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.

Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Bird reports 2018 prev  :  next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - October 2018

The walk started with a thin mist shrouding the higher Down with drizzle becoming a little heavier as the cold breeze from the NW picked up. At the car park, just one Greenfinch was singing and a Robin was “tic”-ing in a hedge, though neither was seen. Walking alongside the new dog play-field two Black-headed Gulls flew over, two Robins were singing and a Great Tit and Blue Tit were calling as they flew past, their difference in size and shape being obvious. Approaching Magog Wood, we came across a hot spot of bird activity: most were tits but two warblers in flock were busily searching for food. These latter birds will have to be listed as presumptive chiffchaffChiffchaffs (shown left) as without hearing them call, or seeing them for long enough to check their leg colour,willow_warbler there is still a chance that they were very late departing Willow Warblers (shown right; if you follow the hotlinks to RSPB info for each bird, you can hear the distinctive difference in their respective calls).
A Jay flew into the open from the wood, and two small brown thrushes flew over.  Their line of flight from the East immediately suggested these were Redwings that had set off from continental Europe the previous evening, reaching our shores earlier in the morning without pausing to rest there. redwing_60However they may have been Song Thrushes on migration or simply local residents. On balance we think they were Redwings (shown left), their flight pattern being similar to that of the species.

At Little Trees Hill a Blackbird was alarm-calling loudly and insistently, which often suggests that an owl or other predator is nearby. We did see two chattering Magpies and two Carrion Crows high in the trees but it was not obvious that the Blackbird was targeting them. Two Rooks were calling one to the other as they flew towards recently cultivated fields. A solitary Lapwing passed by, the first for the autumn. Altogether 13 bird species were recorded.

Last month I mentioned that the club is taking part in the BTO Tawny Owl surveys.  We have now completed our three autumn 20 minute “Point” visits to listen for hooting and calling but alas, we heard none.  Immediately after the second visit, we walked around parts of Wandlebury, but if owls were present they were not vocal. The survey restarts in the Spring.

Footnote – the weather on the next day (Sunday 7th October) was so different – calm, warm and sunny – and numerous small birds were flitting among the car park hedge rows and generally there was more activity over the Down.  We have often noticed that the weather influences the numbers of birds seen. This is why if rain and wind are forecast, we postpone the walk until the next Saturday.

     Mike Foley


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.

  • Gull.jpg
  • Robin.jpg
  • Willow warbler.jpg
  • Pied wagtail.jpg
  • Wood pigeon.jpg
  • Goldfinch.jpg
  • Stonechat male.jpg
  • Whitethroat male.jpg