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 next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - May 2018

The morning of 5th May was sunny and wind-less when we met in the car park at 8.00am. We quickly noted eleven species of birds in the car park hedges and trees and, as is often the case when the foliage obscures the presence of some small birds, we located seven of these species first by song – Goldfinch, Blackbird, Blackcap, Robin, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Greenfinch. Also present were Blue Tit, Magpie, Long-tailed Tit and Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow). Many of our summering Blackcaps have now arrived in the country and we heard no fewer than five singing males during the walk. blackcap_maleOne of these was singing particularly loudly, perhaps because it was next to the busy road. It took us some time to locate it but it was worth the effort, its underside gleaming white in the sun, and sporting a neat black crown – hence its name. A warbler that can be identified with certainty by its song is the Chiffchaff, which we heard in various parts of the more densely wooded areas. We do not usually mention birds not seen on a particular walk but it is worth recording the fact that it has been some time since we have noted a Willow Warbler at Magog Down. It is similar in form to the Chiffchaff willow_warblerbut with a distinct song – surveys have shown that Chiffchaff numbers are increasing but Willow Warbler has shown a worrying 40% decline in England since 1995 – yet in Scotland there has actually been an increase of 21%.

Skylarks were singing over the downland, in Feoffee’s Fields and over the Oilseed Rape crop but not over the densely sown Winter Barley, and a Kestrel and Buzzard were hunting over the fields. A mix of Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws was feeding mainly in the sheep-populated fields, where two Mistle Thrushes were also seen; whilst in the woodland belts and copses we heard or saw the usual range of small birds including a Bullfinch calling in Villedomer Wood where it is not normally found. As well as singing, several male Chaffinches were uttering their “rain call”, rather like a harsh ‘hrreet’.  This is thought by some to foretell rain but that seems to be just a myth.

whitethroat_maleThe summer visiting warbler, Whitethroat, has returned to the open field hedgerows and three were singing by the path between Villedomer Wood and Vestey Wood. Also in the same hedge-line a Yellowhammer was perched high on a bush, singing repeatedly to defend his territory, and plenty of Orange Tip butterflies were on the wing. The hedges around Feoffee’s Fields are also ideal sites for nesting Whitethroats and these are seen on most walks though more distantly and binoculars are then needed to identify them. A flock of around 35 Linnets swirled around the open fields at the southern end of Villedomer Wood, venturing at times into the Trust area and at least one male was singing there. Other birds noted but not mentioned so far included Magpie, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, and Wren. Altogether 26 birds species were noted.

        Mike Foley


May 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.

  • Garden Warbler.jpg
  • Blackcap female.jpg
  • Blackbird.jpg
  • Skylark.jpg
  • Wood pigeon.jpg
  • Golden Plover.jpg
  • Greenfinch.jpg
  • Whitethroat male.jpg