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SUFFOLK BIRD REPORT FOR 1959. Tenth Amiual

Report.

WE are very grateful for information supplied by the following Societies :—Cambridge Bird Club, Dingle Bird Club, Lowestoft Field Club and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. We would also wish to thank the Editors of the Essex and Norfolk Bird Reports for supplying border records, and Mr. A. E. Vine for again collecting records from the Breck. Mr. H. R. Beecroft and Mr. C. G. D. Curtis have acted as joint recorders, and on them has fallen the onerous task of sorting out and recording a great mass of material. Brief reports will be found of three separate areas on the coast, and it is regretted that this leads to some unavoidable repetition in the Classified Notes. Justification for this would seem to lie in the fact that each of these Areas has some special contribution to make to ornithology in the County. Minsmere is a closely watched breeding area, fortunate in possessing a Warden deeply interested in migration ; Walberswick can give an account of a Coastal ringing Station and Lowestoft, the most easterly point in the Country, is exceptionally well placed for observing visual migration. Records for 1960 should be sent to Mr. H. R. Beecroft, 10 Iving's Fleet Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk—as early as possible, please. Copies of this report may be obtained from Mr. Beecroft, price four shillings. 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). 1. Black-throated Diver.—One off Minsmere from Feb. 28th to March 2nd (per MSVO, RSPB). Offshore Minsmere, 2 Sept. 23rd, 27th and Oct. 2nd, 4 on 3rd and 5th, 5 on 27th, 1 Dec. 25th (BAC, RSPB). A dead bird at Benacre Dec. 12th, and one on Benacre Pits from Dec. 22nd to 29th (many observers). 2. Great Northern Diver.—One off Minsmere Feb. 28th and March Ist (per MSVO, RSPB). One R. Aide Dec. 30th (EFC). 4. Red-throated Diver.—Recorded up to April 23rd and again from Sept. 15th. The largest concentration was of 5 0 + off Minsmere on Dec. 28th (DJP). Apart from a dead bird at Snape no estuary records were received.


422

BIRD REPORT

5. Great Crested Grebe. Bred as usual. At Fritton Lake c. 23 pairs nested, but as last year few young survived more than a few days (HEJ). 7.

Slavonian Grebe.—One Benacre Pits, Feb. 13th (WHP). 4 + offshore Minsmere, Dec. 25th (DJP).

8. Black-necked Grebe.—One R. Orwell, Jan. 25th (FKC). One Benacre Pits from Feb. Ist to 15th (HRB, BAC, CGDC, DJP). 26. Fulmar.—Recorded offshore from April to August. On April 28th one seen Aying west five miles inland at Oulton Broad (HEJ). 27. Gannet.—Offshore Minsmere, three adults on March 27th and a 2nd year bird on May 21st (GJJ, DJP). In autumn recorded infrequently from Aug. 12th to Dec. lOth. Inland—an adult picked up alive at Elmswell (WHP). 29. Shag.—In Lowestoft Harbour, two Jan. 3Ist, one March Ist and 7th, April 24th to May 9th, Nov. 6th, Dec. 18, two Dec. 23rd and 24th, one on 3Ist (LFC, HEJ, GJJ, DJP, PS). One Orford, Dec. 18th and 21st (RSPB). Two Pakefield, Dec. 18th and two Benacre, Dec. 22nd, one on 3Ist (DJP, PS). 30. Heron.—Heronries with occupied nests recorded as follows :—Methersgate, 12 (AAC). Stutton, four (per ACCH). Eriswell, 13 (AEV). Livermere, 14 (AEV). Herringfleet, three (HEJ). Fritton Lake, two (HEJ). Henham, c. 20 (per MSVO). North Cove, 10 (LFC). 31.

Purple Heron.—A juvenile at Fiatford on Oct. 2nd (RVAM).

38. Bittern.—Bred in usual areas in average numbers. In one area, where last bred thirty years ago, birds were present and calling throughout the breeding season. 42. Spoonbill.—At Minsmere, one on May 6th and 30th, four on May 31st and June Ist. Easton Broad, two from May 17th to June 7th. Havergate, four on May 31st. Breydon, six for about a week from July 5th (many observers). 47. Garganey.—Four pairs bred at Minsmere (RSPB). Up to five at Walberswick from March 13th to Aug. 6th, but not proved to have bred. Also recorded in Spring from other coastal areas, and one on Sept. 13th at Easton Broad. A female offshore at Gunton on Oct. 4th (HEJ). Inland, seven at Livermere on April 7th, and two at Fiatford on April 9th.


BIRD REPORT

423

49. Gadwall.—40 to 50 pairs bred at Minsmere, where it was the most numerous of the breeding ducks (RSPB). In autumn the largest number recorded was c. 80, at Walberswick, and in winter c. 150, at Minsmere (DJP). 50. Wigeon.—An estimated 10,000 were in Holbrook Bay on Nov. 21st (RVAM). 52. Pintail.—Peak numbers recorded as follows :—Breydon, in January ; Fritton Lake, up to 40 in winter ; Havergate, up eight in December ; R. Orwell, 20 in January ; R. Deben, c. in February ; R. Stour, c. 135 in December ; R. Aide, c. 150 January.

49 to 60 in

53. Shoveler.—Rather less than 40 pairs bred at Minsmere (RSPB). Winter peaks recorded as follows :—R. Orwell, c. 50 in December ; R. Aide, c. 40 in January ; Minsmere, c. 100 in January ; R. Deben, c. 35 in November. Inland, 70 at Livermere on Aug. 16th (ALB). c. 75 Aying south off Minsmere in the December wildfowl movement (RSPB). 55. Scaup.—Very few recorded again this year. Düring February, one Walberswick, one R. Deben and six Oulton Broad (LFC, GJJ, DJP). Düring May, one at Covehithe on 2nd and 3rd, one at Boyton on lOth ( C G D C , GJJ, DJP). ^ In Autumn, four Easton Broad, Sept. 9th to 13th, one Minsmere, Sept. 17th and Oct. 7th, one Reydon, Nov. 6th, two R. Stour, Nov. 15th (many observers). 56. Tufted Duck.—Up to 20 pairs at Livermere from end of March to end of April (ALB, G M S E , AEV). Small numbers on coast in autumn and winter, most being 15 on Sept. 26th, at Benacre Broad. 57.

Pochard.—No breeding was reported.

Small numbers in autumn and winter, the most being 30 at Easton Broad in October. 60. Goldeneye.—Largest number was recorded in R. Orwell, where c. 50 present by the end of the year. Four off Minsmere on Dec. 7th and seven on the 8th, were part of the December wild-fowl movement (RSPB), also recorded off Lowestoft at this time (HEJ). 61. Long-tailed Duck.—The only record was of one R. Orwell on Nov. 2nd (WHP).


424

BIRD REPORT

62. Velvet Scoter.—One Minsmere, July 25th (RH). Two Dunwich, Aug. 3Ist and Sept. 2nd ( J E L P ) . Seven Aldeburgh, Sept. 12th (EFC). Two Minsmere, Oct. 3rd, one on l l t h and 13 on 18th (per M S V O , RSPB). Düring November and December unusually Iarge numbers were off Minsmere, 25 on Nov. 22nd ( B L S ) and 5 0 + from Dec. 25th to 3Ist (DJP). Up to 40 off Lovvestoft were part of the December wild-fowl movement (HEJ). 64. C o m m o n Scoter.—The usual large Summer flocks of nonbreeding birds were not recorded this year. Many hundreds off Lowestoft were part of the December wild-fowl movement (HEJ). 67. Eider. - T h e r e were no winter records and only one spring record—five Lowestoft, March 16th (HEJ). Two Walberswick, Aug, 24th, three Sept. 27th ( C G D C , per MSVO). Five Sizewell, Oct. 14th, six on 15th ( D G G ) . One Minsmere, Nov. 8th to 17th. One Lowestoft, Nov. 21st and two on 30th. One Easton Bavents, Nov. 27th. Düring December, seven Lowestoft, two Benacre, nine Covehithe, one Easton Bavents, five Walberswick, two Havergate and three R. Orwell (many observers). 69. Red-breasted Merganser.—Last recorded on May 2nd, when one male at Easton Broad, and again from Nov. l l t h , when three offshore at Easton Bavents. Most in winter were in R. Orwell, where a maximum of 37 on Jan. l l t h (ALB). 47 offshore at Reydon were part of the December wild-fowl movement (HEJ). 70. Goosander.—In spring, a male at Reydon on April 19th (FKC). Two offshore Minsmere, Nov. 22nd ( B L S ) , and from three to seven there from Nov. 29th to Dec. 18th (RSPB). One R. Aide, Dec. 13th. One Benacre, Dec. 24th and 27th ( F K C , DJP). One North Cove, Dec. 20th (BWB). 71.

S m e w . — A female Easton Broad, Feb. Ist and 8th (DJP).

A male Benacre, Dec. 22nd (DJP). 73. Shelduck.—Inland—a pair bred at Livermere (CAEK, RGHC), and a brood of young were seen at West Stow (WHP). T h e largest estuarv count was of 3370 on R. Stour, Dec. 13th (RVAM). Large numbers passed South off Minsmere in the December wild-fowl movement (RSPB).


425

BIRD REPORT

75. Grey-lag Goose.—One R. Deben, Feb. 22nd to March Ist with a S i n g l e White-front (FKC, GJJ, AEV). Five Lowestoft, Oct. 1 Ith (per MSVO). Dec. 18th (RVAM).

Five Walberswick,

76. White-fronted Goose.—Eight Minsmere, Jan. 25th (JELP, PS), and eight Southwold on same day (DJP). Four Minsmere, Jan. 3 Ist (DJP). One R. Deben, Feb. 22nd to March Ist. Numbers in the Breydon area were the lowest since 1928, with a peak of only 68 on Feb. 15th (RHH). 47 in from the sea at Walberswick on Dec. 21st (DJP). 78. Bean Goose.—One at Eastbridge from Feb. 22nd to March 23rd, kept Company with a local domestic goose (many observers). 78. Pink-footed Goose.—12 St. Olaves, Jan. 16th. Seven Breydon on 18th (LFC). Three Havergate, Jan. 28th, four Feb. l l t h (RSPB). 20 Lowestoft, Oct. l l t h (per MSVO). Six or seven on Dec. 7th and at least eight on the 8th were mixed in with skeins of Brent Geese in the wild-fowl movement past Minsmere, c. 50 at Havergate on the 8th and c. 24 on 13th may also have been part of this movement (RSPB). Grey Goose.—? species—20 Southwold, Jan. 22nd ; nine Minsmere, Jan. 23rd (BAC) ; 13 R. Orwell, Jan. 24th (FKC) ; 8 Walberswick, Feb. Ist (DJP) ; seven Snape, Feb. 26th (PS). Nine R. Aide, Dec. 13th (HRB, C G D C , FKC). 80. Brent Goose.—In winter largest numbers were, as usual, on R. Stour, where c. 200 present (RVAM). Düring December, 130 were there on the 13th (RVAM). Very large numbers of this species were involved in the December wild-fowl movement, being noted moving south off Lowestoft, Benacre and Minsmere from the 7th to the lOth. T h e following records indicate the size of the movement, all were Aying south :— At Lowestoft, c. 1500 on 7th, far less on the 8th, but another big movement on the 9th (HEJ). On the 7th c. 1500 at Benacre, on the 8th c. 320 at Minsmere, on the 9th c. 90 at Benacre, on the lOth c. 60 at Benacre (DJP). At Minsmere, on the 7th, 23 from 0800-0900 rising to c. 600 in one hour 1430-1530, on the 8th c.120 from 0800-0900 (RSPB). 82. Canada Goose.—50 at Livermere during March (ALB) was highest number reported. 84. Mute Swan.—The River Stour herd reached a peak of 950 on Oct. 18th (RVAM).


426

BIRD REPORT

85. Whooper Swan.—28 Havergate, Jan. lOth (RSPB). Two Walberswick, Jan. 25th and again on Feb. 15th (DJP). An immature R. Stour, Nov. 29th (DW). Seven Minsmere, Nov. 29th and 30th (RSPB), and the same number at Covehithe, Dec. 12th (HEJ). 86. B e w i c k ' s S w a n . — U p to 38 Minsmere until March 28th (many observers). 12 Breydon, Jan. lOth, and small parties along the coast, Pakefield to Southwold, Jan. to March ( L F C ) . Maximum number at Walberswick was 46 on Feb. 22nd/23rd (DJP, RH, per MSVO). Last spring record was of one at Havergate, April 22nd (RSPB). Next recorded Oct. 3Ist, at Havergate, where up to 13 until Nov. 8th, and five Dec. 21st to 29th (RSPB). Four Benacre, Nov. 15th to 22nd (LFC). Four Minsmere, Nov. 15th, increasing to 25 by end of year (RSPB). Seven Walberswick, Dec. 5th, 25 Easton Broad on 13th ( F K C , DJP). 91. Buzzard.—At Walberswick, one Jan. 17th, March 15th, April 12th ( F K C , F E G H , DJP). A dead bird Nacton in Jan. (per ACCH). One Butley, March 31st (CLH). One Gedgrave, April 19th (several observers). One Nacton, Sept. 6th (PC). Two Walberswick, Sept. 15th (DJP). One Minsmere, Sept. 21st /22nd and Nov. 1 Ith, 28th, 29th. One Knodishall, Oct. 4th (JELP). One Herringfleet /Beiton area from Sept Ist into November (HEJ). 92. R o u g h - l e g g e d Buzzard.—One Walberswick from Nov. 21st to Dec. 17th ( G B G B , BAC, F K C , DJP). 94. Goshawk.—An immature seen drinking from a water tank in the forestry area at Lackford, Sept. 20th (WHP). 99. M a r s h Harrier.—Eight young were known to have flown from four nests. Recorded as usual in all months. 100. H e n Harrier.—On the coast, up to April Ist, and again from Sept. 23rd. Inland, one Tuddenham Fen, April 19th (CBC), and one Berner's Heath, Sept. 20th (REH). 102. M o n t a g u ' s H a r r i e r . — N o breeding records. At Minsmere, a male April 21st to May 17th, occasionally with a female (RSPB). One Walberswick, May l l t h (per MSVO). One Thorpeness, May 16th (FEGH). Single birds, at Minsmere, July Ist, Aug. 15th, Sept. 15th, 23rd/ 24th (RSPB, BAC), R. Blyth, July 12th (GBGB), Havergate, July 13th (RSPB), Waldringfield, Aug. 26th (JC).


BIRD REPORT

427

103. Osprey.—An immature R. Blyth, Sept. 6th/7th (GBGB, LFC). One offshore at Corton, Oct. 26th (HEJ). 104. Hobby.—An immature Levington, mid-July (FEGH). A female at Minsmere, July 29th and Aug. 23rd, and a male Aug. 30th (RSPB). One Cattawade, Oct. 5th (JWA). 105. Peregrine.—Single birds recorded in coastal areas up to April 12th and again from Aug. 26th. 107. Merlin.—14 records of Single birds in the coastal areas up to May 23rd, and 24 records from Aug. 4th. Three at Havergate, Dec. 9th (RSPB). 119. Crane.—One circled the marsh at Minsmere, April 5th, seen later at Walberswick, where it was so heavily mobbed by Shelduck it did not alight (DW, GJJ, RSPB). 125. Corncrake.—One Brandon in early August (per WHP). One Minsmere, Aug. 24th (RSPB). One Walberswick, Sept. lOth (DJP). 129. Little Bustard.—A female of the Eastern form shot Leiston, Dec. 3rd (per HD). 135. Little Ringed Plover.—No proof of breeding. although a pair were present at one locality from May lOth to June 26th (many observers). Single birds at, West Stow, May 3rd (REH), Minsmere, July 29th (RSPB), Walberwsick, July 29th and Aug. 12th (DJP, PS), Shotley, Aug. 8th (FKC), and Bury St. Edmunds, Aug. 23rd (CAEK, CBC). 136. Kentish Plover.—Single birds at Havergate, April 17th, May 16th, 17th, 24th, Aug. 5th, 6th, 13th, and a pair on Aug. 7th (RSPB). 139. Grey Plover.—Recorded in all months with the exception of July. 140. Golden Plover.—Recorded up to May 25th, and again from Aug. 9th. A flock of 300 to 400 on Feb. 27th and April l l t h at Risby were considered to be all of the Northern form (WHP). 142.

Dotterel.—One Benacre Denes, May 18th (LFC).

143. Turnstone.—The winter flock at Orwell Häven reached a peak of 170 on March 27th (HRB). 147. Jack Snipe.—Recorded up to April 19th, and again from Oct. 3rd, 148.

Woodcock.

Breeding recorded in usual areas.


428

BIRD REPORT

150. Curlew.—Up to 15 pairs known to have bred in West Suffolk. 151. Whimbrel.—Passage in spring from April 13th to June 17th, and in autumn from July 3rd to Oct. 3rd. 154. Black-tailed Godwit.—The following are the peak figures in the estuaries :—R. Orwell 30, Jan. 4th, none in autumn ; R. Stour c. 350, Oct. 18th ; R. Deben c. 90, Nov. 22nd ; R. Aide 170, April 19th ; R. Blyth 400, Feb. 23rd, reducing to c. 80 on April 6th and only one on the 8th. 155. Bar-tailed Godwit.—Few in winter, with a maximum of 25 R. Orwell, Jan. 25th. Only small numbers recorded on passage, most being c. 37 at Havergate, May 7th. 156. G r e e n Sandpiper.—Apart from the usual passage records, three Playford, Jan. 18th ( C G D C , WHR) ; one Snape, Jan. 6th (PS) ; two West Stow, Jan. 25th (CBC, C A E K , ALB). Two West Stow, Dec. 13th (CBC) ; one Snape, Dec. 24th (PS). 157. Wood Sandpiper.—In spring, two Easton Broad, May 18th, 19th and one on 22nd ( F K C , G J J , DJP), one Reydon on 19th and 25th ( G B G B , per MSVO), one Havergate on 22nd /23rd (RSPB). Recorded again from July 9th to Sept. 20th, with a maximum of nine at Minsmere on Aug. 1 Ith (RSPB). 159. C o m m o n Sandpiper.—One winter record, at Waldringfield, Feb. 15th and 22nd, and thought to have been there on Jan. 3rd (GJJ). Otherwise passage as usual. 162. Spotted Redshank.—Recorded in all months in the Blyth area. A maximum of 65 on Sept. 15th, at Minsmere (RSPB). 165. with In Aug. 24th

Greenshank.—Recorded from April 22nd to Nov. llth, a maximum of c. 40 on Aug. 14th, at Blythburgh (GBGB). West Suffolk, one West Stow, May 3rd (REH) and four 3rd and 16th (ALB, CBC), one Livermere, May lOth and (ALB, CAEK).

169. Knot.—No winter flocks reported. Passage in small numbers, apart from c. 250 at Havergate on Aug. 25th (RSPB). 170. Purple Sandpiper.—Two Lowestoft during Jan./Feb. (HEJ, L F C ) . A juvenile Walberswick, Aug. 17th to 20th (RH, per MSVO, GBGB). One Lowestoft, Oct. 25th, Dec. 18th to 3Ist (HEJ, RVAM). 171. Little Stint.—In spring one Havergate, May lOth, 19th, 29th, 2 from 26th to 28th, one June 3rd, 5th and two on 4th (RSPB). In autumn from July 14th to Oct. 18th.


429

BIRD REPORT

173. T e m m i n c k ' s Stint.—One Easton Broad, (DJP). Two Havergate, June 2nd (RSPB).

May

20th

179. C u r l e w Sandpiper..—In spring, one Havergate, May 15th/16th, two May 30th to June 2nd, and one on 3rd (RSPB). In autumn from July 13th to Oct. 6th, c. 50 at Havergate on Aug. 14th (RSPB). 181. Sanderling.—Few winter records, most being 12 Lowestoft, Jan lOth (DJP). Passage as usual. 184. Ruff.—Only one winter record, one R. Blyth, Feb. 26th (RH). Recorded as usual from March 25th to Nov. 21st. 185. Avocet.—The number of breeding pairs at Havergate feil to about 65 and 44 young birds reached the free Aying stage, about 10 more than last year. First recorded there on March 2nd, and the last on Dec. 5th (RSPB). Very occasionally recorded away from the island, and only at Minsmere and Walberswick. 187. G r e y Phalarope.—One Minsmere, Sept. 18th (RSPB). One Aldeburgh, Oct. 1 Ith (EFC). One Benacre, Oct. 30th (BAC). 188. R e d - n e c k e d Phalarope.—One Walberswick, Aug. 19th ( G B G B , per MSVO, RH). One Havergate, Oct. 14th (RSPB). One Aldeburgh, Nov. 12th (EFC). 189. Stone Curlew.—Breeding records from usual areas. Recorded from March l l t h to Oct. 23rd. 193. Arctic Skua.—Spring records were of one at Minsmere, May 21st (RSPB), one at Havergate on June 26th (RSPB), and one at Aldeburgh, June 4th (EFC). In autumn passage recorded from July 9th to Oct. 28th- 18 records. 194.

G r e a t Skua.—One Southwold, Sept. 17th (BAC).

198. G r e a t B l a c k - b a c k e d Gull.—A number of this species were watched chasing a single starling at Lowestoft on Nov. Ist. The starling was eventually caught in the air and swallowed whole (HEJ). 202. G l a c o u s Gull.—Single birds recorded in the Lowestoft area from Jan. lOth to April 24th ( L F C , BAC, G J J , DJP). One Havergate, March 28th (RSPB). One Lowestoft, Nov. 20th (LFC). One Pakefield, Dec. 9th (HEJ).


430

BIRD REPORT

203. I c e l a n d Gull.—An adult Minsmere, Oct. 12th (PHTH). A first winter bird Minsmere, Dec. 25th (DJP). Single birds at Lowestoft, Nov. 15th, 24th, Dec. 4th, 9th, 18th and 31st (HET, (DJP, PS, L R C ) . 205. M e d i t e r r a n e a n B l a c k - h e a d e d Gull.—One Pakefield until March 15th, and from Oct. 1 Ith to end of year (many observers). 207. Little Gull.—An adult Minsmere, March 22nd, an immature July 29th, one Aug. lOth and 17th, five adults Nov. 19th. One Havergate, June 7th to 23rd and July 2nd (RSPB). One Walberswick, May lst/2nd, Aug. 22nd, Sept. 2nd, and three adults on 21st ( G B G B , F K C , per MSVO). One Reydon, June 5th and 20th (per MSVO, DJP). One Aldeburgh, Sept. 19th and Oct. 15th (EFC, M S F ) . A dead adult Sizewell, Nov. 21st (DGG). Unusual numbers were recorded in December, from the 7th onwards, on all parts of the coast, and undoubtedly a result of the southerly gale which occurred at that time. On the 9th from 40 to 45 were recorded between Southwold and Lowestoft (HEJ, DJP). 211. Kittiwake.—Five pairs nested at Lowestoft and three young flew—the first record of successful breeding in the county. 212. Black Tern.—Recorded from May lOth to Aug. 29th. Main spring passage from 22nd to 24th May, when 30 at Livermere (CAEK). 217.

C o m m o n Tern.—Recorded from April 20th to Nov. 6th.

Appears to have been a good breeding season at most sites excluding Havergate ; here c. 40 pairs nested but apparently reared no young due to interference from the great numbers of Black-headed Gulls present. 218. Arctic Tern.—One Minsmere, May 14th (RSPB). Occasionally at Walberswick and Easton Broad during August (DJP.) 219. R o s e a t e Tern.—One Havergate, June 16th ; two Minsmere Aug. l l t h (RSPB). 222.

Little Tern.—Recorded from April 23rd to Sept. 17th.

223. S a n d w i c h Tern.—Recorded from March 25th to Oct. 4th. c. 300 pairs bred at Havergate, a good season. 224. Razorbill.—One dead bird at Walberswick in Feb. is the only winter record. None in spring. One Minsmere, Aug. 23rd. One dead at Easton Bavents, Sept. Ist. From Oct. Ist to end of year there were 54 records, mostly of dead or oiled birds.


BIRD REPORT

431

226. Little Auk.—One Lowestoft, Jan. 12th (HEJ). From Oct. 31st to Nov. 3rd there were 8 records of single birds, 6 on the coast, one at Snape and one at Higham. One Fritton Lake, Nov. 24th (HEJ). One dead at Lowestoft, Dec. 3rd (LFC). 227. Guillemot.—Apart from one at Walberswick in Feb., recorded from July 25th to end of year ; most were oiled birds. 230. Puffin.—One Minsmere, Aug. 13th (RSPB). Two Covehithe, Dec. 13th (DJP). Five dead birds at Walberswick, Feb. 22nd to March 15th V(GJT, DJP). 235.

Turtle Dove.—Recorded from April 20th to Oct. Ist.

237.

Cuckoo.—Recorded from April 3rd to Sept. 21st.

248. Long-eared Owl.—One pair bred at Walberswick, one pair at Blythburgh, and possibly up to 4 pairs in the Herringfleet area (HEJ, DJP, PS). Calling heard at Hinton, Minsmere and Barton Mills. Eight in one area at Risby during January (WHP). 249. Short-eared Owl.—One or two pairs bred at Walberswick (BAC, DJP), three pairs at Havergate (RSPB), and possibly one pair at Snape (PS). 253. Nightjar.—First recorded on May 8th. 255. Swift.—Recorded from April 18th to Oct. 27th. 259. Bee-eater.—One Havergate July 3fd (RSPB). 267. Hoopoe.—One Minsmere, April 16th, one Kesgrave, April 18th, one Blythburgh, April 21 st, and one Westleton, May lOth (RSPB, per ACCH, TCB, MSVO). 265. Wryneck.—One pair bred, but were unsuccessful. at Aldeburgh, May 17th (EFC).

One

One Minsmere, Aug. 23rd/24th, and one Sept. 8th (RSPB) ; one dead at Hitcham, Sept 12th, and one Semer, Sept. 13th (ALB) ; one at Bury St. Edmunds, Sept. 13th to 20th (RS). 273.

Shorelark.—One Aldeburgh, Oct. 16th (EFC).

274. Swallow.—Recorded from March 29th to Nov. 23rd. 276. House Martin.—Recorded from April to 3rd Nov. 27th. 277. Sand Martin.—Recorded from March 27th to Sept. 27th. 281. Hooded Crow.—Recorded up to May Ist, and arain from Oct. 18th.


432

BIRD RH PORT

293. Willow Tit.—Reported from Darsham, Thorington, Westleton, Walberswick, Tuddenham Fen, Livermere, West Stow' Hitcham and Bury St. Edmunds. 295. Bearded Tit.—Breeding recorded from at least six localities, with every indication of an exceptionally good season. Düring the autumn there was a considerable eruption of birds trom the Suffolk marshes. Birds were reported from the following counties, where rarely if ever recorded previously :—Cambridge, Essex, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire' Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Shropshire and Sussex (British Birds). See also Dingle Bird Club and Minsmere reports. 300. Dipper.—One West Stow, Feb. Ist and 9th (BOT). One Great Glemham, Dec. 24th (C). In neither case could the form be determined. 302. Fieldfare.—Recorded up to April 30th, and again from Sept. 21st. 304. 4th.

Redwing.—Recorded up to May 2nd, and again from Oct.

307. Ring Ouzel.—One Westleton, April lOth (MSVO). One Walberswick, May 8th (DJP). A male and female were at Aldeburgh fron April 18th to May 23rd (EFC). One Snape, Sept. 18th to 20th (PS). One or two daily from from Oct. 3rd to 23rd at Minsmere, three present on 6th and l l t h (RSPB). Single birds at Walberswick, Oct. 2nd, 8th, and 18th (several observers). 311.

Wheatear.—Recorded from March 22nd to Nov. llth.

317. Stonechat.—Breeding recorded as follows :—four pairs Minsmere, one pair Covehithe, one pair Sutton, two pairs in the Breck—the best season for a number of years. 318.

Whinchat.—Recorded from April 18th to Oct. lOth.

320.

Redstart.—Recorded from March 22nd to Oct. 12th.

321. Black Redstart.—A pair bred at Lowestoft (HEJ, LFC). Present in Ipswich during May, but breeding could not be confirmed (CGDC). In the spring, a good passage from March 24th to May llth, when recorded at Felixstowe, Havergate, Aldeburgh, Walberswick, Hinton, Southwold, Lowestoft and Minsmere—where there were 10 on March 24th (many observers). One Felixstowe, Oct. lOth and 12th (HRB, FEGH) ; one Minsmere, Oct. l l t h and ISth (RSPB) ; one Lowestoft, Nov. 4th / 5th (HEJ).


BIRD REPORT

433

322. Nightingale.—Recorded from April lOth to Sept. 14th. At least 50 pairs bred at Minsmere (RSPB). 324.

Bluethroat.—One Walberswick, Sept. 15th (DJP).

327. Grasshopper Warbier.—Recorded from April 1 Ith to Sept. 14th. 333.

Reed Warbier.—Recorded from April 1 Ith to Oct. 8th.

337.

Sedge Warbier.—Recorded from April 6th to Oct. 14th.

343.

Blackcap.—Recorded from April lOth to Oct. 18th.

344. Barred Warbier.—Single birds at Walberswick on Aug 31st and Sept. 15th (HRB, DJP). 346.

Garden Warbier.—Recorded from May Ist to Sept. 26th.

347.

Whitethroat.

Recorded from April Ist to Oct. 2nd.

348. Lesser Whitethroat.—Recorded from April 4th to Oct llth. 354.

Willow Warbier.—Recorded from March 27th to Oct. 14th.

356.

Chiffchaff.—Recorded from March 22nd to Oct. 16th.

357. Wood Warbier.—A pair bred successfully at Blythburgh (DJP). A pair present at Herringfleet during the breeding season, but no proof of breeding (HEJ) Also recorded at Minsmere and Walberswick. 364. Goldcrest.—A large influx was noted on the coast March 24th/25th (DJP, RSPB). In autumn, large immigrations noted Sept. 5th, Sept. 30th to Oct. 2nd, Oct. l l t h to 16th. 365. Firecrest.—Unusual numbers were recorded. In spring, seven Minsmere, March 24th, eight on 25th, thence daily until the last one on April 2nd (RSPB) ; one Walberswick March 27th and 28th (GJJ, DJP). In autumn, one Walberswick, Sept. 30th (DJP) ; three Minsmere, Oct. lst/2nd, two on 3rd and 6th (RSPB) ; three Southwold early Oct., and one Kessingland, end Oct. (BAC). 366. Spotted Flycatcher.— Recorded from May 5th to Sent } 26th. ' 368. Pied Flycatcher.—In spring, one Easton Broad, Mav 22nd (per MSVO). In autumn recorded from Aug. 17th to Oct. 8th, main movements recorded being, c. 12 Walberswick, Aug. 23rd, 15 to 20 Sept. 4th/5th, 20 to 30, Sept. 15th to 17th ; five Minsmere, Sept. F 6th (DJP, RSPB).


434

BIRD

REPORT

Inland records were of single birds at Nacton, Foxhall, Darsham, and Ipswich, two at Bramfield, and three at East Bergholt,—an unusual numbers of records of a species rarely recorded even a few miles in from the coast in this county. 376.

T r e e Pipit.—Recorded from April 5th to Sept. 21st.

379. R o c k Pipit.—Recorded up to April 12th, and again from Sept. 17th. 379. Water Pipit.—One Cattawade, March 21st (RH). Martlesham, March 26th (WHP).

One

380. White Wagtail.—Four Minsmere, March 24th (RSPB) ; one Reydon, March 31st (RH). One Havergate, Aug. 14th (RSPB). 381. G r e y Wagtail.—No breeding recorded but a young bird was seen at Weybread, June 23rd (WHP). The usual records of passage and winter birds. 382.

Yellow Wagtail.—Recorded from April 5th to Oct. lOth.

B l u e - h e a d e d Wagtail.—Single birds recorded at, Benacre, April 19th (GBGB), Walberswick, April 22nd (RH) and June 7th (per MSVO), Easton Broad, June 9th (MSVO). 383. Waxwing.—Recorded up to April 24th from a number of parishes in some numbers, but with no party exceeding 30 birds. Recorded again from Nov. 3rd and even more wide spread than in the winter, although numbers of birds were mostly smaller, apart from parties of up to 30 at Kessingland, Leiston and Wangford. 384. G r e a t G r e y Shrike.—At Westleton, one present up to May 1 Ith and again from Oct. 15th to end of year (GJJ, MSVO, DJP, RSPB). One Minsmere Sluice, April 3rd /4th (RSPB). One Aldeburgh, Feb. 14th and March 29th (EFC). One Snape, Dec. 25th to 31st (PS). In West Suffolk, one Tuddenham, March 22nd and 27th (CBC); one Cavenham, March 20th (AEV) ; one Tuddenham, Nov. 8th (CAEK). 388. R e d - b a c k e d Shrike.—Recorded from May lOth to Oct. Ist. 12 pairs bred at Minsmere (RSPB). Numbers reported to be still falling in the North East of the county (LFC), although breeding at St. Olaves for the first time in many years (HEJ). 391. Hawfinch.—Reported from approximately the usual areas. 394. Siskin.—Recorded up to April 20th, and again from Sept. lOth. Very few recorded during the winter, but numerous in autumn. Flocks of up to 50, often double the usual number, reported


BIRD REPORT

435

from Lowestoft, Herringfleet, Westleton, Livermere, Playford, Benacre, Walberswick, Blythburgh and Wangford. At Minsmere, noted coasting south during Oct./Nov., with a maximum of 57 on Nov. 27th ; while the local feeding flock reached at least 75 during December (LFC, HEJ, DJP, WHR, CGDC, CAEK, WHP, MSVO, RSPB). 396. Twite.—Recorded up to March 28th, and again from Oct. 4th. Flocks reported from Benacre Broad, Easton Bavents, Reydon, Southwold, Walberswick and Minsmere. Largest flock recorded was c. 150 Walberswick during January (DJP). 397. Redpoll.—Two pairs bred at Ipswich (BCT). Otherwise recorded as usual. Shore movements of up to 50 birds at Walberswick from Sent 19th to 26th (DJP). 402. Scarlet Grosbeak.—One trapped and ringed Benacre, Sept. 2nd, and still present on 3rd (AGH, PB, MS)—first record for the county. 404. Crossbill.—15 nests recorded at one locality in West Suffolk—a fledged young one on Feb. Ist would indicate time of laying as approximately Dec. 17th to 23rd (REH). Bred at Herringfleet as usual (HEJ)—largest number there in autumn was c. 75. Two pairs bred at Nacton (HH). From May 2nd to end of August parties of up to 20 birds were in the Walberwsick, Westleton, Minsmere, Blythburgh area (RSPB, FKC, GJJ, RH, per MSVO). Recorded at Aldeburgh in Nov. (EFC). 408. Brambling.—Recorded up to April 22nd, and again from Oct. 5th ; few records and numbers low. 410. Corn Bunting.—Increasing in the coastal area between Pakefield and Southwold (LFC). 422. Lapland Bunting.—Three Minsmere, Feb. 23rd (per (MSVO). Two Walberswick, Sept. 24th, and single birds there on 27th 30th, and Oct. 4th (GJJ, DJP). 423. Snow Bunting.—Recorded to March 23rd, and again from Sept. Ist. Few recorded in winter, apart from c. 100 Breydon, Tan 25th (LFC). In autumn, c. 150 Easton Broad, Nov. l l t h , c. 30 Benacre in Dec., c. 70 Easton Bavents, Oct. 7th, c. 70 Walberswick, Nov. 21st, c. 60 Shingle Street, Dec. 27th, c. 10 Orwell Häven, Dec 28th, c. 40 Aldeburgh, Nov. 16th (GBGB, HRB, BAC, CGDC EFC, DJP, BLS).


436

BIRD

THE FOI.LOWING

SPECIES WERE REC'ORDED AS USUAL :

9. Little G r e b e ; 50. W i g e o n ;

REPORT

28. Cormorant ;

93. Sparrow H a w k ;

legged Partridge ; 116 Partridge ; Rail;

126. M o o r h e n ;

Lapwing;

201. Common G u l l ;

Stock

Dove;

Little

Owl;

234. 247.

145. S n i p e ;

161.

Green Woodpecker;

Owl;

Redshank;

241.

Barn

Owl;

258.

Kingfisher;

263. Great Spotted Woodpecker;

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker ;

271. Woodlark ;

133.

200. Herring

208. Black-headed G u l l ;

Woodpigeon; Tawny

120. Water

131. Oystercatcher;

199 : Lesser Black-backed G u l l ;

Gull;

46. Teal ;

110. Kestrel ; 115. RedUSPheasant;

127. C o o t ;

134. Ringed Plover;

178. D u n l i n ;

45. M a l l a r d ;

232. 246. 262. 264.

272. Skylark ;

280. Carrion Crow ; 282. Rook ; 283. Jackdaw ; 284. Magpie ; 286. Jay ; 288. Great T i t ; 289. Blue T i t ; Marsh T i t ; 294. Long-tailed T i t ;

290. Coal T i t ;

296. Nuthatch ;

292.

298. Tree

Creeper; 299. Wren ; 301. Mistle T h r u s h ; 303. Song T h r u s h ; 308. Blackbird ; 325. Robin ; 371. Hedge Sparrow ; 373. Meadovv Pipit;

380a. Pied Wagtail;

393. Goldfinch ; 395. L i n n e t ;

389. Starling ;

392. Greenfinch ;

401. Bullfinch ; 407. Chaffinch ;

409. Yellowhammer ; 421. Reed Bunting ; 424 House Sparrow ; 425. Tree Sparrow.


BIRD REPORT

437

LIST OF OBSERVERS. A. F. AIREY. J. W. ANDREWS. MRS. E. M. BALE. T. C. BATCHELOR. H. R. BEECROFT. G. B. G. BENSON. B. W. BLOWER. A. L. BULL. A. A. CALDER. CAMBRIDGE BIRD CLUB. R. G. H. CANT.

R. E. HITCHCOCK. H. E. JENNER. G. J. JOBSON. C. A. E. KIRKLAND. LOWESTOFT FIELD CLUB. MISS M. L. LYNN-ALLEN. J. D. MAGEE. D. C. MALE. R. V. A. MARSHALL. B. NAU. W. J. G. NEWBERY. F. K. COBB. MISS M. S. VAN OOSTBEEN. P. COGGINS. R. J. PARTRIDGE. B. A. CONEY. W. H. PAYN. MRS. S. COWDY. D. J. PIERSON. THE EARL OF CRANBROOK. J. E. L. PEMBERTON. J. CRAWFORD. W. H. RAMSEY. E. F. CROSBY. R. J. ROBINSON. C. G. D. CURTIS. ROYAL SOCIETY FOR PROTECTION H. DRAKE. OF BIRDS. FLATFORD MILL FIELD CENTRE. B. L. SAGE. M. S. FREEMAN. M. SEAGO. DR. D. G. GARNETT. G. SHEPHARD. MISS E. W. GOLDSMITH. E. M. SLAUGHTER. T. W. GLADWIN. P. SMITH. R. C. GUIVER. R. STEBBINGS. D. HALL. B. O. TICKNER. R. HARKNESS. C. M. VEYSEY. DR. F. E. G. HARRAP. A. E. YINE. R. H. HARRISON. THE HON. MRS. J. WATSON. REV. P. H. T. HARTLEY. MRS. D. WIGHTMAN. A. C. C. HERVEY. MISS J. C. N. WILLIS. F/O. D. E. WOOBERRY. I. D. WOODWARD. MISS D. J. WRIGHT.


438

BIRD REPORT

BIRD RINGING AT WALBERSWICK, 1959 DINGLE BIRD CLUB A total of 1948 birds was achieved during the year, nearly double that of any previous year, and mainly due to the increased use of mist nets. This total includes about 800 warblers, mainly caught during July and August, and probably a mixture of locally reared birds and passage migrants. Spring followed the normal pattern of recent years, and numbers ringed were, as usual, rather low. Although winds were predominantly easterly during the autumn there were no " rushes " of night migrants, probably due to the consistently dry, clear weather. There was, however, a steady trickle of Warblers, Flycatchers, and Redstarts during September. While from the 30th to about lOth October unusually high numbers of Goldcrests were present. October was a disappointing month, with poor numbers of Pipits, Thrushes and Reed Buntings moving through. Undoubtedly the major event of the year was the trapping and ringing of 166 Bearded Tits during September—up to the end of 1958 only 49 Bearded Tits had been ringed in Britain. Individual parties moving through the reeds at this time often numbered over 100 birds, and on several mornings a number of these parties were seen. At the peak of trapping, and towards the end of Operations, only one in nine birds on average were re-traps, which would seem to indicate that the marsh held a truly fantastic number of Bearded Tits at that time. On several occasions parties were seen Aying high above the marsh, calling excitedly ,and disappearing from sight in both northerly and southerly directions. This behaviour has, of course, been observed at Walberswick in previous autumns, but never previously on anything approaching this scale. A selected list of Walberswick ringed birds recovered abroad is appended below and includes a Wren which, while not achieving the heights of " recovered abroad " , certainly made an extraordinary journey for one of this species. Ringed at Walberswick in the autumn of 1957 it was found sitting on eggs two springs later—165 miles northwest near York !


BIRD REPORT

Ringed WHITETHROAT ROBIN

439

Recovered

20.

7.58

Portugal

6.

9.58

France

10.

9.59

3.

5.59 8.59

BLACKBIRD

18.10.58

Sweden

29.

BLACKBIRD

26.10.58

Norway

15.11.59

LINNET

5.

WREN

8.59

26.10.57

Spain

9.

1.60

Huntington, near York

8.

6.59

6.59

Recoveries of other Suffolk ringed birds Ringed LITTLE T E R N

Benacre

GREAT

Recovered 13.

7.57

Lancashire

21.

Sudbourne

3.

4.58

France

23.12.59

ROBIN

Minsmere

7.10.59

Germany

4.

4.60

ROBIN

Minsmere

11.10.59

Fair Isle

5.

4.60

PIED FLYCATCHER

Benacre

STARLING

Haverhill

TIT

3.

9.59

30.11.58

Spain

10.10.59

f Lincoln \ Germany

23.12.58 28. 9.59

Foreign ringed birds recovered in Suffolk Ringed

Recovered

BLACK-HEADED GULL

Norway

14.

5.59

Reydon

29.

7.59

DUNLIN

Denmark

11.

8.58

Breydon

29.

1.59

BLACKBIRD

Heligoland

Shotley

0.

1.59

STARLING

Latvia

?

On a trawler

2.

1.59

SWALLOW

France

9.10.58

Lowestoft

8.

9.59

COMMON G U L I .

Russia

22.

7.59

Corton

12.12.59

3.58

Leiston

12.

4.10.58

TEAL

France

15.

TEAL

France

31.12.58

Orford

PINTAIL

Holland

24.

1.59

Iken

SHELDUCK

Germany

31.

8.52

Dunwich

1.59

6.12.59 12.10.59 9.

6.59


440

BIRD REPORT

BIRDS RINGED AT

Speeles Sparrow Hawk Merlin Kestrel Corncrake Oyster Catcher Lapwing R i n g e d I'lover Redshank Dunlin Sanderling Common Tern Little T e r n Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Green Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Wryreck Skylark Swallow House Martin Sand Martin Jackdaw Jay Great Tit Blue T i t Goal T i t Marsh Tit Willow Tit Long Tailed Tit Bearded Tit Nuthatch Tree Creeper Wren Mistle T h r u s h Song Thrush Redwing Ring Ouzel Blackbird Wheatear Stonechat Whinchat Redstart

Total 1959 1953-59

2 2 8 5 2 22 7 3 1 1

11 143 1 61 178 1 6 3 24 166 1 3 35 12 35 1 43 1 2 19

1 1 8 1 2 1 24 5 3 1 40 19 7 1 1 15 2 4 1 49 1 143 6 1 165 484 7 16 6 57 166 1 6 115 17 125 2 3 373 22 14 140 148

WALBERSWICK

SPECIES Black R e d s t a r t Nightingale Robin Grasshopper Warbier Reed Warbier Sedge Warbier Blackcap Barred Warbier Garden Warbier Whitethroat Lesser Whitethroat Willow Warbier Chiffchaff Wood Warbier Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycather Pied Flycatcher Hedge Sparrow M e a d o w Pipit T r e e Pipit Rock Pipit Pied Wagtail Yellow Wagtail Red Backed Shrike Starling Greenfinch Goldfinch Linnet Twite Bullfinch Chaffinch Brambling Yellowhammer Reed Bunting Snow Bunting House Sparrow Tree Sparrow

TOTALS

Total 1959 1953-59

9 85 1 164 95 30 2 17 198 30 125 51 7 29 1 11 21 65 2 1

5 52 286 2 249 360 108 3 39 1130 198 41S 142 /

3 1

65 1 41 80 246 59 2 2 9 4 14b 29 315 102 107 10 79 96 3 43 741 1 12 4

1948

7400

5 2 11 39 29 23 29 2 23 38


B1RD REPORT

441

R.S.P.B. MINSMERE BIRD RESERVE, 1959 by H. E.

AXELL

D A I L Y coverage of the Reserve in the late autumn and winter as well as during the breeding season became possible for the first time this year. On or from the 1,500 acres of marsh, heath and woodland, 191 species were recorded in 1959 from March Ist ; of these 89 species certainly bred and three more probably did so.

WEATHER

Except for the " August holiday monsoon " , an isolated occurrence of unpleasant weather, the long period from mid-April to early October was remarkably free of disturbance from low-pressure systems. Drought conditions obtained for many weeks and caused the meres to dry up more than they had been known to in previous years. Rain feil on fourteen days in March, sixteen in April, only two in May, four in June, six each in July and August and there was only an occasional trace in September. These predominantly fine and quiet conditions caused very few night-migrant Passerines to put down on the coast in spring or early autumn ; Bearded Tits had a record season and erupted, and waders were present in number and variety unusual for this Reserve. SPRING

MIGRATION.

The one and only occurrence of drift migrants at the shore was during the period March 24-25th when a wet S.E. wind (fog and drizzle at night) brought to the shore bushes a few Song Thrushes, ßlackbirds, Robins, White Wagtails, Black Redstarts (10 on 24th, 6 on 25th), Firecrests (6 on 24th, 8 on 25th) and some Goldcrests. Migrant terns occurred only rarely offshore. The most obvious general arrival of summer residents (Cuckoos, Whinchats, Redstarts, Nightingales, Blackcaps, Willow Warbiers, Tree Pipits and Yellow Wagtails) was during the night of April 13 /14th when the wind was calm or light southerly, with variable cloud. The following is a selected list of spring occurrences and omits reference to the breeding birds :— Black-throated Diver.—One on March Ist and 2nd. Great Northern Diver.—One on March Ist. Fulmar.—One on April 20th. Spoonbill.—One on May 6th and 30th and four on 3Ist and June Ist.


442

BIRD REPORT

Pintail.—o 0 n March 4th ; five to six on March 12-15th • pair April l-18th. Tufted Duck.—One or two May 30th.

present from April 15th to

Pochard.—Pair or a Single £ occasionally from April 15th 1 to May 23 rd. Bean Goose.—A bird which had been seen earlier was present tili March 23rd. Bewick's Swan. —Between five and 10 present during March. Heard on April 5th. Hen H a r r i e r . — § on March 26th and 31st. on April Ist.

Two $?/Imms.

Montagu's Harrier.—Adult <$ on April 21 st. A O occasionally with an adult $ from April 29th to May 17th. Merlin.—One March 18th ; 28th.

two on April 18th and one on

Crane.—One on April 25th. Golden Plover.—One on March 21st was the only record in spring. Woodcock.—The last of the winter birds was recorded on April 5th. Spotted Redshank. -Two to eight most davs up to Mav 8th. One on 20th. RufF.—Two in April 9th, three on 12th.

One on May 3Ist.

Avocet.—One north along the shore on April 16th. Stone Curlew.—First on March 1 Ith. Little Gull.—An adult on March 22nd. Black Tern.—Two on May lOth, five on 20th, one on 2Ist and 25th. Sea Terns.—There was virtually no evidence of an off-shore northward movement in spring. Two to four Common Terns were present most days from April 26th to end-July. One Arctic Tern was Standing on the Sluice outfall on May 14th. The first of the local Little Terns arrived on April 26th and locally-feeding Sandwich Terns were very rare, from April 15th. Cuckoo.—Five $ $ together on the dunes, early morning of May lOth.


BIRD REPORT

443

Short-eared Owl.—One near the dunes most days, March 27th to April 20th. Hoopoe.—One on April 16th. Hooded Crow.—Only spring record was one on April 20th. Wheatear.—One or two passage birds most days from March 24th to May 27th when there were two of Northern race Oe. oe. leucorrhoa. Black Redstart.—Ten drift-migrants near shore on March 24th, six on 25th when there were four old not present yesterday ; four on 26th, three on April Ist and 2nd and one on 7th. Robin.—Two of Continental race E. r. rubecula on March 24th and 25th. Firecrest.—Six near the shore on March 24th, eight on 25th, thence a few daily, down to one on April 2nd. Rock Pipit.—Flock of 15 at shore on March 2nd. White Wagtail.—Four near the shore on March 24th. Grey Wagtail.—Two on April 21 st. Great Grey Shrike.—One which had been wintering was last seen on March 27th. One near the shore on April 3rd and 4th. Starling.—A brief pre-emigration roost in reeds of ca. 3,000 from April Ist to 4th. Goldfinch.—North-coasting of ca. 40-50 each morning from April 20th to May llth. Siskin.—Only one in spring was on April 20th. Linnet.—Yery thin north-coasting movement, most ca. 45 on April 20th and 22nd. Redpoll.

Only one in spring was on March 25th.

Brambling.—Last (one) on April 22nd. Snow Bunting.—One at the shore on March 9th and 23rd. Tree Sparrow.—Only spring migrants were two at the shore on April 5th.

THE

BREEDING

BIRDS

The 89 species which certainly bred on the Reserve are listed below and brief notes are given on some of them :—


444

BIRD REPORT

Great Crested Grebe.—One pair raised two young. The adults were not seen after July 27th and the young were last recorded on August lOth. Little Grebe.—More than nine pairs bred. Bittern.—Booming was first heard on February 21st and last at about mid-June. Counts of booming Ja indicated ca. 10 breeding pairs. One came in from the sea at 12.00 on August 3rd. Ducks.—Estimates of breeding pairs, based mainly on the numbers of $ $ seen together during the time when $ $ would generally have been on eggs, showed :—Mallard, Teal 40 pairs each ; Garganey four pairs, Gadweil 40-50 pairs ; Shoveler 30-40 pairs and Shelduck 20-30 pairs. Breeding success was high with hundreds of young on the meres. Mute Swan.—Five pairs bred. Marsh Harrier.—Two pairs raised three and two young, the first from each nest appearing on the wing on June 29th and July 17th. Neither Q parent was in füll adult plumage. Sparrow Hawk.

Kestrel.

Red-legged Partridge. Partridge. Pheasant. Water Rail. Moorhen. Coot.—More numerous than Moorhen. Large numbers until about the last week of Sept. when a remarkable exodus began ; none was seen from October 4th until December 2nd when there three. In both Moorhen and Coot, broods on the meres were always small, suggesting a high rate of predation. Lapwing.—Ca. 11 pairs bred. Ringed Plover.—Six pairs bred. Five pairs nesting on the public foreshore suffered miserably from deliberate or unwitting interference from holidaymakers and birdwatchers. Snipe.—Two pairs on the Reserve.

Redshank.—Five pairs.

Stone Curlew.—First arrival on March l l t h . Only one pair bred on the Reserve ; the nest was near a public road and was robbed. The autumn collection of presumed local stock was only of nine birds which were together at least from August 6th to October 23rd. In East Suffolk, the status of this species is nearly critical. The R.S.P.B. has recently begun an expensive programme of habitat restoration but most urgently needs the co-operation of birdwatchers. Stone Curlews are prone to desert if inquisitive humans stay for long on their breeding grounds and a plea is made to readers not to visit known haunts of these birds in this area.


BIRD REPORT

445

Little Tern. Six pairs bred along the shore and against heavy odds fledged five young. They suffered the same almost-daily disturbance as the Ringed Plovers. Stock Dove.

Wood Pigeon.

Turtle Dove.

Cuckoo. Ca. five Jö on the Reserve. Last on August 12th (very early).

First on April 14th.

Barn Owl.—One pair raised four young. pair on the Reserve.

Probably one other

Little Owl.

Four pairs.

Tawny Owl.—Numerous.

Nightjar.—At least 20 pairs bred. First noted on May 13th and last on September 9th. Kingfisher.—One pair bred. Green Woodpecker.—Ca. 10 pairs. pecker.—Ca. 10 pairs.

Great Spotted Wood-

Woodlark.—Six pairs, of which three were known to have had second broods. Very scarce after mid-Julv and not recorded during August. Skylark.—Quite small numbers. Swallow.

Sand Martin.

Carrion Crow. Great Tit.

Jackdaw.

Blue Tit.

Magpie.

Coal Tit.

Jay.

Marsh Tit.

Long-tailed Tit.—At least 15 pairs bred. Pearded Tit.—The population was evidently the highest in the Reserve's history. Breeding began early with the carrying of food and faecal sacs being first seen on April 19th. Behaviour suggesting that there were still young in the nest was not recorded after July 7th. Moult of most juveniles appeared to have been completed by ca. September 6th by which time there were at least 200 birds throughout the main marsh. From September 25th, many groups were apparently under a stimulus to migrate parties of up to 26 Aying off south at 200 ft. above the dunes, but soon returning. On October 1 st, at around 07.45, parties moving off south were watched tili out of sight and their return had not been seen in the following two hours. Very few were present in the ensuing winter. Nuthatch.

Treecreeper.

Mistle Thrush.

Wren.

Song Thrush.

Blackbird.

Wheatear.—Only one pair bred—single brooded.


446

BIRD

REPORT

Stonechat.—Four pairs bred successfully, at least one pair with a second brood. Whinchat.—At least 15 pairs bred, by Red-backed Shrikes.

some young being taken

Redstart.—Good numbers well distributed throughout the Reserve. Nightingale. Robin.

Large population, certainly over 50 pairs.

Very common.

Grasshopper Warbier.—Sixteen pairs, all on or around the marshes. Song from April 16th to August 18th. Reed Warbier.—Common on the main marsh. One <J frequently began his song with two explosive " pings " imitative of Bearded Tit. Sedge Warbier.—With wider choice of habitat, more numerous than the last. Blackcap.

Garden Warbier.

Whitethroat.—Surprisingly small numbers this year. Lesser Whitethroat.—At least six pairs bred. Willow Warbier.—Very common, outnumbering Chiffchaff Goldcrest.—At least 15 pairs, probably many more, bred. Spotted Flycatcher.—Seven pairs known. last on September 6th.

First on May 19th,

Dunnock.—Very numerous indeed. Meadow Pipit.—Only very thinly distributed—ca. 20 pairs. Tree Pipit.—Eight breeding pairs. Pied Wagtail.—Three pairs. pairs.

First, early, on April 5th.

Yellow Wagtail.—Only seven

Red-backed Shrike.—Ten pairs within the Reserve and two other pairs just outside had a very high breeding success. First on May lOth when two pairs arrived together at regulär sites. Almost all local birds had gone by August 15th. Starling.—Thinly distributed in the old woodlands. Greenfinch.—Probably less than 12 pairs. Goldfinch,—More numerous than the last.


447

BIRD REPORT

Linnet.—A surprisingly small population. the extensive gorse patches.

No colonies in

Bullfinch.—At least ten pairs. Chaffinch.—Common. Y e l l o w h a m m e r . — V e r y high population. 14 pairs.

Corn Bunting.—

R e e d Bunting.—Very common on both marshes. House Sparrow. T r e e Sparrow.—Only three pairs were known. Species which were thought to have bred but which were not proved to have done so were :—Long-eared Owl, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Willow Tit.

T H E AUTUMN

MIGRATION

WADERS IN SUMMER AND AUTUMN.

T h e early-summer drought

dried up large areas of the shallow freshwater meres and provided good feeding conditions. Newly-exposed mud attracted a good variety of waders, the largest number of species seen in one day (July 29th) being 20, of which 15 could be seen at one time from one of the hides. Some of the species occurring were : — Little Ringed Plover, one on July 29th. Black-tailed Godwit, one to 10 on many occasions from July Ist to October 3rd. Bartailed Godwit, one or two on ten occasions from July 5th to September 18th. Green Sandpiper, one to seven from July 3rd to August31st thence one occasionally to October 7th. Wood Sandpiper, one on July 9th to 1 Ith, 20th and 30th ; nine on August 11 th, two on 16th and one on September 20th. Spotted Redshank, last of spring on May 20th, next again on June 19th thence daily with a maximum of 65 present on September 15th. Greenshank, one on July lOth then two to six daily to end of August and one or two occasionally September Ist to 24th. Little Stint, one or two daily July 14th to 31st, one occasionally up to August 1 Ith, six on 12th then one to four almost daily up to September 25th. Curlew Sandpiper, one on July 13th and 14th, three on 25th to 27th and four on 31st ; one on August 21st and 31st ; nine on September Ist rising to 15 on 7th then ca. 20 daily from 8th to 15th and six daily 16th to 21 st. Ruff, one to three almost daily from July 8th to August 29th. One on September 16th and 20th. Grey Phalarope, one on September 18th. These notes are not repeated in the following month by month summary.


448

BIRD REPORT

AUGUST.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Low pressure dominated the weather in the first fortnight and brought W. to S . W . winds and the dullest period of the summer. Anticyclonic weather returned on 16th. About 20 Crossbills had arrived on July 26th and this number were to be seen most days tili 24th, other smaller groups occasionally being noted moving S. A Fulmar on 2nd was the only autumn record. Raptores seen this month included an adult s Montagu's Harrier on 15th, a Hobby on 23rd and 30th and a Peregrine on 27th. T h e only skua seen was an Arctic on 29th. A southward movement of Lesser Black-backed and Common Gulls was moderate, but Herring Gulls were rare. A Little Gull was seen on lOth and 17th. One Black T e r n occurred on 9th, two on l l t h and one on 21st. T h e off-shore passage of sea terns was remarkably weak throughout the month, the highest number being 96 Common /Arctic T e r n s S . in one hour on 14th. Four Arctics were on the shore on 4th and two Roseate T e r n s were seen on l l t h , on which day common waders moving S. reached a small peak. T h e Lapwing immigration which had been apparent since July 26th continued on a small scale (most, 175 in W . on 19th) as did the daily passage S. of Whimbrel (peak, 10 to 2 0 daily from 8th to 21st). Other birds of interest were a Corncrake on 24th. Puffin on 13th and a Wryneck on 23rd and 24th.

SEPTEMBER.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Except for the merest trace of rain on three occasions the fine weather continued with winds mainly between N . and E . T h e s e conditions produced little evidence in the shore bushes of overnight migration and indeed new arrivals of common warblers and chats were only really noticeable on 6th, 7th and 8th. Pied Flycatchers were occasional during the month, the most being five on 6th. A nightly roost of Swallows in the reed-beds built up to ca. 5,000 by 28th then left. T h e tern passage offshore was even lighter than in August, with the last Common/Arctics of the year on 23 rd, one or two Sandwich occasionally and no Little T e r n s being recorded. Greater and Lesser Black-backed Gulls moving S . were most in evidence on Ist and 15th, Blackheads occurred daily in small numbers and Herring Gulls were still scarce with one to five being recorded on only 16 days. A juvenile Montagu's Harrier was seen on 15th, 23rd and 24th and a Buzzard on 21 st and 22nd. Local Shelducks after being down to their smallest numbers (two to four daily) in the first week began slowly to increase. T h e first south-coasting movements of Great and Blue T i t s occurred on 25th and Starling immigration was first noted next day when the wind had changed to W N W 1. Autumn finch movements began with an early flock of 22 Siskins on lOth ; the first coasting Redpolls were three on 19th and Linnets started moving S. over the dunes on 24th.


BIRD REPORT

449

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER.—The eruption of Bearded Tits which was most clearly seen on the first day of this period has been referred to earlier in this report. With the long spell of fine weather from the east continuing until the middle of October, there were still only very small numbers of immigrants from the Continent putting down at the coast. October Ist produced a few Goldcrests and Firecrests but Black Redstarts, often co-travellers with these species, were not seen until one occurred on 1 Ith and another on 15th. On this last date, the Great Grey Shrike arrived to take up its winter quarters on the heath. Continental Robins, part of a movement to S.W. Spain from their breeding ränge in South Scandinavia (vide Bird Migration, B.T.O., 1 : 4, pp. 180-181), were most in evidence at Minsmere on4th, 5thand 13th. All of the larger migrant Thrushes, including a few Ring Ouzels, were noted during October from 4th but much larger arrivals of Blackbirds occurred between November 4th and 6th. Skylarks and Starlings came in in spectacular numbers on October 29th. Finch flocks coasting south in the mornings began to increase after the first week of October and for the species mainly concerned peak numbers were :—Greenfinch 80 on 15th October, Goldfinch 30 on 14th October, Siskin 57 on 27th November, Linnet 210 on 15th October, Twite 80 on 6th November, Redpoll 10 on 16th October, Chaffinch 100 on 7th and 14th October, Brambling 50 on 1 Ith October and Tree Sparrow 275 on 12th October. The last of the local Crossbills were seen on l l t h November. Some late dates of summer visitors were, in October : Yellow Wagtail on Ist, two Pied Flycatchers on 6th, two Whinchats on, lOth, Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat on l l t h , Redstart on 12th and in November, three House Martins were seen on 5th, two Swallows on lOth and a Wheatear on l l t h . Rain which had at last come from Atlantic depressions after October 16th, began quickly to cover the mud of the meres but between 40 and 50 Spotted Redshanks were still present during the last half of the month. Water levels had risen considerably by 29th November when the first Goosanders (3), Whooper (7) and Bewick's Swans (9) arrived. A Buzzard also occurred on this date. At sea, an adult $ Eider was seen on October 15th and another, an immature bird, fed at the sluice outfall from November 8th to 17th. A large south movement of pigeons occurred between 13th and 23rd November with maxima of 2,000 Stock Doves and 1,500 Woodpigeons on 23rd. On this day, the only two Waxwings to be seen here this year stayed briefly : there were few hawthorn berries after the large arrival of Thrushes earlier in the month.


450

BIRD REPORT

DECEMBER.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;A feature of the early part of the month was the strongtogaleforce S . E . wind from a depression over S . W . England. A large off-shore passage occurred at this time, hourly figures during the morning of 7th being Mallard 100, Teal 50, Wigeon 400, Shoveler 75 and Shelduck 500. Brent Geese passed at the rate of 100 between 08.00 and 09.00, rising to 600 in the hour 14.30 to 15.30 : with them were six Pinkfeet and four Bewick's Swans. A few Grey Plovers, 60 Golden Plovers and at least seven Kittiwakes were also involved in this weather movement. On the following day, 8th, as well as more ducks including 25 Pintail and seven Goldeneye, and geese, there was a big south passage of Greater and Lesser Blackbacked, Herring, Common and Black-headed Gulls. One to eight Litle Gulls were along the shore between 8th and 1 Ith. Another, smaller, south ward movement of gulls and ducks occurred during a new gale, from E . N . E . , on lOth. Variable weather with occasional frosts continued for the remainder of the month. T h e local herd of Bewick's Swans had reached 25 by the end of the year. Coots, which had completely vacated the Reserve by October 4th, began to return on December 2nd. Only one or two Rock Pipits and one Snow Bunting were resident along the shore.


BIRD REPORT

451

MIGRATION IN THE LOWESTOFT AREA Compiled f r o m notes supplied by MR. H. E. JEMNER and the Lowestoft Field Club. JANUARY IITH—Flocks of Lapwings moving south off-shore ; 12th—Small parties of Fieldfare, Redwing, Skylark and mixed finches Streaming south along coast during early morning ; 15th— a southward movement f r o m 09.30 to dusk, entirely coastal, species as 12th together with large flocks of Starlings. MARCH 5TH AND 6TH.—Many thrushes heard moving east at night ; again on lOth, 1 I t h and 12th, n u m b e r s of Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbird fairly large ; 24th and 26th—Black Redstarts at Lowestoft and Pakefield. APRIL IST.—Redwings moving east at night ; 2nd—Redwings, Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Song T h r u s h e s moving east at dusk and well into the night ; 3rd—large flocks of Starlings, congregating on coastal fields. JUNE.—Eight Lapwings in from sea on 15th and 11 on 22nd. JULY 20TH.—Big movement of waders at night, including Curlew, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Spotted Redshank ; 30th—another big night movement of waders, species as on 20th together with Oystercatchers and C o m mon Sandpipers. AUGUST IOTH.—Considerabie night movement of waders including Greenshank, Golden Plover and Black-tailed Godwit ; 14th— similar to IOth. T h e a u t u m n fall-out of small night migrants was almost n o n existent in the Lowestoft area this year. SEPTEMBER 28TH.—A big influxof Blackbirds commenced before dusk and continued until 03.00 hours on 29th ; 29th—another big influx of Blackbirds continuing until 02.10 hours on 30th. OCTOBER.—Probably due to dense fog between 5th and 7th there were signs of heavy mortality among migrants, f r o m G u n t o n to Southwold dead birds along the shore included Blackbirds, Song T h r u s h e s , Meadow Pipits, H o o d e d Crow, Redstart, Blue Tit, Goldcrest and over 70 Redwings (43 on one 500 yard Stretch o f b e a c h ) ; IOth—parties of very tired Bramblings and Chaffinches


452

BIRD REPORT

on a cliff-edge field at Corton, Redwings, Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes streamed in during the day, and continued to do so until 02.30 hours on 1 Ith ; 16th—numerous Goldcrests about Lowestoft town and fish market, several found dead on trawlers on arrival in port ; 29th—steady influx throughout day of Starlings, Skylarks, Chaffinches and Thrushes ; 30th—as on 29th with addition of Bramblings. NOVEMBER IST.—A heavy immigration throughout the day, reaching a peak from 10.30 to 12.00 hours, with Starlings and Skylarks the most numerous species and many Lapwings and Rooks.

WOODPIGEONS.—First arrivals on 15th, when flocks seen Coming in from east at Corton ; 20th—c. 200 coasting south at Lowestoft; 21st, 22nd, 23rd—thousands pouring in from sea at Yarmouth on each morning shortly after dawn, and several large flocks in from sea at Lowestoft early morning of 22nd ; 23rd—very many hundreds came in during morning over South Lowestoft and Pakefield—at Pakefield a flock came down on the cliff face, and were so tired that it was possible to walk amongst them, and one was actually picked up (two flocks of Stock Doves, c. 50 in each, also came in from sea) ; 28th—c. 1000 passed southwards off Lowestoft Harbour. At the end of the month many dead birds were found on the beaches—from Southwold to Kessingland, on Dec. 9th one observer counted 25 dead Woodpigeons on the tideline, and between Lowestoft and Gunton were over 20 dead, together with a few Stock Doves. DECEMBER 7TH.—A southerly gale and a heavy southward movement of wild-fowl, small flocks passing all day at no great distance from the beach—c. 1,500 Brent Geese, many hundreds of Mallard, Wigeon, Scoter, fair numbers of Scaup, Teal, Shelduck, a few Goldeneye, Pochard, Tufted Duck, c. 40 Velvet Scoters and two Red-breasted Mergansers ; 8th—another fairly heavy southerly movement of wild fowl throught the day, much as on 7th, but far less Brent Geese ; 9th—movement again continued throughout the day, and this time included Shoveler and 47 Red-breasted Mergansers; lOth—a few Scoter and Wigeon moving south, but the big movement was over.

Suffolk Bird Report for 1959  
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