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 - December 2016

Members met in the car park on Saturday 3rd at 8.30 am.  It was chilly and cloudy but nonetheless the absence of a breeze created pleasant conditions for birding.

Within the car park and the picnic area we saw or heard five singing Robins, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Magpie, Song Thrush, a Woodpigeon and Blackbirds.  A highlight was the tiny Goldcrest feeding in the picnic area.  The “winter thrushes” from Scandinavia – Redwings and Fieldfares – were present this month with several flocks of Redwing flying low overhead. Fieldfares were fewer in number but both types were noted over parts of the walk where berries suitable for feeding were present in the hedgerows.  Two Meadow Pipits were seen in rough grass on North Down, and then 45 more of these streaky brown birds rose from the field, altogether rather more than is usually encountered there.  A Mistle Thrush flew over North Down into Little Trees Hill.

stonechat_female_180A more unexpected find was a female Stonechat (pictured left) perched on a fence post by Colin’s Paddock.  This species takes small and medium-sized insects and other invertebrates, and also berries.  It was behaving impeccably and showed us exactly how it feeds: it first locates prey on the ground from its elevated perch then flies or hops to the ground, picking the prey up and then returning to same perch or a new one. This was a real delight to watch.  The Down seems to be a good habitat for Stonechats this autumn:  a male (pictured below) stonechat_male_180was present in late October and a female was seen on occasion during November.  Both birds were loyal to Barnes’ Copse further down the hill and on making our way there, sure enough we found the female which makes us suspect that we had different birds at the two locations.

Far away towards Stapleford, we locked on to a flock of flying birds.  From the “jizz” of the bird, we could tell that they were Golden Plovers, which is a passage bird in south Cambs and also a winter visitor.

The wild bird seed strip in the arable section had at least 25 Linnets, a Reed Bunting, and 8 Chaffinches and 3 Yellowhammers. Other birds seen during the walk were Black-headed Gulls, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Pheasant, Long-tailed Tits and Wrens. In total we encountered 25 bird species within the Down.

          Mike Foley


 

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.

  • Willow warbler.jpg
  • Great tit.jpg
  • Crow.jpg
  • Chiffchaff.jpg
  • Stonechat male.jpg
  • Blackcap female.jpg