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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 3rd November 2012

Seven bird watchers gathered at 8.30 am on Saturday 3 November on a cool but dry day. In the car park we saw a magpie, robin, chaffinch, and blackbird. Around 15 greenfinches flew up from a tree, a flock of starlings flew over from east to west and a herring gull. We also saw redwings.

As we walked up the North Down alongside Youth Wood we saw a red kite flying towards Little Trees Hill where it disappeared into the trees. This is the first time the bird club has seen a red kite here although we have heard from others who have seen a red kite in Stapleford and on the road to Sawston.
 
Continuing along Youth Wood we heard a skylark and saw a lesser black-backed gull and two crows. All was quiet through Magog Wood and the Old Shelter Belt but at the top of Little Trees Hill we had a good view of the red kite again as it flew very close to us, then off towards the old Shelter Belt where it was mobbed by two crows before flying over to Wandlebury. 
 
The clunch pit was quiet but we saw around 8 starlings over the North Down. Beyond the Feoffees fields we saw approximately 30 fieldfares flying from west to east and heard a goldfinch. In Villedomer Wood we heard a robin and at the telegraph poles saw 4 skylarks in the arable fields to our right and 5 in the Magog Trust arable field. As we walked past the arable field (planted with oil seed rape) we saw 3 rooks and a couple of crows on the ground. A flock of a dozen skylarks flew up from the rape and flew towards Vestey Wood and a number of redwings also flew over.
 
Vestey Wood itself and the path between Babraham Road and Memorial Wood were quiet apart from a wren flying across the path, but in the field beyond Babraham Road (officially outside our territory) we saw a female pheasant.
 
On the sheep fields we saw approximately 30 jackdaws and a black-headed gull flying over and a magpie, rooks and crows on the ground. Fifty+ woodpigeons were also on the ground with more flying in from Wandlebury to join them. A flock of around 25 skylarks were flying east to west from the direction of Vestey Wood towards the down. These could be migrating birds from the continent passing through our patch to overwinter somewhere warmer.
 
Walking back to the car park past Youth Wood all was quiet but on the path by Haverhill Road we saw our second wren of the day. The picnic area was also quiet but we saw 3 more skylarks flying above the car park. In all we saw or heard 20 species of birds.
 
Although we saw few birds in the hedgerows on our walk we were lucky to see a number of flocks flying. We saw no tits but only 2 days later I saw half a dozen blue tits, a couple of great tits and two long-tailed tits in the Old Shelter belt, so they are around! I also watched for 10 minutes 20+ greenfinches flying between the hedge and grass of the picnic area and saw a kestrel above; and a dog walker told me that she had recently seen a buzzard sitting on a post on the down. So keep your eyes open as you walk round!  
 
Our next meeting is on Saturday 1 December in the car park. See you there?