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Report from Stapleford Bird Club - 5th October 2013

Winter Bird Feeding

A big thank you to all those who donated money towards this coming winter’s bird feeding scheme on the Magog Down, either through the Magog Trust website or in person on the Down on 5 October where we raised the magnificent sum of £107.64. A further £250 has been raised through Friends and Members of the Trust as well as a generous donation from David Rayner of Scotsdales Garden Centre, a Patron of the Trust. We are overwhelmed by your generosity. It was lovely to meet so many people and hear how much you enjoy your visits to the Down. If anyone else would like to contribute you can use the general donation form on this website, or if you are a Friend or Member, contact to ask for a personalised form. When we start feeding the birds I will keep you informed of which bird species are visiting us and benefiting from your donations.

Bird Club meeting

On the same morning, other members of the Bird Club were carrying out our monthly bird survey, starting in the car park at 8 am where two robins were heard. From Youth Wood looking across North Down three crows and a wood pigeon flew over, a kestrel was seen chasing a magpie and a further nine magpies were seen on the ground plus three wood pigeons. An unidentified gull flew over, and a robin, blue tit and skylark were heard.

In the Old Shelter Belt two robins, two blue tits, two magpies, a jay, jackdaw and green woodpecker were heard and a skylark was heard nearby. In the clunch pit on Little Trees Hill we heard two chaffinches, two robins (one ticking and one singing) and three magpies. By Jane’s Piece two robins were heard in the hedge. In the direction of Colin’s Wood were two coal tits and four great tits; four chaffinches flew overhead. In the Feoffees Field were four wood pigeons and the two robins were heard again. At the bottom end of the clunch pit were two jackdaws and a cawing rook.

Walking down to the electricity wires on the South Down we heard three skylarks and saw around 25 wood pigeons on the ground; in the hedge were a robin and possibly a dunnock. In the arable fields were approximately 70 gulls, including great black backed gulls, but too far to identify definitely. In Vestey Wood two robins were ticking and one singing and a mixed flock of four blue tits and two great tits were seen in a hawthorn tree.

Returning back up alongside the A1307 a single blackbird was heard in the hedge and more wood pigeons and a magpie were seen in the sheep fields plus a young kestrel on a fence post. At the end of the walk one more robin was heard near the car park. Finally a buzzard was circling high above our donations table shortly after the group returned from their walk – a fitting end to the morning. In all 19 species were heard. Further, two adults and a juvenile buzzard were seen flying together across the South Down at the end of September.

Please note that our next bird walk starts at 8.30 am on Saturday 2 November in the car park (i.e. half an hour later during the winter). We would love to see more people joining us and it doesn’t matter whether you are new to bird watching (we have some spare binoculars to borrow!), a ‘garden watcher’ or an expert (we could do with some of those!). We meet the first Saturday of every month and take approximately 2 hours but people arrive or leave when they need to. Do come along.   

                    Sue Bradley