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Adur Nature Notes 2004
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex


Click on the buttons below to visit the monthly nature reports


Buckingham Park (east)

Most unusual or notable reports


7 December 2004
The most attractive of the four two century old large Chestnut Trees in Buckingham Park has now been butchered. It had received damage after the gales in July 2004, but it has now been destroyed as an important landmark and this was the best tree in the whole of the Adur district.

Before  After
Small Copper Butterfly on Devil's Bit Scabious
21 September 2004

Devil's Bit Scabious has been feature on the downs this autumn notably between Slonk Hill and Mossy Bottom (near Stonechat Junction) and on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.

22 August 2004
A Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, (a Biodiversity Action Plan species), a rare rather menacing looking large flying predatory insect associated in this case with horse's dung and reputed to prey on the dung insects, settled on the path (the footpath from the Waterworks Road next to the Horse's Fields on the way to Mill Hill) in front of me, the second one of these flies I had seen in the last few days. It is a strong flyer.
Identification by Malcolm Storey on British Insects Yahoo Group


25 July 2004
Rising from the tall shrubbery in the Ravensbourne Avenue garden to the the rear of the back garden of 40 The Drive, (TQ  219 063), a large grey female Sparrowhawk looked menacing as it flew over the garage in a westerly direction and quickly disappeared from the view. This surprising record was the first hawk recorded in this part of town near Buckingham Park.

7 June 2004
A young Common Toad, Bufo bufo, has appeared in my south Lancing garden, (TQ 186 044).

Toad (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

Common Toad
Photograph by Ray Hamblett

Toad Portrait Gallery
Lancing Nature Galleries

Liocarcinus arcuatus

 A short 30 minute spell of push-netting for shrimps off Shoreham beach on the low spring tide produced two dozen Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, a handful of the South-clawed Hermit Crab, Diogenes pugilator, one young venomous Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, two juvenile Grey Swimming Crabs, Liocarcinus vernalis, one swimming crab Portumnus latipes with 30+ young Flounders and two young Sole
Identification Discussions
Identification of the crab (right) by by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
and others on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
Adur at Low Tide
British Marine Life Study Society

Small Blue Butterfly

17 May 2004
The Small Blue Butterfly is confirmed from Slonk Hill where the first Adonis Blue Butterfly of the year was also seen with a Grizzled Skipper and a Small White Butterfly or two. Two more Adonis Blues were seen on Mill Hill

26 April 2004
As the first Horseshoe Vetch and Milkwort were beginning to flower on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, there was a small moth that could be mistaken in flight for a Grizzled Skipper. It was only about half the size though and I have now identified this species as Pyrausta nigrata. The books record this moth flying in June and July or September and October. The main flying time on Mill Hill is April and May.

20 April 2004
A solitary toadstool was amongst the still short grass near a Hawthorn bush. I recognised it immediately as a Morel because of its unusual distinctive appearance. I had not seen one before and although an edible species, I left it in its place just south of the car park.

9 April 2004

Photograph by Jan Hamblett

The splendidly coloured Emperor Moth, Pavonia pavonia, rested among the grasses on Mill Hill. It was discovered by Katherine Hamblett and Tacita French at the top of the lower slopes
Report and photograph by Jan Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on UK-Leps (Yahoo Group)
Lancing Nature

30 March 2004
Over fifty lizards skittered up the extensive crumbling flint walls of the Old Fort (Shoreham Beach) (TQ 234 046) with dexterity, very quickly (too quickly to photograph) after basking in the warmth of the morning sun. 

These lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.

Identifications by Chris Davis (Herpetological Conservation Trust)
Local Lizard Comparison Photographs

28 March 2004
It had been so long since I had seen a Rook close-up that I was beginning to think that I could not tell them apart from Crows. So it was to my surprise and astonishment when one turned up on the small tree in the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham-by-Sea, (TQ  219 063) to feed on scraps at about 5:00 pm BST. It did so eagerly with its distinctive long thin silver beak and face, gobbling up three pieces of diced bread, before being chased off by what looked like a Crow.
Town & Gardens 2004

26 March 2004
Quite the most magnificent bird I have ever seen in the Adur area, a pale fawnish-brown Barn Owl flew majestically in a straight line above the Ricardo test track opposite the Sussex Pad Hotel (at the southern end of the Coombes Road) and then veered into the cover of the trees. The bird flew at 4:45 pm in bright sunshine so the view was far from fleeting. I was struck by the size of this bird as it appeared much bigger than expected, especially its head which was looking in my direction.
January Report
Adur Levels 2004

17 March 2004
Two pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers chased their partners around the tree tops opposite Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes road. They made a tremendous commotion as they performed their antics, with a rattling trill-like call that was repeated at regular intervals. At times it seemed if two males were competing over one female and at another time, it seemed that there were two separate pairs.
Full Report

10 February 2004
A Sandwich Tern flew arrow-like a purposely over the shallow sea (at high tide) parallel with Southwick beach before disappearing out of view to the west. Terns are unusual in the winter months. 
Adur Coastal 2004

9 February 2004
Painted LadyA flutter of orange and the unmistakable patterns of a Painted Lady Butterfly that flew steadily over the southern section of Mill Hill. Later, a second Painted Lady flew around the copse and settled on the Beech leaves still on the tree and several times on the grass. Painted Lady Butterflies are unusual in the winter and spring. Could these be immigrant butterflies rather than hibernating adults? 
Some lepidopterists tend to favour immigration, although amongst all the naturalists, the views seem to be about 50/50. I am tending towards the view that some adult butterflies have been able to survive the mild winter.
NB:  The last date on record for Painted Ladies in the Adur area last year was 10 October 2003.
Research has found evidence of Painted Ladies hibernating in Britain.
Immigration of Lepidoptera
Adur Butterflies
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

 29 January 2004
A "skein" of dolphins were observed in the sea off Widewater Lagoon, Lancing, Sussex at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. This was an unusual event off the Sussex coast and most occasional observations have been in the summer months. Pods of dolphins have been seen off Selsey Bill, West Sussex in the last few days. "Skein" is the term used by the observer and I have not known this collective noun used before for dolphins. I have not heard in use for geese or ducks either. Hearsay Report by Brian Street (Shoreham)
British Marine Life Study Society News Reports Winter 2004
BMLSS Cetacea

Link to the Adur Levels habitats page ADUR LEVELS

Valley and Flood Plain from of the River Adur

Link to the Adur tidal reaches habitats web page RIVER and ESTUARY

River Adur tidal reaches 

Link to the chalkhill Downs habitats pages DOWNS

Sussex downland on both sides of the River Adur,
including Mill Hill Nature Reserve

Link to Town & Gardens habitats page TOWN and GARDENS

Extensive urban area including the coastal towns of Shoreham and Lancing, and the inland town of Steyning and countryside villages

Link to the Sea and Seashore habitats page SEA and SEASHORE

Rich marine, seashore, shingle beach and lagoon habitats

Broad-bodied Chaser (Photograph by Allen Pollard) ADUR VALLEY BIODIVERSITY NETWORK

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Information Homepage

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Lancing Nature Notes

Lancing Nature Index
(Photographs by Ray Hamblett)

Intertidal zone seashore reports for Adur
Adur Intertidal Seashore
Sussex marine life, centred mainly around the Adur area
Sussex Marine Life Reports
Link to Widewater Lagoon 2004
Widewater Lagoon
EMail for Wildlife Reports

EMail Address for sending in wildlife reports from the lower Adur valley
Only a selection will be included and only reports with the name of the reporter

Steve Trewhella manning open of the two shallow water aquaria at Adur World Oceans Day

Adur Valley
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