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.

  • 13th October 2019
    by Jack Chantler on October 13, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    Another day of visible migration with birds moving W into the wind, most notable being127 Meadow Pipits, four Rock Pipits, 12 Alba Wagtails, two Grey Wagtails, 6176 Starlings, 11 Siskins ( or siskins heard on 11 occasions and not seen), 737 Goldfinches, 95 Linnets and four Reed Buntings.Around the area were two Ravens, 10 Stonechats, three Ring Ouzels, a Cetti's Warbler, four Blackcaps, 26 Chiffchaffs and a few Goldcrests.Later on a Crossbill flew over the Rough.Phil, Gerald, Steve C, Richard, Simon., Jack   

  • 12th October 2019
    by Jack Chantler on October 12, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Nothing much was moving overhead today in the drizzling rain but around the area there were quite a reasonable number of grounded migrants. Notable birds included 18 Stonechats along the Front and at Hope Point, Common Redstart and Dartford Warbler at Backward Point, Ring Ouzel at Otty Bottom and a Woodlark over the Freedown.Elsewhere in the area there were 57 Blackbirds, 132 Song Thrushes, 70 Starlings, a Cetti's Warbler, 5 Blackcaps, 67 Chiffchaffs, 77 Goldcrests, 7 Siskins and several mipits including 3 Rock Pipits.Brendan, Phil, John C, Richard, Jack. 

  • 10th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 10, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    A brisk WSW wind and clear sunny conditions.Most of today was spent on the clifftop viz migging. Totals included; 37 alba Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, 75 Meadow Pipits, 2 Rock Pipits, 37 Skylarks, 33 Starlings, 19 Stock Doves, 85 Goldfinches, 194 Linnets, 3 Siskins, 10 Reed Buntings, 135 Swallows, 230 House Martins and one Great Spotted Woodpecker. Blue Tits were again moving along the clifftop in small numbers with 49 counted along with 2 Great Tits.Limited coverage around the bushes produced 26 Chiffchaffs, five Blackcaps, one Firecrest, seven Goldcrests, five Ring Ouzels and three Stonechats. Meanwhile the Cetti's Warbler was still at Hope Point as per Tony SwandaleBrendan & Jack

  • 9th October 2019
    by Jack Chantler on October 9, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    In the first two hours after dawn we had a visible migration of 216 Swallows, 42 House Martins, 33 Meadow Pipits, four Alba Wagtails, three Bramblings, 186 Goldfinches, 116 Linnets and six Siskins W at the Monument. Elsewhere in the area was a Common Snipe, three Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 12 Stonechats, a Cetti's Warbler, 13 Blackcaps, 46 Chiffchaffs and 18 Goldcrests.Only eight Ring Ouzels today although six were probably new as they were all in bushes right on the clifftop.Bird of the day was a Woodlark flying W over Hope Point. 

  • 8th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 8, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Overcast with light SW windsHighlights today included 15 Ring Ouzels including  groups of five in the Paddock and six at Hope Point and a new Yellow-browed Warbler at the Gun Emplacement, along with yesterday's two birds still together at Kingsdown. Still lots of Song Thrushes around with around 70 counted  and Robins again seemed numerous with 25 in the Paddock (after which I forgot to count them!).  16 Stonechats included nine together adjacent to the Golf Course and a single Wheatear (Freedown). The Cetti's Warbler remained for its 5th dayOther birds of note:    51 Chiffchaffs  plus 25 around Oldstairs ( as per Richard) and   15 Blackcaps were counted.    Single Firecrests were in the Farm Wood and Kingsdown.    Three Bramblings    250 House Martings    45 Swallows    Eight Grey partridge 

  • 7th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 7, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    Light SW winds, overcast with no rain.  Still plenty of Chifffchaffs around with 52 at Bockhill and a further 16 in the Oldstairs/Otty Bottom area where two Yellow-browed Warblers were seen, presumably including one of Richard's birds from yesterday. Blackcaps numbered 14 in total. Goldcrests seemed more vocal with 21 and a further 14 in the Kingsdown area.Song Thrushes continued to be numerous in the hedges and thickets and at least 85 were counted today along with five Ring Ouzels and a single Redwing. 35 Robins were counted but it is likely that many more were present. Some early overhead movement produced 33 alba Wagtails, six Reed Buntings, four Siskins, plus four Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Several groups of Blue Tits were encounted mostly moving north along the coast, with 37 counted.  12 Stonechats were spread across the area and there were single Whinchats at the Gun Emplacement and on the clifftop.The Cetti's Warbler is still at Hope PointBrendan & JackAt least 85 Song Thrushes were seen today 

  • 6th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    A good day frustrated at times by heavy rain especially early morning. The first few hours saw a good arrival of Song Thrushes (140) plus a few Redwing and seven Mistle Thrushes. Later two Ring Ouzels were located on the clifftop and another on The Rough. Early movements also included at least two Bramblings, a Redpoll, several alba and one Grey Wagtails.  Also during this period two Merlins were seen coming in off, chasing a Swallow en route.There were six Stonechats on the clifftop and  Whinchats were seen in three locations.A steady movement of hirundines included a late Sand Martin and a late Swift.No systematic count was made of Chiffs or Blackcaps but the Cetti's Warbler was still at Hope Point much to the relief of Nigel and a Lesser Whitethroat was near the Bluebird cafe. Richard had a Yellow-browed Warbler near his house in Kingsdown on his way home. Goldcrests were not counted but seemed to have increased, a Firecrest was also in Kingsdown.A Nightingale was heard in the Freedown but failed to show in spite of a concerted search.Phil, Nigel, Brendan, Richard & JackCetti's Warbler (Nigel Jarman)

  • 5th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 5, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    A good turn out of birders but unfortunately the birds hadn't read the script. All in all a disappointing day although one or two interesting records including a single Goosander flying down channel, two late Yellow Wagtails, 11 Rock Pipits  and a Redpoll overhead, a Common Treecreeper, 15 Stonechats and a Wheatear. Yesterday's Cetti's Warbler was still present at Hope Point but Chiffchaffs (26) and Blackcaps (9) were well down. There were a further 20 Chiffs and 35 Blackcaps at the Kingsdown end of the recording area. Goldcrests increased to 25 and two Firecrests were encountered.Jack, Phil, Gerald, Brendan, Richard plus Steve Clinch & Julian Russell15 Stonechats seen today including 12 on clifftop between Hope Point & the Monument (BR)

  • 4th October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 4, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    A Cetti's Warbler performed quite well at Hope Point this morning, singing and showing occasionally. This is only the second Cetti's for Bockhill, the first being in October 2000. Other than that it was very quiet in a brisk SW wind. Chiffchaffs again dominated with around 64 seen, along with 26 Blackcaps, seven Goldcrests and  single Lesser Whitethroat and Firecrest. There was a reasonable movement south of hirundines but sadly we didn't count themJack, Richard and Brendan

  • 3rd October
    by Brendan Ryan on October 3, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Light SW winds made viewing much easier this morning but didn't improve the birding significantly. Bird of the day was a Short-eared Owl over the Freedown from where a Common Snipe was flushed. Plenty of Chiffchaffs remain in the area with 76 at Bockhill and a further 15 seen by Richard at the Kingsdown end. Blackcaps on the other hand seem to have had a mass clear out with only six this morning. Goldcrest numbers have remained fairly constant in recent days with eight recorded today, plus another 10 in Kingsdown. 12 Stonechats were seen including six together n the Freedown.There was a little overhead movement this morning with eight Siskins, seven Reed Buntings and around 250 hirundines, almost all Swallows. the first good numbers of "alba" Wagtails were recorded (43) with about 25 grounded near Hope Point which included several showing characteristic of White Wagtails. two Grey Wagtails flew over.

  • 2nd October 2019
    by Richard Heading on October 3, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    A colder start to the day with a moderate NW. Brendan had the first Ring Ouzel of the Autumn in The Paddock. Elsewhere around Bockhill were a Common and Lesser Whitethroat in The Freedown, three Redwings over, a Tree Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, four ‘alba’ Wagtails, a Lapwing, a Curlew, seven Goldcrests, 47 Chiffchaffs, 28 Blackcaps and five Stonechats. Walking up from Kingsdown I had a further 10 Goldcrests, 25 Chiffchaffs, 12 Blackcaps and three Coal Tits.

  • 1st October 2019
    by Richard Heading on October 3, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    The early morning was spent dodging rain showers, which gave way to more pleasant conditions later with a SW wind. Still plenty of warblers but they were concentrated at Hope Point, The Farm Wood, The Rough and along Granville Road in Kingsdown. 100 each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, seven Stonechats, 20 Goldcrests, 25 Yellowhammers and nine Grey Partridge.

  • 30th September
    by Brendan Ryan on September 30, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    There appeared to be another influx of Chiffchaffs with a final count of 102 this afternoon including 25 together at Hope Point. The Paddock held good numbers of Blackcaps (36) but elsewhere I was only able to find a further seven birds. A single Whitethroat at Hope Point was the only other warbler seen. Other birds included six Blackcaps, a single Whinchat ( at the Gun Emplacement), nine Goldcreast and a single Redwing. There was a trickle of Swallows and Meadow Pipits going over throughout the afternoon.BrendanAnother good Chiffchaff day with 102 today (BR)

  • 28th September
    by Jack Chantler on September 29, 2019 at 10:51 am

    From 06:16 -08:15 birds were moving W into the wind and at the Monument we recorded 2719 Swallows, 1790 House Martins, 1059 Meadow Pipits, two Rock Pipits, 12 Alba Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 110 Linnets, 35 Starlings and six Reed Buntings. Also of note were nine Jays coming in off the sea. Grounded migrants included four Stonechats, 31 Blackcaps, 54 Chiffchaffs, 42 Goldcrests and one Firecrest.Gerald, Phil, Jack 

  • 27th September
    by Jack Chantler on September 29, 2019 at 10:18 am

    An hours walk around the area in a very blustery south westerly that made it difficult to see birds in the bushes, only hear them, we recorded a Whinchat, three Stonechats, 30 Chiffchaffs and 30 Goldcrests. There was also a trickle of Meadow Pipits and hirundines, mainly Swallows.Heather, Jack

  • 23rd September
    by Brendan Ryan on September 26, 2019 at 6:29 am

    There seemed to be a fresh arrival of Chiffchaffs especially in the Paddock and we finally counted 61 in the whole area, along with 18 Blackcaps, two Whitethroats, one Lesser Whitethroat, seven Goldcrests and a single Firecrest. Two Reed Buntings and four "alba" Wagtails were the only other birds of noteJack and Brendan

  • 22nd September
    by Jack Chantler on September 23, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    At last we have some reasonable overhead movement with birds flying W, we had five Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1538 Swallows, eight Sand Martins, 750 Meadow Pipits, one Tree Pipit, three Rock Pipits, 18 Pied Wagtails, five Grey Wagtails, three Yellow Wagtails, one Siskin and four Reed Buntings.Grounded migrants included 12 Stonechats, 17 Blackcaps, three Whitethroats, four Lesser Whitethroats, 36 Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests, six Goldcrests and our second Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn.Phil, Richard, Brendan, Jack. 

  • 21st September
    by Jack Chantler on September 21, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    On arrival at 07:30 we walked down the front to Hope Point where we had our first migrant, a Lesser Whitethroat. At the undercliff we had a Firecrest but little else. After receiving a call from Richard about a Yellow-browed Warbler he had near his house we continued there but were unable to find the bird. From Kingsdown we walked over the golf course to the Rough and then via the Farm to the Paddock and the Monument. On the way we had two Grey Wagtails, a Stonechat, one Lesser Whitethroat, eight Blackcaps, a total of 43 Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests and probably 15 Goldcrests.Later we heard from Gerald that he had a Merlin in of the sea being hassled by an Arctic Skua.Gerald, Richard, Phil, Jack.

  • 18th September
    by Brendan Ryan on September 18, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    A tough day with little to write home about. Chiffchaff numbers were down to 65 and Blackcaps to 11. The only other warbler seen were three Lesser Whitethroats. It was possibly the first day since May when no Whitethroats were seen. Other birds of "interest" were six Goldcrests and two Grey Wagtails over.Jack and Brendan

  • 17th September
    by Brendan Ryan on September 17, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    A shorter visit today with less areas covered and consequently lower warbler numbers. A good start just after dawn with the first tree in the Paddock holding a Spotted Flycatcher and a Black Redstart. The Paddock was again crawling with Chiffchaffs, contributing to a grand total of around 105. Blackcaps numbered 32 and there was also three Lesser and three Common Whitethroats. A single Reed Warbler was in the usual place at Hope Point along with the first Reed Bunting of the autumn. 14 Goldcrests were encounters but only two Stonechats today.  Around 1,200 House Martins flew north. Most disturbing sight of the day was a dog harassing the sheep while the owner continued with their walk, seemingly oblivious to the mayhem their playful pet was causing. Although it was only a small dog, it did seem to cause one fatality. One sheep was left motionless with Magpies and Ravens in attendance. The incident along with a supporting set of photos has been reported to the police.First Reed Warbler of the autumn at Hope Point (BR)Its been a good few days for Spotted Flycatchers, with another two today (BR)Chiffchaffs continue in good numbers especially around the Paddock (BR)

  • 16th September
    by Brendan Ryan on September 16, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Another great day in terms of warbler numbers and a notable early arrival of Stonechats but otherwise disappointing.  Some places like the Paddock and Gun Emplacement were heaving with Chiffchaffs and the final total was around 210, along with an impressive showing of 148 Blackcaps. Other warblers were represented by four Whitethroats, five Lesser Whitethroats. 12 Goldcrests provided another sign of autumn progressing. Several small groups of Stonechats were encounter adding up to 15 along with a single Whinchat. Yesterday's Spotted Flycatchers seemed to have moved on although there was one at Ship House. There may also have been a small arrival of Song Thrushes with eight counted along with two Mistle Thrushes flying north. Overhead there were two Yellow Wagtails, 120 House Martins.Jack and Brendan15 Stonechats were seen in the area today. (BR)Chiffchaffs were everywhere today (BR)Spotted Flycatcher at Ship House (BR)

  • 15th September
    by Jack Chantler on September 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Another  day of the usual warbler species, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, totalling over 360. Other notable birds included a Redshank, five Sparrowhawks, seven Grey Wagtails, two Alba Wagtails, nine Stonechats, three Whinchats, two Wheatears, three Grasshopper Warblers, six Spotted Flycatchers. We also had circa 1000 House Martins and 300 Swallows feeding across the fields and, possibly our best birds of the day, six Tree Sparrows at the Monument.Gerald, Richard, Phil, JackTree Sparrow (Gerald Segelbacher)

  • 14th September
    by Brendan Ryan on September 14, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Sunny conditions with relatively light NNW winds produced little new. Chiffchaffs again topped the bill with 68, mostly in the Paddock first thing. These seemed to disperse fairly quickly and we encountered a few on the clifftop as we walked back to the Monument suggesting some new arrivals. Blackcaps numbered 47, plus seven Whitethroats, eight Lesser Whitethroats, two Reed Warblers and a single Willow Warbler. A Redstart was in the Paddock first thing and the Gun Emplacement held single Whinchat and Stonechat. There were three Wheatears in the Big Field.  Other birds of note included single Yellow, Grey and Alba Wagtails, a mistle Thrush going north and nine Goldcrests.Jack and Brendan

  • 13th September
    by Jack Chantler on September 13, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    With a north westerly breeze a little more migration was expected, however we did have a reasonable amount of warblers with a Reed Warbler, five Whitethroats, 11 Lesser Whitethroats, 11 Blackcaps and 46 Chiffchaffs. We also had our first Stonechat of the autumn, two Redstarts, six Goldcrests, a Grey Wagtail and a small movement west of 37 Meadow Pipits.Brendan, Jack.   

  • 10th September
    by Brendan Ryan on September 11, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Good conditions compared to yesterday allowing reasonable coverage of the whole area. Other than a Cattle Egret that flew South over Hope Point at 7.50 am (Richard had seen it moments before over Kingsdown) birding was disappointing. Six Goldcrest was the only suggestion of new arrivals. Other birds of note included 45 Chiffchaffs, 39 Blackcaps, four Whitethroats,  and two Lesser Whitethroats while overhead there was four Grey Wagtails, 28 Meadow pipits plus regular small parties of SwallowsBrendan

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