See also...

If you are interested in birds, you may also like to read what's on our Birds on Magog Down page.

Bird Club - come and join us!

If you have never given birdwatching a try do come along on the first Saturday of the month (meeting in the car park at 8am from April to October; slightly later at 8.30 am from November to March).

Membership 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.

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

skylark_garth_cropped_250Photo: Skylark (Alauda arvensis) © Garth Peacock 2015

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 Reports 2015 prev  :  next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - July 2015

The seven birders who met in the car park at 8 a.m. were treated to fine, sunny conditions with light winds. Standing quietly for a few moments we saw (or rather more often heard) Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, Blackbird, Magpies, Whitethroat, and Skylarks.  Following our usual route, we followed the path up the edge of North Down by Youth Wood and found a Magpie perched high on a bush, perhaps watching with its beady eye for any bird taking food to its young so it could follow it to the nest.  Several Skylarks were singing high above the multitude of grasses with their swaying seed-heads reaching over waist height.   

Magog Wood was rather quiet with just one Wren alarm-calling but we had good views of a hunting Kestrel which alighted on a post from time to time.  On Little Trees Hill including the Clunch Pit we had a singing Whitethroat which unusually favoured the edge of the wood, also singing Robins, Woodpigeon, Wren, and a singing Blackcap.  From Jane’s Piece we saw four Magpies, and in Feoffee’s Field one of these was keenly harassing a male Kestrel, probably the same bird we saw earlier.  A Skylark singing close by seemed unperturbed by the hassle the Magpie was causing.   We walked on keeping Villedomer Wood to our left so we could search the hedgerow between the path and the arable crops for farmland species and we were not disappointed: over the entire length we found four singing Whitethroats and one more Whitethroat uttering its typical croaking ‘charr’ warning call.  We also located three Yellowhammers; two by calls and the third by song as it perched on the power line. In the field was a flock of mixed crows, more Rooks than Carrion Crows, trying to peck into the hard soil for an invertebrate snack. We were lucky enough to find a singing Corn Bunting – peering through the hedge into the crop we realised it had been perching on a ‘singing-post’ just a few feet from the hedge. Vestey Wood held yet another Magpie and the old woodland adjacent had richly singing Blackbirds and Blackcap, and Long-tailed Tit and our first Chaffinch of the morning.   

The path along the A1307 by Memorial Wood held a singing Wren, and a party of four Long-tailed Tits. A Swallow flew low hunting for insects over the emerged field strip which has been sown to provide small birds with winter seed-food, and we noticed some Self Heal plants next to the path, with rather pretty purple-blue flowers.  South Down had two Jackdaws.  Making our way back down the hill, we saw two Marbled White butterflies which brought the grand total for the walk to 19 adults.  Apparently this is a bumper year for this attractive butterfly which is drawn to chalk grassland. A clump of flowering Mignonette was pointed out by a member of the group.

Returning to the car park we saw our final bird, a Dunnock, which brought our total number of bird species this month to 17.  This is not a particularly high number and reflects the fact that some of our more common residents have more or less finished breeding and are now quietly feeding, and that most of our summer migrants have put any idea of territorial singing to one side to get on with feeding hungry youngsters!  The birds haven’t departed, it’s just that they are now less obvious.  Our next visit will be on Saturday 1st August at 8 am in the car park.                

                        Mike Foley

Birds on Magog Down

We publish the monthly reports of Stapleford Bird club here, plus other occasional bird-related articles; hot links in each report will take you to the RSPB information page for each bird spotted.

The gallery below shows a random six of the birds that have been seen on Magog Down.

  • Stonechat female.jpg
  • Jackdaw.jpg
  • Green woodpecker.jpg
  • Chiffchaff.jpg
  • Cormorant flying.jpg
  • Fieldfare.jpg