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 - November 2016

Six members gathered in the car park at 8.30 am.  The weather was not inclement but there was a noticeable chill in the air, the increasing breeze having a northerly element.  Gloves and hats were definitely in evidence on this walk!

The car park is as good a place as anywhere to see birds, and we saw or heard as many as eleven species while standing within the car park; these were Robins, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Starling, Skylark, Magpie, Woodpigeon, and a hunting Kestrel.  Rather surprisingly, we didn’t record a single “winter thrush” (the Redwings and Fieldfares that overwinter from Scandinavia) throughout the walk, although a party of nine Fieldfares did descend on Villedomer Wood a few days prior to the walk, using the wood as a roosting site.

mistle_thrush_180A Mistle Thrush was perched on the top of a tree in Magog Wood. This is Europe’s largest true songbird, even larger than the Fieldfare.  He also has a very loud song, and at 4 am on a spring morning the Mistle Thrush can awaken even the deepest of sleepers if it takes residence near to a home!

A Buzzard flew into the breeze over the Sheep Pastures, flapping wildly to keep within its intended direction – and there were over 40 corvids in the fields, Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws in roughly equal proportions.  The wild bird-seed strip, further along the Down, is continuing to show itself as a worthy addition to the biodiversity of the site – and in particular to create a food source for birds in the winter [see news item from August 2015 for more about this bird strip].  We witnessed the spectacle of around 105 Linnets (a species of finch, pictured)linnet_male_180 in a huge flock – jerkily flying around as if a puppeteer was dangling them en masse.  Also within the seed strip there were at least eight Reed Buntings, and two Chaffinches  We would hope the seed source will still be in good supply for the February “hungry gap”, when birds really become desperate for food.  It seems to be in excellent condition currently. [See also this article from 2013 about the then new strategy of supplementing with purchased bird seed.]

Other birds that were seen included Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Pheasant, Dunnock, Blackbird, and Great Tit.  Two days before our walk, a Red Kite drifted low over the North Down, still an uncommon sighting in our part of the county.

In total we encountered 23 bird species during our Saturday walk. 

Mike Foley


Comparison of November 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.

  • Starling.jpg
  • Skylark.jpg
  • Fieldfare.jpg
  • Blue tit.jpg
  • Gull.jpg
  • Chaffinch.jpg