ADUR NATURE NOTES 2012
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex
Overcast and cloudy (with rain) which occurred every day in the first half of the month of July 2012
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Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph

2012  Regional


Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports

LOCAL NATURE RESERVES


A Nature Reserve is defined in Section 15 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, as land managed for the purpose:
(a) of providing, under suitable conditions and control, special opportunities for the study of, and research into, matters relating to the flora and fauna of Great Britain and the physical conditions in which they live, and for the study of geological and physiographical features of special interest in the area; or
(b) of preserving flora, fauna, or geological or physiographical features of special interest in the area; or for both these purposes.í

EVENTS
 

10 August 2012

Rockpooling Event at the Old Fort organised by the Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB)

Over 150 rockpoolers descended down on  to the safe beach at Old Fort, Shoreham Beach at low tide and they were able to forage in the pools for over two hours. The critters of the seashore never had a chance to escape the flimsy nets and probing fingers of the youngsters. Fish fry swam in the shallow pools, notably scores of the young of the Two-spotted Goby, Gobiusculus flavescens. Many of the captures were decamped to temporary aquariums further of the beach and returned to the pools before the incoming tide. 

FOSB Events
BMLSS Rockpooling


WILDLIFE REPORTS
 

30 December 2012

Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, in Shoreham Harbour
Photograph by Simone Mia Smith
BMLSS Cetaceans

A CommonDolphin was spotted in the mouth of Shoreham Harbour.
Report by Phil Dunk on the Sussex Ornithological Society News

25 October 2012
A beautifully marked first winter male Desert Wheatear delighted birders at Worthing Splash Point (east of Worthing Pier). Virtually tame, it was flitting around the rocks and actively feeding - and not at all bothered by people or cameras. The little beauty was confident enough to make eye contact with his many fans.
 

The Desert Wheatear, Oenanthe deserti, is a very rare visitor to Britain. If an Eastern race bird does land here, it has been blown off course quite a bit as it would have been on its way from its breeding grounds in central Asia to its wintering grounds in Pakistan and north-east Africa. 

Sussex Ornithological Society First Report
 

 
 

17 October 2012
A Storm Surge put extra height on an exceptionally high tide of 6.8 metres at 12:56 pm, just beginning to flood Coronation Green.
 
 
 
 

Photograph by Peter Weaver

9 October 2012
A most unusual visit was made by half a dozen European Spoonbills, Platalea leucorodia, to the River Adur estuary about 2:00 pm, at low tide, opposite the Airport. Spoonbills are a Very Scarce Passage Migrant in Sussex, occasionally recorded in ones or twos, very rarely four or five, and six together is unprecedented. 
SOS Bird List (Spreadsheet)


7 October 2012
I cycled the muddy western towpath of the River Adur for the first time this year and surprised a very large bird of prey leaving a pasture at Botolphs. I believe this to be my first ever brief (20 second) sighting of an Osprey. It flew leisurely over the pasture, mobbed aggressively by a Crow which look very small in comparison to the large raptor. The Osprey is classified as a scarce Passage Migrant by the Sussex Ornithological Society
Report on SOS Sightings (Link)
 
20 September 2012
A Bar-tailed Godwit made a sudden landing in the shallow margins of Widewater Lagoon.It promptly started actively searching for food, wading in a few inches of saline/brackish water, poking its beak in the soft mud rapidly (about twenty times a minute?) and repeatedly for a period of ten minutes or more without a break. Its long beak was pink but half black nearest the tip.
SOS Report
Adur Coastal Reports

3 September 2012
When the sun came out in the early afternoon, the lower slopes of Mill Hill were alive with butterflies. Adonis Blues were present in unprecedented numbers with the count of 205 in the transect acre though to be under recorded because of cloudy conditions at first. This count equates to an estimate of 800+ on Mill Hill. At one point on my return journey, a spot just above the path it was diffficult to avoid treading on the brown female Adonis Blues amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves. Meadow Brown Butterflies were also common with over 150 in thetransect acre. Nine species of butterfly and three species of large moth were noted in the humid sunshine.
Full Butterfly & Moth Report

30 - 31 August 2012
 

Common Lizard
Wall Lizard

I visited Shoreham Beach to try an get a photograph of a Wall Lizard after my success with a Common Lizard the previous day. Nineteen Wall Lizards were spotted on the south and west facing carnot flint walls of the Old Fort, skittering into holes in the wall at the earliest opportunity, with none of them keeping still in the open and basking in the sun.  A Common Lizard was spotted  basking on the chestnut fencing at the top of the Pixie Path.
Adur Lizards

23 August 2012
Mill Hill was alive with butterflies in same places with between fifty and a hundred seen all at once on the best parts of the lower slopes. This was despite a large Cumulus cloud casting a big shadow over the hill around midday

Meadow Browns were in unprecedented numbers, estimated well in excess of a thousand and peaking with at least 350 an acre (possibly 500+). Adonis Blues were recorded at 138 in the transect acre. On the top meadows the Adonis Blue density was probably exceeded by the hundreds of Common Blues. Twelve species of butterfly and four species of macro-moth were recorded on and around Mill Hill in an hour. The tally included 21 Chalkhill Blues and four Wall Browns. In a glade with Hemp Agrimony, a half a dozen Red Admirals visited. 
Full Butterfly Report (First Draft Record) & Species List
Mill Hill Report
22 August 2012
On the outskirts of Shoreham, a variety of brown butterflies were in prominance of display. Speckled Woods were frequent and with 30+ on a detour passage through the Pixie Path. Eight butterfly species were seen on a breezy cloudy day. Five female Chalkhill Blues were seen on Mill Hill Cutting SE. Three separate sightings of the spectacular hoverfly Volucella zonaria, were noted in and around the Pixie Path, north of Old Shoreham. 
Butterfly Report

20 August 2012
A Buzzard flew over Southwick Hill and another sighting was reported from nearby Thundersbarrow (on the downs north of Shoreham). 

An early morning mussel collecting visit to Kingston Beach on a low spring tide found the unprecedented frequent (30+) occurrence of very small Common Starfish Asterias rubens on the underside of rocks just above Chart Datum.

17 August 2012

Female Emperor Dragonfly
Photograph by Sharon Penfold

This spectacular dragonfly was spotted in a Sompting garden. It is female Emperor Dragonfly,Anax imperator.

Adur Dragonfly Reports

On a sunny and very humid day the butterflies were out and seen almost as I left my front door. The first of seventeen different species on the day was a Small Tortoiseshell that was basking on the busy Dolphin Road in Shoreham. It took flight as I cycled towards it. Ten of the species were seen within the boundaries of the built-up area. 

Adonis Blue (male)The lower slopes of Mill Hill was alive with hundreds of butterflies, at an average of a butterfly per square metre over the southern part of the lower slopes, usually a less favourable area for numbers. I spent under a quarter of an hour on the hill, but I still managed to see over fifty of each of four species: Meadow Browns, Chalkhill Blues, Adonis Blues and Common Blues. (I estimated their numbers to be over 100 of each in the transect acre.) 
Butterfly Report
Mill Hill Report

13 August 2012
Second brood male Adonis Blue Butterflies were seen immediately on a visit to the lower slopes of Mill Hill curtailed by rain. Frequent Meadow Browns were the most prevalent of nine species of butterfly seen in less than 20 minutes. 
Full Butterfly Report

5 August 2012

Because of the dreadful weather I missed the peak emergence of Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill this year. (The Chalkhill Blue Butterflies tend to emerge simultaneously over two days at the turn of the month.) On the first suitable (if far from ideal) day a trip to the lower slopes of Mill Hill discovered only 90 in the transect acre on a cloudy cool (>18.0 °C) day. There were 86 males seen and four females including two mating pairs. Thirteen butterfly species (the most in a single day so far this year) and two macro moths were seen on an unfavourable day.
Full Butterfly and Moth Report

31 July 2012
At the expected peak period for the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies I felt obliged to check out Mill Hill although the conditions were far from ideal with overcast skies and a very irritating breeze (Force 5) and cool (> 18.6 °C). On Mill Hill the pattern of roosting butterflies emerged with almost having to step on any butterflies to get them to show. On the lower slopes one acre transect I counted 64 Chalkhill Blues which comprised 62 active males and one mating pair spotted in about 30 minutes. The actual numbers are likely to be higher, at least double and possible many more. There were a further 30 Chalkhill Blues seen in other places including at least 24 on Mill Hill Cutting
 

Six other species of butterfly were seen in unfavourable conditions including a splendid fresh Wall Brown on Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly Report

27 July 2012
It was cool and humid (18.2 °C, compared to the last two warm days) and a visit to Mill Hill saw fresh Chalkhill Blues emerging. In the the transect acre 91 of the pale blue males appeared in 20 minutes on the verdant lower slopes. As it got warmer (20.1 °C) more appeared in flight estimated at 150 in the acre and I spotted my first brown female of the year. The vegetation was lusher and greener than normal and included frequent Round-headed Rampion, the dark blue flowers appearing above the low sward herbs. Ten butterfly species and three macro-moths were noted.
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Mill Hill Report

25 July 2012 
Bats were seen flying over my south Lancing back garden. They were probably Pipistrelle Bats.

Report by Ray Hamblett


 22 July 2012
Fifty male Chalkhill Blues were seen as the sun came out just after midday, 45 on the acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and another five on the Mill Hill CuttingThe species count was eight species of butterfly on the first sunny day for about seven weeks. 
Butterfly & Moth Report

16 July 2012
I visited Mill Hill. As soon as I dropped onto the lower slopes I saw my first Chalkhill Blue of the year. This was followed by another ten plus a magnificent Peacock, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Gatekeepers, Green-veined and Large Whites

Adur Butterflies: First Dates
 

28 June 2012
The large 4 kg male European Lobster, Homarus gammarus, on display at Adur World Oceans Day 2012 was put into a large holding tank at Monteums Ltd, Shoreham-by-Sea, for captive study. There is an even larger (but not so heavy) female for a possible mating. 

26 June 2012
Eventually the breeze died down sufficiently so it was worth checking out the population of Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, on Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach
 
 

Childing Pink

There were well a hundred single flowers showing and I eventually discovered just a single double flower with scores of the second flowers budding. This population of this scarce plant was thriving in numbers unprecedented this century.

14 June 2012
Just a footprint away, I nearly trod on an Adder on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, all coiled up basking under the clouds, before it slithered into the undergrowth before I could get my camera to focus. It was an adult grey snake with the distinctive black diamond markings and a chunky good looking specimen. 
 

 Spotted Orchid
Bee Orchid
Southern 
Marsh Orchid

Four species of orchid were now in flower in Shoreham: Spotted Orchids and the first budding Pyramidal Orchids mostly on the southern bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting, three of the already fading Southern Marsh Orchids on the southern bank of the Mill Hill Cutting, and the small but magnificent Bee Orchid on the verge on Mill Hill Road. 
Life Style of a Bee Orchid

9 June 2012

Adur World Oceans Day 2012
Understanding and celebrating our marine environment

The twelfth Adur World Oceans Day 2012 took place in the marquee on Coronation Green, by Shoreham Footbridge at the High Street end on the second Saturday of the Adur Festival. Len Nevell of the British Marine Life Study Society presented the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. The Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB) took an active role with their display of the wonders of Shoreham Beach. Wildlife writer Steve Savage presented the whale and dolphin exhibition with the life sized replica of a Bottle-nosed Dolphin

More Photographs on Facebook
World Oceans Day on Facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day


Brittlestar 4 June 2012
The wind died down and the sun shined weakly making ideal conditions. for a rockpooling visit to Worthing Pier on a low (0.4 metres) spring tide, which produced a surprise Common Brittlestar, Ophiothrix fragilis,as well as some infrequent summer occurrences like two large Velvet Swimming Crabs, Necora puber, a handful of small Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus bernhardus, in winkle shells, a single Common Starfish Asterias rubens, one Dahlia Anemone, Urticina felina, one small Long-legged Spider Crab Macropodia rostrata, and one sub-adult 5-Bearded Rockling, Ciliata mustela

3 June 2012
A steady Fresh Breeze (Force 5) was not conducive to the Shoreham Beach Wild Flower Photography Walk, organised by the Friends of Shoreham Beach (FoSB).

Swathes of Red Valerian in flower dominated the shingle on east Shoreham Beach with the contrasting leaves of Silver Ragwort which was beginning to bud, and the patches of Sea Kale which were showing their first flowers.Starry Clover, Trifolium stellatum, was flowering on the grass and herb banks of the Old Fort and on the shingle. The woody stems of Tree Mallow were impressive swaying wildly in the breeze. Two Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, skittered by the Old Fort, one over the shingle making for the safety of the wall and another large greenish one in the long grass near the west facing flint carnot wall.
Full Report

28 May 2012
A special shrimping trip to Lancing Beach (by Widewater) (with Selena Barr and Philippa Lane from Field magazine, and Peter Talbot-Elsden) in ideal weather conditions (1.5 metre neap low tide) caught three pints of Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, between us. There was not much else in the nets: frequent flatfish fry, two small Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, one swimming crab Portumnus latipes with "fleur-de lis" markings, one Vernal Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis, one badly damaged (but still alive, it nipped me) Masked Crab, Corystes cassivelaunus, a few large green Shore Crabs, Carcinus maenas, and a small Plaice, Pleuronectes platessa, (or possibly a Flounder?). 

BMLSS Shrimping Page
Field Magazine Inclusion

13 May 2012
An Osprey was spotted flying over Shoreham Airport and the identification was confirmed by a photograph


2 May 2012
A male Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus, made an impressive display when it visited the open space over New Monks Farm, Lancing. 

Hen Harrier
(Click on the image to view the video)

"It stayed for about an hour, constantly diving down, presumably after mice or other small animals. It attracted quite a large flock of gulls and crows that were trying to mob it, although it didnít seem too concerned."
The display was captured on a video film. This bird of prey is a scarce (winter visitor and passage migrant) visitor to Sussex.


16 April 2012
On a Cumulus day too cool for butterflies, a visit to Mill Hill was only entertained because the forecast for later in the week was worse. On the lower slopes the first flowers of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, appeared with another prostrate downland herb Milkwort. The tiny black pollen beetles Meligethes scrambled over the flowers on the bank, especially on Horseshoe Vetch, Dandelions and on a few of the violets. Dog Violets predominated with thousands still scattered over the slopes. Occasionally, a skipper (butterfly) rose from the ground and fluttered rapidly to a new resting place. The only one positively identified was a fresh Grizzled Skipper
Adur Violets
Adur Butterfly List 2012

30 March 2012
My first Hedgehog of the year scrambled in the road gutter at the junction of St Julian's Lane, Kingston Buci, near Church Green, Shoreham, and much too near the main traffic for its own safety. It was seen twenty minutes before midnight.

Orange-tip (male) on Sweet Violet28 March 2012
Seven species of butterfly were seen on the outskirts of Shoreham in the early afternoon including my first of the year male Orange-tip and a Green-veined White. These two are new Adur Nature Notes records for March. My first Small Tortoiseshell of the year was present as well as a Peacock, a Comma and a Small White
Adur Butterfly List 2012
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Violets

27 March 2012
I recorded ten different butterfly species in a day, which I cannot recall ever doing before during the month of March. In just a couple of hours at Mill Hill (Shoreham) I counted four Grizzled Skipper (first of the year), one Orange Tip (first of the year), one Speckled Wood, one Holly Blue ((first of the year), one Brimstone, one Small White, 14 Peacock, one Red Admiral, two Small Tortoiseshell and two Comma. The day-flying moths Pyrausta pupuralis and Pyrausta despicata  were both present in good numbers, along with the odd Pyrausta nigrata

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterfly Reports


I was surprised to find a freshly emerged Grizzled Skipper on Mill Hill. There were also half a dozen Peacocks and a Small Tortoiseshell. Reptiles were also out enjoying the sunshine, one black Adder, two Common Lizards and a Slow Worm

Report by Tim Newman on Sussex Butterfly Reports


12 March 2012
Under a blue sky and weak sunshine (14.6 °C) the Sweet Violets were flowering on Mill Hill, where I saw two Peacock Butterflies (my first two butterflies of the year), one flying across the road at the top of the hill and another one fluttering over the lower slopes. 
Adur Butterfly List
Report on the Adur Butterfly Blog
Adur Wild Flower Blog

29 February 2012
Around midday the sun shone weakly under a blue sky, but the warmth was enough for the first reptiles of the year to come out. On the south and west facing carnot wall of the Old Fort (on Shoreham Beach) I noted at least 16* separate Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, energetically skittered over the flint cobbled wall and into holes and crannies. All but one had intact tails and virtually all of them were large adults, but only the largest had a distinctive greenish tinge. (* duplicates excluded)
Adur Lizards
 

Widewater Lagoon
Wall Lizard

On Widewater Lagoon a paddling* of ten Teals were seen swimming on the still lagoon, and distinctively upturning themselves to feed. One of the three Little Egrets was feeding in the shallows: it was seen swallowing half a dozen 3-spined Sticklebacks in four minutes, with only two failed attempts. On the verges of the Waterworks Road in Old Shoreham, I noted a small clump of the first flowering Sweet Violets of the year. (*Collective noun ? paddling in a V formation of three at times.)

22 & 26 - 29 February 2012
A keen-eyed birdwatcher caught a tantalising glimpse of a Yellow-browed Warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus,  skulking in the bottom of the bushes in a build-up area to the west of the hospital in Worthing. This Asiatic bird is a rare visitor to Britain where it is occasionally to be found in bushy coastal locations. 
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

First Report by Leigh Provest on Sussex Ornithological Society News


23 February 2012
On the still waters of Widewater Lagoon, a raft of exactly a dozen Tufted Ducks rested, only swimming more to the centre of the eastern end of the lagoon when approached. 
 

Snow Bunting
Tufted Ducks

The two visiting Snow Buntings were not so reticent feeding on the flat beach shingle in the same area as before just above the sea high tide mark at the western end of Widewater
Adur Nature Notes: Snow Buntings
10 January 2012
The two Snow Buntings, Plectrophenax nivalis, were well camouflaged amongst the pebbles, feeding on seed provided for them and attracting a handful of birdwatchers with telephoto lens. Because they look like Sparrows with the naked eye, they would have been hard to discover if they did not stay on the same stretch of beach south of the western end of Widewater, despite disturbance by dog walkers. The two small birds flew off after the arrival of a Feral Pigeon

6 January 2012
An Iceland Gull was spotted on Shoreham Beach, on the seaward side of the west arm of the harbour from late morning to 1.15 pm. The Iceland Gull is a very scarce winter visitor and passage migrant to the Shoreham area.


This Iceland Gull was seen by other birdwatchers on several occasions from 4 January 2012. Earlier it was photographed over the River Adur.
Native Sussex (Mick Davis) Birding Blog

3 January 2012
It was a horrible morning with sheet rain and gales from the south-west, reaching a steady Gale Force 8 from 10:00 am to midday and after, and gusting to Storm Force 10 (max 61 mph) from 11:00 am.
Beaufort Scale
Shoreham Weather 2012
Met Office: Shoreham

2 January 2012
On east Lancing Beach (by Widewater), I finally managed to get a look at the small Snow Buntings camouflaged amongst the pebbles, the sparrow-sized fawn and cream birds crouching down and one of the two hiding behind a cobble-sized stone only slightly smaller than it.
Reports on Sussex Ornithological Society News
 
 

Adur Nature Notes 2011

 


Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
Lancing Village

Shoreham Weather 2012
 
 

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs
 

Urban Wildlife Webring


Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pagesLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes pages
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pagesLink to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index pageLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page
Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002

ADUR NATURE NOTES 2001

ADUR NATURE NOTES  2000

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