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.

  • 18th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 18, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Quite blustery conditions meant that most of the day was spent watching the Otty Bottom and Oldstairs areas of Kingsdown.  There was very little visible migration going on overhead but it did include some early morning quality in the form of a Hawfinch over the golf course and a flock of 10 Crossbills low over the Monument.What was presumably yesterday's Pallas's Warbler was relocated by Richard near his house and I was able to catch up with it shortly after in "Dusky Hollow". Jack and I spent the next few hours trying to relocate the sprite but without success although we were rewarded with a Yellow-browed Warbler again presumed to be yesterday's bird on the grounds that it was in exactly the same tree!Other birds of note included a Ring Ouzel, 4 Firecrests, 12 Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, a single Swallow and Stonechat, 12 Goldcrests and 22 Grey Partridge.Stonechat Short-eared Owl from 17th Brendan, Richard and Jack […]

  • 17th October 2018
    by Richard Heading on October 18, 2018 at 4:54 am

    A light NW and another warm day. Brendan and I did our usual walks around the area ensuring both Bockhill and Kingsdown were covered.Highlight was an early morning Pallas’s Warbler along Granville Road and then Oldstairs Road in Kingsdown. Calling and showing briefly, like many of its predecessors it didn’t stay around for long and couldn’t be relocated. There were two Yellow-browed Warblers in the Oldstairs area of Kingsdown as well.Around the site we amassed two Short-eared Owls, five Firecrests, two Corn Buntings, six Tree Sparrows, a Crossbill, 85 Starlings, nine Alba Wagtails, 12 Redpolls, a Fieldfare, ten Redwings, 46 Song Thrushes, 21 Chiffchaffs, 15 Yellowhammers, ten Reed Buntings, 65 Siskins, two Swallows, eight Blackcaps, two Stonechats, four Bramblings and seven Bullfinches.Brendan and Richard […]

  • 16th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 16, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Limited coverage today. Richard walked from Kingsdown to the Freedown early morning and I did the Paddock, Farm Wood and surrounding areas but left quite early.Highlights- An immature Mute Swan that flew north. Not an annual occurrence at BockhillOther records of note: Only one Chiffchaff at Bockhill end but Richard amassed 12 at the Kingsdown end. This switch to the more sheltered wooded areas around Kingsdown seems to be a feature of late autumn on the patch. Two Blackcaps, 11 Goldcrest, four Firecrest, nine Song Thrushes, 60 Redwing (all at Kingsdown end).Overhead: Two Redpolls, possibly the first of the autumn. Very scarce compared to Siskins which seem to have been constantly going over this autumn with at least 95 today. two Reed Buntings, 160 Meadow Pipits, 23 alba Wagtails and one BramblingBrendan & Richard […]

  • 15th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 15, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Jack and I covered the Bockhill area through to Kingsdown Leas, While Richard covered Otty Bottom, and Oldstairs in Kingsdown. Highlights included a Lapland Bunting that flew West over the Monument early morning and two Yellow-browed Warblers around Oldstairs.Chiffchaffs numbered only five in the Bockhill area and 12 in Otty Bottom/Oldstairs, five Blackcaps, three Firecrests and two Goldcrests. Overhead there were 15 Swallows, 11 Skylarks, two Rock Pipits, 10 Bramblings, and four Reed Buntings. A few Song Thrushes ( 8) and Redwings (5) were seen around the PaddockTony Morris photographed at Yellow-browed Warbler in the Paddock in the afternoon as per FacebookSeveral Jays can be seen daily around the area Brendan, Jack & Richard […]

  • 14th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 14, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    The largest turn out of regular birders for a very long time meaning that the area received the fullest coverage of the autumn. Yellow-browed Warblers continued to make the headlines with five individuals with singles in the Paddock, Monument, Otty Bottom and two still at Hope Point. Other warblers amounted to 21 Chiffchaffs and five Blackcaps, while five Firecrests and 11 Goldcrests put in an appearance. There was a notable influx of Song Thrushes with at least 55 along with 16 Redwing and a single Mistle Thrush. At least 35 Reed Buntings were recorded along with 39 Yellowhammers. Overhead there were seven Bramblings, 46 Skylarks, 220 Starlings, 23 Swallows, and single Tree Sparrow and Lapwing. A Redstart was seen at dawn on Granville Road.Brendan, Jack, Richard, Nigel, Gerald, Phil, Simon, Julian and Stev […]

  • 13th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 13, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    In the strong SW wind 326 Swallows, 83 House Martins, 1595 Goldfinches, 257 Siskins, 140 Linnets, two Bramblings and a single Woodlark flew W.Elsewhere were a Ring Ouzel, three Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs, a Yellow-browed Warbler at Hope Point, five Goldcrests, a Firecrest and a Marsh Harrier.Later in the afternoon Nigel had a Yellow-browed Warbler, two Firecrests and three Crossbills at Kingsdown.Brendan, John C, Gerald, Nigel, Phil, Richard, Simon, Jack Marsh Harrier - Nig […]

  • 12th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 13, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Richard was the only person out today at Bockhill and had, from 07:30- 08:30, 1250 Goldfinches, 76 Siskins, and 170 Linnets moving W. Around the area were four Mistle Thrushes, two Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests. […]

  • 11th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 11, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Overnight there appeared to have been a clear out of grounded migrants and today we only found one Stonechat, two Yellow-browed Warblers, 11 Chiffchaffs and one Firecrest. Visible migration continued overhead for a couple of hours  with 45 Swallows, 36 Alba Wagtails, seven Bramblings, 340 Goldfinches, 280 Siskins, two Crossbills and one Reed Bunting.A short sea watch produced a Black-throated Diver upchannel , a few Gannets offshore and two Little Egrets on the rocks.Richard, Brendan, Jack.&nbs […]

  • 10th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 10, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Up to five Yellow-browed Warblers today with one at the Monument, two at Hope Point, one in the Empty Wood and another in the Village by the Chapel, remaining warblers were 16 Chiffchaffs and nine Blackcaps. Other birds of note were a Common Redstart, a Pied Flycatcher, two Firecrests, four Goldcrests and 37 Yellowhammers. Overhead we had 18 Alba Wagtails, 248 Siskins and 11 Reed Buntings moving NE.Julian, Brendan, Richard, JackAs I arrived home in Deal and parked my car in the Avenue off West Street, I found another Yellow-browed Warbler. […]

  • 9th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 9, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    A bit of a clear out had occurred overnight with just three Yellow-browed Warblers remaining at the Monument, McSwiggan's and Empty Wood, 10 Chiffchafffs and two Blackcaps. The only other birds of note were a Short-eared Owl and a Bonxie which flew along the clifftop before heading North. A few finches went over including two Greenfinches, along with about 150 Swallows and 70 House Martins. Two Brambings were seen in the Wood. In what seems to be a dreadful autumn for Goldcrests, two in Badgers Bottom Wood were noteworthy.Brendan & JackBrambling- Farm Wood&nbs […]

  • 8th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 8, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Another day and another shed load of Yellow-browed Warblers! Today's offerings included singles by the Monument, in the Paddock, along the Droveway, McSwiggan's, Kingsdown Golf course, the Undercliff and at least two in the Farm Wood.Other highlights included Pied Flycatcher, still in the Empty Wood, a Redstart on the clifftop near Hope Point, 33 Chiffchaffs, eight Blackcaps,  two Stonechats, five Firecrests, and two Goldcrests.Overhead there were 18 Reed Buntings, 56 alba Wagtails, 12 Bramblings, 330 Siskins,  three Mistle Thrushes, 12 Fieldfare plus a few Redwing and Song Thrushes coming "in-off".Brendan, Richard and Jack […]

  • 7th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 7, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Jack and I covered the Bockhill area with a few visiting birders for company from dawn until mid afternoon while the Kingsdown area was covered by Nigel in the morning and Richard in the late afternoon.Yellow-browed Warblers were the order of the day with two at McSwiggan's, one in the middle of the Paddock, two in the Farm Wood, one in the Empty Wood and one at Badger's Bottom. At the Kingsdown end one was near Nigel's house while Richard had two around the back of the golf course, 10 in total a new Bockhill recordFour of today's Yellow-browed Warblers Supporting cast included  49 Chiffchaffs, nine Blackcaps, a Pied Flycatcher in the Empty Wood, a Wheatear and two Stonechats near Hope Point, 2 Firecrests, a Hobby , three Ring Ouzels, six Song Thrushes, 12 Redwings. 400 Linnets, six Grey Partridges and 12 Golden Plovers in the middle field.Pied Flycatcher Empty WoodGolden Plover over Middle FieldOverhead there were 19 Bramblings, 90+ Siskins, 35 House Martins, 4 Reed Buntings, two Grey WagtailsBrendan, Jack, Nigel and Richard et a […]

  • 6th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 6, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    For a couple of hours in early morning, overhead movement included 54 Skylarks, 31 Alba Wagtails, 22 Song Thrushes, 3 Tree Sparrows, 59 Starlings, 250 Siskins, 95 Goldfinches, 1 Brambling, 13 Reed Buntings and a Snow Bunting. Grounded migrants were 6 Stonechats,11 Blackcaps, 45 Chiffchaffs, 2 or 3 Yellow-browed Warblers and 2 Firecrests. Yellow-browed Warbler in Paddock ( Brendan Ryan) Other notable birds in the area included 3 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Ravens, 550 Linnets and 25 Yellowhammers.Brendan, Richard, Philip, Simon, Jack. […]

  • 3rd October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 3, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    It is October so we have to keep going even when the evidence suggests that we are wasting our time. Richard and I between us covered most of the area today but still left by 9.30!There was more overhead passage than of late and had we persisted I am sure that we would have got some decent numbers, as it was we counted 27 alba and one Grey Wagtails, five Tree Sparrows, three Bramblings, seven Reed Buntings, 50 Skylarks, and 260 House Martins and 140 Siskins.On the ground we managed 23 Chiffchaffs, 19 Blackcaps, seven Stonechats, and single Firecrests in the Paddock and in Otty Bottom. There was a notable arrival of Goldcrests at the Kingsdown end  where Richard recorded 25 although non were seen at the Bockhill end of the area.Brendan & Richard […]

  • 2nd October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 2, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    I was fooled by the weather into thinking today might be better with a small amount of rain overnight and a change to a SW wind. To some extent there was a marginal improvement with the first (non Kingsdown) Firecrest of the autumn in the Paddock, 35 Chiffchaffs, 22 Blackcaps and a single Stonechat. Overhead there was a Brambling, 7 alba Wagtails, one Grey Wagtail, plus a steady trickle of Swallows, Meadow Pipits and Siskins. A Short-eared Owl was flushed near Hope PointBrendan […]

  • 1st October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    What happened to September? What a poor autumn it has been so far both in terms of quantity and quality. So all our hopes now pinned on October but sadly if today is an indication of what's to come we should pack up now. "Highlights" included 39 Chiffchaffs, 11 Blackcaps, two Goldcrests, and three Stonechats.Brendan, Jack & Richard […]

  • 30 September 2018
    by Jack Chantler on September 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    A little visible migration today with a trickle of Swallows, 48 Alba Wagtails, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 7 Tree Sparrows, 23 Siskins and 35 Starlings.Around the area was a Wheatear, Whinchat, 4 Stonechats, 1 Ring Ouzel, 8 Blackcaps, 55 Chiffchaffs, 25 Skylarks, 35 Yellowhammers and as we were leaving a Short-eared Owl was mobbed by a Raven and several Jackdaws. Gerald. Richard. JackLater a Yellow-browed Warbler was found outside Heather and Nigel's house at Kingsdown. NigelGerald Segelbacher […]

  • 28th September 2018
    by Richard Heading on September 28, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    A strong NE, coupled with drizzle and occasional showers were a contrast to yesterday. Either the dog or I flushed a Lapland Bunting first thing this morning in the stubble field up from Hope Point. A Merlin was over Hope Point shortly afterwards. There wasn't much else! Four Wigeon were in The Bay. Around the area were a Wheatear, 47 Chiffchaffs, 21 Blackcaps, 52 Swallows and a Firecrest back in Kingsdown. Not much to suggest that it isn't the same one present for the last two weeks.Richard, Brendan and John. […]

  • 27th September 2018
    by Richard Heading on September 28, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    A beautiful sunny morning with a very light SW. Still good numbers of hirundines, 1 000 Swallows and 1 500 House Martins. A Lesser Whitethroat was on The Rough. Between Kingsdown and the Farm Wood there were 37 Chiffchaffs, 42 Yellowhammers, two Ravens, a Grey Wagtail, 32 Blackcaps, 30 Siskins and 120 Meadow Pipits.Sunrise over The English Chann […]

  • 26th September 2018
    by Richard Heading on September 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    An increase in numbers today. The Farm Wood had 50 Chiffchaffs, 20 Blackcaps and a Spotted Flycatcher. Hirundines were also on the move and there was the annual spectacle of House Martins landing on The Monument. In all there were 2 000 Swallows, predominately immature birds, 1 700 House Martins and 40 Sand Martins with a Hobby in close attendance.Elsewhere on my daily Kingsdown to Bockhill walk were a further 20 Chiffchaffs, five Blackcaps, 130 Meadow Pipits, two Wheatears, 21 Yellowhammers, a Golden Plover, five Siskins and six Bullfinches. […]

  • 25th September 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on September 26, 2018 at 7:07 am

    A bit of a struggle today to find anything of note other than the routine warblers and even these were much less evident with 69 Chiffchaffs, and 22 Blackcaps. A single Whitethroat was in the Freedown and Richard's Firecrest was still present at the Kingsdown end of the recording area. Two Wheatears were still present in the middle field while overhead there were two Reed Buntings, and single Grey and Yellow Wagtails. Three Grey Herons went over  Kingsdown.Brendan & Richard […]

  • 24th September 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on September 24, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    The NW winds had brought about a significant arrival of warblers with 70 Chiffchaffs (up from eight the previous day!) and 36 Blackcaps. Richard added another 58 Chiffs and 20 Blackcaps in the Otty Bottom/Oldstairs area. Sadly the only other warbler we encountered was a single Lesser Whitethroat.Other than that it was fairly quite, with four Wheatears, a single Firecrest, four Reed Buntings, three Yellow Wagtails, two Stonechat, two Snipe.Siskins were regularly heard throughout the morning with at least 24 birds going over. Meadow Pipits were  going over all morning but we negligently failed to count them.Jack, John Cantelo, Richard and Brendan […]

  • 23rd September 2018
    by Jack Chantler on September 24, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Our seawatch from 07:00-10:00 in the Bay did not approach the highlights on the north coast with one Great Skua down channel and one Black Tern up channel being the most notable birds. Other than that we had nine Mediterranean Gulls, 29 Sandwich Terns, a Shag offshore and two Harbour Porpoises. Nigel, Brendan, Richard, Jack. […]

  • 22nd September 2018
    by Jack Chantler on September 23, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Met Phil at 07:00 and walked the cliff-top to Hope Point, overhead moving W, we had 1 Hobby, 6 House Martins, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Rock Pipits, 689 Meadow Pipits and 3 Siskins.Elsewhere around the area were 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 5 Wheatears of which 2 appeared to be 'Greenlands', 1 Whinchat, 2 Stonechats, 29 Blackcaps, 57 Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler and 27 Yellowhammers.At sea were at least 7 Harbour Porpoises. Phil, Richard, Jack. […]

  • 17th September 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on September 17, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Highlight of the day was undoubtedly a Green Sandpiper which flew over calling. There was a good movement of Swallows in the first two hours after dawn with at least 1,800 birds along with about 40 Sand Martins. Warblers remained thin on the ground with 26 Chiffchaffs, three Whitethroats, 24 Blackcaps and one Lesser Whitethroat. The Stonechat remains at the monument.Brendan […]

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