Wandlebury Country Park and Gog Magog Down

Even before I moved to Cambridge I had heard of Gog Magog Down and thought it sounded interesting, not just because of the unusual name but because I like hills.  I have still never been there, but for a while I have thought it could be a 'Birds of East Anglia' event to explore it.  This morning I looked at the map for the area and discovered the existence of Wandlebury Country Park, which has a nature reserve, a bird hide, and a car park, so that seems the obvious place for us to 'meet up'.  Full details of how to get here, and car parking charges, are on the web page, which can be found here:

http://www.cambridgeppf.org/wandlebury-country-park.shtml

Edit: And here is the map I was looking at:

http://www.streetmap.co.uk/ids.srf?name=TL494532&z=115

My idea for this event is for us to meet in the car park at 11 a.m., go for a wander round the country park and possibly also parts of Gog Magog Down outside the confines of the country park, taking our binoculars of course, and then maybe go to a cafe or pub for something to eat and / or drink (or just go home, for anyone who doesn't want to stay out for that).  I haven't yet looked into cafes or pubs in the area as Michael has kindly offered to help out with this aspect of planning, thanks Michael! 

For anyone needing transport help to get to this event, I can offer lifts from Ely or Cambridge (including both railway stations).  If anyone needs to borrow a pair of binoculars, I have two spare pairs which I can lend to the first two people who ask.

Regarding expectations for this event: at the last event I felt that I had raised people's expectations somewhat and persuaded them to travel a long distance on the basis of those expectations, so when the weather and birds did not cooperate in the first half of the day I felt a bit bad.  I also forgot (to an extent) that these events are as much about just getting outdoors and meeting other people, and for that you don't have to travel a long distance or see unusual birds.

So I am deliberately trying to avoid raising expectations with this event - that is, expectations of unusual birds, or even of good planning on my part :)  What I am happy to raise expectations of, is that we will get outdoors, go for a short walk, meet other attendees (if anyone else signs up) and hopefully see *some* birds.  But even if we don't see *any* birds, we can still enjoy the suspense of not knowing what we will see!

Thanks for reading, I hope you can RSVP 'yes' for this event!

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  • Stephen

    Hi folks, here (finally) is the list of species we saw and heard during this event, the reason for the delay in posting this is that I lost the piece of paper I had written this on after the event, and only re-found it during Sunday's event (in my car!) Please let me know if you think there were any other species I didn't write down:

    Goldcrest (heard calling, and I saw one later)
    Coal Tit (heard calling)
    Robin
    Blackbird
    Jackdaw (heard calling)
    Great Tit
    Carrion Crow
    Magpie
    Green Woodpecker
    Pied Wagtail
    Tawny Owl (heard calling)
    Red-legged Partridge
    Woodpigeon
    Long-tailed Tit
    Chaffinch (heard calling)
    Bullfinch (heard calling)
    Treecreeper
    Great Spotted Woodpecker (heard calling)
    Jay

    And a Brimstone butterfly!

    January 7, 2014

  • Susie

    Thanks for your lovely comments on my photos. For those interested I have a Canon Powershot SX50. Lots of zoom! But the flip side is it should really be used on a tripod (hence me propping it on fence post etc) otherwise when you upload photos at home you see you have a lot of blur. We use them at WWT Welney which is what prompted me to buy one after I got fed up lugging a SLR & lens around. But every camera has a purpose in different situations doesn't it?

    Anyone is welcome to have a look at it when we are next out. Just ask!

    December 13, 2013

  • Michael

    Thanks to Aileen and Susie for uploading their photos.

    1 · December 12, 2013

    • Stephen

      Seconded, sorry I haven't already commented to this effect yet, my excuse is that I have been a bit occupied this week. Susie you have done very well with some of the distant birds, I will have to have a closer look at your camera next time. I will probably upload some of my own photos when I got a chance but I'm not sure I can better Aileen's and Susie's efforts.

      December 12, 2013

  • Susie

    Thanks Stephen for organising this event and sharing your knowledge of birds with us. I thoroughly enjoyed the day & meeting the group.
    Will post some photos later if I have any decent ish ones.

    3 · December 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am here!!! After slight detour, in car park green Yaris ( very dirty!!!) Reg HW02

    December 8, 2013

  • Susie

    Just a thought Stephen do you have a mobile contact number in case I get lost/delayed tomorrow and can you tell me what car you drive so I can spot it in the car park & meet up with the right people just in case it is busy!

    December 7, 2013

    • Stephen

      Hi Susie, good idea, in fact I meant to send out my mobile number earlier but forgot, I have just sent it out in an e-mail to all the attendees, hope you got it.

      December 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am working tomorrow, so hopefully will be finished no later than[masked]am, and as I am in Newmarket, will come direct (I work with horses, so hopefully wont smell too much like a stable!!!) its easier as I live in opposite direction...if for any reason I get helpd up, I will try to let you know, otherwise looking forward to meeting you all.

    December 7, 2013

  • Les B.

    Have a great time everybody.

    December 6, 2013

  • Susie

    Well at least the weather currently looks dry for the weekend, look forward to meeting you all on Sunday.

    I do have a spare pair of binoculars if anyone needs to borrow them.

    December 6, 2013

  • Thuy B.

    Hi! I will miss you all, sorry Les and I can't make it this time.

    December 2, 2013

  • Michael

    The local farm shop (suggested by Susie) is open until 4pm on Sunday afternoons. Let's plan to head there. I'll call them the day before to warn them that we'll be turning up around 3.

    December 2, 2013

  • Clare B

    Hi Stephen - how about Fowlmere Reserve? I watched a kingfisher there a couple of weekends ago - a spectacular display. The kingfisher stayed in sight for at least five minutes - was simple stunning. It was also possible to see the owl chicks in the entrance of a nesting box too. I also took a trip back to the North Norfolk coast yesterday and saw more snow buntings - was bliss in the low winter sun. Looking forward to more birding trips with the group

    December 1, 2013

    • Michael

      Fowlmere can be a bit hit and miss. My last trip (about a month ago) was a miss(!) but generally the winters are pretty good. Last winter there was a resident bittern, a hen harrier, merlin and a very active barn owl (late afternoon). Definitely worth keeping in mind.

      December 1, 2013

    • Stephen

      Hi Clare, Fowlmere is a good suggestion and it is one Louise has also put forward a couple of times, so I have probably been a bit remiss in not scheduling an event there yet. If I am honest I have a bit of a prejudice against places I feel are already well visited by other birdwatchers, as I feel there is less chance of spotting our own surprises there. Obviously this doesn't apply to places like Titchwell, I think that is because there are always so many birds there, and it is on the coast, so there is still always a chance of a surprise. Having said that, I will try to be more democratic and persuade myself to schedule an event at Fowlmere soon :)

      December 1, 2013

  • Stephen

    P.S. forgot to say, Aileen you have first choice of my binoculars for the day.

    November 30, 2013

  • Stephen

    Sorry you can't make it Clare, Pete, Louise, Denise, and Les and Thuy. I am thinking about putting another event on before the winter is out, also somewhere close to Cambridge, hope you can make that one.

    November 30, 2013

  • Les B.

    It sounds good Stephen but we can't make this one. To all who go, have a great day.

    November 29, 2013

  • Denise

    Can't come family birthday party. Sad to miss it.

    November 29, 2013

  • Louise M.

    I'm not going to be Cambridge so I'll have to miss this...that's a shame! i love Wandlebury

    November 25, 2013

  • Pete

    Not me unfortunately. Off to Brussels that day for a work trip. I've still got some photos I haven't got round to publishing from the last trip but I've not forgotten so hopefully I'll get round to that in the next few days.

    November 25, 2013

  • Clare B

    Hi. Sorry I can't make this - I am in London that day so am sure you will see more birds than me! These walks are regular haunts of mine, along with the Roman Road which you can walk to through Wandlebury. I have seen a hobby in the area and there is often plenty to see. Hope you have a great day out and look forward to future events.

    November 24, 2013

  • Susie

    Really strange, was reading a blog about a walk from Gt Shelford to Wandlebury CP last night & thought I must go sometime & this Meet Up pops up! Am waiting for my Dec Work Rota so can't commit yet but if free would love to come along. There is a nice farm shop & cafe near there I'm told but maybe peeps want a pint!
    Stephen I am just grateful you organise a get together, you are not in control of the wildlife, any we see is a bonus, better than being on your own, not seeing anything & having no-one to commiserate with!

    November 23, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      i would prefer a latte and sandwich to a pint myself !!!

      November 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am looking forward to this, as long as I dont get delayed at work (if i am working!!!) anyway will let you know if i dont make it, and can i borrow binoculars, as only got a 300mm lens, and mostly isnt that good for far away birds !!!

    November 23, 2013

  • Michael

    Hi Stephen, Thanks for organising. I'll look into pubs, but if anybody has any local knowledge, feel free to offer suggestions. - Michael

    November 23, 2013

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