Adur rises four miles south of Horsham and runs south-east skirting
Coolham, Shipley and West Grinstead before meeting the eastern tributary
midway between Ashurst to the west and Henfield to the east. The eastern
tributary rises in two tributaries south of Haywards Heath, and south of
Burgess Hill that meet at Twineham. The River Adur reaches the sea at Shoreham-by-Sea
where the mouth has been deflected two miles to the east by the longshore
drift. Going upstream with the incoming tide through the centre of
New Shoreham under seven bridges
before the tide reaches the village of Bramber after 6.4 km (4 miles).
The river then passes about one mile east of the town of Steyning. The
is tidal for 17.9 km (11.1 miles) from the mouth to Bines Bridge on the
range where the River Adur, now at Kingston
Buci (part of Shoreham-by-Sea), meets the sea through the entrance to Shoreham
Harbour, is up to 7 metres above Chart Datum
on an equinoctial spring tide.
mud flats (TQ 208 056) including the RSPB Reserve has been notified from
1987 as a Site
of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under Section 28 of the Wildlife
& Countryside Act 1981.
to the list below on the Adur estuary before an optimum low tide,
before the Lapwings
were well over two thousand birds on the mud at low tide and a quick scan
with my binoculars between Old Shoreham Toll
Bridge and the new town
and I noted the following species: hundreds of Lapwings,
of gulls mostly
and Common Gulls,
with Herring Gulls
and Great Black-backed Gulls, a dozen
or so Grey Plovers, scores of Dunlins, 18+ Mallards,
Herons (by the housboats), a few Crows,
a Little Grebe (1), Cormorant
Egret (1+), and a few Meadow
Pipits around the Sea
Purslane on the banks. The Little
Egret was feeding in a shallow pool by the
slipway from Adur Recreation Ground and I remember noting its very distinctive
yellow feet as it flew a short distance. The Mallards
were on the mud flats near the Footbridge. My
binoculars were not powerful enough to have a close scrutiny on the distant
mud flats and a scope is advised to pick out all the waders.
several hundred Common Gulls
on the mud flats north of the
The sky was filled simultaneously with over a thousand Lapwings
and also an estimated several hundred Starlings.
were on station, but the tide was too far out to discern the waders and
gulls clearly in the poor light. The Great
Black-backed Gulls were present as usual.
Shoreham Toll Bridge and the town
there were seven Mute Swans,
seven Little Grebes,
two Little Egrets,
five Grey Herons,
106 Ringed Plover,
16 Grey Plover,
385 Black-headed Gulls,
150 Common Gulls,
51 Herring Gulls,
three Great Black-backed Gulls
and two Kingfishers.
were feeding on the mud at mid-tide by the houseboats (at the west end
by the small bridge) and another one was seen with three Cormorants
on the sandy water's edge south of the Toll
was the first time this autumn I had noticed a flock of Lapwings
on the sandbanks north of Toll Bridge.
waded along the water's edge.
picked along the water's edge at low tide by Ropetackle,
as the river winds through Shoreham town centre.
of the two Cormorants
diving under the water in the shallows at mid-tide just south of the Toll
Bridge, caught a silvery fish and swallowed it quickly. It was almost
certainly a first year Bass.
and a Little Egret
were feeding just south of the Toll Bridge,
Shoreham at high tide.
I watched them for five minutes and then it seemed something spooked them
and the four wading birds flew off in unison, calling, and they flew at
low level skimming the calm river and underneath the Railway
Viaduct, where they disappeared out of view.
Adur estuary opposite Shoreham Airport was as
calm as a mill pond at a high (5.9 metres)
spring tide after the recent gales.
usual, a Little Egret
waded and fed in the shallows.
least seven Grey Herons and
two Little Egrets
stood staturesque on the mud flats (at low tide)
amongst the Sea Purslane
and vegetation north of the houseboats on the River Adur estuary.
extraordinary white variety of the Clouded
Yellow Butterfly was seen by the Ricardo
Engineering Works and it settled briefly on the edge of the towpath at
the west end of the Toll
Shoreham. I think
it was most likely to have been Colias
croceus f. helice.
Egrets fed in the shallows at low tide
under the Railway Viaduct with three
and a Redshank,
as well as a mixed dozen or so gulls.
was surprised to see a Guillemot swimming
in the water just west of the Footbridge,
off Coronation Green on the high spring tide
about 2:00 pm.
It drifted upstream, hassled by Black-headed
Gulls, before diving down for a few minutes
and popping up only a few metres in front of me. Thought it might be a
at first, but the size (same as Black-headed
Gulls) and white belly gave it away. From
the Collins bird guide it looks like adult northern.Europe variety (white
throat and ear-coverts separated by a thin black band), or possibly 1st
was definitely not a Cormorant
high equinoctial spring tide lapped against the banks near the Toll Bridge.
woman was collecting the young shoots of Glasswort
(Marsh Samphire) in the mud on the west
side of the Toll Bridge at low tide.
was either a Whimbrel or
a Curlew on
the water's edge of the Adur estuary at low tide between the Toll
Bridge and the Railway Viaduct.
I did not have my binoculars, but is long down-curved beak was unmistakable
even at a distance. This bird is unusual on this part of the river. The
bird did not seen unduly perturbed by a nearby helicopter as well as bait
diggers. It was about the size of an Oystercatcher.
were three Cormorants
in the flooded river by the Cement Works. Two of them were observed juggling
with a fish in their beaks. One was observed closely adjusting the position
of a flatfish and then swallowing it with a bulge in its neck. It was a
hand-sized fish and probably a Flounder.
large Grey Mullet
nibbled at bread in the shallows at high tide by Coronation
Green, Shoreham. The Grey
Mullet appear every year so it is only their
first appearance that is newsworthy.
13 June 2006
pair of Mute Swans
with seven cygnets
arrived at Dolphin Hard (next to Coronation
Green) in the morning at high tide.
Later, a woman fed them white bread in pieces. This arrival looks like
a regular event as the Mute Swans
pair with seven cygnets
were also seen on the high spring tide on the 13th.
showed beautifully on the muddy banks of the Adur in Shoreham as the light
faded in early evening.
of the year in Shoreham was seen in flower actually
growing on the Footbridge
from cracks in the structure at the southern end.
swam slowly down the Adur estuary from the Toll
Bridge towards the Railway Viaduct.
I did not recognise it at first because I had left my binoculars at home.
It was one of very few birds on the half tide river.
were two (a pair had been seen copulating earlier in the year, but I did
not make a note of the date) of Oystercatchers
on the mussel beds on a rising tide.
the receding tide, I noticed two Oystercatchers
energetically probing for food on the exiguous of muddy margins south of
the Toll Bridge. There seems to remarkably
less than normal Mute Swans
on the lower stretches of the River Adur in Shoreham this year. Only a
handful were present.
was Little Grebe diving
under the water at low tide just west of the Footbridge.
the cold north-easterly breeze a hundred or so Common
Gulls with a handful of Great
Black-backed Gulls rested on the mud in
the bend of the river on the northern side as the Adur winds its way towards
the sea south of Cuckoo's
Corner. There were at least four Little
Grebes diving under the water. All these
birds are usual in February.
were all along the bank at regular intervals.
the flood tide, the colourful turquoise arrow of
flew out like a dart over the tidal river from the green banks of the River
Adur by the disused petrol pump storage area next to the Adur Riverbank
Industrial Estate (north of Ropetackle).
were five Little Grebes (=Dabchicks) diving
under the River Adur in the bend of the river at mid-tide, south of Cuckoo's
Corner. One of these small birds was seen with a small fish in its
a thousand Common Gulls
packed together on the mud north of the Toll
Bridge on the River Adur estuary, seen
on a rising tide with 600+ Lapwings.
gull flocks which included other species as well, were a contrasting white
patch on the brown mud banks under a blue cirrus sky. The other gulls were
Gulls and Black-headed
there were only a handful of each noted. The
height (measured at Shoreham Harbour, WX Tides) would be 4.5 metres.
estimated the Lapwing
flock on a low neap tide opposite Shoreham Airport
(between the Toll Bridge and the
Viaduct) at about 2500 birds.
the time in Shoreham Airport Control Tower on 7
January 2005 because of the grotty weather
I counted around 1700 Lapwings
on the airfield at one point. There were more and they tend to favour the
eastern side of the field (near the river). A single Golden
Plover was seen as well."
solitary Little Grebe
dived repeatedly under a flood high spring tide
on the River Adur south of the Toll Bridge.
Estuary Wildlife 2005
PLANTS OF THE SUBMERGED ESTUARY
are Sea Purslaneand
a lesser amount of Seablite
a small pocket of Cord Grass
Adur Estuary Wildlife 2004
Nature Notes 2006: Index Page