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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 6th August 2011

In the Magog Trust Car Park at 8am, the silence was almost deafening as 13 birders gathered on 6 August.

There was no bird song and, with the exception of a chaffinch and a whitethroat, we did not have our usual car park "ticks". Ealking up the slope of the North Down, we could see a distant flock of 20-plus lapwings wheeling around. Closer to home, a green woodpecker yaffled – a call repeated several times during our walk. The uncut grass, now pale straw, was interspersed with rust-coloured areas of dying chalkland flowers, but sadly not a single skylark was heard or seen. It was not until we were by the power lines that things looked up. In quick succession, we had blue and great tits, meadow pipit, and wonderful views of a male yellowhammer.

At the southern end of the arable land, a group of 20-plus chaffinch were busy feeding, enjoying the mast off an adjacent beech tree. Our party had become strung out, and one group was fortunate to see about eight mistle thrushes. Our return leg was fairly quiet although we had good views of a kestrel and added 40-plus crows plus a few jackdaws to our list. As always, there were notable absentees including robin, wren, and long-tailed tit, but we had logged 18 species.

Our next walk will be at 8am on Saturday 3rd September.