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Report from Stapleford Bird Club
 - 5th May 2012

Seven of the remnant of the bird group and a welcome newcomer met in the car park of the Magog Down at 8 am on 5 May on a lovely sunny morning. Brian and Frank will be much missed after leading the group for so long but we feel it would be a shame for the group to fold. Not only do we enjoy getting together but many people enjoy reading about the monthly bird survey in The Messenger.

In the car park blackcap, blackbird, chaffinch, greenfinch and willow warbler were recorded. As we walked up the hill past Youth Wood we saw 3 jays flying along its edge, a magpie, crows and rooks on the down. Two red-legged partridge were also seen in the grass. At the top of the hill we heard a robin, but otherwise it was quiet along the remains of the old shelter belt.

At Little Trees Hill we heard chaffinch and a wren, and 2 jackdaws flew past. The hedgerow by the parish pit was devoid of birds but there were a dozen rooks in the Feoffees fields. As we walked past the clunch pit we heard chiffchaff, robin, a wren, blackbird, blackcap and in the distance a green woodpecker was calling. Passing Villedomer Wood we counted robin, blackcap, blue tits, great tits and a solitary long-tailed tit was seen.

The most rewarding section of the morning extended from the power lines down past the arable fields. On the power lines was a solitary corn bunting while in the hedge below we saw a whitethroat, a pair of yellowhammers, a linnet and 7 swallows. In the distance (and not officially part of our territory!) a buzzard was circling above the sewage works. Above the arable fields more skylarks were singing. In the hedgerow as we walked down the hill towards Vestey Wood we saw a further half dozen whitethroat and passing the wood we heard blackbird, chiffchaff, blackcap, great tit and blue tit. A kestrel was seen heading towards Wandlebury.

As we turned back up the hill we recorded more robins, blue tits and blackcap. On the South Down were crows, jackdaws and 2 magpies but there were few woodpigeons (later in the day 20+ were feeding there!). We saw a flock of about 10 small birds flying past in the distance and thought they might possibly be linnets.

Returning back between Youth Wood and Babraham Road we recorded more blue tits, chaffinch and blackcap. In the picnic field 2 chaffinch and 4 goldfinch were seen on the ground, and in a tree near the gate to the car park we had a close view of a willow warbler. In all 28 species were recorded (we also saw a green-veined white butterfly and brimstone month!).

Our next meeting will be on Saturday 2 June at 8 am in the Magog Down Car Park. Anyone is welcome, from complete beginners to experts.