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May 2011


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

 Adonis Blue
 Horseshoe Vetch
Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports

Environmental Festival &
Adur World Oceans Day 2011

11 June 2011
Participation of other environmental groups are welcome for Adur World Oceans Day 2011 in Shoreham-by-Sea. This is an interactive exhibition and all stalls need to be manned. Tables, chairs and an electrical supply are provided. To allocate space, we will need to know of exhibitors in advance.


31 May 2011
Swallows are coming in. I saw my first of the year against the cloudy sky and later four of them swooped low over the top of Mill Hill as I felt the first drops of rain. A Partridge whirred from what used to be a meadow and is now a bramble-covered temporary pasture. Despite the poor conditions there were still butterflies on the lower slopes of the hill, with 14 shredded and tatty Adonis Blues and a probable first of the year Meadow Brown
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

Common Spotted Orchids
Southern Marsh Orchid

A few Southern Marsh Orchids, Dactylorhiza praetermissa, were flowering on the Mill Hill Cutting (south).
Adur Orchids

25 May 2011
The wind died down and the blue sky was streaked with Cirrocumulus clouds, making it practical to notice plants in passing. Next to the Adur towpath north of Ropetackle in Shoreham there was frequent Fumitory and the alien Lacy Scorpion Weed, Phacelia tanacetifolia (identified by Colin Knight).

21 May 2011
The first Common Blue Damselfly of the year put in an appearance in amongst the Brambles in a shady area behind the southern bank of the Buckingham Cutting. On the open bank about eight Small Blue Butterflies flitted about in the mid-afternoon sunshine. 

Two female Broad-bodied Chasers, Libellula depressa, (a dragonfly) cruised over an open part of the path that runs parallel with the dual carriageway at the top of the southern embankment of the the Slonk Hill Cutting. Both of them settled, one of them long enough for the photograph above. 
Full Butterfly Report

Small Blue Butterfly20 May 2011
I found two roosting Small Blue Butterflies for the first time this year on the southern bank of the Buckingham Cutting and I noted the first Kidney Vetch and the first Spotted Orchids in flower this year. Eleven species of butterfly were seen in under an hour on a blustery (Force 5) day.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Orchids

16 May 2011
Because I omitted to visit the upper part of Mill Hill the previous day, I trekked up in identical cool and breezy conditions and wandered over the middle slopes and the former meadows near the top car park and recorded 37 Common Blue Butterflies (33 males 4 females) and my first Cinnabar Moth of the year. 
In contrast to the lower slopes the amount of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, in the Triangle are of the middle slopes of Mill Hill was as luxurious as usual and even on the top plateau (south of the upper car park) the swathes were much better than 2010
Adur Butterfly & Moth List 2011

15 May 2011
This year the expanse of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was extremely disappointing. It was already past its prime and the flowers were only showing about 20% of their usual brilliance after an extended dry spring. The spiral horseshoe seed pods were commonly seen. On the lower slopes the first Dropwort was seen in flower. 
Flowering Dates of Horseshoe Vetch

Adonis Blue (female)

The north-westerly direction of the Moderate Breeze made conditions poor for butterflies on the exposed slope of Mill Hill. Almost all of them were hiding or resting. About 160 Adonis Blues were disturbed as it was too cool and overcast for them to be actively fluttering around. The males were worn and the females looking to lay their eggs amongst the Horseshoe Vetch. On the southern part of Mill Hill, I spotted a handful of my first male Common Blue Butterflies of the year. 
Full Butterfly Report

13 May 2011
I visited Mill Hill to do my weekly butterfly transect. It was a warm day with cloud and sun pushing through and I recorded: 182 Adonis Blues, two Brimstone Butterflies, six Dingy Skippers, four Green Hairstreaks, two Grizzled Skippers, three Holly Blues, and two Large Whites. The Adonis Blues were mating all over the lower part of the hill.

At the western side of the bridge over Widewater Lagoon a pair of Mute Swans were actively feeding with eight cygnets with them.

8 May 2011
We took advantage of the late sunny afternoon to visit Lancing Ring LNR for the first time. In over two and half hours from 2 :00 pm until 4:30 pm we spotted seven Red Admirals, one Peacock, four Brimstones, six Holly Blues, one Wall, one Speckled Wood, ten Small Heath, one Small Copper, 15 unspecified Whites (probably Large Whites), five Small Blues, 28 Common Blues (of which four were females), and five Brown Argus

Lancing Ring Report by Colin & Lucia Knaggs on Sussex Butterflies

NB: The Small Blues and Common Blues were first of the year records.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

7 May 2011
I did my weekly transect at Mill Hill in the morning and counted one Holly Blue, two Brimstone Butterflies, seven Small Heath, 23 Dingy Skipper, and 112 Adonis Blues. Most of these were at the bottom of the hill, though I did see Dingy Skippers and Adonis Blue by the top car park. The hill was covered by Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, and I saw a Green Hairstreak, two Small Coppers, two Grizzled Skippers and a Red Admiral

4 May 2011
My first teneral Azure Damselfly, Coenagrion puella, of the year, was seen on the Green Alkanet and other vegetation on the verges of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. Later a blue one was seen over the Ladywell's Stream, near Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road. And it was on the small sea inlet at Cuckoo' Corner that 24 Mute Swans congregated with a further three on the River Adur nearby. I thought this was an exceptional number of swans in a small area. Nine species of butterfly were seen around Shoreham and the outskirts. 
Full Butterfly Report

2 May 2011
The first Brown Argus Butterfly of the year in the Adur District was seen at Sompting Abotts.

1 May 2011
On a cool breezy day, the Adonis Blues were emerging from the herbs as I strolled over the lower slopes of Mill Hill. A total of 42 Adonis Blues were seen on the hill in under an hour, including five females
Fourteen other butterflies were seen during the day on the downs and their approaches, notably five Wall Browns, 23 Dingy Skippers, eight Grizzled Skippers and two Green Hairstreaks
Full Butterfly Report
Beautiful Demoiselle
Grizzled Skipper

A female Beautiful Demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo, fluttered more like a butterfly than a damselfly over the Brambles south of the Copse at the top of Mill Hill Nature Reserve.

May 2010

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