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 - June 2019

The walk was held on 1st June and we were blessed with sunny and windless conditions. We welcomed a new member who wanted to learn about birds and so even the more mundane of species such as the Woodpigeon were identified with heightened attentiveness. Woodpigeons usually has five notes in each burst of song and knowing this easily separates it from the Collared Dove (which utters only three notes at a time). At least four Skylarks were on the wing, singing for long periods and the backcloth of their music accompanied us for most of the walk which was most pleasant. There can be some variety in the notes of the Skylark’s song and we noticed that one bird had phrases of cascaded notes that sounded very similar to a Willow Warbler, which shows that just a short burst of song can be misleading. Another bird which needs to be listened to carefully is the Great Tit which because it has a wide range of notes, some can be confused with a Chaffinch’s “pink” call or even the “phweet” call of a Chiffchaff. It takes time to build up a mind-library of songs and calls and even experts can be caught out by mimicking birds.

In the car park Blackcaps, Goldfinches, Dunnock and Chaffinch were singing. Greenfinches were present – this is one of their favourite locations – and a Blue Tit flitted between bushes. Halfway up North Down a Great Tit was calling in the wood, and then we saw about 145 racing pigeons in three flocks all rushing northwards. Derived from Rock Doves which are now only found on some Scottish coasts, these birds have been selectively bred to find their way home over long distances. They are a variety of the domestic pigeon which has a proper Latin name so we are adding them to the list of birds of the Down (although there were there only for a matter of seconds). The Feral Pigeon, such as those seen in the Market Square in Cambridge, is also a version of the same domestic pigeon but which has become wild. Over the walk other birds we found were Wren, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Blackbird, and Robin. A Linnet was on the perimeter hedge by the arable fields, as was a singing Whitethroat. Three Buzzards tussled overhead with one another mewing loudly. We were thrilled by two Red Kites drifting low over Feoffee’s Fields. Regular sightings in the Stapleford area suggest a local breeding pair – if anyone knows of a nesting site it is best kept confidential. Altogether we noted 21 bird species.

Butterflies seen included Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Small Heath and Brimstone. In the developing hedgerow across the arable field path, on a Spindle bush, we spotted leaf holes and silken webs. These contained Spindle Ermine Moth caterpillars, pale greyish-green with dark spots.  It has been a terrific year for Oxeye Daisies; Feoffee’s Fields in particular appeared to have a blanket of snow.

      Mike Foley

View the sightings for June comparing 2019 with 2018

June 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