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Sussex winter rock pipit survey

There was a Sussex survey for rock pipits last winter and this survey will be running again this winter. The focus of this Sussex-only survey is the counting of numbers of rock pipits along defined stretches of coast, covering all coastal and estuarine habitats. The aim of the survey is to gain more information about wintering numbers of rock pipits in Sussex, and to find out how these wintering numbers vary in different habitats, e.g. rocky shores compared with pebble beaches and saltmarshes. We have information from atlas studies about the distribution of rock pipits in Sussex in the winter, but no information about numbers based on systematic studies. Surveys conducted last winter showed interesting results with the highest numbers of rock pipits being observed on beaches that are backed by cliffs; continuing the surveys through this winter will enable interesting comparisons to be made between years and the collection of more data from some of the habitat types.

The survey this winter will begin on 1 October and will run until the end of February; for each coastal stretch ideally two or three visits will be made over the winter.

Volunteers are needed to cover stretches of the coast or edges of estuaries and harbours. Volunteers should choose the stretch they would like to cover, preferably within the broad areas listed below, and then simply register this with Helen Crabtree (, providing the approximate start and end points of the chosen stretch. The recording form and other information will then be supplied. Stretches can be any length but would ideally be at least 1-2 km and could cover beach, rocky shore, saltmarsh, riverbank or estuary habitats, anywhere in Sussex. Surveys of coastal stretches with few or no rock pipits will be just as valuable as surveys of areas where there are many rock pipits, so regular coastal walks that volunteers are doing anyway could be registered for this survey even if rock pipits are rarely seen.

Please contact Helen Crabtree at if you are interested or would like further information.

Stretches for which volunteers are particularly needed:

Pagham Harbour
Hove and Brighton
Ouse Valley
Eastbourne and Sovereign Harbour
Fairlight cliffs