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East Sussex

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus ©George McCarthy Website

Birding East Sussex

East Sussex is a county in South East England. It is bordered by the counties of Kent to the north and east, Surrey to the north west and West Sussex to the west, and to the south by the English Channel.

From a geological point of view East Sussex is part of southern anticline of the Weald: the South Downs, a range of moderate chalk hills which run across the southern part of the county from west to east and mirrored in Kent by the North Downs. To the north lie parallel valleys and ridges, the highest of which is the Weald itself (the Hastings beds and Wealden Clay). The sandstones and clays meet the sea at Hastings; the Downs, at Beachy Head.

Top Sites

Ashdown Forest

Satellite View

Ashdown Forest 2,560 ha of heathland and woodland on the High Weald, is home to substantial populations of Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus and Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata.

Beachy Head

Satellite View

Beachy Head where the chalk hills of the South Downs meet the sea, is famous for its migrating birds. Nearby sites of interest include the Cuckmere Haven (TV 519995); Lullington Heath (TQ 545018) and Seaford Head (TV 505980).

Rye Harbour


Satellite View

Rye Harbour is part of the bird-rich length of soft coast running from Pett Levels, east of Hastings, to Dungeness in Kent.

County Recorder

Mark Mallalieu

29 Cobbetts Mead, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3TQ

01444 441425 or 07736 788077


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 384

(Old Vice-County - both East & West Sussex)

Useful Reading

Best Birdwatching Sites in Sussex

by Adrian Thomas & Peter Francis | Buckingham Press | 2003 | Paperback | 192 pages, 57 sites |

ISBN: 0953384063

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Bird Watching in Sussex

by Rob Yarham | Snake River Press | 2009 | Hardback | 96 pages, B/w illus |

ISBN: 9781906022129

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Sussex

by Sussex Ornithological Society Edited by Adrian L R Thomas | British Trust for Ornithology | 2014 | Hardback | 608 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour distribution maps, colour tables | ISBN: 9781908581310

ISBN: 0952846608

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Sussex Bird Reports and other Publications 1948-2010

Sussex Ornithological Society | DVD-ROM | 2015 |

ISBN: #227112

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Kent, Surrey and Sussex

by Don Taylor, Jeffrey Wheatley & Paul James | Christopher Helm | 2009 | Paperback | 432 pages, 35 line illus, 54 maps |

ISBN: 9781408105856

Buy this book from NHBS.com


Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve


The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (registered charity no. 269535) was founded in 1973 to raise money in order to improve and enlarge the nature reserve and to do so by encouraging interest in the conservation of wildlife and scenic beauty within the area.

RSPB Brighton & District Local Group


This is the website of the Brighton & District Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife

RSPB Eastbourne & District Local Group


This is the website of the Eastbourne & District Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.

RSPB Hastings & St Leonards Local Group


This is the website of the Hastings & St Leonards Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.

Sussex Ornithological Society


Formed in 1962 by a small group of young people, the Sussex Ornithological Society has grown to become one of the largest county bird clubs in Great Britain with a current membership of around 2000.

Sussex Wildlife Trust


Sussex Wildlife Trust has over 30,000 members who are helping us to protect the rich natural heritage of East and West Sussex, and Brighton and Hove.


Abbreviations Key



Satellite View

The Forewood is a substantial block of woodland situated in the Parish of Crowhurst, which lies between Hastings and Battle in East Sussex. I was born and brought up in Crowhurst, and for much of my early life lived at the housing estate which backs onto the South-East corner of the wood. It was one vast playground and adventure park combined, and my knowledge and love of natural history comes mostly from my childhood spent there. The purchase of the wood in the early 1970s by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds secured it's future, and led me to join this excellent organisation…

RSPB Fore Wood


Satellite View

A wide range of woodland birds breed including nightingales, spotted flycatchers and great and lesser spotted woodpeckers…

SWT Rye Harbour Nature Reserve


Satellite View

The Nature Reserve is in the Rother District in the County of East Sussex, England. It lies on the coast to the south of the Cinque Port town of Rye, to the west of the River Rother. Within the wider area of ROMNEY MARSH the land has several national and international designations of its wildlife interest. There are eight Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI); a candidate Special Protection Area (SPA); a candidate Ramsar wetland site, a potential Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and an Important Bird Area (IBA). Rye Harbour Nature Reserve has all these designations.

Weir Wood Reservoir & Nature Reserve


Satellite View

This site provides information about the wildlife at Weir Wood Reservoir in East Sussex – news of recent sightings, photographs, and information about the reservoir itself.

Forums & Mailing Lists

Rye Bay Wildlife


A forum for discussing wildlife observations and news in Rye Bay, East Sussex, UK

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Plovers - Romney Marsh Birdwatching Breaks

Tour Operator

This website is designed to allow you to see the services available at 'Plovers', Lydd-on-Sea. Pat & Paul Trodd, Plovers, 1 Toby Road, Lydd-on-Sea, Romney Marsh, Kent TN29 9PG Phone 01797 366935 & 07920 197535 Email: troddy@plovers.co.uk

Trip Reports


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Rye Windmill


Rye Nature reserve, a five minute drive from The Windmill, is a great attraction for bird watchers. Species such as the Common Sandwich and Little Tern as well as the Ringed Plover and Red Shank are just some of the regular nesting birds. And why not enjoy watching other species from the comfort of one of the Windmill's bedrooms. A Kingfisher can often be seen flying up and down the River Tillingham.


Sussex University - Centre for the Study of Evolution


The Booth Museum


The Booth Museum is all about birds, butterflies, fossils, and bones. Founded as a Victorian collector's private museum, the Booth Museum now brings natural history to life with interactive displays and hands on activities.


Beachy Birder


Looking for birds on Beachy Head, East Sussex.

Birding Walks in RXLand


Within a short distance of Hastings, East Sussex, there is a varied and ancient countryside comprising coast, marsh, river valleys, woodlands and historic settlements, much of which is little visited by bird-watchers. “RX” is a designation borrowed from the fishing fleet, to denote the stretch of coast between Hastings and Hythe and its hinterland…

Cecropis - The Pevensey Leveller


Birds, Moths, Natural History in and around Hailsham and the Pevensey Levels - Dedicated to the harsh drudgery of trawling the levels in search of white herons - and whatever else turns up in the Hailsham area and further afield...

Charlie Peverett - Cuckmere Ouse Bird Blog


This blog is no longer updated. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Cuckmere Ouse Bird Blog, especially Les Bird, whose cracking photos (such as this Arlington Red-rumped Swallow below) you can still browse in the archive

Charlie Peverett - Firle Birds


Last updated 2016 - This blog is devoted to the birds of Firle, a small village on the slopes of the Sussex Downs…

JFC - Beachy Head Birding


JFC's Birding


Matt Eade - Matt Eade's Blog


Bird sightings, mainly from East Sussex but also elsewhere around the world, also other interesting wildlife noted…

Other Links

Bird Watching in Pett Level, East Sussex


Below are listings for bird watching in Pett Level and the surrounding area. You can add your listing to this category here.

Birding Walks in RXLand


I started watching birds 55 years ago in SE London, where I grew up. I’ve lived in East Sussex for more than thirty-five years, working as a teacher until my retirement . All through my career I took my classes out into the countryside to learn about history, farming and wildlife.

Birds of Sussex


This site is dedicated to Birds seen in the County of Sussex. It contains information on local sites and Pictures of the birds seen in Sussex. There is also a section for Pictures of some of the National rarities that I have seen. A link is provided to a page that is updated regularly with the sightings from Ovingdean and Roedean, which is my Local patch. It will obviously be updated more regularly at times of migration….

Rye Harbour Wildlife News


Wildlife sightings from Romney Marshes Living Landscape - All the latest wildlife news & events from Hastings, Rye Bay, Dungeness & Romney Marsh…

Sussex Falconry


Sussex Falconry provides private & personal experiences where you are the only customer on the day. This means you will receive all the attention, handling & flying which overall, will provide a complete experience.

Sussex Scrapbook


Nature walks throughout the year…

Photographers & Artists

Artist - Basil Ede


BASIL EDE - MASTER BIRD PAINTER, born in Surrey, England, in 1931, is a classic bird portraitist. Following in the footsteps of MARK CATESBY (1683-1749) and JOHN JAMES AUDUBON (1785-1851) he travelled to Virginia in 1962 to see the birds of the New World. Nevertheless it was the British painter, ARCHIBALD THORBURN whose work influenced the young artist most of all.

Photographer - Sue Robinson


I am lucky to live on the High Weald in the wonderful county of West Sussex in England, an hour away from the South Coast, the South Downs and with the whole of the county to explore. Many of my images are of wildlife or scenes in West and East Sussex…