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.
Bockhill Diary 2017
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 daily record of the fauna and flora of this region of Kent.
23rd April 2017
by Richard Heading on April 23, 2017 at 9:04 pm
It was a much quieter morning than yesterday. The highlight being a Turtle Dove seen by Gerald which could well be the first and last record of the year. With flat calm conditions in the Straits of Dover, we picked out a couple of Harbour Porpoises.In the afternoon, supplemented by light SSE winds, Pomarine Skuas were being seen from various sites in West and East Sussex. When news came through from Dungeness, Jack, Nigel and I went down to St. Margaret's Bay to try and pick up a few. Visibility was was very good, the coast of France unobstructed. Approximately an hour and a half after passing Dungeness, our first 3 Pomarine Skuas came past. Over the next couple of hours we recorded 13. None of which were particularly close, just as well visibility was favourable, but the views were sufficient enough that we could pick out the 'spoon' like tail feathers on some birds and a couple of beautiful dark morphs as well. Also in The Bay we saw 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 5 Sandwich Terns, 7 Arctic/Common Terns and a Common Seal. […]
22nd April 2017
by Richard Heading on April 22, 2017 at 7:45 pm
Jack and Phil walked the entire area today and in a light northerly wind they recorded an impressive haul of 112 warblers. 26 Whitethroats, 15 Lesser Whitethroats, 24 Willow Warblers, 24 Chiffchaffs and 22 Blackcaps. In addition there were 10 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 6 Alba Wagtails (of which 2 were White Wagtails), 5 Whimbrels flying up channel and a Grey Plover. […]
17th April 2017
by Nigel J on April 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm
A 2 hour seawatch in chilly NE conditions gave us 12 Whimbrel, 72 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Divers, 28 Dunlin and 2 Velvet Scoter, all moving up channel. […]
16th April 2017
by Richard Heading on April 16, 2017 at 8:07 pm
The run of good form continued today and the honour of best bird of the year changed again when Phil picked up an Alpine Swift at 10.00 distantly over the golf course. Brendan and I got onto it and we watched it for 10 minutes feeding high then lost it heading north towards Deal. Shortly after it was seen over Worth Marshes and Sandwich Bay. This was the first in the area since 2014 and the 7th overall since we started birding here in 1994.Around the area and watching from the vis mig point in a light to moderate NW we also recorded 49 Swallows, 7 House Martins, 4 Sand Martins, Siskin, Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Sparrowhawks, 8 Buzzards, 2 Ravens, Yellow Wagtail and 60 Linnets. Out at sea 4 Whimbrels flew up channel. […]
15th April 2017
by Richard Heading on April 15, 2017 at 9:31 pm
The highlight of the day and arguably the year so far was discovered by Jack and Phil in the Hope Point area today. A Yellow-browed Warbler was calling and seen briefly around 10.15. Having been birding the area for 23 years now, there are not many days when something new happens. Although a Yellow-browed Warbler is an expected scarce migrant in the Autumn, we have never had one so early in the year. Indeed we believe this is one of only a handful of Spring records in Kent, but perhaps its an indication of how the status of this bird has changed in recent years.In a light NW we also recorded 3 House Martins, 5 Swallows, a Short-eared Owl in off the sea, 2 Whitethroats, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Yellow Wagtails and 5 White Wagtails.On the sea a Red-throated Diver, a Black-throated Diver and 4 Shags all headed up channel. […]
14th April 2017
by Richard Heading on April 15, 2017 at 8:42 pm
A light NW wind and with Brendan, Jack, Nigel and Phil walking the area between Kingsdown and Bockhill, Richard joining them up at the vis mig point with coffee and biscuits, the migrants continued to be seen. A single House Martin, c50 Swallows, 3 Ring Ouzels, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, 3 White Wagtails, Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 8 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs, Raven and 2 Sparrowhawks.Ring Ouzel (Nigel Jarman) […]
13th April 2017
by Richard Heading on April 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm
Brendan was out this morning around Bockhill on a sunny day with a few patchy clouds in a light NW and was rewarded with a Water Pipit on the cliff top, a Red Kite heading north, 2 Lesser Whitethroats at Hope Point, a Whitethroat at Hope Bay Studio, 5 Willow Warblers, 6 Blackcaps, 8 Chiffchaffs and 2 Grey Partridges.Water Pipit (Brendan Ryan)Red Kite (Brendan Ryan) Whitethroat Lesser Whitethroat […]
7th April 2017
by Jack Chantler on April 7, 2017 at 5:55 pm
Another sunny, but chilly, day with a light NW breeze brought in 7 Swallows, 9 Common Buzzards, 5 Sparrowhawks and a Red Kite. Other birds included 15 Siskins moving N, 2 White Wagtails and 2 Chiffchaffs singing in the Paddock. […]
6th April 2017
by Jack Chantler on April 6, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Today Phil and I walked around the entire area and had 1 Swallow, 2 Grey Partridges, 13 Blackcaps and 15 Chiffchaffs. The movement of Red Kites continued with 2 flying north at 10:30am. […]
5th April 2017
by Jack Chantler on April 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm
Very few birds of note apart from 3 Swallows, 3 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs and a Bullfinch. […]
3rd April 2017
by Richard Heading on April 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm
In a light southerly wind a Red Kite passed north over Kingsdown in the early afternoon and at least 5 Buzzards were causing the Herring Gulls some significant upset. […]
2nd April 2017
by Jack Chantler on April 2, 2017 at 7:34 pm
This morning Phil, Richard and I stood on the cliff-top and had a movement in a NW direction of 6 Sparrowhawks, 3 Red Kites and 24 Buzzards, and in a NE direction 108 Chaffinches, 30 Goldfinches, 4 Siskins, 8 Alba Wagtails ( of which 5 were White Wagtails), 3 Swallows and 2 Woodlarks. Elsewhere around the area were 3 Ravens, 3 Shags, 2 Whimbrels and a Willow Warbler.In the afternoon a walk along Ottey Bottom produced 6 Blackcaps and 10 Chiffchaffs. […]
1st April 2017
by Richard Heading on April 1, 2017 at 1:45 pm
In sunny conditions with a light to moderate south-west wind a Red Kite headed west over Kingsdown at 13.20.Elsewhere in the area were a Raven and a couple of Blackcaps.In the evening a pair of Tawny Owls were calling in Kingsdown. […]
31st March 2017
by Richard Heading on March 31, 2017 at 6:12 pm
On a breezy but warm day a Swallow passed through Kingsdown in the late afternoon. There are many Chiffchaffs singing now and a handful of Blackcaps dotted over the area. […]
30th March 2017
by Jack Chantler on March 30, 2017 at 12:26 pm
Very little of note apart from 4 Ravens flying north. […]
28th March 2017
by Richard Heading on March 29, 2017 at 10:55 am
3 Red Kites came in from the south, drifted over Kingsdown briefly and then headed off N in the early afternoon. 20 Brent Geese were on the sea just off Kingsdown. […]
23rd March 2017
by Richard Heading on March 23, 2017 at 7:23 pm
The wind blew strong and cold from an ENE direction and unsurprisingly there was very little to see. A few Redwing passed overhead and a Chiffchaff could just about be heard. Never mind.This time last year we were watching Firecrests in the area. There are a few around in Kent currently, hopefully it won't be long before we are enjoying these little gems. […]
22nd March 2017
by Richard Heading on March 22, 2017 at 8:58 pm
A strong WSW wind kept the area chilly despite some sunshine. A Swallow flew past Kingsdown this morning. A couple of Chiffchaffs were singing and a Common Buzzard drifted over. […]
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.
Only 2 Stonechats on the cliff top today and a Little Owl being ‘mobbed’ at the Gun Emplacement. PJC,JRC.
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.
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.
Bird present 24/10/2009