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

Bird reports 2016 prev  :  next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - February 2016

The intended date for the February meeting was Saturday, 6th, but the meeting was postponed because of the forecast of heavy rain and winds, until the 13th which itself was cold, cloudy and with a breeze from the north-east, and was definitely a day for a hat and gloves. 

Bird numbers were on the thin side, but there was plenty of diversity with 27 species being recorded. 

The Bird Club had decided before Christmas that it should attempt a mid-winter “Bird-Blitz” survey in order to record as many of the species that are present on Magog Down;  in order to do this properly the survey time was extended well beyond the two hours of the usual monthly meetings.  The Bird-Blitz was undertaken (by Mike Foley) on 17th January, and the main point from this was that the total species found during the “Bird-Blitz” compared to the February walk was no more than 28 species, compared to 27!  These totals do not reveal the whole story however, as the Bird-Blitz recorded six species not found on the 13th February, and the February walk encountered five species not found on the 17th January.   So, over the two successive walks, 33 species were recorded.  Among various factors, the vagaries of the weather during each walk will have had an impact on the range of birds found, and so the numbers of birds and totals of species does vary from month to month simply because some birds stay under cover, and prefer not to be exposed to the elements. For this reason the survey results from the Bird Club over a much longer period of time (in fact around 25 years!) should be a valuable database to show trends over time.  Many of these records still need to be digitalised so that they can contribute better to the overall picture, and this is a task in hand.

So on the 13th starting as usual at the car park, we noted two blackbirds, robin, blue tit and a hunting sparrowhawk that was so fast and low that it passed by in just a few seconds. On the path at the side of North Down by Youth Wood, we found goldfinches, chaffinch, another robin and a song thrush.  On the hill side, a skylark was trilling, but was not actually in song.   Magog Wood held a magpie and three redwings (one of our ‘winter thrushes’).  One member spent a few moments showing us buds, from some trees, which had neat holes bored into the side of each one.  Were these caused by small-billed finches harvesting the nutritious core; we were not sure?  Gazing out over the South Down the hillside was ‘heaving’ with another of our ‘winter thrushes’ – around 140 strutting fieldfares – with a solitary mistle thrush on a fence post.  A buzzard flew over these flocks, and in complete isolation from the thrushes were 11 rooks and 7 jackdaws.  At Little Trees Hill we noted the two common woodpeckers – great spotted and green – both picked out in quick succession and identified by their very different calls.  A jay screamed at us from within the wood, and woodpigeons occupied fence posts at Feoffee’s Fields, all motionless and facing the same direction.

A wren showed itself briefly in Villedomer Wood and a second jay was seen.   Vestey Wood had a wren, blue tit, long-tailed tit and great tit.  A few carrion crows were feeding on the cultivated arable land within the Trust area, and black-headed gulls were fluttering over.  The wild-bird seed strip in the field next to Memorial Wood is obviously benefitting the farmland specialists yellowhammer and linnet.  Both these species are using the strip for food.  We estimated 90 linnets in two flocks, which swirled around making a count difficult.


 

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 five years of this survey can be found here:

2012 Report

2013 Report

2014 Report

2015 Report

2016 Report

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 often seen on Magog Down.

  • Whitethroat male.jpg
  • Wood pigeon.jpg
  • Stonechat female.jpg
  • Skylark.jpg
  • buzzard in flight.jpg
  • Greenfinch.jpg