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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 7th September 2013

Seven birdwatchers met on Saturday 7 September on the Magog Down on a cool, sunny/cloudy morning. The car park was very quiet: in the distance we heard a green woodpecker, close by were three robins, and flying overhead five crows. On North Down a solitary jackdaw flew overhead and six partridges (probably red-legged) flew up from the edge of the long grass near the top end of Youth Wood. At the top of Youth Wood approximately 10 house martins flew above us. In the Old Shelter Belt we heard a blue tit, chaffinch, magpie and jackdaw. On Little Trees Hill at least 30 house martins plus two swallows were wheeling around, flying above and around us and quietly twittering. It was a lovely sight. (NB One of the dog walkers saw approximately 40 swallows lined up on a telegraph wire in Stapleford earlier in the week – getting ready to fly south.) We also saw a large dragonfly!

As we descended the hill towards Jane’s Piece five magpies flew across to Colin’s Wood. The Feoffees Field was empty apart from a herring gull flying over and from the Clunch Pit came unidentifiable twittering. Walking down past Villedomer Wood we heard a jay and saw five chaffinches and a magpie in the arable field opposite. Further down in the hedgerow we saw some movement and heard murmurings from three birds but were unable to identify them.
Vestey Wood was quiet but just before we arrived some dogs had flushed out three partridges. And as we looked across the A1307 in the fields beyond we saw approximately 30 partridges (again we couldn’t identify which type) near the footpath leading to the Roman Road (outside our territory!). Returning back up the path alongside the A1307 we saw a female chaffinch on the path and in the arable field below South Down were a number of rooks, crows and wood pigeons. The path between Youth Wood and the A1307 was quiet apart from a magpie and all was quiet on our return to the car park. In all we saw only 14 species.
Our next meeting will be on Saturday 5 October at 8am starting in the car park. On that day we will be collecting donations towards the winter bird feeding project (and also on Saturday 2nd November), should you wish to bring along a contribution to that. Last year it was a wonderful sight to see so many birds availing themselves of the food – in particular the number of yellowhammers – and we hope that this winter we can support our bird population again.
                 Sue Bradley