Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

August 2013

Mill Hill (from the south)
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Downs north of Shoreham and the Adur Valley (map)
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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

2013  Regional

Chalkhill Blues

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


15 August 2013
Rockpooling at Shoreham Fort with the Friends of Shoreham Beach

Full Details and Contacts


31 August 2013
Seal was seen in the entrance to Shoreham Harbour at Kingston Beach.

30 August 2013
A Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa, was found crawling very slowly over the stony bridlepath in west Steyning, to the south of Mouse Lane on the edge of the forested downs, near some winter cattle pasture. 

Adur Beetles 2006
Butterfly Report

28 August 2013
I ambled over the parched upper part, top meadows and middle slopes of Mill Hill, without any special searching and I saw over a hundred Meadow Browns, many of them amorous, at least 39 (36+3) Adonis Blues including courting couples, double as many Common Blues, a handful of Chalkhill Blues with some fresh males, five Wall Browns, occasional Small Heaths, frequent Speckled Woods, one Peacock and one restless Clouded Yellow.

Autumn Gentian
Adonis Blueon Marjoram

Autumn Gentian was seen flowering on the upper plateau and with the seeding of the Ragwort it was the beginning of autumn. 
Full Butterfly Report

26 August 2013
I made an impromptu journey to the lower slopes of Mill Hill which was cast in shade in the late afternoon from the few clouds on an otherwise sunny day. Most of the butterflies were roosting by I still managed to disturb something like two hundred Meadow Browns and over a hundred in total of the three species of blues out and about: Adonis Blues, Chalkhill Blues and Common Blues. Thirteen butterfly species were seen and the effort was made worthwhile with a congregation of 13 egg laying female Chalkhill Blues in four square metres on Mill Hill Cutting (SW). 
Full Butterfly Report

25 August 2013
After the rain, there were only small muddy puddles on the Downs Link Cyclepath north of Old Shoreham, where my first Southern Hawker, (dragonfly) of the year landed immediately in front of me on the clay path. 

Peacock Butterfly

Thirteen butterfly species were seen on an overcast day, all bar one of the Downs Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to the Cement Works.
Full Butterfly Report

23 August 2013
At the north-west corner of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, it was possible to fight my way through the Brambles on the route of the old footpath to Mill Hill on to an area which I have names Mill Hill Cutting (SW) where in an area of about twenty square metres of bare chalk bank covered with clumps of Horseshoe Vetch, Cotoneaster and the leaves of Mouse-eared Hawkweed, there was a fabulous showing of too many Chalkhill Blues to count accurately as I lost count at thirty, but estimated to be forty including ten females (I gave up counting these at seven) plus occasional Common Blues of both genders to confuse the count.


Chalkhill Blues

This count extrapolates to 800 Chalkhill Blues per acre which is the maximum density expected in a good year (but not seen on Mill Hill since 2003). Most of the Chalkhill Blues were rather worn and tattered with a few with just minor damage. The pairs were courting and the females were laying eggs. There were also frequent Silver Y Moths
Full Butterfly Report

21 August 2013
Hundreds of butterflies of eighteen species were out in the sunshine on Mill Hill. They were everywhere but the numbers were less than a week earlier. Adonis Blues (74 per acre) now exceeded the Chalkhill Blues (58) and Common Blues (E 55) on the lower slopes. 

Small Tortoiseshell
Adonis Blue 

Two Clouded Yellows flew continuously over the lower slopes and I never saw either of them settle, not even once. There were frequent female Common Blues, but I could not find a Brown Argus
Full Butterfly Report

I started and finished my tour of local sites at Mill Hill, where I hoped to photograph the second brood Adonis Blues. My brief morning visit was an instant success; only ten metres from the car park I found a beautiful female opening her wings wide to the morning sun for the very first time. When I returned in the evening the patches of longer grass and herbs along the lower slopes of Mill Hill were crammed with roosting butterflies. Large communal roosts of Adonis Blues, Chalkhill  Blues and Common Blues were a joy to sift through in the calm conditions. The biggest and most welcome surprise of the day came just as I started to descend the steep scree slope at Mill Hill. At 6.10 pm most of the butterflies were already at roost ... but not the Silver-spotted Skipper which landed at my feet! County Recorder Colin Pratt can find no historic records of the species here, and it has certainly been absent since at least the 1930s. I was delighted, as this is the third new site for Silver-spotted Skipper I've found in the last few weeks. 

Second Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterflies

20 August 2013
Hundreds of butterflies of twelve species were out in the sunshine. Most of these were Large Whites but Common Blues were present in their hundreds (fifty seen) in the meadows of Lancing Ring Nature Reserve. Wall Browns (25+) were all over the well used paths with a few in the meadows where three male Chalkhill Blues fluttered in the afternoon sunshine. 
Full Butterfly Report

Detail of a Wild Carrot

19 August 2013

Small Copper
Chalkhill Blue

Mill Hill under a cloudy sky and many of the butterflies on the lower slopes were hiding and their numbers were less than could be expected when sunny. Fifteen species of butterfly were spotted including over fifty second brood Adonis Blues, my first Small Copper of the year and four Clouded Yellows.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
17 August 2013 
A Garden Tiger Moth seen in a Lancing garden Adur Moths

Tiger Moths Recording & Information

16 August 2013 
Mute Swan was discovered seriously ill on Brooklands Boating Lake and struggling to stay afloat. It was rescued by Wadars and put in the Animal Ambulance. The Environmental Agency have confirmed the existence of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) which produces toxins capable of causing the illness. 

14 August 2013 
Clouded Yellow
Wall Brown
Common Blue

Despite humid conditions and brief showers of rain I spotted eighteen different butterfly species during the day which included a visit to Mill Hill where hundreds of four main species fluttered over the lower slopes. The most prevalent species were Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Chalkhill Blues and Common Blues. The most notable butterflies of the day were two Clouded Yellows, at least two new Adonis Blues, and three new Wall Browns.
Full Butterfly Report
13 August 2013
There was the unexpected sight of a possible Silver-spotted Skipper which would be a first for Mill Hill

8 August 2013
Hundreds of butterflies fluttered around the parched lower slopes of Mill Hill. Seventeen species were seen on a sunny day, all but two on the downs. Chalkhill Blues were out in force with over two hundred seen. Both Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns were everywhere with estimated numbers at about a hundred an acre for each. However, the highlight of the day was a Dark Green Fritillary restlessly patrolling over the lower slopes by the bottom wayward hedge. It was joined by a bright Clouded Yellow. A handful of male second brood Adonis Blues were also spotted.

Adonis Blue 
 Chalkhill Blueson Carline Thistle

Butterflies were courting and three species were seen in mating sequences: Common Blues, Meadow Browns and Chalkhill Blues. About ten Marbled Whites were still in flight. Bright colour was also provided by fresh specimens of a Painted Lady, a Peacock Butterfly and a Red Admiral
Full Butterfly Report
Mill Hill Report (with images)

7 August 2013
On a cloudy day ten species of butterfly were seen in Shoreham and the outskirts, including a Holly Blue and a Wall Brown not seen on the previous day

 Chalkhill Blueson Carline Thistle
Chalkhill Blue 

32 Chalkhill Blues were seen in the town boundaries in the garden-sized area of Mill Hill Cutting (SW). Advertising its arrival with a distinctive call, a Green Woodpecker arrowed its way across Frampton's Field from north to south. It flew at low level less than a metre above the long grass as the horse pasture had now in a large part become a meadow. A Robber Fly landed on the Pixie Path in front of me. 
Pixie Path & Mill Hill Cutting Report
Adur Butterfly List 2013

6 August 2013
Butterflies were very common (over 500 in 90 minutes) for the first time this year on Mill Hill around the middle of the day. Sixteen species were seen on the downs. Meadow Browns led the way with over an estimated 270 actually seen, followed by a count of 135 Chalkhill Blues, and nearly a hundred Gatekeepers making up the bulk of the total. There were frequent Large Whites, Marbled Whites, Brimstones, Common Blues and Red Admirals, with occasional Peacocks, Painted Ladies and Small Whites. The lower slopes were evenly distributed with butterflies, with newly flowering Carline Thistle an attractive nectar source. The middle slopes had a special attractive Buddleia tree almost inaccessible by Brambles and Stinging Nettles and covered in Red Admirals, Peacocks and other butterflies including a Comma

 Chalkhill Blues

The frequent clumps of Marjoram on the middle slopes proved to be attractive to most of the butterflies. In the shade there were a few Speckled Woods and a solitary Ringlet. A handful of Small Heaths were spotted in the short vegetation. In the meadows there were frequent Silver Y Moths and the Six-spotted Burnet Moths were still to be found on the Knapweeds. Small (or Essex) Skippers and Green-veined Whites were few. It was only a passage journey and if I waited around I could have added to the list. 
Full Butterfly Report

4 August 2013 

Cyclepath at Old Shoreham
Painted Lady

It seems there has been recent influx of the immigrant Painted Lady as the first seen and the most prevalent butterfly and found exclusively feeding on the Buddleia. It was accompanied by a few Red Admirals and at least one Peacock Butterfly. Nearby there were Green-veined Whites, Large Whites, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers in order of frequency. 
Full Butterfly Report

1 August 2013
Butterflies were far too many to count on the outskirts of town and Mill Hill in the humid warm sunshine. I did attempt to count the Chalkhill Blues on the one acre transect on Mill Hill and it came to eighty of the blue males and no females noted. There was a big surprise with my first definite Dark Green Fritillary in Shoreham, flying very strongly over the southern part of Mill Hill, over the Ragwort without settling.


Altogether, I managed to spot twenty different species of butterfly with sixteen of these on Mill Hill. This was my second highest species tally ever in about an hour and half of butterfly watching. Gatekeepers were the most numerous and common amongst the scrub and hedgerows. However, Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods, Holly Blues, Marbled Whites, Large Whites, were all frequently seen and there were at least dozen each of the brilliant Peacocks and male Common Blues. There was also the first record of a Ringlet Butterfly in the month of August.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Full Butterfly Report
Butterfly List for the Day
Mill Hill Report

In the shade of the trees at the top of The Drive, north Shoreham, I noted my first two of the impressive hoverfly Volucella zonaria this year. 

August 2012 Reports

Shoreham Weather 2013

Adur Nature Notes 2012

Butterfly List 2013
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
Lancing Village

Shoreham Weather 2013

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring


Link to the Adur 2012 Nature Notes pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pagesLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes pages
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages
Link to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index pageLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page
Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002
Mill Hill, north of Shoreham


    The Shoreham-by-Sea web site started on 1 January 1997.
    Webmaster: Andy Horton

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