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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 2nd May 2009

The bird walk on May 2nd was blessed with a glorious day. Eleven birders set off and immediately we had several skylarks (eight) singing and flying low over the North Down, where the grass has been left uncut to provide good nesting cover. A little further on, the soft descending whistle of a willow warbler (six) could be heard very close by. We picked out the bird in the top of a small tree and had excellent views. Later on, we had similar views of a chiffchaff (four) also singing loudly, and noted how very similar these two warblers are in appearance but fortunately totally different in voice.

As we moved on, we had a number of green woodpecker (five) and long-tailed tit (two). In the hedgerow by Villedômer Wood, three linnets with their pink breasts moved past in the opposite direction. At once, the jerky, scratchy burst of song from a whitethroat (four) was heard and two (possibly a pair) flew out the hedge. The brief almost bouncy flight is very characteristic.

Approaching the power lines at the junction of the grazing and arable areas, three birds were sitting on the wires, silhouetted against a very bright sky and thus difficult to identify. One flew away to the right - a yellowhammer (five). One of them had a white neck and a black head - a reed bunting and a species we rarely record on our walks. It prefers damp reedy ground with low bushes, often singing in full view. The last of our trio helped us by singing, the rattling call of a corn bunting.

Other species recorded included blackcap (six, all singing from deep cover), jay, dunnock (four), chaffinch (seven) and song thrush.