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 2nd September starting in the car park at 8am

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

Bird reports 2017 next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - August 2017

We started our walk on a calm and fairly warm morning on the Saturday the 5th.  Not unsurprisingly at this time of the year, we didn’t see or hear many birds.  We encountered as few as 14 species:  Magpie, Green Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Robin, Skylark, Wren, House Martins, Goldfinch, Dunnock (also called the Hedge Sparrow), Rook, Carrion Crow, Kestrel, and seven Swallows flitted by.

The paucity of bird records can be partly explained by the need for many perching birds (the “passerines”) to moult feathers after their breeding period.  This means that they become quite secretive.  And after all, they do not need to shout out in song that they have breeding territory, though an exception is that some late Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings may still be nesting.

With regards to feather moulting, studies at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have shown interesting differences between bird species.  Blue Tits start this earliest in the season, replacing feathers more than two months before Bullfinches, the latest moulting species. Data from the Nest Record Scheme showed that these differences can be completely explained by the time at which species finish breeding, and consequently, species that produce only a single-brood each year start moult earlier in the season than multi-brooded species.

Long-distance migrants replace their feathers at a faster rate than resident species. Migrants achieve this by moulting a greater number of feathers simultaneously than residents. For example, migratory Whitethroats (which are at their most numerous as nesters at Feoffee’s and further down in the perimeter hedge towards the Vestey wood area) moult faster than any other species in the study, replacing their primary feathers in about two months by moulting an average of three and a half feathers per wing at one time. Conversely, resident House Sparrows, the slowest moulting species, take nearly four months to complete their moult by only moulting two feathers simultaneously.swallow_in_flight_180

We can only hope that this autumn, our summer migrants make a safe journey to the various parts of Africa or the southern Mediterranean where most overwinter, and to find their overwintering habitat hasn’t been destroyed, and avoid the pitfalls of house_martin_in_flight_180adverse weather on their way there and on their return, and dodge the bullets of over-eager shooters in some countries. But we should not be complacent at home, as far too much of habitat for our birds in Cambridgeshire has been lost.

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