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SUFFOLK BIRD REPORT FOR 1955 Sixth Annual Report RECORDS COMMITTEE : G. B. G. BENSON, W. H. PAYN,

F. K. COBB {Editor), F. C. C. COOK, DR. P. R. WESTALL, A. E. VINE.

THE winter was not a particularly severe one and nothing exceptional in the way of hard-weather visitors was noted ; Scaup for instance, were not plentiful and did not exceed thirty in any one party. Pintail, however, were present in larger numbers than previously, but this seems to be part of a trend which has been noticeable in recent years. Bewick's Swans were in higher numbers than usual, and again more numerous than Whooper Swans. Red-breasted Mergansers were on the Orwell in far higher numbers than in any recent years, as were Bar-tailed Godwits. Lapwings were reported as being much more numerous in several areas both in this winter and the following autumn. Up to ten Spotted Redshanks wintered in the Blyth area ; small parties of Shorelarks were recorded in two or three areas ; Glaucous Gulls again frequented Lowestoft Harbour ; Hooded Crows were decidedly scarce, but returned in more normal numbers in the following autumn ; no Great Grey Shrikes were recorded during the winter. The customary largeflockof Black-tailed Godwits wintered on the Orwell and Stour, the Blythflockappearing, as usual, towards the end of the winter ; winter records from the other estuaries were either nil or negligible. Bramblings may perhaps call for special comment, large flocks being present on the Stour and Orwell saltings in both this and the following winter. This species is usually regarded as being uncommon in Suffolk during the winter, at least in anything other than low numbers, owing, it is always suggested, to the absence of beech woods in the county, and these records of flocks feeding for some period of time on the saltings are therefore not without interest. In the breeding-season the cold spring probably caused havoc amongst the earlier broods, but this was more than redeemed by the exceptionally fine and warm weather which set in later on. Three pairs of Marsh Harriers and one pair of Montagu's Harriers bred ; Bearded Tits showed signs of a very successful season ;


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Avocets and Sandwich Terns again bred in larger numbers at Havergate and the former species had better breeding success than in the previous year. A few pairs of Garganey, three pairs of Grey Wagtails, one pair of Wood Warbiers, and the usual few pairs of Crossbills bred. T h e Wryneck enquiry produced two certain, and two probable records of breeding, with several records of birds which may have been breeding. At the time of going to press it is stated that only nine pairs were fully proved to have bred in the Country during 1955, and it seems therefore that Suffolk must be one of the few remaining strongholds of this now rare species. It is hoped that members will make every effort to record this species in future years. A census, by no means complete, of breeding Wheatears in East Suffolk showed a total of 68 pairs, and it seems possible that the lack of rabbits has had no great effect on the numbers of this species. Unfortunately, there are no previous figures to enable an exact comparison to be made, but in 1930 Ticehurst stated, " The sea-board here and there offers attractions to a few pairs, while farther inland the extensive heathlands north of Ipswich running intermittently to Dunwich are visited by a fair number." In the 1950 and 1951 Bird Reports, Wheatears were recorded as breeding only locally on East Suffolk heathland. Unfortunately most of this extensive heathland has now disappeared and it seems probable that ploughing has had a far greater effect on Wheatears than any excessive growth of grass due to lack of rabbits. A species which does seem to have been affected by the growth of Vegetation is the Woodlark, but here there is insufficient evidence to form a definite opinion. Rare visitors during the spring included four Golden Orioles, a Crane, Osprey, and two Mediterranean Black-headed Gulls. The occasional Buzzard and Hobby were recorded as usual, but Spoonbills were in only very poor numbers. Undoubtedly the most exciting event of this period was the appearance of a party of seven Bee-eaters which spent some days at Orford. From the dates these birds could not have been the three pairs which nested in Sussex, and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that these Orford birds also may have nested in some obscure sandpit in this country. The autumn coastal passage of night migrants was again a poor one, and amongst the waders, Wood Sandpipers and Little Stints were very scarce, with Curlew Sandpipers in only very small numbers. Two Roseate Terns in July may be the first record for Suffolk, as Ticehurst apparently did not feel satisfied with any of the old records. A Barred Warbier in August was only the third record for the county, while a Grey-headed Wagtail


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in September was only the second of this race. Lapland Buntings were present in September and again in October. A single Barnacle Goose, a Goshawk and an exceptionally late Nightingale occurred in October, the latter easily the latest date for the county and very nearly for the country. A Rose-coloured Starling was seen in November. Only one Ring Ouzel was recorded during the autumn. A single Ruff and up to twenty-five Spotted Redshanks were still present in late December. Little Auks were known to be present in the North Sea in considerable numbers, but very few were recorded immediately off-shore. A total of 211 species was recorded during the year. Acknowledgment is made to the following Societies for information supplied, and for permission to publish extracts from their Reports :—Cambridge Bird Club, Dingle Bird Club, Essex BirdWatching and Preservation Society, Lowestoft Field Club, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Copies of this Report, published as a separate reprint, may be obtained from the Editor, Old Hall Farm, Shotley, Ipswich, price three shillings.


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CLASSIFIED

NOTES

Species which were recorded as usual during the year are listed at the end of these notes. Numbers refer to the B.O.U. Check List (1952). 1. Black-throated Diver.—One Minsmere, Jan. 9th : one Havergate, Feb. 4th and 7th (RSPB). One Havergate, Nov. 4th (RSPB). 4. Red-throated Diver.—Records from many observers on coast and estuaries up to April 27th, and again from Sept. 15th, numbers small, most being c. 10 Minsmere, Oct. 15th (DJP). Inland—one at Needham Market, Feb. 9th - 20th (EFC). 5. Great Crested Crebe.—Breeding records from Holbrook, Livermere, Bures, Glemsford, Needham Market, and bred in average numbers at usual localities in Lowestoft area (ALB, EFC, ACCH, LFC, WHP, DW). R. Stour—numbers increased to 26 in March - April ; up to 17 from Sept. onwards (JMW). R. Orwell—26, Feb. - March (FKC), increasing to c. 50 in late March (CGC) ; in autumn a gradual increase to 30 + on Dec. 25th (FKC). Very few winter records from other estuaries and the coast. 6. Red-necked Grebe.—Single birds at Southwold, Jan. llth (BAC), R. Deben, Feb. 27th (AEC, FKC), R. Orwell, March 13th (CGC, FKC, JMC, ADR). Three (one adult) Southwold, Sept. 7th (RVAM), and the following records possibly refer to the same birds :—one Southwold, Sept. 8th and lOth, one Covehithe, Sept. lOth, two on 15th, three on 16th and one on 23rd (GBGB, BAC, FKC, RMG, GJJ, RVAM). One Havergate, Nov. Ist, 14th and Dec. 2nd (RSPB). 7.

Slavonian Grebe.—One R. Orwell, Feb. 13th (FKC). One Havergate, Oct. lOth, 24th, 26th and Dec. 15th (RSPB).

8.

Black-necked Grebe.—Two Benacre Pits, Jan. 9th (DW).

One Havergate, July 21st (RSPB) ; one R. Orwell, Nov. 20th (FKC) ; one Benacre Broad, Dec. 4th (DW) ; one R. Stour, Dec. 26th (FKC). 26. Fulmar.—Two Lowestoft, April 15th ( L F C ) ; one Minsmere, April 19th (RSPB) ; one Benacre, May 5th (FKC) ; one Covehithe, May 14th (FKC) ; two Pakefield, June 8th (LFC) ; one Southwold and Minsmere, June 9th (TF, RSPB).


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27. Gannet.—An adult at Lowestoft, Jan. 5th (LFC) ; a dead bird at Felixstowe, Feb. 4th (ACCH). A few seen from just within sight o£ land, July 26th and Aug. 12th (ICTN) ; nine Minsmere, Aug. lOth and one on llth (RSPB). Ten records of one and two birds from Sept. 8th to 24th at Benacre, Covehithe, Easton and Walberswick (JFWB, FKC, RMG, GJJ, RVAM, DJP, MP). A dying immature in a field at Kirton, Oct. 24th (ACCH). 28. Cormorant.—Recorded in usual numbers, most being 92 on R. Stour moorings during March (JMW). There were again reports of birds with markedly white heads and necks on Orwell and Stour during March. 29. Shag.—Two seen Aying with a Cormorant at Reydon, Oct. 12th (per DATM). 30. Heron.—Counts of occupied nests :—Herringfleet 7 : Walberswick 2 : Snape 5 or 6 : Methersgate 26—decrease probably due to tree-felling : Bawdsey nil: Ramsholt 3 : Stutton 6 : Eriswell 4 : Livermere 35. Two seen to come in from sea at Corton, 1820 hours, April 2nd and one on April 8th (LFC). 38. Bittern.—About 7 or 8 pairs bred at Minsmere (RSPB), and numbers of booming males about as usual on other marshes. On one small marsh a bird with large white patches in the carpal region was seen from April 14th to 17th ; the white markings showed clearly when a screen of reeds hid the remainder of the plumage. A similar bird was later seen by the Warden at Minsmere who watched it booming. As the small marsh normally contains only one booming male, and at this time two were booming, it seems likely that the aberrant bird was driven away (EMB, GBGB, BAC, FKC). 42. Spoonbill.—One Minsmere, April 13th, 15th and 17th, up to three daily between May 21st and 27th (RSPB), one May 28th (HRB) ; one Walberswick, May 22nd (EMB, ADR) ; one Blythburgh, Oct. 9th and 16th (DJP) ; none recorded at Breydon or Havergate. A very poor year. 45. Mallard.—Peak figures are, 172 Breydon during Jan. (RHH) : c. 350 Walberswick, Dec. 4th (DJP): c. 400 Aide, March 19th (AEV) : 400 Havergate during Dec. (RSPB) : c. 100 Deben, Feb. 27th (ALB). 46. Teal.—Peak figures are, c. 100 Breydon, Oct. - Nov. ( R H H ) : c. 100 Blyth, Dec. ( D J P ) : c. 300 Walberswick, Oct. 26th ( G B G B ) : c. 600 Aide, Dec. lOth (MP): c. 5000 Havergate, Oct. - Nov. (RSPB): c. 800 Deben, Feb. 27th (ALB): c. 50 Orwell, Dec. lOth ( F K C ) : up to 200 Stour during winter (JMW).


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47. Garganey.—Bred at Minsmere and up to 7 seen at one time (RSPB). Up to 2 males at Walberswick from April 8th to May 15th (FKC, per DATM) : a male Reydon, March 20th (BAC), and a pair May 29th ( L F C ) : a male Bawdsey, April 18th (JLFP) • a pair at Covehithe, April 14th (GT). 49. Gadwall.—Bred at Minsmere, largest number seen together being 60 (RSPB). Bred at Walberswick, largest number c. SO Oct. 23rd (DJP). Very small numbers in Breck (ALB); 20 - 30 Fornham St. Martin in autumn, less in winter (WHP). Recorded away from breeding areas :—one Havergate, May 3Ist, June Ist to 3rd, and 12th (RSPB) : one Bawdsey, April 16th (ACCH) : two Nacton Decoy, Nov. 14th (ACCH): one R. Stour, Feb. 20th (ALB): pair Fiatford, March 14th to 30th (JMW). 50. Wigeon.—c. 1500 Breydon, Jan. 30th (RHH): c. 1500 Aide, March 19th and Dec. lOth (MP, AEV): c. 10,000 Havergate, early Nov. (RSPB): c. 550 R. Deben winter (HRH): c. 2000 Orwell, Dec. 17th ( F K C ) : 3500 Stour, Dec. l l t h (EBWS). 52. Pintail.—Peak figures are, 78 Breydon, Feb. 20th (RHH) : 100 Aide, March 19th (AEV): c. 150 Havergate, Nov. (RSPB): c. 300 Deben, Feb. 27th (FKC): c. 100 Orwell, Dec. 17th (FKC): 20 Stour, March 12th (JMW). 53. Shoveler.—Bred at Benacre, Easton, Reydon, Walberswick and Minsmere ; up to 20 at Walberswick in August (DJP), and up to 40 at Minsmere (RSPB) ; small numbers as usual in Breck (AEV). Peak winter figures are, 60 Aide, March 19th (AEV) : c. 120 Havergate, Dec. (RSPB) : c. 40 Orwell, Dec. 3rd (FKC) : nearly 100 Stour during winter (JMW). 55. Scaup.—Seven Breydon, Jan. 18th (RHH) : two Benacre, March 24th - April 3rd (GB, FKC) - one Easton, April 14th (GT) : one Reydon, March 18th (GBGB): one Havergate, Feb. 17th (RSPB): 10 Deben, Jan. 28th - March 19th (HRH) : c. 30 Orwell, Jan. 29th and 22 Feb. 26th (FKC) : c. 20 Stour, Jan. (JMW). Three Breydon, Nov. 20th (RHH) : two Easton, Dec. (GBGB): one Blyth, Sept. 18th (DJP): one Minsmere, Nov. 12th (DJP) : one Snape, Nov. (GK, PAS): one Havergate, Sept. 18th (RSPB): 14 Stour, Dec. 26th (FKC).


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56. T u f t e d Duck.—One pair bred at Boxted for second year in succession (per GAP). One brood at Bury Beet Factory (AEV). 12 pairs Livermere, April 1 Ith (ALB). Five pairs Barton Mere Feb. 27th (EFC). In winter small numbers as usual on coast and estuaries. 57. Pochard.—No breeding records in Breck, up to 40 Livermere in Feb. (AEV). In winter small numbers on coast and estuaries ; c 100 Stour Jan 30th (JMW). 60. Goldeneye.—Peak figures are, c. 60 Orwell, Jan 16th (MP), and Dec. 24th ( F K C ) : 120 Stour, Jan. 23rd (EBWS) : otherwise only reported in small numbers. In West Suffolk, a female at Livermere, Feb. 5th and 6th (AEV). 61. Long-tailed Duck.—One Easton, Nov. 13th to 20th (BAC, L F C ) : a female Lowestoft, Dec. 2nd : two Corton, Dec. 17th (LFC). 62. Velvet Scoter.—At least two Hopton, Jan. 9th : a female Benacre, Jan. 13th : two Covehithe, March 13th ( L F C ) : one Orwell Häven, March 18th (ACCH). c. 20 Dunwich, Sept. 14th (JFWB), c. 12 Oct. 8th (DJP), and one Oct. 1 Ith (per D A T M ) : a male Lake Lothing, Nov. 7th (LFC). 64. C o m m o n Scoter.—Flocks of several hundreds recorded at various points along the coast; c. 5,000 at Hopton, Jan. 9th and c. 2,000 at Kessingland, Oct. 30th (LFC). 67. Eider.—An immature male Lowestoft, Dec. 8th to 3 I s t : Single females at Easton, Nov. 20th, and Benacre, Dec. 4th ( L F C ) : up to three females or immatures at Walberswick, Oct. 29th Dec. l l t h (EMB, F K C , DJP, MP, DW) : a female Havergate, Dec. (RSPB) : four females or immatures R. Orwell (six miles up river), Dec. 3rd (FKC). 69. Red-breasted Merganser.—In R. Orwell, where not more than three recorded in any year since recording began in 1950, a very considerable increase :—13 on Jan. 29th and 30th, numbers then increased to 30 + on Feb. 26th, c. 35, March 13th, and the last record was of nine on March 30th (ALB, CGC, F K C , RVAM, M P ) ; recorded again on Nov. 20th, when three were present, numbers increased to 25 by Dec. 3Ist ( F K C , DW). Two pairs R. Stour, Jan. 30th (JMW), and three males, Feb. 19th (EFC) : one Lake Lothing, Jan. 23rd ( L F C ) : one Minsmere, Aug. 25th (RSPB) : up to four Havergate irregularly, Jan. - Feb. and Nov. (RSPB).


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70. Goosander.—A female R. Deben, Feb. 27th (ALB). A male and two females Benacre, Nov. 27th (LFC). 71. Smew.—Six Breydon, Feb. 20th (RHH) : two Benacre, Jan. 6th (JFWB) : three Walberswick, Jan. 22nd (FKC) : 16 Fiatford, Feb. 2nd : 10 R. Stour, March lOth (JMW). 75. Grey-lag Goose.—Six Falkenham, Feb. 27th (ALB). Two Minsmere, April 17th (BAC) : one Havergate, May 29th, Oct. 22nd, and two Oct. 26th and 27th (RSPB). 76. White-fronted Goose.—Recorded Aying in from sea in varying numbers over Corton, Lowestoft and Oulton Broad during Jan. - Feb., and on Dec. 24th : c. 15 flew in at Easton, Jan. 30th (LFC). Heard calling at Westleton in fog, Jan. 22nd (FKC, MSVO). 78. Bean Goose.—One with injured wing at Easton, Jan 30th, was caught and kept in captivity until it escaped on Feb. 22nd (LFC). 78. Pink-footed Goose.—Three Havergate, Jan. 5th to 8th (RSPB): one Livermere, Feb. 5th and 6th (AEV). One Benacre, Oct. 8th (per DATM) : one Southwold, Nov. 3rd (BAC) : two Walberswick, Dec. 18th (DJP) Grey Geese—? Species.—26 Westleton, Jan. 3 Ist (MSVO) : two Walberswick, April 12th (GBGB) : c. 30 Lowestoft, Dec. 12th (PRW) : five Walberswick, Dec. 30th (DJP) : four Westleton, Dec. 31st (DJP). 80. Brent Goose.—Five Breydon, Jan. 15th and eight on 30th (RHH) : one Lowestoft, March 27th : one Lake Lothing, April 4th and 5th (LFC) : 12 Reydon, Feb. 26th - March Ist (GBGB, BAC) : c. 30 R. Blyth, Feb. 27th (GBGB) : four Walberswick, Jan. Ist (GBGB) : c. 12 Dunwich, Jan. 5th (JFWB) : up to 50 Havergate, Jan., 37, Feb. 28th (RSPB) : eight North Weir Point, Feb. (RSPB) : 10 Shingle Street, March 17th (WHR), and six, April 3rd (HRB, C G C ) : up to 15 R. Orwell, Jan. - March (CGC, FKC, ACCH, RVAM): up to 200 R. Stour, Jan. - March (ALB, EFC, FKC, EBWS, JMW). Four Walberswick, Dec. 1 Ith (EMB, FKC): two Sept. 18th, Havergate—a very early date, one Nov. 3rd and Dec. 13th (RSPB) : six R. Orwell, Nov. 20th (FKC): up to 60 R. Stour, Dec. 27th (EFC). 81. Barnacle Goose.—A single bird at Minsmere, Oct. 7th, Easton and Benacre on 9th, Reydon on 12th and 13th, Walberswick on 14th and 15th (BAC, FKC, per DATM, CCN, DW, PRW).— All records presumably relate to the same bird.


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82. Canada Goose.—Up to 109 at Livermere, Feb. 27th (EFC), three broods in July (AEV). Up to 10 at Barton Mere and up to 19 at Culford, March - April (ALB, per AEV). Pairs at Flempton, Bury Beet Factory and Lakenheath in May (AEV). Two Benacre Broad, April lOth to May Ist (FKC, GT, LFC). 84. Mute Swan.—The B.T.O. Swan Census showed that 66 pairs bred in the county and that there were 466 non-breeding birds—figures include R. Stour in south but not R. Waveney in north. The R. Stour winter flock totalled 740 on Nov. 13th (EBWS). 85. Whooper Swan.—17 Breydon, Jan. 8th and nine on 30th (RHH) : two immatures at Benacre, Easton and Reydon, Jan. 5th - March 27th (GB, GBGB, LFC, DW) : five Minsmere, Jan. 9th (EMB) : one Havergate, March 4th - 31st (RSPB) : the 1954 R. Stour bird remained with Mutes until Jan. 30th (RVAM, MGT), six there on Feb. 20th (ALB) : up to 12 Fiatford, Jan. 20th - March 8th (JMW). 86. Bewick's Swan.—Up to 12 in Covehithe, Easton, Reydon area from Jan. 2nd to March 13th (GBGB, JFWB, BAC, LFC) : up to 46 Minsmere from Jan. 9th to March 20th (EMB, GBGB, FKC, BK, MSVO): one R. Stour, Jan. 30th ( M G T ) : up to 15 Fiatford from Jan. 23rd to March 8th (JMW). An immature Fiatford, Nov. 23rd (JMW) : two adults Easton Dec. 29th (GBGB, BAC). 91. Buzzard.—One Westleton, March Ist and 15th ( L F C ) : one Minsmere, May 23rd (RSPB) : one Orford, June 5th (JF). One Minsmere, Aug. 7th, 22nd and 31st (BAC, per DATM, RSPB). 94. Goshawk.—One seen to come in from the sea at Dunwich, 1100 hours, on Oct. 17th, and perch on top of cliffs, where it remained for two or three minutes (TE). Füll details were submitted and the bird seems to have been almost certainly an immature. 99. Marsh Harrier.—At Minsmere two pairs bred, rearing four and three young respectively (RSPB). A pair bred on another marsh and while they certainly reached the feeding-young stage, there was no proof that young flew (GBGB). Recorded in every month from coastal marshes. One at Framlingham, April 15th (DATM).


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100. Hen Harrier.—Recorded up to May 5th, and from October onwards at several localities near coast; most records of single birds, occasionally two : a male and two females at Walberswick Jan. 2nd (JFWB). 102. Montagu's Harrier.—One pair bred successfully. Recorded from May 4th to Aug. 20th at several localities near coast. In West Suffolk a female hunting a Breck heath, May and Tune 3 3 (AEV). 103.

Osprey.—One Blundeston, April 24th (LFC).

104. Hobby.—One Aldeburgh, June 5th ( I C T N ) : one Felixstowe, June 29th (JLFP) : one Walberswick, Sept. 14th ( F K C ADR) : one Minsmere, Oct. 8th (DATM, KTM). 105. Peregrine.—One Bawdsey, Jan. 26th ( J L F P ) : single birds at Havergate, Jan. - Feb. (RSPB) : one Minsmere, April 21st V (per DATM). Single birds at Havergate, Sept. (RSPB): one Shingle Street, Sept. 21 st ( J L F P ) : one Minsmere, Oct. 7th (per DATM) : one Walberswick, Oct. 9th (EMB, FKC). Inland—one Hitcham, Nov. 30th (ALB). 107. Merlin.—Single birds at Havergate, Jan. - March (RSPB). Females at Walberswick, Oct. llth (per DATM) and Dec. 4th (DJP), at Blythburgh, Dec. 23rd (DJP), and at Shotley, Dec. 25th FKC). One Benacre, Nov. 6th ( L F C ) : single birds at Havergate, 5 Sept. - Dec. (RSPB). 119. Crane.—One Aying over Walberswick marshes on May 25th (RBB, GSR), and one, almost certainly the same bird, seen the same day at Westleton and again on the 26th (EMB, MSVO, RSPB). Reported by farm-workers as being present at Westleton on May 24th. 121. Spotted Crake.—One or two Minsmere from April 26th to 30th (RSPB). 125. Corncrake.—One Walberswick, Aug. 31st (DJP) • one Shotley, Sept. Ist (MP). 127. Coot.—In R. Orwell, the Freston flock reached a maximum of c. 150 on Jan. 8th, and that at Woolverstone, c. 200 on Feb. 5th (FKC). In the following winter only the Woolverstone flock formed, and a solitary bird was present from Nov. 7th to Dec. 1 Ith—a lonely fore-runner of a flock which later totalled 700 ! On Dec. 17th 11 were present, increasing to 45 on the 24th f F K C V RVAM). c. 400 Benacre Broad, Feb. llth (BAC). One caught in a hen-run at Higham in Nov. (per C).


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131. Oystercatcher.—The usual breeding records on coast and the following records on estuaries :—at least two pairs bred Breydon (RHH) : three or four pairs Blythburgh (FKC, DJP) : one pair Hemley (AW) : one pair Nacton—nine miles up stream v (ACCH). Largest numbers during autumn and winter were on R. Orwell, with c. 60, Sept. 12th (ACCH) and c. 50, Dec. 18th (CGC). 133. Lapwing.—Winter flocks reported :—c. 1000 Havergate, Jan. 17th and c. 500, Nov. - Dec (RSPB) : up to 500 Hitcham (ALB) : c. 500 Blythburgh, Dec. 3rd ( D J P ) : more numerous autumn and winter than for many years and flocks of 300 to 500 reported from many localities (LFC). River Alde/Ore, March 19th, all coastal fields covered by many thousands ; every half-hour 300 /400 flew north, with small parties in between (AEV). 135. Little Ringed Plover.—Two south side Breydon, Aug. 7th (per MJS). 139. Grey Plover.—Recorded in all months, numbers small apart from c. 60 Holbrook, Jan. 30th (FKC) and c. 80 Breydon, March Sth (RHH). 140. Golden Plover.—Up to c. 200 in winter at Breydon, Easton and Reydon (LFC) : 3 0 0 + Sudbury, Feb. 12th (WHP). Many records of spring and autumn passage birds in small numbers. Three of the Northern form at Reydon, March 28th and eight on April Ist (BAC). 143. Turnstone.—Recorded in all months, numbers small, apart from the following records :—31 Havergate, Aug. 26th and 58 on 27th (RSPB): 72 R. Orwell, May 2Ist ( F K C ) : c. 50 Holbrook, Jan. 9th (FKC). Counts were made at Orwell Häven :—250, March 18th ; 80, April 28th ; 70, Aug. 15th; 150, Aug. 20th ; 300, Sept. 12th ; 250, Dec. 5th (ACCH). 145. Snipe.—Four in from sea at Walberswick, 1700 hours. Sept. 14th (FKC). 147. Jack Snipe.—Recorded up to April 20th and from Sept. 3rd. 148. Woodcock.—In East Suffolk, roding reported at Eyke, Rendlesham, Butley, Westleton and Blythburgh (GB, FKC, AEV). In West Suffolk, exceptional numbers during winter (WHP). 150.

Curlew.—Six or seven pairs bred in Breck (EB, AEV).


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151. Whimbrel.—Spring passage from April 15th to June 19th ; autumn from July 16th ; last seen Oct. 16th at Havergate (RSPB). A peak of c. 60 on Aug. 23rd at Havergate (RSPB). In West Suffolk, one Elvedon, May 7th (AEV). 154. Black-tailed Godwit.—R. Orwell: winter records of up to 250, with c. 200 still present on March 20th (EFC, FKC). Recorded again on Oct. 5th, when c. 100 present, c. 150 on lOth, c. 180 on 16th, and c. 380 on 17th, then spasmodic records of up to 300 until Dec. 3rd (CGC, FKC, ACCH, RVAM, MP). Düring November birds were not feeding in the Orwell, butsimply using the saltings at high spring tides, and there were no records after Dec. 3rd. When disturbed from the saltings, the flocks flew overland in the direction of the Stour, some 2\ miles distant at this point, and it was suspected that they had transferred their feeding ground to the more extensive mud-flats of that river. This was confirmed when c. 400 were seen there on Dec. 26th (FKC), and it seems probable that records from these two rivers mostly relate to the same birds. Other R. Stour records are of c. 100, Oct. Ist, 260 on 2nd, and 70 on 4th (EFC, JMW). R. Blyth : the usual spring flock built up from one on Feb. 12th to 130 on March 12th, with a peak of 1 5 0 + on April 3rd ; 136 were still present on April 16th, after which numbers feil rapidly (GB, GBGB, FKC, DJP, ADR, MJS, GT). This flock normally appears in February or early March, and is thus at least a month earlier than the main spring passage movement on the coast. There are not sufAcient records to decide whether it coincides with a reduction in the Orwell /Stour flock. Other Blyth records are of nine, July 3rd, three, Sept. 7th and c. 20, Dec. 3rd (ADB, FKC, DJP). R. Butley : 14 on July 17th, increasing to 65 on 31st, up to 32 in August, up to 50 in Sept., and 66 on Oct. 2nd (JFWB, FKC, GMSE, RMG, ACCH, DSI, GJJ, DATM, MP, MJS, JMW). Autumn birds seem to appear considerably earlier on this river than on the other estuaries. There are no spring or winter records, possibly owing to lack of observers. Havergate : One, Jan. 14th and irregularly Feb. - March : regularly from mid-April, reaching a peak of c. 50 in May : smaller number until in August up to 140 seen regularly, numbers thereafter decreased : up to 21 seen occasionally in Nov. - Dec. (RSPB). Probably these and the R. Butley records relate, at least to some extent, to the same birds. R. Deben : one Jan. 26th, and 30, March 27th (EFC, JLFP), the only records. R. Aide: one April l l t h (DJP), the only record. Breydon : one July 9th (RHH), the only record.


BIRD REPORT

343

There are also the following passage records : three Herringfleet, Sept. 14th (LFC) : from one to 20 at Reydon, March 20th to May 16th, one, June 18th, July 4th and Sept. 4th to lOth (RAB, FKC, T F , LFC, DJP, GT) : up to eight Walberswick, April - May, with c. 30 on April 30th, two Sept. lOth and one on 17th (EMB, FKC, DJP) : up to 30 irregularly throughout season at Minsmere (RSPB). In West Suffolk, two Livermere, July 23rd (AEV). 155. Bar-tailed Godwit.—R. Orwell, up to c. 80, late Jan., reaching a peak of 110, on Feb. 14th, c. 40, March 13th, and 16 on 20th—far higher numbers than have been recorded in recent years : up to 12 in Dec. (EFC, FKC, MP). R. Stour, c. 25, March 12th, and 76 on Oct. 2nd (FKC, JMW). Recorded on coast in small numbers, spring and autumn passage : at Havergate passage most marked, April 25th to May 12th, and Sept. - Oct. (RSPB) : 20 at Breydon, Oct. Ist (RHH). 156. Green Sandpiper.—In winter, c. 12 at Flempton (WHP). Spring, one West Stow, April 18th (WHP) : two Minsmere, April 23rd, and one May 3rd (RSPB). Autumn passage from mid-July to early Oct., numbers usually small apart from—up to 15 R. Stour (JMW), nine R. Blyth, Sept. 3rd (DJP), up to 45 West Stow, Aug. 9th, and 30 on 24th (AEV). Two Easton Broad, Dec. 8th (BAC): one R. Blyth, Dec. 3Ist (GBGB). 157. Wood Sandpiper.—There were no spring records. One Bawdsey, July 25th (JLFP) : one Minsmere irregularly in July, three Aug. Ist, one reguarly last half Aug. (RSPB) : up to four Havergate, Aug. 2nd to Sept. 21st (RSPB) : one Reydon, Aug. 24th (BAC), and one on 3Ist (MSVO) : one Lowestoft, Aug. 30th to Sept. lOth—on ruined sea-wall, an unusual habitat for this species (LFC). A poor year. 159. C o m m o n Sandpiper.—Recorded on March 3rd at Fiatford (JMW), otherwise spring passage from April 23rd to end of May, numbers small. Autumn passage from July lOth, most from mid-August to early September. Last seen, one R. Blyth, Oct. 16th (DJP). 162. Spotted Redshank.—Recorded in all months, Reydon to Minsmere area ; highest numbers recorded in each month :— Jan.—10, Feb.—6, March—4, April—10, M a y ^ f , June—1, (on 26th, the only record), July—6, Aug.—17, Sept.—32, Oct.—22, Nov.—2, Dec.—25, (many observers).


344 BIRD REPORT Other records, one or two irregularly at Havergate in Jan., and from July to Sept. (RSPB); one or two Butley, Aug. 16th (GMSE, DSI) ; one Covehithe, Sept. 7th (RVAM); three Benacre, Sept. 16th (RMG) ; two R. Stour, Sept. 29th (JMW), and one Oct. 9th (PT) ; one R. Orwell, Dec. 3rd and 17th (FKC). 165. Greenshank.—First recorded, March 12th, R. Stour, when seven were present (JMW), otherwise few spring records, mostly single birds, up tofirstweek in June. Autumn passage from July 1 Ith in fair numbers at many localities; late records are, one Walberswick, Nov. 5th and 6th (FKC, DJP), one Easton on lOth (BAC), one Breydon on 19th (RHH), single birds irregularly at Havergate during Nov. (RSPB), and one R. Deben, Dec. 16th (HRH). In West Suffolk, one at Livermere, July 23rd, and two West Stow, Aug. 24th (AEV). 170. Purple Sandpiper.—Up to three Lowestoft, Jan. 29th to March 13th, and up to five, Aug. 30th to end of year (LFC) : one Walberswick, Oct. 28th (JMW). 171. Little Stint.—Single birds at Minsmere, May 17th, July 22nd and 25th ; two Havergate, May 5th, thereafter one or two recorded occasionally until Sept., when numbers increased to six, last recorded, Oct. 8th (RSPB). One Walberswick, May 22nd (ACCH). Up tofiveat Covehithe, Sept. 3rd to lOth (TF, RMG, RVAM). One Walberswick, Sept. 18th to 24th (BAC, FKC, GJJ, DJP). One Reydon, Sept. 24th (LFC ). A poor year. 179. Curlew Sandpiper.—The only spring records are of one Havergate, April 30th, and one or two irregularly in May (RSPB) : one Reydon, May 16th (GBGB, BAC). In autumn, one Walberswick, July 23rd and 24th, and up to five from Aug. 17th to Sept. 17th (EMB, RAB, RGB, FKC, EFC, GMSE, TF, DSI, AFM, RVAM, DJP). Up tofiveat Reydon, Sept. 16th to 24th, one on 29th and Oct. 5th (JFWB, BAC, GJJ, MP). Single birds at Minsmere, Aug. 8th and 26th (RSPB) and two on Sept. 15th (GJJ). Two Snape in Sept. (GK, PAS). One R. Blyth, Sept. 7th (ADB). 181. Sanderling.—The only winter records are of one Lowestoft Jan. 15th to Feb. 18th (LFC) : up to 20 at Breydon (RHH) : 30 R. Stour, March 13th (JMW) : one Walberswick, March 21st (GB). Recorded in small numbers on spring and autumn passage. 184. Ruff.—In spring, one Reydon, April 15th (GBGB, DEP) : three R. Blyth, April 19th (DJP): one Minsmere, April llth (RSPB) :firstrecorded at Havergate, April 13th, up to six seen daily in May (RSPB).


BIRD REPORT

345

Up to six Reydon from July 18th to Oct. 13th (JFWB RAB FKC, T F , RMG, GJJ, LFC, AFM, DATM, RVAM, Djp[ MP), and one Nov. 1 Ith and 16th (BAC) : up to seven R. Blyth Aug. lOth to Sept. 15th (ADB, FKC, GMSE, DSI, D J P ) : up to six Walberswick, Aug. 17th to Sept. 5th (RAB, FKC, GMSE T F , DSI, AFM, DJP), and one Dec. 18th (FKC, DATM) : one Minsmere, July 24th, up to three last three weeks in Aug. : up to 15 Havergate, July 27th to Oct. 5th (RSPB) : one Bawdsey, Aug. 2Ist, up to four Sept. 24th to 26th (JLFP) : one R. Deben Aug. 28th (ALB). 185. Avocet.—At Havergate two on March l l t h , thereafter numbers built up until 66 pairs bred : 219 young hatched, although probably only about 100 reached Aying stage : a continued increase and a much greater breeding success than last year. By October, numbers had decreased and in November up to five were seen occasionally : two on Dec. l l t h (RSPB). Other records are of one Breydon, June 25th (RHH) : one Reydon June 5th, 18th and two on Sept. 2nd (GBGB, FKC, T F , A and JS) : a pair R. Blyth from March 12th to April 16th (EMb' GB, GBGB, ADR, MJS, GT). Two Walberswick, June l l t h (TF) : up to four Minsmere irregularly throughout season (RSPB) : four Iken, July 8th, five on 30th and four Sept. 14th (TE, RMG GK, PAS). 188. Red-necked Phalerope.—Two Havergate, (RSPB) : one Benacre, Oct. 23rd (LFC).

Sept.

8th

189. Stone Curlew.—In East Suffolk breeding recorded in the following areas :—Alderton, Aldringham, Blythburgh, Butley, Chillesford, Covehithe, Dunwich, Easton, Hinton, Hollesley, Nacton, Newbourne, Rendlesham, Shottisham, Sizewell, Sutton, Walberswick, Wantisden, Westleton. There are probably a few pairs breeding in most parishes in the coastal strip from the Orwell estuary, north to Covehithe. First recorded, March 23rd. A gathering of at least 50 at Westleton in September. 193. Arctic Skua.—Single birds at Minsmere, April 22nd May 28th, June 26th and 27th, July 7th, 9th and 22nd, two on Aug. 9th, one Oct. 9th (HRB, BAC, D and EL, RSPB) : one Walberswick, Aug. 21st, another on 25th (DJP) : one Thorpeness, July 25th (per DATM) : one Havergate, May lOth, one or two irregularly in July (RSPB) : one Pakefield, Sept. 22nd (LFC). 194.

Great Skua.—One Covehithe, Sept. 8th (RVAM).

199. Lesser Black-backed Gull.—Recorded March 22nd to Nov. 30th, and one Southwold, Jan. l l t h to 28th (BAC).


346

BIRD REPORT

202. Glaucous Gull.—At Lowestoft Harbour and Lake Lothing, a 2nd year bird, Jan. 5th and April 14th, a 3rd year bird, Jan. 18th, Feb. 2nd and 6th. Single immatures at Lowestoft, Pakefield and Covehithe between Jan. 2nd and March 13th, two on Jan. 13th (LFC). An immature Easton, March 13th (GBGB). One (probably 3rd winter) Southwold, Dec. 24th (GBGB). 205. Mediterranean Black-headed Gull.—One Havergate from April 9th to June 25th, two on April 16th and 17th (RSPB). 207. Little Gull.—A dead bird Benacre, April lOth ( D A T M ) : one Mmsmere, April 17th and up to three between July 21st and Aug. 12th (RSPB) : an immature Easton Broad, June Ist (KVE) : an immature Walberswick, Aug. 23rd (DJP) : one Benacre, Sept. 18th (LFC) : a dead immature Easton Broad, Sept. 21st (GJJ, MP). 208. Black-headed Gull.—c. 800 pairs bred Havergate (RSPB). At least 40 nests Bury Beet Factory (AEV). 211 Kittiwake.—Recorded in all months on the coast, mostly Single birds and never more than five. 212 Black Tern.—One Walberswick, July 23rd, Aug. 9th, l l t h three on 15th, one on 17th and 19th (EMB, GBGB, FKC, G M S E DJP) : one Easton, May 3Ist (KVE) : one Reydon, June 4th (LFC) : two Minsmere, June 19th and July 24th (WHR, Ts u

S h l n g l e S t r e e t > M a y 2 5 t h > t w o J u n e 5th and July (CGC, J L F P ) : two Havergate, April 25th, one May 13th, up to 14 from May 25th to June 6th, thereafter up to eight seen irregularly, last seen, Sept. l l t h (RSPB). In West Suffolk, one Livermere, May 31st (per AEV).

217. Common Tern.—Breeding colonies were recorded as follows :—c. 28 pairs, Walberswick (FKC, T F , DJP) : c 80 pairs Havergate ( R S P B ) : c. 100 pairs North Weir Point (RJP) • one pair Shingle Street (CGC, JLFP). Peak passage at Walberswick from Aug. 6th (c. 150) to 16th V ( 3 0 0 + ) (EMB, FKC). ' 218. Arctic Tern.—Single birds were identified irregularly from June to end of season at Minsmere : one Havergate, May 17th (RSPB) : one Lowestoft, Aug. 23rd and 24th : one Pakeheld Aug. 29th, two on Sept. 7th, one on lOth ( L F C ) : one Walberswick, July 23rd and two on Aug. 16th (EMB FKC) • one Reydon, Aug. 18th (GMSE, DSI). f ° u n d d e a d a t Benacre, on Aug. 20th was ringed as adult, 8.6.53, East Frisian Islands (MJS). 0

?L9Ü Tern.—Two at Havergate, July 8th, 9th, 17th and lotn (KbPB).


BIRD REPORT

347

222. Little Tern.—The following breeding colonies were recorded c. 15 pairs Bawdsey (ACCH, JLFP) : 12 to 15 pairs Shingle Street (ACCH, JLFP) : c. 20 pairs North Weir Point (RJP) : 1 pair Havergate (RSPB) : c. 25 pairs Minsmere (RSPB) : c. 12 pairs Walberswick (TF, DJP) : c. 28 pairs in two colonies Southwold (TF) : a small colony at Benacre /Kessingland (LFC). There is probably a colony on Orfordness : no records have been received from the area between Aldeburgh and Minsmere. First seen, April llth, at Havergate (RSPB), and last seen, Sept. 28th at Shingle Street (JMW) A marked passage throughout September at Shingle Street with 36 on the 28th (JMW). Inland records are, three Fiatford, May 13th (JMW), and one Livermere, May 3Ist (AEV). 223. Sandwich Tern.—c. 180 pairs bred at Havergate, a further increase (RSPB). Recorded as usual on the coast: first seen, April 2nd and last seen, Oct. 13th, at Havergate (RSPB). 224. Razorbill.—A dead bird at Benacre, Jan. 9th (DW) : one Dunwich, Feb. 27th (HRB). One Dunwich and Minsmere, Aug. 15th (GMSE, DSI, R S P B ) : one Southwold, Sept. 7th (RVAM), two on 9th and three on lOth (BAC) : five Easton, Sept. lOth (DJP) : one Minsmere, Oct. 15th (DJP) : one Havergate, Nov. 3rd and Dec. 15th (RSPB): one Southwold, Dec. 2nd (BAC) : one Dunwich, Dec. llth and 25th (HRB). 226. Little Auk.—One Southwold, Oct. 23rd : one Hopton, Nov. 12th, and one dead on 15th : one Covehithe, Nov. 13th (LFC) : one dead Felixstowe, Nov. 15th (ACCH) : two dead Minsmere, Nov. 20th (HRB), and three Aying north on 25th (RSPB) : one dead Westleton, Nov. 21st (MSVO). 227. Guillemot.—One Easton, Jan. 5th (GBGB) : one dead Minsmere, March 22nd (GB), and one April 24th (RSPB). One Southwold July 1 Ith (TF) : one Havergate, July 26th (RSPB) : several oiled birds at Walberswick during August (DJP), one Nov. 6th and Dec. llth (FKC, DJP) : one Southwold, Sept. 6th (BAC): one (bridled) Pakefield, Sept. 6th (LFC) : one Covehithe, Sept 14th (RMG) : one Benacre, Oct. 9th (DW) : one Minsmere, Oct. 8th (DJP), and dead birds on Nov. 20th and Dec. 24th (HRB). 230. Puffin.—One Minsmere, Oct. 15th (DJP). One picked up at Higham on Oct. 25th was taken to Fiatford Mill pool, where it remained for two days (JMW). One picked up at Long Melford on Nov. Ist was released at Rushbrook (WHP). A dead bird at Walberswick, Nov. 6th (DJP). An immature, R. Orwell Dec. 25th (FKC).


348

BIRD

REPORT

235. Turtle Dove.—First seen April 2nd, at Fiatford (JMW), and last seen, Sept. 27th, at Shotley (MP). 237. Cuckoo.—First seen, April 4th, at Ipswich (EFC), and last seen, Sept. 17th, at Kelsale (LFC). 248. Long-eared Owl.—Three pairs at Herringfleet, one pair at Fritton, one pair at Lound (LFC). Three or four in winter at Risby as usual (WHP). 249. Short-eared Owl.—Single birds in three different areas of Orfordness, on July 17th, may indicate breeding there (FKC). Otherwise recorded as usual up to April 24th and from Aug. 7th. 252. Nightjar.—First May 7th, Minsmere (RSPB), and last Sept. 25th, Walberswick (FKC). 255. Swift.—First seen May Ist, at Ipswich, Haverhill, Walberswick and Lowestoft (CGC, FKC, LFC, AEV), last seen Sept. 23rd, at Reydon (GJJ). The following movements took place :—At Bawdsey, a heavy S. to S.W. movement, June 20th to 24th and June 29th to July 6th, especially heavy on June 24th, 29th, 30th, July 3rd and 5th, often involving several hundreds of birds in a period of about 10 minutes (JLFP). At Southwold, from about 0800 hours on June 29th, birds were passing S., for at least one hour (TF). At Minsmere, two movements South took place, June 28th - 29th and July 3rd - 4th, much of it on the heaths, but concentrated on the shore in rain, or just after rain. On July 3rd, an estimated c. 1500 passed in five minutes (2103 - 2108 hours), then a storm came up and the movement stopped abruptly, those present at the time (c. 120) Aying out to sea (D and EL). At Havergate, passage reached a peak of c. 1000 in last half of June (RSPB). ' 259. Bee-eater.—A party of seven were at Orford from Tune 2nd to 5th. First seen around the village allotments they spent most of the time afterwards in feeding round the edges of a mustard field and anorchard, Coming into the village gardenseach evening, perching on clothes-lines, etc., and retiring to roost in a fir tree promptly at 2045 hours. Frequently seen perched on the telephone wires in three pairs, with the odd bird slightly apart from the others, and one bird of each pair was seen to feed its partner on several occasions ; food appeared to be mainly bees. They were last seen and heard at 0415 hours on the 5th, and apparently left the district at about this time (RJP). 261. Hoopoe.—One Easton, April 24th (per C ) : one found dead at Stowmarket, May 3rd (ADR) : one Nacton, May 14th (CB) • one Yoxford, May 17th to 21st (MSVO).


BIRD REPORT

349

265. Wryneck.—Two pairs certainly bred and another two pairs probably bred. One pair at Nacton, six young seen with parents, July 3rd (HWD, WHR, LR, DW). One pair at Westleton, at least four birds present on July 3rd, and seven seen on Aug. 19th (EMB, FKC, GMSE, DSI, MSVO). A pair present in summerat Aldringham, first seen, May 15th (KSCG). Calling heard at Copdock for many weeks during breeding season (FMP). Other spring records, which may indicate breeding, are, one Blythburgh, May 15th and June 6th (LFC, HJCS) : one Snape, June 5th (LFC) : one Westleton (not near breeding site), April 8th, llth and 12th (BAC, MSVO): one Walberswick, April 30th and May Ist (DBC) : one Nacton (not near breeding site), May 7th (per ACCH) : one Minsmere, June 17th (RSPB) : one Mildenhall, April 7th and 19th (per J F M ) : one found dead at Butley in late May (per JFM). In autumn, one Lowestoft, Sept. Ist (LFC) : birds, possibly locally bred, were reported at Westleton from Aug. 19th to Sept. Ist (EMB, RAB, RGB, AFM, RSPB). 273. Shore Lark.—Up to five at Walberswick from Jan. Ist to 7th (GBGB, JFWB) : up to five at Minsmere from Jan. 23rd to Feb. 20th (EMB, HRB, BK, MSVO, DW): three Dunwich, Feb. 27th (HRB) : five Havergate, Jan. 27th and two, March 24th (RSPB). Three Lowestoft, Oct. 23rd, and one on 28th and 29th (LFC) : two Havergate, Nov. 26th (RSPB) : two Walberswick, Nov. 27th to Dec. 18th (EMB, GBGB, FKC, DATM, DJP, DW). 274. Swallow.—First seen March 25th, at Havergate (RSPB), and last seen, Dec. 13th, at Corton (LFC). 276. House Martin.—First seen, March 20th, at Reydon (LFC), and last seen, Nov. 13th, at Nacton (PC). Young still in nest at Ipswich on Oct. 28th (AW). Passage at Bawdsey, from Sept. 12th to 20th, heaviest on 12th, when 5 0 0 + passed S.W. during a short afternoon watch (JLFP). 277. Sand Martin.—First seen, April 5th, at Hitcham (ALB), and last seen Oct. 16th, at Easton (GBGB). 278. Golden Oriole.—Males were recorded as follows :—one Minsmere, May 28th and 29th, and one June 19th (RSPB) : one Nacton, May 30th and 31st (CB), and one June 5th (HH).


350

BIRD REPORT

281. Hooded Crow.—Recorded on coast up to March 3Ist, in very low numbers, and again from Oct. 30th, when more numerous. In West Suffolk, nine West Stow up to April (per AEV). 282. Rook.—A census of rookeries in Newmarket and district on March 20th, showed a total of 402 nests. This is a decrease of 66 on 1954, and of 123 on 1952, in the latter year Rooks may have been near " Saturation point " in this area (Bishop's Stortford N.H.S., per AWPR). (MSVO)' 110 ™

T h e o n l y r e c o r d of

breeding is at Westleton

Recorded out of the breeding season at Stansted, Bures and Edwardstone (WHP), Saxmundham (DATM), Blythburgh(EMB), St. Olaves (LFC). 295. Bearded Tit.—Bred in the usual areas and on at least two marshes there were indications of a good breeding season, and consequent mcrease in numbers. On one marsh, where the species was nearly extinct after the 1953 flood, at least 50 were seen on Oct. 30th. 302. Fieldfare.—Up to 1000 Havergate, Jan. 14th to 21st (RSPB) Last seen, May 3rd, at Walberswick (FKC, RVAM). Recorded agam on Oct. 15th, at Reydon (LFC). Well over 500 arrived at Hitcham, on Oct 16th (ALB): continuous passage began at Fiatford on Oct. 19th and continued until the 26th (JMW). /Der, R e d w i n S - — U p to 1000 at Havergate, Jan. 17th to 24th (RSPB). Last seen April 26th, at Blundeston (LFC), recorded again Oct. 2nd, at Fiatford (JMW). 307. Ring-Ouzel.—Two Westleton, April 24th (RA, AEL) • two Blundeston, April 24th, and one on 26th (LFC). (MSVO) 11 ^

a U t U m n r e c o r d is o f o n e a t

Westleton, Oct. 7th to 9th

311. Wheatear.—In East Suffolk breeding was reported as follows two pairs Waldringfield (AW) : c. 37 pairs Sutten Heath (HH) : two pairs Shingle Street (CGC, WHR) : two pairs Sizewell (HRB, EFC) : six pairs from Sizewell to Minsmere Sluice (EFC) : four pairs Westleton Heath (EFC, F K C MSVO) • at least 15 pairs Blythburgh/Hinton (PM). At Shottisham, three pairs prospected rabbit holes up to May 26th, then all disappeared (JLFP). First seen, March 22nd, at Minsmere (GB), and last seen, Oct. 28th, at Cattawade (JMW)


BIRD REPORT

351

The following were claimedasprobablyoftheGreenlandform:— seven Sudbourne, April 29th (HP): 12 Westleton, May 3rd (FKC) : one trapped at Walberswick, May 3rd (DBC) : one Holbrook, May llth (ALB): two Reydon, May 12th (BAC) : one Hitcham, May 16th (ALB) : c. 20 Nacton, May 19th (ACCH) : one Gorleston, May 20th (LFC). 317. Stonechat.—One pair bred at Westleton (FKC, GMSE, DSI, MSVO, DEP). A pair at Sutton, March 27th and a male seen on many occasions throughout the breeding season probably indicated breeding there (HRB, CGC, HH, DW). A male at Snape, April 23rd, again later in breeding season, and in July (GK, PAS). Two pairs at Ingham, May 28th, but no evidence of breeding (EFC). Odd birds and an occasional pair seen Jan. to March and Oct. to Dec., at Gunton, Pakefield, Easton and Southwold, but no breeding records (LFC). One Havergate, March 23rd and Sept 8th (RSPB). Three or four Walberswick, Jan. 2nd (JFWB). Two Brantham, Jan. 30th (PT). One Minsmere, March 22nd (GB). Two Walberswick, Oct. 9th (DBC). Two Sizewell, Oct. 9th (HRB). One Minsmere, Nov. 12th (DJP). One Westleton, Nov. 26th and Dec. 3rd (DJP, MSVO). 318. Whinchat.—Bred in fair numbers. First seen April 26th at Havergate (RSPB), and last seen, Sept. 25th, at Benacre (LFC). 320. Redstart.—First seen, March 26th, at Pakefield (LFC), and last seen, Sept. 24th, at Lowestoft, (LFC). 321. Black Redstart.—There was no breeding recorded at Lowestoft (LFC). One Bures, March 29th (WHP): one Lowestoft, April Ist and Corton, April 3rd (LFC) : one Sudbourne, April 4th (HP) : one Dunwich, April lOth (DEP), and two at Minsmere (RSPB). One Westleton, Sept, 17th (FKC) : one Lowestoft, Oct. 23rd (LFC). 322. Nightingale.—First seen April 7th, at Stowmarket and Reydon (EFC, LFC). Last seen on Oct. llth, at Minsmere (per DATM)—an exceptionally late date, füll details were submitted. 327.

Grasshopper Warbier.—Recorded in several areas.

333. Reed Warbier.—First seen, April 18th, at Fiatford (JMW), and last seen, Sept. 17th, at Walberswick (DJP). 337. Sedge Warbier.—First seen, April 12th, at Walberswick (GT), and last seen, Sept. 24th, also at Walberswick (FKC).


352

BIRD REPORT

343. Blackcap.—First seen, April 7th, at East Bergholt (JMW), and last, Oct. 23rd, when two trapped at Walberswick (DBC). 344. Barred Warbier.—An immature trapped at Walberswick on Aug. 29th (DBC). 346. Garden Warbier.—First seen on April 1 Ith, at Coddenham (LFC), and last seen, Sept. 21 st, at Havergate (RSPB). 347. Whitethroat.—First seen, April 16th, at Hitcham (ALB), and last seen, Oct. Ist, when one trapped at Walberswick (DBC). 348. Lesser Whitethroat.—First seen, April 26th, at Havergate (RSPB), and last, Sept. 29th, when one trapped at Walberswick (DBC). 354. Willow Warbier.—First seen, March 27th, at Covehithe (LFC), and last seen, Sept. 20th, at Westleton (LFC). 356. Chiffchaff.—First seen, March 24th, at Haverhill (AEV), and last seen, Oct. 9th, at Corton (LFC). 357. Wood Warbier.—At Minsmerefirstrecorded on April 15th, and seen and heard at two places throughout the season, nesting at one (RSPB). The following singing males were also recorded :—Brandon, May 30th to June 2nd (AWPR) : Westleton, April 20th (RA, AEL): Dunwich, May 9th (DAR): Walberswick, June 5th (HJCS). 366. Spotted Flycatcher.—First seen, April 26th, at Shotley (FKC), and last seen, Sept. 23rd, at Sproughton (CGC). 368. Pied Flycatcher.—The only spring record was of one at Lowestoft on May 5th (LFC). Autumn passage from Aug. llth to Sept. 22nd in fair numbers, most in second half of August. In West Suffolk, two at Eriswell, Oct. 8th (EFC). 376. Tree Pipit.—Bred in good numbers at Walberswick, Blythburgh, Westleton, Staverton, Sutton, Nacton and Foxhall. First recorded, April 15th, at Westleton (MSJS). 379. Rock Pipit.—Recorded up to March 21st and from Oct. 380. Pied Wagtail.—Up to c. 150 at Fiatford, from late Sept. to Oct. 3rd (JMW). White Wagtail.—One Benacre, April lOth (per DATM). One Lowestoft, Sept lOth (LFC): three with Pied Wagtails in late Sept. at Fiatford (JMW).


BIRD REPORT

353

381. Grey Wagtail.—In East Suffolk, one pair again nested successfully at Ellingham (LFC). In West Suffolk, one pair nested Mildenhall, and one pair at Flempton (NBO). Up to seven at Fiatford Mill in spring and autumn (JMW) : one Needham Market, April 9th (AEV): one Minsmere, May Ist (RSPB) : five (two juveniles) Benacre, July 31st (LFC) : two Ipswich, Oct. 17th (DAC): one Lowestoft, Dec. 5th (LFC). 382. Yellow Wagtail.—First seen, March 26th, at Havergate (RSPB), and last seen, Oct. 8th, at Lowestoft (LFC). Blue-headed Wagtail.—One Minsmere, April 18th (RSPB) : one Leiston, May 7th (FKC) : one Benacre, May 27th (TF) : one Reydon, Aug. 24th and 28th (BAC). Grey-headed Wagtail.—One with a party of Yellow Wagtails at Thorpeness on Sept. 4th (WCD)—very füll field notes were submitted. 384. Great Grey Shrike.—The only records are of one Leiston, Oct. 22nd (GK, PAS): one Walberswick, Oct. 26th (GBGB), and one there, Nov. 13th (FKC). 388. Red-backed Shrike.—First seen, May lOth, at Reydon (LFC), and last seen, Sept. 29th, at Lowestoft (LFC). 390. Rose-coloured Starling.—One (DDN)—füll details were submitted. the same bird was seen by a resident of days afterwards, feeding with Starlings

at Leiston, Nov. 23rd What seems probably Leiston for a number of near where first seen.

391. Hawfinch.—Recorded at East Bergholt, Shotley, Woolverstone, Ipswich, Nacton, Staverton, Butley, Sudbourne, Leiston, Great Glemham, Corton, Lackford and Fornham St. Martin (ALB, FKC, ACCH, LFC, K T M , HP, WHP, AW, JMW). 393. Goldfinch.—A flock of c. 40 at Hitcham, on Sept. 5th, feeding on chicory seed, increased to c. 300 on 13th, reached a peak of over 500 during October to early November, numbers falling to 20 - 30 by end of month (ALB). C. 300 feeding on seapurslane at Cattawade, during November (JMW). 394. Siskin.—Two Westleton, March 13th (MSVO) : two Minsmere, April 12th (RSPB) : Small parties of up to 20 in Herringfleet /St. Olaves area, Jan. - March and Oct. - Dec. ( L F C ) : two Pin Mill, Dec. 17th (FKC). 396. Twite.—Up to c. 40 Walberswick, Jan. Ist to Feb. 14th, and up to c. 30, Nov. 6th to end of year (ALB, GBGB, BK, DJP, DW) : c. 20, Minsmere, Oct. 8th and 15th (DJP) : up to 12 Lowestoft, Easton, and Breydon, Sept. 29th to Nov. 6th (LFC).


354

BIRD REPORT

FRedpoll. Suffolk.

Recorded in usual areas in both East and West

f i woD-f° S S j i l L _ S m a 1 1 n u m b e r s b r e d in West Suffolk as usual (AVVrK), and average numbers bred in Herringfleet/St. Olaves area ^Lr L). , ^ « Ü T * - . M a r C h 1 3 t h ( L F C ) : s i x Leisten, April l l t h (per Ü A i M ) : six or seven Friston, July 17th (JP). 408

Brambling.—Odd birds recorded in several areas up to

X J w w x x m 3 0 B a w d s e y > J a n - !9th (JLFP): c. 50 Rougham, Feb 4th (WHP) : up to c. 300 at Cattawade, Jan. - Feb. (JMW) : 40 Stradishall, April 3rd (AEV). ' Recorded again from Oct. 8th : up to c. 150 Woolverstone in n T P ? 6 ' -c ( C o a C ' F K C ' M P ) : U P t 0 3 0 Blythburgh in Dec. (GBGB, f w S m ' ^O Leiston Dec. 6th (DJP): c. 50 Härtest, in Nov. WadC m NoV 5th (ACCH) " ( J M W ) : c" 5 0 Felixstowe, Dec. 422

\ , f ^ p l a n d B u n t i n g - — O n e Pakefield, Oct. 31st (LFC) • two Walberswick, Sept. 14th to 29th (EMB, FKC RSD T F , J J ' r ^ ; T M P ) : f ° u r there, Oct. 6th, one on l l t h and' 14th per DATM) : one Minsmere, Oct. llth, and one Benacre, Oct. 12th (per DATM). 433.

Snow Bunting.-Recorded up to Feb. 20th, and again

F T 20°th (JMW)

m

°derate

n U m b e r s o n coast

-

10 a

t Brantham,

THE FOLLOWING SPECIES WERE RECORDED AS USUAL : —

Y M l e ^ e b e : J 7 3 " S h e l d u c k : 93. Sparrow Hawk : 110. Kestrel: 15. Red-legged Partridge: 116. Partridge: 118. Pheasant: 120 Water Rail : 126. Moorhen: 134. Ringed Plover: 161 Redshank : 169. K n o t : 178. Dunlin : 198. Great Black-backed £ o , ' ™ f n ? g „ . G u U : 2 Ü L Common Gull: 232. Stock ^ ^ e o n •• 241. Barn Owl: 246. Little Owl: 247. Tawny Owl: 258. Kingfisher : 262. Green Woodpecker : 263 Greater Spotted Woodpecker : 264. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: 271. Woodlark: 272. Skylark: 280. Carrion Crow: 283. Jackdaw : 284. Magpie : 286. Jay : 288. Great T i t : 289. 292 T ' t e 9oV M 0 V C °u a l " M a r s h T i t : 2 9 4 " Long-tailed T i t : 296. Nuthatch : 298. Tree Creeper: 299. Wren 301 Mistle Thrush : 303. Song T h r u s h : 308. Blackbird:' 325.' 1 Hedge pj s f ^ ® ' ^ Sparrow •' 373. Meadow Ä ' u 3 8 9 " , n S . t a r ^ g : 3 9 2 " Oreenfinch: 395. Linnet: 401. Bullfinch: 407. Chaffinch: 409. Yellowhammer: 410. Com Bunting: 421. Reed Bunting : 424. House Sparrow: 425 Tree


BIRD REPORT

A D D I T I O N S AND

355

CORRECTIONS

1951 [Baikal Teal (Anas formosa).—Afemale was captured at Nacton Decoy, during November and after living for nearly three years in an aviary at Ipswich, and at Härtest, has been lent to the Severn Wildfowl Trust where it now is (WHP)]. While there appears to be no possibility of this bird being an escape from captivity in this country, a number have been kept on the Continent, particularly in Holland. Many of these birds have been very wild, and some full-winged ones have escaped. Consequently, while the bird may have been a genuine wild vagrant, there was not sufficient evidence for it to be treated as an addition to the British List.]

1953 381.

Grey Wagtail.—One pair nested R. Lark (NBO).

1954 7. Slavonian Grebe.—One Lowestoft Harbour, Feb. 9th to March 12th (LFC): one Havergate, Feb. 20th (RSPB): one R. Orwell, Feb. 28th (FKC): two Benacre, Feb. 28th ( L F C ) : one, in summer plumage, at Covehithe, April l l t h to 22nd (GB GBGB, FKC, GJJ, MJS, TFS, DITW, PRW). One Havergate, 8 Nov. 8th (RSPB). ' 28. Cormorant.—One dead Lowestoft, Jan. 27th was ringed as young 22.7.53 at Puffin Island, Anglesey (British Birds). 136. Kentish Plover.—One Havergate, June 8th to 12th and 14th (RSPB). 178. Dunlin.—One ringed Benacre, Aug. Ist, recovered Aug. 4th, Baie de l'Orne (Calvados) France—230 miles S.S.W. (British Birds). 381. Grey Wagtail.—Pair nested successfully R. Lark, two broods seen (NBO). 389. Starling. One ringed Corton, Feb. Leningrad, U.S.S.R., Aug. 26th (LFC).

3rd,

recovered


356

BIRD REPORT LIST

R.

OF

ANDERSON.

CYRIL B.

LOWESTOFT F I E L D

BAKER.

MRS. E. R.

M.

OBSERVERS

R.

BALE.

BARSTOW.

V. A.

DR. J.

F.

MONK.

D . A. T .

MORGAN.

R.

G.

BEECH.

MRS. K .

H.

R.

BEECROFT.

P.

G.

B.

G.

A. F.

MYERS.

C. C.

NESLING.

D.

NESLING.

DR. A. J. A.

G. D.

BENSON.

BEVEN. BIBBY.

F. W. L.

BULL.

MRS. A. R. A.

BRUHN. BULL.

BURNARD.

MISS E.

BUTTERY.

MRS. A. E.

CLAPHAM.

F.

K.

P.

COGGINS.

D.

A.

Miss

COBB.

D.

I. C. T .

M.

CONEY.

B.

OAKES.

S . VAN

F.

R. J.

PARTRIDGE.

H.

PARSLOW. PAYN.

PEAKE.

D. J. H.

PEARSON.

PEASE.

T H E EARL OF CRANBROOK.

F.

M.

PEECOCK.

E.

CROSBY.

D.

E.

POMEROY.

CUNDALL.

G.

A.

PYMAN.

CURTIS.

G.

S.

RALSTON.

W.

H.

F.

R. J. C.

G.

DINGLE BIRD

CLUB.

RAMSEY.

H. W .

DOCKERILL.

MISS L .

W.

DOUGHTY.

COM. A . W .

C.

R.

S.

G.

M.

DOVE. S.

K.

V.

RICHES.

MISS D .

EASY.

MRS. THEO

EBBUTT.

A.

D.

A.

P.

ELPHINSTONE.

ROWE.

OF B I R D S . MISS V .

J.

M.

J.

G.

RUFFLES.

SEAGO.

T.

FRY.

H. J.

C.

R.

M.

P. A.

SMITH.

GARNETT.

SEYMOUR.

K.

S.

C.

R.

H.

HARRISON.

A . AND J .

A. C.

C.

P.

H.

R.

HORREX.

H.

HURLOCK.

MISS M .

D.

S.

ISAACSON.

A. E.

G.

J.

JOBSON.

G.

KERRIDGE.

B.

KING.

D.

AND E .

A. E.

GILCHRIST. HERVEY.

M.

G.

S. J.

LAUD.

SNOXALL. STOKES.

TÄTE. TAYLOR. G.

MISS J . M . ALFRED MRS.

TURNER.

VINE.

DR. P. LACK.

ROBERTSON.

ROOK.

ROYAL SOCIETY FOR PROTECTION

ESSEX B I R D WATCHING S O C I E T Y . FIELD.

OOSTVEEN.

PACKARD.

J. L. W.

CONNELL.

MORGAN.

NISBET.

MISS M .

J.

A.

B.

T.

MUTTIT.

MAJOR N .

L.

CLUB.

MARSHALL.

WALKER.

WALLER. R.

D.

WESTALL. WIGHTMAN.


357

BIRD REPORT

V I S I B L E M I G R A T I O N IN T H E L O W E S T O F T LOWESTOFT

FIELD

AREA—

CLUB

January. 17th—at Southwold Fieldfares and Redwings were passing southward continuously between 1400 and 1500 hours. 17th, 18th, 19th—many hundreds of Fieldfares and Redwings passing southward over Pakefield : on each day the first movement was observed between 0700 and 0730 hours, and the last between 1615 and 1630 hours ; heaviest movement was between 1100 and 1330 hours, when some of the flocks numbered over 200 birds. Numerous flocks of Linnets and other finches also passed south during this period. On the night of the 16th/17th, the wind became W. to N.W. and of gale force, with a sharp drop in temperature to well below freezing point. February. 27th—at least 500 Skylarks had congregated on high land at Oulton. March. lOth—a small flock of Rooks flew out to sea at Pakefield, but returned. 27th—Linnets, Chaffinches and Tree Sparrows in fair numbers on Lowestoft Denes. 31st—c. 50 Rooks and Jackdaws flew very high out to sea in a S.E. direction over Ness Point. April. 4th—Redwings in fair numbers and an occasional Blackbird were heard at night passing E. over Corton, and again on the nights of 7th and 12th over Lowestoft and Corton. 19th—seven Fieldfares flew out at Corton, 0730 hours. 23rd to 26th—Redwings particularly numerous in the North Coastal area. June. 28th—a steady stream of Swifts, numbering several hundreds, passed S.S.W, along the coast at Lowestoft between 0815 and 1000 hours. Wind was from S.S.W, and none were seen Aying in any other direction. August. 21 st—two Wheatears, a Red-backed Shrike and a Pied Flycatcher on Lowestoft Denes. September. 4th—Meadow Pipits numerous at Kessingland and Benacre Denes. At Lowestoft Denes, 7th—Yellow Wagtails numerous, a few Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits, one Wheatear and one Pied Flycatcher. 8th—in addition some Greenfinches, Skylarks and Linnets. lOth and 12th—Wheatears had increased to well over 20. 16th—c. 40 Meadow Pipits and 30 Tree Sparrows.


358

BIRD REPORT

24th—further increase in Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and Tree Sparrows, but less Yellow Wagtails and very few finches. 24th—nine Lapwings came in over Ness Point at 1700 hours. October. 2nd—a marked increase in number of Skylarks on Lowestoft Denes, most had gone by the 8th, when very few birds were there. 5th—a Redwing flew in at Ness Point at 1515 hours. 16th—several Redwings at Benacre, a flock of Fieldfares passed inland over Oulton Broad, six Skylarks came in at Minsmere. 2Ist—a considerable influx during the night: c. 2000 Redwings in the trees along Normanston Drive at 0900 hours, with a fair sprinkling of Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, while others of these species, and a large number of Skylarks were passing over in a westerly direction at the same time. 22nd—after a night of gale-force winds the lawns and trees of Kensington Gardens were füll of Redwings and Fieldfares. 23rd—on Lowestoft Denes numerous Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, 20 Bramblings in' mixed finch flocks, two Wheatears, a Black Redstart and a considerable number of Goldcrests—20 counted in one small tree and others were on drying herring-nets, all had gone by next day. 24th—a few small flocks of Skylarks and Starlings came in at Southwold. 29th—a steady influx between Lowestoft and Corton, the majority being Starlings, with some Rooks, Fieldfares, Redwings, Chaffinches, Skylarks and Blackbirds. 30th—at Lowestoft, five flocks of Starlings, about 1500 birds, came in between 1200 and 1300 hours ; Skylarks were particularly numerous on the Denes and one flock came in from sea. A considerable influx all along the coast from Corton to Southwold. An unusual incident was the arrival of c. 40 Meadow Pipits Aying in a compact flock. 3Ist—five Rooks came in at Southwold. November. Ist—two Redwings and a Starling came in at Ness Point, 0930 hours. At Corton, Starlings were Coming in throughout the morning and one enormous flock extended in a line for about three-quarters of a mile ; a Short-eared Owl, two flocks of Lapwings and a flock of Fieldfares came in. 7th—17 Rooks came in at Lowestoft. 12th—at 0705 hours, c. 400 Wood Pigeons passed south high along the coast at Pakefield, followed by about 200 more five minutes later. 14th—two single Rooks came in at Southwold. 16th—one flock of Starlings came in at Lowestoft.


BIRD RINGING AT WALBERSWICK DINGLE BIRD

1955

CLUB

SPRING

The traps were manned for 44 days during the period March 19th to May 29th. On the first day a Goldcrest, presumably on its way back to the Continent, was ringed, while a Lapwing was seen to come in from the sea, the latter a curious reversal of the normal direction at this time. On the 26th March, a male Redstart was ringed, an exceptionally early date for Suffolk, and the first Wheatears were seen. During this first week, Woodlarks were singing on the larger hill, but this season they did not remain to breed as usual; probably the excessive growth of grass, on what was once a rabbit-warren, did not suit them, and their place was taken by Skylarks. During April, passage was generally poor, and not really noticeable until the 23rd. Willow Warbiers were caught on several days from the 8th onwards, Redstarts from the 21st, Whitethroats from the 23rd, when a Greenland Wheatear was caught: most birds were caught on the 30th including eleven Whitethroats and the first Reed Warbier. A Black Redstart was seen on the lOth ; Red-throated Divers moving north on the 2nd, 8th and 9th ; Black-tailed Godwits on the 23rd and 30th ; the first Greenshank on the 21st; a Wryneck and Whinchats seen on the 30th ; Hen Harriers and Spotted Redshanks were present all month. Three summer visitors—Nightingale, Redstart and Whitethroat—ringed in the previous year, and therefore having successfully achieved the double journey to and from their winter quarters, were caught again. In May passage was very slight and only continued up to about the 8th. On the Ist Sedge Warbiers were numerous, the Wryneck was still present, two Garganey and the first Swift were seen ; Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit and Common Sandpiper were passing through up to the 8th, when the first Lesser Whitethroat was caught; the last Hen Harrier was seen on the 5th, the first Montagu's Harrier on the 8th ; a single Spoonbill on the 22nd. Several Reed Warbiers trapped, and others seen out of the reeds, on the 15th, 22nd and 29th, may have indicated through passage, for by this time territory appeared to be already taken up and it seems possible that these birds were driven out of the reeds. During the spring passage, 100 birds were trapped, 70 of them migrants such as warblers, redstarts, etc. There appeared to be no noticeable fall-out of nocturnal migrants this season.


360

BIRD REPORT AUGUST -

SEPTEMBER

Traps manned at week-ends during July and the first half of August, then continuously from August 13th to September 30th. Up to August 14th there appeared to be nothing moving and after that there were many days, even in September, when the hüls were quite birdless. In the two previous years there had been at least a steady trickle from mid-July onwards, and even in this year warblers were drifting through a few miles inland. This lack of migration apparently applied to the whole Suffolk coast, and it was presumably the type of year referred to by C. B. Ticehurst when he stated that in some years the coastal passage of nightmigrants is hardly marked in Suffolk (History oftheBirds of Suffolk). Particularly noticeable was the almost complete absence of Redstarts and Wheatears ; especially disappointing were the low numbers of Whinchats, these, in a reasonably good passage during 1954, had been difficult to catch, but with better trap-cover this season should have been caught with more success, had they been present. In the notes which follow numbers refer to birds trapped, unless stated to have been seen. It is a difficult area to assess visually the numbers present. Whinchat.—Six Sept. Sth to 8th, one on 17th and 23rd. Redstart.—One Aug. 2Ist and 22nd : three Sept. 7th to 9th, one on 18th. Nightingale.—One Aug. 7th and 14th : one Sept. 14th. Sedge Warbier.—The main feature of this period was the trapping of 115 birds of this species. Apart from odd birds these could only be caught under the right weather conditions at the right time of day. T h e grass had to be thoroughly soaked to bring them out of the reeds in any numbers, and they could only be driven into the trap when the dampness was caused by rain or mist in the very early morning. A heavy shower later in the day would certainly bring them out on to the hills, but as soon as an attempt was made to drive them they would fly straight back into the reeds. Had there been more of what might be called typical September mornings, many of them were quite dry and mistless, and had there been more ringers energetic enough to be there at dawn, a very much larger total might have been caught. With such a large area of marsh and reeds it is not easy to decide whether such birds as Sedge Warblers are locally bred or are passing through the area, but when far higher numbers are present on the coastal strip than could be bred in the district it seems reasonable to presume they are birds of passage. Birds were being caught from August 14th to September 19th and the main peaks shown by ringing were August 21st to 24th and September 3rd to 8th, but there may have been just as many present


BIRD REPORT

361

on other days which were too dry to bring them out of the reeds. Most of the birds caught in the early morning appeared to be tired, for after being ringed they would frequently remain perched on the ringer's hand, or flutter to the ground, sometimes under the feet of another ringer who had to be instructed to remain perfectly still while the bird was picked up again before being trodden on. After this had happened on some number of occasions it became recognised procedure to put them in a small bush near the trap and so out of harm's way : within a few minutes all would leave for the reeds. This behaviour was never observed in the case of birds caught later in the day, which, on release, would fly straight away to the reeds, and it may indicate the after effects of a long journey made the previous night. Should funds ever allow of the purchase of a spring-balance much information might be obtained from the weights of these Sedge Warbiers, and possibly also of Reed Buntings, both of which are such a feature of the area. Reed Warbier.—Two in A u g u s t : seven Sept. 3rd to lOth. Blackcap. Two Sept. Ist to 3rd, one on 17th, nine Sept. 29th to Oct. Ist, two on 23rd. Barred Warbier.—One on August 29th : there appeared to be no exceptional passage that day, only two Pied Flycatchers, three Willow Warbiers and three Whitethroats being seen. Garden Warbier.—One Sept. 8th, 16th and 18th. Whitethroat — Four in July : thirty-six in August (seven on 6th) : fifty-three Sept. Ist to 19th (twenty-seven from 3rd to 5th), one on 25th and Oct. Ist. Lesser Whitethroat.—Six in second half of A u g u s t : Sept. 3rd to 6th, eight 14th to 29th. Willow Warbier.—Eleven in A u g u s t :

seven

three Sept. 3rd to 9th.

Chiffchaff.—One on Aug. 27th : six in September : one on Oct. 8th. Spotted Flycatcher.—Numerous during first two weeks in September, but few caught. As with Pied Flycatcher, the most attractive cover for these species is not near enough to the Heligolands, and all were caught in automatic traps with funnels at ground level and only a water-drip for bait. Pied Flycatcher.—Two on Aug. 14th, four 24th to 28th : one Sept. 8th and 22nd.

OcTOBER It was only possible to man the traps at week-ends and on occasional days during the week, a total of 17 days.


362

BIRD REPORT

Bearded Tit.—Düring the last week in October Bearded Tits had been showing signs of restlessness and on the 30th a considerabe movement appeared to take place. A party of eighteen rose to some considerable height and disappeared to the north ; shortly afterwards sixteen flew in a like manner out of sight to the soiith. Apart from these two flocks, small parties were getting up at four or five minute intervals from 0800 to 0930 hours—one of nine, one of seven, and several of five or six birds. These smaller parties rose to a fair height, circled round, and several were seen to land again, so that it was difficult to estimate the number of birds involved. However, it seems certain that at least fifty were present, a much larger number than had been recorded since the flood of 1953. While there is no certainty that any of the birds moved very far, they did appear to be showing the signs of restlessness which are usual before migration. Blackbird.—Some passage occurred on the 18th, when more than twenty were present but few were caught, and again on the 22nd and 23rd. On the 27th, one was trapped and found to have a long, four stranded, horse hair snare wound tightly round one thigh. Blackbirds are commonly taken in Norway with this type of snare, which seems to indicate the country of origin of this bird. Robin.—Passage occurred on the 22nd and 23 rd, when fifteen were trapped, all of which were thought to be of the Continental race. They were extremely skulking and little was seen of them until they were actually in the trap, although the resident Robins were well aware of their presence and kept up an incessant " ticking " at the violation of their territory. In fact, on the 22nd, the " owner " of the little hill " ticked " all day long and it seemed very doubtful if it had much time to feed ; an attempt was made to catch this bird, already ringed, to make colour comparisons, but it was far too concerned with the intruders of its own species to allow itself to be driven into the trap, simply diving into thick cover from where it continued to call, and resuming its post on the tallest bush on the hill as soon as the human danger was past. Düring the afternoon of the 23rd, one was heard " ticking " from the centre of a neighbouring reed-bed, a curious territory for a Robin, but perhaps by this time the strain on the residents was becoming rather heavy ! Meadow Pipit.—A heavy passage of this species coincided with that of the Reed Bunting referred to later, but very few were caught. Greenfinch.—Nineteen were caught on the Ist and forty-eight on the 2nd, but there is no indication whether these were passage or local birds. They were attracted by baiting the trap with the seeds of Sea-rocket.


BIRD REPORT

363

Reed Bunting.—This species was present in fair numbers throughout September and by about October 9th very large numbers were passing through. This heavy passage continued until near the end of the month when numbers began to fall and by the end of the first week in November, almost all had gone. Düring October, 279 out of the total of 345 were trapped, and had it been possible to man the traps continuously at this period an enormous total might have been achieved. Some idea of the immensity of this passage may be obtained when it is realized that only a tiny proportion of those present could be caught, and that the reeds along the coast from Walberswick to Dunwich were füll of them : that relatively few birds once caught were caught a second time, which might imply increased awareness on a " once bitten, twice shy " basis, but more proably indicates a constant departure and arrival of fresh birds. It is this last point which is so strikingly brought out by the trapping and ringing of birds during the passage seasons—the odd ten or twelve birds which hang around a particular spot for a week or two have every appearance of being the same individuals all the time, until they are ringed and found to be a changing population. T h e Walberswick ringing Station would seem to be well situated for ringing this species which shows a good passage through the district in most autumns, although that of 1955 was probably exceptionally heavy, and the total caught was roughly equivalent to that normally trapped in a year over the whole of Britain. It is hoped that if similar numbers can be ringed in future years some valuable information may be obtained as to where these birds come from and where they spend the winter : so far there appears to be no recovery from abroad of a British ringed Reed Bunting. Like the Sedge Warbiers this species could only be trapped in the mornings, or at least in any numbers, but they came out of the reeds much later in the day, in fact usually not until the sun was well up. They did not appear to come to the hill for food, but simply to sun themselves and chase each other about—most of those caught were birds of the year—for as the sun went off the front of the trap so did the Reed Buntings. Difficult birds to drive, most were caught by the method of creeping them forward and then rushing them when they were near the mouth of the trap As may be imagined, heated arguments took place regarding where the " creep " should end and the " rush " begin ; frequently the beaters would be confronted with an empty trap—and find the birds sitting on a bush exactly where they were when the operation began, having simply slipped back over the heads of the trappers ! They were, in fact, quite unpredictable in their reactions, showing little fear, sometimes moving docilely from bush to bush, sometimes Aying straight away into the reed-beds, sometimes refusing to move at all, and for every bird caught probably a dozen were lost.


364

BIRD REPORT

STAY OF

MIGRANTS

Some indication of the length of stay may be obtained from the re-trapping of birds during the passage seasons. In the following records the initial date of ringing is given, followed in brackets by the number of days the bird stayed in the area as shown by the latest date of re-trapping. Sedge Warbier.—22/8 (6), 22/8 (2), 28/8 (6), 28/8 (7), 29/8 (5), 29/8 (5), 3 / 9 (1), 5/9 (2), 5 / 9 (3), 6 / 9 (1), 6 / 9 (7), 6 / 9 (1), 8 / 9 /3), 9/9 (4). Blackcap.—29/9 (1), 29/9 (3), 29/9 (3), 30/9 (1). Garden Warbier.—18/9 (1). Whitethroat.—30/7 (8), 6 / 8 (16), 7/8 (6), 17/8 (17), 21 /8 (12), 22/8 (4) 28/8 (1), 2 / 9 (1), 2 / 9 (1), 3 / 9 (1), 3/9 (1), 4 / 9 (4), 5 /9 (11). Lesser Whitethroat.—14/9 (2), 18/9 (3), 21/9 (1). Willow Warbier.—6/8 (1). Pied Flycatcher.—14 /8 (3), 8 / 9 (1). Reed Bunting.—24/7 (47), 6 / 8 (16), 14/8 (34), 14/8 (34), 21 18 (29), 3 / 9 (8), 3 / 9 (29), 4 / 9 (41), 6 / 9 (26), 8 / 9 (9), 8/9 (37 , 10/9 (11), 17/9 (22), 27/9 (5), 23/9 (23), 24/9 (14), 1/10 (7), 2/10 (14), 8/10 (1), 9/10 (6), 12/10 (3), 13/10 (2), 13/10 (3), 15/10 (3), 15/10 (1). After 15th October, 133 birds were ringed, but none were re-trapped. One ringed 10 /9 was found in a dying condition at Iken (12 miles S.W.) on 19/11. RECOVERIES T h e vast majority of birds ringed are small passerines and the expectation of recovery is a very low one, for example :— Ringed Recovered Sedge Warbier 151 0 Whitethroat 346 1 Greenfinch 174 0 Reed Bunting 393 1 At the same time some rather interesting recoveries have been made and the accompanying comparative tables do indicate the extremely fluky nature of recoveries in relation to numbers ringed. Various suggestions have been put forward regarding the " one ringed, one recovered " species ; two may be mentioned : ring only one bird of each species and discard the remainder, or, put the matter in the hands of the statisticians who would probably prove conclusively the utter impossibility of such an event ever happening ! Mention may also be made of one particular day's ringing : on July 23 rd, only three birds were ringed : Linnet, Red-backed Shrike and Cuckoo—two were later recovered in France, the Linnet has not been heard of again.


BIRD REPORT

365

R E C O V E R I E S F R O M ABROAD T O E N D O F 1954 T3 « - ^ ta.5 zp T3 . i lH O, • S S 1 ? ü-P P5 "C OS Where 3 .9 Recovered -WS =2 « PStt 03 CT\ Whitethroat 17 4 Spain, 9 Portugal, 0.1 0.46 h 4 France (a) 16,856 19 Willow Warbier 27,797 1 Spanish Morocco, 0.07 1.96 5 Spain, (a) 1 Denmark, 4 Portugal, 7 France, 1 Algeria. Ring Ouzel 1,068 9 3 Spain, 4 France (a) 0.84 100 1 Algeria, 1 Germany Redwing 2,376 15 2 Holland, 4 Italy, 0.63 100 1 Sweden, 1 Spain, 2 France, 1 Belgium, 1 Cyprus, 2 Germany, 1 Portugal (b) Red-backed Shrike 1,414 Sicily (c) 0.08 12.5 Cuckoo 1,449 1 Belgium, 1 Ger- 0.55 33.3 many, 1 Italy, 1 West Africa, 1 Denmark, 1 Tunisia, 2 France (b) («) includes one Walberswick bird. add one Walberswick bird, 1955. (b) (c) in addition one Walberswick recovery on French coast, 1955.

Starling Red-backed Shrike Cuckoo

Redwing

S E L E C T E D RECOVERIES, 1955 Ringed Recovered 27.6.54 2.6.55 Ashington, Pulborough, (long dead) Sussex (125 miles S.W.) 23.7.55 28.8.55 French Lightship " Sandettie " (11 miles East of E. Goodwins). 23.7.55 5.9.55 Near Port Jerome, Lille bonne (Seine-Maritime), France. 15.10.55 22.12.55 Near Viseu (Beira Alta), Portugal. RE-TRAPPED

Redstart Whitethroat Nightingale

AT

WALBERSWICK

Ringed 2.5.54 17.7.54 18.7.54

Re-trapped 24.4.55 24.4.55 30.4.55


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1955

Total 1953-55

366

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BIRD REPORT CENSUS OF BLYTH ESTUARY,

367 SEPTEMBER

7TH, 1955

By A. D. BIBBY and nine other members of the WHITGIFT SCHOOL NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY

Cormorant Heron Teal Pintail Shoveler Shelduck Mute Swan Water Rail Oystercatcher Lapwing Ringed Plover Dunlin Curlew Sandpiper Turnstone Curlew

10 30 42 5 1 165 2 1

7 85 115 200 1 1 200

Whimbrel Black-tailed Godwit Green Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Redshank Spotted Redshank Greenshank Knot Ruff Great Black-back Lesser Black-back Common Gull Black-headed Gull Common Tern TOTAL

1 3 3 4 400 2 20 2

7 30 8 3 550 1 1900

The ten observers were stationed at seven different points west of Wolsey Creek, and they are confident that they have assessed fairly accurately the populations west of Wolsey Creek up to Blythburgh village. At high tide, Dunlin and Ringed Plover flew in the direction of the Westwood marshes, as did the seven Ruff. Redshank, Curlew and Oystercatcher stayed longer, finally resting out the tide on the arable fields east of Bulcamp Farm. Heron and Lapwing flew inland to the north. Greater and Lesser Blackbacks remained on the broken walls in the centre of the flooded marshes. Black-headed Gulls disappeared from the river, but were believed to have flown east towards the sea.

Suffolk Bird Report for 1955  
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