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 - August 2015

Five members met in the car park at 8.00am on Saturday 1st August and spent a pleasurable two hours walking the Downs in bright conditions. 

In the car park area we had a calling great spotted woodpecker, blackbird, magpie, woodpigeon, robin, goldfinch, blue tit, chaffinch, chiffchaff, great tit; a skylark called as it flew over. Near the top of North Down three birds were feeding on the ground - even at that distance it was easy to see from their “jizz” that they were mistle thrushes.  Passing by Youth Wood we encountered two robins, a great tit, three magpies, and a woodpigeon.  Over the North Down we saw one Skylark singing and another calling.  Our botanically-minded member identified clumps of an attractive plant with intensely blue flowers as clustered bell-flower.  Magog Wood was rather quiet with just three woodpigeons seen and no calling birds.  Looking down on the sheep field we counted about 20 “corvids” (Jackdaws, rooks and carrion crows) all in a line on the tops of fence posts.  A green woodpecker passed low calling loudly.   Little Trees Hill held a calling blackcap and a robin, and a blackbird issued persistent alarm calls suggesting a predator such as tawny owl was present although we couldn’t see any.   Feoffee’s Field was alive with the sound of no fewer than four singing skylarks.  A magpie and a woodpigeon were also present there.   

Approaching Villedomer Wood, we were asked by the shepherd to hold back as his flock of sheep was herded en masse out of the sheep field into Feoffee’s.  We learnt that the sheep (“mules”) are mostly a cross-breed of Blue-faced Leicester rams and Scottish Black-face / Swaledale ewes.  A skylark was singing in the wheat field just outwith the South Down and on the electricity wire a yellowhammer was singing – as a late breeder it often sing much of the day at this time of year.  A keen observer noted a whitethroat in a distant hedge.  In the large block of uncultivated land at the end of the field four rooks and three carrion crows were feeding on the ground.  Vestey Wood was very quiet with just a robin and a chaffinch.  In Memorial Wood, we recorded a blackbird, two great tits, and a spotty juvenile robin. 

As part of the inner arable field, the strip of land next to the path sown for nectar for insects and seeds for wild birds was now a vivid purple colour due to the huge numbers of Phacelia-like flowers – a magnet to insects especially bees.  This strip is proving an interesting addition to the habitat, what else will be revealed there in the coming months? 

Viewing the sheep field again with a clicking wren behind us, a census of the corvids on the ground came to 82 birds, mostly rooks and jackdaws.  Towards Youth Wood, we were captivated by a family of whitethroats, busily feeding on insects.   On our return to the car park we were greeted with two more robins, two families of great tits and our first bullfinch and greenfinch of the day, which brought the grand total of recorded bird species to twenty-two.

                  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.

  • Jackdaw.jpg
  • Willow warbler.jpg
  • Magpie.jpg
  • buzzard in flight.jpg
  • Wood pigeon.jpg
  • Stonechat female.jpg