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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 3rd October 2009

Thirteen birders assembled for the bird walk on Saturday, October 3rd. It was overcast with a cool and brisk south westerly wind. Two records were set on this walk - for the lowest total of species recorded (eleven), and for the first occasion when the number of observers exceeded the species total.

One of our group spotted a kestrel in the car park, unusually the only bird seen there. Blackbirds (two) were in the picnic area. As we passed Youth Wood, a robin was singing. We walked as far as Jane's Piece without recording another bird, apart from some overflying lesser black-backed gulls (sixteen). A flock of woodpigeon (fifty +) rose by Little Trees Hill. Our next sighting was some rooks (eleven) on the arable land of the South Down. All the arable land west of the Trust land plus Jane's Piece was completely devoid of birds - quite extraordinary.

By Vestey Wood, two chaffinch were enjoying the beech mast on the path. A solitary blue tit scolded from cover and starlings (six) flew overhead. A welcome distraction was a large number of game birds on the farmland south of Wandlebury, about fifty red-legged partridge and pheasant (ten). This land is not part of our recording area. Our last two sightings were long-tailed tit (five) crossing our path by Magog Wood, and a flock of jackdaw (twenty +) took off from the NW corner of the grazing land, where they had been feeding near two flocks of sheep.

We can only hope for a more productive walk next time.