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.

  • 10th February 2019
    by Jack Chantler on February 18, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    An hour or so of watching in the Bay produced 100 Red-Throated Divers, 60 Guillemots, 11 Razorbills, 120 Gannets, 60 Cormorants, 66 Common Gulls, 228 Black-Headed Gulls and 4 Kittiwakes feeding offshore.Also of note were two Harbour Porpoises and a Common Seal.Nigel, Jack […]

  • 3rd February 2019
    by Jack Chantler on February 4, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Two Firecrests were seen outside Nigel's house in Kingsdown and at the Undercliff there were two Stonechats, three Rock Pipits and a Raven.Feeding offshore were at least 100 Red-Throated Divers and 300 summer plumaged Guillemots and a Blackcap fed on ivy berries at Oldstairs.Richard had another Firecrest near his house.Nigel,Richard,Jack […]

  • 31st December 2018
    by Jack Chantler on December 31, 2018 at 11:46 am

    At Kingsdown undercliff there were two Ravens being harried by a Peregrine and out to sea a Great Skua chased after Gulls.Jack&nbs […]

  • 30th December 2018
    by Jack Chantler on December 31, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Phil and I met at Kingsdown undercliff where we had three Stonechats and many Auks, Cormorants and Gulls. We walked up Oldstairs Road to Richard's and had two Firecrests and a Waxing flying west. Earlier Richard had a Crossbill and 40 Redwings.In his garden he had a male Blackcap and in Nigel's garden there was a female Blackcap.Jack […]

  • 16th December 2018
    by Jack Chantler on December 16, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Gerald, Nigel and I had a seawatch for two and a half hours in the Bay this morning and recorded55 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver and two Great Skuas moving down Channel.Offshore there were 12 Great Crested Grebes, an Eider Duck, 57 Auks, of which most appeared to be Guillemots, and at least 273 Great Black-Backed Gulls.Also a Common Seal and a Harbour Porpoise were just off the rocks and a Grey Wagtail fed around the cars in the carpark.Grey Wagtail - NigelGerald, Nigel, Jack. &nbs […]

  • 9th December 2018
    by Jack Chantler on December 9, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    A seawatch from 08:00 to 10:45 produced lots of birds of few species. There were 394 Cormorants, one Shag, 22 Red-Throated Divers and one Great Northern Diver, 50 Auks, 40 Fulmars and three Great Skuas.Offshore following a couple of large trawlers were at least 2000 birds of which probably half were Gannets.Nigel, Jack.&nbs […]

  • 17th November 2018
    by Jack Chantler on November 17, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    A walk around the area from the Monument to Kingsdown and returning via Ottey Bottom produced, of note, two Golden Plovers, two Stonechats, 65 Goldcrests, three Firecrests, two Ravens and a singing Corn Bunting.On the sea were two Mallards, a Pintail, at least 55 Gannets in a feeding frenzy off Hope Point,100 Mediterranean Gulls, 60 Common Gulls and 400 Kittiwakes.Phil, Jack. […]

  • 6th November 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on November 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Reasonable numbers of Goldcrest were dotted around with 64 in the Bockhill area and a further 20 in Oldstairs. Three Firecrests were around the Paddock along with two at Oldstairs and five seen by Richard while walking the dog in Kingsdown. Chiffchaffs were seen at Oldstairs and the Gun Emplacement. A Jack  Snipe was flushed from the clifftop, were there was a pair of stonechats. Overhead there were at last 17 Crossbills, 250 Starlings, a Brambliing and a few Redpolls. The family party of Brents remain in the field at Hope Point.A late Chiffchaff at the Gun Emplacementone of 64 Goldcrests around Bockhill this morning A family group of Brent Geese near Hope PointStonechat - Clifftop Stonechat - Clifftop&nbs […]

  • 2nd November 2018
    by Jack Chantler on November 2, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    From 09:30 I stood at the Monument and had a few Redpolls, Siskins, Goldfinches and a single Crossbill moving overhead. At about 10:00 I met Richard who had walked from Kingsdown and after a chat he decided to walk back via the wood. I started to walk to the Paddock when I had a call from Richard that he had just had a Rough-legged Buzzard going out to sea. I rushed back to the car for the telescope and we scanned for the bird. By the time we did find it, the bird was going down channel and appeared to be halfway to France. Oh well perhaps the next rarity will be more co-operative.Richard, Jack &nbs […]

  • 31st October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 31, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Very much and end of season feel today. Crossbills were still moving with 14  over along with 140 Redpolls, seven Greenfinches and six Bramblings. On the ground there were two Chiffchaffs, 20 Goldcrests, two Firecrests, two Stonechats, 20 Fieldfares, 15 Song Thrushes and 20 Blackbirds.A family group of Brent Geese spent the morning in the field by the Empty Wood, a very rare Bockhill record.Kestrel - Farm Wood Brent Geese near Empty WoodJack, Richard and Brendan […]

  • 29th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 29, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Richard braved the winds and rain to walk from Kingsdown to the Farm Wood recording 38 Crossbills over plus three Firecrests 10 Goldcrests and a Ring Ouzel.After a short look at the sea in which a 24 Brents, five Shelduck and  went North, I covered the Paddock, Gun Emplacement, Farm Wood and Clifftop. The brisk northerly wind with occasional rain showers made it hard going but I managed a Woodcock, flushed from the Gun Emplacement, 32 Goldcrests and two Chiffchaffs. Overhead there were an additional six Crossbills , three Bramblings and 45 StarlingsGoldcrest There were a number of grounded thrushes with 18 Fieldfares in the fields, 10 Song Thrushes at the Gun Emplacement and 12 Blackbirds together in the Farm WoodBrendan and Richard […]

  • 28th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 29, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    On a seawatch from 06:45-09:15 with birds moving upchannel we had 34 Cormorants, 498 Brent Geese, 14 Shelduck, 26 Wigeon, two Teal, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 47 Dunlins and a Redshank. In the area were five Chiffchaffs, 43 Goldcrests, a Firecrest and several Bramblings.Brendan, Nigel, Jack. […]

  • 27th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 28, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    The overhead movement was still evident today  with three Bramblings, 35 Siskins, 14 Redpolls and most notable were the continuing numbers of Crossbills, 13 today, and also the 36 Stock Doves.In the Kingsdown, Otty Bottom area was a Woodcock, two Stonechats, four Blackcaps, 11 Goldcrests and two Firecrests.Brendan, Nigel, Jack.       &nbs […]

  • 26th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 26, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Corn Buntings have been absent for most of the autumn but have returned in the last week. Three were on the clifftop this morning including this bird that was singing.Other than that it was exceptionally quiet in brief visit today. The only birds of note were two Goldcrests and a single Stonechat. Overhead was quiet with a few Redpolls and Siskins and a single Brambling.                   BrendanLater in the morning Phil walked around the area having no birds until he reached Hope Point. From there to Otty Bottom he had 460 Wood Pigeons, 15 Stock Doves, 180 Skylarks in off the sea,43 Blackbirds, 19 Redwings, 10 Fieldfares, 10 Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests, six Goldcrests, 13 Jays,two Bramblings, and three Crossbills.On the sea there were 11 Brent Geese and five Harbour Porpoises.                    Phil. […]

  • 25th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 26, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Overhead migration still going strong with 320 Woodpigeons, 20 Stock Doves, four Tree Sparrows, 138 Chaffinches, seven Greenfinches, 290 Goldfinches, 33 Redpolls, 17 Siskins and 14 Crossbills moving N. Also had thrushes coming in with 15 Fieldfares, 12 Song Thrushes, four Blackbirds and two Mistle Thrushes.Elsewhere in the area were five Swallows, four House Martins, two Stonechats, five Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests, and a Linnet flock of 700 birds.Whilst having a cup of coffee we had a Marsh Tit, MEGA for us, in the bushes at the Monument.Brendan, Nigel, Phil, Jack.   Stock Dove - Nig […]

  • 24th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 24, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    This morning in a couple of hours we had some interesting visible migration which included a Woodcock, Jack Snipe, 16 Swallows, two House Martins, 95 Stock Doves, 11 Alba Wagtails, 105 Crossbills, 103 Siskins and 84 Goldfinches.In the area at Westcliff there were two Wheatears having characteristics of the Greenland race.Brendan, Phil, Jack.&nbs […]

  • 23rd Octobetr 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 23, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Very little movement overhead today apart from a few Redpolls, Siskins, Goldfinches and most notable six Rock Pipits. Around the area were eight Stonechats, six Blackcaps, five Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest, 19 Long-Tailed Tits, two Crossbills and six Bramblings.As we prepared to give up, the bird of the day, a young male Hen Harrier flew W being chased by several crows.Phil. Jack […]

  • 22nd October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 22, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    This morning with birds moving N along the cliff-top I stood for an hour at the Monument and had two Swallows, 14 Alba Wagtails, 17 Redpolls, 181 Linnets, 41 Chaffinches, 517 Goldfinches, 69 Siskins, a Brambling and a female Merlin. After being joined by Phil we walked the area and saw very little apart from one Stonechat, one Chiffchaff, 13 Goldcrests and a Firecrest.Later in the Bay we had 25 Brent Geese moving up channel and nine Scoter, four Teal, one Mallard, two Razorbills, one Bonxie and an Arctic Skua down.A Harbour Porpoise fed offshore.Phil, Jack. […]

  • 21st October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 21, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Birds overhead today, unlike yesterday, moved in a westerly direction and featured fewer finches and more thrushes. There were 55 Chaffinches, 160 Goldfinches, 21 Redpolls, seven Siskins, nine Alba Wagtails, two Grey Wagtails, 38 Song Thrushes, three Redwings, seven Mistle Thrushes, three Ring Ouzels and 3780 Starlings.Also in area was a Short-eared Owl, 58 Swallows and 34 House Martins, and moving upchannel were two Mute Swans (big rarity here).Brendan, Simon, Phil, Jack. […]

  • 20th October 2018
    by Jack Chantler on October 20, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    The wind being from the NW we expected more birds and certainly there was an increase in the movement overhead. There were four Swallows, 65 Meadow Pipits, two Rock Pipits, 14 Song Thrushes, five Redwings, two Fieldfares, 203 Starlings, 23 Chaffinches, four Greenfinches, 1172 Goldfinches, 188 Siskins, 10 Linnets, 51 Redpolls, one Crossbill and 15 Reed Buntings.In the big field were up to 100 Skylarks, 700 Linnets, 15 Yellowhammers and three Wheatears, and elsewhere in the area were six Buzzards, a Merlin, 16 Grey Partridges, two Short-eared Owls, two Stonechats, three Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs, 44 Goldcrests and seven Bullfinches.Brendan, Gerald, Nigel, Phil, Jack. Fieldfare - Nig […]

  • 19th October 2018
    by Brendan Ryan on October 19, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    In Richard's absence I decided to start close to his house in Kingsdown but other that 30 Goldcrests and a single Chiffchaff I couldn't find anything of note. Gerald had a look this afternoon in the same area and saw the Yellow-browed Warbler that has been around a few days.Back up top I joined Jack and John Cantelo who had been viz migging at the monument. We walked the  area as far as Hope Point and the Empty Wood. We came across several large groups of Goldcrests which totalled around 110 in addition to those at Kingsdown. After a very poor autumn for this species it was encouraging to see them in reasonable numbers again.Other birds of note included a single Ring Ouzel in the Freedown and a Short-eared Owl flushed from the cliff top and three Stonechats. Only two Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps were recorded.Overhead there was the usual stream of Siskins, mostly unseen, 10 Bramblings, 10 Redpolls, five Swallows, two Reed Buntings, a Golden Plover and four RedwingAn audit of Yellow-browed Warblers seen so far this autumn suggest that around 23 birds have been recorded of which 14 have been between St Margaret's and Hope Point with a further nine in the Kingsdown area.Brendan, Jack & John Cantelo […]

  • 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 […]

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