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  :  next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - May 2019

It was a sunny but windy start to the walk on Saturday 4th, and it quickly became obvious that the wind was deterring some birds from singing. Although we were just one day ahead of the international dawn chorus day (always the first Sunday in May) when many birds are in full song, we felt that our birds were subdued by the wind and we were not finding as many birds as expected. Also we encountered only 20 species compared to 26 in May 2018 (which in contrast was a calm day).

Around the car park we noted Robin, Goldfinch, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, and a juvenile Greenfinch. The Blackcap was particularly vocal though tucked away deep within the bushes and out of sight. On the verges we saw Ground Ivy, with its dark blue flowers, Tormentil with four bright yellow petals to each flower, and slender flower spikes of Mignonette. Unusually a Whitethroat was singing from the hedge adjoining the North Down and this small warbler that overwinters in Africa seems set to make the hedge its nesting territory as it was singing there on other days too. Two Skylarks (a species with red list conservation status) were singing over the long grass on the North Down and 12 Rooks were feeding in the area of short grass, covered in blankets of yellow Cowslips. Walking up the hill and through Magog Wood we noted only six birds, found all by song – a Great Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Magpie, and a second Whitethroat at the edge of the wood. Other than a singing Chiffchaff, no further species were seen or heard on Little Trees Hill. For a change we followed the path along the top of North Down towards Feoffee’s Fields and as the fields came into view a white bird took off. In the briefest of glimpses before it was lost behind trees we thought it might have been a gull but moments later it circled back and flew directly over us. It had long black legs and yellow feet, a white body and a long dark bill. It was a Little Egret! This is our first record for the Downs of this type of heron, and it was definitely not in its normal habitat.

Three Jackdaws, 26 Rooks and a single Carrion Crow were gathered in the Sheep Paddocks and before the end of Villedomer wood yet another Whitethroat was singing. The hedge line and bushes from Villedomer to the start of Vestey Wood is known as “Whitethroat Alley”, and several Whitethroats were encountered along it – including three or possibly four singing males. Two of the uncommon and red-listed Corn Buntings flew from the hedge into the Winter Wheat crop and two Linnets (also red-listed) were hopping to and fro along the hedge. A Skylark was singing in the cereal but the emerged pea crop held nothing more than a Woodpigeon and a few crows.

Few birds were found during the remainder of the walk but we were greeted by a new species for the day in the car park – a Lesser Whitethroat. We knew that this had been singing its flat monotonous rattle for several days but on this occasion it wasn’t playing ball and we had to satisfy ourselves with just one burst of four or so notes, about half a rattle’s worth.

     Mike Foley

View the sightings for May 2019 as a table

May 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