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Adur Valley News Bulletin

Link to the Shoreham-by-Sea HomepageAdur Torpedo

This is the first published Electronic Newspaper for 
Shoreham-by-Sea and District, West Sussex, England

November 1999 : Volume 1  Issue 4a
    News & Events

    The Labour party announced at the Bournemouth Conference that the South Downs are to become a National Park.  All the Councils in Sussex except proposers Brighton Council are opposed. The FOE are actively in favour and groups like the National Trust and the Society of Sussex Downsmen have expressed their support. The Sussex Conservation Board, which would be replaced, are opposed. A few working environmentalists I have met said that it would not make much difference, except that:
    1)  planning applications on the Downs would be more difficult.
    2)  more money would be available for conservation projects etc. 

    The Shoreham Herald has invited comments from its readers in a full page display. 

    The current Sussex Conservation Board annual budget (1998-99) amounts to 
    £1,182,400 Gross. The Adur District Council contribution is £11,200. 
    The amount spent on Information and Interpretation was £8,100, which was only about 1% of the total budget.

    Peter Spruce (Liberal Democratic, Peverel ward, Sompting) is the Adur Councillor representative on the South Downs Conservation Board. 

    Wildlife Reports 

    29 October 1999
    I counted over 50 adult Great Black-backed Gulls, with a handful of full-sized juveniles all perched on top of the blue roof of the disused prefabricated warehouse and factory of Sussex Polythene, Brighton Road, Shoreham-by-Sea. This property is adjacent to Monteum Ltd, where the Shoreham trawlers and fishing boats berth. The Great Black-backed Gulls is common in the town from autumn to spring, commoner than the noisy squawking Herring Gull. In nearby Brighton, Hove and Worthing, the Herring Gull is far the commoner of the large gulls. 

    26 October 1999
    Hoping for a better view of the Kingfisher of yesterday and/or to catch the Little Egret on film when there was more light around noon, I was to be disappointed as the tide came up to its maximum of 6.7 metres and, of course, high tide was about an hour later. Even the towpath had nearly broken off - (the banks are friable white chalk on the east side north of the railway viaduct) - and washed into the Adur. I had to make do with the sight of the white Magpie that I had seen for at least two years, and I did not expect to still see it flying over the old railway track - (now a gravel path, over the bit where the path comes to an abrupt end at the demolished rail over road bridge). This Magpie was tinged with black in small amounts, but could pass a a seagull, if the characteristic style of the Magpie's flight did not instantly give it away. 

    25 October 1999
    A flash of the iridescent turquoise and gold against the dull mud flats north of the Railway Bridge over the River Adur attracted my eye. It was a couple of hours after the highest equinoctial tide, so the water was still mostly in flood, and the Kingfisher,  perched but for a brief moment on an protrusion above the surface of the river. 
    This tidal stretch that up to and well beyond the wooden Toll Bridge is a fully saline part of the estuary and there were still plenty of small Bass in the river.
    It looked like a young bird, probably searching for new territory. It is in autumn that the occasional Kingfisher can be seen in the lower reaches. 

    I was about to move on to see if I could catch a glimpse of the Kingfisher upriver, when I noticed the first mud flats appearing as the tide rapidly receded. Gulls, Black-headed and immature Great Black-backed Gulls, were already settling down, and amongst the whites and greys, one bird stood out because of its activity. Even without binoculars, I could see clearly the fishing behaviour of the Little Egret. Unlike the Heron which perches actually in the water, the Little Egret stood on the mud and stretched out its long neck to capture a first year Bass. At least one fish, it needed to adjust in its beak before swallowing. As the mud appeared the Lapwings settled in flocks of hundreds and the squawk of the Redshank, foraging even nearer the bank acted as sentinel. Upriver between the Toll Bridge and the Flyover, another Little Egret was on the look out for fish and a large Cormorant almost invisible against the steep marsh clay bank dived into the river on its quest for fish. Mallards rested on the mud outcrop, shared with assorted gulls,  in the middle of the Adur adjacent to Ricardo Engineering, just north of the Toll Bridge.
    Little Egrets (more)

    24 October 1999
    Gale Force 8 winds, gusting to Storm Force 10, and rain coupled with spring equinoctial tides batter the south coast at the weekend. In Shoreham and Lancing where all the properties built too near the sea were removed during World War II, there was little damage.

    Spear-leaved Orache

    The shingle on the beach was hurled around by the power of the waves, burying the Spear-leaved Orache, Atriplex hastata, the ground-hugging plant nearest to the sea. (David Wood). 

    21 October 1999
    Small flocks of Goldfinches and Greenfinches brings a glimpse of colour as they flit around the banks between Widewater Lagoon and the sea. There were probably Chaffinches as well. The salt spray results in an unusual collection of wild plants that attract these birds, that can be seen throughout the year. 
    Shingle Plants
    Birds of the Shingle

    29 September 1999
    The second half of September was particularly wet with heavy rain almost every day and night in the last 2 weeks.
    Local Climate Details
    Adur Valley Wildlife
    Geology of Sussex
    Mill Hill

    Birdwatchers protest against bird hunting in France.

    Birdwatchers will be protesting on a French nature reserve  against the shooting of birds - many of which migrate to Britain.
    They are unhappy about a French decision to prolong the hunting season by two months. 
    Conservation groups from throughout Europe also accuse the French government of ignoring laws protecting wildlife and allowing hunters to take over part of the Platier d'Oye reserve near Calais. 
    The birds most at risk include Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Lapwing, all of which would otherwise migrate to Britain. (Redshank, Oystercatcher and Lapwing all inhabit the RSPB reserve on the River Adur).
    The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Worldwide Fund for Nature support French bird conservation groups in a campaign to reverse last year's extension by France of the shooting season. 
    It starts a month earlier than before, in mid-July and ends a month later at the end of February. 
    Conservationists say that means birds can legally be shot during part of the summer breeding season, and the winter migrating season. 

    An online petition against the hunting is at http://www.rspb.co.uk

    Word of the Month

    * parch | pt |  v. ME. [Origin unkn.] 1 v.t. a Dry by exposure to heat; spec. (a)roast (corn, peas, etc.) lightly; (b)(of the sun's heat, of fever or thirst) deprive of water, cause to be in need of water. Also in pass., have an extreme thirst (for); long for on account of thirst. ME.  b transf. Dry, shrivel, or wither with cold. Chiefly poet. L16. 2 v.i. Become (very) dry and hot; shrivel up with heat. M16.
    1a H. BELLOC For very many days the intense heat had parched the Weald. S. E. MORISON Once ashore, they managed to light a fire and parch corn. b SOUTHEY Whofelt the storm Of the bleak winter parch his shivering form. 2 W. COBBETT The grass never parches upon these downs. W. BLACK He would sooner parch with thirst.
    parched a. dried up; extremely thirsty: LME. parchedness  | ptdns |  n. M17.
    Parch  | pt |  n. rare exc. in comb. LME. [f. next.] The action of parching; the condition of being parched.
    Comb.: parch mark Archaeol. a localized discoloration of the ground in dry weather over buried remains.
    Parch is found in the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton, Keats.
    Excerpted from The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia*
    Developed by The Learning Company, Inc. Copyright (c) 1997 TLC Properties Inc. (unless indicated in blue)

    November 1999: Computer Shopper has the Oxford Reference Shelf (not the above reference). The standard dictionary is the Pocket Oxford (smaller than the Shorter Oxford*). 

    The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia* (containing the Shorter Oxford Dictionary) is now available with the first issue of Computer Success Plus (in newsagents) at £1.99.

    Historical Snippets
  • 85 million years ago, Cretaceous Period (144 - 66.4 million years ago): Sussex is covered by a warm sea inhabited by ammonites, Micraster urchins, molluscs, at a lower latitude (Continental Drift: Tectonic Plate Theory). Sedimentary deposits of  foraminiferans such as Globigerina and coccoliths (microscopic plankton with a calcium carbonate shell) lay down the chalk which is rock of the South Downs near Shoreham.

  • Santonian Age (87.5 to 84 million years ago). The age's name derives from the town of Saintes in western France, the area surrounding is the classic type district for rocks of this age. I have deduced from the fossils I have discovered on the shore, notably:

        Fossil Sea Urchin Echinocorys scutatus


    Fossil bivalve  Spondylus spinosa

Compiled on Netscape Composer, part of Netscape Communicator 4.6
Extent the tide recedes at low neaps. The tide goes out further on the low springs that occur at dusk and dawn.Sea Defences made of syenite rock from Norway