Shoreham, Lancing and East Worthing Beaches
Beach is a shingle spit about three miles long, separated from town of
Shoreham-by-Sea (Sussex) by the River
Adur, which been has deflected eastwards by the longshore
drift over the centuries. Wood and rock groynes have been installed
to stabilise the moving shingle and to minimise erosion and prevent flooding.
rolling in over the sand flats of Lancing
a high spring tide
the turn of the century the creeping permanent development and re-development
of the natural fringing beach at Shoreham has gradually covered the main
shingle bank, leaving a narrow strip, squeezed between houses and sea.
flat strip of seemingly lifeless pebbles that has once more held out against
a winter sea, is set to surprise and delight us, as seeds and roots of
last years flowering respond to longer days, and find nourishment and moisture.
In April and early May they burst upon us with a brilliant flowering border
adapted to the harsh conditions.
David Wood (Shoreham Beach)
of the Shingle
to the Coastal Wildlife Reports for 2005
old dessicated mushroom (photographed on the right) found on an old wooden
groyne on the shingle part of Shoreham Beach near the kiosk at the eastern
end of Widewater Lagoon car park was possibly
a species of Agrocybe.
It was incongruous on the beach, but it looked like a common species on
a poor condition, so I did not stop to examine it closely.
large mushroom was spotted on Lancing beach by the sailing club building,
on the shingle but where some soil has collected against the wooden fence
boundary between the shingle and the concrete path. It was the species
which is distinctive because of the presence of a volva
from which the tapering stipe (stem) grows. It was the easily identified
gloiocephala. This species is sometimes
known as the Straw Mushroom,
speciosa (its old name).
were two chirms of Goldfinches
by the scrub next to Widewater of eight
and five birds respectively.
the weather changes the birds are on the move. Two chirms of Goldfinches
arrived One flock over the wild wasteland area between Widewater
Lagoon and the beach huts and the sea, numbered at least 16 finches
but in the second group over Lancing Beach Green there were only eight
birds. There were a handful of pipits, looking more like Rock
Pipits than the commoner Meadow
an overcast day with a Strong Breeze from the south-west, there wasn't
anything of special note. The pink of the Thrift
was still to be see on the Widewwater Lagoon
flood plain east of the bridge. And Common
Mallow was still in flower with the red berries
the morning gales, but still with a strong
Breeze (Force 6)
were dropping shellfish (molluscs, probably
from a height on to Lancing Beach Green
beach below, one dropping their prey on to the new rock sea defences in
an attempt to break open the shells.
seemed if the dragonfly flew in off the sea
as the flight was a rapid south to north over a narrow area of beach shingle
near Lancing Sailing Club (between Beach Green, Lancing, and Widewater).
Hawker, Aeshna cyanea, had caught
a Small White Butterfly
and flew around for about a minute until it chose the first place of rest
on the temporary fencing erected by the sea defence contractors. Mandibles
crunching away, it consumed its butterfly prey just like a hungry crab
and after two minutes the prey had been eaten and the dragonfly flew northwards.
Of course, the Southern Hawker
could have just visited the beach area to prey on the numerous Small
White Butterflies, with caterpillars that
feed on the Sea Kale.
immigrant Painted Lady Butterfly
was resting nearby.
Falcons sparred over the top of the power station in Shoreham Harbour
at 9:00 am on
an overcast morning in a gap between the rain showers. They appeared from
behind the chimney where the nestbox faces south and chased each other
over the main power station building landing on the roof between their
by Peter Talbot-Elsden (Southwick)
Ragwort flowers on Shoreham Beach as the
shingle plants are now past the best display.
blue of the Viper's Bugloss
contrasted with the yellow of one of the Stonecrops,
of which at least two species of Sedum
are found on the beach shingle.
ADUR WORLD OCEANS
was one of the leaders in the United Kingdom when it presented an Exhibition
celebrating the official World Oceans Day. It was
held in the large marquee on
Green overlooking the River
and Marion Wood brought along a living Starry
plant. This naturalised flower is now only known from Shoreham beach.
most interesting discovery was a sea urchin fossil (base of the spines
which have broken off) found on Shoreham beach and brought in by a young
girl. This is illustrated on the right.
the attendance on a sunny day (21.4° C)
at 3,500 (estimates of attendances at other events have been overstated).
the western side of the local Adur Council boundaries the Worthing Council
has for years rigorously adopted a policy of weeding out any plants that
had taken root on the shingle. Still, remarkably a few hardy colonisers
had withstood the onslaught, including the straggly yellow plant in the
yellow crucifer with beaked fruits, erect sepals, and clasping upper leaves,
perfume and flower colour is best on the shingle above the high tide mark
Bugloss contrasts nicely with red Common
next to the beach huts south of Shoreham Beach
small bank is an earth barrier to discourage travellers. And the common
shingle plants are the first to colonise.
was singing in the fog from the Carrot's Cafe car park, by Shoreham Harbour
Power Station (at Southwick) in the early morning rush hour.
high spring tides had pushed five Turnstones
on to the ridge of shingle on Lancing Beach
(near Brooklands) but they were even harder
to distinguish than the Ringed Plovers
in the same place on 21
April 2004. There were dozens of whelk
balls (disused egg cases of the Common Whelk)
on the strandline where the Turnstones
dipped over the ridge to feed. One bird was actually observed turning over
a pebble as befits its common name.
sleek birds of prey flew in under the mist on Southwick
beach. These were a complete surprise and identified as immigrant Hobbies.
by June Brown
was a considerable amount of bird activity on the shingle close to the
beach huts near Shoreham Beach Green. I fastened my binoculars and tried
to find the birds that were well camouflaged against the pebbles. The first
birds seen were a handful of Wheatears
very alert and upright. There was too much human disturbance and there
were two groups of much smaller birds. The first turned out to be House
Sparrows but the second group were more
vocal and restless. One of the birds sang from the roof of one of the beach
huts and then its red speckly breasts revealed these birds as Linnets.
high spring tides had pushed the Ringed
Plover on to the ridge of shingle on Lancing
Beach (near Brooklands) but you will have
to look carefully at the photograph above to spot the well camouflaged
small greenish-brown bird made a short flight immediately in front of me
as I cycled past Widewater. It was nestled
down amongst the shingle and its camouflage was not all that successful.
When it scrambled to action stations it looked exhausted. This bird was
most likely an immigrant Chiffchaff,
it did not call.
by the blustery south-westerly breeze, the clump of six-petalled
white flowers in the "daffodil zone" on the grass verges of the beach shingle
by the Church of Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach were bent almost horizontal
by the wind. Initially the plant was wrongly identified as the Star
umbellatum, probably a garden escape of a pretty plant that has
been known in England since 1548. It is not usually thought of as a native
plant but it has been naturalised for a long time and known in Sussex for
These could be the introduced bluish-white
variety of the garden plant known as the Spring
gives its name as Tristagma uniflorum.
on UK Wildlife Yahoo Group
they way be known as Wall Lizards because of their frequency of inhabiting
old flint walls, and under the blue cloudless sky, over fifty (counted
38 avoiding duplicates and then estimated) lizards skittered up the extensive
crumbling south and west facing flint walls of the Old Fort (Shoreham
Beach) (TQ 234 046) with
dexterity, very quickly (too quickly to photograph) after basking in the
warmth of the morning sun.
was one particularly large lizard and I would estimate its length (excluding
its long tail) at 60 mm. Most were much smaller appearing about half the
size at 40 mm.
these lizards would drop into the grass or hide in a crevice if disturbed.
They were only to be found near tufts of grass. Although they skittered
over the vertical walls with ease, they only occupied the lower flint levels.
All the lizards seen had their full tails.
Fort Photographs (More Lizard Images)
of a European Wall Lizard (from the Isle of Wight)
Hollins' Nature Notes
Wall Lizards have slightly larger heads and longer legs than Common Lizards
They often have very thin bands with alternating black and white sections
on their tails (like rings around the tail but only apparent down the sides
of the tail, not all round)
The Lizards in this colony seem to have come from Northern Italy and have
the bright green backs of the sub-species found there.
While Common Lizards prefer dense grassy or heathy habitat the Wall Lizard
is strongly associated with dry stony habitat with a vertical component,
and is often found basking high up on its wall (sometimes up on roof tops)
Finally, the scales on the Wall Lizard are smaller than those on a Common
Lizard giving a smoother skinned effect (I don't know how noticeable this
these lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall
Lizard Comparison Photographs
Tortoiseshell Butterfly with a reddish
hue was my first of the year seen on the Childing
Pink patch of Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach
east. This is likely to be an immigrant and confirms my suspicion that
the reddish hued specimens are either immigrants or old butterflies emerging
from hibernation, or both.
least three Wheatears
seemed to have just flown in by the Old Fort, near the western arm of Shoreham
Harbour entrance at the far eastern end of Shoreham beach. These attractive
birds were well camouflaged against the shingle but could be seen clearly
through the binoculars when standing on posts and, of course, they were
immediately recognisable by there white rear when they flew off.
least two lizards in the grass by the Old Fort (TQ
234 046) seemed to have a slight greenish
tinge to their head and underside, were very darkly patterned with black
on brown, about 35 mm long (excluding the long tail) and a total length
estimated at 90 mm. I had a close look without being conversant with the
identifying features. I have always thought that these lizards were the
(or Viviparous) Lizard, Zootoca
vivipara. However, it seems at least
superficially, they can match the photographs
the European Wall Lizard, Podarcis
muralis. The legs in the Old Fort
were speckled with black. However, these species look almost identical
to each other to the inexperienced herpetologist.
Lizards have a straight collar, which distinguishes them from Sand and
Viviparous Lizards which have collars with serrated edges."
Lizards of Europe
these lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall
were four Turnstones
on the rock (syenite) sea defences by Widewater
Lagoon on the high spring tide,
and at least three Great Crested Grebes
green lizards were discovered on a wall on Shoreham Beach (not at Shoreham
Old Fort). These have now been identified as the European Wall Lizard,
the ridge of the shingle by the beach huts a female
Redstart stood out where I would expect
to see a Ringed Plover.
A pair of Ringed Plovers
were together on gravel by the pipeline outlet into Widewater
Lagoon with a feeding Little Egret.
Another Little Egret
stood statuesque like a Heron
just to the west of the bridge over the lagoon, (where the gardens were
up to World War II).
and 2 Black Redstarts
(one a male) were seen on the shingle beach just west of Beach Green, Shoreham
Beach between 4.15 - 4.45 pm.
the rain tipped down in the early evening (before the light faded) the
Falcon was perched on one of the ledges on the Shoreham Harbour Power
Station chimney for a few minutes,
by Peter Talbot-Elsden (Southwick)
Grebes have been reported before off Shoreham
Beach. The Sussex
Ornithological Society have
this bird classified as a scarce Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant. This
colourful grebe is one of the lesser known of the British birds, observed
to visit estuaries and the shallow seas in severe weather when their home
freshwater ponds are frozen. It feeds on fish. Over seventy pairs breed
auritus, was seen in summer
plumage off the Church of the Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach in the afternoon.
Peregrine Falcon has just landed on the Shoreham Harbour Power Station
chimney, near the nest box, at 3:54 pm.
by Peter Talbot-Elsden (Southwick)
Lady Butterfly is seen flying at about
8 mph against a light breeze (about 6 mph) from the north-west near
Lancing Beach Green (by the Sailing Club where the path narrows between
the green and Widewater Lagoon). This butterfly
appears to be an immigrant, probably
on the long journey from Africa, possibly from France.
Reports of Painted Ladies (Adur Nature Notes: February 2004)
evidence for Immigration of Painted Ladies
observing a gull hanging in the air and finally settling on the undulating
Sandwich Tern, Sterna
sandvicensis, flew arrow-like a purposely
over the shallow sea (at high tide) parallel with Southwick beach before
disappearing out of view to the west. Terns
are unusual in the winter months.
the gales of the last few days, I walked the strandline
on Southwick Beach in a temperature of 15.1°
C but there was nothing remotely exceptional
apart from a single dead and washed up Auk.
However, in the winter months the offshore passage of Guillemots
is high so an occasional washed up casualty is to be expected. Whelk
egg balls were present and it would be surprising
if they weren't and some
were probably blown even further inland. Dead shells include the usual
Oysters, Scallops with the occasional Limpet
& the Slipper Limpet
small flocks of sea birds of birds whirled low over the sea off Brooklands
Boating Lake which
was just beginning to show sand. The swiftly flying flocks numbered about
200 and they have seen before and not mentioned. They are almost certainly
which are seen over the sand at low tide
and were recorded only five days earlier.
A flock of
feeding on the sandy beach next to the sea off Brooklands
Boating Lake. This
area is noted for Sanderling,
this large number was exceptional.
are now a familiar sight on the shingle shores of Shoreham beach in the
winter. Just one twittered as it flew past: the call is now recognisable
Sandpipers were inside the west arm of
Shoreham harbour entrance (on the Old Fort side) on a falling tide. If
the tide is low these birds sometimes get on the square concrete platform
just outside the base of the west arm. At high tide they sometimes roost
on the wooden 'crash barriers' immediately opposite the blockhouse but
again they were not there last time I looked at a high tide (and
pretty distant then anyway). So on current experience I'd say try the wooden
pier/west arm when tide is halfway in or out but don't expect to be lucky
Message on Sussex Birds
Reports to 2003 (Link)
Address for sending in wildlife reports from the lower Adur valley
a selection will be included and only reports with the name of the reporter
85 million years ago Sussex was covered by a warm sea. Sedimentary deposits
of coccoliths (microscopic plankton with a calcium carbonate shell) laid
down the chalk which is the rock of the South Downs of south-east England.
The flint probably formed from the dissolved remains of ancient sponge
siliceous spicules and was deposited at a later date into gaps and beds
in the chalk when the silica then solidified. When the friable chalk was
eroded the flint remained, subsequently rounded into spherical and ovoid
pebbles by the action of the waves grinding the pebbles against each other.
explanation for upper layers of chalk)
Sea Urchin Echinocorys scutatus
Bivalve Spondylus spinosa (pic).
| Large White
|| Pieris brassicae
| Small White
|| Pieris rapae
|| Aglais urticae
|| Vanessa atalanta
|| Vanessa cardui
Immigrants or hibernators
caterpillars feed on
caterpillars feed on
to FLOWERING PLANTS OF THE SHINGLE