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SUFFOLK BIRD REPORT 1963 Editor W . H.

PAYN

assisted by C. G . D.

CURTIS

and The County Records Committee H.

E.

AXELL,

G.

B.

P. H. T .

G.

BENSON,

F.

K.

COBB,

HARTLEY a n d A . E .

F.

C.

COOK,

VINE

GRATEFUL acknowledgement is made to the many observers who sent in records and to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Cambridge Bird Club, the Lowestoft Field Club and the Dingle Bird Club for allowing publication of records from their own reports. Particular acknowledgement is also made to C. G. D. Curtis for valuable help in the preparation of this report. All notes for 1964 should be sent to him at 100 Camden Road, Ipswich by the end of February next. All other correspondence in connection with the Bird Report should be sent to the Editor at Härtest Place, Bury St. Edmunds, telephone Härtest 224.

Separate copies of this report, as well as back numbers, can be obtained from the Editor, price 4/-. Survey of selected species : the same species as for 1963, viz Canada goose, magpie, collared dove, cuckoo, whinchat and lesser redpoll have again been selected for special survey in the county. Records of all species from the Stour and Waveney Valleys are particularly asked for. These areas are at present largely neglected ornithologically and it is suggested that some members might consider during the next year or two making a special study of either (or both) of these river Valleys in preference to the Suffolk coast which is at present almost " over-watched ". Attention is also drawn to two national surveys which are now being carried out. One, by the Nature Conservancy, deals with birds of prey ; the second is a B.T.O. survey of the status of the wryneck. INTRODUCTION :

A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE FAST YEAR

Preliminary comment was made in our last report on some of the more obvious results of the 1962-63 winter, one of the most severe that Britain has experienced for at least two hundred years.


468 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalist*', Vol. 12, Part 6 At one time it seemed likely that some of our less-hardy birds vvould be almost wiped out, as had happened in the past under similar climatic conditions. Happily this did not prove to be the case ; while most species suffered to a greater or lesser extent, such normally tender birds as long-tailed tits, treecreepers, stonechats and bearded tits survived in encouraging numbers, showing perhaps no worse than a fifty per cent. drop. Heaviest mortality was among redwings, thrushes, water-rails, woodcock, green woodpeckers, wrens, goldcrests and kingfishers, the last three species being particularly hard hit. Dßring most of the year wrens were extremely scarce throughout West and central Suffolk and in many coastal localities also. At Aldeburgh, for instance, where nine wrens roosting together in one nest in January were found frozen to death, the species was thought to have been almost wiped out. Kingfishers and goldcrests suffered still more severely. Pied wagtails were also badly down in numbers everywhere and many gardens lacked their usual breeding pair. On the coast dunlins and redshanks, knots and sanderlings were found dead or dying along the tideline, while coots and moorhens, dabchicks and herons also suffered heavy casualties. With all the dykes and broads frozen over, ducks and grebes were concentrated in sheltered tidal Channels and estuaries and many parts of the coast were devoid of fowl for weeks. Grey geese were more widespread than usual, with small parties moving about in search of " open " feeding. Few of the geese went far inland. The first birds to succumb were, as always, the redwings which in many cases seemed too benumbed to take advantage of food provided for them. The fact that blackbirds, fieldfares, hedge sparrows and bullfinches, still in well-nourished condition, were also found dead, confirms the belief that the intense cold rather than lack of food was responsible for much of the mortality. However many species, particularly the Turdidae, must owe their survival to the abundance of berries and apples still hanging in hedges and orchards when the cold weather set in. At Härtest the unpicked crop on one large apple-tree sustained for about ten days a mixed flock consisting of forty-six fieldfares, fifty-five blackbirds, seventeen redwings, two song thrushes, two missel thrushes, eight chaflinches and a willow tit. At Brampton a green woodpecker also fed on fallen apples. Swans and ducks, usually associated only with coastal waters, were driven by the arctic conditions onto the unfrozen rivers of West Suffolk and whooper and Bewick swans, golden-eyes and parties of smews and goosanders were observed in the Stour Valley as far west as Long Melford. Others occurred on the rivers Lark and Little Ouse.


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469

As usual under such climatic conditions, some of our less familiar birds were forced to seek food and shelter near human habitations. In January three woodcocks spent several days searching for food in a garden at St. Olaves ; all, unfortunately, were subsequently found dead. Another woodcock fed with starlings in a garden at Brampton where some days before a snipe had also been seen feeding on the lawn within a few yards of the house. At Minsmere the Warden saved the lives of a number of bitterns, water-rails and swans by bringing them indoors and releasing them again with the advent of the thaw in March. This thaw probably came only just in time to save many birds, notably the bearded tits which were probably about at the end of their tether. Although the summer weather was far from favourable, most species seem to have had a generally good breeding season and by the autumn wrens and green woodpeckers were beginning to reappear in many localities. Kingfishers, however, are still extremely scarce everywhere. Among summer visitors there was a further decrease in warblers, with blackcaps, whitethroats and chiffchaffs very much down in numbers throughout West Suffolk and locally in East Suffolk. There was a continued fall in the numbers of cuckoos everywhere, while whinchats and nightingales were thought to have decreased on both sides of the county. The stonechat, which came through the winter surprisingly well, had a fair season, with at least eight probable breeding pairs, but the woodlark's numbers continue to dwindle. Bitterns and bearded tits were present during the breeding season in most of their usual areas. No grey wagtails nests were reported, but a pair of black redstarts bred at Sizewell. Once again the marsh harrier bred only at Minsmere where eight young were reared, and for the first time since 1958 Montagu's harrier returned to breed in Suffolk. There were in fact two nests, one on each side of the county. One was successful and at least two young are known to have fledged from it. At the second nest, in West Suffolk, three eggs were incubated for six weeks, after which as they were evidently addled, they were removed for analysis, under licence from the Nature Conservancy. The result of this analysis showed traces of no fewer than five agricultural poisons, one of a strength of eight p.p.m. This was a most disappointing result, particularly as the farmer on whose land the harriers were breeding, sacrificed his hay crop in order that the birds might hatch undisturbed. Still more disappointing is the Minister of Agriculture's continued " head in the sand " attitude towards the use of poisonous


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pesticides on farms and gardens. In the face of accumulating evidence that many of the chlorinated hydrocarbons used in agriculture and horticulture today are resulting in the deaths or infertility of a wide variety of species—birds of prey in particular— the Minister's " recommendation" that some of these poisons should only be used at certain times of the year and under certain conditions, will have earned little applause from those interested in the preservation of our wild life. Dßring 1963, Suffolk was again visited by a number of rare vagrants of which two were new species for the county. Both occurred in autumn, a Pallas' warbler at Walberswick on Nov. 16 and a dowitcher which occurred intermittently at Havergate between October and December. A green-winged teal, the American race of our common teal, was also identified at Butley in April. A broad-billed sandpiper, a pectoral sandpiper, two purple herons, an alpine swift and a red-headed bunting were also reported. Of particular interest was the occurrence at Minsmere in September of several spotted crakes, both adults and young. The species was recorded elsewhere in Britain at the same time. There were no hoopoe records and only one of quail, but late in the autumn Suffolk participated in quite a large " irruption " of waxwings, flocks of up to twenty-five occurring in many parts of the county. Shorelarks were also much more abundant than for many years. MIGRATION

Except for local food movements by geese and wood pigeons, very little hard-weather movement was noted anywhere during the Great Frost, nor did any marked migration take place when at last the frost broke on March 5. During the first few days of March lapwings, which had been entirely absent from the county for more than two months, began to return and small parties were coasting north at Minsmere and Aldeburgh, with emigration seawards on March 3/4 and 14/15. The usual emigration of starlings took place during March and April but very few redwings and fieldfares showed up during that period. Normal coasting by linnets and goldfinches took place at Aldeburgh and Minsmere from mid-March to the end of April and continued, in the case of the last species, tili about June 9. Emigration by chaffinches, larks, rooks and jackdaws, normally such a feature on the Suffolk coast in spring, was observed only on a very small scale. Despite the late spring, summer visitors were generally up to time and in fact the first wheatears and stone curlews were reported some days earlier than in 1962.


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471

The first mflux of willow warblers, redstarts and nightingales took place on Apl. 12, with cuckoos, blackcaps and whitethroats arnving dunng the following week. There was a small passage of robins at Minsmere on Apl. 10 while whimbrels were going north both there and at Aldeburgh and Southwold between Apl 21 and May 14. As usual the first week in May brought a big rush of cuckoos, swifts and turtle doves. Only three pied flycatchers—all males—were recorded on spring passage, but fair numbers of black terns occurred on the coast between Apl. 23 and June 19, with one flock inland at Livermere on June 2. Late wheatears, probably Greenlanders were noted at Sudbourne on May 27. Wader migration was also late and rather protracted and there was apparent over-summering by green and wood sandpipers, dusky redshanks and greenshanks. Two examples of belated migration were observed at Härtest, a sedge warbler on June 8 and a sand-martin on June 27. Crossbills at Aldeburgh, Minsmere and elsewhere on the coast Irom late July onwards were probably part of the irruption that attected much of eastern Britain at that time. Coastal passage in autumn was rather thin, numbers of such species as wheatears, redstarts, pied flycatchers and wagtails in Sept. being much below normal. So were the numbers of finches particularly siskins, and tree sparrows Coming through in October' However garden warblers and lesser whitethroats were more plentiful thanusual. There was also a small passage of Continental robins at Walberswick and Minsmere in the last days of the month Very few goldcrests appeared, though firecrest numbers were about normal. There was a fair passage of wheatears, whinchats and phylloscopi at Sudbourne on Sept. 4, the first two species also being numerous about that date at Minsmere, where there was an influx of redstarts on bept. 13/14. For the second year running very little diurnal migration was noted over West Suffolk except for wheatears and whinchats. Among migrant waders on the coast both green and wood sandpipers were unusually plentiful in early August, so too were greenshanks spotted redshanks and curlew sandpipers A pectoral sandpiper-one of five in Britain at that time-visited Havergate in August and there was a broad-billed sandpiper at 1 v Minsmere on July 31. Watchers on the coast between Lowestoft and Aldeburgh recorded a spectacular movement northwards between Sept. 25 and 29 of skuas, terns and gannets. On the latter date three great skuas and between thirty to forty arctic skuas were seen off Minsmere and Walberswick, while sixty-five gannets were also


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counted off Minsmere in three hours. This was probably an abnormal food movement due to the presence inshore of shoals of sprats or herrings. However a big shearwater and skua passage had also been noted elsewhere in Britain a little earlier. A number of swallows and house martins lingered on in various coastal and inland localities until well into November and a very late swift turncd up at Minsmere on Nov. 6. Late terns also occurred up to the end of October. A considerable southwards movement of kittiwakes took place in late November. On Nov. 23 some 4,000 were recorded off Southwold and Minsmere, with about 1,000 at Benacre next morning. Immigration by winter visitors was normal but unexciting. From early October to early November rather more starlings than usual were noted at Minsmere, where there was also a good coastal passage of goldfinches. 1,000 were counted going south on Oct. 11. At Lowestoft a day-long immigration of lapwings, starlings and sky-larks was recorded on Oct. 21. Fieldfares were crossing the coast at Orford in some numbers on Oct. 15 and small parties were noted in West Suffolk next day. Generally, however, very little daytime immigration was observed over inland Suffolk for the second year running. The first waxwings, forerunners of a bigger than usual irruption, were recorded at Aldeburgh on Oct. 20, with flocks or small parties at many coastal and some inland localities throughout the remaining months of the year. [Based on migration reports provided by F. C. Cook and E. W. C. Jenner (Lowestoft), G. B. G. Benson (Southwold), D. J. Pearson (Walberswick), H. E. Axell (Minsmere), H. Pease (Sudbourne), E. F. Crosby (Aldeburgh), M. Packard (Shotley) and C. G. D. Curtis (Ipswich).]


473

HI KD REPORT

FIRST AND LAST DATES OF SUMMER VISITORS,

Species Wheatear Chiffchaff Stone curlew Tree pipit Swallow Willow warbler Yellow wagtail Sand martin House martin Redstart Nightingale Sedge warbler Grasshopper warbler Cuckoo Blackcap

First seen Mar. 17 Mar. 20 Mar. 21 Apl. 1 Apl. 2 / \ Apl. 3

Minsmere Brandon Brandon Minsmere Lowestoft Long Melford Icklingham

Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl.

Aldeburgh Havergate Aldeburgh Aldeburgh Aldeburgh Minsmere

Oct. Oct. Nov. Nov. Sept. Sept.

Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere \ Nacton j Aldeburgh Minsmere Playford Walberswick Minsmere Walberswick Aldeburgh Walberswick Minsmere Walberswick

Sept. 8 Oct. 1

Minsmere Polstead

Nov. Oct. Oct. Oct. Sept. Oct. Sept. Nov. Sept. Sept. Sept.

Newmarket Walberswick Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Walberswick Minsmere Minsmere Walberswick Minsmere Walberswick

9 10 12 12 12 14

Apl. 14 Apl. 15 Apl. 15

Whinchat Apl. 17 Whitethroat Apl. 17 Lesser whitethroat Apl. 24 Garden warbler Apl. 27 Reed warbler .. . Apl. 27 Turtle dove Apl. 27 Swift Apl. 28 Nightjar May 6 Red backed shrike May 8 Spotted flycathcer May 12

Locality

Last seen Oct. 19 Oct. 8 Oct. 7 Sept. 5 Nov. 28

1963

Sept. 19 1 17 30 4 7 25

23 6 3 2 26 20 30 6 24 10 29

Locality Havergate Minsmere Bamham Minsmere Lowestoft Minsmere Walberswick Minsmere ATinsmere Dunwich Sudbourne Walberswick Minsmere

SYSTEMATIC L I S T

Numbers refer to the B.O.U. Check List (1952). 1. Black-throated diver.—Single birds occurred at Havergate, Mar. 1 (RSPB) and Minsmere, Jan. 23, Sept. 29 (ad. with black throat) and Dec. 30, with two there Oct. 27 (HEA, PJM) ; also at Walberswick, Dec. 28 (GLC, DJP) and Shingle Street, Dec. 27 (PRC). Oiled corpses at Southwold/Walberswick in Feb. and Mar. (BAC, JG). 2. Great northern diver.—An oiled corpse at Southwold, Mar. 8 (BAC) and a live bird at Havergate, Dec. 23 (RSPB) are only records for year. 4. Red-throated diver.—Small numbers present at Benacre, Covehithe, Walberswick, Minsmere and Havergate between Jan. and Mar. (many observers) with c. thirty on sea off Minsmere, Mar. 26 (HEA).


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In autumn, singles at Walberswick, Sept. 21 (DJP) and Havergate, Sept. 25 (RSPB), then up to ten in Oct. at Minsmere, one to three Nov. to mid-Dec., then twenty-five to thirty daily on sea, with at least one hundred present Dec. 22 (HEA, PJM). Approx similar numbers at Walberswick during Nov.-Dec. with c. eighty off Dunwich, Dec. 29 (GJJ, DJP). 5. Great crested grebe.—During severe weather early in year single birds occurred in Lowestoft harbour (EWCJ) and R. Blyth (GBGB) with twelve on R. Orwell (WHR), and others actually in Ipswich docks (CGDC). One at sea, Minsmere, May 5 (JELP). Breeding numbers were very much down and in some cases birds were absent from usual nesting areas. A few off-shore records from Walberswick and Minsmere between Aug. 10 and end of year (HEA, DJP). 6. Red-necked grebe.—One which frequented Lowestoft harbour between Jan. 17 and Feb. 14 was found dead on latter date (PB) ; two together Mar. 4, and two dead on beach in Feb. (CPB) ; one dead on beach, Apl. 9 (BJB). Single birds also at Minsmere, Jan. 8, Sept. 15/16 and Oct. 10 (HEA) and off Walberswick, Nov. 17 (JC, ADR).' 7. Slavonian grebe.—Only recorded from Havergate where single birds occurred Jan. 9/10 and Dec. 4/6 (RSPB). 9. Little grebe.—One to three during Jan. in Lowestoft harbour (many observers) and up to twenty in Ipswich docks in Feb. (CGDC, WHR) ; few breeding records were received but four pairs bred at Minsmere, a small increase due, perhaps, to elimination of coypus (HEA). 16. Manx shearwater.—One Aying north off Walberswick, Sept. 29 (GJJ) is the only record for the year. 26. Fulmar.—Noted in varying numbers on coast as far south as Aldeburgh in all months from Mar. (two records) to Sept. (one record), but not recorded anywhere between Oct.-Dec. Highest numbers were twenty off Dunwich, Aug. 17 and the same number at Minsmere the following day (many observers). 27. Gannet.—The only spring records were of one to five offshore at Walberswick and Minsmere between Apl. 14 to 19 (HEA, RGB, DJP). In autumn greater numbers than usual on coast (chiefly at Walberswick and Minsmere) between July 17 and Nov. 24 (HEA, EFC, GBGB, RSH, GJJ, RVAM). Peak numbers were sixty-five Aying north in three hours (7 to 10 a.m.) on Sept. 29 (HEA). An im. bird off Minsmere, Dec. 22 (GJJ, DJP).


BIRD REPORT

475

28. Cormorant.—Numbers varying between twenty-five to seventy on R. Blyth and c. eighty off Lowestoft in Feb. (GBGB, DJP) are considerably higher than those normally recorded. 29. Shag.—Single records during cold spell in Jan. and Feb. from Lowestoft (EWCJ, DJP), Shotley (MP) and in autumn from R. Orwell, Oct. 7 (MP) and Walberswick, Nov. 23 (DJP). A " probable " off-shore at Benacre, June 19 (CMV). 30. Heron.—As usual this species suffered severely in the cold winter of 1962/63. Breeding figures from some heronries in 1963 were : North Cove 21 nests Henham 6 Blackheath 22 Stutton 5 Brantham 6 Stoke by Nayland 11 (all per GBGB) Minsmere nil (HEA) Livermere 20 Eriswell 4 Brandon 2+ (AEV) While comparable figures for the previous year are not available in all cases it is evident that there has been a considerable fall, possibly as much as 50 per cent. 31. Purple heron.—An ad. at Minsmere from June 24 to Aug. 23 and an im. from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9 (HEA, G H , RSH, H H , PJM, et al). A purple heron, which the observers (GLC, ADR) believed to be immature, was also seen at Walberswick onjuly 28. 38. Bittern.—Although many must have succumbed during the " great frost ", a fair breeding stock seems to have survived in the county and birds were heard " booming " during the spring in at least five of their regulär localities (GBGB, EFC, JELP). Six pairs bred at Minsmere where " booming " was heard on June 21 (HEA). Inland records were : one caught alive, Ixworth, Jan. 19 (AAJ) and one seen there Sept. 9 (JC) ; one at Boxted in Feb. (PDK). 42. Spoonbill.—Two at Havergate during the period May 23 to 29 ( C G D C , RJP, W H R ) ; two at Minsmere, July 26 to Aug. 4 and on Aug. 9 and one there Aug. 6 (HEA). T w o on Breydon, June 2 and Aug. 6 (RHH). 46. G r e e n - w i n g e d teal.—A drake was identified among common teal on Butley river on Apl. 24 ( C G D C , WJL, TDW, WHR).


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47. Garganey.—First recorded Mar. 30 at Walberswick (DJP) ; a pair also there in June (HH) and Aug. S (GJJ). Two pairs bred at Minsmere, last birds being seen Sept. 12 (HEA). Two or three at Havergate Apl. 7 to 26 and June 1 to 8 (RSPB). 50. Wigeon.—5,000 at Havergate on Jan. 6 but numbers soon feil away to a fevv score, building up again towards end of Feb. Late Nov. and Dec. numbers lower than in past years (RSPB). Thousands visiting stubbles in Iken area in early Feb. (JELP) and some 3,000 on Aldeburgh marshes early Mar. (EFC). 52. Pintail.—Düring Jan. and Feb. small numbers—about thirty—on R. Orwell (CGDC). Inland single birds on R. Lark Jan. 13 (CAEK) and R. Stour, Feb. 22 (CRP). Düring the summer a duck was present at Walberswick and Minsmere in June (HEA, HH) and a pair at latter locality early in July (HEA). 55. Scaup.—Exceptional numbers were observed on the coast during and particularly at beginning of the cold spell, e.g., 200 to 300 at Freston, Jan. 13 to Feb. 10 (CGDC, WHR), twenty Blythburgh, Feb. 17 (GBGB), c. fifty Walberswick, Feb. 23 (DJP), c. forty Havergate in Feb. (RSPB). Also a lone drake at Havergate June 12 (RJP) and a duck at Minsmere, May 18 to 24 (HEA). In autumn small numbers Sept. 29 to year's end. 56. Tufted duck.—Unusually high numbers during cold spell on R. Orwell and in Ipswich docks where c. 180 were present on Feb. 3 (CGDC). 60. Golden-eye.—Comparatively small numbers of this hardweather duck were reported at Lowestoft, Benacre, Blythburgh, Minsmere, Aldeburgh and Freston during Jan. and Feb., with maximum of thirty at last locality on Jan. 13 (many observers). A female at Icklingham on Jan. 27 (GMSE, CAEK, AEV) was only inland record. Three at Easton Broad, Nov. 3 (GBGB). 61. Long-tailed duck.—Two f. or im., one at Benacre, Oct. 29 to Nov. 11, and one at Easton Broad, Nov. 3 to Dec. 8 (GBGB, DJP) were the only records for the county. 62. Velvet scoter.—Small numbers only during cold weather ; one at Lowestoft, Feb. 3 (DJP) ; a live oiled drake and two dead at Minsmere, Jan. 21 and one at sea, Jan. 30 (HEA) ; ad. drake Freston, Feb. 10 (CGDC). Ten off Minsmere, Sept. 22 and six there, Oct. 31 (HEA) with one or two at Walberswick, Sept. 29, Oct. 6 and Oct. 26 (GJG). One at Havergate, Dec. 4 (RSPB).


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64. C o m m o n scoter.—Small numbers only during cold spell in Jan. and Feb., about 260 on passage north off Minsmere, May 1, and 200 to 500 there latter half of June with 1,200 on June 30 and 300 on July 11 (HEA). In autumn, one Freston, Oct. 13 ( C G D C ) and c. 200 passing south off Minsmere, Oct. 31 (HEA). Very fevv at end of year. 67. Eider.—Small numbers only (maximum 6) at Lowestoft in Jan. and Feb. (EWCJ), Covehithe in Jan. (DJP) and Minsmere in mid-Mar. (HEA). There were no over-summering flocks but an immature drake visited Covehithe on June 13 (ALB) and three to seven were observed irregularlv at Havergate during June and July (RSPB). Autumn records were : an im. at Minsmere, Aug. 18 and twenty-eight off-shore there Oct. 10 and one to five early Nov. (HEA, PJM). Small numbers at Lowestoft, Walberswick (DJP), Easton ( G B G B ) and R. Orwell (MP) in Oct. and Nov. Thirtyone Aying north off Benacre on Nov. 4 was highest number for year (DJP). 69. R e d - b r e a s t e d m e r g a n s e r . — D u r i n g the hard weather up to sixteen frequented Lowestoft harbour (EWCJ) ; a few also on the R. Blyth (GBGB), Benacre pits (WHR) and Ipswich docks and c. twenty at Freston (CGDC). There were no inland records. A pair occurred at Minsmere on May 29 (HEA). Small numbers at Lowestoft and Minsmere between Oct. 9 and end of year (HEA, DJP). 70. G o o s a n d e r . — T h e hard weather brought no great influx of this species as has sometimes happened in the past. Coastal records were : one Lowestoft, Jan. 2 and five R. Blyth, Feb. 24 (DJP), four Minsmere early Jan. (HEA), one Ipswich docks (MB) and six R. Orwell, Jan 6/7 (WHP). West Suffolk records were : four drakes R. Stour at Long Melford, Jan. 18 and one locally shot, for sale in Bury St. Edmunds poulterer's shop (WHP). Five at Easton, Dec. 8 (DJP) and two at Minsmere, Dec. 12 (HEA). 71. Smew.—Numbers were higher than usual during cold spell : nine at Benacre, Jan. 12 and single birds at Walberswick, Jan. 13 to 19 and Mar. 10 (DJP, A D R ) ; one to five at Minsmere in Jan./ Feb. (HEA) ; one at Woodbridge, Jan. 10 ( R S H ) ; three to six Ipswich docks, Jan. 31 to Feb. 10 ( C G D C , WHR). In latter end of year four at Benacre, Dec. 21/22 (DJP).


478 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists', Vol. 12, Part 6 Inland records were : Single ducks at Santon Downham, Tuddenham, Icklingham and West Stow in Jan./Feb. (CAEK, CNA) ; five, including one drake, at West Stow, Jan. 30 (BT) a drake and duck on R. Stour at Bures on Feb. 17 (CRP). 73. Shelduck.—Breeding numbers appeared well below average. A pair hatched five young at Gt. Glemham, but survival was doubtful (C). One at Tuddenham (West Suffolk) on Feb. 17 (CAEK). 75. Greylag goose.—At Minsmere, seven Jan. 11 and five Jan. 18, with one Mar. 23 (HEA). One or two Aldeburgh late Feb. and six on Mar. 4 (EFC). One Havergate, Jan. 6 to 10 (RSPB). One Minsmere, Oct. 7 and seven Aying south Dec. 23 (HEA). 76. White-fronted goose.—Higher numbers than usual were reported during both winters : nine Bradwell marshes, Jan. 10 (ALB), twelve Aldeburgh, Jan. 21 and two Mar. 4 (EFC), twelve Sudbourne, Feb. 5 (JELP) and twenty Havergate, Jan. 6 to 10 (RSPB). Minsmere was particularly favoured, with a flock of up to fortyfour from Jan. 12 to the end of Mar. Eighty-three were present on Mar. 13 and were then joined by flocks of fifty-five, eighteen and 102, bringing a total of 258. Seventy were still there next day. Last bird remained tili Mar. 24 (HEA, PJM). Later in year seven were Aying south off Shingle Street, Nov. 24 (GD), c. twenty-four Reydon, Dec. 15 (CGDC), twelve Benacre Dec. 21 (DJP) and between thirty and forty-six at Minsmere during Dec. (HEA, GD). One at Havergate, Dec. 30 (RSPB). 78. Bean goose.—One Minsmere, Jan. 16 (HEA) was only record. 78. Pink-footed goose.—Small numbers off-shore from Minsmere, Jan. 1, Mar. 5 and Dec. 24, c. twenty on reserve, Feb. 2 to 9 (HEA). One Sudbourne, Feb. 5 (JELP). At Havergate a Aock of up to forty-two from Feb. 17 to Mar. 12 (RSPB). Ten at Havergate, Sept. 28 (RVAM, RJP), twelve there Oct. 7 and forty-two, Dec. 23 (RSPB). One Walberswick, Oct. 6 (GJJ) and seven Aying south off Minsmere, Dec. 24 (HEA). 80. Brent goose.—The severe weather brought no great influx of this goose to Suffolk except on R. Stour where c. 300 were recorded on Feb. 9 (DJP). Numbers at Lowestoft, Walberswick, Minsmere and Havergate during Jan. and Feb. nowhere exceeded fifty. Thirty-six were recorded off Minsmere on Mar. 4 (HEA) and at Havergate next day (RJP). Two were at latter locality from Apl. 4 to 10.


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In autumn there were more reports and higher numbers than for some time. Up to tvventy occurred Lowestoft and Benacre in late Nov. (DJP), and about thirty at Aldeburgh in Dec. (EFC, JELP). There was considerable south passage off Walberswick and Minsmere between Oct. 20 and end of year, including a flock of c. 480 on Oct. 31 (HEA, DJP). 81. Barnacle goose.—A dead bird on Minsmere beach in Dec. (per HEA). 82. Canada goose.— Although this was one of the species included in the special survey, insufficient records came in to give a completely accurate picture of its county status. Füll records for 1964 are again asked for, particularly covering the Waveney and Stour Valleys, central and north-west Suffolk. On present evidence the species is obviously increasing and spreading. It is now widespread over most of north-west Suffolk and is increasing in the coastal belt. The position is confused by the number of feral birds. Breeding records for 1963 were : Heveningham probable (RSH) Sibton (DJP), Minsmere (HEA), R. Gipping (HEPS) and at Livermere, Culford and Redgrave and at many localities on Rs. Lark and Little Ouse. At least one colony on R. Stour (MM). Irregulär movement takes place by non-breeding birds (?) during Apl./May and Sept./Oct. 85. Whooper swan.—A flock of eighteen Bradwell, Jan 10 (ALB) ; two at Aldeburgh, Jan. 23 (EFC) and an im. at Ipswich docks, Apl. 4 to 14 (CGDC, WHR). Two at Havergate, Mar. 19 (RSPB). At Minsmere numbers up to seventeen on reserve or passing off-shore on various dates between Jan. 11 and Mar. 19. Single birds or small parties (never double figures) Nov. 23 to Dec. 29. A weak bird caught alive on Feb. 2 and kept in captivity tili released on Mar. 6, ate a large loaf of bread daily (HEA). In West Suffolk one or two were present on R. Lark, Jan. 27 to Feb. 17 (GMSE, CAEK, AEV). Three on R. Stour at Long Melford, Feb. 25 to Mar. 1 (MM, WHP). 86. Bewick's swan.—All records for early part of year came from Minsmere, Havergate and the Breckland rivers. At Minsmere two separate herds were present during Jan./Feb., with a total of up to fifty-six birds, of which nineteen died during frost (HEA, RSH). At Havergate there were two to four during Jan. with nine on Feb. 7 and seventeen on Mar. 27 (RSPB).


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In West Suffolk a herd of between ten and twenty remained on the R. Lark at Icklingham from mid-Jan. to mid-Feb. Four also on Little Ouse at Santon Downham, Feb. 10 (CBC). One on R. Stour at Bures (per WHP). In autumn an ad. with mutes R. Aide, Sept. 13 to 15 (EFC) ; small numbers (maximum eleven) Benacre, Walberswick, Minsmere from Oct. to year's end (HEA, GD, DJP). 91. Buzzard.—Single birds were reported at Henham, Mar. 4 (PHTH), Benacre and Walberswick, Mar. 10 (DJP), Minsmere, Mar. 19, May 14 to 31, Aug. 11 to 24, Sept. 16, Oct. 6 (HEA). Also one at Hinton, June 3 (FCC) and three Havergate, July 20 (RSPB). Single birds Walberswick, Sept. 14 to 16 (GJJ) and Dec. 10 (DJP) and Lakenheath, Sept. 5 (JSC). Doubtless some of the Henham/Walberswick/Benacre/Minsmere records refer to the same bird. 92. Rough-legged buzzard.—Single birds at Walberswick on Feb. 3 (ADR, DJP) and Minsmere, Mar. 27 (HEA) and in west Suffolk at Lakenheath, Mar. 31 (CAEK). No autumn records. 93. Sparrow hawk.—No definite breeding records in the county and very few for the spring and summer, though a pair probably bred on the Breck (GMSE) and possibly in the Minsmere area— though not on the reserve (HEA) and at Tunstall (per WHP). An im. at Westleton, June 13 (GßGB) is early for passage bird. Single examples were recorded from Lackford, Jan. 27 (AEV, CAEK) and in Sept./Oct. from Badingham (PHTH), Holbrook (PRC), Playford (WHR), Ixworth (JC) and the Breck (NW). An im. in from sea, Ness Point, Sept. 14 (FCC). These records indicate a small autumn immigration. (InPeebleshireinlate Aug. many kestrels and some half dozen sparrow hawks were seen, obviously on passage through the hills (WHP). Winter records were single birds at Stoke-by-Nayland (JR), Kesgrave (PRC) and Walberswick (DJP). 99. Marsh harrier.—Bred only at Minsmere where two and a half pairs reared eight young. This area was also visited irregularly during breeding season by another male and female (HEA). These or others also seen occasionally during summer at Walberswick and Benacre (GBGB, J E L P , DJP, RV). Usual over-wintering birds in same area. Singles at Havergate during May and Aug./ Sept. (RSPB). One at Stallode Wash, Aug. 25 (CAEK, ORM).


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481

100. Hen harrier.—Small numbers—most females/ims. at Walberswick, Dunwich, Minsmere, Havergate in early months of year, and a male and female at Minsmere on Apl. 15 (HEA). A female shot at Brampton, Jan. 17 (EMG). Indeterminate females/ ims. of this or following species on coast to end Oct. (many observers). A male at Shingle Street, Dec. 28 (PRC, WHR). One or two examples on coast, chiefly at Minsmere and Havergate during Nov and Dec. (HEA, RJP). . 102. Montagu's harrier.—Two pairs bred in the county, one of which successfully reared two young. The second nest, in West Suffolk, contained three eggs, on which the bird sat for six weeks. The eggs were than taken under licence from the Nature Conseryancy and sent for analysis. The result showed chemical residues as follows : Heptachlor 1.3 ppm Dieldrin 8.0 ppm DDE 5.6 ppm TDE 1.0 ppm DDT 1.2 ppm There were a number of records during the summer of the aiis. within a wide area of their breeding places (many observers). A female was reported at Havergate, Aug. 25/28 (RSPB). 103. Osprey.—One at Minsmere, May 11 to 27 and immatures (different birds) there Aug. 8 to 18 and Aug. 22 to 23 (HEA). One at Walberswick, Aug. 8 (RGB) was doubtless one ofthose recorded above. 104. Hobby .—One Minsmere, May 12, a male and female there five times in June, one bird twice in July, three times in Aug. and six times in Sept. (HEA) One Benacre, June 8, also seen there earlier by keeper (GBGB), one Walberswick, June 2 (per DJP) and Sept. 3 (AJG, CDH). One Berners Heath, Apl. 21 (CAEK) is the only Breck record. 105. Peregrine.—Single birds at Iken, Feb. 5 (JELP), Minsmere, Mar. 20 (FDH) and Apl. 8 (HEA), Lowestoft, Sept. 6 (FEM) and Oulton Broad, Oct. 9 (RSB). One at Aldeburgh, Dec. 16/17 was seen feeding on a blackbird (EFC). 107. Merlin.—The usual coastal and inland records during both winters.


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110. Kestrel.—Breeding numbers appear to have been more or less maintained with nesting pairs confirmed or probable at : YValberswick 2 pairs, a 50% decrease (DJP) Minsmere 3 pairs possible (HEA) Orford 1 pair (RJP) Holbrook 1 pair reared four young (PRC, WHR) Shotlev 1 pair (MP) Darmsden 1 pair (JV) Ixworth 1 pair (JC) Breeding on Breck was not proved but usual 2/3 pairs present during summer (WHP). There were no reports from central or south-west SufTolk during summer but evidence of a marked immigration both on coast and inland from mid-Aug. to end Oct. (many observers). 117. Quail.—One was present at Lakenheath throughout much of the winter 1962/63 but disappeared during the cold weather in Jan. (WR). 120. Water rail.—Hard hit by the severe weather, breeding numbers were very much down but by autumn it was once again widespread and in fair numbers. One, kept alive by the Warden at Minsmere, fed on dead sparrows, while others on the reserve ate dead coypus. At Boxted one was seen for several days in February feeding on a dead rabbit in a ditch (per WHP). 121. Spotted crake.—One seen at close ränge at Minsmere on Sept. 8 was apparently a young bird, while of three seen there four days later two appeared to be im. The ad. performed a dance before the others. One was still there on Sept. 13 (HEA, HM, GH, RGHC, AR, HM, PJM). 125. Corncrake.—Two at Minsmere, Sept. 13 (per HEA) ; one there Sept. 15 to 17 (HEA, P H T H , PJM) and one at Walberswick previous day (DJP). 126.

Moorhen~] Numbers of both species were greatly reduced

127.

Coot

J

everywhere as a result of the cold winter.

134. Ringed plover.—A small passage (maximum eleven) of the arctic race tundrae occurred at Minsmere between May 31 and June 4 (HEA, PJM). 135. Little ringed plover.—Majority of records from Minsmere, where one or two last week in May, a juv. July 20, then one to five ads. and juvs. throughout Aug. and up to Sept. 8. These were highest numbers so far recorded on the reserve (HEA, PJM). One at Havergate, July 29 (RSPB), one at Walberswick, Aug. 7 (RGB) and one Reydon, Sept. 9 (RSH).


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136. Kentish plover .—One at Walberswick, Apl. 21 (RGB, DJP); a juv. at Minsmere, Aug. 11 to 13 and an adult, Aug. 27 and Sept. 14 (HEA, PJM). A lone bird at Havergate, Sept. 3 (RSPB). 139. Grey plover.—Exceptionally high numbers at Havergate (maximum forty) throughout Oct. (RSPB). 140. Golden plover.—Numbers were generally much as usual, except during cold spell, but a flock of 1,300 at Livermere on Mar. 31 (CAEK) was considerably larger than any reported in recent years. 142.

Dotterel.—One on Felixstowe golf course, Sept. 18 (FCC).

144. Dowitcher.—An example of this American wader was present at Havergate at rather irregulär intervals between Oct. 13 and Dec. 20 (RJP et al). A new species for the county list. 148. Woodcock.—Suffered severely during the cold spell, with many birds starving or dead before the end of Jan. However birds were recorded in small numbers in Mar., on both sides of the county with fair breeding success in usual Breckland localities (many observers). Numbers during winter 1963/64 were generally rather low. 150. Curlew.—Very few present on coast during Jan. and Feb. except on R. Aide and Havergate. Most areas were deserted. A marked reduction in Breckland breeding numbers (GMSE). 151. Whimbrel.—Spring passage extended from Apl. 21 to end of May with peak numbers during second week May (HEA, EFC, C G D C , DJP) ; a few at Havergate until June 6 (RSPB). First autumn birds at Blythburgh, June 23 (GBGB) but main passage, July 8 to Sept. 27 (HEA, EFC, DJP, RJP, PJM). Iniandrecords: one at Bury BF, Mav 19 (CAEK) and eleven flving south at West Row, Aug. 20 (AEV). 154. Black-tailed godwit.—First birds (c. one hundred) on R. Blyth, Jan. 6, with about same number for next two months (GBGB) then rising to a peak of c. 300, Apl. 14 (DJP) and all gone by May 1. At Minsmere about one hundred noted on passage mid-Apl. to May 5 (and in autumn small numbers from mid-July to end Sept. (HEA, PJM). Small numbers only at Havergate, Apl./May and late July to Sept. (RSPB).


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155. Bar-tailed godwit.—Very few on the coast during Jan./ Feb. but high numbers—maximum 110 at Havergate between May 1 and 21 (RSPB). Autumn passage July 12 to Oct. 28. BF, May 4 (RV).

In West SufFolk one at Bury

156. Green sandpiper.—A small spring passage at Minsmere from Apl. 23, with a number of records throughout June and early July which suggest " over-summering " by one or more birds. This was followed bv an unusually pronounced autumn passage from last week July to early Sept. at Walberswick, Minsmere, Havergate and Shingle Street, with maximum of thirty at Minsmere early in Aug. (HEA, PRC, RSH, RJP). Winter records only from Playford (CGDC, WHR). A few in West Suffolk during Sept. (CBC).

157. Wood sandpiper.—Abnormally high numbers were recorded in both spring and autumn, with two or three birds apparently " over-summering " at Minsmere. Autumn passage there from Aug. 1 with a peak of thirty daily between Aug. 6 to 18 and falling numbers tili Sept. 16 (HEÄ). Last two Reydon, Sept. 16 (BAC). Up to three at Havergate during Aug. and first week, Sept. (RSPB). One Bury BF, May 19 (CAEK). 161. Redshank.—Evidently suffered severely during hard weather with many found dead, particularly on Breydon and at Havergate. Breeding numbers generally low (many observers).

162. Spotted redshank.—Once again examples of this species were reported in every month of the year, though numbers during the cold weather in Jan./Feb. were very low and confined to the Rs. Blyth and Orwell (RSH, WHR). Good numbers were recorded at Minsmere throughout Aug. and Sept. with peaks of fifty-five on Aug. 27 and forty-five on Sept. 10 (HEA, PJM). Up to twenty-eight at Blythburgh in Aug. (GBGB, DJP). There were few records for late autumn and winter.

165. Greenshank. First recorded Apl. 21 at Minsmere (HEA) where some birds apparently " over-summered " . A good autumn passage all down coast during Aug. and Sept. (HEA, BAC, GBGB, CGDC, RVAM, WHR). Last at Walberswick, Nov. 3 (DJP).


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169. Knot.—Probably the commonest wader on the estuaries during the cold weather, 300 to 400 being recorded in Jan at Blythburgh (GBGB) and c. 200 R. Aide (JELP). Smaller numbers during Jan./Feb. at Lowestoft (EWCJ), Walberswick (DJP) and Minsmere (HEA). At Havergate maximum of forty-three during Jan./Mar. with up to thirty-five to May 9 and odd birds as late as June 27 (RSPB). In autumn and winter low numbers from July 14 everywhere except Havergate where rather higher numbers (though very variable) than usual. 170. Purple sandpiper.—The only records were winter birds viz : one to six at Lowestoft between Jan. 14 and Feb. 3 (EWCJ DJP) and one at Minsmere, Jan. 30 (RGHC). One at Lowestoft' Oct. 19 (FCC) and two Oct. 28 (RWC) and one at Shingle Street Dec. 24 to end of year (WHR, PRC). 171. Little stint.—Only spring records were from Havergate where up to five on three dates in April and a single bird in early June (RSPB). In autumn first noted July 20 at Minsmere where main passage took place Aug. 18 to 27 with maximum twenty-five and last on Sept. 11 (HEA). Up to sixteen at Buss Creek from Aug. 22nd to Sept 12 (GBGB, RSH, DJP). At Havergate a small passage from July 25 to last week Oct. (RSPB). 173. Temminck's stint.—Single birds at Minsmere, Aug 25 to 27 and Sept. 3, 7 and 11 (HEA, PJM). 176. Pectoral sandpiper.—One at Havergate, Aug. 9/10 fMEG RJP et al). ' V 179. Curlew sandpiper.—There were no spring records but autumn numbers were rather higher than during past two seasons. First bird noted Minsmere, July 18, with main passage between Sept. 4 to 24. Peak number twenty-one on Sept. 11 (HEA). At Blythburgh highest number was c. twenty on Sept. 7 (GBGB) with smaller numbers (maximum twelve) at Walberswick from Aug. 28 to Sept. 14 (RSH, JG, AJG, DJP). First arrival noted Havergate, July 22, with small numbers in Aug. higher in Sept.—up to twenty-five—and last birds recorded Oct. 22 (RSPB). 181. Sanderling.—During the hard weather no more than eight reported from Lowestoft, Benacre and Walberswick. This was followed by a thin spring and autumn passage at usual coastal localities (many observers). A flock of twenty-five south off Minsmere, Dec. 24 (HEA) was highest number during year. 183. Broad-billed sandpiper.—One at Minsmere, July 31 (HEA, BSB, RJB, H and Jff, PJM).


486 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists', Vol. 12, Part 6 184. Ruff.—Records of this species during the year were practically confined to Minsmere and Havergate Reserves. The first birds arrived at the former locality on Mar. 13. Four males in füll breeding dress on May 17 were later joined by two females and up to six of both sexes remained throughout the summer though no breeding took place (HEA). This is the first definite "over-summering" in the county for a great many years. At Havergate six were noted on May 13, with a lone male on May 19 and two on June 6/7. There was a fair autumn migration at both reserves between July 19 and Sept. 30, with maximum thirty at Minsmere and c. eighteen at Havergate, where four late birds also occurred on Nov. 30 (HEA, RJP). Only other records were single birds at Walberswick, Aug. 31 (ADR) and Buss Creek, Sept. 1 (DJP). 185. Avocet.—The Havergate colony comprised fifty-five pairs. Ten to twelve pairs also bred at another site nearby, while another pair established itself at Minsmere and produced one Aying young, at least one other of the young having been eaten by a heron (HEA). The first birds arrived at Havergate, Mar. 12, and the last bird lingered there tili Dec. 30 (RSPB). Forty were seen at Iken, Aug. 28 (GBGB). 187.

Grey phalarope.™One at Minsmere, Nov. 1 (HEA, PJM).

189. Stone curlew.—Still manages to hold its own in face of increasing disturbance by " bird lovers ", photographers, ramblers, and agricultural Operations. At least four pairs are known to have bred with success in East Suffolk (HEA, GBGB, JW, CMV). One on shore at Minsmere, Aug. 4, five at Wickham Market, Sept. 9 (RSH), five Waldringfield, Sept. 21 (PRC). None on Orfordness (RJP) and very few Aldeburgh (EFC). Fair average numbers north-west Suffolk (CBC et al). 193. Arctic skua.—No spring records but an exceptional passage of this species in late summer and autumn, with one noted at Havergate, June 13 (RSPB). First at Minsmere, July 22, with one other July record from Walberswick. Frequent in early days of Aug. with six at Minsmere, Aug. 2 and fifteen on Aug. 19. On Sept. 29 a big north movement of tems and gannets off Southwold included at least thirty—and probably many more—arctic skuas (HEA, GJJ, PJM). A dribble of migration continued down coast during Oct. and Nov., with up to thirty noted off Benacre on Nov. 23/24 (many observers).


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194. Great skua.—Numbers at Minsmere and Walberswick between Sept. 6 and Nov. 23 were the highest so far recorded in the county, there being twenty records in all. Without doubt some, of these reports referred to the same bird or birds. Four were seen at Minsmere on Sept. 29 and three at Walberswick the same day. Two at Minsmere, Oct. 3 and two at Walberswick, Oct. 14. Single birds at Minsmere, on Sept. 6, 15 and 30 and Nov. 6, 19 and 23 ; at Walberswick on Oct. 6 and 20 and Easton on Nov. 23 (HEA, FKC, GJJ, DJP, PJM). 195. Pomatorhine skua.—A " light phase " ad. among herring gulls at Slaughden Quay, Jan. 12/14 (EFC). Another "light phase " adult at Benacre, Nov. 23 (DJP) and a third at Minsmere, Nov. 9. This bird made off inland (HEA). In addition there were twelve records from Benacre and Walberswick between Sept. 1 and Nov. 24 of ims. described in most cases as " probables ". Four of these, on Nov. 23, were near or in companv with ad. alreadv mentioned (GLC, GJJ, RVAM, DJP). 196. Long-tailed skua.—An adult at Minsmere, Sept. 19 (HEA, GH, PJM). 200.

Herring gull.—Two or three pairs bred Orfordness (RJP).

202. Glaucous gull.—Ims. at Walberswick, Feb. 17 (MS) and Lowestoft, Mar. 6 and Dec. 8 to 14 (EWCJ, DJP). 207. Little gull.—An ad. at Minsmere, May 29 and two ims. June 4 ; otherwise small numbers, mostly ims., from Sept. 9 to end Dec. at Lowestoft, Walberswick, Minsmere and Havergate (HEA, FCC, GEC, DJP, RSPB). Fourteen (including ten ads.) south off Minsmere, Oct. 31 (HEA). 211. Kittiwake.—Small numbers were present off Lowestoft, Benacre and Minsmere in Jan., then very few reported tili autumn except at breeding colony at Lowestoft and odd ads. at Minsmere and Aldeburgh in May/June (HEA, JELP). The Lowestoft colony contained seventeen occupied nests on June 21. As usual rough weather resulted in destruction of many nests and young and probably no more than four young reached Aying stage (EWCJ). Irregulär south ward passage on coast from mid-July to Nov., with a very large south movement past Covehithe, Southwold and Minsmere on Nov. 23/24. On former date several thousand kittiwakes were off Benacre (GBGB), and Southwold (DJP). At Covehithe and Minsmere next dav nearlv 4,000 were seen passing south (HEA, PJM, DJP).


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212. Black tern.—A small and rather protracted passage from Apl. 23 to June 19 at Minsmere (HEA, GD, PJM), Walberswick (EFC, ADR) and Havergate (RSPB). Twenty-four inland at Livermere, June 2 (CAEK). Autumn records were ; one Aug. 8 at Easton ( G B G B ) and Walberswick (DJP), twenty-two Benacre, Sept. 1 (DJP) twenty off-shore Minsmere, Aug. 18 and seven on reserve, Sept. 2 (HEA, PJM). At Havergate there was a small passage from July 22 to second week Sept. with fourteen on Sept. 1 (RSPB). 217. C o m m o n tern.—First recorded Apl. 11 at Minsmere (HEA) and last at Walberswick on Nov 3 ( G J J , DJP). A new breeding colony of twenty-seven pairs established on man-made islets at Minsmere. Buss Creek colony deserted due to reclamation. All known colonies of this tern should be reported, please. 219. Roseate tern.—Two at Havergate, July 16 (RSPB) are only record. 223. Sandwich tern.—Havergate colony contained c. 500 pairs. First birds arrived Mar. 14 and last departed Nov. 2 (RSPB). 224. Razorbill.—More auks than usual were reported. At Minsmere seven oiled birds in Jan., one at sea, June 13 and Oct. 23, two Nov. 5, one Nov. 24 and Dec. 2 (HEA, PJM). At Benacre, thirty-five Aying north Oct. 13, c. ten Nov. 23 and c. fifteen next day (DJP). One to four at Walberswick Oct. 14 to 20 (DJP, GJJ). One oiled bird Aldeburgh in Dec. (JELP). 226. Little auk.—One off Walberswick, Sept. 23 ( E G D ) is only record. 227. Guillemot.—There were many reports of dead, " oiled " and live birds during Jan. and Feb. from Benacre, Walberswick, Southwold, Minsmere and Havergate, with more from Aug. 10 to end of year all down the coast from Lowestoft to Shingle Street (many observers). 230. Puffin.—Single birds at Minsmere, Aug. 30 to Sept. 9 (HEA).


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Collared dove.—This species is now firmly established in most coastal towns in Suffolk though inland colonization is slow and irregulär. Status on coast, working southwards, is as follows : Gt. Yarmouth " Almost a common bird ", with nineteen known nests, two on top of telephone poles (RHH). Gorleston Thirty to forty at end of year (RWC). Lowestoft Reported breeding in several places, with twenty-four in one area in winter (EWCJ). Southwold Not known (BAC). Minsmere Two records only, Apl. 12 and along shore Oct. 1 (HEA). Thorpeness A few pairs (JELP). Aldeburgh Common in south of tovvn, probablv ninety to one hundred birds (EFC). Orford Two pairs (RJP). Woodbridge No reports. Ipswich A pair or two bred (PRC, WHR). Felixstowe Evidently well established in good numbers but no exact figures sent in. Shotley Tattingstone Inland records were

First noted Apl., then throughout summer with twelve in Aug. (MP). A pair Apl. 22 (WHP). A pair at Helmingham in May (T) seen once Badingham n . d . ( P H T H ) , o n e Hitcham, May 5 (ALB), Ixworth, firmly established with at least five breeding pairs (AAJ). One R. Stour near Sudbury (HBN). One or two pairs Lakenheath (WHP).

23 7. Cuckoo.—Because of paucity of records no comprehensive picture can be given but decrease continues almost everywhere. Numbers considered down at Minsmere (HEA), Aldeburgh (EFC) Badingham ( P H T H ) but possibly up at Benacre (BAC). Düring two days spent in East Suffolk during Mav not a cuckoo was heard (WHP). Three or four young Southwold area in Aug. (GBGB) and odd young at Walpole and Cookley early Sept. (RSH). A late adult at Herringfleet, Aug. 29 (RWC). Very few, in Aug. only, at Havergate (RSPB). A late young at Polstead, Oct. 1 (WHP). A steady decrease over most of West Suffolk (many observers). At Härtest there appeared to be only one cuckoo in the parish up to the end of June, this in an area where up to 1939 at least half a dozen cuckoos would be calling all day long (WHP).


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241. Barn owl.—So few records were received that to publish them would probably give a distorted picture but it is piain that numbers are steadily declining practically everywhere. 246. Little owl.—Very few records, and same remarks as for previous species probably apply. 248. Long-eared owl.—Few reports came in. One at Stoke-byNayland on odd dates throughout the year (JR). Two to three pairs in Walberswick/Westleton area and two broods of young known (DJP). Few observed in usual Breck breeding area (WHP). 249. Short-eared owl.—Numbers on coast and inland were again very low, but three pairs bred Havergate (RJP). On Breck only odd birds seen in carrot fields in autumn where normally up to half score (WHP). 252. Nightjar.—Appears to be maintaining its numbers where habitat remains undisturbed. Eighteen breeding pairs Westleton/ Walberswick shows slight increase (DJP) while fifteen pairs Minsmere is slight decrease (HEA). Also recorded during summer at Foxhall, Purdis Heath, Brightwell and Hollesley (CDGC, PRC, WHR). Breckland numbers remain low (CBC, RV, WHP). 255. Swift.—Autumn departure was later than usual and numbers were still at Southwold at end Aug., with passage there Sept. 2 (GBGB). At Minsmere fifteen were passing south on Sept. 29, one on Nov. 2 and the last on Nov. 6 (HEA, GH, PJM). 256.

Alpine swift.—One at Lowestoft, Sept. 6 (FEM).

258. Kingfisher.—Appears to have been almost wiped out during the Great Frost. Only records were : one at Walberswick, early Mar. (DJP) ; three on Waveney at Hoxne, Aug. 22 (RWC) and one R. Stour at Glemsford, Oct. 10 (MM). At Minsmere one or two seen occasionally in April, one May 17, two June 15. One Sept. 11-19, may have been locally bred. One Nov. 6 (HEA). All records of this species for 1964 are asked for. 262. Green woodpecker.—This species appears to have survived the hard weather better than usual and by autumn was once again fairly well distributed throughout the county. 263. Greater spotted woodpecker.—A migrant on the shore at Minsmere, Aug. 30 (HEA).


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264. Lesser spotted woodpecker.—There were more reports than usual of this elusive species. Breeding pairs were : four at Minsmere (HEA), one Blythburgh (DJP), two Darmsden (JV), one Culford, one Fornham St. Martin (VVHP). Spring, autumn or winter records also came from Kettleburgh and Glevering (JELP), Brampton (BAC), Shotley (MP), Playford (CDGC, WHR), Bury St. Edmunds (DL), Herringswell and W. Stow (CAEK).

265. Wryneck.—No summer records but Sept. brought what was probably quite a good passage of this species, single birds being identified at Benacre (FEM, DJP) and Aldeburgh (EFC) on Sept. 1, Walberwick on Sept. 2 (the bird being trapped) and Sept. 3 (AJG, CDH) and Lovvestoft, Sept. 2 to 5 (FEM), Minsmere Sept. 6 and 9 with two there next day (HEA) and finally one again at Walberswick on Sept 22 (GJJ).

271. Wood lark.—An apparent further decrease in most areas. One pair perhaps bred Walberswick (DJP), four pairs—a decrease of two—at Minsmere (HEA) and one pair Sutton (CGDC, PRC) with scattered records elsewhere in coastal belt in spring and autumn.

273. Shore lark.—There were more records and higher numbers of this species than in any year since 1953. Between Jan. 13 and Mar. 9 a flock of eighteen/nineteen was present in the Blythburgh area, with smaller numbers (finally one) there until Apl. 15 (GBGB, RGB, DJP). First autumn record was one at Walberswick, Oct. 27 (GJJ). At Minsmere, one Nov. 2/9, with five Nov. 10 rising to fourteen in early Dec. Eight still there at end of year (HEA). A flock of eighteen at Walberswick between Nov. 16 to Dec. 5 and six at Lowestoft Dec. 12 (DJP). Single birds CoVehithe, Nov. 11 (GLC) and Blythburgh, Dec. 28 (DJP)

274.

Swallow

Both species lingered later than usual,

276. House martinj the last swallow at Lovvestoft until Nov. 28 (EWCJ) and the last martin at Dunwich until Nov. 30 (DJP). House martins were also reported at Edwardstone, Nov. 16 (WHP), St. Olaves, Nov. 19 (FWRL), Oulton Broad (RSB) and Felixstowe (HRB) Nov. 20, and Minsmere, Nov. 23 (HEA).


492 Transactions of the Suff ulk Naturalists',

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281. Hooded crow.—Numbers during the cold weather were, as was to be expected, rather higher than during recent years. Fifteen to twenty were present in the Benacre area in Feb. (DJP, WHR) with two/six at Havergate and two or three on the R. Orwell in Jan./Feb. (RSPB, CGDC, WHR). Last at Minsmere, Apl. 24 (HEA). Only winter records were one Minsmere and two to four Havergate early Nov. An inland record from Berners Heath, Mar. 31 (CAEK). 284. Magpie.—Opinions on the status of this species in Suffolk vary widely. It is thought common, even increasing, at Henham (S), Playford (CGDC), Holbrook (PRC) and Aldeburgh (EFC) but absent from Brampton (BAC), scarce Brandeston (JRLP) and notably decreased during past ten years at Badingham (PHTH). Six pairs bred—two successfully—at Minsmere (HEA, PJM). Only one record from Easton (GBGB). Also bred Kesgrave (PRC, WHR). On Apl. 8, Single pairs seen at Rendlesham, Friston, Needham Market and Long Melford (WHP). In most parts of West Suffolk it is definitely decreasing. At Härtest where five years ago several pairs bred, none was seen during 1963. Elsewhere pairs or singles were recorded at Gt. Glemham, Market Weston and Glemsford (WHP). 294. Long-tailed tit.—General opinion on this species was that it had survived the severe winter surprisingly well throughout the county (many observers). 295. Bearded tit.—Although the hard winter of 1962/63 undoubtedly resulted in a heavy mortality among this species, there was no complete " wipe-out " as had happened under similar climatic conditions in the past. Numbers at Minsmere decreased steadily during Jan. and Feb. and immediately after the thaw only ten birds could be found on the reserve. Final breeding population, however, was probably eighteen to twenty pairs (about half that of 1962). A good breeding season followed, with some pairs apparently triple-brooded. Attempted irruption was again noted in Sept. and Oct. (HEA). At Walberswick c. twenty-five pairs bred—again a decrease of about 50%—and emigration was noted from Sept. 10 (DJP). Breeding was also confirmed at two other old sites but was doubtful at two more (GBGB, EFC). A number of birds at Butley in Oct. (JW). In West Suffolk four or five were observed at Stallode Wash on Feb. 5 (AEV). 298. Tree creeper.—Probably much reduced, if not totally wiped out, in some areas (S, GBGB) as a result of severe cold but in others numbers during the year were well maintained (JELP, HEA, WHP). Insufficient records were sent in to give.a balanced picture.


BIRD REPORT

493

299. Wren.—Obviously suffered very severely indeed during the cold vveather of 1962/63 and was almost wiped out throughout much of the county. On the coast survived well here and there, e.g., Minsmere (HEA) but believed down 80% at Southwold (GBGB). However, by end of year numbers were building up again in many areas and by spring 1964 it was again widespread though still in smaller numbers than before cold spell. 300. Dipper.—There was one unconfirmed, but believed reliable, record during the winter 1962/63 from the R. Deben (per WHP). 302. Fieldfare.—One at Lakenheath, July 21, with up to five in same area in mid-June (WR) may indicate " over-summering " . 304. Redwing.—First noted at Lowestoft, Oct. 14 ( L F C ) with westward passage through West Suffolk next day (WHP). Numbers generally very much below average everywhere (many observers). 307. R i n g ouzel.—First recorded at Minsmere, Apl. 17 (as last year) with two on Apl. 28 (HEA, P J M ) and two next day at Hinton (PM). Single birds—both males—Christchurch Park, Ipswich, May 3 ( C D G C , WHR) and Thorpeness, May 4 (EFC). First in autumn at ! horington, Sept. 11 (RSH) and one, two and two at Walberswick on Nov. 2, 3 and 4 ( F K C , G J J , DJP). 317. Stonechat.—At least nine or ten pairs bred on coast, comparing well with previous year (HEA, G B G B , BAC, PRC, WHR, I'JM) but once again no breeding record, in fact few records at all, from Breckland where this species, once so plentiful there, seems to liave faded out. 318. Whinchat.—Like most wasteland birds the whinchat has been slowly decreasing as a breeding species for some time. 1963 saw a further decline in most areas, e.g., Walberswick/Blythburgh five pairs against eleven in 1960, and eight in 1962 (DJP). Breeding also at Westleton, two pairs (BAC, E M G ) , Minsmere four pairs, a decrease (HEA) and Aldeburgh, four pairs (EFC). Still breeds locally in the Breck but is probably decreasing there also as the forests grow up. 321. Black redstart.—A pair bred at Sizewell atomic S t a t i o n (HEA). A small spring passage at Walberswick and Minsmere between Mar. 30 to May 26 (HEA, P J M , DJP). One at Aldeburgh Oct. 19 to 26 (EFC).


494 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists',

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6

322. Nightingale.—Breeding numbers vvere down in many areas. At Shotley numbers down to nil from ten pairs twelve years ago (MP). 324.

Bluethroat.—One Minsmere, Sept. 3 (PR).

357. Wood warbler.—A male singing Minsmere, May 19 to 26 (HEA) and others at Blythburgh and Walberswick between May 25 to June 6. There was no known nest in the area but a juv. was trapped there Aug. 1 (DJP). One at Minsmere, Aug. 15 (HEA). 364. Goldcrest.—Wintering birds were evidently hard hit by the severe cold and only a few—returning migrants ?—were recorded here and there in Mar. and Apl. However, four pairs bred at Minsmere (HEA) and there were autumn and winter records from Kesgrave (PRC) and Darmsden (JV). 365. Firecrest.—Only recorded from Minsmere where Single birds occurred on passage Apl. 9, 17 and 18 and Oct. 26, 29 and 30 with two on Nov. 1 (HEA). 368. Pied flycatcher.—Single males at Havergate, Apl. 27 (RJP), Aldeburgh, May 4 (EFC) and Walberswick, May 9 (JELP) were only spring birds recorded. A rather modest autumn passage on coast between Aug. 10 and Sept. 24 (HEA, BAC, RSH, DJP, JELP). 371. Hedge sparrow.—A small passage along shore, Minsmere, Oct. 4 to 21 (HEA) and at Havergate in Mar./Apl. and Nov. (RJP). 379. Water pipit.—One Buss Creek, Apl. 5 (RSH) ; Minsmere, Nov. 22 (HEA).

one

380. White wagtail.—Only reported from Minsmere where one Mar. 19 and two Apl. 4 (HEA). 381. Grey wagtail.—Another species evidently hard hit by the cold winter. There were no summer records from any of its usual haunts. A few passage birds noted on coast from Mar. 10 (CDGC, WHR) to Apl. 21 (RGB) and from Sept. 23 (HEA) to Oct. 21 (PRC). 382. Blue-headed wagtail.—A male at Southwold, May 6 (GBGB).


BIRD REPORT

495

383. Waxwing.—In common with much of eastern England, Suffolk was visited during the winter of 1963/64 bv a considerable number of waxwings. T h e first party of seven reached Aldeburgh on Oct. 20 and thesc numbers increased to twenty by Nov. 19. Two to five remained throughout Dec. (EFC). Seven more visited Minsmere on Nov. 14 (HEA, PJM). At Felixstowe and Walton two to seven were reported between Nov. 23 to Dec. 7 (JBP) with about twenty at Trimley, Dec. 9 (HRB). U p to twenty-five in north Lowestoft during Dec. (FCC, N H , E W C j , HE], K L M , EAS) with same number feeding on apples at Oulton Broad, Dec. 15 (JGW). Small numbers also occurred in West Suffolk during Dec. 384. Great grey shrike.—Two at Minsmere in Jan. (HEA, PJM) and in West Suffolk one at Tuddenham, Feb. 17 (CAEK) and one at Barton Mills, Mar. 10 (RV). Single birds in autumn and winter all in the Walberswick Westleton, Blythburgh, Minsmere area between Oct. 19—arriving from sea—and end of year (HEA, PJM, DJP). 386.

Woodchat shrike.—One at Minsmere on June 8 (MF).

388. Red-backed shrike.—Few records of this species were sent in. Twelve pairs—a slight decrease—bred at Walberswick (DJP) and nine pairs, also a decrease, at Minsmere. Here, in one nest four out of five eggs failed to hatch and analysis shovved traces of D D T and chlordane. In another nest three out of five eggs did not hatch (HEA). This species is also decreasing on the Breck, there being fewer pairs everywhere than say ten vears ago (CBC). 391. Hawfinch. Recorded at : Minsmere (HEA), and Kesgrave ( C G D C , WHR). In West Suffolk small recorded during cold weather at Herringswell (CAEK), (RCM, ORM) Risby, Barrow and Fornham St. Martin

Playford numbers Culford (WHP).

394. Siskin.—Small numbers during cold weather and up to end of Apl. on both sides of county. A very small autumn migration. This species now summers on Breck and in some localities on coast but actual breeding has vet to be proved. 397. Lesser redpoll.—Possibly increasing owing to extension of afforestation but was also probably overlooked in the past. Breeding season records for 1963 were : Dunwich (GBGB), Westleton (BAC), Walberswick, where juvs. also trapped late July (DJP), Minsmere, three pairs (HEA, PJM), Aldeburgh, twelve nests found (EFC) and Purdis Heath (PRC).


496 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists',

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This species is also breeding widely and evidently increasing on Breck, where flocks of fifty at times in winter (CAEK, DMB, WHP). Winter records from Brandeston (JELP), Foxhall, where c. eighty (GD), Badingham, rare (PHTH) and south-west Suffolk (WHP). A thin coastal passage at Walberswick and Minsmere in Oct. (HEA, PJM, DJP). Mealy redpoll.—Three/four Minsmere, Apl. 1 to 10 (HEA) ; one Westleton, Apl. 7 (RSH) and Apl. 22 (BAC). Four at Lackford in Dec. (PBL). 401. Bullfinch.—Although many succumbed during the cold winter, this species is still widespread and in orchard areas almost abundant. 404. Crossbill.—Reported from many areas, apart from usual breeding localities, throughout much of the year, indicating a " stay-over " from the irruption of 1962. Small numbers, adults and young, St. Olaves in summer (FWRL) and at Walberswick (RSH) and Aldeburgh (EFC) between Jan. to Mar. Also small numbers irregularly at Blythburgh, Walberswick and Minsmere between Apl. 22 and Sept. 3 (HEA, JG, PJM, DJP) but forty-six and forty-one at respectively, Blythburgh and Minsmere on June 2 (HEA, DJP). An ad. male and three juvs. Benacre, early June (GBGB). The autumn irruption, which affected eastern Britain, was probably responsible for one bird at Oulton Broad, Aug. 6 (per HEJ), five at Aldeburgh, July 30/31 (EFC) and two and five on shore at Minsmere, Aug. 30/31 (HEA). A few at Aldeburgh in autumn. In north-west Suffolk good numbers were reported from the Breck and neighbourhood during spring and summer (GMSE, CAEK, WHP, AEV) but there were no records from central or south-west Suffolk. 408. Brambling.—Generally small numbers during cold spell but up to 250 at special feeding points at Minsmere in Feb. (HEA) and 150 at Havergate during same month (RJP). Very few indeed in autumn and winter (many observers). 413. Red-headed bunting.—An adult male trapped at Minsmere showed little abrasion on wings, none on tail, and was very wild (HEA).


BIRD REPORT

497

422. Lapland bunting.—Single birds only at Walberswick, Sept. 21/22 and Oct. 13 (CGDC, PRC, JG, GJJ, DJP, WHR) and at Minsmere, Oct. 26 (HEA, PJM). 423. Snow bunting.—Verv small numbers—maximum twelve— during cold spell and no large flocks during autumn and winter (many observers). First birds noted Walberswick, Sept. 21 (JG) with peak of forty there mid-Nov. (DJP).

ADDENDA

1962

Heron.—An apparently new heronry at Bovton contained eicht nests (RJP). Garganey.—Seven at Bury Beet Factory, Aug. 11 (AEV). Goldeneye.—One Tuddenham (west Suffolk), Feb. 4 (CAEK). Bewick's swan.—Two Tuddenham, two Livermere, Dec. 2 (CJC) Marsh harrier.—One Lakenheath, Sept. 16 (ORM, ROM). Peregrine.—One Freckenham, Mar. 16 (PBL). Little ringed plover.—Bury Beet Factorv ; two June 11 (RCM ORM, CAEK), one Aug. 11 (AEV). ' Black redstart.—A pair bred at Aldeburgh, where they had also bred in 1961 (EJC, EFC, WRI).


498 Transaclions of the Suffolk NaturalistsVol.

72, Port G

L i s t of Observkrs A. K. Allen Miss M . Lynn-Allen C. N . Arnold H. E. Axell M r s . J. Axell C. H. H. P. M. G. R. R.

P. Barsted Barrett R. Beecroft Beckett Bendix B. G. Benson G . Bibbv S. Briggs

B. J. Brown D. M . Broom A. L . Bull Cambridge Bird Club R. G . H . Cant D. Carr P. R. Catchpole Miss G . E. Churley J. S. Clarke G . L . Clark E. J. Clement F. C. Cook F. K. Cobb R. W . Coleman Miss B. A. Coney T h e Earl of Cranbrook H. P. Crawlev J. Cross E. F. Crosbv J. Crussell C. G . D. Curtis M . D . Howell-Davies E. G . Davis G. D e n t Dingle Bird Club G. D u n n e t t

G. M . S. Easy H. ffennell Mrs. J. ffennell M . Freeman A. J. Gaston R. G . Gibbs J. Gooders M. E. Griffiths F. D . Hamilton R. S. Harkness Rev. P. H. T . Hartley R. H . Harrison C. D . Honer Miss M . Hopkinson Miss G . Houghton H. Hunt H . Hurlock Miss N . Harding W . R. Ingram E. W . C. Jenner H. E. Jenner G. J. Jobson Col. A. A. Johnson E. L . Jones P. D. Kerry C. A. E. Kirtland D. Laffling W. J. Lee Maj. F. W. RossLewin Miss P. B. Lind Lowestoft Field Club P. J. Makepeace Miss K. L. Mallett R. C. Mansfield O. R. Marks R. V. A. Marshall H. Miles Mrs. M . Mills F. E. M u d d e m a n

P. Muttitt Miss M . L . Nixon Dr. IL B. Norman Miss M . Van Oostveen M . Packard R. J. Partridge VV. H. Pavn Capt. C. R. Peacock D. J. Pearson H . Pease J. E. L . Pemberton Mrs. J. B. Pillinger W. H. Ramsay W. Rolph Royal Society for the Protection of Birds A. D. Rowe W. E. Rowe Sir J. Rowley, Bt. A. R u d d P. Rudge R. R. Scott M . Shaw Miss E. A. Smith M . S. J. Snoxell H . E. P. Spencer P. C. Steggall TheEarlofStradbroke B. Tickner Lord Tollemache J. Vane Dr. R. Vaughan C. M . Veysey A. E. Vine Mrs. N. Walrond J. G. W a r n e r T h e Hon. Mrs. J. Watson J. D. W r i g h t

Suffolk Bird Report for 1963  
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