MILL HILL
 
WILDLIFE REPORTS 2009

Summer Downland Butterflies (July):
 
Chalkhill Blue
 Meadow Brown (female)
Wall Brown
Marbled White
Chalkhill Blue

Noticeable summer plants of the upper meadows include Greater Knapweed, Hardheads (=Lesser Knapweed), Field Scabious, Meadow Cranesbill, Alexanders, Pyramidal Orchids, Plantains, Melilots, Meadow Vetchling, Yarrow, Eyebrights, Musk Thistles, Hounds-tongue*, Perforate St. John's Wort*, Great Mullein* and many others. Herb Robert is found amongst the scrub.
(*notably on disturbed ground.)
Some Indicator Plants of Ancient Downland (Link)
Wild Flora and Fauna on Chalk   flickr
Adur Wild Flowers 2009



LINKS:
 
OVERVIEW:

A large part (724 acres) of the downs including Mill Hill were presented to the people of Shoreham in 1937. 

 
Just over 30 acres still remain as public open land and a Local Nature Reserve.  This is divided into about 11 acres of grassland and meadows above the ridge, about 9 acres of scrub, the copse and glades at the northern end, and about half of the prime Chalkhill Blue area of 6.4 acres of herbland remaining. 6 acres has been lost to a Sycamore woodland on the southern slopes. 

This is low fertility chalkland not suitable for grazing. The top area is effectively a wild meadow and the lower slopes a rabbit warren dominated by prostrate (not the upright form) Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa

Link to the Mill Hill web page for 2008
MILL HILL HOMEPAGE
LOWER SLOPES 2008
MILL NATURE RESERVE & MAP
OVERVIEW CITATION

Horseshoe Vetch on Mill Hill

Horseshoe Vetch

Chalkhill Blues:

Mill Hill is nationally important because of its population of Chalkhill Blue Butterflies. Estimates of the numbers are notoriously inaccurate. In the 1950s the population was estimated by R. M. Craske to be 50,000. This may be an exceptionally good year. I would estimate the numbers at that time to be nearer 25,000 for Mill Hill only. After the cattle grazing and thorn incursions the numbers plummeted to the most reliable estimate in 1960 of 6,000. The new road and Sycamore woodland further denuded the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, and bare chalk downland to a figure I have estimated at a top figure of 3,000 Chalkhill Blue Butterflies at the turn of the millennium (counted in 2003). Almost all these butterflies are now to be found on the six acres of the lower slopes.
Graham Hart in the 1990s estimated the numbers at 6,000. This is not out of the question and this would accord with the R. M. Craske estimate of 50,000. This would be the maximum population density that could be expected on the carpets of Horseshoe Vetch (based on German figures).
Protection of the current population requires man management of the scrub incursions, which means removal of the Privet

Text by Andy Horton
Calcareous Grassland Message
Chalkhill Blue
Chalkhill Blue Butterfly female
"Our family lived at The Mill House, Mill Hill, from around 1933 until about 1967, and every July we saw the "Butterfly Men" walking past onto the Downs. My father used to tell us that they were interested in the blue butterflies."
Heather Clark (née Eager), Ryde, Isle of Wight
Nearest Postcode:  BN43 5FH
Grid Ref:  TQ 210 074  (upper car park)
Geographic Link      OS Map
Google Earth Map
Magic Map of Mill Hill NR
Local Nature Reserve Designation
Natural England: Local Nature Reserves

FEATURE:
 
2003
Threats to the Butterfly Downland site at Mill Hill

The butterfly lower slopes at Mill Hill are under serious threat by a natural process known as ecological succession where the woody shrubs like Privet, Brambles and Hawthorn invade the herb-rich slopes gradually turning the downs into woodland and eliminating the butterfly larval food plants especially the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on which the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies rely. The remedy is by expert professional removal of the Privet on a regular basis. This job has not been carried out in the last few years. 

     2009

WILDLIFE REPORTS
 

Link to the Mill Hill Reports for 2010

18 December 2009
 

Snow on the New Erringham pastures
Snow on Mill Hill (just north of the Reservoir)

An appreciable snowstorm started around midnight after earlier flurries. There was about 75 mm depth of snow on Mill Hill, deeper on the New Erringham pastures. The air temperature fell below freezing, minus 0.6 °C, at 11.00 am. Despite this, there was the sound of the incessant drip of melting snow falling from the Privet and other shrubs. A few Robins, a Yellowhammer, Blackbirds and Magpies were spotted as I waded through the snow.
Shoreham Weather 2009

6 December 2009
As two Buzzards soared in the blue sky high over Mill Hill, a small (four strong) South Downs JC volunteer work force began to chop down the invasive Privet at the southern end of the lower slopes. The path down to the lower slopes from the south was too slippery and squelchy to negotiate just in plimsolls. Big Blue Pinkgill, Entoloma bloxamii, was seen again. Only one wild plant was noted in flower on the lower slopes and that was a Wild Basil, with its flowers closed. Because of sodden conditions I returned by the ridge route. Four Cattle were seen in the long grass on the southern part of Mill Hill.

1 December 2009
EntolomaAfter rain every day since my last visit to Mill Hill, I was shocked to discover that the Cattle had, again, been set to graze and churn up Mill Hill. They were on the upper plateau south of the car park which had in previous years started to recover its lost flora of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. All the paths were extremely muddy (boots are advised) and the rain resulted in the appearance of Nostoc commune (an algae) on the lower slopes, and frequent large mushrooms with a brown cap and brown speckled white stem (without a ring) with light brown gills. The first specimen had a disc diameter of about 100 mm and a stem length of 65 mm. My tentative identification (based on previous reports) was of the species known as the Big Blue Pinkgill, Entoloma bloxamii. Later I was able to spot over a dozen smaller mushrooms of the same species, but I only walked over a small northern area of the lower slopes because of the slippery conditions. Just a single Hardhead was seen in flower next to the path, with frequent dead heads of Carline Thistle with silver leaves over the slopes.
Some scrub clearance was appreciated but the priority removal of the new growths of Privet had not been attempted.
Adur Fungi 2009
Threats to the Downland Site

17 November 2009
A brief spell in the inclement weather; too brief, by the time I had cycled up the road to Mill Hill, the first spots of rain fell on an overcast day. A hurried trek down the muddy steps to the lower slopes in the afternoon failed to produce anything notable, small Autumnal Hawkbit flowers were still frequently seen, one battered Sweet Violet, and at least one small patch of Nostoc Commune (an algae). I returned through the Hawthorn tunnel through the quickest ridge route passing two Wild Basil plants.
 
Long grass on the southern section of the upper part of Mill Hill. In the latter half of the 20th century the long grass was forage harvested. With the introduction of Cattle this are has become disturbed and ruderal plants like Creeping Thistle have replaced the Cocksfoot and other grasses in places. Foraging harvesting is not a priority compared to the professional removal of the encroaching Privet on the lower slopes
9 November 2009
I was surprised to spot a Wood Blewit, Lepista nuda, mushroom on the edge of the southern steps leading down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. It has been recorded on Mill Hill before in 2007. Familiar mushrooms found occasionally on Mill Hill were the White Dapperling, Leucoagaricus leucothites, with a stem ring, with frequent smaller Stropharia coronilla, mushrooms amongst the rabbit droppings. 
Adur Fungi 2009
Wood Blewit
White Dapperling

As expected it was almost a complete miss for butterflies on Mill Hill, but in the north-west corner of Mill Hill Nature Reserve I almost stumbled over a Clouded Yellow Butterfly which fluttered on to the Old Erringham pasture and when I almost trod on it it flew over the Hawthorn scrub in the direction of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. It was only positive butterfly sighting of the day. Nectar plants were few and far between on the lower slopes with an occasional Autumnal Hawkbit flowers fading and at least one Sweet Violet (with a purple spur). Flying insects were few, notably a bumblebee buzzed over my head and a pair of Common Darters were about to mate.  A small flock of Long-tailed Tits were seen from the lower slopes amongst the Hawthorn in the north-west. The low flying hawk over the Old Erringham pasture was probably a Sparrowhawk. The rather discordant and loud repeated clucking calls from under the Hawthorn scrub in the north were those from an unseen Pheasant.
Adur Violets
The lower slopes of Mill Hill were looking seriously overgrown with scrub with Privet the leading incursor

Dogwood is a problem on the middle slopes

4 November 2009
A female Kestrel flew leisurely over the southern part of Mill Hill, whilst the usual male Kestrel hovered over the ridge, before it was mobbed by two small Crows and chased away, only to return to hover about five minutes later. From the southern steps to the lower slopes a male Pheasant could be seen in the woods. There was just the one Clouded Yellow was seen at the northern end of the lower slopes visiting Devil's Bit Scabious in the early afternoon, and a single Sweet Violet flower was spotted.
 

White Dapperling
White Dapperling
Dung Fungus
Sweet Violet

Occasional White Dapperling, Leucoagaricus leucothites, were seen above the ridge with frequent smaller Dung Fungus, Stropharia semiglobata, mushrooms.
Adur Violets
Adur Fungi 2009

2 November 2009
On Mill Hill, a Clouded Yellow was the first butterfly to be seen. There were three on the lower slopes including a yellow one mating with a helice type (female) which was white with black markings on the upper wing and creamy yellow on the underside. The was the first time I had seen this butterfly actually copulating. The Clouded Yellow Butterflies usually appear with their wings closed, but it has been reported that the wings actually open and close faster than the human eye can observe, and in the photograph above, I surmise pre-mating sequence of about a second, that the wings open and close at a slower rate.  A further Clouded Yellow was seen on the upper slopes by the Reservoir, the last butterfly seen in the afternoon.
 

Clouded Yellows

Pre-mating, female Clouded Yellows (as well as Berger's and Pale Clouded) may hold their wings open for some considerable time (up to a minute) and males will attend them with wings half-open.

Comments by Guy Padfield (Switzerland) on UK Butterflies
More Images (by Guy Padfield)
 

A few minutes afterwards the first female Common Blue visited a Hawkbit and then the single Devil's Bit Scabious flower. This was the first of three females and a tatty male (or indeterminate) Common Blue. This species was another first for November. The Adonis Blues were not seen. The small bee on the Hawkbit is probably Lasioglossum calceatum. Nostoc Commune (an algae) was present in very small amounts on the lower slopes.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Bees 2009

29 October 2009
The Indian summer resumes (15.5 °C at midday) and I visited Mill Hill directly through the Dovecote Estate. With the exiguous supply of nectar flowers on Mill Hill, the seven other butterflies were very lively indeed fluttering from Devil's Bit Scabious (two flowers) to Hawkbits and away on the breeze. There were two male Adonis Blues, two Common Blues (one faded male and a very  faded female), and a bright yellow Clouded Yellow on the lower slopes, and another Clouded Yellow above the ridge on the top of the hill. A Red Admiral flew strongly over the Hawthorn scrub. Two male Pheasants whirred away from the top plateau flying on to the New Erringham pastures immediately to the east of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. On the Hawthorn stumps on Mill Hill the Honey Fungus was noted. On the steps in the north-west a few Common Ink Caps, Coprinus atramentarius, were lodged in gaps.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Fungi (October 2009)
 
Some scrub clearance had occurred on the lowers slopes, but it has failed to address the major problem of Privet incursions that are threatening to destroy the butterfly site. Some of the black berries of the Privet had been trodden into the ground. 

26 October 2009
I thought I was going to draw a complete blank on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, when a pure white black lined Clouded Yellow fluttered rapidly past. This was the first time I had seen a completely white one and I have identified this as a female Clouded Yellow var. Helice, which would be a first for Mill Hill. (It could have been a rarer Pale Clouded Yellow or even a Berger's Clouded Yellow?) Then to my surprise a nearly new male Adonis Blue was spotted on a single Devil's Bit Scabious flower its presence preventing a female Common Blue from landing. This particular Common Blue was marked very much like a Brown Argus, and I chased it around until it settled with its wings closed so I could confirm its identity from its spots. A few minutes later a completely brown, tatty, and more obvious female Common Blue showed. The Adonis Blue was seen to visit the sparse collection of nectar flowers favouring a Stemless Thistle but also landing on the small Hawkbits and one Lesser Centaury. Then another bright Clouded Yellow flew northwards.
 

Tor Grass, Brachypodium pinnatum
on the lower slopes
Middle Slopes of Mill Hill covered in scrub immediately south of the upper car park
The Adonis Blue repeatedly returned to the Stemless Thistle

The middle slopes were devoid of butterflies on a passage visit. The autumn browns and golds were just beginning with the Beech leaves turning various shades of red and orange, and Clematis covering the the scrub. There were not many flowers, occasional Hardheads and Greater Knapweeds attracted a few bumblebees. The remains of a White Dapperling mushroom were strewn over the short grass.
Full Butterfly Report

18 October 2009
Just after midday on a sunny but cool day under a blue sky of cumulus clouds, two male Common Blues fluttered between the small Hawkbits that decorated the northern part of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. It was a passage trip and I only stayed for long enough to discover that the Devil's Bits Scabious was no longer in flower and I could not even find the remnants of the last flowering clump. The first Clouded Yellow flew by. On the verges of the path as it entered the Hawthorn scrub a Speckled Wood fluttered over the short grass, and above a Peacock Butterfly glided over the Clematis covered shrubbery. By the gate to Old Erringham, another Clouded Yellow visited a Small Scabious that had turned white and the third one of the day fluttered over the unoccupied pasture. Worker Common Wasps swarmed all over the Ivy in in the north-west corner of the Nature Reserve. The middle slopes and top meadows and plateau were devoid of butterflies.

16 October 2009
I had a quick walk around Mill Hill at lunchtime and I saw three Clouded Yellows, one Painted Lady, one Red Admiral and several Small Coppers that were all were flying purposefully and did not land. In addition it was very warm and  thousands of small dung beetles filled the air. Many landed on piles of rabbit droppings, going about their business.

Report by Richard Roebuck on Sussex Butterflies


12 October 2009
Life for the declining number of butterflies was beginning to becoming more difficult. On Mill Hill, nectar plants were few and far between, and for this reason the numbers of each butterfly were problematical and it may have been the same butterfly seen on two occasions and the excluding of these is reflected in the lower number count than actual sightings.
 

Common Blue
Small Copper, Common Blues 
& Brown Argus
Clouded Yellow

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the half dozen male Common Blues visited the small Hawkbits, and quarrelled with the Brown Argus and Small Copper Butterflies over a single clump of Devil's Bits Scabious. The Ivy bush in the north-west corner of the Nature Reserve was visited by swarms of wasps and failed to attract any of the vanessid butterflies, but two Speckled Woods fluttered around the straggling Ivy on the steps. The Wall Brown inhabited the area to the north-west of the top copse where it has been seen regularly in previous years, and earlier this year.
 

After the rain of the preceding few days it was only a surprise that there were not more of the small mushrooms Stropharia on the middle slopes of Mill Hill. Only one was seen. 
Adur Fungi 2009

On the top meadow of Mill Hill, a Clouded Yellow or two visited a few remaining flowering Greater Knapweed, Hardhead and the flowers of Creeping Thistle. The Musk Thistle that flowered late in 2008 were all dead. Just the two Meadow Brown Butterflies; they were not seen until I was about to leave Mill Hill. A Red Admiral and another Clouded Yellow were seen in the New Erringham pastures to the west of Mill Hill. Common Darter dragonflies were frequently seen as expected at this time of the year.
Full Butterfly Report

10 October 2009
A quick walk with the dogs this morning up to the top of Mill Hill around 10:00 am, I spotted five Painted Ladies, one Comma, one  Common Blue, one Red Admiral, one Specked Wood, and two Clouded Yellows.

Report by Alec Trusler on Sussex Butterflies


8 October 2009
The highlight of the day was a young fresh looking Grass Snake that coiled and uncoiled immediately front of me sliding downhill and across the path through the lower slopes of Mill Hill, just as path enters the Hawthorn scrub to the north.

By the time I had reached Mill Hill, the weak sun was beginning to shine out of a blue sky, with the first Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral seen on the steps leading down to the lower slopes from the south. A Silver Y Moth was quickly seen followed by the first of 13 more Clouded Yellows. I ambled down to the northern end of the lower slopes without seeing anything apart from the first of just three Meadow Browns. I sat down by a small patch of Devil's Bit Scabious and waited for the butterflies to come to me. From this vantage point the first Painted Lady of the day settled followed by three Common Blues, two males and a pretty bluish female, two old but intact Small Coppers and two positive views of Brown Argus Butterflies. Another Clouded Yellow was the first one seen to settle this year, but only for a couple of seconds on the Devil's Bit Scabious. Two further Clouded Yellows were seen over Old Erringham pasture from the gate.
 

Painted Lady
Devil's Bit Scabious
Small Copper

The Ivy in the north-west of Mill Hill Nature Reserve again attracted swarms of wasps, but also two Peacock Butterflies, three Red Admirals and a Painted Lady. The Hawthorn scrub area added three further Speckled Woods. The top meadows were devoid of butterflies but the breeze-swept open grassy areas added two more Clouded Yellows and a Wall Brown fluttered past and was seen clearly just north of the Reservoir. Common Darter dragonflies were frequently seen as expected at this time of the year.
Full Butterfly Report

2 October 2009
As the sun was still shining, I could not resist the temptation for a quick afternoon cycle ride up to the upper car park on Mill Hill, where there were about fifty Common Darter dragonflies over the tarmac path next to the meadow to the north but very few butterflies seen in a ten minute foray with just two Wall Browns, a Clouded Yellow and a male Common Blue. A Red Admiral was spotted over the top meadows south of the reservoir as I cycled downhill against a southerly breeze.
Adur Butterfly List 2009
 

Brown tipped bracts indicate the Common Ragwort on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
Common Ragwort
Meadow Brown
Common Blue (female)

1 October 2009
Red AdmiralA pleasant (17.3 °C) beginning to October with a Light Breeze (Force 2) blowing form the NNW (N veering to NW) brought eleven species of butterflies out to visit the few remaining nectar flowers. The Ivy in the north-west of Mill Hill Nature Reserve attracted the Red Admirals (2) and Meadow Browns (3). Two Wall Browns were seen in the meadow to the north of the upper car park, with four Common Blues, two of the bluish females noted visiting a Creeping Thistle flower and one of remaining flowering Greater Knapweeds in flower amongst the hundreds of dead heads. A Comma Butterfly in the overgrown part immediately to the south of the copse where a Speckled Wood Butterfly put in a brief appearance. Three Clouded Yellows were seen fluttering past rapidly, two on the lower slopes and one on the upper meadow. Only one Painted Lady and one Small Heath Butterfly and a Small Copper were actually noted on the lower slopes. The Small Copper repeatedly returned to a Bramble leaf. Common Darter dragonflies were frequently seen as expected at this time of the year.
Full Butterfly Report
 
 
 

Painted Lady27 September 2009
I visited Mill Hill in the afternoon on a sunny day, visiting the lower slopes and returning by the second ridge route. Butterflies were widespread and scattered, the only congregations were 19 Meadow Browns, five Common Blues, three Small Heaths and a Wall Brown at the northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill, and a mixture on the Ivy in the north-west of Mill Hill Nature Reserve (to the south of the gate to Old Erringham pastures) of two Red Admirals, two Meadow Browns, one Painted Lady, a Speckled Wood and a Large White all seen instantly. A Small Copper Butterfly was seen above the ridge. Common Darter dragonflies were frequently seen as expected at this time of the year.
Full Butterfly Report

21 September 2009
I had a quick walk around the top part of Mill Hill at lunch time and saw two Wall Browns, a pristine Small Copper, a Common Blue and a fabulous large female Wasp Spider in the grass.

Report by Richard Roebuck on Sussex Butterflies


20 September 2009
Small Copper ButterflyOn an energy sapping humid morning, a Common Lizard*, Zootoca vivipara, skittered in the undergrowth and a Meadow Brown Butterfly visited a Hardhead next to the southern steps down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. But it was a few minutes before the next butterfly, one of two Small Heath Butterflies over my one acre transect, three Large Whites, two Meadow Browns, three male Adonis Blues, and just as I was about to leave the lower slopes, a sparring Clouded Yellow and Small Copper Butterfly. The white tails of two Wheatears were spotted in the middle distance. Grasshoppers flew several (about six) metres amongst the invading Privet bushes with their black berries.

The Hawthorn scrub area added three Speckled Woods, two more Painted Ladies and at least one more Meadow Brown. The middle slopes mixed scrub and open spaces hosted two good condition Wall Brown Butterflies. A Skylark flew overhead, my attention drawn by its calls. The upper meadows of Mill Hill again seemed almost devoid of visible butterflies with only a Red Admiral spotted.  South of the Reservoir there was a Large White Butterfly and in amongst the dying herbs a Silver Y Moth fluttered about. Common Darter dragonflies were seen as expected at this time of the year.
(*Assumed species: it actually looked and behaved more like a Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.)
Adur Lizards
Full Butterfly Report

9 September 2009
An anticipated decline in butterflies was noted: the one acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill produced just ten Adonis Blues (seven males and three females), seven Meadow Browns, three Small Heaths, one female Common Blue and a Treble-bar Moth. The Hawthorn scrub on Mill Hill added at least eight Speckled Woods and four Meadow Browns plus two more in the clearing on the middle slopes known as the Triangle, where three male Common Blues were also seen. The top meadows and plateau were almost devoid of butterflies with just the one Speckled Wood in the shelter of a Hawthorn bush and a few Silver Y Moths and a Treble-bar Moth in the meadow north of the upper car park.
 

Dor Beetle
Carline Thistle
Autumn Gentian
Adonis Blue on Carline Thistle

The plateau south of the upper car park was covered in Autumn Gentian, although many of the small plants were no longer in flower.

6 September 2009
A long aching walk to Mill Hill was rewarded by frequent butterflies on the lower slopes, under fifty were seen. Adonis Blues were first to make an appearance with nine males and four females seen, two Large Whites and a reduction in the numbers of Meadow Browns with an estimated only about fifteen all at the northern end of the lower slopes, where I noted one Small Heath Butterfly visiting an Eyebright and a Common Blue. I returned by the ridge route and added three Speckled Woods from the Hawthorn tunnel. The Devil's Bit Scabious on the lower slopes of Mill Hill failed to attract any nectaring butterflies, although most of the Meadow Browns were seen nearby. Grasshoppers were very noticeable at this time of the year. A Dor Beetle lay dying on the chalk path, south of the Reservoir. Five Sheep munched in the enclosed horse field on the southern part of Mill Hill.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Beetles
 

2 September 2009
Butterflies
After the deluge and on a cool cloudy breezy day, I visited Mill Hill to check out whether any Gatekeepers were still around. I must have looked at over fifty Meadow Browns but even the brown and orange butterflies in the hedgerows were Meadow Browns. They were divided about equally between male and females. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, there were at least 21 Adonis Blues (16 males and five females), a slightly greater number of Common Blues of both genders, 40+ Meadow Browns, one Speckled Wood and three Small Heath Butterflies. It is was very difficult to put the brown females to species and there may have been up to a dozen Adonis Blue females and some of these could even have been Chalkhill Blues. I returned by the ridge route and another 20+ Meadow Browns and three more Small Heath Butterflies were spotted. On the Devil's Bit Scabious on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, a very large grey butterfly was tilted over in a peculiar way. These butterflies have been seen in most years on the exposed ridge flying off so rapidly as to elude positive identification. I have always dismissed them as Meadow Browns. There is a possibility that this was a Grayling Butterfly which has not been recorded on Mill Hill since 1968. The butterfly is illustrated on the right. On a second look I think it was a Meadow Brown. The brown markings (which appears as a broad stripe) seems indicative of a Meadow Brown. I think it must have been the heavy breeze causing the butterfly to behave peculiarly.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

25 August 2009
Three Swallows and a few more later flew at low level briefly over the meadows on Mill Hill. A Kestrel hovered over the hay meadow to the west and below Mill Hill Nature Reserve.
 

Southern Hawker on Mill Hill  (Photograph by Alec Trusler)
Worn male 
Chalkhill Blue
on Carline Thistle
Mating
Adonis Blues
on Carline Thistle
Southern Hawker on Mill Hill 
Photograph by Alec Trusler
Small Heath Butterfly
on the dead top of a Greater Knapweed

Butterflies
On a breezy day, the lower slopes of Mill Hill were sheltered compared to the exposed plateau. Meadow Browns were the most prevalent butterfly with about fifty seen on the lower slopes and something like the same number again on passage over the top meadows and scrub. The most notable sightings were the large number of female Adonis Blues on the lower slopes only. Out of 38 Adonis Blues, 21 were males and 17 were the brown females and for most of the time the female count outnumbered the bright blue males. This count of females is the highest ever on the lower slopes. There was a possibility that a few, four at most, were female Chalkhill Blues. On the lower slopes there were four worn male Chalkhill Blues, two Common Blues, two Wall Browns, a Large White or two, at least one Small Heath, one Speckled Wood, at least one Gatekeeper and a strong flying Clouded Yellow. There were frequent small pyralid moths.

The first signs of flowering Devil's Bit Scabious were found on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. They were not flowering enough to distract the Meadow Brown and Adonis Blue Butterflies from the Carline Thistle.
Both Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns were frequent in the Hawthorn scrub with two more Wall Browns recorded. In contrast the top meadows hosted Common Blues of both genders in lesser numbers than previously but well over fifty actually seen under an overcast sky. All the potential Brown Argus turned out to be female Common Blues. Blown about on the top of the hill there was just one Painted Lady and one Small Heath seen and occasional Small Whites.
Several Rhingia campestris hoverflies were seen in the top meadows, notably one visiting flowering Agrimony.

22 August 2009
In the late afternoon (3:30 pm) of Shoreham Air Show, the sun was still out and a smattering of butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill where I recorded 28 male Adonis Blues, 36 mixed gender Common Blues, just one male Chalkhill Blue plus two brown females which could have been either Adonis or Chalkhill Blue. Meadow Browns were by far the most frequent butterfly on show, estimated at 75+ including 30+ large females. The lower slopes also hosted a few Painted Ladies, (now declining in numbers and condition), nine Small Heath Butterflies, two Wall Browns, a Large White or two, and a smattering of the small pyralid moths. A Clouded Yellow Butterfly fluttered past without stopping and there altogether four sightings of at least three separate butterflies. I returned by the shortest ridge route where I saw at least one Speckled Wood in the Hawthorn tunnel, three Gatekeepers (when none were seen around the hedges on the lower slopes) and one Green-veined White as well as some more Meadow Browns. A brief sortie through the southern meadow and picnickers and some more Common Blues and Meadow Browns were disturbed and a flash of orange which I thought could have been a late skipper but it was another Small Heathlanding on the dead top of a Greater Knapweed (shown in the photograph above).

21 August 2009
Much too breezy for butterflies, but I needed some fresh air so I visited the upper part of Mill Hill where I saw most of the expected butterflies: scores of Common Blues, frequent Large Whites, Meadow Browns, Painted Ladies and Speckled Woods, occasional Small Whites and Silver Y Moths, at least one Brown Argus and one male Adonis Blue. A Gatekeeper was not spotted. A Rhingia campestris hoverfly visited a floweringHardhead.

Autumn Gentian19 August 2009
As the sun was out I could not resist another visit to Mill Hill to see if I could capture the Brown Hairstreak on my camera. Alas, as was usually the case a brief search was unsuccessful. I only visited the upper part of Mill Hill where Common Blues were frequently seen everywhere including mating pairs, with an estimated 20 Meadow Browns, frequent Painted Ladies, six Wall Browns, two Adonis Blues, a few Speckled Woods, just the one definite Gatekeeper, one Small Heath and one smallish skipper that looked and behaved like an Essex Skipper. Autumn Gentian was very common with an estimated of over 500 plants in flower on the upper plateau.
Full Butterfly Report

On a brief visit to Mill Hill where there was up to three Clouded Yellows and also a second brood Dingy Skipper as well as plenty of Adonis Blues.

Report by Bob Eade on Sussex Butterflies


17 August 2009
I was shocked by the unmistakable sighting of a Brown Hairstreak Butterfly* on Mill Hill south of the upper car park amongst the meadow vegetation by next to the scrub. It flew off rapidly and was lost to my sight in about 20 seconds, so this was my first ever glimpse of this hedgerow butterfly that lays its eggs on Blackthorn (Sloe).  It was about the size of a Gatekeeper. This has increased the total species seen in Shoreham and all on Mill Hill to 33. Nineteen species of butterfly seen on the day on Mill Hill and the Adur Levels including 54 Adonis Blues.
*Later doubts have crept in about the identification of this butterfly. I did not get a good enough look to be 100% certain.

On the upper meadows of Mill Hill a few Rhingia campestris hoverflies were noted visiting Wild Basil and Hardheads.
Full Butterfly Report
Full Butterfly List by Location

After escaping from work, I trundled up to Mill Hill above the delightful A27 for some total escapism. The delights this evening on offer were a single Clouded Yellow, a single Gatekeeper, two Wall Brown, two Painted Lady, several Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Small Heath and Meadow Browns. Far fewer than earlier on in the day, but it was near the butterflies bedtime!

Report by Nick Linazasoro on Sussex Butterflies
15 August 2009

My article on Mill Hill & its Butterflies was published in the local Shoreview magazine for Shoreham-by-Sea and Southwick.

Click on the image for the full article on a web page.
 

10 August 2009
Painted Lady Butterflies were everywhere on Mill Hill with over fifty an hour seen. Both Large Whites and Small Whites were frequently seen as well.

Lower Slopes of Mill Hill
Just a little too overcast and breezy for butterflies to be out, but there were just 13 Chalkhill Blues (including two females) and 41 Adonis Blues (including a female, although it was possible that this was a Chalkhill Blue) with an estimated ten Common Blues in flight on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Meadow Browns were frequently seen including mating pairs. The lower slopes also recorded occasional Painted Ladies, occasional Gatekeepers, two Wall Browns, at least one Small Heath Butterfly, one Speckled Wood, at least one Treble-bar Moth, and frequent pyralid micro-moths of both Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta nigrata. There was a Cinnabar Moth caterpillar on a small Ragwort. Only later when examining the photographs, I discovered I had seen a very faded Dingy Skipper that looked like a moth.
 

Common Blue
Common Blue
Adonis Blue
Chalkhill Blue

Upper Meadows of Mill Hill
There must have in excess of 200 Common Blues of both sexes in the long herb meadows at the top of Mill Hill, but even this is a fraction of what can be seen of this butterfly in peak years when the numbers runs into thousands. There were a few Brown Argus as well but it is difficult to be sure how many when there were scores of female Common Blues. One Small Skipper was noted on the southern part of the hill. Painted Ladies were frequently seen almost everywhere but before it began to rain I did not spot any Peacock Butterflies.

9 August 2009
Lower Slopes of Mill Hill
The lower slopes of Mill Hill were more crowded with butterflies than the previous week but the one acre transect still only recorded a meagre total of 35 Chalkhill Blues (including two females and many worn specimens, and mostly concentrated at the northern end beneath the path) with 30 Adonis Blues (including one female*) and slightly less in number of Common Blues of both sexes. Meadow Browns were about the same in numbers with a handful of huge females, and I noted at least one Gatekeeper and I expect there were many more. At least three Small Heath Butterflies showed and three or more Large Whites fluttered about and a bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly emerged from the central Tor Grass area on the lower slopes. The lower slopes also hosted the inevitable Painted Ladies,  a Green-veined White, three Wall Browns, at least one good condition Dingy Skipper (i.e. not the tattered one seen on 29 July 2009), at least three Treble-bar Moths, a few Silver Y Moths and frequent pyralidmoths with Pyrausta nigrata noted.
(* It is not easy to separate female Chalkhill Blues from the slightly larger Adonis Blue females.)
 

Female Chalkhill Blue
Dingy Skipper
Small Heath Butterfly

With time pressing, I retraced my route along the path and only visited the southern part of Mill Hill where a Small (or Essex) Skipper was spotted amongst more Common Blues and frequent Painted Ladies.

Adur Butterfly List 2009

6 August 2009
On a humid sunny morning the Chalkhill Blue Butterfly count in a 15 minute transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was a paltry 37 with just one female seen. Three males settled on a clump of the now flowering Carline Thistle. There were frequent Common Blues including males courting with very small females. The first male second brood Adonis Blues were recognised when they settled, as in flight they could not separated reliably from Common Blues. There could have been up to a dozen of them.
 

Mill Hill: southern meadow
Chalkhill Blues on Carline Thistle

Four Clouded Yellows were notable, with one on the lower slopes and at least three on the upper slopes with a pair courting. Small Heaths are back and at least two were seen one on the lower slopes and another in the upper meadows. There were at least four Wall Browns on Mill Hill. Painted Ladies were present everywhere with over a hundred seen in an hour as well as frequent Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Speckled Woods and Peacocks. One bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly was seen in the meadow north of the upper car park where Common Blues were frequent including mating pairs. A faded Small (or Essex) Skipper was spotted amongst the Greater Knapweed south of the Reservoir. The purpose of the visit to Mill Hill was to count the Chalkhill Blues in flight and my visit was hurried.
Full Butterfly Report

5 August 2009
I spent a very enjoyable day with Guardian journalist Patrick Barkham, who is touring the UK in an effort to see every species of British butterfly, and whose experiences along the way will provide the material for a book. With only three species to go we had high hopes of bagging Brown Hairstreak, Adonis Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper to complete the set. The sun refused to show over Steyning, denying us the opportunity of seeing the first on our list, but by heading a few miles east we managed the others without difficulty, getting a few bonus species along the way. The highlights of our tally of 26 species were 25+ pristine Adonis Blue (including a mating pair) and a second brood Dingy Skipper at Mill Hill, Shoreham (also Wall Brown, Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue, Small Heath).

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterflies
3 August 2009
Mill Hill
In the sunshine at the peak period for Chalkhill Blues, Mill Hill registered a mere 46, 44 males and just the two females seen in the one acre transect walk taking 15 minutes on the lower slopes. Again they were concentrated at the northern end which means that the number of the Chalkhill Blues in flight on Mill Hill were probably around 150 which is a disastrously low total. Chalkhill Blues were not seen on the upper or middle part of Mill Hill, but there was one in the Old Erringham pasture fluttering over from the scrub.
Chalkhill Blues 

The maximum transect day count for 2008 was 81 on 30 July 2008, which was even lower than 2007 when the maximum 1.2 acre day count was 96 on 5 August 2007. In 2003, the Chalkhill Blues were too many to count and the estimate for the 1.2 acre transect was at least 375 and possibly double that. 

Other butterflies were exiguous too;  Meadow Browns were estimated at about 30 on the lower slopes, Common Blues at about 20, with a few Gatekeepers and Large Whites. Some of the blues were so bright I chased them around to see if they could possibly be Adonis Blues but they were not. I looked for the tattered Dingy Skipper of a few days ago, but it did not make an appearance. A Hornet Robber Fly settled for a second on the path as it left the lower slopes into the first bit of Hawthorn scrub to the north.
 
This Chalkhill Blue appeared to be ill or poisoned and it could he handled. This has been seen before in previous years. This skipper was thought to be a fresh first of the year Essex Skipper (but it could have been a Small Skipper). This hoverfly was frequently seen on the meadows on the upper part of Mill Hill and was thought to be a Scaeva species

There were well over a hundred Common Blues on the meadows to the north of the northern car park on Mill Hill with frequent Painted Ladies all over the hill, about ten Peacock Butterflies, a surprise Brimstone Butterfly, and just two fresh first of the year Essex Skippers (but they could have been Small Skippers). Female Common Blues were frequent and it was only on the Triangle are of the middle slopes where I was able to separate a few Brown Argus Butterflies. In the middle and scrub area I noted frequent Gatekeepers, just one Wall Brown, occasional Speckled Woods, a few identified Small Whites, occasional Large Whites, a Yellow Shell and occasional Silver Y Moths and Six-spotted Burnet Moths. A Red Admiral flew over the plateau. In the hedge by Mill Hill Road (north of the bridge), I noticed a Comma Butterfly as I cycled slowly past.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Fifteen butterfly species

Sussex Butterfly Reports (Butterfly Conservation Society)
UK Butterflies: Sightings

2 August 2009
A trek along the bridlepath from Slonk Hill Farm to New Erringham under a cloudy sky recorded 9+ Common Blues, 5+ Painted Ladies, 2 Wall Browns, 2 Large Whites, 8+ Gatekeepers, 2 Small Whites, a Peacock and a Red Admiral.
I planned to visit the whole of Mill Hill, but I only had time for the upper meadow which was alive with butterflies. Over one hundred Common Blues were seen amongst the tall herbs, with frequent Painted Ladies, eight Wall Browns, frequent Gatekeepers, at least four and probably many more Brown Argus Butterflies, with at least one Large White, frequent Peacocks (including seven seen altogether on Greater Knapweed), at least two Meadow Browns and a Red Admiral. A few Six-spotted Burnet Moths were seen before I had to curtail my visit.
Brown Argus Identification Notes
Adur Butterfly List 2009
 

Common Blue
Brown Argus
Six-spotted Burnet Moth

31 July 2009
The weak sun sun shone through the white cumulus clouds in a bright blue sky on what should have been a peak day for the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies, but only 51 were counted in in the one acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and one extra just out of the transect area. Two females were noted and included in the above total. The spread was uneven with concentrations below the winding path in the central area and at the northern end and absent from the southern part of the slopes. Not all the Chalkhill Blues were flying so I may have missed half of them. Many had to be disturbed. I returned by the shortest ridge route so I omitted to visit the scrub area, middle slopes or plateau of Mill Hill. Other butterflies of note on the lower slopes was ironically a Speckled Wood at the southern end amongst the invading Privet, a fresh Wall Brown, ten Common Blues (including a much smaller female, not a Brown Argus though), five plus Gatekeepers, seven plus Meadow Browns, a Peacock Butterfly and at least one Silver Y Moth. On Mill Hill by the return ridge path above and down south of the Reservoir were four more Wall Browns (three on Field Scabious near the northern gate to New Erringham pasture), one more male Chalkhill Blue, nine more male Common Blues, at least nine more Gatekeepers, only two Meadow Browns actually noted down, another Chalkhill Blue, a Small White, two courting Large Whites, a Painted Lady and another Silver Y Moth. The Meadow Browns had more females than males. A Six-spotted Burnet Moth flew across the bridge over the A27 and a Holly Blue flew over the hedge at the top of the Pixie Path. The Chalkhill Blue count was very poor as in a poor year 200 would be recorded in the transect acre and 750+ in a good year. This would compute to 500 and 3000+ on Mill Hill as a day count.
A Sweet Violet was noted in flower on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Autumnal Hawkbit was in flower.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Violets

29 July 2009
Two Swallows flew in the cloudy sky over Mill Hill and it looked like they were ready to embark on their return trip, bringing about the first signs the summer was going to end, before it had even started as far as the fine weather was concerned.
Second brood Wall Brown Butterflies have emerged with the first one clearly seen on the breezy lower slopes of Mill Hill. On Mill Hill, the Chalkhill Blues count was even more disappointing with only 30 seen when even in a poor year over a hundred would be expected. I was on the bank for three minutes before I saw the first one as most of them were in the central area and northern part below the winding path. A single worn second brood Dingy Skipper was spotted at the extreme northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. It was nearly overlooked. Common Blues were the most frequent butterfly on the brief visit to Mill Hill. Most of these were seen in the top meadows, but they were frequent (over a dozen) on the lower slopes as well.
Autumn Gentian was appearing in profusion but it was not yet flowering. It was found on the lower and middle slopes, but mostly on the exposed plateau at the top. More Round-headed Rampion appeared in flower including small plants on the lower slopes. Welted Thistle was noted in shaded areas of the scrub.
Full Butterfly Report

26 July 2009
Mill Hill was continually found to be disappointing for butterflies with just over fifty Chalkhill Blue males being disturbed on the one acre transect, and a female spotted crawling amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves. The breezy cool conditions were far from ideal for butterflies. It seems it is going to be another poor year for the blue butterflies.
 

Small Tortoiseshell
Chalkhill Blue

One bonus was the first Brown Argus of the year seen clearly on the upper Greater Knapweed meadow south of the copse on the top of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. Other notable species were a late Marbled White on the lower slopes, a Small Tortoiseshell in the Hawthorn scrub to the north of the lower slopes, and over twenty of each of Painted Ladies and Common Blues on the meadows at the top of the hill.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

23 July 2009
Under a cloudy sky my first female Chalkhill Blue Butterfly of the year was blown about in the breeze, with a count of 24 males in unfavourable conditions on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. There was a further male on the middle slopes Triangle area west of the upper car park. It was in this Triangle area that clumps of Stemless Thistle in flower were noted with eight flowers and probably about twenty plants all grouped together with their prickly leaves overlapping.
 
Greater Knapweed Meadow (upper part of Mill Hill)
Painted Lady
Peacock Butterfly

Stemless ThistlePainted Ladies, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were frequently seen with the occasional (8+) pristine Peacock Butterflies most noticeable on the Greater Knapweed and these vanessids were seen mostly in the tall herb meadow immediately to the south of the Copse at the top of the hill.
Full Butterfly Report
Greater Knapweed Butterfly Study

16 July 2009
On Mill Hill in the early afternoon the count of male Chalkhill Blue Butterflies was 30, all found on the lower slopes. It was a surprise to spot a bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly fly out of a Wayfaring Tree leading down to the lower slopes. Marbled Whites were still around with three seen as well as a pristine Painted Lady and two new and bright Peacock Butterflies with the usual Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers.Six-spotted Burnet Moths were frequently seen on Mill Hill.
Full Butterfly Report
Mill Hill & its Butterflies Article

Tip:  If you visit Mill Hill a pair of secateurs are a handy extra.

In the last good year in 2003 the numbers of Chalkhill Blue Butterflies recorded were:

Chalkhill Blue
 Date  
11 July 2003
 First visit
11 July 2003
50
20 July 2003
1200+
21 July 2003
200+
30 July 2003
2000+
2 August 2003
3000+
7 August 2003:
120
20 August 2003
30

 UK Butterflies Chalkhill Blues 2009

13 July 2009

In the pasture at Old Erringham by gate leading to the north-west part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve a handful of Round-headed Rampion were seen in flower for the first time this year. The pasture at Erringham Hill (to the east) was being mown to remove the Ragwort heads and I was surprised to spot a what I first thought were Partridges with four grey chicks, but their long tail indicates juvenile Pheasants amongst the mown grass next to Mill Hill.
 
Stemless Thistle
Wild Basil
Juvenile Pheasants ?
Round-headed Rampion
Stemless Thistle
 
Lesser HawkbitOn Mill Hill the male Chalkhill Blue count was now 14. Butterflies on an overcast day numbered about a hundred of fourteen species. A Great Mullein was noted growing at the northern end of the steeper part of the lower slopes. Lesser Hawkbit was common on the lower slopes.

Full Butterfly Report

5 July 2009
There was still only the one Chalkhill Blue Butterfly over the lower slopes of Mill Hill, flying rapidly around in the breeze. On the lower slopes and return by the ridge route, there were also about a dozen Marbled Whites (six over the lower slopes), occasional Gatekeepers, occasional Meadow Browns, one Comma, at least one Small Skipper and one Red Admiral.
The first Stemless Thistle of the year of the year were seen in flower on the lower slopes and the and the first Clematis on the edges, the slopes-scrub transition zone.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

2 July 2009
 

Robin's Pin Cushion
Marbled White on Greater Knapweed
Chalkhill Blue
Meadow Cranesbill

The brilliant sky blue of the first Chalkhill Blue Butterfly of the year rose from the lower slopes of Mill Hill just before 11:00 am in the humid sunshine. A dragonfly with a multi-patterned abdomen flew amongst the Hawthorn scrub on Mill Hill. It was most likely to be the first definite Southern Hawker of the year. Thirteen butterfly species were seen on the hill. Marbled Whites (26) led the way in numbers followed by Meadow Browns (15), Large Whites (8) and Gatekeepers (7).
Squinancywort on the lower slopes and Meadow Cranesbill in the upper meadows were seen in flower on the hill for the first time this year.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Full Butterfly Report
New Wild Flowers

21 June 2009
On a breezy mostly overcast day the most interesting observation were twenty or more small bees on the flower heads of the Musk Thistle on the side of the path as it runs past the Reservoir on the southern part of Mill Hill.
It looks like a female Osmia spinulosa to me.

ID by Stuart Roberts (BWARS)
Adur Bees 2009
Official forum of the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS)
 
Privet on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
Osmia spinulosa
Musk Thistle
Small Scabious

On Mill Hill there were three Meadow Browns on the grassy flat area south of the Reservoir. There were only occasional butterflies on the lower slopes and return by a quick route over the top spotting Small Heath Butterflies, a few more Meadow Browns, and a handful of Marbled Whites and a few more Painted Ladies. One tatty female Common Blue settled on a Hawthorn sapling on the northern end of the Privet inundated lower slopes. Small pyralid micro-moths mostly Pyrausta purpuralis were frequently seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill with a few Pyrausta nigrata and at least one Pyrausta despicata and one of the larger Treble-bar Moths.
A single flower of Small Scabious was also spotted on the lower slopes of Mill Hill for the first time this year. The flowers and seed pods of the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, had completely disappeared as far as a cursory look failed to locate any. The small yellow flowers were Bird's Foot Trefoil with distinctive and easily spotted patches on the middle slopes visited by occasional Red-tailed Bumblebees.  In one location south-west of the top car park there was a patch of Dropwort and Bird Foot Trefoil backed by some long grasses.
Flowering Dates of Horseshoe Vetch

14 June 2009
Privet was flowering in profusion and intruding on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in a damaging way (damaging to the long term prospects of the butterflies). Another noteworthy observation was a nest of the Common Wasp, Vespula vulgaris, in a small hole and scores of wasps were seen entering and leaving in a few minutes, until I felt it was too dangerous to stay around. I debated about the significance of such a large congregation of predators on the caterpillars of the butterflies?
 

Wild Thyme Lesser Hawkbit Wasp leaving the nest in a hole in the chalk

The lower slopes had relatively few butterflies: occasional Meadow Browns, occasional Common Blues, occasional Small Heath Butterflies, one Marbled White Butterfly, and a large white butterfly that relentlessly patrolled the hedgerow in the manner of a female Brimstone Butterfly. Finally, amongst the undergrowth as I returned by the path on the lower slopes I was surprised by what appeared at first to be an unfamiliar butterfly, but when it finally settled it was revealed as a worn Small Tortoiseshell. The small pyralid moth, Pyrausta purpuralis was frequently seen on the lower slopes with a few Pyrausta nigrata.
The Lesser Hawkbitwas common on the slopes and frequent patches of both Wild Thyme and Eyebright was noted. One Dog Violet was spotted. The Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was almost gone, but a few flowers were still observed, and Bird's Foot Trefoil was more prevalent and common. Salad Burnet was noted. Occasional Pyramidal Orchids were beginning to flower near the winding path and on the borders of the path the first two Greater Knapweed were easily seen. I noted a Robin's Pin Cushion in passing.
Full Butterfly Report

8 June 2009
Mill Hill was cloudy without any rays of sunshine and I only managed to disturb two male Adonis Blues and one dark Common Blue on the lower slopes, plus a female Adonis Blue, but it was ragged around its wing edges. On the middle slopes a Wall Brown briefly settled. At least one small pyralid moth Pyrausta nigrata in a brown colour was noted amongst the remnants of the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, with a Small Purple-barred Moth, Phytometra viridaria. Grasshoppers were very frequent hopping about over the lower slopes. Field Grasshoppers, Chorthippus brunneus, were identified.
Full Butterfly Report
 

Female Adonis Blue
 Female Adonis Blue
Horseshoe Vetch
Seed Pods
Musk Thistle
Musk Thistle

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the first Yellow Wort was seen with the flowers closed in the afternoon, as well as the first patches of Wild Thyme. On the edge of the ridge by the Reservoir the Musk Thistle was beginning to flower in half a dozen large clumps. There was single first of the year Greater Knapweed in flower by the southern cattle grid.
Adur Thistles

4 June 2009
Having finished work early I called into Mill Hill. There were still plenty of Adonis Blues flying with most males past their best, however the females were still looking good as were a few males. Several were courting and one pair were found mating. Also there were two fresh Small Tortoiseshells. Other butterflies seen were Small Heath, five Wall Browns, Common Blues, my first Meadow Brown of the year, one Large Skipper (first of the year) and ten Painted Ladies.

Report by Bob Eade on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Skippers

31 May 2009
DropwortFrom a distance the yellow carpet of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on the lower slopes of Mill Hill had disappeared and this leguminous herb was fading rapidly with the first horseshoe seed pods visible if you looked carefully. Bird's Foot Trefoil was now appearing on the lower slopes and visited by Common Blue Butterflies of which the approximate* count was 22 (including two females). (*approximate because it is not always possible to differentiate these from Adonis Blues in flight). The male Adonis Blues count was 13 on the one acre transect. The Brimstone Butterfly count on the lowers slopes was difficult. The four yellow Brimstones may have been the same butterfly. And the three distant white ones I had originally identified as Large Whites until a similar butterfly settled and it was found to be a female Brimstone, all white but with a touch of pale green on the underside and the definitive shape of the wings when settled. There were at least five immigrant Painted Ladies and two resident Small Heath Butterflies. Two Green-veined White Butterflies were seen over the lower slopes with a Yellow Shell, Mother Shipton and a Cinnabar Moth. The Hawthorn scrub added the white Brimstone (previously mentioned) and two Speckled Woods, with a further three in the copse at the top. On the breeze-swept upper plateau two Skylarks rose into the air and a male Adonis Blue was blown about. The yellow patches were Bulbous Buttercups and still some remaining Horseshoe Vetch (which flowers a few days later, perhaps a week on the upper hill).
On the lower slopes Dropwort was now flowering and now that the Horseshoe Vetch had faded I spotted a solitary Dog Violet. Rough Hawkbit was noted on the lower slopes for the first time this year. Robin's Pin Cushion, created by groups of larvae of the Gall Wasp, Diplolepis rosae, was noted. Elderflower was blossoming on the upper part of Mill Hill.
Full Butterfly Report

24 May 2009
 

Silver Y Moth Male Common Blue Butterfly Mother Shipton Moth
Silver Y Moth
Male Common Blue
Horseshoe Vetch
Mother Shipton Moth

The lower slopes of Mill Hill hosted 41 Adonis Blues (including two females) in a 20 minute saunter over the one acre transect, one Brimstone Butterfly, one male Common Blue (and another two on the return by the ridge route), and what at first glance appeared to be Grizzled Skippers, but close inspection revealed these to be three of the attractive Mother Shipton Moths. There was at least one Silver Y Moth over the fading Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on the lower slopes. A Hairy Violet was spotted in a hole on the middle slopes.

22 May 2009
An evening walk along Mill Hill produced plenty of Adonis Blues, many of them in pristine condition. At a rough guess I reckon I saw between 15 and 20 males (5 or 6 of them high up on the brow of the hill) and 2 or 3 females, the latter hugging the ground lower on the hill. One small patch of low bramble and Tor Grass held at least 6 males all clustered together, it was quite a sight as they all suddenly flew up in the air only to settle back down again almost immediately. Other species included one Small Heath, two Dingy Skippers and one Cinnabar Moth. I looked for Wall Browns on the brow of the hill but did not see any. It was very windy up there which may be a factor but, on the other hand, I could have been looking in the wrong place!

Report by Sherie New on Sussex Butterflies
20 May 2009
the highlight of an early afternoon were two pairs of copulating Wall Browns (which I had never seen before mating) in the clearing to the west of the copse and another pair in the meadow to the north of the upper car park.
The Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was more spectacular than three days earlier on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Many of the flowers (> 5%) were seen already to be withering. The count of Adonis Blue Butterflies was 52 males and 8 females, of which 39 males and 7 females were in the one acre transect and one of each gender was recorded on the upper part of Mill Hill. Other butterflies were two good condition Grizzled Skippers, one on the lower slopes and one on the upper plateau, at least two poor condition Dingy Skippers on the lower slopes, just a single first of the year male Common Blue Butterfly on the lower slopes, just the one Small Heath Butterfly, a male Brimstone Butterfly skirting the western straggly hedgerow to the lower slopes and another on in the Hawthorn scrub, a Speckled Wood and a Holly Blue in the scrub and another one on the Pixie Path, a poor condition Green-veined White Butterfly resting on the steps amongst the scrub, and a Small White flying over the Alexanders on the southern part of Mill Hill. There was a Treble Bar Moth and my first Silver Y Moth of the year, but the small pyralid moths were not seen.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
 
 
 
 
 
Horseshoe Vetch on the lower slopes of Mill Hill Female Adonis Blue Common Spotted Orchid
Horseshoe Vetch on 
the lower slopes of Mill Hill
Female Adonis Blue
Common Spotted Orchid

Swooping in the blue sky were the streamlined shape of my first Swifts of the year seen from the middle slopes.
A few Large Red Damselflies were seen amongst the Brambles on the lower slopes with one Azure Damselfly and a few more of each in the scrub.

My first of the year Spotted Orchid was a surprise on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and the first ever on the hill, with Fairy Flax now beginning to flower. On the plateau south of the upper car park there were still patches of Horseshoe Vetch amongst the cow pats, but not as much as in previous years. The cattle were not to be seen. Bird's Foot Trefoil was not yet spotted on Mill Hill, although it was flowering on the Adur Levels.
Adur Orchids

17 May 2009
 
Horseshoe Vetch in flower on Mill Hill Male Adonis Blue

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, (larval food plant of the Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue) was at its peak on a blustery (Force 5 gusting to Force 6) late morning but the Privet could be seen to be making serious inroads compared to previous years. The display was not as brilliant as in earlier years this century. Because of the breezy conditions on an cloudy day, the butterflies were not as many as would be expected on a sunny day. On the one acre transect the count of Adonis Blues was 26 males and three females. Some of the males were ragged around the edges. Dingy Skippers were recorded at five positively identified, with one Small Heath and my first Painted Lady of the year. The Painted Lady was far from pristine. I did not notice any of the micro-moths in my brief visit. Because of limited time, I returned quickly by the ridge route where no further butterflies were seen.
Flowering Dates of Horseshoe Vetch
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

16 May 2009
On Mill Hill we saw one Cinnabar Moth, one Painted Lady, one Brimstone, two Peacock Butterflies, at least ten Dingy Skippers, one Green Hairstreak and around 70 Adonis Blues.

Report by Nick Linazasoro on Sussex Butterflies


10 May 2009
A luxuriant expanse of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, covered the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the sunshine. It was perhaps 75% of its maximum coverage. Adonis Blues were courting and mating and there were too many to count (I gave up at 21) and there were about thirty in the acre transect and over forty seen on the lower slopes, with occasional Dingy Skippers including a mating pair, and at least one pristine Grizzled Skipper, and a few Brimstones and at least one Peacock Butterfly. My first Cinnabar Moth of the year took flight showing its distinct red underwing at the same time as my camera malfunctioned.
 

Horseshoe Vetch on Mill Hill (Lower Slopes)
Male Adonis Blue
Small Purple-barred Moth
Lower Slopes of Mill Hill
Male Adonis Blue
Small Purple-barred Moth

The visit was interrupted (as far as counting was concerned) by the arrival of Brianne Reeve and a party of butterfly watchers. On the breeze-blown top of Mill Hill I encountered a Wall Brown near the Reservoir, and a definite Green-veined White on the side of the road near the southern cattle grid. In Shoreham town and outskirts there were frequent Large White Butterflies and at least one Holly Blue seen. A Small Purple-barred Moth, Phytometra viridaria, landed on a Horseshoe Vetch flower. I spotted an Azure Damselfly, Coenagrion puella, on the edge of the western hedgerow where there were large Privet invasions. A single violet was noticed with a purple spur and this could have been the first Hairy Violet of the year. Hounds-tongue was just beginning to flower near the Reservoir.
Dingy Skippers mating (photographs)
Adur Butterfly List 2009

7 May 2009
I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the afternoon where eight male Adonis Blues visited the now luxurious Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. These blue butterflies were too flighty and would not stay still long enough for a decent photograph with their wings open. There was also a mystery butterfly that almost certainly a female Adonis Blue. There were frequent Grizzly Skippers and Dingy Skippers, three Brimstones, two Peacocks and a Large White. Returning by the shortest ridge route added four Wall Browns to one seen earlier on the southern upper part of Mill Hill. The first Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus, of the year was spotted amongst the scrubbier young Hawthorn undergrowth on the lower slopes.
Butterfly Report

4 May 2009
It was too cloudy and not warm enough for butterflies to be in flight and a 20 minute visit to the lower slopes of Mill Hill only showed a Wall Brown over the southern steps and five Dingy Skippers were disturbed and counted.

The first Adonis Blue of 20093 May 2009
Two species of butterfly were seen for the first time this year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Just before midday the first male Adonis Blue was spotted settled with its wings folded and 25 minutes later my first definite Small Heath Butterfly of 2009 was identified as it settled with its wings closed. At least five Brimstone Butterflies were very active over the lower slopes with frequent Dingy Skippers, probably in excess of thirty over the one acre transect but only a handful of Grizzled Skippers were seen on a day when the sun only shined through the haze for a few minutes. The pyralid micro-moths were less in numbers seen, frequent (40+) Pyrausta nigrata, and occasional Pyrausta despicata. I only visited the lower slopes with the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, now flowering in appreciable amounts but only about 20% of its peak coverage. Milkwort was common and there were still Dog Violets in flower. On the meadow below (to the west) of Mill Hill, a Roe Deer (my first of the year) was seen grazing. It lacked antlers.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly List 2009
Flowering Dates of Horseshoe Vetch

2 May 2009
A very productive two hours on the lower slopes of Mill Hill around lunchtime. Only one Grizzled Skipper but 30-40 Dingy Skippers, three or four Peacock, one Small Tortoiseshell, one Wall Brown, two Holly Blues, six to eight Brimstones including two females and one fresh male, a Common Blue at the northern end, one absolutely pristine male Adonis Blue at the extreme south corner - a stunning sight.

Report by Mark Senior on Sussex Butterflies
This report of the Adonis Blue and Common Blue preceded my sightings. (I have not amended the first sightings chart though.)

At Mill Hill in the afternoon there were at least two Wall Brown alongside four Grizzled Skippers, twenty plus Dingy Skippers, three  Brimstone, three Peacock and single Small Tortoiseshell, Large White and Small White. In our moth trap near Mill Hill we have had our first Chocolate-tip and Chinese Character in the last few days and Shuttle-shaped Dart are now making an appearance.

Report by Pen and Dave Green on Sussex Butterflies


1 May 2009
After work today I took an hour out and headed up to Mill Hill where I saw at least 20 Dingy Skippers and at least 20 Grizzled Skippers and my first of the year Treble-bar Moth.

 Report by Nick Linazasoro on Sussex Butterflies


29 April 2009
Mike Parsons and his two colleagues from Butterfly Conservation in Dorset were bashing the Privet on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in an unsuccessful attempt to find the caterpillars of the Barred Tooth-striped Moth, Trichopteryx polycommata. Despite repeated bashing of the Privet bushes hardly anything was discovered*, just one Winter Moth and a micro-moth. Mike identified for me a Green Carpet Moth, Colostygia pectinataria. I had always realised that some of the Carpet Moths seen on Mill Hill were different in colour from the ones seen in Shoreham town and I have probably misidentified them before as the Common Carpet Moth, Epirrhoe alternata. The micro-moth Pyrausta nigrata was very common on the lower slopes as in the previous week.
(* This was not a surprise to me. I have inspected the Privet bushes in all seasons and over the years and apart from an occasional Treble-bar Moth hardly anything has been spotted.)
Adur Moths
 

Herb Flora on the lower slopes of Mill Hill Treble-bar Moth on the lower slopes of Mill Hill Extensive Privet incursions on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
Herb Flora on the 
lower slopes of Mill Hill
Treble-bar Moth on the 
lower slopes of Mill Hill
Extensive Privet incursions on the lower slopes of Mill Hill

Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers were frequently seen with about 25 of each in the one acre transect, with four Brimstone Butterflies in the sunshine, two Peacocks, and two Speckled Woods over the lower slopes. The Hawthorn scrub area added a further Speckled Wood, a confirmed Green-veined White and a Large White. There were a further two Speckled Woods, one in the copse at the top and one on the windswept upper part of Mill Hill.
The cattle were grazing on the grassy area south of the Reservoir, but you had to watch out for cow pats almost everywhere.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

26 April 2009
A hurried visit to the lower slopes of Mill Hill was timed: it took 14 minutes for a trek over the 1.2 acre transect with three stops. The expected frequent Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers were estimated at about twenty of each, plus three Brimstone Butterflies, including one pale female. I returned by the same path. There were occasional Common Bee-flies and a few Nomada fucata cuckoo bees skulking about.

24 April 2009
The sun was out again although there was a Moderate Breeze (Force 4) from the ESE which meant that the south-west facing slopes of Mill Hill were sheltered. There was one Speckled Wood on the steps down to the lower slopes from the south, the expected frequent Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers on the lower slopes extending their range above the ridge on the middle slopes, with a Brimstone Butterfly and a Large White also seen. The three Pyrausta moths were there in profusion and Pyrausta nigrata seemed to be everywhere on the lower slopes with estimates exceeding 200 an acre. A female Pheasant trotted over the middle slopes and disappeared behind the Hawthorn.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

23 April 2009
 
Spot the butterfly amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves Green Hairstreak on Horseshoe Vetch Wall Brown on Mill Hill
Spot the butterfly amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves
Green Hairstreak on 
Horseshoe Vetch
Wall Brown on Mill Hill

My first ever confirmed Green Hairstreak Butterfly was discovered on Mill Hill in the central area of the lower slopes by the path. I had suspected sightings in the same area before and this butterfly had been reported by other visitors. My first Wall Brown Butterfly of 2009 was seen over the path approach to the copse from the north-west in an area this butterfly had been seen regularly in previous years.
On a slightly duller day, the estimate for Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers was about twenty each in the one acre transect. There was a Speckled Wood on the steps down to the lower slopes and other butterflies on Mill Hill included a Small White amongst the Hawthorn scrub, a handful of Speckled Woods under the copse at the top and more in the scrub in excess of a dozen altogether, a Peacock on the steps in the north-west, and a Large White amongst the scrub. The Pyrausta moths were common on the lower slopes, including a few Pyrausta purpuralis. I spotted my first Small Purple-barred Moth, Phytometra viridaria, of the year.
 

The serious incursions of Privet on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
The exiguous flowering of Horseshoe Vetch in late April
Cowslips on Mill Hill
The serious incursions of Privet
on the lower slopes
The exiguous flowering of Horseshoe Vetch in late April
Cowslips on the lower slopes of Mill Hill

A Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula, was seen amongst the scrub.
There must have been a heavy dew or rain because there were frequent waterlogged spider webs straddling the short sward on the lower slopes and two Black Slugs, Arion ater, seen sliding over the low lying herbs. There were frequent clumps of Cowslips scattered around. A Shrew darted amongst the tuffs of grass in the meadow north of the upper car park.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Dragonflies & Damsels 2009

22 April 2009
I was not in the mood for recording butterflies but the sun was out on the warmest day so far this year. A visit to Mill Hill added Peacock, Orange-tip and Brimstone Butterflies on the upper part with more Speckled Woods. The lower slopes hosted at least seven Grizzled Skippers, a conservative count of 22 Dingy Skippers, a few Orange Tips, a few Brimstones, a few Peacocks, at least an estimated 150 Pyrausta nigrata, frequent Pyrausta despicata and at least one Pyrausta purpuralis of the pyralid micro-moths. A kleptoparastic (cuckoo) bee Nomada fucata were seen skulking over the lower slopes.
Full Butterfly Report
Nomada fucata Information

21 April 2009
A small and colourful pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta purpuralis amongst the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, leaves on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was a first of the year. All the smaller white butterflies that settled proved to be Small Whites rather than Green-veined Whites. The most prevalent butterflies on a trip to Mill Hill and Adur Levels were Brimstones with nine, followed by seven Grizzled Skippers and six Dingy Skippers. I noted three male Orange-tip Butterflies.
There were far more than the counted 17 Pyrausta nigrata and five Pyrausta despicata micro-moths.. All the small moths flitted about rapidly and were tricky to photograph.
 

Pyrausta despicata
Pyrausta purpuralis
Pyrausta nigrata

Pyrausta (fire-winged) Micro-moths

On the south-western part of Mill Hill there were at least three Common Bee-flies visiting a patch of Ground Ivy.
Full Butterfly & Moth Report

19 April 2009
A morning visit to Mill Hill on a dull day produced just a smattering of butterflies: a handful (about five) of Grizzled Skippers, my first Dingy Skipper of the year, two whites probably Small Whites, and two good condition Peacock Butterflies and a Treble-bar Moth (that landed on me) on the lower slopes. The scrub produced two more whites including a Large White and three Speckled Woods. The most representative feature of the lower slopes were the frequency (15+) of the small pyralid moth Pyrausta nigrata plus at least one Pyrausta despicata.
Adur Skippers
 

Dog Violets on Mill Hill
Dingy Skipper
Horseshoe Vetch

Germander Speedwell was noted in flower for the first time this year on the lower slopes near the path. The spiky flowers of a Sedge, Carex, were common on the lower slopes and Cowslips and clumps of Sweet Violets were noted under the Hawthorn scrub.
The cattle were still on Mill Hill, mostly on the southern part, and there were cow pats in profusion spoiling the enjoyment of the hill.

16 April 2009
I visited Mill Hill and saw 25+ Grizzled Skipper, 15+ Dingy Skipper, six Brimstone, one Speckled Wood, four Large Whites, three Orange-tips, two Red Admirals, a  Small Tortoiseshell and numerous Peacocks, plus a Treble-bar Moth.

Report by Jacob J Everitt on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Butterfly List 2009

15 April 2009
We visited Mill Hill where we met Neil Hulme and saw between 20 and 30 Grizzled Skippers and newly emerged Dingy Skippers.

Report by Bob and Matt Eade on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Skippers

14 April 2009
Two small day-flying in moths put in their first appearance of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (Old Shoreham): these were the pyralids, three Pyrausta despicata and two Pyrausta nigrata. Two Grizzled Skippers were recorded.

First signs of Horseshoe VetchThe first yellow Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, flowers appear on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, hosting small black pollen beetles, Meligethes erichsoni. Lesser Hawkbit was also noted but most of the yellow flowers were Dandelions.

Horseshoe Vetch starts flowering in middle to late April, peaks in mid-May, continues in profusion for about a week and is usually all over by the first week in June.
Flowering Dates of Horseshoe Vetch

12 April 2009
We photographed the following moths on Mill Hill: Barred Tooth-striped, V-Pug and Shoulder Stripe.

Report by Pen and Dave Green on Sussex Butterflies


9 April 2009
There were plenty of Grizzled Skipper action on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (Shoreham) (TQ 210 073) . At least twelve were actively 'turf-hopping' as they constantly sought out nectar from the violet flowers. After about an hour I saw my first female of the year, probably on her maiden flight. As soon as she appeared she was accosted by an amorous male, and after a brief courtship (he crash-landing beside her and 'trying it on' several times) they copulated. I was soon joined by David Dancy, who was first to spot a Small Copper (first of 2009) at the northern end of the site. Other butterflies included six Peacock, two Comma, one Small Tortoiseshell, one Brimstone and a Small White.
Seven species

Report by Neil and Eric Hulme on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

6 April 2009
Underneath the dipping flight of two Yellowhammers, thousands of Dog Violets now dominated the lower slopes of Mill Hill, although hundreds of fading Sweet Violets could still be easily found. Five Peacock Butterflies were seen, and one, possibly two Grizzled Skippers at the northern end of the lower slopes where the only flowers were isolated Dandelions, a few Common Daisies and one clump of Daffodils. The area where the Cowslips are usually found had now been overgrown with bushes.
 
 

Dog Violets on the lower slopes of Mill Hill Sweet Violets under the scrub on Mill Hill Dog Violets and Sweet Violet

The Sweet Violets under the Hawthorn scrub by the steps in the north-west were still in good condition. Three Bee-flies in the north-west scrub did not settle. They were most likely to be the rarer Dotted Bee-fly seen in this location before. A single Speckled Wood Butterfly in the copse on top of Mill Hill was the first of the year. There were frequent Sloethorn bushes in flower but these are not common on Mill Hill and much less in number than Lancing Ring.
Adur Dotted Bee-flies 2009
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Violets

The amount of cattle excrement over the top of Mill Hill was now a serious impediment to the enjoyment of the hill. The cattle are making a right mess of the area. In contrast Lancing Ring Nature Reserve is now looking excellent with a forage harvesting regime.

30 March 2009
The first Grizzled Skipper of the year seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was a great surprise and the first one recorded in March. I also recorded my first Small Tortoiseshell of 2009 with two of them visiting the violets in the same location. Five Peacock Butterflies were the most plentiful on the day which included a Brimstone Butterfly as I returned by the shortest ridge route.

 
Grizzled Skipper Brimstone Butterfly on the verges of the Waterworks Road
The cattle were making a mess everywhere and at least two pats were recorded at the northern end of the lower slopes. One brown cow was blocking the steps down to the lower slopes. The thousands of violets were still mostly Sweet Violets and no Dog Violets were actually spotted.
Full Report
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Skippers

28 March 2009
There were still cattle on Mill Hill seen from the Coastal Link Cyclepath in inclement weather.

22 March 2009
 

At least three Peacock Butterflies visited the Sweet Violets on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. One characteristic of the violets on this original chalkhill although there were tens of thousands scattered over the main transect area, the leaves were exiguous compared to violets growing in more fertile soil. A Dandelion with diminutive leaves was noted on the lower slopes.
Adur Dandelions

20 March 2009
Spring has definitely sprung at Mill Hill with a minimum of four Small Tortoiseshell and seven Peacock Butterflies feeding amongst the profusion of violets on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. This is the first report of a Small Tortoiseshell in 2009.

Report by Pen and Dave Green on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

15 March 2009
With first signs of spring, a Skylark sang high up in the blue sky over the southern part of Mill Hill. I looked up and saw a speck of a small brown bird hanging in the air far up, and then a wheel of scores of mixed gulls filled my view. There were five Peacock Butterflies over Mill Hill, two on the lower slopes and three amongst the scrub as I returned without visiting the upper part of the hill. Thousands of Sweet Violets were in flower scattered over the lower slopes.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

8 March 2009
My first butterfly seen this year was a Red Admiral induced out of hibernation by the weak sunshine over the grass and the edges of the copse at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, south-east of the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill.  A Sparrowhawk swopped in a low flight from the Mill Hill Cutting (south-west) over the north-west corner of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham. This was in contrast to the more colourful Kestrel seen in a similar low swooping flight over the path immediately to the west of the copse on Mill Hill. Most of the time the Kestrel was hovering over the Hawthorn scrub in the north-west corner of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. Because of the still damp terrain I only briefly visited the upper part of Mill Hill.

The cattle were grazing on the southern part of Mill Hill.
There are Common Gulls on the damp pasture to the west of Mill Hill on the Adur Levels.


1 March 2009
There were the first large handful of Sweet Violets seen in flower on the steep slope beneath the seat on the southern section of Mill Hill. On the lower slopes, two female Pheasants whirred into flight. There were several thousand gulls to be seen on the pastures to the east of Mill Hill, on the ploughed fields to the north of Cuckoo's Corner and on the mud flats of the receding tide on the River Adur. There appeared to be a mixture of mostly Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls on the downs.
Despite the recent rain and snow, cattle had again been introduced to Mill Hill, with fresh cow pats on the southern part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve next to dried out pats from last year.
Adur Violets

The cattle break up the integral turf flora allowing coarse grass seeds, ruderal common wayside plants and scrub seeds to settle and be buried and seed, gradually and quickly displacing the natural chalkhill grasses and herbs.
Cattle Damage Report 2008

18 February 2009

In the photograph above the effect of the cattle churning up the damp pasture at Old Erringham north of Mill Hill Nature Reserve can be clearly seen. Mill Hill copse can be seen at the top of the picture.


8 February 2009
It was much too muddy and dangerous to venture down to the lower slopes without special footwear. Even the flat southern part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve was hazardously slippery.

2 February 2009
 

A steady snow shower was observed at first light. The lowest over night air temperature was minus 2.6 °C at 2:00 am and at 7:00 am it was minus 2.3 °C. The depth of snow outside my front door was 82 mm (over 3 inches) at 9:00 am. The same depth of snow occurred on Mill Hill. The breeze was from the north, so most of snow collected on the northern trunks. The wind direction also meant that the covering on the steep south-west facing lower slopes was much less than on the open pasture downs to the east of Mill Hill.
Birds noticed on Mill Hill amongst the snowy branches were frequent Robins and Blackbirds, and occasional Magpies. Two Yellowhammers were noted flying into bushes. No Rabbits were seen.

3 January 2009
Our first moth of 2009 was, unexpectedly, a Double-striped Pug, Gymnoscelis rufifasciata, that we found in our kitchen (Mill Hill, Shoreham).

Report by Pen and Dave Green on Sussex Butterflies


2 January 2009
A Rabbit on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was my first wild mammal of 2009. A few still flowering Sow Thistles by the most southerly cattle grid on Mill Hill Road were the only wild flowers on the day and the first recorded in the year.
 


 

Mill Hill Wildlife Reports 2008 (Link)
Mill Hill Wildlife Lower Slopes Reports 2008 (Link)



Identification of Grasses (Link)
Mill Hill Grasses

Lower Slopes of Mill Hill 2005



17 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES DEPENDENT ON MILL HILL FOR BREEDING:
(Estimated numbers for Mill Hill Nature Reserve only are in brackets)
 
Chalkhill Blue (3000 +)
Adonis Blue (50 -100)
Dingy Skipper  (75)
Small Heath (250)
Wall Brown  (12)
Meadow Brown  (300)
Marbled White  (50)
Gatekeeper     (200)
Speckled Wood  (>50)
Green-veined White (2+)
Common Blue  (>4000+)
Small Blue       (5)
Brimstone        (8)
Small Skipper   (>50)
Large Skipper   (10+)
Grizzled Skipper  (20)
Brown Argus   (>30)
Green Hairstreak ( a few)

The other species may breed on Mill Hill, but there main breeding area will be adjoining fields or slightly further away. e.g. Small Blue (included above), Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Peacock, Ringlet, Small White, Large White, Comma, Holly Blue, Orange Tip. (=10)

The following are immigrants &/or hibernators:  Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow.

The following have not been positively identified (because of ID difficulties):  Essex Skipper. This species is now included for a local field on the Adur Levels within 500 metres of Mill Hill.

(=30)

The following was confirmed only in 2009: Green Hairstreak.
(=31)

The next one is no longer found on Mill Hill but were there in the recent (reduced drastically to almost extinct by 1948 last record in  1968) past: Dark Green Fritillary (Records of this butterfly in 1857, 1938, and 1945 when it was common.)
The next one is no longer found on Mill Hill but were there in the distant (1947) past: Grayling.
The next one has been recorded near Mill Hill in the middle distance past:  White-letter Hairstreak

(=34)

The Silver-spotted Skipper does not appear to ever have occurred on Mill Hill
The Silver-studded Blue has never been recorded from Mill Hill

The Short-tailed Blue was recorded as a single immigrant in 1956.
 

Adur Butterfly Page



History of Mill Hill

Aerial Map
Lower Adur Levels (MultiMap) including Lancing Clump and Mill Hill

Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa
First Draft of the Article for the Shoreham Society Newsletter
 
 

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages
Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index pageLink to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index pageLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pages