Welcome to the Bockhill and Kingsdown Home page. You will find photos of this season’s birds and Diary pages which inform you of what has been seen each day.
Bockhill is an area of National Trust farmland to the north of St. Margaret’s village, and the cliff top stretching from The Leas to Kingsdown beach. Very few birds are actually resident here and therefore more or less all are migrants. The area by the Monument is best for visible migration but anywhere on the cliff top can be good for birds arriving or leaving the country.
The fields attract Pipits, Larks and the occasional wader whilst the farm wood or any of the hedgerows can be excellent for warblers especially in the autumn. Birding started seriously in 1994. Ten years later, in autumn 2004, 242 species had been recorded.
Bockhill is also very good for moths, butterflies, dragonflies and other insects as well as being excellent for much chalkland flora. Parking is available at the Monument and refreshments can be had at the cafe there or at the kiosk in the Bay car park.
Please note: all photos of birds on this site will be or have been submitted to the relevant records committee for consideration where necessary.
A morning of seawatching in the Bay produced 13 Red-throated Divers, 6 Eiders, 54 Common Scoters, 6 Velvet Scoters, 5 Shelducks, 7 Wigeon and a Great Skua all moving north. Whilst feeding offshore were 22 Auks and 110 Gannets.
In the area were 5 Stonechats and a Raven. PJC,SW,NLJ,RNH,JRC.
A seawatch from 13:30-15:00, after the SW blow had subsided, produced over 1000 Kittiwakes moving down channel. Apart from that there were only 6 Great Crested Grebes and 10 Mediterranean Gulls feeding just offshore. PJC ,JRC.
Around the area we had very few birds of note apart from 8 Stonechats, 22 Yellowhammers and, increasingly rare for us, 5 Stock Doves. SW,PJC,JRC.
In half an hour after we arrived at the Monument we had 15 Meadow Pipits, 18 Chaffinches, 3 Bramblings, 3 Siskins and 94 Goldfinches moving NE. Elsewhere in the area we had a Short-eared Owl, 80 Blackbirds, 100 Carrion Crows and 7 Crossbills flying over the Freedown.PJC, SW,JRC.
A few birds around area, a Woodcock and a Short-eared Owl flew in off the sea and 3 Crossbills flew NE. Also 10 Fulmars have returned to the Cliffs. Phil Chantler.
A Waxwing flew over Kingsdown at 07:00.Richard Heading
13 Grey Partridges, 35 Blackbirds and 2 Ravens at Bockhill, and a Little Auk N at Kingsdown.NLJ,JRC.
In the area were 30 Grey Partidges, 2 Ravens, 6 Stonechats, 35 Bramblings and 2 Bullfinches. PJC,JRC
Short-eared Owl in off sea. PJC,JRC.
First Waxwing of the year over Kingsdown. Richard Heading.
NB. Most of team Bockhill are away in Spain watching birds or cycling until early September.
Greenshank over Kingsdown early morning [Nigel]
One Redstart still in the Paddock, elsewhere 27 Whitethroats, 19 Lesser Whitethroats, single Garden and Reed Warblers. Overhead a trickle of Sand Martins moving south, one Yellow Wagtail and a Green Sandpiper [Brendan]
Good day with 12 Whinchats, 3 Redstarts, a Grasshopper Warbler, 15 Whitethroats, 11 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 8 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs and 1 Pied and 1 Spotted Flycatcher. [Brendan, Nigel,Phil,Jack]
Willow Warbler (Brendan Ryan)
Whinchats (Nigel Jarman)
A few birds of note today with 4 Whinchats, 2 Reed Warblers, 27 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and 2 Blackcaps. The Ravens appear to be back in the area again.[Brendan,Phil,Jack]
A juvenile Red-backed Shrike in Kingsdown together with Whinchat 2 and a single Wheatear.
Red-backed Shrike [Nigel Jarman]
A few migrants around the area 2 Wheatears, 5 Reed Warblers, 21 Whitethroats, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Willow Warblers. Other birds of note were 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Ravens and a Yellow Wagtail.[Phil,Jack]
The whole area was done today without a deal of success, the only notable birds being singles of Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and Golden Plover, 3 Whinchats, a Wheatear, a few Whitethroats and Willow Warblers and 2 Bullfinches. However on the Leas we had good numbers of Brown Argus and Chalkhill Blue Butterflies[Phil, Jack]
As usual a light NW breeze brought birds for us today, moving SW there were 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 35 Swifts, 49 Sand Martins, 422 House Martins and 185 Swallows during the morning. Also around the area there were singles of Hobby, Green Sandpiper, Wheatear and Stonechat, 7 Whinchats, Grasshopper Warbler, 8 Lesser Whitethroats, 25 Whitethroats, Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaffs and 19 Willow Warblers. [Phil,Jack]
Around the Leas and Paddock were 15 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Whinchats and 1 Bullfinch. [Jack]
Not so many birds today, most of them were on the Leas where we had 3 Reed Warblers, 2 Sedge Warblers, 23 Whitethroats, 10 Lesser Whitethroats and 20 Willow Warblers. Elsewhere were a Grey Heron upsetting the gulls, 4 Whinchats, a Stonechat and a Hobby coming in off the sea. A Harbour Porpoise was feeding in the Bay.[Phil,Jack]
We anticipated there would be birds today as there was a light NW over night and on our walk around the area we had over 100 warblers. These were 4 Sedge Warblers, 4 Reed Warblers, 49 Whitethroats, 19 Lesser Whitethroats, a Blackcap, Chiffchaff and 26 Willow Warblers. Also 2 Crossbills, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Whinchat.
There were also large numbers insects on the cliff-top most notably many Emperor Dragonflies.[Brendan,Richard, Phil,Jack]
This morning we walked the cliff-top to Hope Point and had a Whinchat, a very young Stonechat, 2 Reed Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, 14 Lesser Whitethroats, 15 Whitethroats and 17 Willow Warblers. Also large numbers of Painted Lady Butterflies. [Richard, Jack]
In a strong SW wind we walked around the area and had 4 Grey Partridges, 2 Golden Plovers, 1 Wheatear, 4 Whinchats, 1 Sedge Warbler, 10 Whitethroats, 3 Lesser Whitethroats and 2 Willow Warblers. [Phil,Jack]
I had a short walk around the Leas and the Paddock, before going to the cricket at Canterbury, and had a family party of 14 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 12 Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps and 8 Willow Warblers. [Jack]
In an hours vis. mig. we had 2 Tree Sparrows, 2 Yellow Wagtails and up to 12 Common Buzzards moving west. Around the area were singles of Wheatear, Grasshopper Warbler and Chiffchaff plus 21 Whitethroats and 14 Willow Warblers.[Richard, Phil, Jack]
In two hours of seawatching we had c.200 gannets feeding offshore, a Manx Shearwater , an Arctic Skua , 40 Commic Terns, 20 Sandwich Terns and a Black Tern all moving SW. Around the area we had the juvenile Cuckoo, still in the Paddock, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 8 Whitethroats, 3 Willow Warblers and a Goldcrest. Overhead 31 Sand Martins flew SW.[Richard, Phil, Jack]
In the horrible drizzelly rain we walked the area and had a Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 23 Whitethroats, 9 Willow Warblers and a juvenile Cuckoo. Overhead were 34 Swifts moving SW, 50 House Martins feeding at Hope Point and an Arctic Skua that flew up Channel. [Brendan, Phil, Jack.]
The month started well with eight species of warbler in the area, with totals of 8 Lesser Whitethroats, 31 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 12 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers and 1 Grasshopper Warbler. Also of note was a Marsh Harrier that flew out to sea at 10:00am. [Phil,Jack]
A walk around the area produced a Green Sandpiper, 8 Willow Warblers and 16 species of Butterfly of which most notable was a White Admiral at Ottey Bottom. [Lyn,Jack]
Fairly quiet on the bird front, the Cuckoo is still present in the Paddock though. We spent our time being educated by Jack on the flowers of the region, looking at butterflies and were rewarded with fairly decent views of the White-letter Hairstreaks. (Jack, Jay and Richard)
The Turtle Dove decided to show well in Kingsdown today.
A trickle of hirundines moved SW including 8 Sand Martins and a very young Black Redstart sat on the gate at the Monument. A walk around the area produced very few birds, apart from a single Willow Warbler, but many insects including 2 White-letter Hairstreak butterflies.
Painted Lady Bockhill (Richard Heading)
The Turtle Dove at Kingsdown has been joined by a second.
Whinchat at Bockhill
One Harbour Porpoise in the Bay
Turtle Dove singing at Kingsdown
1500 Swifts moved SW at Kingsdown.
Cuckoo on the cliff-top as a Honey Buzzard flew in off the sea.
Cuckoo in the farmyard
6 Harbour Porpoises off the Bay
A Turtle dove sang at Kingsdown whilst a Black Kite flew in at Bockhill
Few notable birds apart from calling Tawny Owl and Alexandrine Parakeet
Nothing on a seawatch apart from very close Harbour Porpoise
Two Cuckoos, one in the Farm and one at Kingsdown
The only bird of note was a Marsh Harrier
Highlights included a Black Kite, 5 Red Kites, single Spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart and Reed Warbler
Very little of note seen except a Serin that flew NW at 7.15am
A cold NE breeze produced a few more birds including 4 Whimbrel up channel, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 1 White Wagtail and a steady trickle of Swallows (30) and House Martins (12) going north. What was assumed to be yesterday’s male Montagu’s Harrier reappeared over the Hope Point and was watched for 20 minutes before it disappeared west. (BAR, JRC, RNH)
In calm and foggy conditions today was again a struggle to find anything of any note until at 11.50am a superb male Montagu’s Harrier flew over the end of the Freedown and over the Big Field. (BAR, JRC)
Early morning rain and mist and no birds of note recorded. (BAR)
A male Golden Oriole was seen at the Memorial at 7.40 before flying off NE. Little else of note was seen other than another Red Kite and at least two White Wagtails (NLJ, BAR, JRC, PJC)
Early morning sea watching produced little of note, so we adjourned to the cliff top and spent the rest of the morning “viz migging”. Highlights included a Cuckoo on the cliff top, 5 Red Kites, a Marsh Harrier and a Hobby. ( BAR, JRC, PJC)
Early morning sea watching produced 18 Pom Skuas but as ever light conditions in the morning weren’t that good. Better viewing conditions in the evening produced five Poms, a Bonxie and an Arctic Skua. ( JRC, NLJ, RNH, BAR)
The morning session included a 2 hour sea watch that produced a few Gannets and a single group of 8 Brents. “Up top” was no better with a singing Siskin and a single Redpoll being the highlights. In the evening Nigel had 12 Poms past Kingsdown (BAR, JRC, NLJ)
A steady trickle of hirundines (160 Swallows, 8 House Martins & 3 Sand Martins) were arriving straight “in-off” into a WNW breeze. A Hobby also came straight in off and headed inland, along with 8 Yellow Wagtails. 7 Alba Wagtails went over including at least 2 Whites. A large looking Wheatear ( probably Greenland) arrived on the clifftop mid morning. BAR
Some evidence of a small arrival of Lesser Whitethroats (10) but little else to get excited about. Other warblers included 13 Whitethroats, 7 Blackcaps, 3 Willow Warblers and 5 Chiffchaffs. There was little visible passage with only 6 Swallows notes, a single Whimbrel and Yellow Wagtail plus 4 Jays on the clifftop. BAR
The wind had switched to NW but it was bitterly cold. Early morning sea watching was slow, producing an Arctic Skua, 22 Brents, 3 Shelduck, 4 Common Terns, 20 Sandwich Terns, 7 Whimbrel and 2 Dunlin. “Up top” we walked in arctic conditions, as far as Little Green on Kingsdown Leas, where there was an impressive display of Early Spider Orchids. Birds noted included the two semi resident Ring Ouzels in the Freedown, 6 Whitethroat, 5 Lesser Whitethroats and a single Willow Warbler. BAR, JRC, NLJ,
A cold North Easterly winds meant that sea watching was the order of the day, producing a single Bonxie, 20 Whimbrel, 25 Sandwich Terns and 15 Common Gulls JRC, BAR, PJC
A fresh Easterly wind and clear skies inevitably resulted in a dearth of birds. The 2 Ring Ouzels were still present in the Freedown. The only other birds of note were a single Lesser Whitethroat and a Yellow Wagtail over. BAR
The Serin ‘influx’ continues with one over the Monument at 08.45 this morning. At 10.25 over Queensdown Road in Kingsdown a Red-rumped Swallow drifted by with a handful of Swallows. The bird had just been seen over the South Foreland Valley. In the area there were also 2 Ring Ouzels, a Yellow Wagtail, a Wheatear, 2 Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs and 2 Willow Warblers. RNH,JRC.
We arrived early in anticipation of the NW wind and all that it can bring to the site. It started slow with just a single Greylag Goose, 5 continental Coal Tits and finally a Whitethroat along The Leas. There are not many years that we have had Lesser Whitethroat before Whitethroat. With the wind strengthening, very cold and little happening, we made a ‘raid’ on the South Foreland Valley.
This immediately paid off with 2 Serin flying over, calling loudly and heading off West. In addition there were 2 Ring Ouzels, 2 Tree Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, 2 Wheatears and 11 Yellow Wagtails.
Whilst we were wondering if we would ever go back to Bockhill a stunning male Common Redstart, a Black Redstart and 2 Ring Ouzels were seen in the Freedown at Bockhill. Clearly it’s not time to give up on Bockhill yet and this constitutes an excellent day for the area. PJC, RNH, BAR
A few migrants today most notably a Short-eared Owl, 2 Swallows, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Willow Warblers. RNH, JRC.
Another couple of Red Kites, different to the birds on the 1st, came over The Monument created mayhem amongst the gulls and then drifted off towards Ringwould. RNH, JRC.
A walk along The Kingsdown Leas to Hope Point was rewarded with the first Lesser Whitethroat. Also 2 Ravens, 5 Continental Coal Tits and 4 Blackcaps were also seen. RNH,JRC.
Very few birds of note apart from our first Whimbrel.
A couple of hours standing on the cliff-top produced 6 Buzzards, 3 House Martins, 2 Sand Martins, 13 Swallows, a White Wagtail, 22 Continental Coal Tits, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff. All the birds were moving in a northerly direction. RNH,JRC.
A good day around the area with 5 Swallows, 4 Coal Tits, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Black Redstart, 2 Willow Warblers, a Firecrest and 2 Ravens. In the Bay were 3 Harbour Porpoises.
Birds today included the first Wheatear of the year, a Black Redstart, 2 Swallows and at least 7 Bramblings over. BAR
Another day with 2 Continental Coal Tits and our first Common Redstart and Wheatear as well as 4 Swallows.
Around the area were 5 Continental Coal Tits, 2 Black Redstarts, 5 Chiffchaffs and 2 Firecrests.
Whilst enjoying the re-opening of The Coastguard in The Bay with some non-alcoholic beers we had 3 Harbour Porpoises and a couple of Sandwich Terns. Shortly after midday all hell broke loose amongst the gulls and 2 Red Kites swept into The Bay before heading off West. Later examination of photos showed one of them was carrying prey and both birds, due to wear/moult, were quite distinctive. PJC, RNH.
A vis. mig. from 09:30-11:00 produced 7 Alba Wagtails, 21 ‘Continental’ Coal Tits , 38 Linnets, 62 Siskins,10 Bramblings, 469 Chaffinches and 7 Yellowhammers. Elsewhere in the area were a Swallow, a Black Redstart, 6 Chiffchaffs and 2 Firecrests. PJC,RNH,JRC.
On the Undercliff at Oldstairs were 2 Ravens, a Black Redstart, 7 Chiffchaffs and 6 Firecrests.
Up at the Monument we had a small number of migrants flying NW most notable being 5 Woodlarks, a Swallow, 5 Continental Coal Tits and 6 Sparrowhawks coming in from the sea.
At Foxhill Down was a Wheatear. PJC,RNH,JRC.
With the wind being extremely strong on the cliffs, viewing was very difficult and we only stayed until 09:30 but in that time we had 8 Chiffchaffs, 57 Goldcrests and 6 Firecrests. The goldcrest count was our highest Spring total since we started at Bockhill in 1994. PJC,JRC.
A brief walk in the Kingsdown area produced 3 Siskin, 4 Long-tailed Tit and singles of Chiffchaff, Buzzard, Moorhen, Stonechat, Shelduck, Goldcrest and Firecrest. RNH.
Firecrest Kingsdown (Richard Heading)
A day when the birds tested our commitment. On Kingsdown Beach a new Black Redstart and a flyover Greylag Goose were supplemented by 11 Brent Geese on the sea and 3 Coal Tits along Oldstairs Road. That just about wraps it up, with the exception of 2 alba wagtails and 36 Siskins moving north. Not a great day really. RNH, JRC.
Another morning of visible migration but with far fewer birds than yesterday. Birds moving north were 17 Siskins, 3 Bramblings and c.250 Chaffinches, probably a big undercount as the light made it extremely difficult to see anything flying over. Other notable birds were a Woodcock, 2 Pied Wagtails, a Chiffchaff and 6 Common Buzzards spiralling over the wood. At sea were 3 Harbour Porpoises and on the cliff-top a Hummingbird Hawk Moth and a Brimstone Butterfly. RNH,JRC.
As a light NW breeze was forcast we decided to stand on the cliff-top at the Monument and watch for any migration. Birds were moving in a northerly direction and between 0800-12.30 we had 32 Siskins, 3 Bramblings and 560 Chaffinches. Also up to 12 Common Buzzards and a Marsh Harrier were seen to move inland.
At sea were 16 Red-throated Divers, 1335 Brent Geese and 457 Black-headed Gulls moving up channel.
Also of note were at least 11 Harbour Porpoises. RNH,JRC.
A seawatch this morning from Kingsdown yielded 251 Black-headed Gull, 40 Gannet, 6 Great Crested Grebe (14 on the sea) 27 Common Gull, 2 Dunlin, 12 Red-throated Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 55 Brent Geese and 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull going up channel. NLJ.
On a walk around Bockhill area, in a very cold NE breeze, we only had a Stonechat and 25 Blackbirds, whilst overhead 118 Chaffinches flew N.
At Oldstairs there were 4 Red-throated Divers, 368 Brent Geese, 2 Shelducks and 25 Dunlin moving up channel, and on the undercliff were 30 Fulmars, 3 Rock Pipits and, the best bird of the day. a beautiful male Black Redstart. RNH,JRC.
A very breezy cold day produced nothing on the sea apart from 3 Brent Geese and 3 Dunlin. RNH,JRC.
In Oldstairs area had 2 Canada Geese, 600 Starlings north, a Reed Bunting and a singing Firecrest. RNH.
A quick walk around the paddock produced 6 Redwing and a Woodlark.PJC,JRC.
Kingsdown Beach had Great Northern Diver just offshore and the Black Redstart.RNH.
Kingsdown Beach again had Black Redstart, Firecrest and a single ‘Caudatus’ Long-tailed Tit. RNH,JRC.
In the scrub at Kingsdown Beach had 2 ‘Caudatus’ Long-tailed Tits and a Chiffchaff. RNH,PJC,GS,NLJ,JRC
caudatus Long-tailed Tit (Nigel Jarman)
Walked along the undercliff at Kingsdown and had 16 Fulmars on the cliffs, a flyover Grey Wagtail and a Black Redstart on the beach. At Bockhill Monument we found 12 Long-tailed Tits of which 6 were the Northern European race ‘caudatus’. Also had a Raven on cliff-top. RNH,JRC.
Only 40 Great Crested Grebes and 60 Gannets offshore RNH,JRC.
Very little movement on the sea the only notable records being of 91 Great Crested Grebes and a Red-necked Grebe feeding offshore. RNH,JRC.
Birds moving south today were 24 Red-throated Divers, 270 Auks, 100 Kittiwakes and 14 Little Gulls. JRC
In the second seawatch this year we had 4 Red-throated Divers and 1 Black-throated Diver, 100 Gannets, 2 male Eiders and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers all moving north, whilst 75 Auks feeding offshore were hasselled by 2 Great Skuas. The local Ravens were also patrolling the cliffs. JRC
A seawatch produced 14 Red-throated Divers, 120 Gannets , 65 Auks and 2 Little Gulls JRC.