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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 6th April 2013

The bird club met on a relatively mild morning on Saturday 6 April on the Magog Down and it was wonderful to feel the sun on us after months shivering our way around! As usual the car park was the most productive and the bird feeding areas were being well used by chaffinches, blackbirds, yellowhammers, dunnock, a greenfinch and two wood pigeons. Two crows sat in a tree above and two long tailed tits flew over followed shortly after by two goldfinches. In the picnic area were four blackbirds and in the hedge backing onto the North Down were four magpies.

On the North Down we could see a skylark and heard a couple of others (two members had seen 8 to 10 skylarks when they were there earlier in the week, flying around just above their heads). A gull flew overhead with black wing tips (common or herring?) and we heard a green woodpecker in the distance. As we walked past the Old Shelter Belt we heard a great tit but Magog Wood was empty, possibly because of the tree work being undertaken there. In the clunch pit on Little Trees Hill we heard various murmurings including a chaffinch and possibly a coal tit. In the Feoffees Field we saw five fieldfares on the ground and a couple of jackdaws flew over. As we came out between to the start of Villedomer Wood we caught a glimpse of the green woodpecker which we had been hearing periodically. Following the path down past Villedomer Wood we saw a blackbird, great tit and blue tit in the hedge but nothing on the overhead wires. Skylarks were heard above the arable field and a large flock of wood pigeons were feeding among the oil seed rape. Part of the arable fields to the right of the Magog land had been ploughed ready for a potato crop and on the top and between the deep furrows were a pair of pied wagtails, at least 20 crows, three fieldfares and half a dozen starlings. A single yellowhammer was seen in the hedge and a dunnock on the ground while a flock of unidentified small birds flew overhead.

As we approached Vestey Wood we heard a pheasant and at the further end we saw a magpie, two chaffinches, two yellowhammers and two great tits. Walking up the path beside the A1307 we saw a blue tit and heard two robins and a greenfinch. Returning onto the South Down we saw fieldfares and two pied wagtails. In Memorial Wood we heard chaffinches and a blackbird and saw three long tailed tits, a great tit and blue tit. Between Youth Wood and the A1307 we saw another robin and blue tit.

In all we saw/heard 20 species of birds but neither saw nor heard any summer visitors. Our next meeting will be on Saturday 4 May starting half an hour earlier at 8 am.