Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

May 2012

Mill Hill
Shoreham-by-Sea Homepage
Link to the Adur 2012 Nature Notes pages

Downs north of Shoreham and the Adur Valley (map)
Link to web pages: Lancing Nature Gallery
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 World Oceans Day 2012
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 of Mill Hill
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Link to the Mill Hill web page for 2011

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Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies web page
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Lancing Blogspot
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Autumn 2004 
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Solitary Bees
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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

Horseshoe Vetch

2012  Regional

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

Beltaine: First Day of Summer


31 May 2012
My first Common Blue Damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum, of the year put in an appearance over the verges of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. On a breezy day, I noted a few more wild plants in flower for the first time this year. 

28 May 2012
A special shrimping trip to Lancing Beach (by Widewater) (with Selena Barr and Philippa Lane from Field magazine, and Peter Talbot-Elsden) in ideal weather conditions (1.5 metre neap low tide) caught three pints of Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, between us. There was not much else in the nets: frequent flatfish fry, two small Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, one swimming crab Portumnus latipes with "fleur-de lis" markings, one Vernal Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis, one badly damaged (but still alive, it nipped me) Masked Crab, Corystes cassivelaunus, a few large green Shore Crabs, Carcinus maenas, and a small Plaice, Pleuronectes platessa, (or possibly a Flounder?). 

BMLSS Shrimping Page
Field Magazine Inclusion

27 May 2012
On a warm day, the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was more extensive than four days previously, with thousands of fresh flowers but also a considerable number (thousands) of drooping and faded flowers.

Adonis Blues
Green Hairstreak on Horseshoe Vetch
Horseshoe Vetch & Fairy Flax

Eleven species of butterfly were noted in the middle of the day. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill I counted 128 Adonis Blues (with the first mating pair), my first of two Green Hairstreaks and my first Burnet Companion Moth of 2012. 
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Full Mill Hill Report

23 May 2012
On a warm (20 °C) sticky day, the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was at its peak flowering on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and was comparable to other years but not to a good year. The new young growths of Privet were extensive. Adonis Blues appeared immediately and although the transect acre count was 32 (including three females) they did not come out until later when I estimated about sixty. Altogether ten species were butterfly were spotted on a day when not all of them were prepared to show in the middle of the day. Small Heaths were frequently seen, a handful of Brimstone Butterflies but only two Dingy Skippers were noted. There were hundreds of the late-flowering violets, more than noted in previous years. 
Full Butterfly Report

22 May 2012
On the first warm day of the year, a Holly Blue Butterfly and a Large White were seen over the residential part of Shoreham as I cycled by. 

21 May 2012
In the early evening my first two Swifts of the year flew northwards over my house in Corbyn Crescent in residential Shoreham, performed a couple of aerobatics over the Middle Road allotments and then flew out of sight. 

20 May 2012
Again, without any sun (14.2 °C) to encourage butterflies and breezy (Force 4 from the north), I managed to spot my first female Adonis Blue of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill with 22 males. 
Full Butterfly Report

Adonis Blue 
Horseshoe Vetch

Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was abundant on the lower slopes of Mill Hill but it was either preceding its peak or substantially less in flower than in previous years. 

13 & 19 May 2012

Horseshoe Vetch
Bird's Foot Trefoil

Horseshoe Vetch first flowers about a fortnight before Bird's Foot Trefoil.

13 May 2012
A belated first amphibian of the year for me was a Common Frog in the shade and in my small garden pond. Just one frog seems to be resident in my garden. At last the sun came out (13.0 °C at 1:00 pm, with a Moderate Breeze Force 4) and my first Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara, of the year was spotted next to a discarded plastic bag on the steps leading down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill
Adur Lizards

Adonis Blue 
Dingy Skipper

As it warmed up the butterflies came out in the appreciable numbers (over a hundred) for the first time this year. At least twenty male Adonis Blues were extremely lively, but most numerous were the Dingy Skippers with an estimate exceeding sixty in the transect acre on Mill Hill. The first Common Blue Butterflies made an appearance together with my first Small Coppers with four seen, occasional Small Heaths, at least two Grizzled Skippers, a fleeting glimpse of a Wall Brown and a single Comma Butterfly. Altogether I spotted eleven species of butterfly just after midday, and sixteen different species in the last three days. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Skippers

An Osprey was spotted flying over Shoreham Airport and the identification was confirmed by a photograph

12 May 2012
In the weak sunshine (12.4 °C), my first Odonata of the year, a Large Red Damselfly showed amongst the Stinging Nettles in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road

11 May 2012
Too cool (13.9 °C) for butterflies and too breezy (Force 4 from the north) to photograph flowers close-up, the rain of the past few days had nevertheless stopped in a white fluffy Cumulus blue and white sky. Hawthorn was now in flower and Blackthorn had ceased. 

Green-winged Orchids

Hundreds of pretty Green-winged Orchids were strewn amongst the cow pats on the southern north-facing bank of Anchor Bottom (chalk downs at Upper Beeding). These were the first orchids seen this year. Near the end of the afternoon, the weak sun shined and a few butterflies of six species made an appearance notably two male Orange-tips over the east verge of the Coombes Road by Ladywells. 
Adur Orchids
Full Butterfly Report
Anchor Bottom Report

I headed to Mill Hill to do my butterfly transect. The Adonis Blue made his appearance for the first time this year. I also saw a Green Hairstreak, Peacocks, Small Whites and Small Coppers mating, Dingy Skippers all over the bottom of the hill, a male Brimstone and Small Heaths. A flight of four Peacocks few past me as I ate my sandwich, I assume these were three males pursuing a female. The Dingy Skippers were busy chasing any butterfly that flew near their territory, including Peacocks many times their size. The brown female brown Adder was basking in her usual place by the bonfire site at the south end of the hill.

7 May 2012
A short trip to Kingston Beach on a cool evening low spring tide produced a sparse mobile fauna including two small Common Starfish Asterias rubens on the underside of the larger boulders with a chiton Acanthochitona crinita and a Sting Winkle Ocenebra erinacea as noteworthy discoveries. Juvenile (first year) Blennies, Lipophrys pholis, were frequently found under boulders on the estuarine (west of the Lifeboat Station) part of the beach.
BMLSS Molluscs
BMLSS Starfish

6 May 2012
On a cool (7.1 °C Breeze Force 4) early evening a dozen House Martins flying low over Widewater Lagoon were the first I had seen this year. More were seen later. 

Chiton, Tunicate (=Sea Squirt), Edible Crab (small) and Common Starfish (small)
Hairy Crab

The low equinoctial spring tide at Lancing receded as far as had seen it uncovering rocks that are rarely seen. It was early in the year and the intertidal fauna was exiguous: two Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis, frequent Hairy Crabs, Pilumnus hirtellus, one Short-legged Spider Crab Eurynome aspera, and one 5-Bearded Rockling, Ciliata mustela, were notable (and the first wild sea anemones, crabs and fish I had noted this year.)
British Marine Life Study Society
BMLSS Rockpooling
BMLSS Rock Pool Fish
3 May 2012
These images of the raindrops on the Marsh Marigold sums up the poor  weather for the last half of April and beginning of May: generally inclement and overcast with rain almost every day. 

2 May 2012
A male Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus, made an impressive display when it visited the open space over New Monks Farm, Lancing. 

Hen Harrier
(Click on the image to view the video)

"It stayed for about an hour, constantly diving down, presumably after mice or other small animals. It attracted quite a large flock of gulls and crows that were trying to mob it, although it didn't seem too concerned."
The display was captured on a video film. This bird of prey is a scarce (winter visitor and passage migrant) visitor to Sussex. 

Blackthorn has flowers before leaves. Hawthorn has leaves before flowers. 
What is the difference between Blackthorn and Hawthorn?.

May 2011

Adur Nature Notes 2011


Butterfly List 2012
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
Lancing Village

Shoreham Weather 2012

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring


Link 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 the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pagesLink to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index pageLink 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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