West Area Recorder Colin Jakes, 7 Maltward Avenue, BURY ST EDMUNDS IP33 3XN Tel: 01284 702215 Email: email@example.com
North-East Area Recorder Andrew Green, 17 Cherrywood, HARLESTON Norfolk IP20 9LP Tel: 07766 900063 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
South-East Area Recorder Scott Mayson, 8 St Edmunds Close, Springfields, WOODBRIDGE, IP12 4UY Tel: 01394 385595 Email: email@example.com
SUFFOLK BIRDS VOL. 64 A r e v i e w o f birds in Suffolk in 2 0 1 4
Editor Nick M a s o n
Greatly assisted by Philip M u r p h y (Systematic List)
Bili Baston (Photos) Phil W h i t t a k e r ( A r t w o r k )
SUFFOLK NATURALISTS' SOCIETY Compiled
SUFFOLK ORNITHOLOGIST'S GROUP 2015
Published by The Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o The Museum, High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH ÂŠ The Suffolk Naturalists' Society 2015 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the Copyright owners.
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Printed by Healeys, Unit 10, The Sterling Complex, Farthing Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 5AP.
Front cover: Surf Scoter - Ed Keeble The Copyright remains that of the photographers and artists.
CONTENTS Editorial: Nick Mason Weather report: Edward Jackson Review of scarce and rare birds in Suffolk in 2014: Lee Woods Derek Moore RIP: Various Lesser White-fronted Goose in Suffolk: Gi Grieco Surf Scoter, Stutton Ness: Ed Keeble Great Knot at Breydon Water: Craig Fulcher Little Crake at Minsmere: Richard Knight Biack-winged Stiits breeding in west Suffolk: Colin Jakes and Malcolm Wright Common Swift roosting amongst foliage: Steve Piotrowski Pallid Harrier at Minsmere: Paul Holmes The 2014 Suffolk Bird Report Introduction Systematic List Appendices Suffolk Ringing Report 2014: Simon Evans List of Contributors Gazetteer Earliest and Latest Dates of Summer Migrants A Guide to Recording Birds in Suffolk Rare Birds in Suffolk 2014: David Walsh Index of species:
Page .... 5 .... 7 .... 9 ..
.. .. ... ... ... ... ...
22 25 27 29 31 33 34
36 38 147 150 180 182 184 185 189 190
The artwork in this Report is by Richard Allen, Peter Beeson, Su Gough, Ed Keeble and Brian Small. List of Plates Plate Facing Page No. 40 1. Tundra (Bewick's) Swan John Richardson 2. Greenland White-fronted Geese 40 John Richardson 40 3. Surf Scoter Sean Nixon 40 4. Smew John Richardson 41 5. Goosander Chris Mayne 6. Red-breasted Merganser John Richardson 41 7. Grey Partridge John Richardson 41 8. Great Northern Diver Bill Boston 41 9. Cormorant Chris Mayne 80 10. Great Bittern Ian Goodall 80 11. Great (White) Egret Ian Goodall 80 12. Hen Harrier John Richardson 80 13. Pallid Harrier Ian Clarke 80 14. Black Stork Paul Oldfield 81 15. Little Crake John Richardson 81 16. Glossy Ibis Peter Ransome 81 17 and 18. Black-winged Stilts Steve Plume 81 19. Collared Pratincole Harry Read 81 20. Dotterel Eddie Marsh 81 21. Sanderling Peter Ransome 120 22. Purple Sandpiper John Richardson 120 23. Bar-tailed Godwits Clive Naunton 120 24. Greenshank Stuart Read 120
Facing Plate Page No. 120 25. Eurasian Curlew Chris Mayne 120 26. Jack Snipe Kath Aggiss 121 27. Mediterranean Gull Peter Ransome 121 28. Kittiwake Ian Goodall 121 29. Short-eared Owl John Richardson 121 30. Barn Owl Bill Boston 121 31. Hoopoe Stuart Read 144 32. Green Woodpecker Liz Cutting 144 33. Wryneck Chris Darby 144 34. Tree Pipit Eddie Marsh 144 35. Waxwing Bill Boston 144 36. Desert Wheatear Peter Ransome 144 37. Dusky Warbler Peter Ransome 144 38. Barred Warbler John Richardson 39. Eastern Subalpine Warbler 144 Barry Woodhouse 145 40. Great Grey Shrike Chris Mayne 145 41. Lesser Grey Shrike Chris Mayne 145 42. Red-breasted Flycatcher Chris Darby 145 43. Rosy Starling Chris Darby 145 44. White-throated Sparrow Paul Oldfield 145 45. Parrot Crossbill Bill Boston 145 46. Bullfinch Liz Cutting 145 47. Common Rosefinch Chris Mayne
Suffolk Birci Report 2014
Notice to Contributors Suffolk
Birds is an annual publication of records, notes and papers on all aspects of Suffolk
ornithology. Except for records and field descriptions submitted through t h e county recorders, all material should be original. It should not have been published elsewhere or offered complete or in part t o any o t h e r journal. Authors should carefully study this issue and follow the style of présentation, especially in relation t o references and tables. W h e r e relevant, n o m e n c l a t u r e and order should f o l l o w t h e latest published for The British List by t h e British Ornithologist's Union and available on their 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. Contributions should, if possible, be submitted to t h e editor by e-mail or on a CD/DVD and w r i t t e n in Microsoft W o r d . If typed, manuscripts should be double-spaced, w i t h w i d e margins, on one side of t h e paper only. They must be in t h e final f o r m for publication: proofs of longer papers are returned to authors, but altérations must be confined to corrections of printer's errors. The cost of any o t h e r altérations may be charged to 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 photographs of birds, preferably taken in Suffolk, can be either 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 required t o c o m p l é m e n t each issue. A payment of £12 will be made t o t h e artist for each original drawing. Every possible e f f o r t will be made t o take care of t h e original photographs and a r t w o r k . However, photographers and artists are r e m i n d e d t h a t neither t h e editor nor t h e SNS can be held responsible in t h e unlikely event that loss or damage occur. Authors may wish t o illustrate their papers, but this will be subject to t h e illustrations being of t h e standard required by t h e editor and t h e décision on such matters will rest w i t h him or her. Material s u b m i t t e d for publication should be sent t o t h e editor no later than March I s t of each year. A u t h o r s of main papers may request up t o five free copies of t h e j o u r n a l . Any opinions expressed in this Report are those of t h e c o n t r i b u t o r and are not necessarily those of t h e Suffolk Naturalists' Society or t h e Suffolk Ornithologists' Group.
Chair: Steve Abbott Area County Recorders: Colin Jakes, Andrew Green, Scott Mayson Bird Report Editor: Nick Mason (non-voting) Secretary.
Craig Fulcher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Will Brame, Lee Woods, Dave Fairhurst, Lee Gregory, Brian Small.
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ADDRESSES Papers, notes,
The Editor (Suffolk
Birds), The Suffolk Naturalists'
Society, c / o T h e M u s e u m , High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH. Records: See inside back cover. Suffolk
The Secretary, SORC, c / o The
M u s e u m , High Street, Ipswich IP1 3QH - or email@example.com.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014
Most years it falls to me to keep remlndlng birders to send in their records. A lot of bird sightings are received directly t h e t h r e e recorders or via Birdtrack at t h e BTO. However, sometimes our records do need to be a bit more informative (and I include myself in that). For instance, w h e n r e a d i n g t h r o u g h t h e species' accounts there are many comments such as "ofthe received."
Now there are far more M u t e Swan breeding sites in t h e county than t h e 30 mentioned
- j u s t last week doing a WeBS count I found t w o pairs of swans w i t h cygnets and have v o w e d to make sure t h a t I include t h e m in w h a t I send to Scott at t h e end of t h e year. Often t h e n u m b e r of birds present is also useful allowing writers to pick up on large, or small, or unusual events. While most birders are excellent at providing records I have had one major gripe since taking over as editor of t h e bird report. I know t h a t this problem has been going on far longer than t h a t . Ali t h e Suffolk estuaries are counted during t h e WeBS, usually for eight months of t h e year, by a Willing bunch of volunteers. Each year those results are included in t h e next year's bird r e p o r t Suffolk side of t h e Stour, Orwell, Deben and Aide. However, you will notice that one river is missing. Details of t h e Blyth WeBS count are almost always missing f r o m t h e r e p o r t . It is a massive frustration for me after ali t h e effort t h a t I have put in t o trying t o obtain this data and, I have t o say, all t h e unanswered emails and phone calis as well. It is also a massive f r u s t r a t i o n for t h e section writers w h o w a n t to w r i t e complete and meaningful pieces and create tables t h a t show w h a t is happening on Suffolk's estuaries. I had better stop there! Overhalf o f t h e section writers need WeBS data. Most of them are the same as for the previous year - volunteers ail. As usual they have done a fantastic job. Thank you to ail of them: Gi Grieco, Andrew Green, John Davies, John Grant, Chris Gregory, John Glazebrook, James Wright, Andrew Easton, Malcolm Wright, Phil Whittaker, Nathaniel Cant, Andrew Gregory, Richard Attenborrow, Steve Fryett, Paul Gowen and Peter Kennerley who writes the Appendices. Ernie Lucking hastaken over the first half of the wader section having written some of it last year. The ringing report has again been compiled and written by Simon Evans. He has excelled himself again piecing it ali together and producing something of interest for ringers and non-ringers alike, with some interesting comments along the way. The Rarities Report, on rare birds considered by the British Birds Rarities Committee, has, as usual, been put together efficiently by David Walsh. He has also checked on the accuracy of our reporting of these species. Laurie Forsyth has proof-read much of this report and my thanks go t o him yet again. Phil Whittaker has again sorted out t h e a r t w o r k for this report and Bill Baston, again, t h e photographs. The standard of b o t h remains very high. Thank you to everyone w h o submits either a r t w o r k or photos even if t h e i r w o r k , o f t e n because of duplication, does not get used. Once again t h e fount of ali knowledge, Philip Murphy, has been extremely helpful during the prĂŠparation of this report. His knowledge of, and interest in, the birdlife of Suffolk continues unbounded. This is a good year for explaining where the Suffolk boundary goes, especially in relation t o t h e north-east of t h e county. In 1974 administrative changes w e r e made t h a t c o m b i n e d West and East 5
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 Suffolk into a single county council. The previous régions are known as Watsonian Suffolk. Now because bird, and other wildlife, records had included small areas now in Norfolk it was decided t o continue including t h e m (who knows they may revert back one day!). So, in t h e south, t h e county boundary w i t h Essex is t h e River Stour. WeBS counts are done on both sides of the Stour Estuary, out to t h e central channel, but only the Suffolk counts are included in this report. In 2014 a major event was t h e presence of the Surf Scoter. This bird used both sides of t h e river but was often in Suffolk waters and has duly been added t o t h e county list. To t h e east t h e county boundary has not changed, being t h e sea. So t h e Little Crake was well and truly in Suffolk! In 1974, however, in the very north-east a small part of East Suffolk was included Into Norfolk. The county boundary had run along t h e channel of Breydon Water and then along t h e Waveney. But, after t h e changes, places such as Belton, Burgh Castle and Bradwell found themselves in Norfolk. On occasions, t h e 2014 Great Knot fed on t h e m u d on t h e south side of t h e channel on Breydon Water and was, therefore, in Watsonian Suffolk and included on to the Suffolk list. There were some o t h e r minor changes to t h e boundary such as that in the very west of Newmarket w h e r e t h e previous one had run across t h e grandstand but n o w is about a mile to t h e west and follows the Devil's Dyke. It is always exciting w h e n new reserves or wildlife areas are created. Lakenheath Fen is one example and t h e i m p r o v e m e n t s t o Hollesley Marshes another. The new RSPB reserve t h a t incorporâtes Botany Farm in Farnham and Abbey Farm, Snape is called Snape Wetland. That name has been included in this report (except for t h e record of a rarity that was found in 2014). Locations can sometimes be difficult to define without the proper référencé to a map. Some birds, such as the Thrush Nightingale at Minsmere in 2008, can end up with t w o or three sites mentioned when they are ali the same bird and In that case singing in the same spot! In the Bird Report w e tend to use the parish namefollowed by the site although, sometimes, the site is the better known of the t w o ! There are several articles included in this report. Lee Woods has gathered ali t h e BINS data t o give us t h e Review of t h e Year. There were several rare birds in Suffolk in 2014; Ed Keeble has w r i t t e n up his finding of t h e Surf Scoter and provided us w i t h our excellent cover - well done and thank you Ed. Richard Knight tells us about t h e Little Crake at Minsmere, Craig Fulcher has amused us w i t h his experience searching o u t t h e Great Knot and John Grant has described finding and researching Suffolk's second Pallid Harrier. The breeding Black-wlnged Stilts are described by Colin Jakes and Malcotm Wright, there is a short piece on tree-roosting Swifts by Steve Piotrowski and a well-researched piece on t h e Lesser W h i t e - f r o n t e d Geese by SOG chairman Gi Grieco. We couldn't let Derek M o o r e go w i t h o u t some laudatory tales so we have gathered a few memories by locai birders and conservationists. Just a reminder t h a t t h e Suffolk Bird Report is published by t h e Suffolk Naturalists' Society in collaboration w i t h Suffolk Ornithologists' Group. As m e n t i o n e d last year, j o i n t membership of SNS and SOG is £30 per year. For t h a t one receives t h e bird report, t h e Harrier, t h e SNS Transactions and W h i t e Admirai. The bird report is not included w i t h i n SOG membership.
Suffolk's Weather in 2014
Suffolk's Weather in 2014 Edward
Weather conditions locally, regionally and across t h e northern hemisphere play a significant part in t h e w i n t e r survival of resident species and t h e arrivai and d e p a r t u r e t i m e s of regulär s u m m e r visitors. Temperature and rainfall in particular affect breeding success, w h i l e w i n d strength and direction o f t e n determine t h e appearance and source areas of scarcities and rarities - t h e drift migrants that can set puises racing! This short 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 for East Anglia, to give a feel for t h e weather patterns experienced by Suffolk's birds in 2014. It follows the 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 to the mean of ali t h e daytime maximum readings. C o m p a r i o n s w i t h 'average' temperatures and rainfall refer t h r o u g h o u t t o a M e t Office 30-year long-term average calculated f r o m 1981 t o 2010. Winter: January and February January and February continued an exceptionally stormy season t h a t started in December, w i t h at least 12 major winter storms affecting the UK in t w o spells f r o m mid-December to early January and again f r o m late January t o mid-February. This was t h e stormiest period of w e a t h e r experienced in t h e UK for at least 20 years, w i t h more days of severe gales t h a n any other w i n t e r season since 1871. The persistent heavy rainfall also resulted in this being t h e w e t t e s t w i n t e r for England since 1910. However, t h e unsettled w e a t h e r meant t h a t conditions w e r e relatively mild, w i t h no significant snowfalls and fewer air frosts for t h e UK t h a n any other w i n t e r since 1961. Despite t h e w e t weather, East Anglia was sunnier than average t h r o u g h o u t t h e winter. M e a n UK temperatures were also w e l l above t h e long-term average. The mean w i n t e r t e m p e r a t u r e of 5.2°C (for ail t h r e e months) is 1.5°C above t h e average. With very mild winter conditions have been in reasonable
to offset the effects of heavy rainfall, many resident birds in time for the breeding
Spring: March, April and M a y The spring w e a t h e r was generally much m o r e benign. A d a y t i m e m a x i m u m of 20.9°C was recorded at Santon D o w n h a m on March 30th and across t h e UK t h e overall mean t e m p e r a t u r e for these t h r e e months was 9.0°C. This is 1.3°C above t h e average and a remarkable 3.0°C w a r m e r than spring 2013. May was t h e sixth consecutive m o n t h w i t h above average temperatures. Nights were often very mild, w i t h m i n i m u m air temperatures significantly higher than average, especially in Aprii and May. The n u m b e r of air frosts was also a m o n g the lowest on record. The season brought a mix of settled spells of weather, most notably during mid-March and midApril, but also some w e t t e r spells t o o . Rainfall in Suffolk ranged b e t w e e n 100% and 120% of average, as did t h e sunshine totals. Compared
with 2013's record-breaking
cold spring, these extremely
the chances ofsuccessful
mild and generally
breeding for both residents and
migrants. Summer: June, July and August Summer 2014 saw several spells of fine and settled weather in both June and July, although there were no major heatwaves. August was rather more unsettled and cooler w i t h heavy rainfall at times, for example w h e n ex-Hurricane Bertha crossed t h e country on l O t h and l l t h . However, by this t i m e t h e majority of species had completed their breeding cycle. 7
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 A w a r m and dry June and July and a cool and w e t August balanced out and resulted in overall s u m m e r statistics t h a t were reasonably close t o average. The UK mean t e m p e r a t u r e f o r t h e three months was 14.8°C, which is 0.5°C above t h e 1981-2010 average. It was a relatively sunny summer w i t h 113% of average sunshine hours and overall was broadly comparable w i t h s u m m e r 2013. With no significant weather
and adult survival,
many species to have a successful breeding
Autumn: September, October and November S e p t e m b e r was d o m i n a t e d by high pressure, bringing plenty of fine, settled, early a u t u m n weather and little rainfall. In contrast, low pressure was a significant influence t h r o u g h o u t October and November. Both m o n t h s saw more typical a u t u m n a l weather, w i t h unsettled c o n d i t i o n s bringing periods of heavy rain and some strong winds at times, interspersed w i t h some drier, brighter days. Ail t h r e e months w e r e persistently w a r m e r t h a n average. The UK mean t e m p e r a t u r e for t h e a u t u m n of 10.9°C was 1.4°C above the 1981-2010 average. It was the t h i r d warmest a u t u m n since 1910, w i t h only t h e a u t u m n s of 2006 and 2 0 1 1 being warmer. The n u m b e r of air frosts was also well below average. Rainfall totals for t h e a u t u m n were 88% of t h e average overall across t h e UK. September was notably dry, although October was a rather w e t m o n t h across East Anglia. It was a slightly duller than t h e average a u t u m n , w i t h eastern areas receiving below average sunshine hours overall. A relatively
Return to Winter: December For m u c h of t h e m o n t h w e a t h e r systems tracked f r o m t h e west giving mild and w e t spells, interspersed w i t h drier and brighter days. The mean t e m p e r a t u r e in East Anglia of 5.3°C is 0.8°C above t h e 1981-2010 average. Rainfall totals here were 92% of t h e average and at 159% of t h e average t h e r e was plenty of w i n t e r sunshine too. References: h t t p : / / w w w . m e t o f f i c e . g o v . u k / c l i m a t e / u k / s u m m a r i e s / 2 0 1 4 accessed October Bi-monthly Wildlife Reports in British Wildlife:
Vol. 25 Number 4 to Vol. 26 N u m b e r 3
Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2014
Review of scarce and rare birds in Suffolk in 2014 Lee Woods January 2014 The weather in 2014 started off pretty much as 2013 ended, with continuous low pressure systems battering much of the UK resulting in extremely high winds and record levels of rain being recorded. Those hardy souls w h o braved the weather during the annual New Year's Day Bird Race struggled in the inclement conditions which resulted in one of the lowest scores for some years being achieved; that being said highlights f r o m the day included an i m m a t u r e Glossy Ibis which was present all month on Oulton Marshes, 42 Snow Buntings on t h e beach at Pakefield, female Long-tailed Duck on Covehithe Broad, t w o Caspian Gulls (adult and first-winter) on t h e Scrape at Minsmere whilst offshore a first-winter Glaucous Gull drifted south. In the south of t h e county a Black-throated Diver was on Alton Water and a Great Northern Diver was seen from Stutton Ness on the Stour Estuary. An adult Caspian Gull was present on the practice green at Southwold on 2nd. Other birds of note on this day included three Tundra Bean Geese on North Warren, five Velvet Scoters off Slaughden, Rough-legged Buzzard on Orfordness, t w o Water Pipits on Hollesley Marshes, t w o adult Black Brants on the Orwell Estuary viewable f r o m Hares Creek and a single Slavonian Grebe on Alton Water. On 3rd t h e r e was a juvenile Iceland Gull off t h e rigs at Sizewell which was noted on and o f f t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h also o f t e n frequenting Minsmere South Levels, t w o Great Northern Divers were now off Stutton Ness, t h r e e Greater Scaup on t h e lagoons at East Lane, Bawdsey, a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose on Slaughden Marshes and t h e number of Velvet Scoters offshore f r o m Slaughden had risen to ten + birds. A second-winter Iceland Gull was present on Snape Wetland on 4 t h and was seen intermittently t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h w i t h t w o first-winter Caspian Gulls also t h e r e on 4th. The t w o adult Black Brants were again seen at Hares Creek, Chelmondiston, 4 t h and nearby a Black-throated Diver was seen along The Strand, Wherstead. The first Waxwing sighting of the year came on 5th w i t h three birds being seen along the Leiston to Saxmundham road; also seen on this date were eight Parrot Crossbills at Spinks Lodge, Elveden Upper W a r r e n (near Mayday Farm) and a f i r s t - w i n t e r Caspian Gull along t h e A l l Red Lodge bypass. An unseasonal Garganey, presumably t h e returning individual f r o m December 2013, was noted on t h e reservoir at Trimley Marshes SWT and nearby a Jack Snipe was at t h e Retreat. A Long-eared Owl was seen along t h e approach track t o Trimley Marshes SWT, 7th and nearby seven Snow Buntings were present at Landguard t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h w i t h t h e total increasing t o ten. W i l d swans present at Minsmere included 19 Bewick's and t w o Whooper Swans on 7th w i t h three Tundra Bean Geese also being present on t h e levels. Three Short-eared Owls were seen in t h e Hollesley Marshes/Shingle Street area on 10th w i t h t w o birds regularly seen at Shingle Street thereafter. Two Little Stints were seen on t h e Deben Estuary f r o m Stonner Point, Sutton, on 10th. A Great Northern Diver was present and showing well on Alton Water f r o m 11th until t h e month's end. The continued invasion of Parrot Crossbills into t h e UK resulted in t w o birds (male and female) being seen in Waveney Forest f r o m 11th t o 14th and up to six birds were again noted at Spinks Lodge, Elveden on 26th. Two Siberian Chiffchaffs were seen at Oulton Marshes m i d - m o n t h . Twite numbers also peaked m i d - m o n t h w i t h 62 birds on t h e beach at Dunwich. Two Caspian Gulls (adult and third-winter) were on t h e Blyth Estuary on 15th. A Mealy Redpoll was at North Cove f r o m 18th t o 22nd. A Red-necked Grebe was seen along Wherstead Strand on 18th and again on 28th; w h a t was most probably t h e same bird was seen flying out of t h e river m o u t h f r o m Landguard t h e next day. An atypical southbound m i d w i n t e r movement of Little Gulls was noted w i t h 3 1 birds being seen offshore f r o m Ness Point, 19th and t h e n 25 individuals off Landguard, 22nd. A female Goosander, present on t h e Wilderness Pond in Christchurch Park, Ipswich f r o m 20th t o 31st, provided some
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 excellent views and is t h e first site record for at least 40 years. A single Waxwing was seen by The Douglas Bader public house, M a r t l e s h a m , o n 21st t h e n seven t h e next day and peaking at ten birds by t h e month's end; a single bird was also heard over Cove B o t t o m on 25th. Up to four Slavonian Grebes continued to be seen in their regular wintering grounds at Holbrook Bay. An impressive flock of Bramblings (up t o 200 birds) was seen just south of Friston, 25th and five Long-tailed Ducks were n o t e d south off Landguard on t h e same date. A Little Stint was seen on t h e Orwell Estuary in Thorpe Bay, Trimley St M a r t i n , 27th. And t o end t h e m o n t h t h e first Smew of t h e year were t h e t w o redheads present on t h e Scrape at M i n s m e r e , 29th t o 31st. February 2014 The prolonged w e t weather continued well into the m o n t h making birding difficult as many sites were well under water; that said t h e m o n t h still produced some noteworthy birds for all to see. The juvenile Iceland Gull was again present at Sizewell on 1st and t h e n f u r t h e r sightings of this mobile individual came f r o m Minsmere, 10th, Sizewell, 19th and finally Thorpeness, 22nd and 28th. The second-winter Iceland Gull also continued to show on and off at Snape Wetland. A Canada Goose sp on North Warren f r o m 1st t o 19th caused some debate as t o its t r u e f o r m but t h e r e was no d o u b t i n g t h e t w o adult Greenland White-fronted Geese t h a t were present at the same site f r o m 7th until 22nd. Staying w i t h geese, there was a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose at Trimley Marshes o n 9th, adult Black Brants were seen at Kirton, Deben Estuary also 9th and off Collimer Point, Shotley, Orwell Estuary, 21st and singletons of Pink-footed and Greater Whitefronted Geese at Kirton Marshes o n 16th. Slavonian Grebes w e r e recorded off Landguard, 1st, t h e washes at Lakenheath, 2nd until 9th and nine in Holbrook Bay, Stour Estuary on 2nd. Great Northern Divers were noted at Alton Water, 1st t o 6th, Stutton Mill, Stour Estuary, 13th t o 22nd and off Landguard t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h . The long staying female Long-tailed Duck remained on Covehithe Broad all month. Five Waxwings were seen on Lattice Avenue, Ipswich on 3rd, then the flock increased to eight birds the next day and remained at that number until 17th. A single Waxwing was seen along The Drive, Reydon on 16th. The i m m a t u r e Glossy Ibis at O u l t o n Marshes remained all m o n t h and was t h e n j o i n e d by a second individual f r o m 19th to 26th. Two Jack Snipe were at Hemley Marshes on 1st. Probably t h e biggest discussion of t h e m o n t h concerned a Sandpiper sp that was present w i t h i n t h e dock complex at Felixstowe f r o m 5th t o 17th. Although viewing was very distant f o r most, access was granted t o a few to establish t h e bird's t r u e identity and after much debate t h e bird was considered t o be a Common Sandpiper. The small flock of Snow Buntings continued t o show well at Landguard t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h as did t h e t h r e e Firecrests at Bawdsey Quay picnic site. The star bird of t h e m o n t h was an Olive-backed Pipit at Leiston. The bird was f o u n d mida f t e r n o o n on 15th and only showed itself t o one lucky observer before m o v i n g on... The invasion of Parrot Crossbills continued w i t h no fewer t h a n 18 birds present in t h e Waveney Forest o n 22nd. The w i n t e r i n g Rough-legged Buzzard on Orfordness was only reported once this m o n t h f r o m Crag Farm, Sudbourne, 18th. A Black-necked Grebe was present for one a f t e r n o o n only o n 19th f r o m Stutton Mill, Stour Estuary. The lack of any real cold w e a t h e r meant t h a t sawbills w e r e hard t o come by and only t h r e e redhead Smew were present at Minsmere for most of t h e m o n t h . The only Goosanders away f r o m their traditional sites were t h e t h r e e redheads seen off Lemon's Hill Bridge, Alton Water, 22nd. March 2014 The m o n t h started o f f w i t h a very early drake Garganey being seen at Bucklesham on 1st t h e n at Brightwell. An adult Black Brant was seen in Kirton Creek on 2nd.
Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2014 A juvenile Iceland Gull was seen t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h c o m m u t i n g b e t w e e n Thorpeness, Sizewell and Minsmere. Other sightings of Iceland Gull included a second-winter bird t h a t was seen on and o f f at Snape W e t l a n d RSPB, n o r t h over Bawdsey Hall on 15th, t w o juveniles at Livermere Lake, 15th and 23rd and an adult in t h e dock complex at Felixstowe, 21st t o 23rd. An adult Glaucous Gull was seen at the m o u t h of the Deben Estuary on 16th and then spent six days, 17th to 23rd, at t h e dock complex. Spoonbills w e r e seen at several sites t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h w i t h single birds at Minsmere, 2nd and 11th w i t h t h r e e birds present on 13th, Aldeburgh on 5th and North Warren, 6th and 9th. The wintering adult Black Brants were seen off Collimer Point, Orwell Estuary on 4th. Twelve Slavonian Grebes w e r e recorded at t h e i r w i n t e r i n g s t r o n g h o l d of t h e Stour Estuary (Holbrook Bay) on 4th. Two Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were noted at Santon Downham, on 4 t h w i t h a single bird seen at Pipps Ford, Coddenham on 4 t h and 5th. A Glossy Ibis was at Carlton Marshes SWT, 9th t o 11th then briefly at Leathes Ham, 12th. The long-staying female Long-tailed Duck was last reported on Covehithe Broad on 17th. Up t o f o u r Firecrests w e r e seen around t h e picnic site at Bawdsey t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h . Two Common Cranes w e r e seen over t h e Stour Estuary at Flatford on 11th and w h a t w e r e presumably t h e same birds w e r e seen over Haverhill on 20th. On 16th there were up t o 17 reports of Red Kites in t h e county. A Dusky Warbler was discovered at Oulton Marshes on 19th and remained until t h e month's end though o f t e n elusive. February's Olive-backed Pipit at Leiston was seen again, although only briefly, on 19th, 20th and 27th and never gave prolonged views during this period. Raven sightings are becoming more frequent in t h e county, w i t h one seen over M o u n t Pleasant Farm, Westleton on 23rd and t h e n nearby over Scott's Hall, Minsmere on 27th. A drake Ferruginous Duck was discovered on Island Mere, M i n s m e r e o n 26th and remained until the month's end. Finally, during t h e m o n t h , a good n u m b e r of Caspian Gulls of various ages were noted around the county notably f r o m regular sites such as Minsmere RSPB, Hollesley Marshes RSPB, Felixstowe, Mickle M e r e and Great Livermere. April 2014 The Dusky Warbler continued to show at Oulton Marshes t h o u g h was o f t e n elusive during its stay, until 17th. The drake Ferruginous Duck was seen on Island Mere, Minsmere on 1st and a Great White Egret was briefly seen at this w o n d e r f u l reserve o n 4th. Ospreys w e r e noted over Cavenham Heath, 4 t h , Kirton Creek, 5th and O r w e l l Bridge, 16th. Iceland Gulls continued to be seen t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h , w i t h t h e juvenile again at Thorpeness on 6th, and a t h i r d - s u m m e r on t h e Scrape at Minsmere on both 12th and 17th. The adult Black Brant was seen on t h e Orwell Estuary mainly f r o m Levington on 6th, 9th, 21st and 28th. Raven sightings were again in t h e news w i t h single birds being seen over Minsmere, 8th, 9th and 17th, Easton Broad, 9th, Shingle Street, 17th and south over North Denes, Lowestoft, 17th. A single Spoonbill was seen north off Southwold, 17th then on t h e flash at Southwold, 24th and 25th and at Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick, 26th. M i d - m o n t h and things began t o heat up a little. A Red-rumped Swallow was seen over t h e old car park at Minsmere, 17th. Four Dotterel were seen briefly on t h e beach at Kessingland, 19th before flying off and returning the f o l l o w i n g day w i t h one bird remaining until dusk. There w e r e also good numbers of Ring Ouzels seen along t h e coast at this t i m e . Five Black Terns were at Livermere Lake, 21st and t h e same day also saw a Common Crane west over Boyton Marshes. A confiding Wryneck was f o u n d at Beach Farm, Benacre, 22nd and remained until 25th. A n o t h e r Wryneck was seen nearby at Kessingland Sluice on 23rd. A Hoopoe at Kessingland was f o u n d early m o r n i n g on 26th and remained until 29th proving popular w i t h all-comers. An adult Whiskered Tern was seen north over North Marsh, Minsmere o n 26th t h e n o u t to sea.
Suffolk Bird Report 2014 The same day a d a r k - r u m p e d W h i m b r e l sp (probable Hudsonian) was seen over M i n s m e r e ScrapeĂź Two Great W h i t e Egrets w e n t n o r t h over Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick, 29th and a Temminck's Stint was at Hollesley Marshes RSPB on the same date. M a y 2014 The recent w o r k carried out by t h e Suffolk Wildlife Trust appears to be paying o f f at Carlton Marshes as a Great White Egret t o o k a liking t o t h e newly-formed scrape f r o m 3rd until 8th. The t h i r d - s u m m e r Iceland Gull continued t o show and was on the Scrape at Minsmere on 3rd. A Black Kite was seen over Carlton Marshes on 4th. Spoonbill sightings t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h carne f r o m Minsmere, 5th, 9th t o l l t h and 18th, Carlton Marshes, 6th, Benacre Broad, 7th, Easton Broad (south), 9th, Hollesley Marshes, l l t h and t w o on Tinker's Marshes, 14th. A Great Reed Warbier was seen and heard at Lackford SWT on 5th although it was very elusive. Six Common Cranes w e r e seen t o fly south over S o u t h w o l d on 6th and w e r e also seen over Dunwich, M i n s m e r e and Eastbridge. A Temminck's Stint was present on t h e w i n t e r flood at Trimley Marshes, 6th and 7th and t w o birds were seen briefly t h e r e on l O t h . Additionally t w o Temminck's Stints w e r e also seen briefly on Benacre Broad on 8th. Two Dotterei, in fields just south of Easton Broad f r o m 8 t h t o lOth, proved populĂ¤r w i t h a t h i r d bird j o i n i n g t h e m on l l t h . Red-rumped Swallows were seen south over Easton Broad on 9th and Hollesley Marshes on 12th. An Osprey was initially seen over Minsmere on l O t h t h e n shortly afterwards over t h e Blyth Estuary. The adult Black Brant continued t o show f r o m Levington Creek on l O t h and 15th to 17th. Good n u m b e r s of c o m m o n migrants notably Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats and Willow Warbiers w e r e recorded on 13th. A Great Reed Warbier was heard singing f r o m w i t h i n t h e reedbed at W e s t w o o d Marshes, Walberswick NNR on 16th only. A single Bee-eater flew south over Aldringham Walks on the morning of 16th and a flock of four birds flew south over the cliffs at Bawdsey on 23rd; what were presumably these birds were seen later that day in North Kent, then at Dungeness before finally settling down on Portland, Dorset on 25th. Two Temminck's Stints were on Hollesley Marshes, 19th and a male Red-backed Shrike was seen by t h e river at Lakenheath Fen RSPB t h e same day. Mickle M e r e at Pakenham was a very n o t e w o r t h y location for three Spoonbills o n 18th; other Spoonbills were seen at Trimley, 20th and t w o f l e w east along t h e Stour Estuary, 22nd. A Purple Heran was seen f r o m b o t h Bittern and Island M e r e hides, Minsmere on 21st and again t h e next m o r n i n g on N o r t h Marsh. The 26th saw a male Grey-headed Wagtail briefly on the c o m m o n at Landguard and an Osprey over Fritton Lake. Heavy rain during 27th resulted in a singing Greenish Warbier being located at Landguard, and a first-summer male Common Rosefinch was also present on site. A male Golden Oriole was singing f r o m t h e canopy in t h e South Belt at Minsmere on 27th. A female Red-backed Shrike spent t w o days in bushes south of Minsmere Sluice, 28th t o 30th. A Marsh Warbier was at Minsmere Sluice on 30th. A first-summer male Montagu's Harrier t o o k up t e m p o r a r y residence at King's Fleet, Falkenham, Deben Estuary f r o m 28th t o 30th. June 2014 A singing Quail was heard just west of W e s t l e t o n village on I s t o n w h i c h date t w o adult Spoonbills were also present on t h e scrape at Hollesley Marshes. Further Spoonbills w e r e seen on Hollesley Marshes, 7th and south over Walberswick, three in off at Southwold and o n e on t h e Scrape at M i n s m e r e , all 8th. A smart Pectoral Sandpiper was present for four days on t h e w i n t e r f l o o d at Trimley Marshes, 3rd t o 6th. Two Common Cranes were seen f r o m W h i n Hill, Minsmere for several days early in t h e m o n t h w h i c h may have indicated that something was going on!
Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2014 A Black Stork roaming t h e UK finally entered Suffolk airspace on 5th initially being seen south over Lowestoft, t h e n Kessingland and finally Covehithe before d r i f t i n g o f f n o r t h - w e s t and disappearing. A singing Savi's Warbler t o o k up residence at W e s t w o o d Marshes NNR, Walberswick f r o m 8 t h to 15th at least: also noted f r o m this site were Great White Egret over on 9th and Spoonbill, 10th. On 13th a Black Kite was seen in t h e county involving a lingering bird over t h e Bawdsey Alderton area w h i c h t u r n e d out to be an escapee bearing a ring! A smart adult Rose-coloured Starling took up temporary residence along Pinewood Avenue, Lowestoft from 15th to 30th at least and was noted roosting at Lowestoft Harbour with Common Starlings. Bee-eaters w e r e r e p o r t e d on 19th w i t h one south over Dunwich Heath t h e n west over Minsmere and t w o together over t h e reedbed by Island Mere, Minsmere and Eastbridge. A Glossy Ibis was also noted on t h e Scrape. W h a t was presumably the same Glossy Ibis was at Boyton, 21st then Hollesley t h e f o l l o w i n g day before being seen briefly at Trimley Marshes also on 22nd. The escaped Black Kite f r o m Alderton was now being seen widely in t h e county w i t h sightings f r o m Theberton, Dunwich and Reydon f o r t h c o m i n g on 21st before t h e bird settled d o w n in t h e W r e n t h a m area f r o m 22nd until t h e month's end. A second-summer Caspian Gull was reported on and off f r o m Snape Wetland, Walberswick and Minsmere towards t h e end of t h e m o n t h . A Great White Egret spent one day on Orfordness, 27th and finally good numbers of Red Kite were noted t h r o u g h o u t this period. July 2014 The wandering, escaped, Black Kite was noted along t h e A146 Burnt Hill Lane, Lowestoft on 3rd before returning t o W r e n t h a m on 5th. Suffolk's hlghest-ever count of Mediterranean Gulls was recorded on 11th w i t h 310 birds being seen in fields at Walberswick. There were also several sightings of Caspian Gulls f r o m this area t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h , t h e birds being of various ages/moults. A Glossy Ibis wearing a white ring spent an evening on the scrape at Carlton Marshes, 6th. A Great White Egret was at Minsmere, 11th and, what was presumably the same bird, north overSizewell the following day and a colour-ringed Great White Egret spent t w o days, 12th and 13th at Trimley Marshes. Up to five Wood Sandpipers were on the newly-formed scrape at Carlton Marshes SWT on 12th, along w i t h eight Garganey. Twenty-one Little Gulls graced the Scrape at M i n s m e r e on 12th; this number was t o rise by 25th t o 75 birds of w h i c h most were in full s u m m e r plumage. BINS broke big news early m o r n i n g of 14th which concerned a report of an adult Great Knot on Breydon Water! The bird spent t w o days mainly on t h e north side of t h e Breydon channel but on t w o occasions v e n t u r e d t o t h e south shore and, t h e r e f o r e , those f o r t u n a t e enough t o be present added it t o their Suffolk (Watsonian) list! Another t o p - d r a w wader t o grace our county on 15th was an adult Collared Pratincole w h i c h spent t h i r t e e n days o n t h e Scrape at M i n s m e r e finally d e p a r t i n g on 27th only to be seen in Northumberland the following day! This is t h e first sighting of this wader in t h e county since 1997. Quails were heard from Wrentham, 17th and t w o birds at Timworth, also 17th until the month's end. What was probably t h e ornithological highlight of t h e birding calendar was t h e discovery of a family party of Black-winged Stilts ( t w o adults and f o u r juveniles) at Cavenham Pits on 1 9 t h ! Although not confirmed, did breeding of this Mediterranean wader occur s o m e w h e r e nearby? Great W h i t e Egrets w e r e seen n o r t h offshore f r o m Kessingland, 19th and t w o birds at Lakenheath Fen RSPB f r o m 22nd. A colour-ringed Bufflehead discovered on the reservoir at Trimley Marshes on 22nd had previously been seen in both Norfolk and Lothian, and a juvenile Black Tern was also present there on 23rd. A Purple Heron was seen at t h e west end of Oulton Broad on 26th. Throughout t h e m o n t h t h e r e were good numbers of passage waders along t h e coast including Wood Sandpipers, Spotted Redshanks and a few Curlew Sandpipers.
Suffolk Bird Report 2014 August 2014 The escaped Black Kite continued to show very well at W r e n t h a m . A Pied Flycatcher was a notable early migrant at Thorpeness Caravan Site, 2nd. Good numbers of Caspian Gulls were being reported t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h mainly f r o m t h e Blyth Estuary and inland at Great Livermere. Seventy plus Little Gulls w e r e noted at Sizewell feeding off t h e rigs on 2nd along w i t h t w o Arctic Terns. The Scrape at M i n s m e r e was alive w i t h waders w i t h many passage birds coming and going notably Wood, Curlew, Green and Common Sandpipers, Knot, Ruff and a good number of Dunlin. A Great White Egret was seen at Thorpeness late in t h e day, 3rd and again at Lakenheath Fen, 4th. The Black-winged Stilts remained at Cavenham although they became rather mobile w i t h an individual being noted at Livermere Lake on 3rd. A Honey Buzzard was seen over Cavenham Heath on 12th. The year's first report of Sooty Shearwater was f o r t h c o m i n g on 9 t h as it f l e w n o r t h off Ness Point. The f o l l o w i n g day saw a large Shearwater sp off LBO, and six Black Terns along w i t h t h r e e Manx Shearwaters passed Southwold. Spoonbill numbers peaked at 27 on Havergate Island w i t h up t o seven at Minsmere, 14th and 15th and six over Carlton Marshes, 16th. Great White Egrets were noted n o r t h over t h e reserve at M i n s m e r e , 15th t h e n f r o m W h i n Hill, 18th and Carlton Marshes, 19th. Wood Warblers were seen at Landguard, 12th, Falkenham, 14th and Shingle Street, 20th. A Blacknecked Grebe d r i f t e d south offshore at Landguard on 13th. Five Garganey were present on t h e reservoir at Trimley Marshes on 18th and a Short-eared Owl was seen the same day at Shingle Street. Two Whinchats at Shingle Street on 13th were t h e first of several reports for t h e m o n t h . An Osprey spent most of t h e m o n t h on t h e River Aide viewable f r o m Hazlewood Marshes w i t h a f u r t h e r bird south over Falkenham Marshes, 22nd. On 20th a female Ferruginous Duck was f o u n d on Island Mere remaining until 31st at least, t h o u g h it w o u l d disappear for long periods as it spent t i m e in t h e reeds. Long-tailed Skuas w e r e seen off Sizewell w i t h t h r e e juveniles north, 20th and the f o l l o w i n g day t w o passed Kessingland. Things started t o liven up w h e n favourable sea-watching conditions prevailed on 26th resulting in several Long-tailed Skuas being noted along t h e coast; in addition good numbers of both Great and Arctic Skuas were observed along w i t h lower totals of Pomarine Skuas and Sooty Shearwaters and an adult Sabine's Gull o f f Thorpeness. A Wryneck was t r a p p e d along t h e North Wall at Minsmere, 27th. There was a good influx of Pied Flycatchers at coastal locations, w i t h t h e highest count being of five at Thorpeness, 28th, and good numbers of Whinchats t h r o u g h o u t . During 28th t o 30th some notable birds were located n o w that the rain had stopped! The north of t h e county produced a Red-backed Shrike at Corton, and Southwold chipped in w i t h not one but t w o singing Greenish Warblers w i t h t h e bird f r o m 29th being joined by a second t h e next day. M i n s m e r e held up t o t h r e e Wrynecks, whilst Felixstowe produced an Eastern Subalpine Warbler, and a Blyth's Reed warbler was trapped on Orfordness. September 2014 In t h e early part of t h e m o n t h there were good numbers of c o m m o n migrants along t h e coast which included Whinchats, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Common Redstarts and Willow Warblers. The Eastern Subalpine Warbler remained at t h e Customs House along View Point Road, Felixstowe until 2nd, although o f t e n remained very elusive during its stay. Minsmere produced a juvenile White-winged Black Tern which spent an evening on Island Mere, 2nd, t h e female Ferruginous Duck remained and a juvenile Long-tailed Skua was seen offshore. Further Long-tailed Skuas were recorded off Landguard, 3rd and Thorpeness, 7th and 14th. Wrynecks were well represented in the county during September with single birds (unless indicated otherwise) being seen at Aldeburgh, Bawdsey, Dingle Marshes, Minsmere (two), Landguard (three), Benacre (two), Westleton Heath, North Warren (two), Orfordness and, finally, Thorpeness Common.
Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2014 An Ortolan Bunting was f o u n d late in t h e day at Landguard on 5th. A Great White Egret f l e w south over Southwold on t h e same day. A female Lesser Grey Shrike was f o u n d early on 6th along t h e river wall between Shingle Street and Hollesley Marshes remaining until 7th and proving rather popular during its two-day stay. Two Barred Warblers were found at Thorpeness on 7th w i t h one bird remaining until 20th w i t h another bird at Sizewell on t h e morning of 12th. Ospreys were seen over Bawdsey, 6th and t h e Stour Estuary and Kessingland on 7th. Two juvenile Red-backed Shrikes were f o u n d at Gun Hill, Southwold, 8 t h w i t h one bird still present t h e f o l l o w i n g day. A juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was present at Minsmere f r o m 10th to 14th. A dark-morph juvenile Honey Buzzard was seen at Landguard before flying north-west up t h e Orwell on 11th w i t h another at Alderton on 14th and an adult over Minsmere on 19th. A first-winter Red-breasted Flycatcher was t r a p p e d at Landguard on 15th and a n o t h e r was found by t h e allotments at Thorpeness, 17th w i t h a t h i r d bird in Lowestoft, 20th t o 25th. October 2014 Big news broke late in t h e day on 4 t h which concerned a Little Crake w h i c h had initially been located a few days earlier f r o m Bittern Hide, Minsmere. As expected, this bird proved very popular during its ten-day stay. A very impressive count of Great Skuas (Bonxies) was recorded f r o m Ness Point w i t h 1 2 1 birds being seen on 4 t h alone; nearby, also in Lowestoft, a first-winter Red-backed Shrike remained throughout the month. An adult Iceland Gull was a noteworthy find on Orfordness, 11th. Favourable weather conditions f r o m 12th produced up t o f o u r Yellow-browed Warblers. The f o l l o w i n g day all eyes t u r n e d t o t h e sea w i t h the highlights being Leach's Petrels off Pakefield and Slaughden and a dark-rumped Petrel sp off Landguard Bird Observatory. A Black Brant was seen on t h e Minsmere Scrape for seven minutes during late morning o n 12th before flying o f f south and w h a t was presumably t h e same bird was seen past Landguard 45 minutes later. The d a w n of 14th was m u r k y w i t h an easterly breeze w h i c h resulted in g o o d numbers of thrushes and finches coming in off. Up to 102 Ring Ouzels were reported, including 35 at b o t h Minsmere and Landguard, along w i t h 12 Yellow-browed Warblers. The f o l l o w i n g day was n o t so exciting; nonetheless Rough-legged Buzzards were seen at Dunwich and Southwold, t h r e e Jack Snipe at Hollesley Marshes and six Yellow-browed Warblers remained at several locations for a f e w days. A Swift sp was seen over Reydon Smear, 16th; also t h a t day t w o Rough-legged Buzzards w e r e seen over Minsmere and singles again over Dunwich and Reydon. A Great Grey Shrike was present at Landguard, a Hawfinch f l e w south along t h e cliffs at Bawdsey and a pale Common Buzzard which resembled a Rough-leg was seen at Shingle Street and nearby Hollesley, all on 17th. Great White Egrets were seen on Trimley Marshes, 22nd and Benacre, 23rd and t h e M i n s m e r e individual remained o n site t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h . Rough-legged Buzzards w e r e again seen over M i n s m e r e , 19th and Hinton crossroads, Blythburgh, 22nd. A juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was seen on roadside pools in t h e west of t h e county just n o r t h of Great Livermere on 19th. A single Shore Lark was seen at Benacre, 18th and t h e n the t o t a l rose t o t h r e e birds f r o m 21st t o 25th a l t h o u g h t h e y w e r e mobile at times. A Great Northern Diver was seen on t h e Stour Estuary, 24th. Great Grey Shrikes were on Cavenham Heath, 24th t o 27th and at Butley, 26th. A confiding Hoopoe was present at Kessingland Sluice f r o m 25th t o 27th and, w h a t was probably t h e same bird, at Framsden, 29th t o 31st. A Raven was seen over Gedgrave on 26th t h e n t w o birds together at t h e same location f r o m 28th to 31st giving the o p p o r t u n i t y for many to add this species to their county lists!
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 Shore Larks were seen t o fly south along t h e beach at Slaughden ( t w o birds on 28th) w i t h eight birds present on 30th. A Grey Phalarope spent t h e a f t e r n o o n of 28th on Minsmere Scrape. Two Penduline Tits were at Island Mere, Minsmere, on 25th, and a single bird at Snape Wetland, also on 25th. An adult white-winged Gull (probably Iceland) was seen south off Minsmere on 30th. Finally, o n 30th t h e r e was a massive southerly m o v e m e n t of Dark-bellied Brent Geese off our shore w i t h several thousand birds being seen! November 2014 The m o n t h started w i t h both Ravens still present and showing well at Gedgrave Marshes. The f i r s t - w i n t e r Red-backed Shrike w h i c h was first seen at Lowestoft on September 2 7 t h was last reported t h e r e on 9th and t h e Framsden Hoopoe was last seen on 1st. On 2nd an adult Iceland Gull showed briefly on t h e east end of t h e Scrape at M i n s m e r e before flying n o r t h and t h e Great White Egret was on Island M e r e for most of t h e m o n t h . An adult Purple Heron was seen on South Marsh, North Warren during the afternoon of 4th only; confusion followed this w i t h a very brown juvenile Grey Heron on several dates afterwards. An adult Black Brant was present amongst Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Levington Creek, Orwell Estuary on 4th. Favourable conditions saw several Little Auks off our coast on 4th and 5th. A first-winter Grey Phalarope was seen on t h e Stour Estuary f r o m 6th to 9th. A distant Scoter sp t h o u g h t t o be Common was present on t h e Stour Estuary off Stutton Ness, 3rd, however closer views of t h e bird on 5th resulted in it being confirmed as Suffolk's first-ever Surf Scoter. Thankfully t h e bird remained into 2015 allowing county listers t o add this species t o their ever-growing tallies. O t h e r birds of note o n t h e Stour Estuary included Great Northern Diver, Velvet Scoter and singles of b o t h Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes. On 5 t h t w o Desert Wheatears w e r e f o u n d . The first, a rather smart f i r s t - w i n t e r male, was discovered along t h e sea wall at Links Road, Lowestoft; the bird performing impeccably t h r o u g h o u t and stayed until 9th. The second, a female, also p e r f o r m e d well along Gorleston seafront, until 14th; these t w o individuals become t h e f o u r t h and f i f t h county records w i t h previous sightings being at Landguard, 1987 and Easton Bavents, 1990 and 2008. A late Yellow-browed Warbler was present by the sewage works at Southwold, 9th and 10th. Highlights from Minsmere included a Long-eared Owl, and a Shore Lark which graced the Scrape on 12th. An adult Glaucous Gull was seen offshore f r o m Landguard, 12th. A Shore Lark was also seen at Benacre o n 12th and was then j o i n e d by t w o f u r t h e r birds; they remained t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h o f t e n c o m m u t i n g t o nearby Covehithe Broad. A late House Martin was seen over Westleton, 13th and a Swift sp was seen briefly over Butley village o n t h e same day. A juvenile Black Stork was present at Trimley Marshes for a couple of hours on t h e a f t e r n o o n of 15th t h e n again briefly the next morning; this bird was also seen over Hazlewood Marshes, 17th, and w h a t was presumably t h e same individual south-east over Bradwell on 24th. On 15th a Dusky Warbler was found at Hollesley Marshes, staying until 18th. Further Dusky Warblers were f o u n d at Felixstowe (opposite Customs House), 16th t o 20th, and Boyton, 20th. There were several sightings of Short-eared Owls t h r o u g h o u t t h e m o n t h w i t h the highest count being an exceptional ten birds at Gedgrave Marshes on 17th. It was also encouraging to see several Hen Harriers reported in t h e m o n t h . A single Waxwing was seen along Artillery Way, Lowestoft, 19th and was joined by t w o further birds on 20th w i t h the three remaining until 23rd. Five Waxwings were seen at Creeting St. Mary on 24th. There were one or t w o small flocks of Snow Buntings along the coast w i t h 26 at Slaughden being the highest count. Up to four Spoonbills were seen between Gedgrave and Orfordness late in t h e month. A Little Stint t o o k up w i n t e r residence on t h e reserve at Trimley Marshes f r o m 23rd. Two Great White Egrets were seen at Lakenheath towards t h e end of t h e month. Two Common Cranes were seen over Shadingfield t h e n over Island Mere, Minsmere on 27th. A redhead Smew was present
Review of Scarce and Rare Birds in Suffolk in 2014 on Covehithe Broad, 27th t o 30th. The first Tundra Bean Geese of the early winter period arrived on 22nd w i t h t w o birds on North Marsh, North Warren. The 30th saw a Lapland Bunting south of Corton sewage works, a belated Osprey south over Orfordness, a very late Northern Wheatear at East Lane and finally t h e adult Black Brant once again in Thorpe Bay, Orwell Estuary. December 2014. The first-winter drake Surf Scoter remained on the Stour Estuary throughout the month. The three Shore Larks continued t o perform well along the beach between Benacre and Covehithe all month. Nine Tundra Bean Geese were present on t h e Levels at Minsmere on 3rd. The same day also produced a Lesser Whitethroat sp which was heard only in a garden in A l d e r t o n late in t h e day and a Great Grey Shrike on Berner's Heath, Icklingham. A confiding Black-throated Diver was present on small pools east of Little Dingle Hill, Dunwich on 4th only and a Grey Phalarope on t h e East Scrape, Minsmere, 4th. A juvenile Great Northern Diver took up residence on Benacre Broad f r o m 5th t o 18th. Fourteen Tundra Bean Geese were seen over Orfordness on 6th and, w h a t was presumably t h e same flock, w h i c h had now g r o w n t o 16 birds, settled on North Warren f r o m m i d - m o n t h . The lack of any real colder weather meant that diving ducks were distinctly scarce. That said, a redhead Smew spent most of t h e m o n t h on Covehithe Broad and a female Goosander was on Alton Water on 8th. Adult Black Brants were at King's Fleet (Deben Estuary) and Chelmondiston (Orwell Estuary) on 9th, and Levington Creek (Orwell Estuary) on 18th, 21st, 24th and 31st. Six Pink-footed Geese were present in fields at Mickle Mere, Pakenham, f r o m 10th until t h e month's end. The Snow Bunting flock at Slaughden had increased t o at least 55 birds on 13th. Two Trumpeter Swans t h a t were found at Boyton Marshes on 13th caused some debate and were well-twitched by both locals and birders f r o m f u r t h e r afield. These beautiful birds remained into the New Year w h e n it was shown that they originated f r o m Letheringham, near W i c k h a m Market, and not North America!. Good numbers of both Snow Buntings and Twite were present by t h e Dunwich shore pools f r o m m i d - m o n t h w i t h 60 and 50 birds being seen respectively. A Great White Egret remained at Lakenheath Fen f r o m 13th t o 16th. A Great Grey Shrike was present at Santon D o w n h a m favouring t h e area just downriver f r o m t h e Little Ouse bridge f r o m 16th to 31st. Four Jack Snipe were present on t h e saltings at Trimley managed retreat on 16th. A Great White Egret was seen south over Kessingland, 20th, before being seen to ditch by t h e shore pools at Dunwich. Good numbers of Bewick's Swans w e r e seen t o come in o f f w i t h t h e peak count being 100 at Benacre on 29th. An adult Whooper Swan was present at King's Fleet f r o m 19th t o 31st. A drake Green-winged Teal was on Orfordness, 21st. A Lapland Bunting was present on the practice green at Southwold, 26th and 20 Waxwings were noted over Weyland Road, Witnesham on 30th. A Lesser White-fronted Goose which had been f i t t e d w i t h a transmitter in Sweden was present behind Island Mere, M i n s m e r e on t h e New Cut on 30th then roosted on t h e Scrape that same evening. The f o l l o w i n g day, 31st, there were four Lesser White-fronted Geese (all colour-ringed) discovered on North Marsh, North Warren including t h e individual f i t t e d w i t h t h e t r a n s m i t t e r ! Finally, a first-winter Glaucous Gull made a late appearance on Oulton Broad on 31st.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014
Derek Moore OBE Julian Roughton,
John Grant, Gerald Jobson, Philip
We couldn't let Derek go w i t h o u t more than a few words to m o u r n his parting, but rejoice in his life. He was a giant in Suffolk birding and brought about a lot that is good in t h e present. He has even been t h e subject of t h e dissertation for a History degree. If you haven't read his book "Birding - coping w i t h an obsession" then, if you get t h e chance, do so. W h e n e v e r I m e t Derek he was always keen t o talk cricket, tell me a story and a joke but be serious a b o u t conservation. He was utterly c o m m i t t e d t o birds and o t h e r wildlife. One M a r c h Sunday on a Trust w o r k party w e lost t h e bonfire on Hollesley Common and a couple of acres of heathland w e n t up in smoke. As he was t h e boss at SWT I phoned him t o let him know w h a t had happened in case t h e r e was a backlash press-wise. Having t o l d him about t h e fire his only real concern was t o ask w h e t h e r any Woodlarks had been harmed. Consistent. It always interested me as to how he was so well known. We have all seen remembrances w r i t t e n by t h e Chris Packhams and Bill Oddies of t h e birding world, but go abroad and meet foreign birders and regularly t h e r e w o u l d b e a "do you know Derek M o o r e ? " and then some anecdote about h i m ! I will let some others give you a brief flavour of t h e man. Editor In 1985, fresh f r o m university, I v o l u n t e e r e d w i t h t h e Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation (STNC) at t h e same t i m e as Derek secured his 'dream j o b ' as t h e Trust's first director. Derek passionately believed it was vital to engage people w i t h t h e natural w o r l d so his arrival was t h e beginning of t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of t h e Trust. STNC, became t h e Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) and t h e old logo of a stone curlew - likened to a flying c h i c k e n - w a s replaced by t h e simple symbolic logo of reeds and water t h a t we have today. Derek persuaded SWT t o become the first Trust to adopt an 'open reserves' policy t o encourage everyone t o experience nature. This was followed by opening SWT's first environmental education centre at Foxburrow Farm and later Carlton Marshes in Derek's beloved Broads. Derek persuaded, argued and, if necessary, pushed changes t h r o u g h . Many of his stories involved h i m grabbing s o m e o n e by t h e i r lapels but in my experience he verbally, rather t h a n physically, grabbed people. He loved t o engage people in t h e cause of conservation. His passion, personality and knowledge made him a favourite of t h e press. Working together involved a lot of laughter for Derek was not just a brilliant story teller but also a natural mimic and t h e w o n d e r f u l characters he knew provided a rich seam of material. He was p r o u d t o be f r o m Suffolk but was never parochial. He took good ideas wherever he saw t h e m - f r o m t h e USA he loved their direct and fresh approach t o interpretation. The Dutch ambition for large-scale habitat creation m i r r o r e d his ideas about t h e f u t u r e of conservation. And f r o m Poland he brought Koniks, grazing t h e Biezbra Marshes, to Redgrave and Lopham Fen. These hardy ponies n o w graze nature reserves t h e length and breadth of t h e country. Derek's a m b i t i o n o f t e n exceeded t h e funds available. But he was an eternal optimist and w o u l d persuade trustees t h a t additional money was around t h e corner. He was usually right! Although he moved t o Wales he kept in close contact w i t h SWT and was always delighted t o hear w h e n plans were afoot to expand a reserve he had purchased whilst Director. He left many friends t h r o u g h o u t t h e Wildlife Trusts and an extraordinary legacy of achievement. Julian
One t h i n g about my good mate Derek was t h a t he was really touchy-feely! Not so long ago t h e r e were Roseate Terns a t t e m p t i n g to nest at Minsmere. I had been checking t h e m o u t and was o n my way h o m e w h e n I met Derek in t h e car park.
Derek Moore RIP I told him a b o u t t h e Roseates and, w i t h typical enthusiasm, he bellowed: " W h e r e are they, h o w are they doing? You must show me". He was always so keen to keep up w i t h w h a t was going on in Suffolk. So round I t u r n e d and off we w e n t b a c k t o t h e West Hide! Having s h o w n him t h e birds he was quite ecstatic and gave me one of t h e biggest hugs, well it was really a long cuddle, t h a t you could imagine. I also had t h e privilege of i n t r o d u c i n g Derek t o t h e audience at a w o n d e r f u l j o i n t Suffolk Ornithologists' G r o u p / W a v e n e y Bird Club event at The Cut, Halesworth. Of course, he hardly needed any introduction, but it was to be t h e last t i m e I ever saw t h e great man. Once again, as he arrived on stage he gave me one of his p o w e r f u l , yet w o n d e r f u l l y friendly bear hugs, and whispered in my ear: "Thank you, dear boy." He always called me "dear boy"....he was, to me and t o Suffolk, a very "dear boy" himself. John Grant It is very difficult, if not impossible, t o summarise w h a t Derek meant to me in a few words... along w i t h many others, in Suffolk and beyond, I miss his enthusiasm for birds and conservation, big heart and w a r m support. His funeral was unique and extraordinary, as described elsewhere (The Harrier 179, p5-6). W h o eise w o u l d attract eulogies f r o m Chris Packham, Bill Oddie and lolo Williams, as well as senior staff f r o m RSPB and t h e Suffolk Wildlife Trust? To a large extent, I have Derek t o thank for settling me into conservation w o r k in Suffolk 2 1 years ago, t h r o u g h his support for Suffolk FWAG. It was a big change for me f r o m w o r k i n g w i t h BirdLife International, but Derek's enthusiastic involvement helped convince me it was a good move. I well r e m e m b e r Derek phoning t h e evening after my interview, t o tell me 'we should be alright'. Very unprofessional, very much appreciated and very Derek! Two m o n t h s later I was helping at a regional farmland bird conférence (largely planned by Derek), meeting Bill Oddie and hearing M a r k Avery patiently explain to t h e f a r m e r audience t h a t 'Sparrowhawks vegetarían'
but still had a right t o be left in peace.
Some of my fondest memories of Derek are f r o m t h e w o n d e r f u l t r i p to Costa Rica he organised in February 2008 (my first and so far only group bird tour). His highlight was seeing Jabirú at t h e nest, and l'Il long r e m e m b e r his very characteristic reaction, arms aloft as if he'd just scored a winning goal. M y highlight was finding t h e incomparable Snowcap after t w o hours searching. I must correct Derek on one thing: despite describing me in his book as 'being reduced to
l'm sure that I was only slightly d a m p around t h e eyes! This beauty remains t h e only bird t h a t has moved me so much, and it was a rare privilege t o share t h a t m o m e n t w i t h Derek. As many of us know, Derek could be very direct, some (but not me) might even say rude at times. While in Costa Rica, w e discussed t h e Suffolk Bird Report, and Derek asked w h a t was t h e point of t h e Regional Review... as t h e t h e n author of t h e review I t r i e d in vain to explain t h a t very few SBR readers w o u l d buy ali the other regional bird reports. Derek let out an expletive and said 'ifthey're
they'll buy them'. Because he received ail f o u r reports, he f o u n d it
odd that others d i d n ' t do t h e same. On t h e same trip, we discussed music; my love of REM totally mystified h i m ! (Michael Stipe was going through his 'blue face' phase, which may perhaps have put Derek off a bit, as a lifelong Canary). His SOG talks were always a real highlight, and attracted our biggest audiences. In t h e 15 years f r o m 1999 t o 2013 he did six talks for SOG (on t o p of many more in previous years), covering t h e US (Florida and Cape May), Australia, Oman, East Africa and France. Fittingly his last talk t o SOG was in October 2013 in Halesworth, and brought it ali back home, w i t h Derek reviewing t h e great Suffolk ornithological events of the last Century. In 2008 I made t h e mistake of booking t h e smaller room for Derek's talk (as t h e other wasn't available). It was packed, Derek made his views clear (!) and w e haven't used t h a t room again s i n c e - j o b done. Derek and I shared a small but productive local patch in the lower Brett valley, which produced a good range of waders, including a Pectoral Sandpiper (as well as an escaped Blacksmith Piover!). I remember him saying he t h o u g h t it looked perfect for a Terek Sandpiper - 1 live in hope t h a t one
Suffolk Bird Report 2014 will t u r n up t h e r e soon, to prove Derek right. One of his biggest recent disappointments, along w i t h very many others, was t h e failure of efforts t o reintroduce W h i t e - t a i l e d Eagle t o Suffolk. W o u l d n ' t seeing eagles back over Suffolk be a f i t t i n g memorial to Derek's o p t i m i s m and level of a m b i t i o n in conservation? Adam
Derek and I became great friends in t h e late 1970s after he persuaded me to j o i n t h e Suffolk Naturalists' Society (SNS) t o help him rebrand t h e Suffolk Bird Report. Derek was tenacious in his approach and f o u g h t hard for t h e t h e n bird section of t h e SNS Transactions t o be published separately as a standalone r e p o r t . The arrival of Derek's Bird Report on t h e d o o r m a t was u n d o u b t e d l y one of t h e highlights of a Suffolk birder's year and his new-style journal was one of his many achievements of w h i c h we were all so proud. As friends, we attended many twitches together and t h e r e was never a dull m o m e n t in t h e car as Derek kept us amused w i t h some amazing stories. Many of Derek's tales were outrageously exaggerated (a Suffolk t r a i t I'm afraid!), but t h e y were also Immensely f u n n y and he became affectionately k n o w n amongst his birding companions as Hans Christian M o o r e ! In November 1982, Derek and I met with Richard Woolnough, Mick Wright and Bill Last on a very cold evening in an old gun emplacement at Landguard Point, which had recently been converted into a sea-watching hide! It was here that Landguard Bird Observatory was founded with inaugural notes taken under the light of a Tilley lamp. Derek was the Observatory's first Chairman and he, Beryl, Jeremy and Bronwyn worked w i t h t h e team every weekend to develop the site, cutting net lanes, building the Heligoland trap, renovating the buildings and ringing as we went. Those pioneering days were so exciting! It was a great h o n o u r for Derek and me t o be presented t o Princess Anne at t h e grand opening of A l t o n Water Reservoir. It was a memorable experience and our j o b was to show t h e Princess Royal Great Crested Grebes t h r o u g h my telescope. Initially, t h e birds behaved themselves, but It all w e n t horribly w r o n g as her approaching red helicopter scared e v e r y t h i n g off t h e reservoir leaving n o t a bird in sight! We w e r e amongst a line of people w a i t i n g t o be presented t o t h e Princess and a v i e w of a Great Crested Grebe was a must. As t h e Princess approached, together w i t h her Lady-in-Waiting, t o talk about our mission, panic rapidly t u r n e d t o despair and things got worse as Derek's nervousness was getting t h e better of him. It became obvious t h a t Derek was struggling t o hide his embarrassment as his excitement was showing in only a way t h a t a man could! You could say t h a t he was pleased t o see t h e Princess! This m o m e n t o u s Incident (well not that m o m e n t o u s ! ) can clearly be seen on t h e official photograph. After t h e event, a souvenir copy of t h e photograph was handed over w h i c h I passed on to my m u m . It n o w hangs proudly on her lounge wall! Derek recalled details of t h e grand opening during a presentation to Waveney Bird Club t h r e e years ago, but it was noticeable that his Image of Princess Anne, Derek and me had been cropped f r o m our waistlines d o w n w a r d s ! Looking back, Derek and I t o o k on many campaigns and w h e n he became STNC's Director in 1985, he couldn't have been m o r e delighted. He helped transform w h a t was t h e n a small charity into t h e giant organisation t h a t it is today. One of his early projects was perhaps our biggest-ever battle as we both spent 12 days in the House of Lords providing evidence for a Parliamentary Bill t h a t saw t h e expansion of The Port of Felixstowe. Conservationists fought hard and, although t h e Fagbury mudflats were a catastrophic loss t o wildlife, we did gain Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve, one of SWT's premier nature reserves. Eventually, w e lost Derek to Wales, but by t h e n our friendship was f i r m and we kept in touch. Personally, I shall always remember Derek as t h e birder, the storyteller and one of my great friends. Steve
I first m e t Derek on a very cold December day at Benacre just before Christmas. He was smiling and chatty and w e got on well. We watched Smew and Goosander together on t h e broad in w h a t was a run of very cold winters.
Derek Moore RIP A lasting friendship f o l l o w e d while over t h e years he climbed t h e birding ladder and edited t h e Suffolk Bird Report. Here we worked together on t h e records c o m m i t t e e during a difficult period in assessing Suffolk records. Derek then moved on and became Director of w h a t is now t h e Suffolk Wildlife Trust and m e t many famous people, some in high places, which he was always f o n d of telling me about! Contact was maintained as he led a more busy life. He continued t o supply a steady stream to me and others of the w o n d e r f u l series of Croom Helm ÂĄdentification books. We visited him after he moved to Wales where he had immersed himself in birds and the birding w o r l d there. Gerald Jobson Derek will always be r e m e m b e r e d , quite rightly, as a larger-than-life character w h o s e determination and self-motivation w e n t a long way towards reforming nature conservation and ornithology in Suffolk and elsewhere. However, I consider myself t o be privileged t h a t I knew another side of Derek, t h a t of a muchvalued friend in times of t r o u b l e . As my mental health deteriorated rapidly in t h e early 1980s, Derek was always prepared t o offer encouragement and friendly advice. At t h a t t i m e , Derek was both Suffolk Bird Recorder and Suffolk Bird Report Editor; he got me involved w i t h t h e collation of t h e Bird Report and t o o k me on many birding outings in his beloved Stour Valley and to t h e Outer Hebrides w i t h his family on a truly memorable holiday. Long after our paths diverged and he moved t o Wales, he w o u l d still telephone me on a regular basis to chat about " t h e good oĂd days". So many memories of Derek are those of a much-valued friend w h o quietly supported me during very t r o u b l e d times - many thanks Derek, rest in peace. Philip
Suffolk Birci Report 2014
Lesser White-fronted Goose in Suffolk Gi Grieco The arrivai of f o u r Lesser W h i t e - f r o n t e d Geese Anser erythropus
on t h e Suffolk coast caused a
stir at t h e end of 2014, especially as it was d o w n to technology t h a t t h e i r occurrence was discovered. News broke via Twitter on December 30th that a satellite-tagged Lesser White-fronted Goose was present at Minsmere RSPB reserve, initially on t h e cut behind Island Mere t h e n roosting on t h e Scrape. Looking at data for t h e satellite-tagged bird, designation Yellow 122015, its history showed that it had been in company w i t h four other birds in Norway before heading d o w n t h e N o r t h Sea and reaching Suffolk on December 30th. It was predicted t h a t t h e likelihood was t h a t m o r e t h a n one bird was to be f o u n d on t h e coast and this proved t o be t h e case as f o u r birds w e r e subsequently f o u n d at N o r t h Warren grazing marshes on December 31st, w h e r e t h e ' t r a n s m i t t e r individuai' and rings on the o t h e r birds confirmed their identity. After a sojourn of five days, w h e r e satellite-tracking data showed t h a t they also visited nearby Sudbourne Marshes, t h e y left t h e Suffolk coast and headed across t h e North Sea, first t o Belgium and t h e n on t o The Netherlands for t h e winter. Unfortunately t h e transmitter w e n t quiet (probably due t o technical Problems) in n o r t h e r n Poland during spring migration. Conservation Concern Lesser White-fronted Goose is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List Category and ranked by BirdLife International as 'SPEC 1' within Europe, denoting a European species of global conservation concern. The species has suffered a drastic decrease in
WS •U •s 80 -I «M 0 ìm aì • I 60 " E 3 c 1© 40 -
0 — Ì N r ^ T f i y - t v C t ^ O O a ^ O — C N r * 1 T r i / - ) v C t - ~ O O O v © — <N f i ^ O l ^ C ^ O v ^ w ^ O O O O O O O O O O O O O O - - - - - - - - - M N N I N N N N M M N M N N N Year
Fig.1: Estimateci number of Lesser White-fronted Geese in Fennoscandia 1991-2013 (Source: Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose Project - http://piskulka.net/fenno.php)
Lesser White-fronted Goose in Suffolk population over the last half a Century making it the most threatened goose species in the Western Palearctic. An International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose (Western Palearctic) was adopted by the AEWA (Agreement on the Conservation of AfricanEurasian Waterbirds) Parties in 2008 and, covering 22 states in its range, provides the international framework for the conservation of the species. The Fennoscandian population dropped to approximately 20 pairs in 2009 but has lately shown indications of a recovery. There is currently an EU LIFE+ Project - 'Safeguarding The Lesser White-fronted Goose along its European Flyway' - focusing on the migration routes o f t h e Fennoscandian p o p u l a t i o n - a n d in particularon its Staging and wintering grounds in south-eastern Europe, where habitat loss and illegal killing constitute the main threats. Reinforcement Programme The birds which occurred in Suffolk are part o f t h e Swedish Lesser White-fronted Project (Projekt Fjâllgâs) and t h e w o r k w i t h i n t h e Swedish National Action Plan. One aim of t h e project is t o increase t h e w i l d population by breeding birds in captivity and releasing t h e m t o enhance t h e Swedish population. The project is also involved in improving habitat for t h e geese and reducing disturbance at breeding sites. A release programme initially ran f r o m 1981 to 1999, t h e idea being to increase t h e numbers and to change the migratory route using western Europe as a w i n t e r i n g ground, particularly The Netherlands. This was carried out using Barnacle Geese Branta
as foster parents and, as such, a carrier species. The initial project was stopped due t o concerns w i t h genetic introgression f r o m Greater W h i t e - f r o n t e d Goose A. albifrons
in t h e captive breeding
stock leading t o an instant and long-lived m o r a t o r i u m for releases in Sweden. The project was reinstated in 2010 w i t h new methods, using a captive breeding population of young birds caught in Russia, north of the Ural Mountains. The offspring are t h e n released into an area o f t h e w i l d breeding population to learn, and be acquainted and habituated with, t h e new habitat so that on return migration they come back t o breed in t h e same area. Young birds w i t h i n the Swedish population w o u l d then use the west European flyway migration route, as opposed t o t h e Fennoscandian population which still uses t h e traditional eastern route. Using captive birds also reduces any issues w i t h hybridization and increases t h e genetic pool w i t h i n t h e population. Yellow 122015 In 2014, 55 birds aged b e t w e e n one and a half and t w o months were released in early August; all were colour-ringed w i t h five o f t h e birds f i t t e d w i t h satellite transmitters. The movements of t h e satellite-tagged birds could then be m o n i t o r e d online, each w i t h a différent colour and code. The individuai w h i c h arrived in Suffolk, Yellow 122015, was part of this release but t h e y lost contact w i t h their w i l d conspecifics and arrived on t h e Norwegian coast. Observations at t h e site confirmed t h a t Yellow 122015 was in company w i t h o t h e r ringed birds, f r o m différent broods and a mix of sexes. They were also seen close together w i t h Pink-footed Geese Anser
but arrived on t h e Suffolk coast w i t h o u t t h e m , having split o n t h e i r journey. The tracking of transmitters was made possible by co-operation b e t w e e n t h e Swedish Project and a German research project supported by BirdLife Germany (NABU) which aims t o map t h e m o v e m e n t s of wild and released birds. In 2015 t w o f u r t h e r young birds were f i t t e d w i t h satellite transmitters. Historical occurrence in south Norfolk The species has been recorded in south Norfolk (but not in Suffolk) on three occasions, t h e first on January 24th 1949 w h e n an adult male was shot at Breydon Water. The next t w o records were also at Breydon Water, in 1964, an i m m a t u r e on January 5th and an adult accompanying Greater White-fronted Geese Anser albifrons
on January 15th.
The future The Fennoscandian breeding population has s h o w n indications of a recovery in t h e last t w o years in Norway, although in Sweden numbers dropped in 2012 and 2013. Numbers are still low
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 and susceptible t o habitat loss and disturbance, while breeding success can vary f r o m year t o year. Projekt FjĂ¤llgas will continue t o Supplement the Swedish population w i t h captive released birds. The occurrence of t h e four Lesser White-fronted Geese in Suffolk shows that t h e birds using western Europe can t u r n up across the North Sea, particularly at a site like North Warren, w h i c h has always been a magnet for migratory grey geese species. If t h e Swedish project population continues t o g r o w t h e n they may be seen on t h e Suffolk coast more often.
Acknowledgement M y thanks t o Dr. Niklas LiljebĂ ck, project c o o r d i n a t o r o f t h e Swedish Lesser White-fronted Goose Project for help and sources of information w i t h i n this article. References Piotrowski, S. 2003. The Birds of Suffolk. Helm, London http://projektfjallgas.se, h t t p : / / w w w . b l e s s g a n s . d e / i n d e x . p h p ? i d = 4 5 & L = l , http://lesserwhitefrontedgoose.aewa.info/, http://piskulka.net/, http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=377, http://www.iucnredlist.Org/details/22679886/0
Surf Scoter, Stutton Ness
Surf Scoter, Stutton Ness, November 3rd 2014 (until April 2nd 2015) - first Suffolk record Ed Keeble November 3rd, 2014 was forecast t o be w e t , but t h e rain radar promised a couple of hours' break in the rain late morning. So I headed off on my regular walk f r o m Stutton Mill to Stutton Ness to see if I could find any incoming divers or sea-duck on t h e rising tide. There had already been a smart drake C o m m o n Scoter Melanitta
nigra after westerlies in mid-October and a fresh-
in juvenile Great Northern Diver Gavia immer, so I was really hoping to add Velvet Scoter
this t i m e around. On my first scan w i t h bins, I was very heartened to see a large-looking scoter flying distantly along t h e main channel and landing w i t h a splash. I only saw it in flight for f e w seconds, but as it pitched in I realised that I had seen rather pale b r o w n wings against a pale belly, and no w h i t e in t h e secondaries. Through t h e scope, my initial impression of a large, d u m p y bird was confirmed and I could just about see t h a t it had a big head and bill, w i t h a sloping profile and a pale flash behind t h e eye. Most intriguingly, it dived w i t h a f o r w a r d j u m p and a flick of t h e wings and tail. This was not right for C o m m o n , not quite right for Velvet (too much of a j u m p ) and right for Surf Scoter M.
So by now I realised that I might well be looking at a Surf Scoter, but it was still more t h a n a mile away and so t h e challenge was t o get better views t o confirm w h a t I t h o u g h t I had seen. The bird was drifting f u r t h e r away towards Essex and into t h e late m o r n i n g sun, so I decided t h e only way t o make progress w i t h it was to try and relocate it f r o m t h e south shore, hopefully closer and w i t h t h e light behind me. Unfortunately, t h e bird did not play ball and by t h e t i m e I had made it all the way r o u n d to Bradfield it was even f u r t h e r away, very distantly visible down-river beyond Stutton Ness on t h e n o r t h shore. Since t h e w i n d was getting up and heavy rain was i m m i n e n t , I decided against flogging back round t o Stutton and instead shot some super-zoomed video through t h e 'scope and returned home. These events left me w i t h a dilemma. I knew w h a t I t h o u g h t t h e bird was, but it had been so distant that I couldn't be sure of w h a t I had seen. In particular, I had only that first brief flight view through bins t o confirm the absence of w h i t e in t h e wing. Having run t h e video several times and being none-the-wiser as a result, I t o o k t h e coward's route and posted some videograbs t h a t evening w i t h some rather d i f f i d e n t c o m m e n t s w h i c h o m i t t e d t h e magic w o r d " S u r f " and, understandably, did not get much attention. November 4 t h , 2014 was a beautiful day, but I was c o m m i t t e d elsewhere and couldn't re-find the bird in a quick scan at first light. But it nagged away at me and so that evening I re-ran t h e video through an editing programme that allowed frame-by-frame review. Lo and behold, amongst the junk footage shot as my t r u c k / m o b i l e hide bounced around in t h e w i n d was a highly-pixellated w i n g flap t h a t really did look all dark. So t h e bird was either a very odd and poorly-seen C o m m o n Scoter or a Surf Scoter. I resolved to put t h e matter to rest in t h e morning. November 5th, 2014 was w e t , but I trudged out t o Stutton Ness again w i t h optics in a plastic bag. Happily, t h e bird was close inshore this t i m e , at times alongside a Velvet, and it was obviously a Surf Scoter. I waited for long enough t o get some conclusive record shots and t h e n headed home to dry my gear and put out t h e news. County-listers w e r e soon scampering along t h e Suffolk and Essex shores of t h e river and debating t h e exact location of t h e county boundary. To my surprise, t h e bird attracted quite a f e w visitors f r o m f u r t h e r afield. It settled into s o m e t h i n g of a routine, spending low tide b e t w e e n Stutton Ness and Wrabness (Essex), coming up as far as Bradfield (Essex) on t h e rising tide and t h e n loafing close-in off Stutton Ness on its return d o w n r i v e r after high tide. It provided great e n t e r t a i n m e n t for RSPB birds-by-barge trips on t h e Stour and on one brief, but m e m o r a b l e ,
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 occasion ¡t v e n t u r e d upriver and d r o p p e d ¡nto t h e n a r r o w channel b e t w e e n B r a n t h a m and M a n n i n g t r e e Co-op (Essex). It stayed for almost exactly five months, being last reported, t o my knowledge, on April 2nd, 2015 in Holbrook Bay. Description: The bird's long stay provided an o p p o r t u n i t y t o follow its moult ¡nto first-summer plumage. Bill: Large w i t h a sloplng profile, not as bulbous as t h a t of an adult male. Inltially seemed alldark at distance w i t h a trace of paler colouration in f r o n t of the nostril. Gradually developed an overall orange colour, w i t h t h e characteristic dark spot at t h e base of t h e bilí. Retained a dark nail t o t h e bilí and dark on t h e cutting edge. Head and eye: Large and lumpy, but w i t h o u t t h e extreme contours of an adult male. It initially s h o w e d a distinctive palé patch on t h e cheek w h i c h contrasted w i t h t h e hind c r o w n , but this disappeared as t h e bird m o u l t e d . A rectangular w h i t e nape patch appeared gradually and was complete by March. There was never any sign of a w h i t e patch on t h e forehead (and this seems t o be normal for first-summer birds). Eye palé. Body: Palé belly contrasting w i t h darker chest and upperparts. This basic pattern was retained over the winter, but on cióse views it could be seen that some of the b r o w n feathers on the mantle had been replaced by new darker feathers. Wings and tail: All dark, but primaries slightly paler and wings looked short and rounded. The tail feathers w e r e completely m o u l t e d and replaced over t h e winter. Legs: Orangey-brown. Discussion: Surf Scoter is a long-awaited first for Suffolk and there is only one accepted record f r o m Essex (also a first-winter, seen f r o m Bradwell-on-Sea flying into t h e Blackwater Estuary on September 21st, 1997). In t h e national context, Surf Scoter is no longer regarded as a t r u e rarity, but it features on t h e list of species covered by the periodic Report on scarce migrant
birds in Britain published in British
Birds. The last such report covered t h e period 2011-2012 and over those t w o years t h e r e were 65 records, of w h i c h up t o 3 1 w e r e t h o u g h t t o have been new rather t h a n r e t u r n i n g birds. Of these, only seven were juveniles or first-winters and t h e overall t r e n d for t h e species in Britain over t h e period 1990-2012 is regarded as stable rather t h a n increasing. The species is, of course, much rarer off t h e east coast of England, w i t h only a few records per year, but over t h e w i n t e r 2014/15 there was at least one magnificent drake Surf Scoter accounting for records f r o m Holkham (Norfolk) and Filey (Yorkshire). So t h e r e may be an even m o r e m e m o r a b l e "Surf's u p " m o m e n t t o come in Suffolk before t o o long.
Great Knot at Breydon Water
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris at Breydon Water, the first record for Suffolk Craig Fulcher Background to this sighting If you had speculated that a Great Knot w o u l d ever grace (Watsonian) Suffolk t h e n t h e smart money w o u l d always have been on it t u r n i n g up at Breydon Water. This large tidal expanse of mudflats attracts many waders and f r o m t h e air it must look like a great silvery feast for a migrant knot. And so it was t h e case t h a t on t h e evening of t h e World Cup final, July 13th 2014, Peter Allard found a breeding-plumaged adult on t h e north shore. On t h e first evening, though, t h e bird was distant and news wasn't released until late; this caution was understandable given t h e views obtained and previous incidents w i t h this species at Breydon. So the next day, MondayJuly 14th, found me Walking down the riverbanktowardsTinker's Marshes, Walberswick, t o check the waders, when I received news of the Great Knot. Initially my scepticism (surely not!) got the better of me, having been caught out by a similar Situation a few years ago, and I ignored the messages and walked on. However, further reports confirming the Great Knot's identity made me realise this was indeed the real thing and I hurriedly made my way to Breydon. On arrivai t h e bird was reported as showing in t h e bay west of t h e hide on t h e north-east shore. As I approached t h e crowd - I was no more than ten metres away - they suddenly all stopped looking t h r o u g h their 'scopes' and cries of "it's flying!" filled t h e air! I desperately scanned t h e moving flock but was unable t o get on t h e bird before they all d r o p p e d into t h e high-tide roost
Great Knot Brian Small 27
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 and t h e bird was hidden f r o m view. Oh how I was regretting not going on t h e first news! Anyway, t o cut a long story short, a bit of a waiting game ensued and t h e next five or six hours w e r e spent scanning t h e roost, chatting, drinking coffee, more scanning, and generally waiting for t h e tide t o d r o p s u f f i c i e n t i for the birds to start leaving t h e roost and start feeding on t h e mudflats. Eventually, in t h e early a f t e r n o o n it was relocated feeding on t h e flats o n t h e n o r t h shore opposite t h e Rugby Club and visible f r o m t h e south side of t h e water. So now, although I was standing in Suffolk, the bird was, crucially, stili in Norfolk. After watching the bird for around an h o u r it f l e w w i t h a n o t h e r g r o u p of waders upriver and appeared t o go d o w n o n t h e south shore a b o u t a kilometre to t h e west: if it had it was now in (Watsonian) Suffolk! I d o n ' t d o r u n n i n g , but I did walk very quickly until I reached a g r o u p of birders w h o had relocated t h e bird. Indeed, t h e r e it was in ali its glory, a superb Great Knot probing away on t h e m u d of t h e south shore and most i m p o r t a n t l y of ali (perhaps) it was in Suffolk! A fine addition to t h e county avifauna, l'm sure you will ali agreel The bird stayed t h e r e constantly feeding for an hour or so until it moved back t o t h e north shore. It was present for t h e rest of t h e day and t h e w h o l e of t h e f o l l o w i n g day, w h e n it repeated its actions and fed on t h e south shore late in t h e a f t e r n o o n for a w h i l e - w i t h others seeing it in flight over mid-channel and therefore crucially (for t h e m ) in Suffolk airspace. Description The bird was b e t w e e n Red Knot Calidris canutus and Redshank Tringa totanus in size, although appearing only slightly bigger than Red Knot at times; its relatively long wings gave it an attenuated appearance. The bill was stronger and longer t h a n Red Knot and slightly d o w n c u r v e d and it was also slightly longer-legged. Plumage-wise, it appeared t o be virtually in full breeding plumage, although t h e chestnut markings on t h e mantle and scapulars were a little faded and appeared m o r e buff in colouration. The head and neck were a m o t t l e d black and w h i t e and t h e black breast markings merged t o f o r m a neat pectoral band, which contrasted strongly w i t h t h e b r i g h i w h i t e belly; t h e r e were many distinctive black spots d o w n its flanks. In flight t h e w h i t e underwings and r u m p w e r e very striking - t h e r u m p contrasting against t h e dark grey tali. Range and previous records Great Knot is a strongly migratory species, w h i c h breeds on the tundra in north-eastern Siberia and winters on t h e coasts of south-eastern Asia and Australia. Like many species in that part of t h e world it is facing an uncertain future as its numbers fall mainly due to loss of habitat on its migration route, especially in China and Korea. Indeed, it is listed as Vulnerable by Birdlife International, w i t h population declines in t h e past ten years noted as being in t h e region of 20-30%! This bird is t h e f o u r t h record for t h e UK f o l l o w i n g i n d i v i d u a i in Shetland in 1989, Cleveland in 1996 and most recently in Lancashire in 2 0 0 4 - w i t h one record in Ireland in County Dublin, 2004. I should like to t h a n k Brian Small for his input on this piece and for t h e use of his field sketches.
Little Crake at Minsmere
Little Crake Porzana parva at Minsmere September 30th - October 13th 2014 Richard
General introduction Little Crake is a slender bird, more similar in shape to Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Crake P. porzana or Baillon's Crake P. pusilla. The complete extent of its range is not entirely known. It is found mainly in eastern Europe f r o m Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia eastwards t o Kazakhstan. Over t h e last Century it was k n o w n t o have bred nearer to Britain in France, The Netherlands and Belgium. Relatlvely little is known, however, because of its skulking nature. It is possible that t h e r e have been losses due to drainage and 'rĂŠclamation' of wetlands. It is migratory but, again, not much is k n o w n of its routes because of its secretive behaviour. In Britain, up t o t h e end of 2013, there had been 108 records accepted by BBRC of which only 38 are since 1950. It is described as an "unpredictable accidentai". There have been t w o previous Suffolk records - t h e first, at Oulton Broad was 'obtained' in 1830. The second was a singleobserver record of a male at Minsmere on September 27th 1973. For everyone w h o saw this 2014 bird at Minsmere it is a first for the county, and most welcome. The bird remained f r o m September 30th until October 13th more or less in the same spot. How many others have t h e r e been o u t there out of binocular view? Nick Mason / Philip
Description of bird and how found Date: Tuesday 30th September 2014. Time: 17:00 hrs. Location: Minsmere RSPB Reserve, Suffolk. Site: Seen from t h e B i t t e m Hide. Species: Little Crake Porzana
Sex/age: female/immature. Observers: Richard Charles Knight and Pam Knight The bird: W i t h binoculars, I first spotted t h e bird at a range of about 100 metres in f r o n t of the B i t t e m Hide. It was in t h r e e - q u a r t e r s rear v i e w and its dark back-markings, suggestive of Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes
m a d e me t u r n i m m e d i a t e l y t o my telescope. I f o u n d it straight away
through t h e 'scope; t h e bird had now t u r n e d into profile and was pottering along t h e reed edge. A Water Rail passed by t h e bird to its rear and a direct comparison could be made w h i l e b o t h were in t h e telescope field of view at t h e same t i m e . It was watched through t h e telescope as it walked stealthily along t h e reed edge in very shallow water t h a t barely covered its feet. The duration of t h e sighting was about a minute, before it was lost f r o m view. Notes taken f r o m my field notebook: I spotted, Snipe. Hurrying
what I thought
may be a Jack
to my telescope to great surprise it turned out to be a crake. Close by was a Water
Rail for comparison.
The striped back (three distinct black stripes, one centrai and the others 29
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 side as brasses on an otherwise
face were pale buff (creamy-buff),
small, its general shape more stender and élégant and Baillon's barring flanks.
I caught sight of a suggestion
but not fully certain of its extent; it appeared
It had no pale under-tail
(for w a n t of a better word) than the
Crakes I h ad seen in the past. I thought
on the rearflank
back) was clear to see. Belly, breast
the bill much shorter than that ofa Water Rail. Its head of
seemed Spotted vertical
not to extend onto the side
coverts and while its leg colour could not be determined
The bird's pale-buff foreparts and underparts and fineness of structure (daintiness) set it apart f r o m t h e o t h e r crakes. Once back at t h e car I was able to confirm my suspicions by consulting t h e Collins Bird Guide w h i c h shows a fair représentation. However, l'm sure that the legs were nothing like t h e pale day-glow colour s h o w n in t h a t book. On consulting other books once h o m e in Wales t h e illustrations in Lars Jonsson's Birds of Europe and Hayman's and Hume's The Complete to the Birdlife ofBritain
and Europe are better représentations.
Black-winged Stilts breeding in West Suffolk
Black-winged Stilts breeding in West Suffolk Colin Jakes and Malcolm
On July 19th 2014 Ernie Lucking and David Langlois visited Cavenham Heath NNR. They walked along the River Lark f o o t p a t h t o view t h e flooded gravel pit visible f r o m the riverbank and at about 13.45 hours f o u n d an adult Black-winged Stilt Himantopus
on t h e pit. Ernie put t h e
news out and o t h e r birders soon arrived to see the bird. Within a f e w hours t h e astonishing news was circulating t h a t there were in fact six stilts on t h e pit, a pair and four juveniles! July 19th was a Saturday and over that weekend many birders carne t o Cavenham Heath t o see t h e stilts. It was widely agreed t h a t t h e juveniles had only just fledged. They were stili a little smaller t h a n t h e adults, t h e legs were a duller pink, t h e u p p e r p a r t s and wings w e r e dark g r e y / b r o w n rather t h a n black and they were stili not fully c o m p e t e n t w h e n flying and rather clumsy w h e n landing. The birds were feeding along t h e west side of the pit about 500 metres f r o m the riverbank, but t h e juveniles could easily be picked out w i t h a telescope at this distance. From time t o t i m e they w o u l d fly over t h e bank and disappear f u r t h e r into t h e pit complex, w h e r e there is no public access. Part of this area is stili a w o r k i n g gravel pit but t h e birds remained w h e n work began again on Monday, July 21st. They were observed daily t h r o u g h o u t the following week. Eventually t h e birds began t o wander around t h e area. Pete Wilson was birding t h e pig fields north of Great Livermere (11 km east of Cavenham) on t h e evening of July 29th, w h e n he had ali six birds fly over his head! The next morning the birds were back at t h e Cavenham pit. On August l s t one adult accompanied by t h e four juveniles was seen t o fly off north-west f r o m t h e pits over Icklingham Plains, perhaps t o visit f a r m reservoirs on Elveden Estate. The male was alone at Livermere Lake on August 3rd. On August 6th ali six birds were seen on t h e f l o o d e d corner of a pig field beside t h e Cavenham t o Tuddenham road, giving dose views to some observers, and variable numbers of t h e family party continued t o c o m m u t e b e t w e e n there and t h e pits until t h e final confirmed sighting in West Suffolk on August 12th. Spring and s u m m e r 2014 were exceptional for t h e number of Black-winged Stilts in England. During the spring a flock of t e n birds was seen in Kent and on t h e Isle of Wight. One pair nested at the new RSPB reserve at M e d m e r r y in West Sussex and fledged three young in July. A n o t h e r pair nested at Cliffe Marshes on t h e n o r t h Kent coast, but t h e i r y o u n g were u n f o r t u n a t e l y predated. During May a n u m b e r of adults were recorded in Cambridgeshire, peaking at six o n 18th. One pair laid an egg at a fenland site in mid-Cambridgeshire on May 19th, but this egg appears to have been predated overnight and t h e pair left the next day. It is quite feasible t h a t this pair may have t h e n settled in West Suffolk and if they laid eggs in t h e next few days w i t h an incubation period of 22-25 days, and a fledging period of 28-32 days (BWP), t h e n this w o u l d t i m e well w i t h t h e appearance of t h e juveniles at Cavenham on July 19th. There was considerable debate as t o just where these birds had nested, but it was evident to the majority of birders t h a t this family party could not have come any significant distance and were closely attached to t h e Cavenham pits complex. The complex is quite large w i t h several lakes and smaller water bodies and about 90% of t h e area is inaccessible t o t h e public. Although part of t h e complex is stili being w o r k e d for sand and gravel, other areas have long been w o r k e d out and are now left quiet, so t h e r e is plenty of space w h e r e this pair could have nested w i t h o u t being discovered until t h e young fledged. Although no nest was observed it seems virtually certain t h a t these birds had nested w i t h i n t h e pits complex, although there is an outside possibility t h a t they nested on a nearby farm reservoir. A locai farm worker, w h o has an interest in birds, and works on land adjacent to t h e pits, later reported that he had seen t h e adults w i t h partly-grown young in late June. An interesting comparison can be made w i t h t h e stilts that nested at M e d m e r r y . These birds were followed right t h r o u g h t h e nesting cycle f r o m w h e n t h e first egg was laid. Their fledging was observed and t h e f a m i l y party stayed on t h e i r natal site for a similar length of t i m e t o t h e
Suffolk Bird Report 2014 Cavenham stilts. They then made exploratory flights to other wetland sites in West Sussex, before returning to Medmerry, displaying exactly t h e same behaviour that t h e Cavenham birds exhibited. Black-winged Stilts have nested in t h e UK o n only a handful of occasions. The first record of breeding was of t w o pairs w h i c h nested at Nottingham sewage f a r m in 1945 and fledged t h r e e young. The only o t h e r successful nesting was by a pair at Holme in north Norfolk in 1987 and they fledged t w o young. Unsuccessful a t t e m p t s were made in Cambridgeshire in 1983, Cheshire in 1993 and 2008 and Lancashire in 2006. In Suffolk a pair of Black-winged Stilts was present on Orfordness f r o m May 16th t o 30th, 2005. They were observed in courtship display, copulation and carrying nesting material. A f t e r this pair had left, t h e area they had f r e q u e n t e d was investigated and an e m p t y nest was found, but it is not k n o w n w h e t h e r or not eggs had been laid. Thus t h e events at Cavenham in 2014 constitute t h e first successful breeding record for Suffolk and this is t h e first t i m e that a pair has fledged four young anywhere in Britain. Three pairs nesting in the same year in England is unprecedented. It is thought probable that a drought in southern Spain had displaced these birds north to southern Britain and it may well be that, as a conséquence of climate change, such occurrences will become more frequent in the future. Photos of these birds can be seen on t h e SOG website. Référencés Cramp, S and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds.) (1983). The Birds ofthe
Western Palearctic. Vol 3. p45. Oxford
University Press. Staton, J. (1945). The Breeding of Black-winged Stilts in Nottinghamshire in 1945. British Vol 38. p322-328. Wright, M . (ed) (2007) Suffolk Birds 2006. Vol 56. p80. Suffolk Naturalists' Society, Ipswich.
Common Swift roosting amongst foliage
Common Swift roosting amongst foliage Steve
Radar and radio tracking show that Common Swifts Apus apus feed on t h e wing, mate on t h e wing and sleep on t h e wing and rarely make landfall outside of t h e nesting season. This means that they spend nine m o n t h s of their year flying continuously. David Hermon photographed a Common Swift roosting amongst foliage in a Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus
in his garden at
Bawdsey Hall on July 31st 2012, so a search through t h e literature was carried out to determine whether or not this was a c o m m o n occurrence. It was a fine clear night and he photographed t h e bird at 2.00 a.m. No reports were f o u n d for Suffolk (Piotrowski 2003), but Holgrem's (2004) study revealed t h a t there had been three instances of this behaviour in Norfolk. One roosted in a WiIlow Salix spp. at Hickling on September 12th 1930; t h e bird was also present t h e next morning and another was seen roosting in a Sycamore at Cromer on July 26th 1953. Norfolk's last record occurred on May 21st 1984 and involved a bird that was presumably roosting in a Willow. W h e n t h e branch was knocked, t h e C o m m o n Swift feil to the ground, but after some minutes, it could fly normally. In ali, Holgrem listed 39 observations of t h e behaviour in Europe (nine in UK), some of t h e m concerning t w o or more birds. Advances in technology, particular w i t h satellite tracking, are likely t o give us a b e t t e r understanding of Common Swifts' behaviour on migration and in their w i n t e r i n g quarters. There is a photograph of this event on t h e SOG website. References: Holgrem, J. 2004. Roosting in tree foliage by Common Swifts Apus apus. Ibis (2004), 146, 4 0 4 - 4 1 6 Piotrowski, S.H. 2003. The Birds of Suffolk. Helm. London
Suffolk Birci Report 2014
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus, RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk, September 21st, 2014 John H Grant and Richard "Dick"
This article is based on t h e j o i n t Submission by John and Dick t o t h e British Bird Rarities C o m m i t t e e of a harrier seen at Minsmere. Weather conditions were clear and sunny w i t h a light northerly breeze giving excellent visibility on Sunday September 2 I s t 2014. On t h a t m o r n i n g Richard "Dick" Waiden and John Grant were birdwatching independently at RSPB Minsmere, Richard in t h e dunes overlooking t h e Scrape and John about 100 metres south of Minsmere Sluice. At about 08:35hr Richard noticed a "ringtail" harrier species flying low across the western edge of the Scrape and was immediately struck by its rieh colours, its vivid face pattern and a clearly defined "collar and boa". Local photographer lan "Sparky" Clarke, w h o was nearby, took some photographs of the bird and four of his pictures have subsequently been used to confirm the identification. Immediately after Richard had seen t h e bird John noticed w h a t was clearly t h e same individuai flying low over Minsmere's South Levels, at a distance f r o m him of about 100 metres. He managed t o track t h e bird in his t r i p o d - m o u n t e d Leica Apo Televid telescope, f i t t e d w i t h a 32x wide-angle eyepiece, but t h e bird was flying away f r o m him. He could see t h a t it was a very strikingly marked " r i n g t a i l " harrier w i t h rieh b r o w n s and pale ochres in its plumage and realised t h a t it was an " e i t h e r - o r " bird - Montagu's C. pygargus
or Pallid. It "jinked" back as it reached t h e coastal dunes
about half way t o Sizewell. At this point, although distant, t h e bird showed a striking face pattern and a clear-cut "collar and boa". The bird spiralled up so t h a t it was visible against t h e w h i t e d o m e of Sizewell B nuclear power station before pirouetting and heading off south. John last saw t h e bird as a distant speck b e t w e e n t h e eastern end of Kenton Hills and t h e power stations complex. John was aware that a juvenile Pallid Harrier had been seen in north Norfolk recently, and texted t h e news of a "juvenile M o n t y ' s or Pallid" t o t h e local birders' i n f o r m a t i o n service, shrugged his Shoulders and was resigned t o hoping that someone eise w o u l d confirm t h e bird's identity f u r t h e r d o w n t h e coast. He t h e n f o u n d a Wryneck Jynxtorquilla
nearby and also texted that o u t . He t h e n
reeeived a text f r o m David Fairhurst t o t h e effect t h a t a m u t u a i friend had seen a " M o n t y ' s " flying south over Thorpeness - it was clearly t h e same bird as t h a t which John and Richard had seen. Richard then walked south t o see the Wryneck and met up w i t h John. They discussed t h e harrier they had seen independently and, when told about the " M o n t y ' s " sighting, Richard was insistent that it showed a "very strongly marked collar and boa" and was clearly not convinced that it was a Monty's. He told John that photographs had been taken but the photographer had wandered off! lan was " r o u n d e d u p " and Richard and John saw his images but it was difficult t o ascertain detail on t h e camera. John asked lan to email t h e photos, which he did, and they w e r e quickly circulated on to Richard. Adam Rowlands, David Fairhurst, Brian Small, Scott Mayson, Craig Fulcher and Hugh Harrop subsequently were s h o w n t h e pictures and ali w e r e of t h e o p i n i o n t h a t t h e images showed a juvenile Pallid Harrier. For additional comment, Adam and Brian kindly contacted t h e widely-acknowledged raptor "guru" Dick Forsman for his opinion. His reply to A d a m was as follows: "As for the Suffolk bird I would say that I cannot see anything
but based on these images it is not possible to exclude a possible hybrid, Monty
x Pallid. Although
stili rare, hybrids
do occur, and in my opinion
they are a
that should be taken into account. But this, of course, is up to each and every rare how they deal with this
His reply t o Brian was as follows: "Looks good for a juv Pallid, including pattern
either Hen x Pallid, or
The only problem
is really a hybrid/intergrade
look very similar, but this bird appears to have a genuine Pallid
David Fairhurst kindly sent John a paper by Dick Forsman, "Field identification
Pallid x Hen, which can offemale
Pallid Harrier at RSPB Minsmere juvenile
and Pallid Harriers"
(Dutch Birding 17:41-54. Aprii 1995). In it, Forsman states
that the primary pattern on t h e underwing of juvenile Pallid usually appears "rather from
base to tip" and adds "juveniles
more in Pallid and concentrating spaced barring
He also states t h a t "bars on average
to médian section offeathers, juvenile
Leaving aside the perhaps contradictory matter of t h e regularity of the barring, it seems most important that (a) the bars are bold on Pallid and (b) that on Pallid there is a pale 'boomerang' of unbarred primary bases. John and Richard consider that both can be discerned in t h e photographs of the Minsmere bird and several of the people whose comments were received also pointed towards these features. The barring on t h e undersides of the Minsmere bird's primaries is noticeably bold and each bar is relatively broaderthan would be expected in Montagu's. In both of these aspects t h e Minsmere bird is very similar t o a juvenile Pallid Harrier whose photograph features in Dick Forsman's The Raptors of Europe and the Middle East-A
Handbook of Field Identification
paperback version 2007, plate 215, page 207.) As far as the 'boomerang' is concerned, John and Richard consider that this feature can be seen in at least three of lan's photographs. In addition, Forsman's book and paper feature w i n g formula as a différence t h a t can be noted between Pallid, Montagu's and Hen Harriers. Hen Harrier shows five p r o m i n e n t primary 'fingers' - thus ruling this species out of t h e reckoning for t h e Minsmere bird. In his book, Forsman says that Pallid Harrier shows a "hand narrower wing-tip".
than arm, with four fingers
and longest three
His paper is more detailed on this. In a caption to an illustration, it says:
has long outermostprimary pi shorter, tip falling
roughly equalling p5." It adds: "In Pallid,
p5-6." Although care needs to be taken on this point, John and
Richard consider t h a t t h e short p l of Pallid is clearly visible in at least t h e f o u r t h photograph in lan's sequence and t h a t t h e overall w i n g shape fits Forsman's description of Pallid's very well. Another point in favour of t h e Minsmere bird being a Pallid Harrier is t h e clear-cut "collar and boa" effect t h a t was so striking in t h e field, especially to Richard. Although the often-referred to diagnostic face pattern of Pallid is difficult to assess in t h e required m i n u t e détail in lan's photographs, t h e pattern did indeed look very striking. John was initially concerned about t h e apparent presence of a dark " f r a m e " around t h e wing-tips t h a t can be seen in some of lan's photographs - a feature more commonly associated w i t h Montagu's. However, this may well be a photographie effect and was referred t o helpfully by Adam Rowlands, w h o , in addition to commenting that the bird's "boa and collar" looked "spot-onfor OK", added: "I can't convince myselfthat a photographie
Pallid" and the head pattern
edge to the 'inner hand' is not
effect and in one of the images it appears to show pale tips to the inner
Another pointer towards Pallid Harrier was t h e lack of any streaking on t h e strikingly-coloured breast, belly and flanks of t h e bird - a colour w h i c h almost defies accurate description but w h i c h may best be t e r m e d as 'apricot' or 'ochre' and w h i c h is plain to see in lan's photographs. John and Richard were convinced that this was a Pallid Harrier and are especially grateful t o Messrs Rowlands, Fairhurst, Small, Harrop and Forsman for their expertise, help and support in reaching a point w h e r e a submission t o BBRC could be made w i t h confidence. The bird t h a t was being publicised as a Pallid Harrier in north Norfolk was apparently last seen there t w o days before t h e M i n s m e r e sighting and it is t e m p t i n g t o think t h a t it was one and t h e same bird. [This bird was accepted by BBRC and, as such is, Suffolk's second Pallid Harrier t h e first having occurred at Suffolk Water Park, Bramford on May 7th 1999. There was plenty of research involved in t h e M i n s m e r e bird's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and great credit must go t o ail involved. It was i n d e e d f o r t u n a t e t h a t lan Clarke was t h e r e and t o o k t h e photographs. One has been included in this report and t h a t and t h e o t h e r t h r e e can be seen on t h e SOG website. Editor]
Suffolk Bird Report 2014
The 2014 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 interpreted by t h e f o l l o w i n g : -
Swans and geese
Shrikes, corvids, crests, tits
Game birds, rails to Crâne John Davies
Warblers, ine. Long-tTit
Divers t o Spoonbill
Treecreeper, Starling, Dipper, Wren, thrushes Raptors (incl. falcons)
Oystercatcher t o Ruff
Snipes to phalaropes
Skuas to gulls
Pigeons t o woodpeckers
Spotted Fly, Robin, chats, wheatears, o t h e r flycatchers, Dunnock
Sparrows, wagtails, pipits, finches, buntings
The 'officiai' British list is maintained by t h e British Ornithologists' Union (BOU). Species are included in various catégories according t o their status, as follows: • Category A - species w h i c h have been recorded in an apparently natural State at least once since January I s t 1950; • Category B - species that w o u l d otherwise be in Category A but have not 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 man, either deliberately or accidentally, have established self-sustaining breeding 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 introductions, transportées or escapees f r o m captivity, and whose breeding populations are not t h o u g h t t o be self-sustaining. The main part of t h e species accounts consists of species that occurred in Suffolk in 2007, which fall into Catégories A and C. Where a species is included in multiple catégories, this is shown in t h e initial status summary. Catégories D and E do not form part of either the British or Suffolk lists. Species from these Catégories that occurred in Suffolk in 2007 are included as appendices to t h e main list. The order and nomenclature follow the latest published for The British List by the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU 2006). This list can be accessed on their web site at www.bou.org.uk English names follow the same list. Subspecies are listed under the main species' heading, which includes the scientific name. 36
Introduction The records for each species are listed mostly under t h e parish w h e r e t h e bird occurred, sometimes f o l l o w e d by a m o r e precise location if k n o w n . The exception t o this 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, Minsmere, Orfordness, Alton Water etc. The gazetteer on page 182 gives locations for those sites not easily located on a standard road map. The order of records is north to south down the coastal région, working round the estuaries, then inland from t h e northeast to the southwest of the county. To minimise any potential threats to site security, some records of rare breeding birds are published anonymously and under a vague site heading. As much use as possible is made of systematic monitoring schemes such as t h e WeBS counts. Using such co-ordinated data instead of m a x i m u m counts gives a better idea of t h e populations of each species w i n t e r i n g in t h e county on a given date. However, fluctuations in numbers due t o changing w e a t h e r patterns will affect totals and higher counts are given in t h e text after t h e table where appropriate. Counts f r o m North Warren include Thorpeness Meare, Church Farm Marshes and the shoreline between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh; the Aide/Ore Estuary includes the complex of the Aide, Ore and Butley rivers as well as Orfordness, Gedgrave reservoir and Havergate Island; and the Orwell includes Trimley Marshes, Loompit Lake and Bourne Park Water Meadows. Counts f r o m the Stour all refer solely t o t h e Suffolk side of t h e estuary. The larger part of t h e report, particularly for t h e more c o m m o n species, is based upon ad hoc records. Data of that type are influenced by the distribution of birdwatchers, t h e weather and other factors t h a t result in imperfections. We are nonetheless indebted t o those observers w h o have persevered w i t h other studies, such as Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), Constant Effort Sites (CES) and transect counts and for making t h e results available for use. A summary of t h e Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is given for all those species for w h i c h meaningful data are available - f u r t h e r information can be found on t h e BTO website. See 'A Guide to Recordlng Birds in Suffolk' elsewhere in this Report for i n f o r m a t i o n on submission of records. The following définitions are intended as a guide t o t h e relative status of each species: Very common: Occurs in large numbers in suitable habitat and season. Common: Occurs regularly or widely distributed in suitable habitat. Fairly common: Occurs in small numbers in suitable habitat and season. Uncommon: Occurs annually in small numbers. Scarce: One or t w o records each year or restricted t o specific habitats. Rare: Occurs less than annually. Very rare: Less than 15 records in past 30 years. Accidentai: Less than three records in past 30 years. Included in t h e status description is a note if t h e species is included in either t h e Red or t h e Amber List of 'Birds of Conservation
Concern'. This is a paper jointly produced by t h e leading bird
conservation organisations in t h e UK. See Suffolk Bird Report Vol.47: 6-10 for f u r t h e r détails. The following abbreviations are sometimes used in t h e systematic list:ad = adult
N = bird(s) flying north
BBS = Breeding Bird Survey
NNR = National Nature Reserve
CES = Constant Effort Site
R = River
CP = Country Park
res = reservoir
GC = Golf Course
S = bird(s) flying south
GP = gravel pit
SW = sewage works
imm = immature
W M = Water M e a d o w
Ind. Est. = industriai estate
WP = Water Park
juv = juvenile
WR = W i l d f o w l Reserve
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 MUTE SWAN
Common resident. Amber List. Categories A and C. A l t h o u g h f o u n d t h r o u g h o u t t h e county, M u t e Swan breeding numbers seem t o be declining. Only t h r e e sites in t h e south-east had nesting pairs out of t h e overall county total of 30 sites. In t h e n o r t h - w e s t t h e r e were 16 sites and 11 in t h e west. The n u m b e r of pairs had also decreased and there was a t o t a l of only 85 young, d o w n f r o m 99 t h e previous year. The species had a f u r t h e r d r o p in t h e n u m b e r of BBS squares, w i t h t h r e e f r o m a t o t a l of 4 1 although t h e 43 individuals was a big increase on t h e 15 counted in 2013, t h e highest since 2008. Sites w i t h m o r e t h a n one breeding pair included Flixton Gravel Pits w h e r e four and three young w e r e raised by t w o pairs, Carlton Marshes, Oulton Marshes, North Cove/Castle Marsh, Sizewell Belts, and Orfordness. At this latter site t w o of three pairs were successful and one of t h e t w o y o u n g reared was a 'Polish' m o r p h . Other notable breeding records came f r o m Culford Park w i t h nine newly-hatched cygnets on May 7th and six cygnets at Wissington on September 4th. The largest herds in the north-west were at North Cove/Castle Marsh and Carlton Marshes w i t h a m a x i m u m of 150 o n December 27th and 110 on January 31st respectively. In January in t h e south-east Cattawade held 156 on 13th and at Bawdsey t h e r e w e r e 102 on 10th. In t h e west Lakenheath Fen RSPB was t h e only site w i t h a herd of over a hundred reaching a m a x i m u m of 148 w h i l e at Brundon, Sudbury t h e largest herd was 97 on February 26th. At Stutton Ness t h e r e were 1 1 1 counted on June 15th and 151 o n December 21st. Peak monthly counts at selected sites:â€” Jan Feb Minsmere 53 27 North Warren 11 5 Orfordness 14 16 Aide WeBS 166 140 Deben WeBS 190 147 Stour WeBS 28 37
Mar 21 14 34 60 90 8
Sep 5 32 13
Oct 14 19 15 73 132 11
Nov 41 19 19 110 151 28
Dec 30 16 29 153 175 7
At Loompit Lake, Trimley St M a r t i n an adult male w i t h 'Polish' yellow feet and legs was present in June and again in September. TUNDRA (BEWICK'S) SWAN Fairly common
visitor and passage migrant.
In t h e fens a r o u n d Lakenheath this species, along w i t h its near-relative t h e W h o o p e r Swan, has occurred in large herds w i t h m o r e frequency in recent years. 2014 was no exception w i t h a large herd of 380 at Sedge Fen on February 8th. M i n s m e r e was t h e site w h e r e t h e species was encountered most f r e q u e n t l y in b o t h periods reaching a high count of 22 on January 15th in t h e early part of t h e year and 11 later o n during November. The marshes around Carlton Colville were additional areas where Bewick's Swans could be f o u n d in both w i n t e r periods o n several dates, the highest total being 12 at North Cove/Castle M a r s h o n January 28th. As o p p o s e d to 2013 t h e first w i n t e r exodus was less noticeable w i t h records of 17 flying east past S o u t h t o w n , Gorleston on February 2nd and seven east at Beccles on March 4th, t h e last record of t h e period. In t h e second w i n t e r period t h e first record was seven which flew in off t h e sea at Corton o n October 23rd. There was a noticeable increase in returning birds during December peaking on 29th w i t h 100 in off t h e sea at Benacreand 2 0 ' i n o f f ' at nearby Covehithe. On t h e same date this arrival was noted in t h e west w i t h t w o separate flocks of 45 and 28 flying west at Santon Downham. O t h e r records during t h e year i n c l u d e : Breydon South Wall: six north, Dec 13th. Bradwell: New Road, four south-west, Dec 14th. Lowestoft: 14 in off the sea, Ness Point, Jan 3rd; four west over Normanston Park, Nov 30th; two west, Dec 38
Systematic List 9th; five circled over Ness Point before flying south-west, Dec 27th. Oulton Broad: three north-east, Dec 26th. Benacre Broad: three, Nov 16th and 17th. Reydon Marshes: three, Jan 18th. Walberswick: Hoist Covert, two south, Nov 24th. Long Melford: five over, Dec 28th. Great Livermere: two, Jan 1st. Cavenham Heath: 50 west, Dec 28th. Lakenheath Fen: two, Jan Bist; Feb 16th; 17 west, Dec 26th; four, Dec 27th. Mildenhall Fen: three, Feb 2nd. WHOOPER SWAN Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Amber List. Categories A and E.
There were typical numbers of this species, which was mainly encountered w i t h regularity on the coast in t h e north-east and less so in t h e south-east. The larger herds were again encountered in the west, continuing t h e recent trend. In the first w i n t e r period Minsmere had t w o birds present f r o m t h e start of t h e year until March 9th. At King's Fleet by t h e Deben Estuary an adult female was present f r o m t h e last week of March to early April; on March 29th, it appeared t o be paired w i t h a male M u t e Swan. In t h e west, Lakenheath Fen occasionally had t h e species w i t h a maximum of 50 on January 8th. The first birds in t h e second w i n t e r period were four inland at Barton Mills on October 14th and five t h a t f l e w in off t h e sea at Southwold on October 19th. Minsmere was again t h e most regular site t o encounter t h e species in t h e east reaching a m a x i m u m count of four on December 6th. Elsewhere on t h e coast, seven flew over Hen Reedbeds on December 4th, seven flew in off the sea and landed on t h e broad at Benacre on December 9th and seven were also at Kessingland Levels on December 14th. A bit f u r t h e r inland in late December t w o flew over Outney C o m m o n , Bungay on December 26th, eight at North Cove/Castle Marsh, 27th and at M e l t o n five, involving t w o adults and three juveniles, flew west on December 12th. In the west there was a scattering of sightings w i t h single-figure counts at Barton Mills, Lackford and West Stow Country Park. At Bowbeck, Bardwell, there were ten on November 24th and t h e highest count of the year was of 65 at Burnt Fen, Mildenhall on November 28th while at Lakenheath Fen RSPB a flock of around 50 roosted each night in t h e reedbed for most of December. TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Amber List. Categories A and E.
Very few records were received in t h e first winter period w i t h one on January 1st at Kessingland which flew south, t h r e e at N o r t h Warren t h e following day and probably t h e same t h r e e birds on the South Levels at M i n s m e r e f r o m January 8th to 19th. Minsmere had t h e first returning birds w i t h t w o on November 13th, w i t h m o v e m e n t b e t w e e n there and N o r t h Warren t h r o u g h o u t t h e remainder of t h e year and t h e same flock also being present at Leiston feeding o n sugarbeet fields off Carr Avenue. A flock of 14 f l e w south at Orfordness and Sudbourne Marshes on December 6th. Other records included a singleton at Snape Wetland on November 19th, four at Boyton and Hollesley Marshes b e t w e e n December 15th and 24th w i t h these birds joining the flock at North Warren w h i c h had numbered up t o 16 birds but was recorded at 20 on t h e final day of t h e year. Finally a single bird was at Trimley Marshes f r o m December 6th t o 20th. PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Amber List. Categories A and E.
In recent years, including 2013, large flocks of this species have occurred in north-east Suffolk, but there was less frequency of such numbers in 2014 w i t h only t h r e e occasions w h e n flock sizes reached four figures. These w e r e at Oulton Marshes w h e n 3000 f l e w over on January 2nd and at
Suffolk Bird Report 2014 Corion o n both October 17th and 18th w i t h 1500 overhead. The last major flock of the first winter period was of 600 which flew over St. Olaves on February 16th. On September 24th t h e first returning birds were 40 in off the sea at Gorleston and 70 in off t h e sea, in flocks of 38 and 32, at Lowestoft Beach. A selection of north-east counts during t h e year i n c l u d e : Fritton: Waveney Forest, 110 south, Jan 27th; 200 east, Dec 21st. St. Olaves: 250 east, Oct 14th; 700 west, 17:00hr, Oct 18th; 500 south-west, Dec 23rd. Herringfleet: 120 south, Nov 4th. Somerleyton: 700, Jan 16th; 230 south-east, Nov 15th; 500, Dec 24th. Blundeston: 400, Nov 8th; 150, Dec 12th. Oulton: Camps Heath Marshes, 300 west, Dec 18th. Carlton Marshes: 700 briefly early morning, Oct 18th. Easton Broad: 50 feeding on stubble, Oct 27th. A f e w sightings f r o m Landguard Bird Observatory included three flying out t o sea t h e n n o r t h on March 5th and an interesting record of 70 flying n o r t h on t h e early date of September 25th, coinciding w i t h t h e records f r o m Gorleston and Lowestoft above. Other records f r o m t h e county w e r e six at Gedgrave Marshes on October 25th and t w o at Mickle Mere, Pakenham on November 26th w i t h a family party of six at t h a t site f r o m December 10th onwards into 2015. A single bird, at times associated w i t h Greylag Geese roamed t h e coast during t h e year. GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Fairly common
visitor and passage migrant.
Amber List. Categories A and E.
Once again records f r o m t h e year show t h a t t h e principal site for this species is North Warren. The table below shows t h e peak monthly counts. There were generally fewer numbers in t h e first part of t h e year compared w i t h 2013 but higher counts by t h e end of t h e year. Other records in t h e north-east came f r o m Minsmere, where t h e largest flock was of 156 on January 5th, Corton, Dingle Marshes (Dunwich) and 50 at Worlingham on January 19th w h i c h flew low east over Holm Close at dusk. There were few records f r o m t h e south-east in t h e first w i n t e r period w i t h t h e 40 at Sudbourne Marshes on January 23rd most likely to have been part of t h e North Warren flock. A single bird was at Kirton Creek on February 16th, five flew over Lantern Marshes, Orfordness on February 19th and at t h e same site there was a very late bird, possibly sick or injured, on May 18th. Peak monthly counts at principal sites:Jan Feb North Warren 160 61
In t h e second w i n t e r period t h e first r e t u r n i n g birds w e r e seven w h i c h f l e w south at Easton Bavents on October 10th. Apart f r o m North Warren, small numbers w e r e encountered elsewhere w i t h nine flying east at Lake Lothing, Lowestoft, on November 21st and on t h e same date 50 f l e w s o u t h at A l d e b u r g h . Elsewhere records w e r e f r o m Easton Broad w i t h five on October 22nd, S o u t h w o l d Town Marshes w i t h one on October 16th and Minsmere w h e r e t h e r e w e r e t w o on N o v e m b e r 8th. A f e w m o r e sightings in this period f r o m t h e south-east involved 24 at Boyton Marshes on N o v e m b e r 20th, five adults and t w o juveniles at Hollesley Marshes on November 24th and up t o six at Trimley Marshes in December. In t h e west at Bowbeck, Bardwell, eight birds w e r e feeding in a f l o o d e d field on November 24th. GREENLAND WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Rare winter
Following t h e recent record of t w o individual birds in 2012, these t w o constitute t h e t e n t h county record. These t e n records have involved 22 birds. The t w o previous birds were also f o u n d by t h e same observer. North Warren RSPB: two adults, Feb 7th to 22nd (D Fairhurst).
1. Tundra (Bewick's) Swan good numbers counted in December.
â€˘ N S
k w ^ k f
2. Greenland White-fronted Geese at North Warren in February.
4. S m e w two smart redheads at Minsmere in February. John Richardson
8. Great Northern Diver at Alton Water in January. Bill Bastรณn
Systematic List GREYLAG GOOSE
feral flock. Amber List. Categories A, C and E.
Widespread t h r o u g h o u t t h e county w i t h a strong preference for t h e north-east and t h e west w i t h the breeding records reflecting this. Greylag Goose was recorded in 11 of t h e 4 1 BBS squares, the lowest since 2005 and w i t h 75 individuĂĄis, also much reduced compared w i t h recent years. The breeding records showed a marked difference compared w i t h 2013, probably due to records submitted rather than a genuine population increase. The number of breeding sites rose to 23, up from 13 in 2013. The n u m b e r of broods was more than double w i t h a total of 9 1 and t h e 159 young far exceeded t h e count for last year w h e n just 25 were noted. The north-east and west were comparable in t h e n u m b e r of sites and broods although t h e number of young was double in the west principally due t o t h e success of the t w o main breeding sites - Livermere Lake w i t h 16 broods totalling 62 young and West Stow w i t h eight broods totalling 37 young. The latter site also had a Greylag Goose paired w i t h a CaĂąada Goose which raised t w o young. The main site in the north-east was Dingle Marshes, Dunwich, w i t h 20 nesting pairs which raised over 50 young. The only breeding records f r o m t h e south-east were at Snape Wetland and Loompit Lake. Peak monthly counts at selected sites: Jan Minsmere 227 North Warren 256 Orfordness 174 Aide WeBS 572 Orwell Estuary HW* 250 Alton Water 170 Stour WeBS 184 Livermere Lake 470 *HW = High Water
Feb 270 21 73 249 136 92 85 330
Mar 134 15 25 92 13 39 34 -
Apr 80 -
Sep 248 -
52 242 279 650
Oct 184 45 150 -
516 592 99 -
Nov 215 356 103 373 40 364 64 -
Dec 244 400 320 203 66 472 89 -
The m a x i m u m counts of o t h e r flocks not listed in t h e above table were 180 at Burgh Castle, 190 at Lound Lakes, 250 at Weybread Gravel Pits, 200 at Covehithe, 450 at Southwold, 200 in an oversummering non-breeding flock in t h e Walberswick area, c.500 in Thorpe Bay, Orwell Estuary, 350 at nearby Loompit Lake, 290 at Thorington Street Reservoir, 275 at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-byNayland, 150 at Higham, 650 at Mickle M e r e and 185 at Lakenheath Fen. A Greylag x Canada Goose hybrid was at Cavenham and Lackford Lakes.
GREATER CANADA GOOSE Common resident.
Categories A, C and E.
A feral species widely distributed around the county, particularly in t h e west. While Greylag Goose breeding numbers were greatly increased compared w i t h 2013, breeding numbers of t h e Canada Goose w e r e d o w n . This could be due t o observer recording; t h e r e was no recorded breeding in t h e south-east apart f r o m on Orfordness where ten pairs nested and nine broods of young were seen, or it may be due t o c o m p e t i t i o n f r o m t h e more prolific Greylag or a mixture of both. The BBS had Canada Goose in six of t h e 4 1 squares surveyed w i t h 161 individuals, an increase f o l l o w i n g t w o lean years. Of the 15 breeding sites in total, four were in t h e north-east and ten in t h e west. There was a large reduction in t h e n u m b e r of pairs, d o w n t o 34 f r o m 93 t h e previous year. The n u m b e r of young in 2014 (39) was not unlike t h e 2013 figure (32). The main breeding sites in t h e w e s t included Barton M e r e w i t h a pair and nine goslings, t h r e e broods at Higham near Hadleigh, Lackford Lakes and West Stow C.P. and t w o at Fornham St. Genevieve and Livermere Lake. By far t h e largest flock of t h e year was at Trimley Marshes w i t h 712 present on January 5th. Some of t h e o t h e r large regular counts are in t h e table below. Other large counts were made at Redgrave Fen in August and September w i t h a peak of 312 on September 15th.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 In t h e south-east t h e r e were maxima of 168 at Havergate Island, 120 at Boyton Marshes, c.200 s w i m m i n g up river at Thorpe Bay, Trimley St M a r t i n and up t o 140 at Wherstead Strand in t h e latter part of t h e year. The biggest groups in t h e west were 300 at Gifford's Hall, on January 2nd, 192 at Thorington Street, August 8th, 210 at Lackford Lakes, February 5 t h , 250 at Barton Mere, Great Barton, September 11th, 215 at Great Livermere, September 28th, 150 at Higham near Hadleigh, November 25th, 164 at Redgrave Lake, December 7th and up to 120 at Bowbeck, Bardwell on November 14th. Jan 4 182 838 13 223 287
North Warren Orfordness Aide WeBS Deben WeBS Orwell Estuary HW* Stour WeBS *HW = High Water
Feb 3 40 283 10 114 220
Mar 30 34 207 21 20 219
9 28 99
Oct 110 74 250 187 88 222
Nov 100 164 306 116 8 391
Dec 131 90 379 174 157 861
A Canada Goose x Barnacle Goose hybrid was at Lound in February and Minsmere in November and a Canada Goose x Greylag Goose hybrid was at Orfordness in January and February, Trimley Marshes in March and Oulton Marshes in November. A small Canada Goose on Orfordness, not identified as t o species, but surely an escapee, was present on t h e Airfields on May 31st. BARNACLE GOOSE Scarce winter Categories
Branta leucopsis and passage
A and E.
The main flocks are present in Suffolk d u r i n g t h e first t w o m o n t h s of t h e year, reducing in n u m b e r t h r o u g h t h e spring, most likely w h e n t h e species moves t o t h e Low Countries. Numbers start t o pick up again in July; t h e first large flock, of 175, was at Robinson's Marsh, Walberswick on 27th w h i c h was, interestingly, t h e same site w h e r e they first occurred in 2013. There w e r e smaller flocks compared w i t h 2013, only reaching t h r e e figures, w i t h t h e highest counts being 500 at Covehithe Broad on January 12th, 507 over Dunwich Heath on September 13th, 500 at b o t h Walberswick and Minsmere in t h e last week of October, 650 at Covehithe Broad on December 26th and 4 9 1 at Easton Marshes, Reydon on t h e last day of t h e year. Peak regular monthly counts at the principal sites:Jan Feb Mar Minsmere 340 50 150 North Warren 122 450 -
Apr 57 -
Sep 300 -
Oct 500 183
Dec 17 440
As is usual for this species it had a preference for t h e north-east of t h e county, w i t h much lower numbers elsewhere. O f t e n t h e highest flock counts in t h e south-east are passing birds such as t h e 157 flying south on May 4th at Orfordness. At Landguard t h e r e w e r e regular sightings in t h e first part of t h e year, t h e largest single flock being of 176 on February 19th, w i t h many sightings during t h e m o n t h of May. Unlike Greylag Goose and Canada Goose, this feral species has yet t o become established in t h e west, being only noted at a f e w sites in single figures, w i t h four at West Stow t h e largest. At Barton M e r e one was paired w i t h a Greylag Goose. Breeding was only r e p o r t e d f r o m t h e traditional site of M i n s m e r e w i t h 18 pairs. (DARK-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Common
visitor and passage migrant.
Amber List. Categories A and E.
P r e d o m i n a t e l y a w i n t e r i n g bird on t h e estuaries f r o m t h e Deben t o t h e Stour, w i t h passage noted offshore all along t h e coast and particular peaks on t w o or t h r e e days w h e n t h e species 42
Systematic List moves en masse in t h e a u t u m n . In the first half of t h e year most records came f r o m Kessingland and Thorpeness in the northeast w i t h odd birds seen into July. The largest count was 204 offshore at Dunwich on January 30th. Other notable records in t h e area were 60 on Minsmere Levels also on January 30th, 50 n o r t h at Thorpeness on May 25th and a single bird inland at Weybread Gravel Pits feeding on marshes w i t h Greylag Geese on March 14th. In the same period in the south-east large flocks not listed in the table below include 500 at Wade's Lane, Chelmondiston on January 3rd, 400+ at Hare's Creek, Orwell Estuary on January 6th and 950 at Ramsholt on January 24th. A large late flock of 460 was at Seafield Bay, Brantham on May 14th and 154 in Levington Creek on May 17th and there were birds at Trimley Marshes into June. Peak monthly counts at selected sites:â€” Jan Feb 984 1416 Deben WeBS 494 924 Orwell Estuary HW* 597 1171 Stour WeBS *HW = High Water
Mar 34 346 1146
Oct 96 105 860
Nov 707 -
Dec 1138 471 1191
The first birds of t h e autumn were at Benacre, Minsmere and Landguard in mid-September along w i t h three flying north past Orfordness. The initial peak in movement was during October 3rd to 6th w i t h 963 south off Thorpeness, 1980 south at Kessingland, 1200 south off Minsmere and 4060 south off Ness Point, Lowestoft. The next peak was October 13th w i t h 11260 at Southwold and 8239 south at Slaughden. The final major peak was on October 30th, the largest counts being 15929 south at Ness Point, Lowestoft, 15000 south at Minsmere and a similar number of 15172 south in four and a half hours at Bawdsey. These are t h e highest day-totals off Suffolk since t h e early 1980s. The highest day-total off Landguard was 3216 on October 14th. The highest flock counts on t h e south-east estuaries were 800+ at Kirton Creek on November 30th, 574 at Trimley Marshes on December 16th, 230 feeding on w i n t e r w h e a t on t h e north bank of the Deben at Methersgate on December 21st, 400 at Erwarton Bay on December 24th and 539 at Loompit Lake on New Year's Eve. (PALE-BELLIED) BRENT GOOSE Uncommon
As w i t h 2013 t h e records have been fewer and smaller in number compared w i t h the peak years of 2011 and 2012 and w i t h no double-figure counts. Records for t h e year i n v o l v e : North Warren: Dec 20th. Aldeburgh: Jan 2nd. Slaughden: on saltmarsh, Jan 3rd; Jan 16th. Orfordness: Dec 20th. Havergate Island: Dec 7th. Landguard Bird Observatory: south, May 7th. Trimley Marshes: Feb 9th. Stutton Mill: two, Feb 7th. BLACK BRANT
Scarce visitor. Three records in 2014 w e r e all in t h e second half of t h e year. The bird south past Landguard is the first site record. Minsmere: on Scrape from l l : 3 7 h r to l l : 4 4 h r then south, Oct 13th (multi-observer). Landguard: south, 12:30hr, Oct 13th, same as Minsmere bird (W J Brame). Levington Creek: Nov 4th to 8th (W J Brame).
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 EGYPTIAN GOOSE Locally fairly
Of all t h e species of geese, Egyptian Goose tends to have t h e most records s u b m i t t e d and 2014 was no different. As w i t h t h e o t h e r t w o main feral geese species, Greylag and Canada, Egyptian Goose has a greater population in t h e north-east and t h e west, w i t h this showing in t h e breeding records. The species was f o u n d in t w o of t h e BBS squares, d o w n f r o m t h e high of seven t h e previous year, w i t h t h e individuals also d o w n f r o m 20 t o five. There was a large increase in breeding records; in 2013 there were 39 young from seven sites but this had risen to 80 young f r o m 22 pairs at 19 sites in 2014. The totals of sites and pairs were similar in the north-east and west, although t h e latter area had over twice as many young recorded. The largest broods were nine at Livermere Lake, eight at each of Oulton Broad, Barton Mere and West Stow and seven at Weybread Gravel Pits and Lackford. Lesstypical breeding sites were Fornham St. Genevieve and Bowbeck, Bardwell. There was a very late
involving t w o young at Barton Mere in late November and still present and growing on December 29th. In t h e south-east t h e only breeding record was a pair w i t h six y o u n g at Snape Wetland RSPB. The largest flocks in the north-east were of 44 at Burgh Egyptian Geese Su Gough
Castle on June 11th and 45 at N e w Road Bradwell, August 15th. The only double-figure count in t h e south-east was 11 at Alton Water on August 10th. There were larger flock sizes in the west,
t h e highest numbers being 67 at Hall Farm, Fornham St. M a r t i n , August 5th, 68 at Livermere Lake, September 7th, 70 at Bowbeck, Bardwell, November 14th and 87 at A m p t o n , September 11th. Grey-phase individuals w e r e at Trimley Marshes on May 7th (J Zantboer) and Dock Lane, M e l t o n on October 20th (S Abbott). C O M M O N SHELDUCK Locaily common
tadorna visitor and passage migrant.
Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Aide/Ore Estuary 830 809 Deben Estuary 370 335 Orwell Estuary 272 244 Stour Estuary * 1390 1573 *Monthly Maxima
Mar 608 345 269 100
279 144 100
20 11 160
Oct 470 61 47 300
Nov 530 211 58 1361
Dec 931 235 116 2212
The low-water WeBS count on t h e Stour Estuary of 2212, December 16th is the highest there for five years, bucking the national trend, which has seen non-breeding numbers fall by a quarter in just five years. The only additional three-figure count involved 170 on the Blyth Estuary, November 24th. A t o t a l o f 2 1 broods c o m p r i s i n g 137 y o u n g at Orfordness and a count of 9 1 ducklings at Livermere Lake, May 21st highlighted a very good breeding season at t h e t w o principal sites. At t h e f o r m e r site this was t h e highest n u m b e r of pairs recorded since 2007 and, w i t h 104 large juveniles present into late July, t h e survival rate was also t h e best for many years. This u p t u r n appeared t o be widespread, w i t h five breeding pairs at Walberswick, four at Flixton GP and Mickle Mere, t w o at Landguard, Levington Creek and Cattawade Marshes and single pairs at Burgh Castle, Hen Reedbeds, Dingle Marshes, Minsmere, Sizewell, Bowbeck (Bardwell), Lackford Lakes, Fornham St Genevieve, Great Barton and Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland. 44
Systematic List Peak offshore movements involved 163 south off Thorpeness, January 13th and 172 south off Bawdsey, October 30th. MANDARIN DUCK
Uncommon feral visitor. Small breeding population.
Categories C and E.
Breeding occurred at t w o sites. A female was seen w i t h seven half-grown ducklings on the Little Ouse River at Santon D o w n h a m , June 25th, t h e first breeding record at this site since 2010. Breeding was also confirmed at Christchurch Park, Ipswich for t h e first t i m e since 2008, although all 15 ducklings were lost t o gull prĂŠdation w i t h i n t w o days. Records were more widespread than usual and individuals were recorded for t h e first t i m e at Orfordness and Lakenheath Fen, b o t h well-watched sites, during t h e second w i n t e r period. In addition to those listed, up to seven present at Brettenham, in March and December at least, were known recent escapees f r o m a local collection which demonstrates that t h e feral population continues t o be re-stocked, despite poor breeding success. Lound Lakes: male, May 4th. St Olaves: pair, Apr 7th. Carlton Marshes: male, May 17th. Willingham: May 4th. Weybread GP: male, Feb 9th. Orfordness: Lantern Marshes, male, Dec 7th to 31st. Trimley Marshes: male, Apr 14th. Ipswich: Westbury Road, May 28th. Christchurch Park, eight, Jan 29th; seven, Feb 11th; Mar 13th; 18, Nov 2nd. Holywells Park, two, Mar 9th; July 19th. Playford: two, Mar 17th. Purdis Farm: Ipswich Golf Club, 11 (eight males), Jan 26th; three (two males), Feb 27th and Mar 5th; pair, Apr 1st; two males, Apr 10th; male, May 26th. Bentley: Brockley Wood, two, Mar 8th. Stratford St Mary: River Stour, two, May 11th. Santon Downham: Little Ouse River, pair, Jan 2nd to May 9th, with three, Apr 12th; female with seven juveniles, June 25th. Brandon: two, Jan 2nd; 12 (three males), Dec 6th. Lakenheath Fen: male, Nov 10th and 11th. Thetford: Nunnery Floods, male, May 28th. Great Saxham: July 30th. Ickworth: Park, five, Aug 6th. Little Thurlow: River Stour, pair, Apr 30th. EURASIAN WIGEON
Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from the key sites
Amber list. Categories A and E.
Jan Flixton Decoy* Oulton Marshes* Minsmere* North Warren* Aide/Ore Estuary Snape Wetland* Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Trimley Marshes* Stour Estuary Gifford's Hall* *monthly maxima
A few oversummer.
420 1380 1380 5130 650 787 662 523 1607 500
5 573 189 888 220 316 216 298
527 795 2000 3675 500 939 677 456 1638 500
Sep 300 -
267 12 -
6 16 109 -
Oct 300 -
620 7 1721 150 198 419 172 -
Nov 300 70 1500 600 3557 350 644 622 254 1918 225
218 491 795 4874 -
879 167 600 2188 510
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 Although an i m p r o v e m e n t on t h e low numbers of last year, overall totals in b o t h w i n t e r periods w e r e b e l o w average. Aside f r o m t h e table, o t h e r counts t o reach t h r e e figures in t h e first w i n t e r period included 120, Carlton Marshes, January 30th; 200, Blyth Estuary, M a r c h 10th; 375, Dingle Marshes, January 25th; 110, Sizewell, January 2 0 t h ; 115, Redgrave Lake, March 2nd and 153, Shelley, February 4th. In the second winter period f u r t h e r significant counts included 144, Benacre Broad, October 6th; 123, Blyth Estuary, November 24th; 150, Hazlewood
Levington Creek, October 7th; 270, Redgrave
Wigeon Richard Alien
Wantisden, October 30th; 127, Mickle Mere, December 24th and 340, Higham (near Hadleigh), November 25th. Records during t h e s u m m e r months came f r o m three coastal sites, including a m a x i m u m count of seven at Minsmere, July 15th, but t h e r e was no evidence of breeding. O t h e r t h a n one n o r t h off Thorpeness, July 11th, all offshore m o v e m e n t occurred up to April 5th and again f r o m August 27th. The f o l l o w i n g significant counts w e r e logged, w i t h a peak daycount of 1147 south o f f Landguard, October 3 0 t h : Gorleston: 42 north and 70 south, Feb 23rd; 131 north and 57 south, Dec 27th; 120 north, Dec 29th. Lowestoft: 186 south, Oct 6th; 184 south, Oct 30th. Kessingland: 170 south, Oct 3rd; 168 south, Oct 6th; 208 south, Nov 27th. Thorpeness: 20 north and 196 south, Jan 1st; 375 south, Jan 3rd; 50 north and 130 south, Jan 19th; 193 south, Oct 3rd; 359 south, Oct 6th; 160 on the sea, Dec 30th. Landguard: 200 north, Mar 16th; 24 north and 2212 south in Oct, including peak day-counts of 361 south on 3rd, 139 south on 18th and 1147 south on 30th. GADWALL
streperĂ and winter visitor. Amber list. Categories A and C.
Monthly counts from the key sites:Minsmere* Aide/Ore Estuary Orwell Estuary Trimley Marshes* Lackford Lakes* Thorlngton Street Reservoir* "monthly maxima
Jan 466 143 55 129 146 102
Feb 548 98 18 134 -
Mar 409 42 7 33
Sep 175 -
Oct 193 42 92 142 120 14
Nov 379 149 121 214 49 32
Dec 241 196 138 114 65 82
For t h e second successive year t h e February WeBS count at Minsmere of 548 on 2 0 t h was t h e largest gathering. Two f u r t h e r significant counts during t h e first w i n t e r period came f r o m Leathes Ham, L o w e s t o f t o f 202 on January 19th and f r o m N o r t h Warren of 104 on February 28th. Additional three-figure counts during t h e second w i n t e r period, all in December, included 126 at Redgrave Lake on 7th, 230 at Lakenheath Fen on 19th, 107 at Mickle M e r e on 24th and 106 at Lound Lakes on 30th. M i n s m e r e , w h i c h is n o w t h e only site in t h e county supporting nationally i m p o r t a n t w i n t e r i n g numbers (threshold of 250), also held good numbers t h r o u g h o u t t h e spring and summer, w i t h WeBS counts of 87, April 20th; 89, May 18th; 111, June 15th; 81, July 14th and 166, August 10th. There w e r e 135 breeding pairs reported (126 pairs in 2013) f r o m eight coastal and seven inland sites. As usual M i n s m e r e s u p p o r t e d t h e majority, 86 pairs (90 in 2012), w i t h t e n pairs at 46
Systematic List Walberswick and eight at Mickle Mere. The number of breeding pairs reported in t h e county is the same as in 2009. A comprehensive survey in t h e Walberswick and Dunwich areas by David Pearson also f o u n d similar numbers to five years ago. Gadwall Anas streperĂ x Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope hybrid The male hybrid at Orfordness, a regular w i n t e r visitor since March 2011, was last seen on February 16th. EURASIAN TEAL
Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Monthly counts from the key sites:Jan 130 Burgh Castle* 1755 Minsmere* 600 North Warren* 2446 Aide/Ore Estuary 300 Snape Wetland* Deben Estuary 869 531 Orwell Estuary Trimley Marshes* 350 Stour Estuary* 643 Lakenheath Fen/Washes* Lackford Lakes* 398 Mickle Mere* 36 Gifford's Hall* 200 *monthly maxima
Feb 440 1175 660 1643 300 639 296 330 731 118 200 62 150
Scarce resident. Amber
Mar 130 1277 26 610 200 447 90 329 200
92 185 -
14 12 14 83 100
48 164 -
Sep 1 1150 11 -
24 256 613 110 51 -
Oct 30 1198 16 2619 -
260 813 1286 180 59 280 111 138
1500 900 3970 300 516 650 701 704 66 420 65 253
Dee 300 646 532 3506 -
708 37 697 2093 160 505 416 -
There was a general increase in non-breeding numbers after the low counts of 2013, particularly in the second winter period. Aside f r o m those in the table, ali additional three-figure counts during the first w i n t e r period occurred in January and included 114 at Cavenham Pits on l s t ; 105 at Walberswick on 8th; 112 at Pipps Ford on l l t h and 121 at Dingle Marshes on 30th. In the second winter period, f u r t h e r sizeable counts included 112 at Redgrave Fen, September 15th; 400 at Orfordness, September 21st; 800 at Hazlewood Marshes, September 27th; 250 at Bowbeck, Bardwell, November l s t ; 200 on the Blyth Estuary, November 24th and 289 at Culford Park, December 14th. Three coastal sites held small numbers t h r o u g h o u t t h e spring and summer, but there was no evidence of breeding. Offshore passage was recorded in ali months, although there were no records in the spring between Aprii 17th and May 22nd. The following notable movements were logged during the autumn and second winter period, including a peak day-count of 414 south off Landguard, November 2 8 t h : Lowestoft: 158 south, Oct 4th; 253 south, Nov lOth. Kessingland: 105 south, Nov lOth; four north, 235 south and 12 on the sea, Nov 28th (see Slaughden and Landguard). Minsmere: 115 south, Oct 4th. Thorpeness: five north and 163 south, Aug 26th; 70 north and 41 south, Sep lst; 15 north and 205 south, Sep 14th; 103 south, Oct 4th; 13 north and 158 south, Nov lOth. Slaughden: 300 south, Nov 28th. Landguard: four north and 350 south, Aug 28th; 104 south, Oct 4th; 414 south, Nov 28th. GREEN-WINGED TEAL Rare visitor.
Orfordness: male photographed, Dee 21st to 27th (D Crawshaw, M Marsh, G Stannard). This is t h e 35th county record and t h e f o u r t h on Orfordness. 47
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 MALLARD
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Monthly counts from the key sites:Jan Lowestoft Leathes Ham* 130 Covehithe Broad* 53 Heveningham Park* 23 Minsmere 406 North Warren* 100 Aide/Ore Estuary 321 Deben Estuary 305 Snape Wetland* Trimley Marshes* 138 Stour Estuary* 293 Redgrave Fen* Lakenheath Fen/Washes* V Culford Park* 87 Mickle Mere* 152 Thorington Street Reservoir* 130 *monthly maxima
Feb 75 10 47 350 -
143 60 -
56 123 -
Mar 25 2 9 121 12 68 64 20 26
Sep 136 170 9 31 29
155 209 163
141 40 87 69 100 30 300 14 75 216 133 120
Oct 70 108
Nov 93 -
516 310 60 586 206 80 144 254 41 217 236 150 46
Dec 95 36 59 340 117 642 120 -
63 324 15 272 -
Counts in b o t h w i n t e r periods followed a similar pattern t o those of Wigeon, w i t h numbers, although an i m p r o v e m e n t on last year, well b e l o w average. Apart f r o m those in t h e table, t h e only o t h e r significant count in t h e first w i n t e r period involved 138 at Sudbury, January 1st. M i n s m e r e hosted high numbers t h r o u g h o u t t h e spring and s u m m e r w i t h counts of 156, May 18th and 201, June 15th, while elsewhere f u r t h e r notable counts in June were made at Culford Park, 1 0 1 on 15th, and at Sibton Park, 128 on 29th. A d d i t i o n a l t h r e e - f i g u r e counts in t h e second w i n t e r period included 122 at Benacre Broad, October 1st; 100 on t h e Blyth Estuary, November 24th; WeBS counts of 104 on the Orwell Estuary and 136 at A l t o n Water, December 7 t h ; 106 at Bucklesham, August 2 9 t h ; 145 at Sudbury, N o v e m b e r 27th and 125 at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, October 23rd. There w e r e 2 3 1 breeding pairs reported f r o m 46 sites (203 pairs f r o m 43 sites in 2013), t h e vast majority in t h e north-east of t h e county. A survey by David Pearson found 82 pairs at Walberswick, 27 pairs at Dingle Marshes, 19 pairs at Hen Reedbeds and ten pairs at Southwold Town Marshes. These numbers are similar to those of his last survey of these areas in 2009 and have changed little overall f r o m his first survey in 1999. Other sites supporting notable breeding populations included Sizewell w i t h 13 pairs and Orfordness w i t h 11. NORTHERN PINTAIL
visitor and passage migrant;
a few oversummer.
Amber list. Categories
and E. Monthly counts from the key sites:— Jan Lowestoft Leathes Ham* 60 Minsmere* 44 North Warren* 106 Aide/Ore Estuary 114 Snape Wetland* 87 Deben Estuary* 120 Orwell Estuary 54 Trimley Marshes* 46 Stour Estuary 184 "•monthly maxima
Feb 31 56 150 62 50 52 8 3 407
Mar 12 17 12 0 2 10 6 9 -
Oct 35 7 1 12 -
6 8 56 -
Nov 30 6 156 140 20 54 39 18 114
Dec 19 2 192 140 —
75 67 46 493
Systematic List Wintering numbers were generally low w i t h t h e exception of t h e low-water WeBS counts on the Stour Estuary in February and December. The count of 493 on December 16th is in fact t h e highest count on this estuary since December 2002, w h e n 613 were present. Following a second successive year of low WeBS counts on the Aide/Ore Estuary, t h e Stour is currently the only site in the county of national importance for this species (threshold 290). Aside f r o m those in t h e table, t h e only o t h e r significant counts were of 90 flying east over Lowestoft Harbour, January 1st, 65 at Flixton GP, January 18th and 9 1 at Benacre Broad, September 27th. There was no suggestion of breeding, although there were occasional sightings f r o m t w o coastal sites during late spring and early summer. The following records were received f r o m t h e west of t h e c o u n t y : Lackford Lakes: maxima of four, Jan; three, Feb, one, Sep and Nov and two, Dec. Livermere Lake: female, May 21st; Sep 14th; two, Sep 17th. Mickle Mere: female, Oct 23rd. Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Hall, maxima of 30, Mar; three, Apr and 15, Nov. Higham (near Hadleigh): 28 over, Oct 9th; two, Nov 25th. Offshore passage was logged up to April 12th and again f r o m September 11th as f o l l o w s : Corton: eight south, Oct 13th. Lowestoft: two south, Jan 25th; two south, Feb 8th; two south, Oct 4th and 30th; three north, Dec 27th. Kessingland: 78 south in Jan; six south in Feb; 23 south in Oct; two north and six south in Nov; eight south, Dec 14th. Benacre: six south, Oct 26th. Thorpeness: two north and 63 south in Jan; 19 south in Feb; 16 south in Mar; 23 south, Oct 3rd; 59 south, Oct 6th; eight south, Nov 10th; two north, Dec 30th. Landguard: 26 north and 24 south in Jan; 35 south in Feb; three north and four south in Mar; one north, Apr 12th; one north and 12 south in Sep; two north and 179 south in Oct, including peak day-count of 120 south on 30th; 17 south in Nov; 11 north in Dec. GARGANEY Uncommon
querquedula visitor and passage migrant.
The first-winter male, first seen on December 29th 2014, was present again at Trimley Marshes on January 5 t h (P Holmes, D Langlois, E Lucking, P Oldfield). Spring passage began w i t h a male at Bucklesham on March 1st, both an atypical location and an unusually early date, for this is t h e earliest spring record since 1973, w h e n one was present at Westwood Marshes, Walberswick NNR on February 28th. Records came f r o m a further seven sites during March and regular sightings were t h e n made, predominantly at coastal sites, until t h e end of September. Breeding was not confirmed, although gatherings of eight at Carlton Marshes on four dates in July and t e n at Lakenheath Fen on July 25th are f i r m l y suggestive of successful breeding locally. Singletons were present at Minsmere and Lakenheath Fen in October, w i t h t h e last at Minsmere on 28th. Carlton Marshes: pair, Mar 19th to 30th; up to eight, July 12th to Aug 1st. Southwold: male, May 10th. Hen Reedbeds: male, Apr 30th to May 6th, with pair, May 2nd; May 18th. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes, male, June 2nd. Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, male, May 3rd. Minsmere: pair, Mar 16th to 18th and 30th and May 3rd; regularly May 7th to 25th and four south offshore, May 18th; June 10th to 13th and 23rd; up to two regularly July 24th to Sep 5th, with four, Aug 9th and 10th and three, Aug 4th; Sep 10th and 21st and Oct 19th, 24th and 28th. Sizewell: pair present during May. Thorpeness: male, Mar 19th. North Warren: two females, Apr 12th. Hazlewood Marshes: Aug 7th and Sep 27th. Snape Wetland: male, Mar 23rd. 49
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 Boyton: Marshes, male, Apr 16th and 19th; May 3rd, 4th and 7th. Hollesley Marshes: May 4th. Bawdsey: East Lane, male, Apr 19th and June 13th. Trimley Marshes: first-winter male, Jan 5th; pair, Mar 25th; male, Apr 14th; two, May 2nd; male, May 8th then regularly May 23rd to June 19th; up to two, Aug 5th to 31st with five on 18th and four on 10th and 17th; Sep 2nd and 13th. Redgrave Fen: Aug 13th to Sep 12th. Brightwell: male, Mar 5th to 12th. Bucklesham: male, Mar 1st (same as Brightwell). Lakenheath Fen/Washes: male, Mar 23rd to 25th; pair, Apr 16th and 30th and May 2nd to Aug 24th, with three, May 3rd and ten, July 25th; female/lst-winter, Oct 20th. Lackford Lakes: female, May 22nd. 2013 Addition: the male on the River Gipping at Sproughton, January 23rd (Suffolk Birds 2013:57) is the county's first-ever midwinter record. NORTHERN SHOVELER Common
visitor and passage migrant.
Monthly counts from the key sites:Jan Minsmere* 286 North Warren* 92 Aide/Ore Estuary 274 Orfordness* 246 Orwell Estuary 0 Trimley Marshes* 68 Lackford Lakes* 73 Mickle Mere* 40 *monthly maxima
Feb 371 195 171 119 34 72
Mar 270 66 97 186 8 72
Sep 102 4 -
19 20 66
Oct 129 33 38 38 36 99 49 78
Nov 265 142 175 72 52 116 35 44
Dec 350 147 238 94 26 54 -
There w e r e impressive WeBS counts totalling 274 on t h e Aide/Ore Estuary in January and of 3 7 1 at M i n s m e r e in February w h i c h affirm t h a t t h e w i n t e r of 2 0 1 3 / 1 4 saw numbers at an all-time high in t h e county. Besides those in t h e table, counts exceeding 30 were received f r o m : Flixton: Decoy, 34, Mar 23rd. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, 64, Oct 19th. Snape Wetland: 37, Mar 12th; 35, Nov 13th. Stour Estuary: 38, Feb 22nd; 62, Mar 10th. Lakenheath Washes: 42, Mar 16th. Livermere Lake: 31, Mar 21st. Great Barton: 51, Dec 9th; Barton Mere, 40, Dec 22nd. A t o t a l of 6 1 breeding pairs was recorded at eight sites (64 pairs at nine sites in 2013). As usual M i n s m e r e held t h e majority w i t h 43 pairs (54 pairs in 2013), w i t h eight at Walberswick, five at Dingle Marshes, Dunwich, and single pairs at Sizewell, Carlton Marshes, Livermere Lake, Mickle M e r e and Barton Mere. RED-CRESTED POCHARD Scarce winter
visitor and passage migrant.
Categories A and E.
Breeding was c o n f i r m e d for t h e first t i m e at Lackford Lakes, where a brood of eight was seen on May 15th. Unfortunately only one of these ducklings survived to t h e f o l l o w i n g day, and none t o t h e next, due t o prĂŠdation by gulls. The records f r o m Lackford Lakes almost certainly involve individuals of captive origin, but those seen in t h e east of t h e county are possibly migrants of w i l d origin f r o m t h e near-Continent. Benacre Broad: female, Nov 25th.
Systematic List Covehithe Broad: male, Mar 16th. Minsmere: male, Mar Ist. Alton Water: male, Nov 9th and lOth. Lackford Lakes: four (two maies), Feb 12th; pair, Apr Ist to Aug 16th bred but their eight young were lost to gull prĂŠdation. C O M M O N POCH ARD
Common winter visitor and passage migrant.
resident. Amber list. Categories A and E.
Monthly counts from the key sites:Jan 108 3
Trimley Marshes* Alton Water* *monthly maxima
Feb 112 -
Mar 29 5
Sep 5 51
Oct 41 67
Nov 43 106
Dec 47 167
The only o t h e r site to host in excess of 30 was Lackford Lakes, w i t h counts of 58, January 5th and 50, October 23rd. These low numbers are a reflection of t h e national picture; t h e UK's wintering population has halved in under 20 years t o its lowest-ever level. In t h e north-east of the county t h e highest count was of just eight at Minsmere, February 27th. News of t h e breeding season is slightly rosier, w i t h five broods located at four sites in t h e west of the county and one at a site in t h e south-east, while three pairs held t e r r i t o r y at t w o coastal sites in t h e north-east. FERRUGINOUS DUCK
Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Minsmere: male, Mar 26th to Apr Ist (multi-observer); female, Aug 20th to Sep 7th (multi-observer). Minsmere holds a m o n o p o l y on records in recent years. In late summer w h a t is most likely to be the same returning female put in an appearance for t h e sixth successive year. TUFTEDDUCK
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Monthly counts from the key sites:Jan 59 168
Trimley Marshes* Alton Water Lackford Lakes *monthly maxima
Feb 59 76 -
Mar 63 22 -
Amber Apr 51 8 65
list. Sep 18 121 229
Oct 18 74 111
Nov 23 224 70
Dec 39 263 -
Following a poor 2013, w i n t e r i n g numbers were even lower in 2014. In fact, this year's peak total, a WeBS count of 263 at Alton Water, December 7th, is t h e lowest annual m a x i m u m since 1990. All additional counts of 50 and above are as f o l l o w s : Lound Lakes: 57, Jan 25th. Minsmere: 51, Feb 20th; 83, Mar 16th. Weybread GP: 106, Feb 9th. Lakenheath Washes: 50, Mar 16th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Hall, 72, Jan 5th; Thorington St. Reservoir, 64, Sep lOth. A total of 23 breeding pairs at 15 sites at first glance appears poor, but data were not available f r o m M i n s m e r e , a site t h a t has s u p p o r t e d over 50 breeding pairs in each of t h e previous t w o years. Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula x Greater Scaup Aythya marila hybrid There were t w o records of hybrids presumed t o be of this parentage, both in January. One was at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland on 2nd, w i t h another at Lound Lakes on 25th.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 G REATER SCAU P Fairly common
visitor and passage migrant.
It was a very poor year for this species. This mirrors t h e situation in England as a w h o l e where, overall, w i n t e r i n g numbers have continued t o fall over t h e last 15 years and now stand at their lowest levels since at least t h e mid-1960s. In t h e first w i n t e r period records came f r o m just t h r e e sites. Orfordness: two, Mar 30th to Apr 6th. Havergate Island: two, Mar 17th. Bawdsey: East Lane, two lst-winter males and a female, Jan 1st, 3rd, 4th and 8th; lst-winter male and female, Jan 2nd; Jan 31st. An unseasonal individual was a male present on the farm reservoir at Aldringham Walks, August 28th; o t h e r w i s e t h e r e were just five f u r t h e r records up t o t h e end of t h e year. Kessingland: south, Oct 4th. Southwold: Oct 21st; three, Nov 8th. Slaughden: male south, Nov 8th. Alton Water: two, Dec 31st.
C O M M O N EIDER
visitor and passage migrant.
mollissima Has bred. Amber
In t h e first w i n t e r period a paltry total of 13 was recorded f r o m five coastal sites up t o January 25th, w i t h no f u r t h e r records until mid-March, w h e n one f l e w south o f f Landguard o n 15th and one f l e w n o r t h o f f Gunton the f o l l o w i n g day. There w e r e t w o m i d - s u m m e r records f r o m Felixstowe, involving a male in t h e m o u t h of t h e River O r w e l l , June 15th and t w o off t h e p r o m e n a d e , July 11th. None was t h e n seen until October 4 t h . Offshore passage during t h e second w i n t e r period was logged along t h e w h o l e length of t h e coastline, but was much lighter t h a n usual, t h e peak m o v e m e n t being of 20 south o f f Slaughden, October 13th. The year's most unexpected record involved a male present briefly on t h e Scrape at M i n s m e r e , N o v e m b e r 20th.
LONG-TAILED DUCK Uncommon
visitor and passage
It was a second successive g o o d year for this attractive sea duck. Records in t h e first w i n t e r period included long-staying individuals at Covehithe Broad and Orfordness and five south o f f Landguard, January 25th, t h e highest day-count recorded at a single site since five o f f Trimley Marshes, December 23rd 1994. Covehithe Broad: female, Dec 2nd 2013 to Mar 20th. Thorpeness: south, Jan 13th. Orfordness: Jan 19th and 26th and Feb 2nd to 23rd. Havergate Island: female, Mar 18th. Landguard: five south, Jan 25th. The f o l l o w i n g were logged in t h e second w i n t e r period, including t h e first record at Alton Water since 2 0 0 8 : Gorleston: two north, Nov 8th. Pakefield: male south, Dec 30th. Southwold: two south, Oct 13th (see Slaughden). Minsmere: Oct 23rd. Slaughden: three south, Oct 13th; male north, Oct 26th; south, Nov 2nd. Landguard: two north, Nov 23rd. Alton Water: two, Dec 13th.
Systematic List C O M M O N SCOTER Declining non-breeding
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Monthly counts from the key sites: Jan Feb Mar Kessingland 27 106 46 North 93 49 45 South Thorpeness 44 122 25 North 750 182 132 South Landguard 34 26 80 North 121 60 61 South
Accumulated m o n t h l y totals f r o m Kesslngland (Paul Read), Thorpeness (Dave Thurlow) and Landguard Bird Observatory are s h o w n in t h e table. Highest numbers were recorded off Thorpeness and included t h e year's peak day-count of 328, January 20th and t h e year's peak cumulative m o n t h l y total of 1543 in July. Significant day-counts are summarised b e l o w : Gorleston/Hopton-on-Sea: 140 on sea, Jan 3rd; 97 north and 61 on sea, July 11th. Southwold: 74 north and 66 south, Aug 6th. Thorpeness: peak day-count in Jan of 93 north and 235 south on 20th and in July of seven north and 165 south on 8th. Landguard: 130 south, May 12th; 80 north and 40 south, June 23rd; 154 south, July 10th; 126 south, Nov 7th. More unexpected records in t h e first winter period included singletons on t h e Island Mere at Minsmere, January 12th and 13th and along Stoney Ditch, Orfordness, April 5th. In t h e second winter period, one was in a dyke at Boyton Marshes, October 29th, one was on Havergate Island, November 9 t h and up t o t h r e e f r e q u e n t e d t h e pit and broads at Benacre and Covehithe f r o m November 24th t o t h e end of t h e year. On the estuaries individuals were present at Breydon Water, April 18th, on t h e Deben, January 5th to 12th and February 1st and on t h e Orwell off Woolverstone, November 10th and 11th, while records f r o m t h e Stour included three, January 5th and one regularly in November and December, w i t h t w o , November 14th and December 18th. SURF SCOTER
Accidental. Stour Estuary: Stutton, 1st winter male, Nov 3rd onwards into 2014 (E Keeble). The first county record of this North American scoter and an excellent reward for diligent patch working. See article on page 25. VELVET SCOTER Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Following t h e excellent second w i n t e r period of last year, good numbers remained off t h e coast in the north-east of t h e county through January, including double-figure counts off Slaughden on 3rd and 8th and Thorpeness on 19th. Gorleston/Hopton-on-Sea: two on sea, Jan 1st; four on sea, Jan 2nd; five on sea, Jan 3rd; up to two on sea, Jan 4th to 8th; two on sea, Mar 1st. Corton: two north, Mar 15th. Lowestoft: three south, Jan 5th. Kessingland: south, Feb 13th. Thorpeness: total of two north and 66 south between Jan 1st and Feb 1st, with peak day-count of 12 south, Jan 19th. Slaughden: up to nine on sea, Jan 2nd to 10th, with ten on 3rd and 8th.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 Felixstowe: two north, Jan 21st. Landguard: north, Jan 15th; two south, Mar 15th. None was recorded between March 15th and October 13th. Records in t h e second winter period w e r e less numerous, but did include up t o t h r e e on t h e Stour Estuary in November and up t o t w o in December. Gorleston: two south and one on sea, Oct 13th; north, Dec 27th. Kessingland: south, Oct 14th and Nov 3rd. Minsmere: north, Oct 26th; south, Nov 3rd. Thorpeness: south, Oct 14th; north, Oct 26th; two north, Dec 21st. Slaughden: south, Nov 7th. Landguard: north, Nov 12th. Stour Estuary: Nov 5th and 6th; two, Nov 8th and 15th to 25th; three, Nov 28th; two, Dec 6th, 15th and 24th; Dec 27th. C O M M O N GOLDENEYE Fairly common
visitor and passage migrant.
Monthly counts from the key sites:Jan Orwell Estuary 34 Alton Water* 22 Stour Estuary* 76 Lackford Lakes* 10
Feb 3 7 123 10
Mar 0 11 50 18
Nov 1 4 72 6
Dec 30 7 104 -
A l t h o u g h w i d e l y reported f r o m t h e north-east of t h e county, no onshore count reached double figures. The last of t h e spring was at Benacre Broad, April 26th and t h e r e were no f u r t h e r records until one f l e w south o f f Felixstowe, October 13th. Offshore passage during both winter periods was most pronounced off Landguard. A total of 34 was logged between January 1st and March 7th, w i t h a peak count of 14 south January 29th, while in t h e a u t u m n 52 were recorded between October 18th and November 25th. This included 17 south and t h r e e on t h e sea, October 30th and on t h e same day 12 flew south off Ness Point, Lowestoft. SMEW
winter visitor and passage migrant.
M i n s m e r e has been t h e most reliable site for this popular sawbill for many winters. There were almost daily sightings of redheads o n t h e reserve b e t w e e n January 29th and March 14th, w i t h a m a x i m u m count of five on The Scrape, March 1st. In t h e second winter period, as well as sightings of redheads at Minsmere, Covehithe Broad also hosted a long-staying redhead. Covehithe Broad: Nov 27th to Dec 31st (with visits to Benacre Broad, Nov 29th and Dec 23rd, 26th, 30th and 31st). Minsmere: two, Jan 29th to 31st; up to two in February, with three on 20th and 22nd to 24th; five, Mar 1st; three, Mar 2nd and 3rd; up to two, Mar 4th to 14th; Nov 6th and 30th; Dec 28th to 31st. RED-BREASTED MERGANSER Fairly common
visitor and passage
migrant. Jan 127
Counts f r o m t h e Stour Estuary, t h e main w i n t e r i n g site, are shown in t h e table. The low-water WeBS count of 150, February 7 t h is t h e highest since one o n t h e same estuary of 189 in December 2008. The only o t h e r site to s u p p o r t significant numbers was t h e Orwell Estuary, w i t h counts of 15, January 16th and 22, December 27th. 54
Systematic List Unseasonable records involved singletons in Seafield Bay, Brantham, May 7th and on t h e sea off Dunwich, June 9th, w i t h no f u r t h e r sightings until one off Minsmere, September 17th. Offshore passage in t h e second winter period was heaviest off Landguard, where 138 individuals were logged b e t w e e n October 4th and December 26th, and peaked w i t h 70 south, October 30th. Further n o r t h along t h e coast on t h e same day, 60 flew south off Minsmere and 28 flew south off Lowestoft. GOOSANDER Mergus Locally fairly common
merganser winter visitor and passage Jan 17
M a x i m u m counts f r o m t h e main w i n t e r i n g site at Lackford are summarized in t h e table. Overall numbers in t h e first w i n t e r period were low, particularly in t h e north-east of t h e county w h e r e birds were seen on only three dates. Minsmere: male, Jan 11th; redhead, Mar 24th. Landguard: redhead north, Apr 25th. Ipswich: Christchurch Park, redhead, Jan 20th to Feb 2nd - first site record for at least 40 years (R Snook). Alton Water: redhead, Jan 2nd to 14th; two redheads, Jan 16th; redhead, Jan 18th and 19th and Feb 9th; three redheads, Feb 22nd; Feb 23rd; Mar 20th. Mettingham: River Waveney, two, Jan 8th. Elveden: Center Pares, 17, Feb 11th. West Stow: Country Park, 12, Jan 14th. Sudbury: redhead, Jan 10th. Nayland: redhead, Feb 18th. Records in t h e second w i n t e r period, w h i c h began w i t h an early individual at Lakenheath, September 6th, were more widespread, especially during December. Lowestoft: Leathes Ham, male, Nov 30th. Kessingland: male south, Nov 4th and Dec 10th. Benacre Broad: redhead, Nov 27th; male, Dec 7th; redhead, Dec 14th. Covehithe Broad: redhead, Dec 1st to 4th. Easton Broad: redhead, Dec 3rd. Minsmere: three south, Oct 28th; south, Nov 4th; male, Dec 7th. Thorpeness: male south, Dec 21st. Aldeburgh: four, Dec 31st. Slaughden: four south offshore, Nov 12th. Landguard: redhead south, Nov 26th; three in off sea, Dec 14th; male south, Dec 24th. Woolverstone: River Orwell, redhead, Dec 7th. Alton Water: redhead, Dec 8th. Beccles: River Waveney, male, Dec 8th. Weybread GP: male, Dec 7th. Heveningham: Park, two, Dec 7th. Lakenheath Washes: Sep 6th. Icklingham: Berner's Heath, four, Dec 20th. West Stow: Country Park, nine, Nov 13th, 14th and 21st; three, Dec 11th; five, Dec 16th. Nayland: two, Dec 29th. RUDDY DUCK
visitor and passage migrant.
C and E.
Under t h e Bern Convention, t h e UK government is c o m m i t t e d t o the complete eradication of this species by t h e end of 2015. A female at Lackford Lakes, March 13th 2013 was t h e sole Suffolk record in t h a t year but none were reported in 2014.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 C O M M O N QUAIL Scarce summer
visitor and passage migrant.
Fifteen records, all of singing males were received f r o m eleven sites relating to a probable t o t a l of 14 birds. No reports of breeding were received:Dunwich: Mount Pleasant Farm, June 3rd (I Salkeld). Westleton: June Ist (R Drew). Onehouse: June 22nd (J Walshe). Pakenham: Puttockshill, July 8th; Aug 5th (S Bishop). Timworth: July 15th to Aug 2nd (D Cawdron); two, July 19th (S Abbott, N Mason); July 21st (D F Walsh). Great Barton: Barton Bottom, July 15th (D Cawdron); two, July 18th (N Moran). West Stow: June 21st (C Gregory). Lakenheath Fen RSPB: May 29th (West Suffolk Birders). Icklingham: Berner's Heath, June 28th (T Humpage). Risby: June 29th (C Gregory). Higham (near Newmarket): Heath Farm, June 28th (C Gregory). RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE Common
by releases. Categories
C and E.
Some 206 records were received f r o m 65 sites w i t h only five reports of breeding or probable breeding. The highest counts outside of t h e breeding season, excluding k n o w n large-scale releases, were 55 at Falkenham Marshes on October 20th and 58 at Grove Farm, Thurston, on N o v e m b e r 24th. The more isolated population on t h e coast continĂşes t o struggle, w i t h records f r o m Landguard being confined t o t h e period of March 13th t o 28th w h e n up t o t h r e e birds were present. On Orfordness t h e r e w e r e no sightings reported. GREY PARTRIDGE Formerly
now localised. Red List. Categories A, C and E.
There was a reduction in records received in 2014, d o w n f r o m 108 in t h e previous year t o 82, indicating t h a t this species remains in difficulty. Birds w e r e recorded f r o m 52 sites, one less t h a n t h e previous year. Confirmation of breeding remains rare w i t h only t w o reports received; however at least 18 pairs of adults were reported during t h e breeding season suggesting possible breeders. The highest counts carne f r o m West Suffolk, w i t h 34 birds at t h e BTO N u n n e r y Reserve on N o v e m b e r 13th and 13 at W a l s h a m - I e - W i l l o w s on December l l t h . The sighting of a bird at Landguard on March 9 t h is t h e first for t h e site since 1981. C O M M O N PHEASANT Very common
Phasianus colchicus numbers
by releases. Categories
C and E.
Over 600 records of this c o m m o n species were received f r o m 110 locations, mainly in the southeast of t h e county. Breeding however was reported f r o m a mere five sites, although many records relate t o sightings w i t h i n t h e breeding season. W i t h t h e widespread releases of birds bred in captivity this remains a very c o m m o n , although seldom recorded, species. GOLDEN PHEASANT Scarce resident.
C and E.
Only one record was received, that of an adult at Euston on January 3rd (E W Patrick). W i t h an absence of records in 2013 it appears as t h o u g h this species will be extinct in t h e county in the very near future. There is always the possibility, however, that there are small pockets of woodland w h e r e t h e i r presence is kept quiet. RED-THROATED DIVER Common
visitor and passage migrant.
The traditional clear-cut t e m p o r a l and geographic pattern relating t o this species' use of Suffolk
Systematic List waters - in w h i c h numbers in t h e north-east recording area far outstrip those in the area's southeastern c o u n t e r p a r t - was repeated in 2014. It is clearly demonstrated in t h e f o l l o w i n g table, which shows peak day-counts for selected months:
Jan 2482 279
Feb 1459 46
Mar 1000 80
Apr 68 6
Sep 16 0
Oct 17 1
Nov 722 50
Dec 690 2
There were 22 records in our north-east area during May, w i t h three in July and t w o in August. Bearing this north-east/south-east divide in mind, Orfordness appears to be something of "cuto f f " point for this species, w i t h t h e year's biggest counts usually being amassed t o its n o r t h and much smaller numbers being encountered t o its south, ie closer t o the Greater Thames Estuary. However, observers on " t h e Ness" reported that their seawatching was somewhat "curtailed"
2014 and their "lower than would be expected" totals were often exceeded by those to t h e south, especially at Landguard. In January, t h e m a x i m u m recorded o f f Orfordness was 25 on 19th; February's m a x i m u m was just 12 on 23rd and in March t h e peak count was 56 n o r t h on 15th. The last to be recorded t h e r e in t h e first half of t h e year occurred on April 20th and t h e first t o return later in t h e year was seen o n October 18th. November's highest count at t h e site involved 42 north and t h r e e south on 23rd, and observers c o m m e n t e d t h a t "remarkably"
t h e r e w e r e no
records in December. At Landguard t h e species was noted up t o April 12th and f r o m October 14th to the year's end, with a m a x i m u m m o v e m e n t of 232 north and 47 south taking place on January 19th. BLACK-THROATED DIVER Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
We may well be seeing a return t o this species' t r u e Suffolk status as an "uncommon visitor and passage migrant"
after several years in which numerous reports were submitted, w i t h
many believed by t h e m o r e cynical amongst us t o have been erroneous. Some of t h e county's most seasoned seawatchers have treated such reports w i t h caution - some w i t h outright disdain and it is fair t o say that diver identification is often tricky at best, and sometimes devilishly difficult without extreme care and extremely good views. In our north-east recording area a total of 24 was reported, a very slight increase over t h e 20 or so reported in 2013. It is probably wise t o remind birders here that fly-by Black-throated Divers are now a description species and that few of these are acceptable records. However, in the south-east recording area t h e number of reported birds decreased, notwithstanding the fact that what was thought t o have been only one individual was recorded several times entering and leaving the River Orwell (Harwich Harbour) off Landguard between January 26th and March 18th (W J Brame et al.). The first a u t u m n passage bird was noted off Thorpeness on September 23rd, w i t h three reports from the north-east area in October, five in November and t w o in December. All reports concerned "fly-bys" apart f r o m a confiding individual on a small pool in t h e Westwood Marshes reedbed at Walberswick NNR on December 4 t h (P Green). A single at Alton Water present f r o m December 22nd 2013 t o January 6th may have been t h e same bird as t h a t seen on t h e River Orwell at nearby Freston on January 4th and 6th (N Andrews) and Wherstead on t h e latter date. In addition t o t h e series of sightings at Landguard referred to above, a r e p o r t of t h r e e t h e r e on January 19th raised a few eyebrows. An individual seen at both Bawdsey and Shingle Street on April 4 t h was t h e last one t o be reported f r o m t h e south-east recording area in 2014, t h e r e being no reports in t h e area during the second half of the year. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
This great hulk of a bird again showed its traditional pattern of occurrence, w i t h t h e bulk of
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 records f r o m our north-eastern recordingarea r e l a t i n g t o "fly-h« c " Hiirino seawatches and long-lingering individuals proving populär attr. in favoured estuarine locations in our south-eastern area. A t of 16 reports concerned singletons passing north-eastern area w a t c h points, w i t h t w o each in t h e m o n t h s of January, February and March, one in April, four in October, t h r e e in November and t w o in December. In addition, one lingered on Benacre Broad f r o m December 15th to 19th. A f t e r a singleton at S t u t t o n M i l l (possibly since October 22nd 2013) on January I s t and t w o there on January 5th, t h e focus s w i t c h e d t o A l t o n W a t e r w h e r e an obliging bird d r e w many admirers f r o m
January l O t h t o February 13th. Reported on numerous occasions, it may also have been
responsible f o r t h e reports f r o m nearby Holbrook
Estuary localities between January 5th and March 3rd. However, one at Stutton Mill on May 12th a date on w h i c h t h e r e was also one at Landguard - was perhaps another individuai. The first returning bird in t h e second half of t h e year was noted off Southwold on October 3rd. Singles w e r e noted o f f Landguard on October 15th, 16th and 25th, November I s t , 9 t h , 26th and 2 8 t h and December 13th and 21st. Up t o t w o w e r e seen in t h e m u c h - f a v o u r e d S t u t t o n M i l l / S t u t t o n Ness area f r o m October 24th t o December 25th. NORTHERN FULMAR Declining
Formerly bred. Amber
The combined totals of sightings in each m o n t h are presented below and, although they contain inévitable duplication, they give some idea of t h e t e m p o r a l pattern of occurrence. As in 2013, t h e peak m o n t h was April but t h e fact that relatively high numbers were recorded in b o t h January and February is of interest. Numbers in t h e f o r m e r m o n t h were amassed largely on just one day January I s t - w h e n t h e largest counts w e r e 27 o f f Thorpeness and seven o f f M i n s m e r e . The highest day-count of t h e year was t h e 5 1 o f f Thorpeness on April 20th.
NE SE Total
Jan 44 9 53
Feb 57 8 65
Mar 37 7 54
Apr 158 34 192
May 79 16 95
June 64 6 70
July 7 0 7
Aug 138 15 153
Sep 31 0 31
Oct 0 0 0
Dec 3 0 0 2 3
In t h e data received, t h e only reference t o a 'blue' m o r p h individuai concerned one o f f Landguard o n February 8th. A c o m m o n t h e m e in relation t o this species in recent éditions of Suffolk Birds has been one of w o r r y i n g decline. At t h e risk of répétition f r o m one annual report t o another, several observers remarked t h a t 2014 was a poor year for sightings of t h e species. Factors contributing to this species' declining breeding populations in northern Britain are said to include t h e dramatic shrinking of the North Sea whitefish industry and the corresponding decline in the amount of offal discharged from its fleets. Reduced abundance of natural prey such as sand eels in the North Sea and déclinés in some zooplankton species, together with climate change, are also likely to be involved. Whatever the reasons are, we are seeing far fewer of these stiff-winged oceanic wanderers than was formerly the case and nothing in the data received for 2014 inspires optimism for the future. SOOTY SHEARWATER Uncommon
There are f e w birds that are as thrilling t o encounter on a Suffolk seawatch as this master of 58
Systematic List the oceanic air currents, but sadly 2014 was not a vintage year in which to see "sooties" sweeping past our shores. The records received referred t o 52 individuals, although there was clearly much duplication and t h e t r u e n u m b e r is certain to be much lower. Reference was made in Suffolk Birds 2013 t o a "rather
late surge which took place in
and this was again t h e case in 2014. The first report was of a singleton surging n o r t h o f f Ness Point, Lowestoft, on August 9th and t h e last was heading t h e same way off Thorpeness on November 21st. Between those t w o extremes t h e bulk of the records related t o October, w i t h the highest day-count reported being seven off Southwold on 8th. There was also a noticeable surge of records - and no d o u b t some duplication - on October 13th, w i t h three off Slaughden, t w o off Felixstowe and six off Landguard. The table below represents the accumulated m o n t h l y totals but, as ever w i t h seabird records relating to Suffolk's coast, involves inevitable d u p l i c a t i o n : Sep 11
Uncommon passage migrant.
Reports of this smart tubenose were rather sparse. The first was encountered flying n o r t h off Thorpeness on April 28th and the final sighting of t h e year was of a singleton heading n o r t h off Southwold on November 2nd. In between, the accumulated m o n t h l y totals were as f o l l o w s : Apr 1
Singles off Landguard on August 27th and October 13th represented t h e only reports f r o m our south-eastern recording area, and t h e year's peak day-counts were rather meagre foursomes off Kessingland on July 11th and Lowestoft on August 26th. LEACH'S STORM-PETREL Scarce passage migrant.
As would befit a s o m e w h a t u n d e r w h e l m i n g year in general for Suffolk's seawatchers, only t w o reports of this sought-after oceanic waif were received. Although occurring on t h e same day, it is tempting t o consider t h a t t h e reports relate t o separate individuals:â€” Pakefield Cliffs: north, 07:45hr Oct 13th (per BINS). Aldeburgh: 12:50hr, Oct 13th (M Cornish). NORTHERN GANNET
Common passage migrant.
The accumulated totals for our north-east and south-east recording areas shown in t h e table below, excluding data f r o m Landguard, appear t o show a pattern. W h a t seems t o be happening is that we see a n o r t h w a r d passage in t h e early months of t h e year, a drop in numbers in April and May, presumably as nests are established in t h e northern breeding areas, and t h e n a midsummer spike, presumably as t h e adult birds roam widely on fish-finding expeditions around t h e North Sea. Later in t h e year it appears that high numbers off our shores w o u l d indicate a generally southerly passage away f r o m t h e breeding areas. Clearly, much duplication is involved in these totals, but they provide a useful guide as t o w h a t seems to be happening. The top row of figures relates to the accumulated totals, t h e lower row refers to t h e month's peak d a y - c o u n t : Jan 286 56
Feb 2140 478
Mar 4654 887
Apr 737 87
May 298 53
June 1607 236
July 6055 226
Aug 457 106
Sep 250 60
Oct 1962 398
Nov 1698 288
Dec 1580 420
Suffolk Bird Report 2014 In addition t o t h e above figures, observers at Landguard reported a spike in numbers in July, w i t h maxima of 3 1 north, 114 south on 10th and 64 n o r t h , 66 south on t h e f o l l o w i n g day. On Orfordness, observers c o m m e n t e d t h a t this was "easily the worst year on record" "only noteworthy
GREAT CORMORANT Common
being 56 north on March 15th and 70 n o r t h on April 20th.
visitor and passage migrant.
Has nested since 1998.
The now well-established roost at Fritton Decoy was no doubt responsible for some sizeable counts f r o m nearby locations but the year's peak count was made well to the south - at Levington Creek, w h e r e 1500 were assembled on November 10th. This gathering was just 150 short of equalling Suffolk's record day-total which was notched up at Gorleston in 2013. The highest count made at Fritton Decoy during 2014 was 1218 on December 3rd, w i t h 804 noted there on the following day. O t h e r eye-catching counts received included 700 at Slaughden o n N o v e m b e r 2 9 t h and 600 w h i c h flew o u t f r o m t h e River Deben at Bawdsey on November 16th. Observers o n O r f o r d Ness r e p o r t e d a "new
trend in the second half of the year"
w i t h birds
roosting on t h e site's massive, iconic aerials on Lantern Marsh. In October, 46 were noted roosting in such a way on 25th, increasing in November t o 134 on 29th. At Landguard, observers s u b m i t t e d w i n t e r counts t h a t included 345 flying o u t of t h e m o u t h of t h e Rivers Orwell and Stour on January 19th. A total of 120 did likewise t h e f o l l o w i n g day, w h e n 4 5 0 gathered offshore. O t h e r mass d e p a r t u r e s f r o m t h e Rivers O r w e l l and Stour n o t e d at Landguard included 394, January 23rd, 390, November 18th and 530, November 25th. Also at Landguard, 610 f l e w north and 275 flew south, November 28th, and 405 were seen t o leave t h e Rivers Orwell and Stour (Harwich Harbour) on December 16th. Very f e w reports came f r o m t h e west of t h e county, t h e highest count received f r o m t h e area being 64 roosting at Lackford Lakes on December 13th. Once again, no data relating t o t h e tree-nesting colony at Loompit Lake were received. EUROPEAN SHAG Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
The Lake Lothing area of Lowestoft is usually this species' most favoured Suffolk site but in 2014 it could only muster a rather paltry m a x i m u m of three, a count w h i c h t o o k place on January 11th. There were, however, several reports of ones and twos f r o m this area t h r o u g h o u t February, March and April. W h a t was perhaps just one late-lingering individual may have been responsible for reports f r o m t h e M u t f o r d Lock, Lake Lothing and Hamilton Dock areas until June 17th, although this year t h e recent t r e n d of a f e w even later records was not continued. The north-east recording area's highest count for t h e year was four, a quartet being seen on January 2 5 t h on M i n s m e r e Beach before t h e y f l e w south. Returning birds were noted at Ness Point, Lowestoft, on October 1st and others followed at Leathes Ham, Lowestoft, o n October 8th and Slaughden on November 9th. A singleton "in heavy moult'
was reported o n January 26th by observers on Orfordness and at
Landguard reports o n February 6th, 10th and 13th w e r e t h o u g h t t o relate t o o n e individual. N o r t h w a r d - b o u n d birds were seen at t h e latter site on March 22nd and September 29th. The Stour Estuary maintained its status as a w i n t e r i n g area for this species w i t h up t o four being present, mainly in t h e Stutton Mill and Stutton Ness area, in t h e second w i n t e r period, w i t h t w o juveniles r e p o r t e d f r o m this area on an unspecified date in October. In addition, t w o were on t h e Stour Estuary off Shotley Gate on March 1st a n d a singleton was off Collimer Point on t h e Shotley Marshes o n t h e River Orwell on March 4th. GREAT BITTERN Slowly increasing
scarce resident, passage migrant
and winter visitor. Red list.
The infamous N o r t h Sea surge w h i c h w r o u g h t havoc along East Anglia's coast on t h e night of
Systematic List December
hardship and trauma on many communities
devastating event did not just impact on human lives. Many of our finest reedbeds suffered serious salt water
inundations o f t e n have longlasting effects, w i t h a good example being how our Great Bitterns fared in their breeding attempts
following Bittern Richard Allen
spring of 2014. The RSPB's senior c o n s e r v a t i o n scientist Simon W o t t o n reports t h a t "for the first
time", t h e r e were m o r e b o o m i n g males recorded in
the Fens t h a n on t h e Suffolk coast, as most of t h e Suffolk coast reedbeds, except for M i n s m e r e , were "adversely
by salt water inundation"
d u r i n g t h e previous December's sea surge.
In his s u m m a r y of t h e 2014 Great Bittern breeding season in t h e UK, Simon reports t h a t in t h e Fens area in general, w h i c h specifically includes RSPB Lakenheath Fen, t h e r e was a m i n i m u m of 22 b o o m i n g males and a m a x i m u m of 24. On t h e Suffolk coast t h e respective figures were 21 and 22. The Fens t o t a l represented a 37% increase over t h e previous year's figure f o r t h e area, w h i l e t h e coast's t o t a l represented a 16% decrease. There was a t o t a l of 15 nests f o u n d in the Fens, including five at Lakenheath. On t h e coast, 17 w e r e discovered, 12 of w h i c h were at relatively unaffected M i n s m e r e - a n o t h e r statistic t h a t underlines t h e d e t r i m e n t a l effect of the December surge. Much of t h e inland reedbed creation that has taken place in recent years to safeguard the future of Great Bittern as a UK breeding species has been carried out w i t h t h e sea's potential to damage, and indeed obliterate in t h e perhaps not-so-longer t e r m , coastal sites that have hitherto been its stronghold. On t h e evidence of 2013's surge event, and t h e resultant effects on our Great Bitterns, we should be grateful for t h e foresight shown by a host of conservation organisations, not least the RSPB, in creating areas such as Lakenheath Fen. In a national context, Simon reports t h a t there was "an encouraging confirmed
with a minimum
increase in the number
of 140 boomers
compared with 120 at 60 sites in 2013." Somerset is n o w the "predominant
at 61 sites,
county" for breeding
Great Bitterns but, Simon notes, t h e r e were increases elsewhere, particularly in Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire, w h i c h is "encouraging
Back to Suffolk; c o n f i r m e d or probable nesting was recorded at 26 sites, w i t h at least 70 nests recorded - t h e highest t o t a l since annual m o n i t o r i n g began in 1994. Suffolk Birds is again indebted t o Simon for supplying us w i t h a copy of his summary and we offer our thanks. LITTLE EGRET Locally common
resident and passage migrant.
The Suffolk breeding p o p u l a t i o n of this n o w familiar and widespread species appears t o be expanding rapidly. A total of 35 pairs was known t o have bred successfully at four localities that are widely spread across t h e county. At a f i f t h site 14 birds w e r e noted in a heronry w h e r e it outnumbered its larger cousin by a factor of t w o t o one, although no further details were received. By far the largest breeding group was t h e 2 1 pairs reported at a site in the n o r t h of t h e county. At the Hen Reedbeds ten pairs were noted, doubling t h e site's 2013 total but less than t h e 14 pairs that nested t h e r e in 2011. At another site, one pair was reported to be breeding and at a locality
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 in our w e s t e r n recording area breeding was recorded for t h e t h i r d successive year, w i t h at least t h r e e pairs and a m i n i m u m of eight young fledging. M o n t h l y m a x i m u m counts, excluding breeding records, were as f o l l o w s : -
North-east South-east West
Jan 7 3 8
Feb 11 3 18
Mar 15 12 11
Apr 17 5 2
May 11 4 7
June 32 9 8
July 54 15 12
Aug 30 30 4
Sep 25 50 12
Oct 13 12 3
Nov 11 12 6
Dec 7 31 18
In a d d i t i o n t o t h e above table, observers on Orfordness produced t h e i r o w n set of m o n t h l y maximum counts:Jan 6
The increase in numbers recorded at many coastal sites f r o m June t o O c t o b e r / N o v e m b e r is probably due t o a post-breeding influx f r o m t h e near-continent.
GREAT (WHITE) EGRET Rare, but increasing,
W e still await t h e much-anticipated first breeding record for t h e county, but this snake-necked m e m b e r of t h e new UK-colonist heron tribe continues t o suggest t h a t nesting may well take place in t h e not-too-distant future. While there w e r e slightly fewer than t h e 64 reports of 2013, which obviously included a degree of duplication, sightings in 2014 came f r o m locations t h a t were well spread along t h e coast and in our western recording area. Those of us w h o t w i t c h e d t h e first county record in 1984 could surely have never foreseen h o w this species' Suffolk status w o u l d change so rapidly. The year's first sighting was reported f r o m Minsmere on April 4th. Subsequently in our northeastern recording area, one frequented t h e Carlton Marshes/Oulton Broad area f r o m May 2nd to 8th and another was reported f r o m W e s t w o o d Marshes, Walberswick NNR, on June 9th. One seen at Kessingland on July 19th was perhaps the individual that had been seen in the Minsmere/Sizewell area on July 11th and 12th. The next was r e p o r t e d at Thorpeness M e a r e on August 3rd but establishing h o w many individuals were present in t h e coastal strip f r o m t h e n until September 5th presents s o m e t h i n g of a challenge, w i t h reports f r o m Minsmere, Carlton Marshes, t h e Hen Reedbeds and Southwold. It may even have been t h e long-staying individual t h a t f r e q u e n t e d M i n s m e r e f r o m September 20th to December 2nd that was responsible for all these records. Completing t h e run of north-eastern recording area reports, singles w e r e noted at Gorleston, September 27th, Carlton Marshes and Herringfleet Marshes on October 14th, Benacre Broad on O c t o b e r 22nd, Herringfleet Marshes o n N o v e m b e r 4 t h , Burgh Castle on December 14th, and Kessingland and Dingle Marshes on December 20th. One heading south at Landguard on April 13th is the site's fourth record. Elsewhere in our southeast recording area, one was o n Orfordness o n June 27th and birds noted at Trimley Marshes on July 12th and 13th w e r e aged as first-summer and adult respectively by t h e observers involved (see field note below). The south-eastern recording area's run of records concluded w i t h w h a t it probably w o u l d be safe to refer t o as one individual at Trimley Marshes o n September 30th and nearby Levington Creek on October 2nd. In t h e west, one seen at Lakenheath on April 12th was probably t h e same bird which flew over Lackford village and landed at Lackford Lakes t h e next day. One was present at Lakenheath from July 16th and "through August", w i t h t w o there on July 24th at least. Two were seen there on October 17th, remaining at Lakenheath until the year's end, w i t h three birds present on December 1st. Interestingly, an individual seen on w h a t was described as a "farm scrape west of Boxford"
August 14th had been ringed as a nestling in May at Lac de Grand-Lieu, near Nantes, in t h e LoireAtlantique region of France (see also field note below, a cross-channel bird f r o m a similar area).
FIELD NOTE A first-summer bird at Trimley Marshes in July was seen to bear colour rings - orange above red on t h e left leg and green above lime or light green on the right. It transpired that the bird was ringed as a nestling on May 13th, 2013, at BesnĂŠ, Loire Atlantique, France. It was observed on July 6th, 2013, at Ooiz, Netherlands, and on October 17th, 2013, and December 12th, 2013, at Steenwaard, near Schalkwijk,Netherlands. On May 5th, 2014, it was at Beusichem, Culemborg, Netherlands, and on July 8th, shortly before its arrival at Trimley, it was seen at Carsington Water, Derbyshire. Various
winter visitor and passage
Breeding was confirmed at 12 sites - t w i c e t h e number reported in 2013 and t h e same as in 2012 - and was suspected at t w o additional sites. Of t h e confirmed nesting sites, five were in our north-east recording area, f o u r were in t h e west and three were in t h e south-east. Little detailed information accompanied t h e rather scant references to breeding, but t h e records w e r e dominated by an eye-catching report of 25 pairs at Burgh Castle. About 12 young were fledged from nine nests at a confidential site in t h e west and seven nests were active in a longstanding heronry at a private site on t h e Stour Estuary. The total of five nests in the Hen Reedbeds heronry was said to be t h e lowest n u m b e r ever recorded there. If reports f r o m our heronries w e r e s o m e w h a t lacking in detail, reports of birds outside t h e context of breeding were positively sparse, w i t h only 12 such references t o t h e species in t h e entire submitted data f r o m t h e north-east recording area, for example. They did, however, include observations of some n o t e w o r t h y migratory movements, t h e largest of which was the group of 18, and an additional t w o individuals, t h a t flew in off t h e sea over RSPB Minsmere on September 11th. Other arrivals included 12 in off t h e sea at Lowestoft North Beach on September 2nd and ten doing likewise over Benacre Broad on September 10th. On Orfordness, t h e site's highest counts of t h e year were 14 on both June 20th and July 26th. Observers at Landguard reported incoming spring migrants on March 13th, April 1st and April 21st and o t h e r migrants b e t w e e n June 19th and November 16th, w i t h a m a x i m u m of three north and one heading inland on October 2nd. Of particular note was a gathering of 14 on September 10th around the margins of Thorington Street Reservoir, Stoke-by-Nayland. The observer reported t h a t they had been attracted to the many fish t h a t were suffering f r o m oxygen deficiency in t h e water. PURPLE HERON
Scarce passage migrant. Oulton: Fisher Row, July 26th (M Robertson). Minsmere: May 21st and 22nd (Multi-observer). North Warren: Nov 4th (D Pearsons et al.). The bird at N o r t h W a r r e n is t h e latest-ever recorded in Suffolk, surpassing sightings on November 3rd in 1968 (Minsmere) and 1990 (Shotley). BUCK STORK Ciconia nigra Very rare visitor. Two Black Storks visited t h e county in 2014; t h e first flew d o w n t h e coast on June 5th, whilst the second was seen at Trimley Marshes over t w o days in November before being n o t e d at Hazlewood Marshes t h e next day. Lowestoft and south to Kessingland and Covehithe: June 5th (G Hawes et al.). Hazlewood Marshes: Nov 17th (J and M Mountain). Trimley Marshes: juvenile, Nov 15th and 16th (P J Holmes, P Oldfield, G Parker et al.). 63
Suffolk Bird Report 2014 WHITE STORK
Very rare passage
There were no submitted, thus accepted, records of this species in 2014. GLOSSY IBIS
Plegadis falcine 11 us
Rare but increasing
This species can n o w actually be expected t o occur in t h e county at some stage of each year, and t h a t is a far cry f r o m its f o r m e r status as a much-sought-after rarity. As has been t h e case in several recent years, t h e records for 2014 include sightings in t h e depths of w i n t e r - a n illustration perhaps of a changing climate. The juvenile seen briefly o n Minsmere's Scrape gave us a clue as t h e origins of at least some of t h e birds that are visiting us - it was ringed in May 2014 in t h e Carmargue, southern France. The bird at Trimley Marshes represented t h e site's first record of the species and was t h o u g h t to have been t h e individual w h i c h f r e q u e n t e d Minsmere, Boyton and Hollesley Marshes. The bird at O u l t o n Marshes is t h a t w h i c h first appeared on December 19th 2013. Oulton Marshes: Jan 1st to Feb 26th at least (A Easton et al.). Carlton Marshes: July 6th, with white ring (A Easton, M Ellis). Minsmere: The Scrape, June 19th (M Stannard). Boyton Marshes: June 21st, same as Minsmere bird (Multi-observer). Hollesley Marshes: June 22nd, same as above (Multi-observer). Trimley Marshes: June 22nd, same as Minsmere, Boyton and Hollesley bird (P J Holmes, P Oldfield, B Mackie). EURASIAN SPOONBILL Uncommon
A Suffolk b r e e d i n g record f o r this species has long been anticipated but failed, again, to materialise in 2014 and we w e r e left t o view t h e large, near-record, gathering t h a t t o o k place on Havergate Island as some f o r m of compensation. Having risen f r o m 17 o n August 9th, groups of 27 w e r e recorded o n t h e island on August 16th and August 21st, falling just o n e short of t h e county record of 28 set, coincidentally, on August 21st, 2002, also on Havergate Island. The first of t h e year was noted at North Warren on February 28th and t h e last were t h e four t h a t f r e q u e n t e d Havergate Island on December 7th. The f o l l o w i n g table of m o n t h l y maxima at t w o of t h e species' favoured Suffolk sites gives an indication of t h e t e m p o r a l spread of records t h a t can be expected, w i t h t h e now-traditional peak counts in August and September, especially on Orfordness, accounted for by influxes of birds dispersing f r o m t h e n e a r - C o n t i n e n t Mar Apr Minsmere 1 3 1 0 Orford Ness
May 3 2
June 3 5
July 6 12
Aug 7 19
Sep 1 18
Oct 0 6
Nov 0 2
Dec 0 0
Three spent a couple of hours at Mickle Mere, Pakenham, on May 18th. This species is a scarce straggler t o t h e west of the county but, in a "London bus" kind of way, another f o l l o w e d quickly o n t h e Mickle M e r e birds' heels, calling in t o t h e Rymer Point (Barnham/Fakenham Magna) pig fields on July 20th. LITTLE GREBE
visitor and passage migrant.
There can be little d o u b t t h a t t h e breeding f o r t u n e s of this species are constantly underrecorded In t h e county, and t h e r e was n o t h i n g in observers' s u b m i t t e d data for 2014 t o suggest t h a t we have anything like a t r u e reflection of t h e numbers involved. Breeding was c o n f i r m e d or suspected at a total of only 12 sites - a reduction of four on t h e t o t a l for t h e previous year. The highest densities reported w e r e seven pairs at W e s t w o o d Marshes, Walberswick NNR - w h e r e
Systematic List there were 13 pairs as recently as 2009 - four pairs but only t h r e e juveniles at Trimley Marshes, and seven juveniles at Thorington Street Reservoir, Stoke-by-Nayland. The highest count submitted was 54 on Orfordness on December 7th, w i t h observers reporting that most of these were on Lantern Marshes and commenting that this was "now a favourite
for this species." The WeBS counts on the River Deben, another i m p o r t a n t wintering locality, gave some idea of temporal p a t t e r n : Jan 39
Other n o t e w o r t h y counts included 14 at Leathes Ham, Lowestoft, on January 13th and 16 at this now-favoured site on September 21st, 25 at Minsmere on September 16th and 32 on an agricultural reservoir beside Aldringham Walks on August 27th. In addition, 14 had gathered off Wherstead Strand on t h e River Orwell on February 2nd, and there were 20 there on November 22nd. GREAT CRESTED GREBE
winter visitor and passage
In our north-eastern recording area, confirmed breeding by single pairs was noted at Flixton Gravel Pits, Weybread Pits, Hen Reedbeds and Minsmere. In our south-eastern recording area 12 young were noted f r o m an unreported n u m b e r of nests at Alton Water. In addition, a pair raised t w o young at East Lane, Bawdsey, t w o pairs nested at Melton, one pair was successful at Loompit Lake, Trimley St Martin, and one pair nested at Needham Lake, Needham Market. In the west breeding was noted at Lackford Lakes where, on May 9th there was a pair w i t h one young and five o t h e r active nests. At Lakenheath t h e r e were t h r e e successful nests after early nests had been flooded out. The Stour Estuary's importance as a wintering site for this species was emphasised by t h e totals of 245 and 258 recorded respectively on its November and December WeBS counts. These were by far the largest counts s u b m i t t e d f r o m any site in t h e county - t h e largest offshore assembly reported f r o m our north-eastern recording area was a somewhat disappointing 92 off Thorpeness on January 23rd. Alton Water maintained its importance for t h e species w i t h selected m o n t h l y maxima b e i n g : Jan 60
RED-NECKED GREBE Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Another fairly meagre s h o w i n g f o r this species, although t h e nine individuals r e p o r t e d represented a slight increase over t h e seven recorded in 2013. All records received are listed below:Gorleston: Dec 27th. Hopton-on-Sea: Dec 24th. Thorpeness: Feb 3rd; Nov 8th; Nov 10th. Landguard: Jan 29th; Nov 14th; Dec 26th; Dec 31st. SLAVONIAN GREBE Uncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
A group of 12 at t h e traditional "Slav" hot-spot of Lower Holbrook on March 4th equalled t h e county's record gathering which was noted at t h e same location on December 4th, 2013. The group had d w i n d l e d t o eight on March 12th and this much-favoured area held its last of t h e first winter period on April 10th. Three were seen at Wherstead on t h e River Orwell on January 18th, 65
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 t h e t r i o possibly taking a brief excursion f r o m t h e neighbouring Stour Estuary. A singleton was off Thorpeness on Aprii 3rd. The Stour Estuary's first returning bird in t h e second w i n t e r period was reported at Stutton Mill on November 5th and this period's peak counts were three at Lower Holbrook on November 15th, December 24th and December 25th. Away f r o m t h e River Stour, t h e r e was a surprising record f r o m o u r w e s t e r n recording area, w h e r e t h e species is only rarely encountered - one remained at Lakenheath Washes f r o m February l s t t o lOth. A singleton was at Boyton Marshes on December 18th, presumably on t h e Butley River. A series of reports f r o m Landguard involved singles on January lOth, January 19th, February l s t and February 3rd. Observers considered t h a t these reports "probably individuai"
ali refer to the same
but another was noted flying n o r t h there on November 25th. The combined sequence
represents only t h e f o u r t h t o eighth site records. BLACK-NECKED GREBE Uncommon
visitor and passage migrant.
This smart grebe is something of an enigma in the county, w i t h numbers fluctuating f r o m year to year w i t h o u t it ever appearing likely t o remain anything more than a scarce and sought-after visitor. The species' status in Suffolk is illustrated by t h e fact that the individuai off Landguard on August 13th is only t h e site's seventh record. Ali records received are listed b e l o w : Minsmere: two moulting adults drifting south, Sep 29th (R Drew, J Grant). Landguard: Aug 13th (N Odin et al.). Stutton Ness/Stutton Mill: Feb 19th (E Keeble, et al.); Nov 8th to 19th (Multi-observer). EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD
Scarce passage migrant.
Of t h e seven reports s u b m i t t e d in 2014 only four were a c c e p t e d : Minsmere: Sep 19th (J Davies). Alderton: Sep 14th (N Andrews). Landguard: juv, Sep l l t h (W J Brame, P Oldfield). Cavenham: Aug 12th (T Humpage). BLACK KITE Rare
Ali t h e reports of Black Kite in t h e county in 2014 related t o an escaped bird w h i c h was first sighted at Brantham on May 9th. It was then sighted at Bawdsey and Alderton on June 13th before spending much of t h e rest of t h e year at W r e n t h a m . Brantham: first sighting of escaped bird, May 9th (E F Keeble). RED KITE
milvus winter visitor and passage migrant.
Has bred in recent years. Amber
This species continues t o be widely reported across t h e county but it stili only has a tenuous grip as a breeding species. Although t h e 226 reports f r o m 2014 are about 24% d o w n o n t h e 296 received in 2013 this was most likely d o w n t o a relatively quiet spring passage. The n u m b e r of sites w h e r e birds w e r e seen was also d o w n f r o m 115 last year to 96 in 2014. The BBS data shows a m o d e s t rise of 1% nationally and 9% across England. Breeding was k n o w n t o have occurred again, but t h e pair was unsuccessful. The only reports f r o m January involved t h e resident birds in n o r t h - w e s t Suffolk. In February reports of single birds carne f r o m M i n s m e r e , N o r t h W a r r e n and N e e d h a m M a r k e t . Levels of activity increased in t h e n o r t h - w e s t of t h e county towards t h e end of t h e m o n t h and included sightings of t w o birds at Dalham and another t w o on several dates in t h e Cavenham area. A bird was seen carrying nest material into t h e 2013 nest-site o n February 23rd and four were in t h e
Systematic List same area t h e next day, including one w i t h a single orange wing tag. Evidence of passage m o v e m e n t around mid-March came f r o m Dunwich, w h e r e t w o d r i f t e d in off the sea on 16th and t w o birds were seen together at seven other coastal sites. Elsewhere, t w o birds were seen at Lound Lakes and t w o took up residence at Brantham and remained in that area until mid-June. Inland, t h r e e were seen over t h e f o r m e r landfill site at Lackford on March 16th. Further m o v e m e n t was noted in April at Lowestoft and Minsmere, where t w o flew south on 9 t h and single birds were t h e n reported f r o m a f u r t h e r 15 coastal locations. Less activity in May and June resulted in fewer sightings, but three birds were noted at each of Sotterley Park on June 5th, at Brantham on May 9th and Lackford on June 1st and 9th. July was a fairly quiet m o n t h ; t w o birds were seen at Linstead Parva m i d - m o n t h ; in t h e west t w o i m m a t u r e birds, t h o u g h t to be last year's offspring, appeared in the breeding pair's t e r r i t o r y on July 17th. The new male of the pair was seen t o chase t h e m off a few days later. Sadly, despite strong evidence that breeding took place, there was no sign of any young by t h e end of the month. The only August sightings came f r o m t h e west and involved t h e resident pair. Reports came f r o m five coastal and five inland sites in September. The n u m b e r of reports continued t o drop after that w i t h just seven in October, t w o in November and five in December. Year No. of reports
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE Very rare winter
visitor. Red list. Categories A and E.
There w e r e no accepted reports of W h i t e - t a i l e d Eagle in Suffolk in 2014. The Hollesley Bay prison Bald Eagle Haliaeetus
continues t o confuse at times w h e n it is f l o w n briefly
from Warren Hill. WESTERN MARSH HARRIER Fairly common
visitor and passage migrant.
It was a fairly successful year for this species. Roost counts during t h e first w i n t e r period were generally up o n last year and compare favourably w i t h 2013 in t h e second w i n t e r period. The breeding season also w e n t well and productivity was higher t h a n in t h e last t w o years. The f o l l o w i n g counts were received f r o m t h e first w i n t e r p e r i o d : Belton Marshes: 14, Jan 14th. Herrlngfleet: two, Jan 6th. Blundeston Marshes: two, Jan 14th. Cove Bottom/South Cove: 13, Jan 25th. Hen Reedbeds: five, Feb 16th. Westwood Marshes: five, Feb 2nd. Minsmere: 15, Jan 15th and 16th. Sudbourne Marshes: four, Jan 23rd. Lackford Lakes: roosted, Jan 31st. Lakenheath Fen: 30, Jan 5th, a recordMarsh Harrier equalling (same as 2012) count for Richard Allen the site. Passage birds included one in off t h e sea at Gunton Beach on February 19th. Other p o t e n t i a l migrants were seen at Thorpeness, w h e r e one f l e w n o r t h on April 8th and Landguard w h e r e singles were logged on t w o dates in March and four dates in April. The only a u t u m n
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 observation came f r o m Pakefield where one f l e w in off t h e sea on September 21st. Productivity was better than in recent years. A total of 53 nests was located compared w i t h 50 in 2013. The t o t a l of young fledged was 104, considerably higher t h a n t h e 83 in 2013. This figure represented an increase in productivity f r o m 1.66 per nest in 2013 to 1.96. Breeding was reported at 11 sites; t h e data that were received is listed b e l o w * : Easton Marshes: 11 nests fledged 27 young (nine nests fledged 13 young in 2013). Westwood Marshes: of five nests, four were successful fledging ten young (four nests fledged just seven young in 2013). Hen Reedbeds: two nests, both successful fledging at least two young (same as 2013). Minsmere: six nests produced ten young (seven nests fledged 15 in 2013). North Warren: two nests (same as 2012). Orfordness: two nests, one fledged three young, second failed (two nests, both failed in 2013). Lakenheath Fen: out of 22 nests, 15 were successful fledging 38 young (of 21 nests 18 nests fledged 42 young in 2013). Breeding was also c o n f i r m e d at Carlton Marshes, Somerleyton Marshes, Dingle Marshes (Dunwich) and Brantham, t h e first breeding record for t h e Stour Valley. Displaying birds w e r e noted at Boyton Marshes. Passage m o v e m e n t was observed at several coastal locations including singles in o f f t h e sea at Lowestoft, Dingle Marshes and Slaughden. Singles were also logged at Landguard on three dates in September. Second w i n t e r period c o u n t s : Fritton Marshes: 12, Dec 12th. Somerleyton: seven, Dec 8th. Herringfleet: eight, Nov 7th. Cove Bottom: seven, Dec 30th. Sizewell: seven, Dec 8th. North Warren: six, Oct 21st. Shottisham Creek: 13+, Dec 21st. Lakenheath Fen: 20, Dec 21st. * Please note that the graph in the 2013 Bird Report showed Marsh Harrier breeding data for Minsmere, not for the whole of Suffolk as suggested. HEN HARRIER Scarce winter
Circus cyaneus visitor and passage migrant.
The 169 reports received in 2014 represent a 23% increase on the 137 in 2013 and match the figure in 2012. Reports came from 4 1 sites and indicated that at least 13 birds were present in the first winter period. Unusually, the majority of these were males and most of them overwintered in the west of the county. Reports of single birds came f r o m just nine coastal sites in January and five in February. Most of t h e reports involved males. Inland t h e Lakenheath Fen roost c o u n t peaked at nine birds in January. Males p r e d o m i n a t e d here t o o w i t h a m a x i m u m of six counted in t h e roost. Nearby t w o "ringtails" roosted at Berner's Heath. In M a r c h males continued t o feature strongly in sightings in t h e north-east while In t h e southeast "ringtails" were seen at at least t w o sites. At Lakenheath Fen five out of t h e seven roosting birds in March w e r e males. There were nine reports f r o m April, all f r o m coastal sites. Late birds were seen at N o r t h Warren, a ringtail, on June 6th and Waldringfield on June 14th. In late summer a "ringtail" put in an early appearance at Hazlewood Marshes on August 8th. The next reports were not until mid-September when a "ringtail" was seen at Orford. Later that month a particularly dark "ringtail" was present in the same area and was joined by an immature male on September 29th. Reports came f r o m 13 sites in October as m o r e o v e r w i n t e r i n g birds arrived in t h e region. Notable sightings included singles in o f f t h e sea at Easton Bavents o n October 14th and Thorpeness on October 27th. Fewer birds w e r e around in t h e second w i n t e r period. In complete contrast w i t h t h e early part 68
Systematic List of the year, only a single male roosted at Lakenheath Fen f r o m October until t h e end of t h e year. Otherwise reports came mainly f r o m t h e coastal region and indications were that about seven birds were present during t h e second winter period. The majority of these were "ringtails". 2007 6 7
Year 1st winter period 2nd winter period
2006 7 4
2008 10 6
2009 6 6
2010 15 13
2011 22 10
2012 21 15
2013 13 15
2014 13 7
Very rare visitor. Minsmere/Sizewell: Sep 21st (J H Grant, R Walden et ai.). See article on page 34. MONTAGU'S HARRIER
Uncommon passage migrant.
Formerly bred. Amber
2014 was a quiet year for this species w i t h just t w o birds reported. A well-watched first-summer male was present in t h e Felixstowe area for at least t h r e e days late in May. The only other report came f r o m Orfordness w h e r e a juvenile was present briefly in August. Felixtowe Ferry: King's Fleet/Falkenham Marshes, first-summer male, May 28th to 30th (P J Holmes, P Oldfield, B Mackie). FIELD NOTE I observed the first-summer Montagu's Harrier taking Hairy Dragonflies Brachytron pratense f r o m the top of wheat plants in the field east of King's Fleet on May 29th between 08:00 and 09:15 hr. During this period t h e bird snatched six of t h e dragonflies and at a range of 30 metres x 20 magnification it was easy t o see the insects hanging f r o m t h e bird's talons. Upon capture t h e bird f l e w to t h e river wall w i t h its prey, removed some/all of the wings and then ate t h e m . As I returned to t h e Ferry I checked t h e area w h e r e t h e bird had eaten its prey and found one fore-wing w h i c h confirmed that t h e prey were Hairy Dragonflies. Steve
Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant;
Typically, t h e 30 reports of this species all came f r o m t h e Breckland region, w h e r e t h e population continues to grow, albeit slowly. In Thetford Forest, five of the seven known pairs were successful, one less t h a n in 2013. Of these t h r e e pairs were in Watsonian Suffolk, and another three pairs bred successfully at non-forest sites in t h e Suffolk Breck. Display was noted at t h r e e sites, although at one locality it was t h o u g h t to have involved t w o immature birds. Other sightings, mostly involving dispersing immature birds, came f r o m four nonforest locations in t h e north-west of t h e county. EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK Common resident,
winter visitor and passage
The 699 reports received in 2014 representan increase of about 57% on last year's total of 445. This species was recorded at 2 1 1 sites in 2014, an increase of 22% on t h e 173 in 2013. However, these figures do not reflect t h e wider picture, as BBS data showed a drop of 6% nationally and a 27% drop in t h e East of England which means t h a t t h e long-term d o w n w a r d t r e n d for this species continues. In Suffolk it was found in just t w o of t h e 4 1 BBS squares. Breeding was noted at nine sites and included t w o pairs at Sizewell Belts and Lakenheath Fen. Notable counts included six at Pipps Ford on September 7th, five at Bungay on April 5th and also five at Great Livermere on March 3rd and on August 24th. In t h e Walberswick, Lower Blyth Valley 69
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 and Dunwich Forest report "this species wasfound with over 12 at the turn of the
to be occupying just two territories
Likely spring migrants included one in off t h e sea at Landguard on March 17th and one flying south t h e r e on Aprii 21st. A u t u m n passage was noted at Minsmere Beach w h e r e one f l e w in off t h e sea on September 21st and Landguard where singles were seen on one date in late August, three dates in September and one in October. C O M M O N BUZZARD Fairly common
Buteo buteo winter
visitor and passage migrant;
This species continues t o consolidate itself across Suffolk; t h e 8 7 1 reports received in 2014 are up by just over 19% o n last year's total of 735. The BBS data showed a slight fall of 4% in t h e East of England, against a modest rise of 3% for t h e w h o l e of t h e UK. The total n u m b e r of individuals encountered o n BBS squares was d o w n 50% f r o m 32 in 2013 to 16 in 2014 (the average for t h e last t e n years is 9.8). In Suffolk it was found in 13 of t h e BBS squares compared w i t h 20 in 2013. N o t e w o r t h y gatherings during t h e early spring included 20 over M i n s m e r e on March 4th, 12 at Boyton Marshes o n March 24th, 17 at Pipps Ford on March 8th, 14 at Cavenham o n February 22nd and 12 at Berner's Heath on Aprii 5th. These counts were probably indicative of an early influx of migrants during March and into Aprii. Certainly a significant p r o p o r t i o n of t h e birds seen at Berners Heath f l e w in strongly f r o m t h e east and quickly continued westward. Breeding was c o n f i r m e d at just 11 locations across t h e county. Prey items included a large i e m a l e Grass Snake Natrix natrix which was being carried o f f by an adult bird in The King's Forest. N o t a b l e a u t u m n counts included 16 at M i n s m e r e o n October 5th, 12 at Benacre Broad o n September l O t h , ten at Orfordness on October lOth, 15 at Bucklesham on October 12th and 16 at Chelmondiston on September 3rd. There w e r e w o r r y i n g reports of t w o p o t e n t i a l incidents of persecution in t h e county. The remains of t w o Buzzards w e r e f o u n d in suspicious circumstances at sites in Lavenham and N e w b o u r n e . The police were informed. ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD Uncommon
visitor and passage
The m a j o r i t y of t h e 23 reports received, including t h e long-staying o v e r w i n t e r i n g bird in t h e Orfordness area early in t h e year, were not submitted to SORC and, therefore, cannot be included in this report. The accepted records were of presumably a single bird in t h e north-east and a juvenile at Butley and Boyton in O c t o b e r : Southwold: Common, Oct 15th (B J Small). Hinton: Oct 22nd (D Eaton). Dunwich/Minsmere: Oct 15th to 19th (P D Green). Minsmere: Oct 16th to 18th (E W Patrick). Butley/Boyton: juvenile, Oct 19th (S Abbott). OSPREY Uncommon
It was a fairly average year for this species, t h e 5 1 reports received being only slightly d o w n on t h e 58 in 2013. Once again t h e majority of t h e records carne f r o m late-summer / e a r l y a u t u m n and favoured locations such as t h e Blyth Estuary and Minsmere, both hosting lingering birds during t h a t period. The earliest r e t u r n i n g bird was seen at Kirton Creek on Aprii 5th and t h e r e were a f u r t h e r nine reports b e t w e e n Aprii and J u n e : Fritton Decoy: May 26th. Wrentham: June lst. 70
Systematic List Blyth Estuary: May lOth: June 13th. Minsmere: May lOth. Kirton Creek: Apr 5th. Bawdsey: May 17th. Wherstead Strand: Apr 16th. Erwarton Park: Apr 21st. Lakenheath Fen: Apr4th and 6th. In July one was seen carrying a fish at Beccles on 12th and at least one was present in t h e west of t h e c o u n t y f r o m mid-July t o mid-August. A n o t h e r lingering bird remained at Hazlewood Marshes for most of August, and was j o i n e d by a second bird on August 21st. Reports of a single bird from several coastal sites suggest that at least one bird moved up and d o w n the coastal belt between Minsmere and Orfordness up to t h e end of September. At Gunton Beach one was seen flying in off t h e sea in mid-September. Other migrants were seen at t w o coastal locations in October and another lingering bird was seen in t h e Needham Market area a r o u n d t h e same t i m e . Then, w h a t was presumably t h e same individuai, m o v e d further east t o t h e Crowfield area for a few days towards t h e end of t h e m o n t h . The last t h r e e reports carne f r o m Framsden on November l s t , Chediston, November 16th and a very late bird at Orfordness on November 30th. This is second-latest date ever after t h e long-staying juvenile on the River Stour which lingered there up to December 12th, 2006. Gunton Beach: in off the sea, Sep 13th. Beccles: Common, July 12th. Flixton: G P, Aug 8th. Kessingland: Sewage Works, Sep 7th. Benacre Broad: Sep 5th; Oct 7th . Chediston: Nov 16th. Blyth Estuary: Sep 15th; Sep 20th; Sep 27th. Minsmere: Sep 18th and 19th; Oct 4th. Aldeburgh: Aug 22nd and 23rd. North Warren: Aug 22nd. Hazlewood Marshes: present Aug 2nd to 30th; two, Aug 21st. Boyton Marshes: Aug 22nd. Orfordness: Aug 27th and 30th: Sep 23rd: Nov 30th. Bawdsey: Sep 6th. Falkenham: Aug 22nd. Stutton Mill: Sep 7th. Stour Estuary: Seafield Bay, same as above, Sep 7th. Sproughton: Oct 22nd. Crowfield: Oct 31st. Framsden: Nov lst, presumably located by Hoopoe observers? Needham Market: Oct 3rd; Oct 17th; Oct 20th. Pipps Ford: presumably same as above, Oct 3rd; Oct 18th. Bury St Edmunds: Aug 7th. Lackford Lakes: Aug 12th. Cavenham Pits: July 19th. Lakenheath Fen: July 26th. Knettishall Heath: Aug 17th. WATER RAIL Rallus aquatĂŹcus Fairly common resident, winter visitor and passage migrant.
Records of this widely distributed, but shy species were received f r o m 57 sites, almost identical to the previous t w o years. Breeding was confirmed at only seven sites w i t h t h e largest counts being recorded at M i n s m e r e (52 pairs and 56 additional individuals) and W e s t w o o d Marshes, Walberswick NNR, (42 pairs). No breeding records were received f r o m t h e south-east or west of the county.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 SPOTTED CRAKE
Rare passage migrant;
After t h r e e blank years, a r e p o r t was received f r o m a site in t h e west of t h e county w h e r e a male was heard calling at night f r o m April 30th to May 22nd. Confirmation of breeding, however, was not f o r t h c o m i n g . LITTLE CRAKE
Accldental. A juvenile bird, first seen f r o m t h e Bittern Hide at Minsmere on September 30th, is only t h e t h i r d record of this species in Suffolk. For many observers it was t h e first Little Crake that they had ever seen. For a f e w days t h e hide was bulging! In The Birds of Suffolk (2003) Steve Piotrowski states t h a t t h e first certain Suffolk record was of a bird "obtained" at Oulton Broad in 1830 and t h e second an adult seen by a single observer at Minsmere on September 27th 1973. Minsmere: juvenile/first-winter, Sep 30th to Oct 13th (R C Knight et al.). An article on this bird can be found on page 29. CORN CRAKE
Very rare passage migrant.
There were no s u b m i t t e d records of Com Crake in 2014. C O M M O N MOORHEN Very common
winter visitor and passage
This c o m m o n species remains widespread t h r o u g h o u t t h e county, albeit under-recorded. Breeding or probable breeding was reported f r o m only 25 sites, an increase of four on t h e previous year. The highest count, of 48 birds, was received f r o m Playford on December 31st. On Orfordness up t o t w o birds w e r e seen b e t w e e n March 23rd and July 4 t h during w h i c h t i m e breeding was possibly a t t e m p t e d . It retains, however, a very tenuous t o e h o l d on this isolated coastal site. The results of w i n t e r counts at all regularly m o n i t o r e d sites are s h o w n b e l o w : Counts from regularly monitored sites:Jan Feb Minsmere 2 Aide/Ore Estua ry 13 28 Deben Estuary 9 5 Orwell Estuary 10 18 Alton Water 5 24
C O M M O N COOT Common
Mar 1 11 4 0 10
Apr 1 -
7 0 3
Sep 15 -
16 4 30
Oct 15 9 15 95 38
Nov 12 12 22 10 32
Dee 1 13 14 18 24
winter visitor and passage
This species remains common in suitable habitat throughout the year. Breeding or probable breeding was reported from 28 sites. Peak winter counts were recorded at Alton Water (444 on December 7th), Trimley Marshes SWT (425 on August 24th) and Lakenheath Fen RSPB (261 on September 14th). The results of w i n t e r counts at all regularly-monitored sites are s h o w n b e l o w : Counts from regularly monitored sites:Jan Feb 22 20 Leathes Ham 6 Minsmere 0 19 Alde/Ore Estuary 10 0 Deben Estuary 49 46 Orwell Estuary 172 300 Alton Water
Mar 8 45 26 2 36 48 72
7 0 21
Sep 10 94 -
0 200 309
Oct 6 107 12 0 210 230
Nov 7 198 1 0 250 218
Dee 10 35 0 0 244 444
Systematic List C O M M O N CRANE
Scarce passage migrant.
Has bred since 2007. Amber
Up to eight birds were reported f r o m Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve t h r o u g h o u t the year. Two pairs attempted to breed, but neither pair was successful due to chick prĂŠdation at between three and six weeks. A pair was recorded f r o m May 16th to June 5th at W e s t w o o d Marshes calling and displaying regularly, although breeding was not confirmed. Some 15 reports were received f r o m nine sites away f r o m t h e recognised breeding area, appearing to relate t o up to ten individuals. All these records are included b e l o w : Herringfleet: three north-east, May 7th. Shadingfield: two south-east, same birds as at Minsmere, Nov 27th. Southwold: six south, May 6th. Walberswick NNR: Westwood Marshes, four east, May 7th; two, May 16th to June 5th. Dunwich: six over, May 6th; Dingle Marshes, two, May 16th. Minsmere: six over, May 6th; two circled overhead, May 14th; two, June Ist; two on North Levels, June 3rd, 4th and 6th; two west, Nov 27th. Eastbridge: six over, May 6th Butley: west, Apr 21st. Fiatford Mill: two, Mar l l t h . STONE CURLEW Locallyfairly
oedicnemus visitor. Occasionali
The first returning bird was recorded at Cavenham Heath on March 13th followed by six on 22nd. There w e r e 83 breeding pairs recorded in t h e Suffolk Breck, w h e r e at least 4 1 chicks fledged. On the coast there were 16 breeding pairs and at least eight chicks fledged. Post-breeding, t h e highest count was 99 birds at Cavenham Heath on September 8th. The latest counts w e r e of t e n at Cavenham Heath on October 27th and t h r e e at Fakenham Magna on November 5th. BLACK-WINGED STILT
Rare visitor. A pair was f o u n d at Cavenham Heath Pits, w i t h four fledged young, on July 19th (D Langlois, E Lucking et al.). This is t h e first-ever recorded breeding pair in Suffolk. An article relating t o this event is on page 31. The birds w e r e last seen on August 12th. There was some m o v e m e n t b e t w e e n Cavenham and pig fields at Great Livermere (P M Wilson et al.)
as shown b e l o w : Cavenham: family of six (2 ads, 4 juvs), July 19th to 28th Livermere: family of six, July 29th. Cavenham: family of six back, July 30th. Livermere: adult only, Aug Ist Cavenham: family of six, Aug 6th Cavenham: adult and four juvs, Aug 7th to 9th. Cavenham: adult, Aug 12th (last date). EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER Haematopus ostralegus Very common winter visitor and passage migrant. Common resident. Amber list. The highest counts, again, came f r o m t h e Orwell Estuary, w i t h 640 birds noted on January 2nd at Trimley Marshes. The highest inland count came f r o m Livermere Lake, w i t h 16 birds on February 27th.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 Breeding was recorded at 11 sites, of which t w o were inland. Only t h r e e fledged on Orfordness, t w o at Lackford Lakes and one at Mickle Mere. WeBS data:Jan Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary
PIED AVOCET Fairly common
40 161 1102 366
103 75 1115 553
161 129 384 318
n/c 170 193 275
n/c 55 753 643
35 79 738 668
18 71 533 617
35 63 793 251
visitor and passage migrant
on the coast. Amber
Breeding records w e r e received f r o m eight sites w i t h only t h e f o l l o w i n g c o n f i r m e d fledging success: Minsmere, t w o young , Orfordness, 20 young, Hollesley Marshes, 100+ y o u n g w i t h t h e first chick seen o n May 12th. WeBS data : Jan Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary
843 168 82 0
1139 239 14 4
517 4 4 15
n/c 4 4 13
n/c 68 3 0
550 195 46 0
918 178 0 112
1115 360 120 129
Counts of 200 or more, o t h e r than Webs, were as f o l l o w s : Breydon South Fiats: 560, Aug 20th. Minsmere: Scrape, 218, July 7th. Havergate Island: 500, Sep 25th; 227, Dec 7th. Butley River: 400, Jan 2nd; 240, Dee 20th. Gedgrave Marshes: 300, Oct 26th. COLLARED PRATINCOLE Glareola pratĂncola Very rare
Collared Pratincole and Avocet Peter Beeson
This bird was well watched during its 13-day stay. It regularly pursued invertebrates over the Scrape and would, for long periods, fly high w i t h Common Swifts Apus apus and other aerial feeders over nearby woods before returning to more or less the same spot that it had left. Minsmere: adult, July 15th to 27th (R Drew, D Fairhurst, J A Rowlands et al.). LITTLE RINGED PLOVER Uncommon
visitor and passage
The first arrivai was on March 24th at Pipps Ford. Nine birds were present at Hollesley Marshes o n August 12th w h i c h was t h e highest count of t h e year. Breeding was c o n f i r m e d at only t w o sites; Flixton Gravel Pits w h e r e one young fledged and Pipps Ford w h e r e t w o pairs a t t e m p t e d but failed due t o prĂŠdation. The last record of t h e a u t u m n was at Pipps Ford on September 30th.
Systematic List RINGED PLOVER
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Sightings of birds considered to be of race tundrae w e r e : Hollesley Marshes: 40, May 5th; 50, May l l t h ; 15, May 15th. Trimley Marshes: four, May 6th; 20, May lOth; May 18th; 12, May 24th; four, May 28th; two, Aug lOth. Breeding was again confirmed at seven sites:Covehithe Broad: pair, breeding confirmed. Easton Broad: pair, breeding confirmed. Dunwich: Corporation Marsh, four pairs with breeding confirmed; Dingle Marshes: three pairs, breeding confirmed. Minsmere: three pairs, breeding confirmed. Orfordness: eight pairs, 19 chicks, min. of six fledged. Shingle Street: pair, sitting on eggs. Landguard: three pairs, seven young fledged. DĂźring t h e a u t u m n / s e c o n d winter period flocks of 50 or more w e r e : Dunwich: Dingle Marshes, 71, Oct Ist. Melton: River Deben, 50, Sep 15th. WeBS data:Jan Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary
EURASIAN DOTTEREI. Scarce passage migrant.
8 29 67 0
14 22 48 0
3 1 2 1
n/c 0 1 0
n/c 108 77 171
0 62 59 29
8 13 37 22
21 18 32 26
The m i n i m u m total of seven birds in a year is t h e highest in Suffolk since 1998 when ten were recorded. April 19th is the earliest-ever arrivai date, exceeding singles in t h e Breck on April 22nd 1998 and April 21st 1835. Kessingland: four, Apr 19th and 20th (C D Darby). Easton Bavents; two, May 8th to lOth (C A Buttle); three, May l l t h (C A Buttle). 2008 Addition: A juvenile Dotterei was recorded at Hall Farm, Fornham St Martin on September 8th 2008 (D Cawdron). EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER Common winter
visitor and passage migrant.
Counts of 300 or more were w i d e s p r e a d : Orfordness: 1870, Jan 19th; 1100, Feb 2nd; 2110, Feb 9th; 1061, Feb 16th. Boyton Marshes: 1000, Jan 27th. Deben Estuary: 650, Jan 19th; 650, Jan 24th. Bawdsey Quay: 700, Nov 15th. Levington Creek: 650, Oct 7th. Mickle Mere: 700, Sep 25th. WeBS data:Jan Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary
2360 733 262 0
1106 241 37 340
70 0 0 0
n/c 0 0 0
n/c 109 85 0
14 278 541 368
495 2693 49 1
2221 2296 22 0
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER
Very rare visitor. 2013 Addition Orfordness: June 29th to July 3rd (D Fairhurst, M C Marsh, G Stannard et al.). This is t h e t h i r d Suffolk record following sightings in 2005 and 2008. GREY PLOVER Common
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Present in every m o n t h of t h e year, but only on coastal scrapes and estuarine sites, and particularly on t h e Deben Estuary. There was one inland report, at Lackford Lakes on October 8th. Counts of at least 50 f r o m individual sites w e r e : Thorpeness: 80, Aug 8th. Havergate: 50, Nov 9th. Waldringfield: 154, Aug 30th. Shotley: 150, Jan 3rd. Levington Creek: 59, Jan 27th; 130, Sep 21st; 56, Sep 27th; 66, Oct 7th. Brantham: 80, Sep 18th; 120, Sep 27th; 80, Oct l l t h ; 69, Oct 21st; 90, Nov 27th. WeBSdata:Jan Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary
42 538 88 1313
NORTHERN LAPWING Very common
50 492 60 928
25 101 5 397
n/c 9 0 79-
n/c 281 136 753
6 316 101 456
57 377 23 807
180 323 25 746
Va nellus vanellus
visitor and passage migrant.
as a breeding
species. Red list.
Counts of 1000 or m o r e in t h e first w i n t e r period w e r e : Carlton Colville: 1000, Feb lOth. Minsmere: 1074, Jan 19th. North Warren: 1300, Jan 24th. Havergate Island: 1200, Jan 19th. Boyton Marshes: 1240, Jan 4th. Ramsholt: 1500, Jan 24th; 1380, Feb 18th. Trimley Marshes: 1000, Jan 18 and 19th; 1347, Jan 26th; 1400, Feb lst; 2269, Feb 2nd; 1720, Feb 3rd; 1000, Feb 22nd. Breeding was c o n f i r m e d at Beccles Marshes, Oulton Marshes, Carlton Marshes, Castle Marsh, Corporation
Dunwich, Dingle Marshes in Dunwich,
Creek in Reydon, Sibton Park, Sizewell Saltmarsh, Southwold Town Marshes, Walberswick Tinker's Marshes, Orfordness, Hollesley
Marshes, Hold Farm Nr. Bures, Gifford's
Nayland, Higham Nr Hadleigh, Bures, Livermere
Bowbeck in Bardwell. Lapwing Ed Keeble 76
Systematic List WeBSdata:Jan Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary
4178 2661 1514 608
5154 2543 3386 1185
268 13 23 144
n/c 6 18 15
n/c 409 112 234
373 847 458 509
1324 1959 561 348
4201 1943 138 1414
Vagrant. The well-watched bird, present at Breydon Water f r o m July 13th to 15th, crossed onto t h e south shore on t h e second and t h i r d days of its stay, and in so doing became the first Suffolk record of this specles. See article on page 27. Breydon Water: adult, July 14th and 15th (P R Allard et al.). RED KNOT
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Counts of 50 or m o r e : Kessingland: 72 south, Jan 16th; 65 south, Jan 20th. Thorpeness: south, 50, Jan 7th; 1070, Aug 8th; 100, Nov 8th. Deben Estuary: Kirton Creek, 200, Dec 24th. Landguard: 99 south, Feb 15th; 72 south, Oct 30th. Levington Creek: 420, Jan 27th. Erwarton: Ness, 1000, Jan 7th. Stutton: Ness, 1200, Nov l l t h ; MIII, 3000, Dec 21st. Cattawade: 2000, Jan 8th; 5000, Dec 18th. WeBS data:Jan Blyth Estuary Aide Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary
3 41 200 3752
6 0 500 5421
SANDERLING Calidris alba Locally common winter visitor and passage
1 0 0 133
n/c 0 0 0
n/c 29 4 4
4 5 6 46
906 28 1 3550
80 48 13 4420
Most sightings w e r e at coastal/estuarine sites, but a bird at Livermere was an unusual and welcome inland record. Counts of over 20 or m o r e : Benacre Broad: 40, Jan 6th; 40, Feb 5th; 42, Feb 20th; 42, Feb 23rd. Bawdsey: East Lane, 20, Nov 7th. Livermere: pig fields, Nov 28th (J Walshe). LITTLE STI NT Fairly common
Calidris minuta passage migrant.
The only m i d w i n t e r singleton was recorded a t : Levington Creek: Jan 27th. Spring passage, mostly singletons, was recorded a t : Carlton Marshes: May 5th. Minsmere: three, May 17th and 18th; May 26th; May 30th and 31st. Boyton Marshes: May 21st. Landguard: May 12th.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 Stutton: IVI ili, May 20th. A u t u m n sightings were as f o l l o w s : Benacre: Aug 27th; Aug 30th; two, Sep lst; Sep 18th and 19th; two, Sep 22nd; three, Sep 23rd. Blyth Estuary: July 31st. Walberswick: Tinker's Marshes: Sep 5th; two, Sep 7th; three Sep 9th. Minsmere: July 19th; singletons throughout most of Aug with four on 24th and two, 25th and 26th; present throughout most of Sep with four on 7th, eight on 9th and four, 28th and 29th; present in Oct until 21st with three on 2nd and six on lOth. Slaughden: Oct 4th. Orfordness: Aug 31st; Sep 13th; Oct 4th. Trimley Marshes: Sep l l t h ; Nov 23rd until end Dee at least, the only midwinter record. Stour Estuary: Seafield Bay: Sep 9th. Stutton: Mill, Aug lst; Aug 30th and Sep lst; Sep 9th. Tuddenham (near Mildenhall): flooded pig fields, juv, Sep 6th to lOth; two, Sep 8th; three, Sep lOth; Sep l l t h (ali sightings - S Jarvis, T Kerridge, West Suffolk Birders et al.). TEMMINCK'S STINT
Scarce passage migrant.
Once again ali records carne in t h e spring. Benacre Broad: May 8th. Boyton Marshes: Apr 29th; two, May 19th. Hollesley Marshes: Apr 29th, possibly same as Boyton bird. Trimley Marshes: May 6th to 8th; two, May lOth. PECTORAL SANDPIPER
Scarce passage migrant. There was a single record in May, the fifth consecutive year that this wader has occurred in Suffolk in the spring: Trimley Marshes: June 3rd to 6th (P Oldfield et al.). There w e r e t w o a u t u m n sightings i n c l u d i n g a w e l c o m e appearance in t h e w e s t being t h e first record f o r West Suffolk since a u t u m n 2003 w h e n singles w e r e n o t e d at Lakenheath and Livermere l a k e : Minsmere: Sep 9th to 18th (M D Robertson). Great Livermere: pig fields, Oct 19th (L Gregory). CURLEW SANDPIPER Uncommon
Spring sightings, ali singletons, were recorded a t : Breydon South Flats: May 19th and 20th. Blyth Estuary: Tinker's Marshes, May 24th and 25th. Minsmere: May 20th and 21st. A u t u m n records were as f o l l o w s : Breydon South Flats: July 24th. Burgh Castle: two, Sep lst. Blyth Estuary: July 31st; three, Sep 6th; two, Sep 14th; Oct 5th; Tinker's Marshes, July 20th and 21st; July 26th; Aug 2nd. Minsmere: July 30th; Aug 3rd; Aug 20th to 25th; two, Aug 26th; five, Aug 28th and 29th; birds present throughout Sep with four on 2nd, 12 on l l t h ; Oct 5th; Oct lOth. Orfordness: July 5th and 6th; three, July 27th; Aug 3rd; Aug 24th; Aug 30th. Havergate Island: three, Aug 9th. Hollesley Marshes: July 24th; two, Aug 28th. Waldringfield: Aug 30th. Stour Estuary: Seafield Bay, Sep 4th; Stutton Mill: Sep lst; Sep 22nd.
Systematic List PURPLE SANDPIPER Fairly common
winter visitor. Scarce passage migrant.
The most regular site for this species remains Ness Point, Lowestoft. Purple Sandpipers were recorded t h e r e , in t h e first part of t h e year, f r o m January 1st until April 25th w i t h the highest count being 14 on March 8th. The first returning bird was seen there on August 26th and birds were present until t h e year's end, w i t h a maximum o f t e n recorded on November 11th. Other records in t h e first part of t h e y e a r : Lowestoft: North Beach: seven, Mar 28th. Kessingland: Feb 12th. Bawdsey: East Lane: Jan 5th; Apr 1st; Apr 4th and 5th; Apr 9th. Felixstowe: Promenade, Jan 10th. Landguard: Feb 4th. Records, other than from Ness Point, f r o m September through t o the end of the year came f r o m : Gorleston: Pier, Sep 22nd. Easton Bavents: Sep 13th; two, Oct 18th; Oct 19th. Southwold: Harbour, Sep 29th; Oct 21st. Minsmere: Sep 18th to 21st; two, Sep 22nd; Sep 23rd; Sep 25th to 28th; four, Oct 23rd. Thorpeness: Haven, Sep 17th to 20th; Oct 26th. North Warren: Sep 17th and 18th, presumably the same as above at Thorpeness. Slaughden: from Nov 19th, recorded on and off, until Dec 16th. Bawdsey: East Lane: Dec 6th. Landguard: Aug 23rd; Sep 3rd; Sep 6th and 7th; Oct 11th; Oct 16th; Nov 30th. DUNLIN
winter visitor and passage migrant.
In the first w i n t e r period reports came f r o m t h e following inland sites; Lackford Lakes, Mickle M e r e , Livermere Lake and Bowbeck, Bardwell. Three or four-figure counts during this period, apart f r o m WeBS which are shown below, came from the f o l l o w i n g locations:Breydon South Flats: 300, Jan 25th; 650, Apr 19th. Kessingland: 105, Jan 25th. Orford Ness: 1209, Feb 16th. Butley River: 240, Jan 2nd. Havergate Island: 321, Jan 19th. Bawdsey: 345, Jan 10th. Deben Estuary: Felixstowe Ferry, 247, Mar 4th; 187, Mar 5th. Falkenham, 347, Jan 12th; Ramsholt, 618, Feb 9th; 289, Feb 18th; Hemley, 920, Feb 2nd; Methersgate, 458, Jan 22nd. Trimley Marshes: 750, Jan 2nd; 3228, Jan 6th; 1250, Feb 1st; 1250, Feb 3rd; 370, Mar 2nd. Stour Estuary: Shotley, 100, Jan 3rd; Erwarton Ness, 250 Jan 7th; Brantham, 350, Feb 2nd. During t h e second w i n t e r period three- or four-figure counts were f r o m : Lowestoft: Ness Point, 261, Oct 18th; 139, Oct 30th. Blyth Estuary: 156, July 31st; 550, Nov 21st; 200, Dec 28th. Southwold: 585, Oct 18th. Thorpeness: 109, Nov 10th. Slaughden: 177, Oct 4th. Orfordness: 2030, Nov 23rd; 1570, Dec 27th. Havergate Island: 281, Nov 9th; 287, Dec 7th. Deben Estuary: 210, Nov 9th; 200, Nov 28th; Bawdsey, 620, Nov 15th. Landguard: 184, Oct 3rd. Trimley Marshes: 166, Nov 9th; 256, Nov 23rd. Levington Creek: 125, Oct 7th; 274, Nov 10th. Stour Estuary: Holbrook Bay, 125, Nov 14th; 151, Dec 16th; 200, Dec 24th; Stutton Ness, 200, Nov 11th; 209, Nov 27th; Brantham, 100, Sep 18th; 196, Sep 26th; 160, Sep 27th; 290, Oct 11th; 243, Oct 21st; 670, Oct 23rd; 150, Oct 24th; 1000, Nov 27th; 1400, Dec 11th; Cattawade, 2800, Nov 6th. 79
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 WeBSdata:Blyth Estuary Alde Estuary Deben Estuary Orwell Estuary Stour Estuary RUFF
5579 2207 2948 4501
2187 889 3069 5421
486 575 60 632
n/c 169 0 31
n/c 94 10 217
273 139 57 3996
1983 1330 1123 3776
5811 2434 528 3843
Birds w e r e recorded in every m o n t h of t h e year. Reports were received f r o m eight inland sites; M i c k l e M e r e , Higham near Hadleigh, Gifford's Hall in Stoke-by-Nayland, Livermere Lake, Tuddenham near Mildenhall, BSC Great Barton, Bowbeck in Bardwell and Lackford Lakes. Counts of five or more in t h e first winter period were as f o l l o w s : Minsmere: five, Mar l l t h . Snape Wetland RSPB: five, Jan 13th. Hollesley Marshes: five, Feb 8th; 14, Feb 13th. Five at Trimley Marshes on April 20th were presumably passage birds. In t h e second w i n t e r p e r i o d : Carlton Marshes: 11, Aug 15th; eight, Aug 18th; ten, Aug 19th; eight, Aug 20th; nine, Aug 21st; 11, Aug 22nd; eight, Aug 23rd. Benacre: nine, Sep 4th. Minsmere: six, July 25th; 15, July 26th; five, July 29th and 30th; five, Aug 3rd to 6th; six, Aug 7th; five, Aug 12th; five, Sep 5th; 32 Sep l l t h . Thorpeness: six, July 8th. Hazlewood: 12, Aug 24th. Orfordness: six, July 16th to 30th; seven, Aug lst to 24th; 14, Aug 25th; nine, Aug 30th; eight, Aug 31st; four, Sep 6th; eight, Sep 13th; five, Sep 14th; Oct l l t h ; two Oct 12th; Oct 19th. Hollesley Marshes: nine, Dec 5th; eight, Dec 13th; ten, Dec 19th; five, Dec 24th. Landguard: five, Aug 28th. Trimley Marshes: six, Aug 21st; eight, Aug 24th; five, Oct 12th. Mickle Mere: eight, Aug 29th and 30th; nine, Sep 7th; eight, Sep 13th; nine, Sep 16th; ten, Sep 17th; 13, Sep 18th; eight, Sep 21st. BLACK-TAILED GODWIT L.l.islándico: L.l.limosa:
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Scarce visitor. Formerly
bred. Red list.
There w e r e j u s t t w o records of t h e limosa
race this spring, w i t h t w o birds seen at Trimley
Marshes o n A p r i l 2 7 t h and M a y 17th in a m o n g s t flocks of 65 and 95 islándico During t h e r e t u r n passage p e r i o d , j u v e n i l e limosa
were located at t h r e e sites: Blyth Estuary,
one, July 3 0 t h , M i n s m e r e , t w o , August 4 t h t o 21st and Hazlewood Marshes, t h r e e o n August 4th. The early w i n t e r period produced triple-figure counts f r o m Burgh Castle Fíats, 450 March l l t h and 200, March 15th, N o r t h Warren Grazing Marshes, 261, January 9th and Snape Wetland, 500, January 5 t h plus 300, February 2nd. Following some good m i d - w i n t e r totals for inland sites over recent years three sites recorded only singles earlier this year: Lackford Lakes, Mickle Mere and Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland. However, t h e biggest-ever single flock on t h e Stour and indeed for Suffolk was 2875 at Seafield Bay o n February 2nd. These included birds w h i c h were k n o w n (by colour-rings) t o have been pushed off t h e Ouse Washes by rain (E Keeble). Coastal observers recorded a w e a l t h of data during t h e course of WeBS and m o n t h l y counts, w i t h t h e Orwell l o w - w a t e r count of 3203 in February being a record t o t a l for t h e e s t u a r y : -
10. Great Bittern continuing to offer close-up views at Minsmere.
11. Great (White) Egret an increasingly regular visitor to the county.
12. Hen Harrier regularly seen at Gedgrave in the late winter period. John Richardson
Ian Good II
13. Pallid Harrier at Minsmere in September. Only the second Suffolk record. See article. lan Clarke
14. Black Stork briefly visited Trimley in November. PaulOldfield
15. Little Crake rare sighting at Minsmere in October. See article. John Richardson
19. Collared Pratincole at Minsmere in July. Last seen in the county in 1996! Harry Read
20. Dotterel at Easton Bavents in May. Eddie Marsh
Systematic List Mar Apr Jan Feb 105 169 4 18 Minsmere* 847 1514 1101 900 Aide/Ore 1 Orfordness* 142 450 226 200 Deben 180 22 13 602 Orwell HW 1361 3203 Orwell LW 1400 705 1400 1585 Stour *monthly maxima, HW-High Water, LW-Low Water
Aug 202 560 -
Sep 173 550 3 389 343
Nov 27 893 23 530 296 856 223
Oct 97 1202 31
Dee 18 326 7 381 166 1041 1700
Spring passage was well spread w i t h good records t h r o u g h o u t Aprii and May w i t h Burgh Castle recording 219 on April 21st, Breydon South Fiats, 144 on May 19th, Minsmere, 105, Aprii 16th , 123, May 12th and 180, May 19th, Orfordness, 77, May lOth, Colton Creek, on t h e Orwell, 160, Aprii 12th and Trimley Marshes 100 on May 3rd. In t h e west of t h e county 17 birds were noted at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland on Aprii 17th. There was a continuai run of records t h r o u g h o u t June making return migration a little hard to distinguish but numbers o n Orfordness increased to 36 o n 2 8 t h and 52 t h e f o l l o w i n g day. At Minsmere t h e r e were 145 present on t h e WeBS count on June 15th, while Breydon South Fiats recorded 245 on 30th, on which day 147 were at Trimley Marshes, w i t h Lackford Lakes, in t h e west, recording five, after a month's absence, on June 21st. Impressive-looking s u m m e r gatherings occurred on the Blyth estuary w i t h 130, July 31st and at Minsmere, 202, August 4th, Orfordness, 132, July 2nd, Hazlewood Marshes peaking at 560 August 5th and Trimley Marshes, 221, July 23rd. Inland, Lakenheath recorded eight, July 8th and Mickle M e r e 27, July 15th. The WeBS sites provided t h e bulk of t h e data t o w a r d s t h e end of the year but significant counts also carne f r o m Breydon South Fiats w i t h 210 on October 19th and North Warren Grazing Marshes with some really good n u m b e r s : November 22nd: 800 November 25th: 1300 November 26th: 1800 November 29th: 2000 December 17th: 500 December 20th: 500 There was also a late-winter t h r e e - f i g u r e c o u n t f r o m t h e west of t h e county this year w i t h Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland recording a t o t a l of 210 on November 25th w i t h a singleton being recorded t h e r e on December 15th.
Fairly common passage migrant
lapponica and locaily common
winter visitor. Amber
Counts f r o m our t o p sites w e r e : Feb Mar Jan Orfordness* 1 0 60 Deben 3 80 50 Orwell HW 1 40 2 Orwell LW 320 370 Stour 250 270 305 *monthly maxima, HW-High Water, LW-Low Water
Apr 9 3
Sep 7 9
Oct 21 13
Nov 0 2 -
Dee 76 41 -
The count of 370 in January is t h e highest total ever recorded on t h e Orwell. DĂźring t h e first w i n t e r period this wader was reported f r o m 20 widespread coastal sites. The highest counts apart f r o m in t h e table above coming f r e m i 91
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 Blyth Estuary: 32, Mar 10th. Minsmere: 28, Jan 29th. Thorpeness: 16, Jan 26th. Waldringfield: 42, Jan 5th. Double-figure numbers for spring passage during April and May included 12, Breydon South Flats, May 26th, 14 at Burgh Castle, May 12th and 25, Dunwich Shore Pools, April 29th. Minsmere peaked at 63 o n May 1st, t h e r e w e r e 12 at Hollesley Marshes on April 4 t h , w h i l e Landguard recorded 37, April 29th and 26, May 9th. The highest figure for t h e period was 130 at Seafield Bay on t h e Stour Estuary on April 20th. Inland, singletons w e r e reported f r o m Livermere Lake, Lackford Lakes, Mickle M e r e and Pipps Ford, Barking w i t h t h e first site-record of this wader on May 6th. Mid-June sightings came f r o m Southwold, Walberswick and Hen Reedbeds 13th, 14th and 19th respectively, w i t h a later bird at Trimley Marshes on 26th. Kessingland, M i n s m e r e and Thorpeness all had sightings in t h e first week of July but there were f e w double-figure counts during t h e m o n t h : Burgh Castle: 11, July 26th. Gorleston: 16, July 10th; 27, July 11th. Kessingland: 14, July 22nd. Thorpeness: 16, July 22nd. There were 12 south at Southwold on August 6th and 11 recorded past Thorpeness on August 26th. David T h u r l o w reported a remarkable 3000 birds going south during a seawatch on August 8th, t h e highest single-site t o t a l ever recorded in Suffolk, w i t h just four t h e f o l l o w i n g day I The highest previous seawatch day-total at a single site was of 1824 south off Landguard, August 30th 1992. A well-spread nine sites held this species in September w i t h Minsmere recording six on 21st, w h i l e Havergate Island, 25 o n December 7th, plus t h e O r w e l l and Stour Estuaries had t h e m o n o p o l y on sightings during October to December. WHIMBREL Fairly common
The first bird of t h e year was seen at Hollesley Marshes on April 1st before five were recorded on April 5th at Minsmere. Numbers were slow to build up w i t h the first double-figure count being 17 at Breydon South Wall on April 17th. April's peak sightings came f r o m t h e north-east in t h e last week of t h e m o n t h w i t h 30 at North Cove/Castle Marsh, 24th, rising t o 40 on 29th, 25 at North Warren Grazing Marshes, 2 7 t h and 22 on Orfordness, 26th. In t h e south there was only the one double-figure April count w i t h 16 at Trimley Marshes, 26th. Five inland sites recorded April sightings w i t h t h e highest total being three at Lakenheath Fen on 22nd. Overall, numbers were generally lower than in recent years. The highest count of the spring passage was made at Burgh Castle with 77 on May 3rd and on the following day Orfordness recorded 40 and North Cove/Castle Marsh, 30. In the south 21 birds were recorded flying north off Landguard Bird Observatory on May 15th. What would appear to be the last bird of spring was at Trimley Marshes on June 8th. Orfordness r e p o r t e d birds m o v i n g south f r o m June 14th, w i t h Kessingland,
Thorpeness, Trimley Marshes and Landguard also picking up late June records. Southerly passage counts f r o m Thorpeness produced a total of 121 during July and early August peaking at 60, August 8 t h . During t h e same period M i n s m e r e recorded a t o t a l of 55 birds. Elsewhere peak counts were ten, Gorleston, July 11th, 13, Hazlewood Marshes, August 10th and nine past Landguard, August 6th. Inland t w o sites recorded singles, Mayday Farm, Brandon, July 22nd and Sudbury, August 28th. Late-August records came f r o m ten coastal sites w i t h Gorleston recording eight, 2 8 t h and Thorpeness having a flypast of 2 1 on 20th. September sightings came f r o m nine sites totalling 16 birds, five of w h i c h w e r e f r o m Breydon South Wall on 3rd. October produced five singles w i t h t h e last being at Thorpeness Haven on 31st. 82
Systematic List EURASIAN CURLEW
Common winter visitor and passage migrant.
A few pairs breed. Amber
An early inland record was received f r o m Lakenheath Fen o n January 31st, w i t h a single at icklingham Plains on t h e usual mid-February date of 16th being t h e start of t h e run of records into west Suffolk w i t h birds being recorded at Nunnery Floods, Thetford, five on 19th, Cavenham Heath, t w o , 21st and 12 on 22nd, Lackford Lakes, five, 22nd and Lakenheath Fen, 15, March 4 t h and seven, March 6th. Breeding was suspected at t h r e e sites and c o n f i r m e d at o n e o t h e r in t h e Brecks area, but Curlews w e r e also reported f r o m seven f u r t h e r local sites during t h e breeding period. Counts at t h e principal estuarine sites w e r e : Mar Jan Feb 941 747 405 Aide/Ore 21 88 73 Orfordness* 1008 650 753 Deben 582 579 499 Orwell HW 812 819 Orwell LW 584 1330 961 Stour *monthly maxima, HW-High Water, LW-Low Water
25 521 508
64 166 -
Oct 475 30 1040 566 -
Nov 916 220 673 5 746 688
Dec 1357 207 450 1 785 202
Other first w i n t e r counts came f r o m Burgh Castle w i t h 315 on M a r c h 11th and Hollesley Marshes held 125, January 3rd. Peak spring migration on t h e coast was recorded at Landguard Bird Observatory on April 16th with 33 flying north. Two flying south at Kessingland on June 6th, t h r e e south at Thorpeness, June 11th and five on June 12th were t h e first signs of t h e return migration. The first double-figure count in June was on the Butley River w i t h 16 on 8 t h , f o l l o w e d by 50 at Seafield Bay on t h e Stour, 18th, t e n at Hazlewood Marshes, 21st, 12 south off Thorpeness, also 21st and 18 at Burgh Castle on 22nd. Few s u m m e r gatherings were noted; t h e only t w o received w e r e of 105 on t h e Blyth Estuary, July 31st and 150 at Cattawade on t h e Stour Estuary on July 1st. The last inland sighting was at Pakenham Fen on July 12th. Late w i n t e r records of note other t h a n above came f r o m Burgh Castle w i t h 80, November 1st, Breydon Humberstone Marshes, 95, November 2 6 t h and Hollesley Marshes, 83 on November 20th. The 1357 recorded on t h e Aide Estuary in December and t h e 1464 on t h e Stour Estuary in October are t h e highest t o t a l in t h e county in recent years but still a long way short of t h e 2395 recorded on t h e Stour in 1985. COMMON SANDPIPER
Common passage migrant.
For the first t i m e since 2007 there were first w i n t e r records for this species w i t h one noted on the Deben Estuary, February 1st, t h e n possibly t h e same bird relocated t o Landguard Bird Observatory and Felixstowe Dock over t h e period February 4th t o 13th. Another at Minsmere was recorded on February 19th. The Landguard bird was seen again between March 24th and April 1st. What was likely t o be t h e start of t h e spring passage was a single at Minsmere on April 17th, with t w o t h e r e on 21st. In b e t w e e n those dates one was f o u n d on t h e Deben Estuary on April 19th. Thereafter only five coastal and t h r e e inland sites recorded this w a d e r d u r i n g April with Burgh Castle holding three, 27th and t w o , 29th on w h i c h date Walberswick also recorded t w o birds. Passage during May was low w i t h 24 sites recording sightings. There w e r e no double-figure counts, t h e best being eight at Lackford Lakes on 5th, seven , O u l t o n Marshes, 18th and five at Seafield Bay, Stour Estuary, 16th. The last bird of spring was recorded o n May 31st at Ness Point, Lowestoft.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 The first of t h e a u t u m n passage was found inland at Livermere Lake on June 25th and another at Lound Lakes on June 28th. Birds were widespread by the third week of July being reported f r o m 32 sites. The highest totals occurred at Oulton Marshes w i t h 1 2 , 8 t h , Lowestoft Leathes Ham, 11,19th, Orfordness, 14, 26th, Walberswick Tinker's Marshes, ten, 27th, and Trimley Marshes, 12 on 25th. August received records f r o m 33 sites but only three w i t h double figures, Hazlewood Marshes, 14, August 4th, Minsmere, 11, August 15th and Orfordness, ten, August 3rd. There were nine at Trimley Marshes on August 2nd while, inland, Livermere Lake had the highest total w i t h four on August 28th. There were 56 observations f r o m 19 sites during September the majority of which were singles. However, Burgh Castle Flats recorded six, 6th and Minsmere also had six on 11th w i t h five still present o n 16th. Five were also present on t h e Deben Estuary on September 7th. Amongst nine sites w i t h October records, t h r e e produced records of t w o birds, Burgh Castle Flats, 4 t h t o 14th, Blyth Estuary, 5th and, inland, Barton M e r e , 2 0 t h . Late in t h e m o n t h one appeared at M u t f o r d Lock on Oulton Broad and was seen t h e r e on t h r e e dates in November and again during t h e last week of December. GREEN SANDPIPER Fairly common
During t h e first t w o months of t h e year this species was reported f r o m 15 coastal and ten inland sites w i t h records of t h r e e birds f r o m Flixton Gravel Pits, February 16th and Pipps Ford, Barking, February 26th, w h i l e Dingle Marshes had records of t w o . Passage d u r i n g late March and April was rather light w i t h just 16 sites recording migrants compared w i t h 27 in 2013. Pipps Ford was t h e only site t o record t h r e e birds during this period. The final count of t h e spring was of three birds at Castle Marsh on May 5th, the only o t h e r May record being a single at Beccles on 4th. There were t w o early returning birds in June, one at Lackford Lakes on 3rd and another at North W a r r e n Grazing Marshes on 4 t h . Thereafter it was 16th before any more were reported w i t h four sites having records on that date. Another six sites had June sightings w i t h the highest total coming f r o m Redgrave Fen w i t h five birds on 30th. Overall this species was reported f r o m 30 sites during July and August, w i t h records of five or m o r e being seen a t : Flixton: Marshes, 12, Aug 3rd, Gravel Pits, five, July 20th. St James South Elmham: five, July 23rd. Carlton Marshes: six, July 11th; eight, Aug 8th; seven, Aug 13th; ten, Aug 14th; seven, Aug 16th. Hen Reedbeds: six, Aug 2nd. Minsmere: July 7th, 15th, 20th; Aug 2nd; eight, Aug 4th; ten, Aug 5th; nine, Aug 9th. Hazlewood Marshes: Aug 2nd; six, Aug 6th; eight, Aug 7th; nine, Aug 9th. Snape Wetland: six, July 6th; seven, Aug 21st; five, Aug 24th. Orfordness: 14, July 12th, 16 on 20th, 17 on 26th and 12 on 27th; up to nine throughout August. Trimley Marshes had the peak count for the year with 21 birds present on July 15th. Redgrave Fen: five, July 22nd. Barking: Pipps Ford, six, July 15th. Stoke-by-Nayland: Thorington Street Reservoir, seven, Aug 22nd. A l t h o u g h numbers declined in September, t h e r e were records f r o m 23 sites during t h e month. The largest t o t a l was five at Pipps Ford on 29th w i t h six present there on October 3rd. This w a d e r was reported f r o m a f u r t h e r 20 c o u n t y w i d e locations during t h e last t h r e e months of t h e year. Two sites recorded three birds, Bungay Outney C o m m o n , December 26th and Pipps Ford, on four dates. SPOTTED REDSHANK Fairly common
A few overwinter.
M i n s m e r e , Orfordness and Trimley Marshes were the most reliable sites for this wader w i t h the following monthly maxima:-
Minsmere Orfordness Trimley Marshes
Jan 1 1
Jun 8 2 4
Jul 16 -
Aug 28 1 10
Sep 15 1 9
Oct 8 9 3
January t o March reports came f r o m ten coastal sites w i t h t h e bulk of t h e January records coming f r o m Dingle Marshes where five birds were present on 16th and t h r e e still there at t h e month's end. Singles were also at Breydon South Wall, Burgh Castle, Benacre Broad, Minsmere, Orfordness, Butley River and Levington. Two birds were recorded at Cattawade, January 8 t h and Burgh Castle on March 30th. Numbers during April and May were lower this year, w i t h t h e m a x i m u m of five being seen at Burgh Castle and M i n s m e r e both on April 21st. Six o t h e r sites had birds present w i t h Tinker's Marshes, Walberswick having four on April 29th. The last of t h e spring passage were t h r e e birds at Minsmere on May 17th. The first June record came on 8th w h e n t w o birds were at Minsmere; t h e r e a f t e r a steady buildup at Minsmere c o m m e n c e d f r o m 13th w i t h eight present on 15th and 26th. Other sites w i t h June records were Burgh Castle and Tinker's Marshes w i t h singles and Trimley Marshes w i t h up to four birds. Numbers increased t h r o u g h July and August but were below those of recent years. M i n s m e r e peaked at 28 on August 9th, Dingle Marshes, 15, July 6th and Trimley Marshes at 11, July 17th t o 19th. There was one inland record during this period, at Pipps Ford, Barking, a bird present f r o m July 31st t o August 2nd. There were wide-ranging reports during September w i t h records coming f r o m ten sites including Lakenheath Fen w i t h a singleton on 2nd. Minsmere held the m o n o p o l y w i t h double-figure counts throughout t h e m o n t h . Trimley Marshes had a m a x i m u m of nine on 11th. The second w i n t e r p e r i o d also produced records f r o m t e n sites. There w e r e eight birds at Minsmere on October 16th and nine on Orfordness on October 12th. There were six records for November including t w o birds at Burgh Castle Flats on 30th w i t h a single there, December 13th and an unexpected record for t h e Stour Estuary w i t h one in Holbrook Bay on December 24th. COMMON GREENSHANK
Common passage migrant.
First w i n t e r sightings came f r o m t h r e e sites but could have involved just one bird; Cattawade on the Stour Estuary, January 8th, M e l t o n , Deben Estuary, January 31st and February 2nd and Trimley Marshes, March 15th to 23rd. Early-April migrants w e r e at Burgh Castle and Wilford Bridge, M e l t o n w i t h singles in t h e first week. Thereafter records were received f r o m 16 sites in April commencing at Trimley Marshes, 15th and seven sites on 17th w i t h five being seen at Breydon South Wall and on t h e Stour Estuary. The only double-figure count of t h e spring was at Dock Lane, M e l t o n w h e r e t h e r e were 15 on April 24th. Numbers in May peaked during t h e first five days w i t h nine recorded at both Burgh Castle and on the Stour Estuary. Elsewhere, t h e r e were six at M e l t o n , 5 t h and at N o r t h W a r r e n Grazing Marshes, 9th. In total 22 sites recorded this species in May including five inland w h e r e only Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland had t w o birds. There were t w o records for early June w i t h t h e last migrants being recorded on M i n s m e r e Levels, 1st and t w o birds at Walberswick, 2nd. Apart f r o m a confusing sequence at Trimley Marshes w i t h a singleton being recorded o n six dates b e t w e e n June 1st and 24th, t h e first migrants were seen on Orfordness, 15th, t h e n at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, 16th, after which, on 27th, birds were reported f r o m Leathes Ham, Lowestoft and on t h e Stour at Seafield Bay,. Minsmere produced t h e best totals t h r o u g h July w i t h eight being recorded o n 10th and 14th, seven on 24th and t h e highest total of 15 on
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 31st. Hazlewood Marshes recorded six, July 27th, while t h e peak at Trimley Marshes was six on 12th. There were 14 reported f r o m Stutton M i l l on t h e Stour Estuary on July 27th. As is normally t h e case, August was t h e best m o n t h for numbers but they are well d o w n from last years' high of 4 1 at Seafield Bay on August 8th 2013. The peak counts for August this year w e r e : Carlton Marshes: six on lOth. Minsmere: 11 on 4th; 23 on 9th; ten on lOth; 11 on 13th; 12 on 15th. Hazlewood Marshes: ten on 2nd and 7th; 13 on 8th; 18 on 9th; 15 on 12th; 17 on 20th. Havergate Island: 15 on 9th. Landguard: six on 9th. Trimley Marshes: four on lOth. Inland, five sites reported sightings w i t h t w o being seen at each of Pipps Ford, l l t h , Mickle M e r e , 17th and Livermere Lake, 28th. A l t h o u g h numbers dropped off during September t h e r e were still some double-figure counts being reported w i t h Benacre Broad recording ten, I s t and 11 on 8th, t h e r e were ten at Minsmere, 27th w h i l e f u r t h e r south on t h e Stour Estuary at Brantham 14 were reported on 26th rising t o 20 t h e f o l l o w i n g day. In t o t a l 6 1 records carne in this m o n t h f r o m 30 widespread sites, including one inland record on l O t h a t T h o r i n g t o n Street Reservoir, Stoke-by-Nayland. Double-figure totals were still evident in October w i t h Hazlewood Marshes having 11 on 4th and Brantham still recording 17 on l l t h . In all 13 localities reported sightings in this m o n t h . There w e r e just t h r e e N o v e m b e r sightings; Orfordness, 2nd, M i n s m e r e had t w o birds o n 12th and a singleton was at Trimley Marshes on 23rd. The last r e p o r t of t h e year was of one o n t h e Aide Estuary on December 26th. W O O D SANDPIPER
Fairly common passage migrant. Amber list. The first bird of t h e year t u r n e d up at Brantham on t h e Stour Estuary on April 21st. The usuai scattering of May sightings carne f r o m six sites:Carlton Marshes: three, 17th. Minsmere: 14th and 26th. Boyton Marshes: 19th. Hollesley Marshes: 19th, possibly the same bird as at Boyton. Lakenheath: 5th. Lackford Lakes: 18th. There w e r e t w o June records w i t h singles at Carlton Marshes on I s t and Lackford Lakes on 8th. M i n s m e r e and Mickle Mere b o t h reported returning birds back on July 8th. Ten o t h e r sites held this species in July w i t h Carlton Marshes having an impressive seven on 12th. Others of note included Minsmere, four, 27th, Trimley Marshes w i t h four, 25th and 30th and Mickle Mere also four on 20th. There w e r e eight coastal sites and t h r e e inland w i t h August records. M i n s m e r e and Trimley Marshes b o t h had up t o four birds while Hazlewood Marshes recorded five, 7th and 8th. Singles w e r e inland at Bowbeck (Bardwell), Cavenham Heath and Mickle Mere. The last birds of t h e a u t u m n were sighted on Orfordness, September 7th t h e n at M i n s m e r e 9th and l O t h . C O M M O N REDSHANK Common
visitor and passage migrant.
Deciining resident. Amber
The coastal region, as is usuai, had the bulk of the breeding reports plus there was one site inland:Carlton Marshes: one breeding territory. Oulton Marshes: one breeding territory. Hen Reedbeds: one pair nested. Southwold Town Marshes: two breeding territories. Walberswick (north): 12 pairs nested along the Blyth. 86
I Systematic List Ounwich Corporation Marshes: five pairs nested. Dunwich Dingle Marshes: eight pairs nested. Minsmere: total of 22 breeding pairs. Sizeweil Sait Marsh: one breeding pair. Orfordness: 29-34 breeding pairs. Hollesley Marshes: three pairs nested. Trimley Marshes: four territories. Shotley Marshes: four pairs nested. Stoke-by-Nayland: Gifford's Hall, one pair nested but failed. Data f r o m our estuaries outside of t h e breeding season:Jan Feb Mar Apr 2287 342 Aide/Ore 1653 217 139 185 Orfordness* 797 1145 960 211 Deben 589 157 522 330 Orwell HW 964 Orwell LW 989 498 314 245 214 Stour "monthly maxima, HW-High Water, LW-Low Water
Aug 1200 -
320 1052 351 -
Oct 1606 240 1636 606 -
Nov 2344 226 1421 683 1230 405
Dec 2317 265 978 434 1342 445
Apart f r o m t h e table above, Burgh Castle Flats r e p o r t e d g o o d numbers d u r i n g t h e passage period; 250, March 11th and 343, March 29th. Inland, Mickle M e r e nearly made double figures with eight, March 9th and six, March 3th. Return passage was picked up at Mickle Mere as early as June 12th after a t h r e e week absence. Passage was recorded at Landguard Bird Observatory f r o m July 6th peaking at 16 on August 14th, while the Blyth Estuary held 294 on July 31st. The only late w i n t e r inland sighting was of one at Lakenheath Fen on November 19th. RUDDY TURNSTONE
Common winter visitor and passage migrant.
Counts at t h e principal estuarine and coastal sites w e r e : Mar Apr Jan Feb Lowestoft* 30 34 Aide/Ore 1 10 19 Deben 79 72 99 85 Orwell HW 16 318 16 1 Orwell LW 182 307 Stour 62 268 305 91 *monthly maxima, HW-High Water, LW-Low Water
Oct 20 25 65 134 -
39 86 131 322 215
Dec 25 40 59 238 420 341
Turnstones were reported f r o m eight sites in t h e north-east and 17 in t h e south-east during the year. Again it was t h e south t h a t held t h e largest totals w i t h t h e Orwell Estuary seeing an increase in numbers at either end of t h e calendar. The only o t h e r significant record came f r o m Felixstowe Ferry w i t h 100 on January 30th. The spring passage peaked a little later this year w i t h double-figure counts being m a d e at Lowestoft North Beach at t h e end of May. Returning birds w e r e noted f r o m June 25th w i t h six birds at Lowestoft Harbour building up t o 52 by mid-August. There were no records f r o m t h e west of t h e county again this year. RED-NECKED PHALAROPE Rare passage migrant.
There were no 2014 records received of this species, the first blank year since 2006.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 GREY PHALAROPE
Scarce passage migrarti
and rare winter
There were eight reports of w h a t were between t w o and five birds in late a u t u m n , up t o four in t h e north-east w i t h records f r o m Southwold, October 7th and Minsmere, October 28th ( M Buckingham et al.), N o v e m b e r l O t h and December 4 t h and 5th (G J Jobson et al.).
The o t h e r record was f r o m
Stutton Mili area of t h e Stour Estuary, f r o m November 6th t o 9th (L Gregory et al.). JACK SNIPE Uncommon migrant.
Lymnocryptes winter visitor and
Grey Phalarope Peter Beesort
Reports f r o m t h e first w i n t e r period carne f r o m 12 widespread sites in the east and three in t h e west ( T i m w o r t h , Lackford and Lakenheath), mostly of singles but three birds were recorded at Corton Old Sewage Works at t h e end of January and Flixton Gravel Pits, March 2nd. During Aprii Minsmere held t w o birds up t o 18th w i t h o t h e r reports this m o n t h coming f r o m Shingle Street, t h e Deben and Stour estuaries and the last record of t h e spring at Gunton Warren on Aprii 25th. The first bird of t h e a u t u m n was one at Carlton Marshes on September 14th w i t h an impressive eight birds being recorded t h e r e on October 19th. Elsewhere eight eastern sites and The Nunnery Floods, T h e t f o r d and Lakenheath Fen had singletons, w i t h t w o birds r e p o r t e d f r o m Oulton Marshes, November l s t , Carlton Marshes, November l l t h , Trimley Marshes, December 12th and Lakenheath Fen, November 17th. There were three birds present at Minsmere on November 12th. EURASIAN WOODCOCK Decllning
winter visitor and passage migrant.
The first w i n t e r period only produced sightings f r o m 39 c o u n t y w i d e locations compared with 87 in 2013. Fritton, Waveney Forest held six birds on January 2nd and eight on 3rd. Other records w e r e generally of ones and t w o s w i t h t h r e e birds being seen at Corton Church, February 28th and M u t f o r d Big W o o d , March 13th and four at Minsmere, March 18th. Breeding records f r o m n o r t h - w e s t Suffolk w e r e disappointing as w e l l w i t h j u s t t h r e e sites reporting 'probably
The first r e t u r n i n g bird of t h e a u t u m n was seen on Minsmere beach on October 14th, w i t h t h e north-east having six m o r e singles d u r i n g t h e m o n t h and Landguard recording t h e only October record in t h e south, o n 29th. N o v e m b e r sightings carne f r o m 17 sites, again mostly of singles, but
Cavenham Heath, five, 23rd. There were 12 records f r o m December w i t h three of t h e m involving t w o birds; Minsmere, 2nd, Spouses Grove, Leavenheath, 24th and
29th. Orfordness had a really poor year for this species w i t h just one sighting of a sin
Woodcock Peter Beeson 88
Systematic List COMMON SNIPE
Common winter visitor and passage migrant.
Probably extinct as a breeding species. Amber
2014 was another blank year for any breeding records of this species. Seven sites in t h e north-east, ten f r o m t h e south-east and ten f r o m t h e west reported sightings during t h e first w i n t e r period. The best figures came f r o m Corton Cliffs, w i t h 50, February 12th and Oulton Marshes, 24, February 5th and even better numbers inland w i t h T i m w o r t h holding 39, January 4th, and Mickle Mere, 32, March 15th rising to 62 on 25th. Lakenheath Fen held t h e highest n u m b e r of this period w i t h 83 on March 18th. There w e r e just four sites w i t h May records, singletons at Orfordness, 4th, Trimley Marshes, 3rd and Pipps Ford, 6th. The last birds of t h e spring were t h r e e seen at Falkenham Marshes on May 19th. The following table shows the WeBS counts and m o n t h l y maxima at t h e main sites:â€” Jan Mar Feb Sep 4 30 25 Minsmere* 24 28 4 Aide/Ore** 33 3 Deben 8 18 2 8 8 32 0 Orwell HW 2 Orwell LW 20 1 Stour 1 10 3 "monthly maxima, **includes Orfordness, HW-High Water, LW-Low Water
Oct 40 10 12 8 -
Nov 33 57 24 2 52 3
Dec 7 54 9 7 13 9
Orfordness recorded t h e first July sighting w i t h one on 4 t h , t h e r e a f t e r Carlton Marshes and Trimley Marshes both recorded birds during t h e next few days. Double-figure counts were received from Carlton Marshes by t h e month's end w i t h 2 1 on 27th on which date Minsmere reported 27, while Mickle M e r e held 12 on 26th rising to t h e peak for this period of 30 on August 2nd. Trimley peaked at ten and 25 w e r e reported f r o m Hazlewood Marshes on August 20th. Hazlewood Marshes recorded t h e only three-figure-count w i t h 100 on September 27th. Late winter saw Carlton Marshes peaking at 27, November 11th and Minsmere at 40, October 17th. In the south Hollesley Marshes also recorded 40, October 2nd w h i l e Trimley Marshes held 33 on November 30th. In the west of t h e c o u n t y good numbers w e r e m a i n t a i n e d w i t h Mickle M e r e r e p o r t i n g 46, September 16th, 56, September 25th and 62, September 28th. Grove Farm, Thurston recorded 58, December 23rd and Mickle M e r e finished t h e year w i t h 80 on 31st. POM ARI N E SKUA
Stercorarius pomari nus
Uncommon passage migrant.
In a quieter year for this species, sightings were heavily weighted f r o m late August onwards, with the only records f r o m the start of t h e year being singles f r o m Thorpeness, January 1st and 19th and Kessingland, January 2nd and 6th. One f l e w south o f f Thorpeness on February 11th. There were no spring records. The first of t h e a u t u m n were on August 26th w h e n three w e n t south off Kessingland. Later in the a u t u m n , t w o f l e w n o r t h off Thorpeness, September 21st and t w o south past Kessingland, October 1st. It wasn't until October t h a t sightings became m o r e regular, albeit mainly of single records, but four were seen off Slaughden, October 21st. Elsewhere there were three off Lowestoft Ness, October 4 t h and t w o were off Benacre, October 7th. Six were off Minsmere, October 23rd and the peak for t h e a u t u m n was 12 off Thorpeness, October 26th w i t h seven seen t h e f o l l o w i n g day from t h e same location. Into November; four w e r e seen off Southwold, 8th and five off Thorpeness on 13th. Further south, t w o were off Landguard on b o t h November 12th and 28th. At t h e end of t h e year one 'mmature was noted south off Thorpeness, December 1st and another north on 14th. Even f u r t h e r south, singles were off Bawdsey, December 7th and Landguard, December 23rd.
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 ARCTIC SKUA Decreasing
A few overwinter.
The year started w i t h a small number of January records, potentially relating t o t h e same bird. A first-winter was seen off Lowestoft Ness, January 7th and it, or another, had been off Corton, January 4th. Further south one was seen o f f Bawdsey, January 23rd. Sightings started t o be made again during early spring in the first week of April and were mainly of single birds but multiple occurrences included t w o and three past Thorpeness, April 20th and 27th respectively. During May and June t h e r e were no records but as July progressed into its final week there w e r e t w o off Gorleston and Thorpeness, July 26th and another t w o off Southwold, July 30th. The f o l l o w i n g m o n t h , f o u r were o f f Thorpeness and three w e r e off Kessingland, August 8 t h and 10th respectively. Favourable sea-watching conditions on August 26th resulted in an impressive 64 seen heading south f r o m N o r t h Beach, Lowestoft, 47 were o f f Kessingland, 38 off Southwold and 13 o f f Thorpeness. S e p t e m b e r was a much q u i e t e r m o n t h but m u l t i p l e counts w e r e still made w i t h f o u r off Thorpeness, September 10th and 21st, and a f u r t h e r t h r e e f r o m there, September 28th. During October sightings continued t o be made at a steady rate; again t h e m a j o r i t y were of single birds on most dates but multiple occurrences t o o k place w i t h eight off M i n s m e r e on 4 t h and three off Thorpeness o n 6th. A f u r t h e r six w e r e o f f S o u t h w o l d , October 13th and f o u r lingered oft Slaughden, October 22nd. Sightings tailed off into t h e first half of November w i t h most records being of singles past Southwold, Minsmere and Aldeburgh. Two were noted off Lowestoft Ness, N o v e m b e r 10th and t h e last sighting of t h e year was a single off Kessingland, November 23rd. LONG-TAILED SKUA
It was an average year for this species w i t h a single solitary spring sighting, off Thorpeness, May 5 t h (D Thurlow) after a blank spring in 2013. M o s t of t h e return passage sightings came in favourable seawatching conditions t o w a r d s the end of August, w i t h seven past Kessingland and six past b o t h Landguard and Thorpeness, August 26th. Later in t h e a u t u m n , t h r e e were noted past Aldeburgh, October 13th and t h e final sighting of t h e year was of one off Thorpeness, October 26th. All sightings are as f o l l o w s : Lowestoft: juv north, 07:10hr Aug 25th (J Brown); five south (adult and four juveniles), Aug 26th (Lowestoft Lounge Lizards). Kessingland: two north (adult and juv), Aug 21st (R Wilton, C Darby); seven south (three adults and four juvs), Aug 26th (C Darby). Southwold: south, Aug 26th (D Walsh); two, Aug 29th (S Piotrowski). Minsmere: juv south, 10:45hr Sep 2nd (J Grant). Sizewell: three juvs south, 06:17hr to 06:25hr Aug 20th (J Grant). Thorpeness: north, May 5th (D Thurlow); six south, Aug 26th (J Davies); south, Sep 7th (D Thurlow); north, Sep 14th (D Thurlow); north, Oct 4th (D Thurlow); juv south then north, Oct 26th (D Thurlow). Aldeburgh: three, Oct 13th (Suffolk BINS). Bawdsey: dark phase juv, Aug 26th (S Abbott, N Mason). Landguard: six south, Aug 26th (LBO). GREAT SKUA
skua A few overwinter.
This species continues t o be t h e most numerous off our shores. There was a busy start to the year w h e n four w e r e seen off Thorpeness, January 1st w i t h singletons noted off M i n s m e r e and Kessingland on t h e same date. O t h e r multiple sightings t h a t m o n t h w e r e t w o off Lowestoft Ness, January 7 t h and five o f f Thorpeness, January 19th, w i t h t h r e e off Lowestoft Ness t h e same day. Sightings tailed o f f into February but t w o lingered off Dunwich beach, February 21st and spring
Systematic List nigration consisted of one record in March and t h r e e in April. Return migration c o m m e n c e d w i t h several records of singletons t h r o u g h o u t August but t h e nam bulk of sightings came during favourable seawatching conditions later in t h e m o n t h w h e n 20 flew south past North Beach, Lowestoft, August 26th. Thirteen were noted south t h e same -norning past Thorpeness. September was a much quieter m o n t h by comparison w i t h no more _han a total of ten records for the w h o l e county. October was much busier, in fact by far the busiest month of t h e year. At t h e start of t h e m o n t h , ,ix were noted past Kessingland but a few days later t h e floodgates opened w h e n 123 were noted outh past Lowestoft Ness, October 4 t h and t h e same day 18 were noted south off Minsmere. The 123 past Lowestoft is t h e highest individual site-total ever recorded in Suffolk. The rest of t h e month saw m o r e peak day-counts; these included 33 off Kessingland, October 6th, 30 o f f Southwold, October 8th, 15 off Aldeburgh, October 13th, 22 o f f Southwold, October 22nd, 15 off Slaughden, 26th and 15 past Thorpeness, 27th. A steady stream of sightings was made t h r o u g h o u t November but t h e r e were only t w o doublef
igure-counts w h e n ten were off Southwold, November 2nd and 7th. Into December t h e sightings
oegan to tail off and like t h e previous m o n t h , most sightings originated f r o m both t h e Thorpeness and Kessingland areas. The last records of the year were of singles off Kessingland and Minsmere, December 29th. SABINE'S GULL
Rare passage migrant. An adult was off Lowestoft, t h e only submitted and accepted record of t h e y e a r : owestoft: adult south at 16:45, Aug27th (M Robertson). SLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE Very common passage migrant
and winter visitor. Small numbers breed. Amber
High numbers of this species w e r e seen off t h e coast during t h e first t w o m o n t h s of t h e year, mostly at Thorpeness and Kessingland, and involved a mixture of n o r t h and s o u t h b o u n d birds. At the start of t h e year, 946 flew south off Landguard, 365 w e n t n o r t h o f f Kessingland and 233 south off Thorpeness on January 1st. Three days later, 400 w e r e noted off Landguard, January 4th. The January peak came w i t h an impressive count of 1400 o f f Thorpeness (including 900 south) on January 12th. Good counts continued t h e f o l l o w i n g m o n t h w i t h an impressive t o t a l of 3075 past Thorpeness, 3000 of w h i c h were going south, February 12th. Numbers started t o tail off into t h e spring as w i n t e r i n g birds dispersed t o their breeding grounds away f r o m t h e county and t h e local breeders settled i n t o t h e i r b r e e d i n g r o u t i n e . N o t a b l e sightings included 400 lingering o f f Thorpeness, March 25th and away f r o m t h e coast, an adult was seen at Pipps Ford on March 27th. Most sightings t h a t were made during t h e spring and summer continued to be f r o m Kessingland and Thorpeness, w h i c h makes logical sense w i t h breeding colonies present at Lowestoft and Sizewell. At Lowestoft, a total estimate of 225 nests including 167 w i t h 173 young in t h e harbour and 37 nests w i t h 52 chicks at Claremont Pier. The colony at SLP (the Kittiwake wall) in t h e harbour suffered predation by a fox, which could go some way towards explaining new nest sites on t h e Boots the Chemist building in t h e t o w n centre and on t h e t o w e r of t h e Roman Catholic Church in Gordon Road. There were no data regarding breeding attempts or successes f r o m the Sizewell Rigs. From September m a x i m u m day-counts became much lower w i t h peak counts consisting of 73 off Thorpeness, S e p t e m b e r 14th and October t u r n e d out t o be a very quiet m o n t h , w i t h t h e highest day-count for t h e county being only f o u r off Thorpeness, October 4th. Towards t h e end of the year, Thorpeness continued to hold t h e majority of sightings w i t h notable day-counts of 153 south, November 8 t h and 256 (153 south), December 14th. Elsewhere, at Kessingland only small numbers w e r e seen t h r o u g h o u t t h e final q u a r t e r w i t h t h e highest count being of 20, December 22nd.
Suffolk Bird Report 2014 BLACK-HEADED GULL
visitor and passage migrant.
At Trimley, 370 were present, January 6th and good counts of 900 and 600 were made at Snape W e t l a n d , January 12th and 18th respectively and the following day 1700 were n o t e d on t h e Aide Estuary during t h e WeBS. Further north, 605 were noted at Minsmere, January 19th w i t h 170C on t h e Deben t h e same day. The f o l l o w i n g m o n t h , 1651 were n o t e d o n t h e Deben during the WeBS count, February 16th, and on t h e same day 5 8 1 were at Alton Water. The f o l l o w i n g day 50( were noted off Gunton. Away f r o m the coast t h e best counts were 1220 at Lakenheath on Januan 19th, 3200 w e r e on pig fields at Great Livermere, February 2nd and 2290 w e r e c o u n t e d flying south-east t o roost at Pipps Ford on February 3rd. In t h e run-up t o t h e breeding season, numbers built up steadily. At Minsmere 939 and 150C were noted, March 16th and 28th respectively and spring passage included a peak count heading n o r t h o f f Landguard of 283, April 13th. On Orfordness it was noted as a 'very good' year for this species w i t h a record n u m b e r of pair: nesting, c o m p a r e d w i t h recent times at least. There was a m i n i m u m of 505 b r e e d i n g pairs consisting of 407 pairs on Lantern Marshes and 98 pairs on King's Marshes. At least 50 younf f l e d g e d on King's Marshes b u t t h e Lantern Marshes' pairs are t h o u g h t t o have had very poo breeding success, probably due to the fluctuating water levels at this location. At M i n s m e r e 395 pairs bred w h i c h was sharply d o w n on t h e 1316 counted in 2013. Inland, 59 pairs bred at Lackfort Lakes, at least 17 at Livermere Lake, one pair nested at Hall Farm, Fornham St M a r t i n and 14. nests at Mickle M e r e were f l o o d e d out in late May w i t h virtually all t h e eggs and chicks being los and just 12 juveniles fledged. As a u t u m n progressed, t h e main gatherings near t h e coast consisted of 1100 at Burgh Castle September 12th and 2239 was t h e total for t h e September WeBS on t h e Deben. The following m o n t h , 500 w e r e noted at Flixton near Lowestoft, October 10th and, in t h e south, 450 were or t h e Stour Estuary at Cattawade, October 29th. W h a t a u t u m n passage t h e r e was consisted of 230 south past Landguard on October 30th. A Brantham, 800 w e r e recorded, November 12th and f u r t h e r north, 1490 were recorded at Outne\ C o m m o n , Bungay, November 28th. Away f r o m these sites, the estuaries along t h e coast playee host t o smaller gatherings o n various dates including t h e Stour w h i c h hosted 1 4 8 1 during the November WeBS. Of several good counts in t h e Sudbury area during November, 800 at Newtor Green was t h e highest. The last major counts of the year were of 800 at Covehithe, Decembe 4 t h , 3500 at Great Livermere December 14th, 1500 at Lackford Lakes, December 2 0 t h and 53t w e r e noted o n t h e Stour during t h e December Low Water WeBS. LITTLE GULL
minutus Regularly oversummers.
During January several singletons w e r e n o t e d past Gorleston, Kessingland, M i n s m e r e and Sizewell until this t r e n d was bucked rather abruptly w h e n 70 were noted south past Ness Point Lowestoft on January 19th. Further south, 25 were noted off Landguard, January 22nd. Numbers were low until t h e middle of March w h e n nine f l e w n o r t h off Landguard, March 15th and six were t h e r e t h e f o l l o w i n g day. Spring migration was poor as far as inland records w e r e concerned, t h e most notable count was of five at Lackford Lakes, M a r c h 3 0 t h w i t h one at Great Livermere t h e same day. A firsts u m m e r was at Mickle Mere, April 16th and one was noted at Lackford Lakes, May 2nd. Similarly, towards t h e coast, small numbers were noted. Most records came f r o m t h e M i n s m e r e reserve w h e r e t h r e e w e r e on Island M e r e and t w o w e r e on t h e Scrape, April 4 t h and 15th respectively. As t h e s u m m e r progressed, numbers started to pick up at t h e t r a d i t i o n a l site, Minsmere. On t h e Scrape 12 w e r e noted, July 3rd and they had increased to 49, July 14th and 76, by July 24th. Elsewhere along t h e coast birds were seen on passage, including 20 n o r t h off Gorleston Cliffs, July 11th. The f o l l o w i n g m o n t h numbers remained high o n t h e coast but t h e r e was m o r e of a shift
Systematic List n sightings away f r o m Minsmere t o t h e Sizewell rigs. The last peak count f r o m Minsmere was of A, August 4 t h and for t h e rest of the month, numbers at Sizewell built up w i t h 90 and 52 counted, ugust 10th and 22nd respectively. Elsewhere 35 were recorded at Thorpeness, August 26th and he following day, 8 1 were at Aldringham Walks. From October, sightings became m o r e evenly distributed around t h e coast as passage birds started to disperse w i t h 29 n o r t h off Thorpeness, October 5th, 40 off Southwold, October 14th and 27 off Landguard, October 15th. Finally, 13 flew lorth off Kessingland, October 23rd. The last sighting of the year was one was off Sizewell on December 6th. MEDITERRANEAN GULL Jncommon resident,
visitor and passage migrant.
Rare breeder. Amber
At the start of t h e year ten were off Gorleston on January 10th and 11 off Lowestoft, 18th. In the spring, 20 w e r e n o t e d at Walberswick on March 24th. Elsewhere in t h e east, d u r i n g Vlarch, more sightings started to occur at Minsmere w i t h six and seven present, March 13th and 30th respectively. The f o l l o w i n g m o n t h up to 14 were noted on t h e Scrape, April 14th. There were a few inland records during March; singles at Rymer Point, Fakenham Magna, on ird, Layham, 14th, a first-summer at Lakenheath on 16th and 23rd and an adult at Livermere and Vlickle Mere, 27th t o 29th. The only multiple occurrence was of t w o at Lackford Lakes, April 18th. There were unfortunately no a t t e m p t e d or confirmed breeding records received for t h e county n 2014 apart f r o m a pair observed nest building at Minsmere in June but w i t h no f u r t h e r a t t e m p t ยกt breeding seen. A summer-plumage adult was at Great Livermere on June 10th. The now much-anticipated s u m m e r e r u p t i o n of birds f r o m t h e Continent c o m m e n c e d in early :uly when 110 were noted at Walberswick, 5th; t h e following day this had doubled t o 219 w i t h the numbers peaking t h e r e at 310, July 11th, this being t h e highest total ever recorded in Suffolk, rom that date numbers fell back but impressive counts were noted from other locations including 71 at Corton, July 19th and 100 at Tinker's Marshes, July 20th. One on t h e Great Livermere pigfields on July 11th was subsequently seen on t h e nearby lake on July 17th and 19th. There were then no more inland records for t h e rest of t h e year. Most, if not all, of these sightings are t h o u g h t to involve mainly post-breeding birds f r o m t h e Continent on an increasingly-annual and brief visit to our shores. In stark contrast August was a quiet m o n t h w i t h most observations being low single;
igure counts w i t h exceptions being counts of nine off both Gorleston Cliffs on 28th and at Corton
sewage works on 30th. In t h e west of t h e county, an adult was present at Livermere Lake, July 17th and 19th but t h e r e w e r e no more records f r o m inland for t h e rest of t h e year. During t h e final t h i r d of t h e year numbers remained regular and w e r e consistently in single figures for most sites w i t h most of these sites p r e d o m i n a n t l y in the north-east
county. Notable counts included 17 at t h e Link's Road and N o r t h Beach area of L o w e s t o f t w h i c h included 13 adults,
5th. Further south, peak counts were
September 12th and five t h e r e , October 4 t h . During t h e
month of t h e year, t e n
December 15th and off Gorleston 35 were seen heading 27th
' which is an unusually high
count for that t i m e of year.
Mediterranean Gull Su Gough
Suffolk Birci Report 2014 C O M M O N GULL Very common
winter visitor and passage migrant.
During t h e first w i n t e r period, gatherings at t h e coast d i d n ' t reach t h e exceptional number t h a t w e r e seen at t h e same t i m e in 2013. The most notable counts in coastal areas w e r e 154t at Benacre Broad, January 7th, 1730 at Dingle Marshes, January 2 4 t h and 200 at Covehithe January 26th. Further south smaller gatherings were noted w i t h 500 at Landguard, January 16tt and 600 at Iken, January 23rd. In t h e west of t h e county, 300 w e r e noted at b o t h Sudbury ot February 7 t h and Redgrave, M a r c h 2 8 t h . Elsewhere 25 w e r e inland at Lakenheath Washes January 19th. There were no records f r o m Lackford Lakes w h e r e t h e previous year up t o 1000' birds w e r e c o u n t e d in one evening roost. At Pipps Ford, 573 were n o t e d flying south-eastward going t o roost, February 3rd. This gull was noted on a u t u m n passage in small numbers w i t h a m a x i m u m count of 145 headin south off Landguard, October 30th. Despite this species' name, in t h e west of t h e county it wa n o t e d as being scarce, w i t h just 35 at Lackford Lakes on December 20th. Elsewhere 200 wer noted at Cattawade on t h e Stour, October 29th and 100 were at Gifford's Hall, Stoke-by-Naylanc N o v e m b e r 25th and Leavenheath, December 5th. Elsewhere, 200 and 420 were at Heveninghar. Park, N o v e m b e r 16th and December 7th respectively. Further south, 150 w e r e noted a Landguard, December 21st. O t h e r w i s e t o w a r d s t h e coast, just as it was inland, they wer particularly scarce rather t h a n under-recorded. There w e r e no breeding a t t e m p t s reporte a n y w h e r e in t h e county during 2014 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Very common
visitor and passage migrant.
At t h e beginning of t h e year, small numbers of o v e r w i n t e r i n g birds w e r e noted, including 43 o t h e Aide Estuary during t h e January WeBS, and t h e f o l l o w i n g m o n t h , 6 1 were there, Februar 16th. In t h e west t h e r e was a large roost of 625 noted at Lackford Lakes, January 5th and 50 w e r e at Lakenheath Washes, January 21st. As spring approached, m o r e birds started t o arrive back f r o m t h e i r south-European winterin grounds. At M i n s m e r e , 650 w e r e counted, March 16th and on Havergate Island, 1800 wer present, April 1st. In t h e west of t h e county t h e r e was w h a t was described as a record site cour of 890 at Mickle Mere, March 27th. On Orfordness, t h e total n u m b e r of breeding pairs was estimated at a paltry 37 pairs. This wa d o w n f r o m 335 in 2013 and due t o damage caused by t h e December 2013 storm surge resultin. in t h e main b r e e d i n g area being u n d e r w a t e r t h r o u g h o u t much of 2014. Hopefully t h e bird displaced f o u n d an alternative, safer nesting area. Elsewhere in t h e county r o o f t o p nesting bird bred in Lowestoft and Ipswich and at Felixstowe Docks but there w e r e no data on exact number or h o w many y o u n g were successfully fledged. In t h e west a f e w pairs again managed to rais; chicks o n t h e roof of t h e council offices at Bury St Edmunds, despite on-going a t t e m p t s to discourage t h e m , and 11 y o u n g were noted nearby at Vinten's, a new breeding location for t h u species. A notable s u m m e r flock of 240 was at Snape Wetland on June 24th, possibly displaced f r o m Orfordness. The Great Livermere pig fields continued t o attract good concentrations, w i t h counts of 1500 on June 25th, 1800 on July 31st, and 1200 o n both August 21st and September 22nd. In t h e a u t u m n , 3200 were at Walberswick, September 6th and t h e f o l l o w i n g m o n t h , 410 were recorded at S o u t h w o l d , O c t o b e r 10th. As this species made its s o u t h w a r d m i g r a t i o n , small numbers remained in t h e county, including 192 which roosted at Lakenheath Washes, December 5th, 45 at Havergate Island, December 7th and 22 at Trimley Marshes t h e same day. Baltic Gull
Larus fuscus fuscus
In t h e west of t h e county, a second-calendar year bird was showing characteristics of Baltic Gull, July 4 t h and 29th (P Wilson).
i Systematic List HERRING GULL
hery common resident,
argentatus winter visitor and passage migrant.
Winter roosts at t h e start of t h e year, included 6 1 1 during t h e Aide WeBS, January 19th. At andguard notable early-year counts were of 1350, January 11th and 1200, March 26th. Further lorth, counts of 430 and 3 6 1 were made at Minsmere, March 20th and April 3rd respectively. In vest Suffolk, 232 were noted at Mickle Mere, April 12th in w h a t was described as an exceptional ecord site-count which coincided w i t h large numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls a r o u n d t h e a m e t i m e of t h e year. Breeding fortunes of this species, as always, largely mirrored t h e fortunes of t h e Lesser Blackacked Gull w i t h t h e breeding colony on Orfordness regularly f l o o d e d t h r o u g h o u t 2014 f o l l o w i n g he December 2013 storm surge. This meant that t h e area was almost deserted by nesting gulls Ithough, elsewhere on t h e site, several pairs still nested on t h e roofs of t h e Cobra Mist Building and Pagodas. Overall t h e total number of breeding pairs was estimated as being well d o w n at just 49 pairs compared w i t h 80 t h e previous year. Again as w i t h Lesser Black-backed Gulls, this species vas noted nesting at Felixstowe Docks and on t h e rooftops of residential and commercial premises n central Lowestoft and Ipswich. During t h e s u m m e r a notable record was of one at M i n s m e r e of t h e n o m i n a t e race L. a. irgentatus,
August 21st (J H Grant).
Very few were noted in t h e a u t u m n months which could be d o w n to under-recording. Into the econd w i n t e r period, counts of 397 and 425 were noted on t h e Aide Estuary WeBS, November 9th and December 7th respectively. In t h e south-east of the county 124 were at Trimley Marshes, November 27th and 86 were counted at North Warren, November 29th. In t h e west of t h e county only small roosts were n o t e d w i t h 35 at Lackford Lakes, December 20th and 12 at Lakenheath Washes, December 7th. YELLOW-LEGGED GULL Jncommon
winter visitor and passage migrant.
Small numbers oversummer.
During t h e first w i n t e r period small numbers were present on t h e coast including up t o four birds which frequented Felixstowe seafront, w h i c h involved t w o first-winters and a second-winter, January 17th and 22nd. An adult was also present, January 9th. Overall, numbers on t h e coast were low w i t h just occasional singletons at Gorleston, Blythburgh, Minsmere and North Warren. !n the west of t h e county, numbers were higher but didn't break double figures like t h e y did in 2013. At Lackford Lakes, six (including five adults) were recorded, January 3rd and t h e f o l l o w i n g Jay, eight were o n pig fields at Great Livermere. The f o l l o w i n g m o n t h , six w e r e seen at Great Livermere on February 15th. Throughout t h e spring, numbers increased w i t h a peak of 18 being noted at Mickle Mere, April 7th and May 10th. On t h e coast numbers w e r e low w i t h singletons seen at a n u m b e r of sites, apart f r o m Walberswick w h e r e numbers spiked a b r u p t l y at 12 on M a r c h 16th, w h i c h was far higher than any o t h e r coastal site for that t i m e of year. During t h e s u m m e r m o n t h s t h e r e was an upsurge in numbers in west Suffolk w i t h a very impressive roost of 42 recorded at Livermere Lake, July 31st w i t h 40 roosting there t h e following day. On the coast, 35 were noted at Walberswick, August 2nd. For t h e rest of t h e year t h e pattern of
sightings remained consistent w i t h the highest counts from the coast being made at Walberswick
where peak counts included 15, August 30th and September 6th, rising t o 25, September 27th. As autumn progressed into winter, numbers fell back and distribution became more even w i t h five noted at Minsmere, November 5th and four there, November 20th. At North Warren, three were noted, November 29th. Further south three were at Felixstowe Ferry on November 11th and at Hollesley Marshes, November 19th. In west Suffolk counts of eight and seven were noted at Great Livermere pig fields, October 11th and 19th and five at Lakenheath Washes, December 9th.