NATURE NOTES      2011
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex
Blackthorn in flower on Mill Hill
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April 2011


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

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


2 April 2011
Friends of Lancing Ring
Coffee Morning & AGM
Venue: The Holy Family Catholic Church Hall at Monks Farmhouse in North Road, Lancing
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Lancing Ring Slide Show (by Ray Hamblett)

 30 April 2011
The Crosswort, Cruciata laevipes, is a plant found on chalk and limestone soils and is overlooked rather than uncommon.

The photograph on the right was taken by Ray Hamblett on Lancing Ring Nature Reserve. It is the first recorded sighting on these Nature Notes pages. 

29 April 2011
Maybe it was fitting for the morning of the Royal Wedding there was the emergence of the female Beautiful Demoiselles, Calopteryx virgo, with three seen of these damselflies on the outskirts of Shoreham. 

Adonis Blue
Beautiful Demoiselle

On a cool sunny day there was a large variety of April butterflies with 15 species seen (the most in a day this year) including my first of a handful of male Adonis Blues this year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, together with my first of frequent Small Heaths, my first dainty Small Copper at the northern end of the lower slopes, my second Green Hairstreak on Brambles in the same area, 27+ Dingy Skippers and a notable record of Brimstone Butterflies mating. 
Full Butterfly Report

28 April 2011

Hawthorn and Alexanders
Old Shoreham

Green-veined White

Full Butterfly Report

Female Orange-tip on Hoary Cress27 April 2011
Under a clear blue sky with only a whisper of cumulus clouds in the east, eight of the usual butterfly species were seen in Old Shoreham. But these included the immediate appearance of two sparring female Orange-tips over the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. These females are only seen occasionally on a few days each year. 
Full Butterfly Report

26 April 2011
I visited Mill Hill in the afternoon and saw scores of Dingy Skippers, on the lower slopes it seemed as if there was one every few feet! Also a fair number of Grizzled Skippers, Small Heaths (including one mating pair) and a few Brimstones and Peacocks. The male Adonis Blues (first of the year) are just starting to emerge and I got a photo of a nice pristine specimen. Also one Small Copper (first of the year) and one Wall Brown. But alas no Green Hairstreaks!

Report by John Williams on Sussex Butterflies

On the downs and the Adur Levels, the Blackthorn had ceased and the Hawthorn was beginning to flower. An early Wall Brown Butterfly (my first of the year) was seen fluttering over the everlasting cow pats of what was recently a wild flower meadow, now a Bramble-covered pasture on Mill Hill, NW of the upper car park. Eleven butterfly species were seen on a breezy day, led in numbers by 25 Dingy Skippers seen on Mill Hill, with both Speckled Woods and Holly Blues frequent amongst the hedgerows on the approaches to Mill Hill. My first dragonfly of the year was seen on the top of Mill Hill with a female Broad-bodied Chaser flying over the Brambles. Large Red Damselflies were occasionally seen on the downs and approaches away from any immediate water. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

24 April 2011
The rarely recorded day-flying mico-moth Elachista biatomella was caught and identified by Tony Davis on Mill Hill and an evening moth trap caught 37 other species of moths including four Barred Tooth-striped Moths. Whilst trapping in the evening we were serenaded by a Nightingale and a Cetti's Warbler.

Report by Dave and Penny Green and Tony Davis on Sussex Butterflies

The first Small Heath Butterfly of the year was seen on Mill Hill, with a Burnet Companion Moth, Dingy Skippers and other butterflies.

Adur Butterflies: First Dates

23 April 2011
There were almost ideal condition for shrimping of Lancing Beach, but although the haul of 200+ Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, was good, and flatfish were seen swimming rapidly away in the clear water, there was very little else to be seen, notably three very small Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus bernhardus. Advection fog set in over the sea at Lancing as the tide turned mid-morning  It was the warmest day  of the year so far, reaching 22.8 °C at midday
Met Office: Shoreham

22 April 2011

Rock Goby

A small adult Rock Goby, Gobius paganellus, was discovered on Kingston Beach.

20 April 2011
It was the first warm day of the year when the air temperature at midday reached a qualifying 20.3 °C under a clear blue sky.
Shoreham Weather

19 April 2011
Two Buzzards courted over Old Erringham in the sunshine. They were in the middle of aircraft flight path to Shoreham Airport so pair veered off after a few minutes (before the small aircraft flew past) but returned, drifting further east and upwards over Erringham Hill. At ground level, the distinctive hoverfly Rhingia campestris was seen visiting Green Alkanet on the Waterworks Road for the first time this year. 
Five species of butterfly were seen in Shoreham town and three move added on a cycle ride to Annington Sewer, where the water was disturbed by the gyrations of Whirligig Beetles and the lightweight Water Skaters skimming across the surface. My first damselfly of the year was spotted over the road entrance to Old Erringham from the Steyning Road. It was almost certainly a dark teneral Large Red Damselfly. The local streams and drainage ditches were running clear enough for me to see a Stickleback dart into cover. Swathes of flowering Cow Parsley were noted for the first time between Botolphs and the South Downs Way Bridge across the River Adur. Two House Martins chased each over in low level flights over the fields north-west of the Cement Works. 
Full Butterfly Report

On Kingston Buci Beach (at the entrance to Shoreham Harbour) an adult Sand Smelt, Atherina presbyter, got stranded alive in a shallow pool as the tide receded to Chart Datum

18 April 2011
My first Wheatear of the year was hard to spot well camouflaged against the shingle on Lancing Beach (by Widewater) above the high tide mark. Two anemone-eatingnudibranchs, the Grey Sea Slug, Aeolidia papillosa, were discovered under rocks under Worthing Pier

       Coralline algae on Worthing Beach

17 April 2011
Spring arrived on a sunny day (14.5 °C) visit to Mill Hill where the first flowers of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, appeared on the lower slopes with another prostrate downland herb Milkwort. Another first of the year was the common hoverfly Myathropa florea with its distinctive behaviour. Thirteen (easily the most in a day this year) species of butterfly were definitely recorded including my first Large White Butterfly, my first Holly Blue and the locally scarce Green Hairstreak

Misumena vatia
Horseshoe Vetch
Green Hairstreak

A small white crab spider Misumena vatia on Green Alkanet had ambushed and killed a Carder Bee twice its size. The first of two Red-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, disappeared into a small hole on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. On Spring Dyke I spotted the head of my first adult Slow Worm of 2011
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Bumblebees 2011

13 April 2011
My first Hedgehog of the year was seen under the street lights as it crawled slowly from the Shoreham College playing fields across St. Julian's Lane to the front garden of the larger houses at the eastern end of the road. 

12 April 2011
I could not miss the chance to see the Adders, Vipera berus, and they were located* on the lower part of Mill Hill about mid-way along under the scrub at the bottom (west) of the slopes. I saw four separate Adders, two were black, one was dark and another was almost silver with the black triangles. I assume the writhings of the two Adders were copulation

(* discovered with the help of Colin Knight).

Seven species of butterfly were seen on a pleasant day with the sun shining in a bright blue sky with fluffy cumulus clouds. These included my first Dingy Skipper of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
Full Butterfly Report

Three Adders (Photograph by Colin Knight)

11 April 2011
At Mill Hill I was rewarded by a fantastic display by at least four Adders. A large brown female was mating with a 'white' adder. A black Adder then appeared but decided not to interfere. The pair disappeared into the bushes, then two black Adders twisted about each other while rearing up to determine dominance. All this occurred in the same spot.

10 April 2011
I called in at Mill Hill to see what the butterflies were up to. John was already there, followed by Chris. As there were quite a number of Dingy Skippers in flight including pairs in aerial combat, I called Neil Hulme. Richard, Dan and Cherie also arrived to make for a 'flutter' of butterfly fanciers. A guy from Scotland completed the party and we were able to show him both Dingy and Grizzled Skippers. Neil reported that he had seen a pair of Adders together the previous day, one a black Adder. We came across the same pair plus another one.

Grizzled Skipper
Grizzled Skipper
Dingy Skipper

9 April 2011
My first male Orange-tip Butterfly of the year flew by Ladywell's Stream as it runs parallel with the Coombes Road north of Cuckoo's Corner. Five species of butterfly were seen in the weak sunshine on the Adur Levels.
Full Butterfly Report

8 April 2011
In the weak sunshine the birds were calling and seen collecting nest material and the bees and flies were visiting the early spring flowers of the year. In the roadside (A27) spinney at the top of The Drive, north Shoreham, the first few Speckled Wood Butterflies of the year emerged and tried out their wings amongst the remaining leaf litter. 

7-spotted Ladybird on Blackthorn
A curious Robin Redbreast (European) at the top of Buckingham Park
Dog Violets

The creamy white flowers of Blackthorn were in full bloom on Mill Hill and the Adur Levels. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, I nearly fell over my first Grizzled Skipper visiting a Dandelion. Colin Knight spotted and photographed a Dingy Skipper and this may be the first report of this small butterfly in England this year. Over the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, the first three Green-veined White Butterflies of the year flew steadily south, stopping briefly on Dandelions
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Skippers on Mill Hill (by Colin Knight)
Adur Skippers

3 April 2011
A new brood of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies appeared with three seen on Mill Hill. The small Pyrausta nigrata pyralid micro-moths were frequently seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and one very faded Pyrausta purpuralis.  This was the earliest in the year that these pyralid moths have been recorded. 
Full Butterfly Report

2 April 2011
On Mill Hill I found my first Grizzled Skipper of the year, plus a couple of Peacock Butterflies

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterflies

My first Small White Butterfly of the year fluttered over the small front garden of the Holy Family Catholic Church Hall at Monks Farmhouse in North Road, Lancing.
Adur Butterfly List 2011
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

1 April 2011
I noted my first hoverfly of the year on Alexanders on the Pixie Path, Old Shoreham. It was a species of Syrphus. Great Tits, Parus major, were prominent and noisy calling for mates from a perch on small trees, notably on the borders of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.

The South Downs National Park becomes an official political entity. 


April 2010

History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2011

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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