Wednesday, 31 October 2018

31st October 2018

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 Wood

Jack, Richard and Brendan

Monday, 29 October 2018

29th October 2018

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 Starlings


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 Wood

Brendan and Richard

28th October 2018

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.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

27th October 2018

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.     

Friday, 26 October 2018

26th October 2018

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.
Later 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.


25th October 2018

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 - Nigel

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

24th October 2018

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. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

23rd Octobetr 2018

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

Monday, 22 October 2018

22nd October 2018

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.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

21st October 2018

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.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

20th October 2018

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 - Nigel

Friday, 19 October 2018

19th October 2018

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 Redwing

An 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

Thursday, 18 October 2018

18th October 2018

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.


Short-eared Owl from 17th 

Brendan, Richard and Jack

17th October 2018

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

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

16th October 2018

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 Bockhill

Other 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 Brambling

Brendan & Richard

Monday, 15 October 2018

15th October 2018

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 Paddock

Tony Morris photographed at Yellow-browed Warbler in the Paddock in the afternoon as per Facebook

Several Jays can be seen daily around the area 

Brendan, Jack & Richard

Sunday, 14 October 2018

14th October 2018

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 Steve

Saturday, 13 October 2018

13th October 2018

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 - Nigel

12th October 2018

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.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

11th October 2018

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. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

10th October 2018

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, Jack

As I arrived home in Deal and parked my car in the Avenue off West Street, I found another Yellow-browed Warbler.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

9th October 2018

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 & Jack

Brambling- Farm Wood 

Monday, 8 October 2018

8th October 2018

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

Sunday, 7 October 2018

7th October 2018

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 record

Four 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 Wood

Golden Plover over Middle Field

Overhead there were 19 Bramblings, 90+ Siskins, 35 House Martins, 4 Reed Buntings, two Grey Wagtails

Brendan, Jack, Nigel and Richard et al

Saturday, 6 October 2018

6th October 2018

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.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

3rd October 2018

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 none were seen at the Bockhill end of the area.

Brendan & Richard

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

2nd October 2018

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 Point


1st October 2018

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