Wildlife Recording

At the time of writing, individual volunteers or groups of volunteers are monitoring and recording the following species on the Steyning Downland Scheme:

  • Adder
  • Birds
  • Botany
  • Butterflies
  • Dormouse

We are always looking to improve our understanding of the natural history of the Steyning Downland Scheme. If you have a particular interest in a species group and would like to record it for us, do please get in touch.

Birding Group

Bob Platt leads a team of ornithologists – both experienced and beginners – who record the birding interest of the Scheme.  So far 83 species have been recorded including Bittern, Water Rail and Firecrest.  Nightingale Lane is named after a nightingale that sings there in the spring!

The birds seen and heard are recorded on Birdtrack, the BTO/RSPB database, and so are made available for National and County records.  Members add their casual sightings to the database, which helps to build a fuller picture.

Bird watching

Bob is always happy to welcome new members to the group, experienced birdwatchers and beginners alike.  The group meets on the second Sunday of every month, usually half an hour after sunrise.  You need to be fit enough to walk up the steep and sometimes muddy slopes of the Steyning Downland Scheme.  Stout footwear and binoculars essential.  If you would like to join in, please contact Bob on 01903 812404 or bobplatt69@gmail.com to confirm time and meeting place.

Botany Surveys

The botany surveys are open to anyone who is interested in finding out more about the wild flowers found on our chalk grassland. Led by expert local ecologist, Petra Billings, the surveys are repeated three times each year over the spring and summer to build up a picture of how the ecology of our grasslands is changing with conservation management. Beginners as well as experienced botanists are very welcome.

If you would like to join in Petra, please e-mail her at: petra.billings@btopenworld.com

Butterfly Surveys

We are busy training up volunteers to identify and record the butterflies they see on predetermined walks, or ‘butterfly transects’. In 2015, we made 1934 records of 5,969 individual butterflies from 35 species – that’s 78% of the Sussex species total!

If you’re interested in getting involved – whether you’re an experience lepidopterist or a beginner, please e-mail Sarah Quantrill, Volunteer Co-ordinator at: sdsvolunteers@gmail.com.

Butterfly on a plant

Read Bob’s blog

  • Bird Survey Group

    Wednesday September 16th, 2015. A group of Steyning birdwatchers has been meeting once a month to carry out an informal survey of birds on the Downland Scheme. The group started in 2012 and has been recording its sightings on Birdtrack, the BTO/RSPB national bird record database. We started with the expectation that we might see as many as 50 ... Read more