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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 6th June 2009

Many months have past since the first Saturday of the month has been wet, so June 6th was not very inviting for the bird walk on Magog Down. However, seven birders set off in light rain which persisted until almost the end of the walk.

Our spirits were lifted immediately by the sight of skylarks (five) flying very low over the long grass of the North Down. Even the weather could not diminish the view, with areas of ox-eye daisies looking like drifts of snow amongst the pink seed heads of the grasses.

Once again, a willow warbler was singing at the northern end of Memorial Wood, but this month, it did not linger for us to obtain a good view. Nearby, a blackcap was singing, as so often, from deep cover. Curiously, we rarely see pheasant but one scuttled across the cleared area on Little Trees Hill. A song thrush was singing near Jane's Piece but we were unable to see it. On the return leg, it was visible and still singing. Generally, there were very few birds about and we wondered if many of them were brooding eggs or young to protect them from the wet and cold.

A brave corn bunting, looking rather bedraggled, was sitting in the tops of the oil-seed rape adjacent to Villedômer Wood. Further south, two whitethroat were singing their scratchy song from the hedgerow and promptly emerged to give us a very brief sight. By Vestey Wood, a green woodpecker flew across, showing its lime green back. Near the end of the walk, we had collared dove and a party of blue tits (nine) feeding in the trees. The car park once again provided two good sightings, a charm of goldfinch (four) and our first swallow of the year.

We recorded a total of 20 species.