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

Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated

Link to more detailed wildlife reports for January to March 2003
Link to more detailed wildlife reports for April to June 2003
Link to more detailed wildlife reports for July to September 2003
Adur Valley Nature Notes  October - December 2002


All reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given to other observers or reporters. 


31 December 2003
The last bird of 2003 is an omnipresent Pied Wagtail in the road, wagging its tail as dusk set in. 
Urban Wildlife Webring

28 December 2003
After over 40 mm of rain the previous day and over night, the water level of Widewater Lagoon on the gauge by the bridge is 66 mm, the highest level recorded in 2003. 

27 December 2003
In a heavy but brief downpour from 2:00 pm, over 2 mm of rain descended in 10 minutes, turning day into night. By sunset (4:00 pm) a total of 18.54 mm rain was recorded on Shoreham Beach, almost all of it occurring in three hours in the afternoon. By midnightShoreham Beach Weather Station graphthe rainfall total had reached 33.27 mm (1.31"), which was the highest of the year, and greater than the total rain that fallen earlier in December 2003 (total = 62.23 mm). Almost all the rain had fallen after midday. For most of the time, the rain was classified as "Light Rain". 
(1 inch = 25.4 mm)

Previous Highest Rainfall Day 2003

22 December 2003
The Winter Solstice occurred at at 6:51 GMT (Universal Time). And it felt like winter as well, with a northerly breeze, and air temperature scarcely creeping above freezing: 0.8 ºC to 3.8 ºC, and both the dew point and wind chill were below zero for the whole day. Precipitation was nil with a clear sky.

Six Long-tailed Tits visited the large Hawthorn Tree at the end of my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044) for a meal of hawberries. Small flocks of these tiny birds tend to visit gardens in hard weather.

14 December 2003 
Unidentified mushrooms, probably Mycena galericulata, on a living tree (Photograph by Andy Horton)Friends of Lancing Ring Christmas Walk  10:00 am
After the deluge of yesterday we were lucky to squelch through the mud of the meadows and paths of Lancing Ring under a clear blue cloudless sky in a pleasant  9° C. About 25 ramblers made a circuitous journey past the now full dewpond, down the westerly side where we were met by a chilly (9° C) fresh breeze from the south-west. On the decaying beech logs the variety of fungi was past its best.  In the forage-harvested short cropped meadows there were several clumps of the orange-brown Tubaria furfuracea mushroom. 
Full Report

5 December 2003
A Little Auk settled on the sea off Widewater Lagoon at 1:00 pm

Report by Stanley Allen (Shoreham & District Ornithological Society) 
on Sussex Ornithological News
Sea off Sussex

4 December 2003
Absent last month, but now the bracket fungi has appeared on the logs as the cyclepath widens by the road layby south of Beeding Cement Works. Shining white with lawyer's wig top to its cap, the Shaggy Ink Cap, Coprinus comatus, was distinct amongst the undergrowth of brambles next to one of the logs.
Shaggy Ink Cap
Jew's Ear Fungus

An old tree just off the Waterworks Road was covered in clumps of the distinctive Jew's Ear Fungus, Hirneola auricola-judae. The trees were mostly bare except for the brown Ash keys and the galls in the Silver Birch.
Fungi of Shoreham (with more images)

2 December 2003
In the sombre winter landscape, the bright yellow belly of a Yellowhammer was clear and distinctive in the fields to the west of the Steyning Road north of Old Shoreham and the A27 Flyover. The bird appeared to be feeding on the grazing land by the stream and then flew into a Hawthorn or similar tree where it could be seen because all the leaves had fallen. The vegetation had been cut back on both sides by the stream. 

On the eastern side of the A283 Steyning road a pair of Grey Herons took off on my approach. The usual Moorhens were not seen or heard in the afternoon. 

A small reddish toadstool poked its cap out from amongst the grass and chopped reeds laid prone to rot on the bank. The cap was under 20 mm across, but then another larger specimen had a flat cap at 35 mm in diameter. This species is Tubaria furfuracea. It is very common on damp wood fragments or even in rough grassland, especially late in the season. (Laccaria laccata has thicker, more distant and more irregular gills and has been uncommon this season.) 

IDs and notes by Malcolm Storey (BioImages)

At the foot of a Hawthorn Tree there was a clump of Coprinus mushrooms. These look like Glistening Inkcap, Coprinus micaceus. Against the gate on the eastern side in the sheep grazed field a couple of logs lay prone. They were covered in small clumps of the bracket fungi Stereum hirsutum and unidentified mushrooms.. 
Fungi of Shoreham (with more images)
Narrow Field next to the stream between the Steyning Road and the Waterworks

28 November 2003
According to the DETR page the short life span of about two years for urban Foxes is because they are run over and killed on the roads. Around Shoreham, this seems to happen on the country roads just outside of town.

The Fox in the photograph was killed on the busy A27 road by the Sussex Pad where fatalities have occurred before. 

26 November 2003
A big furry tail was the first indication of the healthy Red Fox seen before in Corbyn Crescent area of Shoreham where I live. 
Full Report and Links

23 November 2003
A considerable amount of heavy rain fell continuously throughout the day, stopping as darkness fell. By midnight the total was 27.69 mm (1.09"). This was the greatest amount of rainfall in a single day this year and the heaviest since 10 August 2002. On 22 November 2003 the rainfall total was 14.93 mm. 
Rain Rate Graph

20 November 2003
A Peregrine Falcon flew over Southwick Green scattering the local Collared Doves. And at Happy Valley (behind Slonk Hill), Shoreham, two Stonechats were recorded. New Erringham Farm produced a flock of about 25 Corn Buntings, plus a further five on the road to Truleigh Hill.

Report by Paul James on Sussex Ornithological Society News
All these sightings were also recorded by other observers recently.

19 November 2003
Brooklands Boating Lake was visited for the first time since the reports of it being drained of water for repairs. This has left patches of black smelly mud, but there is still extensive shallow water where the large population of Coots, Mallards, Moorhens and Black-headed Gulls can rest, with at least one Mute Swan. Over the grass there were a few Crows, a handful of Herring Gulls and a visiting male Kestrel. (Some of the Mute Swans died and others were removed by WADARS after the mysterious deaths earlier this year.)

Birds around a rock with 
the mystery organism growing on it
 A dumped motorcycle covered 
in the strange worm

A strange worm was noticed for the first time growing on the stems of reeds and on solid objects in Brooklands Boating Lake. It has not been seen in Brooklands since the lake was created. It was first spotted this summer from the seaward southern end and spread all over the lake but not to the full freshwater reaches called the Teville Stream. This is the feeder stream from the north. 

Report with information from Mrs Hawkins

Mystery from Brooklands

Mystery from Brooklands 2003

Click on the image for an enlargementAt the time of writing I have not identified the animal which could be a worm or a bryozoan? The reasonable speculation was that it has been able to become established this year because of increased salinity in the low brackish water lagoon, because of the profound lack of rainfall this year. There are sluice gates separating the lake from the sea, and the juvenile stages must have arrived with a seawater intake. 
Brooklands Lake (new web page)

The mystery organisms are the empty tubes of the serpullid worm, Ficopomatus enigmaticus.
R.S.K. Barnes in "The Brackish-water fauna of Northwestern Europe" writes about this worm: 
"A southern species often termed Mercierella, that extends northwards to the southern North Sea. It will construct its c. 1 mm diameter, up to 30 mm long tubes on most substrata, natural and artificial, including the stems of Common Reed, Phragmites, and is particularly characteristic of harbours, docks, artificial lagoons and power-station outfalls with salinities of from 35 down to 10 ppt (and exceptionally, in fresh water); it has also been recorded from several natural lagoons. The tubes, which possess circular, shelf-life platforms near their mouths, are often aggregated into large colonies."

Information and first ID by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
via the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group

Our Dutch name translates into: "trumpet-calcareous-tube-worm" since the tube often looks as a series of trumpets.

Corrected and additional information by Godfried Van Moorsel (EcoSub)
JNCC Information Page on Ficopomatus enigmaticus

16 November 2003
On a bright, cloudless sunny morning, a Red Admiral Butterfly fluttered over my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044) garden in westerly direction.

14 November 2003
In the Strong Breeze (Force 5) all the silver leaves have now been blown off the White Poplar on Adur Recreation Ground photographed below. There were no leaves on the broad-leaved trees near the exposed river bank. 

13 November 2003
Foraging on the shingle just above the reach of the gently lapping sea, or just perched on the tideline, a small flock of twenty Turnstones between the rock groynes just east of the Church of the Good Shepherd (on Shoreham Beach), were the largest number I had seen in Shoreham together. 
In half an hours slow cycle ride from New Salts Farm to Cuckoo's Corner (via Shoreham Airport), I must have spotted about twenty Moorhens, in the fields with cows and in drainage ditches and small overgrown streams. This is more than usual, although this water bird hides amongst the reeds and they may just have been venturing out and it does not necessarily reflect increasing numbers. 

My suspicion is that the bush in the foreground was deliberately planted on the Lancing College (west) side of the road opposite Cuckoo's Corner
This bush has been identified as the Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus, a native American plant introduced to Britain in 1817. ID by Ray Hamblett

As dusk drew in, the estimated count of one flock of Lapwings flying south over the River Adur near Cuckoo's Corner (on the Coombes Road) was 300.
Adur Levels

12 November 2003
Brooklands Boating Lake (east Worthing on the Lancing border) has been partially drained of water so that repairs to the wooden supports of the embankment can be carried out. 

Several Hearsay Reports including on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group
A Little Egret visited the lake for the first time, perhaps appreciating the lowered water levels. 
Report by Paul Robards on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group and other reports as well
The is also an authentic report of a pair of Canadian Geese paying a brief visit to the muddy lake.
Previous Bird Report

8 November 2003
Will the Red Admiral Butterfly that flew strongly northwards at roof eaves level across Gordon Road, Shoreham, be the last of the year?

7 November 2003

Discovered in the twitten between Corbyn Crescent and Adelaide Square, Shoreham, on the edge of the Middle Road allotments, I have identified the two mushrooms seen as the species known as the Shaggy Parasol, Macrolepiota rhacodes. This a grassland species about the size of a commercial mushroom. 
Adur Town & Gardens
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Bodies (Monthly Guide)

Naked of their leaves, the Ash Trees on the Downs Link cyclepath midway between Old Shoreham and the Cement Works still had masses of rust-coloured keys, and these provided some shelter for visiting small flock of Long-tailed Tits.
Adur Levels

6 November 2003
Just as I was resigned to the end of summer, a shirt sleeves sunny 16.6 ºC brought a Clouded Yellow Butterfly fluttering over the waste land next to the river just north of Adur Riverside Industrial Park (north of Ropetackle), Shoreham, in the late morning. Just after midday a Red Admiral Butterfly fluttered over the bushes by the railway track in Dolphin Road, Shoreham, and later in the afternoon another Red Admiral fluttered over the path by horse's field on the south-west approaches of Mill Hill, (south of the A27 main road). The constant breeze remained from the south-east for the second day running. 
Adur Butterflies Flight Times
UK November Butterflies

2 November 2003
In the morning, a Moderate Gale (Force 7 gusting to Force 8, maximum at 47 mph), with rain, stripped the Sycamores of their leaves. The maximum gust was only attained on one occasion previously this year on 2 May 2003 at 50 mph, and then the average 20 mph (Fresh Breeze, Force 5) was not so persistent. Gales continued constantly for over two hours in the morning, the first constant gales of 2003. 

Beaufort Scale

31 October 2003
A Common Darter Dragonfly, Sympetrum striolatum, was seen flying over garden in Lime Tree lined Monks Avenue, Lancing.
Common Darter Images

Trees of Urban Lancing (Picture Portfolio)Widewater Water Level Gauge

After nearly 25 mm of rain in the last three days and the high tides, Widewater was in flood and the spit at the east end near the island was completely under water. The height reading was 65 mm. This level was higher than at any time this year. 
Widewater Salinity and Water Levels

A small flock of Long-tailed Tits were a pleasant attraction at Cuckoo's Corner (on the Coombes Road), favouring a Sycamore Tree near the new swing gate between the towpath and the car park, but also venturing into the taller trees where a Greater Spotted Woodpecker was clearly seen on the side of a tree trunk. 

30 October 2003
A Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, was seen nectaring on the Verbena bonariensis to my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044). Will this be the last sighting of the year?

29 October 2003

White Poplar, Populus alba
Adur Recreation Ground in the Afternoon

Over one hundred Cormorants flew over the Adur levels, with a few in the River Adur, between Old Shoreham and Botolphs, in just over an hour. I had not seen so many before. Normally, I would expect to see under thirty. 
Cormorant Roost (Link)
There were a handful of Moorhens in the stubble field to the east of Applesham Farm and a young Roe Deer. The trees are again beginning to form a dark canopy on the approach road to Coombes from Shoreham. 
Images of Autumn Trees near Shoreham
Native British Tree List
British Trees (Old Site Index)

27 October 2003
It looks like it could very well have been a Sparrowhawk in a garden in North Farm Road, Lancing. (NB: it could have been a Kestrel?)

Report by Tacita French and Katherine Hamblett
on the Lancing Nature Smart Group

26 October 2003
A Fox entered the town centre of New Shoreham, being seen in the middle of the day on the lawn of a back garden in John Street. The street frontage is tightly packed terraced cottages on a narrow side road but there are a few larger houses and gardens.

Report by Martin
Red Admiral and Speckled Wood Butterflies were seen in a Cokeham (west Lancing) garden near the reed beds. The distinctive screech of Water Rail was also heard.
Report by Roy Bratton via Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)
on the Lancing Nature Smart Group
Cokeham Reed Beds

Maple Leaf Litter25 October 2003
The dew point fell freezing point in the early morning at -0.8° C and the first frost-like covering of the winter occurred. The air temperature only fell to 3.9 ºC although the wind chill fell to below zero. The early morning sky was a bright blue.

Leaf Litter (CD-ROM only)

24 October 2003
A pair of Grey Herons in the horse's field at the top of The Street, Old Shoreham, was a slightly incongruous and unusual sight. A single Heron on the river or the lowland pastures is frequent, but they are rarely seen together, and I have not seen them in this field before, which is right on the edge of the town with Mill Hill, (south of the A27 bypass), although less than a half of mile by the most direct route from their normal haunts.

Coots on Brooklands (Photograph by Andy Horton)22 October 2003
Summer seems to be over with hailstones, a chilly south-easterly breeze (Force 4) and a perpetually grey overcast sky with rain showers. 

On Brooklands Boating Lake (east Worthing on the Lancing border), there were about 80 Coots, over a  dozen Mallard, two Mute Swans, one Pochard and one Moorhen. On the beach sand a score or more of Great Black-backed Gulls rested and there were at least three Redshanks feeding in the Widewater shallows at the eastern end of the lagoon. 
Brooklands: Mallards & Coots Image

21 October 2003
The black and white wing was the first indication of an Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus, that descended to land on the loose rock shore of Kingston Beach on a low neap tide, on a sunny day with a bright blue sky. A careful watch for a few minutes through my binoculars and the Oystercatcher was attempting the repeated stabbing with its medium-length black beak, which is a behavioural characteristic of this bird. It was meant as one of several techniques to stab at mussels to get at the rich flesh inside.It was not successful and the tide would not go out any further to reveal the mussel beds (on a 1.9 metre low neap tide) and there would not be more than an occasional mussel exposed, and it may have been stabbing at the hinges of exposed cockles?
The red legs of the Oystercatcher were matched by a well camouflaged Redshank between the launching ramp and the first groyne. 
Oystercatchers on Lundy (Behaviour)
Over the shallow pool near the Lifeboat Station the red breast of a Kingfisher stood out from the pipeline it was perched on. Ironically, a couple of Crows had managed to prise out a small clump of mussels. 
My Last Butterflies of October 2003 (Link)

20 October 2003
On and around Brooklands Boating Lake (east Worthing on the Lancing border), there were two Kingfishers, two Grey Wagtails and four Goldcrest.

The chill northerly breeze felt like winter for the first time since February, and the temperature was only 8.5 ºC at 5:00 pm.

Although not quite so dramatic as the Glasswort, Salicornia, on Widewater, the  Sea Blite on the estuarine margins had turned a distinctive dark red.
Adur Mudflats

19 October 2003 
A Great Grey Shrike was seen on the Hawthorns on the west side of Lancing Ring above the recycling plant early in the morning from 7.50 - 8.05 am. After scaring the the local birds it then flew west out of sight in the direction of Findon Valley. 
Full Report
Grey Grey Shrike Information Page

Report by Bob Kent (Lancing) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group


These rather distinctive toadstools (fungi) appeared underneath the Buddleia in the garden of  40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham-by-Sea, (TQ  219 063). They are almost certainly the Glistening Inkcap, Coprinus micaceus. These mushrooms are probably edible when fresh in spring and fried in butter. 
"Your photograph shows the effects of the prolonged dry spell. The cap is cracking and gills have probably dried out (and died) rather than deliquesced." (Malcolm Storey  BioImages)

Fungi: Technical Bits
Town & Gardens
Fungi of Lancing Clump
Fungi Database
Fungi (Adur Biodiversity) Links Page
Lancing Ring Fungi in October (Lancing Nature Web Pages)
Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Basidiomycete Checklist
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Bodies (Monthly Guide)

18 October 2003 
There was a Kestrel motionless in the branches of a Hawthorn Tree on the northern edge of grazing land immediately north of the Chalk Pit, east of Lancing Clump. Another Kestrel soared over for an hour and then suddenly dived into the Hawthorn Tree in Ray Hamblett's south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044) causing 30+ House Sparrows, a Robin, a Dunnock and a Blue Tit to fly rapidly into cover. 
It was in the same garden that a pristine Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly landed on Verbena bonariensis. This butterfly was an orangey colour rather than the reddish colour of many of the summer Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies.
A dozen Common Darter Dragonflies congregated at the top of McIntyres field, near Lancing Ring.
A single Mute Swan was drifting with the current offshore of Widewater Lagoon. It is uncommon to see Mute Swanson the sea itself. 

17 October 2003
In the clear morning light I had another distant view of the "bird of prey" I saw a couple of days ago. The light was better and I really now think it is most likely a female Kestrel (which I thought it was in the first place). However, it still was a dark chocolate brown in colour, still seemed about to hover, but never did so (it just stalled briefly in flight), and spent part of the time chasing small birds amongst the bushes (which Kestrels do in autumn). The disposition of the tail in flight was Kestrel-like and the light underwing as well. 

15 October 2003 
A Water Rail, Rallus aquaticus, was heard screeching in the Cokeham Reed Beds, west Lancing. 

Report by Roy Bratton via Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature
on the Lancing Nature Smart Group
Bird List for Cokeham

Its caw (call) was a cross between that of a Magpie and a Crow, but it looked more like an overlarge Thrush or Blackbird: a couple of Ring Ouzels, Turdus torquatus, looked a very dirty black with a white/grey breast as they chose Hawthorn bushes ahead of other shelter on the lower slopes of Mill HiIl.  According to the Shoreham & District Ornithological Society 1988 "Birds of Shoreham" the peak month for migrating Ring Ouzels is October. The Sussex Ornithological Society status for the Ring Ouzel is as a scarce passage migrant. 

The bird of prey is just a speck on the Hawthorn (Photograph by Andy Horton)A hawk was perched for at least a few minutes on another Hawthorn bush that stood out amongst the clump of scrub that forms and extensive border of Mill Hill with the field on the western side further down in the Adur valley. I took the opportunity to have a closer look (through my 9 x 40 binoculars) at this dark brown raptor, partially silhouetted in front of the low sun, that seemed to have a bulbous head. Suddenly, it took off and descended Wagtail-like and disturbed a couple of small birds in the stubble field below. Later, presumably the same bird, was observed with a low level glide and wing tilting, showing off the white underside with a large amount of dark edging to the wing-tips, before it landed in another small Hawthorn at the top of the ridge (my viewpoint was from a clump of turf in the centre of the path through the Vetch Field (lower slopes). The easy identification is to ascribe this bird as the resident Kestrel but this bird appeared different in appearance and behaviour and could be a female Merlin, Falco columbarius.
"Birds of Britain" Information on Merlins
The Sussex Ornithological Society status for the Merlin is as a scarce passage migrant and winter visitor.
I now think it is probably a Kestrel afterall.(17 October 2003). Observations of a Kestrel in August 2004, confirmed that this bird was a Kestrel

Landing on the grazing fields north of Erringham Hill, to the east of the road, an exceptional flock of over 200 Carrion Crows descended, their black forms spread over several acres.

The River Adur estuary between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge is not entirely mud at low tide and there is an area of loose rocks on a harder bedrock. This area hosted over a dozen of both Turnstones and Ringed Plovers. The following birds seen in the weak sunshine were also not listed at dusk a couple of days ago: Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls and a Crow

14 October 2003
"I went to Woods Mill (at Small Dole, the headquarters of the Sussex Wildlife Trust) with my year group. We did lots of games and had a great time. We went pond dipping, me and Hannah found dragonfly larvae, water boatman, blood worms, snails and a whirlygig and a leech.
After that we had to be detectives and look out for tracks, poo and clues for wild animals, we found some fox's poo and some deer tracks.
We saw a Speckled Wood and a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly. Someone in the group saw a Kingfisher."

Report by Katherine Hamblett (Thornberry Middle School, Lancing)

Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)13 October 2003 
A Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, made an early evening visit to the Verbena bonariensis to my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044).

Lancing Nature Slide Show Pages (by Ray Hamblett)

The Pied Wagtails, Motacilla alba, seem to have foregone their attempt to roost on Courts Furniture Store and just before dusk, scores of these small birds could be found over the Ricardo factory complex north-west of the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham. 
On the mudflats south of the Toll Bridge, the usual typical selection of seabirds had settled in the fading light: hundreds of Black-headed Gulls, over a hundred Lapwings, over a dozen each of Redshanks, Grey Plovers and Dunlins. There were at least two Little Egrets and two Cormorants, and a statuesque Grey Heron, and a handful of Mute Swans with full-sized cygnets

11 October 2003 
As dusk approached, scores of Pied Wagtails, possibly numbering over a hundred seemed to be about to roost on top of the Courts Furniture Store (opposite McDonalds) near the Hamme in central Shoreham. The birds descended into the single tree on the  grass by the Eastern Avenue rightangle bend just south of the railway crossing gates. 
Shoreham Fish Festival (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)
The SHOREHAM FISH FESTIVAL on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, was attended by 4,000 people if the sunshine as the high six metre spring tide filled the river  just before 1:00 pm. The British Marine Life Study Society held an aquarium display and despite technical problems with a very high plankton content in the water (which meant the large wrasse could not be displayed) the exhibits were well received by the younger age group. 
Picture Gallery

Two Painted Lady Butterflies in my North Farm Road, Lancing, front garden (TQ 186 044) turned out to the last two of the year. 

Butterflies of Lancing

9 October 2003
A couple of Eider Ducks were seen at low tide on the sand by the outfall pipe near Brooklands Boating Lake on the Lancing/Worthing border.

Report by June Brown

Three Stonechats, one Little Egret and two Sandwich Terns were seen at Widewater, Lancing.

Report by Andy Robertson on Sussex Ornithological Society News

Kingfisher (Photograph by Roy Bratton)8 October 2003
Kingfisher was seen by Roy Bratton at the Cokeham Reed Beds, west Lancing.

Photograph by Roy Bratton

Bird List for Cokeham

About 50 Common Darter Dragonflies, Sympetrum striolatum, and at least a couple of Migrant Hawkers, Aeshna mixta, were seen on the approaches to and on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the early afternoon. There were a handful of butterflies about including a female Meadow Brown and a Clouded Yellow.
Butterfly Report
Adur Dragonflies
Adur Butterflies

8 October 2003
Two Kingfishers and two Water Rails, Rallus aquaticus, were seen near Cuckoo's Corner, on the Coombes Road. This is assumed to be by the freshwater Ladywell Stream. 

Water Rails are very shy and secretive birds that hide amongst the reeds, and this is the first record known to me in the lower Adur valley. The Sussex Ornithological Society status for this water bird is as a scarce resident, winter vagrant or passage migrant. There are dense reed beds on the east side of the river near the Waterworks and patches near New Salts Farm (approach to the airport from the south), but the Shoreham & District Ornithological Society has this bird recorded as a migrant seen in harsh weather. The day was exceptionally mild for October. 
Adur Levels

7 October 2003
A dead Red Fox was seen lying on the central reservation of the A27 this morning, just
east the Withy Patch, Lancing.  It looked in good condition (apart from being dead),
very bright red, not the sandy colour they go as they get old.  The Grey Squirrels seem
to have deserted Lancing Manor, and the sweet chestnuts from the two trees in the wood by the allotment were laying uneaten. 

On the syenite rock groynes on Southwick beach, four Turnstones flew off at my approach, but I was able to get within throwing distance, their red legs and black and white wing patterns very clearly seen. 

5 October 2003
A female Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus, landed on a small Weeping Pear Tree (about two metres high) where several Sparrows were concealed among it's branches. This all happened within five metres of where I was standing, in the garden of a property on Old Salts Farm Road, Lancing. The hawk failed to catch anything and after a few seconds it took flight in a south-westerly direction.
In sheltered parts of McIntyres Field near Lancing Ring, there were plenty of insects including at least ten Common Darter Dragonflies, Sympetrum striolatum, and one other species of dragonfly, probably a Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta. There were seven species of butterflies: Red Admiral (3), Speckled Wood (4), Common Blue female (1), Small White (2), Large White (1), Wall Brown (1), Comma (1).

Adur Dragonflies
Butterflies of Lancing
Adur Butterflies Flight Times

3 October 2003
It appeared to be a large (it seemed larger than a finch) brightly coloured greenish-yellow bird feeding in an open field (The Circus Field) by the Steyning Road north of Old Shoreham, and was almost certainly a Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella, evidenced by its call above the hum of the continual traffic. This bird is seen more often on nearby Mill Hill.
Flying over the derelict Cement Works at Upper Beeding, I spotted the grey/silver beak of a possible Rook, Corvus frugilegus, which is unusual or more likely overlooked by me. (One Rook on its own is unusual with this sociable bird.) There were scores of Crows, Corvus corone, around as usual throughout the year. 
Adur Levels

2 October 2003

The common Garden Orb Spiders, Araneus diadematus, were spinning numerous and extensive webs, in gardens, hedgerows, wasteland and just about everywhere it seems.

1 October 2003
A Hummingbird Hawk Moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, was spotted feeding on Buddleia on a dull morning at 8:00 am

Lancing Nature Slide Show Pages (by Ray Hamblett)

All reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given to other observers or reporters. 

Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002

Adur Valley Nature Notes  January to March 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  April - June 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  July - September 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  October - December 2002

Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

Adur Valley
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