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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 6th November 2010

A dozen of us gathered at the Down car park at the "winter" time of 8.30 am, and for some 10 minutes watched in the cool sunlight as blackbirds, greenfinches, great tits and chaffinches flitted in the hedging nearest the picnic area. Skylarks were calling from above, and these calls intensified as we moved up the down land, and we saw up to 8 in the air at any one time. The sun glistened on a group of some 40+ black-headed gullsoverflying southwards. In the opposite direction flew 4 starlings.

As we walked through Magog Wood we commented on the absence of birds there. The older trees of Little Trees Hill provided the odd robin and chaffinch. Our walk down alongside Villedômer wood was equally unrewarding until a couple of dunnock were spotted near the electricity sub-station. If we were looking for numbers then our quest was over as we spotted a flock of some 100+ woodpigeons breakfasting on the winter rape-seed plants on the southern arable field. Here too was a good number of cavorting and calling skylarks.

Vestey Wood and the older trees adjacent did provide the odd chaffinch, robin and blue tit. Memorial wood was equally of little productivity, but the sheep pasture confirmed the presence of rooks, crows, jackdaws and magpies. In the sunlight along the chalk bank we did enjoy the sight of a Red Admiral butterfly which was followed shortly after by another and, flitting amongst the ivy-clad trees, we saw long-tailed and great tits. Only a solitary wren was heard calling, and our total species amounted to 16.

Perhaps our December walk on Saturday 4th December will provide us with some of the visiting fieldfare and redwing. Please join us to help look for them.