Lower Adur Valley   West Sussex

May 2013

Blackthorn in flower at the beginning of May
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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

Red Mason Bee, Osmia bicornis (= O.rufa), on Green Alkanet

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


8 June 2013

Adur World Oceans Day
Family event. Find out what lives in the sea and seashore, with live lobsters and crabs, a rock pool aquarium, whale and dolphin exhibition, touch table and activities for children.

The thirteenth Adur World Oceans Day 2013 will take place in the marquee on Coronation Green, by Shoreham Footbridge at the High Street end on the second Saturday of the Adur Festival

World Oceans Day on Facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day


31 May 2013
The first local Small Blue Butterfly of the year was spotted and photographed on the north side of the A27 near Shoreham. The first local Brown Argus and Common Blue of the year were also recorded.

Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Full Butterfly Report
30 May 2013
Four small Common Starfish Asterias rubens, were discovered on Southwick Beach at the sea end ot the the most westerly of the syenite rock sea defences. 

29 May 2013
An overcast morning was a least dry and with little or no wind, it was the first opportunity of a shrimping expedition with the small one metre wide net to Lancing Beach by Widewater on the low (0.2 metres) incoming tide from 9:11 am. There was disappointingly little caught apart from a pint of Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, one small Common Hermit Crab, Pagurus bernhardus,  and one South-clawed Hermit Crab, Diogenes pugilator .
Full Report

27 May 2013
With the sun came the butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, covered in a 50% flowering of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. After a couple of minutes my first male Adonis Blue of the year fluttered energetically around the yellow flowers without settling. It was one of 14 counted. 
Full Butterfly Report

White Campion
Adonis Blue

In an early evening visit to under Worthing Pier at a very spring low tide, the notable discoveries included one sub-adult 5-Bearded Rockling, Ciliata mustela, two tiny thread-like juvenile Butterfish, Pholis gunnellus, and one slightly large one, a smallish Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber, one Dahlia Anemone, Urticina felina, and the usual species of crabs and sea anemones, although Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis, were smaller and only occasionally spotted.
Full Rockpooling Report

26 May 2013
The most interesting discovery on an early morning low spring tide at Lancing Beach were two Small-headed Clingfish, Apletodon dentatus, which I had not seen since 2005. Also of interest were a small Common Starfish Asterias rubens, and two Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus bernhardus.
Full Rockpooling Report

22 May 2013
I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill . Although the weather was overcast with a cold wind, there were occasional sunny intervals .I saw the first Adonis Blue of the season, but only one around. Others seen were Grizzled Skipper (1), Dingy Skipper (3), Small Heath (5), Green-veined White (3). 

Report by Simon Quin on Sussex Butterflies
Butterfly List 2013
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

21 May 2013

Common Milkwort Polygala vulgaris.

The flowers are shown spiralling out from a single rosette. Some books mention this as a feature of Chalk Milkwort, Polygala calcarea. This latter plant is not on the local list.

Adur Milkworts

19 May 2013
The first Wall Brown of the year was seen on Mill Hill in very overcast & intermittently drizzly weather.

Report by Kelly Westlake on Sussex Butterflies
Butterfly List 2013
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
18 May 2013
Hawthorn was flowering at Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road. Rhingia hoverflies visited Red Campion on the road verge by Ladywell's Stream.

17 May 2013
On an overcast afternoon I visited Mill Hill but virtually all the butterflies on the lower slopes were hiding. I managed to see my first Small Heath Butterfly of 2013, a damaged pale Grizzled Skipper, and I disturbed my first Dingy Skipper and Cinnabar Moth of the year. The yellow flowers of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on Mill Hill were very common but nowhere near their peak. The pyralid moths were frequently seen especially Pyrausta nigrata but only one definite of the colourful Pyrausta pupuralis. I also spotted an occasional even tinier Violet Comet Moth, Pancalia leuwenhoekella.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates


Although everything seems to be running three weeks late this year, new flowers appeared on the downs and road verges and the Marsh Marigolds showed well in my wild garden. Blackthorn on the downs had ceased flowering but I have not yet seen Hawthorn in flower. 

Birds were very vocal and the calls of the Whitethroats from the scrub on Mill Hill exceeded all the rest. 

16 May 2013
On the first fine day for at last two weeks I had to visit Steyning for the dentist. There were no butterflies noted in the country market town.

7 May 2013
Green-veined White Butterflies were confirmed for the first time this year sparring with male Orange-tips on the footpath section of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.
On Widewater Lagoon, a pair of Mute Swans escorted six small cygnets, and three Bar-tailed Godwits probed repeatedly in the mud on the shore edge. 

6 May 2013
Cherry-blossomed and shirt-sleeved weather (13.3°C), the only white in a bright blue sky was a vapour trail. The sunshine brought out the bumblebees and butterflies. Holly Blue Butterflies and Small Whites fluttered over town gardens. On the outskirts of Shoreham I recorded my first Speckled Woods, courting over the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of Mill Hill Road Bridge over the A27). 

Horseshoe Vetch

It was not until the first week of May that I noted a handful of the yellow flowers of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. The late flowering is likely to be responsible for the dearth of butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. I did manage to spot a pair of amorous Grizzled Skippers for the first time this year, as well as more Speckled Woods, the inevitable Peacock Butterflies, one wandering male Orange-tip and a probable Red Admiral
NB: The flowering times of wild plants and shrubs, and the appearance of the first butterflies seems to be three weeks behind an average year. 

3 May 2013
Hardly a cloud in blue sky, and the bees and butterflies were out in the weak sunshine. A flutter of a restlessHolly Blue was the first butterfly to be seen over the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. This was quickly followed by my first definite of the year Large Whites followed by a male Orange-tip. Pressing on a Peacock Butterfly flew over the cyclepath north of Old Shoreham. 
Butterfly List 2013
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

On the verges of the cyclepath I saw my first ever local Snake's Head Fritillaries, Fritillaria meleagris, in flower in the wild. In a running stream by the cyclepath a shoal of Sticklebacks looking very healthy darting about. One small male fish sported a bright red flank. 

2 May 2013
A push-net shrimping expedition off Southwick Beach, caught a meal of Brown Shrimp, Crangon crangon, plus some large venomous Lesser Weevers, Echiichthys vipera, as well as a few Solenettes (Slipper Soles), Buglossidium luteum and 5-Bearded Rocklings, Ciliata mustela.

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden

1 May 2013
A few firsts of the year were recorded as the sun came out and with it the bumblebees and a few hoverflies. The first of a few Holly Blue Butterflies were seen over the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham followed by a Small Tortoiseshell on Footpath 3138 Pixie Path to Mill Hill where my first Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara, of the year skittered into cover.

Dog Violets
Peacock Butterfly

At the top by the bridge over the A27 I spotted my first Brimstone Butterfly of the year. The lower slopes of Mill Hill were covered in scattered clumps of Dog Violets visited by Peacock Butterflies and a patrolling Brimstone Butterfly one Small Tortoiseshell, and a single Comma at the northern end. I looked for but could not find a single Horseshoe Vetch flower which means this important caterpillar flower is late this year. White butterflies were occasionally seen and were too far away to decide if they were Small Whites, Green-veined Whites or Large Whites and possibly all three. 

Robin Lord reported (and photographed) the first Grizzled Skipper of 2013 on the lower slopes of Mill Hill but I saw no sign of it.

Butterfly List 2013
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

May 2012 Reports

Adur Flowers 2013
Shoreham Weather 2013

Adur Nature Notes 2012

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 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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