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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 1st September 2012

On Saturday 1 September seven birdwatchers met in the car park on a dull, grey morning where we had an excellent start seeing or hearing a magpie, blackbird, crow, chaffinch, robin, three greenfinches, a chiffchaff and two juvenile bullfinches. We then neither saw nor heard anything as we walked up the North Down alongside Youth Wood, nor as we crossed the top through Magog Wood. As we emerged from the wood and walked up to Little Trees Hill we heard jackdaws and saw in the distance 6 birds flying over the arable fields beyond South Down, too far for us to see whether they were all jackdaws. We heard a green woodpecker in the clunch pit and saw two crows on the North Down and a further magpie.

In the Feoffees fields we counted 50 plus crows and rooks with a few wood pigeons on the ground but saw or heard nothing in the remains of the hedgerows. In the field beyond the Feoffees Field were more crows and rooks. Two magpies flew over. As we walked past the clunch pit we heard a blackcap and at the start of Villedomer Wood a solitary robin. In the field beyond the hedge were five magpies (some of whom we had probably seen earlier). Our route southwards alongside Villedomer Wood was devoid of bird life as were the telegraph line and hedge beneath. However, on the arable fields we saw three crows and five swallows and on the other side of the hedge there were numerous crows and rooks in the field. Further down two dunnocks were crisscrossing the path in front of us. A swallow flew low up the path towards some of the group, veering off to the arable field just as it reached them.
Along the bottom path in Vestey Wood we heard a blackbird, robin and chaffinch. Returning back up the hill alongside the A1307 we heard a great tit and blue tit and on the South Down we saw a dozen crows and rooks and heard a robin. Returning to the car park via Youth Wood all was quiet but back in the car park we heard a robin and blackbird.
It was another quiet day for birds on the Downs but although we only counted sixteen species of birds we had an enjoyable morning. We shall be meeting again at 8am on Saturday 6 October and then at the later time of 8.30am on Saturday 3 November. We hope to see you there.    
Sue Bradley