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ADUR NATURE NOTES 1999

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Adur Valley Wildlife

Nature Notes 2000:
Shoreham-by-Sea & the Lower Adur Valley

* If the grid references are not given they could be found on the 
Adur Wildlife database on the Adur eForum

LINK TO NATURE NOTES 2001

28 December 2000
The ground temperature falls below freezing for the first time this winter and the roads were very slippery.

25 December 2000
Christmas Day
A cold north-east wind brings the first chill to the winter after the clement but very wet autumn. There was no sign of snow. 

December 2000
First reports of the effects of the floods in the Adur estuary, Sussex.
Carp, Cyprinus carpio, a freshwater fish, up to 3.5 kg have been caught alive in the freshwater surface of the swollen River Adur next to Monteum fish merchants, five miles downstream from the weir near Partridge Green that separates the tidal estuary from the freshwater reaches. The Carp were still alive. The salinity in this area at high tide is usually 3.2% and upwards compared to the sea at 3.4%. Freshwater fish have never been seen (except for 3-spined Sticklebacks) in this area before despite extensive (every day for 10 years) observations. Salinity has also been measured quite often and rarely is the amount of fresh water sufficient for freshwater fish, although previously, the estuary became too fresh for marine fish and for an hour at a low spring tide, thousands of marine fish jumped out of the estuary by Soldier's Point on a memorable occasion.
(Cynics should not that the local Hungarian population eat Carp as a Christmas dinner.)
PS: A discussion on 3 June 2007 with Mick (an angler) near the Cement Works said that Carp, Roach and Bream have all been occasionally caught in the tidal reaches of the Adur estuary as near the sea as the inlet by Cuckoo's Corner.)

18 December 2000
A Jay flew amongst the bare branches of the broadleaf trees in Kingston Buci, with an acorn in its mouth from the Holm Oaks on the edge of the Shoreham College playing fields
About 50 Great Black-backed Gulls roost on the Adur mudflats in the centre of Shoreham, between the Norfolk Bridge and the Footbridge, as is normal during the winter months. 

Sea Heath, Frankenia, was recognised for the first time* in 2000, from Widewater in an area west of the bridge that had previously been fenced off to the public to protect the breeding area of the Ringed Plover. A large patch of this plant was discovered. This plant is very rare in Sussex known only from Rye Harbour and Chichester Harbour, but it has possibly been missed on the fringes of salt-marshes. The plant has just been identified and its location is now right on the edge of the flooded lagoon. 
PS: A similar plant is available at Garden Centres, but the possibility that this batch is a garden escape has been rejected. * Sea Heath is on the  "Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea" wild plant list by Betty Bishop.
(Link to) Widewater Page (Ray Hamblett) including a photograph of the Sea Heath

13 December 2000
It has hardly stopped raining since the beginning of September. However, the continual steady rain of the last two days was depressing. The three months of rain have waterlogged the ground and built up the water table. The River Adur is on flood alert.
National Floodline, Tel: 0845 988 1188

3 December 2000
A  flock of over 200 Crows congregated over the northern part of  the Dovecote estate (TQ 218 063) Shoreham. There was also a Kestrel.

30 November 2000
A Kestrel was hovering over the grass  to the east of the bridge over Widewater, and swooped down quickly, but it quickly rose again so the strike must have been unsuccessful. 

 

UK Environment and Planning
EFORUM PAGE

22 November 2000
A storm of short duration (two hours) occurred before dawn, with thunder and lightning battered large hailstones vertically crashing against the window panes.

17 November 2000
The winter months are not all that productive on the strandline of Shoreham beach, even after storms, as the sea scours the shingle beach and takes the deposited marine remains back out to sea and increasingly eastwards with the longshore drift.  Scattered amongst the weed there were the omnipresent Slipper Limpet shells, with more Oyster shells than normal and the battered remains of Lobster, Spiny Spider Crabs, and the inevitable cuttlebones. All were of the Common Cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis. An egg case of the Thornback Ray was blown inshore and a fully intact Lesser Spotted Dogfish had not yet been spotted and scavenged by the gulls. 

Holm Oak, Quercus Ilex16 November 2000
I saw a single Jay feeding on the acorns the evergreen Holm Oak in St. Mary's Churchyard, Shoreham-by-Sea, for the very first time this century in the centre of the town. A Grey Squirrel simultaneously made a leap of over twice its body length from the neighbouring broadleaf tree. 
A solitary young Greenfinch seemed out of of place in Brunswick Road. 
The fields of New Monks Farm Lancing, were still very damp with a few puddles

15 November 2000

Cuckoo's Corner is a layby a half mile so down the Coombes Road from the A27 turn off for Lancing College and the Sussex Pad. It has a collection of old trees which provide a magnet for birds. A flock of about 50  Long-tailed Tits were singing in the lower branches of the ivy-adorned 12 metre + high trees. This bird is not a titmouse at all and is appreciably  smaller than a Pied Wagtail, they actually looked much smaller (apart from the long tail) than the Wrens which all shared the branches, and there was a Chaffinch in the understory of evergreen vegetation. 
The floods had receded considerably apart from large puddle in the Ricardo Test Bed field. 

Male Sparrowhawk (Photographs by Steve Huddlestone)
13 November 2000
The Sparrowhawk that has taken up residence centring on Gordon Road, Shoreham, and feeding along the railway line and in the Middle Road allotments seems to have displaced the Kestrel that has been a regular for at least 10 years. (This report is part hearsay, as I have seen the hawk but never close enough to be sure of its identity.)

9 November 2000
One Crow amongst a flock of at least 25 birds on Kingston Beach, between the second and third groyne from the west, repeatedly dropped a mollusc of some sort on to the shingle beach. I doubt if it has had much success. The usual dropping area (but this may be gulls) is on the concrete near the Life Boat Station, which is sometimes covered with mussel, cockle and winkle shells. 

8 November 2000
About a thousand Lapwings inhabit the mud flats near the Toll Bridge at low tide, together with Redshanks, Black-backed Gulls, and thousands of Black-headed Gulls, but these numbers are not exceptional for the Adur. 
All the streams running off the Downs are in full flood, but they have been as swollen as much before in January during the last 20 years. A Heron wades in the flooded fields near Lancing College. Mash Barn is is also flooded in parts but only to a depth of a few centimetres. The A27 near the Sussex Pad is closed to all vehicles and is completely under water to car bonnet depth in places.

November 2000
WORLD OCEANS DAY 2001 will be represented at the Adur Festival Steering Group meeting on 20 November 2000 so please send any ideas, suggestions etc. before that date to Andy Horton.

5-6 November 2000
Steady rain starts but locally it is not exceptional and the minor disruptions in the Adur district are scarcely worth a mention when compared to the flooded villages, towns and cities in the other parts of England & Wales, e.g. Uckfield town centre in East Sussex is again flooded to a depth of over a metre.
Local Climate notes

2 November 2000
Mid-afternoon: one of the brightest and most spectacular Rainbows I have ever seen formed a complete semi-circle over the Downs amongst the low black rain clouds. It looks like mini-Tornado weather and three rain and storm squalls of sufficient ferocity to make driving hazardous occur in the afternoon. The squalls only last for five to ten minutes, and then the gale reverts to a steady Force 7.

The highest gust was recorded on Shoreham beach at 63 mph. This is Storm Force 10. 
Shoreham Beach Weather History 2000 et. seq.
Beaufort Scale (sea)

30 October 2000
Decomposed Cetacean
A four metres long decomposed cetacean, minus its head (according to David Wood) was washed up on Shoreham Beach, near the Old Fort, and then quickly washed out back out to sea by the heavy waves in the aftermath of the storms (still a steady Gale Force 7).
Dr Gerald Legg, Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton has positively identified it as a Long-finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala melas, (Family: Delphinidae).
BMLSS Cetacea
Sussex Cetacea
Hundreds of Cuttlebones, Sepia officinalis, were also washed up on the strandline.

Report by Andy Horton with help from Ray Hamblett

27-28 October 2000
Strong (blustery) south-westerly winds (Force 6) combined with high spring tides (to 5.8 metres) pound the shore. 

Photograph of Southwick Beach by Ray Hamblett

By 29 October 2000, the winds had gusted to Gale Force 8 and even Storm Force 10, with squalls of heavy rain. A  mini-Tornado caused a great deal of damage at Bognor Regis and on 30 October 2000 another one hit Selsey. Severe Weather Warnings are published throughout Britain with the worst weather since the October storm of 1987. The River Adur is on Flood Alert.
National Floodline, Tel: 0845 988 1188
Weather Forecast

The rainfall total on Shoreham beach for the whole of October was recorded at 165 mm. It rained on 25 days during the month. 
Meterological Office: Extreme Weather

The highest wind speed for October and the whole of the year was recorded on 28 October 2000 on Shoreham beach at 71 mph. This is Storm Force 11 (nearly Hurricane Force). 
Shoreham Beach Weather History 2000 et. seq.
Beaufort Scale (sea)
Beaufort Scale (land)

Portuguese Man o'War  (Photograph by Dr Gerald Legg)26 October 2000
Portuguese Man o'War, Physalia physalis, are discovered washed up on the Sussex coast at Brighton. This has happened before, but not in the last 20 years. Although, there were no reports from Worthing, Shoreham or Southwick beaches, these siponophores (colonial hydrozoans) breed to the south-west of Britain off Portugal and they must have been blown through the seas off Shoreham before they were stranded at Brighton. 
Report by Dr Gerald Legg, Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton
Photograph by Ray Hamblett
 

October 2000
Mushrooms (Fungi) are fruiting under the beech trees of Lancing Clump, meadows, churchyards and other waste spaces.


22 October 2000
The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) and other helpers embarked on the physical management of the Larkfield Paddocks at Lancing.

Celery-leaved Buttercup (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

The marginal and mud dwelling Celery-leaved Buttercup, Ranunculus sceleratus, is poisonous to touch and is capable of producing blistering sores to the skin. A single plant is on the edge of the Paddocks' Pond
As far as I know, this plant is rare or scarce in the Adur Valley, but in the Arun or Ouse Valleys, Sussex, it is common in a few places if you know where to look for it. 
Link to the Report on the web page by Ray Hamblett

20 October 2000
Kingston Beach:
A low neap tide after a period of heavy rain in late autumn is usually very poor for mobile intertidal life on the Sussex coast. However, in the pool under the groyne, there was an adult Blenny, and juvenile Corkwing Wrasse (one) and juvenile Bullheads (4+). One of the Bullheads was rusty-coloured, but this disappeared in captivity. The sea still covered most of the shore. 

17 October 2000
As the leaves fall, the occasional glimpse of the red breast of the Robin, and the red face of the Goldfinch stands out amongst the muted hues. Goldfinches are also frequently seen in the "unofficial countryside" in charms (or chirms) of about 5 birds. Charms of larger numbers (up to about 10) contained juveniles without the facial markings. The Adur is flooded by the spring tide and swollen by the recent rain, so the hundreds of Lapwings forsook the mudbanks which are covered by water to settle on the airfield. Herons are plentiful enough to be sure to be seen on the Adur flood plain
There are still scores of House Martins around, notable flying to and fro over the Widewater margins.

13 October 2000
There was very little evidence of the rain of the last two days, Even Widewater Lagoon had not risen to a flood warning extent, although all the flood plain was sodden. The white faces of five Coots on the lagoon were immediately noticeable on a sunny shirt-sleeves day. These birds, in the 1970s were frequently seen on the Adur estuary had declined in recent years and were sometimes absent altogether.

However, my attention was quickly distracted by a colourful male Kestrel   taking off from a stump or a patch of dryish grass to the east of the bridge over Widewater, and flew west so it was hidden by the Tamarisk bushes.

Lapwings and Redshanks returned to the sand banks and edges of the Adur.  On the east bank between the Toll Bridge and the Railway Viaduct (TQ 210 054), a leucistic (white upper-winged) Magpie was seen briefly. This bird has been around for several years, but this was the first time I had seen it this year. (It looks like a Seagull, but flies like a Magpie.)

11-12 October 2000
Thunder & lightning, gales and squalls of heavy swirling, sometimes torrential, rain continuously for over 36 hours; this dreadful weather (worst in my memory) occurred over most of Britain, but it was worse in the south. The B2135 road between Steyning and Partridge Green was closed due to flooding both ways as the River Adur burst its banks.
On 12 October 2002 an incredible rainfall total of 53.8 mm was recorded on Shoreham beach.
Shoreham Beach Weather History 2000 et. seq.
Meterological Office: Extreme Weather
 

Photograph by Allen Pollard

The flooded River Adur at Mock Bridge near Shermanbury
Photograph by Allen Pollard

(The River Adur flooded at Bramber in 1904)
In other parts of Sussex, e.g. Uckfield High Street, the floods were over a metre deep (over 160 mm rain).
Flood Reports (Meridian TV)
National Floodline, Tel: 0845 988 1188
Shermanbury Flood Images (by Allen Pollard)
Meterological Office: Extreme Weather

9 October 2000
Start of the bad weather, with heavy rain continually throughout almost the whole day (about 30 mm). 
Local Climate Details

7 October 2000
The Pied Wagtails are back in their normal winter numbers, bathing in the steady rain on the town streets of Shoreham.
The post-equinoctial neap tides only vary between 4.0 metres and 1.9 metres (springs can vary from 6.7 metres to zero above Chart Datum).

5 October 2000
A sunny day with the occasional brief shower, and the Clouded Yellow Butterflies were still around. I saw one on Shoreham beach and one at Lancing where I first discovered one this year
A Little Egret was feeding in the cockle lagoon (to the west of the bridge), part of Widewater Lagoon. I had not seen one on the River Adur (estuary) this year, but the young Bass shoals were not as numerous as in the special year 1999. The first few Goldfinches and Greenfinches returned to the fringes of the lagoon. Immigrant Black-backed Gulls (from Scandinavia) began to roost on the Adur mudflats and congregated on the tops of warehouses, with 50+ near the houseboats with a solitary Heron and a handful of Cormorants.

2 October 2000
An adult Butterfish was caught amongst the small prawns and an adult Bullhead under the groyne at mid-tide level on Kingston Beach. At least one Shore Crab was infected with the parasitic barnacle Sacculina carcini.
A Hairy Crab was also noted.
At least 30 Crows foraged on the shingle as the tide came in. A mixture of gulls, including at least one mature Herring Gull stood and foraged on the small portions of remaining sand. 

29 September 2000
The sea had churned up the sand at Kingston Beach, where the fauna was scanty, but notably an absence of large prawns. Adult Corkwing Wrasse (one), large first year Corkwing (only one caught in an upper pool underneath a groyne) but more would be present, large  5-Bearded Rockling (one was 18 cm in an upper pool), Bullheads  (in the upper pool to 95 mm) and small Rock Gobies were very frequently discovered under rocks.

24 September 2000
Ball Lightning was reported from Franklin Road, Shoreham, by Peter van Doorn, during a brief thunderstorm. 

Photograph by Ray Hamblett
A second generation Comma Butterfly, with fewer yellow markings on it's wing edges, visits a garden in Lancing.

Captain's Butterfly Guide
 

22 - 23 September 2000
At least 50 sightings of Honey Buzzards have been reported between Beachy Head and the Arundel Wildlife & Wetlands Trust Reserve. It was at the latter location that several of these migrant birds of prey from continental Europe were seen soaring together. Reports from the Adur Valley over the years have been restricted to a few solitary birds, with two passage records over Worthing in June 1985 & 1986. 
Honey Buzzards Information Page (Surfbirds)
Ralph Hollin's Nature Notes (Hampshire Records)
Hawk Conservancy (Honey Buzzard)
Sussex Records
Honey Buzzard Facts
Immigration Report 2000

21 & 23 September 2000 
In light rain and low cloud on both days, in a moderate southerly breeze occasionally gusting to near gale, I came so close (2 metres) to low flying female Sparrowhawks whilst cycling, I thought we going to collide, but this bird of prey's superior eyesight enabled to soar quickly out of the way. The first near collision occurred on the cycle path by Widewater Lagoon (TQ 196 040) and the second one just north of Shoreham railway station (TQ 218 053). The blunt dark-brown and very broad forehead of this bird was particularly noticeable and it looks a much bigger bird close-up.
Identification Notes
More Information on Sparrowhawks
Sussex Bird Records

Golden Pholiota aurivella  (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)September 2000
Fungi (especially the large mushrooms, large enough for eating) needs more precise identification than most of the wild plants and animals. Test your identification by the clear and colourful photographs on Ray Hamblett's:
Fungi of Lancing Ring

15 September 2000
The rain has finally arrived, with squalls throughout the afternoon, and thunder with torrential rain in the evening. Chris Alcott spotted a Waterspout/ Tornado off the Shoreham coast. Small tornadoes are commoner than expected off the Sussex coast in the autumn.

Red Admiral by Allen Pollard14 September 2000
A clump of Ivy on the riverside of the old railway track path south of the Toll Bridge on the east side of the River Adur at Shoreham was covered with Red Admiral Butterflies, well we counted twenty in a two metre square area. The most I've seen in one place this year. TQ 211 054, is about the spot, We also saw one Comma Butterfly, (it's markings were of the first brood) and one Clouded Yellow.

Report by Ray Hamblett


By the late afternoon the Red Admirals had restlessly settled on the large Ivy Bush in the same numbers and they were joined by a handful of Painted Lady Butterflies and a Common Darter Dragonfly. This Ivy Bush was also attractive to honey bees, hoverflies, bumblebees and weevils.
Butterfly Conservation Society
UK-Leps eForum (Lepidoptera)
Ceri's Butterfly Page (with pics)

12 September 2000
Common Blue   (Photograph by Andy Horton)A few female Common Blue Butterflies were seen near Beeding Hill.
Common Blue Butterflies on chalk (link)
Captain's Butterfly Guide
Three or four species of  Dragonflies hawked/darted over the Downs. In order of frequency, they appear to be (subject to confirmation):
Emperor Dragonfly (frequent 30+) Anax imperator
(Some of these could have been the Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta on reflection.) 
Common Darter (frequent 70+) Sympetrum striolatum
(Some were blue-grey  the others orange-brown)
Some could have been the Ruddy Darter, Sympetrum sanguineum  ?
British Dragonfly Society
After harvest, the Skylarks forsook the arable fields for the scrub by the side of the road (near Mill Hill).

11 September 2000
Humming Bird Hawk-Moth, Macroglossum stellatarum.
The first one I have seen this year appeared here my garden in South Lancing, it hovered briefly on the flowers of Verbena bonariensis and Common Lavender. And the Great Tits have started to use the Hawthorn tree. Dozens of Garden Spiders, Areneus diadematus, are now decking the garden with large spun webs.
More Information from the Garden
Spiders of North-West Europe

Report by Ray Hamblett
On 23 September 2000 another one of these attractive moths was seen on the Lavender bush in Dave Mason's front garden just north of Shoreham railway station. 
Picture from Cornwall (Link)

Painted Lady (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)10 September 2000
A really hot and humid couple of days up to 25° C, as hot as any day of the year brings the larger butterflies like the Clouded Yellow, Red Admiral and Painted Lady Butterflies, Cabbage Whites, back on the wing. Scores of House Martins swooped over the Downs. The Lapwings returned, settling on the arable fields next to the river and north of the airport.
A man walking his dog reported a Kingfisher in an oak tree in the field opposite Beeding Cement Works.

7 September 2000
Birds are on the move all over the Adur area, with a flock of about 50 Wheatears flying over the beach next to Widewater prior to their southerly migration. The lagoon was hosting 30 Mute Swans. Under the overcast sky the stiff breeze gave confirmation of the end of summer, and on the estuary the arrival of 60 Greater Black-blacked Gulls gave them mastery of the mud bank. At least 30 (counted) Crows congregated on the roof of a house in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham, and make a din. Flocks of over 100 Crows can be expected on the farming land north of Shoreham.

4 September 2000
Air Show
Several thousand House Martins swooped to and fro over Shoreham Beach in an acrobatic prelude to their annual migration to warmer climes. By the following day they had all left. 

31 August 2000
Bramble and Speckled Wood (Photograph by Andy Horton)Blackberry Picking Time
Mill Hill has scrub and trees to the north of the grasslands (TQ 210 075) giving a variety of habitats in a small area. Nothing like the woodland on Lancing Clump, but enough to support a Speckled Wood Butterfly. Emperor Dragonflies are really a large impressive insect hawking the Waterworks Road (TQ 210 064). August has been dry with scarcely any rain for the whole of the month during daylight. 

30/31 August 2000
On some of the lowest tides of the year, Kingston Beach was full of marine life, although nothing exceptional. Long-legged Spider Crabs were common and the intertidal fish included Rock Gobies, Common Gobies, Bullheads, Blennies, Corkwing Wrasse (juv.), Butterfish, Ballan Wrasse (juv.), 5-Bearded Rockling and an Eel (in order of prevalence). 
Full Species List

29 August 2000
A Worm Pipefish, Nerophis lumbriciformis, was discovered under an Enteromorpha (green seaweed) covered rock 15 metres to the east of Worthing Pier. This came as a complete surprise as I have never seen this fish on Sussex shores before, although there is a record in the MERMAID database.
Database Report

27 August 2000
The 1987 Great Storm denuded so many of the trees in Buckingham Park, Shoreham, that the habitat for woodland life has still shown no signs of recovery and it is not likely to because there are no new trees being planted. The most numerous butterflies were the frequent Red Admirals. One  butterfly seemed inclined to return to the same area, on the grass path between the large beds of nettles, after being disturbed. There must be quite a few smaller insects because four Emperor Dragonflies were on patrol. 
However, a few trees have been planted on the virtually impassable narrow Beech & Sycamore trail along the southern edge of the A27 by-pass from the top of The Drive, Shoreham to Slonk Hill Farm Bridge, where the Speckled Wood Butterfly (pic) was the first record in the Shoreham boundaries on these web pages. 

24 August 2000
Photograph  by Ray HamblettUnder the dark Beech canopy of Lancing Clump, Speckled Wood Butterflies (pic), fluttered around in pairs and landed and opened the wings only too briefly on brambles, ivy and other greenery. There were dozens of them and it was hard to estimate their numbers because they were well camouflaged when resting with their wings closed. They were present on the more open paths as well. 
An Emperor Dragonfly hawked to a from over the Dew Pond on Lancing Clump, with the dragonfly (or damselfly) in the photograph by Ray Hamblett, which we have not positively identified yet. This species seems to be common and has been reported over garden ponds in Shoreham. This species is most probably the Migrant Hawker, Ashna mixta. Another Emperor Dragonfly was seen in Sompting.

Report by Andy Horton
Friends of Lancing Ring
Ray Hamblett's Lancing Chalk Pit page
British Dragonfly Society

23 August 2000
A Painted Lady Butterfly settles on a Common Fleabane (yellow flower)  adjacent to Widewater Lagoon. The lagoon had fallen in level  considerably under the scorching sun of August.

Report by Ray Hamblett
Ray Hamblett's Widewater page (with photographs)
Widewater Lagoon Information Page (link)

Clouded Yellow Butterflies fluttered around everywhere and are too numerous to rate a mention now. The average count without looking them in the second half of August was 30 a day in Shoreham-by-Sea and its environs. They never settle and open up their wings.

22 August 2000
A flinty path leads from the top of Upper Kingston Lane to Southwick Hill under which the main A27 road burrows a large tunnel which is hardly noticeable from the vantage point 121 metres above sea level. A few would not settle in the strong breeze, but a handful of Adonis Blue Butterflies (identification confirmed) settled. Meadow Brown butterflies were frequently seen.
Blue Butterflies

pretty little Small Copper Butterfly fed on a yellow flower on the path * going downhill east from Southwick Hill towards Mossy Bottom and up to New Erringham Farm and Mill Hill. It was harvest time and a pleasant sunny (22° C) day without the excessive humidity of late.

An Emperor Dragonfly hawked at the top of the hedge at the junction of the road from Mill Hill to New Erringham Farm * .

Clouded Yellow (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)20 August 2000
The immigrant Clouded Yellow Butterflies are now common (100+) near Shoreham Airport, with one every six square metres near the perimeter road (TQ 206 056) on the east side. The grass outfields are a rich tapestry of mainly Red Clover, Trifolium pratense. (Note: Zigzag Clover is a very similar plant and may also be present) and Bird's Foot Trefoil (Bacon & Eggs), Lotus corniculatus.

Report by Ray Hamblett


20 August 2000
A Southern Hawker Dragonfly, Aeshna cyanea, visited a garden in Ullswater Road, Sompting. This is just north of Brooklands Boating Lake which is fed by freshwater streams. The lake is home for various ducks with winter visitors that includes Little Grebes.
Photograph by Ray Hamblett (link)

Report by Ray Hamblett


Wall Brown (Photograph courtesy of Friends of Lancing Ring)18 August 2000
The unidentified species of butterfly of 7 August 2000 was an orange coloured Wall Brown, Lasiommata megera,discovered in pairs and singly on the path from the Sussex Pad (TQ 181 064) to Lancing Clump. With its wings closed, on a small rock,  this species is very difficult to spot. 
This identification is confirmed from reports at the same place in 2001.

Butterflies of Adur
Butterfly Conservation Society (Species List)
Butterflies of Lancing
UK-Leps eForum (Lepidoptera)

A large long-abdomen strong-flying Dragonfly  Emperor Dragonfly was on the wing, and there could have been a Comma Butterfly in the woods around Lancing Clump, that are traversed by a maze of paths. 
A flock (about 25) of Willow Warblers (or could these be Chiffchaffs?)  (small birds), flitted around the scrub vegetation.

Wildlife Records on the Adur eForum (you have to join)

16 August 2000
The lizard originally identified as the European Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, which poked its head out of flint wall in which a sprig of Bittersweet was growing, on the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach* is not likely to be an adult Common (or Viviparous) Lizard, Zootoca vivipara

It is found in the rest of the Adur area, e.g. near Cuckoo's Corner (TQ 022069). Judging by the number the cats kill, Common Lizards occur frequently in the towns of gardens of Shoreham, as well as Slow Worms.

15 August 2000
The Grass Snake, Natrix natrix, can turn up in slightly unexpected places: I nearly stumbled over one on the towpath adjacent to the airport a few years ago. But they rarely appear far from water. David Sadler showed us a juvenile Grass Snake from underneath a piece of corrugated iron in the wildlife area known as Larkfield Paddocks, south Lancing. It was a darker green than the olive green of the adults. 

Pond at Larkfield Paddocks (Photograph by Andy Horton)Pond at Larkfield Paddocks

Two Mallards swam down the small Larkfield stream.

13 August 2000
Overcast, but still warm, the towpath from Ropetackle to Botolphs was sprinkled with butterflies, mostly Cabbage Whites (there are two British species, the Large White and Small White), but also occasional Red Admiral butterflies, frequent strong-flying immigrant Painted Lady Butterflies, sometimes landing on the bare chalk towpath, Common Blues on Bird's Foot Trefoil, a half dozen south of Old Shoreham Toll bridge), and the same number of Meadow Browns in the same area, with at least one damaged Gatekeeper (confirmed) and one small Skipper (species not identified) butterfly. Between Botolphs and the South Downs Way bridge (pic.) a single Clouded Yellow flew by and was blown by a gust of wind and would not settle.
Water Vole, Arvicola terrestris, plopped into the drainage ditch (near Botolphs) north-west of the South Downs Way bridge over the Adur. (TQ 194 094). The view was fleeting, but this is to be expected from a nocturnal and crepescular rodent.  (This animal is not recognised from this area.)

11 August 2000
On the sunniest and hottest day of the year when the shade temperatures reached 25° C, the bright blue of a small butterfly, almost certainly the Common Blue fluttered amongst the grasses and Bird's Foot Trefoil on the shingle margins with vegetation on the shingle on Shoreham Beach near the Church of the Good Shepherd (TQ 207 043) . There was also a single migratory Clouded Yellow and scores of Cabbage Whites.
The large grasshoppers in the grasses had a distinctive under area of orange (unlike the mostly all bright green and all brown specimens on Mill Hill.)

9/10 August 2000
Butterflies were common on the Downs at Shoreham (overcast) and Lancing (sunny), mostly Chalkhill Blue and Meadow Brown at the former, and a mostly Gatekeeper, &/or Meadow Brown, with an occasional Cabbage White (both species of Whites), Painted Lady and a single Clouded Yellow on the slopes of Lancing Clump
Adur Butterflies

Chalkhill Blue (Photograph by Ray Hamblett) Correct ident. Location: Beeding Hill7 August 2000
Despite being an overcast day, an impressive number and variety of Butterflies fluttered around the slopes (TQ 212 073) of Mill Hill.

Flutters of light blue flicked between the grasses and wild plants: the Chalkhill Blue, was common, only occasionally opening up its wings in the Gatekeeper Butterfly on Mill Hill (Photograph by Andy Horton)intermittent rays of sunshine. Gatekeeper Butterflies were common;  perhaps, some of these were Meadow Browns. Cabbage Whites were more noticeable than their frequent occurrence. The variety was enhanced by the occasional Painted Lady, a distinctive unidentified species, singly, away from any shade, and a solitary obliging Marbled White, that remained stationary and opened up its wings. There were a small butterflies as well, perhaps one of the Skippers.

There were thousands of Grasshoppers (at least two, possibly three  species) in the long grasses. 
 

Butterflies of Adur (with scientific names)
ACFOR system of abundance
Ray Hamblett's Mill Hill & Beeding Hill Page
Captain's Butterfly Guide
Immigration of Lepidoptera
Butterfly Bionomics Information (Really Wild Flowers)
Butterflies of Ireland (with pics)
Guy Padfield's European Butterfly Page (with pics)
Butterflies of Lancing
Mapmate

6 August 2000
Large Bass, up to 2 kg, cruised into the entrance of Shoreham Harbour, (TQ 235 048) scattering the shoals ofSand Smelt, Atherina presbyter. The anglers were catching the attractively patterned Sand Smelt at a length of 16 cm (excluding the caudal fin). 
Swarms of Moon Jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, are in Shoreham harbour.
A small pod of Dolphins were spotted near Hove Lagoon.

2 August 2000
The Adur Valley eForum covering all aspects of life in the Adur Valley commences. You can join by spending a few minutes on the following site, and then you can post messages on almost anything about life in Shoreham-by-sea and the Adur Valley, including, Lancing, Sompting, Southwick, Steyning and the smaller villages in the valley. If you have any difficulties logging on, send an Email to Glaucus@hotmail.com
 

ADUR VALLEY EFORUM PAGE

1 August 2000
Snakelocks Anemone (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)A most unusual appearance on Kingston Beach was a solitary  Snakelocks Anemone, which reach their most easterly point of distribution up the English Channel (northern coast) at Worthing, with an occasional stragglers on the shore at Shoreham, and almost entirely absent (one record only in 100+ visits) from Brighton

1 August 2000
The Marine Wildlife Forum of the NE Atlantic commences.

Pink Childing (by Andy Horton)31 July 2000
A Clouded Yellow Butterfly was spotted on a Childing Pink  still in flower in the minute area of sand dunes (TQ 229 048) remaining on Shoreham Beach. These rare plants seem to have increased in number, but are still under threat from encroaching vegetation

30 July 2000
Butterflies
The Lancing chalk pit area in July is washed with the fragrance of Buddleia davidii, this is possibly the best area on the Ring for butterfly spotting. On this visit at the end of July there were good numbers of Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown. I saw three Commas', I think two males may have been competing over a female.
Two Marbled Whites fluttered in.

Report by  Ray Hamblett


26 July 2000
A shoal of about 50 adult Grey Mullet, Chelon labrosus, varying in length from 40 cm to 90 cm (excluding the caudal fin) followed the neap tide in in the shallows of the River Adur on the southern side outside Emerald Quay (TQ 225 048). 

In between the high density flats, the small weir keeps a depth of water of just under a metre and makes a huge rock pool trapping up to perhaps half a dozen Grey Mullet and shoals of hundreds of small (first year) Bass where they spend the summer. The Bass were "flashing" and the inevitable Shore Crabs crawled along the bottom and around the mooring ropes.

21 July 2000
It was another sunny day, with quite a strong steady breeze. The eastern riverside walk (TQ 208 054) from the Toll Bridge south is lined with  Buddleia and the chalk soil contains grasses, Red Valerian and a few meadow plants. However, butterflies were only a handful of Gatekeeper, Cabbage Whites and an occasional Red Admiral. There were a small butterflies as well, perhaps one of the Skippers. On 24 July 2000, Ray Hamblett noticed the same paucity of butterflies upriver near the old Cement Works, although he spotted a solitary Comma.

20 July 2000
The nearly Full Moon turned an orangey-pink as it rose at 11:30 pm after a bright sunny day, with temperatures at least 25° C.
Tides Page

Common Emerald Moth (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)6 July 2000
A Common Emerald Moth, Hemithea aestivaria, entered my house in South Lancing. The wingspan is about 28 mm. This is the commonest of the emerald moths, distinguished from the Large Emerald because of its wavy lines. 

Report by Ray Hamblett


4 July 2000
The late afternoon saw a brief thunderstorm and downpour. However, in other parts of Sussex an unprecedented 70 mm of rain fell in 24 hours. In Shoreham 58 mm of rain was recorded, which is a large amount. 
The green seaweed Enteromorpha has covered the mud and sand between the Old Fort and Soldier's Point, (TQ 233 045), Shoreham Beach. This annual seaweed favours area where fresh water and seawater mix, and its occurrence is likely to have occurred because of the excessive rainfall in May, and also because the beach was closed last year and the bait diggers have not returned in their usual numbers.

 House Martins are nesting in Gordon Road, Shoreham. 

1 July 2000
Scores of Moon Jellyfish Aurelia aurita in Shoreham Harbour, but they do not appear to be as numerous as in the last two years. The Japweed, Sargassum muticum, was particularly abundant on the edges of the bank and empty wharves opposite the nearly completed new Power Station.
A day-flying Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, was reported by S. Nash from Upper Beeding High Street. 
Immigration of Lepidoptera

30 June 2000
Plenty of Pyramidal Orchids (TQ 207 067) were easily spotted on the cycle route from Old Shoreham to Bramber and on the roadside verges and South Downs way bridlepaths and footpaths over the Downs. Gatekeeper and Red Admiral butterflies flitted amongst the variety of wild plants with the occasional Clouded Yellow. The Redshanks did not seem to be present on the Adur riverbank.
Wild Flower Society

29 June 2000
On a sunny day, an unfamiliar yellow butterfly was spotted by Andy Horton amongst the Tree Mallow on Lancing beach. It was bright yellow with a dark rim to its wings. I have identified it as a migrant, the Clouded Yellow, Colas croceus.

Pyramid Orchid (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)


18 June 2000
Ray Hamblett discovered the a meadow (TQ 208 098) of orchids in full flower near Beeding Hill, north of Mill Hill during the heatwave (temperatures to 27° C).
Information & Photographs link (Ray Hamblett's site).

British Orchid Information (Really Wild Flowers)

ORCHID SLIDE SHOW  (photographs by Ray Hamblett) (CD-ROM only)

11 June 2000
Martin Davies surprised aRoe Deer when cycling between Truleigh Hill and New Erringham Farm over the downs route to Mill Hill. It was in the arable field on the east side near Beeding Hill
June Brown has seen deer on the grazing pastures of the Adur flood plain.
 

    3 June 2000
    The first fine sunny day after one of the wettest Mays on record for the
    WORLD OCEANS DAY
    Adur Exhibition on Coronation Green
    World Oceans Day (Slide Show)
     

    2 June 2000
    Kingston Beach
    The sea anemone Sagartiogeton undatus was discovered. This uncommon sea anemone is present locally but rarely found.
    Butterfish were discovered under rocks just above low water mark, and a couple of Bullheads were caught near low water mark. Blennies were common (see below). Large edible sized prawns were absent, although present at other locations off Shoreham. 

    2 June 2000
    Flocks of Jackdaws arrive in the gardens to the north of Shoreham Town centre in their scores (there are probably hundreds), scavenging in pairs on the greens adjacent to roads. 

    30 May 2000
    Kingston Beach fails to comply with the mandatory levels of minimum sewage pollution, exceeding the coliform count. This is not the EA figures but samples taken by Adur District Council.
    EU Legal Requirements (link)

    16 May 2000
    Blenny (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)Two consecutive days start off misty with the new Power Station chimney completely obscured from Shoreham and the fog horn sounding. Approaching the low springs, (high at 5.6 m, low at 1.2 m), Blennies (a small green fish) were exceptionally common at Kingston Beach, below low water mark, commoner than for any time for 20 years. They varied in length from 60-75 mm long. Apart from a few Common Gobies, they were the only fish in the pools.
    Shore Crabs were plentiful as is usual in May, but what was surprising was that almost 100% of them were coloured green.
    1999 Report
    Tides page

    10 May 2000
    Hedgehogs mate, snorting noisily, amongst the docks and bluebells in Corbyn Crescent (TQ 224 053). The thunderstorms forecast seem to have avoided Shoreham. It is sunny and humid and large Black Slugs, Arion ater, 15 cm long, venture out in the damp atmosphere.

    Broom at the Lancing Clump meadows (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

    Lancing Clump Photographs (May 2000) by Ray Hamblett (Link)

    20 April 2000
    Continual rain all day long. When will it ever stop?

    14 April 2000
    A number of Skylarks were airborne over Lancing Clump.
    Link to the Full Wildlife Report from Ray Hamblett

    10 April 2000
    A second successive sunny day with a north-east wind. In a mild winter, sunny days have been few and far between. A Weasel, Mustela nivalis, was seen successfully crossing the busy four-lane A27 main south coast road near the Sussex Pad. 

    Report by Ray Hamblett


    The Old Fort sea defences on the River Adur side have been extensively repairedBrent Goose (Photograph by Andy Horton) and re-landscaped. a solitary Brent Goose, seen before at this location in spring, foraged along the incoming tide line. Its previous foraging zone has been been replaced by lumps of a hard granite-like rock from Norway. Both near the Shoreham Harbour piers and between the Shoreham Motor Yacht Club and the beach, the gravel has been extensively shifted around obliterating the shingle plants, especially Sea Campion, and  Yellow-horned Poppy.
    More on the Old Fort changes

    27 March 2000
    Hundreds of Black-headed Gulls on the mudflats each side of the Toll Bridge, but there are no sign of the flocks of Lapwings on the airfield or the Adur.

    23 March 2000
    Upper Beeding Parish Councillors have complained that wildlife (wading birds) have been driven away by the draining of the Upper Beeding Brooks by the Environmental Agency to prevent flooding.

    March 2000
    Jays have visited Windlesham Gardens (a road) on several occasions during February and March. A Grey Heron visited a large pond in a large town garden just off the town centre, and Herring Gulls look like making a nest on the rooftops.                                                                  Report by Alan

    6 March 2000
    On an overcast day, thousands of Black-headed Gulls, many more than usual, congregated on the River Adur at high tide, with more in the fields and flying over Shoreham Town Centre. A few Chaffinches, no longer common, showed a preference for a Pussy Willow Tree near the Waterworks Road. I disturbed a Pheasant on the flood plain fields grazed by a flock of sheep

    4 March 2000
    The garden ponds in Shoreham, complete with frog spawn froze over during the night. 

    3 March 2000
    First reading of the Countryside & Rights of Way Bill.
    More Information Link

    1 March 2000
    A couple of Moorhens scrambled about in the muddy field called Longacres underneath the Adur Flyover and a Heron patrolled along the drainage streams on the edge of the nearby grazed fields, looking for frogs. There was no sign of frog spawn. 

    29 February 2000
    South-westerly gales and rain sweep the whole of the British Isles. Although the south-east of England escaped relatively lightly (12 mm of rain), it was extremely unpleasant to venture out, and the conditions were sufficiently windy to make cycling impossible for the whole of the morning.

    27 February 2000
    Gallons of Frog Spawn laid in the Hamme Field allotments, Shoreham. (58 days after the start of the Millennium). 

    Report by Joan Barker


    24 February 2000
    The patch of Glasswort, Salicornia europea,  that burst into life last year has had a lasting effect. Glasswort is an annual plant. However, the growths were accompanied by a mat of green algae and this can been seen clearly from the footbridge. Oystercatchers were the most noticeable bird probing with their long red bills where the algal mat meets the mud. Dunlins numbered about a dozen that come be seen clearly without binoculars from the footbridge at mid-tide level, and there were plenty of Black-headed Gulls and a few Redshanks
    Glasswort is the first colonising plant nearest the low tide mark. 
    Verdant Mud 1999

    11 February 2000
    At least a dozen Collared Doves visited St. Mary's Churchyard, Shoreham, after a spell of windy weather. They seem to favour the conifers in the churchyard.

    11 February 2000
    Murmurations
    The male Starling, with an iridescent blue band underneath its neck, called out to its mate from every conceivable vantage point. Throughout Shoreham it seems that there is scarcely a chimney pot or a tree with one and often more of the birds calling out with a mixture of clicks and chirrups and weird noises (like a telephone off its hook). The tens of thousands of Starlings exceed previous years. About 50 could be seen in a single town tree.

    10 February 2000
    The morning gales and high tide congregated hundreds of omnipresent Black-headed Gulls on the shingle, a common event. However, I noticed that scores of these gulls had very dark red legs, as dark as the Mediterranean Gull. Heads varied from all brown (looks black in the winter light) to patchy and all white.
    On the brackish Widewater Lagoon, Mute Swans drunk from a bowl of fresh water provided for them. 

    9 February 2000
    Red-breasted Mergansers rested on Widewater after a squally spell of rain and high winds gusting to gale force.

    4 February 2000
    With the weather clement for early February, but the days still short, so it remains dark for the low springs when the mussel beds are revealed by the ebbing tide, a solitary Oystercatcher, amongst the Black-headed Gulls, foraged at dusk. I thought just for one moment the Oystercatcher was stabbing at the mussels, but it wasn't, merely probing between the shells of crabs and worms.

    26 January 2000
    After a sub-zero night, the bright sun throughout the day still left patches frost on the riverbank in the late afternoon. The flood River Adur was still as a millpond and the sun low in the sky cast strong reflections. Lapwings foraged in their thousands on the airfield. As usual in January, Redshanks, hunted amongst the Sea Purslane in the river shallows. 

    24 January 2000
    Anybody notice the screeching sound that a Starling makes? I thought I had left the telephone of the hook (is it mimicking the sound?), but a Starling was standing on the wire outside the window, communicating with other Starlings of the huge flocks that disperse in the morning and congregate again for their night roosts.

    21 January 2000
    Little Grebes were diving under water for fish north of the Toll Bridge. These birds appear to have been absent for a few years. 

    21 January 2000
    The Lunar Eclipse is obscured by low misty cloud. The Moon was meant to look orangey (the Earth's atmosphere acting like a prism for the rays of the Sun).
    http://spacescience.com/headlines/y2000/ast02feb_1.htm

    18 January 2000
    Adur Quality of Life meeting (click on the text for a summary)

    15 January 2000
    Foxes are making a nuisance of themselves on Shoreham beach near the Old Fort. They are very noisy at night with territorial fights, and are also visible in daytime.  One passed our gate at 9.00 am and returned at 11.30 am, walking from the beach, through our garden, across the road and through the garden opposite.
    Later a neighbour telephoned me to inquire what could be done about them, as they are becoming a nuisance, digging up bulbs, and damaging garden plants. 

          Report by David Wood
ADUR NATURE NOTES   1999

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