1 November - 30 November
Winter wildfowl began to appear during this month with reports of Whooper Swans and Bewick’s Swans, five of the former seen at Minsmere and seven of the latter at Covehithe being the peak counts. Sea watchers were treated to several sightings of Velvet Scoter with four drakes south together at Southwold then Minsmere on the 22nd being the highest count. Common Scoter and Eider were also very much in evidence, 171 of the latter were counted passing north at Southwold on the 22nd. A couple of Long-tailed Ducks were also reported including a fine drake north off Southwold on the 28th. Four Greater Scaup were seen off Southwold on the 29th, a female Red-crested Pochard was at Minsmere 13th-16th and five Goosander were at Thorpeness meare on the 21st. Twenty-one Tundra Bean Geese flew over Carlton marshes on the 21st, sixty-three European White-fronted Geese were counted at North Warren on the 25th and Six Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew north past Lowestoft on the 22nd. Divers also featured in many reports particularly towards the end of the month, Red-throated Diver was far and away the most numerous but there were a few reports of Great Northern Divers and a couple of Black-throated Divers. North winds blowing down through the North Sea produced some late seabirds with two Manx Shearwaters and a Sooty Shearwater off Southwold on the 22nd and a Leach’s Petrel north off Lowestoft the same day. A first winter Shag was seen in Lowestoft harbour on the 29th. At the beginning of the month a Glossy Ibis was seen around Minsmere 1st-8th and was also seen at Walberswick on the 7th. A quiet month for raptors with Hen Harrier seen at the Alde estuary (23rd) and a Goshawk at Reydon smeare (11th). Reports of waders were also few this month, Jack Snipe and Spotted Redshankwere seen and there six Purple Sandpipers at the Ness Point on the 20th, a Grey Phalarope was just offshore at Kessingland on the 23rd. A second winter Glaucous Gull was doing the rounds during the month, 6th until the 24th at least, it was most reliably looked for in Southwold harbour on the Walberswick wall but was also seen on the Blyth from the Hen reedbeds and at Minsmere on one occasion. An Iceland Gull was reported flying south past Minsmere on the 10th, also at Minsmere three Caspian Gulls on the 18th and four Yellow-legged Gulls on the 26th. North winds occasionally during the month and particularly storm Arwen were responsible for reports of Little Auks from several coastal locations, highest single day count was six off Southwold on the 22nd. A quite rare bird in Suffolk, Puffin was also reported on a few dates with a high count of five, again at Southwold on the 22nd, this was definitely ‘auk day’ for sea watchers. Watching owls arriving over the sea is always an exciting and awe inspiring event, there were a handful of reports of ‘in off’ Short-eared Owls and a couple of Long-eared Owls, one at Lowestoft on the 5th which took refuge in a tree by the north denes and one at Southwold on the 22nd. Shorelark is an annual winter favourite and reports included one on the beach at Minsmere on the 12th, followed by two on the east scrape on the 16th with one remaining until the 19th and a single at Kessingland 19th-21st. Three late Swallows flew south at Walberswick on the 19th and amongst the Water Pipit reports, seven at North Warren on the 24th was the most notable. Two Ring Ouzels were seen to fly in off the sea at Kessingland on the 14th. Bird of the month for many was a first winter female Pied Wheatear discovered on the beach in front of Sizewll A power station on the 14th, it remained on the beach for about an hour before disappearing in to the inaccessible compound of the power station frustrating many late comers. Black Redstarts were seen in reasonable numbers mainly at their usual haunts, peak being six at Ness Point on the 9th. Another contender for bird of the month was a Hume’s Warbler discovered near Beach farm at Benacre on the 25th, very elusive on occasions but patience would be rewarded with good views, this bird was last seen on the 29th. Two Siberian Chiffchaffs were also at the same location by Beach farm and others were reported at Southwold on the 14th and 21st. A Yellow-browed Warbler was present at the old caravan park at Thorpeness on the 5th-7th, the same or another on the 15th and another at Southwold campsite on the 8th, one reported at Walberswick on the 9th could have been the Southwold bird hopping across the river. Firecrest at Dunwich on the 9th wraps up the warbler reports. At least one Raven was touring the area during the month with reports from the Minsmere and Westleton area and Beccles on the 7th. Up to four Twite were along the beach between Dunwich and Walberswick rewarding anyone taking the trek across the shingle, a Hawfinch was reported from Aldeburgh on the 3rd. Lapland Buntings were seen at Walberswick (2nd), North Warren (23rd) and Benacre (27th). Most reports of Snow Buntings came from their two main winter strongholds at Kessingland and Dunwich/Walberswick with peak counts of sixty-three at the former (8th) and twenty-five at Walberswick (26th).