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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 4th July 2009

It was a perfect summer’s day as fifteen birders gathered in the Magog Down car park at 8 am on July 4th. This was the largest group we had ever had for the monthly bird walk. The advantage of a larger group would become apparent later on. The car park provided the first four records of the day with the soft descending whistle of a willow warbler (three), the ‘wheeze’ call of a greenfinch, great tit and magpie.

Soon after setting off, skirting the edge of Youth Wood, we had a pair of willow warbler who were obviously feeding young in a ground nest in the long grass close to the path. Several skylarks (seven) were flying over the adjacent area where their nests are probably also located. This uncut area is not only good for birds but also for wild flowers and butterflies. In our large group, we had the advantage of someone who could identify the intense blue flower spikes of Clustered Bellflower, the magenta flowers of Greater Knapweed as well as Clover and Mignonette. There seemed to be butterflies everywhere and two members of the group were able to provide a list of species seen (eight), which included Painted Lady, Green-veined White and the very prolific Meadow Brown.

There was little over the remainder of the walk to quicken the pulse although a very handsome meadow pipit was seen. The density of the leaf cover is such at this time of year to make seeing birds very difficult. We were able to identify many by their calls or song and these included mistle thrush (three), blackcap (four), song thrush, chiffchaff (three) and goldfinch.

The return of sheep to the grazing land ensured we had numbers of Corvids including crow (three), jackdaw (four) and rook (sixteen). As we entered the car park at the finish, one sharp eyed lady spotted a house martin, our first of the year. This underlines the scarcity of this species, as well as swallows and swifts.

In total, we had 22 species – perhaps a little disappointing but compensated for by the other flora and fauna.