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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 2nd October 2010

As eleven birders set off from the Magog Down car park at 8 am on October 1st, it seemed that bird recognition would largely rest on hearing their calls. Visibility was down to about 100 yds. We heard chaffinch, long-tailed tit and two or three skylarks somewhere on the North Down as we climbed towards Magog Wood. As so often, the wood was completely silent but the sun was trying to break through the mist. In the distance we heard a green woodpecker yaffle and shortly after, a great spotted woodpecker flew across in front of us, followed by two jays.

On the set aside land by Jane's Piece and Villedômer Wood, there were 15+ skylarks and, with the mist clearing, we could see two yellowhammers in the hedge on the far side. As we neared the power lines, we scanned for a possible corn bunting but had to be satisfied with five starlings. However, at this point, four house martins were overhead, soon to fly south. Throughout the walk, we had small parties of mainly lesser black-backed gulls moving south, with the occasional black-headed. Vestey Wood yielded several chaffinch, blue and great tits, and one singing wren. Among the grazing sheep on the South Down, we had the usual corvids, including crow, rook, jackdaw and magpie. In total, we recorded 22 species.