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 Club first Saturday meetings under review

The monthly meetings of the Stapleford Bird Club have not taken place since March 2020, because of the Covid-19 epidemic. The walk leader has continued to visit most months, and his reports can be read under our News section.  He hopes to be able to take a group round again before too much longer.

Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Bird Reports 2019 prev

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - January 2019

Members who met on Saturday 12th January were greeted by as many as 11 bird species in and around the car park - Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, four singing Robins, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Redwing, Woodpigeon and Magpie.  In the car park, birds were perhaps more numerous towards the far end where the seed and fat-ball feeders are located.  A Kestrel was seen hovering over Youth Wood at the end of the walk. 

We saw more winter thrushes (Redwings and Fieldfares) than on our December walk.  Alongside Blackbirds, these were greedily picking berries from the hedgerows and bushes.  A Redwing superficially looks like a Song Thrush but has a prominent creamy strip over the eye and an orange-red flank.  It is also worthwhile looking closely at the larger Fieldfare; its plumage has a wealth of grey, brown, white and orange, with heavy spotting on the chest and sides. In Villedomer Wood we were alerted to the presence of a Fieldfare by a single “chack” call and came across seven of these birds together with two Redwings and five Starlings all perched within a single bush.  When the berry supply is largely depleted the Fieldfares tend to visit the sheep fields to eat insects and worms though today these fields seemed to hold only Skylarks (21 birds) and just a few Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws (small birds such as Meadow Pipits can be present but are easily be missed if hidden by the taller grasses).  Passing Little Tree Hill we saw some of the usual small birds and heard our one and only Wren of the day.  The squirrels are still using the Kestrel nest box as a winter roost, and it wasn’t clear to us whether the squirrel we saw at the front of the box was trying to squeeze into the box already crowded with fellow roosters or out to take a breath of fresh air.

Having started the day before, cultivation of the Trust’s winter barley stubble field resumed at first light and was near completion as we approached the field.  Hundreds of gulls were frantically following the tractor and swooping down as freshly-turned soil exposed food for the birds to devour.  On Friday an accurate count showed there were 550 birds present, but today there were even more, around 700, nearly all Black-headed Gulls with a few Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls.  Small numbers were still flying in and from their line of flight it seemed that they had flown directly from the Ouse Washes roost site.  Quite suddenly all the birds took off and we scanned for a passing Peregrine which might have sparked the panic.  A Buzzard was flying along the tree line at the time but this was unlikely to be the cause.  In the air, the gulls flocked tightly together to form a spectacular display of synchronised flying rather like a murmuration of Starlings.   As they rose higher another large flock joined up though we didn’t see where it had come from. A count of the flock was made using a block of 50 birds as a counting unit, and we estimated 1100 birds in total.  This is by far the highest number we have seen in recent years and is a worthy record for the county report. Altogether we had 23 bird species.

     Mike Foley

View the table of sightings for January, from 2013 to 2019

January 2019

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 selection of the birds that have been seen on Magog Down.

  • Blackbird.jpg
  • Blackcap female.jpg
  • Blackcap male.jpg
  • Blue tit.jpg
  • Bullfinch female.jpg
  • Bullfinch male.jpg
  • Chaffinch.jpg
  • Chiffchaff.jpg