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SUFFOLK BIRD REPORT 1969 Editor W . H . PAYN

assisted by C . G . D . CURTIS

and The County Records Committee H . E . AXELL, G . B . G . BENSON, F . K . COBB, F . C . COOK, T h e R e v . P . H . T . HARTLEY, a n d A . E . V I N E

Acknowledgements: We are as usual indebted to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Lowestoft Field Club and the Dingle Bird Club for providing records from their logs. Also to the Editors of the Norfolk Bird Report, the Essex Bird Report, and the Cambridge Bird Club Report for passing on relevant records and correspondence. Records for 1970 should be sent to the Editor at Härtest Place, Bury St. Edmunds (telephone Härtest 224) by the end of January next. Please ensure all records are arranged in accordance with The Check List of Gt. Britain and Ireland. We have regretfully to record the deaths during the year of two Suffolk ornithologists — the Rev. P. R. Westall, who edited the first two numbers of the Suffolk Bird Report and A. D. Rowe, who was one of the pioneers of the Dingle Bird Club.

A Brief Summary of the Year Climatically, 1969 will long be remembered for the spell of dry sunny weather which lasted without a break throughout September and October and which was followed by a winter of quite extraordinary unpleasantness, in which periods of rain, fog, frost or snow were only relieved by further spells of similar weather. Strangely enough, these conditions did not produce anything very remarkable in the way of bird migration or 'irruption', except for two quite large 'weather rushes' in late December. Nevertheless, the year was füll of interest, with the usual good tally of uncommon visitors and vagrants.


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There was one new species to add to the county list - r a stiltsandpiper which occurred at Minsmere in July, while the whitethroated sparrow, noted in last year's Report and which finally died on January 1, has also been accepted by the B.O.U. Rarities Committee. An albatross of unidentified species was also Seen off Minsmere. In all 228 species were recorded in the county during the year, a total which included four Richard's pipits, two red-breasted flycatchers, barred and icterine warblers, white-winged black terns, two short-toed larks and at least nine bluethroats. There was another red kite, two goshawks — the first since 1961 — and at least eight ospreys. One of the latter spent some time on an inland reservoir stocked with trout where it proved itself a very much better fisherman than its human competitors, greatly to the latters' chagrin. Two nutcrackers which appeared at Hinton in July were possibly new immigrants, rather than relicts from the irruption of 1968. Among summer visitors, whitethroats, redstarts and sand martins — particularly the first species — showed a very heavy fall in breeding numbers, a fall which was evidently countrywide. In fact, with only a very few local exceptions, the decline in breeding numbers of nightingales, tree pipits, whinchats and most of the warblers throughout the county continues unabated. T h e grasshopper warbler appears to be an exception to this trend, though it seems more likely that this species is now being 'discovered' in localities where it has previously been overlooked. Among resident species, the stonechat did slightly better than last year, with ten breeding pairs, but this compares with sixteen pairs in 1964. T h e Kingfisher, while fairly widespread, remains low in numbers as do the green woodpecker and goldcrest. Black redstarts were unusually plentiful in autumn and winter, and there were at least six red-necked grebes, the highest number for some years. Brent geese and particularly Bewick's swans were more plentiful and widespread. Among feral exotics two wood ducks (Carolinas) were reported from, respectively, Saxham and Bruisyard and there were several records of flamingoes on the coast, one being found dead beneath power lines.

Migration (Based on information received from the Lowestoft Field Club, G. B. G . Benson, T h e Dingle Bird Club, H. E. Axell, P. A. Banks, B. M. Cavenagh, M. Packard and R. V. A. Marshall.)


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After a wet and exceptionally mild January, severe frosts, cold winds and frequent snow blizzards prevailed throughout much of February and March. As was to be expected under these conditions, a certain amount of hard weather movement took place, particularly during the second week of February when lapwings, dunlins, fieldfares, redwings and skylarks were moving down the coast. Following light easterly winds on March 15/16 a small passerine movement included a firecrest, a number of Continental robins and the first wheatear at Walberswick and chiffchaff at Shingle Street. Unusual numbers of brent geese were also moving up and down the coast during March. Spring was late, with very cold winds up to April 7 when much warmer conditions suddenly set in and phylloscopi, yellow wagtails, sedge warblers and tree pipits were noted in some numbers at most coastal localities. T h e first osprey was reported from Minsmere on April 8 but the main spring rush did not develop until April 18 when swallows and martins, many warblers, and turtle doves and the first cuckoo were coasting north. A goshawk was recorded at Walberswick next day, with the first swifts — earlier than usual — on April 20. During the next ten days there was a fair passage of the usual small passerines, among which willow warblers, including a number of the northern race, were prominent. A flock of fourteen black terns visited Minsmere on April 26 and up to a thousand Sandwich terns roosted there for a time. Coastal passage during the first week in May included a good variety of species, among them a grey phalarope in füll breeding dress at Minsmere, another goshawk, a wood warbler, a Montagu's harrier, the only spring pied fiycatcher and two hobbies. Later in the month there were a short-toed lark at Minsmere, a sprinkling of ring ouzels all along the coast, and two or three golden orioles. Red-spotted bluethroats in füll plumage at Walberswick on June 1 and at Havergate on June 13 brought an interesting spring passage to an end apart from the usual laggard waders — knots, greenshanks, grey plovers, etc. which continued to trickle through until almost the end of the month. No hoopoes at all came under notice. Autumn passage was as usual much more pronounced, though 1969 generally was not very remarkable when compared with some recent autumns. However, during July, Minsmere was visited by the greatest variety of waders — thirty-one species — that has so far been recorded there. Among this galaxy was the stiltsandpiper already referred to and two red-necked phalaropes. Conditions throughout August were in the main unfavourable for passerine migration, particularly that from Scandinavia, and redstarts and pied flycatchers were noticeably few in numbers


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throughout the autumn; so also were wrynecks when compared with the past two or three years, and goldcrests. Among late August occurrences were two icterine warblers and a second short-toed lark. An exceptional 'fall' of waders, chiefly whimbrels, golden plover, sanderlings, dunlins and knots took place at Shingle Street on the morning of August 15, following heavy rain all night. Unusually high numbers of curlew sandpipers were also recorded during August and September. From early September onwards coastal passage was generally much as usual. During the early daylight hours of September 21 considerable numbers of meadow pipits and hirundines were passing south at Covehithe and Minsmere. Small scale eruption of bearded tits also began about that date. Other passerine migrants recorded at Walberswick during the first three weeks of September included redstarts, a few wrynecks, grey wagtails and — on September 18 — three or four bluethroats. Next day more wheatears, pied flycatchers, thrushes and Continental robins were passing through. The extraordinary warm, still St. Luke's summer that lasted without a break throughout September and October, was probably responsible for a good deal of delayed immigration. Bluethroats, Richard's pipits, and a red-breasted flycatcher occurred at Minsmere and Walberswick early in the month with reed warblers still present on September 27 and a late whitethroat on October 18. There was a good scattering of ring ouzels all down the coast throughout much of November and swallows and martins lingered into the third week. A fairly large influx of fieldfares, redwings, blackbirds and rooks took place all along the coast during the second week of October with hundreds of bramblings Coming in from the sea at Walberswick on October 11 and Continental robins prominent there two days later. Throughout November daytime arrival consisted largely of redwings, fieldfares and starlings but again high numbers of bramblings were reported: the latter must have passed on westwards, as brambling numbers recorded in the county during December were decidedly below average. On November 22, in fine warm weather, a big southward passage of geese and ducks was observed at Minsmere and involved some 4,000 brent geese, and large numbers of scoters, shellducks, wigeon and waders. Two days later the first severe weather of the winter set in, with frost and north-east winds followed by very heavy snow vvhich covered most of the country. On November 25, a day of heavy snow blizzards, considerable numbers of wood pigeons were


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coasting south at Benacre, and at Pakefield twelve collared doves were seen to come in from seawards in an exhausted condition, one bird actually falling into the sea when close inshore. The cold and at times snowy weather continued throughout much of December and on December 15 'one of the biggest movements of birds ever recorded there' took place at Shotley, when two hundred blackbirds were present at one time in the observer's garden, there were two to three hundred snipe in the marshes, many woodcock in gardens and hedges, while the fields were covered with thousands of fieldfares, redwings, skylarks, pipits and golden plover. The year was to end with a second big weather movement of geese, ducks and waders which was recorded all along the coast from Benacre to Shingle Street between December 19-22. Brent geese, eiders and redshank were particularly prominent, with at least nine thousand shelduck and ten thousand dunlin passing Minsmere on December 21. Similar numbers were also observed off Shingle Street. W.H.P.

SYSTEMATIC L I S T

The order followed is that of the B.O.U. Check List (1952). Records refer to single birds unless otherwise indicated. 1. Black-throated diver.—Benacre, Jan. 6 (BWJ); Minsmere, Jan. 31 (HEA); Southwold, Dec. 23 (GBGB,DV); two dead, Pakefield, Mar. 28 (HEJ) and Southwold, Mar. 30 (BJB, DRM). 2. Great northern diver.—Shingle Street, Jan. 18 (PAB); Minsmere, Mar. 9 (HEA, RVAM) and Dec. 27 (RVAM); Covehithe, dead, Mar. (CRC, GJJ). 4. Red-throated diver.—The number of divers at sea off Dunwich and Minsmere between Jan. and Mar. and Nov. and Dec. was again low, with probably no more than a score of this species at any one time and chiefly in Jan. to Mar. Odd birds at Havergate and in estuaries in Mar. Düring first three months of year a considerable number were reported dead or dying on coast, including nine at Lowestoft on Jan. 9 (LFC). 5. Great crested grebe.—Breeding prs. reported were: three at Minsmere, rearing nine young; three at a new site on coast; two at Holbrook; one at Lound; one at Bosmere; one or two at Weybread; fourteen prs. at Livermere. Passage birds at Stoke-by-Nayland and Sudbury, in spring and autumn.


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6. Red-necked grebe.—Boyton, Mar. 16 to 22 (PAB, PRC, G StJ H); Layham, Mar. 23 (AB); Reydon, Sept. 14 to 28 (HAL, DV); Havergate, Sept. 15 (RJP); Shingle Street, Oct. 13 to Nov. 2 (PAB, BMC, PRC, CGDC); Minsmere, Oct. 8 to 29 (HEA, GJJ). 7. Slavonian grebe.—Benacre, Feb. and Mar. and two at Covehithe, Apl 12 to 17, one of the latter being in breeding dress (many obs.); R. Blyth, Jan. 25 (GBGB); Minsmere, Feb. 26 (DM) and Apl. 5 (HEA); one at Livermere, June 1, was subsequently found dead (RHM). 9. Little grebe.—Breeding and wintering numbers about average. Highest winter numbers were thirty-four on a Stretch of R. Lark in Feb. (RHM). 16. Manx shearwater.—Off Orfordness, June 26 (RJP); a probable, off Aldeburgh, Aug. 24 (CGDC). 26. Fulmar.—Small numbers on coast, Feb. to Sept., with majority in Aug. Eight to ten off Benacre, Aug. 23. 27. Gannet.—Small numbers offshore from May to end of year. One at Felixstowe on July 31 had a cord round its beak (CGDC). One Aying over Ipswich, Nov. 30 (AB). 28. Cormorant.—Numbers on coast in winter were much as usual but there were c. fifty together off Cliff Quay, where it seems to be increasing (AMG). One at Stansfield, Nov. 30 (LHM). 29. Shag.—There were eleven coastal records between Mar. and Dec. 30. Heron.—Nest counts: Methersgate, c. twenty (CGDC); Boyton, eight (PRC); Livermere, ten to fifteen (CAEK, RHM). 31. Purple heron.—Minsmere, Apl. 19 (two), May 30, June 15 and 28 (HEA); one in from the sea, Pakefield, Aug. 22 (HEJ); Walberswick, Sept. 3 (DJP). 38. Bittern.—About fifteen prs. bred at usual coastal localities. Inland records were: Livermere, Oct. 26 (RHM); Aldham, end Dec. (A. Crockatt per JFR). 41. Black Stork.—Brandon, May 26 (JAB).


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42. Spoonbill.—Occurred Minsmere, Apl. 1 to 5, May 7, 16 and 17, May 24 to June 1; two July 1 to 5, with one to July 29. One dead there Mar. 21. Reydon, two July 7, with one to eleven July 22 to 26. Blythburgh, May 24; Walberswick, July 25 and Havergate, July 30. Doubtless some of these records refer to the same bird. 47. Garganey.—Four prs. bred Minsmere (HEA). Other records were: pr. Boyton, Apl. 18 (AMG); pr. Kessingland, end Apl. (RAS); two or three Covehithe, Sept. 8 (DJP). 49. Gadwall.—About forty prs. bred at Minsmere, where 200 birds Oct. to Dec. Breck numbers seemed low throughout year. 50. Wigeon.—Three or four ms. again over-summered at Minsmere, with three more at Havergate in July (RJP). Winter numbers were c. 2,000 max. at Minsmere in Dec. and c. 3,000 at Havergate in same month. R. Stour, 4,000 in Nov. (RVAM). 52. Pintail.—Numbers along coast were generally low with max. of 200 on R. Stour in Jan. (RVAM). A pr. at Gt. Saxham in Jan. (Lady S) and one at Tuddenham, West Suffolk, Dec. 14 (CAEK). 55. Scaup.—Small numbers recorded on most estuaries in Nov. and Dec., though 100 to 130 at Alderton on the R. Deben on Dec. 26 (PAB) is largest pack recorded here for some years. The unmated female again nested at Havergate, laying ten eggs (RJP)56. Tufted duck.—This species and the pochard appear to have been more plentiful on the coastal broads in spring, and a pr. bred successfully at Havergate (RJP). Up to fifty at Benacre in Jan. and Feb. (CPB, DRM), and about fifty on R. Stour at Thorrington St. in Dec. (AB). Three at Härtest—a new locality—on Aug. 6 (WHP). 57. Pochard.—A pr. at Helmingham in Feb. (T). at Covehithe Broad, Apl. 16 (LFK).

Twenty odd

60. Goldeneye.—Reported—but in small numbers only—from many coastal and inland localities from Jan. to Apl. and again in Nov. and Dec. Highest numbers were c. twenty Benacre in Dec. and a dozen on R. Deben in Feb. and Dec. and on R. Orwell in Feb. Inland records—one or two birds only—were from Barham in Mar., Thorrington St. in Dec., Livermere Jan. and Dec., and R. Lark during both winters. 61. Long-tailed duck.—Benacre Pits, Jan. (GJJ) and Dec. (CRC); R. Ore, Nov. and Dec. (PRC, PAB) and two, Havergate, Nov. (RJP).


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62. Velvet scoter.—Three at Easton, Jan. 26 (GJJ), otherwise single birds only at Benacre, Jan, Nov. and Dec. (many obs.), and off Pakefield, Oct. 22 (HEJ). 64. Common scoter.—There has been a marked drop during recent years in the numbers over-summering off the coast and about 500 off Walberswick in June and July (GJJ) and 200 at Havergate in June were highest numbers reported during the year. This compares with flocks of 2,000 or more off Dunwich or Aldeburgh about ten years ago. 67. Eider.—More plentiful and widespread than for some years. Between Jan. and Mar. three were reported at Lowestoft (GJJ), up to five at Shingle Street (PAB, BMC, AMG), and three at Bawdsey. A f. at Havergate irregularly between Mar. and Nov. (RJP). Highest autumn numbers were twenty off Minsmere on Sept. 18 and ten at Benacre on Oct. 28 (TWG, JMG) with between one and four at Hopton (BJB), Southwold (DV), and Benacre (many obs.) in Dec. Flocks of between eighteen and twenty-six moving south off Minsmere on Dec. 21 and 22 (HEA). 69. Red-breasted merganser.—Small numbers on coast early and late in year and summer records from Shingle Street on June 27 (PAB) and Levington, Aug. 23 (CGDC). 70. Goosander.—Odd birds only on coast up to mid-Apl. and during Dec. One at Minsmere, June 1 (HEA); one in flight, Ingham, Feb. 8 (RHM). 71. Smew.—A f. at Thorrington Street, Stoke-by-Nayland, Apl.6 (AB). 73. Shelduck.—Common and widespread on coast. 1,750 on R. Stour in Feb. (RVAM) was largest concentration recorded. Three, possibly four prs. bred inland at Gt. Glemham (C) while up to eighteen birds were present at Livermere lake during summer and autumn. 75. Greylag goose.—Sudbourne, Apl. (PAB); Minsmere, Dec. 3 (HEA) and Dec. 31 (DT). Two at Southwold, Mar. 24 (DJP). One at Livermere, on various dates between Mar. and year's end (many obs.), was almost certainly a feral bird. "6. White-fronted goose.—The most abundant of the grey geese now wintering in Suffolk, though much movement, local and otherwise, probably results in some duplication of reports. Highest numbers were: Minsmere, up to sixty Jan and Feb. and about twenty in Dec. (HEA); Aldeburgh, 175, Dec. 26 (CRC); ninetv-


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seven in Mar. and 147 in Dec. at another coastal locality; Walberswick, twenty-seven, Dec. 10 (DJP) and quite small parties at Havergate in Jan. and Dec., and Boyton in Feb. and Dec. (PRC). A lone bird at Livermere, Sept. to Nov. (RHM). 78. Pink-footed goose.—Only records were: Sudbourne, three, Jan. 19 (GJJ); Minsmere, Dec. 23 (HEA); eighty at Lackford on Dec. 13, were Aying very low in misty weather and seemed about to alight, but finally passed on north-westwards (WHP). 80. Brent goose.—Small groups moving past Minsmere during first three months of year but 250 on Mar. 20; eighty at Shingle Street, end Mar. (PAB); c. 125 at Felixstowe, end Jan. (AMG). Odd birds, Southwold and Sudbourne in Mar. (DV, GJJ). On R. Stour a flock of c. 200 in Jan. which included thirty-two of pale breasted race, increased to 510 in Feb. (RVAM). Second winter numbers were high, and included 4,000 south off Minsmere on Nov. 22 (HEA) and 300 off Benacre the same day (GJJ). Some 200 wintered on R. Orwell, an increase on past years (MP). 81. Barnacle goose.—Minsmere, Jan. 11 (PJM); Sudbourne, Jan. 19 (GJJ); Southwold, Mar. 16 to Apl. 7 (many obs.). A pr. at Minsmere on June 8, 9 and 21 (HEA). 82. Canada goose.—Continues to increase and spread slowly throughout county. 84. Mute swan.—Peak counts of R. Stour herd were 444 in Jan. and 300 in Nov. This flock has been decreasing for some years (RVAM). Up to 300 in New Cut, Ipswich (HEPS). 85. Whooper swan.—Ten on the R. Blyth on Dec. 9 to 13 (GBGB) was highest number for the year, with another nine at Fiatford, Jan. 26 and six on Somerleyton marshes with Bewick's in Jan. to Mar. (HEJ). Otherwise only odd birds (max. three) at Minsmere in Mar. and Apl. (HEA); Ramsholt, Jan. (CGDC); R. Aide, Mar. 25 (HJL) and Havergate, Jan. 31 (RJP). 86. Bewick's swan.—It was another exceptional year for this species, with high numbers in both winters and again much movement up and down coast. Several large herds, probably totalling some 120 birds, wintered on the Somerleyton and Haddiscoe marshes (HEJ). At Minsmere, highest numbers of wintering birds were thirty-seven in Dec. A herd of sixty-five which arrived from the sea on Nov. 26, passed straight on westwards (HEA). At another coastal locality there were sixty-five in Jan. and c. forty in Dec. (PAB, GJJ). Other localities where good sized herds were recorded were: Aldeburgh, c. forty-five in Feb. (GJJ); Boyton, c. twenty in both winters (PAB); Southwold, eighteen, Dec. 23


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(GBGB) and up to twelve Mar. and Apl. (GJJ.DV); Havergate twenty-three in Dec. (RJP) and fifteen at Shotley also in Dec' (MP). There were widespread reports also from the Breckland rivers with up to thirteen on R. Lark in Jan. (CAEK, GMSE) and up to twenty-one there in Dec. (CAEK, RHM), two at Riddlesworth on Mar. 25 (RRS). At Livermere there were twenty-one on Jan. 3 (AJL) and seventeen on Nov. 27 (MN). Finally twelve were recorded at Southwold on Apl. 6 (GJJ) and thirty-five in flight over Stowmarket on Apl. 18 (RJC). 91. Buzzard.—Perhaps ten individuals in all, allowing for likely duphcation of records, occurred singly at coastal localities between Feb. and April and July and Oct. (many obs.). There were also two together at Minsmere on Apl. 4 (HEA) and one at Fiatford on Oct. 9 (AAB). 92. Rough-legged buzzard.—What was possibly the same bird was recorded at Westleton, Apl. 3 (CRC); Minsmere, Apl. 9 (CC) and Kesgrave, Apl. 14 (PRC). 93 Sparrow hawk.—Three or possibly four prs. are thought to have bred at sites near coast. There were rather more reports of passage or wintering birds, but generally speaking this hawk shows little sign of recovery in numbers. 94. Goshawk.—Walberswick, Apl. 19 (GJJ) and Minsmere, May 4 (HEA, PJM). 95. Red kite.—Shingle Street, Mar. 23 (PRC). 99. Marsh harrier.—It was another disappointing year for this species. Three prs. bred at Minsmere, but one nest was again spoilt by bitterns. A pr. at Westwood Marsh also failed. 100. Hen harrier.—There were the usual wintering records of Single birds in the coastal belt and Breckland. 102. Montagu's harrier.—Again no breeding took place and in tact there were only a few reports, which may refer to the same f., at Walberswick on May 16 (GJJ) and Minsmere on eight dates between May 5 and June 8 (HEA, JRR). 103. Osprey.—Minsmere, Apl. 8, July 2 and 26 (HEA); BlythB ' July 25 (DV); Walberswick, May 4 (DRM) and Sept. 19 Stok rT e-by-NayIand, Sept. and Oct. (per JFR); two on R. Orwell, early Oct. (RGS per RWD).


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104. Hobby.—Single birds were reported on nine different dates in the same coastal locality between May and Sept. but there was no evidence that these were anything but birds of passage. 105. Peregrine.—Oulton Broad, Jan. 13 (BJB); Walberswick, Mar. 29 (JGR); Benacre, Apl. 13 (IGJ); Covehithe, Aug. 7 (DRM). 110. Kestrel.—There was again an increase in breeding numbers, with at least twenty prs. in coastal belt and perhaps half that number in south and west. Wintering and passage numbers were low. 115. Red-legged partridge.—Both species of partridge again had a very poor year, though good covies were noted here and there. A pack of 150 red-legs at Iken on Jan. 2 (AMG) is unusual for the present day. 116. Partridge.—On a 600-acre farm at Shotley there was only one covey of nine (seven young) and three or four old birds (MP). Up to about 1940 and possibly later, a farm of that acreage would have held some fifteen to twenty covies in a normal season. These figures probably typify the catastrophic drop in numbers of this species that has occurred throughout most of Suffolk. There were a few good covies in the north-west of the county. 117. Quail.—Sudbourne, May 22 to 30 (PAB) was the only record. 121. Spotted crake.—At least two, including a juv., occurred at Minsmere, Aug. 31 to Oct. 28 (HEA). 135. Little ringed plover.—Low numbers only on coast July to end Sept. One or two at West Stow, Sept. (AJL, RHM). 136. Kentish plover.—One or two irregularly at Minsmere from late Apl. to early Aug.; and one also irregularly, Havergate/ R. Ore during same period. 139. Grey plover.—Recorded in all months of the year, with sixty at Minsmere on Aug. 12 (HEA). 142.

Dotterel.—Ten at Walberswick, Sept. 24 (DJP).

143. Turnstone.—The usual passage and wintering birds on coast, with a late bird at Minsmere on June 29. One at Beccles S.F., Aug. 30 and 31 (GJJ).


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241

Woodcock.—Wintering numbers were generally low.

151. Whimbrel.—First noted—Havergate—on Apl. 11 with passage to May 21 and from July 10 to Oct. 1. A marked 'fall' with some eighty in scattered groups at Shingle Street on Aug. 15 (BMC, G StJ H). 154. Black-tailed godwit.—Few wintering birds and about average numbers on both passages but 800 at R. Blyth, Apl. 12 (GLC) and more than 200 at Havergate in mid-Aug. (RJP). 155. Bar-tailed godwit.—The usual light spring passage with highest count of twenty to thirty at Havergate in late Mar. Rather more in autumn including fifty in from the sea at Minsmere on Sept. 4 (HEA). 156. Green sandpiper.—Two over-summered at Bury B.F. ponds (AJL). Single birds wintered as usual on a number of rivers and streams throughout county. Two at Badingham, Nov. and Dec. (PHTH). 157. Wood sandpiper.—Small numbers only on coast during May and June. Peak autumn passage first three weeks of Aug., when ten to twenty daily at Minsmere. Beccles S.F., Aug. and Sept. (GJJ) and two Bury St. Edmunds, Aug. and Sept. (AJL, RHM). 159. Common sandpiper.—The usual passage numbers in spring and autumn though fifty-two at Minsmere on Aug. 16 (HEA) was unusual. 162. Spotted redshank.—Numbers in spring and autumn about average but wintering birds were few. Two or three at Beccles S.F. in Aug. (GJJ). 164. Dowitcher.—Benacre, Sept. 22 (BS). 165. Greenshank.—Only small numbers from Apl. 22 to Nov. 27. One, Beccles S.F., Aug. 24 (RHM). Stilt sandpiper (Micropalama himantopus).—Minsmere, July 27 to 29 (HEA, FKC, GJJ et al). 169. Knot.—Only a light spring passage from first week in Apl. tili end of May. Autumn and winter numbers also low.


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170. Purple sandpiper.—Up to four at Ness Point, Lowestoft irregularly from Sept. 2 to end of year (AB, GJJ, LFK, DRM) • two at Havergate, Oct. 4 (RJP); singles, Walberswick, Oct. 29 (TWG, JMG), Minsmere, Sept. 24 and Nov. 1 (HEA), Benacre Dec. 7 (RVAM), and Shingle Street, Feb. 2 (GJJ). 171. Little stint.—No spring records. Autumn passage from July 25 to end Oct. was about average with peak counts of eight to fifteen at Minsmere in mid-Sept. Inland, three at Beccles S.F., Sept. 7 (GJJ) and odd birds at Bury B.F., Sept. 19 and 20 (RHM)! 173. Temminck's stint.—Minsmere, June 2 and 3 and July 27 to 29, Aug. 5 and 6 and Sept. 7 to 19. The June bird was in f.s.p. 179. Curlew sandpipers.—Exceptionally high numbers occurred on autumn passage from July 16 to end Sept., with c. ninety at Havergate at end of Aug. (RJP) and up to seventy on some days at Minsmere in first week of Sept. (HEA); c. fifty at Blythburgh on Aug. 30 (RJP). Inland: four at Bury B.F., Sept. 14 (RHM). 181. Sanderling.—Up to fifty-six on North Denes, Lowestoft, Jan. to Mar. (many obs.). 184. Ruff.—Average numbers only at usual coastal localities in spring and autumn. Highest counts were between sixty and eighty at Minsmere, mid-July and mid-Aug. 185. Avocet.—At the Havergate colony 118 prs. reared 184 young (RJP) while the Minsmere colony increased to eleven prs. (HEA). Inland a pr. of birds whose description fitted this species were reported to have spent two days on a small pond near Bures, Apl. 21 to 23 (per GG). 187. Grey phalarope.—Minsmere, May 2 (in f.s.p.) and Sept. 21 and 22 (HEA). 188. Red-necked phalarope.—Minsmere, July 28 to Aug. 5, with a second on July 30 and 31 (HEA). 189. Stone curlew.—Only three breeding prs. reported from coast. On the Breck one was attacked and Struck in flight by common curlew when passing over latter's territory (CAEK). 193. Arctic skua.—Four at Dunwich, Apl. 20 (JGR). very light autumn passage between June 28 and Sept. 5.

Only a


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194. Great skua.—Minsmere, Jan. 13 and Oct. 5 (HEA); Pakefield, Aug. 19 (HEJ); Ness Point, Sept. 22 (JRR). 198. Great black-backed gull.—More than a hundred regularly visit a refuse dump at Hadleigh in winter (AB).

199. 200.

Lesser black-backed gull Herring gull

Estimates as to the number of breeding prs. on the Orfordness site vary somewhat but it is probable there are at least 100 prs. of the former species and close on 200 prs. of herring gulls. One pr. herring gulls bred at Minsmere.

201. Common gull.—Present on coast in most months of the year and a common passage bird in spring and autumn through inland Suffolk. 202. Glaucous gull.—An im. at Benacre, Mar. 21 (BWJ), Minsmere, Apl. 19 (HEA), Aldeburgh, Jan., Feb., and Dec. (PAB, RVAM), and Lowestoft, Dec. 29 (BJB). 203. Iceland gull.—An ad. at Minsmere, Feb. 4 (HEA) and third winter bird, Lowestoft, Mar. 7 to 11 (BJB, DRM). 205. Mediterranean gull.—Lowestoft, Feb. 15 (HEJ); Covehithe/Benacre, up to Feb. 22 and again from Aug. 17 (many obs.); Aldeburgh, May 4 (DJP); Havergate, May 3 to 6 (RJP). 207. Little gull.—Ads. and ims. were noted rather irregularly on coast from Apl. 25 to early Nov., with two to six daily at Minsmere between May 6 and Sept. 6. An im. inland at Livermere on May 8 (CAEK). 211. Kittiwake.—The Lowestoft colony continues to flourish with rather more than thirty prs. nesting or attempting to nest (EWCJ). Elsewhere on coast present in varying numbers during most of the year. At Minsmere c. 200 present at times during June/July and 220 at Covehithe/Benacre on May 24 (DJP). 212. Black tern.—Coastal passage from Apl. 26 to June 30 with fourteen at Minsmere on first date (GJJ), and a max. of fifteen there during July and Aug. (HEA). Small numbers only elsewhere on coast. Four at Livermere, June 12 (RHM).


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 3

213. White-winged black tern.—Minsmere, a juv. on Aug 5 (FKC) and another on Aug. 12 (HEA, DM, PJM). 216.

Caspian tern.—Minsmere, Aug. 6 (HEA, DM, PJM).

217. Common tern.—Breeding numbers were: Minsmere, 250 prs.; Havergate, 30 prs. Inland records: six at Livermere! May 8 (CAEK) and one or two on R. Stour at Sudbury during July (AAB). A late common/arctic at Boyton, Nov. 15 (BMC). 218- ^ r c t i c tern.—Odd birds at Havergate during June and 219. Roseate tern.—Minsmere: May 31, June 17 and 21, Aug. 3, and three juvs., Sept. 3 (HEA). Walberswick: June 29 (GJJ). 222. Little tern.—Seven prs. attempted to nest on Minsmere beach and fledged four young. Breeding records from elsewhere on Suffolk coast would be valuable. 223. Sandwich tern.—After an absence of six years, 150 prs. bred at Havergate (RJP). Thirteen prs. bred at Minsmere, where 700 birds were counted on May 5 (HEA). 224. Razorbill.—Havergate, Dec. 18 to 20 (RJP). Other records all refer to oiled birds—both alive and dead—on tideline in spring, autumn, and winter. 226. Little auk.—Walberswick, Nov. 6 (DJP) and one found exhausted at Blythburgh the same day (P. Eave per DJP). One found alive in Dunwich Forest, Nov. 5 (per HEA). 227. Guillemot.—Odd offshore records but majority were of oiled birds on tideline, including nineteen moribund at Minsmere, mostly in Jan. (HEA) and fourteen at Southwold/Covehithe on Mar. 30 (DRM). One, Lowestoft, July 12 (DAD). 230. Puffin.—Only tideline corpses were reported mainly between Pakefield and Shingle Street in Feb., Mar., and Apl. 232. Stock Dove.—Over 300 on a newly-drilled field at Whepstead in Nov. (WHP). This is a high number for the present day. 235. Collared dove.—New localities for this species are Sudbourne, May and Nov. (HP) and Beccles, breeding (DRM). 237. Cuckoo.—While it was a good year for this species in one or two localities, e.g., Minsmere, in general numbers showed a further decline. One calling at Westleton on July 1 (FAW).


BIRD REPORT

241.

245

Barn owl.—Few reports and numbers evidently very low.

246. Little owl.—Probably same remarks apply as for foregoing species. 248. Long-eared owl.—Southwold, June (DV); two prs. bred, Walberswick (GJJ), one pr. bred edge of Breck (JGR). 249. Short-eared owl.—Three prs. bred at Havergate, rearing seven young (RJP); nest with eggs elsewhere on coast. 252. Nightjar.—At least twenty prs. bred, Minsmere (HEA) and fourteen at Dunwich/Westleton (DJP). Few other records received. 258. Kingfisher.—Still scarce and numbers do not seem to have increased at all during past two years. 262. Green woodpecker.—Status is apparently much the same as for preceding species. 265. Wryneck.—There were only two spring reports—from Bures, Apl. 20 (GG) and from Aldeburgh, May 2 (RJH) followed by a rather small autumn passage, between Sept. 6 and 24, of perhaps a score of birds all told on or near the coast except one found dead at Saxtead Green, Sept. 17 (PHTH). 269. Short-toed lark.—Minsmere dunes, May 10 to 22 (HEA DH, PJM et al) and Sept. 5 (HEA, FKC, GJJ et al). 271. Woodlark.—Six to eight prs. bred in coastal belt. Now rather scarce in Breck, but one observer located ten singing ms (JCR). One at Stowmarket, Apl. 18 (RJC). 273. Shorelark.—Twenty-five at Havergate, Mar. 2 (RJP). The Aldeburgh/Slaughden flock of about a dozen remained tili late Feb. (GJJ, HJL). Numbers in late winter were higher than for some time, but the flocks were small and seldom remained 'long in one locality (many obs.). Largest counts were six to ten at Benacre in Nov. (BWJ, GJJ, DRM) and ten at Minsmere in Dec. (DM). 274. Swallow.—A pair at Worlingworth reared broods of five, five, and four (CM). 278. Golden oriole.—A m. at Boyton, May 4 (PAB) and two ms. at Scotts Hall, Minsmere, on May 25, with one or two to end of the month (HEA). One or more in North-West Suffolk in July but breeding not suspected (LR).


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 3

281. Hooded crow.—Up to seventeen at Sudbourne in Jan. (PAB, GJJ), five at Southwold in early Apl. (several obs.), two or three at Minsmere tili mid-Mar. (HEA). Only odd birds on coast in later winter. 284. Magpie.—Widespread and possibly increasing again, though numbers are still low in most areas. Reported from Minsmere (four prs.), Walberswick, Blackheath, Ipswich, Kersey, Edwardstone, Flempton, Brockley. 285. Nutcracker.—Two, one of which was later found dead, at Hinton, July 29 (P. Muttit per GJJ and DJP). 295. Bearded tit.—Breeding numbers at Minsmere were low— c. twenty prs.—which however did well, with four broods in some cases (HEA). At Walberswick 300 to 400 young birds were present in early autumn (DJP) but nesting at a third site was doubtful (GBGB, DJP). Away from breeding areas parties were reported from: Fiatford in Jan. (AB); Redgrave Fen, Jan. to Mar. (CRC, JGR); Ipswich, Apl. (AB) and Melton, Dec. (PRC). 307. Ring ouzel.—Spring passage from Apl. 11 to May 22, with all records from coast except for a bird at Brandeston on Apl. 24 (JELP). Return passage was relatively light with a max. of five and continued into last week of Nov. 311. Wheatear.—Breeding numbers were again very low. Three or four pairs at the old airfield at Mendlesham appeared to be breeding until the area was 'reclaimed' in June (SA). 317. Stonechat.—Possibly ten prs. bred along coast. A pr. with young on Breck (DB) is first breeding record from northwest Suffolk for several years. 318. Whinchat.—Numbers of breeding numbers on both sides of the county remain low. 320. Redstart.-—There was a marked reduction in breeding prs. at Minsmere and elsewhere. 321. Black redstart.—There was an unusually pronounced north ward passage up the coast during Mar. and Apl., with stragglers into May, with seven counted at Minsmere on Mar. 22. One at Tuddenham on Apl. 3 (CAEK) and three at Thorrington Street on Apl. 7 were only inland records. Two prs. bred at Sizewell and one at Lowestoft (BJB). Return migration was very light indeed, with only some nine or ten records, all in Oct. (many obs.).


BIRD REPORT

247

324. Bluethroat.—Aldeburgh, Mar. 21 (RJH); Walberswick, June 1 (GJJ) and Havergate, June 13 (RJP)—all three being ms. in breeding dress. In autumn, three or four, Walberswick, Sept. 18 (DJP); Southwold, Sept. 24 (GBGB, HAL, DV); Minsmere, Oct. 2 (JFD) and Oct. 12 (HEA, DM). 327. Grasshopper warbler.—New localities for this species were Snape (DJP), Onehouse (RJC), Knettishall, Redgrave and Palgrave (JGR), and Edwardstone (RH). Has increased greatly at Walberswick/Blythburgh during past few years (DJP). 329. Savi's warbler.—Two or possibly three singing ms. at Walberswick between May and July (GLC, GJJ, DJP). 340. Icterine warbler.—Walberswick, Aug. 9 (DJP) and Aug. 24 (AEW). 343. Blackcap.—There were three winter reports—Lowestoft, Jan. 21 (HEJ), and Ipswich, Dec. 21 (CGDC) and Dec. 25 (HG). Numbers seem to be falling everywhere, e.g., at Shotley where five years ago at least six prs. were breeding, in 1969 only two prs. were known (MP). 344. Barred warbler.—HoUesley, Sept. 1 (RPC); Covehithe, Sept. 12 (DJP). 357. Wood warbler.—Minsmere, May 3 (PJM); Westleton, May 4 (GJJ, DJP). 364.

Goldcrest.—Passage and wintering numbers were low.

365. Firecrest.—There were reports of at least ten individuals from Southwold, Walberswick, Minsmere and Hollesley during the period Mar. 15 and May 8 (DV, DJP, HEA, PRC). Only autumn birds were four at Minsmere between Sept. 20 and Oct. 21 (HEA). 368. Pied flycatcher.—Only spring record was of two at Minsmere on May 6 (RGHC). A very light autumn passage. One inland at Livermere, Aug. 17 (RHM). 370. Red-breasted flycatcher—Minsmere, Havergate, Oct. 20 (RJP).

Oct. 12 (HEA);

374. Richard's pipit.—Minsmere, Oct. 5 (DAR, RB), two, Oct. 7 and 8 (HEA, DM) and one, Oct. 10 to 17 (HEA, BJB, PJM et al).


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 75, Part 3

376. Tree pipit.—'Ten prs. bred Minsmere with small and probably declining numbers elsewhere. 379. Rock pipit.—The usual small numbers wintered on coast to Mid-Apl. and from mid-Sept. Water pipit.—Minsmere, Mar. 21, one or two, Apl. 4 to 6 and Apl. 19 and 20, Nov. 2 to end of year, with two on Nov. 9 (HEA); Walberswick, Apl. 8 (DJP); Whitton Apl. 19 to 26, in f.s.p. (AB). 380. Pied wagtail.—For the second year running a pr. reared three broods of four, three, and four in a garden at Härtest, new nests being built in each case, but all within a total distan'ce of six feet (WHP). White wagtail.—A small spring passage between Mar. 17 and May 5—about eight birds in all. 381. Grey wagtail.—A small number of wintering and passage birds in both the coastal belt and South Suffolk. Breeding has not been reported since the cold winter of 1962. 383. Waxwing.—A flock of c. 150 in Dunwich Forest on Oct. 12 (RJC) was the only report of this species during the year. 384. Great grey shrike.—Rather more numerous than in 1968 with Single birds reported from six localities up to mid-Apl., including one at Redgrave and one on the Breck and about ten places from Oct. 4 to end of year. Allowing for duplication of reports, probably about a score of birds in all. 388. Red-backed shrike.—At least twenty-four prs. bred on coast. On Breck seven prs. known to one observer but records from this area were sparse. 389. Starling.—The huge winter roost at Combs was estimated to number 750,000 birds (RJC). 391. Hawfinch.—Twenty at West Stow in Jan. (RHM); ten or more at Gt. Barton in Feb. (N. Knights per MN); Reydon, Dec.


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249

395. Redpoll.—Maintained and probably increased breeding numbers on both sides of the county, and on coast is now probably more plentiful in summer than in winter (many obs.). Mealy redpoll.—-Five at Minsmere, Nov. 8 (HEA). 396. Twite.—Small flocks at Minsmere up to Apl. 14 and from Oct. 3. Peak numbers at Walberswick were about eighty in Jan. and Feb. and 150 in Dec. (DJP). Fifty at Levington in Nov. 5 (PRC). 404. Crossbill.—Small numbers only noted at Blythburgh, Minsmere, Sutton, Herringfleet and Culford (DJP, HEA, CGDC,

408. Brambling.—Numbers in both winters were low, with c. 200 migrating south at Minsmere on Oct. 19 (HEA), 100 at Kesgrave in Mar. (PRC) and same number at Iken in Dec. (HJL). Fifteen to twenty visited a garden in the middle of Bury St. Edmunds in Feb. (H. Burdon per MN). 410. Com bunting.—Breeding numbers on coast appear to have declined considerably during recent years (several obs.). A pr. at Mendlesham throughout the year (SA). 422. Lapland bunting.—Minsmere, Jan. 7 (DM) and Nov. 19 (PJM); Kessingland, Oct. 25 (DRM); Benacre, four, Oct. 28 and one next day (TWG, JMG). 423. Snow bunting.—Only small numbers anywhere during both winters. The following species, not mentioned in the Systematic List, also occurred in the county in 1969. Breeding species in italics. Mallard, teal, merlin, pheasant, water rail, moorhen, coot, oyster-catcher, lapwing, ringed plover, golden plover, snipe, jack snipe, curlezv, redshank, dunlin, black-headed gull, wood pigeon, turtle dove, tawny owl, swift, great spotted woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, skylark, house martin, sand martin, Carrion crow, rook, jackdaw, jay, great tit, blue tit, coal tit, marsh tit, willow tit, longtailed tit, nuthatch, tree-creeper, wren, missel thrush, song thrush, fieldfare, redwing, blackbird, nightingale, robin, reed warbler, sedge warbler, garden warbler, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat, willow warbler, chiffchaff, spotted flycatcher, hedge sparrow, meadow pipit, yellow wagtail, greenfinch, goldfinch, siskin, linnet, bullfinch, chaffinch, yellow Hammer, reed bunting, house sparroiv, tree sparroiv.


250

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 3 ADDENDA 1 9 6 8

259. Bee-eater.—East Hollesley, Aug. 27 (P. R. Colson, R. E. Emmett, B. E. Newport). 285. Nutcracker.—Denham, Sept. (N. Knights per Miss M. Nixon). The following records from the Lowestoft Field Club, were received too late for inclusion in last year's report. 58. 194. 203. 248. 321. 383.

Ferruginous duck.—A f., Benacre, Apl. 6. Great skua.—Lowestoft, Sept. 7 and 18. Iceland gull.—Benacre, Nov. 3. Long-eared owl.—Flixton (n.d.). Black redstart.—At least four prs. bred at Lowestoft. Waxwing.—Nine, Oulton Broad, Feb.

FIRST AND LAST DATES OF SUMMER VISITORS, 1 9 6 9 First

Locality

Specics Sandwich tern Wheatear Chiffchaff S t o n e curlew Sedge warbler S a n d martin Blackcap T r e e pipit Yellow wagtail Willow warbler Nightingale Swallow T u r t l e dove Whitethroat H o u s e martin

seen Mar. 6 M a r . 15 M a r . 15 M a r . 29 M a r . 30 M a r . 31 Apl. 4 Apl. 7 Apl. 7 Apl. 7 Apl. 9 Apl. 10 Apl. 10 Apl. 11 Apl. 11

Minsmere Walberswick Shingle Street Hinton Minsmere Minsmere Walberswick Minsmere Minsmere Walberswick Ramsholt Minsmere Benacre Minsmere Walberswick

Grasshopper warbler C o m m o n tern Little t e r n Redstart Cuckoo Lesser whitethroat Swift Reed warbler Whinchat Spotted flycatcher G a r d e n warbler Nightjar Red-backed shrike

Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. May May May

Minsmere Walberswick Minsmere Sutton Minsmere Walberswick Walberswick Minsmere Timworth Gt. Glemham Minsmere Hollesley Walberswick

11 12 12 13 18 19 20 25 26 27 3 6 13

Last seen Oct. 7 Oct. 24 Oct. 21 Oct. 12 Oct. 6 Oct. 8 Nov. 23 Sept. 24 Oct. 19 Oct. 7 Sept. 6 Nov. 17 Oct. 25 Oct. 18 Nov. 25

Oct. Sept. Sept. Oct. Sept. Oct. Oct. Oct. Oct. Oct. Oct.

2 19 14 24 22 5 29 27 11 7 9

Sept. 28

Locality Minsmere Shingle Street Walberswick Boyton Walberswick Minsmere Hollesley Walberswick Minsmere Minsmere Hollesley Minsmere Hollesley Minsmere Pakefield / Hollesley Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Southwold Minsmere Minsmere Southwold Blythburgh Southwold Minsmere Minsmere Hollesley


R E D - N E C K E D GREISE, S H I N G L E S T R E E T , O C T O B E R , 1 9 6 9 .

Copyright:

G.

St.

J.

Hollis


BIRD REPORT

251

L I S T OF OBSERVERS

H. E. Axell S. Abbott J. A. Bailey P. A. Banks C. P. Barsted G. B. G . Benson Miss C. Bond A. Botwright B. J. Brown R. Bream D. Bryant A. A. Butcher A. L . Bull R. G. H . Cant P. R. Catchpole B. M. Cavenagh G. L . Clarke F. C. Cook A. Cook F. K. C o b b Mrs. F. K. C o b b R. J. Cutting C. R. C u t h b e r t P. J. Chittleborough T h e Earl of Cranbrook D. A. Dorling R. W. D u r r a n t G. M . S. Easy Mrs. J. fFennell A. M . Gregory T . W. Gladwin J. M . Gladwin

Dr. G . Griffiths Mrs. H . Grimes Rev. P. H. T . Hartley P. J. Harris R. J. Holloman Lord H u r c o m b R. Howard B. W . Jarvis E. W . C. Jenner H . E . Jenner G . J. Jobson I. G . Johnson Mrs. M . Kershaw C. A. E. Kirtland Mrs. L. F. Kellow A. J. Last H . J. Lee P. J. Locke H . A. Lyon K . R. Long P. J. Makepeace R. V. A. Marshall R. H . May D r . L . H. Matthews D . R. Moore D . Mower C. Minor Miss M . Nixon M . Packard R. J. Partridge W. H . Payn

H . Pease D . J. Pearson Mrs. V. Pizzey J. E. L. Pemberton J. R. Read D. A. Riley J. C. Robson R. Robinson Sir J. F. Rowley, BT. L . Rutterford J. G . Rolfe R. R. Scott H . E. P. Spencer B. Spiller T h e Earl of Stradbroke J. A. Stratton Lady Stirling R. G . Stewart P. Stockwell J. Stockwell D. Taylor Lord Tollemache J. Vane D . Vaughan J. G . Warner F. A. Wardman T h e Hon. Mrs. J. Watson A. E. Welch J. P. Wiggery S. A. Woolfries

Suffolk Bird Report for 1969  
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