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 Bird Club walk will be on Saturday 2nd June 2018.

Meet 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 2018 prev  :  next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - April 2018

This month’s walk was held one week later than usual and luckily for us coincided with an abrupt change in weather, to warm almost balmy conditions with only the gentlest of breeze. Inward migration of summer visitors has been a bit slow this spring, but has perked up recently and we noted a strong passage of Blackcaps. These dainty warblers would have been overwintering in the southern Mediterranean area. The largest group we saw had four males with their distinctive black caps – hence its name – and one female, sporting a red-brown cap. Another warbler still passing through or even establishing territory was Chiffchaff. Its song consists of a series of rather monotonous two-tone notes broken at times with a soft churr. 

Most of the Blackcaps were found in the hedges and bushes in the car park area, where we also had singing Chaffinches, singing Robins, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Magpie, and several Woodpigeons. We noted a Bullfinch in the hedgerow next to the picnic area, calling softly but it was elusive.  An early Cuckoo was calling away from the Trust area. A total of four Skylarks were singing at various points along the walk and several others were seen to rise from the ground.  More frequently found in the grassland areas, some were also singing above the Oilseed Rape and autumn sown cereal crops. Some of the more common birds were in song, including Dunnock, Great Tit and Wren. In the Clunch Pit by Little Trees Hill, we were fortunate to hear a Blackcap and a Garden Warbler singing side by side. Their songs can be confusingly similar at times and it is worthwhile to search for the birds with binoculars to match their appearance to their song. In the mature trees on Little Trees Hill we saw both Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker, the loud call of the latter rather like hysterical laughter.

All the common members of the crow family were seen: Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Magpie, mostly on Feoffee's Fields and the Sheep Paddocks where they would be searching for grubs in the soil.  Perhaps the highlight of the walk was our chance encounter with a Tawny Owl. It was at rest in a tree and appeared to be asleep, and it was likely to remain there until dusk as, unlike the Barn Owl, this bird does not hunt during the day. Towards the end of Villedomer Wood we have a good view of the fields towards the south and west, and although the birds seen therein are outside the Trust area, it is worthwhile scanning the crops and hedgerows. This time we were rewarded with a small flock of Linnets, a pair of Yellowhammers and a hunting Common Buzzard. As the Linnets eventually flew into the Trust fields, we allowed ourselves to put them on our list!

Other birds noted were Jay, Song Thrush, Red-legged Partridge, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Blackbird, 28 species in total. A very pleasant walk indeed with Cowslips already in flower and Brimstone butterflies on the wing.

                    Mike Foley


April 2018

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 selection of the birds that have been seen on Magog Down.

  • Mistle thrush.jpg
  • Blackbird.jpg
  • Gull.jpg
  • Yellowhammer.jpg
  • buzzard in flight.jpg
  • Bullfinch male.jpg
  • Redwing.jpg
  • Chaffinch.jpg