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 next

2019 Report of a long term survey of breeding birds on Magog Down Stapleford

Bryan Davies, Mike Foley and Robin Cox, all of Cambridgeshire Bird Club.


The aim of this long term bird survey is to identify permanent gains or losses in the species breeding on the Down. Consequently the same survey route is walked each year on two occasions, one in April and one in May. This is the eighth year of the survey.

Thirty species were probably breeding on the Down this year, two more than the long term average of 28. All the Red listed species (Table 2) were recorded again with skylark numbers up on previous years. Other birds well represented were Blackbird, Robin, Blue and Great Tits, Goldfinch, Linnet, Blackcap, Wren, Dunnock and Green Woodpecker. A Willow Warbler and a Reed Bunting were heard in the car park area during the first survey but both had left before breeding. No Bullfinches were seen or heard. It is several years since a Lesser Whitethroat has been heard on the Down but this year three were heard in three locations during the second survey and probably all were breeding. By contrast Common Whitethroat numbers were well down probably due to the coppicing to remove brambles along sections of ‘Whitethroat Alley’. The large number of Linnets recorded during the April survey were feeding in the Bird Seed Strip which, by the time of the May survey, had been cultivated prior to re-sowing. A few Linnets remain to breed on site each year but the large majority move away. A large number of Corvids were recorded as in previous years but probably only Magpies, Jays and perhaps an occasional Carrion Crow bred in the woods.

A recent survey of invertebrates on the Down has shown that there is a very healthy population of a wide range of insects which suggests that the availability of food is unlikely to be limiting rearing of chicks. So it is interesting to speculate why over the eight years of the survey both bird numbers and the number of species stays similar from year to year rather than increasing. Predation by grey squirrels, magpies and badgers is likely to be the main constraint on bird numbers. Other limiting factors are likely to be insufficient habitats for nesting particularly in the young woods, absence of water and un-intentional disturbance by visitors and their dogs.

Field Visits
Survey visits were made on 15 April 2019 and 20 May 2019. The same route was taken as in previous years (for details of the fieldwork methods, see Appendix 1 in the 2012 report).

See Tables 1 and 2, below.

Table 1: Breeding species recorded at 13 locations, on each visit
No. of species* No. of birds
Car Park and Picnic area 11 10 21 12
Colin's Wood 11 7 13 13
Feoffee's Fields 9 5 13 5
Clunch Pits 7 7 9 9
ex-Shelter Belt, Shelter Belt, Magog Wood 5 3 8 4
Sheep Paddocks, Upper Memorial Wood 5 5 8 11
Lower Memorial Wood 5 2 5 2
Arable Field, Bird seed strip 4 2 36 5
Vestey Wood 6 8 11 9
Whitethroat Alley 3 5 4 5
Villedomer Perimeter 4 2 8 2
North Down 5 1 16 4
Youth Wood 1 1 1 1
  * excluding Woodpigeons


Table 2: Species probably breeding on Magog Down in 2017
Sites2 Bird Club3
UK Status4
   Blackbird 10 7    
   Song Thrush 4 3   red
   Mistle Thrush 2 2   red
   Robin 15 8    
   Blue tit 7 7    
   Great tit 13 8    
   Long tailed tit 1 1    
   Chaffinch 5 3    
   Goldfinch 23 7    
   Greenfinch 2 2    
   Linnet 31 2    
   Corn bunting 2 2   red
   Yellowhammer 2 1   red
   Blackcap 16 9    
   Chiffchaff 4 4    
   Common Whitethroat 1 1    
   Lesser Whitethroat 3 3    
   Garden Warbler 0   0  
   Willow Warbler5 1 1    
   Skylark 20 4   red
   Carrion Crow Many      
   Jackdaw5 Many      
   Jay 2 1    
   Magpie 3 3    
   Rook5 5      
   Starling 1      
Crests and Wrens
   Goldcrest 0   1  
   Wren 11 6    
   Dunnocks 6 4    
   Grey Partridge 0   6 red
   Red-legged Partridge 1 1    
   Pheasant 1 1    
Pigeons and Doves        
   Woodpigeon [large numbers but not recorded]
Birds of Prey        
   Buzzard 1 1    
   Kestrel 2 1    
   Red Kite 0   1  
   Sparrowhawk 0   0  
   Great Spotted 0   0  
   Green Woodpecker 4 3    
    1 Sum of the number of birds recorded at each location
    2 See Table 1
Stapleford Bird Club records from within the survey period are inlcuded when they add to the species list or reinforce the absences o
    4 Species on the UK Red List, ie that have declined by >50% in the last 40 years.
    5 Unlikely to be breeding on Magog Down.

August 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