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 3rd November

Meet in the car park at 8.30am. 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 - July 2018

The Leader’s Commitments on the first Saturday of the month, and again the following Saturday, delayed the walk until 21st. The long, hot and dry spell persisted, the last rainfall being way back on 8th June.  The crops ripened faster than usual and harvesting of the Winter Barley and Winter Oilseed Rape was early so that only stubble remained in the fields on the day of the walk.  Feoffee’s Fields and the Sheep Paddocks were parched and the sheep had been moved on. 

Birds become much quieter in the second half of July as many have finished breeding.  At the start of the walk at 8am in the car park, we heard a Goldfinch and Wood Pigeon singing, and a Blackbird and Greenfinch calling.  Moving to the North Down we saw three Swallows hunting for insects low over the grass and saw two Skylarks.  A Magpie was chattering near Magog Wood and within the wood we added Great Tit and Blue Tit to our list.  A Buzzard was first seen distantly and shortly it was flying low over us and continued to slowly flap and glide toward the cropping fields. On Little Trees Hill, a Blackcap was still singing though weakly so issuing just a few short bursts of its normally melodic song.  Other birds flitting between the trees included two Long-tailed Tits and a Wren which was alarm calling.  We heard a Green Woodpecker calling in Memorial Wood, the sound carrying well across the field.  treecreeper_crop_180The show-stopper was a Treecreeper (see right) searching for food on a tree on the edge of the wood.  Unfortunately only one of us saw it before it flew deeper into the wood before the others could view it.  The Somerset name “Tree Mouse” describes it well as it is very mouse-like in its movements as it scurries up tree trunks. It is between Blue Tit and Great Tit in size, has a slender body and a long, thin downcurved bill. It is speckled brown above and mainly white below, and blends in the background of tree bark well.

Feoffee’s field held a few corvids, Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaw, and a Dunnock was seen in a hedge there. Just outside the Trust, a Yellowhammer was singing on an electricity line, and a family of Yellowhammers alongside a few Goldfinches was feeding on seeds in the uncultivated field-edge strip. Because of the rapidly rising temperature we decided to miss out Vestey Wood.  Keeping to the main footpath across the Trust we checked the stubble fields for the birds that had set up breeding territories earlier – Corn Bunting, Linnet, and Reed Bunting, but none was seen by a cursory sweep with binoculars.  A proper survey of such fields to check for birds feeding on spilled grain would need to involve walking across the fields in a defined pattern.  Few additional birds were seen on the return part of the walk through Memorial Wood, but one sharp-eared member heard a Chaffinch call, just briefly. 

Altogether we saw or heard 20 bird species*, which was the same number as in July last year.

         Mike Foley

* July sightings as a table

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.

  • Blackbird.jpg
  • Starling.jpg
  • Collared Dove.jpg
  • Fieldfare.jpg
  • Pheasant.jpg
  • Green woodpecker.jpg
  • stock dove in flight.jpg
  • Great tit.jpg