NATURE NOTES      2011
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex
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July 2011


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

 Ringlet Butterfly
Chalkhill Blue
Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports



31 July 2011
At the usual peak date for Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill I went directly to the lower slopes in the late morning recording 37 (including four females) on the one acre transect before 11.20 am and an estimated 35 mostly males in the following 15 minutes. Most of these appeared fresh and could have just emerged. This was still a poor total of 72 on the lower slopes and two elsewhere on the hill. Without making more than a cursory attempt to search, I discovered at least half a dozen second brood Dingy Skippers, five on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, and one on the middle slopes in the the Triangle area amongst the Wild Basil. There could have easily been more. Fourteen butterfly species were seen in the late morning including a further 20+ Chalkhill Blues on the Mill Hill Cutting (SW)
Mill Hill Report
Adur Skippers

28 July 2011
A targeted search of the slopes and upper glades of Mill Hill produced 12 Dingy Skippers, this being by far the strongest second brood showing I have ever seen. The knock-on effects of the unusually warm spring may yet produce more unexpected events in the late summer and autumn butterfly calendar. 

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Skippers

27 July 2011
On the Pixie Path I spotted my first Migrant Hawker (dragonfly), Aeshna mixta, of the year with two Hornet Robber Flies, Asilus crabroniformis, on the Chestnut fencing. There was also at least two Common Darters. Mill Hill was notably poor (at the time of the year when the numbers should have been good) for butterflies on a cool day. 
Approaching would should be the peak period for the Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill with hundreds, perhaps thousands fluttering around, it was dire that I only saw a fleeting view of one male in half an hour on the one acre transect. It was cloudy and there were very a low frequency of any butterflies about on the lower slopes around midday and these had to be disturbed.
Mill Hill Report

24 July 2011
Occasionally the sun shone through the gaps in the clouds, but it was too cool for most butterflies. However, I recorded my first female Chalkhill Blue of the year with a few males on Mill Hill Cutting., where there was also a female Common Blue amongst the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, leaves. 
On the Pixie Path I spotted my first Common Darter (dragonfly) of the year. 

Common Blue (female)
Chalkhill Blue

It was a few minutes before I spotted my first butterfly on Mill Hill: a second brood Wall Brown briefly visited a Violet. By the time I reached the middle slopes of Mill Hill about 1:00 pm, there was a large black cloud over Erringham Hill. Typically, flitting from one stem head to another by first pristine Brown Argus of the year showed amongst the Marjoram to the north of the Triangle area of the middle slopes of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. Butterflies were widespread and the 15 species seen was equal to the most seen in a day this year. 
Summary Butterfly Report

23 July 2011
As I cycled north down Church Street in central Shoreham, I glanced and caught a commotion in St. Mary's Churchyard, New Shoreham: four Jays were squabbling amongst the gravestones. This was the first time I had ever seen four of these corvids together. 

Three Jays

And I would have had a chance to observe their behaviour if a white terrier dog off its lead had not sent the dozen Wood Pigeons into flight and chased the Grey Squirrels up the trees. 

22 July 2011
I headed off to Mill Hill to get my weekly butterfly transect done while the sun was shining. More Chalkhill Blues emerged, including some large specimens. There was a second brood of Adonis Blue. A big surprise was second brood Dingy Skippers. I also saw a Grass Snake slither away into the Brambles

 Full Butterfly Report

14 July 2011
An Earthquake of 3.9 magnitude (depth 10 km, poorly constrained) was felt in Shoreham at 7:59 am. Its epicentre was 89 km (55 miles) SSW of Brighton, 10 km under the English Channel

11 July 2011
At least three Ringlet Butterflies in the meadow on the southern bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting were rather belated first of year additions for this species. They were amongst Meadow Browns and I had to follow them until they settled to make sure. There were also a few Silver Y Moths fluttering amongst the meadow plants. Ten species of butterfly were seen on the outskirts of Shoreham on a warm cloudy day.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Full Butterfly Report

Chalkhill Blue (male)10 July 2011
On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the first male Chalkhill Blue Butterfly of the year flew about quickly, noted only landing briefly on the yellow flowers of Bird's Foot Trefoil and hiding amongst the leaves of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. Eleven species of butterfly were seen in the late morning. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Full Butterfly Report

5 July 2011
Four or five Swifts screeched and chased each other low over the rooftops by Manor Hall Road at the Portslade end, south of the allotments. These were first time I had seen these migrant birds this summer. 

1 July 2011
As the sun shined intermittently through the clouds, I spotted my first Gatekeeper of the year on the cyclepath at Old Shoreham, followed by my first Small Skipper (possibly an Essex Skipper?) on the River Adur eastern towpath at the same latitude as Mill Hill (south of the upper car park) (TQ 202 073), and my first Blue-tailed Damselfly of the year nearby. 

Marbled White Butterflies were very frequent in the long grass by the towpath with at least 24 counted and there were probably over 60 present. Eleven species of butterfly were seen in the afternoon.

Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Wild Flowers


July 2010

History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2011

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