Quarterly bird news

On this page will be a quarterly update of Suffolk’s birds, originally published in the SOG magazine, The Harrier, and collated by one of the Suffolk BINS founders, Lee Woods. For daily sightings visit the excellent Suffolk Birding with BINS website.

BINS Autumn 2014

September 2014.

Early month saw good numbers of common migrants along the coast which included: Whinchat, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Common Redstart and Willow Warbler.

The EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER remained at the Customs House along View Point Road, Felixstowe until 2nd, though it often remained very elusive during its stay.

Minsmere produced a juvenile White-winged Black Tern which spent an evening on Island Mere 2nd, the female Ferruginous Duck remained and also juvenile Long-tailed Skua seen offshore, further Long-tailed Skuas were noted off LBO 3rd and Thorpeness 7th & 14th.

Wrynecks were well represented in the county with single birds being seen (unless otherwise indicated) at Aldeburgh, Bawdsey, Dingle Marsh, Minsmere (2), LBO (3), Benacre (2), Westleton Heath, North Warren (2), Orfordness and finally Thorpeness Common.

An Ortolan Bunting was found late in the day at LBO 5th also Great White Egret (south over Southwold) and Honey Buzzard in off at Dingle Marsh were found on this day.

A female LESSER GREY SHRIKE was found early on 6th along the river wall between Shingle Street – Hollesley Marsh; it remained until 7th and proved rather popular during its two day stay.

Two Barred Warblers were found at Thorpeness 7th with one bird remaining until 20th. Ospreys were seen over Bawdsey 6th, Stour Estuary and Kessingland 7th, Minsmere 18th & 19th.

Two juvenile Red-backed Shrikes were found at Gun Hill, Southwold 8th with one bird still present the following day. A juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was present at Minsmere on 10-14th and again 18th. Dark morph juvenile Honey Buzzards were seen at LBO before flying north-west along the Orwell 11th and Alderton 14th.

Red-breasted Flycatchers were noted at LBO (trapped) 15th, by the allotments on the evening of 17th at Thorpeness and Kensington Gardens, Lowestoft 20th – 25th. 1st winter Red-backed Shrike was present at LBO 19th and three birds were then present on site on 21st!

A probable Olive-backed Pipit was seen by Sizewell power station 19th; the following day saw the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn which was seen in private gardens at Burgh Castle 20th.

A PALLID HARRIER was seen by a lucky few as the juvenile bird flew through Minsmere early on the 21st (the only previous Suffolk record was 1999). Corncrakes were flushed from the pits at Benacre and lost to view 21st and along the footpath by Levington Creek 24th.

A Red-throated Pipit was seen briefly at Landguard on 23rd before flying over the dock complex. Minsmere hosted a Wryneck and Great White Egret 24/25th with the latter still present well in to November.

A Harrier sp was seen over Wades Lane, Chelmodiston 26th. A 1st winter Red-backed Shrike found at Ness Point 27th stayed for several weeks, last seen on 2nd November. This bird was mighty confiding and showing down to just a few feet!

Finally, a small arrival of Yellow-browed Warblers occurred late month with birds noted at Kessingland 27th, Bawdsey 28th, Corton and LBO 30th.

October 2014.

Big news broke late in the day on the 4th concerning a LITTLE CRAKE that had previously been reported a few days earlier as seen from Bittern hide, Minsmere. As expected, this bird proved popular during its 10 day stay and at times the hide proved rather cosy!

A Siberian Chiffchaff was present at Shingle Street 3rd. A very impressive count of Great Skua (Bonxie) was had from Ness Point with 123 birds seen on the 4th alone; nearby the 1st winter Red-backed Shrike remained throughout the month.

A Richard’s Pipit was seen to fly north over North Denes Lowestoft 7th and a Great Shearwater was reported north off Sizewell.

An adult Iceland Gull was a noteworthy find from Orfordness 11th. Favourable weather conditions from the 12th produced up to four Yellow-browed Warblers. The following day all eyes turned to the sea with the highlights being; Leach’s Petrel off Pakefield, Sabine’s Gull, Leach’s Petrel off Slaughden and a dark-rumped Petrel sp off LBO.

The 14th dawned murky with an easterly breeze resulting in good numbers of thrushes and finches coming in off. Up to 102 Ring Ouzels were reported along with 12 Yellow-browed Warblers and a Red-breasted Flycatcher!

The following day was not so exciting, although Rough-legged Buzzards were seen at Dunwich and Southwold, three Jack Snipe at Hollesley Marsh and six Yellow-browed Warblers remained at several locations for a few days.

A Swift sp was seen over Reydon Smere 16th; with 2 Rough-legged Buzzards seen over Minsmere and singles again over Dunwich and Reydon.

A probable Raven was noted over Hollesley Marsh 17th, also a Great Grey Shrike was present at LBO, Hawfinch south along the cliffs at Bawsdey and a pale Common Buzzard that resembled a Rough-leg was seen at Shingle Street and near to Hollesley.

Great White Egrets were seen on Haddiscoe Marshes 18-20th, Trimley Marshes 22nd, Benacre 23rd and the Minsmere individual remained throughout the month.

Rough-legged Buzzards were again seen over Minsmere 19th and Hinton crossroads 22nd. A juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was seen on roadside pools in the west of the county just north of Great Livermere 19th.

A single Shorelark was seen at Benacre 18th, this then rose to three birds from 21st-25th though mobile at times. A Great Northern Diver was seen on the Stour Estuary 24th. Great Grey Shrikes were seen on Cavenham Heath 24-27th and Butley 26th.

A confiding Hoopoe was present at Kessingland Sluice 25-27th and what was probably the same bird at Framsden 29th-31st. A Raven was seen over Gedgrave 26th then two birds seen together at the same location 28th-31st gave many the opportunity to add this species to their county lists!

Shorelarks were seen to fly south along the beach at Slaughden (two birds 28th) and eight birds 30th). A Grey Phalarope spent one afternoon on Minsmere scrape 28th.

The 25th saw two PENDULINE TITS on Island Mere, Minsmere and a single bird at Botany Marsh, Snape. An adult white-winged gull (probably Iceland) was seen south off Minsmere 30th.

Finally, the 30th saw a massive southerly movement of dark-bellied Brent Geese off our shore with several thousand birds being seen!

November 2014.

The month started with both Ravens still present and showing well at Gedgrave Marshes. The 1st winter Red-backed Shrike that was first seen 27th September was last reported 2nd as was the Framsden Hoopoe.

A Richard’s Pipit was flushed from long grass at Butley Ferry 2nd; the 2nd also saw an adult Iceland Gull briefly on East scrape before flying north and Great White Egret still on Island Mere until 11th at least.

A Purple Heron or odd-looking Grey Heron was seen on South Marsh North Warren during the afternoon 4th and then again 8-9th though elusive throughout. An adult Black Brant was present amongst Brent Geese both at Levington Creek 4th and Sudbourne Marsh 8th.

Favourable conditions saw several Little Auks off our coast 4-5th. Grey Phalaropes were seen on Stour Estuary 6-9th and south past Minsmere 10th.

A distant Scoter sp. thought to be Common was present on the Stour Estuary, Stutton Ness 3rd, however closer views of the bird on 5th resulted in it being confirmed as Suffolk’s first ever SURF SCOTER. Thankfully the bird remained until 12th at least allowing county listers to add this species to their ever-growing tallies.

Other birds of note on the Stour Estuary included Great Northern Diver, Velvet Scoter and singles of both Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes.

The 5th saw two DESERT WHEATEARS: the first a rather smart 1st winter male was discovered along the sea wall at Links Road, Lowestoft and the bird performed impeccably throughout, staying until 9th; the second, a female bird, also performed well along Gorleston sea-front until 12th. These two individuals became the fourth and fifth county records with previous sightings being Landguard 1987 and Easton Bavents 1990 & 2008.

Finally,a late Yellow-browed Warbler was present by the sewage works at Southwold 9-10th. Highlights from Minsmere included two Raven south 10th plus Long-eared Owl and a Grey Phalarope that flew south offshore the same day. On the 11th a Rough-legged Buzzard was noted and a Shorelark graced the Scrape 12th.

Late news…

Black Stork initially at Trimley, Dusky Warblers at both Hollesley and LBO and a Humes Warbler at Bawdsey. The first Waxwing was noted in Lowestoft on the 19th November.