Page 1

SUFFOLK BIRD REPORT 1970 Editor W . H . PAYN

assisted by The County Records Committee H . E . AXELL, G . B. G . BENSON, F . K . COBB, F . C . COOK, C . G . D . CURTIS, T h e V e n . P . H . T . HARTLEY, a n d A . E . VINE

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 of 1971 should be sent to the Editor at Härtest Place, Bury St. Edmunds (telephone 983 224) by the end of January next. Please ensure all records are arranged in accordance with The Check List of Gt. Britain and Ireland. Species for Special Survey. Breeding records of the following species during 1971 and 1972 are particularly needed: Green woodpecker, cuckoo, lesser whitethroat, redstart, whinchat, wheatear, and nightjar. N.B. also that the B.T.O. is particularly asking for breeding records of quail, water-rail, woodcock, barn owl, long-eared owl, lesser spotted woodpecker, and hawfinch for inclusion in the Ornithological Atlas. Records can be sent to G. B. G. Benson, 17 South Green, Southwold (the B.T.O. organiser) or to the Editor, Suffolk Bird Report. A number of back numbers of Suffolk Bird Report for the following years are available from the Editor: 1955-63 inclusive, 1966, and 1969. A Review of the Year Without being in any way outstanding, 1970 nevertheless produced a good deal that was of ornithological interest. The warm, dry summer—the finest for many years—should have given a much-needed fillip to the breeding success of many of the smaller passerines, whose numbers have long been on the decline. However, reports do not suggest that this was markedly so, except in the case of the bearded tit which did outstandingly well.


458

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 5

In any case such breeding gains as may have resulted from the fine summer were probably more than offset by losses due to the continuing destruction of hedges, ponds, and spinneys throughout the county. This continues unabated. Dßring the year the Editor watched with dismay the destruction, within a short distance of his home, first of a area of bog which was burnt and then ploughed at the height of the nesting season and then of a small deciduous wood, haunt of nightingales, roe deer, and cuckoos, which was also "reclaimed" for agriculture. Doubtless his taxes contributed towards the subsidies paid for this vandalism. If the steady erosion of our countryside continues much longer, will there be any wild birds, or indeed any wild life of any kind left in the arable areas of Britain for future generations to enjoy? It seems unlikely. Dßring the year, 236 species were recorded including two that were new for the county, the lesser grey shrike and the melodious warbler. The county list now stands at 318 species. Two events of particular interest were the breeding of the arctic tern at Havergate Island and Savi's warbler at Walberswick. Evidence that either of these species had ever bred in Suffolk before is highly nebulous. Other interesting vagrants during the year included little bittern, broad-billed sandpiper, serin, red-crested pochard, Bonelli's warbler, and Richard's pipit. Some of them are now almost "regulars" with us, as are purple herons and little egrets. Great hopes were raised at Minsmere by two pairs of spoonbills which were seen to collect nesting material. But they finally moved on. Mystery surrounds a black Stork, seen on a number of occasions near Cretingham and on the River Glem at Stanstead. Among our breeding species the kingfisher is once again widespread, though not yet back to pre-1962 numbers, while the green woodpecker remains low in numbers. The collared dove continues its spread but wasteland birds decrease steadily as their habitat is destroyed. Once again there were no breeding Montagu's harriers and the marsh harrier merely clings on at Minsmere and Benacre. Bitterns probably did well in their regulär strongholds and though a number were seen elsewhere out of the breeding season, it is doubtful if there are now many other reedy areas big enough to suit them. T h e same applies to the bearded tit which now winters regularly in West Suffolk and may yet breed there again.


BIRD REPORT

459

Breeding black redstarts were few and the little ringed plover seems to have left us altogether, as a summer visitor. T h e number of wintering Bewick's swans continued at a high level in their main areas between Lowestoft and Aldeburgh and on the rivers and lakes of North-West Suffolk. White-fronted geese also wintered in good numbers and there were more reports of Barnacle geese. T h e first brents made their appearance in August, unusually early. Grebes of all five species were noted on the coast and waxwings again appeared in many places but numbers were low, consisting of single birds or small parties of two or three; the largest flock was one of forty-two at Lowestoft. Blackcaps again wintered here and there and a quail at Benacre was one of three recorded in Britain during the winter. The decline in the number of stonechats, wheatears, woodlarks, and most of the sylvia warblers, to name but a few, continues.

Migration January and February were generally fairly mild and little of note took place, part from the occurrence of a few small and widely scattered parties of waxwings—presumably late immigrants. On January 3 a northward movement involving over a 100 redthroated divers, as well as scoters and whooper swans, was seen off Kessingland. T h e usual flocks of brent, pink-footed, and white-fronted geese, sea ducks, and Bewick's swans were moving up and down the coast. Very cold northerly winds during March and the first week of April kept spring migration to the merest trickle, with the first wheatear and redstart on the coast on March 26, followed by the first stone curlew three days later. But a return to warmer weather from April 11 brought the first small rush of phylloscopi and yellow wagtails, with the main arrival of our summer birds during the following week. A few species, notably lesser whitethroats and spotted flycatchers, were very late in arrival. Another very marked passage of yellow wagtails took place both on the coast and through inland Suffolk during the last week of April, by which time numbers of summer visitors had built up well. T h e first hoopoe was noted at Otley on March 30, with another at Walberswick on April 18, and two more during the first fortnight of May. May also saw an influx of herons to Britain and three purple herons, probably four little egrets, and a little bittern were reported in Suffolk.


460

Suffolk

Natural

History,

Vol.

15, Part

5

A feature of the early M a y migration was the comparatively high number of wood warblers and pied fiycatchers; one of the latter obligingly spent an evening in the Editor's garden, where it looked quite exotic. D ü r i n g the latter part of M a y and early June parties of black terns were reported f r o m a number of inland and coastal localities and there was a big and rather late passage of turtle doves— including sixty in one morning—at Minsmere during the last week in May. A roller at Lowestoft on June 1 was one of five recorded in Britain about that time. Four ospreys occurred during M a y and early June and there were two passage hobbys at Walberswick and Minsmere during the first week of June. A u t u m n passage was generally rather quiet, w i t h day and night migrants well below usual numbers. T h i s applied particularly to the waders and was the result of lack of the usual easterly winds, during most of the month. O n the coast wheatears, redstarts, and pied fiycatchers were scarce throughout m u c h of August but there was a marked return passage of yellow wagtails through inland Suffolk at the end of the month. Some wrynecks, an icterine warbler, and a melodious warbler occurred among d r i f t migrants on August 21, w i t h wader numbers building up slightly. A crowned crane at Minsmere and Southwold on August 20 caused a stir. I t subsequently turned up near Lowestoft. Heavy rain w i t h north-east winds on September 12 produced a small " f a l l " of whitethroats, phylloscopi, and spotted fiycatchers and a broad-billed sandpiper turned up at Minsmere next day. W i t h the w i n d again easterly, goldcrests were prominent about September 20 and the only bluethroat of the year occurred on September 22. Early barnacle geese at Walberswick and Minsmere during the first two days of October were the forerunners of the winter immigrants and the first twites and a great grey shrike appeared a few days later. Another wave of goldcrests were reported at Herringfleet on October 10, w i t h two merlins and a sprinkling of ring ouzels elsewhere on the coast. D u r i n g the period October 13 to 15 a huge fogbank extended down the N o r t h Sea in the region of 4°E. Several Lowestoft trawlers were fishing in the clear conditions to the east of the fog and experienced skippers informed H . E. Jenner that d u r i n g that time "vast numbers of birds, more than they had ever seen before, came aboard the boats to rest after they had flown about the edge of the fogbank t i l i exhausted".


461

BIRD REPORT

There were thousands of starlings, "thrushes", skylarks, and "finches" and many hundreds of goldcrests, lapwings, "warblers", and "waders". Other species positively identified were pied and spotted flycatchers, redstarts, a few blue and great tits, wheatears, short-eared owls, kestrels, rooks, jackdaws, and hooded crows. Great grey shrikes were also in numbers, three on one trawler and an estimate of twenty-five throughout the whole fleet. One was brought back alive and later released. A bluethroat was kept alive for a day but died before reaching port. This gives a most interesting glimpse of deep-sea migration. Did most of the birds perish? How little we know about what really happens to small migrants suddenly confronted with such weather hazards when far out at sea. Back on the coast southward-bound tree sparrows were noted in strength for some days from October 17 and a big influx of blackbirds, redwings, starlings, skylarks took place at Lowestoft, Walberswick, and Minsmere on October 21 to 24. Over 200 blackbirds made their landfall at Minsmere on the morning of October 21. At the end of the month another small and late passage of ring ouzels, swallows, and martins coincided with the first big influx of fieldfares and " n o r t h e r n " duck. November 1 brought the first snow buntings and a hen harrier and on Nov. 8 two short-eared owls were seen to come ashore at Minsmere during daylight. T h e last swallow of summer lingered at Walberswick until December 5 but otherwise little of note occurred in December, despite a sudden and severe spell of snow and ice just before Christmas. F I R S T A N D L A S T D A T E S OF S U M M E R VISITORS,

Species Wheatear

First seen Mar. 26

Locality Sizewell

Redstart Stone curlew Sandwich tern — Sand martin Chiffchaff— — Swallow Yellow wagtail Sedge warbler Willow warbler

Mar. Mar. Mar. Mar. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl.

Pakefield Walberswick Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Reydon Minsmere Minsmere Bealings

Cuckoo Turtle dove

Apl. 16 Apl. 16

26 29 29 30 1 4 9 13 14

Minsmere Minsmere

Last seen Oct. 31

1970

Locality Carlton Colville Nov. 13 Stowmarket Sept. 26 Livermere Oct. 11 Minsmere Oct. 25 Minsmere Oct. 3 Fornham Dec. 5 Walberswick Sept. 27 Livermere Oct. 17 Minsmere Nov. 14 Benacre (willow/chaff) Sept. 29 Minsmere Sept. 27 Livermere


462

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 5

First seen Locality Speeles Blackcap Apl. 16 Minsmere Common tern Apl. 16 Shingle Street/ Walberswick Tree pipit Apl. 17 Sutton/ Walberswick Nightingale Apl. 17 Sutton, etc. House martin Apl. 17 Minsmere Grasshopper warbler Apl. 17 Walberswick Swift Apl. 18 many localities Little tern Apl. 18 Walberswick Whitethroat Apl. 20 Minsmere Reed warbler Apl. 26 Walberswick Lesser whitethroat May 2 Walberswick Whinchat May 2 Minsmere Garden warbler May 4 Fornham Red-backed shrike May 5 Minsmere Spotted flycatcherMay 10 Minsmere Nightjar not recorded

Last seen Locality Nov. 4 Herringfleet Oct. 17 Sizewell Aug. 23 Lowestoft Aug. 2 Minsmere Nov. 25 Earl Soham/ Minsmere Sept. 29 Minsmere Oct. 12 Walberswick Sept. 8 Minsmere Sept. 27 Minsmere Oct. 14 Minsmere Sept. 27 Minsmere Oct. 4 Minsmere Oct. 13 Minsmere Oct. 15 Oulton Broad Sept. 15 Livermere Oct. 3 Herringfleet

SYSTEMATIC LIST

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.—Walberswick, Jan. 18 (GLC, DJP); Minsmere, oiled bird, Mar. 6 to 8 (HEA). 4. Red-throated diver.—Rather small numbers offshore and on coastal broads in early and late months of year, but 127 off Kessing land, Jan. 3 (DRM). One, R. Orwell in Mar. (AB, CGDC) an Redgrave Lake, Apl. (WLC). 5. Great crested grebe.—Bred Lound, Oulton Broad, Benacre, Minsmere, Holbrook, Bosmere, Redgrave, and Livermere— thirty prs. in all. Fourteen on R. Orwell, Dec. (AJL). 6. Red-necked grebe.—Dead bird, Bournebridge, Ipswich, Jan. (AB); otherwise only at Benacre, Jan. 17 (DJP, DW) and Oct. 17 to 19 (BJB, GJJ, CN, SAW). 7. Slavonian grebe.—Recorded during both winters from Easton and Benacre Broads, Rs. Deben and Orwell, and from Shingle Street and Havergate Island, probably nine or ten birds in all (many obs.). 8. Black-necked grebe.—Cliff Quay, Ipswich, Jan. 12 to Feb. 5 (AB). 9. Dabchick.—About average breeding numbers; c. thirty in Ipswich Docks in both winters (AB).


463

BIRD REPORT

12.

Leach's petrel.—Off Languard Point, Oct. 10 (DC).

16. Manx shearwater.—Off Minsmere, Apl. 22 (HEA, PJM, DM). 26. Fulmar.—Small numbers on coast between Apl. and Sept., with seven at Minsmere on Apl. 22. 27. Gannet.—Odd birds, ads. and ims., during Mar. and Apl. and July to Nov. 28.

Cormorant.—The usual reports from the coast and river including up to seventy on Breydon Water (RHH) and thirty on Fritton Lake (HEJ) in winter.

Valleys

29. Shag.—Minsmere and Sizewell, Jan. 6, Feb. 8 (four), Apl. 4 (three), and Oct. 25 (four). Ipswich Docks, early Jan. 30. Heron.—It being ten years since the last füll count of breeding numbers took place (The Birds of Suffolk), an exhaustive census of all known heronries was made during the spring of 1970. This count showed, when compared with that of 1960, an increase in the number of heronries but very little apparent change in the number of occupied nests, viz.: 1970 1960 North Cove 4 33 Herringfleet 3 3 Henham 15 18 — _ Benacre 2 Blackheath 41 50/55 — • Boyton 9 Methersgate (Sutton) 28 20 — Ramsholt 11 Stutton 6 18 — Brantham 9 — Bosmere 1 Stoke-by-Nayland 16/17 19 Redgrave — 3 Livermere 20/25 16/17 Eriswell 3/4 7 — West Stow 4/5 Brandon 5 — Total

180/188

187/193

31. Purple heron.—Minsmere, May 31 and June 24 to 30 (HEA, PJM, DM). Two, Benacre, May 26 and one, Covehithe, next day (TW and JMG).


464

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 5

32. Little egret.—Minsmere, May 14 to 18 and 31 (HEA) and June 13 ( G J J , BWF, SDH); Havergate Island, two, June 1 (RJP); Orfordness, July 18 (PAB). 37.

Little bittern.—Minsmere, May 7 (HEA, BL, IH).

38.

Bittern.—About twenty prs. bred in usual coastal localities.

[41. Black Stork.—One, possibly an "escape", at Cretingham in Apl. and July ( J E L P et al)\ another, or perhaps the same bird, on R. Glem at Stanstead in Apl. (per WHP).] 42. Spoonbill.—Main occurrences were at Minsmere where single birds, mostly ads., were recorded on a number of dates between Mar. 13 and Nov. 14. There were also three ads. between May 23 and 30 and again on June 23. Two distinct prs. on May 31 and June 1 indulged in much courtship behaviour including carrying straws and sticks. One took nesting material from nest of herring gull while latter was sitting (HEA, PJM, DM). Elsewhere reported at Havergate, Apl. 26 and 27 and May 17 (RJP); two on R. Blyth, Aug. 8 ( G J J ) and three, Aug. 31 (TW and JMG). 47. Garganey.—Two prs. bred Minsmere (HEA); pair, Boyton, Apl. 10 (PAB); a pr., Shotley, Mar. and Apl. (MP); Livermere and two or three Bury B.F. ponds, Aug. (AJL); Sudbury, Aug. 5 to 8 (AAB). 50. Wigeon.—Winter numbers: R. Stour, 3,200 in Jan. and 3,100 in Oct. (RVAM); Havergate Island, 2,000 in Jan. and up to 10,000 in Nov. (RJP); 700 at Minsmere, where some again oversummered; 2,000 on Breydon in Jan. (LFC). 52. Pintail.—Main wintering flocks were: Breydon, c. 100; R. Deben, c. fifty; R. Orwell, seventy; and R. Stour, 450 in Feb. and 240 in Nov. 54. Red-crested pochard. A first-year m. shot at Fritton in Nov. (HEJ).


BIRD REPORT

465

55. Scaup.—200 at Benacre during Jan. decreased gradually to fifteen on Mar. 22 (DAD, BWJ, GJJ, AMG). Small numbers only elsewhere. The lone duck again nested unsuccessfully at Havergate. 56. Tufted duck.—Bred Benacre Broad (DRM) and Havergate Island (RJP). Small numbers in both winters at Minsmere. On R. Brett at Thorington Street, 130 in Jan. (AB) and eleven on R. Stour in Feb. (AAB). Usual numbers on Breckland rivers at all seasons and sixty-two on Bury B.F. ponds on Oct. 6 (RHM). 57. Pochard.—Two broods noted at Butley (PAB). In winter 110 on R. Brett at Thorington Street (AB) is high for that area. 60. Goldeneye.—Up to twenty-seven on R. Deben, Feb. (GStJH); 155 on R. Stour, Jan and Feb. (RVAM); Bury B.F. ponds, Feb. 22 (RJC); and Icklingham, Mar. 21 (RHM). 61. Long-tailed duck.—One or two at Benacre to end of Mar. and from Oct. 25 (many obs.); Covehithe, Feb. 26 (AAB); dead drake, Walberswick, Dec. 6 (CN); Livermere, Feb. 28 (RHM). 62. Velvet scoter.—A pr. off Pakefield, Jan. 14 (BJB) and fourteen off Benacre, Mar. 15 (AB). Also single birds in both winters at other coastal localities. 64. Common scoter.—Over-summering flocks of up to 1,000 off Pakefield in June (HEJ) and Walberswick in July (GJJ). Winter numbers were generally rather small. 67. Eider.—Small parties with a max. of nine offshore at Pakefield, Easton, and Benacre during Jan. and Feb. One or two during May at Minsmere, Benacre, and Shingle Street, and off Ness Point in Nov. and Dec. Four on R. Orwell, Oct. 17. 69. Red-breasted merganser.—Eight on R. Orwell, Jan. and Feb. (AMG). Odd birds offshore and in estuaries in early and latter months of year. Two off Minsmere, July 3. 70. Goosander.—Three, Buss Creek, Jan. 6 (D V); two, Minsmere, Jan. 22 (HEA); two off Slaughden, Jan. 4 (CGDC); up to fourteen; Benacre Broad in Jan. (BJB, GJJ); eleven, R. Lark, Jan. 9 (CSL) Livermere, Mar. 1 (CAEK). 71. Smew.—Covehithe, Jan. 8 (AMG, SAW); R. Brett, Jan 24 (AB); Alderton, Jan. 17 (PAB); Minsmere, Jan. 24 (PJM, DM); up to fourteen at Benacre Broad, Jan. and Feb. (BJB, CN, DRM).


466

Suffolk

Natural

History,

Vol.

15, Part

5

73. Shelduck.—Breeding numbers well maintained. pr. bred at Livermere (NJE, A J L , R H M ) .

Inland a

Winter numbers on R. Stour, 2,170 in Jan. and 1,150 in Dec. ( R V A M ) ; 300, R. Blyth, Feb. ( D J P et al). 75. Greylag goose.—Seven at Livermere, Oct. 25 to 30 (NJE), with the single feral bird reported on many occasions during the year. Ten at Herringfleet, Oct. 3 (HEJ). One or two reported irregularly at Minsmere and Havergate between Jan. and June are probably stragglers from the feral Essex colony. 76. White-fronted goose.—Flocks of 160 and 170 (the same flock?) recorded at two nearby localities on coast in Feb. and a similar sized flock at Minsmere in Jan. Also c. 250 on SufFolk side of Breydon, and seventy at Havergate in Jan. A lone bird at Livermere, irregularly between Feb. and June. 78. Pink-footed goose.—Flocks of fourteen and eighteen over Pakefield, Jan. 10 and 11 ( H E J , D R M ) . Bean goose.—Sudbourne, Feb. 8 (PAB) and a corpse on Corton Beach, Feb. 1 ( M K ) . 80. Brent goose.—Generally high numbers were reported from usual coastal localities in both winters, with up to 375 on R. Orwell in Jan. and Feb. ( G S t J H , M P ) and 434 on R. Stour in Dec. (RVAM). A very early brent was recorded off Lowestoft on Aug. 10 (AB) and off Pakefield next day (HEJ). A flock of eight pale-breasted birds recorded at Minsmere on Aug. 28 and 29 (HEA et al) were seen on latter date Aying north over Westleton Heath (AEV) towards R. Blyth where they remained until Sept. 5 (AS). 81. B a r n a c l e goose.—Unusually high numbers were recorded during the year, starting with a flock of seventeen at one coastal locality on Jan. 4 (PAB). At Minsmere a flock of four arrived on Jan. 10, increasing to thirty next day with a further twenty-three Aying south that day and another twenty the following day. A pr. also occurred on the Reserve on Feb. 2 (DHC) and June 9 with one, then two in Oct. which remained tili mid-Dec. (HEA). Other reports were of three at Southwold between Oct. 2 and 4 (DV, DW) and a single at Walberswick on Dec. 25 (CN). 82.

Canada goose.—Widespread and probably still increasing.

84. Mute swan.—364 on R. Stour in Jan. (RVAM). spread elsewhere.

Wide-


BIRD REPORT

467

85. Whooper swan.—Sixteen Aying up R. Deben, Jan. 28 (HJL); four at Thorpeness, Jan. 25 (PAB); six at Walberswick, Jan. 3 (DRM); forty-three at Havergate, Mar. 14 (RJP); nine Mmsmere, Mar. 15 (HEA); and up to sixteen, Oulton Broad Nov. (RSB). 86. Bewick's swan.—Once again numbers were high and changeable during both winters, with much westward movement, probably towards the fenland "washes". At Minsmere up tö forty-two were recorded in Jan., with smaller numbers to Mar. 20. Other herds were: thirty to forty in the Breydon/Herringfleet area up to mid-Mar. (DRM, HEJ); up to fifty-seven at Aldeburgh in Jan. and Feb. (CGDC, RVAM), increasing to ninety-two on Mar. 14 (PAB); Southwold, eighteen on Feb. 1 (RVAM); Shotley, fifteen in early Jan. (MP). In the west there were up to twentyseven on R. Lark in Jan. (RHM). First autumn arrivals were eight ads. at Minsmere on Oct. 22, with further family parties from early Nov. and a herd of c. thirty in mid-Dec. (HEA). There were also parties of fifty at Dunwich (HJL), forty-five at Aldeburgh (GJJ), and twenty-four at Havergate (RJP) in December. Smaller parties of from two to fifteen were also moving about between the Breck rivers and meres from late Oct. to the year's end (NJE, AJL, WHP). 91. Buzzard.—Occurred irregularly and usually singly on or near coast up to Apl. 19; and during Sept. and Oct. (many obs.). 92. Rough-legged buzzard.—Single birds were recorded on eight dates between Jan. 1 and Apl. 19 in the coastal strip between Benacre and Butley (many obs.). Some reports doubtless refer to same bird. One at Cavenham, Jan. 8 (RHM). 93. Sparrow hawk.—There was very little evidence of breeding, though three prs. on coast may have done so. Most records—and there were not many—refer to passage birds. [95. Kite.—A probable, though species was not definitely established, over Chillesford, Apl. 18 (D. Evans per PAB).] 99. Marsh harrier.—Two prs. reared five young at Minsmere (HEA). At Benacre a pr. reared three young (GBGB). 100. Hen harrier.—Passage and wintering numbers on coast were much as usual. 102. Montagu's harrier.—Lakenheath Warren, Apl. 26 (CAEK); Minsmere, May 6 and 16 (HEA); and Walberswick, May 26 (BJB, DRM), were the only records of this former breeding bird.


468

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 5

103. Osprey— Minsmere, Mar. 30, Apl. 22, May 16 to 21, June 1, July 3, and July 19 (HEA); Eastbridge, Apl. 4 and 5 (JC, SFH); Walberswick, Mar. 30 and Apl. 5 (GJJ). 104. Hobby.—Walberswick, May 5 (DJP); Minsmere, June 9, Aug. 25, Sept. 8 and 14 (HEA), July 10 (JHW); Covehithe and Easton Broad, July 5 to 7 (DRM, DV); Havergate, Aug. 14 (RJP); and Walberswick, Aug. 14 (GJJ). 105. Peregrine.—Near Ipswich, Sept. 15 (MN); Sudbourne, Dec. 20 (BMC, GStJH); Minsmere, Dec. 14 to 16 (HEA et al)\ Walberswick, Dec. 25 (CN). 107. Merlin.—About the usual nurnber of records of wintering and passage birds from coast and Breckland during both winters. 110. Kestrel.—There are continued signs that this species is recovering slightly, with breeding prs. once again thinly spread over much of agricultural Suffolk, though highest numbers are still in coastal belt. However, at Minsmere three prs. appear only to have fledged two young.

115. 116.

"Thanks to the fine, dry June, both species staged a remarkable upsurge in numbers, with coveys of more than a dozen recorded where there was a breeding Red-legged partridge -< stock. Partridge At Risby seven coveys totalling seventy-three birds of the two species were counted in Dec. on one forty-acre barley field (VVHP).

117. Quail.—An unusual over-wintering record was one at Benacre between Jan. 17 and Mar. 23 (BJB, RSB, DRM, GJJ, DJP). 121. Spotted crake.—Minsmere, Sept. 27 (HEA, DM, PJM, BB). 135. Little ringed plover.—Small numbers on coast and through West Suffolk in Apl. and between July and Sept. 136. Kentish plover.—Only recorded at Benacre, May 22 (CN) and Havergate, Apl. 30, May 18 and 19, and Sept. 8 (RJP).


BIRD REPORT

469

150. Curlew. Sudbury, Jan. 2 (AAB) and Härtest, Apl. 8 (WHP) were unusual inland records. Breeding numbers on fireck are apparently declining again. 151. Whimbrel.—About average numbers during both migrations, though fifty at Minsmere on Sept. 4 is a big flock for the present day. 154. Black-tailed godwit.—Present on coast in mainly small numbers from Mar. 6 to mid-Sept., but the R. Blyth population reached 320 at end of Mar. (GJJ). No winter reports. 155. Bar-tailed godwit.—Again small numbers only on spring and autumn passage. 157. Wood sandpiper.—Small numbers, mostly singles, on coast during spring passage to end of May. Rather more—max. of eight at Minsmere—to mid-Sept. 159. C o m m o n sandpiper.—A winter bird at Livermere, Jan. 21 ( M L N ) and one at Woodbridge on Mar. 5 (PAB). Thirty-six at Bury B.F. ponds on Aug. 24 (RHM). 162. Spotted redshank.—Present on coast in every month of the year, but numbers were below average everywhere. 165. Greenshank.—Recorded, chiefly at Minsmere, in every month between late Mar. and early Nov., but numbers were light. Scattered inland records during the autumn. 169. Knot.—Highest numbers in winter were: c. 1,000 on K. Stour estuary in Jan. (RVAM); eighty on R. Orwell, near Ipswich Docks in Feb. and Mar. (AB). Inland: two at Bury B.F. ponds, Nov. 8 (AJL). 170. Purple sandpiper.—There were more records than for some years from: Lowestoft, one to three in both winters (JRR, GJJ, ÄB); Minsmere, one or two on various dates to Apl. 14 and again from Aug. 31 (HEA); Shingle Street, Feb. 1 (GStJH); Ipswich Docks area, Feb. 20 to Mar. 25 (AB, C G D C ) ; Walberswick, Mar. 21 (GJJ). 171. with nine, Bury

Little Stint.—A very light spring and autumn passage, a peak of twenty birds on Sept. 15 at Minsmere. Inland: Livermere, Sept. 28 (NJE, RHM), Oct. 25 (CAEK); five, B.F. ponds, Oct. 9 (AJL).

173. T e m m i n c k ' s stint.—Only noted at Minsmere, May 4 to 7 and 21 to 24 (HEA).


470

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 5

179. Curlew sandpiper.—Odd birds only in May, followed by a very light return passage to mid-Sept. One to four, Livermere in Aug. and Sept. (NJE, CAEK). 181. Sanderling.—Regulär in small numbers during winter at many coastal localities, notably Lowestoft, Easton Bavents, and Benacre. Four on R. Blyth, June 14 (GJJ). 183. Broad-billed sandpiper.—Minsmere, GJJ, FKC, BJB, PJM, DM).

Sept. 13 (HEA,

184. Ruff.—Two at Minsmere, Jan. 9, then about average spring passage from Apl. 4, with nineteen fs. two days later and a m. in f.s.p. on June 18. Light autumn passage to mid-Oct. (HEA). Smaller numbers elsewhere on coast. 185. Avocet.—At Havergate 102 prs. reared 178 young and at Minsmere fifteen prs. reared thirty-four young. Thirty chicks at latter locality were ringed, one being subsequently recovered in Northern Spain in Oct. Some young were also marked with yellow ring on left leg (HEA). One or two wintered at Havergate (RJP). 187. Grey phalarope.—Covehithe and Benacre, Jan. 17 and 18 (GLC, DJP, CN, DW); Bury B.F. ponds, Aug. 19 (AJL). 188. Red-necked phalarope.—Havergate, Boyton, Oct. 26 (GStJH, Mrs. DH).

Sept.

1 (RJP);

189. Stone curlew.—Eight prs. in all recorded from five localities near coast. The Breckland population continues to decline. 193. Arctic skua.—A small autumn passage only, from July to late Oct., with four at Slaughden on Oct. 3. 194. Great skua.—Minsmere, July 30, Oct. 4 and 11 (HEA); Benacre, Aug. 14 (DRM); Covehithe, Oct. 4 (RVAM). 195. Pomarine skua.—An exhausted bird found at Oulton Broad, Nov. 7, was later released at Benacre (RSB).

199. 200.

Lesser black-backed gull Herring gull

The Orfordness breeding colony was not reported upon. Three prs. of argentatus which attempted breeding at Minsmere were seen to prey on young Sandwich terns (HEA).


BIRD REPORT

471

202. Glaucous gull.—A number of records, usually of single birds during both winters and particularly from Aldeburgh. 203. Iceland gull.—Pakefield, early Apl. (HEJ); Minsmere, Mar. 8 and Apl. 13 (HEA, PJM). 205. Mediterranean gull.—The Covehithe/Benacre bird remained until Mar. 15, and was reported again from July 25. Single records also from Minsmere, Apl. 15 and 24; Havergate, Apl. 30 (RJP); and Pakefield, Oct. 22 (HEJ). 207. Little gull.—Generally small numbers, one to four on coast between late Apl. and early Nov., with majority, mostly first- and second-year birds, at Minsmere. 211. Kittiwake.—The Lowestoft colony continues to flourish, the majority of the thirty-five nests being successful (EWCJ). 212. Black tern.-—There was a fair spring passage from May 5 to June 16, with up to ten at Minsmere during that time (HEA). Remainder of spring records were from West Suffolk, with one at Sudbury, May 9 (AAB); Barton Mere, May 12 (HPGG); and up to ten at Livermere, between June 4 and 6 (AJL, RHM, NJE). Return passage from July 31, was largely confined to coast (many obs.). 217. Common tern.—350 prs. bred at Minsmere. Passage birds inland at Sudbury, Aug. 8 (AAB); Bury B.F. ponds, Aug. 14; and Cavenham, Sept. 19 (AJL). 218. Arctic tern.—At Havergate Island two prs. nested and hatched young, which were not, however, reared (RJP). This is the first authentic breeding record of the species in Suffolk unless Babington's record of a very young bird killed on Orfordness in 1872 can be accepted as proof of breeding in the county that year. Odd passage birds also occurred in spring and autumn. 219. Roseate tern.—Minsmere, May 25 and June 5 (HEA); Havergate, Aug. 23 (RJP). 222. Little tern.—Eight prs. bred successfully within the reserve at Minsmere. There were a few, generally unsuccessful attempts on public beaches elsewhere. 223. Sandwich tern.—Ninety prs. bred at Minsmere and seventy prs. at Havergate. Inland records were: Sudbury (R. Stour), July 12 and 21 (AAB).


472

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 5

224. Razorbill.—A small number of mainly oiled birds occurred on coast during early and latter months of the year. 226.

Little auk.—Dunwich, Oct. 22 (JT).

227. Guillemot.—As with the razorbill, a number of dead or moribund birds came ashore during the winter months. 230. Puffin.—Minsmere, Sept. 8 and Nov. 24 (HEA, PJM); Orford, Sept. 22 (RJP); Alderton, Nov. 7 (PAB); and two off Shingle Street, Nov. 28 (GStJH). 232.

Stockdove.—700 at Elveden in Dec. (CAEK).

235. Collared dove.—Continues to spread slowly. Tuddenham, where a flock of c. thirty were present all winter; Redgrave and Edwardstone (WHP) being parishes where new colonisation took place during the year. Also reported from Haverhill, Haughley (RJC), and increasing at Stowmarket (RJC), and Bury St. Edmunds (MLN). 237. Cuckoo.—Numbers generally very low throughout much of arable Suffolk, though four were reported together at Hadleigh. 241. Barn owl.—Numbers remain low, but are said to be increasing in the Herringfleet/Fritton area (HEJ). Also reported during breeding season in ten other localities in East Suffolk and seven in the West. 246. Little owl.—Numbers low everywhere. The removal of so many old hedgerow trees means the loss of breeding sites for this and other hole-nesting species. 248. Long-eared owl.—Reported from Lakenheath and Mildenhall in summer (CAEK) and from Edwardstone in winter (WHP). Bred Tunstall and probably Hollesley (PAB) and —two prs.— Walbersvvick (GJJ); Benacre, July (CN); and Oulton Broad, Sept. (BJB). 249. Short-eared owl.—At Havergate four prs. reared seven or eight young (RJP). Up to twenty-five in one small area at Herringfleet in winter (HEJ). Seen on one West Suffolk heath in May (DAD).


BIRD REPORT

252. Nightjar.—Now very local and probably Twenty plus prs. bred at Minsmere (HEA).

473 decreasing.

258. Kingfisher.—Reported at about twenty-five localities during the year. Now widely but thinly spread over suitable habitat but apparently still well down on pre-1962 numbers. 260.

Roller.—Oulton Broad, June 1 (JB).

261. Hoopoe.—Otley, Mar. 30 (T); Walberswick, Apl. 18 to 24 (GJJ, PM); Mutford, May 8 (per NC); Tunstall, May 14 (per

262. Green woodpecker.—Apparently now very local and absent from most of arable—and treeless—Suffolk. Eight on one small area of dunes at Minsmere in Nov. All records of this species would be welcome. 265. Wryneck.—It was a poor year for this species. In spring noted at Minsmere (HEA); Redgrave for some time (WLC); and Iken (per PAB) in May. A very small autumn passage—perhaps fifteen birds in all—on coast between Aug. 23 and Sept. 11. 271. Woodlark.—Perhaps a dozen pairs bred in or near the coastal belt. One seen to come in from the sea at Minsmere on Apl. 18 (HEA). Low numbers on Breck. 273. Shorelark.—Eight at Slaughden, Jan. 25 (PAB) and between five and ten irregularly at Walberswick between Jan. and Apl. 12 (CN, GJJ, DV); two at Minsmere, May 2 (HEA). In autumn and winter small numbers only. Three at Walberswick, Oct 10 (WSA); seven, Benacre, Oct. 17 (DRM); two, Easton Bavents, Nov. 22 (DV); and odd birds at Minsmere from Oct. 4 (HEA).

278. Golden Oriole.—Tunstall, June 7 (Miss Cottrell-Dormer); Minsmere, June 19 (JC,DM). 281. Hooded crow.—Mainly small numbers, with max. of nine on coast in both winters. Up to seven on Breck in Jan. and Feb.


474

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 5

284. Magpie.—Thinly but widely spread over most of the county. Eleven together at Hadleigh (AB). 295. Bearded tit.—A very successful breeding season at Minsmere, some pairs having up to four broods. Usual eruptions from Sept. 20 but more than usual, perhaps 250, remained tili hard weather just before Christmas. In winter small parties vvere reported from Kirton and Felixstowe in Nov. (AMG) and from reedbeds by R. Lark at Cavenham and Tuddenham in Nov. and Dec. (CAEK, WHP). 301. Missel thrush.—An albino at Bury St. Edmunds, Oct. 5 (RHM). 302. Fieldfare.—One at Tunstall for some weeks from Julv 8 (PAB). 307. Ring ouzel.—Quite a pronounced spring passage between Apl. 11 and May 12. Three at Lakenheath, Apl. 26 (CAEK). Autumn passage was less pronounced, extending from Sept. 14 to Nov. 7. 311.

Wheatear.—The decline in breeding numbers continues.

317. Stonechat.—Only six breeding prs. recorded on coast. None elsewhere. Inland: one at Livermere, Mar. (NJE) and what was evidently a belated migrant at Thurston, June 15 (HPGG). 318.

Whinchat.—Numbers remain very low.

320.

Redstart.—The same seems to apply to this species.

321. Black redstart.—Bred as usual at Sizewell, two prs. (HEA) and Oulton Broad (BJB). One singing at Ipswich (AB). The usual small coastal passage, Apl. and May, and Sept. and Oct. (many obs.). 322. Nightingale.—Numbers rather low. few localities in South-West Suffolk. 324.

Still clings on in a

Bluethroat.—Minsmere, Sept. 22 (HEA, PJM).

327. Grasshopper warbler.—Reported in good numbers from most of its usual localities.


BIRD REPORT

475

329. Savi's warbler.—Bred at Walberswick (GJJ) see also p. 479. Minsmere, May 7 to 25 (HEA, PJM, DM). Singing during summer at one other locality on coast. 339. Melodious warb" Minsmere, Aug. 14 and 15 (HEA, DM, PJM etal). NEW TO SUFFOLK.

340. Icterine warbler.—Minsmere, Aug. 10 and 11 (HEA et al)\ Beccles, Aug. 30 (BJB, WB). 343. Blackcap.—Wintering records were: two at Aldeburgh during Jan. (RJH); Sudbury, during Dec. (per AAB). 357. Wood warbler.—Singing ms. recorded at Foxhall, May 14 to June 16 (AB, CGDC); Henham, May 17 (HJL); Ramsholt, May 3 (PAB); Walberswick on same day (DJP, GLC, DW); and Minsmere, also May 3, 7, and 31 (HEA). A nest containing three eggs was found near Covehithe. It is not known whether they hatched off (CN). 358.

Bonelli's warbler.—Minsmere, May 6 (HEA, RGHC,

364. Goldcrest.—Breeding numbers have probably built up again to near pre-1962 levels. 365. Firecrest.—Recorded on spring passage at Minsmere, Southwold, Covehithe, and Havergate between Mar. 29 and Apl. 22, and in autumn at Minsmere and Reydon between Oct. 12 and Nov. 9. Four birds occurred at Minsmere on Oct. 15. 368. Pied flycatcher.—Spring records were: Peasenhall, May 6 (GLC, DW, DJP); Härtest, May 8 (WHP); Walberswick, May 10 (GJJ); Lowestoft, May 9 (LFK, RJK); Minsmere, May 14, 16, and 17 (HEA); and Dunwich, May 25 (GLC, DW, DJP). All were ms., as is usual on spring passage. Return migration in autumn was rather light. One at Sudbury, Aug. 25 (AAB). 374. Richard's pipit.—Occurred only at Minsmere, where two were recorded between Oct. 1 and 18, being joined by a third during the last week. One remained to Oct. 25 (HEA, CN, DM, PJM et al).


476

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 15, Part 5

376. Tree Pipit.—Another "wasteland" bird which is very much down in numbers. 379. Water pipit.—Two, Minsmere, Jan. 25 (DJP) and up to three during most of Apl., two being more or less "pink". First in autumn, Oct. 22, then odd birds to end of year (HEA). Easton Broad, Dec. 5 (GJJ). 380. White wagtail.—Small numbers, mainly near coast during Apl. and May. 383. Waxwing.—Single birds at Bury St. Edmunds in Jan. (MLN) and at Stowmarket (JRC) and Lowestoft (JRR) in Feb. Three at Herringfleet on Mar. 31 (HEJ). A widespread autumn and winter irruption took place from about Oct. 22, when a bird was seen on Sizewell Beach, and on into the New Year. Numbers were generally low, with parties of two or three only at Minsmere, Felixstowe, Thorpeness, Ipswich, Stowmarket, and Sudbury. But forty-two were counted at Lowestoft on Oct. 24 (JGW), up to 35 at Oulton Broad in Nov., and twenty and thirty at Leiston and Bury St. Edmunds respectively in Dec. (many obs.). Birds were observed to feed on ripe pears at Oulton Broad. 384. Great grey shrike.—Wintering birds were reported from many areas to end of Mar. and again from Sept. 29. 385. Lesser grey shrike.—Hollesley, May 22 and 23 (PWB).

NEW TO SUFFOLK.

388. Red-backed shrike.—Breeding numbers were apparently very low everywhere. This species is the subject of a special B.T.O. breeding census during 1971. 396. Twite.—Present on coast in mainly small flocks—max. eighty—to mid-Mar. and from Oct. 3.


BIRD REPORT

400.

477

Serin.—Walberswick, Sept. 19 (RLS, JH, JRP).

404. Crossbill.—Recorded only from five places near coast and from the Breck. Very low numbers everywhere. 408. Brambling.—Generally low numbers during early months but a flock of c. 300 at Bradwell, and flocks of up to 100 in Breckland during Nov. and Dec. 391. Hawfinch.—There were very few records of this elusive species. It possibly bred at Minsmere (HEA) and was also noted at Newbourne in April (LD); Covethithe in Jan. (GLC, DJP); and in its main stronghold north of Bury St. Edmunds during the year. 393. Goldfinch.—Numbers in West Suffolk were generally low, particularly in winter. 394. Siskin.—Fairly high numbers in both winters and on passage along coast. 395. Redpoll.—A very marked increase—as a result of conifer planting?—during the summer at many coastal areas as well as the Breck. At Haughley, c. fifty noted on Apl. 11 and birds present all summer (RJC). Mealy redpoll.—Twelve at Minsmere, Feb. to mid-Apl. and one on Minsmere Cliff on May 31 (HEA). Six at Walberswick, Mar. 21 (GJJ). 410. Corn bunting.—Thirty-three at Reydon in Feb. (AB) but otherwise there were few reports, and they indicate a further decrease. 422. Lapland bunting.—Six at Walberswick, Jan. 17 (DMB, JB) and one Lowestoft, Oct. 3 (WB). 423.

Snow bunting.—Wintering numbers were low everywhere.

The following species, not mentioned in the Systematic List, also occurred in 1970. Breeding species in italics. Mallard, teal, gadwall, shoveller, pheasant, water-rail, moorhen, coot, oyster-catcher, lapwing, ringed plover, grey plover, golden plover, turnstone, common snipe, jack snipe, woodcock, green sandpiper, redshank, dunlin, great black-backed gull, common gull, black-headed gull, wood pigeon, turtle dove, tawny owl, swift, great spotted woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, skylark, swallow, house martin, sand martin, Carrion crow, rook, jackdaw, jay, great tit,


478

Suffolk Natural

History,

Vol. 15, Part 5

blue tit, coal tit, marsh tit, willow tit, long-tailed tit, nuthatch, tree-creeper, zvren, song thrush, redwing, blackbird, nightingale, robin, reed warbler, sedge warbler, garden warbler, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat, willow warbler, chiffchaff, spotted flycatcher, hedge sparrow, meadow pipit, rock pipit, pied wagtail, starling, greenfinch, goldfinch, linnet, bullfinch, chaffinch, yellow hammer, reed bunting, house sparrow, tree sparrow. L I S T OF OBSERVERS

H. G. Arnold H. E. Axell Miss J. Bailey P. A. Banks J. B. Barker Mrs. Barker C. P. Barsted Mrs. C. Baylay W. S. Bevan W. Birkett Miss C. Bond A. Botwright R. S. Briggs | D. M. Brook J. Brock B. J. Brown Bishop Brown and Mrs. Brown A. A. Butcher Dr. J. Cadbury B. M. Cavanagh A. Cook Dr. D. Cooke Dr. W. L. Cordeaux D. H. Close H . E. Chipperfield F. Chipperfield T h e Earl of Cranbrook R. J. Cutting R. G. H. Cant F. C. Cook F. K. Cobb G. L. Clarke C. G. D. Curtis K. J. S. Devonald

D. A. Dorling L. Dow N. J. Evans G. Fane B. W. Finch Miss F. Gibson T . W. & J. M. Gladwin D. R. Gough H. P. G. Goyder A. M. Gregory J. Harmer R. Howard G. St. J. Hollis Mrs. D. Hollis R. J. Holloman S. D. Howsdon J. C. and S. F. Holyfield I. Hornsby L. J. Hunt B. W. Jarvis G. J. Jobson E. W. C. Jenner H. E. Jenner R. Keene M. King C. A. E. Kirtland L. F. and Mrs. R. J. Kellew C. S. Lawson A. J. Last H. J. Lee B. Little K. R. Long R. H. May

R. V. A. Marshall Lord Medway D. Mower D. R. Moore P. J. Makepeace P. Muttitt Miss G. Mitchell C. Naunton Miss M. L. Nixon M. Nugent M. Packard R. J. Partridge W. H. Payn J. R. Parrott H. Pease D. B. Peakall D. J. Pearson J. E. L. Pemberton J. R. Read R. J. Robinson J. G. Rolfe Sir J. F. Rowley, BT. C. J. D. Shackles M. Shepherd R. L. Swann E. A. Smith Lord Tollemache J. Thorogood D. Vaughan A. E. Vine J. G. Warner J. H. Wood D. Woolner J. P. Widgery

Suffolk Bird Report for 1970  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you