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 - April 2016

Our monthly visit to Magog Down on 2nd April was at the earlier start of 8.00am, brought forward by half an hour now that we are in the summer season.  Stalwart birders who volunteer to partake in BTO or RSPB style breeding surveys consider they are rather late starting if they are not in the field by 6.00am!  As the saying goes, “the early bird catches the worm”, and surveyors need to start very early to catch the birds when they are most active.  However, the Bird Club is very content with its “later” start – the day is still young, birds are still active, and as the start times are consistent over the years, records between the months and years can be compared.  Bird activity does tail off towards lunch-time and some locations known to have resident birds can seem quieter or even bird-less until into the evening. 

We spent two pleasant hours in sparkling sunshine following our usual route which draws in Vestey Wood at the far end.  As is usual, pauses during the stroll were made to view some bird more closely or to listen more intently to a bird calling or singing, with some discussion of the identity of the bird.

This month is a transitional period when most winter visitors are leaving and summer migrants arrive to breed.  The winter thrushes Redwing and Fieldfare have now left the Down, but only one summer visitor was noted – a warbler called the chiffchaff (its name is onomatopoeic, referring to the repetitive sound of its simple song).  In Welsh it is the “siff-saff”, which itself is rather different from the German name “zilpzalp”.  And the Dutch call it the “Tjiftjaf”.  We should all listen carefully the next time we hear one singing and decide which name best describes the notes!  This bird overwinters in small numbers at a few sites in Cambridgeshire, but it is estimated that 4-8000 pairs come to breed in the county.

This month we recorded 20 species.  In the order in which they were encountered, they were robin, chaffinch, goldfinch, woodpigeon, jackdaw, song thrush, wren, blue tit, skylark, great tit, dunnock, buzzard, chiffchaff , blackbird, magpie, carrion crow, rook, jay, long-tailed tit, and green woodpecker.  As is usually the case in spring-time, just standing still for a moment or two as we assembled in the car park allowed us to savour the songs of the several robins in the hedge-rows, the strident singing of two song thrushes close-by, and the delightfully spirited song of the skylarks, one of which has taken up territory just into the North Down.

                          Mike Foley


Comparison of April sightings between 2013 and 2016 is shown in this table.


 

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.

  • Blackbird.jpg
  • Blackcap female.jpg
  • Fieldfare.jpg
  • Goldfinch.jpg
  • Willow warbler.jpg
  • Starling.jpg