Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters
A popular coastal hub, where the South Downs meet the sea
Birling Gap in May
Hawthorn was famously known as the May-Tree or may-blossom as it usually flowers in May, and once played a large part in May Day festivities. It can be seen flowering in hedges and woodlands in spring.
This is the smallest of our skippers and the earliest to appear in April. It has a fast, darting flight so is easiest to see in the early morning when it basks on bare ground in the sun.
This is the commonest blue found in the British Isles. While the male has bright blue uppersides, the female is mainly brown with some blue markings. Caterpillars hatch from eggs to feed on bird’s foot trefoil plants.
The deep blue flower spikes of bugle can be found carpeting most habitats. The flowers attract many insects including white-tailed bumblebees, silver Y moths and common carder bees
The male has brilliantly-coloured blue wings, whilst the female is a rich chocolate brown. The both have a checkerboard margin to their wings. The caterpillars feed on the delicate yellow horseshoe vetch.
Early spider orchid
This exotic-looking orchid is named because the dark, velvety lip of the flower is furry on the outside and resembles a spider. It is rare but where it does occur it can be found in its hundreds.
Skylarks can be spotted rising above the ground and hovering on high as they fill the air with their song of liquid sunshine. Skylarks nest on the ground, laying three to four eggs each time.
Spot this streaky brown, thick-billed bird singing from a wire or post, sounding just like a set of jangling keys. Like many of our farmland birds, the corn bunting has declined in number recently.