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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 7th November 2009

The November walk, attended by 11 birders, started at the winter time of 8.30 am in the Magog Down car park under a faultless blue sky with a slightly fresh breeze coming from the West. There were several groups of starlings whirling amongst the tops of some of the nearby trees. Although one of our birders had heard fieldfares on his way to the car park, (half a dozen or so had been spotted at 7.30) as a group we did not see them. A blackbird and chaffinch were noted in the car park.

The Youth Wood failed to provide any sightings, but we did note a couple of skylarks over the north down. A solitary mistle thrush was spotted on an aerial at the edge of Wandlebury. Magog Wood did produce a couple of robin calling as well as a solitary chaffinch. Jane's Piece was very quiet and in the distance a couple of LBJs were observed – oh why didn’t I bring a scope!!

Villedômer Wood produced nothing, but the adjacent field of winter cereal was attracting a good number of skylarks - arriving in twos and threes. Difficult to count, we estimated there were about a dozen. The next field held a clutch of some 50+ black-headed gulls with 3 lesser black-backed gulls in their midst.

By Vestey Wood, we heard a solitary chaffinch and saw a robin. Memorial Wood disappointingly produced another blank, and we welcomed the sight of jackdaws (18+) and 4 rooks in amongst the sheep grazing the south down. Blue tits and a great tit were seen by the gardens in Colin's Wood but our return to the car park produced nothing further. In total we noted 17 species.

Despite it being a perfect morning for bird watching many of us commented on the absence of old regulars eg.: yellowhammer, green and great spotted woodpeckers, corn bunting, linnet, kestrel, dunnock. Either they were hiding from us or they really are in decline. Perhaps they will return for our next outing on Sat 5th December. Come with us and see if you can find the missing birds!!

On a brighter note a kingfisher is still resident with us. I saw it twice in one week from the footbridge on the path to Sawston