Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

April 2010

Mill Hill
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Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph

After the rain and snow of the first three months of the year, the Adur Levels were sodden.

Blackthorn (in flower) and Hawthorn on Mill Hill

Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports


27 April 2010
As the sun had come out, albeit briefly and weakly, I thought I would pay a quick visit to Mill Hill to examine the numbers of skippers and pyralid micro-moths on the lower slopes. The count was six Grizzled Skippers (including a courting pair) and seven flighty Dingy Skippers. Ten butterfly species were seen, the equal most in a single day this year. 
Pyrausta nigrata
Hybrid Violets

Patches of unidentified Violets, were noted for the first time this year growing in cleared patches of scrub on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The latest thinking (which I agree with) is that these are hybrids, intermediate between Sweet Violets and Dog Violets. The sepals are spade-shaped ending in a point. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Violets

My first amphibian of the year was a Common Frog poking its head from between the Duckweed in my garden pond in Shoreham. 
26 April 2010
The first three Rhingia campestris hoverflies of the year were seen visiting the first Bluebells on the verges of the Waterworks Road on the footpath section.

23 April 2010
Horseshoe VetchFar from a glut of butterflies, the urban areas had none seen at all, but on the outskirts of town in the early afternoon sun a steady stream appeared, with ten species seen in an hour, the most in a single day this year. 
Full Butterfly Report

The first solitary flower of the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, appeared on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, at least nine days later than last year. The first solitary Milkwort was also spotted. 
Flowering Dates of Horseshoe Vetch

21 April 2010
It was sad to see two Badgers lying dead on the verges of the Steyning Road, north of Spring Dyke, north of Old Shoreham. A cursory inspection looked like they had suffered severe impact wounds conducive to being hit by a motor vehicle. Butterflies were fluttering around in the sun and I recorded two firsts of the year: a Green-veined White Butterfly flying strongly over the Maple Spinney next to the Waterworks Road, and my first Holly Blue at the top (north) end of Buckingham Road, Shoreham. Nine butterfly species were seen without visiting the downs.
Full Butterfly Report

20 April 2010
In the weak sunshine the first reptile of the year was spotted on the wall of the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach: an adult Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, (with an intact tail) skittered into a hole the size of a flint cobble on the south-facing wall. 
Adur Lizards

19 April 2010
Just a single male Orange-tip Butterfly (the first of the year) fluttered over the verge just north of where the Ladywells Stream flows under the Coombes Road, north of Cuckoo's Corner. Its food plant, Garlic Mustard was not yet flowering. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

18 April 2010
In the blue hazy sky a Skylark sang continuously over Erringham Hill (immediately north of Mill Hill) whilst in the copse on Mill Hill a Great Tit and a Chaffinch flitted between the trees. Eight Grizzled Skippers were recorded on the hill on a day of nine species of butterfly seen by me, plus a third party report of a pair of mating Small Coppers. A Dotted Bee-fly, Bombylius discolor, was spotted hovering about and visiting Dog Violets on Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

Two Green-veined White Butterflies were spotted (the first of the year) in the north-west corner of Lancing Ring Nature Reserve, outside of the clump of trees. House Martins flew overhead, seen for the first time in 2010

Lancing Report by Ray Hamblett
Friends of Lancing Ring web pages

15 April 2010
At last I managed to see my first skippers of the year, although they would not easy to discover if it was not for the other butterfly spotters on Mill Hill. The Dingy Skipper was my first and then I spotted a fluttering Grizzled Skipper out of the corner of my eye before I was shown a mating pair on Bramble and then discovered another mating pair for myself. 

Dingy Skipper
Grizzled Skippers

Six species of butterfly were seen in the afternoon.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Skippers

The first Swallow of the year flew over Lancing town.

Swallow Report by Jan Hamblett

13 April 2010
The first Speckled Wood Butterfly of the year settled with its wings closed on a dead branch on the verges of the Waterworks Road, with frequent Peacock Butterflies, occasional Comma Butterflies, a few languid flying Large Whites and at least one yellow Brimstone Butterfly.

My first Holly Blue Butterfly was seen in Lancing. It seemed to be defending an Eleagnus bush

Holly Blue Report by Ray Hamblett on Sussex Butterfly Reports

Things are hotting up nicely now and Mill Hill must have been one of the warmest places in the country today. Sheltered from the north-east wind the butterflies were very active. Estimates for Grizzled Skippers range from 10 to 15 including one mated pair and at least another courting pair. Also a Dingy Skipper (the first of the year in Sussex) with its wings still drying, matching the first date from last year at the same spot to within 10 metres, at the same time of day and by the same observer!

Mill Hill Report by Tom Ottley on Sussex Butterfly Reports
Full Butterfly Reports
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

11 April 2010
The first Large White Butterfly of the year fluttered strongly along the Waterworks Road, the first Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula, of the year was seen in the Butterfly Copse with at least two Common Bee-Flies, Bombylius major
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Flies

8 April 2010
The butterfly spotters were out on Mill Hill in the sunny morning to find the first few Grizzled Skippers of the year. They found them, but I did not, even though I stayed on the hill for the best part of an hour. 

Peacock Butterflies were frequently seen with occasional Small Tortoiseshells and Brimstone Butterflies with one Red Admiral on Mill Hill and its approaches, a Small White on the Pixie Path and a Comma or two on the Waterworks Road. Six species of the butterfly was the most this year so far. In the nearby Butterfly Copse, my first damselfly of the year was spotted amongst the Alexanders. I think this is most likely to be the Azure Damselfly, Coenagrion puella. However, it is surprisingly early for this species.
Full Butterfly Report and Images
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Damselfly Report

6 April 2010
Lambs were bleating in the pastures by Passies Pond, south of Applesham Farm (near Coombes). Yellow was the colour of the day as the belated spring showed signs of eventually blooming in the weak sunshine. On the still sodden verges, Lesser Celandines were finally opening up, with Primroses on the side of the road by Botolphs. 

Lesser Celandine

My first Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly of 2010 fluttered over the wooden footway of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, followed a few minutes later by a Peacock Butterfly and my first Comma at the entrance to the Maple Spinney (near the Waterworks Road), Old Shoreham. 
My first fishes of the year; 3-spined Sticklebacks, were seen in a stream, darting in the clear water, near Coombes. 

The first Grizzled Skipper of the year was discovered on Mill Hill.

Skipper Report by Neil Hulme (verbal)
Adur Butterfly List 2010
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

4 April 2010
A Bat flew around Lancing Farm College Pond (beside the entrance road to Lancing College) in the late afternoon.

Report by Jan Hamblett

3 April 2010
A dead Harbour Porpoise was washed up on the bank of the River Adur about 100 metres north of the old Toll Bridge.


April 2009

History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2010

Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
Lancing Village

Adur Valley Network (forum)

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages
    The Shoreham-by-Sea web site started on 1 January 1997.
Webmaster: Andy Horton.

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