The foundation stone of any report is the data upon which it is based. Unless we all submit our records diligently, and in a usable form, then the Suffolk Bird Report will not be a comprehensive account of the birds recorded in Suffolk.
The recording of the county’s avifauna is the responsibility of the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society, working in close co-operation with the Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group. The linchpins of the system are the Recorders, who are the initial point of contact for all records. Because of the volume of records in Suffolk the county has been divided into three areas. See the inside front cover for a map and addresses.
Observers are reminded that Suffolk works to Watsonian vice-county boundaries, taking in areas that are now administered as Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Essex. The most significant area affected is that of Lothingland, the northern limits of which follow the River Yare and include the south side of Breydon Water. We have retained these original boundaries as we feel that sensible comparison of data can only be made from year to year if the recording area is kept constant.
All observers are requested to submit their records monthly. We also suggest that the following format be followed:
- Location (precise place name from the Ordnance Survey map plus parish if ambiguous). OS grid reference should be added if in any doubt or if reporting breeding locations.
- Name and address of observer
- Sex/age – male, female, juvenile etc.
- Abundance – count numbers, frequency, etc.
- Type of record – dead, ringed, etc.
- Other comments considered relevant – behaviour etc. In particular see the list below for particular information required for each species. All claims of national rarities should, of course, be accompanied by a full description. The Recorder will automatically forward this to the BritishBirds Rarities Committee (BBRC).
If submitting a list of records for one particular site, please put all details at the top of the list and annotate with sex and/or frequency. Remember, if in any doubt as to the value of any record, please send it in!
A spreadsheet is available for submitting records and can be downloaded here: SOG – Records Submission. This can be sent electronically to the Recorders and is a much easier and quicker method for them. Whilst this is not essential, we would encourage all those who can to use this method of submitting their records.
The county is divided into three parts with their respective recorders below.
West Area Recorder – Colin Jakes, 7 Maltward Avenue, Bury St.Edmunds IP33 3XN Tel:01284 702215 firstname.lastname@example.org
North-East Area Recorder – Andrew Green, 17 Cherrywood, Harleston, Norfolk IP20 9LP Tel:07766 900063 email@example.com.
South-East Area Recorder – Scott Mayson, 8 St.Edmunds Close, Springfields, Woodbridge, IP12 4UY Tel:01394 385595 firstname.lastname@example.org
Assessment of records
All records come under the scrutiny of the Suffolk Ornithological Records Committee (SORC) and for rare or scarce species, verification is sought – i.e. photographs, field sketches, witnesses, sound recordings (for calling or singing birds) and (most importantly) written descriptions. The SORC’s policy for vagrants, classified as national rarities, is clear; records should be channelled through the County Recorder to be considered by the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC), whose decisions are accepted by SORC. A full list of species that are considered by the SORC follows. The committee may also request further details regarding any other species that, in the opinion of the committee, is out of context in terms of season, habitat or numbers.
A list of records which have not been accepted for publication can be found in Appendix III and includes those which have been circulated to the respective committees but were considered unacceptable due to either the identification not being fully established or, more rarely, a genuine mistake having been made. It does not include records still under consideration.
The following list shows all the species recorded in the county and thus this is also a checklist for Suffolk. For any species not listed, a full description will be required. The list shows those species accepted into Categories A, B and C, as per the British Ornithologists’ Union (see the Introduction to the Systematic List for more details). Note that a large number of species included can also fall into Categories D and E (basically as escapees); a description of such a bird may be requested but will be essential if it is believed that the bird is of wild origin.
A reminder that Turtle Dove, Yellow Wagtail, Nightingale, Spotted Flycatcher, Marsh Tit and Corn Bunting have all been moved from Category 4 to category 3 – records of all of them would be appreciated.
A reminder that Black-throated Diver and Grey Phalarope have been moved from 3 to 2, especially for those seen at sea.
SOG/SORC would also like to receive any breeding records for the following species: Kestrel, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Common Snipe, Curlew, Redshank, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Swift, Sand and House Martin (colonies), Mistle Thrush, Willow Warbler and Reed Bunting.
There have been a few changes of category from BBRC over the past years and they are here as a reminder:-
Moving from Category 1 to 2 are Lesser Scaup, Penduline Tit, Blyth’s Reed Warbler and Citrine Wagtail. SORC, of course, will still require descriptions of these species
Moving from Category 2 to 1 are Aquatic Warbler, Tawny Pipit, Red-throated Pipit and Rustic Bunting. Descriptions of these species will need to be sent to BBRC.
Western Swamphen, Forster’s Tern and Cliff Swallow have been added to the Suffolk list in 2016.
|The Suffolk Bird List|
|Tundra (Bewick’s) Swan||3|
|Bean Goose Tundra
|Greater White-fronted Goose||3|
|Greater Canada Goose||4|
|Brent Goose Dark-bellied||4|
|Ruddy Shelduck *||1|
|Great Northern Diver||3|
|Great Crested Grebe||4|
|Eurasian Marsh Harrier||3|
|Greater Spotted Eagle*||1|
|Little Ringed Plover||3|
|Greater Sand Plover||1|
|American Golden Plover||2|
|Pacific Golden Plover||1|
|European Golden Plover||4|
|Lesser Black-backed Gull||4|
|Great Black-backed Gull||4|
|White-winged Black Tern||2|
|Lesser Crested Tern||1|
|Common Wood Pigeon||4|
|Eurasian Collared Dove||4|
|European Turtle Dove||3|
|Oriental Turtle Dove||1|
|Great Spotted Cuckoo||1|
|Eurasian Scops Owl*||1|
|Great Spotted Woodpecker||4|
|Lesser Spotted Woodpecker||3|
|Eurasian Golden Oriole||3|
|Lesser Grey Shrike||1|
|Great Grey Shrike||3|
|Southern Grey Shrike||1|
|Eurasian Penduline Tit||2|
|Greater Short-toed Lark||2|
|Horned (Shore) Lark||3|
|Pallas’ Leaf Warbler||2|
|Hume’s Leaf Warbler||1|
|Western Bonelli’s Warbler||1|
|Common Grasshopper Warbler||3|
|Blyth’s Reed Warbler||2|
|Eurasian Reed Warbler||4|
|Great Reed Warbler||1|
|Siberian Blue Robin||1|
|Eurasian Tree Sparrow||3|
|Common (Mealy) Redpoll||3|
Key:* not recorded as wild since at least 1949.
1 National Rarity – detailed description required.
2 County Rarity – notes detailing observation will always be required.
3 All records requested – supporting notes may be requested.
4 Specific records – records of breeding, large counts, earliest/latest dates, unusual inland records or migration/weather-related movements requested.