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Field Guides & Natural History  Ornithology  Birds of Europe/Western Palaearctic

Where to Watch Birds in Surrey & Sussex

Wildlife Guide New
By: Matthew Phelps(Author), Ed Stubbs(Author)
320 pages, b/w maps
Publisher: Helm
Where to Watch Birds in Surrey & Sussex
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  • Where to Watch Birds in Surrey & Sussex ISBN: 9781399404235 Paperback Feb 2024 In stock
Price: £27.99
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About this book

This site guide covers the counties of East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey, including sites in southwest Greater London.

From the heaths of Surrey to the chalky grassland of the North and South Downs, the great forests of the Weald and the headlands, shingle beaches and river valleys of England's south coast, these three counties are a bird-rich part of the country, with perhaps the most diverse range of habitats in the country, and all within easy distance of London, the southwest part of which contains birding sites such as Barnes wetland centre.

This new book by Matthew Phelps and Ed Stubbs is the definitive guide to the birding highlights of the region. It contains a comprehensive review of all the major sites, and many lesser-known ones, with maps, notes on access, and information on target species and when to visit. Where to Watch Birds in Surrey and Sussex is indispensable for any birder heading to this bird-rich region, or anyone in London who wants to head south to enjoy some of the best birding England can offer.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • A great new version
    By Keith 30 Mar 2024 Written for Paperback
    The Helm Where to Watch guides have a strong and loyal following that dates back to the 1980s. In fact, the original guide for Surrey, Sussex and Kent first appeared in 1987, and the fifth edition of that book was published in 2009. Importantly, this is a completely new book by different authors, but with that said, it is hard not to make comparisons with the original title. In my view, that book was overly complicated with nineteen regional subdivisions to cover both counties. This new book divides the region into nine zones – a welcome simplification.

    In total, 96 sites are dealt with in detail (35 for Surrey and 61 for Sussex) and in addition, there are brief summaries for 109 other sites (59 and 50 respectively) where the location was not felt to warrant a detailed account. Most of the original title’s key locations are included, although a few have been demoted or dropped altogether. New birding areas in Surrey include Tice’s Meadow and Canons Farm (Banstead), while others such as Thorpe Water Park are upgraded to get more detailed treatment, and some are downgraded, such as Farnham Heath and Hankley Common. In Sussex, the locations are perhaps more predictable because many are the classic coastal sites have always been focal points, but to these, the RSPB Medmerry Reserve is added, and new in are inland sites such as Knepp Castle and Kingley Vale, while West Dean Woods and Wakehurst Place receive less coverage than before. There are many maps to help you to understand the layout of the sites, and the inclusion of postcodes in addition to grid references is helpful.

    There is a checklist of the 419 species recorded in the area covered. A very useful section is entitled “Thirty species to see in Surrey and Sussex” which directs the reader to the appropriate site that will give the best chances to connect with the bird. An eye-opener for many will be that Honey-buzzard is included and some of the relevant site descriptions give six-figure grid references to the best viewpoints. This open approach is to be welcomed and reflects a greater realisation that there is nothing to be lost by encouraging people to look for these birds responsibly. Alongside that, it is worth noting that in the 2009 book, Goshawk was not even mentioned for Surrey and Sussex, but now it gets 25 mentions. If you are undecided about whether to buy this book, I think I have just given you one of the best reasons!
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Matt Phelps is a birder, naturalist, land manager and writer based in West Sussex. Matt works in wilding landscapes, carrying out ecological surveys, and leading guided walks and talks. He is an eBird reviewer for Sussex and sits on the Sussex Ornithological Society Records Committee.

Ed Stubbs is a lifelong birder and Deputy Editor for BirdGuides and Birdwatch magazine. He has written on topics varying from international trips and species profiles to local birding. He's particularly interested in migration, sound recording and patch-watching in his home county of Surrey, where he sits on the Surrey Bird Club Rarities Committee.

Wildlife Guide New
By: Matthew Phelps(Author), Ed Stubbs(Author)
320 pages, b/w maps
Publisher: Helm
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