See also...

If you are interested in birds, you may also like to read what's on our Birds on Magog Down page.

Bird Club - come and join us!

If you have never given birdwatching a try do come along on the first Saturday of the month (meeting in the car park at 8am from April to October; slightly later at 8.30 am from November to March).

Membership is very informal–– just turn up and enjoy the birding walk. It is a healthy way of getting fresh air and exercise, and de-stressing while learning about birds.

We welcome new members of any age from beginners to life-time bird watchers. Sorry, no dogs

skylark_garth_cropped_250Photo: Skylark (Alauda arvensis) © Garth Peacock 2015

Long-term Survey of Breeding Birds

In February 2012, Bryan Davies and Robin Cox of Cambridgeshire Bird Club proposed a long term breeding bird survey on Magog Down.

Full reports of the first six years of this survey can be found here:

2017 Report

2016 Report

2015 Report

2014 Report

2013 Report

2012 Report

Bird reports 2016 next

2016 Report of a long term survey of breeding birds on Magog Down Stapleford

Bryan Davies and Robin Cox, Cambridgeshire Bird Club


This is the fifth annual report of the long term breeding bird survey at Magog Down. Records were made during two visits the first on 19 April and the second on 5 May.

Twenty nine species were probably breeding on the Down, a similar number to those in the previous 4 years (average 28). The most abundant species were Wood Pigeon (large number - not recorded), Robin (21), Chaffinch (13), Wren (12), Blackbird (9), Common Whitethroat (9), Great Tit (8), Blue Tit (7), Blackcap (7), Skylark (7), Magpie (6) and Chiffchaff (6). 

It is good that three of our summer migrants are all amongst the more abundant species and that the skylark – a UK red listed species in steep decline – is doing well on our grasslands in spite of dogs, badgers, crows and magpies.

Members of the Crow family were recorded in substantial numbers but the Rooks and Jackdaws are visitors from nearby Wandlebury Country Park or further afield and only the three predators Carrion Crows, Magpies and Jays are probably breeding on the Down.

A Willow Warbler was recorded on one occasion only and so it is fairly certain that this species has stopped breeding on the Down. Although no Mistle Thrushes were noted during the breeding season, two were seen on more than one occasion later in the year and are probably still breeding in the Shelter Belt. No corn buntings were recorded this year which suggests that this red listed species may have relinquished its tenuous hold on the Down.

A bird seed strip was established for the first time alongside Lower Memorial Wood providing overwinter food for large numbers of linnets and smaller numbers of reed buntings, yellowhammers and chaffinch. Due to the success of this new venture it has been decided to renew the strip each year.

Field Visits
Two survey visits only were made in 2016: on 19th April before summer migrants had arrived, and on 5th May when all of the summer migrants had returned. The same route was taken as in all the previous years.

See Tables1 and 2.

Location No. of species*
No. of birds
Table 1: Breeding species recorded at the 13 locations
Car Park and Picnic area 8 9
Colin's Wood, Roadside, Garden hedges 7 10
Feoffee's Fields and edge of Parish Pit 4 34
Felled Shelter Belt, shelter belt and Magog Wood 7 7
Sheep paddocks 3 37
Memorial Wood 5 5
Arable field 1 1
Vestey and adjacent mature wood 9 17
Western boundary hedge 6 16
Villedomer Wood 5 8
Clunch Pits 10 18
North Down 8 0
  * excluding Woodpigeons
Table 2: Species probably breeding on Magog Down in 2016
Sites2 Bird Club3
UK Status4
   Blackbird 9 7    
   Song Thrush 0   3 red
   Mistle Thrush 0     red
   Robin 21 6    
   Blue tit 7 4    
   Great tit 8 6    
   Long tailed tit 3 1    
   Chaffinch 13 10    
   Goldfinch 1 1    
   Greenfinch 0 0 2  
   Linnet 2 2   red
   Corn bunting 0 0 1 red
   Yellowhammer 4 2   red
   Blackcap 7 5    
   Chiffchaff 6 3    
   Common Whitethroat 9 1    
   Lesser Whitethroat 0 0    
   Garden Warbler 0 0    
   Willow Warbler 0 0 1  
   Skylark 7 3   red
   Carrion Crow 5 2    
   Jackdaw 20 2    
   Jay 1 1    
   Magpie 6 5    
   Rook 54 3    
Crests and Wrens
   Wren 12 5    
   Dunnocks 2 2    
   Grey Partridge 0 0   red
   Red-legged Partridge 2 2    
   Pheasant 1 1    
Pigeons and Doves        
   Woodpigeon [large numbers but not recorded]
Birds of Prey        
   Buzzard 1 1    
   Kestrel 1 1    
   Sparrowhawk 0 0    
Pipits and Wagtails        
   Pied wagtail 0 0    
   Great Spotted 0 0    
   Green Woodpecker 1 1    
    1 Sum of the greatest number of birds recorded at each location
    2 See Table 1
    3 Species not recorded in our survey but noted during Stapleford Bird Club visits March to June.
    4 Species on the UK Red List have declined by >50% in the last 40 years.

December 2016

Birds on Magog Down

We publish the monthly reports of Stapleford Bird club here, plus other occasional bird-related articles; hot links in each report will take you to the RSPB information page for each bird spotted.

The gallery below shows a random six of the birds that have been seen on Magog Down.

  • Dartford Warbler.jpg
  • Whitethroat female.jpg
  • Coal tit.jpg
  • Skylark.jpg
  • Wood pigeon.jpg
  • Mistle thrush.jpg