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

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 six years of this survey can be found here:

2017 Report

2016 Report

2015 Report

2014 Report

2013 Report

2012 Report

Bird Club first Saturday meetings under review

The monthly meetings of the Stapleford Bird Club have not taken place since March 2020, because of the Covid-19 epidemic. The walk leader has continued to visit most months, and his reports can be read under our News section.  He hopes to be able to take a group round again before too much longer.

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Bird reports 2017 prev  :  next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - November 2017

I would like to mention a bird encountered in-between our monthly walks.  A totally new species for the Magog Downs and a “mega-rarity” for the whole of Cambridgeshire dartford_warbler_180(“twitchers” use this expression – and for those who are wondering, the Bird Club is absolutely not a twitching fraternity!) was Dartford Warbler.  One bird was first recorded at Great Abington in 1870; later records included one in 2005 and the latest in early 2016.  The Magog Down bird, on 24th October, and seen by a well-known birder and bird-artist, would be only the fifth-ever for the County.  It breeds on coastal heaths so I don’t think we will find that it will have stayed – but we did look out for it.

On the 11th, earlier rain and drizzle turned to hazy sunshine just as we met in the car park, and the whole walk was in windless and mild conditions – we could not have asked for better weather.  Perhaps because of the conditions, birds were flitting around in some numbers in the car park and there was no need to move away too soon.  Twelve species were seen or heard there, including Song Thrush.  Two “winter thrushes” from northern Europe showed themselves:  Redwings and a Fieldfare.  It is good to see some Greenfinches in the car park bushes and trees.  The disease Trichomoniasis which maims finches and some other birds seems now to be declining a little.

We had two flocks of the golden_plover_180wading species, Golden Plover (pictured right), flying in formations over the Down but tending to keep closer to Stapleford.  We first encountered woodpeckers by their distinctive calls – two Green Woodpeckers and a Great Spotted WoodpeckerMeadow Pipits were in the seedy short grassy areas, and the Sheep Paddocks had three different corvids: Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw, which were also in Feoffee’s Fields alongside some Fieldfares and Redwing that seemingly had just arrived.

Linnets were feeding in the Trust’s large purpose-sown wild bird seed feeder strip (see previous News item).  About 120 were there, in various flock sizes.  This justifies the effort.

We saw 20+ Blackbirds and most were males.  At this time of year, an influx from Scandinavia and Russia occurs and birds should follow normal patterns of dispersal.  Males [of various species] want to return to their breeding grounds in the spring as quickly as possible to set up their territories.  It is worth their while to set out across the North Sea to overwinter in our milder conditions while females take a landward approach but then need to travel much further south through Europe, to find the same milder conditions.  The males then have a quicker return but need body weight / longer wings to do it.

We had a spectacular species total of thirty-one.  Other birds found on the walk include, Wren, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Magpie, Collared Dove (uncommon), Starling, Mistle Thrush (three birds), Chaffinch, Cormorants cormorant_flying_180(two flying over).

      Mike Foley.

View the November sightings from 2013 to 2017 compared in this table.


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 that have been seen on Magog Down.

  • Jackdaw.jpg
  • stock dove in flight.jpg
  • Linnet male.jpg
  • Dunnock.jpg
  • Long tailed tit.jpg
  • Whitethroat male.jpg