Long-term Survey of Breeding Birds

In February 2012, Bryan Davies and Robin Cox of Cambridgeshire Bird Club proposed a long term breeding bird survey on Magog Down.

Full reports of the first six years of this survey can be found here:

2017 Report

2016 Report

2015 Report

2014 Report

2013 Report

2012 Report

Bird Club Reports

Below are the most recent two reports of the Stapleford Bird Club. Older reports, dating back to 2009, can be found under the News.

2019 Report of a long term survey of breeding birds on Magog Down Stapleford

31st Dec 2019

Bryan Davies, Mike Foley and Robin Cox, all of Cambridgeshire Bird Club. Summary The aim of this long term bird survey is…read more

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - December 2019

7th Dec 2019

We met in the car park at 8.30am on 7th December and started the walk by checking the far hedge as the hanging feeders there…read more

Birds on Magog Down

Trees planted in the early 1990s form five separate areas of woodland which have established well and have attracted several species of bird. Careful management of the grassland has contributed to their welfare. Bird surveys have been carried out at regular intervals and are continuing (see box on left and links to recent reports). Over the years about fifty species have been recorded.

Birds commonly seen throughout the year:

  • Blackbird, Dunnock, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Song Thrush, Skylark, Starling, Wren
  • Finches:  Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet
  • Tits:  Blue Tit, Great Tit
  • Crow family:  Crow, Jackdaw, Jay, Magpie, Rook
  • Collared Dove, Wood pigeon

Birds less commonly seen:

  • Bullfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Hammer, Pied Wagtail, Corn Bunting

Summer Migrants (April to September):

  • Warblers:  Willow, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat
  • Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Spotted Flycatcher, Grey Wagtail

Winter Migrants (October to March):

  • Fieldfare, Redwing

Birds often seen Flying over the Magog Down:

  • Heron, Gulls, Ducks, Geese, Swans

UPDATES - January 2015:

We have deleted Siskin and Turtle Dove from our 'commonly seen' list above, and moved Corn Bunting into 'less commonly seen'. We have also deleted Garden Warbler and Cuckoo from the summer migrant list.

Removal of the iconic Cuckoo and Turtle Dove serve to emphasize the ominous decline of a lot of UK wildlife.

Hopes for the Future

The establishment of chalk grassland with its great diversity  of flowering plants is a slow process - it took two decades for the first orchid to flower on South Down - so we anticipate to see more orchids and other species establish in the future.

Our bird surveys suggest there are about 20 different birds breeding on the Down and - at a time when agricultural bird populations are decreasing - we hope that we can buck the trend and at least maintain the present number if not increase it. Introduction of 30 nest boxes in the woods, a large bird seed cover strip to provide food over winter, coupled with planting of hedges and small  trees to provide singing perches in hedges are steps we have taken to improve the habitat for birds.

We expect ash die back to kill most of our many ash trees in the future but we hope a few will survive and so contribute to restoring this tree to its current major role in English woodlands.

Birds Seen - by year

The bird club keeps records across the years of which birds have been seen on Magog Down. One of their members has kindly summarised these into a table for comparison across the years. Here is the Table comparing three years: 2013 2014 and 2015.

Other tables of birds seen by month can be found in the individual Bird Reports, under News.

Bird Club first Saturday meetings under review

The monthly meetings of the Stapleford Bird Club have not taken place since March 2020, because of the Covid-19 epidemic. The walk leader has continued to visit most months, and his reports can be read under our News section.  He hopes to be able to take a group round again before too much longer.

Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Stapleford Bird Club

Stapleford Bird Club meets at Magog Down on the first Saturday of every month and members spend an enjoyable two hours visiting various locations within the Down recording the birds.

skylark_garth_cropped_250Photo: Skylark (Alauda arvensis) © Garth Peacock 2015

Reports of these visits are usually published in Stapleford's Parish magazine, The Messenger, and also on this website, where the webmaster adds in links to the RSPB pages describing the birds mentioned (see box, bottom left).

Membership of the bird club is very informal–– just turn up and enjoy the birding walk. It is a healthy way of getting fresh air and exercise, and de-stressing while learning about birds.

The leader is Mike Foley who is always happy to provide more information - his contact details are on the Noticeboard.

We meet in the Magog Down Car Park at 8.00am from April to October and 8.30am from November to March.

We welcome new members of any age from beginners to life-time bird watchers. Sorry, no dogs