Annual Reviews

Each year we now produce an 'Annual Review' for Friends and Members, which incorporates a summary of our formal Year-end Report, plus what we hope are some interesting highlights of the year in question.

The previous few Annual Reviews can be downloaded here:

2018 Annual Review

2017 Annual Review

2016 Annual Review

2015 Annual Review

2014 Annual Review

2013 Annual Review

Members and Friends are sent these annual reviews as soon as they are produced each summer, and have an opportunity to attend our AGM each October and raise any issues.

If you would like to become a Friend, you can read more on our Join Us page, and then complete the application form.

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News from the Down prev  :  next

Filling the Hungry Gap at Magog Down

At Magog Down the birds have been given a high calorie handout to help them survive the prolonged winter. From early January through to early April substantial quantities of mixed seeds have been spread at four sites in the car park area and at three more in Vestey Wood.
 
Although wood pigeons prosper from gorging themselves on the expanses of high protein oilseed rape, none of the other birds resident on the Downs are able to take advantage of this bountiful winter food source. Consequently once the sparse naturally occurring seeds on the Downs and surrounding agricultural fields have been exhausted, the winter--spring period becomes a time of prolonged hunger for our resident birds. During this ‘hungry gap’ mortality is high and the surviving birds  often enter the breeding season in below par condition. With supplementary feeding we aim to increase survival rates and enhance the opportunity for the survivors to raise larger broods.
 
From the start of the supplementary feeding period, the car park sites were well used by a range of species, but in Vestey Wood the birds discovered the grain more slowly and in smaller numbers; this contrast reflects the difference in the number of birds recorded at the two locations during a 2012 breeding bird survey. 
 
Chaffinches, greenfinches, blackbirds, dunnocks and great tits all figured strongly in the car park and we were particularly pleased to see the yellowhammers, song thrushes and bullfinches because populations of these three species have dramatically declined in recent decades. We were disappointed that corn buntings failed to turn up - as far as we know; this bunting was once present in substantial numbers in the area but is now an endangered species receiving special conservation attention from the RSPB.
 
At the Vestey Wood, recording has been less complete because we had difficulty seeing the birds for the trees! Chaffinches, blue tits, great tits and robins have all been seen in small numbers and again it was good that several yellowhammers were feeding - only one pair bred on the Down in 2012.
 
This is the first year of supplementary feeding on the Downs and a decision on whether to repeat the project in future years will not be taken until the results have been fully evaluated.
 
Bryan Davies and Sue Bradley

May 2013

Old Newsletters

Up until 2011 we produced a twice-yearly Newsletter, and you can still download copies of some of these here:

pdf_logo_smallSpring/Summer 2011

pdf_logo_smallAutumn/Winter 2010

Spring 2010

Autumn/Winter 2009

Spring 2009

In 2011 the re-designed website was launched, and so the decision was taken to stop producing these Newsletters, and instead to use this website as the main means of communication for news and articles of interest.

This move away from a regular Newsletter meant that more of the Members' and Friends' subscriptions could be spent directly on the costs of upkeep and husbandry on the Down.

We would love every regular visitor to Magog Down to help support its upkeep by becoming a Friend. Read more on our Join Us page, and then complete the application form.