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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 3rd July 2010

Fourteen birders gathered in the Magog Down car park for the Bird Walk on July 3rd. It was a glorious sunny morning and already quite warm at 8am. We started recording immediately with a fine male yellowhammer in the top of one of the car park trees. Blackbirds(12) were everywhere.

As we set off three house martins flew overhead so we could clearly see their snow-white underparts. Entering the North Down, several skylarks were flying low over the long grass – possible this year’s youngsters. Walking on we didn’t record anything until Magog Wood where a chiffchaff was singing, and we caught a glimpse of a jay disappearing into the trees.

The set-aside by Jane’s Piece was empty but deep in Little Trees Hill, a garden warbler was singing – a new record, I believe. In the hedge by the arable land, a solitary whitethroat was seen. Vestey Wood yielded another chiffchaff, blue tit and wren.

The remainder of the walk centred on corvids feeding and resting on the grazing land, along with a sizeable flock of sheep. Many of the rooks(20+) were sitting on fence posts and jackdaws were often to be seen on the back of a sheep, imitating the behaviour of oxpeckers in East Africa. Only two magpies were recorded, thankfully the numbers are well down on a few years ago when ten or twelve could be seen on the North Down around the time the skylarks were breeding.

At the end of the walk, our haul was only 19 species, well down on the walks in May and June.