Bockhill 2017

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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.

 

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Bockhill Diary

Bockhill Photo: Michael Bennett

Bockhill

 

Bockhill Diary Wildlife sightings from the Bockhill area. We are a small group of East Kent birders who have been enjoying wildlife in the St. Margaret's Bay and Kingsdown area of the White Cliffs since October 1994. Here you will find a record of the fauna and flora of this region of Kent.

  • 23rd March 2020
    by Brendan Ryan on March 23, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Another bitterly cold day with a brisk ESE wind and sunny skies.A short circuit around the Paddock, Droveway and Freedown during which time I didn't see a single other person! Sadly the birds were similarly scarce with three Firecrest (two Droveway and one in Wood) being the highlight. Siskins were again moving with one group of 11 seen and other groups heard but not seen. No Chiffchaffs were encountered

  • 22nd March 2020
    by Jack Chantler on March 22, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Even colder today when Richard and I walked round the area and had 8 Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest.Later I was joined by Phil and we stood on the Leas for about 30 minutes and had 61 Siskins flying into the NE wind.

  • 21st March 2020
    by Jack Chantler on March 22, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    In a cold NE wind the area was walked by Richard, Brendan and Phil from 06:30 to 10:00. Notable birds were 25 Crossbills, a White Wagtail, 3 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs and 4 Firecrests.The local Raven and Peregrine were also seen along the cliffs.

  • 14th March 2020
    by Jack Chantler on March 17, 2020 at 11:44 am

    On a horrible wet windy cold day we walked the area and had seven Firecrests, two Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs, a Stonechat and the usual Raven and Peregrine.Richard, Phil, Jack

  • 7th March 2020
    by Jack Chantler on March 8, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    On a nice sunny but cold day we walked the area and had four Alba Wagtails. one of which was a White Wagtail, all moving west along the clifftop and elsewhere singles of Chiffchaff, Firecrest and Goldcrest. At sea there were several Great Crested Grebes, a couple of Red-throated Divers and a Harbour Porpoise.Philip,Jack.  

  • 3rd March 2020
    by Jack Chantler on March 4, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Around the area birds of note were 3 Chiffchaffs in the Farm Wood, 4 Stonechats at Hope Point, 2 Buzzards displaying over the Big Field and a Raven croaking and annoying the local Jackdaws on the clifftop.

  • 1st March 2020
    by Jack Chantler on March 1, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    On the first reasonable day with pleasant sunshine there was a Chiffchaff by the Monument, another in the Farm Wood, 4 Stonechats between the Rough and Oldstairs and a female Peregrine constantly patrolling the clifftop.Richard, JackLater Nigel had a Red Kite near Oxley Court probably the same one that has been around for  the last three days.Richard had 2 Blackcaps, a male and a female, in Dusky Hollow in the afternoon.

  • 4th January 2020
    by Jack Chantler on January 5, 2020 at 10:44 am

    With no birds on the cliffs we decided to go down to the Bay where, between 08:45 and 09:15, we had a count of 4342 Cormorants moving up channel. Other than that we had 125 Red-throated Divers and one Black-throated Diver going south, 2 Great Skuas north, many Auks feeding offshore and 2 Firecrests at the bottom of the cliffs.Nigel, Jack  

  • 23rd November 2019
    by Jack Chantler on November 23, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Phil walked around the area this morning and had a Stonechat, three Chiffchaffs and three Firecrests. There was also a Lapland Bunting  in the field by Hope Point. Offshore at Kingsdown Leas were at least 2800 Kittiwakes, 521 Mediterranean Gulls, 300 Common Gulls and two Little Gulls.On his way back via the Farm Wood were five Bramblings.

  • 10th November 2019
    by Jack Chantler on November 10, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    The Great Grey Shrike still remains in the Freedown and we were entertained by the two Peregrines chasing the Ravens across the fields, apart from that there was very little else.Earlier in the today we had a brief seawatch which produced a few Gannets, Wigeon and Scoters. Other than that the highlight was an enormous oilrig  moving down channel towed by two tugs.John C, Nigel, Jack    Oil Rig - Nigel Jarman

  • 9th November 2019
    by Jack Chantler on November 9, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    With five of us out today and the whole of the area being done we expected more but unfortunately it didn't happen. Overhead we only had 382 Woodpigeons, six Stock Doves, 32 Skylarks, three Swallows,  four Alba Wagtails, two Fieldfares, two Tree Sparrows, seven Bramblings, six Redpolls, six Siskins and four Reed Buntings.In the area were singles of Stonechat, Black Redstart, Cetti's Warbler and six Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, nine Firecrests, 10 Goldcrests, a Coal tit and 56 Long-tailed Tits.Also the Great Grey Shrike was still in the Freedown. John C, Nigel, Phil, Richard, Jack.  Great Grey Shrike - Nigel Jarman

  • 7th November 2019
    by Jack Chantler on November 7, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Apart from the Great Grey Shrike that was still present in the Freedown there were no other notable birds in the area. However a look on the sea for half an hour produced 30 Gannets feeding offshore, a couple of adult winter plumaged Razorbills and the first returning Fulmar prospecting around the cliffs.  

  • 6th November 2019
    by Jack Chantler on November 6, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    On a crisp cold and sunny day the Great Grey Shrike performed well and was seen catching bees for most of the morning. Elsewhere around the area there were very few birds of note apart from singles of Swallow, Fieldfare and Chiffchaff plus 11 Goldcrests and 28 Mediterranean Gulls.

  • 4th November 2019
    by Jack Chantler on November 4, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    After yesterday things were very quiet and, apart from the Great Grey Shrike that was still in The Freedown, there were only two Bramblings, a few Goldcrests and the Ravens of any note.Great Grey Shrike (Paul Holt)

  • 3rd November 2019
    by Jack Chantler on November 3, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Probably our best day this autumn with many birds overhead and around the area in a light SW with a little early morning rain.Phil and Richard started from the undercliff where they had a Rock Pipit of ssp littoralis. From there to the Golf Course we had three Snow Buntings and a Hawfinch flying W and also many Thrushes and Finches.At the same time Simon had a seawatch and in one hour, moving down channel, had 300 Gannets, five Red-throated Divers, five Scoters, five Mediterranean Gulls and a Black-throated Diver sitting on the sea.At the Gun Emplacement we saw a Great Grey Shrike and a Woodcock, after a couple of minutes the shrike disappeared and whilst we were trying to relocate it, Paul Holt on the clifftop had a Richard's Pipit, Serin and then a Waxwing in the Paddock.We refound the Shrike in the Freedown where it entertained everyone as it caught Bumble Bees from the tops of the bushes.Totals of birds flying overhead were 11 Swallows, 45 Meadow Pipits, nine Alba Wagtails, seven Bramblings, 50 Chaffinches, 10 Linnets, 120 Goldfinches, 23 Redpolls and six Reed Buntings.Grounded birds included a Ring Ouzel, three Fieldfares, 30 Redwings, 26 Song Thrushes, 83 Blackbirds, 10 Chiffchaffs, 10 Firecrests and 15 Goldcrests.   Great Grey Shrike (Simon Warry)

  • 29th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 30, 2019 at 10:51 am

    NNE breeze, overcastIt was hard work this morning but I think that I should have stuck at it longer given that a few birds turned up elsewhere today. Totals included 21 Goldcrests, one Firecrest (Badger's Bottom), one Chiffchaff, while overhead there were four Tree Sparrows, one Swallow and two Bramblings. Probably my last Bockhill outing of 2019BrendanGoldcrest 

  • 27th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 27, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    WNW-NW light winds. Overcast and cold becoming clear laterA good turn out of birders was sadly not matched by the birds although between us we managed fairly comprehensive coverage of the area with Nigel, Richard and Pete Morris covering Kingsdown, while the rest of us bashed around Bockhill and the village, before Phil and I ventured up Reach Road in the afternoon.Sadly all these efforts didn't reap the dividends they deserved although we managed a good selection of typical late autumn migrants including eight Firecrests, 64 Goldcrests, 21 Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps, one Cetti's Warbler, four Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 17 Skylarks, one Ring Ouzel, three Fieldfares, one Wheatear (Reach Road), four Black Redstarts, 11 Stonechats, four Bramblings,  seven Redpolls, seven Reed Buntings, eight Swallows and seven House Martins. There remained plenty of Blue Tits in the area after what has been an exceptional autumn for this species.There were several sightings of Buzzards during the early afternoon plus four Sparrowhawks suggesting that there may have been some movement into favourable winds.Jack, Phil, Richard, Brendan, Simon, John Cantelo and Pete Morris

  • 25th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 25, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    SW 2 strengthening later. Overcast with rain late morning.Reasonable viz mig conditions and between 7.30 and 9.20 am we recorded  25  Redpoll,  3    Bramblings  14  Greenfinches  3    Corn Buntings  2    Yellowhammers  6    Reed Buntings  4    Tree Sparrows  23  Stock Doves  10   Skylarks  108 Starlings  3    House Martins  44  Swallows  64  alba WagtailsLimited coverage around the Paddock, Wood and Gun Emplacement produced three Firecrests, five Chiffchaffs and nine GoldfinchesPete Morris covered St Margaret's village to Kingsdown and had three Firecrest, 10 Goldcrests, three Fieldfare, 75 Swallows and 10 House Martins. On the Kingsdown undercliff he had a SERIN and a Black Redstart, plus 60 Mediterranean Gulls offshoreBrendan, Jack and Pete MorrisFirecrest    

  • 24th October 2019
    by Jack Chantler on October 24, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Today we had very little overhead migration apart from 11 Swallows, 34 House Martins, 4 Rock Pipits, 8 Grey Wagtails, 21 Alba Wagtails, 562 Starlings, 91 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 2 Siskins and 2 Redpolls.Around the area were 28 Robins, a Black Redstart, 5 Stonechats, a Treecreeper, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, 27 Chiffchaffs, 111 Goldcrests and 10 Firecrests.At sea, seen from the Undercliffe, was a Red-throated Diver, 12 Common Scoters and a Teal.Brendan, Nigel, Phil, Pete Morris, Jack.  

  • 23rd October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 23, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    The winds change to easterly and predictably Firecrests and Black Redstarts arrive and everything else departs. This is the first day in sometime in which Ring Ouzel has not been seen.  We put in a marathon stint today from dawn until late afternoon and covered a lot of ground.  21 Firecrests were recorded including four around Oldstairs,  along with 73 Goldcrests including 17 around Oldstairs. A Yellow-browed Warbler was heard briefly by Phil along the Leas near the old hotel. 22 Chiffchaffs were seen with another four at Oldstairs. Only one Blackcap was heard.Seven Black Redstarts were seen including four on the Undercliff. A Short-eared Owl was flushed from the Freedown and nine Stonechats were encountered.Overhead there were 39 Swallows, 24 alba Wagtails, two Redpolls, two Bramblings, 725 Goldfinches and seven Rock Pipits ( or possibly Water Pipits!)Phil and BrendanFirecrest with ring at OldstairsBlack Redstarts- Undercliff Black Redstart- Undercliff 

  • 22nd October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 22, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Light NW and overcast early morning becoming sunny and light E later.There was encouragement early morning when three Bean Geese (sp) flew south and the first circuit of the Paddock produced three Firecrests. Thereafter it was a bit of a struggle with viz mig again being the main focus of the morning. Overhead we recorded 138 Skylarks, one Woodlark (heard but not seen), two Golden Plovers, 15 Brambling, eight Reed Buntings, seven Fieldfare, several Redwings and Song Thrushes.Around the bushes and woods we found 17 Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, four Firecrests, 35 Goldcrests, four Ring Ouzels, six Stonechats and several Rock Pipits.Our persistence into the afternoon was rewarded with a late Wheatear and a Yellow-browed Warbler in Badger's Bottom off the Droveway.Yesterday, there were still four Ring Ouzels along St Margaret's leas and a Shorelark on "the other side" at Lighthouse DownJack, Phil, Nigel and BrendanWheatear 

  • 20th October
    by Nigel on October 20, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    A chilly NW had us standing on the clifftop with the expectation of good things to come....During the morning, we counted the following:Brambling 4, Redpoll 24, Starling 173, Meadow Pipit 62, Redwing 6, Stock Dove 228, Goldfinch 3010, Swallow 64, Greenfinch 59, Linnet 141, alba Wag 37, Reed Bunting 32, Siskin 19, House Sparrow41, Tree Sparrow 1, Chaffinch 238, Skylark 40, Golden Plover 4,  Dunnock 9, SERIN 1, Blue Tit 6, Gt. Sp. W-P 7, Grey Wag 2.In the area were Chiffchaff 23, Goldcrest 28, Firecrest 2, Ring Ouzel 7, Stonechat 13, Whinchat 1 and WOODLARK 3.The best day of the autumn.Brendan, Phil, Jack, Simon, John Cantelo, Heather, Nige

  • 19th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 19, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    A lively viz mig first thing until the rain killed things off.  Two Twite, seen by early riser Phil were the highlights. Totals included, 2,225 Goldfinches, 12 Redpoll, 85 Linnets, 18 Siskins, seven Bramblings, nine Dunnocks, four Rock Pipits, 25 Skylarks, three Tree Sparrows, 55 House Martins, 263 Swallows, 40 Stock Doves,Around the area it was much as it had been in recent days with Ring Ouzels (12) and Stonechats (11) dominating. Chiffchaff numbers were down (about 12) and about six Blackcaps were encountered.Weather patterns over the next few days look very promisingJack, Phil, Brendan, Nigel, John Cantelo

  • 17th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 17, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    A lively couple of hours from 7.30 to 9.30 on the viz mig front produced465 Linnets230 Goldfinches4 Bramblings1 Greenfinch2 Siskins49 Skylarks75 Meadow Pipits11 alba Wagtails18 Stock Doves5 Collared Doves1 Corn Bunting26 Reed Buntings16 Mistle Thrushes1 Great Spotted Woodpecker41 Starlings8 Blue Tits180 Swallows25 House Martins2 Sand MartinsActivity ended abruptly with a band of rain followed by rather pleasant sunshine.  Not a lot around the bushes with ten Ring Ouzels, including four males together at Hope Point, and another three along the Leas at St Margaret's.  14 Stonechats, three Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs and seven Goldcrests. No sign of the Cetti's today!Four male Ring Ouzels at Hope Point 

  • 16th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 16, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    A morning spent looking at photos of Vireos and Rubythroats on Twitter, encouraged me out in the afternoon after the rain had (sort of ) stopped. Oddly enough I was unable to find neither a Vireo or Rubythroat but did manage in a short circuit of the Paddock, Farm Wood and Freedown, 11 Chiffchaffs, 8 Goldcrests, one Firecrest, one Ring Ouzel and eight Stonechats. Tomorrow is another day although sadly another day with SW windsBockhill is one of the few birding sites still to have Grey Partridge. There seems to be a group of eight & four around at the moment

January 2017

January 8th

Walked around the entire area and saw little of note apart from 4 Stonechats, 2 Goldcrests and at least 16 pairs of Fulmars around the cliffs at Kingsdown. NLJ,JRC.

January 7th

Only 2 Stonechats on the cliff top today and a Little Owl being ‘mobbed’ at the Gun Emplacement. PJC,JRC.

January 6th
This morning Richard and I did an hour and a half seawatching and had 345 Cormorants feeding offshore, 8 Red-throated Divers moving north and 2 Sanderling and a Raven flying south. RNH,JRC.
January 2nd
A walk around the area this morning produced two Sparrowhawks,  four Stonechats and up to ten Song Thrushes.NLJ,JRC.

Stonechats at Bockhill

Given the topical nature of Eastern Stonechats we think it instructive to re-post pictures of the two Bockhill birds. The first bird 30/10/2008 – 2/11/2008 seems an obvious maura. Since the details of the Portland bird 24/10/2012 were published it became apparent that our second bird 24/10/2009 – 25/10/2009 showed features of stejnegeri. As it seems likely that BBRC will review previous records of all forms we have sent these photos forward to form part of that review.

Bird present 30/10/2008 until 2/11/2008.
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Bird present 24/10/2009

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Jack Chantler