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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 2nd March 2013

Three hardy birdwatchers met up on a cold, overcast March morning (Saturday 2nd) on the Magog Downs.

As usual the largest variety of birds was encountered around the car park, especially now that a feeding station is in place.  This was a magnet for a number of blackbirds, chaffinches and a pair of yellowhammers; greenfinch, robins, and two redwings were also seen along with a solitary skylark singing overhead. 

Walking north, we were amazed to see a huge flock of fieldfare on the ground in North Down; these were put up by a jogger as we watched, and we reckoned there were 300 or more in the flock. They retired to the treetops in Magog Wood, then we saw them again later on the stubbly field to the west of Magog Down, evidently looking for food, along with a group of ten goldfinches.

The only other large flock was one of about 100 plus woodpigeons over the southern part of South Down. We were also pleased to hear a song thrush singing in Little Trees Hill wood.  Otherwise the usual complement of blue tits, great tits, crows, rooks, and magpies were seen in small numbers, along with a pair of jays in Vestey Wood. In addition, a second skylark was seen and heard singing over the field north of Vestey Wood. 

The two redwings were still searching in the grass around the picnic tables when we arrived back at the car park, giving very good views of their lovely markings. Altogether 17 species were seen, a larger number than expected given the lack of obvious activity.

                              Christine Newell