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.

  • 20th April 2018
    by Richard Heading on April 20, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    I was about 15 minutes late for the dog walk this morning. Not only that but I got talking to the next door neighbour whilst still on the driveway when a Hoopoe flew past. All the family, possibly even the dog, managed to see it but it didn't stop. Despite looking in all the horse paddocks along Oldstairs Road and over the golf course, it was not relocated. Coupled with Jack's Great Spotted Cuckoo and the weather it has a very Mediterranean feel this week! From memory I think that's the fifth record for the area.There was a Firecrest singing along Granville Road by the golf course, 2 Red Kites were over St. Margarets's village, 12 Lesser Whitethroats and 11 Whitethroats along Kingsdown Leas and the golf course.In the afternoon Paul Holt had a stunning Whinchat, three Lesser Whitethroats and three Wheatears at Bockhill. […]

  • 19th April 2018
    by Jack Chantler on April 19, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Richard and I walked the area this morning and had 13 Buzzards and a Red Kite in the air together moving W. Elsewhere there were 3 Swallows, a Tree Pipit, a Wheatear, 4 Whitethroats, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff. […]

  • 18th April 2018
    by Jack Chantler on April 19, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Richard walked around the Leas area and had 3 Sand Martins, 4 Swallows, 5 Lesser Whitethroats and 4 Whitethroats. […]

  • 17th April 2018
    by Jack Chantler on April 19, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    On my way to Kingsdown on the Ringwold to Kingsdown road by the water pumping station in the dip I saw a Great Spotted Cuckoo fly low across the road in a northerly direction. It appeared to go into the trees in the dip. I alerted the locals and we searched the area until dusk without success. […]

  • 12th April 2018
    by Jack Chantler on April 12, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Phil and I walked the cliff-top to Kingsdown Leas and thence to the Freedown and Paddock. Although visibility was not good in the fog we had at least 8 Brambling in the bushes and flying over, 3 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 4 Black Redstarts and in Little Green garden a magnificent male Common Redstart. In the Freedown were 18 Fieldfares,5 Redwing, several Song Thrushes and Blackbirds and a male Ring Ouzel. Around the farm were 2 Firecrests and at the Monument a female Stonechat. At Fox Hill Down were 4 male Wheatears by the small monument. […]

  • 8th April 2018
    by Jack Chantler on April 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Phil spent about five hours in the field today and had 30 Chaffinches, 11 Bramblings, 105 Siskins, 150 Linnets and 6 Goldfinches moving NE. Elsewhere in the area were 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcaps,  a Black Redstart, 6 Alba Wagtails and a Great Skua sat down on the sea very close in at Hope Point. […]

  • 5th April 2018
    by Jack Chantler on April 6, 2018 at 11:30 am

    We stood on the cliff-top from 08:15-10:45 in a light NW wind with birds moving NE and had 917 Chaffinches, 4 Brambling, 345 Siskins, 73 Linnets and 6 Great Tits. Also arriving in off the sea were at least 4 Sparrowhawks , 2 Swallows, a Blackcap and Chiffchaff. On the Leas we also had several Bee Flies and 4 Brimstone Butterflies.Brendan, Phil, Jack.In the afternoon, when the wind had gone round to SW, Phil and Richard had another Swallow. […]

  • 3rd April 2016
    by Jack Chantler on April 3, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    At last some migrants, Phil and Richard had a Chiffchaff, Blackcap and House Martin at Kingsdown this morning and Phil and I had 2 Swallows, a Firecrest and a Hawfinch at Bockhill.Also of note in the area there were 5 Buzzards looking for worms in the horse paddocks and 16 Stocks Doves at Hogs Bush. […]

  • 2nd April
    by Nigel J on April 2, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Another uninspiring seawatch for 2.5 hrs gave us 24 Red-throated Divers, 145 Common Scoters, 19 Shoveler, 220 Kittiwakes, 400 Gannets, 396 Brent Geese, 4 Sandwich Terns and 1 Great Skua up-channel. A Harbour Porpoise was also seen.Gerald, Jack, NigelGreat Skua - Gerald Segelbacher […]

  • 1st April
    by Nigel J on April 1, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    A vis-mig stint in a cold NW wind produced 71 Starlings, 555 Chaffinches, 81 Linnets, 2 Bramblings, 5 alba Wags, 15 Greenfinches, 5 Goldfinches and 18 Siskins, all moving into the wind, with a Sparrowhawk and 1 Coal Tit in the area.A quick look at the sea - 17 Red-throated Divers, 12 Brent Geese and 2 Shags up-channel with 10 Guillemots on the sea. Also 1 Harbour Porpoise.Jack, John, Nig […]

  • 31st March 2018
    by Jack Chantler on April 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    In two hours of sea watching from 08:45-10:45, moving up-channel, there were 16 Red-throated Divers, 114 Common Scoters, a Velvet Scoter, 29 Sandwich Terns and a Manx Shearwater. On the sea were several Razorbills, Guillemots, 2 Shags and 2 Mediterranean Gulls.Brendan, Nigel, John, Jack. […]

  • 30 March 2018
    by Nigel J on March 30, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    A 3-hour seawatch from 0650 this morning produced the following heading up-channel: 466 Common Scoter, 38 Red-throated Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver, 500 Gannets, 115 Brent Geese, 33 Common Gulls, 1 Red-br Merganser, 13 Sandwich Terns, 2 Med Gulls, 23 Shoveler, 51 Black-hd Gulls, with 1 Shag on the sea.Gerald, Jack, Nig […]

  • 29th March 2018
    by Jack Chantler on March 29, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Nothing but 2 Siskins and an Alba Wagtail seemed to be moving today. Very little of note in area apart from 8 Yellowhammers singing on the hedges. &nbs […]

  • 26th March 2018
    by Jack Chantler on March 26, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    It was extremely cold today when Brendan and I did our vis. mig, however we kept at it for the morning and had 760 Chaffinches, 31 Siskins, 4 Bramblings, 10 Linnets and 210 Starlings moving NE. In the area there were up to 9 Buzzards that appeared to be loafing around rather than migrating and at 11:05 we had our bird of the day a Hooded Crow come in from the sea and fly off in a SW direction. […]

  • 25th March 2018
    by Jack Chantler on March 25, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    A morning of 'vis. migration' produced quite an assortment of birds moving NE. There were 4150 Starlings (mainly one flock of at least 3000), 4 Alba Wagtails, 5 Fieldfares, 21 Great Tits, 250 Chaffinches, 3 Bramblings, 135 Linnets, 30 Goldfinches, 7 Siskins, 1 Hawfinch and 2 Reed Buntings. On the sea, moving up channel, were 28 Red-throated Divers, 62 Brent Geese and 2 Canada Geese.Our first Wheatear of the year flew along the cliff-top and a Black Redstart sat in the bushes by the Monument.In the bay having a coffee, before we left, a flock of up to a 1000 Cormorants flew in, presumably after a shoal of fish, and  then within 15 minutes moved off north.Gerald, Nigel, Richard, Jack. […]

  • 21st March 2018
    by Jack Chantler on March 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    A vis-mig in a light NW breeze proved to be very productive and in two and a half hours we had 65 Common Buzzards coming in from the sea. The birds mainly in small flocks of 5 to 7 circled over the South Foreland Valley gaining height before moving off NW very quickly. Other than buzzards we had very little apart from 730 Starlings flying NE. Earlier on the sea 50 Red-throated Divers and 240 Auks flew up the channel in an hour. Brendan, John, Jack. […]

  • 11th January 2018
    by Jack Chantler on January 11, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Although there was no wind and the sea extremely calm, Richard and I had a seawatch from 09:45 - 11:00 which proved to be quite successful. Moving SW were 79 Red-throated Divers, 830 Cormorants, moving NE were 21 Brent Geese and offshore were 50 Gannets, 30 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Shags, 2 Great Skuas and 1500 Auks of which 90% were Guillemots. […]

  • 30th December 2017
    by Jack Chantler on December 31, 2017 at 10:21 am

    In an hour from 09:45-10:45 Phil and I had, moving down Channel, 15 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, 160 Gannets, 430 Cormorants, 7 Curlews, 8 Great Skuas (6 down and 2 up), 1200 Auks (mainly Razorbills) and 700 Kittiwakes. […]

  • 15th November 2017
    by Jack Chantler on November 15, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    A walk around the area produced nothing, the only notable record today was early this morning when Richard had 3 Hawfinches fly over his garden at Kingsdown. […]

  • 12th November 2017
    by Jack Chantler on November 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Very little apart from 7 Grey Partridges, 2 Snow Buntings and 70 Yellowhammers. (Phil,Jack) […]

  • 11th November 2017
    by Jack Chantler on November 12, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Phil walked the area this morning and had our first autumn Woodcock, 180 Fieldfares, 30 Redwings,3 Stonechats, 2 Snow Buntings and 124 Yellowhammers. […]

  • 9th November 2017
    by Jack Chantler on November 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    On a cold and beautifully clear morning there was a small overhead migration of Starlings, Goldfinches, Redpolls of which at least three were Common, a single House Martin and a male Hen Harrier that came in at Hope Point and moved off W.Elwsewhere in the area were good numbers of thrushes with 112 Blackbirds, 38 Song Thrushes, 4 Redwings and 4 Mistle Thrushes. Other notable birds were 150 Skylarks, 2 Stonechats, 7 Bullfinches and a Snow Bunting.On the sea in the Bay were 70 Mediterranean Gulls. […]

  • 5th November 2017
    by Jack Chantler on November 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Very little today, the only notable birds being two Sparrowhawks, two Buzzards and singles of Woodlark, Stonechat, Chiffchaff and Firecrest. (Phil, Richard, Jack) […]

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