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 - December 2019

We met in the car park at 8.30am on 7th December and started the walk by checking the far hedge as the hanging feeders there are now being filled regularly by the Rangers – who have remarked that Magog birds eat a lot of seed!  On the feeders we saw Blue Tits, a Great Tit and Greenfinches, and feeding on the ground below or perched were a Robin, Long-tailed Tits, Blackbirds, Dunnock, Goldfinches and a Carrion Crow.  Four Linnets and some Woodpigeons were flying around and single Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over. A tight flock of 23 Fieldfares flew past, our first sighting this winter of this winter thrush.

Few birds showed themselves on the Down or in Memorial Wood, a Robin or two being seen or heard calling with soft ‘tics’ and a Blackbird occasionally breaking cover. A locked gate diverted us back onto North Down and reaching Little Trees Hill we saw a tiny bird hunting for insects in plain sight.goldcrest_180_01 It was a Goldcrest (see right) and seemed unperturbed by our presence even though we were quite close. A Chaffinch was seen, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker came into view calling as it did so. Unusually we then walked the along boardwalk at Jane’s piece and perhaps because of the viewing angle some brown blobs we could see in the grass in the far Feoffee’s field turned into Grey Partridges – ten of them, perhaps two families merged into a single covey, and a record number for us.  Arriving after the last Ice Age, this species is considered as a natural inhabitant of Britain and is given a high conservation status by farmers.

A Redwing (the other winter thrush) flew briskly overhead and was picked up too late for all to see, as it didn’t alert us soon enough by calling. Moving along the perimeter path, where we noted at least 500 tree whips have recently been planted in the hedge row to fill in the gaps made last year, the loose flock of Meadow Pipits was active in the stubble field.  Difficult to count accurately, and often flying short distances before resettling, they have a trick of being able to vanish as soon as they land, but we estimated 39 birds. Among them were two Skylarks which were calling loudly and were distinctly bulkier and larger. All the birds seen in the Sheep Paddocks seemed to want to find a favourite fence post to perch on which was good for us as they were easy to spot. Rooks, Jackdaws, a Starling, and even a Green Woodpecker were seen.

The winter bird feeding seed strip in the arable fields adjacent to the wood has plenty of seed and 20 Linnets were taking advantage of it.  linnet_crop_180These are the birds that have a jerky, undulating flight as if they are attached to wires controlled by a puppeteer who quickly pulls them up and lowers them every few seconds; their flight pattern in a flock is quite distinctive. In the past two months or so over 100 Linnets have roosted in the car park hedges and recently there are regularly over 25 birds, dropping down just after sunset.  The final bird of the morning was a Jay, which gave us wonderful views as it repeatedly flew ahead, and then landing close by. Altogether we saw 24 species.

     Mike Foley

View the table of sightings for December, 2014 to 2019

December 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