Suffolk BINS Bird of the Year (2007 - 2019).
TWO-BARRED (GREENISH) WARBLER - found by Mark Cornish (photo Sean Nixon).
A real birders bird. This discovery was right up there both in local and national terms in rarity value. This MEGA (1st for Suffolk and 8th for UK) was found shortly after 09:30hrs in Orford quay meadow on the morning of Sunday 13th October. The bird then showed well to the dozen or so birders who were quick off the mark as just before 11:00am it vanished! Thankfully at 12:24hrs, the bird was picked up in an adjoining hedgerow where it once again showed well for 3-4 minutes before moving along the hedgerow into near-by gardens and was never seen again despite extensive searching by both local and national birders. This discovery coincided with the WEBS count and therefore several of the counties big gun's missed out...
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER - found by Ali Risborough (photo John Richardson).
This small peep was found on East scrape Minsmere during the morning of Saturday 18th August. The bird was mainly distant of which meant identification was difficult to clinch. However this was about to change once the bird showed well late morning and the arrival of an American birder who popped in the hide just at the right time ! The visiting birder who was of course familiar with such species back across the pond agreed with the identification of it being a SEMI-P. The bird despite being the 6th for Suffolk, was a county tick for many and was the first since 2008.
RED-THROATED PIPIT - found by Steve Piotrowski (photo Bill Baston)
Although nationally this species is an annual visitor, locally it's MEGA rare, so when this bird was discovered on the morning walk by regulars at LBO, it had us county birders in a flap! The bird was found just prior to 10:00am at the southern end of the common on Wednesday 27th September and remained on site for several days. The bird would often call, giving away it's presence amongst the resident Meadow Pipits and was therefore quite easy to track down if you were familiar with the birds drawn out 'tsweeep' call.
CLIFF SWALLOW - found by Steve Piotrowski (photo Steve Abbott)
This hinrundine was found shortly after 14:00hrs on Friday 4th November over the old car park at Minsmere RSPB. The bird baffled birders on site but was finally identified as a CLIFF SWALLOW just prior to dusk. Thankfully, the bird was present the next morning where it showed well from the North wall throughout the day and then seen again briefly the following morning (Sunday 6th) when it flew south and was never seen again. This bird was another 1st for Suffolk and a welcome addition to the county list.
PIED WHEATEAR - found by Will Brame (photo Bill Baston).
This 3rd for Suffolk was found on the common at LBO on Tuesday 3rd November. The age of this bird being an adult male was rather unusual as the majority of sightings in the UK are normally young/1st winter birds. There was some initial discussion that this bird may of been a CYPRUS PIED WHEATEAR ?! but this was soon ruled out and confirmed after the bird was trapped. Previous sighting's in Suffolk both relate to female birds being seen at Fagbury (1994) and Shingle Street (2009).
SURF SCOTER - found by Ed Keeble (photo Steve Plume)
This 1st for Suffolk was found on the Stour Estuary on Monday 3rd November but identification wasn't clinched until the 5th when satisfactory views were obtained. The bird remained on the estuary well into 2015 being seen from both Suffolk and Essex sides of the river. It's just reward for the observer who devotes most of his birding time to his beloved estuary.
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER - found by Paul Holmes (photo John Richardson).
There had been a fall of common migrants at LBO during Friday 26th April which resulted in the site being well "grilled" by the locals. It was during this "grilling" that this stunning male Eastern Subalpine Warbler was discovered at the northern end of the icky ridge late afternoon. The bird was very confiding during it's 2 day stay and was dream bird for the photographers and the like.
ARCTIC REDPOLL (HORNEMANNI) - found by Colin Barley (photo Chris Upson).
This gorgeous bird was found on the beach opposite Slaughden yacht club on Saturday 8th December. The observer at the time thought the bird he had seen was a Lapland Bunting, and he texted out news indicating such species. It wasn't until that evening that BINS received an email from the observer with supporting photos! Needless to say, at first light on Sunday 9th Dec there was a sizeable crowd working the beach and it wasn't too long before the HORNY REDPOLL was thankfully re-found. Thanks to Brian Small and the late Martin Garner for assistance on this find.
SANDHILL CRANE - found by Chris Darby (photo Jon Evans)
This monster of a find happened during the morning of Sunday 2nd October. The bird was heard calling before drifting over the observers head and south down the coast! News was quickly broadcast and it was then picked up over Thorpeness (Haven House) before briefly settling on North Warren before heading off south again, the adult bird which had coasted down the East coast finally settled on farmers fields at Boyton Hall Farm where it remained until Friday 7th October when flew south mid morning and was never to be seen again. This bird was another 1st for the county and a welcome addition to many birders county and life lists !!
KING EIDER - found by Chris Darby (photo Jon Evans).
This 1st for Suffolk was initially seen drifting south offshore from Kessingland on the morning of Sunday 12th Oct. With poor light conditions and it being such a big claim, the observer put the news out as a "probable" King Eider, fortunately it was re-located further south down the coast off Dunwich and Minsmere where most of Suffolk birders connected.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL found by John Grant (photo Bill Baston).
Although no longer holding the MEGA status, the mythical RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL is still a dream bird to find. This bird (Suffolk's 5th) was found in the sluice bushes at Minsmere on Wednesday 14th Oct and remained loyal to this area until 21st October, although elusive at times. Suffolk's first was discovered at LBO in 1994 and is almost an annual visitor in the county each year.
SPECTALCED WARBLER - found by Jon Warnes (artwork by Brian Small).
This bird was found on Saturday 10th May by the Roman Road on Westleton Heath. The bird was initially thought to be a Subalpine Warbler and news was broadcast as such. The bird then promptly disappeared for some time and was re-found during the early evening where it's identity was confirmed as a Spectalced Warbler. Despite what appeared to be the bird nest building and singing, it was not seen the following morning. This sighting consists of the 2nd for Suffolk.
SQUACCO HERON - found by Adam Rowlands (photo Andrew Easton).
Friday the 13th (July) wasn't unlucky for this observer! This bird was found on Minsmere levels and although initially mobile, the bird settled down and was enjoyed by many through-out the day. The last county record was way back in 1912, so a welcome county tick was had by those lucky enough to see this bird during it's 1 day stay.