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SUFFOLK BIRD REPORT FOR 1958. Ninth

Arnual

Report

ALTHOUGH

there were one or two cold spells during the winter they were apparently insufficiently sustained to bring many hardweather visitors. Spring was cold, as is usual nowadays. Summer was cool and wet, culminating in what was probably the wettest harvest in living memory. The result of this poor spring and summer was an extremely poor breeding season, and the mortality rate must have been very high among nestlings, fledgelings, and unhatched eggs. Many, if not most, species appeared to be affected : gamekeepers reported poor success with their birds, young warblers, nightingales, hirundines, in fact, most insecteating birds were scarce, autumn parties of tits were far less numerous than usual, even House Sparrows were said to be down in numbers. Easterly winds blew at the beginning of September, producing a considerable drift movement of passerines, and in October there were some notable migratory movements observed. At the end of the year the weather was mild. WINTER

There were several interesting occurrences, and undoubtedly the most notable of these was the party of four Cranes which spent January and February at Waldringfield. As Cranes have apparently not wintered in the British Isles for at least a hundred years the event was certainly an unusual one, and thanks are due to the Waldringfield farmers who tolerated the birds on their fields for such a long period. Credit must also be given to the changed attitude towards the unusual avian vistitor : not many years ago the birds would barely have touched down before they were shot, and consigned to moulder in someone's collection of skins. However, it must be added that originally five birds were present; one quickly " disappeared" and there were strong rumours that it had found its way into the pot. No information could be obtained as to whether the modern stomach coped as well as the medieval one. An interesting sidelight was the elusiveness of such large birds, and many visitors were disappointed in finding them apparently missing. In fact, most of the time when they were not on the fields visible from the roads, they were resting in a hollow in the middle of a very large fallow field. Here they were both invisible and safe from disturbance, unless anyone actually walked across the field.


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An immature White-tailed Eagle occurred several times almost certainly the same bird each time, and probably the one seen several times on the North Norfolk Coast. T h e latter surmise could not be conclusively proved from the dates when seen in both counties, but with the bird's enormous wing span journeys from the Wash to the Suffolk coast and estuaries would offer little difficulty, and the young of this species are said to be great Wanderers. On the occasion of its longest stay in the county, lt fed for several days on a dead swan—whether of its own killing was not known—and filled in the remainder of the txme in hunting hares and rabbits on the beach. As there were young lambs in the vicinity at the time the plentiful supply of swan meat may well have been a blessing. At about this time another very rare bird was seen, a Red Kite, a species which has not been recorded in the county since 1901.' Whether this would be a bird of British stock, or a Wanderer from the Continent, it is, of course, impossible to say. But just prior to the sighting of this bird the Continent had been swept by strong blizzards, which could have driven it westwards to Britain. T h e remaining rare visitor of the winter was a Snowy Owl at Sibton. This may have been the same bird as that seen at Walberswick the previous November, as the parishes are not excessively far apart. T h e mystery would then seem to be why the bird had not been seen in the meantime, or where it had been. However, the surprising elusiveness of such large birds has already been mentioned. A Little Stint was recorded in winter for the second year runmng. Spoonbills were recorded, unusual in the county in winter ; as one was shot on the Deben on January 24th, and one was seen at Havergate three days later, there would appear to be two birds involved, unless an error has been made in the dates. T h e shot bird was " shot by mistake ", but what it was mistaken for is not clear. An Avocet was at Butley Creek during January ; the Mediterranean Gull present at Pakefield at the end of 1957 stayed there through the winter ; Buzzards were again recorded, but although there were three records they possibly relate to the same bird. Winter duck were not particularly numerous, Scaup were very scarce indeed and Goldeneye in exceptionally low numbers ; no Smew were recorded ; Eiders were in fair numbers, and several Goosanders were seen—usually the rarest of the Sawbills in Suffolk. Red-necked, Slavonian, and Black-necked Grebes were all recorded, although Red-throated Divers were very scarce in the estuaries—presumably there was little weather rough enough to drive them in off the coast.


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A January/ February Blackcap was recorded, and another on March 9th, seems more probably an over wintering bird than an early spring arrival. Waxwings were reported in fair numbers from many areas. On January 21st, when the county was blanketed in snow, HRB noted a southward movement of thrushes at Felixstowe. This movement became very heavy on the following day and birds were passing for most of the day at the rate of about 3,600 an hour. The observer considered the species involved to be roughtly as follows :—60% thrushes, mostly Redwings and Fieldfares with some Blackbirds and Song Thrushes; 13% Lapwings ; 17% Larks ; 10% Finches. The movement continued on the 23rd, but in considerably reduced numbers. SPRING

The two most interesting visitors were a Red-footed Falcon in May and an Alpine Swift in June. The Red-footed Falcon, a female, stayed for six days on Southwold golf course. From the bird watchers' point of view it was a very obliging bird, it frequently used fence posts as perches to watch for its prey on the ground beneath, and would tolerate quite close approach. On the ground it was frequently seen to run rapidly after grasshoppers and beetles, strikingly different behaviour from that of the falcons common to this county. This record appears to be the first which could be certainly attributed to Suffolk : Ticehurst would only accept one, a bird shot at Somerleyton in 1862, which may have referred to either Suffolk or Norfolk. The Alpine Swift was seen at Minsmere Cliffs on June 21st. It occurred during a large weather-movement of Swifts, and may well have been caught up with them on the continent. Ticehurst only accepted four records, the last in 1887. A new species was added to the Suffolk list when a Collared Turtle Dove was seen at Hitcham on April 25th. It is rather surprising that this species, whose spread westwards across Europe has been so rapid in recent years, has not been recorded here before. It had already been recorded in a number of other counties ; and may well have been overlooked in this one. During May there were records of two Shags at Lowestoft, and two in both the rivers Aide and Orwell. This species is an uncommon winter visitor to Suffolk and has never before been recorded in the spring. Some numbers of Shags appeared in South East England early in the year and were thought to be stormdriven birds from North-East England and Scotland. It therefore seems likely that these unusual spring visitors were birds making their way back to their breeding grounds.


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A Manx Shearwater was seen on June 13th, another species not previously recorded in the county at that time. A Black-winged Stilt evidently found Minsmere to its liking, spending 23 days there during June. There were again records of Roseate Terns, this year one live and one dead bird. Five Kentish Plovers were recorded, three Buzzards, a single Crane during April and another one in May. A Hoopoe was seen in West Suffolk during April, and one in East Suffolk during May. The only Ring Ouzel of the year was seen in April. Two Spoonbills were seen several times at Breydon and Blythburgh, probably the same non-breeding birds moving about the coast. The three adults which spent six days at Minsmere in April were certainly distinct birds from the others, and were probably breaking their journey en route to breed in Holland. A most exceptionally early Whimbrel was seen and heard at Orford on March 2nd, and what was almost certainly the same bird was seen by other observers on the 4th and 6th. Ticehurst's earliest date for the county was April 5th, although it has been recorded since then on April I s t ; the Handbook gives the earliest date for Britain as March 24th. During April there was a considerable passage of Goldcrests on the coast, and with the Goldcrests came records of four Firecrests ; as the area is large, and bird watchers few on the coast at this time, it is reasonable to presume that more Firecrests were present than the four seen. Good numbers of Black Redstarts were also involved in the movement, together with Hedge Sparrows and Robins. At the same time Woodcock were in exceptionally large numbers on the coast, but whether these were passage birds, or winter visitors held up by bad weather, is not known. BREEDING

SEASON

From eighty to one hundred pairs of Avocets nested at Havergate, but the survival of the young was very low, and it was thought that only about 33 young survived to the free-flying stage. From six or seven nests of Marsh Harriers 12 or 13 young flew. One or two pairs of Montagu's Harriers attempted to breed, but without success, and Bitterns appeared to have bred much as usual. Two pairs of Kittiwakes nested on a sloping ledge below the roof of the east end of the South Pier Pavilion at Lowestoft. Although apparently at least one egg was laid the attempt ended in failure through the nests falling from the ledge, which was both too narrow and too smooth. As far as is known Kittiwakes have never before attempted to breed in the county.


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After a lapse of some years, Little Ringed Plover nested again, and a nest containing four eggs was found, but three did not hatch. At one stage the army practised landing exercises on the site, but afterwards the bird was found still sitting on a nest straddled by wheel ruts. The lack of hatching success was attributed to the cold, wet June. Only two pairs of Garganey bred ; there were records of two breeding pairs of Stonechats ; a pair of Quail bred successfully ; a pair of Wood Warbiers were present throughout the breeding season, but no proof of breeding could be obtained ; a juvenile Corncrake found dead on the road was perhaps a locally bred bird. A pair of Black Redstarts raised two broods on Ipswich Power Station, and a male was present through the breeding season at Ipswich Docks, but no female was seen. At Lowestoft, a pair were seen with young at the Gas Works, where they were thought to have nested ; a nest, which may have been that of another pair, was found in Whapload Road, but this failed ; and a male, but no female, was present in the centre of the town for a month. About 300 pairs of Sandwich Terns nested at Havergate ; three pairs of Short-eared Owls and three or four pairs of Long-eared Owls were known to have bred successfully ; Crossbills bred as usual in both East and West Suffolk. Not only were there no records of breeding Wrynecks but only two birds were recorded during the spring. Several Eiders were present on the cöast throughout the Summer. and at Walberswick two, at Lowestoft four birds went into füll moult, becoming flightless. There are no records of this occurring in the county before. Flocks of up to 2,000 Scoter were recorded off-shore during July. AUTUMN

The most unusual bird of the autumn was a Yellowshank seen at Havergate on September 25th. At this time strong westerlies had been blowing and several other American birds had been recorded in Britain. These included, in addition to the Lesser Yellowlegs—to give the bird its American name—a Dowitcher, a Northern Water Thrush, a Baltimore Oriole, and six Pectoral Sandpipers. This is the second occurrence of the species in Suffolk. An Osprey stayed for over three weeks on the River Blyth— the Lowestoft Field Club report the presence of numbers of Grey Mullet in the river at this time, which they suggest may have accounted for the length of the bird's stay. Single Ospreys were also recorded in the Rivers Aide and Orwell.


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There were records of four Shearwaters—an exceptional number for Suffolk. Unfortunately, none could be specifically identified, although the evidence in one case points very strongly to the bird being a Sooty Shearwater. Few Gannets were seen inshore this year, and another species unusually scarce in the autumn was Hen Harrier, of which there were records of only two birds, in fact there were as many Buzzards as Hen Harriers seen. A single Hobby was seen at Minsmere, and, two days later, at Walberswick. T h e only Hoopoe of the autumn occurred in West Suffolk. Amongst the waders were records of three or four Temminck's Stints and a Dotterel. A Medierranean Gull was seen at Benacre on October 12th, and was at Pakefield on the 18th, where it was still present at the end of the year. This is the third successive year that the species has wintered at Pakefield, and the Lowestoft Field Club suggest it is the same bird each year : if that is the case it is possibly a disoriented bird which perhaps spends the Summer with a breeding colony of Black-headed Gulls, as has happened at Havergate and in Holland. Dßring the autumn there were some notable passage movements. In the early part of September, easterly winds strong at times, caused a considerable drift, mainly of Pied Flycatchers, Tree Pipits, Wheatears, Whinchats, Redstarts, and unusual numbers of Wrynecks. Several birds of the latter species were recorded at a number of points on the coast, and two were even found run-over on the road ; as Wrynecks are so very inconspicuous there must have been many more present than were seen. The movement brought forth no records of uncommon species, apart from a Barred Warbier at Felixstowe. On October 18th a very large influx of Blackbirds occurred, and about 500 were estimated to be present in the Walberswick area alone ; they were also reported as numerous at Southwold and in the Lowestoft area ; a further influx occurred on the 19th. At Herringfleet a great influx of thrushes began at dusk and continued all through the night of the 18th, and at daybreak the whole area was alive with Blackbirds, Redwings, Fieldfares, Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes, numerically in that order. By 0900 hours they were already moving away inland. On October 23rd the Lowestoft Field Club recorded at Pakefield the most spectacular coastal movement they had seen in the area. T o quote from their Report . . . " T h e weather was dull and misty with a light north wind. About 1130 hours it was seen that a number of flocks of small birds were passing northwards over Pakefield. Later, seen from the cliff-edge, it was obvious that a very heavy migration was in progress. A steady stream of


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Chaffinches, in flocks of 30 to well over 100, together with some Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, and Starlings, were passing along low to the north. At the same time odd flocks of these species were coming in from the east, and while the majority of these continued on their course on reaching the coast, some which flew into those going north mingled with them and changed direction. Between 1215 and 1315 hours was witnessed the most spectacular coastal movement recorded here. The number of Chaffinches passing low along the cliffs, and as far inland as one could see, was almost unbelievable. It was impossible to count or time the flocks, they followed each other in such quick succession that at times they formed one vast horde. Starlings, too, were moving along in great numbers, not in their usual compact flocks but spread out as they snapped up the small flies which swarmed above the cliff-top, and this manoeuvre added to the spectacle. This tide of birds gradually slackened after 1315 hours, although continuing until well into the afternoon."

E N D OF YEAR

A Leach's Petrel was picked up at Orfordness in November, and released apparently unharmed ; a Little Auk was seen at YValberswick on the 9th ; and the only Shorelark of the year was seen there on the 16th. Short-eared Owls were very numerous, and seem to have steadily increased since the rabbit-plague flrst broke out.: perhaps a shortage of rabbits means an abundance of voles. In contrast, no Hen Harriers were recorded, which is most unusual. Eiders were in fair numbers, and, during December, another invasion of Waxwings occurred. Several Suflfolk rarities were reported elsewhere, but, as no details have been received by this Society, the records naturally cannot be accepted. In the two or three cases where it has been possible to check the record to some extent the details appear to be far from satisfactory. Thanks are due to the following Societies for information supplied, and permission to publish extracts from their Reports :— Cambridge Bird Club, Dingle Bird Club, Lowestoft Field Club, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds ; to Mr. G. A. Pyman, Editor of the Essex Bird Report and Mr. M. J. Seago, Editor of the Norfolk Bird Report, for supplying border records ; to Mr. A. E. Vine for collecting records of the Breck ; and to members and visitors to the county who have sent in notes.


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Mr. H. R. Beecroft and Mr. G. J. Jobson have consented to act as jomt recorders, and all notes for 1959 should be sent to Mr H. R. Beecroft, 10 Kings Fleet Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk. The recorders request that contributors should send in their notes for the first nine months of the year by mid-November and notes for the remaming three months as early as possible in the new year. Copies of this Report may be obtained from Mr Beecroft price 4 /-. ' '

CLASSIFIED

NOTES

Species which were recorded as usual during the year are listed at the end of these notes. Numbers refer to the B.O.U. Check List (1952). m i P ? l a C i k D h r o a t e ( ! , D i v e r . - S i n g l e birds at Benacre Pits (DJP) and R. Orwell (FKC), both on Jan. 26th. One dead at A N D

llth'FLFC)'

AN

°THER

AT

EAST

°N

BAVCNTS

°N

M A Y

2. Great N o r t h e r n Diver.—One R. Orwell, Feb. 22nd (FKC). One on Sea at Benacre, Nov. 30th (WHP). from Sep"t th 2 r 7th ted

Diver

-~Recorded

U

P t o April 14th, and again

Very scarce in the estuaries during the winter. None recorded there during the autumn, although plentiful off-shore at that time. usual ^ ^

C,

"eSted

Grebe

- ~ B r e e d i n g reported to be much as

About twenty pairs bred on Fritton Lake, but very few young pikT (LFC)

3

C

^

m0rtality

W3S t h o u

& h t ^ be due to

6. Red-necked G r e b e . - O n e Benacre Broad during first week January (JH) : a dead bird at Minsmere, Feb. 15th (DJP). One off-shore Walberswick, Nov. 4th (DJP), and another offshore Minsmere, Dec. 21 st (GJJ). Sla

V > n « n G r e b e . - O n e Easton Broad first week January (JH), and Jan. lOth (WSSS); another there April 5th (GJJ). 26th

Feb. 23rd (FKC, GJJ, DJP).

( ° J P ) - 0 n e ßenacre Broad, One Lowestoft, March 2nd (REH)!


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8. Black-necked Grebe.—One Benacre Ponds, Jan. 12th (LFC). One R. Orwell, Feb. Ist, 16th, 23rd and March 23rd (FKC, FEGH). One in summer plumage Easton Broad, April 7th (LFC). One Minsmere, Aug. 14th, 17th and 18th (RSPB). 12. Leach's Petrel.—One picked up near Orfordness Lighthouse, Nov. 19th (RJP). 16. Manx Shearwater.—One off-shore Minsmere, June 13th (PS). Shearwater.—? species. Two at Walberswick on Aug. 24th (PADH)—white below and brown, rather than black, above ; much too brown for Manx. One at Walberswick on Sept. 4th, looked black above and below, with no suggestion of brown (PADH)—observer considered the bird was probably a Sooty Shearwater, but could not claim to have seen a paler colour on the underwing. One off-shore Easton Bavents, Sept. 22nd (LFC)—two distant for specific identification. 26. Fulmar.—Recorded off-shore April, May, June and August. Several dead birds on the beaches in. late March and early April; one during January. 27. Gannet.—One Easton Bavents, Jan. 4th (FEGH). Several oiled birds at Minsmere, April 2nd (RSPB). Two Kessingland, April 4th (LFC). Recorded in autumn from Aug. 27th, but very few inshore this year. 29. Shag.—One Benacre Ponds, Feb. 16th (LFC). Three Lowestoft Harbour, Jan. 3rd (PMD, MSJS). Two R. Aide, May 23rd and 24th (DJP, PS). Two R. Orwell, May 3rd and one on May 5th, 17th and 30th (FKC). Two Lowestoft, May 14th and one on 15th (LFC). 30. Heron.—The following heronries, with occupied nests, were reported :—Methersgate six (AAC) ; Stutton two (ACCH) ; Blackheath 16 (PS); Brantham seven ( W H P ) ; Stoke-byNayland 13 and two (WHP) ; Eriswell five (AEV) ; Livermere 25 to 30 (AEV) ; Herringfleet two (LFC) ; Fritton Lake one (LFC). 38.

Bittern.—Recorded as breeding in usual areas.

Records away from breeding areas are of one at Butley, Nov. 4th (JW), and one at Fiatford, Oct. 6th (per GAP).


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BIRD REPORT

42. Spoonbill.—There were two winter records—one shot at Brightwell on Jan. 24th (MSJS), and one at Haverrate on Tan 27th (RSPB). ' Three Minsmere from April 4th to 9th (RSPB). One Blythburgh, May lOth, and two on 25th and 26th (GJJ), MJS). One Breydon, May 1 Ith, two on 17th, and two again from June 7th to July 9th (RHH). 47. Gargany.—The only records of breeding are from Minsmere and this year only two pairs bred there (RSPB). Two pairs at Breydon, April 19th (RHH). Three males at Walberswick, March 29th, four on 30th, one April 8th and Mav 4th (GJJ, RVAM, DJP). A male at Reydon, May lOth (GBGB GJJ, DJP). A pair at Flixton, June 22nd (LFC). One Havergate, Aug. 18th, 21st, two on 22nd, and one on Sept. 20th (RSPB). 49. Gadwall.—Bred in fair numbers in both East and West Suffblk. (Almost as numerous as Mallard at Minsmere (RSPB). Good numbers on the coast in autumn, with c. 60 at Walberswick, Nov. 4th, and c. 160 at Minsmere, Dec. 27th (GJJ, DJP). 52. Pintail.—Peak numbers recorded are as follows—Breydon c. 70, March 2nd (RHH) ; Havergate ISO, December (RSPB); R. Deben c. 20, December (GJJ); R. Aide c. 50, December (DJP, PS) ; R. Orwell c. 50, January (CGDC) ; R. Stour 46, February (RVAM); Fritton Lake c. 50, during winter (LFC). A pair present at Walberswick until May 17th, and at Minsmere until May 18th (GJJ, RSPB). 53. Shoveler.—The largest numbers recorded were during November and December, when c. 160 at Havergate (RSPB) and c. 100 at Minsmere (DJP). 55. Scaup.—Very scarce both winter and autumn. One R. Orwell, Jan. 30th ; three at Benacre, on Feb. 2nd, and two on 16th; one Walberswick, April 2nd; two Dunwich, May 17th; one Benacre, July 26th ; one Easton Broad, Aug. 8th to lOth ; one R. Aide, Aug. 13th ; 14 Havergate, Oct. 28th (ALB, LFC, DJP, RSPB, PS). 56. Tufted Duck.—Breeding records from West SufFolk as usual. Few on coast and estuaries in winter, numbers not exceeding 12 in any one flock. 57. Pochard.—Breeding records from West Suffolk as usual. Scarce on coast and estuaries during winter, the largest number recorded being 25 at Benacre during December.


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60. Goldeneye.—Recorded on coast and estuaries as usual, but numbers very low, 23 in R. Orwell during February being the maximum recorded. Two still at Benacre on April 27th (LFC). Inland records are of one at Culford, March 9th, and two at Livermere on March 30th (CBC). 61. Long-tailed Duck.—Up to three, Benacre Pits during January, one there during February, and another on March 3Ist (many observers) ; one at Havergate, Jan. 13th (RSPB). 62. Velvet Scoter.—One Easton Bavents, Jan. 17th (LFC) ; One Walberswick, Feb. Ist and another on April 6th; four Easton Bavents, Feb. 23rd ; one Covehithe, April 4th (GJJ, DJP). Two Easton Bavents, Oct. 18th (DJP). 64. C o m m o n Scoter.—Summer flocks recorded were, c. 2,000 Gorleston during July ( L F C ) ; c. 2,000 Dunwich, July 22nd (DJP); c. 250 Easton Bavents, July 26th (GJJ). 67. Eider.—Recorded in every month. The following figures are maxima at each locality, but the birds are not necessarily different ones. January—34 Pakefield, three Minsmere, two Havergate. February—One Easton Bavents, four Walberswick, one R. Deben. March—15 Lowestoft, one R. Deben. April—Nine Lowestoft, eight Easton Bavents, 16 Walberswick. May—Four Lowestoft, 12 Walberswick, one Dunwich, six Shingle Street, one Havergate, five R. Orwell. June—Three Walberswick, two Minsmere, four Lowestoft. July—Three Walberswick, three Minsmere, four Pakefield, two Havergate. August—Three Walberswick, four Lowestoft. September—Two Walberswick, four Lowestoft, one Minsmere. October—20 Walberswick, four Lowestoft, 14 Minsmere, one R. Orwell, three R. Stour. November—One Walberswick, 16 Lowestoft. December—Five Benacre. Three were present at Walberswick from May 18th to early August, then two until Sept. 21st. During August the two birds were in füll moult, and flightless (DJP). Four were also present in the Lowestoft area for a number of months. They were in füll moult and flightless for about a month during July /August (LFC). These are apparently the first records of Eiders in füll moult on the Suffolk coast.


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69. Red-breasted Merganser.—Recorded up to April 16th, and again from Nov. 1 Ith. Many records of small numbers on coast and estuaries, but only numerous in R. Orwell, where there was a maximum of 42 in winter, but only two present at end of year. 70. Goosander.—One Covehithe, Jan. 7th ( W S S S ) ; up to three Benacre during January, and one on March 27th and 30th (FEGH, G J J , L F C ) ; one R. Aide, Jan. 25th (PS) ; one Easton Broad, Feb. 16th (DJP) ; one Heveningham, Jan. 18th and 19th (RH) ; two Havergate, April 26th (RSPB). T u 0 Benacre, Dec. 6th (GJJ). 71. Smew.—One at Lowestoft, Feb. Ist and one at Benacre, March 2nd (LFC). One Benacre, Dec. 18th (DJP). 73. Shelduck.—Inland records are of a pair nesting at Stokeby-Nayland, and of two broods in the Breck, neither of which was thought to have survived (WHP). Two at Livermere, March 30th (CBC). 75. Grey Lag-Goose.—20 at Havergate, Jan. 27th, one, Feb. 2nd, nine, Feb. 28th, one, April 4th (RSPB). Single birds at Walberswick on March 24th, May 17th, 24th and Aug. 16th (GJJ, L F C , DJP, PS). Single birds at Minsmere on May 4th and July 7th (RSPB). Seven Havergate, Nov. 5th, and one on 6th (RSPB). 76. White-fronted Goose.—28 at Havergate on Jan. 28th, 26 on Feb. 2nd, and 36 on Feb. 5th (RSPB). One R. Blyth, Jan. 8th (JH, WSSS). Two Minsmere, Feb. 15th, Six Walberswick, March 23rd (DJP). At Breydon a peak of c. 1,200 Jan. 18th, and last seen there on March 6th, when c. 300 flew out to sea (RHH). Inland—one at Livermere on March 9th (CBC). 78. B e a m Goose.—Two over Lowestoft, Feb. 15th (AEV). Four Benacre, Dec. 21st (LFC). 78. Pink-footed Goose.—Three on R. Blyth during first week January, again there on the 26th and Feb.2nd(GBGB, JH, WSSS). Seven Easton Cliffs, Jan. 25th (DJP). C. 30 Aying inland over Snape at dusk for about a week at the end of January (PS). At Breydon, 23 on Oct. 12th (RHH). Grey Geese.—? species. Two Walberswick, Jan. 19th, 11 Feb. 2nd, c. 30, Feb. 8th, four, R. Blyth, Jan. 17th and six on Jan. 28th. Two R. Orwell, May 24th (HRB, CGDC, F K C , RH,


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Four Walberswick, Nov. 15th, eight, on 16th, two on 23rd (GJJ). 80. Brent Geese.—Recorded up to April 27th, and again from Oct. 17th. Largest flocks recorded were c. 200 R. Stour, March 16th (RVAM); c. 100 Orwell Häven, Feb. 16th (HRB, C G D C ) ; c. 40 Southwold, Feb. 7th (DJP). 81. Barnacle Goose.—Five Aying over Benacre, Jan. 26th (LFC). 82. Canada Goose.—In East Suffolk, a pair again bred at Sibton (DJP), and a pair bred at Lound (LFC). Two at Minsmere, May 9th and lOth (RSPB). In West Suffolk, a continued increase (WHP). 84. Mute Swan.—The River Stour herd reached a record total of 948 during October (RVAM). 85. Whooper Swan.—Six at Minsmere, Jan. 12th, 13 on Feb. 9th, seven on March 16th (LFC). Six at Havergate, Dec. Ist (RSPB). 86. Bewick's Swan.—Present at Minsmere until March 23rd, the largest number being 32 in early March (FKC, GJJ, DJP, RSPB, PS). Six at Reydon, Jan. 3rd-; one at Benacre, Feb. 23rd (many observers) ; eight R. Stow, Jan. 8th (FKC). Eight at Minsmere, Dec. 19th, nine 22nd, 16 on 27th (DJP). 91. Buzzard.—Single birds recorded at Walberswick on Feb. 9th and 16th (DJP) and March 8th ( F E G H ) ; at Haiesworth, May Ist (LFC) ; at Levington, May 21st ( F E G H ) ; and at Helmingham, June 2nd (T). One at Nacton, Aug. 24th (PC), and one at Walberswick, Sept. 6th (LFC). 95. Kite.—One at Brampton, March 4th (PRW)—füll details were obtained. 97. White-tailed Eagle.—An immature was at Havergate from Feb. 28th to March 3rd (RSPB, FKC), and at Butley on March 2nd (FKC, GJJ). It seems probable that this was the bird recorded several times in Norfolk during the previous three months, and reported by two Walberswick residents as being on the beach there on or about Jan. 3rd (per BAC, JR). On Jan. 18th, an eagle was seen over the River Aide at Snape (PS) ; complete details could not be obtained, but from the description it could only have been a bird of this species, and was probably again the same bird.


176

BIRD REPORT

99. Marsh Harrier.—At Minsmere three nests, six young reared. At another locality two pairs were thought to have bred, but only one successfully, two young being reared. At a third locality, the male was bigamous and the two females reared a total of four, possibly five, young. At a fourth locality, a pair had eggs but were thought to have been robbed. At least five birds over wintered at Walberswick (DJP). At Walberswick, on Sept. 20th, one seen Aying south about one mile off-shore (GJJ, DJP). 100. Hen Harrier.—Recorded in the coastal areas up to April 15th, but only two recorded during the autumn—a male at Walberswick on Oct. 19th (GJJ, DJP), and one at Oulton on Oct. 19th and 27th (LFC). Inland records are of males at Darmsden during February (JV), and at Tuddenham Heath on April 28th (CBC). 102. Montagu's Harrier.—A pair bred at Minsmere, but were robbed ; another pair bred at Dunwich, but apparently without success. There were many more records than usual from the coastal areas, but none from inland. 103. Osprey.—One at Blythburgh from Aug. 13th to Sept. 5th (GBGB, PADH, GJJ, DJP, M J S ) ; single birds at Walberswick on Aug. 24th (GJJ, DJP), and at Minsmere on Aug. 14th (RSPB) probably referred to the Blythburgh bird. One at Snape on Aug. lOth and 1 Ith (AEC, FKC, PS). One at Nacton Decoy for several days in early September (per ACCH). 104. Hobby.—Single birds recorded at Minsmere, July 8th (RSPB), and at Walberswick on July lOth (LFC) probably relate to the same bird. 105. Peregrine.—Single birds recorded at Havergate on 15 days up to April 24th (RSPB) ; at Snape, March 9th (PS) at Walberswick, April 20th (LFC) ; at Breydon, April 26th (RHH). Single birds recorded at Blythburgh, Aug. 9th ( F K C ) ; three times in November and twice in December at Havergate (RSPB) ; R. Stour, Oct. 12th ( R G H C ) ; R. Aide, Nov. 15th ( D J P ) ; R. Blyth, Dec. 26th (DJP) ; Breydon, Oct. 19th (RHH) ; at Minsmere on Sept. 23rd and 27th (RH). 107. Merlin.—Single birds recorded at Havergate on four occasions up to April 21 st (RSBP); at Southwold, Feb. 26th ( G B G B ) ; at Benacre, April 13th (LFC) ; and at Thorpeness, May 30th (LFC).


BIRD

REPORT

177

In autumn, on 12 occasions at Havergate from Sept. 4th, and at Minsmere on four days from July 29th to Sept. 14th ( L F C , RSPB) • at Walberswick on Sept. 5th and Oct. 26th (GJJ, D J P ) ; at Uggeshall, on Dec. 19th ( G B G B ) ; and at Easton Bavents on Aug. 17th ( L F C ) . 108. Red-footed Falcon.—A female at Southwold from May 9th to 14th ( G B G B and many observers). 117. Q u a i l — A pair bred at Reydon, three young being reared (per GBGB). One calling near Cavenham, July 25th (CBC). 119. Crane.—A party of five at Waldringfield were first seen on Jan. 9th. One bird soon disappeared but the remaining ones, two adults and two juveniles, stayed until March 2nd. T h e y were seen heading north over Walberswick on Feb. 22nd, but were back at Waldringfield the next day (many observers). One at Minsmere on April 18th (RSPB), and at Blythburgh on the 19th (RC, R H , DJP)—presumably the same bird. An immature at Walberswick, May 21st and 25th (JDM). 125. Corncrake.—An immature, found dead on road at Saxtead Green on July 17th, was considered by observers to have wings insufficiently developed for flight (ELK). Single birds at Shotley on Aug. 28th and Sept. 13th (MP). One found dead at Reydon, Oct. 3rd (LFC). 135. Little R i n g e d Plover.—One pair bred, but without success ( T F and many observers). An immature at Walberswick on Aug. 16th and 17th (GJJ, DJP) ; one Havergate from Aug. 17th to Sept. 5th (RSPB). Inland—an immature at Bury St. Edmunds, Aug. 24th (AGB). 136 Kentish Plover.—At Havergate, three on April 6th, one on 7th, 8th to 15th, May 5th, 6th and 1 Ith ( R S P B ) ; one at Minsmere, May 4th ( R S P B ) ; a male at Reydon, May lOth (DJPS. 140 G o l d e n Plover.—Winter flocks recorded as follows :— c. 150 Lesiton (GJJ, D J P ) ; c. 300 Easton Bavents ( G B G B , R H , D J P ) ; c. 200 Sudbury (PDC). In autumn—c. 500 Ellough (GB) ; c. 50 Sudbury ( P D C ) ; c. 300 Easton Bavents (GBGB, GJJ, DJP) ; c. 300 W r e n t h a m (LFC). C. 100 at Reydon on April 15th, were of the Northern race (GBGB). 142.

Dotterel.—One at Aldeburgh on Sept. 7th ( M F M M ) .


178

BIRD REPORT

147. J a c k Snipe.—Recorded up to April 19th, and again from July 16th. 148. Woodcock.—Exceptionally heavy passage on the coast during April up to the 20th (many observers). Continues to increase as a breeding bird in West Suffolk (WHP). Again bred in bracken cover near cliff edge at Corton ( L F C ) . 151. Whimbrel.—One at Orford on March 2nd (GJJ), and one at Havergate on March 4th and 6th ( R S P B ) probably refers to the same bird—an exceptionally early date. Last recorded on Oct. 12th. 154. Black-tailed Godwit.—R. Orwell—never more than 40 during the winter. In the autumn, c. 40 on Oct. 19th was the only record. R. Stour—only one winter record, of three birds. In the autumn, 15 on Sept. 14th, and a record total of c. 540 on Oct. 6th. R. Blyth—c. 130 were present on Jan. 18th, and a peak of c. 50 was reached on March 9th ; numbers then feil to c. 95 by April 22nd, 56 on the 25th. After this date none were recorded until autumn. In autumn only occasional birds until eight on Dec. 13th, 20 on 26th, and c. 300 Aying over Walberswick on the 30th. Havergate—None in winter. 22 June 21st, 184 on July 20th ; up to 160 during August; up to 35 during September. R. Aide—c. 35 on Jan. 19th, and 90 on April 2nd. Breydon—up to nine in April ; 17 on July 7th. Small numbers were recorded from other parts of the coast (many observers). 155. Bar-tailed Godwit.—Apart from 22 in R. Orwell, there were only scattered records of single birds during the winter. A very poor passage in both spring and autumn, but on August 18th, 5 0 0 + were recorded Aying along the shore at Minsmere (RSPB). 156. Green Sandpiper.—Winter records—one Lowestoft, Jan. 8th ( L F C ) ; one Havergate, Feb. 2nd ( R S P B ) ; one Little Cornard, March 22nd ( P D C ) ; one Yoxford, Jan. 20th (DJP) ; one Snape, Jan. lOth, and two there on Feb. 15th and 22nd (PS). A poor passage in both spring and autumn. Late records were of three at Little Cornard in December (PDC), and c. Ave at West Stow on Dec. 21 st (ALB). 157. Wood Sandpiper.—The only spring records were of single birds at Reydon on May 5th and 20th ( G B G B ) .


BIRD

REPORT

179

Recorded in small numbers on the coast from July 4th to Sept 30th. 159. 7th.

C o m m o n Sandpiper.—Recorded from April 24th to Nov.

162. Spotted Redshank.—Recorded in the coastal areas during every month. In fair numbers, but probably less than in recent years. Inland—two at West Stow on Aug. 24th (ALB), and four there on the 25th (WHP). 164. Yellowshank.—One at Havergate on Sept. 25th (RSPB). Füll details were obtained. 165. Greenshank.—There was one at Oulton Broad on Feb. 2nd (LFC). Otherwise recorded in fair numbers from April Ist to Nov. 8th on the coast. Inland—At West Stow, one on July 4th and 15th, four on Aug. 24th and 25th (ALB, WHP). One Bury St. Edmunds, Aug. 24th. Two Aying over Hitcham on Aug. 20th (ALB). 169. Knot.—Apart from c. 100 R. Orwell on March 23rd, only recorded in very small numbers. 170. Purple Sandpiper.—One or two birds in the Lowestoft ' Pakefield area up to March 13th (LFC). Up to seven in same area from Oct. 24th to end of year (LFC) ; one Easton Broad and Covehithe, Nov. 9th (GBGB, GJJ, DJP). 171. Little Stint.—There was again a record of a bird wintering —one seen at Easton Broad on Jan. 26th, Feb. 2nd, Feb. 16th and March 15th (DJP, PS); one at Reydon on March 15th (RH) was probably the same bird. Spring records are of single birds at Havergate on three dates in April, three on May 2nd, two May 3rd to 6th, one on 25th and June 9th, three on 10th, two on l l t h , one on 12th and 13th (RSPB); one at Reydon on April 6th (GBGB); one at Walberswick on May l l t h (GJJ, DJP). In autumn, a rather poor passage up to Oct. 3Ist. 173. T e m m i c k ' s Stint.—One at Walberswick, Sept. Ist (GBGB) ; single birds at Havergate on Sept. 3rd, 5th, 25th and on Oct. 26th (RSPB). 179. Curlew Sandpiper.—There were only two records in spring, single birds at Blythburgh on May lOth and l l t h (GBGB, FKC, GJJ), and at Havergate on May 19th (RSPB). Very few records in autumn, and mostly of single birds, but at Havergate on Sept. 8th, 10, and on the 9th, 12.


180

BIRD REPORT

181. Sanderling.—Few passage records, and only very small numbers in winter. 184. Ruff.—Recorded from April 4th to Oct. 3Ist in moderate numbers. 185. Avocet.—At Havergate between 80 and 100 pairs nested, but again the number of young to reach the free-flying stage was low, and out of 214 hatched probably only 33 survived. One bird was in Butley Creek from Jan. 6th to 1 Ith, and five arrived on March Ist. The last seen was on Nov. 30th (RSPB). The only birds recorded away from the vicinity of the breeding grounds were—two at Breydon from April 12th to 27th (RHH) ; one Blythburgh, May 19th ( J D M ) ; one Minsmere, June 2Sth (RSPB). 186. Black-winged Stilt.—One at Minsmere from June 7th to 29th (RSPB). 187. Grey Phalarope.—Two at Reydon on Nov. 15th, and one on 16th (LFC). 188.

Red-necked Phalarope.—One at Reydon, Sept. 13th (LFC).

189. Stone Curlew.—First recorded on March 29th, at Nacton, Leiston and Westleton (ACCH, DJP, G J J ) ; and last recorded on Nov. 9th, at Hinton (DJP). Breeding recorded much as usual. 193. Arctic Skua.—Single birds at Walberswick on Aug. 3rd, 15th, 25th and Sept. 28th ; at Minsmere on Sept. 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 27th ; at Easton Bavents on Aug. 18th ; at Southwold on Oct. 18th GBGB, GJJ, DJP, RSPB). 202. Glaucous Gull.—Single birds at Havergate on March 8th, April 4th to 7th ( R S P B ) ; at Lowestoft during January, on Feb. 9th, 26th, and March 2nd (REH, L F C , AEV). In autumn, single birds at Havergate on Nov. 17th and Dec. 28th (RSPB) ; at Lowestoft on Oct. 22nd and Dec. 5th and 23rd ( L F C , RVAM). 203. Iceland Gull.—One at Lowestoft during January and on Feb. 6th and 8th (MJS, AEV). 205. Mediterranean Gull.—The bird already present at Pakefield at the end of 1957 remained until March 16th (LFC). One was seen at Benacre on Oct. 12th, and at Pakefield on the 18th, staying there until the end of the year (LFC). 207. Little Gull.—The only records were of single birds at Havergate on Aug. 24th, Sept. Ist, 19th, 20th, and Oct. 2nd (RSPB).


BIRD

REPORT

181

211. Kittiwake.—Two pairs nested at Lowestoft, but were unsuccessful (LFC). This is the first record of attempted breeding in the county. Recorded in small numbers throughout the year. 212. Black Tern.—Very small numbers during April and May. Autumn passage from Aug. Ist to Sept. 24th. In West Suffolk—six at Livermere on May 4th, and five on 5th (CBC, PBL). 217.

C o m m o n Tern.—Recorded from April 21st to Oct. 12th.

218. Arctic Tern.—Single birds at Minsmere on June 25th, July 5th, 6th and 20th (RSPB). 219. Roseate Tern.—One at Havergate, April 21st (RSPB). A dead bird at Walberswick on May 18th (DJP). 222. Little Tern.—Recorded from April 20th to Sept. 21 st. In West SufFolk, one at Livermere on April 20th (CBC). 223. Sandwich Tern.—Recorded from March 27th to Sept. 27th. About 300 pairs nested at Havergate. 222.

Razorbill.—The only records were of dead birds.

226. Little Auk.—One at Walberswick, Nov 9th (GJJ, DJP). 227. Guillemot.—Single birds at Havergate on Jan. 27th, at Lowestoft on March 22nd, and at Minsmere on April 1 Ith, May 27th and 28th (RSPB, LFC) In autumn single birds recorded during August, September, November and December. 235. Turtle Dove.—Recorded from April 21st. Last seen on Oct. lOth, at Frostenden (LFC), and on Nov. 9th, at Easton Bavents (GJJ, DJP), exceptionally late dates. Collared Turtle Dove.—One at Hitcham on April 25th (ALB). 237. Cuckoo.—Recorded from April 19th to Oct. 5th. 244.

Snowy Owl.—One at Sibton on Feb. 8th (APFH).

248. Long-eared Owl.—Bred at Herringfleet, but probably only two pairs (LFC). One pair bred at Hinton and three young flew (DJP). A pair probably bred at Blythburgh (DJP). One at Easton Bavents, Sept. 21 st (DJP). 249. Short-eared Owl.—One pair bred at Walberswick and four young flew (GBGB, DJP). Two pairs bred successfully at Havergate (RSPB).


182

BIRD REPORT

Very plentiful in coastal areas both winter and autumn. At Alderton on Dec. 20th, a shooting party flushed at least 20 on the marshes, some members of the party considered that 50 to 100 were there (HP). 252.

Nightjar.—First recorded on May 9th.

255.

Swift.—Recorded from April 30th to Oct. 16th.

256. Alpine Swift.—One at Minsmere on June 21 st (REE GJJ, JI, HPM, JFLP) füll details were obtained. 261. Hoopoe.—One at Benacre, May 4th (LFC). One at Sudbury during April (WHP). One at Wixoe, on Suffolk side of river, seen several times from Aug. Ist to 8th (WHP) 265. Wryneck.—There were no records of breeding, and onlv two birds were seen during the spring—one at Minsmere on April 30th (RSPB), and one at Lakenheath, on May 27th (REH). Unusually numerous on passage during September—at Walberswick, one on 3rd, two on 4th, three on 5th, two or three on 6th, one on 7th and 8th, two on 9th ; at Minsmere, one on 6th ; at Westleton, one on 8th ; at Reydon, one on 4th, 5th and 9th ; at Easton Bavents, one on 5th ; at Bulcamp one on 4th ; at Southwold, nine between Aug. 29th and Sept. lOth ; at Lowestoft, one from 4th to 7th. A dead bird was found on a road near Walberswick on 8th, and another near Blythburgh on 13th (HRB PADH REH, GJJ, LFC, M F M M , DJP, RSPB). 273.

Shorelark.—One at Walberswick, Nov. 16th (GJJ).

274.

Swallow.—Recorded from March 26th to Nov. 30th.

276.

House Martin.—Recorded from April 4th to Nov. 19th.

277.

Sand Martin.—Recorded from March 29th to Oct. 20th.

281. Hooded Crow.—Recorded up to May 9th and again from Oct. 25th. 295. Bearded Tit.—Bred in good numbers. At least two pairs in a locality which, until recently, was outside usual ränge (LFC). The only record away from breeding areas was of two at Orford on Nov. 5th (JW). 302. Fieldfare.—Recorded up to April 23rd, and again from Oct. 8th. 304. Redwing.—Recorded up to May 8th and again from Oct. 17th.


BIRD REPORT

307.

183

Ring Ouzil.—One at Snape April 22nd (PS).

311. Wheatear.—Recorded from March 9th to Oct. 12th, with very few reports of breeding. A heavy passage on the Coast from Sept. 2nd to 9th. 317. Stonechat.—One pair bred successfully at Westleton (DJP), and another pair at Shingle Street (RKN). Fairly plentiful in winter and passage on the coast. 318.

Whinchat.—Recorded from April 8th to Oct. 5th.

A good autumn passage. 320.

Redstart.—Recorded from April Ist to Sept. 28th.

A moderatly good autumn passage. 321. Black Redstart.—At Ipswich, a pair bred at the power Station and two broods were raised ( A C C H ) ; in the docks area a male was singing throughout May and part of June, but no female was seen, the male was last seen on July 20th ( C G D C , GJJ). In the Lowestoft area, during May, a male at Oulton and another at Pakefield and South Lowestoft and another at Lowestoft gas works. On June 13th a nest was found in Whapload Road, Lowestoft, but this was later deserted. From mid-June to midJuly a male was seen and heard in the centre of Lowestoft, but no female or nest could be found. On Aug. 13th, a pair with three juveniles was seen at Lowestoft gas works and it is thought they bred there. T h e last record was of one on Nov. 6th ( L F C ) . A good spring passage—Havergate, one March 27th ( R S P B ) ; Minsmere, three, March 29th and up to four from April 2nd to 16th ( F K C , RH, G J J , D J P , MP, PS, R S P B ) ; Westleton, up to three, April 4th to 18th (DJP, P S ) ; Walberswick, up to three, April 7th to 19th ( G B G B , G J J , D J P ) ; Wenhaston, four, April 16th ( D J P ) ; Hopton, one April 9th and lOth (per M J S ) ; Kirkley, one, March 25th ( L F C ) . 322.

Nightingale.—Recorded from April 20th to Sept. 7th.

One picked up at Long Melford on Dec. 20th, appeared to be not long dead (WHP). 327. 6th.

Grasshopper Warbier.—Recorded from April 20th to Sept.

333.

Reed Warbier.—Recorded from April 18th to Sept. 21st.

337.

Sedge Warbier.—Recorded from April 18th to Oct. 2nd.

343. Blackcap.—A male at Leiston from Jan. 30th to Feb. 9th (DGG).


184

BIRD

REPORT

A male at Hadleigh on March 9th (PDC), otherwise recorded from April 16th to Oct. 19th. 344. B a r r e d Warbier.—An immature at Felixstowe on Sept. 14th (ALB). 346.

G a r d e n Warbier.—Recorded from April 29th to Sept. 21 st.

347. Whitethroat.—Recorded from April 20th. Last seen on Nov. 3rd, when one at Walberswick (DJP)—a very late date. 348. L e s s e r Whitethroat.—Recorded from April 29th to Sept. 24th. ^ 354.

Willow Warbier.—Recorded from March 30th to Oct. 7th.

356.

Chiffchaff.—Recorded from March 28th to Oct. 13th.

357. Wood Warbier.—A pair at Minsmere throughout May and June, but no proof of breeding (RSPB). 364. Goldcrest.—A very noticeable passage on the coast during April up to the 20th. 365. Firecrest.—One at Westleton, April 9th ; one at Southwold, April 22nd (DJP) ; two Minsmere, April 16th ; one on 17th (RSPB). 366. Spotted Flycatcher.—Recorded from May 4th to Sept. F 25th. 368. Pied Flycatcher.—There was one spring record, a female at Havergate on April 4th (RSPB). The first autumn passage records were of single birds at Minsmere on Aug. 14th, 15th and 28th ; at Havergate on 31st; at Walberswick on 19th, two on 23rd and 31st. During September, at Walberswick, four on 3rd, three on 4th, five on 5th, 10 on 6th, six on 7th, one on 9th, two on 13th ; at Minsmere, one on 2nd, 15 on 3rd, three on 4th, six on 5th and 6th, two on 7th, 8th and 9th ; at Havergate, one from 3rd to 5th ; at Southwold, several on 4th ; at Felixstowe, two on 3rd, six on 4th one on 5th ; at Benacre, two on 13th ; at Aldeburgh, five on 6th, six on 7th ; at Sizewell, two on 8th ; at Dunwich, three on 9th ; at Lowestoft, the largest number was c. 35 at Belle Vue Park on 4th and 5th (RH, G J J , L F C , M F M M , DJP, RSPB). Away from the coast—one at Holbrook on Sept. 7th (ALB) ; two at Bramfield, Sept 8th (RH) ; one at Hinton on 3rd (DJP).


BIRD REPORT

185

376. T r e e Pipit.—Recorded from April 13th to Sept. 21st. A considerable Autumn passage on the Coast—numerous at Southwold, Walberswick and Minsmere from Sept. 2nd to 14th (GJJ, D J P ) ; c. 25 at Havergate on Sept. 3rd, one on 4th, 2 on 5th, one on 6th (RSPB) ; up to 12 at Felixstowe Sept. 9th ( G J J ) ; up to 15 at Hinton Sept. 2nd to 14th (DJP). 379. R o c k Pipit.—Recorded up to April 14th, and again from Aug. 22nd. A considerable passage movement at Walberswick on Oct. 19th, when c. 70 were present (GJJ, DJP). 380. White Wagtail.—One at Walberswick on March 30th (GJJ) ; one at Benacre on April 27th (LFC). An adult male at Lowestoft, Sept. 18th and 19th (LFC). 381. G r e y Wagtail.—There were no reports of breeding. One at Freston, Jan. 8th to 26th ( C G D C ) ; one Sibton, Feb. 6th to 15th ( D J P ) ; one killed on road in Ipswich, Feb. 5th (HEPS) ; one on roof in centre of Ipswich, March 13th ( F K C ) ; one Melton, March 14th (AAC) ; one Reydon, March 31st (LFC). In West Suffolk, as usual in winter (WHP). One Dunwich, Sept. 14th ( C G D C ) ; one Sibton, Sept. 16th (DJP) ; one R. Stour during October (RVAM) ; two Sproughton, Oct. 4th ( G J J ) ; one Eastbridge, Oct. 19th ( L F C ) ; one Fiatford, Nov. - Dec. (RVAM). 382.

Yellow Wagtail.—Recorded from March 29th to Oct. 8th.

Blue-Headed Wagtail.—One Reydon, April 21st, May 5th and l l t h ; two Benacre, April 25th ; one Southwold, May 2nd and June 18th (LFC). 383. Waxwing.—During January and February, the following were recorded—11 Wangford, three Haiesworth, one Ipswich, one Wickham Market, five Leiston, four Felixstowe, three Bury St. Edmunds, 11 Walberswick, 20 Oulton Broad, two Reydon. There was then one November record, a single bird at Oulton Broad on the 16th ; in December, 34 at Easton Bavents on 18th, and three on 28th ; six at Cove on 22nd ; c. 20 at Oulton Broad early in the month ( G B G B , HRB, D G G , ACCH, JH, G J J , N E J , L F C , O E M , DJP, RJR, PS, WSSS.). 384. Great Grey S h r i k e — One at Fornham St. Martin on Jan. lOth (WHP) ; one Tuddenham Heath on April 6th (CBC). One Westleton Heath, Nov. 16th (DJP).


1 0 0

BIRD REPORT

388 Red-backed Shrike.—Recorded from May l l t h to Sept r 20th. Bred in moderate numbers East Suffolk. Cominues to decrease in West Suffolk (WHP). , 'Passage records—one at Havergate, Aug. 3 Ist, to Sept. a /arülr^ " l m m a t u>-e at Aldeburgh, Sept. 6th and 7th a l m m a t u r e m a l e at nim ' " Walberswick, Sept. 20th (GJJ 394 Siskin. Recorded up to April 20th, and again from Oct. 19th—records not numerous, and no larger parties reported. 396 «tn

Twite. Recorded up to April 8th, and again from Oct. large flocks at usual points on coast, both winter and autumn.

397. Redpoll.—Two pairs bred at Ipswich (BCT)—the onlv report of breeding. Mealy Redpoll. A flock of up to 22 on Walberswick Common trom April 7th to 18th were considered to be of this race Behaviour was more like linnets than red polls, as they spent their time, when not on ground, in bushes, not trees (GBGB). 404.

Crossbill.—Breeding in West Suffolk as usual.

About 50 was the largest number seen in the Herringfleet area during the year (LFC). /t ~ H i n t o n > J u n e 2 8 t h (DJP) ; 12 Walberswick, July lOth ( L F C ) ; 21 Mmsmere, July 12th (RH) ; 18 Minsmere, July} 16th and 1/th (RSPB).

In September, one Hinton on 3rd ; a flock calling at Hollesley on 4th ; two Minsmere on 7th ; two Westleton on 9th (MFMM, DJP, RSPB). Two at Walberswick with immigrant flnch flock on Oct. 30th (DJP). 408 Brambling.—Recorded up to April 8th, and again from Oct. 1/th—records not numerous, and flocks not large. 422.

Lapland Bunting.—One at Benacre on Oct. 12th (LFC).

423. Snow Bunting.—Recorded up to April 19th, and again 5 from Sept. 14th. Very small numbers reported during winter, but flocks of up to 80 at several points on coast during autumn.


BIRD REPORT

187

THE F O L L O W I N G SPECIES WERE RECORDED AS USUAL : —

9. Little Grebe ; 28. Cormorant; 45. Mallard ; 46. T e a l ; 50. Wigeon ; 92. Sparrow Hawk ; 110. Kestrel ; 115. Red-legged Partridge ; 116. Partridge ; 118. Pheasant; 120. Water Rail ; 126. Moorhen ; 127. C o o t ; 131. Oyster catcher ; 133. Lapwing ; 134. Ringed Plover ; 139. Grey Plover ; 143. Turnstone ; 145. Snipe; 150. Curlew; 161. Redshank; 178. Dunlin ; 198. Great Black-backed Gull ; 199. Lesser Black-backed G u l l ; 200. Herring G u l l ; 201. Common G u l l ; 201. Black-headed Gull ; 232. Stock D o v e ; 234. Wood Pigeon ; 241. Barn Owl; 246. Little Owl ; 247. Tawny O w l ; 258. Kingfisher; 262. Green Woodpecker; 263. Great Spotted Woodpecker; 264. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker; 271. Woodlark; 272. Skylark; 280. Carrion Crow ; 282. Rook ; 283. jackdaw ; 284. Magpie ; 286. Jay ; 288. Great T i t ; 289. Biue T i t ; 290. Coal T i t ; 292. Marsh T i t ; 293. Willow T i t ; 294. Long-tailed T i t ; 296. Nuthatch ; 298. Tree Creeper ; 299. Wren ; 301. Mistle Thrush ; 303 Song T h r u s h ; 308. Blackbird ; 325. Robin-; 371. Hedge Sparrow; 373. Meadow Pipit; 380. Pied Wagtail; 389. Starling ; 391. Hawfinch ; 392. Greenfinch ; 393. Goldfinch ; 395. Linnet; 401. Bullfinch ; 407. Chaffinch; 409. Yellowshammer; 410. Com Bunting ; 421. Reed Bunting ; 424. House Sparrow ; 425. Tree Sparrow.


188

BIRD REPORT

LIST

Miss

P. BARLEE B. L.

T H E HON. W . BARRINGTON MISS W . H.

E.

BEECROFT

G.

B.

G.

A.

L.

BULL

G.

BYFORD

A. A. R.

CALDER

G.

H.

F.

K.

P.

COGGINS

CLAPHAM

COBB

JOBSON

L.

E.

JOHNSON

KING

P.

B.

LUND

J.

D.

MAGEE

R. V.

A.

H.

P.

MEDHURST

M.

F.

R.

CONEY

0.

K.

M.

MEIKLEJOHN

E.

MESSENGER

NORMAN

PACKARD F.

L.

R. J.

PARSLOW

PARTRIDGE

W.

H.

CORDERO

H.

PEASE

PAYN

R.

N.

CREASY

J.

PEMBERTON

C.

G.

D.

L.

F.

P.

D.

CUTMORE

K.

F.

W.

P.

M.

CURTIS DOUGHTY

DOUGHTY

L . DOW R.

E.

M.

FREEMAN

T.

FRY

DR.

G.

D.

P.

F.

R.

HARKNESS G.

ROBINSON

HARRAP

SAGE

M.

J.

SEAGO

H.

E.

P.

P.

SMITH

M.

S. J.

D.

G.

HARRIS

T H E LORD

R.

G.

HARRISON

B.

C.

J.

VANE

A.

C.

J.

HEWITT

A. E.

R.

E.

THE

A.

HOBSON

P. H. J.

A.

C.

HERVEY

HITCHCOCK D.

HUNT IZZARD

PROTEC-

TION OF B I R D S

HAMILTON

F. E.

RAIKES

RIGBY

ROYAL SOCIETY FOR

GARNETT

A.

PHILLIPS PIERSON

MISS J.

B.

D.

DR.

D. J.

R. J.

EMMETT

CLUB

MARSHALL

M.

MISS

J.

MISS B. A. R.

CLUB

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MRS. A. E.

J.

LOWESTOFT F I E L D

BENSON

CAMBRIDGE B I R D

G.

MISS N . E.

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OF OBSERVERS

HOLLOM

DR. J.

K.

SPENCER SNOXELL TOLLEMACHE

TURNER VINE HON.

P.

R.

MRS. J.

WATSON

WESTALL

WESTON

W H I T G I F T SCHOOL SOCIETY

SELBORNE


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190

BIRD REPORT

BIRD RINGING AT WALBERSWICK, 1958 DINGLE BIRD CLUB SPRING

Strong northerly winds blew during April up to the 19th, and passage was negligible. From the 19th to the 21st, the wind became light and westerly, passage became noticeable, with Willow Warbiers, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and Nightingales involved. In addition to these species were three Black Redstarts and three Siskins. AUTUMN

Passage was poor during August, although a steady drift through occurred, and 65 Whitethroats and 47 Willow Warbiers were ringed. Single Pied Flycatchers were caught on the 19th and 23rd. For a short period from the 3rd of September there was a rush of passerines comparable to that of September, 1956. The main species involved were Whitethroats, Willow Warbiers, and Whinchats ; Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers were in moderate numbers ; Tree Pipits were unusually plentiful for that species, as was the case with Wrynecks of which at least three were present. Passage during the second half of the month was poor. In October, the main event was a terrific rush of Blackbirds on the 18th and 19th, and at one time 60 were round the traps ; 48 were ringed during the two days. Reed Buntings were not present in any numbers, for the third year running. A Blackcap was ringed on the 19th, a Merlin on the 26th, and a Whitethroat was present on November 2nd and 3rd. During the year 1,025 birds of 51 species were ringed. With the cold spring and excessively wet summer it is not thought that the total contained very many locally bred birds. Recoveries reported included a Blackbird in Germany and a Redstart in France.

OBSERVATIONS

ON

ROBINS

Close Observation of individual birds discloses slight differences in plumage and, sometimes, considerable differences in behaviour, and we often use these differences as a basis of the names we give to our robins. In August, 1956, we had two which we called " Brownie " and " Spotty ". They were both birds of that year, and, as a fledgling, Brownie was distinctly darker than the average.


BIRD REPORT

191

Spotty was so named because the tips of his secondary wing feathers were a light yellow-brown and so, when his wings were folded, pairs of spots appeared over his rump. (Similar light tips, on the secondary wing coverts this time, very often make a bar on the wing.) Of the two birds Brownie was, at that time, much the friendlier, but Spotty, after he had definitely taken over the territory from all his rivals, became the tarnest robin we have ever had and, for the last twelve months and more, has perched on my hand and there fed, scratched, preened and even sun-bathed ! I have, therefore, had plenty of opportunity of examining him very closely and noticed that, as a result of his moult last autumn, he has lost his spots but that the fourth pair of wing secondaries (counting from the Shoulder) have light cream-coloured borders on the inner side so that, when his wings are not tightly closed, a pair of stripes is visible down the lower part of his back. This Observation seems worth recording because it means that variations of this kind in the plumage of birds are not characteristic of the individual; they may change from moult to moult, and they cannot, therefore, be trusted to be of value for the identification of a bird throughout its life. Now, as I have said, Brownie was a very friendly bird before Spotty drove him out of the garden and, with such birds, I try to get them to feed off a 7 inch Square board on which I carry some of the food to the bird-tables. I see from my 1956 diary that Brownie first came and fed on the board while I was holding it on Saturday, 25th August, and that Wednesday, 12th September, was the last day he was seen in the garden, i.e., eighteen days later. Spotty has been in control of the territory of which our garden has been a part ever since and we have seen him almost every day ; even during his moult he did not fail to come, in fact it was then that he sun-bathed more than once as he stood on my hand. On Saturday, 15th March, 1958, there was a stränge robin (not Spotty nor his mate) on the bird-table close to the window. It was not nearly so shy as Spotty's mate and at first I thought it was Spotty himself. But it was definitely not Spotty. It was obviously not so " at home " on the table as Spotty is : there was no sign of the light-edged feathers in its wings : but, most conclusive of all, it seemed to be suffering from a respiratory complaint we have noticed in other robins, the symptoms of which are breathing through the beak held slightly open, and, every now and again, shaking the head (in one case at least accompanied by dribbling). Later visits gave us clearer proof, if it had been necessary, that it was not Spotty, as Spotty or his mate chased it away a number of times. On the first occasion, however, it went away before either of them saw it and soon came back, so, as it was so tarne, I went out with food on the Square board and, as it did not fly away from me, I held it out towards it. With some slight hesitation and nervousness it came and fed on the board


192

BIRD

REPORT

as I held it in my hand and since then has done it a number of times when it has dared to visit the garden. Now we have two possible explanations of this behaviour. Either the bird is naturally so tarne that it is ready to fly on to a small board held by a perfectly stränge human being and to stay there and feed, or eise it is a bird that has fed on that board held by that human being before. And I find it easier to believe the second explanation than the first. So, presuming it to be Brownie and not an earlier bird, we can say that it learnt to come and feed on the little board while I held it, and was driven out of our garden eighteen days later; and yet, eighteen months later, almost to the day, it came into the gardan again, remembered me and the board, and so, with only a little shyness, did what it used to do. Or, in general terms and scientific jargon, these observations show that a pattern of behaviour established in a Robin (.Erithacus rubeculä) and repeated on and off during nineteen days can be recalled by the appropriate stimulus even after an interval of seventy-eight weeks and three days. G.

A ROOK

" ANTING " WITHOUT

L.

PURSER.

ANTS !

On 27th March, 1958, whilst watching a flock of gulls on a flooded gravel pit near the River Waveney, I noticed a lone Rook nearby whose behaviour attracted my attention. It was apparently " anting " on the bank just behind the gulls. It was crouching on its belly with tail flattened and outspread and wings open and slightly bend downwards. While in this position it kept striking the ground with its closed bill and then thrusting the bill first under one wing and then under the other. After doing so it shuffled forward a short distance and repeated the process. This went on for three or four minutes, after which the bird stood up, walked down to the water's edge and had a drink. It then scratched about among the stones for a short time, picked up what I took to be a root or twig and flew away with it. All this had taken place as I sat in my car about sixty yards away and had been watched through binoculars in a very good light. By means of two or three small landmarks I had marked the exact spot on which this " anting " had taken place and when the bird flew off I went to investigate. First, I searched the surface of the ground where the rook had crouched but without finding a trace of any ants. T h e n with a stick I dug up the ground but again could find nothing. In fact quite apart from the time of year, the Situation seemed quite unsuited to ants, being newly-excavated and rather damp gravel. What was the bird doing ? W.

H.

PAYN.

Suffolk Bird Report for 1958  
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