponica and locally common

winter visitor. Amber

list.

Counts f r o m o u r t o p sites w e r e : -

Orfordness* Deben Stour *monthly maxima

Jan 77 73 136

Feb 52 87 47

Mar 21 357 286

Apr 1 48 9

Sep 8 10 23

Oct 3 19 26

Nov 5 18 18

Dee 0 52 163

The first w i n t e r period brought in some impressive records w i t h 210 being counted on t h e south shore of Breydon W a t e r o n January 22nd, an unusually-high figure of 75 o n t h e Blyth Estuary midM a r c h and 170 at Kings Fleet o n t h e Deben Estuary on March 10th. Numbers on t h e Deben Estuary are far higher t h a n t h e y used t o be w i t h t h e birds recorded in t h e M a r c h WeBS being m o s t l y t o w a r d s t h e m o u t h of t h e river. Spring passage in t h e north-east was rather low. M i n s m e r e r e p o r t e d 1 1 on May 8 t h w i t h 16 present o n 14th, w h i l e on Orfordness 37 were recorded on May 7th. In t h e south, Felixstowe Ferry r e c o r d e d 42, April 14th, 110 w e r e present at Seafield Bay o n t h e Stour Estuary, April 2 8 t h and W a l t o n Marshes, Felixstowe had 13 on May 18th. In t h e west of t h e County at Lakenheath Fen t e n birds w e r e p r e s e n t o n April 21st w i t h eight t h e r e o n 2 9 t h . There w e r e f o u r present on Havergate Island o n June 7th. W h a t was p r e s u m a b l y t h e last bird of t h e spring was o n e on Orfordness o n June 1 5 t h and 16th. The first seen o n r e t u r n passage w e r e singles at Lowestoft, June 22nd, Thorpeness, June 23rd and M i n s m e r e , June 2 9 t h . July records involved only ones and t w o s until 2 0 t h w h e n five w e r e seen f r o m South Beach, Lowestoft w h i l e t h e r e w e r e t h r e e at Trimley Marshes Retreat o n 24th. There w e r e v e r y f e w d o u b l e - f i g u r e counts d u r i n g August and S e p t e m b e r w i t h T h o r p e n e s s recording t e n , August 2nd, t h e n 13, September 8 t h and Havergate Island, 11, September 19th. The latter site also recorded t h e only double-figure counts in October as well w i t h 20 on 1 6 t h and 23 o n 18th. The year was b r o u g h t t o a close w i t h a massive c o u n t at Erwarton Ness o n t h e Stour Estuary of 300 on D e c e m b e r 9th. WHIMBREL Fairly common

Numenius

phaeopus

passage migrant.

Occasionally

overwinters.

Red list.

A rare w i n t e r record, t h e first since 2008, was r e p o r t e d f r o m Thorpe Bay, Trimley St M a r t i n on t h e O r w e l l Estuary o n January 18th (R Biddle). The first bird of t h e spring arrived on M a r c h 2 9 t h flying n o r t h o f f Thorpeness. Passage t h e n c o m m e n c e d f r o m April 12th w i t h birds being n o t e d at M i n s m e r e and inland at Cavenham Pits. T h e r e a f t e r peak counts in April came f r o m Orfordness, 2 1 on 21st, Minsmere, 15 o n 19th, Beccles Marshes, 80 o n 24th, W o r l i n g h a m Marshes, 63 o n 2 8 t h and Landguard Bird Observatory, 20 on 19th and in t h e west o f t h e County, Lakenheath Fen recorded t e n o n 21st. May began w i t h Beccles Marshes having 40 on 1st and 50 on 2nd and Castle Marsh, North Cove recorded 3 1 o n 4 t h while in t h e south Landguard recorded 13 on the same day. Elsewhere passage 90


Systematic List past Orfordness peaked at 40 on 7th, ten were at Boyton Marshes on 9th and 14 at Havergate on 30th. Sightings d u r i n g June blur t h e t u r n a r o u n d date as birds w e r e recorded f r o m Thorpeness, Kessingland and M i n s m e r e on 2nd, 4 t h , 6 t h and 9th, t h e n 15th and 16th saw t w o flying south. However t h o s e in late June at Felixstowe Ferry on 28th, Orfordness on 29th and Kessingland on 3 0 t h were probably t h e first of the return passage. There w e r e no d o u b l e - f i g u r e counts d u r i n g July until 24th w h e n 20 w e r e c o u n t e d s o u t h o f f Thorpeness. The highest c o u n t inland was six at Lakenheath o n July 20th. As usual August saw t h e best figures w i t h t h e f o l l o w i n g : Breydon South Wall: 13, 12th. Corton Cliffs: 17, 4th. Lowestoft North beach: 35, 2nd; 14, 14th; 40, 18th. Gunton Beach: 52, 24th. Minsmere: 19, 1st. Thorpeness: 20, 3rd; 13, 16th. Havergate: 12,1st. Landguard: 15, 5th. Nine localities r e p o r t e d September sightings w i t h t h e best being nine off Landguard o n 23rd and t h e last sighting inland at A m p t o n on 4th. October produced records f r o m f o u r coastal sites w i t h t h e last bird of t h e year being one at M i n s m e r e o n 24th. EURASIAN CURLEW

Common

winter

Numenius

arquata

visitor and passage migrant.

A few pairs breed. Amber

list.

Once again this year t h e r e were just t h r e e sites in t h e n o r t h - w e s t w h i c h r e p o r t e d a ' p r o b a b l e breeding' status although records d u r i n g t h e breeding period w e r e received f r o m seven sites in and a r o u n d t h e Breck, w i t h t h e peak count being 12 birds at t h e fenland site of Lakenheath Fen o n April 21st. The first r e t u r n i n g birds seen at Lakenheath Fen and Cavenham Heath w e r e f r o m mid-February. Counts at t h e principal estuarine sites w e r e : -

Blyth Aide/Ore Orfordness* Deben Orwell Stour *monthly maxima

Jan 90 1095 485 426 496 824

Feb 140 1351 181 752 24 605

Mar 188 409 40 440 400 903

Apr -

48 30 231 425 431

Sep

Oct

-

120 -

451 750 348

-

236 13 1175 476 905

Nov -

710 25 267 417 462

Dec -

522 27 252 129 755

Notable counts d u r i n g t h e first w i n t e r period o t h e r t h a n those in t h e table above came f r o m Burgh Castle Flats w i t h 270, March 17th and Fritton Marshes w i t h 147, April 7 t h w h i l e Boyton Marshes peaked at 187 on February 22nd. Landguard Bird Observatory recorded their first passage birds on March 7 t h w i t h five birds flying n o r t h , w i t h t h e peak n o r t h w a r d spring m o v e m e n t being 39 on April 22nd. Birds flying south w e r e r e p o r t e d as early as May 4 t h o f f Kessingland, b u t w i t h records c o m i n g f r o m eight coastal sites d u r i n g t h e next m o n t h it's probably safe t o say t h a t a u t u m n m i g r a t i o n started in early-June w i t h double-figure records c o m i n g in f r o m June 2 4 t h w h e n 19 f l e w s o u t h o f f Thorpeness and 16 t h e r e o n 26th while Felixstowe recorded 18 south, also o n 26th. Landguard recorded 242 birds flying south during June and 263 in July w i t h peak day-totals of 60, June 15th, 110, July 2nd and 80 t h e next day. Numbers d u r i n g t h e late s u m m e r w e r e rather low this year w i t h Breydon South Wall recording a m a x i m u m of 150 o n August 10th. The late w i n t e r period p r o d u c e d f e w records additional t o t h o s e in t h e table above w i t h t h e notable exception being 80, Botany Farm, Farnham, December 23rd. 91

Suffolk Birds 2013 Part 1  

Volume 63

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