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.

  • 21st May 2019
    by Brendan Ryan on May 21, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    The weather forecast for today, light NW winds and clear skies suggested that it might be good for raptors and so it proved. Within 10 minutes of arriving the local Herring Gulls alerted me to an Osprey making its way along the clifftop. The bird had earlier been seen at Seabrooke and later passed Sandwich. After walking around the area I took up my position on the clifftop and up until 11.45 recorded single Marsh Harrier (female) and Hobby and 10 Red Kites plus plenty of Buzzards (presumed local). Yesterday there was a Firecrest in the Farm Wood but little else of note other than a steady trickle of Swallows heading north(Brendan) […]

  • 8th May 2019
    by Richard Heading on May 8, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Nigel took one for the team and in very cold drizzly conditions, but importantly with a SE wind, he braved the Bay for three and a half hours this morning from 06.00.The highlights were two Pomarine Skuas, a Manx Shearwater and a large bat sp.! In addition he also recorded a Mediterranean Gull, 144 Gannets, an Arctic Skua, nine Sandwich Terns, nine Kittiwakes, two Cormorants, nine Common Scoters, two Common Gulls, four Great Skuas, two Whimbrels, a Guillemot, eight Black-headed Gulls, two Shelducks, 20 ‘commic’ Terns and five Bar-tailed Godwits. […]

  • 6th May 2019
    by Richard Heading on May 8, 2019 at 8:56 am

    In a light WNW the cliff top was the place to be and vis mig was the order of the day. Nigel and I picked up a Great Egret out to sea which slowly drifted in and headed off NW. Nigel had a Black Redstart in off the sea, land on the Block House and quickly move off. A Serin went N shortly after, presumably yesterday’s bird and the same one we have had for a couple of weeks. Finally a Cuckoo flew into the bushes at The Monument and again quickly moved on. In addition there were three ’flava’ Wagtails, a White Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail, a Sand Martin and a House Martin over.Nigel, Richard, Jack, Simon and TonyGreat Egret (Nigel Jarman) […]

  • 5th May 2019
    by Richard Heading on May 8, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Jack and Phil found a Serin on the corner of Hotel and Granville Road mid-morning. It stuck around singing and allowing us all to get a view, sometimes briefly. There is every chance this is the same bird we have had over the cliff top for a couple of weeks now.Serin with Goldfinch (Gerald Segelbacher) […]

  • 2nd May 2019
    by Richard Heading on May 2, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    The dog and I took a walk up to The Monument from Kingsdown in a light NW veering to a N mid morning. A Swift powered through Kingsdown early on and with the usual Sylvia Warbler soundtrack 25 Swallows went through NW. I picked up two Red Kites over the Golf Course as I was heading back to Kingsdown, whilst watching those, three more came in to view from the coast and with them was a Black Kite. They were not in view for very long with the Black Kite making its way north, the Red Kites seemingly going west. Later the group were reunited over Sandwich.Brendan did an hour of vis mig from The Monument between 11 and 12. He had two Red Kites, nine Buzzards, 45 Swallows, eight House Martins, two Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail.Black Kite (left hand bird) and Red Kite, Kingsdown (Richard Heading)Black Kite, Kingsdown (Richard Heading) […]

  • 21st April 2019
    by Jack Chantler on April 22, 2019 at 7:57 am

    Not a lot of visible migration today apart from a few birds moving NE, most notable were four Whimbrel, 11 Blackbirds, 14 Carrion Crows, three Yellow Wagtails and a Serin.  Apart from that there was a trickle of the usual Swallows, Chaffinches and Linnets.Elsewhere in the area were 12 Whitethroats, eight Lesser Whitethroats and a 'continental' Coal Tit.As we left, at around 12:00, a Red Kite flew NE.Richard, Gerald, Nigel, Simon, Paul Holt, Jack&nbs […]

  • 20th April 2019
    by Richard Heading on April 20, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    A moderate N wind kept things quite cool early on. Chaffinches were moving NE and Jack and I had 442 between 06.30 and 09.00 with 10 Siskins and a couple of Bramblings, Around the area there were eight Lesser Whitethroats, 10 Whitethroats, a Willow Warbler, 20 Swallows, three House Martins and a Sand Martin.Just before Midday, Tony picked up four Red Kites over The Rough which came towards me in Kingsdown and drifted out over the coast. […]

  • 19th April 2019
    by Jack Chantler on April 19, 2019 at 11:26 am

    With the wind from a NE direction we decided to stand at the cliff-top and watch the visible migration. However before that Richard had seen three Cattle Egrets fly S at 06:40 (a new bird for Bockhill) also he and Nigel had two Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Sand Martin, a Fieldfare and a Chiffchaff in the Paddock. From 07:30 - 10:00 on the cliff-top we had 17 Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, 13 Swallows, three House Martins, a Yellow Wagtail, a Ring Ouzel,129 Chaffinches, 10 Goldfinches and 35 Linnets moving NE. Apart from that a Marsh Harrier and three Goosanders flew S and a Wheatear came in and landed on the Bluebird Café.Richard, Nigel, JackMarsh Harrier, Wheatear, Whitethroat - Nig […]

  • 13 April 2019
    by Nigel on April 13, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    A cold N/NE wind hindered much bird-finding.Single Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Swallow and Wheatear were the only migrants. The Ravens were harassing the gulls. Nearer the ground we found a Tawny Mining Bee.Nigel, Jack, Brendan, RichardWheatear - NigelTawny Mining Bee - Nig […]

  • 6th April 2019
    by Jack Chantler on April 6, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    From 08:00 - 10:00 Nigel and I had a seawatch in the Bay and, although visibility was not very good, we saw four Red-throated Divers, 22 Gannets, four Brent Geese, two Shovelers, 14 Common Scoters, two Whimbrel, one Great Skua, eight Common Gulls, 12 Black-Headed Gulls, one Little Gull, 77 Sandwich Terns and four Common Terns.Nigel,Jack  &nbs […]

  • 31st March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 31, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Half an hour of sea watching at Kingsdown produced singles of Red-throated and Black-throated Divers, 21 Gannets, 22 Brent Geese and five Sandwich Tern.Nig […]

  • 30th March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 31, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    A beautiful day to stand on the cliff-top and watch for migrants, pity there was only one Woodlark,two Swallows, two Black Redstarts, one Blackcap, one Chiffchaff, one Brambling and at least 30 Chaffinches.Tony Swandale, Gerald, Richard, Phil, Jack. […]

  • 25th March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 31, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Four Red Kites around area. […]

  • 24th March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 31, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Paul Holt had a vis. mig. from 06:30-8:30 which produced a Swallow, 55 Meadow Pipits, 18 Alba Wagtails, 100 Starlings, eight Great Tits, 1100 Chaffinches, five Bramblings, 40 Linnets, eight Siskins, eight Greenfinches and 13 Goldfinches.Around the area were 11 Chiffchaffs and, overhead, a movement N of 41 Buzzards .Later in the afternoon a White-tailed Eagle moved NW at 14:50.Paul, Nigel, Heather, Richard, Phil. […]

  • 23rd March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 31, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Visible migration was quite light with two Stock Doves, an Alba Wagtail, a Fieldfare, two Skylarks,465 Chaffinches, 22 Linnets, two Siskins and two Bullfinches.Around the area were three Buzzards, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Wheatears, a Black Redstart and 12 Chiffchaffs.Nig […]

  • 22nd March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 31, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    One Black Redstart still on the undercliff and two Brambling in the Farm Wood. […]

  • 20th March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 31, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    On the undercliff were two Black Redstarts and elsewhere a Firecrest and 50 Redwings.Up the road at Foxhill were two Wheatears. […]

  • 18th March 2018
    by Richard Heading on March 18, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Lighter winds than the last few days, but chilly from the NW. An increase in crests around the area, 25 Goldcrests and two Firecrests, one in the Farm Wood, the other along Granville Road, Kingsdown.  Other than that not a great deal else, 15 Yellowhammers and four Corn Buntings in song. The dog ‘discovered’ a couple of Grey Partridges and three Buzzards were heading into the wind over Kingsdown. […]

  • 17th March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 17, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    The sea was much calmer today and the dives of the Gannets feeding offshore was spectacular. There were also at least three Harbour Porpoises feeding.Around the area were five Buzzards, a male Peregrine,two Ravens, three White Wagtails and four ChiffchaffsGerald. Phil. Jack.. There were also another four Chiffchaffs around Kingsdown.Richard. Nigel. […]

  • 16th March 2019
    by Jack Chantler on March 17, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    We had a seawatch from 09:00-10:30 and saw 60 Gannets, 75 Fulmars, 25 Great Crested Grebes and a few Razorbills and Guillemots all feeding offshore. Moving downchannel was a Red-throated Diver, twelve Common Scoters, three Dunlins and a single Great Skua.Nigel. Jack. &nbs […]

  • 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 […]

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