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

The next meeting of the Stapleford Bird Club will be on Saturday 4th November starting in the car park at the slightly later time of 8.30am

If the weather is very poor, it may be delayed until the next Saturday.
All welcome, sorry no dogs.

Bird reports 2017 prev  :  next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - May 2017

The weather on Saturday 6th May was rather chilly and cloudy with a breeze from the north east.  Nine members met in the car park area which had singing Robin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Wren, Chaffinch, and a calling Greenfinch. We passed a clump of the attractive flower Sainfoin on the North Down but it seemed not to be attracting bees despite being it a good nectar source:  it was probably still too cold for much bee activity. Three different Robins were singing in Youth Wood.

Moving through Magog Wood and along Colin’s Bank to Villedomer Bank, our route was then to take the perimeter path to Vestey Wood, and to return alongside Memorial Wood.  This route takes us through, or overlooks, the various habitats that have developed (and some that are still developing) over the Trust land.  As we come to a particular habitat, we know which species we should expect to find there.  Many species use several habitats – Wrens for instance can be found almost anywhere except in the open fields, whereas Skylarks breed on the Down’s grassland, the Sheep Paddocks, and in the cereal crops.  Dense hedgerows are often the preferred sites for breeding Yellowhammers and sure enough, by scanning the hedgerows of Feoffee’s Fields we saw two of these, including a bright yellow male.  Our first encounter this Spring with the summer migrantWhitethroat [female] Whitethroat was along the perimeter path between the Villedomer and Vestey Woods.  Several pairs use this hedge as a nesting site, and the path is often called “Whitethroat Alley”.  This is the main site used by Whitethroats, with only occasional nesting birds found elsewhere on the walk (the other main site being the hedges surrounding Feoffee’s Fields).

Other birds of note included two Mistle Thrushes – which are not thought to be breeding here but are seen gathering food from the Sheep Paddocks to take to their nest.  Two birds of prey were seen overhead, a hunting Kestrel and a Buzzard.  Warblers were plentiful, and included singing Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler, Garden Warblerin addition to the Whitethroat already mentioned.  The Garden Warbler is sometimes misidentified, as by song alone it may be thought to be the more common Blackcap, as their songs are rather similar.  One Garden Warbler was singing well on the edge of Little Trees Hill, with a singing Blackcap not far away; with practice the songs of two species can be distinguished.  Other birds not listed above included Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Swallow, Goldfinch, and three “ flyovers” – Lesser-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Mallard. Altogether, we recorded 26 bird species. 

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.

  • Blackbird.jpg
  • Blackcap female.jpg
  • Blackcap male.jpg
  • Blue tit.jpg
  • Chaffinch.jpg
  • Chiffchaff.jpg