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.


Bockhill Diary

Bockhill Photo: Michael Bennett



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 August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Phil and I walked the fields today and had nothing but three Wheatears, two Ravens and a flock of mixed Gulls. We did however find both sorts of Fluellen, round leaved and pointed leaved.We also tried seawatching until we were drenched by an amazingly heavy shower. […]

  • 16th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 17, 2017 at 8:32 am

    More warblers today with 26 Whitethroats, 12 Lesser Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, three Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs and seven Willow Warblers.Around the fields were 56 Skylarks, 600 Starlings and overhead a grey Heron, Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, three Tree Pipits, nine Yellow Wagtails, six Pied Wagtails and five Wheatears all flying SW. &nbs […]

  • 15th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Far fewer birds today of which most notable were four Wheatears, a Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher, Golden Plover and 50 Skylarks in the stubble field. […]

  • 14th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 14, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Warbler totals were two Reed Warblers, four Blackcaps, 25 Whitethroats, seven Lesser Whitethroats, a Chiffchaff and two Willow Warblers. Other than that we had a Hobby, 30 Mediterranean Gulls and the pair of Ravens. […]

  • 13th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 14, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Far fewer warblers today with three Reed Warblers, one Garden Warbler, 24 Whitethroats, three Lesser Whitethroats, four Chiffchaffs and 10 Willow Warblers.The two Turtle Doves and Wheatears were still present and on the rocks there were 850 Black-headed Gulls. In the fields there was a third winter Yellow-legged Gull and a single Tree Pipit flew over the cliff-top.The first Autumn Lady's Tresses are about to flower on the lawn of Little Green on the Leas at Kingsdown. […]

  • 12th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Phil and I walked the area this morning and had presumably the same Turtle Dove singing at Hope Point, two Wheatears, 14 Reed Warblers, six Blackcaps, 58 Whitethroats, nine Lesser Whitethroats, 14 Willow Warblers, five Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest. […]

  • 11th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 12, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Phil and I met Brendan briefly before he departed after having seen upwards of eighty warblers and  a singing Turtle Dove at Hope Point. We continued for another three hours and added more birds.Day totals were 11 Common Swifts, eight Yellow Wagtails, nine Wheatears, six Reed Warblers, one Sedge Warbler, three Blackcaps, 83 Whitethroats, 21 Lesser Whitethroats, 14 Willow Warblers and a family party of six Chiffchaffs, a pair and four young being fed.It was a very good day for insects with many Painted Ladies, our first big numbers of Chalkhill Blues and two Clouded Yellow Butterflies, one being of the helice form.Also around the entire area we counted 11 Hummingbird Hawkmoths. […]

  • 10th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 10, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Phil and I had an hours seawatch with little reward apart from 140 Gannets, 46 Sandwich Terns and a Mediterranean Gull all moving north. There was also a Spotted Flycatcher in off the sea and two Harbour Porpoises feeding in the Bay. […]

  • 9th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 9, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Phil walked the fields today for three and a half hours and found two Whimbrels, 13 Yellow Wagtails, a flock of 450 Starlings, five Lesser Whitethroats, 12 Common Whitethroats, three Chiffchaffs and eight Willow Warblers. There were also14 Migrant Hawker Dragonflies. […]

  • 8th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 8, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Much the same numbers of warblers as yesterday with two Reed Warblers, two Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, nine Lesser Whitethroats, 26 Common Whitethroats, a Chiffchaff and 11 Willow Warblers.Other birds included two Wheatears, three Yellow Wagtails, five Bullfinches and a flyover Crossbill. […]

  • 7th August 2017 (Part 2)
    by Richard Heading on August 7, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Phil and Jack walked the area this morning and still had reasonable numbers of birds with one Whinchat, two Wheatears, five Reed Warblers, 11 Lesser Whitethroats, 20 Whitethroats, four Chiffchaffs and 19 Willow Warblers.  Also of note were 70 plus Skylarks in the stubble field. […]

  • 7th August 2017
    by Richard Heading on August 7, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    I had a family trip out to the Goodwin Sands this morning with Dover Sea Safaris. Leaving Dover at 05.00, on the sands for about an hour just after 06.00. A weird and wonderful experience. I didn't expect them to be so uneven, full of channels and pools, not a low flat sandbank as they look when viewed through a scope from the cliff top. Neither did I expect so much wildlife. We knew there were seals but I estimated 250-300 Grey Seals and plenty of birds as well. Highlights were three Little Terns, a Marsh Harrier heading towards Kent, a Tufted Duck (a scarce bird in The Channel for us), a Knot, a Sanderling, seven Dunlins, 80 Sandwich Terns, 50 Common Terns, 60 Gannets, a Kittiwake and five Common Scoters.Grey Seal (Phil Heading)Grey Seals (Richard Heading)My Uncle, Phil Heading, has kindly provided the images below which capture some of the beauty of this wild landscape. He even has a distant shot of Bockhill. Spot The Monument! […]

  • 6th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 6, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Another reasonable day of warblers with 4 Reed Warblers, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Blackcaps, 19 Lesser Whitethroats, 31 Common Whitethroats and 32 Willow Warblers.Apart from those we had a Whinchat, a Wheatear and 2 Spotted Flycatchers, […]

  • 5th August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 5, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Nigel, Brendan, Phil and I did the entire area during the morning and had over 150 warblers of 8 different species, they were mostly Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers. We also had a Grasshopper Warbler, our first of the autumn, a Black Redstart, Wheatear and 2 Whinchats. Flyovers included Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Curlew, Lapwing, 2 Crossbills, 5 Bullfinches, 5 Yellow Wagtails, a Red Kite and c. 500 feeding Swifts.Most notable insects today were 6 Hummingbird Hawkmoths. […]

  • 4th August 2017
    by Richard Heading on August 4, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Phil and Jack were out early walking the cliff top at Bockhill in a strong SW. I joined them at about 09.30 for a couple of hours. It was quiet, four Ravens, a Wheatear, five Whitethroats a Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Swifts and a Hobby over Kingsdown.In St. Margaret's Bay late morning there were 100+ Gannets, 10 Sandwich Terns and 15 Kittiwakes but the light was appalling. Later I returned to look for an hour from 12.50 and the light was significantly improved. I had three Balearic Shearwaters and two Manx Shearwaters, all but one Balearic was fairly close. A juvenile Shag was drifting by on the sea, another 20 Kittiwakes, 50 Gannets, A Harbour Porpoise and three Ravens tumbling overhead. (Note: photos below not to scale)Comma (Richard Heading)Shag (Richard Heading) […]

  • 3rd August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 3, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Phil, Richard and I did a seawatch from 08:40 to 14:40 (a long time for us), in an increasingly strong SW gale and had 2 Common Scoters, 6 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Shags, 5 Dunlins, 3 Arctic Skuas, 37 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 194 Kittiwakes, 16 Sandwich Terns, 19 'Commic Terns', 20 Common Terns, 3 Arctic Terns, 3 Auk sps. and 35 Swifts.Later in the afternoon there were 120 Swallows and 6 Yellow Wagtails in the Paddock.Manx Shearwater (Richard Heading)I know it's hardly award winning but a bit of practice so we don't mess up the Fea's Petrel. […]

  • 2nd August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 2, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Phil and I did a seawatch for an hour and half in the morning but had very little of note apart from a very close Manx Shearwater moving SW...... those rare elusive terns seem to stay on the other side of the Channel. &nbs […]

  • 1st August 2017
    by Jack Chantler on August 1, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Brendan, Phil and I had a good day for warblers with a total of 105, consisting of 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers, 16 Lesser Whitethroats, 50 Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs and 27 Willow Warblers. Also had the juvenile Whinchat that has been around for four days, a Red Kite hunting across the fields and four Ravens 'cronking' along the cliff-top. […]

  • 31st July 2017
    by Richard Heading on July 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Phil walked from Bockhill to Kingsdown in a strong SW, then I joined him for a walk around The Farm and Paddock. Suffice to say he had the majority of the birds! There were three Chiffchaff, two Willow Warblers, two Lesser Whitethroats, three Whitethroats, a Whinchat, four Yellow Wagtails, a Mallard, five Migrant Hawkers, five Painted Ladys nd a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in my garden. […]

  • 30th July 2017
    by Jack Chantler on July 30, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Nigel, Phil and I walked down the cliff-top, around the Freedown and back to the Monument via the Paddock and had 10 Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 Willow Warblers. Apart from the warblers we saw 2 Ravens on the fence, up to 35 Swifts moving SW, a few Sand Martins and a Dunlin and Golden Plover.The Butterflies seen were Gatekeepers in very large numbers, Common Blues, Small Coppers, Meadow Browns, a Clouded Yellow and a couple of Painted Ladies. Also had a Hummingbird Hawk Moth. […]

  • 29th July 2017
    by Jack Chantler on July 29, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Phil, Richard, Nigel and I walked around the area this morning and had a Golden Plover, 5 Yellow Wagtails, a family of 4 Pied Wagtails (the adults and 2 young), 4 Swifts, 5 Sand Martins, 2 Sedge Warblers, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroats, 1 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warblers and, perhaps the bird of the day, a young Whinchat. Whinchat - Nigel Jarman  Clouded Yellow - Nigel Jarman&nbs […]

  • 28th July 2017
    by Jack Chantler on July 29, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    A morning seawatch for an hour produced c.50 Gannets feeding offshore, 4 Turnstones and 2 juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls moving N. […]

  • 26th July 2017
    by Jack Chantler on July 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Phil and I walked the area today and had 3 Grey Partridges, 2 Golden Plovers, 5 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Sand Martins, 2 Ravens, 1 Siskin and our first Wheatear of the autumn.Butterflies included a Clouded Yellow, good numbers of Common Blues, Marbled Whites, Wall and Gatekeepers....but where have all our Chalkhill Blues gone? […]

  • 24th July 2017
    by Jack Chantler on July 24, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Phil and I walked the area and had very little apart from 700 Swifts moving W, 1 Hobby and the 4 young Kestrels, that were fledged on the cliffs at Kingsdown, feeding across the stubble field. […]

  • 22nd July 2017
    by Jack Chantler on July 24, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Phil, Richard and I had a seawatch from 07:00 until 11:00 and saw 709 Common Scoters and 420 'Commic' Terns moving down channel. Other birds of note were 21 Whimbrels, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, 6 Shags and 1 Arctic Skua.Also coming in off the sea were 45 Swifts. […]

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.

Bird present 24/10/2009


Jack Chantler