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Adur Valley Nature Notes 2002

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Adur Valley Wildlife
Nature Notes 2001:
Shoreham-by-Sea & the Lower Adur Valley

* If the grid references are not given they could be found on the 
Adur Wildlife database on the Adur eForum

25-30 December 2001
From the telescope lens of Stanley Allen whom I met by chance in the shelter of a Beach Hut, warmed by bright sunshine on the beach behind Widewater Lagoon.
Large numbers of Razorbills have been seen offshore over the Christmas
period, up to 2500 according to Stanley Allen. He told me that high numbers have been reported all along the Sussex coast.
Great Crested Grebe and Red-throated Diver were also seen recently.
Report by Ray Hamblett
Sussex Ornithological News

29 December 2001
Snow falls before dawn and a thin layer of snow covers the pavements and from my window the downs can be seen in the murky distance covered in a sheet of white. In the afternoon a weak sun melts the snow in town but a frost-like crust still covers Slonk Hill. The snow virtually disappeared by the following morning. 
Photograph of the Adur at Shermanbury
Shermanbury Portfolio (Snow pictures by Allen Pollard)

26 December 2001
A large number of Dabs, Limanda limanda,  were caught by Jeff, an angler off Shoreham Harbour Arm, a least 10 over 30 cm long were taken home as large enough to make a decent meal. This flatfish are caught until February inshore off Sussex. Smaller fish were also caught.
Sussex Marine Life

10 December 2001
A very late and battered Red Admiral Butterfly settled on a Hebe shrub in my Lancing garden  (TQ 185 046).

Report by Ray Hamblett
Butterflies of Lancing

c. 5 December 2001
Two deer, probably Roe Deer, are seen for the first time in Ricardo's Test Field (TQ 201 062) next to the A27 trunk road and east of the Sussex Pad.

Report by Anne White
Peregrine Falcon is spotted again (first report on these pages) roosting on Southwick Power Station in Shoreham harbour.
Report by Tony Wilson

29 November 2001
A Full Moon is at 8:51 GMT, the second Full Moon in the month is known as a Blue Moon.

29 November 2001
A couple of the large white ducks, with a bright orange band around their long necks, were Shelducks, which appeared a large duck when they waddled around much larger than the convoy of Mallards, but when on the surface water of Widewater Lagoon the Shelducks appeared smaller. 

14 November 2001
A Green Woodpecker is spotted up a Beech tree on Lancing Ring near the Dewpond. This attractive bird can be found in country gardens and occasionally in large town gardens in the Adur district, notably St. Michael's vicarage in Southwick and at Shermanbury.

Report by Ray Hamblett

30 October 2001Fungus, possibly Volvariella speciosa, hidden amongst the grasses (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Amongst the moist grasses of the Adur levels, west of the Waterworks (TQ 209 068), the large white mushrooms with a long white stalk appear to be Volvariella speciosa. The appearance of the cap varies in colour from off-white in the parasol-shaped specimens to a dirtier white almost brown in the larger specimens which were flat, and in the older-looking specimens the cap was upturned to form a shallow cup. The underside and gills vary from a light straw colour the dark brown of a commercial mushroom. The cap of the largest of seven specimens in a square metre was at least 150 mm in diameter. 
British Fungi Discussion Forum

10 October 2001
The albino (white-winged) Magpie has returned to the area of the old railway line between Old Shoreham and Ropetackle (TQ 211 052). I had seen on a couple of occasions in the last two years, but the view was from underneath and so fleeting that by the following day doubts had crept in and I removed the entry from the Nature Notes page. This time I could see clearly the white upper wings and the whole bird was whiter than a seagull with just a few black patches. It also perched briefly before being disturbed by a Magpie with the normal black wings.

8 October 2001
Another Grass Snake slid rapidly away on the gravel path adjacent to the petrol pump storage area on the east riverbank near Adur Metalworks (TQ 211 052). This time there was farther for the snake to slide before it reached any sort of cover and I could see its darker triangular head off the ground, the first time I had seen this in a Grass Snake. (Earlier Report Link)

Near the Waterworks itself, not one but two Roe Deer jumped out from the undergrowth (TQ 209 068). The dragonflies were absent but there were small butterflies on the wing. When one settled on a grass, it was clearly identified as the Small Copper.
Previous Deer Report Link
Full Report of the Day
Migrant Hawker (Photograph by Allen Pollard) Click to enlarge3 October 2001
On the Adur Levels next to the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068) there were scores (20+) of medium-sized blue-patterned dragonflies hawking between the reeds and waterside vegetation by the stream. It was difficult to get close enough to identify these colourful insects, but my identification of these is the Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta.
Allen Pollard's Then & Now web pages
British Dragonfly Society Species Checklist
Freshwater Life of North-western Europe Smart Group

Tortoiseshell Caterpillars on Stinging Nettle (Photograph by Andy Horton) Click to see a large image

About a hundred black caterpillars covered the leaves of a couple of low growing Stinging Nettle plants (TQ 209 068). These are  the caterpillars of the Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly.
What is the Caterpillar web page
UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)

29 September 2001
As I sat in the office gazing through the window, a Grey Heron settled on
the rooftop of the bungalow diagonally opposite us. The two Crows were not
happy and tried to dislodge it without much effect. The small garden pond
of Barry the Birdman are probably visible from that roof top. It is short flight from my Lancing garden to the wide expanses of New Monks Farm and its drainage ditches.

Report by Ray Hamblett

28 September 2001
On the footpath from Mill Hill heading due west immediately south of the road bridge over the by-pass (TQ 208 064), I surprised a large metre long adult olive-green Grass Snake curled up and not that quick to slither into the ivy undergrowth. The nearest streams are 200 metres away down a very steep incline. This is only the second adult snake I have ever seen in Shoreham.
Grass Snake Link
Grass Snake Photographs (Link)
Full Downs Report
Estuarine Bird Report

Late September 2001
My Shermanbury garden in the Adur Valley, 14 miles north as the crow flies from Old Shoreham, was visited by Blue Tits, Great Tits, Greenfinches and Chaffinches
On a countryside walk I spotted an unfamiliar butterfly with orange wings and black markings which I discovered was a Small Copper.
Shermanbury Bug Reports and Photographs

Report by Allen Pollard

21 September 2001
In the River Adur north of the Toll Bridge, the surface was rippled by shoals of young Sand Smelt, which scattered in many directions and there was a pronounced arrow-like disruption of the water surface, which probably indicated predation by a large fish, most likely to be from shoals of second year Bass.
British Marine Life Study Society

19 September 2001
The Tide Chart forecasted a 7 metre tide at Shoreham, which is about 0.5 metre higher than the highest tides forecasted for the 1970s. The River Adur lapped at the sea walls but there was no likelihood of a breach. The tide rose to within about 0.5 metre of the highest I have observed in February 1983. 

Egret on the River Adur  (by  Andy Horton)

A Little Egret was feeding in the shallows which were much nearer the bank than usual and it flew low over the river to the airfield towpath on the opposite side of the river.
Link to Egrets at Thorney Island (1999)
Bird Report (Adur Estuary mid-September 2001)
Adur Estuary page
Adur Estuary Survey

All day the numbers of House Martins seem to escalate and by early evening, the hundreds turning to over a thousand in Shoreham and Lancing, and in Shoreham Town Centre, especially around St. Mary's Church, they put on a spectacular aerobatic show, swooping low, all prior to their migration. 

Young Ballan Wrasse (Photograph by Ben Sampson)18 September 2001
There is a considerable amount of silt on Kingston Beach. The tide went out a very long way below the Chart Datum marker, the foot of the Thru'penny Bit (Harbour Control) was exposed, and the thick mud was nearly dangerous, in most parts the boots would sink below ankle depth in black smelly mud. The conditions were unsuitable for prawning. Over winter this mud gets scoured away - it usually arrives as a result of harbour dredging. In the upper-mid shore pools underneath the groynes, there was a solitary juvenile Ballan Wrasse and small prawns. 
British Marine Life Study Society (link to web pages)

18 September 2001
The Information Booth at Widewater Lagoon is officially opened by Tim Laughton MP (East Worthing & Shoreham). It contains a picture display and information by Ray Hamblett and Steve Barker.
Widewater Lagoon page (by Ray Hamblett)
Lancing Nature & History - September 2001 Newsletter

17 September 2001
I recorded my first specimen of the Hairy Hermit Crab, Pagurus cuanensis, intertidally at Worthing Pier.

The distinctive red legs of a returning Redshank stood out clearly in the fading light at the low spring tide on the estuarine mud bank of the River Adur underneath from the Footbridge crossing the river at Coronation Green, Shoreham. 
Usually I have difficulty in separating Swallows and House Martins with hundreds performing aerial acrobatics over Shoreham Beach including Widewater, where they were particularly common, numbering over several hundreds. However, today they were flying so low and so close that at times I was able to look down on them and it is then that their white upper midriff of the House Martins become clear.

14 September 2001
A great of commotion greeted my presence in a private wild field (TQ 209 068) near Shoreham Waterworks, but I was still surprised when a young Roe Deer, without antlers,  suddenly jumped out of some dead undergrowth just over a metre high and veered towards me passing just three metres away before running off rapidly towards the road. It stopped about 30 metres away and looked over its left shoulder like a doe. A few minutes later I saw a pair of deer looking like a parent and youngster in the distance in a field under Mill Hill.
Full Report

10-11 September 2001
As the blackberries are removed from the bramble bushes and the sycamore seed capsules gyrospin in the wind, the last few butterflies flutter around included a Comma seen by Jan Hamblett in their Lancing garden (TQ 185 045) with two Painted Ladies.
Speckled Wood Butterflies are still at Shermanbury, seen by Allen Pollard
The Brimstone Moth, Opisthograptis luteolata, that is attracted to lights at this time of the year has caterpillar that feeds on the Hawthorn. 
Butterflies of Lancing

4 September 2001
The first signs of autumn are apparent as birds in the Adur valley are on the move. On an overcast day the obvious example was influx of black and white birds slightly larger than a sparrow in the hedgerows (TQ 205 073) on the Beeding cycle path. These were possibly Great Tits
Full Report

31 August 2001
Wasp Spider, Argiope bruennichi, was found on Lancing Ring (TQ 180 065) by dog walkers Alex Wilkinson and his mother Vicky. It a large (bigger than a fifty pence piece) yellow, black and white spider in a big web..."
The discovery was verified by Dr Gerald Legg at the Booth Museum of Natural History.
Although fairly rare, these immigrants are gaining a foothold in Sussex and according to a spokesman at English Nature found at several locations around the area including Rye, Heathfield, and Hastings. They are normally to be found on land surrounding the Mediterranean they have spread northwards. They have established themselves in southern England since the 1990's.

Report by Ray Hamblett via the Friends of Lancing Ring Newsletter
Wasp Spider (Orb Spiders Page) Photographs and Information
Spiders of North-West Europe

29 August 2001
The first Humming Bird Hawk-Moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, of this year buzzed around the Buddleia bushes on the path to the Waterworks Road (TQ 209 063). After the rain shower, there were no butterflies or dragonflies, only a yellow Brimstone Moth. The Grey Herons had left the meadows to feed at the low tide neaps on the River Adur north of the fly-over. Under the Railway Viaduct, tiny Common Goby fry, Pomatoschistus sp., were present in their thousands amongst the small clumps of Irish Moss, (a seaweed) Chondrus crispus. These fish would be too small (20 mm) and quick to excite the interest of even the Black-headed Gulls

Common Darter (Photograph by Andy Horton)28 August 2001
The small brown dragonfly on the path to the Waterworks Road at the steps down in the south-west corner(TQ 209 063) was noted because of its dark green head, and a red fringe on one wing and black on the other pair of wings. It was probably a Common Darter Dragonfly, Sympetrum striolatum. 
Adur Dragonflies & Damselflies
A faded (dull coloured) Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly settled briefly, as did a Speckled Wood and a handful of Red Admirals

27 August 2001
On the edge of the arable field (TQ 175 064) next to Halewick Lane, Lancing, a handful of small brownish butterflies flit past. I was only able to identify the species as the Small Heath, Coenonympha pamphilus, after consulting the reference book. The eyespots and the small size make them unmistakable.
The adjoining field is covered in a mass of tall and short wild plants that have settled in since the topsoil was replaced  over the landfill that once occupied this land. The mix of plants is nothing like that would normally cover downland, it more resembles colonisation of a derelict building site.

Halewick Report by Ray Hamblett
Earlier Reports of Small Heath
Butterflies of Lancing
Butterfly Guide

Photograph by Allen Pollard
August 2001
I have identified this dragonfly discovered by Allen Pollard at Shermanbury as the Southern Hawker, Aeshna cyanea. (This could be a Migrant Hawker ?)

Earlier Report
Shermanbury Bug Reports and Photographs
British Dragonfly Society Species Checklist
Dragonflies of Ireland

23 August 2001
Wheatears, fly to and from over the shingle beach between Widewater Lagoon and the sea, their white rear very distinctive, before this slim bird settles prior to its long migration back to Africa for the winter months. Three birds were seen by the beach huts. There were probably more. 
A few Red Admiral Butterflies appeared to flutter in from the seaward side, but these butterflies are strong flyers and they may be just be moving from one nectareous plant to another. 
Coastal Shoreham

It was early evening, (7:30 pm with reasonable light) In Dolphin Road, Shoreham, (TQ 224 055)  a very small (scarcely bigger than a thrush) bird of prey dived headlong into the bramble bush right next to me as I cycled past. There was no further commotion as the speckled breast bird with a grey and brown underwing (strongly banded) rose from the bush and rested, silhouetted, on the roof of the house on the opposite side of the road. After a wait of over a minute, it disappeared flying as straight as an arrow. I think this was a juvenile Kestrel, behaving like a Sparrowhawk as they tend to in the autumn. On 28 August 2001, a large female Kestrel was observed leaving a bush adjacent to Widewater Lagoon before flying away rapidly and then soaring. 

20 August 2001
The long spring tide went out below Chart Datum on Kingston beach and there was a meal of large prawns Paleamon serratus. The presence of a dozen very small Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, was unusual for this particular shore. There was an interesting mixture of typical fish and invertebrate intertidal life, with hundreds of very small (30 - 55 mm) first year Bullheads
Full Report
Intertidal (Seashore)

18 August 2001
Brianne Reeve led the Butterfly Conservation Society walk at Lancing Ring.
Full Report
Friends of Lancing Ring

Common Blue Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)17 August 2001
As the Harrier Jump-jet roared overhead, in the meadows amongst the scrub on Mill Hill, the Common Blue Butterfly was common (100+) clinging, wings folded, to the stems of long grasses and wild plants, to rise fluttering in the late summer evening when disturbed. The females are smaller, brown, decorated with distinctive orange spots on the upperside. There were a few Chalkhill Blues as well, some a bit battered and old, others fresher, as well as the omnipresent Meadow Browns, but also some strongly flying Wall Brown Butterflies
Blue Butterflies (Photographs 2001)
UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)
Lancing Ring Photographic Gallery for August

15 August 2001
On the low River Adur neap tides between Ropetackle and the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham, three Little Egrets (pic) stalked the shallows feeding in the shallow pools. One of the egrets seemed much larger than the other two through the binoculars. In what remained of the mainstream at low tide a couple of Herons and a Cormorant took advantage of the low water and the easy opportunities of feeding on small fish. 

14 August 2001
Herring Gulls and Black-headed Gulls circled feeding on flying ants below the white vapour trails crossing the white fluffy cirrus clouds in the blue sky, on the first fine, if slightly hazy day, for over a week.
A Wall Brown Butterfly fluttered strongly over my front garden in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham (TQ 224 053). On Mill Hill I recorded what I instantly thought was my first Adonis Blue Butterfly (TQ 213 077) amongst the tall grasses. The female Chalkhill Blue (TQ 213 074) that settled nicely, seem to prefer the shorter Eyebright grasslands that are cropped short by rabbits. 
Full Report
Blue Butterflies (Photographs 2000)
Adur Butterfly Page

9 August 2001
A pair of Mute Swans on Widewater Lagoon were followed by six cygnets, not cuddly small offspring but large dark coloured first year juvenile birds. 

8 August 2001
Balearic Shearwaters, Puffinus mauretanicus, have been seen out to sea from Lancing adjacent to Widewater Lagoon. This seems to a regular migration route for this sea bird.

Volucella zonaria  (Photograph by Andy Horton)6 August 2001
A large nectar-feeding hoverfly settled on the Buddleia bush in a garden in West Way, Lancing, (TQ 198 042) that is near the marshy land between Shoreham Airport and Lancing. The species was not positively identified and this is always tricky as there are at least 250 species of hoverfly found in northern Europe. It was a large species at about 14 mm long. Bill Irwin identified this species as Volucella zonaria.

Report by Steve Barker
Hoverflies Comment
Hoverflies of the UK
Hoverflies (Syrphidae), tribe Volucellini
Volucella zonaria
Report from Bognor
Adur Hoverflies

5 August 2001
On an overcast day, a very small garden pond (TQ  219 063) in The Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, (near Buckingham Park) was visited by a golden yellow coloured dragonfly with red unevenly spaced vertical dashes and black lines on the side of its narrow smooth abdomen. There were black tips to its wings.  I have tentatively identified this insect as the Common Darter Dragonfly, Sympetrum striolatum. 
"It sounds as though your identification is correct . Both females and tenerals are golden and therefore the first signs of red suggest that your dragonfly is a male just starting to colour up to its final orangey-red. The black tips you refer to are a pigmented section of wing membrane called the Pterostigma, which is believed to act as a counter-balance to aid wing-twisting and wing-tip rigidity."

Comment by Alan Reynolds
Common Dragonflies and Damselflies (photographs)
British Dragonfly Society Species Checklist

Gatekeeper Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)The small white moths were still present in the waterside vegetation. 
A single Peacock Butterfly settled and a handful of Small Whites fluttered around mostly before settling on the Buddleia bush and a Gatekeeper visited other garden plants for nectar.

30 July 2001
The first Chalkhill Butterflies are on the wing on Mill Hill, although they could have hatched out a couple of days before. A Brimstone Butterfly, was also feeding in the margins of downs and scrub. 
Full Report
Hundreds of Hoverflies, Episyrphus balteatus, invade Lancing (TQ 186 045). With their maroon head a wasp-like abdomen it is easy to understand why they are christened the Marmalade Fly.
Similar large immigrations have been reported from Dorset, especially from Portland Bill. 

Hoverfly Report by Ray Hamblett
"A couple of hundred came in through our conservatory. Most of them came in through the patio doors and buzzed against the ceiling, then died due to the heat. I hoovered up the dead four times during the day and one time actually counted 53 bodies on a 3 metre length of window cill."
Report by Peter Weaver
I have noticed a few hundreds around, but they are usually present and there seem to be many more this year. 
Hoverflies, Syridae, although they display warning coloration like wasps, are a true fly, with a single pair of wings, and a proboscis like a butterfly for feeding on nectar. 
Comment by Steve Barker

27 July 2001
There was an Evening Argus report of a large jellyfish off Worthing. The photograph was not clear enough to be sure of its identity, but the most likely candidate from the photograph was the harmless Barrel Jellyfish, although it could have been the the venomous Lion's Mane Jellyfish.

26 July 2001
On a scorching hot day, when by the afternoon the temperatures reached 26°C hundreds of various species of butterflies were on the wing everywhere. 
Report from Lancing Ring (Link)
Report from the Waterworks path to Mill Hill

24 July 2001
57 adult Mute Swans congregated on the River Adur adjacent to Shoreham Airport on the flood spring tide but no sign of the Little Egret reported in the Sussex Ornithological Society News. There was a dead Mute Swan on the east towpath midway between the A27 Flyover and the disused cement works, where a small group of five Canada Geese swam leisurely away, I thought at first they were going to swim towards me, so they were probably tame.
Gatekeeper Butterflies were common everywhere and on the cyclepath north of Botolphs, there were over 100 in the hedgerow adjacent to the path next to the set-aside land covered in wild plants (weeds). Many of the Gatekeepers had a double black surround on the underside, but only one white dot was present on many occasions. Because of the predominance of orange and their smaller size, there was no possibility of mistaking these butterflies for Meadow Browns*. Both species of Whites (100+), Painted Lady (one), Red Admiral (20+), Meadow Browns (12+) were noticed on he Adur flood plain.
(* The possibility of Small Heath Butterflies was overlooked.)
Adur Valley Butterflies

22 July 2001
A gathering of large bats with a wingspan of nearly 30 cm were seen at the top of McIntyres Field (TQ 185 061), which is above the Manor Allotments, in Lancing. Martin Love of the Sussex Bat Group identified these as the Noctule Bat, Nyctalus noctulaor less likely a Serotine, Eptesicus serotinus.
Bat Detector Kits

Report by Roy & June Bratton
Bats are seen in Windlesham Gardens, Shoreham. 

20 July 2001
A Painted Lady Butterfly landed on the Verbena bonariensis in my Lancing garden (TQ 186 045). This plant is rich in nectar and particularly attractive to butterflies.

Report by Ray Hamblett
Butterflies of Lancing

18 July 2001
The Sussex branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society arranged a walk on Mill Hill  in the morning. The long grasses were still soaked from yesterday's downpour. I did not make the 11:00 am start but I went up there a couple of hours later and they were no longer around. The blue butterflies were not out yet. The only insect of note was a solitary Burnet Moth south of the car park (TQ 212 072). It quickly flew away, the bright red most distinguishable. One of the reasons for my identification was the cocoon photographed at the beginning of July and shown further down the page. It is probably the 6-spot Burnet, Zygaena filipendulae
Pictures of the Burnet Moths
There was a fair selection of butterflies including Small Skippers.

17 July 2001
It needed torrential rain and a near gale to dislodge a 95 mm pine cone (pic) which nearly landed on my head. It came from one of a couple of old pine trees just south of the western tennis pavilion in Buckingham Park. I have identified these trees as Monterey Pine, Pinus radiata.

16 July 2001
A Gatekeeper Butterfly settled in my wild garden in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham (TQ 224 053), opening its wings to reveal the splendid orange upperside lined with brown. On 21 July 2001 it was joined by others and they were present every day for the rest of July.

15 July 2001
A pair of Comma Butterflies fluttered around and finally settled briefly in my wild garden, without nettles, in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham (TQ 224 053).  This is my first definite report of these butterflies on the Nature Notes web pages. House Martins flew overhead from Middle Road allotments. 
A handful of small Gatekeeper Butterflies fluttered around the Blackthorn (Sloe) bushes (TQ 207 055) and other scrub around the towpath on the eastern of perimeter of Shoreham Airport
At the Old Fort (TQ 234 046), the Common Lizards, Lacerata vivipara, with exceptionally mottled markings, have found new places to hide after the flint wall has been repaired.The exceptionally speckled markings of the lizard are found in the European Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.(This latter species were kept in the back garden of a house in Old Fort Road and could be escapes. However, lizards were definitely present in the 1960s on the walls of the Old Fort and this pre-dated the presence of lizards in the garden of a herpetologist.)
Postscript:  these lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.

Local Lizard Comparison Photographs
Lizard Update 2004
Earlier Report of the Flint Wall Repairs

13 July 2001
Butterflies between the bridleway (TQ 228 067) skirting Slonk Hill Farm and Mossy Bottom Barn included Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and at least one Painted Lady (TQ 225 074), all species eventually settling on the chalk path, and all the butterflies were in perfect colourful condition. 
The skies around New Erringham Farm were filled with the low flying aerobatic displays of House Martins and Swallows, perhaps Swifts as well. 

12 July 2001
About a dozen of the stout-bodied dragonflies flew rapidly over the Lancing Ring dewpond (see the previous report). They flew much too quickly to ascertain any of the smaller details which is necessary to confirm identification. Both males and females chased each other in the breeze. However, a brown female dragonfly settled for about two seconds a couple of metres away and there was just time to spot at  least three large spots of bright orange on one side of the darker brown abdomen. This together with the brown bulky nature of the flattish abdomen, made to look more bulky by the brown on the base of the wings makes me identify this spectacular insect as the Broad-bodied ChaserLibellula depressa. The appearance of bright green Emperor Dragonfly, female, was comparatively dull and inactive. A Blue-tailed Damselfly tried to hide its then abdomen along a thin waterside reed. 
British Dragonfly Society Species Checklist

11 July 2001
All boats remain in harbour as the beach shingle is rolled about by the Fresh Breeze (Force 5 +) without rain, with many white horses. The shingle that had been levelled with the renovation to the Inner West Arm of Shoreham Harbour sea defences south of Soldier's Point, near the Old Fort, last year, had now been reformed by the wind and returned to its former undulations, with the return of the common shingle plants including Sea Kale, Sea Beet, Yellow-horned Poppy, Sea Campion, Spear-leaved Orache and the common weed of wild places, the Sow Thistle was abundant. 
Beaufort Scale (sea)

9 July 2001
The remains of two large mature Adders were found trapped in garden netting in Lancing Manor Allotments.

Report by Ray Hamblett
Just before dusk Martin Davies cycles into a swarm of aggressive beetles coming out of a bush near Mill Hill. These could have been the Devil's Coach Horse Beetle, Staphylinus olens, which Ray Hamblett has reported from the downs above Shoreham. This beetle has jaws that can pierce human skin and can also squirt out noxious and irritating chemicals from its rear end.

 7 July 2001
The promised torrential rain arrives at about 5:00 pm with grumblings of thunder. Although it seemed no more than a prolonged heavy shower, a figure of 34 mm was recorded in 3 hours, according to BBC 1 Southern News. I was able to verify this reading exactly using the bucket method. .

5 July 2001
On the long mostly straight steadily uphill path from Southwick Hill to Truleigh Hill, Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were common (75 +) (this total possibly included some strong-flying Painted Ladies and Commas), but there were also Meadow Browns (30+), Marbled Whites, (25+), Small Skippers (20+) Red Admirals (12+) and an occasional Small White Butterfly in decreasing order of prevalency. 

Marbled White Butterflies (Photographs by Ray Hamblett)

Marbled White Butterflies

In contrast on Mill Hill, where nettles on the downs are uncommon and the meadows unspoiled, the Meadow Browns (40 +) were the commonest butterfly in the open but where the grass became longer they were replaced by Marbled Whites (40+) feeding on Greater Knapweed, and in the scrub, a handful of Gatekeeper Butterflies could be easily separated from the Meadow Browns by their smaller size and double eye-spot on the underside. They remained settled for long periods with the wings folded. At first the double eye-spots could be seen, but after awhile the fawnish bit covered up the orange and the eye-spot. Large Skipper Butterflies* were a bit battered but like the Gatekeeper stayed still, but with their wings open. Red Admirals flew energetically in the small copse.
(* could be Small or Essex Skippers.)
Field Scabious and Pyramid Orchids were in flower. 
Adur Valley Butterflies (Link)

Shoreham seems to have missed the thunder and electrical storms in other parts of the south coast (notably Dorset), but it is exceptionally and uncomfortably muggy (wet and humid with warm showers). Just before dawn the gulls, Herring Gulls are squawking a lot just like they do throughout the day in nearby Hove (but see the note for 2002).
Lesser Black-backed and yellow-legged Gulls (Link for more information)
BMLSS Sea Birds
Sea Birds Portfolio (Photographs by Nicolas Jouault)
UK Birding Discussion Forum
Sussex Ornithological Society News

July 2001
The crew of the Sussex Sea Fisheries Protection vessel "Watchful" spot a Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, in the approaches to Shoreham harbour. 
Sussex Dolphins

The grasses supported a cocoon, from the 6-spot Burnet Moths (by Ray Hamblett)4 July 2001
Over a hundred Marbled White Butterflies were in the Hay Meadow west of  Pat Barton's Wood (the Little Clump) around Lancing Ring fluttering in the long grass amongst a cacophony of grasshoppers and crickets.

The grasses supported a cocoon from one of the burnet moths.
Full Species List
Butterflies of Lancing
Lancing Nature & History - July 2001 Newsletter
Lancing Ring Photographic Gallery for July

Report by Ray Hamblett

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was spotted on the Coombes road between Cuckoo's Corner and the Ladywell Stream, in a tree at the bottom of the private path leading to Lancing College (TQ 200 069).

I only saw one Marbled White Butterfly in the long grasses. Meadow Brown Butterflies (pic) were common everywhere, near allotments in the towns, on Lancing Ring and on the Adur flood plain. Most specimens had a clear pale ring around the eye-spot on the underside of the wings (pic), and a single very small black spot as well on the fawn bit. They were very darkly pigmented brown on the upperside wings. A Large Skipper Butterfly settled at the top of  the path from the Sussex Pad to Lancing Ring, and there were a few Small (or Essex) Skippers that were more restless. 
Adur Valley Butterflies (Link)
Butterfly Conservation Society

An Emperor Dragonfly patrolled the Lancing Ring dewpond (TQ 181 065), but this was to be expected. However, there was also a much sturdier-looking dragonfly darting between the reeds. This species is most likely to be a male Broad-bodied ChaserLibellula depressa. The abdomen was a very pale blue, almost white, and stubby rather than elongate.  I do not think it was a male Black-tailed Skimmer, Orthetrum cancellatum.
UK Dragonflies Discussion Group
British Dragonfly Society Species Checklist
Freshwater Life of North-western Europe EForum

2-4 July 2001
Hot and humid at at least 25° C at maximum.

30 June 2001
Sea Watch Foundation Cetacean Workshop
Lancing Manor Leisure Centre
Run by Steve Savage (Regional Co-ordinator)
This is the first of three workshops (the second one is on 7 July 2001) on the identifications of cetaceans, i.e.. whales and dolphins, including these sea mammals seen off the Sussex coast.
This first session will provide background to the work of Sea Watch and an introduction to our work locally and how people can get involved.
Contact via Adur DC is Natalie Brahma-Pearl (Tel: 01273 263347)
Sea Watch Foundation
Sussex Dolphins web page
BMLSS Cetaceans

28 June 2001
Shoreham Beach Nature Reserve
There will be meeting to discuss the future of the vegetated shingle at Shoreham Beach, with experts from English Nature, Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council. The question of Nature Reserve status will be discussed. 
The meeting is at the Church of the Good Shepherd Hall and starts at 7:00 pm.

Information from Duncan Morrison (Adur District Council)
The idea of the Shoreham Beach Nature Reserve received a mixed reception, with the majority in support, many undecided and a few objectors. 

27 June 2001
There were two calling male Quail heard from the path from Thundersbarrow Hill (north of Southwick Hill) to Five Ways last night, at around 9:30. There was also a possible calling female to the north west of Lancing College on the same evening. 
There were no Quail calling late in the evening at Steepdown, north-west of Lancing Clump (on the path to Cissbury Ring), but this is possibly an encouraging sign of breeding as at least one male had been calling in the area for two  weeks.
Sussex Ornithological Society Report

Report by Dave Green
26 June 2001
The scores of butterflies on Mill Hill were Small Heath Butterflies (pic) and/or Meadow Browns (pic). These two species were flying strongly amongst the longer  grasses and I found it difficult to be 100% sure of their identification. They always settled with their wings closed and at least one did not appear to have a pair of eye-spots on the light brown upperside of their wings. The Meadow Brownis a much larger butterfly than the Small Heath, so I think most of them were Meadow Browns, although I find size hard to judge with strong-flying insects.
It was an exceptionally hot day for June, with a temperature of 27.9° C recorded on Shoreham beach. 
Shoreham Beach Weather History 2000 et. seq.
The first Greater Knapweed begin to flower. (pic).
Butterflies (Bioimages)

25 June 2001
Clean Air Talk by Adur District Council (Tim Bartlett & Natalie Brahma-Pearl) at the Tarmount Studios  7:00 pm
Messages on Adur Air Quality

Pyramidal Orchids could be seen on the Old Shoreham to Beeding cycleway, but only an occasional Red Admiral butterfly and not much to see in the heat at 24° C. The towpath on the west side was overgrown and nearly impassable by bicycle.

24 June 2001
A very small garden pond (TQ  219 063) in The Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, (near Buckingham Park) was visited by a male Blue-tailed Damselfly (the male identified by its blue head and thorax), Ischnura elegans, and a small white moth, possibly a common species, fluttered amongst the waterside plants. Froglets crawled over the lily pads, where one lily was in flower, but most of the frog tadpoles were still black with only one pair of rear legs in many cases. The tadpoles develop much more slowly in crowded garden ponds and many fail to develop at all before the winter. 

21 June 2001
The weather remained sunny if not particularly warm at 22° C for the Summer Solstice, and at night Mars shined brightly to the south before midnight, and looked silver-pinkish through the binoculars in the clear Moonless sky. No detail could be seen in low-powered 10 x 25 binoculars.

18 June 2001
A small shoal of juvenile first year Pollack, Pollachius pollachius, came as a great surprise to me on a mussel collecting expedition at Kingston beach. In well over a thousand observations I have never seen shoals of these fry before. The mid-water shoals are usually Sand Smelt Atherina presbyter; Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax; or Grey Mullet, Chelon labrosus. Pollack shoals are are a characteristic of Cornish and Devon estuaries. At first the back of the tiny fish up to 40 mm long looked a coppery colour so I suspected a Pouting, Trisopterus luscus, but even in the postlarvae the more streamlined nature of the Pollack was clear, but if any doubt was needed the marked gaps between the three dorsal fins was decisive. The fish also lacked the barbel of the Pouting. Out of sunlight the back looks more greenish-brown. The shoal numbered about 200, maybe more, as my view was obscured. Thousands of Sea Gooseberries shared the same sea as the juvenile Pollack. 

Dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus, have just returned to this shore after an absence from 1982. They are all old specimens and even 20 years I do not recall any eggs. With a covering of mud, one Dogwhelk could be mistaken for a Common Whelk, Buccinum undatum, especially as its size at 52 mm is bigger than average. Dogwhelks usually average about 20 mm to 30 mm, and specimens can reach 60 mm. On Kingston beach, they still need looking for, and are rarely below 35 mm in length.

The woolly caterpillar of the Garden Tiger Moth, Arctia caja, crawled over the tarpaulin in the basket of my Pashley delivery bicycle in the front garden of my home in Corbyn Crescent, east of central Shoreham. 

17 June 2001
Over McIntyres field near Lancing Ring, House Martins, Swallows and Swifts dissect the air with  precision flying as they collect airborne food on the wing. Over farm buildings at Sompting and at the nearby Open Space near St Mary's Close all three species were seen in spectacular form as they darted around buildings and over hedgerows.  (TQ 156 052)

Report by Ray Hamblett
16 June 2001
black wild Rabbit was reported the population of bunnies at Lancing Down, Sussex (TQ 180 062). This is not thought to be an escaped domestic rabbit, but a colour strain present in the wild population and reported occasionally from all parts of Britain. 
Report by Veronica Eltringham (FOLR)
14 June 2001
The shingle beach at Shoreham beach along to the Widewater is a colourful sight with Red Valerian (red and white) , Viper's Bugloss (blue), Sea Thrift (pink), Sea Kale (white), Tree Mallow (crimson, not so much as usual), Yellow-horned Poppy, Silver Ragwort and a few garden flowers particularly colourful as expected during the best month of June. A party of school children, pencils and pads in their hand were on a field trip near the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Common Tern (Photograph by Nick Jouault)11 June 2001
Offshore from Brooklands Boating Lake, Common Terns, with their distinctive forked tails, swept low over the sea that was showing the first signs of white horses, and descended to take a feed from just below the surface in one swift swoop. Black-headed Gulls, in breeding livery with a completely dark (brown) head, were attempting the same manoeuvre without the same elegance. A half dozen Cormorants congregated around the post marking the outlet pipe, occasionally diving under. This is a regular flocking area for these fish eating birds with frequently up to 29 birds that can be quickly counted. 
Sea Birds Portfolio (Photographs by Nicolas Jouault)

The Ringed Plover reveals itself by its swift running over the shingle. Without moving it is too well camouflaged and difficult to spot. The summer residents birds and much plumper than the lean winter visitors. As the tide ebbs and the water recedes, more (a half dozen in 50 metres of sand) of these small birds appear on the emerging sand flats.

Diadumene cincta on a Dogwhelk shell (Photograph by Paul Parsons)Under the sea, Paul Parsons returned from a brief foray with a handful of very small Actinothoe sea anemones, a small sea hare Elysia viridis, and some other very small orange anemones with whitish orange tentacles. After close study I can confirm that these are the often overlooked Diadumene cincta. The mouth is orange in some specimens, but the most useful diagnostic difference from the similar Plumose Anemones is their instant jerky reaction when touched.
Under Worthing Pier (Page 3)
Sea Anemones (Link)

Common Spotted Orchid (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)10 June 2001
Thousands of Common Spotted Orchids are in flower on the chalk bank of westbound A27 Shoreham bypass near Slonk Hill (TQ 225 065).

Report by Ray Hamblett

A Quail was calling to the East of Steep Down, behind Lancing.
The bird can be heard calling from the bridleway which runs from Lancing Clump to the Bostal Road, and passes to the east of Steep Down. There is no chance of seeing the bird here as it is on private land 30 metres below the path, but it was calling at 5:00 for at least 30 minutes around 250 metres to the south of the pylons. This area is also very good for Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Linnet etc.
Sussex Ornithological Society Report

Report by Dave Green
5 June 2001
I made a brief visit to the Waterworks Road. There was nothing much there apart from the millions of stinging nettles. But I was surprised to see a Moorhen in the narrow stream, surprised because of the vicinity of the Vixen and her cubs (see below).

On a sunny Mill Hill, above the 45° Sycamore incline from the Waterworks, butterflies fluttered around, rarely remaining still for more than a brief few seconds, because the largest and commonest (12 +) were the restless Wall Browns, and either a single solitary Small Heath Butterfly or a Meadow Brown, the single eye spot clearly distinct on the underside from the orange. There were small orange butterflies fluttered in the grasses and these could be Skippers. A female Common Blue settled.  Lastly, a single a Dingy Skipper was definitely identified, although the the white dotted band on the topside of the front wings were much more distinct than shown in my book.
Butterflies (Bioimages)

Palaemon elegansPalaemon serratusDiadumene cinctaActinothoe

This is rather an ordinary observation but the two species of prawns found on Kingston Beach are showing remarkable differences. The smaller Palaemon elegans in the higher pools have dark blue, almost black, markings and egg masses, whilst the larger Paleamon serratus at the low tide mark are remarkably reddish with orange egg masses. This colour guide cannot be relied upon as the larger prawns can be blue and both species almost transparent with hardly any clear lines. Both species of prawns had been eating green algae. 

7 June 2001

An Animal Rights letter was sent to the Shoreham Herald complaining about the Lobsters in the tubs at Adur World Oceans Day.
Reply (Link)

5 June 2001
Many birds in song on the downs approaching Southwick Hill from the north or west, including Corn Buntings (15), Yellowhammers, Skylarks,  and nearer the hill Meadow Pipit and Whitethroat (10).
Sussex Ornithological Society Report

Report by Dave Green
4 June 2001 to 15 June 2001 weekdays

at Adur Civic Centre
Ham Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.

Monday 4 June 2001 to 15 June 2001 weekdays.
Displays by Friends of Lancing Ring and the British Marine Life Study Society

If you wish to contribute please contact:

Displays by the British Marine Life Study Society and friends of Lancing Ring

The first contact is:
Andy Horton
Tel:  01273 465433

Further Details (link)


3 June 2001
A Fox,vixen with three cubs was seen from a distance of 200 metres on the Waterworks Road, on the flood plain below Mill Hill. Footpaths lead down to this private road from the top of the Street in Old Shoreham and from the bridge over the flyover leading to Mill Hill, but these paths are narrow and overgrown.

Walking on wooded land close to the base of Mill Hill near the River Adur, we saw what appeared to be a large black to iridescent dark blue butterfly. It seemed to be larger than a Painted Lady for example.  It flew in a slow fluttering movement and was about 60 cm (2 ft) from the ground as we saw it. I could not follow its path. A local resident confirmed that it had been seen previously.

Experienced lepidopterists have pointed out that it is most likely to be a Beautiful Demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo, a damselfly. The Sussex branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society confirmed that Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies had been confirmed breeding on the bird reserve near the Waterworks on the Adur flood plain, just north of Old Shoreham.
UK Dragonflies Discussion Group

Reports by Ray Hamblett
Lancing Nature & History - June 2001 Newsletter
Adur Flood Plain report of the Demoiselle with photograph
2 June 2001
A pair of Mute Swans with six furry cygnets greeted the workers setting up at the stalls for Adur World Oceans Day, but as the neap tide ebbed they had disappeared before the start of the event. 

Adur World Oceans Day 2001 Report

Adur World Oceans Day Picture Portfolio

World Oceans Day Smart Group

Photograph by Natalie Brahma-Pearl

The day was overcast with brief periods of sun through gaps in the clouds and short periods of torrential rain that sent people diving for cover in the marquee.

29 May 2001
A Speckled Wood Butterfly landed in my Lancing garden (TQ 186 045).

Report by Ray Hamblett

29 May 2001
A pair of Mute Swans with five furry cygnets were in Shoreham Harbour, in the canal section east of the lock gates, together with thousands of Moon Jellyfish

Photograph by Andy Horton

26 May 2001
The Fox that lives around the large beach houses near Old Fort, Shoreham Beach has the mange. Apparently this can be treated with drugged food and a kit is provided by Fox Watch.

Report by David Wood
Previous Report

25 May 2001
Common (or Chalk) Milkwort (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)Mill Hill was covered by vast expanses of yellow on the green grasses, of  Buttercups and Bird's Foot Trefoil, with Daises and patches of blue with the Common Milkwort and Speedwell, Veronica sp., as well as small plants.
A few restless brown butterflies danced in the light breeze. At least some of  the larger ones were Wall Browns, distinctive because of the black-ringed white eye-spot on the opened highly patterned wings (different from a Tortoiseshell). There were smaller brownish butterflies, they were restless and are the Small Heath Butterfly (TQ 212 071). These butterflies are easy to misidentify when the similar but larger Meadow Browns are around. The food plant of the caterpillars of the Small Heath are various grasses.
Meadow Brown Butterflies have not reported from elsewhere this early in 2001.  They do not appear until mid-June. Notes.
The Grizzled Skipper Butterfly was exceptionally attractive when it landed on a buttercup (TQ 212 072). 
In Shoreham town especially near the allotments and Sea Kale on the beach, scores of Small ? White Butterflies fluttered as expected. About 10% of these had a yellowy tinge. 
UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)
UK-Botany Discussion Group
Adur Valley Butterflies
UK Wildlife Discussion Group
Shoreham Beach
Butterfly Conservation Society
Butterfly Guide

24 May 2001
A large (slightly larger than a goose egg) greenish speckled egg rolled down Ham Road outside the Morning Star Public House. I suspect that this was broken egg belonged to one of two pairs of Herring Gulls reported as trying to breed on the the large flat roof of the nearby Adur Civic Centre.

Report by Andy Horton with the breeding information from Tim
UK Birding Discussion Forum

24 May 2001
The sea off Sussex and probably all along the eastern English Channel is exceptionally clouded with plankton forming long strings in places. This is the species Phaeocystis pouchetti known colloquially as Slobweed and other names.
British Marine Life Study Society News 2001

23 May 2001
A particularly beautiful damselfly caught my eye as it settled on Southwick beach promenade wall next to the timber yard. It had a particularly brilliant metallic emerald green head and thorax and an elegant metallic light blue abdomen. There did not seem to be any distinctive markings on the delicate wings. It may be a female Ischnura elegans known as the Blue-tailed Damselfly. However this identification is not confirmed.
UK Dragonflies Discussion Group

Freshwater Life 
of North-western Europe

21 May 2001
The ctenophore (comb-jelly) Sea Gooseberry, Pleuribrachia pileus, is both ubiquitous and superabundant pelagically in the NE Atlantic Ocean, but on the low springs (0.4 metre) at Kingston beach in the early evening was only the second time that I have actually discovered this animal that appears as transparent globules in the prawn net. In a miniature aquarium, the two long tentacles tangle underneath and the swimming combs of this tiny ovoid predator appear to shimmer. At night it is phosphorescent.
Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group

20 May 2001
For my first sighting this year of Orange Tip Butterfly but had to go to Sussex Wildlife Trust HQ at Woods Mill, Small Dole, Sussex.

Report by Ray Hamblett

18 May 2001
Taking advantage of the newly re-opened cycleway from Old Shoreham to Beeding, the adjacent towpath was covered in a fine mat of grass. A Kingfisher flew straight as a dart with something large and white in its beak, and a Peacock Butterfly settled on the grasses, notable as my personal first note of this butterfly on these notes. Other butterflies fluttered amongst the nettles. 
In the field opposite the Cement Works, on the western side of the Adur including the towpath, both cows and sheep grazed. 

18 May 2001
The footpaths to Lancing Ring are now open.

West Sussex County Council announce most paths are now open, unless they are inhabited or used by farm livestock, or farm animals are nearby. At first it would seem that  virtually every single path north of Shoreham is adjacent to fields that will contain livestock at least at some time during the year, both on the Downs or in the Adur Valley, and the restrictions may still apply.

The cycle path from Old Shoreham to Bramber has already started to be used. 
Most Public Paths


Unless a path displays this notice (red with white writing):

You are welcome to use any public path if you:

Stay on the path and leave gates exactly as you find them.
Respect red "no entry" notices. 
Donít go near sheep, cows, goats, pigs, or deer. 
Donít go into any field if you canít easily avoid those animals

If you do come across them walk slowly away, retracing your steps if necessary. 
Donít leave waste food or litter anywhere and donít feed ANY animal. 
Keep dogs on short leads at all times and off all land where livestock are present.
Use disinfectant where provided.
Clean your boots after each walk.

17 May 2001
It appears this year there has been an increase in the numbers of Chaffinches, Robins and Song Thrushes at the expense of Starlings, which are still abundant. A Great Tit in St. Mary's churchyard, Shoreham, Owl in a Tree  (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)was seen in the strong breezy (Force 6) afternoon. This bird is reported to be one of the commonest garden birds in Cornwall, but I have never found it to be particularly common In Shoreham. 
Beaufort Scale (sea)
Beaufort Scale (land)

    16 May 2001
    A juvenile Owl was found on the ground close to the nursery in Lancing Manor Park. It was picked up and put back in a nearby tree by the Adur Watch patrol.
    Report by Tim Clarke
    15 May 2001
    DogwhelksIt is astonishing the rapidity the Dogwhelks (a gastropod mollusc) have colonised the relatively new rock sea defences on Southwick beach (TQ 240 046) near the lock gates. Hundreds in mostly white and dirty grey colours, but orange ones and purple ones also, but there were no signs of striped specimens. 
    Most of the Beadlet Anemones were reddish-brown and I saw none of the 'strawberry' variety.

    13 May 2001
    A Pond Skater flew into a garden in The Drive, Shoreham (TQ 219 063). It was walking on the surface of the small pond, hardly, a remarkable event, and it was probably the commonest species Gerris lacustris.
    Hemiptera Checklist
    UK True Bugs Discussion Group

    11 May 2001
    Lancing Manor allotments hosted two Linnets, both birds with the distinctive red throat of the male. Under a tin sheet there were two Grass Snakes and four Slow Worms.
    A quick look at St James' churchyard, Lancing, saw Speckled Wood, Peacock and Holly Blue butterflies. At home in Lancing a Comma basked on a warm wall briefly.

    Report by Ray Hamblett
    Butterflies of Lancing

    Holly Blue Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)11 May 2001
    Hot and humid briefly, up to 21° C with the first butterflies on the wing in Shoreham, including a Small White Butterfly near the footbridge and a Holly Blue Butterfly fluttered rapidly across the Eastern Avenue railway crossing gates and another one fluttered in the Community Centre grounds in Pond Road, Shoreham. 

    9 May 2001
    A pair of House Martins are nesting in Gordon Road, Shoreham-by-Sea as they did last year.

    Two relatively fine but windy days come to an abrupt end with a thunderstorm with continuous flashes of lightning and some very heavy rain in the late evening up to and past midnight. The claps of thunder were loud enough to prevent any chance of sleep.

    8 May 2001
    I saw my first red butterfly (species unidentified) of the year over the shingle on the sea side of Widewater, but attention was simultaneously distracted by a female Kestrel overhead, from underneath the pale blue with streaks stood out from the blue sky of the first fine and sunny day of the year. The female looks much larger than a male and could be mistaken for a Sparrowhawk. This bird glided and than paused for the familiar hover, before swooping off on the wind.  It is usually the male that is blue underneath. 

    Report by Andy Horton

    There was a meeting between the Environmental Agency, with contractors, Halcrow, and the Friends of Widewater Lagoon over the sea defences planned for the shingle between the lagoon and the sea, and the ecological impact on Widewater. The transcript is on the following site (click on the text):

    7 May 2001
    Foot & Mouth Restrictions still in force in the Adur Valley
    Footpaths in the lower Adur Valley are still all closed. As far as I am aware, not a single path has been reopened In West Sussex, so the downs and Adur Valley are still a no go area for the May Bank Holiday Monday.

    1 May 2001
    For summer is a comin' in
    And winter is a gone - o.
    A merry May to you.
    The first day of May was greeted by a cold east wind and continuous heavy rain. 

    27 April 2001
    The first Moon Jellyfish appear in Shoreham harbour. 

    26 April 2001
    Holly Blue Butterfly flutters quickly across a Lancing garden. (TQ 185 046). 

    Report by Ray Hamblett

    23 April 2001
    The elongate small fish known as the Butterfish, because of its slippery nature, or Gunnel (misspelling of gunwhale), Pholis gunnellus, were present on Kingston beach on the low spring tide. 

    22 April 2001
    A count of 340 Bar-tailed Godwits and 81 Gannets plus other birds flew past Southwick beach.

    Sussex Ornithological Society News up to 22 April

    Dogfish (Photograph by Andy Horton)

    15 April 2001
    I received a report via the RSPCA of three young sharks washed up on the beach at either Lancing or Worthing. A size was not mentioned. I assume these are Lesser-spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, which are so commonly washed ashore dead in all months of the year that they scarcely warrant a special mention. The specimen above was discovered intact near the Old Fort a couple of months ago, before it had been spotted by the gulls that scavenge along the strandline.

    9 April 2001
    Ray Hamblett reports Common Lizards, Lacerata vivipara, (possibly Wall Lizards?) and Slow Worms, Anguis fragilis, near the remounts of flint walls and grassland near Widewater. Widewater is a brackish lagoon, but there are pools that are probably near fresh water and dry out in the summer months. These small amphibians and reptiles occasionally become the prey of visiting Kestrels.
    Photographs (Link to web page)

    3 April 2001
    A pleasant sunny day with Meadow Pipits seen from the river towpath by the airport, with a splash of white on the underside of their tail and calling as they leave their perches, including the Sea Purslane at low tide on the Adur estuary. These may be Rock Pipits or Water Pipits.
    Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road has begun to be landscaped, but this has halted because of Food & Mouth Disease restrictions. A Robin darted amongst the underbush taking advantage of the dislodged invertebrates.
    By early evening it is was overcast and raining again, which continued with heavy continuous rain and moderate near gales (>Force 7) for the rest of the week. 
    The Frog Tadpoles hatch in a north Shoreham garden. The spawn was first laid in the middle of February

    2 April 2001
    Adur Quality of Life
    'Our Shared Vision' the Adur District Council's Agenda 21 Sustainable Development Document is published.
    The publication was written and designed by Natalie Brahma-Pearl.

    2 April 2001
    Peacock Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)In St James-the-Less churchyard, Lancing, (TQ 183 056) I spotted Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies maybe two. Also two Comma Butterflies basking close to emerging nettle patch and aPeacock Butterfly landing on a tombstone.
    Birds including a warbler with a sharp trill voice and rounded tail with chestnut colour tail feathers, and Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits.
    It was the warmest (16° C) sunniest day of the rain, but by late afternoon it had started raining again.

    Report by Ray Hamblett

    30 March 2001
    Brimstone butterfly is on the wing in North Lancing (urban area) with the first decent sun for weeks. (TQ 182 056)

    Report by Ray Hamblett
    Lancing Nature & History - April Newsletter (by Ray Hamblett)
    UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)

    24 March 2001
    A dry day but the ground is absolutely saturated almost everywhere, the standing water on the Mash Barn, Lancing, is greater than it has been before this winter. Squelchy Southwick Green is being pumped clear of flood water.
    The total rainfall recorded on Shoreham beach for the month of March 2001 was a very high 112 mm. 
    Shoreham Beach Weather History 2000 et. seq.

    21 March 2001
    Not exactly spring, but still a pleasant still day at 10° C and little sign of the mini-blizzard of yesterday. The water was still gushing from the downs and draining from the airport into the surrounding ditches, but there was no photographic sunlight, the crowds were still dark to the north above Mill Hill.

    Work has begun on repairing the flint wall of the Old Fort of Shoreham Beach (constructed c. 1857) by Dave Smith of Flintman of Lewes. The Common Lizards, well known to Shoreham children, have been displaced from their prime holes in the wall, and have skittered off to new habitats. (TQ 234 044)
    Full Story and Photograph
    Flintman on Flint (Link)

    20 March 2001
    The first day of spring is greeted by a heavy flurry of sleet driven almost horizontally by a strong east wind. The sleet was heavy and continuous for the whole of daylight without remission, but it was still above freezing and in the town of Shoreham it all melted on contact with the ground. As I looked out of my window, the view of the downs was obscured by dreadful conditions. By mid-afternoon, the tops of cars were sprinkled with a layer of snow, so the downs were likely to covered. By late afternoon the snow began to settle in town but only for a short time before it turned to heavy slush, and as conditions eased for a brief interlude, I could see the downs were only lightly sprinkled with snow. By the evening rush hour and dusk it was more rain than sleet. 
    Vernal Equinox Link
    BMLSS Tides Page

    18 March 2001
    Crows are collecting twigs from Beech trees for their nests in the Pines, and Magpies are building their nests in the gardens of Lancing. 

    9 March 2001
    The Oystercatchers can be found on the River Adur mud flats amongst the mussel beds on the low spring tides. 

    28 February 2001
    Food & Mouth Disease Restrictions
    The Food & Mouth Disease regulations have come into force to empower Local Authorities to close footpaths and rights of way. Notices have been put on in the Adur Valley, with good reason. The Police have made sure they are enforced and they have been complied with. 
    MAFF Information Page
    Public Rights of Way and Foot & Mouth Disease
    WSCC Information
    ESCC Information

    25 February 2001

    Adder (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

    AnAdder basked in the sun on the chalkpit lane near Lancing Ring as the sprinkling of overnight snow gradually melted away. This is the only poisonous snake found on mainland Britain and is also known as the Common Viper. It hibernates during the winter.

    Report and photograph by Ray Hamblett
    Lancing Nature & History - February Newsletter
    The was a layer of snow on the downs above Sompting.
    Link to a panoramic photograph by Paul Parsons (Adur Forum members only)
    Lancing Ring Photographic Gallery for February

    2* February 2001
    Two Mute Swans landed on the A27 Flyover in the early morning fog and caused a traffic hold-up on this busy road.

    20 February 2001
    Grey Wagtail was spotted on the shingle beach adjacent to Beach Green, Lancing. This bird is seen occasionally every winter near water and there is a very small breeding population in Sussex.

    Report by Jan Hamblett

    19 February 2001
    A flash of red tail (it could be mistaken for a red breast in flight) indicated the male Black Redstart flitting between the beach huts south of Beach Green, Shoreham Beach. It perched pipit-like on a metre-high pole sticking out of the shingle beach where it looked black silhouetted against the morning sky. A couple of the brownish female birds were also reported on the same day. 

    Report by Andy Horton

    14 February 2001

    For the first time for many years a good haul of the Brown Shimp, Crangon crangon, was reported from the shallow seas off Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex. Gallons of shrimps were collected in a push net at low tide. No Weevers were netted.

    Report by Peter Murphy
    c. 14 February 2001
    The first Common Frog entered a pond in The Drive, Shoreham, and laid a large clump of frog spawn.

    12 February 2001

    Photograph by Steve Savage (click on the flipper for a close-up)FlipperPhotograph by Steve Savage

    Photograph by Steve Savage (Sea Watch Foundation)
    Click on the flipper for a close-up

    Two badly decomposed Dolphins were washed up on Shoreham Beach, Sussex. They were badly decomposed but were probably Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis. A Porpoise, just over a metre long, was washed at nearby Worthing
    Sussex Dolphins
    Sussex Cetaceans 2001
    Sussex Sea Watch Foundation News 2001

    10 February 2001
    Ray Hamblett reports a Red Admiral Butterfly from his garden in south Lancing.

    8 February 2001
    After several days of rain; the ground is saturated everywhere, especially Lancing Ring. West Way, Lancing was flooded, as expected up to the edge of the gardens, but this is still not as bad as it has been in the past.
    National Floodline, Tel: 0845 988 1188

    Empty egg cases of the Thornback Ray (left) and Dogfish (right) are found washed up on the strandline by Andy Horton and Ray Hamblett.
    Mermaid's Purse (BMLSS Information)

    4 February 2001
    Jackdaws accompany the flocks of Crows in the Buckingham Park area of Shoreham. There are lot of birds around, especially Robins and Blue Tits and little brown birds in the tree tops.

    Diadumene cincta amongst Lightbulb Sea Squirts (Photograph by Paul Parsons)3 February 2001
    The sea anemone Diadumene cincta has been identified and photographed by Paul Parsons off Worthing at a depth of 3 metres and they possibly occur off Shoreham as well. It is a small sea anemone that has probably overlooked before or incorrectly identified. The colony found was very small. It needs to be picked out amongst the background of the Lightbulb Sea Squirts, Clavelina lepadiformis.
    Sea Anemones (Link)

    29 January 2001
    Adur World Oceans Day 2001
    The first meeting to discuss arrangements for this Adur Festival event.
    Please express any interest to:
    Andy Horton (British Marine Life Study Society)
    Natalie Brahma-Pearl (Adur District Council)

    Adur World Oceans Day 2001 web page

    21 January 2001
    A small flock (at least 6 birds) of Long-tailed Tits were seem amongst the lower branches of the large Beech trees in the Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, during the steady rain that had drizzled down for the whole day. These tiny birds (smaller than the Wren) have not seen in these trees before (my observations in 30 years). 
    The Kestrel that was seen almost every day in Dolphin Road for years has not be seen hovering over the allotments or railway embankment for over six months now. 

    19 January 2001
    The first flurries of snow, hardly anything, are seen in the late morning
    Ice formed on the Lancing Ring Dewpond (Ray Hamblett)
    11 January 2001
    Three Red-breasted Mergansers settle on Widewater Lagoon. There have been reports of up to seven. In flight they seem nearly as quick as Mallards.
Taurulus bubalis (Photograph by Andy Horton)7 January 2001
Several hundred Long-spined Bullheads, Taurulus bubalis, were found up washed on the strandline on Lancing beach, West Sussex. This has has not been recorded before and could have been caused by localised pollution.  It was breeding time for these small fish.
Report by Robert Clark, Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee

4 January 2001
The overnight rainfall at Shoreham of 20 mm was the highest in England. Where is other places the dangers of floods are receding, the water table is reaching high levels, but not record levels, locally.  In October 2001 the rainfall was higher.

1 January 2001
An oiled Gannet is reported from Widewater Lagoon. This was the first sign of a much greater oil spill off the Sussex coast with scores of oiled Guillemots and other birds.
All sightings of oiled birds should be sent to the RSPCA, Tel: 0300 1234 999.

Report by Ray Hamblett

1 January 2001
After the dampest autumn on record, New Years Eve brought 8 hours+ of continual rain up until and past midnight.
National Floodline, Tel: 0845 988 1188


Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

Adur Valley
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