2020 Report of a long-term survey of breeding birds on Magog Down Stapleford

Mike Foley and Bryan Davies, Cambridgeshire Bird Club


This is the report of the ninth year of this long-term breeding bird survey on Magog Down using the revised field methods described in Appendix I of the 2012 Report

29 species were probably breeding on the Down similar to the long-term average of 28 species. Of the seven species of greatest conservation concern, Red Listed in Table 2, all at least maintained their numbers. The national decline in what was once by far the commonest finch, the chaffinch, is once again reflected in the low numbers. It is encouraging to note that the number of Common Whitethroat in Whitethroat Alley has recovered from the single bird recorded in 2019 as a result of coppicing. Given that the Down is well endowed with a wide range of insects, it is interesting to speculate why the number of species breeding on the Down has not increased over the nine years of this survey. Predators – both birds and animal – are probably a major constraint and it may be that lack of suitable habitat in the young woods, unintentional human and canine disturbance are also factors.

Field Visits

Three recording visits were made (16 April, 2 May and 20 May) each of about 2 hours following the same transect.


Table 1. Number of species and birds recorded at each of 13 locations on 3 visits

1 Excluding wood pigeons

Table 2. Species probably breeding on Magog Down in 2020

1 Largest number of birds at any location

2 see Table 1

3species of greatest conservation concern

Summer 2020