SUFFOLK BIRD REPORT 1972 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.
Obituary. We have to record, with regret, the death during the year of P. A. Banks. While living at Sudbourne he made a valuable and expert study of the bird life of the area lying between the Rivers Aide and Deben. Acknowledgements. We are indebted as usual to the R.S.P.B., the Lowestoft Field Club, and the Dingle Bird Club for providing records from their logs. R. P. Bagnall-Oakeley and the Editors of the Norfolk Bird Report and the Cambridge Bird Club Report kindly passed on relevant records and correspondence. P. J. Makepeace again produced the black and white vignettes. Records for 1973 should be sent as usual to the Editor at HĂ¤rtest Place, Bury St. Edmunds (telephone HĂ¤rtest 224) by the end of January next. Earlier Sufifolk Bird Reports. A few back numbers for 1961, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, and 1971 are still available from the Editor. The Year in Retrospect The high-light of a rather uneventful year was probably the successful breeding of two pairs of black-tailed godwits. This augers well for the re-establishment of the species in the county.
Furthermore, after an absence of several years in which no nest was recorded, the little ringed plover staged an impressive comeback, at least ten pairs being located, seven of which nested or tried to do so. T h i s species has possibly been under-recorded in past years. A m o n g resident species the kingfisher continues to do well but the green woodpecker shows little sign of increase: it is suffering f r o m the slaughter of the old hedgerow and parkland timber in w h i c h it delights. T h e smaller passerines seem to have done well, despite the wet, cold summer, and many observers commented on the abundance of long-tailed tits. Redpolls were also m u c h i n evidence and goldcrests seem to be approaching their pre-1962 levels. O f particular interest was the presence on the coast during much of the year of large parties of eiders—this after a long period of scarcity. T h e biggest flock of velvet scoters ever recorded in Suffolk also spent some weeks off Lowestoft. However, ducks i n general were not numerous and many waders, notably knots and sanderlings, were comparatively scarce. A l t h o u g h no new species occurred during 1972, two more can now be added to 1971's exceptional tally. T h e first was an example of Cetti's warbler, seen and heard i n song for some weeks at Minsmere, though it was decided not to publish the fact for the time being. T h i s is a further interesting spread northwards of this recent immigrant to Britain. T h e other newcomer was a blue-winged teal, shot on the River Deben i n October, w h i c h had been ringed some months before in N e w Brunswick. T h i s record was received too late for publication i n our last report. Another event of considerable interest d u r i n g the year under review was the arrival at Minsmere, w i t h i n a few days of each other i n June, of a terek sandpiper—the second for the county—and two broad-billed sandpipers. T h e terek carried two rings, so its past history and origin may perhaps become known. A great snipe was another interesting visitor. There was also a red kite, and a honey buzzard was noted at Walberswick for the second year running. A bar-headed goose, a barnacle goose, and two snow geese— some of w h i c h were local "escapes"—spent the winter of 1972/73 at Redgrave Lake, and on the coast a somewhat exotic air was provided throughout the summer by a little egret and a sacred ibis, the latter also an escape f r o m a local collection.
Migration (Based on information provided mainly by B. J. Brown, C. R. Naunton, G. B. G. Benson, B. Galloway, H. E. Axell, R. V. A. Marshall, M. Robinson, and M. Packard.) T h e weather, throughout the year, was most unseasonable, with all too little sunshine. On the other hand rainfall was very light, there was almost no snow and little severe frost during the two winters covered by this review. This certainly had some influence on the pattern of migration. T h e early months of the year were exceptionally mild throughout. Consequently almost no weather movement took place except during the last few days of January when a sudden spell of very cold northerly winds, with hard frost and drifting snow squalls, brought a considerable southward passage down the coast. This movement, made up largely of passerines, was particularly pronounced between Kessingland and Benacre. Here one observer, during a two hour vigil, watched redwings, bramblings, skylarks, linnets, starlings, and goldfinches, with smaller parties of lapwings and wigeon, Streaming south in scattered flocks. On January 17th—also in mist and snow—a similar mass movement but made up largely of waders, ducks, and geese, was noted in the same area, with parties of brent geese, oyster-catchers, and dunlins, as well as a total of some 3,000 shelducks, appearing every few minutes out of the mist. Also that day at least 250 pintails were observed passing south off Minsmere. T h e whole of February and much of March was mild and windless, with a spell of very warm weather in the latter part of March. During this period the first few chiffchaffs, swallows and martins, wheatears, and blackcaps straggled in. In contrast April was marked by almost continuous cold easterly winds, and spring passage was in consequence belated and protracted. May, too, was uniformly cold and wet, indeed on May 14th the temperature in west Suffolk was down to 42°F, and this type of weather prevailed for much of the summer although actual rainfall was much below average throughout. T h e first dribble of returning migrants was noted during the first fortnight of July when greenshanks and spotted redshanks occurred at Shotley.
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August was fine and dry with persistent easterly winds. Anticyclonic weather at the end of the month favoured the arrival of the first Scandinavian immigrants, with wheatears, redstarts, and whinchats predominating. At Lowestoft, on September 2nd, wheatears, three black redstarts, and a number of waders were recorded, as well as a kestrel seen Coming in from seawards. Swallows and martins, warblers of various kinds, and a number of curlews were also coasting south. Following heavy rain at Southwold on September 18th, a good "fall" of small passerines took place, including wheatears, whinchats, thrushes, goldcrests, and the first firecrest. Another marked "fall" of goldcrests and firecrests took place on October Ist and 2nd, when twelve of the latter were located in Lowestoft's Kensington Gardens. Immigrant kestrels, chaffinches, and golden plovers were recorded at a number of places on the coast about the middle of the month with large parties of fieldfares passing over Ipswich on October 20th. A lone woodlark occurred on the coast at Minsmere on October 7th, with more goldcrests, a reed warbler, and the odd ring ouzel at Lowestoft the same day. Laggard turtle doves were noted at Edwardstone, HĂ¤rtest, and Farnham in October. T h e usual immigration of starlings was reported from a number of areas during the first days of November and on November 5th a merlin was seen Coming in from the sea at Minsmere. Here too, on November 28th, eight bullfinches, which are infrequent passage birds, were noted travelling south down the shore. T h e most interesting passage movement of the autumn was noted at two places on November 19th. Off Benacre one observer recorded during one hour's watch a steady stream of geese, ducks, and waders including ten pinkfooted and 128 brent geese, and fifty-six wigeon, besides dunlin, teal, shelducks, and a goldeneye. Farther south at Slaughden another observer witnessed a protracted north to south passage against a south-easterly gale with intermittent drizzle. In two hours he counted 434 brent geese, two velvet scoters and a pomerine skua mingling with numerous parties of waders. T h e remainder of the winter was comparatively uneventful. W.H.P.
SYSTEMATIC L I S T
Records refer to single birds unless otherwise
1. Black-throated diver.—Only reported from Benacre on Nov. 25th ( B J B , D M ) and Dec. 17th (MR), and from Minsmere, Dec. 29th to 3Ist (HEA). 4. Red-throated diver.—Again only comparatively small numbers offshore between Lowestoft and Minsmere in both winters, with max. of c. ten in Dec. One in Ipswich docks for a few days in Feb. ( A M B ) and again on Nov. 25th ( P M , M M ) . One at Thorington Street, Jan. 14th ( R W G ) . 5. Great c r e s t e d grebe.—No complete count of breeding prs. was made for whole county but at least thirty prs. were reported, including those from two new gravel-pit sites. Wintering numbers included nine on R. Stour at Thorington Street in Jan. (AB) and ten, Sutton Ness, Dec. 17th (AEV). 6. R e d - n e c k e d grebe.—Fiatford Mill, Jan. 3rd ( G B T A ) ; Minsmere, Nov. 13th and 20th (HEA); Shingle Street, Dec. 17th to 21st ( M C , PC); Pakefield, Dec. 30th ( B J B ) . 7. Slavonian grebe.—Higher numbers recorded than for some years, with two or more on R. Orwell, one on R. Stour, one or two at Lowestoft/Oulton Broad, and one at Livermere during early months of year, and singles at Benacre and R. Orwell in Nov., and Dec. 8. Black-necked grebe.—Benacre Broad, Nov. 14th ( J W C ) and Boyton, Dec. 17th (MC).
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9. Little grebe.—Breeding numbers about average. Up to thirty in a flock in Ipswich docks, Jan and Feb. (AB, AMG et al). 14. Storm petrel.—One off Benacre, Jan. 14th, following north-east gale (MR). 16. Shearwater sp.—Singles off Lowestoft, Sept. 12th and Oct. 21st (CRN). 26. Fulmar.—The usual rather low numbers off the coast betvveen May and Sept. One in a freshwater dyke at Boyton on Oct. Ist was probably sick (SJB). 27. Gannet.—Present along the coast between spring and autumn, with particularly high numbers off Benacre in Aug. and Sept., including fifty-six Aying north on Aug. 28th (DM). An ad. inshore on Minsmere Scrape, Apl. 24th (HEA). 28. Cormorant.—Eighteen roosted on trees near Bures in Feb. (RWG) with odd birds farther inland on R. Stour as far west as Cläre, and at Livermere, Redgrave, and Bury B.F. ponds in autumn and winter. Up to sixty also roosted in group of dead oak trees at Melton in winter (MC, PC). Winter peaks also of sixty to seventy on R. Stour estuary (SEBG) and c. one hundred on R. Orwell (MM, PM). 29. Shag.—Dunwich, Jan. 13th (FKC); Ipswich docks, Jan. (AB); Minsmere, Jan. and Aug. (HEA); Freston, Dec. 16th (RWB). 30. Heron.—The Livermere colony dropped to nine or ten prs. (NJE, AEV); North Cove/Barnaby site had ten occupied nests (MC); numbers elsewhere showed little change. A pr. again nested in reedbeds at Minsmere. 31. Purple heron.—Minsmere: near ad. June 3rd to 6th, im. 14th to Aug. 24th. 32. Little egret.—There were reports, all probably referring to the same individual, between early May and early Oct., from many localities between Benacre and Havergate Island. 38. Bittern.—Breeding numbers were up to average. An im. at Belstead, Aug. Ist (AC). There were no winter records away from the coast.
42. Spoonbill.—Two ads. and three ims. were present at Minsmere between June 19th and 28th with odd ads. and ims. there on Apl. 30th, May 16th to 29th, May 19th, and July Ist to Aug. 4th (HEA). One at Brantham, R. Stour, July 23rd to 27th (SEBG). 45. Mallard.—Autumn numbers inland were high, viz., 623 at Livermere on Aug. 21st (NJE) and c. 550 at Redgrave New Waters in Sept. (WHP). 47. Garganey.—The usual number—about three prs.—bred at Minsmere (HEA); a pr. also present at Livermere for about a month from Apl. 9th (PJE, NJE, CAEK). Odd birds during Apl. at Boyton (AB), Reydon—a pr.—(DV), and Bury B.F. ponds on Aug. 3rd (CAEK). 48. Blue-winged teal.—Minsmere, Apl. 27th to 29th (HEA, JH et al). See also page 147 for first record for county. 50. Wigeon.—What appeared to be a European wigeon was present, with its brood, during the summer at Sudbury sewage farm (RVAM, WHP). It seems probable that the duck and her brood were the descendants of a pair of wigeon (European X American) which escaped from local collections some three years ago. Other inland records were of c. 120 at Livermere on Jan. 30th (PJE) and forty-seven at Tostock on Apl. 8th (RJC). Coastal numbers included a max. of 2,700 on R. Stour. 52. Pintail.—A pr. at Minsmere up to May 9th, with the m. present again from May 22nd, may have bred unsuccessfully (HEA). Two prs. at Woodbridge at end of Mar. (JELP). Up to 1,000 on the R. Deben in Dec. (GStJH). Up to four at Livermere in both winters (NJE, CAEK). 54. Red-crested pochard.—A pr. at Minsmere on Apl. 8th (GJJ). 55. Scaup.—A drake present at Reydon for some days in June (DV), while the Havergate duck again laid infertile eggs (RJP). Small winter numbers only. 57. Pochard.—Bred Havergate Island (RJP) and Benacre Pits (DA). Winter numbers included c. fifty at Benacre Broad, Oct. 28th (GLC, JM) and a mixed flock of 250 with tufted ducks at Lackford Pits (BT). Four at Härtest, Dec. 31 (WHP). 58. White-eyed pochard.—Trimley St. Martin, R. Orwell, Aug. 22nd (GJJ).
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60. Goldeneye.—A drake at Benacre Broad for some weeks in June (GJJ, DJP et al). In winter c. thirty-six on R. Onvell in Mar. (AB), c. forty on R. Deben in Feb. (GStJH), and c. fifty on R. Stour (SEBG). Up to four at Livermere, Jan. and Feb. (JNE). One, Thorington Street, Mar. 5th (RWG). 61. Long-tailed duck.—Between five and ten off Gorleston and Hopton in Nov. and Dec. (BJB, DD, DM). Also at least three—singles—on R. Orwell, R. Aide, and Easton Broad, during that time. 62. Velvet scoter.—Three off Kessingland on Jan. 22nd (BJB, DM) was only record for early months. By contrast the species was exceptionally numerous and widespread during latter months of year. On Nov. 9th, 102 were present off Hopton and Gorleston in Company with c. 500 common scoters and eight eider (DM). There were nine off Walberswick on Nov. 26th (GJJ) and up to six at Cliff Quay, Ipswich, during Nov. and Dec. (AB, AC, AMG, AEV et al). Small numbers also at Shingle Street and Easton Broad with four at Minsmere on Sept. 14th (HEA). 64. Scoter.—Again only small numbers—up to one hundred— offshore in both winters. Fifty off Minsmere at end of May. Up to six, R. Orwell, Nov. and Dec. 67. Eider.—Once again higher than average numbers were present on the coast throughout the year and particularly during Jan. and Feb. and Aug. to Oct. A peak of seventy-one off Gorleston on Feb. 13th, with fifty-seven still there a fortnight later (MJS) is the highest number so far recorded in Suffolk. At the same time there were twenty-one on the R. Orwell off Trimley (CDGC) while thirty-two had been present at Kessingland on Jan. 22nd (BJB). Odd birds also visited Minsmere and the R. Aide between Jan. and Mar. On Mar. 27th, forty-two were counted off Hopton (DM). Numbers feil during the summer though up to twenty remained off Easton and Benacre with odd birds also at Shingle Street (MC) and Leiston (FKC, AEC) in June and July. By Aug. 30th the Benacre flock had increased to thirty-five (many obs.) with eighteen at Lowestoft during the previous week (CRN). About thirty more were off Hopton at the end of Sept. (DM). Evidently a good deal of movement, to and fro along the coast, was taking place. Two eiders spent some weeks at Minsmere during Sept. and Oct., as did two more on the R. Orwell (SEBG). Numbers on that river rose, by the end of the year, to six (CDGC). The last big flock of the winter—contained up to fifty birds, mainly im., was reported from Dunwich on Oct. 25th (AB).
69. Red-breasted merganser.—Small numbers only occurred during both winters. Ten on R. Orwell in Jan. was the highest total reported. 70.
Goosander.—Very few reported.
71. Smew.—Fs./ims. only at Benacre and Minsmere during Jan. and one or two at Havergate in Feb. One, Purdis Heath, Feb. and Mar. and on R. Orwell, Dec. (MM, JM). Two, Thorington Street, Jan. 14th (RWG). 73. Shelduck.—Highest winter count was 1,500 on R. Stour in Feb. (SEBG). Three prs. at Livermere raised c. twenty young (NJE). 74. Ruddy shelduck.—The Freston (1971) bird was still there on Jan. 30th (GStJH). Egyptian goose.—A pr. were present at Fritton Lake in spring. A number also at Sotterley. This species has now been added to the British List. 75. Greylag.—Twelve at Bradwell, Feb. 29th (DM) and ten at Reydon for a few days in mid-Apl. (DV). At Minsmere between one and seven on a number of dates between Jan. and Apl. and two there on July 26th (HEA). Two at Livermere on Dec. 24th (RVAM) and Culford on Dec. 27th (PJE). 76. White-fronted goose.—Numbers on coast were well down on recent years with a max. of sixty-four on the south side of Breydon in Feb. (DM). No more than fifty at Minsmere and one other coastal area in Feb. A flock of up to seventy at the same place in Nov. In west Suffolk what appears to be a hybrid white-front was observed at Livermere, Gt. Barton, and West Stow. 78. Pink-footed goose.—Ten at Easton Bavents on Nov. 19th (CRN) and five at Minsmere, Dec. 27th (PJM et al). A few Single birds only recorded—including two dead on beach—from Breydon, Pakefield, and Dunwich. 80. Brent goose.—Numbers on the main wintering estuaries were again low with a max. of 200 on R. Orwell in Jan. (AMG). The usual passage birds noted along the coast, including 600 moving south off Minsmere on Nov. 19th. One bird was feeding on inland fields there (HEA).
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81. Barnacle goose.—Up to nine feeding with white-fronts on coast in Feb. (AB, CDGC, AW). One Livermere, May 21st (NJE) and one among Canada geese at Redgrave in Nov. and Dec. (WHP). 82. Canada goose.—For details of 1972 county survey see page 158. 84. Mute swan.—The R. Stour colony was down to a max. of c. 180. Between 100 and 130 in Ipswich docks in Aug. rising to 200 in winter. Eight prs. bred at Minsmere, one producing a brood of ten of which nine survived (HEA). 85. Whooper swan.—Twenty Aying south off Benacre on Jan. 30th (CRN). One at Benacre, Jan. 22nd (BJB, DM) and three at Minsmere, Jan. lOth to 12th (HEA). 86. Bewick's swan.—Numbers from Jan. to early Mar. were higher than in the early part of the winter with herds of about fifty recorded at Minsmere, Southwold, Leiston, and Havergate Island. Smaller parties also occurred at Boyton and Gedgrave and in west Suffolk at Risby where sixteen were noted Aying eastwards on Mar. lOth. The first autumn immigrants arrived at Minsmere on Oct. 19th but numbers remained rather below those of the previous winter, the largest herd reported being thirty-five at Sudbourne at the end of Dec. Parties of between seven and twelve were recorded on the Breckland rivers and meres from Oct. 22nd, with as usual much movement to and fro. 91. Buzzard.—At least three frequented the area Benacre, Walberswick, Minsmere, and Leiston during the early months of the year and there was one at Tunstall on Apl. 2nd. The first autumn bird was reported at Minsmere on Oct. 29th with three together for some weeks at Walberswick during Nov. and Dec. One at Freston, Dec. 27th (PM, MM). 92. Rough-legged buzzard.—Single records—probably of the same individual—from Minsmere, Walberswick, and Easton Bavents from Jan. 30th to late Feb. Another in much the same area from October to end of year. 93. Sparrow hawk.—A pr. nested, apparently unsuccessfully, at Minsmere (HEA) with another probable breeding pr. at Fritton (DM). Passage or wintering birds noted at twelve other localities. This shows very little improvement on recent years. 94.
Goshawk.—Walberswick, Sept. 7th (JGR).
95. Red kite.—One near Potter's Bridge, Southwold, on Mar. 19th (EWF, EGF), was also reported as a "probable" at Wangford later that day (per RPB-O). 98.
Honey buzzard.—Walberswick, Sept. lOth (GJJ).
99. Marsh harrier.—Two-and-a-half prs. bred at Minsmere, rearing two broods of two young each (HEA). There were also a number of reports from coastal localities from Benacre to Havergate in summer, autumn, and late winter. 100. Hen harrier.—Recorded irregularly from the Breck, Jan. to Apl., and as usual on and near the coast to Apl. 28th and again from Oct. 7th. 102. Montagu's harrier.—Passage birds only at Havergate between May Ist and 24th and on June 5th (RJP) and at Shotley on May 3rd (MP). 103. Osprey.—Rather fewer than in recent years. The only records were one at Harleston, on south side of the Waveney, on June 15th (DBG), and two from Blythburgh on Sept. Ist (PT) and Sept. 17th (GKB, BG) these two possibly referring to the same bird. 104. Hobby.—Spring/summer reports were from: Benacre Broad, May l l t h (MR); Minsmere, May 21st (HEA); Walberswick—same bird?—May 22nd and 23rd (RM); Benacre, May 25th (MR); Hollesley, June 7th (MC, GStJH); Havergate Island, July 27th (RJP); and Covehithe, Aug. 2nd (DM). Also one chasing martins at Coney Weston, June 13th (RNH) and a rather late bird at Benacre on Sept. 24th (GJJ). 105. Peregrine.—Only reported on coast early and late in year— four records in all, three between Jan. and Mar. at Benacre, Minsmere, and Havergate Island; the last at Lake Lothing in Dec. 107. Merlin.—Once again the number of passage and wintering birds on coast was very low. There were nine reports from the Breck, covering both winters. 110. Kestrel.—Comparatively few reports of nesting were received, suggesting that no rapid recovery has taken place. Most of those noted were on passage or wintering birds.
Partridge Red-legged partridge
As a result of the cold, wet weather at hatching time, which reduced the amount of insect life available, both species had a very poor year.
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117. Quail.—One or more were present throughout the summer at Woolverstone but breeding was not proved (JCR). 118. Pheasant.—Had a poor year with bags of wild birds about half the normal almost everywhere. 120 Water rail.—Probably present in summer and winter in suitable marshy areas, though not often recorded. Minsmere reports a very high population. 135. Little ringed plover.—After four years without a single breeding record, a sudden upsurge in numbers seems to have taken place, not less than ten prs. being located in the county during the summer. Breeding took place or was attempted in at least three localities in west Suffolk. At one site a nest with four eggs was found on May 21st, and one or more young probably fledged from this nest (ANS, WHP). At a second site a pr. were present all summer but no young were seen. Two prs. at a third site had running young with them on June 15th (WHP). Two more prs. were present at a site in mid-Suffolk all summer and at least one nest with eggs was located (per JCR). Two other prs. on or near the coast had eggs but final success was not proved (GLC, DJP, J S , DW). There were also the usual passage records. 136. Kentish plover.—Recorded only from Minsmere where there were up to three in Apl and May and one in July. 139. Grey plover.—A flock of 190 on R. Stour in Oct. (SEBG). One inland on Knettishall airfield on Oct. 14th (RNH). 140. Golden plover.—Wintering numbers were fairly high with flocks of 300 to 400 noted in inland Suffolk. 142. Dotterel.—One was present on the shore at Minsmere and Sizewell during the first ten days of Oct. 143. Turnstone.—Numbers on coast about average. Up to a dozen in Ipswich docks in winter, with one there July 29th (PM, MM). 146. Great snipe.—One at Benacre Ness, Sept. 14th (CRN) was the first in the county since 1958. 148. Woodcock.—Wintering numbers were higher than for many years. One seen carrying young at Livermere (NJE).
151. W h i m b r e l . — A flock of fifty-five to sixty at Shingle Street in early May (AB) is high for this species in spring. Normal numbers during autumn including a very late bird at Minsmere ( G J J ) and Leiston ( F K C ) on Nov. 18th. 154. Black-tailed godwit.—Two prs. bred "somewhere in Suffolk", fledging five young. Good wintering numbers included 557 on R. Stour in Sept. and 250 in Dec. ( S E B G ) . 155. Bar-tailed godwit.—Small numbers only during both winters. Seventy-five at Minsmere on Sept. 9th during an otherwise light autumn passage. 168. T e r e k sandpiper.—One in breeding plumage at Minsmere between May 19th and 22nd (HEA, P J M et al) was the second record for the county. 170. P u r p l e sandpiper.—Four present at Lowestoft in Jan. (AB) and six in Dec. (BJB). A bird trapped at Shingle Street in Jan. had been ringed there in Dec., 1963, and had probably returned in every subsequent winter (PC, MC). Odd birds also at Minsmere and Aldeburgh in Oct. 173.
T e m m i n c k ' s Stint.—Minsmere, May 21st to 23rd (HEA).
175. W h i t e - r u m p e d sandpiper.—Minsmere, Aug. 5th to iOth (HEA, CE, P J M , G J J et al). 179. C u r l e w s a n d p i p e r . — A very light spring and autumn passage. Peak numbers at Minsmere were forty on Sept. 30th (HEA). A late bird at Covehithe on Dec. IOth (GJJ).
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183. Broad-billed sandpiper.—Two at Minsmere. The first, present from May lOth to 20th was in winter plumage. The second, on May 23rd, was in füll breeding dress (HEA, PJM et al). 184. Ruff.—Rather small numbers in both spring and autumn on coast. Up to three on the Bury B.F. ponds in Sept. (PJE, CAEK). One at Shingle Street, Dec. 31st (SAW). 185. Avocet.—The Havergate colony of 110 prs. reared about thirty young (RJP). At Minsmere the colony increased to thirty-five prs. which fledged c. sixty-five young (HEA). A few birds were present at both localities almost throughout the year. 187. Grey phalarope.—Singles at Havergate, Nov. 4th (RJP), Walberswick for two weeks from Nov. 20th (HEC, DV), ar.d Pakefield groynes, Nov. 20th (BJB). 188. Red-necked phalarope.—Havergate, May 27th to 30th (RJP) and Minsmere, Aug. 8th (HEA et al). 189. Stone curlew.—Reported from eight coastal localities in which one or more prs. may have bred. One found dying at Brandeston, Nov. 16th (JELP). There was little information on the Breckland population. 193. Arctic skua.—A rather light autumn passage between July 4th and mid-Sept. 194. Great skua.—Minsmere, Jan. 15th (GJJ) was only winter record. Two autumn birds occurred at Havergate on July 21st (RJP) and singles—all in last week of Aug.—at Benacre (DM), Minsmere (HEA), Walberswick (PT), and Havergate (RJP), with one more off Minsmere on Sept. 13th (MRM). 195. Pomerine skua.—Two "probables" at Benacre on Aug. 7th (GBGB) and one at Slaughden, Nov. 19th (RVAM). 196.
Dunwich, Aug. 22nd (FKC, AEC).
198. Greater black-backed gull.—A roost on the R. Stour reached a total of 265 in Oct. (SEBG). 199. Lesser black-backed gull.—There was no information on the colony of this and the following species on Orford Ness, but it is believed still to be in existence. 200. Herring gull.—One pr. again bred at Minsmere and were seen to prey upon young black-headed gulls (HEA).
201. C o m m o n gull.—A pr. bred at Minsmere, but the young disappeared soon after hatching (HEA). This is the first breeding record for Suffolk. 202. G l a u c o u s gull.—Reported from four localities (singles in each case) on coast in Jan., Feb., and Nov. 203. I c e l a n d gull.—One at Aldeburgh, Apl. 4th (CRC) was only record. 205. M e d i t e r r a n e a n gull.—The Covehithe bird was again present from Aug. to year's end. Odd birds also visited Havergate on May 9th (RJP) and Minsmere in May, July, and Aug. (HEA). 207. Little gull.—Present in mainly small numbers along coast between Apl. and Dec. An im. inland at Livermere on Apl. 30th (PJE, NE). 208. B l a c k - h e a d e d gull.—About 400 prs. bred at Minsmere (HEA); 100 to 150 prs. bred at Bury B.F. ponds, rearing many young (WHP). A small flock was observed picking acorns off an oak tree at Kesgrave (JELP). 212. B l a c k tern.—Coastal passage between May and Sept., and a few inland in May and Aug. Numbers light. 218. A r c t i c tern.—A pr. bred at Havergate Island (RJP). Passage birds at Minsmere, May and June; Shingle Street, July; and Ipswich docks and Fritton in Aug. 219. R o s e a t e tern.—One or two at Minsmere/Sizewell in May and July. 222. Little tern.—The colonies on Orfordness and at Minsmere and Languard Point had fair breeding success. 223. S a n d w i c h tern.—The Minsmere colony numbered about 400, but the Havergate birds again failed to breed.
"Again most of the auk records referred to "oiled" birds, mainly dead. There were Razorbill i thirty at Minsmere in Jan. and thirteen Guillemot between Kessingland and Covehithe in Feb.
Little auk.—R. Orwell, Oct. 7th (AB).
P u f f i n . — A dead bird at Minsmere, Jan. 4th (HEA).
Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 16, Part 3
237. Cuckoo.—Numbers remain low almost everywhere though five juvs. in a half-mile length of hedge at Lavenham in July (CMS) and four others at Elveden on Aug. 3rd (CAEK) were encouraging. 241. Barn owl.—Reported from thirty-three localities, at nine of which it was known to have bred. 246. Little owl.—Was reported from twenty-four parishes, which is an increase of eight on last year. 248. Long-eared owl.—There was a striking increase in the number of records with ads. and/or young noted at Leiston, Westleton, Southwold, Walberswick, Minsmere, Blythburgh, Rendlesham and Martlesham, and at West Stow, Lakenheath, Mildenhall, and Brent Eleigh. A migrant seen on the shore at Minsmere on Oct. 3Ist. 249. Short-eared owl.—One pr. only bred at Havergate Island (RJP); noted also at one Breckland locality in Apl. (CAEK). 252. Nightjar.—Recorded from nine localities on coast and from Breck, where numbers were probably about average. 258. Kingfisher.—Recorded as present in or out of breeding season at nearly forty places. This appears to indicate a continuing build-up in numbers. 261. Hoopoe.—One at Tuddenham, near Ipswich, on the early date of Mar. 19th. Autumn birds at Leiston between Sept. 7th and 14th (DN et al) and Stansfield, Sept. 20th (per FCGW). 262. Green woodpecker.—Once again fairly widespread where suitable old timber remains, but still very scarce or absent from the "prairie" areas of south-west Suffolk. Of considerable interest is a record of one feeding on the tideline mud with waders at the Strand, Ipswich, Jan. 15th (AC). 265. Wryneck.—One pr. bred successfully near coast (GBGB). Three spring records from Saxmundham, May lOth (SPLS); Southwold, May 6th (DV); and Bamham, May 29th (CAEK). There was a small and rather late autumn passage between Aug. 27th and Sept. 23rd. All autumn records were from the coast except one from Lavenham, Sept. 6th (CMS). 271. Woodlark.—Breeding took place at at least four places near coast with the usual sprinkling also of Breckland reports. Migrants on coast were: three going north at Benacre on Mar. 18th (CRN) and one at Minsmere on Oct. 7th (HEA).
273. Shorelark.—Exceptionally high numbers occurred towards the end of the year, with parties and flocks of up to a score at Benacre, Easton, and Walberswick and between sixty and eighty at Minsmere in Dec. First autumn report was of two on Southwold golf course on Oct. 4th. Düring Jan. and Feb. a maximum of twenty-six was recorded from Slaughden. 277. Sandmartin.—At least three white young were noted in a brood at Southwold (CRN, DV). 278. Golden oriole.—One in a garden at Bury St. Edmunds, June 19th (KD); one heard and tape-recorded at Walpole, July 27th (GRD). 280. Carrion crow.—A flock of more than a hundred ads. and young counted at Fritton in June (DM). 281. Hooded crow.—Very local along coast, numbers being generally low except for fifteen at Dunwich/Westleton in Dec. (HEA). Recorded also from Breydon, Kesgrave, Wherstead, Sudbourne, and R. Onvell and from Livermere in the west. 290. Coal tit.—A migrant of the Continental race Parus ater ater was caught at Minsmere on Oct. Ist (HEA). 295. Bearded tit.—Again did well in its main areas on coast. About eighty prs. bred at Minsmere, followed by usual autumn eruption (HEÄ). Noted away from breeding areas at Boyton, July (PC); Bourne Park, Ipswich (AB); and Belstead—up to eighteen—Dec. (AC, PM, MM). Also at Ramsholt, R. Deben in Feb. (SJB) and Fiatford (RWG). On Sept. 30th, eight were seen to come in from east at Burgh Castle, later passing on westwards (DM). Of particular interest is the almost certain breeding at one site in west Suffolk where a m. was seen carrying food in July and three young were on the wing later. Fifteen were noted there in Oct. 25th when eruption northwards was observed (NJE). 300. Dipper.—An example of the black-bellied race occurred at Minsmere sluice on Oct. 18th (GAR per HEA). 302. Fieldfare.—A straggler, possibly injured, at Icklingham, July 8th (CAEK) and an early migrant on coast on Aug. 3Ist (DBC).
Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 16, Part 3
304. Redwing.—Three late birds at Aldringham, Apl. 26th and one there, May Ist (DN). 307. Ring ouzel.—Spring passage between Apl. 8th and May 15th and autumn passage to Oct. 21st were again rather light. 311. Wheatear.—Possibly one pr. bred on coast. On the Breck numbers continue low. At Icklingham, rabbit holes were apparently filled in before arrival of birds, which of course resulted in a decrease in nesting prs. Probably a minimum of fifteen prs. were present in seven Breckland localities ( M J F J ) . 317. Stonechat.—Six prs. bred near coast—an increase on last year—and wintering numbers were higher. There was at least one breeding pr. on the Breck, with a few winter records there too. 318.
Whinchat.—Numbers remain low in all localities.
320. Redstart.—All observers report a further decrease in breeding numbers. At Minsmere the population feil to c. twenty pairs (HEA). 321. Black redstart.—This species had a good year with three prs.—one being double-brooded—in Ipswich docks area (many obs.) and two at Sizewell (A. Cook); also three or four singing ms. at Lowestoft (CRN). Small numbers as usual on spring passage between Mar. and mid-May, and in winter. One at Bury St. Edmunds on Mar. 21st ( M J F J ) and three at Ness Point on Sept. 2nd (BJB). 322.
Nightingale.—Continues to decrease in almost all areas.
324. Bluethroat.—Gunton, Sept. 17th (B. Farrington per RPB-O). Two at Minsmere, Sept. 18th (PJM) and a m. which appeared to be the white-spotted form at Easton Bavents on Sept. 6th (CRN). 326. Cetti's warbler.—One in song at Minsmere between Mar. 14th to 23rd (HEA, PJM). See also page 148 for first Suffolk record. 329. Savi's warbler.—At least three prs. bred at Minsmere, where song first heard on Apl. 13th (HEA). Three or four prs. at Walberswick (DBC, GJJ).
SAVi'S W A R B L E R
340. Icterine warbler.—Two at Benacre pits on Sept. 9th were watched at close ränge for some time (MR). 343. Blackcap.—Over-wintering birds at Bury St. Edmunds, Jan. 3rd to 5th (M. L. Burroughs per MLN) and Ipswich, Feb. 7th (PM, MM). 344. Barred warbler.—Three were identified at: Hollesley, Aug. 28th (PC); Sizewell, Aug. to Sept. 20th (AEC, FKC); and near Minsmere, Oct. Ist (CAEK). 354. Willow warbler(?).—An albino example seen at Walberswick, Aug. 28th (JS, GLC). 357. Wood warbler.—Singing ms. were present at Martlesham, Apl. 12th (PM, MM); Eastbridge, May Ist (AEC, FKC); Bealings, May 8th (HJL); Thorington, May 14th and 15th (DJP); and Foxhall, June llth (PC). A nest with young, Elveden, June 15th (JCR).
Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 16, Part 3
364. Goldcrest.—As a resident has certainly recovered a great deal from post-1962 low. Good passage and winter numbers also in most areas. 365. Firecrest.—Singles at Southwold, Benacre, and Minsmere in Mar. and Apl., with one probable at latter locality in June and July (HEA). A strong autumn passage on coast between Sept. 19th and late Oct., included twelve at Lowestoft on Oct. 2nd, nine between Sizewell and Minsmere on Oct. Ist, and ten at Minsmere on Oct. lOth. 366. Spotted flycatcher.—There were a number of reports of a marked decrease but three prs. nested in one Härtest garden, two of the nests being within 8 yards of each other, the respective owners foraging in separate areas with a "no-go" zone between them (WHP). 368. Pied flycatcher.—Only spring report was of one at Southwold on May 7th (DV). A very light autumn passage from Aug. 12th, included singles at Bealings and Ipswich. 376. Tree pipit.—Numbers remain low near coast and in Breckland. 379. Water pipit.—Several on coast up to mid-Apl. and again from mid-Oct. at Covehithe, Minsmere, and Southwold, with four at latter place in Nov. and Dec. One at Belstead, Mar. 3Ist to Apl 7th (AC, PM, MM). 380. White wagtail.—Small numbers on or near coast in spring, including five at Theberton on Mar. 4th (FKC). 381. Grey wagtail.—Only breeding report was of a f. feeding young near Claydon, in July (JCR). More in winter and on coastal passage to end Nov. Eight at Minsmere in Oct. 383. Waxwing.—Small numbers remained on coast until end of Mar., nine at Woodbridge being largest party reported. A single only at Felixstowe on Nov. 13th (GJJ). 384. Great grey shrike.—Widespread in both winters, including three together on one heath. 388. Red-backed shrike.—The population on coast and in Breckland was probably much as last year—twelve to fifteen prs. near coast and a minimum of eight on the Breck.
391. Hawfinch.—Reported from Coddenham (AB), Foxhall (PM, MM), Covehithe(DM), and Thorington (PC)—all apparently new areas for the species. At Sibton aflockof c. forty including juvs. was observed in early autumn (PC), this is the largest number recorded together in eastern Suffolk. 394. Siskin.—Wintering numbers were generally low everywhere, though aflockof over 500 were present at Tangham in Mar. (PC, MC). Summer records were few with odd birds at Minsmere in June and July and up to forty at Fritton in June, with a pr. displaying there in May (DM). 396. Twite.—Only low numbers along coast. Two inland at Eriswell on Oct. 12 (CAEK). 397. Redpoll.—High numbers maintained in many areas, and included c. 150 on a sugar beet field in autumn (PJE). Mealy redpoll.—One at Southwold, Nov. 25th (CRN). 398. Arctic redpoll.—Oulton Broad, Nov. 5th (RSB). 404. Crossbill.—Very small numbers in Mar. and Apl. at Fritton, Tangham, and Rendlesham, and again from July to end of year at Minsmere, Oulton Broad, Walberswick, Dunwich, and Wickham Market, and also at East Bridge where twelve occurred on Sept. 16th. Highest Breck numbers were c. twenty-flve at Elveden in July. 408. Brambling.—Nowhere plentiful. 410. Corn bunting.—Numbers generally low, though there were forty-six together at Raydon in Jan. (ÄB). 422. Lapland bunting—Singles at Easton, Oct. 23rd (CRN); Minsmere, Sept. 18th (PJM); and Walberswick, Nov. 5th (FKC). 423. Snow bunting. Numbers were generally low, the largest flock was about seventy at Slaughden in Feb. (PC). ADDITIONAL RECORDS, 1971
48. Blue-winged teal.—The record of an im. m. shot on the R. Deben on Oct. 9th, 1971 (Dr. J. G. Harrison), was received too late for inclusion in the 1971 Report. The bird had been ringed in New Brunswick, Canada, on June 7th, 1971, so its status as a true immigrant is beyond doubt. NEW TO SUFFOLK. 261. Hoopoe.—Butley, May 19th (GBH).
Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 16, Part 3
326. Cetti's warbler.—A single bird in song at Minsmere between Mar. 29th and June 18th. Breeding was not suspected. NEW TO SUFFOLK.
ERRATA, 1 9 7 1
for 195. 196.
Pomerine skua.—Covehithe, Sept. Ist read Long-tailed skua.
"British Birds" Rarities Committee The following records are still awaiting a decision:— Desert bullfinch, Minsmere, 1971. Nutcracker, Dunwich, Dec. 30th, 1972.
FIRST A N D L A S T DATES OF SUMMER VISITORS,
Species House martin Chiffchaff Wheatear Sandwich tern Stone curlew Sand martin Swallow
First seen M a r . 15 M a r . 16 M a r . 22 Mar. 24 Mar. 25 Mar. 27 Mar. 31
Locality Woodbridge Shotley Icklingham Minsmere Elveden Minsmere Minsmere
Mar. 31 Mar. 31
Willow warbler Blackcap Garganey Sedge warbler Cuckoo Yellow wagtail T r e e pipit C o m m o n tern Garden warbler Redstart Grasshopper warbler Nightingale Reed warbler Lesser whitethroat Little tern Swift
Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl. Apl.
Whitethroat Nightjar T u r t l e dove Spotted flycatcher Whinchat
May 1 May 1 May 2 May 2 M a y 11
2 2 7 8 9 9 11 11 12 22 22 26 30
Minsmere Minsmere Southwold Rendlesham Minsmere Tangham Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Martlesham Minsmere Livermere/ Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Hinton
Last seen Dec. 5 Dec. 13 Nov. 8 Sept. 27 Nov. 16 Oct. 23 Nov. 25
Locality Sizewell Minsmere Southwold Minsmere Brandeston Minsmere Woolver-
Oct. Dec. Sept. Oct. Oct. Nov. Oct. Sept. Oct. Oct. Sept.
1 6 9 5 10 3 10 22 3 18 28
Minsmere West Stow Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere Stowmarket Minsmere Walberswick Minsmere Minsmere Minsmere
Oct. 13 Oct. 2 Aug. 30
Minsmere Minsmere Walberswick Melton / Minsmere Minsmere W e s t Stow Farnham Minsmere Minsmere
Sept. Sept. Aug. Oct. Oct. Oct.
20 24 28 24 11 14
Copyright: G. St.J. Hollis
Copyright: C. R. Nmmtoti
BIRD REPORT OBSERVERS C O N T R I B U T I N G RECORDS
G. B. T . Abbott D. Astin H . E. Axell Mrs. J. M . Axell G. B. G . Benson A. Botwright B. J. Brown R . S. Briggs G. K . Bruce S. J. Burnell A. A. Butcher A. L . Bull Miss N . P. Butler A. Cage R. G . H . Cant P. Catchpole M . Cavenagh H. E. Chipperfield N. G. C h a p m a n G. L . Clarke J. W . Clarke A. Clay F. K. C o b b Mrs. A. E. Cobb Mrs. E. Coe T h e Earl of Cranbrook W. Crowther C. G . D . Curtis C. R. C u t h b e r t M. Cunningham K. Degenhard D . A. Dorling G. R. Duval C. Evans N. J. Evans P. J. Ewins
E. W . Flaxman E. G. Flaxman W . J. French B. Galloway R. W. Gardiner Miss F. Gibson N . Gibbons A. M . Gregory D . B. Green R. H. Harrison J. Harvey G . B. Hoare G . St. J. Hollis Miss G . Houghton R. C. Howell R. N. H o p p e r J. K. Jackson J. Jacob M . J. F. Jeanes G . J. Jobson Lt.-Col. A. A. Johnson C. A. E. Kirtland H. J. Lee J. B. Longhurst P. J. Makepeace R. V. A. Marshall M . Marsh J. Martin R. Mabey Dr. A. P. McEldowney H . Medhurst Col. Mitchell C. M u r p h y M . R. Morley D . R. Moore C. R. N a u n t o n D . Nesling Dingle Bird Club
Miss M . L. Nixon R. J. Partridge O. B. Parker M . Packard W . H. Payn D . J. Pearson J. E. L. Pemberton H . Pease Miss Prime B. W. Renyard J. C. Robson M . Robinson G. A. Rope J. G . Rolfe M . J. Seago J. Shackles Miss I. Sherwood Mrs. C. M . Smith Mrs. S. P. L . Stevens T h e Earl of Stradbroke Stour Estuary Bird Group A. N. Sykes P. T Ă¤ t e B. Tickner D . Vaughan A. E. Vine F. G . C. W a y m a n R. B. Warren J. Warham T h e Hon. Mrs. J. Watson A. Westcott Mrs. D. Westcott J. P. Widgery S. A. Woolfries