Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

April 2017

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Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
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2017  Regional

Adur Coastal & Marine
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20 April 2017

at Cuckoo's Corner

19 April 2017

Horseshoe Vetch

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the first hundred or so flowers of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, were showing along with the the first flowers of Milkwort. Young Privet was everywhere over the southern part of the lower slopes. coming back vigorously every year and threatening to shade out the chalkhill plants

18 April 2017

Tottington Wood

Breezy and cloudy, I cycled the downs route against a Force 4 passing Mill Hill and north of Beeding Hill down the narrow bridleway to Tottington Wood. The bridlepath was a difficult passage for cycling, but rewarded with a dozen Speckled Wood Butterflies, a Green-veined White and a Comma.  In Tottington Wood, I spotted a handful of my first Early Purple Orchids of the year with flowering Wood Anemones and Primroses amongst the Bluebells. A damaged Red Admiral landed in the shade of the trees.
Magic Map of Tottington Wood
Tottington Wood Reports

Green-winged Orchid, Early Purple Orchid
Greater Stitchwort, Wood Anemone

I returned home over the small hill (Maines Farm route) to Upper Beeding and then made a brief sortie to the bottom end of Anchor Bottom where I stumbled on a single purple spike of a Green-winged Orchid. On the Downs Link Cyclepath back to Old Shoreham, the Cowslips were still in flower south of the Cement Works, where a female Orange Tip Butterfly was positively identified as my fifth butterfly species of the afternoon
Adur Orchids

12 April 2017
Butterflies were frequently seen on the weak sunshine despite the breeze. White butterflies were seen on the verges of the cyclepath at Old Shoreham. These were the first of year and mostly they were too flighty to be identified. Eventually, one of a pair settled by a stream near Botolphs and was recognised clearly as a Green-veined White. By the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, an emergence of a dozen Speckled Woods, joined a few Peacock Butterflies, a Brimstone Butterfly, and a few whites, probably Green-veined. It was an afternoon for the familiar early spring hoverflies, small bees attracted to Alexanders, and the frequent Nursery-web Spider, Pisaura mirabilis, on a Stinging Nettle. A Comma Butterfly made an appearance by Frampton's Field. 

Speckled Wood

I made an impromptu decision to cycle along the Downs Link Cyclepath to Upper Beeding where it was too breezy for many butterflies. Streamside at Botolphs a few restless male Orange Tips made an appearance with the aforementioned Green-veined Whites and Red Admirals by the river towpath. That made for seven species of butterfly in a couple of hours. House Martins were seen over the lowland fields at Botolphs.
Adur Butterfly List 2017

7 April 2017

Grizzled Skippers

A pair of Holly Blue Butterflies fluttering high in the trees at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, north Shoreham, were my first of the year. This is on the way to Mill Hill, where the highlight on the lower slopes was another first of the year: a pair of mating Grizzled Skippers on a dead Carline Thistle plant. Dog Violets were now the dominant violets on the lower slopes. On a hazy late afternoon, there was not much movement, my first Swallow of the year flew over the Blackthorn in blossom, a Kestrel hovering and descending on ot the steep slopes, a handful of Peacock Butterflies and a Small Tortoiseshell, the fattest Slow Worm I have ever seen, Common Bee-flies, bumblebees small hoverflies, and frequent active small spiders crawling amongst the short vegetation. 
Adur Butterfly List 2017
Adur Skippers

6 April 2017

Orange Tip Butterfly

A Buzzard looked large in the afternoon sky as it soared over the Adur Levels as seen from near Ladywells, from a field north of Ladywell's Stream on the Coombes Road, where I spotted my first male Orange Tip Butterfly of the year fluttering endlessly for fifteen minutes without pausing. Seven species of butterfly were seen on a sunny afternoon including my first Speckled Woods of 2017, The others were the usual suspects; Brimstone, Peacock and two Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admiral and a Comma. 
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Mill Hill, north of Shoreham


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