Report & Photograph by Sean Stones
Autumn mowing at the top of Mill Hill meant that the grass was very short and this Adder moving around was easier to spot than it might otherwise have been.
Adder, Slow Worm
The sun warmed the air in the afternoon, and prompted the Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, on and around the carnot wall of Shoreham Fort. Nineteen separate lizards were noted in sizes from juvenile to adult. This was a fair showing and the best since March 2017.
An adult Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, skitted across the vegetated shingle and right up to the top of the carnot wall of Shoreham Fort.
I spotted an adult Wall Lizard,Podarcis muralis, on the vegetated shingle between the houses away from Shoreham Fort land at the far eastern end of Shoreham Beach.
It was the first time I had seen an adult Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, from an isolated patch of mixed vegetation on the shingle, but still on Shoreham Fort land at the far eastern end of Shoreham Beach.
A large adult Slow Worm slithered into hiding on the top southern part of Mill Hill. More of a surprise was the skitter of a very small Common Lizard amongst the vegetation and green grasshopper nymphs of the sheltered lower slopes.
6 April 2018
On a day the weather forecasters predicted to be warmer than it actually was my first reptiles of the year were a couple of Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, by Shoreham Fort. With a wind chill and blustered about by a steady Force 5 from the east, I did not feel inclined to search for any more.
3 April 2018
on the Chalk Pit, Lancing Clump
Photograph by Sarah Reeve
Despite the overcast rather cool weather (10.5 °C) we spotted three Adders basking in the Chalk Pit area of Lancing Clump Local Nature Reserve. Two of the snakes slithered off quite quickly but the third posed for a photograph sensing its surroundings with its forked tongue.
In the morning there was a large lump of frog spawn in my garden in Eastern Avenue, Shoreham.
On a cool (air temp > 8.2 °C with wind chill) clear day there was very little wildlife of note. No lizards were seen on the carnot walls and surrounds of Shoreham Fort.
2 November 2017
All four Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, had lost their original tails by Shoreham Fort. Three adults and a young one with a stumpy tail quickly skitted into holes.
3 October 2017
Slow Worm Wall Lizard
Even the breeze had died down so I was eager to go out. The original plan was to see what was washed up on the shore, but this was forgotten as I found two Slow Worms under some roofing felt near Silver Sands. On the carnot walls and surrounds of Shoreham Fort, I spotted four small Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, on the flint. They looked smaller than normal, were all brown in colour and they could have been born this year?
1 September 2017
I made a brief sortie to the upper part of Mill Hill as the weather was pleasant and the white fluffy clouds on the blue sky were conducive to photography in the middle of the day. There was a Common Lizard and a few plump Slow Worms south of the Reservoir.
A rustle in the dense but very short vegetation on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was recognised with a clear view of a Common Lizard, Zootoca vivipara, which may have been after a Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus.
18 April 2017
27 March 2017
With the sun shining under a blue sky and the highest air temperature this year recorded by the Met Office at 15.5 °C, spring put in its first appearance and on the carnot walls and surrounds of Shoreham Fort, I spotted at least twenty adult Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, that were quite skittish but also had courting on their agenda. A dozen were spotted on the west facing carnot wall, three on the normally favoured south-facing wall, and at least five on the east side, but not on the wall itself. I expect there many more unseen.
Just the brief rays of the warm 10.2 °C sun under a blue sky was a pleasant spring day.
south-facing walls of Shoreham
Fort, I managed a glimpse of three adult
that quickly skitted
into holes in the flint and mortar. These
were the first reptiles I had seen this year. The
photographed lizard seems to be missing a leg.
2 October 2016
muralis, predating on a Crane-fly
Photograph by Su Reed
Location: Shoreham Fort
Vipera berus berus
A small Slow Worm was discovered on Shoreham Beach East just to the west of Shoreham Fort.
Slithering and sliding through the Tor Grass, the adult Black Adder seemed to sense me and reversed direction before my camera could focus. At first, it was coiled up looking like a discarded belt on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. It was a rainy day for reptiles as I spotted a Common Lizard by an ants nest with at least a dozen Slow Worms on the southern top part of Mill Hill near the road.
On Buckingham Cutting (south) a Common Lizard, Zootoca vivipara, rested on the Cotoneaster, but skitted slowly into immediate cover and disappeared with my shadow. It was olive green like the one below.
A Common Lizard inhabited an ant's nest on the overgrown meadow in the north-east corner of Mill Hill.
10 May 2016
of Slow Worms
on the upper part of Mill Hill was my fourth
species of reptile this year (Adur has five
species) on a cloudy
day with a hint of a breeze and mist in the
4 May 2016
A rustle amongst the Cotoneaster on the meadow of Buckingham Cutting (south) was a Common Lizard, Zootoca vivipara, in the weak sunshine.
A Buzzard soared over Mill Hill in the bright blue sky. On the ground, my first two Common Lizards of the year skitted over the area at the northern end of the the lower slopes that had been cleared of Privet bushes.
17 March 2016
Just after midday the first rays of sun that prompted at least 25 Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, to peek out of their holes in the carnot wall of the old redoubt, and from their shelter in crannies of the earth and rubble embankment. All but one were adults with lizards in pairs and sometimes in three in choice holes. This number seen was approaching to the most numerous seen (38) in one day. One lizard skittered right up to the top of the wall.
the weak midday sunshine, I quickly spotted at least 15 adult Wall
muralis, on the the carnot
wall of the Shoreham
Beach. One was basking, but they were generally skittish
and rapidly clambered over the flint wall and into holes. These
were the first reptiles I had seen this year.
A dozen or more Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, were very skittish over the carnot wall of the Shoreham Fort, Shoreham Beach in the sunshine that cast heavy shadows in the late afternoon. Two were small juveniles and both adults and young lizards clambered high up on the west facing flint wall, right to the top on at least four occasions. The first lizard seen was very green on its back, but the green tinge was not remarkable on the others.
1 September 2015
Common Lizard, Lacerta
Pixie Path, north Shoreham
I first spotted an adult Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, on the Ivy at the top of the Pixie Path 3138 to Mill Hill, followed after a few minutes by five much darker juveniles as shown in the photograph above.
30 August 2015
Four large adult Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, skittered over the carnot wall of the Shoreham Fort, Shoreham Beach in the muggy sunshine. All had seemed to have lost and were regrowing their tails. There could have five or even six lizards as others were seen in the undergrowth and on rocks, but they have been repeat sightings. They were very lively and rarely settled in a still position.
25 June 2015
5 April 2015
2 July 2014
6 March 2014
On Footpath 3138 Pixie Path to Mill Hill my first Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara, of the year skittered into cover.
14 April 2013
4 March 2013
I was on 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. At least half of them were adults with a distinct green colouration, but one was a small brown coloured juvenile on the pebbles.
The Common Lizard basked long enough for me to get close on the broken Chestnut fencing next to the Pixie Path, top part by the hedge.
At last the sun came out (13.0 °C at 1:00 pm, with a Moderate Breeze Force 4) and my first Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara, of the year was spotted next to a discarded plastic bag on the steps leading down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. It had distinctive head markings.
A green Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, was seen for the first time this year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
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)
There were brief snatches of sunshine through the gaps in the clouds (>18.7 °C): enough for a Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, my first of the year, seen basking on some fallen Chestnut fencing at the top of the Pixie Path.
12 August 2011
In the weak afternoon sunshine seemed to have encouraged at least 13 adult Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, that basked in the sunshine before skittering rapidly back in their holes, mostly on the west wall of the Old Fort, but at least two on the south-facing carnot wall and two in the undergrowth away from the wall. No juveniles were seen, but these have been seen in gardens of Old Fort Road on Shoreham Beach where the lizards are frequently seen.
A half a dozen adult Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, that skittered rapidly over the south-facing flint wall of the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach, in the sunshine, were my first reptiles seen this year. They were easily frightened and the the most memorable image was of their long intact tails in the holes in the wall. At least some specimens had a greenish hue.
And over a dozen juvenile Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, skittered amongst a few rocks near the Old Fort and over the flint walls at the far eastern end of Shoreham Beach, with two much larger adults seen and there were probably many more present. One of the young Wall Lizards was missing most of its tail and just had a stump.
15 September 2010
Three juvenile Common Lizards, Lacerta vivipara, were seen on and in the cracks of one brace of Chestnut pale fencing separating the Pixie Path from Mill Hill Cutting.
A Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, skittered into the undergrowth next to the northern steps amongst the Hawthorn scrub down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. This was my first of the year.
On a garden wall of one of the houses backing on to the shingle beach, an adult intact Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, skittered over a boundary wall.
In the weak sunshine the first reptile of the year was spotted on the wall of the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach: an adult Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, (with an intact tail) skittered into a hole the size of a flint cobble on the south-facing wall.
On a pleasant (17.3 °C) beginning to October with a Light Breeze (Force 2) blowing form the NNW (N veering to NW), I spotted seven Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, at the Old Fort (at the far eastern end of Shoreham Beach) with only a cursory attempt to look for them. The afternoon visit discovered two adults on the walls followed by two juveniles. Later when examining a small clump of flowering Sea Thrift, three or more further juvenile lizards were spotted skitting amongst the rocks and vegetation.
On an energy sapping humid morning, a Common Lizard*, Lacerta vivipara, skittered in the undergrowth , resting on the top of a bramble leaf, next to the southern steps down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
(*Assumed species: it actually looked and behaved more like a Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.)
A Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, was seen coiled up on the Chestnut fencing at the top of the Pixie Path.
Three Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, were noted on the Old Fort walls in the weak sunshine.
In the late afternoon, two Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, were seen on the flint walls of the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach. Both were green intact adults and the first one stayed around long enough for a photograph. I expect there were more as I did not look diligently.
I spotted my first Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, of the year skitting over the Pixie Path. It was an intact juvenile.
My first reptile of 2009 was one of five Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, basking for a brief view on the south-facing flint surround wall of the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach, before skitting off into the grass growing up next to the wall. Two of the lizards were grey coloured small juveniles.
In a brief spell of weak sunshine, a Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, skittered over the tarmac section of the Coastal Link Cyclepath north of the mostly derelict Adur Riverbank Industrial Estate.
6 May 2008
Credit is due to Ray Hamblett for discovering a buried hibernating Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, under a rotten log at the top of McIntyre's Field, north Lancing. It was very difficult to see amongst the earth.
This must be a small Common Lizard, judging by the toes not being webbed. Note it is missing the end of its tail.
the warmth (20.4 ºC)
of the midday
sun, the six Wall Lizards, Podarcis
muralis, seen on the Old Fort
on Shoreham Beach were particularly lively
clambering much further up the wall on two occasions than I had ever seen
them do before, with behaviour uncharacteristic of the Common
Lizard. One Wall
Lizard basked on a ledge right near the top
of the wall and another skitteredthat
high before disappearing around to the shady side and out of view.
Adur Coastal Reports 2007
A Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara, skittered across the towpath by Shoreham Airport at the end near Old Shoreham Toll Bridge. The Common Lizard is always associated with the grassy undergrowth and is not found skittering up walls.
A Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara, skittered across the chalk path near the Reservoir on Mill Hill.
Immediately I descended down the steps to the lower slopes of Mill Hill, a Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, skittered from the white chalk path to under the Brambles. This was rare sight on the bank, although they were known to occur there.
& 29 July 2007
The Common Lizard was seen under a piece of roofing felt on Mill Hill. This time it was not so plump. At the second sighting it was seen to have lost a large part of its tail by autonomy.
A Common Lizard was seen under a piece of roofing felt deliberately laid down in the central mixed scrub and grass area (north of the Triangle) near the northern perimeter of Mill Hill. Its middle was plump, presumably with its viviparous young.
A bright green lizard skittered out from a clump of Sea Kale on the shingle part of Shoreham Beach south of Shingle Road. Apparently, they are often seen in this area and in the gardens of the houses and the school grounds in the same road. The lizard appeared to be a lime green colour without obvious markings. It looks like a Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.
Report by Stephen Savage
It was an exceptionally green and heavily gravid female Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.
In the late afternoon the earlier sunshine had brought out the first Common Lizards, Lacerta vivipara, of the year on lichen covered chestnut fencing on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. Fred had seen Common Lizards earlier this year on the Riverbank by the houseboats and he spotted a flurry of movement about midday.
At least 21 adult Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, were spotted on the flint wall of the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach, basking in the sunshine and displaying far more energy that I had ever seen before with one lizard skittering right up to the top of the wall.
five of the lizards were smaller juveniles. All the lizards had intact
tails. The numbers were thought of as less lizards than there were because
of continual human disturbance.
With an air temperature of 14.4 ºC at 1:53 pm it was the warmest day of the year so far.
I made the following observations about the Wall Lizards:
(1) Although I could not discern the longer legs by observation I discerned a different mode of skittering around with the body held higher off the ground and capable of the the position in the picture on the left which I have never seen in a Common Lizard.
(2) The green colouring was no help. Both species of local lizard could be equally green.
(3) Habitat was no help. Both species could be found on the frequent flint walls locally. The Wall Lizard has not yet been discovered in grassy habitats, although it was found more often with at least some vegetation on Shoreham Beach.
(4) The preference for running along walls (even along the foot of the walls) has not been seen in the Common Lizard.
There must be instant ways of recognizing the two lizards, but I have not
mastered them yet. The heads and faces may be slightly different.
Photograph by Andy Horton
Photograph by Brenda Collins
by Chris Davis
(Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Webmaster, the Herpetological Conservation Trust)
||The identical lizard: it may have lost part of its tail and regrown it by a process called autotomy.|
Wall Wizard from Portland Bill (image)
Lizards have always inhabited the old Fort, or in my memory for over forty years. They were there in 1963.
If they are foreign lizards they have been there longer than the accidental release in 1975 and may have come from the adjacent wharves.
Back to Shoreham Coastal 2004
Adur Coastal 2009
A dark Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara, was seen on a wooden pallet next to where the Water Shrew (? ID) was seen before on the Slonk Hill Cutting. This lizard was not quite fully grown.
Locally, they are 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.
There 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.
All 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.
Old Fort Photographs (More Lizard Images)
Postscript: these lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.
These are only a small selection of the local lizard reports.
31 August 2003
A Grass Snake, Natrix natrix, was found trapped in nylon netting on Lancing Manor Allotment and was freed from its accidental entrapment.
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
Lizards were present on the walls of the Old Fort in the 1960s.