Page 1

SUFFOLK BIRD REPORT 1964 Editor W.

H.

PAYN

assisted by C.

G.

D.

CURTIS

and The County Records Committee H.

E.

AXELL,

G. P. H.

B. T.

G.

BENSON,

HARTLEY a n d

F.

K.

A. E.

COBB, F .

C.

COOK,

VINE

again we are indebted to the many observers who sent in records for the year and also to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Cambridge Bird Club, the Lowestoft Field Club, and the Dingle Bird Club for allowing the use of material from their own Reports or Logs. We were particularly glad to have records also this year from the Mildenhall Natural History and Archaelogical Society and from the Nature Conservancy. ONCE

Species selected for special survey in 1966 are : red-backed shrike, little grebe, green woodpecker, and kingfisher. N.B. Nil records are always valuable. Please send 1965 notes to the Editor at Härtest Place, Bury St. Edmunds by the end of JANUARY next. Separate copies of this report, price 4/6d. including postage, are available on request from the Editor or from C. G. D. Curtis, 100 Camden Road, Ipsvvich. 1964—A

BRIEF REVIEW OF THE YEAR'S EVENTS

A mild winter, followed by an exceptionally warm and sunny summer, enabled many species which had been seriously reduced by the Great Frost of 1963, to build up their numbers again. Observers in all parts of the county reported that breeding results during 1964 of most passerine birds seemed to have been exceptionally good, with many successful second broods. By the autumn such species as long-tailed tits, wrens, tree-creepers, song thrushes, and pied wagtails were almost back to their pre1963 numbers, though there was evidently much local Variation in the extent of the recovery. A good recovery in numbers of moorhens, woodcock, and water-rails also took place but goldcrests and green woodpeckers were still very scarce in many localities. Recovery in kingfisher numbers was—and still is—very slow, but they are now being noted here and there on both sides of the county.


110 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists',

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At least sixteen pairs of stonechats—about double the number for the previous year—bred in the coastal belt and black redstarts nested at Ipswich, Sizewell, and Lowestoft. The marsh harriers had an excellent year at Minsmere and Montagu's harrier probably bred again in East Suffolk. Düring the summer Suffolk shared in a countrywide invasion of quail ; at least twenty calling males were located in Breckland, with smaller numbers here and there in East Suffolk but none apparently in the southern parts of the county. The little ringed plover bred again, after an interval of at least five years, but not, in this case, on the coast but in a root field in north-west Suffolk. It was also quite a vintage year for rarities. There were three new species to add to the county list—a yellow-headed wagtail and a Bartram's sandpiper at Minsmere and a Radde's warbler at Walberswick—while the occurrence of five redbreasted flycatchers during one short period of the autumn was an event in itself. The tally was further increased by a dowitcher, a Savi's warbler, a great reed warbler, a hypolais, three hoopoes, a bee-eater, a golden oriole and a sooty shearwater. In such Company one hardly bothers to mention the Temminck's stints, spoonbills, water pipits, and bluethroats and an exceptionally large number of great grey shrikes which also occurred during the year. MIGRATION

No winter movement of note took place apart from a certain amount of two-way coastal passage by waders, sea-duck and brent geese during the very mild early months of the year. Nor was emigration observed other than on a most modest scale. Rooks began leaving the Minsmere area in an easterly direction on Feb. 27 and on the same date lapwing emigration was noted at Aldeburgh. A big efflux of starlings was recorded at several coastal localities between Mar. 22 and 28, with blackbirds departing from Minsmere at dusk on Mar. 24. Robins and bluetits were observed on passage at Aldeburgh during the week Mar. 1 to 8, with another conspicuous northward movement of chaffinches and bluetits at the end of the month. A small northward passage of stonechats and black redstarts seemed to be taking place at Butley on Mar. 16. From mid-March tili early April the weather was unusually cold, with light snow, frost and cold winds and on Apl. 1 the countryside looked more as it does in November and December. In consequence the bulk of the spring migrants were late, although a few wheatears, chiffchaffs, willow wrens, and sand martins were earlier than in the previous year.


BIRD REPORT

111

However the arrival of warmer weather with south-westerly winds on Apl. 6 brought in good numbers of phylloscopi, blackcaps, and swallows. A large scale arrival of nightingales, cuckoos, redstarts, tree-pipits, and sedge warblers followed between Apl 15 and 19. Many more lesser whitethroats than usual were presen f on the coast during the last week of April and on into mid-May. This warbler seems to have had a particularly good season and higher numbers than for some years were reported during the summer at a number of coastal localities, though not in inland Suffolk where its numbers continue to decline as a result of hedge destruction. A water-pipit in breeding plumage was present at Walberswick on Apl. 12 and a wryneck was seen to come in from the sea at Aldeburgh on Apl. 27. Another occurred on May 7 at Walberswick. Swifts and turtle doves arrived somewhat earlier than usual, being reported in numbers from both side of the county well before the end of April. Spring wader passage was on a small scale and very protracted with wood and green sandpipers, whimbrels, greenshanks, ruffs, and little stints Coming through in the last week of May and even in some cases during the first two weeks of June. A red-necked phalarope in fßll breeding dress occurred at Minsmere on June 8. Once again the visible autumn passage was rather thin, the weather during August and September being generally too fine and clear. However there were some good features, of which the high numbers of lesser whitethroats passing down the coast in early September again merits particular mention. This was in marked contrast to the comparatively low numbers of the common whitethroat recorded everywhere. As usual, first migrants in early July were the northern waders, but wader passage throughout the autumn was again unimpressive, with only average numbers of greenshanks, ruffs, and knots while wood sandpipers and curlew sandpipers were far less numerous than in 1963. In contrast, also, to 1963 there was no marked offshore passage of sea birds. August produced very little coastal passage apart from a rather conspicuous movement of swifts at Southwold on Aug. 19 and small numbers of pied flycatchers and whinchats at Walberswick and Minsmere on Aug. 15, with more whinchats, wheatears, blackcaps, redstarts, and pied flycatchers at Walberswick and Aldebureh on B Aug. 27. Easterly winds and anticyclonic weather combined with early morning mist resulted, during the first few days of September, tn a good rush of night migrants—notably pied flycatchers and lesser whitethroats, with a hoopoe at Walberswick on Sept. 4.


112 Transactions

of the Suffolk

Naturalists',

Vol. 13, Part 2

T h i s was followed by a big passage of wheatears at Shotley on Sept. 6 and a marked southwards movement of swallows and house martins down the coast as far as Aldeburgh. This hirundine passage continued intermittently until mid-October with quite a n u m b e r of stragglers of both species lingering in many coastal localities until the last week in November. Another spell of easterly winds during the last days of September and the first few days of October produced a moderate influx of blackcaps and meadow pipits, with the first of the winter " thrushes " . This period will long be memorable also for the fact that it produced, between Sept. 24 and Oct. 17, no fewer than five red-breasted flycatchers, a Radde's warbler, and a yellowheaded wagtail, the last two species being new to the county. I n West Suffolk overland migration of wheatears, several Greenlanders, was very marked from Sept. 6 which date a number of redstarts, whinchats, and spotted were also in evidence. A big south-west passage of with smaller numbers of fieldfares, was recorded at Oct. 22 and 23.

including to 18, on flycatchers lapwings, Brome on

Back again to the coast where skylark immigration on a modest scale was recorded at Minsmere and Lowestoft during the period Oct. 17 to 20, with fair numbers of coasting goldfinches between mid-September and mid-November. However once again coasting by siskin flocks was only on a very small scale, as also was the autumn passage of chaffinches, linnets, and tree sparrows. Black tern passage was thin compared with 1963. Good n u m b e r s of immigrant goldcrests occurred at Minsmere in October and November and there was a moderate influx of blackbirds, both there and at Sudbourne, during the last fortnight of November. Large numbers of blackbirds, along with fieldfares and redwings, had already been noted at Walsham le Willows in West Suffolk on Nov. 2. At least fifteen and probably nearer a score (allowing for duplication of reports) of great grey shrikes were recorded on passage or as wintering birds between Sept. 3 and the year's end. This is a very much higher number than for several seasons. A final migratory freak to complete the year was the occurrence of two common or arctic terns Aying south off Minsmere on Dec. 13 in Company with a large n u m b e r of gulls. [This migration report is based, as usual, on information provided by F. C. Cook and E. C. W. 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), C. G. D. Curtis (Ipswich), G . Bennett (Brome), and the Editor.]


BIRD REPORT

113

FIRST AND LAST DATES OF SUMMER VISITORS,

Species

First seen

Locality 5

Chiffchaff Stone curlew Whinchat ^ed®tart Sand m a r t m W.l low w a r b l e r Yellow wagta.l Sedge w a r b l e r £,u<*0° Bla<*caP Swallow House m a r t m Nightingale Grasshop e r w

rbl

r

Mar. Mar. Mar. Mar. Mar. Ap . Ap . Apl. ApAp. A PlApl. Apl.

! 15 16 20 23 26 2 8 9 9 9 9 12 12 15

Shin

le

Street

i,ast seen ct

S Shingle Street Walberswick Orford Lowestoft Walberswick Aldeburgh Sutton Walberswick Aldeburgh Aldeburgh Minsmere Many Locals Minsmere Wal berswick

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

6 10 4 6 10 19 6 26 30 5 6 30 29 5 9

1964

Locality Minsmere Minsmere Breckland Minsmere Sudbourne Minsmere Lowestoft Walberswick M.nsmere Walberswick Minsmere Minsmere Easton M.nsmere Walberswick

.r f. j T u r t l e dove Whitethroat Lesser whitethroat

Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl.

15 16 18 23

Minsmere M.ldenhall Many Locals Minsmere

Sept. 9 Walberswick N o v . 1 Southwold Oct. 6 Minsmere Sept. 27 { B u r y S t ' E d s

Swift ..... Garden warbler Reed warbler ™8htJ« , RPHUK u y ^ T h , e r Red-backed shr.ke

Apl. 24 A p . 25 Apl. 26 May 6

Walberswick Walberswick Walberswick Minsmere Walberswick Minsmere

Sept. 30 Sept. 19 Oct. 4 Sept. 2 Sept. 27 Sept. 8

7

M a y 10

Metfidd"6 M.nsmere Walberswick Minsmere Burv St. Eds Minsmere

SYSTEMATIC LIST

Numbers refer to the B.O.U. Check List (1952). L Black-throated diver.—Six together off Minsmere Apl. 6 (HhA, I JM) is largest number so far recorded in Suffolk. Single birds were also recorded at Minsmere on four dates in Oct and one in Nov. with one (ad.) at Dunwich (RH) and one dead at Shingle Street, Mar. 27 (PRC). 2.

Great northern diver.—Minsmere, one Aying over mareh 22 ( H E A - PJM), one along shore, Feb. 28 (PJM), and three on sea, with red-throated divers, Nov. 21 (DM). 4. Red-throated diver.—Usual coastal records in winter and spring with a late bird at Walberswick, May 7 (DJP). First in autumn at Walberswick and Minsmere, Sept. 20 (DJP HEA) At Minsmere 122 Aying south, Dec. 17 (HEA, LK). One R Urwell Jan. 19 (MP). One adult, badly oiled, at Härtest followine B gales, Dec. 28 (WHP).


114 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists',

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6. Red-necked grebe.—Adults in partial summer plumage off Benacre, Aug. 28 (GB) and Walberswick, Aug. 30 (FKC, JC, GLC) ; others at Dunwich, Sept. 19 (DJP) and Minsmere, Oct. 31 and Nov. 19 (HEA). 7. Slavonian grebe.—One at Easton during Jan. (RAFC), one Havergate, Dec. 6 (RJP). 8. Black-necked grebe.—One in partial summer plumage on sea off Minsmere (DM, CC). 12. Leach's petrel.—One dead Henham end Jan. (S), one found shot R. Aide at Iken, Nov. 29 (KJP). 14. Storm petrel.—One found alive at Southwold, Dec. 5 (EWCJ). 16. Manx shearwater.—One found dead on shore Minsmere, Feb. 21 (per HEA), two Aying north off Walberswick, Sept. 3 (GB). 21.

Sooty shearwater.—One off Minsmere, Sept. 10 (DJP).

26. Fulmar.—-All records, bar one, were for spring and summer months and from mouth of Deben northwards to Covehithe (many observers). One Minsmere, Feb. 11 (HEA). None reported after August. 27. Gannet.—There w e r r n o spring records and small numbers only off Southwold, Wäi'berswick, Minsmere and Havergate, between July 6 and Oct. 21. 29.

Shag.—There were no records during the year.

30. Heron.—Those heronries for which records were sent in show a modest increase on last season viz : Henham 9, possibly 11 nests (GBGB) Blackheath 36 (EFC) Redgrave 5 (per WHP) Livermere 23 Brandon Fen 9 Eriswell 4 (all AEV) 38. Bittern.—Breeding numbers showed a good build-up in at least four regulär localities. 42. Spoonbill.—An adult pair which lingered for a week at Minsmere were harassed by mute swans. An im. there Apl. 26. Two on June 17 and one June 25 (HEA). Two Aying south from Breydon, July 27 (CAEK).


BIRD REPORT

115

47. G a r g a n e y . — S i x pairs bred Minsmere (HEA). Odd birds Walberswick and Southwold, Mar. 27 to May 16 ( G B G B , G J J , DJP, JC). A pair at Walberswick in June (HH). One ör two Havergate May 22/24 and July 12 (RJP). 55. Scaup.—Only small numbers appeared in both winters : two females Benacre between Jan. and Mar. ( C G D C , E M G , D J P ) and four off Minsmere, Mar. 28 (DB). Nine Aying north off Walberswick, Nov. 22 (DJP). 57. Pochard.—Average breeding numbers in West Suffolk. A flock of nearly 200 at Benacre, Jan. 6 (DJP, G L C ) . 60. Golden-eye.—Only average numbers on coast at beginning and end of year (many observers) with max. c. thirty on R. Orwell in January ( C G D C ) . A female on R. Lark, Jan. 26 (CAEK). 61. L o n g - t a i l e d duck.—Only records were a f./im. at Benacre in early months of year (several observers) and a m. at Havergate Oct. 15 to Nov. 2 (RJP). 62. Velvet s c o t e r . One at Benacre, Jan. 18 to 25 ( G D , DJP, CDW) ; two off Minsmere, Nov. 22 (DM). Two at Benacre, Aug. 5 ( M L ) . 67. E i d e r . — T w o at Havergate, J une ? 1 (RJP), one at Walberswick Aug. 31 ( R G B ) with one at Pakefield, S e P * 5 (RAL). Then single birds at Walberswick, Oct. 31 (JG), Lowestoft, Nov. 15 (EWCJ), and Walberswick, Dec. 5 ( G J J ) . Three Havergate, Dec. 22 (RJB) and two Lowestoft, Dec. 31 (DJP). 69. R e d - b r e a s t e d m e r g a n s e r . — H i g h e s t numbers in early months of year were as usual on R. Orwell, where a max. of twelve was recorded in Jan. ( C G D C , WHR). Small numbers only at Benacre, Walberswick, and Minsmere between Jan. and end of Apl. (several observers). Two at sea off Minsmere, May 28 (HEA). Two single records only for autumn, Minsmere, Oct. 28 (HEA) and Walberswick, Oct. 29 (JG). One inland on Livermere Lake, Dec. 20 ( C A E K ) . 71. S m e w . - A m. at Benacre in Jan. (BJB, DJP, CDW) and a f. at Minsmere in Feb. and Mar. (HEA) were only birds reported. 73. Shelduck.—Inland records at Livermere were : one Apl. 5, three Sept. 27, four Nov. 5, and five Dec. 20 (CAEK). 75. G r e y l a g goose.—Twelve at Slaughden, Jan. 24 and 25 (EFC), four Benacre, Feb. 9 ( C G D C , WHR) and two at Minsmere, Feb. 2, Apl. 5 and 6, and July 18 and 20 (HEA). About forty at Havergate, Jan. 5 (RJP).


116 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists', Vol. 13, Part 2 76. White-fronted goose.—At least three flocks on coast during Jan. and Feb. with up to thirty in Benacre/Blythburgh area (GBGB, GLC, ADR), fifty-three on Feb. 27 at Minsmere (HEA) and up to 250 at Havergate (RJP). Nine at Shingle Street (PRC) and four on Aldeburgh marshes (EFC) late Feb/early Mar. Three at Minsmere on Apl. 24 (HEA). Twelve at Havergate, Dec. 28 (RJP). 78.

Bean goose.—Two at Minsmere, Jan. 25 and Mar. 1 (HEA).

Pink-footed goose.—Two at Minsmere, Jan. 25 and 26 and one there Mar. 16 (HEA). 80. Brent goose.—Rather higher numbers than for some time were recorded during the early months of the year from many coastal areas, e.g., Walberswick, R. Aide, Shingle Street, R's. Orwell and Stour (many observers). Max. numbers were 400 to 500 on R. Orwell late Jan. (CDGC, WHR). In autumn 103 noted passing south off Minsmere, Oct. 27 (PJM) with small parties irregularly tili end of year. 81. Barnacle Goose.—One at Iken, R. Aide, May 2 to 10 (DJP, PAS). 82. Canada goose.—Although complete coverage for county is lacking, it is evident that this species is now very widespread wherever suitable conditions exist, e.g., north-west Suffolk, Valleys of Little Ouse and Waveney, parts of R. Stour Valley, parts of coastal Suffolk and on lakes and ornamental waters elsewhere. Part of this spread is doubtless due to introduced or feral birds. In general breeding birds do not seem to be molested though some farmers complain of damage to com and young grass. 85. Whooper swan.—Only very small numbers were recorded from coastal Suffolk during the year, eight on Apl. 4 at Minsmere (HEA) being highest number. In the north-west three were present on the Little Ouse at Santon Downham on Mar. 1 (GMSE) and five at Tuddenham, Dec. 20 (CAEK). 86. Bewick's swan.—In contrast to the previous species Bewick's swan was exceptionally numerous, particularly during the early months of the year. A herd of 149 seen on Bradwell Marshes, Mar. 6 (ALB) is probably the largest ever recorded in the county. Minsmere also had two herds totalling sixty on Feb. 1 and rising to seventy-six on Mar. 21. Though two birds remained until Apl. 8 the last herd was seen to depart northwards at 7.30 a.m. on Apl. 6 (HEA). In Breckland nine were on the river at Tuddenham, Jan. 9 (CAEK).


BIRD REPORT

117

Smaller numbers were recorded at Minsmere from Nov. (HEA) with five on R. Blyth (GLC) and max. of twenty-one Walberswick in Dec. (ML, DJP). Small numbers only Havergate in Jan. and Feb. and Nov. and Dec. (RJP). Three four on Breck rivers in Nov. and Dec. (CAEK).

1 at at or

91. Buzzard.—A number of records of single birds in the Blythburgh/Minsmere area between mid-Jan. and end Apl. (many observers) with one at Oulton Broad, May 10 (JGW) and two on the Breck next day (MNHS). In autumn single birds at Havergate July 23 (RJP), Minsmere, Aug. 10 and 13 (HEA) and Easton, Nov. 1 (GBGB) with two at Henham, Oct. 22 (S). 93. Sparrow hawk.—A most encouraging number of records were received mainly from the coastal belt and Breckland and covering the period Jan. to May and Sept. to Dec. ; these were doubtless mainly birds of passage or winter visitors. But it is probable also that at least two pairs bred in the Breck (NC) with two more in the Dunwich area (DJP). 95. Kite.—What was prob ab ly the same bird was seen over Oulton Broad on May 18 and at Ellough the next day (FCC). 99. Marsh harrier.—Four pairs bred at Minsmere, producing seven, possibly more, fledged young (HEA). Usual wintering birds there and elsewhere on coast, also casuals during spring and summer. 100. H e n harrier.—It was a good year for this species with many records of wintering and passage birds between early Jan. and the end of Apl. on the coast and in Breckland (many observers). Only small numbers from Oct. 17 to year's end. 102. Montagu's harrier.—Probably bred locality, where a juv. was seen on July 8.

in

one

coastal

103. Osprey.—Only recorded from Minsmere where single birds were present May 15 (ES), May 22 and 24 and June 7 104. Hobby.—A m. and f. were seen occasionally at Minsmere between May 13 and end of June (HEA) and—probably the same birds—at Walberswick during May (JG, PM, DJP). There were also a few records from the area between July 24 and Sept. 3 (HEA ML, DJP). Two on Breck, July 17 (AEV). One Havergate! S July 8 (RJP). 105. Peregrine.—Single birds occurred irregularly at Minsmere in Feb., Apl. and Sept. (HEA) and at Lakenheath, Sept. 25 (WR).


118 Transactions of the Sujfolk Naturalists', Vol. 13, Part 2 107. Merlin.—Average numbers on coast up to Apl. 25 (Minsmere) and from Oct. 1. Inland, singles Beyton (CAEK) and Stowmarket (ORM) on Nov. 8. 110. Kestrel.—The numbers of this species do not seem to have fallen farther during the year and there were many records for the spring, autumn, and winter which probably referred to immigrants. However seven pairs certainly bred near the coast and another eight pairs probably did so. Breeding also took place on the Breck where kestrels were present throughout the summer with seventeen seen in one day, July 15 (GMSE). There were no reports of summering kestrels from central or southern Suffolk. 117. Quail.—Although there was an " irruption " of some size into Britain during the summer, not many seem to have been located in the county and practically all records refer to birds heard calling, during summer and autumn as follows : three Leiston (DDN), Aldringham and Aldeburgh, June and July (EFC), Gisleham, June 10 (RSB), Lowestoft, July (BJB), Oulton Broad, Aug. (FCC). Rather more seem to have been present in the Breck viz : at least six pairs all summer at Lakenheath, with some still calling early Aug. (WR), Mildenhall, Eriswell, West Row, May and June (MNHS) at least two m. calling in barley and lucerne during June and July at Risby (VVHP) and several at Honington and Troston, July (HJB). 120. Water-rail.—This species seems to have made a good recovery, with breeding numbers apparently back to normal in most areas. 121. Spotted crake.—All evidence points to breeding at Minsmere where birds were seen in early Apl. and heard calling after dark in June and July and up to Aug. 8. Juvs. were seen at two sites in Aug. (HEA). One seen Walbserswick, Sept. 18 (R.H.) 125. Corncrake.—One shot VVillisham where bird calling frequently during breeding season (RJC).

heard

131. Oyster catcher.—The usual breeding numbers on coast. A dead bird found at West Row in Mar. (MNHS). 135. Little ringed plover.—Average numbers on coast in spring and autumn. One pr. bred in beetfield in Breckland (WR) with possibly another pr. nearby. 136. Kentish plover.—Recorded at Havergate only. birds on May 1 and 13 and June 7 (RJP).

Single

144. Dowitcher.—One in füll breeding plumage at Havergate, June 13 (RJP).


BIRD REPORT

119

149. Bartram's sandpiper or Upland plover.—one visited Minsmere for a short time on Sept. 24 (HEA, JC, GH, PJM, PM). 150. Whimbrel.—Spring passage was protracted, from Apl. 16 to June 14 (RAL) with rather high numbers everywhere from the R. Deben northwards. Return passage from July 22 (EFC) to Sept. 9 (HEA). 154. Black-tailed godwit.—Wintering birds on R. Blyth never exceeded seventy (GBGB, DJP) and numbers during late winter and early spring were down everywhere. 155. Bar-tailed godwit.—There were only a few winter records from Shingle Street, Jan. 5 (PRC), Minsmere, Feb. 17 (HEA) and Havergate, Jan. 20 (RJP). A very modest spring and autumn passage with max. of fifty birds at Minsmere, Sept. 8. One to five present at Havergate from mid-Nov. to vear's end (RJP). 156. Green sandpiper.—Average numbers at most coastal localities in spring and autumn but very few wintering birds, particularly in West Suffolk. 157. Wood sandpiper.—A good year at Minsmere for this species with unusually high numbers max. four at one time, between Apl. 26 and June 3. Peak numbers in autumn during last fortnight in Aug. Few birds elsewhere. One at Bury BF ponds on Aug. 16 (ORM). 164. Spotted redshank.—Present on coast in varying numbers in all months of year. Up to four at Minsmere Jan. and Feb., then higher numbers there and at Walberswick and Blythburgh in Mar. and Apl. One in füll summer plumage was heard singing at Minsmere, May 6 (HEA). Usual autumn passage from June 27 to Oct. 9 when fifty-five still present at Minsmere. 165. Greenshank.—Usual spring passage from Apl. 23 to mid-May with late birds at Minsmere in June. Autumn passage from July 27 to Oct. 18 (many observers). Single birds at Livermere and Bury BF ponds, Aug. 16 (ORM). 169. Knot.—Wintering numbers in all coastal areas at beginning and end of year were small. Usual northwards migration occurred Havergate, Minsmere, Walberswick, and on estuaries throughout Apl., with small numbers in May. There were also several June records from Walberswick (DJP) and Minsmere (HEA). 170. Purple sandpiper.—Only records were, one Lowestoft, Jan. 25 (DJP), one Shingle Street, Mar. 19 and 27 and again Dec. 6 (PRC), two Ness Point, Lowestoft, Nov. 28 (RSB), and two Havergate, Oct. 3 (RJB).


120 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists',

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171. Little Stint.—Spring passage was larger and more widespread than usual from Apl. 29 (Aldeburgh) to June 14 (Walberswick and Minsmere). In autumn from July 1 to Oct. 23. Inland one to three at Bury B F ponds, Sept. 21 and 24 (RAFC) 173. Temminck's stint.—One at Minsmere, Aug. 4 and Aug. 14 and 15 (HEA), one Havergate, May 20 and June 2 (RJP). 178. Dunlin.—Inland records were one or two Bury B F ponds, Sept. 21 and 24 (RAFC) and one Troston, Nov. 18 (WHP). 179. Curlew sandpiper.—A very poor year for this species with no spring records and only small numbers (max. five) in autumn up to Sept. 21. 181. Sanderling.—Numbers generally low for third year running, with twenty-three at Lowestoft (EWCJ) the largest flock reported. 184. Ruff.—Again confined largely to Havergate and Minsmere. At latter place up to ten of both sexes occurred during Apl. and May and a m. displaying on June 3 and 8. A small autumn passage from early July to end Oct. One on Nov. 23 (HEA). One at Livermere, Aug. 9 and three at Bury B F ponds, Aug. 16 (ORM). 185. Avocet.—The Havergate colony had a good season with fifty-two young reared by forty-eight prs. A late bird occurred there in Dec. (RJP). At Minsmere one pair bred successfully, fledging three young, while other ads. visited the reserve during May, June, and July (HEA). 186. Red-necked phalarope.—One in summer plumage at Minsmere, June 8, with another daily Sept. 3 to 8 (HEA). One at Walberswick, Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 (DJP). At Havergate three on Sept. 13 and one Sept. 17 (RJP). 189. Stone curlew.—Two prs. bred at Minsmere, and one pr. elsewhere on coast. A pair seen at another new site some distance inland (C, JSS). Numbers about average on Breck. 193. Arctic skua.—There were no spring records and only a thin autumn passage from July 19 to Nov. 23 at Easton (ALB), Minsmere (HEA, JELP), Walberswick (DJP), Aldeburgh (EFC), Havergate (RJP), and Dunwich (CGDC).


BIRD REPORT

121

194. Great skua.—One at Southwold, Sept. 8 (BAC) is only record for year. 205. Mediterranean black-headed gull.—Recorded at Covehithe, Sept. 20 (RVAM), Benacre, Oct. 25 (JG, JN), and at Benacre and Kessingland, Dec. 20 and 31 (DJP, GLC). 207. Little gull.—One or two adds./ims. recorded irregularly between mid-Mar. and end Sept. (HEA, FEC, JG, ML, RJP). 211. Kittiwake.—The Lowestoft breeding colony had a successful year with about twenty-two nests from which at least thirty young flew successfully (EWCJ). Good numbers of ads. and ims. occurred elsewhere on coast throughout year (many observers). 212. Black tern.—A small spring passage, from Apl. 27 to May 31 on coast (CGDC, DJP, RJP) with rather higher numbers on return passage from June 30 to Oct. 17 (HEA, DJP, DJ, RVAM). One at Livermere, May 23 was sole inland report (ORM). 217. Common tern.—Breeding colonies reported were— Minsmere, c. ninety-five prs. (HEA) ; R. Blyth, c. forty prs. (GBGB), and Havergate c. sixty-five prs. (RJP). Also a pr. or two near Southwold (BAC) and some nesting, numbers not known, on Orfordness. Inland two seen R. Stour, near Sudbury Mav 9 (MM). Common/artic tern.—Two seen off Minsmere with large party of gulls on Dec. 13, but specific identification not possible (HEA). 219. Roseate tern.—At Minsmere one, June 9 (HEA), three, June 14 (JC, DJP), and one/two on ten dates between July 8 to Sept. 8 (HEA). One at Havergate, June 22 and on four dates in July (RJP). This is a considerable increase in records on previous years. 223. Sandwich tern.—At Suffolk's one breeding colony on Havergate Island, 450 prs. succeeded in rearing only about fifteen young, owing to robbing, by black-headed gulls, of food brought in by parent birds. 224. Razorbill.—Single birds, some oiled, at Benacre, Dec. 12, Walberswick, July 28 (DJP), Minsmere, Apl. 7 and Dec. 22 and 23 (HEA). 226. Little auk.—One Walberswick, Dec. 5 (GJJ). 227. Guillemot.—A number of records, some referring to oiled birds, covering practically all months of the year (many observers).


122 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists', Vol. 13, Part 2 230. Puffin.—One dead at Mildenhall, June 23 (MNHS), one dead Shingle Street, Mar. 13 (PRC), one oiled Minsmere, Dec. 17 (HEA, LK). Collared dove.—A further slight spread and increase in numbers on coast with a pr. or two now breeding at Southwold and Walberswick (GBGB, BAC) and at least two breeding areas in Ipswich (CGDC, PRC). Inland little fresh colonization seems to have taken place, though Ixworth colony increased to six or seven prs. (AAJ) and a pr. bred at Sudbury for first time (per WHP). Breeding also occurred at Brandon and a pr. occurred at Härtest, Apl. 21 but did not stay (WHP). 237. Cuckoo.—While some observers report a possible slight increase in number of birds calling during summer, others consider numbers static or possibly still declining. With so much uprooting of hedges and waste land it seems probable that this species will become scarcer except in non-arable areas. At Minsmere it was particularly noted how few im. birds were on passage in autumn (HEA). 248. Long-eared owl.—Bred Blythburgh (DJP) and Aldeburgh, where three young seen during summer (EFC). Seven prs. bred one area of Breck (NC) with one pr. elsewhere (MNHS). A bird at Stoke-by-Nayland early Jan. (JR). 249. Short-eared owl.—Numbers during winter again not impressive either on coast or inland. Breeding reported only from Blythburgh area (HH) and Havergate, where three pairs reared eleven young between them (RJP). 252. Nightjar.—Was considered by some observers to have had a rather better breeding season than for some years past ; this particularly applied to Breck but at Minsmere HEA considered breeding success not good. A late nest at Word well in Aug. (LVGB). 258. Kingfisher.—This species is slowly recovering its numbers and following records were sent in—seen during year Herringfleet and Oulton (EWCJ, HEJ) ; a steady recovery north-east Suffolk (RWC) ; odd birds at Minsmere throughout year, including ad. and one im. in Aug., probably bred near reserve (HEA) ; one Finborough, Oct. 31 (RJC) ; singles on R. Stour, July and Oct. (GD, MM) ; one Breckland, summer (NC) ; one Ixworth during June (AAJ) ; one or more Acton in autumn (DMW). 259. Bee-eater.—One at Minsmere for ten minutes, June 8 (HEA, PJM, PT et al).


BIRD REPORT

123

261. Hoopoe.—Single birds at Havergate, May 21 (RJP), Walberswick, Sept. 4 (DJP), Kessingland, Oct. 31 (MB) and— same bird ?—Benacre Denes, Nov. 8 (JRR). 264. Lesser spotted woodpecker.—Recorded Brampton (BAC), Bramfield and Heveningham (RH), Playford (CGDC, WHR), Ipswich and Holbrook (RRC, PCS), Minsmere (HEA), three localities on Breck (ORM). 265. Wryneck.—Two spring records only, at Aldeburgh Apl. 27 (EFC) and Walberswick, May 7 (DJP, PAS). 271. Woodlark.—Very few records received. On Breck two or three scattered records (NC), " becoming increasingly rare " (MNHS). Four prs. Minsmere (HEA), a pr. on heath further south (CDGC, WHR). 273. Shore lark.—A flock of fifteen or sixteen Walberswick and Minsmere area on Jan. 19 and 20 (DJP, HEA). Three or four Minsmere early Oct. (HEA) and up to five in Aldeburgh area late Nov. and Dec. (EFC, JELP). 274. Swallow.—A roost in reedbeds at Minsmere increased from c. 2,000 in mid-Aug. to c. 5,000 by Sept. 8, then rapidly decreased (HEA). 277. Sand martin.—A very late passage of these species at Minsmere between Oct. 8 and 19 (HEA, PJM). 278. Golden oriole.—One at Nacton for about a week at end of Apl. (AEB). 281. Hooded crow.—Rather higher numbers on coast during Mar. and Apl., with max. twelve Westleton and Minsmere area during first week of Apl. (HEA, DJP) and odd birds remaining in area tili May 2. Singles also at Reydon (GBGB), Sudbourne and 1 unstall (GD) and on Breck (ORM) in early Apl. Very few in autumn. 284. Magpie.—Reports indicate species is widespread but still in rather small numbers in most parts of county. Said to be common at Aldeburgh (EFC) and Playford (CGCC) and ten seen together at Flixton in Oct. (JGW). Singles or prs. recorded from twenty other localities in county during year (many observers). mu mu

B l u e tit

^

. - ~ A t E a s t o n B r o a d 1 5 0 t 0 200 in reedbeds, Jan. 16 Minsmere more than usual along shore in autumn


124 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists', Vol. 13, Part 2 295. Bearded tit.—A good breeding season at Walberswick and Minsmere with eruptive behaviour first noted in both areas between Sept. 11 and 14 and early Nov. (DJP, HEA). Bred three, possibly five, other localities (GBGB, EFC). In winter small numbers seen Melton (PRC), Martlesham (GD), Holbrook (PRC) and in West Suffolk in Nov. and Dec. flocks up to eight at Culford (CAEK) and up to ten at Tuddenham (GMSE, CAEK, ORM). 298. Nuthatch.—At Minsmere one in bushes on shore, Apl. 11 (HEA). 300. Dipper.—One, probably of British race, Tattingstone, Oct. 24 (JCB), two on R. Stour at Wiston and elsewhere during Oct. and Dec. These were possibly of " Continental" race (Essex County Standard). 302. Fieldfare.—First reported Icklingham, Sept. 25 (MNHS). A dead bird, very thin, found at Copdock, June 20 (per FWS). 303. Song thrush.—An exceptional record is of bird incubating füll clutch at Worlington, Feb. 27 (MNHS). 304.

Redwing.—First at Walberswick, Sept. 18 (RH).

307. Ring ousel.—Single birds at Minsmere, Apl. 3 and 4 and Apl. 11 (HEA), Reydon, Apl. 10 (GBGB), and Aldeburgh, Apl. 27 and 30 (EFC). In autumn at Walberswick one, Sept. 5 and Nov. 11 (DJP, GJJ), at Minsmere three, Oct. 3 and one, Oct. 17 (HEA) and at Benacre one, Sept. 27 (JGW). 317. Stonechat.—At least sixteen prs.—allowing for some duplication of records—bred on coast, but there were no reports whatever from inland Suffolk. 318. Whinchat.—All observers agree that breeding numbers are steadily decreasing. 321. Black redstart.—More records of this species than for many years past, with up to eight reported on coast at Bawdsey and Kesgrave (PRC, GD), Aldeburgh (EFC), Butley (HP), Walberswick (GBGB, GJJ), and Helmingham (T) in late Mar. and Apl., and on Breck, Apl 4 and 5 (CAEK, ORM). Breeding (one pr.) Ipswich (EMP, et al), Sizewell, two prs. (HEA), and Lowestoft, at least two prs. (LFClub). A m. carrying insects at Dunwich in June (HH). 324.

Bluethroat.—One Thorpeness, Sept. 10 (MT).


BIRD REPORT

125

327. Grasshopper warbler.—Song clearly heard by R. Stour at Glemsford ( M M ) . Although presence of species in area has long been suspected, this is first definite record. 329. Savi's warbler.—A m. singing Minsmere, Apl. 20 to May 30 (HEA, P J M , et al). 332. Great r e e d warbler.—One Minsmere, May 26 (HEA P J M , A E S , J. and SW). 337. Sedge warbler.—A nest at Easton in a privet bush, half mile from water (ALB). Hippolais, 343.

probably icterine warbler.

One at Aldeburgh, Aug. 9

Blackcap.—One at Sudbury early Jan. (DW).

348. L e s s e r whitethroat.—There was an unusually heavy passage of this species in both spring and autumn (many observers). One trapped at Minsmere, Oct. 30 had wing measurements and red-brown wing coverts of the Siberian race, S.c. blythi (HEA). 356. Chiffchaff.—One at Minsmere, Feb. 2 (HEA) was probably an over-wintering bird and as such has not been shown on table of first dates for migrants (page 113). 357. W o o d warbler.—Singles at Aldeburgh, Aug. 2 and 5 (EFC) and Minsmere, July 29 ( P J M ) . 363. R a d d e ' s warbler.—One trapped at Walberswick, Oct. 4 (DJP, G L C ) . 364. Goldcrest.—Good numbers on spring and autumn passage and in winter, but breeding numbers remain low. 365. F i r e c r e s t — T h e only records were from Minsmere where a small passages—max. two birds at a time—was noted along shore between Mar. 21 and Apl. 19 and again between Oct 1 and 4, a total of eight birds in all (HEA). 368- Pied flycatcher.—Spring passage birds were : one Aldeburgh, Apl. 29 and three May 5 ( E F C ) , with two at Minsmere, May 18 (HEA). In autumn about average numbers on coast between July 27 and Oct. 4. 370. R e d breasted flycatcher.—Five individuals occurred : Walberswick, Sept. 24 ( M J P ) , Reydon, Oct 4 (VB), Minsmere, 4 3 n d ° C t 1 7 ( H E A - J M A , G H ) and Havergate, Oct. 13 n?m


126 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists,

Vol. 13, Part 2

379. Water pipit.—One at Minsmere, Apl. 11 (IS, J and SC), one in summer plumage Walberswick, Apl. 12 (JN). Two Minsmere, Oct. 23 and one or two until Nov. 15 (HEA, PJM, et al). One Walberswick, Nov. 2 (DJP). 380. White wagtail.—Again only recorded at Minsmere where between two and five occurred during last fortnight of Mar., with one on three dates in Apl. and on May 9 (HEA). 381. Grey wagtail.—There were no reports of breeding in the county during 1964. 382. Blue-headed wagtail.—A m. at Westleton, May 21 (DJP) and one occasionally at East Bridge during the month (HEA). A m. at Lackford, May 19 (GMSE). A flava-type m., but lacking white eye-stripe and chin was also seen nearby on June 28 (CAEK). Yellow-headed (or Citrine) wagtail.—A first winter bird was present at Minsmere from Oct. 17 to Nov. 26, during which time it was watched by a great many observers. A new bird for the county. 383. Waxwing.—Small numbers were present on both sides of the county during the early months of the year. At Ipswich up to twelve from Jan. 1 until last seen on Apl. 19 (CGDC, WHR, CMS), one to four at Oulton Broad in Jan. and Feb. (JGW), one to three Reydon, Jan. 19 and 30 (WER), a flock of twenty passing over Minsmere (DM, CC) and " a number " at Woodbridge, Feb. 14 (MLL-A). At Aldeburgh up to five during first fortnight in Jan. (EFC). In West Suffolk about twelve were present at Newmarket on Mar. 16 (EH) with a small flock at Mildenhall, Apl. 15 (MNHS). Finally a single bird was seen at Aldeburgh on two dates in Nov. and Dec. (EFC). 384. Great grey shrike.—An unusually prolific year for this species, with single birds reported from many coastal localities and also from Breckland from the beginning of the year up to Apl. 8 and again from Sept. 3 to year's end (many observers). On Nov. 1, two and on Nov. 22, three great grey shrikes were located in the Walberswick area (GBGB, GLC, GJJ, DJP). 388. Red-backed shrike.—Breeding reported from : Southwold and Walberswick four prs. (GBGB) ; Westleton seven pairs (DJP) ; Minsmere, where arrival was late and protracted, with poor breeding success (HEA) ; Easton, pr. with young (ALB) ; Thorpeness, family party (JELP) and Ipswich (WHR). In Breckland, continued reduction in numbers with only 2 prs. known (MNHS).


127

BIRD REPORT

391. Hawfinch.—Reported during the year from Haiesworth, Walberswick (HH), Minsmere (HEA), Iken (per JELP), Playford CGDC, WHR), and Kesgrave (PRC). Numbers much as usual on Breck, though main colony has not been reported on for two years (MNHS, CAEK, WHP). 394. Siskin.—Numbers generally low during both winters, with a very thin coastal passage at Minsmere in autumn (HEA). There now seems little doubt that, as has been suspected for some time, the siskin is breeding in the Suffolk Breck ; the Nature Conservancy reports birds in two Breck areas during the summer, in one case a pr. being seen to collect nesting material. 396. Twite. Usual wintering flocks on coast. seen Lakenheath Warren, Oct. 10 (ORM).

Two

birds

397. Mealy redpoll.—Two with lessers at Minsmere in Apl. (HEA) ; in autumn three probable at Benacre (OBGB) and between twenty and thirty (of which seven were trapped) at Walberswick with large flock of lessers in Oct. and Nov. (DJP). 401. Bullfinch.—Continues rather abundant in many parts of county. A small, irregulär coastal passage at Minsmere, Oct. 12 to Dec. 5 (HEA). 404. Crossbill.—Small numbers evidently present and breeding in most of usual coastal localities up to early July (many observers). Few Breckland records, where numbers of this species seem at a low ebb. 408. Brambling.—Generally small numbers recorded in both winters. 422. Lapland bunting.—Only birds reported were at Minsmere, where single examples occurred Sept. 22, Oct. 4 and 5, Nov. 1, 13 and 19 (HEA, PJM). 423. Snow bunting.—Small numbers only at usual coastal localities up to Apl. 1 and from Oct. 25. An inland record was of a single bird at Brome, Dec. 7 (GB).

ADDENDUM

1963

Pallas' warbler at Walberswick, Nov. 16 (GLC, DJP, ADR). 1 his record, the first for the county, was omitted in error from the 1963 Report. ED.


128 Transactions

of the Suffolk LIST

OF

Naturalists',

Vol.

13, Part

2

OBSERVERS

H . Pease

N . Agar H . E. Axell

C. Cuthbert G. M . S. Easy

D . J. Pearson

M r s . J. Axell

Mrs. E. M . Goodall

M . J. Pearson

A . E. Baker G. Barker P. A . Banks

J. Gooders

J. E. L . Pemberton Miss E. M . Prime

R. Harkness

G. B. G. Benson H . J. B i r d

H . and J. Hennell M r s . E. Hermon Miss G. Houghton Miss M . Hosking H. Hunt

D . Brewer M r s . M . Beard R. G. Bibby M r s . V . Boreham

E. W . C. Jenner Col. A . A . Johnson G. J. Jobson Miss L.Kennedy

B. R. J. A.

C. A . E. K i r t l a n d B. K i n g

L . V . G . Barrow G. Bennett

J. S. C. L.

Brown Briggs Budd Bull

P. R. Catchpole G. L . Clarke F. C. Cook F. K . Cobb Miss B. A . Coney

M . Laytham M r s . H . R. Lingwood R. A . L o n g Miss M . L . L y n n Allen

W . H . Ramsay J. C. Robson W . Rolph A . D . Rowe W . E. Rowe Sir J. Rowley, Bt. C. M . Saunders J. S. Schreiber J. M . Scofield Nature Conservancy R. R. Scott J. F. Sharp F. W . Simpson A . E. Smith D r . I. Smith T h e Earl of Stradbrokc

P. J. Makepeace O. R. Marks

P. C. Steggall

Miss A . L . Cooper

R. V . A . Marshall

P. Täte

R. J. Copping

Mrs. M . Mills

Capt. M . Taylor,

R. W . Coleman

D. Mower

R. A . F. Cox

P. M u l l e r

L o r d Tollemache

T h e Earl of

P. M u t t i t t

J. Vane

J. Newsome

A . E. Vine

Cranbrook A. J. J. Cranmer

R.N.

Miss M . Van Oostveen

J. M . Crawford

J. G . Warner J. and S. Westcott

J. Crusell

M . Packard

D . M . Wheeler

E. F. Crosby

K . J. Palmer

D. White

C. G. D . Curtis

R. J. Partridge

C. D . Wilson

J. and S. Cusack

W . H . Payn

Suffolk Bird Report for 1964  
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